So, here we are. The final chapter. I'm pleased with it, and I hope you will be too. By far, this is the longest fic I've ever written. And to think, I almost gave up on it.
The thanks go to WifeyMcWiferson. She's been by my side almost the entire way, she's the one that DEMANDED I continue when I lost my way around Chapter 4, she's the one responsible for the validity of the medical info.
Special thanks go to my awesome reviewers, every last one of you, especially MB64, who also stayed on my ass about getting it done.
So here we go, the final chapter of Lost and Found. Hugs, kisses, and demon bombs!
I feel like I'm surfacing from deep water, and I breathe in hard, forcing air into my lungs.
My eyelids are heavy, and it's taking a lot of effort to open them.
"Dean? Dean, are you waking up? Come on man, open your eyes, god, please open your eyes."
Sammy? I'm trying man, I swear I am.
"Come on kiddo, we're waiting for you."
Bobby's here too? Guess I better get on it. Dammit. Open up stupid eyelids!
"Bobby, he's doing it, he's waking up!" I finally get them open, and everything's blurry. I blink a few times, and the world comes into focus. Sammy's smiling down at me, grinning, and his eyes are watery, like he's about to cry, so I say the first thing that comes to mind.
"Don…don't…cry…Samantha." He chuckles, and wipes at his eyes with one hand. The other is holding mine. I pretend not to notice.
"Welcome back, Dean. I'm so…god. I was so worried. I was so damn worried." He takes a shaky breath.
"S'ok, Sammy. I'm ok." And now he's rubbing his hand through my hair. "Sam. No chick flick moments, dude, I'm fine." And that's the weird thing. I really am. Fine, that is. Bobby chuckles.
"Now that's our Dean." Even Sam has to smile at that. I make like I'm going to sit up, and Sam puts his gigantor paws on me and pushes me back down.
"Dean! You've been out for like a week. You almost died, give it some time." I shove him off, and I can tell he's surprised by my strength.
"I'm fine," I tell him as I sit up. "There's nothing wrong with me. Why am I even here?" Sam and Bobby exchange a look. "What? What's going on?"
"Gonna go get the doctor," Bobby mumbles, quickly excusing himself from the room. Sam's staring at me.
"Nothing…just." He sighs. "What's the last thing you remember?"
"Um. Hit my head on a toilet at Bobby's."
"And now you're fine. I don't get it." Sam drops into a chair, confusion all over him.
"It was just a concussion, right? I know I hit my head pretty hard, and I felt like I had the flu or something."
"The flu?" Sam asks incredulously, "dude, your appendix ruptured, and you didn't just have a concussion. You almost died, Dean, I mean, we really thought we were going to lose you. It was touch and go for a while there. Then, two days ago, you just started getting better. The doctors are clueless."
"I almost died? Damn, how bad was it?"
"Subdural hematoma, which basically means you had bleeding in your brain. It made you have seizures, bad ones. And then your appendix ruptured, you were bleeding internally, and they barely got you into surgery in time, and then if that wasn't enough, you went into septic shock. I mean, your kidneys, your liver, everything just stopped working. They had to put you on dialysis and all these antibiotics, they gave you transfusions, and it's like nothing they did was working. You even started to develop pneumonia. And then, two days ago, it was like somebody flipped a switch, and you just started getting better."
I don't remember any of this. None of it. And I tell Sam that.
"I'm not surprised you don't remember, you were so sick, Dean. They had to drill into your head to let the pressure of the extra fluid out. Then, your heart stopped." Sam sighed, and ran a hand through his hair. "It's been scary, Dean. I was so scared."
"I'm sorry, Sammy. I'm so sorry."
"No. Don't you dare apologize. None of this is your fault. Don't you sit there and try to take the guilt for this. It's my fault, I should have done things differently in Pittsburg, I should have told you I was there right from the beginning."
"Yeah, well I should have come back with you and Bobby. Then maybe Reggie would still be alive. Maybe none of this would have happened."
"No. Stop it. Stop trying to put all of this on you. All three of us, you, me, Bobby…we all made mistakes. We all could have done things differently. But, dammit, Dean, of the three of us, you're by far the least to blame." I fall silent, and so does he. I mess with the blanket on my bed, pulling on the blue and yellow fringe.
"Dean?" Sam asks quietly, "how did you get out of that mine?"
"I don't…I'm not sure. I know I was hurt, and I shouldn't have gotten out of there, but I did. A trucker found me. I ended up in Pittsburg with nothing, no memories, just that license with 'Dean Hetfield' on it. Reggie took me in. That's all I know."
"I pulled myself out," Sam says, "and I've lost everything that happened from the time I woke up in the mine to when I ended up at the hospital." He stares out the window, a faraway look on his face. "For almost five months, I believed you were dead. Bobby and I made a memorial under that big oak and everything. I thought you were gone, and I thought I was never going to be ok. It took a long time, but I slowly started feeling human again. I owe Bobby so much. He never gave up on me, even when I was ready to give up on myself."
"Yeah. He's good like that." Sam nods in agreement.
"Bobby and I went back, you know, we went back to try and find your body." He gives me a wry grin. "Obviously, you weren't there."
"But we found your gun, and the crispy Wendigo…"
"Good to know."
"…and we found this." He reaches under his shirt collar, and pulls out a leather cord, quickly sliding it up and over his head. "I think it's time you had it back. I actually meant to give it back to you sooner. It just didn't happen that way."
He holds it out to me, and I take it from him, the brass weight comfortingly warm from being against Sam's skin. I'd recognize my amulet anywhere, and I carefully put it on, relishing the feel of it against my chest.
"Thanks, Sammy," I murmur, feeling my eyes mist up. Probably should stop accusing him of being a girl. I'm the girl.
He smiles, and I smile back, feeling like a total moron, but hey, he's my little brother.
And that's just how things are.
I watch, unseen, as the Doctor expresses her disbelief.
"He's fine. The bleeding is gone, his organs are healthy. I don't understand it, but he's fine. He's better then fine. I just don't understand."
I've healed him fully, completely, and he will remember nothing of it, or of meeting me in the mine, or any of the interactions we've had in this timeline.
I observe the Winchesters and Bobby Singer as they celebrate the good news and make plans for Dean to return home. My work here is done, and I should report back to Uriel for further orders, but I can't take my eyes off of Dean.
The Dean I know is beat down, exhausted, tormented by his memories of hell and the fear of losing control. The Dean I know carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and the responsibility of Sam Winchester's welfare, a burden unfairly given to him early in his life by his father. John Winchester meant well, but he forever changed the way Dean would view himself and his own self-worth.
The Dean I am observing now is troubled; shoulders weary with the weight of knowing the cost his father has paid on his behalf. He's struggling with that weight, but this Dean can still smile, he can still joke with his brother, he can still see good in the world.
Over the next few years, that will be taken from him. In the next few months, he'll sell his soul to save his brother.
I wish I could stop this now, prevent this from happening, but my orders were to heal him, and nothing else.
The Dean I know once accused me of being a hammer, nothing more than a tool, useless for anything more than carrying out orders. I told him he was wrong. I have doubts. I have concerns that what we are doing isn't right.
The Righteous Man. This is what my superiors call him. Right now, he has no idea of what destiny holds for him.
I concentrate, and in an instant, I am at Uriel's side. We sit quietly on a snowy park bench, observing children playing in the snow.
Someone is killing angels, he tells me. They've captured Alastair. They intend to question him, and they want Dean to do the interrogation, using the skills Alastair taught him in hell.
I don't feel this is the right course of action, and that it will only break Dean further. I say nothing. I was recently reminded that my orders demand obedience, and that I am expected to do as I am told, and that I am not to get too close to the man in my charge.
Therefore, I say nothing as Dean is led into the chamber with Alastair.
Waiting outside, listening to the demon scream, I wonder where these doubts will lead me.
I wonder if there will be anything left of Dean to save.
A day after Dean wakes up, we're back at Bobby's.
Dean's already tearing through newspapers, and looking online, trying to find a hunt, anxious as all hell to get back in it.
I really don't miss hunting, and it's been a good distraction to worry about Dean, to have all of my focus on him and getting him better. It took my thoughts off of what's going to happen to us in the future, the pall of Dad's last words to Dean still hanging over both of us.
The darkness is there, inside me, and I can feel it. It's scary, knowing what I know now about my powers, and the demon blood, and the other children like me. I know Dean would die himself before he ever hurt me, let alone kill me, and that worries me too.
He needs to be strong enough. If I turn evil, he needs to be willing to end it.
But then again, I know I'd never be able to do it to him if the situation were reversed.
"Sam, I think I found something. Haunting, up in Maine somewhere. Looks like an easy job, just the ticket, right?"
"Sure, Dean," I answer quietly, smiling at the smile on his face. Back in the saddle, Dean's favorite place to be, driving the Impala, with his 1911 tucked in his waistband.
"Dinner's ready boys," Bobby calls from the kitchen, and Dean hops up from the couch, huge grin on his face. Bobby's made burgers, Dean's favorite, with pie for dessert, of course.
Conversation around the table is pleasant, and we make it an early night, Dean anxious to head for Maine first thing in the morning.
I toss and turn most of the night. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that he's fine, better than fine, completely friggin' healed. I can't understand how he went from dying one day to completely better the next.
Maybe he really does have a guardian angel.
The next morning, after showers and breakfast and coffee, we say our goodbyes and drop all our crap in the Impala's trunk. Bobby hugs both of us, and I noticed he holds on to Dean a little tighter than normal.
My brother's all smiles as he fires up the Impala's engine, basking for a moment in the sound and the vibrations rumbling through the car. He reaches under the passenger seat for his tape box, and pushes Zeppelin II into the tape deck, the music filling the car as we pull out of the yard's gate.
"Ramble On" is the first song up, and his grin grows wider as he jacks the volume.
"Couldn't have planned that better if I'd tried! Let's blow this joint, Sammy!" He floors the pedal, the Impala fishtailing slightly on the damp asphalt. We're heading east, into the sun, and the morning light makes Dean's face glow, and I smile with him. It's good to see him so happy, so full of life, singing along in his off-key style, as peaceful and content as he ever gets.
I lost my brother, then I found him again. He's alive. He's healthy. We're together.
There's nothing more I could ask for.