Steffs: Thanks for the compliment! Glad you're up for a little more angst. I
just couldn't resist a little more.
Faye: Yes, but how you managed to shove Lorrie aside is still a mystery!
Glad you enjoyed the humor.
Sarah: Glad you liked the humor! I just couldn't resist poking a little fun at
our boys with Dean Air and the Circus. Now about that Sam shower scene...hmmmm
Lorrie: I tried to write you in for the CPR scene but Faye beat you to it! LOL
Yes Soaring Eagle has left and the boys are on their way to a full recovery--well
sort of anyway!
So you'll help Sam with his feelings huh? Somehow I don't think it would be the
type of 'feeling' he'd have in mind. As to the water and wash rag--the Sammy body wash line forms behind Sarah!
Cindy: Glad you liked it, but there is still two chapters to go. I just coulnd't quite let them go yet. But I have another story started on this thread called Dean's Song. Thanks for reading!!
Michelle: Hmmm... I think I better start giving out number for the Sammy body wash line. Steff and I have Dean covered 'literally' but I'm sure we can find a spot for you to wash...I think his pinky is free.
Glad you enjoyed the story! Now on with the showers---er--story!
Oceane: I'm glad you enjoyed the fight scenes and humor in the last chapter. It was fun to write. The final chapter is finally here, then its on to the next story. Thanks for reading!
Niki: Me? And angsty writer?
Why I'd never do anything to hurt those poor boys *pets them on the head* Hmmmm...they are a bit grungy, maybe a shower scene is in order. Any volunteers to pass the soap?
All right, at last here is the final chapter (really it is the last one I promise)
for this story. I really enjoyed writing it and am glad so many of you liked
reading it--even those who didn't reply.
Thanks for reading! See you all at the next story!
Raven Chapter 32 – One Spirit to Go
Nick shook his head as he tried to bring the hallway into focus. He blinked at the form standing in front of him. “Dean?” Nick said softly as he noticed the hunter’s gun lying abandoned on the floor in front of him.
A loud pounding noise on the closet door was followed by an irate voice. “’bout time Nick. You okay?” Dean’s voice was muffled but at least he didn’t sound like he was hurt.
As he struggled to his feet he grabbed one of the lockers to keep himself steady. “I think so, just give me a minute…”
“What subject…” The eerie voice echoed down the hallway.
Nick blinked and looked once again at the spirit that flickered in front of him. He could still see the bullet hole where the man had shot himself. “I don’t understand why you are here?”
“What subject….” The spirit asked more forcefully as it advanced towards Nick.
Nick moved towards Dean’s gun. His own seemed to have disappeared when he hit the wall. “I don’t teach here if that’s what you’re asking. Neither does the man you locked in your closet.”
“Lies…all lies…” The man said as he hovered between Nick and the closet.
“I understand your anger but killing innocent teachers won’t make things better. You have to move on to find the peace you’re seeking. I can help you if you’ll let me…” Nick watched as the apparition continued to float in front of him. For the moment the spirit looked like he was thinking about what Nick said but once again it attacked before the hunter could react.
“You wanna see…see those pretty young things? I know you do and you could have looked, but you had to tell…had to turn me in.” Nick felt cold hands around his throat. He closed his eyes and began to chant the spell that would release the spirit from this place. He could feel the spirit’s grip loosen as it felt the pull from the doorway he was opening.
The young hunter rubbed his sore throat as he grabbed the salt canister from his pocket. He began to form a circle to contain the spirit. The pain in his head was spiking as the spirit fought against his control. Nick felt himself loosing focus. He had to get to Dean.
Switching direction, he poured the salt between the spirit and the door to the locker room. As the spirit raged, he finished the semi-circle around the front of the door. “Dean—can’t hold him—my head…” Nick gasped as he felt himself slide down the wall next to the door.
“Open the door Nick—do you hear me…open the damn door.” Nick reached for the knob and twisted it but the door wouldn’t budge. As his vision began to darken he saw an evil grin on the spirit’s face. He’d inadvertently broken the line of salt with his foot.
“Can’t Dean—sorry…” Nick sighed as his head fell to his chest.
“Lies…all lies…” The spirit said as it winked out of sight.
Dean banged on the door but this time Nick didn’t answer. Damn it, the man had to be injured worse than he let on. He looked around the room one more time to see if there was anything he could use to ward off the ghost or open the door.
He studied the door and stood back, his favorite knife in his hand. It wouldn’t do any good against the ghost but maybe if he could pop the hinges and open the door. “Hold on Nick, I think I might have a way out of here.”
Dean had managed to get the top and bottom pins out and was working on the middle one when the temperature in the room dropped. “Oh great, now you decide to visit!” Dean continued to work at a frantic pace. With a final push, the pin popped out and fell to the floor.
“You have watched, you have seen…” The janitor screeched as it approached Dean. Cold fingers wound around his throat as Dean swung his knife. It didn’t do any good as he felt himself being pulled towards the center of the room. A rope was hanging from one of the overhead pipes, a loop dangled in front of his face as he struggled.
“Get your hand off me you son of a bitch!” Dean screamed as he managed to tug free for a moment. But his freedom was short lived. Before he could move away the noose was dropped over his head and tightened. He reached up and managed to get hand between the rough rope and his neck before it was yanked tight.
Dean felt himself slowly raised from the floor until his toes no longer touched. He reached up with his free hand and grabbed the rope to take some of the stress off his neck as he struggled for air.
“You must be punished…” The maniacal janitor intoned as Dean watched his knife floating through the air towards him. Cold hands held his head steady as the knife’s point approached his eye.
“Sorry Sammy…” Dean thought to himself as he prepared for the worse.
Sam stopped for a moment and wiped his hand across his sweat soaked face. True to his word, Bobby stood outside the grave with the flashlight and the salt gun. “You know there’s room enough for two…” Sam offered as he looked up at the older man.
“You’re doin’ just fine. Besides, someone’s gotta protect your scrawny behind. Dean’ll kill me if he comes back and finds you all dinged up by some deranged spirit.” Bobby said as he adjusted the shot gun in his arms. His sharp eyes scanned the area before looking back down at the hole.
Sam had made good progress. He figured it would only be a few more feet before he hit the coffin and then hopefully he’d be able to dispatch the ghost for good. As he shook his head he picked up the shovel and dug in once more. He had to admit it felt kind of good to get back to the job. At least he was doing something useful. Lately he’d had too much time to think.
As the shovel hit the outside of the coffin he reached down and opened the lid. The smell of death and decay assaulted him as he pulled out the salt and lighter fluid. Since the man had only died a few months ago, there was still rotting flesh on the bones. “Argh…next time Dean gets the fun job!” Sam remarked as he finished and jumped lightly from the hole.
Bobby smiled as he watched Sam reach into his pocket for a match. The smile left his face when a sudden chill filled the air around them. “Incoming Sam!”
Sam turned and saw a man dressed in a janitor outfit rush towards him. He tried to drop the flame, but it went out as the spirit flew by. “Damn it!” Sam said as he reached into his pocket for his lighter. “Hold him off for just a second…ARGH!”
The young hunter felt himself fly through the air, his back hitting a tomb stone with enough force to knock the wind from him. He shook his head as he saw Bobby raise the gun and fire before rushing over to him. “You okay Sammy?”
“Yeah, just give me a minute…” Sam struggled to his feet with Bobby’s help and headed back towards the grave.
Without waiting to see if Bobby was set, he pulled the lighter from his pocket and threw it on the bones below. “Duck!” Bobby yelled a moment before Sam felt something push him towards the blazing hole in front of him. He tottered for a moment but managed to fall back just as the gun blasted a few feet from him. He felt the sting of the salt pellets as they brushed his face.
“Jeez, that was close Bobby!” Sam said with a shaky voice. He sat up and watched with satisfaction as the spirit suddenly appeared over the flames before disappearing with a final shriek.
“You sure you’re ok kid?” Bobby asked, his own voice sounded a little shaky as well. Sam nodded as he accepted the hand up from his old friend.
“A little dented maybe, probably have some new bruises. But actually Bobby—I feel great!” Sam said in wonder as he picked up the shovel and started to refill the grave. The truth was he felt better than he had in a long while. Maybe now Dean would let him off the short leash he’d been on since they returned from the mountain.
Bobby pulled out his phone and tried to reach Nick and Dean once more. So far any attempt to reach the two men had failed. Hopefully now that the spirit was gone they could get through. Sam watched out of the corner of his eye as the older hunter paced waiting for the call to go through. But when there was no answer from either phone, Sam’s euphoria disappeared with a rush. Had he been too late again?
Without a word Bobby picked up the other shovel and began to help Sam fill the grave. Both men worked in silence, their only objective to get the job finished so they could check on Nick and Dean. As they headed back towards the truck, Sam finally broke the silence. “You don’t think they’re…” Sam couldn’t finish the sentence but the agony in his eyes spoke his thoughts loud and clear.
“I’m sure he’s fine Sam—probably just broke their phones or forgot to turn them on is all.” Bobby replied, but Sam’s worry was reflected in the old hunter’s eyes.
“I hope so…” Sam said as he jumped into the truck.
Nick groaned as the room around him spun. He had to get to Dean. He’d heard the sounds of a struggle through the door and knew it could only mean one thing. The spirit was with Dean. “Hold on Dean, I’m comin’…” Nick mumbled as he struggled to stand upright.
He leaned against the door and was surprised when it moved inward. He braced his shoulder against the closed door and pushed until it fell inward, taking him with it. As he tumbled inside his eyes filled with horror at the sight before him.
The ghost was gone, but Dean was hanging from the ceiling, his legs feebly kicked as his hand struggled to maintain its grasp on the rope above him. The slight bluish tint to his friend’s lips told Nick he didn’t have much time before Dean would lose his fight.
Adrenalin pumped through his system and cleared his mind for a moment as he rose on unsteady legs. He spotted Dean’s knife on the ground in front of the struggling hunter. “Hold on Dean…” Nick grabbed the knife and quickly cut the rope holding Dean captive.
Unfortunately he wasn’t prepared for the added weight as the hunter fell into his arms. “God Dean!” Nick cried as he fell to the ground. His last though as he lost consciousness again was about his friend. He’d screwed up and now they both were going to die. Sam was going to kill him—if he lived through this that is.
Bobby didn’t even get to stop the truck before Sam leapt from the cab and headed into the school. He knew both men were still here because Dean’s car was still parked out back. As he hurried towards the gym, guilt slammed into him. If he’d come with Dean or just let Dean stay behind like he wanted to, his brother would have been safe. Once again his brother had gotten hurt or worse because of him.
“Dean!” Sam called as he rounded a corner and saw the door to the janitor’s closet lying in the hallway. The lockers across from the door were dented in as if something had hit them hard. Sam felt his panic rise as he saw the stain of blood on the lockers and then again on the wall next to the broken door.
“DEAN!” Sam yelled as he stepped over the broken door and into the tiny room. His eyes fell to the two motionless figures on the floor near the center of the room. Without waiting for Bobby, he moved forward and knelt beside his brother. The rope was still attached around his neck, his brother’s hand clutched around it.
Sam gently removed the rope and shook his head at the rope burn on his brother’s hand and neck. He was going to be in some pain, but a quick check of his pulse showed Dean was still with him. The young hunter let his head fall forward for a minute as he sent a silent prayer of thanks to whoever had been watching out for them tonight.
The youngest Winchester had just moved Dean aside and was checking on Nick when Bobby arrived, shot gun in hand. “Damn it Sam—you know better than to rush in unarmed. What if there had been something else here?” Bobby groused as he wiped sweat from his face.
Sam ignored their old friend. He knew the man had just been worried about him. “Dean is unconscious but I think he’s going to be fine. We’ll have to ice his neck to keep the swelling down, but his hand seems to have taken most of the punishment.”
“How’s Nick?” Bobby asked as he knelt beside Dean.
“I think he has a concussion. He’s got a bump on the back of his head and a cut which is still bleeding. I’m not sure yet how bad it is, maybe we should take him to the hospital…” Sam chewed on his lower lip. While a hospital trip wasn’t a good idea for him and Dean, there was no reason Nick couldn’t go.
Bobby nodded. “How about I take Nick to the hospital while you get that brother of yours fixed up? No sense in you two taking any chances being caught on the hospital video…”
Sam nodded as he tore the sleeve of his flannel shirt off. He used part of it to staunch the flow of blood on their friends head and the rest to hold the make shift bandage in place. “This should help until you can get him there. Let’s get them loaded up…”
A short time later, Sam looked over at his brother’s limp form as he headed back to Bobby’s house. Between Sam and Bobby, they’d managed to get both injured hunters back to the car. Sam was a little concerned that his brother hadn’t woken yet, but his breathing seemed fine and his pulse was just a little fast.
As he pulled up in front of Bobby’s house he jumped out and opened the passenger door. “Come on Dean, time to wake up…” Sam tapped his brother’s cheek gently.
“Ten more minutes Dad…” Dean mumbled as he tried to move away from the hands holding him up.
“Dean, you with me man?” Sam asked again as he watched green eyes slowly open and blink up at him.
“Wha? Where? Sam?” Dean asked as he tried to push himself up in the seat. “Whoa, what the hell did I drink?”
Sam laughed. “Well you definitely are suffering from spirits, but not the kind you drink. Can you walk if I help you?”
“I’m fine Sam.” Dean said as he pushed the young man’s hands away. Sam stood back ready to help if his brother started to fall. But Dean managed to stagger his way into the house before falling into a heap on the sofa.
“God my throat hurts!” Dean muttered as he massaged his bruised skin.
Sam walked out to the kitchen and returned with their first aid kit and some ice. “Let me see Dean…”
As Dean watched Sam work on his hands, he gazed up at his little brother. “So what happened? The last thing I remember is my knife being pushed against my eye by one pissed of casper…” Dean shuddered as the image flashed in his mind.
Sam stopped and looked closer at Dean’s face. He could see a small cut below his brother’s eye but it didn’t look very deep. In fact, it wasn’t even bleeding. “Well I’m not sure exactly. But when you and Nick didn’t return—Bobby and I figured we better salt and burn the bones. I found you and Nick on the floor of the closet…”
Dean looked around and seemed to notice for the first time that Nick was missing. “Is he ok? Damn I should have paid closer attention but I was too busy thinking…” Dean stopped as he realized he’d almost admitted his mind wasn’t on the hunt. He didn’t want to add to Sam’s guilt. But from the looks of things it was too late.
“I’m sorry Dean…this is all my fault.” Sam said quietly as he finished bandaging his brother’s hands. The cuts were deep, but they would probably heal just fine. Sam sat back and closed up the first aid kit before he helped Dean lie down on the old couch. “But don’t worry, Bobby took Nick to the hospital. He has a concussion but I’m sure he’ll be fine in a day or two.”
Sam placed the ice pack on Dean’s neck and rose to return the first aid kit to the kitchen. A strong hand on his arm stopped him. “Where do you think you’re going Sam?”
“I’m putting away the kit. Just relax Dean, I’m not going anywhere.” Sam tried to stand again, but his brother only held onto him tighter. Before he could move, Dean sat up and placed his fingers on Sam’s cheek.
“You’re hurt…” Dean said softly as he reached for the first aid kit.
“Its nothing, Bobby just got a bit close with the rock salt when the spirit decided he didn’t like my bonfire.” Sam shrugged but let Dean work on the wounds on his face.
As Dean finished cleaning the wounds, Sam’s cell phone rang. He put it on speaker phone so Dean could hear their friend. “Hello Bobby, how’s Nick?”
“The boy is doing just fine. Doc wants to keep him overnight for observation but he can leave in the mornin’. I’ll stick around until visiting hours are over and head back. How’s your idjit brother doing?” Bobby asked.
“Dean’s fine. Just bruising and a little hurt pride is all. I’ve got ice on his throat and was just going to get him a couple of pain pills so he could rest.” Sam replied.
“Just make sure you take care of your own bruises Sam. You better ice that back of yours if you don’t want to be walkin’ like and old man tomorrow.” Bobby remarked before he hung up.
“Sam? Something you were going to tell me?” Dean asked as he stood and moved quickly towards his brother. Sam sighed as he let his big brother roll up his shirt. “God Sam, you’re already turning a pretty shade of yellow and purple here. Go on up and take a shower. I’ll bring up the ice packs and medicine.”
Sam sighed and resigned himself to being hovered over again. So much for proving he could be an equal partner on the hunt; he’d screwed it up again. Without a word, he moved slowly towards the stairs and headed up to the shower. The depression that had left him was back and this time he didn’t feel like fighting it.
Dean sat on his bed with the ice pack on his throat while he waited for Sam to get out of the shower. He couldn’t help think about what Nick had said before the crap hit the fan with the ghost. It was clear Sam’s confidence had suffered from recent events. The kid had managed to save his rear on this one and still he could tell his brother felt he hadn’t done enough.
He rethought about the way he’d been treating Sam the past few weeks while they recovered at Bobby’s. It was true; he wanted to give his little brother plenty of time to deal with what had happened. But maybe he’d given him too much time. He’d seen the defeated slope of his brother’s shoulders as he headed for the shower. He wasn’t sure exactly what was swirling around in his brother’s brain, but it was definitely time for him to find out.
Sam walked into the room and sat on the bed. He’d put on his sleeping shorts and T-shirt but they clung to his damp skin. His brother didn’t look up but waited, but for what Dean wasn’t sure. Dropping the ice pack on the table he rose and sat next to Sam.
“Look Sam, I know things have been kind of tough the last few weeks and maybe I should have pushed a little harder to try to understand what you were feeling. But you know you can talk to me right?” Dean waited; he knew Sam would only talk if he was ready. Sure enough, he heard the tell tale sigh that signaled his brother was ready to spill.
“I know you don’t want me to hunt with you yet Dean. I understand you think I’m still not ready, hell maybe you’re right. If I had gone with you tonight or let you stay here you wouldn’t have almost gotten yourself killed….” Sam shrugged as he looked away before he continued. “So if you want to go to the Grand Canyon, that’s fine with me…”
Dean took a deep breath and sighed. Nick was right, he’d sidelined Sam too long and now the kid thought he didn’t trust him. “Sam, the reason I didn’t want to get back into hunting was I just wanted some time to relax. Seriously, we just got through a pretty rough patch and it just felt…I don’t know…like we should take some time to see the good things in life for a bit.”
Sam looked at him, his eyes full of confusion. “You never want to relax Dean. I mean, you practically jumped at the opportunity to join Nick on this hunt…”
Dean smiled. “Guess you can’t take the hunt out of the hunter. I’m like an old fire horse Sam—when I see a fire, I can’t help but get interested. But it doesn’t change the fact that we need to take more breaks between hunts. You ask Bobby and he’ll tell you. Hunters who don’t take breaks burn out fast in this line of work or worse get sloppy.”
“But the Grand Canyon Dean? Seriously, you hate camping and nature…” Sam watched as his brother shrugged.
“It’s something we’ve never seen and we aren’t that far. Besides, I’m sure there are motels and bars nearby. I’m not totally selfless you know. You can get your fill of nature while I find my own brand of native attractions to keep me entertained.” Dean nudged Sam’s shoulder with his own as he stood and reached for the ice pack he’d brought up for Sam.
“Now how about being a good little brother, take your medicine and lay down so I can put this ice on your back. I still want to head out in the morning after we make sure Nick is okay.” Dean watched as Sam smiled softly before taking the pain pills and doing what he asked.
“Dude, why don’t we just go to Reno instead—they have some nice lodges up that way and you can have fun at the casinos.” Sam mumbled into the pillow.
Dean shook his head. “Fine Sam, we can talk about it in the morning. Sleep now…”
“Yes Sir!” Sam said softly as his eyes closed.
Dean sat down on his bed and waited for his brother’s breathing to even out in sleep. As he lay down on his own bed, he smiled softly. He was sure he’d have a few more sessions of emo Sammy but his brother seemed to be back to normal; as normal as the two of them could be in this crazy world. “Sweet dreams Sammy” Dean whispered as he slipped into sleep.
His mind already headed for the memory of a young woman he’d met in Reno a few years back. He wondered if she still danced at that club. He’d have to look her up and maybe introduce Sam to the wonders of ‘pole dancing’. As he heard the soft music in his mind, he smiled. His little brother was past due for an education in the finer joys of life and he was going to make sure he learned how to relax. Even if he had to tie him to one of those poles…