Irismay42 & Kittsbud
Teterboro Airport, NJ.
said you’re gonna die, Sammy.”
Sam pulled away slightly as Dean repeated
the death sentence apparently imposed upon him by the
mysterious sniper who had been shooting at them only
The cavernous hangar that had once
housed Ross Air Freight but was now largely unoccupied
save for a few rats and the odd pigeon up in the rafters,
seemed suddenly small and oppressive, crushing Sam with
its nearness, restricting his airflow as he tried to
drag in shallow breaths.
Dean steadied him with a hand on his
shoulder as the world suddenly lurched sideways, Sam’s
ears buzzing as he tried to focus on the anxious face
of his big brother.
was going to die...
After everything. After the Deal, after
Haris, after making it to his birthday...
He’d been shot and he was going
a flesh wound...
Who would want to shoot him? Who would
want to poison him?
going to die, Sammy...
it’s not gonna happen.”
Suddenly Dean’s voice was loud
and determined in his ear, grip tightening on his shoulder
as he dipped his head to look into his younger brother’s
dazed eyes. “You hear me, Sammy? It's not gonna
happen. I’m not gonna let it.”
Sam’s world slowly began to right
itself, Dean coming back into focus as the walls of
the hangar started to recede.
“Sam? You’re not gonna
die. Because I’m not gonna let you.”
Sam held Dean’s gaze for a long
moment, the absolute conviction in the older brother’s
eyes almost frightening in its intensity. Sam took a
slow even breath, still not breaking eye contact with
Dean, feeling his firm fingers still gripping his shoulder,
finally beginning to feel some semblance of control
seeping back into his brain.
“I believe you, Dean,”
he said slowly.
Because in the end Dean was all Sam
had left to believe in.
managed to smile at him a little hesitantly before gritting
his teeth and clapping him on the shoulder. “You’d
better believe me. Because you know I’d
never lie to you, Sam.” If Sam heard a slight
tremor in his voice he didn’t acknowledge it.
“Now come on. Enough of this chick flick crap
we gotta –”
He was interrupted by the distant wail
of police sirens, and it took a second before he realized
the sound was getting closer. His brow furrowed in confusion.
“What the hell?” he said. “I never
got the chance to call the cops.” He began to
clamber to his feet, carefully pulling Sam up with him
as if he might break if he pulled too hard.
“Maybe – maybe someone
heard the gunshots?” Sam hazarded, abruptly listing
to the side as the world made another bid for horizontal.
there, Sammy!” Dean caught him before he could
fall, carefully avoiding his injured arm as he braced
him with one shoulder before grabbing him around the
waist, eyes darting around the hangar as he tried to
keep his brother upright. “Maybe try a little
more water with that next time…” His focus
shifted to the gantry where he’d secured Ferinacci’s
sniper after knocking him unconscious, swearing copiously
when he noted the broken cable ties dangling from the
railing and the gunman nowhere to be seen. “Goddamn
it!” he burst out. “I thought those damn
things were supposed to be inescapable? Who the hell
was that guy? Houdini?”
“Dean, we need to get you out
of here,” Sam reminded him as the sirens drew
ever nearer. He inclined his head toward Haris’
former host who lay dead at their feet, unseeing eyes
still raised to the ceiling. “Who d’you
think the cops are gonna blame if they find us, a dead
dude, and no actual bad guy?”
Dean shrugged. “Yeah, I guess
I’m the original usual suspect these days,”
he agreed, shifting slightly to better distribute the
burden of Sam’s weight against him. “I think
it's time we got the hell outta Dodge –”
He began to push Sam in the direction
of the hangar doors, but Sam resisted, body stiffening
as a little strength began to return. Dean looked up
at him questioningly as an incongruous grin crept across
the younger brother’s face.
“Sam –?” Dean glanced
over to the partially-open hangar doors where blue and
red lights flashed against the concrete outside and
the blare of the sirens was now way too close for comfort.
“It’s my birthday,”
Sam pointed out.
“I’ll buy you a cake later,
dude, let’s just –”
“Haris has gone and I’m
A shadow passed across Dean’s
face and he swallowed hard. “Damn straight,”
he said, not sounding quite as confident as he would
have liked – not sounding quite as confident as
Sam. He squared his shoulders and raised his chin a
little, the look on his face reminding Sam of when they
were kids and he’d watched his big brother stare
down schoolyard bullies twice his size. “And we’re
gonna keep it that way,” he insisted, voice strengthened
by the expression of absolute faith in Sam’s eyes.
we are,” Sam agreed wholeheartedly. “’Cause
I’m not ready to go just yet.”
“And I’m not ready to go
to jail,” Dean agreed. “So maybe we oughta
– y’know – get the hell outta here
before we find ourselves up close and personal with
half of New Jersey’s Finest.”
Sam jerked his head toward the rear
of the hangar. “Back door,” he said, grinning
again. “Spotted it earlier.”
Dean sighed audibly. “And you
never thought to tell me?”
“You never asked.”
Dean frowned at him, reaffirming his
grip around Sam’s waist before trying to propel
him toward the rear exit. “You’re a pain
in the ass, you know that right?”
“Yeah I know,” Sam returned,
leaning into his brother as he tried to force his legs
to obey commands.
heavy pain in the ass,” Dean added as
Sam stumbled. “Man, you so gotta lay off the Gummi
Sam snorted. “You wouldn’t
have me any other way.”
Sam meant it as a joke, but Dean just
stopped dead and looked sideways at him, expression
completely unreadable. “No I wouldn’t,”
he admitted. “And I’m gonna get you out
Sam swallowed. “I know you are,”
he said softly. “I know you are, Dean.”
“But we’re gonna do it
together this time,” Dean added, push-pulling
Sam with him as he made for the exit. “Right?”
Sam nodded, not entirely sure whether
Dean was supporting him or he was supporting Dean. “Right,”
he agreed. “Together. We can do this together.”
really remember the ride back to the motel. He didn’t
recall getting in the Impala, turning the keys and hitting
the gas, or the fact that he’d run at least two
red lights in his haste to get his brother to safety.
What the hell was that, anyway? It
was a word that no Winchester seemed to carry in their
vocabulary, of that the elder hunter was sure. He didn’t
quite know why they deserved such special treatment
from the powers that controlled the universe, but it
seemed like if there was a short straw to be given out,
the Winchester boys were right at the top of the list.
Not that Dean really believed there
was any higher force at work. Not really. How could
there be when the likes of Haris were always allowed
to escape, always given second chances when the good
chance; now there was an irony if ever there was
Sammy had been given his second chance,
only to have it snatched away again by Ferinacci and
his freaky poison. The bullet wound he could have gotten
over, but the thing now traveling through his veins,
eating at his system, Dean wasn’t sure there was
any getting over that. Not if the sniper was telling
“Okay, Sasquatch, can you work
with me here?” Dean carefully moved his brother’s
arm over his shoulder in an effort to pull him from
the Impala. “Dude, I don’t think we got
Sam flinched, finally hearing his brother’s
words. The trip from the airport had been a silent one.
A time for him to reflect, to think about what had happened,
and now it all seemed like a bad memory, far away in
the distance of time and space. A bad memory he could
It was his birthday.
He was alive.
He didn’t really need to worry
about all the details, did he? The small insignificant
stuff that had happened out at the airport had gone
now; he was free.
Some part of Sam knew it wasn’t
true, that he had bigger problems now, but it was easy
to just gloss over them for the moment. Easy to just
want to flop onto his bed and sleep.
“Sorry,” he slurred slightly,
looking into his brother’s hazel eyes as he pushed
up from the Chevy’s bench seat, teetering a second
until he steadied himself on the door. “Long day,
“Yeah, too long, already,”
Dean admitted, taking Sam’s weight as they crossed
the small lot to the still wide open door to their room.
Casting a cautious glance inside, Dean
checked for any obvious signs of Haris’ cult buddies
before easing Sam over the threshold and onto the nearest
younger hunter collapsed down onto the aging mattress
and let his body crumple back until his head met the
soft, inviting pillow. He could have slept right away,
letting the past few hours fade into oblivion. Hell,
his body wanted to, needed to. His muscles were screaming
already with a strange kind of ache that told him he’d
been asking too much of them recently.
Or had he?
Reflecting back, Sam couldn’t
really remember doing anything out of the ordinary.
Getting kicked around was just a regular day at the
office for a Winchester, so why did every sinew in his
lanky frame suddenly burn until even his hands had begun
said you’re gonna die, Sammy.”
a flesh wound...
Sam ignored the word “poison,”
ignored the sniper’s less than veiled threat,
because big brother was here, right? Dean wouldn’t
let anything happen to him. Dean would patch him up,
hand him a few painkillers and they’d be back
on the road again in under a day.
“C’mon, big guy, time to
stick Humpty Dumpty back together again.”
Sam opened one eye just a crack until
light from the bare bulb above the bed illuminated his
brother’s stocky form hovering over him, first
aid kit in hand. Dean’s eyes had dark rims under
them, and it wasn’t from lack of sleep –
the hunter was far too used to that particular hindrance
to let it bother him.
yet, something was bothering Dean, the light
reflected in those hazel eyes and long lashes held no
mirth. There was no sarcasm in his voice, no witty cracks.
a flesh wound...
Sam still wanted to believe it as he tried desperately
to haul his body into a sitting position, frustration
mixing with an abrupt fear as Dean had to put a hand
under his back and give him much needed support.
“Dean, what happened back there?
Why the hell would a sniper be after my ass?”
Sam wasn’t really sure he cared. He just felt
the need to talk, to talk until he couldn’t talk
anymore. It was something to focus on, something to
think about other than, other than…
“He was one of Ferinacci’s
goons,” Dean clarified as he cut away the remains
of his brother’s shirt sleeve to reveal the garish,
purple-edged bullet wound – a wound that had spiky
tendrils of discoloration around its perimeter, still
seeping further and further outwards from the original
The hole Dean could clean and fix,
but the toxin – well, that was way beyond his
skills. He suddenly found he had to look away from the
sight of its presence, leeching into Sam like some demonic
Sam saw his brother flinch as he attempted
to clean where the slug has torn through his arm. Funny,
how it didn’t even seem to hurt anymore. “Okay,
so Haris’s goon said Ferinacci put a hit on us;
that, I get. But why didn’t he finish us? He only
winged me, and he missed you more times than I can count.
I’m so not buying Ferinacci employs someone who
shoots that bad. And Haris? Why would some mob boss
put a hit on him?”
Sam ran his good hand through his hair,
letting his mouth run in overtime mode rather than accept
some of the answers his own brain was offering up. “And
the thing that gets me the most?” He let his eyes
lock with Dean’s. “When the sniper broke
free of those ties, why didn’t he come after us
again? He had to know we still have the Seal, but he
never once tried to take it. Oh, and not to mention
why did Haris just leave?”
“The Seal business, I got no
clue, Sammy,” Dean admitted, dropping the blood-soaked
swab he’d been using into a bag. “But the
whole letting us go thing…”
The hunter turned away, quickly rubbing
a hand over his mouth as the truth finally sank in.
The truth that Sam still wasn’t accepting what
had happened – the truth he was going to have
to break all over again until Sam understood they had
a new deadline.
The clock was still ticking, and Jack
Bauer wasn’t coming to save their asses.
“Sam, Ferinacci’s guy let
us go because he’d done enough.” Dean turned
back, watching his brother’s reaction, watching
that pale puppy dog face take the reality of it all
in for the second time in just an hour. “I saw
the bullets, dude. Hollow points…even had some
weird satanic mumbo jumbo markings etched into the casings…”
felt moisture begin to fill his eyes again like it had
back at Teterboro. He was hard, dammit, but not when
it came to Sammy. He fought the urge to turn away again,
to not let his little brother see him crack, but Sam
needed to see it, needed to accept it before
they could make any kind of plan.
The broken, soul-shattering look that
seemed to drain Dean’s features of all color was
enough to bring Sam crashing back down to earth. Enough
to make him see that if Dean was reacting this way then
maybe he needed to stop all the stupid denial and acknowledge
dying, and nothing can stop it.
“Haris left because he didn’t
need to kill me…Ferinacci took me out of the equation
for him, didn’t he?” Sam put a hand on his
stomach, abruptly feeling nauseous. Was it the poison
taking effect already? Or the shock to his system that
he had hours, maybe less, to continue drawing breath?
“Pretty much,” Dean agreed,
his voice low, docile, somber. “He doesn’t
need to finish the deal if you’re gonna…”
He inhaled deeply, biting his bottom lip, but refusing
to finish the last part of the sentence. “If you’re
gone there’s no one to be a potential leader to
oppose the yellow-eyed bastard’s plans.”
Sam’s hands began to shake again,
this time the tremors snaking all the way up his arms
as muscle tissue began to uncontrollably spasm. He tried
to hide it, tried to stop the shuddering sensation that
was rapidly spreading through every part of his body.
“So, I mmmake it to my birthday
after all,” he stuttered pensively. “Onllly
for some pissed off mob boss to take me out because
he lost face. Man, even Bufffy has better luck than
m…me on her birthdays…” He groaned,
finally succumbing to the pain the rogue muscle contractions
were causing as he slouched back onto his pillow. Compared
to this, the still undressed bullet wound was like a
“Don’t talk like that,
Sam,” Dean snapped out the rebuke before he’d
even thought about how it sounded. He hated seeing Sam
this way, hated watching his brother give in all over
again. “Now you listen to me,” he barked,
not caring that his abrasive tone made Sam start. “We’re
gonna fix this, just like we always do.”
swallowed, head flopping sideways to stare at his sibling.
“How, Dean? How?”
And Dean didn’t know.
Ghosts he could deal with. Zombies
he could kill. Demons he could exorcise, but an honest
to God medical problem and he stood no chance –
even if the toxin hadn’t been something special.
Just what the hell did that mean? The
sniper had hinted the poison in the bullets had some
supernatural taint, and the markings on them supported
that, didn’t they?
human doctor can save your brother, Dean Winchester.”
No human doctor. Did that mean there
was something out there in the dark that could save
That was when it hit.
When Dean realized without a shadow
of a doubt what they had to do. What he had to do.
have to find Haris again.” Dean was frantic, his
heartstrings torn to shreds a thousand times more viciously
than when he’d first found out about the deal.
“Sammy, we have to offer that mother what he wants.
He sent the cult dude after us for the Seal. We have
to trade him, swap the damn ring for your life.”
didn’t know how, didn’t know where he was
drawing the unexpected strength from, but he jerked
spasmodically upright, anger helping fuel his fading
body. “No, Dean! Making deals is what
put me here.”
tossed the dressing he’d unwrapped onto the bottom
of Sam’s bed, angry that his sibling wasn’t
prepared to listen, wasn’t prepared to try anything.
But then, was this about what Sam wanted, or was it
really about what Dean wanted?
“Dammit! He’s the only
thing out there with the power to save you. What am
I supposed to do? Huh, Sammy? What am I supposed to
do? Just go take his ass out knowing I’m destroying
your only chance?”
Sam’s face remained stoic, unyielding
even for Dean. “If killing Haris means I have
to die too, then yes.” The young hunter licked
his lips, his boyish features suddenly taking on the
age and wisdom of Methuselah. “Besides,”
he added, observing his brother’s pain, “the
Seal is supposed to have healing properties. Once you
can his ass…”
you freakin’ real?” Dean didn’t
let Sam finish. For some reason his brother still didn’t
seem to understand they had no way of knowing how fast
acting the poison was. What if Sam only had minutes
had read the reports on the poisonings in the New Jersey
restaurant, and Sam had already lived longer than those
poor bastards had. What if he was already running on
borrowed time? Just like I was back in Nebraska…
grabbing his brother’s shoulders, Dean fixed his
eyes on Sam’s. His pleading, desperate, panicked
eyes. “Sammy, we don’t know how the hell
to use that damn thing, or how long we’ve got.
To hell with killing Haris, I don’t care anymore.
Let the bastard go. If it meant saving your life, I’d
let the fiery-assed freak escape a thousand times over…”
And Sam knew without doubt, without
even a tiny reservation that Dean meant it.
“No more deals.” Sam closed
his eyelids, listening to the silence that instantly
enshrouded the room. It was Dean’s turn for denial,
Dean’s turn to try and make the best of a no win
situation when there really was only one true answer.
And knowing Dean, it was going to take a lot to convince
him of what he needed to do.
not thinking straight.” Dean ruffled a hand trough
his already tousled hair and began to pace. “Hell,
we’re not thinking straight. I should
have taken you straight to the nearest hospital, not
brought you here. What if there is a cure? What if that
jerk was just screwing with us?”
tipped bullets that don’t carry a fatal load?
Kinda redundant, Dean.”
Dean took a breath and scooped up the
Impala’s keys, determination filtering back into
his uptight timbre. “Dammit, Sam, we have to try.
Maybe you didn’t get the full dose. The bullet
passed through –”
“Leave me behind while you sneak
off and make the deal, you mean?” The look of
disappointment on Sam’s face was unmistakable.
If anyone had the strength to kill Haris, it had always
been Dean. He was unyielding, relentless, and now he
was going to shy away from the task just to save his
dying brother. “No hospitals, Dean.” It
was a statement, not a request, and it produced yet
another moment of silence from the elder Winchester.
In the end, his brother’s solemn mood was more
than Sam could take. “I’m so not gonna die
in a hospital where the nurses probably aren’t
even hot, anyway.”
Dean scratched his head and huffed,
a small, strained smile playing over his face as he
remembered the all-too-familiar line he’d once
tossed at his brother in a similar situation. Trust
Sammy to turn his own one-liners against him. “Okay,
no hospital,” he mumbled unsure how much more
he could promise and actually go through with.
“And no deals, Dean.”
deals. Promise me, Dean.” Sam emphasized
the word “promise” so heavily there was
no way to misinterpret his meaning. He had to make his
brother understand that this was more than just saving
one life. More than just saving his life. “If
you trade the Seal with Haris he can continue his plans,
continue with a war against humanity we probably can’t
win. I’d rather die than risk that. If that ring
can give a mortal the power to control demons, what
the hell might it do for that freak?”
“Maybe it won’t work for
demons like Haris,” Dean weakly argued.
maybe it will. Dean, don’t you see you could be
handing Haris exactly what he wants?” Sam swung
his legs over the edge of the bed, feebly trying to
reach for the dressing Dean had tossed in temper.
Seeing his brother’s weakness,
his pain was more than Dean could take, and he hurried
forward, snatching up the dressing to finish off the
job of bandaging Sam’s arm. If only he could bandage
everything so easily. “No doctors,” he acquiesced.
“And no deals.”
“Promise me, Dean?”
Sam leaned forward, carefully peering
behind his brother’s back with one brow raised.
“I got something pinned on my
ass here?” Dean frowned, sticking the last of
the dressing in place and looking curiously over his
“Just checking,” Sam smiled,
wincing as he flexed his arm and felt a tight twinge
in his muscles. “Thought you might have had your
fingers crossed like the time you swore you never stole
“Dude, you were freakin’
five! And besides, I needed wheels!”
“And now I need yours.”
Sam’s face wrinkled as he tried to stifle another
fit of tremors, his whole body shuddering with the effort.
“We need to find Haris, Dean. Not to make any
deals, but to use the Seal to finish him.” Sam
drew in a ragged breath and fumbled with two tiny pictures
he’d tugged from his wallet. One of his mother,
creased and tattered with the passage of time, and one
of Jess. “Consider it my last wish.”
“Dude, don’t talk like
that.” Dean began to chide his brother, but when
he saw the look on Sam’s face he cut short the
rebuke. Sam wasn’t ready to die, but he wasn’t
ready to carry on living either.
They’d been through so much together,
seen so much together, and now, this final hunt was
maybe all they had left. Just a few short hours to kill
the thing that had ruined their family. Just a few hours
to find Haris and make him pay for everything he’d
Pay for Sammy. Pay for Mom and Jess.
the bastard will pay. If I have to die right along with
Sam to make it happen.
Because really, Dean didn’t care
anymore, not without Sam.
Dean picked up Sam’s laptop and
stuffed it into his brother’s holdall. Swinging
it over one shoulder, he held out a rough palm to Sam,
offering the ailing hunter a hand up. “Okay, Samantha,
let’s go kill some demon ass.” He smiled,
keeping up the façade, the cheery front, even
though his insides felt like Haris had torn into him,
like Missouri all over again.
For Sam, Dean would be strong and he
would try to keep his promise. But when he finally faced
off against the demon, for once in his very tormented
life, he really wasn’t sure what he would do.
* * *
remember my tenth birthday?” Sam asked suddenly,
eyes never straying from the laptop even as Dean took
a corner a little faster than was strictly necessary
and Sam was shoved against the Impala’s passenger
door with a thud.
Dean frowned at the non-sequitur, scowling
up at a traffic signal that had the temerity to turn
red on him, causing him to hit the brake a little too
hard. He glanced sideways at Sam, who was still staring
fixedly at the laptop, the sickly glow from the screen
causing his face to look even paler than it actually
was, a thin sheen of sweat coating his forehead.
“You might have to narrow that
down for me,” Dean replied, trying to ignore the
way his guts twisted at the sight of his brother’s
“We spent the whole day in some
stinking Louisiana swamp while Dad hunted an ‘evil
spirit’ that turned out to be marsh gas. Remember?”
Dean smiled slightly at the memory.
“You tripped and went head first into the ooze,
Sam nodded, chuckling weakly. “You
tried to make me feel better – swore it’d
stop me getting pimples later – and then Dad yelled
at you for letting me get so messed up.”
I did you a favor. You had absolutely no dress
sense back then…” The sudden image of Sam’s
hideous purple t-shirt with the whippet – or whatever
the hell that thing was – emblazoned across the
front popped into Dean’s head and he snorted.
“Some things never change.”
Sam made to swat him with an annoyed
hand, but the half-hearted movement only revealed how
weak he was becoming. He frowned and turned back to
the laptop as Dean gritted his teeth and pretended he’d
not noticed. “Anyway,” Sam said awkwardly.
“I always thought that would be my all-time worst
birthday ever.” He glanced up at the light as
it changed to green. “Guess I was wrong.”
turned back toward the road, jaw clenched so hard it
hurt. “We’ll find Haris,” he insisted,
stomping on the gas and causing the Impala to roar away
from the lights with a squeal of tires. “And when
we do, we’ll figure out a way to force him to
heal you. Before we can his ass. We will. You just –
you just need to get into Geek Research Mode and figure
out what the hell we’re supposed to do with the
Seal when we do find that yellow-eyed bastard.”
Sam said quietly, still staring listlessly at the laptop.
“We’ve been looking for – for hours–”
hour,” Dean corrected him.
frowned, glancing quickly at his brother. “One
hour? That’s it? Feels like we’ve been driving
around for days!”
“Well, finding a demon when you
have no clue what he even looks like ain’t exactly
child’s play,” Dean pointed out defensively.
As if to reinforce the point, the EMF
meter lying between them on the bench seat remained
Sam shook his head tiredly. “It’s
like trying to catch vapor,” he said. “Literally.
Haris could be anyone. Anything. He might not even have
taken corporeal form again. Dean, we’re never
gonna find him. Not before –”
Dean’s tone held an implicit warning: Don’t
mess with me right now because I’m not talking
took a breath, unable to pretend to be looking at the
“We’ll find him,”
Dean said finally. “We have to. Look, he’s
always hanging out with those damn cult weirdos. We
find them, we find him.”
how do we find them?” Sam demanded. “Dean,
you’ve got to start being realistic –”
Dean was clearly losing his patience, fingers gripping
the steering wheel so tightly it was a wonder his knuckles
didn’t break. “Look. You worry about finding
out what the hell we’re supposed to do with the
Seal. Let me worry about finding Haris.”
“We’re not dealing with
him,” Sam insisted stubbornly.
“Your big brain figures out what
to do with the Seal, we won’t have to,”
Dean replied. “He’ll have to heal you. He
won’t have any choice.”
always supposing he can heal me.”
“Sam, would you stop being such
a Negative Nancy for one second?” Dean snapped,
turning sideways to glare at his brother, who returned
the look with a surprised glare of his own. Before suddenly
bursting into a snigger.
Nancy?” he echoed.
Dean shrugged. “Nelly. Norah.
Nadine. Take your pick.”
“Better than Frances I guess.”
“I’m in a benevolent mood,”
Dean returned. “It’s your birthday after
mention it. Now. The Seal. Look, even if Haris can’t
fix you up, he’ll know some supernatural freak
who can, right? He’s a demon for crying
out loud! What kind of pansy-ass demon can’t rustle
up a little healing mojo?”
Sam sighed loudly. “Yeah, I guess,”
he agreed at length, retrieving his cell phone from
where Dean had left it on the dash after Sam had abandoned
it in the motel room.
Dean cast a quick glance in his brother’s
direction. “Who you calling?” he asked uncertainly.
Sam sighed, hitting the speed dial
and only half-listening to the phone ringing in his
ear. “Well I’m not getting anywhere on the
’net so I figure maybe we need some human help.”
Sam nodded. “For starters.”
Sam purposely didn’t look at
him. “Dad,” he said. “If Bobby can’t
help us, then maybe Dad…” He trailed off
and Dean’s shoulders slumped slightly.
“Yeah,” he said slowly.
An awkward silence filled the space
between them as Sam waited for Bobby to answer. “Come
on, Bobby, you’re not telling me you’re
tucked up in bed at one in the morning!” He frowned
as Bobby’s voicemail kicked in, ending the call
quickly without leaving a message.
finger hovered over the button that would speed dial
his father, hesitating for just a second before punching
the digit. Three rings and John Winchester’s gravelly
voice cut in, “This is John Winchester. If
it’s urgent, leave a message…”
Sam tossed the phone over his shoulder and onto the
back seat in impotent frustration, hands balling into
fists at his sides. “How come he’s never
there when – when we – when I –”
He broke off abruptly, raking a hand through his hair
as he chewed on the inside of his cheek.
“He called,” Dean said
quietly. “After you left. I checked your messages.”
Sam didn’t reply, just nodded
“Sam, if he knew – if he
knew what you’re… He’d be here. I
know he would.”
turned angry eyes on his brother. “Like he came
when you got electrocuted?” he snapped. “Like
he came when you were dying?”
Dean whipped his head back toward the
road, gritting his teeth to avoid saying something he’d
regret. “That was different,” he said quietly.
How was that different, Dean? You were dying –
just like I’m dying –”
not dying, dammit! I told you! I won’t
let you –”
you have some dominion over life and death thing going
I don’t know about?” Sam’s eyes flashed
angrily. “Because if you don’t then as far
as I can see I’m going to die], Dean!”
slammed his hand against the steering wheel. “Goddammit
Sammy will you stop with the dying crap? For
the last time, you are not gonna die! If I
have to –”
Make some kind of deal with Haris? Like I did? You’d
do that? After all the crap you gave me about
“Sam.” Sighing, Dean yanked
the car over onto the side of the road, shifting into
park before turning to face his brother. “Sammy,
listen,” he began slowly. “Panicking isn’t
going to help us here.” He reached out a tentative
hand and touched his brother’s arm. “I know
this looks bad, man –”
“Yeah, it looks bad,” Sam
agreed, voice calmer, a little more subdued, staring
darkly through the front windshield.
“But we still got time,”
Dean insisted. “Look, we didn’t even think
you’d be around a minute into your birthday, let
alone an hour!” he said.
Sam turned to face him. “So I’m
living on borrowed time,” he pointed out, eerily
echoing Dean’s earlier thought.
squeezed his arm. “Maybe,” he said. “But
at least you’re living. That means we’ve
still got a chance. There’s still hope. We can’t
give up. You can’t give up. Not now.
Sam took a slow breath, eyes drifting
slowly back to the laptop. “Yeah,” he muttered,
trying to concentrate on that, trying to concentrate
on breathing. “Yeah, okay.”
nodded. “So we just have to figure out what we
have, what we know, and what we can do with what we’ve
got. Most importantly, we’ve got the Seal. Haris
wants it; Ferinacci wants it. But we’ve got it.
So what do we know about it?”
Sam took another breath. “Well,”
he began carefully, voice shifting almost imperceptibly
into Research Mode. “We know that Solomon, and
others he allowed to wear the Seal, used it to command
demons, right? Trapping them, banishing them, enslaving
them – generally forcing them to yield to his
will. Hell, he even got them to build a temple for him.”
“Cool,” Dean commented,
nodding appreciatively. “Next time the Impala
needs detailing I’ll make sure to summon old Yellow
Eyes for the job. What else?”
“Well,” Sam continued,
eyes flicking to the screen of the laptop, “Solomon
was supposed to have ordered a whole legion of demons
into a copper bottle which he then sealed with lead
and stamped with an impression of the ring. The bottle
was then thrown into a lake to ensure that the demons,
or djinn, couldn’t escape. That’s where
the whole ‘genie in a bottle’ myth’s
supposed to have come from.”
“A whole legion, huh?”
Dean sounded impressed.
“Well that kinda depends on which
version of the story you believe.” Sam inclined
his head a little apologetically. “Other sources
only mention a single djinn.”
“Well,” Dean said, “I
only need to control one demon and I only got one wish,
so that all sounds pretty good to me. Apart from the
whole ‘copper bottle’ thing. Don’t
happen to have one o’ those lying around in the
“Another myth has Solomon just
throwing the Seal at a demon in order to brand it and
render it controllable.”
blinked disbelievingly. “So we just throw
the thing at Haris? Why didn’t I think of that
before?” He shook his head. “Somehow, Sammy,
I don’t think that’s gonna work. Even though
I do still have a pretty good pitching arm.” He
sighed, scrubbing a hand across his face before frowning
as something else occurred to him. “And besides,
if the bastard’s still smokin’ how the hell
would the Seal brand vapor?”
Sam shrugged. “Hey, don’t
shoot the researcher,” he protested. “It’s
not like I invented the damn myth!”
snorted wryly. “Yeah, well, fascinating as all
of this stuff is, we’re still left with the slight
problem of finding the sonofabitch before we
can do anything to him. Which would be a helluva lot
easier if you’d just let me summon the
No summoning,” Sam protested immediately. “Dean,
you promised me. It’s too dangerous. We gotta
figure out exactly how to use the Seal to control Haris
before we try to take him on. That’s the only
way to go. We’re not gonna make a deal
with him. We’re not. Not even if it means…”
He didn’t finish the sentence because he knew
the effect the words he hadn’t spoken would have
on his brother. “If we want him to heal me, then
we gotta use the Seal against him. It’s the only
Dean nodded reluctantly. “Yeah,
okay Sammy. Your way or the highway, I get it. But don’t
you think –”
The sentence remained unfinished as
Sam suddenly let out a heart-stopping scream before
reaching up to grab his head with both hands. “No!
froze for a split second as Sam started to thrash around
in his seat, the laptop sliding sideways onto the floor
as his whole body stiffened and his long legs began
kicking out at the dashboard.
Dean tried to grab Sam’s flailing
arms to at least stop him hurting himself, but Sam swatted
him away as if he wasn’t even there, eyes scrunched
tightly shut, as if he was watching a movie playing
out on the insides of his eyelids.
A movie he really didn’t want
“Sam, I’m right here!”
Dean tried to reassure him, making another futile attempt
at stilling Sam’s jerkily desperate movements.
“I’m right here, man!”
have to – no! It’s not –
it’s gonna – it’s gonna sink!
You gotta – you gotta get out! Dean! You gotta
glanced around himself in something approaching panic,
little voice in his head screaming at him to get Sam
some help now. But the nighttime streets were
deserted, the only moving thing a black cat sniffing
around a couple of overflowing trash cans on someone’s
If this was a vision, then it wasn’t
like any vision Dean had seen Sam get before, the violence
of his movements and his seeming insensibility to the
real world around him causing Dean to wonder whether
maybe this was something else; something to do with
the poison invading Sam’s system.
He needed to get Sam to a hospital.
Dean hesitated at the sound of Sam’s
voice, the tone suddenly less frantic and more confused
than anything else. He paused, fingers still reaching
for the Impala’s ignition, as Sam’s breathing
began to even out, unfocused eyes blinking open in disorientation.
“Sam?” Withdrawing his
fingers from the Impala’s key, Dean placed a tentative
hand on his brother’s shoulder, squeezing slightly
as he tried to gauge his condition. “You with
Sam blinked, eyes struggling to fix
on anything as they failed to adjust to the murky darkness
surrounding them. “Mmm…” he managed
uncertainly, jaw clamped shut as his fingers tensely
gripped the edge of the bench seat.
“Vision?” Dean asked, voice
breaking slightly as he tried to fight back the fear
welling deep inside him. “Or – or something
Sam shook his head slightly, narrowing
his eyes as he managed to slide them over in Dean’s
direction. “Not like – anything –”
he whispered breathlessly. “Not like anything
I’ve ever…” He trailed off, and Dean
suddenly realized his brother was trembling.
“Hey,” he muttered, voice
lowered soothingly. “Its okay, kiddo –”
Sam was suddenly looking at him. Really looking
at him. “It’s not okay, Dean.”
His eyes had widened, pupils blacking out his irises.
“It’s not okay.” He raised both palms
to his face, pressing the heels against his eye sockets.
“It’s not okay…”
“What did you see?” Dean
asked hesitantly, not even sure he wanted to know the
gingerly removed one hand from his eye before cautiously
removing the other. “Not so much ‘see’
as ‘feel,’” he managed with a deep
sigh. “I’ve never had a vision seem so –
so real before. Like – like I was actually
there. Like I could have reached out and touched you
Dean interrupted. “You had a vision about me?
A – a death vision?”
Sam blinked at him. “The poison,”
he stalled. “Maybe the poison’s making me
– hallucinate – or – or – something…”
Sam raised his eyes reluctantly to
his brother. “Yes, I had a vision about you.”
“And?” When Sam didn’t
answer, Dean added, “Sam?” impatiently.
“There – there was a lot
of water,” Sam managed at length.
“Doesn’t sound so bad.”
“And a ship –”
“Better than a plane –”
“And it was sinking.”
“And you were on the ship, Dean.”
Dean swallowed. “I was, huh?”
ship that was sinking.”
“Yeah, I got that part.”
fixed his brother with a shaky gaze, drawing in a ragged
breath before managing, “I saw you drown, Dean.”
the episode here