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While it felt great to once again be behind the wheel of his baby Dean was too mad to truly enjoy it. He was mad at Sam, mad at their Dad…and mad at himself, but mostly Dad. If he hadn’t made that stupid ultimatum, if they’d just stayed in contact someone would have known who to call. Instead Dean had shown up to see Sam at Stanford for the first time in almost two years only to discover the kid had been missing for that entire time. He’d vanished a week before the hunting accident that had landed Dean in the hospital and then rehab for a good twenty months. And because of that stupid fight no one had had their contact detail. His Sammy could be dead and he may never know.
Dean shook his head to chase those thoughts away, Sam was not dead. He couldn’t be, not when Dean was finally willing and able to give him what he wanted, the two of them together, living a normal life away from hunting. Thanks to that stupid hunt Dean could now set off metal detectors when unarmed, he had more metal in his leg than he usually carried on him. The crutch flung across the backseat was a hated reminder of what he’d lost but he was learning to deal with it. He’d had more trouble in some ways accepting the scars across his face, barely missing his left eye so at least he still had his eyesight, no thanks to the werewolf. It had been the most vicious and feral werewolf Dean had ever heard of let alone faced and Dad had left it to him, alone. He hadn’t heard a word from the man since, even after the hospital had called him to say Dean could die, had died temporarily on the table for a few minutes.
Thankfully he’d saved the woman the wolf had been going for, she’d thanked him by paying all his medical expenses and when he’d been discharged to outpatient treatment she’d given him a place to stay. Leona Miller had been one great old lady, she hadn’t taken any of his attitude, giving back as good as Dean could throw at her, she’d kept him from falling into depression while trapped in the hospital bed, waiting to hear wether he’d ever walk again. She’d brought him puzzles, books, anything she could to keep him occupied and when he’d been discharged she’s shown up in her car and hadn’t taken no for an answer when he’d claimed he could manage in a motel. She’d moved him into a spare room, driven him to and from rehab every day, cooked for him…..and then she’d died. He hadn’t known she was sick until after he got the call while with his therapist. Sometimes he wondered if she’d helped him out of guilt, he’d nearly been killed saving her and she had been dieing anyway. But he didn’t believe that, he’d seen the care in her eyes. For some reason she’d really taken to him, treating him like a grandson and even putting him in her will much to his shock. She’d had no living family so other than the money she’d left to charity he’d been the sole beneficiary of the will. So now he had a very nice bank account, especially after seeling the house. He couldn’t bring himself to think of living in it, the house was Leona’s, so he’d sold it to a friend of hers. Instead he could get a place for him and Sam wherever the kid wanted to live.
Dean had been mad and a little worried when he’d heard nothing from Sam after the accident, the hospital had left a message for the kid since he hadn’t answered his phone. He’d had to ignore that though to make it through his recovery. As soon as they’d said he could drive he’d taken off for Stanford, wanting to know why Sam hadn’t even answered the call only to find no sign of him. When he’d asked around he’d been directed to the staff who’d informed him that Sam had left with a group of friends for Spring Break…..and had vanished without a trace one night.
The local police had still had Sam’s belongings in storage and had let Dean take them since they’d long ago given up on the kid. They’d told him what they knew, which wasn’t much since it had happened on the other side of the country. Odds were after so long there was nothing to find but Dean had to try, so he was headed across country to Modena, Pennsylvania in the hopes of finding some clue of what had happened to Sam.
The drive ended up taking three times longer than it would have before his accident but thanks to his injuries he had to stop a lot to stretch out and walk around. It wasn’t like time was off the essence when Sam had been gone so long but it still annoyed him to be faced with how much things had changed. He was probably crazy doing it alone….if it had been something supernatural he was in no shape to be hunting. But who could he call? Dad? He didn’t even know if the man was dead or alive. Bobby? Caleb? They’d all want him to step back from the search and he couldn’t do that.
Groaning he got out of the Impala and grabbed his crutch, slipping his arm through the ring and then gripped the hand bar. He leant on it as he walked towards reception, letting it take a good amount of the weight his right leg could no longer support. He got the only disabled room in the place, hating the sympathetic looks he got as he limped towards it. He flung his bag onto the bed and headed for the shower, needing the hot water to loosen up muscles no longer used to the long hours of driving. Afterwards he lay out on the bed, took his meds and then started searching the net for anything off in the town. It took three hours but he finally found the pattern, single young men had been vanishing from the town for years but within no set time periods that he could find. So it could pretty much be anything human or supernatural except the things ruled by lunar cycles like werewolves. Though he was leaning towards supernatural unless it was a family doing it, the disappearances had been going on too long for the person doing it to be a normal human. Had anyone else tried the disappearances together? He had no real way of knowing and trying to pull the old scam of being FBI wouldn’t work for him anymore. But he could go to the police as himself, tog et what they had on Sam’s case at least. How long had they even bothered to look for the kid before giving up?
The next morning he made his way into the station, feeling the way people watched him as he limped up to the desk, leaning heavily on his crutch.
“Can I help you?” the young female officer asked him and Dean swallowed.
“My name’s Dean Winchester, my brother Sam…they told me he vanished from here almost two years ago.” He explained, watching as blue eyes narrowed, obviously suspicious as to why he was only just showing up.
“I was in an accident, only found out two weeks ago, took me that long to get here.” He explained and her expression softened, taking in his scars and the crutch.
“I need to see some id.” She said and he handed over his licence, shifting in pan as it was checked.
“Take a seat and I’ll let the officer who handled it know.”
“Thanks.” He hobbled over to the bench and sat down, rubbing his thigh to ease the ache. Without a badge and suit to hide behind he felt vulnerable and exposed surrounded by cops but he ignored the feeling, needing any information they could give him.
“Mr. Winchester?” A calm voice called and Dean struggled up, limping over to the man who had called him.
“I’m officer Roberts, come on through to the interview room. It’s the best place to speak without interruption since we’re not a big enough station to have individual offices.” Dean shook his hand and followed him, relieved that the man modulated his pace to make it easier for Dean.
“You’re Samuel Winchester’s brother?” The officer asked as they sat, pulling his own chair around the desk so Dean wouldn’t feel like he was being interrogated.
“Sam’s my younger brother. We….there was a big fight over him going to college, Dad kicked him out. I drove him to Stanford, visited once and called a few times but…we just sort of drifted apart. Then I ended up getting mauled by a wolf, tyring to keep it from an old lady. Ended up in hospital for a long time. I headed straight to Stanford when they said I was okay to drive because Sam never returned the call I got a nurse to make for me. I thought he…figured I’d make him say it to my face you know? I talked to the cops to there; they gave me his stuff and said you’d know more. I need to know what happened.” Dean explained, he hated doing it but he knew sympathy would get him more than if he was surly.
“I’ll tell you what we found but it isn’t much. Sam and three other students arrived in town on April second and checked into the motel for one night, they were on their way to join some friends in New York City. The four then headed to Sharky’s Bar and Grill where they had dinner. Two of his friends then met up with some local girls while Sam and the third went to play pool. At about eleven Sam left to use the restroom and none of the witnesses could remember him ever coming back into the bar. The restroom is out the back and at that time of night the area is dark and fairly deserted. If someone was waiting out there…we searched for over a week but found nothing. I’m sorry to have to say this but the odds are your brother is dead.” Roberts explained, hating to say it. He’d been sort of relieved not to have to explain all this to family at the time of the kids’ disappearance though saddened that the boy was so alone. He’d never thought it’d be worse to have to tell his brother over a year later that was no hope.
“Sammy’s not dead, I’d know.” Dean whispered before straightening in the chair, clutching his crutch.
“I did some research last night, Sam’s not the first to vanish round here.” He pushed and Roberts sighed.
“Every town has its share of disappearances, some are runaways, others are victims people think won’t be missed. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah, well thanks.” Dean pushed to his feet.”
“You’re not giving up are you?” The officer asked, hiding a sad smile and Dean headed for the door.
“Never.” He answered as he left the room.
Dean kept a low profile as he continued his hunt. He kept his head down and after a month no one paid any attention to him. It was hard, unrewarding work but he refused to give up. He’d find whatever had taken Sam and make it pay, even if it was too late for his brother. He could at least stop anyone else from having to suffer the same fate.
It took him another three months to start getting suspicious. The town had some of the most realistic and detailed statues he had ever seen, apparently created by one Mavis Long. She was surprisingly young to have such ability and lived alone, outside of the city. Her gift with marble was….supernatural really. Every now and then she donated a piece to the town so her work was all over, all of it depicting young, attractive men in various poses. But what had really gotten his attention was the statue outside the library and the odd marks on its right arm. Close study had revealed it to be a tattoo, one he’d seen before. Michael Reeves from Michigan had disappeared ten years ago. After that he spent time studying all the statues, finding that they all matched missing person’s reports for the last fifty years. He wasn’t sure wether or not he should be relieved or scared that Sam was not among them. He’d never seen anything like it and unless Medusa was real and in America he had to assume it was one hell of a witch turning guys to stone. Was there a way to reverse it or was the transformation permanent? He didn’t even know if they were still alive or if the process killed them and if they were alive were they aware? He shuddered to think of being stuck like that forever and being aware of it. Imaging Sam trapped among them forever was enough to give him nightmares. He got his weapons form the Impala and spent several days going through them, cleaning them up and trying to mentally prepare for what he would probably find. He was more thankful than ever that his vision was fine and his arms were actually slightly stronger due to having to use crutches for so long. But if it came down to a chase or an actual fight, Mavis might look small but he’d been a hunter long enough to know appearances were always deceiving. He’d have to take her by surprise; last thing he wanted was to end up one of her collection.
He picked a cloudy night to go after her, not wanting too much light to give him away but enough at he wouldn’t be blind. He secreted weapons throughout his clothes and slipped on one of the last birthday presents he’d gotten from Sam, a small amulet that was meant to protect the wearer from any sort of mind altering magic’s. He figured the bitch bespell her victims somehow, no way would most of them have gone willingly with her after all. Plus he figured they had to be posed before being turned to marble and no one was going to stay still for that. When he was ready he checked out of the motel and drove out of town, parking well out of sight of her place and the road. He left his crutch in the car, sacrificing speed for stealth. He limped through the trees and eased open the gate to her back garden, happy it didn’t squeak. Gun in hand he made his way through the garden, nearly jumping when he came across the first statue, gleaming white in the weak moonlight. A glance was all he needed to make sure it wasn’t Sam and then he moved on, checking every statue he came across.
He reached the middle of the garden and froze, nearly dropping his gun. Despite being a frozen marble statue he’d recognise he baby brother anywhere. Sam stood with his feet slightly apart, one hand hanging by his naked hip while the other was held out, fingers curled invitingly. There was a small smile on his lips, his head tilted almost shyly and his eyes were half closed. The sight took Dean’s breath away and he had to force himself to move. He shook himself, focusing on the fact he had to free Sam and not stand there, staring at him like an idiot. Seeing no one around he walked over to the statue and placed a hand against the cold stone cheek.
“I’m here Sammy, it’s gonna be okay.” He whispered tenderly and then forced himself to move on; he had a witch to deal with. He was hoping that killing her would end her spell but he wasn’t sure.
He easily picked the locks on the back door and slipped into the house, noting the salt line with amusement, was she scared the ghosts of her victims would come to haunt her? He searched the house briefly, smiling when he found Sam’s things in the basement, along with what looked like belongings from the other recent victims. He made his way to the top floor and steadied himself as he found the master bedroom. He opened the door and slipped inside, levelling his gun at the bed.
“Wake up.” He called out and she shifted before waking up, staring at him in surprise.
“I know what you are and what you’ve been doing. Grabbing a hunter’s brother was plain dumb lady.” He stated, watching her eyes widen in shock.
“Let them all go and I’ll let you live.” And he would…after making sure she was harmless.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. You look exhausted young man; you should lie down and rest for a while. You’ll think more clearly after sleeping.” She soothed and Dean felt the magic but it was repelled by the amulet. He just tightened his grip on the gun, finger hovering over the trigger.
“Nice try. Guess I was right about how you get them. Now undo the spell!” He demanded and Mavis laughed.
“I can’t, no one can. Eternal youth and beauty wouldn’t work if there was a way to undo it after all.” She told him, smirking in cold amusement. So that was how she was still so young, somehow she gained their youth when they became marble.
“So if I kill you now maybe it will free them.” Dean pondered and she paled.
“It won’t! I made sure of it!” She yelled and then smiled at him seductively.
“You could join your brother though if you like. You’d make a lovely addition to my collection; you’d be together for eternity.” She offered and Dean glared.
“Are they alive? Aware?” He asked and she shrugged.
“Why should I care?” She asked and Dean snapped, pulling the trigger even as she lunged for something on her dresser, putting three bullets through her chest. He grimaced as he watched the body age and wither before him until all that was left was dust. Once sure she was gone he left the house as quickly as he could, heading straight for Sam, praying it had worked. He forced back tears as he saw there was no change, moving to stand in front of Sam, gently touching the marble.
“You grew up a lot Sammy, finally filled out to match your height.” He whispered, running a hand over Sam’s outstretched arm.
“I don’t know if you can hear me or not but the bitch is dead. She’ll never do this to anyone again. She said there’s no way to free you but I don’t believe it, I can’t. I’ll find a way Sammy.” Dean promised, removing his hand from Sam’s arm and frowning when he saw the streak of blood there. He looked at his hand and then plucked the rose thorn from it; he hadn’t even noticed it before that, too focused on getting back to Sam. He looked back at Sam before moving to stand flush against him, leaning up to gently touch his lips to the stone ones, his tears soaking into the cold marble as he tried not to let the sobs overtake him. He ran his fingers over Sam’s hair, missing the soft locks and the way his hand would sink into them. He finally couldn’t hold it in anymore and collapsed against the statue, sobbing brokenly as he clung to it.
Dean tensed and moved back a bit as he heard an odd choking noise, looking around but seeing no one. Dean looked up to see Sam’s lips were no longer locked into a small smile but were parted as if he were gasping for air. Another noise came and Dean realised it was Sam.
“Sammy?” He choked out, watching in awe as Sam’s lips become pink and soft, the marble just melting away. Sam’s lips moved weakly and Dean realised Sam was trying to breath but his lungs…..would he be forced to watch Sam suffocate? Very slowly the skin around Sam’s lips began to soften and warm, becoming flesh again.
Dean put a hand on the back of Sam’s neck and the other on Sam’s marble hair, using the position to support himself as he gently kissed Sam again, this time able to use his tongue to gently map the inside of Sam’s mouth. He didn’t know what had broken the spell but kisses worked in fairytales and it was the only way he could think of to let Sam know he was there since he didn’t know if Sam could see or hear while those parts were still stone. He prayed Sam would be able to recognise his kiss and it seemed to work to some extent, Sam stopped making those pained, choking noises at least though he didn’t try to return the kiss. Dean kept kissing him until his fingers sank into silky soft hair and then he pulled back, staring at Sam’s face. Sam’s eyes rolled in their sockets, unable to focus and he was pale, still unable to breath.
“Sammy, come on kiddo look at me.” He pleaded as the stone beneath his other hand began to grow warm and softer. As his neck was freed Sam’s head lolled forward since he was obviously unable to hold his head up unaided. Dean gently grasped Sam’s face in his hand so he wouldn’t hurt his neck, trying to make eye contact.
“Come on Sam, give me a sign you can understand me.” He beseeched and then watched as Sam’s lips moved silently, but Dean recognised the word, his name, despite the lack of sound.
“Yeah Sammy, I’m here. You just need to stay calm; you’ll be able to breath soon. Try and focus on me, I’ve got you, you’re safe.” He assured his brother as the change spread to his shoulders and then down his arms. As Sam’s outstretched arm became flesh again it fell limply and Dean moved a hand to catch it, entwining their fingers, smiling when he felt Sam’s move slightly in response. As more of his upper body was freed Sam began to slump forward and Dean was forced to take more and more of his weight to keep him upright as the transformation continued. Sam suddenly began gasping, sobbing as he sucked in great mouthfuls of air, finally able to breathe again.
“That’s it, you’re doing great.” Dean comforted even as his own body screamed in agony from the demands he was putting on it. Dean moved a hand to rest on Sam’s heaving chest, feeling his heart pounding away even as he started to shiver.
“Just a little longer.” Dean assured him and Sam’s other hand twitched, feebly grasping at the hem of Dean’s jacket in response.
As the change hit his legs Sam crumpled without the extra support and Dean bit back a curse as he fought to hold Sam up until he was completely free, not wanting to break his ankle or something. As his feet were finally freed Dean strained to lower them both to the ground, Sam cradled in his arms, head against Dean’s shoulder. Dean rubbed at Sam’s bare skin, trying to help warm him up as Sam shivered and trembled in his arms. Sam was still out of it, making scared, almost panicked noises, and trying to clutch at Dean’s jacket with limbs too weak and unresponsive to truly succeed. Dean was worried, was it just his body struggling to get used to being flesh and not stone or had the spell caused some sort of damage? There was no way he could get them both to the house let alone the Impala and Sam needed to get out of the cold fast.
“Sam we need to get out of here before you freeze. Can you try to move?” Dean asked and Sam whimpered, his legs twitching weakly and Dean closed his eyes before dropping a gentle kiss on Sam’s head.
“I can’t carry you kiddo, not anymore, I’m sorry.” Dean whispered sadly, if it wasn’t for his leg he’d be able to get them both inside the house. The ground was clear and flat….maybe if he had some sort of travois?
“Sam I have to get some stuff from the car to help you but I’ll be right back. There’s no one else around, you’ll be okay.” Dean told him and Sam panicked, his choked panicking noises gaining volume and he tried to cling to Dean. Dean tried to calm him down but it didn’t work and Sam finally passed out due to lack of air. It was almost a relief when Sam went slack in his arms, breathing slowly evening out since he wasn’t panicking anymore. Dean took his shirt off and folded it to make a pillow that he gently placed Sam’s head on, wiping the cold sweat off Sam’s forehead as he did so. His jacket was laid over Sam as a blanket to give him some extra warmth and then Dean headed back to the Impala, limping even more heavily than usual. He grabbed a new shirt from his bag and slipped it on before driving into the yard, making sure the car couldn’t be seen from the road. Thankfully Mavis never had visitors but it would only be so long before people got worried about her absence and came looking. Sam would need to be well enough to move by then.
He got out the blankets kept in the trunk as well as rope and then began looking for things he could use as supports, finally finding two sturdy tree branches that should work well enough. He headed back to Sam, not surprised to find him still unconscious though he had moved a little to curl up slightly under Dean’s jacket. Dean set his supplies down and went to work, making sure it was as sturdy as possible before trying to gently move Sam onto it. Sam’s eyelids fluttered slightly and he moaned but didn’t wake. Dean began the arduous trip back to the house, pulling Sam along as gently as he could and stopping to rest frequently as the strain sent white hot agony through his leg. It took him over an hour but he finally had Sam inside and laid out on the couch. He got a fire started to warm the room up for Sam’s sake and then went about trying to dress him, not an easy thing to do when Sam was out cold and taller than him. Digging through the witch’s pantry he found some canned soup and warmed it up, figuring liquids would be best until Sam was feeling better. As soon as he heard the noises coming from the couch he limped to Sam’s side, grateful to have his crutch back.
“Hey Sammy, its okay.” Dean soothed, reaching out to push Sam’s hair away from his now open eyes. Sam seemed more aware at least and his eyes were far more focused, he was even able to look at Dean.
“Feeling better?” He asked, leaning against the couch and Sam’s head lolled in an approximation of a nod.
“That’s good; we’re safe here for the moment so just take it easy. I’ve got some soup on, figured we’ll stick to liquids for now.” Dean explained and Sam blinked. One hand moved, weakly reaching out and Dean grasped it, squeezing gently.
“Missed you so much Sammy.” Dean whispered, leaning in to kiss Sam and this time Sam’s lips moved under his. When Dean pulled back there was a faint smile on Sam’s lips and Dean grinned.
“Just rest kiddo, I’ll look after you.” He promised as Sam’s eyes drifted shut. Dean figured he should let Sam sleep if the kid wanted; his body probably needed it to recover. Dean picked up his cell phone and then made the call, not surprised when it went to voice mail.
“Just thought you’d like to know Sam’s alive though pretty out of it. Guess spending two years as a marble statue does that to you though. Witch responsible is dead. Not that you probably care, not like you called when the hospital told you I died on the table.” Dean spat and hung up, knowing he wouldn’t get a call back. Dean finished warming the soup up and poured it into two bowls, eating his first and then gently waking Sam up so he could eat. Sam moaned, shivering but his eyes opened and Dean smiled, running his fingers through Sam’s hair.
“De….” Sam breathed and Dean’s smile widened.
“Hey there Sammy. Sorry to wake you but you need to eat.” Dean told him and Sam nodded more strongly than he had last time. He tried to sit up but failed so Dean gently lifted him to lean against the back of the couch. Sam struggled to keep his head up and Dean reached out to help him with one hand, resting the bowl in his lap and using his other hand to lift the spoon to Sam’s lips. Sam swallowed the soup and then coughed and Dean rubbed his neck.
“Nice and slow Sam, there’s no rush.” He soothed and the next sip Sam took was smaller and he swallowed it in little amounts.
“That’s it.” Dean encouraged and Sam frowned, staring at him.
“Sammy?” Dean asked and Sam’s hand twitched before moving enough to brush against his crutch where it rested against the couch. Dean grimaced even as Sam stared at the scars on Dean’s face.
“De……….” Sam whispered and Dean smiled shakily.
“It’s why I couldn’t come for you earlier Sammy. I didn’t know you were missing. There was a hunt, a werewolf. It uh, mauled me pretty good. Only just got permission to drive a couple of months ago, went straight to Stanford to see you. Came here when they told me, took me four months to figure out what was going on round here and find you. She said the spell was permanent, that there was no way to break it and no one else is waking up. I don’t know how you woke up but I’m glad you did, I missed you so much kiddo.” Dean practically babbled and Sam frowned, seeming to struggle to understand.
“Ss….sp……….” Sam stuttered out and then coughed again.
“Do you remember what happened to you?” Dean asked and Sam shook his head weakly.
“That’s okay, it doesn’t matter right now, all that matters is that you’re okay.” Dean told him and Sam frowned but nodded and Dean went back to helping him eat the soup.
Afterwards Sam drifted back off to sleep and Dean decided to explore the house more thoroughly. He figured he could leave the various belongings in a more easily found area so that when people came to investigate why Mavis hadn’t been seen they’d realise she was involved in the disappearances. He couldn’t leave the house standing, not with his prints in so many areas but the families deserved some sort of closure. But how to explain Sam? The kid had to be found or else he’d never be able to go back to his life. Since Sam was in a really deep sleep he headed outside to look around more and grinned when he found the shed with spell components, manacles…it was the perfect place to hold someone in if he could make Sam understand the plan. He went back to the house and gathered up the clothing and small personal effects, moving them all out to the shed and into a cupboard in it, all while wearing gloves. It didn’t take much to make it look like the shed had been used to hold people and since Sam had been the last to vanish it made things easier.
“Hey Sammy, I need you to wake up. We have to talk.” Dean called and Sam mumbled but woke up, looking blearily up at Dean.
“Sorry to keep waking you up. How’re you feeling?”
“Be….et….” Sam swallowed but didn’t cough this time and Dean grinned.
“Yeah, you’re doing better.” Dean agreed and Sam smiled at him.
“That’s what we need to talk about kiddo. You were reported missing two years ago so if you suddenly show up somewhere we’ll have a lot of explaining to do. There’s a shed out back, it looks like its held people before. Think you can act like you were held in it for the last two years?” Dean asked and Sam frowned.
“I’ll call the cops, make it seem like I just found you and they’ll take you to the hospital. You should probably get checked over by a professional.” Dean explained and Sam shook his head, reaching out for Dean. Dean got onto the couch, pulling Sam into his arms.
“Hey, it’ll be okay. I’ll be in the hospital too, once their done I’ll be right in to stay with you.” Dean told him.
“It’s the only way to give you a way to have a life out of hunting kiddo. We can get a house, settle down wherever you want.” Dean told him and Sam stared at him in confusion.
“D..de….hu….n” Sam whispered and Dean frowned, not a hundred percent sure what Sam was trying to say.
“I can’t hunt anymore Sam; it’s why I use the crutch. The werewolf really messed my leg up, got enough metal in it now to easily set off a metal detector.” Dean told him and Sam whimpered, reaching out to touch the leg and Dean smiled.
“It’s okay, I’m dealing with it. We can live somewhere like you wanted Sammy.” Dean told him and Sam sighed, curling up in his arms.
“Can you do it Sam?” Dean asked and Sam bit his lip but nodded shakily.
“If anyone asks you say that a woman with long brown hair and green eyes would come in and feed you, let you use a bucket. There’s spell component s and stuff out there, enough to make her look like a complete wack job. You were kept chained to the wall and drugged, okay? Can you do it?” The look Sam gave him made Dean laugh and raise his hands in surrender.
“Hey, I know you’re freaky smart kiddo but…you were out for two years and you’ve been a bit…..you’ve been in and out since being freed. Just need to make sure you won’t say something wrong okay?” Dean asked softly and Sam’s eyes widened in understanding.
“Okay, we’re gonna have to go out there, I’ll move the car and torch the house.” Dean explained and Sam nodded before looking at him quizzically.
“How’re we gonna do it?” Dean offered and Sam nodded.
“Same way I got you in here.” Dean got up and showed Sam the travois. Sam wrinkled his nose at it but sighed, managing to push himself to the edge of the couch.
“That’s great Sammy! See you are getting better.” Dean praised, moving over to help Sam onto the travois. Sam lay on it and looked trustingly up at Dean who grabbed it and began the slow trip to the car which was now next to the shed. With Sam using his arms to help as much as he could they managed to get him onto the back seat. Dean then took the travois and dumped it back on the house, setting the place alight on his way out. He let it burn for a good while before calling the cops.
Roberts slammed his car door heading towards were the paramedics were gathered around a black car, he recognised it from seeing Dean Winchester around town. Lying on a board beside it was a young man he’d only seen in photos, Samuel Winchester. He had an IV in his right arm and was wrapped in blankets, his left hand in Dean’s hand. There were patrolmen searching the area and Roberts could see smoke coming from the direction of the house.
“Winchester!” He called and Dean looked up at him, even Sam’s head rolled in his direction.
“Office Roberts.” Dean answered, squeezing his brother’s hand.
“I’ll be right back Sammy.” Dean said and the poor kid whimpered, obviously trying to cling to his brother’s hand but too weak to keep Dean there.
“Told you I wasn’t giving up.” Dean said as he joined him and Roberts nodded.
“I need to know what happened.” He said and Dean nodded, looking back at his brother who was whimpering and feebly trying to get off the board they had him on.
“Shit.” Dean swore and went back to Sam’s side, taking his hand again.
“Hey Sammy, its okay just calm down. You need to let them work kiddo.” Dean soothed gently, running his free hand through the younger males hair. Everyone watched in amazement as the young man calmed instantly at his touch.
“You’ll need to ride with us sir, we don’t want to have to sedate him.” One paramedic said and Dean nodded before looking back at him. Roberts nodded in understanding.
“I’ll find you at the hospital for your statement.” He said and Dean gave him a grateful smile. He watched as the brothers got into the ambulance and it took off.
It took a few days for the hospital staff to accept that Dean was not moving from his brother’s side and that it was actually a good thing. The young man panicked badly any time they forced the older from the room and he’d ended up sedated a few times because of it. Finally a sympathetic doctor had Sam moved into a private room and then added a cot for Dean. Blood tests had shown odd anomalies in Sam’s blood, leading them to believe he’d been drugged with something to keep him quiet but other than that he was in relatively good shape despite how long he’d been held. But Sam’s muscle strength and coordination was very slow in coming back and they doctors believed that was because of whatever he’d been drugged with. They had told Dean that once it was fully out of Sam’s system he would hopefully start improving faster. A look at Sam’s throat had found it coated in marble dust which had stumped the staff but they’d cleared it out, making it a lot easier for Sam to talk and eat, though he was still on liquids.
Office Roberts had been in and out, getting Dean’s statement and checking up on Sam’s recovery. Dean was glad the man wasn’t pushing Sam for a statement; the kid didn’t need the stress of having to remember what Dean had told him to say while he was still undergoing tests. Roberts, whose first name turned out to be Jake, had told Dean that although the house had burnt to the ground there was no sing of Mavis Long. An arrest warrant had been issued for her and there was a search but Jake said they probably wouldn’t find her. Dean silently agreed since there had been nothing left of her body at the end. Thankfully everyone seemed to be accepting Dean’s story of having seen the smoke and gone to investigate, going to the shed to look for a hose only to find his baby brother chained to a wall and barely conscious. He had the feeling Jake knew there was more to it than that but the man wasn’t asking so Dean wasn’t saying anything. They both knew the investigation would find nothing. Jake had told him they were contacting the family’s of the other missing persons to let them know they’d found their belongings but no bodies though they were searching for where they were buried. The statues from Mavis’ garden had been put on display at the small local museum so at least those poor men were as safe as could be. Maybe one day some of them would be freed somehow.
Eight months later Dean wheeled Sam into their new home and Sam smiled as he looked around from his wheelchair. The house was a small one-story, three bedroom place near to the campus for Sam’s sake. Stanford had accepted him back when they‘d found out what had happened to him, still full-ride. With what he’d been through the college was being very understanding about his need to have his brother near a lot. Sam could text Dean from class if he needed to and if it got too much for him Dean could come and collect him. Apparently being as smart as Sam and such a good student meant they really wanted Sam back. He had a year to go on his undergraduate and Sam had decided he wanted to study law after that. He had been undecided when he’d left. Dean had gotten a part time job at the local auto supply shop, his boss knew the deal with Sam and was willing to let Dean come and go for the kids’ sake. Selling tyres and car radios was not his idea of an ideal job but it’s not like he could work as a mechanic with his leg. The shop was great since he had a stool behind the counter so he could sit for most of his shift.
There was still the hope that Sam would be able to walk again but there was no guarantee. Sam would have physio sessions every two days at the local hospital to try and strengthen his legs, so far it hadn’t worked but they weren’t giving up. Sam wasn’t paralysed, he had full feeling, he just didn’t have the strength or coordination to stand let alone walk. He’d gotten enough upper body ability back that he could at least push himself around in the wheelchair and transfer to and from it which was good. If he hadn’t he would have been in an electric wheelchair and unable to write for class. Sure he could have used one of those computer programs that take dictation but Dean couldn’t see Sam being happy with that.
John screamed as Bobby finished the exorcism, the demon fleeing his body in a cloud of black smoke, leaving John to slump in his restraints. He spluttered as holy water hit him in the face and then raised his head to look at the other hunter.
“You alone in their Winchester?” Bobby asked and John nodded, coughing a bit.
“That demon had a good hold on you, how long?”
“Not sure. Last thing I remember is hearing the phone ring.” John muttered as Bobby walked over to untie him.
“Left Dean on a werewolf hunt, didn’t want him going after a demon.” John continued as Bobby helped him up and over to the couch.
“You remember much of what that thing did?” Bobby asked as he handed John a glass of water.
“Not really, know I never went near the boys though.”
“Dean must be going nuts; I’ll call and let him know you’re okay.” Bobby offered and John nodded. Bobby went into the kitchen to make the call.
“Dean? It’s Bobby Singer. How’re you doing kid?” Bobby asked.
“Not too bad. What’s up? Haven’t heard from you since that whole shotgun thing.” Dean answered.
“Hang on.” Bobby heard Dean move the phone away from his mouth.
“Don’t even think about it Sammy! Those are for desert!” Bobby faintly heard Dean yell and he froze, Dean was with Sam? He heard Dean move the phone again.
“So what can I do for you Bobby?”
“You heard anything from your Dad lately?” Bobby asked, just to make sure the demon hadn’t done something and the cold silence that answered him made him nervous.
“Haven’t heard from in over three years, don’t really care anymore.” Dean snapped and Bobby’s eyes went wide. What the hell had happened?
“What happened boy?” Bobby asked and Dean stayed quiet, making him sigh.
“Can I come see you? Or you can come here? Was that Sam I heard you yell at?” Bobby rushed out and Dean laughed.
“One question at a time. It’d be…easier if you came here, Sam has exams coming up. We’re at Palo Alto.” Dean answered and Bobby smiled, he’d figured Dean was checking up on his brother but letting Sam know he was there? That he hadn’t expected.
“I’ll be there Thursday.” Bobby promised.
“See you then Bobby.” Dean answered and they both hung up. Bobby went back into the living room and John looked at him.
“I don’t know what happened but mentioning you to Dean…..never heard the kid so cold.”
“Is he okay? Where is he?” John demanded.
“Palo Alto, with Sam. Got the address, told him I’d be by on Thursday. Didn’t tell him you’d be with me though, figured it’d be better to explain in person. Get some rest John, you’ll need it.
Thursday afternoon found the two hunters in front of a modest one-story house not far from the college campus. Looking around they saw the subtle signs of protection littered around the house and yard which was good but they were both wandering how Sam could afford the place. They headed for the front door and Bobby knocked and then knocked again when there was no answer.
“I’m coming! Hold your horses!” Dean yelled and both men grinned but then frowned as they heard the odd tapping noise coming with closer with Dean. The door opened and John got his first look at his eldest since leaving him to deal with the wolf……….it felt like someone had shot him as he stared at Dean. Scars from claws trailed across his face, barely missing his eye but the most shocking thing was the crutch Dean was leaning heavily on….it was obvious from the way he stood and used the thing that he was very used to it.
“Dean?” John whispered and green eyes went cold as they saw him.
“What the hell are you doing Bobby? Why’d you bring him? We don’t want or need him here.” Dean spat angrily.
“Dean?” They heard Sam‘s voice call from further in the house and then there was an odd noise form the hall. Both hunters stared in shock as Sam wheeled himself into the front room. Seeing Dean had been a big enough shock but to see Sam in that chair…..Sam stopped, smiling slightly when he saw Bobby but then the smile vanished into a scowl when he saw John.
“Dean?” Sam called again and Dean limped over to him, snagging a bag on his way. Ignoring the two men he leant down to tenderly kiss Sam’s lips, Sam’s arms coming up to wrap around his neck.
“Get to class kiddo; I’ll pick you up later.” Dean told him even as the two men stared in disbelief.
“You sure?” Sam asked and Dean nodded.
“I’ll deal with this. You’ve got exams coming up and then the LSAT’s.” Dean admonished and Sam nodded, wheeling towards them.
“Excuse me.” Sam said and they automatically moved out of his way, turning to watch Sam wheel down the street towards campus.
“What the hell happened to you two?” Bobby asked and Dean motioned for them to come inside.
“Not doing this on the street.” Dean stated, going into the kitchen and coming back with three bottles of beer, all laced with holy water.
“Dean, son.” John tried only for Dean to glare.
“You have no right to call me that.” Dean spat and Bobby ran a hand through his hair.
“Dean whatever happened it wasn’t your Daddy’s fault. Idjit got himself possessed.” Bobby said and Dean frowned.
“When?” Dean demanded.
“Last thing I remember is leaving you to deal with that wolf, couple days later the phone rang and then nothing.” John explained and Dean stared at him, eyes wide.
“Bobby?” Dean turned to him and he nodded. They watched as Dean slumped in his chair, hands going up to hide his face.
“Dean please, what happened?” John pleaded, seeing that one wrong word would get him kicked out for good.
“Other than Sam being captured by a witch while on Spring Break or that damn wolf actually doing enough damage that I died on the table? Not much.” Dean answered.
“What?” Both older men yelled in shock.
“I….the hospital called you but….I thought….you didn’t leave me just cause I can’t hunt anymore?” Dean asked softly and John stared in disbelief.
“Dean how could you…I would never.” John got up and went to kneel in front of Dean. Dean stared at him, green eyes wide. John reached out and pulled Dean into a hug.
“I’m so sorry Dean; I swear I would have been there if I could have.” John whispered and then he felt Dean relax and hug him back.
“So the crutch?” He asked when they separated.
“Is permanent. My leg…I can limp around without it but very slowly and my balance isn’t the best. I think there’s more metal than bone in it now.” Dean admitted and John grasped his arm.
“I am so sorry Dean, I shouldn’t have left you.” John told him and Dean shrugged.
“I was twenty-four Dad, old enough to hunt alone. I’ve never heard of such a vicious werewolf though. Managed to save the victim and she got me an ambulance. Rode in with me and everything. They told me later I’d lost so much blood and the trauma….I actually died for a couple of minutes but they managed to get my heart started again. They called you because you were my emergency contact, left a message when you didn’t answer. I was pretty out of it after the surgery for a few months; leg got infected for a bit. Leona was great though, she visited me all the time, paid my bills, brought me home cooked food once I was allowed to eat. When I was released she made me stay with her, wouldn’t let me check into a motel, said it was too risky for me to be alone. Even drove me to and from my appointments. She ah…..died before I left, turned out she’d been sick for a long time. She didn’t have any family so she pretty much left me everything. I sold her house, didn’t want to live in it after that and I headed straight to Stanford when they said I could drive. The hospital had called Sam when I asked but he never answered. When I showed up I found out he’d gone missing about a week before my accident.” Dean stopped to drain his beer.
“You went after him.” John stated and Dean nodded.
“Needed to know, talked to the local cops but they didn’t have much. Took my four months to piece everything together but I realised it when I spotted something on the arm of one of the marble statues scattered around the place, it had a mark that matched the tattoo on one of the missing guys. I figured it had to be a very powerful witch and I was right. Looked at all the statues but none of them was Sam so I decided to go after the witch. Got to her place and there were more statues in her garden and then……Sam was in the centre of the garden Dad, it was……….”
“It’s okay Dean, you saved him. He’s okay now, right?” John said and Dean shrugged.
“Found some belongings from everyone in her basement, including Sam’s clothes.” Dean continued and John actually flushed a little at suddenly realising Sam had spent how long as a naked statue making Bobby chuckle at him.
“Went up the stairs, found her bedroom and woke her up. I was right about how she was getting them but I was wearing a present from Sam, it protected against that sort of magic. She said there was no way to break the spell but I could join them. I shot her and she just aged and then turned to dust. I headed back to where Sam was, I didn’t know if he was able to hear or anything so I told him what had happened. I uh, kissed him, might have cried a bit too and then there was this noise. It was Sam, his lips were changing from marble to flesh and he was trying to breath but since the rest of him was marble….”
“Shit.” Bobby swore and Dean nodded.
“Did what I could to let him know he wasn’t alone and it kept going. He was pale and really out of it, couldn’t even hold his head up once his neck was freed. Even after his chest was free and he could breath, he was just making these scared little noises and was trying to hold onto me. Once he was totally free we ended up on the ground, he knew I was there but he couldn’t focus, I knew I had to get him out of the cold but…not like I could carry him, not anymore. When I told him I had to go to the car he panicked, passed out because he couldn’t breathe properly. Managed to get a travois made, got him back to her house. He started trying to talk when he woke up but it was barely there. While he slept I thought it through. Sam couldn’t just suddenly appear somewhere; he was listed as a missing person. There was a shed in the garden, used to store spell components and there were chains on the wall. I moved the belongings out there, made it look like Sam had been held in it. Got Sam to the car and torched the house, our prints were all over it. Once it had pretty much burnt out I called the cops. Sam knew the story but he still panicked when he couldn’t see me so I rode with him to the hospital and they ended up letting me share a room with him. They found something in his blood, assumed it had been used to keep him sedated and that once it was gone he’d recover but…..he still can’t walk. He’s not paralysed; he has full feeling he just doesn’t have any strength despite all the physio. That’s why he’s in the chair. They keep saying it just takes time but….” Dean trailed off and John squeezed his shoulder.
“You did good Dean.” John praised him and Dean nodded half-heartedly.
“I’m wondering what freed Sam. None of the others woke up?” Bobby asked and Dean shook his head.
“Could have been anything…um, some of my blood got on the marble, I had a rose thorn in my hand and didn’t notice. My tears soaked in too and I kissed him. Going by most fairytales and myths any of them could have done it. Rest of the statues are still around the town, the ones in her garden are now in the local museum.” Dean explained.
“There was nothing you could do for them Dean.” John told him and Dean finally seemed to be believing him.
“So Sam was accepted back to college?” Bobby asked and Dean grinned.
“Yeah, they even made sure he still had a full-ride. They’ve been really good helping him; he’s allowed to text me from class or even get me to pick him up if its too much, things like that.” Dean explained as his phone beeped, he looked at it and grinned.
“Like now.” He typed a reply and sent it.
“Bought this place with the money Leona left me, wanted Sam to have somewhere stable instead of living in the dorms. Plus it’s easier to put up protections without anyone asking odd questions. Neither of us can hunt so?” Dean shrugged.
“And uh, the goodbye you shared…how long?” John asked and Dean paled, looking away.
“Dean I’m not, I know the way you two grew up, it’s my fault maybe for saying you could only rely on family.”
“We’re together, have been since before Sam left for Stanford. I love Sam and he loves me.” Dean stated and Bobby tensed, waiting for an explosion that never came. John just sighed and stared at the floor.
“I can’t say I’m happy but with everything that you’ve been through, if the two of you are happy….” John mumbled and Dean’s eyes went wide before he smiled slightly.
“Thanks.” Dean looked at the clock and then got up.
“I’ve got to go pick Sammy up, there’s food in the fridge, help yourselves. Sam and I will eat out so I can explain why you never called or anything. Master’s ours but there’s another bedroom and the sofa pulls out to a bed.” Dean said, tossing his Dad the spare house key as he left.
“We staying?” Bobby asked and John nodded as they heard the Impala leave.
Dean pulled up and grinned as he saw Sam sitting by the curb. Sam rolled over and opened the door before transferring into the passenger seat. Dean got out and folded the chair, putting it in the back of the car. He got back in and drove off.
“How was class?” Dean asked and Sam rolled his eyes.
“Dean….” Sam grumbled and Dean sighed.
“Okay, okay. No I didn’t shoot Dad or Bobby. Turns out….Dad didn’t abandon us Sammy. He got possessed a bit after leaving me on that hunt. Bobby only got it out of hi the day he called.” Dean explained and Sam paled, chewing his lip.
“You sure?” He asked quietly and Dean nodded.
“Bobby’s positive and…Dad was so upset. I explained what’s been happening and with Dad seeing that kiss. He said as long as we’re both happy he won’t say anything.” Dean explained as he parked outside the diner.
“Left them at the house, thought we’d eat out, give us time to digest things.” Dean offered and Sam nodded. Dean got the chair out of the back and Sam got in, letting Dean push him inside, happy to let his arms rest a bit. They got a table and ordered, talking about nothing important as they ate. They didn’t mention Dad or Bobby again until they were back in the car.
“So…..we gonna give Dad a chance? Does he even want to since we can’t hunt anymore?” Sam asked softly and Dean reached over to squeeze his hand, smiling when Sam squeezed back.
“Dad said he wants to, that he won’t abandon us just because we can’t and don’t want to hunt.” Dean explained and Sam relaxed. Dean parked in the garage and looked at Sam.
“Yeah.” Sam answered, he got into his chair and they went inside to find the sofa bed set up but the two men still sitting and talking. Sam stopped in the doorway as John got up and walked over. He knelt in front of Sam and hesitantly reached out to his son. Sam stared at him, unsure, before reaching out too. They hugged briefly and then John smiled at him.
“I missed you son. I’m sorry, I said a lot of things…”
“It’s okay Dad, take two to fight.” Sam answered and John nodded, standing up.
“Well let me get a look at you Sam.” Bobby said, reaching a hand out and Sam took it.
“You’re looking good. Enjoying college?”
“Yeah, I’m hoping to get into law school here.” Sam answered, finally wheeling himself further into the room.
“We’ll know who to call if we need a lawyer then.” Bobby grinned at him and Sam laughed but nodded.
“I um, need to do some stuff for class tomorrow. You’re staying?” Sam asked after a while and when they both nodded he headed for the room they’d made into a study for him.
“He’s happy.” John whispered, watching him go and Dean nodded. He stayed up with them for a few hours, watching a game but then headed to bed. He was still awake when Sam wheeled into the room so he watched as Sam got ready for bed. As soon as Sam was under the covers Dean pulled him into his arms and Sam relaxed in his embrace.
“You okay?” He whispered and Sam nodded.
“Just tired.” Sam answered and Dean kissed him.
“Go to sleep kiddo.” Dean whispered, holding him close.
They all clapped and cheered as Sam made his way slowly across the stage, managing to balance his crutches and the scroll of paper as he did so. He’d only graduated to crutches a few months before and they were taking a lot of getting used to but Sam was just happy to be out of the chair for the most part. He still used it occasionally, especially when he was tired and the doctors had agreed he’d probably never be able to walk unaided but that was fine, after all neither could Dean for more than short distances.
John was practically glowing with pride now that his youngest had graduated college and had been the one to come up with the plan to kill the demon a year after he’d started getting visions. Dean had been the one to shoot it while it had been trying to get Sam on its side, saying it would heal both boys in return. What Sam had said to it…..John probably should have washed his mouth out with soup for such language! He’d even gotten used to the boys being together though he was thankful they kept the public displays to a minimum.
They’d sold the house a few days ago and were all packed up, ready to move to Denver where Sam had a job with a local law firm waiting for him. They were a little wary about how the cold would affect Dean’s injuries but Dean was willing to deal with it for a few years until Sam was ready to move on. John had looked into things and had managed to buy a garage close to their new place; he was getting on in years, especially for a hunter so he’d decided to pull back to a similar role as Bobby.
Who’d have guessed Sam being turned into a statue would lead to such interesting things?
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