Word count: 5900
Characters: Sam, Dean
Spoilers: up to 5x4, AU Season 5 afterwards
A/N: Thank you, thank you, thank you to my wonderful beta, callistosh65for her insight and suggestions. The last line is dedicated to ancastar... may it be true for you as well.
Summary: The apocalypse was nigh, they were stuck in a deluge that would’ve made Noah nervous, Dean had the freakin’ flu, and Sam had broken the car.
“Will you hold still? I just want to feel you.”
“Dude, keep your freakin’ hands to yourself. Crap, Sammy—your hands are like ice. It’s not even that cold out.”
“You’ve got a fever—”
“Sam, I mean it. Do not feel me. I’m not happy with you right now.”
Dean tried to keep up a menacing glare but it was hard to pull off when he couldn’t even stop sneezing. Sam withdrew his hand, looking outraged with the same pissed expression he’d owned since birth. Good to know some things never changed.
“It’s not my fault,” Sam retorted. “I did not break the car.”
Dean had something to say about that, but his lungs protested first, and he started into yet another coughing fit. He wheezed and hacked until Sam didn’t look pissed any more—instead he looked worried and more than a little scared. And crap, Dean didn’t want that, not even as payback for screwing up his car. He tried to get himself together.
The flu sucked—there was no way around it, but that didn’t mean the world was coming to an end. Except for the fact that it kind of was. The apocalypse was nigh, they were stuck in a deluge that would’ve made Noah nervous, Dean had the freakin’ flu, and Sam had broken the car.
His voice not much more than a rasp, Dean croaked out, “I was asleep because you insisted you could handle driving in the rain. You were the one driving. You should have heard it start rattling miles back.”
Sam folded his arms tightly against his chest. “There was no rattle. One minute the damn car was running fine…the next it wasn’t. There’s no way that me being behind the wheel had anything to do with it.”
“Listen, Dean. I’ll take the blame for the apocalypse but not for the car. I told you we should have turned the damn thing in when they were still handing out cash for clunkers…”
“I swear, Sam. If I die from the plague, I’m going to haunt the hell out of you for even thinking something like that.”
“You don’t have the plague, and you’re not going to die, so shut up. Here—drink some water.”
Sam tipped the water bottle up against Dean’s lips, and Dean drank because he knew his brother would exasperate him into an early grave unless he did.
“Okay, you satisfied?” he grumbled. “Just stop touching me. I’ll be fine…all I need is a town with a garage to fix my baby and a couple hours sleep in an actual bed, and I’ll be good to go.”
“You’re breathing funny. You know, your lungs haven’t been the same since the time that sea monster held you under—”
“It wasn’t a sea monster—it was a sea serpent, and the damn thing was vicious. Please shut up now. I’m sick, okay. I’m not dying, so stop thinking it.”
“I just said you weren’t dying.”
“Yeah, but you’re thinking it.”
“What I’m thinking is that you should’ve gotten your flu shot at that clinic like I told you to.”
“Shut up, Sam.”
“I’m just saying…”
“Well don’t. Just don’t. You were right, I was wrong. Happy?”
“Yeah, kind of.” Sam took his phone out his pocket for what had to be the thousandth time and waved it in front of his steamed up window as if that would miraculously restore a signal.
“It’s not working, just like it wasn’t working fifteen minutes ago. Damn rain’s messing up coverage...” Dean said.
“It’s gotta stop sometime.”
“Yeah, you’d think.” Dean pressed his forehead against the cold glass of the window. He just wanted to find a place to get his car fixed and a bed so he could sleep off the rest of this damn flu. He wouldn’t say no to a piece of pie in a half-decent diner either, but it was all as unlikely as the rain letting up any time soon.
They’d driven through heavy rain all morning. Dean knew he should have been the one doing the driving in that kind of weather, but Sam had insisted, saying that Dean needed to sleep. He actually had managed to sleep for a while until he woke up to the car making a noise that it should never ever make. He instinctively reached for the wheel, but Sam had shoved him off. The engine had been hissing and almost dead by the time Sam managed to get them to the side of the road.
Dean was sure it was the alternator. Had to be. What with the apocalypse and all, he hadn’t been keeping up with maintenance the way he should have. Dean had looked over the engine with Sam, but he already knew there wasn’t going to be anything they could do without a new part. They needed to get the car towed to a station. Trying to drive it any more was useless.
According to the GPS on Sam’s phone, the nearest town was at least a dozen miles away. Normally, they would just walk it, but not in this kind of rain and not with Dean being as sick as he was. There were already rivers of muddy water flowing down the gullies on either side of the road, and Dean knew Sam didn’t want to leave him alone.
Sam kept insisting that somebody would drive by. Eventually. But so far, the only ones on the flooded road were the two of them.
Dean hated being sick like this. His head hurt, body hurt…crap—even his eyeballs hurt. And Sam wouldn’t stop fretting. Dean wondered if maybe he should send Sam out for help just to distract him. Worried Sam was an improvement over pissed-off Sam, but not by much.
“What?” Dean couldn’t take any more of that furrowed brow look.
“It was a free clinic. It didn’t even cost anything to get vaccinated.”
“Would you please get over the flu shot? Do you know what kind of crap they put in those things…it’s not natural. You can get sick messing around with stuff like that.”
“You are sick.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “You know, Sammy, sometimes, I think I liked you better when you were going darkside…at least you weren’t such a pain in the ass when you were evil.”
Dean figured he was about to get clocked for that but miraculously, Sam cracked up instead. And because these days, a smile from Sam pretty much lit up the whole freakin’ world, Dean grinned back at him.
But then his chest clenched with another coughing fit bad enough to make him think he was going to puke before it was over. By the time he got his breathing back under control, Sam wasn’t smiling any more.
Sam opened the car door. “I’m gonna check the engine again. Maybe there’s something we missed.”
“Do you even know how to open the hood?”
“You know, I did keep the damn car running when you were—gone.”
When you were gone was Sam’s code for Dean’s summer in Hell…the thing they didn’t talk about any more because really, with all that had passed between them, there wasn’t much left to say…
“Yeah and about that—when I was gone, you never changed the oil, the tires were bald, and you violated my baby with that—thing—you had hooked up to the tape player.”
“That’s a load of crap, Dean. I had the tires rotated, and I took it to, you know, one of those oil places.”
“Right—Speedy Lube—I found the receipt in the glove compartment. Sam, those people are hacks. This car is a classic. You never, ever take it to a franchise…didn’t Dad teach you anything?”
Sam looked at him icily. “If we live through this, I’m getting a Prius.”
“Figures you’d go for a hybrid…demon-blood boy.”
For a second, Dean figured he’d gone too far because Sam’s face got all scrunched up with that tight-lipped emo look which meant his feelings were hurt. That was all they needed…
Really, really bad things happened when Winchesters hurt each other’s feelings.
But then Dean started up with the coughing again, and he must have sounded pretty bad off because when he’d recovered, Sam didn’t look so tragic any more. Just worried.
“Drink some more water, asshole,” Sam said. “I’m going to check the engine.”
Sam heaved the door open against the wind and stumbled out. Dean watched the idiot battle against the wind and rain, which was coming at him from all directions. He would have yelled at Sam to get the hell back in the car, but there was no point in trying. Sam was going to do what Sam was going to do. He’d always been like that, even as a little kid.
Winchester lore had it that Sam’s first sentence was “I know everything.” On the other hand, Dean clearly remembered tiny Sammy saying, “them people have no heads,” as they passed by a store window display of headless dummies. Dean could remember thinking that a real decapitation didn’t look anything like that. It was a lot messier because it took a lot of savage sawing to free a head from a neck…
Dean remembered being glad that Sammy really didn’t know everything.
He sure as hell didn’t know a lot about cars. Dean could hear Sam swearing over the hammering of the rain when a freak gust of wind caught the hood, almost slamming it down on his head. Dean smiled fondly at his brother as he shoved wet hair out of his eyes. It took more than an apocalyptic downpour to make Sam give up when he was on a mission.
Dean rested his head on the steering wheel and tried hard not to die.
The rain had gotten worse, and the wind was actually rocking the car from side to side. Dean had no idea how Sam could be sleeping through it. He couldn’t be comfortable…not after he’d gotten himself soaked to the skin from being out in the rain for so long. They didn’t have enough gas left to keep the heater running, so Sam had just stayed in his wet clothes, sprawled across the back seat because Dean had refused to get out from behind the wheel.
But at least he was getting some sleep. That was good, that was something. Sam had been manically anxious lately, working late hours into the night, hunched over his stupid laptop like there was some magical Google search that could fend off the apocalypse.
Dean wished he could sleep—God knows he needed it. But with his head aching and teeth chattering, he was almost too sick to drift off. He’d spent most of his childhood illnesses crashed out in the Impala, but all he wanted right at that moment was a pile of blankets and a real bed. It made him think that maybe he was getting too old for this life. Maybe they both were.
It was times like these when Dean longed for the things that they’d never had. He remembered what the damn jinn had shown him in a different lifetime, the things that he’d never told Sam about afterward. Sure, he had told Sam that their mom had been beautiful, that she made the best sandwiches in the whole freakin’ world, and that Sam had absolutely been out of his league when it came to Jess.
But there were other things that cut too close—the picture of Sam in his cap and gown, the smell of freshly mown grass, and the gentle way his mother’s hand lingered on his cheek. The way he wanted her touch to last forever and ever…
Being sick had to be throwing him off his game because right now, Dean wanted next-door neighbors. He wanted a fire burning in some friggin’ hearth, maybe a cat lying on his bed even though he’d rather die than admit to Sam that he’d ever want a cat…but he was just so tired. So worn out and achy and weary to the bone.
But it wasn’t like Sam was doing much better. Sure, Sam might be Lucifer’s vessel, the demonic chosen one, but he was still the same neurotic little brother who used to obsess over whether he remembered to say thank you to a clerk at a store. All his life, he’d tried so hard to get it right, so no wonder the kid was a wreck. It would take a miracle for Sam to get through this with his sanity intact. And Dean didn’t exactly trust the snake oil salesmen who peddled miracles these days.
Dean fidgeted uncomfortably, thinking maybe he should have taken the back seat after all. He tried leaning back against the driver’s side door so he could keep an eye on Sam who was obviously starting to dream. Sam’s dreams had always been rough, but after killing Lilith, they’d gotten much worse. It looked like this was going to be one of the bad ones.
At first it was just nervous twitching with his fists clenched and jaw tight. But then he started flinching, almost like he was in pain. By the time Sam actually started moaning, Dean had had enough.
“Hey, Sam…” He tried waking Sam by reaching over the seat and cuffing him on he shoulder, but Sam only groaned and turned away. “C’mon, Sammy.” But he wasn’t waking up, and it was getting worse. His brow was furrowed, and damnit—there were tears leaking from his tightly closed eyes. “Sam, wake the hell up!”
Pulling away, Sam muttered, “No.” Then louder. “No, no, no. No!”
Dean was about to haul his brother out into the rain to snap him out of it, but Sam’s eyes finally flew open. Like he’d run a marathon, Sam was panting and shuddering—frantically trying to take in air. That was when Dean saw the blood. Trickling from Sam’s eyes, his nose, even out of his ears—it was all over his face.
“What the hell, Sammy?” Dean grabbed hold of him, frantically trying to figure out what was causing it.
But Sam was staring at Dean with a look of stunned horror that Dean hadn’t seen since the day at the convent when the world started to end.
“I said yes,” Sam said in a terrified whisper. “In Detroit, I said yes to him. You went to the future, you knew what was going to happen. Did you know—did you see it? Why didn’t you tell me that I said yes?”
Sam had himself wedged into the far corner of the passenger seat, his head against the window. He had hardly flinched as Dean tried to get him cleaned up, using a rag that he kept rinsing by holding out in the rain even though it was a pain in the ass rolling down his own window every time he needed to get it wet. It taken time to coax Sam into the front seat, but Dean wanted his brother close. He didn’t even try to kid himself that it was for Sam’s sake.
Dean tried to keep his voice calm, even though his hand was still shaking. “So visions, huh, Sammy? When were you going to tell me?”
Sam stared. “When was I going to tell you? This is—I haven’t—this is the first time. You knew didn’t you? When Zachariah sent you to the future, you saw this happen.”
“I didn’t see you say yes,” Dean said with a sigh. “That happened earlier… before I was there.”
Sam’s breathing was still ragged. “Why did I do it?”
“I don’t know how it happened. I have no idea what made you do it. I just know that I wasn’t with you. We were separated—Sam, it’s not going to happen like that. Not if we’re together.”
“Is that why you took me back?” Sam asked roughly. “Was it because it was the only way you thought you could stop me from saying yes to him?”
Dean had to think about that. The answer was yes, but it wasn’t that simple. Then again, it wasn’t all that complicated either. In the end, they were still all they had. Dean would never allow his Sam to turn into that beautiful monster in the garden, the one with the bored, empty eyes who played with the petals of a rose as he broke Dean’s neck underfoot.
For Dean, Hell was nothing less than the absence of Sam.
“I wanted to save you. Sure, that’s part of the reason. But man, it wasn’t the only reason. It was to save me too.”
“What do you mean?”
Dean didn’t know if he’d ever be able to explain it to Sam, but the person he had become in the future was a different kind of monster. He could hardly recognize himself…could barely understand his own motivation. The person that was left for Lucifer to kill was nobody he’d ever wanted to be.
“I was lost like you were,” Dean said, trying to keep it simple. There was no point in telling Sam more than that.
“How bad was it?”
“That’s what I thought.”
“It wasn’t you, Sam. He wasn’t you.”
“He’s always been a part of me, Dean.”
And honest to God, Dean had no idea what to say to that.
“Maybe, I should try to go for help. Your fever’s up.”
“You planning to walk in that weather?” Dean asked, pushing away Sam’s groping hand. “Quit feeling me. Sam, you’d need a boat.”
“Then I’ll find a boat,” Sam retorted. “I mean it, Dean. You’re sick as hell, and we’re wide open out here. Any evil sonofabitch could come and pick us off.”
“No evil sonofabitch is stupid enough to go out in this kind of weather. Just try and get some sleep.” Dean hugged himself, trying to keep warm. He rested his head on the steering wheel for support.
“I don’t want to sleep any more.”
Dean couldn’t really blame him for that. But he’d been thinking about Sam and his visions and what they’d been like before.
“Hey Sam—your visions were always about someone dying. Why’d they change?”
Sam stared back with bleak eyes. “Someone did die, Dean,” and Dean didn’t want to ask what that meant.
Dean really didn’t want to talk about it any more.
The flu thing was pretty disgusting. At one point, Dean had a fit of coughing so violent that he had to puke out the window but at least it was bile and not blood. Luckily, the water flowing down the gulch washed it away, but the whole thing seemed to convince Sam that Dean was going to die of pneumonia if they didn’t get help.
Dean really didn’t think he was going to die…he knew what dying was like better than anyone. But the combination of the flu, the rain, and being stuck in the rank, humid car with a freaking-out Sam was beginning to make Dean think that dying might not be his worst option.
But Sam was determined to go. Before he took off, he found Dean another blanket and insisted that Dean keep his gun out, as if something was going to gank him the second Sam left him alone. The idiot was hardly able to stand upright in the rain and wind, but Dean watched Sam disappear down the road into the murky gray.
Less than an hour later, Sam came staggering back to the car, shivering, bleeding, and soaked to the skin. The gash on his shoulder was visible through his torn shirt. Said it was like a maelstrom just a mile up the road—tree branches and fence posts flying through the air like javelins, the rain coming down like hail. The road ahead of them was washed out, and he’d hardly made it back. There was no way of getting through until things dried out.
Sam was hurt and cold. Dean couldn’t fix that but he made Sam share his blanket. Really, there was nothing left to do but wait out the storm.
Sam had been reciting all the things they needed to do once they got back to some semblance of civilization. Dean hadn’t really been listening. His fever was up again, and the last thing he wanted was to listen to Sam obsess over things they couldn’t do a damn thing about. Better to think about things he could fix, so he was busy estimating how long it would take to get a replacement alternator for a ’67 Chevy when it happened.
There was a flash of lightening, and for a stunned moment, Dean wondered if it had struck them because Sam cried out and doubled over, fists grinding against his eyes. Then he slumped against the door, eyes unseeing staring right through Dean.
Dean tried shouting and shaking him, but Sam had checked out. For all Dean knew, Lucifer had snatched his soul right out from under him.
Suddenly, it was like Bobby’s panic room all over again. Sam’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he went stiff as a board before his body started jerking in rapid convulsions. It was some kind of seizure but not as violent as before, and it was all Dean could do to hold onto him.
The convulsions went on long enough that Dean was a heartbeat away from tossing free choice out the window and jumping on the destiny bandwagon. Michael could come on down… Something was trying to steal his brother, and if Dean needed an archangel to get him back, then so be it.
But before Dean had a chance to do anything, Sam started to come out of it. Blood was flowing again—eyes and ears and nose—even more than the first time, and it was distracting enough that Dean didn’t realize at first that Sam was sobbing.
“Sam? It’s okay. It’s over now, you’re okay,” he babbled, not knowing what else he could do but hold him tighter.
Sam tried pulling away, looking as shattered as if the world really had come to an end.
“I killed you,” he said almost accusingly. “I broke your neck. You were there—you watched it.”
Dean exhaled harshly and it sounded a little too much like a sob. “It wasn’t you. It wasn’t me either. We’re not them.”
“I don’t know who I am anymore, Dean!” Sam was way past panic and was trying to get away. Dean didn’t like the wild look in his eyes. “I don’t know what I am.”
“You’re Sam.” Dean tugged him close again, deciding to ignore the fact that Sam was getting blood and snot all over him. “And I’m me, and it’s gonna be okay because those sons of bitches don’t know what to do with either one of us.”
“Do you promise?” Sam asked brokenly. “Are you sure?”
It was what Sammy had asked him a hundred times a day when they were kids.
Will everything be all right? Will we be okay? Do you promise?
“Yeah, Sam, I promise. Everything’s going to be okay.”
Later, Dean had to ask, “Sam…your mojo…you know—exorcising demons, all that crap…”
“I don’t know if it’s back.” Sam had been listlessly staring out the window for over an hour even though there was nothing to see but fog.
“How come you don’t know?”
“I haven’t tried.”
Sam turned and looked at Dean like he was the crazy one. “Because you don’t want me to. And because I don’t want to. It’s wrong.”
“Oh. Okay, then.”
Dean didn’t know how anything so damn complicated could be so simple. Or on the other hand, how anything so simple could be so freakin’ hard to understand. But that was Sam in a nutshell.
It was what Dean was counting on…that the angels and demons wouldn’t be able to figure out his little brother any more than he could.
Dean woke up knowing that something was wrong.
The car was doing things that cars weren’t supposed to do. It was pitching drunkenly sideways and up and down. Dean’s stomach rolled ominously but he fought off the urge to be sick. He turned to ask Sam what the hell was going on, but the passenger seat was empty. Dean was alone in the car.
Frantically, Dean rolled down his window. He could hear something—it sounded different than rain, more like when Sam left the bathroom door open with the shower running.
He looked down, and the ground was missing, replaced by dark water. Dean scrubbed at his eyes in case it was some kind of fever dream, but he didn’t wake up. The world had turned to water and somehow the Impala had turned into a boat while he’d been asleep.
And Sam was gone. That was bad—really, really bad because flash floods weren’t something to mess around with. The Impala weighed a ton. They didn’t make cars like her any more. There was no way Sam would have left Dean alone to sink in a flood. For all he knew, Sam could be out there drowning, sucked down by the brown current.
Dean was just about ready to jump overboard to look for him, when Sam appeared at the passenger window and hauled himself in, practically landing on Dean’s lap. Panting and gasping, Sam took huge breaths of air before shaking his head like a dog, drenching Dean as if he wasn’t wet enough already. But honestly, Dean was too stunned to care.
“What the hell’s going on?”
“It’s a flood, but we’re floating…we’re okay,” Sam gasped, pulling back from Dean. “The water’s not that deep, but I hardly could keep up with the car.”
Dean stared at him slack-jawed before snapping, “Cars don’t float, Sam. They sink. That’s why you’re supposed to get out of the damn car during a flood.”
“But we’re not sinking. I went out to check.”
“You’re not supposed to go swimming in a flash flood. Don’t you know it only takes six inches of water to sweep someone away?”
Sam looked highly skeptical. “Six inches? That doesn’t sound right.”
“It was on “Imminent Disasters.” That show’s always right—they know their stuff, Sam. We’ve got to get out of here.”
“But Dean, I think we’re okay.”
“That doesn’t make any sense. C’mon. We’ve got to make it to the shoulder…maybe we can climb up the bank.” Dean grabbed Sam’s arm, but Sam shook him off.
“I already told you—we’re not sinking. We’re kind of going in the right direction. I think we should stay in the car.”
“So you’re saying this is a good thing…the fact that we’re being washed down the road?” Dean asked incredulously.
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
Dean rubbed his hands over his eyes, trying not to let his muddled brain just blithely accept what Sam was saying. Thinking wasn’t coming easy, but it didn’t seem right to just sit in a car in the middle of a flash flood.
“It’s not safe…”
But Sam said quietly, “He’s not going to let anything happen.”
“You know. Him.”
Dean tried to calm down his breathing, but it wasn’t easy. He could feel the air wheezing in and out of his burning lungs. “By him, I take it you mean your stalker from hell.”
“He won’t let me go, Dean. He whispers in my ear.” Sam looked down, and Dean could see the quiet desperation on his brother’s face. “He still doesn’t know where I am, but he’s getting closer.”
Dean needed to think. “Both sides want to use us. They want to keep us alive. We’ve just got to use that to our advantage.”
Sam nodded and pushed wet bangs out of his face. “So can’t we just…float?”
It still didn’t seem like a good idea, but Dean stuck his head out his open window and looked down at the brown current that was moving them along. It didn’t look too deep—just deep enough to carry them down the road.
On the other side, a crooked sign read, “Blackwater—food and gas.”
“Well, that’s appropriate,” Dean muttered and released the emergency brake to try and make it easier on his car. “Okay. Let’s just see how this goes.”
The flood was obviously not in a hurry. At first they’d been moving pretty fast, but after a while, the water slowed down. It was a little boring, like going rafting down a river without a current.
“I could get out and push,” Sam offered at one point, but Dean grabbed hold of him and wouldn’t let go. Yeah, it was a little clingy, but he was sick and couldn’t be held responsible.
“No. Stay with me,” Dean said, feeling very much like a five year old, but he didn’t care.
“Dean, it’s hardly raining. I don’t think the water would come up past my knees.”
“Six inch rule, Sam. Besides, drowning is the worst way to go. You don’t want me to carve on your headstone that you died ugly.”
“Like you’d buy me a headstone…” Sam grumbled. But he stayed where he was, reaching over to feel Dean’s forehead again. “Your fever feels like it’s coming down.”
Dean thought it over. “Maybe. I haven’t coughed in a while. Hey—guess this means I didn’t need the flu shot after all.”
“Dean. Next year, get the shot.”
“That’s assuming there’s gonna be a next year for the flu.”
“The flu will always be with us. Call me an optimist.”
Dean was about to call him something else, when the car abruptly heaved, jerking to a violent stop. Sam’s head hit the windshield, but Dean caught himself on the steering wheel. Even though his forehead was bleeding, Sam had the door open before Dean had time to tell him to keep it closed. But Sam was already out and walking around.
He came back to the driver’s side and announced triumphantly, “We’re on dry ground. We must have floated five miles.” Dean rolled his eyes. Sam would act like he’d planned the flood himself.
The ground wasn’t exactly dry but it wasn’t a river either, so Dean cautiously stuck a foot in before finally getting out of the car. Sam kept trying to help him as if Dean couldn’t walk on his own, but Dean didn’t protest much. He was feeling better but was achy and lightheaded after sitting for so long.
Sam’s face was still a mess, but Dean was pretty damn disgusting as well. A light drizzle was falling… maybe the rain would wash them clean. Which was fine by Dean—they needed all the help they could get.
Sam looked at him worriedly. “Why don’t you stay with the car? I’ll get help.”
“No way.” Dean wasn’t giving in on this one. “You’re not going by yourself. We go together.”
Sam rolled his eyes but didn’t really argue, so Dean was pretty sure he called it right—Sam didn’t want to be alone either. Dean had no idea what it would be like to have the Prince of Darkness whispering in his ear, but he knew one thing. It wasn’t good for either of them to be on their own.
They hadn’t gone more than a hundred feet before the road turned a corner.
“What the hell…” Dean was having a hard time believing what he was seeing.
The flood had delivered them to a crappy one-street town complete with a wooden sign that read, “This little TOWN is HEAVEN to us. Please don’t drive like HELL through it.”
“I guess this has to be Blackwater,” Sam said. “It doesn’t make sense. It really didn’t show up on my GPS.”
“Count your blessings, dumbass. Just because it didn’t show up, doesn’t mean it’s not real” Dean tried to sound cool about it, but it weren’t for the freakin’ plague, he would be jumping up and down and pounding Sam on the back. Instead, he punched Sam on the arm as hard as he could.
“Ow!” Sam complained, glaring and rubbing his arm, but Dean wasn’t paying any attention. From where he stood, there were plenty of blessings that needed counting.
Wonder of wonders, the town had a gas station with a tow truck parked in front, a little store next to it, and a diner attached to a motel at the other end of the street. Dean could see a half-lit neon sign in front advertising free wireless and fresh pie.
Maybe they’d made it to heaven after all.
“Told ya things would be all right, didn’t I?” Dean crowed. “They’ve got pie. This is awesome.”
“Dean…this town isn’t supposed to be here.”
“It’s the apocalypse, dude. Signs and wonders—things are gonna come up that don’t make sense.”
“Yeah. Bad things, not good things. It’s the apocalypse.”
But Dean didn’t really care. He was done thinking about the end of the world for the day. He’d survived a plague, a flood, a broken alternator, and a little brother having visions of a fucked up future. He’d worry about what it meant tomorrow.
“Hey Sam. Let’s hit up the garage first and then go see if there’s any Nyquil in this town. I could sleep for a week.”
Dean started to walk ahead, but Sam wasn’t moving. He just kept standing there with that look on his face. Dean sighed. Sam never made things easy—but then again, he wouldn’t be Sam if he did.
Sam was staring down at his muddy, soaked shoes—wouldn’t look him in the eye. “I just need to know. Was I—was I there at all…you know—when you found me…when you found him…in the future?”
“God, Sammy. I’m beat…. can’t we talk about this tomorrow?”
Sam shook his head. “I need to know. If I have another vision, I want to know what I’m seeing. I’ve just gotta know what part of him is me before he comes to me again.”
Dean shivered and it wasn’t from fever this time. He was going to kill that fallen sonofabitch if it was the last thing he did.
“You were gone, Sam. You weren’t there. But that’s their future, not ours. We’re not going to let it happen. Everyone keeps saying it’s all about us—so I say that we take control of this thing. We don’t have to do it their way. We know we’ve already screwed up their plans more than once.”
“How? What do we do?”
Dean swallowed. “Same thing we’ve been doing. Same thing Dad taught us. Kick evil’s ass wherever we can find it. Fight the good fight…all that crap. I figure the apocalypse is going to come to us. We don’t have to go looking for it. We’re here now—this is all we got to worry about.” He looked at Sam cautiously to see how his speech was going.
Sam nodded but looked away. Dean knew his brother, knew Sam needed time to make sense of things. Sam always needed to find the pattern in the chaos, not very easy given the lives they led.
Dean asked gently, “So what do you want to do first?”
“Buy some Nyquil…” Sam almost smiled.
Dean smiled back, glad that Sam was getting into the spirit of things. “Nah. We need to get my baby taken care of first. Then we can get Nyquil and something for your headache. You’re a wreck, dude.” The rain had yet to wash the mess off Sam’s face, and Dean knew from experience that Sam’s visions led to a killer headache for hours afterward. He really thought they’d put all that behind them.
“Do you think we have a chance?”
Dean tried to keep it light. “Come on, man. It’s a Winchester tradition—long odds and lost causes.”
Right on cue, there was a chink in the clouds, a crack in all that gloom, and Dean tilted his face to the sky and stood there for a moment, feeling the sun on his face. Then he started coughing, and Sam was tugging at him again.
“Hey, you should sit down. I’ll take care of the car.”
“Nah. I’m coming with. You’re the one who broke it in the first place. They’d probably talk you into putting in a new transmission…”
“It wasn’t my fault!”
“You were driving.”
“You must be feeling better,” Sam complained, but he took hold of Dean’s arm and started hauling him along.
“Feeling better all the time, Sammy,” Dean said. It was true like a revelation—like the sky breaking wide open.
Because he and Sam deserved a freakin’ ray of sunshine every now and then.