HAIR OF THE DOG Chapters 7 - 12
Sometimes, the cure is worse than the disease ...
Rating: T for nightmarish visions and some bad words
Genre: H/C / Angst
Word Count: 20,500 approx
Disclaimer: Own nothing except my increasingly disturbed mind
Sam whipped round, dropping the razor into the bowl; his heart swelled to bursting as he crouched down beside the bed; "Dean … hey man, talk to me."
Dean blinked slowly, lifting his face towards his brother. "S'mmy?" His voice little more than a croak.
"Oh God," Sam' rubbed a hand over his face, biting back tears as excitement and relief swelled in his chest; "Dean, thank God!"
He grasped Dean's clammy, trembling hand; "how'd ya feel, dude?"
"Like I been run over by a freigh' train …" Dean swallowed hard, shivering slightly.
Sam climbed onto the bed to sit beside his brother. Gathering him up, he propped Dean against his shoulder, hesitating as he groaned quietly at the movement. "Sshhhh, dude, you're okay … you're okay …" He whispered reassuringly, hugging his brother as tightly as he dared, "C'mon man, have a drink."
He held the glass of juice to Dean's lips and smiled as his brother drank greedily.
Unable to contain himself any longer; he yelled at top of his voice, "BOBBY ... TOM …" regretting it instantly as Dean flinched in his arms, spilling orange juice into his lap.
"Sorry, dude!" Sam smiled sheepishly as he thumbed orange droplets from Dean's chin.
Within seconds, two figures thundered into the bedroom, blind panic etched across their faces.
"Look who's awake!" Sam grinned, unable to disguise the overwhelming relief in his voice.
"S'is real?" Dean looked up into his brother's face; weakly clutching a fistful of Sam's T-shirt; his glassy eyes betrayed his devastating, bone crushing exhaustion. Sam grasped Dean's clammy hand, "Yeah dude, no more dreams; it's all real. That's all me."
Bobby stood stunned into silence; smiling broadly as tears glistened in his eyes. "Jeez, boy, you've no clue how glad I am to see ya better."
Tom crouched down beside Dean, "How ya feelin' Dean?" he asked softly, resting a reassuring hand on Dean's shoulder.
Confusion blanked Dean's hollow-eyed face. "Hurtin'," he whispered, looking at the doctor.
Tom squeezed his shoulder, "Where Dean, where does it hurt?"
Dean leaned heavier against Sam, struggling to keep his eyes open; "ev'rywhere; stomach mos'ly."
"That'll be the wound where the thing originally bit you" Tom spoke softly to his patient, "I had to keep the wound open so that I could administer the medicine;" he patted the young hunter's shoulder. "I'm afraid it's gonna smart for a while."
Dean glanced up at Sam.
"Trust me," smiled Sam; "you don't wanna know."
"Apparently, I don't wanna know …" Dean repeated hesitantly for Tom's benefit.
"Nah, probably for the best!" smiled Tom, shaking his head.
Sam continued to hold Dean tightly, watching his brother blinking woozily, biting his lip against his pain as he traced a fingertip along one of the grey streaks across his pale stomach.
He hesitated, clearly deep in thought before glancing up at Sam, "You been drawin' on me?"
Sam looked up at Bobby with a chuckle; "Uh, we've kinda been a bit busy for that sort of thing, haven't we?" Bobby nodded his head in agreement; the broad smile still plastered across his face.
"Good; 'cos my belly's jus' fine just the way it is, don't need no decoration!" Dean tried to laugh, but sucked in a sharp breath instead.
Tom smiled kindly, "those marks are where the poison has spread out from the bite."
Dean's nose wrinkled in disgust. "Ew!" He drew a hand over the grey marks as if he were trying to rub them out. "S'my; my life ain't improved for knowing that."
"They'll fade as the venom leaves your system" Tom reassured, "but you gotta rest Dean. You ain't out of the woods yet – not by a long shot."
Sam stroked Dean's head as he looked across at Tom; "I'll make sure he looks after himself."
"Do I get a say?" Dean snorted, "all you lot fussin' and frettin' aroun' me ain't gonna be good for my nerv ... GAAAAH!"
Even Sam jumped at Dean's yelp when Tom, crouched at the end of the bed, pinched him sharply on the big toe.
"Hey, Doctor Crippen" snorted Dean, "what was that freakin' for?"
"When you first got here, Dean, you were saying you couldn't feel your legs and feet. I take it you felt that!"
"Uh, yeah!" Dean looked warily at the Doctor.
"That's fantastic." Tom smiled.
Dean turned to Sam, not taking his eyes off the Doctor, "Sammy, get him to come up this end of the bed where we can keep an eye on him – I wanna see where his hands are goin' next."
Tom tried and failed to stifle a laugh. "You won't be seeing anything," he said firmly, "because you are going to sleep."
"'m not tired …" Dean slurred through a massive yawn.
"Sure you're not, bro'," Sam grinned, hooking an arm across the back of Dean's neck and gently laying him down.
"B-but I wanna …" Dean's eyes flickered and slowly drooped closed; his body went limp as sleep overtook him.
"Wow," said Bobby with a grin, lifting his cap to scratch his head; "how does anyone go to sleep that quickly?"
Tom looked at his watch as he held Dean's wrist, checking his pulse; when he was satisfied, he turned to Bobby. "Easily; if they're wrecked and exhausted enough!"
He pulled the blankets up over Dean and turned to Sam, "and on the subject, a good few hours shut-eye wouldn't do you any harm either." Sam looked down at his sleeping brother and up at Tom. "I'm not getting a choice here, am I?"
"Nope!" said Tom, pointing his thumb at the other bed.
Bobby patted the younger man on the back; "You've done good, kid. Get some sleep."
Sam nodded and sat on the side of the bed, tugging his shirt off over his head.
Tom and Bobby strolled slowly down the stairs.
"The kid won't stay there" smiled Tom, "we'll go up there in a while and find his ass parked beside Dean, won't we?"
"They can't help it," Bobby stopped on the stairs and turned to his old friend, "the life those boys have had; it would just break your heart." He pondered silently for a while, looking down at his feet.
"I once turned a shotgun on their Daddy;" He shook his head with a smile, "the way he treated those boys. I just couldn't bear it; he didn't mean them any harm, but he was so wrapped up in his own purpose, he may as well have not been there."
He continued with a sigh, "He never let them know how much they meant to him until the day he died; by then it was too late. You've only got to look at Dean to see the damage was done. That boy never had a moment's childhood; not a hug or a kind word a from the day his mother died."
Tom looked at Bobby and smiled, patting him on the shoulder; "they're lucky they've got you, buddy; although I must say, I never had you pegged as such a soft touch!"
Bobby snorted with laughter. "Normally I'm anythin' but; but I don't mind to admit it, those boys, they're like my own – I'd shift heaven and earth for them!"
Bobby continued, warming to his theme; "an' that's exactly why you're gonna find Sam sittin' with his brother; they stick together, through thick and thin. Nothin's ever straight forward or easy for those boys, and Sam'll be frettin' that it can't be this simple. Dean's just gonna get better and then carry on as normal? It jus' don't happen like that for those kids".
"It's rubbin' off on me Tom", Bobby sighed, "I won't be happy until I see that boy up an' about and you give him a clean bill of health."
Tom smiled, "I hope I can do that sometime soon too!"
"I can't shake the feelin' that somethin's gonna kick 'em in the gut before they can put this behind them." Bobby added quietly.
Tom reassured his oppo with a chuckle. "Come on you miserable old bastard; time for a beer!"
The two men laughed together and disappeared into the kitchen.
Bobby crept upstairs to check on the boys later that evening; sure enough, Sam was slumped in the chair beside the bed, arms folded on the mattress against Dean's shoulder. His head rested on his forearms, nestled into the crook of his sleeping brother's neck.
Tip-toeing into the room, Bobby pulled the blanket off the other bed, silently draping it over Sam's shoulders. He shook his head with a smile and closed the door behind him.
Darkness and silence.
A creeping sense of dread rose within him as Dean suddenly became aware he was struggling to breathe. He tried to gulp in precious mouthfuls of air, but something was obstructing his nose and mouth;
He gagged around the obstruction; heck, what was that? Rope? Fur?
He gasped as his chest began to ache, heart pounding. 'No, no … I'm getting better … not another nightmare, please…' Tears began to sting as he swallowed back a quiet sob; 'no, this was so not fair …'
Why the hell did he have a mouthful of fur? Something was pressing heavily on him; smothering him - what was it? A werewolf? Black dog? A freakin' bear?
His eyes snapped open, focussing slowly through the moonlit darkness and as the fog of sleep receded, it gradually became clear; he had been sleeping with his face smooshed hard against the top of his brother's shaggy head.
Squirming away from the unruly mop, he rolled onto his back trying not to disturb his sleeping brother. He picked at stray hairs that clung to his lips and nose "get a friggin' haircut, Sammy", he whispered under his breath, quietly chuckling at his own panic, chest expanding deeply as he pulled in a beautiful, life-giving, calming breath.
Dean laid back and closed his eyes, soothed by the soft huff of his brother's breathing.
The familiar and comforting smell of Bobby's yard; of oil, rust and rubber tyres wafted through the room riding on a cool breeze from the open window which ghosted across his face and shoulders. He shifted slightly under the blankets, groaning as the movement aggravated the throbbing ache which racked his body. Sam shifted at the sound and Dean froze, holding his breath in silence until he was sure Sam was still sleeping, undisturbed.
And now, he needed a pee. Just fan-frickin'-tastic.
He didn't want to dwell too much on how this particular little issue might have been addressed during the past few days when he was floating around in downtown nightmare central, but now he was in control, and HE was damn well going to deal with it.
He stared through the darkness at the ceiling and considered his options; he could ask Sammy for help. Sammy would help, of course, without hesitation; but he was exhausted and Dean decided there was no way he was going to wake him. Eventually, he sighed, angrily scolding himself; 'pull yourself together you freakin' girl; a quick walk along the landing to the bathroom, how hard can it be?'
Shakily, he pulled the blankets back and swung weak and wobbly legs over the side of the bed, reassuring himself how it shouldn't be too much of a problem since doctor psycho proved that his legs were working again. He lay on his side for a moment, panting weakly and relishing the feeling of his feet on the floor, before tackling the next challenge of sitting up unaided.
Clutching a protective arm over his sore midriff, he managed to ease himself into a sitting position, regretting it immediately as the room spun wildly, taking his stomach along for the ride.
He swallowed back the resulting nausea, scanning the room for a trashcan or some similar receptacle within easy reach; closing his eyes and breathing deeply, he clung to the bed while his feeble and exhausted body accustomed itself to being vertical once more.
"Y'ok dude?" A soft voice behind him.
He grimaced on hearing Sam's voice and inwardly cursed himself for making such a meal of sitting up that he had woken his brother. "'M good Sammy, go back to sleep!" he murmured, "jus' need to take a leak."
He felt a hand on his back; "you won't make it on your own, you're not strong enough."
"'M ok, jus' bit dizzy."
Sam leaned over watching Dean as he sat hunched over the side of the bed clutching his head, swallowing spasmodically. "You okay man; you gonna puke?" he asked quietly, reaching for the trashcan.
The response was a silent and barely perceptible shake of the head.
Dean sighed on hearing the chair creak as Sam stood up; "c'mon man, let's go". He felt a hand on his back and looked up regretfully at his brother.
"Sorry dude, guess that freakin' lizard thing took more out of me than I thought."
Sam hooked an arm across his brother's back and hoisted Dean's not insubstantial weight into a standing position with a strained grunt. Dean leaned heavily on his brother's solid presence as they inched their way down the landing, pausing briefly outside the door to Bobby's room to listen to the impressive snores emanating from within.
"Sounds like our last troll hunt" whispered Sam with a grin.
As they reached the bathroom door Dean turned to his brother, trying to wriggle free of the iron grip; "I got it from here, dude; 'm not so wrecked that I need you to hold ev'rythin' up." Sam opened his mouth to protest, but then closed it again when he realised he had to give Dean the chance to preserve what little dignity he had left.
"Okay" Sam whispered, carefully letting go of his brother, "but, take it easy – sit down."
"Something already did, and that didn't turn out so well!" Sam hissed around the bathroom door.
"Shut up - you'll wake the king of the trolls," Dean whispered back over his shoulder, swaying precariously as he slowly inched his way into the bathroom, gripping the walls and the cistern.
Sam watched him from the landing.
"close the friggin' door," Dean huffed petulantly.
"Okay" Sam sighed, pulling the door closed, "but I'm staying right here." he leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes to wait while Dean took care of business.
"m'done," the voice was barely audible from behind the bathroom door.
"need a hand dude?" Sam instantly regretted his choice of phrase.
"Yeah, but not yours …" came the croaked response.
The door slowly opened, and Dean stood before him leaning heavily on the doorframe, strengthless legs slowly buckling as he clung weakly to the wall. Sam couldn't help but smile at the sight; "c'mon dude, let's get you back to bed", he grinned, still high on the joy of having a recovering brother.
He threaded his long arm around Dean's back once again, and pulled the boneless body close into him. Together they stumbled back along the landing to the bedroom, tiptoeing past the darkness of Bobby's room. "I feel like billy goats gruff ..." Sam whispered, looking down at his brother, his face buried into Sam's shoulder. Sam smiled, the man was almost asleep standing up.
On reaching the bedroom, Sam juggled his limp burden to free up a hand and pushed the bedroom door. He needed to get Dean back to bed, he was getting cold.
As the door swung open, Sam stopped abruptly in his tracks; his hunters instinct tingling wildly. He pulled Dean's barely conscious form closer and tighter into his side.
Something was so very badly wrong.
Standing in the doorway, Sam squinted through the darkness, his arm instinctively tightening round his brother's chest, pulling him closer, feeling Dean flinch as the motion pulled on his wound. He slowly shuffled sideways so that he was standing partly in front of Dean, his body forming a barrier between Dean and whatever was in that room.
"S'matter S'my?" Dean's strengthless voice whispered over his brother's shoulder.
"Shh;" Sam scanned the room, his hackles rising as his sense of unease deepened.
The room, although dark, was well lit by moonlight which threw a hazy grey glow across the two unkempt beds, the glass of water on Dean's bedside table, the chair where Sam had spent most of the night. Both brothers watched silently, staring intently into the room, flinching as the curtain fluttered at the open window.
"Sammy, whas'matter?" Dean asked again; Sam's unease seemed to have woken him a little, the voice sounded more alert; and he seemed to be standing under some of his own steam again.
"I think there's something in the room," Sam whispered cautiously.
"Don't know – but it can't be good."
Sam's eyes darted around the room; he could swear he saw something moving in his peripheral vision, something that was there, but wasn't; and the smell - sure, the smell of Bobby's yard was something they were used to; it seeped into their bones and skin, they came away from Bobby's house smelling of wrecked vehicles, but this was different; there was something else in the mix, something sour, salty; something very, very wrong.
He briefly turned to Dean, "you ok bro'?" Dean stared straight past him with eyes wide as saucers, and nodded silently and slowly; "Sam," he whispered; "look at the windowsill…"
They both squinted through the darkness at the windowsill; there was a dark, wet smear across it, which continued down the wall most of the way the floor.
Then they saw it. On the floor, just in front of the closest bed, about three yards in front of them; a narrow, coiled shadow.
Sam gasped and abruptly slammed the door shut, staggering backwards tugging Dean with him as the door clattered loudly under the weight of a heavy blow which slammed against it from the other side.
They stumbled back across the landing away from the pounding door and burst into Bobby's room. "Bobby!" Sam yelled, switching on the light and decanting his brother down heavily on the end of the bed across the shocked older man's feet.
Bobby scrambled out from under his quilt, a dishevelled figure in a vest which appeared to be held together by coffee stains. He covered his eyes, blinking blearily through the light; "what the hell ...?" he squinted at Dean, half sitting, half sprawled on the bed, and up at Sam; he was too close to the edge of sleep to be able to formulate the words.
"It's a Lyndworm," Sam gasped; "yeah, an' it's in our friggin' room," Dean added hoarsely.
Bobby tugged his feet out from under Dean's sprawled legs, and stared through sagging sleep-muzzed eyes at the brothers as if they were mad; "W-what?"
"A Lyndworm, in our room Bobby;" Sam scraped an agitated hand across his face, "we gotta deal with it before it gets out," he shouted over the increasingly furious clattering.
The crashing against the rattling door was continuous – it was clear the door wasn't going to stand up to much more punishment.
"But Sam, those things are friggin' enormous, it couldn't possibly get into the house."
"This one isn't, it looks pretty small compared to the other one we wasted," muttered Dean. "Yeah, but it still sounds like a vicious sonofabitch; listen to that," Sam tilted his head urgently towards the furious clattering at the door across the landing.
A head suddenly appeared round the door. It was Tom; "hey, what the hell's going on – what's that noise?" He looked down at Dean sitting, heavy eyed and shivering on the bed.
"We think we've got a Lyndworm problem;" Bobby looked up at his old friend.
Bobby turned to Sam, "Sam, get Dean down into the panic room; I'll deal with our reptile problem."
"No Bobby, I'll …"
Tom cut him off, "Sam, we can't risk Dean - he's not strong enough to fight it off or, God forbid, take another bite - now get your ass down there and take ya brother out of harm's way."
"I'll be ok, I don' need …" Dean began irritably. "Move it," yelled Bobby.
Sam nodded sharply as Bobby clambered out of bed and reached clumsily for a pair of pants.
"C'mon bro", Sam offered his hands to Dean, "let's get you safe."
"Hate this," snarked Dean; standing up on shaky legs, and gripping Sam's arms as they made their way to the top of the stairs. When they reached the top step, Dean hesitated, swaying slghtly; "dizzy," he grunted, trying not to look down the staircase.
Sam realised he was going to have to pick his brother up and carry him down the stairs – there was no time for dignity or pride; Dean could punch him for it when he had his strength back; but that was a moot point if that thing in the room managed to get hold of them, as he bent down to hoist Dean over his shoulder, there was a cracking smash as the door exploded outwards.
Sam turned abruptly, losing his footing in the process, and Dean watched in horror was his brother tumbled backwards down the stairs.
"S'MMY!" he cried out, reaching out forlornly to his brother's flailing hands as he fell; not noticing the sinuous bodies which burst with liquid swiftness from the room, and Dean suddenly found himself crouching and pinned into the corner by not one, but two flickering, indistinct forms looming over him; they appeared to be around as long as he was tall, their bodies about the thickness of his bicep, the sour odour of their clammy scales and toxic breath overwhelming him. Behind them he could see Bobby and Tom watching, paralysed in horror from the bedroom door.
Dean stared, breathless with dread at four glittering amber eyes which swayed hypnotically in front of him; he cursed the fact that his legs were too weak for him to try to stand, to get away, to help his brother; he was trapped helplessly against the wall, and glancing down the stairs, he saw Sam was clearly hurt.
"S'mmy" he whispered, "y-you ok?"
"…think I broke my arm," came the dazed response from the bottom of the stairs.
The two fluid forms edged closer to him, their mottling, blurring outlines teasing his vision, making him feel giddy and sick. Closer and closer they advanced, as he shrank further back away from them, cowering into the corner until he could feel their warm clammy scales against his skin, and feel their flickering forked tongues exploring his face.
He could see Bobby edging toward him, a knife in his hand.
"Bobby, NO!" he hissed, as one of the creatures turned and lunged towards the older man with a violent hiss sending Bobby stumbling backwards. "You can't take them both."
Casting his eyes to the side, Dean could see Sam edging up the stairs on his knees, left arm tucked protectively into his side. A vivid purple bruise was blossoming across his cheekbone.
"Sam, NO!" barked Dean, "keep back".
One of the creatures pressed it's head against his shoulder, it's sinuous form worming bonelessly around the crook of his neck; Dean's breathing hitched as he heard it's hiss and felt it's tongue flickering against his ear, he cringed and closed his eyes, expecting the worst.
The two slithering bodies enfolded him, as he curled up, burrowing into the corner; he gritted his teeth, gagging with revulsion as their forked tongues explored every inch of his face.
For the longest time, no-one dared to breathe; helpless in the face of these two lightening-quick predators; scared to move in case it resulted in another bite which they all knew would spell the end for Dean.
Then Tom broke the silence.
"Oh my God."
Bobby turned to him, "what?"
"They're her young."
Dean squinted desperately at Bobby and Tom from within the knotted slithering mass of reptilian bodies. "What?" he croaked.
"Think about it," Tom continued breathlessly, "most hunters go their entire lives without seeing one of these things. You've just wasted one and now you've got two potted versions on your ass." He turned to Bobby, "That's no co-incidence."
"Get to the point," gasped Dean, squirming under the onslaught to try to catch a glance at Sam who was still crouching awkwardly halfway up the stairs, his horror-stricken eyes fixed unblinking on Dean.
"So, are you saying these two are out to get revenge on their mother's killers?" Bobby couldn't keep the fear out of his voice.
"No," Tom said "look at them, they're not trying to harm him - they're not strong enough; they're trying to stay close to him."
He looked at Bobby's puzzled stare; "I've heard of this in infant animals before - I wouldn't mind betting they're newly hatched."
"Bobby, they've imprinted on him" He continued;
"They think he's their mother".
There was a brief silence as Tom's words sunk in.
It was Dean that spoke up first. "what the f…?" Sam had to concede that he sounded more alert than he had done at any time over the last few days; that had to be a good thing, hadn't it?
"I can't be their friggin' mother!" he spluttered in incoherent outrage, manoeuvring his arm clumsily through the undulating coils with a pained wince and gesticulating wildly to the assembled men.
"Well, think about it," replied Tom calmly, "their mother injected a shitload of her venom into you; I've just spent the last three days shooting you up with her blood. You probably smell exactly like their mother."
"Oh thanks," snorted Dean sourly. He glanced down the stairs to see Sam wincing as he stifled a snigger; he couldn't believe it. His brother - his so-called devoted little brother, the little snot who was supposed to care so much for his big brother - was laughing at him!
Tom continued; "Sam said he loaded jars of the mother's blood in the back of the Impala before you left; I'm willing to bet they smelt that and hitched a lift; maybe in the trunk, and of course, you wouldn't have seen them;" he looked at the flickering, slithering shapes that mottled and blurred as they writhed and coiled smoothly over Dean's grey T shirt, his black boxers and his bare legs; "they're practically invisible!"
Dean's weary green eyes were so wide, there seemed to be a very real danger that they might fall out of his face.
"No!" he snorted, glaring up at Tom, wriggling weakly as he tried unsuccessfully to worm his way out of the loving coils of his brood, "you don' get it, Doctor Doolittle; I can't be their mother 'cos I'm a friggin' dude! I'm not exactly lactating at the moment …"
Bobby and Tom grimaced in unison at the image.
Recovering his thought processes, Tom continued; "that doesn't matter to them," he explained, "you're something warm with a heartbeat and you smell of their mother. That's all they need; that's all any newborn needs." he continued, "anyway, they're reptiles, they don't need milk; they need someone tear up their prey and chew it up a bit so it's soft enough for them to eat."
Sam's voice drifted up from the staircase, "I thought reptiles just laid their eggs then cleared off and left them to it?"
Tom warmed to his theme, "most do; you're right Sam, but some species are very attentive mothers; crocodiles and alligators for example."
"Oh, well, there you go – I never knew that."
Dean's head swivelled between the exchange, his face sporting an expression of outraged disbelief; "Excuse me David freakin' Attenborough" he snapped, "while this biology lesson is very interesting an' all that, shouldn't we be thinking of a way to get these freakin' things away from me so we can gank 'em?"
He yelped sharply as a head disappeared up the front of his T shirt; "jeez S-AH-AH-AAM, their freakin' tongues are going places I - GAAAH - don't wanna even think about!"
Bobby had been spending the last couple of minutes trying his best not to laugh, he eventually composed himself enough to speak up. "Well, that's not so easy, see," he rubbed his beard thoughtfully, "you're Mommy, so you're untouchable, but us; we're fair game, so they won't think twice about nippin' any of us."
"You're freakin lovin'this … a-aaah-AAAH-ren't you?" Dean scowled, wincing and gyrating furiously as the creatures slithered and writhed over and around his body; he clutched his side as the gymnastics aggravated the barely healing wound that their real mother had put there.
Tom continued, a picture of cool professionalism; "I don't know if their venom is powerful enough to kill yet, but I wouldn't want any of us to be put in a position to find out!"
He glanced at Bobby, "that said, I need to get past them so I can get a look at Sam's arm".
Squirming frantically, Dean wrestled with the coils, trying to pull and push them away; "gerrof" he squealed between clenched teeth as the one of the creatures continued it's enthusiastic exploration of the undiscovered country inside his T-shirt.
He squinted down the stairs at his giggling brother. "You are so … UUURGH … gonna get AAAAGH … pastin' for this when you're fixed, you bitch," he growled; finding it difficult to sound menacing between the gasps and giggles which were escaping his twitching body as the two mini-Lyndworms continued their irritating embrace.
Despite everything, however, he knew he had to let Tom get a look at his injured brother as soon as possible, and he couldn't risk him being bitten by the creatures. He knew he had to get them out of the way.
He cursed his weak legs; after the trials of the last few days, they were barely strong enough to support his own weight. With the additional weight of the two Lyndworm hatchlings, he had no chance of getting upright. Dear God; where was that friggin' thing going now …? But Sam needed attention, so dignity would have to go and hang itself. He shuffled around until he was on his hands and knees, the two creatures coiled contentedly around his chest like a flotation hoop, one with it's head resting on his shoulder, the other's head still moving around under his shirt, it's flickering, forked tongue against his skin driving him to distraction.
He slowly and shakily crawled in the direction of Bobby's room, "get out the way," he croaked, scowling at the two men, as Tom and Bobby skipped away from him allowing him a clear path through.
Tom sidled round him and headed down the stairs towards Sam. Dean breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Sam was now getting the treatment he needed.
Still standing at a safe distance, Bobby turned to Dean, now collapsed in a heap on his bedroom floor; "You ok kid?"
Dean looked up at him, "yeah, these two aren't gonna bite me or poison me; they're just gonna molest me to death instead." He swatted one of the curious creatures away from his face, then squirmed jerkily as it's sibling went wandering again, " HA-HA-HA … aaand they ain't even bought me dinner first!"
Bobby grinned; "not fer much longer, I've got an iron knife in the barn; I'll go an' grab it for ya." He smiled down at the elder Winchester together with his passengers as he knelt on the floor, listing wearily to starboard.
"OK Bobby, thanks!" Dean called over his shoulder as he looked down at the creatures and shrugged; "Sorry guys."
He took a deep breath, as he began to try to release himself.
He reached up under his T-shirt and with great determination dragged the creature, which seemed to have made itself quite comfortable under there, out; "c'mon you irritatin' little jerk" he snorted, "only certain people get the right to spend any quality time in there – and you ain't one of 'em, creepy!"
Without much experience of handling snakes or lizards Dean had no idea how unco-operative they could be. He pushed, tugged, lifted, twisted, wriggled and stretched to the point of exhaustion, eventually succeeding in extricating the long sinuous body from under his shirt. He held the head end of the body up on outstretched arms in triumph, only to find it's tail end had knotted his ankles together.
Just minutes later, Bobby thundered back up the stairs two at a time, a fearsome looking iron knife in his hand, followed by Tom and a freshly slinged Sam; "how ya doin' dude?" Sam asked in obvious concern.
Dean sat on the floor, the creatures coiled peacefully in a messy, carpet-coloured heap beside him, and looked up at Sam, "Yeah, good dude; how's the arm?"
"Sore, but I'll live." Sam answered the question smartly and without detail; he was distracted by the hollow look in his brother's heavy-lidded green eyes. If he didn't know better, he would have described the look as utter, abject sadness.
Sam wasn't the only one that noticed it.
Bobby dropped heavily to his knees; his face paling rapidly. "They didn't … bite ya?"
Sam's hand raised instinctively to his mouth to stifle a gasp; he shook his head in terrified denial.
Dean shook his head, "nah, they didn't bite me; they did this." He lifted the hem of his T-shirt so that the three assembled men could see his stomach. Where, up until a couple of hours ago, had been an ugly, swollen welt, unbearably painful to the touch and staining his belly with the dark shadow of poison, was smooth, unmarked healthy skin.
I could feel the little sonsofbitches roamin' around down there, an' it's only when I was pullin' 'em off, that I realised, it didn't hurt any more." He looked up at the three stunned men, "an' when I had a look – well, you can see for yourself, it's like it was never hurt; not even a scar."
Tom dropped to his knees, and pressed on the point at which the bite that had given him so much work had been. "it must be something to do with their venom or their saliva or something, it must have neutralised whatever was in their mother's venom."
One of the coiled Lyndworms lifted it's head and glared at Tom, hissing menacingly; Dean reached out, gently resting a hand on it's head, and it settled back down again.
"I-I've never seen anything like it," Tom stammered, "this isn't possible!"
"That's OK," Dean replied, "these things aren't supposed to exist." He gave a quiet mirthless laugh.
"That's what you call hair of the dog," murmured Bobby.
"Hair of the pups," Tom replied, still breathless with disbelief.
Sam looked at Dean in sheer joy, "This is fantastic bro', the best news ever!" He laid his uninjured hand on his brother's shoulder, squeezing gently.
"Yeah;" Dean looked up at his brother, and Sam's joy dissolved rapidly when he saw a tear trickle down Dean's cheek as he spoke.
"Yeah, it's the best news ever," Dean whispered sadly, "an' now, I'm gonna repay them by stabbin' them through the neck with an iron blade".
It seemed like an age before anyone spoke. Sam's jaw seemed to be making it's best effort to work it's way to the floor.
"You're not thinkin' what I think you're thinking'?" Bobby whispered.
"All I'm sayin'," Dean began, knowing that whatever came out of his mouth would sound hopelessly illogical, "is they helped me an' I …" he tailed off, looking up at Bobby, "I don't wanna hurt 'em."
"Couldn't we let them go somewhere remote?" asked Sam.
Bobby looked between the boys, "I can't believe I'm hearin' this," he spluttered, "OK, they did good for you; it's probably some kinda genetic species preservation thing that the child and parents' toxins neutralise each other, or an instinct thing, perhaps the wound tasted or smelled of their mother; I don't know; but whatever, they didn't do it out of love - you gotta know that right?"
Dean shrugged. "Does it matter? I'm healed, who cares about the whys and whatevers."
Bobby continued, a hint of exasperation animating his voice, " OK; look, they think you're their mom; but to every other livin' human on the planet they are a deadly predator. They might be cute now, but these things are gonna grow into thirty foot long killin' machines that make Jaws look like a kid's goldfish."
Dean looked hollow eyed into his lap, his face a mask of conflict; "I know," he said, barely above a whisper.
"Do I need to remind you that if your brother hadn't wasted their mother, they would have been dining out on you?" Bobby continued; "all you would have been to them then would be a source of protein, same as the other poor bastards the mother killed."
Dean looked up at Bobby, he knew the older man was talking sense and he loathed the weakness and emotion that was clouding his own judgement.
Sam knelt down beside his brother and looked up at Bobby, he felt compelled to offer some moral support; "but we don't go around slaughtering alligators just because they kill the odd person…" he knew the argument was lame, but his brother looked so torn, it all but broke his heart; the euphoria from knowing Dean was healed, long gone.
"No," sighed Bobby, "that's a different thing, and you know it Sam; we're not talking about the 'odd' person. Every so many years when these things are active, they kill dozens of people, hundreds even." Bobby continued, "and anyway, you know as well as I do; bears, cougars, alligators, sharks … any creature that turns maneater gets a bullet between it's eyes sooner or later".
Dean spoke up; "well then, let someone else friggin' do it." The words came out in a snarled sob between clenched teeth.
Bobby shook his head; there was overwhelming sympathy in the tired eyes. "OK kid, I appreciate this is putting you in a horrible situation. Let me do it."
"But what if they bite you?" Sam asked.
"He can't do it" Dean's voice interrupted, sounding suddenly calmer; "It's too dangerous, I'm not letting' anyone here take that sort of risk, it has to be me; I'm the only one they won't try to attack."
Tears were flowing freely down Dean's face now, and he was making no attempt to hide them.
Sam leaned in towards the dejected figure and rubbed his back sadly; "Can't we take them away somewhere, miles from anywhere; like in the desert or something, and leave them there?" As soon as the words left his mouth he knew that sentence was possibly a contender for the title of the most stupid thing he had ever said.
Bobby shook his head miserably, "I wish I could think of a solution, really I do, but I don't see that we have a choice."
"We don't" Dean looked up. "Dad wouldn't be sitting here on the floor snivelling like a girl; he'd get straight in there and do the job." he took a deep breath. "We're in the business of protectin' people, not snakes."
The commitment in the words didn't carry through to his tone or his face.
"Yeah, but Dean," Sam began gently.
"Please leave me alone," Dean whispered, "I don't wan' an audience for this."
Sam looked up at Tom, who had been standing discreetly in the doorway keeping well out of the conversation, "Tom, can't you do something?" he pleaded.
Tom looked to Bobby, then back at Sam; "what would you want me to do Sam?"
"Can't you do it humanely?" Sam whispered, "You know, sort of put them to sleep?"
Tom shook his head, the regret clear in his eyes, "Sam, I'm a doctor, not a vet." he shook his head, "I wouldn't have the first idea what to give them and in what quantities to make it completely humane and painless, I couldn't even begin to guess; I'm sorry Sam."
"PLEASE." Dean's voice was clear and sharp; "please, all of you, go away and leave me alone."
Sam looked to Bobby who nodded sadly; he put the knife on the floor at Dean's feet.
"When you're ready son."
Sam stood up, but appeared rooted to the spot. "Dean, let me …"
Sam bent down and squeezed Dean's shoulder, then turned, slowly walking out of the room, ushered by Bobby.
"If you need help, son; just ask … " Bobby spoke softly, there was no response.
The door clicked shut behind them.
Dean looked up to the ceiling and took a long deep breath; he turned to the creatures coiled on the floor beside him; "you two creepy little jerks have thrown a bomb into the middle of my friggin' world," he said softly. "Everything was so simple; we found supernatural stuff, we killed it." He sighed, "an' then you two little sonsofbitches came along, did me a freakin' favour, and now look at me!"
He stared at the motionless scaly knot for a while, "but then I suppose we kinda came along and threw a bomb in the middle of your world; we did kill your Mom; an' lets be honest, I'm a piss-poor substitute!"
Wiping his face, he took a deep breath before continuing; "see, the thing is your mom was one big, scary broad, and she was killin' loads of good people, no doubt to feed your scaly asses; an' the thing is, although you guys are cute now, well, in a kinda creepy, scaly sorta way; you're both gonna grow up to be big an' fierce an' hungry jus' like your Mom." He paused for a moment, "an' it's my monumentally crappy duty to stop that happening."
The two infant Lyndworms remained huddled in an unmoving pile on the floor beside him.
"I wanted to grow up to be jus' like my Dad," Dean muttered absently; "thing is, if my Dad was here, he wouldn't be worrying about the rights and wrongs of it all, he would've iced you by now and just got the job done; oh yeah, he took his duty very seriously, my Dad!" He sighed, "he wouldn't be sitting here on the floor feelin' sorry for himself and whining about how unfair his freakin' life is … so I guess in the end, I didn't grow up to be like to be much like my Dad at all."
He leaned back against the wall.
"An' I can't believe I'm baring my soul to a pair of freakin' lizards."
He looked down at the knife Bobby had left on the floor and felt the bile rise in his throat as he picked it up and stared at the blade. His fingers curled around the handle and he turned to look at the two coiled reptiles, fingers tightening as he leaned in towards them; raising the knife.
He hovered for what seemed like a lifetime; knife poised in his trembling fist, eyes closed. His breathing quickened as his conscience fought for dominance over his father's voice in his head; "if it's supernatural, Dean, we kill it; we don't show mercy, because these supernatural bitches don't show us any, we just do what's necessary …"
Gritting his teeth he felt his bicep clench as he brought the knife down with all his might, grunting as it embedded with a loud 'thud' into the floor, sending a heavy jolt through his body hard enough to make his ribs rattle. His head slumped into his chest; "I can't, can't do it…" he groaned, the tears flowing freely.
He reached out to the two creatures; confusion overwhelming him; what to do? Do what Sam said? Take them out into the wilderness miles from anywhere and let them fend for themselves? The chances were that nature would do the job for him, but that was good right?
He sighed; Bobby would probably hate him forever for doing it; hell, he would hate himself forever for taking such a cowards way out.
He punched the floor beside him; Damnit, Sam was supposed to be the one with the conscience and the feelings and all that woman stuff; pull yourself together Winchester - you'll have to start shavin' your frickin' legs next.
As he gathered up the first scaly body his heart stood still.
As a good couple of hours passed, Sam grew more and more antsy. "I should go up, see if he's OK;" he kept glancing at the stairs, fiddling with his beer bottle, pacing back and forth; "what if one of them turned on him?"
"Will ya sit down;" Bobby snapped, "you heard your brother, he don't want anyone there, he's real cut up about this whole business; he won't appreciate anyone bargin' in on him Sam; not even you."
"It's just a crappy situation all round," sighed Tom from a chair in the corner of the room.
Sam sat at the table and took another swig of his beer before leaping to his feet again, "there must be something we can do, somewhere we can take them; we just need to think logically about this."
"Bobby wearily scraped a hand over his face; "If they stayed that size, then yes; but you must appreciate that more than most; you've seen one of these damn things up close and personal, you've seen the size of it. It's twenty or thirty foot of practically invisible, man eatin' dragon with venomous halitosis and a vile temper; you tell me what we can do with it."
Sam flopped back down into the chair with a defeated sigh; "Sam, these are the creatures that medieval dragon lore was based on; they were so vicious and violent, that in most European lore they were symbols of all mankind's fears; people were rightly terrified of them."
Bobby crossed his arms across his chest and stared at Sam; "You wanna be responsible for unleashing that on the population?"
Suddenly the three men fell silent as they heard a creak on the landing.
They looked up to see Dean making his way slowly down the stairs. Sam leapt out of his chair; "dude, you ok?" he gasped.
"They're dead." Dean announced quietly.
Sam felt the tears prick, and reached out to grasp Dean's slumped shoulder. "You killed 'em?"
Dean shook his head, looking up through hollow eyes at Sam. "I couldn't." His lip curling in self-disgust.
Bobby closed his eyes briefly, then looked at Dean, "So what happened, son?"
Dean shook his head, looking despondently back at Bobby; "... didn't have the stomach."
He tried and failed to read Bobby's expression. "I know, save your breath," he sighed, "you don't have to give me the lecture. You can't hate me any more than I hate myself right now."
He stared defiantly, daring Bobby to shout him down; but the older man spoke calmly and sympathetically. "I don't hate you, kid, just tell me what happened."
Dean shrugged, "dunno; I picked them up, thinkin' they'd wrap themselves roun' me again so I could …" he hesitated, his eyes dropping to the floor in shame, "… take them out to the Impala, to, er, take them away somewhere; but they were all limp an' barely movin', they didn't change colour an' their eyes were all cloudy."
He paused sheepishly to gauge Bobby's reaction to his revelation, but if Bobby were angry or disappointed, he made no show of it.
Dean continued, "I bundled them up on my lap for a bit, thought they might've got cold, I'm sure I read somewhere that reptiles don't like the cold, but they just stayed there, and never moved again. I'm pretty sure they're dead." He murmured.
Bobby glanced across at Tom who was remaining a discreet distance from the exchange hugging his empty beer bottle.
Tom nodded smartly, "I'm on my way," he beckoned Dean, "C'mon Dean, in case I need a bodyguard."
Shrugging his shoulder out of his brother's grasp, Dean trudged up the stairs behind the Doctor.
Watching his brother unenthusiastically climbing the stairs, Sam turned to Bobby; "We should never have asked him to do that," he spat furiously, "look at him; he's in bits."
Bobby sat at the table and sighed heavily; "Sam, you're such an open book. I can read your thoughts as easy as I can read the TV Guide, but your brother; it's so easy to forget what a soft heart he carts around inside that damned suit of armour he wears." He groaned miserably, "this is without a doubt the most crappiest, crapped up situation I have ever gotten into in the whole time I've been doin' this crappy job."
Sam's face softened as he watched Bobby vacantly examining the label on his bottle; "Jeez, we're all like this over two snakes;" he smiled, "God help us if that was two puppies up there!"
"Yep, they're dead alright;" Tom confirmed, trudging back down the stairs alone.
"How?" Bobby and Sam asked in unison.
"Don't know" Tom shrugged, "my guess would be dehydration. Maybe malnutrition;" he shrugged. "Look, they're infants; it's been a week since their mother was killed, I'm guessing they wouldn't have eaten or drunk since then. That little burst of energy when they latched onto Dean was probably all they had left."
"Where is Dean?" asked Sam, "still upstairs; uh, tidyin' up," Tom replied softly.
Sam dashed up the stairs two at a time.
He opened the door slowly and peered cautiously into the room. Dean was sitting slumped on the side of the bed, elbows on his knees, staring at the coiled bodies.
Sam walked over and stared down at the limp grey coil on the floor "Poor little dudes," he sighed, sitting on the bed next to Dean; "I wish we'd never taken this job."
Dean nodded mutely in agreement.
Sam's uninjured arm instinctively moved across his brother's hunched back, feeling Dean's muscles tense at the touch. Sitting together in silence they stared sadly at the creatures until eventually Sam spoke up; "at least they spent the last few minutes of their lives curled up with their Mom."
Dean slowly turned to him, glistening green eyes blazing with anger; "friggin' shit apology for a mother I was, just sat on my ass and watched them starve to death."
Sam leaned against his brother, relishing the closeness; "Dean, they were dead from the moment I killed their mother. If anyone's to blame I am."
Dean looked up and shook his head, "we were on a job; we were gonna kill her one way or the other. I should never have been dumb enough to put you at that sort of risk.
A familiar voice from behind the door chimed in; "I'm gonna knock your damn heads together, if you don't stop blamin' yourselves; neither of you are to friggin' blame. It's just one of the crappy things that goes with the territory in this godforsaken job."
Bobby strode into the room and stood, arms crossed, glaring at the brothers.
"I know that," Dean snapped back, "it's not that I'm angry about." He looked up at Bobby, his tearstained face a mask of anger.
He took a deep breath; "I'm angry because I freakin' care."
Sam and Bobby both stared at Dean.
"I shouldn't care;" Dean shrugged; a scowl crossing his face; "they're friggin' lizards. I'm a hunter, killin' things is what I do; and here I am sittin' snivelling' over 'em like a five year old," he snarled through clenched teeth.
"Dean, you're bein' hard on yourself …" Sam's reply was cut short.
"It's a hard job," Dean snapped back, "we find somethin' Supernatural, we kill it. End of story", he shouted angrily.
Shaking his head, Sam tried to calm his brother, "It's not as simple as that."
"Yes it is; we kill them and we don't show them any mercy, 'cos they don't show us any." Dean snorted.
Bobby smiled, "I've heard those words before, but not from you."
He walked over to the bed, "scoot up" he muttered, waiting for the brothers to shift up and make room. He sat down, turning to face them.
"Now you listen to me, Dean Winchester," Bobby snapped, "the day you stop carin' will be the day you break your momma's heart."
Dean physically jolted at the words; Sam flinched and pulled him closer, squeezing his shoulders.
"All that stuff about not showin' mercy? Those are your daddy's words." Bobby smiled, remembering his old friend, "your daddy was a strong, hard hunter, an' a good, good man, and yes, sometimes he did have a strange sense of persective; but you both know as much as I do, he was all broken up inside." Bobby looked straight into the bemused green eyes which were fixed on him; "sometimes he did things that a rational man wouldn't have done; but he only ever did the things he did because he thought they were the right things to do; he cared – in his own way."
The brothers sat in silence.
"I remember something else your daddy said once;" Bobby smiled, "He told me all about your mom and told me she was beautiful in every way it was possible for a person to be beautiful;" he smiled, "he told me she cared so deeply about everyone and everything around her; the love that came from within her was so strong you could almost hold it."
Both Winchesters stared at Bobby, Sam absently stroking his brother's back, like two children listening to a bedtime story.
"Dean, you're not just your daddy's son, you're your momma's son too." Bobby continued, " in fact, you're far more like her than you were ever like your daddy; you look like her, you think like her and whether you like it or not, you have her kind and loving nature, so suck it up, tough guy!"
"I've seen you, torturing yourself over bein' too late to save someone, or killin' an innocent." He smiled, "You act the macho meathead, like nothing' matters to you, jus' brushin' off tragedy with a smartass comment and a table full of shots, but the fact is, you just ain't very good at it; everyone who knows you knows when you're hurtin' boy.
Dean looked up to Bobby, the tears glistening in his eyes; "But Bobby, you can't do the job when you're all wrapped up carin' about everythin', it's stupid; it clouds your judgement. I mean, perfect example; look at the state of me, frettin' over two dead lizards."
Bobby smiled, "Bein' a good hunter don't mean you have to be uncaring; that just makes you cruel, turns you into a monster like Gordon Walker." He explained, "bein' a good hunter means sometimes havin' to make crappy horrible decisions for the greater good; an' sometimes it hurts you so bad, it all but breaks your heart." he sighed, "Those poor little fellers did you a good turn, and you saw something in them other than bein' evil scaly maneaters; you cared about them, and it hurt you to think you would have to waste 'em."
"Yeah, all very virtuous an' all, but what good is it if in the end I didn't have the jewels to do it?" sighed Dean.
"Boy," snorted Bobby, "I'd rather see you agonising and frettin' over doin' something unsavoury, I'd rather see you refuse to do it than see you just marchin' in and doin' it without a second thought."
"Bein' able to care makes you examine all possibilities an' alternatives before you jump in and fire the gun. It makes you a good, strong, FAIR hunter."
He prodded Dean in the chest, "an' you, princess, are a good, strong, fair hunter, you friggin' moron."
"Do you think I wanted you to kill those things, 'specially after what they did for you?" Bobby asked, "heck, I'd have made a pen in the barn for 'em myself if I knew they weren't gonna grow big enough to eat the house – with me in it."
"So, I don't wanna hear any more of this crap about not carin', otherwise, God help me, I'll find the nearest Lyndworm an' feed you to it myself."
Dean looked up at the older man and gave a wet-eyed smile.
Bobby got up with a grunt, patting the elder Winchester on the shoulder; "Now let's get ourselves downstairs and give those critters a hunters' send off, c'mon we'll drink to their scaly asses with a cold one".
Tom hung around for a couple more days, keeping in the background, quietly, subtly keeping an eye on Dean. When he was confident the elder Winchester was completely mended, nad sam's arm wasn't going to give any trouble he announced that he was heading home.
"I've spent so long here lookin' after your pretty, pretty ass, I'll probably get back and find a pile of dead hunters on my doorstep," he laughed, standing in the yard, shaking hands with Bobby and the Winchesters.
"Hey, you've been freakin' privileged to be anywhere near my awesome ass, dude," Dean countered.
Sam laughed, "that's not what you said when you were takin' his temperature, was it Tom?"
Dean's eyes widened in horror as the three men doubled up laughing.
As the laughing subsided, along with the elder Winchester's blush, Tom spoke up; "seriously man, I'm so glad you're better, it really was touch and go for a time, but you are one tough, stubborn sonofabitch!"
"Yeah, thanks to you", Dean smiled sadly, "an' I did have a bit of help from a couple of friends."
"Now, next time we meet can we do it over a beer?" Said Tom with a smile, "not a damn sick bed."
"You got it!" smiled Sam, "an' thanks - again."
Tom turned to walk away, then hesitated. "Oh Dean," he grinned, turning back to face the three men; "don't worry ... in the ear" he mouthed with a grin, sticking his finger in his ear.
Dean stared nonplussed; "what's he mean?" He turned to Sam, "what's he talkin' 'bout?"
Sam and Bobby exchanged glances with a laugh and walked back into the house leaving the elder Winchester standing, perplexed, in the yard as Tom's truck pulled away with a honk.
Another day passed before the Winchesters took their leave from Bobby's with fond farewells and hit the road again.
"Feels good to be back in my girl," Dean smiled broadly, "it's been too long."
Sam smiled, turning to his brother, "You owe her an apology dude; last time you were in her you spent the best part of the trip puking all over her - an' me!" Bobby was all day out here cleanin' her up while you were out of it.
Dean cringed; "oh, my poor baby;" he lovingly patted the steering wheel, "I'm so sorry baby, I'll make it up to you, I promise. I'll give your leather the full works at the next town; an' a complete oil change, how's that honey?"
"Hey, what about me - don't I get an apology?" Sam snorted; "I had to spend the best part of half a day sitting in your puke!"
"Nah," grunted Dean, "call it payback for all the times I had to change your diapers when you were a noisy, stinky little rugrat!"
The brothers sat in amiable silence for some time as the Impala sailed along the endless highway.
"Bobby's right you know," Dean broke the silence, "'bout all that caring stuff; friggin' scary how he knows me better'n I know myself."
"I do care; I hate it, but I do. Every time I see some poor bastard who don't deserve it get iced, it beats me up. I've tried so hard to hide it over the years; Dad told me to suck it up otherwise it would get me killed." He turned briefly to Sam, "but this friggin' episode with those two little dudes has really shook me up; I mean is everything we hunt evil?" He pondered; "was that Lyndworm evil or was she just a mom feedin' her babies?"
"Feedin' her babies on people," corrected Sam; "there you go again," he added with a smile, "doing all that girly carin' stuff again…"
Dean sighed, "crap, my life has suddenly become so much more complicated," he thought for a moment; "I've spent so long tryin' to be like Dad, and buryin' all the touchy feely stuff, tryin' to be the perfect huntin' machine; hard, clinical, focussed; it never occurred to me that whatever I did, or said, or wore, in the end, the simple fact is that I'm nothin' like him."
"It's no shame bein' like mom;" Sam ventured, watching Dean closely; "No" Dean smiled warmly for the first time in days, "No it's not; not at all." He paused for a moment as if in thought, "In fact it's awesome."
Silence reigned again, all that could be heard was the soothing thrum of the Impala's engine. Dean's eyes flickered across to his brother.
"Quit lookin' at me like that!" he snapped.
Sam beamed broadly, "so, are we havin' chick flick moment, dude?"
Dean cringed, "it feels like the whole friggin' movie, complete with trailers and popcorn!"
"Awesome" Sam smiled broadly.
Dean huffed, "Oh God, we're not gonna end up chuggin' Darjeeling and discussing recipes and PMT are we?" He gripped the steering wheel, "gimme a break, I'm havin' issues here, man, it's freakin' embarrassin', I mean all that carin' an' sharing' stuff; that's your department."
"Apparently not any longer," smiled Sam. He turned to his brother with a mischevious grin, "Hey Dean?"
"Does this mean I'm still 'bitch' or do you want to have a go?"