The In Between Place

By Ridley C. James, December 2005

Rating: T-only for precaution

Disclaimer: I’m guessing Santa didn’t get my letter-so no-nothing Supernatural is mine.

Words: 5.400

Author’s Notes: Okay, this is sort of a continuation for my story Facing the Dark. It’s probably a good idea to have read that one before starting this one.


Twenty-six year-old Dean Winchester focused on his breath as it entered and left his body in a slow, wave-like rhythm. In and out. In and out. I can do this.

He’d never really noticed how one’s own breath could seem really loud in a dark, quiet room until now. Especially if that room was in a hospital. And if the person was a little scared and on edge. And if said person knew that the extremely noisy breaths were most likely numbered-on the endangered list even.

The young hunter sighed heavily-frustrated with himself for his line of irrational thoughts-and glanced towards the one lone window. Harsh late afternoon sun was seeping through the shades and he found it hard to believe that he’d already been in the Burkitsville hospital for almost thirteen hours. My how the time flies when you’re having fun.

His hazel gaze traveled from the window to the cot beside of it. The uncomfortable looking contraption didn’tseem too sturdy and it appeared even slightly painful because of the contortion act his kid brother had performed to squeeze his tall, lanky form on to it.

But at least Sam was asleep. Deeply asleep-somewhere nightmares couldn’t find him-his brother hoped.

Dean had resorted to playing possum to get his brother to take a break. There was only so much brotherly concern that Dean could endure. So much of Sam’s emotions that he could hold at bay in his condition.

A part of him wanted to wake the other man up-talk all night long-about anything and everythingbut what was happening to them now. Or watch TV. Or play cards. Anything that was normal.

He laughed to himself-a pained sound escaping his lips that had no touch of humor or joy.

The only normal thing that he and Sam knew was the road-and hunting-and that wasn’t an option at the moment. It might never be again.

Dean took a deep breath and let it out slowly-calling the current pity party to abrupt close.

His gaze sought out his brother again.

Sam was now curled on his side, knees drawn in, but his feet still hung over the edge. One of the nurses had taken pity on him, and thrown a blanket over his legs.

It was the same smiling woman who’d brought Sam an extra pillow and a Coke. And Dean- instead of being grateful to her- had felt a stab of jealousy and envy so strong he’d wanted to throttle the pretty little thing.

It was the first of many times that someone else would have to take care of his kid brother and God he hated it. He’d taken care of Sammy his whole life-and now he had to let go.

Stanford was hard-but even then there were frequent trips to check on Sam. Even if Sammy didn’t know about them. Dean was there-just in case. Just in case Sam fell and needed a hand up. His big brother was with him.

Now he was too weak to even drag his ass out of the damn hospital bed to do a fucking thing for Sammy.

Of course it took him nearly taking a header onto the hard tile floor and giving Sam a slight stroke, before he’d actually admit that to himself. Chalk another oneup for the Winchester stubbornness.

Sam had told him to cut himself some slack. And added a few choicecolorful phrases to that which even had the doctor blushing.

He knew his brother was right. Running into a moving car could really take a lot out of a person. Especially if said person is already sick.

Dean began to listen to his breath again, preferring it to his inner dialogue.

But, damn. It was loud.

He couldn’t imagine how Sam was still sleeping through it’s explosiveness. But then again, the younger Winchester was exhausted.

He’d finished straw boy and then drug Dean’s ass to the car and stayed by his side through the first exam and then paced during all the other tests. Even before that, he’d spent the whole night driving to rescue his ass in Burkitsville. I wish you’d just gone back to Stanford, Sam.

Dean sighed, and was about to resign himself to watching the evening news when a soft knock on his door had him rolling his eyes in frustration. The vampires were back.

Had he not suffered enough?

Was it really a good idea to drain a sick person of their life’s blood-and continually harass them?

Dean thought not- but apparently no one gave a damn about what he was thinking or feeling at the moment.

When he didn’t answer, the door knob turned and the heavy door swung open.

Dean thought about quickly shutting his eyes, but realized that the act of sleeping only seemed to increase the frenzied activity of the nurses so he braced himself and defiantly met the eyes of person who’d just walked in.

The only person that could have been less expected was John Winchester. “Dr. Castle?” he croaked.

Marilyn Castle smiled and made her way slowly into the room. Her leg was giving her less trouble these days and the time off from work hadn’t hurt, but being in a hospital room seemed to be more oppressing that usual. Maybe it had more to do with who she was here to see. She placed a hand on the rails of the bed and raised an eyebrow. “Well if it isn't the infamous Dean Winchester-detective/bounty hunter extraordinaire. You look surprised to see me.”

Surprised didn’t begin to cover his shock at seeing the Texas psychiatrist, who’d helped Sam out several months back now standing in his hospital room.The white doctor’s coat was missing, replaced with designer jeans and a sporty black jacket. But the mass of silver curls and curious brown gaze was the same. “You could say that.”

He pushed himself up straighter in the bed and took a moment to convince himself that he wasn’t having some strange day dream-or maybe one of Sam’s visions. But if he was going to have a fantasy visitor it would have definitely been someone a lot younger and with a little more cleavage showing. No offense to Marilyn or anything, but he didn‘t envision himself the Ashton Kutcher type of guy. He cleared his throat. “I didn’t know shrinks made house calls, Doc.”

Marilyn had felt her chest tighten as she caught sight of Dean. The pale pallor and sunken eyes were bad- but the weakened voice tore at her heart. He had such a strong, rich voice. Just one of the many things he would be robbed of.

She forced her professional smile to the front. “Well usually we don’t, but in extreme cases I have been known to drop in.”

“Drop in?” Dean frowned. “Texas isn’t exactly a hop, skip, and a jump from Indiana.”

“But you see, I was at a lovely little conference in Indianapolis. It was on the new process of grief or something another.” She waved her hand in the air dismissively, “But I’m not ashamed to tell you that I had hardly been to any of the sessions.”

“Playing hookie?” Dean grinned.

Marilyn nodded. “Having myself quite the vacation on the hospital‘s tab I must say. That was until Dr. Jack Howards called me.”

Dean smiled. “Doctor H still hot for you?”

Marilyn rolled her eyes. “I’m not sure a man his age gets hot for anything besides a nice piece of rare steak and a glass of fifty year-old scotch. It‘s not like I‘m Grade A or a hundred proof.”

“Trust me-he’s got it bad.”

The psychiatrist snorted. “The only thing he has is bad timing. He called me right in the middle of my massage with Roland-God’s gift to Sweden- to inform me that one of his favorite patients was in a small town just a short flight away from me.” She pointed her finger at Dean. “And you? We won’t even begin to talk about the unbelievable ballgame I could have gone to see if not for this impromptu visit.”

“You like the Colts?”

“Almost as much as the Cowboys.” Although that Peyton Manning was a cutie. She grinned, knowing good and well she had no clue about anything that involved bouncing, dribbling, or kicking a ball. Nor did she care to.

“So Dr. H rescued you then?”

“Yes. Thank God.” She finally sat down in the chair closest to Dean’s bed.

“Bet you were surprised to find me-here in Indiana of all places-about to give up my boots and all.”

Marilyn smiled. “Not really. Did you know that both James Dean and Steve McQueen are Indiana boys? Why, I’d be hard pressed to find a more worthy place for you. And something about the idea of the Crossroads state suits you just as well.”

Dean forced an imitation of his usual crooked grin. “John Mellencamp’s from here too.”

That I did not know.”

The hunter shrugged. “I’m not a big fan-but some of his stuff isn't too bad.”

Marilyn nodded. “A classic.” She smiled again. “Now tell me how exactly you ended up being mowed down by a police cruiser in cornville?” She clucked in mock disapproval. “You and that brother of yours weren’t chasing more bad guys I hope.”

Dean eyed the doctor. He wasn‘t about to tell the woman that a homicidal scare crow had chased him, Sam, and that girl, Ellie, out into the car‘s path, and that he’d gotten everyone out of the way-but himself. Besides even if he did, she wouldn’t believe him. And she had the power to commit him. That’s all I need-another visit to an asylum.

A change of subject was called for. “How did Dr. Howards find out about me being here?” His eyes automatically went to his sleeping brother, and for the first time Marilyn noticed Sam.

“It wasn’t him.” She sighed-looking achingly at the younger Winchester asleep on the ancient cot, and marginally lowered her already soft timbered voice. He looked even younger and somewhat much more vulnerable than she remembered. “How is young Sam by the way?”

Dean sighed. “Exhausted. Staying up for two days straight takes a lot out of person.”

“Seeing someone you love get hurt does that too.” And watching them suffer does so much worse. “But to answer your question, the hospital pulled your medical records. It listed Dr. Howards as your last attending physician-and when they discovered…”

Dean swallowed hard and finished for the psychiatrist. “When they found out that I was sick, they called him to see what treatment he’d outlined.” The pieces fell neatly into the twisted puzzle that his life was shaping up to be.

Marilyn nodded. “Jack was devastated that he hadn’t discovered it himself. He felt as if he had done you a great injustice. The man is many things, but sloppy he is not.”

Dean suddenly felt sorry for the jovial gray-haired doctor who had saved his life or what was left of it at the time. “Did you let him off the hook?”

The psychiatrist shook her head. “Sorry-but no. Confidentiality and all.”

Dean rolled his eyes. “It wasn’t like I was your client.”

“You trusted me-that’s enough of an informed consent for me.”

Dean held the woman‘s gaze. “I didn’t even think you all would remember me.”

“Are you kidding? Why you and your brother made the ER’s Sexiest Men of the Year list.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yes. Each year the ER staff compiles a list, complete with pictures and all, of the previous years sexiest patients. It’s very exclusive mind you-considering the amount of XY chromosome we see in a year’s time- you and Sam were very high up.”

Marilyn leaned in closer as if to tell a great secret. “I even hear that there is a racy little pin-up in the men’s locker room.”

“The men’s locker room?” Dean looked a little horrified.

“Oh yes,“ Marilyn nodded, enjoying the boy’s discomfort a little too much. “The Impala looks quite delicious I’ve been told. All hard and sleek.”

Dean shook his head at the woman‘s sense of humor. “Dr. Ben still jonesing for my baby, huh?”

“I’m afraid he’s been forlorn since you took her away.”

“So Dr. Howards sent you all the way here to check up on me?” Dean was finding it hard to believe that strangers would go out of their way for a run of the mill patient.

Marilyn didn‘t feel it necessary to tell Dean that Jack had two grown sons-that he‘d raised them on his own after his wife had died of Leukemia. There was the issue of confidentiality and all. “It’s completely professional courtesy, you see.”

Dean gave her a ’yeah right’ look but she continued on. “He asked if I would mind to hand deliver the records he faxed to me-so that I could talk with your physician in person.” Marilyn smiled. “And I couldn’t resist the chance to get to see Sam again.”

Dean snorted. Older women always loved Sam. “He might have grown a couple of inches, but he’s still that same, sweet, kid.”

Marilyn glanced at the sleeping Winchester again, and when her eyes fell on Dean once more, the humor had faded and her gaze was serious. “Have you told him?”

Dean sighed heavily-the memory of it still painful and way too recent. “Had to.” He motioned to himself. “Things started to fall apart.” Things-being him.

“Secrets tend to do that.” She didn’t say it to be scolding, but Dean still seemed to bristle just the same.

“My problem-my decision as to when to dump it on someone else.”

“Maybe Sam saw it more as sharing than dumping.”

“You didn’t see his face.” But Dean could remember quite clearly the look that had raced across his kid brother’s all too young features.

Denial. Fear. Loss. Then Pain-heart breaking, gut wrenching pain.

The kind that makes your legs betray you and your stomach rebel against you. Some of the anger he felt at himself for causing it seeped into his voice. “It wasn’t one of those Lifetime originals you chicks dig so much. Trust me.”

Marilyn cocked one of her well-defined brows. “This chick has seen many of those moments, Dean Winchester. I know what they look like-and feel like.”

Dean ran a hand through his hair, wincing slightly when his fingers encountered the recent lump he‘d attained in the accident. “Sorry, I’m just tired and cranky.”

“I bet.” Being strong for everyone could also take a lot out of a person. “It‘s hard to be charming all the time.”

When Dean smiled she went on. “So despite the run in with the car, and the obvious situation, how are you doing?”

Dean looked at her with suspicion. “Is that a shrink question?”

Marilyn sighed in fake exasperation. “I did come all this way. You can allow me at least one- can’t you? Humor an old lady.”

Marilyn wasn‘t your typical old lady. “Alright, but at the first sign of any freaky ink blots I’m hitting the panic button.” Dean looked towards the nurse call device lying near his hand. “Trust me-the nurses here make your ‘sponge bath Janice’ look like Glenda the good witch.”

Marilyn shuddered at the thought. “I’ll play fair. I promise.”

“Go on.” Dean crossed his arms over his chest and waited.

Dr. Castle mentally rolled her eyes at the protective bravado. “So?” She raised an eyebrow again, and waited patiently. “How are you feeling, Dean?”

He could have lied, but then something about a death sentence seemed to make him more honest than usual. “Scared.” Freakin’ terrified.

Marilyn hoped twenty-six years of experience allowed her to school her reaction before the very sharp Dean picked up on her surprise. She toyed with one of her silver bangle bracelets. “I think anyone in your situation would be. Death is frightening- even when we‘re not aware of it‘s proximity.”

Dean shook his head. “I’m not afraid of dying.”

“Oh.” Of course not. How silly of her.

Marilyn’s eyes went to Sam, as she recalled the day that Dean had come to see her and the talk that they‘d shared. “You’re afraid for Sam.” Sam was and would always be the focus of his brother’s concern.

“He still thinks he can save me.” Dean would have laughed at Sam’s suggestion if it hadn’t hurt so much to remember the earnest determination in his baby brother’s eyes as he told him about the faith healer he’d found in his research. “I don’t think he’s going to let it go-until I’m gone.”

Marilyn shrugged. “I wouldn’t really expect anything less.” When Dean stared at her with almost innocent confusion playing across his face she explained. “He is as devoted to you as you are to him. I told you that back in Texas. Sam is terrified of losing you.”

That wasn‘t what he wanted to hear. Missouri‘s words echoed around him. “People don‘t come here for the truth.” Maybe psychics and psychiatrists weren’t so different.

“Yeah, well, he’s not going to save me.” Dean eyed the woman-challenging her to say otherwise. “You of all people should know that.”

The doctor didn‘t back down. “I think I also gave you my little miracles and shit speech back in my office so I’ll spare you an encore. But, Dean, it’s not my place to tell Sam how to deal with his grief,” she motioned towards the sick man, “with this.” She held the young man’s gaze. “Nor is it yours, my dear.”

“And I think I told you that its my job to take care of Sam. I know what’s best for him, and holding on to some crazy idea isn’t it. He needs to let it go and move on.”

Castle laughed. “And the Winchester’s are so good at doing that.” Marilyn waved a hand in the air. “Why just look at how your father let go of your mother-and how you and Sam moved on so quickly.”

Smart ass. “This is different.”

“How? Because you got advanced warning-unlike your mother. Do you really believe she would have wanted you to spend your lives chasing after her ghost? What do you think she would have told you had she had the chance?”

“We’re not talking about my mother!” Dean’s raised voice caused Sam to stir in his sleep and he waited for a moment to make sure his brother was still in dreamland before continuing at a lower tone. “I’m not Mom,” he hissed.

Marilyn rolled her eyes, frustrated with the boy‘s lack of self worth. For someone so confident and cocky, Dean could be self deprecating to a fault.

She had no patience for client-centered tactics today-nor did Dean have the time. “Meaning-you’re not worth the same amount of effort- the same depth of grief.”

“Do people actually pay you for this bull shit?”

“Oh Yes.” Marilyn wasn’t offended in the slightest. She’d had much, much worse tossed at her. “And they thank me for it later.”

Dean snorted. “Don’t hold your breath, lady.”

“Don’t dodge the topic, kid.”

The hunter clenched his fist in frustration. “I can’t leave without knowing Sam will be okay.” Didn’t she get that? He would never rest. Sam and his Dad could salt and toast him, but he still the hell wouldn’t be able to move on.

Marilyn sighed. The poor dear was still hung up on that. “You don’t say when you leave, hon. I’ve seen people clinging to life with such fierce intensity it was almost too painful to witness-but in the end, their efforts were in vain.”

“So I should go softly and stoically into the night while my brother gets himself killed by some monster-or something-trying to avenge my death.”

“I’m no more capable of telling you when or how to let go than I am capable of telling Sam how to do it.”

Dean swallowed hard, trying to hold back the tears he could feel stinging his weary eyes now. Damn it, he would not cry. He would not have some weird, girly, pseudo-psych session on his death bed. “You don’t get it. Every time I’ve left Sam alone something bad has happened to him.”

Marilyn leaned against the railing, her warm eyes encouraging now, instead of challenging. “Like what?“

“He fell in a well once when he was five. Sam would have drown if not for Dad.”

Marilyn smiled sadly. Dean would have only been about ten-yet even then he saw himself as his brother’s protector. “Dean, Sam’s not a baby anymore.”

“I know that,” Dean snapped louder than he meant to-his eyes going instantly to Sam.

“But even when he was older, I screwed up.”

The doctor waited patiently as Dean finally tore his gaze from his sleeping brother. “How?”

Dean closed his eyes letting various moments from their past flash through his mind. “There was this one time when he was seventeen.” The hunter opened his eyes but didn’t meet the doctor’s gaze-instead choosing to pick at the blanket covering him. “Sam was in school-close to graduating-and I decided to go on a hu…job with our dad.” He paused as a sudden sense of longing for their father washed over him. Dean mentally shoved it aside. Damn you, Dad.

Marilyn could tell the memory wasn’t pleasant. She momentarily wondered if the young men she had grown quite fond of had a handful of happy memories between them. “I’m sure Sam was a very capable young man.”

Dean shook his head. “Capable of finding trouble.” He did look up this time. “He was in a car wreck with some stupid punks.” Even thinking about Jeff Wilkerson sent Dean’s blood pressure sky rocketing. He was surprised that some of the stupid monitoring equipment he was wired to didn’t go haywire. “Dad and I were two states away. I wasn’t there for him.”

Dean could recall every torturous moment of that drive-every feeling of panic, worry, and guilt that threatened to send him over the edge. Sam was in danger and Dean was 300 miles away. How far would Death take him? God, I can‘t do this. “All I want…,” he choked.

Marilyn’s heart went out to him. “What do you want, Dean?”

“I want to find the In Between Place.” If only it were that simple.

Marilyn slowly shook her head, not understanding what Dean meant.

Dean sniffed and shook his head, quickly using the back of his hand to swipe at his traitorous eyes. “Don’t look so worried, Doc, I’m not wigging out on you.” Although the medicine coursing through him made it a distinct possibility. “It’s something my mom told me about once.”

Marilyn rested her hands on the metal bar separating them and leaned her chin against it. “Tell me.”

“It was a few months before she died, and her and I and Sammy were in the backyard watching the sun set.” He could almost see the golden glow that fell on his mom’s long blond hair, almost feel the warmth of the summer breeze.

“I remember she held her finger up to her lips, and told me to be really quiet-like she‘d do when Sam was sleeping-then she pointed at the sun. Mom said that when it touched the Earth there would be silence everywhere. A silence so loud that people never heard it.” Dean knew it didn’t make any sense-was pretty sure he was babbling-but the memory had been plaguing him for days now.

He looked at Marilyn and found no judgments, no criticism, so he continued. “For a single moment, everything would stop and be completely still-even time.” Dean licked his dry lips and pushed on before he lost his nerve. “And that’s when a person could enter the In Between Place- where anything is possible. A place where all the things that someone’s done wrong can be erased, and all the new beginnings can be found.”

“Sounds like Heaven.”

“No.” A cold, hard look seeped into the liquid, green gaze. “I don’t believe in Heaven.”

Marilyn understood. She had felt that way before herself. Wasn‘t quite sure if she still didn‘t. “I didn’t mean the place- I meant the feeling.”

Dean nodded. “She asked me if I could feel it.”

“And did you?”

“No,” he sighed, sounding angry and disgusted with himself. “ I didn’t even know what she was talking about.”

Hope-maybe she was talking about hope. “I’m sure she didn’t expect you to.”

Dean shook his head. “I tried every night that I was out there when the sun went down. We’d make a game out of it-you know. She’d just smile and tell me to keep trying. I‘d watch that big orange ball until it disappeared completely.” The young hunter frowned. “After she died, I just stopped bothering.”

“You had a lot to deal with back then.”

“But if I could find it now-then I could fix all this somehow. I know I could. Sam wouldn‘t have to be going through this. He wouldn‘t have to suffer.” And God- Dean knew how he’d suffer. He’d watched him deal with Jessica’s death, and as painful as that was, a death of a brother would be worse. Much worse.

Marilyn felt her own resolve start to crumble as a single silent tear traced it’s way down Dean’s handsome face. He looked so much like a little boy in that instant, that Marilyn wanted to climb over the rail and pull him to her, but that would have been a grave disservice to the incredibly strong man before her.

Dean motioned towards the window. “And look-the sun’s setting again and I still don’t have a fucking clue.”

Marilyn discreetly wiped at her eyes and cleared her throat. “There’s still time, young man.”

Dean looked at her as if she was the one talking about some make believe time and place that a little boy‘s mother had told stories about. “Have you noticed me here, Doc? I don’t really think I’ll be making anyone’s sexiest list today. I could just about be an extra on any Joss Whedon show.”

“I’ve seen worse.”

“Considering you work with terminally ill patients on a daily basis, I’m not going to get all tingly about that.”

Marilyn smiled, proud and a little irked by his attempt at humor. “I’m not sure what your mother meant or saw in that special place, Dean-but I’m willing to bet it was as real to her as her family-as real as your family is to you.”

Dean shook his head. “We both know it was a story, Doc.” Dean believed a lot of things because he’d seen them, but in his heart he knew his mom was just making some kind of ‘mom’ memory with him.

“Maybe.” Marilyn had seen so many miraculous things, she wasn’t about to discount a mother’s love for her son.

Dean sighed. “Even if it wasn’t- I never did find it. Never heard or saw a damn thing.”

“Maybe you were looking at the wrong son.” Marilyn glanced to the still sleeping Sam. “You haven’t lost sight of him yet. Maybe you should let him show you the way.”

The young hunter shook his head. “What?”

Marilyn decided to take a risk. After all-life was full of beautiful risks.She slid her hand through the bars and covered Dean‘s. “Maybe you should let Sam find that In Between Place for you.”

Tears rushed into Dean’s eyes again, and he fought the urge to pull his hand out from under the psychiatrist’s. This wasn’t the time to run scared. “You mean let him try and save me.”

Marilyn shrugged and squeezed the cold hand beneath hers. “I mean-let him love you, Dean.”

Dean shook his head. “I don’t know if I can.” He looked at Sam, his chest tightening-a gambit of emotions threatening to pull him under their weight.

“Are you kidding?” Marilyn shook her head, and tightened her hold on him. She waited until he looked at her. “You’re Captain Onehelluva Big Brother-you can do anything.”

Dean’s brow furrowed, his head tilting slightly to the side. It reminded Marilyn of Marshall when he was trying to figure out a new noise. “Huh?” He hadn’t told Marilyn about that-had Sam?

She winked at him. “Trust your brother, Dean.”

Dean was still trying to figure it all out when a monitor started beeping-it’s loud annoying sound making his aching head hurt worse. He closed his eyes and when he opened them again Dr. Marilyn Castle was no longer holding his hand. Sam was.

“Hey,” his soft, concerned voice cut through the confusion and Dean blinked several times trying to orient himself to the dim room.

“Hey,” he croaked, searching the darkness for Dr. Castle-a part of his brain already realizing that he’d been asleep.

“You okay?” Sam leaned forward in the chair he’d been sitting in for the last six hours and caught his brother’s still confused gaze.

Dean felt his brother’s grip tighten on his hand, anchoring him. He smirked. “Do I look okay?”

The younger Winchester smiled. “You look like an extra for a Joss Whedon show.”

Dean laughed. “I’m glad someone agrees with me.”

Silence settled between them and time seemed to slow down. “I’m sorry I pushed about the faith healer.” Sam licked his dry lips and tore his gaze away from Dean’s. “It's just...that I just…”

“Can’t let go,” Dean finished for him.

His kid brother met his eyes and Dean wasn’t surprised to see the tears shining brightly in the brown depths. “It’s not as easy as you try to make it sound.”

Marilyn’s words came back to him, and he nodded. “Winchester’s aren’t one’s to let things roll off them.”

Sam shook his head, and brought his other hand to join the one already holding Dean’s. His warm brown eyes held Dean’s green ones with all the same intensity of his grip. “Tell me what to do, big brother. Tell me what you want and I’ll do it.” No matter what it cost me.

Dean tasted the salt on his lips even before he felt the warm liquid on his face. Let him love you, Dean. He glanced out the window. The sun was setting, and silence and stillness abounded.

His gaze locked with his brothers, and he smiled. “Get me out of here, Sammy.”

Sam let out the breath he was holding. “You’ll go to the faith healer?”

I’d go anywhere for you. “One round trip ticketto the In Between Place please.”

“Huh?” Sam asked, confusion momentarily replacing the surprised relief. “What does that mean?”

“It means I’m trusting you to get me out of this, baby brother.”


Dean nodded, smiling as grown up Sam morphed into an image of the five year-old wide-eyed kid he loved so much. The older hunter blinked and his twenty-two year-old brother was back. He cleared his throat. “But just so you know-if I so much as see Tammy Faye Baker-I am kicking your ass.”

Sam laughed, catching himself before he could lunge over the railing and hug the other man. “Gotcha.”

“And Sam?” Dean’s smile fell and his face hardened some. “Don’t call Dad.” Dean had given up on the idea that their father could protect either of them. He wasn't sure if he even wanted Sam around John-especially if he wasn't there to act as a buffer.

The youngest Winchester frowned. “But…”

“No.” Dean had never been more sure of anything. “We do this together. Just the two of us.” Just like always.

Sam didn’t like it, but he nodded, more determined than ever to save his family-his brother. He squeezed Dean's hand. “Just the two of us.”



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