“You think finding this thing is really going to help us get to Eve?” Sam asks, as he re-reads his notes, curled up in the front seat of the Impala as they race towards Rhode Island
“Hell if I know. Cas said it would; guess we’ve had less to go on before, right?”
“Oh yeah, I agree, but it just seems really improbable that we’ll be able to find something so small.”
“Didn’t Cas say there was supposed to be a stash of treasure in this house? I wouldn’t mind finding some of that.”
“Maybe you are part dwarf like Bobby was saying. Wasn’t that dragon gold enough for you? So far, I haven’t found anything that mentions treasure, but according to this website the house is really huge. And really really old.”
Dean whistled in surprised admiration. “Wow, that is old for the US.”
“Yep, there’s not much older really. Guess there’s a chance of lots of spirits and stuff in there too. Being around that long, more chances for violent deaths happening.”
“Yeah, I know, thanks. It would have been nice if Cas could have just gone and gotten this for us himself.”
“He’s fighting the war in Heaven. You know that Dean.”
“So I’ve heard, many times. I get it. It’s just. I don’t know, I wish he was still helping us out like he used to.”
“Really? Since when? Thought you hated being stuck in the car with me on these cannonball runs.”
“Nah, we’ve done it so many times now, I’m used to it. ‘sides, someone has to keep an eye on your excessive speeding.”
“Yeah, or scrape you up off the asphalt. Seriously Dean, sometimes you just get out of hand.”
Dean turns up the radio so that the thump and whine of Motorhead fills the car completely. “What? Can’t hear you, the music’s too loud.”
Sam grins helplessly, shaking his head because Dean’s always done this kind of shit in the car. And yeah it used to drive him nuts. But now, it’s so much a part of his life that he knows he’d miss it terribly if they didn’t have this together. He’s had to do without it before, and crazy as it is, he loves this, being stuck in the car, just him and Dean, mile after mile, shoulder to shoulder, talking about nothing and everything, and finally arriving at where the job they’re on needs to be taken care of.
Dean grins back at Sam, glad that the bitchface is nowhere in sight at the moment. Guess he really doesn’t mind these car trips, that’s good, Dean thinks, suddenly really happy at that idea for some reason. After everything they’ve gone through the last few years, this marathon car driving is their normal work commute, part of the job, and it’s good to know that Sam enjoys it maybe as much as he does. There’s nothing better than this, thinks Dean for the millionth time, his baby purring underneath him, Sam at his side, the open road ahead, and a job as their final destination.
After the album ends, Dean turns down the stereo, “Hey, what’s this thing look like again, did Cas say it was orange?”
Sam gets out his notes and answers, “Yeah, he said it was an orange stone pendant, sounded like maybe a garnet, slightly heart shaped, it has a five pointed star engraved on one side and the symbol for purgatory on the other. Here’s the symbol he wrote down.”
Dean looks over at the notebook Sam is holding out, “Huh, that’s what that means. I swear that’s close to the B.O.C. logo.”
“Well, they had to get their idea from somewhere, why not Purgatory?”
“You saying the guys in B.O.C. are what? Monsters from Purgatory?” Dean asks.
“Well, they did do Godzilla, why not?” Sam answers.
“Just for that I’m putting that on, where’s my tapes?”
Sam makes like he’s reluctant to pull out the battered, duct-taped box and find the B.O.C. tape. He actually really likes this one, and doesn’t mind putting it on much at all. But Dean doesn’t have to know that does he?
“Fine, here. You’re buying me new ears though.” Sam says, handing over the tape.
“Whatever, I know you love it.” Dean answers, switching it out with the old one.
Sam snorts derisively but doesn’t say anything, but is secretly happy that Dean knows him so well. Instead he just folds up his sweatshirt and leans against the window. With his dark sunglasses on he can watch Dean as he drives as much as he wants to. His brother has always been fascinating to look at, the faces he makes as he sings along with his favorite songs are so different than the ones he makes in regular conversation, like he lets down some of his walls and lets a little of that emotion he keeps locked down inside come out while he sings. Sam can’t help himself smiling fondly at his brother and hopes he doesn’t notice. He doesn’t want to have to try and explain why.
“Hey! Wake up Princess, we’re here.” Dean slaps Sam’s shoulder to wake him up.
Sam shakes himself awake and hits back at Dean, “I’m up, I’m up. Where are we, Wickford already?”
“Yeah, you were really out there for a couple hours.”
“So much for keeping track of your speeding.” Sam says a bit sleepily, that was a longer nap than Dean usually lets him take.
“Too late for complain’ buddy boy, what’s done is done.” Dean grins at him triumphantly as he pulls into the gravel driveway.
Dean parks behind the main house, out of sight of the road. They get out and stretch, grab some of the usual weapons out of the trunk and start walking up the path towards the house. It looms over them, a large two story English style mansion, surrounded by a beautifully laid-out, formal garden. It’s all dormant since it’s winter, but the bones of it are striking in the weak late afternoon sun. The back of the house looks out over Mill Cove, which is a flat winter grey at the moment. “I think it’s pretty private up here.” Dean comments.
“This is usually closed to visitors during the week, so we should be okay.” Sam says as they walk up to what looks to be the back door. He gets out his lock pick set as Dean tries the door just to see. It opens surprisingly easy, almost as if someone is on the other side of the door pulling it open.
“Huh, how ‘bout that. Guess they don’t lock their doors in Wickford. How quaint.” Dean jokes.
“I kinda like that actually, everyone must feel pretty safe.” Sam answers, walking inside and shutting the door quietly.
Inside they split up, Dean heads upstairs as Sam goes through all the living spaces on the ground floor. In every room Dean checks upstairs, out of the corner of his eye he catches a glimpse of a skinny black cat darting out of sight. He keeps thinking he can catch up to it, but it’s just too fast. At the foot of the stairs Sam calls up to him, “Dean, I’m done, you find anything?”
“Nope, just a black cat, he was all over the place but I couldn’t catch him, did you see him come downstairs?” Dean says, as he tromps back down the stairs.
“Nope, didn’t see a cat. But you know what I saw in every room? An artist mannequin, one of those little wooden pose able figures? Seems kind of strange to have one in all the rooms, maybe whoever lived here was an artist or something?” Sam wonders.
“That is weird. So, get any vibes or anything from this place? Seems pretty boring and straight-forward. Not a lot of obvious hidey-holes to stick an Eve-Finding talisman.”
“Well, obvious wouldn’t work too well for hiding stuff would it?” Sam points out.
“How about a basement? Is there one?” Dean asks as they walk through the narrow hall together.
“Through the kitchen I think, I think that’s the one door I didn’t open.” Sam leads the way to the basement door; they get out their flashlights just in case. But there’s nothing special in the basement, it’s all very neat and tidy and unremarkable. Just old. And well-kept since it’s a museum now.
“We going to get a motel or what?” Sam asks as they head back upstairs.
“Nope, let’s stay here.” Dean says, shutting the basement door firmly.
“So we’re out of money again?”
“Yeah, not enough time for pool lately you know?” Dean answers.
“I’ll go get our stuff.” Sam heads out the kitchen door to the car and gets their sleeping gear and duffel bags, a small grocery bag that has the remainder of their food and the one camping light that still works.
“Dean where are you?” Sam calls as he comes back inside.
“In here, quick, come see this!” Dean hollers from one of the bedrooms down the hall.
Sam drops all the gear by the door and runs towards his brother’s voice.
“What’s going on, you okay?” Sam asks as he reaches Dean’s side.
“Yeah, just look at where this cat is.” Dean points towards the ceiling, at the top shelf of one of the built-in bookcases that surround the fireplace in the small bedroom.
“What cat?” Sam asks, looking at the spot Dean is pointing at, and scanning the rest of the room.
“The one that’s right…there. Well he was there. Guess you scared him off running in here.” Dean answers, spinning around looking for the cat again.
“Dean, there’s only one door into this room, and I didn’t see a cat come out.”
“Huh. What is this, a ghost cat? We ever run into one of those?” Dean asks, continuing to search the room.
“Not that I remember, but I suppose it’s possible. So what was the cat doing?”
“It was up there on that top shelf, looking like he was going to pounce down on my head.” Dean points again at the top shelf.
“Up where that artist mannequin is?”
“What artist mannequin?” Dean asks.
“The one on the top shelf, right there.” Sam points to the same place Dean was just pointing to.
“Sam, that shelf is empty.” Dean answers, with a small worried look on his face.
“What, are we seeing things now or something?” Sam asks, his near-permanent worry line appearing between his eyebrows.
“Maybe there’s something in the house that’s messing with us? Still okay with you to stay here tonight?”
“I don’t really want to sleep in the car, do you? I don’t get the feeling that it’s something bad, otherwise it would have already done worse things to us than making us see cats and mannequins.” Sam answers, feeling that logic is all that’s going to work in this situation.
“Alright, I guess. So which room we staying in?” Dean asks.
“I think it’s warmest on this side of the house, and since we can’t really light a fire without getting spotted, that’s the best we can do for heat tonight. Also, the window looks out on the bay instead of the road, so we can have our light on if we close the door.” Sam decides.
“Mr. Logical, I must bow to your analysis.” Dean bows over-dramatically to make the point, and Sam cracks up. Hearing this laughter from his brother makes Dean absurdly happy and proud. He loves that he’s still able to make his brother laugh.
They arrange their bags under the window with the lamp in-between, just as if it were the usual motel set up that they’re so used to after all these years on the road. Making a meal out of power bars and oranges, and one last can of beer each, they settle down in their bags. Sam’s finishing reading another Neil Gaiman book, and Dean’s just plain bored with no TV to zone out to.
Dean’s lying on his side watching Sam read, scanning his face and body, trying to sense his mental and physical state, he’s been so worried about the wall holding Hell back in Sam’s head for so long now, he’s gotten into this habit of checking Sam over every chance he gets. Some people would probably call it obsessive or weird, but he’s not some people. But for now Sam looks good, relaxed, not over-tired, and in this light his familiar face looks even more beautiful to him than usual. At least if he’s stuck with him, he’s good to look at. And vice versa he snarks to himself.
“Hey Sammy, you ever wish we were done with all this?” Dean asks, breaking the silence.
“Done with what, hunting”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Not really, not anymore. Why? Do you Dean?”
“Well, not with the hunting, but I’m wishing we had a home base.” Dean answers.
“What about Bobby’s?” Sam puts his thumb to hold his place in his book and turns on his side to face Dean.
“That doesn’t really count, I mean, Bobby’s awesome and all, but it’s not our place.” Dean says firmly.
“Yeah I get you. I think about that too Dean.”
“You do?” Dean asks, surprised to hear Sam say this.
“Yeah of course, I wonder how we’re going to end up when we’re Bobby’s age you know? Don’t think we’ll still be on the road every day. There’s gotta be something between now and then, don’t ask me what it is though.” Sam declares, sounding so sure about what he’s hopeful about.
“Huh, I’m, uh, glad you think about that stuff too. Guess we’ll figure it out as we go along.” Dean says, trying to sound as hopeful as his brother.
“Yeah, that usually works out so well for us.” Sam scoffs.
“What else can we do Sam?”
Sam puts his book down, marking his place since Dean seems to want to talk, “I don’t know, make a plan, decide what we want to do and figure out how to get there.”
“You gonna make a list?” Dean teases.
“Sure, why not? Hand me my notebook, it’s in my bag over there.” Sam points to his bag lying next to Dean’s hip.
Dean rummages in Sam’s duffle and hands it over, “Here, where do we start even thinking about this?”
“Well, first off, sounds like we’re both assuming that this is a plan for both of us right?” Sam asks as nonchalantly as possible.
“Yeah, of course.” Dean answers, as if he’s surprised at the question.
Sam smiles widely and looks up from the notebook at Dean, meeting his eyes across the small space between their bags. Dean’s face is more open than it usually is, and Sam sighs internally when he notices how much more beautiful that makes him, he wishes he didn’t notice this stuff, but he always has, no big deal right? He reassures himself. Dean knows he’s beautiful, he’s got girls telling him that all the time, but he certainly wouldn’t want to hear it from his brother.
“And we want to keep hunting, but have a home base right?” Sam asks, trying not to sound too hopeful and excited.
Dean of course catches Sam’s undertones and smiles again, he really admires his brother can still have hope in the future after everything that’s happened to them, “Yeah, not constant job after job hunting, all over the place, maybe just a couple times a month in one area. I want to live in a house with a yard.”
Sam writes it down, “I like that idea of changing how much we’re hunting. A house with a yard huh? So no cities or apartments then.”
“That okay with you? You didn’t want to live in a big city somewhere right?” Dean asks.
“No, actually I like the idea of a yard, I’ve always wanted to grow my own tomatoes.”
“Figures there’d be vegetables involved in your fantasy dream house Sammy.” Dean says jokingly.
“Yeah, and I’m not gonna let you have any.” Sam answers, eyes twinkling in the lamplight mischievously.
“You wouldn’t ever.” Dean protests.
“Watch me.” Sam grins with a challenge.
The ensuing fight devolves into wrestling around for a while, the lamp gets knocked over, and ends up with them both panting and tangled up in a heap like always.
“Was that good for you?” Dean snarks from his position pinning Sam to the floor.
“Never change Dean.” Sam says in answer, completely unable to keep a fond grin off his face.
“Not planning on it Sammy.” Dean smiles back at him, mirroring the fondness. He slaps at Sam’s shoulder to end the fight officially and rolls off, rearranging his sleeping bag, “Here’s your pillow Tomato Queen.”
“Shut up and go to sleep Dean.” Sam turns out the light after they get back into their bags.
“Night Sammy.” Dean lies there thinking about their unfinished conversation about the future, absurdly happy that they’ve even started talking about this. He realizes he’s really happy that they seem to be on the same page here. Assuming they can take care of Eve, and Sam’s wall stays up, maybe there will be a few years at least where things will be a little more peaceful for them. He’s taken out of his reverie by the sound of pounding footsteps running down the stairs and past the doorway of the room they’re in. He’s up and out of his bag, with his gun in his hand in a few seconds.
Sam’s sleepy question comes soon, “Dean, what’s up? What’re you doing with your gun?”
“Didn’t you hear that?” Dean asks with some urgency.
Sam hears the alertness in Dean’s voice and wakes up a little more, enough to answer, “No, I didn’t hear anything, what are you talking about?”
“The footsteps, coming down the stairs and then down the hallway past this room. How could you have missed that?” Dean asks, stalking towards the door, gun up in position.
Sam gets up slowly, joining Dean over his right shoulder with a flashlight, “There weren’t any sounds, just a little wind, are you hearing things now?”
“Let’s just check it out, humor me okay?” Dean asks, more than a little freaked-out.
“Fine, but maybe we need to get you checked out.”
“Yeah, maybe we can get a 2 for 1 at the psych ward, great idea.” Dean bumps into his shoulder hard just to emphasize his point.
They slowly move down the hallway in tandem checking in each room with Sam’s flashlight. Finally in one room, Dean spots the cat again, he’s frozen in the beam of light from the flashlight, “There, Sam, ya see him? There’s the cat again.”
“What cat Dean? All I see on that shelf is another one of those damn mannequins.” Sam answers, getting more worried with each time he hears Dean talk about the invisible cat.
“The cat, the black fucking cat, that’s right fucking there.” The cat’s eyes seemed to dance with laughter as Dean gestures at it. “Sam it’s laughing at me.”
“Now I’m getting worried, first you’re seeing an invisible cat, and now he’s laughing at you! Stop fooling around Dean.” Sam says harshly, hoping that Dean will snap out of whatever weird trance he’s in.
“I’m not fucking fooling around Sam. Wait, you said you see a mannequin where I see the cat right? Here I’ll hold the flashlight, you pick up the mannequin, let’s see what happens.” Dean grabs the flashlight from Sam and steps aside.
Sam reaches forward and wraps his hand around the mannequin pulling it in closer; it feels much much heavier than it should. And suddenly it squirms out of his grasp, turning into a black cat, as it falls to the floor it’s suddenly something else. Someone else.
“Hands off the merchandise buddy.” It says in a low grumbly voice. They can see a very short, child-sized person, wearing a pointy red cap, green blousy shirt and pants, tucked into white socks and absurd curly-toed red shoes. He has a very old, very lined bearded face, with deep-set blue eyes which are squinting painfully.
“Uh, sorry?” Sam replies, “Dean get the flashlight out of his eyes.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry ‘bout that. Hey, uh who are you?” Dean asks.
“Don’t you think I should be asking who you are as you’re invading my home?” The stranger asks disparagingly.
“I’m Sam Winchester and this is my brother Dean. We didn’t know anyone lived here, we’re sorry we didn’t ask your permission.”
“Thank you for your apology Sam Winchester. It is a pleasure to make both of yours acquaintance. Why are you here?” The stranger asks, at least sounding a little mollified.
“We’re looking for something, a friend of ours told us it might be here. It’s a long story, but it’s very important that we find it.” Sam answers, not sure how much of the story he should tell quite yet.
“Yes I heard you talking about it earlier, and also about why you are sleeping here in my home as you have no, what was it you called it? Oh yes, dough.”
Dean laughs a little at this, “Yes we are completely out of money which is why we were crashing here, sorry if it’s a problem, we can leave.”
“No, no, no. That’s quite alright; I haven’t had much company in a long time. Come with me and you can tell me more about what it is you seek.” He turns to walk out of the living room back towards the kitchen.
Sam and Dean look at each other over the creature’s head, twin expressions of raised eyebrows and small shrugs tell each other they’re okay with going with this for a while. “Sure, lead the way. Oh, say, what’s your name?”
“That Dean Winchester, you will have to pay for.”
“Oh is this a Rumplestiltskin kind of deal where we control you if we have your name or something?” Sam asks.
“Something like that. You may call me Gjuki for now.”
“Okay, nice to meet you Gjuki.” Sam says; glad to at least have a name.
“So were you the cat when I was seeing you and the mannequin when Sam was noticing you?” Dean asks as they walk into the kitchen.
“Yes, you are correct. Am I correct to suppose you’ve been touched by the Fae Dean?
“Yeah Dean, didn’t you service Oberon, King of the Fairies Dean?” Sam teases bracing himself for the punch in his side [that Dean of course provides.] “Hey why did I see you as a mannequin then Gjuki?” Sam asks.
“Because you have had some contact with the Fae also, but apparently a lesser amount than your companion. To be able to see me completely I let you touch me Sam Winchester. I am one of the Fae; I am a Niflung, what your kind calls a dwarf I believe. I didn’t want you to think your partner was going crazy. You certainly don’t need that at this point if what I overheard is correct.”
“I don’t remember talking about that, but yeah, you’re right, my brother and I, we’ve got enough crazy going around right now.” Dean hopes it isn’t too noticeable that he’s pointing out that they’re brothers not companions or partners or a couple, it seems like it never ends.
“You two are brothers?” asks Gjuki skeptically.
“Yeah, Dean practically raised me. We’ve been on the road together for a long time now.” Sam answers, looking to see if Dean’s reacting in the insulted, pissed-off manner he usually does when someone mistakes them for a couple.
“Oh I see, that explains it then.” Gjuki replies, as if he’s up to something.
“Explains what?” Asks Dean, dreading his answer, hoping it’s not too embarrassing, yet another person assuming he and Sam are a couple is one thing, but supernatural beings pointing out things they have no business knowing is quite another.
“Explains your unusual closeness, I couldn’t help but notice it. You just seemed like more than brothers to me.”
“Well, I suppose in a lot of ways we are.” Dean agrees, not elaborating further.
“So, here, have a seat, I’ll get us some refreshments.” Gjuki points at a small sheet-covered loveseat in front of the kitchen fireplace.
Dean pulls off the sheet and balls it up, tucking it underneath the table. He and Sam sit down on the now uncovered loveseat, it’s pretty cushy and small, so they’re smashed up right next to each other. They have a silent conversation between themselves, is it okay to eat the food he’s offering us? Yeah I think so. Be careful what you tell him. Yeah I know. Is he trying to trap us? Don’t think so, but we need more information.
Gjuki returns with a food tray, placing it on the small table and sitting down in a nearby armchair. “The beer is made in town, as well as these cheese scones. Help yourself. Tell me what it is you came here looking for.”
“Like I said it’s a long story, but basically, the Apocalypse which we started and ended shook things loose and Eve, the Mother of All, the mother of all monsters is here on Earth instead of in Purgatory where she belongs. We’re looking for an amulet that is supposed to be able to locate her and hopefully help send her back. A friend of ours who is an angel told us it might be here.” Sam answers.
“Hold up for a moment, you’re the ones that began and halted the Apocalypse? Well how about that, you’re those Winchesters?” Gjuki asks.
“You knew about that?” Dean asks, truly curious to know how every damn supernatural creature they seem to meet lately seems to have the story about them.
“Sure, when you’re part of the Fae, you’re tied into the whole system of the world. I thank you for stopping it.” Gjuki bows slightly in his chair.
“You’re welcome. We’re sorry we ever started it, but it was a bitch fighting against destiny.” Dean answers, not sure they really deserve any thanks.
“Yes, I’ve run into that myself over the years. When I first came here with the Vikings in the 14th century, it was to escape a cursed fate, it worked too, for many years; at least until I became tied to this house.” Gjuki says sadly.
“What? You mean you’re stuck here?” Dean asks, surprised to hear that a Fae could be subject to a binding curse.
“Yes, I unfortunately angered a very powerful witch by digging a tunnel under her herbarium. She was strong enough to forge a spell that’s kept me tied here since not long after the house was built.”
“How do ya get the beer then?” Dean asks.
“Oh, my tunnels. Seems the spell doesn’t care as long as the tunnel that I dig is still connected to the house. Pretty strange way to get around, but it’s worked for me for a long time now.”
“That’s pretty cool that you figured out how to get around Gjuki. So you got any idea about this talisman we’re looking for?” Sam asks, trying to steer the conversation back to the amulet.
“I may, I may not, I will have to think on it tonight. First though, will you tell me something Sam Winchester?” Gjuki asks somewhat formally.
“Yes, of course.”
“Have you had your soul back for long?” Gjuki asks.
Sam is speechless for a long moment; he looks at Dean for reassurance, then he nods, “Not too long, little less than a month.”
“Did you lose it when you averted the Apocalypse?” Gjuki asks perceptively.
“Yes, how could you possibly know that?”
“To accomplish something that momentous would take the highest price one could pay, for a human that would be their soul. I am interested to know how you managed to get it back.”
“Uh, you’d have to ask Dean that, he’s the one that did it. When I was soul-less apparently I did everything to avoid having my soul returned.”
“Dean Winchester would you mind telling me that story?” Gjuki asks.
Dean thinks about it for a second, he knows Sam’s heard most of this in bits and pieces so far, hopefully it won’t hurt the Wall hearing it all at once, “I don’t see what that could hurt. Pass me another beer wouldja Sam? Well, it took us a little while to figure out that Sam was missing his soul in the first place. Our angel friend confirmed it, as well as a leprechaun that Sam met. No one could help, so I contacted Death, he’s the most powerful guy I’ve ever met.”
“But to contact Death, must you not be dead yourself?” Gjuki asks.
Downing the rest of his beer, Dean answers, “Yeah, I had to be dead for a little while. A doctor friend of my dad took care of it for me, brought me back before I was really gone.”
“Dean, you mean you died for me again?” Sam puts his beer down on the table a little unsteadily.
“Well, not exactly Sam. I did what I had to.”
“I didn’t realize you’d done that. How long were you dead for?” Sam asks, looking a little pale all of a sudden.
“Seven minutes, was only supposed to be three, but I was hard to revive he said.” Dean answers, checking out Sam’s reaction to see if he’s okay.
“What else did you have to do Dean Winchester?” asks Gjuki.
“Death asked me to wear his ring and be him for 24 hours. If I made it he’d bring Sam back and fix up his soul. I didn’t make it though, there was this little girl and I couldn’t do it, and I screwed it all up. I made a terrible Reaper. He was trying to teach me a lesson.”
“And have you learned this lesson?” Asks Gjuki.
“I guess so. He told me to be an intrepid detective about the souls, whatever that means and yeah he gave Sam back his soul.” Dean finishes, leaning back in the loveseat, feeling Sam practically vibrating next to him.
Sam gets up suddenly and leaves the room without a word, his face tightly held as if he’s trying to hold in a massive amount of emotion.
“Uh, excuse me Gjuki, I’ll be right back, gotta go check on him.” Dean jerks his thumb towards the doorway and shrugs.
“Yes, Dean Winchester, I understand. Your brother did not know all of this did he?”
“No, uh, I guess not.”
“Well, he is most likely very surprised to hear what you’ve done for him.”
“Yeah, I guess he is, I’ll be back.” Dean walks quickly out the kitchen door in the yard in search of Sam. He finds him outside sitting on the Impala’s hood, leaning against the windshield, looking up at the cold night sky full of stars.
“Sam, you okay?” Dean asks, approaching the Impala carefully.
Sam doesn’t answer until Dean is sitting next to him, close enough to feel his body heat, “No, I’m really not.”
“Is it what I was just telling Gjuki in there?”
“Yeah, of course it is. I just, I never wanted you to do that again.” Sam sighs.
“Do what again?” Dean asks.
“Die for me.” Sam says with a heart-wrenching flatness to his voice.
“But I didn’t, I’m still here, see?” Dean protests, grabbing Sam’s arm.
Sam turns to look at him, shaking with fury, “But you did die, for seven minutes! What if the doctor couldn’t bring you back, what then Dean?”
“Well, if you really want to know, Bobby was going to ask Cas to kill you. That was our last ditch game plan. We were pretty damn desperate Sam. You don’t know what it was like. I didn’t have a choice.”
“You could have killed me. I was supposed to be dead anyways in the Cage.”
“Sam, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do that. You know why.”
“Yeah, I do. It’s just; this is never going to stop is it? Us doing this for each other.”
“Probably not. I’m okay with it now. It’s just how we work.”
“I can’t ever thank you enough for what you did.”
“Sam it doesn’t work that way, you know that.”
“What? You can’t just say ‘you’re welcome’ to me, accept my thanks?”
“No, did I ever thank you for jumping into the Cage? Hell the whole world should be thanking you!”
“Sam, don’t you remember what you did?”
“I don’t think about it that way, I didn’t do it for them.” Sam says with a little amount of derision, that Dean doesn’t know this already, that he mostly jumped in the Cage for Dean, not for the whole world.
“Oh.” Dean says, feeling about two inches tall, if that.
“Yeah. Oh.” Sam says with a small sneer as if Dean’s just stated the most obvious thing in the world. Because of course his brother would never have thought of that himself, having such monumentally low self-esteem.
“Okay, so we’re both a little messed-up, we kinda knew that already right?” Dean asks, still a little stunned that Sam did that, jumped into the Cage, for him, not for the world like he’d thought all this time.
“I’m not mad or anything, it’s just, I had no idea what you’d done to get my soul back. Cas didn’t tell me all the details of that part.”
“You know the only reason I didn’t want to tell you was because I was worried about your Wall. It still feeling sound after all this information tonight?” Dean asks, gently brushing the hair out of Sam’s eyes.
“Yeah, seems to be holding. Hey Dean?” Sam looks at him closely.
“I’m saying it anyways. Thanks.”Sam says sincerely.
“You are welcome my brother.” Dean answers with the same sincerity.
After a few minutes when they get too cold to stay outside, and there’s too much left that they could say to each other underneath the watchful night sky, they slide off the Impala and head back in to Gjuki.
They reseat themselves on the loveseat, pressed closer together than before to warm back up more quickly.
“So you were speaking earlier about Eve, how have you come to know about her?” Gjuki asks, hoping that they don’t notice he’s breathing a little heavier having run in ahead of them after spying on their conversation.
“Well it all started with the dragons in Oregon, when we killed them, one ended up escaping, but he left a book behind that mentioned her.” Sam says.
“Was it on an altar by chance?”
“Yeah, near where we found the dragon’s hoard of gold, which we took as payment for rescuing the girls that the dragons had penned up.” Sam answers.
“It was my idea!” Dean protests.
“True, but I helped bag it up. All those necklaces and watches really added up, I was surprised at how heavy it was.”
“How much gold are we discussing Sam?” Gjuki asks, eyes alight with a greedy fire they haven’t seen before.
“I don’t know, we didn’t weigh it exactly or anything, I guess it was around fifteen pounds, not all pure, why?”
“I’d surely love to see that. Is it in your vehicle by chance?” Gjuki asks with a hopeful look, trying not to drool at the thought of dragon gold.
“No, uh, sorry, it’s at a friend of ours, a long ways away. What, you want to steal our gold dude?” Dean answers, feeling protective of their own tiny treasure hoard.
“Honestly, yes. I’m not ashamed to admit it, gold is my favorite, especially gold that’s been held by dragons, it has that extra value to it.”
“Well, we can trade you some I guess, especially if you’ve got that amulet.” Dean offers.
“Why do you need to find Eve, isn’t she more likely to want to stay out of sight of humans?” Gjuki asks.
“She recently created a new type of monster slug that possessed a friend of ours and we got a little heads up on her plan. She’s got it in for humans, she’s going to wipe us all out. We’ve got to stop her.”
“This is your job somehow?” Gjuki asks.
“Somehow it seems to end up that way.”
“Dean and Sam Winchester, protectors of the planet.” Gjuki pronounces, sounding proud as if he’s figured out something critically important.
“Well when you put it that way….”Dean grins and trails off, Sam just shrugs.
“It is time for sleeping now.” Gjuki says abruptly, jumping down off his chair.
“Dean Winchester we are out of beer, which means it is time to sleep. That is how we always did it back in my home country. No one could leave if there was still beer left, and once it was gone, all the guests were to leave.”
“Well, guess we’ll be going.” Dean says, a little miffed that they’re getting tossed out so abruptly.
“No, no, no, you misunderstand me. You are welcome to stay. I just meant, the guests left the drinking hall for the sleeping quarters to find someone warm to spend the night with.”
“Don’t suppose you have any rooms like that around for us?” Dean asks, waggling his eyebrows. Sam just rolls his eyes as loudly as possible.
“Unfortunately, no I do not. But you should be warm in the room you chose to sleep in with your partner, er, excuse me, your brother.” Gjuki helpfully points out.
“Goodnight Gjuki. Will we see you in the morning?” asks Sam trying to cut off this line of conversation, he doesn’t want Dean getting pissed off when Gjuki could maybe help them.
“Yes Sam Winchester, I shall be here, sleep well.” Gjuki leaves so quickly they don’t even see which direction he takes out of the doorway.
“What a funny little dude.” Dean comments as they walk back to their chosen room.
Sam opens the door and they’re struck by a lovely warm wave of heat, a nicely built fire is roaring in the hearth. “When did he have time to build that?”
“I don’t care, it sure will be a nicer night in here with that going.” Dean answers.
They take off their boots and jeans and slide into their sleeping bags once again.
Sam looks over to see Dean staring into the fire thoughtfully. His familiar profile made into something almost unreal in its beauty, a face with all the right proportions, but alive with familiar emotion that make it even more precious to him
“You okay Dean?”
“You’re asking me that?”
“Yeah I am. So are you?”
“Sure, got my dragon gold, my brother’s soul, and my baby running fine. What else do I need?” Dean asks lightly.
“Good to hear it. ‘night Dean.” Sam smiles and nestles himself down into his bag, closing his eyes against the brightness of the fire battling the beauty of his brother; letting the battle continue behind his closed eyelids where no one will ever be the wiser.
Dean takes a good long look at his little brother stretched out next to him, whole, once more, and appreciating it for once. The enormity of what they were talking about outside tonight hits him. That Sam jumped into the pit for him, not the world. Something he’d selfishly hoped for was true; if he’s honest with himself. But now that he knows for sure, well it warms him up deep inside the craggy cracked excuse for a heart he’s saddled with. Proof that his brother loves him that much is worth more to him than that pile of dragon’s gold they stashed back at Bobby’s.
“’night Sammy” Dean says softly as he gets comfortable in his bag, falling asleep with the hope that Sam’s Wall isn’t affected by all the talking he did tonight.
Gjuki silently leaves the room, convinced that he needs to help these boys, these warriors, these brothers more than brothers who saved the world. He can see the effort it takes each of them to remain separate from the other, he can see how their souls were made to fit together as one. He recalls all the ancient heroic tales of his people, that there can be no greater treasure than living your life with your soul-mate at your side.
Masterpost Part 2