phantisma: (Dean neck)
[personal profile] phantisma
Fandom: Supernatural, Broken!Verse (All of Broken is Here)
Title: Consequences
Pairing/Characters: Sam/Dean, John/Ellen, Jo, Pastor Jim, Caleb, Gabe (OMC)
Rating: NC-17, for ongoing themes, mild sex
Word Count: 9860
Summary: Following Reunion, Sam is falling apart and John finally sees how badly...but he has an idea that just might help Sam forgive himself and move past what he had to do to find and save his brother.

A/Ns & Warnings: This continues some very dark stuff...the psychological fall out of demon possession and dark magic.




Sam was sulking. He hadn’t come out of the room since breakfast, and now that he had, he wished he hadn’t. Dean was trying to be himself, be normal, sitting at the bar, nursing a beer.

Sam watched him make conversation, watched him work his patented Dean Winchester charm that could get him laid any time of day or night. It was making Sam crazy. Which was ridiculous. It was just who Dean was, especially with all the programming suppressed under his memory loss. Sam knew where Dean’s heart was…knew that when he was done having his fun, it was Sam he came back to.

It didn’t help. Especially not when the person currently flirting like she was actually going to get something out of it was the fucking slut who sent Dean hurtling into a catatonic state because she couldn’t keep her hands off shit that didn’t belong to her. She leaned over the bar, trying to make more of her half-developed breasts than they’d ever be, smiling and brushing imaginary hair off Dean’s forehead. Dean’s hair was freshly cut, there wasn’t any hair there to brush.

He couldn’t hear what they were talking about, but it didn’t matter. Sam wanted to hit her. When she came around the bar and sidled up to Dean, Sam had had enough. He got up and stalked toward them, towering over them as she draped herself over Dean’s back, leaning in. “I just think you could use a little attention from a woman.”

Sam’s big hand came down on her back, fisting in her shirt and lifting her off her feet, depositing her at arms length away. “Run along and find one for us then.”

“Sam.”

Sam’s nostrils were flaring and his hands were fists at his side as Dean stood up. “Dean.”

“She was just being nice.”

“She was hitting on you.”

“God Sam, she’s a child.”

“I am not a child.” Jo pushed her way between them. “And what is it to you anyway?”

Sam pushed her back away from them. “You have no right to even talk to him after what you did.”

“What I did? What I did? It wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t the one who left the DVDs laying around.”

“DVDs? Sam what is she talking about?”

“Not now Dean. Look, Jo, just keep your distance. Dean doesn’t need any more help from the likes of you.”

“Sam—“

“Damn it Dean.” Sam turned to face him, and was shocked when Dean slapped him across the face.

“Stop fucking patronizing me and tell me.”

Sam’s hand pressed against his face. “Ow.”

“He doesn’t remember?” Jo’s face was horrified. “I-I thought your dad said he remembered…that he was better.”

“I am better.” Dean said. “But I don’t remember everything.”

“Dean, I’ll tell you when we’re alone okay? It isn’t something you want broadcast around a bar.” Sam was starting to feel like he was spiraling out of control. His head hurt and she was still hovering. “Get lost.”

“My bar, you get lost.”

“Fine. Dean, let’s go find a motel or something. This is too much.”

“I promised we’d stay Sam. It’s fine. Okay. Jo didn’t mean any harm. I wasn’t planning on sleeping with her. You’re upset. Let’s get you a shot or something, huh? We’ll shoot some pool—“

“I’m not getting drunk Dean.”

“You look like you could use it.” Dean said, his hand reaching out.

Sam pulled away. “Fuck you.” He whirled on Jo. “I mean it. He doesn’t need your little girl bullshit, so leave him the fuck alone.” Dean’s hand was on his back. Sam pulled away. “I’m going to get some air.”

“Yeah maybe that’s a good idea.” Dean said.

Sam grimaced and stormed away, out the front door of the Roadhouse and into the dusty parking lot. The sun was just on its way to sinking and Sam didn’t even look back, just went off walking. He got to the road before he realized he didn’t have his cane, which meant he wouldn’t get far. “Fuck.” He wanted to hit something. He wanted to blast the shit out of something. Above all, he didn’t want to go hobbling back into the damn bar and show off what a weak, gimpy fucking useless piece of shit he was.

Sam turned and made for the back of the Roadhouse. He could go in the back way and back to their room. Take some pain pills and get some sleep. Maybe he could get past whatever this mood was. He limped around the corner, and pulled up short when he spotted Ellen at the grill.

“You okay there, Sam?”

“I wish everyone would stop asking me that.” Sam snapped. Not that everyone did. Dean did. He shook his head and started moving back toward the door. “I’m fine.”

“That what fine looks like on a Winchester?”

Sam stopped and looked over his shoulder at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Ellen frowned. “Nothing. Just observing. You boys seem to have your own definitions, that’s all.”

“You know…I realize that you were helpful, that my father likes you…that Dean, who barely remembers who the hell you are, trusts you…none of that gives you the right to judge me, or Dean.”

She held up both hands. “No one’s judging Sam.” She put down the wire brush she’d been cleaning the grill with and came toward him. “I’m just trying to help.”

“Maybe I don’t need your help.” Sam said, though his tone carried less conviction than he’d hoped.

She was close…too close…her hand touched his arm. “Maybe not mine, Sam. But someone’s I think.”

His face hardened and he leaned down, brushing her hand off with his other hand. “Just because you’re fucking my father doesn’t mean you’ve become my mother.”

She pulled her hand free and slapped him across the same cheek Dean hit. Sam glowered at her, then shook his head and went inside. He was nearly to the stairs when he heard Dean, laughing. Loudly. Sam veered back toward the bar. Jo was no where to be seen, but Dean was leaning on the bar and next to him, a big hand wrapped around a bottle of beer was a man Sam had never seen. He was Dean’s height, blond, hard body in tight jeans, leaning in toward his brother, laughing, all but touching Dean.

Sam watched as the man reached behind Dean, heard him say, “Mine?” and Sam was across the bar in seconds, his fist landing in the man’s face to the crack of bone.

“Jesus, Sam!” Dean leapt away, grabbing Sam’s hand as he was about to throw a second punch. The man’s beer, which had been behind Dean, rolled off the bar and onto the floor. Sam shook his head and tried to pull away from Dean.

Everything was wrong, fucked up and he couldn’t see straight. He covered his face and turned away, ending up turning into Dean’s shoulder. He heard his brother making excuses, telling someone to put the guy’s next drink on his tab, then Dean was pushing him out of the room toward the stairs. “Fuck, Sam…what are you thinking? What the fuck are you thinking?”

“Dean…just…I don’t know.” He let Dean prod him up the stairs, leaning heavily on the railing. He was strung too tight and he was going to fall apart. Coming to this fucking shit hole had been a bad idea. There were eyes everywhere, people…hunters…Any one of them could be a spy for Ash and Andrew. Any one of them could know the truth.

Dean got them into their room and shut the door, leaning against it while Sam paced back and forth. “Fuck, Dean…he was…he was touching…and he…”

“He was reaching for his beer, Sam.”

“No.” Sam shook his head. “No. He wanted you. I could see it. He was going to touch you. No touching Dean. Remember? We said it. No touching.”

Dean met his eyes, nodding slowly. “I remember, Sam. He wasn’t touching. I wouldn’t let him touch, okay?”

“She did. She touched you. Lay on your back like she owned you.”

Dean shook his head. “You own me, Sam. Only you.”

Sam tried to slow his panting. Dean was entirely too calm. He pulled his shirt up and off, coming toward Sam. “See Sam. Yours.” His finger traced the “S” shaped scar, then reached for Sam’s hand, using his middle finger to trace it. “Yours. Only you.”

Sam nodded, his hand resting flat over the scar. “Mine.” He didn’t move, staring down at Dean, lust and need and anger and fear all mixed up in his stomach. “Mine.” It was softer this time, and Dean tilted his head back, reaching up to brush his lips over Sam’s.

“Yours Sammy…always…forever…love you.”

Sam’s free hand pulled Dean to him, wrapped around the back of his neck and dragging him until his body was flush against Sam’s. His lips tasted of beer and whiskey and Sam licked at them greedily. “Mine.”

He moved them, turning and shifting until they were beside the bed. Dean’s hands pushed up under Sam’s shirt, pushing it up toward his shoulders, his lips pressing against the exposed flesh, up to the “D” carved there above his left nipple “Mine.” Dean murmured against Sam’s skin, repeating the kiss and adding a swirl of his tongue over the mark.

Sam pulled the shirt off and tossed it aside. Dean’s lips burned against him, and Sam fought pulling away. He wanted this…wanted Dean…but his body still remembered. “Dean.”

Dean’s eyes were smoky green when he looked up at Sam. “Right here, Sam. Not going anywhere.”

Sam nodded. He let Dean draw him down to the bed, sitting, then laying down. Dean settled him down, kissing over his face, forehead, eyes. Sam whimpered as Dean’s hand slid down his torso and into the loose waistband of his jeans. “Shh…Sammy…easy.”

“Dean.” It was needy and desperate and Dean’s hand curled around Sam’s cock as it hardened.

“I’ve got you, Sammy…” His hand was strong and sure against him, moving up and over, down and around and Sam squeezed his eyes closed, one hand holding Dean’s wrist where it disappeared into Sam’s jeans. Dean’s body was stretched out beside his, his lips tracing over his shoulder.

“Dean…please…”

“Shh…easy…right here.” Sam shuddered as he came and Dean’s hand cradled him, while his voice whispered and Sam couldn’t make out the words, couldn’t open his eyes. The last thing he felt was Dean’s kiss, then he was falling into the embrace of sleep.



“You coming to bed?”

John looked up. Ellen leaned on the door and backlit by the light of the jukebox she seemed soft and glowing. Her whiskey soaked voice was warm and pleasant and it stirred him. The doors were locked, the bar dark. Sam and Dean had disappeared up the stairs and neither of them had come back down.

They hadn’t even known he was there, that he’d been watching. John tossed back the shot of whiskey and nodded, pushing his chair back and standing. “Yeah.” He’d spent the day away. Needed the space to figure out what to do with what Dean had told him.

He followed Ellen wordlessly to the bedroom that they’d been sharing since they got back. It was comfortable…and comforting. And maybe it was too much of both. He’d gotten complacent. Let himself forget. Let himself believe that as long as his boys had each other, they’d be okay.

He’d seen how wrong that thought was when he’d seen Sam punch that man. He’d seen the look on his son’s face…the fear, the gut-wrenching anguish…Sam was lost, floundering. And Dean was maybe the only thing keeping Sam from disintegrating into the black.

“You’re quiet tonight.”

John sat on the edge of the bed to pull off his boots, nodding. “Sorry. Thinking.”

“Sam?”

He nodded again. “I’m not sure how to help him.”

She climbed across the bed and rubbed warm hands down his back. “He’s angry and he’s hurt, John. He needs time and love.”

“Dean told me…Sam asked Dean to kill him.”

“Really?”

John sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. “He told Dean that he let that demon possess him…and now…he can’t let go, he’s feeling guilt…thinks he’s worse than the men who hurt them…or something.”

“And that’s why you’re having trouble? Because you think he’s guilty too?”

“No!” John said forcefully, indignantly. He stood and paced away. “I mean…yes. How? After everything…how could he do that, Ellen? How could he even consider that?”

Ellen shook her head. “I don’t know John. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t in his shoes. What would have happened if he didn’t? Have you thought about that?”

“What?” John shook his head, scratched at the day’s growth on his face. “What are you saying?”

Ellen crossed her arms and sank to sitting on the bed. “Consider what you know about Sam’s search for Dean, and your own search. If Sam hadn’t made that deal, would either of them even be here?”

“So you can condone voluntary demon possession based on the outcome?”

“No, John. That’s not exactly what I’m driving at.”

“What then? Am I supposed to just overlook it? Demons and possession, Ellen. They aren’t games you play. It’s serious. It changes you. Even when it’s involuntary.” He was starting to shake. It was a memory he hadn’t thought about in a very long time. “Sam asked for it. He invited it.”

“There’s something you’re not telling me.”

John turned his back. He’d never told his boys. In fact only Pastor Jim knew. Jim had been the one to exorcise the damn thing. “I was…once…it was a long time ago. Mary had only been gone for a year or so. I was still in Lawrence, but I was…learning. Starting the hunt. I was angry and…”

“You were possessed.” Ellen said it and he shivered, nodding slowly.

“It was a nasty little fuck…and I was an arrogant son-of-a-bitch, should have left it for a more experienced hunter.” John sighed. “It was over quick. Jim Murphy had been tipped off and he showed up less than ten hours later…but…”

“It leaves a mark.” Ellen said and John could only nod in response. “Does Sam know?”

John shook his head, turning to face her. “They were babies…and I was…I buried it.”

“You should tell him. Show him that he can survive this. Let him know you’re here for him.”

“I don’t know if I can Ellen. I don’t know if I can look him in the eye, knowing what I know.”

“Of course you can. You’re his father, John.” She came off the bed and crossed to his side, sliding a hand down his arm and into his hand. “He needs you to be his father. He needs to know he’s not alone.” She pressed a kiss to his shoulder. “Now…come to bed.”


John knocked lightly at the door, though it was partially open. Sam sat on the bed, alone. He sat staring at the bottle of pills in his hand and didn’t look up.

John cleared his throat and eased open the door, leaning on the door frame. “Hey.” Sam didn’t move. Didn’t even blink really. John sighed and stepped into the room, closing the door. “Thought we could talk.” He moved to sit next to Sam.

“We don’t talk.” Sam said after a long silence, his hand closing around the bottle. “We fight.”

“Don’t want to fight.”

“Don’t want to talk.” Sam said, still staring at his hand.

“What do you want?”

Sam shook his head. “Doesn’t matter.”

“It does.”

Sam shook his head and set the bottle of pills on the nightstand. “Dean counts them every night. Thinks I don’t know.” Sam stared at the pill bottle, tilted his head to crack his neck. “Never keeps more than three in the bottle. Hides the rest.”

John wanted to touch him, wanted to shake him, make him look at him. Instead, he licked his lips and looked at the bottle too. “Your brother loves you.”

“Sometimes that’s not enough.” Sam said it quietly, no real inflection…and yet it cut deep and hard.

“I love you.”

At least that brought movement. Sam’s eyes closed and he shook his head. “I—it doesn’t change anything.”

They were quiet. John tried a half dozen times and couldn’t make the words come, couldn’t get his hand to move. Finally, as Sam reached for the bottle again, John cleared his throat. “Dean told me, Sam. Told me about the demon.”

Sam’s face turned away and he drew his hand back away from the bottle. “He had no right.”

“Don’t be angry with him.” John’s hand moved finally, lifting to rest on Sam’s back. Sam flinched, but didn’t pull away. “Sam, it was important to him…so we can help you find your way back.”

Sam shook his head. “Back? Back to what Dad?”

“Yourself…us…”

Sam got up and limped across the room. “No. No. You don’t just come back. You can’t know. You can’t possibly understand.”

“I do understand, Sam.”

Sam shook his head. “Dean keeps saying that too. That it’s okay because I did it for him. He doesn’t understand. He doesn’t know what it feels like to lose control of your body…to watch, trapped and captive inside yourself as your body brings pain and destruction. He doesn’t know what it’s like to feel an innocent girl die just because it made the fucking thing inside you come through your dick.”

“Sam-“

Sam was shaking as he turned and John could see the fury in his eyes. “No. No. You don’t understand.”

John stood, holding up his hands as if to surrender as he crossed toward Sam. “I do, Sam. More than you know.”

Sam’s eyes met his, staring, glaring…then slowly softening. “You were barely walking. There was a possession…it was bad. The thing was killing livestock and burning fields, then it moved up to a mother and daughter. It was way out of my league. I was told someone was coming to take care of it, but I wanted vengeance…for your mother.”

Sam’s breathing eased, slowed as John came closer. “I should have waited. I was angry and determined and afraid.”

“Perfect for demon possession.” Sam all but whispered.

John nodded. “Ripe for the picking. It came out of the man easy…because it saw me as a better host…I was foolish and didn’t set the circle strongly enough.”

Sam blinked. “It got inside you.”

“Yes, Sam. It did. It would have made me kill you and Dean too. If not for Pastor Jim. He found me before it did too much damage. Put a couple of teenagers in the hospital, burned down a house…before Jim did the job I should have let him do in the first place.”

There were tears in Sam’s eyes as he met John’s again. “It…hurt…” Sam offered into the silence. “I didn’t expect it to hurt. I don’t know what I was thinking.” He swallowed. “It told me it knew…it put pictures in my head of Dean…and what was happening to him…” Sam shook his head and pulled a hand through his hair. “I couldn’t think…I just…I needed to find him. I needed him…I left him, Dad…I just left him…and I had to find him, and it didn’t matter.”

John pulled Sam to him, wrapping his arms around his son and holding him. “It didn’t matter…but I didn’t know how bad…I can hear them screaming…I can feel the blood on my hands…on my face.”

“I know…I know Sam.” John rubbed his back in slow, easy circles. He knew it wouldn’t help to tell him he wasn’t responsible…Sam knew better. “Sam. Hey. Sam.”

Sam took a deep breath and pulled back. “I know. It’s bad. And you feel like you’ll never be clean again. I know.” Sam closed his eyes again and a feeling of helplessness swept through John. “I’m not sure how to help you with that. I don’t know that it will just go away.”

Sam wiped at his face, pressing the tears away and stepping back. John pulled him back to him, not letting him escape. “Hey…look at me Sam.” When Sam’s eyes came back to John’s they’d softened and he looked for all the world like a lost little boy. “I want you to know a few things before I leave this room.” He held Sam’s gaze, making sure Sam knew he was serious. “I love you and I’m…I’m proud of you. And I know you don’t believe that right now…but I do and I am. Okay?”

Sam rolled his eyes and sort of nodded and John nodded back. “And…I’m going to find a way to make it better.” In fact he was beginning to have an idea how. “Dean loves you, and we’re going to get through this.”



Dean made a point to stay out of the bar, and away from Jo. He didn’t want to aggravate Sam any more than he had. His batting average since they’d arrived at the Roadhouse was pretty low. He’d picked a drunken fight with his father and sent Sam into a jealous rage, getting some poor guy’s nose broken.

He sat on a picnic table in the back, drinking a beer in the half light as the sun set. He looked up when the screen door opened, smiling as his father emerged, a fresh beer in hand. “Beer?”

Dean tossed off the last of the bottle in his hand and nodded. John handed him the beer, then joined him, easing down on to the bench. “I talked to Sam earlier.” John ventured. Something in his tone told Dean it was more than a casual conversation. John sighed and rubbed a hand over his face. “You didn’t tell me you were hiding the pain pills from him.”

Dean took a drink and licked his lips. “Told you he wanted me to kill him.”

John nodded, sipping from his own beer. “He’s really bad. I-I didn’t realize…I’m sorry.”

Dean made a face and hid it behind taking another drink. “Don’t be sorry, Dad. Help me make it better.”

“Yeah…about that…” John stood and paced away and back. “I have an idea. You won’t like it.”

Dean scowled at him. His father paced, scratching at the back of his head. He was nervous Dean realized suddenly. Nervous about how Dean would react to what he was going to say. “So?”

John’s eyes flashed his way and he nodded, as if to himself. “So…I think he…we…shit this is harder than I thought.”

Dean slid off the table, setting his beer aside. “Dad? Just say it, whatever it is.”

“An exorcism.”

“A what?” Dean stopped an arm’s length away and stared. “A what?” he repeated, hands on his hips.

“You heard me fine.”

“Sam’s not possessed. He’s fucked up, but there’s no demon—“

John held up his hands. “I know. Though if he doesn’t get his shit under control, he’s wide open for one.” He shook his head. “Look. He feels dirty, guilty…he never had anyone absolve him…He never had the damn thing’s filth cleaned out of him. We can give him that.”

“By…exorcising him?” Dean stared at his father. “It will kill him. He’s half convinced we hate him now. Throw him in a salt circle and start dousing him with holy water, he’ll never trust us again.”

“Give me some credit Dean. I’m not planning on just springing this on him. We’d talk first.”

“Don’t know if you noticed, Sam isn’t much about the talking these days.”

John actually cracked a smile at that. “Yeah, I’d noticed.” He held up his hands. “You wanted me to help. You wanted me to see him and deal with it. This is the only thing I know to do Dean.”

There was an edge of desperation in his voice. Dean knew that edge. He’d walked it every day since some of his memory started to come back. He’d nearly hurtled over it more than once. Some days it wasn’t just Sam he was hiding the pills from. He nodded with a weary sigh. “Yeah…okay…when? How? Where?”

It was John’s turn to sigh. Obviously he hadn’t thought much past convincing Dean. “One thing at a time. We need to decide who.”

Dean frowned. “I figured you…wasn’t that what you were getting at?”

“I’m not sure I’m the right man for the job.”

“Well, my Latin sucks, but—“

John shook his head. “I was thinking of Jim.”

“Pastor Jim?” Dean had a vague memory of walking somewhere with the older man, somewhere with trees…and Sam had said he had come to try to help them…so he already knew some of the story.

“I’m thinking that we should take Sam to him…do it in the church itself. Clean, official. The setting could be just important as what we actually do.”

Dean shook his head and went back for his beer. “I don’t know.” He drank several long swallows. “How does this fix him?”

“It doesn’t. It just…maybe it makes it easier for him to forgive himself…”

“Why? Because god forgives him?” Dean wasn’t sure he bought that.

“You wanted my help. This is the help I have.”

They were quiet for a long time, and Dean considered the last months with Sam…the long nights, the quiet days, the guilt and despair. When he finally finished his beer he nodded again. “I want to be the one to talk to him about it.”

“When?”

Dean looked at him. “Might as well do it now. He’s…sooner is better.” He tossed the bottle into the trash and looked to the door. “We can leave in the morning.”

“You want me to—“

Dean shook his head. “I’ve got this.”

He left his father standing outside with the dark creeping in around him and took the stairs two at a time. He wasn’t sure this was the right thing, for them…for Sam…but he had to admit that it was better than watching Sam unravel. Sam was on the bed, reading. He looked up with a vague smile, but it slipped away when he saw Dean’s face.

“Is everything okay?”

Dean shook his head. “No, Sam. Everything isn’t okay. But…but Dad…he’s got an idea…something that might help…and…” And what? He wasn’t sure exactly how to say it.

“What?” Sam set the book aside, some beat up old paperback. “Dean?”

“Okay…so Dad knows, about the possession I mean.”

Sam nodded. His lips compressed into a thin line. “I know. He told me.”

Dean nodded and shrugged. “I was drunk, and I—“

“Not angry about it Dean.” Sam swung his legs off the bed and stood. “Tell me what Dad’s idea is.”

Dean tried to keep the grimace off his face, but didn’t entirely succeed. “Okay…so…he’s thinking that you need something to help you…I don’t know…let go of that…and he’s thinking maybe…”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Just spit it out.”

Dean exhaled and looked away. “He’s thinking that maybe if we took you to see Pastor Jim, and if maybe he did like…a formal…ritual…absolution and all that jazz.”

Sam stared at him for a minute. Just stared. His expression blank, his eyes dull. “Sam?”

“You mean an exorcism. Like it’s still here inside me? Is that what you think?” Sam turned away. Dean moved closer, reaching for him, but he pulled away. “It’s true, isn’t it? It is…some part of it is still…and that’s why I’m like this…why I’m so…sick. I’m just…god, Dean.”

“No…Sam…” He reached for his brother again, but Sam pulled away again. “I don’t think any part of it is still inside you. It’s symbolic…it’s—“

“What if it is, Dean?” He turned to face Dean, his eyes wide and scared. “What if there’s something inside me that’s all twisted up and wrong? What if it’s been there all along?”

Dean shook his head. “What are you talking about Sam? You’re a good man.”

“No…a good man doesn’t fuck his brother, Dean. A good man doesn’t fuck his brother up so much that he can’t see straight.”

“As I recall, it was me fucking you in the beginning, so if that’s your issue, fine, I’m not a good man. But you are.”

Sam shook his head. Then he seemed to sag, like the fight just wasn’t worth it. “When?”

Dean scowled at him, angry now and forgetting why he’d even started the conversation. “When…when what?”

Sam looked up from the floor, hair in his eyes and looking like he was 14 again. “The exorcism, Dean. When?”

Dean shifted on his feet. “We can leave in the morning.”

Sam nodded. “Yeah. Okay.”

“Wait…just like that? You’re okay with it?”

Sam shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m tired. Don’t want to fight.”

Dean moved in closer, running a hand down Sam’s arm. “You don’t have to Sam, it’s just an idea. Just one idea. Just Dad’s stupid idea.”

Sam turned, resting his head on Dean’s shoulder. “I want to stop Dean….I just want it to stop. I don’t…Maybe he’s right.”

Dean wasn’t sure what to say to that, so he didn’t, just slid his arms up around Sam and held him. Maybe their father was right. Maybe Sam just needed a symbolic cleansing to let it go and move on. Not for the first time, Dean wondered how his mind had done its fracturing thing, burying all the horror, and why Sam’s hadn’t…He wondered if maybe Sam wasn’t the stronger one after all, no matter what he might think.


John had called Jim to let them know they were coming, and why after Dean had settled Sam into bed and come down to tell him that Sam had agreed. John still wasn’t sure it was the right thing…it was just the only thing he had left.

In the quiet of the not-quite-dawn, John put their bags in the trunk of the Impala and dusted his hands, waiting for Sam and Dean to make their way down and out to the car. Ellen appeared at the door, still sleep-warm and drowsy, her hair tousled. In her hands was a battered old thermos. “Made coffee.”

He crossed over to her, sliding his arms around her waist and pulling her into him before kissing her…all soft and hot and comforting. “You are a good woman.”

She smiled up at him and moved the thermos between them. “And don’t you forget that.” She pulled away as the Dean’s voice rumbled out to them, his words lost in the space between them, and meant for Sam anyway. The door opened and Sam was leaning heavily on Dean, not really awake. Dean’s hand not occupied with holding his brother vertical held his cane.

John opened the door to the back seat and Dean cajoled Sam to sit, one hand protecting his head as he eased Sam down and into laying on the worn leather seat. Arranging his legs took longer, especially when Sam was too far back under to be of any help at all. Finally, Dean managed and got the door closed. “He took a pain pill in the middle of the night. He’ll probably sleep the whole way.”

John nodded and turned back to Ellen. “You going to be all right?”

She nodded. “Jo and I will be fine. Bobby’s on his way back. Should be here in a few days. Your boys need you more than we do.”

John kissed her cheek and raised an eyebrow when Dean moved to get behind the wheel. “My car, I drive.” Dean said, holding his hand up for the keys. John tossed them and climbed in the passenger side.

They were an hour out, the coffee nearly gone and Sam was snoring lightly in the back seat. Dean sighed and glanced aside at John. “Something on your mind?”

Dean nodded, his eyes skipping to John’s face and then back to the road in front of them. “It was a rough night. Hasn’t been that bad in a while.”

“Because of this?”

Dean shrugged. “He’s afraid that…he said he’s not good…that maybe he’s always been evil, and that the demon knew that.” He shook his head. “He was babbling.”

“Why would he think that?”

Dean made a face and looked over his shoulder. “He’s not himself. He’s convinced that…that this thing…between us…that he’s to blame.”

John grimaced. He’d been able to avoid that since they’d left the cabin. He still didn’t know how to respond to it. “Dean, I—“

“No. I don’t want to talk about it. Just him.”

Part of him was relieved. He didn’t really want to talk about it either. “We have to talk about it eventually.”

Dean snorted. “We do? Have you met us? Winchesters? Masters of the not talking about the obvious. I’m good with us never talking about it. I was good with you not knowing about it. But Sam tells me you do…and we’re both still alive, so I figure you found some peace with it.”

“Sam tells you…” John hadn’t realized just how much Dean still didn’t remember. “When I spoke with Sam he said you were remembering.”

“I am.” Dean shifted, adjusted his hands on the wheel. “I mean…I was. I remember a lot…well…up to that job we worked before Cassidy. I kinda remember fighting at the motel. And…I have flashes after that…mostly after Sam found me.”

“I assumed…” He’d assumed he’d gotten it all back, that he’d figured out how to deal with it and hold on to himself. “I’m sorry.”

Dean wrinkled his nose and shook his head. “Don’t be. I’m not.”

“You’re not?”

“Way I see it, it was bad. I’ve got the highlights from Sam…and I see what remembering is doing for him. Doesn’t make me think it’s something I need to worry about.”

“Dean, I’m not sure that’s…healthy.”

“Was I healthy before I forgot?”

John frowned, his forehead furrowing. “No, of course not. You were catatonic.”

“And before that I was a programmed fucking slave.” Dean swallowed hard and shook his head. “I’d rather be me with a few holes in my memory. Besides, Sam needs me. I can’t…I couldn’t take care of him if I was falling apart too.”

“You shouldn’t be taking care of Sam.” John said into the silence when it had stretched too long. “That should have been my job.”

Again, Dean made a face. “It’s always been my job, Dad. Ever since that night. Can’t stop now. Don’t know how.”

John looked at Dean. There was no denying the love between them, no denying it was anything less than it was, no matter how uncomfortable that made John. Dean was content with not knowing as long as he could make Sam better. Dean was content as long as Sam was there.

He could see Dean’s point now…that he’d known before, even if it was never consciously. He’d seen Dean’s unhappiness after Sam left, and he’d known it was because Sam left. He’d seen the uneasiness, the way he didn’t really sleep, the emptiness of the room…and somewhere under it all he knew.

Worse, he was beginning to wonder if it wasn’t his fault. If his sons had fallen into this desperate, all consuming need for one another because he had somehow foisted it on them, shoving them together in the back seat of the car and motel beds, isolating them from ever attaching to anyone else.

“Dad?”

“Huh? Sorry. Just thinking.”

“Anymore coffee?”

John shook the thermos and then his head. “No, we’re dry.”

“I’ll pull off at the next truck stop. We’ll stretch our legs and get some coffee. Should be at Pastor Jim’s in another two hours or so.”




Dean made the turn into the church parking lot. His father yawned and stretched beside him. Jim Murphy was standing on the top step of the church. It was close to ten in the morning. Behind him, he knew Sam was awake, though he hadn’t moved or made a sound. He got them parked and watched his father get out of the car, heading instantly to Pastor Jim.

“You okay?” he asked, watching Sam’s form in the rear view mirror.

“Don’t know.” Sam didn’t sit up, but Dean heard him sigh. “Nervous.”

He’d been down to one and two word sentences most of the night, up until he’d complained about the leg and took the pill. “We don’t have to do this, Sam. Say the word and I’ll take us out of here.”

“No.”

Dean sighed and jumped when his father knocked on his window. He opened the door. “I’ll take the bags in, get us settled.” Dean nodded and handed him the keys. “You two take your time.”

Dean swung his feet out onto the pavement and rubbed a hand up over his short hair and onto his neck. He was tired. He’d only slept a few hours, even less really than Sam…and the driving had taken its toll.

“Dean?”

“Yeah?”

When Sam didn’t respond, Dean got up and opened the back door, squatting down and rubbing a hand over Sam’s head. “How can I help?”

“Not sure I can move.” Sam said softly, though Dean wasn’t sure if it was a physical stiffness or an emotional one.

“Want some vicoden?”

Sam shook his head. “Shouldn’t have drugs for the…thing.”

The thing. The exorcism. The fucking exorcism. “Okay.”

Sam’s hand fumbled for Dean’s, pulling it down to press a kiss to his palm. “Sit. I want to sit up.”

Dean slid his free hand up and behind Sam, shifting to help him leverage up to sitting. “If you weren’t so huge…”

Sam ended up in the middle of the seat, his legs still off to the other side of the car, his hand clinging to Dean’s. “Remember when we were little, and we could both fit here?” Sam said softly, his hand caressing the worn leather. “You would put your back against the seat, and hold me in front of you.”

Dean smiled. “I remember you wiggled. A lot.”

“You tickled me. A lot.” Sam said, a sad sort of smile on his face.

They sat there for a few minutes, then Sam let go of his hand. “You feel better?”

“I guess.”

“Want to go inside?”

“Not yet.”

Dean nodded and moved so he was sitting next to Sam. “We haven’t done this in a while.”

“Since that last time at Bobby’s.” Sam stared at the back of the front seat. “I told you I was leaving…and we sat…just like this.”

“You told me it was for my own good.” Dean offered, not really looking at his brother.

“I didn’t realize it would break your heart.” Sam said softly.

“I didn’t realize you meant it.”

“I love you, you know that right?” Sam asked suddenly, squeezing Dean’s hand.

“Yeah, Sam…I know.”

Sam nodded, seeming to gather himself up in the motion. “I think I’m ready.”

Dean lifted their joint hands, pressing his lips to the silver ring that he’d put on Sam’s hand, though he didn’t remember doing it. “You really don’t have to go through with this. We can do…something else…we can try…”

“Thank you.” Sam kissed his cheek. “No matter what happens in there, I mean that…”

There was something of a quiet that settled over Sam as he got out of the car. He leaned on Dean rather than taking his cane. His eyes traced the pavement as they moved. He felt frail and unnervingly still as Dean slipped his arm around his waist to help him up the stairs. Dean got the door to the church open and they paused inside it, letting their eyes adjust. It had always been a place Dean felt at home, comfortable, even if he didn’t believe. There had always been safety here. He and Sam had played at war games between the pews, hide and seek through its halls.

Today, it was imposing and dark. Tall windows that let in little light cast bejeweled shadows on the dark crimson carpet that more than ever resembled a river of blood leading them into the heart of a medieval beast to offer his Sammy up on it’s altar. Dean swallowed and looked up at Sam, but he was lost inside himself, not speaking, barely breathing.

He could see them now, in the shadows up ahead. Jim was coming toward them. Dean readjusted his grip and set them moving. They met in the middle of the sanctuary. Jim smiled softly. “I’ve sent your father to prepare. You should leave Sam with me and join him.”

“I don’t want to leave him.”

Jim’s hand settled on his shoulder. “I know. But I promise you, he’s safe with me. We’ll join you in just a few minutes. Okay?”

Part of him screamed out that no, it wasn’t okay. Not okay by a long shot. Sam was so…fragile…and…”’S’okay, Dean.” Sam mumbled. “Go.”

Dean chewed on his lip and shook his head. “Yeah, okay.” He kissed Sam’s cheek and helped him to sit on the nearest pew. Sam didn’t look up as Dean moved away and Dean couldn’t bring himself to look back as he went to find his father.

He couldn’t place the unease he had with the idea, especially since Sam seemed to want it. He’d latched on to the idea like it was a life jacket. Maybe it was. Maybe Dean’s discomfort had more to do with the fact that it might actually be necessary…that somehow it might actually help. He didn’t want to think about that too much. He’d always left the psycho-babble to his brother.

Dean found his father in Pastor Jim’s private office, changing into dark robes that resembled a monk’s robe. “We changing religion for this?” Dean asked a little more flippantly than he’d meant as he came into the room.

“Helps avoid distraction.” John said, tossing a robe to Dean.

Dean looked down at his robe, then up at his father. It dawned on him that what was going on here wasn’t a simple exorcism. Pastor Jim and John had something more planned. “What exactly are we doing, Dad?”

John didn’t look at him, busied himself with tying a simple black belt around his waist. “Jim and I talked about it last night, Dean. We’re doing the full litany, baptism…a full cleansing.”

Dean closed his fist tight around the rough fabric in his hands. “Like hell we are. Do you have any idea how close to breaking Sam is? How do you know this is even going to help?”

John turned to him then and Dean was surprised to find tears in his eyes. “I don’t.” His jaw trembled and Dean nearly took a step back. “I don’t know if it will help, Dean. Right now, I don’t know much of anything…except your brother is barely hanging on. I saw it Dean…the look in his eyes…the desire to just…give up. I don’t know what else to do.”

Truth was, Dean didn’t really either, but seeing his father like that cooled the anger a little. “I’m…afraid for him.” Dean said after a long silence.

John didn’t respond, just turned and opened his arms. It took Dean a second to be able to move, but when he did, John wrapped those arms around him and held on until Dean was going to have to complain about breathing. “I am too.” John said quietly as he released Dean. “Get dressed. There’s prep work to do while Jim gets Sam ready.”



The chapel was small compared to the imposing sanctuary above them and already warm with the lighting of the banks of candles. Dean moved slowly, lighting still more candles while his father walked the circle with an old fashioned censor, murmuring in Latin as he went.

The air was still and the smoke sat thick on the floor, moving sluggishly around their feet as they walked. The circle was marked out, laid in the tile of the floor, dark stone marking the place where under the floor a devil’s trap had been laid.

Dean watched his father finish his circuit of the room and move in to begin tracing that circle…renewing the sanctification of a place that had served as holy ground since Catholic priests had first come to the area. Hundreds of years had seen baptisms and exorcisms, weddings and funerals here. Priests were made and unmade on this very spot. There was a reason Jim Murphy was in this place.

Doors opened out in the dark beyond the realm of the candlelight and shuffling footsteps could be heard. John finished his circle and stopped beside Dean as they waited. Jim was dressed in full priestly garb, something Dean couldn’t even remember seeing when he was giving Mass. Beside him, Sam was clad in a white robe, barefoot. He limped, but kept pace with Jim and moved on his own. He didn’t look up, didn’t acknowledge their presence. As he got closer, Dean thought he looked as though he’d been crying. They stopped, just outside the circle and Jim said something softly to Sam before he continued on alone. Sam stood just outside it, staring at the tile.

Jim laid a gentle hand on both John and Dean. “He’s preparing himself to enter. We’ll begin when he is ready.”

Dean exhaled slowly and nodded, though his eyes never left his brother. Beside him, his father raised the hood of his robe, his face fading into shadow. Dean lit the last candle and did the same.

Jim settled himself between the baptismal font and the place where Sam would lay, head bowed as if in prayer. Dean tried not to see it as a sacrificial altar, but its stone was draped with red cloth and he could already see Sam laying against it, offering himself up. He shook his head and moved to take up his position on the other side of the circle.

Sam’s movement was slow when he finally did move, his first step into the circle hesitant, as if he was expecting it to hurt. Three steps in he stopped and shuddered, sniffling a little before moving to the altar. Jim took his hand and helped him onto the stone table. Sam laid back, his eyes already closed, his hands fisted at his sides.

Jim stepped back and exhaled slowly. He raised his hands, sprinkling the altar and Sam with holy water, then turning to do likewise to Dean and John. His voice was soft, but it filled the chapel easily. “DEUS, cui próprium est miseréri semper et párcere: súscipe deprecatiónem nostram; ut hunc fámulum tuum, quem (hanc fámulam tuam, quam) delictórum caténa constríngit, miserátio tuæ pietátis cleménter absólvat.”

Dean turned inward, facing his father with Sam between them. Pastor Jim let the Latin roll off his tongue and slowly Sam’s hands unfisted, his face relaxed.

“Ne reminiscáris, Dómini, delicta nostra, vel paréntum nostrórum: neque vindíctam sumas de peccátis nostris. Pater noster secreto usque ad” Jim used his thumb to trace a cross on Sam’s forehead. “Et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem.”

Dean murmured the response with his father. “Sed líbera nos a malo.”

Deliver us from evil. He closed his eyes as Jim began the Litany of Saints. It had been a long time since his father had made him sit and memorize the Catholic ritual…a long time and a lot of disbelief in the parts that didn’t directly involve the actual exorcism. He was surprised by how easily it came back, the responses coming even though his mind was stuck on the innocent expression on Sam’s face. It was almost as if he was asleep.

There was anointing oil and Jim traced crosses over Sam’s forehead, lips, heart…more prayers and biblical passages. Psalms and stuff from the gospels…Dean didn’t really follow it all. His attention was on Sam.

“Praecípio tibi, quicúmque es, spíritus immúnde, et ómnibus sóciis tuis hunc dei fámulum (hanc dei fámulam) obsidéntibus: ut per mystéria incarnatiónis, passiónis, resurrectiónis et ascensiónis Dómini nostri Jesu Christi, per missiónem Spíritus Sancti, et per advéntum ejúsdem Dómini nostri ad judicium, dicas mihi nomen tuum, die et horam éxitus tui, cum áliquo signo: et ut mihi Dei minístro licet indígno, prorsus in ómnibus obédias: neque hanc creatúram Dei, vel circunstántes, aut eórum bona ullo modo offéndas.”

Sam showed signs of distress then, at the first command to unclean spirits, his face tightening, a soft whimper escaping him. Dean moved to step forward, but Jim held up his hand to stop him and repeated the command. Sam’s face relaxed, but his hands were back to fists.

“Dómine, exaudi oratiónem meam.” Lord, hear my prayer

“Et clamor meus ad te véniat.” And let my cry be heard by you.

Pastor Jim bowed his head, raising his arms in supplication and beginning the next round of prayers. Dean’s eyes stole to his father, his face still hidden in the shadows of the hood, his hands folded in front of him. The air was thick with incense and the smell of four men in a closed space.

There was more holy water and a cross lifted, blessed, held over Sam while Pastor Jim intoned in Latin. He passed the cross off to Dean who was to stand at Sam’s head with it. As Dean stepped into place, he let his free hand touch the altar beside Sam’s hand. He didn’t touch his brother, but it helped to know he only had to shift his hand and Sam would know he was there.

“Exorcizo te, immundíssime spíritus, omnis incúrsio adversárii, omne phantasma, omnis légio, in nómine Dómini nostri Jesu Christi.” He made the sign of the cross over himself, then over Sam. “Eradicáre, et effugáre ab hoc plásmate Dei.”

Sam’s head turned away from Pastor Jim, his cheek brushing Dean’s hand. He was hot to the touch, sweating as the Latin moved into the long exorcism form. It was only the beginning. Dean licked his lips and fought the urge to caress his brother’s skin, to offer him comfort as the words came more forcefully, the small chapel practically vibrating with Jim’s voice and the power of the ancient rite.

Dean could feel the rise and fall of Jim’s voice in his own chest, the Latin calling out the unclean spirits, the minions of hell. Sam shivered, his hands clenching and unclenching, then reaching as if trying to find something to hold on to. One covered his face and he tried to curl on his side, but John moved to hold him, his big hands covering Sam’s shoulders and pressing him down.

Jim’s thumb retraced the oil already glistening on Sam’s forehead. Sam’s eyes opened, his breathing ratcheting up as he looked at Jim, then their father and finally up to Dean. There was fear and pain in their green depths and Dean had to swallow his own fear, closing his eyes to regain something like a balance before he could open them and hold Sam’s gaze.

It went on forever, prayers for deliverance and exhortations to holy living, more psalms and demands that all that was unclean depart. Sam shook as it neared the crescendo, his hand reaching for Dean, holding the wrist of the hand holding the cross. He was whimpering, tears streaming from his eyes.

“Deus omnípotens, ut spíritus iniquitátis ámplius non hábeat potestátem in hoc fámulo tuo N. (hac fámula tua N.), sed ut fúgiat, et non revertátur: ingrediatur in eum (eam), Dómine, te jubénte, bónitas et pax Dómini nostri Jesu Christi, per quem redémpti sumus, et ab omni malo non timeámus, quia Dóminus nobiscum est: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus Sancti Deus, per ómnia sæcula sæculorum.”

“Amen.” Dean was only a split second behind his father. Sam’s body quivered then relaxed, his grip on Dean’s wrist the only thing to indicate he was even awake. John released him and stepped back. Jim took the cross from Dean’s hand.

“Take a minute, Sam.” Jim said softly before he stepped back, drawing John with him.

Dean moved around to the side, Sam’s eyes following. “Hey.”

Sam’s eyes glistened as he clung to Dean’s hand, pulling it to his chest and settling it over his heart. Dean let the strong beat pull him closer. It was the feeling of life.

“Dean.” Sam’s voice was scarcely a whisper. Dean leaned closer and Sam slipped his arms around his neck.

Dean moved, helping Sam sit up. He held him close, his eyes skipping to the other two men. “You okay?”

He could feel Sam’s eyelashes against his cheek. “Think so.” He brushed his lips against Dean’s face, then pulled back. “Help me up.”

Dean wasn’t’ sure Sam was anything resembling okay, but his feet held him as he stood and they moved in tandem to the baptismal font where Jim and John were waiting.

Jim smiled softly and reached a hand for Sam who shuffled forward. This part was less intense. Dean stood back as Jim started. Baptism. Dean shivered at the thought…it was absolution, the rejection of the life that came before. Sam leaned forward and Jim poured water over his head, still speaking the words.

When it was done, Sam lifted his head, water dripping down his back. He turned, his eyes seeking out Dean’s. Even from across the circle Dean could tell he was exhausted, close to passing out. Jim nodded and Dean surged across to support Sam as his bad leg gave way.

“I have a room set up for him to rest in. It will be quiet.” Jim led them out of the room, and Dean followed, half carrying Sam while their father stayed back to take care of the candles. Several feet down the hall, Jim opened a door. The room was small, a single cot and a chair, and nothing more. “It will give him time to adjust.”

Dean nodded and helped Sam sit, then lay down, watching as Sam’s eyes closed and his breathing deepened. “I’m staying.” Dean said softly when he felt Pastor Jim’s eyes on him.

“I’ll send someone for you when dinner is ready.”

Dean pulled the chair close to the bed and sat, his eyes never leaving Sam.



Sam was asleep almost before he was on the cot, Dean’s presence comforting and solid. He felt different, but not in anyway that he could quantify. Lighter somehow…and yet anchored by the love he felt from his family. Stronger, though he knew he was still fragile.

There was something more besides. Something…as though a part of himself had been restrained and was now free. He dreamed as he slept and for the first time since his father had come for him at Stanford, his dreams weren’t about Dean, or the demon or rape or beatings.

He dreamed instead of a big plot of land, and swarms of animals…that weren’t really animals…and he dreamed of Gabe and Caleb…blood…and he woke with a start, reaching out for Dean, knowing he was there beside him. He was gulping air as he looked at Dean, swinging his legs to the floor. “Gabe.”

“What?” Dean shook his head. “You’ve been out for six hours after what you went through and the first word out of your mouth is Gabe?”

Sam shook his head, rubbing at his temple. His head hurt. “I…dreamed. Gabe was hurt. He…” He shook his head again. “It was so real.”

“You all right?”

Sam nodded and inhaled deeply. “Better…I think. Hungry.”

“Should be. You haven’t eaten since yesterday. Can you get up? Pastor Jim left us food upstairs.”

“Yeah, I think so.”

Dean reached out with both hands to help him up, then handed him his cane. “Dad brought it down before he went to bed.”

Dean was tense, Sam could feel it in his hands as they touched his skin. They went slow, Sam’s body stiff and sore. They came out into the hall along the main sanctuary and heard voices.

“Stay here. I’ll go find Pastor Jim.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine. Sit.”

Sam pointed and they moved into the doorway, nearly colliding with Caleb. He was dirty and bruised and out of breath. “Sam. Dean. We didn’t expect you.”

“Caleb?” Sam peered around him, picking out Gabe’s blond head in the dim light. “Gabe?”

“He’s bleeding, gonna need stitches.”

“I’ll get Dad.” Dean said, running back toward the parish house behind the church.

Sam moved closer, images from his dream playing in his head. He started when Gabe turned and he could see the torn t-shirt they’d used as a bandage on his upper right arm. Blood was seeping through. It was pretty bad, Sam knew without seeing it. He’d seen it in his dream. He settled himself into the pew beside Gabe, holding his arm still and reaching for the bandage.

“What happened?”

Gabe shook his head and tried to pull his arm away. “I’m fine.”

Sam chuckled. “How long ago did you get hurt?”

“A few hours.” Gabe said, his bravado already dropping.

“And it’s bleeding, either again or still. So. Not fine.” Sam said, his fingers pulling at the knot. “What did this?”

Gabe exhaled and looked up at Caleb who was behind him, a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “I think…hell, I’m not even sure. It looked like a berserker…but it was intelligent, methodical.”

Sam frowned, his head hurt and images filled him. Gabe hissed as Sam brushed fingers over the wound. “Sorry.” He shook his head to clear it. “It’s already looking infected.” He looked up as his father joined them, looking sleep-rough and yawning. He had a med-kit in his hands and Sam held one hand out for it.

“Move Sam, I’ll do it.”

Sam shook his head. “I’m already here, and I’m more awake than you are.” John grunted and set the kit in his hand. “Okay, Gabe we’re going to need to clean this first.”

Gabe nodded, his face ashen. The lights came on and they all blinked in the sudden brightness. “It’s deep.” Sam whispered over the skin as he peered into the cut. “Dad, I could use a hand.” Sam set the open kit on Gabe’s lap and fumbled with the antiseptic. John reached around to hold the wound while Sam got the bottle open. “’S gonna hurt.”

“Fuck!” Gabe yelled as Sam cleaned the wound, coming off the pew at one point.

“Okay…that’s good for now.” John handed him a threaded needle, then picked up a syringe and loaded it with a pain reliever. Sam waited until he’d injected it near the wound, then waited a few seconds more. When Gabe’s eyes started to droop, Sam lifted the needle. The room was quiet as he sewed, stitching 10 nice, even stitches to hold the wound closed. He tied it off and his father handed him gauze. By the time he had it bandaged, Gabe was nearly asleep, leaning back against Caleb.

Sam took the towel Dean handed him to wipe his hands and looked up at Caleb. “What happened?”

Caleb inhaled deeply. “We found them.”

Sam froze. “Them?” His voice trembled a little and Caleb nodded.

“Them. Ash and Andrew. Not quite two hours away.“
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