The door slammed impressively after Jack’s retreating back and Sam turned his angry stare onto his brother.
Dean stared defiantly back for a moment before shifting. “What?” he growled turning away from Sam’s accusing stare.
“You just had to say that to him didn’t you?”
“Well the kid was being nosey.”
“He only asked about Mom Dean. You didn’t have to react like that.”
“It’s none of his business,” Dean said in clipped tones as he threw himself onto his motel bed.
Sam just rolled his eyes and turned away from Dean, running a hand through his hair. This peacemaker position that he had fallen into was necessary but starting to grate on his nerves. Taking a deep breath Sam dropped himself onto the end of his motel room bed. Jack just needed to cool off and Dean needed some thinking space before he could really feel guilty about what he had said.
Picking up his discarded book still lying on the bedspread Sam flattened out the creases to his previous page. He would give the kid 20 minutes.
When Jack hadn’t reappeared after his allotted time and a search of the motel parking lot and nearby strip of shops didn’t offer any suggestions on his whereabouts Sam stared to get anxious.
“Sam,” Dean sighed with an eye roll as he watched Sam pace across the motel room.
“It’s not right Dean,” Sam murmured. “He wouldn’t just disappear.”
“He can look after himself Sam. You’ve seen what he can do.”
“Having uncontrollable power and being able to look after yourself are two different things,” Sam responded with a sigh, running his hand through his hair as he paced. “He’s still a kid.”
“He’ll come back when he’s ready,” Dean huffed. “Quit mothering him.”
With a huff Sam settled himself back into the motel bed and watched as Dean unscrewed the top off a new bottle of cheap scotch.
“Are you sure you should be doing that?” Sam couldn’t help but ask as Dean poured himself a generous helping into a glass.
Unsurprisingly Dean rolled his eyes in annoyance and took a large gulp before responding. “We are stuck here for the night. What else am I supposed to do?”
With a defiant glint to his eyes Dean downed the rest of the glass and quickly topped it up. Suppressing his urge to roll his eyes Sam turned away then grabbing a book from his duffle and settling back into the cheap pillows trying not to glance at his phone every five minutes.
When midnight rolled by with no call and no sign of Jack Sam couldn’t sit still in his bed and pretend he wasn’t worried anymore. Dean had moved past tipsy and straight into slurring drunk an hour or so ago and was currently lazing languidly on his motel bed starting up through hooded eyes at the motel ceiling.
In a last ditch effort, and with nothing else to loose, Sam grabbed his journal and flipped through the pages of his messy scrawl until he found what he was looking for. It was a spell, a simple one that he had found in some of the personal writings in the Men of Letters archive that could be used to locate lost things.
He had never tried it before and as a rule he tried not to resort to witch work but… Sam glanced over at Dean’s slow blinking eyes…. He had to try something. And Dean wasn’t coherent enough to complain.
Rummaging through his duffle and the meagre supplies in the kitchen he got all the ingredients he needed and spread a map of the local area over the small table, noisily discarding Dean’s empty scotch bottles into the bin in the process. His brother didn’t stir.
With a deep breath Sam read out the chant throwing a handful of the herbs into the bowl with an impressive spark.
It took at least three tries before the tracking spell worked, burning a bright yellow hole into the map some forty miles outside of the town. How the hell had Jack got all the way out there?
Then with a sinking gut Sam looked over at his dead drunk brother, whose eyes were now fully closed as he breathed deeply in his alcohol induced sleep. With a huff of annoyance Sam stormed over harshly pushing at Dean’s shoulder.
“Dean!” Sam shouted, patting at his brothers drunken sleep face. But Dean simply grunted and mumbled and rolled away, pushing his face into the motel pillow.
With a growl of frustration Sam pulled away and grabbed the Impala’s keys from the nightstand. He offered his brother one last look before he shut the motel door and took off into the night.
The location he had punched into his phone took him down the road out of the town towards the old industrial plants. Slowing down Sam took a good look around. The complex looked like it was abandoned long ago but as the Impala’s headlights swung over the ground Sam caught a glimpse of tyre tracks in the dirt ground. With a frown Sam pointed the Impala in that direction and followed the trail further into the warren of buildings.
The tracks took him to the middle of the old complex. Many of the factories and warehouses looked deserted and dilapidated with broken windows and rusted metal roofs.
But in front of one sat an old blue van.
Cutting off the Impala’s engine Sam got out and checked his gun in the back of his jeans and the ammunition. On a second thought Sam also grabbed the demon knife and the angel blade from the trunk.
The heavy metal door of the old factory creaked as it opened but Sam’s feet were sure and silent as he trod his way through the murky dark of the factory floor.
It didn’t take long for Sam to know he was in the right place. Voices up ahead hung heavy in the air, their echoes bouncing through the wide open rooms and hard surfaces until all that met Sam’s ears were muffled and muted sounds. But it was enough to give Sam some direction. Being careful of his feet on the years of debris and broken glass that littered the stone floor he edged forward unclicking the safety from his gun.
The small storage room where the voices were coming from wasn’t sealed by a door which allowed the voices inside to filter easily through the wide open building. Peering around the corner of the storage doorway Sam saw two figures with their backs to him. He catalogued their stances, their rough yet serviceable clothing and the glinting knives in their hands. Then against the wall with an innocent face full of fear was Jack.
Sam clenched his jaw against anger coursing through his veins. The space was far too small for fire arms, especially with Jack there in harm’s way. Stowing his gun away Sam brought out the demon knife and clutched it tightly in his hand.
Not caring anymore that he was going to be seen he stepped forward boldly into the room, letting his heavy footsteps echo through the cavernous room.
Noticing that they weren’t alone anymore the two men turned around as one holding their sharp knives aloft. It took a small moment for recognition to seep into Sam’s mind but when it did it hit him like a tonne of bricks.
“Tim?” Sam asked in confusion. “Reggie?”
“Sam fucking Winchester,” Tim sighed giving Reggie an eye roll. “We shoulda known.”
Sam scowled at the hunters before peering over their shoulder to the cowering form still stood against the wall behind them. The kid’s eyes were wide with fear and his slight frame trembled but other than that there didn’t seem to be any damage.
“You ok Jack?” Sam asked, squaring his shoulders.
“I'm-“ Jack started swallowing audibly. The kid’s eyes roamed from the knife still clutched in Reggie’s hand to Sam’s eyes. Whatever he saw there seemed to give him some resolve as he stood up a little straighter and gave Sam a slight nod. “I'm okay.”
With a nod in response Sam gave his attention back to the two hunters in front of him. The years hadn’t been kind to either man. Reggie’s gut hung over his jeans and Tim was sporting an impressive pink scar down one cheek. But they both stared at Sam with that same mixture of fear and revulsion that they had all those years ago. Sam made a conscious effort not to wither under that look and stood up straighter.
“What's going on here guys?” Sam asked as calmly as he could.
Reggie scoffed sending Tim a look. “What's it look like?” he responded with a shrug.
“Looks like you're about to make a huge mistake,” Sam explained. “So take my advice, put the knife down and step away from the kid.”
He took a step forward and clutched his hand tighter around the knife at his side.
“So the rumours are true,” Tim sneered. “Once again Sam Winchester’s teaming up with a monster.”
“You're the one threatening a kid who’s done nothing wrong so who do you think the monster here is?” Sam asked.
“This kid is Lucifer’s spawn!” Tim growled swinging his knife back toward Jack. The kid shrunk back slightly and Sam had to dampen down the surge of hot rage that course through his veins.
“This kid is a kid and hasn't done anything wrong,” Sam said allowing a slight edge of danger into his voice. “So back up, right now, or we are going to have problems.”
The hunters shared a look, doubt colouring their face but didn’t move.
“Do you remember last time we met?” Sam continued taking a step forward. “That didn't work out so well for you did it?”
Tim and Reggie shared a look, the unspoken look that two long time hunting partners could share that spoke volumes. Sam read it with an internal sigh and sure enough they both looked back to Sam with hard eyes, squaring their stance and readjusting the grip on their knives.
“Jack,” Sam called not taking his eyes from the poised hunters. “Just stay calm and keep it together while I deal with these two. Then we will both go back to the motel and you can watch cartoons until Dean wakes up. Deal?”
Although Sam didn’t look away from the gleaming anticipation in Reggie’s eyes he saw Jack nod from the corner of his eyes.
“Deal,” he heard Jack say but he had already started to block out everything else that wasn’t the two hunters in front of him.
It wasn’t very often that Sam fought in anger. He had allowed that rage and desperation to fill him once before and it had started the apocalypse. That hot passion for a fight was dangerous. But he let it fill his body now filling his mind and limbs with red hot power.
Tim came at him first, swinging harshly in an arch with his silver hunter’s knife. Sam easily dodged back and lunged forward with his elbow, catching the man squarely in the stomach. He heard all the air leave Tim’s mouth at once and he let the man tumble to the floor as Reggie stormed at him.
Neither man was in great physical shape and Sam smelt the familiar twang of cheap liquor on Reggie’s breath as he lunged his knife forward towards Sam’s gut. Quickly Sam twisted forcing Reggie’s knife to the left as he sliced across with his own blade.
It found purchase and the sound of Reggie’s shout of pain drowned out the ripping of fabric as Sam’s knife sliced across the skin on Reggie’s chest.
Sam pulled back and repositioned as Reggie pressed a hand to his bleeding skin. It wasn’t a deep cut; that had been intentional. As angry as Sam was there was no way that he was going to kill two humans in front of Jack, not when he was trying to show him the good way. But these two hunters needed to be taught a lesson. And their lesson today was not to mess with the kid.
Tim had recovered now and looked from his bleeding friend to Sam with fury building behind his eyes. With a roar the hunter surged forward. His ferocity took Sam by surprise slightly and Sam stumbled back out of the reach of his blade. In his focus on the knife swiping just centimetres from his face Sam missed the fist swinging up from the other hand and it connected painfully with his jaw.
Blood spurted dramatically from Sam’s mouth as his teeth cut painfully into his cheek. Blinking stars from his eyes Sam shook his head spiting the vicious fluid to the floor and noticed the knuckle dusters decorating Tim’s hand for the first time. Sam caught the hunter’s eye which glinted with glee as he clenched his hands around the silver weapon around his hand.
Tim swung forward once more but Sam was ready for him this time and deflected his blow sending his own fist into the hunter’s ribs. Out of the corner of his eye he noticed Reggie surging forward again and kicked out. Grabbing Sam’s leg Reggie slashed out with his knife, bringing it down onto Sam’s outstretched limb. Distantly Sam felt the blade cut through his skin and muscle but then Reggie pulled and Tim pushed sending Sam to the floor with a heavy thud. Before Sam could even think Tim was on him pummelling his head with blow after blow of steel coated knuckles.
A foot hit his side cracking into his ribs painfully. Sam grunted and twisted in his pined state, trying to escape the pounding fists and kicking legs.
In one heaving swing Sam brought his legs up and wrapped them securely around Tim’s middle and lurched, rolling them both over until Sam was on top. With a heavy punch Sam felt Tim’s jaw crack beneath his fist. The man groaned, his hands flying to his jaw. Sam’s reprieve was short lived as Reggie’s big body barrelled heavily into his shoulder, sending him rolling across the floor.
Not wanting to be pinned again Sam quickly rolled to his feet. He was faster than Reggie who stumbled unsteadily to his feet with the knife outstretched. With precision Sam spun, lifting his leg and kicking the knife from Reggie’s fist. Twisting around again Sam let his foot collide painfully with Reggie’s chest knocking him backwards to the ground. Sam rushed forward kicking Reggie squarely in the head. The man’s body slumped lifelessly to the floor but Sam paid it no attention as he moved forward to Tim who was now unsteadily coming forward on his feet once more.
The man lunged forward with the knife but Sam twisted, grabbing the knife across his chest. Mercilessly he hit at Tim’s trapped arm until he felt the crack of the bones and Tim cried out in pain dropping the weapon to the ground.
Tim manged to get a knee into the back of Sam’s injured leg making him grunt and let go. Recovering Sam spun quickly knocking away Tim’s flailing hands as he tried to land a blow on Sam’s head again. Grabbing the man’s thrashing arms Sam twisted them around cradling Tim’s body to his chest with the man’s own arms pushing against his own neck.
Sam waited and watched as Tim choked and spluttered for breath. Just when he could see Tim slipping into unconsciousness Sam leant forward and whispered harshly into the man’s ear.
“You come near me or the kid again and I won’t be so generous.”
Sam pulled back in time to see Tim’s eyes role back up into his head. He let go of the body a moment before it became limp, letting the bulk of the body fall to the floor with a satisfying thud.
Taking two shaky steps back Sam surveyed the damage he had caused. The two bodies of Tim and Reggie lay unresponsive on the floor in between splatters of blood. Against the back wall Jack still stood silently, his eyes wide, his face pale and his hands clenched into fists at his side. But he stood there stock still just like Sam had asked him to.
Then then pain hit Sam all at once. The stab wound in his thigh suddenly screamed in agony and he felt the limb buckle beneath his weight. The groan tore itself from his throat as he thudded to his knees on the floor clamping one hand around the bleeding hole in his leg.
“Sam!” Jack cried as he rushed forward from his statue like state against the wall. Reaching out hesitant hands he was at Sam’s side in an instant, kneeling down on the damp concrete ground, but he stopped before he actually touched Sam and hovered, not sure where to touch or what to do.
“I’m fine,” Sam whispered harshly, spitting the build-up of blood from his mouth and shaking his head to dispel the ringing in his ears. “I’m fine. You OK?”
With an effort Sam held his head high catching Jack’s fear blown eyes. “I’m OK,” the boy replied earnestly. “They stabbed you.”
A small huff of a laugh escaped Sam’s throat as he worked on gathering himself together enough to move. “Yeah looks like it,” he responded, tentatively beginning to get his legs back underneath him. “Here, give me a hand.”
Sam held out his large hand to Jack who took it promptly, helping Sam lever himself to standing. He swayed slightly as he stood and swallowed against the nausea as his head spun but after a moment the world stilled once more and he repositioned his hand to Jack’s slight shoulder for support.
Sam looked down then at his trouser leg and the growing red stain over his now ruined jeans. But the spread was slow and the ringing in his head had the feeling of multiple blows to the head rather than blood loss.
“I’ve had worse,” he responded trying to give Jack a reassuring smile. It didn’t seem to work as the startled deer look didn’t leave the kids face.
Jack stared down at the two unconscious bodies on the floor then and Sam saw the kid’s throat work as he swallowed. Suddenly Sam felt guilt creep up his throat. Jack shouldn’t have had to watch that, shouldn’t have had to watch Sam that angry and violent. The urge to get the kid out of here overrode his aches and pains. With a squeeze to Jack’s shoulder Sam subtly steered the boy away from the scene.
“Let’s get out of here before these two wake up,” Sam said kindly as he moved them slowly away. He kept his hand on Jack’s shoulder, half to steady himself and half to move the kid along.
As soon as the bodies were out of eyesight Jack’s attention was firmly back on Sam. His hand gripped onto Sam’s upper arm, steading the taller man.
“Where did you bump into those two?” Sam asked as they awkwardly limped through the deserted factory floor.
“I just went to the food store,” Jack explained. “And then something hit me on the back of my head and I woke up here.”
“They hurt you?” Sam asked.
“They didn’t hurt me,” Jack explained quietly, eyes downcast. “I don’t think they can.”
Sam took a deep breath and gripped a hand to the back of the kid’s neck. The kid had that look on his face again, uncertain and unsure, scared of himself and what he was. Sam gave him a little shake bringing the kid out of his own self contemplation and offered a small smile. “Let’s just get back to the motel.”
The cold fresh air outside hit Sam as soon as they got outside, reminding him how cold he actually felt. Sam could feel the creeping edges of unconsciousness curling around the edges of his mind but fought it as hard as he could, needing to stay awake and alert.
Fishing into his jeans pocket Sam pulled out the keys to the Impala. “Here,” he grunted, holding out the keys to Jack. The kid was supporting a lot more of Sam’s weight now as Sam’s strength began to wane with the fading of adrenalin. Jack looked at the keys with a small frown of confusion. “You’re driving,” Sam explained as they reached the car and thrust the keys into Jack’s hand.
Letting go of Jack for the steady support of the black rooftop Sam edged his way around to the passenger door.
“I can’t. I don’t know how!” Jack exclaimed looking between Sam and the keys.
“I’ll teach you. Get in.” With a grunt Sam wrenched open the passenger door and lowered his aching body slowly into the seat.
Obligingly Jack ran to the driver’s door pulling it open and climbing into the car but he didn’t put the keys in the ignition, instead he stared at Sam with wide pleading eyes.
“I can’t drive Dean’s car,” the kid said, an edge of fear in his voice.
Sam huffed trying to get into a comfortable position with his aching limbs and bleeding leg.
“Yes you can,” he said patiently. “I’m seeing double right now. Your novice driving is better than us ending up in a ditch. Now stick the keys in the ignition and turn.”
Looking up into Jack’s fearful eyes Sam tried to send every ounce of belief and patience into his eyes, hoping the kid saw it. Maybe it worked as after a moment Jack turned, settling into the seat and shakily pushing the keys into the ignition.
The motel wasn’t far away but when they weren’t driving at Sam’s panic fuelled pace the return journey was longer. Once they were on the long flat stretch of road between the old industrial area and the motel Sam felt his body automatically relaxing at the familiar and welcoming rumble of the Impala’s engine.
Jack kept sending Sam small helpless glances, looking over Sam’s battered body as it slumped in the seat beside him. Sam made a conscious effort to sit up straighter and mask the pain coursing through his body but his head was pounding in time to his heart beat and blackness was starting to curl at the edge of his vision.
“Sam?” the kid asked again as Sam’s eyes started to slip shut.
“You’re doing great Jack,” he said weakly forcing his eyes as open as he could. “Just keep going, the motel is only a few more miles.”
Taking stock of his injuries in an effort to stay conscious Sam catalogued his aching ribs (most likely cracked), his throbbing shoulder (dislocated again), his sluggishly bleeding thigh and his pounding head.
He needed to get back to Dean and soon.
Unconsciousness started creeping into the edges of Sam’s mind and he pried his eyes back open with an effort. He caught Jack’s eyes glancing at him in fear and sent the kid a reassuring smile.
“You know me and Dean learnt to drive in this car,” Sam said. Distantly he heard his voice and catalogued the slurring vowels. Shifting into a more painful position he forced his mind to focus on staying awake. “So did Cas.”
Jack’s eyes lost that manic edge as he looked over at Sam then, so eager and wide like they didn’t every time he was offered some insight into the angel he never got to meet.
“Castiel drove this car?”
“Huh uh,” Sam murmured nodding.
It was getting much harder to form sentences and his thoughts were becoming more and more muddled.
“Sam!” Jack’s panicked voice drew Sam back to the present and he realised that his eyes had closed.
“You’re doing good,” Sam mumbled noting that the motel was only a few more miles up ahead.
“What else did Castiel do?” Jack asked his voice edged in tension.
“We…. He liked this boxset on Netflix,” Sam murmured letting his head lol against the headrest. “We only had a few more episodes left.”
The grief that had plagued him these past few weeks welled up inside him now, strong and desperate against his weakened mind and body. He opened his mouth to say more but his throat felt clogged. His pounding head and aching body were stealing the last of his strength.
Then up ahead the beautiful neon glow of the motel sign radiated out in the dark night and Sam nearly laughed in relief.
“We’re here,” he mumbled, patting a reassuring yet blood covered hand down on Jack’s leg. “You did good kid.”
Closing his eyes he let oblivion take him into the blissful blackness.
Dean emerged slowly from his drunken slumber, dragging him from the blissful darkness into the harsh illuminated world of their motel room. He didn’t know what had woken him so he stayed still with his eyes shut for a few more moments willing the sleep to return.
The room was quiet and still, almost too still. With effort he pried open his eyes letting his blurred eyesight adjust. It took him an embarrassing amount of time to realise that it was that silence that had woken him. There was no TV, no turning of a weathered book page, no steady breath in the room with him.
Dragging himself to sitting Dean took stock of the room around him. It was still dark out and the bathroom door stood ajar showing him it was as empty as the room around him.
A growing worry started to cultivate in his gut. It didn’t even have chance to blossom into anything before he heard the familiar rumble of the Impala pull up outside the motel room. But Dean frowned at the halting screech of the car’s breaks and the grinding of the gears as the engine stalled.
And then a panicked voice broke through the night.
Dean was up and out of the bed in an instant rushing to the motel room door. By the time he yanked the door open he saw Jack pulling open the passenger door, the driver’s door still open and the headlights on bright.
“Sam!” the kid called in panic pawing at something in the passenger seat. “Sam wake up we’re here! Sam!”
Instincts kicking into overdrive Dean rushed forward to Jack’s side to see Sammy slumped over in the passenger seat. It was a sight that Dean could never get used to and each time he saw it his chest seized in panic and his heart thumped widely in his chest.
“What the hell!” Dean growled as he pushed the kid out of the way to get to his brother.
He clamped a rough hand around Sam’s neck pushing two fingers into his pulse point. The heart beat pulsed strong beneath his fingers easing the crescendo of panic threatening to overwhelm him. Pulling back Dean noted the blood matting Sam’s hair and the red stain growing on his brother’s thigh.
“They took me but Sam came and found me,” Jack rushed to explain behind him. “But they hurt him.”
“Who?” Dean asked roughly as he tried to get and arm around Sam’s unresponsive form.
“They were hunters I think. Sam knew them.”
“Great,” Dean huffed as he finally managed to manoeuvre his 200 pound brother into his arms. Grunting under the weight of solid muscle he lifted with his knees managing to pull Sam from the car into the floor. It wasn’t graceful but it was the best he could do. Gripping a hand underneath each armpit Dean hauled and began to drag his unconscious brother towards the open motel room door.
“Get out the way,” he barked as Jack stumbled into view.
As quick as he could Dean pulled Sam into the motel room and heaved him up onto the nearest bed. In the harsh light of the motel room Sam looked even worse, his face pale and streaked with blood.
“Grab me a cloth and water,” Dean instructed harshly, not looking in Jack’s direction but soon enough a wet towel from the bathroom was thrust into Dean’s hands. With efficient movements Dean wiped the grime and blood from Sam’s face. With each swipe Sam looked more alive and began to murmur and object to the cold water dripping over his face which eased Dean’s worry enough to think a little.
“Two hunters grabbed you?” he asked roughly glancing up at Jack who stood still and wide eyed beside the bed, staring down at Sam’s body. Dean’s severe voice startled the kid from his stare and he blinked up at Dean.
“I went to the food store,” he explained slowly. “When I was outside something hit me in the back of the head. When I woke up I was in this room with two men. Sam called them Tim and Reggie.”
“Tim and Reggie?” Dean asked in confusion. “Dad’s old hunting buddies? What the hell did they want?”
“They told me that they were going to kill me. Then Sam came.”
To someone else that would have been half the story but knowing his brother like he did Dean could fill in the blanks all for himself. Dampening down his anger and growing guilt Dean turned back to his brother.
“Sam,” he called tapping gently at Sam’s cheeks. When he got no response he lifted one eyelid at a time checking the pupil reaction. “Sammy it’s wake up time,” he called in a sign song voice. “Stop lazing around.”
Sam groaned and rolled his head away from Dean’s prying hands. Satisfied that his brother wasn’t about to slip into a coma Dean moved onto the leg wound.
“I need scissors,” he called out. A few moments later Jack was there with the scissors in his hand. Dean snatched them none too gently from the kids outstretched hand and began cutting away at Sam’s pant leg. When he saw the jagged knife wound he huffed harshly through his nose.
“First aid kit,” he ground out through the anger clogging his throat. Again Jack’s hands sprung into his eyesight proffering the small first aid kit towards Dean. Dean didn’t even glance at the kid as he took it and opened it, falling into the well-practiced routine of patching Sam up.
Thankfully Sam didn’t wake up until Dean had finished stitching and disinfecting his thigh wound. It was when Dean was packing away the needle and antiseptic that he heard his brothers murmured voice.
Dean was over at the bed like a shot. The half packed first aid kit was forgotten as he leaned over Sam’s face trying to catch his slow blinking eyes.
“Hey Sammy, got yourself into a mess again.”
Sam started to weakly struggle beneath Dean then, trying to get his arms underneath him and get upright.
“Woah,” Dean muttered pressing a gentle hand to Sam’s large chest. “I just got finished stitching you up. Where do you think you’re going?”
“Jack,” Sam mumbled, eyes roaming around Dean’s head for another figure as he struggled to get upright.
Glancing up Dean saw Jack hovering over at the side of the bed staring at Sam with wide fearful eyes.
“He’s right here,” he told Sam patiently. “Jack, get over here and show Sam you’re still alive before he pops a stitch.”
Jumping at Dean’s barking command Jack stumbled forward to the side of the bed and stared down at Sam. Immediately Sam stilled beneath Dean’s touch and Dean felt Sam’s chest heave a relieved sigh.
“Jack,” Sam sighed. “You OK?”
Jack nodded and swallowed audibly before responding. “I’m OK.”
“See kid’s fine,” Dean huffed. “You ran in and saved his ass. Managed to get yourself stabbed in the process mind you.”
“Shut’p,” Sam mumbled screwing his eyes shut. “God my head is pounding.”
“Yeah that’s what happens when you let someone use your head as a punching bag. Looks like they did a good one over on you.”
“Knuckle dusters,” Sam explained settling back into the pillow.
Dean grit his jaw against the anger that visual brought on.
“You sorted them right?” he asked with a growl.
“Two against one and I still won,” Sam whispered with an audible smugness to his voice. Dean just snorted and patted Sam’s shovel sized hand.
“Course you did little brother.”
When Sam woke next sunlight was filtering through the ugly orange pattern of the drawn motel curtains bathing the room in a strange treacle glow. Blinking his eyes to adjust to the light he thanked Chuck that the pounding in his head had receded slightly. With a quick catalogue of the room Sam saw Jack sat in one of the motel dining chairs staring unblinkingly at Sam’s prone body.
“Hey Jack,” Sam said wincing at his rough voice. “Where’s Dean?”
“He went to the store. He said if you woke you should take these,” Jack held out a couple of white pills. Gratefully Sam sat up and took them, chasing them down with the glass to water sat on his bedside. With a sigh Sam closed his eyes and settled back into the headboard of the bed willing the pills to take effect quickly.
When he opened his eyes again Jack was still sat beside the bed watching him.
“How you doing kid?” Sam asked. Jack opened his mouth and Sam quickly interrupted. “And you’re not allowed to say fine.”
Jack snapped his jaw shut with a snap and frowned. Sam waited and watched, seeing the kid work his way through his own mind and emotions.
“I was… scared,” Jack admitted after a while. Sam simply nodded and watched waiting for him to continue. “I wanted to do something, to get away but…. I didn’t know how.”
“You’re still only young Jack,” Sam said patiently. “You shouldn’t be expected to look after yourself or fight battles just yet. I’m sorry you went through that.”
“You saved me,” Jack stated, his frown disappearing as he looked up at Sam with open eyes.
“Of course I did,” Sam said with earnest.
“I’ve told you.”
“But I’m Lucifer’s child. The spawn of Satan. I’m-“
“Don’t listen to those idiots,” Sam interjected. “They said pretty much the same thing about me a few years ago. Do you think that I’m evil?”
“No!” Jack responded vehemently.
“Then don’t think it about yourself.” When Jack’s tortured puppy look didn’t fade Sam sighed and sat up straighter, trying to hide the wince as he pulled at the stitches in his leg.
“I know Lucifer Jack,” Sam explained in a patient voice. “I probably know him better than any human on this planet. So I can tell you, with absolute confidence, that I don't see any similarities between you and Lucifer. He’s.... manipulative and cruel in ways that you couldn't even comprehend. So yes people are scared of him, and rightly so, but you are not your father. And your life doesn't have to be dictated by the blood running through your veins. Not if you don't want it to be.”
Sam stared into Jack’s eyes for a moment letting the kid see the truth in his statement. Slowly Jack nodded, some of the self-doubt clearing from his face. Sam knew from experience that it wasn’t that easy, that it would take time for Jack to truly believe that he was good. But Sam was willing to be there to reassure the kid every time his conviction waivered.
“Good,” Sam said with a slight smile. “Now I seem to remember me promising you cartoons.”
With a flourish Sam pulled the remote from the bedside table, spinning it in his hand and proffering it to Jack. The kid accepted it with a shy but grateful smile. Cautiously Jack stood and crawled over the bed until he sat beside Sam, shoulder to shoulder against the headboard and clicked the TV on.
When Dean crashed through the door with a grocery bag in his hand he paused at the sight before him. Sam and Jack were both propped up against the headboard of the bed, eyes closed, legs outstretched and breathing deeply in sleep.
With a chuckle Dean grabbed one of the takeaway coffees be had bought and picked up the fallen TV remote from the bed. He turned toward the TV to turn it off but the bright flashing cartoon on the screen caught his eye.
“Awesome,” he muttered with a smile at the screen. This was one of his favourites. With another glance at the bed to make sure the pair were still asleep Dean settled back into the discarded motel chair beside the bed and leant back, kicking his feet up on the bed and gleeful eyes on the screen and his brother’s and Jack’s gentle snoring in the background.