NOTE: I know, according to canon, Dean can't get physical ailments while he has the Mark of Cain. (The flu, pneumonia, cancer, etc.) Although he did get sick when he got close to the site where the angels tried to smite Amara. (Cas tried to stick his finger in Dean's mouth.) Just note that in this fiction, Dean CAN get illnesses.
Also, Sam is NOT in an arm sling.
Sam knocks on his brothers bedroom door at 10pm or so. "Hey. You still up?"
Dean's just quietly listening to his music when he hears Sam knock. "I'm up."
Sam enters the dimmly lit room and stands near the foot of his brother's bed having second thoughts about why he's there. His head is bent low as he looks toward his older sibling.
Dean can tell Sam needs to talk. He sits up and pats his bed. "Have a seat and tell me what's eating you."
Sam sighs. He's thinking about not saying anything at all. What if he just gets ridiculed? Dean has enough to worry about with the Mark of Cain on his arm. Sam's thinking that Dean doesn't need to hear his pain in the ass little brother's stupid problems.
He's about to turn and just leave when Dean grabs his wrist. "Hey."
Sam turns and makes eye contact with Dean. He sees no ridicule or mockery on his face. Only real patience and concern. "Talk to me."
Sam nods and takes a seat. He sits forward and rubs his face with his hands. His elbows are resting on his knees.
Dean sits beside his brother. Whatever it is that's bothering Sam, it's serious. He places his hand on Sam's back and soothes him some while waiting patiently for him to say whatever he needs to say.
Sam is already starting to feel better. He knows these feelings are temporary, but if he ignores them, they'll only get worse and manifest into something he won't be able to control. "I haven't been myself lately. I can't sleep and I just feel empty. I'm not sure what it is, but I don't think it's anything supernatural like something taking over me. I think I'm just..."
Dean pulls on Sam's arm. "Come here."
Sam leans toward Dean as his big brother wraps his arms around him. Sam rests his head on Dean's shoulder while Dean holds him tight. "You've been lonely Sammy. First, I go and get myself killed, I become a demon, you chase me down and then I'm chasing you down with a hammer." He rubs Sam's back. "I'm so sorry. I know this had to be very hard on you. You're depressed, but I'm here for you now."
Sam nods and is so grateful that Dean understands. He feels his tears fall as relief fills him that his brother knows what he's going through and doesn't think he's being childish for it.
They part and Dean sees Sam wipe at the tears on his face. He places his own hand on Sam's wet cheek. "Bunk here tonight." He smiles. "I'll be the big spoon."
Sam can't say a word or he might just cry some more. His emotions are terrible right now. This life of sacrifice has given him absolutely nothing in return but heartache and pain. Only Dean understands every last bit of that.
Dean gets under the covers and makes room for his ginormous little brother to curl up in front of him.
Sam gives his brother a grin when he sees Dean waiting for him. Images of him and Dean sharing motel beds as young boys fill his mind as he slips off his house shoes and robe. He gets under the covers with Dean. His back to Dean's front.
Dean curls himself closely to Sam and places his arm around Sam's chest hugging him tight. "I got you Sammy."
Just those words alone send Sam into tears again. Nobody has Sam like Dean does. Nobody.
"Shhhh. It's okay little brother." He rubs Sam's trembling chest as he cries. "You're okay. I promise, you'll feel better in the morning."
Sam sniffles. "Thanks De."
Dean hates it when Sam's in pain of any kind. "That's why I'm here. Now, try to get some sleep."
Guilt is eating Dean up. That's why he believes that the minute Sam cured him of being a demon, Sam should have told him to hit the road. Instead he's here needing Dean's comfort of all things.
After a few minutes. After Sam has calmed down. Dean reaches over and turns the bedside lamp off.
They both sleep more peacefully than they have in a long time. No nightmares. No dreams that either can remember. Just a deep restful sleep.
Sam wakes up to Dean's empty bed. He looks at the clock and it shows 10:48am. "Wow!" He's about to get up when Dean walks in holding a tray of food.
Dean smiles at seeing that Sam's awake. "Good morning princess!" He sets the tray of food on the desk by the bed. He then goes to Sam who's sitting on the side of the bed and gives him a hug. "Feeling better?"
Sam really does feel better. This warm greeting by Dean makes all the difference. He knows it might all be temporary, so he will cherish it while he can. He hugs Dean back and lets the warmth of it fill his battered soul. "I'm getting there."
Dean leans away from Sam and pats down his crazy bed head. "That hair Sammy. Five minutes and some scissors."
Sam smiles as he stands up. "No!" He slides his house shoes on and robe before looking at the tray of food. He looks back at his brother. "You did this for me?"
Dean shrugs. "Well, yeah. I know you like fresh fruit and oatmeal better than cakes and eggs. I just figured..."
Sam cuts him off with another body crushing hug. "Sammy... can't... breathe."
Sam smiles. "Sorry." He lets Dean go. "I just can't believe you made oatmeal AND cut up a cantaloupe! You hate that."
Dean says nothing. He just pats Sammy's cheek and tells him "But I love YOU, you idjit." with his eyes.
Sam gets the message loud and clear.
After using the restroom, Sam eats his breakfast in Dean's room while listening to Dean's music that Dean selected to play. Songs they grew up listening to, of course. Happy and up beat songs.
"Let's go do something." Dean suggests. "Whatever you want. Wherever you want to go." Sam likes seeing Dean in this kind of good mood. He hopes it lasts.
Sam smiles. "You like fishing."
Dean tilts his head while looking at his brother. "What is it YOU what to do?"
Sam bites his bottom lip. "Go swimming in a nice, big swimming pool?"
Dean smiles. "Awesome! We haven't done that in ages. We'll get the beer cooler and have some tunes going." He claps his hands together and rubs them. "Let's do this!"
Dean pauses as he was about to grab something. "I know of a great place to go!" He turns back toward Sam. "Pack a duffle and load your hunting bag too."
Sam sighs. "No hunting Dean!"
"No. We aren't hunting." Dean touches Sam's shoulder. There's a huge mansion less than 200 miles from here that Crowley owns. It has to still be in the hands of him, his demons or abandoned because it's haunted. Humans won't live there. I suggest we check it out. The pool is awesome! It has a waterfall! Oh, and from what I remember, it has a slide and one end of the pool is 12 feet deep!" Dean looks like a kid about to go to an amusement park.
Sam smiles at his very excited brother. "Okay. Just know if things get too hairy, we aren't staying. I'm not wanting to get into a fight with anyone or anything." Sam can't deal with Dean's anger issues right now.
"Agreed. The only hairy thing we'll deal with today is you." Dean tugs Sam's hair.
"Ouch!" Sam smiles.
"Go! Get your shit, bitch!" Dean goes to grabs his duffle.
Sam leaves Dean's room with a smile on his face and lightness in his step. "Jerk."
Dean and Sam arrive at the huge mansion Dean had in mind. It's two stories and has at least 15 bedrooms. For such a huge home, it's very well secluded.
The gate is open and covered in vines. The driveway and lawn are unattended and overgrown. Sam gets concerned that the pool idea might be a bust. If the lawn looks like shit, the pool must be empty or green and slimy. Right?
They pull to the side of the mansion and exit Baby. Both men have salt shotguns in hand as they enter the back of the property to do an initial inspection. Sam has his demon knife and Dean an angel blade.
Turns out that the pool looks perfect. Dean was right about someone still living here, if living is the correct term. Demons or monsters, someone's been maintaining the pool and, from what they can see, the inside of the home.
Dean grins. "What'd I tell ya Sammy?! Perfect, huh?"
Sam's still cautious, but starting to feel a bit better about the whole idea the longer they're there and nothing pops up.
Touching the pool water Sam notices something. "Saltwater."
Sam looks up at Dean from where he's bent down by the pool. "The water is saltwater. Demons can't swim in this."
Dean's brow furrows. "It wasn't like that when I swam here with Crowley."
Sam sighs. "Maybe there's new owners and they did this to get rid of the old tenants."
Dean smiles. "Smart."
A shotgun racks from behind Dean. "Don't move!"
Sam and Dean stay still.
"Who are you and why are you here?"
Dean turns slowly with his arms out to his side. Shotgun still slung over his shoulder. He sees a man not much older than himself pointing a shotgun at him. "My name's Dean Winchester. This is my brother Sam. I visited this place when it was owned by Crowley."
"Crowley don't come around here anymore. Rumor has it he's hiding from the devil. Frankly, I could care less. This place is mine now."
Dean suddenly recognizes the man. "WAIT! You're Bugs! Damn it Bugs, put that gun down before someone gets hurt!"
Sam is floored by Dean's behavior.
Bugs looks at Dean. "Oh wait. I remember you! You still one of those black eyed bastards?" He levels his shotgun at Dean's chest.
"Hell no! Wait." Dean slowly pulls his weapon off his shoulder and sets it on the ground. He pulls his boots and socks off. He then places his feet in the saltwater pool. "See?! If I were a demon, I'd be smoking out right now. Right?"
Bugs points the gun at Sam. "You're next kid."
Sam sighs heavily as he takes his shoes and socks off. He whispers to Dean, "Who the hell is this asshat?"
Dean whispers back, "Bugs Moran. THE Bugs Moran. Just do as he says."
Sam can't take his eyes off the gangster now as he gets his feet wet. With Sam's affinity for reading anything related to serial killers and crime as a kid, seeing the actual Bugs Moran is a real treat for Sam.
Bugs is satisfied the brothers aren't demons. He lowers his weapon. "You boys are welcome to stay, just don't mess up the joint!" He flickers and vanishes.
Sam is shocked. "A specter."
Dean nods in agreement. "He died in Leavenworth prison of lung cancer."
Sam sighs, "I know."
Dean rolls his eyes, "Well, The prison's not far from here. A lot of the ghosts in there are from the prison."
Sam has his shoes back on at the same time Dean does. "Demons must have really pissed him off. You sure you want to stay here? We could just swim and sleep somewhere else."
Dean smiles. "Let's just have some fun and worry about sleep later."
Sam unloads the Impala of the beer cooler, snacks, portable stereo (with cassette player), cassettes and other essentials.
Dean gets the power turned on at the mansion so they can plug in the music, have lights and hot water later on.
Sam is overly cautious. He draws a salt line around the car, just in case.
Dean teases him. "You gonna pour salt around the whole pool Sammy?!"
"Screw you! It's better to be cautious."
Dean starts playing AC/DC on the stereo and cracks open a beer. He tosses one to Sam and they drink it down quickly. They open a second beer. The sun is high and it's getting hot outside. The beer really hits the spot.
The brothers have swim shorts on under their jeans. So, they strip down by the pool and dive right in.
Sam's face is the happiest that Dean has seen in a very long time. He's laughing, splashing around, diving, and teasing Dean relentlessly. It's like the brothers suddenly went back in time and are in their teens again.
After about 6 beers each, they're singing loudly and chasing each other in an endless game of water tag. Sam pulls out a football and they toss it around for a while. Later, Dean has fun on the water slide while Sam relaxes under the waterfall.
Dean has an idea. He challenges Sam to dive to the bottom of the 12 foot end of the pool and fetch a bullet. Sam tries, but he can't find it. Dean dives down and finds it on the first try.
Sam yells, "No fair! You cheated!"
"Bullshit! You saw me go down and get it!"
Sam shakes his head. Wet hair flopping. "It's not the same bullet."
Dean's a bit lightheaded and getting pissed. "Fine! I'll do it again!" He takes the bullet in his hand and shows it to Sam. He then marks it against the rough edge of the pool. Afterward, he holds it up to Sam's face. "See that! Unique, right?"
Sam nods. "Yeah."
Dean tosses it into the deep end of the pool. He takes several deep breaths and dives for the bullet.
He grabs the bullet from the bottom of the pool. Just as he's about to come up, something grabs his wrist. It looks like a pale woman with her hair flowing behind her. She's holding his wrist so he's unable to surface. Dean struggles against the force holding him under water, but he can't get free. He loses consciousness.
Dean wakes up to Sam pressing hard on his chest. He coughs up a lot of saltwater and it burns his lungs, throat and nose. He inhales deeply and keeps coughing. Each cough causes more pain, but provides vital oxygen.
Sam falls back on his ass completely out of breath. "Oh thank god!"
Dean's voice is very rough, "Bitch drown me."
Sam's confused. "What?"
Dean sits up. He's still coughing. Sam gets him a bottled water from the cooler. Dean drinks some with gratitude. He then explains about seeing a ghost in the pool.
Sam starts feeling guilty about wanting to go swimming.
"No. Don't you do that."
Sam's eyebrows go up. "What?"
Dean gets up and takes several deep breaths. "You know what." He walks up and embraces his brother. "I'm fine Sammy. We're having fun. Don't go blaming yourself for any of this." He looks into Sam's eyes. "We're Winchesters." He shrugs with a grin. "Shit happens."
Sam can't help but smile at Dean's goofy grin and devil-may-care attitude.
Sam gets to thinking. "Dean, with the pool having saltwater in it..."
They both say it together, "A ghost shouldn't be able to manifest in the water."
Dean asks himself the question: "What was it that grabbed my wrist and held me under water then?"
Dean sees Sam getting dressed. "Come on Sammy! We don't have to leave." Dean gets his jeans and puts them on. Sam's done and Dean feels terrible about it.
Sam's buttoning up his flannel. "I really don't want to stay Dean. It was great up until you died and I had to give you CPR. I just for once want to have something go right." He has his clothes on and starts picking things up.
Dean finishes dressing himself while listening to his brother. He feels terrible about ruining their fun day. "I'm sorry Sam." He goes to turn the electricity to the mansion off while Sam starts loading up Baby.
Dean kicks his feet while walking to the meter to turn it off. In all honesty, he can't blame Sam for not wanting to stay another minute. Dean thought this place was awesome. Maybe it was for a Knight of Hell and his King of Hell buddy. Just not so great for the brothers that save the world and do their damnedest not to die in the process.
The ride back to the bunker is quiet except for Dean's occasional coughs. Dean isn't even playing music.
Sam brakes the silence about 30 minutes down the road. "How does your throat feel?"
"Hurts. I've felt worse." He reaches over and places his hand on Sam's. "I'm okay."
Sam pats the top of Dean's hand and gives him a small grin that he doesn't feel.
Dean doesn't move his hand. He asks, "You okay?" He's worried about Sam. The recent events could make his depression worse.
"I'm okay. Just tired." Sam turns his hand over and squeezes Dean's hand. "I'll make you some hot lemon and honey tea when we get to the bunker. That should help soothe your throat."
"Sounds good." Dean grins as Sam lets go of his hand.
After a couple minutes, Dean sees a fast food burger place he likes. He pulls in and places an order.
Sam orders a grilled chicken sandwich. He had no idea just how hungry he was until Dean pulled into the drive thru.
Dean takes the lid off his vanilla milk shake and sips on it. It soothes his throat some.
Sam smirks. "You're gonna regret that later."
"Shut up. It's helping now."
They eat while Dean drives the rest of the way back to the bunker. It takes them a couple hours to get home.