"Sammy, pay attention. C'mon--keep up."
Dean shouldered his shotgun and craned around to find Sam and slowed but didn't pause. He watched the hunch of Sam's shoulders cave deeper, flush of exertion tinged puce with annoyance, and Sam's lower lip finally rolled out in a pout Dean would love to have teased.
Make fun. Grab between his teeth. Lick at until Sam whined and lost the angry shoulders and disappointed eyes and was kissing him instead.
He shook his head. If only.
"Yeah, yeah. Yes sir perfect little soldier sir."
Dean frowned, check-then-cleared another set of rooms and doorways along this unending hallway, then he sent a quick glare Sam's direction.
Sam wasn't even looking at him and Dean would swear what he'd heard had been his imagination. Probably. Fill in the blanks of knowing the little brat so well plus tired past exhaustion plus hadn't seen or touched each other in weeks.
Then their reunion, this.
Some old rambling hospital, overgrown with poison ivy and virginia creeper and grapevine, trees cracking the friable joints in marble floors and grown years big in the grand hall and the visiting rooms and offices. Bird nests and spider nests and nests from any manner of rodent Dean could bother to name.
At least it wasn't wet. With that came a whole different set of things that moved in, inhabited, took over. Dean would take spiders and mice, coons and even a dry snake, any day.
They were coming to the back part of the hospital, away from the northeasterly facing main entrance, hidden from the sun's reach set back into a rolling hill and a forest crowded thickly around. The vines began to thin and no trees had stabbed themselves up and up desperate for light and a chance to thrive, and the skitter-shift of whatever wild quieted then stopped.
Dean's nostrils flared when he crossed a threshold. His skin prickled, shivered, raised his hackles. It was cold here, now in the south side of the hospital with only its rubble and remnants left unreclaimed, and not just for want of the sun. He sensed its eerie unrest beginning to stir, squared his stance and tried not to think about wanting to roll into bed and Sam under him, warm and desperate and laughing.
Sam had been at some summer camp Dad had discovered, came cheap if you filled out the right forms and said the right buzz words and Sam agreed to work in the kitchen. Dad had agreed for Sam, taken Dean without fully explaining to either it was even happening, left Sam behind.
Dean had been maddeningly left behind another several hours' drive from the camp, too far to walk or hitch to just go spring Sam, too close for him not to stew with annoyance and frustration the days alone. He'd cleaned guns and done endless push-ups and sit-ups and sharpened knives, not from willing duty, but from needing something to occupy his hands and mind so he didn't go crazy worrying and thinking about Sam, separated from him.
Dad had gotten him several days later but not Sam. Dad hadn't explained, only made nonsense noise about Sam getting a chance to eat good and go canoeing and show up the other campers in knot-tying, watched his reactions carefully. Dean hadn't pressed, hadn't asked or shown anything.
Nothing at all.
Not even when Dad had brought them somewhere else, no closer to that stupid camp and Sam, made them gut a prewar country graveyard of its corpse-beetle infestation. Dean had shown no hesitance in the work, no lack of vigor for whatever Dad suggested next, no restlessness and only agreed mildly the few times Dad mentioned Sam likely being fine and enjoying a bonfire or bunk of his own.
He peered and squinted, dull shadows and half-light melding to about the same, wished they'd had any idea of how many spirits were at unrest.
Dean let out a long breath and let the anger fade from him. Do no good here; do harm, here. There was a fleeting touch along his neck, warm instead of chilling, but when Dean turned Sam had lagged even further behind.
"Sam," he stressed, curled fingers with palm up, be alert, stay with me.
"Suck my cocksucking dicksmack cockdick."
"Sam!" Dean shushed, surprised and trying not to laugh, but Sam didn't react or change, was still scowling and probably reading some riot act in his head Dean couldn't begin to know but did fully understand.
To fill the silence these past weeks Dean had beat off in the shower and imagined Sam with him, vividly drawn from memory and experience and wanting. Gotten into bed with false warmth in his skin from too-hot water, buried his face in the extra pillow. He'd maintained ridiculous conversations and quips, as if Sam were there with him, because the embarrassment of talking to an imaginary Sam was easier to swallow than the race of his thoughts wondering if Sam was okay. He'd stared out the window as Dad drove them from place to place, took in all the details of colors and line and direction and signs, as if watching so thoroughly could somehow relay to Sam where he was.
Dean hesitated before crossing into yet another room. They both had salt and holy water at the ready and not like Sam was new to this, but Dean felt they were new to each other somehow, back together but hustled relentlessly the moment Sam had emerged from the summer camp's office and crawled into the empty backseat.
His whole body had ached, far too aware, and he'd surreptitiously observed Sam's fidgets and sighs and squirms. Dad had been the conversant one, for a change, grilled Sam up one side and down the other to learn all about the past weeks. Had there been any archery, had Sam made any silly crafts to take home and share, was the grub good and had Sam behaved.
During Sam's carefully short answers--not too brief to rile Dad, not wanting to talk about it--Dean had sworn he could fill in the blanks. Flash-cut images of Sam finding a great climbing tree and lazing there between kitchen hours, hidden away, pretending the nearby branch crook was filled with Dean. Sam swimming across the lake and then all the way back because no one else could. Sam absolutely behaving, not bothering to get to know anyone, loneliness muted by the aggravation of having been dumped and left behind.
Weeks of that. The aching, the awareness, the nothing Sam at all. Sam hadn't blamed Dean but hadn't been happy, kept to himself. Single night motel stays. Driving. Then, here.
Dean chased that away, refocused on right now.
He crept along, swung back to find Sam, tripped forward over a shallow lip of marble leading into a narrow passageway. He briefly floundered, cursed, stinging pain rippling from neck to thigh when his shoulder lodged into a corner so he could catch himself from falling.
As soon as he'd gone over a brisk, icy wind gusted. Something screamed and the floor trembled. Doors began to bang shut, leading towards and away from Dean. He turned quickly, reached back and yelled, but wasn't fast enough. The final door between him and Sam thwapped closed, reverberated sharply, then dust and debris began swirling to batter him.
Dean angled and shot from the hip, no aim and nothing to aim at, fired anyway. He grit his teeth and felt a surge of anger so hot and strong it should scare him--should be tamped down because it'd only feed the poltergeists, maybe was fed by them--just got angrier.
Sam was there, muffled, didn't sound afraid. Sounded pissed and just as tired of this bullshit and last straw as Dean.
He kicked at the door, the one barring them from one another, the only one that mattered. He could see Sam, as if on the same side, braced whole-body against the door, hands around the knob trying to get it to turn. Dean kept kicking, just below the knob and almost to the frame, worked to get a handful of iron shavings from the pouch in his pocket.
When he flung them into the maelstrom something thumped. Dean seared over white-hot when he realized it was Sammy, flung in retaliation from, then into, the door. It made him lose concentration and his legs were swept from under him. Dean's forehead cracked the doorframe, the doorknob, the door, in staccato succession.
He heard felt Sam's anger in reaction at that.
The white-hot burned at the edges, started to curl them in and towards center, into itself. Dean cursed more and started kicking again, couldn't believe it'd been months he'd had to endure being parted from Sam. That Sam had been dropped off and left behind and set aside. That Dad suspected or outright knew they fooled around, fucked, were inseparably completely wholly the others' all and end. That Dad was too chickenshit to challenge them or order they stop--too devoted to the hunt, selfish for their help, and narrow of action to put into place a way to keep them apart for good.
Dean bared his teeth and the white-hot washed over him, emanating and met in the middle by Sam, then the dust storm and noise went momentarily silent. Sucked in. Stilled then exploded out in all directions.
He staggered, groped blindly then found Sam. At last Sam. Hauled Sam into him, arms and kiss and body, knees knocked to bruise on marble and the door blown apart but no splinters had cut them. He heard Sam, fear and was he okay and fucking poltergeists, shushed Sammy, Sammy, Sammy as he comforted Sam, and their rage was gone.
No ghost stirred as he and Sam sat, clinging and kissing and searching, reconnection and absorption. Maybe they were gone too or decided to stay away.
Dean knew they'd done this but didn't know how. He wondered if it was chance, the perfect mix of their desperation and anger and how acutely they'd imagined and needed the other, or if they could work on it to do again. Sam was relaxed, smiled tucked into Dean's neck, and it was the first of either Dean could remember in a too long while. Sam wondered the same.
A long throw of sunlight slanted over them, seemed to ignite the connection-reconnection they'd just forged, penetrated the gloom. The hissing cloying dark things here drew further back.
They heard Dad yell and crunching approach. Sam stiffened, bristled with resentment, but now Dean shook his head, whispered nothings, kissed Sammy a last time. He got them standing, Sam's hands knotted in his shirt like he'd disappear, so he wrapped Sammy under his arm and he didn't let go. Waited just like that for Dad to find them looking like this, raised his chin when Dad came around the corner and met his eyes.
He felt a surge of satisfaction when Dad momentarily faltered. The satisfaction was Sammy's, and Dean instinctively reached to cup Sam's shoulder in his hand, encircled them tighter.
Dad took in the scene, the remnants of a hard fight, glared at Dean like he should know better but the disappointment didn't touch Dean. Didn't bother him. Sam turned, just enough to put Dean behind, Sam in front, and the gesture of protection and defiance made Dean smile.
Not so Dad could see, but Sam felt it, grinned back.
"There are bodies in the morgue. Mangled and in bad shape--probably experimented on, might be even tortured. I figure we salt and torch the whole room it'll probably clean this whole place." Dad waited a beat, glanced meaningfully at Dean's gun forgotten on the floor, at the knot of them standing there, then down the hall back into the heart of this place. "Dean?"
Dean didn't move but he nodded.
Ooh yes Sir right away Sir if only you promise to send me back to lameass camp again Sir.
Already Dean understood not everything was heard, but clearly some things would slice aggressively through. He wondered about that, and how it'd change, too. Dean stifled a snort at the mockery, let Sam know he hated that lameass camp too, pinched Sammy's ass for good measure.
Sam sparked, didn't otherwise react, and they remained there while Dad waited, until Dad huffed and turned on a heel, then Dean nudged them to retrieve their gear and propelled them after.
Not quite a power play, but point made.
He kept that hand on Sam's shoulder, other hand once again snug to his weapon, and Sam paced Dad and their descent past empty rooms and cavernous spaces, through the reclaiming jungle to the cold bowels of the medical rooms and morgue.
They worked in tandem--Sam and Dean, Dad--helped their father. Put the poltergeists down, laid weary, poor souls to rest. The morgue itself wouldn't burn, and neither would the hospital, too much marble and steel and mortar, but the innards lit and burnt to char, encouraged by gasoline and piles of black powder.
As things heaved and crack-crackled, the three of them climbed out, escaped, then stood in what had been the sweeping front drive and watched oily smoke pour from vents and fissures in the timeworn building, get swept by the wind and absorbed into the forest.
It was dark before they left, fire no longer burning but the rooms it'd raged in still hot, a final sweep of the place indicating all had been dealt and was gone. Sam breathed a short prayer and Dean pictured it, years from now, the trees and vines and critters filling, then felling, it all.
They washed down from lukewarm canteens and changed next to the car, smoke-rancid clothes tightly folded and packed until they could be laundered. Ate sandwiches and chips, Dad leaned on the trunk, Sam and Dean sat on the hood. Then it was all done and time to leave. Dean held the door open to the back so Sam could clamber in and he got in beside.
The car rattled and Dad didn't turn the radio on.
They lay down curved into each other and Sam tucked back once more into Dean, fingers knotted in Dean's softly worn thermal, found once more that smile. Dean sighed, long and relieved, then watched the stars out of the back window spin as Dad drove them away. He combed his fingers in Sam's hair, enclosed them in a blanket, smiled too.
Nothing more and nothing pushed or risked or teased, because what they were to each other was only for them, no matter their defiance. What they'd become in that hospital still too new to name, still finding itself, in the contentment and sleepiness and resolve they shared.
Set and ready to make their own way, soon as they could. Any separation from here on would be Dean taking Sam and leaving. Set and ready to act if needs must before then, should even the idea be raised to part them again. No remorse and no hesitation. Never to return.