The knock at her door was persistent, and she hurried downstairs as fast as her old legs allowed her. It better not be one of those door to door sellers, she thought. Or even worse, a preacher. For some reason the local pastor had bestowed upon himself the sacred mission of regaining her into his flock, and his well-intentioned minions still dropped by from time to time: no matter how many years had passed since the last time she stepped into a church.
"I'm coming!" She huffed, when the doorbell rang again. "Jesus, I hope this is import-"
The words caught in her throat as she opened the door, and her heart stuttered inside her chest.
"Oh..." She muttered, her lungs constricting into a knot."Oh, dear."
Dean's voice was as ragged as his appearance, tired lines and dark circles under bloodshot eyes making the thirty-year old look way over forty. He was shaking ever so slightly, his hands clenching by his sides nervously as if he were trying to quell the tremors. But it was the aching anxiety emanating from him that shone like a beacon for the psychic. It hit her in waves matching Dean's rapid heartbeat; disjointed bursts of bits and pieces of impossible events reached Missouri's mind's eye and she gasped, stepping back unconsciously to try and find somewhere to lean on.
"Oh..." She repeated helplessly.
Sam stood next to Dean, wearing the saddest expression Missouri had ever seen. His eyes were fixed on Dean, his lips pursed in a sorrowful grimace.
"Oh, my poor boys." Missouri muttered, her eyes watering as she covered her quivering mouth and chin with her hands.
Sam's focus jumped to the woman and his eyes widened as he held her gaze with a vulnerable intensity that pinned Missouri in place. Dean narrowed his eyes on her, and his breath arrested at her words.
"Can you see him?" Dean asked in a broken voice, rough and wheezing, as if he were drowning.
Missouri couldn't tear her eyes from the younger Winchester, not even when Sam's eyes welled and tears flooded down his cheeks. Because Dean was a total wreck, but Sam...
Sam was dead.
"Can you really see me?" Sam asked, his voice frail, and awed, and so full of hope.
Missouri's head swam, as she tried to process the mixed feelings of need, and despair radiating from both brothers. She glanced at Sam, impressed and a little scared by how sharp he appeared. The younger Winchester looked older than she remembered him, aged beyond the number of years he had been allowed to live. Like his big brother, Sam's young face was marred by a horror Missouri couldn't begin to comprehend.
Still, she nodded her response, as she wordlessly ushered Dean inside. The older sibling looked like he was about to fall to pieces, both physically and emotionally. It said a lot that he allowed her to walk him into the living room and there he slumped onto the couch as soon as it was within reach. Missouri would have considered offering him a glass of whiskey, or something strong to erase the exhausted paleness on Dean's cheeks, if the hunter didn't already smell of alcohol. She shivered at the thought of Dean driving for miles in his condition, in order to find her.
"Missouri." Sam insisted, with a broken edge to his tone.
"Yes, Sam." She answered calmly, her mind still reeling. "I can see you. And I can hear you too."
Dean let out a wet chuckle and buried his head in his hands. His shoulders shook spasmodically, but it was hard to tell if he was laughing or crying. Sam's distressed gaze landed on his brother automatically, and the younger man bit his lip hard as he approached Dean and sat on the couch's armrest. Close enough, Missouri noticed, yet without touching Dean. Then Sam gazed into the psychic's dark eyes again, begging her wordlessly to help him.
"What happened to you, boys?" Missouri asked sadly.
Neither of the brothers seemed to be ready to answer her. And when she reached out and brushed Dean's bowed head with her hand, she immediately wished she could un-know what she saw. Dean's memories of evil and pain and the end of the world flooded her mind unbidden. Years of torture. More years of heartbreak. The weight of their fate was crushing; the choices they had made were unthinkable. Sam's death hung heavy in every particle of Dean's spirit, his loneliness a hole that swallowed all his energy, tore at his walls and shattered his will every time he tried to pull himself together. It was no wonder that at some point down the road, Dean had stopped trying.
"I... I need to sit down." Missouri stammered, plopping down on a chair across the siblings and panting through the lump in her throat.
Her hands shook as she poured herself a cup of valerian. She always had a thermos ready, in case things got too intense with a client. It was ironic that it was she who craved the soothing power of the herbs now.
"Dean, sweetheart, here, drink this." She prompted, as she poured him a cup as well. "You'll feel better."
Dean raised tear-stricken eyes to the cup and accepted it, but even after wrapping both hands around it, Dean trembled so badly that the warm infusion sloshed dangerously close to the rim. He took a cautious sip and Missouri noticed Sam tensing out of the corner of her eye, the younger's attention fixed on his big brother, as if his instinctive move had been to steady the cup for Dean. But Sam restrained himself. He wasn't really moving or talking; he simply followed Dean with haunted eyes and a shell-shocked countenance that was painful to watch.
"I guess it would be silly to offer you a cup, wouldn't it?" Missouri commented, smiling a little in an attempt to reassure Sam.
Sam rewarded her with a small, shy smile. Dean looked up, bruised eyes flickering to Missouri and then around the room.
"Where is he?" Dean asked, his tone hesitant and his voice husky with emotion.
Missouri turned her kind smile to the older Winchester and spoke gently. "He's right next to you. Sitting on the armrest."
Dean's gaze quickly followed the psychic's indications, and he stared at the spot where Sam was with such longing that Sam squirmed a little.
"I thought I was going crazy." Dean confessed, his voice hushed as if he were telling a secret.
Sam swallowed hard and lowered his eyes in embarrassment.
"I thought I could sense him. Sometimes, I'd feel him trailing behind me like before, or I'd feel someone watching me and knew it was him." He whispered.
Missouri nodded knowingly. She knew the feeling well enough. What really amazed her was that, even though Dean wasn't a psychic, he was certain of the bond he and Sam shared. It went way beyond her powers.
"Lisa... She thought I wasn't dealing. That I was imagining things." Dean continued morosely. "And I got to thinking she was right, you know? But then lights flickered from time to time and I couldn't... ignore that. Or explain to her why I kept the EMF on and it would suddenly go off all the way to red."
"I shouldn't have stayed around." Sam said out of the blue, his voice chagrined. He looked up at Missouri with an expression that begged her understanding. "I just... I didn't know where else to go."
Missouri nodded lightly, barely managing a rough "It's okay" aimed at both siblings. Dean's lips tugged up in the corners, hinting a shaky smile. Sam looked like he was about to cry again.
"I thought maybe he was back to haunt me." Dean continued; anguish coloring his words as he looked over at Missouri. "I dreamt of him in Hell. Every time I closed my eyes, I'd imagine him being tortured and I couldn't-"
"No, no, no" Sam intervened urgently. "Tell him that I wasn't tortured. I don't know where I was, or why I am here, but I don't remember Hell. Missouri, tell him. I'm fine, please tell him."
The psychic's heart broke a little more at that. She felt torn between the wrongness of being privy to the Winchester's most intimate fears and words to each other, and their need for her to interpret them. The situation was awkward and downright heartbreaking. How did that Melinda girl do it on TV? One thing was for sure, Missouri was no Jennifer Love-Hewitt.
"Sam wasn't tortured, Dean. He doesn't remember being in Hell." She said softly.
Her words were supposed to be reassuring, but Dean welcomed them with a ragged breath and renewed tears.
"Good. That's good." The older sibling croaked, as he wiped at his eyes furiously.
"Dean..." Missouri muttered kindly.
Dean raised a trembling hand to halt her instinctive approach, as he ineffectually tried to rein in his emotions. Missouri stayed away, helplessly watching as the young man fell apart right in front of her, despite his attempts for control. She wondered how long it had been. How many weeks or months it had taken to destroy Dean Winchester so completely. And she also wondered whether she would ever be able to put him back together again.
"Dean..." Sam said sadly.
The younger Winchester vacated his spot on the armrest of the couch, his expression broken as he approached his sibling. Ghosts didn't do boundaries. And what was more important, brothers didn't have to respect them when their gut told them otherwise. Sam crouched before Dean and placed a gentle hand on his brother's knee. It was what Missouri had ached to do, but couldn't. Ironically, she thought that Sam would get through his brother's spirit better than her physical attempt at comfort ever could.
"Hey." Sam called to Dean sympathetically, his tone reassuring. "It's okay. You are okay."
Missouri watched in awe as Dean unfolded himself and placed a hand over his knee, over Sam's, as he looked ahead, straight into Sam's eyes.
"I knew I could feel you, Sammy." Dean repeated in between ragged breaths. "When things got really bad, when I was spinning out of control, I'd sense you were around. You calmed me down."
Sam's smile was sad in response and he shook his head, keeping his gaze locked on their non-touching hands.
"I should just go, Dean. What I am doing to you-" He started.
"You're not going anywhere." The older growled.
Sam blinked, shocked by Dean's vehement words. Missouri's eyes widened too, and she held her breath as Sam spoke.
"Can...can you hear me?" He asked hopefully.
"No." Dean answered without losing a beat. "But I fucking know you."
Sam bowed his head and his shoulders shook with a chuckle, sudden and suspiciously wet.
"Fair enough." He whispered, as he slightly leaned his forehead against Dean's.
Missouri watched through moist eyes as Dean's shoulders sagged and he leaned forward too. She could only wonder if the siblings did indeed feel each other at some level, even though their flesh couldn't touch. The psychic knew the boys weren't the clingy type, but with Dean so desperate to feel his little brother and Sam's ghost hungry for sensations, she figured that if anyone could make it possible, it would be them.
Whether it was due to his little brother's steadying presence or something more mundane like the herbs or plain exhaustion, Dean started to relax. His chin still trembled, but the anguished tension was slowly fading from his face and muscles and his breathing evened out. He was crashing and, as he wavered on the couch, Sam remained immobile, holding tenderly onto him.
"Can we stay here, Missouri?" The younger asked in a thin voice that indicated that he was quite at the end of his rope too. "He hasn't slept properly since forever and..." Sam trailed off and closed his eyes with a sigh. "I can go if you want, but he needs to rest."
Missouri shook her head softly. After all that had happened since they had knocked on her door, she couldn't believe Sam was even asking.
"Of course you can, boys. This is your home."
Missouri woke up early the next morning, roused by the sound of chatter on the first floor. She followed the sound to the kitchen, catching some words as she approached.
"You should have tasted my churros, man."
"Dean, hearing you talk about your churros is making me uncomfortable."
"That's because you always were a repressed crêpe kind of guy."
A soft smile touched the woman's face as she listened to the brothers' banter. It widened even more radiantly when she got to the kitchen and found Dean making coffee, his frame relaxed and a glint back in his green eyes. Sam was only a few feet away, sitting on the counter like the overgrown kid he was. The younger was also smiling as he and Dean teased each other. He looked alive, and Missouri relished in the sight despite what her common sense told her. Maybe this was wrong, but watching them interact in a synchronicity that went beyond death was pretty amazing.
"Missouri." Sam greeted her softly, expression turning tentative in her presence.
He was about to jump from the counter, probably thinking it was rude to sit there, but the psychic waved a hand to stop him.
"Good morning, boys." She chirped.
Dean turned to her, happiness struggling with embarrassment on his face. Missouri had the feeling that it had been a while since Dean had felt at ease or talked so naturally.
"Morning." The older Winchester greeted.
His eyes were still lined with accumulated exhaustion, but they were clear, bright and... grateful. It was Missouri's turn to blush. She hadn't done anything, but lent them a couch to crash on, yet Dean was looking at her as if she had personally dragged him back from a world of insanity.
"Is that coffee?" She asked, trying to hide her awkwardness.
"Yes, Ma'am." Dean promptly answered. "Would you like a cup? I can make pancakes or toast if you prefer."
"Wow, is that so?" She asked with a chuckle. "I hope you don't burn my pans, kid, or I'll-"
"He hid your wooden spoon." Sam noted.
"He did what?" Missouri exclaimed.
"Tattletale." Dean grumbled.
Sam chuckled and went to the table to sit across from Missouri. She shot him a scrutinizing look, and his smile wavered, but he held her gaze, leaving himself open to her.
Are you okay?
I'm hanging in there.
Sam's attention went to Dean and his smile softened.
He will be.
And the gaze Sam returned to Missouri was as appreciative as his brother's.
"Thanks for letting us stay, Missouri." He said, his tone heartfelt.
The woman rolled her eyes. "Don't mention it, sweetie."
Dean shot her a curious glance and followed her gaze to the chair Sam occupied.
"He's not tearing up on you or anything, is he?" Dean teased casually, as he approached the table with a couple of plates.
"Bite me." Sam shot back.
"You wish." Dean retorted automatically.
"Boys! What kind of language is that?" Missouri chastised them.
The siblings looked down and muttered a rueful apology in unison, but the amusement didn't fade completely from their faces. It was amazing that they were the same two shattered souls that had shown up on her doorstep the previous night. All she had done was reconnect them, nothing more, but the change was miraculous.
"I didn't know you knew your way around the kitchen so well, Dean." Missouri remarked, honestly impressed by the breakfast Dean had prepared.
Dean shrugged as he sat down next to Sam. "It's just omelet and toast." He said off-handedly.
"Lisa is teaching him how to cook." Sam pointed out, as he toyed with the edge of a napkin he couldn't touch.
"And who is Lisa?" Missouri asked good-naturedly, since it was the second time the woman's name came up.
"Sam." Dean gritted out, his voice warning.
The younger hesitated, taken aback by Dean's serious tone, and glanced sideways at his big brother. Dean kept his eyes on the mug he had in front of him, without budging.
"What's wrong?" Sam asked. Then, he looked at Missouri, frustration clear in his eyes at not being able to communicate.
"Sam wants to know what's wrong, hon." Missouri provided calmly, an awkward feeling of inadequacy gripping her again. This sure seemed like none of her business.
"Nothing's wrong." Dean huffed and stood up, discarding the rest of his coffee. He seemed to purposely avoid meeting the psychic's eyes or the vicinity of Sam's as he continued. "I don't want to talk about her, that's all."
Missouri glanced at Sam, gauging the situation. Even though Dean had pulled his poker face on, the terseness in his voice was razor-sharp. His little brother seemed bewildered, but then something shifted in Sam's eyes. It was realization. And then anger ensued.
"You're not going back with her, are you?" The younger questioned flatly.
Missouri hesitated, looking alternatively at each sibling. She didn't know what the story was, but it was obviously a sore spot, and she didn't dare to intervene.
"You promised me, Dean." Sam continued. His tone edged into watery as he pinned Dean with a hard look. "You love her, man. And you love Ben! This is your chance to leave all this crap behind!"
Dean, of course, didn't respond. But he knew that Sam was talking, probably even imagined his words and sensed his mood. Arms crossed in a defensive gesture, the older Winchester kept his gaze glued to the floor as he spoke. "Sammy, I tried, okay?"
"The hell you did!" Sam exclaimed, getting to his feet abruptly. "You ran at the first hint of a problem, Dean! You have no right to throw your life away!"
"Sam..." Missouri chimed in evenly, trying to calm him.
"NO!" Sam bolted. "No, dammit, he's being an idiot!"
The table clattered minutely at Sam's outburst, and Missouri froze, her appeasing words dying on her tongue as she glanced at Dean. The older Winchester had noticed the commotion too and was keeping himself very still with his hands fisted at his sides. His expression was tight and collected, but his lips trembled lightly. Missouri realized that he was torn between saying something that would make Sam get off his case and wishing to sense his little brother again, even if it took rage for Sam to physically manifest. Sam seemed the only one in the room who hadn't realized his own power, too worked up to see past the red blurring his sight.
"You promised me, Dean. You promised me!" Sam cried indignantly. "You are alive, you asshole! I'm the one who..." Sam swallowed hard, trailing off in his tirade. "I just... Why won't you try to be happy?" He finished thickly.
A beat of silence passed and no one said anything. Missouri was keeping her head low, uncomfortable and helpless despite all her years of experience dealing with ghosts. This wasn't a psychic problem, but it was something between Sam and Dean. And while she understood both positions, she doubted they would ever agree with each other. Dean was still quiet by the counter, his eyes empty of all emotion. His walls had been drawn up so high not even Missouri with her abilities could see over them. And Sam... Sam was shaking with frustration, standing ramrod straight by the table. Dean couldn't hear him and even if he could, he probably wouldn't listen.
"Fuck it." Sam blurted, anger and defiance blending with grief in his voice.
He turned around and stomped towards the door, slamming a hand against the frame as he left the kitchen. Dean's eyes flickered to the door as the air vibrated again. Then he slid his eyes to Missouri, who had tracked Sam's enraged exit with her gaze. Neither of the two said anything at first and Missouri found herself holding her breath.
"He's always been a brat in the mornings." Dean said finally, forcing an off-handed tone as he returned to the table and sat down with the psychic.
He was attempting to sound carefree and dismissive, but the stiffness of his shoulders told a very different story. Missouri guessed that it had to be terrifying to fight with a brother you couldn't even see, or know if he would come back.
"He's just upset." Missouri reassured him. "He said that you had promised him."
Dean huffed a cheerless laugh and shook his head lightly. "Actually he made me promise." Dean explained in a rough voice. "Sam wanted me to have a normal life, with a family and all that shit."
"And you didn't want that?" Missouri prodded gently.
Dean averted his eyes and exhaled wearily.
"Sometimes...yeah. After everything we had been through I kinda did." He admitted with a light grimace. "But not like this. He never asked me if I was okay with it. Missouri, I can't go back to them."
"He says you love them." Missouri added, her own lips twitching sympathetically.
Dean swallowed hard and closed his eyes briefly. He looked so lost Missouri felt the impulse to reach out and cover his fisted hand with hers, but the psychic didn't think Dean would welcome the touch. Hunters were skittish when they felt vulnerable, she remembered that fact from John.
"They are awesome." Dean whispered, almost reverently. "But I-" Dean clicked his tongue, opened his eyes and turned to her. "I don't think I love them. Not like that... I just..."
Missouri nodded when her young friend lost his struggle for words. It was obvious he cared a lot for Lisa and Ben. But the unconditional, absolute way Dean had loved his father and especially his little brother was so mind-blowingly intense, it was practically impossible that his feelings for anyone else would ever compare.
"Dean, honey." Missouri cajoled. "I know it's not easy, but it can be worth it in the end. Sam is right, why don't you give it a chance?"
Dean's eyes hardened and he fixed Missouri with a stern glare.
"Because they wouldn't get it." He said, his tone hurt and final.
Missouri let out a soft sigh, feeling suddenly sad beyond words. She understood, how could she not? She had been dealing with spirits and grieving relatives all her life, and she recognized the bond Sam and Dean shared. It was the only thing that really mattered to Dean and severing it would destroy him beyond what a caring woman and a loving kid could possibly repair. It wasn't lack of acceptance that had brought Dean to her door, but his last vestiges to self-preservation.
She also recognized his happiness, and she had the feeling that the smile she had seen on Dean's face when she had first joined the siblings in the kitchen was probably the first honest sliver of happiness he had experienced since he had lost Sam. What really saddened her was that while she understood, to anyone else, Dean talking to Sam would look and sound crazy.
And that meant that as long as Dean held onto his dead brother, normal would never have a place for him.
Sam didn't come back for the rest of the day. Dean, of course, didn't say a word about his brother's absence, but Missouri knew he could sense it. The psychic did her best to keep him distracted, giving him chores or asking him to run little errands for her. Dean did everything she asked, his smiles calm and frank whenever she managed to elicit one. He even chuckled when she found the spoon he had hidden behind the microwave and waved it in his face menacingly. But there was an undeniable edge of anxiety in the way Dean moved around the house, as if he was constantly looking for something. As afternoon faded into evening, Missouri finally took pity on Dean's misery and poured him a shot of whiskey. He raised an eyebrow at the drink.
"What happened to the valerian?" He asked, his tone slightly amused.
As an answer, Missouri shoved the glass into his palm and poured another one for herself, earning a soft snicker from the weary hunter.
"I do have blood in my veins, boy!" Missouri exclaimed, faking offense.
She grimaced at the burning taste of the amber venom though, and Dean genuinely laughed.
"Bottoms up, sister." He winked, before tossing his drink back.
Missouri didn't have more, but she left Dean the half-full bottle and retreated to the kitchen to allow the hunter room to regroup in peace. Barely an hour later, she returned to the living room and found the bottle empty and Dean lying on the couch, fast asleep.
Sam was there too, sitting on the floor by the couch, his gaze sorrowful as he awkwardly petted the blanket pooled at Dean's feet.
"Hey." Missouri greeted softly. "Where have you been?"
Sam shrugged, without raising his eyes, and kept fiddling with the blanket. A frustrated frown settled between his brow and Missouri realized that Sam was trying to spread the blanket over his brother. Walking towards them in silence, she gently took over the task of covering the sleeping man with the wool fabric.
"I'm sorry." Sam whispered, as if he didn't want to wake up Dean.
Missouri let out a soft sight and sat in the chair by Dean's head, while Sam stayed at his feet and laid a hand on Dean's ankle.
"I think it's Dean you should tell that to." She remarked.
Sam's smile was sad as he answered. "I'm afraid you may have to tell him for me."
Sam had a point, but somehow Missouri disagreed. She knew better than to think that only half-bottle of whiskey would allow a hunter like Dean Winchester to sleep deep and peacefully. At some level, Dean must have sensed his brother back without Missouri's help.
"He's going to throw it all away." Sam spoke up again, still in hushed tones. "He's going to leave them...and he's going to do it for me."
"In a way, perhaps." Missouri conceded. "But it's not your fault, honey. This is what he wants. It's his choice."
Sam shook his head mournfully. "He's never had a choice."
Missouri's stomach knotted impossibly tight, but she swallowed discreetly to keep her feelings where they belonged.
"Maybe." She said in a gentle voice. "Or maybe you never understood why he chose the way he did."
Sam's bright eyes zeroed in on hers, emotions warring across his pale face. Missouri hadn't intended to sound accusatory, but Sam looked ashamed. Dean had told her the shortened version of what had happened to them in the last few years, though it was surely edited for her sake, Missouri had been able to gather that things hadn't always been great between he and Sam. But it was useless to have regrets now, what was done was done. She wished Sam would eventually understand that his brother didn't hold any grudges against him anymore. Loss did that to people, it put everything into perspective. She had seen it a thousand times before.
"You know, sometimes I think he should just vanquish me, once and for all." Sam admitted, defeat lacing his voice. "I have thought about asking him to do it, but I can't put him in that position again. It hurt him every time. And I don't want to keep hurting him, Missouri. I won't."
Missouri could only nod, realizing by Sam's defensive tone that he had expected her to disagree. What's dead should stay dead, right? Sam didn't belong on Earth anymore and they all knew it. And yet, he did belong, because if something had felt natural in the boys' screwed up life against the unknown, it had been to stick together no matter what.
"I also thought about leaving." Sam continued ruefully. "But then I thought of all the times I've disappeared on him throughout the years and it was wrong every time. I can't do that to him again, not anymore. He's my brother, Missouri."
"He is." She echoed kindly.
Sam chewed on his bottom lip nervously and his throat bobbed up and down. He looked young and lost, grounded only through the absent hand he gently kept on his brother's leg. But more than anything else, Sam looked beat to a bone-deep level. Maybe his ethereal body didn't show it, but his eyes spoke volumes.
"Sam, have you slept at all since you...you know?" Missouri asked tactfully.
Sam seemed surprised at the question and let out a soft snort. "I don't think sleep is a vital need for me anymore."
Missouri allowed her lips to twitch in a responding smile as she countered: "You may not need it, but you surely could use a break, son. Why don't you try? I'm sure you'll feel better."
Sam's gaze turned opaque and elusive. Missouri frowned.
"What if I don't wake up?" He wondered frailly.
"What do you mean?"
"I still don't know what I am or what's keeping me here. Maybe if I go to sleep I'll drift away, or appear somewhere else or... never wake up again."
Missouri's frown of concern turned into one of understanding and her smile softened.
"If that's what bothers you, honey, don't be scared. Just go to sleep; you're not going anywhere." Missouri assured him.
"But how can you be so sure?" Sam demanded, in a thin voice.
The woman canted her head and narrowed her dark, almond eyes on Sam.
"You still don't understand, do you?" She asked, more as a realization than a question. "As long as Dean is here, you aren't going to disappear."
Sam gave her a confused gaze, laced in hope but uncomprehending at the same time. Missouri sighed around her emotions and spoke calmly, amazed and moved that Sam hadn't seen the obvious reason of his presence there.
"It's Dean that's keeping you here, Sam." Missouri smiled again, looking over Dean's sleeping form. "You're attached to his soul."
Dean never seemed really interested in finding out why Sam hung around instead of moving on. He was simply content to have him and, eventually, it was enough for Sam too and the younger stopped looking for answers.
Missouri was happy to take them in, although as the weeks passed, it was obvious that Dean was starting to get anxious. He was a man shaped by the road, and staying too long in the same place was alien for him. On top of that, he probably felt he owed Missouri more than a couple of errands or soulful words of gratitude could begin to express, and Dean Winchester hated to be in debt with anyone. If the siblings had been able to communicate between them, the psychic was sure they wouldn't have stayed for so long.
They barely brought up Lisa or Ben, although she and Dean talked on the phone sometimes, especially at first. The older hunter always went outside to take the call and Missouri stayed politely away, while Sam retreated to the farthest corner of the room and fumed in silent guilt. It usually took Sam a few hours to get back to Dean after his increasingly sporadic conversations with Lisa. Those were the days when Dean drank the most.
A month later, it was Sam that told Missouri the succinct tale of his death. Dean refused to talk about it, and apparently never would. But one day, Dean had gone out on his own and Missouri and Sam were alone. Intrigued as to why Sam wasn't with his brother, she asked where the older had gone.
"He's gone to the cemetery." Sam replied softly, his tone hard to identify. "But I don't... I can't go back there."
And Missouri was horrified when she learned the whole story about what had happened in Lawrence's cemetery and the events before that. But Sam's regret ran deep enough to swallow him back into the ground, so she forced herself to keep calm for the sake of the young man that had sacrificed everything to save the world.
"I don't understand why he wants to go to that place again." Sam gritted out, exasperation masking the fear and concern in his voice. "He keeps punishing himself for what happened, I know he does. But he won't talk about it and I can't do a damn thing to help him."
Missouri studied Sam as he agitatedly paced back and forth across the living room. He was wound up so tight his muscles trembled and the vibration passed into the air and reached the psychic's core in waves of desperation.
"You keep punishing yourself too, kid. It's only natural that he does too." Missouri said reasonably.
"It was my fault." Sam argued automatically.
"No, Sam." Missouri countered evenly. "It was the role you were given to play in a story older and more powerful than you. And you did the best you could. Both of you did. You defeated the Devil, Sam."
Sam clenched his jaw, obviously wanting to retort. Missouri could almost read his thoughts, the Yeah, but at what price? burning on the tip of his tongue. And judging by the way he paused by the window, restlessly waiting for his brother to reappear, Missouri knew that Sam wasn't referring to his own situation, but Dean's.
"For what it's worth, I don't think he goes to the cemetery to punish himself." Missouri offered. "I think he goes there to remember. It's the last place Dean saw you, Sam. I think he just misses you."
Sam's eyes darted to hers, his tight-lipped countenance wavering as frustration mutated into pain.
"It feels so lonely, Missouri." Sam whispered softly, as in a secret confession. "Sometimes I need him to see me so badly it's like dying all over again."
The woman nodded in understanding, and gave Sam a compassionate look. She was aware that it was killing the boys not to be able to talk to each other directly. But the truth was that where they saw only failure, she marveled at the little things that connected them. Such as the times they were watching a movie and Sam laughed at something on the screen, triggering an automatic smile from Dean. Or the times Sam would be humming a song to himself and, later in the day, Dean started to sing the same tune.
"It's going to get better." She said confidently. Because if God apparently existed, there couldn't be any other way. "You'll see, Sam. I promise it will be okay."
Sam started trying really hard to "Swayze" things, as the boys called ghostly telekinesis. He knew he had the power, but didn't have any control over it. It was even more frustrating when Dean knew Sam was trying, because the elder was deadly silent, alert, so desperate to somehow see Sam that the pressure became too much for the younger Winchester. After a while, Sam asked Missouri not to tell Dean when he was practicing, and the psychic respected his wish. She wanted to offer encouragement though, and normally stayed in the same room Sam was.
It feels so lonely, Missouri. He had said.
And maybe Dean knew. Most probably he could relate to the feeling. The fact was that he seemed to sense when Sam got himself in a Jedi obsessive mood and he also understood why Missouri wasn't telling him. Those times Dean kept close too, pretending not to know what was going on, and aching to offer his own brand of silent support.
As days passed, Sam grew increasingly frustrated at not being able to have a solid connection with anything. One afternoon he got so worked up his energy exploded all over the place, causing the entire room to vibrate in a mocking reminder of what he should be able to accomplish if he was able to concentrate that force.
"Dammit! DAMMIT" Sam yelled, despair getting the best of him.
Missouri shot him a compassionate look, but her empathy only riled the younger Winchester up even more.
"Don't look at me like that!" He hissed. "Don't pity me, Missouri."
The psychic schooled her expression, even though inside her stomach had tightened impossibly hard. If the flickering lights and the electric air were any indication, Sam needed to take a breath and calm down, but the kid was a tired mess of stressed up energy and he was losing his nerves. The problem was she understood where he was coming from and didn't know what to tell him. Maybe he just needed to yell it out.
"Sam, knock it off." Dean ordered out of the blue.
Two pairs of bewildered eyes zeroed in on Dean. The older hunter's expression was blank, his gaze bland as he leafed through a magazine, but his tone was unmistakably colored of big brother authority.
"You're tired and this sucks. I get it." Dean continued, raising his eyes and instinctively directing his gaze to the corner where Sam was fuming. "But you need to take it easy, already. Every time you throw a tantrum the wiring goes crazy and Missouri doesn't need that."
"Dean, that's..." Missouri began to say, shaking her head.
"A tantrum?" Sam cut her off, shooting daggers at Dean. His fists were clenched tight at his sides and there was fire building in his voice. "Fuck you, Dean. FUCK YOU!"
"Sam..." Missouri tried to appease him, wincing at the barely contained rage coming from him like psychic punches.
"You say you get it?" Sam snarled, ignoring her attempts to calm him. "You don't get SHIT! You know what's like being but not being? Unable to touch or speak or hold on to anything!" He seethed, storming towards Dean, until he was towering over him. Missouri gasped and stepped forwards, but Dean raised his palm to stop her. "I'm doing this for you, you son of a bitch! Because I want to talk to YOU!" Sam yelled, eyes locked into Dean's unseeing ones, as he cornered the elder in his chair.
Missouri felt her hair standing on end when her psychic abilities spun out of control at the unexpected force filling the room, making the air crackle and the furniture dance. A sudden crash made her jump and she turned around so fast she almost lost her balance. The vase on the table had shattered into pieces, right where it had been placed over the table cloth. Nothing had knocked it over, it hadn't fallen. Apparently it had exploded.
"Feel better now?"
Dean's loaded question trapped the woman's attention again and she turned to the brothers. The older Winchester was back on his feet and was fixing Sam a grave and surprisingly precise look, while his little brother stared in shock at the destroyed vase. All previous rage had leeched out of his face, and only puzzlement and regret adorned his ivory-pale expression.
"Now we're gonna have to pay for that." Dean added moodily.
Missouri thought about stepping in and reassuring them that she couldn't care less about the vase, but at the last moment she held her tongue, as she realized that it wasn't the point. Sam turned to Dean again, his gaze filled with conflicted emotions. The elder's jaw was tense, muscles ticking in a nervous sign of emotion. While his eyes betrayed nothing but calm, his hands were fisted at his sides in a defensive gesture. Sam took in his fighting stance, toe to toe with Dean, in sick realization of how close they had been to coming to blows, and quickly stumbled away.
"Dean..." Sam muttered.
His brother's name quivered on Sam's lips, rueful as an apology, and needy as a prayer. He was shaking, whether from humiliation or the aftershocks of the power rush, Missouri didn't know, but it was the intensity with which he strained to really meet Dean's eyes that moved her the most. Because unfortunately it wasn't a matter of will or love. Dean couldn't see Sam, he probably never would. Letting out a wounded sound, Sam stepped back, swallowing convulsively to keep his frayed self together. He couldn't stop his eyes from tearing up, and he bowed his head, wrapping his arms around his torso.
"I can't do this." He panted, wheezing a little as panic seized him. "I can't do this. I can't do this." His voice broke and he shook his head with a mirthless sob.
"Sam..." Dean spoke up, his voice softening as his own anger deflated. "Man, c'mon. You need to be patient alright?"
The younger raised his devastated eyes to Dean's and chewed on his lip so hard he would have drawn blood if he had been alive.
"I can't, Dean." Sam whimpered in a thready voice.
"You can do anything you set your mind to." Dean's words fell into an intimate whisper and Missouri found herself averting her eyes. "Always could, Sammy." Dean continued fondly. "I admire that in you."
Sam laughed, then swallowed hard to rein in his ragged breath. Dean's words were anchoring him, his faith in his little brother steadily pulling Sam from the edge. It was what the younger had needed to hear, or rather the person he had needed to hear it from. As Sam relaxed, the air around him felt clearer and a look of determination replaced the anguished mix of tears and crumbling hope in his eyes.
"Tell him I'm not going to let him down." Sam asked, calmer now.
It took Missouri a second to acknowledge that Sam had addressed her, and a beat longer to find her voice around the knot in her gut.
"I think he knows."
Two days later, her heart would lodge into her throat again at finding Sam in the living room, sitting dejectedly in a corner, with his legs pulled to his chest and his face buried into his arms. He was shaking, sobbing inconsolably in a way that pulled at every ounce of the mother Missouri had never been. The psychic crouched awkwardly next to him, oblivious to the creak of her knees or the instinctive warnings of her old heart, but as soon as she was near, the overwhelming force of the young man's grief inundated her brain, her lungs and burned inside her skin. The impact almost knocked her out, too much and too close for the psychic's senses to cope fully.
"Dean!" She called out franticly. "Dean!"
The older Winchester rushed into the room, his eyes widening in alert as soon as he spotted her on the floor.
"What?" He questioned, hastily going to her. "What's wrong?"
Something caught Dean's attention as he passed by the table and he stopped cold. His expression went rigid and, dizzily, he reached out with both hands to steady himself against the edge of the table and hung his head low.
"Dean?" Missouri demanded, even more fearfully.
Sam raised his eyes a couple of inches, irises moist and blood-shot, and fixed his brother the look a five year old would give when he wanted to be held too badly to express it with words. Dean looked like he had just seen a ghost, but although Missouri wished with all she had in her that the irony in that statement would magically turn literal, the older Winchester hadn't moved his eyes from the laptop screen placed on the table.
"G-God..." Dean stammered in a strangled voice. "I've missed you, bitch."
The sound that escaped Sam was halfway between a laugh and a groan, but there was an inexplicable joy in it that pushed Missouri to her feet and towards Dean. There was a word typed on the screen, flickering gently. As loud as a scream.
It said "Jerk."
And then Dean started crying in earnest.
Dean was never far away from a screen from then on. Sam kept getting better at chatting, as Dean put it, and could ever do it from afar. He didn't need to actually push the keys, as Missouri had expected, but somehow zap the sensors under them. Dean had said it was much better that way, because it would be really freaky to see the keyboard moving. But then the one time they had used a tactile keyboard on the computer screen and the keys were highlighted when Sam typed, Dean had thought it was the most hilarious thing on Earth.
"We need to find a smiley for your bitchface." Was one of Dean's favorite jibes. And Sam would glare at him from his position, typing nothing just to keep Dean on edge. "And another one for flipping your finger. Because you're totally doing that, aren't ya?"
"Boys!" Missouri scolded them, feigning indignation. "Watch your manners!"
"Do you think she could actually get me with the spoon?" Sam mused in his neat Times New Roman style.
Dean's eyes flickered to the screen when the laptop beeped and let out a curt chuckle. "I wouldn't test it. She's got a mean right arm."
Being able to talk to each other changed them like night and day. There was still an edge in the way they interacted, of course, an unhealed wound that pulled at their skin and reopened their flesh when they moved too far from their comfort routines. But they were relaxed; their roles easily back in place. Dean joked and teased Sam all the time, maybe just to keep his little brother present. And Sam rolled eyes and bitched and always responded. Once Dean had dared Sam to try to text him on his cell, and the big geek had actually tried to make it happen, but couldn't figure out how or where he needed to focus for it. He had ended up switching channels on the TV instead, a new habit that drove Dean crazy and made practicing his mojo on the remote even funnier for Sam.
Being able to interact with the computer also made Sam less fretful when Dean was asleep or away, as he could now pass the time browsing the net, playing and whatnot. Missouri observed him many nights, a mixture of pride and melancholy squeezing her chest, as the young man sat before the screen and typed his loneliness away in total silence.
Until one day, habit not only prompted Sam's fingers to dance unnecessarily over the keys, but also guided the topic of his concerns. Missouri heard Dean upstairs, his voice surprised as he asked "Have you been researching?" She waited for Sam's answer with baited breath, but only grasped the low beep of the computer as the younger responded without using his voice. After that, she heard nothing else, but Dean's soft typing, which meant the siblings where talking to each other in their new way of keeping secrets from her.
It was unsurprising, but no less heartbreaking, when Sam and Dean went to meet her in her study a couple of days later. The elder sibling stepped ahead, his eyes clear and his spirit ready. He looked so different from the devastated man than had landed on her life less than two months ago that Missouri couldn't keep a note of pride from shining underneath the impending sadness of goodbyes.
"You're leaving, aren't you?" She said simply, meeting Dean's green eyes with her dark ones.
Dean's gaze softened, the corner of his lips twitching up in an apologetic half-smile. A step behind him, Sam looked down, seemingly nervous.
"I'm sorry." The younger muttered.
Though tears were hinting their presence in the back of Missouri's eyes, her smile to Sam was honest and her voice broke only a little as she reassured, "There is nothing to be sorry about. I'm glad you boys are better."
Dean averted his eyes for a brief second, mentally checking on a little brother Missouri was sure he perceived at his back. Then he returned his gaze to the psychic, hazel eyes warm and soulful.
"Missouri, what you have done for us..." Dean started in a grave voice that reminded the psychic of John with aching clarity. "I can't even begin to say-."
"Then don't say it." She cut him off, her voice stern. "Just don't."
Dean blinked silently at her, his jaw flexing subtly as emotion swelled in his throat. She could only stare back, pinned by the hunter's intense look, even as her composure flip-flopped around the pit of her stomach.
"Thank you." Dean whispered roughly.
Dean Winchester didn't show true gratitude easily; Missouri could sense that about him. Those two words were everything he had: a promise that he wouldn't forget, that he would always be there. A statement: Missouri had saved his life and from now on, Dean's existence belonged to her. Missouri closed her eyes to keep her old heart from dissolving into tears. The smile she returned Dean was wobbly.
"Anything you need, Dean." She croaked. Then she extended her look to include Sam. "Anytime. I mean it."
"Yes, Ma'am" Both brothers responded at unison.
It made her smile too.
"You take care." She ordered firmly.
Sam's eyes slid to Dean's as the older nodded, then smiled at Missouri.
"We will." Sam vowed.
Which meant he would take care of Dean. Missouri's smile steadied. Maybe Dean's life belonged to her, but his soul was taken. And somehow, it made her think of Lisa and the life Dean could have built with her if doing so hadn't meant a choice between both.
They were gone by morning, and to her amused surprise, a brand new vase like the one Sam had broken was left for her on the table.
They adjusted. It was hard at first. It would always be hard in some ways, but it was also one of the easiest dynamics to fall back to. Easier than staying with Lisa or pretending to be normal, that was for sure. Dean Winchester felt good hunting with his brother. Even if his brother was one of the things they hunted. Sam was getting better at controlling his abilities. While his telekinesis was unstable, and he couldn't accomplish simple tasks such as turning a page of a book, he was very good tapping into electronic circuits. If something had a button, he could zap the sensor under it.
So Dean got him an e-book. And Sam researched a lot, surfed channels on TV and drove the Impala's radio crazy.
The worst part for Dean was not being able to see Sam for real and know whether he was sad, or angry. Know whether he was even there at all. Dean always kept himself close to their "chat window" and Sam rarely kept quiet for long, as if he knew how bad Dean needed to be reassured of his presence. But the most Dean could do was trust his sibling when he typed that he was okay, unable as Dean was to contrast his words with his tone of voice, or the unmistakable look in Sam's eyes. He was still Sam's big brother and he knew how to interpret the pauses between the lines. Sam's hesitations when he struggled with words. He hadn't stopped sensing Sam's vibes in the soul-pulling way that had drove them to Missouri months ago. But the fear was still there. Like the time they had fought over one or the other's stubbornness and Sam had stopped talking to him. Dean had cracked after two hours, begging into thin air for his brother to tell him he hadn't left.
Or the time they had been fighting a poltergeist, and it had blindsided Dean. Sam had thrown himself between his brother and the threat, energies collapsing and cancelling each other in a violent blast that made Dean's ear ring and his eyes well up. He spent two days beside himself with worry, as Sam gave no sign he had "survived" the stunt, because he was too weak to contact him.
After that, Dean tried to make Sam promise he wouldn't risk himself again. The younger simply refused and it was most infuriating to Dean that he couldn't just beat some sense into him. The younger seemed convinced that nothing would wash him away from Dean's side, but the elder wasn't that confident and he was even less willing to prove the theory. In the end though, he had to accept it, because Sam had always done what he wanted in life, and he turned out to be even more obstinate in death. It felt good to know his ghost-brother had his back, almost like hunting with a superhero. It didn't mean that he stopped calling Sam his sidekick. And ironically, Dean began to take extra care of himself when they hunted, because now it was about protecting Sam as well.
It was a year later that Missouri got a call from a hospital in Maine that made her pack quickly and hop on a plane in a record time of three hours. Some Dean Johnson had been admitted, and he had her listed as an emergency contact. They were rather vague about his condition, and the psychic felt as if she was holding her breath all the way to Bangor until she was ushered into Dean's hospital room and could lay her worried eyes on her young friend.
"Oh dear. Dean?" She fussed.
The older Winchester was laid up on a narrow bed, strapped to a number of IV tubes that made Missouri cringe internally. Part of his head was bandaged and his left leg was elevated and immobilized in a cast. He looked pale, lines of fatigue and pain slashing his bruised face, but his eyes were clear enough when they snapped open and met hers.
"Missouri? W-what?" He croaked, his voice cracking as if his words were made of crystal.
Missouri swallowed hard, still shaken by the sight of Dean Winchester broken in front of her.
"He was out when they searched his things and found your number." A defeated voice informed her from the corner. "I wanted to help... But they wouldn't... I couldn't."
Missouri's head snapped to her right so fast she almost pulled a muscle. Sam was by the opposite wall, half-sitting on the window sill, arms crossed and expression closed-off as if he wanted to disappear into himself. For all the dullness in his eyes, the younger Winchester radiated misery.
"Sam, there was nothing you could have done." Missouri said softly, imagining Sam's helplessness at not being able to speak up for Dean in the hospital.
"So he's here, huh" Dean cut in, his voice weak, but relieved beneath the snarky tone. "Princess Sammy has refused to talk to me for the last two days."
"You don't have the laptop, jerk." Sam bit back, although he wasn't looking at his brother.
"Coulda… dunno…messed a bit with the lights or something, man." Dean protested. "Let me know that you were around."
"The room is full of machines" Sam growled. "Some of them, by the way, are attached to you. Sorry for preferring not to 'mess around'." He spared Dean a brief, annoyed glare, and mumbled moodily under his breath. "Besides, where the hell would I have gone? Jesus, Dean."
Missouri arched a fine eyebrow at the siblings, picking up on a tension between them that didn't feel caused only by their present miscommunication.
"What happened, boys?" She asked carefully, her gaze alternating between Sam's tense frame and Dean's battered face.
Sam averted his eyes, chewing silently on whatever that was eating at him, while Dean looked down a moment, a frown installing between his eyebrows. Missouri took the moment of quiet to study the older Winchester closer, taking in the several injuries now that she was more serene. Besides the leg-cast and the head-bandage, there was something odd, cautious in the way he favored the left side of his torso. Decidedly, and totally unfazed by the warning look Dean shot in her direction, she advanced to the bed, grabbed the covers and uncovered the patient to his waist.
"Hey!" Dean glowered at her, indignantly.
Missouri gulped, her heart stuttering at the sight of another bandage covering the young man's lower torso, with extra padding in his left side of his belly. The faint red of a stitched wound under the several layers of protection made her stomach churn lightly and she withdrew her hand, clenching her teeth as she stepped back.
"He almost bled to death, that's what happened." Sam muttered darkly.
Missouri dragged her eyes to the younger sibling, whose attention was back on Dean and his wound. Sam's chin trembled almost imperceptibly as he tightened his arms around his own body. Exasperation was clearly written in his tone, but underneath it, Missouri could feel that Sam had been and still was badly shaken.
"I'm fine." Dean hissed, reaching out to pull the covers over the bandages. The movement made him wince, but hiding the injury from Missouri ―probably mostly from Sam― seemed like a priority for him. "He's just pissed, because I didn't listen to him."
"You can't go against a werewolf alone, dammit!" Sam snapped, sudden rage covering the shaky edge of his voice. "I'm not strong enough to help you against something corporeal!"
"I had it covered." Dean countered, gritting his teeth. "The wolf was already down."
"Yeah, only you were down too." Sam retorted. "Out of a frigging window!"
Missouri's breath caught at the piece of revelation, her gaze returning to Dean full of alarm.
"You what?" She gasped. "How… how many stories?"
Dean let out a huff, half rolling his eyes, but his jaw was set in a stubborn line that spoke of pain and back off.
"It was a two-story house, no big deal." He dismissed.
"A shame you had to fall into a picket-fence." Sam bit back.
"Oh, sweet Jesus…" Missouri exclaimed, eyes going wide.
"Sam." Dean warned, expression tight. "Enough."
The younger brother pursed his lips, eyes flashing. He held his tongue with obvious effort, digging his fingers into his biceps in frustration. This was not the time to fight, Sam knew. Not with Dean hurt and drained, looking too small in a nameless hospital that smelled of loneliness and antiseptic.
"How long have you been here, Dean?" Missouri inquired.
Dean took a few seconds to respond, still caught in the tension that thickened the air between him and Sam. Letting out a long breath, the older Winchester sagged against the pillow and glanced at Missouri out of the corner of his eye.
"Couple days." He replied vaguely.
"Four." Sam corrected softly. "He had surgery the first and spent the second in and out of it."
Missouri sighed and tossed Sam a motherly look, but the younger didn't quite meet the psychic's gaze. His eyes were suspiciously bright, fixed on Dean as he shook his head slightly to himself. Sam's anger had faded, but the naked regret left in its wake tore at Missouri's heart. It must have shown on her face, because Dean looked from her to his invisible brother and deflated just as fast.
"Sammy…" Dean sighed. "I'm fine, okay? I'm sorry I scared you."
"You don't even mean that." The younger snorted wetly. "I was there, remember? You were dying on me and you… I saw it in your eyes, Dean. You didn't care."
Missouri looked at Dean again, a flutter of apprehension teasing the pit of her stomach, but the older Winchester could only stare back at her frustratedly, having lost the thread of his brother's words.
"He thinks you wanted to die." She murmured.
Dean's eyes sharpened slightly, a spark of surprise flaring in the hazel depths, but to Missouri's dismay, he didn't protest. Dean pulled in a breath and gazed at the area of Sam's position for a long moment, before lowering his eyes to the sheet and toying absently with the fabric.
"Dean?" Missouri croaked, fear turning the call high-pitched.
"I didn't impale myself for kicks, Missouri." He replied, somewhat defensive.
"No, you didn't." Sam admitted. "But you… you didn't fight, Dean. You were conscious and your phone was within reach and you wouldn't…"
"I saw you." Dean cut Sam off roughly.
Sam's breath caught as he fixed his brother a wide-eyed, stricken look, effectively silenced.
"What?" Missouri asked feebly, her pulse racing.
Dean's throat worked up and down a couple of times, and when he seemed to find the energy to continue, his voice was gravelly and shaky as if the ground cracked under their feet.
"It thought it was my mind playing tricks on me. Lights were flickering and exploding in the entire block, sirens going off everywhere…"
"I had to… someone needed to come out and find you…" Sam muttered breathily.
"But then I realized it was you doing it. And I could feel your hand in mine. And you were…right next to me… begging me not to let go."
A silent tear ran down Sam's cheek, his breath hitching as he mumbled, "Not to let go of life…you idiot, not me."
"And I got it then." Dean continued. "What Ash told us in Heaven. We're going together, Sammy." He smiled weakly. "And I'm sorry if it bothers you, I really am. But I'm not afraid of dying if it means I'll see you again."
Sam let out a tear-clotted laugh and closed his eyes. At a loss for words, Missouri rested a hand on Dean's arm and gave him a warm squeeze.
"Fair enough." Sam finally croaked. "Just…will you just…?" He swallowed and wiped at his eyes, trying to even out his breathing enough to speak. "Just don't be in such a hurry, you moron. I'm not going anywhere."
"He'll wait for you, Dean." Missouri said softly.
Dean gave a soft chuckle and nodded. Lying back, he let his eyelids drop, his whole body going lax as a smile tugged up the corner of his lips.
"Good. Now enough with the Oprah scene. I just want to get out of here like yesterday."
Sam rolled his eyes, suppressing his own tears as he ribbed back. "Forgot the little detail of being a human kebab?"
Missouri chuckled, surprising herself. Dean's smile widened, though he kept his eyes closed and his words began to take the softest of slurs into each other.
"He's being a smartass again, isn't he?"
"Maybe. He's had a good role model." Missouri jibed, making Sam laugh.
"Ouch." Dean pouted, one eye opening to a glaring slit.
"I'll go find a doctor. See if anyone can tell me anything about when you can go." The psychic smiled at him and gave Dean a parting pat on the shoulder.
"Thank you." Dean said gratefully.
"I got him." Sam assured her.
As Missouri went to the door, she glimpsed Sam carefully approaching Dean's bed, his eyes warily jumping to the several machines in case any of them decided to go crazy near him. When nothing happened, the younger sibling slumped in a near chair and bent forwards, elbows propped on Dean's bed, and face buried in his hands. As if by magic, Dean rolled his head in that direction and his body relinquished the last drops of tension that kept his body on guard. He whispered something Missouri couldn't catch and Sam nodded, one of his hands dropping from his face to rest over Dean's.
Doctor first. Then she was going to find those two a laptop.