A/N So sorry this has taken so long but my muse went to Aruba on vacation and took my inspiration with it!!
As Dawn saw her dad open his mouth to argue she not-so-gently pushed him out of the room and he walked down the corridor to his own room and through the door. Dawn followed him and closed the door behind him. She sighed and held up her hands. “Before you start can I just say two things? One, we were in the way and they need all the room they can get and two? I'm really not in the mood for refereeing in the free-for-all between you and Sammy. That has always been Dean's job, not mine.” John glared at his youngest child in frustration. “So I'm just supposed to sit here while one of my children risks his life to save the other?”
Dawn nodded. “Actually, for right now that's exactly what you've got to do. You can't help in there. Also, am I supposed to just conveniently forget the fact that you were shot and in a car accident less than 6 hours ago? You need to leave this to Willow and Tara, they know exactly what they're doing. Besides which I've got to keep an eye on you and make sure you don't do anything stupid. The members of this family have a real self-destructive streak when it comes to one of us being in danger. Sam wanted to make sure that you wouldn't try anything until he finds out one way or another what's going on with Dean.” John opened his mouth to say something, his face indignant, then just grimaced ruefully at the look on his daughters face. He settled down on his bed and Dawn sat down in the chair wearily closing her eyes, all in all it had been one hell of a day.
As the door closed behind his dad and Dawn, Sam looked at Willow. “What do you want me to do?” Willow walked over until she was standing next to Sam and smiled reassuringly. “First? Sweetie, I need you to relax. Also anyone not involved directly with the spell, need to leave.” She looked apologetically at Buffy and Xander. “Can you guys go and let Giles know what's going on? He's waiting in the cafeteria.” Buffy nodded and squeezed Sam's shoulder as she went past and Xander gave Willow and Tara a hug, clapped Sam on the back and followed Buffy.
When the room was clear Willow looked at Sam. “I need you to sit in the chair next to Dean. What's going to happen is relatively simple, this is how its going to work. I'm going to be the bridge for you to use, so that you can reach wherever Dean is and help you get him back into his body. For this to work, all my attention will have to be on you two, so Tara is going to be my anchor. Which means we all have a safety net, so that if anything goes wrong for any reason she'll be able to break the connection and pull us out.” Willow grinned. “Well, that's the basics about what's going to happen anyway. You don't need to worry about knowing anything magical, just leave that to me and Tara. Everyone ready?” Willow looked at Sam who smiled shakily and nodded. Willow looked across the room and Tara took a deep breath and nodded, walking over until she was stood beside her girlfriend. Willow took Sam's hand and then placed Dean's hand on top of his, with her free hand folded over the top, with Tara placing her hand over all three.
Willow bowed her head. “Goddess, I beseech you, show us the path, guide us on our journey to find the one we seek.” There was a flare of white light and Sam winced, the next thing he knew he was stood in a white corridor. He looked around and couldn't see or hear anyone, it was deserted and the empty hospital echoed with his breathing and despite himself he felt uneasy. He looked around, unsure of what to do now he was actually there. “Hello? Dean?” He looked around but in the hospital so big, and nothing to go on so far, Sam couldn't see anything that would indicate a way to go. “Uh, Willow? A bit of help here please? This is a huge hospital and looking around it could take all day.” There was a shift and Sam blinked and found himself stood in a corridor that looked remarkably like the one he had just left.
“Sam?” He jumped and just bit back the yelp that was in his throat and he whirled around to see Willow stood behind him with an amused smile on her face. “Sorry, I forgot how disorientating this can be if you've never done this before. I know you're confused but I need you to concentrate on Dean, picture his face and use that innate connection you have, the strong bond between the two of you will lead you to him. Focus on that. And remember I'll be here if you need me.” Sam took a deep breath and tried to relax as Willow vanished.
“Oh, so you're not asking anything too hard,” Sam muttered sarcastically. “I just have to find one spirit, in a hospital full of them. Needle meet haystack.” He sighed. “This is going to be fun!” Feeling slightly foolish, Sam closed his eyes, and tried to focus on Dean. On finding the connection they had that made them know instinctively where the other one was whether they were on a hunt or just in the same place relaxing.
After a couple of minutes, which made Sam felt nothing but stupid, he opened his eyes and huffed in frustration. He wasn't in the slightest magically inclined and trying Willows way was making him frustrated and unable to feel anything tangible that he could use to try and find Dean. The one thing that Sam knew was his brother was here somewhere So he decided to try the old fashioned more basic type of search and walked down the corridor, keeping his eyes open for anything unusual. As he walked around he got a cold shiver down his spine, it was eerie just how quiet and creepy a deserted hospital felt.
After a few minutes of aimlessly searching Sam was shocked when he wandered down another endless corridor and round a corner and just like that he had found his brother. Sam stopped dead in shock. Dean was sat on a gurney with a good looking young woman talking to him. He had his head bowed and seemed unaware that anyone else was there. “Dean?” He said incredulously and felt relieved tears mist his eyes when he saw his brothers head snap up. He hurried across to his brother, and in his concern totally missed the look of anger that briefly crossed the woman's face.
Dean blinked at his brother. Everything had slowed down and become slightly unreal for him. He felt in shock, on the one hand, this was exactly what he had been hoping for, but at the same time, a larger part of him was sure this image of his brother was a mirage pulled up from his imagination. “Sammy? That really you?” Sam smiled and nodded and Dean went to smile then frowned. “How can I be sure it's really you?” Sam frowned, then shook his head in baffled amusement.
“For god sake, Dean. Do we really have time for this?” At the look his brother shot him, Sam sighed. “Fine. What kind of proof do you want?” Dean shrugged,
“I don't know. Out of body experiences were never covered in any book I ever read. I guess, something only you would know.” At the look on his brothers face Dean glowered at him. “Forgive me for being suspicious but I was all alone in this god forsaken hospital watching myself being resuscitated and the next thing I know other people are appearing out of the woodwork! So yeah Sammy I want a bit of reassurance that your the real deal.”
Sam sighed heavily, but went along with it, his inner sense of urgency hadn't decreased any and the sooner they got out of here the better. “Until I was ten, I never spent an entire night in my own bed, because I was afraid of the dark. And though you would tease me, you never said no, you always let me sleep in with you. When I was two and you six, dad brought home the one person you have always tried to protect. The same person who is waiting down the hall with dad for you to wake up, so that she can see you again.” Dean felt his eyes widen and his heart thump, this wasn't a figment of his imagination, he was really here. He got of the gurney and walked over to his brother and went to slap him on the back then grinned ruefully. “I'd try to slap your back to thank you but apparently I'm incorporeal.” He glared in mock anger at his brother when Sam looked shocked. “Yes I know big words, college boy! I have to act dumb, I can't be this handsome and intelligent.” Sam laughed and Dean grinned back. “Anyway, if we're finished with this touching reunion, wait, how exactly did you manage this reunion? And what took you so long?” Sam grinned, and shook his head, even in spirit form Dean was, well, Dean.
“With a little help from my friends. What do you say we get out of here?” Dean nodded emphatically. He had just gone to move when he was jerked to a halt, he turned to look and the young woman he'd befriended had his wrist in a tight grip and an ugly look on her face. The first thing Dean felt was confusion, this wasn't supposed to happen, but when he looked clearly at her Dean knew instinctively that this woman had never been human, no human being could look that cold, plus, even if he wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, the fact that her eyes had gone black was a huge hint. She was glaring at Sam, while maintaining her death grip on his arm. “You're not taking him, his soul belongs to me!” Sam took a step forward until he was stood directly next to his brother.
“Yeah? I don't think so. We're leaving right now, and you can go back to hell where you belong!” Before she could say anything Dean managed to pull his arm free, and the two men took off running with Sam leading Dean back toward the relative safety of his hospital room.
“Typical!” Dean said breathlessly. “After somehow becoming detached from my body, the first women I meet turns out to be a freaking demon!” Sam grimaced.
“I don't think that's a demon, I think its a reaper.” Dean sighed
“Yeah, I was starting to think that myself. And boy am I glad you turned up, but now what do we do?” Sam ran down the corridor and lead Dean into the room where his body was. As soon as Dean was in the room he looked at Sam. “Now what genius?”
Sam grinned at his brother, adrenaline flooding his system. “Now I call for our ride home. WILLOW!” He bellowed ignoring the funny looks his brother was shooting him.
After a few seconds of silence there was a pop and then she was stood in front of him. “Jeez, Sam. I'm not deaf!” Sam grinned sheepishly in relief.
“Sorry, we have a bit of a situation here. A reaper is after Dean and we have to get him back into his body now.” Willow grimaced.
“I see the Winchester luck is running true to form.” Dean cleared his throat and she looked over to see Dean staring at her. She smiled. “Willow Rosenberg, hacker, witch and your only way back into your own body. Nice to meet you. You ready to go back to the real world?” Dean nodded. Just as Willow went to speak there was a disturbance at the door the reaper in the guise of a young woman appeared there. Sam looked at Willow, who nodded. “Goddess, we beseech you. Guide our spirits back to where they rightfully belong and keep out those who would do us ill.” Sam took a deep breath and felt a tugging sensation in his gut, and the next thing he knew he was back in his body and Dean was arched up, choking on the tube in his throat. Sam lunged to his feet and hit the emergency call button and within moments the room was full of doctors and nurses.
Willow and Tara had stepped back into the farthest corner away from the bed while the medical staff attended to Dean, and Sam stood off to the side out of the way but close enough to keep his eye on Dean.
After about ten minutes everything had settled down and Dean was now conscious and alert. Sam left the room as Dean was thanking Willow and Tara for their help. He walked up the corridor and opened the door. Two heads turned toward him. “It worked.” Sam said briefly, with a small smile. “He's awake and waiting to see you.” Before he could say another word Dawn was out of the seat and pushed past him to run down the corridor. John slowly stood up and clapped his youngest son on the back and they followed Dawn out of the room.
When they got to the hospital room Dawn was hugging Willow and Tara, while carefully not looking at the bed. Sam frowned, and catching Deans eye nodded toward Dawn. The older man shrugged, not knowing what was going on either. John lowered himself into the chair next to the bed with a soft groan. He smiled at Dean. “Hey dude, feeling better?” Dean nodded, then shifted, grimacing. “Getting there.” Sam walked up behind Dawn and put a hand on her shoulder, she stiffened and without looking round she held up a hand. “Back off, Sam. Right now.”
Sam went and sat down in the chair by his dad recognizing from experience that tone in his sisters voice. Dawn smiled at Willow. “Can you guys go fill in everyone on what's happened please?” Willow nodded and was about to leave the room when John spoke. “Miss Rosenberg?” Willow turned to face him, and he smiled. “I apologise for earlier. Thank you for helping my sons.” Willow smiled gently.
“You're more than welcome, in fact it was my pleasure.” With that she left the room leaving the family sat in uncomfortable silence.
Dawn broke the silence first, walking over to Dean and sitting on the end of his bed. “I'm glad you're okay.” She said huskily, and Dean looked at her, noting the sheen of tears in her eyes. He didn't speak just held out his arms and Dawn moved in for a hug. She held the hug for a minute and then sat up. She looked at her father and her brothers. “I'm twenty years old.” John frowned, looking briefly confused with the abrupt switch in conversation. “We're aware of that, honey.” Dawn looked sceptical.
“Oh really? You're telling me that you're aware of the fact that I'm a grown up, fully aware member of this family and not the baby who needs protected?” Sam cleared his throat and when Dawn looked at him, he shrugged uncomfortably. “Come on Dawnie, that's not a fair question to ask. Dad still tries to protect me and Dean, Dean protects me and you and I try to keep everyone safe, that's family, and the main rule of this family is that family looks after each other.” Dean and John nodded, and Dawn sighed.
“Okay, I know as far as your concerned I'm always going to be baby of the family. But now you have to listen to me, I have been trained in self-defence by the longest living slayer in history. I'm in college full-time and holding down a job, going patrolling with Buffy and keeping in touch with my pain in the ass relatives. I am through letting you guys keep me on the sidelines. Its time you guys realised the fact that I'm an adult and a member of this family, who is fully capable of protecting herself.” She sat back and folded her arms, a small smile on her face at the look of shock on her dads face. Neither Dean nor Sam looked surprised. Dean had gone through the same thing with Sam, and Sam had been expecting this for a while. In many ways Dawn was a combination of both of them, and had inherited the Winchester stubbornness in spades.
Before John could speak the door opened after a perfunctory knock and Buffy stuck her head in with a smile. “Thought I'd just let you guys know were heading to the hotel.” She stepped into the room and closed the door behind her. She walked across the room and stood by the bed. She smiled at its occupant. “Nice to see you up and about Dean. You had us worried.” Dean smiled cheekily.
“Nice to see you too Summers, nice to see you finally got a decent rack.” John stepped forward with a scowl on his face but Buffy stopped him dead by laughing then leaning down for a hug. She grinned up at Sam. “He said something rude, he's back!” Sam laughed and Buffy went over for a hug, then smiled over at John. “Hi John, how are you doing?” John looked at Buffy and slowly his face began to change as he relaxed and smiled then walked over to stand between Dawn and Buffy. “I'm doing alright, thank you Buffy. I mean.” He stopped and cleared his throat gruffly. “For the first time in a long time, my family's together. That's all I ever wanted.” John smiled at his children who smiled back, with varying degrees of warmth.
John looked at his two youngest children, both of who were starting to show signs of fatigue, then looked at Buffy. “Would you do me a favour?” Buffy nodded, and John sighed and indicated Dawn and Sam. “Will you take Dawn and Sam back to the motel with you both of them need to get some sleep. And as of now only me and Ace here need to be here” He looked at Sam. “So if I were you I'd get out of here before the nurses decide to change their mind and keep you in as well.” Sam glanced at Dean who nodded, and sighed. “Fine, but I'll be back in a while once I've gotten some sleep, we need to talk.” Dawn nodded. “Me too.” John sighed
“Fine whatever, just get out of here will you before you both collapse of exhaustion?” Dawn nodded and smiled at Dean before walking out and Sam sighed and followed his younger sister out of the room.
A short while later Sam walked into the motel room and threw his bag onto the floor, dropping onto the large double bed with a groan. He was tired and his entire body ached, but it had been worth it. Having Dean, Dawn and their dad all in one place, for the first time in a long time, was worth the hell he'd just gone through. He sat up and biting back a moan when his body protested when someone knocked on the door. “Its open Dawnie.” He called knowing his sister was on the other side of the door even without using his abilities. The door opened and Dawn stuck her head in, and smiled weakly. She shut the door behind her and walked over and sat on the bed next to him with a sigh. “Hell of a day, huh?” Sam nodded and Dawn turned to face him. “Sammy why didn't you call me when you guys all met up? Why keep me out of the loop?” Sam sighed seeing the hurt on his sister's face. “I'm sorry Dawnie, but dad was insistant, and I wasn't really in the mood for arguing in the midst of fighting of demons and dad being possessed.” He sucked in his breath and mentally swore as Dawn gasped then glared at her brother.
“Explanation, Sam, right now.” Sam blinked amazed at the uncanny resemblance between his sister and their dad. With a sigh, he started at the beginning with meeting Meg, and everything that had happened since.
When he finished Dawn shook her head. “And not once through all of this did you think to phone me and see if we could help?” Sam shrugged, not willing to apologise again for trying to protect his little sister. “I know you're upset and you have a right to be but could we just shelve this discussion until we meet up with Dean and dad again please? I just need to get some sleep right now, I don't think I could handle another in depth discussion, I haven't slept in about forty eight hours and i'm exhausted.” Dawn nodded.
“Okay Sammy, you get some sleep and I'll...” She went to stand up and Sam grabbed her arm.
“If you don't mind, would you stay? Its been a hell of a couple of days and I'm not quite feeling up to being on my own yet.” Dawn smiled as Sam, he had always been honest with her, at times painfully honest, and she found this honesty in a family of non-talkative males refreshing. She nodded and suddenly yawned catching herself off guard. Sam smiled, knowing the only way Dawn would get some sleep would be if she stayed in here with him, and knowing that had used it to his advantage. He patted the space next to him on the big double bed. “You need to rest too Dawnie. After we've got some sleep we'll go back to the hospital and get everything cleared up.” Dawnie quickly kicked off her shoes and took of her jewellery and then just crawled under the covers fully dressed and Sam did exactly the same and within minutes they were asleep.
A/N So there it is folks, hope you enjoyed it!!
I'm soooo sorry its been such a long wait (almost a year, oops!) and hopefully I should update this more often now.
As always I'm working Unbeta'd so any mistakes are my own.