It all happened very quickly.
Within seconds of Tom's bleeding descent to the floor, the room became a frantic hive of activity; both beds were stripped of all their linen as Sam, together with Dean, blood from his own wounds, trickling down his braced arms, found themselves kneeling on the floor staunching the blood pouring from the wound in Tom's stomach while Bobby was making his distraught 911 call.
The bloodstained knife lay abandoned on the floor beside them where it had dropped from Tom's strengthless fingers having done it's work. The scorch marks on the ceiling were the only remaining evidence of a job well done.
In a matter of just minutes; Tom, unconscious and clinging to life, was being lifted into the back of an ambulance, followed by Bobby stumbling into his unlaced boots, unlocking the truck, and calling back up the stairs to the brothers that he would see them later and for Dean to get some rest.
As he clambered into the truck and fired up the engine, ready to follow the ambulance's flashing lights toward the hospital, Bobby made a mental note to call Sherriff Mills. His tale to the paramedics about a disturbed break-in would need her full co-operation to allay any inconvenient suspicions when her officers came sniffing round the 'crime scene' in days to come.
The wounds inflicted on Dean by his nocturnal visitor were unpleasant, but they were nothing Sam hadn't dealt with a dozen times before. Amidst all the madness, Sam and Bobby had both agreed that the brothers would stay at his place to patch Dean up, and for him to rest after this latest trauma in a long line of horrors that he had endured recently.
There was absolutely no point in three of them travelling to the hospital and cluttering up ER, pacing up and down the halls worrying and fretting. Bobby knew only too well that the Winchesters would be worried sick, but he figured they may as well do their worrying and fretting staying at his place treating Dean's wounds. He also knew that Dean badly needed to get some rest, so by staying home, Sam could try to coax him to do that; Bobby let out an involuntary snort. Good luck with that Sam.
Besides, Dean's injuries; the three-day-old slashes down his back together with the mysterious bite marks and scratches over his chest, and the newly-blossoming bruises around his neck, were difficult to pin on a particularly unpleasant housebreaker. They would raise too many awkward questions. No, all things considered, Bobby wanted to keep the medics well away from him.
Dean felt the mattress dip as Sam sat down on the side of the bed beside him with a bowl of warm water and the first aid kit. Both brothers were stunned into a shocked silence by this latest turn of events and Sam forced himself to take a series of long deep breaths to try to calm his shaking hands before attempting to treat Dean's bloodied chest.
His head whirled with concern. On top of everything else, how would Dean deal with this development? He had been unravelling so rapidly over recent days, Sam was terrified that this episode might be the final nudge that would tip him over the edge.
Whilst he was grateful beyond words to Tom for what he did, he wished with every fibre of his being it could have happened some other way.
He was jolted out of his musings by Dean's voice, little more than a whisper and worryingly calm.
Sam blinked, "who?"
"The faerie king," Dean continued, turning to Sam, in wide-eyed earnestness.
Sam almost laughed. Man, how could their lives get any weirder?
"Yeah," Sam replied keeping his voice as low and reassuring as possible; "he's dead, and good riddance to the ugly green bastard."
He helped Dean pull the tattered remains of his T shirt off to reveal the two deep gashes criss-crossing his blood-smeared chest.
Reaching up with the facecloth he had brought in, he began to gently rinse the blood away from Dean's skin.
"They did it," Dean sighed, flinching against the cool water and the bite of the antiseptic, "the little black dude killed the Princess, and Tom, the reckless bastard, killed the King."
Sam thought back to the conversation around the kitchen table, that day when the terrible truth had dawned; Bobby had told both men that faeries could only die either by faerie magic or they can die of a broken heart.
His features tightened with anger; 'break their hearts? I'd break their damn necks for what they did,' he thought furiously as he continued to work the bloodstained cloth over the deep scarlet cut running the length of Dean's collarbone, taking in the pale, healing scratches and bite marks peppering his skin as he did so.
"Good," he managed to grind out between clenched teeth, "no more than they deserved."
Dean turned slightly to grant Sam easier access to his shoulder, and took a deep breath.
"I know you heard me."
Sam paused and looked up from his work at Dean. "Heard what?"
"You heard me shouting and hollering in the shower."
Sam cleared his throat as he rinsed the cloth, trying to remain calm and nonchalant; "You weren't in your right mind, Dean, you were saying lots of things."
"She raped me, Sam."
Sam dropped the cloth in the bowl and closed his eyes; part of him had been waiting for this conversation, knowing it would be vital to help the healing process, but now he was confronted with it, he found himself wishing it had just been hysterical ramblings.
"The princess paralysed me with some kind of faerie magic, and she forced herself on me," he pointed to one of the scratches on his chest.
"She did this to me."
Sam's heart dropped into his guts; he'd thought they were caused by a wild animal. He felt himself start to tremble; whether it was with fear or sorrow or fury he wasn't sure.
"I've been hurt Sam; God knows, you know I have, but she hurt me more than I can describe." Dean's eyes lifted to look up into Sam's face, "and she stared into my eyes and laughed as she did it."
"She hurt me and humiliated me," Dean murmured softly; "I was tainted and polluted, and when you tried to touch me to clean me up, I'm sorry, I recoiled because I all I could think was I didn't want to pollute you with her filth too."
Sam turned away, clamping a hand over his mouth.
She violated my body; but they weren't satisfied with that. After the little black dude killed her and sent me back here, their King, her father, violated my mind." Dean shuddered; "he told me he was going to have vengeance and that I would beg for death before he let me go." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
"Everywhere I looked I could see him whispering at me and taunting me with what he was going to do to me and to you. I could see him all the time; in the walls, through the windows, reflected in mirrors ... worst of all I could see him looking back at me through your eyes with pure hatred." He paused for a moment, swallowing deeply; "then he started appearing for real. Sammy, I thought I was losing my mind."
"Bobby said that's what these bitches do; they mess with people's mind and drive them mad," Sam replied quietly.
Dean dropped his hands into his lap; "and Tom had to die to finish the bastards off, and to save my sorry ass because I wasn't strong enough to fight them off myself."
Sam wiped his eyes, and cleared his throat briefly; "Dean, for a start Tom isn't dead. We acted quickly to help him and now he's in the best possible place he can be, and secondly, these things are a power we can't even begin to understand;" he hesitated, "Dean, back when you were still missing and me Bobby and Tom were talking about faeries, that's the only time I've ever seen Bobby look and sound genuinely scared."
"They're terrifying. You can't beat them with strength or fair play. Bobby said the only way you can kill them is with their own magic, or break their hearts."
Sam picked the cloth up, taking a moment to steady his shaking hand ready to resume his work. "But they're both dead. It's all going to be fine now."
"Yeah; he's not inside my head any more, he's gone now."
Sam smiled weakly, "He's gone. They're both gone dude," he dropped the cloth into the bowl and pulled his brother into a deep, reciprocated hug.
"I know, Sammy, I know …" Dean replied, his voice a barely audible whisper into Sam's shoulder.
"God, I thought I was going to lose you dude," Sam croaked, "all the crap we've fought and beaten, the fierce, evil, vicious things we've killed, and the thing that I was going to lose you to was faeries;" he almost laughed at the absurdity of the thought.
There was no response other than a muffled sniff, and he felt the dampness of hot tears on his shoulder. As he sat silently and patted his brother's back he knew they were healing tears.
Sam looked up at the ceiling and silently hoped that this was the end of it, and that there wasn't some other sinister figure waiting in the darkness to pick up the vendetta.
It was about an hour after Dean had settled into a deep and undisturbed sleep that Sam lunged for his phone to prevent its ring tone waking his sleeping brother.
"Bobby, what's happening?" he barked urgently.
There was a deep sigh before Bobby answered; Sam hoped against hope it was a sigh of relief, not of anything less positive.
"Tom's just come out of surgery," Bobby responded; Sam could hear the exhaustion in the older man's voice. "looks like he's gonna be okay – eventually anyway."
Sam felt a smile stretch his lips; "thank God," he breathed.
"Yeah," agreed Bobby; "the Doc said it was a freakin' miracle the blade missed all his vital organs and blood vessels."
Sam sat on the end of his bed; "wow, lucky …"
There was a faint chuckle on the end of the phone. "Nah, not luck," Bobby replied, "I've been sittin' here mullin' it over ever since Tom was brought in."
Sam cocked his head curiously, "what?"
"Who better to know the best place to get stabbed and survive than an ex-police medical officer?" Bobby replied simply.
Sam's eyebrows began a slow march upwards.
"As a poker player, Tom can easily give Dean an' me a run for our money;" Bobby explained; "that man likes to gamble; an' I'm wagerin' he thought that with his medical and criminal knowledge, with our experience of treating injuries, an' with a decent hospital a short drive away, it was worth the gamble to try to help Dean."
Sam found himself letting loose a chuckle, cutting it short as Dean shifted in his bed with a quiet grunt.
"He's played those creepy green sons of bitches, and won Sam, he bluffed them."
"Dean called him a reckless bastard," Sam smiled.
"That wasn't reckless," Bobby replied quietly, "I'd say calculated."
"An' what's even better, Sam;" is you know I told you that there's only two ways faerie folk can die?"
Sam nodded; "yeah, they can be killed by faerie magic or die of a broken heart."
"Yeah, well according to the lore, when the royal bloodline of any faerie race is lost, the whole race fades away and dies with grief."
Sam stood up, scraping a hand through his increasingly unkempt fringe; "so …"
"He's wiped them all out," Bobby couldn't hide his glee; "not just the one that took Dean or the other one that came after him, but the whole damn race."
"So he's safe from any retribution?"
"Yep," Bobby replied; "so is everyone; no more faerie abductions."
"And proper revenge for Lloth," added Sam with a soft smile.
A brief silence fell between the two men, until Bobby spoke up with sweet satisfaction in his voice; "looks like our ultra-terrestrial, magic faeries weren't so freakin' clever after all."
"I'm gonna stay here tonight," Bobby began to wrap up the call; "you two get some rest."
Sam nodded, "you take it easy too Bobby."
"Make sure ya brother's ok."
Sam looked across the room to Dean, snoozing contentedly in the bed beside him, one socked foot hanging off the end of the mattress.
Sam managed a small smile. He knew they weren't out of the woods; there would be tough times ahead but they would come out of the other side of them better and stronger, as they always did.
"He's gonna be okay Bobby," Sam reassured quietly; "when Tom wakes up, you tell him; Dean's gonna be just fine."