|When It's Over
Author: P.L. Wynter PM
FutureFic. After a horrible accident, Sam and Dean have to learn what it is to be a family again. Originally a oneshot about: What would make Dean stop hunting?Rated: Fiction M - English - Angst/Drama - Sam W. & Dean W. - Chapters: 15 - Words: 37,721 - Reviews: 531 - Favs: 299 - Follows: 59 - Updated: 07-11-06 - Published: 03-28-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2865835
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There was a pop, a twinge of pain, and then it was over. Just like that. No spectacular final battle, no going out in a blaze of glory, no heroic last stand to celebrate the finale of the life he knew. Just a pop. Then a jerk. And Dean Winchester, the hunter, was done. Done with heroism, done with chivalry, done with hunting, done with everything. And the moment he stared down at his toes and watched as they refused to move, refused to twitch, refused to do anything but sit still and taunt him, he began wondering which gun would leave the least mess of blood and brain matter when he put it in his mouth and pulled the trigger. Because Dean was many things, but parapalygic wasn't one of them.
It had been a stupid mistake that had sent him crashing through two stories of rotten wooden floors to land on the metal corner of a cabinet and ultimately severe the nerves in his spinal chord. One stupid mistake, one misplaced step while he'd been purifying the house and he had found himself laying alone in a cold, musty basement for four hours before taking an ambulance ride he barely remembered and winding up with three broken ribs, a fractured arm, cracked cheekbone, and a doctor's promise that he'd never walk again. And the bastard had the gall to call him lucky. Lucky.
This wasn't luck.
Luck would have his father and his brother by his side, together, doing whatever made them happy. Or if that was pushing it, because not even luck would make that fantasy come true, then he would be sitting in his hotel room, celebrating another successful hunt alone with a few shots of tequila. Or at the very least, if luck had been with him at all, if it had found time to grace him with just a smidgen of its time, then he would be lying comfortably six feet under in a nice city paid coffin and one of those fancy silk pillows, because this head wouldn't rest on anything less. But luck hadn't been with him. It hadn't even looked his way. Because lying in a hospital bed with no feeling from the waist down, wondering whether it would be better to put the barrel of his baretta to his temple or in his mouth, was not luck. If anything, luck had spat on him and told him to fuck himself.
Dean guessed that he should have seen it coming. He should have known it would end this way. Because nothing in his life ever ended the way he wanted them to. Nothing. Their apple pie life had ended with his mother dying in a fire, pinned to the ceiling. The big hunt, the one for the fucker who had killed her, ended with John's death and Sam's psychic meltdown that destroyed it. And after that, nothing had gone Dean's way. Sam had left him, just like he said he would. But Dean supposed he couldn't blame his little brother. He was the one who had said it was okay in the first place. But how could he not? How could he have stood there, with their father's blood still beneath their fingernails, while Sam gave him those pitiful eyes asking him to just let go, and say no? How could he have told his Sammy that no, it wasn't okay. No, he didn't want him to go. No, he couldn't live without him. So he said yes. Sam was gone. Dean flew solo. And every Christmas, birthday, or loneliest of the lonely days, he'd call or show up and lie to Sam and tell him he was fine. If Sam ever caught on that he was lying, he'd never said anything, and that was okay. Because Sammy was now Sam or Samuel. He was now Mr. Winchester. Married, 2.4 kids, dog, in-laws. There wasn't room for Sam to pity his older brother, lost in a world that wasn't his.
Dean lied to Sam for all the smile's he'd never see. For the ones he knew he gave to his wife when she cooked him his favorite meal, or for his daughter when she drew him a picture, or his son when he tossed him a baseball. Those smiles were the ones Dean lied for. Even though those smiles weren't his, weren't meant for him, he loved each and every one of them the same.
Was there a smile even left for him? One that wasn't backed by pity, worry, sympathy, and all the other things Dean hated about himself? Probably not. The days of smiles for the sake of smiling were gone. Sam had more important things to worry about than a brother he barely knew anymore with legs that would never walk. He wondered if maybe he should leave a note for his brother before he ended it all. Or would that be too imposing? What would he even say? 'Sorry, kiddo. Always thought I'd walk to hell?' No, no note. Sam would understand. He was strong. He'd be upset for a week or so and then move on.
There was whispering outside his hospital room. He wasn't in the mood to listen. Probably his doctor flirting with some nurse telling her what a shame it was that a young guy like this would never be able to walk again, would never be able to run, to jump, to bike, to swim, to high kick a demon in his fucking ugly face, to strut new shoes or care about how his butt looked in a pair of jeans, or fuck another woman ever again. Oh yeah, that baretta was calling his name. He could almost see the little red 'X' on his temple. Just point, pull, and it's all over. He wondered if Hell was ready for him. Probably had a nice suite all picked out.
The door squeaked a bit, but other than that, he wouldn't have known it was opening. Dean didn't bother to open his eyes. Let them think he was sleeping, it kept him from seeing the way they looked at him. Damaged goods. Someone just put a label on his fucking forehead already and call it a night. Soft feet on the floor. High heels following closely. A chick. Great. Someone to remind him his mating days are over.
"Looks like he's asleep." Such a soft voice. Whispered. Like she's afraid if she talks any louder, whatever freak is laying in this bed will crack and shatter. He's made of procelain now. Everyone's afraid to touch him because no one wants to pay when they break him. Just put him up on a shelf, real high, dust him every once in a while. No way. No fucking way. Where's that gun? "Do you want a minute? I can go get us some coffee."
And it's all over when he hears that voice. How had they found him? How had he gotten here so fast? Dammit, he wasn't supposed to be here. That wasn't how this was supposed to work. How was he supposed to aim a gun at his head now? Someone had just invited the Mother Hen. It would be years until Dean could get to a gun quick enough.
But God. Just having him in the same room. Just smelling his expensive cologne, the kind they'd never been able to afford. Just hearing his even breathing, sometimes shaky. Just listening to that sigh. God, that sigh. No, now was not the time to break. Remember, you're asleep. People don't just cry in their sleep for no reason. You don't know he's here. It's better that way. It's better if you just never wake up you fucking failure. You fucking broken failure. You...
"God, Dean." He can barely hold on at the dip in his voice. At the shaky breath, sharp intake. He can barely hold on, but he does. Because if he cries, if he lets just one tear slip, they'll both know. They'll both know he's awake, he's alert, he's broken, he's scared, he's fucking terrified. And it's better if just Dean knows. Because Sam doesn't need to. Sam doesn't need someone else's baggage.
Soft fingertips touch his arm. It's so gently it hurts. It hurts in a way physical pain could never reach him. It hurts because Sam was never meant to touch Dean this gently. Sam was never meant to treat him like glass, like sand that will slip away if he pushed to hard. They're meant to hit, to punch, to squabble, to bicker, to hug if necessary. But never anything like this. Never a soft tickle of flesh on flesh. Dig your nails in Sammy. Make me bleed bro, please. Punch me a little. Slap me upside the head. Treat me like Dean, treat me like your brother. Let me do the crying, let me do the reassuring. Please. Please, dammit.
Sam's fingers leave Dean's arm and for a moment the world means nothing. Dean wants to open his eyes so badly, but at the same time, he wishes they'd stay shut forever. He wishes he could go to sleep. He wishes Sam would just leave and they could just mutually forget either of them had a brother. Because it's not suppose to be like this. Sam's not supposed to be here. This ruins everything. He's not going to make Sam clean up the blood splatter when his brain explodes out the back of his head. He'll leave that task to some poor nurse or some poor maid.
The hand comes back, this time gripping his firmly. It startles Dean so badly he almost gasps, almost gives away his consciousness. But Sam doesn't seem to notice as he brings up another hand to touch Dean's forehead. But whatever comfort it was meant to give is shattered when he feels the cold steel of a wedding band on Sam's finger. The reminder that Sam isn't his anymore. Sam doesn't need him anymore because he has a different family now, one that's much brighter, much happier, much safer. One that doesn't get their throats slit by demons or falls through floors and gets crippled.
Sam sighs. Dean hates that sigh. It means his brother is worried. Stop Sam. Stop. Don't worry for me. I let you go, now just let me go. I don't want to bring you down anymore. I can't.
"Sarah made me go to church the other day." Sam's voice is normal. It's surprising loud in a room that's been so quiet. Dean's strangely thankful that his brother's not whispering. "Been a while. This one's not so bad. The guy seems really down to earth." Dean lets him ramble. It's how Sam copes. "Hannah started ballet. Bet you have some good jokes about me going to buy a tutu." A rough laugh. "Cam had an ear infection the other day. We thought...well we were going to take him to the hospital but I remembered what Dad used to do for us. It worked."
Sam's quiet. The hand on his forehead leaves and Dean can picture it closed tightly as a fist against Sam's mouth, holding back whatever sound of distress is there. Dean resists the urge to squeeze his hand. You don't want me to comfort you, Sammy. Once I start, I won't be able to stop.
"Dammit, Dean," Sam chokes. Sam takes a moment then starts again. "Look, Dean, I know...I know that I haven't made things easy and that sometimes, most times, I never really knew what you were thinking, but...I mean...what I'm trying to say is...God, I can't do this." Sam lets go of Dean altogether and Dean's torn between happiness and the urge to cry out and grab his brother and hold on to him forever. Then Sam grabs his hand with such ferocity it scares him.
"I need you to be okay."
I can't Sammy. Jesus, I can't. Don't you see? Don't you see what this life has done to me? I don't know how to live anymore. Dad never taught me this scenario. I can't fight this one. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to do. I can't save you when I'm broken. You need to leave, Sammy. You need to let me end this. I gotta follow Dad. I gotta follow him, I don't know what else to do. God, Sammy.
"Dean, I need you to be okay. You have to be. And, I don't just mean...physically, because we can handle that. I can handle that. But I need you, you to be okay."
How am I supposed to do that, Sammy? How am I supposed to do that when Dad's dead? When you're off with your wife and kids and dog and job and I'm here with no legs and nothing to do but sit and think how it all when so fucking wrong, so fucking wrong that I want to blow my brains out the minute I get out? How am I supposed to be okay? I need to protect you. I don't know how to give you what you're asking for.
"Please be okay."
And Sam sucks in a breath because Dean can't help but squeeze his hand.
And they sit for a moment, each wondering if the other felt it.
"Dean?" Sam's voice is quiet again and the tears are gone. He's back to being Sam, with a hint of Sammy. And maybe that's what gets to Dean. That hint. That small dash of flavor in the blandness that is their life. That little boy looking up at him, depending on him to make things right. To pull the covers up some more and tell him how to get rid of this fucking nightmare. Only this isn't a nightmare, it's real. But that little boy is still looking at him, wanting him to make things right. And if he could get up and dance, he would. But he can't. He won't ever be able to.
"Dean," Sam tries again. "Please."
And he lays there for a second, wondering what he can do, what he can say to make things right. Should he stay asleep, wait until Sam leaves, then hang himself off the side of the bed? Sick way to die, but at least it would be over with. Or should he open his eyes? Should he dare to look at his brother? Should he dare to put himself back into Sam's life even though it could be the worse thing he'd ever done to his little brother. Because who wants a broken old toy? Who wants another piece of furniture to move around that talks and moans and craps and eats their food? Does Sam want that? Does he really want that? Does he really know what he's asking for?
"I need my brother."
Sam lets go. Dean lets him let go. He listens to him stand up. Listens to him stretch. Listens to him grow up a hundred and fifty years in one stand. Listens to him stare. His whole life Dean had taken care of Sam. He'd do anything for his brother. Anything. Dying had been the best option. A gun to the head, a pull of the trigger. The best option until Sam had been selfish again. Selfish little bastard, always needing things. Needing Dean to be okay. Needing his brother. Needing Dean to pass the torch so he could be the protector and Dean be the protected for once. Or maybe it wasn't that at all. Maybe Dean could still be protector. Maybe he could still take care of Sam, make sure he was alright. Maybe he could do it by just being there.
The door opens. Sam's leaving. Dean struggles. End this easy? Let Sam leave, pull the trigger tonight? Make sure not to burden Sam for the rest of his life with a handicapped, broken brother? Or give Sam what he wants. Give him a broken man to take care of the rest of his life. Give him someone to worry about when he falls asleep at night? Give him what's left of his brother? Is there even anything left?
Maybe just a little. So Dean gives it to him.
The hunter is gone. But the brother just woke up.
"You really went shopping for tutu's?"
And a gun with Dean's name on it is suddenly misplaced.