Summary: Tag to 10x02 – Injured (but determined) Sam, Cured Demon Dean – Sam was taking his brother home. For once, he was going to save Dean...and nothing Dean would say or do was going to change Sam's mind.
Disclaimer: Not mine
Warnings: Language and spoilers for Season Ten
A/N: Demon Dean doesn't interest me at all. I prefer Dean as a big brother instead of a demon, thank-you-very-much. The cure can't happen soon enough for me.
With you in my life, well, I'm always at home. ~ The White Buffalo
The words haunted him.
Those four words printed too neatly to be Dean's handwriting, yet Sam could hear his brother's voice when he read them, could see Dean's expression.
Sammy, let me go.
As if it was that easy.
As if Dean would ever let Sam go.
As if Sam hadn't already fucked up once before when he had let Dean go.
Sam clenched his jaw at the reminder, refusing to repeat the same mistake.
For reasons only he knew, Sam hadn't looked for Dean when Dean had vanished into Purgatory.
But he sure as hell was going to look for him now.
And he would find him.
No matter what had happened or where Dean had gone, Sam would find his brother...and he would bring Dean home.
Because that's what family did.
That's what brothers did.
They didn't give up on each other.
And so it began...
Sam existing on determination alone as he skipped meals and ignored sleep, too distracted and consumed by his mission to find Dean to focus on anything except research during those first few days.
Then came the interviews...then the lying and the scheming...the threats and the torture...the screaming and the killing...
All done with no trace of guilt or regret.
Because there was no time for that.
There was no time for bullshit or emotions.
Sam allowed the darkness within to emerge as he convinced himself that nothing was off limits as long as Dean was missing.
And Dean had been missing for a month now.
A month without his big brother.
A month without knowing what the hell had happened.
A month without ever escaping the echo of those four words.
Sammy, let me go.
"No fucking way," Sam would sometimes whisper in response, smiling as he would imagine Dean's amused snort and nod of approval at his little brother's uncharacteristic choice of language.
But Sam had never meant anything more in his life.
No fucking way was he letting Dean go.
That's not how their story would end.
They either went together...or they didn't fucking go.
That was the unspoken pact between them, and Sam was holding his brother to it...even if his brother was no longer his brother.
The realization had been a shock but not a surprise.
After all, the Mark did things to people. It transformed them.
And Crowley had known that all along – had played them like he always did – and Sam hoped the King of Hell had enjoyed himself because they would certainly enjoy killing him for his most recent betrayal.
But that was later.
First, Sam had to find Dean.
And eventually...he did.
At that bar where Crowley said he would be, Dean looked different but the same.
Sam had said things.
Dean had responded.
Cole had interrupted and had gotten his ass kicked for his trouble.
Sam had waited...and then had slung holy water like his life depended on it – because Dean's life depended on it.
With his flask almost empty, Sam had cuffed his brother.
Once captured, Dean had stared at him; his expression saying it all.
Sammy, let me go.
And suddenly those words had a whole new meaning, a whole new taunting tone.
But Sam's answer hadn't changed.
No fucking way.
Sam had finally found what he had been missing, and he meant what he had said.
He was taking his brother home.
For once, Sam was going to save Dean...and nothing Dean would say or do – or had said or done – was going to change Sam's mind.
The trip back to the bunker was surprisingly quiet; Dean apparently saving his words to hurl at Sam from inside a devil's trap.
Barbs about family meaning nothing...about their mother still being alive if it wasn't for Sam...about Sam sucking the life out of Dean's life.
The kind of shrapnel that not only wounded but scarred.
Sam had turned his back, had bowed his head and told himself not to listen.
But the words had kept coming and the barbs had dug deeper until Sam had reached his limit, jabbing the needle into Dean's arm and plunging his human blood into his demon brother.
Sam had left the dungeon after that, refusing to cry in front of the asshole that was currently Dean.
The same asshole that had somehow broke free from his bindings and the trap in order to hunt Sam like prey and swing a fucking ax at Sam's head.
The same asshole that Sam had fought one-handed and had somehow managed to overcome again.
The same asshole that was tied back in the chair, becoming more like Dean by the hour as Sam administered dose after dose of blood, determined to cure his brother.
Silence settled between them as Dean drifted in and out of consciousness and Sam paced, remembering that night the angels fell – that night and that church and that time he had done this with Crowley.
It had almost worked then...but it had to work now.
No matter the consequences.
It had to work.
Sam needed his brother.
He needed Dean.
He needed him.
Sam sighed and closed his eyes, exhausted and drained but determined to keep going.
Because like he had told Dean hours before – they didn't get to quit.
And Sam sure as hell wasn't quitting now.
There ain't no quit in you...is there, you stubborn sonuvabitch?
Sam smiled at the memory of Bobby's words.
"No, sir," he whispered, remembering how the older hunter would always shake his head in a mixture of exasperation and affection...but would always stick with Sam, stick with them.
Because there wasn't any quit in Bobby Singer, either, and Sam missed him so much that sometimes it physically hurt.
Just like this constant ache in his chest from how much he had missed Dean over the past month.
But that was over now.
Dean was back.
Sam had brought him home, and soon, Dean would be his brother again.
Sam sighed once more, feeling the burn of tears and blinking against them as he opened his eyes...and then blinked again.
Because Dean was staring straight at him.
Sam could see the change in his eyes, in his concerned expression as Dean visually triaged Sam's condition.
The big brother taking in Sam's beaten and bruised face, the brace that supported his injured shoulder...not to mention how pale and thin Sam was, how upset he looked.
Not spoken in that deep callous growl but in that way Dean always said it when he knew his brother was hurting.
It was like balm to a wounded soul.
Sam felt his eyes mist. "Dean..."
Dean's jaw clenched when Sam's voice broke, knowing whatever had happened was worse than he had initially thought.
And things already looked pretty fucking bad.
After all, he was tied to a chair...in the middle of a devil's trap...in the dungeon.
Then there were the used syringes on the table nearby and the track marks on his forearms...
Dean's mind buzzed with memories.
"Sam. Was I..." His voice faded as he shook his head, not even sure where to start. "Did you – "
" – yes," Sam interrupted, answering both questions.
Dean nodded and watched as Sam approached, his little brother wary and hesitant.
...which could only mean one thing.
"Did I hurt you?"
Sam blinked at the unexpected question, a mixture of emotions passing over his face before he settled on a neutral expression.
But Sam had always been an open book to Dean, and the big brother already knew the answer.
Yes, he had hurt Sam.
In more ways than one...
Dean sighed, feeling the familiar sting of guilt. "Sammy..."
Sam shook his head, refusing Dean's apology. "It wasn't you."
Dean scowled at the dismissal.
Because that detail really didn't matter – whether or not it had been Dean, Sam was still hurt...and Dean still felt responsible.
Something twisted in Dean's chest at the realization, and he vowed to repair the damage he had caused to his little brother.
Sam continued to stare at him in silence, shifting where he stood as he studied Dean intently.
Dean stared back, waiting.
Several minutes passed before Sam finally nodded – seeming satisfied that Dean was truly Dean again – and then crouched in front of him, untying Dean's ankles and wrists.
The ropes fell to the floor in a tangle as the brothers stood together, mirroring each other as they moved at the same time.
Sam and Dean as in sync as they ever were.
Sam gave a watery smile and reached for his brother, hugging Dean as tightly as he could with one arm.
Dean instantly responded, wrapping his arms around his little brother and holding Sam in a careful embrace, mindful of that injured shoulder.
Several seconds ticked by, and as good as it felt to be reunited with Sam, Dean needed this hug to end.
He needed to check over his little brother.
Needed to more closely examine Sam's injuries.
Needed to feed this bony kid who had obviously not been eating...and probably not sleeping, either.
And then, after Sam was taken care of and Dean was sure he was okay, Dean needed answers.
Needed his vague flashes of memory confirmed.
Needed to know at what cost had Sam saved him.
Needed to know how the hell they were going to get this Mark off of him for good.
"Sammy..." Dean called, patting his brother's back. "C'mon, man. I missed you, too. But I need to look at you. Let me go."
Sam shook his head and held tighter.
Dean quirked a smile.
His little brother over 30-years old but still a stubborn, clingy little shit when he wanted to be.
Not that Dean would have it any other way...
His smiled lingered.
Because it felt so damn good to be home, to be with Sam.
"Sammy..." Dean repeated, the big brother eager to get a look at his kid and begin fixing whatever was wrong. "Let me go."
Those familiar four words met with the same response Sam had given for the past month.
"No fucking way."
Dean arched an eyebrow at Sam's choice of language and chuckled at the muffled reply delivered into his shoulder as his little brother continued to hug him.