A/N: So. Here we are! Last chapter!
This is the resolution we were hoping for on the show, but didn't ultimately receive. We are both glad we wrote this, and hope you'll like this chapter. This was one of the hardest to write - getting the boys to talk, but we both so, so want them to just sit down one day, and talk - well, at least a couple of sentences, towards understanding their situation.
Anyway, without further ado, here you go!
JUST WALK BESIDE ME
Ten: Not a Fairy Tale
They decide to stay over at Creepy House a few more hours since none of the three of them has slept, and no one is alert enough to drive. Plus, they're all pretty much wrecked after the fight with Gan and everything that happened later.
Sam lies in his sleeping bag, staring outside at the sunlight and unable to get Dean out of his mind. Dean — who smiled for a while and seemed genuinely happy to have Sam alive, but couldn't cope later. Sam knows that he should have expected this. He had known, deep inside, that his parents would probably vanish along with Gan if they killed him, and he'd thought of what that would feel like, although he hadn't imagined how it would affect Dean.
His brother had escaped to one of the three rooms with his sleeping bag and had woken up yelling from another nightmare, after which he'd had a panic attack. Sam had staggered over as swiftly as he could with his tender ankle, and he had stayed until he was able to help Dean calm down. Then he'd left; Dean still needs time, even if things are better between them now.
Sam sighs and turns to his side, still unable to sleep. He can't stop thinking of the things that Dean yells out in his nightmares (and they're vague things — like Dean's telling someone that he can't be controlled). The worst of it is that Sam knows what went down with Dean —he's sure of it —, but he can't even think of bringing it up because it will upset Dean for sure. It's not something that Sam can just expect Dean to be okay discussing. And Sam knows.
(Lucifer. Manacles. A whisper in his ear: Sammyyyy.)
He shrugs himself out of the memories. Lucifer's voice whispers again, making his skin crawl. Fire flashes before his vision. He holds his breath and blinks it all away until it's gone. He can't have those memories back… nope. He will go insane. Probably end up in the locked psych ward again. So he stops thinking about it. No Lucifer. No Hell. Dean is suffering and that is important right now. This isn't about Sam.
He sits up abruptly, gets back on his feet and staggers out again, holding on to walls and limping to avoid putting much weight on his sore ankle. When he reaches Dean's room there's silence, and Sam braces himself before peering through the crack in the doorway.
Dean is on his sleeping bag, staring up at the ceiling. His eyes are fixed on one point, lids blinking sluggishly, with his fingers interlocked and his hands on his chest. If Sam didn't know better, he'd say that Dean looks peaceful. But he knows what's going on in Dean's head. It's got nothing to do with peace.
Sam knocks. He and Dean are used to barging in on each other without knocking, but Sam does it this time. He's been mostly out of his mind, eager to help Dean for the last few days, ever since they got him back. The last few hours have been too eventful, but Sam has had time to think now: he needs to let his brother heal. Needs to start working towards letting him heal instead of interfering every time. And the first step to that is to give Dean his control back. To let him know that his autonomy and privacy are safe.
However, Sam also needs Dean to know that he's ready to help, should his brother need it. Which is why he's going to do something he'd never thought of doing.
Dean sounds exhausted when he says it, his voice hoarse and sleepy. Sam opens the door and enters, before the shutting the door behind him. As close as Dean and Cas are, Sam doesn't want Castiel present during this conversation unless Dean wants it that way. Sam isn't sure he wants Castiel to know certain things about him, Sam.
Dean doesn't attempt to move from his position on the floor. He's still blinking up at the ceiling, and Sam limps over to plop himself down and perch at the edge of Dean's makeshift bed. He doesn't look at Dean, and just waits for a few moments before sucking in a deep breath and staring at the wall opposite. They he presses his lips together.
His brother remains silent. Sam rubs a hand over his eyes. Maybe he chose the wrong time to come over. He should do this some other time. Maybe he should—
"We were living without them until a few hours ago," Dean says suddenly, in a low voice, interjecting Sam's thoughts. He swallows audibly. "But I miss Mom."
Sam doesn't ask him why he doesn't miss Dad.
"Dad… you know," Dean continues, "it's not as if I don't wish he were here. But… man, Mom. I forgot how she used to—" his voice breaks and he pauses. Then he clears his throat. "I forgot how awesome she was."
Sam smiles. "Yeah," he says, "she was pretty darn awesome."
He feels Dean's eyes on him, but Sam continues to stare at the wall. "Sam," Dean says at long last, "I'm sorry, man."
He shakes his head. "Why would you be sorry?"
"What I said. You know… earlier."
Sam knows. Dean is talking about their argument from a few hours ago before Sam's migraine got worse. He shrugs. "It's all right, man."
"I told Mom, you know," Dean says.
"To not take what I said seriously. Told her I was just pissed."
But this doesn't mean that Dean has forgiven Sam for his mistakes. And Sam doesn't think he deserves complete forgiveness either. Dean stirs and starts to sit up. Sam turns around to him, but doesn't offer to help, as he remembers the rules he made in his head earlier about Dean's healing. Treat him normally. Not like he needs help.
Dean sits up, folds his legs and wraps his arms around them. Sam purses his lips as he looks down. Their shoulders touch. Then Dean sighs. "I'm also sorry about the way I am with you and Cas. I didn't… I don't actually mean… I don't—" he pauses, "fuck, Sam, I'm just pissed, and I wish it didn't come out on you guys, okay?"
Sam doesn't nod. Doesn't acknowledge it. He blinks, and concentrates on the peeling paint on another wall. His heart is going a mile a minute in his chest, and he knows Dean is watching him. But Dean has to know. Has to know that Sam understands, and there's no need for apologies here. So he blinks again, pushes his hair back, and pretends to look at his screwed-up ankle. Then he clears his throat. "I know."
Dean frowns as Sam looks up at him. "You know?" It's as if he expected Sam to say something else ("I forgive you" "I can understand"), but Sam just nods.
"I know." He pauses, and takes a deep breath, only to look away again. Somehow, he can't see Dean's face while saying this. He keeps nodding. "Yeah. I've been pissed too."
Dean snorts. "I guess it just runs in the—"
"Lucifer," Sam breathes, before his brother can finish.
The response is instantaneous, and Sam reluctantly looks at Dean, whose eyes are wide and confused. Sam licks his lip. "When I was in Hell." He takes a breath. "I can remember… the torture was…" he feels tightness in his chest even thinking about it, and he wants to get up and walk out. But Dean needs to know. He needs to realise that he can trust Sam.
"Do you still see him?" Dean asks Sam in a low voice.
"Not while I'm awake," Sam admits. "Not as a hallucination. But…" he clenches his jaw, "I can't forget, Dean."
The instinct to run away is getting stronger. Sam plants his palms on the sides and blinks away a prickling sensation in his eyes. "He would… you know, chain me. So I couldn't move while…" he bites his lip, and can't go on. But he doesn't need to talk for Dean to get the gist of it.
"Sam?" Dean's voice is a hoarse whisper and when Sam finally finds the guts to face Dean, Dean's eyes are full of sorrow, anger and shock. He opens his mouth a tad, and then shuts it. "Why didn't you…? Oh, God." He looks straight ahead for a moment, before looking at Sam again. "Sam, why didn't you say?"
Sam scoffs. "What, and ease the burden of Cas and Bobby dying?" He tries to shrug casually, but it comes out as a huge tremble of his shoulders. His breaths are getting quicker as he chest starts to heave and he reins in the overwhelming emotion because he can't. And somewhere, he does manage to speak, although his voice sounds alien to him. "I mostly just didn't know what to do about it, Dean," he says at long last.
"What do you mean, 'what to do'?"
Sam smiles. "I mean, I went to Hell because I was trying to take down Lucifer, who I freed in the first place."
"If you say you deserved it, Sam, I'll fucking end you."
"I didn't fucking deserve it!" Sam protests. "But I was just… if you thought—"
"You thought I would think you deserved it?" Dean asks incredulously, eyes boring into Sam's. "Is that what you're saying? That I'm so screwed in the head, just 'cause you made a mistake, I'd think you deserved to be tortured and sliced and carved and – and—?" He clenches his jaw, and doesn't even say the word.
He turns away, and looks at Sam again. His voice shakes when he speaks this time, lowered by several decibels. "Sammy, I— God… I didn't even…" he runs a hand through his hair, letting it rest there, with strands peeking from the gaps between his fingers. "I didn't even try to help… and you…"
"It's not your fault," Sam says quietly. The burning in his eyes is getting worse as memories resurface. He pushes them away. This isn't about him, no, no, this is about Dean.
"You were… you were actually… oh, fuck…" Dean's mouth is slightly agape. He's still in denial and shock, and trying to grasp on to the entirety of it. He looks wounded when he faces Sam, though, eyes bright and lower lip twitching. "You really think I wanted that for you? You couldn't tell — because you thought I'd kick you further, instead of helping." He lets out a humourless chuckle. "I can tell how it's not my fault that you actually believed I could do that," he says sarcastically.
Sam looks at the floor. "It's not about that."
"Then explain it to me, Sam. What is this about?"
"I just… I didn't think I could even handle the remotest chance of it, Dean," Sam sighs. "I was so… gosh, I was fucked up and all I needed was — and if you…" he swallows again, but the lump in his throat gets bigger.
Dean is silent for a while. And then—
"Just get out, man."
Dean scoffs disbelievingly. "I got to know what exactly you think of me. After everything I've done for you too."
"It's not like that."
"It fucking is like that!" Dean replies, almost yelling.
"It was hard," Sam says, looking up at Dean again, and all energy to argue is gone. He can feel the tears crowding his vision and he blinks them away, gritting his teeth. "It was fucking hard, okay? And all that was happening to Bobby and Cas — and you were drinking all the time; and I'd done so much shit to you with the demon blood and while I was soulless, I didn't know if you'd forgive me. And if you didn't—" Sam bites his lip. "If you didn't, Dean…" I wouldn't have been able to handle it.
"Forgive you for what, exactly? For mistakes that were mostly out of your hands?"
"I don't – I don't—" Sam's voice breaks and he just shrugs. His vision his blurring again and he licks his bottom lip as he blinks the tears in.
Dean watches him, for a moment, for an eternity. Then when he speaks, he sounds calmer. "Sam, you're my brother, dude. My family. You really think I'd hold a grudge like that?"
Sam doesn't speak. Dean inches closer and bumps shoulders with him. "Sammy, why do you think I went looking for Cas when they locked you in that damned psych ward? Why do I even try to save your life?" He pauses. "You really just think I'm selfish, huh." There is no anger in his voice as he says it.
"It was just hard, Dean," Sam repeats losing control over a tear as it escapes his eye. "I… sometimes, I'd want to tell you, but with your own shit, and – and—" his voice refuses to go above a whisper, "I was…"
"Ashamed," Dean whispers in continuation. Sam nods. The first tear is joined by another one, and then another and Sam's mouth twitches, face starting to crumple as he hides it in his hands to get over the storm raging inside him.
Beside him, Dean blows out a breath. Sam can feel his shoulders trembling, and a light hand rests on them, as Dean speaks to him. "There's nothing to be ashamed of, Sammy."
The memories are too much. They come in quick succession, but Sam somehow replies to Dean as he suppresses them again. No. This is not the time. He can mourn on some other day. He's mourned enough anyway. It's Dean's turn now.
"I know," Sam says, looking up and steeling himself as he swipes at his damp cheeks. "I know that now." He sniffles, pauses, and looks at Dean through swollen eyes. "Do you?"
The hand on Sam's shoulders lingers, and is gone. Dean shakes his head slowly. "I don't… I – my situation was different."
"You don't have to talk about it, Dean," Sam tells his brother. "But you don't have to be ashamed."
"Sure, after all she made me do—"
Sam presses his lips together. "You don't have to be ashamed of that either. I do know a thing or two about possession, if you remember."
"Doesn't stop you from blaming yourself."
"I don't blame myself for Meg," Sam clarifies. "But I did let Lucifer in. And I let Gadreel in, too."
"You trusted me."
"I still trust you."
Sam sighs. "Because we won't stop being brothers."
Dean arches his eyebrows. "Thought you didn't want that anymore."
"You really, really hurt me, Dean. Maybe I wanted to get back at you. Maybe I wanted to tell you that I'd never manipulate you into being possessed. And maybe you didn't hear me right."
"I said same circumstances." Sam retorts at his brother. "Please don't tell me you don't understand. Please don't tell me that I overreacted to being possessed."
"You didn't. You were right to be pissed." Dean licks his lip. "So you won. We done?"
"It's not about me winning," Sam says softly.
"I just want you to know," Sam bites the inside of his cheek, "I understand."
"I know you do." Dean meets Sam's eyes, and he sees pure trust in his big brother's eyes. That's when Sam knows that Dean will be honest when he needs to. This is just not the moment.
Sam nods. He realises that this is the end of their conversation. He'd really thought he could get Dean to open up, but Dean is obviously not ready, and Sam won't push. Hell, it took him three years to actually talk to Dean, and his brother is justified at wanting to take his time. So Sam won't make him feel like he has to talk. Won't force him. He wanted Dean to know that he can relate, and he got that across.
He makes to stand up from his position. "I should catch some sleep." However, a hand clutches his wrist and suddenly, Sam is looking at his brother's face again.
When they return to the bunker, Sam tries to believe that life is back to normal. He reminds himself that he and Dean did, indeed, cope for many years without their parents. In the few hours that they had risen, there were so many parts of their lives that neither Sam nor Dean could share— and John and Mary were just left wondering. Their Mom had even been younger than them. It was awkward, at best.
Sam would never forget it, though: having his dad back, stubborn and solid, and Mom, so beautiful and comforting. The short time with them had been a gift to Sam, in many ways. How many people get to meet their dead parents, even if for a few hours? Sam knows that he has much to be thankful for, and instead of commiserating; he tries to remember all of it.
Dean had gotten better after the talk. Sam had stayed in the room, leaning against the wall and dozing as Dean slept, for the first time in days, without being attacked by a nightmare. They'd rested the whole day, and started back to the bunker the next morning.
Sam went to a local clinic and got his ankle tested. It's a sprain, and the doctor advised the crepe bandage, some icing and rest. Sam, however, drives them all home with the ankle because he's had worse.
They reach the bunker late evening and have dinner in silence. Castiel is feeling better and his grace is not doing weird things anymore — not for now. Sam takes his pills and Dean watches him take them, although he doesn't question Sam again. He also takes Sam's BP, and it's normal. After that, they're all tired enough to head to bed.
Castiel is taking a shower when Dean tucks himself in. He and Cas used to share the room for a while before he was taken by Abaddon but after they got him back, Dean's been sleeping alone. Sam knows that even though Dean trusts Cas, it's going to be hard for him to accept Cas's touch because of everything that has happened. But Dean is making a definite effort. He wants to recover, and is starting to try, and that's all Sam needs for now.
Sam drops by his brother's room before heading to his own. "Come in," Dean says, when Sam knocks at the door, and he snorts when Sam enters. "When did you start to knock?"
"You don't want me to?" Sam asks him.
Dean smiles. "Nah, c'mon, man. We've shared motel rooms all our lives. Stop trying to respect my privacy. It's weird."
Sam chuckles right along. "If that's what you want."
Dean stops smiling and presses his lips together. "So… uh, you okay?"
Sam tilts his head. "I'll be fine. You?"
"Yeah, me too."
Sam nods, and heads towards the door again. "Sleep tight."
Dean doesn't reply. He just watches as Sam turns the doorknob and steps out. Sam is about to shut the door behind him, when Dean calls out to him. "Sammy."
He turns around, to see that Dean has hoisted himself against the headrest. His eyes flit to Sam's and then he looks down at his hands. He swallows. "It was at a motel, you know."
Sam raises his eyebrows as he gets back in in. "What?"
"It was a motel… where…" Dean swallows again and looks up at Sam again. His expression is wounded again, raw and open, and Sam wishes he could do something, but he's just frozen where he is as he watches his brother struggle. He bites his lip.
"Dean. . ." You don't have to talk. I promise I'll never ask.
"It was a demon," Dean goes on, his voice dropping to a shaky murmur. He blinks a few times. "Abaddon… uh, she really g-got a…" He bites his lip and Sam's heart misses a beat as he spots a tear trickling down Dean's cheek. "She really got a kick out of it," Dean explains, trailing the back of his wrist over his wet cheek. "And I tried… I really tried…"
"Dean," Sam breathes, perching at the edge of his brother's bed. "You couldn't have helped it, man. What happened—"
"Bobby took over that demon who possessed him," Dean replies. "Dad took over Azazel for a while… and you got over Lucifer. I could have — s-should have… fuck…" another tear lands on the white bedspread, making a damp, grey spot. Dean sniffs. "I-I just… s-sorry for how I was earlier," he says. "Just wanted you to know that it was a motel and that's why… that's why I couldn't…" Dean's chin twitches as he trails away.
Sam remembers the panic attack Dean had had outside the motel, in the car as it all falls into place. But his throat feels constricted when he speaks. "You can't blame yourself, Dean. What I did — with Lucifer, it was pure luck." It was because of you. Because of us.
"Bullshit," Dean mutters.
"Honest," Sam counters. "But you know what? Even if you'd have gained control, there's no saying…" he pauses, and sighs, the word at the tip of his tongue. It feels bitter in his head, and he can't bear to think of it, but he swallows and braces himself.
"Dean… the-the thing — I… I m-mean… r-rape…" and he halts again, to catch his breath, and says it again. "R-Rape, whatever the circumstance — whether you were possessed or not, or whether you were in full strength or not — it's not your fault. You're not to blame. And," anger rises in Sam as he clenches his jaw, "you can bet I'll find the bastard and kill him."
"There's no need," Dean says weakly.
"He doesn't get to do this crap to you and escape, Dean," Sam replies. But then he remembers the rule he made in his head. Let Dean take control. So Sam corrects himself. "That's what I think — but if you don't want to, I won't do anything. Yeah?"
His brother doesn't respond, so Sam reaches a hand and tugs at Dean's great toe. "Hey, you hearing me? We'll get back at him if and when you say so. Until then," he chuckles, "we should probably check out that Harry Potter theme park."
Dean is silent for a long time. He continues to keep his gaze downwards and Sam wonders if he should leave Dean to himself, when, finally, he hears the faint reply from his brother. "Always knew you were a geek."
Sam grins. "Come on, man, it will be fun. We can have Butterbeer."
"Dude," Dean says, looking up at Sam, mild amusement written over his features. "That's not even real alcohol."
"We could spike it."
Dean snorts. "Yeah. You'd spike your drink with whiskey. I can totally see that."
Sam raises an eyebrow. "Wanna bet?"
"Sure," Dean replies. "I win, and you do laundry for a whole month."
"And if I win," Sam says, "I get to pick the music in the car for the whole month."
"Hey, that's not fair!"
"Is too," Sam says. "So is it a deal? What do you say; we make it a weekend trip? Cas would be amused. He needs a break too."
Dean contemplates it for a minute. Then he shakes his head. "Nah." And he deflates considerably as he says it. "I think I wanna rest a while anyway."
Sam looks at him for a long moment. "If you say so." He knows that this is a part of it all. In his life — ever since Dean went to Hell, Sam's known this current state of mind that Dean is in, and he knows that Dean knows it from before too. Sam remembers the days when he'd never want to rest or sit in one place because it made him think and remember how shitty his life was, and then there'd be days when he wouldn't feel like getting out of bed either. It had come and gone and there had been that time when Sam had had to anchor himself to Dean — to trust his stone number one to ride through it. Now, Dean is going through the same. Again.
Gosh, their lives are fucked-up.
Sam leaves the room after their talk, and the discussion about the Harry Potter theme park and Dean reclines into his comforter again, feeling like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. Or rather, like he has another helping shoulder to carry the burden. But Dean has another thing weighing down on his chest, as he remembers everything that Sam had said — or not said — about his time in Hell. Dean had guessed a lot of things before — many things; except, except…
The sound of the word in his own head makes him clench his fists. He'd never allowed himself to think of it, of the word, because if he did it would become real. Or so he had thought. Truth is, it's been real enough for Sam and Cas to notice and to guess correctly. And Dean — Dean is such a freaking moron that he hadn't even been able to understand this very thing, when the situation had been such with his brother. Sam had carried it around all by himself, and Dean had gone and continued to drink from that damned flask. And this was apart from the fact that Sam thought Dean wanted all this crap for him.
Dean now knows exactly how amazing he is as a person.
He tries to push the thoughts away. His chest is aching, but not in the physical sense. He just wants to sleep for a long time and not wake up for months — maybe years — until he can start to take this undeniable pain. Maybe he'll be able to look back at it someday without feeling like the agony will rip him from the inside-out. Maybe he'll stop replaying the moments in his head while he sleeps, and again during his waking moments. Maybe it will all be just a terrible nightmare.
You're a pretty little bitch, Winchester.
Oh, I could just bite at those lips of yours. Can you imagine them when—?
His thoughts are interrupted by Castiel's voice. Dean looks up to see his boyfriend, peeking apprehensively from the doorway, and he shakes the memories away. He tries to smile. "Hey, Cas."
"Hello, Dean," Cas replies, as he opens the door wider. "I just wanted to say 'goodnight'. I hope you sleep well."
Dean smiles genuinely this time, and beckons to Cas. "C'mere."
Castiel enters and makes his way to Dean, blinking confusedly. Dean extends a hand and slowly clutches on to Castiel's palm to pull him forward. Dean raises eyes to Cas. "You take care, yeah?"
"I'm always careful," Castiel replies. "But sometimes, things work against me."
"Yeah," Dean says, "but…" I love you. "But… uh, just – just let us know if you need help. Don't hide things from me, man."
Castiel nods earnestly. "I will not." Dean expects him to say something further; something about the rape, but Castiel doesn't say anything else, except, "Would you still prefer that I sleep in another room?"
Dean swallows. "For now, yeah."
"Okay." Cas says nothing else as he makes to leave.
Dean lets go of his hand and watches Castiel as he reaches the door. He licks his lip. "Cas?"
"I… I lo— uh…" he changes his sentence midway, "I l-let Sam have that last cookie." He chuckles nervously. "S-Sorry."
Castiel blinks once, blue eyes holding him mesmerised, and then he smiles faintly. "I know. I love you too, Dean." He smiles a little more before as he leaves the room, and Dean realises that Cas is far more human than he thinks. The thought brings him warmth as he slides back into a comfortable cocoon of blankets, willing sleep to take him and hoping for nightmares to stay away.
Sleep doesn't come easily. Dean keeps replaying the previous day in his head and all he can think of is how everything is always taken away from his life. It's not fair. After everything, neither he nor Sam deserved to lose their parents again. However, that's apparently how a Winchester's life is.
Somewhere after midnight, Dean is too frustrated to sleep anymore. He is tired of accepting that he and Sam are just too screwed up to have a good life, and he's tired of taking things as they come just because their lives are so fucking impossible. He's tired of being controlled; tired of things ruling over him and Sam, and he realises that he can hardly take the anger that's threatening to overwhelm him.
Dean sits up in bed. After a few minutes, he makes a decision and pulls on a robe before limping over to their dungeon, trying not to make a sound, and holding on to walls and pillars for support. He collects some books and materials from the library and store room on the way, and within a half-hour Dean is kneeling beside a bowl full of various ingredients, chanting in Latin.
He lights a match and throws it into the mix, waiting; waiting patiently until—
"Should I be flattered that you remembered me at this time of the night?"
Dean looks up at the figure before him and staggers to his feet, rubbing at his arm, at the non-existent Mark. From the other side, Crowley smirks at him. "I expected you to be less handicapped when you called me," he says.
"Screw you," Dean says bitterly.
"Sure," Crowley replies, crossing his arms. "But I'm not sure that's what you called me here for." He pauses. "Congratulations, by the way. On getting her out. Although Moose could have at least sent a thank-you note."
"What did you have to do with this?" Dean asks Crowley.
"Everything," the demon replies. "Or didn't your brother tell you? He had no idea you were possessed by that ugly ginger. He thought it was some poor bugger from my side."
"You didn't help him, though," Dean says. "It was him and Cas in the end."
"I sacrificed a loyal member!" Crowley says indignantly. "What do you think lured Abaddon into that cabin? Your brother's lustrous locks?" He narrows his eyes. "So tell me. What do you want?"
"I want my parents back alive," Dean tells him without preamble.
"Ah. A deal."
"Not a deal," Dean snarls. "Just bring them back, you dickhead."
Crowley raises his eyebrows. "I can't do that, Squirrel, and you know it."
"The hell you can't," Dean snaps. "I took on the Mark for you. Got my life screwed over by Abaddon because she decided to find me before you found the fucking Blade. And even after all that, she's dead." He narrows his eyes. "Time for some payment, don't you think?"
"I paid you back already. You're standing here alive, Squirrel. Don't forget that."
"You didn't do crap. Get over yourself, and bring. Them. Back." Dean hisses.
Crowley looks unperturbed. "And if I refuse, what are you going to do to me?"
Dean doesn't bat an eyelid. He's had too much. "If you refuse, Crowley," he says menacingly, "I still have the spell that Sam used to kill Abaddon. Right here with me." He pulls the little, old book out of his pocket, and Crowley's eyes widen. Dean clenches his jaw. "After the A-class douche you've been to me, Sam, and Cas, don't think I'll hesitate for even a minute."
There is a beat of silence. Then Crowley clears his throat. "Fine," he says, "you'll have them in time for breakfast."
"Good," Dean replies. "Now fuck off."
The words are hardly out of his mouth, when Crowley disappears with a snap of his fingers.
"What did you do?"
It's not the most unexpected question, but Dean looks nonchalantly at Sam's pissed and towering profile. "Nothing, Sam," he says.
"Really? Because I don't believe you."
Dean goes back to look at his parents who are seated at the table in the kitchen, their faces saturated with confusion as they try to catch a glimpse of him and Sam. They had arrived at the doorstep a while ago. Sam had reached them first, only to get the shock of his life. After another round of tests to determine they were indeed the real John and Mary, Sam had let them in, all the while not calling Dean and Cas and not letting them know of this new development.
Their parents remembered the events from two days ago perfectly, and Mary explained how she and John had been contemplating helping Dean and Castiel with killing Gan, when they'd been taken over by sudden blackness, only to have it clear two days later.
Sam led them to the kitchen, to where Cas was trying to get Dean to eat, and asked them to sit down while he talked to Dean.
"Dean," Sam says warningly, "don't lie."
"I'm not lying," Dean replies. "I didn't do anything, okay? Crowley owed us, and he returned the favour."
"He got me to take the Mark," Dean snaps. "He's why I'm fucked up in the first place. So I told him to pay up."
"And he just listened? He didn't want anything in return?"
"I threatened him with the spell you used to kill Abaddon," Dean shrugs. "Guy was peeing in his pants." He pauses at Sam's surprised, disbelieving expression, and sighs. "I wasn't going to do it, Sammy — just accept this kind of crap again. The number of things I — we have had to take lying down is fucking crazy. I can't do that anymore. So when I could do something about the latest crappy situation in our lives, I did it." He looks into Sam's eyes, willing his brother to understand.
At long last, Sam lets out a sharp breath. "Yeah," he says, "guess you're right. I understand. Sorry." He pauses. "Dean…"
"Yeah?" Dean asks him.
Sam has a thoughtful expression on his face, and he lets out a tiny puff of breath, before speaking again. "We need to go see a doctor."
Dean scoffs. "You mean I need to get looked at."
Sam swallows, hesitates, and then offers a small nod.
"No, Sammy," Dean replies.
"I don't want it," whispers Dean. "Please."
"They'll touch me. Prod me. Want samples of—" Dean swallows, and he sees the colour drain from Sam's face. "I'm a victim," he murmurs, feeling sick. "I'm a fucking rape victim."
"No, Dean, don't say that."
"You think so too," Dean replies.
Sam doesn't reply to that. He doesn't seem to know what to say. However, he also finds his voice a minute after. "Just blood tests, okay? I'll ask them to let me draw your blood, if you want."
Dean considers the offer, and peers into Sam's desperate eyes. "Okay," he says, at long last, and senses Sam relax. "Fine."
Silence prevails for a few moments. Suddenly, Dean grins at his brother and waggles his eyebrows. "I'm awesome, Sam. You gotta say that now," he says, diverting the topic, because he physically can't talk about that anymore. He can't.
Sam snorts, and cottons on. "You wish."
"Aw, come on!"
"I don't lie, Dean."
Sam grins back at Dean, and scratches at his nose. "I think Mom and Dad are dying to talk to us."
"Talk to me, you mean."
"You're an asshole," Sam says, as they start to head back to the kitchen.
Dean sniggers at his brother. "I'll always be their favourite, Sammy. You'll find out. You're too dorky."
Sam reaches a hand forward and smacks Dean on his side. As soon as he does it, though, he freezes, apparently realising what he's done when Dean stiffens. It's just Sam. Just Sam just Sam just… Samsamsamsam. He coaxes himself to calm down. It's so fucking hard for him to do this. Why is it so hard?
Dean hears his brother take a breath behind him, obviously intending to apologise, but he turns to Sam, maintaining his grin with some effort. "You're just too jealous for your own good, Sam." And then he feels a genuine smile forming on his face. "It's why they like me better than you."
It's all Sam can do to not stomp his foot and growl at his brother, but he reminds himself that he is an adult, before following Dean into the kitchen. And he knows that things are not okay — hell, they're not even close to being okay—but he'll take it as it comes. Because he knows that someday, it will all get better. Some things can't be completely salvaged, but the pain can definitely be reduced. And that's what life is. No one escapes this.
So it all boils down to the fact that whatever Sam has, whatever he and Dean have, it will have to do for now. They will have to live with it and they'll have to derive their happiness from it. Anyway, that's what happiness is about. It's not universal; it's personal. And life it not a fairy-tale: it's a Shakespearean tragedy where everybody suffers and dies, but at the end there's a resolution.
And God, Dean will have a ball if he hears the literary thoughts in Sam's head.
Sam chuckles to himself and joins his family at his table, thanking his stars that Dean cannot read his mind right now. He promises himself that he will help Dean. That no matter what, he will see Dean through this and stand right there by his side, and be the brother he hadn't been in a long time.
Some wounds take longer to heal than the others, and even when they do, they scar. You cannot heal scars — but you can put some salve on them if and when they burn. And everybody has scars — some more than the others. The only difference is sometimes you have someone watching your back, ready with the right medicine when the pain and burning is too much to bear.
End Notes: Thank you, everyone, for reading this! Reviews will always be awesome! This was an emotional roller coaster for both of us, and we've written it through nights of chatting and voicemail and staying up and not waking up and breaking into song and Bollywood and chakki peesing and peesing and Dean and Cas sexy dancing around pyramids and uni and night shifts in the ER and the labour room and smiles and tears and so many things. It's been a bittersweet ride. :)
Next year, we'll be writing a sequel to this story. When we wrote this, we largely felt that it was incomplete, and we wanted to elaborate on John and Mary and the boys' healing process. But, this fic was getting too long, so sequel it is! We hope you'll join us for that ride as well. Until then, we both have our separate fics that you can read - the ones we wrote for the RBB, and the ones we're working on for the J2BB and other independent fics that you'll find in our respective accounts. We're both hurt!Sam writers and Sanj mainly writes gen, while you'll find me writing some gen, and then some Destiel. But, yeah, we focus on Sam, mostly.
Thanks once again, for giving us a chance! Love you guys!