Author's Note: I'm still alive! I've just shifted more to AO3 and Tumblr. You can find me there under the same names! This was originally written for the 2020 Supernatural Trope Celebration. Please note that there's an attempted suicide in here. If that bothers you, please don't read.
Sam had often been told that when he was born, he was born blue. He hadn't come out screaming and thrashing as other babies had, but instead silent and still. For the first few minutes of his life, Sam hadn't been breathing. After careful work by the doctors, he'd finally been coaxed to take that first breath and the rest was history.
But, now, he often wondered if that had been a sign of things to come.
He was ten now and incredibly terrified.
They had settled in Michigan for the past month, his father cryptically working on some sort of case that Sam hadn't had the heart to pry about. He was in that odd phase where he was too old to be lied to, but too young to be trusted with the truth. Instead, John pawned him off on Dean, almost 15 and full of a swagger that Sam wondered if he would ever possess.
"Don't ask questions, Sammy," Dean counseled, ruffling his hair and flashing that trademark grin, "And it will all work out."
Only, it hadn't.
Sam started at the new school and been bullied from the start, cornered by 5th graders that liked to beat him up just for fun. He'd come home with black eyes, prompting Dean to threaten to destroy the jerks that had even dared to look at his baby brother, but Sam talked him down. The last thing he needed was his big brother charging in and causing more problems with unplanned actions.
No, Sam had to deal with this himself.
And that's when things had horribly backfired.
Now, standing in the field behind the school, Sam wanted to scream because the lead bully—Charlie—was staring at him with widened eyes that would never blink again.
"Monster!" A second bully screamed, running away.
Sam sunk to his knees, the grass crunching under his feet as frost spread around him.
Yeah, that's what he was. What else could you call a freak like him?
He had frozen Charlie solid, killing the boy. One flick of his wrist and it had all been over. It hadn't been on purpose, but in the chaos of the moment, it had just happened.
And now he'd killed someone.
"Sammy!" Dean was suddenly there, pulling him into his arms as tears spilled down Sam's cheeks. Dean gripped him tightly, "It's okay, shhh. We'll fix this."
Later, Sam would see on the news about the mysterious weather event that occurred behind the school. A freak polar frost, killing one child and scarring another.
Monster, Sam thought.
He was nothing but a monster.
The powers had always been there, but they'd been growing stronger as the years passed. According to Dean, they'd first manifested a few years after their mother died and Dean caught him making a snowman in the backyard of their rental.
He'd been three.
John refused to discuss them, simply letting Dean take over. In the back of his mind, Sam always wondered if his father did this to prevent himself from actually caring about his youngest, lest he have to hunt him later on.
"Dad's not gonna hunt you," Dean would reassure him, "He loves you. He's just crappy at showing it."
"I'm a freak, Dean," Sam whined in his bed as Dean tucked the sheets around him, "I have powers that I can't control."
"No brother of mine is a freak," His older brother reprimanded, "We'll figure this out, Sam. I promise."
Sam tried to believe him.
Dean did his best, truly, but some things were simply beyond his level of expertise.
As the days turned into months and months blended into years, the powers continued to grow. Sam stopped going to school for fear of turning his desk to ice or accidentally hurting someone. His baby brother, just 13, locked himself in their shared bedroom and refused to leave without gloves. He was so skittish—like a deer afraid of its surroundings—and nothing Dean could say would comfort him.
That's when John brought a witch home. The woman, with a soft smile and a heavy Scottish accent, introduced herself as Rowena. She seemed comfortable around John, though why she would when their father's motto was that all supernatural beings should be killed, remained a mystery. Without a word to Dean, John brought Sam out and the eldest brother watched as Sam's eyes lit up with fear.
"Hi there, Sam," Rowena greeted him with a grin, "I'm here to help."
"Sammy—" Dean was stopped by a strong hand on his shoulder. He turned to face his dad, but John's gaze hardened. The message was clear—don't get involved.
"Don't touch me," Sam jerked back, "I might hurt you."
Rowena knelt down, meeting the scared boy's gaze, "Don't be afraid."
She touched Sam's head and instantly, Sam's eyes rolled up into the back of his head and he collapsed.
"Sam!" Dean tried to rush forward, but John held him back, "Let go! She hurt him!"
Rowena directed her gaze at the worried big brother, "You have nothing to fear from me, Dean." She placed her hand on Sam's forehead, shutting her eyes in concentration.
"She's going to seal his powers," John explained, low and deep, "We can't keep going on like this. Sam's out of control."
"It's not his fault," Dean hissed sharply, "He didn't ask for them!"
A light exploded in the room, bright and dazzling. Rowena chanted under her breath, words not familiar to any language that Dean had heard before. Sam's body levitated, his arms hanging limply from his sides.
"This is what's best, Dean," John informed him, his tone brokering no argument, "Rowena can help. She can make this all seem like a bad dream. Sam won't even remember."
"But he'll find out—"
The light dimmed and Sam's body slowly lowered to the floor. Rowena exhaled, her eyes at last opening again. She stumbled a bit, moving toward them, but Dean reached out to steady her. She smirked at him, "There now. All better. Long as nothing breaks the barrier, the powers will remain hidden."
"And what would break the barrier?" John questioned, stepping past her, kneeling by his unconscious son. He ran a hand through Sam's hair, a fond smile playing on his lips.
See, this is what Dean wished Sam could see—these quiet moments where John showed that he did love his youngest. Sure, Sam and John bumped heads more often than Dean could count, but John did care for both of his sons.
"Traumatic events," Rowena explained, moving away from Dean and to the door, "Long as the wee bairn stays calm, the powers will remain suppressed." She reached for the door, taking one last glance at the young boy asleep on the floor, "This makes us even, John." With a wave of her hand, the witch vanished, a shimmer of magic sparkling in the air for a few seconds after.
"Dad, are you sure this was the right thing to do?"
John sighed, long and ragged, "Best thing for Sam now is to forget he even had powers. No more of us wondering when he might lose control. It's better like this, Dean." Bending down, John easily picked up Sam, holding him securely to his chest, "Just let it go, Dean. Things will go back to normal, you'll see."
Dean just hoped he was right.
Life became decidedly normal after that.
Well, as normal as being part of a hunting family could be. Sam had no memory of ever having powers and the carefree kid with the easygoing smile was back, leaving Dean feeling oddly thankful to the witch who had come into their lives.
"Who was she?" Dean asked one night, long after Sam had gone to sleep.
John glanced up from his journal, his gaze narrowed, "Sometimes, you gotta make deals to keep your family safe. I helped her, she helped me," He exhaled slowly, "If I ever ran into her again, I'd kill her."
Dean never asked after that.
As the years passed, the fear of Sam's powers grew fainter and fainter by the day. If he tried, the elder brother could convince himself that those first 13 years were all just some of a weird dream, fading with the daylight.
But, of course, all good things come to an end.
The first problem is that Sam refuses to go along with his life.
John has decreed that it's their lot in life to be hunters and Dean is fine with this—more than fine—because it means that they're stopping demons and creatures from breaking up more families like theirs. It's a noble mission, one that keeps them all involved in helping others. It's the family business, something to be viewed like a badge of honor, not a case of derision that Sam sees it as.
But Sam won't back down.
Kid is stubborn, just like his father.
Thing is, John doesn't like his authority challenged, doesn't enjoy having his youngest constantly trying to win some semblance of an argument with him.
Lay off it, Sammy.
Stop pushing him, Sammy.
But no, Sam won't stop. He keeps pushing, trying to find that blessed "normalcy" he keeps preaching about. He watches commercials on their crappy tv—images of smiling families prancing about Disneyland, having picture-perfect Hallmark Christmases—and he tries to make it happen in their life.
Here's the thing Sam won't get through his head—hunting and normalcy can't ever exist.
No matter how hard Sam wishes it, they will never be normal.
But why, Dean? Why?
Sam, always with the whys, always pushing.
When would he learn to stop?
He never does.
And then Sam's gone, across the country to sunshine, palm trees and Stanford.
Days of silence stretch into weeks and months and soon, it's almost been two years since he's spoken to Sam. Two years of wondering whether he should make the first move to reconciliation. Two years of wanting John to back down from his stubborn insistence that Sam deserved to be cut off from his family. Two years of lying in motel room beds, staring upwards the ceiling and hoping that his baby brother was doing okay.
But then, John disappears and suddenly, it's an opportunity, a chance to get Sam back into the shotgun seat of the Impala and be a family again. So, he drives to California and with hope in his heart, knocks on the door of the apartment his brother is living in.
Jessica Moore is beyond beautiful and definitely out of Sam's league. With her curves and her bright smile, she's vivacious and outgoing, something that Sam definitely is not. Still, as Dean sits on the small couch in their living room and watches as Sam discusses why he's leaving with his girlfriend, he can see how much this girl loves his brother.
Good for Sam, getting that piece of the apple pie life.
"Dean?" Sam stands before him, gaze downcast, "You ready?"
"It's Sam," He interjects harshly, "Just Sam now."
Dean winces, "Yeah, okay."
And together, they're on the road again.
The hunt proves fruitless and John is still in the wind.
Still, Dean made a promise and now, as he drops off his baby brother, he wonders when the next time they'll be together again.
Sam is hesitant and it reminds him of his brother as a kid, always afraid to talk to John lest their father lash out at him.
He hates me, Dean.
He doesn't hate you, Sammy. Dad is just different than you.
He'll never understand me.
Maybe Sam was right. Maybe he and John are just too different from each other to ever coexist. Sam always fought to be normal, always pushing against the rules that John laid out for them. Perhaps, it's time to let Sam go, let him live that life he fought so hard for.
Even if it breaks Dean's heart.
"You want to stay for a few days?" Sam finally manages to ask, his eyes sparkling with hope.
"Jessica would be okay with that?" Dean replies quietly.
Sam beams, "Yeah. We have a guest room so—"
But the loud explosion cuts him off as fire consumes the apartment that he and Jessica shared.
And that's when all hell breaks loose.
Later, when he actually stops to think about this moment, he'll remember the way Sam's hands glowed bright blue as he reached out to try and save his burning girlfriend. He'll remember the smoke choking his lungs as he tried to pull Sam back to safety. He'll recall the way Sam screamed out, so broken, so devastated and fought him the whole way.
But most of all, he'll never forget the way Sam's powers returned, covering the burning apartment in a layer of snow.
It's too late though.
Jessica's body is nothing more than ash and Dean has more pressing concerns now that Sam is firing off ice beams.
"We have to go, Sammy."
Sam shakes his head, "I can't leave her."
"She's gone," Dean tells him softly as Sam falls to his knees, a sob ripping out from him, "We have to go. Before someone sees all this."
The snow. Inexplicable white powdery snow putting out the last remaining bit of flames. Already, he can hear sirens outside, the firemen coming too late.
Sam looks up at him, red rimmed eyes brimming with tears, "Dean, what is going on?"
Dean wishes he knew.
They drive an hour out of town and hunker down in a crappy motel, the kind where they have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy in place. No one will look twice at seeing two men that smell like smoke and look like they've been run ragged.
And that's precisely what Dean's counting on.
Sam hasn't spoken one word since they left the scene. His hands have returned back to their normal color and it's almost like him having snow powers didn't happen. Dean's grip on his cellphone tightens. He wishes he could do something to take away his baby brother's pain. For once, he's at a loss on how to fix this situation. John's in the wind, Jessica is dead and Sam has powers again.
How the fuck is Dean supposed to deal with all of this?
"This is John Winchester. Leave a message."
Dean hangs up, grimacing. He takes a deep breath of the cool night air and then turns around, heading back into the small motel room. Sam is exactly where he left him, sitting on one of the double beds, his eyes still glistening with unshed tears.
Dean takes a seat next to his brother, but he doesn't what to say to make things better. He doesn't know the right words to fix Sam's broken heart. Jessica Moore is gone, taken away from his brother for no reason. How do you console someone going through that type of loss?
"You need to see this," Sam says softly and he shakily lifts his left hand up toward the ceiling. He bites his lower lip, nervous, but takes a steady breath. His hand glows bright blue and a snowflake appears, gracefully dancing down from the ceiling. Sam's hand stops glowing and he meets Dean's gaze, "What's happening to me?"
Dean has two options: neither of which he likes.
He can lie, pretend that he has no idea what's going on and that they'll figure it out together or, he can tell the truth about their father repressed his powers and allowed his memories to be wiped.
He's between a rock and a hard place.
But the sheer devastation in Sam's eyes makes the choice for him.
He can't lie to his baby brother. Not anymore.
"Sam," He swallows nervously, running a hand through his hair, "Do you remember when you were 13 and we switched schools?"
Sam's brow furrows, "Yeah. CPS found us."
The older brother shakes his head, "No, Sam, you froze a kid solid."
Sam's eyes widen in disbelief, "What?"
"You've always had powers, Sam, but you couldn't control them. Dad decided the best thing was to seal them away. He knew a witch and she did a spell. It worked really well, but she warned us that trauma could break it—"
Sam jerks away from him, "You and Dad did this? You hid this from me?"
He does his best to keep his voice calm, "You were a kid, Sam. A scared kid! We didn't know how else to help you!"
Sam paces the room, getting more and more worked up, "I can't believe this!"
"It's Sam!" He roars as his hand glow blue and Dean feels a freezing jolt run through him. He glances down at his chest and sees frost there and realizes that Sam has struck him.
Sam, for his part, gapes and rushes to him, his normal hands searching his chest for some sign of injury, but Dean waves him off.
"I'm okay. It's okay, Sam."
"Dean, I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to—"
Dean manages a tired grin, "We're good, Sam." Sam nods and Dean motions to the beds, "Look, it's been a long day. Let's get some rest and we'll figure something out in the morning."
For once, Sam doesn't open his mouth to protest. He does as he's told and climbs into his bed, placing his hands under his pillow, as if that can prevent any future collateral damage.
Dean rubs at his chest, feeling an odd ache, but brushes it off. He's exhausted. He needs sleep in order to think of what their next move could be. Without John, Dean's got to find another way to track down Rowena. Someone must know about her.
She's their only hope for the moment.
The boy before him was solid blue, his eyes frozen in panic and around him, the others kids were screaming and pointing at him.
He couldn't control it. He would never be able to control it. It was only a matter of time before the ice consumed everything Sam ever cared about.
Sam jolts awake, his chest heaving as his heart pounds.
"S'm?" Dean's half-asleep voice calls from the other bed.
Sam climbs out of bed and moves to the bathroom, closing the door behind him. He flicks on the light and glances at his hands. They're normal right now, not even a tinge of blue to them.
There's a hesitant knock on the door, Dean's more awake voice filtering through, "Sam? You good?"
Sam has no idea how to respond. In just one night, his whole life has been overturned. Who he thought he was, where he thought his life was going, who he thought would stand by his side—all gone, up in flames and then sealed with ice.
"I'm coming in," Dean opens the door and steps into the cramped space. His big brother gazes at him, scanning him for any injuries, "You okay?"
But Sam notices something else.
"Dean, your hair—"
"What?" He turns toward the mirror and notices the tinge of white running through his hair, "Shit."
Sam touches it gently and frowns, "It's cold."
"Grab your stuff," Dean mutters, "We're hitting the road."
Sam nods, leaving the bathroom.
Dean continues to look at his reflection in the mirror, smoothing his hair, trying to figure out what is going on. When Sam struck him, something must've happened to him, changed him and probably not for the better.
Perfect time for John to take off and leave them in the wind.
Well, if their father wouldn't help fix things, then Dean would do what he did best. He could find that witch, fix Sam and then himself.
As long as they didn't lose hope, things would work out.
Thank God for Bobby Singer.
With John gone, Dean hadn't been sure how he was going to be able to track down Rowena, but luckily, Bobby kept meticulous notes and he did remember hearing about the redheaded witch being in Florida.
"Apparently, she likes theme parks a whole lot."
Well, it was a small world after all, Dean thought.
Still, it's a lead and one that gives them a direction to go toward and a plan to put into motion.
Sam, for his part, remains silent, his vacant gaze staring out the window as they pass empty fields filled with wildflowers. Dean doesn't know what to say here—isn't sure how he can even come close to comforting his baby brother. Sam has his powers back again and what's worse, he knows that Dean and John kept this secret from him.
Metallica plays softly on the radio, the lullaby of their childhood, back when the only thing they really had to fear was CPS knocking on the door.
"Dean?" Sam doesn't turn his head.
"Did I . . . kill someone?" He asks softly, "With my powers?"
Dean doesn't want to rehash the past. What good will it do? Sam will blame himself, like he always does, and the older brother really doesn't need to worry about his baby brother trying to atone for sins he thinks he's committed.
"Is that why Dad had my powers sealed away?"
I can't control it, Dean! Stay away from me! I can't hurt you!
Sam had been so frightened, so terrified that he locked himself up in his room after, refusing to eat or come out.
Rowena had, in Dean's mind, been a godsend really.
"We'll get this fixed, Sam," Dean promises with a roguish grin, "You'll see."
But deep down, doubt besieges him.
For all they know, Rowena could be a dead end. She may not be able to redo the spell or even want to help them. The only time she did before was because John had a favor to cash in. Did Dean really want a witch messing around with his brother's brain?
Frost dots the window by Sam. His fingertips are bright blue and he grimaces as he tries to stop the ice from growing.
It's not use though.
The window shatters, glass falling down like twisted snowflakes.
"I need gloves," Sam tells him quietly, then buries his hands in his pockets.
Dean just nods.
They have three hours left until Florida.
Hopefully, the answers they need will be there.
"Ach, boys, put the guns away," Rowena greets them with a smirk as she lounges on her lawn chair, sun streaming down and glinting off her oversized black sunglasses. She doesn't even flinch or move as they step closer to her. She simply waves her hand and her house door closes behind them and their guns are turned into water guns. She sits up, rolling her neck, "No matter how much magic I learn, I still can't figure out to get these damn cricks out of my neck."
"You're . . . Rowena?" Sam clarifies, tossing his water gun aside, "I'm—"
She hops off her chair and places her sunglasses on top of her head, revealing sparkling eyes. She smiles brightly, "Aye, Sam, I know who you are." She places a hand on his arm and squeezes, "Well, well! You've certainly filled out! You're more of a man than the last time I saw you."
"Uh, thanks?" Sam shoots his brother a perplexed glance, but Dean just shrugs. He'll take friendly over hostile anytime.
"Listen, Rowena," Dean starts, "We need you to—"
She waves her hand and a cocktail appears. She takes a quick sip, shaking her head, "Reseal Sam's powers? Sorry, mo luran, afraid that spell was a one-time deal." She glances at Dean's distraught face and tacks on, "Children are easy to work with, but men's brains are far too stubborn."
"You don't understand," Sam insists sharply, "I can't control them. I even hit Dean with it!"
Rowena arches an eyebrow, "Ah, so that white streak isn't a fashion statement?" She sighs, running her hand through the strand and frowning, "You two best sit down."
And that's when Sam knows that he's officially screwed.
Dean can't believe how calmly he's taking this whole thing.
I'm afraid you've struck Dean's heart, my dear.
Sam, on the other hand, is getting paler by the minute, sitting in Rowena's plush leather couch, his head in his hands, his breath ragged and uneven.
"Don't say anything," His baby brother huffs, "Just don't say a fucking thing."
My heart? What does that mean?
It means that unless the ice is removed from your heart you will turn into a human popsicle.
Rowena had given her grim prognosis matter-of-factly, sipping on her strawberry smoothie, shrugging as she said it.
How do we remove the ice?
Dean moves to the couch, sits next to his brother and places a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it, "What's going on in that big brain of yours, huh, kiddo?"
Sam meets his gaze, eyes red rimmed, "This is all my fault, Dean."
Dean starts to interject, "Sam—"
But his baby brother plows on, "No! Dammit, Dean, I can't control these powers. Dad should've put a bullet in my brain the first time—"
That makes his blood boil. He jerks Sam, forcing him to stop, "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Sam chuckles darkly, like it should be obvious, "I'm a liability, Dean. Dad knew that. Maybe he knew the seal would break and he left—"
"Shut up," Dean growls, "Now, you listen and you listen good. You're my brother. There's never anything that would be more important than you—than us!" He smiles softly, trying to project confidence, "It's you and me against the world, right?"
Sam doesn't speak.
Then, softly, "Right."
"Listen to me, we'll figure this out. It's just another job, okay?"
Except, even now, Dean can feel the cold settling in his bones, something weighing heavily on his chest, sapping his energy, making his joints ache.
Rowena returns, a small frown on her lips as she places a huge book down on the small coffee table before them. She shoots Sam a sympathetic glance and then sighs, "Well, boys, I've got good news and bad news."
Sam perks up at that, "You know to reverse it?"
Rowena sighs, running her manicured hands through her hair, "Ach, loves, I wish it was that simple," She flips through the pages, "Sam, your powers are ancient. In fact, all of my books date them to the very existence of magic itself."
"But what about Dean?" His baby brother insists, "Is there a way to fix this?"
"An act of true love," Rowena states simply, "For, in the olden days, love was the basis of magic, fueling power and causing curses."
Dean echoes, "True love?" He shakes his head, "You're shitting me."
Rowena smirks, "Aye, true love. As they say, cha bhàsaich fìor ghaol gu bràth," At Dean's puzzled expression, she tacks on, "True love never dies."
Ice frosts over the couch and Dean glances toward his baby brother, seeing his white fingers clutch the edge of the couch.
"Sammy," Dean cautions, "Breathe."
Sam exhales, unclenching, the ice slowly starting to fade, "Isn't there any other option? Can't you take the ice away from both of us?"
"Ah, Sam," Rowena sighs, "Even I, as powerful a witch as I am, cannot tamper with what nature has blessed you with."
"It's a curse," The youngest Winchester retorts, "Nothing but a curse."
"Even so," Rowena add, "You must learn to control it. Or it will destroy you."
Sam stands up, determination blazing in his eyes, "Let it. I don't care what happens to me," He faces his brother, "I think we should go see her."
Dean blinks, "Who?"
And Dean feels his heart stutter.
He hasn't seen her in two years.
He loved her, truly, thought about getting out of the life for her, but he never could quite make that leap to domestic life. Still, it's she that he dreams of at night, her peach lips, her twinkling eyes, her boisterous laugh; but it is her heart that truly made him fall for her.
For Lisa is the kindest woman he's ever met.
Never one to put up with bullshit, she still cared for him, despite his secrets, despite his bluster.
And now, according to Sam, she would save him.
True love's kiss, Dean.
But what even is a true love's kiss? How do they even know that Lisa is his true love?
Boys, it's the best shot you got. Get Lisa to kiss him and things will all end happily.
"Sam, if this doesn't work—"
Sam won't hear of it though. He grows paler by the hour, stress radiating off of him in waves.
"It has to work." Sam mutters to himself.
Dean coughs, his chest rattling and Sam looks at him with alarm. The eldest brother waves him off, "I'm fine."
He knows he's not. He feels shivers down his spine and though he won't admit it to Sam, he's noticed dark blue bruises on his chest, in the shape of snowflakes. An odd, twisted parody of a holiday special marring his skin.
Sam grimaces, "Why was I born with this?"
"Rowena called it a blessing from ancient times—"
"This blessing," Sam spits out, "is killing you."
There's no point in arguing with his brother when he's like this. Sam's always had a stubborn streak a mile wide, just like John.
"Look, just take it easy," Dean tries to soothe his brother, "You heard Rowena. This will work."
"And then what?" Sam hisses, "I just do this to you again? Or to someone else?"
"I can't control the powers, Dean!"
And suddenly, the interior of the impala is dusted by a light snowfall.
Dean doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Sam scoffs, "Great."
Dean turns up the radio, letting Metallica fill the silence as they continue the drive.
Lisa is as beautiful as he remembered.
Hazelnut eyes sparkling with a ruby red grin, soft brown hair tumbling down her back—she's everything his dreams have been made of and more. It's been years since he's seen her—three years, four weeks and 12 hours; not that he's counting—but he's suddenly as tongue-tied as a boy facing his first crush.
Lisa, for her part, furrows her brow, her door askew, "Dean?"
Dean smiles shyly, "Hey, Lisa."
She reaches for him, her arms coming around him, holding him close, helping him feel some warmth in his cold body. He grips her, wondering yet again, why he chose to walk away from her, from her love, from his shot at—
Normal, Dean! Don't you ever want to be normal?
He breaks away from her, "It's good to see you."
She blushes shyly, "You too."
Sam speaks up then, "Do you mind if we come in?"
Lisa nods, opening her door fully. She gestures for them to enter and Sam leads, practically barging his way through, leaving a bit of frost on the floor.
"Is everything okay, Dean?"
He shrugs, "It's a bit of a long story."
And one he's not sure how to explain without sounding like a crazy person.
Lisa arches her eyebrow curiously and nods once more.
"You two realize how ridiculous this all sounds?" Lisa presses them, sipping from her coffee cup. There's crayon drawings on the fridge, a shrine to a child that isn't Dean's, a sign of a normal life that he chose to walk away from.
Lisa had given him a choice and he'd walked away.
"You need me to kiss Dean," She repeats once more, "As part of an experiment for your science class?"
So, it's not their best lie and even Dean must admit, it sounds bad, but what other choice do they have? Tell her the truth? She'll think they've lost their minds and call the cops on them. Not to mention, they'll lose the only shot they have of breaking the spell.
"Yeah," Sam nods, his smile forced, "It's part of a study regarding how exes' feelings change due to time and space."
Lisa fidgets, "I'm married."
That hurts more than he thought it would.
Of course, it makes sense that she would move on. He wanted her to. He's glad she has. It's just . . . the pain of what might've been. The unknown possibilities. Those thoughts when he laid in bed at night, on the verge of sleep and thought about her.
"I understand," Sam nods, turning up that innocent charm, "But, it's really important to my grade. If you could just consider it a science project instead of anything major—"
Lisa sighs, "Yeah, yeah, okay," She beams, bright and warm like the sun, "Just one kiss."
She presses her lips to his and it's everything that Dean's ever dreamed of since he left her. Warmth blooms in his chest and he wants to hold her and never let her go—
But she pulls back, a sadness lingering in her eyes.
And Dean realizes that he's missed that chance.
"Dean?" Sam interjects quickly, "You good?"
Dean beams, "Yeah, let's go."
He leaves Lisa once more, on her doorstep, beautiful but no longer his.
They get into the Impala and Dean clutches the wheel as they drive away, leaving her behind.
"I'm so glad," Sam breathes, "So fucking glad. Dean, I thought—"
Dean gasps, jerking the car off the road, killing the engine. He can feel it—a cold hand on his heart, squeezing, tighter and tighter and he can't breathe, he can't think, there's only this cold and it's all-powerful and all-encompassing.
Sam is there, hands on him, trying to search for the source of the pain, trying to stop it.
"S-Sam," His teeth are chattering, his lips turning blue, "I-It d-didn't work."
Icicles form on the roof of the car and Sam cries out, a cold wind howling.
"Stop," Dean coughs, "S-stop S'my."
And the wind stops.
The ride back to Rowena's is a blur.
Dean feels the heater on his face, a blanket tucked around his frame with the most delicate care. Then, he's in a bed, piled high with comforters and space heaters and a voice humming a faint Scottish tune.
And then he's gone, cold engulfing him.
"Samuel," Rowena cautions, "I need you to stop."
Her living room is covered in snow, sharp icicles dangling from the ceiling. In the midst of the chaos, Sam paces, hair askew, eyes wild. He shouts, "What am I supposed to do?"
The witch grimaces, "I'll look again—"
"Is there anything you can do? Yes or no?"
"Yes or no?" He roars.
Rowena bites her lower lip, her gaze downcast, "No."
Sam huffs out a bitter laugh. Tears roll down his cheeks, becoming solid as they hit the carpet, "What about if you killed me?"
His voice is so low that Rowena isn't even sure that she heard it correctly, "What?"
Sam's steely gaze meets his, "If I died, would it save him?"
Rowena doesn't speak for the longest time. She steps over snow and ice and sits on the couch, beside the broken younger brother. She places a hand on his back, quietly telling him, "I don't know."
He jerks away from her, "Bullshit! Tell me the truth!"
"In theory, it could be possible, but—"
"Possible?" Sam echoes, "How possible?"
"There have been others like you, who were killed to bring an end to natural disasters," She starts and Sam nods, making up his mind, "But Samuel, there was also a queen who conquered the ice."
Rowena exhales shakily, "I don't know. All the text says is that love will thaw."
"Lisa's kiss didn't work," Sam tries to keep his voice calm, but it shakes and cracks and he just wants to freeze himself solid, but this is his curse, "And Dean doesn't have any other true loves out there."
The witch moves to him, her hands outstretched, nonthreatening, "We have time. I can make some calls, search other texts—"
But Sam has already made his mind up.
"No," He tells her, "I'm a threat, Rowena. You know it, my dad knows it and deep down, Dean knows it." He pulls out his gun and turns it over in his hand.
He doesn't want to die.
But he won't let Dean suffer for his mistake.
But he places the gun to his head and puts his finger on the trigger—
It's Dean's voice this time, but Sam can't focus, he pulls the trigger and—
-he lives for an ice statue of Dean stands before him, his arm knocking out the gun. The bullet misfired and Sam's alive.
"Dean?" Rowena mumbles.
Sam faces his brother, all solid ice, cold, dead, lifeless.
"Dean?" Sam calls out, "Dean, no."
It's Dean who may be frozen, but it's Sam's heart that's dying in his chest. He killed his brother. He clutches the figure, smooth ice on his fingertips, tears hitting it. He can't breathe. He can't think.
Dean is dead.
But suddenly, the ice gives way and Dean's arms are holding him and they're warm and there's a heartbeat in his chest.
Sam meets his brother's relieved face and he hurls himself at his brother, gripping him like his lifeline, which he is.
"You idiot," Dean mutters under his breath, "You don't get to die on me, Sammy!"
"You can't either," Sam replies, sobbing, "Fuck, Dean, I thought—"
"I know," Dean replies, "I know."
Rowena just smiles, relieved. Who knew she was a sucker for a happy ending?
A few days later, after the drama has passed, the witch comes to a realization.
"Love will thaw," Rowena informs the boys with a smirk, "You're like the queen, Samuel."
"The queen?" Dean echoes, "What queen?"
Rowena grins, "The only woman who managed to bring her powers to heel," She gestures to Sam, "But, your powers, they're gone?"
Sam snapped his fingers, but nothing happened.
No snow. No ice. Nothing.
"Any idea why?" Dean questioned.
She shrugged, "The barrier broke due to trauma, maybe it sealed itself again due to the trauma of Dean turning to ice."
"How can we be sure though?" Sam pressed, "I don't want this to just come back again—"
"Magic is fickle and mysterious," Rowena tells them once more.
"That's all you got?" Dean questions, "You a fortune cookie?"
She smirks, "Take a note from Shakespeare boys, 'all's well that ends well'!"
Later, much later, they're back on the road again, and Sammy Haggar is blasting on the radio, it's almost like nothing has changed.
"You sure you're feeling okay?"
Dean chuckles, "Dude, stop worrying. Rowena checked me over three times. The ice is gone." He shoots a careful glance at Sam, "What about you? No more ice powers?"
Sam shrugs, "It's gone."
Dean smirks, "Good."
"They could come back."
"Hey, you heard the witch," He punched his brother in the shoulder with his free hand, "All's well that ends well."
Maybe that's true. Maybe there are no answers.
Love will thaw.
Maybe, because they both sacrificed themselves for each other, they achieved a different kind of true love. At the end of the day, who loved them more? They grew up in a fractured family, only being able to rely on each other.
True love could come in all forms.
The powers are gone and Dean is alive, that's all that matters.
"I didn't know you believed in happy endings, Dean."
His brother laughs, "If anyone has earned one, it's us."
But nothing really ends, does it? And maybe, this is just the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. Their father is still out there. Jessica needs to be avenged.
For today though, Sam will take his happy ending.