Author's Note: I think this could be a stand alone, but I didn't really feel like making it that way. Also, show of hands of people who think I should continue this story, or leave it here. Or, I can do something entirely different. Comments welcomed.
My father didn't raise two sons. He raised soldiers. A small army against the forces of darkness. My brother was the lucky one. He got to escape, to leave the life he'd been raised to and go to college, and be…normal.
Normal isn't a word in my family's vocabulary, not since I was five.
I think my brother was able to leave because he only knew dad as a soldier, a dictator of all we said and did. He only knew the father that took his five and nine year old sons to the target range to practice with rifles, taught them hand to hand combat so they could fend off someone twice their age and ten times their size by the ages of twelve. Sam only knew John Winchester: the General.
But I remember Dad. John Winchester: Father and Husband. I remember how he used to be before mom died, before Dad found her plastered to the ceiling above Sam's crib, stomach slashed before bursting into flames. I remember picnics; I remember baseball and soccer in the front yard (sometimes a combo of the two, depending on how wound up I was). I remember Dad used to smile. And I remember I used to love him, just like any kid loves their parents.
Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a complete moron. Not as smart as my brother, I know that, but he's kinda hard to hold a candle to. The only thing I was ever really better at than him was hunting, and what kind of boast is that? Dad succeeded in making me into a better killer, a better monster, than my brother. I hold no illusions of what I am, deep down inside. I'm just as bad as the things in the closet, the things that come out only in the night. I make a living killing, cheating, and lying. And I don't mind it. It's either that or I live on the street, slowly starving to death. There is no place for people like me in the world, not in the light anyway. I belong to the darkness, just as much as the creatures I hunt. I walk a fine line, and the only thing that keeps me from straying into that abyss is Sam.
Sam was…is…the one good thing I ever managed in life. Dad didn't have much time to raise a son, let alone two, he only had time for his soldiers, so I took up the slack. No one can blame me for being unobservant. I watched how other kids were growing up and tried my best to do right by Sam. It wasn't enough, but hey, we were only four years apart, and I was slowly turning into my father. But when dad wasn't looking, I would take Sam to ballgames, to the park, I would get him out of the hotels and keep an eye on him when he went off with friends.
And I defended him against the monsters like me. Everywhere we went, it seemed Sam attracted trouble, both of the supernatural persuasion and of the everyday life. He got picked on a lot in high school, because he was a pudgy little midget. Hell, I made fun of him for it, because no one could really figure out how that happened. His after school job was chasing things down and killing them, you figure the kid would be a twig, right? Nope. Had baby fat all the way till freshman summer, and then he shot up like a weed that summer, and I assumed the teasing would stop. I stopped mostly because now he was bigger than me and knew how to defend himself, but the other kids just found another outlet. Now he was gangly and spindly and still had no idea how to really interact with people.
But, let's be honest here, if you had a brother like me and a father like ours, would you be a social butterfly? Sam can't lie. Well, not then he couldn't, and he's still not very good at it now. And we had to lie. We lied about everything, from where we lived, to what happened to our mother, to how we made our money. We couldn't tell the truth because one of two things would happen: Dad and I would be arrested and Sam shuffled off to foster care, or we'd be on the run and on the radar. While maybe the life we had wasn't suited for a kid to grow up in, it could've been so much worse.
Sometimes I had to wonder whether or not that would be better for him. But every time I thought about letting Sam leave, and live a life that had some possibility of living to see thirty, I knew it couldn't happen. I knew I was the only one who could look out for Sammy because I knew what to look for, I could fight the darkness that chased after him. That was my job since the day he was born, like most older brothers. But I took it a little more seriously than most.
I'd like to say that most of my scars and hospital stays could be chalked up to the normal excuses: car accident, drunken brawl, tripped over my own two feet down a ravine…all right, that last one is true, but still. I prefer that excuse than 'I jumped in front of a pissed of poltergeist trying to impale my younger brother with a steak knife while we were trying to banish it.' Or whatever else was after my baby bro. Sam thinks I blame him for my scars, and all those times I wound up in the hospital, or at the house of one of dad's pals. Marine medic, or so he told me. I personally think it was a vet. Truth is, I could never blame Sammy. Blaming him would imply that I was sorry I did it, and I wasn't. I would do whatever I could to protect my brother. From anyone, or anything.
Now, here's a trip into my little fucked up mind: from the moment I carried Sam out of our home when I was four, I had it drilled into my head: protect my brother. Never let him out of my sight, never let anything happen to him. Over the years, the order was slightly warped, and it became 'you are expendable. Your brother is not.' No, Dad didn't actually say that. He's not that fucked up. I did it to myself. If I had to die to save Sam, so be it. When I was fifteen I already knew I was never going to make much of myself, so what did it matter if I was killed saving someone? At least it would have been worthwhile. I can handle death. It's meaningless existence that I can't stand.
Lying in a cheap hotel bed, my side bandaged tight enough that I think I'll be lucky if I can feel anything below my waist come morning, I know I can deal with what life dealt me. I may not have had the best childhood, but at least I had one. My brother is alive, and he's here with me where I can keep an eye on him, not at some ritzy college where they wouldn't give a guy like me the time of day.
My brother didn't do a half bad patch job for not having much to work with. I'll have a couple of impressive scars in a few months, but what else is new? Chicks dig scars anyway.
Sam's talking to me again. He thinks I'm asleep. I wonder if one of these days he wonders why I talk so coherently in my sleep, but for now I'll let it slide. I hate chick flick moments, and if answering him this way keeps him from pestering me while I'm awake, then so be it.
I can live with that too.