Not Without Purpose
Disclaimer: It is so unfairly necessary to state I can't claim any components of Supernatural.
Warnings: Mild language. Spoilers for Faith. This takes place literally right after the last scene. Full of Dean angst and brotherly love. I did my best to keep them in character.
Author's Note: I love the brothers, both Sam and Dean equally, and the episode of Faith was something I have been looking forward to for months. However, I was so aggravated with the writers for how they left things between the brothers. It seemed just...lacking somehow. So…I was forced to write this and let out my frustrated, denied expectations for the potential this episode had. This is the result. Feedback would be great, any words of constructive criticism or otherwise.
Dean watched Layla leave, and as the door clicked shut something in his thoughts also clicked. It made sense to him now why he felt so attached to this woman: she reminded him of his mother.
She was soft-spoken, so appreciative of life, her touch was gentle…and she was ill-fated.
It made him feel sick with grief and at the same time he savored the brief moment of feeling his mother's presence surround him. He sat down on the bed and looked up at the ceiling.
"I miss you, Mom," a small voice escaped him as a tear fell. It hit him, it caught up with him, the fact he was preparing to leave this world and see his mother. He missed her so much, and without letting Sam know because he didn't want to worry him, he secretly felt defeated by his father's commandment to stay away.
He couldn't be any part of it? He couldn't help get revenge on the thing that took his mother away? Bull shit.
It was killing him, and when he found out he was really dying, he was almost happy. He was almost happy to get to find his mother, to get wrapped in her gentle embrace, to smell her perfume that always lingered in the halls of their old home. Yet, almost was the key word.
He didn't want to leave Sam.
And he shamed himself knowing he allowed that notion to take such control over him this past week. He was seriously considering the idea of leaving Sammy. And he called Sam the selfish bastard?
Dean drew in a harsh breath.
"And I'd gladly pay you a visit if I wouldn't miss my brother so damn much," he said, and found that he'd folded his hands over his lap as if to pray; as if connecting himself to some blind faith would help him see his mother there with him. He could almost feel her soft hands on his shoulders and he closed his eyes.
"Forgive me," he started to say, and through shut eyes more tears fell. He hated the feel of warm tears on his face but let them fall without wiping them away. At the moment, he didn't care that he was crying. His mother was there, and she never thought less of him for the act.
"Forgive me for almost abandoning my kid brother. I swore long ago I'd never let anything happen to him, that I'd protect him, and most of all that I'd always be there for him. I promised you, remember? Dad told me it was a dream, but I saw you the night after the fire, I saw you standing in the doorway and I heard you even though I never saw your lips move.
You said, 'take care of Sammy'. And I promised I would, and you vanished into darkness but I knew you never left. Do you know now he's not the one who needs me? I'm the one that needs him. He takes care of me without knowing it and he tries so damn hard to,"—he stopped, motionlessly grimaced for using the curse word in prayer, and went on. "He tries to save me. I think he'd jump in front of a bullet or a bulldozer if it was heading my way. He doesn't understand I don't need those kinds of heroics from him. He saves me just by being here, staying by my side even when I push him away. I don't even know why I push him away. I guess…if I look like I'm dependent, then he'll stop trying to help me…kind of like Dad did.
I can't let him see me weak. I can't let him see me fall because if he sees that…then maybe he'll lose faith in me. And I can't handle that.
And I'm sorry, Mom…that I almost fell away from him for good. I thought about leaving him, not because I'm suicidal or anything, but because…I don't know, maybe if I was gone then he could focus more on him and what makes him happy. Right now, he's here just for me. I'm keeping him from so many great things, and I just thought…
Well, I thought wrong."
A painful thought spliced through his thoughts.
"You never should have brought me here,"
"Dean, I was just trying to save your life,"
"Yeah Sam, and some guy is dead now because of me!"
"I didn't know…"
And Dean knew he didn't, but as a Winchester, Dean also knew that even if Sam did know someone would die in place of his brother, he'd still have gone through with it. Sam would do anything to save his brother. Just like Dean would have done the same for Sam.
"I was really hard on him, before. I never even thanked him for saving my life…he went so far out of his way for me, and I was a total bit"—again, he censored himself, almost happily thinking how his mother would scold him for his language, "I was being a selfish jerk, to put it lightly. I made it seem like I wasn't happy with him and his choice. He only did what I would have done, and I condemned him for it…
I just felt so guilty and I didn't know how to deal with any of this. I didn't know how to take care of Sam when he was the one taking care of me. I'm not used to that.
But I promise, Mom, I'm going to make it up to him. I'll take care of him, like I promised you. And I'm going to take better care of myself…so Sam won't have to. He has enough to deal with. And…Man, I feel like such a wimp for crying like this," he muttered, feeling more tears fall. He had held them in so long that they overpowered his will to hold them back.
And his eyes were still closed because it helped him envision his mother, and then he thought he saw her cross in front of him, and she knelt down and placed her hands tightly over his.
"Mom…I miss you, and I know you understand why I chose to wait to see you again," his voice broke at the end, and suddenly he felt like he was four years old. "Because…I love my brother. And like the reverend told me…I have a purpose. Right now, my purpose is here…with him. With Sammy,"
The hands over his squeezed gently, and they felt warm to the touch.
"It's Sam," came a familiar, soft voice, filled with a kind of playfulness.
Dean opened his eyes, and the vision he had of his mother drifted away and he was left sitting before a kneeling Sam, staring up at him with those eyes. Those eyes that told him a thousand words, all the pain and struggle and hope and faith mingled in the swirls of bold, glistening color. And Dean instantly caved and threw his arms around Sam, hugging him tightly and he held on stronger than he thought he had the power to.
"Sam! I…you…Thank you, I need to thank you," the words rushed out in a compilation of emotions that would take even the world's greatest code breaker a decade to sort through.
Sam's face had been smothered in Dean's shirt, and he tried to talk though his voice came out muffled. Dean finally eased up on his hold and Sam moved his head up to get a proper inhale of fresh oxygen, a confused smile on his face.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I am…I'm sorry, Sam. I…"
"Hey," Sam put up a hand and mockingly flashed one of his brother's cocky grins. "No chick flick moments, remember?"
"Shut up, Sammy," Dean retorted, and once again pulled his brother into a hug. Sam was able to hug back this time, and although he learned not to admit such things, he would silently confess that a hug was exactly what he needed right now. Especially from his brother. "Really, thanks…you didn't give up on me,"
"How could I? You're my brother,"
"Yeah, but…you're college boy, you know when a doctor says 'there's nothing we can do', that chances are…there's nothing we can do," the two of them parted, and Sam took a seat next to his brother.
"Well, college boy is also a Winchester. And if there's anything a Winchester doesn't do, it's watch your brother tell you he's dying and there's nothing you can do about it. Like hell I wouldn't have tried, Dean. What were you thinking?" Sam asked with a disbelieving laugh. Dean only shrugged.
He thought about the answer to himself.
I was thinking if I acted brave enough, like I didn't care, then maybe it wouldn't affect you so much, and you wouldn't have that damnable look of hurt in your eyes. That look is worse than seeing the Reaper.
He smiled at the thought, knowing he'd let his brother know that if only by actions and never in elongated speeches that weren't his style.
"I guess I wasn't thinking. Surprise, surprise," he rolled his eyes and grinned. Sam nudged his shoulder against his brother's as if to tell him not to be so hard on himself.
"If you say so," Sam shook his head.
"If you tell anyone I was crying, or that we hugged…I'm sending that creepy fabric softener teddy bear after you," Dean said, halfway serious and he raised an intimidating eyebrow as if to confirm that Sam could test him on that…but he'd regret it.
Sam laughed. "Whatever, jerk,"
"Hey, how much did you overhear before, anyways?" Dean suddenly asked, a wave of anxiety tensing through him.
"Um, not much…"
"Care to elaborate?"
"Are you gonna hit me if I do?" Sam asked, knowing his brother a little too well.
"Sam…" Dean narrowed his eyes and inspected his brother's face for a sign that he heard more than Dean could fear. He'd opened up and bared his soul, thinking no one else but his mother and whatever other higher-up cared to tune in on was listening.
"Just that you miss Mom. And so do I," Sam said, and he felt the lump in this throat. Dean relaxed at that, and then felt the sadness his brother was feeling intensify his own.
"Yeah, I know. Everything will be okay, Sam. Someway or another, we're gonna find Dad and help kill that thing that took Mom and your girlfriend away,"
"Even though Dad ordered us to stop following him?"
"If he knows anything, then he knows we're a part of this whether he wants us to be or not. We'll find a way…"
"How can you be so sure?" Sam questioned, tilting his head and focusing on his brother's eyes, a little alarmed at the sincerity he saw in them.
"It's a little something called faith, baby brother. You should try it sometime," Dean jested. Sam snorted and then felt something vibrate in his pocket. It was his cell phone and he pulled it out, revealing he had a new text message. Dean watched his brother go wide-eyed before he turned to him, holding the phone upright so Dean could see the screen.
"It's from Dad," Sam said, almost out a breath. He wasn't expecting to hear from their father.
Dean read the small message carefully, taking in every word and letting them dissolve somewhere inside his heart where they needed to be.
Glad you're both okay.
Thank you, Sam.
Take care of each other.
It would never be enough, but the small token of concern would be enough for the boys to thrive on for quite a while. Dean looked away, spotted some empty space on the floor to stare at and Sam put the cell away, looking at his brother.
Words weren't really necessary at the moment. And words never did much for the Winchesters. Yet there was something Sam felt obligated to say.
"By the way," his calming voice brought Dean's gaze back to his. "I love you, too."
And although Dean learned not to admit such things, he would silently confess that hearing those words was exactly what he needed right now.
It went without saying they were each of what the other needed.
They were two halves to make a whole. A hero and his sidekick. A brother and his brother.
And as they looked at each other, letting the world fall away for a moment, understanding they were all they had left, they reaffirmed that they were not without purpose.
Okay, I feel a little better now after writing this. I really needed for Sam to get a hug from his brother in this episode, and I'm still mad that it never happened, but I'll save my rant for forums. By the way, couldn't help throwing in a return message from John, even though I'm not certain that would have happened. I hope whoever might have read this enjoyed it, and if you liked it or didn't, a review letting me know your thoughts is appreciated. Thanks