Title: A New Dawn
Dis: Not mine, still poor.
Warnings: language, post-Nightmare
Notes: Thanks to Amy for letting me bounce ideas off her head.
"Hey Sam, give me the remote, will ya?"
Dean watched his brother expectantly, his only movement a slight turn of his head as he lay on his back facing the hotel's rather small TV. Sam looked up with an expression of annoyance- because really, the remote was closer to Dean- but he typed one more word then reached over and grabbed the remote off the nightstand between them.
"No," Dean interrupted, causing Sam to halt mid-toss, "I meant, you know…" he reached up and tapped his temple with his index finger. "With your head."
Sam's eyes narrowed before they rolled flippantly. "I told you already, it doesn't work like that. I can't just turn it on and off." He set the remote back on the table and turned his attention back to the softly humming laptop, grumbling, "And certainly not because you're too lazy to lift your arm."
Dean ignored the comment because it was true. But he refused to let the topic drop. "How do you know if you won't try?" He nodded at the remote, knowing Sam would see the movement in his peripheral vision. "Come on Sammy, fly that thing over here."
"It's Sam," he replied, glaring quickly at Dean, "and quit being annoying. I'm not some dog that you can teach tricks. I'm not here for your entertainment."
Dean smirked. "So you didn't get the memo?"
Sam simply shook his head, and Dean knew he was rolling his eyes.
Dean relaxed against the headboard again, letting his gaze settle and blur over as he stared at the TV. Colored shadows danced over the room's inhabitants as the images on screen changed. The lights were off and the moon was up outside, its pale light peeking around the corners of the ugly green drapery. Sam was on the bed next to his, checking his email or surfing the net or whatever Sam did on the darn thing. It was getting late, but Dean's mind was far too active for sleep.
A few days ago, Dean had found out about his little brother's newly discovered telekinetic abilities. The one and only time Sam had used his gift, he'd been under heavy emotional stress and the telekinesis hadn't made an appearance since. They'd avoided talking about it, too.
Sam was obviously scared of it- Hell, Dean was scared too; Sam was having enough problems with his premonitions- neither Winchester wanted to think about the implications telekinesis would have on their lives. It was a gift, Dean knew that, but Sam has been unable to harness it. But this afternoon, as they ate hamburgers and fries in a Wyoming truck stop, Dean realized that maybe having a telekinetic brother wasn't such a bad thing. In fact, it could be rather awesome.
Because essentially, Sam was unstoppable. Dean was no stranger to comic books and television specials. When you weren't limited to your body's physical capabilities- you could do anything. With training and practice and more training, Sam could be a walking, talking superhero. He could lift garbage trucks or save babies from drowning or be one Hell of a ghost buster. The idea had been festering in Dean's head all afternoon, growing like a herd of Gremlins in the rain, and Dean was no longer afraid of Sam's newest gift.
The only problem would be getting Sam to see it the same way.
Dean already knew Sam was scared. He'd admitted that much. But Dean could only guess at what else was swirling around in his little brother's dark and overly-serious brain. Okay, so telekinesis could be a dangerous thing (as Max had proved) but Sam was no Max and he never would be as long as Dean were drawing breath. Sam just didn't have that sort of evil in him, and Dean would make damn sure he never did.
And so what if Sam could would be able to fend for himself (rendering Dean unnecessary)? He'd only be able to do that after he learned to control the premonitions and telekinesis, and he did need Dean to do that. All the implications of such abilities were unfathomable. Life wasn't scripted. Things didn't always play out like they did on TV shows or movies. Even talking to other gifted people could only help so much; human behavior was a complicated thing and factors such as motive and greed would alter a person's power. The point was- Sam would always need Dean to watch his back. Sam would never stop being a little brother. And was there a cooler job than training your kid brother to move things with his mind?
"You need to embrace your Freak-hood," Dean thought, and only when Sam looked up did he realize the words were spoken aloud.
"What." Sam's voice had never been flatter.
Dean shifted, crossing his ankles and blocking his view of the TV he wasn't watching to begin with. "You were given this… gift… thing… for a reason. You need to figure it out and learn how to control it."
Sam's eyes reflected blue from the computer screen. "Okay, Random."
"Quit stealing my quips. I'm serious here, Sam. I might not be around for all eternity, and you might actually have to protect your own ass."
"Did you just say 'quips'? And I can protect myself just fine, thank you. I was in college for two years, remember?"
Dean rolled his eyes. "Yeah, I bet you had a hell of a time wrestling those books, saving yourself from life-threatening paper cuts." He uncrossed his legs and pushed himself up a little against the wall. "This mind-control thing you've got going on? It's a weapon. We can use it to banish evil… to help find the thing that killed mom, and your girlfriend. But you gotta step up to the plate, Sam. You gotta try."
Dean was pushing all the right buttons. Sam was looking at him in all his hurt-puppy glory, fear and vengeance warring with each other on his face. Sam suddenly looked very weary; the lines on his face deepened by the nighttime shadows. He needed just one more nudge…
"Dude, I'm right here. I'm not gonna let anything happen to you. You trust me, right?"
"Yeah, of course I trust you-"
"Great," Dean interrupted, pulling open the nightstand's drawer and grabbing a cap-less white pen. He placed it on the table with a firm pat, the Sleepy Side Inn logo face-up. "Move it."
"Sam, come on. If you're gonna be watchin' my back, I wanna be sure you can control yourself. I don't want you hitting me in the back of the head with a book or some shit because your aim was off. Now move the pen!"
Sam rolled his eyes and closed them, leaving them shut for a heartbeat as his chest expanded with a deep breath. When he opened them, there was a determination there. "Alright," he said quietly. "I guess no one's ever died from a cheap ballpoint pen..."
Dean knew people had, but he kept silent.
He watched with a sort of morbid fascination as Sam lowered his head and stared at the pen. The concentration on Sam's face was immense- there was no way Sam could do this alone, in the middle of a hunt. He'd be way too vulnerable- the proverbial sitting duck. Dean knew he'd have to keep an even closer eye on Sam until this thing was mastered. And with that realization, a piece of Dean's own fears abated.
Dean's eyes fell to the pen. It hadn't moved from where he'd set it.
Sam became unfrozen, pinching at the inner points of his eyebrows and closing his eyes in frustration. "I can't do it," he said behind his hand. "It's not working."
"Concentrate," Dean urged, folding his legs and turning to face Sam completely.
"This is stupid! I can't turn it on and off!"
"Well pretend it's an evil pen or something."
"An evil pen?"
"Yeah. It's trying to stab you. All you gotta do is push it away."
He knew the motive was weak, but it'd been years since he'd had to use his imagination. Dean watched as Sam lowered his hands and once again concentrated on the pen. Sam's eyes were dark under the long shadows of night, giving him a haunted look. Dean tried to remember the last time he'd seen his brother sleep.
"I can't," Sam said at last, his shoulders slumped in fatigue.
"You're not trying, Sam," Dean said. Frustration was setting in. What had Sam said earlier… the telekinesis was a result of an adrenaline rush? So Sammy just needed to get riled up- Dean could do that. "Stop acting like you're two and move the damn pen!"
"Don't make me kick your ass."
"It's not that easy!"
"Make it that easy!"
Sam's voice was getting higher, along with his shoulders. "If you think you know how to do it, then you move the pen!"
"I'm not the one with the Shining!" Dean watched as Sam grew more tense. "What are you so afraid of, Sam?"
"I-" Sam halted, then took a breath. "I don't wanna mess up."
So there it was.
The thought of Sam turning out anything like that abused, unstable man was so unimaginable that Dean nearly snorted. "I hate to break it to you pal, but you're already messed up."
Sam did his open-mouthed eye roll of disgust and Dean felt somewhat guilty for making light of his brother's plight. "I'm serious," Sam said. "What if I hurt someone? What if I hurt you?"
Dean huffed. "You're not gonna hurt me. Never."
"No?" Sam's voice was high-pitched in determination and concern. "What about Ellicot? What if something gets to me again? I won't even need a gun, Dean. I could kill you with whatever wasn't nailed down." Sam swallowed thickly, his Adam's apple bobbing in the television's blue projections, and his voice lowered. "I couldn't live with that."
Dean felt his brother's pain, for it was the same as his own. "Sam, I'm sorry but you're stuck with this whether you like it or not. It's not like you can stand in the return lane at Wal-Mart and give it back. This is a part of you now. That's why we have to learn to control it."
"What if it takes over?
"What- you mean like Max?"
"Dude, you're nothing like Max. He was messed up, got it? You said it yourself- we're lucky. We had an awesome Dad. He raised us to be strong. And you keep forgetting- Max didn't have an handsome older brother to look out for him."
Sam ducked his head, hiding a small smile, and Dean's pride swelled. He glanced at the nightstand, breaking the uncomfortable silence. "Now concentrate on the pen."
Sam took a deep breath and straightened, focusing on the pen. The room was silent save for the television's quiet rambling, and Dean's thoughts turned inward. Sam had some very valid fears. Sam would be more powerful with the telekinesis. He might attract more spirits, more trouble. Dean would have to be on high alert.
But the worst part was not having the answers. He didn't know why this was happening to Sam. He didn't know what it meant, what would happen in the future. And he hated not being able to completely erase the worry in his little brother's face. It was there all the time now, making Sam look old and tired and obligated. Dean would give anything to spare Sam from that, from feeling such a weight upon his shoulders.
Sam's whisper brought his eyes to the pen, just in time to see it roll off the nightstand and drop onto the carpet. He looked up at Sam, who met his gaze with one just as awestruck.
"I did it!" Sam breathed, a blinding smile spread over his face. "I moved the pen!"
Dean looked at the pen, where it had come to a stop underneath Sam's bed. "Told you it wasn't hard," he said, reaching down and plucking it from the floor. He set it back on the table. "Now do it again."
Sam sat straighter, pushing the forgotten laptop aside, the screensaver dancing across a black screen. He stilled, staring at the pen, then seconds later it began to move.
Dean caught it as it rolled off the table. He awarded his brother a smile; he was learning quickly. "Good," he said, putting back on the nightstand. Time to take it up a notch. "This time, don't let it fall. Roll it back and forth."
Sam accepted the challenge with a curt nod. Both brother's eyes fell to the pen and after a heartbeat, it began to roll.
Dean glanced at Sam as the pen neared the edge of the table. He was pretty sure Sam wasn't even breathing. When he looked back to the pen, it stopped just shy of the edge and very slowly, began rolling in the opposite direction, towards the wall.
Sam's smile was contagious. "I did it," he breathed, tension still tight in his shoulders.
"Stand it on end," Dean ordered. He thought of John Winchester, barking orders as the boys disassembled and reassembled their weapons, gaining speed and efficiency each time, committing the movements to memory.
The pen stopped rolling, the hotel's logo face-down on the water-stained wood. The sleek white plastic seemed to glow in the dim light. Dean's eyes were beginning to ache with strain from the darkness. Slowly, so slow that he almost didn't recognize it, the blunt end of the pen began to rise.
"Good," Dean said quietly, as if speaking too loudly would cause the magic to stop. "Straight up."
The pen rose slowly, degree by single degree until at last it was vertical, balancing perfectly on its point. Sam, although still unmoving with concentration, was smiling.
"Now spin it."
The pen began to spin and Dean smiled too. So maybe Sam was unjustly sentenced with a burden neither of them understood. Maybe they still had to work out their fears, and maybe the path before them just got a little more hidden.
But they were in this together. Sam's job was to embrace his gifts, to use them in the war against the mother-killing fire-demon. And Dean's job… it hadn't changed.
He was to protect his brother.