Title: Normal People
Author: tommygirl828 (at) gmail (dot) com
A/N: Written for the Supernatural Gen Ficathon. Much love to Jen and Steph for the beta work. Feedback always appreciated and loved.
Crossposted: my livejournal, my website - anywhere else, please ask first
Normally, if Sam was asked how he felt about his brother's love of the double standard, how it was perfectly acceptable for Dean to hover, be overprotective, and mother hen Sam to death, he would state that it was annoying. That it drove him crazy and pissed him off because Dean would never let Sam get away with that shit. But that was normally, and no matter how much Sam was loathe to admit it, normal wasn't something he had much practice with these days.
Normal people didn't have excruciating visions of death and violence.
Normal people didn't wake up feeling like their brains were oozing out of their eyes in a lava-like form or their stomachs were being ripped open with a rusty hammer.
Normal people didn't find themselves turning into the things they hunted, taking bits and pieces of those visions and angry entities with them.
Normal people didn't have Dean for a brother.
Sam watched from the doorway of the motel as Dean unloaded their bags onto one of the beds. Dean pointed to the other bed and said, "Get some rest, Sam."
"And what about you?"
"I'm heading into town to hit the bars for a bit. Get us some money and see if I can find someone with the pharmaceutical hookup."
"I'm fine, Dean."
Dean rolled his eyes and pointed in Sam's general direction. He said, "I might've believed that if you weren't wincing in pain as you said it, man. You should work on that."
Sam couldn't think of a comeback with his head pounding like someone was taking a sledgehammer to it, so he settled for a nice, direct glare in his brother's direction.
Dean simply pointed to the bed and said, "You should put a warm washcloth on your head. That always works in the movies. And I'll pick you up some food for later. You get some sleep and hopefully the pain will go away."
"And what about my vision? Those people in that hotel are in danger, Dean. I saw it. I saw what's coming for them."
"But it's not coming tonight, right?"
"No, I remember the date on the calendar because it was circled in my vision."
"So we'll get an early start in the morning."
"We won't be of any use to those people if you can barely stand, and I'm too worried about you to deal with whatever the hell it is."
Sam rolled his eyes and said, "You're always worried about me."
Dean picked his wallet off the bed and smirked. "Yeah, well, it's part of the big brother oath that I was forced to take many years ago." Dean moved toward the door, but stopped and focused his gaze on his brother. It was a bit disturbing to Sam when Dean looked at him like that, like Dean could see his every thought. Then Dean got even weirder and closed the distance between them.
"What?" Sam asked, shifting his gaze to the floor.
"Go to bed, Sammy. I'll fucking drug you if I have to, but you're getting some sleep. You look like hell."
"You don't look so great yourself. You've been driving for…"
"Don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'm not the one who looks like Dr. Frankenstein started operating on my head without anesthesia."
"Gee thanks, Dean. You know how to make all those fears I have about being a freak of nature disappear," Sam snapped. He fell back on the bed and covered his face with a pillow. Sam realized his brother was simply being Dean but Sam wasn't in the mood. His brain hurt, his whole body ached, and Sam couldn't stop harping on the thought that no one had his brother's back at the moment.
If these visions kept up like they had been, Sam wouldn't be of any use to anyone, let alone Dean. He needed to get a grip on it somehow, find some way to channel the energy unleashed during an attack into a positive. Otherwise, Sam feared his brother would pay the price.
Without Dean, Sam wasn't sure he could handle the hunting life and all the crap that went with it. He would never admit it out loud, or dare feed his brother's already-oversized ego, but he needed Dean. His brother could be a pain in the ass and drive him crazy like no one else knew how to, but he was the only person Sam ever trusted one hundred percent. He was the only person that Sam had counted on for over twenty-two years.
A Sam without Dean would be no different than Max. Frightened, alone, and bitter, using his powers to hurt people.
Dean's voice pulled Sam out of his thoughts. "I hate to break this to you, but you've been a freak of nature since you were little. I mean, when you were seven months old you ate a bug off the floor and then smiled like it was the tastiest thing you'd ever eaten. It was disgusting."
Sam chucked the pillow in the general direction of his brother's voice and said, "You suck at bedside manners."
"Would you prefer me to hold your hand and sing you to sleep?"
"I was already nauseous enough without that image. Thanks a lot," Sam replied.
Dean smiled and patted Sam's leg. He said, "You're going to be fine, Sam. And so will the people in your vision."
Sam opened his eyes and met his brother's gaze. He smiled weakly and said, "Don't get caught counting cards, jackass."
"Rest your pretty eyes, sissyboy, and leave the hustling to the experts."
Sam woke up with a start. It wasn't a vision or prophetic dream or whatever the hell he was supposed to call what happened to him; it was a garden variety nightmare. He had begun to recognize the differences, namely the lack of pain emanating from every nerve-ending. Real or not though, the dream had packed a punch and Sam used his arm to wipe the sweat from his brow.
He glanced around the small motel room, but he was still alone.
He stood up on wobbly legs, his earlier vision's last remaining side effect, and made his way to the bathroom. He stood in front of the sink, staring at himself in the dirty mirror for what felt like hours but was probably no more than seconds. Dean had put it mildly when he said that Sam looked like hell. The dark circles and bags under his eyes, the sunken look of his entire face and the paleness.
It scared him.
It reminded him of his nightmare, a scene where he was the one who needed to be hunted. The latest recurring dream, where he ripped his brother apart because Dean couldn't do what needed to be done, couldn't hurt Sam even though Sam was capable of harming everyone else. The idea of hurting his brother, becoming a monster that required vanquishing, left Sam shaking.
Sam splashed water over his face, but as he rubbed the towel against his cheeks, all he saw was his dream. He told himself to get a grip, that it was a regular dream, just a bunch of fears manifesting themselves. He would never hurt Dean. Never. Just like Dean would never let anything happen to him.
Sam jumped, clutching his chest, when a hand fell on his shoulder. He glared at his brother via the mirror and said, "Dammit Dean. You scared me."
"I was being quiet so I wouldn't wake your sorry ass. I see that was a waste of my stealth moves."
"Stealth moves? Dude, your idea of stealth is knocking down doors with guns blazing."
Dean smiled and patted Sam's back. "Those aren't my stealth moves. Those are my shock-and-awe ones. Maybe I'll write them down for you so you can learn the difference."
"Sometimes I wonder about you."
Dean grinned unabashedly. "It's a gift, Sammy." Off the look on Sam's face, Dean's expression contorted into one of worry. He asked, "Another vision? I was hoping you'd get a night off."
"Not a vision. Just a nightmare."
Sam tossed the towel on the floor and pushed past his brother. Just as Dean had promised, there was a bag of food on the small table in the corner. Sam grimaced at the sharp smell of grease in the air, but snatched the bag up and emptied the contents on the table.
He chewed on a French fry and said, "As God as my witness, I will get you to eat a salad one of these days."
"Chick food? I don't think so, Sammy," Dean replied. He sat down on the edge of the bed, tossing his boots to the side, before adding, "Nice attempt at changing the subject, but we were talking about your nightmare."
"No, we weren't."
"Sam, I can't help you if I don't know what we're up against."
Sam sighed. He didn't want to talk about it, fearing that verbalizing the thing only gave it that much more power, but he also knew that Dean wouldn't drop the topic without something. If there was one thing that scared Sam senseless, it was Dean's one-track mind.
"I guess I'm still a little freaked out about these powers. I know you say we're different, but what if I turn into Max?"
"You won't. Max had a fucked up childhood where he endured a lot of senseless pain. That's not you. You're one of the good guys."
Sam took a bite out of his burger and allowed his brother's assurances to sink in. He was a grown man, but Dean still managed to make him feel safe. Sam swallowed and said, "Part of me wishes that we had time to tell dad about what's going on with me, but the other part of me..."
"Dad wouldn't be any more scared of you than I am, Sam."
Sam smiled against the tone of his brother's voice. It still surprised him a bit that after four years apart, Dean could slip so easily into being Sam's protector once again. It also made him feel a bit guilty for being such an ass where his brother was concerned in the past. Sam nodded and said, "It's okay to be scared of these powers, Dean. They're frightening me."
"Maybe we should contact Missouri? Maybe I should drop you off with her for awhile and work solo?"
Sam shook his head. He didn't need a vision to tell him that splitting up was a bad idea. He said, "No, Dean..."
But Dean didn't hear him. Dean rubbed his hand over his face and went on, "She's much more familiar with the whole John Edwards thing you've got going on. She might be able to help you a bit better than I can with all of this."
"Dude, no way are you ditching me. I'm the one with the visions anyway. You need me to hunt things."
"This isn't about ditching you, Sam. You know that. I might not be psychic like you or on the trail of the demon that destroyed our family like dad, but I do understand that there's a big fight coming soon."
"So you need to be ready for that and these side jobs are wearing you out too quickly. These visions and whatever else shows up could-"
"-I can handle it."
Dean leaned over and swiped a few fries. "I don't know, Sam. I don't like seeing you like this. You're my responsibility and..."
"And you're my responsibility. It's called being a family, Dean."
Dean raised an eyebrow and said, "I'm just putting the idea out there."
"Even if Missouri could help me with these powers, and I'm not sure that's the case, I'd spend most of my time too worried about you to get a grip on anything. We work better as a team, Dean. You're the one who said that."
"Whatever dude," Dean replied. He nodded to the bed and said, "Finish eating and get back to bed. We've got a long morning of research if we're going to stop that hotel from being attacked."
Sam nodded. That was about as heartfelt as Dean got these days and Sam wasn't about to push his brother any further. He glanced down at the remainder of his burger and suddenly had no appetite. Even though he had spent four years away from the hunt, away from his brother, Sam couldn't imagine leaving his brother until they had killed Meg and whoever she worked with. Not for any reason.
Sam laid down on the bed and stared at the ceiling. He shut his eyes and tried to regulate his breathing, attempting to force sleep upon himself, but his brain was working overtime.
For Dean to suggest leaving Sam with Missouri meant that Dean was scared of the visions and the toll they were taking on Sam. His stupid, overprotective lunatic of a big brother seemed to think it was his job to keep Sam from experiencing pain, but was completely clueless to what Sam's biggest fear was.
Being responsible for something happening to Dean.
Normally, if someone asked, Sam would say that he hated hunting and how dysfunctional his family was. It drove him crazy that he had a father that thought of his sons as soldiers first and foremost and a brother that embraced a whacko lifestyle with a smile.
Then again, Sam was pretty sure that his new powers put him in a category that was far from normal.
And if someone asked, Sam would say that normal wasn't worth it if it meant not having Dean for a brother. Even when he was a jerk or stole the extra pillow or made Sam listen to AC/DC on repeat play for eleven hours straight.
Because normal people didn't have Dean for a brother and that was the only thing Sam needed anymore.