Labels

By Kara G

This is the last chapter. Thanks so much to everyone that reviewed. I really appreciate your comments. They're all so very encouraging and I hope some time this summer I get to more of my Supernatural story ideas so I can keep this up. It is such a very fun show to write about, and my current ideas aren't going away any time soon... Again, thanks and have a nice summer!

Rating: PG

Summary: Sam thinks about who he's been and who he could have become while trapped in a drainage pipe alone during a storm.

Begun: February 9, 2006

Finished: May 30, 2006

Brother

When Sam was nine years old, he went with his dad and brother on a hunt in Georgia to get rid of a poltergeist that was haunting an old power plant. The locals wanted to reopen the building, but they kept getting stalled by mysterious accidents that finally resulted in two unexplained deaths.

John Winchester hadn't wanted his youngest son to come this time, but the boy had been too afraid to wait in the hotel by himself, so begrudgingly he allowed Sam to come along—as long as he stayed with Dean and remained quiet.

Sam stayed quiet the whole time, but when the poltergeist discovered them there, it had raised quite a racket in the building. In the flurry of electrical explosions and blowing wind, Sam had been separated from his dad and brother. Covering his ears with both hands to staunch the poltergeist's agonized wailing, Sam had hid under a stairwell, crying for his brother and lo and behold… Dean found him. He found him under those stairs and saved him just like he always did. He pulled Sam's hands away, though Sam had protested, too afraid to hear the wailing of the ghost over the melee. He was frightened more than he'd ever been before, even when that monster lived in his closet… but when Dean took his little brother's hands in his own and told him that everything would be alright, Sam believed him.

"Everything will be okay, Sammy! Everything's going to be fine!" Dean had shouted over the noise.

"But how do you know!" Sam had shouted back.

Dean thought about this only a moment before a confident grin broke out on his face. "Because, Sammy… Because I'm your big brother, and I'm not going to let anything bad happen to you!"

And from that moment on, Sam knew that Dean would always be there for him whenever he needed him. Past everything, brothers will always be there for each other.

o-o-o

The water was up to his neck now, but Sam Winchester didn't feel a thing anymore as he let himself slip off into unconsciousness. Concussion be damned, none of it mattered if you were gonna drown a few minutes later anyway. At least this way he wouldn't have to feel it…

Feeling—touch, that was the first thing that had gone for him. Smell and taste became a blur to him after hours below ground. The stench of the musty sewer was overpowering and drowned out everything else. As he gave in to sleep, Sam closed his eyes and succumbed to darkness, leaving only the sounds around him to keep him stimulated. But even that was going too… Just before he fell asleep, Sam could swear he heard someone calling his name…

Am I going crazy? Sam thought, opening his eyes once more to hazy surroundings. Have I finally lost it? I've certainly got nothing left…

"SAM!"

Sam wanted to return the call, to shout back to the person beckoning him but he scolded himself for it a moment later.

There's no one there, idiot… You're not about to start talking to ghosts now, are you Haley Joel?

"SAM! SAMMY!"
FunnyIt sounded kind of like Dean

"Dean…" Sam said aloud, but it came out barely above a whisper. It couldn't really be Dean, could it? After hours down there, Sam had lost all hope that it was even possible Dean could find him. How would he even know where or when to start?

And yet… Sam mustered his strength to call out, louder now, "Dean… DEAN!"

"Sam?" The voice was closer now. Adjusting his vision, Sam roused himself and tried to find the source of the voices. Shadows danced on the walls again and Sam felt his hope rising. His spirits were lifted when he saw his canine friend return, running along the upper ledge and barking madly, and right on the dog's heels… Dean Winchester.

"Dean?" Sam said weakly, not sure if he could believe his eyes. By this point he was pretty sure the cold water had entirely robbed him of his senses, but there was no mistaking the incredibly real and worried look on Dean's face when he saw his little brother's predicament.

"Sammy, what the hell have you gotten yourself into now?" Dean climbed down from the ledge, landing with a splash in the water, which was up to his hips. He climbed up next to Sam and put a comforting hand on his shoulder that already made Sam feel warm and secure. "Jesus, Sammy…" Dean muttered.

Shivering violently, Sam stuttered, "… Never… thought I'd be h-happy to hear you c-call me that…" and smiled despite himself.

"So, you just hanging out down here, then?" Dean drawled sarcastically. "Thought you'd sub-lease the drainage pipe or something?"

"I'd th-thought about it… b-but the view is… l-less than desirable."

"What's hurt?" Dean said, getting down to business.

"My leg… it's stuck. I tried ge-getting it loose, b-but, I think it's broken. Also, I'm pretty sure I have a concussion. Don't know h-how long I blacked out."

"Okay, let's see what we got here… Dean reached into the murky water blindly, feeling around Sam's leg and tried tugging with his all his strength. He managed to shift a few rocks, but he stopped when Sam cried out in pain.

"You could feel that?" Dean asked.

"Of course I could!" Sam said, exasperated.

"Good," Dean said, continuing to feel around the area. "That's a good sign."

Sam rolled his eyes, less than enthused. "Peachy…"

After a moment, Dean looked his brother in the eye. "Look, I can move this big one that's pinning you down, but it's gonna hurt."

"Can't hurt any more than drowning."

"I hear that… okay. Brace yourself, little brother."

Sam steeled himself all he could, but it didn't stop him from feeling every movement of the boulder as Dean pushed with all his might to free him. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the weight that had for so long trapped him was lifted, and Sam was free. Dean gave him a moment to catch his breath before kneeling at his brother's side and slipping an arm around him under his shoulders.

"Listen, I know it hurts, but we gotta get the hell outta here," Dean said pulling Sam's hand over his shoulder, "or we're gonna be with the fishes real soon."

Managing the pain, Sam pushed himself up from the ground, resting most of his weight on Dean's shoulders. He hobbled alongside his brother back the way they'd come, noticing the dog was following them obediently. They made a few turns, only stopping to rest once before they found an opening that thankfully wasn't a ladder. Outside, not ten yards away, was the Impala.

"How did you find me?" Sam asked. "How did you even know where to look?"

"How do you think?" Dean said. "Lassie here led me to you."

"But I thought you were at the warehouse still… the demon—"

"Save it, Sammy. I realized after ten minutes there was nothing in that warehouse. I started to look for you, called you about a dozen times and started to get pretty worried when you didn't answer… So I came looking for you, found this entrance to the sewer and what's the first thing I see? Our buddy the lizard man trying to attack one pissed-off stray dog."

"You mean, youfound him?" Sam asked, hardly believing his ears.

"Living in the sewers all along. You were right. I killed the thing before it even saw me coming. You can save your I-told-you-so's, however, seeing as I just saved your ass.

"Actually, Lassie did," Sam said as Dean opened the passenger door of the Impala and sat his brother down on the seat. The older brother walked around to the trunk of the car to retrieve the first aid kit and Sam whistled to the dog, which promptly came over and sat next to him. As Sam scratched the animal's ears, Dean returned.

"No… you can't keep him."

Sam smiled. "You sound like Dad." As if to accentuate the accusation, the dog barked at Dean, who narrowed his eyes and returned to his ministrations. He rummaged through the kit and threw a bottle of Aspirin to Sam. While his brother sat, Dean found a piece of gauze and cleaned his brother's head wound the best he could, but sighed after a moment.

"Looks like you're getting some stitches, Sam. Here, hold this to it and I'll drive. I think I saw a hospital a few miles back. They can set your leg while they're at it."

"I can't wait," Sam said, deadpan, then looked over to the mutt.

"What about him?"

"I am not letting a dog into the Impala. I do not need to clean dog hair off the seats tonight."

"But…" Sam did his best to put on a pouting face. "He—he saved my life…"

Dean, too distraught by the night's events, caved in much quicker than Sam had expected. "Fine… He can come. But I'm getting a blanket for him to sit on back there!"

Minutes later and the pair were on the road. Sam still wanted to sleep, but knew he had to wait until he got checked out at the hospital. Instead he opted to get something off his mind that had been plaguing him for hours.

"Dean?"

Dean looked over at his brother before returning his eyes to the road. "Yeah?"

"I'm sorry."

Looking at him perplexedly, Dean scrunched his face. "For what?"

"For earlier tonight—for our argument…"

"Sammy, I don't even remember what we were fighting about," Dean said honestly.

Sam laughed and ran a hand through his matted hair. "Yeah, me neither, actually… I guess I just wanted to say that… that I'm really grateful for having you with me—you've always been there for me, and you've never let me down… And I want to say thank—"

"Look, I don't know what went through your concussion-addled brain down there but so help me God if you turn this into a chick-flick moment I'm going to turn this car around and take you right back."

"Yeah," Sam chuckled, leaning back in his seat. "That sounds about right."

o-o-o

Sam had spent two decades of his life regretting the things he was and wishing to be the person he never could be. Labels came and went for him, often much more quickly and violently that Sam could handle. A lot more people left Sam's life than came into it, but at least one person was always with him.

When his mother died, Dean put Sam to bed at night, held his hand when he was afraid or hurt, and covered each wound with a band-aid. When his father disappeared, Dean came to get Sam's help. When Jess died, Dean was there to rescue him from the same fiery demise and offer support. The visions weren't always there for Sam, but Dean was. When everything else abandons him, Sam will still be Dean's little brother.

Maybe one day Sam will be a father, a husband, a lawyer even, God willing. Maybe it will last and maybe it won't but either way there will still be one person who will always be there to support him if things fall apart. Even if all the other labels don't last, Sam and Dean will always be brothers.