A/N: So this was originally supposed to be for P.L. Wynter's challenge "What if Sam and Dean had Max's childhood?" and it kind of evolved and veered from the challenge some. This takes place during the end of Nightmare, which I have re-written. I have kept some (but not all) of the dialogue.
"Well, I'll tell you one thing," Sam said as Dean and he made their way to the car after helping Max's step-mother deal with the cops, "we're lucky we had dad."
Dean stared at his brother for a moment, a look Sam couldn't identify passing over his face.
"I never thought I'd hear you say that," Dean finally said, in a very passive and not-Dean-like voice.
"Well, it could have gone a whole 'nother way after mom," Sam said, filing Dean's reaction in the back of his mind for later consideration. "A little more tequila, a little less demon hunting and we would have had Max's childhood."
Again that look passed over Dean's face. Making Sam very curious as to what was going on inside his brother's head. He again pushed back that curiosity and continued.
"All things considered, we turned out okay. Thanks to him."
Dean looked back at the house, so Sam couldn't see his face, but Sam had a feeling his brother had that look again.
"All things considered," Dean said, before opening up the car door and getting in. Sam was really starting to wonder what was up with his brother. He let out a sigh and climbed in the car as Dean started it up. Dean didn't look at him during the drive back to the motel. The only reason silence didn't fill the car was because Black Sabbath was filling it. Sam's mind was occupied by his newfound abilities, especially the telekinesis, and The Look, as he had now dubbed it. It concerned him, because he knew he should know that look. He knew every other look of Dean's, just like Dean never every looks of Sam's. Yet, Sam could not place The Look, although it gave him a sense of déjà vu.
They got to the hotel and Dean hopped out of the car right away.
"C'mon, Sammy, let's get packed, gotta hit the road as soon as possible. Who knows how long it'll take before they figure out that I'm not Jason Newsted."
Sam reluctantly obliged. He followed his brother into the motel room and almost made it to the bed when he felt light-headed and began to stumble. Dean was at his side almost instantly, holding the younger man up. A group of images from his past came rushing back to Sam all at once. The only thing was, Sam didn't remember them. They were all of Dean at different ages with The Look on his face. Repressed memories his Psych 101 knowledge screamed at him.
"Sam!" Dean yelled, sounding frantic. Sam quickly snapped out of his stupor to look at his brother. Some how Dean had navigated them both to the bed.
"I'm fine," Sam said, "just got a little light-headed."
Dean didn't look like he believed him.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, the visions just took a lot out of me," Sam said, reassuring his brother that it was not another vision of impending doom. Dean nodded his head, not entirely convinced, but the fact that Sam was lucid and relatively steady assured him that his brother was in no immediate danger. Sam watched as Dean walked to the other side of the room and continued to pack.
Sam sat there for a few moments, trying to make sense of these new memories. He remembered that his Psych prof had said that repressed memories often came to light when triggered by something relating to them. Seeing The Look again must have triggered these memories for Sam. He couldn't figure out why he had repressed them, though. He slowly went through each small snippet of memories. The only common denominators were The Look and Dean. Most of the time it was after Dean did something he shouldn't have or if their dad was mad at him. It didn't explain why Sam repressed those memories, or why Dean had The Look on his face for the first time (if Sam's memory could be trusted) since he picked up Sam from Stanford.
Since he picked up Sam from Stanford because their father was missing. Their father was missing and therefore not around. Their father was not around, but The Look still came out. The Look came out when Sam talked about them being lucky they had Dad. When Sam talked about them being lucky they had, because they weren't abused as children.
"HOLY SHIT!" Sam screamed out, the pieces of the puzzle falling into place. Dean looked over at Sam startled.
"What's your problem, college boy?" Dean asked with his usual sardonic attitude.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Sam asked getting off the bed and walking towards his brother.
"What?" Dean asked confused.
"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME?" Sam yelled, now right up in his brother's face.
"WHAT?" Dean yelled, just slightly louder than Sam.
Sam turned away suddenly and sighed, running his hand through his hair. He mumbled something inaudible.
"What was that?" Dean asked, getting very pissed off at his little brother.
"Why didn't you tell me that Dad abused you?" Sam asked in a quiet, though now audible, tone as he turned to face his brother. Dean stood stock still, The Look plastered all over his face. Sam finally identified it. It was pure, unadulterated fear. His brother had never shown this amount of fear before. Sure, there was a hint of it every now and then, but determination, bravery and cockiness always over-powered it. Sam thought his brother didn't even no how to feel real fear. He was wrong, and he wished to God he wasn't.
"H-how did…" Dean trailed off, not being able to form a coherent sentence at the moment.
"That doesn't matter. What matters is - why didn't you tell me? Or anybody for that matter?" Sam asked, trying to keep a gentle voice. He had no clue how Dean would react to anything else at this point.
Sam waited for his brother to speak. He watched Dean's face as a million feelings flashed over it, before the cocky, indifferent mask slammed into place.
"Just leave it alone, Sammy," Dean said, his voice now hard and full of warning. A warning Sam did not heed.
"No," Sam said. It was just one word, but powerful enough to make Dean's face harden even more.
"I said, leave it alone," Dean bit out before turning back to his duffel bag to finish packing. Sam refused to leave it at that, though.
"Tell me, Dean. What happened? Why didn't you tell anybody? How come I never found out?" Sam demanded from his brother. Dean ignored him, though.
"Because he threatened to go after you, too!" Dean yelled, whipping around. His face was red from rage.
That revelation made Sam stop in his tracks. He never even thought about his father hurting him like that. Of course, up until a couple of minutes ago, he never thought about his father hurting Dean like that, either.
"Tell me," Sam said, now wanting to know exactly what his brother went through.
"Tell me," Sam insisted.
"Please," Sam said.
"Please, Dean, tell me," Sam begged, throwing in his patented puppy-eyes for effect.
Dean sighed and Sam knew he had won that little battle. He watched as Dean sat down on the bed.
"Most of the time it was nothing major, just a punch here, a kick there. But there were those times he'd get drunk, like on the anniversary of mom's… anyway, he would use his belt," Dean said in clipped, soft tones. Sam sat down beside his brother, resisting the urge to pull Dean into a hug, knowing his brother wasn't upset enough to object. It was almost clinical to Dean, like he was just stating the facts of a case.
"Why did you let him?"
"Did you not hear me?" Dean asked, his voice rose a bit louder, "he threatened to go after you."
Sam looked at his brother. He knew Dean would do anything to protect him, but this was so major. Sam looked at his brother and realized that Dean was hurt because of Sam. If Sam wasn't around, their mother would still be alive and she would have never had let John hurt Dean.
"Dean, I'm so s-"
"If you say that you're sorry, I'm gonna kick your ass. We are not prepubescent girls. So unless you want me to start braiding your hair, shut up," Dean said, his usual cocky grin back in place.
Sam was going to try and continue the conversation, but knew that Dean could only do so much of the 'self-help, yoga, touchy-feely crap' so he left it alone for now. As he made his way over to the bed, Sam was already planning the different things he was going to say and do when they finally found their father. None of them would be pleasant for the older man. Sam knew, though, that it was his turn to protect Dean and he'd do that anyway possible.
"Dean, I've been thinking…" Sam said, knowing that it was time to change the topic, even if it wasn't a better topic.
"Well, that's never a good thing."
"I'm serious. I've been thinking, why would this demon, or whatever it is, why would it kill mom and Jessica and Max's mother, you know? What does it want?"
Dean looked relieved that the subject was changed, but also worried about where this new conversation was headed.
"I have no idea," Dean answered.
"You think maybe it was after us? After Max and me?" Sam asked.
"Why would you think that?" Dean asked suspiciously.
"I mean, either telekinesis or premonitions, we both had abilities, you know? Maybe it was after us for some reason."
"Sam, if it wanted you, it would have just taken you. Okay, this is not your fault. It's not about you."
"Then what is it about?" Sam questioned.
"It's about that damn thing that did this to our family. It's about the thing that we're going to find, the thing that we're going to kill. It's about the thing that took mom and Jess and caused dad to…" Dean trailed off, but quickly recovered, "and that's all."
"Dean, the demon didn't make dad hurt you. He did it all on his own." The words left Sam's mouth before he could stop them.
"Sam, lay off. It may not have been pleasant, but at least I learned to follow his orders. The man may be many things, but he is great at building a defense. He kept us safe."
"No, he kept ME safe. You weren't safe, Dean!" Sam said, upset by how Dean could so easily forgive the man who abused him.
"Sam, lay off," Dean bit out.
"Just answer me one question, Dean."
"Fine, one," Dean relented.
"When did he stop?"
Dean was silent.
"Did he stop?"
Again Dean was silent.
"Jesus Christ, Dean! You mean the whole time I've been away he was still hitting you? Why didn't you stop him?"
"Because he knew where you were," Dean answered.
"You said one question. Now lay off for now, Sammy," Dean said, interrupting his brother.
Sam nodded his head, agreeing. Not because he wanted to, but because he heard the "for now." This meant that Dean would talk about it again, eventually.
A few minutes passed, before Sam cleared his throat.
"There's something else, too."
"Oh geez, what?" Dean asked, obviously getting more and more fed up with conversation in general at this point.
"When Max looked me in that closet with that big cabinet against the door, I moved it," Sam said, then clearing his throat, trying to make it sound like no big deal.
"Huh, got a little bit more upper body strength than I gave you credit for," Dean joked, seemingly relieved that this wasn't going to be another 'heavy' conversation.
"No man, I moved it, like Max," Sam corrected his brother. He watched as the grin that had crept onto his brother's face fell away.
"Oh. Right," said a stunned Dean.
Dean grabbed a spoon and held it out to his brother.
"I can't turn it on and off, Dean," Sam said. He was the one becoming irritated, now.
"Well how did you do it then?" Dean asked.
"I don't know; I can't control it. I saw you die and it just came out of me, like a punch. You know, like a freak adrenaline-thing"
Dean looked at Sam with a confused expression. Sam realized, now that he had learned about his father's actions, Dean hadn't had anybody care about his well-being like that for the past four years.
"I'm sure it won't happen again," Dean said as he threw the spoon back into the cup he got it from, trying to hide his concern.
"Yeah, maybe," Sam said, not really believing his brother. "Aren't you worried, man? Aren't you worried that I could turn into Max or something?"
"Nope, no way," Dean answered. "You know why?"
"No, why?" Sam asked, curious at Dean's newfound confidence in the situation
"'Cause you got one advantage Max didn't have."
"I hope you're not referring to Dad. At this point I'm trying to decide how I want to kill him," Sam send, with venom in his voice.
"Don't start again, Sammy," Dean warned. "And no, not Dad. Me. As long as I'm around, nothing bad is gonna happen to you."
"Thanks, Dean. And it goes both ways. Nothing and NO ONE is going to hurt you while I'm around," Sam said.
Dean gave Sam a small smile.
"Thanks," he said. "Now then, I know what we need to do about your premonitions. I know where we have to go."
"Vegas," Dean said with that shit-eating grin of his.
Sam looked at his brother surprised, then scoffed and began to walk to the car.
"What?" Dean said. "C'mon, craps tables – we'd clean up."
Sam shook his head. He knew Dean was still hurting over their father's actions, but it was good to hear him joke. Sam swore to himself that, no matter what, John Winchester would pay for hurting his eldest son.
A/N: How was it? Let me know. By the way, 'Jason Newsted' happens to be the name of the Metallica bass player who joined the band in 1986 and left the band in 2001.