Watching My Brother
Disclaimer:- Nothing Supernatural is mine, I have borrowed Sam and Dean for a while. I'll give them back now – apart from passing a little time with them, I have made no profit from this endeavour – so please don't come looking for me. I even borrowed Pastor Jim and John for a moment or two but they were returned intact also.
Summary:- Sam watches and learns from his big brother as he grows up.
Author's Note:- A companion piece to 'Watching' - You don't need to read it for this to make sense. 'Watching' is about Dean growing up and this is about Sam.
Author's Thanks:- Special thanks go to Rae Artemis who convinced me not to give up
Sammy watched his brother, 'Can you get it? Can you do it, Dean?' Dad was away again and Dean was looking out for him, and right now, Dean was taking ages making something to eat, 'Dean, I'm hungry. How much longer?'
'I'm trying to reach, Sammy, okay, just be quiet for a minute.' There was only one tin of Spaghettios left and that was what Sammy wanted. The problem was it had been knocked to the back of the almost empty top shelf. Sammy watched as his brother balanced precariously on one of the stools from the breakfast bar and stretched as far as he could, trying to reach the tin. The process was made more problematic by the legs on the stool being uneven and each time he'd almost got it, the stool would rock and he'd have to regain his balance so as not to fall.
'Dean! How long are you going to take?'
'Tell you what Sammy. You help me. You hold the stool still and I'll get the Spaghettios down quicker. How about that?'
'Keep real still, Sammy.'
Sammy watched as Dean stretched up and finally snagged the elusive tin. As he got a firm grip on the tin and began to lean back from the shelf, he heard his brother's shout 'Yeah! Dean, you got it!' It was the clapping hands that gave Dean his first warning of what would happen next. Unfortunately it wasn't warning enough to stop the roll of events. He felt the stool begin to rock and he reached back to the cupboard to try and stop it. It was too late, he felt the stool tip over and his body begin to fall. He turned as he fell, landing painfully on his side rather than flat on his back.
Sammy watched as his brother opened his eyes, he saw the pain in those eyes and the tears that brimmed but didn't fall. Sammy Winchester watched as his brother slowly got up from the floor with a grunt and turned to the stove reaching for a pan, 'I'm fine, buddy. Stupid huh! I shoulda been more careful. Next we put the spaghettios on the bottom shelf. What do you reckon?'
Sammy watched his brother and he learnt that big brothers look out for little brothers, even when they don't always do as they're told and that real Winchesters don't cry, no matter how much they hurt.
Samuel Winchester sat at the top of the stairs listening. Dad was going to be away for a good while so he and his brother were staying with Pastor Jim. The Pastor was cross and Dean was in trouble. If Samuel leant forward, he could just see where his brother was standing looking sorrier than he usually did when adults other than Dad told him off.
Samuel felt kinda bad because Dean hadn't actually been the guilty person this time. That had been Samuel. Not that either brother had told the Pastor that.
Samuel could see and hear enough to know the Pastor was in full flow now. He could hear the disappointment in his voice, which always seemed to bother Dean more than when he was just plain cross. Samuel didn't get that, but Dean was different and that he did get. 'Dean I realise your father has a different expectation of you, but we have already discussed what I expect when you are staying with me and…'
'I'm sorry Pastor Jim. I was trying, it just sort of slipped…' and the thing was that Samuel knew Dean had been trying, in fact he'd never known him make so much effort about it. He couldn't see the point because when Dad got back and they left the Pastor's house, he wouldn't be worried but for some reason it was important to Dean. He hadn't bothered trying himself and look where that had got them. He figured he'd try now though, for Dean and to try to make sure they didn't get into any more trouble.
'Dean… You have to understand most people really don't want to hear words like that. They are shocked when they hear them and get very upset to hear them coming out of young children's mouths. It's up to you; just imagine what people would think of Sammy if he used words like that. And you know that Sammy looks up to you, he follows your example. You wouldn't want them to think badly of your Sammy would you? '
Samuel figured the Pastor hadn't quite got them worked out yet, almost but not quite. He was right about the looking up to Dean bit, he loved having Dean as his brother but he didn't always follow his example nor do what he said. Well that was obvious given the current situation, but then the Pastor didn't know that.
'I really will try not to do it again sir.'
Samuel was only ever Samuel when he was in trouble. Dean and Dad only called him that when he was getting a telling off. This time he wasn't getting the telling off but he figured he deserved to be Samuel for a while anyway. When Dean came upstairs, maybe he'd say that to him, tell Dean that he could call him Samuel for a while, maybe that would make up for the telling off. Not completely but a bit anyway.
Samuel watched his brother and the Pastor. Samuel watched and he learnt. He learnt that Winchesters don't snitch on one another, even when they're in trouble for something they haven't done. He learnt that when Dean said the Pastor was alright, what he actually meant was he was someone important, someone Dean wanted to please and not let down and there weren't many people in Dean's 'alright' classification. He learnt that sometimes his brother wanted something that he couldn't explain in words. He was reminded that big brothers look out for little brothers even when they didn't always deserve it.
Sam, too old to be Sammy, to fed up to care about being Samuel, was bored and Dad's mood didn't seem to be improving any, so it looked pretty unlikely there was going to be any let up in the near future. Not that any of it seemed to bother Dean much. He almost seemed to be enjoying himself.
'No Sam! Watch your brother, he's got it.' Sam watched as Dean drew, aimed and fired smoothly, only missing dead centre of the target by a fraction. 'Now you, Sam.'
Sam pulled his own gun out, adjusted his grip, lined it up, blinked and checked his aim was true and … fired. The recoil jarred his arm again and his shot only just caught the outside edge of the target. 'Shit!'
'Sam! Feet! Posture!'
'Here we go again,' thought Sam as his father began yet another tirade about his lack of proficiency. He saw his brother roll his eyes when his father was turned fully towards his youngest.
'Dad, let me…' his brother cut the tirade short as he stepped in front and adjusted his brother's feet, changing his angle and posture in relation to the target. He adjusted the gun sitting in his brother's waistband then stepped back. As he reached his father's side, he nodded and Sam drew the gun smoothly, sighted and fired, barely noticing the recoil.
It was good, a little wide of the centre but acceptable. His father nodded, 'Again, Sam.'
'Dad, you go in. Sam and I can finish up here. We don't need you to watch over us all the time.'
Sam watched waiting for Dad's reaction, 'It's fine, I'll watch. Make sure you're both concentrating.'
'Oh come on, Dad. Don't you trust us? We can do it without you glaring over our shoulders. Give us a break. Hell, I can even bring back the targets to prove we've done it.'
'Well… there's to be no out. You know what I expect.'
Dean was confident, 'Five consecutive in the centre. We know. Go, you can finish up that research you were doing earlier.'
'Yes Dad. Five, centre, yeah. Dean's watching.'
'Hmm. Okay but Dean, both of you, not just…'
'Yeah, Dad, I know, go...'
Sam watched as his father finally left, watched him walk back to the path that led to the cabin. 'Earth to Sam, come on bro. Let's get this finished, I can think of better things to do than hanging out here.'
Sam's surprised gaze swung back to his brother, 'What?'
'You think I want to spend all day shooting at a barn wall? Get real, Sammy.'
'But… Dean… you always… Dad thinks you're great.'
'Sam, sometimes… First Dad thinks I'm okay, not great. I don't think he knows the meaning of the word. Second, he only gives you a hard time because you don't focus. Third, if you focussed, we'd get through a hell of a lot quicker and without his lectures and then we could get back and do other stuff.'
'Dean, I just don't get it. I watch you...and him... but I don't get what I'm doing wrong.'
'Okay, look Sam.'
Sam watched as his brother started again. He explained and demonstrated every aspect. Sam watched as he showed how different positions in his waistband were going to effect how he would draw the gun, how it would balance in his hand, how it would effect the angle of his arm and hand. He watched as Dean showed with what almost seemed like an intricate dance, how the position of his feet would effect his balance and his readiness for absorbing the recoil, how the angle of his body would change the result on the target.
He watched his brother demonstrate and then continued to watch as his brother guided, shaped and moulded his own body to efficiency.
He watched and he learnt. He learnt how to handle a gun with calm confidence. He learnt that big brothers aren't just show offs and that if you look and listen in just the right way sometimes they're giving you directions to an easier path to help you find your own way.
Sam forgot to watch his brother as he packed his bag to go to Stanford. He figured he didn't need him anymore anyway and Dean would be glad to get his own life now too.
Amidst the arguments with his Dad, Sam didn't watch to see what his brother did, where he went. He didn't hear his brother try to reason, try to appease their father. All he saw was a good little soldier, following orders, not seeking an escape from this life.
It was only when he got to Stanford and opened his bag that he realised that sometimes he should watch his brother more closely because sometimes he wondered if he hadn't just missed something important after all. Sam lifted the family photos from his bag – the four of them, the three of them, the two of them and Sam. Sometimes he wondered what his brother wanted to tell him and couldn't he find an easier way to maybe just come out and say what he was thinking.
While Sam was at College, he found lots of people to watch. He learnt how to fit in and about all the things his brother hadn't taught him. He realised just how much his brother said without words and how closely he'd had to watch him so as not to miss what Dean was saying. He figured maybe Dean had worked out a whole language but forgotten to put words with it…
I love you, little brother - a nod of approval, a favourite meal served, a favourite t-shirt clean of bloodstains and holes stitched carefully together.
I'm proud of you – a face in the crowd at a school event; a book stolen from a library to help with homework, a chore covered giving more time for study.
I'd do anything for you, Sam – a late night hustle followed by new jeans that fit the next day, a cupcake and candle on an otherwise ignored birthday.
I'd die for you – a push out of the way on a hunt, a step forward to face the evil first.
Yes. Dean had a whole language of his own. Other people sure were a whole lot easier to understand than Dean. It didn't take Sam long not to need to watch them like he'd always needed to watch his brother. Life was easier and more relaxed.
Sam stayed at Stanford for almost four years and he'd learnt to fit in so long ago that he'd stopped watching people. Most of the time, he gave them no more than a passing glance.
Then Dean came back.
Sam figured his brother had changed in four years. He was frustrating to be with for a start. Sam figured the change in Dean hadn't necessarily been for the better. He was louder but never really said anything worth listening to, just filling the silence.
Then one day as Sam turned round, he caught sight of his brother out of the corner of his eye. He thought that maybe Dean was saying something different to what he thought he'd been listening to. He thought he saw Dean saying 'Help me Sammy, I'm hurting.' He turned round and looked Dean square in the face and realised that he'd been wrong that wasn't what Dean had said at all. He had been talking about where they were going to stop for food. Sam figured it must have just been a trick of the light.
Months later, Sam saw that look again. They've been staying in a motel looking for work, Dean had some ideas but Sam… well he just had to go one better didn't he… the whole vision thing. He went with it, told Dean 'we need to go home'. Didn't figure on that one did you, Dean? Back home, the house where Mom died so many years ago, Sam reckons it's just a place, 'home' is just a word and anyway that family they're in danger, how hard can it be? And there staring him in the face is the look, that look from months ago, and finally Sam sees it, clear as day and raw.
There's no trick of light, no pretending he can't see it. Hell, Dean is trying to hide it and failing, failing like he's never failed at anything else before.
'When, what?' Sam has to be sure, no room for mistakes now.
'When I swore to myself that I would never go back there.' The room is quiet, no noise from outside, a cocoon of silence from the world. But inside the cocoon, Sam can clearly see the silent scream his brother doesn't know he's showing and he wonders how the hell he has missed seeing it all this time.
'Look Dean, we have to check this out. Just to make sure,' Sam knows now, he's pushing beyond what he has any right to ask. In fact if he gives it a moment's thought he'll work out that Dean couldn't have been more than five or six when they left Lawrence for good and that he must have sworn then never to go back. Sam knows Dad has been back and if he spends some time thinking about it, he'll remember the arguments each time Dean refused to go anywhere near the place, Dad shouting, screaming, Dean silent, a one-sided verbal argument but Dean said all he needed to say with very few words, the rest you had to read. If he spent just a bit of time, he might even remember when Dean opened the door and threw himself out of a moving car to prove he was not going back but right now, Sam isn't thinking back, he's thinking forward and trying to figure out how is he going to get Dean to go back to Lawrence.
'I know we do.' As he hears his brother's quiet acceptance, the tidal wave of memory crashes in on Sam. He remembers all those things and more. He remembers that when it comes to the important things Dean is a man of few words spoken, but if you watch closely, he'll tell you all you need to know and when it comes to the good things like 'I love you', and 'I'm proud of you', he'll find a thousand ways to show you without uttering the words.
If Sam has learnt anything in his time as a Winchester, it's that it isn't always the words that someone says that carry the most important message. That and big brothers are worth watching closely.
Author's Note:- Reviews are welcome along with constructive criticism, Please!