You Hate me that much
"Hey, Dean, I'm sorry, man, I…I said some awful things back there."
"You remember all that."
"Yeh, it's like I couldn't control it, but I didn't mean it, any of it."
"You didn't, huh?"
"No, of course not."
Dean just acknowledged silently.
"Do we need to talk about this?" Sam asked.
"No, no, I'm really not in the sharing and caring mood. I just want to get some sleep."
Dean then just climbed into the car and started it up. Sam climbed in silently, a worried expression on his face.
Back at the motel, Dean had to admit that he couldn't stop thinking about what Sam had said in the asylum. Yeh, he had been possessed by an angry spirit and that could have made Sam more vulnerable, but the words, the thoughts, they were his. Like the possessed Sam had said, he was just finally telling Dean the truth and despite his best efforts to not let it bother him, it did. The truth did hurt. Dean didn't resent hearing the truth from Sam. He wasn't an idiot. He knew that Sam was unhappy at not finding their dad and he knew that he had wished to be anywhere else and to just be normal. Dean just hadn't realized that Sam's resentment had contained some hate, enough hate to pull the trigger and kill him to gain his freedom. Dean knew that there was love there too, it's just that Sam's words made him think that maybe he had been wrong to bring Sam back into the hunt, that maybe he had earned that hate.
"You okay?" Sam asked.
"Yeh, I'm good, just thinking, is all."
"About what you said back there, in the asylum."
"I'm not mad or anything, Sam. I don't need a Dr. Phil session, I've just been thinking that maybe I've been wrong all this time. I'm wondering if maybe I deserved your anger for not thinking of you first, that I should never have dragged you back. It never occurred to me that maybe you deciding to come back on the hunt with me wasn't voluntary, even if it was about Jess and dad. Hell, maybe if I hadn't come back to get you in the first place, Jess would still be alive. Maybe it was my fault, maybe if I stayed away from you…" Dean's voice trailed off.
Sam was shocked at what his hateful words had brought up in Dean's mind.
"Dean, no, I have never blamed you for what happened to Jess. It's not your fault and as for being with you, I do choose to be with you, it is my choice, please don't let my anger –"
"Anger can bring out the truth, Sam and you had the added demon factor too. I know you didn't mean to hurt me, that you couldn't help it, but if it hadn't been there in the first place, it wouldn't have been exploited."
Sam looked at Dean's calm and sad face and he had no argument against his words. Anything he had said would have sounded hollow and insincere.
"I know. It's just that I wish I could take it all back. I don't want it to change anything between us. I do want to be here, Dean."
"Oh, it won't change what we have, Sam. Nothing could." Dean reassured with a shaky smile. "Believe that. You're my brother and I would do anything for you and I know you'd do the same. It's not you I'm questioning. It's me."
"You didn't do anything wrong, Dean."
"I'm not so sure."
"Well, I am. This isn't about you, it's about me, Jess and dad, plain and simple."
"I wish it were." Dean said a little absently.
"You must hate me sometimes too, Dean. My leaving for college and all." Sam said without being accusatory, but hoping to find something to ease his own guilt.
Dean looked over at Sam and smiled again.
"Let's get some sleep. I'm dogged tired."
Dean climbed into his bed and turned his back towards Sam so that he couldn't see that he was still awake, still thinking about what had happened. Sam's question to him left him wondering as well. Did he also resent Sam enough to hate him? He didn't think so, but he wasn't sure. Could Sam going to college have given him some kind of inner hate because he couldn't escape himself? It made him question his feelings. It also made him question his motives. Maybe the right thing to do was to let Sam go.
Sam looked at Dean and was scared for the very first time that their relationship was on shaky ground, that he had done irreparable damage that could never be forgiven or forgotten between them. He also remembered what he had told the other Dr. Ellicott about his relationship with Dean to get information about the asylum. He had told him that he did resent Dean's ordering him around, but he was like that with everyone, especially when it came to their father, wasn't he? He didn't think he hated Dean for that. He went to bed, but was expecting a sleepless night ahead.
The following couple of days were a little strained on both their parts. They were tip toeing around each other which not only felt unnatural, it felt painful, especially for Sam. He had never known a time in all their lives when Dean wasn't busting his chops or just shooting the breeze with him and for the last two days, he had found him lost in his thoughts, unable to make eye contact with Sam and worse, the silence was deafening. Even when Sam had approached him to talk it out, Dean would say things were okay, that he just needed time to think. That worried Sam even more. Dean never over thought, he just acted. Everything was about taking action, it was instinctual for him, he never over analyzed anything, he followed with his gut, so to have him think so long and hard about anything meant that what had happened had really struck a chord with him, maybe making him doubt himself. Sam couldn't take it if he had made Dean unsure of himself. That uncertainty could get him killed.
As they started packing up to hit the road, someone was knocking on their door furiously. Dean went to open it and saw Kat.
"Oh, god, I'm glad you haven't left. Something's happened to Gavin!" She said hysterically.
"Whoa, whoa, take a breath and slow down." Dean tried to calm as he gently grasped her shoulders. "What happened to Gavin?"
"Well, after we left the asylum, everything seemed fine and we both went home. Last night, he killed himself for no good reason. He's never been that way."
"Did he talk to you, leave a note?" Sam asked.
"No, nothing like that, but when I talked to his mom, she told me that he had seen Dr. Ellicott earlier in the day."
"Dr. Ellicott, the son?" Dean asked.
"Yeh, Gavin was having nightmares and his mom was worried so she took him to Dr. Ellicott. Gavin didn't want to go, but she insisted. She said he seemed fine after leaving there, but then he…" Kat sobbed. "Do you think something might have happened to him at the asylum?"
"No, we took care of everything there." Dean said.
"I'm worried that I might be next –"
"No, no, don't worry, I'm sure you're going to be okay. Are you having nightmares?" Sam asked.
"No, not yet anyway."
"Well, tell you what, I want you to go home and stay there tonight. Let us know if you start having nightmares, but most of all, don't go to see Dr. Ellicott." Dean said.
"Do you think he had something to do with it?"
"Well, an apple doesn't fall far from the tree. It wouldn't surprise me if he had daddy's traits so we're going to check him out."
"Okay," Kat said with relief.
"Here's my cell. You call if you need us, okay?" Dean said.
"Please be careful." She said sincerely.
"Always are." Dean comforted and gave her a reassuring smile.
Kat nodded and left.
"Do you think he's carrying on his father's research?" Sam asked.
"Could be, but I think he's expanding it to include a little mind control. Let's suit up and pay a visit."
"Maybe I should go alone, he already knows me –"
"No, all the more reason for you not to go alone. For all we know he may have already gotten into your head during your session with him. We don't know if it's hypnosis or something else. I won't risk it." Dean insisted.
There it was, Dean's protectiveness thrown into gear at any hint of any danger against Sam. After the last couple of days, Sam was worried that maybe it wasn't there anymore, but again, he shouldn't have doubted Dean. Protection was his middle name. It was second nature.
"Okay. We go together?"
Dean and Sam showed up at Dr. Ellicott's office. The nurse told them that there was an opening and that they could wait in his office. They walked around the office to see if they could get any clues. Dean searched the drawers of his desk, but didn't find anything unusual. He checked for hidden compartments and found a drawer that felt heavier than the others. He searched further and managed to open the false bottom. In it, he found a journal, not unlike the one he found at the asylum. He glanced through the pages to get an idea of what Ellicott Jr.'s "therapy" was. He had hoped it would be less gruesome than what he had read in dear old daddy's journals.
"Sam, I found something." He said.
"A journal. Just like daddy's in the asylum."
"What does it say?"
"I believe you're violating my privacy." Said a voice by the door.
They both turned to see Ellicott watching them.
"Good to see you again, Sam. Come for a second session?"
"Stay away from him." Dean said with gritted teeth conviction and protectiveness.
"Ah, so this must be Dean. Your brother."
Sam felt his stomach drop. Something more that Dean would find out second hand that he had never intended for him to find out at all, that he had talked about him to Ellicott to gain his confidence. He looked over at Dean, but if he was affected by Ellicott's revelation, he didn't show it.
"You know, he has some issues with you." Ellicott taunted.
"Shut up!" Sam said angrily.
"Oh, I won't discuss what you told me, doctor-patient confidentiality, after all." He continued to taunt.
"Look, we don't know what you're starting here, but we're gonna end it." Dean said. "Whatever you did to Gavin –" Sam said.
"Ah, Gavin was having nightmares and I was just trying to help him."
"By killing him?" Dean said more as a statement than a question.
"I didn't kill him, he killed himself. Too troubled to save, I'm afraid. I just wasn't there in time."
"Yeh, is that what you told his mother so you can sleep at night?" Dean taunted back.
"Oh, I sleep just fine. I plan to revolutionize psychiatry with my new therapy. You see, it's all about honesty. Not leaving things bottled up. Telling the truth releases guilt, anxiety, and all of the things that keep people from moving forward."
"And how, exactly, do you accomplish this honesty?" Dean asked sarcastically.
"I just give them something to relax and release their inhibitions so that they don't fear the consequences to telling the truth."
"I don't think anyone's going to like your side effects." Dean said. "I think I'll stick to alcohol."
"You're very funny. We call that a coping strategy."
"Save your analysis for someone who cares. Oh wait, we're closing your practice down."
"Hmmm, denial too, how text book. You'd be a fascinating case study."
Then Ellicott began to morph into something inhuman and managed to place one hand on Dean's head and the other on Sam's. Pain ripped through both of them and they both fell to their knees, immobile, but not unconscious.
"The other part of my therapy is confronting the object of the conflict."
Ellicott slightly released his grip on Sam, still keeping him immobile, but unaffected by the power he was clearly exerting on Dean. Sam was devastated that Dean could die because of something he had told Ellicott.
"Sam, you opened yourself up to me and I felt your frustration, anger, and most strongly your hatred for being controlled by your brother, feeling as if you had no say in any of the decisions made about how to find your father. I think it's about time Dean shared his true feelings now that he knows how you feel about him."
Dean screamed and arched against the pain that assaulted him.
"No! Stop!" Sam pleaded. "Leave him alone!"
"In order for the healing to begin, he must reveal his truth or die. He must face his responsibility for your pain and anger."
Sam watched helplessly as Ellicott continued to inflict pain on Dean. His face grimaced and twitched.
"Dean, tell Sam how you really feel. Don't you hate him for leaving for college? For leaving you behind to carry on the family business, leaving you no choices at all to escape? Don't you resent his ability to defy your father?"
Dean tried to smile through the pain as defiantly as only he could.
"Take your dime store psycho-babble and shove it. I don't hate Sam. I never have and I never will. I admire him."
"You envy him then."
"There's nothing to envy about our life…we hunt and kill bastards like you…not a career path they recruit for…Sam's right for wanting to escape it…I'm the crazy one for staying…oh, I guess that makes me right up your alley, doesn't it?"
Dean groaned and stiffened again, the surge of power and pain was bordering on unbearable. Sam felt his heart break hearing Dean's words, resisting to say anything that would hurt him. The more he resisted, the harsher the pain.
"Be honest, Dean. Hatred is in all of us. It must be expressed in order for it to be freed."
"You don't listen so good for a shrink, do you? I…would never hurt him…could never hate him…"
"But what about his hatred for you?"
"Sam doesn't hate me…he hates the life…the life I forced him to live…the one I keep him in…I know that now…"
Dean groaned as he felt his brain being ripped into, but he also felt a weakness in Ellicott's power over him. He was telling the truth, but he realized that his control over him came from negative, destructive emotions. Every time he was honest about professing his genuine love and brotherly devotion to Sam, he felt his hold loosen on him. He was relieved that despite Ellicott's attempts to draw out something damaging against Sam, his worst fear wasn't there. He didn't hate Sam, had never hated him. The knowledge gave him renewed strength to withstand the torture he was enduring.
Sam was hearing Dean suffering and mistook it as resistance, that he was unwilling to admit to hating Sam or at the very least, not wanting him to hear him say the words. He had to tell him to let go and that it would be okay, that he was okay with it and that it wouldn't change their relationship.
"Dean, please don't resist it. You can tell him the truth. I'm okay with it. My feelings won't change. I love you. It's more important to me that you live…please don't let him kill you because you're trying to protect me. I can't lose you."
He was moved by Sam's words even though he misunderstood Ellicott's power.
"Not resisting, Sam…not lying…can't…his power is too strong…but feelings are true, real…I mean every word…You're my brother, Sam, nothing on this earth or beyond could ever change that…You mean more to me than life…I don't want to be the one to hold you back." Dean moaned in agony, feeling the hold loosening, but the pain intensifying as Ellicott struggled to maintain control. Just a little more, Dean thought to himself. He had to withstand the pain just little longer. "You have a right to hate, to hate dad for abandoning you, to hate me for keeping you in a life you don't really want…I don't blame you…the doc here got one thing right, you have to express your hate, not let it…fill you up…eat you up inside and I…plan…to help with that…I'm letting you go, Sam…I want you to follow your heart and if means leaving…I'm good with it…doesn't mean I'm not there for you…I'll never leave you alone, Sam…I'm your brother and that will never change…I know I don't say it a lot, but I love you, Sam."
Another scream came from Dean and an echoing "NO!" emanated from Ellicott and then his form disintegrated, releasing both Sam and Dean. They both collapsed to the floor, but Sam was the first to recover and he ran to Dean's side. His ragged breathing was all the reassurance Sam needed.
"Dean? Dean? Are you all right? What happened? How did you –"
Dean tried to calm his breathing and get up, but dizziness kept him down. Sam helped him into one of the office chairs. He then sat next to him. Dean licked his dry lips and swallowed with difficulty.
"Sam? Are you all right?" He asked.
"I'm fine, Dean. Are you okay?"
"I…think…so…" Dean said, grunting all the while with every move he made.
"How did you know –"
"Felt him becoming weaker the more I talked so I just kept on talking…you know me, never been good at shutting up…it just wasn't what he wanted to hear…denial, I guess, huh?" Dean cracked a smile.
Sam shook his head in disbelief then hung it down.
"I thought –"
"That I was resisting, that I didn't want to admit my feelings…I know…Ellicott's power was real…I couldn't resist it…but I know now that what I felt was honest…" Dean took in a deep and shaky breath. "See, I was worried…that maybe I did hate you…and it scared me…but when Ellicott made me face everything, I knew that I didn't and it took all of the uncertainty away. I want you to know that you do have a choice. All I have ever wanted was for you to be happy and it'll be okay if you want to go, live your life the way you want to. I promise you'll never have to wonder if you did the right thing because no matter where you go, I'm just a cell phone call away and if you ever need me, I'll be there in a heartbeat. I'd rather you left happy than stay and hate every minute."
Dean felt good saying the words to Sam. All the worries and doubts were erased and nothing but clarity remained, that and the love he had for his brother. Sam just looked at him and admired that given all they had gone through, Dean had never let animosity or hate consume him. He was sure he had felt them, but he managed to always let them go.
"You weren't the only one who was scared. I was worried that what I said would change everything between us, but I should have known you'd never let it." Sam paused, his face crumbling. "Dean, I don't want to go and that's the real truth. I need you to keep me sane, to keep me from falling apart. I'm so sorry. Please don't leave without me."
Sam covered his face with his hands and sobbed, not caring if sounded like a little boy. Right then, it was exactly how he felt and he was aching for his big brother to make things better. Dean reached over and brought him into a hug.
"Sam…it's okay. I'm not going anywhere. I promise to keep you safe."