Disclaimer: I still don't own Supernatural or its characters. I and am not making any money on this…I'm just having fun!
Chapter 24– Epilogue
Dean sighed as he watched the steady breathing of his brother in the bed next to him. It had been over a week since he had managed to get Sam down the mountain. Dean had driven them to the next town, not wanting to use the same hospital as before…he didn't need to answer more questions. Sam had a cast on his leg to match the new cast that had been placed on his newly broken hand. It had been touch and go for the first couple of days as Sam fought the infection in his system. But in the end, his brother had come through and was on his way to recovering…physically that is.
Sam had barely spoken since waking up in the hospital. He answered Dean's questions, but didn't initiate any conversations. He was barely sleeping again and so far was refusing to eat more than a few bites of food at a time. But worse, the spark was gone from Sam's eyes. He was shutting down and Dean wasn't sure how to stop it.
Dean jumped as his brother began to moan and toss on the bed. "NO! I won't…you can't make me…God, I can't…" The tears were flowing down Sam's sweaty face as he continued to struggle in his nightmare. Dean knew that he was reliving what had happened with Gordon. He had tried to talk to Sam about it, but Sam just turned away, refusing to let Dean in.
"Come on Sam, it's just a nightmare." Dean said as he gently wiped a tear from his brother's face. "You're safe Sam…nothings going to get you."
Sam sat up gasping, frantically searching the room before realizing where he was. "Sorry Dean…didn't mean to wake you. You can go back to bed, I'm ok." Sam sat on the edge of the bed and reached for the crutch that he was using to get around. It was awkward with just one hand, but Sam refused to let Dean help him any more than he had to.
Sam moved carefully to the bathroom, closing the door with a sigh. He knew that Dean wouldn't let him be in here for long, but it was the only place he could try to get his emotions back under control. Sam turned on the tap and washed his face. As he looked at his reflection in the mirror he didn't recognize the man looking back at him. His face was thinner and he had a hopeless look in his eyes. Sam sat on the edge of the tub and tried to convince himself that everything would be ok.
Sam felt the tears forming as he tried to hold back the sob. Gordon's words continued to haunt him…he had been touched by the demon and some day he would have to face the demon again. When that happened, would he have the strength to make the right choice or would he end up like Max. His father had placed Dean in front of him as a living shield because he doubted Sam's ability to succeed. Even Dean had assumed that he needed help getting rid of the vampire…he refused to let Sam out of his sight now which was also getting on Sam's nerves.
Sam's life was spiraling out of control and he didn't know how to get the control back. But worse yet, his brother was going to end up being dragged down with him. Everything came back to Sam, his mother dying, Jess and now his father…all of them dead because they were between him and this demon. If he were stronger, he would leave Dean and face this on his own. But he knew deep down that he couldn't do that to Dean. He knew that Dean was afraid he'd leave him again and he knew that he was the only family that Dean had left. He understood that Dean would hold onto him with both hands before letting him go. The whole situation was hopeless for both of them.
Sam jumped as he heard the soft knock on the door. "Hey kiddo, did you fall in? 'Cause if you did, I'm not jumping in after you!"
"Be out in a minute!" Sam called as he went to remove the trace of his latest shame from his face.
Dean began to pace as he waited for Sam to come out of the bathroom. He had heard the soft sobs and it broke his heart that his brother was obviously suffering. He stopped as he heard the bathroom door opening. Sam moved slowly into the room and headed back towards the bed.
Dean decided that enough was enough. "Sammy…I can't believe I'm saying this…but look man, we gotta talk."
Sam didn't say anything as he sat on the edge of the bed, playing with a loose thread on the cast on his wrist.
"Damn it Sam, you just can't make it easy on me can you! You tried for weeks to get me to tell you how I felt about Dad and I admit, it took me a while, but I told you. Maybe it would have been better if Dad had never made the trade, but I can't change that now. He's not here so you're stuck with me Sam."
Sam looked up and saw the guilt in his brother's eyes. "Dean, you weren't to blame…you were in a coma. I should have…" Sam looked down at his feet, unwilling to meet his brother's eyes.
"What Sam…how could you think you were responsible for Dad's death?"
"I gave him the summoning herbs Dean, Bobby told me what they were and I gave them to him anyway. You were unconscious, but if you had been there, you wouldn't have given them to him. I never followed his other orders, but no, I had to follow that one! Dad is right; I'm a screw up and need to be looked after!" Sam started to get to his feet, intending to get away.
Dean stood in front of Sam and gently pushed him back onto the bed. "Man, I bet Dad is getting ready to kick both of our asses right now!"
Sam looked up; Dean almost never spoke of his father. "Why Dean, you have nothing to feel guilty about…you've done everything he asked you to do and then some."
"Yeah, I bet he's really proud, I'm so busy feeling sorry for myself that I introduce you to the lunatic that almost gets you killed. Not to mention, I've been using you as my personal punching bag…I wouldn't blame you if you decided you didn't want anything else to do with me Sam." Dean turned and walked to the chair in the corner. He sat and placed his head in his hands.
Sam moved to stand beside Dean and placed a hand on his brother's head. "Dean, I'm not going anywhere. I understand, you were and still are grieving. I'm just sorry that Dad stuck you with taking care of me Dean…I mean; you have a right to a life of your own. You must want something more than to just clean up after my messes; don't you?"
Dean looked up. "Sam, look. What I want…what you want…none of that matters now. We only have each other and one scary demon breathing down our necks. I once told you that helping people, killing as many of those evil sons of bitches as we can helps…but you know what really helps Sam?"
"Knowing that when we face that bastard, it will be with you at my side. You were right Sam, together as a family, we are stronger than apart. You've saved me more than you know Sam, if it weren't for you being such a pain in my ass…I could have ended up like Gordon….Thanks Sam…thanks for never giving up on me."
Sam sat in the other chair. "You know I'll always be there for you Dean…and I know you'll always be there for me…but do we have to be joined at the hip? I understand you worry when I'm alone, but I worry about you too. You're not indestructible Dean."
Dean smiled "What do you mean…all big brothers come with special super powers!"
Sam rolled his eyes. "I'm being serious Dean."
"So am I…look, I'll try to let you out of my sight once in awhile…but I will never stop worrying about you Sam…you're my brother and no matter what happens, that will never change."
Sam smiled, suddenly feeling a little hope seep into the gloom that had been following him around. "So, you've been watching daytime TV again huh?"
Dean looked puzzled. "Yeah…so?"
"Well I'd lay off the Oprah for a while…this new softer gentler big brother is really starting to scare me!" Sam ducked as Dean aimed for the back of his head.
"Oprah…I thought you were more into Jerry Springer! As I recall, his guests like to use chairs to express themselves!"
Sam jumped up and moved as quickly as he could as Dean picked up the chair he was sitting in and started after him. "Hey, no fair! I can't run with this cast on Dean!"
"Who said anything about playing fair Sammy…soft am I, we'll see who is going soft!" Dean gently grabbed Sam, pushing him onto the bed. "As I recall…you had a ticklish spot right about here!"
"Dean!" Sam giggled as he tried to roll away from his brother.
Dean smiled…God, how he loved to hear his brother's giggle. "Damn Sam, I could have saved myself from the chick flick moment if I'd known this would have worked! Now where was that other spot…oh yeah…here it is!" Dean smiled wickedly as his brother squirmed and giggled and for the first time in a while he was glad he made it back.
Raven524: Ok, Chick Flick moment over and both boys survived…sort of. Thanks again to all the readers and reviewers and hope that you all liked the way this one ended. Not all the issues are resolved, but then…that just leaves more to deal with in future fics (wink) Catch you all in the next one!