Rating: PG (K+)
Summary: Everything was spinning out of control. Dean wanted nothing more than to rein it all in; to go back to a time before Sam had powers they couldn't understand. Missing scene for "Simon Said."
Disclaimer: The characters and situations of Supernatural do not belong to me. I make no money from this story. Please don't sue.
Warnings: Spoilers for "Nightmare" and "Simon Said."
A steady drizzle had begun, the cloud cover matching the mood inside the Impala.
Sam fell asleep about halfway back to the Roadhouse. It left Dean alone with his thoughts, and he took to lightly drumming out a rhythm on the steering wheel in an effort to drown them out.
He wasn't surprised when it didn't last long. He left the restless shifting alone, but when the first frightened sound escaped Sam's throat he pulled off to the side of the near-deserted highway and shut the car off. The rain fell more heavily, fat drops coating the windows. "Sammy," he called softly, reaching a hand over to shake his shoulder.
Sam came awake with a gasp, jerking out of Dean's grip and narrowly avoiding putting his head through the windshield. Dean backed off, letting him get his bearings. He waited until Sam slumped back in the seat to raise a questioning eyebrow.
"Nightmare," Sam croaked. "Normal nightmare."
Sam nodded jerkily. "I don't have a brain-splitting migraine. And you were able to bring me out of it before it was finished." He was trembling as he rubbed a hand over his face, but Dean refrained from mentioning it. Sam cleared his throat, pushing himself upright and looking around. "It's raining."
"Those are some impressive powers of observation you've got there."
Sam shot him an annoyed glare and managed to instantly fall back into the silent brooding he'd been doing before his too-short nap.
And okay, Dean felt a little guilty for the mocking. Especially for the word choice.
It had always fallen to him to make Sammy feel better; to make everything okay for his little brother, even when things were far from okay. He was usually pretty good at it in his unique way. Still, on occasion, he could fail spectacularly.
"Torturing yourself by worrying about it isn't going to help."
Sam snorted. "Yeah, 'cause I'm the only one worried about it, right?"
Crap. Dean did not want to have this conversation.
Sam, unfortunately, had an uncanny way of forcing him to face the stuff he didn't want to deal with. "You can't have your do-over. You said it; I can't forget it. At least it's out in the open."
Dean frowned. "I'm not afraid of you."
There was a long beat of silence. Then, "I believe that." Sam's voice was soft, hesitant. "You are afraid for me."
Dean turned his gaze back to the windshield, watching the tracks left by the slowing rain. He didn't answer.
Sam pressed, "I don't know if that's a good thing, Dean. Maybe you should be less worried about what's going to happen to me and more worried about what I'm capable of."
"Not gonna happen. I know you too well."
Sam just frowned and turned to stare out his own window.
Dean sighed. He started to reach for the key, but hesitated. "Hey, what did I tell you after the whole Max thing?"
"That we should go to Vegas?" Sam ventured.
Dean refrained from smirking as he smacked him in the arm, earning a tiny smile. "Smartass. I was referring to my noble and fearless statement about protecting you." Sam rolled his eyes, but the smile grew. Dean, meanwhile, grew more serious. "I meant it. You've got me."
Sam's grin faded as well. "And nothing bad is gonna happen? You can't promise me that, Dean."
He wanted to hold Sam's gaze and tell him he was wrong. Instead, his eyes lowered to the floor.
"And I'm not asking you to. I'm just…I don't know. I'm sorry for all of this, and I just wish…"
He didn't finish the thought, but he didn't have to. Dean wished it, too. Everything was spinning out of control. He wanted nothing more than to rein it all in; to go back to a time before Sam had powers they couldn't understand.
Unfortunately he hadn't snagged himself a time-turning demon yet. All he could say was, "Hey. It's not your fault."
Sam's huff of laughter held no humor. "No, of course not. It's not like I asked to be a freak, right?" Dean winced slightly as the word was thrown back at him. "But now that I know, I owe it to the others and anyone who might be around me to figure it out…before somebody else dies."
At this point, now that they'd lost Dad, Dean really didn't care who died. As long as it wasn't Sam.
He was pretty sure that wasn't the right thing to say at the moment. "Sammy…I know this sucks, believe me. And I wish I had answers for you. But we will find them; we'll figure all of this out eventually. You can't lose yourself to it in the meantime."
"That's exactly what I'm afraid of."
"So stop obsessing over it!" Sam just looked over at him, eyes clouded with a vulnerability that caused a twinge in Dean's chest. He decided it was time for a different route. "I won't let you," he declared in his best petulant tone, the one that always sounded like it should be accompanied by an upturned nose and a stuck-out tongue.
Sam stared for a moment before his lips turned up ever-so-slightly, allowing Dean a little internal victory dance.
Sam could be absolutely dense about getting the point when he felt insecure. Dean wasn't going to fix this—for either of them. All he could really do right now was try to pull Sam out of his brooding.
"Hey." He reached over and smacked Sam's shoulder, hard enough to prompt an affronted glare. He then slipped an arm around his brother's neck and tugged him closer, into a loose headlock, where he preceded to muss his hair.
"Dean!" Sam protested, trying to twist out of his grip and suddenly finding it too tight to do so. He delivered a well-placed elbow to Dean's ribs, and the fight was on.
The car was perhaps not the best place for a sparring match, but they'd perfected it when they were younger. They were probably the only boys whose Dad had encouraged them to turn the backseat into a wrestling ring. They were accustomed to door handles in their backs and cracking their shoulders against windows.
They knew each other's weaknesses all too well, but the confined space changed the playing field a bit. Sam was just physically bigger. It afforded certain disadvantages, like the way he was much more apt to smack his legs into things or find himself stuck. But it also made it easier for him to dominate the space.
The steering wheel worked against Dean as well, and it wasn't long before Sam had managed to gain the upper hand and had him wrapped up like a pretzel, one wrist twisted in a careful but firm hold behind his head. "You're getting lax in your old age, big brother." The taunt held more than a hint of laughter.
"Oh I am, huh?" Dean pulled out his best weapon, twisting so he could pinch lightly at Sam's side.
The response was immediate, Sam jerking spasmodically and releasing his grip long enough for Dean to shift and go after more sensitive spots. Sam's instinct was to squirm away of course, but there was nowhere to go. Any way he turned just exposed more targets.
Dean snickered. "If demons ever take up tickling, you are going to be in serious trouble little brother," he mocked, slipping a hand past Sam's defenses to his ribs.
"You're cheating!" Sam accused, though it lost some of its effect in the giggling.
He managed to turn his back to Dean and capture one wrist, but Dean just used his other hand to attack his unprotected side. "The things we fight don't play fair," he taunted, using the motto that had earned them so many bruises at each other's hands growing up.
Sam gave up trying to get away and used a last burst of strength to push himself back against Dean. It caught him off guard and Sam was able to twist himself around. Dean tried to recover, grabbing him by the shoulder and going for an armpit, but Sam had discovered his way out and threw his weight again, this time away from his brother.
Dean's hold wasn't strong enough for that and he almost lost his grip entirely. Sam came perilously close to slamming his face into the dashboard. Dean immediately shifted, arms going around Sam's back so he could right his balance by yanking him close.
Sam stopped fighting him in that instant, still half-giggling as he leaned against his brother. It took Dean a moment to register their position, at which point he had to be a little impressed with the sneaky skill with which Sam had maneuvered himself into an embrace.
He could have just shrugged him off, but he didn't. Sam seemed to need it. And while he'd deny it to no end, Sam wasn't the only one. Dean rested his cheek against Sam's hair and let his eyes slide shut.
After a long moment, when Sam's breathing was close to normal again, he gave his brother a squeeze and joked, "And now here we are, hugging in the front seat of the Impala. If I didn't know better I'd swear you had me under some sort of mind control." It wasn't terribly funny, but he expected it would lighten the moment.
What he didn't expect was for Sam to go tense and shove away, an expression of horror on his face.
He turned and pushed the car door open, leaving Dean grasping at empty air as he paced away.
"Sammy!" Dean tried to infuse his tone with enough authority to make his brother stop. He left his own door standing wide as he hurried around the car.
The light rain was unpleasantly cold, but neither of them paid it any attention. Sam waited until he was about a yard away before turning on him. "How do you know I'm not?"
Dean stopped short, taken aback. "Not what? Controlling me?"
"No offense, but you're not usually the cuddly type."
"Well…it's been a long couple of days," he said defensively. Days spent watching Sam try to deal with the visions, and the guilt of deaths he couldn't prevent, and the uncertainty about his abilities. He didn't mention any of that, instead trying to placate with, "I was just joking..."
Sam interrupted. "How do I know I'm not?"
Dean blinked at him. "Well I didn't hear you give me a verbal command to comfort you, so unless you've just suddenly developed the ability with even more control than Andy had…"
"With Max, the telekinesis—it came out of nowhere, Dean. I had no idea I could do it, and it was strong."
"And that was a life or death situation." He could tell he wasn't helping much, and he sighed. "Look, Sammy, I've had far too many people in my head these last few days. I know what it felt like. You're not doing it."
Sam studied his eyes for a long moment, and Dean allowed it. Finally the younger man's body relaxed and he focused on the ground. Sam clenched his jaw, muscle twitching as he tried to control his emotions. "I hate this. I hate not knowing."
Dean shared the sentiment. He stared at Sam, who at the moment bore strong resemblance to a puppy dog who'd been left out in the rain. He stepped closer so he could speak softly. "Hey, I know you're scared." After a moment, he bit the bullet and admitted, "And, thanks to Andy, you know I am too. But it doesn't change anything, not for us. You're still my baby brother, Sammy. And I mean it: whatever happens, I'm not going anywhere."
"I know. That scares me, too. Maybe more," Sam confessed. "I don't want you to get hurt. I don't think I could handle it if…" he trailed off, not finishing the sentence, leaving it to Dean's imagination. He swallowed hard, Adam's apple bobbing. "I feel like I'm losing all control of my life."
Dean wanted to make it better. He couldn't of course; maybe he'd never really been able to. But when Sam was little he'd believed Dean could fix anything—and that had made all the difference in the world. Now he had to paste on an overly confident smile and spout, "The way I see it, control is just a state of mind."
Sam gave him an odd look. "Did you make that up just now?"
"Maybe. Look, we just have to anticipate the best we can and then take it as it comes. Whatever happens, we'll deal with it."
"I wish it would be that easy."
"When was anything ever easy? And when has that ever stopped me?"
Sam rolled his eyes and snorted softly, but he couldn't prevent a grin. After a brief study of the ground he looked up again, eyes catching Dean's for a long moment. "Thanks, Dean."
Dean grinned smugly and pointed to his chest. "Awesome big brother."
Sam shook his head, lips quirking. "Awesome and insufferable."
Dean gave him a threatening frown and a light shove back towards the Impala. "Get back in the car. What are we thinking, bonding out here in the rain? We're gonna give her a complex."
"Hey, I'm not the one who handed her over to a stranger; one we suspected of murder no less." Sam smirked for a moment, then stopped short with his fingers on the door handle. "I just called the car a 'her,' didn't I?"
"Oh, yeah. And I am so proud." Dean beamed at him, hand over his heart.
"Somebody save me," Sam muttered as he plunked back into the car.
Dean's smile faded, his jaw tightening in grip determination. Softly, to no one but himself and the rain he whispered, "I intend to."