Summary: Sam's visions seem to get the best of him. Is Dean the key to setting him free? Action takes place directly after Croatoan.
(Lyrics to "Blow Up the Outside World" by Chris Cornell)
Blow Up the Outside World – Part 4 (Blow up the outside world)
Want to make it understood
Wanting though I never would
Trying though I know it's wrong
Blowing it to hell and gone
Wishing though I never could
Blow up the outside world
Dean didn't like the way Sam had looked and raced to the convenience store for ginger ale to return within ten minutes.
Letting himself into the motel room Dean saw that Sam was no longer in bed. He heard water running in the bathroom.
Knocking on the door, Dean quietly called, "Sam, I'm back." Dean didn't hear Sam moving around and immediately became suspicious. Ignoring the fact that Sam was obviously sick, Dean realized something else was going on, too.
Sam had wanted Dean to leave the room even though a sick Sam never wanted Dean far from him. And then there was that thing with the Greatest Brother in the World. Dean had been joking around but Sam hadn't.
"Sam, you'd better be decent because I'm coming in," Dean called as he kicked in the bathroom door.
Dean charged back into the room and noticed that one of Sam's small bags was missing but the rest of his things were still there. So he wasn't planning on going far.
Dean upended the large remaining bag, looking for clues. Wading through the clothes and books his eyes finally rested on a journal that Dean hadn't seen before.
Dean snatched it up and began scanning the pages. His eyes took in the "other chosen one," ability to manipulate energy, confrontation with the Fire Demon…Dean felt nauseous as he realized what his brother intended. His sweet, soulful brother was planning on sacrificing himself in order to take out the Fire Demon responsible for both Mary Winchester's and Jessica's deaths.
"NO! I WON'T LOSE YOU, TOO!" Dean railed at the motel room walls. He was beside himself with both anger and dread; angry that his brother would try something so stupendously stupid on his own and dread that Dean might not be in time to save him from himself.
Dean had lost first his mother and then his dad to this demon. There was no way in hell he was going to lose his baby brother as well.
Dean grabbed up a bag of weapons and stomped out to the Impala. He needed to stop at the gas station for directions to New Madrid. Once there, he'd have his work cut out from him as he tried to track down Sam. Of course with Sam's height and obvious sickness he should be easy to find.
He was so unbelievably mad at Sammy. Why hadn't he told Dean about his vision? And the blisters and radiation sickness finally made some sense; that must be some power source he was tapping into.
Didn't Sam realize they were in this together?
And then it dawned on Dean that Sam had only followed in his older, equally clueless, brother's footsteps. Dean had withheld information about Sam at his Dad's request but had withheld it nonetheless. Sam was only following in the time honored tradition of all Winchester males…hold on to your secrets at all costs.
But this cost was simply too high. Sam might be willing to pay the price but Dean wasn't.
As Dean pulled into the gas station he noticed a tall figure disappearing around the side of the convenience store. The same store he'd just been at to buy ginger ale. Dean quietly parked the Impala on the far side of the lot and approached the back of the building from the other side.
If Dean hadn't been so colossally mad at Sam his heart would have broken at the sight before him. Sam was kneeling on the ground, holding his stomach, as he rocked back and forth. Sam looked truly pathetic in his misery.
Dean, knowing better then to underestimate his opponent, cautiously approached his brother. Sam heard him coming and heaved himself to his feet, ready to hare off at the first opportunity.
"Sam, I know. I found your journal." Dean forced himself to talk slowly and softly. He needed to get close enough to subdue Sam. Then he planned on getting him to the Impala and putting as much distance between this place and the brothers as possible.
"I'm sorry, Dean," Sam replied as he stepped backward until his back bumped up against the wall of the store.
"No, I won't let you do this. Sam, there's got to be another way." Dean continued to stalk forward.
Sam had heard those words before. Shaking his head, trying desperately to focus, he said, "I'm sorry Dean, this is the only way to end it."
He spotted his small bag and briefly turned his back on Dean to make a grab for it. "I can't let the Demon hurt anyone else…"
Sam never finished his sentence. First Dean tugged him around by the arm and then Dean's right fist connected a solid blow to the left side of Sam's jaw.
Sam's head snapped back as he staggered backward trying to catch his balance. Tripping over his bag Sam's feet shot out from under him and his head collided with the brick wall. Sam saw stars and then he saw nothing.
Dean shook his right hand out. "Sonnuva bitch. That really hurt."
Dean wasted no time in first snagging Sam's bag and then hefting his unconscious brother over his shoulder.
He couldn't believe that things had come to this point. Sam wouldn't or couldn't talk to him and Dean had to do something, anything to save Sam. Even hurt him.
"Come on, hero, time to get you out of here," Dean grunted as he slowly made his way to the Impala. Blessing his good luck, he realized no one was around to see him kidnap his own brother. Carefully folding Sam into the passenger seat Dean quickly buckled him in and then himself before guiding the car back to the motel.
After a mad dash through their room to retrieve their things and grab Sam's ginger ale and wet cloth, Dean had the Impala loaded and they were once again back on the road. Next stop – the Grand Canyon.
Sam still hadn't roused and two hours had gone by. Dean steered the car off the interstate and into a wayside.
The blisters around Sam's mouth had faded but there was now a nasty bruise along his left jaw. Dean had a matching bruise on his right hand.
"Sam, are you in there?" Dean tapped Sam's cheek gently, noticing that the wounds on his face where he'd connected with the sliding glass door were healing nicely.
Sam responded with a groan.
"Come on, Sam, time to rise and shine," Dean persisted. He'd feel better once he was treated to the sight of Sam glaring at him.
"Stop, haven't you hit me enough for one day?" Sam whispered. He cautiously opened his eyes and looked around. "Where are we?"
"No where near New Madrid and that crappy plan of yours. Blowing up the Demon. That was your plan? What the hell were you thinking?" Dean was just as upset now as he'd been when he'd realized what Sam planned to do.
"Could you please not shout? My head is killing me," Sam quietly replied in the face of Dean's anger.
Sam cradled his head in his hands as tears started to snake down his face. He would be lying to himself if he didn't admit that he was still happy to be alive but in his vision he had destroyed the demon and that was the Holy Grail. He was bitterly disappointed at messing this opportunity up – disappointed with Dean for stopping him and disappointed with himself for letting him.
"Sam, I'm so pissed off at you that I think my head is going to pop off…" Sam could hear Dean talking to him as if from a distance but he didn't have the energy to respond or even listen.
His ears were ringing so loudly now all's he could hear was a buzz. He just wanted to curl up into a ball and sleep. With that last thought he felt himself sliding into unconsciousness and didn't try to stop it. The seatbelt kept him from falling into the dashboard but didn't keep his head from lolling to the side against the window.
"Sam, don't you fucking ignore me. Sam? Sammy?" Dean saw Sam's head connect with the window and from Sam's lax posture he could tell he had passed out again. This day just kept getting better and better.
Dean started looking for another motel. It was obvious that Sam needed to get off of the road. Bawling out Sam would just have to wait a little longer. At least until Sam was awake enough to hear it.
Dean had hauled Sam's semi-unconscious ass into yet another motel room.
As mad as he was at Sam for heading off on his own he also felt regret for laying out Sam when his body was still on the ropes. But he didn't feel that he'd had any choice.
Dean tried to make Sam comfortable on the lumpy single bed as he waited for Sam to wake up.
He watched as Sam frowned and then slowly blinked open his eyes.
Sam's eyes were clear of the fever that had plagued him for the last week. But there was also a cold purpose in his eyes that made Dean stand back.
Sam jerkily sat up, swinging his legs to the side and throwing his feet on the ground. Dizziness once again assaulted him and he wavered. Dean rushed forward to steady him but Sam held a hand up warding him off.
Dean was taken aback at Sam's behavior. It was as though Sam didn't want Dean near him. Didn't Sam realize he only wanted to make sure he was okay?
Dean ignored Sam's warning signs and put a hand on Sam's shoulder.
"Hey, just relax for a moment," Dean said as he looked Sam over closely. His usually calm, even-tempered brother seemed to be in the grip of a rage so strong he was shaking.
Sam knocked Dean's hand off his shoulder and staggered to his feet.
"Don't touch me, Dean. Just don't…" Sam was at a loss. He was all mixed up inside.
"Sammy, please. Just let me help you," Dean said as he took a step closer to Sam. He didn't like the way Sam looked, all pale and sweaty. And far too upset.
"Help me? Did you just say you wanted to help me? Like you did when you knocked me out and dragged me away from New Madrid?" Sam was so distressed he reached up and yanked on his own hair. "Do you realize what you just did? That might have been my only chance to kill the Demon!"
Dean, watching Sam tear at his own hair, just wanted Sam to calm down. "Sam, what do you want from me? Just tell me what you want."
Sam launched himself at Dean, tears of rage on his cheeks, crying, "You shouldn't have come for me…"
Sam weakly battered at Dean with his fists but his anger was quickly spent and Dean easily dodged his arms finally capturing them and holding them firmly.
His emotions played out Sam found himself drooping forward against Dean's chest. Dean released Sam's arms to hold him close. Dean aimed them toward a bed and let them both sink onto it.
"Shhh…it's going to be okay. We'll make it okay," Dean murmured into Sam's hair. He rocked Sam back and forth as he used to when Sam was a baby.
"How can it be okay? The Demon is still alive. I only wanted to keep you safe," Sam whispered as more sobs erupted from him.
"Sam, please look at me." Dean waited until Sam's crying abated and he was certain that Sam was listening to him before he continued, "The only way to keep me safe is to keep yourself safe. We have to do this together. Promise me that."
Sam sat in silence for a moment. Dean could see that Sam's tantrum had depleted his strength and his energy was flagging quickly.
"Promise?" Dean prompted as the silence stretched out.
"I promise. But it cuts both ways. And no more secrets between us, right?" Sam added as he struggled to keep his eyes open.
"The secrets end here," Dean agreed. He was ready to share their Dad's last words with Sam but his baby brother was out on his feet. It would have to keep a little longer.
Dean carefully lowered Sam onto the bed. "Listen, Bitch, if you ever pull a stunt like that again I'll kill you myself," Dean said as he reached forward and chucked Sam under the chin.
"Listen, Jerk, if you ever hit me again I'm going to vomit all over your car," Sam answered back, grabbing Dean's hand. For once Dean didn't tug out of his grip and even perched on the side of Sam's bed to stay close.
The brothers were still together. They had a lot to discuss but they were still alive and they were talking. It was a start.
A/N: I'd like you all to please give a warm round of applause to Faye Dartmouth for her indefatigable beta on this fic. I may have been muttering under my breath as I added scenes at her suggestion but I think this is a better fic for it.