Sometimes Dreams Come True
Disclaimer: The only Supernatural I own is some official memorabilia.
A/N: I found an old story that I had abandoned and got a new idea for it. I started this during the first season, but updated it and now little of the original story remains.
Serendipity. Look for something, find something else, and realize that what you've found is more suited to your needs than what you thought you were looking for - Lawrence Block
"This sucks." Dean Winchester complained tossing the television remote aside and getting off the bed. He and his brother were trapped in a small Illinois town thanks to a snowstorm that blew through the night before. The roads in the town were barely passable, and the surrounding highways were completely closed. It would probably be another couple of days before they could even think about leaving. "Can't we ever get stranded somewhere with something to do?"
Sam smiled from his behind the laptop computer screen. It was almost noon and still the town was all but asleep. The sidewalks were clear enough to walk on, and the brothers made their way to a family restaurant for breakfast earlier, but there was very little to keep the older brother entertained.
"There's a theater in town." the younger brother announced a few minutes later, having turned his attention to the newspaper they picked up at breakfast. Dean turned from the window, coffee cup in hand.
"Yeah? What's playing?"
"Oh, it's an extensive list. Two different movies. Are you into romance or comedy?"
"You know me, Sammy. I'm a hopeless romantic."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Yeah, hopeless romantic is always what I think of when I think Dean Winchester."
"You think it's open?"
Sam reached for his cell phone. "I'll find out."
The theater was open and the brothers decided to walk the six blocks, making it a few minutes before the first showing.
"Popcorn?" Dean asked once he'd paid for the tickets and they were in the lobby.
"I'm bored with popcorn. I'm mixing it up."
"When was the last time you even had popcorn?"
Sam shrugged. "That's not the point."
Dean rolled his eyes and turned his attention to the young blonde girl behind the concessions counter.
The comedy was entertaining enough and after it was over, they went back to the motel, Dean's cabin fever having been assuaged for the time being.
"So how were the Junior Mints?" Dean asked as he flopped onto the bed.
Sam shrugged. "Not as satisfying as one might think."
Dean shook his head. "You don't say."
"I'm a little surprised myself." Sam joked as he sat back down at the computer.
Dean turned on the television just in time for a weather update. Another storm was expected to come through overnight, making road conditions even worse.
"Good thing we weren't headed anywhere important."
"I didn't realize we'd been headed anywhere at all."
"It's been pretty quiet on the supernatural front." Dean shrugged.
Sam glanced at him. It wasn't that long ago that the older brother would have jumped at anything, no matter how small, if it was something to investigate. Of course that was before they'd lost their father and some of their best friends. It was before they had to depend on strangers for help in hunting the yellow-eyed demon. It was before Dean admitted to Sam that he was tired of the hunting lifestyle. These days, nearly a year after John's death, they took time to rest and relax between jobs and tried to find things that led them in a logical direction instead of haphazardly rushing from one spot to another.
Sometimes Sam worried about his brother. Until the demon was gone forever, he knew Dean wouldn't give up hunting completely. He would agree to be more selective about jobs and he would agree to take time off, but he wouldn't stop. Sam would never try to convince him to make that kind of change in his life; that was something Dean would have to come to on his own. He was often scared that something would happen to Dean before he was able to find the peace he needed – and deserved. That fear had started to grow in the last couple of weeks.
Sam knew that Dean also worried about him. It was the prerogative of an older brother, he supposed, but the level of responsibility Dean felt was on a completely different plane than most big brothers. Growing up the way they did put pressures on both of them that other people didn't have to deal with and would never understand.
"So have you thought any more about it?" Dean asked later, noticing Sam was reading a law text book he'd found in a used book store a few months ago.
"About what?" Sam looked away from the book.
"Going back to school."
"Where did that come from?"
Dean tossed aside the atlas he'd been studying. "That text book for one thing. And I couldn't help but notice that the general direction we've been heading will take us to Palo Alto. I was just thinking –"
"Well stop thinking." Sam said, angrily, as he stood up and walked across the room.
"Sam –" Dean was surprised by his brother's outburst.
"Are you trying to get rid of me? Are you sick of me?"
"What? No, of course not. It's just--" Dean threw his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. "You always talked about wanting to go back to school after we killed the demon."
"We haven't killed the demon. And maybe I changed my mind anyway." Sam said quietly, not looking at his brother.
"Have you changed your mind?" Dean pressed.
"I don't want to talk about this right now, okay?" Sam still hadn't met Dean's eyes.
"Fine. Whatever, Sam."
"Fine." Sam grabbed his coat. "I'm going for a walk."
"Sam, it's like a degree out there."
"I'm going for a walk." he repeated and reached for the doorknob.
Dean sighed and laid back on the bed.
He walked along the sidewalk, not really seeing the few other brave souls who had ventured out, but managing not to bump into any of them. Sam had a very good reason for not wanting to go back to school, but it wasn't something he could talk to Dean about. If his brother knew his real reason, he would be more than just a little angry.
Sam got to the end of Main Street and looked around. None of the businesses were open and with the sky darkening again, even the few people that had been out a moment ago were disappearing. He stuffed his hands into his coat pockets and trudged back toward the motel. He didn't want to be away from his brother for too long and he felt guilty for getting mad at him over something so random.
Sam stopped at the diner for coffee to take back to Dean, trying not to think of it as a peace offering. He knew his brother only wanted the best for him and it was a huge step to even bring up school, let alone being in favor of Sam going back. A couple of years ago, Sam leaving him was one of the things that scared Dean the most. He'd wanted his family together and even the possibility that wouldn't happen was something he couldn't talk about without waves of emotion overcoming him. But somewhere along the way, Dean realized what Sam had told him once was true: they would always be a family.
Dean tried not to think about Sam, but he was worried. The brothers spent a lot of time together and, while knowing each other so well gave them an advantage with hunting, it often caused them to get on each other's nerves. More than once, one or the other stormed out of a room after a ridiculous fight.
Even though Sam had been on edge for a few days, his reaction was surprising. He had yet to say anything about them, but Dean knew he'd been having nightmares again. He suspected his brother's over-reaction was caused as much by lack of sleep than by anything he had said, though he couldn't help but wonder what else might be behind Sam's response. He'd also been over-protective for a couple of weeks. It was subtle, but Dean noticed it.
After years of taking the lead and keeping his feelings bottled up, Dean had been trying very hard to open up to his brother more and he was a little hurt that Sam was clearly keeping something from him.
"Hey." Sam said as he opened the motel room door. Dean looked up from the laptop.
Feeling a little uncomfortable, Sam put the coffee on the table and slipped out of his coat. "You were right about it being cold out there."
Dean reached for the cup.
Sam sat on the edge of his bed. "What have you been doing?"
"Not much." Dean said, his tone neutral. "Thanks for the coffee."
"Sure." Sam said. The tension in the room was thick.
Dean sipped at the coffee and went back to the computer screen.
"Find something interesting?"
"I'm not looking for a job. I'm looking at car sites; seeing if I can do something to improve the Impala's performance."
"Something wrong with the car?"
Dean shook his head. "No. I said improve her performance."
Sam clasped his hands between his knees. His brother wasn't making this easy for him. "Dean –"
He looked up.
"Look, I'm sorry about earlier. I guess being stuck here has gotten to me, too."
Sam got no response.
"Dean, please. Are we good here?"
"We're good." Dean said, although he didn't quite believe it.
Sam could tell he wasn't being completely honest, but decided not to press. He nodded, then settled back on the bed and opened a book, pretending to read.
Dean didn't know what time it was when he woke up and heard Sam shifting in the next bed. At first he thought his brother was just turning over, but then he heard the rapid breathing and a low moan. He looked over at Sam, but it was too dark in the room to see much of anything. Dean heard more shuffling and was about to get out of bed when Sam yelled his name and bolted straight up.
"Sammy –" Dean swung his legs over the side of the bed and leaned forward.
"I'm all right." Sam said, breathing hard. He rubbed his face. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"You called out for me." Dean said gently.
"I did?" Sam cringed. Hid tone didn't even sound convincing to him.
"Sam –" Dean watched as Sam suddenly headed for the bathroom. "Sammy!"
After closing the door, Sam leaned against it and took a deep breath. He thought the nausea that pulled him from his bed had passed, but not even a moment later he rushed to the toilet. When he stood, he did so slowly and splashed cold water on his face before sitting down on the edge of the bathtub, his head in his hands. He knew there was no chance of Dean being asleep when he went back to the room, but he wanted to put off the inevitable conversation for as long as possible.
"Sammy." Dean called from the other side of the door a few minutes later. "Come on, man."
Sam hung his head.
"You can't stay in there forever. Besides, I know you've been having nightmares for a while."
Dean backed away from the door as Sam opened it. He was surprised at how pale his brother looked; he'd been fine when they went to bed a few hours ago.
The younger man pushed past him and got back into bed. "Let's just go back to sleep."
As Dean watched, Sam burrowed under the covers with his back to the room. He almost wanted to laugh remembering how Sam would do the same thing as a child when he didn't want to talk. Instead, he took a deep breath and sat down opposite his brother.
"Sam, we can't ignore this."
"It was just a dream."
"Nothing is just a dream with you. Come on, talk to me."
"I'm tired." Sam said quietly.
"That's lame, man."
"Just let it go, okay?"
Dean reached out and touched Sam's shoulder. He flipped over and glared at his brother. "I said let it go!"
Sam saw the shock in Dean's eyes, but didn't soften. He sat up and reached for his pants.
"Oh come on; where are you going?"
"Sam, it's two thirty in the morning and freezing - nothing's open –"
Sam didn't understand his own anger and Dean's words did nothing to deter him. He was dressed and at the door when Dean grabbed his shoulder. They were both surprised as Sam whirled around and hit him in the mouth. Dean fell to the floor, a hand to his bleeding mouth, his eyes on his brother.
"Dude, you'd better have a damn good reason for clocking me like that." Dean growled.
Sam held out a hand to pull him from the floor. Dean hesitated, but accepted the offer and as he fell back into a nearby chair, the younger man rushed into the bathroom for a towel.
"I'll get some ice." he said sheepishly as Dean put the towel to his mouth to stop the bleeding. He grabbed the ice bucket and left the room.
A few minutes later they were sitting across from one another at the small table. Dean held a towel filled with ice to his mouth, staring at Sam.
"I'm sorry." Sam said, not for the first time.
Dean moved the towel. His jaw was already showing signs of a bruise.
"Talk." he said, wincing at the pain.
"You don't get to hit me and then not tell me why." Dean winced again and readjusted the ice.
Sam glanced away. He didn't want to tell Dean what he'd been dreaming. It was bad enough to watch it himself night after night and know that there might not be a way to stop it from happening. Sam also expected to have to deal with Dean's anger at not having told him before and trying to keep something so important from him.
Sam looked back at his brother with more pain in his eyes than Dean had seen in a long time, but he couldn't bring himself to yield just yet. His jaw hurt and the split lip was irritating; every slight movement caused it to bleed again. Dean watched as Sam stood up and began pacing the room. He let Sam think whatever he was thinking; he didn't try to calm him and didn't try to make him feel better. With each step his younger brother took, however, his steadfastness weakened. Dean knew he couldn't let Sam suffer for long. As soon as his younger brother stopped pacing and sat down on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands, Dean tossed the towel into the ice bucket and sat back in the chair.
He didn't look up immediately, but when he did, there were tears in Sam's eyes.
"Come on, man." Dean said gently. "Talk to me."
Sam suffered through a lot of nightmares in the last few years. He dreamed of his girlfriend's death for weeks before it happened and the ones he had afterward were even worse. There were others as well and sometimes the clairvoyance manifested into waking visions instead. Those tended to be painful and often leaving Sam with a raw headache. They made the connection that the dreams and visions were related to the yellow-eyed demon; some of the deaths they were able to stop and some they weren't. Sam hoped with all he had that he could stop the one he'd been dreaming about for the last couple of weeks.
Dean watched his brother struggle, unable to help him and he hated it. Although he knew something had been going on with Sam, it seemed to escalate so suddenly. He quickly thought back to the movie they'd seen earlier and Sam joking about Junior Mints; how did they get here so fast?
"What's going on?" Dean asked, feeling guilty for not trying to get him to talk earlier. "What are these dreams about?"
"Something goes wrong on a job." Sam's voice was low and he stared into space.
Dean waited a moment. "And?" He moved to sit next to him.
"You – you die."
Dean wasn't surprised. He couldn't have imagined anything else that Sam would have tried to hide from him, other than seeing his own death. He was angry at Sam for trying to keep it from him and for suffering alone, but he would deal with that later.
"How?" he asked, amazed at his own disconnection.
Sam looked at him, the tears still threatening to fall. "Dean –"
"How do I avoid it if I don't know what to look for?"
It was a reasonable question, but it hit Sam hard and he felt sick again. He leaned forward, his hands clasped tightly between his knees.
"Come on, Sammy. You know as well as I do that your freaky visions don't always come true. We can change what happens –"
"I really don't want to talk about this right now, Dean."
"You're sure it's a job?"
"Any idea where?"
"Dean, please." Sam said quietly.
"Come on, Sam! Let's just deal with this and move on. We're stuck here for a while, we don't have another job – nothing is going to happen in the next few days so just talk to me." Dean stood and moved closer to his brother.
Sam rubbed his hands on his pant legs and stood up. Dean watched as he paced again. He understood that it was hard for Sam to talk about this, but he also knew it had to happen. Sam was usually pretty accurate with the dreams and visions, but sometimes a detail slipped by. What if they weren't on a job, but something came after them anyway? Dean had to know how to avoid what happened in Sam's premonition.
Sam looked at him briefly, but kept pacing. His heart was racing and although the nightmares rarely had a physical affect, his head hurt.
"Sam, this is crazy. What's going on?"
"What's going on?" Sam whirled and Dean instinctively took a step back. Sam noticed and his expression further darkened. "What's going on is I've watched you die every night for two weeks! I don't want to see it once, and I've seen it for two weeks."
"Why didn't you just tell me? I knew you were having nightmares – I thought we were past the part where you thought you had to hide this stuff from me. I've pulled your ass off the floor after a vision knocked you down. I've gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to chase down something you dreamed about – Sam –"
"I didn't tell you because I wasn't there!" Sam exclaimed. "I wasn't there!"
Dean stared at him. They often checked out leads separately on a job and it bothered Dean that Sam would feel such guilt over not being with him every moment of a hunt; especially one that hadn't even happened yet.
"Sam – we aren't tied at the hip." Dean said. "As much as it feels like that sometimes, we aren't and we do investigate separately. We –"
"No, Dean, you don't understand." Sam sat on the edge of the bed and looked at his brother plaintively. "I wasn't investigating anything. I wasn't there. I was back at school. You were hunting alone and you died because I wasn't there to back you up."
"How do you know you were back at school?"
"I don't know; I just do. But the point is, I let you down."
"What? No way. It's not possible for you to let me down."
"I wasn't there and you died, man. How am I supposed to live with that?"
Dean sat on the other bed. "In case you haven't noticed, I'm not dead. I'm right here, Sam. We've changed the outcome of more than one of your crazy-ass dreams and we'll change this one." Dean looked at him; everything suddenly making sense. "That's why you went nuts earlier when I asked you about school. Sammy –"
"Don't Sammy me!" he growled.
"You can't blame yourself for something that hasn't even happened; something that isn't going to happen. And you're not going to give up school." Dean said, standing. "That's final. I'll drag you back there myself if I have to."
Sam couldn't help but laugh. Dean looked at him. "What?"
"It's just –" Sam paused.
"You never wanted me to go back to school."
Dean glanced away. "That's not true."
"What? Of course it is."
"It wasn't school. I wanted you with me because I didn't want to be alone." Dean stood up and walked across the room. "That's the main reason I came to get you from Stanford when Dad went missing. You know that."
"Yeah, I guess." Sam agreed.
"I don't want you to stick around because you feel you have to. I want you to have the life you want to have." Dean looked at him. "And I definitely don't want you to stick around because you're afraid I'll die if you're not here."
"No, Sam." Dean said.
Sam looked at him. "I don't want you to die, man."
Dean was struck by how young his brother could sometimes look and sound. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking up at Dean and it reminded him of when Sam was little. But everyone dies, even Dean Winchester, who had escaped certain death twice and he didn't know what to say. He hesitated a moment, then sat down next to his brother. No one spoke for several minutes, but finally Dean broke the silence.
"If you've changed your mind about school because it's not the right place for you anymore, that's okay. If you've changed your mind out of some misplaced obligation to me, that's not okay."
Sam said nothing.
Dean slapped his knee. "Come on, let's get some sleep. Tomorrow you can give me the details of your dream so I'll know what not to do."
He noticed the pained expression on Sam's face. "Sammy, what do you want me to do here? I can't promise you that I'll never die."
"I know that." Sam whispered.
Dean didn't know what to do. He hadn't seen Sam this morose since Jessica's death. Even after their father's death, Sam was more concerned about Dean than dealing with his own grief. The older brother had no idea how to handle what was happening now, but he'd learned a lot in the time that he and Sam had been back together. Sometimes there was nothing to be said and there was nothing, really, that could be done. He mirrored Sam's position on the bed and sat quietly with his brother.
"Dean." Sam said several minutes later.
"I don't know what to do."
"You don't have to decide anything right now. And you don't – you don't owe me anything."
Sam looked at him, unbelieving. "Dean, man, I owe you everything. You've always been there for me. Always. And you've given up so much for me –"
"You're my brother."
Tears welled in Sam's eyes. "And you're my brother."
"Look, Sam, I don't want you to give up your life for me. No matter what I've done, or what you think I've done, I don't want you to give up your life." tears formed in Dean's eyes now. "It was never fair of me to expect you to and I won't let you do it."
"What makes you think you have a choice?" Sam grinned slyly.
"I'm the older brother. I always get a choice in what you do." Dean's tone was light, but the look on his face was serious. "And right now, I choose that we go back to bed. Even if you wanted to go school right this minute, we're stuck here so you can't."
The roads opened early the next afternoon and the brothers decided to leave the small town. Neither one brought up the conversation from the previous night and when they stopped at a motel later, Sam was able to sleep without having a nightmare.
They spent a few days at the Roadhouse, going over information that Ash found regarding the yellow-eyed demon. There was nothing to check out yet which frustrated the brothers, but also somehow made them a little relieved. They both wanted to end the fight. They wanted to finish their father's work and kill the demon once and for all, but at the same time they were afraid of ending it. Neither one of them was completely happy with this life anymore, but it was the one they knew. For as long as they could remember, everything was about the demon and the hunt. They had no idea what life would bring them once the fight was over.
"Dean?" Sam found his brother outside, sitting on the hood of the Impala nursing a beer. The night was clear and cool; the Roadhouse had closed for the evening and he was alone in the parking lot. "What are you doing out here?"
Sam sat next to him.
"You've been sleeping pretty good." Dean said.
Sam nodded. "Yeah, no nightmares."
"You think that means we've somehow changed what happens?"
"I don't know. Normally we get to where the premonitions happen; this one was too far in the future."
"Maybe it was just a regular nightmare."
"I don't think so, man."
Dean nodded. "I want you to go back to school."
"After we kill the demon, just like you planned."
"We both know it's what you want."
"I don't know what I want. Besides, we don't even know how to kill the demon yet."
"I know. But –" Dean looked at him. "I guess I just want you to know that – that I'm okay."
"I know you are, Dean." Sam said quietly. "What are you really trying to tell me?"
Dean looked away.
"I'm proud of ya. Going to school, man, that took some guts. And if it's what you want, what you need, I want you to go back. And if you decide that you want to go back before we kill the demon, if it starts to take too long, I want ya to go."
Sam looked into the darkness. "That thing killed Mom. It killed Jessica. Dad – look, man, I'm in this until we kill it. And when we do, well, then I'll figure out what I want next. It might be school, but it might not." he turned back to Dean. "No matter what happens, Dean, you're my brother and that's never going to change."
Dean nodded and breathed in deeply. "Damn straight."
Sam smiled. "I'm goin' to bed. It's late."
"I'll be in soon."
Sam watched him for a moment, then nodded and headed toward the back of the Roadhouse where they were sharing the makeshift bedroom.
Dean didn't have premonitions, but he had good instincts. Something was telling him that Sam would go back to school; that he needed to go back to school. It was almost like that was the only way he'd ever truly get past what the demon had in store for him. A year ago, the thought of Sam leaving would have scared Dean, but now he was looking forward to it. He certainly didn't want to be separated from his brother; their first separation nearly killed him. But he always looked out for Sam and always wanted what was best. He knew, as well as he knew his own name, that school was the best thing for Sam. Maybe not Stanford; maybe not even law school, but he had to go to school.
The older brother smiled to himself and slid off the hood of the car.