Sam finished his cup of coffee, and a glance towards Bobby told him he'd find Dean in the same place he had been for the last week. Nonetheless, Sam looked outside and sure, there was Dean, working in the Impala. Sam wondered what else could need to be reviewed with the car since Dean spent most of the week since he had been rescued there.
"You need to talk to him" Sam turned and looked at Bobby.
"I've tried. I've tried so hard, but he closes up every time I bring the subject of what happened to him up."
"Then try harder." Bobby looked at him. "This boy is wasting himself. I don't know what that Demon showed him, but whatever it was, it was powerful enough that he was willing to sacrifice everything to stay in whatever was the place it showed him."
"I know." Putting the cup in the sink, Sam put on a jacket to protect himself against the morning chill that still hovered on the parking lot, and went outside. He found his brother under the hood of the Impala, a look of deep concentration on his face.
Dean paused, spared him a look and returned to the task in hand.
"Bobby said you hadn't had breakfast yet." It was a lie, Sam knew, but he also was sure Dean hadn't eaten yet, so he did not feel any shame in using it.
"I'm not hungry, Sam."
"You're never hungry. You should eat anyway." Sam pressed on.
Sam sighed. Dean could be the most stubborn son of a bitch to walk the Earth. "Dean, I really think we should talk about what happened to you."
Dean didn't even flinch as he continued examining the Impala engine. "Well, I really think we shouldn't."
"Dean, I know you must feel…" The sound of the hood being closed abruptly almost made Sam jump. He looked at his brother, now looking at him ferociously.
"What do you know, Sam? How I feel? What I saw? What I wanted? Then why don't you tell me?" the angry words were spat but somehow Sam saw it wasn't him who Dean was angry with, but with himself. He raised his hands pleadingly.
"You're right. I don't know, and I want to help you and I don't know how, and you won't let me, and you so need to be helped even you don't believe it…"
Dean looked at him for a long time before finally sighing. "Sammy…"
"Dean, please. Let me help you."
Dean turned around and sit on the hood of the car. Sam sat down next to him, and waited patiently. Dean would talk when he was ready.
"We were normal."
Sam looked at Dean. "What do you mean?"
"We didn't hunt. We…" Dean looked at Sam. "Mom was alive."
"Yeah. Oh indeed." Dean looked in front of him once again. "Dad was alive too. And I… I had gone to College." He paused and looked at Sam, smirking briefly. "You had gone too. Looks like you get to be a geek wherever the reality is"
"Jerk" Sam said it chuckling and Dean smiled briefly. "So, what did you study?"
"Engineering. I was a fucking Engineer, can you believe it?"
Sam nodded. Truth was, he could. Dean had always been good repairing electronic stuff, and cars and… well, anything in fact.
"I was married."
Now Sam's eyebrows nearly shot to the back of his head. "You're joking!"
Dean shook his head. "It was Cassie."
Sam smiled. Cassie had made a good impression on him, giving his brother the right kind of attitude he needed. He was about to say something when Dean's voice interrupted him.
"In a fire. At least that's what everybody told me. Looks like I had some kind of nervous breakdown and I ended up being institutionalized."
Sam frowned "If that's so, why would you have wanted to…"
"Dean, come on…"
"You were happy in there."
Sam's eyebrows rose again. "Happy to see you institutionalized? Boy, I was a little twisted…"
"You were not happy about that, you jerk. It's…"
Comprehension dawned on Sam at that. "I had a normal life."
Dean nodded and Sam pressed on. "Was… was Jess alive?"
Dean hesitated for a moment before nodding slowly again, and Sam sighed. So in whatever dream the Demon had lulled Dean into, Dean was willing to stay because of his happiness.
Sensing his brother's thoughts, Dean interrupted him again. "Don't get all your wheels running in there." Sam looked at him. "It's true that seeing you happy… made it worth it, but I was also happy in there. Mom and Dad were alive, I had a job, a legal one at that which I could see myself enjoying, you and Jess were also happy…" Dean sighed. "I didn't forget about this reality. And it's not like I wanted to leave you alone, Sammy. But… I figured out that if I stepped out the equation you'd end up returning to Stanford, finish your degree…"
"You stupid" Dean shot a glance at Sam, surprised. "I wouldn't return to Stanford for all the gold in the world if that meant losing you. And what about the Demon? You know? The one who killed Mom? And Jess? And dad?"
"I thought we had killed him. I had the memory of killing it. Hell Sam, I still do have it!"
Sam breathed deeply. "Dean, that wasn't real. Any of that."
"I know. It still doesn't change the fact I was ready to choose that life. To leave you all alone."
"you didn't have any choice, Dean."
Dean laughed sarcastically. "Oh, but I had. I had the choice, Sam."
Sam shook his head. "Look, from my point of view, you didn't. That Demon knew exactly what buttons it needed to push so you would choice that reality."
"What do you mean?"
"Come on Dean. A reality with mom and dad, with all of us together as any family? With normalcy? You can bitch all you want about not wanting a normal life with a house with white fences, but I know you better than that. But that's not the only reason you'd stayed. In fact, if that had been the only thing they offered you, you would chosen to return here. But they also showed you that I didn't need you anymore in here and that I'd be more happy without you. And even it had shown you Hell and told you to choose between Hell and your life, you would have chosen Hell if you thought I'd been happy with your decision."
Dean opened up his mouth to interrupt, but Sam would have none of that. "But you know what, Dean? I need you. I don't need a normal life, because even if I manage to get that, I'd always know what's out there lurking in the dark. I can't and I won't have a normal life. What I want is what we do, what dad do, and I want it with you by my side. I can't tell you more clearly than this."
Dean looked at him for some long seconds before slowly nodding and breaking into a smile. "Woah, Sammy. Too much for the no chick-flick moments rule, huh?"
Sam barked out a laugh, and, quite unexpectedly hugged Dean.
"You're really, really pushing it, Sammy" was Dean's answer, although he hugged back his brother quite fiercely nonetheless.
"Shut up, Dean. I need it. I missed you."
Dean was happy to let Sam continue hugging him for a few more moments. It gave him the time he needed to regain his composure and force the tears which threaten to spill out back in control. When finally Sam let him go, both of them were smiling, and Sam realized it was the first time Dean was smiling that sincerely since they had found him a week ago.
"So, do you think you've worked out enough on the stupid car and I can start digging for our next gig?"
Dean looked offended but Sam knew better. "Watch it, or you're walking to our next destination."
Sam laughed and retreated to the house "I'm trembling with fear, Dean."
Dean watched as he got into the house and sighed. A heavy weight had been lifted from his shoulders and everything was back to normal. Back to what it should be.