Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or the characters. The title of the story is a song by John Mayer (it somewhat relates to the brothers, but I thought the title fit for this story, so that's why I used it.)
Spoilers: Mention of "the secret", so if you haven't seen Hunted or you just don't want to know what's going on in the show (for people in other countries), there's a sentence or two that'll ruin it for you a bit. Also there is a mention of what happened to John, if you haven't seen In My Time of Dying. Otherwise, I think that's it.
Shoving the door open with one shoulder, Dean bodily dragged his younger brother over the threshold. "Come on, Sammy, just a few more steps to the bed." He received no response; not that he had expected one anyway.
Their latest tussle with a wendigo had ended fairly quickly, but not before it got to Sam, swiping four long claws across his right thigh and propelling him down a rocky, muddy hill.
Sam hadn't been much for words since Dean had practically dragged him back to the car; instead he only grunted and whimpered as he tried to stem the generous flow of blood from his leg.
Dean gently lowered Sam down on the edge of the bed furthest from the door and hurried back to the Impala for the first aid kit.
Once back in the room, he filled a bowl with warm water, grabbed a face cloth from the bathroom along with several larger towels, and sat on the bed next to Sam.
"I don't think you're jeans are gonna make it, man. These tears are too big to sew up."
Sam just sighed in response and gingerly began undoing his belt. Dean helped him slide his jeans off and threw them to the floor, quickly followed by his trashed jacket and hoody, leaving him in just a pair of boxers and a thin t-shirt.
"Jesus, Sam," Dean whispered, running his hand gently along the long, jagged cut down the length of his brother's forearm. "How is it that you manage to get this banged up and I have barely a scratch on me?"
"Just unlucky, I guess," Sam murmured, laying back against the pillows and closing his eyes.
"Hey, no sleeping. We got to get you cleaned and stitched, and I need you to be awake."
Sam grunted and opened his eyes. "Hurry up then."
Dean shot him a look, but it quickly melted off his face when he saw the lines of pain across Sam's forehead and around his eyes. Looking deeper, he noticed the dark bags under his eyes and his pale skin, which could have been from the blood loss, but Dean knew his brother hadn't been sleeping well again, and it looked like it was starting to catch up with him.
Dean grabbed the first aid kit and began rummaging through it for the pain pills. After a minute of searching and finding none, he paused and looked to the youngest Winchester. "Sam, after we left St. Paul, we never stopped and restocked the kit, did we?"
Sam stared at the wall in front of him for a second as if in thought, then closed his eyes and lowered his head. "Shit," he muttered.
Dean dropped the kit on the bed and stood. "Well, this can't wait, I got to get you stitched up before you get infected, which, after that tumble down the hill, I wouldn't be surprised if you are already. But this is gonna hurt like a bitch."
"We still have some whiskey left, don't we? Just give me that," Sam said tiredly.
Dean apprehensively looked over his brother. Over the past few weeks, Sam had been drinking more and more, taking the blame of every person they couldn't save. He even felt guilty for the lives of the ones taken before they had any idea about the case, as if he should automatically know of every evil thing going on in the world.
Dean sighed, knowing he had to give Sam something, but he didn't have time to run to the store and pick up some pills. It wasn't that they hadn't stitched each other up without any sort of pain medication before, but with the deepness of the gashes and the toll the night had already taken on his brother's taxed body, he wouldn't put him through anymore pain that was absolutely necessary. He dug the half-empty bottle of Jack out of his duffle and handed it to his brother.
Sam quickly unscrewed the top and took a long pull from the bottle.
"Hey, easy, man. You'll be puking your lungs up if you gulp it down like that. Take it slow," Dean scolded. Sam rolled his eyes and raised the bottle to his lips again.
Dean shook his head and went to wash his hands before coming back to wipe down Sam's bloody thigh so he could see the four, long gashes. The bleeding had slowed to a slow oozing, so he quickly set to cleansing them with alcohol and holy water, trying to ignore Sam's sharp gasp when they sizzled. Once everything was clean, he threaded the needle and set to work.
Sam was well on his way through the bottle when Dean finished up the first gash. "Hey, Dean?" Sam slurred.
"Yeah, kiddo?" Dean replied, not looking up from his task of sewing his brother back into one piece.
Sam paused before continuing, rubbing his thumb over the lip of the bottle. "What… what do you think I'm gonna turn into?"
Dean stopped stitching and looked up at his baby brother's face. "What are you talking about, Sam? You're not going to turn into anything."
"Yeah, I am. Why else would you have to kill me?"
Dean heaved a sigh and shook his head. "I'm not going to kill you, Sammy, and I'm not talking about this."
"Of course you're not," Sam muttered and took another swallow of the bitter liquor.
Dean ignored his remark and went back to work, quickly finishing up the second gash.
After another few minutes of staring into nothing, Sam quietly spoke up again. "I can't do this anymore, Dean."
"I'm almost done here, then you can get some sleep."
Sam shook his head pitifully. "No, not that. I can't do this anymore. This life. I just… I just don't wanna hunt anymore."
Dean stopped again and looked up at his brother. "I know how you feel, Sam. But we'll get it, we'll kill the demon. It'll be worth it. Trust me."
"I'm so tired, Dean."
"I am too, Sammy. Now quiet down and let me finish up, I'm almost done." Dean said shortly, finishing off the third gash and setting in on the last and smallest one. He didn't want to talk about this. He never wanted to have this talk with Sam. Dean dealt with his emotions and his issues on his own, why couldn't Sam just do the same? Why did he have to have such a goddamn bleeding heart?
Sam let out a soul weary sigh and sank back into the headboard. "All I ever wanted was a normal life. I never wanted to hunt demons… or ghosts, or spirits, or anything. I just want to be normal."
"You know we can't be normal, Sammy. Not with what we know, anyway. This is our life, besides, you got normal for a few years." Dean didn't look up from Sam's leg, and Sam didn't miss the bitterness in his big brother's voice.
"No, I didn't. It wasn't the same. I knew what was out there in the dark; I was always waiting for something bad to happen, and it did. All my quest for normalcy got me was a dead girlfriend." He took another long pull from the quickly emptying bottle.
Dean put the last stitch in Sam's leg and sat up, gently taking Sam's arm in his hand and wiping it down with alcohol. The long cut wouldn't need stitches, but it would scar with or without them. He quickly wrapped his arm and began cleaning the supplies up, choosing to ignore his brother's drunken rambling.
"You got normal. You got four years of Mom and Dad and happiness before I showed up and ruined everything."
Dean angrily threw the kit down on the bed, sick of Sam blaming everything on himself. "Sam, you didn't ruin anything. Mom's death was not your fault! You were a baby! When are you going to realize there was nothing you could have done to stop what happened?!"
Sam just shook his head again and took one last mouthful from the bottle before Dean grabbed it away from him, capped it, and tossed it on the other bed.
"All I want is normal, and now I can't ever have that. The demon, evil… is never gonna stop coming after me. Nobody around me will ever be safe." Sam seemed to slump even more against the headboard.
"Sam, we're gonna–"
"I miss Dad. I really miss him, Dean."
Dean closed his eyes and sat back against the headboard next to his brother. "I do too, Sammy."
"He died thinking I hated him, and yeah, I'll admit that sometimes I really did hate him, but I loved him too."
Dean just listened, knowing that it was best to just let his brother get it all out. Sam needed to talk, and for once, Dean was going to allow him to do that. After this everything would be fine; issues dealt with; never to be spoken of again… right?
"It was just… hard growing up around him. I never understood his quest for revenge. Not until… not until Jessica. I know Mom loved me and everything, but it was hard to avenge somebody that I couldn't, I can't… even remember. I don't have one single memory of her, not one, Dean. Do you know what it's like? To get yelled at for not doing something that you can't even see the point of?" Sam lifted watery eyes to his brother.
Dean stared into his eyes for a few seconds before he had to look away. No. He didn't know what it was like. He always had a few memories of his mother, he knew what he was fighting for and he understood John's reasoning. He had never really given much thought to it before. His brother didn't know his own mother. Dean had had four wonderful years with her; Sam had six months that he couldn't even remember.
"I didn't mind it, really. Not at first when Dad was reasonable with it. But when I couldn't join the soccer team because it would take time way from training, or when I couldn't make friends because I knew we'd be moving away too soon for me to even get to know them… Never mind letting anybody get to know me, if I let anybody close enough they'd call the nearest psych ward and have me admitted."
Yeah, Dean knew what that was like. He had dealt with all of that, but to him it didn't really matter. So long as he had his family and a purpose, he was happy with his life. Sure Sam had complained about their lives when they were younger, but Dean had no idea he felt this tormented over all of it.
"I just couldn't take it. I wanted to help, Dean, I did. I just… couldn't do it… not like that, not the way Dad wanted me to. So I left. I couldn't stand being under Dad's rule anymore, I wanted something else, and he kicked me out. He told me to never come back." Sam paused to shake his head and wipe a stray tear away. "Do you know what it's like to be kicked out of the only home you've ever known when you're 18 years old?"
"I didn't have anywhere to go. I had enough money for a bus ticket and that was it. You know, I never told you this, but I waited at that bus top for six hours for you before I finally went and bought a ticket. I wanted you to come and get me and bring me home, or at least be the one to drive me to Stanford, but you never came…"
Dean sighed and ran a hand over his face. "Jesus, Sammy… I had no idea."
"I didn't think you did…" Sam paused for a few minutes, seeming to contemplate continuing or not.
Dean wanted to get off the bed and run out the door, into the night. He didn't want to hear these things. He didn't want to know how much pain his little brother was in. He didn't want to know all the things that ran through Sam's head everyday. He didn't want to know what Sam was thinking about while he stared into the nothingness outside the windows of the Impala as they traveled down desolate back country roads.
"And then Jess…" Sam choked out, and one quick glance over at his brother showed Dean the tears trailing down Sam's smooth cheeks; the absolute heartbreak painted in his eyes.
Dean wanted to help his brother, he did. He just didn't know how. He wanted to wrap his arms around him and protect him from all the evil in the world like he did when they were children.
Let me help you, Sam.
I am strong.
I am your crutch.
Lean on me.
I'm here for you.
I can do it.
I can make all the bad things go away.
I can make it all better again.
I can protect you.
I know I can.
Just tell me how.
I won't let you fall…
"I loved her. I loved her so much… I still can't believe she's gone. I didn't even get to say goodbye. I can't even remember the last thing she said to me!" The tears were nonstop, and Dean could feel a familiar wetness on his own cheeks.
"Mom's gone, Dad… we're orphans, Dean! Jess, Pastor Jim, Caleb, Ava, hell, Sarah's probably dead too… Everybody around me dies! It's probably only a matter of time before something gets you too!" Sam scooted to the edge of the bed and stood, hastily grabbing the nightstand to battle the wave of vertigo that passed over him. "I have to get out of here, Dean. I can't let you die because of me. I won't…" Sam started moving towards the door, limping heavily on his injured leg.
Dean shot up from his side of the bed and hurried around in front of Sam. "Sam, stop," he said calmly, placing his hands on Sam's broad shoulders. "I'm not going to die because of you, I promise. I won't let anything bad happen to either of us. None of this is, or ever was, your fault! But if you leave, things are only going to get worse." Dean knew he had to convince Sam that leaving was not the right solution, because sure, he could stop him from leaving tonight, but what would be there to prevent it in the future if Sam still thought it was right to do?
"I promise I won't let you turn evil. I will fight it with every fiber of my being, Sammy, but you can't give up on me either. You know I'll never stop looking for you if you leave. You're my little brother; I can't just let you go. It's kind of a life-long deal." Dean smiled, gently pushing Sam back to the bed and sitting down next to him again.
"I'm sorry, Dean," Sam sobbed, and Dean's entire chest ached. The kid was broken; hell, they both were, and the road to being repaired was far ahead of them. "I'm so sorry! I just want it all to stop!" Dean slowly reached forward and put his arms around his brother, pulling him tight to his chest. Sam's arms immediately flew around Dean, and he held on for dear life. "I don't want to be evil… I can't be… I don't' want to fight the demon anymore… I don't want to hunt…" Sam sobbed into his big brother's chest. Dean could feel the warmth of tears spreading through the cotton of his t-shirt, and he just held on tighter.
"Shh, Sammy. It's ok. Everything's going to be fine. We're going to make it just fine, you'll see." Without even being aware of it, Dean slowly started rocking his upper body, and Sam, back and forth while running a hand gently through his brother's sweat soaked hair. He pressed his lips to the top of Sam's head and closed his eyes.
He wasn't sure how long they sat like that, but by the time he opened his eyes, there was a faint hint of the sun beginning to rise over the horizon through the open window of the tiny motel room. Sam was blessedly fast asleep, leaning heavily into the comfort of his big brother's embrace.
Dean smiled sadly down at his brother and gently laid them back on the bed together before carefully pulling his arms from around Sam and bending to scoop his never ending legs up onto the bed.
He folded the comforter over Sam and turned to his own bed, staring at the almost empty bottle of whiskey lying on top of it. He picked the bottle up, twisted the cap off, and downed what was left of it before setting the now-empty bottle on the nightstand.
He turned and fell heavily on his bed, staring up at the ceiling in the silence of the room. Warm sunset on one side, broken little brother on the other. He closed his eyes, curled his arms behind his head, and took a deep breath.
When does it end?
AN: Yes, I'm leaving it there. This is a oneshot, and I have absolutely no idea how to follow this up, so it's just the one chapter. I was really nervous about posting this (this is my second Supernatural fic) because my first SPN fic did insanely well (in my eyes, anyway), and so for this past year or so I've been like "oh my god, I can never top that", so I never posted anything, and now I finally have and please just take a second to let me know what you think. Sorry for any typos or grammar mistakes that I missed. I read over this like three times, but I added things and took other things out everytime, so I'm sure I missed something.
I've been on the writer's block bus for about a year now, and I had this angsty idea in my head for this story for a few months, and I finally just kicked it out in about two days, and I'm sure it shows, but oh well, I had to post something. Who knows how long it'll be until my next fic, but I really hope it won't take as long as this one did. I have another idea that I've been trying to get out, but I keep revising it in my head and so I thought I'd just wait until I have all the details straight to try and write it again. Oh well...
Anyway, thank you so much for reading it! Please review!