Title: One Other Person

Author: JALover7

Rating: R for language and (non-sexual) child abuse

Genre: AU, wee!winchesters, angst, brotherly love

Disclaimer: I don't own Sam, Dean, or anything related to Supernatural (if only) – Kripke and others do.

Spoilers: AU, so no.

Summary: Sometimes, all it takes is one other person. A much shorter version of "A Little More Tequila, A Little Less Demon Hunting" with the same mood and message, but with a unique tone and format and without the demon hunting (yet another reason to consider it AU).

AN: This is a short piece that I intended to submit for a writing competition held at my school. However, it was far too long, so I ended up editing it down to a much shorter piece, which was still good in its own right, but I still prefer this version. This was created by taking some of the more meaningful parts of my fan fic story "A Little More Tequila, A Little Less Demon Hunting" and reorganizing them into something new. The mood and message are still the same, but the format is clearly different and the vast majority of the plot removed, including all mentions of the supernatural. What remains is a more generic journey that could be experienced by anyone, though I still imagined my characters (named Tom/Tommy and Sean) as I imagined Sam/Sammy and Dean in that story. So I fixed it up a bit and changed the names, and what you have here is shorter version of the journey which Sam and Dean experience in my AU story "A Little More Tequila, A Little Less Demon Hunting," though in a more unique, poetic format. It can't, I believe, measure up to ALMT, but it is, I also believe, good in its own way. Hopefully you guys think so, too.

Give it a shot and let me know what you think. I especially hope all my great reviewers from ALMT will come back and tell me what they think of this.

Also, because ff. net does not really allow you to format anything, the poem no longer has the breaks that it is supossed to, which really irks me. If anyone wants to read it the way it is supposed to look, you can read it over at my livejournal:

http://jalover7. livejournal. com (type that in without the spaces after the dots - once again, formating here sucks out loud)

Be sure to leave reviews here on ff. net though if you do.

Thanks to all and enjoy. :)


One Other Person

(not every question has an answer)

Dean had never touched alcohol – had never wanted to.

He'd never had a taste for it.

But then one night, he found something:

…a curiosity…

…a need to know…

a question without an answer.

Then he found the bottom of a beer.

Two beers.

Countless shots of every hard liquor he could think to order.

And then some.

He got horribly drunk.

Got into a fight with some man over some thing he couldn't remember.

Stumbled home.

Passed out on the kitchen floor at four in the morning.

Hours later, he found himself lying in bed,

staring into the worried eyes of his brother.

Sammy.

Sam yelled at him.

About how worried he was…

…how terrified.

Voice growing hoarse…

…cracking…

…eyes tearing up.

Dean leaned over the bed and vomited.

He was certain the vomiting was caused only in part by the alcohol.

Sam wordlessly led him to the bathroom.

Dean looked into the mirror.

A purplish bruise was forming under his right eye.

His mind flashed back:

…dozens of fights…

…dozens of bruises…

…bruises on his face, his arms, his chest…

…bruises on his brother.

In that moment, he hated himself.

What he'd done,

what he could have done…

…how close he had come to truly fucking things up…

…how he'd been stupid enough to become the one thing he'd always told himself he'd never become:

his father.

(how did we get here?)

Four year old Dean woke up to a sudden loud roaring…

…an intense blast of heat…

…bright colors…

…smoke everywhere…

…his father yelling for his mother.

He flew out of bed,

ran down the hallway,

calling for his daddy.

His daddy emerged from Sammy's nursery.

He put six month old Sammy in his arms.

Told him to take his brother outside.

So he did.

Quickly, carefully.

Ran outside,

across the lawn,

stood next to the mailbox.

Mommy had taught him this drill.

"Leave the house as fast as you can.

Don't stop for anything. Don't look back.

Stay down low, away from the smoke and the flames.

Stand next to the mailbox.

I'll meet you there."

That night…

…she hadn't.

A woman he didn't know asked if he was okay,

tried to take Sammy from him.

He turned away and hugged Sammy close…

…said he wanted his mommy…

…fought the urge to join his brother in crying.

Men in yellow suits ran into the house.

They carried out his daddy.

He never saw his mommy again.

("father")

Dean visited his father in the hospital.

His father never said a word to him.

Never even looked at him.

He stared at the ceiling.

He looked sad…lost…broken.

Then the woman who was taking care of him and Sammy would tell him it was time to leave.

He would go with her quietly, back to her house.

He would seek out Sammy.

He would play with him…

…watch over him…

…keep him smiling and laughing and happy.

Looking back, Dean realized that,

even then,

he'd felt that, by handing Sam to him,

his daddy had given up his role of "father" to him.

And Dean had willingly (gratefully) accepted it.

(a new way of life)

At first, they stayed in hotels.

Too many to count.

When Dean was five, his dad taught him how to take care of Sam:

how to feed him, change him, wash him.

He didn't teach him how to play with him,

or make him laugh,

or know when he needed food,

but Dean already knew all of that.

Then his father stopped doing anything.

Dean took care of Sam all the time and got very good at it:

…he was the only one who could make Sam smile and laugh

(the only one who even tried).

Dean missed his mommy:

…how she would tuck him in at night…

…kiss him…

…hold him close when he woke up crying from nightmares.

He hadn't cried since his dad had taken him and Sam away from their foster house.

His daddy hadn't cried, and he wanted so much to be like his daddy.

One day, Dean taught Sam how to walk.

Sam toddled across the room,

banged his little fists on his father's bed,

silently asking his daddy to look at him,

to see what he had done.

His dad turned away toward the wall.

Sam looked puzzled.

Tried to reach out to his dad.

But he was too small and his arms fell short.

He fell down with a soft plop and began to cry.

Dean walked over and picked him up.

Sat down on his bed and bounced Sam on his knee.

Dean looked toward his father's back, and he felt tears sting his eyes.

Suddenly, though his dad was right there,

Dean felt more than he had before that he and Sam were alone in the world

and his father had died along with his mother.

That night, Dean crawled onto the floor next to his sleeping brother,

and pulled him into a hug.

He felt Sam curl up next to him,

still asleep,

hand fisting in his shirt,

holding on to him tightly.

Dean's body gently shook, and Sam simply lay there in his arms as Dean cried,

afraid to let go of the only thing he had in the world.

(daddy? do you hate me?)

"Stop that damn crying."

"Daddy, why did Mommy die?"

"Be quiet, Dean."

"Daddy…why won't you talk to me?

Daddy? Do you hate me?

Daddy-"

"Stop crying, Dean. You're a big boy now. Big boys don't cry."

"Daddy-"

"Stop it! Stop your crying!"

His father shook him hard, his hands twisting his arms painfully.

"Daddy, that hurts. Daddy-"

He shoved him away onto the bed, hard.

He walked to the door, put on his shoes,

told Dean not to dare leave the fucking room,

and slammed the door behind him.

His dad had never left them alone before.

Why was his daddy leaving them alone?

Was he going to come back?

Did he not want them anymore?

Did he do something wrong?

Why didn't his daddy love him?

He looked down to see Sam tugging gently on his pants,

his face red,

tears pouring from his eyes.

Dean felt his heart break, and he sat down hard on the floor,

pulled his brother into his lap,

and held him as they both cried

for the mother they had lost

and the father that didn't love them.

Their father came back at three in the morning,

cursing loudly, drinking from a bottle he carried.

He stumbled inside, banged his knee on the dresser,

mumbled some words that Dean didn't know the meaning of but that he knew he didn't like.

"Daddy?"

" 'Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.' Do you ever shut the fuck up?"

"Daddy, what's wrong?"

" 'What's wrong?' he says. What isn't wrong? Everything's wrong."

He pulled out another bottle like the one he had just finished.

Downed the entire thing without stopping.

Grabbed another one.

"Daddy, are you okay?"

"Why don't you do Daddy a favor, Dean?" he asked,

a fake sweetness in his voice.

"Why don't you just shut the fuck up and go to sleep? Does that sound like fun?

So fucking NEEDY!"

Sam started crying.

"Shut your brother up!" he yelled loudly.

Sam only cried harder.

Before Dean knew what was happening,

his father was looming over his brother,

and Dean practically felt it himself when his father slapped his brother hard across the face.

Before Dean knew what was happening,

he was hitting his father hard in the back,

beating him with his small fists,

tears of anger streaming down his face.

Before Dean knew what was happening,

he was on the bed,

not understanding what was happening:

why was his father was hitting him and yelling at him and hurting him?

He drifted off to sleep, visions of his dad hitting his tiny, defenseless brother haunting his dreams.

He awoke later to find his brother standing next to his bed.

Sam's hand was gently hitting him on the head, and his lips were trembling.

He had an imploring, sad look in his eyes,

a large red imprint of his father's hand forming on his face.

That day, Dean aged more than any child should ever have to.

He was no longer five years old.

He was the big brother, and he had an important job to do.

He pulled Sam up on the bed and held him, ignoring the pain in his chest and his arms.

He gently rocked Sam back and forth,

like his mother used to do to him.

"It's okay, Sammy. Everythin's gonna be okay. I'm gonna take care of you."

He vowed to make sure his brother had everything he needed.

He vowed to keep his brother from ever having to cry again.

He vowed to never let Sam be in the pain he was in at the moment…

…to never let the bruises he could feel on his own arms and chest ever be on his brother…

…to never let his father touch his brother the way he had last night ever again…

…to protect his brother at all costs…

…even his own.

(the best goddamn birthday party ever)

They moved into an apartment.

Dean shared the hideaway bed with Sam.

One day, his Dad told him that he had a job and that he was going to be gone all day from then on.

Dean wondered how this was different from before, but he said nothing.

Dean hadn't cried the morning after his father had hit him for the first time.

He had stifled his cries and tried to ignore the pain he felt in his body and in his heart.

It had been hard, and a few times he had wanted to simply lie down and cry and never stop.

But then he had heard Sam giggle, or heard him cry, or seen him smile,

and Dean had pushed aside that desire for his little brother's sake.

He was the man of the house now, and Sam was his responsibility.

Eventually, the bruises faded all together.

But the pain never really disappeared.

One day, Dean saw a newspaper.

He couldn't read, but his mommy had pointed out Sam's birthday on a calendar once,

and the letters and numbers looked the same.

Sammy was one year old.

Dean had missed his own fifth birthday.

Suddenly, more than anything, Dean wanted to have a party for his brother.

He could remember all the fun he had had at his fourth birthday party,

and he wanted Sam to have the same.

The only problem was, he didn't know how to make a party.

He asked his father if they could have a party.

"What the hell for?"

It was Sammy's birthday.

His father didn't believe him.

He looked at the paper.

"Son of a bitch!"

He threw the bottle he was holding across the room.

Dean watched it hit the wall and shatter into a million pieces,

scattering glass on the floor and creating a dark patch on the stained wallpaper.

Sam started to cry, and his father looked down at his son, anger flashing in his eyes.

He took a step toward Sam and,

barely knowing what he was doing,

Dean stepped between Sam and his father, causing his father to stop mid step.

He glowered at his oldest son,

at the look of quiet determination,

and slapped him hard across the face

"Have your own goddamn party if you want to," he growled at his son.

"See if I give a shit."

He stomped off toward the door and slammed it behind him.

That day, Dean gave his brother the best goddamn birthday party he could.

And when his father got home at four in the morning,

half dead on his feet,

threatening to hurt Sam for being the reason Mary had died,

Dean stood in front of his brother,

determined to keep Sam from getting hurt.

Dean felt himself fall into a deep sleep.

(what school can teach you)

One day, Dean's father came home from work and told him that he would be going to school in a week.

Dean didn't know what school was, and when his father explained it to him, he knew he didn't want to go.

Who was going to take care of Sammy when he went away?

Who was going to keep him safe?

His father told him that Sam would be left in a "daycare center."

He explained that it was a place where children went to be cared for when no one else was around to do it.

Dean didn't like the idea of strange people taking care of his brother,

but when his father told him that he was going and that was final,

Dean flinched at the tone in his father's voice and agreed.

So Dean went off to kindergarten, and Sam went to the daycare center.

Dean was happy to discover that he liked kindergarten.

There were other kids to play with and fun things to do,

and he didn't have to feed anyone or change any diapers.

He couldn't wait for the day when he could teach Sam everything he was finding out about the world.

The most important thing he learned was that the way his father treated him

was not the way most fathers treated their children.

Many of the children at school talked about how much their parents loved them:

…how they would take them places…

…buy them things…

…kiss them goodnight…

…hug them…

…tell them they loved them.

They came to school and showed off their new toys or their new clothes.

Dean's clothes were too small for him and were only getting smaller and thinner.

His father never took him out anywhere or bought him anything.

And he never hugged him, or kissed him…or told him he loved him.

All the other kids got those things, but not Dean.

If all the other kids got those things, and Dean acted just the same as they did…

…then maybe…

…just maybe…

…it wasn't his fault.

(the importance of words)

A few years passed, and Dean learned how to read and write and do all the things that boys his age should know.

Sam was potty trained and said his first word: "Dee,"

which was as close to "Dean" as he could get at first.

But he soon perfected it,

and it became the only thing he could say for awhile.

"Hey, Sammy. Ready to go to daycare?"

"Dean."

"Hey, Sammy. Want to watch some TV?"

"Dean."

"Hey, Sammy. Ready for bed?"

"Dean, Dean, Dean!"

Dean usually took all of that to mean, "yes."

When Sam started speaking more and more words,

their father stopped going to work.

He lost his job.

Dean told him they needed food.

His father told him to "fuck off."

Dean was nine years old when he took his five-year-old brother outside for the first time,

without his dad,

and went grocery shopping,

using money he found in his dad's wallet.

The woman behind the register looked at him curiously,

but didn't say anything as he paid for the groceries and went home.

("what's wrong with daddy?")

"Hey, Sammy. Time for bed, dude."

"Awwww. Five more minutes, Dean?"

Sam stared at his brother and put that stupid puppy dog look on his face:

the one he knew his brother could never say "no" to.

Dean smiled. "Fine."

Twenty minutes later…

…"Goodnight, Sammy," Dean said,

kissing him lightly on the forehead.

He'd done it every night since his mother died,

never really knowing why,

and he would continue doing it until Sam insisted he was

"too old for that baby stuff."

Dean turned to leave.

Sam grabbed his arm.

"What's wrong with Daddy?"

Suddenly, Dean knew what was wrong.

That was the first time Dean had ever heard Sam say "Daddy."

His father had been upset ever since Sam had said his first word,

and it was "Dee" and not "dada."

But he couldn't tell his brother that.

So he made something up.

"He's just tired from all the work he does to take care of us."

"But Dean…Daddy doesn't take care of us. You do."

Dean had to pause before he could continue.

"Dad's just taking a break, Sammy. He'll be back to making money in no time.

You'll see."

"Promise?"

How on earth could he promise him something like that?

He didn't.

"You'll see," he repeated.

"Okay, Dean."

Dean rubbed his brother's head quickly,

messing up his bushy hair and eliciting a cry of "Hey!" from his sibling.

"Go to sleep, Sam."

"Dean!"

"Yeah?"

"I don't think Daddy likes me."

He tried hard not to let it show just how much this comment effected him.

"Why do you say that?"

"Daddy doesn't look at me.

Doesn't talk to me, or play with me.

And when he does look at me, he always looks…

angry…like he doesn't want me around."

Dean fought the sudden urge to throw something against a wall.

Why is he doing this to us?

Dean didn't know what to tell him.

Whenever his dad looked at him, it was usually a blank stare, like he was looking through him.

But Dean had caught him staring at Sam when he wasn't looking.

And what he saw in his father's eyes always scared him to death.

Anger…

…and rage.

The night of Sam's first birthday,

he remembered his father blaming Sam for their mother's death,

ranting about how it was all Sam's fault that she was dead.

Dean didn't know why, but he knew that his father blamed Sam,

and that was why he always looked at him with anger in his eyes.

"Dean?"

He really hated lying to Sam, but what else could he do?

"Of course he likes you, Sam. He loves you. Loves both of us."

It was the biggest lie he could possibly think to tell his brother.

"I love you."

"I love you, too, Sammy."

(things fall apart)

That whole night was a blur to him.

"What happened to Mom? I want the truth, Dad."

"Get your ass out of this kitchen before I throw you out."

"Why won't you talk to me, Dad?

Why don't you ever talk to Sammy?

Why do you look at him the way you do?

Why do you hate him? Or me?

What happened to Mom? Tell me, Dad.

Why are you mad at Sam? Why-"

"'Why, why, why? Why, Daddy, why?'

Always so many damn questions from you.

Haven't I ever taught you to keep your fucking mouth-"

"Is it because he won't call you 'Daddy?'"

"How dare you talk to me that way!"

"That's it, isn't it?

Ever since Sam learned to say 'Dean' and not 'Dad.'

He's never said 'Daddy' before, has he?

You're mad that he'll talk to me and not you."

"Shut up."

"Well guess what, Dad? It's no one's fault but your own."

"You want to know why I hate your brother so much?

Are you sure you want to know why she died?

It's all his fault, Dean.

Your precious little brother is the reason you don't have a mother.

You'll blame him too, Dean. If you knew how she died…you'd blame him, too."

"Never."

His father started beating him.

And then…

Sam.

"Dean, what's going on?"

"Go back to bed, Sam. It's okay."

"What's wrong?" Sam asked, tiny voice shaking.

"It's okay, Sammy. Daddy's home," his father said.

He towered over Sam,

hands out,

and Sam flinched and backed away.

Dean's father whirled around to face him.

"You little shit. What have you done to him?

You've made him afraid of his own father.

What have you done to my son?"

"I haven't done anything to your son, Dad.

You've turned him against you all by yourself."

His father lunged at him. Hit him.

Sam screamed "Daddy!"

It all fell apart.

Dean tried to stop him, he tried so hard.

Dean ended up being thrown into the wall,

lack of air making it too hard for him to move,

to even see straight.

He couldn't do anything but watch as his father hit his little brother in the face over and over…

…screaming and cursing…

…Sam crying in pain and fear…

…begging him to stop, please, it hurt….

Somehow, Dean picked himself up,

threw himself in front of his brother,

told his father to leave Sam alone and hit him if he had to.

His father didn't refuse him.

That night, Dean learned how his mother died.

And he would never understand how his father could rationalize it as being Sam's fault…

…how he could blame his son and raise a hand to his children.

He would never understand what drove his father to do any of the things he did….

That night, after his father left them alone,

he apologized over and over again to Sammy,

holding him close and feeling his small body shaking in his arms.

He took him to the bathroom,

did his best to soothe the cuts and bruises,

knowing that whatever he did it would never be enough

to heal the pain his five-year-old brother was going through.

Nothing had ever been enough for him.

He carried Sam to the bed they had to share,

and Sam wouldn't let go of him,

so Dean crawled into bed and lay awake holding his brother,

unwilling to fall asleep though the pain in his body threatened to pull him under.

He lay awake until he finally passed out from pain and exhaustion,

and he fell into a fitful sleep full of dreams…

…Sam being beaten by their father…

…the two of them shivering in the cold…

…his little brother dying in his arms.

He awoke hours later to his brother shaking him,

calling his name fearfully.

He pulled himself out of the dark sleep he had fallen into,

and Sam started to cry,

asking why Dean hadn't woken up when he called him

and if he was sick

and if he was going to leave him like Mommy did.

Dean held his little brother close and promised him…

…that he was never, ever going to leave him…

…that he would get him out of here…

…that he would get a job and find them a place to live and take him far, far away from their father and never look back…

…that he would try his hardest to never let their father hurt him again….

He made no promises to Sam that he himself wouldn't get hurt,

because Dean knew that he would stand between Sam and his father forever

if that was what it took to keep Sam safe.

(you gotta have faith)

Dean kept his promise…

…as best he could.

He stood up to his father,

took the brunt of his beatings,

fought against him when his father lost interest and tried to go after Sam.

Then one night, his father went after him…

…and Sam tried to fight him off.

His father threw him into a table.

Sam only broke his wrist.

But it was too much for Dean.

That night at the hospital,

he told his brother in the best "I'm the big brother and that means I'm the boss" voice

that he could manage without his voice cracking,

(God, it could have been so much worse…)

that Sam was to never, ever, get in their father's way again.

Sam told him that he didn't like watching Dean get hurt.

That he felt useless…

…and guilty.

Dean told him blame their father

or God

or the world for what was happening to them

but to never, ever, blame himself,

because that was what Dad wanted.

Sam asked Dean if he blamed him,

and Dean wanted to cry because

how dare his father let this happen to them!

He told Sam he could never blame him,

and that he shouldn't blame himself.

Then he started yelling.

First he yelled about their father.

Then he yelled about God.

He wondered if God was even really out there when he hadn't answered any of his prayers;

prayers he had shot up to him every night since their mother's death.

Then Sam quietly told him to have faith.

He said that when Dean had taught him to pray,

he had prayed every night,

and that his prayers had been answered because Dean was still alive and the two of them were still together.

He told him to have faith even when times were rough.

He told him that he could have faith in God because he had faith in Dean…

…and Dean had never let him down.

Dean realized that sometimes big brothers needed little brothers just as much as little brothers needed them.

(making a home)

Over the years to come,

Dean began to realize that Sam was caring for him almost as much as he was caring for Sam.

Especially on that night when their lives changed forever.

Dean knew he was dead.

He couldn't get his father off of him.

He was only fourteen years old.

His brother was only ten.

Sammy.

Dean knew Sam would be alone in the world.

Tears sprang to his eyes at the thought,

and he fought harder to get his father off him.

But he was tired.

So very, very tired.

The world faded to black.

He woke up to find his brother staring at him,

has father unconscious on the floor,

a large bump on the back of his head slowly oozing blood.

"I…I hit him. He was killing you, Dean."

"It's okay, Sammy. It's okay."

"He's not dead. He's just unconscious."

"We have to get out of here."

Sam ran around the room, collecting clothes, retrieving Dean's stash of money from the closet.

Dean noticed the bat on the floor.

He realized it would be all too easy.

One good hit,

one well planned hit,

and their father would be out of their lives forever.

He picked up the bat,

felt the weight of it in his hands.

"Dean, no."

"I have to do it, Sammy.

We'll never be safe if I don't."

"We don't have to kill him.

We can go far away, like you promised."

"But he'll always be out there, Sam."

"I know. But Dean…he's not worth it.

If you kill him…you'll be not better than he is."

"I have to, Sam…

…for us…

…for you."

"Then let him live, Dean.

I don't want you to do that to yourself.

I know you don't like him, but I know you'd feel guilty if you killed him.

I know you'd feel like you were just like him.

And I don't want you to do that to yourself, Dean.

Not for anything.

Certainly not for me.

Don't do it.

We'll leave, we'll go far away, and we'll never look back.

Just don't do it, Dean…

…for me."

Dean let the bat fall to the floor.

"Okay."

"Okay?"

"Yeah, okay.

Let's just get out of here, Sammy."

That night, Dean let his brother help him out of their house

(it had never been their home; they would make that later).

They went to the train station and Dean bought them tickets to New York City.

They climbed on board the train.

Dean let Sam sit near the window.

Dean didn't know what lay ahead of them in New York.

There was so much evil in the world.

Everywhere.

So much evil you just couldn't get away from it no matter how far or fast you ran.

As the train pulled away from the station,

Dean felt a light pressure on his shoulder.

He turned to find his brother sound asleep next to him.

Dean had never seen his brother fall asleep this fast,

or with such a content smile on his face.

And Dean smiled at the thought that there was also a bit of goodness and love to be had in the world as well.

Dean fell into the first restful sleep he had had since he was four years old.

He dreamt of his mother and his father and his little tiny brother as they had been before the accident.

He awoke a few hours later to find Sam still fast asleep next to him.

He looked…warm…safe…loved.

And Dean realized that he felt the same way.

(some questions do have answers)

The night Dean drank for the first time, he realized something.

A part of him, the part of him that hated what his father had done to him and his brother,

relished the idea that his father was lying dead in a gutter somewhere.

But another part of him,

a part he had never let his father touch,

a part of him that Sammy had helped keep alive,

couldn't hate his father.

He realized that having Sammy around kept him sane.

It had given him a purpose in life –

…someone to protect…

…someone to fight for…

…someone to love…

…and someone to love him back.

Dean loved his brother more than he loved anything or anyone,

and as much as Dean had cared for his brother during those years with their father,

Sam had taken care of him in more ways than he could ever know.

Sam had kept love alive in his brother.

That night Dean drank for the first time,

he had wanted to know something:

why did people drink?

Why did people turn to alcohol when their lives fell apart?

Why did people continue to drink it when all it seemed to cause was pain?

When it led to rape, suicide, murder…child abuse?

He had never gotten an answer that night, and he figured he never would.

But he had gotten an answer to another question:

what does it take to make life worth living?

What does it take to keep fighting?

The answer was simple.

Sometimes all it took was one other person.

the end.