Ahh!! Last chapter. It was starting to feel like Dawson's Creek…so much talking about your emotions (those poor kids had to be tired all the time…talking in circles like that). So I hope no one is disappointed in this fiction. I was my first long one…and I really enjoyed it!! Anyway…thank you for reading and reviewing. My faithful readers hold a special place in my heart and you know who you are…thank you thank you! You guys all rock my sox! Now go forth and read….
Months ago, on a mountain road, Dean acknowledged what his father had done for him. He hadn't accepted it or dealt with it, but his mind had made some kind of decision to recognize the gesture. His heart was a different story. His heart kept the act of love at arms length. He let it get to him that afternoon on the road and after that pain, he couldn't let it happen again. But now he had no choice. His mind and his heart were working together against him, pushing it all to the surface, not giving him any place to push it back down to.
Sammy knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that his father had given his life for Dean. He appreciated what John had done more than anyone would ever be able to comprehend. But oddly, at the same time, he held it against John. He knew John did what he did out of love, but it had broken Dean and Sam mourned for his brother. Dean had been strong for his father his entire life, never showing emotion, always following orders. Feed Sammy, clean that shotgun, do those dishes, kill that demon, put your brother to bed. But now, months after the fact and miles down the road, Dean was different. He watched Dean ride this hard line everyday. Brother, protector, mentor. He saw Dean struggle through every hunt trying to hold on to what was left of the him he knew. Sam saw the hesitation and fear in his brother's eyes when he asked Dean for the answers. He knew Dean didn't have them and he knew Dean was terrified because he was in charge now. And all those things made him so much more to Sam than just a big brother. Love of my life, best friend, confidant.
The words had fallen effortlessly from Dean's lips. I told Dad he was a bad father before he died. But when he heard the words floating through the air he wanted to take them back and hide them away. He feared Sam would think less of him, be disgusted by the way he castigated someone he said he loved.
"What are you talking about Dean? When did you say that to dad?" Sam spoke softly.
Dean sat up on the bed and fingered the blankets in front of him. "In the hospital I had a lot of time think about what had happened and what was happening and what could happen. I watched you and dad and I saw you coming and going and doing the only things you could. I never saw Dad make a move to help me and it was driving me mad. I couldn't understand how he could just let me go. You were scared, I know, but you came and talked to me. And I could hear you and it kept me here. But Dad…when he finally came to see me, he just sat in a wheelchair and looked at me. He didn't say anything to me or even touch me".
Dean was trying not to look at Sam. He knew what he was about to say was a shameful thing. His father had died for him and he had yelled and told him off. Dean was certain that this would be the one thing that could change the way Sam saw him. He would be less of a man in his brother's eyes once he knew.
"I just went off on him. I threw it all in his face, you know? All the things I had done, all of the stuff I had given up for him, I screamed and I used it all against him".
Sam stood and moved to the edge of the bed, staring intently at a man who wouldn't look back. He wanted to absorb every word and see every emotion on Dean's face.
"I told him that I had given everything for the fight and never wanted anything in return. I begged him to talk to me, to acknowledge me. I yelled and…"
He had to stop. He had to breathe. He had to focus on what he was doing…telling his brother the truth about the bad son he really was. Not looking Sammy in the eye.
"I never thought he was a bad father, I swear. I understand why he was the way he was. I know he had reasons for doing things the way he did them. I never once questioned his intentions or his love for us. But one of the last things I did was admonish him for being something he wasn't. A bad father".
Sam leaned forward in an attempt to get a look at his brother's anguished eyes, but Dean turned his head away in refusal. "Dean". It was a plead, the same way 'Sammy' was.
But the elder Winchester wasn't giving in that easy.
"Look", Sam started, "You were dying. You were walking around outside of your body, scared for yourself and for dad and me. You didn't mean it. I know you didn't, you know you didn't, and hell…dad didn't even hear you. He knows you loved him".
"It's not that easy to fix, Sammy", Dean stated flatly.
Sam thought for just a moment. How did they break through concrete? It must be the same process when trying to get through Dean's thick, overly macho, self-deprecating skull. Then it hit him like one of Dean's dirty t-shirts flying across a motel room.
"Dean, do you remember when you were about fifteen and you would get those really bad migraines?" Sam asked casually.
"And you remember that trip to Maine? I researched that attack in Monroe for nearly two weeks and Dad agreed to let me come out with you guys. Then you got one of your migraines and it was really bad."
Sam could picture Dean sitting in the dark kitchen with sunglasses on, barely able to sit up at the table. It wasn't pleasant, but it was a memory that tied him to his brother and his father in a happier time so it made him smile.
"You couldn't go out on the hunt and Dad didn't want you to be alone, so I had to stay with you while Dad went after the thing by himself".
Dean scoffed at the memory. "Yeah, I remember you bitched and whined for two days straight before I finally blacked out".
"Yeah, and when you blacked out I thought you were sleeping. And that's when I took the opportunity to tell you what a jerk you were being for not sucking it up and getting on with the hunt. I can remember sitting on the floor and telling you how you were being a baby and you needed to just take an aspirin and move on, that you were ruining my chance to prove to dad that I could do more than clean weapons and make coffee".
Sam reflected on the memory, one he could have gone his whole life without sharing with his brother. "I told you at least a dozen times how much I hated you for it".
Dean knew exactly what Sam was doing. "It's not the same thing Sammy".
"Yeah, Dean. It is. When Dad got back that Tuesday night he realized that you were unconscious, not asleep. He was all over that motel room getting washcloths and aspirin and coaxing you awake. I had never felt so bad before in my life. You were in pain and unconscious and I was calling you names and hating you. You could have died for all I knew".
"Sam, you didn't know. And you didn't mean it, you were just mad". And just as the words left Dean's mouth they came back on him ten fold. He finally looked up and faced Sam's eyes. To his genuine surprise there was no judgment, no condemnation. Just love. "Pretty slick there, Sammy-boy".
"Yeah, well", Sam offered a smile. "You know Dad loved you, and you know you didn't mean what you said, Dean. You just need to forgive yourself".
Dean looked at Sam and chuckled at what he realized.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Nothing", Dean replied, "it's just…that demon was right".
"What are you talking about?" Sam was honestly confused.
"You really do have dewy, sensitive eyes", Dean laughed knowing Sam wouldn't remember the show down and the way the demon mocked Sam.
Sam shook his head at his brother. He had no idea what Dean was talking about, but it had put a smile on his brother's face and that was what was important. He looked at Dean through a veil of long eyelashes, "So, is there anything else you need to talk about? I mean, did you say anything else to Dad…or me?"
"No. I didn't say anything to you that I haven't told you about. I mean…I thanked you for not giving up on me. I told you the quija board was stupid. I think I've gotten it out of my system". He looked at Sam and took a deep breath. He was going to say it and he was going to sound like such a chick. "I think it's over, ya know? I think I have finally faced my demons".
"Good", Sam stood and clapped his brother on the back. He went to the kitchen and came back with two beers and Dean's box of lunch. He opened his beer and put the other on the nightstand next to Dean. He thrust the box into his siblings hands, "So why don't you eat this and we can get looking for a gig".
They sat quietly drinking their beer. Dean ate his burger and Sam nipped at his brother's fries. Glances were exchanged across the void between them. Sam had pulled out the laptop for the first time in days and was looking diligently for a job, far away from this motel and this town. He had enough of this place and wanted to put it behind him so that he and Dean could move on.
Dean just ate, occasionally looking at his brother. He had been so good to him. He had listened to him bitch like a chick, put up with his panic attacks and even though Dean thought he deserved it, Sam hadn't judged him. He closed the Styrofoam box and drained the last of the beer from his bottle before rising from the bed. He clapped his brother on the back and when Sam's head rose Dean looked into his brother's bright eyes and said the only thing he had in his vocabulary that would work. "Thank you, Sam. For everything…all of it".
Sam saw the expression and the emotion and knew what it meant. He knew the words meant 'thank you for pulling me through this' and he could read those deep green specs like a book. Dean's eyes were telling his brother what words could never say. love you and I'm working on it and I really needed you and most importantly I'm still here little brother.
But Dean didn't let it go there. He had to do this properly or he'd never forgive himself. "Bitch"
Sammy just smiled, "Jerk"
Awww! Big huggies for Sammy and Deanie! Well my lovelies, that's it…it's over. Dean is all fixed up…sort of. And I have a new fiction in the works already…so please try to get to that one, too. Should be up soon! Thanx for reading!!