Father Knows Best
Disclaimer: See chapter 1.
A/N: This is just an itty-bitty wrap-up chapter. I suppose I could have included it with chapter five, but it just seemed to need its own space. I've already started something else, but I'm putting it on the backburner to work on yet another project. I have a fabulous opportunity that I'll tell you guys about when it's closer…. Just keep your eye on my profile page. Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment, either through a review or a private message. Your feedback means a lot to me and I almost always end up with a new idea from something someone has said. And, of course, to those who read and didn't comment. I appreciate you guys, too! Thanks as always to Kelli who reads all my stuff and tells me that someday I'll be a BNA (Big Name Author). I'm not quite sure how that's going to happen if I don't write anything original, but she tells me that's just a small detail to figure out.
So, until next time….this might be the shortest chapter I've ever written, but I'd love to know what you think!
There's no other love like the love for a brother. There's no other love like the love from a brother - Astrid Alauda
Dean sometimes thought back on that summer and in hindsight, things became clear. He realized that must have been when John learned they were hunting a demon and that Sam would have a connection to it. He wondered if things might have turned out differently if their father had given them more information. Would Sam have been so fast to walk away if he'd known what danger he faced? Would he and their father have gotten along better if John had been more forthcoming?
None of that mattered now. Maybe their father didn't know what was best, but he did what he thought he had to do because he loved them. Neither of them doubted that.
It had taken another eight years to find the weapon that Elkins had. It had been in his possession all along and it wasn't until his death at the hand of some vampires that it found its way to John. He didn't live to see the final battle with the demon; instead he sacrificed himself to it to save Dean's life and it was Dean who fired the gun that killed the demon for good.
Having gone through what they did while looking for their father after he disappeared and the events following his death, the brothers were closer than they ever had been. They still hadn't talked about their separation while Sam was in school, but it almost seemed like it didn't matter anymore. Too much else had happened since Dean went to Stanford asking for his help to find John.
Their relationship was stronger now than it ever had been and Dean was learning to appreciate Sam and lean on him in a way he never thought he would – or could. Sam would always be his little brother, but he also saw him as a full partner in the hunt now. And besides, he needed Sam to save him.
Dean still sometimes felt like his only purpose in life was to take care of Sam. When the demon kidnapped him and sent him to fight the other children like him; only one was supposed to make it out alive. His little brother died in his arms, but Dean couldn't let Sam stay dead. It had always been his job to look after Sam and to protect him. He couldn't do that if Sam was dead.
Dean had felt so completely lost and had no idea what he was supposed to do. Sam wasn't supposed to be dead; he couldn't be dead. So, Dean did the only thing he could do; the very same thing his father had done for him. He drove to a crossroads to summon the demon who could make the deal he needed. He never meant for Sam to find out, but he should have known he couldn't keep it from him.
Dean only got a year for his soul, but that still gave them time to figure a way out of the deal. Dean hadn't considered trying to break the deal, but Sam promised to find a way and he knew if anyone could, it was Sam. He just hoped it wouldn't be the last thing Sam ever did….
"What are you staring at?" Sam asked when he realized his brother hadn't moved in the last several minutes.
Dean shook his head. Sam was sitting across from him at some greasy diner in some nameless town, his nose in a book. That was how he spent a lot of time now, researching ways to save Dean's soul. They still had demons to send back to Hell and the FBI was still on their trail, but Sam's main focus was his brother.
"You okay?" Sam closed the book and looked at him more closely.
"Yeah; I was just thinking."
He closed his eyes briefly and nodded. It was still hard, even after all this time, but Dean was making an effort to be more open with his brother. He still needed the occasional prod, though.
"I was just thinking about Dad and that summer when you were fifteen."
Sam looked confused. "What was so special about that summer?"
"It was just a good summer," Dean said and shrugged. He was trying, but still kept some things to himself.
"That was when I had the first nightmares that turned out to be true," Sam said. He looked at his brother. "That job Dad went on….Did he go up against the demon? Was that why he refused to talk about that hunt?"
Dean wished he hadn't brought it up. "I don't know, Sam, but I think maybe so."
"And what was good about that summer?"
He tossed a paper napkin onto his plate. "Are you ready?"
"Come on, man, talk to me. What were you thinking about?"
"It wasn't all good," Dean conceded. "But we spent a few good weeks with Dad. Remember?"
Sam nodded. "He even took us fishing."
Dean smiled at the memory. "It was just the three of us; no hunting."
"You think Dad knew? You think he knew that the demon had plans for me?"
"It scared him," Sam leaned forward. "Dad and I had a talk once; when we were working that first vampire job. When Daniel Elkins died…."
Dean nodded. "I remember the job."
"He told me that after Mom died he saw evil everywhere. He also said that he didn't want me to go away to school because I'd be alone and unprotected," Sam sighed. "If he'd only told us about the danger…."
"Yeah," Dean said. "I've thought about that. But he thought he'd keep us safe by not telling us everything that was out there. I don't know if he was right or wrong, but we can't change it now."
"I hope he's in a good place," Sam said quietly. "The man made me crazy, but I loved him. He was still my dad."
"Okay, we really have to get out of here now," Dean said as he slipped out of the booth.
Sam smiled to himself as he grabbed his book and followed. One day he knew they'd be able to have an serious conversation without Dean shutting down immediately afterward. Until then, he'd take what he could get.
As they walked across the parking lot to the Impala, Dean put his hand on Sam's shoulder. Sam glanced at him, surprised and confused, but he said nothing. He knew that it was still hard for Dean to admit he appreciated him. He took each gesture for what it was, grateful just to have Dean with him. Sam knew that if it hadn't been for their father's sacrifice, he would be dead. His brother's life was the greatest gift John could have given him.
Sam had his own secret and, so far, he didn't think Dean suspected anything. It wasn't just a way to save his brother's soul that Sam was researching. He was also looking into their mother's background. They didn't know much at all about their family, but it wasn't simple curiosity that prompted Sam to begin the search. When he was in the ghost town with the other children, the yellow-eyed demon showed him what happened the night his mother died. He saw the demon standing over his crib, his mother coming into the nursery to check on him, and the recognition in her eyes when it turned to face her.
He didn't tell Dean about what he'd seen. He knew how much he loved their mother and Sam wouldn't poke holes in that unless he had to. It was hard enough for Dean having lived through the alternate reality that the djinn showed him; a life where their mother didn't die and they hadn't grown up as hunters.
Sam glanced at his brother again and put his arm around his shoulders.
He would find a way to save his brother's soul and break the deal with the crossroads demon. Nothing would come before keeping Dean safe and he would do whatever it took because he'd done the same thing for Sam his entire life. Besides, his brother was that important.