Sam leaned against the trunk of the Impala, staring at the motel room door. His frustration was clear. All he could think about was the dark circles under Dean's eyes, due mostly to his lack of sleep - not to mention his lack of appetite. Sam had thought they had gotten past all this. But Dean had had that mysterious conversation with Ruby three nights ago - the conversation that he refused to reveal the details of - and then it was like they catapulted back to square one.
The lights were still on in the room, the curtains closed. Dean's shadow passed by the window, a bottle tipped back as he took a drink of his current liquor of choice. Sam pounded a fist into his thigh. Why couldn't he get through to him?! His phone chirped in his pocket and he reluctantly pulled it out.
"Sam. It's me. I just wanted to check in and see how you boys are makin' out."
"To be honest, Bobby, we're not doin' so good."
"Why? What's happened?" The older hunter's usually calm voice was abruptly tainted with concern and urgency.
"No, no. Sorry. We're not in danger or anything. It's just - "
"Just what, son?"
Sam sighed. "It's Dean. I just don't know how to get through to him, Bobby! It's like he's completely given up on the possibility of getting out of his deal. I mean, he never really believed he could anyway, but at least he entertained the idea. Now, he won't even do that!"
"Well, maybe you need to take another look at your priorities."
"What?! Bobby, how can you say that? Nothing is more important than saving Dean!"
"I never said there was, ya' idjit."
Sam pinched the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, squeezing his eyes shut in aggravation. "Bobby, you're confusing me. It's been a long week. Do you want me to save Dean from the pit or not?"
Sam opened his mouth to speak but Bobby stopped him.
"Now, before you go off half cocked, just hear me out." Sam remained silent. "Okay. Good. Now, I'm not saying that you shouldn't save Dean. I'm just saying that you need to rethink your methods."
"What do you mean? Do you know a way to get Dean out of the deal? Because, if you do, you really should have said that right after the word 'hello'!"
"Sam, before you can save Dean from this Demon, you need to save him from someone else."
There was a moment of silence as Sam ran his free hand through his hair. "Okay, Bobby, confusion is setting in again, here."
"Son, you need to save your brother from himself. He's got so much pain and anger buried deep inside, nothing we do will save him from hell until he releases all that baggage. And you're the only one who can make him do that."
"What? How? In case you haven't noticed, Bobby, Dean isn't exactly the touchy-feely type and there's nothing he hates more than talking about his feelings."
"I didn't say he had to talk about 'em."
Bobby was silent for so long that Sam was beginning to think that his phone had lost its signal. Then: "You know, your daddy told me a story once."
"I don't exactly have time for stories, right now, Bobby."
"Trust me, you have time for this one."
Sam rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Okay. Go ahead. I'm all ears."
"You better be, kid, cuz this is important. A few months before your mama… passed away… Dean had come down with a nasty flu and cold. The doctor prescribed some medicine but the first spoonful tasted so awful, Dean refused to take anymore. Your daddy laughed about how much of a fighter Dean was, even back then and even when he was so sick. He would kick and punch so wildly that your parents couldn't even get within a foot of him with that medicine."
Despite his current mood, Sam chuckled. "I can believe that."
"Anyway, on the third day, Dean was still refusing to take it. The doctor told your parents that, if this continued, the flu could develop into pneumonia, in which case, because Dean was so young, he would have to be hospitalized to try to prevent the worse case scenario. So, your daddy hung up the phone, scooped Dean up into his arms and did the only thing he could think of - he held his arms and legs still, while your mama approached with the medicine. Now, keep in mind, your brother couldn't breathe through his nose because it was all stuffed up. So, all your mama had to do was wait for him to take a breath, slip the spoon in, and then hold his mouth shut. Dean had no choice but to swallow. That's what your parents had to do twice a day until he got better. They hated doing it but they hated the thought of losing Dean even more."
"Bobby, why are you telling me all this? There's no medicine out there to help Dean."
"No medicine to save him from his deal, no. But there might be a medicine that can save him from himself."
"What kind of medicine can do that?"
"I'm gonna leave that part up to you, son. I'm sure you'll figure it out. But, you'd better do it quick because if Dean's gonna survive, he has to want to survive."
Bobby hung up, leaving Sam feeling more confused and helpless than ever.
Dean sat on the edge of the bed, his fist wrapped tightly around an almost empty bottle of Jack Daniels. There was no way he was going to let Sammy see him like this - just moments away from losing control, more scared than he's ever been in his entire life.
'There's no way of saving me from the pit, is there?'… 'No.'
C'mon, get a grip. Dean, he thought to himself. You're supposed to be stronger than this. You gotta be strong for Sammy, so that he can be strong when you're gone. Okay, all you need is some time alone. Some time to pull yourself together. A drive. That's what you need. That'll clear your head.
He stood up a little too fast and had to brace himself with one hand against the wall for a moment. He put the bottle of JD next to the T.V. and started searching his pockets for his keys. Unable to find them, he looked around the room and finally caught sight of them on the little table next to the door. Just as he grabbed the keys, Sam came into the room.
"Where do you think you're going?"
"For a drive," Dean replied, matter-of-factly. Sam snatched the keys out of his brother's hand and held them out of his reach. "Gimme my keys, Sam," Dean said, his slurred voice full of warning.
Sam glanced at the bottle of JD. "I don't think so, Dean. You may not care if you die, but I know you'd care if someone else did." He then quickly put the keys into his own pocket, the look in his eyes daring Dean to try to get them.
But, the older Winchester merely shrugged. Good point, Sammy.
"Fine, I'll walk."
Dean stepped up to the door but Sam didn't move.
"Outta my way, Sammy." Dean did his best to control the slur in his words - he failed miserably.
"I'm through talking. I need some air."
"I don't wanna talk, either," Sam lied.
"Right," Dean said, disbelief clouding his features. Nevertheless, he reached around his brother to open the door, only to have Sam push it shut again with his back.
"But, you're still not going anywhere."
"Sammy, you are getting on my last nerve," Dean said, as he turned around to grab the JD, stumbling in the process. He polished it off, then faced his brother again, a clear challenge in his eyes.
"Dean. You haven't slept in days. You barely eat. You only drink something if it has high alcohol content," he exclaimed, pointing at the bottle of JD in his brother's hand. "What the hell did Ruby say to you? Please, just talk to me."
"Hah! See? I knew you were lying when you said you didn't want to talk!" Dean did his best to endure a few moments of silence, with Sam just looking at him with those pleading eyes. Damn it, Sammy. Don't use the eyes. Not now. Not when I'm standing on the edge. He tried to keep his mouth shut but couldn't for some reason. Damn liquor! "Fine, Sam! What do you want me to talk about, huh? You want me to tell you how I'm not as strong as I pretend to be? You want me to tell you that all these years, with everything we've been through, I've only been able to be strong for you? Because of you??"
"What are you talking about? You're the strongest person I know."
"Yeah? Well, what if I told you that as soon as you died, I had a complete and utter breakdown. I didn't know what to do with myself. I mean, if I'm not your brother, then who am I? Nobody."
"That's not true. Besides, I was dead, Dean. I think a breakdown is understandable. Same thing would've happened to me," Sam added softly, not willing to think about how he may actually get the chance to prove that point.
"That's not the point, Sammy," Dean muttered.
"Then what is the point?" Sam yelled, his arms spread wide to emphasize his words. "Fill me in, here, Dean, because I'm at a loss! Why did you sell your soul? Why have you given up trying to get out of this deal? And, I want honesty this time, not your usual nothing-can-hurt-me crap!"
"For the final time, Sam, if I even try to get out of this deal? YOU DIE! So, if we do succeed, we'll be right back where we started - you'll be dead and I'll be alive. And, that's just not acceptable to me," Dean said as he tried again to get past his brother and out the door. Sam wasn't budging.
Angry now, Dean grabbed the front of Sam's shirt and slammed him back into the door. He looked up at his little brother and, through gritted teeth, said, "I'd rather be dead than live without you. Because you are my strength, Sammy. You. Okay!? Are you satisfied, now?! Are you happy?"
Sam knew his brother well enough to know that sometimes the best way to get through to him - to get him to drop the mask - was to make him angry, provoke him. And, now as he looked into his brothers eyes, those pain filled eyes, he finally realized what medicine Bobby was talking about.
He wrapped his arms around his brother, pulling him into a rough hug.
Dean didn't do anything at first, his reflexes obviously slowed by the large amount of alcohol in his system. By the time he did begin to struggle against Sam's grip, his hands were pinned between them, still clutching Sam's shirt in his fists, and his face was buried in the hollow of Sam's neck. The more Dean struggled, the tighter Sam held on.
"Sam, lemme go," the older Winchester ordered, pushing hard against his brother's chest.
Sam just held on, putting one hand on the back of Dean's head, immobilizing him further. "Just let it out, Dean."
"What? No! Get off me!" Dean struggled even more frantically but to no avail. He could feel himself nearing the breaking point. He had to get free. He pushed against his little brother with all his might, but the door behind Sam was blocking his efforts, helping Sam stand his ground.
"Lemme go," he pleaded, this time dismayed at the sound of his voice cracking with emotion.
"Dean, you said it yourself, you've been strong for me my whole life. Let me be strong for you, for a change. Please."
No. Fight him. Don't be weak. You have to be strong! You're a soldier, dammit! But, it was no use. He could feel the tears welling up inside of him. "Please, Sam," he cried softly, his voice muffled by his little brother's shoulder.
Then, Sam felt the wetness on his neck. "It's okay, Dean. It's just me. Trust me. Let me help you the way you always help me."
Finally, he felt the sobs wrench through Dean's body. The tears fell freely from his eyes, drenching Sam's neck and shirt. But, he didn't care. His brother was finally opening up to him, finally letting go of all the anger and pain that had been building up inside him for the past 24 years, ever since their mother's death.
When his brother's legs gave out, Sam sank to the floor with him, not letting go for even a second. With a leg on either side of his brother, Sam leaned against the door. Dean was now curled up against his chest, sobbing uncontrollably. Sam glanced at the empty bottle of JD, laying on the floor a few feet away, and was thankful for it's influence in weakening the older man's defenses.
Dean made one final effort to get away, but Sam just pulled him back and held him tighter than ever. After several long moments, the sobbing stopped and Sam could hear and feel Dean's slow, steady breathing. He stroked his brother's hair, thankful that he was finally getting some sleep.
Sam couldn't help but crack a small humourless smile because he knew that, when he woke up, Dean was going to be mortified at the fact that he not only cried in his brothers arms, but that he also fell asleep in them.
With his arms still encircling his brother, Sam leaned his head against the door and closed his eyes, preparing to drift off to sleep himself.
This is my first fanfic. So please, let me know what you think...?