Hold the Dream

Disclaimer: I still don't own them, but sometimes it's fun to put them in my sandbox.

A/N: I really enjoyed Dream A Little Dream Of Me, but it got me thinking about Dean's feelings for his dad and what he said to his dream self. Now, I don't doubt that he's pissed at John and he has a right to be, but I'm afraid that Dean will start to hate him and I don't want to see that happen. As always, I would have loved to see Dean open up to Sam, but I know that happens very rarely. Dean will march into Hell with his game face on if they don't find a way out of the deal.

The great thing about fanfiction is that we have all the time in the world to tell our story, unlike the 47 or so minutes the show writers have to work with. And what we write in one story doesn't affect the ongoing mytharc. So, with that in mind, here's what I think a conversation between the brothers would be like about the dream might look like.

I proofread it, but didn't have anyone read it before posting. All the mistakes are mine.

oooOOOooo

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams, whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me.

Dream a Little Dream of Me; written by Fabian Andree and W Schwand

oooOOOooo

"Dad knew who you really were; a good soldier and nothing else. Daddy's blunt little instrument. Your own father didn't care whether you lived or died, why should you?"

"You son of a bitch! My father was an obsessed bastard! All that crap he dumped on me about protecting Sam? That was his crap! He's the one who couldn't protect his family! He's the one who let Mom die; who wasn't there for Sam! I always was! I didn't deserve what he put on me, and I don't deserve to go to hell!"

The sound of the shotgun inside the dream shocked Dean awake and he quickly looked to the bed next to his. A streetlight streamed in through the thin curtains and he could see that Sam was still asleep. Dean ran a shaking hand over his sweat-covered face, struggling to control his breathing. Satisfied that Sam wasn't going to wake up, Dean tossed the blankets aside and made his way to the bathroom.

His breathing was still coming in gasps as he splashed cold water on his face and stared into the sink. He knew if he looked up, he would see his reflection in the mirror and that was the last thing he needed. The nightlight built into the light switch was casting an eerie glow throughout the room and it would distort what he saw in the mirror, but that isn't what Dean was afraid to see. He didn't want to see the haunted look in his eyes or the dark circles underneath them.

Dean leaned against the counter, his hands clasped together as he tried to make them stop shaking. It had been a week since he'd had the dream root induced nightmare and every night he woke up the same way. He didn't know how much longer he could hide it from Sam and he wasn't sure he wanted to keep trying.

Back under control several minutes later, Dean left the bathroom. Sam was still asleep and the clock on the table between the beds read just after 1am. Quietly slipping into the jeans he'd discarded on the floor earlier, Dean kept an eye on his brother, alert for any sign that his sleep would be interrupted. He put on a shirt over the tee he'd worn to bed and then put on his shoes. He took the leather jacket he'd gotten from his father years before from the back of a chair, but instead of putting it on, he tossed it across the room where it landed on the small trash can.

After making sure he had his cell phone, Dean left the room and headed off on foot. There was a bar not far from the motel where he and Sam were spending the night. He'd seen it on their way into town and knew it was within walking distance. It was less than an hour away from last call, but that would be plenty of time.

Inside, Dean saw it was like so many other bars he'd been in. The floor was worn, the furniture old and the few other patrons were drinking quietly. No one paid much attention to him as he took a stool and ordered a shot of whiskey. He threw it back quickly and signaled for another. The bartender, an older man who looked bored, hesitated. Dean drank the second shot and let the bartender fill his glass for a third time. He shook his head and the man moved away.

Dean didn't want to die. He didn't want to go to Hell. He never had, but he couldn't imagine life without his brother and he'd made the deal for Sam's life in good faith. Ironic, since he'd been dealing with a demon. There was nothing he wouldn't do for Sam; nothing. He didn't regret the deal because he got his brother back, but that didn't mean he wanted to die. And going to Hell….would his humanity really be burned away? Would he become what he despised most? He didn't want to become the very thing he'd dedicated his life to hunting down and destroying.

Dean took his time with his third drink, but it still didn't last very long. The bartender filled his glass again and checked the contents in the bottle. Dean could see there wasn't much left and wasn't surprised when the bartender left it in front of him and walked away.

"You son of a bitch! My father was an obsessed bastard! All that crap he dumped on me about protecting Sam? That was his crap! He's the one who couldn't protect his family! He's the one who let Mom die; who wasn't there for Sam! I always was! I didn't deserve what he put on me, and I don't deserve to go to hell!"

Dean ran a hand over his face and stared into his glass. No, he hadn't deserved what his father put on him. He was only four years old when his mom died, but it hadn't taken long for his father to start piling responsibility onto his little shoulders. He was already devoted to Sam; Dad didn't have to tell him to take care of his brother, but it wasn't long before the orders started to fly.

Dean could still hear his dad's voice as he barked. "Watch out for Sammy! Look out for your little brother, boy!"

He gripped the glass tightly, his father's voice echoing in his ears. He slammed back the shot and reached for the bottle.

"Dad knew who you really were; a good soldier and nothing else. Daddy's blunt little instrument. Your own father didn't care whether you lived or died, why should you?"

Dean thought back to when he was in a hospital after the crash that had all but destroyed the Impala. He'd been unconscious in bed, but part of him wandered the halls, stalked by a reaper. He'd seen his father, still a patient himself, as he sat next to the bed watching his older son. Dad never called anyone for help. Had he really not cared if Dean lived or died?

Growing up Dad had trained him, pushed him harder and harder….Was it just so he could take care of Sam? He poured another drink, having lost count of how many he'd already had.

"I mean after all, you got nothing outside of Sam. You are nothing. You're as mindless and obedient as an attack dog."

"That's not true."

"No? What are the things you want? What are you things you dream? Your car? That's Dad's. Your favorite leather jacket? Dad's. Your music? Dad's. Do you even have an original thought?"

Dean rubbed his face with his hands. Was it so wrong that a lot of what he liked had started with his father? Didn't ever boy want to be like his dad?

Sam didn't. Sam had never wanted to be like their father. He asked questions even when Dad told him not to. He insisted on playing soccer when Dad didn't want him to. Hell, Sam left even though Dad said he couldn't come back if he did. Sam was stronger than him; he was willing to stand up for himself and all Dean had ever done was follow Dad's orders.

When Dean emptied the bottle, he signaled for the bartender so he could settle the bill. He didn't know what time it was and didn't bother looking at his watch, but last call couldn't be far off. He had just swallowed the last of the whiskey when someone sat on the stool next to him. He didn't have to look to know it was Sam.

"How'd you know I was here?" Dean asked, staring into the empty glass.

"I didn't for sure, but figured I'd find you here."

Dean only nodded.

"How much have you had?"

"Don't know."

"You ready to come back to the room? It's late."

Dean didn't respond.

"What's going on, man? You've been weird all week."

"Nothin'."

"Dean, come on. Talk to me."

"Why, Sammy? What does it matter?"

"What do you mean?"

Dean waved him off. "Don't worry about it."

"Cone back to the room so we can talk."

Dean finally looked at his brother. The expression on his face was mostly worry, but there was something else Dean couldn't quite place. The truth was, he wanted more than anything to go back to the room and crawl under the covers. He wanted to feel safe and warm, but he didn't think that would ever happen again.

"Sam…."

Sam stood up and took Dean by the arm. "Let's go."

"I gotta pee," Dean said.

Sam followed him to the men's room, probably to make sure he didn't fall down, and a few minutes later they left the bar. Dean was hit by a blast of cold air and it made him feel a little less foggy.

"I don't wanna go back to the room yet."

"How about the coffee shop next to the motel, then? You could probably use some caffeine."

---

Dean nodded and somehow managed to walk the two blocks without throwing up, but Sam had to catch him a couple of times to keep him on his feet. They slipped into a booth near the door and Sam noticed they were the only customers. It didn't take long for a waitress to appear with coffee and menus. Sam knew if he had any chance of getting Dean to open up, it had to be before he'd had too much of the coffee, so he didn't waste any time.

"So, you gonna tell me what's going on?"

He saw Dean's eyes flicker toward him, before going back to stirring sugar into the coffee cup.

"I thought once you'd realized you wanted to live that you'd be a little more willing to fight, but you've just kinda disappeared on me."

"I've been with you."

"Physically, sure. Come on, Dean. Give it up."

Sam watched his brother as a series of emotions passed over his face. He recognized Dean's posture; he wanted to talk, but he was afraid.

"The dream root….my dream…."

Sam was surprised when Dean looked at him and there were tears in his eyes.

"What about it?" Sam asked quietly. 'You said you were looking for me the whole time."

"Yeah, well," Dean took a sip of coffee. "I kinda ran into myself. I guess I'm my own worst nightmare."

"You're your own worst enemy," Sam pointed out, immediately regretting it. "What happened?"

Dean shrugged one shoulder.

"Dean?"

He looked down. "I've always tried to be a good brother to you; I wanted to protect you and make sure you were okay. Dad never had to make me do any of that stuff."

"You've always been a good brother; a great brother. Did your dream have something to do with Dad?"

"Do you….do you think he loved me?"

Sam was taken aback. It had never occurred to him that Dean felt that way. He couldn't see Dean's eyes, but he knew what they would look like if he could.

"Of course he loved you."

Dean said nothing and Sam knew he was going to have to work harder to help his brother.

"You think he didn't?"

Dean shrugged.

"He was hard on us, but it's because he knew what was coming down the road. He knew what was coming after us."

"He….He was harder on me than he was on you. He expected me to protect you and…."

"And what, Dean?" Sam asked, a coldness forming in the pit of his stomach. When he got no response, he leaned forward. "Did Dad hurt you? Did he hit you?"

"No," Dean admitted quietly. "He never hit me, but he yelled and –"

"Dean, he yelled at me, too. He yelled at Jim, Caleb….He yelled at everyone."

"Yeah, I guess."

Sam watched as his brother struggled with his emotions.

"He never came when you called him to tell him I was dying….when you took me to the faith healer? And I called and begged him to come to Lawrence when we were there."

"That's because he was convinced we were safer without him."

"I was dying, Sam. He didn't care if he ever saw me again. And after the crash? I started to remember things that happened when I was unconscious and –"

"You never told me that."

"I remember seeing him sitting next to my bed. He never called anyone to help me; he was willing to let me die."

"No," Sam said, his throat tight. "I don't believe that."

"How come you didn't want to be like him?"

The sudden change in subject surprised the younger man. "What?"

"Don't all boys want to be like their dads? I did. I tried to do everything he wanted, just the way he wanted me to. And the music I like? It was his favorite music. Hell, the car and even the leather coat….it's all his. But you never cared. You were always your own person."

"He gave you the coat and the car because he knew how much they meant to you. And if he hadn't loved you, he wouldn't have given them to you."

Dean said nothing.

"And," Sam smiled to himself. "I wanted to be like you. Dad wasn't around; I didn't even know who he was. But you were always there and you were my big brother. I followed you around and tried to do everything you did."

"Why didn't he try to help me, Sammy?" Dean asked, his voice quiet and cracking with emotion.

Another change in direction, but Sam didn't hesitate.

"He did, Dean."

His brother looked at him, surprise clear on his face.

"He summoned the demon to the hospital and I think it was so he could make a deal with it. He saved you, Dean, I know he did. That's the only thing that makes sense."

"Why would he do that?"

"Because he loved you and he wanted you to live. He made the deal for your life for the same reason that you made the deal for mine."

"I wish I could believe that, Sammy."

"Dean –"

"He was obsessed with finding that demon and he put so much pressure on me. He never let up for even one second. There was the training, the studying, taking care of you…Why couldn't he stick around more? Or leave us with Pastor Jim? I was always so scared that something would happen when he was gone….Be brave, Dean, you can handle it. You look out for your brother."

Sam felt sick. He knew their father had put too much on Dean's back, but to hear his brother actually say the words….Dean never should have had to be completely responsible for him.

"I loved you, Sammy," Dean continued, staring into his coffee. "But I was just a kid, too."

"I'm not used to being on this side of the conversation about our father," Sam said, finding it hard to speak. "It's usually you defending him to me."

Dean said nothing and Sam continued. "When we were at the Gate….Dean, I saw the way Dad looked at you after Yellow-Eyes was gone. He was proud of you Dean, he –-"

"Because I killed the demon. Even though I couldn't even do that without his help."

"Dean, you have saved my ass time and time again; you've helped perfect strangers and I'm not going to let you doubt your skills. Trust me when I say that Dad's face was full of love for you, man. And it had nothing to do with you killing the demon."

"You think?"

"Yeah, Dean, I do."

"I didn't deserve what he put on me."

"No, you didn't," Sam agreed.

Dean finally looked at him. "I don't want to die. I don't regret making the deal to bring you back, but I don't want to die."

"I'm glad, Dean. And we'll fix it; we'll find a way."

---

The brothers went back to the motel room a little later and Dean noticed that Sam had taken the leather coat out of the trash can and put it back over the chair. He burrowed under the covers and his thoughts traveled to times he'd spent with his dad. He remembered words of encouragement, the gentle hand on his shoulder, and the all too infrequent smiles. Dad had been obsessed and let that get in the way of his children, but Dean didn't really believe that Dad hadn't loved him. He just let it get lost.

He hadn't been able to put all of his doubts and insecurities to rest, but he thought he would be able to.

That is, if he and Sam could find a way to get him out of the deal and he lived long enough to do it.

fin