The whisky is lukewarm and tasting its price-tag as I stand here on the porch of a motel in some forgotten small town in nowhere land. It's drizzling. The town has maybe four streets and the lights are all smashed. It's just the motel sign blinking an eerie green neon that lights the dark in this wolfish hour. Bela has the Colt and I just took a base-ball bat and hit a human to his untimely death. Granted that he was a low-life and a murderer himself. Granted that the circumstances were odd; what court would believe that I was dream-walking and had to protect Dean and my own sorry ass by bashing the bastard's head in? There were mitigating factors; he hadn't dreamt for fifteen years, he had been offered a cure and that respite had been taken away from him. Probably enough to tip the scale for anybody. I happen to know how much being deprived hurts. Hurts like hell's eternal fire and much more than a blow to the head that ends it all in an instant.
Sometimes I hate my brother, hate him for the choice he made for me that night. I hate him because I would have done exactly the same if in his shoes. I can't blame him for doing what he did; I just hate him for the consequences he is going to pay. And I love his self-loathing self too much to let him pay the consequences of that one stupid choice. .I died once; the little I remember of the event was that it was fairly quick. Nothing like what Deans is going through, knowing what time he has left but not knowing how he's about to go, only where.
And he asks me why I drink whisky at 10 am in some dingy bar?
I've looked everywhere for a solution, I've collaborated with demons, sold my conscience and morals by killing humans without even blinking. Despite all that, I am still no closer to the only important thing right now; saving my brother. There's no way out of the deal he says, and I am starting to believe him. It is driving me insane. Dean's always been the one I run to when in need, the one that has the guts to try and set things straight when everything seemed to fall apart. I ran. I tried to escape what I knew and buried myself in factual college-knowledge, trying to forget the other world I had lived in. A world full of evil.
Evil caught up with me. It had taken Mom, then it took Jess and Dad and now it's coming for Dean. I know this and I can't do a thing to stop it.
Just stand here taking large sips of the half-empty bottle and feel the cold drizzle taunt me.
Inside Dean is sleeping, he needs his sleep. It's been a hectic couple of sleepless nights for both him and Bobby.
I still feel the base-ball bat in my hands. I can feel the impact on flesh and bones, sense it drive the life out of a man. And it's not the first time I've sensed life leave a human being, driven out by my own hands, either. What scares me the most is that I didn't regret what I did; I wasn't appalled by my actions. I would do it again. I think I know why too. If Dean is going to hell, I will follow him there. No prayers or deals will save me this time. I need to go where Dean goes if I can't save him. Do not kill is the sixth commandment and I have broken it enough to land me in hell. There are no buts about it, no pleading of self-defense, nothing. I am a killer and by being stupid enough to get killed, I will kill my brother eventually too. And that is the harshest penalty of all.
I don't know if I'm slowly going insane of if it's the whisky numbing me for the perils. At least it's not warming me any longer and my fingers and feet feel cold. I don't know how long I've been standing here but there's a new light in the night; dawn is creeping in from the horizon. It's taunting me, challenging me for my incompetence at saving my only brother and I get pissed at the world for mocking me.
I find myself walking the railing around the verandah. It's slippery from the rain and the wind blows harsher up here. I can see the Impala down there, maybe six feet down and I wish I could love an inanimate thing like Dean does. It would be easier to handle than loving anything living and breathing. Inanimate objects are interchangeable, a brother isn't.
I balance on the railing, putting on foot in front of the other. I was never any good at gymnastics in school. The whisky that's found its way to my head is not helping either. If I get to the end of this railing without losing my balance, there is a way to break the deal, I tell myself, knowing that it's childish magical thinking but when clasping at straws -.
I stop at the first pole holding the roof up and the railing steady. I embrace it and take a large gulp of the liquor that burns its way down my throat. I haven't had any holy inspiration yet. Five more poled intervals and Dean can be saved, I decide. I must be insane, I think to myself when I set out on the next ten feet interval of the railing. Totally and liberatedly insane. And liberatedly isn't even a word, I muse as I spread my arms to keep my balance on my tight-rope to salvation. It's getting harder and harder to keep upright and the knee Jeremy bashed in is starting to ache. I decide it is a sign; if I can do this, there's still hope. The harder it gets, the stronger the hope.
I barely register that the light inside our room is flicked on. It simply paints a lighter square on the wooden veranda that runs around the motel. This is after all, a wooden verandah and if I fall, wood is softer than concrete. I feel like giggling girlishly all of a sudden. Dean would laugh his ass off if he knew. My thoughts are all jumbled up and the railing seems to sway slightly.
Dean opens the door and yells: "What the hell, Sam?"
I laugh at the consternation in his voice and turn to grin at him. Then I feel my right knee give in under me and I make the mistake of trying to rectify the imbalance by leaning back for support and finding none.
I hit my elbow on the railing as I find myself on my way down, it hurts enough for me to reflexively brace it when the Impala breaks my fall and topples me over. The last thing I feel is the metal pressing the air out of my lungs and I land in darkness.
The moment his brother turns to him and smiles that goofy smile, Dean's hearts skips a beat. The half-full bottle in his hand is reflecting the morning light and his brother sways and his hands reach out for something that isn't there. Then Sam falls.
Dean's at the railing in an instant, his bare feet slide on the wet planks and he looks down at the still figure on the concrete. He climbs over the railing and eases himself down to jump the last few feet. It's higher than it looks and he falls to his knees at his brother's side, hands going out to feel for signs of life. Sam's breast cage is the only thing moving and Dean feels the cold skin under his fingers and it takes him right back to his own hell and the desperation returns like a suffocating flood.
There is no reaction when Dean's hand cups his brother's neck. None when he screams his name all over. Screams it loud enough for another door to open and heavy steps to hurry over the planks. He looks up and sees Bobby's silhouette for a fraction of a second before hurried steps stomp down the stairwells.
Dean turns to his brother when he feels a slight spasm under his hands and calls out his name again - but nothing. Bobby appears at their side, leaning in over them and shining a flashlight on Sam's pale face.
Dean cranes his head in Bobby's direction. The stillness scares him shitless.
"What the hell?" Bobby's winded voice breaks through the roar in Dean's ears and Sammy's eyelids flicker when Dean pulls his stupid, stubborn, opinionated, girlishly foolish, bitch of a little brother's, head into his lap.
"Sam, fuck, open your eyes or I'll whip your bitchy ass!"
And Sam does as told.
I have no idea what I am doing here, flat on my back with my head in my brother's lap. Dean's looking pissed and someone is shining a light that hurts my eyes. I lift my hand to shield my eyes and groan at the stabs to my ribs.
"Easy kid," Bobby says from behind the light. "I think we'd better call 911, Dean. The kid ain't lookin' too good!"
"No, no," I get out and as soon as I lift my head the world decides to become this whacked up roller-coaster and bile rises in my throat. All I can do is roll to my left and puke.
"Jeez, Sam," Bobby exclaims and Dean curses me out flat as I empty my stomach on the concrete pavement.
My ribs are screaming at me, my head feels like it's about to pop off, and I can't stop hurling even though my stomach is empty. I hate myself for wincing pitifully when I curl up on my knees to compose myself and fail miserably at suffocating the moans and groans.
"Bobby, make the call," Dean speaks and I growl a 'no' and fight back the nausea. "I'm fine."
"What the hell happened?" Bobby asks.
"Sammy here was playing the dainty drunken ballerina on a tight-rope and took a fuckin' nose-dive." Dean says bitterly. "Of all the stupid things, Sammy!"
I prefer not to retaliate the jab and close my eyes to try and still the spinning world.
"What were yah doin' out here in the middle of the night, you idgit?" Bobby's hand is on my shoulder, light trailing over me. It hurts when the beam rests on my face even if my eyes are tightly shut. "You've got a nasty gash on that head of yours, Sam. We really should get you to a doctor."
"No," I get out. "No doctors. Can't explain. Promise!" I get a grip on Dean's arm and squeeze for emphasis.
"He's right, Bobby, how we gonna explain this? He's drunk as a skunk and he toppled off the railing? No sane man does that. They'll think he's suicidal and lock him in for observation. You sure we'll ever get him back when they start pokin' around his head?"
I love my brother.
"Help me get him inside, Bobby. I'll keep an eye on him and if he gets all funky, I'll call for an ambulance. We've been through worse."
"I can walk," I inform them, neglecting the fact that I have to grab a fistful of Dean's Tee and Bobby's shirt before I get on my feet. I'm not telling them that everything seems to swim in and out before my eyes and that I'm not really sure what's up and what's down either. That would definitely be too much information at this stage.
It's just that when I take my first step the asphalt seems to rise up to greet me.
Dean felt that his brother was going down before he actually fell over. Sam swayed precariously even as he fought to get to his feet and Dean put an arm around his middle to stabilize him. Then it felt like someone suddenly unplugged him and Dean barely had time to step in front of him before Sam fainted and went limp in his arms. Sam might be the baby in the family but he's a head taller than most and cradling him in your lap is no work for the meek.
"Damn it Sammy, don't go faintin' like a girl all over the joint. Bobby, get his feet, will yah?"
"Dean, you sure about this? He looks like crap warmed over and -."
Dean looks desperately at the older man, there's no time to debate right now. "I know what you're thinkin' but just - please, help me get this big lump inside already."
Bobby shakes his head and walks up to stand behind Sam in order to get a hold around the young man's torso and yank him up before he crosses his arms around Sam's broad chest and takes the full weight. "Somethin's up with him, Dean! What is it with you Winchesters and trouble? If it don't find you, you sure as hell go after it all on your own. What was he doin' outside?"
Dean bends enough to twine his arms around Sam's knees and lift him up. There's no reaction whatsoever from his brother; his head merely tilts to the right from the movement.
"Told you I don't know. All I saw when I opened the door was him on the railing, half-drunk and swingin' a bottle. I crashed, Bobby! Remember there was not much sleepin' these past nights? I just went out and the next thing I know is that my fool for a brother goes crashing into my baby."
"Huh?" Bobby arches his brow and huffs when he walks sideways to the stairs.
"Landed straight on the hood, then just toppled over and whacked his head on the asphalt. If my baby hadn't broken his fall, he might have cracked that college-head like an egg-shell and I wouldn't have the chance to kill him for messin' up the car."
"Somethin's up with the kid." Bobby repeats and groans with the strain when he starts up the stairs. "I have to find some levitation-powder to keep handy. Draggin' the two of you around half-dead is killing my back."
Dean felt he had plenty to say about that, but he was being weighed down by a comatose brother that kept threatening to slip out of his hold. Besides, Bobby was right; it had been easier to baby-sit Sammy fifteen years ago. Sure, he'd ask about everything and stick his nose where it didn't belong, had always been like that. The moment you put a book in his hands, Sammy was a good for a while at least. Except for those times that -. Dean groans at the memory of his little brother in deep crap because he had failed him. Over and over again.
"Somethings been up with Sammy since the day he was born, Bobby. Watch his head!"
Bobby throws him a tired glare when he maneuvers the limp body in through the narrow door. Dean is shivering from the effort when they finally get Sam into bed. At least he blames it on the strain because the fact that Sam hasn't woken up once during the trip up the stairs and over the verandah was making him feel sick. He's seriously doubting if putting off dialing the ambulance was the right decision.
Bobby is looking at him from the other side of the bed. "This ain't good, son," he speaks quietly. "How long's he been out? Head-injuries are nothin' to play around with, Dean!"
"I know, I know!" The doubt digs ugly claws into his spine and pulls. "But he was half-drunk from the get go. He hasn't been sleepin' well for a while and - Bobby, he didn't want me to call!"
"Damn Winchesters," Bobby curses and pulls the flashlight out off his pocket. Leaning in over Sam, he lifts the eyelids and flicks the light on.
Sam groans and Dean grabs a fistful of his shirt-front and shakes him. "C'mon dude! This friggin' beauty sleep is gettin' old."
Sam blinks twice and mumbles 'jerk'.
Geez, my brother's turned into Marquis de Sade. My head is pounding in rhythm with his pulls at my shirt. Did I fall asleep on my watch or something? What gives me the honor of being shaken and stirred? I call him as I see him, a jerk, and I can't recognize my voice. I crack my eyes open to orientate myself and what I see is Dean's frantic face skating in my visual filed. He goes from left to right and back again and I ask him to please stay still.
"Sammy, I'm not movin' a fin over here," he scowls.
"Wha-?" I really try to sound normal but what comes out of me sounds like a growl. The moment I speak, nausea hits me full force and I swallow convulsively.
"Oh fuck, he's gonna hurl again. Get the fuckin' trash-bin or something, Bobby!"
Dean's voice sounds like an M15 going off and I'm actually grateful when he jerks me into a sitting position and pushes my head over the sickly green plastic. Snot runs out of my nose, but my stomach seems totally empty and the silly hulking sounds I make are embarrassing to say the least.
"Still no doc, dude?" Dean asks and I can hear he's about to dial girly-boy-needs-urgent-help if I don't shape up.
Bobby saves the day by forcing a glass of water to my lips, telling me to rinse and spit. I obey while Dean starts to pull off my coat. At this point I am more than mortified. I wish I had the force to fight him but I highly doubt he'd want the bed spewed with snot and puke. Good thing I never opted to become a doctor because all these bodily fluids really disgust me. I vaguely remember throwing up on Dean's sweat-pants and groan.
"M'good." I swat at my brother's hands at the buttons of my shirt. There has to be a limit to how much he can embarrass his little brother and I think that after all these years of him trying, we've finally reached that point.
"Dude, you can't even sit up on your own," Dean points out and damn it if I don't sink back when he moves away slightly. "You even remember what happened?" he asks and I think I recall falling off something. But was it on a hunt? I'm not so sure about that so I opt for the only way I know to save face; I close my trap.
"We gotta get him out of his clothes and check it he's banged other parts than his thick head," Dean declares and Bobby pulls the trash-bin from under my nose. Great, I'm being treated like a rag-doll. I make a sound of protest and Dean huffs.
"Shut up Sammy, its not like I didn't have other plans for this night. Like dreaming of some seriously hot babes instead of babying you around!"
He has my coat off and is tugging on my shirt while Bobby is taking off my shoes. If moving didn't hurt so much, I'd be on my feet and running for cover right now. This is one thing I'll never live down. Both of them moan and groan about my size when they lift me up enough to pull off my jeans and I wince at their manhandling. I have to keep my eyes clasped shut and try to regulate my breathing; shallow intakes seem to work best. Dammit, why don't they just let me sleep this off? I'll be fine in a couple of hours. Really.
Dean's fingers are ice-cold when they grip my neck.
"What the fuck Sammy? What happened to your legs?"
"Baseball bat," I tell him. Damn, I want to sleep and nothing else. The hammer in my head is trippin' all on its own. It started out slow, now it's gone completely whacked on me. Having a verbal smack-down with Dean is so not what I long for right now.
"Baseball bat? What the hell you talkin' 'bout, Sammy?"
"Jeremy?" Bobby asks and I give him the thumb-up. I wish I could lift my head and let them know they can stop fussing about me, but I'm kind of afraid that I might ruin the moment by gagging.
There's an awkward silence and I know Dean and Bobby are exchanging looks over my shoulder and there will be discussions about this at a later stage. There will be questions I have no answers to – seems to be the story of my life lately.
They talk in low voices over my head, as if I weren't there. Someone probes my ribs and I can't hold back another wince. Dean mumbles and moves behind me, making me sink into his lap. I start to doubt there is a God, or if there is he's really pissed at me for some reason. Oh yeah, I forgot, I am a killer. That's reason enough.
There's movement in the room and I open my eyes to cracks and notice Bobby disappearing out the door.
Dean puts his hand under my jaw and tilts my head up to rest on his shoulder.
"Sammy, now is the time to stop the bullshitting around. How bad is it?"
I try to focus on his eyes that bore into mine but strangely his entire face seems to be doing some silly floating around. The concern is evident and I feel obliged to break the tension with a wise-crack. I want to tell him I died once and this feels nothing like it. But maybe that is too harsh? I'm fine dammit. I avert my eyes to get a fixed focal point and the ceiling seems to have gotten a life of its own. It undulates, grows darker and lighter to finally melt into a grayish veil before my eyes.
"Your hands are cold, jerk," I tell my brother before the grayness turns to pitch black.
It's the second time in a half-an-hour that his brother blacks out on him and Dean goes through the pros and cons of a hospital visit all over. The promise to Sam outweighs his own fears. When Bobby returns with the bandages for Sam's cracked ribs, their eyes meet over the distance.
"Like a fucking light," Dean admits.
"Maybe for the best," Bobby says. "It's gonna hurt like the dickens to stabilize his ribcage anyhow and it ain't like we can dull the pain by boozin' him up. Seems he already did that. "
"My little brother has good timing," Dean sneers. "Just a lousy tolerance for anything stronger than skimmed milk. The moment he's up an' bitching, I'm gonna rip him a new one."
Bobby casts him a glance and goes to work on Sammy's ribcage. "Give the kid a break, Dean. It wasn't like you were all in one piece when you found out about your Dad's deal yourself. I remember someone smashing up the Impala."
"Yeah, well he had no right to make that deal," Dean snaps.
"And you did?" Bobby asks, pinning Dean to his place with an ardent glare. "I told you Sammy would be devastated when he found out. And Sammy always finds out; he's no idgit, son! I'm not telling you that what you did was wrong. I know you felt you had to, but it was bound to hit Sam hard."
"Harder than death?" Dean glares back.
"Yeah, kid an' you know it. You wouldn't have made the deal if you didn't."
And Dean lets his eyes sink. Yeah, he knows, he knows that dying is easier than to live carrying an eternal guilt. Only one he had left was Sammy, and whatever it took to save him, he'd do it, whatever the consequences. As long as Sam was all right.
"Did you ever think about your promise to John, Dean? Who's gonna take care of things if Sam goes dark side? I know I won't be able to and you will be gone. Ever think about that?"
"Nobody's going dark side, Bobby."
The man rises from the bed and looks down on the pair of them. Letting his eyes wander from Sam's still form to Dean's tense one, he shakes his head and speaks softly. "If he has to, to save you, he will Dean. And I won't blame him."
Dean's hand, that's still supporting Sammy's jaw, twitches and his heart-beat rises in anger and denial. Yes, he's thought about that too and he knows Sam's very likely to do whatever it takes to save him. It's part of their mutual curse, being Winchesters.
"Damn it, Sammy, wake up!" He growls at his brother and grips the slacking jaw tighter. The tendons on Sam's neck move in a quiver and his hand comes up to swat Dean's away.
"That's it Sammy," Dean grins. "Get into the game and gimme hell!"
This time I hear them talking from afar before I can open my eyes. I can't make out the words, it's more of a mumble really – until Dean orders me to wake up. The life-long training never fails. I do what Dean tells me to do. And that tells me I must be out of it. It's only when I'm not in control that Dean can order me around without me at least reflecting first.
I try to glare at him but my head feels too heavy to turn. Good thing Dean's holding it up, I guess. But it's really not his job. I flex my fingers and try to pry his hand lose. "Let go, Dean!"
"Yeah? So you can faint all girl-like all over me again? No way, Sammy. Now I want you to tell me your full name, your birth date and cite the license plate on my baby."
"Or I call the hospital and have you locked up for good."
Crap, he sounds serious and I'm in no position to debate right now. So I tell him what he needs to know. Luckily he seems placated by this and loosens his grip. I sink back and notice that my breathing runs easier now.
"All right kid," Bobby says. "I ain't a doctor but the way you've been fading in and out is not a good sign. But you do remember who you are so I guess we won't have to drag you to the ER this time."
"I'll live," I mope, tired of all this fussing and threatening with ER visits and groping. "Just need some sleep, that all right with you? Gimme an hour and then we'll get back to hunting that Colt that someone lost." I drag myself up to a sitting position but my ribs protest enough to make me lie back down on the bed. Damn!
"So now he's getting all smart-assed? The drunken dork who planted himself on my baby? Bobby, can't I just hit him once?"
"Did not," I grunt and curl up on the bed. Damn, everything still hurts. "I'll be good, just gimme an hour." The silence has me add a 'please'.
"Okay kiddo," Bobby says. "We'll let your rest while I tidy up the mess." I give him the thumbs-up again and his voice seems further away when he continues speaking.
"Hand me the laundry and I'll take care of it at the laundry mat I spotted right across from the coffee-shop. I'll bring you back some breakfast. Wake up your brother every half-hour to check if he seems normal. I'll be back as soon as I'm done. You good with that, Dean, You okay?"
"Fine and dandy," Dean replies. "Just check how much damage he did to the car when he fell. I guess we're gonna be stuck here a couple o'days so I might just have to nurse my baby's curves back to smoothness while I'm baby-sitting."
"I'm sorry," I lift my head off the mattress and this time the world is not swirling quite as badly as before. "Hurt bad, is she?"
Dean actually cracks a smile and shakes his head. "I doubt it Sammy, you're no match for my baby."
"Good," I let my head sink back and close my eyes.
"That one's never been normal, Bobby," I hear Dean say. "You're asking for miracles here."
Someone, I suppose it's Dean, tucks me in and I tell him to bugger off. He smacks my shoulder and tells me to stop bitching.
I can't lose my brother.
Dean sits and watches his brother sleep, counting the breaths silently. Sam seems to be breathing better, shallowly but steadily. Knowing he is turning himself inside out to find a solution and not concentrating on learning to survive the war is bothersome to say the least. He blames himself for that; he did strike the deal and he should be handling it all alone. Sammy needs to let that go and work on readying himself to face what's out there all on his own. The bitter fact is, that in the end, he finishes up letting his brother down. It's driving him insane but there was never an alternative. Losing Sam was never an option. He'd never felt this as strongly as when he'd held a dying Sam and felt the heartbeats slowly ebb out. It was like the world had stopped spinning and the darkness was complete. Every time someone goes after his little brother, he feels like killing. And Sam is fearing going dark side? Dean's been residing there for a long time.
The sun is rising, casting a pale light through the drapes and Sam isn't moving at all. He leans in and pokes at him. "Sammy, wake up and cite the facts. "
Nothing. Dean shakes the broad shoulder hard.
"Hey! My finger's on the nine!"
Sam groans, like the big baby he is.
"I'm Sam Winchester, being pestered to death by his sadistic big brother whose car I rammed and I am so sorry. Okay?"
"You're not serious, ar'yah?"
"Dialing nine, finger on one."
"K.A.Z.2.Y.5, Kansas plate, happy?"
"Deliriously. Goodnight, Sam."
Dean is true to his words and wakes me up every thirty minutes until I'm ready to throttle him.
And that's late at night and I don't think he's eaten more than a donut and I count about ten discarded Styrofoam cups. The coffee in this joint is lethal, I tasted it when we signed in and the vending machine looked like a biological hazard all on its own. And Dean not eating is a sign that always worries me, when Dean is off his daily intake of fatty food, I know he's suffering. I'm not about to call him on it though, he has enough on his plate as is. Bela's obvious kleptomania and me being stupid enough to fall off a railing is just the tip of the iceberg.
"Dean?" I sit up and realize the world is perfectly still for a change. "I'm starvin', can we get outta this place and find some food?"
Dean sits back in his chair and taps his fingers against the armrest. "Didn't hear you cite the facts yet."
"I'm gonna do more than citing if you don't shut up about the license-plate already, dude!" I want to smack him over the head with the pillow but I refrain.
"Chicken soup's all you're gonna get," he leers.
"What?" I grab a Tee from the neat pile at the end of the bed. I get into it just fine and I stumble just once when I rise to get to the water-bottle on the table. "I'm weak from hunger and you're offering chicken soup? That'd be cruel and unusual punishment if anything. Let's hit the town and find a joint that serves something at least resembling food."
Dean is up on his feet and pokes me with a pistol-finger. "Let me remind you that yesterday you were zoning in and out and not making a lot of sense. Bobby and I had to come get you from the bathroom floor because you were hailing the porcelain chair."
"Yesterday?" I ask. "That was this morning, dude. Who you trying to fool?"
Dean glares at me. "You've been sleeping like a baby for 24 hours since we stopped checking on you. I called the ER too and pretended to be a geek to find out how to handle concussions for a high school project. I did a hell of job pretending to be thirteen! After all I am amazing, and you know it. Nurse said that all concussed get only soup, soup and nothing but soup until they can walk to the toilet by themselves. Live with it dude, you're on fluids for a week!"
Now I know Dean is pulling my chains because I have no recollecting of what he's trying to sell me. "Right, Dean, because everyone knows that the brain is in direct connection with your digestion track and thus you can't -"
Dean stops me with a deadly glare. "You fucking scared the crap outta me, dude! I thought you were fine and all of a sudden you start talking in Latin? Citing some fuckin' Demonic Mass or something. Bobby splashed you with holy water just to make sure you were still Sammy."
"C'mon," I grin. "You're so shitting me!"
Dean looks at me blankly and suddenly I'm not so sure since his eyes are red a from lack of sleep and he shrugs.
"Anyway - Bobby had to split and I've read every skinny magazine this town carries, twice. You were out, Sammy, completely out so if you think you can bitch yourself to a bloody steak anytime soon, I'll just hafta deck you."
"Okay," I say. Dean's stance tells me not to argue, not this time, not now. "You go get something then, while I hit the shower."
Dean looks at me, wary of my every move.
"I'm fine!" I say. "What do I have to do to prove it? Somersaults?"
"Oh hell, please!" Dean rolls his eyes and goes for his coat. "I'll be back in five, just sit tight until I get back. I'm not scooping you up from the bathroom floor again, you're no dainty princess, more like an over-grown hobbit."
I make a face at him and he grins when he slides out the door.
So I've been speaking in Latin in my sleep? I walk over to the bathroom and lean on the sink, watching my reflection in the cracked mirror. What the hell is going on with me? And do I even want to know? I already went dark side; I've killed innocent people. I've kept things from my brother, I've tried to make deals with a demon. If that's not dark side, I don't know what is. And whatever it takes to save Dean from his stupid deal - I know I'll do it. And there won't be any regrets either. I know I can't ask him to off me if I go dark side. I'll have to do it myself when the time comes. But not yet, not before I break the deal. And time is running out.
I sigh and flick the water on, waiting to see if it circles the wrong way down the drain, just as a confirmation that the devil blood in me has finally taken over. Physics can let you down, but this time it's still obeying this hemisphere's laws of gravity.
I peel off my T-shirt and get out of the bandages that cover my chest before I sit down on the toilet and peel the rest of. If Dean saw me going potty like a girl, he'd put me on soup for a month. I'm not giving him that!
The hot water of the shower finally makes me feel human again.
The moment Dean steps in and hears the shower running, he wants to rip his brother out of there and give him a spanking. How is it possible that the dude never listens? Sometimes Dean wonders if his brother is out to intentionally drive him a few fries short of the happy meal with his silly teenage rebellion-style of never listening to a thing he's told.
"Be right out," comes the answer and Dean exhales. At least his little brother isn't yowling in Latin.
"Didn't I tell you to stay put?" Dean continues, irritation covering his concern. "Damn it Sam, can't you just take it easy on my nerves for a while?"
It's like he's talking to deaf ears. The water is turned off and he hears Sam rumbling inside the bathroom. It's clear that he's still in pain when he's moving. And no wonder. The dude must have quite a few busted ribs on top of the beating he'd taken earlier from Jeremy's baseball bat and a no-kidding head-injury. But will he listen to reason? Hell no, wouldn't be Sam if he did.
Dean drops the newspaper and the bag of burgers and chicken soup on the table and waits for his little, pain-in-the ass, brother to come out and start bitchin' about being treated like a kid. He grins at the thought that however big or old Sam gets, he's always going to be his full-of-questions, brooding, opinionated, lost-in-books, little brother. Much of his innocence is lost already, but somewhere deep inside Sam will always remain that do-gooder-two-shoes he was born to be. Dean knows that any destiny chosen for his brother would never win over what Sam really is all about, never.
The door opens and Sam steps out, beaten and with that long chick hair in his eyes.
"You look like crap!"
"Oh yeah? And you're one handsome devil." Sam smirks and Dean laughs. This is Sam, all Sam and there's no doubt about it.
"Shut up and drink your chicken soup like a good girl or I'll yank your pigtails," Dean taunts and rises from the chair. "I'll tie you back up and then you'll go nighty night."
"No, we better get goin," Sam says, looking at him with those earnest eyes. "We've lost too much time already. I'll drive."
"I'm not letting you nowhere near my baby," Dean snorts and pushes Sam to sit on the bed. "There's time, Sammy, plenty of time to go chasing Bela and the Colt."
"Look at these bags under my eyes, Sam! I need some shut-eye and that ain't gonna happen before I know you're snoring and getting better. Deal?"
Sam nods and Dean knows he's being manipulative and sneaky but he doesn't give a damn. Sam needs rest and if he has to lie till his tongue falls out, Dean's gonna see to it that he gets it. Tricking Sam is hard but there's one thing he's learned will always work, the thing that is Sam's weakness; and that happens to be Dean Winchester's needs. He hates himself for it, but if needed, he'll use it. That's the hell of it.
He extends the soup-in-a-box to his brother and grins at the face Sam makes. Sam doesn't even have to fake it; he can't help looking like a pouty wuss when he's dealt a bad hand. Always cracks Dean up.
I let him fall sleep before I sneak up and start on the burger in the take-out box Dean's wasn't able to wolf down. It tastes awful, greasy and flat and I let what's left of it drop back into the container. If Dean doesn't let up on this fatty food, he's gonna have a coronary before -. Reality slugs me and I stare at the left-overs. He won't have time for a coronary in the rate time's ticking. I have work to do. Then I'm gonna go out before he wakes and get another one, just to fool him. He'll mutter and glare to much if he finds out. Dean's a lot like Dad, likes to boss people around. I always let them believe they were bossing me around, easier that way. I'm good at staying under the radar. I sigh and open my laptop to go on another search for a solution while Dean snores away. That's what I do. That's what I'll keep on doing until I find the answers. I ping Ruby, feeling guilty as hell.
I've already sold my soul to the dark side – but Dean will never know. I owe Dean everything; a soul is nothing in that equation.
Dean doesn't believe in angels – so he's gotta have to believe in me. He's all I've got left, and I'm not letting go. He's all I got. But he's plenty.
And I will fight for him, at all costs. After all, that is what a brother's work is all about.