Well ain't it a shame 'bout our short little memory.
We never seem to learn the lessons of history.

We keep making the same mistakes - over and over and over and over again.
And then we wonder why we're in the shape we're in.

- Frail Grasp on the Big Picture - The Eagles

Chapter Three – Chaos

Over a hundred Tuesdays and it was Dean who finally cracked the case, Dean that changed the pattern. Like he said, "A hundred Tuesdays and you never bothered to check what she was holding in her hands?" Sloppy, Sammy.., lackluster. After that, all it took was a simple choice of strawberry syrup instead of the usual maple and you finally caught on.

About time…

You surprise me, Sammy. For being the brains of the outfit, you have a nasty habit of letting your heart get the best of you, leading you around by those tender heartstrings.

You can't do that in war, Sam… It'll be the death of you. When are you going to learn that? The demons are gonna pluck those heartstrings and leave you dangling. Wait and see.

Quite frankly, I was relieved you finally got it and stopped the loop. I mean it was getting old… I gotta say though, Dean sure does die well. But once we passed that milestone of a hundred even I got bored. And you… even you were getting a little blasé about the whole Dean-is-dead-woe-is-me dealio.

And remember how you claimed that first morning if you heard Asia playing Heat of the Moment one more time, you'd blow your brains out? Liar! Nope, you couldn't do it, could you, Sammy? But boy o' boy, Dean sure could… number seventy-eight, quite memorable actually. On a scale of one to ten, that one was definitely an eleven! Right, Nigel? Great splat factor… The wall looked like a big-ol' Rorschach ink blot, tainted bloody red.

Me, well, I thought it was definitely a fat, horny toad.

So, how's about you, Sammy? You getting any art-class 101 vibes? Grandma Moses or Grant Woods?

Guess artistic ain't in Dean's repertoire, is it?

What's the matter, Sammy? I little too déjà vu, Max-Milleresque for ya?

I get it, but really, Sammy… after all those times, you need to move past it. Just get on with it… buck up and be a man… it's what Dean would do. Wouldn't he?

Sammy… Hey, Sammy!

You with me here? Pay attention!

Let's recap, shall we?

Turns out the guy you came here to find was the key after all. Who'da thunk?

You just couldn't figure it out though, could ya?

Dexter Hassleback.., the pompous smuck. An arrogant, full-of-himself debunker of strange occurrences who oddly enough just happened to end up in a wormhole, and once again it was Dean who noted how poetic it all was. How he got his just deserts.

Insightful as always, that Dean.

It took you a hell of a long time to finally get it, Sammy. Why is that? Why is it always Dean that figures out these things? You sure you're the brains? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, I'm just not seein' it.

But I guess you've always depended on Dean now, haven't you? Little brother syndrome… Always had big brother to get your back.., clean up your messes.., wipe your runny nose… amongst other things.

Always big brother looking out for ya, right?

Well.., things are gonna change, buddy boy… They already have.

You just don't get it, do ya?

This is so not about killing Dean. This joke.., this joke is on you, Sam.

Watching your brother die… every day… forever.

How long will it take you to realize… you can't save Dean.

No matter what.

You need to stand on your own two feet now, Bucko. Cut those apron-strings and head out on your own.

Maybe that's the lesson in all this... No more depending on Dean, 'cause big brother ain't gonna be there. Nope. Sold his soul.., goin' bye-bye.., mortgaged the family farm.., takin' a little side-trip.., off on the big ride.., making his final curtain call...

I miss any cute little euphemisms you're particularly fond of?

Maybe you just needed a little reminder of what's to come, and how it's gonna feel…

Just what your life's gonna be like with him gone.

Well, Sammy… this is it. Lonely.., Cold.., Empty…

A thousand nights and more of solitary motel rooms. Oh, you can waste money on a room with two beds, fix a plate of food that grows cold waiting for him to never eat it, keep his full tube of toothpaste on the bathroom counter, but that's not gonna mean he's there.

Nope, it's just your mind playin' tricks on you if you think he's ever gonna be there again.

Dean's gone. The flowers have long since wilted, and baby, baby… that sweet, sweet, badass Impala is all yours.

Lucky you…

Nice fix for the trunk, by the way. All efficient and tidy, just like Big Daddy. Dean always was a tad messy, wasn't he? In life.., in death... Guess he just got used to making do, living with the less than perfect circumstances of his life. He knew better than to think he could control the world, let alone his surroundings.., least of all his life.

He knew the score.

He saw that fantasy burn up when he was just a wee lad. Back when he witnessed his perfect life extinguished in the flash of the flames, consumed in a fireball that killed Mommy and fueled the change in dear, old Dad. Dean grew up fast back then… He saw the evil in the world and he knew he'd never beat it. Knew it was a done deal. He knew he didn't stand a snowball's chance in Hell of living normal.

So tragic really, that little boy watching Daddy die all those years back, just shrivel away to a shell of the man he used to be.

That was Dean's reality.

Now you… you only knew what your life was… And you hated it, didn't you? Just couldn't wait to run away. But then you never had to face the pain of what used to be… what was lost back then. Mom… ye barely knew her. Why you, Sammy… you simply focused on building yourself a new life, a better life.., that perfect, normal existence far away from the pain. Far, far away from your twisted family and your screwed up childhood.

Dean, he had to live with the truth… all those nasty memories. All the hurts of "what would never be" when all he had left was "what is", a pathetic excuse for what he once had. But he survived it, didn't he? And he never asked for anything more. He knew what to expect from the world. He certainly knew what not to expect. He knew hope didn't exist. All his hope went up in smoke that night… except for you, Sammy.

He raced out of that burning house holding tight to his baby brother and he never let go.

Did he?

He couldn't.

Sammy was all that mattered. All Dean ever had. All he ever needed after everything else was ripped away.

Poor, pathetic Dean… clinging to you… suffocating you.

Tell me… tell the truth, now. Hasn't he been an albatross around your neck? Didn't all his neediness get old? So very tiresome?

Except of course when you needed him.

He's always been your fail-safe, hasn't he?

You always thought you'd have him as back-up, didn't you? Your own personal safety net. Always standing in the shadows just waiting for you to call out to him, whenever you wanted him, needed him. There to protect you like he always did; that is, as long as it suited you.

As annoying as he was, he was the big, bad protector, wasn't he?

Funny how life changes.

I kept waiting for you to crack, finally break down when he died that last time. Just fracture into a million tiny pieces, but not our Sammy. NOPE! No, siree… Oh, you Winchesters… always so unpredictable. So very random.

Just another crazy guy acting out. You go a little postal there, Sammy?

You turned into Rambo, didn't ya? Killing, maiming, destroying… turning everything around you to ash. A freakin' killing machine armed with a container of salt, a gallon of gas, and a lit match.

Whoever said Dean was the dysfunctional one never saw you with a sharp object in your hands… or a shotgun or machine gun. My, my, Sammy… you certainly figured out pretty quickly who your new best friend was, huh? All those weapons in the trunk.., just another tool to do your dirty work? The more explosive the better?

The Big Bang?

Fireworks like the Fourth of July.

It certainly was a beautiful sight… if you go for that sort of thing.

Bruce and Mel got nothin' on you, dude.

So, I'm just curious… is that what you meant when you said you needed to be more like Dean? You needed to become Dean? Is that what you really think of big brother? You think Dean's just a killing machine? No moral compass? No compassion? No humanity?

Really? I mean, really? You sure about that, Sammy?

Remember what Dean noticed?

I've said it before and I'll say it again, very intuitive that Dean. What was that thing he was always worried about since you came back?

Yeah, right! That pesky little question nagging at him and making him constantly ask if you were feeling okay.

You seem less and less worried about offing people, it used to eat you up inside.

Operative words being used to… Yep, you've sure changed, Sammy. Not the sweet, innocent little boy Dean used to know.

Not anymore.

Cold.., ruthless.., deadly.

What would big brother think about recent developments? Huh? He always did have a glorified picture of you. Saint Sammy… the good brother. He put you on that pedestal and worshipped at your feet. Didn't he?

You go on about the sanctity of life and all that crap… It's just what you're supposed to do…

Thought you were more noble, more heroic, that shining example of good, a white knight out to save the world. Guess the white cape's gotten a bit sullied now. You get a little tipsy and fall off your steed there, Bucko?

So whatcha think, Sammy? Do ya think he's watching? From, y'know, Hell? Ever wonder if he's disappointed in you? You think he's had pause to reconsider? Regret his rash move? Maybe after seeing the real Sammy… Well.., do you think Dean would still make that deal? Knowing how you turned out? You think he'd still want to give it all up for you? Shuffle off to Hell and leave the world in your sloppy hands?

Saddle the world with your sorry ass?

Oy, poor, poor pitiful Dean… sacrificed his life and soul for this? For you?

How about we consider the facts now, shall we?

Brother to brother… or… god to peasant… or whatever.

Back at the police station, who was it that said no to sacrificing that sweet, little virgin, Nancy? Who stood up for humanity? You? Nope, don't think so.

Tsk, tsk, Sammy.

Were you really willing to sacrifice Nancy if it meant saving your brother? So you wouldn't have to watch him die?

Or was it more noble? More grand? Was it really for all the others? You gonna justify it by logistics? One in exchange for the many?

Moment of truth now, Sammy, which was it?

And now… here… Were you honestly willing to kill an innocent and drain a gallon of their blood? Really? Why? To save Dean?

Regardless of the cost?

I thought you'd back down from killing a man.

But you didn't, did you? Man, woman… it didn't really matter to you, did it?

You were really gonna do it. Little Sammy killing an innocent to save his brother.

You think Dean would've wanted that? You think he could live with another Marshall dying to give him life? You think he'd want another Dad heaped on his shoulders?

Do you honestly think he'd trade another life for his own?

Do you even know your own brother, Sam?

Apparently not.

The only life Dean would ever surrender for another would be his own.

THAT he would do. Yes, indeedy.

Did do.

Didn't he?

And what'd he get in return?

Think he hit the jackpot? Beat the house?

No.., suppose not.

So, Sammy…

What are you gonna do to make it right?

If I gave you the chance. What would you do for him?

Would you die for him? Huh, Sammy?

Would you? Right now, this minute.., that's your choice. Will you do it?

Yeah, I thought so.

Are you even listening here?

What have I been saying about that? Nothing good comes from it… NOTHING! Just pain and blood and more corpses than you know what to do with. How much salt and lighter fluid you got? What's it gonna take to get through that thick skull of yours?

But you can keep fighting, saving folk… but you need your brother. So, let me give him back to you.

What? You still remembering being out there on your own? Still living with that fear of what you'll become without Dean?

I thought so. You can't.. keep.. doing.. this.. Dean is not everything… He is one man, that's all… nothing less and nothing more.

The world will keep on turning with or without him.

You can count on it.

That's the message here, Sammy.

Why can't you Winchesters get it? What is so goddamn difficult to understand? Why are you all so ready to throw yourselves down into the pit for each other?

Nothing good comes from it… only blood and pain.

Blood and pain…

How many times do I have to say it?

I'm done with it. Done with you.

This stopped being fun a long time ago. I thought you could learn… I thought you were the smart one. Being smart means operating with your brain, not your heart, Sammy boy. Using the upstairs brain and doing the sensible thing.

Nancy was one person… one. Dean got his way and look what happened. Everyone in that police station died… every.. last.. one.. of them.., and for what? So Dean could be the big hero? So you could sleep at night with a clear conscience? Well, do you? I mean, they all died because of you.

So, how's that workin' for you? How you sleeping now?

There are reasons why things happen, Sam. You can either learn or you can keep on making the same stupid mistakes. So what'll it be? Are you going to let Dean go and maybe, just maybe save the world? Or does everything end for one man?

C'mon, Sammy… is he really that important?

Oh, god! And I swear, if you say he is that important to you, I am gonna scream…

Sam, there's a lesson here that I've been trying to drill into that freakish, Cro-Magnon skull of yours.

This obsession to save Dean, the way you two keep sacrificing yourselves for each other. Nothing good comes out of it… just blood and pain.

Blood and pain.

Dean's your weakness. The bad guys know it too.

He's gonna be the death of you, Sam.

Sometimes you just got to let people go.

He's my brother.

Yep, and like it or not, this is what life's gonna be like without him.

Please.

I swear it's like talking to a brick wall!

Okay, look, this all stopped being fun months ago. You're Travis Bickle in a skirt, pal. I'm over it.

Meaning what?

Meaning, that's for me to know, and you to find out.

*Snap!*

---

Okay, Sammy, you won. I give.

Halleluiah for the good guys!

You got your brother back, so whatcha gonna do now? It's coming… it is still coming… that moment of truth for real… Dean's expiration date. So have you learned anything here? Will you sacrifice everything again, or will you let him go?

You know it's true… you have to know that by now.

Sometimes you just have to let people go…

It's inevitable…

Destined.

It's life.

Control, Sammy… it's all an illusion. A freaking pretense you humans latch on to.

C'mere, let me tell ya a good one. You'll like this…

Sometimes to hold on to something, you have to let it go.

Think about it… You get it? Huh, Sammy?

It's deep.., so take a minute to really think about it.

It's like that funky saying they used to put on posters. If you love it, let it go and if it comes back to you, then you know it really was yours to start with… or somethin' sappy like that.

I know… I swear… these simpletons with their simple minds.

But in this case, Sammy… there's a grain of salt there.

You brave enough to do it? To really let him go?

Dean was right.

What, Sammy? You sayin' something?

I said Dean was right.

Right? About what? Come on, Mr. Talks-a-lot-emo-man, spit it out.

About Nancy, about not sacrificing her. He was right.

Everyone died… It don't matter what's right.

Yes.., it does. We did the right thing.

Sure didn't turn out so right now, did it?

You can't control the outcome… all you can do is what's right.

Interesting… you might be on to something there. What else ya got?

What else?

What other kernels of insight you got for me?

That I need Dean, just like he needs me. Together… we need to do this together.

Same old song, Sammy… You been listening to anything I've said?

It's the truth.

The truth, huh? According to who?

It just is… we need each other. We're stronger together.

You're certainly stubborn, aren't you?

I like to think I'm determined.

Touché.

Dean and I, we are going to do this… together.

Well, that's a start.

A start to what?

I already told ya, that's for me to know and you to find out.

What the hell does that mean?

Maybe I underestimated you.

Underestimated me? WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT MEAN? Can't you give a straight answer for once? Is Dean gonna live? Are we going to win?

Lotta questions there, Sammy.

So, how about some answers?

I'll be seein' ya, Sammy.

But…

Sorry, Sammy… time's up. Don't do nothin' I wouldn't do.

You can't just leave it at that!

I can't? You forget who you're talking to, Bucko?

You got your brother back… It's outta my hands.

The rest is up to you...

Why? Why'd you do it?

Sammy.., the big question is, did you learn anything?

What's next in the game plan?

You best consider all the angles, Sammy.

Lotta choices to be made.

You be careful out there, and Sammy… make it count.

- The Trickster as told to bjxmas November 2008

cha·os –

noun - 1. a state of utter confusion or disorder; a total lack of organization or order.

2. any confused, disorderly mass

3. the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe.

—Synonyms 1. disarray, jumble, turmoil, tumult.

The End

All standard disclaimers apply.

I actually wrote the original version of this chapter back in March and never posted it… hoping that something would make the situation clearer. Guess that's not happening anytime soon. So, Kripke.., what is the answer? We're still waiting.

For my purposes I wrote this assuming the original order of the episodes, with Jus in Bello coming before Mystery Spot.

As always, reviews or comments would be much appreciated, especially if you've figured out the Trickster's master plan or would like to discuss it. I'd love to know what you think. Later, B.J.