A/N Here it is another chapter! Yay! And it didn't take a month to do so! This chapter was really hard to write and I'm afraid I might have gone a little overboard on the angst factor, but on the other hand, Sam is in mourning. I'm not sure about this chapter because it didn't turn out the way I intended, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.
As always, thank you so much for the reviews. I'm sorry I haven't replied to them yet, but please know that I appreciate every one of them. I'm a little overwhelmed and humbled by the amount of people who have reviewed and/or put this on their story alerts. Thank you so much for showing interest in this, but I hope that you will please leave a review. I'd love to know what people think, good or bad. It will only take a second. Well, even if you don't, thank you for reading!
Warning: there is a lot more language than usual in this chapter.
Disclaimer: Sadly, "Supernatural" does not belong to me, but sometimes when I fall asleep, I dream a little dream of Dean and that makes up for it. :P
Chapter Three: Eulogy
It was a beautiful sunny Thursday morning, which was to pretty much everyone in Brower County a welcome change from the dismal weather they had been having, but to Sam, the sunshine served as a slap in the face and it did nothing for his hangover induced headache. When the alarm radio went off, Sam sat up like a spring then immediately shut his eyes and shielded them from the offensive sun.
"Morning Sammy," Dean sighed.
"Dean?" Sam croaked, flicking his sleepy eyes in his direction. Dean was taken aback, for a moment he thought Sam could finally sense him, but then Sam looked over and his gaze bore through him and there was no sign of recognition. Dean could practically see Sam's heart sink as his shoulders sagged. Sam glanced at the clock, noting the "THURS" on the old-fashioned radio and fell back into his pillow. That small fact made the permanency of Dean's death painfully real.
"It's Thursday," he whispered. Those two words were filled with such despair Dean could hardly stand it. He sounded so young, so lost, so vulnerable that Dean wanted to scream because there was nothing he could do to help him.
Sam lay in his bed for a moment, looking like he was on the verge of tears, but then his stomach protested his drinking binge from the night before and he made a dash for the toilet.
Dean flinched at the sound of every heave, of every groan that came through the open door of the bathroom. Eventually the heaving sounds gave way to choked sobs. The sounds blended in such a way it took Dean a moment to realize he was finished vomiting.
"You bastard," Sam sobbed, "You fucking bastard." Sam moved away from the toilet and leaned against the bathtub, his elbows rested against his knees and his face was buried in his hands. He shook violently as he cried and carelessly wiped his eyes.
"I'm sorry," Dean whispered, stepping into the bathroom.
He sat across from Sam in a similar position and watched him, uncomfortable and unsure of what to say, not that it mattered. He could've said exactly what needed to be said with the eloquence of a poet laureate or the wit of Robin Williams and no one would be able to hear him, but still, he felt like he should say something.
Instead he just watched as Sam's cries evolved into coughing, screaming sobs as he pounded his palms angrily against the floor. Sam leaned forward and slammed his fist against the bath towel spread out on the floor, positioning himself on his knees. Dean closed his eyes, feeling a tear fall down his own cheek.
"Why does it have to be Thursday for fucks sake!" he screamed, "Take me back! Let me try again! Please you sick fuck! Show your face you bastard and fix this!! I was supposed to have more time dammit!" Sam hissed through his tears. "What the flying fuck have I done to you? Huh? Dean didn't deserve this! Bring him back damn it! Bring him back! Please! I don't want to play your fucking piece of shit game!" Sam haphazardly wiped his dripping nose with the back of his hand, and collapsed to the floor, resting his forehead against his hands that he folded on the floor as though he was praying. "Please, please, pleasepleaseplease I…I can't do this alone. I can't handle this, god Dean, come back, please come back."
"I wish I could Sammy," Dean murmured quietly.
Sam continued to breakdown to the point where he could hardly breathe. He finally lurched and pulled himself up against the toilet and vomited some more. Between sobs and dry heaves Sam choked, "I'm…supposed…to have… more… time…"
Watching Sam lose himself, Dean was finding it difficult to keep himself together. For a fleeting moment Dean wondered if ghosts could cry, but he answered his own question when he felt his eyes water and found himself choking back a sob. He wasn't a crier, he dealt with grief differently than Sam ever did, but there was a freedom in knowing that no one could see him. Dean was slowly beginning to realize that now that he was dead, there really was no need to hide behind the walls he had spent a lifetime building. But old habits died hard and Dean bit his lip and forced himself to still the tears that threatened to fall.
After his crying screams quieted into soft sobs, Sam leaned back against the bathtub again and pulled his knees to his chest and fought to catch his breath and collect himself. When he felt he had the strength to do so, he grabbed a wad of toilet paper and blew his nose and pulled himself to his feet. Sam looked at himself in the mirror and grimaced at his red-faced reflection.
"Pull yourself together Sam," he scolded. He turned on the tap and scrubbed his face with his hands and when he looked back at his reflection he muttered, "Damn it Dean, if you could see me now…"
"You have no idea," Dean sighed.
"Seeing me cry like a girl… I can only imagine what you'd say," Sam bowed his head and leaned against the vanity.
"Under normal circumstances? You might never live it down, but shit, considering everything…" Dean replied, "Can't say I blame you. I think you should be allowed to breakdown Sammy, just this once. I did. I went ballistic on the impala when dad died, did you know that? And then when…well when you, uh, you know… when Jake… well we know what happened there. I just hope you don't do what I did. I still think you deserve to live over me. I don't care what that reaper said. You're still handling this better than I did when I lost you."
"'Stop being such a girl Sammy and do something about it,'" Sam said in his best 'Dean' voice. "Great, now I'm talking to myself," he sighed, drying his face. He stood in front of the mirror and surveyed the redness in his complexion, and the puffiness of his eyes, all from crying.
He stood there silently for so long, Dean wondered if he just shut himself off, but then he noticed the subtle shift in his expression. Sam was trying to erase the pain from his face, the small lines in his forehead, the quiver of his jaw and all the visible tells in his expression that showed he was hurting. It wasn't until his expression was a cold, hard blank slate that he finally moved from where he was standing. He dry swallowed some Tylenol for his headache and began to pack up his and Dean's things. He couldn't stand another minute in that hotel room. He only stayed there in the foolish hopes that somehow he'd get another opportunity to save his brother.
Packing didn't take long, because Dean had most of his stuff packed at the time of the shooting and they weren't really there long enough to do much of unpacking in the first place. Though to Sam, he felt like he had been there for months and in a way he had.
"Yeah, let's get out of here," Dean agreed with Sam's plan of action, "I'm dying to get back on the open road…uh, no pun intended." He paused and lifted his shoulder with a smirk, "OK, maybe it was a little bit intentional."
The attempt to lighten the mood was entirely for Dean's benefit. He knew Sam wouldn't hear it, but a part of him hoped that sooner or later, Sam might be able to sense him like he did before, when Dean was in the coma. Besides, the tension, and knowing there was nothing he could do about it was enough to drive him mad. It was no wonder some spirits became dangerously violent. Why those spirits could have an impact in the physical world while Dean couldn't was beyond him, and it pissed him off.
When Sam was finished packing the car, Dean sat next to him in the passenger seat and watched as Sam just sat there behind the wheel and did nothing but stare into space with a lost expression on his face. "First step Sammy is put the key in the ignition. I thought we've been over this when you were fifteen."
Sam heaved a heavy sigh and leaned back, closing his eyes, gripping the steering wheel at the twelve o'clock position. He thought about all those he lost in his short lifetime and then leaned forward, pressing his forehead against his fingers on the wheel. He almost looked like he was resting, but then Sam banged his head against his fingers forlornly.
Dean frowned at the hopelessness in his brother's watery eyes.
"This is so wrong," Sam muttered, "this isn't the way it should be."
"I know," Dean murmured.
Sam sat there silently for a while. They both startled when Dean's phone rang.
"You gonna get that for me?" Dean asked, "I kinda can't right now, what with being a ghost and all."
Sam didn't answer the phone; instead he glanced at the display and tossed it aside.
"Sam that was Bobby calling," Dean exclaimed when it stopped ringing, "You should've gotten that. He might have news on Bela's whereabouts and come on, I think he should know about…well about me."
When Sam's phone rang—Bobby again—Sam put both cell phones in the glove compartment.
"Sorry Bobby, I just can't right now," Sam sighed. He growled unhappily and rubbed his eyes, a look of extreme indecision on his face. He sat there, biting his lip and almost put the key in the ignition, but then pulled back, then tried again. The key never made it in the ignition after several attempts and finally, out of frustration Sam yelled, "What am I supposed to do?"
Dean winced at the question, for he had been there. He had asked the same thing, and then he sold his soul. He thought about what the reaper—Tessa he remembered her name to be—said, and suddenly worried that Sam just might take a similar route. No, Sam wouldn't do that. He couldn't.
"Come on Sammy, let's just get out of here," Dean said.
"Fuck," Sam hissed. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!" He angrily climbed out of the impala and slammed the door shut and stormed off on foot. Startled Dean climbed out and followed, finding the sensation of moving through the impala's metal frame weird, unnerving and cold.
"Where are you going?"
Sam continued walking with a furious gait. When he bumped into a couple walking in the opposite direction he didn't even apologize, he hardly acknowledged them at all. Dean almost apologized for him, but stopped when they ended up stumbling through him as they tried to catch their balance from colliding with Sam. The sensation that followed left the couple feeling cold and unnerved by Sam's behavior, and Dean feeling unnaturally and uncomfortably warm.
"What are you doing Sam? Sammy?" Dean called after him.
When Sam stopped walking Dean frowned, "Breakfast? You stormed off with a vengeance so you can get breakfast?"
Sam entered the restaurant where they last ate together on Tuesday. Well, Dean ate, Sam just watched the guy at the counter who turned out to be the Trickster. "What are you doing?" Dean wondered as Sam sat in the booth in the corner, with his back to the wall.
Doris the waitress approached him with a smile, "What can I get you hun?"
"Coffee," Sam replied shortly.
"You should eat something Sammy, you haven't really eaten since… well since before I died."
"Sure thing," Doris smiled and she left and then quickly returned with a pot of coffee and poured some into his cup.
For three hours Dean sat across from Sam in the restaurant, watching him, wondering what exactly was going on in his head. Sam hardly moved except to drink his coffee or signal to Doris that he wanted a refill. Doris offered him a newspaper, but Sam declined, opting to watch the door intently, like he was waiting for someone. It wasn't until the caffeine made him jittery that Sam finally ordered solid food. But even then, he hardly touched it. He just continued to watch the door, eating only because he had to.
"Sammy, what are you doing?" Dean asked after a while, "You can't just sit here all day."
There was a sort of bitterness in Sam's eyes that made Dean uncomfortable. It was different than the despair he displayed earlier that morning. It reminded him of the look that haunted Dean since Sam rose from the dead. It was the look Sam wore when he killed Jake. He had that look again when he shot the demon possessed Casey and the priest, it was the same look he wore when he decapitated Gordon. The cold look in his eyes screamed bloody murder. Dean shook his head sadly and pleadingly as it dawned on him as to why he was there, "Sam, no. It's not worth it. Please. He's human Sam."
But Sam continued to sit there and wait.
Cal never came.
It was late in the afternoon when Sam finally gave up and Dean breathed a sigh of relief. Sure, Dean wanted justice for his murder, he wanted it in a bad way. But Cal wasn't being seduced by a demon like Jake had been, and he wasn't possessed, there was nothing supernatural about the evil he committed and if Sam went through with his revenge, if he went through with what Dean feared he might be planning, Sam would never recover.
Darkness fell and Sam drove to a secluded area outside of town and built a pyre. After leaving the restaurant, Sam, with a new alias and disguise had claimed Dean's body taking him from the morgue and carefully placed him in the impala where he prepared for the funeral. Dean watched him and the process reminded him harshly of a similar time when they had done the same thing for their father. But this time it was his body on the pyre, and Sam was (for the most part) alone.
Sam had wrapped Dean's body ceremoniously in a shroud of white and placed him on the pyre. Dean had to turn away, because seeing his body again suddenly made his situation very real, very final and it reminded him too much of the time they burned his father's body. John's sacrifice cut deep into his soul, and the wound never did heal. Dean shouldn't have lived as long as he did, and while he recovered from the accident that was meant to kill him thanks to his father, he couldn't shake the feeling that it was innately wrong that he survived.
Perhaps that was why it was so easy to make his deal for Sam. Dean was supposed to be dead already, and making that deal still felt right regardless of what the reaper said. Sam was meant to live. He knew it was unfair to Sam, he understood first hand how hard it was, but he believed that by making the deal, he was restoring Fate. Now he was dead by means that had nothing to do with the deal, and Sam was alive, and that was the way it should be. He believed that whole-heartedly.
"Dean," Sam said in a hushed and broken whisper, "I'm so sorry. I tried. I really did. I tried so hard to save you and I… I failed you. But I'll fix this somehow. I don't know how, but I'm not giving up on you, I promise. I doubt you can hear me, but if you can, just know that somehow I'll find a way to get you out. I'll find a way to free you." He ran his hand over his face much like Dean and John tended to do when faced with a problem, or a hurt or sorrow that they found too difficult to deal with. He pinched the bridge of his nose, "Why did you have to be so stupid? Why Dean? Losing you is hard enough but, god, knowing where you are, because of me... you deserved better. I wasn't worth you losing your soul, why couldn't you realize it? Why did you have to be so fucking selfish Dean? You're such a jerk!"
"Bitch," Dean muttered softly.
"No, you weren't selfish," he sighed, "Far from it. Just foolish." Sam reached into his pocket and held something in his hand. Dean couldn't see what it was, but he held it with such reverence that he knew it was important to Sam. When he uncurled his fingers Dean saw it was the amulet he always wore.
"Remember when you got this?" Sam murmured nostalgically.
"Yeah, you gave it to me for Christmas one year," Dean grinned, "it's one of my prized possessions."
"I gave it to you for Christmas one year," Sam smiled, "It was one of the worst Christmases I had because, well remember, that was the year I found dad's journal and… yeah, I finally found out why dad left us so much. But you…well you made it better. I don't know if I told you that. I was so mad that you and dad lied to me, and that dad abandoned us on Christmas to hunt a stupid ghost…but then you went on about how dad was a hero and," he paused to chuckle, "you even stole presents from some girl so I could have a Christmas. You tried to convince me dad had come while I slept, but Dean, even before I opened the presents I figured out what you did. I was eight, not stupid.
"Still that's the kind of person you were. For someone who fought all his life, you were the peacekeeper. You didn't want me to be angry with dad for bringing us into that life. You tried to convince me that dad was the best dad ever, that he was a hero and I guess—no, I know—that's true, but he wasn't much of a dad, he put too much on your shoulders and to be honest I don't think he knew how to be a dad, but I know he tried. He was your hero though so…well that counts for a lot," Sam sighed heavily, "because Dean, you've always been my hero. You were my big brother, you took care of me, you cheered me up when I needed it, you saved my life countless times, you dedicated your life to protect me, to help others. You were a pain in the ass sometimes with your antics, but Dean, you were also the most selfless person I know. You put everyone else first and that's why I think it's fucking bullshit that you're gone, and that you're in…Hell, because of me." Sam's voice broke and he took in a deep, shaky breath, "Why'd you have to do it Dean? It should've been me, not you."
"You're wrong about that Sammy," Dean shook his head, "you're wrong."
"Anyway," Sam sniffed as he carefully lowered the shroud from Dean's face, "that's why I gave this to you instead of dad, because you're my hero, always will be." Sam bit his lip and studied Dean's lifeless face. He wanted to think that it looked like Dean was sleeping like people often told themselves at funerals, but no matter how he looked at him, Dean still looked dead. He didn't even look peaceful, but Sam figured it was because he knew that Dean wasn't at peace, and never would be unless Sam found a way to save him from his fate. The tears Sam had been fighting back escaped and streamed down his cheeks as he reverently tied the amulet around Dean's neck.
"I thought you'd be keeping that Sammy. I think you should. So you can have it as a little piece of me to remember me by. I mean, I don't need it anymore."
"I think you should have this back," Sam whispered as he wiped his eyes, "I hope it will protect you in there, and it will remind you of me, remind you of who you are when the pain from being…down there becomes t-too much to bear. Just…h-hold on for me Dean…p-please. I know you're st-strong," he paused to choke back a sob, "but hold on bro, because I'll find a way to get you out of there. So help me I'll still try to save you from that stupid piece of shit deal you made, I'll keep trying, maybe even bring you back, b-but you just have to stay strong, for me."
"I wish I could tell you that I'm right here," Dean said, "that I'm OK. I'm not in Hell yet, and even if I was, you know me, I'll always hold on for you. Just don't do anything stupid, OK?"
Sam covered Dean's face with the shroud and fought to hold back his crying, "Damn it Dean! You were supposed to be safe! Making it to Wednesday was supposed to mean you were safe! I can't deal with losing you again. I just can't! I was supposed to have more time to save you! It wasn't supposed to be like this! You weren't supposed to leave me here alone."
"You're not alone Sammy," Dean sighed.
"There's just too much shit going on right now, you know?" Sam muttered, "I can't fight this war alone."
"Yes you can."
"I don't want to," Sam continued without pause, "I need you Dean. When I lost Jess, I thought I couldn't carry on. I still miss her. I still love her. I don't think I'll ever get over losing her, or dad, or you. But when she died, you were the one who helped me through it. Without you, I don't think I could've carried on. You've always been there for me, even when I was away at college. You were the one that supported my decision to go, even though you vocally didn't like it, you still stood behind my decision and I knew that if I needed you when I was at Stanford, you'd probably be there in a heartbeat. I regret the way I resented you and dad back then, it was unfair of me, and I'm sorry," Sam wiped his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as he sobbed, "You were always there for me when I needed you, and now you're gone and I need you now more than ever Dean. Losing Jess was hard, but god, Dean, losing you is unbearable. You're my brother, I need you."
Dean put his hand on Sam's shoulder, or at least pretended to since it was physically impossible. Dean's fingers went through Sam's jacket and when he sensed that he reached Sam's shoulder he stopped. Surprisingly, Dean could feel the contact as though he was corporeal, and it gave him a sudden hope that this was the chance he was waiting for to let Sam know he was there. Testing the waters Dean squeezed Sam's shoulder, but his fingers went right through. Dean's spirit absorbed Sam's warmth, and while he was left feeling uncomfortably warm, Sam pulled away with a violent shiver.
Sam looked around as though he did sense a presence, but he shook his head decisively and knelt down, reaching into his duffel. He pulled out three items.
The first was a photograph of the Winchesters, taken when Sam was still a baby, and mom was still alive. The second was a mixed cassette tape Dean had made when he was thirteen, and it was filled with his favorite songs from Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" to Metallica's "Wherever I May Roam". He had played it until it wore out and couldn't play anymore, but Dean couldn't bring himself to throw it out. When asked, Dean had said it was because it was the tape he was listening to when he lost his virginity, but that wasn't the case. The real reason was because of Side A. At the time of the fire, mom had been in the process of making dad a mix tape but she only filled the one side. The tape had survived the fire, and eventually Dean had filled Side B. As far as Dean knew, Sam never learned the real significance of the tape. The third item Sam pulled from the duffel was a rolled up piece of paper.
He ceremoniously placed the items around Dean's body. "A picture to remember us by," Sam said as he put the photograph down, "the tape you and mom made," (so he did know) he declared as he put it down, "and my college transcript." The third item confused Dean, but Sam explained, "I'm never going back to that life. I thought I would, I wanted to, but things have changed so much."
After Sam did that Dean suddenly got nervous when Sam pulled out the salt and the lighter fluid. He should've known it was coming. When Dean was sick and dying after being electrocuted, Dean had bitterly given Sam the options of cremation or burial. Sam didn't want to talk about it, and neither did Dean, but he remembered on the drive to Roy Le Grange's, he had said to Sam, "If this specialist can't help me, I want to be cremated, and I don't know what will happen to me…after, but I don't want to be a spirit so…" Sam had cut him off, not accepting the possibility of the faith healer failing, but he knew what Dean was saying, and he was obviously staying true to Dean's wishes.
Of course now that he was a spirit, he didn't really want to know first hand what happened to them after the salt 'n' burn. Suddenly he wondered if he was going to be sent to Hell by his brother's hand, or if he'd be sent somewhere else, or if he'd just cease to exist, or if nothing would happen at all.
"You know, maybe for shits and giggles you should just forget the salt, how 'bout that Sammy? What do you think? I think that's a great idea," Dean smirked, glad no one could hear the panic in his voice.
Sam took a deep breath and poured the salt on Dean's body. Dean felt a hot, tingling sensation where the salt landed and Dean realized how the spirits always seemed to know when they were about to vanquish them. The salt hurt, it burned, and Sam hadn't even lit his body on fire yet. This wasn't good.
"Sam," he winced, "I changed my mind, I want to be buried."
Sam let out a small sob, "I miss you so much Dean. I don't know what I'm going to do without you." He lit the match, "Good-bye Dean."
A/N Hey! Look at that, a cliffie! Sort of. Once again, please let me know what you think. It will really cheer me up after the depressing sight of snow outside. It's supposed to be spring dang it! The snow had just finally melted! And now we've got heavy snowfall warnings. It's not fair!