"Tell you about my brother?"
The boy was looking at him with a look of alarm and muted terror, though he was excellent at hiding it. To the casual observer, he might have even looked vaguely intrigued at the idea of sharing his thoughts with a psychiatrist of reputed caliber such as Dr. Eglington.
Dr. Eglington, however, was not a casual observer, and he was able to see the emotions in the boy's eyes that Sam didn't think he was even feeling, much less showing.
"Yes," he nodded. "I want to hear about your brother. I'll tell you everything you want to know about the hospital after, but first: tell me about your brother."
Sam swallowed. Intriguing. Why would a young man be so nervous about talking about his brother?
"Well, Dean's my older brother…" he said slowly.
"Don't tell me about him, Sam." He smiled slightly. "Tell me about how you feel about him."
"Right." Sam swallowed again.
Clearly some deep seated psychological issues around his brother – the doctor jotted down on his notepad. V. nervous – doesn't want to talk about "Dean". Yet clearly close – traveling together.
"Well." Sam looked away from him, pursing his lips slightly. "He… I haven't really talked to him in the last two years, until he showed up at my place, telling me that our dad had gone missing."
"Your father is missing?" He lifted his eyebrows, interested, jotting that note down.
Sam nodded. "So we've been looking for him. Dean and I."
Sam fidgeted a little, flushing a little, tiny spots of red on his upper cheeks. "Well… we haven't found him. But he keeps leaving us notes and things, so that we keep… going all over the country, trying to find him, but… no luck so far. Best we've been able to do is talk to him on the phone. So… Dean's… stressed. And so am I. I mean, the sooner we find dad, the sooner I can go home."
The doctor looked up. "You don't enjoy travelling with Dean?"
"No… sure. I do. We're… uh, we're getting along better now than we have in years, I guess. I mean, it's just… I shouldn't stay with him. It's just not… good. For either of us."
"Why?" he smiled, disarming.
"Well… it's just… oil and water."
Sam was squirming in his seat, looking anxious. "Well… I went to college. Pre law. Dean… Dean didn't. He stayed with dad, he never finished high school… he lives a hedonist's life, when he's not… focused on things with a madman's intensity!" He seemed to winding up now, as though this was something he'd kept pent up for far too long, and was finally now just letting out. "He's an arrogant egotist, who thinks that, despite his complete lack of education, that he's better than me. And get this – because he stayed with dad. Oh, and dad adores him, can't get enough of Dean, but I'm the idiot son who betrayed my father by going to school! A normal father would have been happy, but no, I'm the disappointment, where little soldier Dean is the perfect son who does everything his daddy wants!"
Dr. Eglington was scrawling notes frantically, trying to keep up with all of the trouble spots he was sensing.
"But it's just stupid! I mean, stupid... he's all over people. He will use sex to get anything he wants – and he gets it, too! My girlfriend died just a few months ago, and all he cares about is the next time hes going to get laid! I haven't been laid in... well, of course not, she just died. I respect her memory too much. Dean... fuck!"
"And... he's obsessed. With guns. And his car. Oh... that car! I mean, sure. Nice car. I wanted that car once. Beautiful, sleek, Chevy Impala, nice ride. But you'd swear it was his girlfriend, the way he treats the thing? He treats that car better than he treats me. So much better. She gets all sleeked up, and shined, and he freaks out at me if I even get fingerprints on her, but me? Ah, Sam can take care of himself. That bloody car! And his guns? Guns! Everywhere! He has so many, and they're never good enough, he's gotta get bigger ones, and better ones, and ones with bigger calibres, and ones that have shiny little mother of pearl bits..." he threw his hands up. "They don't have to be that complicated! If they'll hold a bullet with salt in it, or a silver bullet, or even an iron bullet, and they'll shoot, then what the hell does it matter if it looks good!? I clean mine, too, because you have to clean guns, otherwise they don't work right, but man, I don't spend hours and hours and hours polishing my guns and measuring the barrels against the other ones, and... fuck, if he's that obsessed with it, whip it out and compare your two guns, Dean! That'll prove it for once and all!"
He seemed to have raged himself out, and slumped in the chair, furious and exhausted.
Dr. Eglington let the room settle for a few moments, then flipped to a new page in the notebook, and cleared his throat.
Sam looked up at the sound, sighing softly.
"I'm going to address the issues as I see them one at a time," the doctor said, tapping his pen against the blank page. "Firstly. You say that you feel that Dean thinks he's better than you."
"He does." Sam muttered.
"Mm-hmm. Yet, you say 'despite the fact that he's uneducated.'" He frowned at the page. "Sam, what you are saying implies that you believe that you are better than Dean."
Sam looked up sharply. "I do not! I just know that I'm... not worse than him!"
"Are you sure?" he leaned forward, intently. "Sam... you appear to me to be rather... insecure about your position in your family dynamics. I can see that you are a very intelligent young man. I understand that. I see that you are proud of your accomplishments, which is good. That's healthy. But what I see is a young man whose life has been thrown from one extreme, to another, then back to the first. In your first extreme, in a family where you felt that your father loved your brother more than you, you clearly wanted to escape. You say that you then went on to prelaw, which to me, seems like as far away from what you describe before, as possible."
Shaking his head, Sam protested: "Oh, I'm not blaming my upbringing or anything..."
Laughter. "Don't worry, Sam, I am not a stereotype who says that everything is your parent's fault. It's just that you described a life where guns, travel, inconsistency seem to be a way of life."
He shrugged. "Dad was... ex-marine."
"Ah, see, there it makes more sense. A tight knit little family unit, three people, correct?"
"A tight family unit, with military ideals and values, weapons everywhere, turmoil. You sought stability. Prelaw. College. A girlfriend. But it sounds like... your father's disappearance, and your girlfriend's death... they were close in time?"
The young man sighed. "Yeah. Dad went missing, Dean came to get me, I told him no... Jessica died. And then I went with Dean."
"Ah." He nodded. "You feel guilty."
He flushed. "Well... no. Of course not."
"You feel that if you had gone with Dean when he first asked... Jessica wouldn't be dead, and your father may not be missing."
The boy's shoulders heaved as he sighed thickly. "Well... she might have been safe, if I wasn't there. It's my fault."
"There. That's an important point, right there." Dr. Eglington pointed at him firmly. "Her death is not your fault. You didn't kill her. Did you?"
He flushed. "No!"
"You didn't... hire a hitman, or ask someone to kill her, or leave something dangerous in her path?"
"Well then, not your fault."
"I acted on omission."
He steepled his fingers. "How so?"
"I would have... I knew it was going to happen. I dunno how... I just... did. I knew it was going to... I dreamed about her death, days before. I dreamed about... dad going missing. I dreamed about Dean. I hadn't spoken to him in two years, and suddenly, I was dreaming about him."
"What kind of dreams?" he asked, interested.
"What does that matter?" Sam shrugged. "Dreams."
"Well... I dunno, like... riding around in the car with him. Talking to him on the phone. Uh... oh, I know! Falling asleep, in my dream, and he drew on my face. With marker. Gave me spectacles and a beard. I don't know, dreams!"
"Mm-hmm..." he nodded encouragingly.
"So I had these dreams. I shouldn't have left! I went with Dean for two days, and... I shouldn't have. I came home, and she..." he sighed, frustrated. "That was it. I didn't get to say goodbye."
"And you blame yourself for her death... but also... you blame Dean."
Sam blinked. "I don't blame Dean."
"I feel that you do. You chose Dean over Jessica. And as a result, you had no chance to say goodbye to your girlfriend. And now, you represent your guilt by fixing your jealousy against your brother."
"That has... that sounds far too logical." Sam sighed, reluctantly. "Okay, so I have dealing issues. But even so... I don't think I'm better than him. He's way better at shooting things than I am. And he... he could smooth talk the Pope. Hey, he could get in the Pope's pants, just by talking. He's good at that."
Dr. Eglington's brow arched. "Your brother is gay?"
"Huh? Oh, no... no." He snorted. "Just that he's... that good."
"Ah." He tapped at the page, considering. "You really feel that your brother does it on purpose?"
"Oh, well... sometimes." Sam shrugged. "It can be handy, actually, that he's just... naturally attractive, to everyone. It's not really his fault."
"Hmm." He considered this. "Do you find him attractive?"
Sam looked like a deer in the headlights. "Ah... well, he's impressive."
"Oh, I'm not... oh... so not into that!" Sam yelped.
"I never said you were." He said calmly.
"I mean, sure, so my brother's hot! So I did something stupid, and went with him instead of staying home and preparing for my interview. So I've stuck with him, and... you know, you can't control what you dream about?" he leaned forward, intently. "I read about it. You can't control your dreams, they're just subconscious. And just because something happens in your dreams doesn't mean you want it for real, like, for instance, if you dream about killing your girlfriend or something, it doesn't mean that you really want to kill your girlfriend."
And if you kiss your brother, it doesn't mean that you really want to. The words hung heavy in the room, unspoken, but heard anyway.
"That's true." Dr. Eglington glanced at the clock, and winced. He wanted to keep going with this – this was actually fascinating to listen to, and besides, he had a suspicion that the young man planned on fleeing town – or at least not coming back. That was a shame, especially since he needed something new, something fresh for his next article, and there wasn't much more intense and fresh than incestuous brotherly desire. "I believe though, that that's our time."
"Oh." Sam paused, startled. "But the hospital..."
"Ah, yes, I promised that, didn't I?" he nodded. "I shall tell you about that now. But first... do you have access to the internet, when you travel?"
He blinked, and nodded.
"Excellent. I maintain online discussions with some patients, to make sure that they continue their sessions, even when they cannot be here in person. Can I interest you in that option?"
"Oh, uh... sure." Sam shrugged.
"Excellent." The doctor smiled, handing a form to the young man. "Fill this out... and I'll tell you all about the hospital."