Disclaimer: I may own lots of pretty demon hunting weapons but none of them are nice to cuddle with like Dean or Sam so nope I guess that means they aren't mine.
A/N: Well the next chapter is here and I'd have to admit it is a large one. One of my largest yet, actually. And I really enjoyed writing it. It just took me some time to get it just right. So that being said, I hope you all enjoy. By the way, Lilith is one sick bitch, even for a demon.
Chapter 6: Being Needed
It had been a month since that first hunt and nothing had gone right since then. Oh they hunted and the hunts were good. Dean was really getting back into the swing of things and hunting even better than he ever had before. But Sam could steadily see their tight knit brotherhood floating down the drain with every new hotel room and every new hunt. For the most part Dean hunted as if he was on a mission, but a mission alone. Never letting Sam in on what he was thinking or for that matter telling him anything that he might need to know.
Painfully Sam realized that he was seeing his father appearing all over again but in the form of his older brother. The hunt was now an obsession. They fled from town to town never stopping for any longer than it took to sleep a few hours and then it was on to the next hunt. Ironically he couldn't help but wonder if this is what he'd been like during the year that Dean had been gone and the answer was probably so. But Dean wasn't alone. Sam was right there but somehow he felt almost invisible.
They were in another nondescript motel in some town that Sam hadn't even noticed the name of when they'd entered during the early morning hours. When he'd asked Dean about the latest hunt the only answer he'd gotten was possible demon activity. Well hell, he could have figured that out on his own. They never seemed to hunt anything else but demons anymore. Sam had found several possible hauntings and even a possible poltergeist during the last month but Dean had always shook his head and directed them towards yet another demon hunt even if it was farther away than the jobs that Sam had found.
Several times he had wanted to just scream at his brother, to punch him, hit him, kick him, to do anything that might pull him from his single minded purpose but every time he got even slightly close to him Dean had looked at him with this strange expression. It was almost as if he was pleading with Sam to just let it be. Let him be and Sam got the distinct impression that if he pushed too hard his brother might just break and Sam just wasn't sure what he'd do if that happened. He had never seen his brother break. Even since returning from hell Dean had put forth that tough exterior that Sam was so used to and even though he was sure that most of it was just an act, it was an act that they both needed. So Sam remained silent and just let it be. A mistake he would soon realize he should have never made.
Even Sam knew that Dean's crazy, obsessed, demon hunting, lucky streak couldn't hold out forever. And in this tiny town that Sam couldn't even remember the name of their luck ran out at the worst possible time.
"Come on, Sam, move," Dean called pulling his brother along the dirt path that would lead them back to the Impala and back to what he hoped would be safety. He wasn't sure if he'd read the signs wrong or if there had just been more than one evil in this town to face but instead of finding the demon he expected in the deserted plantation home they had just left, they had found a severely pissed off poltergeist. Unfortunately they had gone in prepared for a demon and found themselves without the proper tools to handle the malevolent spirit.
To make matters worse they had become separated and by the time Dean had made his way to the Impala to retrieve the items he needed to purify the house, and then performed the ritual necessary, Sam had been shoved into the dumbwaiter and hurled down three flights where the too small box had shattered into a million pieces in the basement leaving a bloodied Sammy in the ruble.
He could see the Impala up ahead and breathed a sigh of relief seeing as how Sam seemed to be leaning more and more heavily on him. It didn't take long to shove his brother's long frame into the passenger seat and then he gunned the engine sending them screaming down the road into the dark night.
It wasn't a guarantee that the ritual had worked so he wanted to get his brother as far away as fast as he could just in case there was a vengeful spirit leftover.
Once they were far enough away Dean glanced to his brother and asked in a shaky voice. "You okay, Sam?"
Sam shifted in the seat and Dean could see the painful wince this brought about, but his brother's eyes did seem clear as he turned to answer him. "Yeah, Dean. Just some bruised ribs I think."
"Damn, that was close. You need a doctor?" Dean asked still worried for his brother. Somehow he had managed to forget hunts like this when one or both of them winded up hurt in the end but seeing Sam now it all came crashing back to his senses and he could feel panic overtaking him.
Sam didn't answer immediately. He didn't think he needed a doctor. He knew he'd been hurt a lot worse on other occasions but there was something he did need. Something he thought they both needed. "I don't need a doc, Dean. I just need some time to rest."
Dean nodded thrumming his thumb against the steering wheel. "Okay, next town we'll get a room and take a break. You can rest all you want and I'll look for the next hunt."
Sam shook his head even though the motion was painful. "No, Dean. I need a break. A real break. I want to go back to Bobby's. Regroup."
Dean scoffed at that notion. "Sam, we can't stop now. We're on a roll. Look at all the demons we've sent back to hell recently."
Sam glared at his brother for a moment. "No, Dean, you're on a roll. I'm just along for the ride, and I need to get off for a while, before something really terrible happens."
Dean glanced down at his brother's hand which was holding his ribs tightly and then his eyes traveled up to Sam's face and took in the minor cuts and scrapes that littered his skin. Damnit, he was screwing up, taking too many risks with his brother's life. What could he say? Somehow 'I'm sorry,' just sounded way too lame to his own ears. So instead he settled for, "Okay, Sam. Whatever you want."
Sam sighed in relief seeing that his brother wasn't gonna fight him on this and then he leaned his head back on the seat thinking he'd take a short nap as Dean drove them back to Bobby's place. He knew it would be a long drive and they'd have to stop for the night a couple of times but just the thought of being somewhere that he felt safe brought a smile to his lips and lulled him into sleep's waiting arms.
As his eyes fluttered open he glanced around the room he was in and a groan left his lips. "What the hell, Dean. I said no doctor."
He was surprised when he was able to sit up and found no I.V. or monitors attached to his body. As a matter of fact, even though he knew for a fact that he was in a hospital room, he wasn't even dressed in one of those ridiculous open-ended gowns. Then he heard it. Or rather he didn't hear it. He heard absolutely nothing. No doctors or nurses rushing through the halls, no beeping contraptions that he was positive were designed as torture devices to keep a patient from gaining a decent night's sleep. No crying patients. No food carts rolling up and down the halls. Nothing at all that he would associate with a normal hospital.
"I'm dreaming," he finally decided, "but why this?"
"Don't you recognize it?" came a soft purring voice from the doorway.
His eyes closed and he had to force down the urge to spring from the bed and find anything at all that he could use to cut out the tongue that was making that sound. "Is this fun for you?" he finally asked once the murderous rage subsided to a dull roar situated somewhere deep in his gut.
"Oh my yes, Sammy, it is," she answered in a more than gleeful voice. "But as I asked, don't you recognize this room?"
He glanced around him and saw nothing that was out of the ordinary for any hospital room in the country. But then his eyes caught sight of something on the floor just beyond the foot of the bed. He stood and made his way to it, bending over and almost touching the triangle shaped pointer resting on the familiar ouija board.
When it dawned on him he stood up quickly and glanced back to the bed knowing that the last time he had seen it Dean had been laying in it. His brother had nearly died in that bed. He had stood in the doorway, where she stood now, as the doctors had to shock him back to life. He had nearly lost everything that night. If Dean had died there wouldn't have been any coming back. He would have truly been gone and Sam would have been lost, wholly unprepared for everything they had faced since then. He could feel the horrible emptiness that he'd felt that night crowding in on him but he knew he had to force it back and face her otherwise she would win this round. Yes, this round. He knew she was playing games with him. He had had over a month to think it over and it was the only sensible conclusion. She couldn't beat him in the real world so instead she'd attempt to break him down in the dream world. "You'd think a demon as powerful as you would have better things to do than this."
"Oh, but I like doing this," she answered pushing away from the doorframe and moving up right next to him. She leaned in not daring to touch him and whispered. "I think I'm developing quite the crush on you, Sammy. Your pain is rather addictive."
"You know, I won't let you have him back," Sam said changing directions on her hoping to trip her up.
But this only brought a smile to her lips. "Sammy, do you know how much I liked having Dean down there? He was my favorite, you know. I gave him special attention that I've never given any of the others."
Sam cringed at the words 'special attention.' Somehow he knew that Dean probably hadn't appreciated his special status as her favorite. "How did he beat you?" he asked hoping to send her into a rage.
"Beat me?" she asked rather coyly as if she had no clue what he was talking about.
"He's out isn't he, so how did he do it?" Sam asked rubbing it in.
"Oh, Sam, you have so much to learn, but I don't want to talk about that right now. I'd much rather show you something I truly enjoyed about my time with your brother," she purred not even flinching at Sam's dig. This disappointed him and for some reason he was almost positive he didn't want to see what she wanted to show him.
"I think I'll pass this time," he answered walking away from her and closer to the bed. He couldn't quite pry his eyes from the soft surface.
"You can pass, Sam. But if you do you'll never get the answers you want. It's all or nothing. If you want to know how you got your brother back you gotta see the whole picture." Her voice had taken on a singsong quality and he had to choke back the urge to beat her into a bloody pulp, reminding himself once again that he couldn't really hurt her in his dreams.
That first time he had honestly just wanted to know what his brother had went through so he could understand and maybe find a way to get them back to being brothers again but now… He didn't have to know how Dean got out. It really didn't matter, just as long as he was alive. But the nagging feeling in the back of his mind that something horrible was gonna happen and it was all tied to Dean's time in hell, just wouldn't go away. "Show me then," he said with as much disdain in his voice as he could muster.
"Gladly," then that bright white light again and Sam found himself in that barren black nothingness. This time he didn't stumble or try to grasp out for the chains but instead moved straight ahead knowing instinctively where his brother's form was before he could even see it.
This time though, things were very different. The barren black nothingness faded into a landscape that shook him to his very core and took his breath away. The darkness gave way to a dull gray light and that light illuminated what was before him. To each side of him were mounds of bone. Skulls, femurs, ribcages, every bone of any shape and size could be seen haphazardly piled together with bits and pieces of human flesh still attached here and there. And blood, so much blood with the contrast between solid white expanses and bright red streaks here and there. He forced his eyes down wanting to block out the ghastly site but saw the very ground he stood on was made of the same jumbled waste. His foot landed on what looked like the skull of a small child and it crunched below his shoe scattering into bone dust, which sunk into a pool of blood forming a blood red paste squishing below his feet.
The urge to vomit overtook him quickly and it was all he could do to push the queasy feeling down and look back up, forcing the landscape around him to become nothing but mottled colors in his mind's eye, pushing away the knowledge of what was really there. Once he had thoroughly convinced himself to ignore the sights around him he purposefully strode ahead seeking the only sight there that he truly wanted to see.
But once he found that sight he wished he had never endeavored to find it. There slumping against one of the mounds of bone was the image of his brother. His skin matched the gray color of the sky above him and his head hung forward so his eyes could not be seen. He wore only a simple pair of jeans and Sam's eyes traveled down his form and could see that there were no longer any vicious rips in his skin from the claws of the hellhounds, but scars covered his skin in places both familiar and unfamiliar to Sam's eyes. The Dean in his waking world had scars but not in the same pattern and he had to wonder where these had gone. But what truly disturbed him was the bit of white that pierced his skin below his ribcage on the right side. His brother was actually skewered upon what looked like a broken femur protruding from the mound of bone effectively holding him still for any demon that wished to torment him.
"This is only about three months in. Your brother was still oh so stubborn here. It was some of my favorite times with him," she whispered next to him and Sam had to flinch at the sound.
As Sam watched another figure slid from behind the mound of bones and snaked her way next to his brother's unmoving body. He could see that it was her and wanted to question but the voice from beside him reminded… "Remember, it's just my memory. Neither of them knows we are here."
The memory image of Lilith pressed up close to Dean placing one hand lightly against the crook of his neck. Her voice came out like honey but her words brought only bitter thoughts. "Poor pitiful little Dean. So much pain, so much agony, how long will you last?"
His voice seemed strained but his spirit could still be heard in the quivering words. "I've got eternity, but something tells me you'll get bored before then."
"Never, Dean. I'll never tire of your screams." With that her hand ran along the base of his throat while razor sharp nails cut through the skin leaving behind lines of blood in their wake. As her hand rested below his chin she pulled it up to look into his ghostly pale face.
Sam could feel his heart constrict at the sight. His eyes looked so vacant, devoid of any and all emotions but still a flinch fluttered through his features as her nails dug into each side of his chin and blood began to slide down the pale white skin of her hand. "Will you scream for me today, Dean?"
He viciously pulled his face from her grip causing even more blood to splatter across her face before him. This only brought a smile to her lips as she allowed the bloodied hand to hover before her features for only a moment before placing one of the clawed fingers against her lips. Her tongue darted out tasting the blood there and a chuckle of delight bubbled from her throat. "Your blood tastes like pure ambrosia. Have you ever tasted blood before, Dean?"
Dean didn't turn back to her but his voice did not fail him. "Not yet, but why don't you get me Ruby's knife and I'll slit that pretty little neck of yours for you. I'd gladly drink a toast to your end."
The look on her face became enraged with that and she moved in closer to him placing a hand upon each side of his stomach and leaning into him so her breath would caress his ear as she spoke. "Such bravery, such bravado. Too bad it's all for nothing. You belong to me now, Dean Winchester, and no one will ever save you."
He tried to pull his face as far from hers as possible feeling the disgust of her touching him in anyway. "Sammy…" his voice creaked out desperately but she didn't let him finish that sentence.
"…failed you," she answered for him. "He promised to save you, Dean. I didn't see him rescuing you as my pets ripped your skin from your bones."
"He will," came his angered reply.
"Will he? Your brother will give up on you, Dean. He'll give up and he'll go on with his life, leaving you to rot. You know he will," she insisted leaning against him in what almost looked like a lover's embrace.
"You don't know my brother," Dean answered his body trying to shrink away from her and pushing even farther back upon the broken bone piercing his insides. A pained expression crossed his face but he couldn't stomach her touch upon any part of him.
"I think I know him more than you can ever imagine," she purred placing her lips right up against his ear. "He doesn't need you, Dean. Not like you need him. You gave up your life because you couldn't bear to continue on without him. But he can survive without you and he will." With that her nails began to dig into his sides as blood flowed freely from the open wounds around her fingers and a bloodcurdling scream escaped his brother's lips.
Sam wanted to scream out in the pain and fear he knew his brother was feeling right along with him, but before a sound could leave his lips a voice came from right next to his ear. "This is the first time I bled him out. The first is always the best as you watch the life drain from their eyes and they choke on their own blood."
Sam swung around and reached out wrapping his hands around her throat forcing her down onto the bone and blood covered ground. "I will kill you a thousand times over for this, you Bitch."
She sunk into the human debris surrounding them as he collapsed on top of her never letting go of that pale throat feeling it crush below his fingertips but just as quickly as he had subdued her she just vanished from his grip and he heard her voice ripple through the room. "Kill me as many times as you like in your dreams, Sammy, but it will never take away what I did to your brother. Watch if you can!"
Sam screamed out in utter rage at his lost revenge and his tear stained face turned to watch the vision of his brother's second demise.
After his brother's screams subsided she pulled her hands free of his insides and backed a few inches away watching the life seeping from his features. Her head tilted to one side and a small smile touched her lips as she leaned in placing what looked like a chaste kiss upon his lips. "Was it as good for you as it was me, Dean?" she whispered and then just disappeared leaving his limp form there before his brother's eyes.
Sam couldn't stop his forward motion as he crawled over next to his brother. He remained on the ground staring up into his brother's dead eyes wanting so badly to forget everything he had just seen. His hands reached out in a futile effort to touch Dean's unmoving form but as before they just sunk through the shadowy shape and then on through the bone mound behind him until landing on the more substantial floor below.
His head sunk to the solid surface as sobs wracked his body and when he next opened his eyes his face was pressed against the cold white tile of hospital room that his dream had started in. But it no longer mattered to Sam where he was, whether in his own dream world or inside Lilith's memories it didn't matter. Nothing could matter after what he'd just seen. She had been right, nothing he could ever do would take back what had been done to his brother, what Dean had endured for him. He let his body slump to the side as he curled into himself just staring ahead but not seeing the room surrounding him. The only sight that plagued his mind was that of his brother's dead eyes staring back at him from moments before.
As his eyes flew open he was shocked to see the bright sunlight streaming through the windows. After the dark and dreary world of dream that he'd just left it was not at all what he had expected, and his head swiveled immediately catching the worried look on his brother's face and after several seconds had gone by he could actually hear his brother's words. "Sam, what the hell. What's wrong?"
Sam's face turned as he stared in shock at the relatively calm and normal world surrounding the Impala. They were parked on the side of the road and the area around them seemed to be deserted. To the left there was open field sporting some crop but hell if Sam actually cared what it was. Then to his right there was a thick line of trees just a few feet from his car door.
"Sam, answer me. You're scaring me, dude. You were sobbing. What's going on in that freakish head of yours?" Dean barked more in concern than anger.
Sam knew that he could never tell Dean what he'd seen. There was never anyway that his brother would be able to handle him seeing that. So his mouth stayed clamped shut as he reached up and wiped the fresh tears from his face. He didn't speak. He just shook his head and then stared straight forward in hopes that his brother would just take the hint and go.
But Dean was not even slightly going to consider letting this slide. He reached a hand across the open space between them and rested it lightly on his brother's arm. "Common, Sammy, I let the last one slide because you didn't want to talk but this time I just can't. What are you dreaming about?" His voice came out so soft and understanding and the sound of it just broke Sam's heart even more. How could his brother sit back so calmly trying to comfort him after everything he had gone through? Sam wanted to scream and throw things or sink into unconscious oblivion just because he had seen what had been done. He just couldn't understand how his brother had faced it all and not came out of it completely damaged.
He glanced down at Dean's hand on his arm and his eyes closed as flashes of blood, bone, and flesh ran across his tear soaked vision. A small whimper left his lips unbidden and he yanked his arm from Dean's and pushed roughly on the door fumbling with the latch trying to escape. It took three tries to get it open but once he did his long legs flew out the door and it didn't matter how much his ribs still hurt he was out and moving away from the car and into the woods. It didn't matter where he was going just as long as he was getting away from the memories of his dream, as if he could physically leave them behind.
At first Dean had been shocked to see his brother bolt from the Impala but the surprise wore off and he was out the door and following behind as fast as he could. "Sam, Sam! Sammy, stop," he called desperately his voice filled with fear for his brother.
But Sam couldn't stop. He kept running even as tree branches roughly tore at his skin and tried to deflect him from the wild path he was making through the undergrowth. But it wasn't long before he was brought up short and realized he couldn't go any farther. He had broken through the woods edge and was faced with a vast lake stretched out before him and the only way he could continue would be by swimming. He could have. He was a strong swimmer but at the moment all his mind registered was that there were a barrier in front of him that kept him from continuing.
By the time Dean broke through the vegetation himself Sam had slumped boneless to the ground with his arms wrapped around his legs and his face buried in the denim material covering knees. Sobs racked his body and he rocked back and forth every so often making hitching noises in the back of his throat.
Dean's mind was automatically drawn back to a time when his little brother was still a child and his tears came easier. Sam had always worn his heart on his sleeve and it didn't take very much for that heart to be hurt by angry words from their father or horrible taunts by bullies living in the towns they stopped briefly in. Dean had always tried to protect Sammy from getting hurt but it was sometimes so hard to do.
And as his mind was brought back to the present by the painful sounds his brother was making his first instinct was the same as it always was when he'd see Sammy like that. He dropped down to the ground on his knees next to his brother and wrapped his arms around him whispering words of comfort hoping to stop the pain in any way he could. "Shhh… Sammy. It's okay. Whatever it is, I'll take care of it. Please, Sam, it'll be alright, I promise."
Sam had almost pushed his brother away when he'd wrapped his arms around him but the sound of his voice stopped him and instead he reached up and clung to him. It had been such a long time since Dean had spoken to him like that. He had hugged Sam and tried to comfort him after that first dream but it wasn't the same. This was his brother from when they were growing up. The Dean that still considered him a small child who he would protect with his last breath. Not the Dean who understood that he was a man and would sometimes let him face his own battles, knowing that it was all a part of growing up. But at that moment this was the Dean that Sam needed. He didn't want to think about what he'd seen. He wanted Dean to take it away so he wouldn't have to believe what had happened.
They stayed like that for several long moments as Dean held him gently rubbing circles on his brother's back and whispering comforting nonsense that neither of them would remember once their minds were back in the hear and now but it was enough, enough to calm Sam's racing heart rate, enough to bring his breathing to a normal rhythm and enough to assure Dean that his brother wasn't going to completely fall apart on him. He had held Sam together before when they were children and this time would be no different than any of those other times.
Once Sam had let go of his brother's arms and sniffed a few times using his shirt sleeve to dry his eyes Dean had reluctantly let go of him and sat down next to him but facing in the opposite direction so he could look at Sam. He sat Indian style and one of his knees rested against Sam's leg not yet willing to lose the physical connection between them. His hand also rested on Sam's knee ready to cling to him if he saw Sam was gonna break again. "Sam, I need to know what's going on with you. Please, just tell me."
In the few moments that Sam had been sitting by the shore before Dean had found him, he'd had time to run several thoughts through his head. Thoughts that he had always pushed away before, knowing how Dean would have reacted. But he couldn't push them away anymore. Not after everything that he'd seen. "Dad was right about me, Dean."
Dean blinked in confusion hearing that. For a minute he zeroed in on the whole 'save him or kill him' conversation and he could feel anger rising inside him. He thought they had already worked through that, but Sam's voice interrupted him stilling his tongue. "He always said I was a screw up. That I could mess anything up without even trying. It always made me so angry when he said that but now I realize he was completely right."
"What the hell are you saying, Sam? You are not a screw up," Dean answered in a little bit stronger voice than he'd intended his hand painfully squeezing Sam's knee where it rested.
Sam didn't complain about the pain in his knee. He knew it was a lot less than he deserved. "Yes I am, Dean. I've screwed everything up since the minute you came to get me back at college. I can't do anything right."
"You know that's bullshit, Sammy. Don't even say it," Dean argued not having any clue why his brother would suddenly start to doubt himself so much.
"Is it? How many times have you had to come save me? How many times have I just up and disappeared on you? How many times have you had to sacrifice something of yourself for me?" Sam spat out in self-disgust.
"Sammy, that's my job. You know that. That's what I'm supposed to do," Dean argued back slipping into the same old arguments he had used so many times when Sam had complained about everything Dean was willing to give up for him.
"Yeah well, I told you that I had a job too. The only difference is that you succeeded in yours while I failed." Sam couldn't stand all of this being in his head anymore. He had to force it out. Get rid of it before it overwhelmed him but then his voice grew very quiet as he continued. "I promised you, Dean, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't do it. I couldn't save you, and to make matters worse I gave up. I stopped looking for you."
Dean sucked in his breath hard on that statement. He knew that Sam would more than likely feel guilty for everything, but somehow in the months since he'd been back he had let himself believe that Sam had accepted it and moved on. He should have known better. Sam didn't just accept anything. He worried, fretted, and mulled over things until they ate him up inside. "Sam, you did everything you could. I don't blame you for going on with your life."
"If you could call that going on. I wasn't living, Dean, just surviving. But that doesn't change the facts. I failed you. But you wouldn't have failed, Dean. If our positions had been reversed, you would have succeeded in saving me. You would have found a way," came the soft reply and he was positive that no matter what his brother had to do, Dean would have found a way. "Sometimes I think you'd have been better off if you'd never came and got me four years ago. You should have left me at school."
Dean swallowed hard and could feel tears pricking the corners of his own eyes. Sam knew that his leaving for college had always been a sore subject with Dean but how could he know that Dean had always considered the day he went and retrieved his brother from school as the best thing he had ever done. "Sam, don't say that. Please don't. I don't want to even think about what life would have been like if I hadn't showed up that night. And besides if I'd have left you in school the demon would have killed you or worse."
"Maybe that would have been better," Sam answered staring out over the lake trying not to meet his brother's eyes.
A low growl left his brother's lips and Sam knew he was treading on ground his brother wasn't gonna allow. "Listen up, and you listen good. You may be my little brother but I will kick your ass if I have to. You are not going down that road, Sammy. I've fought too hard for this family to listen to you tell me that it was a mistake. It was not a mistake and even after everything that's happened since then I'd do it all over again. I came and got you because I wanted my family back and that is more important to me than anything that's happened since."
Damn, Sam had not meant to upset Dean like that. He should have known that to Dean losing him would have been far worse than anything that had happened in hell. "I'm sorry, Dean. I didn't mean it to sound like that. I know what family means to you. It's just been eating away at me for a while now."
Sam wanted to just kick himself for causing his brother even more worry and pain. Dean needed family so much, much more than Sam ever thought he had himself. But now looking back on everything he was beginning to realize that he needed his brother more than anyone else in the world. But he'd never told him that. Not once. He was always running away from his family. Going away to college to escape the life of a hunter and his Dad inadvertently hurting his brother, making him think that Sam just didn't give a damn about them anymore. Running off when he and Dean had that argument over Dad. That one had nearly cost Dean his life too and it had brought Meg into their lives also. She eventually had nearly killed Dean. Running off when Dean told him about his Dad's words in the hospital shortly before he died. Again that had landed Dean in hot water with Gordon. Even running away from Bobby after Dean's death. If he hadn't turned himself into a cold, calculating, demon hunter he might not have ever rejected Dean when he came back. Sam couldn't deny just how much he knew that had hurt his brother. It seemed like every time Sam took off or shut himself off from those he loved that Dean ended up paying for it and that would have to stop and Dean needed to know the truth, not the lies that Lilith had told him. "Dean, I know I've never really told you, but you and Dad, and even Bobby, you all have meant everything to me. Even back when I took off for college a part of me still would have rather been with you. I still needed my big brother, even if I was being a stupid jerk."
Dean was surprised to hear that after telling his brother that he would kick his ass if he had to but it still felt good to hear it, even if he didn't let Sam know that. "Yeah, you were a stupid jerk," he said with a cocky smirk.
Sam rolled his eyes. "Dean, I'm trying to be serious here. Dad needed you and I needed you. I still do and I always will. Heck even Bobby has a soft spot for your wisecracking ass."
Dean gave him a real smile, not a smirk but a real honest to goodness 'everything's gonna be alright' Dean smile. "Thanks, Sam, but I still want to know what brought all this on. I want to know what that nightmare was about and the one you had back at Bobby's."
The smile that had lit Sam's face for a moment faded as he realized that Dean wasn't gonna back off on it this time. He still couldn't tell Dean what he'd seen. Dean would feel demoralized and degraded knowing that Sam had seen all that and that would lead to another rift between them. He didn't want any more rifts. So he did the only thing he thought he could do. He lied. "Just my mind reliving bad memories, Dean. You going to hell and me not able to do anything to stop it. Not being able to help you or rescue you."
Dean nodded accepting that. He knew those feelings would have to work themselves out somehow. "Sam, you gotta stop living in the past. There was nothing you could have done and if you remember right, I wasn't exactly making things easy on you either. I think during that year beforehand I spent half my time running from the reality of what was coming and the other half barreling right towards it daring it to take me. Neither way worked out very well for me as I recall."
"No probably not," Sam had to agree. They both sat in silence for a moment or so as Sam gazed back out over the water. He shook his head wondering just where exactly he had thought he was running to when he'd headed this way. And damn if that wasn't running from his brother again. No more, he vowed. But then something else surfaced in his mind. "Dean, you want to tell me why you've been acting all hunt obsessed for the last month or so?" He figured that heck while they were talking he might at least try to figure out what was up with his brother too.
Dean looked away from Sam not wanting to meet his eyes. He'd already berated himself for that half the night. He really wasn't sure he could handle it from Sam too. "I guess I didn't realize just how bad I was getting, Sam. We were doing good, killing more demons than ever before. It just started to become something I wanted more and more. Maybe a little revenge for my time down there. I'm sorry I put you in danger though. That was really stupid of me."
Sam reached out squeezing his brother's hand with that. "Hey, don't worry about me. I'm fine. But you've seriously started scaring me recently. You remind me of Dad, or god forbid of me while you were gone and what's really freaky is that sometimes I just don't understand how you do it. It's almost as if you can pick out demons from thin air that I'd never have recognized on my own with all the research in the world."
Dean couldn't help the tiny flinch at hearing his brother's last words. He had really hoped that Sam wouldn't catch on. It wasn't his idea of something he wanted to admit to his brother.
Sam had caught that flinch and his eyebrow's rose in question but when Dean didn't respond at all his eyes widened and he became even more suspicious. "Dean, what aren't you telling me?"
Dean shook his head but didn't face Sammy as he looked down at the ground before himself.
"Oh no you don't. You want to know what I'm thinking and I spill my heart out to you. Now it's your turn. What are you hiding from me?" Sam demanded seeing his brother's refusal to speak.
Dean really didn't want to tell him. He had tried so hard to hide it. What would Sam think of him when he knew? Would it scare him like Dean had been scared when Sam started having visions? But he knew there was no way his brother was gonna let it drop now. "Sam… I didn't want you to worry about me more. I know how hard it was when you started having visions. I just didn't want you to worry because something freaky was going on with me," Dean tried to explain.
"And what exactly is this something freaky, Dean?" Sam asked cautiously trying not to let himself panic.
Dean bit his lip and looked out into the woods still not looking at his brother but Sam had yet to let go of his hand and he knew his brother would offer him support no matter what. "You remember a few hours before the hounds came for me, and I killed that demon? You were so amazed because I saw what it really looked like."
Sam frowned as events started to fall into place inside his mind. Dean knowing that bartender was a demon when there had been no signs and many more since then. "Dean, is that happening again?"
"No, no, not exactly," he rushed to assure Sam. "It's just that every so often I'll catch something out of the corner of my eye. Just a glimpse of something not right. If I concentrate really hard on someone it'll sometimes come to me easier but it can take a while too."
Sam swallowed hard, not exactly sure what to think of this. "Dean, that's…" His voice faltered. He didn't know what to say and the tone finally brought Dean's gaze back to his.
Dean shook his head his mouth curling up in a scowl. "See that's why I didn't want to tell you. I didn't want you to get all worked up over this." He pulled his hand from Sam's and stood quickly starting back towards the woods.
Sam hadn't meant to upset his brother yet again. That was beginning to be a bad habit, he realized, so he stood quickly and followed his brother going faster hoping his longer legs and larger size would push him through the woods better and allow him to reach Dean. "Dean, wait," he called seeing the back of his brother's head but Dean was moving a lot faster than he thought he would be able to.
Soon he found himself tumbling back out of the woods about ten paces in front of the Impala. Dean was at the back searching through the trunk for something and Sam walked over to join him. "Dean, I'm sorry. I didn't mean for it to sound so…"
"What, like I'm some sort of freak?" Dean asked his voice roughed from the emotions seething through him.
"Dean… Dean, listen to me," Sam called in an exasperated tone. He reached out grabbing his brother's shoulder trying to pull him around.
After giving up the effort of not looking up at Sam, Dean finally turned to face him.
"Dean, do you know how much you sound like me after I got back into hunting? What did you tell me after that skin changer thing in St. Louis?" Sam asked trying to make a point.
Dean thought back and had to smile at the memory. "That you were a freak."
"And?" Sam questioned when he didn't continue.
"That I was a freak too, so I was right there with you all the way," Dean answered smirking slightly. "What a pair we make huh, Sammy?"
Sam nodded sighing slightly. "But always together. That's what counts."
Dean agreed with him nodding himself. "Yeah." Then he turned back to searching through the trunk again.
"Dude, what are you looking for?" Sam asked seeing his brother getting slightly flustered.
"The first aid kit," he answered looking back to Sam. "Don't think that I forgot you got hurt last night. I gotta to take care of my little brother, Sammy."
Sam snorted slightly and smiled. "It's in the back seat."
Dean glanced forward and chuckled at himself slightly as he moved around Sam and towards the back seat.
Dean didn't hear Sam's next words. They were whispered and really weren't meant for his ears anyway. "Yeah, and I gotta take care of my big brother a little better too."
A/N: Wow, am I in an angsty mood. I really enjoyed writing that chapter even if it did take forever to do so. So comments? Questions? Next chapter will be up as soon as I can.