Try To Remember
He didn't know his own name, and who the hell was that guy stalking him?
Complete AU set after Blood Lust. Season 2.
Please read the warnings.
Based loosely after that hated punch in Blood Lust and taken way out of context in an excuse for some big time Guilty Dean, 'cos I just love to torment the poor guy.
And yes, you guessed it: Limp/Hurt/Amnesiac Sam.
Also, major kickass ProtectiveBobby!
The title is blatantly stolen from an old episode of Magnum PI.
Warning:Swearing, mild implication/reference to prostitution, rape and torture though not what I'd call graphic. Possibly the darkest fic I've ever written so I'm pretty nervous about it. Please don't read if it disturbs. I've no wish to upset anyone... or kick their arses if they send me a nasty review.
I originally intended to post this one under the I Didn't Mean It series, or times Dean unintentionally hurt his brother, but given the nature of the content I'll felt it best to post it as a story in its own right. Hope I did the right thing!
Sam was pushing it again. God! The kid was like a dog with a fucking bone – he just wouldn't let it go. Dean felt his temper fray when his brother fixed that gaze on him again. The let's talk; I want to help, let me in gaze. And Dean was beyond irritated. The incident with Gordon Walker had taken its toll on both the brothers but in vastly different ways. Dean's anger was only second to his guilt over the way he'd treated Sam. He realised he hadn't even asked his brother if he'd been hurt by the vampires when they abducted him, and his lack of trust in Sam's judgement was another sore point. Then there was the small matter of hitting Sam when he'd already been whacked over the head.
Sam, on the other hand, had witnessed his brother decapitating a vamp with a coldness that scared the shit out of him. Dean was hurting over the loss of their father but he wouldn't share his grief with him, holding it in and keeping it in a dark place deep inside. Sam had never felt so lonely in his life.
And now that tone again. The soft I'm here for you tone.
"Sam drop it!"
"No!" Sam was raising his own voice by now. "Dad is dead, you're all I've got left, and you're making reckless decisions, jumping in without thinking and putting your life at risk. And you once called me selfish? Haven't we lost enough Dean!?!"
Sam didn't see it coming when Dean's temper finally snapped and let fly with his fist.
The impact drove him back, teetering awkwardly off-balance before gravity took over and he fell, the side of his head connecting hard with the corner of the nightstand, leaving behind a bright smear of red. The whole thing happened in a red flash of anger.
Dean stood frozen as his little brother lost consciousness before he even hit the carpet, instantly feeling utterly sick to his stomach.
Precious seconds ticked by before he finally got his crap together...
"Ah shit no! What the hell have I done?" Dean muttered as he hurriedly stooped and grabbed Sam's arms, pulling him into a sitting position, his back resting against the bed.
"Sammy? Oh Christ kid, you ok?" He winced when he took in the small trickle of blood running into Sam's left eye and matted hair caught in the sticky mess. Already the flesh around the cut was changing colour, deep dark blues creeping in and taking over where the older yellow bruises were fading. "I'm so sorry, I didn't mean...just open your eyes....Sam please open your eyes!"
Dean, still grasping the kid by his arms, gave him a gentle shake and his brother's head rolled back on his neck helplessly. Sam's breathing picked up little, eyebrows slowly drawn down in pain and he let out a small whimper. Finally unfocussed eyes blinked up at Dean but when Sam just carried on looking at him he grew worried at the continued silence.
What the hell did I do? "Sam? Can ya hear me?" Dean asked softly. An inch or two the other way and he could've lost an eye.
Sam stared at him for another long unnerving moment with no sign of recognition whatsoever.
"Sam?" Dean pulled him forward to take a closer look in his eyes. One pupil was fixed and dilated but there was still that strange gleam, as though.... Ah God... "Sam what day is it? How many fingers am I holding up?" The three digits held up in front of Sam's face elicited no response. "What's your birthday? Hey! I said what's your birthday? When were you born?"
His brother responded by passing out, his body going limp, head dropping forward onto Dean's shoulder. Dean sat there gnawing worriedly on his bottom lip; Sam was slumped against him well and truly out cold, with a lump the size of a large meatball growing on the side of his head.
The kid hadn't been sleeping well this passed...well...year at least, he also hadn't been eating properly and Dean was forced to admit that he hadn't been keeping such a close eye on his brother since their father died a little while ago. So all that could easily explain the weird look on Sam's face and the loss of consciousness right? Yeah, that's it. That must be why...
'Course it also didn't help that Dean had socked him on the jaw, knocking him off balance and busting his head open on cheap furniture. And it was cheap furniture. In a cheap motel room. Near a cheap diner with its cheap food and cheap coffee.....and...andand...
And THIS, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of our fucking lives!
Cradling Sam's neck carefully, Dean pulled back and studied his brother's face. Deeply unconscious, the kid looked way too young and vulnerable after all that had happened to the brothers. A sharp, unexpected bolt of heartache hit Dean hard and deep, reminding him of his responsibilities, of his father's passing, of his need to protect his little brother and keep him safe. And so far in the last few weeks he'd punched him twice. Twice now he'd hurt Sam, broken his trust, and now Dean was starting to wonder just how deeply he'd really damaged him.
"I'm so sorry Sammy." Supporting his head, he held him close, rocking gently back and forth as the overdue tears suddenly welled up and the long river of regret burst its banks. "I'm so sorry."
Dean hadn't sobbed loudly in a long, long time, which might have accounted for the sheer intensity of the assault. He sniffed loudly, shoulders shaking with grief.
"We'll be ok little bro, I swear. I'm here for ya, we'll talk 'bout anything you want."
He didn't know how much time had passed but the room had grown dark and the tears on Dean's face long since dried by the time there was movement under Sam's eyelids.
"Sammy?" Shoulda taken him to the ER. But he hadn't been thinking straight, not for weeks now. The burst of anger that allowed him to raise a hand to his brother had quickly given way to anguish guilt and fear when he heard the loud crack of Sam's head clipping the little wooden table. Dean wasn't easily shocked and took most things in his stride, but this...this was him. He'd done this to Sam.
Sam let out a low agonised groan and his lids fluttered weakly.
"It's ok dude, just take it easy."
San shifted uncomfortably in Dean's arms and it soon became apparent the kid was on the verge of a major freak-out.
"Wha…who...wh...?" He slurred out, his eyes suddenly snapped fully open with fear. "Get offff mmmeee!" He started swiping at the hands holding him up and struggling.
"Just take it easy Sammy; you took a knock to the head." Why the hell did I have to hit him? "I'm sorry kiddo, it's all my fault. I just got so damn mad..."
Sam grew even more panicked. "Leeeeave meee 'lone…get 'way from me! Lemme go!"
"For Christ sake Sam just calm down!" Sam's rejection cut Dean to the quick but no way was he letting go of him, not without a fight.
And a fight was exactly what he had on his hands. Sam's movements might have been sluggish but his fists still packed a punch and Dean was forced to try and restrain him. But his brother in full panic mode had an awesome amount of strength and to his amazement Dean found he was losing.
With one final shove he pushed Dean away onto the floor before getting to his feet and swaying drunkenly for the motel room door. Dean groaned and dragged himself up, catching hold of his brother round the waist, easily holding him still now that Sam was quickly running out of energy and his face was turning a sickly shade of green as the concussion really got to work.
"Calm down Sam," Dean muttered in his ear as Sam's knees buckled but he still refused to stop struggling, and worry began to fuel Dean's impatience. "Stop moving! Ya wanna be sick? Then stop fighting me!"
Too late, Sam winced and groaned at the loud voice so close to his injured head; his stomach churned and bile shot up his throat. Gagging and retching, he fought to keep it in but it seemed he wasn't going to have a choice in the matter.
Dean heard the tell tale sounds of imminent vomiting and dragged his brother to the bathroom, practically forcing his head round the U bend. Some pretty unpleasant noises echoed off the cheaply plastered walls and Dean tried not to listen as Sam emptied his stomach.
It became immediately obvious when Sam was done from the way the noises stopped and the man himself tipped sideways, Dean catching him before he could injure the other side of his head.
"Ok let's get you cleaned up, then I'm putting you to bed."
Sam seemed to come round a little at that point and started panicking again.
"Nnnnnno! Staaay 'way frommmmme!"
Dean rolled his eyes. He supposed he could write a book on it by now: Little Brothers With Big Concussions. Rule number one, let them pass out and hope for the best....
"You're hurt Sammy, just let me take care of you." I have to clear this mess up somehow. "I'll give you a few hours and if you haven't improved I'm taking you to the nearest medical clinic."
Given Sam's agitated state mentioning an actual hospital wasn't a good idea and Dean was afraid he'd try and bolt again. He had every right to be worried as it turned out, because Sam wasn't calming down and pretty soon the brothers were tussling on the floor of the bathroom.
Sam got lucky that was all. The little shit somehow managed to throw Dean off and staggered away but he kept his back to the door this time, panting, blinking heavily and swaying.
"Sammy, listen to me." Dean kept his voice soft this time and held himself in a non-threatening stance but the kid was still eyeing him warily and reaching behind him for the door knob. "Sit down before you fall down kiddo, let me take care of that cut. God knows it's the least I could do." He tried out a smile and a casual shrug. "I promise I won't punch you again."
Which turned out to be big mistake and Dean saw the fear deepen in Sam's eyes. How Sam managed it Dean would never figure out, but suddenly he was out the room and staggering away down the street.
"Sammy! Come back here!" He followed as best he could but he'd landed on his tail bone on the hard bathroom floor and it hurt like a bitch. Sam was already out of sight, probably holding himself up on sheer stubborn will power and adrenaline. Eventually Dean had to concede defeat and return to the car. Sam, with his freakishly long legs, had made an impressively fast getaway given that his head was split open.
How the hell's he doin' that?
My name is Sam. He told me my name is Sam.
He kept repeating that in his aching head, clinging on in desperation because that was all he knew about himself. Everything else was a blank.
Except...he somehow knew how to break into a secure house during the day. No one was home. And somehow he knew to watch for signs of trouble, to avoid the stares of nosey neighbours.
He so desperately wanted a shower but didn't know how much time he had left before someone came knocking. Spending several nights in a dumpster just to keep out of the rain hadn't been fun and Sam supposed he didn't smell too good, but seeing as he wasn't expecting any party invites in the near future he figured he had to let it go.
And that didn't sit well.
Ok, he needed the sweatshirts and fresh socks, and a jacket that obviously came from the Fashion House That Time Forgot, but it still didn't sit right with him.
And what do I know about fashion anyhow? I don't even know what year it is!
Guilt ate at him when he gulped down the carton of milk left on the counter, the homeowner clearly in too much of a hurry to put it away that morning. He hungrily stuffed dry bread and cookies into his mouth all at once, crumbs falling into the sink and Sam quickly washed the evidence away by turning on the faucet. His trembling hands stilled when he spied the other cookie jar on the top shelf. Reaching for it he nearly dropped the damn thing, and even when he removed the lid and found the money no matter how desperate he felt, he just couldn't bring himself to take it.
One hundred and fifteen dollars taunted him. Someone had worked hard and saved this money, probably for emergencies or maybe a loved one's birthday gift. Feeling miserable beyond belief, Sam replaced the lid and put the cookie jar back on the shelf.
And still the guilt.
So not a thief then?
But surely that didn't rule out being a criminal of some sort; instinct kept warning him to stay off the radar, keep out of reach.
Didn't feel right either and for the same reasons. Didn't make sense.
Tears filled his eyes when he caught a glimpse of himself in the hallway mirror. He didn't recognise the scared face staring back.
Who am I?
I am Sam. Sammy. Sam.
I am Sam.
Dean didn't stop searching, even found him once or twice but his brother's fear kept him running.
Running from Dean.
But the real bitch came during the last confrontation, and Dean realised just how serious this was....
"Stop following me!"
"Sammy come with me, you're hurt and confused..."
"I don't even know who the hell you are!!"
Dean had felt his drop mouth open but no words came out. Well that certainly explained a lot and he figured he should have known. He'd assumed his brother was too scared to come back because he'd hit him again, and maybe Sam was just injured and confused, but this was completely another ballgame. And he'd obviously trained his brother too well because Sam still knew how to escape and evade, in spite of having lost his memory. Lost it big time.
And to think Dean once assumed amnesia only happened in crappy soap operas or Robert Ludlum novels.
Eventually desperation won out and he called in Bobby who in turn called Ellen, figuring the female perspective couldn't hurt. A decision had to be reached and it wasn't a pleasant one.
"You know how we're gonna have to do this now, right Dean?" Bobby watched the older brother with deep concern.
Dean scrubbed a hand over his face and nodded. "Yeah." He'd been chasing his brother for what seemed like an ice age but Sam was obviously no closer to regaining his memory enough to trust Dean. "But we can't knock him out."
Ellen nodded. "And we can't drug 'im for the same reason. We just don't know what complications could set in. Not with a head injury like that and we don't know what else might've happened to 'im out there. Might make things worse."
The trio fell silent, weighing up the odds, until Dean raised his head, eyes hardening with determination.
"Fine. Then we take him by force."
"Hey kid! You wanna make some easy money?"
Sam glanced up from his new temporary home, a damp cardboard box at the back of a local bar. Shifting as he got to his feet, eyes wide with interest and caution, the scrunched up newspapers he'd stuffed under his jacket rustled loudly. They'd given him a little insulation in what had turned out to be an unbelievably cold night, but they weren't the most comfortable attire.
"Uh...sure. What do I have to do?" Sam was starving. He hadn't eaten in seven days; at least it sure felt that long. A few stolen bags of chips, and a half eaten stale sandwich covered in cement dust and pulled out of a skip near the bakery didn't really count. Guilt still wracked him over the chips but he'd gotten desperate; he might not have been a thief once but he sure was now.
The guy was a little drunk, bloodshot eyes gleaming in the dull street lamp, and it was more than obvious what he was asking as he lowered the zipper on his jeans. Seeing the fear on Sam's face he shrugged.
"Aw come on kid. I aint asking for much, just a blowjob. State I'm in it won't take long."
Sam blinked back tears as he considered his options. He didn't have any, nothing to go on. And he really didn't want to go this far but he just nodded slowly in agreement. At least it's not stealing. And let's face it, right now I'm just another worthless piece of homeless crap on the streets. It's kinda expected aint it?
Several minutes later Sam was slumped against the wall, tears streaming down his face in shame. If he felt lost before it was nothing compared to this. He stared down at the measly ten dollar bill screwed up in his palm and knew it just wasn't worth it. Wiping his mouth, trying to dislodge the bitter taste, Sam glanced up at the guy as he straightened himself out.
The drunk paused and something akin to pity crossed his alcohol-flushed features.
"Look kid. You just don't seem cut out for this life." He checked his watch, swaying and blinking hard. "There's a shelter halfway across town, should still be open this time of night. You look like you could use a good meal inside ya, and the beds are warm, food not half bad, an' ya can get cleaned up." The guy seemed genuinely concerned which confused the hell out of Sam given what just transpired. "It's a second chance kid. Take it. 'Cos once you fall into this life you aint never gettin' out."
Without looking back he sauntered out of the alley, leaving Sam staring after him in bewilderment.
But it was just the start and he knew he couldn't easily go back. He just couldn't find the right path and the one he was already on offered no exit ramp.
Sam was a thief and now a hooker.
Limping through the sewer, his latest place of business and also his sleeping quarters, Sam shivered miserably and winced in pain. The nights were getting colder which meant there were fewer potential clients available. Not that they paid too well for Sam's inexperience, but at least it put money in his pocket. Except this time it didn't; the client wasn't happy with the service, refused to pay up and then proceeded to beat the crap out of him. Spitting blood from his mouth Sam swore loudly, taking some small satisfaction when the stone walls echoed the profanity right back at him.
The only good thing about the night so far was his continued ability to avoid the Delaney gang. Most of the other winos and crack heads he talked to had spoken in fear of the men with weird eyes, men that terrified everyone on the street, forcibly recruiting the best looking hookers for their own purposes, and anyone that refused them or tried to run disappeared. Some of the older hookers tried to warn him that with his youth and good looks there was a chance they'd come after him. Sam had no idea what was meant by weird eyes but it didn't sound like a good thing, which was why Sam never stayed in one place for long. But he knew one day his luck would run out.
Just as he climbed up the filthy wrought iron ladder and out into the world above, Sam realised he'd taken a wrong turn and come out in a strange place. This was a slightly different part of the city, still scruffy shabby and derelict, but a beacon of hope shone out into the night, raising Sam's spirits.
The Little Sisters of the Poor Homeless Shelter: where there's hope there's life. Just believe.
The sign was lit up by a blue neon crucifix underneath, though some thoughtful soul had taken the time to add some profanity to the crucified son of God.
He'd forgotten about this place. The drunk in the alley, Sam's first client, had mentioned it but he hadn't really been listening; cold, hunger and his growing self-disgust robbing him of his ability to concentrate properly. Sam might have amnesia but he wasn't stupid; without a fixed abode he had no hope of getting a job, which meant no money. He couldn't seek help from the authorities because that incessant whisper in his head kept on warning him off.
But now here he was. That exit ramp he'd been unconsciously seeking, could it be this?
Only one way to find out.
There was a warm stove in the kitchen, the smell of cooking made his mouth water, and there was a chorus of soft snores coming from various directions. Sam could make out dark shapes buried in warm blankets strewn across the floor and listened when the kind old lady informed him that all the beds were full tonight and would he mind sleeping on the kitchen floor?
It had to beat trying to sleep under an old disused bus shelter with one eye open in case someone attempted to steal his boots, or worse. And it was a definite improvement on the sewers; that place gave him the creeps and smelt like...well, a sewer.
Sam didn't give a damn about the cold hard floor, just nodded his thanks, accepted the blanket and sat down at a scratched up old wooden table in the corner, just as a bowl of steaming stew and fresh baked bread appeared in front of him.
"You came in at the right time dear." The old lady smiled sadly and patted his shoulder. "I was just about to close up for the night. Now take it slow or you'll be sick. Don't forget there's breakfast in the morning, six am sharp." She studied him closely until he started squirming under her direct gaze. "Where's ya family son?"
Sam blinked and swallowed nervously. "I don't think I have any."
The old girl nodded. She'd seen this too many times before and each lost youngster never failed to break her heart. But especially this one; he was a handsome kid in spite of the bruises, with the saddest most haunted eyes she'd ever seen. "Someone hurt you." She shook her head sadly. "But you're here now and in the morning we'll see about getting you fixed up. I know some good people that are willing to help find ya a job, a place to stay. Kid like you needs a home and someone to take care of you right now, just 'til you're back on your feet."
Sam tried to smile but he had nothing much to smile about these days, not that he wasn't grateful. He just didn't feel convinced that her words carried any truth and he couldn't figure out why; and she made him feel like a lost puppy when he was supposed to be a man. A desperate one yeah, but a man nonetheless.
Not sure I ever really had a home. I just don't know...
Sam's grumbling stomach wanted a quiet word with him and he eyed the bowl carefully, not sure if it was a hallucination from days of skipped meals. It smelt great, fantastic even.
Another more successful attempt at a smile and he muttered his thanks to the old lady, who nodded, bade him sweet dreams and shuffled off to bed, arthritic limbs creaking in earnest as she climbed the stairwell. Sam wondered about that. He felt pretty certain not everyone that sought help in these places could be so easy to handle, and surely that kind hearted old woman couldn't be running the shelter on her own tonight. He shrugged, too tired and too hungry to think about it anymore.
Another quick tentative sniff at the bowl to be certain it was actually real and he was eagerly digging in...
...just as someone grabbed him from behind, pulling him off the kitchen seat, a hand clamped firmly over his mouth. A familiar face flashed in front of him with a worried smile.
"Sam, I'm sorry about this..." Dean whispered softly.
Sam was just too desperate, and began to freak out even more when it seemed Green Eyes had brought reinforcements in the shape of a grizzled, fierce looking guy with a beard and ball cap, and a mother-figure that tried to reason with his good nature.
When they dragged him to the rear entrance of the shelter, Green Eyes was trying to bind his struggling hands with rope, but when Ball Cap Guy tried to shove a cloth in his mouth Sam really just lost it.
He was prepared to offer it at a price but not have it taken by force. And certainly not for free.
Once the hand was removed from his mouth Sam immediately spat out the cloth and started shouting for help, which soon arrived in the form of several elderly women and large burly men armed with baseball bats – guess that answers my question then - throwing the threesome out on the street, followed by plenty of verbal abuse and threats to call the cops on them if they ever showed up again.
But Sam knew they'd be back.
By the time they came up with another plan to kidnap Sam, even managed to get in the building unseen and unheard this time, he'd already bolted, soup bowl and bread untouched.
Which of course made Dean feel all kinds of great. Now his little brother was back out on the streets, injured, scared, and no food in his belly on what was rapidly becoming a freezing cold night. The only reassurance Dean had: Sam obviously still knew how to look after himself and where to find help, the newish clothes were evidence of that even if they were a little worse for wear.
Except he'd really fucked that one right up for the kid, because there was no way he'd trust the shelter now. Dean knew his brother well enough to understand he wouldn't feel safe there anymore.
Dean scoured the back alleys of the sprawling city for days and nights, the underbelly and dregs of humanity ripping him to emotional shreds, and found nothing and no one would talk to him in spite of his best efforts. He'd even wondered if Sam had left town at one stage, but that didn't feel right. Somehow he knew his brother was still here. He'd just missed him somewhere along the way.
Dean slumped down in the grungy motel arm chair looking utterly exhausted.
"Y'alright kid?" Bobby raised his usual concerned eyebrow just as Ellen pressed a mug of steaming coffee in to Dean's hand.
He put it down on the table untouched.
"God. I've been all over the city lookin' for 'im!" Tired heartbroken eyes swivelled between his father's old friends "You should see it guys. It's like the end of the fucking world out there. The soup kitchens are full, the shelters are overcrowded already, and the people left outside in the cold actually fight to the death over a rat..." The tears started falling in spite of his best efforts and he started to shake. "... just 'cos they're so damn hungry. And don't even get me started on the junkies and hookers."
Bobby closed his eyes sadly and Ellen's hand landed on Dean's shoulder, knowing he wouldn't accept any more comfort than that. When Dean originally explained to them why Sam was missing in the first place, Ellen had gone quiet while Bobby went ballistic.
How could you hit your own brother? How the hell's the kid gonna trust ya after this?
Dean had said nothing, just let the guy vent his anger. He wasn't exactly in a position to deny it anyhow.
But even Bobby was having trouble with this one,
"We'll find 'im hon." Ellen's voice, usually a little roughened by hard whiskey and a hard life, was now softened in sympathy. "He's already proved he can survive. But you can't help 'im if ya don't get some sleep."
Dean just nodded again and his body gave him no choice but to follow her advice.
"Come on listen to me please!"
"Leave me alone!" He started backing away nervously, eyes darting round, trying to find an escape. It was that guy again. Green Eyes. Dean. He'd somehow found him again and managed to corner him in some deserted side street.
The guy was intense, scary and just wouldn't let up, and his earliest memory of waking up in a strange motel room in his arms, nursing a bruised jaw and a head injury really hadn't lessened his fear factor.
Was I in some abusive gay relationship with this guy? Don't remember being gay...don't remember ANYTHING about myself, but I'm pretty sure I aint gay. And this guy wouldn't be my type anyhow...too pushy...too...scary.
"I'm trying to help you Sam. I'm sorry about the other night but you left me no choice." He sighed, obviously getting as sick of this as Sam. "Look, I'm your brother. My name's Dean ok? I told you that before. Ring any bells? Or...anything?"
Sam felt his eyebrows rise to the top of his head at that one.
Brother? Guess that clears things up a little but why didn't he mention it before...
Dean appeared to watch him, eager for any sign of recognition but he obviously found zilch because he suddenly sighed again in frustration. "Please just let me help…." And reached out a hand.
But he still couldn't bring himself to trust the guy who'd knocked him out.
When Sam saw the opportunity he took it and ran like hell. He heard pounding feet behind him and knew the guy with the green eyes was following him again. Ducking down a little and scrambling across a packed intersection in the midst of gridlock, Sam picked up speed then dashed back into another street, narrowly avoiding becoming a hood ornament on someone's pickup.
The squeal of brakes, the honking of horns, the screech of tires and the loud swearing from the driver did nothing to cover the frantic shouts of Green Eyes.
He kept on running, no longer hearing footsteps following him but he didn't slow down. If anything he sped up. The guy claimed to be his brother and kept calling him Sammy. Surely he should remember his own name without being told? Surely he could remember something about his life?
And surely his own brother wouldn't hurt him?
But every time he tried to remember he hit a blank wall, with no way round it. His head hurt, body ached, he was beyond scared and whenever he looked at Dean he had the nasty feeling something terrible had happened.
And the not knowing was driving him crazy.
Why in hell didn't I mention that sooner? Of course he's not gonna believe I'm his brother now!
Dean sprinted after his wayward brother, dodging trucks, coaches, cars and even scrambling over the hood of some guy's brand new Lotus. The owner clearly wasn't very happy about it and was busy swearing up a storm, inventing some novel and interesting activities involving the tyre iron in his trunk and Dean's head, or was that 'ass'? Over the noise of the traffic it was hard to be sure but Dean ignored him, just kept his eyes on Sam, his ears open for trouble, and very nearly panicked when Sam ran out onto another busy road. Another loud squeal of heavy tyres and the smell of hot rubber, more swearing and Sam was back on his feet, long legs eating up the tarmac effortlessly as he battled his way to the sidewalk.
Dean heaved a quick sigh of relief, all the while cursing himself.
An image of Sam splattered all over someone's windshield made him want to vomit.
Shit that was close. Way too close. By the time he'd dodged his way across the heavy traffic, his little brother had disappeared. Again.
Sam had no money, no identification on him and no cell phone. The kid looked like shit, shivering, half-starved; his clothes now scruffy and torn, unshaven bruised filthy face, unruly hair a greasy mess...the list went on. But what stood out the most, what really broke Dean's heart was the fear and mistrust in his little brother's eyes. Sam was scared half to death, freezing cold and still had no clue who he was.
He huddled, arms wrapped round him, trying to keep warm by the firelight. It took him a few seconds to realise that his new host was offering him a belt from his hip flask. Sam shook his head but Amos just shook the flask insistently and he thought what the hell?
Cheap alcohol burned its way down his throat and he shivered, but in a good way. The burn soon settled in his once again empty stomach, filling him up, making him forget how hungry he was.
He'd encountered Amos under a bridge and nearly had his ass handed to him by the territorial old coot. But Sam had reminded him of the son he lost during the first Golf War and it helped that Sam had clear collapsed from the cold and exhaustion during the argument. He'd woken up to a meagre bowl of something that smelled otherworldly and a moth eaten rug pulled over him. They'd talked quietly for a while, mostly about Amos and his dead son, how Sam had the same colour eyes and build, the same soft voice.
"You served in the forces." His voice carried a faint Irish lilt. Possibly Ulster.
Sam was shrugged out of his sluggish thoughts at the non-question and blinked. "Um...not sure."
Amos nodded. The old man was a can short of a six pack but he knew a few things. "Can't remember huh? That bad?" He shook his head angrily.
"Uh..." Sam didn't know how to describe it. Service in the forces was possible but somehow... "I don't think so." He shrugged helplessly, completely unaware of how troubled he looked. Anything was possible as far as Sam was concerned, but not that.
His new friend stared at him, eyes hooded in the shadows cast by the firelight. "Oh you seen action alright." He tapped his temple with a grimy finger. "I seen it in ya eyes. Too damn young as always, but aint that the way of the damn world."
Sam stared right back at him. Something...like a door in his mind was trying to open up...
"Hey, this the new kid in town? Heard a lot 'bout 'im."
Amos glared up at the newcomer. "Fuck off Delaney. Aint nothing here worth your while!"
A large shadow loomed over Sam and he could just make out the white teeth of a smug grin. "Oh I don't know. He's sure pretty under all that grime. Could use someone like him in the fold."
Spine stiffening up at the threat, Sam's eyes darted from Delaney to Amos. So the rumours were true. He knew what this was about and it terrified him, especially when two other dark shadows appeared at the back of the tunnel. Sam was the new target and clearly the Delaney gang had been searching for him.
But it appeared Amos was fiercely on his side because before Sam could say anything, the old guy was on his feet, fists clenched in anger.
"Don't even think about it! He don't mean nothin' ta ya, so just walk away and forget ya saw 'im. I paid ya already! But I still don't have my son back! You promised...but I shoulda known right? Your kind always lie!"
Sam's eyes widened at that.
One of Delaney's men stepped forward. "Sorry old friend, but the boss is real interested in this one. Wants the kid to service him personally...if ya get my drift." Delaney merely chuckled at his henchman. "Wouldn't mind a piece myself!"
Amos bristled with anger. "You leave him the fuck alone you lyin' sonsabitches! He's just a kid!"
Delaney's eyes narrowed for just a second and smacked his lips. "My favourite kind."
"You sick bastards!" Amos tried to step forward just as Sam shifted and grabbed his hand.
"Don't do this Amos. He'll kill you," he whispered, not entirely sure why he knew it, but he did.
"You're tryin' my patience old man. Don't make me do somethin' you'll regret." Delaney smiled and seemed genuinely amused with the old guy but Sam saw the slight signal, the clenched jaw, and he leapt in front of Amos just as one of Delaney's goons swept forward, blade at the ready.
"No Sam! Don't fight them!"
Amos tried to push Sam out of the way but he wasn't fast enough. The knife flashed in the dim firelight before it hit its mark.
Sam gasped in shock and clutched at his stomach. He glanced down at the warm liquid spilling out of his own gut, unable to believe it. He felt no pain, just a deep cold spreading through his already chilled body and Sam silently thanked God he was too numb to feel it the next time the blade plunged in.
Sinking to his knees, he heard Amos yelling and screaming somewhere far away, and stared up into the dark black depths of his attacker's eyes. Dark, black shiny depths with no whites, pupils, or irises.
And in that moment time slowed, memories flooded back; hurt, love, and fear and...
And still the knife kept on moving. It swung down again and Sam grunted as the blade was viciously twisted and wrenched from his gut. Someone grabbed the back of his head and forcefully smashed him face first against the bridge wall, breaking his nose and splitting his lip. Hands were pulling at his clothes, tugging at his jeans and his mind was screaming for his brother.
His name is Dean. I am Sam...his name is Dean...my brother...I am Sam...his little brother...
He said it over and over under his breath, knowing what was coming and when the first thrust nearly tore him apart it was a blessing that Sam passed out from blood loss.
"Dean I think we found 'im!" Ellen dropped the cell phone, eyes filled with tears. "But the news aint good..."
Dean felt his heart trying to climb up his throat as he raced into the parking lot and leapt out, leaving Bobby and Ellen to take care of the car. The Impala meant the world to him, his life, the last piece of his father....but nothing meant so much as his baby brother, who encompassed all three.
"I'm here for Sam Singer, my brother; he was brought in an hour ago. Is he ok? Is he even alive?"
The nurse at the desk smiled sympathetically and started paging the doctor.
"He'll be right with you."
A man in his early twenties matching Sam's description had been admitted to the ER under the name 'Sam Doe' not long before Ellen made the rounds again. She'd been calling all the clinics and hospitals in the area at least twice a day since Sam ran away, and it came as a shock when it finally paid off. But as she'd told Dean, the news wasn't good.
"He tried to protect me..." A softly accented voice sounded behind Dean and he turned to find a scruffy looking, badly bruised old guy with a smell that could kill a prom queen. "All he knew was his first name..." Watery faded blue eyes met his. "And after Delaney was finished with him...he remembered you. Dean."
The old man rose shakily to his feet and shuffled over, placing a hand on Dean's arm, and spoke so slowly and softly Dean could barely hear him. "He's gonna need ya. He's gonna need his brother now, after what he did to 'im..." He broke off with a sob. "I'm so sorry I couldn't protect him. I tried, but they were too fast."
Dean stared at him with growing horror and the last hasty cup of coffee threatened to choke him.
He didn't need to hear it. He really didn't. But the doctor kept on going through the motions, telling him that his brother was sick and seriously injured after being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach.
But that wasn't all they'd done...oh no...they hadn't been content with that.
The old guy – Amos – had brought Sam into the ER after the attack. The kid was barely alive and completely naked except for a ratty, moth-eaten blanket, though he might not have needed clothes what with the bruises covering his torso, legs, face...
"...in addition," the doctor paused, troubled gaze seeking his, "there is strong evidence to suggest your brother was sexually assaulted..."
Dean's heart damn near stopped. Amos had tried to tell him but it just wasn't something he was ready to handle at the time.
And he still wasn't.
"Y...you mean...he was raped?" His voice dull and low.
The doctor nodded slowly, expression warring with sorrow and sympathy Dean didn't want, and added cautiously. "And quite brutally from what we can gather."
The doctor just stood still and quiet, allowing his patient's brother the time to gather some self-control.
After a few moments had passed the medic asked a tentative question. "Would you like to see him? He's been in recovery for some time now and he'll be taken to the ICU in a little while. The surgery went real well and he's very lucky to be alive given the damage, but..."
The doc didn't have to say another word. He could see the resignation and fear on the older brother's face. Yeah, he knows the boy isn't out of danger yet.
Dean nodded, not entirely sure it was a good idea in case Sam woke up and freaked on seeing his 'stalker' again. But he had to know, had to make sure with his own eyes that his little brother was alive if not particularly well.
It took some further significant bullying from Bobby and the threat of physical violence from Ellen before Dean could enter Sam's room.
He stepped inside as though awaiting a brick wall and the last cigarette.
Yeah. A firing squad's what I should be facin' alright. S'all I deserve.
But what he faced...
"Oh God Sammy...." Dean crept to the side of the bed and stared down at his brother.
The kid still hadn't woken up, was on a respirator in any case so he couldn't speak, couldn't move and couldn't ask for help. He had no control over anything, and someone had taken that from him. Fresh deep bruises bracketed his face, his lips chapped, split and pale, and a band aid strip was pressed across the bridge of his broken nose.
Dean settled in the nearby chair and grasped his brother's cold hand, gently squeezing and rubbing the bruised flesh to bring some warmth back. The fingernails were blunt and freshly cleaned just like the rest of his brother, probably after having the dirt scraped into a specimen jar for analysis. The forensics team had taken the filthy blanket away in an evidence bag, and though it confused and angered him at the time, now he knew the reason Dean was glad about that. If they hadn't he'd have burned it straight away, probably adding some salt and gasoline for good measure. He'd spied the rape kit before it was secreted away into the trunk of someone's car but hadn't known at the time that it was anything to do with Sam. Now he knew.
Wiping away fresh tears, Dean laid his head on top of the bed by Sam's hand, content to watch over his brother for the rest of the night. "I'm right here Sammy. No one's gonna hurt you again."
His sleep didn't last too long. Not nearly long enough.
Dean opened his bleary eyes and caught the time on the digital clock by the bed, wincing at the late hour.
Sam shifted slightly and whimpered but soon calmed down when Dean gently squeezed his hand and spoke to him.
"Hey." He whispered gently. "Don't know if you remember me yet; or if you ever will, but believe it or not I am your big brother. And a pretty lousy one at that." Amos had mentioned it but he didn't know for sure if Sam really had his memories back. Dean leaned his arms on the bed and anxiously studied Sam's pale, thin face. His brother had been missing for weeks now, not counting the frequent run ins where Dean had either tried to talk to him, threaten or kidnap him.
All through his hard years, Dean never really had to live on the streets. Sure he'd been homeless for most of his life, but not in the truest sense of the word. He'd always had something to fall back on; whether it was the Impala, his Dad or his brother. Even during the time Sam had been away at Stanford he'd always known deep down if push came to shove and he badly needed help, Sam would never have turned him away.
But what had happened out there tonight? The last few weeks? From the little he'd garnered from his doctor, Sam had probably been too weak to fend off an attack. When Amos brought him in he'd been underweight, malnourished and suffering from hypothermia, and that on top of the knife wounds didn't bode well. As for the rape...
"I'm gonna look after you Sammy. I'll get you through this somehow, and even if you never remember me maybe one day you'll let me be your brother again." Silent tears slid down Dean's face and he angrily wiped them away with the back of his hand, sniffing loudly.
Sam remained still and silent apart from the slow rise and fall of his chest as the respirator forced air into his lungs, hissing and clicking away, completely oblivious to the heartache that lurked in the room like a black cloud, waiting for the younger brother to wake up.
Dean blinked awake again as the sunlight filtering in through the blinds touched him gently with its warm caress. Slowly sitting up and stretching his back, he stilled, feeling watched. He turned to find scared eyes staring up at him from the bed, and his heart clenched - that's been happening a lot lately.
Tears rolled down Sam's thin sunken cheeks as he nodded slightly.
Dean smiled and leaned back, not wanting to scare him any further but still keeping a firm grip on his hand.
"You with me kiddo?" He asked softly. "I mean really with me?"
A light squeeze on his hand and Dean knew Sam was back. He sagged in relief but couldn't stop smiling, his own tears putting in another appearance. Again. Over the last few weeks Dean felt sure he'd cried enough to fill a reservoir.
Dean reached out slowly, as if waiting for permission to touch his brother, but when Sam just blinked at him, he let his hand slide through kid's hair. "Looks like someone washed that mop of yours. Good job too. Last I saw ya I coulda used the grease to oil the door hinges on the Impala."
It was a stupid joke but Sam's attempt to smile back at him under the vent made it worthwhile.
"Uh...that tube's gonna hafta stay in 'til you're strong again, but..." Dean produced a notepad and gently pushed a pen into Sam's hand. "Just in case you wanna talk buddy."
Sam remembered. Finally. Everything.
I am Sam Winchester. Sammy Winchester. Dean's little brother.
He didn't just know this guy as Dean, the green eyed stalker that claimed to be his brother, but he actually knew him. This was Dean, his big brother and Sam had never felt so happy to see him. He loved the word brother.
But...how could he tell him what he'd done during the time he'd been missing? What he'd resorted to? Could he ever tell Dean? Supposing his brother was as disgusted with him as he was with himself? Would he walk away? Sam felt like being sick again, just as he had at the back of the bar after that first guy...
He tried to talk but it came out as a small whimper, which immediately sent his brother in to protect mode.
"Sam? You in any pain buddy?" Soft concerned green eyes silently grilled him, and Sam felt nothing but shame as he shook his head a little. His throat was sore as hell from the ET tube but it was nothing to the dull ache in his heart.
Dean sat back, still studying him with an intensity that was scary. Sam was reminded of each time his brother had cornered him, trying to bring him home and his shame spiralled upwards once more.
Still feeling the pen in his hand, he began to write. Hand shaky with fatigue, Sam tried to put words to paper, but it just didn't work out and he slumped in defeat. Eyelids drooped to half mast; he wasn't sure how much longer he could stay awake.
"It's ok if you need to sleep Sammy, I'm right here ok? We got time."
You know, don't you?
Was the shaky hand written message Dean woke up to from a light doze. And he just couldn't summon his courage for this. He knew he would have to someday soon, but right now Dean centred on another topic.
"I just don't have the words Sammy." He hastened his reply when he caught the dejected look on Sam's face. "You did nothing wrong dude. All you did was try to show you cared, but you were hurting too, and I just shut you out. And then I go hitting you, twice." Dean snorted with self-derision. "What the hell kinda brother does that make me?"
Sam couldn't answer in any other way and just squeezed his hand before once again reaching for the pad and pen. He knew what his brother was doing. Avoidance, something he was real good at. Frankly it was too painful for Sam anyhow so he respected his brother's wishes.
It's ok. You were in pain. I shouldn't have pushed you...
"No! You were raped Sam!" It seemed the subject wasn't going to stay down willingly and Dean was on his feet, glaring at his little brother. "That doesn't make it ok! And it never will!"
Sam flinched at his harsh words and nearly choked on the vent. Dean's eyes widened in remorse and reached out a hand...but let it fall back. He couldn't bring himself to touch his kid brother again. Every time he tried he just ended up hurting him.
"I'm sorry I didn't keep you safe, and I'm so sorry that I hurt you..." he heard his voice shake and felt his chest tighten up. Sam didn't need his brother collapsing from a panic attack right now. He needed a show of strength. "I need some air. Back soon kiddo."
Sam was frantically writing something just as his brother walked out, but started stabbing at the call button when he showed no sign of return. When that didn't work fast enough panic had him clawing at the vent, trying to pull it out.
No one was coming.
He felt the slick slide and sharp pain as the tube finally came free but it wasn't what he expected.
Sam choked and gasped, and tried to breathe...
How in hell did I get so weak?
"It's gonna be ok son."
Dean felt Bobby's hand rest on his shoulder. "No it's not. I couldn't protect him."
Ellen sank down in the seat next to him. "You weren't in a position to hon. Ya didn't know."
Dean was about to answer when a flurry of medics raced by....and they were heading straight for Sam's room.
"What's his status?"
"Not good. Monitors showed a drop in sats."
"Defib's on standby doc."
"What the hell?" Dean stood and shrugged away from Bobby and Ellen, leaving them behind the minute he realised his brother was in trouble. Poking his head round the door of Sam's room threw him into shock.
Sam was gasping and desperate to breathe, his lips turning blue. The ET tube and holder was lying on his chest and Dean soon got the message from the blood staining his brother's mouth. The doc immediately tried to reinsert the vent, using some kind of strange suction tool to clear the blood, but it was taking too much precious time...
"Ok we're in." The weary doc turned to stare at his patient with a good deal of concern and sighed deeply. "You're throat's gonna be raw for a while but we can help with that. And I'm real sorry kid. Don't wanna do this to you but..."
Dean's eyes widened when the soft restraints turned up and Sam was swiftly secured to the bed. His brother immediately panicked all over again and struggled weakly until exhaustion kicked in and Sam slumped dejectedly.
"No wait!" Dean was terrified what this might do this his brother's already fragile mind. "Just let me talk to him. He's a little freaked that's all. It won't happen again I'll make sure of it."
The doctor smiled sadly. "He pulled out the vent; do you realise what he could've done? I'm not risking him trying to kill himself again." He reached out and gave Dean's shoulder a squeeze. "I'm sorry son. I've no wish to hurt your brother, especially given all he's been through but until he's undergone a full psychiatric evaluation the restraints stay on. It's for his own protection."
Dean knew what he was trying to say but he just didn't like the idea of his brother tied down like a wild animal, and there was no sense in arguing. He could easily run the risk of being thrown out and where would that leave Sam? Scared, alone and freaked.
The doc administered a sedative to calm Sam's nerves and promised he'd be back later to check on him. As soon as the medic left the room, Sam fixed a pleading gaze on his brother, eyes swivelling down to the restraints and back up making it quite clear what he was asking.
Dean sighed and leaned over Sam, running a hand through the kid's hair. "Yeah I know Sammy, but I can't. If I untie you they could stop me seeing you. Can't risk that kiddo." He smiled sadly at the defeated look on Sam's face. "Once you're off that vent we're outta here I can promise you that. Aint no way a shrink's gettin' near ya. I'm not lettin' you down again."
He pushed the pen back into Sam's hand, slid the notepad under it and asked the question they were both dreading.
"Why'd ya do it Sam? You coulda hurt yourself, did hurt yourself."
Sam's eyes searched his for a second before Dean heard the scratching of the pen on paper as Sam turned his bound wrist awkwardly.
When you walked out, I guess I got scared you weren't coming back.
Sam couldn't seem to meet Dean's gaze after that and stared at the ceiling, obviously worried what his brother's response would be. Dean felt shame and remorse flood his heart and closed his eyes for a long moment.
Shit. "You thought I was leaving right? When you pulled the vent out you were trying to come after me 'cos you thought I was leaving you." Sam still refused to look at him so Dean shifted and got right in his line of sight. "Sammy...God kid...I didn't mean to scare ya like that. I wasn't gonna leave, I couldn't do that to ya."
Tears spilled down Sam's face on hearing his brother's words. Tears of relief. He had no idea where they were headed after this, if he could even move on after what happened to him, but maybe Dean really would be there, and that was all he needed.
"Amos?" Bobby finally recognised the guy who'd claimed to have brought in the youngest Winchester. He'd been trying to figure it out for a while now. "Amos O'Reilly?"
The old guy turned and Bobby suddenly realised he was right. Only, the Amos he knew wasn't nearly so old as he appeared. Time and heartbreak had worn away at his spirit, premature age lines deeply ingrained on his face. In reality he wasn't much older than Bobby but it sure looked like the years hadn't been kind.
Amos stiffened up. "Bobby Singer. It's been a long time."
Bobby eyed him carefully. "Yeah, not seen ya since young Kieron died. Ya disappeared off the scene."
The two men studied each other for a long moment, each one not knowing what to say. But it was Bobby who eventually broke the silence.
"So this is what you've become huh? Left the hunting world to become a tramp livin' out on the streets?" There was more than a little anger to Bobby's tone and Amos bristled in response.
"Passed my prime long ago Singer."
"Gave up is more like it!" Came the sharp reply.
Amos took a threatening step towards the other hunter, ignoring Ellen who was glancing uncertainly between the two. "Don't you dare judge me you self righteous bastard! I lost too damn much!"
Bobby's eyes narrowed. "Oh I aint judgin' ya. Seems ya doin' just fine on y'own."
The atmosphere turned sour very quickly, and Ellen knew she had to act fast.
"Boys this aint the place for it ok? Let's take this, whatever it is somewhere private." She spoke in her authoritative voice, the kind that warned her patrons she was closing up and it was now time to drink up and piss off or else. And it came as no surprise to Bobby Singer that it worked.
But Ellen was in no way prepared for the conversation that followed. Out in the parking lot, the shouting soon began and it was a sheer wonder no one got hurt.
Bobby began it all by pacing up and down in a way vaguely reminiscent of Dean before he angrily rounded on his old friend. "You think you're the only hunter who lost someone they loved? Let me tell ya, those boys in there only have each other now 'an they've been through hell! They lost their mother at a young age, Sam lost the woman he loved, and now their father's gone too! Remember 'im do ya? John Winchester saved your worthless hide a few times!" He stepped into O'Reilly's personal space and growled angrily "I don't see those boys givin' up so what the hell's you're excuse?!"
Amos gaped at him. "John's dead? How? When? I...I didn't know!" He suddenly sank down on to the sidewalk and buried his head in his hands as something else occurred to him. "I didn't know he was John's son. Shoulda known...somehow. Sam...knew there was something different about 'im. I'm so sorry....so sorry...oh God what did I do?"
Bobby stared in amazement and dread when Amos started rocking to and fro in despair. When he spoke next, his tone was low and dangerous, effectively repeating the guy's own question.
"What the hell did you do Amos?"
Amos blinked up at him and Ellen felt her own dread growing.
Bobby dragged the guy up by his filthy ragged lapels and damn near screamed at him. "What in hell did ya do?!"
Amos stared into Bobby's face more than a little fearful. "You don't understand...they were demons...they promised me...when I lost Kieron, my only son in the war....if I gave them lost young souls, said no one would miss 'em...they'd give him back to me...but I liked the kid...Sam...tried to stop 'em..."
Bobby fisted his hands in the guy's filthy coat, barely grimacing at the smell, on the verge of losing his temper in the worst possible way when he figured it out. "You pathetic piece 'a shit! I oughta slit your throat right now!" He shook him hard. "How many Amos? How many did ya offer up to be raped and murdered?"
Amos shook his head miserably. "Too damn many...and it was never enough." He started shaking, tears pouring down his face. "Guess there aint no fool like an ol' fool. I shoulda realised it weren't never gonna be enough."
Dean flicked through the channels without much interest. As usual there were several hundred possibilities but nothing could hold his attention. He was just trying hard not to stare at his little brother. Sam was now once again in a deep, drugged sleep, and it hurt Dean just to look at him.
He wasn't disgusted. Just mortified.
They'd had a conversation of sorts, slowly driven by Sam's unsteady hand, and Dean thought he understood now what Sam had been through the last few weeks, what he'd had to do in order to survive. The stealing didn't bother him in the slightest, that was a given. But the other things...
What Sam had told him was mostly circumspect but it gave Dean the right idea. Prostitution on the streets was a basic rule of survival when you had nothing else, but he balked at the idea his little brother had been reduced to it and seriously wondered just how much his father would hate him right now for allowing it to happen to his kid brother.
And then to be forced by demons of all things...
Tears rolled from his eyes once again, clenched fist jammed against his upper lip as he uttered the same words for what felt like the thousandth time. "God Sammy I'm so sorry."
Bobby glared at the guy. "You're gonna take me to 'em."
Amos shook his head. "You don't know them. They're too powerful."
The glare intensified. "Maybe if you'd stuck with the program a little longer youda realised the hunting community has moved on. We have a few new tricks up our sleeves."
He didn't look at Ellen but she knew Bobby was talking to her. "Stay with the boys, make sure they have everything they need, and once Sam's off the vent, get them outta there and quickly." Still without taking his angry gaze off the Ulsterman, he handed Ellen a card. "My medical insurance. Both boys are down on there as my nephews and you as their Aunt. It should take care of everything."
Ellen nodded slowly in agreement. "Sure thing. But Bobby..."
"Just do it." He hefted O'Reilly's collar more forcefully. "In the meantime, you an' I have some business to attend to."
Amos searched Bobby's face with deep shame and nodded slowly.
"Any small move I don't like and you get a bullet in the brain Amos." But Bobby couldn't help feel sorry for the poor guy in truth, in spite of all he'd done, all of all the lives and dignity he'd sacrificed. But he'd jeopardised his boys, John's boys, and Bobby was taking no chances. The water hose he kept hidden at his back slithered silently across the cold floor, it's main bulk snaking away to the water tank in the ceiling.
Amos hung his head for a moment. "Understood. An' I can't say as I blame ya."
He raised his head again and stared straight at Bobby. "I gotta lot to make up for. I swear...I won't let ya down." He added. "Or the boys."
Bobby, fairly sure Amos could never make up for it, just nodded warily then advanced silently behind his old friend.
"Amos! Good ta see ya old man!" Delaney grinned at him from behind his desk and eyed Bobby with interest. "You brought me a new soul I see. And a hunter at that." He kissed his fingers with an air of contentment. "Sweeter than Hell itself my friend." Delaney obviously didn't see Amos as much of a threat, and that angered Bobby all over again.
Amos suddenly lowered his shot gun then stared at him for a long moment. "No. Take me instead. Just bring him back. Bring back my son."
"Amos," Bobby hissed at him. "What the hell ya doin'? You tryin' to give up ya life?"
Eyes filled with so much pain and sorrow met his for a moment. "Jus' tryin' ta do what's right. Like I shouda done a long time ago."
Delaney rose to his feet grinning with menace, eyes turning black.
It turned into a sudden all out fire fight, as bullets rained, smashing uselessly into those black-eyed sonsofbitches and thudding into the walls, bringing down the light fixings with fiery flashes and sparks. The warehouse echoed with the booming of powerful guns as Bobby rolled in to the shadows, whilst Amos raised his rifle and just stood, a blatant statue and target, and without any further hesitation...started blasting away.
Weapon ripped from his grasp by an unseen force, his body was torn apart by returning fire, bullets ripping into his torso, bringing the guy down hard. Bobby heard the dull thud as he hit the ground, and the demons just kept on coming. But O'Reilly's actions had bought Bobby may be just enough time.
Amos ya damn fool...Bobby rolled again, opened fire and ducked back into the shadows, realising he'd never felt so damn scared. He had no choice now; they couldn't be killed so all he could do was distract them for just long enough.
Bobby caught the third demon that advanced on him then reached round and twisted the wing nut. Anointed holy water sprayed far and wide from the hose, demons hissing and screaming in pain, and Bobby started the exorcism, voiced raised above the horrendous noise...
Many black clouds soon streamed out the windows and up into the night sky before Bobby stood over Amos's prone body, and he couldn't help the sorrow that crept through his soul.
"Wherever he is, sure hope ya found peace with your son." He spoke softly, sadly, before turning to face the new dawn.
So many loses, and so much pain.
Bobby knew this was just the beginning, and the storm still had yet to arrive.
Dean woke to the distressing sound of Sam choking and glanced over at his brother's bed. Leaping out of his seat and jamming his finger on the call button, his concern grew when Sam arched off the bed, struggling against his restraints. Eyes scrunched shut, his body was wound tighter than a longbow and Dean tried his damndest to calm him down.
I guess he forgot about the vent.
"Hey! It's ok just relax. Help's coming." Dean firmly held him down by his shoulders, fearful of Sam bursting his stitches if he kept up the panicked movements. "Sam stop! You'll hurt yaself. Just let the machine deal with it for now."
Sam's face was contorted with something other than pain and Dean suddenly knew there was more to this blind panic than waking up with a tube wedged in his throat. This was Sam's nightmares at work.
Sam couldn't hear above the roaring in his ears, his mind focussed only on the need to breathe.
The blade was coming at him again...
Pain ripping through him...violating him...
Black eyes...laughing at him...
They won't stop...oh God please make them stop...
Claustrophobia crept up and held him tightly within its grasp and a desperate mewling noise escaped his mouth from behind the vent. His eyes flew wide open when someone touched a hand to his scalp, trying to soothe his fears, and then the doctor was standing over him, the very same doctor that had him tied down. Sam tried to struggle away but someone held him still and a familiar face filled his vision.
"Sammy calm down dude. The doc's gonna take you off the vent now. You're ready but you have to stay still or it'll hurt." Dean smiled at him when Sam's movements finally slowed then ceased altogether. "That's it little bro. You're safe here ok? No one's gonna hurt you."
Dean was struck almost dumb by the sheer strength of the trust in Sam's eyes as he gazed up at him, the emotions hitting him especially hard in the solar plexus seeing as he in no way deserved it. Sam nodded slightly and waited patiently as the doctor gently began to remove his vent, but never took his eyes off Dean. When the damn thing finally came out Sam coughed and spluttered painfully, his gag reflex once again kicking in, and the doc covered his mouth and nose with a clear plastic mask.
"Easy there, just breathe nice and slow. It'll soon come back to you." The doc smiled approvingly when Sam complied.
Dean watched the doc anxiously as he gently checked Sam's stitches and changed the dressing; neither boy said a word until the medic nodded with quiet satisfaction and left the room, muttering about Sam's next dose of painkillers.
The room remained silent for a long awkward moment until Sam sighed tiredly and Dean cleared his throat.
"How ya feelin' Sam?"
"Ok I guess." Sam's voice was oddly muffled by the mask but Dean could still hear sadness in his tone. "A little sore." He shrugged giving his brother a pointed look. "In more ways than one."
Dean swallowed down his anger and fear. Yeah, I getcha.
He wondered if seeing a shrink wasn't such a bad idea for Sam after all, but figured he'd tried and tested the kid's trust a little too much of late. And besides, Sam needed to be with his family, not some stranger.
Jesus the kid was stabbed and raped! Dean was still trying to wrap his mind round it and it just seemed a colossal task. But Sam was not a task or a problem to be solved; he was Dean's brother and it was about time he started doing right by him.
"Dean I'm sorry." Sam sniffed miserably, his voice hoarse, and picked at a loose thread on his blanket.
Thoughts interrupted by the startling apology, Dean froze for a second. "What the hell for? You didn't do anything wrong."
Tears glistened in his little brother's eyes. "I was raped Dean. Couldn't even look out for myself, how am I s'posed to look out for you?" He whispered the words, sounding utterly ashamed of himself and it saddened the hell out of Dean. "But the things I've done..." Sam shook his head and stifled a sob.
Dean suddenly got up and perched on the edge of the bed, palming Sam's bruised chin gently with both hands. "Now you listen to me kiddo and you listen good. The bastard stabbed you. Not just once or twice either. You lost way too much blood to fight back, and if it hadn't been for me being a mean stupid jerk all those weeks ago you'd never have been put in that position in the first place! You stepped in to help someone out and got hurt, and you survived...and I'm damned proud of ya for it."
"I mean it Sam. What happened was awful but it doesn't change anything, not one bit." Dean's mouth tilted up into a small grin at the expression of hope slowly forming on Sam's face. "You're still my pain in the ass little brother, and I still trust you to watch my back. Always will dude."
The silence descended again but this time it wasn't so awkward and Sam wasn't quite smiling yet, but close. So very close.
"Can we get outta here? Please?" Sam gazed at his brother, those famous puppy dog eyes working overtime.
Dean frowned worriedly and tapped at the oxygen mask. "I dunno Sam. Not sure you're well enough and what if you face complications? Blood clots, infections...Sammy, you just came outta major surgery; if something went wrong I wouldn't know if I can help..."
"I can." The boys turned to face Ellen standing just inside the doorway. "I used to deal with Bill's more serious injuries all the time, and I was a trained trauma nurse before we met and had Jo. Got all the equipment we'll need at the Roadhouse."
Sam wasn't sure how he felt about living at the Roadhouse with strangers coming and going all hours of the day and night. He'd been hoping to return to Bobby's salvage yard, and the disappointment must have shown on his face because Ellen immediately sought to reassure him while Dean was already unbuckling the restraints and gently rubbing Sam's bruised wrists.
"Just for the first week sweetie, so I can keep an eye on ya."
Sam nodded slowly, fingers distractedly fiddling with the tube attached to his mask. "Ok that makes sense I guess."
Ellen studied him for a moment, noting the dark shadows under his eyes, the jaw clenched in pain. "I'll go distract your doctor while you two sneak out down the back stairs." She smirked a little as she threw Sam's duffle on the floor by the bed. "I don't think he's gonna be too happy with this so ya better escape quick."
Remembering Sam's pending psychiatric evaluation, and probable police interview Dean immediately got up and started rooting through the bag for Sam's clothes, pulling out soft comfortable sweats and a warm hoodie. Ellen turned from the room just as she heard Dean muttering softly to his brother, helping the poor kid get dressed.
"Here ya go Sam...easy, take it slow....raise your arm a little higher...that's it. Now hold still and I'll get some shoes on ya feet..."
She smiled at the older brother's tender treatment and obvious affection. Dean had been going out of his mind since Sam's Road Runner act and now that the kid was back, Ellen doubted Sam would get much time to himself. And somehow she didn't think he would mind.
The only thing she dreaded was Sam's reaction to what Amos had been up to, condemning innocent and troubled souls to Delaney. And even though the guy had died a hero's death, Ellen still couldn't help but hate him If something like that had ever happened to her only daughter Amos would have died slowly and painfully, with no offered chance at redemption. All in all, Ellen considered Bobby Singer as way too generous.
Dean kept glancing over at his brother during the drive to Ellen's, wondering what was going through his mind.
Sam turned from his appraisal of the view from the passenger window. "Yeah?"
"What's it like? Losing ya memory like that?" his brother asked curiously.
Sam thought for a moment and Dean worried he'd pushed him too far. "Like someone hit the reset button on my mind. I didn't know myself, what I was capable of, how far I was prepared to go. It was pretty scary, but I guess soon I found out." His mouth twisted into a grimace of self-disgust.
Dean nodded. "A return to factory settings huh? Yeah. I get it."
Lost memories meant lost perspectives, rationality and hard learned lessons, and Dean felt he understood where Sam was coming from. Those memories made Sam who he was and when he lost them, he lost himself.
"But ya know Sam? It was still you."
Sam looked confused. "Huh?"
Dean shrugged. "It was still you, the whole time. You never gave up, you fought to stay alive, followed your instincts and even though you took some pretty drastic out of character action to accomplish that, a part of you was still in there." When Sam stared at him frowning quizzically Dean said one word to explain it all. "Guilt."
The frown drew back from Sam's face as he nodded slowly in dawning comprehension.
Dean smirked grimly and kept his eyes on the road. "Yep, that's the Sammy I know. Always feelin' guilty...even when it aint your damn fault."
Sam shifted on Bobby's porch swing, wincing a little as the movement pulled on his stitches. He was pleased to be back at the yard after spending the last week at Ellen's. In truth, Sam just hadn't felt comfortable at the Roadhouse with so many strangers he didn't trust. He'd felt stared at the whole time and not just by his watchful older brother. Maybe it was paranoia but every time someone new entered the building Sam stiffened up and fought the urge to run. Not that he'd have gotten very far with the state he was in. It helped that Dean was always there keeping a close eye on their surroundings, and Ellen assured them both that no one would come near him.
To which Dean's answer had been a harsh, swift damn straight they won't, somehow putting Sam at ease a little.
If Ellen was offended in any way she didn't show it, just carried on her daily routine, interspersed with periodic checks on the young Winchester; making sure his injuries stayed clean and dry, monitoring his oxygen intake and blood pressure, and generally keeping him warm and comfortable. She'd initially offered the boys a room out back, but the constant pounding music from Ash's stereo and the bar door slamming to and fro had just made them nervous. Dean preferred to keep an eye on who was around, checking for signs of trouble, something he couldn't do if they were locked away elsewhere in the Roadhouse. The business with Gordon Walker was still fresh in his mind and the last thing Sam needed was another crazy hunter ruining their lives. And besides, it gave him the opportunity to earn a little money playing pool or working behind the bar while Sam dozed in a nearby recliner – acquired by Bobby from the hospital. It goes without saying he took it when no one was looking. At least Jo was sensitive enough to keep her distance, obviously sensing Dean's guard dog mode was on full alert.
Sam didn't like it but his brother, despite Sam's previous claims to the contrary, was quite the social animal and needed to interact with others. Which, loosely translated, meant he'd have driven Sam completely insane by the time they came to leave for Bobby's.
So here they were.
Finally. Sam breathed deeply and relaxed. Dean was busy ordering spare spark plugs for the Impala and Bobby was in town buying groceries, having promised the boys a healthy yet tasty meal that evening to celebrate their return. Dean had glanced at the older guy with distain and stated quite firmly that if it was healthy then it sure as hell wouldn't be tasty. And vice versa. Sam had shook his head, laughing at Bobby's incredulous expression.
Yep. The infamous Dean Winchester logic strikes again.
Things weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, the nightmares storming through and ruining his sleep, but he felt safe here and didn't even mind Dean's continued over protectiveness. After weeks of being scared, lost and alone, it felt so damn good to have someone looking after him, a job Dean took to like a duck to water and without complaint.
The cops hadn't yet caught up with them, no doubt down to Bobby and Ellen's influence. Somehow the Winchesters had disappeared off the map for a while and that was more than fine by Sam and Dean. The demons were gone, sent back to hell where they belonged, and now finally Sam was home where he belonged. With his brother.
The question came out of the blue and Sam jumped, only just able to avoid shrieking like a girl. Placing a hand over his rapidly pounding heart he glanced up at the graciously offered Budweiser.
"Uh...not sure I should be drinking when I'm on pain killers." Sam muttered softly, but accepted the beer regardless, glad his brother wasn't making an issue of his bad reaction.
Dean smiled apologetically. "It's lite dude, and it's only the one. I'm not encouraging a binge session. Besides. You deserve it."
"Don't think I'd last beyond two anyhow." Sam smiled back at last and took a swig.
Dean raised an eyebrow then after a minute or two asked "You thought about what Bobby said?"
Sam shrugged. Bobby had explained to the brothers about Amos O'Reilly, and whilst Dean was glad the old bastard was dead, Sam wasn't nearly so sure how he felt about it.
"Don't know. What he did was wrong but I kinda understand why he did it. He just wanted his son back. Grief can make a person do some pretty crazy things." Troubled blue-green eyes met Dean's. Some of the hardest returning memories had been the death of his girlfriend, followed on closely by his father's passing. It was like reliving it all over again. "And I was living off the streets, homeless, begging and stealing, turning tricks; most people would say I deserved it after what I did."
Dean snorted without humour. "And we want our father back Sam. But would you have gone that far?" he lifted a finger from his beer bottle to point at Sam. "Damn straight you wouldn't and neither would I." His voice grew a little angry with his next words. "As for deserving it? Just 'cos someone's down on their luck or suffering from amnesia, or running from an abusive family, it doesn't make their life worth any less than some rich lawyer or doctor with a five bedroom home."
Sam dropped his gaze just as Dean added forcefully. "And I aint most people."
Yeah that was certainly true. Dean The Great Credit Card Scammer Winchester would understand better than most, Sam supposed, but it still didn't put a stop to the ambivalence that plagued his mind.
The boys took a swig of their beers and lapsed into their own thoughts for a while.
"If ya wanna talk about it some more, I'll listen. Just know it doesn't matter to me." His brother spoke so softly and Sam raised his head again to find Dean's intense green gaze on him, worry, love and sincerity shining outwards and enveloping Sam in its warmth. It told him all he needed to know: Just glad to have you back.
Sam felt his eyes well up again and turned his head away in shame. In an instant, the beer was removed from his suddenly shaking hand and a warm arm snaked round his still thin shoulders. Sam wouldn't allow anyone to get close to him like this; Dean was the only one he trusted and drew comfort from now. He could feel Dean's chin resting on top of his head and the brothers just sat there quietly, waiting for Bobby to arrive back from town.
"Everything's gonna be alright Sammy. I promise. Just give yaself some time."
Sam nodded and smiled through his silent tears, saying nothing.
Maybe it would be alright.
Ok so here it is (standing back with bated breath and on the verge of shitting myself). As I said at the beginning, I've not written a fic as dark as this before so it's pretty nerve wracking for me. I've tried to keep it from being too graphic for the sake of my more sensitive readers but I'm aware that some of you might feel it still went too far. However, please understand that I had to try it out; as my husband told me when I discussed it with him, sometimes you just have to test the boundaries of your comfort zone.
As always in touching upon delicate subjects in my previous fics, I hope I've addressed the issues of male rape with sensitivity and compassion and no one comes away from this feeling offended.
I realise that the issues of drug addiction and Sexually Transmitted Disease weren't dealt with; I felt it would go way too far outside the realms of the story, though if someone would like to take it on as a plot bunny you're most welcome. In any case, something kept telling me that no matter how desperate and lost he might have felt Sam wouldn't have turned to drugs. Not saying I'm right, just my opinion.
So, please be kind.
Many thanks again for your continued support and I hope I've not left anybody out with my review replies.