"Listen, you're my brother, and I'd die for you. But there are some things I need to keep for myself," Sam stated, completely oblivious to Dean's frustrated countenance.
Dean just didn't understand why Sam wouldn't tell him his big dark secret. Now that they kicked Bloody Mary's ass, he had no right to keep it from him. It was obvious that his little brother was still tormented by Jessica's death. The nightmares were becoming more and more frequent. Crying out her name in the middle of the night was as normal to the kid as loading the gun with rock salt. He didn't understand what was going on. Scratch that, he knew exactly what was going on. He knew that Sam was sitting next to himself, blaming Jess's death on himself. If the kid only knew it was the damn demon. How the hell am I supposed to get through to him if he won't tell me what's going on?
He glanced over at his brother, noticing that he sat up straighter, staring out the window. A look of sad longing filled his already sorrowful eyes. It's not fair! He doesn't deserve this. He doesn't deserve any of this. His mind flashed back to their conversation the night before.
"…So maybe we should try to pin her down. Try to summon her, to her mirror…and then smash it."
"Well how do you know that's going to work."
"I don't. Not for sure."
"Well who's going to summon her?" he had asked, knowing full well that Sam was offering himself.
"I will…she'll come for me."
"All right, you know what? That's it." Pulling the car over to the side of the road, Dean knew what Sam's plan was and how dangerous it seemed. He wasn't about to let him get hurt.
"This is about Jessica isn't it? You think that's your dirty little secret? That you killed her some how?" The look plastered on his kid brother's face was the only answer Dean needed.
"Sam, this has got to stop, man! I mean the nightmares, a-and, and calling her name out in the middle of the night…it's gonna kill you. Now listen to me. It wasn't your fault."
Sam's look said other wise; his eyes filled with guilt and regret.
"If you want to blame something, then blame the thing that killed her. Or hell, take a swing at me! I'm the one that dragged you away from her in the first place."
Sam's eyes shot up at him, "I don't blame you." His voice soft, and he knew that the kid had something brewing up in that whacked out brain of his.
"Well you shouldn't blame yourself, cause there's nothing you could've done," Dean stated with ease. It was so simple in his mind's eye. If anyone was to blame it was the demon who started all this in the first place.
"I could have warned her."
"About what? You didn't know it was going to happen! And besides…all of this isn't a secret. I know all about it. It's not going to work with Mary anyway."
"No you don't," Sam said, voice full of unshed tears.
"I don't, what?"
"You don't know all about it. I haven't told you everything."
Dean's heart stopped beating… I was there the night of the fire! I saw what happened, and I knew it was the demon. What else is there to know? "What are you talking about?"
"Well it really wouldn't be a secret if I told you about it now would it?"
I don't get it, he thought to himself. Sam tells me everything. Ever since he was two years old, I couldn't get the kid to shut up. Now he's keeping things from me? He had thought their relationship was always good one, that is, until Sammy left for college. Even then Dean had to worry about his little brother. He'd swing by, just like his Dad, at the end of every hunt, just to see him. Maybe Stanford changed him. He was a lot quieter than Dean remembered. But keeping things from him? It wasn't like Sam at all.
"No…I don't like it. It's not gonna happen. Forget it."
Sam let a small, humorless chuckle escape, "Dean that girl back there is going to die. Unless we do something about it."
He was right. Charlie was in danger and if they didn't find a way to stop Bloody Mary from attacking once more, her life would be over.
"You know what? Who knows how many people will die after that? Now we're doing this…You've got to let me do this," Sam's eyes searched Dean's. After the savage murder of his girlfriend, the youngest Winchester needed some sort of closure. Although this was strange, even for their family, Dean had no choice but to let him to summon Bloody Mary.
A few hours down the road, and out of Toledo, silence was the only words spoken. Dean opened his mouth, attempting to tell Sam how sorry he was, and how no one should have to go through something like that, only to shut it again. Sam heard this already…to many times. No matter what Dean told him, or how many times he said it, his brother would never believe him. Sam needed to figure it out for himself.
"Hey, man you hungry?" Dean asked in an attempt to further himself from his thoughts. Sam, it appeared, took no notice in the invitation. "Sam?"
Glancing over at his brother, he saw that he was asleep. And by the way his face was twisted, it was obvious he was living through another nightmare. Torn between waking his brother up and letting him face his battles alone, Dean pulled over on the side of the road. He needs to face his fears…he needs to deal with Jessica in his own way, but damn! Letting him do it alone…Dean reached over to shake his sleeping brother awake but stopped himself. Going after Mary was supposed to help him deal. What did that bitch say to him? "Come on Sammy…what's going on in that freaky head of yours?"
The room was cold, dark, and unforgiving. Sam looked from mirror to mirror, waiting for Bloody Mary to appear so he could kill the frigid bitch. He needed to do this for Jessica. He needed to right his wrong. The only sound was his heavy, anticipating breathing, and his heart thrashing about his ribcage. "Come on, where are ya?"
A flash of movement to his left caught his eye, and he turned instinctively to smash the mirror.
The million shards of glass leapt to the floor like rain falling to the ground. Mary moved to the mirror on his right, as if asking him to play a murderous game of 'Catch Me If You Can'. Quickly damaging the glass, he turned back to Mary's mirror.
"Come on, come into this one," he challenged, staring back at his own reflection.
It was then when he realized that it wasn't him that he was staring at anymore. His face clouded over with evil, as he stared back at himself. Pain he never knew existed swarmed his brain, sending a tear of blood down his cheek. Dropping his crowbar, he fell to the ground, incapable of destroying the mirror.
"It's your fault. You killed her." The voice taunted. Fire exploded through his body, as another streak of blood fell from his eye. "You killed Jessica."
The pain was intolerable. Feeling as though his eyes were being pulled from their sockets, he glanced up at the mirror, willing it to stop.
"You never told her the truth," MirrorSam continued. "Who you really were…But it's more than that isn't it? Those nightmares you've been having of Jessica dying…"
Just when Sam thought the pain couldn't get worse, it intensified, rendering him hopeless.
More pain rippled through his tormented body. As much as the physical pain hurt, it was nothing to the heartache and guilt he was feeling.
The words cut through him like a knife, praying for his death.
"You had them days before she died. DIDN'T YOU?! You were so desperate to be normal, to believe that they were just dreams. How could you have ignored them like that? How could you leave her alone to die?"
The agony was too much to take. It hurt to bad to live with knowing that he was the reason that his girlfriend died. Taking one last glance in the mirror, he no longer saw his demented reflection staring back at him. Instead he saw Jessica. The very angel he was willing to share his life with. A look of sadness laced her eyes, turning into rage when Sam spoke his silent apologies.
"Why did you leave me there Sam? How come you didn't help me?"
"You let me die at the hands of a demon! The same one that killed your own mother?! I thought you loved me."
"I do, I love you so much Jessica! I'm so sorry!" Sam screamed, yet nothing escaped his mouth.
"You killed me!"
"I'm so sorry!"
"You killed me!" the tears falling down her loathing face as she continued chanting. "You killed me! You killed me! You killed me!-"
"Sammy? Sammy!" Dean cried, grabbing hold of his brother's shirt, and twisting him up to a sitting position. "Sam, you with me?"
The youngest Winchester jerked his frantic eyes around in search of Jessica. "Where is she?"
"Where is who, man?"
"Jessica? Where is she?"
"Sam-" Dean began, but found it difficult to finish the sentence. This was the first time Sam actually revealed to Dean that he was dreaming about Jess. It was as if he brother had no recollection of his girlfriend being killed. How could he tell his brother that the love of his life was gone? Apparently his silence sufficed and gave Sam all the answers he needed.
"She's gone isn't she?"
"Yeah, Sam. It was just a nightmare."
"I killed her," Sam said, barely about a whisper.
"What did you say?" Dean asked incredulously.
"I killed her."
"Sam-" he started again.
"No Dean…never mind. Forget it."
"Sam? Come on don't do this. Don't shut me out."
"It was just a nightmare right?" his brother spat back. It was obvious the kid was torn to pieces. He wanted to help. Dean wanted to take the pain of everything Sam was feeling away. He wanted Sam to live his life free of demons. He wanted him to have Jessica. He wanted him to have the white picket fence, and everything that came along with that.
Drawing in a shaky breath, Sam leaned up against the seat and refused to talk anymore. Dean knew his brother would talk about it eventually. But how long?
Putting the Impala in drive, Dean pulled back onto the road, waiting for his brother to open up.
The drive was far too quiet for Dean's liking, yet something kept him from blasting AC/DC from the speakers. Silence was his solace. If anything, he kept quiet so Sam could figure things out. His kid brother sat in the seat next to him, eyes vacant.
It had been nearly four weeks since they left Toledo. The squaring off with Bloody Mary left Sam feeling lost, and broken. Dean always knew that his little brother felt like it was his fault for Jessica's death. It was a cruel trick: losing his girlfriend and blaming himself at the same time. I don't know how to make him see that it isn't his fault. None of it is, Dean thought, throwing a glance at his brother.
Clearing his throat, Dean asked, "So what do you think, Sam? Time to get some food?" Sam continued his search on the steamy, meandering road. "Sam? Come on…Earth to Sammy!"
Waving his hand in front of his brother's face, Dean finally got a reaction from Sam. Raising his eyebrows, he waited for the answer, "Well?"
"Uh, yeah…sure. Food sounds good," Sam answered, hoping to get his brother to stop staring at him. It had been like this for weeks now. His older brother stealing looks every now and again, or watching him when Sam pretended to sleep had become a ritual. Sam knew that Dean was worried about him, and that nearly killed the youngest Winchester as much as the guilt that ate away at him. The events that had happened with Bloody Mary had left him cold. Nothing seemed to matter any more. Finding their dad was a minor blip on the radar. He didn't need to find Jessica's killer. The truth was, he was Jessica's killer. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't shake the feeling that Dean knew the truth too.
"Okay, well I was thinking. Why don't we grab something to eat, find a motel, and let's just, you know, take it easy. Chillax for a couple days, you know? I mean I think we deserve to have some time off, don't you?"
"Yeah. Sure," Sam answered, completely lacking any emotion in his voice.
Dean tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, frustrated by his brother's answer. He knew it would be good after everything that they have had been through. A mini vacation would loosen both of the Winchester up. Unfortunately, Sam didn't feel the same way. Sure, he agreed with Dean, but for four weeks now, that's all that Sam had been doing. Agreeing with every little thing that Dean would say. And damn it, it was annoying! He just wanted his annoying, pain-in-the-ass brother back.
Taking with the theme of the moment, Dean silently pulled off the highway onto a desolate dirt road.
"Where are we going, Dean?" Sam asked, with a hint of surprise in his voice.
The brothers continued down the road for several miles, when Dean suddenly veered off the road, and parked underneath a tall Willow tree. Killing the engine, he looked up at Sam. "What's going on with you, man?"
"Nothing. I'm fine. What are we-"
"That's bull, Sam. You're not fine, and you haven't been for a long time."
"Now you are going to tell me what is going on in that whacked out, freaky brain of yours, because we're not leaving this spot until you do, got it?" Dean looked at his kid brother, waiting for a response.
"Dean," he began, "I don't know what you want me to say. I've been hunting with you for the past few weeks, I've agreed to whatever you wanted to do, I haven't even complained once about the music. What the hell do you want from me?" Sam asked, anger and annoyance bubbling up to the surface.
"Exactly Sammy. You haven't complained. I've purposely picked the most bizarre, and disgusting hotel rooms, and I haven't heard a word about it. I've teased on you mercilessly, and yet, you don't seemed bothered enough to even raise your eyebrows at it. What's going on with you?"
"You want to know what's going on with me Dean?" Sam's voice was on the verge of breaking. It was already shaking with unleashed emotion as it was, and Dean could tell that Sam would break at any time.
"Yeah, Sammy. I do."
His little brother hesitated, his voice barely above a whisper, "You wouldn't understand."
"Oh yeah? Try me."
"…I'm so sick of this. I'm sick of all of the lies, and the stupid hunts! I hate riding in the car for endless miles, only to end up in another nameless town. And for the life of me, I can't figure out why I am here!"
"No Dean. You wanted me to talk, well I'm talking now. Why are we doing this? Because we're trying to find Dad? Is that why I'm out of college and on a stupid, freakin road trip with my brother? If Dad wanted to be found, don't you think we would have at least heard from him by now?" Sam opened the car door, and started pacing, one hand on his hip, and the other trying desperately to rub the stubborn headache away.
"He's been sending us coordinates-" Dean started, following his brother out of the Impala.
"Through text messages Dean! I mean I know we didn't end on the best of terms, but you would think that he would want to pick up the phone, and tell his sons that he's okay."
"He's probably too busy hunting the demon. He'll call us when-"
"When Dean? When it's convenient for him? When we're done cleaning up his hunts for him?'
"No, when he has a lock on the demon! What, do you think he doesn't even want to talk to us?" Sighing up against the car, Sam's answer was silence. "That's it isn't it? You think Dad doesn't want to talk to us?"
After a brief pause, Sam slowly began formulating the words that he's be carrying around for the past four weeks, "No, he doesn't want to talk to me."
"What? Why would you think that?"
"No Sam. I've been waiting for you to talk to me for weeks. You're not getting out of this that easy."
"..I wouldn't blame him, Dean. After everything that I said to Dad growing up, after taking away Mom from him, how could he even stand looking at me?"
To say that Dean was shocked would be putting it lightly. "Sam, Dad doesn't blame you for what happened to Mom. Yes, it was tragic, and he would probably give anything to have her back, but none of that is your fault."
Moisture glistened in the corners of Sam's eyes, threatening his vision. Quietly, he turned his back to his brother, and leaned up against the Impala. "If that were true, then why did Jess die the same way at the hands of the same demon? If I weren't connected to it in some way, why did that happen? It is my fault, Dean."
"Sammy, how could any of this be your fault? Did you pin Mom and Jess to the ceiling and burn them alive?"
"No, but Dean-"
"Then you don't have anything to worry about, do you?"
"Come on, you can't seriously think that all of this is a coincidence!"
"That's were you're wrong Sammy. I know that none of this is your fault. None of it. You need to stop blaming yourself, and start blaming the demon who did this to our family. To Jess. You had nothing to do with it," he said, wishing that just once, his brother would believe him without giving it a second question. The look on Sam's face told him that those words did as good as job as a greeting card would have done. "Look, Sam. I know that your girlfriends death tore you up, and that you're blaming yourself. What am I supposed to tell you to make you understand that you couldn't have done anything. It was completely out of your control. You had nothing to do with it."
Sam shifted, clearly hearing every word Dean said, but disagreeing with his brother. Shaking his head, Sam glanced over at the older Winchester, "That's not true Dean. I should have found a way to save Jess."
"What could you have done? You had no way of knowing it was going to happen."
A single tear rolled down Sam's cheek, landing in the dirt by his shoes. This was too hard for him. Talking about Jessica, reliving the horrible experience…it still was too real to him. Even now, months after her death, Sam could feel the flames licking him from all around. He could see the look of shock on her beautiful angel face looking down at him from the ceiling. Drawing in a shaky breath, Sam prepared to tell Dean the truth. "I could have warned her."
Rolling his eyes, Dean answered, "Sammy, you didn't know it was going to happen! What do I have to say to convince you of that!"
"No Dean, you're not listening to me. I, I saw it…all of it. Jess, and, and the fire, and the blood. I saw it all….weeks before it actually happened."
Dean stared incredulously at his brother. He had expected some sort of excuse why it was Sam's fault, but this was beyond anything he had even considered. "What? You had some freaky vision about Jess?"
Trembling now, Sam looked up at Dean, tears sliding down his cheeks. Sniffling, Sam stated, "More like nightmares."
"You dreamt all of this?"
"Yeah, weeks before it actually happened! Now do you see why all of this is my fault? I could have stopped it. I could have told Jessica about my past, and what could happen to her. But I didn't. I just accepted it as a nightmare. How could I be so stupid to think that's all it was?"
"Sam, stop it!" the pain and guilt in his little brothers voice was too much for Dean to take. So this was his dirty little secret? Why couldn't he have told me? "Just stop. Now I know this is hard, but you have to listen to me. Anyone who had that dream wouldn't believe that it would actually come true. If you had told Jessica about our family, or the dream for that matter, how do you think she'd react? She would probably say that her boyfriend was buckets of crazy, and call it quits. You're not to blame in any of this. Sammy, you wanted to be normal, and I get it, I do. This isn't much of a life. If I could, I would love it for you, hell for me too, to ditch the job. You know, you could go back to school, become this big fancy lawyer. You'd be one of those rare attorney's who people actually like and trust. You know, and maybe I could find an actual job somewhere, working on cars or something. We'd have it made. I would give anything if you could have that. But you have to believe me when I say that I don't blame you. I'm pretty sure that Jess wouldn't blame you either. So, man, you gotta quit blaming yourself. None of this is your fault."
Somewhere between 'Sam' and 'fault' his little brother had stopped crying, and replaced his saddened face with one of shock. "You mean you don't blame me? Even after what I saw, and after I didn't do anything about it?"
His voice was weak, and filled with sorrow. "No Sam. It was just a dream. Nothing more, nothing less."
Minutes passed before either spoke. Both men sat there, gathering their thoughts.
Sam let the silence soak into him, as he considered what his brother was saying to him. What if Dean is right? I mean, it might have just been nightmares. Stranger things had happened. Even if it was a 'vision' or whatever Dean had called it, there's nothing I could do about it now. Jess is gone…But God damn it! It hurts so much! Letting a few more tears slip away, Sam looked over to his brother, hoping that what he had told him didn't freak him out.
Noticing that Sam was staring at him, but not caring, Dean found the dirt more interesting than his brothers face at the moment. Why didn't he tell me? What did he think I would do? Desert him? Sure, the dreams are a bit weird, but I would have never given up on him. He needed me! But it's more than that. I needed him. I still do. But the fact that Sam had kept this from me, it hurts! Clearing his throat, Dean walked back to the drivers side, and fingered his key's in his hand. "Sam."
"Yeah," his brother answered, reaching for the passengers door.
"You ever tell anyone about this chick-flick moment, I swear I'll kill ya."
Laughing as he pulled his long limbs into the Impala, Sam glanced out of the window, shaking his head.
The truth was, Dean thought, that this chick-flick moment was a small price to pay to have his brother back.