Title: Five Lies Sam told Dean (or Sam Winchester Apologetics)
Summary: Maybe all those truths are forgivable, maybe not, but he still leads off with a lie, which might condemn him more than anything else.
A/N: Last night was a difficult ep, so this is how I'm dealing with it. I'm sure people will disagree but I'm okay with that. This was written fast and beta'ed fast, so if there's still mistakes, I apologize. But I wanted to get this up before I lost my nerve (or turned off this show altogether--whichever came first). geminigrl11 gave this a beta, but I played with it afterward, so I take full responsibility.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
It's not hard to hide things from Dean.
His brother sleeps hard and deep now, weighed down by things Sam can only imagine. Where his brother was once vigilant, he is lax, now. Sam starts taking the bed by the door and Dean hardly notices. Six months ago, he would have at least taken this call outside, but now, Sam doesn't see the point.
Besides, Dean needs someone to look out for him. Sam being there, Sam finding Lilith--those are the only two things that matter now, and Sam will do them both for as long as he can. The day is coming, Sam knows, when one will trump the other, but Dean will never understand why, so Sam doesn't figure he needs to know yet.
And he can't blame Dean. After all, forty years in hell and Sam would have been a whole lot worse off. Hell, four months on earth and Sam sort of feels like he's barely recognizable anymore.
He does what he has to. So when Dean wakes up, groggy-eyed and mumbling, Sam doesn't tell him about the phone calls, the secret meetings, the hunts that Ruby is checking out. After all, if everything goes the way Sam hopes, Dean might never have to know.
When Dean asks what he's been up to, Sam says nothing, which is about as far from the truth as he can get, but Sam's just glad that Dean might have one more day of ignorance.
Sam already knows it was a mistake.
Sleeping with the doctor in the middle of a case. He has to focus during cases, they both do. It's an unspoken rule. They can have their fun, but they have to have it at the right times.
And the fact that there's a siren on the loose?
Doesn't really occur to Sam until afterwards.
Dean figures it out the second they talk. Like his brother's been waiting for him to screw up, to screw off--with another monster, no less.
Lying makes him feel like a petulant teenager, but there's no way he can tell the truth. No way he can explain to Dean that he did it to feel alive, to feel something, anything. His life is all pain and work and grief, and one night of sex--
Well, it's just proof that Sam may be human after all.
It's also Dean who points out the track record. Madison, Ruby, the doctor.
Werewolf, demon, siren.
He wishes he could lie his way out of that part, but Dean's telling the truth, and Sam sort of wishes there was some way to change it, some way to change the scorn in his brother voice, but Sam can't help but think he's earned that much.
Dean knows about Ruby.
He knows about the sneaking around, the lying.
Sam should have seen that coming, but he's too far in it, and he sort of needed to believe that he could have his cake and eat it, too. That he could hunt Lilith and stay with Dean and that Dean didn't have to be hurt by it, not yet, anyway.
Dean's apparently not going to believe it. He tells Sam that he's changed, that he's different, and that he can't trust Sam anymore.
Sam tries to deny it, almost out of reflex, but Dean's right. He's right, just like always, and as long as they're being honest, Sam may as well make it count.
It's funny, though, the one lie he starts to tell, the one thing he tries to deny, and all the other things were true.
Because Dean is holding him back, keeping him from completing that one thing that really matters, from finding Lilith, from killing her. She's the key, she's the thing standing between them and a happy ending. If Sam can stop her, then Sam can give Dean the one thing left that matters, the one thing he's failed at. Because Dean doesn't deserve bloody and sad, he's already had bloody and sad, and Sam needs to give him something more and sometimes Sam feels like the one thing standing in the way of that is Dean himself.
And it's true: Dean is weak. It took forty years, but hell broke his brother, broke him and left him shell-shocked and incomplete. Sam believes that Dean can overcome that, he does, but not right now. Not like this. And it's never scared Sam so much than to see that weakness in Dean, and to know it's a weakness for them both.
Hell--Sam's so tired of hell. He's tired of Dean's revelations. He's tired of knowing about the torture, the endless, painful torture. The rack and the souls and his brother holding out for thirty years. It's all Sam can see, though, when he looks at Dean: the torture that still isn't over. He's tired of seeing his failure, reliving it with every moment he's with Dean, of knowing that this is his fault. The guilt is so pervasive, so real and encompassing, that sometimes Sam just wants to scream at Dean to shut up, to shut the hell up, before Sam takes a gun to his own head to put an end to it.
Smarter and stronger, Sam means that, too. Because he's the one who can see what needs to be done. He knows what it takes to end this. He sees that some losses are acceptable, that some compromises must be made. He understands that the endgame is the important part, and that everything else is just treating symptoms and not the disease.
And Dean can kick his ass any day of the week, Sam never doubted that, but physical prowess is not the strength that matters. Not in this fight. Not when there are demons and the apocalypse and someone has to be willing to fight dirty to win. Dean's proven he can't do it. Hell, Dean's proven he can't go near demons at all, and Sam can't blame him. Which is why Sam does what he does. So Dean won't have to.
Maybe all those truths are forgivable, maybe not, but he still leads off with a lie, which might condemn him more than anything else.
Bobby asks if they're alright, and Sam remembers what he said, he remembers how harsh the words sounded, how all the truths came out in the worst possible ways, and how Dean probably remembers them, too.
That breaks Sam's heart a little, but he's already resolved to live with that. Ends and means, just the ends and the means.
But Sam remembers what Dean said, too. About Sam being different, about not trusting him, about wanting his brother back. Of course, Sam can hardly fault Dean for that; it's not like those things are news to Sam. But he wanted to spare Dean a lot of this. Wanted to believe that, in the end, Dean would understand, Dean would forgive him, that in the long years of Dean's life, his brother would come to see the sacrifice was all Sam had left to give.
Alright--definitely not. But as long as Dean's alive, Sam can work with what he has and lie about the rest.
Usually, he lies under compulsion, when someone wants the truth and Sam can't ignore them but knows they're better off without it. He lies out of necessity, short and simple fabrications, made up on the spur of the moment.
But Dean needs something, Dean deserves something. With the burden of hell, the loss of faith in Sam, and self worth issues that will just not go away, Sam knows that what was said was bad, damaging. And even if most of them were true, Sam never meant them the way Dean took them. Sam's resolved himself to his task at any cost, but if he can ease Dean's weight in the short term, he will.
So, he lies. Says he didn't mean it, because for all the ways it was true, there were just as many ways that is just wasn't. Truth is relative, Sam has learned, there are no absolutes, not now, not ever. Dean just needs to know the good things, the bright side, the silver lining. It may be a lie, but Sam's told worse ones in the last few days.
And the truth that he wants to cling to, the flip side to the starkness of his honesty last night, is this: Dean's the only good thing in his life, not holding him back, but providing the only meaning Sam can muster. Dean's not weak or stupid, he's the strongest man Sam knows. Forty years in hell strong, and he just wishes Dean could see it, too.
But there is no way to explain it to Dean, to tell him what parts were true and what parts weren't, without giving it all away, and that's a risk Sam can't take right now. Not now. Not when he's getting closer, not when Dean needs his happy ending more than ever before.
So Dean can't know just how true it all was. Just how much Sam will sacrifice, just how far Sam will go. That Sam will lie and cheat and steal. He'll defy angels and confront demons. He'll give up every good thing in himself, every dream he's ever had, to save Dean.
And if that's not worth a lie, Sam doesn't know what is.