Feet, pavement, breathing, heart all were in sync. All were being pushed to the limit, thirty year old muscles pushing to the brink, pushing harder than most teens on a football team looking for that one more touchdown to win that all important last game of the season. Dean Winchester was pushing his body so hard, harder than he had in his entire life. Muscles that had been strong before were toned and they swelled underneath his taught skin, forcing his black tee shirt, which had been loose weeks before, to be stretched within its limits over his chest and arms. Dean, when dressing this morning, thought that it would be a good thing to invest in new shirts; they were all too small now.
His leg started to cramp, but he didn't stop, instead he pushed harder, he thought about his brother's words weak, scared and that encouraged him to move faster, to run harder, run through the pain. Then when that wasn't enough, and he still wanted to stop because his body ached, and he was tired, he allowed himself to hear the screams that were always just under the surface, the screams that woke him up that morning, and started today's run, just like they began the run yesterday, the day before that, the day before that, and one more time. Ever since his brother's "confession" under the spell of the siren, Dean pushed himself to be different, better, stronger, smarter, more disciplined, less scared, more forceful. Because, maybe, if he was what his brother needed, he wouldn't be pushed away, maybe Sam would stop keeping secrets, maybe Sam would be his brother again.
He was still furious however. He and Sam hadn't actually spoken in days. They lived together, ate together, fought together, but rarely did they actually speak anymore, and they didn't enjoy each other's company. Dean was still angry, still hurt by Sam's harsh words, and every time Sam started to speak Dean cut him off, went outside, worked out, found a gym that he could use for the afternoon, something, anything, to get away from his brother's voice. It reminded him just too much of those words. Dean couldn't bare to hear false apologies, excuses, and attempts to explain what he really meant when he said all of those hurtful things. Dean couldn't do it. So he did what he could do, fix the problems Sam had numerated while under the spell.
So, he trained, he read, he fought only demons, sought out demons, and destroyed them. He didn't say anything to Sam about his psychic crap, nor did he mention Ruby, and Sam seemed to have stopped lying to him. Well, actually, there were no lies to tell when one isn't allowed to speak. But, after the whole ordeal, Dean was fairly certain that Sam wasn't consorting with Ruby. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Sam knew Dean was pissed and hurt, and it was in consideration of Dean, or maybe it was that Sam was through with her and decided on his own that it wasn't a good idea, or the most logical and at the moment infinitely more plausible was that Ruby simply didn't have any intel. That, Dean believed most.
The sun was finally up over the horizon, these early morning runs, if nothing else, were teaching him to love the early morning sun rises and Dean steered himself back in the direction of the motel. He arrived, unlocked the door, and stopped dead. Ruby was sitting on his bed, she turned, looked at him and nodded. His blood ran cold.
"Wow, someone's been working out." She commented. Dean said nothing, looked up at Sam, who looked down, and went directly into the bathroom. Once there, once the shirt was off, once he looked at his new body in the mirror he realized something. Nothing I do, will make Sam think any more of me. I've given him my life, I've given him everything, and he doesn't want it. He still thinks I'm weak. He still thinks I'm stupid. To hell with Castiel and his father's plans for me. Let them send me back to hell. What does it matter? There isn't really anything left for me here. I can't make Sam not go down this path, he doesn't respect me anymore, he doesn't listen to me anymore. Dean rested his palms on either side of the sink and hung his head, back muscles tightening and beginning to knot. He looked back up at himself. Saw the exhaustion pulling at his face, the constant hum of fear running through his body, he saw the emptiness and worthlessness in his eyes. He turned on the shower, ignored Sam's knock on the door, and the subsequent "I'll be right back" and waited for the door to close. He pulled his cell from his pants pocket and dialed.
"Bobby, Sam and I need your help."
After his shower, towel wrapped around his waist, he went into the main room of the motel room and started to dig through his duffel. Just as he pulled out his shirt, the door opened and Sam entered, gave him a small smile and turned to close the door. Dean took his stuff to the bathroom and closed the door.
"Dean?" Sam asked tentatively. Sam tended to talk to him through doors now. That way he didn't have to look at him, see the hurt and the distrust in his eyes. When he didn't receive a response, he continued. "It wasn't what it looked like. She got a lead on Lilith. She has an idea of where we should go." Dean came out of the bathroom and went back to his duffel to put his running clothes away.
"Okay." Dean said as he zipped the bag.
"Do you want to go?"
"Does it matter?"
"Yeah, it kinda does."
"I don't care Sam. Whatever you want. I mean you are smarter than me. You must have more of a clue." Dean said that a lot lately.
"Dean." Sam started to explain, started to apologize, and Dean simply turned from him and walked out of the room and closed the door softly. Sam screamed and pulled at his hair. This was all he did now. Every time Sam spoke two words together that didn't have anything to do with a hunt, he just walked out of the room, went somewhere else.
Now, at night, when he had a nightmare, instead of telling Sam he was having them, a new breakthrough that Sam had been rather proud of being able to handle, because Dean never shared the emotional stuff with him, and when he started at least to admit that he was having them, Sam felt useful, like he could help lift this weight off of his brother's shoulders, but after the siren….well…after the siren….
Sam sighed and fell heavily onto the bed. Ruby in the motel room was a bad idea. But Sam thought it would be better than a secret rendez-vous. Thought it would be better than a hushed phone conversation. No, he didn't think. If he would have thought, if he would have listened to his brother all of those months ago, he wouldn't have consorted with her at all, wouldn't have started on this path, a path that diverged so far from his brother's, from his father, from humanity, from everything.
Dean was gone a good portion of the day, and Sam paced, Dean didn't' answer his cell anymore. He let it go to voice mail. Sam wasn't even sure if he listened to them anymore. Wasn't sure if he cared. So, that left Sam to pace the room, look at the car, because Dean always left the car now, and wonder if he should go looking for him, wondered if he should just take off and leave Dean to his snit, or if he should go and find Ruby and kill her and bring her head back as a trophy and an apology to his brother.
A knock on the door interrupted his thought and he checked through the peep hole and found Bobby starring back at him. Confused he opened the door.
"What's going on?"
"Dean called and asked if I could come. Said you boys needed help." Sam shook his head.
"You don't know what I'm talking about?"
"No, and he won't either." Dean said as he squeezed in behind Bobby, sweating and out of breath.
"Boy, what is the matter with you?" Bobby asked as he looked at Dean, sans shirt.
"I was just out running."
"This is his second run of the day." Sam supplied.
"Shut up." Dean said harshly, and looked back to Bobby. "I wanted to see if I could have a job at your place."
"Just for a while, until I get squared away or until the angels find out I'm not being useful in their holy cause and send me back to hell, I just need a place to be for a while."
Sam shifted and his mouth hung open. "What the hell Dean?" Dean ignored him and continued to watch Bobby. Bobby looked from Dean to Sam then back to Dean.
"Don't worry about him Bobby. He's got a demon, who's smart, strong, and a good hunter to watch his back. I'm not going to leave him high and dry. He just doesn't need me anymore."
Dean turned around sharply and was standing toe to toe with his brother, eyes a fiery green. "Stop fucking saying my name! Stop it. I don't want to hear it. I'm leaving. My turn. Get it. My turn to leave you alone. My turn to not have to deal with what is bothering me. My fucking turn! You got that? Oh wait, you're smarter than me. Of course you get that." He grabbed Sam's cell off of the table next to them and turned it on.
"What are you doing?" Sam asked angry and scared.
"Calling Ruby, you know, so she can be back here, like she was when I came back from the dead, yeah."
"Give me back the phone." Dean moved out of his arm reach and put the cell to his ear. "Stop it Dean. I don't—"
"Hey Sam." Came the voice over the phone.
"Sorry sweetheart, it's Dean."
"You calling to tell me that I can't come over and play with your baby brother anymore? Gonna threaten to hit me or something?"
"Nope. Calling you to let you know he's all yours again. I'm leaving. I'll be out of here in an hour. Do whatever you two bitches were doing in the dark. I don't care anymore." Dean clicked the phone off and threw it at Sam.
"I'm out. I can't do this anymore Sam. You don't respect me anymore. I wore out my welcome. I must not have been too welcome before." He turned back to Bobby. "So can I stay with you for a while?"
Bobby looked at Sam and then back at Dean and nodded. "Sure son, you can stay with me for as long as you like." Dean nodded. Took the car keys out of his pocket, threw them at Sam.
"You already douched her up. Might as well keep her. I'll find something else." He said and grabbed the duffel that was already packed and left the room.
"Oh God." Sam mumbled his big eyes were suddenly innocent, and childlike. The eyes that used to stare at Bobby when he was just a little tyke. "Bobby."
"You said some hurtful things."
"I heard some. And Dean shared the rest."
"She's a demon Sam."
"Dean was tortured by demons, every single moment of the day for thirty years, then he put his lot in and started helping them make more demons. So coming back and finding you, doing demon things, and then saying what you did…Sam…that hurts him more than you understand. You don't know him as well as you thought you did."
"I know my brother." Sam said defensively.
"You used to. I don't think you do so much anymore. Because if you did, well, then this wouldn't be a surprise. Think about it Sam. You know where I am. Call. I'll pick up." Bobby patted the younger man on his shoulder and exited the room, exited the motel parking lot with cargo that Sam didn't want him to take. He looked down at the Impala's keys and realized, that even when Dean was angry he still took care of his baby brother, he was still willing to cut a piece of himself away to make sure he was all right. That made it worse. What the hell had he become?