One More Lie
Sam wasn't satisfied with Dean's answer, but he wasn't going to push. The experience with this siren had been difficult on more than one level. Ever since leaving Bedford, they had both been quiet and many of the things that had been said still rang clearly in Sam's mind. Oddly enough it was one of Dean's off-hand comments that kept repeating over and over.
'Well, look at you. Love 'em and leave 'em.'
In a very real way, Dean was absolutely right. So much had changed over the last three years and Sam had to admit to himself that the man he had turned into, in all probability, would be a complete stranger to the man who attended Stanford and dated Jessica just a few years ago. At one point, recently, he had even said that to get along in this battle, to be able to survive, he had to become harder, colder - more like Dean. Sam frowned and let out a big sigh as he rested his head back against the seat.
Dean said quite a few things that stuck out in Sam's mind but what really cooked his noodle was what the siren had said. Sam knew that the siren would read its victims mind and then make itself into what ever you desired the most. That was what bothered Sam so much. What Dean desired the most wasn't a stripper in a G-string, as the siren had put it. What Dean needed, what he wanted was Sam, or rather a version of Sam that he obviously wasn't.
Dean needed a little brother who looked up to him and was someone he could trust. Why didn't Dean trust him? It was true that Sam had been keeping some things to himself lately, but that didn't make him untrustworthy. Sam had managed on his own for four months after Dean died. It was true that he had an alliance with Ruby, but that had been true of both of them before Dean died and went to hell. Ruby had even turned up and sacrificed her own freedom in an effort to save Dean in the end.
What stuck in Sam's craw was knowing that his brother was throwing around the whole trust issue when he had not been exactly forthright about his time downstairs. They spent every waking moment together, and Sam opened up with the whole story about what he went through after Dean died long before Dean finally told him anything about his time in the pit. He didn't feel that it was fair... any of it.
As far as being someone who looked up to Dean, Sam had always respected his older brother. And yes, as a child he did look up to Dean - who all too often took on the role of his protector in their father's absence. However, Sam had a mind of his own. He was independent of that 'older brother, worship the ground Dean walks on' crap by the time he was twelve years old. Sam loved Dean, and he did respect him, but he wasn't going to hang on his brother's every word like some sort of lost puppy. That just wasn't who Sam Winchester was, not since he was a small child.
'So Dean needs me to be some star-struck kid brother who worships him. How freaking pathetic is that? I suppose I should also aspire to drink myself into a stupor every night, and have Johnny for breakfast every morning as I wallow in self pity over...'
Sam's head snapped up as that thought formed in his mind. It was almost exactly what he had said to Dean while under the siren's influence. 'Wait a minute; I don't really feel that way. I know I don't.'
Sam reached into the back seat and pulled out his laptop, although he was certain that he would never get a decent wireless signal. They were outside of Liberty, Kansas and logic dictated that he wouldn't get any kind of connection until they stopped somewhere that had WiFi.
"Hey, it's late and I'm kind of tired. Let's see about stopping up in Liberty. It's only six or seven miles down on 33."
Dean looked over at Sam and shrugged. He didn't answer verbally, and Sam wasn't sure if they were going to stop until Dean pulled off Interstate 35 and onto the closest exit to connect with route 33. It wasn't long before they pulled into a roadside motel on the outskirts of Liberty. Sam was disappointed that there was no WIFI, but he didn't think he would be able to find any info about the lasting effects of a siren's poison on the Internet anyway. What he really needed was a knowledgeable source, which meant that he needed to talk to Bobby. Dean got out and headed for the office to check them in. Sam saw a diner on the other side of the road and called over to Dean.
"Hey, I'll go pick us up some sandwiches, okay?"
Dean didn't even look at him, he simply raised his hand and nodded as he tromped off toward the office. Sam pulled out his cell phone as he walked across the road and was pleased that Bobby answered on the first ring.
"You boys all right?" Bobby said, by way of answering the phone.
"Yeah, Bobby, we're okay. We're stopping in Liberty. Look, I just want to ask you something about the siren's poison."
"Okay..." Bobby replied cautiously. "What about it?"
"Well, is it possible that someone could still be under its influence even after... well even now?"
Bobby was silent for a moment seeming to be considering either the question or his answer. "Sam, what's going on between you two?"
Sam suddenly felt defensive, responding more harshly than he intended to. "Oh no, it's just a freakin' barrel of laughs. Nothing going on here, thanks."
"Just who do you think you're talkin' to, boy? Now tell me what's wrong."
Sam stopped for a moment and sighed. There was no point in alienating the person he was asking for help.
"Sorry, Bobby. We both said some pretty harsh things to each other back there..."
"Yeah, but you know that was the siren doing the talking."
"Was it, Bobby? You said yourself that a siren can read minds. It picks its target and then becomes what ever that person wants the most. That siren became the version of me that Dean wants. It's what it read in his mind."
There was silence on the other end and then Sam heard a sigh. "Look, Sam what ever that siren was to Dean is for Dean to figure out. What does that have to do with what you asked about the siren poison still influencing him? What did Dean say to you?"
It was Sam's turn to be silent. He had gotten to the diner but he didn't go in. He saw a picnic table along the side of the building and took a seat.
"Dean hasn't said anything to me, Bobby. It's me. I've been thinking and... Well, I think I still feel... I'm not sure that the things I said to Dean were so far off base. I guess I can't believe I feel..."
Sam heaved a big sigh and switched the phone to his other hand. "Damn it, Bobby - is it possible that I am still being affected by the poison? I accused Dean of feeling sorry for himself, and wallowing in self-pity. It's kind of true, but he has a reason. I mean, I can't begin to imagine what it was like in the pit, so why am I being such a hard ass about it?"
Bobby's response threw Sam completely off guard. To his utter astonishment, Bobby started laughing. Not just a little chuckle, but an all-out belly laugh. Sam felt irritated as he listened, but after a moment he couldn't help but smile a little. Laughter, even over the phone, has always been contagious.
"What?" Sam asked, trying to sound serious and failing utterly.
"Good God almighty, Sam, you are just now figurin' out that you're a hard ass? Both you boys come by that trait with complete honesty. Your daddy was the biggest damned hard ass I've ever met..." The humor died out of Bobby voice as he continued, replaced with sincerity. "...but he was still a good man, and so are you, Sam. You both are good men."
The conversation with Bobby had made Sam feel better, but it didn't stop the confused thoughts from rushing through his mind. He went into the diner and ordered two cheeseburgers with hot sauce for himself. He was about to order the same for Dean when another thought occurred to him. Dean almost never ate meat anymore. Ever since he came back from the pit, he had lost his appetite for all the foods he used to love. Considering the fact that Dean had upchucked all over the side of the road earlier, perhaps a greasy cheeseburger was not such a good idea anyway. Instead, Sam got him a salad and an apple.
As Sam waited for the food to be prepared, he sat at the counter thinking about the changes that had occurred with his brother since he came back. It wasn't just the aversion to meat, or the even the alcoholism. His brother had become devout. He not only believed in God, he defended the angels even when he thought that they were dicks. The events of Halloween came back to him as he waited there. He remembered his conversation with Dean as they sat in the car after Sam had finally met Castiel and Uriel; two actual angels. After years of prayer, of believing in something greater than himself, Sam found out that angels were hard and cold and in some cases cruel. They were not remotely close to what he had always envisioned.
'I thought they'd be righteous.'
'Well, they are righteous. That's kind of the problem. There's nothing more dangerous than some a-hole who thinks he's on a holy mission.'
Sam shook his head.
'It's no wonder the angels picked Dean instead of me. Sure, why not choose someone who never even believed that angels existed - much less gave a thought to God. Now Dean is Mr. holier than thou, God fearing angel pal. God's own personal hunter.'
A bitter feeling crept up into Sam's throat and he didn't even realize how familiar the feeling was until that moment. He had felt it ever since Halloween but had buried it so deeply that he didn't even recognize it. It was jealousy. Jealousy that God had chosen Dean, rather than him. Hadn't he, Sam Winchester, been the one to show compassion for the victims of demon possession all these years? Wasn't it Sam who always wanted to get the facts straight rather than killing first and asking questions later? Wasn't it Sam who had prayed every day to God for guidance? Wasn't it Sam who should have been the choice; hadn't he earned it?
"That'll be $12.58."
Sam started for a moment, having been so immersed in his thoughts that he hadn't seen the waitress come up to the counter with the bags of food. He reached into his pocket, tossed fifteen dollars on the counter, grabbed the bags and turned - walking straight for the door without waiting for his change.
'Yeah, right, like God is gonna want a champion with demon blood running through his veins.'
According to Uriel, Sam was an abomination, something to be despised. Uriel had even said that the only reason he hadn't destroyed Sam, turned him to dust, is that he had proven useful. Sam was becoming so angry thinking about the unfairness of everything he didn't realize that he nearly broke the glass in the door as he stalked out of the diner.
'It isn't my fault; what Azaizel did to me when I was a baby! Why not use that power for good? Why not try to turn some of that evil around and use it for God's purposes? It's not like the angels couldn't use the help! Why the hell are they objecting to this? Why am I being treated like some kind of demon spawn?'
Sam looked up at the sky feeling rage boil over inside of him. "What do you want from me?" he bellowed.
Sam felt his frustration, jealousy and rage erupt and literally shoot out of him just as an explosion of fire and sparks erupted from the nearest phone pole showering him in hot embers. That shocked him out of his rage and he ducked his head to keep the sparks from burning his face. Sam looked up at the pole as a deep sinking feeling began to encompass his chest.
'Did I do that?'
As soon as he thought to ask himself that question, Sam instinctively knew the answer. Maybe the angels don't want me to use Azizel's power because they're worried about friendly fire. Could they be afraid of me? He stood there looking at the pole for another minute before quickly moving off to the door of the motel where the Impala sat. Sam wondered for a moment if he should tell Dean about what had just happened, but just as quickly dismissed the notion.
'Dean already thinks I'm a liar, so what's one more lie?'