Changes. Dean hadn't exactly expected his little brother to change while he had been away in hell. He expected that Sam would go back to being Joe college or stay with Bobby and remain pretty much the same, he expected a small amount of sadness, but he never expected Sam to become this. He never expected Sam to become like their father, never expected his eyes to become cold and driven, never expected Sam to look so different.
Sam had enveloped him in a big bear hug, and it felt right, the familiarity of family and brotherhood surrounded him in that moment, and he was blind to all changes in his baby brother. But when the hug ended, and the chick in the corner made some snide comment about the two of them being together, he was able to step back into himself and actually see his baby brother. See the physical changes in him. His body was twice the size it had been when he died, musculature was different, his arms bulged beneath the tee shirt, that looked as if it were bordering on being too small, and he seemed immensely bigger than he had, taller, more broad, more everything.
Aside from his body, his hair and face had changed. His hair was shoulder length, freshly washed and dripping against his shirt. Somewhere in the last four months he had grown a full beard and with the long hair he looked closer to a lumber jack rather than the former Stanford law student he had been four years ago.
The relief in his brother's eyes was tangible but otherwise, in just about every way he knew this man standing before him, walking and helping the girl gather her clothes from the floor and ushering her into the bathroom, did not look like the man that he had raised or left just four months ago.
They talked over the problem, Dean tried to force this man who claimed to be his Sammy to admit to selling his soul, to becoming a demon's bitch, in order to save him, and after starring him in the eye he knew that he hadn't, knew that he had managed to get out some other way.
The passing of the amulet done, and the realization that the thing that pulled him from the pit was in fact an angel gave Dean time to sit back and observe his brother, realize what he had done to himself.
"You gonna go cut down some trees here soon Sammy?" he teased as they sat at Bobby's kitchen table reading lore about angels. Sam looked up, eyebrows knitted in confusion.
"Trees Sammy. You join the lumber jack association or something while I was away? Need something to keep that ginormous brain of yours busy?" Sam continued to look confused. "God, the beard make you lose brain cells?" Realization lit in Sam's eyes.
"Oh." He shrugged. "Just didn't feel like shaving." Sam went back to researching.
"Your little girlfriend didn't think you looked sort of…I don't know…like a Neanderthal?"
"Oh come on Dean. It's just a little facial hair."
"Just wondering. Touchy touchy." He said and went back to reading the book in front of him. Less than two minutes passed and he commented. "So, I die and that makes you forget what the meaning of a razor is?" He asked casually.
"Just didn't have it in me anymore."
"Uh huh." Dean said and flipped the page. "I'm back now."
Sam threw his hands up and back down. "What is with it? Does it actually matter?"
"You just look like…"
"A grown man?"
"Not the words I was thinking of. More like moron."
"Good God Dean, you come back from hell and all you have to worry about is my facial hair."
"Well dude you are a representation of me."
"How does that work!?"
"I can't be seen with someone looking like they are homeless."
"I do not look homeless!" Sam said incredulously.
"Have you seen a mirror Sammy?"
"I do not look homeless." He said again.
"Okay, you don't' look homeless. You look like a psycho killer."
"What the hell Dean?"
"Go and shave you idjit or he will never shut up." Bobby said from the other room.
"Yeah, Sam, go shave so I'll shut up." Dean gave his brother a smirk as Sam rolled his eyes pushed back his chair in a huff and clomped up the stairs. Bobby looked inside the kitchen and rolled his eyes at the eldest Winchester. He bit his cheek so the idjit wouldn't see the smile that was threatening to cross his lips.
Sam came back down a little while later, hair tied back in a pony tail and clean shaven. He sat back down at the table and sighed and gave Dean the full weight of his eyes. "You happy?"
"You have chick hair."
"Oh god Dean. Shut up." Sam said.
"Sure, Samantha." Sam bit back a sigh. Sam, like Bobby, bit back a smile. It didn't matter what Dean said, didn't matter what Dean picked at, it was still wonderful. He was here, he was able to pick on him, he was alive, he was tangible, he was safe, he wasn't suffering. So, if he wanted to call him Samantha, and make fun of his hair, that was fine. He would keep it long just to listen to the teasing. And unmerciful teasing did he receive.
Sam went to sleep content, no more bad dreams, because his brother was sleeping in the bed next to him. What Sam didn't bank on was Dean waking up because he was dreaming of hell.
Dean sat up frantically, fought to catch his breath, rubbed his eyes, and drew his legs to his chest and rested his head on top of his knees. When he was finally able to push the memories back into his mind he looked up, and the moonlight streaming through the window caught his brother's sleeping form. His back was to Dean and the pony tail was begging to be cut. A smile spread across his face, mischief in his expression. "I'm sorry Sammy, I just can't let you look like a chick." He said and retrieved a pair of scissors from Bobby's study across the hall. He knelt down beside the bed, waited to see if Sam stirred, and when he didn't, he reached up and slipped the scissors underneath the rubber band and in three hard snipps, cut the tail right off of the back of his brother's head.
"There. I feel better now. Can't have my little brother looking like a girl. Gotta up hold the Winchester name." He said with a smug smile. He got back into his bed and pulled the covers up. If Sam couldn't be the same on the inside, by God he was going to be the same on the outside. Some things had to remain the same.