By: Karen B.
Warning: 5-1 spoiler
Summary: 5-1 tag... Alternate universe snippet. Sequel to my story -- Homesickness. Sam finds his way home, Dean too.
Note: I believe this can stand alone. You do not have to read Homesickness, but it might feel more complete if you did.
Thank you for your time in reading my ramblings.
Vaya Con Dios, (God be near)
Four weeks I'd been climbing onto Greyhound bus after Greyhound bus. Pretty much going nowhere. Drinking, catching a buzz, taking myself away from everything and everyone. Laying myself down in motel room after motel room. Closing my eyes. Waking in the middle of the night. Walking up and down deserted streets, wishing on the occasional falling star, and thinking again and again how things used to be. What I had done. What I could do now-- desperate to let go of the pain, of the guilt -- of Dean.
I shuffled through the chilling sand, a salty breeze flicking strands of hair into my eyes. Light from the silvery moon mixed with palm fringed shadows turning daylight into the purple hues of dusk. I stumbled across a empty playground on the beach, making my way over to a swing set. Grabbing onto the chain links, I stopped the seat from swaying in the breeze, and sat down. I let my weight rock me back and forth, the tip of my right sneaker sifting through the sand. I felt right at home, the emptiness mirroring my insides. Eerie, alone, unsure of myself -- afraid. I couldn't see the ocean, but could hear its surf pounding up onto the beach. Which ocean? I couldn't be sure on. I'd been running, not paying attention to where I had been running to. Just buying ticket after ticket. Ramblin' Man -- my new theme song. Dean would hate that -- country never was his gig.
"Crap," I sighed.
Playgrounds used to make me so happy when I was a kid. They were a cool place Dean and I hung out a lot at. Mostly because they were so accessible. Playgrounds either came with the motel we stayed at or the school we atteneded, not to mention swings and slides were free fun. I smiled, remembering how Dean would stand behind me, pushing me back and forth on the swing. He'd push me hard, and fast as high as he could without flipping me up and over the top pole. I would just scream with laughter, a cherry-kool-aid colored grin on my face. I never had to be afraid, Dean was always there for me -- a guardian of protection -- keeping me from falling -- right behind me. keeping me safe from harm.
But no more. The playground which should have brought joyful memories only took on a deadened silence that threatened to stop my heart. I sighed again. was doing alot of that these days. Sure I'd run, left Dean far behind -- but I could still feel his pain and my sorrow -- that I couldn't leave behind.
Gawd, it hurt…it hurt so bad to walk out on Dean like that. With just a short note scribbled on the small pad of stationary in our last motel room together. All I wanted to do was wake him up, beg him to forgive me -- just cry. But I was a grown man, and crying wouldn't fix things. Crying wouldn't get me what I wanted, like when I was six and my double scoop of chocolate-chunk fell to the pavement. Crying had gotten me another cone. Crying over melting the planet -- wouldn't get me another shot at saving it.
Dean was angry -- out of his head -- angry. It was okay. I deserved everything Dean tossed at me, and more. Another heavy sigh. There wasn't much left of us. I was going crazy. I had to get away. I couldn't stay, and the reasons had nothing to do with Dean and his anger. I just had to leave it all far behind. I was angry, too. Angry at myself. Maybe someday he would forgive me -- see past the monster I'd become. I couldn't live with the memory of what used to be -- what should be -- the trust that could no longer be.
I stared up at the full moon -- millions of miles away -- pale and gray.
"What is it with you and moons?" I mumbled to myself.
Then it dawned on me -- monsters and moons went together like demon blood and the end of the world. I'd become a horror film cliché'. I shuddered, watching a cold, black shadow cut the full moon in half. I was so trapped inside myself. Burning like my father's pyre -- like a desert inside of me.
No brother to catch the monster as he swung higher -- harder and faster -- wrapping himself around a pole.
I tried to forget the pain, but it wasn't mine to forget. It was Dean's pain that kept me from forgetting. I was free to choose, and I chose wrong -- the flaw of being human. Human? Was I still human? Granted, I looked the part. I was such an easy victim to Ruby and Lilith's manipulating plan. They'd gained control of me and I hadn't even known. I'd so easily forked my power over to them. And Dean, he knew. He didn't have to know the specifics -- he just knew. He was always there, even when he couldn't be there -- he was. What was I to him? Had I ever been the brother Dean deserved?
I was vulnerable then, but more so now. I'd been thinking and thinking all this time away. Going to church after church -- praying. Trying to empty out the dreaded blackness and fill the space with something new and positive. Maybe being so vulnerable could open me up for that something positive.
I thought I heard Dean calling me, but I must have been dreaming -- awake this time. Every night in the motel room as I tried to sleep -- alone -- I could swear I heard Dean breathing. Most times it was just the stupid air conditioning unit -- or my lousy imagination, one simple glance at the neatly made bed next to me --confirmation enough.
I was so lonely, so lost -- at a dead end. I never dreamt that Dean and I would end like this. I should have been more careful of the decisions I made. Should have listened more -- to him -- to everyone. I tried to forget Dean, but I couldn't. Having Dean in my life was like having a beating heart -- I was to used to him -- I missed him too much. Of all this time in wandering I came to a few conclusions. I would never drink the demon blood again, and I would never lie to Dean -- I trusted that much about me. If I was trusting myself again, could I begin to rebuild the trust between Dean and I? Instead of looking at the monster in the mirror, maybe I just needed to change my position -- see things differently. Maybe if I didn't see that monster, Dean wouldn't either. If I could be transformed into a monster with demon blood, maybe I could be transformed back into Sam Winchester by my love for Dean -- for life. If I had to move hell, heaven, and earth, I'd find the power to make that happen.
I breathed deeply, slowing down, stilling my thoughts, finding a different kind of power. Destiny had had its way with me -- now it was my turn to have my way with destiny. I would chose right this time. I closed my eyes imagining Dean with me -- remembering the long-ago night he told me about how mom died, just like it was yesterday I remembered how he held me. I remembered the fights we'd get into, we were never perfect but whatever is. My destiny was with Dean, by his side, on equal ground, fighting, going down swinging. I had so much to do. So much good I could give. My power came from family, from love. Not from evil, but from my heart. From my human heart. I felt like a blind person suddenly able to see.
Hiding and avoiding each other, rather than facing up to our failures no longer made sense.
I just had to call him. Had to hear his voice. We still had a choice. Everywhere I went -- every tangled dream lead me back to Dean. I dug in my pocket for my cell phone, pressed speed dial and waited for him to pick up. The phone rang four times before going to voicemail
"This is Dean, leave me a message."
The wind blew, and I eyed the swaying, empty swing next to me.
I heard footsteps, shocked, I twisted in my seat. The outline of a scant shadow stepped out from behind a palm tree, slowly walking toward me.
"D'n," I tried to speak, but an invisible steel grip clutched at my throat. "How?" I stood from the swing to meet him.
"Dude, you're slipping. I've never been far behind you."
I raised an eyebrow, confused.
"Dean? All this time?"
"Sammy, don't talk -- just listen." Dean glanced down, the tip of his boot shuffling uneasily in the sand. "We weren't seeing clearly." Dean paused and I heard him swallow. "This is hard for me. I'm not so good at this…you know that... so, just hear me out."
I nodded even though he wasn't looking.
"We both have the same last name. The same blood."
I cocked my head at that.
"Sam." Dean brought his head up, his eyes zeroing in on mine. "Come home. Just come home. We can work this out. There are no cookie-cutter answers. I still don't think things can be the same." Dean kept his eyes locked on mine. "I'm not selling you that. What I am selling is a fresh start -- for both of us. We've both done wrong here. We both had a hand in this. We both opened doors we never meant to open. We made mistakes and all we can do now is learn from them -- turn it around -- make those mistakes matter." Dean stopped kicking at the sand and stilled, giving a little shrug of his shoulders. "Monsters...Sam, they don't care. They wouldn't be sorry, wouldn't want to make things right. And big brothers…" he sucked in a shuddering breath. "…They don't always know it all -- pushing someone who's taken a huge fall to stand -- not always the answer." A tear welled in Dean's eye. "Sometimes that someone needs help. It takes two to break a seal ... and two to make it right." A tear dripped from his eye and then mine. "Sammy," Dean whispered. "Want to try and make things right -- with me?"
That dark cloud covering half the moon slipped away, and for a moment we just stood under its pale blue light. Holding our ground, watching each other carefully. There was no flash of heated anger, no twitching of nerve frayed muscles, no biting of lips, or turning to walk or runaway.
We both breathed in deep, rocked back on our feet and took a step forward -- catching each other tight in our arms -- I never felt safer