Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural.
Author's Note: This is my first tag to any episode of Supernatural, so if it's a little rough, please forgive me. However, I do hope you enjoy it and will consent to review it.
Author's Note 2: I absolutely loved the season premiere. I think it was Kripke's best one yet. So kudos to them. I can hardly wait for episode 2! I won't put any spoilers here because some of you probably haven't heard them and if you haven't you probably don't want to, but I think the next episode is going to be awesome!!
Summary: Tag to Sympathy for the Devil. There is no sympathy for Sam. At least, not until he breaks his leg again, courtesy of Zachariah.
In the Words of Yoda
In the Words of Yoda
You were the one I depended on the most and you let me down. You chose a demon over your own brother. I don't think we can't ever go back to the way things were.
Dean felt the words bounce around in his mind as he looked at his brother through the rearview mirror. Sam was standing stock still in the hospital parking lot, looking lost and alone with his arms crossed around his body and his shoulders hunched in his ongoing battle to make himself smaller than his six-foot-four-inches. Dean felt a stab of sympathy shoot through him. He didn't regret the words he had said, for every single one of them was true, but he did regret putting that utterly defeated look on Sam's face.
Sam walked slowly to the passenger's side of the Impala, moving as though he were in a dream. Dean absently wondered if Sam was still injured despite Castiel's demand that both of them be put back together. He wouldn't put it past Zachariah to have left Sam wounded and hurting as a warning to Dean that he was infinitely more powerful.
"Are you okay?" Dean asked as he started the engine and put the Impala into reverse.
Sam shot him a look of disbelief and Dean realized just how stupid of a question that was. Of course his brother wasn't okay. He had started the apocalypse, he had demon blood inside of him, Dean had told him that he couldn't forgive and forget, and the world was about to end. He wasn't in any way okay. And neither was Dean.
"I'm fine," Sam murmured as Dean pulled out of the parking lot.
Dean sighed internally as he shot Sam a look of surprise. He shouldn't have been surprised by the crushed look in Sam's eyes or the way he sat hunched against the window seat, but he was. It just didn't compute with the Sam he had known as of late, the one that was dark and mysterious, the one that Dean didn't even know, the Sam that had chosen Ruby over Dean.
"And I'm freaking John Travolta," Dean muttered.
"Well, you are Michael's sword after all," Sam said wryly. Dean couldn't resist the faint smile at Sam's movie reference.
"Look, Sammy," Dean started trying to find a way to tell Sam that he wanted to be able to trust him without going back on what he had just said, but Sam stopped him.
"Dean, I get it," he said. "I don't trust myself either. I can hardly expect you to after everything I've done. I know that what I have done is unforgivable. It's okay, really. Just leave it."
They drove in silence as Dean struggled to find something to say to Sam, but he realized after a while that there was nothing he could say. He had already told Sam everything. He had told Sam that he couldn't trust him, and Dean was going to stick by that until proven otherwise, but he could hardly leave Sam looking like a kicked puppy. There had to be something, something he could say, but if there was, Dean didn't know what it was.
Dean eventually pulled over at a motel that was close to the hospital so they could be nearby in case Bobby needed anything. He went to check them in, hoping that by the time he got back from the office, he would have the words to say. But as Dean took the key from the clerk's hand, he knew that he wouldn't be able to find anything worth telling Sam.
He walked back to the Impala, shoving his hands in his jacket's pockets as he did so. Dean didn't remember ever feeling this confused, not even when John had told him that if he couldn't save Sammy he'd have to kill him. Back then it had been obvious what the solution was—save Sam. He couldn't live without his brother back then. Dean highly doubted that he'd be able to now, even after everything Sam had done.
"We're in room 13," he said as he climbed back into the car. "It's around back. I'll drive us there."
Sam nodded silently, still staring out the window into the cold dark night. He looked lost in thought, his face blank. Dean sighed internally again as the car rumbled to life. There has to be something I can say, he thought. Something.
He drove to their room and parked the car. He climbed out of the car and was in the process of opening the trunk when Dean realized that Sam was still sitting in the passenger's seat, staring blankly out the window.
"Sam?" he called.
Sam started at the sound of Dean's voice and got out of the car. Dean studied his brother for a moment, noting the slight gimp in Sam's gait as he walked toward the trunk, the pale face, the red rimmed eyes, and the eyes casted downward. They were all Sam's signs of guilt and self-hatred and Dean couldn't help but think for a moment that Sam was right in feeling that way. But then he saw Sam stumble and begin to fall toward the asphalt and all of those feelings of smugness and righteousness at Sam's guilt went out the window.
"Shit, Sammy," Dean hissed as he caught Sam before the younger Winchester could do a total face-plant on the hard ground. "What happened?"
Sam looked up at Dean's face, his hazel eyes wide in surprise and pain. He looked stunned that Dean had actually caught him.
"My leg," he whispered. "It hurts."
"The one that…" Dean trailed off as he looked down at his brother's legs. The one that Zachariah had broken earlier looked as though it was at an unnatural angle and when Dean put his hand on it, Sam whimpered in pain.
"Shh, you're gonna be okay," Dean murmured pulling his hand away. He was shocked to find it coated in blood. "Shit."
Sam sounded so sad, so hut, and so Sammy that it took all of Dean's self-control not to break down right then and there and forgive his brother for everything. He knew it wouldn't help Sam in the long run if Dean didn't make Sam earn his trust back. He also knew that if he didn't get Sam help soon that he could lose his brother. Compound fractures weren't anything to fool around with.
"C'mon, let's get you inside," Dean said as he put his arms underneath Sam's shoulders to support him. "You're going to be fine."
Sam's face paled even more as Dean pulled him up into a sitting position. Dean mentally swore to himself that he was going to kill Zachariah personally for doing this to his brother.
With much cursing and surprisingly little effort, Dean managed to finagle Sam into an upright position.
"Lean on me and I'll do the walking," Dean ordered.
Sam instantly complied, though Dean highly doubted that it was of personal choice. He knew for a fact that if Sam could, he'd probably walk into the motel room under his own steam.
"It's going to be okay, Sammy," Dean murmured as they made their way slowly but surely toward the door that was only a few feet away. "You're going to be okay."
Sam was nearly completely out of it by the time Dean managed to get the door open and coax his brother inside. He was murmuring something under his breath that Dean thought was nonsense until he heard his name mentioned.
"Dean hates me. M'a failure. Can't do anything right. Can't even walk across a flat surface without breaking my damn leg."
Dean felt anger and resentment growing inside of him as he laid Sam gently down on the bed. Not at Sam, because it was impossible to be angry at his brother when he was hurt, but at the demons and angels that had caused this whole mess. It was a demon's fault in the first place that Sam had those damned powers, it was a demon's fault in the first place that Sam made the decision to go against Dean's wishes, and it was an angel's fault that Dean couldn't save Sam, and an angel's fault that Sam had a broken leg. Couldn't just once they stay out of it and leave the brothers alone?
"I'll be right back," Dean told Sam. "I've gotta grab the first aid kit."
Sam made another incoherent mumble as Dean walked quickly back to the Impala, cursing Zachariah once again as he grabbed the first aid kit from the back seat and slammed the trunk of the Impala. Wasn't having to live through Lucifer rising enough for one day? Did the freaking angel have to really break Sam's leg?
Sam was still in the same position that Dean had left him in when the older Winchester returned. His eyes were at half-mast and full of pain and his face was chalky white with a greenish tinge to it.
"You're gonna be okay, Sammy," Dean whispered as he reached the side of his brother's bed. "I'm gonna take care of you."
Dean set to work setting and splinting Sam's injured leg with a murmur here and there of comfort. As he worked, he realized just how long it had been since he had done this. Sam never got injured anymore, or if he did, he'd never let Dean help him. This was the first time since Dean had climbed out of the Pit that he had gotten the chance to actually help Sam. It was sort of nice, in a sadistic sort of way.
Sam passed out when Dean moved the bone in his leg back in place so it'd heal properly, a fact that Dean was grateful for. He didn't want to see Sam in pain any longer.
The sun was just beginning to rise outside the motel room when Dean finally finished fixing his brother's leg. He threw away all the bloody towels and made sure Sam was sleeping quietly before crawling into his own bed, exhausted both physically and emotionally. He closed his eyes and willed sleep to come.
Two hours later, Dean was still staring at the ceiling, wide awake. Though he was tired, sleep refused to come. Sighing heavily, he got off the bed and checked on Sam, who was still sleeping peacefully. Dean smiled softly at the sight of his brother who looked so much younger and innocent when he was asleep. At the moment, Sam didn't look at all like the man that had betrayed his brother, had chosen a demon, had started the apocalypse. He looked like the brother that Dean had carried out of the fire that had taken Mary Winchester's life, the one that was terrified at the thought of having visions, the one that Dean could trust and depend on with his life.
As he watched Sam sleep, Dean thought about what would happen between the two of them now. The easiest solution would probably be for them to part ways, for Dean to hunt by himself or with someone he could depend on and for Sam to do whatever he desired. But Dean rebelled against the idea—it wouldn't be solving anything and he would be constantly worrying about Sam anyway. He knew himself well enough to know that he would seek Sam out before too long and beg to go back to being hunting partners. The second solution, albeit the more obvious one yet slightly harder, would be for Sam to earn Dean's trust back. Though Dean knew that he would never be able to fully trust Sam again after everything that the younger Winchester had done, Sam was still his brother and Sam still deserved the chance to put things right. It would be hard for both of them, but Dean was willing to give it a try if Sam was. He didn't want to lose his brother all over again.
Satisfied with his decision, Dean sat on the edge of his bed and turned the TV on low. He flipped through the channels, trying to find something worth watching that didn't have ominous hints about the looming apocalypse. He finally found an old Western and leaned back against his pillows, watching Sam out of the corner of his eye to be sure that the youngest Winchester was still there.
Three Western movies and two soap operas later, Sam finally began to stir. Dean mentally cheered—he was starving, but was reluctant to leave Sam by himself, even with the cloaking sigils that Castiel had so kindly imprinted on their ribs.
"Hey, sleeping beauty," Dean teased as Sam slowly sat up. "How're you feeling?"
"I'm still alive," Sam said his voice thick with sleep and muted pain. "My leg hurts."
"Yeah you can thank our old pal Zachariah for that," Dean said trying to quell the growing anger inside of him. "Other than that, you okay?"
He knew that Sam had said he was fine about the demon blood thing, but somehow, Dean had a hard time believing him. Maybe it was the whole not being able to trust his brother thing or maybe it was because Sam was constantly shivering when he thought that Dean wasn't looking and his face had been way too pale even before his leg had been broken again. They were all the signs of Sammy going into shock or withdrawal.
"M'fine," Sam said stubbornly. "Just tired, that's all. And hungry."
"Go back to sleep," Dean suggested. "I'm going out to get food. I'll wake you when I get back."
Sam mumbled an incoherent reply as his eyes dropped close again. Within seconds he was snoring loudly. Chuckling to himself, Dean grabbed his leather jacket and went out to get food.
A few days passed. Sam slowly began to recover from his injury. By the end of the first week he managed to stay awake for a few hours and be completely coherent during that time. He spent most of his time watching TV and reading through online news articles while Dean went out to bars to supplement their cash flow. To an outsider, it might have looked like things were getting back to normal for the Winchesters, but they weren't. There were constant awkward silences as both Dean and Sam ran out of things to say to each other that skirted around the huge issues that still loomed over top of them. Sam flat out refused to meet Dean's eye anymore, a fact that was really beginning to annoy the older Winchester, along with the pensive silences that had fallen over his brother.
One afternoon, about a week after Lucifer had risen and Sam had broken his leg, Dean had finally had enough. He walked back from the hospital, cold and worn out from talking to Bobby all day, and Sam had just been sitting there, staring blankly at the ceiling. He had turned toward the sound of the door opening, but his gaze had dropped as he had seen who it was. Guilt had flooded his face and he had looked back toward the ceiling.
The one word rang loudly and clearly from Dean, making Sam start in surprise. He looked toward the older Winchester, surprise evident on his face that Dean was speaking to him.
He actually sounds confused, Dean noted.
"Enough of this," Dean said using his hands to gesture that he meant the silences, the constant guilty expression, and the plain pitifulness of Sam. "You need to stop moping."
"Dean," Sam said helplessly. "I ended the world."
"Big stinking whoop," Dean said more sarcastic than he intended. Sam looked at him. "So Lucifer rose because you killed Lilith. So what?"
Sam didn't rise to the bait like his brother had intended. He sat there, looking withdrawn and as though someone had just slapped him, which, Dean had all but done earlier.
"I should have listened to you," Sam murmured. "I—I don't know why I didn't, okay? I let you down and I know that."
"Yeah, you did," Dean said. He ignored the stunned look on Sam's face. "But since when has that ever stopped you before?"
"It's different this time, Dean. When I let you down by going to Stanford, I didn't end the world."
No, you just ended my world.
"Well, then I guess we're going to have to clean up your mess," Dean said. "It's going to be hard and bloody, but since when isn't our job hard and bloody?"
Sam seemed to miss the we Dean had added to the statement.
"Dean, I can't do Dean, I can't do this on my own," Sam said quietly.
"And no one's saying you have to," Dean pointed out.
"But you said…"
"I said that I couldn't trust you, which is true. But I never said that I was leaving you."
That's your thing, he added silently. Dean didn't want to drive Sam away, not after he had just gotten him back. Again.
Sam was quiet for a few moments. Then, "I don't think I can trust myself not to let you down again."
"We'll just have to see about that," Dean said. "C'mon, Sam, what else are you going to do?"
"Not hurt any more people," Sam replied instantly. He didn't even think about it.
"You have saved more people than you hurt."
"Oh really? Starting the apocalypse is really saving a ton of people, Dean."
"Oh will you get over that already? You started the apocalypse! Okay! I had just a big of hand in it as you did, Sam! I broke the first seal, remember?" And have been paying for it ever since.
"I was the one who broke the last seal."
"And you're still around, which means that God wants you to help stop what you've caused."
"I let you down."
Sam had a look of pure anguish on his face. Dean couldn't help but feel a tad righteous that Sam was feeling that way.
"Then we'll just have to get through that together, now won't we?"
Sam shook his head.
"We can't," he said. "I can't—."
He trailed off, but Dean got the gist of what he was saying.
"I'm not going to let you off the hook on this one by saying what you did was right. It wasn't and you know it. I'm also not going to tell you everything's going to be okay, because you know as well as I do that's a lie. But I am going to tell you that I can't do this without you."
"Yes you can."
Dean felt as though he had heard this conversation once before in his life, back when this whole thing was starting, and back when John and Jess were still alive, back when they were all different people. Back before he thought that angels were on the bull crap list along with unicorns and rainbows and even before that the scariest thing they had to hunt was that damn poltergeist in their old house. Back before the thing that terrified Sam the most was his visions. It was a lifetime ago.
"Well I don't want to," he said right on cue. "I want my little brother watching my back."
"I haven't been your little brother for a long time. You said it yourself, I'm a monster and that you should have killed me the moment you found out what I could do," Sam said quietly.
Dean had no idea what the hell that was about, but figured it wasn't important at the moment.
"You have always been my little brother, Sammy. Well, not so much little as younger now, but there has never been a moment ever that you have stopped being my brother."
"Sam. Stop. You're a Winchester and Winchesters are bound to make mistakes. Are you going to run away again from everything this family stands for? Or are you going to finally stand up and go the way Dad taught us?"
"I did try to go on the way Dad taught us," Sam argued.
"By teaming up with a demon and betraying your brother? I must have been out of the picture for that lesson."
Dean might as well have decked Sam the way his younger brother flinched against the bed. But Dean was past caring.
"Yeah. You tried. What were Yoda's words? Do or do not. There is no try."
"Did you seriously just quote Star Wars?"
Sam's face was incredulous, as if he couldn't believe that Dean had quoted their favorite childhood movies.
"That's not the point Sam."
Sam's face sobered instantly.
"I know. But Dean, I have apologized for what I have done. And you said so yourself, there's nothing I can do to make up for what I did. So what's the point?"
What's the point? The very question Dean had been asking himself about all of this. What was the point in trying to stop the world from ending? What was the point in getting up in the morning if only to face a new form of Hell? What was the point?
"The point is that there are millions—billions—of people out there who need our help; people who can't do this, who don't know how, or are too stupid or lazy to do it on their own. If you aren't going to do it for my sake or for your own, do it for theirs. They deserve it. This is their world and we're not going to let it end because of stupid mistakes on our part."
"Was saving me a stupid mistake?"
Dean hadn't seen that question coming, but he should have. He should have avoided saying anything that might lead to that question being asked, because at the moment, he honestly couldn't answer it. Not because he regretted it—he didn't—but because Dean didn't truly know if going to Hell and breaking the first seal was worth what he came back to. Betrayal, lies, demons, brothers consorting with demons… the whole lot of it.
But then, Bobby's words from the other day—was it really only the other day?—came back to him, the ones about how family was family, no matter how many times they screwed up or what they did to screw up. Even starting the apocalypse didn't change that fact. Because at the end of the day, Sam was still Dean's brother and that was definitely worth everything he had been through. Knowing that his brother got to live on and make mistakes, even world ending ones, was definitely not something Dean regretted.
And no one, not even Sam, could doubt the finality in Dean's voice.
"Don't be sorry," Dean said. "Be the person that Dad trained you to be. The person I can depend on."
"I'm not sure who that is. I'm not sure if that person exists anymore."
Dean looked Sam straight in the face.
"Cause I'm looking right at him."
Sam turned his head away, but not before Dean saw the tears or the pleasantly surprised look on his brother's face. It was the best Dean could offer and it had been more than Sam had ever hoped for. Dean knew that and Sam knew that.
The weeks flew by and Sam's leg began to heal quickly. Before long, Dean had to yell at his brother for doing stupid stuff like tripping on his way to the bathroom while Dean was out getting food for them. Sam would always roll his eyes and huff before turning around and doing it again.
Sam's leg wasn't the only thing to begin healing. The wounds their relationship had suffered over the past year were slowly but surely beginning to scab over. Things were still awkward between them and they both knew that they'd never go back to being what they used to be, but both Sam and Dean clung to the hope that maybe things could be better than before.
Weeks turned into a month and soon, Sam was itching to be on the road again. Dean could hardly blame his brother—for he was ready to go as well—but something was holding him back. It wasn't Bobby, who though was still pretty badly injured, was fairing okay back in his salvage yard and it wasn't the town itself, which was seriously lacking in good food, beer, and hot girls. It was just Dean. After the month hiatus from hunting and fighting, Dean realized that this was how he wanted to live his life. Not sitting around a motel room taking care of his ornery brother, but having a home and not living in constant fear that he or Sam would be killed. It had been nice.
But Sam and Castiel both had to go and ruin it. Okay, maybe not Sam, because although he was walking around by himself for a change, was still barely strong enough to glare at Dean, but definitely Castiel. The renegade angel showed up the afternoon before Dean and Sam hit the road again.
"Lucifer has chosen a vessel," he said in his usual cheery tones. "We have need of you."
Dean had wanted to know how Castiel had found them, but that hadn't been important. What was important was what the angel needed them to do. And that was to go after a small outcropping of demons in Kansas. Lawrence Kansas to be exact.
"Back to where everything started in the first place," Sam said as they packed up the car. He still walked with a limp and things tired him out easily, but he looked better than he had in a long time. His eyes were brighter and the dark circles underneath his eyes had all but disappeared. Dean knew that if he were to look in a mirror he'd look the same way.
"A fitting place for them to end," Dean said with a feral grin. He slammed the trunk and took a glance at Sam.
"We've got work to do."
The car doors slammed. The Impala's engine rumbled to life. Mullet rock blared from the stereos. Things were on their way to being okay.
There might be a second chapter… I haven't decided yet. You guys can review and tell me what you think!
There might be a second chapter… I haven't decided yet. You guys can review and tell me what you think!