Disclaimer: Not mine. I don't own and the title is a quote by Christian Nevell Bovee.
Warning/Spoilers: Seasons 1 & 2, specifically between 2x01 and 2x04.
A/N: This story was written in honor of Sendintheclowns' birthday. I hope you have a wonderful day because you deserve it! Thank you for all the help you've given me since I met you and I'm so glad I've been given the honor to know you. I wish I was able to give you something better but my plot ideas weren't flowing very well and I wanted to make it a surprise. Hopefully you'll enjoy it. Thanks a bunch to Gidgetgal9 and BlueEyedDemonLiz for their help and beta on this work!
Summary: The Winchesters were grieving but neither knew how to do so properly. Dean let his grief go a bit too far and ended up sending Sam over the edge with him. Suddenly he was faced with the realization that Sam was all he has left and he wasn't ready to lose his brother too.
Dean had shared a room with his brother for over twenty years, minus the two years Sam had been away. He had actually found himself missing the kid when he fell asleep on top of a hard, creaky mattress in a pitch black room that was void of the mumblings and soft snores from the bed beside him. In the past two weeks Dean found himself wanting to go back, wanting to be alone.
Every night he heard the mumblings of nightmares and no matter how tight he held the pillow over his head, the quiet words somehow found his ears. They were the same soft pleas that Dean had heard many times before; pleas that used to pull at his heart and awaken the big brother in him. Since they have been at Bobby's all Dean's wanted to do was ignore them, pretend he couldn't hear them so that he didn't have to deal with it.
He couldn't escape it at night but as soon as morning hit, Dean was out of bed and lying under the hood of the Impala long before Sam awoke. It was the only place he felt alive. The only place he could tell himself that the shitty existence he lived in wasn't real, but as soon as he pulled himself out and back to the real world everything hit him once more.
The frequent visits by his brother made it worse. Dean had to make sure he kept his hands working or stuffed in his pockets because he was finding it more and more difficult to keep himself from slugging Sam. He felt the urge even when Sam would just sit against one of the other cars, legs pulled up toward his chest with a book lying open on his knees. Seemed that all it took was Sam's presence to get Dean's anger started.
Dean tried telling himself that his brother was grieving just the same but he had a hard time believing that. He's seen his brother grieve more times than he'd have liked to and he knew grieving equaled tears when it came to Sam. Except for a few tears shed as they burned their father's bones, Sam's eyes have been dry the entire two weeks they've been at Bobby's.
Of course Sam had never gotten along with their father but Dean assumed his brother would still be upset that the man who raised them was dead. The man Dean had looked up to all his life, who Dean strived to be like in everything he did, was nothing more than ashes now. Apparently Sam's ill feelings toward their father were much strong than Dean had assumed.
"You going to be out here all night?" Dean jumped, cursing as his head met with metal and the wrench he was holding fell to the ground. "Won't be able to see much longer."
"I was just finishing up." He slid out from under the car and wiped his forearm across his brow as he stood.
"Good," Bobby nodded and turned back toward the house. "Dinner will be ready in ten and I've got a hunt to discuss with you."
"Where's Sam?" The question was out before Dean even thought about it. He hadn't lost all of his big brother reflexes.
"Kid's already in bed." The older man shook his head, turning just slightly so that Dean could see his face. "He said to wake him if you need him, but I don't suspect you will."
Dean turned back to his tools with a slight nod as Bobby walked off toward the house, leaving him alone once again. He wanted to be alone. Wanted to be away from all the nasty reminders, good meaning friends and non grieving brothers.
But the prospect of a hunt, the idea of getting out on the road again and hunting down supernatural sons of bitches was quite appealing. He could use a little break from his self pity and growing anger. Maybe he could even figure out what was going on with his brother, remind the cold bastard that they'd lost their father, the only parent they had left. Maybe Sam just needed a friendly kick in the ass and Dean was just the one to do it.
Dean kicked the dirt off his shoes before he headed through the back door and into the kitchen, welcomed by the savory smell of Bobby's chili. The man couldn't cook much but Bobby's chili was to die for in Dean's opinion. Even Sam, who usually went for a salad over anything slightly greasy, enjoyed Bobby's chili. The dish was probably the only tradition they knew and one of the reasons they never minded being left at Bobby's.
The pot on the stove was still cooking and Dean couldn't help himself as he lifted the lid and took in the aroma. He picked up the spoon on the counter and was just about to take a small taste when his hand was slapped and he was pushed away from the stove.
"Don't you have any manners?" Bobby pointed toward the hall. "This might not be a five star hotel but I'd still appreciate you being clean before you eat my food. Now go."
Dean huffed with a slight smirk before heading out of the kitchen and up to the room he shared with his brother. He wasn't loud but he didn't exactly try to stay quiet as he walked into the room and dug out some clean clothes. Sam shifted slightly and mumbled something but Dean didn't pay much attention; he simply grabbed his clothes and headed into the bathroom.
When he finally made his way back into the kitchen, Bobby had two bowls of chili sitting on the table and a collection of papers stacked beside Dean's. He took a seat across from Bobby and eyed the papers. The heading of the newspaper article sitting on top caught his eye and he reached for it with slightly shaky hands, reading it more closely.
"What is this?" Dean stared at the picture accompanying the article, not bothering to look up at Bobby.
"A friend asked me to look into it."
"Why did you need me to look at it then?" He placed the article down and pushed the stack of papers away as he took a taste of his chili.
"Thought it might be of interest to you." Bobby finished off his own bowl and stood from the table, his words flat like always, giving no indication of his feelings or motive.
"Well it's not."
"Your brother seemed mighty interested."
Suddenly Bobby had his attention and Dean's chili was forgotten, eyes wide as he turned toward the older man. He stared at the hunter for a few moments, waiting for any indication that he was lying but Dean knew he wasn't.
"You let Sam read these?" Dean couldn't tell if it was anger or worry that brought him out of his chair and into Bobby's personal space. "Are you crazy?"
"I didn't give him the articles, Dean." Bobby stood straighter and moved closer to Dean, leaving barely a foot between them. "I told him a bit about the case but I wasn't about to let the kid read those. I didn't want him to see what happened to the kid but I'm pretty sure he connected the dots."
"So you knew?" He backed up a few inches and let his defenses fall.
"About Sam?" Bobby looked shocked as Dean nodded. "Boy, do I look stupid? I notice a lot more than either of you would ever tell me."
Bobby moved back to the table and motioned for Dean to do the same, "Missouri Mosely gave me the heads up a few months ago but your old man had some suspicions long before that."
"What suspicions? Did he know what was going to happen?" Dean ran a hand through his hair and pushed his chili away, no longer feeling like doing anything but smashing his fist into a wall. His father's last words running through his head. "Did he know what the Demon wants with Sam?"
"All your dad ever told me was he knew it had been about Sam," Dean watched Bobby shake his head and could see the older man clench his fist atop the table. "He suspected things were going to come to a head later on but he never knew what."
"I think Dad found the answer." Dean kept his voice low and glanced up to make sure the other man had heard him. "He was acting strange before he died. Said some weird stuff and I feel like he knew but he wouldn't tell me."
"Well what did he say?"
He shook his head and stood from his chair again, carrying his half eaten bowl of chili over to the sink. He stayed there, hands resting on the counter, as he took a few calming breaths and tried to work through the mess in his head. He wasn't ready to discuss things yet but he knew he'd have to eventually. After everything Bobby had just told him, he needed a bit more time to work things out before he could even try to understand and the icase/i was hitting much too close to home, adding to his already jumbled thoughts.
Thankfully Bobby didn't push any further and Dean heard the older man pick up the stack of papers from the table before heading out into the living room.
There really wasn't much of a case, nothing to really check out, but Dean was pretty certain that wasn't the point of Bobby letting him read that. Ryan Sterling was twenty two and claimed to have special abilities like Sam and Max Miller. Authorities weren't buying his story and after four deaths occurred, all people he was close with, Ryan was taken into custody under suspicion of the murders.
Dean saw the similarities and would be lying if he said it didn't freaking him out, but his brother was different. Sam wasn't killing people, he couldn't kill anyone, but then those who knew Ryan Sterling had apparently been saying the same thing.
Ryan eventually cracked and told the cops he had committed the murders but he also claimed he had no idea how. The cops think Ryan's crazy as the kid tried to tell them all he did was touch the victims. Ryan told the police that he had simply shook the hand of his best friend only to watch the other man crumble to the ground, heart stopped.
Obviously the kid wasn't crazy and Dean might have actually gone to see him, might have tried to help him understand what was going on, but Ryan hadn't made it through his first night in jail. Cops had no idea how it happened but Ryan Sterling's throat had been slashed from ear to ear and an odd residue was found around the wound. By the description written in the case files Dean knew without a doubt the substance was sulfur.
"There's no need to check it out," He said softly as he walked into the living room. "So why'd you give this to me?"
"It could be a lead on the Demon."
"Maybe," Dean shrugged. "But what if it's a preview of what's to come?"
"Sam's not going to end up like that."
"I'm not so sure anymore, Bobby."
"What on earth are you talking about, Dean?" Bobby was up out of his chair faster than Dean thought the old man could move.
"What if there's no stopping it?"
"What Sam's going to become." He saw Bobby's eyes go wide and instinctively took a step backward as Bobby inched closer. "I mean that Ryan kid was just like Sam before he turned. I just don't know if we can stop Sam from ending up the same."
"So you're giving up on your brother?" Another step closer and Bobby was right up in Dean's face, hands clenched at his side. "That's not the Dean Winchester I know. That boy upstairs needs you now more than ever, but you're just going to give up and let him go at everything alone?"
"I don't know!" He turned away from Bobby and ran a shaky hand through his short hair, but hr froze when his eyes fell on the stairs. His eyes followed the shadow casted by the large frame standing at the bottom step before they finally fell on the tired face he'd been avoiding for two weeks.
Without a word, Sam turned back around and headed up the stairs, shoulders slumped and head kept low toward the floor. Dean watched until Sam's frame disappeared, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath before he turned back to Bobby. The older man glared at Dean, an expression Dean remembered quite well from his childhood and the plentiful arguments between Bobby and his father.
"How much do you think he heard?" Dean chuckled, falling into his favorite defense.
Bobby shook his head and pointed toward the stairs, "Go fix the mess you made."
Before Dean could finish he was cut off by Bobby's fist slamming into the bookshelf beside him, rattling the library and sending a few books to the floor. He moved even closer to Dean, this time tightening a fist in Dean's shirt and pulling Dean toward him, faces mere inches apart. Dean tried to hide the fear but Bobby seemed to notice and slowly let Dean go before backing up a few inches.
"You lost your father and I get that," Bobby pulled his cap off and wiped an arm over his forehead. "But so did Sam. You seem to have forgotten that. Now I'm pretty sure he's convinced he's lost you too."
"He hasn't seemed very upset since Dad."
"Are you kidding me?" Bobby narrowed his eyes and stepped forward causing Dean to swallow hard and move backwards once again. The older man definitely knew how to be intimidating when he wanted to be. "You've just been too wrapped up in yourself to see anything past your nose. Why don't you try talking to him before you pass judgment?"
"I need a drink," Dean walked out of the room, ignoring the curses he heard Bobby spew as he left. He was still far from ready to deal with anything and he knew Sam would eventually get over it, they'd said some nasty shit to each other over the years and they always got over it. Tension was high lately and they just needed their space.
That's what Dean told himself as he grabbed a beer from the fridge and walked out onto the back porch. As he sat down on the top step and stared out at the graveyard of cars, he found himself feeling an odd sense of belonging amongst the hollow frames and twisted metal.
It wasn't that he was shocked to hear what Dean had said but he had spent the past two weeks telling himself he was wrong, that Dean was just working through his grief. He had noticed how Dean avoided him, got angry every time Sam was within a few yards. Sam had hoped he was overreacting because he certainly didn't want to face the fact that his brother hated him.
Maybe Dean didn't hate him, but he was certain his brother was beyond disappointed and was most likely afraid of Sam by now. When they had found Max Miller only a few months ago, Dean made the effort to try and convince Sam that he was different, that he wasn't a monster like Max. Sam had seen the doubt and worry then, but it had finally been put out in the open that Dean held serious uncertainty in Sam's ability to fight whatever was going on inside of him.
Sam had plenty of doubts himself but two weeks ago he was convinced he could fight it as long as his brother was by his side. He believed his family would have his back, would be there to help him get through whatever it was that the Demon was stirring up.
Then his family was once again torn apart, another member lost to what he assumed to be the same enemy. The same thing that had killed his mother, his girlfriend and now has succeeded in turning his own brother against him. It was pretty damn obvious that all the deaths, all the devastation, were because of Sam.
Sam had pieced things together, as he was sure Dean had as well, and he knew his father had made a deal. A deal that had saved Dean but sent their father to an early grave. Sam found himself wishing he had thought of it first. He wished he had sold his soul, ended his own life and allowed his father and Dean to live, to continue hunting together.
He wasn't sorry that their father made the deal but he was sorry that their father was gone.
What Bobby told him about Ryan Sterling had only given Sam more proof that he was the reason for all the bad in the Winchesters' lives. Sam had found two people like him, two other people who had powers like him, powers that changed their lives. Both had been killers and both had wound up dead. Bobby thought he had kept that part from Sam, but Sam was resourceful and he wasn't one to let things go easily. He researched the case, found out every last detail and he had made his decision. Hearing what Dead had to say only made his decision all the easier, even if it made it hurt even more.
He dug the book out of his bag, a safe hiding place just in case, and held it in his arms as he searched for the right page. The ritual was long but Sam had studied the Latin closely and practically had it memorized in the few short hours he had been reading. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes for just a second, sending a silent prayer to God even though he had begun doubting that his prayers were heard or that God could help him now.
After only a few sentences the wind picked up outside the opened window, blowing the ragged curtains and sending a chill down Sam's spine. He looked up at the sound of creaking floorboards and his eyes fell on the strange man standing just a few feet from him. Face to face with the enemy and Sam suddenly doubted his idea, fear taking over as the man smirked and raised his hand.
Sam felt his feet leave the ground as the man flicked his wrist and sent Sam flying backwards, his head connecting hard with the wall. As his eyes attempted to focus on his surroundings, Sam was suddenly aware that the man, or demon, was standing directly in front of him, eyes completely black.
"You're not the Demon," Sam bit out through the pain throbbing in the back of his skull.
The man laughed and held up his hand again, clenching it into a fist as Sam struggled to pull in enough air, "Well I'm a demon, but not the demon, Samuel."
"Wha-" Sam gasped for air as the demon let him suck in just a bit before returning the pressure.
"Did you think your yellow eyed friend was responsible for poor Ryan's death?" The demon opened his hand again and dropped it to his side, allowing Sam to crumble to the floor as he greedily sucked in air. "Why would he kill one of his ispecial/i children?"
Sam stared at him in confusion and the demon took that silence as a sign to continue, "See, I'm not a fan of the plans Mr. Yellow Eyes has for you and the others so I decided to do something about it. You were going to be last on my list, since I thought you and your brother might have killed the bastard by now, but since I'm here I might as well get you out of the way now. Doesn't seem like you and Dean are doing a very good job, especially now that Daddy's gone."
Sam dropped his head back in a silent cry, his pleas cut off as the demon applied the pressure to his windpipe once again. He closed his eyes and stopped fighting, knowing he didn't stand much of a chance and he was getting what he wanted anyway. He dropped his hands into his lap and slumped back against the wall, no longer even trying to breathe as he simply let the demon do the job that should have been done years ago.
"Samuel," The demon released the pressure and Sam tiredly pulled his eyes open, practically begging for him to continue. "You're making this too easy. Do you want to die?"
The demon crouched down beside him and he noticed the glint of the knife in the demon's hand. He didn't bother answering. He closed his eyes again and left his arms at his side, head resting against the wall, exposing his neck. He heard the demon laugh as the tip of cool metal rested against his throat.
He heard the crash of the door, the raised voices he was unable to make out and he felt the tip of the knife dig into his throat, welcoming the darkness as it crept in and pulled him away.
Bobby pulled himself out of the chair, his bones cracking as he stretched. He glanced out the back door with a shake of his head, having expected Dean to give up and come inside long before now. The Winchesters were a hard headed bunch but they had an extremely strong, sometimes deadly, love for each other. He remembered how Dean acted after their mother died, clinging to baby Sammy, allowing his brother to be the only one to hear him speak. Even though it had been years ago, Bobby somehow expected Dean to act the same after the loss of their father.
He moved over toward the lamp next to the bookshelf and reached to turn it off but nearly tripped over the books on the floor. He moaned, back complaining as he bent over to pick up the books and placed them back onto the shelf. He had hundreds of books scattered around his house, but he somehow managed to keep track of most of them, especially ones he deemed worthy enough to sit on actual shelves. He noticed the way the books leaned once he placed them back, a sign that one was missing, and he quickly cataloged the shelf, trying to remember which one it could be.
When the title finally struck him, his eyes grew large and his feet were suddenly moving without him even realizing it. He made his way to the back door, pushing it open with force and startling Dean onto his feet as the younger man stared at Bobby in confusion.
"It's Sam," He spit out quickly, waiting for the spark of concern in Dean but he only saw annoyance.
"What about him?" Dean asked as he moved to sit back down.
"I think he's going to summon the Demon."
"What?" Bobby finally seemed to have his attention. "What do you mean? How?"
"He has one of my books."
"He always has one of your books, Bobby." Roles were reversed now as Dean moved in closer to Bobby with obvious irritation. "What does this have to do with the Demon?"
Suddenly the wind picked up causing both men to involuntarily shiver. The air had been still all night, the temperature nearly scorching and both Dean and Bobby understood that wasn't a good sign, sharing a concerned glance. They remained silent for a few moments, senses trained on their surroundings.
When the loud thud came from the top floor, Dean was the first one through the door, sliding across the kitchen floor and up the stairs in seconds. The door to his and Sam's room was shut and when he tried to twist the knob it barely even turned. He pushed his ear up against the door, heard the muffled voice and the quiet gasps before he quickly backed up and rushed towards the door.
The door cracked but did nothing more and he cursed out loud as he rubbed at his sore shoulder and positioned himself to try once more. Bobby appeared at his side with a fire extinguisher in hand and Dean wanted to question him but refused to waste any more time. Dean slammed his foot against the already cracked door, thankful when it finally bust open and allowed them to push into the room.
Dean's eyes went large at the sight before him and luckily Bobby was prepared, activating the extinguisher and spraying the water directly at the man kneeling over Sam. The man straightened and stumbled back with a hiss as he reacted to what Dean assumed to be holy water.
"That barely burns," The demon sneered before the host's head shot back and black smoke expelled from the body, flying out the open window.
Dean watched as the body crumbled to the floor beside Sam, not breathing. Suddenly Dean's eyes were drifting toward Sam's prone form, unable to tell if Sam was breathing either. He rushed over to Sam and dropped onto his knees, his fingers searching for a pulse. The small cut on Sam's throat was bleeding heavily but Dean knew it could have been much worse if they had waited any longer.
He breathed out a sigh when he finally found a pulse, though it was much too fast and Sam was still out of it. He slapped gently at his brothers cheek, disconcerted when Sam's head flopped to the side. Dean quickly wrapped his arms around Sam's upper body and dragged his brother over to the closest bed, gently laying him on top of the covers. He leaned in closer to Sam and listened carefully to his brother's breathing, satisfied that Sam was at least breathing even if it was a bit uneven.
"Is he okay?" Bobby appeared beside Dean with the first-aid kit in hand.
"I think so," Dean didn't look at the older hunter as he took the kit and focused on his brother.
Bobby patted him on the shoulder, hand lingering a little longer than necessary before the older man backed away. Dean went about dressing the small cut on Sam's neck as Bobby dragged the demon's ridden host out of the room.
None of it made sense to Dean but he knew he was thankful they had made it in time. The demon hadn't had yellow eyes and Dean didn't quite understand why his genius brother would ever think summoning a demon was a good idea. As he worked through his jumbled thoughts he heard Sam moan and suddenly everything else was forgotten.
"Sammy?" He finished covering Sam's wound and placed a gentle hand on his brother's shoulder, encouraging him to open his eyes. "You're okay now, man. Wake up for me."
"Dean?" Sam blinked his eyes open, a look of confusion and what Dean suspected to be fear spread across Sam's tired face.
"Yeah, Sammy, it's me."
"Why'd you save me?"
"You're my brother, man." Dean put on a wobbly smile as his hand moved up to brush Sam's hair out of the younger man's face. "You're all I got."
"I'm sorry." Sam's eyes started to close once again but Dean tapped his face gently, forcing Sam's eyes to meet his own.
"For what, Sammy?"
"That Dad's gone," Dean saw the tear slide down Sam's face and his gut twisted with guilt. "I'm sorry he's gone instead of me."
"No," He shook his head, fighting back his own tears. "Don't say that."
"I can't be sorry that he made the deal, Dean." Sam's hand found Dean's wrist, longer fingers clutching tightly. "I loved him, I did, but he saved you. I know Dad was your hero, your idol, and I'm sorry he's gone, I miss him, but you've always been more of a father to me, Dean. I wish I had made the deal first, so you could have Dad, but if I'm stuck here then I'm thankful you're here too. I'm sorry."
"Sammy," Dean cleared his throat as his tears threatened to spill. "I'm the one that's sorry. I should have talked to you, man. We should have been going through this together, but I couldn't do it. A part of me was pissed that you weren't grieving. I'm used to the tears and girly confessional moments, but you were just too quiet."
"Stop it." He shook his head again but kept eye contact with Sam. "I was the crappy brother here, Sam, so let me feel a bit guilty."
"You weren't supposed to agree so easily."
Sam laughed and Dean felt the pressure on his shoulders lessen just a bit. For the first time in two weeks, Dean felt as though the pieces that had been missing were slowly falling back into place. He smiled down at Sam and playfully punched his shoulder before standing from the bed and grabbing the first-aid kit.
"Hey, Dean," He stopped in the doorway and turned toward Sam, his chest tightening slightly at the expression on Sam's face; a mixture of relief and sorrow. "What you said before, about my abilities, you promise you didn't mean it?"
"I promise. The case scared me but not because I was afraid of you but afraid for you. There's so much going on in my head, too much for me to deal with. I'm sorry for what I said. I never meant it."
"Why don't you talk to me about it all?" Sam eyes looked hopeful in the dim light of the room. "I want to help Dean. You said we should go through this together."
"I want to, Sammy, but I'm not ready." He cleared his throat and put on a weak smile. "I will when I'm ready. I promise but you have to know that whatever this is, whatever is coming, iwe're/i going to beat it."
"What if I can't?"
"There's no I in team, dude." Dean flicked off the light and reached for the door. "We're in this together Sam and you know we make one hell of a team."
He could just barely make out Sam's smile as his brother nodded and let his eyes drift closed, finally allowing himself to give in to much needed sleep. He watched Sam for a few moments, realizing that it was the first time in two weeks he'd seen Sam sleep peacefully, Sam's lips still curled into a slight smile. Dean hoped his brother could finally get a peaceful night's sleep, without the nightmares Dean had tried to unsuccessfully ignore.
Finally closing the door, Dean slipped out into the hallway, his mind wandering once again. Sam was the only family he had left and when he thought about it, as much as he missed his father, Dean was thankful Sam was the one still with him. It had always been him and Sam, on their own for most of their lives, and while he knew their father loved them, protected them, Dean wasn't sure he could have survived if it had been Sam instead.
He had let himself forget that in the midst of grieving his father. The words his father whispered to him at the hospital had been eating away at him and he let them cloud his judgment, let them mess with his mind.
iIf you can't save him, you'll have to kill him./i
It scared Dean to think of the possible outcomes, the possible reason behind his father's last words to him. However, he knew one thing for certain; he would save his brother, no matter what. He hated himself for thinking he could give up, for doubting in himself or Sam. Whatever was coming, whatever was going to happen, it wasn't going to go far enough, it wasn't going to take Sam. Dean hadn't lied when he said they made a great team and he knew they could beat it, as long as they stuck together.
Happy Birthday, Sendintheclowns! I wish I knew more of what you would have looooved to read but hopefully this was still a pleasant surprise. Have fun reading all your b-day fics and know that you've made such a wonderful impact on so many! =)