Hello again! So sorry for the late update so thanks for sticking with me this long. So I'm not sure if I want to leave y'all there or if I want to add ONE more chapter, possibly create a better, less forced conclusion. Maybe once you've finished the chapter you could let me know. ;)
Dean dropped his gun, hearing the merciless, banging crash as it thudded harshly to the ground. It was loud, too loud, and he almost feared his eardrums would burst from the produced noise. It hurt, more than he thought it was supposed to. It was just a small piece of metal, wasn't it? Nothing overwhelmingly huge or heavy by any means, just a gun. Just a small gun, a few chunks of steel made together to create something lethal, something that could so easily end a life.
But…he didn't really care, did he? Not anymore.
He walked slowly in Sam's direction, his thoughts twisted and muddled and just generally fucked up. He didn't hear any movement behind him, and he absently wondered if he was the only one that wasn't in some sort of comatose state, trapped in their mind and dying in it.
But he was dying, too, wasn't he? How could he feel so much pain yet not be even close to the end? He'd served his time well, didn't he? Maybe he did deserve a reprieve from the real world, maybe at last he could escape to that feeling of immense joy and eternal contentment people liked to think the afterlife was all about.
But then he'd end up leaving Sammy, wouldn't he? No, no, he couldn't allow that. Sam was his life, a life worth hurting and killing and dying for, a life he'd never trade for the entirety of the world and it's existence.
He scooped Sam up gingerly into his arms, as if a small, fragile porcelain doll that could crack and break with the slightest ease. He felt a small comfort as he watched Sam's chest move up then down in a rhythmic pattern. He looked further up and his stomach dropped as he looked into Sam's dull and glazed eyes, not even the slightest flicker of recognition as they stared up into the dark, endless sky above them, as if he'd shut himself off at will and didn't have enough reason to turn back on.
Dean crushed Sam's body closer to his chest, ignoring the fear he felt for his baby brother, and slowly turned, trudging back to the Impala. He ignored the multitude of bodies on the floor, and the blood gushing out of each, just wanting to get away.
He looked up from his baby brother's face to see his father stationed readily but wearily at the driver's seat of the sleek car, parked parallel in front of Bobby and his old pickup truck.
Wordlessly, Dean got into the backseat of the Impala, his back against the car window as he positioned Sam to lay his head limply against his chest. Dean's legs wrapped around Sam's, acting as a strong, impregnable cocoon of protection. He hugged Sam tightly to his chest as he muttered useless apologies and broken promises on how he was going to make everything okay.
He never stopped talking until they reached the motel.
Dean continued staring at Sam's prone body for hours, so long he didn't even know what time of day it was. Hell, he didn't know anything, nothing except that his brother was on the small bed in front of him, his eyes blinking without thought and without emotion, in who knew what kind of torturous, isolated prison. Sam had been in exactly the same position ever since Dean placed him gently onto the bed, and Dean had been in exactly the same position since he'd sat in the chair beside him.
Dean twitched relentlessly and sighed, his own body reacting to Sam's motionless one. How could he let this happen?
A hand was placed hesitantly on his shoulder, and he knew without looking back it was John. Bobby had left...at some point with the excuse that he had things to do. What those things were, like getting rid of the bodies, was gratefully unspoken, almost allowing Dean to act like none of this had ever happened, that nobody hurt his brother possibly beyond repair and that he was merely sleeping peacefully beside him.
With his eyes open.
Dean choked back a sob, his head in his hands. His self-recrimination was at its best, or maybe its worst, and he wondered absently if his baby brother would ever smile that beautiful, blindingly innocent smile again. Would he ever hear that sweet laugh again? Would he ever see the blood rise to his cheeks when Dean blatantly points out a pretty girl is staring at him?
It was almost daunting, how Dean's entire life revolved around the boy in front of him, yet he couldn't do anything to help him. Whatever those sick bastards had used on Sammy, it had done its job. Every part of his body but the eyes were stiff and unmoving, and it unnerved Dean to think what might be running through Sam's head. Surely there were no injuries or hindrances to detach Sam from his own thoughts, so who knew? Was he blaming Dean like Dean was, or was he too nice and only blamed himself? Dean sniffed, his eyes drifting over Sam's body.
The soft clasp on his shoulder was still there, and he wondered if John expected some sort of response from him. He didn't get one, and eventually the hand went away. John went from behind him and floated in his peripheral, sighing half-heartedly as he moved to sit at the wooden table in the corner of the small room.
Another hour later and a knock on the motel door resounded through the room, breaking Dean momentarily out of his thoughts. The muffled footsteps behind him in response told Dean John would handle it. Dean reached for the gun at the small of his back as John did the same, shuffling unsurely to the door. Dean cocked his gun, the only thing worth protecting in the bed beside him.
And he would protect him until he died.
John warily peeked through the small hole in the door, his eyes at once filling with recognition. Dean immediately tucked the gun back in its place, knowingly as John unlocked the rusted, nearly unhinged door, a mournful Bobby appearing on the doorstep.
Dean stood to greet Bobby as he entered, the older man pulling John into a bear hug before doing the same to Dean. Bobby looked older than usual, gray overcoming the previous black hair and not a couple of wrinkles replacing the once unblemished skin. His eyes drooped lower as he caught sight of the youngest Winchester lying vulnerable on the moldy bed.
Dean watched as Bobby sighed heavily, taking off his hat to scratch absently at his growing bald patch on top of his head. "Goddamn," he mumbled, his eyes closing in frustration and undeniable anger. The man then opened them again to turn his gaze to Sam again. An indefinable expression crossed Bobby's face, and Dean wondered what he was thinking about. Was he seeing the dark bruise on Sam's face, the others littered across Sam's arms? Was he wondering how many other injuries were hidden beneath the fresh shirt they had put on Sam, the other soiled and bloody? Had he failed to notice Sam's prone, unmoving state on the bed? Did he recognize the drugs at work? Or was he intimidated by the eyes? Dean turned to Sam, his brother's eyes blinking slow and infrequent. As if he wasn't aware of anything around him.
Bobby sighed heavily, and Dean turned around to see Bobby put his cap back on and sit at the small table, his body physically turned away from the twin beds. He admired the small painting on the wall beside him, and Dean recognized the older man's physical effort not to look at Sam, the effort to forget the broken boy behind him to clear his mind to focus on the problem at hand, how to fix this.
Bobby heaved another sigh, his eyes now focused on the two elder Winchesters. He looked uncertain, like he wasn't sure how the two would react. "Okay, ya idjits," started, his eyes shifting from one to the other, "I dunno what you two are gonna want to do with this, but," Bobby sighed, "here it is anyway." He put his hand in a sack bag Dean hadn't noticed upon his arrival, fished it out a second later to produce a black, sleek camera.
A camera Dean was much too familiar with.
Dean's eyes glinted something murderous, and Bobby immediately picked up on it. "I know what you're thinkin' boy, but listen. Maybe if we knew what Sam dealt with we can figure out how to help him."
Without a word, Dean strode across the room and snatched the camera away from the unsuspecting Bobby, instantly throwing it to the ground and crushing it with the heel of his boot. "Dad and I were there for enough of it," Dean said with a hiss, emphasizing his words with another slam onto the camera, his eyes pricking tears. He was such a coward. He did this to his baby brother, didn't protect him, yet he doesn't want to see exactly what his naïveté caused. He didn't want to see what else happened to his baby brother, didn't want to watch the cruel, invasive things Sam had been the leading participator in while Dean and his father sat unknowingly in the motel.
John sighed heavily, sitting beside Bobby. "He's right, Bobby. I realize you came in late in the game but…we saw enough, Bobby, we really did." John sat almost lifelessly, an animated corpse with little more capabilities than a buried one. He kept his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands, mourning. Dean turned away from the sight, hoping to allow his father the dignity Sam forcefully lost.
Three hours later and Dean was scooting his rickety chair up even closer, the legs of the chair jarringly loud in the otherwise silent room. He snickered to himself bitterly, knowing that, if Sammy was actually here, he'd be spouting out complaints about his great need of personal space and creating an argument that granted him that right. But his Sammy wasn't here, not really, and there were no disapproving responses of Dean's closer proximity to prove him wrong.
He swallowed audibly, the need to just touch Sam again, make sure he was still real, becoming overwhelming. Hesitantly, very hesitantly, he raised a shaking hand until it just barely grazed over Sam's cheek, the soft skin beneath his hand cold and unmoving. His fingers stretched out to wander into Sam's long locks and tucked some of it behind his ear. A dark flash of black and blue appeared on Sam's neck and Dean's eyebrows scrunched in suspicion. He pushed more of the thick hair back and his eyes darkened menacingly at the prominent bruise, hickey, on his neck. With teeth grit and hands clenched tight, the right hand holding Sam's hair carefully as it squeezed, tears ran unheeded down Dean's face.
A hand, stronger and surer than before, landed on his shoulder and he looked back to see John looking down at him with bright tears in his eyes. One escaped, trailing lightly down his father's cheek. His gaze flashed with the barest of seconds at his youngest's neck, cringing before looking back at his eldest with pain in his eyes.
"This isn't your fault, son."
Dean immediately stood, the legs of the chair squeaking violently at his abruptness and only John's lucky placement behind the chair kept it from tumbling over in explosions of decayed wood.
Dean fisted his hands in his hair, the pain not registering as he pulled violently at the roots. "Dad, that's just it, it is my fault. Hell, I might as well have just done..." He paused, "Done all those things those perverts did to my brother." He deflated with a sigh, more tears springing up and spilling over his lower lids. He choked on a barely suppressed sob, his eyes tight with the raw, nearly physical pain dwelling inside his chest. "Goddamn it." He sniffled, his eyes looking to Sam's uncaring ones, the eyes still blinking emotionlessly up at the ceiling, as they had been for the past six hours. If his little Sammy was in there, neither of the elder Winchesters could tell it.
"Dean, there's no way you can blame yourself for this. You helped Sam the best you could in understanding the dangers of men like those in the alley. It wasn't your fault or Sam's that he got hurt." John lowered his head, tears continuing to fall. "If it was anyone's fault it was mine. I put you two into more dangerous situations than I can count." John shook his head weakly in self-hatred, lacking the inveterate arrogance he had always held himself with.
Dean sat again, this time in the far corner of the room, keeping his gaze on the cold floor, its burnished quality gone and long deceased decades ago. "No, Dad, this isn't your fault, none of it is." He continued staring deeply into the floor, as if it contained the answers to the questions he didn't know nor knew how to deal with. With one hand lightly at his hip the palm of the other rubbed roughly at his forehead in absent consideration. With his back hunched, he said absently, "I can just think of how scared he was, all those men. I mean they were fuckin' three times his size," he exclaimed, throwing his hands out to create the parody of a rotund man for emphasis.
Dean looked back to his brother, expecting the lax and limp body that had become so ingrained into his memory it hurt. His breath nearly caught in his throat as he watched Sam laying on the bed, admiring his raised hand. It was held high above his head and he stared at it with a dull interest, flexing and experimenting with it, as if a new limb.
He's not used to his body obeying the demands of his mind, Dean thought in horror. His mouth curled in anguish and repulsion as he continued to watch his poor Sammy blink disinterestedly at the moving limb, as if he didn't know what to do with it now that he had it.
Dean was by Sam's side in an instant, John soon following, and both watched intently as Sam continued his administrations blissfully.
Dean said softly, "Hey, Sammy, long time no see, kiddo. How are you feelin'?" Dean watched hopefully as he mentally berated himself. Stupid! How do you think he feels? He was almost raped, damn it. Dean squeezed his eyes shut frightfully, realizing just how close he'd come to losing his brother, but then the hand was back on his shoulder, careful and loving. Dean opened his eyes as Sam finally acknowledged them, his head turning slightly in their direction. Sam dropped his hand carelessly, letting it flop by his side. Dean's stomach clenched as he looked into Sam's glazy, unfeeling eyes.
"Sam…," Dean started, but cut himself off. What was he supposed to say? How could he possibly make this right when he so royally fucked up?
How can Sam ever trust me again after this?
After giving the two elder Winchesters another indifferent glance, Sam shifted on the bed, inching himself forward with the intention of sitting up. Dean immediately complied, placing both arms under his baby brother's readily.
"Don't touch me," Sam hissed, swatting his groping hands away immediately at contact. The swatting hand had moved slowly, though, slower than Sam's usual fast and instinctive retaliation, and Dean realized Sam wasn't used to controlling his own body yet, like it was alien to him. Even as Sam raised his torso off the bed, Dean could tell by Sam's unsure, nearly perplexed expression that it felt awkward to be the initiator of the movement.
Somewhere deep in Dean's heart he was eternally, endlessly weeping, begging for release, to be set free from the pain and agony he had been left witness to. Another tear fell from Dean's eye, and he couldn't help but wonder how scarred this would leave his family, how damaged.
Despite the small aches Sam must have had from…recuperating on the hard, lumpy bed, he seemed to get up with relative ease, only the smallest of hisses escaping Sam's mouth as he achieved the vertical position. Dean's eyebrows scrunched, turning his gaze back on Sam's apathetic expression. Lying drugged on the bed for numerous hours and he gets up as easy as if he had taken a small nap? No, no..
Maybe Sam hadn't been affected by the side effects for as long as they had thought.
And Dean's watergates unhinged.
His heart cracked and Dean broke along with it, the thin shield of emotion he kept as protection shattering as he sobbed hard into his jacket sleeve, the gaping black hole deep and irreparable. The hand on his shoulder squeezed hard and tight as the realization came to the man behind him as well. Sam hadn't cared to tell them he was already awake, but why? Did he not know they were there, or did he just not want to deal with them? There was no way they could fix this, not entirely. Could Dean live with himself if he couldn't ever fully heal his broken brother, that all the torment and pain he allowed to be conflicted on his brother will never cease to haunt Sam's memories for the rest of his life?
Dean watched drearily as the form of his baby brother grew steadily blurrier and hazier until there was no longer a defined body, just a mass of limbs and flesh color. The tears filling his eyes and rolling down his cheeks felt like granite, thick and unbearably heavy.
He blinked hard to clear his vision some, thankfully helping just enough to see Sam as he was looking back at his hand, the limb lying stiffly on his thigh as he flexed it again, clenched then unclenched, clenched then unclenched. He inspected it further as he moved just the fingers, wiggling them around and side-to-side.
Dean heard poorly veiled sobs behind him, the hand no longer on his shoulder. Dean sniffled. So it wasn't just him that was affected.
Dean physically brought himself out of his stupor, his hand reaching out silently and hesitantly toward Sam. The kid's head was still downcast, focused solely on his fingers, and maybe a reminder that the kid wasn't alone was a good idea. Maybe the first step of the healing process is finding the reason to heal. Dean leaned forward until his hand was just barely able to touch Sam's head. Lightly, so lightly, he carefully ruffled Sam's hair, playing with a few strands of the chocolate locks.
Sam whipped his head back to look to Dean, his ass scooting back violently away from the touch. "Don't touch me," he hissed, his eyes fierce and defensive.
Dean flinched, his hands put immediately at his sides. "Sammy, it's okay, you're safe now." He watched as Sam turned his body fully to Dean, prepared to fight for the freedom he finally regained.
But was that the reason? The dull, disinterested look in Sam's eyes when he had watched his new found movement told Dean he may not even care anymore. Just another damn change he had to unwillingly adjust to.
"Come on, Sammy, it's me. Dean, your big bro," he said hesitantly.
What if Sam didn't remember him?
Dean blatantly ignored the question in his head, hating himself for even thinking it. Of course his Sammy would remember him.
Dean watched as Sam's eyes darted from him, to Dad, to Bobby, searching their eyes for any signs of pretense or malicious intentions. After several agonizing moments, Dean holding his breath hopefully the entire time, Sam finally let his guard down, some, his shoulders sagging and eyes filling with recognition.
"So you saved me," Sam deduced, his eyes turning their gaze to the floor. His hair fell purposely in front of his eyes, shrouding his emotions from unnecessary and unwanted sympathy. Unwanted pity. "I appreciate it, I do," he started, suddenly looking up to gaze at all three men. "But don't treat me like some traumatized child that can't feed himself because he doesn't know what to do with the fork, that can't wipe his own ass because he doesn't remember how." Sam shook his head, his expression unreadable. "Treat me like you always treated Sam before." He watched the horrified gazes burning holes in him, nearly physically searing, and his voice unconsciously softened in harshness. "I realize this won't just be hard for me. You all...you all are hurting, and I'm so so sorry." Sam's eyes watered at the genuine apology, his words momentarily dying in his throat at the rawness he felt. "Please...treat this like any other injury. I'm sick, so now you have to make me better again."
Sam slept in the bed soundlessly, the occasional ruffling of bed sheets the only indication he was sleeping. Sleeping and not drugged.
Dean sighed, immediately realizing he had picked up the bad habit from their father. He sighed again merely out of spite for himself. Bobby and John had gone out to get dinner, or breakfast technically, a half hour ago and Sam had been sleeping for a little over that. Despite the reprieve Dean was still reeling from Sam's heartfelt words, his eyes watering up at even the slightest thought of his baby brother. He wiped at the moisture accumulating in his eyes for what felt like the thousandth time, sighing at his own emotional incompetence. What could he possibly do to help Sam get through this? Singing to him and giving him Tylenol won't do a damn, so what could he do?
Dean continued sitting in the wooden chair beside Sam's bed, a hand over his face in self-flagellation. What was he supposed to do? Is there some sort of technique or etiquette you were supposed to follow for sexually abused children? Before Dean knew it he was quietly sobbing into his hand, the other hanging limply in his lap as he doubled over in what felt like physical pain.
A hand fell softly onto his shoulder, and Dean's head sprung up, a few tears flaking off his cheeks as he went to look into Sam's deep, melancholy eyes, his brother's legs hanging loosely as he sat on the rumpled bed.
Dean's breath got stuck somewhere in his throat, hesitantly eyeing his brother. "Hey Sammy..", Sam flinched, and Dean stopped talking. He swallowed, his eyes burning as he recognized the necessary correction. "Sam," he said sadly. His mouth worked on the words he wanted to say, the words he should have said the moment Sam first woke up before. "Sam, I'm…I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have let you leave school alone." Dean fisted a hand hard in his eye out of spite for the tears he tried to will not to come. "I should have protected you, been there to save you from those…those damn perverts. And all because of me…" Dean gestures to Sam, "this happens."
A spark of life came to Sam's eyes and he squinted questioningly at Dean, as if he was trying to solve the complex, intricate puzzle in his mind. A few seconds more and his hands clenched tightly in his lap, his head shaking. He shook his head. "Dean, how could you possibly blame yourself for this?"
Dean's mouth moved to say something, explain his faults in a way Sam would understand, but the kid was already in motion, heaving a grunt as he moved to stand. Before he could stop and think, Dean was there by his side, a strong hand on Sam's arm as leverage. Sam flinched involuntarily, and Dean immediately dropped his hand.
"I'm sorry—", Dean started.
"No." Sam shook his head as he stood. "No, don't, please." He looked to the side, avoiding eye-contact.
"Sammy, don't worry, it's okay. We understand. We'll take it in little steps, we can —".
"No," Sam said, stronger this time. He purposefully grabbed Dean's calloused hand and brought it up to his own cheek, making it rub against his skin. "Please, I need you to touch me." At Dean's befuddled look, Sam continued, his voice tinged with a deep sadness Dean wasn't expecting. "If you don't touch me I'll never heal. I'll be scared of everyone, scared of what they might do to me. I need to understand being touched isn't always a bad thing." He looked down, away from Dean's heated gaze. "If I can't trust my own family not to..." He shook his head fervently, looking back at them determinedly, tears in his eyes. "Please, I want to get better."
Tears ran unheeded down Dean's face as he cried hard into his hand, the other hand moving from Sam's cheek and fisting itself on the back of Sam's shirt. He crushed Sam hard against his body, and he felt Sam visibly push down the impulsive flinch. He didn't let go though; no, he held onto his Sammy for all it was worth. Tears blurred his vision again, and Dean wondered if he'd ever be able to see again. He put his face in Sam's dark locks, a hand straying to play absently with a few strands.
Dean nodded hard into Sam's hair. "Yeah, I can do that, Sammy."
Alright, so there you go. Acceptable ending or another chapter? Hope it was worth the wait. By the way, speaking of disastrous, annoyingly stupid intervals between updates, my next fanfic will have several chapters already written before being posted, so as not to make it so difficult for me to keep up with everything. Just thought I'd let you know.
I hope all have started off the new year well. Thanks to all that take the time to R&R!