Summary: AU Tag to 6.01 – Why did Sam stay away for a year and not tell Dean he was back? Because Lisa asked him to.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Spoilers for 6.01, language
Author's Note: Lisa didn't seem all that surprised to me when she saw Sam standing in her kitchen, so my mind immediately jumped to this.
It's hard to rely on my good intentions, when my head's full of things that I can't mention. ~ Glen Phillips
She still remembers that night, can still feel the cool metal of the trashcan lid gripped in her hand, can still feel the goose bumps that prickled her skin when she realized she wasn't alone.
To this day, she doesn't know how she knew it would be him that she'd see when she turned around; she just knew, and yet she still had gasped when she had seen him standing there.
While Dean hadn't said what had happened, what had led him to her door, back into her life, the implication was clear: Sam was gone. For good.
And yet there he stood, staring at her from the shadows of a blown streetlight.
"Sam?" she had asked, which was stupid. He was Dean's brother, and she would've known him anywhere.
He had said nothing. Didn't move. Didn't even blink.
His blank expression had unnerved her and had made her wish she had saved running the trash out to the curb for Ben to do in the morning.
She had replaced the lid on the trashcan and stared back at him.
His voice had been quiet, hoarse, and she had wanted to cry, knowing it was the first word he had spoken since his return, the first person he had thought of, the first place he had come.
"No." Panic had risen within her, and she had slowly shaken her head. "Please...don't."
Don't tell him.
Don't take him away from me.
"Please," she had said again. "He'll be happy. I promise. I promise I'll make him happy."
A ghost of a smile had passed over Sam's face and he had nodded, pulling something from the pocket of his jeans and holding it out to her.
Black cord, gold charm.
She had stared at it and felt her tears finally make their appearance as she had recognized it and grasped it, her fingers brushing Sam's, her eyes locked with his as she had received the message – At least tell him I was here.
She had nodded – I will – and then had watched Sam disappear down the street.
Dean knows that Sam is back, and she is truly fucked.
Dean has his nightmares, but this one's hers.
"Lisa, Ben...I don't know if you remember, but this is – "
"Sam," she had finished.
Oh yeah. She remembered.
Beneath the sheets, her fingers twist in the black cord and grip the gold charm as she watches Dean brush his teeth from where she sits on the bed, propped against the headboard.
She's carried the amulet with her every single day for a year, waiting for the right time to give it to Dean, to tell him about Sam, to allow him to make his own decision about whether to stay or go...but every day always ended with the same conclusion: fuck that.
If given the choice between her and his brother, she had no delusions about which he'd pick...and she couldn't bear to lose him again. Sam had honored her plea – he had stayed away – and what Dean didn't know, wouldn't hurt him.
She continues to watch Dean's reflection in the bathroom mirror, overcome by the urge to cry...but doesn't. She doesn't because she knows that tears won't make it right, won't take back what happened – because if they did the amount she's already shed would have surely washed away her guilt and turned back time.
Dean turns off the light and crosses to the bed. She forces a reassuring smile as he slides in beside her, knowing that's what he expects from her and knowing that she should give it to him...that after what she's done, she should give him anything he asks for.
Dean leans over her, kissing her gently, and she's struck with the realization that although she's ruined everything, he still loves her.
No, she reminds herself. He still loves me because he doesn't know what I've done.
He pulls back, studying her. "What's wrong?"
She squirms under his scrutiny and fights the urge to laugh hysterically as her grip tightens around the amulet hidden in her lap.
"Just a long day," she replies.
Dean snorts, declaring it the understatement that it is, but continues to stare at her. The last 24 hours have made him more suspicious than usual, and he's not buying it.
Just a promise to your brother...a betrayal against your trust...a mistake for all of us.
Dean's gaze doesn't falter, and she gets the feeling that he's waiting her out.
The apology rushes past her lips before she can contain it, her bruised conscience desperate for solace.
Dean's silent for a moment. "Sorry for what?"
For not loving you enough to let you go...for not being stronger...for not being honest.
"For..." Her mind is frantic as her eyes settle on the pile of laundry in the corner. "For not having everything washed."
He follows her gaze and then looks back at her.
"I'll get up early to do a load, so you'll have a clean work shirt before you – "
She flinches at his harsh tone, recognizes the coldness in his eyes, knows that he knows she's lying.
But he doesn't know how long I've been doing it.
"Cut the bullshit and just tell me."
She nods, even as she tries to think of another way to stall, when it occurs to her that this situation won't be any better later. If the past year had taught her anything, it had taught her that sometimes time didn't make things better but worse; it had taught her that she couldn't ignore this...she couldn't escape it…she couldn't wish it away. The secret to being able to admit mistakes was to do it sooner, than later. The longer it went, the harder it got – and this was so fucking hard.
"I meant to tell you. I wanted to tell you."
Her words were louder – had sounded more desperate – than she intended.
Dean shakes his head, and she's not sure if it's from confusion or denial. "Tell me what?"
"I know I should've told you as soon as it happened. He asked me to tell you, and I wanted to, but it was never a good time. I know it was stupid and selfish of me to keep it from you, but I wasn't lying when I said that this has been one of the best years of my life. I love you...and I know you love me...and I think we've still got a chance to make it right."
"To make what right?"
She answers with a stare.
Dean shakes his head again and shoves away from her, standing abruptly.
"Lisa – "
"I knew about Sam."
There...I said it. Four words that will change four lives.
Dean looks as though she's slapped him. "What?"
She remains silent, knowing he heard her.
"The night you came here." Tears begin to flow freely down her cheeks. "You were asleep on the couch, and I had taken the trash out to the curb, and he was just there. Just standing there, and he wanted to see you, but I told him…" She swallows. "I told him no, asked him to please leave, told him I'd make you happy, told him I'd tell you he was here, but I just..."
She stares at him, unnerved by the quiet venom in his voice and the expression on his face.
"But I was going to...and I know my apology doesn't make things right, but I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." She feels herself shaking, knowing she has to tell him the rest. "There's something else. Something Sam gave me that night to give to you."
She fists the amulet and stands, coming toward him.
Dean puts his hands out in front of him to halt her approach but looks at her expectantly.
She holds out her hand, uncurling her fingers to reveal the coiled black cord, the dull gold charm resting in her palm.
There is silence – for what seems like hours – before he snatches the amulet from her hand and turns to the chair by the door, grabbing his jeans and pulling them on.
Panic seizes her heart. "What are you doing?"
Dean snorts, yanking open the third drawer of the bureau and tugging a black t-shirt over his head. "What the fuck does it look like, Lisa?"
She shakes her head excessively. No. Nonononono.
Dean doesn't respond, doesn't even acknowledge her as he slips the amulet over his head, the gold charm resting on his chest as he sits to pull on his boots.
"You can't leave! We need you...I need you!"
Suddenly he stands and moves so that his face is within inches of hers, and it occurs to her that this is a side of him that she's never seen before – that this is the lethal hunter, the pissed off older brother, the person you don't want to fuck with.
He looks angry enough to strike her, and she holds her breath.
"Sam needs me. He's needed me for almost a year – "
"He has the others," she interrupts, surprising herself at her boldness.
"Who? Gramps and the Campbell soup kids?" Dean snorts derisively. "Give me a fuckin' break!"
"They're his family, just like we're your family."
"No. Sam's my family, and I'm his, and the rest can kiss my ass." Including you, he adds with a glare. "As for the Campbell clan, something's off with them, and while they may have Sam snowed, I'm not sold." He shakes his head and looks down at the amulet. "But what choice did he have when he thought I knew he was back and hadn't come looking for him? When he thought you had told me, and I just didn't care enough to find him."
"I'm sorry. Dean, I'm – "
He shakes his head, turning away from her. "Enough, Lisa."
"I'm sorry," she responds, sounding like a broken record, and yet not knowing what else to say. "I'm sorry!"
Dean stops in the doorway. "Maybe. Not because of what you did, but because you couldn't pull it off...because you couldn't go on like nothing had happened...because now that I know Sam's back, you couldn't pull your shit together and keep playing me like you've been doing for the past year."
"It's not like that."
He doesn't respond.
"If you leave, what will I tell Ben?"
Dean stares at her, shrugs. "Tell him the truth. Tell him you fucked up."
"Dean – "
He walks out of the bedroom.
"I love you," she says, following after him and hearing the hollow desperateness of her voice as it echoes down the hall, down the stairs.
He moves toward the front door, and her heart slams in her chest.
No...it can't end like this.
"For what? " He turns on her, the intensity of his emotions marring his features. "Is there more you haven't told me?"
She hesitates and then shakes her head. "No."
"Then we're done."
And he was right – they were.
The Dean/Lisa topic seems to be a sensitive one, and in typical Supernatural fan fashion, tends to ignite passionate responses and lively...um...conversation. Reviews are certainly welcome (especially since this is my first story in this fandom), but please don't freak out on me. It's just fiction, right? Right!
Thanks for reading! Until next time... ~ Marianna