I know that punching my brother doesn't solve anything. I know this.
I don't know what made me snap this time. Maybe it was Lisa, maybe it was the unfairness of everything, maybe it was the cold way that Sam looked at me, maybe it was fear, maybe it was just me being a dick….who knows? But all I do know is that it didn't help the situation. I know it didn't solve the problem. I know that my brother can't feel anything. And above all, I most definitely know that I don't feel any better about anything than I did before I hit him the first time. I know all of this, but it just doesn't seem to matter in the same way that nothing seems to matter to the man I just pummeled into unconsciousness.
I squatted down next to him, instant regret; instant guilt just flowed all over and through me. I knew that those feelings would wash away the anger, and leave me feeling like the biggest asshole in the world. I always wish, after the fact, that I could feel that regret and guilt first, and then maybe I wouldn't hit him in the first place. He always looks at me afterwards like a puppy dog that has loved you forever unconditionally, a puppy dog that you just unceremoniously kicked hard in the head, but still loves you and wants to cuddle up to you. That's usually the hardest.
"Hell, that won't be a problem this time now will it Sammy? You're not even in there." I said to the unconscious form that only LOOKED like my little brother. I licked my lips and sighed. Time to get him up, and out of here, time to get him back to the motel, time to clean him up, time to apologize, time to feel for the both of us.
Sam stayed knocked out the entire trip to the motel, and he only started to come to once I had him on the bed. His eyes opened when I put the cold wash cloth on his face. Feelings or no feelings, soul or no soul, Sam or not Sam, I just couldn't leave him with a bloody face—he was my brother….or at least my brother might be in there.
"Why?" the emotionless Sam asked as I was wiping away the last of the blood from his face.
"Does it really matter?" I asked. It looked at me. It gave me a quizzical look, it looked like it didn't understand the information that was being presented.
"I guess not. But I'm still curious."
"You lose everything else about you but your damn questions." I evaded. It tried to cock it's head with curiosity, more like a dog than a man in his cold face. It seemed to be evaluating my statement, attempting to determine what exactly I meant by that. It isn't pretending any more, it isn't pretending that it feels, isn't pretending to be my Sammy anymore. And what's left is chilling, and disturbing, and appears evil, and makes my skin crawl, and makes me want to cut my losses and run like hell. But I don't let that show on my face. I keep my game face so securely locked that it almost hurts. I don't want this thing having the benefit of being able to read me.
"Do you feel better?" It asks. I guess It decided that my last statement wasn't worth close examination.
"Do I feel better?" I thought about the question for a moment. "No. But if you have all of Sam's memories, you would know that punching my brother never makes me feel better, I only think that it will."
It nodded, and then winced. That wince gave me some satisfaction, good to know it can feel physical pain. "I do remember. When you hit me after Dad died, you felt bad about it, you felt bad enough to let me drive the car and to let me get to chose where we ate for month, and you didn't complain when I switched the radio station, then when you hit me after you found out about Ruby, you said you were sorry for hitting me, that time you didn't give me special privileges, I think because you were very angry with me about betraying you. So, yes, I do know that you feel bad about hitting me and do not feel pleasure, yet I'm still very confused as to why you do it. If you don't receive the desired effect then why do you continue to try the same actions? It doesn't make sense."
I had the desire to try the same actions again right now. This thing talked about my relationship with my brother as if it were a clinical thing, as if it were something to be dissected and studies and analyzed. That wasn't what a relationship was. It is love and kindness, and apologizing for things said and done in anger, because you truly regret what you did to the person that you love. This thing made my blood boil, made me feel the same way I did in hell, that complete and total frustrated pain-filled rage that is borders on the all-consuming, and I had the distinct fear that I might just let it take over me and I might kill this RoboSam.
"Dean?" It questioned.
"I don't want to talk to you."
"You always end up talking to me."
"No. I talk to my brother. Not you." I stood up, I was ready to let him lie there in pain, I wanted him to feel something, anything, even if it was pain. I needed him to feel, and I was up, and I was heading out of the room, I had reserved the room next door, I don't know if I can sleep in the same room as him any longer, I don't know if I can stand to be in the same car with him, I don't' know if I can share a bathroom with this robot that had the face of my brother.
"Dean? Where are you going?" It asked as I headed to the door.
"I'm going to get out of here."
"But my face is hurt. This is where you usually fix it." He said that with a stone face, no inflection, the lack of emotion was jarring, and he expected me to fix it, because the memories stored in that brain said that is the normal reaction to his body being damaged. I suppressed a shudder and fixed my eyes on him.
"You fix it yourself." I said with my hand on the doorknob. The thing cocked its head again like a dog, confused and curious as to why my actions didn't fit the known pattern that was floating around in its head. It sat up, slowly and with great effort. My gut wanted me to go and help, my gut said that Sammy was hurt and needed my help, but I knew better this time, I wasn't going to be taken in by RoboSammy's face ever again.
"But that isn't what you do."
"It's what I do to people like you."
"But I'm your brother and you usually fix it, you usually wash the blood away, attend the cuts and try to reduce the swelling, then if memory serves, you go out and buy me a smoothie to make me feel better." Without the pretense, this thing was truly mechanical, truly without anything to make it human. "Are you going to get the smoothie?" he asked casually.
"I don't understand. You aren't following the established pattern."
"You aren't part of the pattern."
"But I'm your brother."
"You look like my brother."
"I am your brother."
"You aren't him. My brother would be sad, hurt, confused, and mad. You aren't any of those things."
"I told you Dean. I want to feel. I just can't." It tried to look sincere, and for a second, for a split second I wanted to cave.
"And I want to care about you right now. But I just can't." And that was the truth. I wanted to care about my brother, wanted to care about the man whom I had raised, wanted to care about the man who had gone to hell to save the world, I wanted to care about the man I missed so desperately this past year that I literally had a gun to my head more than once, I wanted this shell, this thing that looked like my brother to be my brother. "We don't always get what we want Sam." I said and left the room. I needed air, I needed time to process. That thing in there needed fixed, and I think I'm the only one who will be able to do it. I got in the car, sighed, and put my head against the steering wheel.