Be Careful What You Ask For (SPN)

by Fraidy Cat

Spoilers up to and including 6.06. The world of Winchester and Supernatural is so owned by someone else. Blame it on them.

...

Dean paused, his hand on the screen door, and regarded his brother.

Sam was sitting right where he had left him an hour before: on the porch swing. He wasn't swinging; he hadn't chosen that location over any other. Sam had merely allowed Dean to park him there, without question.

Of course, questions would require words – and Sam hadn't spoken for almost two months. Not since Castiel put his soul back.

He was crying, again. From his position behind the screen door, Dean could see the tear tracks clearly. Sam could be crying about anything. Sam could be crying about everything.

Sam might be crying because he was remembering the cage. Dean had spent four months in hell; the equivalent of 40 years, and it had broken him. He still had nightmares about it; probably always would. Sam's soul had been in the cage almost 18 months. For one hundred and eighty years, Lucifer had been his roomie. Hell, it made Dean cry, if he let himself think about it too long.

Sam could be crying because when his soul was returned, he understood the consequences of the things he had done, in the year he had been back on earth and hunting either alone, or with his grandfather. Dean didn't want to know any more details about those months than he already did. Sam had done things that scared the old man. Sam had scared the toughest hunter either of them would ever know. A man who was holding hands with the King of Hell was frightened when he watched Robo Sam hunt. No, Dean didn't need to hear the details.

Sam's tears might be because he finally understood that he had been back for a solid year before he bothered to let his brother in on the secret – and then he had only come to Dean because Samuel told him to. With his soul returned, Sam could feel again the damage that had been done when he watched the hellhounds take Dean – and then lived four months without him. He understood now just how cruel it had been, to stay silent for so long. He knew what he had done.

Maybe Sam was crying because he knew what he had done after they finally got back together. Dean was Sam's brother, his substitute father and surrogate mother, his best friend, his entire life. Sam's single-minded need to kill the demon responsible for Dean's death had driven him to literally sleep with the enemy. Just a year-and-a-half later, he was sacrificing Dean to vampires – and defending his actions.

Could be that Sam was crying because he understood that first he shoved Dean toward Lisa and Ben, and then he came between them. Sam's last thoughts, before he played Twister with Lucy, were of Dean's future happiness. Sam had been willing to sacrifice himself as long as he knew that Dean would go on living, and would have the normal life both of them wanted for themselves - and each other. Then he had come back, soul-less and fucked up beyond all recognition. In his emptiness he had separated Dean from the very family he had once given him.

Sam could be crying because he had lost his soul – or he could be crying because he had it back.

Dean sighed, pushed his way onto the porch and walked to the swing. He sank onto the seat next to his brother. "Hey, Sammy," he greeted, knowing there would be no response. Even Sam's tears were silent. The last sound he had heard from Sam was a prolonged, agonized scream, as Castiel inserted the reclaimed soul to its rightful place. Sam had passed out immediately thereafter, and when he regained consciousness, he wet his pants. It was the first clue that getting Sam's soul back might not have been such a great idea.

Cas had tried to warn them. He said that a soul restoration had never been done before, that it would be both physically and mentally painful, that even he had no idea if Sam could do this, or how long acclimation would take. Still, Dean had insisted. He missed Sammy. He had thought he was trading Uber Hunter for Chick Flick and Salad. He hadn't known. He hadn't known.

Cas had "repaired" Sam at Bobby's - and they were still there. Dean and Bobby alternated hunts so that one of them was always with Sam. Someone had to dress him, tell him to go to the bathroom, feed him. Dean's all-consuming desire had left him with nothing. No Lisa. No Ben. No Sam. He was left with memories and shells.

He pushed with his feet and started the swing swaying. "Winter's coming," he said. "Getting colder. Sun's going down earlier." He reached into his pocket and withdrew the now ever-present handkerchief. He leaned over slightly to wipe the tears from Sam's face. "I love you, Sammy. Please stop crying, now."

Sam shuddered next to him and fresh tears welled in his eyes. Dean let his hand fall back into his lap and looked out over the salvage yard. "I'll wait," he said. "As long as it takes."

Sam didn't answer. Dean wasn't expecting him to. But then, there was a miracle. Sam turned his head toward Dean, blinked a few times, and seemed to focus on Dean's face. Almost imperceptibly, he shoved a little closer to Dean on the swing, so that their legs were touching. Then he turned his head back to the front. Dean was ecstatic. Sam had been virtually catatonic; letting himself be led, doing what he was told, but volunteering nothing. Dean smiled. "I'll wait," he repeated, and was rewarded with a second miracle.

Sam slowly lowered his head until it rested on Dean's broad shoulder, and closed his eyes.

Dean was afraid to move, afraid to shatter the moment, afraid that there would never be anything more, afraid that he had made the wrong decision, afraid that Sam's soul had been irrevocably damaged.

Periodically, tremors shook Sam's frame, and Dean tried to make himself as solid and warm as possible. The two brothers sat together, on a slowly swaying porch swing, in the gathering dusk of a fall evening, and Dean felt two of Sam's trembling fingers latch onto the hem of his shirt.

It was then that Dean noticed Sam had stopped crying - and there were tear tracks drying on his own face.

...

End