A/N: Tag for Family Matters, episode 6.07.
I suck at titles. That is the hardest thing for me to come up with in a story so thanks to my daughter, Jennifer (who is also my beta) for the title of this one. I've been trying to convert her to a SPN fan for a long time now and I think...maybe...I've almost got her. :)
You with me, Dean?
The question had been rolling around in Dean's head ever since it had crossed his brother's lips. Of course, he'd given the perfunctory nod and they had headed back to the motel where he was now lying, wide awake, unable to curb the anger that had been welling up inside.
Sam was sitting at the table, in the dark, doing God knew whatever kind of research since he no longer had to feign sleep for his brother's sake. As if staying in the same room with him before didn't make his skin crawl, the thought of Robo-Sam was just as unsettling, maybe even more so.
I'm still me.
Dean was having a hard time buying that one. Soul or not, Sam was smart. He knew the difference between right and wrong and it was as if he couldn't see it at all now. There was no wrong, no right, only getting the job done by whatever means necessary. Almost like…..no, he couldn't go there, couldn't believe his brother had finally become the thing they had both fought so hard against…..a monster.
What kind of cruel joke was it when the boy who had prayed to a God Dean had never believed in sacrificed his life to save the world and to finally find redemption for his battered soul, only to be brought back without one? Where was God when that happened because if he really existed Dean was feeling the need to have a word with the guy.
Dean sighed, kicked aside the blankets and reached for his discarded jeans. Sam glanced up from his laptop.
"Dean, you okay?"
Dean nodded as he pulled on his boots. "Yeah, just…need some air, I think."
"Want me to come with you?"
No, dude. That is the last thing I want right now.
Dean gave a fake smile….what the hell, Sam wouldn't know the difference. "Nah, man, I'm just wound up after that vamp attack. I'll walk it off and be fine."
Sam gave him one of his curious new looks, as if he was trying to reason whether or not Dean was telling the truth but Dean could tell it just wasn't registering. Now that he knew what was wrong with his brother, he noticed so much more than he had before. Although Sam had no problem telling lies himself, he didn't seem to be able to recognize when someone else was.
"Okay, if you're sure."
"Yeah, I'm sure." Dean grabbed his jacket from the chair, shrugging into it as he slammed the motel door behind him. He drew in a deep breath and tried to shake off the creepy feeling Sam's emotionless eyes gave him.
You're not human.
Veritas had been the goddess of truth and Dean couldn't help but wonder how much truth had been in those words. Was a soul the only thing that made you human? If so, then she was right, Sam was no longer human no matter how much he insisted he was. And if he was no longer human, what did that make him?
Dean shook his head, trying to deny the thought that kept invading his mind. Was this what Dad had been talking about? So many times Dean had wondered exactly how much John had known about the angels and demons and the plans they'd had for Sam. Did he know Sam was the vessel for Lucifer or had he only known about the demon blood? Or had it been this? Had he known if Sam lost his soul the demon side would take over?
And that had to be what was happening, right? How else would Sam be able to go without sleep and have such inhuman strength? If being without a soul meant you weren't human, what was left to take over? Dean knew what was flowing through Sam's veins and he hated every part of what it meant. If what he was thinking was true, his brother really had become a monster.
Dean cried out in rage, lashing out at the thing closest to him. He felt his knuckles split and for one tiny second he wished it had been Sam instead of the motel ice machine. He wanted to make Sam hurt, to once again take out his anger and pain on his soulless little brother. It was a never ending cycle of demons and death with them. What kind of idiot had he been to think he could ever escape the living hell of his own life?
As long as he's in your life, you're never gonna be happy.
It was the truth as Lisa saw it, but maybe it really was an actual truth. When was the last time he had felt happiness? Hell, he wasn't even sure he could recognize it anymore. There'd been times with Lisa and Ben he'd felt as if he almost had it but then the image of his little brother jumping into that pit would smack him right between the eyes and he was once again drowning in a fifth of whiskey, only to wake up in the middle of the night screaming into his pillow.
He thought back farther, back past angels and demons, heaven and hell, before Stanford, even back before Sam knew about the lifestyle….back when Dean was only a big brother, taking care of Sam because Dad wasn't home to do it.
Was that happiness? Waiting for your dad to come home, worried he might not because he could be lying dead in a ditch somewhere? Wondering where your next meal was coming from because Dad had already been gone four days and only left you enough money for three? Listening to your baby brother cry himself to sleep because he wanted a mom, just like everybody else? Had there ever been any happiness in his life?
And then he thought of the small hand, holding out the prize from the box of Lucky Charms, the huge eyes always watching him wherever he went, a badly wrapped Christmas present that had become as much a part of him as the brother who gave it and for the millionth time he cursed himself for tossing it away. Maybe it wasn't text book happiness and maybe nobody in their right mind would want it for themselves but for him, happiness was family and his family was Sam.
Once again the question flowed through his mind. You with me, Dean?
The answer came easily this time.
Dean hoped to sneak into bed without Sam noticing his bleeding hand but it was as if Sam was on full alert and as soon as Dean entered the room, Sam was on his feet, reaching for the first aid kit.
Dean sat silently, studying his brother's face as he bent to the task at hand.
"Aren't you going to ask me what happened?"
Sam paused in his ministrations to give Dean a puzzled glance. "I know you, Dean. You're angry. I'm lucky it wasn't my face again."
Damn, if he wasn't right about that.
"Why'd you let me do it, Sammy?"
"Use you for a punching bag. You made it pretty clear earlier that you're stronger than any of us. So why let me do it?"
Sam shrugged. "I deserved it, Dean."
Dean ran his uninjured hand across his face, remembering the days when Sam wanted to talk something to death and he wished he could just shut his little brother up. God, he wanted that brother back.
"Earlier you asked me a question."
"Yeah. You asked if I was with you."
Sam nodded. "You changed your mind." He put the first aid kit away and began gathering his things. "I understand."
"No, no, no. That's not it, Sam."
Sam hesitated. "Then what?"
"I want you to understand something but I'm not sure you can."
"I'll try, Dean."
"I'm with you, Sammy. I always have been. From the time I carried you out of that burning house to the day you jumped into that pit…..I am with you. What showed up on Lisa's doorstep was only a shell of a man, the other part of me was in the pit with you."
Sam was staring at him with that earnest look; the look of trying to comprehend something that seemed so far beyond him and Dean had to turn away, swallowing hard around the lump lodged in his throat.
"You're my brother, Sammy. No matter what, nothing changes that and I'm hoping somewhere deep inside of you, soul or not, it still means something to you too. But I'm with you. Whatever it takes."
He glanced back up at his brother and could see Sam struggling, as if he was trying to call forth some sort of feeling, something that would appease Dean's suffering but it just wasn't there.
"Dean, I'm sorry."
And for a moment there was a look of something, almost like disappointment, in Sam's eyes.
"It's okay, Sammy."
Sam nodded, retreating back to the safety of his research while Dean climbed into bed, his heart feeling a little less heavy than it had only an hour before. He'd seen it. The one thing he needed to keep himself going. Sammy had tried to understand what Dean had been saying and that was a start.
You may not have a soul, Sammy, but I do and right now it will have to be enough for us both.
Thanks for reading!