THE HEART OF A TIN MAN

By: Karen B.

Summary: Season six spoiler warning! Episode (tag) related: All Dog's Go To Heaven. Sam pov

Disclaimer: Not the owner.

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But Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man That he didn't, didn't already have.

And Cause never was the reason for the evening Or the tropic of Sir Galahad.

So please believe in me When I say I'm spinning round, round, round, round.

Smoke glass stain bright color Image going down, down, down, down Soapsuds green like bubbles

Written by: Dewey Bunnell - 1974

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He didn't sleep. Not ever.

Everyone else around him had to sleep. So when night fell, Sam had a lot of time on his hands. He would jog. He would train and work out. Sam would research - being well-informed still bearing no meaning. Sam would have sex. Sam would drink. Sam would eat. Sam would walk in the rain. Sam would walk under th light of the full moon. Walk the whole night. Sam would stand immobile and stare at the stars and wonder what he ever saw in them. But mostly, Sam would lay in bed staring at the ceiling never once feeling small or scared like the old Sam used to. Never having so much as a single nightmare.

The job.

It was the only thing left inside of him that he connected with.

He did what he did and there were no consequences. And that wasn't a bad thing. No shame. No guilt. No pain. No near uncontrollable rage. He didn't even mind the emptiness inside. It was all about one thing. Just the job. The one fucking thing that had been drilled so deeply into him - he didn't need his soul to do it. And do it right.

He sucked life in and spit life out. Plain and simple. Like those annoying black seeds in a sweet, red hunk of watermelon. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing bothered him. Nothing mattered. Inside of him, nothing hurt. Nothing broke apart.

But he was Sam. Half-assed, Sam, but Sam just the same. That much he knew.

He'd retained all of his memories. Remembered them all like they were yesterday, before he'd been turned into this thing he didn't understand. Only trouble was, those memories didn't count for nothing.

He was numb - comfortably - as the song went. Nearly dead inside. His feelings and instincts stripped from him, leaving behind nothing but an aggressive, animalistic need to hunt and to kill.

Was he a monster?

Some sort of psychopath?

Didn't matter.

He didn't care.

The questions only crossed his mind because when you never slept your brain was slammed into overdrive.

Dean kept calling him Robo cop. He'd guessed that sounded about right.

He thought a lot about who he used to be. Images of him smiling, joking around with Dean, crying in his brother's arms.

He was no longer that man - he was different - a stranger to Dean. Cold as metal. A rusted out shell whose heart still beat inside his soulless chest. A heart he no longer knew how to use. A heart he was pretty sure he was glad not to have. All his heart ever did when he had a soul was break. It was good not to break. To do what you had to do and not feel the consequences.

He supposed in the eyes of others - in the eyes of Dean - he was brutal and scary and wrong. But again, Sam just didn't care.

When he'd first gotten out of hell, he'd struggled to find his way through the fractured, broken world he found himself in. Didn't take long to find his balance. Apparently having no soul meant being stronger, more powerful, better than he used to be. A machine. Capable of thought and action and process, but nothing more.

He took orders. Without question. He thought of his father. How would John like him now? The perfect solider. A ruthless hunter. Didn't matter. Sam could care less about anyone or anything, including his new, cold-hearted self.

Sam had been studying Dean. Observing. Cataloguing. Dean obviously missed his Sam. Didn't much care for half-assed Sam. Didn't even trust half-assed Sam. Nor should he.

They'd recently found out, Crowley was the wizard behind the curtain. The one who had the power to tell them the whereabouts of, and give back the thing that made him Dean's Sam. The thing Dean obviously was missing so much - the thing Sam wasn't missing.

His soul.

Did he dare want the missing part back? From what Sam remembered of his old self, his soul was an ugly, filthy, volatile, damaged thing. A thing that he would be stuck with for all eternity. Dead or alive. Heaven. Hell. Purgatory. All the above. His soul was the one part of him that would never leave. Unless of course, it was stuffed deeply inside the pocket of a demon.

After all this time. After all the emptiness. After all he'd done. After living in hell, walking in darkness; getting his soul back would be heartbreakingly fatal. Explosive and cataclysmic, like a bomb going off inside of him. He didn't think his body could house such a hideous thing any more. The rush of feelings good and bad - mostly bad - would tear through him, rip him apart and probably kill him fairly quickly.

Right now, he couldn't feel. Didn't care. Right now, Sam put a new spin on the song, 'You're as Cold as Ice'.

He may not have his soul, but Sam was no scarecrow. He had a brain. And a big part of that brain was telling him he didn't want his soul back. He didn't want to feel the fiery pain and loss and fear. The other part of his brain, a small niggling part tucked away in a dusty corner - told him that a man with no soul - roamed blind.

He did know one thing for certain. Dean was going to bolt. And soon.

Dean still had his soul. Still had instincts and still felt absolute betrayal, world-weary, God-awful pain and yes even love. Sam couldn't feel, but he could see. He could see the distrust and hurt shining out Dean's eyes. Could see the love Dean had for his soul-filled brother - every time he glanced half-assed Sam's way, no matter how brief.

And seriously, that was okay with Sam. But there was something more. Something so small and so stupid he wasn't sure it was anything at all.

Every time Sam saw that look of distrust, sadness and longing come from Dean - ooze out his brother's pours - Sam got a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach.

Every time.

It wasn't anything he couldn't handle. Wasn't even like having the flu, and certainly wasn't anything he could put a finger on.

What the hell?

What did the seasick sensation mean?

There was some sort of logic to be found there in the pit of his gut. It was all powerful and complex. Tangible. Suspicious and lurking. Sam had spent many nights considering the uneasy awareness. The complexity of life in and around him.

Still, Sam had no clue. He didn't understand - others or himself. And he was certain he wasn't supposed to.

Yet, there was an echo of something left inside. Maybe it was the hollowed out cave his soul used to inhabit. Maybe a small hint of his soul - the tiniest forgotten bead - had been accidentally left behind. Had managed to escape Crowley's clutches and hide in the shadows. Maybe that minuscule bead was rolling around inside him right now. Maybe the queasy feeling Sam felt every time Dean looked at him was the only thing left of Dean's Sammy. Calling out to him. Screaming, here I am. Still binding he and Dean together. Not willing to let go.

Maybe he wasn't Robo Cop after all. He rather think of himself as the Tin Man, who had a heart inside of him all along. He just didn't know what to do with that heart. If Sam could figure out how to make his heart work, would he need his soul? What if he never got his soul back? Would Dean stick around? What and if. Two separate words that didn't hold much clout. But brought together - they could bring a man crashing to his knees.

All Sam knew was he needed Dean to get the job done. Because as much as the job was ingrained on the inside of Sam's flesh - so was Dean - ingrained on the inside of Sam's flesh. No heart or soul or lack there of would change that. He coudn't lose Dean.

If Sam could feel what his brain was telling him right now - how he was feeling about the fact Dean could take off and leave him - he'd say the feeling he should be having was ethereal. Quaking knees, blood-chillingly spooky.

So when they sat down at the picnic table, Sam decided to come clean. Was the only logical thing to do. Dean was his Dorothy. He'd keep Sam well oiled. Show him the right roads to take, though Sam would never tell his brother that.

Half-assed Sam surly did not deserve a soul, but Dean surely deserved a brother, and Sam would do anything to help Dean get that brother back.

The end.