AN1: I don't know that I've ever done it before! 2 updates in 2 days! I know it's not much considering how often other people update (Xe, you amaze me!), but I'm a bit proud that I actually did it. Not proud so much as…shocked. But anyway, enough blabbering!
Thank you all so much for your support! This idea started out as a thought and turned into a nervous inner debate (To post or not to post, that is the question). But I took the leap, and with all your wonderful support, kept the momentum going. I can honestly say that this story wouldn't have gotten past chapter 1 if it hadn't been for all your wonderful reviews and comments. Thank you all for the kindness and support!
Shout-out to all who reviewed the story:
xenascully, TinTin11, pandora jazz, Cainchan, Writing For The Wall, Tango Eight, BlueEyes444, Lujayn, sarahsrr, KKBELVIS, Marianna Morgan, twomoms, acxoxuxsxixnxsxSM, CeCe Away, Twinchester Angel, and Klutzygirl33
"Damnit!" Sam yells, grabbing his shin and subsequently falling to the ground. Glaring at the nightstand responsible, tumbled over beside him, Sam grumbles and staggers to the bed.
"Everything ok out there, Samantha?" Dean shouts from the bathroom. Poking his head out the door, he grins amusedly. "Get in a fight with the nightstand, did you?" A small giggle escapes his mouth as Sam shoots him a bitchface.
"Shut up," Sam sullenly replies. "I didn't see it. Got up too fast." He doesn't mention the source of his instant awakening, the nightmarish images haunting even his ten-minute nap.
Dean pulls on some clothes and towels off his hair before he comes out. "Damn, Sammy," he says, eyebrows raised. He picks up the leg of the nightstand, crisply snapped off the rest of the fixture. "You really showed him!"
Sam rolls his eyes, snatching the object from his brother's hands. "Well, we can't just leave it like this, or else they'll charge us. Got any glue?"
"Don't think regular glue is gonna do it," Dean replies, eyeing the leg. "We're gonna have to go stronger than that."
"What did you have in mind?"
Dean thinks for a moment before nodding. "Epoxy."
"The kind you mix together? You have that just laying around?"
"Nah, but I can pick it up at the hardware store. Although…" Dean trails off thoughtfully.
"Although…?" Sam says, impatience evident in his tone.
"We're also gonna need a vice. But we don't have the cash or resources for that. Which means…" Dean grabs the rest of the nightstand and hands it to Sam, mischievous grin lighting up his features. "You get to be our vice."
. . .
"How long am I gonna have to hold this for?" Sam asks wearily, holding the nightstand and its broken leg in each hand.
Dean sits next to him, already mixing the epoxy together, poised to spread. He shrugs, managing to smirk without twitching a muscle.
"It's gonna be awhile."
Sam sighs as Dean begins to goop the glue onto the leg of the nightstand. After a few seconds, he helps Sam fasten the leg firmly into place. "It's all you, little bro!" He says, releasing his grip on the object. Sam rolls his eyes and squeezes the pieces together.
"So," Dean says. And suddenly the smirk is gone from his words. "Now that we have a chance…I think we should talk."
Sam releases a breath and nods resignedly. He's got nowhere to go now. Might as well make the most of it.
. . .
Epoxy is a unique glue. It's one of the strongest in existence, and while having a broad spectrum of uses, it's also very specified. One must take the two exact substances that the glue is comprised of, mix them thoroughly, and use the small span of time allotted to use the glue. After that, it hardens onto a near-impenetrable material. Once the elements of the glue have bonded, nothing can reverse its effects. Though with years and wear, the surface may scratch or even crack, the two original substances will never separate. This aspect is part of what makes epoxy so appealing.
Apart, the substances are strong. Together, they're the strongest.
. . .
Almost an hour later, Sam and Dean are still sitting on the bed. Words and emotions still hang unbound in the air, but what needed to be said, what needed to be felt, was. Sam doesn't say everything. There are some things he still keeps inside, and will for a while. Maybe even forever.
But that's ok, because Dean doesn't say everything either. He's strong for his brother, but it breaks his heart. It kills him that he can't just make everything ok like he used to. Back before the world chewed them up and spit them out. Back before Hell chewed them up and spit them out.
"Can I let go yet?" Sam asks, trying to ease the ache in his muscles.
"In a bit, Sam. Just a few more minutes."
All Dean wants to do is end Sam's pain and suffering, and he's trying so damn hard to do just that. Sam knows it. He knows how hard Dean is trying to make things ok again, to end the hurt, to stamp out the affliction.
But their life is based on pain and suffering.
Hugs and tears and talking can't change that. There will always be another obstacle to overcome, another wall to climb—or to leave untouched. Despite their most herculean efforts, Sam and Dean both know that the struggle will never end. It started with a fire and a baby, a determined big brother and a curse that no one asked for. And since that night, the struggle has ceaselessly continued. It cost them their family. At certain points, it had cost them each other.
But not this time. This time, Dean is there and Sam is Sam again, and nothing, not a fire or a curse or a world of pain and suffering, can take that away.
They won't let it.
. . .
"Ok, that should be good," Dean announces, glancing at the clock and outstretching his hands to take the newly repaired fixture from his brother.
Sam lets out a groan of relief as his arms loosen and un-tense. He releases his grip on the nightstand.
Sam looks down at the tugging sensation coming from his lower chest.
You've gotta be freaking kidding me.
Neatly pinched within the confines of the hardened glue is a small thread, trailing from the edge of Sam's shirt into the mix of epoxy and nightstand. No amount of tugging would set that sucker free.
Sam looks up, the most perfect expression of annoyance and forlornness on his face. It's the most beautiful bitchface his brother has ever seen.
Dean doesn't even try to hold back the laughter.
. . .
This whole time, Sam has been convinced that Dean is the glue holding their fucked-up family together. Dean is all that is good and decent and right with anything. Those terrible days and months when Dean was dead—whether in a trickster's trap or Hell itself—Sam traveled down a dark path that he hoped to never see. He became a person he didn't recognize, and ended up hating who he was with, what he was doing. In those agonizing days and months, Sam began to hate himself. And part of him hasn't stopped. But Dean keeps that at bay. He keeps Sam human, in more ways than he can even imagine. Sam knows he doesn't deserve it, doesn't deserve Dean…but he has learned to be grateful all the same.
What Sam doesn't know, what he's never understood…is that Dean has always felt that Sam is the glue. Without Sam, Dean has nothing, is nothing. His reason for being, his motivation for life is to protect Sam, to be there for his Sammy. Without that, Dean is lost and hopeless and empty.
When Sam is gone, Dean loses his purpose. When Dean is gone, Sam loses himself.
What neither brother has ever considered is that they're both part of the glue that holds them together. But not the normal kind of glue. They're not any old Elmer's or Foster. They're epoxy.
Sam and Dean each give every part of themselves. The strength, the power, the vulnerability, the emotion, the obligation, the need, the want, the hope…They take every fiber in their beings and combine them. In doing so, they bond themselves. As cohorts, as associates, as heroes, as friends, as brothers.
Take all that strength and vulnerability, all that obligation and want, all that hope…And you get something more powerful than you ever could've imagined.
You get the Winchesters. You get Sam and Dean.
Apart, they're strong.
Together, they're insurmountable.
The road so far has been…well, so damn far. And some days, it's felt like all the heartache and memories and nightmares and pain have led to this anticlimactic conclusion of nothing.
But now, standing there, looking at his brother with his goofy grin and carefree eyes, Sam is starting to think that maybe that's ok. Maybe things are gonna be alright. That they're going to be alright. Not perfect, but alright.
Not flawless, but together.
And he's starting to think that maybe that's all they can ask for.
AN2: One of the middle parts of this chapter was totally inspired by a review left by sarahsrr. Sarah is a wonderful writer, a faithful reviewer, and a lovely friend. She wrote:
"All Dean wants to do is end Sam's pain and suffering. And Sam knows it. But their life is based on pain and suffering."
This struck me as so sad and so true, that I knew I had to include it somehow. I hope I worked it in ok, and I hope I made you proud, Sarah! Thanks for the inspiration, and thank you as always for the constant encouragement!
Thanks again, everyone! Here's to 6x12! Only one more night! :)