Title: More Than Just A Toy
Word Count: 1,266
Summary: After Sam gets his soul back, Dean finds him sitting in the Impala.
Warnings: Post 6x11, with spoilers for that episode. Angsty, brotherly fluff.
Disclaimer: Eric Kripke owns Sam & Dean. I'm just a fan letting her creative juices flow and enjoying all the brotherly angst in the process.
Notes: I know nothing about green army men or how they're played with. I'm a girl and was never exposed to such things (though I did play with Matchbox cars *g*).
Btw, I don't have a beta and any mistakes are purely my own.
"Sam?", Dean's voice filled the upstairs hallway of Bobby's house. Looking for his missing brother after Sam had awoken from getting his soul back was quickly giving rise to panic in the elder Winchester. He'd checked the bathroom in the spare room, even the extra one in the hallway. He couldn't imagine why Sam would go into any of the other rooms on the floor, so he quickly made his way to the lower level.
Dean found Bobby in the kitchen, brewing a fresh pot of coffee. "You seen Sam this morning?" The older hunter looked up, "No. I heard someone go outside a little bit ago. Thought it was you."
"Dammit", Dean muttered under his breath and hurridly went out the front door, his mind racing with hundreds of bad possibilities. Did Sam run off? Had he already scratched the delicate wall that Death had put in his mind to keep the memories of hell at bay? With the mid-morning sun warming his face, Dean turned to the left, not even realizing he was instinctively heading for where they had the Impala parked. Rounding a corner of dismembered and rusting trucks, he could see the gleaming black metal of the car and quickly noted the back passenger door was open with a figure sitting inside. The long legs stretched out of the car and visible underneath the door were unmistakably belonged to his tall, lanky brother.
"Sam?", Dean said quietly, not wanting to startle the younger man. His Sam's nerves had already been a little frazzled since awakening with his soul. So far he'd seemed fairly normal. Maybe a little more quiet than his pre-hell self, but Dean figured that would pass with time. He came around the right side of the car to where he could look in at Sam, who was staring at something on the inside of the car door.
"Sam, what is it? Everything okay?" Dean spoke hesitently, hoping his brother hadn't fallen into some kind of relapse. Sam's voice was quiet and almost child-like. "That's what saved me." His eyes never waivered from one point on the door. Dean looked closer, trying to trace where his sibling's eyes were focused so intently. All he could see was a long-forgotten green plastic toy wedged inside the ashtray compartment.
"A green army man?", Dean questioned, clearly wondering where Sam's head was at.
"That's what allowed me to gain control over Lucifer." Sam paused, remembering. "He looked at that and suddenly...I could see it. I'd forgotten that it was even there after all these years." He tentatively reached out to touch the plastic toy, his long fingers tracing over the shape.
Dean, breaking out of his reverie of watching his brother remarked, "Yeah, I uh...I couldn't believe that darned thing was still in there after the crash. Figured it might as well stay there."
Truth was, Dean had still remembered way back when they were kids and Sam had gotten the toy stuck there by accident. John had given Sam a hell of a lecture about respecting the car and not being careless with his possessions, but Dean had done his usual job of standing up for his little brother and smoothing down his dad's temper. He could still recall soothing his tearful brother. "It's okay, Sammy. It's just a toy. You've got all the other army men to play with."
Just a toy. Neither Dean or Sam were thinking of it that way now.
"It was like a door opened, just slightly, and I could see...see the car, see you. Really see you. Not just what he let me." Sam lifted his head to look at his brother, tears of guilt already filling his eyes.
"I kept trying to stop him, Dean, but he was so strong."
"Shhhh. It's okay, Sam." Dean immediately crouched down in front of him, trying to comfort a man who was now showing more emotion than he had in over a year. "I knew you were in there, fighting him. And I knew it wasn't you hitting me. You did all you could, Sammy."
"He could've killed you." A couple of tears ran down Sam's face. "He was going to...and then..." His voice faded away, the emotions becoming too strong to control. He turned his head away from Dean.
"Hey. Look at me." Sam, slowly turned his head towards his brother. "You did what you had to do. I'm proud of you, Sammy. You saved me. You saved us all." He reached his right hand around the back of Sam's neck, giving it a gentle shake of reassurance.
"But if it wasn't for that..." Sam nodded his head back down towards the toy, "Dean...I couldn't break his hold over me. And all the time he was beating you I was trying with everything I had to stop him. I just wanted him to stop." Sam's voice broke and more tears fell down his cheeks, remembering Dean's bloody and broken face, how he didn't even fight back or try to defend himself against Lucifer's onslaught.
"Well, he did stop. Thanks to you, little brother. I'm fine, you're back. We count ourselves lucky and move on, right?" He gripped Sam's neck again and got a small smile in response, the tense moment resolved. Dean pulled his hand from Sam's neck and patted his knee before standing up. "Now before we start re-living how you lost a few of the other army men, why don't we head back to the house. Bobby fixed some fresh coffee."
Sam smiled and chuckled, brushing away his tears and recalling some of the games of war he and Dean had had with those little green soldiers. A lot of the time he knew Dean let him win, but sometimes his brother would claim victory, along with a few of the toys themselves. Most of the time, even when he was little, Dean acted all tough, like he didn't need toys like normal kids. The green army men was the one exception, no doubt influenced by their Dad's military background. They drug those things across the US and back, eventually losing just about all of them in the process. Who knows how many got left behind under the beds in the motel rooms they stayed in or got kicked out of the car at a gas station.
He smiled at the memories, something he hadn't always been able to do. Standing up and stretching his tall frame, he took one last look at the plastic figure in the door before closing it and following his brother towards the house.
Dean meanwhile, was remembering what really had happened to that toy after the crash. Truth was, in working on rebuilding the car, he'd found it on the floor, no doubt jarred loose from the violent impact by the semi. He'd stuffed the thing in his jeans pocket, not really remembering where it had been before. Somehow he'd held onto it though and by the time he had the car nearly done, he knew he wanted it to go right back in that ash tray, right where Sam had put it.
As they walked up the front steps of the house, he let Sam go inside first and Dean paused for a second, looking back towards the car. It was odd the way destiny had decided to turn. He hadn't become Michael's vessel after all, but he guessed he did have something to do with defeating Lucifer after all. He never would've guessed that an old child's toy would end up being the key to it all.