TITLE: Again

AUTHOR: Obi the Kid

Rating: PG

SUMMARY: Dean's POV about Sam's first face full of Hell. Takes immediately after Sam's first memory of Hell at the beginning of "Mannequin 3: The Reckoning" and after the events of "Unforgiven."

DISCLAIMER: The characters of Sam and Dean Winchester and the world of Supernatural do not belong to me, nor do I make any profit from this story. I'm just here to have fun.

He's sleeping it off now.


His first face full of Hell. Cracking the wall and meeting the nightmare head on.

I told him to leave it alone. I told him not to push down memory lane. Just leave it be. Let another hunter handle the missing girls.

But that wasn't Sam. Never has been, except for that year and a half when a key part of himself – his soul – was missing and he wandered the streets as an emotionless robotic version of what he used to be.

No, the old Sam – Sam as he is now – could never leave something alone when others were in trouble, especially when he may have had a hand in causing that trouble.

Of course, I'm beyond relieved to have my brother back as a whole, but that doesn't mean I won't kick his ass when he tries to do something like this again – something that I know will push on that wall and will eventually make that crack into a hole wide enough for Hell to come slamming through.

I should have done more to stop him. But I gave in and backed his ridiculous plan to try and get himself killed, even when every ounce of me knew we should get the hell out of Dodge while we could. Dodge in this case being Bristol, Rhode Island of all places.

The place where Hell made its first play-date with my little brother.

I won't be forgetting any time soon how freaked out I was seeing him flailing around on the floor as if volts of electricity were burning through his veins. Then his eyes going wide and all at once his body going completely limp. Two minutes, closer to three, he was out.

I thought I'd lost him. Again.

Too many times I've watched him die. Too many damn times.

Won't do me any good to tell him that though. He wouldn't have left Bristol regardless until he'd fixed what he'd broken. That's what makes Sam who he is. And it's what scares the crap outta me. His need to always help – to always push harder - it will, one day, eventually and finally kill him.

And that's just not gonna happen. Not while I'm alive to do something about it.

We're doing things my way now. He had his chance. We did it his way. His way backfired in ways that he didn't want to accept, but that I knew were coming.

I've been to Hell. I know the pain and horror and...I know what it does to a person.

My tour though was brief. A three month – or forty years Hell-time - class in Torture 101 before they popped me back out. Sam on the other hand was down with the Devil himself. His soul – as Cas so elegantly put it – being skinned alive.

That wall in Sam's head, shielding his mind from itself, when that wall finally breaks completely – and it will – I may not be able to save my brother from a nightmare that could emotionally tear him apart.

So, we're not going down that road. We're not following anymore familiar paths to strange towns that he and Samuel may have been. If I have to shoot him in the knees, cuff him to the Impala and then lock him in the panic room, we are so not doing this again.

I am not watching him die. Not again. I won't contribute to him destroying himself to save the lives of people we don't know. We can save lives, but we can do it without trekking down the path to Hell. Since Sam was six months old, he's taken one hit after another. He caused some of those hits, even was the puncher a time or two, but more often than not, he was the punching bag.

Not anymore. We are hunters. This is our job. I know that better than anyone. But this time, I'm taking a step back and protecting my own. Sam is all I have left. All we have is each other. And I'll be damned if I'm going to lose him again.

So, not this time. No more being the hero and cleaning up past messes. I watched as he got nailed with his first face full of Hell. I was there. And I'll be there when it happens again. But it's my way now. I made the decision to shove his soul back in. I'll live with the consequences of that - but not by his own self destruction.

The thing that always drove me crazy about Sam – and ironically, the thing that I love him for more than anything else – is his ability to give a crap when no one else does. Well, now it's time for Sam to give a crap about himself. It's time for Sam to treat Sam with the same respect he treats those we've helped for so long.

Hell will come. I can't stop it completely. But I can slow it down. I can give Sam a chance to build up his defenses. To come to terms what he's done and what he was for a time. But you'd better believe I'm not leaving a freakin' trail of breadcrumbs for Hell to follow.

If Hell wants my brother so badly, it'll have to come through me first.

Sam's still sleeping, leaning against the passenger side window of the Impala. Every so often his face twitches or his hands jump. Small nightmares. Bad dreams really. The true nightmares haven't started yet. But they will. With each memory of Hell, they'll intensify. I know from experience. I still wake up with them.

Nightmares of my own time in Hell.

Nightmares of knowing that my brother was in Hell.

I've learned how to deal with it though. In my own way. Violence and alcohol seem to work wonders. But that's not Sam. Sam will take the hard road. He'll take it all on himself and claim he's just fine, knowing damn well that I can see right through him. When I came back from Hell, I swore up and down that I was fine too. Sam never fell for my lies, but he sticks on that same road anyway.

It's our nature I guess, to hide those feelings as long as we can until they explode into a pile of emotional crap.

Healthy? Yeah, right. It's the Winchester way though.

If only...

Sam's awake.


"Hey, yourself."

"I'm hungry."

"We'll stop at the next town."

"'kay. Hey, Dean?"


"What was...no, never mind."


"It's just...I'm okay. Just hungry."

"Not too far, Sam. We'll pick up a hotel there too."


"Go back to sleep. Think good thoughts this time, huh?"

"I didn't...I wasn't having..."

"You can't hide it, Sammy. I've been there, done that, man. Just...let me know they get too intense."

I watched Sam nod and flash the tiniest of smiles at me - acknowledging that I knew about the bad dreams. He then slid back towards the window and settled into a deep breathing sleep. And here is where my six foot four, Sasquatchian brute of a little brother - strong enough to carry Lucifer back into the pit of Hell - looked all the part of an unsure and scared eight year old as his head bumped gently on the window while we traveled this latest back road.

A full, if not over grown man now...but always my little brother.

My responsibility.

My job - to keep him safe.

You'd better damn well believe that Hell will have to take me down first to get to Sam.

I will not watch him die. Again.

No matter if the demons and angels break apart Heaven and Hell.

I am not losing my brother.

Not ever again.

The end.

March 5, 2011