Part One: Hero of Glass and bone, Who Sits Shattered Upon His Throne
Dean's hand shook as he set his coffee down on the small wooden table in bobby's kitchen and ran a hand through his hair, It wasn't supposed to be like this. His inner voice screamed at him, That bastards wall was supposed to protect him... Supposed to save him... It wasn't supposed to be like this.
It didn't matter how many times he told himself how it wasn't supposed to be, it would never change what was. What would now always be. Sam had pushed. The wall had fallen and what was locked away behind it ripped through his brother like a tornado leaving nothing but shattered remains of the man he once was, pieces to small and to scattered to be put back together again.
"If we try to force that mutilated thing down Sam's gullet, we have no idea what will happen...
"Paralysis. Insanity. Psychic pain so profound that he's locked inside himself for the rest of his life...
"I'm sorry, Dean, but I warned you not to put that thing back inside him...
" . . . like it had been skinned alive! If you'd wanted to kill your brother, you should have done it out right..."
Castiel's voice played inside his mind as he looked toward the doorway that led to what was once Bobby's library, but now bore almost no resemblance to the room where he and his 'family' had shared many a drink and many a laugh together. The angels words haunted him just as they had so many mornings before.
"Cocky trench coat wearing bastard" he hears himself say his lips trembling slightly as he closes his eyes and swallows hard. "Where are you now? Huh? Now that you don't need us? Now that we need you."
"It is regrettable." he imagines Cas saying in response, his monotone retort lacking remorse or any emotion whatsoever, as his arms cross over his chest and he continues. "But it was a war. And in war there are casualties Dean. My apologies."
The scenario succeeds in making Dean angry and he feeds off of the strength of the emotion, needs it and damn near relishes it. "Show your face around here you coward. Show your face and own up to what you allowed to happen. He did this for you... for all of us... And you leave him to suffer? some warrior you are... Some friend." His jaw clenches and he swallows hard as his hands squeeze tightly into fists at his sides. "You owe us. You owe HIM."
Nothing ever happens. "I bet if I had some stupid magical Angel plunger you would be here with your hand out..." He grunts before silence over takes him again and he presses the remaining rage down into the pit of his stomach.
Silently He watches...
Someone had to be to blame, Sam had saved the world, fought for him. . . for them, and they had cast him aside like an empty cheeseburger wrapper on the side of the highway nothing but a few crumbs left inside.
Powerful angels who can manipulate life, stop time and suspend humanity, couldn't even manage to put humpty dumpty together again after he had saved their kingdom from damnation.
It wasn't couldn't Dean had decided, but wouldn't. They had expected Sam, his little brother, his Sammy to sit in hell, to suffer tortured and scared without so much as a chance because of a destiny they had forced down his throat until the only way he could breathe would be to swallow it whole.
Dean knew that he had experienced only a taste of the brutality his brother must have suffered during his own time in hell, that the fate of Promitheus himself would have been a welcomed vacation compared to what Sam must have gone through.
And in the end, those who raised him from perdition, those who fought so hard for his life... believed so deeply in his sinful and fractured existence couldn't even throw his brother a damn bone? Couldn't show him even a fraction of the same mercy?
So yes, he blamed them. This was after all their war, their family drama, their spilled milk to cry over.
But they walked away.
Leaving Dean to cling to a broken memory of what was, shattered hopes of what will now never come to be and a reality to that is far more horrifying than either.
Options were limited, blinded by emotion or not, Dean had done what he thought was right.
He couldn't leave him down there to rot. Walk around beside his empty shell and pretend that everything was as it should be. He couldn't live knowing what was happening to the little brother he had sworn to protect but could no longer reach no matter how far or fast he ran.
He had to do something... He'd thought he was saving him.
I did the right thing... I know I did... Didn't I?
Silently he watched...
"You alright boy?" The sudden presence of bobby's hand is a strong comfort against his tense shoulder, his signature trucker hat resting a little lower on his forehead these days than it use to. Dean couldn't help but wonder if it was a subconscious representation of the old hunters soul which had fallen much like his own weighed down by the anguish of their situation or if it was purely coincidence.
"I'm fine." The automatic response is well rehearsed and practiced as he casts a side ways glance toward the baby monitoring system resting beside his abandon coffee cup on the table "How's Sam?" It's a whispered question that lingers between the two men unanswered... Because the answer he knows is not the one he secretly hopes for, nor is it the one their only friend... No only family wants to give.
Silence is painful but not so much as the truth.
This morning had been Bobby's morning to get Sam 'ready' for the day. the two now ex-hunters taking turns when it came to the youngest needs and care which was definitely at least a two man job. Reluctantly when Bobby had offered his home and his assistance to the boys Dean had agreed without much persuasion, silently thankful for his uncles willingness to shoulder some of the... Responsibility for his little brother.
Silentlly he watches...
. . . . . .
The early summer sun seeped in through the open window the slightest breeze filtering in carrying with it the scent of fresh cut grass and hot asphalt a welcomed change to the normally sterile and hospital smelling room. It reminds the approaching man instantly of his days…. No their days, spent on the open road. Days which seemed like a lifetime ago, days that he only found in his dreams when his nightmares would subside and allow them to creep through for a fleeting moment. Days that he longed to have back again. A ball forms in his throat and he forces it away with an uncomfortable chuckle as he comes to stand beside his brothers wheelchair.
"Hiya kiddo" he runs his fingers absently through Sammy's hair drawing in a deep breath kneeling down as his little brother's chin dips down to his chest in a single unintentional uncoordinated movement.
It's almost amusing how hard it still is after nearly a hundred and fifty days to muster up a smile against the agonizing pain in his chest but still he manages just one more... for him. It doesn't quite reach his eyes, and his cheeks ache with the effort but that's ok Dean tells himself, Sammy knows he tried.
He cups his little brother's face in his hands and gently tilts it back for him placing it on the soft leather head rest. "whoops there you go I gottcha Sammy. You gotta try to hold your head up little brother okay?" He leaves his hand against the other mans cheek until he is sure Sam's neck will automatically take over and support it on it's own. "That's my boy."
He draws his lip between his teeth and steadies the sudden wave of emotion that comes baring down on him without warning. Only a single tear manages to escape and the older man wipes his eyes quickly to push the ones still waiting in the wings back inside himself. Sammy can't see you cry. He scolds inwardly.
Silently he watches...
Lost and confused hazel hued puppy dog eyes blink listlessly staring into nothingness even though faced in his brothers general direction, brows creased together cheeks trembling as they spasm lightly against Dean's palm, mindless slurred moans fall from lips where a scholars knowledge once rested, an eerie soundtrack to what their lives had become. There are never real words just garbled groans that are as painful to hear as the memories that Dean is sure trigger them are for Sammy to continuously relive.
"The supernatural worlds version of post traumatic stress." As Bobby had put it, What Dean wouldn't give to have his brother back just for one more day…. For one more hour, one more beer or ride down the open road.
He feels his heart beginning to break all over again and literally brings his hand to his chest his fingers clawing to make sure it is continuing to beat as he lets out a shuttered breath. "I guess one more is to much to ask?" The question is bitter and as cold as the barrel of his .45 against his tongue
He reaches into his shirt pocket and pulls out a white handkerchief. Their father's handkerchief he reminds himself swallowing down the bile that has made it's way into his throat. He reaches forward and wipes it across his sibling's chin gently, just as he had done when Sammy was no more then a baby, catching the small stream of drool that had begun to work it's way down the now 28 year olds Angular features. "oops…" He keeps his tone a whisper as inwardly he scoffs at the irony of how full circle they had come.
His hand trembles and he steadies it tucking his father's handkerchief back in his shirt pocket knowing he will need it again before the day is done. Sammy sometimes forgets to swallow, sometimes forgets to blink or breath, and Dean can't help the pang of excruciating pain that stabs him as he wonders if sometimes… Sammy forgets him as well… Or if he even knows him at all anymore… If he can hear him, if he can feel him, see him and find comfort in his presence.
There is more vomit in his throat again, more trembles in his flesh, more tears in his eyes and guilt devouring his soul.
He forces it down clearing his throat and exhaling when he watches another endless stream of saliva begin to travel down Sam's chin.
This was their new definition of a "rough day". A day that required not only 95% of their attention be focused on Sammy but all 100%.
Still it was a small price to pay the man who had saved the world.
"Swallow for me big guy." He coaxes. "Swallow..." he takes his fingers and strokes the sides of Sam's neck mimicking the actions the nurses had taught him "come on Sammy..."
His mind drifts as he waits rubbing knowingly at the flesh in his grasp a motion he had done so often it was now routine.
And silently he watches…
. . . . . .
The doctors say he can no longer comprehend spoken language, that he is for all intensive purposes as far as they can tell... brain dead, incapacitated. A vegetable.
Dean remembers the first time Dr. Horton had used the word vegetable in reference to his Sam"s state... He should have been angry, he should have been livid or even saddened by the term being thrown about...
His thoughts should have screamed at him as he grabbed the scraggly over paid prick in the white coat by the throat and thrust him against the wall demanding he fix his brother...
But he simply stood there his lips curling into a smirk as his brows furrowed together perplexed? amused? He wasn't quite sure... My brother is not a carrot. He heard himself whisper somewhere in the back of his mind. When he opened his mouth to share his realization however, a single glance over at bobby, seeing the utter fear and paleness in his fatherly features, he settled for a nod instead shutting it abruptly. Keeping his interesting observation to himself. Sammy will find it funny. He tells himself with a snort, When he wakes up I'll have to remember to tell him 'Hey man that Doc thought you were a strew ingredient. Guess you showed him huh? He'll laugh- I miss his laugh, I'll never take it for granted again no matter how annoying it gets.'
For the time being though, he would sit, he would wait... he was a patient man after all... Sammy would show them he would come back from this, he bounced back faster than a four square ball on a play yard, the kid was strong, invincible. He would live again, laugh at Dean's inappropriate jokes even as he pretended to be irritated and roll his eyes. Things would return back to normal, he just needed a little rest first. saving humanity was hard work and his little brother deserved to rest for a few days.
Days turned to weeks and weeks to a month, Dean's patience grew thin and hope gave way to cold dark truth.
It was the moment everyone knew would come, everyone that is except for Dean.
He sat beside his brother's bed, studying his pale features with intensity, Sammy's lackadaisical expression chilling him to the bone as he kept his unfocused eyes on the ceiling starring at it with the same void and yet hauntingly agonized gaze as he did everything else, from the applesauce he'd been fed a few hours ago to the brother who loved and cared for him all his life.
No emotion, no recollection, nothing but pain, his normally golden and bright orbs now dull. ' like a paper bag from the liquor store' Dean's inner voice boomed cracking the silence he had forced to blanket his emotions, his being and his thoughts for the past god knows how long.
And that was all it took like a cracked windshield against summer heat he didn't just break he shattered.
Whatever he had been mindlessly rambling on about to his brother's motionless form evaded Dean as he drew in as much of a breath as his quickly tightening chest would allow him to...
It was as though he were waking from some sort of coma himself, like a veil had been lifted and Dean's stomach lurched intensely with a worse pain than the claws of a hellhound.
Like a camera flash blinding and bright it hit him...
He began to gag and wretch over the side of the chair tears falling down his face at an alarming speed.
"MY BROTHER IS A FUCKING CARROT!" His brain screams between heaves.
"HE'S A FUCKING VEGTABLE YOU BASTARD! WHERE ARE YOU NOW HUH? WHERE ARE YOU WHEN WE NEED YOU? DON'T YOU WANT TO SEE YOUR BROTHER'S HANDY WORK?" unaware that the words had actually been spoken and were not in fact his reprimanding thoughts until he vaguely heard heavy footsteps approaching him.
The world spun and twisted the color draining from it and then slamming back again like some bad acid trip as he struggled to focus on something, anything crippled by emotions that he could no longer avoid . He felt himself falling over the side of the chair not even caring that he was about to face plant into his own vomit.
His limbs rattle, body weak as finally his mind wrapped its self around the events of the past weeks.
"Don't touch me... DON"T TOUCH ME! I WANT MY BROTHER! DON'T YOU LEAVE ME SAMMMY! DON'T YOU LEAVE ME GET YOUR ASS BACK HERE!"
Warm arms steady him and brace him against something comforting and soft... the familiar scent of car oil and earth fill his nostrils and before he can stop himself he clings to it, fingers tight holding on for dear life.
He shakes uncontrollably as though he is frozen inside, gags and fights for breath. sobs ring through his ears louder than any he has ever heard before, anguished and painful cries of a brother who has just realized though the world may have been spared his own has ended.
His cries. Harder than ever before he pleads and screams until his throat burns and his tonsils ache straining to simply whisper.
"Bobby please, please we have to fix him! We have to call someone, please? please Bobby... call Rufus or... or... Someone anyone please..." He chokes on the words "fix this Bobby! He's all I have I need him, it was supposed to help... I was supposed to save him... Bobby"
"Shhhhhh." he feels the arms around him tighten even more and knows the man holding him has begun to cry as well. "It's gonna be alright kid. You're gonna be alright."
Hollow words. Meaningless lies.
Both men know nothing is going to be alright again.
Dean's breakdown had caused a rush of nurses to enter into the room each one in a frenzy to try to sooth and comfort, to help and to quiet him...
Cries that could wake the dead sounding throughout the normally peaceful corridors of the hospital.
Yet still Sam remained unphased, obliviously locked away somewhere Dean now knew he may never reach him.
But he had to try.
. . . . . .
The hysterics of realization had lasted only a day before Dean had forced them away defiantly. Sammy had never given up on him. Sammy had been there for him and battled beside him, his brother and faithful sidekick geek boy... So no matter what it took no matter how long he had to wait he wouldn't give up again. He would be patient until time it's self ended. Because Sammy he knew, had to come back, he always came back... It was just taking a little longer than usual this time, but he would wait. "We got time little brother" He would whisper when he felt his spirit begin to crack, and like the winding of an old clock he would pull himself together and life would tick by.
As quickly as it had come on, the memory fades back into the recesses of his mind to surface again he is sure another day, when finally the throat beneath his fingers swallows and the rag doll remains of his brother mechanically take charge of the involuntary action again. "There you go good boy..." The older man is relieved to hear pride in his tone and reaches his hand up stroking the other man's chest-nut shaggy hair "You're gonna need a hair cut soon little brother."
"I know you're in there, I know you'll come back to me man. We got work to do, you can't leave me to face this unfair craphole we call life alone."
Silently he watches...
And Sadness, an emotion he had only developed not long ago, pulls at his being,