A/N 1: By now I'm sure you've heard, Supernatural has been renewed. (Hopefully they won't give us another half season like they gave us at the beginning of S6)
A/N 2: There's going to be a fanfic author's convention in Roanoke, VA on July 16th. "Your favorite authors and their favorite fans, face to face for their favorite charities.". For more information, go to: www dot xenascully dot com. I've been waiting for someone to do this - I can't wait to get there. I hope you'll be there too!
the man is his clothing ~ Erasmus
Dean never gave up calling for Castiel to come down and check out Sam. He wanted to know that Sam's soul was back in place, but he also wanted - needed - to know if Sam was going to wake up, was he going to be okay? And if not, maybe Cas could at least try to heal Sam. But Cas wasn't answering.
But Dean kept trying.
He spent a lot of time sitting with Sam, talking to him, reading the newspaper to him, trying to coax him back to consciousness. But even that still left a lot of time and a lot of nervous energy to be expended somehow. So - the dishes were done, the books were organized, the weapons were clean, and still Dean had too much energy and time on his hands. Bobby told him to not even think of touching anything in the basement, so Dean decided he could do the laundry.
There hadn't been a lot of time for laundry lately, and he hadn't even thought of it this past week, but now he hauled the duffel bags out of the trunk and down into the basement. At least doing laundry, he could be busy and still be close to Sam.
He hesitated at first, opening RoboSam's duffle. All the months they'd been on the road together, Dean had barely ever touched RoboSam's things, much less opened something up and rummaged around. He wasn't even sure why he was bothering to wash these clothes that weren't even Sam's. Maybe he should throw them out, just on principle. He didn't want to be reminded of RoboSam, and he didn't want Sam to be reminded of him either.
But - whole, sound, undamaged clothes that fit Sam pretty well weren't always that easy to come by. And it wasn't like Sam paid that much attention to his clothes anyway. Sure not enough to incite any wall-tumbling revelations. So, Dean yanked open the zipper and started pulling the clothes out to throw in the washing machine.
And gee whiz - even if everything else had changed about Sam when he had no soul, his choice in clothing hadn't: plaid shirts, v-neck t-shirts, the same kind of socks, the same kind of underwear -
Dean's breath caught in his throat when he got to the bottom of the duffel - RoboSam had a brown hooded jacket, just like the one Sam had. If Dean didn't know better, he'd say that it was that jacket, but Sam hadn't taken that jacket to hell with him, so he hadn't brought it back from hell with him. He sure hadn't spirited it out of the trunk of car when Dean wasn't looking, so this was a different hoodie, one that RoboSam had bought for himself.
There was a bloody slice in one sleeve of this jacket but none of the rest of RoboSam's clothes were cut or bloody or even patched. That meant that RoboSam had purposely bought this jacket, this exact jacket, and kept this exact jacket, even after it got cut up and bloodied.
What did that mean?
Sam hadn't worn his hoodie for months before he went to hell. The damn thing hadn't really fit him since Dean came back from hell. But there were still times that he wore it, usually when he was feeling emotionally worn down. So much so in fact, that whenever he did wear the hoodie, Dean made sure to go easy on him, eat at places he knew Sam liked to eat at, choose motels near bookstores Sam liked to get lost in, find the perfect place to pull off the car after dark and just sit together on the hood and watch the stars, sometimes for hours.
Sam's hoodie wasn't just Sam, it was Sammy. It was every sad, worn down, unexpressed emo part of Sammy.
So, if RoboSam had purposely bought this exact jacket, and kept it even though it'd been damaged, what did that mean?
Did it mean - ?
Dean felt suddenly dizzy and had to sit on the basement steps.
Did it mean there'd been some little bit of Sammy left inside of RoboSam?
When RoboSam said it'd be nice to have Dean back hunting with him, was that Sammy needing his brother? When Veritas said Sam wasn't human, and Sam begged Dean for help, was that Sammybegging Dean to help him in spite of himself?
Dean looked at the brown, bloody, hoodie gripped in his hands.
Did he beat Sammy unconscious?
"Cas - I know you can hear me. So get your feathers down here now or so help me I will come up there and drag your ass back down. I swear I will keep trying until I find a way to do it and I don't sleep much lately."
The angelic annoyed huff almost drowned out the whisper of feathers.
"Really, Dean; do you and Sam share notes on threatening me?"
"Nothing. What do you need?"
"What do I need?" Dean gestured to the open door of the panic room. "I need you to tell me that Sam really has his soul back. Tell me that he's going to be okay."
For an answer, Dean got another huff. A really annoyed huff.
"I was made aware that Death had retrieved Sam's soul from the cage." Cas said, the 'even though you were repeatedly warned not to put his soul back' coming across loud and clear. He sounded pissed. "Why do you doubt that he returned Sam's soul to him?"
"Because he's been asleep nearly a week!" Dean said, feeling desperate. "Look at him! We had to put him on an IV to keep him from dying of dehydration. If we don't start getting food in him, he'll starve to death. I need to know what's going on with him."
Cas shook his head, began to roll up his sleeve, and walked into the panic room, muttering something Dean couldn't quite hear.
He looked at the hoodie again and then shoved it back into the duffel. No. It was a fluke, it was a coincidence. Style - or the lack of it - wasn't part of the soul after all. RoboSam was pragmatic to a gigantic fault, and a jacket with a hood was good in cold weather. That was all. He wasn't Sammy.
RoboSam was not Sammy.
After Cas left, leaving as little possible hope in his wake as he could, Dean went back into the panic room, and took his usual seat in the camp chair next to Sam.
"So, Sammy - do me a favor and prove Cas wrong again, will you? Wake up. Wake up and let me know that you are Sammy. I need to know it's you in there now. I need to know you were never RoboSam. Sammy, I need to know I didn't hurt you."
He got no answer, of course. Sam didn't move, didn't wake up, didn't ease Dean's distress.
"Okay." Dean said after a few minutes. "I gotta go talk to Bobby. Maybe he's got something to keep me occupied. I'll check back on you in a little while."
On his way back to the stairs, Dean grabbed the hoodie out of the duffel. He took it out into Bobby's yard and burned it to ash.
RoboSam was not Sammy.