Rest In Peace
Summary: 1-shot/sort of AU. After waking up when the wall fell, Sam's forced to deal with the tragic actions of what occurred after Purgatory was opened. A final letter from Dean forces him to also deal with emotions he'd nearly forgotten about and he must face a funeral he never thought he would.
Warnings: Semi-death fic since I technically didn't kill the character. He was dead in the start but it does deal with character death so reader beware. I didn't cry at the Finale but I cried at this so it also carries a tissue warning.
Tags/Spoilers: This is tagged to 6-22 The Man Who Knew Too Much and may contain some spoilers though since I did use certain things so if you haven't seen the episode yet maybe avoid this until you do.
Characters: Upset/grieving/emotional!Sammy, upset/big brother!Dean
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or anything to do with the show. Just use them for entertainment.
Author Note: OK, we all know I don't normally do death fics and I'm calling this only a semi-one since I technically didn't write the death in the story. It's already happened…now I'm not promising not to write one since I have a plot that's screaming for it.
The finale was an emotionally wringing mess for us fans and a pure treasure trove for the writers out there. I promise to always be respectful of these characters but sometimes a plot calls for certain deaths or actions so just remember…don't murder the author,lol.
SPN SPN SPN SPN SPN
Sam Winchester sat on the bed in the panic room that was situated in the basement of Bobby Singer's home. He'd woken up here after a very brutal and very deeply personal journey into not only his very soul but also his mind.
Sam's memories were still a little scrambled. He remembered it all now, including his time in the Cage and also his lost year of hunting. He just had a hard time bringing the memories that his most recent trip inside his mind reunited him with together with everything else…including what he'd woken up to.
The youngest Winchester remembered with a deep ache in his heart that the very Angel that up until a few days ago he and his brother had considered a close and trusted friend had ripped the protective wall around those memories down.
Running a hand through his hair, Sam struggled to make his hands stop trembling when they reached for a letter that had been left for him. He'd ignored it when he'd first woke up in favor of getting to Dean and Bobby in case they needed help in stopping their former friend from making a huge mistake.
Now Sam understood that the mistake hadn't only been huge for Cas but also very costly to the Winchesters and their mentor.
Hearing grumbling from upstairs, Sam knew that he should go upstairs and help with the final preparations. That it wasn't right that he allow him to do what Sam himself should be doing but Sam also knew his emotions were still running too high to be able to cope with that single chore yet. He chose to pack what belongings of his and his brother were in the panic room before reaching for the letter that was addressed to him in handwriting that he would always recognize.
Taking a deep breath, Sam unfolded the letter but immediately felt his breath catch on the first line that his brother had written…
'Hey Sammy, I'm writing this while waiting for Bobby to get his ass in gear and find Cas so I can (a)stop him from opening that damn door to Purgatory and (b)Molotov his feathered ass back to Heaven for wiping out that wall inside your head.'
A small smile formed since Sam had no trouble picturing his big brother sitting at the desk across from him in the panic room to write this letter before it all went wrong. Swallowing the lump that formed as he carried the single duffel bag out of the panic room and upstairs, Sam's eyes strayed to something outside and he wasn't sure what was going to hurt worse; reading the letter or seeing what he could salvage from the only home he'd ever known.
Tired eyes gazing around the wrecked room that held all of Bobby's books, Sam chewed his lip as he recalled the mind numbing grief that had caused the room to get in its current state. Not wanting to recall the last few nights, he decided to take Dean's letter outside to what remained of the 1967 Chevy Impala that had always been home and transportation to the Winchesters for as long as Sam could recall.
Staring at the car took Sam back to another time he'd seen this car sitting in Bobby's lot looking wrecked and damaged. That time too it had been damaged as a result of a demon and that time too he'd stood in this lot feeling numb with grief and loss. Only this time, he wasn't certain how it would go or if there was a future for them considering what had caused all the pain and loss this time.
He'd personally arranged to have the car towed back to South Dakota since he hadn't been able to bring himself to make the other arrangements so now Sam pried open the drivers door to sit inside, blinking the stinging tears away when he caught site of a box of scattered old cassette tapes.
Ears attuned to the sharp cursing going on behind the house where he was avoiding since he wasn't prepared to see that damn funeral pyre yet, Sam concentrated on the letter in his hand and noticed how his brother's normally steady handwriting seemed to shake as he had written.
'Not sure what I want to say with this but I guess you should know what the hell happened when you wake up and I'm not here. I want to be here when you wake up, Sammy but Bobby's right. Cas has to be stopped or you pulling yourself back together won't be worth spit.
'I'm hoping you'll remember it or maybe it's best if you don't since I still hate the thought that Cas not only pulled you outta the Cage without a soul but then he ripped down the damn wall that protected you from those memories. Our so-called Angel pal really did it because while I might've forgiven, eventually, his working with Crowley and all that other crap, I will never forgive him for touching you…especially if you don't pull outta this, little brother.
'Sam, I promised you once that nothing bad would ever happen to you so long as I was around to protect you and God knows I tried to keep that but we both know that I screwed up. Hell, I screwed that up long before you even left for college because I should've done more to protect you instead of taking Dad's side so much.'
"Dean…" Sam's eyes closed against the tears he knew were going to come. He'd expected the letter to have some sort of message from his brother but he hadn't been expecting this. Dean's no chick-flick rule should've kept him from writing this but Sam could only assume recent events had not only dropped his wall but also the one Dean had always kept up.
'Okay, so chick-flick rule aside if I'm gonna write this as a 'just in case' thing then I'm gonna spill it all and hopefully I'm still around to snag this thing before you ever get to see it…if not then…listen to Bobby, stay the hell away from Castiel and…just be happy, Sammy.
'When Mom and Dad first brought you home, the first thing I thought of…aside from how damn chubby you were, was how cool it was gonna be to be the big brother. I'd teach you how to play ball like Dad taught me, I'd show you all the ropes in school, how to weasel cookies out of Mom before dinner and just be the big brother that you'd always look up to.
'I tried to be that, Sammy. From the moment Dad put you in my arms and I carried you out of the house I tried to the best damn big brother I could be…and I guess the best father figure too since Dad was never around to do the stuff most Dad's do. I taught you to walk, to play, to crawl…hell you said my name before you ever would say Daddy and it wasn't until after you'd left for school that I learned how much he resented that but those were issues between me and Dad.
'I know I've pissed you off more than once quoting the old 'kill evil, protect people' line or all the rest of the crap that Dad used to dish out but Sammy, all I ever wanted for you was the normal life you always used to talk about. I wish I could've taken you from Dad and let you have the life you tried to have when you ran to Flagstaff or what you had while at Stanford and more than once I wished I hadn't been so selfish. I wish I would've left you at school but I can't promise what happened wouldn't have.
'You know and I know that I turned out to be a piss poor role model and protector since I not only failed to keep you safe like I promised but I left you alone and I don't mean just when I was in Hell but after I came back. I was so screwed up and had things coming at me from so many angles that I let the one thing happen that I swore never would. I forgot what the most important thing in my life was and it wasn't until just a few months back that I remembered that you will always be that thing, Sammy.
'I told you before Detroit that it was time to let you make your own choices. That we both had to grow up but who the hell was I kidding? You could be an old man and you will always be the pesky little brother I always protected. That's why I went to Stull that day. I didn't care if I died because I wasn't letting you face it alone but in the end you showed me that maybe you were all grown up. I don't know if you'll remember that day or any of the rest that's happened to you but if you do and I'm not around to tell you…I was proud of you that day, Sam. Not every big brother can say their little brother beat the Devil but I can. You did and all it cost you was your soul. I will never forgive Cas for that one and I pray that you wake up this time safe and with very little memory of whatever you endured.
'The whole soul thing was bad and I know I still haven't been the brother you needed but I hope you knew that we were okay. I hope you knew that all the heavy crap we went through since I came back from Hell never made me stop…that despite how I acted and treated you that I…that you were still my little brother and I…yeah, guess I have to say it sooner or later right?
'There's so much I want to apologize for, Sam but if I started that this thing would take forever and I have gate to keep closed so here goes. I'm sorry I didn't protect you from Dad enough, that you thought you had to run away to be safe or normal because to me…you were always normal…just a geek. I'm sorry I took you away from Jessica and she died and you lost your one shot at that apple pie life…though trust me that ain't all it's cracked up to be. I'm sorry I didn't listen to you enough when it counted and I'm sorry that I shut you out when you wanted to help after Dad died and during the year before I went to hell. Those were my issues because I was always the big brother needing to protect you so showing my fears just was never in the cards, Sammy.
"I wish I'd had the chance to tell you how I felt, how proud I've always been of you. I wish I could've let myself tell you those things before I went to Hell and maybe you wouldn't have thought you needed to be better or stronger because you were always the best hunter I knew. I knew you were scared, Sam but I couldn't let you know how scared I was and that was a mistake. It was a mistake to let Ruby, Cas and everything shove us apart because no matter what you'd become or what I'd done, in the end we were brothers and I let myself forget that until one little thing reminded me. That damn little Army man you stuck in the ashtray.
Sam wiped his eyes again to clear them, instinctively looking in the crumpled back seat to see if this new crash had dislodged the green plastic toy he'd shoved in years ago. Feeling an almost childlike relief to still see it in place as he fought to ignore his pounding heart as he read while knowing how hard this had to have been on his brother to write.
Reaching for one of the tapes on the floor, he remembered another day he'd sat in this car telling Dean how he had to update his cassette tape collection and just the memory of being told that 'driver picks the music. Shotgun shuts his cake hole' had his eyes watering again since most of his memories of his brother that Sam could draw on were of in this car and now it was just another thing that he'd lost along with his…
Refusing the thought, he refocused on the final pages of the letter and noticed something that tore his heart even more. Sam could count on the fingers of one hand the times that he'd seen his brother cry outwardly and he could tell by the smudges on the paper that this had been another one and that scared him even more than what he'd be faced with later.
'That damn little Army man reminded me that you'd be my little brother always and that you'd have been so disappointed in me if I'd actually pulled the trigger the night I had my Colt to my head because I couldn't see going on without you. Then I saw that thing and those damn big puppy dog eyes popped up in my mind. I never planned on going to Lisa and Ben, Sam until that moment. Then I figured I'd try it and I don't care if it was RoboSam for six months if I hadn't gotten out of so-called domestic bliss I probably would've tried again. That time…forget it because like I told Bobby it wasn't the you that made you my little brother. I never held anything that happened during that time against you so if you did happen to get those memories back…forget the vampire thing, the fairy that got nuked in the microwave or anything else. Forget it and move on.
'When I fought to get your soul back I knew it was more for me but I also knew that you'd never want to do the things that were going on so I used that as an excuse to get it back. The first time you woke up after…God I will never forget your eyes or how tight you clung to me…or how much I wanted to hold onto that moment for as long as I could.
'You'll laugh when you read this, Sammy but for the next few days after you woke you…well after the whole dragon thing, I'd watch you sleep like I used to when you were a kid. I was so afraid that if I closed my eyes I'd lose you again and I guess that's why I've still been distant with you because I knew that if anything happened and I did lose you again that I'd never stand it and that's why Cas and Crowley will burn for this crap.
'After Cas dropped you in that alley it felt like Cold Oak all over again but I know that no deal will make this right so I have to pray that you're strong enough to fight what's happening inside your mind. That you know that I would be with you in a heartbeat if I could and that I love you, little brother…there I said it.
'You're a smart guy, Sammy so I'm guessin' you've figured out what this letter is by now and that if you managed to get your hands on it then I didn't make it back from stoppin' Cas. I can only hope that both you and Bobby are safe…I hope you're safe, Sam because I need to at least believe I managed to do it right one time. I know telling you to get out of hunting is useless though as your awesome big brother I'll do it anyway but I will say to stay underground until whatever happened with Purgatory blows over. I'm hoping I can talk Cas off the ledge he's on but if not then steer clear because I want my brother alive, Sam. No more stupid stunts just keep low key, be careful and watch your back because I won't be there to do it anymore.
'Well, Bobby just got the location. You're still out after having one minor seizure and it terrifies me to leave you here alone but Bobby's right. Neither Cas nor Crowley can get Purgatory so I'm leaving the address of where we'll be in case you decide to wake your lazy ass up and join us and also my gun…in case you need it. In a closet in our room upstairs, my leather jacket is in a box. It's yours and I wish I could give you the amulet you gave me but that was another selfish thing I did without understanding how it'd hurt you. I shouldn't have to give you the usual spiel but this time do the damn burning, Sam because I won't be coming back if this went wrong.
'Bobby's calling me an overly emotional idjit so it's time to go. Wake up and be safe, Sammy. I know you always wanted Dad to be proud of you and I can say he was but you'd never buy it but I will say that I am proud of you, Sam. Proud of the man you became, proud to have been your big brother, proud to have rode with you even when you dissed my music and…I'll always…love you, Sammy. Be good, take care of Bobby, my car and yourself and…hopefully I'll see you someday. Dean
'P.S. don't you dare toss my cassette's or I swear I will so haunt your ass, little brother.
The final line is what broke Sam and he gave in to the urge that's been building since he arrived at that place to see one of the two people he still had in his life snuffed out with a mere snap of his former friend's fingers. The sobs were raw and wrenching as his grief mingled with all the stress of having all his memories returned at once.
Rage also built but he fought the urge to destroy what was left of the car his brother loved when he finally heard the voice shouting for him. The urge came to run, to go anywhere but in the back where he was faced with one final chore before reality set back in and he had to get a grip on what was left.
The voice was stern, gruffer than he'd heard in years but he knew the emotions were also riding high there too so with a shaky sigh, he gripped the letter in his fist while grabbing something on the porch rail and walking slowly into a deeper section of the lot where the fire wouldn't, or shouldn't draw too much attention.
Since Sam had been old enough, once he'd found out that is, to understand when a hunter died the traditional method to dispose of the body was by fire. He'd attended more than his share but he honestly couldn't remember any other one hurting as bad as this one would…not even his own father's.
The funeral pyre should've been built by both of them but he just hadn't been able to do it. He felt bad considering it had to have been hard to pay the wood with a broken wrist and a shoulder that had barely survived being wrenched out of place.
Memories of his childhood resurfaced with a violent surge as the fire lit slowly but soon built to begin to burn fully. Dropping to his knees, there was nothing Sam could do to keep what little he'd eaten from coming back up and his stomach heaved until finally nothing was coming up. Feeling a hand touch his shoulder, he reacted on instinct by reaching back to grab hold of the wrist just to have some form of contact.
"Why?" he was finally able to ask, voice shaking as he stared at the battered object he'd dropped when he went down to the ground. "Why'd he do it? There had to have been another way so why the hell did he do it?"
A long silence filled the darkening night air leaving only the light from the now fully burning funeral pyre to illuminate their silhouettes. The man who had managed to shield Sam from as much of what happened the night Castiel turned on them fully knelt next to him to move his good hand from the shaking shoulder to grip the younger man's neck.
"Yeah and we all would've died with that option," he replied tightly, closing his eyes against the pain he was feeling in order to focus on Sam. "Neither of us counted on how far Cas had gone off the rails and he did what I was going to if I hadn't been slammed across the room trying to get to you. Sam…"
"He's dead!" the realization had always been there, it'd been there from the second Sam walked through the front door of the house upon returning to it. It had just been seeing the battered object lying on the porch rail that they'd decided to burn with the body and seeing the final fire that brought the rest of his emotions out. "He's…really dead…"
Strong fingers gentled as they squeezed his neck in a familiar motion that soothed some of Sam's battered emotions. "I know he is, Sam. I know but you know and I know that he'd've risked anything to keep us safe and I wish you hadn't seen it happen. There're a lot of things I regret in my life but this one is huge because you never should've seen that happen to…"
"Do you think he regretted it?" the question was quiet and Sam felt the fingers still a moment before he was pulled to his feet and made to face eyes that shone with grief so much like his own.
"I think he knew it would probably happen like this sometime and that he's known it since Dad died. I don't think Bobby ever regretted either his life or this because he knew Cas would move on you as soon as that knife didn't work on him and as soon as I went down Bobby was putting himself between us and that ready to go nuclear Angel.
"Sammy, Bobby was a hunter. He'd seen how many friends die recently because of the crap Cas has been pulling and he's seen us be put through Hell and back. He did what any…he did what any Father would do to protect his sons because that's what Bobby thought of us."
Dropping his eyes for a moment, Sam slowly looked from the fire back into the green eyes of his older brother and recalled his terror when he arrived at that house to see the Impala on its tops, the destruction on his way inside and feared the worst.
"You went in there thinking you were gonna die, didn't you, Dean?" he asked quietly, reaching out to grab his brother's arm before he could pull away. "I read the letter, Dean. You went into that house expecting Cas to kill you…why?"
"Sonuvabitch," Dean Winchester muttered under his breath, cursing himself for not remembering to grab that damn letter he'd written for his brother before he and Bobby had left to stop the gate into Purgatory being opened. "If I promise never to make fun of…okay I can't do that, if I say you can play your music in the car once I fix her will you please forget what you read?"
The exhausted grief he still read on Sam's face told Dean that he wasn't getting the full effect of the usual bitch face that he hadn't seen in a long while but it was enough to tell him that his little brother also wasn't letting go of this topic.
Moving away to toss another dry timber on the fire that was the funeral pyre for the one man that both Sam and Dean thought of as a surrogate father, he took his time to answer until he heard the soft sob next to him and he reached his good hand out to grip the shoulder closest to him.
"I knew Cas, if he did this thing, would go postal because there was no way that he or anyone could handle that much power and I knew that he could go after you considering what he did to take you out of the picture. I thought maybe if I couldn't talk him down that I could take him down with me but…it didn't work out like that," Dean sighed, still remembering the way his former friend looked when he opened himself to all the souls he'd absorbed from Purgatory and when he destroyed Raphael with just a snap of his fingers.
Glancing next to him, Dean could see the tears shining on his little brother's face as he stared at the fire that was consuming the body of Bobby Singer. He also recalled his outright terror when he saw Sam stab Castiel with a blade that did no damage and when he realized what would happen next if he didn't move quickly enough.
"Cas was going to turn on you, Sammy and I would've done the same thing Bobby did if Cas hadn't decided to toss me into the wall. Then all I could do was try to shield you from what came next," he felt the boy shake as he tried to cover the tears that were coming again, seeing the crumpled letter in Sam's clenched fist and knowing exactly what he'd read. "Sam…Bobby wouldn't want this to affect us more than anything else has and yeah, it's bad and it'll get worse probably but…he was always prepared and I think after Dr. V. got killed that he planned to either handle Cas or go out fighting.
"He gave us the chance we need. Now we do what we do best and make Bobby proud because I can promise you he will so kick our assess if we don't fix Cas or something," he nodded to the battered trucker's cap that he held out to his brother. "He left us the house, the books, and all the stuff we need to take on all the evil sons of bitches out there and hopefully depower Cas before he ends the world."
Taking a deep breath, Sam slowly reached for the hat their friend always wore before swallowing and tossing the cap on the top of the fire to see it catch fire even as his eyes blurred with tears. "I remember so much, Dean," he whispered. "I remember Hell, I remember the time I hunted without you…I remember what I did to you and to Bobby…how could either of you still trust me or…" he broke off, going to turn when an unexpected arm around his shoulders tugged him into a hug that he accepted fully and returned it firmly.
"Guess I hoped you didn't remember it all so fast but neither Bobby nor I held that against you…okay, Bobby had a small issue with you trying to kill him but that wasn't you," Dean struggled to keep his voice level even as it deepened with emotions he'd been fighting to bury. "Bobby, for a stubborn, uptight, hardheaded guy, loved us, Sammy. He loved you and we'd both fight for you. That's what he did and he's as proud of you as…as I am. Now, are you good?"
Slightly surprised that his brother, while breaking the hug, still kept a strong arm around him in a way to offer support that he knew Sam needed right then. "I…yeah, I will be," Sam murmured, staring as the fire burned and he recalled all the times they'd visited Bobby or his stern lectures and missing him not calling them idjits anymore. "I…miss him, Dean. Aside from you, Bobby was…don't hate me for this but aside from you he was the only real Father I knew."
"I know he was, Sammy," Dean replied quietly, surprised those words didn't upset him like he supposed they should've. "Bobby was there for us when Dad wasn't and I don't hate you for that…hell, he was the only real father either of us had especially recently."
The Winchesters grew silent to watch the fire burn steadily. Dean only moved when he felt his younger brother tilt to one side a little too much and made a move to steady him. "Time for bed, Sammy," he told him softly, hearing a quiet mumble in reply which told him that exhaustion and grief had finally taken hold of Sam as he aimed him back to the house but Dean paused to take one final look back. "Don't fight with Dad too much, Bobby and I'll take care of Sammy. We'll make you proud because like you were so fond of telling me, blood doesn't make you family and you were the last of ours. Now I fight to protect what I have left even if I have to depower a new so-called 'God' by hand because I'm not losing Sam again."
Reaching the letter he'd written to Sam, Dean saw the new stains, which told him exactly how his little brother had reacted to it. Throwing it back to the fire caught it, he watched as the letter burned. "You don't need a letter to tell you anything Sam," he sighed, managing to get his sleepy brother as far as the sofa seat in the library before slumping down on the floor next to it and seeing that Sam's hair was back in his face. "I am proud of you, little brother," he whispered, carding the fingers of his good hand through Sam's hair before brushing the tears away. "So was Bobby and…I love you, Sammy."
Hearing a barely audible reply, Dean grinned tiredly before closing his eyes. He'd personally sealed the house earlier so he knew it was safe to sleep but on instinct he'd wait to be sure Sam was safe before he slept.
Looking at a worn photo he'd found in the desk drawer, Dean felt his breath catch as he looked at the rare smiling face of Bobby Singer as he watched Sam do something when they'd been kids. His own memories finally surfaced with heartbreaking speed and the last words the older hunter said to him the night it all changed came back to him.
"Take care of yourself and your damn brother, ya idjit. I won't be around to do it for ya for awhile."
"I'll take care of Sammy, Bobby and I swear I'll make this right somehow," Dean whispered, not bothering to wipe the tears as they fell since he knew Sam was sleeping; laying his head back on the seat next to Sam's arm to stare up at the ceiling. "Rest in peace, Bobby and promise me you'll kick someone's butt when you can. Sam and I'll…be okay."
Dean could only hope that was true since even he didn't know what the coming months held for them…after he put the Impala back together and he could better gauge his little brother's emotional state after having his mind tore to sheds…again.
Falling asleep, Dean's hand automatically went to his brother's shoulder when he heard the whimper as Sam dreamed but his own exhaustion kept him from noticing the misty shadow that formed near them as if watching for a long moment. He also missed the quiet, almost whisper of words that very few could hear unless they were expecting a spirit to be near by.
"Take care of your damn selves…idjits."
Author Note 2: I want to thank everyone who reads this. I know I don't normally do anything close to deathfics and even though I didn't do the killing (yet) I hope it turned out all right. I know, I know it was another one of those that might have made you think one thing and then I dropped something else on you…I'm evil that way so I apologize to Bobby fans for this drastic turn. I have several more plot bunnies geared for or about what went down in the Finale. Thanks again for reading.