(You Can't) Choose Family

Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine. I do not profit from this story.
Characters: Dean, Sam, Adam
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: none
Spoilers: season 6
Beta: webbswoman
Word count: 2,175

Summary: You can't choose family. None of them got to choose, not Dean, not Sam or Adam. Most of the time their family is split into two and one but Sam and Dean still show up when Adam gets hurt, even though there's nothing supernatural about it.

Note: Set after (Don't) Open the Door to Family, which you don't necessarily need to have read. Both stories are set in some future time and/or alternate universe in which Adam has gotten out of the cage, went back to university, became a doctor and now works at a hospital. Dean and Sam visit from time to time.

Adam wakes up and for a moment he doesn't know where he is. That in itself isn't unusual but it doesn't get any easier either. There's a high, shrill sound ringing in his ears, the kind that shatters windows, and it takes him a while to get past that. When he does, he hears a male voice next to him trying to soothe him.

"Shh, hush, Adam."

The next thing he becomes aware of is a hand wrapped loosely around his left wrist. It's probably been there for longer but he never has all of his senses when he wakes up like this.

"Dean?" He asks.

"Yeah. Sam's here, too."

"Hey Adam," his other brother says.

Adam roams the room with his eyes until he can see the tall, shadowed shape of Sam sitting on a chair on his right. The only light in the room comes from the few street lights outside and the machines connected to him. He can only vaguely make out Dean's expression, who's closest to him, but it might have been his eyes, which haven't started to clear yet.

"What are you doing here?"

"We heard you got hurt. Came here right away."

"Where were you hunting? And how did you even hear about this? I didn't make the national news, did I?"

Dean chuckles. "Sorry, no. You've still got some way to go before you rival our air time."

Adam snorts. "I don't want my face on American's Most Wanted."

"I read about the incident in a local newspaper," Sam explains.

"Do you always check the local news of Wisconsin?"

"Yes," Sam replies simply. He sounds a lot like Dean at that moment.

"Bobby does, too," Dean adds. "Wanna tell us what happened?"

"Shouldn't you know already?"

He blinks against the darkness. His vision is finally getting clearer; Dean hasn't taken his hand away.

"What time is it?"

"Quarter to three in the morning. You tired?"

"No. I usually wake up around two or so."

Sam and Dean exchange looks over him. Adam ignores it. He's learnt to live with sleeping three to four hours a night and it's actually not that bad.

"I was working," he begins his story. "Everything was normal at first. But when I left neurology I saw people running towards me, away from something. They said someone had pulled a knife in the ER. It happens sometimes; drug addicts, gang members, mentally sick, whatever. Hospital security usually comes and takes care of it. I thought I should go anyway, see if I could help. When I came to the ER, security hadn't arrived yet and this guy was threatening one of the nurses. He was holding her by her arm. I thought, well, I survived Michael, I can survive one nut case. Not as if they're that different. Or maybe I didn't think. Whatever."

"So you got stabbed," Dean says.

"There was that. It worked though. I managed to disarm the guy and get the nurse away from him. It's just my shoulder. I'll be fine in a few weeks."

Dean sighed, shaking his head. "We have to show you some moves. You can't go around like this."

"Hey! I took some Kung Fu classes!"

"Great. Grow a beard and in a few years you might get a role in a film teaching some teenager Chinese martial arts. The point is, you need some real training and we should have thought of it earlier. Or even better, next time, please try and avoid suicidal tendencies like throwing yourself at unpredictable humans with knives."

"Says you of all people?"

"I know what I'm doing."

Sam snorts, earning himself a black look from the oldest Winchester.

"Anyway, rescuing nurses should really be my job." Dean gives a lascivious smile.

Adam thumbs his head against the pillow. He can see Sam shaking his head from the corner of his eye.

"When will they let you out of here?" Sam asks.

Adam gives a one-sided shrug with his right shoulder. "Not sure. Tomorrow or in two days at the latest. They're watching for infection but there's really not much else for them to do. My boss put me on sick leave for three weeks."

Dean grunts. "I guess there's a good thing in getting stabbed at your own workplace."

"Guess so. How long are you staying?"

His brothers exchange a look again.

"Do you need us?" Sam asks.

Adam shrugs again. He probably won't. He can get around the house on his own, even injured. Not to mention that he's not certain how long he can stand having Sam and Dean around in his small apartment. But on the other hand it's nice to have their attention.

"We'll stay," Sam decides. Dean nods in agreement.

Adam has had a lot of opportunity to watch Dean and Sam. Zachariah once called them "psychotically, irrationally, erotically codependent" and he'd been more right than not. They can't live without each other. Sure, Sam spent a few months without Dean and Dean managed a whole year without Sam but once he'd seen his younger brother again, he had ditched his white picket fence immediately. Their family is split into one and two people: he is the one and Sam and Dean are the two others. Adam knows he'll never be to them what they are to each other. And he doesn't want to be either.

Sam and Dean have issues. Entire battalions of psychiatrists and psychologists would love to get their hands on them. They might fall in love, they might have relationships either of the short-term or the mid-term length but they'll never be able to let go of each other.

Adam pities them for that. He thinks that Sam at least should know how unhealthy their relationship is, being a former Stanford student and all, but he's as blind to it as Dean. And if you dared to say a word, Dean would cut you off and threaten your vocal cords and because Adam knows that this was a specialty in Hell - though he isn't stupid enough to mention that - and because he likes his, he keeps his mouth shut.

So Sam and Dean make themselves at home in his flat. Sam does a good impression of a mother hen, Dean either orders him around or gives "sage" - that is, unwanted - advice. The moves he claimed he'd show his youngest brother have to wait until said brother is healed.

Sam takes over grocery shopping, Dean does the cooking exactly twice before Adam takes over and gives Dean simple tasks like chopping veggies.

("I'm not an idiot, you know. I know perfectly well how to cook!"

Adam snorted.

"I made dinner for Sam all the time when he was younger!"

"Now I know how he survived Lucifer. Anyone who survives your cooking for years would," the youngest Winchester muttered not quite under his breath.)

Sam is slightly better at the domestic life but in effect, both of his elder brothers suck at it. Adam's never met Lisa or Jess but he thinks they must have been women who liked taking care of their men.

Three days after his release from the hospital, Sam and Dean are still hanging around his apartment when Adam gets a visitor. The disaster starts with Dean opening the door.

"Well, hello there. What can I do for you?" Adam can practically hear the leer on his face all the way from the living room.

"Is Adam home?"

That's when Adam knows that he should have answered the door himself. He's there within seconds.

"Hi, Louise!"

Louise is two years younger than him, tall, redheaded, and works as a doctor in pediatrics. She's a bit flat chested but she has a cute ass and Adam is clearly an ass-man.

"Hey Adam," she greets him. "How are you doing? Is your shoulder hurting?"

She's carrying a basket of Tupperware and if there's actual food in there, he'll kiss her.

Adam smiles at her. "No, it's fine. I took some painkillers." He did, too. They have the lovely side effect of dulling his dreams some.

"Thank God."

The youngest Winchester can almost feel Dean roll his eyes. At least he refrains from saying: 'God doesn't give a damn. He's probably in Mexico enjoying Sex on the Beach.'

"I've brought you some food."

"Really? Thank you, Louise, that's great!" He steps out of the door way. "Please come in."

She does, turning a questioning look from Dean, who's still hanging around by the doorway with a way-too-smug expression, to Adam.

"Oh, sorry," Adam stumbles. "That's my brother, Dean. Dean, this is Louise, a colleague from work."

She gives Dean a smile. "Nice to meet you, Dean. Adam's talked about his brothers. Are you the oldest or the younger one?

"Good to meet you, too, Louise." Adam could punch his brother for that smile. He knows it's the one he uses to pick up girls. "I'm the oldest."

"Ah, the one with all the women then," Louise realizes with a smile.

Dean is taken aback. He gives Adam a questioning look who has to struggle not to start laughing. Adam clears his throat.

"Sam is here, too, he's in the kitchen."

"I'm sorry – I didn't know you had visitors. The food probably won't last long then."

Just at that moment Sam steps out of the kitchen and Louise's eyes widen. Adam can almost hear her thinking that the food won't last long at all with this giant in the family.

Sam smiles at her, completely different from Dean. It's a nice, non-sexual smile which makes women either want to mother him or be his sister.

"Hi, you must be Sam. I'm Louise. I work at the same hospital as Adam. I brought food."

Sam positively beams at that. "I'll put it in the fridge." And he takes the basket. "Come on, Dean, you can help."

Dean doesn't look pleased at being taken out of the equation just like that when it involves a woman but, as much as Dean claims that Sam is a "bitch", the truth is that he's Sam's bitch and he'll do pretty much whatever Sam says.

Louise smiles as his big brothers close the kitchen door behind themselves.

"They seem nice. Did you call them after the attack?"

"No, they heard about it on the news and came right away."

"Sounds like they're really protective of you."

"Yeah, I guess. But they can't cook for the life of them so thanks for the food."

"That's all right. If you like, I can bring more on Monday."

"It's okay, I wouldn't want to put you out."

She laughs. "I don't mind. Anyway, I was just coming around to check up on you. I thought you were alone but since your brothers are here, I'm sure they can take care of you."

"Thanks. We'll be fine, yes."

"All right then. I'll be going then."

"Okay." He shows her to the door.

In the kitchen, Dean is busy opening the Tupper containers to see what Louise brought while Sam smacks his fingers with surprisingly little success.

"Nice girl," Dean comments when Adam returns. "Cute ass."

"Dean!" Sam admonishes him.

"You know, sometimes I do think about settling down," Dean begins one night as they watch TV and Sam is out.

Adam mutely raises an eyebrow at him.

"Well, you know, we won't be able to hunt forever. Sooner or later you're too slow just once and that one time can cost you your life. I don't know what I'd do if that happened to Sam."

The Milligan snorts. "Go look for the next crossroads demon?"

Dean looks as if he wants to deny it but can't.

"And how do you think you'd settle down anyway?"

His older brother shrugs. "Buy a house."

"With what money? You can't use fake credit cards if you're planning to stay."

"Get a legit loan then."

"You only get a loan if you have credit history, which you don't."

Dean gives him a blank look. Adam sighs.

"Okay. Say you settle down. Can you honestly tell me that you could resist all hunts?"

His brother shrugs again. "Sam could."

"Until you give him that desperate look because you miss hunting and want him to come with you."

"Desperate look?" Dean protests incredulously. "Come on! I don't have a desperate look!"

"You so do."

Dean leans over, most likely to put him into a headlock but Adam jerks away, falling off the couch in the process. At least Dean has the decency to get ice.

"We could rent a house instead," Dean resumes once they've settled again. Adam pretends not to listen.

After two weeks, Dean starts searching the local newspaper for hunts. Then he branches out to the surrounding states. By the end of the third week, Sam is looking over his shoulder and Adam has had enough of opening the fridge to empty, unwashed food containers.

They leave two days later.

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