For the comment fic meme at Oh Sam. I had an awesome time writing it! :D
Prompt by whatjuliewrites: Can be wincest or gen. For some supernatural reason (curse?) Sam suddenly knows when people are lying. He doesn't know how or why and can't read peoples' minds, but whenever someone says anything, he knows if it's true or a lie. Dean says something about having forgiven him for everything, or not blaming Sam for something and Sam is devastated because he can tell it's a lie. Turns out, though, that it's just a misunderstanding...maybe Dean says he only blames RoboSam or Lucifer for something and it's a lie so Sam assumes that means Dean blames him, but in reality it pinged as a lie because Dean blames himself. IDK. I'm starting to confuse myself. LOL.
"Cold Hard Truth"
They think it's a side effect of the wall. Some sort of enhanced ability Sammy's soul hijacked from the pit and brought back to his body. The first time Dean knew something was up was when they were questioning a victim's spouse, the sweetest lady they'd probably ever met. Or so was the initial impression. They'd suspected witchcraft, and although Dean was definitely NOT keen on taking the hunt, freaking hate witches, Sam had downright insisted. Kid had been scrambling to redeem himself, determined to run himself ragged trying to make up for the year his robo-cop self had wreaked havoc topside.
It only took one pleading, dewy eyed look and Dean hadn't stood a chance, his resolve at once collapsing. However, he hadn't been that focused or that invested, especially when it came to all the mundane questioning. I just want to kill some witches…that's it. In any case, Sam was always better at all that sentimental crap and Dean was more than happy to hand over the reins now that he was juiced up on soul power.
The woman had said something, teary eyed and meek, about how she'd 'no idea who could have done this to her husband.'
Sam conspicuously jolted, as if electrocuted, and had gotten this bizarre look on his face, a strangled noise catching in his throat. Dean had experienced a single moment of sheer, irrational terror, the only thoughts running across his mind, hell, fire, flames, screams, blood, wall…and a familiar, severe voice, "If you wanted to kill your brother, you should have done it outright!"
But his little brother hadn't collapsed or seized beneath the power of an unbidden memory. He'd just stared, eyes wide and bewildered, back at the obviously upset widow. "You're lying…" The words came out tinged by surprise, as if Sam was just as shocked by the notion as much as they were shocked to hear the allegation.
Dean had blanched, green eyes appraising his sibling incredulously. "Uh…Sammy?" He nervously chuckled, hand brushing the taller man's arm in order to draw him slightly away. He wasn't sure what was wrong, but something obviously was.
Sam barely spared him a glance, hazel orbs taking on a dazed hue. It was fast making Dean uncomfortable and more than a little wary. The lady, meanwhile, seemed taken aback by the blatant insinuation that she was being less than honest, a darkness there and gone again on her previously kind features. Dean pulled harder on his brother's arm, surprised when he allowed himself to be man handled away from the woman. "She's lying." Sam said again, voice heartbreakingly lost and confused by his own conviction.
Dean swallowed, silently beginning to panic. Because if it's not one thing, than it's another, and he was tired of the world dumping it's shit on them. "Hey, calm down, Sammy, it's ok," but was shocked when Sam violently flinched at the words. "Talk to me, buddy, what's going on? What's happening?"
They'd finally reached a safe distance; the burning sensation of the woman's eyes the least of their worries. Sam searched Dean's face, like he was looking for some type of answer that just had to be written there. "You're lying." He said once more, either unable to articulate anything else or merely not wanting to. The statement sounded as if it were painful to admit.
Dean gripped his little brother's shoulders, what is wrong with him? Surely, this can't be the wall cracking, can it? Please, please don't be the wall… "What do you mean, Sammy? Why do you think we're lying all of the sudden?" Sam's mouth opened and closed a few times, the words appearing to catch in his throat. The older Winchester swallowed the overwhelming fear, squeezing his younger counterpart in an attempt to convey some semblance of reassurance, "Hey," voice unusually gentle, "Talk to me. I can help you, kiddo."
Sam tore himself away from the caring touch then, as if Dean had imparted some kind of tragic news, as if Dean had literally slapped him across the face. "You're lying, you're lying, you're lying…" a litany of words, all on the heels of one another.
And that's when Dean threw caution to the wind and silently began to freak the hell out.
He' hadn't been able to calm Sammy down after that. Every attempt of comforting the man only made things worse. For some reason, Sam just suddenly knew if someone was lying. It wasn't right, though. It's damn near sadistic! Because Dean found that every time he tried to tell Sam things that weren't necessarily definite, but not necessarily a bold faced lie either, it still came across as one. So Dean abruptly realized that each and every small "It's ok," or "I'm going to make this better" or "I'm not going anywhere, kiddo" resembled intentional punches to the gut for his younger sibling and only made Sam all the more distraught.
Dean Winchester wasn't one to cry, but this was certainly one of those few times when he really, really wanted to. He felt like he could barely speak in front of Sam, so after two weeks of laying low and trying everything they could think of, following every feasible lead, they at last gave in to Bobby's insistence that they come to his house and search for a cure together. If one even existed…
A complete and total search of the grizzled hunter's library turned up only a few possible solutions, all of which proved to be absolute duds. Sam steadily withdrew into himself. He hated having any type of conversation, hated to listen to anybody talk. "I…I don't know how it's a lie. I can't read minds or anything, Dean." He'd claimed many times, because let's face it, Dean was paranoid and he sure as hell didn't want his brother rooting around in his head. "I just know when something's not the whole truth…"
Unfortunately, this made nearly every little thing out of every person's mouth a falsehood. So how was the poor kid to be certain of anything anymore? Words became hollow…meaningless…empty. And no matter what Dean did or said, in the end he was always left watching helplessly as his little brother cowered away from him, forced to misinterpret each intended comfort as plain deceit. It was eating Sam alive, destroying his psych and causing him serious physical repercussions. He hardly slept, he hardly ate, and Dean could only get him to speak if downright asked a question requiring more than a simple yes or no.
Dean was desperate. Beyond desperate. He tried to be so careful about what came out of his mouth, tried to be tactful when speaking to Bobby or pleading with Sammy. But then his little brother would cringe and fix him with those saucer-like, anguish filled eyes and Dean would realize he'd inadvertently done it again.
How could he not? How could he not technically 'lie' when all source of consolation was built on the uncertain foundation that things would work out in the end?
They were fast approaching the end of their rope. Sam had become a mere shadow of the man he was before, a ghost of the strong hunter that Dean knew was hiding somewhere deep inside him. He was just…existing. Reserved, miserable, and steadily losing his mind.
Funny how Dean was certain that if Sammy were to go crazy, it would be due to the wall collapsing, and yet it was still very much so intact. This new found ability of his…it was something else. A damn curse, that's what!
It was well past two in the morning and Dean had no intention of turning in anytime soon. He was rereading an old manuscript for what must have been the fourth time, the text nearly impossible to discern, yet he simply refused to give up. He could not and would not accept Sam's fate and refused to sit idly by and allow his sibling to suffer and fade away like this.
He'd never been more unreservedly useless. At this point, he felt more like part of the problem than the solution. It made Dean want to throw up when he realized that was actually, in theory, the truth. "We've got to help him, Bobby. We've got to fix this, damn it!"
Bobby jolted, looking up at the Winchester through tired eyes and sporting a furrowed brow, "Boy, what do you think we've been doing the past four weeks? Sticking our thumbs up our asses? We've searched every possible avenue and have got squat to show for it. Maybe…"
Dean's hand slammed against the table, stacks of books crumbling and an empty, coffee stained mug tipping and rolling to his fingertips. He hardly noticed. "No! Don't you say it…there's got to be a way! There's got to be something…"
Bobby fixed him with a sympathetic gaze, remaining diplomatically silent. After several moments, he gently prodded, "How's Sam?"
A lump lodged in Dean's throat and he despairingly ran a tired hand through the strands of his unkempt blonde hair and then down across his pale face, feeling the stumble on his skin. "Not good. Won't talk to me, won't eat…" he shook his head, "I don't know what to do, Bobby."
"Poor kid's dealing with all he did the past year, too." Bobby murmured sorrowfully.
Dean's jaw clenched, "He blames himself, I know. Its bull shit, but I can't convince him it wasn't really him. I can't convince him that the only one I hold responsible for what his soulless self did is Lucifer and the freaking angels."
No sooner had the words left his mouth when a sudden crash came from the adjacent living room as well as a muffled, dismayed whimper. Dean was on the move at once, darting past Bobby to discover his little brother scrambling frantically towards the door leading to the porch, stumbling over his own two feet in his imperative need to get away. "Sammy!" Dean barked, running to try and stop him.
God, he must have been listening, he must have heard me!
He caught up to Sam just as he reached the salvage yard, his tall, sickly figure falling against the destroyed metal of an old orange truck. Tears stained the man's cheeks, his shoulders shaking with barely contained misery.
Something had broken him. Of course, the poor kid had been gradually breaking for over a month now. Dean fell to his knees beside him, reaching out without hesitation to pull his sibling into his arms.
Sam sobbed at the touch though, making Dean want to die in that single second, and instead curled in on himself by drawing his knees up to his chest and holding on as if his very life depended on it. "Sammy," Dean whispered tenderly, "Hey, shhh, c'mon, it's all right."
Sam recoiled even more, quivering. "Stop lying!" He begged, "Please…no more lies…no more lies."
Dean's jaw hung open, only able to stare morosely as his once strong little brother rocked himself softly, continuing to mutter 'no more lies' over and over again.
Dean's heart broke…shattered, more like. "Ok, Sammy….hey, no more lies, all right? I won't lie, I won't lie, ok?" He's said it with as much certainty as he possibly could muster, because it just had to be the truth. God, please, let it be a truth!
Sam didn't flinch or cringe. "You lied…I heard you. You blame me for what happened. For what I did…for the vampires, for Bobby…"
Dean was genuinely shocked. What? And then it occurred to him, like a kick to the gonads, "…the only one I hold responsible for what his soulless self did is Lucifer and the freaking angels."
Dean suddenly didn't care how much Sammy obviously didn't want to be touched or hugged, and he was at once pulling the upset man into his arms. "Aw, no, Sammy. That's not it all, buddy." Astoundingly, Sam allowed himself to be held, burrowing farther into Dean's leather jacket, as if he could safely hide there from the world and all its spiteful lies.
"But…but it was a lie…I know it was a lie…" Sam sobbed out, fingers clenching at Dean's shirt collar, his need to cling to his brother prevailing over his need to pull away.
"I blame myself, Sam. That's why it was a lie. I don't blame you. I've never blamed you. You hear me? I've never blamed you." Dean's voice broke, tears stinging the edges of his vision.
Sam shuddered once more against him, giant hazel orbs looking up into his older brother's face in a mixture of awe and hope. It warmed Dean's chest and instilled a haunting chill all at the same time. "You're not lying." It was a statement. A shocked one. An amazed one.
Dean cupped Sam's cheek, staring sincerely into the younger man's tortured eyes and wiped a tear away with his thumb. "No, Sammy. I'm not lying. No more lies."
Sam sniffed. And it was like they were truly seeing each other for the first time in a long time. "Tell me something else." He bit his bottom lip, "please?"
Dean pulled his baby brother into him again, unconsciously beginning to rock back and forth to comfort the both of them. It was like they were kids again, like when Sammy would have a nightmare. Dean always was able to simply make it go away. And he heard that same plea in those words Sam spoke, the silent undertone of, "make the lies go away, Dean."
Dean swallowed his heartache, burying his nose into the downy soft of Sam's dark hair. He would fix this. He would make this better "I love you, little brother." Because telling the truth had always been that simple.