Sam has always had nightmares. Ever since they were kids Sam would wake up screaming or crying, or Dean would wake up with an armful of shaking baby brother curled into his side. It was just the way things were, and a good night was when Sammy would stay silent and still, face relaxed and neutral.
That's why when Dean saw Sam smiling in his sleep, he knew something was wrong.
The first time, Sam was afraid to open his eyes. He was positive he knew what he would see. So he kept his eyes clenched shut, waiting for those first few drops of blood to fall on his face, to stain him and force him to see the love of his life burn again and again. He waited for her to ask him why…
Dean rarely woke up before his little brother. Sam being a 6' 4" bundle of energy, Dean usually awoke to find Sam having already dressed, gotten food, and started work on a case. So when the older Winchester awoke to find Sam still asleep, he was worried at first, afraid that he was sick or worse, something supernatural had gotten him. But when he looked over, Sam was breathing deeply and evenly, looking positively serene. And he was smiling.
When Sam finally woke up half an hour later, Dean tried to act casual as he began his questioning.
"So, you slept in today."
"Yeah, I actually feel like I got enough sleep for once."
Dean hated to look a gift horse in the mouth, but his big brother instincts were screaming at him. Something was wrong. "You even had a smile on your face. Nice dream?"
There was a moment of hesitation, where Sam seemed to debate whether he should tell Dean or not, before he gave a smile, a shrug, and a lie Dean could see a mile away.
"I don't remember."
The blood never came. Instead, he felt the faint tickle of his hair against his cheek. He moved to brush it away, but it simply fell back, resting against his skin in a way that he was sure it wasn't supposed to. A soft gasp reached his ears and then, then Sam opened his eyes.
So the kid had a good dream, and he didn't want to tell his big brother about it. Fine, whatever, Dean could live with it. It really wasn't even that much of a big deal. Really, it was just more ammo that Dean could use against his little brother, because honestly, there was only one kind of "good dream" that you wouldn't want to share.
And yet… morning after morning he found Sam smiling in his sleep, and every morning Sam seemed less and less happy to be waking up.
He started sleeping in the car, taking naps during the day, going to bed early and sleeping in until Dean just had to wake him up. It sounded ridiculous, even in his head, but Dean was beginning to think that Sam was becoming addicted to sleep.
It wasn't always Jess. Sometimes he opened his eyes and saw Mary, her figure black and white and slightly blurry around the edges, just like the old photographs that were all Sam knew of his mother. On rare occasions he would see his father, his eyes a grim kind of resigned.
Sometimes he saw Dean.
"Sam," Dean couldn't let this go on. Everything inside of him was screaming because there was something so very wrong. "what's going on?"
His brother's face was a calm sort of melancholy, an expression he had taken to wearing every time he woke up, like he would so much rather be somewhere else. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Bullshit." Narrowing his eyes, Dean pushed a bit harder. "You haven't been having nightmares, I know that. I thought it was good at first that you were finally getting sleep, but now… you're sleeping too much. And you've been acting… just weird."
He took a breath to steady himself, to gather his thoughts. "Sammy, what have you been dreaming about?"
Jess, and his mom, and his dad, they always said the same thing. They would look up to him and say "It's okay, Sam, it's okay. Everything's alright now." They would sit on the edge of the bed, look up at him and coo, "It's okay."
Dean never did that. Dean would always stand, and he would always reach up, arms stretched towards a brother just out of reach and say "I'm sorry."
Sam knew his brother saw things differently from him. For all the strength of their bond and the closeness they'd shared their entire lives they simply disagreed on certain things. This was one of them.
So maybe Sam was losing himself to envy, to want of a dreamworld he could never have awake. But every night he got a few hours of happiness, and he'd be damned if he went back to the horrors of before. To the horrors of reality.
No matter who he saw, no matter what they said, Sam always responded the same way. His eyes would well up with happy tears, unbelievably, blissful, happy tears, and he would smile.
Dean was still waiting for an answer. Sam smiled, and with a look of peace on his face, he told him the truth.
"I dream that everything is as it should be."
Every night, Sam smiles down at his loved ones, and happy tears drip down to land on their cheeks and foreheads. Every night Sam spreads his arms and legs, brushing his knuckles against the hard surface of the ceiling until he is stretched as though awaiting crucifixion. Every night Sam whispers, "Thank you."
And every night, he bursts into flames.
I find it kind of funny, I find it kind of sad
the dreams in which I'm dying are
the best I've ever had.
I find it hard to tell you, I find it hard to take
when people run in circles it's a very, very
. . . M a d w o r l d . . .
I don't own Supernatural or "Mad World" (by the way).
Toys with the idea of Sam being quite happy to switch places with those who died for him. Review, comment, critique, flame, etc! Thanks for reading! ~BFMS