Hi and welcome back, thanks to all who have read, I appreciate it! Here is the last chapter, the 'angsty' one. Hope you enjoy and thanks again!
It feels so perfect that he almost forgot for a second about how they yet again barely escaped death by demon, and the weirdness of how Crowley seems to be on their side, and the fact that the Leviathans are still hunting them and still out there somewhere. But right now he doesn't care, he feels like they have turned a page, that for once in his life Dean will actually treat him without kid gloves and focus on taking care of himself.
A comfortable silence surrounds them as they head out of town and onto the open road. He gazes out the window and feels better about things than he has in what seems like ages. Okay sure, he still has to face Lucifer daily, still needs to check and re-check that his marbles are still in his head where they belong, but to be like this, to be alright with Dean again makes all of that seem tolerable.
He glances over with fondness to his brother but does a double take at the obvious tension of his limbs and the way his mouth has adopted that tight, fine line again. He sighs lightly as he recognizes the subtle signs that something is definitely up with him. He taps his fingers on his lap to try and stop the incessant urge in his head to ask him if he's okay. After all, there's no need to ruin a perfectly good brother bonding moment... yet.
The silence continues and Sam finds he's getting less comfortable with each passing stretch of highway. He watches him but tries not to let on to the fact that he is watching him. Dean seems nervous and agitated. The way he wrings his hands around the steering wheel every so often and the way his left leg has developed a sudden, fidgeting bounce screams out to him loud and clear. There is something eating at his brother, and by his own admission there always is. But seriously, what could be clawing away at him at this moment? What did he miss that has his brother focusing so intently on the road ahead just so he doesn't have to deal with it?
Well he wasn't expecting that, a flinch so severe that the car actually swerves into the other lane for a second until his brother brings it back under control.
"Jesus bro, don't sneak up on a dude when he's driving man. Not cool."
"Something on your mind cuz you seem kind of tense. Besides, I wasn't that loud."
He hears a sigh and watches Dean rake a hand down his face. "I know, sorry Sammy, musta been daydreaming about your fairytale wedding again. I'm gonna have nightmares for weeks."
Okay, the usual defense tactic.
"You're going to have nightmares?"
"Right. You're right. At least I didn't come out of my drug induced haze to stare at fangirl stalker number one. Huh, that musta been a twenty on the one to ten scale of creepiness dude."
Something has changed. The humour in Dean's voice seems to have melted away and although he winks and smirks and snorts, it doesn't quite make it to his eyes this time. Something is definitely off. But the hell if he knows what.
"There isn't enough creepiness in the world to compare it to Dean."
He looks through the windshield and busies his brain to try and come up with a good way to ask what's going on. He sighs when he realizes there is no good way. He turns back to face his brother and probably a plethora of denials and 'I'm fines' but startles a bit when Dean faces him, a wide smile displayed on his face.
"You okay Sammy? Having flashbacks from your bad trip or somethin'?"
Huh, well he looks happy and his eyes are lit up like a damn Christmas tree. Maybe he just imagined it, saw a problem where there isn't one. Yeah, it wouldn't be that shocking if he did. He was just roofied to the hilt after all.
"Nah, I'm good man."
That seems to be the correct answer as Dean's eyes leave his and venture back out to concentrate on the road ahead.
Hell, maybe he needs to do the same thing that he has been asking of Dean. Maybe it's his turn to let go a bit of the nagging and constant concern that he has towards his brother. Dean is perfectly capable to look after himself, he's done it his entire life. And now that he has accepted that he doesn't have to worry that his little brother is about to crumble and mingle in with the dirt at his feet, maybe he can finally let go of some of the pressure and burden of it. Maybe he can let go of the blinding and unhealthy responsibility that he has been weighted down with, the one thing he has spent... oh... that he has spent his entire life protecting and defending. Sam.
Shit. He should have seen it. He should have known. He should have figured it out. Dean, he's not hiding some deep dark secret. He's not pissed off or being evasive or holding things back. Sam glances at his brother again and it comes to him in a flurry. Dean's knuckles are white around the wheel, his leg has resumed its rapid bounce, and it looks like he is participating in a damn lamaze class with all the deep breathing and shit, in an effort to keep the emotions inside where he seems to think they belong.
Crap. Dean has just realized that Sam is okay, really okay, and that maybe he doesn't need him in the same way he used to. But the problem is, Dean has never known anything else. He has never done anything else. His whole life has been about the hunt and about Sam, never about himself.
He breathes deep and closes his eyes as his own realization comes flooding through. Dean's reason for being has just been challenged and the last thing his brother wants to do is be forced to face himself. No more distractions, no more mission, just him, forced to finally face the pain that Sam knows he has buried down deep. He starts to fidgit in his seat as the revelation almost becomes a physical sensation.
"Sam? Sammy, you okay bro? What's wrong?"
He almost scoffs at that. Gone is the leg bounce and the death grip on the wheel. Dean touches his arm lightly and when Sam looks up at him, the overwhelming protector mode written on his face is almost too much. It's not right the way that Dean has always sacrificed everything for him. It has got to stop. Now.
"Dean, can you pull over? I... just for a minute okay?"
"Yeah okay Sammy. Just hang on man.."
He feels the car pull off to the side, his eyes still glued to his brother's look of determination to make him all better again. But this time it will be Sam assuming the role his brother has always accepted without question. Now that he feels in control enough to distinguish the real world from the hell-o-vision on constant playback in his head, it's his turn to be there for Dean, to help him work through the pain and betrayal that has swirled around him and clouded him in darkness from the moment Castiel stabbed him in the back.
"What is it Sam?"
"We need to talk."
"Is it Lucie? That dickwad messing with you again? Just focus on me Sam, we'll ride it out and get through it like always. C'mon bro, kind of freakin' me out here dude."
"No Dean, it's not that. I'm... I'm fine, not seeing anything right now."
"Ohhh kay... So why?"
The intense gaze doesn't falter and he finds that he has to swallow in response to it.
"We need to talk... about you."