Catagory: Criminal Minds/Supernatural Crossover.
Title: The Strength of Weakness.
Disclaimer: Not Mine, no profit made.
Warnings/Triggers: Mentions of substance abuse.
Timeline: Early Season 7 for both.
Summary: When finishing up a job in Virginia, Sam pressures Dean into going to a NA meeting due to his recent downward spiral, Dean goes to get Sam off his back but when he runs into a certain member of the BAU, he learns a little about himself and his relationship with Sam.
A/N: Okay, so having written fics with Reid and Maps, Prentiss, Morgan and Hotch, I now felt the need to right a fic with Reid and Dean because one fandom apparently isn't enough :P No pairing/slash but it could be interpreted as pre-slash (and if I ever write a sequel it will be slash because I love the idea of them two (Dean/Reid) together :D) Anyway, it's kind of chatty, but I just wanted to write something where Dean faces his issues and the presence of Spencer is .. well, just because. :D
"Please Dean .. "
"Sam," Dean interrupted, waving around a paper pamphlet around emphatically, "This is ridiculous, not only is the completely unnecessary but this is a meeting for cops and feds!" Dean couldn't believe that they where having this conversation. Sure he'd been hitting the bottle and the prescription painkillers a little hard lately but given the circumstances he figured that was a fairly reasonable lifestyle choice at the moment. The last thing he needed was to go stand in front of a bunch of suited feds and talk about his damn issues.
"Yeah, well. It's the only in town with a meeting tonight and this is our last night here. I'm sure you'll be able to find one of the dozens of fake ID's you have that'll work," Pausing a minute, seemingly to brace himself, "Dean, I know you don't agree with me, and I'm not saying I think you're an addict, I don't. I just think that talking to some people you're never gonna see again could be .. you know. Helpful."
Dean wasn't stupid. He knew what Sam was implying. If he couldn't talk to him it had to be because they where too close. It couldn't just be that Dean didn't see a problem and even if he did he wouldn't exactly enjoy spilling his guts out for the world to see. But, maybe if Sam thought he had caved, aired out his troubles then he'd back off, at least for a little bit. He wasn't a big fan of lying to his brother but he would if it would get him some god damn peace.
"Alright, fine. I'll go. But I ain't holding no-ones hand. And I'm not singing." Yes, he was going to have to spend an evening in a stuffy room with a bunch of middle aged tools who wanted nothing more than to throw his ass in the slammer to rot, but he was pretty sure these places couldn't make you talk if you refused. So all he really had to do was sit there and listen to a bunch of sad-sacks spin their sorry tales and enjoy free coffee and donuts, because this was a cops gig, no way there wouldn't be donuts.
"Thank you." breathed Sam, clearly relieved at the lack of a fight. As Sam got up to take the flyers, photo's and newspaper clippings off the wall, Dean took a sip of the coffee he'd secretly made Irish when Sam wasn't looking and contemplated all the ways he was going to have to hide the pills from his little brother from now on in order for his deception to work.
'Well, that was tedious.' Dean thought, chewing down on a mouthful of donut (he knew it!) and counting the minutes until Sam was coming by to pick him up. Apparently when this Beltway Clean Cops group had put the ending time on the pamphlet, they had included a little extra time after the meeting for inter-junkie bonding and making friends. Dean thought he might very well kill the next person who came up to him with that sad smile on their faces. He was NOT like these people. Even if he did have a problem, which he didn't, he had damn good cause. The world seemed to be on a lather, rinse and repeat cycle of apocalypses, his friend, ally and brother had betrayed them, trashed his other brothers head and then gone and died, and a super-powerful race of un-killable beings was trying to take over the world and they seemed to be the only ones inclined to stop it.
So yeah, he felt he had more of a reason to pop a few codeine and swill them back with a little scotch every morning than anonymous Gary who's wife didn't appreciate him and who's boss yelled at him again. It had been all he could do not to shoot the loser and put him out of his misery. 'Ha! Guy doesn't know what misery is, try spending 30 years in hell douche-bag.'
When he came back to himself and realized that anonymous Gary was giving him WTF eyes he realized he'd been glaring at the admittedly blameless man. Tilting his head in a silent 'sorry man' he put down his cup of urine flavored coffee and decided to wait for Sam outside.
When he heard a voice call to someone to "Wait a second, please." it took him only a second to realize that he was the only other person in the hallway and so turned around. He had been half expecting it to be anonymous Gary ready to pick a fight but instead he was faced with some young, tall, kinda scrawny guy in a dark blue cardigan with funky hair that seemed longer on one side than the other.
"Yeah?" he asked cautiously, he hoped he hadn't been recognized and only then considered the sheer stupidity of Sam suggesting he come here so soon after the leviathan clone debacle. Ready to flee (or fight) within the drop of a pin he waited to hear what the man had to say. No reason to draw any unnecessary attention to himself if he hadn't been recognized.
"Hi.. erm. I just realized you're new but didn't introduce yourself. I just wanted to make sure you're okay." He seemed really earnest. Kind of shy but he didn't hesitate to look Dean right in the eye and hold the contact. Either he was shy and was good at faking confidence, or he was confident and hid it behind a shy persona. It kinda bothered Dean that he couldn't figure out which it was.
"Yeah, well. I'm only in town a few day's. Leaving tomorrow actually, I just wanted to swing by, you know. Get a feel for the whole .. support thing. And I've gotta tell you, I'm feeling really loved right now." Maybe being a smart ass wasn't the best choice here but he had about had it with all this self-help Oprah crap for one night and he just wanted to be gone. If this guy really was more shy that bold, maybe Dean being rude would get him to back off.
Unfortunately, he seemed completely unfazed my Dean's attitude and instead pursed his lips to hide a smile and raised one eyebrow. Most annoyingly though, he wasn't walking away. "Well, you'd probably be feeling a lot more love if you'd have shared something with the group," He said, thick sarcasm coloring his tone.
"Yeah, well. Not my thing." Dean said, turning to leave. He was stopped however when the man started talking. Really quickly.
" I can tell this is your first time coming somewhere like this and I can also tell that someone in your life pushed you to come, because clearly you don't want to be here, I'm guessing a family member, when it's a spouse, people often feel obliged to at least try, with friends and family. It's easier to lie to them. I imagine you don't think you have a problem. Or you feel that the issues that drove you to it are big enough for it to be justified or that it's just a stop-gap to make you feel better or keep you together until some undefined moment or event that you're sure is going to happen but can't put a description to, that will make all of this no longer necessary but that deep down you know doesn't exist,"
Turning to face the man, Dean tried not to let his shock show on his face, was he really that transparent,
"But, I'd also bet, that, if you where honest with yourself. You'd have to admit how little control you feel you have over the things in your life, over yourself. And though you hate the idea of admitting weakness, the idea that you're spiraling into a void inside yourself makes you sick with fear."
Dean clenched his jaw, trying desperately to push away memories of lying in bed, shaking with the feeling of falling. Of getting lost in himself and becoming just as dark and nasty as those things he hunted.
"Oh yeah? So what do I do genius?" He asked before he could stop himself. He hated this, being exposed to people. He was the strong one dammit.
"Let us help. Talk, it's hard and humiliating and exposing but whether you want to admit it or not, disallowing yourself that openness played a part in getting your head where it is right now. Letting go of that steel grip you have on yourself, is the only way you can let it all go.
"That just isn't me" Dean couldn't imagine doing that. To anyone, stranger, casual friend or even Sam. He just didn't have it in him.
"It's worth it. I remember my first time here, and for all the fear and humiliation I imagined feeling when I stepped up in front of all those people, peers really, and revealed my biggest weakness," Still looking Dean straight in the eye he continued, "It was about ten times worse." Now Dean did show his surprise.
"I thought you where supposed to be convincing me?" Dean asked, bewildered at the left turn the conversation seemed to have taken.
The other man simply gave a tight smile and said "That's the thing, up there, it was awful, I didn't know what to say, what not to say. I didn't want to insult anyone or accidentally reveal too much of my self," Raising his eyebrows he added, "But that's not what you do it for. That part, isn't supposed to feel good. That comes after. I know it sounds cliche, but the weight that's lifted, It makes a difference. And as good as you're expecting that to feel. It's ten times BETTER."
Dean just frowned. He knew he couldn't. He just couldn't. Looking to the ground, he could do nothing more that shake his head.
After a moments silence the other man finally said "Well then, can I make a suggestion?"
Dean forced himself to meet his eyes and was kinda shocked at the compassion there, it really seemed like this guy wanted to make sure Dean would be alright. He didn't even know him. Nodding his head he listened intently, he had pretty much given up on pretending he was okay, if only to himself and this stranger who felt like anything but and was eager to find another way to pull himself back without having to resort to ritual, public humiliation.
"Talk to whoever it is that made you come here today." And he raised an eyebrow, as though asking a question.
Realizing what he was asking he answered "My little brother. And I can't I ... " He stopped when the other man raised a finger, seeking to interject.
" I .. I imagine that much of the reason you feel the need to be strong, and 'okay'," He said, complete with what Dean considered to be rather condescending finger quotes, "Is that you feel the need to be the tough brig brother. But has your brother tried to talk to you about your substance problem?"
Bristling a little Dean felt the need to confirm "Look, I'm going through a rough patch right now and, mentally yeah, I'm ... struggling. But I do NOT have a substance problem okay, they just help keep me from taking a Glock to my head."
Raising that damn eyebrow again, his companion said nothing. Sighing heavily and wondering how anyone worked with this guy he admitted "Yeah, he has. But he's got enough on his plate as it is right now without me adding to it."
"Has it occurred to you," He finally said, "That maybe your brother needs you to share with him so that he can know he's not the only one who is weighed down by things?"
"What?" There wasn't a single part of that Dean understood.
"Empathy is a two way street. It doesn't just help someone understand how another person is feeling, it let's you know that you're not the only one who feels. From your protective nature and the fact that you seem to feel the need to put on a front of strength for him, I'm guessing you where a big influence on him growing up? Single parent household maybe, where you had to help raise him?" He phrased it as a question but there wasn't a shred of doubt on his face that he was right.
'How the hell does he keep doing that?'
Continuing without confirmation, not that he seemed to need it, he said "You feel that he looks up to you, looks to you for guidance. Well in that situation, that means he looks to you for comfort, for reassurance and that comes from more that just kind words. It comes from knowing that the if even the strongest person in the world to him, you, can feel the pressure, the pain and the stress of things then maybe it's okay for him to."
Dean looked back to the ground as the words sunk in and started to make more sense than he was comfortable with.
"But most importantly, by just opening up to him, by doing what you fear most and showing a little bit of weakness, you'll show him that if it's okay for you to let himself be weak once in a while, it's okay for him. That he doesn't need to be ashamed of being upset or troubled and he doesn't need to force that same strength to the surface that is eating away at you right now." His voice trailed away at the end, as though he didn't know how Dean was going to take what he said.
Dean, for his part, was reeling. The idea that right now Sam was feeling the same thing he was just because his jackass of a big brother had made him feel like he couldn't share with him caused Dean physical pain. Dean had always wondered how Sam could be so insistent on Dean to share his feelings and his pain and yet clam up whenever it came to him, it had, frankly, pissed him off. Now he had to wonder if Sam was trying to get Dean to come clean so that Sam could know it was okay for him too. That the reason Sam clammed up all the time was because the idiot who'd more or less raised him had TAUGHT him too.
Rubbing a hand across his face to wipe away the sudden emotion, he looked back up to the man. He tried to keep his face neutral but a dry, distinctly unhappy laugh tore from his throat, ultimately sounding more like a sob than anything else. Shaking his head lightly he finally asked, "How the hell do I do that?"
So much warmth was swimming in the other mans eyes that they almost looked wet "I'm afraid I can't answer that for you. I don't know how you are on a day to day basis with your brother, I don't know what your lives have been like, I don't know the troubles that brought you here and regardless of what most people suspect about those with degree's in psychology, I actually can't read the thoughts in your mind right now," He smiled with the last part, trying to lighten the mood but quickly turned serious again, "Just remember that you need this, and that by helping yourself, you're helping him too, in many ways. Don't think that just because you're the big brother that he doesn't worry about you too."
Dean took a second to let everything sink in. Taking a deep breath he said "So you're a shrink huh? I wondered how you figured all that crap out."
Laughing lightly, stuffing his hands in his pockets, rolling back on his heels and seemingly grateful for the chance to cheer things up he answered "Actually, I'm a profiler with the F.B.I, but it deals with a lot of the same elements. Even more so as I'm trained to read subtle signs and draw large conclusions."
Nodding, impressed, Dean figured that explained a lot.
"Also, in regards to a fairly large part of what you're feeling, I've also ... kinda been there." He added with a tight smile.
Smiling back, Dean was about to ask this guy if he wanted to grab a decent cup of coffee as he seemed like good company when he heard a familiar engine rumble up outside. Turning to see Sam look out at him he raised a finger, asking for a minute.
"That him?" Asked the man with a smile.
"Yeah, we're heading out tonight. Back home to Seattle" He added just in case.
"Well, I wont keep you, just ... think about what I said, please." He asked with big eyes. He wondered who would win in a puppy-dog-eyes contest, him or Sam.
Nodding his head he answered, "Promise, erm ... " and held out a hand, "I'm sorry what's your name?"
Taking his hand and shaking it firmly he answered "Spencer."
"I'm Dean, it was great meeting you Spencer." Dean was shocked to find he really meant that. As Dean ambled over to the car and slid in the passenger seat he looked over at Sam who gave him a 'So? How was it?' look.
Taking a deep breath, Dean bit his lip and said "Hey, maybe we could head back to the motel for now. Leave in the morning." Upon Sam's confused frown, Dean clarified.
"I really just need to talk to you. About ... Everything."
He tried not to smile as Sam's eyes widened a fraction before he swallowed deeply, nodded his head enthusiastically and said "Yeah! Yeah, absolutely." and started the ignition.
Looking back towards the center again he noticed Spencer standing watching them with a smile, he must have seen Sam's unmistakable happiness and figured Dean had taken his advice. Smiling back and waving, Dean couldn't believe it, but he was actually glad he had come.