After the tempest that was Dean Winchester blew in and out of my office in a whirlwind of emotions I was a little leery of seeing the younger of the two Winchester boys. One was a handful, and I was beginning to worry that two would be a nightmare. The two had more issues than I understood, and Dean especially talked in half statements and code that spanned more than one single lifetime of hurts, slights, pains, and mental abuse; and I wasn't sure if I was talented enough to crack the code. Bobby didn't send the boys to me because I was the best, he sent them to me because I was the only one who knew enough of the hunting world not to strap Sam and Dean into a strait jacket.
Truly, I want to tell them I can't see them anymore, that I'm not qualified to take on their issues. But I know there is nowhere else they can go. I'm their last and only resort to help them with their issues, and that is a daunting and stressful place to be.
Sam knocked on the door startling me from my ruminations. I tried to gather the papers on my desk into a neat pile. I'd been researching PTSD for the two of them…it's the only place I could think of to start.
"Come on in Sam." I called. He entered looking tired and worn around the edges.
"Hey doc." He said softly.
"Hey Sam…go on and take a seat." Sam nodded and did as instructed. On a most basic level he was easier to handle than Dean. He would sit when asked, he would answer questions when asked. But he was an unknown element beyond that. His pain, problems….his insanity (for a lack of a better term) was closer to the surface than his brother. And I was afraid of accidentally breaking something inside of him with my questions, breaking something that I wasn't able to put back together. And truth be told, since I know the ferocity of Dean's love and loyalty to his little brother, not to mention his obsessive need to protect his charge from any form of harm, I was a little terrified to do something that might hurt Sam and invoke his big brother's rage.
"How are you?" I asked putting my bravest smile forward. I gathered my legs into the chair and leaned forward and waited for his response.
Sam licked his lips and rubbed his palms against his jeans. "Good." He barely took a beat before asking. "How's Dean? Were you able to help him last night?" he asked hopefully.
"Your brother came in here last night asking the same question. He kept asking me if I knew away to stop the Satan vision, if I could cure Sammy. And I'm going to tell you the same thing I told your brother. I can't discuss your brother's treatment with you. I can't break his trust like that."
Sam nodded. "But, leagally, I'm the person that gets to make his medical calls if he is incapable."
"Are you suggesting that your brother is incapable?" I asked slowly.
"I don't know. What do you think?" Ahhhh Sam was the sly one of the two. Dean was direct, blunt, almost to a scary degree, but Sam gave you all of the pretense of innocence and encouraged you to see him as nonthreatening. But I could see that he knew how to work people over.
"I can't answer that. But definitely good try."
Sam smiled. "I had to try." The smile blinked out. "But is he okay?"
"What do you think?" Sam sighed and shook his head.
"Throwing questions back at me in an attempt to analyze my own emotions in the context of my brother. Using my brother as a metaphor for my feelings, for my emotions, so through my answer you can analyze how I'm feeling."
"Wow. That's a lot of reading into a simple question. I simply wanted to know your thoughts. You are the closest person to him, and I just want to get a better handle on him."
"Oh." Sam said almost sheepishly.
"So, how do you think Dean is?"
"I think he's a mess. Last night he came home and went straight to the room and closed the door."
"No. Our room."
"You share a room?"
"We keep an eye on each other even when we sleep. Always been like that."
"You ever not slept in a room with your brother?"
"When I was at college. Jess." Sam swallowed and looked down at his fingers. "When Jessica was still alive."
"Who is Jessica?"
Sam swallowed hard. Obviously Jessica was a sore subject. "Who was she Sam?" I repeated.
He looked at me through hair and I wanted to reach out and push it from his face. But I didn't. I had to keep my professional veneer intact. I waited instead. "She…she was the love of my life. I met her in college." He laughed softly, it was sad and pained. "Met her in my economics class. She asked to borrow a pen. Hers broke. She had ink everywhere. On her hands, on her top, her jeans, her hair, her face. Just everywhere. So, I gave her a pen and my handkerchief. Dean always insisted we keep one in our pockets. 'you never know when you'll have to mop up blood Sammy.' " Sam said giving me his best Dean impersonation, and it was pretty spot on actually.
"But she took both and cleaned herself up the best he could. We fell in love. I was going to marry her. Then Dean came. Dad was missing, and he needed help. I went. I left Jessica unprotected, and when I came back…" he choked up for a second but finally found the courage to finish. "When I came back the son of a bitch demon killed her. Just like he killed my mother."
"Do you blame Dean?'
Sam shook his head quickly. Pushed hair away from his face. "No. No. I don't blame my brother. He needed my help. I can't blame him for needing help. Dean doesn't ask for it, so when he does…" Sam trailed off and continued to fidget and watch his hands.
"Then who do you blame?"
His head came up and he looked at me for a moment. "Who says I blame anyone?"
"Your posture tells me you blame someone. If not Dean, then who?" Sam was silent for a long while and then I finally prodded. "Your dad? Do you blame your dad for your girlfriend's death?"
"No. I want to. I would really like to blame that son of a bitch." Rage bubbled to the surface. I didn't know Sam was capable of such spontaneous rage, I knew that his brother could but his personality lent itself to quick anger. Sam's anger was almost frightening. "But I can't." He said more calmly, and I could see that it had cost Sam something to tone down his anger. "I can't blame Dad. He was just being his self centered self. You know, the whole frog and scorpion story." I nodded.
"Then who do you blame Sam?"
"I blame myself." He said softly. "I should have protected her. Told her about this life. Given her the tools to hold something off until I got there, until I could do something to save her. But I wanted normal, I didn't want her to know who I really was. Didn't want her to know the things that I had killed, or the horrors I had seen. I didn't want her to be a part of that life. And because I did that. She died. She died horribly, painfully, and unmercifully." He pulled his hair away from his face severely. "Everyone dies because of me. I don't do a very good job of protecting anyone. I can't keep people safe."
"Are you talking about Dean?" I guessed.
Sam nodded. "Like I told you last time…I couldn't protect him, I couldn't stop him from going to hell, I can't protect him, I can't help him. I'm just.."
"Human." I suppliled. "You are simply human. And that's okay Sam."
"But being human means that those I love die. How is that okay?"
I was left speechless. I didn't have an answer. It was my turn to fail.