The Day the Music Died
Summary: Dean's deal came due, Sam's left alone to cope with not only his guilt but also those final tasks that he never wanted to face. He finds something Dean left that gives him a better look into his brother's thoughts and emotions in those final days. /Angsty/grieving/upset!Sam (since Dean appears in letter form only I will give him a big brother/emotional!Dean spot).
Tags: Not tagged to anything really. This takes place between 03x16: No Rest For the Wicked and 04x01: Lazarus Rising.
Spoilers: Might be some if you're new to the series, if so then be cautious.
Warnings: Language as always. I'll toss in a tissue warning to be safe but I think it's clear of anything else.
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or the show. This is just for fun for the fans and by the fans.
SPN SPN SPN
The sounds of AC/DC blaring from the parked 1967 black Chevy Impala seemed to be all that could be heard in the tree filled field somewhere in Illinois. That is unless someone was willing to listen closer and heard the ragged breathing mixed with bitter, desperate tears of a man who had lost the last thing in his world.
Sam Winchester was alone. He'd been alone ever since he'd left Bobby back at that house…the house that he'd watched his world crumble in…the house in which he'd been forced to watch as his older brother's deal came due and he was literally torn to shreds by hellhounds that only Dean could see.
That was fine. Sam hadn't needed to see the creatures from Hell. He'd heard them…and seen the fear they instilled in his older brother. That had been more than enough for him.
Up until the damn clock had struck midnight, bringing in not only his twenty-fifth birthday but only the last day of Dean's life, Sam still had clung to hope that a miracle would happen. He'd even been about to finally give in to Ruby when Dean's ability to see demons in their real form gave it away that Ruby wasn't Ruby anymore and then nothing was the same.
"Damn it," swearing between the sobs that still hadn't stopped fully as the shovel he'd been using for the past several hours hit another rock, Sam finally threw the thing but it only went a foot or so because his arm muscles were sore and weak from using them so much.
A year earlier his brother had made a crossroads deal to save Sam's life at the cost of Dean's soul. Sam had struggled to find anyway to break the deal, to save his brother but hadn't been able to. Twelve hours earlier after a last ditch attempt to kill the demon holding the contract had failed, he and his brother had one last moment together in which Sam fought not to break down right there but it was hard the moment he saw the unspoken emotion on Dean's face.
Raised by an ex-Marine Father, taught to bury every emotion, to keep it inside, it was rare for Sam to see his brother show his true feelings but he had that last night. He'd seen the fear, the concern for Sam but Sam had also see the pride as Dean told him to carry on with what he'd taught him, what their Dad had taught him and even though those three little words had never been expressed vocally Sam knew in his heart and with that final look between them that his brother had loved him…even if he'd given his life up for Sam to begin with.
Lillith had taken over the vessel that Ruby had been using and after she'd let her damn hellhounds in to tear his brother apart she'd tried to use her powers on Sam.
He still wasn't certain why he hadn't been killed and while he wished he had so that he wouldn't have to deal with life alone, with knowing where his brother was and why he'd sworn to himself that he'd rip the demon's heart out for doing this to them.
Dropping to his knees next to the hole he'd been digging, his grim hazel eyes slowly slid to look off to one side and felt his throat close and his heart ache.
Bobby, once he'd gotten into the house, had found Sam clinging to Dean's lifeless bloody body and it had taken the older hunter a good twenty minutes to make him let go. Then all hell literally broke loose when the suggestion to help with the funeral pyre came up.
Sam understood why Bobby had made the comment. Sam had grown up in the hunting community since he'd been eight years old so he knew it was customary to cremate a hunter on a funeral pyre. He'd seen more than his fair share, including his own Father's but he'd never had any intention of burning his older brother.
"'Sam, you know what Dean would want. I know this is hard for you but…'"
"'No! I'm not burning him, Bobby! I can't do that…not to Dean. Besides…he'll need his body…for when I get him back.'"
Bobby Singer had known the Winchester brothers since Sam was a baby and if Sam knew one thing he knew that Bobby was more than worried about him. Sam had refused any help in removing his brother's body from the house, or placing him in the Impala.
He'd driven as far as he dared in the emotional state he was in before finding this field. He knew he could have taken Dean back to South Dakota, or back to Kansas but something told him this would work for now.
The field was well away from any big towns, it had enough trees that if he dug a deep enough hole that nothing would get to his brother's body and had asked Bobby to find enough lumber for a simple wooden casket.
Looking at that plain wood box now was breaking his heart again. He'd built it himself while ignoring every curse or plea that Bobby had sent his way to either think this through or let him help but no…Sam knew he needed to do this all himself because while he'd failed to save his brother…he wouldn't fail to do this for him.
Nearly having to crawl to it now he was so weak, Sam slumped next to it and gazed at his brother's peaceful looking face, reaching in to lightly touch a finger to a stiffening hand and felt the tears blur his vision once again.
He recalled using the stream close by to wash away the blood. He'd stitched and patched what he could of the immense wounds even as his mind was reliving the sound of Dean screaming and writhing in agony as his body was tore to pieces and the life slowly left his body with Sam watching.
"I'm sorry, Dean," he whispered, checking for the sixth time that he'd put everything in that he thought his brother might need. "I know you said I was strong enough for this…but…I don't think I am. At least to do what you want me to. I'll find Lillith and I'll kill her somehow and if it's the last thing I do I will get you back."
Slipping the black rubber like band off his wrist, Sam gazed at it for a long moment. They both had one. Dean's was still on his wrist and with a ragged sob Sam placed his in the shirt pocket of the clean long sleeved he'd given Dean to wear over his T-shirt.
"You gave me this, 'member? Because I was always bugging you to wear yours, you said," Sam knew he was talking to thin air even as he could hear the sounds of Dean's favorite AC/DC tape playing in the Impala but he needed to do this, he needed this last conversation. "I'm giving…it back until I earn it again by finding a way to make this right and…maybe so you'll remember me.
"I'll try to make you proud and I swear I won't forget what you gave up for me…now or when I was young. You are…were, no…you will always be my big brother and I'll remember what you taught me because I listened to you more than Dad anyway," laying a hand over where his brother's heart once beat but now was still, Sam let his tears fall into the casket until he heard his own voice grow ragged.
Looking up to the darkening sky warned him that he only had so much daylight left to complete this task so with a quick swipe at his face to clear it of tears, he began to reach for the lid when his eyes landed on the gold amulet still around Dean's neck and froze.
He'd given the amulet to Dean the Christmas he'd been eight and Dean had been twelve…the year he learned the truth of what their Dad really did for a living. He'd felt so upset that he'd given the gift to his big brother because at least Dean had cared enough to try to make Christmas good…even if he'd messed up on the gifts.
The amulet was one of the few things Sam was certain that his brother never went anywhere without. He'd already carefully packed Dean's battered leather jacket away in the trunk of the Impala because the more innocent, naïve side of Sam that was in control right then hadn't wanted his brother to be too hot in the leather jacket. Now he was staring at the amulet when with shaking fingers and a hushed sob he slowly reached down to ease it off.
"I'm gonna hold onto this for you, Dean. I won't lose it," he spoke quietly while staring at the amulet then slipped it over his head to feel the weight of it laying against his chest but as Sam closed his hand it he smiled shakily as if feeling something of his big brother in the little piece of jewelry and almost hearing Dean's voice make some comment about ending him if he did lose it. "I'll give it back as soon as I get you back."
A final look in and soft prayer that his brother was safe from harm even though Sam wasn't foolish enough to believe that given the stories he'd heard. "G'bye, Dean…I…love you, big brother," he whispered, managing to get the lid on and nailed before feeling like collapsing on the top of it to just beat his frustration and loss out but forced it down to focus his weakening muscles on finishing this before he lost the daylight and his will.
Using a heavy rope he'd taken from Bobby, Sam struggled to ease the casket into the hole he'd dug without letting it drop as if not wanting to hurt his already hurt older brother and once that was done he made himself push the dirt back in. Feeling his heart break with the first handful but was nearly numb with both exhaustion and grief by the time the grave was filled and he was confident that it would be safe from any animals.
Muscles screaming, mind and body too numb to care by this point, Sam sat back down to place the small stick cross in at the head of it while repeating a prayer that Pastor Jim had taught him years ago softly. "I'll be back, Dean. I'll get you back. Just hang on."
Wanting to stay by the grave longer, Sam knew if he didn't make himself move he never would so with a final goodbye to the brother that had raised him, had loved him, and had taught Sam more than Dean could ever have known he pushed himself slowly back to the Impala.
The Impala…the shiny perfect 1967 Chevy that had been the only home Sam had ever really known had been his brother's baby. Sometimes Sam thought Dean loved that car more than anything else…which had been what Dean had said when teaching Sam to drive and when Sam had driven it through that house in Jericho.
"'If you so much as scratch my car, I will so end you,'"
Realizing that with Dean gone, the Impala was essentially his made Sam's already sick stomach another twist and he bypassed the driver's door to go open the trunk in order to find a clean shirt to wear. A look in the trunk told him this would be another heart wrenching scene because he knew he'd have to clean it out and also go through his brother's duffel…neither were tasks he was facing at that moment.
Putting his hand in his own duffel, he frowned as his fingers touched paper instead of material. "What the…" looking down to see an old photo and a card with a note stuck in the envelope Sam felt his breath catch and nearly backed away from both out of fear of not being able to handle this latest surprise because he knew who'd put both in his duffel and since Dean rarely did cards or note Sam already knew this would leave him a mess.
Staring at the photo, he recognized it as the one he'd found in Jericho in their Dad's room of him and Dean with John. Sam sat the note aside for a moment to open the card and couldn't help the watery laugh that came as soon as he saw the happy looking bunny birthday card then the smile turned sad as he opened it.
'Happy Birthday, Sammy. Sorry about the bunny but it was this card or one with a clown & I figured this was the better choice. Enjoy your birthday, Geek-boy. You only turn twenty-five once and I don't want…y'know… to ruin it. Have fun…your awesome big brother.'
Running a finger over the fluffy bunny on the front of the card, Sam swallowed the tears then chose not to wait until he was back at a motel to read the note his brother had left. It was mistake that he immediately recognized with the first line because he could tell by the pressure and slant to Dean's handwriting that his brother's emotions were full on when he'd written this.
"'Hey, baby brother. If you're reading this then reach under my seat to find that box of tissues I stuffed there cause I know you, Sammy and I know you'll probably already a basket case so this will make it worse but…it has to be done.'"
"Oh…crap," Sam whispered, reaching under the seat and was only half surprised to feel a box of tissues but supposed his brother would know him best and would know just by how bad Sam was handling things before the deal came due how he'd react 'after'.
The tape player forgotten even though Sam's fingers unerringly slipped in a Def Leppard tape to give AC/DC a break, he began to read again…
"'I stuck this in your bag since I figured you'd get into it before mine and I needed you to read this. Sam, I know by now my deal has come due and I'm…dead and in Hell, do not tear this up until you get to the end, and I can guess how you're taking this. I also know I tried to cover all this emotional, chick flick crap with you the past few weeks but…there were some things I wanted to say that I couldn't before.
"'You asked me more than once why I basically gave up my life for yours. You asked me what the point of it was and I know every flip reply I gave pissed you off so here's the real answer. I gave it up, I made the deal because you're my baby brother. That's it, nice and clean, nothing more, nothing less. It had nothing to do with Dad always saying to 'watch after Sammy' because I'd been doing that since the first time I saw you and understood that this chubby little thing who loved to drool, cry, eat and sleep all the time was my baby brother.
"'I know you blame yourself for this but it's not your fault. I made the choice. Sammy, I should've died after that damn semi smashed my car but considering how I felt after that I can guess how you're coping right now. Do not drink and get in my car cause I will so end you someway if you scratch her…but seriously, protecting you, raising you as much as I did…I did it because you were Sammy. Because you would always be my pain in the ass little brother and I sure as Hell wasn't letting do to you what I went through.
"'I know I ragged on you all the time about not wanting to hunt, about fighting with Dad, about being so damn difficult sometimes and I know you thought that was the reason I wanted a break that time when you were thirteen but it wasn't. I needed away from Dad, Sam…not you and if I would've thought he'd take you on a hunt or let what happened happen I would've stayed. I've tried to protect you from a lot of things, Dad mostly, but those other things…the things that can't be dispelled with salt or holy water or a spell…I never wanted you to know about those things.
"'It's funny. You asked me once when you were probably sixteen what scared me and I said nothing because I knew what was out there. I lied, Sam. Something scared me…something outright terrified me and even going to Hell doesn't begin to touch it. Leaving you…losing you scared the living crap outta me, little brother. I had grown up watching your every step, I had done so much to keep you safe from nearly everything that I could that it never stopped freaking me out that one day I wouldn't be watching or you'd be too far ahead of me and I'd lose you or I'd make that last mistake and end up leaving you…like now.
"'Do I regret the choices I've made? No, not really even though there have been a few I wish I could change but I don't regret this one. I do not and will not regret saving you. My only regret is leaving you alone and breaking that promise.
"'You tried your best to save me…and came really close but it's over. I'm…over and now is where you start listening to your awesome big brother, College boy, because now is the part where I say to walk away. Let Bobby do what he has to but you walk away, Sam. I know you probably won't go back to school because too much has changed but you steer clear of the goddamn demons, from all this crap Dad laid on us and you do what I taught you to do. You hunt the evil sonsofbitches and save people like that girl you saved from crazy Doc Benton. That's what you do, Sammy. You let me go and you don't let this destroy you like Mom's death did to Dad. You never wanted to hunt and I wonder if I'd've left you alone if any of this would've happened but it's too late to go back. Just walk away.
"'You're passed out while I'm writing this. Kid, you never could hold your liquor but this was extreme even for you. You probably won't remember anything about tonight and if you do…I'll just call do over or gloss it over. I'm trying to hold it together for you, Sam, but it is so damn hard now. I pray that you will never have to know anything about the things I'm seeing or dreaming…that this never touches you.
"'There's so much I could say, that I want to say but it would just turn us both into blubbering idiots so before I break my own rule…I just wanted to tell you that I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you got out, you tried for that normal life and I'm proud of you for being the best little brother a guy could want. Basically…I am proud of the man you've become, Sammy. You'll turn twenty-five when my deal is due and I really wish it had fallen on any other day because I never wanted your birthday to also be remembered as the day I died. I'm sorry for that and I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to get you something for it but…in my duffel there's an envelope of cash I've been saving. Kind of to help give you a fresh start or so you can buy all the salads you want.
"'Okay, that's it. I'm done and now I'm gonna go find that emergency stash of Jack because I need a drink. Listen to Bobby, take care of my care, do not touch my tapes and behave yourself, baby brother. Steer clear of clowns too. Oh…and Sammy? Since I won't be around when you read this to call do-over…I'll call it now so I can say…I love you, little brother. Dean.'"
The tissues forgotten, the music playing forgotten, the only thing Sam Winchester could focus on was the last line of the note in his shaking hand and the tears that had started fresh again.
Sam had expected his brother's words to break him again but he hadn't expected the amount of emotion in the note, nor had he expected to be almost able to see Dean as he'd written it. He knew his brother and knew how hesitant Dean was to express real emotions at any time. This was the closest he'd come and while at the start Sam counted on ripping it to pieces once he'd finished he slowly and carefully folded it up to place it inside his jacket pocket.
Wiping his face with the sleeve of his jacket he looked up at the cresting moon before reaching back in the back for something then shut the Impala off, got out and locked it. He'd planned on finding a motel or a bar but decided both could wait until tomorrow as he walked back in the dark with only a flashlight, his knife, and Dean's .45 to see the now settling grave.
"Hey, Dean, you can bitch but…I don't think driving tonight would be a good plan so I'm going to hang out here…with you…one more time then tomorrow I'll…start over but I will not make that one promise because I will get you back and I will make every demon I find pay for the pain you went through," he spoke to the darkness as he laid the blanket on the damp ground then stretched out to stare at the stars through the tree tops and wasn't aware of when his hand touched cool dirt or the tears that still fell as he slowly went to sleep with dreams of his brother both laughing with him and screaming for him in his mind.
Author Note: Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and there wasn't too many tears. Look for more stories coming soon.