I Was Holding on to You

Part One

"And when it was clear,

they'd park her in the middle of nowhere,

sit on the hood, and watch the stars... for hours...

without saying a word."

"Come on Sammy, try" Dean held the spoon out to his brother, who looked down at it with a puzzled expression. Frustrated at not knowing what it was Dean wanted him to do, he pushed the thing away and grunted childishly.

"Sammy." Dean's voice was stern this time and he flinched, bowing his head nervously allowing tuft-fulls of brown bangs to fall over his eyes, hiding his face from his brother. He whimpered at the scolding tone.

Remorsefully, Dean reached out a hand and gently brushed the bangs from his brother's face, tucking them behind his ears. He put his fingers underneath Sam's chin and gently tilted his head back up to regain eye contact, smiling gently to show him he wasn't really angry.

Sam's puppy-eyed gaze flickered nervously back and forth from Dean to the table, until his brother rested a calming hand on his shoulder.

"Sammy." He whispered hearteningly. "It's okay, I'm not mad." He waited for Sam's eyes to unfalteringly settle on his before repeating, "Not mad, see?" he pointed to his face and the accentuated grin, and massaged his shoulder encouragingly.

Sam's lips twitched at the corners and Dean hummed softly as he watched a flicker of a smile appear. But in the next moment it was gone.

When's that smile gonna hit your eyes Sammy? He thought sadly, considering for a moment how much he missed his brother's soulful smile, and the way his mossy green eyes lit up.

Taking up the spoon again, Dean held it up to show Sam.

"Spoon, Sammy. Watch" He slid the spoon in to the bowl, scooped up some of the soup and brought it up to his mouth.

"See?" he said, satisfied by his brother's intent curiosity, though he could tell he still didn't quite get it.

"Sammy, you try." Dean nudged at Sam's fingers with the spoon until his palm splayed to grasp at it clumsily. Watching his brother's breath hitch nervously, Dean curled his fingers around Sam's and helped him to grip, before pushing the bowl to within easy reach, and guiding the spoon in to it, relenting a little to allow Sam upper control over the motion.

The spoon wavered a little as he scooped and raised it unsteadily. A few dollops of chicken soup sloshed down the side of the bowl and on to the table. Dean winced, hoping it wouldn't deter his brother from trying, and was genuinely surprised when Sam continued completely undaunted, bringing the spoon to his mouth, eyes fixed with determination.

Dean rested a supportive hand on the nape of Sam's neck and nodded to him encouragingly.

"Atta boy Sammy, open…" he demonstrated the action himself to make sure his brother knew what to do next and chuckled slightly at Sam's mimicking.

Slowly, and still allowing Sam to retain overall control, he guided the spoon in to his mouth and watched in satisfaction as his brother swallowed.

"That's awesome Sammy!" Dean exaggerated, fisting his hands in to an over-enthusiastic cheer, hoping that this might spark some reaction with his brother and he would understand that he did good, that Dean was pleased with him.

Sam's lips tugged in to another barely-there smile, and he reached out the spoon again to repeat what he'd just done, watching for Dean's reaction.

For another 20 minutes, they sat together at the kitchen table while Sam finished eating. Dean just continued to smile and nod encouragingly, ready with a napkin when necessary to catch or mop up any spills. He was pleased that as Sam continued to practice, the spills became less frequent and he could tell that his sibling was enjoying the newly found independence. Typical Sam. He thought, secretly happy that his brother's true nature hadn't been completely destroyed.

Sam finished eating and Dean removed the empty bowl. He took a moment to clean Sam up, watching his distant gaze as he dabbed at his chin with the napkin, removing the last traces of food.

"You did good Sammy." He keened, crouching down to look up at his brother, " You did real good. Now how about a smile kiddo?" Dean pointed to his own grin and gave Sam a double thumbs-up.

Sam looked at him in confusion, and Dean let out a gentle sigh. He reached up and touched his brother's face, his expression one full of compassion.

"Come on buddy, you should be proud! I am." He stroked his hand down sam's cheek, his smile widening as Sam nuzzled in to the touch and clutched at Dean's hand with both of his own, pressing it firmly to his face, drawing in the comfort.

Sam yawned and blinked sleepily.

"No no no Sammy, not yet. Let me get all this cleaned up properly and then we'll settle down on the couch ok? If you wanna fall asleep on me this early I want it to be infront of the telly." Dean bopped him gently on the nose with the napkin and stood up.

"Wanna come over there with me?" He pointed towards the kitchen counter where he intended to wash up the dinner items. There was a chair next to the sink that Sam liked to sit in and watch.

"mmmm" Sam nodded and mumbled "y..yye..ss….pl..s" To which Dean grinned, just like he did every single time he heard his brother's voice.

He helped Sam to his feet and guided him as he stumbled unsteadily towards the kitchen counter, settling him in to the soft seated chair, and pulling out the box from underneath it, placing it on the counter next to Sam.

The box contained things that Sam liked to look at and play with. Bobby had the idea after watching Sam sit staring blankly in to space for a high portion of the day, and decided that if they didn't at least try to stimulate his mind, it would take him much longer to regain any of his abilities.

He and dean had put the box together for him one evening, as Sam sat watching with curiosity, and Dean had been delighted at his brother's reaction when they eventually presented him with it. He had immediately begun searching through the items, pulling things out and examining them. It was quickly apparent that Sam liked the noisier of the items, or the ones that had more intense texture. He liked to squeeze them in his hand repeatedly, absorbed by how they felt.

Sam sat in the chair, running a set of large metal keys through his fingers, squeezing them around each one individually, eyes lighting up each time he let go as he heard the soft clink of metal. He was suddenly pulled from his fixation by another sound. A gentle, rhythmical humming. Eyes familiar, he lifted his head and searched for the source of the noise. Realising that it was coming from his brother, he furrowed his brow intently, searching through the fog in his mind, trying to find something, anything.

And suddenly the memory flashed before his eyes. So vivid he could almost reach out and touch. Dean, sitting alongside him, hands ten-to-two at the wheel, bobbing his head and singing along ardently to a tune playing vaguely in the background. The image faltered after that split second, and then it was gone.

Sam tilted his head to the side, listening, and looked back down at the keys in his hand, continuing to run them through his fingers, he pursed his lips and quietly joined in with his brother's hummed rendition of 'smoke on the water'.

Dean froze.