"Here's What's Important"
Summary: Inspired by the amazing promo for the Season 8 Premiere. You know, that moment.
A/N: I highly recommend seeing that promo if you want to fangirl/boy out…
A/N#2: I know about Sam and Dean's whole "leading separate lives things" It has been such a long time, life happens. But I choose to focus on the singular thing that makes this show amazing.
Rating: T, for well..T stuff.
"'Ohana means family - no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten."
~Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois" Lilo & Stitch
"My mom always said the things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end."
"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
There is a particular outcropping of rocks by the cabin that are dotted with moss the color of day old blood spilled from a wound. It sits by the door, watching shadows pass it, stretch and grow at the passing of time.
Sam doesn't notice it every single instance he walks inside. On that first day he didn't notice anything that existed outside of his head, he didn't want to notice another world where life continued to happened while his had stopped.
But the world had a way of going on, of existing anyway, forcing Sam to exist with it. Even if it took a dozen times to notice the red moss, the gravel under his feet, the rain that pelted the cabin on rainy days and damped his jeans and hoodie and made his unwashed clothes smell like the dry rot in the forest.
It was raining today, a heavy solid rain that drums the roof and turns the outside world to water. Sam jogs the path created by his own feet, a wearing away of the ground from a year's worth of movement. He makes it up the stairs to the front door, where the overhanging roof of the wooden porch shelters him from the storm.
He leant on the edge of the porch railing and watched the rain fall. The leaves of the trees and the grass have turned an almost neon green against the backdrop of gray clouds. There is a bundled paper bag tucked under his arm and he opened it to the smell of laundry soap and fabric softener emitting from a pile of his clean clothes. On top of the pile is a note:
"You only stop looking for something Sam, if you close your eyes."
She had handed him this bag before he left, said she had never managed to give them back to him that time he came soaking wet at three in the morning when they first met. She said he scared the shit out of her, it eventually made him trust her.
It was hard at first, to listen to someone to tell him to live regularly, to live regularly. Even now it wasn't regular. She tried, and she made him happy, something he hadn't been in such a long time. But he lived the way an amputee lived, always feeling the pain of the severed limb, the phantom ache that was always with him now – It was always going to be just 'never her fault'
He folded the note back up and dropped it into bag, continuing to watch the weather. A Golden Retriever emerged from behind the bend of trees and up the steps, its blonde coat now the brightest spot of color in the yard. It bounded up the stairs and at sat by his left leg, nudging his hand with a black nose, tail wagging.
The dog was young, still a puppy, one back leg scarred from a car running over it 6 months ago. But animals had a reliance that people lacked. In spite of all that had happened, it was happy sitting out in the rain, leaning against Sam's jeans.
The dog was almost an exact replica of the dog that he had found as a kid in that rundown hotel in Flagstaff. When Sam had finally decided to keep it after it had been healed enough from the accident that he knew it would live – he had to name it. He couldn't just call it 'dog' or 'boy' forever. But he couldn't name it 'Bones' after its predecessor –he wasn't in that place anymore. That place had left and taken him to a cabin in Whitefish Montana with a rescued dog and the sound of the rain.
The feel of the wet noise continue to bump against his hand.
"Hey," Sam dropped the bag on the porch and crouched down by the dog. It had a group of roots in his mouth, like he had made his own stick in lieu of finding a decent one. When he got eyelevel with the dog it dropped the bundle of roots at his boots, tail going fast in excitement. "You've been digging up the forest again Dino, huh?" he scratched behind the dog's ears and a pink tongue flopped out in excitement, eyes going closed at the scratching.
Dino nudged at the pile of roots, whining up at Sam like he wanted to play.
It forced a small smile out of Sam, seeing the excitement of the dog, the panting almost resembling a goofy smile that hadn't changed in 29 years, or in 31, at least not in his head.
Dino's paw bumping his leg made him come back out of his mind. "Alright" He scratched once more behind the dog's ears, and stood back up, taking the pile of sticks with him.
Dino sat down, poised expectantly, watching Sam pick out the largest root from the pile and hurl it behind some trees. As soon as the stick was airborne the dog ran with such exuberance that if Sam could hear dog thoughts he was sure he would hear: "Stick! Stick! Stick!"
Sam bent down and picked up the bag. The sigils painted on the front door were warn away from the corrosion and the weather. He'd have to repaint them again soon. But no matter how many times he had to repaint them over the course of the last year – he always followed the same template. The one that had been worn like a watermark into the wood from his constant tracing. The one that he hadn't painted.
Sam hadn't been able to do anything in a fucking year that had gotten him any closer to rescuing his brother. He had tried, had turned books until his hands bled from paper cuts and he smelled and looked like a pile of garbage, had killed every demon, performed every ritual, called every goddamn hunter in the United States. And all it got him was a dog trotted circle, forever chasing his tail, no smarter, no closer.
And after 6 months, he had to stop. Because it was killing him, he had become a scarecrow's ghost, gaunt and barely recognizable as human. So he stopped, he had to let go, had to wait, something completely foreign to him. But he had to do it. Because if he died, he knew for a fact this time, he would never see Dean.
So he lived, and ate and drank, and slept, not alone the last 6 months. But even with someone who hadn't cared for him like this since Jess – it wasn't enough. Because he wasn't enough.
It was the rock he noticed first. The one with the moss the color of blood. Instead of being down by the base of the stairs it was jammed inside the door, like a stopper, holding it partway open.
Instinct took over immediately, Sam moved slowly towards the door, pushing it open with the flat of his palm. It creaked long and slow and his eyes took in all the familiar parts of his 'home', his bag, clothes, laptop, Dino's dog bowl – all before something grabbed him by the back of his shirt and slammed him up against the wall, making the wood almost echo with the impact.
Again, instinct took over and Sam fought back. He had his Taurus in his jeans, and a knife in his boot, and his mind was calculating which one he could reach first. He was suddenly released and reeled backwards, the knife he had decided on, grasped in his hand, blade angled for one deadly swipe.
He would've fought like an animal, he's done so before. He'd become a vigil anti, a dark shadow of fear when he had been forced away from his brother before.
But he didn't get the chance too, the knife clattered to the ground, spinning once, the blade missing his boot by inches.
There were dreams he dreamt every night, Hell, Lucifer's torture, Dean in Purgatory being eaten alive by every supernatural monster they'd ever killed, blood running down painted flesh like a hideous Picasso. Then there were the dreams where Dean came back, only to be attacked by something that had escaped Purgatory with him. Or Dean would be standing there, but as some kind of damaged thing, something that purgatory had twisted, and warped and destroyed. Hell had only one monster, Purgatory had millions – he would always be some broken thing that Sam would watch die, always saying he was sorry, that he tried, but he couldn't do it.
But Sam had never dreamt this.
Dean standing there, whole, and alive, and watching him, like he couldn't believe it was real either. Like dreams and reality had gotten reversed and they were living in the world it had created.
"Dean-" Sam didn't know what to say, so he started with his brother's name, the only thing he could think of. His version of Dino's 'stick, stick, stick!'
They didn't talk about Leviathan's or Purgatory, or Kevin, or Metatron.
Dean's arms are crossed and he simply watched Sam like Sam could only imagine he had done the first time he ever saw him, like something he would always manage to come back to in the end.
An airy laugh escaped Dean's lips, not like this was amusing, but like it was unbelievable. "Been a long time kid." He uncrosses his arms. "Come here."
Sam is there instantly, an arm slapping across his brother's back, and he feels the moment the hug is returned. His breath is coming in 'whooshes' he hears it like a rattling freight car. He remembers, he has a dog, he remembers a woman, her soft touches, her caring voice. But he can't hold to those images for very long because what's standing in front of him now isn't just a memory anymore.
Sam holds to the flesh and blood of his brother, while the world had its way and went on.
Not on your life.