Title: A River of Tears
Author: Disasteriffic Kaz
Info: Post 6x12 An easy job is complicated by a long over-due emotional breakdown. Written for the Oh Sam fic exchange on LJ for la_lou_bear. Angst/comfort!Dean/Sam
Author's note: la_lou_bear's prompt is at the end of the story to avoid spoilers. :D It was a fun, angsty prompt to work with. Hope you all enjoy the result!
Do please Review once you've read. :D Every comment and vote of support helps keep me writing. Not to mention if I've pooched anything, someone can always tell me. :P
"I still think this is a bad idea." Sam sighed and slapped his brother's hand away when he tried to adjust his tie.
"Gotta be you, Sam." Dean grinned. "No way I can fake tears for the grieving family. It'll be fun!" Dean smirked and stood back to survey his brother in his black suit; suitable for a wake in a mansion they hoped. "Go have a chick-flick bonanza in there."
"Bite me, Dean." Sam glared and turned toward the house in question. Cars lined the curving drive up from the road, black streamers covered the stone fences and two large men in black suits stood watch at the doors. "We could just wait until the guy's buried you know."
"No can do, Sammy." Dean shook his head. "You know what Bobby's research said. One drop of water hits that thing and everyone in there drowns on dry land." He rolled his eyes. "What idiot decided to bury a dead guy with a priceless amulet anyway? If they'd just left it in the damn museum we wouldn't be having this problem." Bobby had been negotiating with the dead guy to buy the Amulet of Poseidon off him when he'd had a heart attack and died. Dean shook his head at the idiot who'd opted to bury him with his prize possession; little realizing it was a powerful and dangerous cursed object. Now they had to liberate it from the coffin before the viewing and the Catholic ceremony that, among other things, involved splashing holy water around the deadly amulet. "Only family's getting in there today and dude, you're it. One long lost brother coming up."
Sam sighed and nodded. "Ok. I know. I just…never mind." He started up to the house. "Don't take too long."
"You get them out of the viewing room and I'll score the jewelry." Dean thumped his shoulder as he went past. "Make it convincing."
Sam ran through the little they'd been able to learn of the brother as he walked toward the house. No one had seen him in twenty years so there wasn't likely to be anyone to recognize him and blow Sam's cover. They had found him in a news article from twenty years ago; he'd died in a fire with the mother who'd taken him and ran and the rest of the family had never known. Sam couldn't help but sympathize with the similarities. Normally he would have pushed those feelings away but today, he needed them. Dean needed him to make a scene and draw their attention. He looked up and watched the two security men eying him as he neared.
"I'm here for the funeral." Sam gave them a wan smile and got only scowls in return.
One of the men pulled a clipboard from a table beside him. "Name?"
Sam took a deep breath. "Gavin MacGregor. I'm…I mean I was…Liam's brother."
The man holding the clip board stared at him wide-eyed. "I'll need to see some I.D. Your name…it's uh...not on the list."
Sam nodded. "I know." He took the driver's license they had made yesterday from his pocket and handed it over. The security guard looked it over and handed it back.
"Go on in, sir." He opened the door for Sam. "Welcome home, Mr. MacGregor."
Sam nodded and went inside. The foyer was the size of a small ballroom with a curving stair along one side and a balcony that ran out of sight onto the second floor. He walked softly across the marble and peered through a set of wide, French doors on his left. More than twenty people milled around in a long, wide room at the back of which stood the open coffin of Liam MacGregor. A priest stood beside it in white robes speaking to several people with sad faces.
Sam closed his eyes and said a silent apology for interfering with this family on such a day. He thought of Gavin, dead as a child along with his mother in a fire. That brought up the image of his own mother's face and he sucked in a breath at the familiar stab of guilt. He pulled Jess' face into his mind and then Madison's; Ellen and Joe followed, their deaths still weighing on his conscience and he knew they'd never leave and felt the first, hot tear slide down his face as the murmur of voices rose. He looked up to find the people had noticed him and were coming toward him. He wrapped the misery of his life around him like a shroud and prepared to give Dean his distraction.
Dean eased around the back of the house and through an open window. "Love it when people make my job easy." He muttered with a smile. It was a study with a large, oak desk, leather armchairs and Dean could hear muffled voices through the cracked door. Sam had found him a floor plan of the house in the local City hall so he knew the study was the only room with its own door onto the lounge where the body was being viewed aside from the foyer. He went to the door and peeked through the crack; the family was mostly out of sight but for a couple stragglers who quickly followed the others out of his line of sight and he grinned. "Attaboy, Sammy."
"Who are you?" A short, dark haired woman came out of the viewing room with the other family members behind her and gave the tall man a long look. She put a gentle hand on his shoulder when she saw the tears sliding down his cheeks. "Were you a friend of Liam's?"
Sam shook his head and took a breath. "I'm…I'm Gavin. I…" He stopped as they all suddenly stared at him in open-mouthed shock. "I heard about…about Liam's death and I had to see." In his head were the voices of those he loved and they choked off his voice. He wrapped the pain around him and felt the tears quicken. Shocked faces softened as more hands reached out to touch him and the woman who'd spoken first let her own tears drop.
"I'm Marie. Your sister-in-law." Marie sighed and folded him into a hug. "He talked about you, you know. He always wondered what had happened to you and your mother."
"She died." Sam whispered and let his head fall onto her shoulder when he felt her jerk in surprise. "Just after she took me away. There was a fire…" His throat closed again with the image of his mother and Jess burning alive on a ceiling and his breath hitched in his chest. He did what he hadn't in years and let the anguish over-power him. Always he pushed it back and swallowed it down and kept it firmly locked away; even Dean had no idea how much pain and guilt he kept hidden. Now he let it loose and it blew through him like a hurricane, sweeping all his hard won control with it. "I'm sorry." Sam whispered.
"Shh, love." Marie looked around at the rest of the family and saw similar looks on all their faces; shock and indefinable sadness that this young man had missed the opportunity to know his big brother forever. She leaned back to look at him and frowned as the first sob tore through him, shaking his shoulders. "Gavin? Dear, you need to take a breath." He didn't seem to hear her. The rest of the family gathered around them, patting his back or shoulders, trying to offer comfort but his sobs only gained in strength. There was such anguish and loss on his face it broke her heart.
Dean eased into the viewing room once it was clear and went in a low crouch across to the open coffin. He glanced at the open doors to the Foyer. There were a couple people near in the hall but Sam looked to have lured them away from the doors. He nodded and bent over the coffin. Liam MacGregor looked peaceful and dead like most corpses; laid out in his finest suit, the mortician had done a decent job of making his face look almost alive. On his chest lay an ornate, golden amulet with a large blue jewel in its center. Dean pulled a glove out of his pocket and slipped it on before reaching across to the pick up the amulet. Bobby had warned them that even the sweat on their skin could set it off.
He drew behind the coffin and took a small felt bag from his jacket. He slipped the amulet inside and tucked it away with a smile. He wished all jobs were this easy. Dean crouched again and started back toward the den when the voices in the hall drew his attention. The tone had become tense and worried and above it he could hear someone heaving great, hitching sobs. A little niggle of worry made him stride silently toward the hall door rather than the study. He neared and realized he recognized the tear choked voice around the others talking worriedly.
"Sam." Dean whispered and peeked around the door. Sam went to his knees as he watched with a woman beside him, her arm around his shoulders as she tried to calm him uselessly. The others stood around him on the marble floor with concern evident on their faces and obviously had no idea what to do.
Dean watched the woman calling him with a dead man's name and Dean cringed. Something was wrong. Sam's eyes were squeezed shut, his face reddened with tears and his arms wrapped around his stomach as though he hurt. This wasn't just play-acting; not anymore. Dean's need to take care of his little brother won out over the need to be hidden. He jumped out into the hall and pushed through the ring of people.
"Get back." Dean growled and dropped to his knees. "Sammy?" He took his brother's shoulders from the woman beside him.
"Sammy? His name is Gavin." Marie asked, confused by the name and the appearance of the strange man. "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm his…friend. Just…let me have him. Hey." Dean cupped Sam's face and turned it up. "Come on, kiddo. It's me."
"Gavin, do you know this guy?" Marie asked and felt suddenly protective of the young man who was so obviously destroyed by her Liam's death but the strange man paid her no attention.
Sam nodded but couldn't work words past his tight throat. He looked up to Dean with misery in his eyes and no longer cared about their cover. He closed his eyes again and let himself fall forward. The arms that instantly came around him in a tight hug drew his tears forth even harder. No matter what he did, Dean was always there. He nearly ended the world and still Dean loved him. His big brother had spent forty years in Hell because of him and still…Dean loved him. Sam was never more sure of anything in that moment than that he didn't deserve it.
"Ok, little brother." Dean said softly in his ear and held Sam close, rubbing a hand across his heaving back. "Let's get you out of here."
"I don't think you should be taking him anywhere." Marie shook her head. It was clear Gavin knew the man from the way he folded into him. If the green-eyed man had been older, she would have said it was like a child caving to a father's touch. "He needs to rest. He can stay…"
"Forget it." Dean said angrily. He stood and pulled Sam up with him, keeping him in the circle of his arms. He ignored the woman and all the others as he half-dragged Sam to the doors and outside to the concerned arguments of the family. Later he'd feel guilty for disturbing their funeral; right now all he cared about was the brother who couldn't seem to stop crying.
"Just get to the car, Sammy." Dean urged him and made sure to keep an arm wrapped around his shoulders; letting him know he wasn't alone. He didn't know what had brought this on but it was obvious Sam was helpless against the tears. The woman followed them halfway down the lawn before finally stumbling to a stop in confusion and watched them vanish around the hedgerow. "Almost there." Dean didn't slow their pace. He didn't want anyone deciding to come after them and catch them up.
"Breathe, Sam. Come on." Dean urged as they reached the Impala. He opened the passenger door and shoved Sam down in the seat, shut the door and ran around to the driver's side as the woman emerged around the corner and started waving at them. He slid in behind the wheel, gunned the engine and peeled away from the house with her calling after them. He breathed a small sigh of relief as they drove quickly out of sight of her and he turned his attention to his brother.
"Sam? You gotta rein this in now, dude." Dean said gently.
Sam shook his head, near hiccupping with the sobs. He couldn't. He was trying; had been since he'd heard Dean's voice in the house. He'd opened the flood gates on everything he kept buried and now seemed incapable of putting it all back. It wouldn't let him. He rolled forward to rest his head on the dashboard as he sobbed. He felt Dean's hand on the back of his neck and when he squeezed to offer him comfort as he had so often over a lifetime it made him cry all the harder.
"Dammit." Dean said softly as Sam's sobbing grew harder. He was barely making any noise now beyond the gasping breaths. He drove for another few minutes and spotted a dirt road. He turned off into the trees, out of sight of the main road in case someone came looking and parked in the shade. He hadn't seen Sam this out of control since he was a child and it rocked him. Dean got out and went around the car, opening Sam's door. He didn't say anything; just reached in and pulled Sam's legs out until he could turn him so he was sitting in the door. Dean leaned him out and wrapped him in another hug, holding him tightly.
"Ok, buddy. Ok." Dean spoke quietly, calmly and tried to help him find his control. "You gotta tell me what's going on here. You're scaring me, little brother." Dean palmed the back of Sam's head, burrowing his fingers into Sam's long hair and sighed. "What the hell happened in there?"
Sam let himself bury his face into Dean's neck as he had as a child, needing that old contact and the smells of leather and gun oil and Dean that had always made him feel safe. "Sorry." He gasped. "Sorry." He grabbed handfuls of dean's jacket and tried to speak through the heaving sobs; telling Dean in fits and starts what he'd done, how he'd let himself feel all the pain so the family would believe him. "Forty years of your life in Hell…my fault and Dad…Ellen and Joe 'cause I wouldn't listen to you and…and Jess! I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Sam's voice trailed off as the misery washed over him anew.
"Jesus, Sammy, don't." Dean swallowed his own grief and held on as Sam slid from the seat to his knees on the ground and pulled him into an impossibly tighter embrace; not caring if he made it harder for him to breathe. "Don't you dare apologize for any of that." He realized then what Sam had done; he'd let himself feel all the crap he kept stuffed down deep and lost control. Dean considered what it would do too him if he ever let everything he kept bottled up come out and felt fear. He knew it would break him. He pulled Sam in against him harder with his hand on Sam's head and used it to keep him there when Sam tried to pull back.
"I know it's hard, kiddo but you gotta put a cork in this now." Dean spoke gently and heard the tears in his own voice; stubbornly refusing to let them fall. "It's ok. I get it but you have to put it back now. You're not alone, Sammy."
Sam relaxed against him and fought to push it all back; the pain, the loss, the fear and the guilt. Dean's soft voice in his ear and his hand on his head helped. They were like a balm allowing to finally take a real breath and then another.
Dean squeezed his own eyes closed when he felt Sam being to relax and slow down at last. "That's it buddy." He rubbed a hand up and down his brother's back as the sobbing eased and he relaxed even further, just breathing heavily into Dean's neck. "Hell of a length to go to just to get me to have a chick flick moment, dude."
Sam was startled into a watery laugh and finally he was able to choke back the tears. The tightness in his chest began to loosen and he took several deep, calming breaths before easing back from his brother. "Sorry, Dean."
Dean squeezed the back of his neck as Sam sat back. "Knock it off." He kept his hands on Sam's shoulders, unsure if it was truly over or not. "You ok now?" He watched Sam's hazel eyes carefully for any sign of a lie.
"Yeah." Sam nodded and scrubbed his hands over his face. It felt hot from all the tears, his eyes puffy and he felt a blush crawling up from his neck at how badly he'd lost control. "I didn't…I mean I tried…" He trailed off and shook his head.
"Don't start again." Dean said firmly. "I oughta be apologizing. I didn't even think what I was asking you to do when I sent you in there." He felt like an ass for doing that to him. "I'm sorry, Sammy. Shut up." Dean said when Sam opened his mouth to argue. "I spend so much time keepin' my own crap buried I don't stop to think about how much you're carrying around." He sighed. "That's on me." He looked at Sam's tear stained face. Only a couple weeks ago this wouldn't have happened; without a soul Sam couldn't feel anything and the difference now was heart-breaking. He impulsively pulled Sam back into a hug and held him firmly; the little brother he finally had back who could fall apart and feel…everything.
"I'm sorry." Dean said in a voice gone hoarse with emotion into his shoulder.
Sam hugged Dean back warmly and instinctively knew what he was thinking; that he was happy to have his little brother back, chick flick moments and all. Sam smiled. "Gotta be some kind of record here."
"Shuddup." Dean growled but his voice was muffled in his brother's shoulder. He sat back finally and got to his feet with a groan.
Sam chuckled. He let Dean pull him up and didn't argue when he was bundled into the passenger seat like a child or when his door was shut for him. He smirked when Dean got back behind the wheel and rummaged around under the seat before handing him a beaten up box of Kleenex.
"Don't get snot on my seats." Dean said gruffly.
Sam obediently blew his nose. "You get the amulet?"
"Before the meltdown?" Dean smirked over at him and nodded, patting his jacket pocket. "No problem." He stretched his right arm across the seat and silently told himself it was only to stretch a sore shoulder, thankful for Sam's lack of comment as Dean's hand dropped to the back of his neck. Dean felt no need to admit he still needed the reassurance himself.
"Thanks, Dean." Sam said at last into the quiet, over the growl of the engine. The hand on the back of his neck was comforting and helped to completely settle him. He let the gratitude color his voice and gave a sidelong glance to his big brother. "For everything."
Dean shrugged, uncomfortable with the soft look on Sam's face and focused on the road. "Killed your chick flick allowance for a year, you realize?" He laughed as Sam rolled his eyes and gave his neck another squeeze. "How about we don't tell Bobby?"
Sam nodded and snorted a laugh. If possible, Bobby was even more uncomfortable with displays of affection than Dean. He smirked. "Yeah, I don't think he needs to know." He looked out to the road, leaning back into the seat. "You know, we passed that diner on the way down here." Sam looked over at Dean with a smile. "Think I saw a big sign in the window for homemade pies."
Dean grinned and blinked furiously at the moisture suddenly in his eyes. "That's my boy."
La_lou_bear's original prompt: while the boys are working a case, for whatever reason, Sam has to pretend to cry (maybe their pretending to be family/friends of victims etc...). Sam psyches himself up to be as convincing as possible and does an awesome acting job as the distraught family-member or whatever.
In order to do this, he brings up all the crap that's happened in his life and channels it into his oscar-winning performance. However, in bringing up all the crap that's happened he actually brings up all the crap that's happened and finds he can't stop the crying. Sam's facing all the stuff that's been shoved down hard and deep for years and years and he's sobbing and sobbing and sobbing, unable to stop any of it.
Cue Dean freaking out and bundling Sam away from some baffled onlooker, trying to figure out what's caused his brother's meltdown, worrying and fretting and soothing and wiping tears and lots and lots and lots of hugs.