Another Crack In The Wall.
One minute Sam was walking along beside him, his long-legged gait adapting itself perfectly to his slightly shorter one, bitching about how Dean could always be guaranteed to pick the worst diner in town; the one selling the greasiest burgers, never having heard of salads or healthy alternative food to offer its customers, the next he was lying on the side-walk, his muscles quivering and his eyes glazed.
Dean gave no thought to the onlookers who turned curiously as Sam's tall body collapsed to the ground in a heap, throwing himself down on his knees beside his brother.
It's not fair, Dean's mind yelled in silent anguish during that split-second as his body lowered itself to his brother's side. Sam did nothing to deserve all this. Why make him suffer so? Hasn't he suffered enough?
His Sammy had the most beautiful smile on the planet. It could light up a whole room.
What harsh God would give him that smile and yet so few opportunities to use it. There had been more tears than smiles in his little brother's life and he was certain sure that more were in store for him, and for himself too for that matter.
His brother deserved better than what fate had meted out to him!
By the time Dean's knees made contact with the cement paving, his mind had blocked out all other thoughts, his hands occupied in brushing the unruly bangs from his brother's face, and concentrating all his attention on the trembling, convulsing mass of little brother held tightly in the circle of his arms.
"Sammy! Come on, man... Don't do this! Please Sam, come on, dude... come out of it." Dean's scared voice pleaded.
Sam's pupils were dilated; the horrors of the Pit having taken hold of him again, the painful memories leaking through one of the cracks in the mortar of his Wall.
Dean simultaneously thanked and cursed Death in the same breath; supremely grateful to him for having given Sam his soul back yet cursing him for his shoddy workmanship as far as wall-building went.
What if this time Sam's wall had fallen completely; right here , right now on this anonymous sidewalk in this anonymous town?
"No," he whispered desperately, holding on firmly to his brother's trembling body. "No..no..no..Sammy."
He knew he sounded like a broken record, stuck in a groove repeating the same words over and over, but part of his soul was lying on the sidewalk and he didn't know if he would ever see his brother's smile again, so he would repeat those word to infinity if that could help Sam.
As he cushioned the heavy body in his arms, Dean's mind went back to Bristol, to the first seizure Sam had been subjected to.
He had been equally terrified then, not knowing if his brother's mind was lost to him for good but Sam had come back to him. The entire seizure had not lasted more than three or four minutes, but for his brother it had been days in Hell.
At Cold Oak he had instinctively made that deal to save Sam's life, unknowingly setting a snowball rolling that had gradually become an avalanche and buried then both under a thick layer of snow, its dark freezing depths leaving them gasping for breath as they tried to dig their way out, getting to the surface just to be dragged down again by some other adversity.
"Dean..." the thready voice of his brother whispered his name, and Dean gave thanks to any and all of the hypothetical beings that had given Sam back to him one more time.
"Sammy! Are you okay?" Dean asked, his arms gripping more tightly now that Sam had begun to stir.
" Dean" was nearly always the first word that Sam's lips uttered when he had been hurt; it had become a sort of code-word between them, his big brother understanding by the tone exactly what Sam was feeling or experiencing, and this was his "It's Ok, I'm fine; just give me a minute to get my breath back," one.
Sam nodded and looked up at him with the self-same eyes that little Sammy used to turn on him when he was hurt, feverish or just looking for comfort; eyes that ignited all of Dean's protective instincts and pierced through flesh and bone, into his very soul.
Dean wasn't dumb, he knew that this bond he had with Sam went beyond what two "normal" siblings shared.
Lisa had told him so in no uncertain terms, so why did it seem so normal to him to look out for his little brother. He didn't know, and to be honest he didn't care. That's just the way it was and would always be.
Michael's designated heavenly vessel and Lucifer's designated hellish one were brothers, and neither Heaven nor Hell would ever divide them.
Sam started to pull himself up with the help of his big brother, and unheeding of the small group of people gathered around them, the two made their way back to the Impala.
Dean folded his gangly brother into the passenger seat and turned the Impala's headlights towards the outskirts of the one horse town, its name seared into Dean's memory only because his brother had collapsed on its side-walk.
The only noise that was audible in the Impala's interior was the roar of its engine, the usual music that thundered out from the speakers silent, each brother lost in his own thoughts until Dean could resist no longer.
"Sam, you wanna talk about what happened back there?" Dean asked, not wanting to force his brother to share and care, but still worried by what had happened.
"I'm fine, Dean." Sam offered his standard reply when he didn't want to discuss the subject..
"Right, you fall to the ground like a ton of bricks and now you're fine," Dean bitched.
"What do you want me to say, Dean? We both know what happened.
It can happen at any time, and one day the whole wall will come tumbling down just like Humpty-Dumpty and I'll just have to deal."
"Always with the fairy tales , dude!" Dean baited teasingly, but his voice was serious as he continued. "You mean we'll have to deal, don't you Sammy?"
Sam didn't answer. There was nothing to say.
He didn't want this for Dean, he wanted more for him than to be the carer for a brother who would probably end up losing his mind and have to be fed and clothed like an invalid, but at the same time he knew that he would be wasting his breath asking Dean to leave him or put him in a home somewhere.
Dean would never do that. If things got too bad, there would be two bullets with Sam and Dean's names on them, and he knew Dean would deliver them both to the afterlife. There was something comforting about that in an odd way.
He could hear Dean still talking, starting to blame himself for their whole situation, and he felt himself getting agitated as Dean continued on.
"Shut up, Dean!" he burst out, unexpectedly.
"You're always telling me that I'm not to blame for all the crap that's come down on us, well its not your fault either. Okay!
It's not even Mom or Dad's fault! You heard Gabriel in the warehouse that day."It had to be you two. It always had to be you."
Isn't that what he told us. Then why do you want to take the blame for all that's happened to us if there was nothing any of us could have done to avoid it."
But Dean was on a self-condemnation run , having been frightened out of his skin by Sam's seizure.
"Sammy, if I hadn't made that deal for you at Cold Oak, you would never have ended up passing one hundred and eighty years in the Cage with Lucifer,"
"Dean " Sam yelled at his brother's crass stubborn-ness. "Are you even listening to me? Gabriel said that it had all been planned out since Adam and Eve. Even if things had gone differently, the powers that be had already decided that this whole Apocalypse thing had to happen, and they would just have interfered to put it all on track again regardless.
If you hadn't made the deal, they would probably have resurrected me anyway, like they did with Samuel, or pulled out from wherever I was, like Cas yanked you out of Hell."
Dean felt consoled by Sam's impassioned words.
It was true, he had been played just as Sam and the entire Winchester Family for that matter.
Dean turned his head to smile at his brother, his true smile, the one he reserved for Sam alone; the only other person who loved and understood him sincerely and completely, warts and all.
"Yeah, maybe you're right Sammy," he conceded. "Maybe we've never really had control of our lives at all, maybe its all been mapped out for us.
What do we know! It could be that "free will" is just a load of crap and things actually unfolded as they were supposed to.
"I'm just sorry that you had to suffer in the Cage, Sammy. You didn't deserve it," Dean said sadly.
"Right, " huffed Sam, determined to stop this right now."And you certainly didn't deserve to suffer forty years in hell for me either.
So let's nip this whole thing in the bud. We've both been manipulated and we've both been to Hell, so what do you say we put it all behind us
and go hunt some evil sons of bitches and raise a little Hell!" smirked Sam, echoing the words his brother had once used.
"Dean just stared at him, taken aback.
"Hey, Sam. Those are my lines! Nobody gets to copy the awesome Dean Winchester, not even his awesome kid brother," Dean bitched back fondly.
Sam just held his gaze unflinchingly until they both burst out laughing, their thoughts identical.
"Dean's the best big brother in the world!"
"Sam's the best kid brother I could ask for!"
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