The night scenery streaked by the midnight black Impala's windshield, and that darkness served to mask the raging anger that was hovering just underneath the surface of Sam Winchester's face. But Dean didn't need the light to know how tight the lines of his face were, or the slight flush to his face that the rage always seemed to evoke in his little brother. It also didn't do anything to ease the tension that was palpable between the brothers.
Dean wanted to leave it alone, he wanted to just let Sam have the last word, let Sam win the argument, and he wanted to be contrite about the whole situation. But he just simply couldn't. Maybe it was something in his nature, or it could simply be the fact that Dean truly didn't think Sam GOT what he was saying back there when the penny encouraged an angry verbal diarrhea.
They were on a long stretch of country road heading north, anywhere north really, just as long they weren't in a place that called the Civil War The War of Northern Aggression.
"I remember what I said while the penny was in my hand." Dean said as the tires ate up the asphalt. Sam didn't turn to face him, Dean didn't expect it, and the tension level in the car actually went up a notch, something Dean hadn't thought possible just mere seconds ago. "I remember, and I did mean them." He said. And then shook his head. "No. I meant almost all of it, not everything."
"I don't want to hear this Dean."
"I didn't want to hear what you had to say before we left either, but I don't recall that stopping you."
"You needed to hear it."
"And you need to hear this."
"I already heard what you think of me Dean." Dean took a deep breath and cursed the part of him that forced him into this situation. There were things he wished he had left behind in Purgatory, or Hell, or Heaven, or in the world in which ghosts resided, but he had the fortune or misfortune to remain completely intact every single time he came back. And that meant he was stuck with this side of himself that forced situations like this.
"You know." Sam said and turned to his brother stopping Dean before he could explain why in the hell he had decided to bring this back up. "If you believe everything about me that you said back there, I can't figure out for the freaking life of me why you keep bringing me back from Hell or death or whatever. If you think I hate you that much why in the hell do you keep me around?" Sam asked with accusation. "Why don't you just leave me the hell alone? Why do you fight so damn hard to make me WANT this life. Is it your sick twisted idea of punishment for me?"
Dean turned to his brother, and in the fleeting light Sam saw the raw pain that was in his brother's eyes, and in the next flash of light it was gone, his eyes cold and hard like they had been when Sam first started riding with him back in '05. Sam felt a flash of regret at his words, but they were said, and Sam of all people knew, that once words were said they weren't able to be taken back, and the wounds they inflicted took more time to heal than any physical blow, which made him put a hand to his still stinging nose.
"No. It isn't punishment for you." Dean said tightly. "And," he started determined to say what he had wanted to say at the beginning of this roast. "you need to hear me Sam. You need to hear my side of the story."
Sam snorted. "I heard it loud and clear back there."
Dean took a deep breath. "Well, I heard it loud and clear back when we were at that asylum and you pulled a gun on me and shot me three times."
"That wasn't me."
"When are you going to quit saying that? Every time we say that kind of crap, we mean it. We mean it and we really wish we had the balls to say it to the other one. But we don't, and those stupid monsters see the opportunity and take it by the balls and throw it at us. You remember it, and you meant it. Quit lying to the both of us." Sam shrank back just a little. "It's my turn to say what I really mean." Dean shook his head just a little, and tried to find the words, but chick flick moments had never, EVER, been his particular forte. "Sam. I've protected you my entire life.."
"That doesn't give you the right to control me or my life, doesn't give you the right to say whatever in the world you want to me."
Dean gripped the wheel as tightly as his hands would allow, trying not to say anything in anger, trying not to yell, trying not to say anything more that he would regret. "I've protected you my entire life…" he started again. "I gave up my life for you.."
"And because you died for me I'm supposed to just fall to the floor and let you say and do whatever you want. I never asked you to do that for me—"
"Will you shut up!?" Dean yelled finally, his voice echoing in the confines of his car. "My god! Will you just shut your damn mouth and let me talk!?" Sam shifted slightly and turned to face the window again.
"God." Dean said with exasperation. The car was silent aside from the soft sound of the hard rock coming from the tape deck. "You just don't know when to shut your mouth sometimes Sam. It's been that way your entire life. You just don't know when enough is enough. You just don't ever want to listen. I just want you to listen, you don't have to like what I say, but you do have to listen." When silence greeted him he took a deep breath and began.
"I have protected you my entire life, I gave up my childhood for you, I gave up my life for you. And you treat me like I'm some imbecil, like I'm not smart enough to tie my own damn shoes. You act like coming out on the road with me was a chore that you did out of family loyalty, and like it was some hardship to be with me."
"No. My turn to talk." Sam stopped talking. "And you blame me for things that aren't my fault. Whether you say it or not. And then, you betray the hell out of me. You go off with some demon, drink her blood, fuck her, and say it was all in the name of trying to avenge me, or you say it was because you were so distraught that I was gone that you found solace in whatever was near. And then when I'm back, you don't drop her like a hot rock, no, you keep up with her, going behind my back, make me look like a bumbling idiot, and you expect to turn on the puppy eyes and make it all better. And like an idiot I fall for it. Every single time.
"Then when I think we've gotten our crap together, when I think I'm finally treating you like an adult, because that's what you said drove you to Ruby once I came back. So I did my best to treat you like an adult and not my little brother, even called you Sammy less, you did a swan dive into the pitt and I lost you. I lost you to a fate that I knew, that I had experienced, and I never wanted that for you.
I did what you asked of me. I went and lived with Lisa and Ben, but I truly never felt a part of their world. I looked for ways to save you. I read books that Lisa didn't know I had stashed in the house. I called Bobby, I checked in with hunters that were passing through the area, I even talked to a crossroads demon, who literally laughed in my face. But I tried that entire year. But guess what? You were already topside, you made Bobby promise not to tell me. You let me think you were dead for an entire year!" Dean's voice steadily grew louder as he spoke. "You let me think you were dead Sammy. I thought you were being tortured by Lucifer, and you were topside." Dean took a deep breath trying to reign in his feelings.
"Are you done?" Sam asked thickly. Dean's side of the car was quiet. Sam licked his lips. "I've made poor decisions." Sam took a breath. "I've made really bad decisions. Really bad. But I've never just thrown you away like you seem to think I have. Dean, I was devastated when I couldn't' find you. I drove for days, and days, I didn't know where to go, what to do. I just didn't. Bobby wasn't there for me to call, and say 'help me find Dean', and Garth," Sam stopped and shook his head. "Despite his recent competence, isn't someone who would have been useful, and everyone else was dead. Cass was gone. And it isn't like heaven responds to me. That's your department. So I was completely alone. And when I hit that dog." Sam swallowed. "When I had to stop running and actually think about what I was doing, I remembered that day on the porch at Bobby's when we said that we would stop this, this…" Sam reached for the words. "This self-sacrifice." Sam stopped and looked out of the window trying to find his words. "You followed my wishes when I went to hell, and so I did what I thought you would want me to do. If I had known you were in purgatory…" Sam trailed off, sighed, and turned off the music which was suddenly pissing him off. He pushed hands through his hair and gave a small sad laugh.
"It doesn't seem to matter what I do Dean, I always do wrong by you. I always do the completely wrong thing. You talk about betrayal. If that penny had been in my hand I would have had some choice words for you regarding Cass, regarding Bobby." Sam shook his head. "I've always felt like those people were more important to you than I was. I've always wanted to show you how smart I am, how competent I am, how strong I am, how able I am to be by your side. And every time I try I screw it up." Sam gave a sad laugh. "I just make a mess out of everything that has anything to do with you."
They let the words hang in the air for a few minutes, and Dean took a breath and said, "You were jealous of Cass and Bobby?"
Sam laughed. "Yeah. Especially Cass. You trusted him, and he could do things for you that I could never do. You counted him a friend. I was just your little brother."
Things clicked for Dean. "You are my friend." Dean said.
"With what you said in the motel room, I don't know how I can be accounted one of your friends."
"With the way I treat you sometimes, I'm surprised that you don't follow through on your threat to leave. Or why you keep coming back."
"You're my brother. Dean. You're my brother. I don't think as little of you as you think I do." Sam licked his lips. "But I don't want this life Dean. I don't want to be riding shotgun, chasing monsters, demons, or whatever, for the rest of my life. I'm 30 years old Dean. I want something normal. But that doesn't mean I don't want to be your brother. Doesn't' mean I want to never speak to you again." Dean opened his mouth to speak. "I know, I didn't talk to you for four years while I was at Stanford. I know that you think that's what's going to happen again. I know that. It isn't going to happen like that this time."
Dean wished to God he could believe Sam. But there was just something clawing at his insides that made him distrust that last statement.
"Okay Sammy." Dean said despite his reservations. He took a deep breath. "Can we end this chick flick moment now?" Sam broke into a smile.
"Yes. We can."
"Thank God." He tapped the steering wheel for a moment and then said. "You aren't allowed to turn off the tunes, shotgun shuts his cake hole. Remember?" Sam shook his head and turned the music back on. The tension had eased but both brothers were still hurt, still felt a little betrayed, and wished to hell that they didn't feel that way.