Happy Saturday, SPNers! Er... Is that the correct term? SPNers? Supernaturalists? Hunters? Freaks? Idjits? Men of Letters? Winchester-Wannabes? Crazy, Rabid Fangirls? *shrugs* Eh, you know who you are.
Description: If there's one thing Sam's good at, it's leaving.
Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing.
Additional AN: Spoilers through 8x09.
Leave It All Behind
The first time Sam left, he had always planned on coming back.
But that's what kids did, wasn't it—got angry, ran away from home, and returned, sorry yet satisfied, a day later.
Except that Sam didn't return.
One week became two, and the thrill of being on his own still hadn't worn off. It was only after his family found him—after he heard the anger and the relief and the pain in his brother's words—that he began to understand what his leaving had done.
But now that he'd started, he wasn't sure he could stop.
The second time Sam left, he asked Dean to come with him.
Dean stared at him in silence for a moment, his eyes saying more than words ever could.
I'll miss you.
I'm proud of you.
But I can't go with you.
Sam swallowed hard and nodded, his eyes too full of tears to say much of anything.
But that was okay.
Dean understood him anyway.
Clearing his throat, Sam climbed out of the Impala and headed toward the bus station. Dean sat there long after he'd disappeared, still not making a sound.
Don't forget about me, Sammy.
The third time Sam left, it was the first time he'd left because of his brother.
The first time he'd chosen to be with his father over Dean.
And as endless as the road to California had seemed on that bus ride to Stanford, it was nothing compared to how impossibly long the journey was now.
Without a car.
Without the hope of a new life.
Without his big brother's blessing.
The fourth time Sam left, it was because he was scared.
Not of Dean. He knew his brother would only kill him if there were no other options.
But of himself.
What he could become.
That thought terrified him—more than pain, more than death, and even more than clowns.
And the fact that the possibility had scared even the great John Winchester…
No, he needed answers.
And he wasn't going to get them by sitting around.
The fifth time Sam left, it wasn't by choice.
Everything was a bit fuzzy, but he still remembered it all.
Killing that man.
And all the while, he'd been screaming inside his own head, begging his brother to stop him somehow.
Even if it meant killing him.
After all, better to do it now than to wait till he went darkside for real, right?
The sixth time Sam left, it was to a place Dean couldn't follow.
Not with Bobby never taking his eyes off him, as if he knew where his thoughts kept drifting.
Not with Sammy's voice in his head, quiet and reassuring and almost real enough.
Don't be an idiot, Dean.
You can do this on your own.
I miss you, Jerk.
Well, if Sam insisted on leaving, then Dean would just have to bring him back.
The seventh time Sam left, he didn't go very far.
But he went far enough.
Dean came back to find that everything had changed in four months and forty years—secrets and lies and blood, blood, blood.
Everything had changed.
Except for one thing.
Sam still liked to leave.
The eighth time Sam left, he tried to pretend it didn't hurt that Dean hadn't asked him to stay.
He knew he didn't deserve it.
Knew this was all his fault.
Knew he couldn't be trusted.
Knew he'd betrayed his brother.
Knew they could never go back to the relationship they'd had.
He knew all that.
Didn't mean it wasn't killing him inside.
The ninth time Sam left, he saved the world.
He atoned for his mistakes, cleaned up his mess, and finally felt he'd redeemed himself in his brother's eyes.
He saved the world, and when he came back, he saved Dean too.
Except… He didn't come back.
Not in all the ways that mattered.
The tenth time Sam left, it was only his mind that was gone.
His body lay on a cot at Bobby's.
But his mind…
His mind was a cage, trapped within itself.
And he was once again fighting to leave.
He'd always been good at that.
The eleventh time Sam left, he thought he was running for his life.
His whole world had become a lie—truth a writhing shadow in the corners of his vision.
Light and Darkness surrounded him.
But there was no longer any black and white.
Reality had been burned to ashes, but the flames in his mind blazed on.
He had set fire to the world, and now it was out to consume him too.
The twelfth time Sam left, he didn't look back.
A flash, a bang.
And all of a sudden, he was on his own for the first time in his life.
For the first time when it wasn't his choice.
He was a drowning man, lost at sea with nothing to hold onto.
So he started running and didn't stop.
But it's hard to run from yourself.
The thirteenth time Sam left, it was because Dean sent him away.
It was necessary, Dean told himself. Sam wasn't listening to him.
But in his heart, he grieved.
This was what they'd come to.
Back to secrets and lies.
Back to sneaking and snarling and hitting where it hurt.
Back to where the blood that they shed meant more than the blood that they shared.
How did we get so broken, Sammy?
Sam left many times after that, but the last time he left, he wasn't alone.
It was the end of days now, more than a few gray hairs on the two bowed heads.
Joints that little bit stiffer.
Reactions that little bit slower.
But love as strong as ever.
You don't have to come with me.
Shut up, Sam.
I mean it, Dean. If you leave now, you could still make it.
And I already told you, Sammy—together or not at all. That's the only leaving I'm okay with.
So they left together.
Because if there's one thing Sam's good at, it's leaving.
And if there's one thing Dean's terrible at, it's letting him go.
If you liked it, you know what to do next! :P