Desperately Seeking Sam
Warnings: Language as always though this one does have a couple slightly descriptive scenes. Nothing like CH 4 but I just wanted to put the warning out there. Oh, and this one may also need a slight tissue warning though trust me before threatening me about how it starts out.
There were few things, other than the normal, that Dean Winchester could honestly say he hated. Oh, demons, witches, sick perverted sex fiends topped that list along with the smell of gas, wood, and flames all rolled into one.
He stood far back from the fire that he'd taken several hours earlier that day to prepare because while a raging out of control fire would certainly fit his mood he didn't want the fire to catch anything else ablaze.
Dean knew what he wanted burned and he'd lost too much recently to want to see anything else in the area caught up in the fire.
His fingers moved to touch the amulet that was once again back around his neck, feeling the sting in his eyes but decided to blame it on the heat of the fire and the smell coming from it. It certainly wasn't because he was watching a part of his life burn.
No, because he was beyond that anymore. He'd made himself accept that this day would come…but he'd hoped it wouldn't be him standing here like this.
A soft hand touched his shoulder and it took a lot of willpower to make certain his eyes were dry before turning his head to offer a weak smile down at Jodi Mills. "Thanks for coming," he couldn't think of anything else to say.
"I couldn't have stayed away," she was fighting her own tears but knew she could let those fall once this was over because the last thing Dean needed was to have to deal with her tears as he battled his own.
Reaching up to lay a hand on the side his face, it amazed Jodi how much younger Dean looked right then and it broke her heart. "I'm sorry, Dean."
"We knew it would happen…I knew it would happen," the hunter let his gaze move from the fire to look at the lone duffel in the back seat of the Impala and swallowed the lump. "This is what he wanted."
Of course knowing that and accepting it didn't make it any easier on Dean as he let himself watch the fire burning while his thoughts drifted back to how he came to this moment…
Two Weeks Earlier, Hospital in Beaumont, Texas:
The smell in hospitals never failed to leave a sour taste in Dean Winchester's mouth. The antiseptic smell always reminded him that every time he came close to a damn hospital it almost always meant someone who loved was hurt to the point that he could lose them.
Growing up it seemed like that the only time they went to a hospital was when the situation was too bad to treat in the back of the Impala or in whatever rundown motel they were using that week.
Dean's first bad experience with one came when Sam was probably three and had come down with a bad case of pneumonia and their Dad had put off taking his youngest son in for the cough he'd had for weeks.
It was only when the toddler woke up puking and running a three digit temperature that John had given in and by then it was nearly too late.
He could still think back to remember the sounds of those damn machines fighting to clear Sam's lungs, the way his little brother looked when they stuck him in a tub full of ice to try to force down the fever and the look of fear on his Dad's normally stoic face as the doctors talked about how seriously ill Sam was then.
At seven it was the first time Dean had faced losing his brother and it hadn't been the last. He'd lost count of the injuries he and Sam had suffered through the years that had required a hospital…though he recalled Sam's last stay in a hospital before this one.
After fighting visions of Lucifer in his mind for months, Sam had finally broke and it was nearly as terrifying for Dean to think of losing Sam to insanity as what he was facing now.
Scrubbing a tired hand over his face, the rough feel of slightly more than five o'clock shadow reminded him that he hadn't slept or shaved in far too long but let his hand drop while absently running the amulet around with his other fingers.
The drive to the ER in downtown Beaumont had been more than manic though if he were honest Dean really didn't remember much of anything except trying to get air flowing back into Sam's lungs and the burst of helpless rage he'd felt when nothing he did worked.
Dean was fairly certain he'd punched the first intern who'd tried to take Sam away from him and only Garth lunging over the front seat to land on him in the backseat kept him from doing worse until Bryan Markus had gotten a better handle on the situation.
Rubbing his bruised jaw, the hunter made a silent promise to return the favor and slug his friend the first time he got the chance even though he accepted that he'd gone past the point of panic when he heard the ER staff talking about surgery, losing his liver, massive internal bleeding and damage on top of the damage on the outside of Sam's body.
Seventeen hours later reminded Dean that whoever made the chairs in hospitals probably was in league with Lucifer because his entire body felt like Hell but he made no move to leave or even to pace as he had during those first long hours that his brother was in surgery.
He had no clue where Garth had disappeared to though he was probably still downstairs giving reports to Kevin and Becky, not that there had been much to report.
These past hours had been a nightmare in itself that Dean figured he could add to the list of growing ones he had from this whole mess since the ride to the hospital while trying to get Sam to breathe would be something he doesn't ever want to repeat.
The other thing the hunter detested about hospitals was the hollowness of the words of supposed comfort from the staff.
Oh, they're supposed to mean well and approach the family or in this case partner of the patient with sympathy and compassion in events like this.
Well, in Dean's point of view their compassion and sympathy sucked as the rolling words of the doctor replayed themselves over in his head.
"'I'm sorry, Agent Criss,'" yeah, the second those first two words come out of a doctor's mouth Dean knows to be on guard for the other shoe to drop and in this case it dropped big time.
"'Extreme internal bleeding from the massive trauma he endured from multiple and severe sexual assaults. There was also serious internal bruising and damage to his kidneys and rectum. Agent Roth also suffered from blood loss from where he was cut and clearly bled as well as head trauma from a beating to the back of his skull.
"'Of course he also suffered from dehydration and malnutrition as well as infected welts, cuts and burns from things I don't think I need to explain to you given the obvious assaults your partner endured. His one shoulder was partially dislocated and the joints in his knees also show bruising though even I can't imagine the position he would have needed to have been in for that to have been done.
"'I was informed that several instruments of a sexual nature had been used on him which would explain why the injuries inside were so sever though I don't believe any permanent damage was done to his penis from the long exposure to what must have been a restraint. In comparison to all his physical wounds, I fear it is the effects of the drugs we found in his blood that will be the worst aspect of this…if he survives the internal damage that is. '"
Watching as his fist clenched around the amulet he'd taken back after he was forced to leave his brother in the care of people who had no clue as to what Sam had just been through, Dean ignored the feel of wetness on his own face since he was basically alone in the private room.
They'd gotten Sam to breathe again on his own but his brother never regained consciousness again and while the doctor's words about damage done due to lack of oxygen on top of the long exposure to two drugs that may well have burned Sam's brain out or left him in a near vegetative state or with permanent memory loss…if he ever woke up.
Of course that was on top of if his heart didn't give out from the strain of both the attacks and the effects that the damn scopolamine had on it because as it was clinically explained to him if Sam's heart hadn't been as strong as it was the long term use of the drug would've had him already dead from a heart attack by this point.
Dean had paced and growled while his brother was in surgery to repair all the internal damage that had been done to him. He'd thrown only one vicious fist into the face of a so-called well-meaning physician's assistant after he'd the comment that a man of Sam's size could have gotten free if he hadn't 'enjoyed' the games.
It had taken Bryan Markus and Garth to get him off the man because he wanted to kill the little geek for even suggesting his brother had allowed that to happen to him and that thought brought his attention back to the multiple little pamphlets a timid nurse had brought out to him as if he hadn't been the one to find Sam tied to a bed being raped by a nutcase.
'How To Recognize the Signs of Sexual Assault', 'The Top Ten Ways To Help a Victim', 'The Physical and Psychological Reactions of Rape'. All little one or two page booklets to help a victim and their families get through the trauma.
Resisting the urge to tear them up or burn them, Dean set them aside after a quick look told him what he already knew because this wouldn't be his first rodeo even though this was the first time that Sam wouldn't be able to try to downplay it and that would be one of the biggest issues if…when Sam woke up.
Despite the life Sam's lived, both the good and bad, there was still one thing that made him different than his big brother and that was how he handled his personal life when it came to relationships and sex.
Dean enjoyed the company of women and his looks had always ensured him that he didn't have to look far when he wanted a woman, though after that little incident with those Amazons he was a bit more cautious when he went out drinking.
Sam, on the other hand, didn't work that way and never had. He knew that things in Sam's youth had made his brother more cautious about sex and while Sam had once testily assured him that his sex life was every bit as normal as Dean's, the older brother knew differently.
Other than his first time with some girl in a town that even Dean couldn't recall anymore, he knew his brother had mainly only been with Jessica. The night with Madison came up as he thought about it and Dean flat out put Ruby in another category.
Now the time Sam was without a soul, Dean really didn't want to know what the hell his little brother had been up to and since Sam shied away from the easiest mention of it Dean knew to leave that alone.
However, sleeping with a woman and having normal sex with her…even if the woman had been a werewolf, was not in the same league as being drugged and forced to have sex with not only Amelia but whoever else she let near Sam and depending on what his brother remembered, Dean knew they were in for some times.
Sam liked to shut down, to keep all the pain in because he was afraid of facing the possibility of Dean being ashamed of him. He'd closed himself off when he'd been younger and he'd tried to shut it down after the Benders.
Those times had been emotionally scarring for Sam and Dean had hated to hurt his brother by making him face it or, in the case of those crazy Rednecks, tell him what the hell else had happened to him.
This time, this attack had pushed the envelope past the point where either Winchester gone before but if Sam was to recover then Dean accepted that his brother would have to face both the nightmares of what happened to him and also that it hadn't been his fault and that his brother wouldn't blame him.
Even if to do that meant that Dean might have to face and share something that he'd sworn never to allow Sam to learn.
Looking over to the bed, the hunter couldn't quite push back the burst of concern that was building the longer Sam stayed unconscious.
Sam looked paler than he had earlier and with most of the dirt, grime and blood wiped away the immense amount of bruises on Sam could be seen that much easier and once again just looking at the marks on his brother reminded Dean how much he wanted that woman to hurt.
Since he'd be the one to have to clean those wounds and keep the infection at bay, he'd made the doctor give him a detailed explanation of every bruise, every cut with stitches as well as the injuries to places that the older brother cringed at even thinking about much less having to touch if Sam was awake.
"Sammy," letting his hand brush back through Sam's slightly cleaner hair, Dean felt the stitches along Sam's scalp but didn't dwell on those as he brought his hand back to gently touch a bruise on his brother's jaw and because Sam was still unconscious let it rest there for a moment.
Because of the injuries, Sam was laying on his side in one of those damn gowns that clearly hadn't been designed by someone sane and while normally Dean would've protested he accepted the reasoning…for the moment at least.
At ease enough with knowing his brother wasn't awake to see him or razz him later, Dean let his hand gently move over Sam's cheek and hair in a familiar soothing motion that he used to do when Sam was little and sick or when his brother was sleeping and hurt these days.
"Come on, Sam, you need to wake up," he began quietly, assuring himself that his rough sounded rougher, more husky because he hadn't been using it for the last few hours and not because he was swallowing emotions that he honestly feared had been destroyed in Purgatory. "You're…safe, though it probably won't feel like that for awhile and that bitch will never come near you again but…damn it, Sammy, I need you to wake up."
Even though they'd been fighting more as of late and the bitterness between them had been thick enough to cut with a machete, Dean hadn't allowed himself to face that he could lose his brother again Or at least not to something like this.
Sam walking away to try for normal was one hurt to Dean but that would've been something that he could've handled…after some time. However, losing Sam because of injuries that hadn't even been caused by a monster that was in their line of work…that was a lot harder to swallow.
That and Dean's own guilt for allowing it to get this far, that is. Moving his hand slowly until he found the hand that Sam had curled up close to his face, Dean carefully held it and wished for the feel of any type of response but Sam's cold fingers remained limp.
"I'm sorry, little brother," he whispered, using his other hand to lay the amulet in Sam's other hand before lightly carding his fingers back through Sam's hair again. "I should've been paying more attention to you. The little tells, the damn nightmares…the very fact that you looked so devastated when I'd try to drag a real answer out of you for why you didn't look for me. I should've seen it all but…I didn't.
"All I saw and felt was my own damn pain again. I took it out on you because it hurt so much to think that you'd walk away when I knew in my heart that something would've had to have happened to make you stop looking," he thought of Sam's huge eyes every time he tossed out a jab or threw Benny in his face.
The pain had been so clear but so had the fear if Dean would've just looked closer and allowed himself to think more on it. If he had then he might've known better when he sent Sam back to Texas that one damn time.
A simple idea to protect his brother or so he thought had just ended with Sam being hurt in ways that Dean wasn't certain he could help him heal from…if the kid even woke up.
"I know it's gonna be bad, Sam but if you just open your eyes I'll…I'll drop the no chick flick rule for a month," Dean figured that rule was probably in the garbage for the next little while anyway since there would be no way to help Sam without a lot of emotion and he just hoped it was mainly Sam's emotions he'd have to face. "You can even…hook that damn IPod thing back up in the car."
That one stung but Dean wasn't above bribery if he thought it might work but as Sam's face remained the same, tense but still, he was nearly at the end of his belief that his brother would wake up when a knock on the door nearly had him snarling. "Yeah?"
"You better check out the local news," Garth looked perplexed which reminded Dean that they weren't out of the woods in that area yet and there'd be only so much that Agent Markus could do to keep the Winchester's under the radar of the local authorities. "The cops are here too."
"Peachy," Dean muttered, giving another careful touch to Sam's shoulder before grabbing the remote for the TV in his brother's room to turn the previously lowered volume back up in time to hear the bright eyes reporter speaking about the previous night's stunning events.
"'Neither local nor Federal authorities are commenting on events close to twenty hours earlier that resulted in the fire and ultimate destruction of a ranch outside of town. Owned by Stan Thompson, a long time serviceman decorated for valor, the ranch and its surrounding buildings were all destroyed by a fire believed to have been caused by Thompson before the man committed suicide.
"'Details leaked to this station also indicate one of the other bodies located after the fire has been identified as Thompson's only daughter, Amelia Richardson. While the other body has yet to be identified, it is rumored that Thompson killed himself after setting the fire to try to destroy evidence that his daughter had been running a secret Satanic sex cult and the other body was possibly a victim.
"'As of this time, neither Sheriff Wilkes nor the local FBI agent in charge of the investigation could be reached for comment but we will keep you…'"
Flicking off the TV in mild shock, Dean let his gaze move to see if Sam had been disturbed by the noise and did notice that his brother's face seemed tighter than it had been only a few seconds earlier. "What the hell?"
Dean couldn't deny that he'd thought about torching the place but Sam's welfare had been important to him. He also couldn't figure out what the hell had happened since the woman had been alive when he left and Bryan was too much in pure Fed mode to have killed her.
"What in the hell happened?" he asked himself again, not caring for mysteries that he couldn't explain.
"That's kind of what I'd like to know."
The gruff voice that spoke from the door had every nerve in Dean shooting to life because one look told him that the local Sheriff didn't look happy and the hunter's own mood was bouncing between protect Sammy and taking his frustration out on the first unlucky son of a bitch that got in his face.
By the look on the muscular cop's grim face it looked like Dean might have just found a target for those dark feelings he'd been pushing down.
"Talk to the agent in charge then because I'm busy," Dean shrugged but put himself between the Beaumont Sheriff and his brother's bed.
Like most local cops, Sheriff Glenn Wilkes didn't like when the Feds played in his sandbox. He especially hated it when something dirty went down in his town and this whole mess reeked of dirty and cover-up.
"Markus is a smooth talker and he's got all the paperwork to cover his ass but my gut tells me that you two are the ones I need to talk to in order to fulfill my own curiosity," he eyed the tall man shrewdly.
Agent Criss or so his ID labeled him had all the correct IDs and words to pass him and his 'partner' off as FBI but there was something else in the rugged young man's attitude that just didn't make him Fed material.
His body language as he stood now in between Wilkes and the bed told clearly that he'd strike if the cop took a step toward the unconscious young man laying there and that was his second clue, because he could tell there was a lot more here than just partners.
"Markus gave me a line that your…partner was working undercover and got hurt by this so-called cult," level eyes slid between the bed and the man, not missing the way his jaw had clenched. "I've known Stan for more than ten years so this is…out of character for him to take the easy way out. You want to clear this up or should we do this at the station…once he wakes up?"
Fury was pressing but the thought of a cop or anyone questioning Sam for exact details twisted his gut. "You got your answers," he kept his voice even. "He's been through enough. Why don't you go find someone else to drag over the coals if you're looking to blame someone for what some sick bitch brought to your town."
Wilkes started to step forward, considering hauling this smart ass downtown just for the Hell of it when a familiar click came at the side of his head. "I'm the Sheriff, boy," he growled, hating the Feds for another reason.
"And I've got a signed paper from the Governor giving me full power over this investigation and if you take one more step I'll only be too happy to put you out of my misery," Bryan Markus remarked coolly, no trace of his usual slight accent as he'd slipped into pure Fed tone of voice while taking in the scene in the hospital room.
"The Governor and the Mayor both told you that my team had this and that whatever happened out on that ranch was a covert government investigation. An investigation that did not involve the local cops," he moved so that his back was to Dean but kept his Beretta held steady while facing down the Sheriff, with whom he'd already had several fights with already.
"The fact that you knew Stan Thompson makes me wonder if you also knew about his daughter's…habit and if you did then I might be willing to look deeper into if you knew she'd kidnapped a Federal agent once his cover was blown and held him within your town limits to rape him," Markus smirked as the look that flickered over the older man's face. "The smart thing to do, Sheriff, would be to walk away and let this go as what it seems to be. Press me, or get in his face again and I make a couple calls."
Wilkes hated this cocky asshole but the badge he'd flashed along with the phone calls he'd gotten were a clear reminder that there wasn't much he could do. Not that he was willing to back down that easily.
"I have my doubts that those two are Feds," he sneered, jerking his head toward Dean. "I can spot a fake a mile away and…"
"Really? Well, I could let you talk with my boss but I can promise you won't be happy to get woken up at this time of night with some local cop hassling me or two of the FBIs finest…but then I don't think the Mayor's all that happy either," Markus lifted his eyes toward the door and gave the slightest tip of his head.
"You think the Mayor gives a crap about some Feds that are…"
"Glenn," a deep but quietly warning voice brought the Sheriff to a halt as he turned to see a middle aged greying man in jeans and a work shirt standing in the door.
Swallowing as the Mayor of Beaumont leveled a hard look, Wilkes scowled. "Mr. Mayor, there was no reason for you to get involved," he began. "I think there's a misunderstanding here but this…"
"I think you need to leave and let the Feds handle this on their own," the Mayor was of average height but carried himself in a way that screamed military to Dean as only a boot to his foot kept him quiet. "In the morning, you and I will talk about how much covering up you've been doing in this matter. Now, leave before Bryan really does shoot you."
Looking like he still might argue, the Sheriff finally spun and stormed out with a grunt. After another moment, the Mayor exchanged a long look with the Federal agent before following the cop.
"Damn. This job is going to have me mowing the grass for two years," Markus grumbled, shrugging at the wary look his friend had. "What? You think I have the Mayor of Beaumont on speed dial for nothing? There was another reason I took this job when I figured out where Thompson had moved, Dean. Mom's got a wicked hatred for deviants and she still knows how to use a shotgun."
It slowly began to sink in and Dean decided the less he knew about Markus's connections in Beaumont the better off he'd be especially when a sound from the bed caught his attention. "So, you want to tell me what happened?" he asked, moving to the bed slowly while keeping his voice even.
"Oh, Thompson was so devastated at learning how far over the edge his precious little girl had gone that he killed her, decided to burn the evidence before shooting himself," Markus had made certain the lie was believable to those that needed to believe it.
However since Dean wasn't one of those people, he stepped closer to the bed to see that Dean had once again enfolded Sam's hand in his while sitting on the edge of the bed. "That's the popular public line. Now, all you need to know is all the evidence putting Sam at the scene has been burned away and…a Jane Doe was admitted to a private mental hospital in Houston. Mom will make damn certain she never sees the light of day or another human being again," he stated calmly, hoping that Dean was too preoccupied to ask more detailed questions.
"Not a very legal or Federal thing to do, pal," the hunter remarked, his full attention locked on the way Sam's eyes seemed to be moving under his eyelids and squeezed his hand a little more. "Sammy? You coming back now or what?"
"You know this won't be easy on him," Markus recognized the way Dean's shoulders moved as his only acknowledgement of that. "You can't do the whole AMA thing, Dean. He needs care here before you try to lock him up in a bubble."
"That cop will be all over Sam if I don't get him out of here and you know it," this time Dean did let his gaze meet the Fed's. "This'll be a nightmare for him without needing to deal with that or if the locals start pushing it that we might not be legit. Plus, I'm not sure if we're still on the FBIs Most Wanted List still or not."
Knowing that Dean's concern for Sam would cause him to move as soon as Sam was out of danger, Markus didn't bother to tell the man that he'd wiped the Winchesters out of the database again while hoping they could go a year without getting back on it.
"Rory and I'll cover for you until you can get him out of Beaumont," he sighed, nudging the bag of clean clothes he'd brought. "Just remember, this isn't like when we were kids and you can't bully him. You should call Mom."
Remembering the way Hannah Cabot, now Markus, had hovered over Sam and griped to their Dad about dragging his sons through Hell with him, Dean had a hunch he'd get a similar lecture and while it was tempting to call on someone who was professionally trained to handle things like this, he knew his brother.
Sam would be pulling away as it is and it would be worse if he had to deal with someone other than his pushy big brother.
"Maybe," Dean finally replied, leaving that option open when he felt the first move in fingers around his and took a deep breath before slowly dropping his eyes to see tired, still glassy hazel eyes staring up at him and the rush of emotions he could see building reminded him that it was time he found the big brother part of himself and fast. "Welcome back, little brother," he murmured.
One week Later: Whitefish, MT:
It took nearly another full week before either the doctors or Dean were even close to satisfied that Sam could be released from the hospital and then that was marginal at best.
The main doctor in charge of Sam's care had wanted to admit him until he'd healed more and came out of the self-imposed shell he'd built around himself.
That had caused Dean's near unshakable calm to vanish because he knew if his brother got locked up in a hospital again that he'd never get him out because Sam would lose it which is why the hunter was pushing to get Sam out of the Texas hospital.
It had finally taken the intervention of Doctor Hannah Markus, Chief of Medicine in the chain of hospitals the one in Beaumont belonged to. It also helped that she was the wife of Beaumont's mayor and the exasperated mother of a very stressed out Federal agent.
Getting Sam released once she arrived wasn't hard. Dean had a harder time convincing the matronly older woman that had scared his own father more than once to let him take care of Sam on his own and she only agreed when it became plain how upset Sam was getting with the thought of his brother leaving him.
Most of Sam's physical wounds had healed enough that they just needed tending to though he had a hard time sitting in the Impala due to the severe welts and swelling on his upper legs and backside but he'd refused to lay in the backseat.
Arguing with Sam when his brother was hardly talking wasn't any easier than it was when he was vocal.
Dean found himself wishing to hear his brother's voice more than just in whimpers as he tried to sleep or when he tried to refuse letting Dean tend the wounds or get him to eat.
Convincing Garth to go back to guarding Kevin was a little hard but after a brief battle of wills and a convenient call from the aforementioned Prophet asking how to get some fish out of the houseboat's engine did the other hunter decide to leave, but not before Dean ordered him to stay the hell away from Becky.
That had been a week ago as Dean stepped outside of the cabin that he'd instinctively chosen to take his brother back to without thinking of what that might do to his already fragile mind.
Sam had closed himself off in his room, not even coming out to eat and the nightmare last night had resulted in Dean nearly having his jaw broke and Sam sobbing himself back to sleep curled in a closet while begging Amelia to leave him alone and for Dean to forgive him.
"Did you think it through about coming back here?" Bryan Markus asked from where he leaned against the door of his car.
The Federal agent from Homeland Security had decided he was sticking close to the Winchesters until he could get them the hell out of Beaumont, Texas.
His step-father had pulled a lot of strings and called in a lot of favors to get Sheriff Wilkes banned from the hospital but the man had still been a huge pain in the ass.
The state police and Markus's own bosses had bought his explanation easily enough and as far as everyone was concerned Amelia Richardson was dead. Her husband had even identified the burned up body and Markus was silently glad no one got too curious about how Rory had pulled that one off.
Amelia was locked away under a Jane Doe tag, raving quite nicely in a padded cell about Sam and how she'd one day get him back and he just hoped that the woman stayed gone since he wouldn't even bother trying to stop Dean again.
"It's not like we have a whole list of places to go since nearly everyone we know is either dead or I wouldn't trust them with Sam," Dean sighed, stretching and hissing as his neck popped a few times since he'd been sleeping either outside Sam's door or on the floor close to the bed.
Since waking up fully in the hospital, Sam hadn't allowed anyone to touch him unless it was to dress a wound and that was a huge pain in the ass.
Normally when his little brother was sick or hurt he was clingy or at least wanted to be close to Dean. This time, there were times when it looked like Sam would crack and fall back into the pattern but then he'd pull back at the last second.
That was when the haunted look of shame and self-hate would enter his empty eyes and nothing Dean did or said would make him look at him.
"He's never been this bad," he stared at the cabin that looked as worn out as he was feeling right then. "I mean, he was quiet after that asshole hurt him when he was thirteen and he tried to pull back after those rednecks but he's never shut me out like this, Bryan. I can't help him if I don't…if he doesn't talk to me how can I help him?"
Thinking back to his teenage years, Markus couldn't ever recall seeing Dean Winchester so unsure or so helpless since he knew Dean had a pattern that he followed when it came to taking care of his brother.
It usually went from killing the thing that hurt Sam, to yelling a little or a lot to cover the panic of losing Sam, to bitching after the usual fight to get Sam to let him treat the wounds. Then would come the hovering, the hyper manic overprotectiveness that only stopped when Sam finally had enough and shouted at Dean to leave him alone.
That always started Dean on the lecture that Sam was his priority and responsibility and he'd leave Sam alone once Sammy stopped being a brat. The fight over who was being a brat usually only lasted until Sam got worn down and finally let his wall down.
Of course that was also when Dean's wall of no emotion came down because as soon as Sam cried or trembled his older brother was gone and only Dean could handle Sam at that point because Markus still heard the terrible scream from Sam the time John had tried to soothe his son and it was like controlling a wild animal on speed until Dean finally got his brother to listen to him.
However, this time Sam wasn't following the pattern and that was throwing the cocky older Winchester off his game plan.
"This isn't like being kidnapped and abused by some pedophile or those crazy rednecks or even that pal of John's, Dean," he was careful with his tone since he also knew how dangerous Dean could be when not exhausted. "Excluding the drugs that have scrambled his brains, he wasn't just drugged to have sex with the woman. He was raped and sodomized for over fifty hours, Dean. You saw some on that video but…Rory found the other discs before he torched the place and…Sam was tortured in ways neither of us could understand,"
Since he'd taken some personal time, Markus had ditched the suit for more casual jeans and a T-shirt and now he picked at a slightly worn spot on his shirt before letting his eyes meet the heated but nearly warning gaze of his friend. "Unless you want to talk to him about Tallahassee."
Dean felt his whole body go rigid and his mind was nothing but white noise to the point that he wasn't aware of when he got in the Fed's face until he felt the warning shove that put him back a step. "You don't know jack about that," he gritted, shooting a look back toward the cabin as if even the mention of that could hurt his brother.
"Yeah, were you aware that nearly everything you told Caleb he told me if he thought it important enough?" Markus sighed, not wanting to upset his friend when he knew he needed to keep himself level if he stood a chance of helping the younger Winchester.
Blinking at that, Dean rolled his eyes and wondered if he could resurrect his friend just long enough to kill him. "That has nothing to do with this," he refused even the thought since he'd spent thirteen years keeping that night from his brother.
"No?" shaking his head, Markus pushed off from the car since he knew he'd done all he could and now it would be up to Dean. "Think about it for a second," he urged then paused. "Sam's closed himself off not only because of whatever he remembers since we're not sure yet how much memory he has but because he's afraid to open up to you this time.
"He's afraid you believed that note or because of whatever you've seen or learned, and he doesn't know what you know, he thinks you're ashamed of him. That he's let you down again because he didn't fight back, that he failed as a hunter and that he's a…draw on me again, Winchester and it's the last time," he warned firmly, seeing Dean tense but knowing he had to finish. "Sam's scared, he's confused and he wants you tell fix it but he doesn't know how to tell you because he thinks you won't understand."
Getting behind the wheel, Markus leaned out the window as he offered his hand. "You've got to get him to understand this wasn't his fault, Dean. You've got to get past whatever the hell's come between the two of you and let him know he's not alone or else he won't come back from wherever he goes in his mind," he knew it would Dean's choice as to what he revealed or didn't reveal to his brother. "Just be careful and… call me the next time you get in over your damn head cause I'm really tired of wiping the FBI database every time your name pops up."
Shaking the extended hand, Dean offered a nod then forced a smile. "Won't Homeland Security frown on you aiding and abetting two former wanted murderers?" he asked.
"I think they've learned not to ask too much where I'm concerned," Markus replied with a shrug. "You can the kid out of hunting but you can't always take the hunter out of the kid," he reminded the hunter, a gleam showing in steel blue eyes. "Hell, I kill a zombie in Baton Rouge six months ago…of course that was Rory's fault. Watch your back, Winchester."
Deciding he'd have Sam check into just what their friend had been doing, Dean nodded. "Watch yours, Cabot," he caught the smirk then waited until the car was out of sight to look back to the cabin.
It was getting dark and regardless of how bad he was in the daytime Sam's nightmares and reactions always seemed to get worse at night came on them.
Checking the salt lines and wards around the cabin for the sixth time since coming inside, Dean tried to sit on the couch but couldn't help but let his gaze go to the broken coffee table and he could see the initial assault here in the cabin that had begun his brother's torment.
Giving the table a shove with his foot, he vowed to burn the damn thing the next day and he heard the first sound of what promised to be a very long night and wondered how long it would be before either Sam went too far down that dark path or he crashed from exhaustion.
He'd tried to talk to Sam earlier when the usual battle over dinner happened but the pure panic in Sam's huge eyes when Dean reached out to him finally made him step back and there hadn't been another sound from Sam's room since…until now.
Dean had been tempted to give his brother a tiny dose of something to help him sleep but didn't want to until he had a better idea of how the other drugs had affected him and until Sam actually did more or said more he'd never know that.
"Sonuvabitch," he whispered, hearing his name but knew he wasn't being called and that Sam's nightmares were making him beg his brother to forgive him.
Dean just wasn't sure what Sam wanted forgave for and unless he wanted to push and possibly shatter the kid more than he'd never learn much less help Sam start to heal.
Markus's mention of Tallahassee made the hunter's stomach clench. He did not want to bring even the faint memory of that close to Sam.
"Huh. Who're you protecting? Him or your own damn self?" he asked the empty room, head jerking around as a new sound came from down the hall and Dean was on his feet before he could process it. "Sam?"
His hand just about to knock, Dean snorted and pushed open the door like he would any other time his brother was hurt.
The room was one they shared but since this had happened he'd left Sam alone in it so his brother wouldn't feel too closed in, now Dean was wondering if that had been a fully wise move.
When he'd last been inside the bedroom a few hours ago, it had looked fine. Now as he stepped in, the little bit of light coming from a table lamp near the door showed that both beds had been shoved to the floor and the frames had been broken apart.
"Okay, this isn't good," he murmured, sticking his suddenly damp palms into his pockets while letting his eyes search for Sam. "Sam?" he called quietly since he didn't want to scare his brother and only long ago learned hunter's instincts gave him the speed to turn in time to avoid the ragged piece of broken glass. "Sam!"
Whirling to avoid the off balance slash that still would've cut him bad, Dean only had a second to register the glassy, still half asleep eyes of his brother before the broken glass in Sam's bleeding hand slashed again and the older man swore at himself for not seeing this turn of events.
The doctors had told him that Sam would have flashbacks for a long time and without knowing the exact damage the drugs had done to him he might not always remember where he was or who he was with.
It was clear to Dean as he tried to avoid getting cut open that his brother hadn't woken up fully from this nightmare and his mind was back in that room. Only this time he was fighting back like he hadn't been able to there.
"Get…away from…me," Sam gritted, pale as his still sore body protested this much movement he seemed unaware of the blood on his arm as his hand bled from where he'd slammed it into the mirror. "Please…jus let me…go…"
Dean didn't want to hurt his brother but he also didn't want to get cut. So stepping back just as Sam slashed again, he grabbed the wrist to pull it back behind Sam while being careful when he stepped behind his brother to pin the arm and closed his eyes against the ragged cry.
"Nooo! Don't…letgoofme!" Sam tried to twist free and while he normally had the height advantage to do that his weakened body didn't have the strength to fight this time and he suddenly seemed to go limp against the wall. "… 'Melia…please…don' touch…me," he whispered, hissing when a strong arm slid around his waist as lowered to his knees. "No…bastards…not…Dean…"
The buried pain in how Sam said his name had Dean going rigid, green eyes snapping open. "Damn it, Sammy. What in the hell did that bitch make you see?" he asked more of himself than his brother who had begun to rock himself the moment his arm was released. "Sammy? It's me…Dean. Shit, you cut yourself pretty good."
Stepping into the small bathroom, he grabbed a towel and a glass of water before going back to see that Sam had scrambled into a corner as if needing to keep his back to the wall so no one could hurt him from behind again.
Dean knew his little brother had never liked to have anyone behind him from the time he'd been thirteen and it made more sense to him know considering what he knew and suspected had happened to Sam. "Can I look at your hand?" he moved slowly, keeping his hands held out in front of him to reassure his brother that he didn't have a weapon.
Though as Dean knew well, a person's hands could be the most lethal weapon in the world and for Sam right then a pair of hands might be more dangerous than a gun or knife.
"Sammy, you had another nightmare but you're safe. I'm here with you but you've gotta let me in, little brother," he made no move to touch Sam when the younger man actually appeared to make his 6'4" frame smaller as he curled up more in the corner.
"No…Dean…won't come back," he mumbled, seeming to see something but not his brother as his unhurt hand tried to clutch something. "She…made me write…and hates me anyway and…he'd be…ashamed of me for…Dean!"
The cry was half pain, half fear and Dean knew he had tears in his eyes even as Sam's own slid down his bruised cheeks untouched as the tortured memories attacked him as viciously as people had so many days ago even though to Sam it seemed to still be happening.
Sam wanted to curl into a ball and just let whatever darkness existed claim him. Every nightmare seemed more vivid, more real even though a small part of him knew he'd been rescued. He could hear his brother's strong, husky voice assuring him that it was over but it would never be over for Sam when he couldn't even stand to see the disappointment on Dean's face.
Slowly as it usually did when the dreams came too hard and fast, Sam began to calm down and pull back into himself where he'd learned it was safe.
Sam hadn't used that safe little world in his mind since he'd been thirteen but the first time Amelia had allowed the drugs to dim and his mind realized what was happening he'd gone back to that place or as much as she'd allow him since it had pleased her to make him a part of his own rape.
The first time that some man with huge hard hands had touched him, the first time some guy had shoved his dick into Sam's already sore ass was when the door to that little place opened fully and locked tightly in order to allow the hunter to retain his sanity.
He wanted Dean. If Sam was honest with himself he'd let himself admit that all he wanted right then was his big brother to make all of this go away like he'd down for as long as Sam could remember but to get that meant that Sam would have to face Dean and that was what he couldn't bring himself to do.
Memories were still livid with him even though he'd overheard the doctors telling Dean that the odds were good that the drugs that he'd been given, overly given actually, would probably keep him from recalling too much of the events of his captivity.
Really? No such luck as Sam knew if he let himself think that he could recall most of the more vicious attacks. The games she played and let others play with him. He could recall her voice whispering in his ear, telling him how filthy this was and that his big brother was long gone and would never forgive him for being such a whore.
Hell, he knew his brother still hadn't forgiven him for the time he didn't look for him and Sam had been too ashamed then too to tell Dean about the memories that were flashing in him of that time in Texas and how much he'd wanted to look for him but couldn't.
Sam wasn't sure how much Dean knew about this time but it didn't matter. His brother would never, could never understand what had happened to him or why he just wanted to find a dark hole and stay there forever or until he could close his eyes and not feel all those hands on him, not feel the pain of being gang raped while Amelia whispered things about Dean in his ear.
"You…you were right," he suddenly whispered, could do no more since his throat was still raw from screaming and being abused.
Sam knew Dean was close but not too close since he also knew he was too disgusting to want to come close to but without moving his head from where it had dropped on his knees, he did slowly lift his tired hooded eyes to see his brother crouched a few feet in front of him.
Wanting so badly to move to Sam, to take that shaking battered body in his arms like he would when they'd both been kids, Dean held back because he didn't think Sam was prepared for that even though any other time he still would've.
"What was I right about?" he asked instead, surprised at how ragged, how torn Sam sounded when not even the second time he'd been coming down from demon blood did he sound this lost. "Sam?"
"About…Benny…you were right. He's a better…bro…brother to you than me," the sob broke off as his face dropped back to the crook of his arm, missing the sudden flash of heat that surged into the opposite set of green eyes. "I…I can't do this again…not like this. Not without…you and you'd never…"
Swallowing the burning lump that was threatening to choke him, Dean closed his eyes and as he did he once again saw what he had on that screen and what he'd walked into in that room but this time he didn't feel the burning rage.
Oh, he felt rage but not as hot as it had been. This time as he listened to the tears trying to be choked back because Sam wasn't close to releasing all his pain yet, Dean just felt broken and helpless.
Ever since Sam had been old enough to crawl, he'd been the one to make all the badness go away for his little brother. Nightmares, bullies, killer clowns or creepy bugs had been nothing that he couldn't kill or take the fear away from Sam.
He'd held and soothed Sam after everything they'd faced and even after Sam had nearly fallen apart when Jessica died Dean could usually find a way to bring his brother back to solid ground. This time though he didn't know how to help him because this time, this injury, was totally different from the pervert back when Sam was a child or their Dad's so-called friend or those screwed up rednecks.
This time was made infinitely worse because of the drugs that made Sam respond, that allowed him to be conscious mostly through it all and he'd never been forced by more than one person before.
His little brother was broken in more than just body but he also believed that he was worthless, and that Dean would think even less of him…that Dean was ashamed on him or wouldn't understand.
"Damn it," he whispered, pushing up to his feet while trying not to noticed how Sam jerked as the motion as if he thought Dean would lash out at him.
Pacing the bedroom while removing his brother's black bracelet from his pocket, Dean managed to sit the bed farthest from the door back up and let himself down on it with a heavy sigh.
He hadn't wanted to do it this way. He'd hoped with enough time that Sam would come out of this on his own but knowing his baby brother believed he deserved so much self-hate and Dean's hate told him that he wasn't going to get Sam out of this self-induced funk unless he got him out himself and that meant bringing another elephant into this already dangerous emotional battleground.
Wishing he'd brought whiskey in, Dean shoved that away because he knew he couldn't be drunk to do this even though he prayed he could do this without throwing up.
Dean had always been the strong one when it came to dealing with Sam's issues or even their Dad's. He wasn't always as good at handling his own inner demons. Those he buried, ignored or just drank away.
That was how he finally had dealt with the events in Tallahassee thirteen years earlier. Only Sam's constant bickering with their Dad had allowed him to forge ahead and also keep his little brother, then seventeen, from learning the truth.
Now to help Sam, Dean knew he'd have to try to get through the fog and pain in Sam to make him understand that maybe his big brother would understand a little of what he was feeling.
"Sammy?" he called quietly, knowing Sam was awake but close to slipping away again and finally decided to say the hell with it and just jumped. "Do you remember the job down in Tallahassee back when you were seventeen…well, you would've been sixteen since I turned twenty-one? I need you to listen to me and try to remember it, Sam."
Struggling to breath as his lungs seemed to want to not work right, Sam's fingers found the glass of water that had been left near him and tried not to spill any while he sipped it shakily before his brother's voice registered.
Tallahassee? Florida, the winter of 2000 and the damn ghost witch with a pissed off attitude toward anything in general. Yeah, Sam recalled it because he'd gotten pissed off at his brother and he'd ended up getting his ass shipped off to Pastor Jim on some lame excuse that Jim needed help.
Realizing Dean had stopped speaking as if he was waiting for some kind of acknowledgement; Sam managed to nod his head but kept his gaze down. He had no clue why this was being brought up because Dean had viciously and violently refused to talk about that job anytime Sam had asked about it.
"Yeah, ghost witch with a bad attitude and you and Dad bickering like usual," Dean made himself sit on the bed even though that was the last place in the room that he wanted to be, rubbing his sweating hands on his jeans and reminding himself that this was for Sam.
"It was supposed to be easy. You'd done the research, flawlessly as always, we knew were the bones were. Dad even let the two of us handle the salt and burn. Bones burned, witch gone, new owners of the house happy as pie and my twenty-first birthday the next day. Too bad nothing ever goes easy for Winchesters," Dean's tone was dropping in a way that Sam hadn't heard before and despite his own pain, the low and flat tone made him shift his head enough so that he could watch his brother from under his lashes.
Dean looked bad from Sam's point of view of back in the corner. His brother's face looked shadowed as if he hadn't shaved in a day or so but it was the shadows under his eyes that reminded him that whenever he'd woken up recently that he could hear Dean's voice.
Though there was something else wrong. Dean looked too grim, too…young for being the thirty-four year old man he was but something about what he was telling was bringing back something that he was clearly fighting against.
"…Pissed at you," he murmured, wincing as his throat burned but despite his desire to just curl up and die Sam felt that Dean needed to know he was listening even if he didn't get the meaning behind the words.
Dean clearly did get the meaning because a slow but dark smile formed as he stared at a scar on his wrist, a scar that Sam had never known its origin. "Yeah, you were pissed off at me because I refused to take you to the bar that night," he nodded, seeing his brother's hurt expression a second before the mother of all bitch faces took over. "I was twenty-one and legal for the first time. You thought I didn't want to hang out with you when I could be out getting drunk or screwing some girl…your words, Sammy…but that wasn't it.
"I'd scoped those bars out earlier in the week so I knew what most of them were and the one I'd picked sure as hell wasn't one I'd even attempt to take you to. Plus, I'd planned to go out, have a couple beers, shoot enough pool to score some decent cash so when Dad took off the next time I'd have enough to keep food in my still growing little brother's belly," Dean wasn't aware that his one hand had fisted on the bed next to this thigh or how hard he was gritting his teeth. "Then I was coming back, grabbing your pouty self and going for pizza and bowling but in the end not taking you was the only thing that kept me sane when it all went wrong."
There is was again. That drop in tone but this time Dean's voice shook and Sam could count on one hand the number of times he'd heard his brother sound like this and none of them had been good.
Staying silent, Sam did slowly uncurl a little so he could watch Dean closer while closing his hand around the amulet that had been Dean's and Sam made a mental note to ask his brother how he'd found it.
Despite his own pain and humiliation, there was something about Dean right then that was telling him to pay attention because his big brother did not do the share memories thing very often and especially not in that tone.
"Do you remember a few weeks later when Dad, Bobby, Caleb and I got to Jim's place? I know it's been a long time and right now you're probably wish I'd shut the hell up but I need you to remember because I need you to understand what else I'm going to tell you, Sammy," Dean could feel the eyes on him and knew he'd captured Sam's attention but right then couldn't make himself look up. "Can you remember how I was for the next month or so?"
Drugs, pain, bad memories of his own didn't remove that memory from Sam's brain because he remembered all too well how his brother was right after getting to Jim Murphy's place.
Sam had been confused as to why Bobby and Caleb were there because Jim hadn't mentioned his Dad and brother finding another hunt but what had confused him more was how every time he went near his brother Dean had pushed him away.
Dean had been moody, testy, nasty and a son of a bitch for the next few weeks that they stayed at Jim's cabin. Refusing any contact with anyone, even their Dad, and snapping at the least little thing. Though it was his choice to sleep in a room alone, unlike sharing one like they always did, that had crushed Sam because he couldn't figure out what he'd done to make his brother angry with him.
It had taken nearly a month and a stern fight with their Dad to make Dean start sharing a room again but he'd still kept Sam at arm's length. Never showering or changing until his brother was in bed or asleep and never taking his jacket or overshirt off even as the cold turned to heat.
He also remembered that Dean stopped going to bars unless Caleb was around. He wouldn't even go with their Dad like he used to because Dean had always liked to prove that he was better at pool than the old man but the one time their Father had suggested it he'd watched his brother's face go pale before the mask came on and the refusal was cold.
To Sam's memory he'd never seen his father and brother go shoot pool or anything again. In fact, as Sam slowly rubbed a hand under his runny nose he thought that was also when Dean began putting up the shields more around everyone, even Sam.
"Hey, you done overthinking so I can get back to my point?" Dean had finally lifted his head to watch the interesting way Sam was chewing on his bottom lip and the way his forehead furrowed like it did when he was thinking too much. "My point with that was…Dad didn't send you to Jim's to help him on a hunt and Caleb and Bobby didn't just show up in Florida. Dad called them just like he called Jim to take you because…because I let my guard down and got nailed by some son of bitch."
Slightly put out about the overthinking comment when he was in the process of a silent breakdown, Sam nearly shut his brother out right then until those last bitter words hit him and his full attention was now on Dean and what he was trying to say.
"I went to the bar. I shot some pool and was doing pretty good…well good enough to keep us fed and maybe buy you that book you'd been pining for but then…this guy came in. He looked familiar and I thought I'd seen Dad talking to him a few days before so when he said that Dad had mentioned it was my birthday and offered to buy me a beer I didn't refuse," looking back at his hands again, Dean struggled to stay still when his every nerve was screaming to move. "Seth Jessup…huh, I don't think I'll ever forget that name."
The name rang a bell to Sam too because he'd been with his Dad the day they'd run into the man, a former Marine who hadn't served with John Winchester but who'd known him, and it didn't take Sam long to pick up on the vibes both from the guy and from his Dad.
Normally John was making a big deal about Sam standing up for himself but this time he'd barely said a quiet hello to the overly friendly guy when his Dad's fingers were digging into his arm and putting himself between Sam and Jessup.
He'd heard every word and his Dad had never even mentioned Dean but yet Jessup had asked about him then it got weird because his Dad had told Sam to stay in the truck while he physically moved the man down the sidewalk and after planting a very firm finger in his chest while saying something he'd returned to the truck and Sam could practically see the hate radiating off his Father.
Realizing Dean was speaking again, Sam made himself catch up and stay focused this time because somewhere in his gut he knew this wasn't going to be something that his brother would ever bring up again.
"I'd been hustling pool in dive bars since I was sixteen and knew the rules. I knew never to turn my back on a sore loser and never to leave my drink where I couldn't see it at all times but…I was on edge. This guy just put all my nerves on edge and if I'd've had you with me we would've been gone before he even sat down," Dean sighed, his fingers beginning to play with the rubber bracelet as if he needed a distraction.
"I drank the beer because I didn't want to piss Dad off by being rude to one of his pals and made some excuse about having to get going or my little brother would throw a tantrum but I felt off, a little too hot…way to dizzy and it happened too fast for me to realize the bastard had slipped something into my drink.
"By the time it did sink in…it was too late and he was leading me out of the bar with some excuse to the bartender and when I tried to fight he cracked me in the head with something and that was it. I blacked out and didn't come to until…" Dean stopped when he heard the first crack in his voice.
This was the first time in thirteen years that he'd spoken openly about that night because he'd only given his Dad enough pieces to easily fill in the obvious blanks. Caleb had gotten more since he'd gotten Dean drunk one night to finally get him to expend the building pain and guilt that had been slowly destroying him.
"When I woke up or what we'll call waking up I was already stripped and tied on a bed in some damn filthy room and he told me that I was calling Dad and telling him that I'd be gone for a few days. I said no way in hell but that's the bad thing with those drugs, Sammy…you do what you're told even when all I wanted to do was scream to Dad for help.
"I'd been conning and lying long enough that I guess it's second nature for my voice to do that and Dad bought it or something because all I knew was for the next week all that bastard did was rape me. I tried to fight it the first couple…dozen times because that's also second nature. To fight the first time some guy sticks his dick up my ass dry or his fingers or fucked my mouth.
"After a while though it all blurs and it just seems that even while my mind fought it, tried to ignore it, my body did whatever the hell he wanted. He got off on making me react to him and when I didn't do something right or he let it lapse between drugs and I fought him he told me in vivid detail what he'd do to my sweet baby brother," Dean's tone had gone flat and he was not aware of the feel of the tears leaving tracks on his face as he thought back to that time and how powerless and dirty he'd felt.
It felt stifling in the bedroom with the windows closed and the closeness of that heat made Dean feel the same heat that he'd felt the week in that room where he'd been forced to drink through a straw and only fed what Jessup had chosen to given him when he chose to feed him at all.
Dean hadn't planned to reveal it all to Sam but his mind had drifted off into memory so that he wasn't aware that he was still talking. Telling about the humiliations that man had forced on him, the acts that weren't legal in any of the fifty states or the painful little games he played to punish Dean.
He hadn't realized he'd been talking until he heard his own voice choke off as he spoke of the last rape that had been going on when shots rang out, voices shouted and the man was jerked away and off of him before his Dad's nearly wild eyes appeared over his and Dean had known the ordeal was over…at least the physical part of it.
"Caleb told me later that Dad hadn't bought my story and had known something was wrong when he went to the bar and found the Impala. The bartender had described Jessup and it all hit. Dad didn't want you involved and to this day I don't know if he wanted you out because he didn't want Jessup close to you or because he knew what he'd find and didn't want you to see me that way. I know I didn't want you to see me, Sammy," he sounded dark, much like he had after he returned from Hell as he stood close to the bed but near the open window.
"Dad told Jim to keep you with him, to lie about some hunt he needed help with while he called Bobby and Caleb because Jessup had disappeared. I was in a hospital for a couple days because I was beat up, torn up inside and pretty much starved. I just wanted to get the hell out of Florida and go get you…but the closer we got to Jim's place the more scared I got and I made them swear never to tell you what happened to me," Dean heard his own chuckle but knew it wasn't out of humor.
"I was your big brother and I was supposed to be able to handle it all and never fall but here I was barely about to sit, much less sleep without feeling the bastard all over me. You were out of the cabin and nearly to me when all I could feel was the ropes, his hands on me and knew if you touched me right then I'd break and I swore never to let you see me that weak so I pushed you away," eyes staring out the window, Dean could see the hurt in his brother's eyes back then and every time after that when he'd push at Sam or say something hurtful.
Fighting not to hurl his fist into the wall or lock himself in the bathroom to get rid of the churning sourness, Dean took a shaky breath. "All I wanted was to be with you, Sammy. To hear you ramble on about something new in school or some book you'd read or even to hear you and Dad fight but it hurt so damn much to see your eyes and know that if you ever knew about that, what he did to me that you'd think…" he stopped, needing to stop because it was all too much.
"So, you see, your big brother does know a little about that those sick sons of bitches did to you. I know you had it a helluva lot worse in less time but don't think I hate you or that I'd ashamed of you because you think you responded to them," Dean wasn't sure if Sam was still listening or not by this point and couldn't bring himself to look as he spoke again. "You tried to fight, little brother. I know you did but you couldn't, not against the drugs or those odds and even though you don't want it, even though you don't trust me I'm going to be here with you."
Sam was numb. He'd been numb before but now found himself even more so because this had so not been what he'd expected to hear from his unshakable brother.
It slowly made sense to him as he considered his brother's behavior in those following months and even to this day there were certain things that he'd thought off since he knew was he was more cautious but every once in awhile he'd see Dean acting weird or the nightmares that still came on…the nightmares that Sam had thought were from Hell.
He'd tried to get Dean to talk about Hell but Ruby had been only too happy to share some of the more brutal experiences his brother had gone through down in the Pit and suddenly he understood that Hell wasn't the first time his brother had been…
All the guilt and hate Sam had been feeling, that had been eating him up and keeping him from letting Dean close to him because he couldn't stand knowing his brother, the man he'd idolized since he was four years old, knew how badly he'd screwed up.
Sam was the more emotional one out of the pair and if he thought this was bad then he could just imagine how his emotionally restrained big brother had thought his ordeal was.
Amelia and her party had hurt Sam for over fifty constant hours but that bastard had held his brother for close to a week and it also made sense when Dean told him to never touch him while he was asleep.
Moving before he was fully aware of it, Sam knew his brother didn't know he'd moved or was anywhere close to him until he laid a shaking hand on an equally shaking shoulder and felt Dean's muscles go tight then relax before turning just enough that their eyes met finally after what seemed like forever.
"Hey, Sammy," Dean hadn't expected to feel Sam and nearly jumped out of his skin at the touch on his shoulder but the moment he turned to look and saw the wavering of emotions on that face something began to lift from his heart. "You get why I told you all that now, right?"
Sam did know because he knew he'd been shutting Dean out to the point where this would've ended only one way for them and while a piece of Sam still believed it might be better for his brother he couldn't bring himself to hurt Dean like that.
Not that taking the next step was very easy because for Sam it was still too raw. His memories and the pain he could still feel. "How'd…you get…over it?" he asked softly, needing to swallow several times to wet his lips before any words would come out.
"I didn't fully," Dean admitted, turning slowly so he could face Sam and saw the way his body was shaking and knew it was just a matter of time now. "I was a mean, hateful, bitter bastard those first few months. You took the brunt of it since it was you I was trying to hide from but then it turned out that it was you who brought me back."
This time the chuckle was partly amused because Dean watched the way his brother's face scrunched up as if trying to figure out what he'd done. "You got shot when some spirit or something borrowed Caleb's body and it was just that simple. Seeing you fall to the ground, clutching your side and shouting for me to watch out. I didn't even see Dad exorcise the thing out of him. I just knew my little brother had been shot and needed me.
"It didn't sink in until four hours later in the ER that I'd held you and let you hold onto me. From that night on, I still had the dreams and couldn't go near a bar but it hit me that pushing you away wasn't going to help me when watching after you was all that I had," he didn't see the sense to admit that he'd beat the hell out of Caleb that night as well even though it hadn't been his friend's fault.
"You won't get over this right away either but if you let me in, let me help you I can promise you that I'll always be with you and that that bitch will never hurt you again," Dean moved slowly so that his hand was firmly on the side of Sam's neck like he would always place it if his brother needed reassurance or just to know he wasn't alone.
Sam hadn't wanted to let his brother in, he hadn't wanted to bother Dean with this again but it did ease some of his inner pain to think that Dean actually did understand some of what he felt and why he felt it.
It was the feel of strong fingers squeezing his neck in a familiar grip that caused the first fissure to form in the wall around his fears.
Not paying attention to the freely flowing tears now, Dean's attention was solely on the way Sam was looking and the way his one hand, the one that wasn't grasping the amulet, was clenching as if wanting to reach out so much but still afraid.
"Let it go, Sammy," he murmured softly, never dropping Sam's gaze and it was the first broken sob that warned Dean what was about to happen and he knew from years of experience to brace himself before his arms were full of his little brother.
So broken in body and spirit that all the buried fears and emotions just broke the walls finally and Sam's body was wracked with violent sobs that had been wanting to break free for over a week and only his brother's strong arms and deep voice whispering allowed him to finally feel safe enough to let himself feel and remember.
"God…De'n, I tried to fight so much but nothing worked. The drugs burned and I wanted free, I wanted you but I knew she'd made me write that damn letter and you probably hated me or thought I'd run away again and wouldn't look but I still fought," Sam's voice was ragged, only blindly away when he was sat down on the bed but didn't tense as Dean's grip around him just tightened to hold him like he always had when trying to soothe Sam after a fight with their Dad or a nightmare after Jessica.
"I thought I'd…break the first time she let someone else…I've never…and they hurt so bad but she just laughed even when she let me beg them to stop Amelia just laughed and gagged me. I just wanted them to kill me but the first time she tied me on my stomach and I felt the guy…just rip me apart I screamed and prayed you'd find me but…"
As Sam continued to sob and try to talk between gasping breaths, Dean just sat still and held him. He knew this was what his brother needed now because Sam needed to get it out, to say it and he'd only feel safe enough to do this with Dean.
It took over an hour and a half of violent shaking, sobbing and a few dry heaves since Sam had wanted to throw up as he tried to explain the multiple assaults mixed in with the sick games and sex toys but since he had little on his stomach nothing came up and it ended up with them both on the floor.
Sam emotionally and physically exhausted as he tried to curl up like he used to as a kid and Dean silently wondering how much Bryan Markus would bitch if that so-called Jane Doe ended up dead in some psych ward one night.
Carding his fingers back through Sam's hair, Dean let his breathing level off as he felt the tension ease away from Sam and listened to the sobs gradually become little sniffs. "It's okay now, baby boy. I've got you and nothing is ever going to make me hate you or leave you or…" he reached down to carefully lift Sam's face up so he could meet tired but more clear hazel eyes to add firmly. "…or ever be ashamed of you."
Blinking a few times to allow his brother to come into focus, Sam held those firm green eyes and knew Dean was telling the truth. That no matter what had happened between them, before or now, that he could depend on his brother like he'd always depended on him.
That realization made the final vestige of fear and doubt slip away for the moment and Sam finally felt the exhaustion of not only his body but also his mind and wanted to sleep but still feared the dreams. He also feared this place. "De'n?"
The sleepy tone told Dean that his brother was close to drifting off but something still seemed to be bothering him. "Yeah, Sammy?" he gently slipped the bracelet back into Sam's wrist and allowed himself the full smile when he saw the way his brother's wide eyes locked onto it before relaxing again.
"I…I can't do this again," he whispered, shifting until he could get his head into the crook of his brother's neck and not seeming to mind that he wasn't thirteen anymore. All Sam knew was that he felt safe for the first time since Dean's return from Purgatory and if being a little uncomfortable allowed him to sleep then he'd deal with it.
Dean had tensed at those words, feeling the amulet being pressed into his hand because since he'd given the bracelet back Sam had felt secure enough to give that over to who it belonged to. "Sam?" he wasn't sure he understood until those same puppy dog eyes, huge with pain and sleep looked up in the same way he had after Sam had made the choice to confront Lucifer and he understood.
He understood even if it was breaking his heart at the thought. "This isn't…" he bit his lower lip but stayed silent as Sam mumbled something even as he was burying his tear streaked face against his neck and falling to sleep for the first time since Dean had found him.
Looking around the bedroom, Dean thought of the living room. Of what being here must bring back to Sam since to this day Dean still had trouble even driving through Tallahassee and had never gone back to that bar.
"Shhh, just try to sleep, Sammy," he soothed, keeping his touch light as he let his fingers card back through hair way too long but chose not to bug Sam about that yet while he began to trace gentle sigils on the closest shoulder he could reach and knew that familiar routine should keep the bad dreams away.
Or Dean hoped so as he let his own eyes close. Sam had worked through the worst of the trauma but still had miles to go before ever being healed.
Letting his head rest on the edge of the bed, Dean felt sleep come but was confident that if Sam needed him that he'd wake up. He wanted at least an hour's sleep before facing the next day because if this had been hard then dealing with what came next would be brutal.
Saying goodbye had always been hard for Dean, especially where Sam was concerned and he knew this would be the worst.
Sam's exhaustion bought Dean another week before he was faced with the next task, the one he'd been dreading every time Sam would break down in sobs and beg him to make it stop.
Dean had been giving Sam what he wanted for as long as he could remember but this time he wasn't sure if he could. He wasn't sure that he could do what needed to be done or allow Sam to do it if it came down to that.
He'd watched his brother get stronger because after an initial round of fighting, Sam had started to eat more. He still wasn't as vocal as he had been but he had stopped whimpering in his sleep.
The nightmares still happened but then Sam had always been prone to those so that was nothing new for them. What was new was the first night Dean woke up to find his brother curled in the backseat of the Impala sobbing as hard as he had the night those walls had first shattered.
It was then that Dean finally knew he needed to make his brother's pain stop…no matter how much it would hurt him.
Touching the .45 he carried on him at all times these days, he forced a smile while meeting his little brother's tear stained eyes. "Let's do this."
Forty-Eight Hours Later:
Trying to ignore the burning tears and the weight on his heart, Dean slowly stepped away from Sheriff Jodi Mills to take a final look at the fire.
Always strong to the point of breaking there was a limit and Dean had known this would be his. The call to Sioux Falls had only seemed natural and the relief he'd felt at her simple reply of 'I'll be there' was huge.
Looking at the ripped and torn T-shirt that had been his the night he died, Dean gave it a toss so it landed in among the hotly burning fire that now consumed the old cabin.
The cabin had been the only stable thing left after the damn Leviathans had burned Bobby's place and while it hurt to see it burn like this Dean accepted that his brother would never be able to stay here again.
Looking back to where Sam stood next to the Impala, his eyes partially hidden under his hair, Dean could tell by his brother's body language that he was relaxing now that the last thing from his torment was slowly burning away.
"You know you'll always have a home with me," Jodi meant it because regardless of every ounce of trouble Bobby Singer or these two boys had given her or caused her she still thought of the Winchesters as her family now that Bobby was gone. "Just try not to come knocking with the FBI after you."
"I think I have an edge there now," Dean admitted, giving a final nod to the cabin before stepping back to his car and his brother. "You ready?"
Sam still looked tired and he hadn't regained all of the weight he'd lost but as he met Dean's eyes from across the Impala's roof he offered one of his rare, truly happy smiles, and nodded. "Yeah, I'm okay," he replied, understanding the meaning behind the question. "I kinda might have found us something."
"Still can't hold his own in training with me yet and the kid thinks I'm letting him hunt ghosts," Dean scoffed, giving a good natured smile that meant he'd consider it as he watched Sam slid into the car with only a slight wince.
He still watched Sam like a hawk and made certain to never leave him alone yet but Sam was starting to get bitchy about the hovering which told him that his baby brother was on the right road and Dean was determined to keep him there and gut the next bastard that even looked at Sam wrong.
The nightmares and occasional physical issues concerned him but Dean knew it would take a lot of healing before Sam was even close to being back to how he was and that was fine since Dean planned on then being around at least long enough to figure out what Kevin was doing with that half of tablet.
Jodi leaned into the driver's window to lightly kiss Dean's cheek before going around to give Sam one and Dean held his breath to see how his brother reacted but relaxed his grip on the wheel when Sam merely smiled shyly but didn't seemed bothered by the simple gesture.
"No fighting, be good and stay out of trouble for a few weeks," she ordered in what she liked to say was her best 'Mom' tone before driving away ahead of the Winchesters.
Dean waited until Sam turned a curious look before starting the car and driving away. He'd find a nice hotel for a change for them to just rest up and see what came next for them.
"Dean?" Sam was tired but not tired enough to stop asking questions and this was his annoying little brother that had to question everything tone. "What happened to her?"
Sam had been asking that same question since he woke up fully and Dean had put it off since he wanted no mention of the psycho bitch to ever hurt his brother again but he also knew Sam needed to know.
"She's…not an issue for us, Sammy," he meant it as far as he was concerned and waited to see if Sam would leave it be or press it.
Looking as if he might ask something else, Sam slowly nodded before letting his body curled against the door with his head cushioned on his arm much like he always did when sleeping in the front seat. "She'll come back."
The quiet statement caused Dean's fingers to clench but he forced himself to relax while reaching over to lay a hand on Sam's neck as he'd begun to do again until he was certain his brother was fully asleep.
"If she does then I make her dead, Sammy," he whispered, flicking the radio on low while touching the amulet around his neck and made another mental note to ask Sam about it.
Kansas came on the radio and Dean smiled a little more. He felt confident that Sam would heal and he'd make certain to help the kid over the rough patches as they came while ignoring the little bit of curiosity about what Sam might've found since he was firm about not letting Sam hunt until he was fully healed or until Sam snarled at him in Latin.
Sammy swearing in Latin usually meant he was feeling better and that allowed Dean to put the darker thoughts about the bitch who'd traumatized his brother to one side because he knew the next time he had to deal with her that no one would stop him from killing her.
Because no one touched his little brother without expecting to have their lungs ripped out and that was how it would work until Dean knew he was dead for good.
Hearing Sam mutter something, he laughed and let his fingers squeeze just enough to remind Sam he wasn't alone in the car and waited until the younger man had settled back again to allow himself to reply. "Yeah, I love you too…bitch."
"…Jerk," came the sleepy reply and all seemed right in his world…or at least for that moment.
A/NII: It's over. I want to thank everyone who has waited so patiently for this final chapter. I also want to thank everyone who has read this story and for the wonderful reviews. This one was undoubtedly one of the hardest fics I've ever done and while I won't say it's the last dark piece I'll do (okay I have something in mind to use the new dungeon) it'll be good to good back to pure H/C or angst.
Look for new stuff soon and remember to check up with me on Facebook under morgana07