Title: Time Heals Some Wounds
Author: Disasteriffic Kaz
Info: Charlie pays a surprise visit to the bunker with a copy of one of Chuck's books and something the boys need to read. post 8x20 "Pac Man Fever" Tag to 4x22 "Lucifer Rising" angst/comfort!Sam/Dean/Charlie
Author's Note: I've had this idea sitting around for a while, seeing as I've never really spent much time on the whole voicemail debacle of season 4 and never had the need to write it until now. I think Charlie finally gave me the inspiration. :D Thank you, Charlie Bradbury.
*Contains excerpts from "Lucifer Rising", thanks to the Supernatural Wiki for making it so easy to find the transcripts. :D
Beta'd by the always awesome JaniceC678 :D– Friend and Muse's co-conspirator.
**Follow me on Facebook as "DisasterifficKaz" for frequent fic updates or just to chat!
~Reviews are Love~
There are so many of you and only one of me. Please know that I see, love and am grateful for each and every review though I may rarely respond. I figure you would rather have me writing than be a slave to my inbox. :D I love you all.
Dean looked up as his cell phone rang and pulled it over. "Hello?"
"Dean! Let me in."
"Charlie? What are you…wait. Where are you?"
"Standing outside the door of your uber-secret crime-fighter-lair, dude. Open the door." Charlie's cheerful voice came over the phone and he could practically see her grin.
Dean chuckled. "Yeah, ok. Hang on a minute." He wiped his hands clean from the burger meat he'd been mixing and headed out. He glanced down the hall, seeing Sam's bedroom door shut and sighed. The guy was exhausted lately with the trials, and he hoped to hell he was actually sleeping in there. He jogged up the wrought-iron stairs to the door and pulled it open and sure enough, there was Charlie with a big grin, ridiculous red hair, and then she was wrapping her arms around him in a fierce hug.
"Hi, old guy."
Dean rolled his eyes. "I can revoke your batcave privileges, Chiquita."
She laughed and leaned back, patting his chest. "Naw, you love me. Tell me you're cooking? I waited until now to come 'cause it's, you know, dinner time, and I know you're making a big deal out of getting the big guy to eat, so I figured you'd be cooking something good. Are you? You know, cooking something good?"
Dean grinned and laughed and pushed her into the door, as always amused and warmed just by her presence. "Yes, Charlie. It's burger night."
"Oh, baby. I'd go straight for your burgers anytime." Charlie made a yummy noise and rubbed her stomach and then walked backwards down the stairs. "Ok, I really wouldn't, but I'd consider it; and, for me, that's saying something. How long 'til dinner?"
Dean guided her down the hall to the kitchen and snorted a laugh. "Not long. So what brings you? Not that I mind the visit." He smiled and he really didn't. As far as he was concerned, Charlie had become family. As he had said to Bobby a long time ago, he and Sam had very little family left, and that number had dwindled even further since then. It was nice to find a new friend they both felt comfortable letting into their very private little circle.
Charlie smiled and set her heavy laptop bag on the counter with a thump while she hopped up onto one of the stools. "I've been reading."
"Uh huh. Should I be scared?" Dean started pinching patties out of his mound of beef and raised a brow at her.
"Where's Sam?" Charlie looked around. "Didn't see him in the library, and he's always geeking out in there. He alright?"
Dean shrugged. "He's Sam. So, he's fine." He rolled his eyes. "Reading?"
"Right! Reading!" Charlie beamed and opened her bag. "Now, I know what you're going to say, but it took me a while to track down a hard copy of this thing. I mean, I read the e-version, which was…whoa! You know? I mean, God, you guys!"
Dean stared as Charlie looked up at him with the unmistakable shine of tears in her eyes. "Ok, you're freakin' me out now."
"Right. Sorry." Charlie shook her head and pulled out a paperback book and waved it at him. "You need to read this."
Dean set his burger patty down, wiped off his hands, and took the book. One look at the cover was enough to make him roll his eyes and he tossed it to the counter. "Pass. Pretty sure I already know who dies at the end." It was a copy of one of Chuck's books entitled 'Lucifer Rising.' The Winchester gospels, he thought, and rolled his eyes. "He's a prophet of the Lord or some crap. He writes what we live. I don't need to read that crap."
"No. No. No!" Charlie waved her hands and pushed the book back over to him, flicking her finger at a bright pink post-it note sticking out of the side. "You have to read this. It's important."
Dean scowled and shook his head. "We lived it, remember?" He glared down at the book. "And that is not a time in our lives I think either one of us needs to read the Harlequin romance version of." He waved a hand dismissively at the cover and its two idealized men with glistening pecs and flowing hair. "They look like Fabio rejects."
Charlie pouted and pushed the book an inch closer to him. "These books, they're your lives, yeah, but…" She paused and waited until he looked at her. "…Dean-bunny, it's ALL of your lives. Like, every dirty little part you guys don't even KNOW about each other! Your thoughts, even. I'm assuming he got those right, too." She tapped the book again. "You need to read it. Just this part I've marked. Just…don't argue with the queen, dammit!"
Dean raised his brows again remembering being in that laundromat reading aloud about Sam thinking he was a dick, Sam's rather impressed look as he responded, "The guy's good." He grabbed the book. "If I read this will you leave me alone to make burgers?"
Charlie smiled and leaned back. "My word as Queen of the Moons."
"You're lucky I love you," Dean grumbled and opened the book to the marked page and read, a frown instantly forming on his face.
Ruby looked at Sam impatiently. "Sam, it's time. Are we doing this or not?"
Sam turned away from her and the demon nurse trapped in the trunk. "Give me a minute to think!"
"Give me a damn minute, Ruby!" Sam glared and looked away again.
"Better think fast," She told him and rolled her eyes.
Sam kept his back to her and pulled out his cell phone. He knew how he and Dean had left things but…he needed to hear him, even if Dean yelled at him again. He needed to talk to his big brother and he made a silent resolution that whatever Dean asked of him at that moment, he'd do it because killing that poor nurse, possessed or not, it made his skin scrawl with guilt and he wasn't sure he could do it no matter how necessary. He opened his phone and saw the blinking icon for an unheard message from Dean and frowned. He hit the button and put the phone to his ear. For just a moment, he almost smiled, hearing his big brother and then it faded away in abject shock as what Dean was saying came clear in his ears like a death knell.
"Listen to me, you blood-sucking freak. Dad always said I'd either have to save you or kill you. Well, I'm giving you fair warning. I'm done trying to save you. You're a monster, Sam…a vampire. You're not you anymore and there's no going back."
Sam lowered the phone as the message ended and his whole body went cold. Tears shone in his eyes and it felt like his heart and soul were breaking. What did he have now except…her? He tucked the phone back in his pocket, fighting the sob that wanted to break free while Ruby smirked behind his back and made his decision because there was nothing else now, just saving the world. And maybe someday, once Dean was safe, he'd understand that everything Sam did, every damn thing that made him hate himself, was to save his big brother, because he was the only thing that mattered, whether Dean could see it or not. He deserved to be happy and safe and loved, and if this, if killing Lillith and dying in the process as he expected to, was all he could do, then he'd do it.
The book fell from Dean's nerveless fingers to the floor, and he wasn't aware when Charlie rounded the counter in a rush to take his arm. "God," The word punched out of him and doubled him over to lean on the counter, the only thing stopping him from going to his knees. He'd known the angels had screwed with their heads, but this…Sam actually thought he had said those…those things?
"Dean?" Charlie watched and felt tears in her eyes. She'd figured it would be bad when Dean read it, but she hadn't expected him to go white like a ghost and almost fall over. She could feel him trembling under her hand and rubbed her other hand up and down his back, trying to offer what comfort she could while he processed it.
Dean's mind spun with it, with the false words delivered in his voice at just the right damn moment. The knowledge that Sam would have backed off, would have walked away, if he'd heard the real message…Dean did go to his knees and fought the urge to vomit while Charlie murmured useless, soothing things over his head. Another realization crashed into him, too: Sam must have been playing that message over and over in his head all these years, all this time, thinking that Dean had, at one point in their lives, wanted to kill him.
"Sam," Dean whispered, and it was a wrenching, broken sound so soft it was almost unheard even by his own ears. Now he understood and he hated himself a little. He remembered the day he had told Sam that Benny had been a better brother to him, and he remembered…oh, God, the look on Sam's face had been…crushed, broken, and he knew now that the other thing in his little brother's Eyes at that moment had been acceptance. Sam hadn't questioned that a vampire could be a better brother, because what else could Dean possibly think of him?
Charlie's heart was breaking as she knelt beside him. She'd given up rubbing his back and had a hand in his short hair, sure that he didn't realize he was crying. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought the stupid book. I should have just kept my mouth shut. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I just thought…angels are bastards, you know? And you should know what they did. I'm so stupid! I'm sorry!"
Charlie's self-recriminations brought Dean out of the fog he'd slipped into and he straightened a little on his knees and shook his head. "No. You did good, Charlie." He managed a weak smile for her and clasped a hand around the wrist at the back of his head. He took a deep breath and wiped a hand over his face, surprised to find that he'd been crying, and felt a little mortified that Charlie had seen it. He looked at the book on the floor next to him darkly. "I have to tell Sam." He took the book and got to his feet with a groan, warmed by the look of soul-deep concern on Charlie's face. "Stick around, ok? Just…gimme some time with him."
Charlie nodded and didn't say anything, afraid that if she did, he'd think better of it and kick her out. She liked to think she'd adopted the Winchesters, and being told to stay after doing this to Dean…she unashamedly cried as he left the kitchen and sat back cross-legged on the floor with a thump to drop her head in her hands. "Charlie, you're a well-meaning idiot."
Dean strode down the hall to his brother's bedroom and stopped in front of the door. He took the handle and opened it silently, deciding that if Sam was asleep, he'd leave it until tomorrow, but he wasn't and Dean sighed. Sam was awake, sitting up in bed, looking like crap and pouring over yet another dusty old tome from the library.
"Dean? Need something?" Sam asked and looked up, meeting his brother's eyes. The look on Dean's face was…strange, and if he didn't know better, he'd think Dean had been crying.
Sam nodded and smiled. "Yeah, I heard her in the hall." He didn't say that he just hadn't been able to summon the energy to get up and go down the hall to greet her. Every inch of him hurt and he was trying to ignore it long enough to get at least an hour's sleep. "Is everything okay?" Dean's odd expression was still puzzling him.
"She, uh…she brought something." Dean scrubbed a hand through his hair and sat on the side of Sam's bed. "A book."
"Ok. What kind of book? Spell tome? Mythology?" Sam raised a brow when Dean held up a small paperback. "What's that?"
Dean took it and opened it, seeing a dog-eared page a little earlier than where Charlie had stuck the post-it, and, sure enough, it was what he was looking for. "It's one of Chucks' books."
Sam scowled and snorted. "You actually read one? Why would you do that?"
"Sammy." Dean stopped and shook his head. He held it up so Sam could see the cover. "There's something you need to read in here."
Sam paled a little, knowing just from the title exactly what happened in the book. "No. I don't. I was there."
Dean looked over and saw a shadow of that broken, accepting look on Sam's face again, and it almost ruined his resolve. He almost left right then and would have burned the book rather than bring this up, but Sam needed to know. "Do you remember the voicemail I left you that night?" He said it softly, but he still saw Sam jerk as if punched, and it tore at something deep in his soul, knowing that Sam believed that it had been him speaking those words and seeing the effect they still had on the little brother he had sworn to protect at any cost.
Sam turned his head away, overcome with a wave of misery and guilt. "Yeah."
"Sam. I never said that shit. Never." Dean held the book out to him, open to the dog-eared page. "What you heard in that message…it wasn't me. You need to read this. Sammy, please."
Sam looked up in confusion at Dean and saw nothing but sincerity and pain in his eyes. He took the book from him like it would explode in his hands and looked down at the page.
Dean paced back and forth through the angelic 'green room', alternating between fury at Zachariah and Castiel and outright fear at where Sam was and what he was doing. Bobby's words haunted him over it all, because the one thing he never wanted to be, where Sam was concerned…was their father. He took out his cell phone and looked at it. Sam was somewhere on his way to making a massive mistake, Dean was sure of that, and he was damn well pissed at him, more pissed than he'd ever been, but Bobby was right about one thing; Sam didn't stop being his little brother just because they were pissed at each other. He stared down at his phone like it was alive and closed his eyes. Maybe Sam was on his way to make a horrible mistake, but it wasn't going to be because Dean failed him when Sam needed him most. He loved Sam far more thanasjust a little brother. Part of him, the part that had practically raised Sam on his own, loved him like he was his own kid, and he just couldn't abandon him.
"Ah, screw it," Dean opened the phone and dialed. He scowled when it went to voicemail.
"It's Sam. Leave a message."
"Hey, it's me. Uh…" Dean cleared his throat awkwardly, trying to decide how to put into words that he didn't mean what he'd said. "Look. I'll just get right to it. I'm still pissed…and I owe you a serious beatdown, but…I shouldn't have said what I said." He looked up for a moment, shaking his head. "You know, I'm not Dad. We're brothers. You know, we're family, and, uh…no matter how bad it gets, that doesn't change." Dean swallowed hard and hoped this would work, would save the most important thing in his life. "Sammy, I'm sorry," he said hoarsely and closed the phone with a silent plea to anything that might be listening that still Sam loved him enough to listen.
Dean watched worriedly as Sam's already pale face, paled further and he lowered the book to rest in his lap while his stared off at nothing. "Sammy?" he asked softly and slid a hand around the back of his little brother's neck, sure he knew just what storm of emotion was going through him right then as deep, ragged breaths started to punch out of him. "Take it easy, buddy. Breathe, ok?"
Sam sucked in one breath and then another and couldn't look up. He couldn't meet Dean's eyes. He'd been so weak that he'd let a voicemail decide the fate of the world for him. Worse, he had believed that his big brother would ever say those things to him. Dean, who had saved him from a burning house not once, but twice. Dean, who had traded his soul to save him. It struck him then how that voicemail had colored every word Dean had said to him in all the years since. Those angry words were always in the back of his mind. Lucifer had taunted him with them countless times in the cage, with what his sainted big brother really thought of him, and it had crushed Sam far more mercilessly than any torture, that sense of having failed the one person who had once loved him so completely.
"Sam. Sammy!" Dean was becoming concerned as Sam continued to stare and tears ran down his face to drip off his chin and onto the pages of the book. Dean took his shoulders and gave him a little shake. "Sam!"
Even after the cage, after the year spent alone while Dean was lost in Purgatory, he never forgot those words, and it had made it so easy to believe it when his big brother had seemingly replaced him with Benny…with a vampire. "Oh, God, Dean," Sam said at last, and the words choked out of him. He reached up and fisted his hands in his brother's shirt, finally meeting his eyes. The shared misery he found there might not have finished the job of breaking him, but the love that was also there tipped him over the edge, and he shamelessly collapsed forward into Dean's chest as he had so many times as a child when he needed the simple comfort only Dean had ever given him.
Dean wrapped his arms around Sam as he folded into his chest and rested his head on his shoulder. "It's ok, Sammy. I've got you. I've got you." He felt like their world was rearranging itself a little because some small part of him had blamed Sam every day for not heeding the message he'd left…for seemingly turning away from the heartfelt apology he'd given him, and knowing now that he'd never heard it… "We're ok, Sam," He choked the words out through a throat tight with emotion and hoped Sam would believe him.
Sam fought to stop the tears burning down his face and into his brother's shirt and the ragged shaking that went through his whole body.
"Sam, I'm sorry," Dean said softly, and for once the words came easily. "I should have known. That bastard Zachariah even told me as much. He said you just needed a nudge in the right direction, and I get it now. That damn message…they left you with nothing but that demonic bitch, and I should have known! I'm so sorry."
Sam shook his head and made himself lean back and up enough to look his brother in the eye. "It's my fault. It's still…it's still my fault. I know you." He closed his eyes and took a shaking breath as more tears threatened to fall. "I should have known you'd never…you wouldn't say that. Oh, God, what did I…"
"Stop." Dean cut him off and pulled him back into a hug, Chick-flicks be damned. "We got played." He closed his eyes and held on when Sam tried to pull away again. "We knew they were playing us. They always were, and they had us…so twisted around at each other…shit." Dean pushed Sam back so he could see his face and met his eyes. "You're my pain in the ass little brother, Sammy, and I will never, NEVER replace you. I couldn't. I'm sorry you ever thought I would, and that's on me."
Sam saw the truth of that reflected in Dean's eyes, and it healed some small, fundamental part of him that had been broken all this time. He nodded, getting control enough to let go of his brother's shirt and manage a small smile. He rubbed his hands over his face, taking the tears and let out a shaky breath. "We're ok," His voice was hoarse and heavy with emotion, but he couldn't help it.
Dean returned the smile and actually felt at ease for the moment. It wouldn't last, because there was too much riding on them just then – again - but he'd take it for now. "Doesn't matter anyway." He made sure Sam was paying attention. "They didn't win. We beat them at their own game, dude. And you know what? We'll teach this new batch of dick angels and freakin' Crowley the same damn lesson. And when we're done and the gates of hell are sealed, they can carve it on a damn wall in heaven AND in hell: Never screw with a Winchester."
Sam stared and then smiled and then started to laugh. Impulsively, he pulled Dean in for another hug. "Thanks, Dean."
Dean hugged him back and then pushed him away. "Yeah, yeah. Get up. Charlie's out there all by herself. Probably got half the library out on the floor by now."
"You left her alone in there?" Sam asked in surprised and laughed again. "She's turning into a proper Winchester."
Dean snorted and stood, took Sam's arm and steadied him when he stood, not saying a word about the fine tremors he could feel in his arm. "She loves my burgers, man. She already is."
"Yep," Dean agreed cheerfully and led the way back out to the kitchen.
Charlie sat back from her empty plate and swallowed the last of her burger with a moan that any porn star would have been proud of. "Ok, I change my mind. I would TOTALLY go straight for these every day. Holy grilled meat, Batman! I think I love you, Dean."
Dean chuckled and nodded. "All the ladies love my meat." He grinned suggestively and gave Charlie a wink.
"Dude! Get a grip!" Sam slapped his brother's arm with a laugh and rolled his eyes. "Ignore him. You should have heard the Dick Roman puns I had to put up with."
Charlie laughed and rubbed her tummy, watching them happily. She barely resisted the urge to coo like a fangirl when Dean stretched an arm out to rest a hand on the back of Sam's neck; and, at this point, having read every word of the Winchester gospels she could get her hands on, she WAS a fangirl. She smiled to herself because she was the luckiest damn fangirl on the planet, being accepted as part of their family, and she didn't take it lightly. Looking at Sam, she was becoming just as worried as Dean obviously was; the guy did not look good. She smiled again, though, because at least she knew now they weren't holding on to any old angel, High School Musical crap. She'd done that for them, put those easy smiles on both their faces, even if only for a night. She sighed, content, and stood.
"You going somewhere?" Dean asked and raised a brow. "Doctor Dean recommends not operating heavy machinery for at least an hour after eating my meat."
Charlie snorted and nodded. "Got a hot date with a waitress in town." She clasped her hands over her heart and sighed. "She looks like Xena, Warrior Princess. It's true lust."
Sam laughed and rose unsteadily to come around the table and pull her into a hug. "Thank you, Charlie."
Charlie sighed again and patted his back, holding on to his enormous frame until she felt him steady. "All in a day's work, big guy."
Sam let her go and went back to his chair with Dean's pointed look. "What? I'm not gonna fall over."
"Not at the moment." Dean rolled his eyes and gave Charlie a hug of his own. "Come back anytime. Bring the waitress."
"Dude, I do not share. Get your own." Charlie squeezed him as hard as she could and then grabbed her bag while Dean sat back with his brother and pushed his half-eaten burger back to him. She grinned as she turned away and headed for the door, her good deed for the day done. "Peace out, bitches!"