This fic was inspired by an exchange between Sam and Dean in the Pilot episode of Supernatural.
Sam: When I told Dad I was scared of the thing my my closet, he gave me a .45
Dean: Well, what was he supposed to do?
Sam: I was nine-years-old. He was supposed to say, "don't be afraid of the dark."
Dean: Don't be afraid of the dark? What, are you kidding me? Of course you should be afraid of the dark; you know what's out there.
Folks. This is that story.
It's a story about brothers and hurt and the things that changed and something that had to be finished...
It's about some very complicated boys and their father. And, oh yes, the boogeyman.
Okay...here it goes...holy crap, I'm finally going to post the first part of this freaking novel...
Expect frequent updates. This baby is nearly done.
Much love and thanks go to Agelade who told me it was good, kept me going, gave me inspiration, and is helping me edit this huge collection of over 140 Google doc pages. THANK YOU! YOU ARE MY GODDESS! *bows and grovels*
p.s. This doc got an edit 11/30/2013
June 6, 1993
A dark man sits alone at a table with a bottle of whiskey. The table is covered with papers from old books, computer printouts, sketches, notes, maps, a journal.
Specific and thorough research.
The man stares at it all for long moments. He puts the bottle it to his lips, takes a hot swig, and feels the burn of the liquid ignite a memory.
A shudder is wrung out of his lungs. He doesn't want to look at the table anymore. He wants to set it all on fire because he is ashamed, and this work reminds him of dark things.
Burn it. Destroy it. Let it die with the past...
The anger surges up like a volcano, and he backhands the bottle to hurtle against a wall and break. He grabs a fistful of the paper, careless of its delicacy, and crumbles what he can.
He is consumed with self-loathing on a good day. Right now, he can barely stomach himself.
His gaze falls on his hand. A date scrawled on piece of notebook paper in his grip manages to squeeze through a gap in his fist and hits him.
The man pushes the anger deep down inside where he keeps it locked away. His hands are casual now as he sweeps the research together, neatly, gently flattening out what he nearly destroyed.
That is not a tear on his face. A man shouldn't cry.
He has to make a plan to save his son...
Chapter 1: "Bring It On Home"
NOW: May 1, 2007
The kid is delusional if he thinks he is gonna do this alone.
That is the thought that anchors Dean to the present.
"There it is."
Dean stops the Impala and turns the key though he keeps the headlights running. He and Sam lean forward together to study the slightly tilting structure in the darkness before them. The silence is heavy with memories that threaten to collapse the precariously balanced roof.
This is a strange and terrible kind of homecoming for Dean because of what this room did to Sam-what it's still doing to him-to them both. Despite the constant moving when they were kids, Dean has a pretty good head when it comes to places they'd lived, and this one, in particular, was engraved darkly and indelibly into his memory: They had lived here for only five days during the spring fourteen years ago when Sam was almost 10 and Dean 14.
Dean turns his head to the left and squints up at the barely visible frame of a neon sign that had once said "Osseo Motel" about twenty feet away. Sam stares straight ahead at the door of one room in particular. Room 23. The door plaque had fallen off, but this was the room, and Dean had driven right to it even though it had been so long, even though it was dark. Like he could ever forget it.
"How long did you say this place has been abandoned?"
"Six years," Sam answers. His voice is neutral, carefully so. Controlled.
The sheer force of Sammy just trying to...to deal with his memories strikes Dean hard. It shakes loose the memory a big brother wants so much to forget-
Sammy is hurting. Hurting bad in his arms. He's not looking at anything, not speaking anymore, just staring like he's dead inside and he just...he thinks it's his fault. And it's not. I swear it's not.
"Don't, Sammy. Don't. Blame me. Blame me."
And after Sam woke up, Dad never talked about it again. Ever. He never let it go, but he never ended it.
Dean frowns at the motel, feels the old anger, still clinging, rise up.
It was always about the lesson, wasn't it, Dad? Goddammit.
"Six years, huh?" Dean makes a noise in the back of his throat because this is a bad idea. A terrible idea. "Sammy, I get this. I do. But just look at those joists. This thing is not exactly stable for highly experimental summoning rituals. If it'll even come."
"It'll come," Sam answers with complete assurance.
"I know I've said it once..." Dean pauses, "okay, probably more than once, but don't you think you've passed the statute of limitations on this one? Pretty sure there's a rule about the boogeyman harassing boys over 6'1."
There's a note of hope sandwiched inside the sarcasm which coats the memories of this evil place. One last chance to dissuade Sam from this unnecessary danger. One final opportunity to get him to turn the car around.
One night, and if Dean could just somehow distract him for one night...
Because things had not ended well the first time for...anyone.
If Sam hadn't taken this so personally. If he had let Dean handle the blame, then maybe they wouldn't have had to come back here and reopen the big leaking wound in his little brother's heart. Wouldn't have to make Dean watch it bleed.
Sam sits back in the passenger's seat slowly and Dean instinctively knows what he is thinking:
Fourteen years. It's past due.
"It'll come, Dean. Whether the ritual works or not."
There's the creepy psychic certainty again. Those dreams Sam has been having...of Dad...of her.
This is the place where it all started for Sam-where it should have ended. Something had broken that couldn't be put back together, so here they were on Sam's crazy crusade.
Dad should have said something more to the kid when he was 10.
"It's time, Sam."
Jesus, Dad. Those three words 14 years ago...
Dead for ten months and he's still giving orders. Ironic that it's Sam, the kid who was always so bent out of shape by those orders, who insists on being here now and doing this thing alone. Maybe it was because there was no final "I'm proud of you, son," moment with Sam, and Dean, of all people, knew just how hard Sam had tried to love that man and be loved by him. And now Sam is planning on putting his life on the line to what, make a dead father proud?
Who is Sam chasing here? A little girl? The ghost of his father? The ghost of his innocence? They're all long gone. Hell, even this motel from their past looks like a ghost now-faded and broken and a shade of what it was.
"Hey, have I pointed out that the building is probably gonna fall on us? Do you think about stuff like that anymore, because you used to. You know, work some calculus and physics on the relative mass of a ton of two by fours and the human skull and then let's figure out some other way..." Like, seven years from now.
Sam looks at Dean, and Dean doesn't like it because Sam is really calm. Not taking the bait. At all.
"Dean, I told you, I'm doing this. I've got this." He gives a small smile as if reassuring a frightened child and now Dean is really nervous. "And yeah, I did the math and it turns out that it'll hold out for one of us. Dibs."
"Dib-Dammit! You clearly cheated."
Sam smiles. "Hard to cheat when you keep changing the rules. Okay then, rock paper scissors?"
Yeah. Har har, Sammy. You know I suck at that...
"Let's just consider the logic then, Mr. Stanford. Wouldn't it make sense for Gigantor to stay in the car and the older, less...massful brother take over? I know how much you hate splinters."
Sam makes a tiny, mirthful laugh and Dean thinks maybe, possibly, he can ease Sam out of this one. If he's careful.
"You know Sam. 'Oh my god, I have a splinter. I need a tetanus shot.'"
"Dude, that was one time. And I was six!"
"And? You were a little bitch then and you are now." He adds, "And what kind of six-year-old kid knows so much about tetanus anyway?"
There's a hesitation in the comeback. Dean braces for impact, and he's not wrong.
"Dad taught me. He taught us both. Don't you remember that survival weekend in Michigan?"
Jesus, Sammy remembers that? Maybe he was four.
"Dude, that was just what Dad called it. We were camping because we couldn't find a motel that night." Dean squints his eyes and shakes his head in disbelief. "What the hell, d'you also remember when you were born?"
"No. But sometimes I think...I remember it in the dreams-how cold it was..."
Sam's eyes trail back to the door of that Osseo Motel room and his expression is haunted.
Well, fuck. New tactic.
"We have until, like, what, 11:30? Should only take a few minutes to set up the ritual, so we've got time and I'm starving and you're hoggin' the grub." Dean holds out his hand for their drive-through cuisine of the night. And yes, that seems to work. Sam apologizes (a little weird, but okay), turns away from the memories no doubt on some black and white silent film in his head, and digs deep into the bag to pull out Dean's Monster Burger or whatever it was. With bacon. And hold the hippy-happy greenery, thank you.
Dean smiles as he unwraps his burger. He has to stare deep into its eyes for a few seconds, lovingly, milking the smirk he can feel from his complicated little brother.
"You sure you don't want a room so you two can be alone?" Sam nods at the silent motel before them.
Dean grins roguishly at his burger, seducing it. "Don't listen to him, baby. He's jealous. Come here, I'll make it better." He sinks his teeth into the sandwich, taking a big bite, and oh yes, let the grease come into his body and fill it with love.
Sammy smiles, ducks his head, scratches the back of his ear almost in embarrassment as Dean continues to make noises better suited to a porn than eating a burger (although the difference in the joy those two things brought was negligible).
He points his chin at Sam as he chews and talks around it. "Come on. Chow time. Get your lettuce on. I know how much you like to chew each bite 23 times and the clock is ticking, Cinderella." Dean swallows his after five. Hey, that moment was over. Time for a new moment.
"I would if your Eyes Wide Shut sound effects weren't making me lose my appetite." But he reaches in for the plastic salad container like a good little brother anyway.
Dean makes a face. "I seriously doubt your ability to even have an appetite when you have grass to look forward to." It sparks a memory. "See? You aren't at the bottom of the food chain after all." He pushes on Sam's shoulder and gets a reluctant smile for the work.
Thank God it was a smile. That was a gamble.
"You used to like burgers and mac and cheese."
Sam considers the unwrapped lettuce and then rips open a plastic fork. "Yeah. I did. I still do, sometimes."
"Oh yeah? Like when?"
Sam shrugs his shoulders once and says, "Like when you make them for me."
Dean stops chewing. Okaaay. Hard to eat when a guy's heart jumps into his stomach.
"Well, of course when I make them," he says, when he's recovering because the way Sam said it was too...muchly. "And I made you eat it. I thought they would take-you know, all of my better habits-if I drummed them into you."
"You mean like doing whatever it takes to do the job right? Even if it sucks?"
Dean nods, "Yeah, like..." He stops. That isn't the right tone.
But Deans face feels a little chilly. Tingly. His vision is playing tricks with his food.
"You mean like finishing what you started? Lessons like that?"
Hold on now. Hang on. Starting what? Finishing who? What in the hell did he order? A doublestacker? Dean blinks and it's a long blink.
"Uh, Sammy..." His voice sounds funny even in his own head, "...either there are...two burgers here...or I was just roofied by my own brother..." He swings his head in a wide wobbly arc to look at Sam, but it's dark in the Impala. Super dark.
"I'm learning the lessons, Dean."
"You little...son of a bitch..." He feels his legs kinda just let go and he slumps a little. It doesn't hurt, no, but, goddammit Sam!
Sam's voice is closer to him as his vision gets darker.
"Dean, you probably won't remember this, and I swear, when I come back, you can punch me. A couple times. Hell, as much as you want. I won't blame you, but you need to know this..."
Dammit, Sam. Grab him. But Dean's arms are leaden.
"You're my brother and you sure do get your own way a lot, but I love you. And I know that you want me to blame you so you can get in on this, make it an us thing, but I can't. I can't blame you. It's my turn, Dean. Just this once, at least. This is mine, and I have to handle it. It's time, Dean."
Those words again.
Ah fuck, Sammy. I'm not letting you do this alone! Stay alive, do you hear me? Stay alive!
"I'm coming back, Dean. I can do it now. I'm ready. Wait for me."
(to be continued...)