Disclaimer: not mine, and they won’t do my bidding :-(
You wake up in a cave, in wet, smelly darkness. You feel like you’ve been stampeded over, and your head is killing you.
Something is roaring, something large and green, and you feel as if your brain might cleave in half from the sound. You can just barely make out Dean, throwing something at whatever-it-is and yelling at it in Latin. The Thing melts before your eyes, puddling on the cave floor, and you sink back down again before your neck gives out.
Suddenly Dean is there, kneeling over you and peering anxiously into your face. “Sammy?” he says. “Sammy, are you all right?”
You can barely see him. “It’s Sam,” you grind out, like a reflex, and the look on his face changes from one of worry to something fiercer.
“Goddamit, Sam, could you at least once let me love you the tiniest little bit? I thought you were dead!” Dean says, and then he is turning away. His shoulders begin shaking, and you hear muffled sobs—from Dean, who never cries—and you realize that maybe it wasn’t absolutely necessary to stake your independence at that particular moment. In fact, it was kind of an asshole thing to do.
You reach out to him, pull on his jacket, and he still won’t turn around. The hitching breaths are louder now. It sounds as if something in Dean is broken. Something that you broke, with your running away four years ago, and then joining up with him again now and being just a few feet apart from him all day while still pushing him away at every possible opportunity. You’d had to do it, had to escape this life of despair and chasing nightmares. It had been killing your soul, and you had to leave while there was still a chance that that part of you might not be totally dead yet.
And after the first few months, you’d stopped thinking about what that must have felt like for Dean, still wandering the country with Dad every day, holed up in cheap motels with only an angry, bitter man for company. Now that you think about it, that sounded worse than you’d always thought it was. You hadn’t really liked that life, but at least you hadn’t been doing it alone. But for Dean… when you weren’t around anymore, being with their father was pretty much the same as being alone. Somebody else shared the driving, and decided your next course of action, but still—their father had been only a shell of a man for years now, more a vessel for vengeance than a human being. Maybe that was worse than being alone—being with someone who mattered so much to you, but couldn’t ever give anything back. Couldn’t listen to your problems without forming an attack plan, always had to point you to a weapon or a spellbook instead of just giving you the hug that was probably all you really needed to feel better.
It had been bad enough growing up that way, but to still be living it… suddenly you understand Dean a little better. Why you both ride so uneasily in the car, like strangers but with too much history. Your pain must be clouding the air, and yet you won’t let Dean help you—don’t trust him not to be a jerk about it, like Dad always was, even though Dean was always the one you turned to growing up. And Dean acts like he’s afraid to count on your staying, like if he gets too close you’ll run out on him again. When you think about it, he treats you like a horse he’s afraid of spooking. You never meant to be that person, but you’ve got a lot on your mind right now with Jess getting killed, and you’ve been pretty closed off and touchy.
And apparently, pretty selfish as well.
Because now you realize that you are not the only one hurting here. Your hurt is more recent, but his is almost as deep. You were the only bright spot in Dean’s life, and you took that away from him. And now here you are, close enough to touch every day but really still as distant in spirit as when you were off living your own dreams halfway across the country.
You sit up now, because you finally can, and pull Dean back against you, wrapping your arms around him as he shakes and bites back his feelings. Your legs come up around his sides, and you lean your head against his, holding him close.
“I’m sorry,” you whisper in his ear. “I shouldn’t have said that.” You rock him a little, feeling him slowly melt against you and realizing how much pain he’s been holding in, maybe for years now. “I’m sorry.” You say it again, hoping he can hear, that he understands that you mean it—not just for now, but for everything.
And Dean—who has always protected you, who killed a demon for you just now and by god, you couldn’t even be nice about it—looks up at you with resolute eyes and says, “It’s all right, Sammy.” Like it really is. Like you hadn’t just stomped all over his heart because you always thought he was too strong for it to really matter.
And now you hear what he really means, when he calls you that. He’s not talking to you as if you were a child, even though he remembers all of your childhood (maybe better than you do), and he adored you through all of it. It isn’t that he doesn’t realize you’ve grown up. It’s that you’re still his little brother, and he still loves you the way he always has. ‘Sammy” isn’t so much a name for him as a description of the place you hold in his life.
Maybe your grown-up name isn’t as important as you thought. Maybe you could cut Dean a little slack, and let him enjoy having you back without you having to be such a little bitch all the time.
Maybe he deserves at least that much from you.
You hold him tighter. After awhile, he’ll understand it too. Then you can pick yourselves up, hobble out of this damn cave, and start pulling down this fence that grew between you.
It was you that put the fence up. But you could use a little help in taking it down. And Dean’s the one you’ve always relied on.
He still is.
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