Pairing: Sam/Dean (Slash)
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Summary: Losing the past and losing themselves…
x-x-x-x-x Chapter 3, Dean: Who We Were Meant To Be x-x-x-x-x
On the way back to the motel, Dean had the bright idea to call John. “Who knows, his voice might bring something back.”
“I should probably let him know we’ve been delayed,” Sam muttered in agreement.
Sam dialed, and went over the situation with their father. Then he handed over the phone and looked at Dean expectantly.
“Uh, hello?” Dean said.
“Sam says you don’t remember anything,” the voice in his ear said.
“Uh, no sir.” Dean answered.
“Well at least you haven’t forgotten your manners,” the man chuckled.
“Yes sir, no sir—some of your training is still intact.”
Dean held the phone out and looked at it, disbelief registering on his face. “You call your father sir?” he whispered to Sam, hand over the mouthpiece.
“And so do you,” Sam whispered back. “He’s very big on that.”
Dean frowned, and returned the phone to his ear. “Yes sir, I suppose it is.”
“What do you think of Sam then?” the guy asked.
“Well, he’s uh… he’s kind of cute, I guess,” Dean said. He heard Sam choke. Sam jabbed his arm and made slashing motions across his own throat.
“What?” the voice said.
“I mean… it’s nice to have a little brother. A younger brother. A Sam...” Dean stumbled on as Sam rolled his eyes and took the phone away.
“Dad?” Sam asked. “I think we’d better go now. It sounds like Dean is wearing down.”
“He’s definitely confused,” John agreed. “Well, keep me posted.”
“Yes sir,” Sam said, and the conversation was over.
Dean sat down on the ground, lost in the nightmare world that supposedly was his life.
“Are you nuts, bringing that up?” Sam asked.
“Well, how was I supposed to know? You never told him?”
“Of course not! That’s not the kind of thing you tell anybody—especially your Dad.”
“Okay, okay,” Dean muttered. “So now what?”
“I don’t know,” Sam sighed. ‘I can’t think of anything right now that will help you remember. And I can’t commit to any real work until you do. Maybe we should just chuck it for the rest of the afternoon. We’re really close to Glacier Park, and I’ve always wanted to see it. Let’s just be tourists for awhile.”
Now that sounded better than screwed-up phone conversations and witch-hunts—or vampire hunts, or whatever it was they did. They took some water and snacks from the motel room and loaded them in the car.
“Can I drive?” Dean asked.
“You probably shouldn’t. Head injury, amnesia. If you wind up hurting this car, you’ll kill me for it later when you remember.”
“Okay.” Dean didn’t see the troubled look on Sam’s face when he gave in so easily.
About thirty miles out of Kalispell, they began driving through Glacier Park. It was as beautiful as its reputation boasted. Forested groves at the edges of expansive low-grass meadows. Granite cliffs rising out of the trees toward the endless sky. They glimpsed a moose at the stream flowing out of the forest, and the road climbed and narrowed as the mountains got higher.
Just before a crest, Sam slowed the car down for a scattering of sheep standing on the road. As soon as the car stopped, the sheep approached and snuffled at the windows.
“Get rid of them!” Dean found himself saying.
Sam laughed. “They won’t hurt us—relax.”
Dean was not convinced. “Look at their eyes,” he said. “They’re evil—possessed or something. Satanic goats. Get rid of them!”
Sam just looked at him. “They’re not goats. They’re sheep. Mountain sheep. And this is what they always look like.”
“Then why won’t they go away?” Dean asked triumphantly.
Sam shook his head. “They probably smell salt in here or something. That’s all.”
Still, Dean was relieved when Sam eased the car forward and the clump of menacing wildlife parted to let them through.
The rest of the drive passed without incident, though Dean fell asleep halfway through the return journey. It was dark by the time they reached the motel again.
Sam’s cell phone rang halfway through the hamburgers they had bought at a nearby McDonald’s.
“Hello,” he said. “Yes, sir. No, not yet. I don’t know… What?... In Polson?... I can check it out tonight. Yes, after midnight. Okay, will do.”
“Was that Dad again?” Dean asked. How strange to call someone ‘Dad’ and have no mental image to go with it.
“Yeah—he has a job for me later tonight. About sixty miles from here. A zombie attack.”
“Seriously? A zombie?” Dean asked eagerly. He couldn’t help himself—it was like something out of a bad horror movie. He was dying to see if it was real.
“Yes,” Sam said cautiously. “You’re staying here, though.”
“Nothing doing,” Dean insisted. “What if you don’t come back? What if I’m left here for days with no money and no memory? Then what—I turn myself in to the police for help?”
A satisfying look of alarm crossed Sam’s face at that last suggestion. “All right,” Sam said grudgingly. “But you have to stay in the car.”
“Sure, sure,” Dean agreed. Anything to get a chance to come along. He wondered if Sam had a camera? They could make a fortune selling this kind of stuff to The National Enquirer.
He watched as Sam sat wearily on the other bed. “What is it?” he asked.
Sam breathed out noisily. “Nothing,” he said. “I just… I wish you remembered, that’s all.”
Dean had honestly wondered about the two of them, about how things had ever worked given the disagreements that cropped up even in the smallest conversations. He realized suddenly that he had no idea if this was how things usually were. Because he was not yet himself right now… and maybe this wasn’t Sam’s normal behavior either. He wasn’t quite the Dean that Sam was used to, not really the Dean that Sam was missing. “Must be kind of lonely,” Dean said slowly.
Sam turned his face away. “You don’t know the half of it,” he whispered. His posture was so bleak that Dean’s stomach grew heavy.
“Should we try something else?” Dean asked quietly. “To help me remember?” He grabbed at the first thing that came to mind. “What if you kissed me? Maybe that would bring it back.”
Sam looked over quickly, his face so anguished that Dean immediately regretted saying it. “This is already as much rejection as I can take, Dean.” Sam spoke as if his throat were coated with nails.
“Sorry,” Dean said, wishing he had more to offer. He felt sick with the weight of being so much to Sam while feeling none of it himself. He liked Sam well enough, but that was as far as his feelings went. And he had the distinct feeling that had they not been brothers, they wouldn’t have had much to say to each other. They were just too different.
Sam lay down, rolling on his side away from his brother. Dean had admired the lean, muscled length of that body earlier, Purely on an aesthetic basis he told himself, but it looked different and unimpressive at the moment. Legs pulled up and his body curled in close, Sam was a portrait of misery that Dean could not bear to witness.
Dean had drifted off again, and woke up to find Sam’s jacket draped over his chest. Sam was moving around the room, gathering supplies and checking the map again.
“What’s the water for?” Dean’s voice was still thick with sleep.
“For us,” Sam answered. “It’s kind of like setting up for a stakeout. We watch and wait until it’s time to move in.”
“Oh,” Dean said. He got up slowly, scratching his hair until he saw Sam’s quickly-hidden smile. “What?” he asked.
“Check the mirror,” Sam laughed softly.
Dean’s punked-out image greeted him in the bathroom, complete with a black t-shirt and dark circles under the eyes. “I’ll have you know this is all the rage in college towns,” Dean called out.
“Like you’d know,” Sam retorted. Dean shut the door and used the toilet. Smart ass, he thought. He washed up, combing his hair down with water and brushing his teeth for good measure.
Sam was already out at the car when Dean came out. The clock showed 9:30 now. “Want me to carry something?” he asked, as Sam came back in for his jacket.
“Nope—we’re good,” Sam said.
Ten minutes into the drive, Dean fell asleep to the quiet tinny thrash of some metal-heavy band Sam was into.
They parked on a road behind the cemetery, waiting as the time crept on toward midnight.
“So how does this go?” Dean asked.
“Well first, you stay in the car,” Sam said.
“I know already, I know.”
“Then I wait out-of-sight where I can see the rest of the cemetery, watch him heading out toward the middle of town.”
“And then?” Dean prodded.
“Then I blind him with the lantern, get him with the blow-torch or stab him if he gets too close, and then tie him up and burn him.”
Dean shuddered. “That’s just… gross,” he said.
Sam nodded, only half paying attention. “Everything about zombies is gross.”
“So when?” Dean asked.
Sam checked his watch. “Looks like it’s now,” he said. “Wish me luck. And lock the doors until it’s me.”
“Leave me the keys, just in case,” Dean said. He leaned back to wait, but found himself grabbing Sam’s arm as his brother was getting out of the car. “Sam… be careful,” Dean said.
It meant more than Dean expected, and probably less than Sam might hope for, but it was a step forward from where they had been. Dean wanted Sam to come back, for reasons that had nothing to do with his own predicament. He wanted it because it was Sam, because even with everything Dean had forgotten, Sam had still crept on in and made himself important all over again.
“I will,” Sam said softly. He looked at Dean, as if searching for a trace of what was missing. The sadness in his eyes lingered in Dean’s thoughts when Sam closed the door.
It was dark on that road, almost too dark to see once Sam was more than twenty yards away from the car. Dean moved over to the driver’s side, hoping to get a better view of his brother’s movements.
He couldn’t stop watching, couldn’t keep his nerves at bay. Sam might take this whole thing in stride, but it sounded incredibly dangerous. One wrong move—one little mistake—and Sam could wind up being a victim instead of a hero.
And it wasn’t like Dean remembered anything helpful, although he honestly wished he did. This wasn’t safe, and it wasn’t smart, and if it was easy then zombies would be Dead instead of Undead.
Dean fidgeted in the car, his eyes tracking back and forth across Sam and the forest surrounding his brother. He saw movement—a rolling ripple in the quality of the blackness—and when Sam turned he knew Sam saw it too.
His brother was poised, his movements swift and sure. Sam blinded and shot at the zombie in a quick sequence of motion. But something was off—Dean couldn’t put his finger on it—and then he saw the blackness shift again behind Sam’s back as another zombie stepped out to join the first.
Dean was out of the car before he knew it, opening the trunk and letting muscle memory guide him through the hidden stash of weapons. He picked up a 12-gauge, a wooden stake and a bottle of water and ran toward the danger that awaited his brother.
Sam was fighting off the second zombie now, while the first began lifting itself off the ground. He used the blowtorch, sending the smell of burnt flesh out into the night even as the zombie moved closer in spite of the heat.
Awareness rolled through Dean’s head like thunder, triggered by that disgusting, locked-away odor. He staggered under the flood of information ripping through his mind—unfocused and unordered, everything from overlapping details of Winchester knowledge to pieces of the past, his favorite color, Sam’s hatred of grape jelly. And then an important realization moved into the foreground. These were not zombies. They were not bothered by fire. And Sam’s methods probably wouldn’t work.
The second creature launched itself at Sam, flattening him and locking its hands on his throat. Dean sprang into action immediately. He fired at the first creature with the shotgun, the blast knocking it down to the ground. The second creature was too close to Sam for shooting. Dean scanned the area for possibilities, and finally grabbed the wooden stake in desperation. He jammed it down into the creature’s skull, encouraged by the squishy sound it made. The creature collapsed on Sam, crushing his limp body under its weight. Sam just lay there, so completely and horribly still.
Dean was torn between killing the other creature and checking on Sam. Instinct or training told him to take care of business first, so he used a fallen branch to finish the other one off. Then he gave in and followed his heart instead of his head.
Pulling the creature off his brother, Dean knelt down and checked Sam’s pulse. Still alive, still breathing, but so pale under the light of the midnight moon.
Dean gathered Sam up, running his free hand over Sam’s face. “Sam,” he said. “Sam, are you all right?” His restless fingers brushed over the bruises on Sam’s throat. “Sammy?” he pleaded.
Sam stirred slightly, his eyes still closed. “I told you to stay in the car,” he rasped out.
Dean pulled Sam close, ignoring Sam’s squeezed-out cough. “I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.” He rocked Sam like a child clutching a teddy bear after the nightmare’s end.
“They weren’t zombies,” Sam whispered hoarsely.
“I know,” Dean reassured him. “But we’re safe now. I killed them.”
“What do you mean, you know?” Sam asked.
“I remembered,” Dean said softly. “Right before the second one got you, it started coming back.” Dean’s heart tightened, knowing what he’d put Sam through. “I’m so sorry, Sammy.” He stroked Sam’s hair off his forehead. “For all of it, the whole last week. I’m sorry I didn’t come back all the way. I’m sorry you had to wait.” His voice caught at the look in Sam’s eyes. “I’m… I’m sorry I forgot all the things that mattered.”
“Do you remember us now?” Sam asked hesitantly.
Dean nodded, too embarrassed to meet Sam’s eyes. “I don’t know why it wouldn’t come to me before.”
Sam sighed. “Maybe this isn’t right for you anymore. Maybe you wanted to stop and just couldn’t tell me.”
“No, no Sammy-- I would never give this up! I couldn’t stand it if…” Dean fell silent. He’d said too much already.
“Then stop talking and show me,” Sam whispered, his voice rough and his eyes too bright.
And Dean did, leaning down to claim everything he’d lost. He kissed Sam breathless, chasing away doubt and loneliness and sorrow.
“I missed you,” Sam breathed. He touched Dean reverently, his hands finally home in the softness of Dean’s hair.
Dean’s lips kept speaking his apologies, his arms full of the only past and future he really needed.
Their language without words, their memories of themselves, flowed freely in the stillness all around them. They drifted together, remade again as one, under the expanse of the starlit sky.
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