Title: The One Time Dean Couldn't Save Sam
Theme(s): 14 - Tears of Blood
Pairing/Characters: Sam/Dean, Castiel, Bobby, Ellen
Warnings: Character death, Slash, Incest, Implied Sam/Castiel
Disclaimer/claimer (if needed): I own nothing Supernatural.
Summary (if needed): What could have happened if Dean was unable to make a deal with the crossroads demon . . .
"Sam!" Dean cried as he took the last steps toward his brother as he fell to his knees. He grabbed Sam's falling body and stared at the knife sticking out of him in disbelief. They were hunters. They were in danger on a regular basis. With all that they'd faced, a human was going to be what took Sammy down?
Slowly, Sam's eyes opened and a faint smile crossed his lips as he whispered Dean's name and collapsed into his arms.
Bobby followed Dean's voice and skidded to a halt when he saw Dean kneeling and clutching Sam. A man in the distance had turned to run, but he wasn't quick enough. The shot from Bobby's gun hit him exactly where he intended, right between the eyes. He didn't bother going to check on the stranger and ran to his boys.
"Bobby! Sam's bad off. You have to help him!"
He looked at Sam's slack face and the blade that was buried into him. Sam was like a rag doll in Dean's arms, flopping as Dean pled with Bobby to fix him. Knowing he was about to tread on hazardous ground, Bobby made his voice as sure as possible, "Let's get him back to the truck and look at him. All my supplies are there."
"Hear that, Sammy?" Dean choked though his tears. "Bobby's going to make you good as new." He struggled to his feet with Sam in his arms and had to throw him over his shoulder in a fireman's carry to move him. He apologized for his rough handling and in the back of his mind he wondered why Sam wasn't complaining. Fear made him dismiss the thought and focus on moving forward.
He gently laid Sam on the seat and looked expectantly up at Bobby.
Bobby felt for a pulse in Sam's neck and, finding none, he checked Sam's wrist just to make sure. He was going though the motions so Dean wouldn't be able to look back on this horrific experience and pinpoint something else they should have done to save Sam. Bobby did all he could. When he closed Sam's vacant eyes, he was faced with a shattered Dean.
"No!" Dean screamed to the heavens. "No, Bobby!" He went to snatch Sam back and Bobby had to physically restrain him.
"Dean! He's gone." Bobby looked for any indication that he was getting though. "He's gone, Dean. That knife probably killed him instantly."
"He was fine when he fell. He knew me and called me by name. He knew I'd come for him. Sammy wouldn't leave me. Never." Dean sounded so sure of himself that he almost made Bobby doubt his conclusion.
"It wasn't his fault, Dean, and it wasn't yours. You can blame the man who stabbed him but he's already dead."
Dazed, Dean just stared at his surrogate father.
"No one can hurt him now. He isn't in his body any longer and we need to take care of him nice and proper."
Anger and terror flashed in Dean's eyes as he pictured his father's funeral pyre. "Don't you say that. Don't you dare say that. I'm getting him back, Bobby. You might have given up on him, but I haven 't."
"It's not a matter of giving up," Bobby tried to explain.
Dean threw himself out of Bobby's grasp and drew his gun. "Step away from him, Bobby."
Stunned, Bobby couldn't move.
"Don't you dare touch him. He's my baby brother. He's my Sammy."
Bobby wisely moved out of the way, hands up as if in surrender. He'd never thought he'd be at the receiving end of Dean's gun.
Stumbling forward, Dean carefully placed Sam over his shoulder. He marched past Bobby's truck and tucked Sam into the passenger seat of the Impala. The engine roared to life.
After the sound of the engine faded away, Bobby shed the shock that covered him like a cloak. He did the only thing he could think of--he drove home. That's where Dean would look for him and he wanted to be easy to find.
Frantically, Dean dug through the packed dirt with his pocked knife until he located the metal box. He threw the black and white picture out of the way and replaced it with one of his.
"Come and get me!" He challenged. When no one appeared, he continued to rant.
"You're giving me a headache," a beautiful woman flatly said from behind Dean. He whipped around just in time to see her eyes turn red. "Looking for me?"
"Bring him back. Take me right now if you want to, but you bring him back!"
She tried to act innocent. "Him, who?"
"Don't mess with me! Give Sam back his life!"
She clicked her tongue. "Poor, poor Dean," her words cut Dean right through. "Sam's as dead as he can be. He's not coming back."
"Yes he is! I want to deal!"
"Well, tough. I don't."
"Without him, I'll die anyway."
"I know," her eyes flashed with glee. "That's why you have to live."
She disappeared and left Dean abandoned in the middle of the crossroads.
Before daylight, Dean raced through the gates of the scrap yard. He pounded on the door. Bobby answered quickly. He'd been waiting for Dean.
"She wouldn't do it, Bobby. Damn bitch knew I can't survive without Sammy and was happy about it."
"She's a demon, Dean. Sounds like par for the course."
"There has to be something," he grasped for straws. "A ritual I haven't heard about or even some black magic."
"If there was one, and I'm not saying there is, do you think Sam would want to be back knowing that he was unnatural or that you lost your soul for him?"
"He'd have to be alive to know it, and that's good enough for me."
When the morning light peeked over the horizon, Dean was out cold. Bobby, knowing his devotion to his brother, had drugged the liquor he'd offered Dean. He'd been running in overdrive with Dean since Sam disappeared and he knew Dean needed the rest. And, he had to have Dean out of the way if he was going to get Sam ready.
Dull eyes stared ahead with no recognition as Bobby stood beside Dean as the fire burned. Dean had fought him tooth and nail. When he decided to believe Bobby, that Sam was really dead and there was no way he could bring him back, his training kicked in and he couldn't let a demon or any other being inhabit his brother's body. It was the last way he could protect Sam and feel like a big brother.
"You couldn't bury him," Bobby broke the silence. "There's no way you could chance something getting a hold of his body. You know the demons would love to use Sam against you and they'd enjoy tormenting you with his appearance."
"I know." Dean's voice had a disconnected tone. "Doesn't mean I have to like it."
Dean kept himself in a drunken haze until Bobby refused to stock the alcohol cabinet again. Then, he begrudgingly sobered up and the pain set in.
His absolute silence scared Bobby more than his drinking had. At least his tongue had loosened up as his intoxication grew and he could tell what Dean was thinking. In the quiet, he had no clue what was going on in that kid's head. He knew he was grieving his brother's death but had no idea what Dean was planning on doing, if Dean was plotting at all.
Insomnia sank its claws into the household and tempers flew as misery loved company and there was no way to heal the hurt. Moving on was their only option and Dean was refusing to proceed in that direction. In return for Bobby's graciousness and hospitality, he struck out at the older man, well aware of what he was inflicting. He simply didn't care anymore.
Although it was a relief for both of them when Dean left to go back to hunting, Bobby was still concerned about Dean's state of mind. He never doubted Dean's skills as a hunter but if he didn't have enough focus to keep his head in the game it wouldn't matter how hard he'd trained. It would just be over. No second chances or do-overs. Just over.
As a courtesy to Bobby, and partially because he felt like a heel for all the shit he'd dumped on Bobby when the older man welcomed him into his home and took care of him -- made sure Dean ate, made meals as needed and reminded him to at least try to get to sleep at night--Dean phoned Bobby every other day. It didn't matter if he'd just spent the last two days driving, he still called. Not much to talk about, but it eased Bobby's mind and gave him a way to gauge how Dean was dealing.
No one else received calls from Dean. Ash, Ellen and Jo had tried to get ahold of him and just got his voicemail. He didn't return their calls. He'd cut himself off from most of the hunting community.
Days were spent recovering from the bottle he'd fallen into or the babe he'd banged overnight. Research was haphazard at best. Dean was being reckless and he didn't care. Sam was gone. His one reason to want to live in this cruel world had been ripped from him. He felt the ache every hour of every day.
Months passed and Dean still had messages piling up on his voicemail. He talked to Bobby regularly and had no idea why the group from the Roadhouse would be calling him. He ignored the messages until his mailbox was full and he had to delete some in case Bobby needed to leave him a message. Feeling guilty for tossing aside his friends, Dean figured he could at least listen to the last couple.
The first one he listened to was Ellen. "Dean, why the hell don't you answer your phone? It's important that I talk to you. Shit. If you don't want to talk to me, call Jo or Ash."
The next was from Jo. "How many messages have I left so far? So many that I lost count! We've been calling for a reason, Dean, and a damn good one at that. You know our numbers."
He had two women pissed off at him and he knew that wasn't a good thing. Not wanting to talk to anyone until he absolutely had to, he pointed the Impala toward the Roadhouse and drove.
The dirt parking lot hadn't changed. Neither had the vehicles, mostly old trucks with gun racks and storage in the bed. He rolled his shoulders and tried to work the kink out of his neck as he strode to the door.
He grabbed the handle and had only opened the door a crack when he heard a sound that sent his heart pounding. He had his gun in his hand and pointed inside when he slowly opened the door.
All conversation stopped when they saw Dean ready to shoot.
"Dean?" Ellen approached him from the side. "It's so good to see you. Want a beer?"
Dean couldn't believe what he was seeing. He knew what he'd heard and Ellen was acting as if it was business and usual. "Where is he? Where are you hiding him?"
"Whatever took Sam's shape, that's who! I know that voice, Ellen, and it's him. Just tell me where he is and I'll get rid of him for you."
"Get rid of him? Didn't you get any of my messages?"
Dean just looked at her with a crushed look on his face. He'd heard Sam and he was going to have to kill a carbon copy of his beloved little brother. How could she not know how hard this was on him?
"Where's. Sam." He spoke loudly and clearly.
There was a shuffle that came in the direction of the kitchen. Someone stepped through the doorway, calling something over his shoulder to someone else. Then, he noticed his brother and a wide smile with full dimples spread across his face. "Dean!"
"Stop right there!" He had Sam on the barrel end of his gun. "Who are you? What are you?"
"I'm Sam. Your brother."
His hair was longer than Sam's had been but otherwise Dean couldn't see any difference. "We burned Sam's body," Dean growled. "How did you get it?"
A skinny man stepped between the brothers and held out his hands in a placating gesture. "Dean, this really is Sam."
"Why should I believe you?"
The new man introduced himself. "My name is Castiel and I brought Sam back to life. This is really Sam, Dean."
He heard the words and wanted to believe them. He'd waited for so long to hear those words that he only heard in his dreams.
"It's just me, Dean." Sam stepped forward and took the gun from Dean's hands. "I don't know how it happened, it just did. I've been back for over a month now. We did all the tests and I'm not a shape shifter, skin walker or demon."
Tears swelled in his eyes as he choked out, "Sammy?"
Then he was grabbed in typical Sammy bear hug fashion. With Sam's arms around him, Dean wondered if he'd fallen asleep somewhere along the line and not noticed. The warmth of Sam's body next to his caused his brain to skip over the questions of how and why. He was happy to just be.
Awkward didn't come close to covering how Dean felt when nighttime came around. He'd been glancing at Sam when he wasn't looking, trying to figure out what Sam wanted from him. Considering that they had been everything, and I mean everything, to each other, Dean didn't know if he was welcome in Sam's bed as he had been before the whole 'going to hell' thing. Still, he was surprised when he cracked Sam's bedroom door open and saw two figures asleep on the bed.
"Dean?" Sam groggily searched around for him. He rubbed his eyes and asked, "What's the matter?"
"I wanted to, um . . . talk."
Sam untangled himself from the blankets, careful not to disturb the angel lying by his side. He rubbed his bare arms to try to warm them up against the chill. "What did you want to talk about?"
Dean tilted his head toward his room. Sam nodded and followed Dean down the hall.
"I didn't know," Dean started and then decided on another approach. "I wanted you in my bed tonight and can't tell if you want it, too."
"Yeah," Sam replied. "I mean, I'm glad I didn't give off any vibes since we don't need anyone else knowing. I wasn't sure if you were convinced I'm me."
"You're a one-of-a-kind geek," Dean looked at him lovingly. "I've missed you so much."
Always the more tactile of the two, Sam was the one who crossed the space between them and placed his hand on Dean's face. "I didn't know if you could ever love me again."
"Again? Sammy, I never stopped."
"Good. That will make me sleeping in your bed less awkward."
"Speaking of beds, why was Castiel in yours?" Dean tried to make is sound like ordinary conversation but Sam heard the words behind what Dean was saying.
"He got me out. I was a mess. He nursed me back to health and helped me get to my feet. I could never thank him enough for getting me out. I was going to lose the part of me that's human. He arrived before it could be taken from me."
"You don't owe him anything," Dean told Sam. "You didn't ask him to save you so a simple 'Thank You' should suffice."
"It's just, he's my best friend, Dean. And I know this is only going to point out how lame I am, but I've never had a best friend."
"You have me."
"But you wear many hats: brother, protector, lover, teacher and best friend."
"So I'm still more important."
"Should you and Cas just whip them out and see whose is bigger?"
"Sure, if you want to. We both know I'd win."
"Don't fight over me, Dean. I need you both. Don't make me choose one."
Unable to deny Sam of anything, he dropped the issue and welcomed Sam into his bed.
"What happened when you died?" Dean asked in the dark.
"I don't want to go there."
"Why can't you tell me?"
"I'm not going to talk about it."
"I need to know."
"The important thing is that I'm back. I want to catch up with life before it flies past me while I'm wallowing in the past."
Sam and Cas were sitting at the table with their heads bowed, speaking in hushed tones. Dean tried to hear what the subject was but they stopped their conversation before he could overhear anything pertinent.
"I was going to show Cas the stream on the back part of the property. Do you want to come with?" Sam invited him.
"I was going to wash the car. Why don't you lend me a hand?" Dean countered.
"Sure," Sam said slowly, looking at Cas and not getting any readable look from him.
Dean gathered what they'd need but only Sam was at the Impala.
"He's an angel. He isn't used to being around automobiles."
Dean and Sam got the Impala so clean that shined.
"We deserve a beer," Dean said. "Why don't you go find that angel of yours and invite him with?"
"Meet you there."
Sam entered the saloon with a sulking Cas at his back.
Dean asked, "What's the problem?"
"This is a place of sin," Castiel said in a flat tone.
"Anyplace on earth could be a place of sin. We're just drinking at the watering hole," Dean tried to lighten the mood.
"The people here are going to get drunk and fornicate."
"That's usually how it goes," Dean nodded. "On a good night, anyway."
Castiel's face turned beet red in anger. He turned around and left.
"Why'd you have to goad him like that, Dean?"
"It was too easy."
"He's trying to be friends with you."
"He needs to shove his holier than thou attitude."
Sam glanced around. "I'd better go find him."
"Isn't he a grown man?"
"A man without a weapon and no clue how to defend himself."
"You'd better go protect that little weirdo. Who knows what kind of trouble he can stir up on his own?"
Sam sat his drink down and walked out of the Roadhouse. Dean turned his attention back to the bar. He already had a buzz going and was going to feed that feeling until he was numb. That way, he could start all over in the morning trying to figure out what Castiel was all about.
Dean was well on his way to toasted when he saw Cas come back in. He didn't think anything about it. He figured Sam had just been hanging with him outside.
Cas elbowed Dean, "Where's Sam?"
"He went looking for you. Didn't you see him?"
"Nope. When did he leave?"
The watch face looked bleary and Dean's brain was slow with calculating time at such an hour.
"He's been gone too long." Dean paid his tab and grabbed his jacket. "I'm going to look for him."
"I'm coming, too."
Dean just stared at the angel.
"I know where some of his haunts are. I just want to help."
"Fine. You keep your ass behind me and follow my orders."
When Cas saw Dean put a gun in the waistband of his pants, he decided that it was not a time to argue.
Sam had been beat to hell. Apparently, one of the hunters had heard of his demise and figured him for a supernatural being. Having done the same thing, Dean could see their reasoning. What he couldn't abide by, though, was the extent of his injuries. They'd found Sam and would get him back to the Roadhouse. Dean could get names and deal out vengeance later.
"You've got a shiner," Ellen said as she gently cleaned the blood from Sam's face. "Jaw is swollen and the goose egg on the back of you're head probably isn't doing you any favors. Those slices on your arms will heal up soon enough. Just keep the bandages clean."
Nodding, Sam indicated that he'd heard her.
"Sam," Ellen crouched in front of Sam so she could look him in the face. "You need anything, and I mean anything, just let me know."
Sam smiled even though it hurt. "Make Dean and Cas get along?"
"They do, Sam. They worked together to find you."
"They didn't kill each other first?"
"They put you above their petty arguing. They're putting forth an effort. That says something."
"Yeah," Sam felt a little lighter.
Dean and Cas were never going to be good friends. Dean's protective streak would clash with Castiel's, Cas was an angel and Dean, well, Dean sinned. Frequently, most of the time. Castiel would forever hold the circumstances he found Sam as a secret. Dean would never know. Likewise, Dean held the secrets of their relationship and there was no way he'd let Castiel find out.
Sam, well, sometimes he played peacekeeper. Other times he basked in the attention of the two men that cared more about him than anything in the world.