Title: When It's Over
Characters: Sam, Dean, Sarah
Spoilers: All of season one is fair game, but it's a future fic.
Notes: A future fic so it's definitely AU.
Warnings: Sadness and angst. Bring tissues.
Summary: After a horrible accident, Sam and Dean have to relearn what it is to be a family.
Sam pulled into his driveway and idled for a moment, staring at the front door of his house. A week ago, at this very moment, Sam would have found refuge behind that door. He would have been able to walk through that heavy door and look forward to hearing his children playing, look forward to getting a kiss from Sarah, look forward to sitting down on the couch and just letting all the worries of the day wash away. A week ago, at this very moment, this house would have been Sam’s stronghold.
Now, Sam’s stronghold, his moment of relaxation where he felt like he could breathe easily, was here, inside his car, driving from one chaotic battle scene to the next. And in all truth, he was more scared of this one than he was the one at the office. He could handle court cases and disgruntled lawyers. He could handle juggling law and morals and politics. What he couldn’t handle were the moments when he stopped to think about how bad things had gotten, how utterly horribly things must be, for Dean, his big brother, the guy whose will to live was coupled only by his knack for getting in trouble, to put a gun against his head and be ready to pull the trigger. It hurt to think about such things.
But he had to come to terms with it. Once he came to terms, then he could start to deal with it and he could try to help. Because there was absolutely no way he was letting Dean go out like that. Not after everything his brother had lived through. He wouldn’t let him die by his own hand.
Sam held his breath for a second, gathering up the strength and the will to walk into his own house. He let it out slowly and nodded to himself before opening the car door and heading inside. The first thing he noticed once he was inside was the lack of high pitched squealing and giggles of his children that normally met him when he came in. He frowned. Something was not right in his household. Maybe Sarah sent them to stay with a friend. That would give him some time alone with his brother. Yeah, that had to be the answer.
Sarah poked her head out of the kitchen and smiled at him as he set down his briefcase and walked over to her. “How was work?” she asked, kissing him on the cheek.
“It was work,” he answered back, looking around his house again before his eyes fell back to his wife. “How is he?”
Sarah shrugged. “He’s been in his room all day,” she said simply, though there was a small spark in her eye that Sam was a bit leery of. “What are you going to say to him?”
“I don’t know yet,” Sam answered truthfully as they walked down the hall and made it to Dean’s bedroom door. Sam stared at it coldly. “Well, do what you have to,” she said, squeezing his arm before heading back to the kitchen. “Yell at him. Order him around if that’s what it takes.” Sam snorted as she disappeared. This family seemed to say that a lot.
Bracing himself for whatever was behind that door, Sam reached for the doorknob and swung it open, ready for a full on assault by his brother. Insults, curses, the cold shoulder, anything. Sam was ready for it.
What Sam was not ready for was the addition of three extra adversaries in Dean’s room. He was instantly overpowered and they didn’t even have to move a muscle.
Hannah, Patrick, and Cameron were sitting on Dean’s bed, with Dean sitting in his wheelchair beside them, dressed and cleaned up and as decent looking as Sam had seen him since the accident. The puzzle they were circled around was nearly finished. On each of their laps was a bowl of ice cream, topped with gummy bears and gummy worms. And each of their faces were turned towards Sam, wide eyed, like deer in a headlight. Sam knew he must have been mirroring their expression.
“Daddy!” Cameron exclaimed and clambered to his feet, nearly tripping off the bed in his haste. Sam reached forward and caught him, allowing the boy to give him a squeeze before squirming back down onto the bed, jumping a little before both Patrick and Hannah scolded him for messing up the puzzle.
“Look, Dad,” Hannah said next, pointing to the puzzle. Sam watched Dean for a second, noticing the way his brother lowered his eyes, obviously unsure of how to act in this sort of situation. It was new to the both of them. Sam finally tore his eyes away from his brother and looked at the puzzle. “We’re almost finished.”
Patrick harrumphed in typically eight-year-old fashion and gave his Dad an annoyed look. “We would have been finished but Cam jumped on the puzzle and we had to redo half of it.”
Cameron pouted, his whole face taking part in his frown. But Dean spoke before the younger boy could protest. “But he made up for it by getting us ice cream.” He absently reached for a puzzle piece and snapped it into place, his eyes still not rising to meet Sam’s.
“Yeah but he dropped two of the bowls,” Patrick protested.
“It’s the thought that counts,” Dean told him, giving a small smile to Cameron, who squealed in delight.
Sam was lost for a moment, watching the scene in front of him. This wasn’t right. Not just because Dean had nearly shot himself the previous night, not just because Hannah had been scared to death, not just because they were all eating ice cream in the middle of the day, though Sam would scold them on that later. This wasn’t right, because it was so…normal. While Sam was at work, Dean had returned to being Uncle Dean. He didn’t quite understand how that could happen without him being there.
But just watching his children interact with him, watching as they played and laughed and joked with him, Sam thought that maybe this was exactly what Dean had needed. He’d needed normal. He’d needed to be treated like he was okay, like there wasn’t anything wrong. And Sam hadn’t been able to give him that. He felt bad that he would have to take that away again. He’d have to take away this happy moment from Dean. Because as much as Sam wanted Dean to have these happy moments, he also needed to know what had happened last night and whether or not it would happen again. Leaving these questions unasked wasn’t a risk Sam was willing to take.
“Guys, why don’t you go clean your bowls and get ready for dinner,” Sam said softly, watching Dean continue to put the puzzle together. He was purposely avoiding Sam’s eyes.
“But we’re not hungry, Dad,” Hannah said, scooting a bit closer to her uncle. Sam found the movement endearing.
“Well, that’s too bad,” Sam said with a forced lightness to his voice. “I thought I smelled your Mom making chili.”
“Chili!” Cameron cheered before flailing his arms and jumping off the bed, leaving his bowl behind in his excitement. One down.
Patrick looked torn. He patted his stomach, acting like he was feeling how full it was. “Well, I guess I can make a little room for chili,” he said, grabbing his bowl and following his brother.
Hannah looked less enthusiastic. She clung to Dean’s arm for a moment. Sam tried to think of something to use to reason with her, but Dean beat him to it. “Hey, kiddo, we’ll finish this puzzle after dinner, huh? Then afterwards, maybe we can convince your Dad to let us watch some Kung-Fu movies.”
“Alright,” Hannah said, though she obviously wasn’t happy about leaving Dean’s side. She picked up her bowl and Cameron’s bowl that was left behind. Then she crawled back over to Dean and pecked him on the cheek before walking out of the room. Sam smiled at the slight flush that settled on Dean’s cheeks.
Once they were alone in the room, an awkward silence fell over them. Sam’s gusto over confronting his brother had sort of fizzled out. He didn’t really know where to begin. So he sat himself down gently on the bed, eyeing the few puzzle pieces that were left. He picked one up and softly put it in its place before looking up at Dean, who’d sat back in his wheelchair, looking uncomfortable. He decided to just go for it.
“What happened last night?” he asked as gently as he could.
“I don’t know,” Dean answered dismissively. He still wouldn’t look at him.
Sam tried a different route. “Why did you have the gun?”
“I don’t know,” Dean repeated, softer, like he wasn’t paying attention to the questions. But Sam knew he was. Sam knew he heard every word loud and clear. He was just choosing not to answer.
“You really scared Hannah,” Sam said quietly. Dean didn’t say anything after that and Sam didn’t know what to do. He could start yelling, he could start screaming and insulting and demanding of his brother, but he didn’t have the heart. Not right now, at least. They needed to talk about this, but Sam didn’t know how to get it started. He sighed and stood up, ready to leave the room for a second and gathering his thoughts before coming back in to interrogate his brother.
“I had it all planned.”
Sam froze at Dean’s quiet whisper. He stared down at his brother, but Dean’s eyes were faraway. Sam knew that look. Dean was confessing. Sam couldn’t push, or Dean would close up and he may never get him to open up again. So he sat down again on the bed, facing his brother, showing Dean that he was ready to listen. Because maybe Dean needed to say it as much as Sam needed to hear it.
“In the hospital, after…” Dean licked his lips and didn’t finish that thought. “I had it all planned. I was just trying to decide which gun to use. Then you showed up and I couldn’t do it. But now, I don’t know. I don’t know if I want to or if…” Dean’s face fell and the last words were whispered brokenly. “I just don’t want to be a burden anymore.”
It was quiet after that. It stayed quiet for a good couple minutes. Each of them lost in their own thoughts. It was Sam who finally spoke.
“You’re an idiot,” he said. Dean looked up, meeting his eyes for the first time, obviously surprised at Sam’s words. Sam was a little surprised himself, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. “You’d really do that to me?” Sure, it was a little selfish, but Sam needed to say it. It was the only way he knew how to get to Dean. “You really want to hurt me that bad? Or, forget about me. You’d really want to hurt my family, who loves you? My kids? You’re nephews you barely even know? Hannah? You would really do that to them?”
“Sam…” Dean’s voice broke and he looked around the room as if he were trying to find an answer. “No, god, I don’t want to hurt you but…look at me, Sammy,” his eyes pleading with Sam, breaking both their hearts. “Look how much trouble I’ve caused you already. I won’t be a burden, Sam, I won’t.”
“You’re not,” Sam said sternly.
Dean looked away again, his breath hitching. “I don’t know if I can do this,” he whispered and looked back up. “I can handle a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them. I don’t know how to do this.”
Sam scooted over on the bed, swinging his legs off the edge so they were touching Dean’s. He leaned in close to his brother and looked him straight in the eye, the close contact obviously surprising Dean, but Sam counted it as a win that Dean didn’t flinch away. “First of all, no one expects you to know how to handle this, Dean. No one would know how to handle this alone. But that’s why you’re here. So you won’t be alone. So you have people who can help you, Dean. And yes, that means you’re going to have to learn how to accept help too.” Dean gave a half smile at the humor, to which Sam full out grinned. “Secondly, you’re not a burden. You never were and you never will be. You’re my brother. Maybe sometimes it seems like brothers and burdens are the same thing, but I’ve learned to live with them.”
“Ass,” Dean chuckled, though he was still fighting back tears.
“Again, brothers, burdens, and asses, they’re all in the same category.” Dean gave a small laugh and Sam sat back, smiling to himself stupidly. He couldn’t help it. “We’re gonna get through this Dean, you and me. Or did you forget what a great team we make?”
Dean gave a small shake of his head, his smile widening a bit. “Haven’t forgotten.”
“Good,” Sam told him. “Now, just so we’re clear, if you ever, and I mean EVER, have thoughts like that again, you come to me, okay? Because no matter what I said when we were kids, this?” Sam waved his hand around the room, not really sure what he was pointing to, but referring to the events of the previous night, “is not an option.” Dean nodded and Sam squeezed his shoulder. “So we’re good?”
“Getting there,” Dean answered. Sam sighed and leaned back, not sure if he should go on or not. This whole conversation was a lot shorter than he’d picture it in his head. “You know, Dad would probably smack us both upside the head if he saw us now.”
Sam smiled, finding the mental image somewhat amusing considering he’d been thinking of doing the same thing earlier that day. “Yeah, probably.”
They sat in comfortable silence for a moment. Maybe they were okay now. Sam knew Dean wouldn’t be okay in just a day, but he was on his way. So maybe things were finally working out. Maybe things were all downhill from here.
“I could smack you if you really wanted the sentimental value.”
Oh yeah, definitely smooth sailing.
Go to Chapter Twelve