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.
Dean was in the living room playing army men with Patrick and Cameron when Sam got home from picking Hannah up from ballet. Sam couldn’t say he was really surprised. Since they’d finished the puzzle, army men had become their favorite game to play. Sam guessed it had something to do with Dean’s ability to make it so authentic. He couldn’t count how many times in the past few days he’d tripped over those damn green plastic men. Where the hell had they come from anyway? Sam thought they would have stopped making those toys a long time ago. But apparently not.
Sam wouldn’t complain though. In the past few days, Dean had shown incredible improvement. He still had his down times. Sam would still sometimes catch him staring at a spot on the floor, lost in his own world and it usually took some coaxing to bring him back out. And Dean would still get discouraged over some things, like not being able to reach the plates on the top shelf when he offered to make lunch for the kids. But he was getting better. He smiled more. And that look was back in his eyes. That incredible “Dean” look that Sam always thought of when he pictured his brother. That “Everything’s okay and everything will BE okay” look.
It was the look Sam had been longing for, for years.
“Hi Uncle Dean!” Hannah chirped as she pushed open the front door and practically galloped through the hallway towards her room, ready to change out of her leotard and into her “Rock-Star” clothes, which she’d been wearing more and more. Sam had a feeling that he’d lost control of that aspect of his daughter. He didn’t mind really. As long as there were no tattoos or piercings.
“Hey kiddo,” Dean called as she zipped by him.
Sam grinned at the scene in his living room. Dean sat in the middle, with army men completely surrounding him, some laying fallen on his wheelchair, one hanging by some dental floss from one of his handles. Patrick lay on his stomach on one side of the room, commanding his small armies, while Cameron sat on the couch, an army man in each hand, grinning like a fool at the battle that was unfolding.
“Hi, Daddy,” Cameron said cheerfully before turning back to play. Dean glanced up at Sam and smiled before doing the same. Sam chuckled and went to deposit his keys and briefcase in his office before heading to his bedroom to change into something more comfortable.
When he came out again, he stopped in the kitchen and kissed the back of Sarah’s neck as she was cooking spaghetti noodles on the stove. She gave a small sound of satisfaction before turning around and holding a spoon with sauce out for him to taste. He tasted it and raised his eyebrows playfully. Sarah shook her head, grinning, and put the spoon back.
“How was your day?” he asked, wrapping his long arms around her and holding her close. “Anything interesting happen?”
“Some of the church ladies stopped by,” Sarah said.
Sam frowned and couldn’t help but tense slightly. He’d been dreading the church ladys’ arrival. He’d only gone with Sarah to church a few times, and those ladies could be awfully gossipy and critical. He wasn’t sure how they would handle Dean, or how Dean would handle them.
“Oh yeah?” Sam asked hesitantly. “How’d that go?”
“Dean managed to charm them into making us an apple pie for after dinner tonight,” she said with a laugh. Sam grinned. He knew he shouldn’t have worried so much. “I think he really made an impression on them.”
“Dean has a tendency to do that,” Sam agreed and kissed Sarah’s forehead. They stayed like that for a moment, just unwinding from the day, before Sam finally pulled away and heading towards the living room again. “I’ll get the kids ready for dinner,” he said.
“Good, it’ll be done in a few minutes.”
Sam headed back out into the living room. As soon as he entered, Dean looked up and then motioned for Patrick and Cameron to come over to him. “Hey, Cameron, let’s give your dad a laugh,” Dean said and Sam resisted the urge to roll his eyes. He knew they’d been up to mischief. “Show him what I taught you.”
“Oh yeah!” Cameron said with glee and ran awkwardly in front of Dean, while Patrick stood next to him, smiling and nearly bouncing with anticipation. Sam wondered if he should be worried. “Watch, Daddy!”
“I’m watching,” Sam told him.
“Cam, commando!” Patrick said in a deep, military-like voice. Sam was a little surprised to find that it sounded like John. But his surprise didn’t last as Cameron dropped to his stomach and did a commando roll straight across the floor. It was actually pretty well executed, except for Cameron’s open mouth and the tongue sticking out of the corner. Not to mention the giggling from both his sons as Cameron made his way from one side of the room to the other.
Dean gave a triumphant laugh as Cameron crawled to his feet and started jumping around, too giddy from the performance to sit still. Patrick looked up at Sam. “Did you like it, Dad?” he asked. “Uncle Dean taught us so that when we’re in the trenches, we can be p’pared!”
Sam resisted the urge to laugh as he looked up at Dean with a forced look of annoyance on his face. Dean merely shrugged, though it was obvious he was pleased with himself. “You never know when you’ll suddenly find yourself in a trench,” he stated simply.
“Yeah!” Cameron called, now bouncing around Dean’s wheelchair like a rabbit. “We need to be p’pared!” he said in a sing-song voice. Dean’s grin grew wider and finally Sam did give into the temptation to roll his eyes.
“Well I think it’s time for the soldiers to get ready for dinner,” Sam said, eyeing all the toys lying around. “But I think they should clean up their mess first.”
“What are we having?” Patrick asked, getting down on his knees as he began scooping up the army men, placing them back in the bucket that sat near the couch.
“Spaghetti,” Sam told him, doing his part in the cleanup as he picked up a discarded soldier from the opposite side of the couch and tossed it in the bucket.
“Pasgetti!” Cameron yelled excitedly and Sam laughed, wondering where his son had gotten all his energy. Dean had probably been feeding them gummy bears all afternoon. Great, so when they were up all night on a sugar buzz, Dean could stay up with them while Sam got to sleep. It was only fair.
Once all the army men were collected and placed in the bucket, Patrick and Cameron carried it together back to their shared room. Sam watched them go, smiling as he realized how much his sons reminded him of Dean and him when they were kids. They’d done the same thing with their army men. And carried their bucket the same way.
Sam turned to Dean, who was working to get the dental floss they’d used as a noose off of his wheelchair. Sam came forward and helped him with it, distracting Dean’s annoyed look with a question. “I hear you conned some old ladies into making you a pie today,” Sam said.
“Damn straight,” Dean said triumphantly. “If those ladies are gonna come around here and snoop, might as well set them to work.”
Sam outright laughed. “You know, I’ve known those ladies going on four years and I never once was able to get a pie out of them.”
“What can I say?” Dean shrugged again. “Old ladies love this face.”
Sam laughed again, but couldn’t bicker further as Sarah called him from the kitchen. He looked down at his brother, who had a stupid grin on his face. It was Sam’s turn to shrug. “I’m being summoned,” he said and turned towards the kitchen.
“Whipped!” Dean called out to him and laughed outright as Sam held up a hand but caught himself just in time to save from flipping Dean the bird.
Dean sat quietly for a moment, smiling. Today had been a good day. One of the best he’d had in a long time. You know, maybe Sam was right. Things were going to be okay. And just because things were like this now, didn’t mean they had to stay like this forever. Dean didn’t like not having the use of his legs, but he was growing accustom to it. And he was making due with what he had. Maybe, once he’d figured out how to do a lot of things for himself, he could move out, get a place of his own. He’d never really thought of it before, having his own place, but hey, it was always a possibility. He wasn’t sure how that would go, considering the only thing keeping him sane around here was having the kids around. He’d grown used to having the sounds of other people around him twenty four hours a day. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to give that up yet.
Deciding it was time to head on into the kitchen to give Sarah some grief about her sauce, Dean reached to grab a hold of his wheels. He bent slightly to the side and that’s when it hit him. A sharp pain, shooting straight up his spine, exploding in the back of his head, and spreading out across his arms and chest. It blinded him. He gasped and for a horrible moment, he couldn’t catch his breath, winded. Nausea washed over him in waves and he sat there for a moment, willing it all away. And it only took a few seconds, but the pain dulled and finally faded. He sat still for a moment, eyes closed, just taking in breaths. Damn, that hurt. It was like the pain he’d felt that morning he’d woken up to Hannah on the end of his bed, only this was a good deal worse. And it wasn’t the first time he’d had it. He’d been having pains like these the entire time he’d been at Sam’s house. But none of them had been as bad as this one. It left him dizzy and when he finally opened his eyes, he had to blink a few times to get his vision to focus.
He found Hannah standing at the edge of the hall, watching him with a trepid look on her face. Dean just looked back at her, knowing he’d been caught. They stared at each other for a while, neither one moving nor saying anything.
“Are you okay?” Hannah asked quietly, obviously keeping her voice down so her parents wouldn’t hear. Sometimes Dean thought this little girl was much older than just eleven.
“Peachy keen, jellybean,” Dean said breathlessly.
Hannah frowned like she didn’t believe him, but bless her heart if she didn’t say anything about it. Instead, she put her hands on her hips and said, “I’m not a jellybean.”
Dean, glad for the distraction, smiled slightly, though it didn’t really reach his eyes. “Could have fooled me.” And when she frowned deeper, he stuck his tongue out at her. She returned the gesture and Dean took it a step further by crossing his eyes and contorting his mouth. Hannah did the same.
When Sam came out of the kitchen and called Patrick and Cameron for dinner, he found Hannah and Dean making twisted faces at each other. He raised his eyebrows in surprise. “You’re teaching my children to be animals,” Sam joked.
“They were already animals when I got here,” Dean said and Sam frowned at the slight waiver in his voice. He eyed his brother a bit more closely. Dean looked slightly pale and there was sweat on his brow. Before he could ask if he was all right, Patrick and Cameron came barreling down the hallway and ran into the kitchen.
“I get the end piece of garlic bread!” Patrick announced.
“No way!” Hannah yelled and abandoned her face making to run into the kitchen and wrestle her brother for the bread. “I get it!”
Sam heard Sarah’s scold of, “There are two ends, so two pieces,” but ignored it for now, instead focusing on Dean, who had slumped a bit in his chair, looking tired.
“Dinners ready,” Sam said needlessly.
Dean nodded, though there was much less enthusiasm there than had been before. Sam was instantly worried. “I think I’m going to skip dinner,” Dean told him.
“You okay?” Sam asked. Dean was able to look him in the eye, so it must not have been something too bad.
“Yeah,” Dean nodded. “I’m just kind of tired.”
“Are you sure?” Sam asked, taking a step forward.
Dean rolled his eyes towards Sam and gave him the classic Dean look, which alleviated some of Sam’s worries. “Not too tired that I won’t kick your ass if you ask me again.”
Sam snorted and watched as Dean started wheeling himself back to his room. “You need some Advil or anything?” Sam asked.
“I’m good, Sammy,” Dean answered, looking over his shoulder.
“All right, well,” Sam wanted to say something more, wondering what had gotten into his brother. He hoped Dean wasn’t catching anything. So soon after getting out of the hospital, so soon after the accident, it wouldn’t be good if Dean got sick. “I’ll save you some spaghetti, then.”
“Whatever, lawyer-boy,” Dean mocked playfully before getting to his bedroom and closing the door.
Sam stood for a moment looked at Dean’s closed door, debating whether or not to go into his room and demand Dean tell him what was wrong. He finally decided against it. Dean had been doing far better than Sam would have imagined with the whole, “tell me what’s going on” thing lately, so he figured if there was something important that needed to be said, Dean would tell him. Maybe they’d just overexerted him. It had been pretty chaotic around here for a while. Sam decided that tomorrow he’d make sure they all took it easy. Maybe settle down and watch some movies or something. Have a nice day of relaxation. Yeah, that’s what they would do.
Walking into the kitchen, Sam found his family already starting to eat. Hannah, with a mouth half full, asked, “Where’s Uncle Dean?”
“He’s tired, so he’s heading to bed early tonight,” Sam informed her, sitting down and scooping himself a helping.
“Is he okay?” Hannah asked and Sam paused, amazed at his daughter’s ability to always guess what was going on.
Sam didn’t have to answer, because Sarah answered for him. “Of course he’s okay,” she said. “Don’t worry about your uncle Dean, he’s a strong guy.”
“Strong like the Terminator!” Patrick announced and started making muscles, snarling his lips, which didn’t make him look any tougher considering the sauce smeared onto his cheeks.
“Like the Termator!” Cameron copied his older brother’s movements and the two boys laughed at each other as they growled at Hannah, who looked unamused.
Go to Chapter Thirteen