"So the mighty Dean Winchester finally fucks up and gets himself caught."
Dean didn’t know how long he had been left alone, securely tied to the plush leather chair in the opulent office but it had been long enough that sheer exhaustion had leeched pretty much all of the adrenaline from his system. To compensate, he had withdrawn into himself allowing his heavy head to fall forward and his eyes to slide closed, giving the appearance of dozing. It was a simple rouse at best, anyone with any kind of training should have been able to see through it, not that he expected anyone to fall for it but it almost assuredly guaranteed that he would be left alone and able to conserve what little energy remained within his battered body, certain he was going to need whatever lingered in the hours to come.
But at the sound of the familiar voice his head had shot up and his eyes had snapped open. Cursing silently at showing even the slightest shock for being caught unawares, he fought down the instinct to turn his head and face his brother for the first time in three years.
Instead he concentrated on keeping his breathing even and slow as he waited for Sam, Samuel, he snidely reminded himself silently, It’s Samuel now, to come around and face him.
“What no smartass come back?” Samuel purred softly as he closed the office door and engaged the knob lock.
Dean knew it wouldn’t really keep any of his brother’s associates out but the significance of the action didn’t skip his observation either. Vaguely he wondered how many had fallen before it became common knowledge that it was best to leave Sam, Samuel, alone when he had barred his sanctuary from others. He also wondered how long it would take for the braver of them to breach it if there seemed to be any sign that Samuel was in trouble.
Almost silent footfalls alerted him to his brother moving closer and when he felt the tips of the fingers of one hand drag across his, once again, tense shoulders he managed to keep from shivering at the touch.
Why Sam? Why did you leave? Why did you fall? I swore I would protect you. Why wasn’t I good enough? The questions were, for the most part, fairly irrelevant as he figured he already knew the answers or at the very least the answers he would receive so he kept the words behind tightly clenched teeth as his captor, his brother, moved around him and settled behind the desk before him, a look of brotherly concern firmly seated on the face in front of him.
“I know you’ve never been one for saying anything of importance but come on Dean you must have something to say since you’re the one that came looking for me.”
Dean glared mutely at his brother before shifting against the ropes binding him.
“Uncomfortable dear brother?” A mockery of the concern that once resided in Sam’s voice echoed through the room. “Can’t have that.”
It took a moment for the tingling of his outer extremities to gain his attention before Dean realized that the ropes around his wrists, chest and ankles were loosening and then slithering off his body to land haphazardly to the floor. With wide eyes he glanced from his brother to the ropes and then back again. Blind instinct had him trying to leap from the chair, leap for Samuel, but although free from seen bonds, he still couldn’t move from the chair.
Ice worked it’s way through his veins with every beat of his heart as an inkling of just how dangerous Samuel had become over the last three years settled to the forefront of his mind.
He chuckled, “I’ve,” a self-depreciating smirk appeared. “Learned a few new tricks since we’ve last spoken. But you of all people should recognize the technique, it was after all the same power that robbed you of so much blood that night in the cabin with John.”
Despite himself he felt the words tumbling from his mouth, “I thought you special kids only had one or two gifts. Seems you were keeping secrets Samuel.”
Another snort of laughter as Samuel propped his feet up on the corner of his desk. “Aww Dean, you, me, John, we all kept secrets. It’s what Winchesters do.” His face settled into one of consideration as he settled his hands on his chest, fingers laced; the portrayal of a man totally at ease. “Did you ever wonder if maybe all of us had been a little more open, a little more share and care, maybe, just maybe, we wouldn’t be where we are today?”
It was Dean’s turn to snort but there was no mirth to the sound. “Big bad half breed demon Samuel still trying to tamp down those pesky human emotions are ya? Must be a real bitch at the annual meetings when all you evil bastards are crowing about how many innocents you’ve tortured, mutilated and killed huh? A little bit of guilt twisting in your belly little brother?”
Samuel waved a hand as if he was shooing away a pesky fly before settling back in his reclined position. He shook his head, “Honestly Dean I wouldn’t be where I am if I felt bad about the things I’ve done. No, truth be told I’m just amusing myself fucking with you. Cause you see I’m pretty sure I know how things would have turned out if the family code had been a little different but,” he shrugged. “I just wanna know if you ever wonder?”
He allowed a frustrated sigh, “Samuel I’m sure there was a more important reason for keeping me alive other than to play the “what if” game, so how about we get to it huh?”
“Are you so eager to die Dean?”
He felt a sudden and frighteningly familiar pressure in his chest and couldn’t stop the involuntary intake of breath. “Ahh I see. You only kept me alive so that you could be the one to kill me. Trouble in the ranks Samuel? Some of your minions worried that as long as I’m alive that you may jump sides again? Have to prove your loyalty to your new friends by killing the head of the resistance, who happens to be your half brother, yourself?”
Samuel laughed, laughed hard enough that he had to pull his feet off his desk and wipe tears from his eyes. “Oh Dean I didn’t kill two of my most trusted allies just to kill you myself.”
Despite himself a thrill of shock coursed through his veins as the pressure in his chest disappeared as sudden as it had come. Samuel had killed his own to protect him? But it didn’t make any sense, his brother had to know that Dean’s plan had been to fulfill the promise he had been forced to make so many years before when he had tried to sneak in to Samuel’s temporary home to begin with. So why? Why had he risked more dissidence in the ranks for the man that had planned on taking his life in cold blood?
The laughter faded into amused chuckling and then petered out until only an indulgent smile remained. “Confused dear brother?” He asked as he leaned forward and rested his crossed arms atop the desk. “Shall I clarify a few things for you?”
He wanted to ask but a warning in the back of his mind jumbled the words up and lodged them as a lump in his throat. The man before him was still his brother, his Sammy, but he wasn’t and he would be damned if he was going to get into any heartfelt discussion with a demon, even one he shared blood with.
Samuel watched him with sharp eyes for a drawn out moment of silence before he sighed and shook his head. “You aren’t going to make this easy on me are you Dean?”
He blinked lazily effecting what he hoped was a look of bored indifference. “Whatever floats your boat.”
He raised his eyebrows and smirked, “Some things never change do they Dean?” Then he waved his hand and continued without waiting for an answer. “You’ve always tried to be a closed book. Tried so hard to hide everything behind your carefully constructed walls. But I know you Dean. I can see the questions in your eyes. Practically taste your desire to know what I’m talking about. However, I also know we could sit here until hell froze over before you would give in and ask me so I’ll just tell you shall I?”
He leaned farther forward, eyes shining in a way that reminded Dean of when they were children and four year old Sam would find something, an insect, a nickel on the sidewalk, a fascinating toy at the bottom of the box of Lucky Charms, that took his fancy and he had to share his discovery with his older brother. It made something deep inside him ache for times long past when his baby brother had sought ways to share his happiness with his brother that would not cause him pain. But watching the man before him now, he knew that whatever made Samuel so gleeful these days would cause him nothing but sorrow.
“John did you an injustice Dean, he really did.”
Dean reared back like his brother had struck him, “Fuck you Sam he did the best he could.”
Almost as if someone had flipped a switch, any humor bled from his eyes and his voice dropped to a growl, “I’m not Sam anymore. Sam was a fool who believed that he could save the world from the other side while fighting himself. Me, I’m Samuel and I know better.”
Swallowing back his own fear at the hard look in his brother’s hazel eyes, he managed to remain flippant, though his outrage at Samuel’s careless words had fled him. “Fine Samuel. The point remains that he did the best he could.”
One quick blink and the glee returned to his eyes as he shook his head. “No Dean he didn’t. You see the old man knew or at the very least strongly suspected what it would take to save me but he didn’t, couldn’t, or perhaps simply wouldn’t, tell you.” He barred his teeth in a parody of a grin, “But he finally told me.”
“You…you’ve seen him?” The question was hesitant, partially because he had no intention of making Samuel’s job easier by actually engaging him in conversation and partially because of the guilt that couldn’t be hidden. “He’s really is in hell then?”
“Well what’s left is still in that little hole I found him in but I wouldn’t say he’s there anymore.” He offered offhandedly.
“What did you do Samuel?” He spat as he struggled against the invisible hold against him.
He shrugged, “Succeeded where those before me failed.” He answered nonchalantly before a cold grin emerged. “Of course, I did have help, for which I really must thank you.” He stood, came around the desk and perched atop it directly in front of his brother. “It only took a minute for him to realize that you had failed in the very last job he gave you.”
Dean swallowed hard and shut his eyes against the sudden on slot of tears he felt building. In the back of his mind had dwelled the fear that somehow his father would find out that he had failed, just assumed that whatever demon had the pleasure of tormenting his dad for all of eternity would be certain to tell him. But to actually be told that his father knew, that his brother had personally informed him and that it had broken him, the guilt was choking. His father had traded his life for Dean’s, had bartered his soul so that his son could live, and he had repaid him by failing to fulfill John Winchester’s last request.
“Don’t feel so bad Dean.” Samuel chastised with surprising softness. “As I told you he cheated you when he told you save me or kill me, ‘cause he didn’t tell you how to save me. He set you up to fail because even he had to know that you wouldn’t kill your baby brother. And yet, yet, still he never gave you the solution as to how to save me from the darkness. Do you want to know why Dean?”
He refused to open his eyes, didn’t want to see the look of smug satisfaction he could clearly hear in his brother’s voice. Finally after all the years of Sam bitching about their father, about how he failed them, he appeared to have hard proof and Dean, Dean just couldn’t take hearing it and seeing the unholy glee on his brother’s face at the same time.
“Samuel what did I tell you about chick flick moments?” It was weak and without his usual snark but he was nothing if not predictable. He didn’t want to know, he didn’t want to admit that his father had set him up to have to kill his brother. Didn’t want to know what could be so bad in the eyes of John Winchester that he rather his baby boy dead and his eldest broken then use it as the solution it was, a solution that would have seen both of them still fighting against the darkness instead of each other.
“This is no chick flick moment Dean and we both know that.” Samuel continued, ignoring the blatant plea he knew was buried in his brother’s words.
“You see Dean at some point during 2005 and 2006 when the old man up and disappeared he figured out that I really wasn’t his son, that I was the spawn of the demon that killed his beloved wife. Now I’ll admit I never bothered to ask him when exactly during that time he figured it out or for that matter how. My pressing question at that revelation was why he hadn’t killed me himself when he found out.” He chuckled darkly, “His answer kind of surprised me I must admit. You see Dean, even though I wasn’t his blood son he still thought of me as his son since he raised me and all. I didn’t bother to remind him that you actually raised me not him, semantics after all. Besides I’m pretty happy that he felt that way.”
He couldn’t help it, his eyes snapped open so he could glare at his brother, “He could’ve Samuel. He didn’t because he believed you could be saved. He saw the same good in you that I did.”
“No Dean I don’t think he could. I think he couldn’t risk killing mom’s son, me, and chance her hating him, even in death, for it. You see he told me that he knew he had willingly and knowingly destroyed our childhood or any chance of normal,” again the annoying smirk that Samuel seemed to have perfected over the last few years made an appearance. “For you at least, since we both know that no matter how much I may have wanted it at one point being half demon pretty much assures that there would never be a normal for me. Anyway where was I?” He paused and tapped one long index finger against his lips, “Ahh yes couldn’t risk mom hating him anymore than he feared she already did for fucking up his responsibility of us as bad as he did. And killing one of her children, even her half-breed, he was pretty worried there would be no forgiveness from her. After all your children are your children and if you’re a pure, unselfish soul, like mom, it wouldn’t matter what or who they are, you’ll always love them.”
Samuel started nodding his head, “Yeah I’m pretty much certain mom would never have forgiven him had he murdered me so I totally understand his thoughts there.”
Dean swallowed hard; the problem was that he understood it too, even if he refused to voice it out loud. But still it couldn’t be true that his father had known a way to save his youngest son and not told his oldest, the child he had charged with the protection of his baby. It was inconceivable, Samuel had to be lying, he wanted to break Dean and he was using the one thing against him that stood a chance to work. Playing on his loyalty to his father, trying to make him question the man who had raised him, taught him everything that had helped keep him alive over the last few years.
Still he couldn’t stop the words from coming, “Doesn’t mean he knew how to save you. If he had had a solution don’t you think he would have tried it himself?”
It shocked him when his brother gave a full body shudder and his stomach tightened in response.
“Of all the things I’ve seen and done only that scares me.” He grinned slowly but it lacked both humor and warmth. “Nah Dean for the same reason he couldn’t kill me, he couldn’t risk trying the solution. Besides it never would have worked for him.”
His vision grayed momentarily as a wave of nausea rolled through him. No. No way. He cannot be saying what I think he’s saying.
“You remember the day before I went to ground?”
How could Dean possibly forget? It was the last time he had seen Sam before he had reemerged as Samuel and the day had replayed over and over in his memory while he questioned everything he had said, everything he had done.
“What happened last night was a mistake Sam. It can’t, it won’t happen again”. Dean hissed as he viciously shoved clothing into his duffle, resolutely keeping his back to his brother.
“Dean please.” The pleading in Sam’s voice inescapable. “It wasn’t a mistake. It’s the first time things have felt right in a long time.”
He spun on his heel, a shirt clenched tightly in his fists, “How can you possibly say that Sam? It started as a fistfight for Christ sake. We spend twenty-four seven in each other’s space and…and Christ Sam we both have needs and…and apparently we both need to get laid.”
“Is that all it was to you?” He demanded as he crossed from the rickety table to stand in his older brother’s space. “Just a quick fuck?”
“Sam we’re brothers. Blood.” He hissed low as he took a protective step back. “What’s done is done but it’s over and it won’t be happening again.”
“I saw your eyes last night Dean.” Sam shot back, “I heard every word you said. Love, want, need, always…”
“It doesn’t matter Sam!” He yelled, cutting his brother’s words short as he grabbed up his duffle and stormed to the door. He threw it open before glancing over his shoulder at Sam, “I want to be as far away from this hole as soon as possible.” He swallowed hard and hardened himself against the naked pain he saw in his brother’s eyes and the answering hurt within himself. “You’ve got five minutes Sam.”
He stepped out into the midmorning light, effectively ending the conversation, hoping that it would stay ended.
He mentally shook off the memory and clenched his jaw. “Not particularly.” He was satisfied when the lie slid easily from between his lips even if he knew that Samuel wouldn’t buy it.
“Bullshit.” His brother chuckled, “I call bullshit.”
He leaned forward, clasped the eldest Winchester’s chin in his hand and forced their gazes to remained locked. “Do you seriously expect me to believe that you haven’t obsessed over every moment of that day? Searching your memory for clues, questioning every nuance, wondering if you had missed something or perhaps said something different that I would have stayed. If the outcome would be different if only something, a look, a touch, a word could have been changed.”
He released Dean and settled once again on the corner of his desk, smirk firmly back in place. “I know you did Dean because I know you.”
He shrugged, “I’m not the creature of habit I once was Samuel.” He tossed back as carelessly as his tight throat would allow. “I’ve had to change my way of thinking over the last few years. Probably has something to do with the whole “end of the world” deal that went down at the end of ’07. I honestly haven’t had time to dwell on the past, too busy trying to save mankind from the clusterfuck the world has become.”
“Mmm.” Samuel raised an eyebrow clearly disbelieving, “Well then shall I refresh your memory?”
“Christ Sam,” his eyes narrowed, “I mean Samuel. Why don’t we just forego the trip down memory lane and skip ahead to the part where you tell me whatever it is that’s so important that it’s kept me alive this long.”
“We can go ahead and skip reminiscing, doesn’t really matter to me as it won’t make any difference. But what I’m going to tell you is still going to make you uncomfortable so really you’re not saving yourself anything.”
Dean rolled his eyes, “Was there a course at Stanford for “Flair for the Dramatics” that you took and neglected to mention? Because seriously Samuel the build up is fun and all but seriously it’s starting to feel a little too much.”
“Oh fuck you Dean.” He snapped back but there was only humor in his tone. “Fine we’ll do it your way.”
He leaned forward, took the elder Winchester’s chin in the long fingers of one hand and with gentle force, made sure that eye contact was maintained. “I know school held little importance to you brother mine, so it would come as no surprise if you don’t remember being taught about the Sacred Band of Thebes.”
Ice slithered down his spine, No, no, no, no. “I remember,” he ground out trying to pull away from his brother’s grasp but stilled when the fingers squeezed tighter.
Samuel raised a disbelieving eyebrow, “Really? Then please go ahead and enlighten me to your vast knowledge.”
He sneered, ignoring the warning in the back of his mind, “A band of soldiers consisting exclusively of pairs of homosexual lovers. The idea behind it being something about a person would fight harder to protect a lover than a stranger.”
Samuel smirked, “Very good Dean. Did you know that it worked too? For forty years they were unstoppable.” He chuckled darkly, “I guess love really can conquer all or damn near anyway.”
“Please tell me you are not going to say what I think you are going to say.”
“Oh but I am Dean.” He purred back and leaned forward so that their noses were practically touching. “Do you really think I would have left if you would have just given in to what we both wanted? Do you really think I wouldn’t have fought harder against what I’ve become for you? And John. Knew. It.”
He brushed his lips against Dean’s in a chaste kiss before releasing him and sitting back once more, grin firmly in place. “Your daddy knew I would have done anything for you. Hell I dragged you to that faith healer in Nebraska and to this day don’t care that someone else died so that you would live. He knew I had to have a very good reason not to give in and love, well hell Dean look what it’s done to our family. Mom died, John became a hunter to avenge her. Jess died, I turned my back on safe to hunt for her killer. You almost die, I find a way to keep you here. And through it all you did everything in your power to keep us, your family, together because you knew that we were stronger as a whole, that our love for one another would somehow keep us, if not safe, at least protected.”
“Incest is a sin Samuel.” Dean spat back, “It wouldn’t have kept you from the darkness but driven you to it faster.”
His younger brother laughed, “Who says it’s a sin? God or man?”
He swallowed the sudden lump in his throat feeling the walls of a trap closing around him. Sam knew him, knew he didn’t truly believe in God, at least not in the God of Western faith. And that was the deity that his little brother, the demon, was referring to, they both knew it. “God.”
He wanted to say yes but couldn’t get the simple word to trip past his lips.
“It’s an accepted fact that God claimed that incest was a sin but who told the tale?” He continued unconcerned by his brother’s silence. “Men of the cloth. Men of God. But what of the stories Jim told us when we were children? His God, the ultimate power that Jim based his faith on, really couldn’t give a shit as long as it’s real love Dean.”
Dean shook his head trying to get the words out of his mind, the sudden weight of extra guilt off his shoulders. He had failed in so many ways over the years and he had always believed his worst transgression had been the night he had given in to his secret yearning for his baby brother and that it had been that one single act that had tarnished Sam just enough to push him over the edge. But if what the younger Winchester was claiming was true then it could have saved Sam, saved the world and he had pushed it away because he had actually bowed down to a society he had never had any connection with after his mother had been burned, pinned to the ceiling of her youngest son’s nursery. It was too much and the irony of it sliced through him with a cold clarity that left him frozen yet sweating at the same time.
“Bullshit.” He spat but the word was weak, barely a whisper.
Samuel shrugged his shoulders, “I would have done anything for you Dean.”
“You left Samuel. Knowing it would tear me up inside, you still walked away. You gave in to this,” he motioned around the room with his chin. “This destiny shit. Don’t tell me you would do anything for me because this was never what I wanted.”
“I was angry.” He replied unapologetic, “I wanted to tear apart everything that stood between us, stood on morals that should have meant nothing to us because we are Winchesters.”
His surprised bark of laughter was hollow, “Well then I guess congratulations are in order since you’ve more or less accomplished what you set out to do.” He shot back.
His younger brother stared at him silently for a minute before sliding off the desk and to his knees before him. “Join me Dean.” He impeached softly as his palms settled high on the older Winchester’s thighs. “I still want you, still need you. Everything I’ve done I’ve done for you in one-way or another.”
“You could be my counter balance.” He continued softly, persuasively, “Remind me of the humanity I’ve lost. I swear I would take your council to heart. Stay my hand where before I would simply do what my demon blood demands.”
He wanted to believe the words but he knew that demons lied and as much as he rather not think about it, Samuel was, for all intents and purposes, a demon now. “Forget it.”
“I can’t take the world back to what it once was but I can make it less harsh.” He caressed Dean’s cheek softly. “With you at my side where you belong.”
In that one moment Dean hated himself, hated his treacherous heart, because he could feel himself giving in. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
He thought of Bobby, of Ellen and Jo, of all the others who had somehow managed to find their way to him when everything started going pear shaped. Of their equally frightening and yet unending certainly that if one Winchester was capable of starting Armageddon then the other should be able to end it. He thought of their hope, their belief, in him and felt the familiar weight settling heavier on his shoulders.
They were depending on him, he couldn’t, wouldn’t let them down. Could he?
And yet hope was beginning to bloom in his chest, where once there had only been a hollow ache. If he simply said yes, became what he, himself, had wanted to be, Sam’s lover, there could be a chance to stop what was happening. There would be the opportunity to get his brother back, maybe, eventually, persuade him to jump ship and turn on those he now led.
The shadow of Bobby’s disapproval floated to the forefront of his mind but he blinked the mist away and stared hard down at his brother. Demons lie, it was a simple, irrefutable truth but balanced against that was that this was Sam, his baby brother and he had never been able to slip a lie past him.
Still he searched his brother’s hazel eyes looking for any sign of deceit, they would never be accepted by anyone, civilians, hunters, demons, Heaven or Hell but if they could stop what Samuel had started and he could have Sam back it would be worth it. They would spend the rest of their days in hiding but to give the world back to mankind it would be worth it.
It was perhaps only a sandcastle built too close to the water’s edge and the tide was coming in but it was a damn sight better than the alternative, kill Samuel or be killed by him.
Dad, Bobby, I’m sorry.
Dean swallowed down all the misgivings he had and focused only on the one positive he had left, fixing what he had fucked up in the first place by pushing his baby brother away. “Yes.”