Spoilers: 2.01 IMTOD, 4.19 Jump the Shark, 4.22 Lucifer Rising, 5.01 Sympathy for the Devil & 5.04 The End
Disclaimer: Do not own - just playing in somebody else's sandbox.
Summary: Dean's been wound up tight for almost a week and Sam's sick of it. He just wants to know what's got his brother so on edge. The answer isn't the one he expected or the only revelation he receives.
“Anytime this fucking storm wants to let up I’ll be more than fucking ecstatic.”
Sam glanced up from where he was leaning against the Impala and peered through the gloom cloaking the dilapidated barn they had taken refuge in to wait out the late August thunderstorm at his brother and bit back a sigh.
Dean had been wound tighter than usual since Bobby had called them four days before and asked them to check out a small town just shy of the Ohio/Michigan border where signs of ghouls had started popping up. At first, Sam had thought it had been because the word ghoul dragged with it the memories of a half brother they had never known about until only four years before. A brother, that not only had their father kept secret from them but had raised in a world he had denied them, that had been slaughtered by ghouls in revenge because of said father.
But that had been before they had driven through the unusually high temperature for late August to find out that the “ghoul” turned out to be two religious fanatics told to tear up the local graveyard and chew on a few of the bones by an angel, an angel they had, so far, managed to evade.
He wasn’t particularly surprised to find out that Zachariah had orchestrated an elaborate hoax to try to “convince” Dean to say yes to Michael. He had been dogging their steps, since the last seal had been broken and Lucifer had risen, since Sam had set him free, for close to three years now.
He didn’t like to think about whom else had been hunting them, hunting him for almost as long.
But what he couldn’t understand was why, if Zachariah was behind it, hadn’t he shown himself? What was the point? Was it to try and prove to them that no matter what they did or how careful they were that he could always find a way to get to them? If that was the truth then why play this game?
“Why didn’t he show?”
Dean paused mid-stride and slowly pivoted to stare at him. “What?”
He hadn’t meant to say that out loud, knowing that it would only aggravate his brother more, mentioning any angel other than Cas tended to do that to him. Still, in for a penny, in for a pound.
“I was just wondering why Zachariah went to all the trouble of setting up an elaborate illusion and then not show.”
Even through the gloom he could see his eyes narrow and his body tense up. “Does it matter?” He snarled back, “Just be glad he didn’t. Or would you have preferred to lose your lungs again?”
They both jerked at the sudden clap of thunder and sent quick glances towards the dark corners of the barn. It was stupid; Cas had ensured that no angel could find them without outside help so there was no way that Zachariah would be suddenly appearing with thunder as his fanfare. There was no way that if he had gotten there in time that he would have sat back and waited for them to make their escape from Torring as soon as they had made an anonymous call to the local sheriff’s office about two psychos digging up the graveyard and waited until there were no witnesses. It wasn’t his style.
“No.” He had to raise his voice as the wind started to pick up again to be heard over it whistling through the gaps in the building. “But it doesn’t make sense.”
He couldn’t hear his brother’s huff of irritation but he could imagine it as Dean rubbed a hand over his face.
Sam recognized it for the signal that Dean really wanted this conversation to be over but he had gotten to the point that he didn’t care. He had put up with all the snapping and silences, without uttering a word, for as long as he was going to. They needed to figure this out, figure out why Zachariah had shown himself because it meant something and they needed to know exactly what that was.
He pushed off the passenger door and moved to stand in front of Dean. “Look, we need to try to figure out his game.”
“Sam,” Dean groaned, “Just chalk it up to us sneaking past him okay?”
He turned to head back towards the Impala but not before Sam noticed how his brother’s eyes had shifted away before he even finished speaking. There were only two times when Dean did that, either when he was lying or holding something back because the rest of the time he was too busy trying to stare Sam down with his “big brother” stare to look away.
Without consciously thinking about it, Sam grabbed his arm to make him stop.
“What the fuck Sam?”
He didn’t bodily move, only turned his head enough to stare at him. “This has nothing to do with Adam or Zachariah does it.”
It wasn’t a question and it wasn’t meant to be one. The more he thought about it, the more he knew, deep down, that whatever had Dean so worked up, it wasn’t about what had just went down. But the last time Dean had been this evasive with him it had been because of their dad and what he had told Dean just before he died.
“Adam?” He spluttered, “What the fuck has Adam got to do with this?”
Sam let him jerk out of his hold and watched him take a couple steps back through narrowed eyes. If he hadn’t been keyed up at the beginning of their bogus hunt because it was supposed to be a ghoul then there shouldn’t have been any reason for the extra tension running through his brother until after they found out about the zealots and Zachariah. But it had been there from minute one and even now, knowing that they had escaped unscathed, he was still acting like a caged animal and the knowledge settled deep in his bones that it had something to do with him.
“Dean.” He ground out, “What the fuck is going on?”
“Other than you acting like a freak… Not a thing.”
He couldn’t stop the harsh laugh as it ripped from his throat. “Right… Because you haven’t been acting like a prissy little bitch for almost a week now.”
“You’re the prissy bitch,” Dean shot back.
He ground his teeth together as another crack of thunder echoed around them. “Look I get that you don’t trust me okay. That you don’t think that you’ll ever trust me again but if whatever has got you wound up has to do with me then I damn well have a right to know what it is!”
“And what makes you think it has anything to do with you huh?” He snarled back, “Maybe I just don’t like Ohio. Not everything revolves around you Sam.”
Dean voicing it like that, Sam did sound like a self-centered asshole for assuming it had something to do with him but Dean had never been one to hide his dislike for anything. In fact, he preferred to complain long and loud anytime something pissed him off so for him to try to blame it on disliking Ohio three days after crossing over the State line and not before they had even gotten to it, was not going to fly.
“The last time you tried hiding something from me was when dad told you you’d have to save me or kill me.”
He threw his hands up in the air, “What has that got to do with anything?”
“You don’t look at me when you’re hiding something from me.” He tilted his head to the side, “Hiding something that involves me.”
He shook his head, “Sam just let it go.”
“No.” He stalked forward, following his brother as he tried to keep space between them until Dean was pinned between him and the front of the Impala. He was either going to have to slide up and over the hood to get away from him or push back against Sam and at that point Sam didn’t care which option he chose because he wasn’t going to stop until he got the truth.
“Back the fuck up.” He warned just loud enough to be heard over the storm outside.
“Are you looking to get punched in the face?”
Sam narrowed his eyes, “Do you really think that would end this conversation?”
Dean sneered up at him and a muscle in his jaw jumped.
He wanted to laugh, he was the little brother, no one did the silent treatment like little brothers, so Dean trying to use it against him wasn’t going to work. “I’m not going to stop until you tell me what’s eating at you.”
He growled and barred his teeth and Sam tensed waiting for the punch. If Dean wanted to start swinging then he’d welcome it because after it was over he’d have Dean’s own guilt to work against him.
He shook his head, “Fine.” He hissed, “You want the truth then fine! Remember when you called asking to be allowed back in and I said that we’d be safer staying separated because of Lucifer and Michael?”
Sam wasn’t sure what that had to do with now but Dean wasn’t one to mince words so he kept his mouth shut, certain that this was leading somewhere. He nodded silently and motioned for him to continue.
Dean sighed heavily and shook his head again. He was acting like what he was going to say next was costing him something deep inside. Cutting him up inside like Sam had been that night that he had learnt just how badly he had fucked up everything between them. Being the cause of the coming apocalypse was hard enough to face up to but knowing that he had finally lost Dean and was only allowed to stay because he was a hunter had damn near killed him.
“Zachariah found me and sent me to the future.”
Something cold and heavy settled in his stomach. “And..?” He didn’t think that he could be heard over the storm raging around them but Dean didn’t seem to need him to encourage him to continue any longer.
“You said yes.”
Sam might as well be standing outside in the middle of the storm the way it felt like he had suddenly been doused in ice water and the roaring in his ears.
He didn’t need clarification as to what or rather whom he had said yes to or, apparently, was going to say yes to. But why would he do that? He knew Dean hated him, knew that he meant little to him anymore but not once had he ever considered saying yes to Lucifer because of it. There was no reason he could think of that would drive him to say yes.
“In Detroit” Dean swallowed heavily, “You say yes in Detroit and I’m guessing that it’s within days from today.”
He took a couple steps back and let his eyes travel around the barn, trying to find answers, trying to understand. “So Zachariah...” he searched out Dean’s hooded gaze.
Dean gave a jerky shrug, “Wanted us down here to get his hands on you, not me, is the way I figure it.”
The apocalypse, so far, hadn’t turned out the way they all feared it would. There were people dying in greater numbers then ever and demon attacks were pretty much a constant. But the massive slaughter that they were sure had been imminent had never occurred. Apparently Zachariah had decided to change that. If he couldn’t get to Dean then it appeared that he was going to try to get to Sam.
Vaguely he wondered if that meant that Zachariah had switched sides but pushed the thought away as insignificant, he had worse problems to deal with.
“Do,” fine tremors were starting to work through his body and suddenly it was him wanting the storm to abate enough for them to get as far away from Michigan as possible. “Why would I? You were there. What does he do? Why?”
He knew he wasn’t being very clear but he couldn’t seem to gather his thoughts together enough to form a coherent sentence. His mind flashed back to the scene at their father’s storage container a couple years before and the way Zachariah had tried to torture both of them enough so that Dean would have no option but to say yes to becoming Michael’s vessel. He could remember thinking that he could only hope that he would never bend to anyone under the pressure of Dean being tortured the way he was because he loved Dean that much. Of course later he came to understand that the truth was, it didn’t bother his brother that he had been slowly suffocating because he hated Sam for what he had done and Dean had never really cared about what happened to himself.
But Sam did love Dean, still loved him, “What was Lucifer doing to you?”
Dean blinked, “Me? I wasn’t there Sam.” He rubbed at the back of his neck, “We never hooked back up in that future.”
Sam nodded slowly, Dean had told him that he didn’t want to be around him anymore and in the future that Zachariah had shown him, they had stayed separated. Sam now understood why he had said yes.
Even in his own mind it was pathetic but he understood it.
Sam had grown up in his brother’s shadow, always trying to be Dean and later on trying to be enough like Dean to make his brother proud of him. He had always thought it was a bad case of hero worship. Or at least he had until after he had left for college and he kept finding himself wanting to know where Dean was, feeling heartbroken because he was sure that his brother hated him, picking up his cell and dialling all but the last digit of his brother’s number. It all came to a head three months into the first semester when his roommate had told him that pinning over an ex wasn’t going to help him keep his grades up.
After a lengthy freak-out that included a three day drinking binge that he never got all the memories back from, he had accepted it as a result of their nomadic lifestyle and not being able to make lasting connections with anyone outside of their family and shoved to the back of his mind. Even after he had rejoined the hunt, he managed to keep it safely tucked away because being with Dean as his brother was better than not having Dean at all.
And in that other timeline, he didn’t have Dean at all. Not in the way he refused to allow himself to think about or as a brother.
If Lucifer promised to stop the loneliness and the regret, as much as Sam wanted to deny it, he could see himself finally giving up, giving in.
Dean may hate him but he couldn’t possibly hate him more than he hated himself because of that one small truth.
“But we’re together so it’s not going to happen.”
He blinked Dean back into focus, at least he finally knew why Dean had let him back in. That answered the question he could never ask and couldn’t work out on his own.
“Yeah, we keep each other human.”
He hadn’t meant to sound bitter, he was allowed to stand by Dean’s side but it hurt.
He shook his head and started to walk towards the barn doors, intent on throwing them open. “Sounds like the storm is passing, let’s get out of here.”
“Come on, Sam.”
Dean was pleading, the same way he had pleaded for him to understand why he thought it had been better not to tell him what their father had said, when he had told him that he didn’t really want to die. He understood it then and he was pretty sure what it meant now.
He couldn’t be angry, at least not with Dean, “I’m not planning on running off to Detroit Dean.”
“It’s not like that.”
The words stopped him cold; ideas flashing through his mind too quickly to grasp because the sentence was too open ended and could mean too many things, some good, but most bad. Maybe he had caught Dean looking at him over the last few years and maybe he didn’t understand the looks and had chalked them up to his brother trying to see the little brother he used to care about. And that was probably all this was but as he spun back to glare at him, Dean was looking at him with that strange softness to his eyes that confused him.
“Then what’s it like Dean?’ He stalked back, “Huh? I seem to recall those being your words to me. We keep each other human.”
“We do.” He shrugged and chewed on his bottom lip for a moment. “But it’s been three years Sam and I’m an ass sometimes and this has been here forever...”
He narrowed his eyes, refusing to second-guess anything coming out of his brother’s mouth. “What has been here forever?”
Dean grabbed him by his overshirt and smashed their lips together.
A part of him wanted to believe but a part of him couldn’t. His brother had always been a fucking martyr and maybe Sam hadn’t hidden how he felt as well as he thought he had because this couldn’t be real. He pulled his face away, “What the fuck Dean?”
“I’ve seen the way you look at me Sammy and after seeing what could have happened in the future...”
“I already told you that I’m not running off to Detroit.”
He rolled his eyes, “I’m not doing this to keep you here asshole.” He shifted back and forth on his feet but didn’t let go of his grip on his shirt. “Until Zachariah pulled me into the future, I always thought that eventually we’d find each other. Realizing that we didn’t, I needed you to know the truth. I meant to tell you when we met back up but,” he shrugged again. “You choose a demon over me Sam and I was hurt and jealous and I didn’t want to worry that you would use this against me to try to smooth things over.”
“How long…?” He finally managed to get past his dry mouth.
“You were sixteen when things changed.” Dean tightened his fingers in the material of his shirt like he was worried that Sam was going to walk away. “I’ve tried so long to ignore this, even though I’ve seen you looking at me. And then my deal happened and I was glad you didn’t know. But Sam, we’ve been running for three years and now it looks like the angels are trying to play both sides to get their fucking war and you needed to know.”
Sam wasn’t sure that he completely believed him but Dean had never been very good at hiding the truth from him for long and he had already proven to himself that he was weak where Dean was concerned.
This was either going to save them or completely destroy them but Sam couldn’t say no.