By Ridley C. James, January 2006
Rating: T-for language
Disclaimer: Nothing Supernatural is
mine, but I like to get delusional from time to time.
Author’s notes: This is a side piece
to Game Over and you might want to peruse
that one before tackling
Sometimes Sam Winchester’s life
seemed like a book. The genre was something of a cross between horror
and science fiction with a little mystery and drama tossed in for good
Each day the pages were filled with
lines revealing the struggles that he and his family faced, and
sometimes the climaxes left the unwilling hero yearning for the end to
He’d managed to last through the
first eighteen years-chapters-
without becoming the victimized martyr, only to find himself lost among
the metaphors and similes and ironic twists and turns, not truly
understanding what his part was in the story.
Sam often found himself wishing that
he had been taken out in the first act, like his mother, maybe then
things would have gone differently for the other prominent characters.
Maybe John Winchester wouldn’t have
become the part belligerent bastard-part misunderstood father that he
was, and Dean wouldn’t have been made to be the comic relief.
Because it was a joke. Really. Dean’s
role in this whole fantasy. He was a trained soldier-willing to die for
someone else’s crusade. He was the loyal protector-defending someone
else’s charge. Never thinking of himself. Neverpursuing his own
identity. His own dreams.And for what?
Everyone knew what happened to those
characters. They were expendable and almost always sacrificed for
dramatic effect-right. To add depth to the story-to torture the hero-
to give meaning to the moral. This was the role Dean had been cast in
Sam’s story. And it wasn’t fair or funny in the least. Not to Sam.
Sam’s insanely brave, masochistically
loyal big brother was Finny from A
Separate Peace. He was Johnny and Dallas from The Outsiders. Dean was Dan from Where The Red Fern Grows and he was
Old-fucking-Yeller all rolled
The youngest Winchester had always
felt it, but not until that very moment was he sure that he’d have to
bring the plot to a quick and abrupt halt if he was going to save the
best part of his story. If he was going to save Dean from himself.
“Sammy?” Dean’s voice was soft and
weak, and so unlike Dean that it almost stole Sam‘s breath. “You still
The eighteen year old pushed away his
worrisome thoughts and shifted his position so that his brother could
see him in the dim light. “I’m here.”
“Good.” Dean forced a smile. “I
really hate the fucking dark.”
“Big brother’s afraid of the
dark-huh?” Sam had to fight hard to keep the tremble out of his voice.
“Hell no, I just…” Dean met his eyes,
and something changed- the lie faded away. “I’m just terrified of
what’s waiting in the dark.”
Sam swallowed hard and for not the
first time that night silently cursed John Winchester-for starting this
epic nightmare. “I’m sure some of your dates have felt that way too.”
“Funny,” Dean smiled, but then winced
as another pain tore through him. “Shit,” he growled, trying to roll
away from his brother.
“I’m sorry,” Sam held him in place
and slightly eased the pressure that he was applying to the wound on
Dean’s chest. “I have to stop the bleeding.”
The older hunter’s eyes were closed,
but he nodded, his hand brushing against Sam’s knee-as if trying to
offer comfort for the pain that his own suffering was causing his
Something in the gesture evoked fury
in Sam. “Damn it, Dean!” he swore and sea-green eyes looked up at him.
“Where the fuck is Dad?”
Dean looked confused, “He was right
behind me, Sammy. Really.”
Sam looked at the door that was being
used to hold them prisoner. It was locked. Of that he was sure. The
only time it had opened was when the demon had wanted to lure Dean
inside. And Dean had fallen for it, only one thing on his one track
mind-saving his kid brother.
“Are you sure you didn’t pull a solo
Dean frowned. “Now that would have
When Sam kept staring at him, Dean
caved. “So I left a little earlier than what we had planned.”
Sam rolled his eyes, and tried to be
angry, but fell miserably short. “I knew you came alone.”
Dean gasped and if Sam hadn’t known
better he would have thought it a diversionary tactic. “Take it easy.”
He brought his free hand up and Dean grasped it. “Just try to
The older Winchester nodded and
closed his eyes, focusing on the difficult process of doing what his
brother asked of him. After a moment the sharp agonizing pain dulled to
an intense throbbing and he licked his dry lips. “Dad will show, Sam. I
left him a note.”
Sam grimaced, imagining the look on
John Winchester‘s face. “Oh, he’ll love that. Dear Dad, I‘ve gone to
kick some Demon ass, Love Dean.”
Dean shrugged. “I was tired of
waiting while he researched every damn baddie under the freakin’ sun.”
“There’s something to be said for
knowing what your facing, before you actually get in it’s face.”
“And there’s something to be said for
a surprise attack.”
“Yeah, I can think of some choice
words.” Sam looked down at the wound he was treating and gingerly
pulled the bunched up shirt away. It was still bleeding. “Suicidal being the first to come to
“I’ll be okay, Sammy.”
“Sure you will.” Just like Johnny was fine.
“How about you?” Dean reached his
other hand up, and barely brushed it against Sam’s face, that was
maligned with fading bruises and a nasty cut. His voice took on a hard
edge. “Did that bastard hurt you?”
Sam shook his head at his brother’s
one track mind-a sudden image of Old Yeller being put out of his misery
sending a wave of nausea rushing through him. “No. He didn‘t hurt me.” But he sure did one hell of a job on you.
“That’s all I could think of.”
Dean stared at him for a moment.
“That I’d messed up, and that fucked up monster was going to hurt you
bad or …and you were all alone.”
“It wouldn’t have been your fault,
“If that thing had killed me, you
wouldn’t have been to blame.”
A cross between a soft sob and
breathless laugh escaped Dean, and his hand tightened on Sam’s. “Don’t
say that, Sammy. You‘re my kid brother. Of course it would have been my
And to Dean it was just that simple.
As simple as a dog sacrificing itself for it’s boy. Or a knight
sacrificing himself for his King. Dean knew his role all too well.
Sam chose to forget arguing with him,
and instead checked the wound again. It was bad and his attempt to stop
the bleeding seemed useless. Whatever the demon had used, it was
enchanted, and no typical medical treatment was going to help. Dean was
The quiet voice brought his eyes back
to Dean’s. “Yeah?”
“It‘s worth it to me, you know.”
Sam’s eyes began to sting and he felt
a familiar knot lodge in his throat. “What’s worth it?” Because Sam
couldn’t imagine anything being worth Dean’s life.
“Being your big brother.”
The eighteen year old shook his head.
“Don’t say that. Don't you dare say it. You’re not going to die, so
don’t even start with the whole heart wrenching death bed speech,
because I won’t let you. This isn’t some fucking novel, it‘s our life.”
Dean frowned. “Chill, Sammy. I ain’t
“The hell you’re not. You jumped in
front of me and let that thing tear into you and now I can’t stop the
fucking bleeding, Dean. We don’t have Dad’s journal to find a spell, we
don’t have any Holy water-and we don’t have Dad. And we’re trapped, in
case you haven‘t noticed. I can’t get us out of here. I can’t save you.
You’re going to die just like some leather jacket clad juvenile
delinquent from the fifties.”
“Dude, the Fonz didn’t die.”
“Not Fonzy, you big idiot.” Sam felt
like pulling his hair out. “Dallas.”
Dean fought hard to follow his little
brother’s rambling. “Are you sure you’re okay, Sam, ‘cause if that son
of a bitch messed with you…”
Sam shook his head in frustration and
sighed. “I’m talking about The Outsiders, you freak.”
The twenty two year old had to think
for a moment. He wasn’t exactly sure why his brother wanted to start a
book club momentin the middle of their imminent doom, but whatever the
kid wanted. Besides S.E. Hinton‘s novel was one of the few he’d
actually liked and read in school. “I don’t know, Sammy. I always
pictured myself as the older brother-you know…the part Patrick Swayze
played in the movie.”
Sam rolled his eyes. No, that would be more like Dad.
Didn’t his brother get it. He wasn’t really talking about the stupid
book, he was talking about them.
Before he could say anything more,
Dean grinned as if a sudden realization had just struck him. “Sam-you
are so Pony Boy.”
“Shut up, Dean.”
“All sensitive and misunderstood, and
moody as hell.”
“I don’t want to be Pony Boy,” Sam’s
voice came out harsher than he meant it to and Dean actually winced. Of course, at this moment, I don’t want to
be Sam Winchester either.
Dean frowned. “Then who do you want
to be, Sammy?”
He knew his brother couldn’t realize
how loaded that question was-unless of course he’d suddenly been given
the gift of reading minds. “I just want to be someone normal.” Someone
nobody would want to read about in a million years.
A look of hurt crossed Dean’s face
and he seemed to be in more pain than he had been just moments before.
“I don‘t know if that‘s possible, little brother.”
“It has to be, Dean.” Sam looked down
at their hands- still clasped together. “For both our sakes.”
Dean frowned, and started to say
something but a loud noise beyond the door had both boys trying to
scramble to their feet.
Sam made it first and he quickly
pulled Dean up and shoved him against the far wall. Dean found himself
unable to protest as Sam picked up a loose board from the floor for a
weapon and used his own body to shield his injured brother.
“That’s not going to do much good
against the Jolly Black Giant,” he pointed out.
“Neither did your rock salt and
Dean rested his head against his
brother’s back and said a quick prayer. “At least Pony Boy lived,
Sammy,” he whispered.
The noise grew and was followed by a
loud ominous howling. “There’s worst things than dying, Dean.”
“Really?” Dean flinched as something
hit the door and it splintered around the frame. “Like what?”
Sam leaned back, pushing him farther
against the wall. “Like riding off into the sunset alone.”
Dean opened his mouth to reply, but
with one final crack the door gave way and the boys found themselves
facing a very pissed off and suddenly relieved looking John Winchester.
“You boys alright?”
Sam shook his head, slowly lowering
the piece of wood. “Dean’s hurt.”
He turned to face his brother just in
time to catch the older boy as his legs gave way and he slid down the
John rushed to his youngest son’s
side and helped him ease his brother to the floor. “Hey, Dad,” Dean
said breathlessly. “I see you got my note.”
John shook his head. “You mean the
one that said- ‘Hey, Dad, gone to kick some demon ass and get Sammy
Dean winced as the man lifted his
shirt a little rougher than was necessary and prodded at the gash in
his chest. “That would be the one.”
The oldest Winchester grimaced as he
took in the condition of the wound. “We’ll discuss that direct
insubordinate move when you’re on your feet again.”
John pulled the leather cord from
around his neck and lifted the small bottle that dangled form the end
of it from beneath his shirt. Sam shot him a nervous look, but he
ignored it. “Hold him down, Sam.”
The eighteen year old looked at his
father and almost laughed at the idea of how readers would eat this
The young hero being made to watch as
the person he holds most dear is forced to suffer further on his
behalf. And to make matters worse, he must take part in the inflicting
of the pain. Was it not enough that he was the cause of it in the first
place? Mix in the whole savior/destroyer irony that his father
represented, and it would be an instant best seller.
“Sam!” John shouted, and Dean winced.
“We need to do this.”
Sam blinked as his father’s stern
face swam into focus once more. He nodded and looked down at the
injured hunter-the brave warrior. Meeting his brother’s gaze he let one
hand rest firmly on the uninjured side of the older boy’s chest and
used his other to grab hold of Dean’s hand.
Dean squeezed it and forced an
imitation of his cocky grin. “Dad’s going to enjoy this way too much.”
John shook his head at his son’s
morbid sense of humor and uncorked the Holy water. “I can find better
ways to punish you, Ace, without depleting my arsenal.”
Dean tensed in anticipation of the
pain, but his resolve to be stoic crumbled as soon as the fire erupted
across his sternum. “Fuck!” He ground out, bucking against Sam’s hold,
but not getting far.
“Dad?” Sam’s voice was scared, and
sounded so like it had when he was a small boy.
John didn’t risk looking at him as he
poured more of the bottle over the gash. Dean cried again out and
jerked beneath his brother’s hold. Sam roughly pushed their father away
from him. “That’s enough!”
Oh yeah, the readers would be on the
edge of their seat now, waiting for the anguished display of remorse.
Sam wouldn’t disappoint them.
“Take it easy, Dean. You’re okay.”
Sam raked his hand over Dean’s hair and leaned over him, “It’s over.
I’m so sorry. I won’t let him hurt you anymore. I swear-you‘re safe.”
No more bleeding on the pages.
John heard the whispered
apology-hoping Sam was referring to the demon and not him.
“We need to get him back to the
motel, Sammy. I left my journal there.”
We need to keep him safe. Sam
screamed the thought in his mind, but only glared at his father. I have
to keep him safe.
His brother had gone completely still
in his arms, and Sam was grateful that Dean had passed out.
The eighteen year old didn’t protest
when John helped him lift his brother to his feet. The oldest hunter
wrapped one of Dean’s arms around his neck and Sam followed suit. “Are
you okay?” He asked as they stumbled out the door with Dean’s weight
balanced between them.
Sam took his first breath of fresh
air in three days and nearly choked on it’s sweetness. “I’m okay.”
“You’re brother will be alright,
Sammy. I promise.”
time. “I know, Dad.”
John shifted his unconscious son so
that Sam was holding him as he opened the door to the Impala. “Let’s go
Home. That was such a funny word for
the Pink Flamingo Inn. Dean had joked that the Canadian version of
Motel 6 should have been called the Black Buzzard Pit instead.
But home was more than four walls and
a place to kick your boots off. As cliché as it was, home was
where your heart was, and as Sam watched his brother sleep he had never
been more sure of where he belonged-and why he had to leave.
His dad had gone to bed hours ago
after cleaning and suturing Dean’s wound with traditional methods this
time. But Sam couldn’t fall asleep, as he lay in the darkness listening
to his brother breathe. Too many plots were playing through his
mind-torturing him with possible endings for the saga he called his
He sighed deeply and nearly jumped
when something touched his shoulder. “You ever going to go to sleep?”
Sam smiled and rolled over onto his
side in the King-sized bed. Dean was awake and watching him. “How you
feeling?” he whispered, not wanting to wake their father in the other
“A little luckier than Johnny did
after he and Pony Boy played the heroes with those kids.”
Sam shook his head. “That’s good to
“I wasn’t the one nearly killed by a
“There’s worse things than being
Sam swallowed hard, glad that his
face wasn‘t readable in the dark room. “Like what?”
“Like riding off in the Impala alone.”
There was that mind reading thing
“Don’t get the big head or anything,
but it was wrong without you here these last few days. I kept thinking
you were gone for good. I thought I might not see you again, and it
scared the shit out of me.”
“I did a lot of thinking too,” Sam
told him, wondering if he could tell him the rest. I don’t think I can do this anymore.
“You know what I really liked about
that book The Outsiders, Sammy”
Sam raised up on his elbow, a little
confused by the change of subject. “What?” It was weird for he and his
brother to be discussing books of all things. Dean didn’t talk about
much- unless it was in a mini-skirt, or needed vanquishing, and
feelings were never on the agenda.
Dean licked his lips and was glad
that his face wasn’t readable in the dark room. “I liked that it was
about a family. About how you have to stick together-no matter what.”
“Pony Boy ran away from his family,
“He came back.”
Sam laid down and rolled overwith a
sigh. “You should get some sleep, man.”
“Yeah,” Dean yawned, feeling the
effects of the pain medicine he’d taken starting to tug at him. “I’m
glad you’re okay, little brother.”
The younger Winchester listened as
Dean’s breath evened out once more, a sure sign he’d fallen back
asleep. He turned over, and peered through the darkness between them.
“I’m sorry, big brother, but this has got to stop, before someone
dies.” Before you end up dead.
“I’m done playing.”
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