Negative Effect

By: Ridley C. James & Williamson M. Scott

I. Prologue

It's dark out.

The sky, which was cloud-covered and angry earlier in the day has cleared to reveal a wealth of stars and a haunting full moon. The stormy atmosphere from before was much better suited for my mood.

This day is quickly turning into my worst nightmare. One that I can't seem to wake up from. I guess Sam and I have something in common.

This waking nightmare is the same as it always is when I‘m dead asleep. I fail.

Mom. Dad. Sam. I fail them all.

Mom dies, Dad stays lost forever, and Sam-he never gets his happy ending. And me, well, Dean ends up alone in this story.

Like now. Even with Sam in the same room, only mere inches separating us, I feel totally and completely alone, like I can‘t reach him. Just to prove myself wrong, I reach out and run my hand over his hair, a move I admit Ihave been guilty of when he was a sleeping five year-old, but have long since given up. Definitely a chick flick moment. Too bad Sammy’s not awake to share it. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it.

He’s unconscious, and it’s driving me crazy. There have been countless times when I would have liked to have knocked him unconscious, but that’s just part of being brothers. Now, I just want to shake him awake, make some stupid joke about him goofing off on the job, and then get the hell out of Dodge.

I hate to wait in the best of situations.

I’ve never been patient, and more than anything, I can not bare to be helpless. And today, I have been both.

When I was a kid, the teachers at school use to try and get Dad to put me on medicine. They said I was hyper and easily distracted. Dad just laughed and said that was the fucking understatement of the year.

Sam got notes from the Gifted teacher, I got notes from the Counselor. Both irritated the hell out of John Winchester. I think he thought we were freaks enough without stereotyping us any further.

But if I were honest, they had a point. I’ve never been big on sitting still or focusing on one thing for too long.

I don’t think I can blame it on ADHD though. Usually, if I'm not doing something I have too much time to think, to remember.

That's one of the reasons why I don't let up on our hunt for Dad, why I drag Sam to one stinking job after another. I keep us moving, never looking back.

Maybe that’s because I'm terrified that the past will catch up with us. With me. Hell, maybe tonight's that night. Ever since we went back to Kansas, to that house, that fear has become more real. I can’t shake it.

Funny, that my need to run as far and fast from that place has brought me face to face with the very thing that I was trying to escape. Losing Sam.

Because I might as well face it. My whole screwed up life has been about losing people, and not losing people-most importantly, not losing my brother. Watch your brother, Dean. Protect your brother, Dean. He’s your responsibility.

And tonight, I sit watching and waiting, feeling like its all falling in around me. You’re losing him.

I wonder where Dad is and why in the hell he didn’t come to Kansas. He’s messed up before, especially where Sam was concerned, but this may be the first time that he’s really let me down. And it sucks.

It took a lot for me to swallow my damn Winchester pride and practically beg my daddy to come and save us. It was harder to look Sam in the eye after we had gone, and tell him that I’d called our father. He didn’t come, Sammy.

The look he gave me wasn’t exactly what I’d expected. It was as close to pity as I ever want to see in that dark gaze. He wasn’t pissed at Dad. He wasn’t mad at me for keeping it from him. No, Sam felt sorry for me. Damn him.

It’s not like I really thought he’d come. Okay, maybe I did, but I know why I called him. Fear made me do it. Fear and its bastard cousin, helplessness.

I was so afraid that whatever took our mom would get to finish the job that it started all those years ago. Because in those really honest, really painful moments, I realize that even as a little boy, I think I intuitively believed it had been after Sam.

One look at my lifeless baby brother lying in the bed in front of me now, lines of pain marring his pale face and I know that I’ll never tell him that little theory. Never.

Even though I know he thinks the same thing himself, knowing that his big brother thought it too would only hurt him. And I’d just about rather cut my fucking heart out before I’d do that.

I’d also rather sale my baby for scrap metal than admit it to Sam, but I love him. God, help me. I love my brother.

And in there lies the problem.

I love him. Love is blind. So, therefore, when it comes to Sam, I’m as fucked as Ray Charles.

It’s a sad fact and a damn shame that Love and I don’t have a good track record.

I’ve only loved three people my entire life. Just three. I don’t see that changing in the future anytime soon. Maybe I should have discussed that with Marilyn, my favorite shrink, when I had the chance.

Anyway, all the people that I have loved and still do love, have left me hangingat some point in time.

Dean, the adult, gets that Mom didn’t have a choice. As a kid, not so much. I was pissed for a long time.

Dad and Sam-well that’s another story, now isn‘t it. It's not like something Evil came and plucked them out of my life.

When Dad ditched my ass it stung, but it hurt the worst when Sam walked away. And the real kicker is that I can’t even hold that against him. Believe me, I've tried the whole hating on Sammy thing. It just doesn't work. It'sbecause a part of me, the big brother part, wanted him to go. I just wanted him to be happy, normal, I wanted to believe that he could.

You see this love shit keeps you from seeing things that should be obvious. It makes you believe things that aren’t true.

Like when you believe that you’re doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

Yep, I’m a fucking idiot when it comes to the people I love. Especially Sammy. He’s my biggest weakness. Maybe, he’s my only weakness.

And, I hate it.

Almost as much as I really hate feeling weak.

It's like when I was a little boy and all I could do was watch as my father tried to piece our lives back together the best that he could. I wasn‘t able to help mom when she needed it or him, when I knew he felt so alone, but even then I had Sam to take care of.

That was my job. That I understood, could control. I didn’t feel useless or vulnerable when I was watching Sam.

Unfortunately, lately, I've really sucked at that too.

Case in point. Sam having to quit college. Sam watching his girlfriend die. Sam being attacked and hurt by countless other creatures that I didn't protect him from.

And now-Sam getting sick.

Yeah, as a big brother, I'm pretty much batting zero these days. Captain Onehelluva Big Brother has left the building, folks.

God. He's here, right in front of me, but there's nothing I can do for him. I’m as about as good to him as swim trunks are to an Eskimo. The virus, spell, or whatever the hell it is, has him in it's clutches, and there's not one damn thing that I can do to stop it.

No silver bullets, no Holy water, no mirror to break to release it's hold. If it were as simple as walking across water and turning straw into gold, I'd have done it already. I'd do anything for him. Even leap buildings in a single bound.

To make it all worse, this is my fault. I can’t blame it on anyone else, so I’ll blame it on the love thing. I wanted to find Dad so badly, I wanted Sam to get his fucking happy ending, and I wanted to do one last thing in my life that wasn’t going to be screwed up. I wanted, no- needed, to know he was safe before…

Anyway, I should have figured it out before things got this far, before Sam got sick. I never should have believed that the e-mail was from Dad. After all, it looks like I would have learned my lesson after that whole Illinois fiasco. But, my heart and my head tend to disagree when it comes to my family.

Let’s face it, I screwed up, and now Sam is going to be the one to pay.

What hurts the most is that I promised him that we’d find Dad. I promised him that we’d find that thing that killed Mom and Jessica. But most importantly, I promised myself that I’d always protect him.

I’ve failed at all three. Just like in my nightmares.

I should have been watching him closer. I should have listened to my gut, instead of my heart.

Hell, this isn’t about what I should’ve done, it’s about what I should have never done.

I should have never gone to Stanford all those longmonths ago.

And, I sure the hell should have never gone to New Hope, Arizona.

Why the hell couldn't I have been the fucking psychic of the family?