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SPN fic: Five Heroes That Fell

November 17th, 2011 (08:13 am)

Title: Five Heroes that Fell (And One that Rose Again)

Disclaimer: Not mine.

A/N: Another random old one, written S5 around Fallen Idols, I believe. Thanks to sendintheklowns for the beta.

Summary: Even heroes have their breaking points, and whether they fall off the pedestals or you break them on your own, fallen heroes are much the same in the end.



-o-

1. Santa

Sam does everything right. He writes the letter with his best penmanship. He practices his lower case f’s and makes sure to cross every t with steady, straight strokes. He wants to do this right. He wants to make sure that Santa knows.

He lays out the plate of cookies and pours the milk into the best glass they have. It’s extra big, the one their dad uses when he comes home from the road, and Sam thinks Santa will like it because it’s red. The cookies are from the store, but Dean doesn’t have permission to use the oven without Dad around, and he’s not due home for another few days yet. But they’re not quite expired, so Sam thinks Santa will still like them okay.

Sam makes sure the tree is decorated and that the windows aren’t locked. There’s no fireplace in this hotel, but Dean says if the old dude really can fly, then he can get in windows, too.

Sam does everything right. He’s been a good boy--he knows he has, he even asked Dean, and Dean would never lie to him--and all he wants is a few new books and a He-Man figure for Christmas. That’s not even a lot, not like the page-long list Dean rattled off. And the tree has handmade ornaments, some even with glitter, so Sam thinks Santa will reward such effort.

Even though he’s anxious, Sam heads to bed early. Santa doesn’t like peekers, and Sam doesn’t take chances. He sleeps hard, curled tight beneath the covers.

When the morning comes, there’s frost on the windows and Sam’s feet are cold on the threadbare carpeting. He runs out into the living room, heart buoyed with hope.

Dean finds him an hour later, curled up on the couch. He’s just staring at the tree, the perfect tree with Sam’s ornaments, even the ones with glitter. The glass is untouched and the milk smells funny. Dean eats a cookie as he consoles him: “It doesn’t mean anything,” he says. “Santa will come next week. You’ll see.”

Sam wants to believe him, he really does, but even when Santa does show up the day his father gets home, Sam wants nothing to do with it. Instead he eats the next batch of cookies and drinks all the milk and doesn’t even look at the tree before he goes to bed. Because Sam will do a lot for someone he believes in, but he can’t forget the feeling of waking up Christmas morning to an empty living room and the cold, cold floor beneath his feet as he stood there, wondering what it was all for.

2. John

Sam’s dad isn’t around a lot, so when he is, Sam likes to cling to him. He likes to sit in his lap, to ride on his back, to read over his shoulder. He asks questions: silly ones, serious ones, the same ones, again and again and again.

“Where did you go, Daddy?”

“Did you have fun?”

“Did you miss me as much as I missed you?”

And his dad always answered, always picked him up to tickle him until he couldn’t breathe. Always tousled his hair and called him Sammy with a voice deep like the echo in a well.

Sam’s dad works a lot, to make money. That’s what good dads do, and Sam’s proud of that.

But other dads don’t do that. Other dads come to school plays and parent teacher conferences. Other dads are there for Christmas and birthdays and play with their kids in the park on Sundays. Other dads have houses and minivans.

Sam’s dad is a traveling salesman, but Sam doesn’t know what he sells. He never sees a suitcase, never sees anything worth selling. Just guns and bullets and old books in languages Sam can’t read.

One day, Sam finds his father’s journal, and he knows he’s not supposed to, but he wants to know.

Sam’s dad isn’t a traveling salesman.

Sam doesn’t know what his dad is, but he knows that that much isn’t true.

And if that much isn’t true, then Sam doesn’t know what of the rest is. He doesn’t know if his mom really died in a car accident or if the reason they use different names is because John needs special permission to work in different states. He doesn’t know if they’re really safe at all anymore, or if any of the other answers are true.

“Where did you go, Daddy?”

“Did you have fun?”

“Did you miss me as much as I miss you, Daddy?”

If one’s a lie, they might all be lies, and Sam doesn’t know what to do with that.

Sam finally asks Dean, who confirms everything Sam already knew.

In the end, Dean tells Sam that their father’s a superhero. Sam has never doubted Dean, so the only thing he knows is that superheroes may save lives, but they’re really not super at all.

3. Mr. Wyatt

Mr. Wyatt changes Sam’s life. He’s the one that tells Sam about college, that makes Sam believe there’s something else out there for him. The last six years have been a string of endless training and hunts, and Sam’s been too scared to say no, too angry to say yes. He’s just existed, learning what he can, but he doesn’t love it like Dean does, doesn’t believe in it like his father does.

Sam is amazed that Mr. Wyatt saw through his paper to see who he was underneath. Sam is impressed that Mr. Wyatt cares at all. Not just about what Sam can do, but who Sam is. Sam’s been looking for someone to believe in for six years, and Mr. Wyatt seems like as good of choice as any.

That’s just the start, and it builds slowly. Sam starts to ask why, and then he demands it. He demands it and he draws his line in the sand and doesn’t look back when he crosses it. He thinks someday he’ll go back to Mr. Wyatt, and tell him all he’s done.

But all Sam’s done is drop out of school, get his girlfriend killed, and fail everyone he’s ever cared about.

In the end, it turns out Mr. Wyatt is just a middle age man, alone in the world with nothing but his job. He’s still at the same school, wearing the same ties and sitting at the same desk. He’s probably teaching the same courses and assigning the same What I Did Over My Summer Vacation essay. He told Sam once that he had potential, and Sam can see now how wrong he was.

Because what can Mr. Wyatt know. Behind his desk, in front of his books, telling kids they can be happy and achieve their dreams. Sam would have been better off not believing that, and Sam wonders why he thought to say thank you at all.

4. Ghandi

It’s funny that after all this time, Sam still looks up to men like Ghandi. Men of principle and compassion. Men of worth, esteemed by history to be great.

There was a time when Sam aspired to such things.

Then Sam ended the world. Slept with a demon, drank demon blood, and broke the seal that held Lucifer at bay.

Sam’s no Ghandi, and he has no delusions that he ever could be. He’ll never be anything more than the guy who screwed up, and he’s okay with that.

But he thinks, maybe he can help fix it. He can’t be a hero, but he can make the world safe for others to come. If he can’t be the man of principles he once wanted to be, the least he can do is to the world back to them, to change for the better.

That’s what Sam wants. That’s why Ghandi still matters. The world needed men like Ghandi to counterbalance things like Sam.

Even though Sam knows it’s not really Ghandi choking him, the image is still seared into his brain. A man of nonviolence murdering one of destruction. There’d be justice in the act, Sam knows, but some principles should never be broken.

Sam knows that now. Too late, but he knows it now.

And he thinks, maybe even Ghandi can fall. Maybe even Abe Lincoln can be compromised.

Which doesn’t leave much hope for the rest of them, not that Sam had any hope left at all.

5. Dean

It’s been hard, being on the road with his brother again. Dean’s accepted him back, but it doesn’t change what he’s done. Sam wants to believe they can have a fresh start, that they can hunt together and make a difference in this fight, but he feels like there’s something Dean’s still holding back.

Sam can sense it. In the way Dean doesn’t quite meet his eyes. In the way Dean doesn’t let Sam take up the rear. In the way Dean doesn’t fall asleep until Sam’s already snoring.

Sam deserves it. He does. Dean’s trying, he thinks. That’s more than Sam can ask for.

But when he walks back into the room and hears Dean’s conversation. Hears the sarcastic lilt of his voice: “We all know whose fault that is.”

And something inside Sam just breaks.

Because he can’t do this alone. He thought his brother loved him enough to give him a second chance, he thought Dean was trying, but Sam realizes that maybe Dean’s been trying something entirely different. Not to forgive, but to monitor. Not to reconnect, but to track.

Because Sam’s going to say yes, and Dean doesn’t trust Sam to stay strong alone.

Sam always believed his brother, always believed Dean was capable of anything. But Sam sees now that some bridges can’t be rebuilt. Some relationships can’t be repaired. Dean’s been an awesome big brother, but even he has his limits.

This is Sam’s fault, all of it. But he can’t fix it on his own. If his brother wants to fight together, they need to work together. No secrets. No holding back. Sam doesn’t know if he can stand strong by himself, but he knows he can’t stand strong with his brother babysitting him.

Even heroes have their breaking points, and whether they fall off the pedestals or you break them on your own, fallen heroes are much the same in the end.

And One Who Rose Again

Sam’s been looking for a hero most of his life.

Sam finds one right where he began.

Because Dean lets him back. Not just back into the hunt, but back into his heart. It’s a difficult conversation, and the apology feels all wrong, but Sam understands it for what it is. An olive branch. Not that everything is forgotten, but that it’s something worth working toward.

In the end, Dean’s done a lot of heroic things. He’s saved people, hunted things, but the thing Sam admires most, the thing that still gets him, right in the heart, is the toss of the keys.

“You want to drive?”

The idea scares Sam. He doesn’t know if he trusts himself. He’s no one’s hero.

But Dean’s been his hero for as long as he can remember, and if Dean can trust him in this, then maybe Sam can believe in himself, too.