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Fic: Too Little, Too Late 1/3

August 15th, 2007 (12:32 pm)

Title: Too Little, Too Late

Summary: Reeling from their dad's death, both boys struggle to connect to each other again before it's all too little, too late.

Rating: PG-13, gen (Dean, Sam)

A/N: This fic is for kalyw in the last round of the SFTCOL(AR)S Summer Fic Exchange. She requested something post-CSPWDT, dealing with Sam ignoring his injury and the consequences thereof. Therefore, this is SO not my fault :) This turned out to be three chapters long, and I will try to post every other day. Thanks to Tyranusfan for the beta, geminigrl11 for her ability to cut ruthlessly, and sendintheklowns for holding my hand as I rant about how much the fic hated me.

A/N 2: I should probably warn that this fic may be biased. There's a general assumption that Sam is selfish, that Sam takes Dean for granted, and fics like to spend time teaching Sam the opposite. Everyone is entitled their own opinion, and mine is that both boys take each other for granted in the way that only people who spend every day together can. Both are selfish, both are screwed up, and both need to be built up by the other. So in this fic, Dean may come across as harsh at times in this fic, and Sam may come across as a bit self-deprecating, so I just ask that everyone remember the context--post CSPWDT. Neither boy is up to par and I'm exploiting that for this fic. And I make no apologies :)

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Too Little, Too Late

Sam could still feel the burn of the coffee on his hand as it splashed to the ground.

Dad.

Sprawled, limp, dead. (No, no, no.)

He knew it before he got to his father's side, which made it even more difficult to swallow. He ran as fast as he could, tried as hard as he could, but he'd never get there in time. There were no second chances this time. There was nothing he could do except get there a minute too late.

He'd just never thought it'd end like this. End with an aborted fight and a cup of coffee and a heart attack and a lifetime of words he'd never be able to take back.

The tears were blinding him, choking him.

It couldn't end like this, he couldn't let it end like this.

He didn't have a choice.

They took his father, pulled him away, and all Sam could do was sit there and sob, pleading, begging, hoping.

But then he saw the doctor, looking down at him, sad and sympathetic. "Time of death, 10:41."

That couldn't be it. It wasn't. He tried to push forward, to see, but the doctor was there, holding him, telling him that he needed to calm down.

Sam didn't want to calm down. Sam just wanted to see, wanted to see that it wasn't true.

His arms were pulled to the side, restrained.

Then Sam saw the scene in front of him.

His father, cold and pale and dead. (This is not happening.)

Next to him, on an identical gurney, the monitors showing nothing, lay his brother, just as cold and pale and dead.

He'd lost them both. One fell swoop, and they were gone and Sam was alone.

He screamed and kicked but someone tugged on him, pulling his arm, and agony erupted throughout his body, sending him to his knees.

"How are they both dead?" he asked, he begged. (Because you're a selfish bastard, Sam.)

"We did everything we could, Sam," the doctor promised.

Sam shook his head.

"But we were too little, too late."

Sam twisted against the doctor's unyielding grip, struggled, but the pain was all-encompassing and he felt himself fade to gray.

-o-

Sam woke with a breath caught in his throat, his eyes wet and his heart pounding.

In the darkness, he glanced to his side, eyes probing the room.

Dean. Dean was there. Sleeping, breathing, alive.

A nightmare,
he thought. Only a nightmare.

At least part of it was a nightmare.

In his nostrils, he could still smell the faint smoke of their father's burning corpse.

He squeezed his eyes closed, trying to forget. His chest hitched, still trying to catch his breath.

Nightmares were nothing new to him. Considering everything he'd seen as a child, everything he'd seen scribbled in the pages of his father's journal, nightmares were a common thing for him. His father had always tried to assuage Sam's fears with salt lines and weaponry, neither of which really got to the heart of Sam's fears. He knew his nightmares were a weakness, knew they made him a weakness, and Sam had always wanted to be strong.

The dreams since Stanford didn't usually terrify him anymore, but they haunted him. Still graphic and vivid, but now full of promise and destruction. Either that, or of undeniable guilt.

No matter what psycho babble he could get to explain his nightmares, no matter what the visions suggested, part of him always figured his nightmares had always been his penance. His penance for not being good enough as a child. His penance for getting his mother killed. His penance for not saving Jessica.

Now they were his penance for not being the son he could have been, for not being the brother he should be. He'd failed his father in the most basic way--by failing to pull the trigger, he'd lost not only his father, but his one chance at victory as well. More importantly, he'd taken away his brother's only sense of stability because Dad was dead, and Dean would never have his family back again.

And there wasn't anything he could say or do about it. Dean had confessed it all, told him how much he didn't deserve to be alive, and all Sam could hear was Dean telling him that he was just too little, too late.

He let out a shaky sigh, letting the vestige of wakefulness push the memory away. Dean was alive. He had to cling to that. As long as Dean was alive, he could make this better. That was more important than just about anything.

Dreams were nothing, after all. Nothing but imagination and thought. If he couldn't get past them emotionally, he would try logic. He'd try anything to overcome them, to keep them under wraps.

But the pain had been so real. He could still feel the grief in the wetness on his cheeks, the hollowness in his chest. He could even still feel the pain in his arm.

He winced, trying to flex his fingers.

The pain in his arm was no nightmare. The zombie had been more than real when she fell on him. Considering she'd been going for a broken neck, a sprained wrist didn't seem like too much of a tradeoff.

But it hurt more than any sprain he had remembered. Maybe it really was broken, he thought, fondling it gently.

Which really seemed about right. Another failure. He was too fragile. He probably should have run faster. He probably should have gotten on board with the hunt earlier. There was no doubt that he should have done something differently in all of this.

Too little, too late, now. Again. Always. He'd just have to deal with what he had right then. And what he had right then was a nightmare, a sleeping brother, and a pained wrist.

Throbbing, aching wrist was more like it.

When they'd checked into the motel, it'd started to bruise and swell a little. But Sam had wrapped it with an Ace bandage, hoping to keep it still and immobile without arousing his brother's suspicion.

The last thing Dean needed to do was to worry about Sam's wrist. It was pretty clear that Dean had bigger things on his mind than his little brother's carelessness.

Besides, he wanted Dean to forget about hospitals, forget what he'd lost there, what he'd almost lost. He hated to think of Dean finding himself in a hospital waiting room, alone. Sam could only imagine what memories that would bring up. Because Sam knew what it would be like for Dean. Sam knew that feeling of hopelessness and despair, of knowing there was absolutely nothing to be done to save his family. He would never inflict that on Dean. Never.

But he was fine; it was Dean who wasn't okay. Not at all. Sam had watched his brother's slow self-destruction for weeks now. From maiming the Impala, to his ruthless killing of that vampire, to taking a swing at Sam, Dean wasn't himself.

Hell, Dean had even broken down and cried in front of Sam, and even though Sam had been waiting for it, almost demanding it, he hadn't known what to do with it. He supposed he just never expected Dean to finally give in and do it.

His brother didn't see value in his life. His brother didn't feel like he deserved to live. Those two facts floored Sam more than he could admit.

Dean was everything to him. Dean was his entire world. He'd do anything for Dean, but Dean still couldn't see that. Still didn't get it. Dean didn't get that he was worried about him, that Sam wasn't just trying to be the good son for their dad, but for Dean as well.

He shifted in the bed, trying to find a more comfortable position to sleep. Pain flared up again and he stifled a groan. Being the good brother meant sacrifice; Dean had taught him that much. So he'd just have to manage the pain himself.

Keeping very still, he tried to will sleep back to him. Maybe in the morning things would be better. In the end, it didn't matter. The constant ache wore away his senses until all he knew was sleep.

-o-

Dean didn't sleep. Not really. Not anymore. Not since he'd woken up from his coma and realized he was supposed to be dead. Instead he lay in the bed, staring blankly at the ceiling, and felt the pulsing of his own heart echoing in his ears.

They called him a miracle.

All his wounds, healed. Everything, like it'd barely happened. He bore the scars, but not the full extent of the trauma. The Demon's torture, the car accident, nothing but scars and sutures that would diminish in time.

But he knew better. He was living on borrowed time--someone else's time. His father's time. And nothing made that right.

Not even Sam.

He loved Sam, he knew that Sam was trying--Sam was trying so hard. But Sam didn't get it. Sam didn't know. Sam had no idea.

Not only had their father given him his life that he didn't deserve, but he'd given Dean the secret that he didn't want to carry. His father had betrayed him in every way he possibly could.

Sighing, Dean looked over at the other bed. Sam was curled up on his side, scrunched into a ball it didn't seem possible for a man Sam's size to make.

He clenched his teeth. It figured Sam could sleep. Sam had the benefit of ignorance.

Sam felt guilty about a lot of things, that much was obvious to Dean. Their father's last words to Sam would haunt Sam forever, not to mention the unresolved trauma of finding Dad's body. Dean couldn't even begin to imagine what that must have felt like. But, even so, he couldn't help but think that Sam was the lucky one.

Sure, Dean had gotten the goodbye. He'd gotten the approval, the thanks, the love he'd always craved and wanted. But with that, with all of that, came the hardest secret he'd ever have to keep. The hardest cross he'd ever have to bear. Watch out for Sammy.

Just like he always had.

Only not at all like he always had.

How was he supposed to protect Sam when he knew the things he did? When he wasn't even supposed to be alive? This was Dad's burden, Dad's secret, Dad's job, and somehow it had fallen to Dean. Again.

He took a shuddering breath. He couldn't do this. He didn't know how to do this.

Maybe that wasn't entirely true.

He just didn't want to do this. Not anymore.

Closing his eyes, he knew he wouldn't sleep anymore. They just needed something else to hunt, something new, something distracting. Anything so he didn't have to think about how he wished someone would come along and spear him to a casket so he could never get out.

-o-

It was light out.

That was the first thing Sam's brain registered. The light was blaring through his eyelids, heating him through the sheet he was curled under.

His arm hurt.

That was the second thing Sam's brain registered. It was a sudden, deep pain that made him wince.

"Hey, Francis," Dean's voice came to him. "About time you woke up."

He opened his eyes, trying to prop himself up one-handed to look at his brother.

Dean was nursing a cup of coffee at the table, looking nonchalantly through a newspaper.

"What time is it?" Sam asked slowly, trying to bring saliva back to his dry mouth. He coughed once, grimacing at the rawness he found there.

"Nearly ten."

Sam winced again, though he hid it well. His brother was the only one good at masking things. "You could have woken me."

Dean's shrug was indifferent, and Sam felt cold. "I found us a hunt."

That was so like Dean, all of this was so like Dean. Acting as though nothing had happened. As though Dad wasn't dead, as though Dean hadn't broken down, as though they just needed to hunt and it'd be okay again. "Dean, are you sure we're ready for this? I mean--"

Dean finally looked up at him. "You need more time off or something? I mean, we went to see Mom's grave like you wanted. We've got to get back in the game."

Sam could hear the desperation in Dean's voice. The need to hunt, the need to focus on anything else, to give his life meaning. He'd seen it starting with the nest of vampires and seen it'd peak dangerously with the zombie. Dean wasn't emotionally dealing with anything right now. The hunt was all he had. Sam was pretty sure that it wasn't healthy to turn off feelings so completely, but he didn't know what else to do.

Obsession and denial were practical inherited Winchester traits.

He had to be there for his brother, just like Dean had always been there for him. In the months after Jessica died, Sam had turned to hunting to fill the void, to displace the guilt. It had been part of his healing process. And Dean had been there every step of the way, quietly prodding him to closure.

It was Sam's turn.

He smiled, clearing his throat. "Okay," he agreed. "Just let me shower and we'll get on the road."

-o-

Dean had hoped that if he kept going, it would help him forget, would help him move on. The hunt was always an apt distraction, full of details and dangers all its own. Their father had used it as a coping mechanism; so had Sam at times. So now it was Dean's turn to lose himself in it.

Sam had taken his sweet time that morning, sleeping in late, showering slowly, and by the end of it, Dean was all the more anxious to get out on the road. This was his hunt--just like they all had been. Sam seemed more than content to sit around and wait for some magical healing to occur, but it only made things worse.

If he wanted to get things back to normal, he'd have to do it himself. Well, him and his handy bi-hourly doses of caffeine that kept him from crashing hard.

His efforts aside, the drive was still less than comfortable. Sam was quieter than usual, and Dean no longer had the heart to try to break him out of it. The silences that lapsed between them were pervasive, deep, expansive.

But Dean had tried talking. And all Sam had given him was silence.

So back to the hunt it was.

This time it was a haunted barn. A few accidents, a handful of animal mutilations, and a death. Dean was suspecting a poltergeist and Sam seemed to think the history of the property supported that. All they needed to do was sweep the grounds, talk to the homeowner, and banish the thing.

Simple, but involved enough to keep his mind clear of his injuries, his secret, his dad. At least, that was his plan.

In reality, all it did was remind him.

The barn itself looked old, as though it had seen better days, but the property owner lived in a traditional looking home, tall, two stories, familiar in a painful way. The land was just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska, with long lines of wheat and stretched horizons that Dean could remember from family picnics in similar countrysides a lifetime ago.

That much could have been coincidence, painful but easily forgotten, but that certainly wasn't where it ended.

There was a truck in a long dirt driveway, black and big, just like Dad's.

A man, a 50-something widower, who lived alone on the farm, gruff and benevolent. Stubborn as hell, too, when they tried to get him to leave his property for awhile.

Even the way Sam squatted, leaning back on his heals, as he investigated, fingering at something on the ground and sniffing it, brow furrowed, so much like his father.

Dad was everywhere except the one place he should be: on the hunt.

-o-

Sam was grateful for several things.

First of all, the hunt seemed straightforward. He'd say simple, but nothing was simple in their lives. Not before, and especially not now.

Second of all, the victim and landowner was helpful and earnest, which always made things easier. Sam had a feeling that the man already suspected something supernatural, or something not normal, and that made it a little easier too.

Sam wanted there to be something more to be grateful for, but he couldn't really think of anything. Dean was silent and withdrawn, all business in that scary new way he had. Dean had shut down again, as though his tearful confession on the road had never happened.

That was Sam's fault, and he knew it. He'd had a chance, an opening, and said nothing, done nothing. He'd witnessed his brother's pain just like he'd begged for and he'd had no idea what to do with it.

Quite simply, Sam had failed. Again.

It wasn't the first time, and it probably wouldn't be the last.

On top of all that, his arm still throbbed. He'd run out of painkillers that morning and hadn't had the heart to ask Dean to stop to get more. He'd just have to suck it up and take the pain.

That made it hard to focus, though, hard to concentrate. He had to keep the limb cradled close to him to avoid touching things with it.

Sam sucked in a shaky breath and tried to focus. Dean was walking the perimeter of a silo, edging off toward the nearby cornfield, EMF in hand.

Sam eyed the decrepit structure, squinting up at it through the sunlight.

Sweeping trained eyes over the area, Sam looked for disturbances, anything out of the ordinary. He felt the dirt, tasted it, smelled it, hoping for some kind of clue.

Glancing up, he saw Dean looking at him, before looking hurriedly away.

Sam sighed, wiping his fingers on his jeans.

Clues were important to a hunt. He'd rather have clues on how to help his brother.

He couldn't help but wonder, though, if he'd already missed his chance. That all the clues in the world would never make a difference. Dean had opened up on the roadside, and Sam had said nothing. Now it was just too little, too late.

-o-

The man, Gene, had a rough exterior, but Dean found him surprisingly helpful when they really started talking. Open, too. Made them coffee and offered them some banana bread. He even told them about his children, and Dean could sense the man's pride, his love. And those kids gave him nothing, it seemed. They were successful but distant, but to Gene, they were everything. They moved away, visiting only at Christmas and Thanksgiving, and all their father could do was sing their praises. It was almost a greater family tragedy than his own.

For a moment he couldn't help but wonder how he would have flourished with a dad like that.

"But it's probably for the best," he said. "I wouldn't want them messed up in any of this stuff."

The poltergeist who had taken residence up in an abandoned silo. Usually, not a real problem, but it was seeking victims from whoever passed by, and the man had lost two dogs and a field hand to it. It was Sam who had wanted to tell him the truth, to try honesty with this guy, and Dean hadn't had the heart or the will to disagree.

"I can't believe that stuff's real," he said with a shake of his head. "You boys, what you do, don't your parents worry about you?"

Sam managed a pained smile but Dean grit his teeth and tried not to flinch. "No, sir," he said. "It's just the nature of the job."

It was Sam who flinched, then, and Dean tried not to noticed, tried not to see the worried look in Sam's eyes as he studied his brother. He couldn't deal with that right now, he couldn't deal with Sam right now.

Moreover, they had work to do.

-o-

It'd taken some sweet talking, and it was Dean who did it this time, to convince Gene that he needed to stay clear of the farm until they were done. The man looked stricken, all too fatherly, and he placed a concerned hand on Dean's shoulder.

"I don't want anything happening to you boys," he said, and there was an affection there, a genuine concern, that Sam wished Dean could bask in.

But he knew Dean wouldn't. He could see the unconscious tension in Dean's stance as he plastered an easy grin over his features.

"We appreciate the concern, really," Dean said, "but we know what we're doing. We've been doing this for a long time."

"You're both too young to be able to say that," the man said, shaking his head with a sad smile.

It was all the right words, all the right ideas, but the wrong time, from the wrong man. Too little, too late.

Sam didn't hear the rest of the conversation. He didn't hear what Gene said as he left. He barely saw the man's mouth move, his eyes low and downcast as he patted Dean's shoulder approvingly once again.

When he was gone, Dean sighed and looked at him. "I thought he would never leave," he said, blowing out another long and grating breath. "You ready to do this one, little brother?"

Sam wasn't though, not really. He wasn't ready to watch Dean like this again. And the pain in his arm was making him fuzzy, dizzy--lightheaded in a way he wasn't really prepared for. It suddenly felt like all his energy had been sapped, and it was harder than he would have imagined to shake himself free of the lethargy.

The only reason Sam managed to nod at all was the sheer effort in his brother's voice that he simply couldn't deny.

-o-

There wasn’t much to do. Dean could have done it in his sleep.

Who was he kidding, he practically was doing it in his sleep.

He eyed the barn, which was already familiar to him. "I wonder if junior’s home," he muttered.

Sam just grunted in reply.

"Well if he’s not now, he will be soon," Dean said, laying his bag down. Opening it, he pulled out the journal, thumbing through it to find the passage.

He looked up and found Sam standing there, head cocked to the side and staring right past Dean.

"Dude," he said.

Sam blinked, shuddered a little, then looked at him.

"You going to get the symbols drawn?" he asked, too aware of the impatience filtering through his voice.

Sam nodded, fumbling his own pack off his shoulder, letting it drop to the ground. Dean watched as his brother hunched over, opening it one-handed.

Dean just shook his head. It was so like Sam to be slow in the middle of a hunt, taking his own sweet time. Sam would call it being methodical, of course, but it was annoying all the same.

All he could do was his part, and hope that Sam met him half way.

Sighing, he placed the journal on the ground before riffling through his pack for the candles. He didn’t spare a glance at Sam, who was moving slowly around the edges of the barn, as he arranged them on the floor.

The hunt used to make him excited, nervous.

Now, he just wanted to get it over with.

Looking up, he saw Sam standing by the wall, chalk in hand, tracing slowly over the wood.

"Hey, you think you can hurry it up," Dean called. "I’d like to get ready before the poltergeist decides to come out on its own."

Sam stilled, but didn’t respond, his hand freezing in the air.

"Sam?"

Again, no response.

Annoyed, Dean stood, moving toward Sam. He didn’t have time for this, didn’t have the energy for this. All he asked was for a little bit of time, a little bit of focus, but Sam couldn’t even give him that much.

They would have to talk about this, which Dean resented even more, because Dean was more than tired of talking.

Dean was more than tired of everything.

-o-

Drawing the sigils was supposed to be the easy part.

He looked again at the picture, stared at it, then tried to remember how to move his hand to finish it.

Dean was talking. He needed to listen to him, to look at him, to pretend.

Sam squinted hard and tried to focus through the throbbing in his head. His stomach was turning somersaults.

Then his vision blurred, dipping and graying out.

He blinked, purposefully, and swallowed against it all.

"You got that, Sam?" Dean was asking.

Sam peered into his brother's face, not able to make out the facial expression, but hoping it wasn’t annoyed.

"Yeah," he lied.

Dean believed him (Dean believed him), going back to ready his weaponry.

Sam fumbled for his supplies. It was a poltergeist, right? How hard could a poltergeist be?

Just had to get this done, finish this hunt, then he could sleep for a little bit, check his arm, make sure it hadn't fallen off.

Though given how much it seemed to hurt, he was pretty sure having it fall off might actually be an improvement. Except for the whole being one-handed thing. But really, at this point, he was almost ready to give it a try.

Focus, Sam
. He gritted his teeth. What was wrong with him? Why did it seem like everything was underwater? Why couldn't he just be the good brother for once?

This was his last chance, his only chance. Everyone else was dead, everyone else was gone. There was just Dean. Dean had always been the first and he'd be the last and Sam needed to make it right with them.

-o-

When all else failed him, his training would always kick in, Dean could always rely on that much. His emotions needed to be left on the side of that mountain road, or in Bobby's car yard, where they could be expressed and destroyed in even blows.

He was impenetrable. His dad had raised him to hold onto that much. It didn't even matter if his father was a liar and a hypocrite, not when the hunt was on, and that was what Dean liked about it. No real thinking, just instincts. No emotion, just logic. It was simple, pure in a sense. Not tainted by the mess that was his life.

Dean handed the paper to Sam. "You read, I'll keep watch."

Sam stared a moment before dumbly taking the paper.

Dean turned away, didn't want to look at the blankness on Sam's face. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to stay calm, to stay with it, trying not to wish so badly that his father was here.

He took a few breaths, in and out, in and out, opened his eyes, and went back to work.

-o-

One minute Sam was reading an incantation, an exorcism.

The next he was fumbling for a shotgun.

Then there was pain.

In his haste to shoot the poltergeist before it attacked him, he'd forgotten one important detail--that his hand wasn't exactly moving properly. The Ace bandage helped, but it could only do so much, and he could almost feel the bones shifting in his wrist. The intensity of that sensation blocked all other reality from him.

Including the bloodthirsty poltergeist coming his way.

He didn't pass out, which he figured was actually rather impressive, but he found himself against the wall of the barn, blood dripping down his good arm and his other arm--well, that arm felt like it was on fire.

Through the haze of intense pain, he could hear yelling and noise, but all he could think about was the deadening realization of how badly he'd screwed this one up.

Something crashed and someone yelled. Dean.

His senses tingled.

The poltergeist was here. The poltergeist was here and his brother was facing it--alone.

Sam shook his head purposefully, but to little avail. His vision swam and he felt disconnected. But Dean needed his help. He had a job to do, a job...

The incantation. He needed to finish reading.

He made it to his knees, crawling forward through the cacophony. He'd just had the paper...

There. The paper. Scrabbling for it, he picked it up, and strained his eyes and breathed out the words.

More noise, more yelling.

His words rushed, tripped, ended.

Then it was over.

He panted, nearly laughing drunkenly, cradling his injured arm close to him. It was over.

Then he saw Dean standing over him, staring down, his face a mask of anger and fear. "Are you hurt?" he demanded.

Sam's eyes watered and he opened his mouth but nothing came out.

"Are you hurt?" Dean demanded again, the fire raging behind his eyes.

"N-no," Sam said finally, trying to push himself to stand.

"Then what the hell were you doing?" Dean yelled, his voice like gravel. He pulled at Sam's bloody sleeve, trying to gauge it.

Sam had nearly forgotten about that arm. "It's fine," he said, and it was mostly the truth.

Dean just glared at him before he prodded Sam hard, out of the barn.

Sam's feet stumbled forward. He swallowed a wave of nausea as they stepped into the sunlight.

"You nearly got us killed in there!" Dean fumed.

Sam blinked frantically, trying to clear his head, clear his vision. "Dean, I'm--"

"You're what?" Dean demanded.

Sam's vision cleared enough to focus on his brother's face, twisted surreally in a mask of anger and horror.

Sam felt himself breaking. It was just more than he could take, more than he could stomach, more than he could handle. Maybe he was the weaker brother, after all.

Sagging, he broke eye contact, unable to maintain it. "It won't happen again."

"Damn right it won't," Dean snapped. "Don't you think we've lost enough, Sam?"

Sam just didn't have the words. He didn't have the strength. The pain that started in his arm seemed to disperse throughout his entire body and saturated his soul. All he wanted was to be there for his brother, to support his brother, to protect his brother. But he couldn't even see straight.

For a second, Sam hated his father for dying. Hated his father for leaving Dean like this, for not knowing what this deal would do to his older brother, for not caring.

But Sam couldn't hate his father for saving Dean's life.

It should have been him. He should have been the one to make the sacrifice. Dad would know how to make Dean better. Dad had been there for Dean when Sam left for college and everything had been okay, it'd been fine.

Dad wouldn't let this weakness have such a hold over him.

He closed his eyes, garnering some kind of resolve. When he looked up, Dean was still staring at him, intense and angry and terrified.

"Let's get out of here before he comes back," Dean growled. "I don't want to talk to him."

Sam watched him go, too shocked to even say anything. He should be helping, should be doing something, but he couldn't move.

His new injuries were superficial The bloody arm may have looked a bit grotesque, swathed in blood, but he barely even felt the cut in comparison to his already injured arm.

He winced, holding it in front of him. It was still bandaged, and Sam didn't really have the energy to unwrap it for further probing. Any movement turned his stomach, anyway, and he was so tired.... The weeks were building up on him, the weight was just too much, and the exhaustion had worn him completely thin.

If he could just get out of there, just do what Dean wanted, he could sleep. He could sleep and in the morning, he could check his arm, maybe even see a doctor without Dean knowing.

Breathing in, he chewed his lower lip, hoping to keep himself together. Resolved, he hobbled after his brother. Dean was in the barn, picking up the supplies. Sam followed him, gingerly bending over to pick up his bag.

The silence between them reverberated loudly over the rushing sound of blood in Sam's ears.

Part Two

 

 

 

 

Comments

Posted by: ヴェレーナ (ongiara)
Posted at: August 15th, 2007 07:17 pm (UTC)
sd broken

Love it so far and I actually think you pretty much captured both their moods and feelings at that state of the season. Dean is tail-spinning in his way of dealing with having his dad sacrificing his life for him and it's reflected here nicely as well as both their stubbornness.

For a second, Sam hated his father for dying. Hated his father for leaving Dean like this, for not knowing what this deal would do to his older brother, for not caring.

But Sam couldn't hate his father for saving Dean's life.

Like this for instance. It's thoughts I can very well picture going through Sam's mind before being followed by another; trying to sort things out.

Looking forward to the next part which will come soon, right? ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)

I do think that period of their lives is rather distinctive--they're both in such different and unusual places and it's interesting to think about their dynamic at that point.

Next part should be up tomorrow.

Thanks ;)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
intense

Painful is really a state these boys exist in quite frequently.

Thanks!

Posted by: kaly (kalyw)
Posted at: August 15th, 2007 09:20 pm (UTC)
Sam & Dean - hug

Yay, fic! Mmmm, angst. ;) Sorry it hates you, but I'm digging it. :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
shiny

As long as you like it, it makes my pain worthwhile :)

Posted by: a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf (embroiderama)
Posted at: August 15th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
Sam - sad

Oh, ouch, Sammy! I adore this.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:29 am (UTC)
more brothers

Sammy pain is my speciality :)

Thanks!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: August 16th, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)

Good story so far.Please update soon.(This is Spuffyshipper on ff.net.)I love the way that you're focusing on Sam's angst post John's death.I feel that it was ignored for Dean's angst,which was tiring by the middle of the season.I also feel that because Dean told him it was too little,too late, Sam put his own grief aside so he could be strong for his brother.I love Sammy angst set in the first four episodes of the season.Dean angst?I don't like it that much anymore if it isn't related to Sammy.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:31 am (UTC)
empty

Sam did seem to get a bit short changed in the daddy angst this season, which was a crime considering how much he had to be feeling throughout.

Thanks!

Posted by: Ada (ada_c_eliana)
Posted at: August 16th, 2007 02:42 am (UTC)

I love this! I also agree with you on the Sam-selfishness thing. I don't understand why people routinely make him look like some selfish jerk (and I'm a deangirl... most of the time). I like seeing a story about how Sam was doing in the midst of the extreme Dean angsting. Nice work on this, thanks for posting.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
little bro

The selfish!Sam thing is probably the thing that annoys me most in fandom. It sets me off nearly every time I see it. He has his moments, but so does Dean. They're imperfect brothers and I certainly don't believe that Sam deserves the crap he gets.

But I'm biased :)

Thanks!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
angst

Awww...well, thanks. I'm flattered.

I ADORE Sam angst. Bet you didn't know that :)

Posted by: Dairwendan Mirthmaker (dairwendan)
Posted at: August 16th, 2007 12:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC)
speechless

I do think Sam tries hard at being a good little brother more often than he gets credit for.

Thanks!

Posted by: dreamshadows (obuletfury302)
Posted at: August 16th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Very nice...
slumber party

very nicely done... Sorry I didn't review on ff.net, but the sight hates me right now... So anyway, it was written beautifully, and the characterization was right on. I can't wait to read the next installment.

Take care,
Obuletfury302 aka OSS

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:37 am (UTC)
Re: Very nice...
fallen

Ff.net is difficult nine times out of ten :)

I'm so glad you're enjoying it.

Thanks!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
devastation

One of the things I truly love about this show are the unspoken tensions that often exist between the brothers--so rarely explored but so right there, just under the surface. It's hard to say if that's writing or directing or acting, but it's compelling nonetheless.

And I think I really wanted to explore the effect on Sam during this portion of the season since so much focus was on Dean at this point. I just know Sam had to be struggling, and well, I'm such a Sam-girl :)

Thanks!

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: August 16th, 2007 11:09 pm (UTC)
cradle

I think you really nailed Dean's grief and Sam's desire to support him by not burdening him more. Too bad Sammy boy didn't realize that he was going to cause more angst for Dean by not piping up about his bum wrist.

Thank you for persevering on this fic. I love the whole concept and your execution of it :)


Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
brothers 4

I always want to HUG you anymore. It's the craziest thing.

And without you, I never would have finished this. No joke.

Thanks!

Posted by: pizzapixie (pizzapixie)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 11:39 am (UTC)

Everytime I see you've written a new story, it's like getting a surprise present. I love the way you explore SAM's feelings, Sam's angst. The show doesn't do it half as well. Hmph. And they say a picture's worth a thousand words. They must not've seen your words! Thanks for the shiny new present. It's exactly what I wanted!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: August 17th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
too precious for this world

Well I'm glad you like reading about Sam's side of things, because that's often what I like to explore. I do feel like the show doesn't do him justice, and Dean tends to be the favorite among fic writers as well. So I take it upon myself to show Sam some love, and I'm glad I'm not alone.

Thanks!

Posted by: galathea_snb (galathea_snb)
Posted at: August 18th, 2007 11:42 am (UTC)
h/c secrets

I am really enjoying this story! ♥

I am a Dean-girl and I adore S2, but even I think the biggest neglect of that season is the way there was no follow-up to Sam's speech to Dean at the end of ELAC. Sam just swallowed it all, in order to be there for Dean, dedicating himself to the hunt in order to soothe his guilt over John's death, and I would have loved to see his side explored more thoroughly by the show.

I think the notion that Sam is selfish and takes Dean for granted stems from S1: When Sam and Dean re-unite in the Pilot it's their first time together as adults. Before Stanford the semi-parental role Dean held for Sam and Sam's somewhat sheltered position never allowed Sam to meet his brother as an equal.

Over the course of S1 though, both brothers learn to grow together as a team, Dean learning to let his brother in and questioning his father, Sam learning to take responsibility and appreciating his brother as an individual and at the end of S1 he truly arrives in the same place like Dean, fully reciprocating Dean's care and love and protectiveness for him.

Taking Dean for granted is early S1 Sam, neglecting all the character development that followed after, it's like some people never come to see past Dean's 'no chick flick moment' remark, neglecting everything we learn about the character later. Both characters can be selfish at times, both can be unconditionally giving at times. It's what makes them so great to watch.

Uhm sorry for my ramblings :D Looking forward to the rest of the story! :)

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