The Things that Change Us

Chapter 12


Sam

How was I going to face Dean?

That was the question that ran through my head all freaking night.

The answer came to me at around nine in the morning. I had to quit being so pathetic. Plain and simple.

He was going to freak out when he found out. I mean, I'd taken to my own hair with worn scissors - so that was a given, but if I could swing it so he believed I was okay with it, then maybe he would be too.

This was it. No longer was I going to be a burden on anyone. No longer was I going to be a weak, useless and frightened shell of a man. It was time to pull myself up and grow a pair.

It was time to be Sam Winchester again; Hunter, fighter, brother.

Yes. I would make Dean proud of me whether I had crappy hair or not. I was determined.

'Hello?'

'Dean.' I said into the phone with strength behind my voice. I liked the sound of it.

'Hey, how're you doing buddy?' Came his sensitive response. Yesterday I would have loved hearing that tone, today it irked me. I should never have needed it.

'Good, you?'

'Yeah, I'm fine. What's going on? Everything okay?'

'Yeah, everything's fine.' Okay I would be lying if I didn't admit the nerves were kicking in; they were, but I forced myself to keep strong. 'I don't need my hair cut today.'

'Sam-' He sighed.

'I don't need it because I cut it myself.'

Silence.

Stay strong, stay strong, stay strong.

'You what?'

'I cut it myself. Looks okay. So I was thinking –'

'Hold on a sec. What the hell are you telling me here?'

'Don't freak out. I was thinking we could go somewhere else.' Was I talking too fast? I think I was talking too fast. 'Like you want to get a drink or something?'

'I'll be right there.'

Beep.

He had hung up.

'What was that?' Bobby frowned at me as I put my phone back in my pocket. He seemed confused.

I shrugged. 'I have to go out sooner or later right?'

'Right.' Yes, he was definitely confused.

'So no time like the present.' I sat down at the table and poured myself an orange juice. 'You coming with?'

'Where?' He asked slowly. Way slower than he usually spoke.

'Wherever we go.'

'You know, I think it might be a good idea if it's just the two of you today. I have a few things I want to do anyway.'

'Okay.' Whatever. I eyed the door. I could walk out of it, I could. Getting in the impala was no problem either and walking into a bar was simple a year ago. It could be simple again.

I was Sam Winchester and Sam Winchester could walk into a bar.

Dean

What the freaking hell was going on?

'I have to go.' I said to Lisa even though she needed me to look at her car.

'But the noises.'

'I'll check them out tonight. '

'What's wrong?'

'That's what I want to know.' I grabbed my keys and bolted out the front door. I didn't think to kiss her goodbye or tell her where I was going. I didn't even call out to Ben. All I did was jump in the impala and speed over to my brother's motel room.

'He's in the bathroom.' Bobby raised his eyebrows as he stepped past me. 'I'll be in my room.'

'But what…?' He was actually walking off on me. 'Bobby!'

No answer.

I flung the door back and heard it bang shut. Great, that probably scared my brother knowing the condition he was in…although I wasn't even sure of the condition he was in anymore. He sounded strange on the phone; determined and sharp. I hadn't heard him like that for a long while. That was the old Sam, definitely not the new one; definitely not the broken one.

'Sammy!'

Not sure of what to expect when the bathroom door opened, I prepared myself. This was going to be interesting to say the least.

'Hey.' He actually smiled; full dimples, full teeth, full smile. When he walked over to the fridge, he did it with a straight back and a confident stride. I almost forgot to check his hair. From this distance, it looked good though. It looked like it normally did. For a moment, I was seeing my brother; just how he used to be. Maybe a little thinner, but the flash of the past almost knocked me over. God, it felt like a miracle.

'Cas!' I exclaimed finally getting it.

Sammy spun around in every direction. 'Where?'

'No. Cas. He fixed you?'

Only laughing – like actually laughing – he said, 'No he didn't fix me.'

'Then…' I could only say what I was feeling; 'What's going on?'

'Nothing's going on. You want a coke?'

'No. Come here.'

He did so without question. I motioned for him to sit down. Even though my head was spinning, I managed to check out his hair properly. Okay, on closer inspection I could tell how uneven and jagged it was but it was sitting okay. Maybe he was okay because it was sitting okay.

Yeah?

Maybe?

It was possible right?

'Bobby fixed it up for me.' He stood up and screwed the lid off his bottle of coke. 'So you wanna go to the bar in town?'

He was freaking me out; like literally freaking me out. 'You can't go to a hairdresser but you can go to a bar?'

'Yeah.' He said so matter-of-factly I almost believed him.

I had to sit down. This was too weird and I wondered if I was stuck in some crazy alternate universe. If Zachariah wasn't dead I would be positive he had sent me flying into some other unreal world to teach me some other unwanted lesson. But he was dead so…Oh God, maybe it was another djinn. That was possible. Seeing Sammy like this was a definite wish of mine.

Yeah, it was definitely a mother-effing djinn. Dammit to hell!

'So we going or what?'

My brother's voice snapped me back into reality. I checked my watch. 'Sammy, it's not even ten o'clock.'

'Oh, okay. Then what do you want to do?'

'Talk about what is going on with you.'

He tilted his head like a curious puppy. 'What do you mean?'

'What do you mean what do I mean?' I frowned.

'Huh?'

'Yesterday you couldn't leave the room, today you can't wait to leave.'

'Yeah.'

A haircut couldn't have this affect on him, surely. Could it?

Could it?

Sam

Now that I had made up my mind to leave the room, I really wanted to get out. The walls were beginning to crowd in on me, everything seemed so closed in and constricted. Outside seemed so appealing and I wanted to feel the breeze blow through me again. Let's go already. It was time to go.

Dean still hadn't completely recuperated from the shock of my new attitude. I kind of felt bad that he was having so much trouble keeping up but I could see his hope and I could feel my own. I had to keep it up. I couldn't slow it down. I was ready to bite the bullet and just do this, so I had to do it now.

'I know!' I beamed. 'We could see a movie first. Anything out?' I hadn't been to a movie in …oh my God, over a century. I felt like seeing a movie.

'I don't know.'

'Or you want a coffee? Have you had breakfast?'

'Yeah. Okay, look,' he said shaking his head, 'why don't we go into town and just have a walk around for a bit? See how we go.'

'Okay, great. I'll just grab my jacket.'

I could do this, I could do this, I could. Yes I could. I was a normal person who could do normal things. And if I did normal things I would make my brother smile and he would forget what I had done and then maybe I could as well.

Okay so I flinched a bit when the motel door closed behind us and I swallowed the lump in my throat when I clipped my seat belt in. The people to the right of us were best left unseen, so I smiled at Dean as I watched him turn the ignition.

The poor guy was worried about everything, it was written all over his face, but I would soon show him he had no reason to be. Once I was walking the streets through crowds of people, he would…

Oh God.

I couldn't think of crowds of people. I was too thin and my hair was all ragged. They would stare at me and then I would see them whispering and laughing and talking about me. I couldn't do this. What was I thinking? There was no damn way.

The next person I saw made me shut my eyes.

We weren't even out of the car park yet.

'You okay?' Dean nearly growled.

I was Sam Winchester; hunter, fighter, brother. Sam Winchester. Sam Winchester.

The devil child. Tainted – stained – contaminated.

'Sammy?'

Wake up. Snap out of it. Come on Sam. You can do this, you have to do this.

I looked at my brother and smiled while I willed myself to dig deep enough to find the old me again.

'You okay?'

'Yeah, I'm fine.' I smiled wider wishing I believed it.

Trying so hard to make Dean believe it.

If he believed it, I could believe it.

If I believed it, he could believe it.

We had to believe it.

Dean

Dude, this was freaking me out. I didn't like this one bit – which pissed me off because it was exactly what I had been wishing for, but it wasn't real, I could see that. I wasn't blind or stupid.

My brother was trying too hard to fake this and if he wasn't, then he was fooling himself. I didn't know what to do. Was I doing the right thing going along with this? I had no frickin idea but it felt like I had a loose canon on my hands and I didn't much like the fact that this loose canon was my little brother.

I wanted to handle with care but he didn't seem up for that. I wanted to stand in front of him and tell him he didn't have to do this, but he did – I think.

Did he?

I kind of wished Bobby was with us but then I understood why he wasn't. Two confused idiots trying to handle this effed up situation, pulling in different directions would not do Sam any good. I already knew that.

I pretended not to notice the monumental breath he inhaled when he stepped out of the car and onto the footpath. I acted like I didn't see him avoid making eye contact with the couple that stepped past us holding hands. He was struggling, that was for sure, yet every time he saw me looking at him I witnessed a wave of power – or strength - wash over him. He was doing this for my sake as much as for his own. That should have made me happy and it did make me proud but God dammit, it got me worried. If he failed this, how was he going to cope with that? And failing this was a massive possibility because I wasn't sure he was ready.

Actually I was sure he wasn't ready.

So we kept in step with each other, looking into the store windows but seeing nothing. There was so much else going on that shoes and food and music was the last thing to break through our heads.

I could see the bar up ahead on the other side of the road. I knew I needed a beer and right now it didn't matter to me that it was still the morning. I wondered if it mattered to Sam. We both hadn't drunk this early for a long time; he longer than me, but with the way I was feeling, it was where we had to head and once again, I didn't know if that was a good or a bad thing.

When two teenage girls stepped past and admired my brother with coy yet flirtatious giggles, he jumped back so far and so fast he almost knocked me off my feet.

If that was even a small sign of things to come, then I really wanted to lock the both of us up in that motel room myself.

What the hell was this day going to bring? I was petrified to find out.

(to be continued...)

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