The Things that Change Us

Chapter 22

This chapter is all from Dean's POV. I just couldn't find a way around it. Will be more balanced next chapter. On that; thanks for sticking with me through so many. I am trying my hardest to finish! Shouldn't be too much longer - I hope!

Chapter 22

Dean

Four A.M I pulled up in Bobby's driveway gutted to see light shining through the living room window. Either someone was up or one of them had fallen asleep on the couch I planned on crashing as soon as I stepped through the frickin door. I was dead tired. I'd driven for so long without a stop so I could sleep this off and start all over again tomorrow.

The last thing I felt like doing was holding a conversation – with anyone. For a minute I considered staying put and settling myself into the Impala. Wasn't such a strange prospect seeing as though I'd dozed in her probably a thousand times over, but being in front of Bobby's house with the old man and my brother inside, well, it didn't feel right. And I was all about doing right, wasn't I?

I felt it myself; I was in a mood. Not because I was here. That wasn't it. Overwhelming relief washed over me the second I turned into Bobby's street. I wasn't regretting my decision; not one bit. I guess really it was having that talk with Lisa and then Ben that did it. And it wasn't a long one; nothing about it was long. It was just a sad one. One that still lingered in my head and tore at my guts.

Yes I was feeling as guilty as hell and the guilt wouldn't budge. But seeing their faces when they realized exactly what I was saying was even worse. Their tears when they each hugged me for the last time, my own when I waved them goodbye. It was tough. From start to finish it was tough.

And it wasn't like it started off so hot either. The first thing I spotted after zipping my packed bag was Lisa leaning on the door frame, her eyebrows raised and her arms folded. My heart sank. This wasn't how I wanted to tell her, especially when she fixed me with a glare and said a sarcastic: 'Going somewhere?'

'Sit down?' I swallowed searching my mind for best ways to say this.

She frowned and moved over to the edge of the bed. 'What's going on?' My calm reply dwindled her attitude but caused her confusion. She expected me to bite back. When I didn't, I think it scared her to the core and with every reason. This wasn't just some dumb argument, this was actually… it.

I slid my bag away and sat next to her. 'Sam had another episode. At Bobby's.'

'Oh no Dean. Is he okay?' She immediately softened; all scowl and anger dissipated and I didn't know if that made things easier or harder.

'Yeah, he is now I think. I mean, being so far away I don't really know for sure. I have to go by what he and Bobby tells me.'

Another hand on my knee for support.

Definitely harder.

Taking a deep breath didn't do a damn thing. Glancing at her made it worse so I looked down at my no longer calloused hands while she sat there waiting for me to speak.

'I have to move to Sioux Falls.' I said directly but still gently. 'Now.'

It was only when she didn't respond that I found the nerve to meet her eyes. She stared right back for the longest time searching for something and finding nothing.

'Move?' she asked. 'Or visit?'

'Move.'

There was that expression I dreaded the most. The pure and utter comprehension that I was leaving her and her son; surprise and shock mixed with anguish and despair. If there was one thing I knew, it was how much she loved me. She never let me doubt it, not once and this was how I repaid her. She didn't deserve it. She never deserved me.

'But we haven't even talked about it. You didn't give me a chance to even think about it Dean.'

'I know. I'm sorry.' I said. 'I really am Lis but…it's Sam.' I shrugged trying my hardest not to fall to pieces. 'It's Sam.' And that was all there was to it. Something she couldn't argue with or fight because she knew she would never, in a million years, win.

After a slow nod she took her hand away from my leg. 'You don't want us to come do you?'

'You don't want to come.'

'No. You don't want us to come do you?' Her tears told me she already knew the answer to that as well as I did. 'Dean, just say it. Please. It will help me if you just say it.' She almost begged.

'I do want you to come.' I said honestly. 'But I don't think you should.'

'For Sam's sake?'

'For everyone's sake. I can't be any good to you and Ben when all I can think about is looking after him. And I can't be any good to Sam if I'm not there for him completely.'

'And when he gets back on his feet? What happens to you then?'

I shrugged. It didn't matter. To see my brother back on track would be enough. Even if he wanted to take off and live a normal life with a normal girl in normal suburbia nowhere near me, it wouldn't matter. Losing him for that long, knowing how he was suffering – after all he sacrificed to save every single soul on this earth – knowing the heart the kid had and also remembering what I would have given to have him back and alive when we were both at our lowest…Man I'd give it all. Everything.

'Dean? What happens to you then?' She repeated.

'Then I'll be happy.' I replied.

'At long last.' She kind of smiled sadly.

I nodded. 'At long last.'

So there we had it. I admired her strength because I could see right through it. She was crumbling and crushed. Her heart was broken and life as she knew it had just been ripped right out of her hands. Yet she was taking it well for my sake. Not her's but mine… and Ben's because here I was leaving him as well. Just walking out the door with not much intention of looking back. A year ago he'd opened his arms for me, welcomed me into his house, heart and life. He saw me as the father he never had. And just like the father he never had, I was abandoning him…and not looking back. Men like me; men that did that to kids didn't deserve to be fathers. They didn't deserve kids like Ben.

'You're not coming back?' Was the little guy's wide eyed response when Lisa and I sat him down at the dining table and told him. I watched as his breathing became more rapid and he looked at his mother for some kind of help; some kind of reassurance that what he was hearing wasn't actually happening.

'I'm sorry buddy.' I said not knowing what else to say.

'He needs to go and help his brother.' Lisa smiled at him eyes wet with tears.

'Dean. Please don't go. Please.' If that alone didn't almost break me in half.

'You can call me anytime-'

'Dean don't.' Lisa jumped in shaking her head. She was right of course. If I wasn't going to look back, they needed to look forward. It was only fair.

'Mom?'

'It'll be okay honey.' She nodded and cupped her hand over his. 'We'll be okay but Sam needs to be okay too and the only one who can help him with that is Dean.'

'But,' he looked from her to me. I gave him a smile even though it was filled with epic sorrow. 'Can't Sam move in here? He can have my room.'

He was such a great kid. He didn't deserve me. Neither of them did. One day they'd realize just how better off they were without me in their lives. Just not today.

And that really sucked.

I used my key to Bobby's front door hoping above hope he was asleep on the armchair. Even if he was though his reactions were so sharp, he'd no doubt be on me as soon as I clicked the lock.

'Good timing.' Sure enough there he was, in my face ripping the door from my hand before I even took a step inside.

'What are you doing up?' I greeted noticing he was still dressed in his usual day clothes. 'You haven't been to bed have you?'

'Waiting for you.'

'You were hurt you idiot.' I rolled my eyes and moved past him. 'Tell me Sam's asleep.'

'Sam's asleep.'

I threw my bag on the couch and took a seat running my hands through my hair. I really just wanted to lie down and escape this whole freaking day. 'How's he doing?'

'Good now as far as I can tell.'

Then it was time to check the old man out. He looked like crap and probably – actually – before I wanted sleep - I wanted to know what the hell happened here.

'So that's that.' He exclaimed at the end of his story. 'Short and sweet.'

'Not so sweet.' I yawned. It was okay now though. Bobby was fine, Sammy was tucked up in bed and I was here. And If I was here, it was going to be okay. Sam would get better. Lucifer was no match for me; not anymore and not when he was in Sammy's head. I would get through to him and we'd beat this.

'How'd it go with Lisa and Ben?' Bobby asked me just as a noise sounded on the second story. By the time we both turned our heads, a sleepy but fast Sam appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

'You made it.' He smiled. Seeing that smile gave me the energy to stand up and beam back at him. This was the reason I'd left the house I called a home for a year with the family I called my family, but it was reason enough. And what could I say; seeing the kid smiling always planted a smile on my face too.

'Go back to bed Sam. He'll still be here in the morning.' Bobby instructed as he interrupted us from his position on the armchair.

My sidewards glance didn't reach him, it was too curious to see Sam's reaction.

'I just wanted to say hi. I heard him and-'

'Well you can say hi in the morning.' Bobby said almost too firmly. 'Come on. Upstairs. Bed.'

My brother's smile was gone. Just like that: gone. 'Hold on.' I said not liking what I was seeing. 'Five minutes won't hurt.'

'Dean, he needs his sleep.'

'Yeah, well so do you but I don't see you taking any naps.' I glared at Bobby. 'Five minutes won't hurt.'

He raised his hands in surrender and said a defensive; 'You're the boss.'

My frown didn't go unnoticed by either of them and judging by Sam's: 'It's okay. You must be tired anyway. I'll see you in the morning,' he wanted to avoid as much conflict as possible. He turned towards the stairs and mumbled a 'G'night,' before taking them two at a time.

I spun around to Bobby who was now stepping into the kitchen. 'What was that?' I questioned as I followed him in.

'You shouldn't undermine me Dean. That isn't what Sam needs.' He had the nerve to say to me shaking off his cap and throwing it onto the counter.

'So what? He needs to be treated like a kid does he?'

'Don't be stupid. I'm not treating him like a kid.'

'Dude that sounded exactly like my dad.'

'Don't call me 'dude'.' He scrunched up his face in distaste. Like that was the part I wanted him to hear. God.

'What are you doing?' I asked him still amazed at what I'd just witnessed.

'I'm trying,' he started sliding out a chair quite loudly for someone so desperate to have someone else asleep, 'to settle him into a routine. Just like I've always said. And to do that,' he continued with a tone I didn't much appreciate, 'he needs set times, boundaries and …routine!'

'He's an adult, you do get that right?'

'He's not acting much like an adult.' And there it was. As good as admitted. 'He is all over the place Dean and the only way I can think to control him is by...somewhat controlling him. The very second he walked through this front door I wanted to give him stability and consistency. That is what Sam needs. And if he needs to be treated like a kid for a bit, then so be it I say.'

'But don't you get it? Sam has never responded to that kind of thing. That might work for someone else, but not Sam. Never Sam. You of all people know that.' Me of all people knew that.

Man, did I know that.

'Then what? What do we do?'

'We work together. We treat him like one of us and we do it together. That's what works with Sam.'

'Three of us doing different things is too many cooks Dean. That doesn't give him consistency, that gives him utter chaos and confusion.'

'So that's why you don't want me here?' I risked pushing my own need for him to deny that aside. The truth needed to come out even if it did offend me or made me feel unwanted in the only other house I had called a home.

Again he screwed up his face, 'Don't be ridiculous boy. Of course I want you here. This is your house as much as it is mine. But I guess, yeah, I don't think both of us at different posts will do him any good.'

'Then,' I shrugged, 'we get on the same post.'

He nodded and raised his eyebrows full of doubt. 'That's not so easy when we're dealing with something we have no idea how to deal with.'

'Maybe,' I agreed. 'but we need to try.'

With a shrug and a defeated expression, he filled me with absolutely no confidence at all. 'Like I said; you're the boss.'

And with an attitude like that, we were screwed.

(To be continued...)

Thanks again for the reviews. I really do intend to answer each and every one of them but these meds I'm on mess with my mind and I end up not knowing what I'm doing - or what I've done half the time. Then hours turns into days and...you get the picture. But thank you! Every one of them I appreciate probably more than you know. :)

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