The Things that Change Us

Chapter 25

Final Chapter guys.

Chapter 25

Dean

Sam was lying on the floor of my shiny new bedroom without a freaking pillow, t-shirt or blankets anywhere near him; sound asleep. Was he kidding? It was freezing. My choices were to wake him up or get him comfortable. I chose the latter so I could talk to Bobby before my brother rose. I'd had an epiphany during the early hours of the morning and I wanted to talk it through with the old man as soon as I could.

When I raised his neck and slipped my pillow under his head, I expected him to rustle. Nothing. Throwing my blanket over him didn't create any movement either. He used to be such a light sleeper, but now I feared the horrors in his mind might be holding on too tight in his sleep.

I stepped over him and yawned as I padded down the stairs. That massive headache still hadn't left me so instead of hitting up the fridge first thing, the second drawer filled with all kinds of papers and aspirin took my attention.

'I thought I heard someone.' Bobby greeted coming from the back door behind me. 'You still got that headache?'

'Yeah.' I turned on the faucet and grabbed a glass from the dish drainer on the sink. Another three pills should at least dull it.

'Go easy on them. That's your sixth now.'

'Yes dad.' I said as I swallowed them all at once. He didn't answer so I turned and saw him for the first time that day. He looked as tired as I did. 'Speaking of…' I said as he sat down.

'I know what you're going to say. I blew it last night. I know I did.'

'It's not that.' I took a seat at the table opposite him and checked behind me for any signs of Sam before continuing. 'I think I've worked it out.'

He frowned and shook his head. 'Worked what out?'

'What's going down with Sam.'

'Trauma? Post traumatic stress disorder of the worst kind?'

'No I mean his behavior…and yours.'

'Mine? I've just been doing what I always do.' When my expression told him I thought otherwise, he continued. 'We talked about why I wanted to get him into a routine.'

'It's not that.'

'Then what?'

'Think about it Bobby. I mean, last night; that was classic Sammy.'

'Right…'

'Before…' I took another sip of my water and went on. '…hell, before all this Ruby stuff, Lilith stuff, the apocalypse, me leaving him…before dad died even. Last night just reminded me of when we were growing up. It was Sam and dad all over again.'

'And I was John.'

'You were dad. You know, you've been dad the minute you guys stepped into this house, even a bit before and I just think Sammy's reverted right back to that place.'

I watched him raise his eyebrows. 'Okay.' He sat back disappointed in himself, 'But that wasn't my intention. I just wanted to get him his control back. Get him to stand on his own two feet.'

'Yeah I know but it runs deeper than that.'

'Keep going then.'

'Sammy's always wanted to feel safe right? And never has.'

'I'd agree with that.'

'Okay. So what if he's going back to the time he felt the safest? You know growing up, he always had either dad or I there to protect him; sometimes both of us. It's like mentally he is reaching for that again or something. One minute he's an adult, then he reverts to a kid but mostly…mostly he just reminds me of teenage Sam when he knew about all the bad stuff but was protected anyway.'

'Okay.'

'And he's always had that rebellious streak in him. I mean one second he'd be obeying dad like he didn't have a problem in the world. Full of "Yes sirs, no sirs, three bags full sirs" then the next he'd be all kinds of bitter and twisted over being told what to do. You remember.'

'I do.'

'I think in a way his mind is trying to disconnect and detach from where he's been, what we've all seen and done and he's trying to get back to simpler times.'

'Who would've thought those were simpler times?' He managed a short laugh.

'Not Sammy, not back then anyway. Now – now we know they were.'

'So you think he's trying to forget?'

'I think he's trying to feel safe.' I wondered how I could phrase this nicer, but came up with nothing so just said it. 'I think you acting like dad triggered it.'

'I turned into John Winchester and John Winchester's son responded the only way he knows how.' He said blankly considering what I was saying.

'Pretty much.' I sat back, 'But you want to know what I want to know?'

'What?

'Why you turned into John Winchester. I mean Sammy I get, but last night; that wasn't you. What's going on?' When he frowned I sat forward and said 'Apart from the whole control and routine thing. Why'd you lose it? Why'd you not want him in my room?'

'For his own good. He can't cope with seeing you suffer Dean. He can't have that on his shoulders as well as everything else. He can't do it. He's probably already feeling as guilty as hell for you leaving Lisa. The last thing I thought he needed was to see you like that and feel even more powerless.'

'Anything about you wanting to feel powerful?'

'What? No. Of course not.'

'I've been thinking about that too.'

'Did you sleep at all?'

'I must've. Sammy's asleep on my floor and I never even knew.'

'Stupid kid.' He huffed and sighed.

'You know, losing Sam was the worst thing that could've happened to me and it happened. Losing me was the worst thing that could've happened to him – and it happened.' I paused for affect. I had to get through to him to change things. 'What was the worst thing that could've happened to you?'

I lost him. He stood up and pushed the chair in. I'd hit the nail on the head. 'Losing us right? Bobby you lost both of us.'

'Dean. This is about Sam, not me. If you want to talk about him I'm all for it but there's nothing else we need to discuss.'

'You're holding onto him for dear life. It's not that you want to control him, you want to control life. You know more than anyone, you can't do that.'

'Dean don't.'

'You didn't want me to come because I'd get in the way of that.'

'I didn't want you to come,' he said pushing both of his hands on the top of the chair and leaning into me, 'because you boys need to learn how to survive without each other. You're right I have lost both of you and I have seen what happens when one is gone. Nothin' good, let me tell you. What if it happens again Dean? God knows it probably will, it always does. What happens if Sam loses you again?'

I didn't answer because I couldn't.

'And what happens if you lose Sam? I mean, God, I want you boys close. I love that about you but you're so dependent on each other; too dependent and that scares the hell out of me. One without the other won't make it. That's not healthy. Not with the risks – not with the odds against us at every turn.'

'Bobby,' I started, 'We're all we have left.'

'Yeah. That was true before Lisa and Ben.'

'Oh God.' I rolled my eyes not wanting to hear this.

'But you had a chance Dean. Tell me what was so damn wrong with keeping in contact over the phone or some weekend visits? As much as I'm trying to look after Sam here, I'm doing the same for you.'

'Do you not remember the late night phone calls? Do you not remember why you came to visit in the first place? You think Lisa and Ben gave me instant happiness. That wasn't me being happy Bobby.'

'Now Sam is back, it could have been. If you just gave it a chance.'

'You're wrong. Sam being in the condition he is, I could never leave him and be 'happy' with someone else. It's not in me Bobby. It's just not in me.'

'What about when he gets better? What then?'

'Lisa asked me the same thing.'

'She had a point.'

'Day by day. We have to take this step by step. All I want is for Sam to be okay.'

'He may never be okay.'

'He will be as long as I'm around.'

'And if you aren't?'

'Then he has you.'

It was his turn to swallow. 'For how long? You know Crowley is still holding onto my contract. What happens to Sam if something happens to you and my number comes up?'

Uh okay. 'You're freaking out about that. We'll fix that. You mark my words.'

He ignored me. 'You boys need to learn to live and go it alone, not fall in a heap. That's all I want.'

'So okay, you and I will get him there.'

'And what about you?'

'I'll get there. Bobby, right now - today we can all live together and help each other. Let's just do that and not fight it. Not think of 'what ifs' all the time.'

'It's too hard not to.'

'I know, but day by day right? And today we're all here.'

'It's tomorrow I'm worried about.'

'Tomorrow – if we do this right – we should be in a better place to handle things.'

'Since when?'

'Since we're out of it.'

'We're never going to be out of it.'

'No. We're never going back into it.'

He nodded but he didn't believe me, not for a second. Yes, it freaked me because God knew he could be right but as far as I was concerned, right now, we were never going back into it and that was that.

'You need to open your eyes Dean. If you think it's all rainbows and sunshine from here on in you're fooling yourself. '

'I don't think that.'

'No, you're hoping for it and that could be worse.'

'Back to Sam.'

'What do you want to do?'

Sam

I was so proud of myself. When I woke up to find Dean not in his bed I didn't have a full on panic attack. My first thought, I admit was that something was wrong but when I sat up in a sweat and felt the blanket on top of me, I knew he had covered me with it and was probably just simply downstairs.

So that's where I headed hoping for a monumental mug of coffee. Even though I was still pissed at Bobby, I half smiled at him and then said 'Hello' to my brother. It was obvious I interrupted something and assumed it was about me so snatched out a chair and sat down. The last thing I needed was for Dean to get influenced by Bobby and his latest attitude.

'Next time you want to sleep on my floor,' Dean said to me, 'BYO blankets and pillows got it?'

'Okay.' He seemed pissed. Maybe I was too late and Bobby had already gotten all his arguments in and now they both wanted to kick my ass.

'Want a coffee?' Bobby smiled at me.

'Yeah. Thanks.'

'Look Sam – ' he said remaining still. Here we go. 'I'm sorry about last night. I was trying to protect you but I went about it the wrong way.'

Okay so that took me back.

'I shouldn't have acted like your father.' He looked at Dean who nodded while I frowned. What the hell was going on? And why did hearing that mess with my insides in weird ways. 'It won't happen again.'

'Whoa.' I looked at Dean because he seemed to be in on this as well. 'What's dad got to do with this?'

'Well…' As he told me his thoughts I could only blink at him. For one, I actually couldn't believe how upfront he was being with me. It felt like it was a conversation I shouldn't be a part of and I was surprised they were including me in it. Secondly, I was 'reverting'? Really? Was I? And I was supplementing Bobby for dad. I didn't think so but I continued to listen…until maybe I thought I might be. Thirdly, when they told me they were going to treat me like an adult and it was important for me to act like one; I nodded not sure on how exactly to do that. I thought I was already. But then they told me they would help me and I smiled because I didn't know what else to do.

'So what are your thoughts on all of that?' Dean asked me, pushing his water away for the coffee Bobby was pushing towards him.

'Sounds good?'

'You don't sound so sure.' Dean gave a laugh. 'It's okay; we're not going to leave you hanging. We just wanted to tell you what we think and get your thoughts on it too. We're here to help buddy.'

Maybe the caffeine would wake me up a bit. This was kind of intense to take on first thing in the morning – well – at eleven A.M. anyway.

'You feel safe here Sam?' Dean questioned, 'Safer here in this house than say a motel room?'

'Yeah.' I nodded. 'Definitely.' This was like a home to me. No other place would ever feel as safe to me.

I waited for his next question.

'When do you feel your safest?'

'Here.' I thought I just answered that.

'No, really think about that. Sam, when you do feel your safest?'

I really thought about it like he said, really tapped deep into my mind but the answer was simple really. 'When I'm with you and dad-umm, Bobby.' Oh God. I glanced up to Bobby who smiled supportively at me. 'I'm sorry, I meant you.' And then saying that I felt guilty to my dad.

'You meant your dad too and there's nothing wrong with that.' He said.

Shutting my eyes didn't shift the shame I felt – both to Bobby and to dad. Dad was my dad but Bobby had done and been so much to us. I loved him like a father. I honestly did.

'Dude, hey.' I needed more coffee before I could answer another one of Dean's questions. As I gulped it, it burnt my throat but I made sure I didn't cringe. 'We're just talking. You didn't say anything wrong.'

Bobby sat next to us with a packet of biscuits and handed one to me. 'Bobby, you know –'

'I know.' He said and his eyes told me he did. He got how I felt. Thank God. And he stopped me saying the words that would no doubt hurt my father if he heard them. Thank God.

Waiting for Dean to continue felt kind of strange and a little awkward. Never had I been used to him leading and steering a conversation this deep before. I was a little nervous to hear what was coming next.

'It's okay to be scared.' He said making me finger a dint in Bobby's table. I thought about taking a bite from the biscuit but now suddenly lost my appetite. 'You're not alone in that. We all are.'

'All the time.' Bobby finished for him. 'Dean and I were just talking about it. After everything we've all been through, it's normal to be scared Sam.'

'You have to remember that' Dean took over. 'You're not on an island all by yourself going through this. I mean we've all gone through our own personal experiences but they're all …'

'…intertwined' Bobby finished for him.

'Yeah intertwined.'

I nodded and smiled. Outside looked welcoming. Big open air, breeze blowing, room to breathe.

'You had enough?'

Again I could only nod at my brother. I appreciated what they were trying to do, I did. More than anything and I would take it on. With everything I had. Right now though, I just had to go out the front.

'I'll make you some toast. You want some toast?' Bobby asked me.

'No thanks. Can I go for a walk?' I asked him.

Bobby looked at Dean. Dean looked at me. I looked at Dean.

'Adult Sam.'

'I'm going for a walk?' I said to him.

'Take your phone.' Dean said a little too fast causing me to laugh. Causing all of us to laugh. He was right; they were all as terrified as I was even if it was in different ways.

When I walked I thought. Went through every word they said to me. It made sense and who knew me better than my brother? He saw things in me that I never would, just like I saw things in him he'd be stunned to know. We'd been through it all; me and him…and Bobby. Things other people couldn't even imagine and death never seemed to be the end of it. We had to keep going and keep going through it. We had to keep coping and cope with everything that went with it. To hell and back, suffering intense and murderous loss and pain and torture the average mind couldn't ever comprehend.

We had a choice; beat it or let it beat us. Right now it was beating me but it had beaten all of us at one time or another. Lucifer might hold me prisoner in my head at times, I might even freak out on days that are worse than others, but as long as I had my brother and Bobby – as long as I dug down and found my inner strength to pull myself back up and hold onto my brothers shoulders when he lifted me, I would be okay. I would be. No one was a match for my brother and I – the Winchester brothers – not even the devil himself. I always had to keep that with me. Hold it close to my chest. My brother Dean, the one that basically raised me and gave his life for me; how could I ever not have faith in everything he was?

I had changed but I had to change some more; even had to get most of the old me back. Dean had changed; he'd gotten deeper and more expressive. He acted on his feelings rather than buried them and I was so proud of him for that. It was a greatest wish of mine and he'd gotten there - maybe because of his time with Lisa and Ben - but also maybe through his suffering. He'd come through stronger. That made me smile.

Bobby was Bobby but as Bobby said he was scared as well. Even at his stage of life he was still learning and relearning, going through things he shouldn't be going through but coming out fighting, helping, saving.

The things that change us…

'Hold up Sam,' I turned to find my brother jogging up to me. 'Want some company?'

I smiled and nodded, placing a hand on his back.

And the things that don't.

The End.

I made it! Before the Season 6 Premiere! This story could have gone on forever. I love these boys and loved writing this. I hope you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for reading…and to all the reviewers I've come to adore; I can't thank you enough. I already miss you guys!

Not long until our show and boys are back! Let's hope Season 6 is the best one yet!

Enjoy the premiere everyone :)

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