This was requested by Guest.
Prompt: Dean's reaction to Sam leaving for Stanford and Sam's reaction to Dean showing up after four years.
Title from Sophie's Choice by William Styron.
Sat on the floor, back leaning against the door. Arms wrapped around shaking knees which were pulled up to his chest. Head buried amongst his arms, Dean sobbed as he tried to block out the sound of shouting from downstairs.
Sam and John had been arguing ever since John had returned from a hunt an hour ago. Having forgotten to hide his Stanford acceptance letter that must have arrived earlier that morning, John had found it and was now giving Sam hell.
"How dare you go behind my back!" Their father shouted. "You had no right to do this, Sam! No right at all!"
"And why's that?!" Sam scoffed.
"Because you have a duty to this family, in case you've forgotten!"
"I have had a duty to this family my entire life! I have always done what you told me to do. Always followed your orders. I've trained, researched, looked after Dean, looked after you when you've been too drunk to stay on your feet!" Sam listed. "But now that I actually want something for myself...no...that's too much to ask!"
John shook his head. "You're unbelievable!"
"Why, because I want to actually get out of this life? Get an education, a job, have a family? Live some normal apple pie life that doesn't involve killing a monster every week?!" Sam asked.
"Hunters can't ever have lives like that! You know that Sam!" John stated.
"How would you know?"
"What?" John furrowed an eyebrow.
Sam scoffed. "How would you know? I mean..." He held his arms out at his sides. "You didn't exactly try."
"I did what was best for you and your brother, to keep you safe." John stated.
"That's crap and you know it!" Sam retorted. "I have been nothing more than a soldier to you since I was four years old...and Dean, well he hasn't exactly had much of anything that resembles a childhood. You started training him up the second he found out about what we do. Didn't even blink just through him in at the deep end and hoped he'd float." Sam paused. "And I mean, you've nearly killed the pair of us at least ten times."
"Is there something you wanna' say to me?!" John's tone grew sterner.
"I'm going to college, Dad...and you can't stop me." Sam stated firmly.
"The hell I can!" He shouted. "Even if I have to handcuff you to the friggin' bedpost for the rest of your life, you're not leaving this house!"
"I am 18 years old!" Sam shouted. "You can't control me anymore!"
"So what...you're just gonna' walk out on me, on Dean? Your own little brother?"
Sam bit his cheek to stop himself from lashing out at his father. "I've been more of a father to Dean then you ever have! I was the one who fed him, changed him, stopped him from crying when he was a baby when you were too wrapped up in your own guilt to actually look after your six month old son. Then I was the one to look after him and feed him when you were away on hunts, which with you was like every week and you'd always come back late. I took him to school, lied to the teachers when they asked where you were, went to his plays and even his parents evenings when I was older. I looked after him when he had nightmares. I was the one who had to tell him about what we do after he got so upset that you weren't gonna' be there for Christmas that year when we were little, but you didn't come back any of the years after that either so you know, A star parenting there. I was the one that had to work some form of job in the area just to get enough money to actually buy him some presents so the kid wouldn't feel like his father had forgotten him at Christmas, again. But I always used to tag them from you too, tell him that you'd left them with me despite the fact that you would never even have given a thought to buying some Christmas presents. And then I was also the one who had to look after Dean through all the times in which you nearly killed him. Stopping him from bleeding out, driving him to the hospital, staying with him in his room when I was barely old enough to be there unaccompanied, having to watch my brother nearly die from all kind of injuries, seeing him code in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after a werewolf decided he wanted to decorate the place with Dean's insides. I felt so utterly useless because no matter how bad I wanted to help him, there was nothing I could physically do to help him. I just had to watch the paramedics try and save my brother who was literally seconds away from dying, shocking him and prodding him with all kinds of wires and tubes of which there soul purpose was to try keep my little brother alive. He died in front of me, Dad..." Sam's tone crumbled slightly. "That's what coded means...Learnt it that day when the paramedics were shouting it to each other for like five minutes until his heart started again. I was also there for him when he had to get casts on and then watched out for him when he was hopping round on crutches. I was the one who had to ride him to the hospital on my handlebars that time when he broke his arm because you wouldn't answer your friggin' phone!" He paused. "The list is endless, Dad! So don't you ever use that card on me! Dean is the only thing that has kept me here so long!"
"You act like you're some perfect son, but you're not...you never have been...and you never will..." John paused. "We are in this fight to kill the son of a bitch that killed you mother. Dean's mother, and you're walking out! Do you even still care about her?!" John shouted.
Sam was fuming as he grabbed his Dad by the collar of his shirt and pushed him back against the wall, holding him there. "Don't you dare...Don't you dare bring Mom into this! How dare you! How could you say that?..." Sam's tone weakened again. "I miss her more than anything in the world, you sick bastard!" He shook his head, trying to compose himself. "You weren't the only one lost Mom. I lost her too!" He shouted.
"Do you think she'd be proud of you, deserting your family like this?" John questioned. "She had family at heart, always put them first."
"You're a hypocrite, you know that?!" Sam scoffed. "You talk about putting family first, you talk about having them at heart. Did you put family first when you'd lash out at me when you'd get drunk? Did you have family at heart when I had to steal food so Dean wouldn't go hungry and got arrested? What were your words again..." He paused. "Oh yeah, that I could rot in jail for all you cared! Do you even know what that means?!"
Anger flared within John as he flipped and pushed Sam off him, knocking him back before grabbing his collar with one hand and slamming a punch across his face with the other.
Sam stumbled from the force of the blow and fell backwards onto the floor, putting a hand to his bleeding mouth.
"If you're going then get out of here now!" John screamed.
"I'm not leaving without seeing Dean." Sam stated.
"Do you really think your brother will want to see you?" John scoffed.
Hearing the sound of footsteps, Sam and John both turned to see Dean stood in the doorway, eyes wide as he took in the sight of Sam lying on the floor bleeding.
John turned back to Sam. "If you walk out of that door, don't ever bother coming back." He stated before walking off.
And Sam had. Dean along with him.
Sam had snaked the keys to the Impala, before driving off to South Dakota. Dropping Dean off there, he explained to Bobby that the next week probably wasn't going to be a good one for their Dad. Explaining that he knew John was probably going to drink himself near to Oblivion. Sam had always been the ones to take their Father's drunken blows, and he feared with him not being there, Dean might be his next target. Sam knew that John would never have a motive to hit Dean. Dean was John's golden child and always had been. Which was good because it meant that Sam was less worried about the abuse. It was just drunk John he was worried about.
Bobby had promised to look after the kid, before he began fussing over Sam's split lip which he immediately knew had been John's doing.
"The next time I see that man I'm gonna' fill him fulla' buckshot, raising a hand to his boy like that! I knew I shoulda' gotten you kids outta' there. Why didn't you let me, Sam? I mean the man has been using you as a punching bag his entire life."
"Dean and I are all he has. I doubt he'd stick around long if we'd left." Sam sighed. "And I couldn't do that to Dean. I mean, he worships the guy. Losing him would destroy him."
"So Dean doesn't know about the abuse?" Bobby asked.
Sam shook his head. "He saw Dad punch me last night, but I told him that it was my fault for riling him up."
"Damn it, Sam...you were just a kid when it all started for god's sake!" Bobby stated sympathetically. "No kid should have to go through that, trust me I've been there myself. I know what it's like, which is why I would never want that to happen to you boys, and I let it!"
"It's not your fault Bobby." Sam reassured.
"The hell it isn't. I should have done something about it years ago."
"I didn't want you to." Sam responded. "It was my choice, Bobby, and you respected it and for that I'm grateful. But you can do something for me."
"Name it, kid."
"Don't let Dad kill him." Sam stated. "Please, if you know that the hunt's too dangerous, say Dean can stay here. Friggin' drag him over here if you have to, just don't let him get killed...please..."
Bobby took in the oldest Winchester's expression. The face of a boy who had just been disowned by his father, having been used as a punch bag by him for years, taking it all so that the family would stay together and so his brother wouldn't have to. He saw the unshed tears threatening pained eyes. John had clearly gone all out last night by the looks of how broken Sam looked.
"Are you sure you're gonna' be okay, kid?" Bobby asked softly.
Sam smiled. "I'll be fine, Bobby."
Bobby smiled too.
"Oh, I almost forgot." Reaching a hand into his pocket, he pulled out the keys to the Impala before placing them down on the table. "Give these back to Dad would you?"
Bobby nodded. "Sure."
Getting up from the table, Sam walked towards the living room but stopped halfway, turning back to Bobby. "Oh and she needs gas." He smirked before crossing into the living room where Dean was sat on the couch. Sitting down next to him, he turned to his brother. "Dean..." He began.
"Please don't leave me." Dean cut him off in a weak, saddened tone.
"Dean..." He tried again.
"You know what, screw you! If you want to leave us then fine." Dean crossed his arms.
"You don't mean that." Sam knew his little brother, and he especially knew what Dean does when he's scared. "You're scared, and it's okay to be scared because everything's changing and you might not want it to." He reached out and took his little brother's hands in his, squeezing them gently in reassurance. "You just gotta' be brave. I'm not leaving you forever, I'm just going to college. I mean, hell, I'm sure Bobby would drive you over if you wanted to come visit...right Bobby?"
Bobby nodded. "This is an amazing opportunity for your brother, Dean...and trust me he deserves it. Like he said, he'll only be in California, it's not like he's moving to the other side of the planet."
Dean sighed. "I'll miss you."
Sam felt like an awful older brother. "I know." He pulled his little brother closer , wrapping his arms around him. "I'll miss you too."
The months passed at Stanford, and Sam hadn't heard from his brother once. He regularly rang Bobby to make sure that the kid was alright, but he couldn't hide the fact that he was upset by the fact that Dean hadn't rang.
Months became years and soon Sam reached his fourth year. He'd gotten a girlfriend, an almost perfect score ok his LSAT's and everything was looking bright. Then he heard someone in the apartment him and Jess shared one night.
Finding your little brother in your living room at three o clock in the morning was definitely a surprise for him, especially after his estrangement from his family for four years. He hadn't heard Dean's voice in four years either, so the now deeper, gruffer tone was definitely a shock. And Dean himself was different. God had puberty hit him in the years they'd been apart. The boy he'd left had well and truly grown into a man. Sam noticed that Dean was also sporting their Father's brown leather jacket now, one that he'd hardly ever seen off his Dad's back throughout his childhood. And now Dean appeared to have ownership of it.
Dean had explained about Dad being missing and how he needed his help to find him. Jess had walked in at this point and then they had moved their conversation outside where Sam caught a glimpse of something else that Dean had obviously gained ownership of. Sam noticed the familiar vehicle parked up by the curb. It's shining black body reflected the bright yellows of the street lights that lined the path.
"Dad gave you the Impala?" Sam asked.
"Yeah, for my eighteenth." Dean answered.
The car had always been his. It had never really been formally given to him, but in the years before going to Stanford, Sam had found himself in the Impala more frequently whether it be through running errands for their Dad, driving Dean to school, racing back to motels or to hospitals after hunts that have gone wrong with Dean or their father passed out in either the passenger seat or across the back bench, bleeding out on the upholstery.
"So are you gonna' help me or not?" Dean asked.
"Would you even take no for an answer?" Sam replied. "I mean, I haven't heard from you in four years, Dean. No phone calls, no visits."
"I didn't think you'd care." Dean stated.
"You are my little brother, Dean. I know you think that going to Stanford was me abandoning you, but it wasn't. You are the one who didn't pick up the phone and call me, and didn't pick up the phone when I called you."
"I was busy." He replied bluntly.
Sam sighed. "What happened to the little brother I left that night?"
"He grew up." Dean stated, no emotion in his tone. "Now you didn't answer my question, are you gonna' help me or not because we're losing daylight here."
Sam had reluctantly agreed to go with him, stating that he had to be back by Monday for his Law School interview. The research had led them to the story of Constance Welch, a local woman who committed suicide after her children drowned. Which is why they were currently stood on the bridge where she had taken the swan dive. Nothing had come from looking around, but Dean wasn't giving up that easily.
"Now we keep digging until we find him. Might take a while." Dean stated.
Sam sighed. "Dean, I told you, I've gotta get back by..."
"Monday." Dean finished as he turned around. "Right. The interview. I forgot. You're really serious about this, aren't you?"
"Yeah." Sam nodded.
"Does Jessica know the truth about you? I mean, does she know about the things you've done?" Dean questioned.
Sam stepped closer to his younger brother. "No, and she's not ever going to know."
"Well, that's healthy. You can pretend all you want, Sam. But sooner or later you're going to have to face up to who you really are." Dean stated as he turned and began walking down the bridge.
Sam followed him. "And who's that?"
"You're one of us."
Sam quickened his pace so that he was in front of his brother. "No. I'm not like you. This is not going to be my life. I am done with hunting."
"You have a responsibility to—" Dean began.
"To Dad? And his crusade?" Sam paused. "I spent my whole childhood doing what Dad wanted me to do, so why is it so bad that I want to have some kind of normality in my life?"
Dean scoffed. "So what, you think you're just going to become some lawyer? Marry your girl. Make Mom proud of you because you've managed to get away from the rut that you call your family and are living some normal, apple pie life?"
Sam's expression flared in anger at the mention of their Mom, his temper rising.
"Cause' that's what this is about, isn't it? You trying to make Mom proud. You think that us hunting is a disgrace to her memory, so you're trying to honour it." Dean paused. "Mom's gone, Sam, and she's not coming back."
Sam's temper snapped as he grabbed his little brother by the collar and shoved him back against one of the metal supports of the bridge. "Don't talk about her like that." He stated in a stern voice after a long pause before releasing him.
And then everything had gone to shit after that. They had managed to get rid of Constance's spirit, and Dean had drove Sam back to Stanford. Then Sam found Jess on the ceiling.
"Jess!" Sam screamed as he looked up at her. "No!"
"Sam!" He heard a voice shout before strong arms wrapped around him and pulled him from the flames.
"No! No! Jess!" Sam screamed after her. "Jess!..."
Sat on the trunk of the Impala later, after he'd been checked by the paramedics, Sam's head was lowered as tears streamed down his cheeks. He saw his little brother walk over, hands in his pockets which he would always do when he was nervous or worried.
Sam sniffled before looking up and catching his brother's sympathetic gaze.
"I'm so sorry..." He apologised.
"It's not your fault, Dean." Sam stated softly.
"No, but I have been a dick." He added before sitting down next to his brother on the trunk. Dean paused. "Truth is, I didn't want to ruin it for you..." He scoffed humourlessly. "...and look what happened."
"Dean, you keeping in contact wouldn't have ruined it for me." Sam stated reassuringly. "And none of this was your fault. You showing up didn't trigger this, it was that yellow eyed son of a bitch..." His voice trailed off.
Dean took in how broken his older brother looked. It was so unnatural to see him so upset. Sam was always the strong one. "Sam..." He began softly. "We'll find him, and when we do, we'll put a bullet in that SOB for Jess and Mom." He paused. "Until then, how about we hit the road? Just you and me?"
Sam smiled slightly. "Yeah." He nodded. "I'd like that."
Dean smiled too. "Good." He stood up from the trunk and grabbed his keys out of his pocket. "Come on then, we've got work to do."