There's no other way… He has to do it… He needs to do it… It's the only way…
Put it on… Just put it on… It's so rough against his skin…
Pull it… Pull it… Just pull it…
Tighter… It needs to be tighter… A little bit tighter… A bit more…
When Bobby stepped out of his room in the morning to prepare breakfast for his son, he was halted by some strange sounds. They were coming from down the hallway… from Sam's bedroom…
He started to walk that way, listening closely to the sounds. Suddenly he realized what the noise was: ragged, wheezing breaths. What was worse though: it was Sam's ragged, wheezing breathing. Bobby hurried down the hall to Sam's door, fearing the worst; the boy's emotions were unstable, who knows what he might try to do to himself. When he reached the door and burst through it, his eyes widened from shock.
Sam was sitting on his bed, his knees pulled to his chest. His face was red from the effort that was visible on his face, but his lips were turning into a darker color. Bobby quickly found the cause of his son's condition: a dark-brown leather collar stretched around the boy's neck, digging into the skin painfully, almost crushing the boy's windpipe. But Sam just pulled on it more and more, not caring about the slow death he was bringing upon himself…
Bobby leaped to the bed and pried Sam's hands away from the buckle, ripping the collar off of him. Sam let out a loud cry from the loss of the leather and tried to grab the collar, but Bobby threw it away and pulled his struggling son into his arms.
"NO!" Sam screamed. "Give it back, please! I need to…" with that the boy burst into tears and collapsed into his father's arms, harsh sobs sending him to the brink of seizure. Bobby shushed him and tenderly caressed the boy's brown locks, rocking Sam's distraught form back and forth. After a long while, Sam quieted down and Bobby heard soft, smacking sounds. When he looked down, he saw Sam sucking his thumb and gazing into the nothingness before him.
Bobby laid his hand on the back of his son's head and held him tight, his tears rolling down his face onto the boy's tresses. His son was so far gone in his grief and pain that he turned to that method of soothing that he grew out of long, long years ago. Bobby held back his agony raging inside him from the childish sight and looked upwards, praying for some deliverance from the mental and emotional torture Sam has to go through. His eyes landed on the collar lying innocently on the ground and Bobby made his decision.
He carefully pushed Sam upright and against the headboard of the bed and quickly fetched the leather item. Sitting back onto the mattress he gently put the collar around Sam's neck just under the fiery red streak that the boy made for himself with the object. He buckled it loosely around Sam's throat, just tight enough that it stretched perfectly and comfortably on the boy.
Sam seemed to snap out of his trance, because he parted with his finger with a quiet smack and instantly reached up to trace the collar with both hands. After he felt the strapped buckle, he relaxed tenfold and leaned against his father, looking up at him gratefully. Bobby wrapped his arms around his boy, and reveled in the tension-free slouch of Sam's body. Maybe the boy could finally start coping with the loss.
Bobby was making breakfast downstairs, cooking his son's favorite pancakes that Sam asked for. A couple days went by and the older man could see the change in the boy start to form. He was still distressed about what happened, but the worst part of his grieving was finally over. Bobby fought a shudder at the thought, what would have happened, if he hadn't listened to his hunch about the collar. Sam would have most likely killed himself by now…
"Dad?" came the shy, hoarse voice from behind him. Quickly turning around he saw the trembling form of Sam in the kitchen doorway. Flipping the last pancake onto the plate next to him, he hurried to his son and helped him to a chair at the table. When Sam sat down, he wrapped his arms around his father's waist and burrowed his head into the man's chest. Bobby gently ran his fingers through the boy's hair, giving all of the comfort his boy was seeking. They stayed like that for a minute then Sam pulled away, wiping the escaped tears from his face and reddened eyes. Bobby caressed the boy's cheek with a kind smile and went to get Sam's breakfast.
To the man's great relief, Sam started eating, although in small bites and really slowly. His heart ached from the sight of the hunched shoulders and the trembling of the hands, but it was a big step for the boy to just come down and join his father at breakfast. When they finished, Sam sat there stock-still for a little while, then spoke up hesitantly:
"Dad, can I ask you something?"
"Sure, what is it?" Bobby smiled, finally hearing a casual, though still shaky, tone from his son.
"Before you adopted me" Sam started timidly, "did I have a… a sibling?"
Bobby was taken aback by the question, but nodded.
"Yes, you did" he said thinking. "A brother, actually. He was adopted a few months before you were born."
"Adopted?" Sam asked surprised. "He wasn't my biological brother?"
"No" Bobby shook his head. "He was three years old, close to four when your parents got him."
"How…" Sam gulped inaudibly, "how did he look like?"
"Your parents were lucky with him" Bobby said. "No one could tell he was not their son by blood. He looked very similar to John, but had blonde hair just like Mary. Even you have some similarity with him."
"What do you mean?" Sam asked confused.
"Outside it's very distinctive, but inside…" Bobby chuckled at a memory. "John told me not long before the accident that your stubbornness passed down by your father was increased, thanks to your brother. And the two of you were really protective of each other."
"But I was just two" Sam frowned.
"Yeah, but you were a smart kid. You couldn't even speak more than a few words, but you could defend your brother like a lawyer in front of a court." Sam laughed silently at that, but he sobered up quickly.
"What happened to him?" Sam asked. "Was he adopted by another family?"
"No, I don't think so" Bobby answered, trying to remember. "If I recall correctly, he went missing. The day before the accident." Sam's eyes widened from shock.
'When I was a kid, I got lost in a forest.'
'I was six.'
'I was adopted…'
'…they died in an accident, just after the day I've gone missing…'
'Goodbye… Little brother…'
Sam gasped from the realization: that's why he left, because… they were brothers!
"What was his name?" he asked breathlessly.
"Dean" Bobby started to get suspicious by the questions and the reaction he got from Sam. "Why?"
Sam just sat there in stunned silence. Dean was blond… From the picture of his parents, Sam realized how similar Dean was to his father, John… But he had blond hair, just like Mary… He fell in love with his brother!
"Are you 100 per cent sure that Dean was not my biological brother?" he asked urgently.
"I swear to you that he was adopted" Bobby answered honestly. "Son, what's going on?"
"That idiot" Sam growled, choking on tears of frustration, and buried his face in his hands. After a couple of deep breaths, he stood up. "I'll be in my room" and with that he stormed out of the kitchen and up the stairs, leaving a bewildered Bobby staring after him in wonder.
Sam quickly pulled out the drawer of the nightstand and snatched up his phone and a piece of paper. He dialed the number from the paper and waited impatiently, chewing on his nails, for the dial tone to stop ringing. As soon as he heard a female voice say "Hello?", he said:
"He left me. I need your help."