Dean sat in the car that he now knew to be his. A Chevrolet Impala. Sam told him about how much he loved this car, but he honestly couldn't figure out why he did. It just seemed like a car to him. It was old, but other than that there didn't seem to be anything special about it.
He had snuck out late at night to come sit in it, just as he had the last three nights. He knew that this car was special to him. He knew he had a connection to it, and he hoped that this was the key to regaining some of his memory back. Surely this car came with memories. As soon as he saw it he could remember one, no matter how small. He just needed to do that again.
The past few days had not been good for him. He felt incredibly alone in the house. Sam and Bobby were always there, but he just didn't want to be with them, right now. They were hiding something from him, and he didn't know what. He just couldn't trust them – not until he knew the full story about his altercation, and his memory loss.
Which was why he was laying in the backseat of the Impala at 2 in the morning. He closed his eyes, and tried to imagine the image of Sam in the backseat, playing with the plane. It was so vivid to him, like it was happening right then. But nothing else was coming to him. He let out a heavy sigh, and sat up. Three nights in a row, and nothing had happened. He was really starting to feel disheartened.
The car wasn't the only place he had been hiding out. He had been all over Bobby's house, staring at photographs and old books, hoping for more insight. He had spent hours staring at the stain on his mattress, trying to rekindle the memories. But nothing was working, and he didn't know why.
He stared over at the steering wheel. Sam said it was his father's, but since he father was dead, it was his. That must have meant he had driven it, at least a few times.
He climbed over the front seat and settled himself in the driver's seat. He grasped his fingers around the wheel, and once again tried to open a portion of his mind that was stubbornly remaining shut. He ran his hands over the gears, and the dashboard, searching for anything he may have had a connection to.
He moved over to the passenger seat, and made himself comfortable. He tried to pretend like this was just an average day for him, taking a ride in the car. That seemed to do it.
"Got no time to for spreading rootsthe time has come to be goneand to our health we drank a thousand timesit's time to ramble on…"
Dean could hear music coming from the radio. It was playing softly in the background as trees flew past in the window. He watched the landscape for a moment, but it wasn't anywhere he recognized. It seemed peaceful, and calm, like it was some small town they were passing through.
He could look around, but his vision as severely limited. It was like his brain was blocking certain parts of the memory, distorting his view. He looked to see the driver of the car, but it was blurry. He couldn't quite make out a face or any other notable features. It felt like he was wearing glasses, and it made his head hurt to stare.
He looked to the backseat, instead, which was much clearer. He recognized Sam right away. He was about the same age as his other memory, maybe a little younger. He didn't have his plane, though. He was just sitting in the backseat, his legs crossed as well as his arms. Little tears were falling gently down his cheeks, and he was obviously upset about something.
Dean tried to open his mouth and ask what the matter was, but he couldn't get anything out. He couldn't even force his lips open.
"But daddy, I-"
"I don't want to hear it, Sammy." Dean's head turned to the driver once again, as he spoke to Sam, in the back. Daddy? "There's nothing I can do for you, now. It's too late. So stop your whining already."
That response just made Sam cry harder. Dean suddenly felt his arm reaching out for Sam, although he wasn't controlling it. It was just part of the memory. "Shh," He heard himself say. "It's okay, Sammy. We'll be there, soon."
"Dean," Sam whined, again, reaching out for his brother's hand.
Dean felt a sudden impact to his chest, making him recoil. It was his father's hand. "Fucking shut him up, would ya? I'm trying to drive here, unless you want me to get into an accident." His father reached for the volume on the radio, twisting it almost all the way up to drown out the little boy.
"Mine's a tale that can't be told, my freedom I hold dearHow years ago in days of old when magic filled the airT'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fairBut Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her, yeah…"
Dean was surprised by the harshness in his voice, but he didn't stop to consider it, because his body began moving for him. He carefully crawled over the seat, Sam scooting over to make room for him. Dean held out his arms so that Sam could curl up into him. "It's alright, Sammy. Everything's gonna be alright."
Dean opened his eyes, and suddenly he was in the garage, again. He took a deep breath. These memories took a lot out of him, even the more docile ones. He decided to call it quits for the night. Besides, now he had questions for Sam and Bobby.
"Do you have any pictures of Mom and Dad?" Sam was startled by Dean's question, early the next morning. Dean had said very little to Sam and Bobby the last few days, choosing to stay by himself most of the time in his room. If he wasn't in his room, he was wandering around the house, quietly, looking in depth at everything he could get his hands on.
This morning, neither Sam nor Bobby expected to see Dean for a while. Sam sat at the kitchen table as Bobby prepared breakfast, (which meant he was putting the fast food he had just ran out for onto real plates and pouring what was left of the milk into glasses.) They were both surprised when Dean joined them at the table.
"Um… I don't think so. Not… with me." That was a lie of course, but one that Sam felt he had to make. He was concerned that if Dean saw a picture of John, it would trigger all sorts of memories that Dean was better off not remembering. He wanted to protect his brother from all of that. He felt that this could be a fresh start for Dean.
The kid had been through so much, so young, and he really didn't deserve it. John had treated him like shit, and it had torn him apart. What he did left scars so deep, that no matter how much time had passed, those memories would still haunt him.
Unless he forgot them all, like he had right now. This was Dean's one and only chance to start over, and forget all the abuse that he had suffered.
"Where else would you have some?" Dean knew he was being lied to. He could tell by the hesitation in Sam's voice. He could tell by the way Bobby looked away from the plates he was making as Sam answered. He could tell because there was no way Sam wouldn't have any pictures of his own parents lying around.
"Uh," Sam tried desperately to think of a good lie, but he was coming up short. "I mean, we lost a lot of them during our moves. They're probably somewhere; I just don't know where that would be. Sorry."
Dean frowned. "Here you are, boys. Eat up." Bobby brought over two plates of food, and then two half-filled glasses of milk. "It's good to see you down here, Dean. It's starting to feel like it used to." Bobby patted his shoulder, and Dean struggled not to tense up at the gesture. He didn't even know why he would tense up at that. He just did.
Dean took a few bites of his food, but it was more for Bobby's benefit than anything else. He wasn't hungry. He hadn't been since the hospital. He felt empty inside, but food didn't make that go away.
"You feel up to doin' something, today, Dean?" Bobby asked after it was clear he was done eating. "I was thinkin' that we could all do something – the three of us – that might make you feel a little better."
Dean looked down at his plate. "I don't know. I'm still just trying to… remember. That's why I wanted the photos. I thought it might bring back some memories, you know?"
Bobby nodded. "I know, boy, and I wish I could help you with that. But I think that this could help, too. Why don't I take you boys out to eat, tonight? Someplace we've been before. Maybe it'll spark somethin' in ya. Some pleasant memories."
Dean sighed. It was obvious that the man was just trying to help. "Okay. That sounds good."
"He's gotta know something, Bobby. Otherwise he wouldn't be asking." Sam struggled to talk quietly even as his worry grew. Dean was only upstairs, and it was important that he didn't hear any of their conversation.
"I don't know, Sam. It's perfectly normal for him to be askin' about his parents. We haven't told him anything about them, and it's just plain natural for him to be curious."
Sam shook his head. "This is more than curiosity, Bobby. This is different. He's not acting curious, he's acting… well, he's acting like Dean. He's suspicious. He's looking for clues, and it's obvious he doesn't trust us." Sam had never felt more conflicted. All he had wanted was to make his brother's life a little easier, and all he had done was cause more trouble. It wasn't that he regretted what he did; he just wished he had done a better job at doing it.
"Sam, you have to relax, kid." Bobby went down on his knee to he could be face to face with Sam. He held the boy's shoulders, forcing him to look him in the eyes. "We're doing the best we can, here. Your brother… he's just broken. I hate to say it but it's true. He's hurting right now, and he doesn't understand why. What he needs is time. He needs to figure out things on his own, and he needs to know we're here for him if he wants out help."
"I know, Bobby, but it's so hard. I just want to help him."
"I know. I really do." Bobby felt a twinge of pain at Sam's words. He knew Sam would do anything for his brother, and he knew that Dean would do the same. He was just lost right now. But he would come back, sooner or later.
At least that's what he hoped.
Dean tore up his room, looking for any sign of his parents.
He knew it had to be somewhere. He just needed to see what they looked like. He needed to start piecing together the memories he did know, so that he could unlock the rest. But for that he knew he needed his parents, and he knew that the other two were hiding them from him. He just didn't know why.
Suddenly, he remembered the bag that was in the corner of the room the first day he got back. Sam had hurriedly taken it away as soon as he saw it. There was something in there that he hadn't wanted Dean to see.
Dean opened his door as quietly as possible. He could hear the two of them whispering to themselves downstairs. He strained his ears to hear, but they were too far away. He closed the door behind him, and then tip-toed over to Sam's room.
Once inside, he went straight to the closet. He found the bag right away, tucked underneath some clothing.
He pulled it out and set it down in front of him. He took a deep breath before unzipping it.
It was not what he expected.
The first thing he saw was a gun. And another gun. And another. He dug through and found a couple more, as well as some knives of varying lengths. "What the fuck…"
He got to the bottom of the bag, where he could feel something small and flat. He pulled out a small pile of photographs.
He looked at the first one, and he knew instantly it was a picture of his mother. A blonde woman and a little boy that he could only guess was himself. No memory came flooding back, but it wasn't necessary. He could tell by the warm feeling he got as he looked at her kind smile. He was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of calm and happiness that he probably hadn't felt in a long, long time.
He stared at her for a little while longer, reveling in the feeling. But then he forced himself to flip to the next one, which was of two young boys. He guessed it was him holding Sam in his lap. By the look of it, Sam couldn't have been older than a year.
He flipped to the next one, and suddenly that warmness he had just felt was replaced by a cold, heart-aching feeling. It was him again, along with Sam and his mother. And then there as another person, who hadn't been in the previous pictures, but whom he recognized instantly as the man who stabbed him. "Dad?"
Suddenly he could imagine the latest memory again, but this time it wasn't so blurry. He could plainly see his father in the driver's seat. He could see his face as clear as day as he barked at him to make Sam "shut up."
"No… no, no, no…" Dean refused to believe it. How could it have been his father who stabbed him? How did that even make sense? Why would they hide that from him?
Did that mean his father was still alive out there? Maybe his Mom was as well. Who knew what else Sam and Bobby were keeping from him? All of this could be an elaborate fabrication, and he wouldn't even know it.
He quickly zipped the bag back up, and shoved it back underneath the pile of clothes, as he found it. He kept the pictures, however, and ran out of Sam's room. When he returned to his own room, he stashed the photographs at the bottom of his middle drawer, underneath some shirts.
Later that day, Bobby called him downstairs. "You ready to go?"
"Uh, yeah, I guess." They were both waiting at the bottom of the stairs as he came down.
"Good. We're taking my car. You go ahead and get in the backseat, and I'll be right there."
Dean froze, and suddenly he felt like his head was pounding. Get in the backseat. Get in the backseat.
Bobby froze as well, and stared at the boy. "Dean? Are you okay?"
"Yeah, yeah… uh, what did you say…?"
Bobby and Sam exchanged a look. "I was just saying you could get into the car."
"Oh, right. Uh, I gotta… I have to…" Dean pressed one of his hands on his head and closed his eyes. "Sorry, it just… hurts…"
"Dean?" Sam took a step toward his brother, who instinctively took a step back. He was still on the staircase, however, and as he did, he kicked his ankle into the stair, and fell down the last couple of steps. While Bobby and Sam immediately rushed to his side, Dean didn't even notice. He was too busy holding his head.
"I don't understand what the big deal is. It's only an extra weekend, and it would mean so much to Sammy." Dean sat in the passenger seat of the Impala. His father was driving. No one was in the back.
"The big deal is that it's an entire weekend, Dean. I don't understand why that's so hard to get through that thick skull of yours." His father huffed, gripping tighter on the steering wheel. "I don't give a shit what your brother wants. He has to learn that he's not in charge of what we do. I am."
"Dad, come on. He's just a kid." Dean was begging himself to stop, but he had no control over the situation. He wished he could force himself to shut up, and just let it go. But in whatever memory this was, he kept going. "He deserves this."
"Dean, I already made my fucking decision. No one's going to change that." His father's voice was raising quickly, as was the tension in the car.
"You're being unreasonable!" Dean felt the car coming to a halt, and he knew he had made a mistake. The Impala was pulled over to the side of the empty road. He looked over at the father, whose face was now red.
"You wanna say that again?" This time, Dean did not respond. "I get to be as un-fucking-reasonable as I want! I'm your god damn father, if you haven't forgotten."
"I'm sorry, Dad. You're right, I-"
"Oh, you're sorry? How sweet. Get in the backseat."
"Did I fucking stutter? Or are you just that fucking retarded? Get in the backseat!"
Dean opened the door, and got out as quickly as he could. He could see his father doing the same. Every muscle in his body tensed as he climbed into the back. He throat felt like it was closing in on itself, and his stomach felt empty. He closed his door, his body going rigid. His father pulled opened the door on the other side. Dean could see him taking off his belt, and folding it in half. He felt his breath catch in his throat.
"Get your ass over here." His father did not wait for him to follow the command; he simply reached into the car, grabbed onto Dean's leg, and dragged his son over to his side. As soon as he did, Dean felt the leather snap against his side. He cried out in pain.
"I'm unreasonable, huh? Fucking unbelievable. You're unbelievable, Dean. You fucking cunt." He pulled at Dean's shirt, exposing his bare skin underneath. He felt three more strikes of the belt, this time without any fabric to act as a barrier.
His sides were stinging. "I'm sorry! I'm sorry…" Dean tried, but nothing came of it. His father was practically completely in the car, now, hovering over Dean menacingly. He felt his pants being pulled down to his ankles. Then his father adjusted so he could strike at his legs, instead. Dean felt numb.
"You'll do as I tell you from now on, won't you? Won't you?"
"Y-yes! Yes, sir!" Dean knew those words all too well. He had said them so many times, often while in a very similar position. Sometimes they were affirmations. Sometimes they were pleas. "Yes, sir." "Please, sir." "It won't happen again, sir." It never worked.
"You better. Or I'll fucking kill your sorry ass and never look back."
Dean believed him.
Dean could barely catch his breath as he was pulled back into reality. He was sweating profusely, and his entire body was shaking. "Dean, are you okay? Are you with me?"
Dean didn't respond. He tried to crawl backwards, away from Sam and Bobby, but the only thing behind him was the stairs. He didn't have enough space. He felt like he was still beneath his dad in the car. "Get… get away from me." It was more of a plea than the demand it was meant to be.
Sam stared at him, eyes widened. "Dean, what's wrong? Talk to us!"
Dean did not want to talk. "Back up! Please, get away from me!" He tried, more urgently this time.
Bobby and Sam gave each other a nervous look, but they both backed up to give Dean some space.
Dean sat up, curling his legs beneath him. He leaned forward, palms against the solid ground. This is real. This is real.
"Dean, please… you're scaring me." Sam's voice brought Dean's attention back to the two of them.
Dean let his head fall as he breathed in deeply. Once he was breathing normally again, he looked back up. Both of them were staring at him with nothing but terror in their eyes. He couldn't find it within himself to care. "You lied to me. Both of you."
"What? Dean, I-"
"Just stop it, Sam! I know it. I know you did. There's no use in hiding it, anymore." Dean sat back, again, leaning against the staircase. "You can't hide things… you can't hide things behind closed doors and pretend like they're not real!" He still felt dizzy from the memory. He felt like it had been reality, rather than a memory. Even though he knew they weren't there, he could feel the stinging marks on his skin beneath his clothing where he had been hit. When he spoke again, his voice was not filled so much with anger as it was with sadness. "It was Dad, wasn't it? It was Dad who did this to me?"
Sam felt tears forming in his eyes. Bobby responded for him. "Yes."
Dean nodded. "He… he, uh…" Dean closed his eyes. "He hurt me like that a lot, didn't he? I… I remember, now. I remember..." His voice trailed off as new memories started appearing in his brain. Other "altercations" with his father.
Sam was devastated by that. He had tried to protect Dean from that. He tried to leave those memories behind, but he had failed. Dean remembered them, anyway.
Again, it was Bobby who answered. "Yeah, boy, he did. That's why you're here. You're safe, here."
Dean shook his head, opening his eyes. "No, it happened here, too! Over and over..." Bobby felt his stomach drop. He wondered how many times it had happened under his own roof without him knowing. "I'm remembering it… I'm remembering it all." Dean grasped at his head, again. He could feel memories similar to the one he had just seen flooding into his head. It hurt like Hell. "Oh, God… it hurts so bad."
"Dean, let me help you," Bobby took a step forward, but Dean yelled for him to stay back.
"NO! Please…" Dean curled his head in on his chest, trying to make himself as small as possible. "It happened here. And in the car. And… a motel room? A hotel? I don't know… I don't know…" Dean started to cry. His head felt like it was exploding, and there were too many vivid memories rushing in. They were all painful. So painful. "Please make it stop… I just want it to stop."
Dean was sobbing now, and Sam felt frozen in place. He couldn't watch his brother like this. It was too much. He had never seen Dean like this; even after all they had gone through recently. Even that night they decided to run away, it wasn't this bad. At least he was still Dean, then. This wasn't Dean. This was Dean, minus all the good memories. All he had were the bad, and it was hurting him.
"It's alright, Dean." Bobby took a few hesitant steps toward Dean, again, but this time there was no protest. Bobby sat beside Dean at the bottom of the stairs. He wrapped his arm around the sobbing boy, and held him against his chest. "Everything's gonna be alright."
Sam backed up against the wall, and slid down to the ground. He brought his knees up to his chest, and just stared at Bobby and Dean. The truth was he didn't have a damn clue what to do. He had no idea how to help his brother, and for the first time ever, that was stopping him. Dean was a mess, and as far as Sam could tell, there was nothing anyone could do to fix him.
Yet Bobby tried. He brushed the hair from Dean's face, and tried to make him stop crying. "Dean, listen to me. You're okay. You're safe. He's gone, you hear me? He's gone, and he ain't comin' back. I promise you."
Dean pressed his face into Bobby's shirt. It felt good to be held like that; like a little kid. But as hard as he tried, he couldn't stop the tears from rolling. Everything hurt. His body hurt. His mind hurt. He just wanted to stop feeling, completely. He just wanted to die. "You're safe with us."
As Sam watched Bobby try to console Dean, something popped into his head. Something Dean had told him a long time ago, about their mother. She would sing him a certain song every night, like a lullaby. Sam exhaled heavily before crawling over to them. He sat in front of Dean, who probably couldn't even tell he was there. "Hey, Jude…" He tried his best to sing it, but his voice was a little rough. "Don't make it bad. Take a sad song, and make it better."
Dean looked up at him, his eyes red. Sam continued. "Remember to let her into your heart. Then you can start to make it better."
Sam was genuinely surprised when Dean stopped crying. He was still curled up in Bobby's side, but now he was silent.
"Hey Jude, don't be afraid. You were made to go out and get her... The minute you let her under your skin, then you begin to make it better."
Dean remembered this song. In his mind, he could see his mother. He could see her bright eyes, her soft smile. He could feel her hand against his cheek.
"And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain. Don't carry the world upon your shoulders."
Suddenly, all sorts of memories of his mother were coming back. Playing at the park with her. Sitting on the kitchen counter beside her as she cooked. Her singing to him as she tucked him into bed. His memories of her did not outnumber the memories of his father, but they were beginning to outweigh them.
"For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool, by making his world a little colder."
And with memories of her, came memories of Sam. They day he was born. The day his parents came home with him from the hospital. He remembered all the nights after their mother died, and how he would curl up next to Sam in his crib, to protect him. All the days he spent by Sam's side, trailing behind him in fear that something would happen to his little brother.
Holding Sam in his arms as he cried. Consoling him on bad days, and trying to keep up with him on good ones.
Suddenly, he couldn't believe that he would ever forget his little brother, Sammy.
"Hey Jude, don't let me down. You have found her, now go and get her. Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better."
And of course he remembered hunting, as well. He remembered every hunt, good or bad. He remembered being terrified for his father, and terrified for himself. But he also remembered how good it felt when they had completed a hunt. When they walked away, knowing they had helped someone. John would give him a little pat on the back, and a "Good job, buddy," and everything would be alright in Dean's world.
"So let it out and let it in, hey Jude, begin."
He remembered the night they decided to leave. The night he realized he couldn't hold it all in, anymore. The night he realized everything had spun out of his control.
"You're waiting for someone to perform with and don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do."
He had tried to be strong, through it all. He tried his hardest to keep it from Sam, and to keep it from the world. He thought he could be strong.
"The movement you need is on your shoulder."
But he was wrong. What he didn't realize, was how strong Sam was. Sam was there for him when he thought he was alone. Throughout everything, there was only one person who was always at his side. Sammy.
"Hey Jude, don't make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better."
At the end, he couldn't face his father. At the end it was Sam who took him down.
He remembered that, too, now. His father's final moments. His body falling to the ground, bloody. His own father, dead, just like that. And it was Sam who had done that. It was Sam who made the sacrifice, and was able to pull the trigger when Dean could not. It was Sam who saved him.
"Remember to let her under your skin."
And now he remembered.
"Then you'll begin to make it better."
"Sammy…" Dean reached forward, and Sam more than happily moved towards him. Dean wrapped his arms around his brother as tight as he could, never wanting to let go. "I'm so sorry… I'm so sorry I forgot, Sammy."
"I've missed you, Dean…" Sam let his tears falls onto Dean's shoulder. "I missed you so much."
"I know, Sammy, I know. I promise I'll never leave again." And he meant it. More than anyone ever could. "I won't leave you, again."
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