Every Hero Has an Origin Story

Just Give Up

SEPTEMBER 2001

Just Give Up

It wasn't that Dean wanted to die.

The fact of the matter was, he just didn't care if he lived.

Sure, there were lots of reason to stay alive. Sam and John needed him. In a way, death would be giving up on his responsibilities to them, and he couldn't do that. There were other things too. There was music, shitty movies, and TV shows. There were girls, booze, and hunting.

But lately, Dean just couldn't find it in himself to actually give a shit about his physical well-being. He just didn't care.

And then there was what Sam said.

He was never meant to hear those words. He was supposed to be passed out in the other room.

Dean had been injured on a hunt. After getting patched up, he took a handful of pain-pills and fell asleep on the bed. But his drug-induced sleep didn't last forever, and eventually he woke up to Sam and John arguing.

Normally, he would have went out there and tried to put a stop to the fight. He'd get in between them and play devil's advocate. He'd try his best to calm things down.

But today, he was in pain. He was hurt, and tired, and he didn't have the energy to get up, much less get himself into that fight. Besides, everyone thought he was asleep. No one would even know he chose to stay in bed.

Dean could hear their arguments from the room. This particular fight was not uncommon in the Winchester house. Sam was pissed that Dean had gotten hurt, (and yes, regardless of what Sammy said, Dean knew it was his own fault he got hurt. Their father wasn't to blame for Dean's own stupidity,) and was giving Dad shit about it.

"I can't control your brother, Sam. It's not my fault he got hurt. If he had just stepped out of the way of that damn black dog-"

"What the fuck are you talking about? Of course you control him! That's all you ever do!" Dean rolled his eyes at his brother. Sam was always getting on him about blindly following their father. Sam just didn't understand the consequences of ignoring his fathers orders. Not like Dean did.

"I'm only trying to do what's best for you, Sammy!"

"No, you're not! Don't try to dress this up like you actually care about us! Everything you do is just for your single-minded, testosterone-driven need for revenge!"

"I don't know what you want me to say, Sam. Your brother's the one who couldn't move his ass in time, not me. You can go yell at him, for all I care."

"What good would that do! No matter what I say, he's just gonna do it again next time! The only one he'll listen to is you!"

"You're damn right, he listens to me! Because that's what sons are supposed to do! You're supposed to listen to your father! You ought to start learning from Dean about that, cause that's about the only thing he can teach ya."

"No, Dad. I won't do it. I wont end up like him."

Dean's stomach twisted at those words. I won't end up like him.

"All he does is trail behind you like a lap dog, following your every order. He'd jump off a cliff if you told him to! That's no way to live! I won't do that! I won't be like Dean."

What had happened? Dean used to be Sam's hero. Sam idolized him. But now... now Sam only saw him as some pathetic kid who was too stupid to do anything else but stay at home and hunt. Maybe Sam was right. Maybe he had outlived his usefulness.

They continued to argue for what seemed like hours. Dean heard the front door slam, and the car drive away, and knew that John had left. For a few hours, maybe. Maybe for a week.

After a few minutes of what Dean assumed was Sam calming himself down, he came to check up on him. "Dean, you awake?"

Dean groaned, pretending like he hadn't been awake for the whole argument. "I'm trying to sleep, here, Sammy."

"Sorry. How's your side?"

"It's fine. Now go away, let me sleep."

"Wait, just let me check it," Sam insisted.

Sam sat on the bed beside Dean, and tried to take a look at Dean's injury. Dean tried to push Sam away, but he was still weak from the pain and the pills. "Quit it, Sam. I'm serious!"

Sam shot him a look. "Dean, I need to make sure it's not infected or anything. Stop being such a baby."

"I'm not being a baby! I can take care of myself!" Dean finally sat up, twisting his injured side away from Sam.

"What is your problem, Dean?" Sam asked, agitated. He had no idea what Dean had overheard.

"Nothing. I'm just... I'm tired, Sammy."

Sam sighed. "Sorry. Dad and I just had another fight... he took off. I don't know where." Dean didn't say anything. "I just... I can't take him anymore, Dean. It's just too much. I don't know how you do it."

I don't either, Sammy. "I don't know, Sam." usually, he'd go off about how Dad was just looking out for him, and it was just about the job. Or maybe how Sam would get used to it if he tried. But Sam knew all of that. He didn't need to hear it again.

Sam seemed to notice that something was up, but he wasn't in the mood to investigate. "Sorry for bothering you, Dean. Get back to sleep."

Dean couldn't stop thinking about Sam's words, even a month later. He was starting to realize he had no place in this family dynamic anymore.

It used to be about protecting Sam, and taking care of him. But Sam didn't want that anymore. Apparently, he wanted nothing to do with Dean.

He wasn't the most skilled hunter (that was John, of course,) nor the best researcher, (that was Sam.) he tried to stop their fighting and bickering, but it never really worked. They both just got mad at him, anyway.

The more he thought about it, the less he felt responsible for them. He had given them everything since he was four years old, and they didn't need anything else. He wasn't needed anymore. And if he wasn't needed... well, he didn't need to be alive, did he?

So a month after that night, when the Rawhead was on top of Dean, pinning him down and beating the shit out of him, he gave up.

Maybe he could have pushed the thing off. Found his tazer and shoot it for good. Maybe he could've saved himself, and a lot of other people in the process. But what was the point?

"DEAN!"

He let his body go limp underneath the monster, and closed his eyes. He could feel it, one hand around his throat, the other clawing at the face. He knew it could kill him, but that wasn't that bad, right?

"DEAN!"

Suddenly, he felt the monster being ripped off of him. He heard his father grunt, and the sound of the tazer. His eyes remained shut, but he felt Sam's hands all over him, checking his pulse and touching his face.

When he came to, again, both Sam and John were with him, back at the hotel.

"What the fuck was that, Dean?" John roared. "You almost got yourself killed out there!"

"Stop it, Dad," Sam hissed, although he made no attempt to argue further.

Once John was sure Dean was okay, he passed out on the couch with the TV on. Sam sat next to Dean on a chair near the bed, but he didn't say anything.

But every once in a while, he would look over at him with such sad eyes that Dean would have rather Sam just hit him or something. Just yell at him and get it out of his system. But he didn't. He stayed silent, watching whatever late-night program John had left on.

Finally, Dean couldn't take it anymore. "Sam, if you're gonna say something, just say it already."

"What are you talking about?" Sam looked away from the screen.

"I can see it in your eyes, Sammy. You want to say something. So go ahead, don't pussy out now."

Sam closed his eyes, and for the first time in a long time, Dean thought Sam was about to cry. "I'm sorry, Dean."

Dean widened his eyes. "For what, Sam?"

"I know you heard me that night after the black dog." Dean's heart sank. "You've been acting strange ever since."

"Sam-"

"I shouldn't have said that, Dean. I didn't mean it." After a pause, "I mean, I did. I meant it. But not in the way you think. I wish I could be like you. In so many ways, you have no idea. Just... not when it comes to Dad."

"You don't have to apologize, Sam. It's fine."

Sam's voice was shaky, now, and Dean cringed just hearing him. "You're... you're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Dean. I hope you know that. I... I can't loose you, so you can't... you have to take care of yourself."

Dean suddenly felt embarrassed for earlier. Sam knew that Dean had given up. He knew exactly what was going through Dean's head when he let go of the Rawhead and closed his eyes. He couldn't hide that from Sam, no matter how hard he tried. "I will, Sammy. Today... that was just an accident."

Sam nodded, looking at his feet, not looking at all like he believed it. "I know, Dean... I just... I want you to know that."

Hours later, Dean fell asleep and had terrible nightmares that kept waking him up. He barely slept, and it was only when Sam gave him another handful of pills that he got any rest at all.

Meanwhile, Sam sat up all night on his laptop, filling out his college applications. He had been working on them for a few weeks now, and he was about to send them off. He had no idea if he would even be accepted, but he felt like his grades were decent enough to give him an advantage.

He didn't tell anyone- not Dean and certainly not John. He knew John would flip out, and Dean... well, he still wasn't sure how he was going to tell Dean he was leaving.

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