Rating: R (for language)
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by WB and Eric Kripke et al. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Spoilers: Shadow and before
Summary: A demon reveals the truth to Sam and brings the Winchesters' world crashing down around their ears.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Soph for the beta. My first Supernatural fic and I can't believe it's gen ;). I'll get to the Wincest later, I promise (you just have the wait until May) ::g::.
Word count: 2,665
Other fic: Long Fics | HP Short fics | All Other Short Fics | Series Fics
"Dad," Dean's voice sounded panicked as John listened to his voice mail, "you have to come, Dad, something's happened to Sam and I can't help him. There was this demon, a truth demon, it showed Sam something before I could kill it." Dean's voice cracked. "Dad, Sammy tried to kill himself and I only just got there in time. He won't eat, he won't sleep. Dad, please come."
The next part was just a location, but John barely heard it as dread filled him. With a feeling of ice spreading through his stomach, he was almost sure he knew what the demon had shown Sam.
Sam hadn't voluntarily moved in two days and Dean was quite honestly terrified. Bogie men, ghosts and demons he could cope with, but Sam just sitting there refusing to do anything, seemingly trying to starve himself to death, was not something he could deal with. They had seen so much shit that Dean could not imagine what could be so bad that it had taken Sam away from him completely. His brother wouldn't even look at him.
He'd had one phone call from their father saying he was on his way and Dean just prayed he would get there soon. If he hadn't followed Sam back to the motel room instead of going to the bar like he had intended to begin with Sam would be dead now. He had been just in time to stop the first cut being too deep, and the way Sam had been going about it he had meant to finish it. Dean had had to knock out his baby brother and drag him into the other room. Sam hadn't spoken since.
"Dean," the sound of his father's voice through the door was like a beacon of light in complete darkness and he was unfastening the locks before he had really thought about it.
"Dad," he said, dragging his father inside without caring what he might look like.
He was at his wits’ end and he had no choice but to hold on to the lifeline with both hands.
"Sam," he knew he was babbling, but he couldn't help it, "he ... I ..."
Surprisingly his father did not admonish him for losing it, in fact he found himself enveloped in a tight hug.
"It's okay, Dean," his father promised, holding him tight, "this isn't your fault. You couldn't protect Sam from this."
About anything else he might have protested, but as his father spoke he couldn't argue this time. Seeing Sam trying to destroy himself had been almost more than he could take and being absolved of blame was like a huge weight being lifted from his soul. He found himself shaking even as his father released him.
"Things are going to get weird, Dean," his father said, looking him straight in the eye, "but I want you to remember, all three of us will always have each other, no matter what. You got that?"
Dean was confused, but he nodded anyway. When his dad had that look in his eyes things were going to be bad, but he trusted his father implicitly. He stepped out of the way so John could see Sam and for a moment he saw raw pain in his father's features, but it was covered quickly. Without further comment his father walked across the room and sat down on the bed next to where Sam was propped up, staring ahead.
"Sam," Dean watched as his father used the same opening gambit he had been trying for the last two days, but, unlike when he spoke, John got a reaction.
Sam's expression was completely cold, devoid of all human emotion as he looked at his parent.
"Dad?" Dean did not like the look in his brother's eyes and he was suddenly worried.
"It's okay, Dean," his father reiterated what he had said before.
There was silence for a while as Sam glared and Dean didn't know what was worse; the emptiness to which he had been witness for two days or the anger he could see burning deep in Sam now.
"You knew," Sam's voice cracked as he spoke, being husky from lack of use. "How long have you known?"
"Since the night your mom died," his father was speaking calmly and evenly, but Dean could feel the tension in the room.
"She wasn't my mother," Sam all but hissed and to Dean it was like a blow to the stomach.
All the air seemed to have rushed out of his lungs and he had to struggle to breathe; he did not understand what Sam was saying.
"Yes she..." Sam lurched into motion for the first time in two days as John spoke and for a moment Dean thought his brother was going to attack their father.
"How can you say that?" Sam yelled, kneeling on the bed, anger coming off him in waves. "You know what I am. Why didn't you kill me before I was old enough to be dangerous?"
"Because I love you."
John's even words did not make the situation make sense to Dean, but they seemed to take the fight out of Sam. As he watched his brother sank back onto the bed, confusion and pain written in every move.
"But I killed mom," Sam whispered, looking at his father with desperation in his eyes, "I killed Jess."
"No, Sammy," John said firmly, taking Sam by both shoulders, "they were killed by a demon, it was not your fault."
"I am a fucking demon," Sam shouted back, angry again and Dean almost flinched away from the rest of his family.
There was so much pain and fury in Sam and it seemed to all be aimed inwards. Dean did not understand, but he refused to be afraid of his own family.
"No," their father was adamant, "Sam, you're not."
"What else would you call a changeling, Dad?" the last word was said with such a sneer that Dean almost didn't recognise Sam's voice at all.
He had seen arguments between the two before, but this was worse, far worse.
"Sam," John said, sounding agitated now, "you think like that and the thing that killed your mom and Jess wins. This is what it wants, why it killed them. Your mom knew, from the moment she had you in her womb, she knew you weren't hers, but she loved you anyway. She poured all the love she had into you, Sammy, and made you hers in everyway that counted. She told me as she died; she used whatever godforsaken power was in that house and threw what she had always known into my head."
"But I'm not even human," Sam looked so distraught that, had he not been rooted to the spot in shock, Dean would have gone to his brother.
"Yes you are, Sammy," John said as earnestly as Dean had ever heard his father speak. "All the love your mom poured into you, the life you've had, it makes you as human as the rest of us. That thing that caused you to be, that kills those you love, wants you not to be human; it wants you to forget who you really are and be a monster. Sammy, in every way I care about, you are my son and that will never change. It killed Jess because you are more dangerous to it now than it could possibly have foreseen. Then it tried to take you away from Dean and when that didn't work it wanted you dead. You're a Winchester, Sam, and you scare the hell out of what lives in the darkness."
Sam's pain was palpable in the room and Dean did not know what to do. He was so shocked and part of him did not believe what he was hearing. The changeling; the creature left by a demon in place of a real child to grow like a cuckoo in a nest and destroy its oblivious parents. It was the stuff of dark legend and yet they were saying that's what his baby brother was. It was completely crazy.
"I don't want to be a monster, Dad," Sam's voice was so quiet and so filled with grief that it tore at Dean's heart.
That his brother had been keeping this in for two days without breaking down was impossible for him to understand.
"You're not, Sammy," their father said, pulling Sam to him, "you never will be."
The sob that came from Sam as he was wrapped in his father's embrace could have shattered the defences of the coldest mind, and Dean liked to pretend he was Mr logical, but he wasn't. There was no division between thought and action as he moved as if his life depended on it. Walking quickly to the other side of the bed he climbed on behind Sam and threw his arms around his brother and his father. This was one time he didn't care about what was cool and what was girly, Sam and Dad needed him and that was one responsibility he had never shirked.
Sam was shaking uncontrollably and sobbing like his world had come to an end and all Dean wanted to do was let his brother know that that wasn't true. They had dealt with some twisted shit in their time, but this wasn't even in the same league. All he was absolutely sure about at that moment was that they would get through this together; like always.
Sam hadn't slept in two days, but it was a surprise to Dean when his brother cried himself out in their arms and fell asleep. It did a great deal to settle the panic in his heart as he realised the worst was over. As they put Sam to bed he felt like lying down next to his brother and falling asleep curled together like they hadn't done since Sam was thirteen, but he needed to understand everything and he could only do that by talking to his father.
"What's going on, Dad," he asked quietly after they had both tucked Sam in, "is Sam really a changeling?"
His father looked at him then, as if assessing him and slowly nodded.
"And you've known since mom died and never mentioned it?" Dean was a little incredulous.
"It didn't matter, Dean," John said at that accusation. "Sam's your brother and that's the only thing that counts."
"And it wouldn't have helped to have expected the visions and the telekinesis?" Dean hissed back; he found that he was angry, but more for Sam than for himself.
"Telekinesis?" that was obviously news to their father which surprised Dean since he was used to John knowing everything.
Dean took a deep breath and calmed himself down; he did not want to wake Sam. The last thing Sam needed was to see his brother and his father arguing. Dean was beginning to regret not telling their father everything last time they'd met, but there had just been too many things going on.
"There was another kid, like Sam," he said as calmly as he could manage, "mother killed by fire and he was telekinetic. He was using his power to get back at those who abused him. He was wacko and he blocked Sam in a closet and chased me and his stepmother upstairs. Sam moved this big ass dresser out of the way with his mind when he had a vision of Max killing me. He hasn't done it since."
John looked thoughtful.
"No wonder it wants him dead," was the cryptic comment.
Dean ran out of patience.
"Dad," he said pointedly, "talk to me."
Most of the time Dean accepted his father's word as law; he would follow without question like a good little soldier, but not today. This was about Sam and he was shocked to find that now Sam came higher up his priorities than his father.
"This thing wants followers in our world," John finally spoke, "so it makes them. It uses women as hosts, but the child is not biologically part of the human parent. Then it kills the mothers and alienates the child from those around them before showing up to claim them as its own when they are most alone. I've met at least two and they both tried to kill me. That blond bitch from Chicago is the only one to nearly succeed."
"But why did you stay away?" Dean pushed, not understanding his father's reasoning. "If you knew how dangerous Sam is to this thing, why did you leave us?"
The look in his father's eyes said everything Dean needed to know and he suddenly felt guilty. There was a deep sorrow in his father and he knew what was coming next.
"I didn't want him to ever find out," John said quietly; "I wanted him to have a normal life."
With cold dread Dean realised it was he who had dragged his brother back into all this. Sam's current state was his fault.
"No, Dean," his father said before he could begin to berate himself properly, "I know now it was an impossible dream. Sam will never be free to live a different life until this thing is dead; bringing him back to us was not your fault. Sam isn't ready to face it yet and if I can help it he won't ever have to, but he needs time if it does come to that. I can keep its attention on me and away from you two and if I get a chance to kill it all well and good, but if it does finally come for you then Sam needs to be ready. If it finds either of you weak it will strike."
Dean nodded; this was a speech he knew. It all made a warped kind of sense to him now: in their twisted little world it fitted right in.
"There is only one thing you have to remember," his father said, looking him straight in the eye; "Sam is still just your brother."
Dean glanced over at the bed to Sam's sleeping form.
"No, Dad," he said eventually, "he's not just anything, but he is still Sam."
He was not one for the touchy feely stuff, and nor was he one for analysing his emotions, so he did not really understand what he was feeling. Dean had this whole heap of protective emotions swirling around in him and it was a little overwhelming. He hadn't felt this concerned about Sam since his brother had been a toddler. His father patted him on the shoulder and nodded at him in understanding.
"Heya, Sammy," Dean greeted with a smile; hiding any of the tribulation he was feeling deep down inside, "how are you feeling?"
Sam blinked at him sleepily and did not seem about to reply.
"Dad should be back soon with food," Dean continued as close as he could come to business as usual.
Sam sat up slowly and then wrinkled his nose.
"I need a shower," he said shortly and climbed out of the bed.
It was so normal that Dean did not react until Sam was closing the bathroom door.
"Leave it open," he said as his mind flashed back to finding Sam with a knife at his wrist.
Sam glared back at him, but the fire in his brother's eyes dimmed quickly to be replaced by a weariness that Dean did not like. Sam had been many things, but Dean had never seen him defeated.
"Sam," Dean said as his brother turned away, leaving the door partially open as requested, "we'll get through this."
There was no reply, but Sam did pause slightly as Dean spoke.
"There's nothing in this world we can't face together, Sammy," Dean said with a confidence that came from deep in his soul.
There was still silence for a few moments.
"It's Sam," were the words that made Dean smile, just a little.