Title: When Happiness Is A Choice
Pairing: Dean/Abaddon, Sam/OFC
Summary: Sam and Dean have finally split up, and it’s all good, because it was actually their choice this time.
Read it over on the AO3 right here.
“I’m not going to…you know, just leave you forever or something,” Sam said, adjusting the duffel bag from hand to hand.
At the nervous, almost embarrassed tone in his brother’s voice, Dean looked up from what he’d been reading. He closed the binder that contained the detailed instructions Sam had left him for finding resources in the Letters’ Lore Library. He wished there had been something in there about how to survive what was about to happen. He tried his best to smile like he actually meant it.
Because it was finally happening.
This was both the hardest thing and the best thing to happen to them in a very long time. He had to handle it right in this moment, give Sam the send-off he needed, so that he could really leave. He had to make sure that Sam could have a chance to try and make it work with his girl, Wendy. She was already there, apartment hunting in Evanston, Illinois. Sam was on his way to join her, and so that he could start the fall term at Northwestern Law. After all these years, his little brother was finally getting a chance to pursue his dreams.
Dean took a quiet yet deep breath and tried his best for a reassuring smile. Maybe if Sam believed it, so could he. After all…Sam would only be ten hours away. Dean could deal. It wasn’t like Sam was dying or disappearing into another realm.
“No, you kind of are really, but you need to, Sammy. I mean at some point, you gotta fly the coop and I think the time has finally come. It’s right now—you’ve got to go have a life, your own life. You deserve it, bro.”
“What about you though?” Sam asked, hesitating at the bottom of the stairs that would take him up and out of Dean’s day-to-day life, maybe for good this time.
“I’ll be fine, really, you know me. As long as I’ve got my Baby and a case to work on, I’m good.”
“I don’t think you should hunt alone,” Sam said. “Not at your age. Promise me you won’t.”
“I’m not sure which to be more offended by, the shot at my age or at my hunting abilities. But sure, I promise. The main point here is, you’re leaving, Sasquatch, so go, like I said before—be happy. It’s what I want.” Dean went in fast for a final hug. He couldn’t believe Sam was actually taking off.
“You really mean it?” Sam asked, into Dean’s shoulder where he always, always managed to tuck his face.
Dean knew this was it; he had to let go for real this time. He forced himself to let go of Sam and step back, thumping on Sam’s chest twice and looking him square in the eyes. “Just go already, before I change my mind or something stupid like that. You got enough gas in the truck?”
Neither of them mentioned the unshed tears they both, no doubt, noticed. Dean watched Sam’s every step up the staircase. And waved as heartily as he could manage when Sam turned back at the top.
“Bye, Dean, thanks,” Sam said, and maybe those tears weren’t so un-shed now.
Dean blinked his own tears away and waved again. “Bye, Sammy, text me when you guys get there.”
Sam nodded, his hair flopping into his eyes as always, adjusted the duffel bag over his shoulder, turned quickly and was out the door before Dean realized he’d opened it. Dean felt his heart soar with a feeling of strange elation, the one he’d always heard parents talking about when their kids went off to college or the military. That combination of sadness and pride and worry and joy was a heady thing.
About twelve hours later, Dean woke up to a text from Sam.
Sam: I finally made it. The truck doesn’t like to go as fast as the Impala. Wendy found us a great place.
A moment later, a picture came in, of Sam and Wendy in the doorway of what looked like a pretty nice little house.
Dean rubbed the whisky sleep out of his eyes and tried to come up with a good response.
Dean: Told you, should have gotten that Camaro you were looking at. Suburbia looks great on you two.
Several weeks later, Sam texted again:
Sam: Sorry I haven’t been in touch for a bit. It’s been—uh interesting, trying to become a civvie
Dean: No problem, Abaddon and I have been doing fine, took out a nest of vamps in Georgia, and now we’re down in Florida hanging in the Keys
Sam: Abaddon?! Wait, what?!
Dean: Yeah, long story, but it turns out she’s not so demon-y or dead after all. Just like Crowley. And she’s one helluva kisser let me tell you
Sam: TMI, enough dude. Sure she’s legit, and not setting a trap for you?
Dean: Crowley vouched for her, and I trust him. After what he did for Kevin, we have to
Sam: True true, just be careful
Dean: You be careful in your domestic heaven, give your girl a kiss from me
Sam: No way, you’re not coming between us again
Dean: Just kidding bro, really. So are you two doing ok?
Sam: Yeah, we’re all moved into our rented place near school. I start classes in a week
Dean: She’s really going to support you while you get your law degree huh?
Sam: Yes, that’s what couples do. Support each other.
Dean: Must really be love.
Sam; It is, it really is
Dean: I’m glad you’re happy, Sammy. No one in the world deserves it more.
Sam: What about you? Abaddon and you going to be in it for the long haul or what?
Dean: We haven’t talked about it much yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if things turned out heading that way
Sam: It’s only been a couple of weeks, dude.
Dean: You only knew Wendy two days before you knew she was “The One," right?
Sam: Yeah, you got me there. Just seems like you’re moving kind of fast.
Dean: Don’t worry, it’s not wedding bells or anything drastic like that, we’re just having a good time so far
Sam: Oh…you need to plan to come visit us, on a specific date, in the spring
Sam: Yeah, Wendy and I finally set a date for our wedding, right after spring semester lets out, here in Evanston.
Dean: OMG awesome, dude! We’ll be there with bells on or whatever.
Sam: We? You’re going to bring her?
Dean: Don’t I get a +1 ?
Sam: Yeah, of course, it’ll just take me a second to get used to the idea
Dean: It’s a process, we’ll figure it out, just like we always do.
Sam: You were right, it was time. For me to fly the coop. I’m thanking you because you’re the one that made it possible.
Dean: It’s all you brainiac, getting into that awesome school, no one could be prouder than I am. And you have Wendy at your side too, I’m glad she chose you.
Sam: She still won’t tell me what happened that made her make that choice, but I’m glad she did and that you’re okay with it. You are…right?
Dean: For the bazillonth time, dude. It was always you she was looking at, I was just how she got close to you. And yes, of course I’m okay with it, I’m thrilled that you found someone that makes you happy. You are…right?
Sam: I wasn’t sure I could be, at first, you know? I mean, it’s hard to say, but I miss you, a lot. But having Wendy here, and being immersed in school, it’s been good. I’m getting used to it. It’s different this time.
Dean: It’s been easier for me this time too, I barely survived the first go-round when you did the Stanford thing. But I’m older and wiser or whatever.
Sam: Definitely both. But i’m serious, being happy like this, even though I’m not with you, it’s a good thing. Because I know you’re happy too this time.
Dean: Yeah, like it was actually your choice, being on your own (well not exactly since you’ve got Wendy!) not because of me dying or disappearing or whatever.
Sam: Yeah, don’t do that anymore, okay? Thanks for hunting with other people and not on your own. I was really worried you were going to do that.
Dean: Maybe I’m not as smart you, but I’m not stupid. And it’s been good, learning to hunt with new people. It’s not as easy as it was with you, but I’m working on it.
Sam: Tell me more about Florida
Dean: You mean, you want more deets about Abaddon. Oh speak of the devil, she’s back, I gotta go bro, we’ve got a sunset cruise booked.
Sam: Who is this, and give my brother back his phone right now
Dean: Haha. No really, love you, ya idjit, study hard, give Wendy a hug from me, see you for one of the holidays I hope.
Sam; Definitely, see you soon. Love you too. Say hi to Abaddon I guess?!?
Dean: Will do, Sammy, bye
Dean plugged his phone in to charge. After all that texting he needed a beer to recharge himself. Abaddon lounged on the patio, the Atlantic sparkling in the distance behind her. This was okay, better than he’d thought it could turn out for them. Dean popped the top off the beer bottle and sank into the lounger next to Abaddon.
“Sam says to say hi,” Dean said after swallowing a third of the beer.
Abaddon lowered her sunglasses and looked at him skeptical and assessing. “Really? You actually told him about us?”
“Yeah, I kinda had to. No, hold on, correct that, I wanted to tell him. You know, so he knows I’m happy without his stupid face around,” Dean said.
“You are?” Abaddon asked, her red hair falling in a beautiful wave over her bare shoulder as she turned to look at him.
“Huh—yeah, I am,” Dean said, surprised that it was actually true. For once he wasn’t lying to himself or anyone else. This stuff was too important, he’d finally learned that lesson. He held out a hand and she placed hers in it. They watched the ocean in the distance. There was a sunset cruise that they had to make in a few hours; he hadn’t mentioned the part about it being a haunted catamaran to Sam, but it was going to be a fun hunt. He hoped Abaddon really did know how to sail one of the things.
As he sat and thought about it, the whole thing last year with Wendy, how it had turned into Sam and Wendy so quickly. It had been fun at first, flirting with her after the wendigo case had wrapped up. But he’d felt it in her hesitant kisses, she didn’t really want him. He’d backed off right then and there, not wanting to push her and ask, but he saw how she looked longingly at his brother, reading his tablet at the bar. All giant hunched shoulders, hair flopping over his face practically into his beer.
He’d steered them both over to the bar, situating Wendy between them and let the rest happen. He was glad it had worked out that easily, before there was time for jealousy and resentment to get ahold of any of them. It had made it easier to let Sam go, knowing that Wendy really wanted to be with him. That was what Sam had always deserved. It had been a long time coming, and he was just glad that he was still around to see it happen.
“By the way, we’re invited to their wedding in the spring,” Dean said.
“And how are you feeling about that?” Abaddon asked, a little edge to her voice like she was ready to murder something or someone if they were making him unhappy.
“Glad of course, I’m happy that Sam is happy, that’s all that I ever wanted for him,” Dean said.
“You’re a stronger man than I give you credit for sometimes, Dean Winchester. He was the center of your life for your whole life, and now he’s becoming the center of someone else’s.”
“Well, so am I, right?” Dean asked, briefly ashamed at feeling so needy. They’d talked about it, just last night in bed. And he’d been floating on what her words meant ever since.
Abaddon laughed, not the dark, cruel one that Dean had first heard, but the lighter, more musical one that had likely belonged to Josie. “Damn straight, don’t you ever forget it.”