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The Wanting Comes In Waves

All Sam/Dean, All The Time

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fic: That Question Again (Sam/Dean, R) Part 1 of 3

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I am yours.

Don’t give myself back to me. - Rumi

They’re driving back to the Bunker after they stumbled out of the entrance to Hell. In Keneshaw, Nebraska of all places. He still can’t believe they all made it out of there in one piece. All three of them in the Cage and all three of them escaped relatively unharmed. No one’s soul left behind as far as he can tell. It seems too good to be true. Sam looks over at Dean, driving like always and is so damn thankful that his brother is still there. Still alive.

That reminds him of the huge risk both Dean and Cas just took to rescue him. Either of them could have died tonight. The thought of that awful possibility barely being avoided sets Sam off on an all-too familiar path of thinking. If it wasn’t for me, none of this ever would have happened. They wouldn’t have had to risk going to Hell and facing Lucifer.  All he can see is Lucifer holding his brother up against the wall of the Cage, choking him to death, taunting Sam with his impotence to do a damn thing about it.

He closes his eyes tightly and tries to avoid bursting into tears. The burden of a tearful breakdown would be too much to ask from Dean tonight. He can’t do that. With his eyes closed he can make himself concentrate, walk through his senses to calm down. He smells the familiar Impala funk, old coffee cups, Dean’s aftershave, old leather. He lets it wash over him, thinks of how many years he’s been smelling this particular combination of scents. Sam remembers the Cage and how the absence of smell had been so alarming. But he’s here now, he reminds himself. He’s here, on Earth, with Dean, in the Impala, their home. He is not with Lucifer. He did not say yes, he did not give in. He said no this time.

The lull of the Impala’s engine and Dean’s companionable silence gives him time to think over everything that’s happened which he’s grateful for. He watches his brother through barely-slitted eyes, pretending sleep so that he doesn’t feel compelled to talk.  Being back in Hell, in Lucifer’s presence, paraded through his memories like some grim shit show of his worst failures, all of it presses in on him. But Dean came for him, like he always does, like he’d taunted Lucifer. He knew his brother would show up. He knew that Dean wouldn’t just leave him there.

Sam lets himself drift a little closer to sleep on thoughts of Dean, how brave he was marching back into Hell. How god damn glad he’d been when Dean was at his side in the Cage. How it made it all okay, just having him there. It’s something beyond just loving Dean, or needing him that causes that feeling, there’s more to it than just that. Dean isn’t perfect, not by a long shot. He’s stubborn and violent and impulsive. But so am I, Sam chides himself.

Over their life together Sam’s asked himself this many times. Why do I stay with him? And the answer is always the same; because Dean is everything.  It’s simple, one word summing up something that can’t possibly be summarized. It’s when he’s had to try to explain it to others that it’s been a problem.

As he slips deeper into sleep’s embrace, all the times that he’s had to do that explaining of his decision to stay with his brother come flooding back into his memory. Something must have gotten jiggled loose in his brain in Hell, maybe being that close to Lucifer again broke something in Sam again. But the parade of conversations wash over him, unbidden and unstoppable. All of them revolving around that same question.

Why do I stay with him? Why do you stay with him, Sam?

Asked and answered over and over.

He’s everything…everything…everything….



1.20 “Dead Man’s Blood”

A conversation with John Winchester

After they’re done laughing about the college fund spent on ammo, John got a serious look on his face and cleared his throat.

Sam looked up, concerned at the change in mood.

“Sam, I wanted to ask you something. It’s about you and Dean.”

Sam’s heart fell straight through the worn-out motel carpet, through the floor and back up in a swoop to land in his stomach. He fought to maintain some semblance of control. How the hell could his father know? They’d only been back together a few days. What had they given away?

“Yeah, what about us?” Sam asked, trying to keep any sort of challenging tone out of his voice.

His father scrutinized him closely for a moment. “I was wondering what your plans were. Are you going back to finish college?”

“I…uh, I don’t really know. There hasn’t been much time to think about it this past year. I mean, I want to go back at some point, I guess. But seeing through killing this demon is all I can concentrate on right now.”

“Okay, well, I just wanted to make sure that…well, it’s like this son, Dean didn’t take it too well when you left the first time. And after this year hunting with you, I’m not sure what it’ll do to him the second time around.”

“I know, Dad. I promise it’ll go better for Dean, or I’ll make him come with me or something.”

“I’d like to see that, Dean in college,” John scoffed, laughing harshly.

“Dean could kick their asses. He’s smarter than most of the people I met at Stanford,” Sam protested, bristling at the casual dismissiveness, the assumption that Sam would laugh along with him.

John wisely shut up at that point after catching the look of do-you-wanna-go-there flashing in Sam’s eyes. Sam sighed and leaned back into his chair, relieved that his Dad at least hadn’t figured out how things had changed between his sons.

“So, why have you stayed with him this long, Sammy? I would’ve thought you’d gone right back to school by now.”

“It’s Sam.  And I couldn’t, not after we started working together and it was one case after another.”

“So you did miss him,” John said, sounding absurdly triumphant. “I thought you would.”

“What the hell, Dad! Of course I missed him! He’s everything to me. Why would you think I wouldn’t?” Sam asked in a blind fury, fed up with his father’s assumptions.

“Settle down, settle down. I was just going based on what Dean told me back then. He was convinced you wouldn’t miss us one bit. I swear that was the biggest part of what made it so hard on him.”

“I missed him every damned day. I didn’t miss the hunting.”

“I knew you two would make a good team, once you grew into working with each other.”

“Well, you were right.”

“Look, son. I just brought all this up, because I always asked Dean to look out for you. But now I want to ask you to do the same for him. And that includes when you decide to leave again.”

“Well, like I said, that’s not a ‘when,’ it’s an ‘if’ I leave again. And yeah, Dad, you can count on me. I’ve got Dean’s back, ’til the end.”



3.11 Mystery Spot

A conversation with The Trickster(Gabriel)

“You said this is what life’s going to be like without Dean. And I get that, believe me I do. I learned the lesson, I swear I did.  But that’s why I’m begging you. Give him back to me, please. I can’t…” Sam broke down even further, openly sobbing, unable to care that he was begging help from his tormentor.

The Trickster paused whatever he was going to say and shook his head. “You’re even worse off than I thought, dude.  Why do you even stay with him after all this?”

“How can you ask me that? You see what I’m like without him. I…need Dean, nothing works without him.”

“He’s just your brother, Sam,” the Trickster chided.

“No, you’re right, he’s not just my brother. He’s everything—to me. Everything,” Sam looked up at the Trickster, putting his heart and soul out there for him to see.

Gabriel flinched at the sight of Sam’s raw emotion.  “I get it now. I didn’t know it was like that for you too.”

“Me too?” Sam asked, surprised at the fond tone in the Trickster’s voice.

“Long story, that I don’t feel like telling right now. But, like I said, I get where you’re coming from, personal experience or whatever. So, fine, I’ll bring him back. But, don’t forget this lesson Sam, you’re going to be in the same jam in just a few months when Dean’s deal comes due. And I can’t help you with that. Just try and prepare yourself for that or something is all I’m saying.”

“He’s not going to Hell, I won’t let him,” Sam insisted.

“Saying it in a firm voice, as cute as that is, won’t make it come true, sorry. He’s going because that’s what’s supposed to happen. There’s no changing that.”

“I don’t believe in fate or destiny,” Sam said.

“I happen to know those chicks. They don’t give a rat’s ass if you do or don’t believe in ‘em.  It’s still going down, Dean is headed downstairs. So you need to make sure you can survive it when he’s gone for real. That was the whole point of this exercise.”

“But I can’t, I mean you saw what I turned into. What am I supposed to do?” Sam asked.

“That’s not something I can help you with. I don’t know, find a focus, something besides Dean,” the Trickster suggested.

“But you’ll bring him back to me?” Sam asked.

“Yeah, yeah, you’ll get him back. But remember, it’s just for a few months. Just don’t go off the rails like this next time, okay?”

“I’ll…I’ll try,” Sam said. Thankful that he seemed to have gotten through to the Trickster, and not willing to think about the end of Dean’s deal coming all too soon. He needed his brother back first.



4.16 “On the Head of a Pin”

A conversation with Castiel

Sam’s demand of a “Miracle Now” still hung in the air between them. He knew making demands of an angel was a bad idea. Especially one that seemed so strangely fixated on his brother.  But he owed Dean at least to give it a try. Cas was their only ally in this. Maybe. If he even was an ally. It had been so hard to tell over the last few months.

“Sam, if you leave Dean in my care, I promise, he will be healed. I will find another angel to help. One that is not as depleted as I am.”

“I’m not leaving him in your care or anyone else’s. He’s my brother. Mine. Not yours.”

“Why do you continue to stay with him, Sam? You claim to no longer need him.”

“How did you?” Sam asked, flabbergasted that Cas seemed to know about the fight he and Dean had for the pleasure of the siren.

“He is still my charge. And I continue to monitor what occurs surrounding him.”

“Cas, if you’re so damn busy monitoring him, then how the hell did he end up like that?” Sam pointed angrily at the closed hospital door, behind which his brother was in agony that the painkillers couldn’t touch.  “I stay with him because he is everything to me.”

“He is your brother, Sam,” Castiel said, not elaborating further, but that definitely sounded like a rebuke or a warning.

“Yes he is my brother. But like I said he is everything to me, it goes beyond just being my brother. And that is something that won’t ever change, no matter what else is happening. So you need to get this, Dean is my responsibility. Just like I’m his. That’s how it is. And you are not the one who he’s going to want to be there for him to pick up all the pieces he’s in right now. I’m the one who’ll put him back together, not you.”

The angel looked at him, implacable and supremely unemotional. He seemed to be weighing the point of arguing further. Castiel shrugged and vanished in the usual waft of feathers and old incense. Sam leaned his head against Dean’s hospital door and closed his eyes, relieved that he didn’t have to really try and fight an angel.



6.16 “And Then There Were None”

A conversation with Samuel Campbell

“You know, I wondered why the hell you wanted to go find your brother. I see it now though, he’s a hell of a fighter.”

“He’s a hell of a lot more than that.”

“Is that why you stay with him?”

Sam paused in examining the long hallway. “What are you asking exactly, Samuel?”

Samuel stepped up next to him and examined his face. “You love him, right?”

“Course I do, he’s my brother. He’s everything to me.”

“It’s more than that though. I can see how you look at each other. It’s how Deanna and I were. Loving someone so deeply changes everything. Your priorities, what you’ll defend or sacrifice.

Sam, I’m not sorry for what I did, working with Crowley. But I think you understand why.”

“Yeah, I do actually. I’d have done the same for Dean. If I’d had my soul.”

“I’m glad that I got a chance to meet you with your soul. You’re a good man, Sam. I was worried about you, but I see you’re going to be okay. Because you and Dean have each other to get through this life. It’s hard, but it’s worth it when you have someone at your side like him.”



7.09 “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters”

A conversation with Bobby Singer

The conversation stalled for a little bit after Bobby called Sam a ‘deep little son-of-a-bitch,' but then he kept it going.

“Hey Sam, now that you’re better. Or somewhat better. What’s the plan, you and Dean sticking together or what?”

“How do you mean, Bobby?”

“Well, your brother got a taste of being a real person there for a while with Lisa and Ben, and I just wondered if you were ever going to try that at some point for yourself? Or maybe Dean would want to again himself.”

“The only reason he even did that was because I asked him to, Bobby. You and I both know that there’s nothing for us that’s ever gonna be normal. So, as far as I know, he’s stuck with me, and I’m just fine being stuck with him.”

“You two gonna register at Macy’s any time soon then?”

“Bobby!” Sam yelled in surprise at Bobby just putting that out there so baldly. Surely he didn’t know the real truth about them. Sam decided he was going to pretend he was joking.

“Just kiddin’ ya, kid. But listen, when I pass on, which hopefully ain’t gonna be for a while,

the house and stuff is going to you guys. And I hope you two will use it like a home base, and slow down at some point. Want you to have a chance at some sort of life where you’re not covered in blood and monster guts.”

“Bobby, you’re not going anywhere, but, uh thanks for that. It’s good to know that’ll be there for us at some point. Like you said, far in the future, yeah?”

“You ever think about why you stay with Dean?”

“Besides the obvious, that he’s my brother and my hunting partner?”

“Yeah, I mean, most of us split up and can’t stand each other after we’ve hunted for a while together. Look at me and Rufus.”

“Well, you know how we were raised to be a team, right? That’s just kind of carried on, and gotten much stronger. Besides, too much has happened to let that all go when someone leaves their wet, balled-up dirty socks in someone else’s duffel bag a time too many. The way we are together, we’re good, at least I think we are. We can count on each other because we know the whole story of well, everything.”


“I know Dean’s story, and he knows mine. And no one else really does, or ever could.”

“That’s pretty deep, but like I said, you always were a deep little son-of-a-bitch.”

“Thanks, Bobby.”



8.02 “What’s Up Tiger Mommy?”

A conversation with Kevin Tran

“I’m still having a little trouble understanding something, Sam,” Kevin asked while they waited for Dean to come back with another hamburger to go.

“What’s that, Kev?” Sam asked, absent-mindedly watching Dean rocking up and down while he waited.

“Well, what was the deal? You know, when you didn’t look for me,” Kevin asked.

Sam sighed and turned around to look Kevin in the eye.  “I said I was sorry. I don’t know if I can explain what happened. You were all just gone and I fixed up the car and ran. It was too much to lose all at once.”

“So it wasn’t me then. You were just what, mourning Dean or something?”

“Yeah, something like that. I was pretty sure he’d died there, and he’s—well, he’s everything to me. So my world kind of imploded along with Dick.”

“But the woman and the dog that Dean keeps bitching about, what was the story with them?”

“I guess you could say, they were what kept me alive long enough so that Dean had someone to come back to.”

“Crowley tried to explain you two to me, while he was holding me. But now I get it. You really mean it when you say he’s everything to you.”

“Yeah, yeah I do.”

Dean arrived then to break up the increasingly uncomfortable questions, but Kevin seemed happy with the answers that he’d gotten out of Sam.



8.17 “Goodbye Stranger”

A conversation with Meg

“You know, when I first met you, Sam, I really questioned your sanity. You know, why you even stayed with him. The way he was carting you around like luggage and all.”

“Who, Dean? I stay with him, because he’s my brother, and we’re a team.”

“Oh, but it’s a whole lot more than that, Sam, be honest now. I mean c’mon, I told you about my unicorn.”

“Fine, yeah, he’s everything to me. How’s that for an answer?”

“Gag, but yeah, seems a bit more honest.  At first I didn’t see that, but after I got to know you, it made a whole lot more sense.”

“You mean, after you possessed me, right?”

“Details, details. But yeah, seeing it from the inside, so to speak, was an eye-opener. The way he refused to kill you, flat out, even though I made you kill that hunter and I was going to make you…”

“Yeah, skip that detail, would you? I don’t need to remember Jo that way.”

“Anyway, you and Dean, it makes sense to me now. After all these years of seeing you guys. And seeing how you’ve stuck with each other. Gives a girl hope, you know?”

“You’re not a girl, Meg,” Sam growled. “You’re a demon.”

“Yeah, I am. But I vaguely remember being a girl. And you and your brother, well now that’s something to aspire to. Having that kind of thing with someone. You guys make it seem worthwhile is what I’m saying.”

“Thanks, I guess. You gonna try for something like that with Cas?”

“That remains to be seen, let’s just say I’m keeping my options open.”



8.20 “PacMan Fever”

A conversation with Charlie Bradbury

“Sam, before we leave, I want to ask you something. You know how I told you guys I read the books, you know, the ones about you and Dean.”

“Ugh, not more about those, please, Charlie, no,” Sam laughed.

“Yeah, well, I read the ones online too, they ended after you jumped in the Pit to save the whole world.  And by the way, I really meant a sincere thank you for that, I don’t think that came across before.”

“Uh, you’re welcome.”

“Anyway, I just want to ask you something about you and Dean.”

Sam’s stomach clenched with the thought of having to lie to her about his relationship with Dean. She has come to feel like his little sister, and he didn’t want to have to be dishonest, not about something so important.  “Yeah, go ahead, shoot.”

“So, can you tell me what makes you stay with him? You seemed like, if the books were right that is, that you and he had gotten to a more equal place. And that doesn’t…”

“It’s that noticeable, huh?”

Charlie nodded but didn’t say anything.

Sam took a deep breath while he thought about how to answer. “Yeah, that equality thing kinda went out the window with what happened afterward. And I’m okay with it, for now. I mean, I understand why things between Dean and me kinda went backwards. Let’s just say we’re working our way back towards that.”

“Is that what you doing the Trials is all about? I mean, instead of Dean.”

Sam tilted his head, stopped by her pointed question. Because she was right and he hadn’t really thought of it until now. But proving himself to Dean by following through with this challenge is how he feels like he could get back to a place where he could demand they try that equal thing again.  “Partly that, but don’t tell him, okay?  Mostly it’s because I was the one that happened to kill the Hellhound that night.”

“Was that the first Trial?”

“Yeah, and it was gross, you should have seen all the black blood everywhere.”

“Had enough Leviathan goo, thanks.”

“So, were you asking about me and Dean for a specific reason?” Sam asked, actually hoping with a small part of himself that she’d come right out and ask so he can take a stab at being honest. It would be awesome to have just one person in his life know the whole truth, besides Dean that was.

“I just wanted to ask, mostly just to make sure you’re happy.”

“That’s, uh, always a tricky question. But compared to say a year ago, yeah I’m happy. I mean, Dean’s alive and here with me, not dead like I thought he was.”

“Oh, god, really? How long was he gone for?”

“A year, give or take.”

“How did you even survive that, Sam?”

“It wasn’t easy.  And I didn’t think I was going to at first. But I ended up finding someone who’d also lost the most important person in their life and we kinda held each other up.”

“Was Dean jealous when he got back?”

“Uh…yeah, he was, something like that. And I was jealous of a friend he brought back from Purgatory, so we’re even on that score. But we’ve gotten past that now.”

“You guys need to talk to each other more,” Charlie observed.

“You don’t need to tell me that. But Dean is Dean, and there’s only so many words you can get out of him a year. I have to pick and choose.”

“See, now that’s why I was asking if you were happy or not. I haven’t had a ton of relationships or anything, but it doesn’t seem right that you have to choose your words like that.”

“It’s not, and I know that. But what am I supposed to do about it? I can’t change him, and I wouldn’t want to. He’s everything to me, Charlie.”