At least that's what they tell me. I can't be sure, 'cuz I don't remember a thing from before. Before the accident. My brother tells me I was in a really bad car accident, and I was in a coma for over a month, and now I've been awake for a week but my brain still isn't working right so I don't remember anything.
The head doctor says I should keep a journal, so that's what I'm doing. I can't talk; for whatever reason, the speech center in my brain isn't working right, but otherwise I'm in good physical health -- except for being comatose for a few weeks. Doc says I need physical therapy, psychiatric sessions, speech therapy. So I'm in this rehab center for another week. If everything goes okay, I'm free to go home.
Whatever home is.
My brother comes every day. Apparently he's all the family I got. He says his name is Sam, and he's got these amazing multi-colored eyes --
So when I asked him what happened, he looks away when he answers. I have to write my questions on paper, pass them to him to read. It's annoying as hell, but he's pretty patient about it. Still, something about his answers is off, like he's lying. Or holding something back.
But all I ask are the regular questions. Who am I? Who are you? What happened? What do I do? Nothing weird or out of the ordinary.
So why do I keep getting the feeling he's lying to me?
He tells me I'm a mechanic. Says I never finished high school. Says he graduated from Stanford University, for fuck's sake, with a pre-law degree, and now he's a handy-man, goes around fixing things.
–What? With a Stanford degree? What happened? Are you brain-damaged too?–
He looks at the note, glances up at me for a second, and there's definitely something broken there. Something like shell-shock.
–Did you serve?– I write.
He smiles a little, shakes his shaggy head. Guy's got hair like a goddamn girl. Long and thick and probably really, really soft–
"No, Dean," he says. "I've never been out of the country."
He stops himself, thinks for a minute, then nods.
"Well, once," he corrects himself. "We went to Scotland."
He looks down again, and I can tell I'm not gonna get a straight answer.
"Yeah," he says. "We were on a job for an old friend."
I give him a skeptical frown, because come on. A handy-man and a mechanic on a job in Scotland?
Then I realize I'm thinking we went together. But why would we? Why do I keep thinking we're work partners?
Is that why I keep getting all the weird vibes off this guy?
–So we work together?– I write, and he flashes me this wounded look which is downright painful.
Okay, so not work partners.
Then he nods.
"Yeah, we work together," he sighs, but he doesn't look at me.
What the fuck am I missing?
The nurse comes in to give me my meds and even in the loose-fitting hospital uniform she's a total hottie. Curvy, with long red hair and blue eyes and the cutest little ass you ever saw. Dean Junior perks up right away. So glad to know that part's still working!
And at least that answers one question.
I'm not gay.
Good. Glad that's settled. Cuz the way this "brother" of mine keeps looking at me, I was starting to think–
I would scratch out these stupid sentences but Doc says, "No, Dean, you need to free-write, not edit yourself. Anything you write can help to trigger your memories and you don't want to hold anything back or re-write anything. Just get it all out. That's the best way to jog your brain and get those creative juices flowing. Re-read later if you want -- in fact, that's a good way to remind yourself what you were going through at first, so that as you slowly piece your life back together things will make more and more sense."
It's a good thing she's pretty, cuz I gotta see her twice a week for awhile. She's got a nice smile. Makes her eyes light up.
The speech therapist is another thing altogether. Big heavyset dude with a permanent frown. Keeps wanting me to open my mouth, push sounds out from my gut. Nothing happens. I take a deep breath, put my hand over my own throat to feel the vibration as the air goes in and out.
This is so stupid I want to choke.
Dude says I need to practice feeling the air going in and out, focusing on the vibrations of my throat, working those muscles. He wants me to practice with my brother, put my hand on his throat while he talks so I can feel the movement, then try to imitate that.
The first time I touch Sam it goes straight to my dick.
I pull my hand back so fast I almost hit myself.
What the fuck?
I stare at him, and he looks back with this funny hopeful expression.
"Do you remember something?" he asks, all innocent, like he doesn't have a clue.
I shake my head, write "Are you sure you're my brother?" on my notepad, hand it to him.
He just rolls his eyes and sighs.
"Yes, Dean, I'm sure," he says. "Our parents were John and Mary Winchester. We were born in Lawrence, Kansas, and when you were four and I was a baby Mom died in a fire. After that, Dad took us on the road and that's how we grew up."
–We grew up on the road?– I write.
"Dad's job took us from town to town. He went where the work was, and he took us with him. Did his best to raise us."
At least now he seems to be telling the truth. Looks me in the eye when he talks.
So if this is true, and we really are brothers, then what the fuck just happened?
Doc says inappropriate feelings are just my brain's way of dealing with trauma. The circuits are all mixed up. Touching Sam triggered some residual sense memory and my brain interpreted that as sexual attraction, which is wrong, of course, but until my real memories come back I may find my brain misinterpreting a lot of the signals coming into it.
–Like visual signals?– I ask. –Like when somebody looks at me a certain way and I feel like I'm being hit on?–
Doc smiles, looks down, and I swear there's a little blush in her cheeks.
"You're a good-looking man, Dean, in case you haven't noticed. Lots of people are going to look at you that way."
I'm only thinking about one who does, but I can't keep going down that road. Obviously I'm still pretty sick in the head. And Sam –
The next time I practice the speech exercise with my brother, I steel myself ahead of time, think about dead fish and old men's saggy butts when I press my fingers to his throat.
It helps. I'm not instantly rock hard, like before.
But then I feel his pulse race under my fingers, notice that his lips are parted and his pupils are dilating and–
I pull away, notice how close we are, am suddenly hyper-aware of his body heat, of our knees almost touching.
This is so fucked up.
He's looking at me like I'm his favorite food and he's starving.
What the hell?
I look down at my writing pad, just to get my eyes off those soft lips.
–So we were lovers.– I write.
He nods, licks his stupid lips. And that is so unfair, goddamn it.
"Yeah," he breathes, and his voice is like a cool breeze on my over-heated skin.
"Since we were kids," he answers. "I was about fifteen the first time. But we always slept together. Can't remember a time before you were in my bed. It was the only way we could get to sleep."
I'm suddenly feeling overwhelmed, dizzy, my heart racing, my vision starting to blur. I'm stumbling away from him, stunned and sick.
I raped a fifteen-year-old kid.
My own brother.
I'm a monster.
He's following me backwards, reaching for me, concern and love in those gorgeous hazel eyes.
I put my hands out to stop him, shaking my head till it feels like it might fall off.
"Dean, hey," he murmurs. "It's okay, man. We're okay. You're just freaking out, and I can see this is a lot to take in. But it's really okay. Has been for years. Always. It's always been okay. I swear. This is just who we are."
I'm still backing away from him, and suddenly I feel the wall behind me, can't go back any further.
He's still coming towards me, and now I'm really losing it. If he touches me again, I know I won't be able to think straight. And I need to figure this out, damn it.
I give him my most severe expression, frown intensely at him, pointing a finger at him and shaking my head. I mouth the word "Stop!" as fiercely as I can, and he does. Drops his arms to his sides and looks at me helplessly. His expression is so sad all I want to do it gather him into my arms and –
It's like I'm programmed to give in to him. To fill his needs.
What the hell is wrong with me?
I gesture to him to "Stay!" like he's an exuberant puppy or something. He nods, still sad, and I keep my eyes on him sternly as I move cautiously around him to the table, avoiding contact like he's diseased and contagious. Like a single touch could kill.
Which yeah, it would.
I finally reach the table with my writing pad, grab it, keeping my eyes on him the whole time to be sure he stays put.
–I need time to think. I need you to leave. Now.–
He sucks in a breath as he reads, raises eyes so full of desperation and unhappiness I have to close mine. The urge to grab him, to pull him in and never let go, it's just –
–Please.– I write, hating myself for feeling so weak, so helpless and out of control in the face of Sam's tsunami of desperation and longing and–
He loves me. He really really loves me.
I'm feeling like my soul is shattering into a million pieces, and I don't ever want to put it together again.
"Dean, please don't send me away. We can work this out. I can explain."
I stare at him. I can't believe how trusting he is, how he can just love somebody who did that to him.
It's so sick I don't even know how to respond.
So I shake my head, look down, determined as I can be that this is what we both need right now. Time to think. Alone.
I can feel the moment he gives in and turns to go, the moment he walks through the door.
Because it feels like my heart has been ripped out of my body and my world has ended and nothing will ever be okay until he returns.
I am so, so much sicker than I ever imagined.
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