Oh God I can't go home with Sam.
The speech guy is pissed at me because I don't have anyone to practice his stupid exercises with.
"There's no miracle cure, Dean," he says. "You have to work if you want to get better."
Yeah, I'd like to work my fuckin' fist up your ass, buddy.
No. Not that. Not thinking about assholes.
'Cuz the truth is, I'm definitely not into guys. I look at pictures, I check out the good-looking dudes in the hospital -- nothin'.
Girls, I can do. Junior gets interested right away when that hot nurse comes into the room. The temporary receptionist at the front desk. The girl at the cash register during the dinner shift in the cafeteria.
My physical therapist is a handsome guy, but there are zero sparks there. He touches me, positions my arms and legs, puts his hand on my back while I do the exercises he wants me to do.
So this thing is just about Sam.
And damn it, I already miss him. It's only been like a few hours -- I can't fall asleep. I keep seeing his face, how devastated he was when I told him to leave. I toss and turn for awhile, trying to think about something else -- trying to clear his face from my mind -- but it's just useless.
I call the nurse, finally, ask for some sleeping pills. She checks my chart, finds some standing order that gives her permission to give the pills to me -- apparently I'm prone to anxiety, have a history of panic attacks, according to my brother.
So I get the pills, take them with a tall glass of water. At first I think they're not gonna work, but suddenly I wake up with a start and realize I've been out for the night.
Dreams of Sam linger at the edge of my consciousness.
The phone next to the bed rings and I pick it up, put the receiver to my ear.
"Dean, please don't hang up."
His voice sounds ragged, choked, like he's been crying.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
"I know you want to be left alone for awhile, so I won't come over. I just wanted to give you my side of the story. Maybe it'll be easier for you to hear it if I'm not in the room with you. Okay?"
I let out a long breath, and he sucks in a quick one, like he's breathing me in.
"I know you can't answer, but since you're not hanging up I'm gonna assume you're willing to listen to me at least." Sam voice is softer now, a little steadier. "See here's the thing. There's stuff you don't know about us, Dean. We're different. Really, really different. I think you can sense that. What we have between us is -- it started before we were born. I don't even know how to explain it to you in a way that you could understand, but it's like the cosmos has plans for us. I know how that sounds, I know how crazy -- "
He sucks in another breath, pauses.
"The thing is, you and me, we're fuckin' everything, man. I can't even begin to describe what you mean to me. And I know you feel the same way. You have to trust me on this, okay? I know it's fucked up because we're brothers -- whose fuckin' idea was that? But you have to believe me -- we were born this way. It's who we are. Hell, maybe we had to be born brothers so we'd be stuck with each other no matter what."
I shift on the bed a little, reposition the phone on my ear, wish to god I could talk.
"Dean? Do you hear what I'm saying? You did not take advantage of me when I was a kid, or whatever it is you think. You're not a monster."
He takes another breath. I wish I could see his face. Wish I could–
"Okay," he says. "I'll go now. Thanks for listening. I'll see you on Friday."
I hear the click as he hangs up but I can't put the phone down. I want him to keep talking. I could listen to his voice forever.
My vision blurs and I close my eyes, feel the tears or whatever slide down my cheeks, stick in my eyelashes. My throat closes up and my chest heaves and goddamn it I'm not gonna start sobbing like a girl!
I wipe furiously at my eyes, my cheeks, then I make myself put the phone down before somebody comes in and wonders why I'm sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched over and crying, cradling the stupid old-fashioned corded telephone like a fuckin' baby.
If I could just remember --
Later, when I'm out for my walk in the hospital garden, stretching my legs and taking huge gulps of fresh air, I let myself think about what Sam said. It doesn't make any sense, can't possibly be right. He's just making excuses for what happened so he doesn't have to face the truth. It's like that hostage syndrome that victims get sometimes when they sympathize with their captors as a way of coping and surviving. That's what this is for him. So he doesn't have to deal with the reality of being raped and abused.
That's what my head tells me.
My heart, on the other hand -- or my gut, whatever -- knows with absolute certainty that he's got it exactly right. My gut tells me he and I are fated or cursed or whatever, and this thing between us is exactly what it was meant to be. Together we're like a force of nature. Winchesters against the world.
By the time he comes to get me on Friday, I'm not freaking out anymore.
I still have no idea where this is going, and I'm scared shitless of being alone with him, but I've made my decision. If he's willing and able to forgive whatever I've done, if he can still be my brother after all that, I guess I at least owe it to him to try to figure this thing out.
Then he walks into the room and I'm just done.
How could I ever think I could handle this?
He's more gorgeous than I remembered. Definitely the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life, in fact. Tall, perfectly-proportioned, leggy and muscled and with the most amazing hands -- long slender fingers, nice nails. Not all bitten and chipped like mine. His face has these incredible planes and angles and soft pink lips and slanted hazel eyes and scruff and those dimples. I need to run my hands through his hair and –
I'm lost. I cannot do this. All I can do is stare, and he's having such an effect on me I feel like passing out.
What I feel for this man goes beyond anything I can even begin to describe. I know it's a cliche, and I'm not that good a writer, so there's probably nothing I can say that would be enough. But they're all good feelings, though. Really, really good.
And kinda sad too.
-Hey- I gesture, trying not to look as uncomfortable as I feel.
He grins all over the place, and his face just shines. The smile is hopeful and tentative at the same time.
I clear my throat, shift my feet and look away.
"Ready to go?" he asks, and I nod. He signs all the release papers, clutching the file of papers with instructions for my exercises and meds. Then he shakes Doc's hand, and I do the same.
"So I'll see you next week," Doc says as she smiles into my eyes. "You keep up that journal, okay?"
I nod, glance over at Sam, who isn't looking.
Why do I get the feeling I'll never see Doc again?
When we get to the parking lot there's this amazing black classic muscle car -- '67 Chevy Impala, my brain supplies, and yeah. I obviously know cars.
What I didn't expect was Sam striding right over to the car with keys in his hand, unlocking the gorgeous thing and slipping into the driver's seat. I stop and stare as he leans across the bench to unlock the passenger side, then looks up at me as I slide my hand along the metal, just admire the sleek lines of this beauty for a minute.
"Yeah, Dean," Sam smiles. "This is your car. Do you remember anything?"
I concentrate, dragging my eyes up and down the long body of the car, trying to jog a memory -- any memory.
Finally I shake my head, slip inside, pull the door closed and run my hand over the dash, the seat.
"It's a little weird for me, seeing you in the passenger seat," Sam says with a small smile. "But I'm guessing you don't know where we're going, so I better drive."
I look over, raise an eyebrow.
Then it hits me.
They all said I was in a car accident.
The car looks perfect.
Okay, I was driving something else.
No way. No way would I drive anything but this baby. Ever.
My writing pad and pen are in the trunk inside my duffle, so I can't ask about it, have to file it away for after we get where we're going. So I sit back and watch the town slide by, then the countryside. We're somewhere flat, without mountains, and I know without asking that it's Illinois. We drive for hours, then stop at a roadside diner. Sam orders a salad. I point to the bacon cheeseburger on the menu, then gesture for a pen.
"I know," Sam sighs. "Extra onions. He always orders extra onions," he says to the waitress.
I wink at her and she blushes, gets all flustered and practically drops her order.
After she leaves I glance across the table at Sam. He's frowning, so I raise my eyebrows.
Sam huffs out a breath, mutters, "Always flirting with the waitress."
I grab my pad and pen, scribble quickly, pass it over.
–Ah, Sammy, you know you're the only girl for me, right?–
I wink at him, but he just stares, shocked and stunned.
–What?– I gesture.
"You called me Sammy," he says.
–So? It's your name, isn't it?–
He reaches out, grabs my arm on the table, looks intensely at me.
I look down at his hand on my arm, grateful that I've got my long-sleeved shirt on so I don't have to feel how warm his hand is, how the contact makes my skin tingle.
I feel it anyway.
"Do you remember?" he asks. "Do you remember anything, Dean?"
I stare back, gaze into those strange, beautiful eyes of his, try to imagine his face younger, more eager and innocent. Try to imagine "Sammy," the boy with the dimpled smile and the floppy hair, my little brother.
I look away, shake my head.
Back in the car he puts in a music cassette.
"This is your favorite album," he says. "Jog any memories?"
I recognize the music -- Led Zeppelin -- but it doesn't provoke any memories. Doesn't give me any particular sensations of "aha!" or "oh yeah!"
I shrug, tilt my head, and Sam sighs.
I wish I could give him his brother back. I know he misses him.
We're halfway through Missouri when Sam decides to pull into a motel for the night. I wait in the car while he books the room, then help him unload the car.
In the trunk is a stash of weapons like nothing I've ever seen before.
At least I'm pretty sure I've never seen it before, because it shocks the hell outta me.
What the fuck!?
I stare at Sam, gesture at the trunk, watch a rainbow of expressions flash across his face, ending in another deep sigh and that hang-dog sadness again.
"Yeah, I'll explain everything," he says. "Just give me a minute."
We dump our bags on the beds in the motel room and I watch Sam as he digs into his duffel for a -- what the hell is that? Salt?
I stand in the middle of the room watching him as he pours a line of salt along each of the windows, in front of the door., under the window in the bathroom. He doesn't seem to notice me gesturing questioningly at him, just puts the salt away and grabs a ziplock back full of some kind of brownish-gray dirt, follows the salt lines with lines of this stuff.
Finally I grab his shoulder to get his attention and he stops, turns to me.
"It's protection," he explains. "So we can sleep. Otherwise one of us has to stay up all night, and I don't know about you, but I'm pretty beat."
–Protection from what?– I write, shoving the notebook in his face because he's not looking at it, knows what I'm asking before I ask.
"Look," he says. "I'm gonna go get some food, then we'll talk, okay? Why don't you take the first shower. Just -- just stay in the room till I get back, okay? Can you do that, Dean?"
I'm starting to freak out a little again.
What the hell have I gotten myself into? Who is this guy?
Sam reads the look on my face, moves close, puts his hands on my shoulders, gazes into my eyes.
My heart flutters, my stomach jumps, my whole body trembles under the warmth of his hands, the heat in his eyes.
"I need you to trust me, Dean," he says. "Can you do that?"
I swallow, and his eyes drop to my throat.
I'm instantly hard.
He steps back, drops his arms to his sides, notices the bulge in my jeans.
"Sorry," he says, glancing away, licking his bottom lip almost unconsciously.
"I'll be right back," he lifts his eyes to mine again, voice oozing sincerity and warmth. "Just lock the door behind me. You'll be fine."
Fine. Yeah, sure.
NEXT CHAPTER - RETURN TO MASTERPORT