Title: The Road Less Traveled (The Happiness Unraveled Remix)
Summary: "Sam,you spent your entire life slugging it out with that man. I mean, hell,you, you picked a fight with him the last time you ever saw him."
Spoilers: Up to 2.2 Everybody Loves a Clown
Title, Author and URL of original story: The Road Less Traveled by embroiderama
Sam counted his steps, watched his feet eat up the gravel underfoot and tried to match strides with Dean. It took some effort to keep them instep, right leg down at the same time, left leg down after. He had to shorten his strides some, in part, because Dean was shorter than him but mostly because Dean never walked the same after breaking his hip when he was fourteen. The sun was warm against his back, an odd contrast to the coolness in the air.
When Sam got tired of counting steps, he started trying to connect all the sounds he heard around him with the animals that made them. Thinking about whether or not the white and fluffy clouds in the sky would still be there in a few hours, if Dad ever did have a thing with Ellen, why they didn't know about her, anything in an effort to keep himself from thinking about the things Dean said. He was right though and there was no denying it.
He picked a fight with him. The last time he saw his father alive and breathing he tried to pick a fuckingfight with him. Jesus Christ, Dean had almost just died and he couldn't even suck it up for ten minutes and be civil with his own flesh and blood.
Sam was so angry with himself; so frustrated and disappointed that he could feel his hands throbbing at his sides and his pulse pounding in his head. He stomach churned and rolled to the point of nausea, and he felt sick in more ways than one.
He would have given his right arm for another iPod right then, something for background noise, something that he could listen to so he wouldn't have to think anymore. He'd listen to the fucking Black Album full-blast on repeat if it meant he didn't have to actually think about anything right now.
God, he wished he were back at Bobby's, sitting on the couch and vegging out in front of the TV set. Sure, there were better ways Sam could've spent the last week but this was how he dealt with things; watching crappy sitcoms and tv "dramas" starring people he'd never heard of before. The reception on the tv is shit and the acting is borderline painful on some of the shows but between the uncomfortable couch and convoluted storylines his brain is busy enough that he doesn't have to think about anything that matters.
Not everyone has a car they can rebuild from scratch when they're grieving. Dean has his car and he can take all his pain and anger and whatever else he has and focus it on fixing it. Sam has five channels and a pair of pliers to flip between them.
The silence was driving him slowly insane, his mind was racing and he didn't like where it was going, it was jumping from topic to topic faster than he could get a hold on and made him feel dizzy and confused. His mother was dead, always had been to him. He feels bad about the fact that he doesn't feel bad, he never knew her, and she's always been dead to him. He thinks of her like he thinks of a great grandparent, someone who was alive once in an abstract way and that'sit.
His father was dead now; the man he once thought would live forever if only out of spite. He can't even put words to how he feels because angry and scared and relieved just aren't enough. His brother had almost died. For the second time in less than a year. But Dean had survived, and that was all that mattered.
It didn't matter that Dean had been fighting a reaper before he woke up.Or that reapers weren't actually anything bad when they weren't bound.Sam had read the lore, he knew what reapers did, and he knew that when a reaper was after someone there wasn't actually any way to deter them.
It didn't matter that Dad was perfectly fine until Dean woke up. It didn't matter that Dad had sent Sam out to get things he could use to summon a demon the night before. That was one of the things Sam really didn't want to think about, he wasn't a dumb guy and the less he thought about that the better for everyone.
It didn't matter that he was never going to see his father again, or that he had to rack his brain to find a memory of him that isn't tainted by anger or frustration. It frustrated Sam that in eighteen years with his father he couldn't seem to remember a single one of those "good times"Dean used to talk about.
All that mattered was that he still had Dean. With Dean by his side he could do anything. If Dean was there everything would be alright.
Except that everything wasn't alright. Dean changed the subject when Dad was brought up and flat-out refused to talk about the hospital or the wreck. Sam was losing his mind slowly and he knew it, it was getting harder and harder for him to keep track of the days and separate his nightmares from his real life.He wanted to scream until he lost his voice and he wanted to cry until he was all out of tears. He just wanted to talk to someone, to talk to Dean. He wanted, needed, to know that he wasn't alone, that he wasn't the only one who was scared.
Only Dean didn't want to talk, even now. They had miles behind them and miles ahead of them and Dean seems to have managed to convince himself that he is content to just walk along in silence. Sam knows better though, he knows his brother.
The road had no end in sight and it should have been overwhelming, should have been terrifying and scary but it wasn't. Because Dean was with him and they walked this path together. Sam walked this road forever with his brother at his side and no one else.
It was a sad and sobering thought; he only had his brother left in the world and his brother would always be there as long as he was alive (and maybe even longer). Sam was finally starting to get what his brother meant when he said you can't have friends, it's hell enough just to have a few family members to worry about -- and Jess had been his family-- but having friends too, having even more people to worry about, is just plain insane. He hadn't talked to Rebecca in months, not since right after Zack was released. He couldn't honestly remember the last time he actually talked to another person, someone who wasn't related to a case. Except for Dean.
It was an all-encompassing pain when Jess was killed. It wasn't exactly that he wanted to die after that, more that at times he didn't see the big deal about living. For a longtime after he would go to sleep and pray he didn't wake up in the morning. He was mostly over that though. It was like an open wound when Meg killed Caleb and Pastor Jim. Especially Pastor Jim, who had never even gone on his own hunt in as long as Sam could remember. Sam couldn't even describe what he felt now that his father was gone, he was pretty sure it might be shock. One moment everything was hazy and nothing felt real and the next moment Sam was biting Dean's head off for putting mustard on his hamburger.
Sam couldn't, could not begin to let himself think about what would happen if Dean were to die.Just letting his brain near that topic hurt his heart, made his chest ache and his eyes sting with tears he knew he couldn't let drop. He had a dream the night before last where Dean was dead. He woke up in a cold sweat and sobbed for what felt like hours because he couldn't remember whether it was Dad who had died or Dean.
His whole body ached,his head hurt and all he wanted to do was go back to his room at Bobby's, crawl into bed, pull the blankets close around him, lay down and cry and sleep. Actually sleep like he hadn't done in years, with no threats of nightmares or visions, no fear of waking with a body and afire above his head.
God, he was tired. All he wanted to do was sleep.