Notes: spoilers for season three
Prompt: Dean's soul somehow gets loose and he has to share Sam's brain for a while.
Summary: Dean’s been gone for twenty-two weeks when Sam gets him back.
Dean’s been gone for twenty-two weeks when Sam gets him back. His body is ashes, with only his Impala, his leather jacket, his golden amulet, and his silver ring remaining. Sam never takes either of the pieces of jewelry off.
Dean’s been gone for twenty-two weeks. Twenty-two weeks of silence, of despair and regret, of hatred and anger. Bobby took Sam back to his place for awhile, but Sam couldn’t stay there—too many memories of Dean. Ellen offered the newly-constructed Roadhouse, but Sam said no, climbed into the Impala wearing Dean’s jacket, amulet, and ring, and took off for the sunset.
Dean’s been gone for twenty-two weeks and Sam hasn’t spoken for fifteen. Dean’s been gone for twenty-two weeks and Sam’s just driving, wasting gas and time, not knowing what he’s looking for, but sure he’ll know it when he finds it.
Dean’s been gone for twenty-two weeks when demon-smoke pours into Sam and calls him Sammy. Calls him Bitch. Tells him You better’ve been takin’ care of my car, dude, or I’ll kick your ass.
Dean. Dean’s back and Sam cries.
It’s weird how little changes after Dean comes back. He rarely takes over Sam’s body, and only when he thinks Sam’s in danger. Sam understands and forgives him each time.
They talk about everything, like they used to going from one nameless town to another. Sam tells Dean anything he can think of, speaking in the sanctuary of his mind to the only person left in the world he cares about.
Dean listens. Does the same. But he never mentions Hell. Never says a thing about his time there.
Sam notices that his mind wanders more, thoughts floating in and out like clouds on a stormy day, flowing smooth as water. He doesn’t care, figures it’s a small price to pay for Dean safe with him and not in Hell.
But Dean worries, Sam knows that. Dean’s died and come back, and he still worries about his little brother.
A hunt finds them by accident, a year after Dean comes back. A demon-possessed man is going on a killing spree, leaving bodies across half a dozen states. Sam doesn’t want to take the case; it strikes too close to home. But Dean insists.
He even takes over Sam’s body to get them there.
Sam doesn’t see daylight until the hunt is through, the demon back in Hell and the man dead.
He doesn’t speak to Dean for three months.
I’m not who I was, Sammy, Dean tells him, over and over. Sam finally believes him. The man you remember… I’m not him. I can’t be him, not ever again. And I’m sorry. I am. I wish… Dean pauses, pulling back into the far recesses of Sam’s mind. I wish I could be him. Be better than he was, because that’s what you deserve. A light touch against Sam, and then, I’ll go, if that’s what you want.
“No!” Sam shouts, shock finally giving him voice. “Don’t leave me again.”
It’s forgiveness and understanding, and Sam feels Dean’s relief.
Another year passes. They share his body equitably, like they used to share the Impala and hotel rooms and the open road. There are no secrets, and neither of them wishes to keep any.
But Dean’s worry is still there, as Sam fades in and out, as the body seems to become more and more Dean’s.
Sammy, he says one day. Something’s wrong. I think I’ve stayed too long.
Sam sighs, not really hearing him, lost in the mist of his mind again. He remembers their youth, and those too-few years after Jessica. He remembers dying, being brought back, and then left alone one short year later.
Dean recedes, pushing Sam forward at the same time. Sam! he yells, listen to me! Wake up! This is your body, not mine. Your life..
Sam shudders, pulling back into himself, and opens his eyes.
For a month, Sam has full control. Dean stays deep in the recesses; Sam only knows he’s there because of infrequent brushes against his mind.
Dean never responds to his questions or comments; it’s almost like those too-long twenty-two weeks he was completely alone, and he hates it.
Sam can’t figure out what’s bothering Dean. Everything is just fine—they’re together and healthy and together and alive. Nothing can be wrong.
Sam steps in front of a bus one blustery November day, determined to shake Dean out of hiding.
It also pisses Dean off and Sam doesn’t get control of his body again until May.
Finally, Dean just stops. Lays Sam’s body down in the grass somewhere in Wisconsin and lets Sam out. Says, Sammy, we have to talk. Sam stares at the sky and waits, knowing that he won’t like whatever is coming and that it can’t be good.
Dean begins hesitantly, with This isn’t healthy, Sam. I shouldn’t… this isn’t right, me stealing your body. Your life.
“But I want you here,” Sam says.
I want to be here, Dean assures him. I do. But not if it hurts you.
“It doesn’t hurt me! You were in Hell because of me, and now you’re back, and I won’t lose you again, Dean!”
Dean is barely a presence in the back of his mind, now, receding more by the second, and Sam tries to grab him, hold him, keep him there, because he can’t be alone, can’t not have Dean, not again, never again.
“Dean!” he screams, jackknifing up, reaching with everything he has, all the considerable will and strength, what remains of Azazel’s taint.
He feels Dean pause, just a bare hint of his brother’s presence left. Sam, is all he says.
“Please, Dean,” Sam begs. “Don’t go.”
Sam really, truly misses being able to look into Dean’s eyes, knowing what he’s thinking. Now there’s just a silence as Dean contemplates leaving forever.
Sleep, Sammy, Dean murmurs. You need your rest. We’ll talk more in the morning, alright?
“You’ll be here?” Sam asks, stretching out on the grass.
Dean doesn’t answer, just curls up inside Sam’s soul and whispers, Sleep, lil’brother.
Sam wakes alone. He is the only occupant of his body. He wakes alone and screams at the sky and thinks Dean.