Summary: Fifty years from now, Dean waits for his little brother.
A/N: Something a little different. Yet, in the end…not at all.
I found him where I always find him; sitting in his chair, staring out the large bay windows in the television room. Only working here two weeks, I knew it wasn’t the lush gardens or water fountain that held his interest. No. He was waiting for someone.
Always waiting for someone.
Walking over, I made it a point to make an obvious approach. Sneaking up behind him would only get me a broken nose. Derek’s face was still bruised. Derek should have known better. Never underestimate the residents. No matter how old. Especially if his name is Dean Winchester.
“Are you ready, Mr. Winchester?”
The searching green eyes met mine. “Sammy here yet? He was right behind me.”
“No,” I answered smoothly. “He’s not here yet.”
Frowning, his worried eyes returned to the garden. When his hand started to rub nervously up and down his leg, I began to worry that it would be a bad day.
Before I could try and redirect him—usually a pointless feat when it came to his brother, he stopped and shook his head with a fond grin. “Kid probably just got his head in a book somewhere. Lost track of time.”
Relieved, I bent over and released the brakes on his wheelchair. “Probably.”
I wheeled him into the garden and parked him in front of the large circular stone fountain. He’d never go any further, afraid his brother would worry if he couldn’t find him.
“I ever tell you about the time I slayed a dragon?” He looked up at me, his head slightly unsteady from old weary muscles, but with a spark in his eyes that belied his age.
A bubble of excitement flittered through my stomach and I sat on the fountain’s stone. I loved his stories. The way he told them… The detail alone would make anyone, even of sane stature, tease the idea that they were real. But the look in his eyes…the excitement and relief when he had killed yellow-eyes, the grief when he had lost Sam to Lucifer and Gadreel was so palpable, some days it was even harder to believe the stories weren’t real.
“Sammy had just gotten his soul back,” he started as his thick salt and pepper hair was lightly tussled by the wind, voice gravelly and slow from nearly ninety years of use. “He was happy…for a little while anyway, and he was…” he grinned softly, the corner of his eyes wrinkling as the clouds in them lifted some, “Sammy.”
Soulless Sam had been hard for Dean to take. His baby brother—the man he had raised, the boy that had looked up to him, the one that wore his heart on his sleeve was nothing more than a “soulless bag of dicks” then. Dean’s words, not mine.
As the story goes, anyway.
“We tracked some virgin nappin’ dragons down in the sewers and ganked the bastards.”
Sometimes Mr. Winchester’s vernacular still amused me. “How’d you kill it?”
“Sam was actually the one that killed it, but he couldn’t have done it if not for me getting the Excalibur.”
“The sword in the stone?” I was a huge fan of the King Arthur tales. “You pulled it out?”
His head canted thoughtfully to the side. “You could say that.”
“You blew up the stone, didn’t you.” It wasn’t a question. If I have learned anything from his stories….
“Yup,” he admitted without pause.
I laughed, but he fidgeted and sat up straighter in his chair. “Damnit, Sammy.” He looked around us. “Where the hell are you?”
Sam. Everything always leads back to Sam.
“He probably hasn’t eaten,” he worried aloud.
I did what I always did to keep the man together. I lied. “You can share your pie when he gets here.”
He scoffed. “He can get his own damn pie.”
I looked on sadly as he looked on anxiously. “He was right behind me.”
“I know,” I said with a lump in my throat. Some days, some days this job was just too hard. Because I did know. I knew the truth that Mr. Winchester either couldn’t, or refused to remember most days.
Sam Winchester was dead.
He had died over forty years ago.
Some days were better than others, some worse than others. All days, as they always had, led back to Sam. There was not a day Mr. Winchester didn’t wait for him. And there were an increasing number of days that he tried to escape to find him himself.
While I was on vacation he had tried again. Knocking on the doorframe to his bedroom, I leaned against it. He was walking to his bed, leaning heavily on his cane.
“Mind the salt, would ya, darlin’?” But his voice lacked his usual charm.
Looking down, I stepped over the line of salt. Mr. Winchester had many quirks, not to mention an unhealthy appreciation for fire. I couldn’t count the many times I had caught him burning seemingly random things and resident possessions—despite our attempts to keep anything even remotely flammable from him. I also couldn’t explain why the days appeared less hectic and odd afterwards. For a while, anyway.
“So how many does this make?” I asked as he sat on his bed and looked over at the picture on his nightstand. He didn’t answer, but I was pretty sure the number of times he had tried to escape since his admittance was impressively high. Security has had to get creative over the years.
Sometimes he would forget what he was trying to do, where he was trying to go and didn’t seem very bothered that he was refused it. Sometimes, he would be withdrawn for days after a failed attempt. This was one of those times.
He picked up the old, worn picture and brushed his thumb over an image of he and Sam laughing. They looked to be in their thirties when it was taken and for some reason, every time I looked upon it myself I was overcome with a sense of nostalgia.
“What if he thinks I forgot him,” Dean said softly with a sadness I’d rarely seen him shake.
I wasn’t sure if he was worried that he was betraying his memory in some way, or if he truly thought Sam waited for him as Dean did him. Sitting next to him, “He won’t,” I said without a hint of uncertainty. There were many things I didn’t understand, especially about the man before me, but this…of this I had no doubt, and said simply as if it were the answer to all of life’s most important questions, “You’re his big brother.”
It had the desired effect and the corner of his mouth turned up. “Probably got his head stuck in a book somewhere,” he said, forgetting whom exactly he had thought was waiting on whom just a moment before. “He’ll come. He’ll come.”
I smiled, relieved to see the anguish he’d been carrying melt away some. There were tears in my own eyes now, though, as I found myself again mourning someone I had never met, and being moved by a man’s unwavering belief that one day his brother would indeed come.
I decided then that that night I would bring him two pieces of pie. The more time I spent with Mr. Winchester, the more I longed for him to see his brother again, too.
The more time I spent with him…the more I wanted to believe.
The soft hum of lights and the relaxed duties of the staff were all the sounds to be heard. Most of the residents were still sleeping, not yet filing out into the halls and recreation rooms.
Still, something caused Dean to wake. It was a familiar feeling, a long lost feeling. He opened his eyes and found his brother standing over him, smiling.
A pain Dean had been carrying for over forty years suddenly faded to nothing. “Sam,” he breathed. He looked just as he had the last time he had seen him; perfect. Struggling to sit up on unreliable elbows, “Where the hell you been?” he demanded.
Sam’s smile grew. “Waiting on your stubborn ass.”
“Waiting on me?” Dean’s vocal cords wavered under the force of his incredulity. “Dude, do you know how much prune juice they force feed you here?”
Sam laughed and it was the most beautiful sound Dean could ever remember hearing.
“What’d ya say, big brother?”
Dean looked down at the strong, familiar hand reaching out to him and without hesitation stretched his unsteady fingers towards it. And as he was pulled to his feet…he found himself young again.
“Nice!” He flashed Sam a smile and did a little hop on non-creaky legs. “Wait,” face falling, he pointed at himself in alarm, “does this make me Kate Winslet?”
Sam laughed again, and they embraced—long and hard.
When they pulled apart—eyes no longer dry, Sam held up a pair of keys. “She’s gassed and ready.”
Dean took the keys reverently in his hand. “Aw, Baby. Did she miss me?” he asked, looking back up at his brother.
The moisture in Sam’s eyes came dangerously close to spilling. “Every day.”
Dean nodded, his own vision blurring further. “Me too,” he replied thickly.
He looked back down at what he held in his hand—his past, present and soon-to-be future again and closed his fingers around them. “Let’s go home, little brother.”
Sam’s smile matched his. “Yeah.”
Bumping shoulders, the walked away, beyond where the eyes can see.
As the old, frail body on the bed expelled its last breath with a smile, Back in Black could be heard rocking in the distance.