Genre: Gen, AU
Word Count: 5,795
Warnings: spoilers for 7x08. References to past non-con (non-graphic). Elements of non-con (basically every non-con element that was in the episode is still in this remix...restraints, drugging, etc.)
Disclaimer: This is a transformative work of fiction for entertainment purposes only.
AN: So, this is sort of an odd experiment. I wanted to rewrite episode 7x08 (Season 7, Time for a Wedding), so that it was...well, more believable and realistic and didn't assassinate any beloved characters. Yet, I wanted to keep the basic premise - in an arrogant attempt to show that it could have been handled better, I suppose.
AN #2: I've also added in some elements that indicate that in this particular AU of S7, Sam's not dealing with his mental-illness as well as he seemed to deal with it in the actual S7. This is mainly fixing a gripe I had about S7 in general and not just in this episode in particular.
AN #3: Because I'm writing what is basically an episode (but in non-script format), it's not my usual writing style and I apologize if it sucks. I tried to keep in as much of the original dialogue as I could, only changing what absolutely needed to be changed. If a scene that was in the episode doesn't appear in this fic, it's either because I cut it out entirely or it can occur pretty much the way it occurs in the episode and I'll just write about the events in broad strokes, rather than write it out word for word and bore everyone. (Small exception made for the opening scene - because I needed to set up the premise just a little differently, even though a lot of the dialogue is the same.)
“Okay, you won’t believe it. People think I just say it to get a bigger tip,” the waitress said, as Dean leaned closer.
“Fine. I’m in grad school,” she answered. Dean smiled. “See? There’s a look, okay?” she rolled her eyes but let out giggle at the cliché, “Stop.”
“No, this is my ‘I dig smart chicks’ look,” Dean assured her. “Now, if they, uh, if they wore that, I... I wouldn’t have dropped out of school.” Dean winked and took a sip of his beer. Maybe the night wasn’t a complete loss.
“So, what’s your deal?”
“My deal?” Dean stalled, trying to work out what cover would be sound best.
“Yeah, okay, You came in here looking like somebody shot your puppy.”
“Well, things are looking up now that your shift’s over,” or at least it had been, but now reality was bleeding back in and Dean couldn’t ignore the niggling worry in his gut. He sighed. “Alright, uh, here’s the deal – I have this friend. He’s got this younger brother, right? Cannon’s a little loose. You know, his reactor blew a while back. It’s not good. Um... My friend – he’s, uh... He’s kind of been sitting, waiting to see if he goes guano again.”
“And I assume it just hit the fan?” she asked. Dean shook his head. Like hell he’d be at some dive bar if it had.
“Well, that’s the thing. It didn’t,” Dean explained. “The kid’s been doing pretty good, considering he’s crazy. Well, he’s—I mean, he’s not crazy. He... it’s starting to seem like things might be getting better.”
“Well, that’s a good thing, right?”
“Yeah, more than I could have hoped,” Dean said. He felt guilty for not really believing it could be possible, that they could be this lucky. It seemed too much to hope for, like he was just asking for trouble solely by believing that Sammy deserved to be functional. But that wasn’t Dean’s problem tonight, and if he were being honest, he may as well be completely honest. “Except... the kid says he wants to see if he can manage it without... my friend’s help and he decides the best way to do this is to go off on some granola-munching hike in the desert by himself.”
Dean was sure that Sam picked Vegas in the hopes that Dean could find distractions, instead of sitting around worrying about Sam. And Dean had played along, because he could tell how much Sam wanted to be able to do this – to trust his ability to tell hallucinations apart from reality without relying on Dean.
“Well, maybe he just needs some time alone.”
“Yeah,” Dean muttered. He wondered if it was too late to go camp out in the Impala at the foot of the trail, just in case.
“We all need to face ourselves sometime.”
“Maybe he does,” Dean answered. He just didn’t think Sam was ready to.
“Wasn’t talking about him,” she shook her head. Dean looked up at her confused, but before he could voice anything, his phone beeped.
“Excuse me,” Dean said, checking the incoming text. It was Sam.
“Speak of the devil,” Dean said, then checked the address. “He’s four blocks away?” Sam was supposed to call from the foot of the trail when he finished his little camping trip. He wasn’t supposed to get some stranger to drive him into town and find a hunt.
“See? Baby bro needs you after all,” she smiled, but then added a concerned “I hope he’s okay.”
“Yeah, me too,” Dean said.
Thankfully the motel he was staying in was right next door, and Dean changed into his suit in record time, and then parked the car next to the address Sam had sent him. It was one of those cheap wedding chapels. The entrance was deserted. A light flickered. Dean pulled out his gun just in case, as he followed the hallway towards the door to the chapel room.
Just as he got there, they flung open, and there was Sam.
“Dean,” Sam said, and quickly pulled the gun out of Dean’s hand and tucked it away. “It’s okay. You won’t need that. Come on.”
“I thought you were out, uh, becoming one with the land or some crap,” Dean said, following Sam into the chapel room. There were about four people towards the front of the room, seemingly getting ready for the next wedding.
“You got to – come here,” Sam said, standing Dean to one side of the small stage. “All right. Now....” Sam picked up a flower and started pinning it to Dean’s lapel. The other people in the room were mostly ignoring them.
“What is this?” Dean asked, trying to get Sam to focus. He worried briefly that maybe Sam wasn’t completely there again, because he didn’t seem to be holding Dean’s gaze like he usually did when he was more lucid.
“Uh, apparently, uh, pink is for loyalty,” Sam answered. Dean glanced down at the pink carnation that was now fixed to his lapel.
“Alright,” Dean said, trying to keep calm so that he could hopefully bring Sam back on track. Obviously, this was a hunt of some sort – or Sam thought it was. “So, what’s the pretext? What are we – uh, wedding crashers, huh? We looking for some kind of siren or what?”
“No,” Sam smiled. “Nothing like that. Alright, um... so, a little sudden. But life is short, so I’ll keep this shorter. I’m in love and I’m getting married.”
Dean stared at Sam. This was new. Usually Sam’s hallucinations were about things that had happened, or they were about self harm and suicide – but they’d never been about getting married before.
“Say something, like, uh, like, congratulations, for example,” Sam said.
“What?” Dean asked, but before Sam could answer, the organist started playing and the chapel doors opened again – and Dean realized that this wasn’t just a hallucination, because Dean could see the bride too.
“What the hell?” Dean said.
The woman walked up to Sam, and the whole time Sam smiled like all his dreams were coming true. When she got to the front of the room, she lifted her veil and smiled equally delighted at Sam. Dean stared at her. She was just an average looking woman, with brown hair and a nice figure.
Dean watched as her and Sam both turned to the minister, and that was when he lost it.
“Stop!” Dean said, and watched as every eye in the room turned to him. Dean kept his focus on Sam, but that didn’t mean that he missed the slightly panicked look that the woman gave him. “What the hell, Sam?!”
“Dean,” Sam admonished.
“No,” Dean said. “You are not marrying anyone until I find out what the hell is going on. I don’t even know her? You’ve known her for what? Two days? At the very least, shouldn’t she have asked for my permission or something?!”
“You- You want her to ask for my hand?” Sam asked, incredulously.
“Sam,” Dean sighed, “just tell me what the hell is going on.”
“Short version? Her name is Laura. We met, we ate, and talked, and fell in love. And you know – here we are.”
“Hi Dean,” Laura said, smiling a strained smile. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Yeah, wish I could say the same,” Dean muttered. “Sam. A word,” Dean indicated the back of the room with his head, and watched Sam’s jaw clench. But then Sam smiled at the Laura and the Minister and excused himself for a moment. He followed Dean to the back of the room.
“First off, do you even know whether she’s human?” Dean asked in a stern whisper once they were out of ear shot.
“Of course,” Sam said, glaring at Dean. “I tested her for everything. Do you think I’m an idiot?”
“No, I think you’ve got a few too many screws loose,” Dean replied.
“This has nothing to do with that,” Sam shot back.
“This has everything to do with that,” Dean said. “Sam, you aren’t-“
“I’m not what? Capable of making my own choices?” Sam asked. “Dean, I haven’t had a flashback or a nightmare, or a damned hallucination in days. If anything, being around Laura...it makes me better. SHE makes me better.”
“Oh, and that’s not suspicious?!” Dean said. “You’re crazy suddenly vanishes because you’re ‘in love’? Really, Sam? Is anything ever that easy?”
“Maybe it is!” Sam said. “Dean, I invited you here because I wanted your support-“
“Well you aren’t going to get it!” Dean shouted. “I object to this wedding and I am damn well not holding my peace about it – so you can just forget about it, okay!”
“Sam? What’s going on?” the woman asked, approaching them from across the room. “Is everything okay?”
“Everything is going to be fine, baby,” Sam responded sweetly to her, and Dean’s stomach twisted. “I promised you a perfect wedding and I’m going to give you one.”
“Like hell-“ Dean started.
“Dean!” Sam interrupted. “You’re my brother and I love you, so I am giving you exactly one week to get over yourself and be supportive, or... well, or Laura and I will just get married anyway, and you won’t be a part of my life anymore.”
“Sam-“ the woman, Laura, said wide-eyed, “we don’t have to-“ but Sam was already pulling her out the door. Dean watched dumbfounded as they left.
Dean did the only thing he could think of. He called Bobby. When Bobby’s voice mail clicked in right away, Dean remembered that Bobby was out in Oregon in the middle of a vampire nest, and so he left a message telling him as much of the confusing story as possible and hoped that Bobby would come through for him. It had to be some sort of curse or siren.
Dean decided to start his research by tailing the happy couple.
Dean stopped at his motel room to change, and then tracked Sam using the GPS on Sam’s phone. He caught up with them just as they were leaving a German-themed restaurant. A large sign over the door announced a high school reunion coming up that weekend, and Dean saw what could only be a party planner heading into the restaurant with decorations. Sam and Laura paused briefly to talk to the party-planner before heading towards Laura’s car.
He let Sam and Laura drive away before he went in to investigate. They hadn’t been in there long enough to have dinner, so Dean assumed Laura was there in connection with the reunion. At the very least, Dean figured he might be able to find out her last name – which would be helpful for the background check that he needed to run.
He was in luck when he walked in, because the RSVP booth for the reunion was unmanned. The tall leggy woman who was no doubt supposed to be behind it was at the back of the restaurant talking to the party-planner who had entered the restaurant ahead of Dean. The list of names had been left open to the page that had just been marked up, and it took less than a second for Dean to find Laura’s name with a +1 listed beside it.
Dean retreated to the bar and ordered himself a whiskey, while he plugged her last name into his phone for later reference. He spotted a newspaper that had been left on the bar beside him, and pulled it over.
“Truck kills pedestrian in freak accident. Victim a recent lottery winner.”
Dean frowned. There was definitely something funky going on. Dean just had to figure out how everything was connected.
Sam was eating dinner with Laura. She was beautiful. She smiled and poured them Champaign, and toasted to their wedding. Sam knew she had been disappointed when he told her he wanted to give Dean time to come around – and he had almost given in to her pleading – but in the end she had agreed, and that’s why he loved her. She was so understanding, and beautiful, and loving, and... the walls were bleeding.
The walls were bleeding and someone was laughing. Lucifer. He could hear Lucifer laughing as the walls bled. He was sitting at a table and holding a wine glass of blood... and there was a strange woman smiling at him.
Sam put his glass down and pressed a thumb into his scarred hand. He was hiking. He knew he was hiking. Camping. Just three days. Three days and... the walls stopped bleeding and the laughing faded, but the woman was still there, and Sam was still sitting in a room he didn’t recognize with a woman he didn’t know.
“Who are you? Where am I?” Sam asked. He pressed his hand again. He needed to call Dean. The laughter was coming back.
“Dean can’t help you now, Sam,” Lucifer said. “Don’t you remember?” but Sam didn’t remember. He didn’t remember how he got here.
“Sammy, Sam, poor little lost Sam,” Lucifer sighed into his ear, and then suddenly the woman was in front of him. Pressing a glass to his lips, pouring it down his throat – and Sam swallowed on reflex, and he didn’t know what was happening or where Dean was but he needed to-
Kiss Laura, because he loved her.
“Sam?” Laura asked.
“Sorry,” Sam said, shaking his head. He couldn’t remember what had just happened. He couldn’t remember when Laura had moved onto his lap. They had been toasting and then... Sam glanced down at his empty glass. “I think I drank too fast on an empty stomach.”
Laura smiled. She was so kind and understanding.
Dean took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
Sam looked surprised to see Dean. Dean handed over the box he was carrying.
“It’s a waffle-iron,” Dean said by way of greeting. “You just, uh...” Dean made some hand gestures, but the truth was that he had no idea what he was doing. “I don’t know what it does. This is me being supportive. Are we good?”
Sam nodded and stood back, smiling at the waffle-maker.
“Is she here?” Dean asked.
“She has a name,” Sam raised an annoyed eyebrow at Dean. “And yes, we were looking at china patterns online.”
“Right. Sorry,” Dean said. “Listen, Sam-“
But Sam was already walking towards the bedroom, where Laura was sitting at a desk.
“Dean’s here,” Sam announced. “He gave us a wedding present.”
Laura smiled, and stood up.
“Oh, you’ve come around. I’m so happy. I’ll phone the chapel and see if they have an opening in the next hour.”
“Whoa, wait, I didn’t say anything about being okay with this,” Dean interrupted.
“Then why are you here?” Laura asked, now clearly upset.
“And what’s with the waffle iron?” Sam added, moving to stand beside Laura and putting a comforting hand on her back.
“Figured it would get me in the door,” Dean replied. “Sam, I need to talk to you – there’s something funky going on here, and I think you’ve been caught up in it.”
“Dean,” Sam said, giving Dean the ‘we can’t talk about hunting here’ glare. “I told you there’s nothing going on. Laura and I love each other-“
“Yeah, yeah, meanwhile a guy wins the lottery and then gets hit by a truck... and oh, Laura happens to find a fiancé just days before she can show him off at her high school reunion, convenient, don’t you think?”
“What are you talking about?” Laura asked, “You’re insane.”
“Dean, I think you should go.”
“You’re not even acting like yourself, Sam!”
“Why? Because I’m finally doing well on my own?” Sam asked. “You know, I went after her, Dean. Maybe that’s what’s bugging you – that I’m moving on with my life. I mean, you took care of me and that’s great. But I don’t need you anymore.”
“Fine,” Dean said. “Fine – just, promise me you’ll wait a few days before you tie the knot, alright. Just... you owe me that much. Promise me.”
“Fine,” Sam said. “Three days.”
Dean glanced at Laura, who looked extremely unhappy, before reluctantly nodding. Dean saw himself out, but he could feel her eyes on him the whole way.
His phone rang just as he got to the car. He glanced down at the display and answered immediately.
“Thank God,” Dean said in way of greeting, “tell me you can help, Bobby.”
Unfortunately, Bobby couldn’t, explaining that he wasn’t done with his hunt yet, but that he was sending another Hunter to help Dean.
“But I don’t want another hunter, I want you,” Dean said. This was about Sam, and Sam didn’t have the best track record with other hunters – or rather, they didn’t have the best track record with him.
Bobby reassured Dean that the guy he was sending was trustworthy, and then told Dean to meet a guy named Garth in an hour at the damned German restaurant.
Dean was a few minutes late, on purpose, really. He scanned the restaurant for any guy sitting alone. And there was only one, but it couldn’t possibly be...
“Hey, you Dean?” The guy, Garth, greeted as Dean reluctantly approached the table. “I thought you’d be taller.”
“I assume Bobby filled you in on the road,” Dean said, reminding himself that he trusted Bobby’s judgement, and if Bobby sent Garth, then Garth had to be more than he seemed.
“He told me two things,” Garth said. “One, he’s tangling with a major-league nest up in Oregon. Numero dos, he said you’d be all, uh, surly and premenstrual working with me. But, hey, man, sticks and stones.”
Dean threw the newspaper down on the table with a sigh. Had Bobby even mentioned Sam?
“Think I found a case,” Dean said. “Check the headline.”
He watched as Garth picked up the newspaper and opened it, rather than read the headlining story.
“First things first,” Garth said, and then paused to read something, before laughing, “Oh, Marmaduke, you’re crazy!”
Dean couldn’t help it, after the morning he had with Sam, his temper was too close to the surface. He leaned forward and glared at Garth.
“This is serious, Garth,” Dean said, trying to keep his voice low to avoid attracting attention. “There is something wrong with my brother – and laughing at freakin’ Marmaduke is not going to help him.”
“Relax, Dean,” Garth said. “Bobby told me there was something hinky going on with Sam – I know. And I am taking it serious. There ain’t a hunter out there who don’t take you and Sam serious – not any that are still alive, anyhow. Now, if you’d let me finish... I found something else when I stopped for coffee on the way into town.”
Garth turned the paper back around.
“Comics are in the business section,” Garth explained. “Check out the profile on the new CEO of Mutual Freedom Insurance.” Dean scowled, but looked down at the article that Garth pointed at. “Guy goes from junior salesman to CEO in no time at all? Sounds a little weird, don’t you think?” Garth continued.
“Right,” Dean said. “So, what? People’s dreams are coming true? Guy wins the lotto, guy gets a cushy job, some girl gets a husband who happens to be my brother?”
“It might just be a coincidence,” Garth shrugged.
“Yeah, well, right now it’s our only lead,” Dean replied. “Let’s go see what he has to say for himself.”
Sam was reading the instructions for the waffle-maker. It was a neat contraption, but it looked like it might be a bitch to clean – which made Sam wonder just how important waffles really were to him. Suddenly his head started to ache and his vision swam. He squeezed his eyes tight and groaned.
Sam opened his eyes to find himself in a strange house holding a piece of paper – instructions, for a waffle maker?
A woman suddenly walked into the room. She looked vaguely familiar, but Sam couldn’t figure out why.
“Sam, I’ve been thinking – there’s really no point waiting for- Sam? Are you okay?” the woman looked at him concerned, and then down at his hand – which Sam didn’t realize he was rubbing, squeezing.
“Who are you? Where’s Dean?” Sam asked, backing up. He needed his phone.
“Sam, it’s okay, baby,” the woman said. “Everything will be alright. I can...explain... I just need to... um,” the woman was moving over to the purse that was sitting on the table. Sam quickly looked around, and saw his jacket hanging by the door.
“Shit!” the woman said, and Sam looked back over to her to see her holding an small empty glass bottle.
Sam made a break for his jacket, breathing a sigh of relief when he found his cell in the pocket.
And then something collided with the back of his head.
Sam woke in a bed. His head hurt. His fingers were numb. He was tied down – a limb to each bedpost. He tugged at the restraints, but they didn’t budge. Instead it just made enough of a noise that the strange familiar woman ran into the room.
“Sam, do you feel concussed? How many fingers am I holding up?” She asked. Sam suddenly recognized her – Laura? He had met her on the hike, when he stopped for lunch.
“Where am I?” Sam asked. “What the hell’s going on?” He tried tugging at the restraints again, but they still held fast. Laura pulled back a bit.
“Sam, calm down-“
“Calm down?!” Sam repeated, “I’m tied to a-“ Sam broke off. He realized that she hadn’t only tied him down, she had stripped him down to his underclothes. There was a blanket tossed over him, but he didn’t know how long he had been out – he didn’t... “Where are my clothes?”
“Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything... I just, um, didn’t want you to be uncomfortable,” Laura smiled.
Sam tried to keep calm. If he could talk to her, maybe she’d untie him, he needed to be untied. Sam tugged at the restraints again, it was hard to breath – hard to breath with his arms spread like this.
“Let me go,” Sam said. “Let me go.”
“Soon, I’m just waiting for a friend to call me back, and then-"
Sam tried to focus on the words, rather than the meat hooks that dropped down from the ceiling, but he couldn’t. There were bits of dripping flesh. His flesh – no, not real... the ropes dug into his wrist as Sam tried to bring his hands together. He needed to... he could tell what was real. The meat-hooks, weren’t real, but he was really tied to a bed, spread-eagle, just like-
“Now this is familiar, isn’t it, Sam?” the voice whispered in his ear. “Have you missed it as much as I have? Where shall I start this time? With the pleasure or the pain? My pleasure, you’re pain, of course.”
The ropes dug into his wrists, as Sam struggled. He only realized he was talking when someone forced a gag into his mouth. That was new, usually Lucifer liked his pleas and screams.
“Calm down, please, oh god...it’ll be fine once Guy calls back – I’ll let you go then..” a woman’s voice said, that was also new, but then she was gone.
“What, like this is the first time I’ve decided to make things a little more interesting?” the voice whispered in his ear.
They dropped the CEO dude’s wife off at the safe house – and then booked it back to city. Now that they’d removed one of the demons targets – odds are he might go after Laura. So first thing was to confront Laura with the truth, and then hopefully get her cooperation so that they could gank the demon, and Dean could get his brother back.
Dean knocked on Laura’s door. Hoping that they weren’t too late.
“Guy, thank god, I-“ Laura answered the door, and then her eyes went wide and she tried to shut it again, but Dean was quicker – knocking it open with one arm and forcing his way through. Laura had tear-tracks running down her face and her hair was disheveled.
“Where is he?” Dean asked, already making his way through the house.
“Oh god, please, I’m sorry – I didn’t know what to do. The potion wore off, and he started freaking out – and I just needed some time...” Laura continued to cry as she followed him, and then Dean entered he bedroom, and thankfully Laura had the good sense to stop talking.
Sam was tied spread eagle to the bed, a sock balled up and wedged into his mouth. Dean could see where he had rubbed his wrists raw against the rope. He lay staring up at the ceiling through glazed over eyes. He didn’t even seem to have noticed that anyone was there, only his arm gave a twitch pulling half-heartedly at the restraint again.
“Jesus,” Garth breathed behind him. Laura let out a sob.
“Get her out of this room, Garth,” Dean said, “or so help me...”
He didn’t turn around. If he looked at her in that moment, he knew he’d pull his gun. Instead he waited until the door clicked shut behind him, which happened within seconds, and then he moved quickly over to Sam. He immediately removed the makeshift gag, from Sam’s dry chapped lips.
Sam?” Dean asked. “Hey Sam, are you with me?”
Sam didn’t reply, but he pulled again on his left restraint, and he licked his parched lips.
“Okay, okay, I’m going to untie you, hang in there,” Dean said in as calm a voice as he could manage. He reached up and quickly started to work on the mess of knots by Sam’s left wrist. Sam whimpered when Dean pulled the rope away from the raw flesh underneath. Dean bit his lip and resisted the urge to go shoot someone. Instead, he gently helped Sam pulled his arm in close to his body. Then he got up and ran to the other side of the bed to untie the other arm.
This time, Sam tracked Dean’s movement across the room, and turned his head to watch Dean untie his right wrist.
“You’re okay, Sammy,” Dean murmured. “I got you.” There were tear tracks across Sam’s temples. Once Dean had freed Sam’s right wrist, he carefully reached up to Sam’s face and rubbed them away with his thumb. Sam closed his eyes and tried to curl onto his side, but the leg restraints prevented him from turning his hips. “Hold on, let me get your legs.”
Sam’s ankles were no better than his wrists, and Dean wished he had brought the first-aid kit in from the car. As soon as Sam’s legs were free, he curled himself into a ball, clutching the blanket to himself and no doubt getting blanket fluff in the open wounds on his wrists.
“Come on, Sam,” Dean said, resting a hand on Sam’s calf. “Let’s go clean go get you cleaned up.”.
“Clothes,” Sam whispered, curling tighter. It was only then that Dean registered that Sam was just in a thin t-shirt, and the part of his legs that Dean could see were bare. Dean took a deep breath and searched the room for Sam’s clothes. He found them thrown in a pile near the closet. Dean brought them over and put them next to Sam on the bed.
“You need help?” Dean asked, when Sam didn’t move.
Sam shook his head.
“Do you remember anything?” Dean asked.
“I remember meeting her on the hike and having lunch,” Sam rasped, like he hadn’t had water in days...or, Dean realized in a fury, like he’d been screaming. “Then... bits and pieces, like a dream. I couldn’t... I couldn’t tell it wasn’t real.”
“Did she...” Dean trailed off.
“No,” Sam answered, swallowing on his dry throat.
“Okay,” Dean nodded. “I’ll go get you some water while you get dressed, okay?”
He waited for Sam’s nod and then he gently clapped him twice on the shoulder and left the room.
Dean walked passed Garth and Laura on his way to the kitchen. Garth was handing a sobbing Laura tissues. She looked up at Dean with a terrified expression. Dean didn’t blame her. He spotted Sam’s backpack by the kitchen door.
“Garth, kitchen,” Dean said. Garth immediately got up and followed Dean into the kitchen. “What’s the story.”
“Like we thought – she wanted a husband for the reunion. The demon promised that she could have anyone she wanted, but she didn’t have anyone in mind. Deal was that he’d give her a potion to use, to...uh, test out a guy or two until she found one she liked. Once she did that, they’d get married and only then would the deal be sealed. She likes the outdoorsy type, so she went hiking, found Sam – only you kyboshed the wedding, and she ran out of potion this afternoon,” Garth reported, as Dean grabbed the first-aid kit out of Sam’s backpack, and then filled a glass and then a mixing bowl with water.
“She going to co-operate?” Dean asked. “Help me carry these.”
“Yes,” Garth replied, picking up the bowl of water. “Demon is due to call any minute. She’s sure.”
“Good,” Dean replied, as they were passing by Laura on the couch again, her wide-eyes following them. “Because even if the demon weren’t going to kill her otherwise, I still would.”
“Dean-“ Garth chastised.
“I didn’t...” Laura said from the couch, causing Dean to pause. “I didn’t mean to hurt him. He just... he freaked out. I didn’t know what to do.”
“You roofied someone and tied them to a bed!” Dean said. “How did you expect that was going to go? Especially someone who’s already been-” Dean cut himself off, but by the horrified expression on Laura’s face, he could tell she had put two and two together.
“I didn’t know- I...“ Laura stammered.
“Oh, you didn’t know?” Dean asked. “Did that not come up over lunch? I’m shocked.”
Dean turned and headed back into the bedroom, with Garth at his heels. Sam was dressed, sitting on the floor holding his socks in one hand and inspecting his bruised and torn ankles, as though he wasn’t quite sure whether he should be putting the socks on or not.
“Hey Sammy,” Dean said. “Leave the socks off for now, okay?” Sam dutifully dropped the socks and reached for the glass of water that Dean held out to him.
Garth put the bowl down on the floor a couple of feet away, and nodded at Sam, who was eyeing him over his glass while he drank.
“Thanks man,” Dean said to Garth, just as a phone rang from the other room. Garth didn’t have to be told to go.
“Who’s the scrawny guy?” Sam asked, while Dean rummaged through the first aid-kit for gauze and something to help clean the rope fibers out of Sam’s wounds.
“Temp,” Dean smiled. “I’ll explain while we get you bandaged up so that you can put those socks on.”
Laura played her part, asking the demon for more of the potion and insisting that she pick it up from him in person. They trapped the demon using blueberry vodka and a burnt carpet – Dean had to admit that while a little unorthodox, Garth’s methods seemed to work. They were surprised by the second demon, it was fairly rare for two demons to work together, after all. Thankfully, they were able to gain the upper hand just as Crowley showed up. Turns out, the demon who was collecting early on his contracts was in for a worse fate than death, and Dean handed him over and left him to it.
Laura tried to apologize to Sam, but his only response was to tell her that she could keep the waffle iron. Dean let Garth walk her to her car.
“Well, buddy,” Dean said, as they stood by Garth’s car. “I got to say, man – you, uh, you don’t suck.”
“Thank you,” Garth said sincerely. “That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
And then Garth hugged him.
“Oh, alright,” Dean awkwardly patted the guy on the back, and felt embarrassed. “That’s – thank you.”
Garth stepped back and smiled brightly at Dean. Sam took a stiff step back, when Garth turned to look at him, but Garth didn’t go in for a hug – instead he smiled just as brightly and gave Sam a nod. He then waved goodbye.
“Take care,” Dean said, as Garth got into his car and drove away. Dean turned to Sam and raised his eyebrows. “Wow.”
“Awww, you made a fwiend,” Sam smirked.
“Uh-uh,” Dean denied, but he smiled for the simple reason that Sam was smiling. Of course, being Sam, it didn’t last long.
“Look, man,” Sam said sobering. “Uh... when I was all dosed up. I-I said some crap.”
“You mean she wasn’t your soulmate?” Dean deadpanned.
“Shut up,” Sam rolled his eyes. “I mean, I do need you watching my back. Obviously.”
“Yeah, to watch your drink when you go to the can,” Dean replied.
“Yeah,” Sam laughed, but it lacked any sort of humour. “And... and with everything else.”
“Hey,” Dean said, “you’ve been doing great at keeping it together on your own.”
“That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me,’ Sam said seriously, and then grinned.
Dean rolled his eyes, and then watched as once again, Sam’s grin disappeared, as he fiddled with the edge of the bandages at his wrist.
“Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, I guess,” Sam continued. “And it’s just that I don’t want to... I don’t want to need you. You know?”
“Yeah, man, I get it,” Dean said. “You’re a grown-up.”
“Right,” Sam nodded.
“You’re a hike-in-the-desert, hippy-douche grown-up,” Dean said in mock disappointment.
“Dude, I was camping! You camp!” Sam laughed.
“Yeah, whatever, Hippy,” Dean sighed, and he made his way to the drivers’ side of the car.
“Seriously, though, wouldn’t it be nice?” Sam said from over the top of the car, before Dean could get his door open.
“What?” Dean asked.
“I mean, you basically have been looking out for me your whole life. If I can handle my crazy on my own, you can finally get to take care of yourself for a change. Don’t you think it’s about time?” Sam said, giving Dean a tiny smile like it was all that Sam wished for him.
“Right,” said Dean. He watched as Sam disappeared into the car, and he tried to ignore how the sentiment sat like a pool of dread in his gut.