[personal profile] mobiusklein
AU, drama, PG-13, Slight Dean/Cas but really not the focus. I’ve seen a lot of fics where one brother insists that the SPN!Verse is the reality while everybody thinks he’s crazy but the other brother ends up in a folie a deux with him. I just wanted to write something different.



“I’ve known you for two years, been dating you for six months but I can’t remember you ever talking much about your family . . .” Castiel said as he curled on his side and looked at Dean lying on the bed.

Dean opened his eyes, turned on his side to look at the man in his bed and sighed. “That’s because I don’t like to think much about the past. As for family, my father died a few years back of a stroke . . .”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“It was before you joined the company. My parents split up while I was in high school and my mom’s remarried to a dentist and living in another state. I visit her during the holidays. You’d like her and my stepfather isn’t half bad. And then there’s Sam . . .”

“Sam?”

“He’s my brother and he’s in an institution.”

***
Thirty Years Ago

Mary looked at her baby boy and watched his eyes seem to track something on the ceiling she couldn’t see. When Sam was born, she had expected him to be a lot like Dean had been when he was a baby, happy and energetic during the day but good about sleeping through the night. But this baby was extremely fussy, refused to sleep through the night and kept reacting to something she could neither see nor hear.

Dean had been so excited to have a baby brother while Mary had been pregnant but for some reason, Sam would throw a tantrum whenever Dean tried to hold him. “Maybe,” said Mary, “He’ll like you better when he learns to talk.”

John was often away. The mechanic’s shop he had been working at had closed down when the owner had been murdered so he had gotten a job as a trucker. Being on the road constantly, he didn’t know about all the things that she noticed. He kept on saying that she was exaggerating and that the boy would grow out of it.

***
Twenty-five Years Ago

“Mommy, Sammy’s talking about another ‘friend.’ Her name is Ruby.” said Dean.

“Thanks for telling me,” said Mary.

“Is something wrong?” said Dean.

“Sam having as many ‘friends’ as he does . . . It’s . . . definitely unusual,” said Mary. She didn’t tell Dean that she had never heard of someone who had more than a dozen imaginary friends, especially menacing ones, or how much it frightened her when they seemed to push Sam into lashing out at the both of them but especially Dean. “What’s she like?”

“Sam says that sometimes she’s blond and sometimes she’s got dark hair but she’s the same person. She just has two different bodies. She tells him . . .”

“Go on.”

Dean‘s voice went quiet and low. “She tells him that she’s going to help him become the Boy King and that I’m in the way.”

Mary licked her lips nervously. “You know that Sammy has a big imagination and that it’s all pretend, right? Ruby doesn‘t really exist.”

“Yeah,” said Dean softly. “But he still doesn’t like me.”

Mary took him in his arms and held him close.

***
Twenty Years Ago

Things finally came to a head when Sam’s stable of imaginary friends had refused to disappear and instead had exploded in number. They had come to include even angels like Gabriel, Raphael, Michael and Lucifer and demons like Lilith and Crowley. Dean remained unimportant except for how he was the main obstacle in the way of Sam‘s path.

Not only that but Sam’s indifference to Dean had turned to outright hostility as Ruby 1 and Ruby 2 kept whispering to Sam that Dean was the only one preventing him from reaching his true potential, and that it was a shame that someone so weak and stupid could do that. They were continually telling him that he didn’t have to care that Dean was older. What did a few paltry years matter? It seemed almost inevitable when Mary heard a yell from Dean’s bedroom in the middle of the night and saw Sam on top of the bed, trying to choke Dean.

***

After three weeks on the road, John walked into the house and put his coat on the coat rack. Noticing Dean and Mary standing off from him and looking somber, he said, “Where’s Sam?”

Mary and Dean looked at each other before Mary said, “John, Sam is at the hospital.“

John gasped. “What happened? Did he get into an accident?“

“There is something wrong with Sam. He attacked Dean in the middle of the night.”

“Wrong?” said John, bewildered. “It seems like a lot of fuss to make over two guys wrestling.”

“No, it’s just not wrestling! I know what two brothers play fighting looks like! You’re never here! Dean has to go into his room and lock the door so he can do his homework in peace the second he gets home from school.”

John looked at Dean. “Is this true?”

Dean looked down. “Yes, sir.”

“It’s not just us. People at Sam’s school have noticed that he’s not behaving normally. I finally found a doctor who knows what’s going on. He‘s mentally ill, John.”

“No.”

“Yes and I’m not getting any younger and he’s going to get to the point where I won’t be able to do anything. Pretending that there‘s nothing wrong isn‘t going to help things.”

“I had no idea.”

“Of course not. If it’s not your job, it’s going out the door to drink with your buddies and leaving me to deal with anything you can‘t or won’t handle. I’m not doing it anymore.”

“What do you mean?”

“I want a divorce.”

All the air went out of the room.

***
Fourteen Years Ago

“Hello, Dean?”

“Dad?” said Dean as he sat in his dorm room with his best friends Ash and Andy. Ash was a brilliant math major while Andy . . . He knew how to find the best weed.

“Yeah, it’s me. I got some good news.”

“Really . . .” said Dean. He was dubious. Years of his father not showing up for birthdays or the weekends he had custody, the downplaying of how Sam treated Dean, and being perpetually late with the alimony and the child support payments had turned his childhood worship of the man into a curdled wariness. “What kind of good news?”

“They finally found a medicine that works for Sammy.”

“Wow, that is good news . . . If it’s true,” said Dean. Much like his father’s promises, the effect of each new drug they tried on him tended to be on the illusory side.

“He’s responded really well. He‘s exhibited none of the usual signs for a month. If it keeps up, we can take him home.”

Dean sighed. Dad had stubbornly held unto the belief that if the doctors could just “fix” Sam, then they could go back to being just one big happy family. Dean had once hoped for that but the divorce had been nasty and he learned a lot of things about the man that had soured him on the idea. “Dad, even if Sam’s better, even a lot better . . . I don‘t think that you can take him along with you while you‘re trucking across . . .”

“I was thinking you could take care of him.”

Dean frowned and pressed his lips into a thin pale line. “I’d have to drop out of college. Possibly forever . . .”

“I know but . . .”

“You really don’t have the right to ask me to do that,” said Dean. “And the doctors said that my presence aggravates the problem. They say that I make him worse.”

“He’s your brother. He‘s family.”

“And you’re his father. God knows you couldn’t be bothered to take care of me and mom when we needed you. Now you stand there and lecture me about the duties I owe someone who has resented me almost from birth because I somehow won‘t let him become king of the world. Even Bill Smith’s been a better dad than you,” Dean said, referring to the man Mary had been dating for the past three years and had been encouraging him to go to school.

“That’s a cold, cold thing to say,” growled John.

“Maybe but you’re not the reason I got into college and you’re not going to be the reason I give it up.” He hung up on his father.

A few months later, he found out his father had signed Sam out of the institution.

***
Dean waited for his father to eventually return Sam to the institution when he found him too much to handle. But after three months, his mother called to say that she hadn’t heard of Sam’s return nor had she heard from John. It made him nervous, knowing that his father wasn’t exactly the most responsible of men nor was Sam the easiest person to get along with even at the best of times. He half wondered if he would hear news that one or the other or both had gotten in some sort of trouble.

He was walking back to his dorm room after a physics lecture when his cell phone rang. He turned it on and said, “Hello?”

“Dean, Sam’s gone . . .”

“Gone?” Dean said as he put his key into the lock of his door.

“He said he was going to . . .”

When the door opened fully and he saw his brother standing in the room, tall and built like a brick wall and pupils dilated to the point his eyes looked black, he knew the warning had come too late . . .

***
Present

“He broke my nose, the bone right under one of my eyes and my jaw. Begging for him to stop just seemed to make him angrier. So, I pretended to be dead and he ran off, only to be picked up by the cops for assaulting me and they put him in an institution. The last time I talked to the doctors, he told them that he had been the vessel for Lucifer and that it had been Lucifer that had attacked me, not him. He also claimed that the reason I was alive was because he had conquered Lucifer but had gone to Hell and that he had returned to save the world from a monster that was almost as powerful as God.

Dean continued, “It took me a long time to stop feeling fear and anger and guilt over what happened. After I got my face fixed, it took me a couple years to stop being afraid he’d show up and complete the job. And I was so angry at my father for it taking what happened to take what I had told him seriously. And I felt guilty because I couldn’t stop being angry at Sam for everything he’s ever done to me even though I know there’s something really wrong with him. But I‘m OK now. I finally got to a good place.”

Not knowing what to say, Castiel pulled him close and stroked his hair.

The End
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mobiusklein

September 2011

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