brosedshield: (cityscape)
[personal profile] brosedshield
Title: The Call
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't profit
Characters:
Sam, Ben
Warnings:
background main character death, suicidal thoughts (but no actions), depression
Rating:
PG-13
Word count:
1082
Spoilers:
general spoilers through half of S6
Summary:
Dean goes in his sleep, and Sam has to go on as best he can.
Beta Thanks!:
[info]lavinialavender read this over but final proofing was mine. Be warned!
Author notes:
This is a timestamp for Hell Shall Not Wash Us Away. You can probably read it by itself, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Can you say freakin’ depressing…

A week after Dean died, Sam called Ben.

He thought about getting roaring drunk first, but Sam Winchester had never needed alcohol for courage—though if Dean had been around he may have made an off-color joke about demon blood; even thinking about that hurt right now—and he didn’t want to be incoherent and maudlin when talking to the closest thing Dean had ever been to having a family.

A woman answered. “Braeden Residence.”

Sam hadn’t been expecting that, though he should have. Just because he was calling when he knew Ben would be home didn’t mean he was the only person who could pick up the phone. He pinched the bridge of his nose, hard. “Hey, Lucy, this is Sam.”

The voice laughed. “God, Sam , do I really sound that much like Mom?”

The longer sentence broke the similarities—though they got stronger every day—and made it clear it was Ben’s oldest daughter, the one who loved her uncles Winchester, and not the wife who had never been quite sure how he and Dean should fit into their lives.

Fuck, this already hurt so much.

“Hey, Jessica,” Sam said. They had never told Ben, but Dean had never in his hearing called the little girl by anything that was exactly her name. “Can I talk to your dad?”

“Sure,” Jess said. “Say ‘yo yo yo!’ to Dean for me, would you?”

“Sure thing,” Sam said. He would not fucking break down on the phone with Ben’s daughter. It was bad enough in the woods by Dean’s body, where no one could see. Not over the phone.

“Hey, Sam.” It was good to hear Ben’s voice, good humored but not exactly overwhelmingly cheerful. Sam and Dean called about once a month just to shoot the breeze—well, Dean called—but they’d called more than once to tell Ben to get out of town, to take his family on an emergency vacation, we’ll call you when shit stops coming down, so Ben had learned to be wary. “What’s up?”

Sam closed his eyes and leaned his head back. This was the moment to say it, just get it out there, lance the wound, move on, get it off his chest.

But he wasn’t going to move on from this. He knew that. And a huge part of him didn’t want to admit it aloud.

“Sam?”

“Dean’s dead.” Yeah, that hurt. That hurt as much as he thought it would. And kept hurting like a knife wound without a knife in it.

“Shit, Sam! What…” Sam could hear Ben struggling almost as much as he was. He’d loved Dean, practically been a son to him, and he didn’t want to…to push Sam over the crazy edge more than he had to, but part of him also wanted to know if he should be packing up his wife, his daughters, his son, before the fallout hit. “Was it a hunt?”

“Heart attack, for all I can tell.” Sam had checked for supernatural wounds out of habit. Checked the salt lines and the house for hex bags. He hadn’t found anything, for which he was grateful. The entire time he was looking he didn’t know if he’d have the strength of will to actually remove any opening the enemy may have found. He was hoping he’d go too. “When I woke up he was,” cold, dead, ripped out of my life again, “gone.” Sam forced a laugh. “Ironic, isn’t it, that of all the stuff we’ve pissed off it was the bacon cheeseburgers that got him first.”

“Shit, Sam.” Ben sounded sad, but relieved. He would miss Dean, but he was also glad nothing supernatural was going to try to eat his family. “You want me to come help, like, you know, for the burial and everything?”

“No. I’ve…got it covered, thanks.” Don’t break down, not now, not over the phone.

The silence stretched and Sam fought for a way to end the phone call—a joke, a quip, comment, anything but this long awkward emptiness and the click of a hung-up receiver.

“Sam—“

“Yeah?” He jumped on his name like it would save him, desperate for any retreat even if he didn’t still want to be talking to Ben. He wanted to be drinking his toilet cleaner. He wanted to be shaking over the raw, ashy earth that was everything physically left of his brother. He wanted to be hunting. His world was shattered, but that didn’t mean he wanted to watch it crumble around him.

Ben sighed. “Come to dinner sometime. Any night. I’ll call your cell if we’re going to be out of town. You shouldn’t be alone right now and…we missed you at Jess’s graduation.”

“I was on a job,” Sam responded automatically. Not quite a lie. He had been researching a hunt, but he could have taken the break. He just didn’t feel like being surrounded by what felt like Dean’s other life, his presence taking away from the day. And also—knowing the universe—if they both went to a big event together that would be the week demonic hordes invaded or the hall would be haunted or Sam’s soul-wall would come crashing down. He hadn’t wanted to run that risk on Jess’s big day. “I bet Dean was the life of the party.”

“I’m pretty sure he was regaling some impressionable youth with tales of beer, women, and kickassery.”

Sam knew the stories Dean told to strangers. Lighting off fireworks in abandoned fields, driving cross country for an Ozzy concert, sneaking onto the set of Hell Hazers II, hunting ghosts at a fan convention….If he had more to drink sometimes the darker things would sneak through—Dad’s death, Sam’s addiction, his own depression and alcoholism, always carefully edited for demons, angels and monsters of the non-human variety. “That’s Dean,” Sam said. “Setting a bad example for future generations.”

The second he said it his throat closed up and his hand spasmed around the phone. Fuck, that was Dean, not is, not present tense, not alive, just a—

“Promise you’ll visit us, Sam. Get in that rust-bucket Impala and drive over. Dean would want that. “ Ben’s voice cut through the pain, cut down the thoughts that threatened to swamp him.

Sam closed his eyes. “I will. I promise.”

“Good. Take care of yourself, Sam. See you soon.”

“Yeah, Ben. See you soon.”

Sam heard Ben wait a half second before, gently, hanging up the phone.

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