Post: Swan Song
Author's Note: I just finished watching the season finale, "Swan Song" and nearly broke down. So I had to write this. I could just hear the narration in my mind, Dean saying all he ever wanted was a family.
This was written in the heat of the moment, post viewing of the episode, and is un-beta'd and mostly unedited, honestly.
Still, I had to get it up here tonight.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except the title of this fic. If I owned any part of Supernatural, or had any sort of pull with Kripke, my heart wouldn't break at the end of every episode or threaten to kill me at the end of every season finale. This was such a draining episode! Amazing, but so heartbreaking. And really, if I owned the show, Sam would have gone inside that house right away. Just saying...
Swan Song Tag: All I Ever Wanted
All I ever wanted was a family. As far back as I can remember, I just wanted that one thing. I've always known I couldn't survive on my own.
Maybe that makes me pathetic. Weak. I can't survive without a family to hold me together. But I don't care. I really don't. I accepted this truth long, long ago. It's nothing new. Though I wouldn't have ever admitted it even at risk of death.
Well, that's not exactly true. I wouldn't have ever admitted it at risk of my own death. If just saying those words—"I can't survive on my own"—would have ever saved Sam's life, I would have repeated them, over and over, until he was safe. However long that took.
For my first three years on planet Earth, Mom and Dad were my life. Even as a child, I knew I couldn't survive without them. And not just because I was a kid.
Then Sammy was born. We were at the hospital only hours after he was born. Dad picked me up to lift me so that I could see the tiny person in my mother's arms. And the first time I laid eyes on him, and he looked back at me, watching me, waving a hand at me as if to greet me, I just knew my whole life had changed.
Dad juggled me a little closer to the bed so that I could reach out and touch Sam's tiny waving hand. He told me, "This is your brother, Dean. You're going to help us take care of him."
Even then, at the age of four, I wanted to take care of Sammy all by myself. Immediately, he was my responsibility. I knew I was going to do everything I could for the kid.
But I thought he was the one who needed me. Not the other way around. Not at first anyway.
Then there was the fire.
Mom was gone before I could even form a final memory with her. Dad was changed forever, no longer carrying me on his shoulders or smiling. The only one who didn't change was Sammy, and he made me feel safe. I knew what to do with him, unlike with Dad. Besides, with Dad's change, Sam was my responsibility for real then.
I was changing diapers at the age of four. I was giving him baths and making sure he didn't drown in any sinks at the age of five. I fed him, dressed him, kept him happy. Or tried to, anyway.
When Sam left to go to Stanford, a part of me went with him. I never got that part of me back until I broke into his apartment years later and got my first good look at him—flat on his back, shocked to see me. With that single flash of surprised recognition, I could breathe again. I smiled and called him some dumb nickname just to keep myself from suddenly breaking down and embarrassing myself—and him—for the rest of our lives.
As Ash once said, I guess Sam and I are kind of soul-mates—as gay as that sounds. Whatever. At this point, I don't even care what anyone thinks. Sam's gone. Again. And this time, I know he's not coming back.
He went out big, taking down the freakin' devil on his way down. Who but my brother could ever leave behind a legacy like that! I always knew his life was going to change the world. Just never knew how much that was true.
This time, it's different than Stanford. Different even than what happened in Cold Oak. There's no hope of making a deal and bringing him back. I can't go back on my promise to him. I just can't do that to him. Not after what he's done for me—for the whole freakin' universe!
I know it already. It's over. His life. Mine. We're done. I knew it the moment I saw the earth close up to cover him.
I have to say it's different than Stanford and Cold Oak. There is no hope this time, and there's nothing I can do about it. So I do what I've always done—live for Sammy. I ignore my desire to just grab one of the many guns from the trunk and shoot myself. Instead, I do what Sammy would want. I do what he asked me to.
I go to Lisa.
He knew my deepest wishes. We were like that. He knew I wanted a family, and that I couldn't survive on my own. So he sent me to Lisa. And I had to go. For him.
For the first time in a long time, I may have a whole family again, instead of the broken one I had mourned so much over the years. That's why he sent me, I know. It's what I have always wanted. I have a girl who cares for me enough to not push for answers right away. I even have a kid to look after.
As I sit there that first night, a seemingly normal dinner with the people Sam trusted to look out for me, I know in my deepest thoughts that this could be it. This could be the family that I live the rest of my life with. I could grow old with Lisa and Ben. I could teach Ben to drive, and pat him on the back at his high school graduation. I could keep them safe for the rest of my life, from everything they might fear and everything they will never imagine.
I know I could do this, and survive. Maybe it wouldn't be the life I had always wanted, really, because I wouldn't have Sam, but I could survive. Find a reason for living. I could shift my focus—stop living for Sam, like I stopped living for my father—and begin living for Lisa and Ben instead.
It wouldn't even really be a shift of focus, if you'll take note of what I said before: I was living for Sam by going to see Lisa. So really, this whole thing was for him on some level.
In a small way—miniscule, hardly noticeable—it would tie me to Sammy forever, my sticking to this last wish of his. This would help me survive without him. It would help me begin to see Lisa and Ben as my family, instead of just a possible family.
But then, maybe that's not the real issue. I had been living for Sam for all of my life. The three years before he was born hardly counts, because heck, I was barely old enough to understand the concept of 'brother' when I first met him. And I guess even while he was off at Stanford, I was still functioning partially in response to just knowing he was alive and out there. Somewhere.
So you see, all of my life really, it was for Sammy. And I think on some level, he lived the same way, for me. He never came out and said it in words really—and I never wanted to risk death-by-embarrassment to say anything to him—but I think we always knew what the other was doing.
We were brothers.
I probably couldn't have functioned at all if it hadn't been for his final wish. I probably wouldn't have gone to see Lisa, and I wouldn't have had a shot at finding a family.
He saved my life with that promise he forced me to make. It was acts like that, throughout his life, that made me feel I owed him my life. He was always saving me, doing things to help me, and so I couldn't help but need to live for him. It wasn't against any wishes of mine though. Oh no. I owed him, and I was glad for it.
Then, with each new thing I did for him, it was like he just did one more for me. A never-ending string of rescues, monumental and miniscule. Our lives were intermingled, both of us surviving the crazy hand that fate dealt us by holding on to each other.
And I knew that I had to continue doing this. Even in death, our lives were twined together.
So now, even after Sam was gone for good, I held on to him by fulfilling his last request. I decided to stay with Lisa and Ben. I agreed to have a family and find a new unit to survive with. But it wasn't for me, as always, it was for Sam. I had to do it for him, because his dying act and request was to send me all I ever wanted.
It's just that, I realized all I ever wanted wasn't quite all that I wanted. Not even close. I love Lisa still, and Ben too, but they're not Sam. They may be able to be my family, but they can't ever be what Sam was. He was more than family, it seemed. A subset of his very own. Yeah it sounds gay, but Ash said it, not me—Sam and I were like soul-mates.
Still, it was his last wish, so I agree to stay with Lisa and Ben. I will stay, wishing all the while that, someday, what I used to think was 'all I ever wanted' could be enough. If it was enough to allow Sammy the strength to let me go, maybe it could be enough to allow me the strength to hold on.
Sitting at that table, my first ever family dinner with Lisa and Ben, I take in a stuttering breath. Then another. I let my heart continue on its uneven beat, and force myself to stay in the present moment instead of racing back six hours before to be with Sam.
I will survive, because that was all Sam had ever wanted.
I can still remember the worry in his eyes when he stepped out the door to leave for Stanford, looking back at me but too afraid to ask if I will be okay. I can still see the concern on his face, right before he jumped into the Pit, Lucy in tow, wondering if I will survive losing him again.
I will survive. For him.
Because really, Sam getting what he wanted—that was what I really wanted. It was all I ever wanted.
AN: My heart ached for Dean at the end of "Swan Song." After watching the episode, I didn't know what else to do but begin writing, because I was so...well, I guess from the above you can tell that I was upset. So I opened up a Word Doc. and all I could hear was Dean's narration, saying, "All I ever wanted was a family." So I took it and ran, not knowing where it wanted to go or where it might lead me. Before I knew it, I had a nearly two thousand-word puddle of pure angst. *weak laugh* I hope you didn't drown, but I was kind of in trouble after watching the episode. (As you can tell...)
I can't wait until Season Six hits, so I can see whether Sam believes it's better for him to just disappear and leave Dean to live the so-called "perfect apple pie life" or whether he will realize how much Dean needs him and will go see him right away.
*raises glass to Kripke* Here's to writing an episode that makes viewers want to weep and that leaves them needing to pour their hearts out, via rants and ramblings, just so that they can go to sleep that night and let the episode go...