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What Doesn't Kill Us

January 19th, 2006

Author: kroki_refur
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: Adult
Length: 1837
Warnings: Incest, underage sex, child abuse, non-con, character death. You know, the usual.
Spoilers: None
Pairings/characters: John/Sam; Dean/Sam.
Notes: HO. LY. CRAP. I do NOT know where this came from, but it is deeply unpleasant. O_o

Summary: AU. Normal doesn't mean anything when it comes to Winchesters, and they do what they
have to to keep the team together.

This story contains material that is not suitable for minors. If it is illegal for you to read such material,
please exit now.

What Doesn’t Kill Us

The first time Sam Winchester has sex is the day after his sixteenth birthday, and Dean would like to be
able to say that the last thing he says to him before it happens is use protection kiddo, and I’ll see you in
the morning, but what he actually says is for Christ’s sake, you gotta be like this all the time? The last
thing Dad says is you’re a man, now, you’re old enough to take your stripes like a man.

The last thing Sam says is Dad, wait--, and maybe he’s not always the articulate one after all.


The thing is – the thing that Sam doesn’t seem to get is – that Dean’s pretty much stuck. He loves Sam,
God, he loves him, but Dad is Dad, he’s the one in charge, and Dean wants to protect Sam – it’s his job,
for Christ’s sake – but sometimes Sam really does just need smacking down. Since he turned thirteen,
he’s been so – Christ, ornery doesn’t even begin to cover it, and they need to work together as a unit,
it’s the only way to stop them all getting killed, Dean knows it, Sam knows it, Dad’s been drilling it into
their heads almost as long as he’s been saying watch out for Sammy. So yeah, sometimes Sam acts like a
little bitch, and Dean is stuck, because he can’t really protect Sam when he’s got it coming, when Dad
needs to teach Sam a lesson. There’s Sam and there’s Dad, and Dad knows what he’s doing, Dad’s
keeping them all alive, Dad’s right, has to be, that’s just the way it is.
Sam runs laps and washes the car and cleans the guns and that’s fine, but sometimes, when Sam’s really
fucked up, Dad needs a way to bring him back into the team, to show him that he’s not the one in
charge, but that he’s got a job to do nonetheless. It works, too, because when Dad does that, Sam
subsides for a few days, like all the vicious rage that’s boiling away inside him’s been cooled a little.
Dean doesn’t remember when it started, but it’s been going on a few years at least by the time Sam
turns sixteen, and he thinks that on the day after Sam’s sixteenth birthday, when Sam explodes and Dad
starts pulling down his zipper, that it’s just going to be the same thing again, Dad showing Sam how to
be part of the family without fucking it up, Sam’s mouth on Dad and Dad’s fist in Sam’s hair and a
homecoming of sorts, Dean guesses. That’s what he thinks is going to happen, and Sam thinks it too, has
to, he’s already getting down on his knees, because Sam never argues with this, never fights it, and Dean
guesses that’s because he gets that this is how it should be. Dad stops him though, grabs his shoulder,
and Sam looks up, face blank.

“You’re a man, now,” says Dad. “You’re old enough to take your stripes like a man.” He grips Sam by
both shoulders and turns him round, pushes him face down onto the bed and reaches beneath him,
starts unbuckling his belt.

“Dad,” says Sam, “wait--”

Dad doesn’t wait, though, and Dean goes outside and walks away, blood pounding in his ears, because
Dad’s right, Dad has to be right, that’s just the way it is.


The thing is – the thing that they never get, the teachers and the social workers and the goddamn
strangers, looking at Sam and Dean with pity in their eyes like they’re not just mindless drones who have
no idea what the world’s really like – is that Dad loves them, both of them, more than he loves anything
else in the world. He’s after Mom’s killer, yeah, of course he is, who wouldn’t be, but he’s also trying to
make them safe, trying to give them the edge in a world where you can lose your life without even
knowing you had it in the first place. Dean’s taken his share of licks, too, when he’s fucked up, and they
stopped going to school after the third town where social services showed up at the door asking about
Dean’s weird bruises. Abuse, they said, like Dean didn’t know what that meant, like he didn’t know that
abuse is hurting your kids because you like to hurt. That’s not what this is, because when Dean’s fucked
up, Dad needs to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Sam fucks up too, and Sam fucks up way more often than Dean, doesn’t get the chain of command,
doesn’t get that he needs to be a cog in the wheel, not a wrench in the works. Dean gets that, and he
figures that’s why Dad never has to take it as far with him as he does with Sam. Dean gets that when
he’s out of line, he needs a mark to remind himself not to step out of line again; Sam only gets it when
he’s on his knees – and later, when he’s on his hands and knees – and if that’s the only way to get him
pulling for the team, then that’s what Dad has to do. Dean knows what abuse means, and the idea that
Dad’s getting his jollies doing this, that Dad’s somehow enjoying it, that’s just laughable, is what it is.
And the thing is, the thing that nobody gets but the three of them, because everybody else has been
brainwashed into swallowing that whole bunch of crap about normal and abuse and incest, is that the
Winchesters are stronger than anyone else, they can get through anything, and Dad made them that

Dean knows that, and he knows that Sam knows it too, when he’s not being a pissy bitch. Sam cries
afterwards, sometimes, and Dean climbs into bed behind him and holds him close. We’re stronger this
way, Sammy, he says, and Sam doesn’t answer, but that’s OK, because Dean knows that it’s true.


They’ve been in the motel room for three days, and Sam’s driving Dean insane. Dad’s away on a hunt,
and Sam’s been going on and on about going to the library, his goddamn GED and how is he going to get
it if he’s stuck here with no resources, and Dean’s about to snap because Dad left him in charge, he’s in
charge, and why doesn’t Sam freakin get that? Dad told them to stay indoors, or told Sam to, anyway,
and told Dean to make sure he followed orders. Dad’s due back tomorrow, and Dean doesn’t get why
Sam needs a GED anyway, it’s not like he’s planning on going to college. Sam’s seventeen years old, and
Dean thought the teenage bitch phase would be well over by now, but apparently Sam’s planning on
milking it until the day he turns twenty. Dean, says Sam, in that tone he never uses on Dad, and Dean
grits his teeth (you can’t afford to be soft on the kid, you’re a pushover, it’ll get him killed) and why can’t
Sam just shut up, and then Sam shakes his head and says how am I ever going to get anywhere without a
diploma, Dean? and Dean blinks and goes from red hot anger to cold certainty, to knowing what he has
to do to stop this from happening.

He reaches for his pants and Sam frowns, says Dean, and Dean shakes his head. Dean’s in charge, and
Sam’s out of line, and it needs to stop now (Sam doesn’t need a diploma, Sam’s not going anywhere).
Sam stares for a moment, blinks, and Dean stares back, zipper open, trying to put on the stern face that
Dad always has at these times. A second later, Sam’s mouth falls open a little and he swallows, then
drops to his knees.

They’re stronger this way, Dean knows that. It doesn’t mean he has to like it.


Dean knows that Sam’s still a virgin. In all the ways that counts, anyway, because what Dad does – that’s
not sex, not really, though Dean doesn’t really know what else to call it. The thing is, though, is that
Dean’s not totally sure Sam gets the distinction, Dean’s worried that Sam thinks that the things that Dad
does – that Dad has to do – to keep them together, keep them alive, are the same as sex, and that’s a
fucked-up notion, hell, that’s one step away from abuse. Dean can’t have that, but he can’t figure out
what to do about it until one night when he stumbles in drunk and Sam’s curled on the bed, hunched
into himself in the way he has, and Dean knows it’s happened again, Sam’s stepped out of line and Dad’s
done what he has to, and Dean climbs into the bed behind Sam and puts his arms around him and finds
himself hard. And that’s not sex, what Dad does, and it’s not abuse, either, even if the world out there
that’s all about normal (abuse, incest) doesn’t get it. Those words don’t mean anything here: all this is is
love, and Dean needs to show Sam, needs Sam to know.

It can be awesome, Sammy, he says, and Sam doesn’t move in his arms. You’ll see, he says, and his
hands move to pull Sam’s sweatpants down, and Sam stiffens for a second, then relaxes, turns onto his
front. I’ll make it good for you, says Dean, because it needs to be good, Sam’s his little brother and incest
has no more meaning than normal. We’re stronger this way, says Dean, just before he pushes down and

Sam doesn’t answer, but that’s OK, because Dean knows that it’s true.


The second-to-last time Sam Winchester has sex is the day before his eighteenth birthday, and Dean
would like to be able to say that the last thing he says to him before it happens is congratulations, kiddo,
I’m proud of you, but what he actually says is Jesus, Sam, you’re a selfish asshole, you know that? The
last thing Sam says is you’re not going to stop me. You can’t stop me.

The last thing Dad says is get on the bed, now, and Dean’s never heard him actually voice that order
before, but this is a pretty damn special occasion.

The day of Sam’s eighteenth birthday, he walks out the door with a duffle bag over one shoulder and
doesn’t stop walking until he walks into a bullet eight and a half months later. The last thing Dad says to
him is you walk out that door, you don’t come back, you hear me? Sam doesn’t say anything, just slams
the door and leaves the rags of his team fluttering in the breeze behind him.

Dean would like to be able to say that the last thing he says to Sam is take care of yourself or I’m sorry or
please don’t leave, but what he actually says is Jesus, I’m going to come.

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