You hide the shame that you're not showing, and you won't let anyone in ( Ellen/Dean fanfic ) [ This one takes place right after the Sam/Ellen one. In short, she sent Sam to do some mediocre task so that she could lecture Dean, which as you can imagine, he doesn't appreciate much. This picks up part-way into their conversation. ]
"Listen lady, no offense, but-" He wouldn't get to finish that sentence, because he was abruptly cut off.
"You bite your tongue, and listen to me. I don't know the details, but I do know enough to stand here with a clear conscience and tell you that Sam is not okay. Whatever you're doing to push him away is only making it worse, and I'm willing to bet that it's not a one-way street." Ellen momentarily stopped there. She didn't want to betray Sam's trust by saying too much, but she couldn't just sit back and watch these two fall all to pieces, either. Not after everything they'd been through. It wasn't like her to keep silent about things that mattered, and this mattered. So Dean would hush and hear her out, whether he liked it or not.
"The way I see it, you've been to Hell and back. Your brother can't understand that. No one can. And I'm sorry it happened to you. But you can't close yourself off, 'cause that puts you in a very dangerous place." Sad, but true. The boy was known for being stubborn to a fault, but this was something else.
"I'm fine," Dean protested.
"Sell it to someone who'll believe you." She fell silent, deciding it was going to take a lot more than speculation on her part to get Dean to admit to what he was feeling - if that was even possible. One typical way of helping the process along was to relate. Hell wasn't an area she knew anything about, so she had to approach this differently. That didn't mean she didn't empathize, but she had to find something she could relate to. Once she did, she made sure to change her tone. It was softer than it had been before, almost motherly. "When my Bill died, I did the exact same thing. The plan was to shut out the rest of the world. If I didn't have Jo to take care of, I would've fallen apart. She was my lifeline; kind of like your brother is for you. If I didn't have her, it would've been the end of me."
"Well, I'm not you," he quipped. Come on. What did she expect? For him to spill everything? He was sorry about her husband. Really, he was. But the two situations couldn't be compared. Besides, he wasn't in the sharing mood.
That's right. Every individual was different, but she was trying to reach out. So much for that. But she wasn't that easily dissuaded, so she took little offense when he became overly defensive. Instead, she carried on with what she'd planned on saying before she was so rudely interrupted. "You're strong. You're stubborn, and you're still grieving the loss of your father. Now this ..."
Alright, something about this was off. Why was she so concerned all of a sudden? She hadn't even called to check on them after everything was all over, though it was possible she'd been talking to Bobby ... or Sam. If that was the case, he had a general idea of where this was all coming from. "What did Sam tell you?"
"I'm just trying to give you a few pointers." Leave it up to Dean to not only refuse any and all concern, but spit it right back up in her face as if it meant absolutely nothing. Why must he be so hard headed? In that regard, he was a lot like his father.
"What did Sam say to you?" He repeated firmly. 'Cause he knew that's what this was about. Sam had shot off his mouth, again.
"That he was concerned. Frankly, so am I. But if you don't want my concern, I'll give it to someone who does." This wasn't her problem. While she felt inclined to help the Winchester boys in any way she could, she didn't owe them a thing. So if Dean proceeded to tell her to back off and instructed her to mind her own business, that's exactly what she'd do. Not because she was obeying orders, but because she wasn't about to worry herself into an early grave over someone who didn't care enough about himself to deal with his own issues. He had his brother to keep an eye on him, and from what she'd heard, Bobby was constantly on their case as well. Any more guidance was optional: there if they wanted it, and if they didn't, that was fine too.
He remained relatively unfazed by any bitterness that might've crept into her tone just then. So he wasn't a big beaming ray of sunshine these days, especially when people started peddling around in his personal business. No disrespect intended, but this was his burden to carry and deal with however he saw fit. What he needed from everyone else was for them to back off. But there was something still troubling him. "That's it? That's all he said?" That seemed far too vague for Sam. He usually recited everything in vivid detail, then spun off on all these crazy theories - some of which were somewhat accurate, not that you'd ever catch Dean admitting it. No sir. Not yet, anyway. In all honesty, he had no idea how much this was impacting his brother. The guy had done an excellent job at playing it cool. Though he was pretty cranky, and sometimes he zoned out at the oddest times. But hey! That was Sam for you.
If Dean was trying to be subtle, he was failing. "What is it that you're afraid he told me? Obviously, you got something specific in mind." Or else he would've tossed up his hands to the whole thing by now. But no. He wanted to check and see what all she knew, because he had something to hide. Wasn't that hard to figure out.
"I just don't think it's any of your business." There it was: his stereotypical response. She'd been right before. No one could understand what he was going through, so what was the point in dragging it up and throwing himself one huge pity party? Everyone would eagerly join in, sure, but there was no reason for it ... and he really didn't want this experience to become something they'd all whisper about behind his back. It wasn't that he didn't trust them, but he didn't see how talking about it would do anything except make everyone uncomfortable, especially him. Oh yeah, and there was the part where he just didn't want to think about it, ever. So just dropping it would be the solution he voted for, thanks. And that wasn't likely to change.
An exasperated sigh fell from her lips. This one was as tough as nails. "Dean, when are you going to get that we're on the same side?"
"I get it. What I don't get is why you think I gotta share everything with you." Harsh, maybe. But he didn't like being pushed, and he certainly didn't like the way this conversation was going, or had been going for the past few minutes. Wasn't there anything more important going on in the world? Any gigs? Anything? They were in the middle of a war, after all. Somehow, he doubted his predicament took precedent over everything else. So why was everyone making such a big deal out of it? He really didn't need this right now. Why couldn't they get that?
Fingers absentmindedly drummed against the bar. "You don't. But I think some small part of you knows you should talk to someone." It didn't have to be her. They'd bonded considerably since the first time they'd met, but they still didn't know each other well enough for her to expect him to pour his deepest and darkest secrets out to her. What he needed to realize was that there was a whole list of people ahead of her willing to do the trick, if only he'd let them in. Ultimately though, it was his decision. Hence the problem.
"By someone, you mean Sam." That innuendo was about as obvious as a slap in the face. So she wanted to go there, huh? She really wanted to go there? Fine. But he resented having to justify himself to her. "Did it ever occur to you that maybe I'm protecting him? He's got enough to deal with." When Sam took something to heart, it hit him a thousand times harder than the average person. Sensitive soul? That was an understatement. And right now, he was still in a fragile state. Dean could see that. He wasn't an idiot. No one knew his brother like he did. That's precisely why he was certain that reliving what had happened to him when he died would be a bad idea for all involved. What he had miscalculated was that the primary source of Sam's grief was the fact that he chose to suffer in silence alone.
She scoffed lightly before shaking her head in mild disbelief. "And you don't?" From where she was standing, Dean had gotten hit the hardest. Sam just took everything badly. In a way it was good that he was the exact opposite of his brother. They balanced each other out. But at times like these, it was a disastrous combination. Someone was going to explode, and all she was trying to do was prevent that from happening.
"Look, I'm the oldest. Which means I have to take care of everything. End of story." That was the bottom line. Always had been. It was a philosophy he'd carried his whole life, and that wasn't about to change. All the arguing in the world wasn't going to convince him that what he was doing was wrong. Not when it was coming from Ellen's lips, or even Bobby's. The only person that could get through to him was Sam. Even then, it would take many attempts to chip away at the wall Dean had put up to protect himself and the ones around him from the brutal truth.
"Funny. He seems to think the exact same thing. For different reasons, of course. But both of you are walking around with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Better to share the load than let it break you." Words of wisdom she considered extremely handy, if only he'd listen. Because whether he wanted to acknowledge what was going on or not, it was still happening. The worst might have been over, but the storm had yet to pass.
"What makes you think that he's not alright? That I'm not alright?" Notice how he'd asked about Sam first. Sammy always came first.
"I can spot a liar a mile away, no matter how good he is. And Sam. Well, he's got some issues." That was putting it mildly, but she wasn't about to rehash everything that'd just been said while Dean was out chatting up some long-legged blonde beauty. If he really wanted to know, he could ask his brother. Family was supposed to confide in each other about things like that. Only they could fix what was broken on the inside.
Now he was beginning to worry. She was hinting at something. "What kind of issues?" This would all be a lot easier if she'd just come right out and say what it was she was dancing around.
"Nothing too serious. He's got a handle on it." It could be serious, but until she had time to look into it herself, she didn't plan on telling anyone else about it. No reason to stir up a panic if it was nothing.
"Why didn't he tell me?" There was no reason Sammy should have to come to Ellen to talk.
"He has his reasons," Ellen muttered before casting a glance over her shoulder. Sam had finished the task she'd busied him with ( that had mainly been an excuse to get rid of him - a distraction, so she could talk to Dean ), which meant this conversation had reached its end.
"Well, I don't like it," he remarked decisively. None of it.
"Don't tell me. Tell him." She nodded her head in the younger's direction before reaching for a glass. "Pick your poison. Tonight the drinks are on me. I say you've earned it." All stubbornness aside. Ellen was willing to let bygones be bygones. She did a lot of forgiving when it came to the Winchesters, but she found that it was well worth it in the end. She was sure this time would be no exception.