He leaves the hospital, rubbing a hand over his mouth. Sam is waiting for him in the car and they climb in, Sam watching him with accusatory eyes.
Sam: Dean, you have pulled some shady crap before, but this has got to be the worst. White-washing their memories? Take it from someone who knows—
Dean looks over at him and his expression is one in serious, physical pain. His eyes are red-rimmed and his face is tight.
Dean: You ever mention Lisa and Ben to me again, I will break your nose.
Sam blinks at him, shocked. “Dean….”
Dean: I’m not kidding.
The tears swim in his eyes and he turns back to the steering wheel.
The thing is, until Sam said something, it never crossed my mind that erasing their memories of him was shady. I mean, I did wonder if the white-wash came with an at-home clean up. They have a broken house and a dead man in their living room last we knew. That’s gonna be hard to explain or understand if Cas didn’t fix that, too.
But, I didn’t see it as shady because I saw why Dean felt he had to do it. All the pain in their lives came from him. From the moment he came back to them. And from his point of view, if they didn’t remember him, their innocence was returned. Ben never killed a man. Lisa was never demonized. They could live as they had before – as 90% of the population of this universe does. Clueless of what really lurks in the shadows.
It doesn’t necessarily make them any safer; I mean, technically they were only used because of what they meant to Dean. And Dean hasn’t forgotten. I mean, he doesn’t get to forget anything – even for one moment of peace.
He remembers Mary’s death, John putting himself back together again. He remembers keeping the truth about Monsters from little Sam and mending his father. He remembers the look on John’s face when he made him promise to save Sam or kill him. He remembers feeling Sam die. He remembers making the deal for his life. He remembers Hell – all forty years of it. He remembers fighting to avert the Apocalypse. He remembers a past where his parents were young and happy and a deal was made. He remembers seeing the future and Sam as Satan. He remembers searching for his brother in the eyes of the being pummeling him to death. He remembers watching Sam fall into the earth. He remembers the year without Sam and the six months with only the shell of him.
He remembers Lisa and Ben.
And I saw him feel the weight of those memories so keenly is bowed him in the hospital hallway. So this choice was the only humane thing he could do. It was, from his point of view, a gift of life to them.
But then, I heard Sam say “take it from someone who knows” and I realized that for Sam, what Dean did was unfair and took away a freedom that every human should be allowed: choice. He may understand why he’s not be able to remember Hell (in this moment) or all the horrible things he did while soulless, and he may agree to it, but it doesn’t mean he’s come to terms with it. And I could understand Sam seeing it as shady. I just wanted him to step outside himself for a moment and look at it from Dean’s viewpoint so that he didn’t hold it against his brother in the future.
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