Tag to Meta Fiction, 9.18.

A/N: I call this something of a word vomit. I wanted to write, kinda knew what I wanted to write about but had no idea where I was going with it. I rarely do that. Usually I know the end of a fic before I put the first word to paper. This was just for me, because so many things need to be said, and so many things need to be forgiven but most importantly, so many things need to be just gotten over. I want my brothers back. So, if anyone else happens to read and enjoy, I'm glad I could share. :)

Also, I've been spending a lot of time in Sam Winchester's head lately. What's up with that?

Sam slammed his laptop closed in frustration. He was no closer to finding out anything about the Mark of Cain than he had been three hours ago. Hell, who was he kidding? He wasn't any closer than three weeks ago. He'd spent countless hours searching for everything he could find about the Mark of Cain but he'd found nothing telling him how it could be removed from his brother or what the consequences would be if Dean bore the mark for too long.

Sam sighed and rubbed his aching eyes. He was pretty sure he already knew the consequences. He'd seen the beginning of them and was terrified of what the end result would be.

He'd been able to convince Dean to drop the First Blade after killing Magnus but the next time he picked it up…...Sam had no idea if his brother would ever let go. Dean was sinking into a darkness unlike anything he'd ever seen in his older sibling and Sam was scared.

Almost as if on cue, Sam heard a strangled yell from Dean's room.


Sam shot up from his chair and ran toward the hallway. He almost collided with his brother who was headed in the direction of the kitchen.

"Dude, where's the fire?" Dean yawned loudly.

"I thought I heard you yell. Are you okay?"

"I told you, you're going to have to quit asking me that."

Dean shuffled into the kitchen and headed straight for the coffee pot.

"Can't sleep?" asked Sam.

Dean gave him a knowing glance. "Seems I'm not the only one."

Sam took a seat at the table and watched his brother spoon enough coffee into the coffee maker to ensure neither of them would be getting any more sleep for a while. Sam knew that Dean had been taking a bottle of liquor to bed with him each night. He smuggled it into his room when he thought Sam wasn't watching but what Dean didn't understand was the fact that Sam was always watching. He'd been watching his brother since he was old enough to remember. He knew him better than anyone and he knew what his brother did when he was scared. He drank and he denied it…...not just the drinking but he also denied the fear or the fact that anything was wrong. Sam could count on his fingers the times Dean had actually admitted to being scared.

Sam wished for what seemed like the millionth time that his brother would just open up to him and tell him what was on his mind. When Dean had come back from hell he'd told Sam he couldn't make him understand what he had been through and he didn't want to talk about it. Why couldn't Dean just lean on him for once? Sam didn't have to understand what Dean was feeling. Dean just needed to understand that Sam was there, to share it all with him. He wanted his brother's trust. He'd tried so long to gain it and now it seemed as if he would never have it.

Dean had spent his life making decisions that he seemed to think were best for Sam. Sam loved him for what he tried to do but wished Dean could just trust him to make his own decisions, right or wrong. He knew he'd screwed up so many things in the past but so had Dean. In trying to protect his little brother, other people had gotten hurt. Some of them had gotten killed. Sam didn't know how he was supposed to forgive Dean for what happened to Kevin. How could he ever be okay with the fact that he was still here and Kevin wasn't?

He'd been ready to die but Kevin still had so much life ahead of him. Sam hadn't totally lost hope that Kevin could get out of this someday and live the life he'd always been meant to live but because of a decision Dean made, Kevin was gone and Sam had to live with the fact that he had died by his hands…..maybe not consciously, but it was still his hands that had snuffed the life from the boy they had come to think of as family.

Sam was jolted from his thoughts as Dean plunked a cup of coffee down in front of him. Sam eyed the black liquid suspiciously. "That looks lethal."

Dean sipped from his cup. "Ahhhh, good to the last drop." He sat down across from Sam. "So, why aren't you sleeping?"

"You first." Sam took a cautious sip of the coffee and decided it wasn't half as bad as it looked.

"I can't get ganking that bitch off my mind."

Sam nodded. "I wish we could get that behind us."

I wish we could a lot of things behind us…...like this chasm that has come between us. When did it become awkward to just sit and drink coffee together?

Dean echoed his thoughts. "I wish a lot of things were behind us."

"Dude, did you just read my mind?"

"What?" Dean looked thoughtful. "I never had those psychic abilities. That was all you…..the boy wonder."

Sam managed a small smile. "Who knew those would be the good old days."

"Well, I don't know if I would say good…...but, yeah, better than now."

The sadness in Dean's eyes made Sam's heart ache.

"So, what's your reason for burning the midnight oil, Sammy boy?" Dean peered closely at his brother. "You look like crap. When was the last time you really slept?"

"I could ask you the same thing."

Dean returned to the coffee pot for a refill. "What are you talking about? I sleep just fine."


Sam wanted to scream at his brother. Why was he so damn frustrating? Sam knew Dean was sleeping just as little as he was. They might not share a room anymore but Sam could still hear his brother pacing in his own room in the wee hours of the night. He could hear the shouts as Dean woke from uneasy sleep. What was he dreaming about? As if he really could read his brother's thoughts, Dean was unconsciously rubbing his arm where the Mark of Cain now resided.

Sam was too exhausted for excuses. He was tired of avoiding what was right in front of them…..the lie that had become their life. It had become so easy to lie to each other, to avoid telling the truth that Sam knew they both desperately wanted and needed to hear. He couldn't do it anymore. He wanted his brother back. To hell with the past…...they couldn't keep holding on to something that only caused them pain. They had to let go.

"Dean, I'm sorry."

Dean did a convincing job of looking confused. "For what?"

"Dean, don't. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. Don't act like there's not issues a mile wide between us." Sam blinked back tears. "I can't do it anymore, Dean. I'm just too tired and I'm worried about you."

Dean stared into his cup as if he could find the answers to all of their problems somewhere in its depths.

"Sammy, I'm…."

Sam jumped to his feet. "Don't say you're fine, Dean. You're not fine. I'm not fine. Everything is screwed to hell and I don't even know whose fault it is anymore and honestly, I don't care! All I know is you keep running toward death every chance you get but try your best to prevent me from doing the same thing. Why?"

Dean carried his cup to the sink, his back turned to his brother. "I thought you already had the answer to that."

"I know what I said, Dean, and I'd give anything to take it back. Do you know how much it hurt me to find out you allowed an angel to take over my body? Of all the times I've been manipulated in the past, you've never been the one to do that to me…...you were the one I trusted and now, because of that, Kevin is dead. I wanted to hurt you and I'm sorry."

Sam paused in his tirade, waiting for his brother to respond. Dean nodded. "Okay, fine."

Sam followed his brother as he headed toward the study.

"Is that all you have to say?"

Dean picked up one of the folders he'd been going through earlier that night. "What else do you want me to say?"

Sam ripped the folder from his brother's hands, forcing Dean to look at him. "HOW ABOUT I'M SORRY?"

Dean glared at him for a long moment and Sam waited for his brother to throw a punch. It was Dean's most often used method when he was unable to express himself but to Sam's surprise, Dean turned on his heel and headed back toward his bedroom. Sam followed him closely, not allowing the bedroom door to shut between them.

"This conversation isn't over, Dean."

Dean raised an eyebrow. "I gathered that from the way you barged into my room."

Dean rummaged beneath his pillow and pulled out a bottle of whiskey. He took a long drink and then offered the bottle to Sam. Sam jerked it from his brother's hands and hurled it across the room. The bottle shattered against the wall, shards of glass littering the floor.

"What the hell did you do that for?" asked Dean. "You ruined a perfectly good bottle of whiskey!"

"Just stop it, Dean!"

"Stop what?"

"Stop trying to drown yourself in a bottle. Why can't you just talk to me? I'm trying here, Dean. I really am."

Dean sunk down on the edge of his bed and covered his face with his hands; hands that were crisscrossed with marks he'd received from beating Gadreel to a bloody pulp, hands that shouldn't have that kind of power, hands that were trembling uncontrollably.


"I can't say I'm sorry, Sammy." Dean raised his head to look at his brother, his eyes filled with tears and self-loathing. "If I say I'm sorry, you'll forgive me and I don't deserve it. I don't deserve to be forgiven for the things I've done…...not by anyone but especially not by you."

Sam sat down next to his brother. "What about what I want, Dean? Does that matter at all?"

"Sammy, you know it does."

"Dean, please…...trust me enough to let me help you shoulder the burdens you bear. You're my brother, Dean. No matter what stupid things I've said in the past, nothing will ever change that."

Dean was silent for a very long time. When he finally spoke, it was a whisper. "Sammy, I'm scared." He ran his finger along the Mark on his arm. "I'm afraid of what will happen the next time I pick up the Blade."

"I've been researching, Dean. We'll figure something out. I'm not going to let anything happen to you. I promise."

Dean gave Sam a light nudge in the ribs and smiled sadly. "That sounds an awful lot like something I would say."

"Well, I did learn pretty much everything I know from you."

Dean fell silent again, staring at his battered hands. It wasn't until Sam saw tears falling onto those hands that he realized his brother was weeping. When Dean finally spoke again, his voice was thick with tears.

"Sammy, I'm so sorry."


"No." Dean gazed fiercely into his brother's eyes. "Don't say you forgive me. I'm not saying this for me. I'm saying it for you. It's what you needed, isn't it?"

Sam's own eyes filled with tears as he nodded.

"I'm sorry it took me so long to realize that, Sammy. I'm such an ass sometimes."

Sam laughed. "Yeah, well, that's another thing I learned from you."

Dean smiled and Sam put his arm around his brother's shoulders. They sat that way for a long time, no longer awkward, just two brothers finding their way back to each other.

Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome!