Warnings: Attempted suicide attempt. A few swear words.
"Same circumstances, I wouldn't."
The reeling shock and hurt at his brother's crude words remained there stubbornly for the next few minutes, hanging in the atmosphere and leaving it almost hard to breathe in it as they echoed over and over in his head like a broken record player. When it all drained out of his body, he was left feeling empty and numb as he slowly fell back on the chair, his green eyes becoming hard and vacant as he stared down at a marble tile on the cold ground, his fingers loosened around the neck of his beer bottle.
He allowed his brother's confessions to fill into his thoughts repetitively, let them sink deep into his mind until the full notion of them slammed into him so hard that he literally ceased breathing for a second, his heart jolting convulsively and his gut squeezing painfully.
Sam would have left him to die if he were in that coma instead of him, wouldn't have tried to save Dean if it were him dying, which basically meant he didn't care about whether Dean was alive or not, which also probably meant that he hated him. That he didn't want him around anymore.
He should have felt hurt and sad.
But all he felt was rage. Murderous rage that burned scalding hot in his veins, in his chest, at Sam. Sam, who thought he only saved him for himself, because he didn't want to be alone. Basically told him he was selfish and threw away every sacrifice he ever made in his life for that ungrateful bastard in only a few seconds, with just a few little words coming out of his goddamn shit-spewing mouth.
"I'll give you this much. You are certainly willing to do the sacrifice, as long as you're not the one being hurt."
His nostrils flared as he jumped up from the seat and started pacing furiously, his hands curling into a tightened fist until his nails dug painfully into his rough skin. He needed to get rid of the rage and abhorrence blazing ardently like flames in his chest, the rage and abhorrence so fucking strong that it literally hurt. He punched the wall, hurled things at it, slid off all the items on top of the kitchen cabinets and tables until it was left completely empty and everything laid broken before him on the floor. He pulled at his hair, and then pounded the wall some more.
But the rage never went away, still there, smoldering as angrily as the Mark on his arm.
His eyes landed on a knife on the ground, huge and sharp, and gruesome and dark images tugged at his mind as he slowly bent down to pick it up.
He let them all in.
And they arouse a sick and gross satisfaction in him, stretched a somber and malicious smile across his face.
But as soon as he realized what was going on in his head, he jerked and instantly dropped the knife with a metallic clang, his eyes widening as he felt the cold fear and horror push out all the searing-hot fury out of his system, settling a heavy stone on top of his pounding heart as his stomach lurched spasmically, and he ran hastily to the basin as all his meals suddenly rushed up his throat and out of his mouth.
He threw up for a good ten minutes. Threw up until his stomach felt like it was inside out and there was nothing left in it so he was left dry heaving instead, tears streaming down his cheeks as he clutched protectively at his abdomen, guilt and remorse still swimming nauseously in his clenching gut in the midst of it all.
And when it felt safe enough, he turned away and slid down until he was sitting on the cold ground, sobbing quietly as a shaky hand slowly rose up to clutch at his ducked head while the other still remained wrapped around his stomach.
Dean watched through wet eyes as the glowing Mark slowly began to dim, until it was nothing but an angry red wound again.
After listening to Dean's physical furious rant downstairs, and then the loud retching that followed later on, he couldn't sleep. He couldn't even breathe as the guilt and remorse sat heavily on his chest. It took everything in him not to hop out of his bed, haul open the door and rush downstairs to the kitchen to check on his brother. But as much as he wanted to, he knew he needed to hold on to his anger, needed Dean to learn, to understand, that they can't keep doing this. They can't keep putting other people's lives in jeopardy when one of them died, no matter how much they need each other.
Although half of the words he said were a clear lie, he knew some of them were still honest. Just not clarified.
He'd die for Dean, he would. He'd place his own life on the line for him in a heartbeat. But he wouldn't have dragged him back against his will from the only chance he ever had at peace and happiness, especially after all the crap they've already gone through in the past few years. He wouldn't have let anything violate his body like that without his true consent.
He loved him enough to not do that to him. He loved him enough to let him go.
It was eerily silent now.
And the quiet should have been a relief because it probably meant Dean had calmed down enough by now, but it wasn't. There was nothing comforting about it, because it only left a gnawing sensation at his gut, screaming at him that something was wrong. Something was really wrong.
He slowly, cautiously, sat up from his bed, breathing in deeply through his nose as he swung his legs off his bed, planting his feet into the ground as he waited, ears open and alert in the quiet room. He waited for another noise, another sound, until his ears were left ringing.
When he didn't hear another peep from his older brother's activities downstairs and the eerie silence still remained stubbornly, he stood up and walked over to the door, pulling it open and moving out, then closing it shut behind him. He slowly slid towards the stairs and padded down the steps, his movements faltering by the end as he reached his intended destination and saw the door of the kitchen just a few feet away.
His clamant instincts only grew worse as he stood there, and so he started nearing the room. But he stopped stock-still in his tracks as he heard... sobbing?
"Don't flatter yourself. I don't break that easy."
His older, fearless, tough brother was crying. Not those silent tears of pain that his brother often did, which was also unusual in itself, but the full-out sobbing and... and fucking whimpering kind of crying.
The guilt and shame returned once again, clenching his insides painfully until he was sure they were about to spurt blood.
Dean didn't break easy. Except when it came to Sam.
He contemplated whether it was the right thing and right time to go in or not. Would Dean want to even see him right now after everything he had said? Would it ruin all his efforts to make Dean see reason if he did? Would Dean appreciate being walked in on while he was displaying so much vulnerability?
He instantly felt the flood of shame wash down on him for even hesitating. Dean was fucking crying. That should have been enough of a reason for him to barge in there and hug the crap out of him.
Because pissed or not, Dean was still his big brother. And Sam couldn't handle it when his big brother shedded tears.
Suddenly, the sobs stopped, and it was completely silent.
It was the same eerie kind of quiet, except it made that urgent feeling clawing at his squeezing gut even stronger. And it gave him even more of a reason to come out of hiding. Though his nerves caused his hands and his knees to shake slightly, he still pushed on courageously and went in.
And then froze in the doorway at the sight that met him.
Dean was on the ground, his back against the cabinet, and there was an almost manic emotion in his green orbs as he held the huge knife poised over his arm, prepared to dive it deep into his skin and cut it clean through his veins.
He yelled just as the knife came down.
The reaction was instantaneous as Dean's focused gaze whipped up from the knife centimetres from his arm and looked at him, his eyes large with manic and shock.
Sam swallowed, slowly moving towards his brother as his hands raised placatingly. "Dean... what are you doing?" he asked softly, even though he knew it was a stupid question since it was really obvious what was going on. But it was all he could think of to say at the moment. It was hard to think past the numbing haze of terror and Save Dean. Save Dean. Save Dean. Get the knife away from him and save Dean -
Or the rapid and strong hammering of his squeezing heart against his sternum, every heartbeat heard loud and clear in his ears.
Sam took another step forward as he eyed his brother carefully, his slow movements hesitant and cautious, as if his brother was a spooked animal, ready to bolt at even the slightest wrong move.
"Sam, you need to leave," Dean said quietly, his voice shaking.
He had never seen his brother act like this, and it scared Sam like hell. Dean had been a bit broken for a long time, Sam knew that. After all the hits he had taken, all the losses and pain and grief, it was a wonder how they didn't end up locked in some psych ward for insanity.
But this? Even after everything they had been through, Dean had never done anything even remotely close to this. And now, to see him in this way broke something inside him.
"Dean, put the knife down," he said gently.
Dean's arm came down to rest at his side, but he still gripped the knife tightly in his hands, and Sam knew it wasn't over yet.
Sam immediately started to stride over to him.
"No, stay there," Dean told him, his voice still as low as before. "Don't come too close."
Sam wanted to ignore it, but obliged, in fear of making the situation worse.
"What's going through your thick head there, Dean?" Sam asked softly in that same careful and cautious tone, a small mirthless and nervous laugh huffing out.
Dean remained silent, and for a moment, Sam thought he wasn't going to get an answer. He held his breath as he waited, hoping desperately that it had nothing to do with their conversation almost an hour ago. His words were harsh, yes, but could they really be so harsh that they led his brother to nearly commit suicide?
"The Mark," he heard him begin, watching as his throat bobbed and he rubbed a hand over his exhausted features, the other still clutching the knife at his side. "It's... it's doing something to me, Sam."
Sam took a deep breath. So far, so good. Maybe if he could keep him talking and distract him long enough, he could somehow dislodge the knife out of his hand and get it far, far away from him. Maybe hide all the weapons in the bunker until he made sure that Dean won't try to off himself again.
"Um, okay... what's it doing to you?" he queried, inching just a bit closer inconspicuously.
He heard him suck in a shuddering breath. "It's..." A short pause fell in between, before he continued. "It's making me angry, Sam. So... so fucking angry and... and I can't... I... what you said, it... it made me... it made me so mad. And the thoughts..." he trailed off, swallowing hard as his pursed lips trembled slightly, running a quivering hand over his hair and then letting it bury in it. "God... the thoughts I had."
"What thoughts?" Sam questioned further, taking two more stealthy steps. Just a bit more closer, and he could be within enough range to snatch the knife off his brother's hands.
Dean didn't reply. But his shoulders started shaking as he brought up the other hand to his head, and Sam's heart skipped a beat as he did so, eying the knife's hilt pressed against his brother's temple with fear and a bit of contempt. But he decided to look on the upside of it, knowing it would just make his work easier now that the knife was within reach.
"Of... of killing you. M-mutilating you," Dean responded, a small shuddering breath tearing out of his throat.
Sam ignored the sting it caused, reminding himself that it was simply the Mark, and walked one more step. This was enough now. He could just cross the gap and knock the damn thing off of Dean's hands, and then maybe the ball of fear sitting uncomfortably in his gut will finally disappear.
"It's okay, Dean. It was just the Mark. Wasn't you," he whispered soothingly. "You don't... you don't have to do this to yourself over some... some stupid homicidal thoughts of killing me. They were just thoughts. Not like you were gonna act on them."
Dean shook his head, and Sam felt his heart jump again as the edge of the glinting silver knife seemed to nearly graze his brother's skin. "No. No. They... they weren't just thoughts, Sam. They were too vivid, too... too intense. And the rage... God, the rage. It was so strong, Sam. I couldn't... I couldn't control it, no matter what I did."
Sam could clearly see that in the huge mess of broken items on the floor and the large cracks on the walls. "It's alright, Dean. It's alright," he soothed again, shifting slightly on his feet as he contemplated the right moment to strike.
"No, it's not fucking alright, Sam!" Dean screamed, his head whipping up, and this time the knife did leave a small cut across his brow, but his brother seemed too furious to notice, his narrowed eyes filling with tears. "You don't... you don't understand..."
Sam heaved a large, deep breath. "Make me."
Dean was panting heavily from his outburst, his chest pulling in hungry breaths as he glared angrily at Sam through shining green eyes.
"If... if you would have been here, Sam... I..." he broke off again, his trembling lips parted as he sucked a quivering breath in. "I would have killed you."
His voice was low and dangerous as he shook his head and laughed humorlessly. "I swear to God, I would have fucking killed you."
"No... no, you wouldn't have," Sam said, swallowing. "I know you, Dean. I know you. And I know that you would never hurt me. Not willingly, at least."
"You think I don't know that, Sam? The Mark is doing something to me. And... and pretty soon, it's gonna make me do something to you," Dean quavered softly, sounding weary and terrified to his very core.
And then the knife raised again and Dean's face turned hard with determination. "And that's why... that's why I have to end this. 'Cause I don't wanna hurt you. But it will make me."
Sam gulped a large breath, and chose that moment to do it.
Everything happened in slow motion the next, it seemed. Sam was lunging forward, and though he was quick, Dean was quicker and caught on to what intentions Sam had in mind. Dean was also impulsive, reacting without thinking, and that was just what it was, simply a reaction that wasn't thought out too well.
"No, don't, Sam!" he heard him yell, and if it weren't for Sam's own swift instincts, the knife that was suddenly pointed at him in a thoughtless and desperate attempt to keep him back would have been embedded into his chest instead.
Everything became still and silent after that.
The sharp weapon was still directed towards him, inches from his heart, as he stood frozen in shock, his huge hazel eyes fixed on Dean's horrified face.
And then the glinting knife slowly slipped out of Dean's shaking hand, clattering loudly to the floor in the silent room. He fell back against the cabinet again, his wet eyes darting wildly as the images of what could have happened, what he almost did, reeled through his mind.
Sam rushed forward, stealthily kicking the knife away as he did so, and grabbed his big brother's trembling shoulders. Dean was on the verge of hyperventilating now, short gasping breaths that heartbreakingly sounded more like broken and strangled sobs, his chest jumping high and low rapidly as he wheezed desperately for air.
"Shit, Dean! Breathe with me. Come on, just breathe with me," he coached lightly, grabbing his brother's hand and holding it to his own chest as he took huge breaths to help him. Inhaling it in, then releasing it out, and repeating the cycle until Dean was nearly calmed down.
Sam led his brother to his room. Dean didn't fight him. Although worryingly uncharacteristic as it was, Sam was grateful for it, as he wasn't sure he was fit enough to deal with a proud, stubborn older brother at the moment. He was just too exhausted, and after the events of tonight, he was even more spent.
They finally reached the room and Sam gently lowered his brother down on the bed, and then left the room for the first aid kit so that he can treat the small cut on his stupidly reckless brother's brow.
He returned in a few short minutes, sitting on the edge of the bed as he took out some peroxide to disinfect the wound, dabbing some onto a tissue and gently wiping it over the injury. "It's not going to need stitches, which means you got lucky tonight. A little deeper, and I probably would have had to poke needles in there."
He tried to make conversation, just babbling on about anything he could think of to fill the suffocatingly heavy silence. Dean was supposed to be the chatterbox here, but instead, he was quiet. Too quiet. So it meant Sam had to try to talk away the tension instead.
But then he became silent too, when Dean suddenly cut in through his mindless rambling and caught him off guard with the question.
"You said you'd have let me die, Sam. So, why didn't you let me?"
Sam didn't answer, didn't say anything after that, just took out a small bandage and settled it over the cut, and then began working on the harsh, dark bruises on Dean's knuckles, his movements tender and careful.
And then he did answer.
"I never said I'd let you die, Dean," he began quietly, not quite able to meet his brother's most likely pained green eyes, and so he kept his gaze fixed on the wound. "I just said I wouldn't have done the same. I wouldn't have taken the same approach that you did to save my life."
They fell into another moment of silence, and he knew Dean was thinking, taking his words in, processing through them, and then having more thoughts and making more questions.
"Well, what if there was no other approach, or not much time?" Dean finally asked, his voice quiet.
"Then at least I would have been honest from the very start and told you what was going on," Sam replied, making sure not to sound accusing, only truthful and matter-of-factly, as he knew Dean was already in a vulnerable enough state at the moment, and playing the blame game right now would do no good to him. "I wouldn't have lied to you, or tricked you into letting an angel possess you." Maybe then, I would have expelled that son of a bitch before he killed our friend.
"What if... what you knew that I would have never said yes to it?" Dean further questioned, his voice hesitant as he finally raised his gaze and fixed it onto his brother's face.
"I would have taken the chance and told you anyway," Sam responded instantly as he slowly wrapped the roll of gauze over his brother's knuckles, as if he had already rehearsed every answer to his question. "Because maybe... maybe, you would have if I had at least tried to convince you." His voice took on a more hesitant tone as he spoke the last line. And that was when Sam looked at Dean as well, hinting, right into his bright green orbs.
Dean stared back, an unreadable emotion softening his features.
And then he whispered, his voice soft and delicate, as if the ambiance itself was fragile. "And what if I wanted to die... and you didn't me want me to?"
"Then I would have respected your choice," Sam said, his eyes lowering back to the wounds he was treating on his brother's knuckles. "It wouldn't have been easy. It would have hurt like hell, but... but I would have let you go." At that, Dean opened his mouth, but Sam cut him off with a hand over his loosely curled fist as he looked up at him again. "Because Dean... if you think for even one second that I'll tear you away from the only chance you finally have at peace and happiness and bring you into this... this life full of blood and pain and.. and loss and grief just so I could keep you with me, then you're wrong. I would have understood if you didn't want to come back to it, and I would have let you go, no matter how bad it hurt."
They fell into another silence.
And this time, they let it grow between them, less tense and more comfortable than it had been for the past few days.
Dean reclined back on his bed and on his side, away from Sam, and closed his eyes, finally at more peace for once than he had been in months.
He heard the low thud of Sam putting the first aid kit on the bedside table, and then he felt him settle behind him on the edge of his bed, his hip almost touching his back. It was an unspoken promise, of I'm here for you and I'm not gonna leave you as Sam's hand rested on his shoulder.
And even though they weren't there yet, there was still hope. Hope for the salvation of their relationship.
And Dean thought that maybe, Sam would be the one to save him after all.
Honestly, I'm really unsure about my writing here. This was started before 9x14 aired, I think, and I haven't written much before this, so I think I was quite rusty. But that's probably an Artist's Insecurity thing. I think most of us writers are always going to be insecure about our writing, no matter what we tell ourselves and how much we've improved. *laugh*
Well, I don't remember how exactly I got this idea, but I do remember that I couldn't stop thinking about it. So I did what any writer would do to release those thoughts. I wrote them out. :D
And thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed and tagged my previous stories! You have no idea how much that means to me. You are all amazing! :D
No flamers. Constructive criticism is welcome though.