Title: Broken
Author: kaly
Category: Gen
Rating:K
Spoilers: Faith (promo only)
Summary: Sam's reaction to Dean's news.

Notes: Just a little conjecture for 'Faith', based on part of the oh-so-short promo snippit.

Disclaimer: Not mine. The pretty, snarky, angsty brothers belong to the WB.

Broken

"I'm gonna die... and you can't stop it."

I want to run. Hide. Hell, I'd settle for burying my head in the sand if there were any handy. Instead, sedately painted walls and the cloying, clinging smell of sickness surround me, refusing my escape.

I stare at Dean and I can barely breathe. He's lying there, calm and accepting. And even though he's the one dying, I'm the one about to fly apart at the seams.

Too many memories assault me - good times and bad times, both recent and long past. Guilt and denial rage against one another. And part of me worries that maybe somehow I helped whatever it is that's eating Dean alive.

He looks as though he's expecting me to say something. But I can't speak; it's all I can do to chew on the inside of my cheek to keep from crying. After all, Winchester's don't cry. There are so many things Winchesters aren't supposed to do. Dying should be on that list, too.

"Sammy..."

Dean startles me from my dark thoughts. I don't want to hear him say it again. Maybe it's childish, but if I don't hear it, don't acknowledge it, maybe it won't be true. Maybe this won't be happening. I would wish I was dreaming but that would just borrow trouble of a different kind. Forewarned isn't necessarily forearmed in my life.

I shake my head. "No."

Dean sighs and I can tell it pains him. It's wrong to see him so weak, almost broken. I'm moving before I even realize I've left the doorway and don't stop until I've reached the bedside. "Dean..."

He clears his throat and weakly raises one hand out toward me. I don't think, just accept it between my own, clutching so tightly I'll be surprised if it doesn't bruise. Maybe if I refuse to let go... I shake my head at the ridiculous idea, wondering why all of a sudden I'm six years old again.

"It'll be okay," Dean says in a rough voice, the sound barely carrying.

How can he be so blind as to think that? I shake my head, staring at our hands instead of his shadowed eyes. "Not even close."

Dean groans softly and I can't help but look up then. He's pale and covered in sweat but staring holes through me all the same. He was fine only days ago - or so I thought. How did everything go so wrong, so fast? One minute we're chasing evil around the back roads and the next we're here.

I drop my gaze to the blankets and shake my head roughly. Somehow I manage to choke back the tears that are burning in the back of my throat. "You're not going to die." The strength in my voice surprises me. I risk another glance and judging by Dean's expression, I'm not the only one who's surprised.

"It's not up to you," he counters. And deathbed or no, I'm amazed at his willingness to continue this conversation.

Shrugging, I tug on his hand. "You can't leave me." And now I even sound all of six years old.

I regret the words as soon as Dean smirks. "Oh yeah? That's your gig, huh?" I can tell he doesn't mean it to hurt, only to try and lighten the mood. But memories of another time - another claiming to be Dean - make them hurt all the same.

"I can't do this without you," I tell him, my voice cracking in a way it hasn't since junior high. For a moment I hate myself for adding my guilt on top of everything else he has to carry.

"You can."

"I won't."

For a moment we just stare at one another, refusing to bend. We're both stubborn beyond help to hear our father tell it and it's showing.

Before long his eyes begin to droop closed. The fire that's Dean is still in there, however, staring out through the encroaching drug-induced haze. "You have to." Dean coughs, clearing his throat. "Find Dad. Find the thing that killed Mom and Jess. I know you can."

His hand goes lax and I tighten my grip even though I wouldn't have thought it possible to hold onto him any tighter. The tears I've been fighting finally break free, burning my cheeks, but I refuse to let go of Dean's hand to brush them away. Screw the Winchester rules; I was always lousy with them anyway.

"Dean, please, I..."

'I love you' remains unspoken - as always - and I can only wonder if I'll ever take the chance, or find the guts, to say it aloud. I might've run away from our family and said some horrible things, but how I feel about my big brother has never changed. I may never say it but I know he's the i>only /i> reason I'm as normal as I am.

Dean opens his eyes, though it's obviously a struggle to do so, and smiles. Some days I believe he knows what I'm thinking and this is no exception. "You're the one thing I've done right, Sammy. So just trust me when I say you'll be okay, alright?"

I gape at him, stunned. Dean's just full of surprises all of a sudden. Warmth fills me and I want to say something, anything, in response but I can't find the words. I can only hope maybe he can see something of what I'm feeling. He's always complained I was an open book, after all.

His eyes fall closed and just when it appears as though he's fallen asleep he startles me by adding, "And this is the last Lifetime movie moment we have, got that baby brother? No more."

I can't help but smirk. Or maybe he's not so full of surprises. I guess I expected nothing less, although something breaks inside me at the word 'last'. He slips into a fitful sleep before I have the chance to reply. Always has to have the last word, my big brother.

I collapse into a well-placed chair and sigh, still holding onto Dean's hand. I don't know what to do and it's overwhelming. But beg, steal or trade places if I can... by heaven or hell I'm going to figure out something. I can't - won't - accept anything else for an outcome. It's nothing less than what Dean would do for me.

It's one of the ways Winchesters say 'I love you'.

fin