Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or its characters.
Author's Note: Another one shot inspired by Faith.
I hope you enjoy.
"Could we talk?" The question was hesitant and seemed to echo in the expanse of the silent car.
They'd been driving in silence for three hours and twenty-eight minutes now and although that wasn't in and of its self unusual. The mood that seemed to permeate the car certainly was. Dean hadn't said more then a handful of words since Sam had returned to the motel room.
His expression had been hard and remote—forbidding Sam from asking questions. Forbidding him from initiating a conversation—conversation that they desperately needed, at least Sam thought so.
The events of the last week had been traumatic enough, but when added with everything else that had happened in the last month—it was all just overwhelming.
And his brother refused to acknowledge it.
Any of it.
"Talk?" Dean asked as though he'd never heard of the concept, his eyes not leaving the road.
Sam studied his brother's profile for a moment, then stated simply, "Yeah…"
Dean scowled at the road, obviously sensing what Sam meant and wanting to avoid it, "We're talking now."
Sam wasn't going to be deterred— not this time. This time they were on the road, Dean was driving—no way out. "No." He responded steadily, hoping his brother got the message, "I mean… talk… about things."
He took a deep breath, "Events."
Dean spared him a quick heated glance, before returning his eyes to the road, "Events?" he repeated, his tone purposefully obtuse.
Sam swallowed hard, "Feelings." He responded through gritted teeth, they hadn't even started yet and Dean was already trying his patience.
The word swirled around them, humming with the intensity of what it represented.
Then Dean spoke, "No." He said simply, resolutely.
Sam clenched his fists, "Dean…" he began, trying his hand at being rational first.
He and his brother were going to talk about this—he wasn't going to take no for an answer. Not this time.
"… a lot has happened—"
"You asked, I answered." Dean cut him off, "That's enough talking."
Sam shook his head, "We have to--"
"We don't." Dean interrupted again, gripping the steering wheel a bit tighter…
"Yes. We do." Sam insisted, his voice just as firm. "We can't just let things… fester. It's what… it's what happened in Rockford." He admitted, "It's why Rockford happened. That… something like… like that can't happen again… We never discuss anything… we just move on as if that erased the past. As if we didn't--"
"Would you listen to yourself!" Dean cut in, aggravated, his knuckles white from his grip. His eyes determinedly fastened on the road, "You sound like freakin Doctor Phil!"
Sam didn't even blink at his brother's outrage. He continued, "… as if we didn't feel at all. But we do. And our emotions make us vulnerable…"
"So stop it." He hissed, through clenched teeth.
That gave Sam pause, "Stop it?" he asked.
"… with the emotions."
It took the younger man a moment to comprehend what his brother was suggesting.
"You want me to stop it?" He asked incredulously.
Sam shook his head, blinking a little in surprise, "… to stop having emotions?" He asked, needing to confirm.
"Well, yeah." The older man stated, as if it were the most obvious of all things, "You just said they make us vulnerable."
Sam stared at his brother's profile, this was not the way he'd seen this conversation happening. "… they also make us human, Dean." He whispered, feeling suddenly sad.
His brother would turn off his emotions rather then let anything get in the way of a hunt.
"Feeling things is important…" Sam continued, "… and acknowledging those feelings is important. You and me… we don't do that… after this… I mean…" a lump filled his throat suddenly, as the image of Dean in a hospital bed assaulted him. He pushed it away, "It isn't healthy to just ignore things." He finished, a bit hoarsely.
Dean was silent.
Sam felt the tension in the car mount, was about to speak, when Dean beat him to it; his voice hard and almost bitter, the first chink in his armor of indifference, "Don't you mean normal, Sam." He practically growled, "Isn't that what it comes down to with you—what it always comes down to… normal."
A flash of anger swept over Sam, "This isn't about normal." He growled back, "This is about—about you almost dying!" He cried, the flash flaring as the past month flashed in his mind, "We need to talk about that, dammit! Hell, we need to talk about Rockford and fuckin Burkittsville and all the other shit that's happened in the last month." He yelled, forgoing the rational approach in favor of the Winchester in-your-face attitude.
"No." Dean repeated, his voice once again controlled and almost frigid, "We don't."
Sam released an aggravated sigh, "DEAN--" he began, but Dean swerved suddenly onto the shoulder of the road. Effectively cutting off his little brother's words as the younger man fell against the passenger side door.
Without a word, Dean braked, shut the engine off and turned coldly, furious eyes to his brother.
"Am I dead?" He asked abruptly.
Sam stared a moment, breathing hard from the surprise of slamming into the door, "What?—No." He responded a little shakily as he too shifted to face Dean.
"Do you want to kill me?"
"Do I— No!"
"Are you planning on leaving?"
Sam saw where this was headed, he shook his head, "No, but--"
"Okay then, we're good." Dean concluded, "We've talked. All issues are clear."
"Sam. We're good." The older man repeated and shifted back to the steering wheel, his hand reaching for the ignition.
Sam stared at that hand; watched it turn the key, heard the engine roar, felt it vibrate… knew that his brother was finished with this conversation.
A tidal wave of blind rage poured over him.
"GODDAMMIT! I'm NOT GOOD!" He roared with enough force to rival that of the engine. A moment later he swung the door open and leapt out of the car onto the side of the road.
He paced away from the car, towards the line of trees. His mind racing with so much undefined rage he couldn't hold a single thought. All he could see were images—his mother going up in flames, Dean flying backwards through a wall, Dean handing him a pistol, himself pulling the trigger, Dean driving away, Dean tied to tree, Dean dying…
"Sam--" Dean called out. He was standing a few feet away; the Impala and the road behind. His eyes concerned now, almost regretful… watching his brother pace.
"YOU ALMOST DIED!" Sam lashed out at him, the words raw with the pain of those days.
Dean met his brother's gaze, "I didn't." He said softly.
"Not through any effort of your own! You let go…! You were going to leave me!"
Dean shrugged a little, "Everyone dies, Sam."
The words infuriated Sam more, he was so angry he didn't' know what to do with himself, pacing wasn't cutting it! "Dammit that is NOT what I'm talking about and you know it!"
Dean took a step closer to his brother, "Dude, chill." He stated, feeling truly worried at the hysterical look in his little brother's eyes.
"No! I won't chill ," the younger man hissed, "… because you didn't care! You were dying and you didn't care…you were just willing to let it happen—"
Dean sighed, coming closer, "—Sam— " he stated, as calmly as he could. Frankly, though he was getting a little frustrated himself.
They'd gotten through the entire ordeal without a scene like this—without hysterics or fuckin Oprah moments… so why now, when it was over… did they have to do this?
Sam didn't pause at his brother's interruption, "—willing to die in peace! You wanted me to let you die in peace— you fuckin asshole!"
Dean's frustration grew, as he neared his brother, "It's not like I did it on purpose!" he hissed, "It just happened! What the hell did you want me to do?" He asked angrily.
"FIGHT! I wanted you to FIGHT!"
"You fight for everyone! Every stranger we meet that needs help you fight for! Everyone! But… you wouldn't fight for you!" Sam accused.
Dean shrugged, stopping a few feet from his brother, "They said there was nothing that could be done," he stated softly, "Why waste the effort?"
All he had for warning was a burst of something dark, something elemental in his little brother's eyes before he was tackled to the ground.
They landed with a thump as Sam used the advantage of surprise to pin his brother down hard.
"YOU FUCKIN BASTARD!" Sam cried, the hysteria-fueled rage taking over.
He landed two punches before Dean managed to gain the upper hand.
"THIS IS NOT TALKING!" The older man yelled as he attempted to subdue his younger brother without actually inflicting pain.
"I don't… want to… talk to you… anymore!" Sam growled, as the two tumbled over each in their mutual attempt to get the upper hand.
"I want… to beat the shit out of you… you fuckin dumbass!" He added, gasping for breaths.
The tussle continued for a few moments more until Dean finally had enough. Cringing internally, he slammed Sam hard on the ground and pinned him down with is body weight, "Sam. STOP." He warned, breathing hard.
The younger man stilled and glared up at him with glassy, defiant eyes, his breathing also ragged. "And you had the nerve to be mad at me! Exasperated at ME! Because I—because I fought for you!" He finished.
Dean loosened his hold a little, "Sam I know that--"
"You don't know shit Dean." Sam hissed.
Dean's eyes narrowed, "Why?" He asked, suddenly angry, "Because I accepted my fate?"
"YES!" Sam yelled, shoving his brother off him with a burst of strength as he sat up, "BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T TRY! BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T WANT ME TO TRY!"
Dean landed on his ass and didn't bother to stand; he sat on the ground and glared at his brother.
Shit, was Sam blind or something? Did he really have to spell it out for him? Wasn't he supposed to be the smart one?
"I didn't want it to be harder for you!" He confessed angrily, "I wanted to spare you some pain!"
"NO! BY NOT HOLDING ON!"
The brother's glared at each other, both breathing hard and clenching their jaws, both wondering what the hell was wrong with the other…
"… by not giving you false hope..." Dean continued, because fuck, Sam just didn't know how to let it go. "By not letting you know I cared about all the things I'd never do, things I'd never see. By not fuckin whining about the past or wishing for more time… I was trying to make it easier for you…"
Sam swallowed hard, the haze of anger fading as his brother's words filled his mind, "You're death wouldn't have been easier for me no matter what you did." He confessed, meeting his brother's hazel eyes.
"I would have tortured myself with thoughts about all things you'd never done," he continued, a burning sensation behind his eyes as his heart squeezed. Slowly he pulled his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, "… all the things you'd never seen; all the time we were apart that we shouldn't have been, the years I wasted… the time I lost…" he finished, his voice catching, his eyes on a far off spot.
"Sam…" Dean stated, not liking that the anger was now being replaced with something deeper; something infinitely sorrowful… something he couldn't reach.
Sam didn't respond, didn't look up.
"… Sam, listen to me…" Dean tried again.
The young man looked up then, his gaze piercingly intense, "Promise me you won't ever do that again."
He asked, and Dean's heart squeezed. He stared at the younger man sitting across from him, "I can't promise I won't die, Sam. No one can."
Sam shook his head, not accepting that. "Promise me you won't ever give up like that." He insisted, dropping his arms from his legs.
"Promise me you won't ever let go so easily; that you won't just—just go without a fight—" he continued, "… promise me that you… you'll fight… promise me that… that you won't try—try to make it easier for me…" His voice broke as tears filled his eyes, "Promise me that you—that you'll understand that no matter what—it can never be easy—promise me, Dean… promise."
Dean got up on his knees and made his way over to his brother.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Sammy was going to cry… he could see it.
"Sam," he began, wracking his brain for something to make it better as he met those earnest dark eyes, "I--"
"Please, Dean…" his little brother asked, cutting him off, as the tears spilled, "… promise..."
Dean could never take his baby brother's tears.
He stopped next to him and pulled him into a hug, "Sammy." He whispered.
The younger man turned into his brother and hung on. Clinging for all he was worth and sobbing into his brother's chest. The tears he'd held back, the anxiety he'd suppressed, the fear he'd ignored…
Dean didn't say anything. Sam was asking for a promise that he couldn't give—he would always try to make everything easier for his brother.
So he laid his cheek against Sam's hair and let his little brother cry as he silently rubbed comforting circles on his back— like he used to do when they were kids.
Slowly the sobs abated and Sam just laid his head against his brother's chest— listening, feeling the steady heartbeat beneath…
"It's all over now." He murmured to his baby brother a few moments later, sensing that Sam was ready to hear him now; that the hysteria had faded…
"I know that… that it was hard, Sam, but it's all over now." He repeated, keeping up the calming circling motion on his brother's back.
The silence stretched between them again. Expanding and enfolding them—soothing them, healing them…
"Just relax…" Dean stated when nothing, but the occasional shiver wracked his brother's frame, "I'm fine and we… we're..."
The words ended there and it took Sam a moment to realize that, to realize that his brother wasn't going to continue; he pulled back and found himself looking into serious hazel eyes.
"… we're what?" he asked, his voice wary and husky from tears.
"… we're sitting in the middle of the biggest, goddamn chick-flick moment known to man…" His brother stated in all seriousness. "—I hope you're pleased." Dean finished ruefully, reaching out to roughly ruffle Sam's hair.
Sam blinked a little, letting his brother's words wash over him.
"I hope it keeps you warm at night, cause it'll be cold day in hell before you get another one." Dean continued, as he pushed himself up and stood looking down at his brother.
Sam tilted his head back, a smile in his eyes that had yet to touch his lips, and he stared up at Dean.
"You SO owe me lunch for this…" Dean added, holding his hand out to his brother; waiting for Sam to take it, for Sam to accept it was over, for Sam to let this be over…
A moment passed between them—nothing had really been settled… there were still so many things unsaid…
And yet… it was all… better somehow.
Drawing in a deep breath, Sam grasped his brother's hand and used it to pull himself up, "Dude—" he said, letting the smile bloom on his face, "… you hugged me…" He pointed out, smugly.
Dean rolled his eyes, "Yeah, well-- you were sobbing like a chick, what was I supposed to do…?"
"Uh-huh… you SO were into the chick flick moment."
Without warning Dean reached out and shoved Sam in the shoulder, knocking the younger man off balance and making him stagger to the side.
Sam scowled, "You were too!" he insisted; he wasn't going to let Dean bully him into backing down.
Dean rolled his eyes as they reached the car and swatted Sam hard on the back of the head.
"OW!" Sam cried—okay, that was a little too much bullying… his eyes widened "What the hell was that for?"
Dean paused on his way around the car, "You slammed my baby's door." He stated calmly.
Sam's eyes widened a bit more, "So you shoved me and smacked me!"
Dean narrowed his eyes a bit and sent his little brother a pointed look, "You also tackled me, you little shit."
Sam froze for a moment-- then a grinned, "Yeah. Yeah, I did." He admitted, cheekily, obviously not regretting it.
Dean glared at him a moment, before rounding the car and opening the driver's door, "I expect to hear you apologize to my baby…" he stated.
Sam's grin faded and his eyes narrowed as opened the passenger door, "I'm not apologizing to a car, Dean." Sam responded—god his brother was a fuckin nut-job.
"Then you won't be eating, Sam." Dean countered, sliding into the seat.
"I'm not apologizing to a car." The younger man insisted.
"Because it's an inanimate object."
Dean shot him a shocked and wounded look, "Shh, she'll hear you…" He murmured as her reached for the ignition.
A chuckle spilled out of Sam—
"It's the least you can do Sammy, I gave you your Doctor Phil moment." Dean continued.
Sam shifted and studied his brother's profile for a moment before shaking his head ruefully. Leave it to Dean to be concerned about the car's feeling but not his own…
He sighed as settled back against the car seat with a smirk, watching as Dean pulled back onto the road.
Slowly, his smirk widened into a smile.
"What?" Dean asked after a few minutes of silence—and of Sam giving him that slightly superior, oddly loving smile.
"Dude— you totally hugged me first."