Well, I just had a major case of Dean Angst overcome me and this is the result. This is probably nothing new and has all been covered by greater writers before, but I just had to let it out. Anyway, I would love to see Jensen's emotional acting as Dean shatters, but I probably won't get it except in my active imagination. All standard disclaimers apply. Nope, don't own 'em, don't know 'em, etc. etc.

Set after the crash in Devil's Trap.

Shattered

One week after the crash

Sam slowly opened his eyes and tried to focus on the familiar surroundings, ignoring the throbbing of his head. The brace still on his neck bothered him and made sleeping difficult, but he wasn't one to complain, after all he was still alive and had survived the crash in the best shape of them all. Missouri was holding his hand again, comforting him with her touch.

"I'm sorry baby. It'll be alright, just have faith." She whispered.

"Has he woke up yet?" Sam quietly asked.

"No, not yet. Don't worry, he's strong. He'll pull through."

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Bobby sat in his same chair, watching over the unconscious Winchester. The doctors had not held out much hope, but they don't know the Winchesters, how damn stubborn they all are. He sat there watching the machines breathe where strong lungs once breathed. He watched closed eyes and an absent mind where vibrancy once had flourished. He watched a broken body struggling silently to thrive again, and he prayed his good friend would defy the odds once more and live.

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Sam strained to see past Missouri to the bed next to him.

"Is he awake?" He asked Missouri.

"No, not yet. He's been through a lot Sam. I don't think he can face it all yet. I think he needs this time with himself to sort it all out. I feel his thoughts Sam, he is hurting so much." Missouri answered, looking at the serenely handsome face of the other Winchester lying on the next bed, his protective mask of exterior perfection still intact, hiding the dark torment that boiled beneath.

"He knows it's not true, doesn't he? I mean he knows Demons lie. He couldn't possibly believe those lies. Could he?"

"Sam he has so many old wounds, and that Demon knew just what to say to open them all up and torture him. The physical wounds will heal long before the emotional ones. Dean's a broken soul. Give him time."

Sam stared at the ceiling, wondering how they would all survive this. Dad was just down the hall, hooked up to machines and fighting for his life. His brother was right there beside him, fighting for his sanity, and he was useless to help either.

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Two weeks after the crash

Dean slowly ate his mashed potatoes and green beans. No way was he touching that rubber chicken. The only thing edible in this hospital food was the coffee, and that was hardly the best he had ever had. He ate deliberately, focusing on every motion. Bite, breathe, chew, breathe, swallow, breathe. OK, repeat. As long as he concentrated on his simple movements he could keep his mind from traveling back to that night and reliving those hurtful words.

He had always dreaded hearing those words from his dad, yet somehow in his heart, he knew one day they would be spoken. That damn Demon, read his mind and made it happen just like he always feared it would. Even now he couldn't sort it all out. Is it the truth or just his childish fears rearing their ugly head? He rested his head back on his pillow, tears filling his eyes, desperately trying to empty his mind. He was too tired to think about this.

He wasn't just tired from the accident and recovery. He was tired from it all: all the years of turmoil, uncertainty, and fear; all the years of hunting and trying to please his dad; all the years of protecting and worrying over Sam. No, wait. He never resented Sam, never. Sam was the only good part of his life, the only reason he had kept going.

He just didn't know where he belonged any more. If he didn't have his family, what did he have? A big fucking nothing! That's what. He knew that part was true. He needed his family more than they ever needed him. Dad had his vengeance, Sam had his school and friends, his dreams and Dean had ….

Damn, he was pathetic. He had to pull himself together though and not let Sam see how devastated he was. He already felt bad enough about himself, he certainly didn't need his brother pitying him and treating him with kid gloves. Put on the old Dean face and show the world you take shit from nobody.

Sam returned from his morning stroll to see his brother awake and eating, which was good because he was never gonna regain any strength if he kept refusing to eat.

"Hey sunshine, I see you're out checking the floor for pretty nurses. Did you pick me out any?" Dean cracked, forcing himself to play his role.

"You better eat your veggies if you expect to be cavorting with the ladies any time soon. You're still a little weak there dude." Sam responded with a smile.

He knew Dean was hurting, but he also knew his brother needed to keep up the pretense for now. He had decided to give him that. Let him act brave and strong until he allowed his brother in. Dean had shown him several glimpses into his pain this past year. He was amazed how much his brother had finally opened up to him, and he knew he needed to let him take his own time, let him pick the moment. Missouri told him to have faith; Dean would let him in when it was right.

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Three weeks after the crash

"Sam, don't you have someplace better to be? You don't need to baby-sit me every day. I can eat my veggies on my own." Dean declared.

"Oh, come on now. You gonna deprive me of your stimulating company?" Sam kidded.

"Haven't you had enough of hospitals? I mean, weren't you in here long enough? Why keep coming back every day?"

"Maybe I miss the food. You know, familiarity, all that crap."

"Whatever, dude."

"Doctors say if you keep up the progress they may release you by the end of the week."

"Great. Good news."

Anxiety gnawed at Dean's gut. That should be great news, so why was he hesitant to leave? He hated hospitals, nothing good ever happened in a hospital. Why did the thought of walking out of this cold, sterile, empty room terrify him so?

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Dad….. Dad, don't you let it kill me. Dad please…….

Sam don't you do it… don't you do it….. Sam no….

Sweat saturated his sheets as the nightmare again came to torment him. He extricated himself from the scratchy sheets that were twisted around his legs threatening to cut off his circulation and slipped from the hospital bed, pulling the IV from his arm and stumbling into the cramped bathroom.

He collapsed with his arms wrapped around the toilet, heaving with ragged gasps, trying to empty his stomach, but realizing nothing was there to expel. He just sat there on the floor, retching with dry heaves, trying with all his might to be free of these feelings.

His eyes watered from the pain that was consuming him. God, he couldn't do this anymore. He no longer knew how to continue. A fleeting thought drifted through his mind, why didn't he die in the crash? Then he would at last be released from this hell.

He sat shivering on the floor, trembling from the sheer exhaustion of living: living with all this baggage, with all his pain and memories. He so didn't want to do this. He wanted to be fearless and bold, to be the façade he had so carefully constructed over all these years. How was he ever going to be that Dean again? He just felt so broken, and he no longer had a clue on how to put the pieces back together.

He needed to pull himself back up, get his shit together, and bury these horrid feelings of despair. He couldn't let Sam see him like this, he wouldn't. He tried to rise but he couldn't move, so he wrapped his face in his arms and sat there on the floor crying.

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"Mr. Winchester, we need to talk about your brother." Dr. Owens stopped Sam as he headed down the hall towards Dean's room.

"Is he alright? Did something happen?"

"He had a very bad night. Has your brother ever seen a psychiatrist?"

"No. What are you saying?"

"I'm afraid he may be breaking. He's been through a lot and he may need to talk to someone about it."

"He has me. He can always talk to me."

"He may not be able to talk to you. Sometimes people need to talk to someone not involved, someone safe that won't judge them."

"Doc, I appreciate the concern, but my brother can talk to me. I will understand and he knows that. He will talk to me; he just needs to do it on his terms."

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One Month after the crash

"OK, in the chair Dean. They're not going to let you walk out of here. You know the drill, quit being so stubborn." Sam chastised his older brother.

"Alright already. Stupid rule." Dean argued.

"You got everything?"

"Yeah. Sam…., I wanna see Dad before we go."

"Uh, OK. You know there still hasn't been any change?"

"I know. I just want to tell him I'm leaving."

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Five weeks after the crash

"Dean, I've got to go to work. You gonna be alright?" Sam asked, concern plastered over his face.

"Sam, I've told you before, I'm fine. Stop worrying." Dean smiled, not the usual high-wattage Dean Smile, but a vacant, empty, 'I'm trying to keep up the façade' smile.

"Make sure you take your pills, and eat something will ya?"

"Yeah, yeah Mom." As soon as the word come out Dean stuttered, not believing how stupid that was, and not understanding why it would still hurt so bad. God, I really am broken.

Sam paused, waiting to see what Dean would do. He hated leaving his brother, but they needed the money. Dean was in no shape to play poker or hustle pool, and Sam had never really learned those lessons, not like his brother. They were stuck here for a while, waiting for Dad's condition to change, and waiting for Dean to mend his fractured mind.

After a moment, Dean seemed alright again. He sat back down to watch some TV. Sam hated that all he seemed to do now was watch TV and sleep. Dean had tried to find them jobs, supernatural jobs, when he first left the hospital, but it hadn't taken much at all for Sam to convince him their hunting days were on hold. It really surprised him that Dean surrendered the notion of hunting so readily.

"I got a short shift tonight; I'll be back at ten." Sam volunteered as he opened the door to leave.

"Sure, have a good night."

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Six weeks after the crash

"Hey, Dad. It's me. Sorry I haven't been by in a while. I needed time…..to sort out ….you know….what happened. I just wanted to say thanks. Thanks for saving me. I know you did. You pushed that Demon down and you stopped it. You saved me and you saved Sam. But Dad….. how could you….? How could you order Sam to shoot you? Don't you know what that would have done to him? Don't you know….what that would have done to me? Hell Dad, we all want the demon dead, but how could you want to be dead?... I guess I've always known. I've always known you wanted to die, wanted to leave us, but God Dad, to make Sammy do it?

All that other shit, all that stuff the demon made you say. Don't worry about it. It don't mean nothin'. I mean, I'm alright with it. I've always known.

I knew when you told me to keep Sammy safe that he was special. He's always been special. I guess you and I always knew that. It makes sense he's your favorite, hell, I don't rank anyone above him, why would you? Don't get me wrong Dad, I know you love me. I mean I am your son. But it's OK; I'd never want to take anything away from Sam. I love him too much. He deserves all the love you can give him, he really does.

And the family thing. Well, we both know that one's true. I've always known I needed the family more than you or Sam did……. I've always known, I just didn't want to admit it, you know? But it's OK. I mean, I can live with it. What choice do I have?

Dad, I need you to wake up. OK? You need to help take care of Sammy cause I don't know….I don't know how much longer I can do this, you know? I try so hard to be strong, but I feel the cracks growing and sometimes I think I'm just gonna shatter.

I need you Dad. I need you more than ever. I need you more than I ever have since Mom died. When I was four, I didn't understand. I didn't know about all the evil out there, I still thought you would protect me. All these years I've always believed in you. But now, I know. I know about all the evil and I feel myself losing to it. I don't know how much longer I can hang on.

Dad, I don't want to disappoint you. I don't want to let Sammy down. I just can't do this anymore Dad. So I need you to wake up, I need you to take the responsibility back, cause I just….. I just can't keep doing this. It's just too hard. Please Dad, wake up. Please. You did it before; I need you to do it now. Please."

Dean held his dad's hand in his own, lifting it up to his face to feel his tears. Dad was gonna wake up, he had to. Now that he knew how bad his son needed him, he would. He was the strongest man Dean had ever known, and he knew in his heart he would come through again. He would wake up and make everything all right again. He would take the pain back, he would release his oldest from his burden and then maybe, just maybe, Dean could breathe free air again and stop the fractures from shattering his soul.

The End

By popular demand, a companion piece follows this called All the King's Men. That story follows John's POV as he lay in his coma, remembering his life and contemplating his death. Remember, reviews are always appreciated. Thanks for reading.