Disclaimer: I own nothing from Supernatural. This was written for fun.
Special thanks goes to Life's scar for being my beta.
Author note: In response to a review I received the first time I posted this, this story isn't about Sam being naive, immature or needing to grow up. It's about how guilt can make people believe things that aren't true. The guilt Sam feels in this story is no different from the guilt Dean feels whenever Sam is hurt.
Sam ran as hard as he could; the long legs which had accompanied his 6'4 frame gave him a longer stride than most. Yet, he was afraid he would not reach Dean in time. He had to reach his brother; he couldn't let anything happen to Dean. Sam had finally realized what he should have known all his life – he was cursed. It had been all his fault. Somehow, some way, he and he alone, had caused so much pain and misery in the lives of the ones he loved the most. Both his mom and Jess had died on the ceiling above his bed, bleeding their blood on him. Because of him, Dean's childhood had ended all too soon and too much responsibility had been put on those young shoulders.
Their dad had put him under his sibling's care. It was his big brother who had tucked him into bed at night and was the one who, after putting the band-aid on boo-boos, would kiss them better just like their mother should have. No matter what, Dean always made sure he had something to eat. He could remember one time in particular when they were kids; their dad had left them behind to keep them safe. He had promised to be home that night, promised to return before they woke up. Dean had already used the money left with him to buy a pizza for dinner so by the time morning came along and Sam said he was hungry, Dean had searched through every pocket and bag they had. When he finally found what little money he could, Dean had left and come 'home' with some food for Sam, claiming he had eaten on the way home. Being young, naïve and believing his big brother would never lie to him, he ate without question, missing the way Dean's eyes would dart to the food and then back to his hands.
Looking back now, it was obvious to see what Dean had done. He hated himself for the times his hero went hungry because of him. Of course, when their dad finally came 'home,' Dean never said a word about what happened.
After what happened at the asylum, Sam knew he was a burden on Dean's shoulders, weighing him down with every mile they traveled. The truth is, he's a weight around Dean's neck, pulling his big brother down with him into the darkness that had already consumed Sam. "You don't think I had dreams of my own?" How could Dean not be tired of him? His brother had dreams and wishes for his life, but he did not want to leave Sam behind, unprotected. How did Sam repay his big brother's sacrifice –he shot his only sibling. Oh god, he can't believe he shot Dean point blank in the chest with a shotgun. And if that was not enough, he used his forked tongue to tear down the ever precious wall that Dean had built around himself, tearing down the only person who ever bothered to hold him up without a second thought.
No matter how long he lived, he would never forget what Dean had asked him before handing him that pistol, "You hate me that much?" Those words broke his heart because he could never hate Dean. However, there were some things he hated. He hated that his brother always followed their dad's orders. He hated that Dean never seemed to disagree with anything their dad had done. He hated the blind faith that their dad didn't deserve. He hated that in family arguments between his dad and himself, Dean never seemed to take his side and he was always the one in the wrong. This, at times, had left him feeling extremely alone growing up. Yet, he knew he loved Dean more than anyone else in the world. Maybe even more than, may they forgive him, his mom and Jess. He could not believe he called his brother 'pathetic.' Those feelings, those words, had been building for a long time, locked away in his dark side, never to see the light of day. However, the 'doctor' had unlocked them against his will, pressing out things that were only for his own ears, never Dean's.
Dean will never know that he fought and screamed inside his head as hard as he could to stop himself. His body refused to obey his mind's commands – to slap a hand over his mouth or hell even to eat the pistol that stayed aimed perfectly for his brother's head. But he was not strong enough; Dean would have been stronger.
He knew in his heart that he loved his brother. It was always his big brother who called him 'Sammy.' To everyone else, he was simply Sam. Even under torture, he would never admit it, but some part of him still liked it when Dean called him 'Sammy." He liked the idea that he was still important to someone. He hadn't been called Sammy since the asylum. He knew now his 'Superman' hated him. He hated himself more. Dean deserved better than him; he understood that now. He was the reason Dean was unhappy. His brother had spent his whole life taking care of him, but that left no one taking care of Dean. Yes, his brother deserved better and Sam was going to make sure he got it.
A while back, they had met another hunter, Lincoln. Dean and this guy had seemed to hit it off from the start. Sam was willing to admit, if only to himself, that when he saw the two together, he had felt the pangs of jealously. All his life, he had felt like a disappointment; here were the two older members of the Winchester family, who hunted the things that bumped in the night and were actually good at it. He, on the other hand, was terrible – he wasn't great with weapons or fighting or hunting. On top of that, he always needed to be saved. In contrast, Lincoln was just as good as Dean and just as devoted. However, he and Sam had despised each other and they made no move to hide it. Yet, Dean and Lincoln seemed to be two halves of the same whole. They were just born to be partners. In fact, the hunter had tried to convince Dean into a partnership – one without Sam. In Sam's eyes, Dean had wanted to agree, but their dad's conditioning to always look after his baby brother was too strong. His brother declined and the siblings continued their mission.
Sam often thought his big brother had regretted that decision. He could not trust Sam at his back anymore. Or maybe Sam just did not trust himself. So, he wrote an e-mail to Lincoln pretending to be Dean. He told the hunter that he had reconsidered his offer and had changed his mind. He would wait for Lincoln in New Orleans, if the other decided to join him - all in Dean language, of course. Sam had already chosen to leave and travel alone – before he did more damage. He knew his brother did not like to be alone so he had provided the perfect partner. He also knew this would be the final nail in the coffin of their relationship. Dean would never forgive him for leaving again. His brother wouldn't understand that it was for his own good – before he too ended up on the ceiling bleeding and burning, or before Sam could betray him once more. Sam could deal with anything as long as he knew that somewhere Dean was alive. He just had to reach his brother in time.
Finally, Sam heard two voices ahead of him and his movement slowed down to those which Dean had taught him at a young age, creeping along in silence. The first voice, the loudest out of the two, was that of the man who had kidnapped Dean, spouting out words of how Dean had stolen the man's daughter twenty years ago. The other was Dean's, in his classic smartass fashion, denying the accusation and letting the man know exactly where the gun could go. A small smile filled Sam's pale face as the sound of Dean's voice, confident as always but that only lasted shortly as he slowly realized that the man was ready to fire at his brother. Everything seemed to slow down and, without a second thought, Sam ran forward and blocked Dean's body with his own. The bullet slammed into him.
As he lay on the ground with his chest burning, only one thing went though his mind – he had finally done something right.