Dean Winchester violently shook his head back and forth.
Somewhere between the hospital and Bobby's yard he'd collected himself. But he couldn't get the obnoxious hospital siren that signaled his father dead, out of his mind.
"Dean?" Sam gently touched his brother's forearm. Dean immediately stopped shaking and looked at Sam questioningly. "You ok?"
Dean knew the answer; he knew that Sam knew the answer. Neither of them were ok, but they'd pretend, because that was the Winchester way. "I'm fine." He attempted a smiled but failed and quickly turned away.
"You boys ready?" bobby startled Sam as he placed a hand on his shoulder. They nodded and he took out a matchbox and salt.
The three men gathered around John Winchester's body to begin the ritual. They had come to Bobby's' because they had nowhere else to go. It was a safe place to burn their father's body, and a place to lay low from the Demon for awhile. Plus, he had the Impala and Sam knew they weren't leaving without that.
"Bobby?" Dean asked once the corpse was salted, "Can we do this alone?"
Bobby nodded and stepped back, lightly touching Sam's shoulder again as he turned. "I'll be inside."
"Ready?" he glanced at Sam who took a deep breath and nodded.
Dean stared at his father's lifeless body and had to remind himself that it wasn't really his dad. His dad was gone, lost, who the hell knows where. He lit the match and tossed it onto the body.
Immediately the thick odor of burning flesh and hair filed their nostrils and Dean placed his hand over his mouth and nose.
Hearing Sam move behind him, he turned just in time to see his brother vomit up the little Bobby had forced into him. As dry heaves wracked his tall frame, Sam crawled away and to a tree about ten yards from Dean.
"Sammy!" he called, jogging over to his little brother.
Sam was taking deep, rasping breaths in attempt to calm himself. He was sweaty and shaking; tears rolled down his cheeks with such consistency that Dean wasn't sure they'd ever stop.
"Sammy." Dean collapsed next to him; the sustained injuries weakening him quickly. "Hey." He placed his hand on Sam's back and rubbed gently. "That's it, buddy. Deep breaths."
Sam leaned against the tree and took one last, long breath before looking at the elder. Dean also positioned him back to the tree, their shoulders touching. He could still feel Sam shaking. Neither spoke as they watched the blaze in the distance.
"Dean." Sam was the first to break the silence. "I can't do this anymore. Everyone I've ever gotten close to has died. Everyone I've ever loved. I don't even think Dad knew I loved him." His voice broke as he said the last two words. Dean turned his head and was met by a broken man's stare who was fighting to control his emotions. Dean swallowed down his own.
"God, Sammy. He knew, man." He whispered and shut his eyes tightly, taking a deep breath. "And I'm still here, Sammy. I'm right here." He put his hand on Sam's knee and rubbed it lightly.
"For how long, Dean?" his voice shook with fear and grief. "You've nearly died countless times already! I can barely do this now, I defiantly can't without you. We lost mom, Jess is dead, Dad is gone…" Sam was sobbing to the brink of hysteria. "I need you Dean." He tried to wipe the tears away but more followed restlessly.
It took a few seconds for Dean to register that the hot, salty liquid on his face wasn't sweat. "Sammy." He reached out and pulled his sobbing brother into a tight embrace. He tried to ease the shaking by holding him tighter. Sam's head fell onto Dean's shoulder and rested there. He put his face near Sam's ear, his own head touching the toned shoulder of the younger. "I'm right here, Sammy. I'm right here." He whispered; his voice faltering as he failed to hide his emotions.
Screw the Winchester way. Sam's right, we've lost everything. Dean thought to himself.
For once in his life, Dean Winchester allowed himself to cry.
Here, on a crisp autumn day under the changing leaves and shade of a maple tree; while the rest of the world bustled about cheerfully and normally, two strong men sobbed their hearts out.
Neither knew how long they sat their, offering each other comfort. At one point, though, Bobby brought out a blanket and some coffee and quietly slipped away, not wanting to interrupt this immensely personal moment.
"Dean." Sam quietly hiccupped. They had switched positions and both were once using the tree as a latter. Sam's head rested on Dean's shoulder and Dean's head lay on top of Sam's.
"Yeah?" his voice was hoarse and he cleared his throat. 'You need a haircut, Sammy.' He thought as a stray piece of brown hair brushed his cheek.
"Do you believe in Heaven?"
Dean shifted and put an arm around Sam, nuzzling him closer. He had thought about this question after Jessica, then after Layla. "I dunno, Sammy. There's gotta be something. Some good thing that we all have to look forward to. A distinction between this world; between good and evil. I tell ya what. I believe in Mom. And I believe Dad is with her again. And he's finally happy. For the first time since she died, he's happy." Dean sniffed and blinked back the moisture gathering in his eyes; he refused to break again.
Sam pressed his cheek into Dean and sighed. "What about Jess? Dean, I want to be happy again. I want it to be over."
"It can't be. I need you, Sammy. Probably more than you need me. You're my reason for living and you sure as hell better be my reason for dying. We are going to get through this. We're going to be ok. You know why?"
"Because we're Winchesters?" Sam guessed.
"Well, yeah but that's a given." He gave a genuine smile even though Sam couldn't see. "Because we have each other." And Dean knew that, as the words tumbled out of his mouth, he meant it. Sam was all he needed to be ok; he was all he had ever needed. Never a home, or a mother, or friends, or a father. Just Sammy-his Sammy. And he would be ok.
Dean pulled the blanket around the two of them and rubbed Sam's arm. Sam was trying to gain reign on his emotions once again and Dean gave him time to do so.
"Thanks, Dean." He whispered, letting his eyes slip shut. Dean, in his own way, had just said he loved him. And though it still worried Sam that Dean wouldn't always be there, he was there right now.
They fell asleep out there, watching the fire of the father go out. Bobby collected the ashes, knowing the boys would take them to Lawrence and bury them with Mary. He placed another blanket over them and smiled.
"You two are something else." He said quietly. "It's going to be ok, boys."