Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural, nor do I own Sam and Dean Winchester. Though I do own my ideas and my muse… hands off! XD

Title: Smoke From The Fire

Status: One Shot/Complete

Setting: Hmm… I say the beginning of the first season, only because it'll make more sense that way. Since they live together, Sam wouldn't be able to keep a habit secret forever. Dean would eventually find out.

Summary: Sam's always awake at night, contemplating what he's gone through and his loss of Jess. Dean knew that. He always gave his brother space. But one night he awoke to find a shocking secret his little brother has been hiding. And now he has to help him kick the habit.

Warnings: I'm guessing a little Sam OOC-ness. Maybe some typos, too.

Flames: Not welcome. No matter what you say about my story, I'll never change it. So don't bother.

Style: I'm an angst writer. Learn it, live it, love it. xoxo

.x.x.x.x.x.

Secrets. They seemed to be a habit with the Winchesters. Not that any of them ever minded. Secrets were what kept them pushing forward, without a backwards glance at what had been in the past. No one ever talked about what they kept to themselves. Really, why would they? If they had a secret, there was a reason for it. Maybe they were afraid of what their family would think of them. Maybe they didn't want to admit their problems to even themselves. Or maybe they had just felt so alone that the others didn't seem to matter much. John and Dean had secrets of their own. They wouldn't mention how they felt, and would keep personal information to themselves. Past hunts and past memories would be sorted away in the back of their minds, without a second thought as to how them having secrets would affect the other two. Now, you might think Sam was a little different. But he wasn't. He was just like his father and older brother. He had secrets that he planned on keeping to himself. And that was the end of the story.

.x.x.x.x.x.

Dean shifted from foot to foot as he looked at the menu while standing in the take-out line at a small town diner. Hell, he didn't know what Sam wanted to eat. It had been years since he last sat down and just ate with his brother. Sure, once he picked him up from Stanford they ate. Of course they did. But it was always from fast food restaurants; Dean had never just wanted to sit and wait because they had things to do, supernatural creatures to kill… a father to find. But for some reason or other Sam needed a break. Which Dean could understand. Sam wasn't a hunter anymore. He was a student. And Dean was proud of him for that, he really was. But now they were like strangers to each other. The brotherly bond between them was there, but it was stretched thin. Dean didn't know what to do with Sam, in his vulnerable state. Much less know what the guy wanted to eat.

Dean looked around the small restaurant, wondering where the hell his brother had gone off to. Sam had said that Dean could order the food, and that he'd be right back. Dean figured he needed some time alone. After all, Jess had just been killed. And Dean would be lying if he didn't notice how much Sam had loved that girl. So, yeah, maybe he just needed time to get himself together. And Dean understood that, so he didn't stop him. Thing was, Sam had been gone for about ten minutes now, and the older hunter was starting to worry. In Sam's current state, Dean wasn't sure what he was capable of. He remembered the look in Sam's eyes as he shut the trunk of the Impala back in Stanford. His eyes were cold, hateful. Dean had only seen Sam's eyes like that once in his whole life--the night John told him that if he were to leave then he could never come back. Sam's eyes scared him then, and it scared him after the fire, too. Sam left last time. What was he going to do this time?

"Excuse me, sir? Have you figured out what you're going to order, yet?"

Dean looked up, finding that a waitress was looking at him expectantly behind the counter. He looked around. Shoot, he had been so worried about Sam that he hadn't even noticed that the line had been moving, and everyone else was already done ordering. He looked back down at his menu, deciding that he'd get two different meals, both of them which he liked. If Sam didn't like one, then he could have the other. Really, their tastes couldn't be so different, right? "Uh, yeah. Just get me a number zero eight seven and a number two one five." The waitress nodded and wrote down the orders before leaving. Dean walked over to a seat and sat down, waiting for Sam.

.x.x.x.x.x.

It had been a month. Exactly a month, down to the hour. A month since Jessica's death. A month since Sam's world had been turned upside down and he didn't know what to do anymore. He had barely ever felt like that in his whole life. Once was when he was a kid, and his friend had been kidnapped by a werewolf and killed. He hated that day. But Dean was there to help him through it, and pick him back up again. And then there was the time that he left home to go to college… Dean hadn't been there. Sam knew that he had felt betrayed, and hurt, but it wasn't Sam's fault. If only John had been more understanding. Sam never wanted to be a hunter. He never wanted this life. It was something he was forced into. He just wanted normal. Which was what he found when he met Jess. From that moment on, things seemed to be going great. Sam didn't have Dean when things went bad, but he had Jess. And, now that she was gone, he had Dean again… but it wasn't the same. Nothing seemed to want to be the same again.

Sam sat in his bed in their motel room as the darkness encircled him, the moonlight shining through the window to his right. On his left, Dean was sleeping peacefully, though he seemed alert, even in his slumber. Sam checked the clock. It was a quarter past midnight, and he hadn't been able to sleep. Each time he closed his eyes he saw her, pinned to the ceiling. It was a recurring nightmare, one that wouldn't leave him and let him sleep in peace. But he knew why. He was haunted with guilt. Jess died because of him. Jess died because of me. Those were the five words that ran through his head whenever he found that he had a free minute. Jess died because of me.

.x.x.x.x.x.

Dean awoke to the sound of the motel door closing. He looked over at Sam's bed, finding that he was missing. This happened nightly. John trained the boys to be light sleepers, so they would be alert and ready to fight even in the middle of the night. They would never be caught off guard, and they'd be able to protect each other and themselves. So, each night Dean had been awakened by the sound of a door closing. He wanted to help his brother, but he didn't know how. Sam wasn't his baby brother, Sammy, anymore. He was 'Sam'. He was older, more sophisticated… and he didn't need Dean. That much was clear. So what did Dean do every night? He laid in bed, waiting, until finally Sam crept back in the room and fell asleep. Even then Dean would still stay awake, watching his little brother as nightmares haunted his dreams. Then he would get up and lay down next to Sammy, until the younger hunter calmed, and started to rest peacefully.

But sometimes routines just got old. Sometimes you needed to break out of your habit and reach for something that you needed more than anything else in the world. What was that for Dean? He needed his father, and hunting, but he could live without those. What he needed the most, what he barely survived without in the past four years… was Sam. He needed Sam. And, even though he didn't know how, he had to reach out and help. That was the only thing to do. Growing up, Dean had always protected his little brother, against everything. And maybe, just maybe, the first step to things going back to normal (normal for the Winchesters, at least) would be to take on that role again. Even though it would be hard.

Dean got up out of bed and walked over to the door. He grabbed onto the handle for a moment, hesitating. It wouldn't be too late to just turn around and climb back into bed. Then he would wait for Sam, calm him down through his nightmares, and then go back to sleep. Like usual. Dean thought for a moment, then shook his head, before opening the door. He looked around, his eyes searching for Sam in the darkness. And he saw smoke, before his eyes rested on Sam. What the?

.x.x.x.x.x.

"You do realize that these things can kill you, right?" Dean asked as he paced back and forth in his and Sam's motel room, a cigarette pack in his hand. He looked down at it, shaking his head. He had gone out to Sam, only to find that his little brother had been smoking. Well, there was a shocker for you. As an older brother, he always knew that there were some things out there that he'd have to teach Sam, even though Sam would disregard him and go after it anyway. Like sex. Dean must've given him the 'don't rush into sex' speech a hundred times. And what had Sam done? Well, he waited longer than Dean, sure, but it had still been way to soon. And then there was the 'don't drink until I say you can drink' speech. Sam had gotten drunk when he was seventeen, a year before Dean planned on giving him permission. But smoking? It was a step below doing drugs, in Dean's mind. It was a horrible, disgusting habit, filled with lung cancer the phlegm. 'Never smoke, no matter what you do.' That was a lesson Dean was sure that Sam would listen to. Apparently not.

Sam rolled his eyes, getting up from his bed and starting towards Dean. The looks Dean gave him caused him to stop mid-step, and walk backwards to the bed before sitting down. Okay, so Dean was mad. That was understandable. But, really, what did he have to be mad about? Sure, smoking was bad for you, and it caused a lot of complications, but it was also an out for Sam. It calmed him down, made him see things more clearly. Why couldn't Dean understand that? Why couldn't he just go with the flow, and realize that his brother was an adult who could make his own stupid mistakes, if he want to?

Dean looked at the pack in his hands. It looked new, like only a couple had been taken out of it. Was that what Sam had been doing while he was stuck on food duty? Going out and spending money on things that would eventually kill him? Dean glared down at the pack, and crushed it in his fist. The look on Sam's face just made him angrier. Sam looked like he was about to cry. He depended on the cigarettes so much that not having them around scared him. And, while Dean didn't want to scare Sam, he wanted to help him. Helping Sam quit was his main goal now. A goal he would make sure he would reach.

"Dean, they're just cigarettes."

Dean narrowed his eyes at his brother, and threw the pack down on the ground. He stormed over to his brother, standing in front of him with his arms crossed. "You took health in school, right?" Sam was about to say something, but Dean cut him off, continuing. "Actually, I don't care if you didn't. I told you over and over how smoking was bad. Many, many times, Sam. It isn't just the fact that these things will end up killing you. That's a part of it, sure. But even while they're working on ruining your lungs, they're doing major damage. Statistics show that a person who doesn't smoke can run faster and longer than one who does smoke. So what does that say about hunts, Sam? Smoking can cause you to winded easily, and then whatever we're hunting can grab you and kill you. Did you ever think about that?"

Sam narrowed his own eyes at his older brother. "Well, when I started smoking I never figured that I'd be hunting again, now did I?"

Dean thought about this for a moment. Actually, Sam had a pretty decent point right there. The consequences of a hunter smoking didn't apply to him back then. But, what, was Sam just expecting Dean to believe that Jess had been alright with all of this? She had seemed like a pretty sensible girl, from the few minutes Dean spent with her. She didn't look the type to date a smoker. Then again, Sam didn't look the type to smoke. "When and why the hell did you start smoking?"

Sam looked down at the floor, avoiding his brother's eyes. He didn't want to admit it to Dean. It was slightly embarrassing, and he was ashamed that he stooped to such a level to avoid what he had been feeling back then. Sam had started smoking right after he left for college. He had been stressed, and feeling so lost. And then his friends has suggested wasting away his problems in pot. Of course, no matter what Sam was feeling, he wasn't going to try drugs. So he didn't he next best thing--cigarettes. And they helped. A lot. Since then, that's what he had done when he was stressed. It was his thing.

"Sam, answer me. Now."

The tone in Dean's voice scared Sam. And he knew that whenever Dean got like this, disobeying him was probably a pretty stupid thing to do. He sighed, shrugging. He didn't make eye contact with Dean. He couldn't. "It was right after I left. I was stressed, Dean. Dad hated me and I thought you did, too. So I started."

Dean's eyes softened, if even just a little bit. He looked at the pack on the floor, and then sat down next to his little brother, putting a hand on his shoulder. He couldn't believe Sam had believed that Dean hated him. That was impossible. "Sam, I didn't hate you. You're my baby brother, I could never hate you. I thought you knew that."

Sam fidgeted with a loose string on the end of his shirt sleeve. Dean hated chick flick moments. Wow, this had to be really bad or something or him to go into a whole 'I love you' thing, even if he hadn't said those three words exactly. He had said it without saying it. With Dean, you had to read between the lines when it came to the sentimental stuff. And Dean had said 'I love you'. Sam knew he had. "I know. I just… I was stressed."

Dean nodded, sighing. I understood. He understood more than Sam thought. After Sam left the only thing he did for weeks was go to bars and drown his sorrows in whatever alcoholic drink he preferred that night. He only stopped when John talked some sense into him and dragged him out on very minor hunt while he had a hangover. Yeah, that had sucked. Dean looked at the floor, his gaze falling on the crushed pack of cigarettes. "Alright. You know what? If we were normal people, I would let you keep at it. But we're not. So, you know what we're going to do? You're going to quit, and I'm going to help you. That's just the way it is." Sam nodded and looked at Dean, smiling slightly. Dean smiled back.

And right then they weren't such strangers anymore. For the first time in years they felt like they actually knew each other. Secrets were still there, hidden away, but they knew that as long as they had each other's backs, that didn't matter.

They weren't strangers, they were brothers.

.x.x.x.x.x.

Haley: Okay, I know, piece of crap. But I've been in a Supernatural-y mood all day, and I figured this would be an interesting story. No one's ever talked about Sam smoking before, lol.

Sam: Kind of makes you wonder where she got the idea from. Hint hint.

Haley: Cough cough. Actually, the idea came to me while I was sitting on my front porch… smoking. Yes, yes. I know. I shouldn't. I know all the statistics. But I do. For the same reason Sam started. Well, okay, I didn't get kicked out of my house or think my sister hates me or anything. Nah, just stress. Tons.

Dean: Not that I care or anything, but you really shouldn't smoke.

Sam: What he said.

Haley: Just drop the subject and say good bye.

Dean: Whatever.

Sam: But--

Haley: Ciao!