Title: Unsaid Promises

Summary: The words never come. CSPWDT tag.

Dislcaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: These things are a dime a dozen, but I had to write this for my own reasons to deal with the fact that Sam simply said nothing to Dean at the end of CSPWDT. And it drove me crazy. So this is what I came up with. I have no delusion of grandeur with it, but I had to write it, and for whatever reason decided to post. Thanks to Gem for the beta and Brenna for the encouragement and JJ for the pick-me-up when it comes to this ep.

Unsaid Promises

The words never come.

They catch in his throat, garbled among all the lies, half-truths, and desperate pleas. It's like Dean has sucker punched him again, but with something far more powerful than a fist.

And what can he say? Because Dean's right. He always has been.

You're a selfish bastard, you know that?

It's too little, too late.

There's nothing you can say to make this better.

All of it is true.

He's known since Dad died that he only got Dean back in a trade. There are no such things as coincidences, not in their world. Everything Dean says has added up—him on the brink of death and then miraculously recovering, Dad suddenly dying. The Colt missing. He doesn't want to think about it, but he knows it's the truth. And he's so selfish that for as much as he misses his dad, he doesn't regret which Winchester lived.

And it is too little, too late. No one buys this good son, stay strong brother routine. It's wearing thing, even to him.

But what can he tell Dean? That he's right? That he's sorry?

Because God knows both are true.

He wishes he could lie, wishes he could tell Dean that nothing he is saying could possibly be true.

He wants to tell Dean that he loves him, needs him, that Dad's sacrifice wasn't in vain.

But he can't. After all this, he's too afraid to speak them. He's too afraid—too afraid he'll say it wrong, that saying anything at all will push Dean away again, make him close up, make him withdraw.

Besides, Sam knows that if he speaks, he needs to make a confession of his own, and he's just not sure he's ready for that quite yet.

I'm sorry.

He's the one who's sorry. He disobeyed one last order and now they've all paid the ultimate price. He lost the demon and the Colt—his best chance to end this.

He did it for Dean, to keep them together, but his weakness tore them apart.

Because John died anyway.

And now Dean has lost all that he has to live for and is bowing under the weight of the guilt of a trade John never would have had to make if Sam had been the good son when he should have been.

Sam wants to fix him, wants to be the strong one like Dean has always been for him, but when all Sam's pushing finally topples Dean's defenses, Sam finds himself buried in the rubble with no way out.

All he wants is to go back.

He should have been the one to make the trade. He should have shot the demon. He should have been in the fight with them all along—should have never left them for college, for dreams that wouldn't get him anywhere.

He should have never been born.

He got them into this. It's him. It always has been.

And as Dean finally breaks, finally lets Sam watch as his façade shatters, Sam can't find the words. Because there's nothing he can say that will make Dean feel better, nothing he can say that will bring him any closure for his own sins. But he feels the promise growing in his heart. Someday he'll give back for all the times he's taken without question. Someday he'll do the right thing without needing to be told.

He may never find the words. But he will find a way to make this better.