Summary: Dean's hurting, can Sam help him conquer his demons?

Warnings: angst

Author's Note: set after Croatoan

Feedback: Same as usual, any comments or helpful suggestions are welcome.

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or any of the characters involved on the show, though I wouldn't mind owning Jensen or Jared :

Time To Let Go

Metallica was softly humming in the background, providing some noise to the otherwise silent ride. Dean was driving the impala, as usual and Sam sat in silence, trying to wrap his head around Dean's sudden personality change. Dean sighed from the driver's seat and when Sam looked over, he finally saw how worn out and tired Dean looked.

"Dean?" Sam asked, tentatively.

Dean didn't respond for a moment, then tiredly, almost reluctantly, responded, "What, Sammy?"

Sam sighed to himself, something was bothering his older brother, he just couldn't tell what. He hadn't been the same since their Dad had died. At first, he'd thought it was the stress of the death, but then Dean became reckless while hunting, and he was never reckless. "Never mind," he muttered.

Dean studied Sam for a moment, clenched his jaw and pulled the Impala over to the side of the road, turning off the ignition. He sat, staring at the dashboard for a moment, before turning to Sam. "Sam," he began.

Sam looked at his older brother, worriedly. He thought about talking but figured it'd be best to allow Dean to get it out on his own, whatever was bothering him.

"I-I can't do this anymore," Dean said, leaning back, his hands falling to his lap. "I'm sorry, Sammy. But I can't, it's too hard," he turned his head against the headrest so he was facing Sam. Dean eyes were glistening, his jaw clenched, trying to keep his emotions in.

"Is that what's been bothering you?" Sam asked softly.

Dean didn't respond, "You were right, this isn't the way to live our lifes…out of hotels or the car, not having a home, running scams so we can keep going. I'm tired of running, of never settling down, not having a decent bed, something permanent to come home to…"

Sam was silent, not quite sure whether he should respond.

"I'm tired of putting our lives on the line every day for people who won't give a damn the next day that we did or not," Dean vented, his voice rising in volume and anger, or disgust, Sam couldn't tell which.

"What do you want to do?" Sam asked.

Dean shook his head, as he tried to hold back the tears, "I don't know, Sammy. This…hunting…it's all we know. Hell, Dad trained us to be hunters ever since we were little kids. I always figured that's what we'd do until we died. You, me…Dad" Dean clenched his jaw, lightly smacking his thigh, "I guess I knew it wouldn't stop…the hunting…after we found the demon that killed Mom and Jess. Dad wouldn't have let us; I just never thought we'd end up like this. Dad dead after bargaining for my life".

"What happened, that wasn't planned, Dad chose family over hunting. He always taught us that, "Family first" that was his motto," Sam tried to console his older brother.

"Back there, when we thought you were infected…it hit me" Dean pushed on, ignoring Sam's statement.

"What did?" Sam asked.

Dean glanced at Sam, "That I could've lost you. That I was 2 hours away from losing you".

"Dean-" Sam began.

"Don't" Dean interrupted, "Just, don't" he repeated, this time softer.

Sam nodded silently and waited for Dean to go on.

"Family's all I've got, and now that Dad's gone, you're all that I have. I don't have friends from school that I can fall back on. If you died, I wouldn't have been able to deal with it, I wouldn't have been able to handle dealing with this job, these personal demons, on my own". Dean sighed, "What happened in that town, I never want you to come that close to death again. This job's too dangerous and I'm sorry, I really am. I shouldn't have dragged you into it again".

"Dean, I chose to come with you again, remember? You didn't force me back into it" Sam reminded.

"You'd still be at Stanford if I hadn't come to get you last year".

"You don't know that, that demon still would have come and taken Jess, whether I was with you or not. We probably would have met up anyways after that," Sam reasoned.

Dean shook his head "We can't do this anymore".

"Dean, we can't give up" Sam replied, a knot began to form in his stomach.

"Think of it as early retirement, Sammy" Dean replied grimly.

"Dean, come on. I know it's rough, but you have got to get over this. It's killing you" Sam said.

Dean shook his head.

"You were the one who told me that you can't let this job get to you, remember?"

"That was totally different, Sammy".

"No, Dean. It's not" Sam said, his voice rising.

Dean looked up at Sam.

"Dean, this job, it can mess with your head, but you can't let it. I know deep down you don't want to quit. You're right…we should take a little vacation. You want to see the Grand Canyon? Let's do that, then we can go over and see some national parks, hit some amusement parks...whatever we need so we can get you to relax and stop blaming yourself," Sam pressed, hurriedly.

Dean clenched his jaw, "Sammy-" he began.

"No, it'll be good. Take a few weeks to unwind. No hunting, it'll be good for the both of us, I promise," Sam quickly interrupted.

"Sam, taking a break, it's not going to make this problem go away," Dean paused, formulating his thoughts, "I can't do this anymore," he added softly.

Sam stared helplessly at his older brother, desperate tears began to welt up in his eyes, "Dean, please".

Dean sighed and gazed at Sam, "I don't know what to do anymore, Sammy. I don't know how I can make this feeling go away, I don't know if I want to…All I know is that if I continue hunting, I'm not going to be able to take it much longer. I've already begun to do irrational things. I'm not myself anymore, and frankly, it scares me, Sammy. I can't live in this constant paranoia anymore" Dean looked into Sam's eyes, "It's not healthy for either one of us".

Sam stared at Dean at a loss. "You-you aren't going to do anything stupid, are you? 'Cause you can't, Dean. You can't lose your head…like when you were thinking of making a deal with the devil. You aren't thinking of doing anything like that again, are you?"

Dean ignored Sam's question. Instead he turned the key, starting the car. Once he made sure no car was coming, he pulled back onto the road, slowly beginning to pick up speed along the backcountry road.

"Dean," Sam pleaded, "promise me".

"I can't promise anything, Sammy. I'm sorry, but I can't" Dean replied softly. "I just can't," he repeated, barely above a whisper.

A/N: continue? Yes/No? plus, is Harvard Sam's school? I couldn't remember…