Darkness, My Old Friend

Summary: Dean says he needs some time to figure this out. Sam needs time too. A missing scene for Hunted.

A/N: I wrote this in one sitting this morning in my post-Hunted thoughts. I just didn't feel like Sam was angsty enough--the guy learns that he's likely going to be evil and he hardly even looks grieved. I just wanted more, so I wrote it :) Thanks to Gem for the swift and loved beta. (and don't worry, SFTCOL(AR)S girls, the poop fic is still coming!)

Disclaimer: It's probably best that I don't own them or they would need really good medical insurance.


Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

-from Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel

Darkness, My Old Friend

Motels were always the worst at 3 AM.

The sounds of the road never stopped coming. The sounds from other rooms always came through the walls. And the small claustrophobic space always seemed to reverberate with desolation.

This motel seemed particularly cheap. Sam could almost feel the stale air, tainted by years of costumers and insects, infecting his lungs.

Dean had finally fallen asleep. Both of them had stretched out on the beds and stared at the ceiling, not talking, not sleeping, not wanting to think. Sam wasn't sure when, but some time between 1 and 2, Dean had dozed off, his breathing falling into a steady rhythm in the soft sounds of the night. But Sam stared on, his mind chasing the thoughts in circles in his head as he tried to nip them before they went places he didn't want to go.

There was just too much, though. Too much had happened. Too much was unraveling. It was like suffocating, slow and painful, and suddenly in the darkness, Sam could feel the four walls closing in.

His heart rate increased and his palms grew balmy and he felt himself panicking. He needed to get out. Out of the motel, out of town, out of the country, out of his own skin.

When a sob threatened to break free of his throat, he knew he couldn't stay. He could cry himself to sleep and that was one thing--worrying Dean was another.

With slow and quiet movements, he lifted himself from the sheets, eyeing Dean cautiously as he did so. Then, with the stealth born of years of hunting, he exited the room and into the starless night.

It was cool, and he was clad in nothing more than sweatpants and a t-shirt. He could feel the hairs raise up in protest on his skin, but he ignored them. For a moment, he considered looking for a bar, or a diner, someplace full of warmth and artificial light, anything to stay the chill that was threatening to overtake him.

But he knew that kind of warmth and light would never reach him where it mattered. He wasn't sure anything would. His soul was darkening and he had no means to stop it.

With a sigh, he fell back against the motel wall, sliding down the coarse exterior.

It had been a hell of a day—week, month, year. The downward spiral since Jess almost surprised him in retrospect. How had he gone from a law school hopeful, nearly engaged, normally adjusted kid to an orphaned demonically chosen freak? From straight A's to being the scourge of humanity in just one year?

Not that he knew that, of course. His father's last words had been more vague than informative, raising simply more questions than giving answers.

Normally, that wouldn't surprise him. Because it was so like his father—to leave them with so little to go on but enough to scare them into obedience. He was used to that. He had always gotten through it before, with Dean's help.

Dean.

A shudder scuttled through him and he dropped his head hard to his knees.

Dean had lied to him—lied to him. The brother he trusted above all else, the one who was always there, the one who always had his back, had lied to him for months.

John had too, but he'd always sort of expected that.

He'd always sort of expected all of this.

His mother, Jessica, the powers, the other kids, the Demon. He had known there was something to it all, but he'd never known what exactly, never really wanted to know--not really. Sure, the lack of knowledge had been frustrating, but the closer he came to the truth, the less he wanted to know it.

Because he was a killer. Or he was meant to be a killer. At this point, Sam wasn't sure it mattered. Wasn't sure anything mattered. His own father believed him to be destined for terrible things, and his own brother doubted.

It made so much sense. Dean's strange behavior. Dean's distance. Dean's desire to hole them both up and just end it. Dean's desire to run.

Dean had never run in his life. But Dean wasn't running from the hunt, from his grief, from the life—he was running for Sam's fate, from the fate Dean would have to save him from.

Dean begged for time, for the reprieve, and Sam's silence had been enough acquiescence of the time being. Because what could Sam say? There were no leads, no possibilities, nothing. Just a horrifying truth and a numbing prophecy that both of them were incapable of denying.

Dean wanted time to explain it away. Dean wanted time to come to some other conclusion, to create some other way out.

Sam laughed, his shoulders shaking with it.

All their lives, they'd hunted and search for answers, and all the answers had been right there all along. In him. His destiny.

The laughter broke into sobs.

It was him. He was the reason. The reason for Mom, Jess. The reason that Dad had been obsessed, the reason that Dean was so messed up. The reason for all of it.

His father's words rang in his head as if John had told them to Sam directly.

He said I had to save you…and if I couldn't, I might have to kill you, Sammy.

He'd spent a lifetime questioning his father, demanding reasons why. It'd been a vain pursuit. A meager attempt to delay the inevitable agreement Sam would always find with his father.

His father was right.

Sam didn't have an ounce of defiance to fight against it.

Sam flailed his arm out wildly, his fist pounding against the pavement.

Why did he have to put it on Dean?

Dean had been nothing but obedient his entire life, the good child, the pure one, and Sam knew it now better than ever. Dean had been the perfect son and John had given him the ultimate burden, the most unfair charge Sam would ever know. For Dean to kill Sam—that would destroy Dean in every way possible.

That was the one thing Sam could not stand for.

He'd seen everyone else he cared for die. Every dream he'd ever had was nothing more than a fragment to him. He had nothing left in his life; nothing except Dean.

He would be damned if he'd let Dean suffer because of him. Dean had already endured months of torture on his behalf, and Sam couldn't take that back.

But he could stop it from continuing.

His sobs slowed, and he sniffled, wiping his nose. His hand stung, the knuckles abraded. Cold revelation poured over him.

He had to leave.

He had to leave now.

He had to get answers. If he could figure out what was happening, then maybe he could stop it. Maybe he could thwart the demon's plans. Maybe he could prevent his destiny from taking hold.

But he had to do it alone. Dean wasn't ready to help him anyway. He would have to be alone. In case the answer was not good.

Because if he couldn't stop it, if there was no recourse for him, then he would have to die. He would have to die, but he would never let it be Dean's hand that did it. Dean had already been through too much for him, protected him too long. It was his turn.

He would protect Dean. From anything. From the Demon. From himself.

The epiphany was hollowing and he felt empty in his certainty. He leaned his head back against the wall and prayed for another way, prayed for a way to save his brother without hurting him.

Because when Dean found him gone, his rage and hurt would be strong.

Yet Sam knew it would be nowhere as strong as the utter grief of having to execute his own brother.

Gathering his strength, he stood, his eyes red and dry. Without making a sound, he slid back into the room. Dean was still on the bed, turned on his side toward Sam's bed, as if in search of his brother's presence.

Sam smiled, a sad and wan smile, and had a sudden urge to hug his brother, to wake him and seek some comfort with him and from him.

It couldn't be. Dean would stop him. Sam would lose his nerve.

No, he had to leave. Now.

He packed his things, shouldering his bag. His eyes lingered on the motel notepad and pen. Pausing, he scribbled a note, so woefully inadequate, yet it was all he could muster.

Dean, I'm sorry. But I have to know. I'll call you when I have my answer.

Sam meant it. It would be a call of reconciliation. Or of goodbye.

Blinking away tears, Sam didn't look at his brother. Instead he went for the door, exiting into the night and toward the darkness he knew too well.