A/N: Inspired by the one line from Keane's The Frog Prince that's the title.
Let Go, Brother, Let Go
Your castle hollow and cold,
You've wandered so far
From the person you are,
Let go, brother, let go. - The Frog Prince by Keane
"I've been looking for you," says Sam. Dean looks worse than when they last met and that's saying something. It twists Sam's heart like not many other things do these days.
"You shouldn't be here," replies Dean, exhaustion written in the slump of his shoulders and the hopelessness of his voice. The black dog got a swipe in before Dean managed to take it down and his face is bleeding profusely from the three parallel cuts on his cheek. It looks painful but Dean doesn't seem to notice, he just watches Sam with dull eyes.
"What I should or shouldn't be doing is neither here nor there, Dean," Sam smiles at Dean, tries to get one back from him, but Dean doesn't even bat an eyelid.
"They'll have followed me, they want me to lead them to you." There's no emotion in Dean's words, like he's saying them just because he feels he has to. Like saying them will make no difference and he knows it.
"I can handle them." Sam offers another smile with that. Dean sighs and shifts his feet, the gun drops out of his hand like he's forgotten he was holding it.
"What do you want, Sam?" He runs a hand over his face, smearing the blood everywhere, he doesn't even flinch at the pain he must have felt with a wound like that.
"I want to help you," Sam says sincerely, it's the sincerest thing he's said in years. Dean's only reaction is to raise an eyebrow, but it makes such a change from numb detachment that Sam's heart leaps. Sam closes the distance between them. "Let me help you." Sam's tone is so close to begging that anyone who wasn't his brother wouldn't believe it was him saying it. Dean's eyes flick down to the knife Sam's holding in his hand, then back up to meet Sam's gaze.
"That's what you call helping now, is it?" It falls just short of being a joke, but Sam can't mistake the flash of humour in Dean's eyes. Sam grins briefly just to see that glimpse of the man his brother once was.
"You can't save me, Dean." Dean breaks eye contact at that and looks at the floor, like he knows and it's a thought that still haunts him, he can't escape it; his biggest failure is standing right in front of him.
"I have to try," says Dean as though he hasn't already given up.
"You have tried. You've tried so hard, I've seen you."
"It wasn't enough." Dean looks back into Sam's eyes, face blank once more.
"No, it wasn't." Sam holds Dean's arm with his free hand. "Let me do this for you? Please, Dean, I can't watch you go on like this, I can't." He sounds so close to being desperate that it's almost funny. Dean grabs Sam's arm in the same place Sam is holding his, it's the first real movement he's made since Sam arrived. He looks away again, but not down at the floor like last time, just off into the distance. Sam watches as Dean cracks and falls to pieces in front of him. Dean's face screws up and tears spill down his cheeks though he tries to stop it. The loud sobs finally wrack his body and Sam can't bear to watch any more, even after all the things he's seen, he can't bear to see his brother like this.
In one swift movement, Sam pulls Dean towards him in a hug and slides the knife into his belly. Dean's breath stutters in his ear and Dean clings to him, trying to hold himself up as his life seeps out onto the floor.
"Sammy," says Dean as his knees buckle and Sam lowers them both gently to the ground, sliding the knife out as painlessly as he can manage.
"Don't worry, Dean, don't worry, it's all okay, it's all right." Dean's staring straight into Sam's eyes, searching for something in them, even as he shivers and shakes, his body trying to create heat and hold onto the life that's forming a large puddle around them both. Dean raises an arm clumsily towards Sam's face as though it's made of lead and Sam holds his brother's cold hand to his cheek.
Dean's shivers die down and the look of pain falls from his face to be replaced by the smallest of smiles as he stares into Sam's eyes. Sam feels a burst of joy that he hasn't felt for a long time and never will again, and the grin on his face shows it. He carefully rests his hand on Dean's forehead, rubbing his thumb back and forth as Dean's eyes flutter shut. Dean's face finally goes slack, the only sign of life left is the frantic beating of his heart as it pumps his blood out onto the floor.
"Let go, Dean. Let go," says Sam, but Dean's already gone.
Thank you for reading.