DISCLAIMER: Nothing from Supernatural is mine, and neither is Sarah MacLachlan's "Angel." I also must confess that I got the title from a short story by Gary A. Braunback, so I can claim no credit for coming up with something that awesome. Oh, and also, if you're reading this, Kitten, the beginning of this story was not meant to be stolen from you. I only just noticed it sounded an awful lot like something from one of your stories. And I did something totally different with it, anyway, so…don't be mad at me! I'll even share with you, a secret: this whole story was inspired by your video on YouTube, to this same song. …That is all.

Characters: Sam and Dean Winchester, with guest appearances by Becky. Remember her? Oh, and Zack is there, too, and Derek, from my story Until The Last Rose Dies. Oh, and The Demon Dude is here, too. Sorry.

Setting: After In My Time of Dying but before Everybody Loves A Clown.

Warnings: AU after In My Time of Dying

A Song for No One's Mourning

Spend all your time waiting

For that second chance,

For a break that would make it okay.

There's always one reason

To feel not good enough,

And it's hard at the end of the day.

"…Time of death: 10:41 A.M."

Dean Winchester didn't think that it would ever stop being 10:41 A.M. in his mind. It had been a month since those fateful words had fallen from the doctor's lips, and still, every time he glanced at a clock, he could have sworn that it said 10:41.

That hadn't changed, apparently, because when he looked at his watch it read 10:41. He blinked, and glared at the thing, until it finally changed to the actual time—8:52. Huh…he'd actually slept through the night this time…

He lay on his back and stared at the ceiling, listening hopefully for sounds of movement. Any movement would do, he wasn't picky—he just wished for something, as he had every morning for a month now. But once again, his hopes were dashed—the motel room was utterly silent.

At 9:00, Dean finally gave up and turned over on his side, propping himself up on one elbow to look over at the other bed.

As he'd expected, Sam was awake. He wasn't moving, not so much as a twitch. His eyes were frozen in their sockets, staring up. The only indication of life at all was his hands, folded over his chest, moving up and down with each breath. It was the slow, deep breathing of a sleeping person, but Dean knew that his brother was very much awake.

That was the problem.

Dean sighed heavily, and pushed himself up and out of bed.

It was time to face yet another day.

I need some distraction,

Oh, a beautiful release.

Memory seeps from my veins.

Let me be empty

And weightless and maybe

I'll find some peace tonight.

Sam had been fine that first night.

Well, okay, not fine—that would have been ridiculous and Dean would have suspected Sam of possession and shot him on the spot. But considering what had just happened to permanently change the course of their lives, and considering what he'd just lost, the kid had been doing okay. Actually, out of the two of them, he'd definitely been the one who handled everything the best.

Sam had been the one to get Dean back into his hospital bed when the older Winchester found himself unable to tear his gaze from the covered body that was his father. He'd been the one to make sure his brother truly was physically okay. He'd been the one to get Dean checked out AMA, and to get them both to the nearest crap motel. He'd gotten Dean into his bed and comfortable, and he'd gone out and gotten them the food that their bodies demanded, though their minds shied from the idea. He'd washed their clothes, checked the weapons, and gotten them organized to leave at a moment's notice.

In short, Sam had done everything that Dean usually did for them both. He'd taken care of everything, and done it in efficient silence, leaving his brother time to brood, to grieve.

He hadn't given himself that time. He hadn't brooded, he hadn't grieved. He hadn't paused in working—in doing every single possible job, no matter how small or pointless—until his body physically gave out, fed up with going so fast on almost two days of no sleep at all, angry at Sam's stupidity and its own mistreatment. He'd barely made it to his bed before he passed out.

He slept for almost fifteen hours, and woken up the way he was now.

The doctor Dean had taken him to couldn't really explain it. At least, he couldn't adequately explain it, as far as Dean was concerned. He'd said something about post-traumatic stress combining with a long-delayed reaction to cause Sam to retreat into himself, to cause his mind to just shut down completely. He'd called it an auto-defense mechanism.

And he'd said that there was nothing to be done. He'd told Dean that Sam's mind was instinctively trying to sort everything out, to force him to come to terms with the situation, and that once he had, he'd come out of this thing on his own.

Dean had almost ripped the man a new one right there in the exam room, because damn it, he was wrong. This wasn't normal, and Sam was not going to come out of it on his own.

That shell was not his brother.

Sam wasn't with him now, any more than John was.

Dean took some time off hunting after that, deciding to devote all his time to getting the remaining fragments of his life back into some kind of order.

It had taken him a long time to decide where to take them. For over a week and a half he'd simply driven with Sam from state to state, spending anywhere from a day to half a week in one hotel room or another, taking care of his little brother, his entire world suddenly narrowed to that job alone.

Sam was pretty compliant, and he wasn't hard to deal with. He went wherever Dean led him, he showered on his own—if Dean shoved him into the bathroom and threw clothing in after him, anyway—and he ate whatever was put in front of him, even stuff he hated. He dressed on his own, though Dean had to get his clothes for him, he would brush his teeth if the brush was put in his hand, and even brushed his mop of hair on occasion. Many things that he would have argued over, he simply did now. Dealing with him had suddenly become the easiest thing in the world, and Dean was absolutely sick over it.

Sam didn't even acknowledge him now, any more than he acknowledged any other member of the human race—which he didn't do at all, ever. He lived completely in whatever world he was in right now—except when he had the nightmares.

Dean could still remember, with utter clarity, the first nightmare after John's death. He'd come shooting up out of sleep to find his brother screaming at the top of his considerably-sized lungs, and he'd been out of his own bed and over in the other before he realized it. It had taken nearly ten minutes to calm Sam down, and even then only because he'd yelled himself hoarse.

And then Sam had gone back to being just…blank. He'd fallen back to ignoring Dean again, and that hurt the older Winchester more than he was willing to admit. In fact, the only thing that kept him from drowning in his own despair was that Sam at least followed his orders, which he did for no one else.

During their wanderings, Dean hadn't managed to come up with a good place for them to live, if only temporarily. There simply wasn't any place they could truly call home. He had, however, come up with a last-resort destination, a card to pull out of his back pocket in the event that things got truly desperate.

And two weeks ago, that time had come.

Sam had a vision—a real, true, waking vision, complete with screams, pain, the whole shebang—and even that hadn't been enough to bring him out of his catatonia. Dean had shaken him, yelled at him, freakin' begged him for details—all to no avail—and finally he'd decided they'd reached that point—the last resort.

And then they'd come here—to Palo Alto.

In the arms of an angel,

Fly away from here,

From this dark, cold hotel room

And the endlessness that you fear.

It really was inevitable that they'd end up back here at some point in their lives, Dean knew. This place had been the source of so many things—for both of them, but more for Sam, really—that Dean thought maybe it would do something to bring Sam back to him.

He wasn't sure what he'd expected, but whatever it was, he didn't get it. Sam didn't jolt "awake" as they crossed the city limits and entered territory that must be familiar to him the way no other place in the world could be. He didn't seem to notice where he was being taken. He just stayed in his customary position—leaning heavily against the door, staring emptily out the windshield, his hands limp in his lap—and Dean's heart sank.

God…if this doesn't work…

That had been two weeks ago, and since then they'd been living here, in this motel. They weren't ideal accommodations, but Sam wasn't in a position to care and Dean's entire existence was bent on him, so it doesn't matter.

What did matter was that, so far, Dean's last-ditch effort was proving to be a complete and utter failure.

Dean sighed heavily and pulled his shirt over his head, reaching over in the same movement to pat Sam's leg. "Hey, Sammy, come on, it's time to get up," he murmured, grabbing Sam's arm and dragging him into a sitting position. He tossed some clothes into Sam's lap, and in a few seconds he'd shoved Sam into the bathroom and sat down to wait.

He allowed his brother exactly five minutes, and as he'd expected, Sam was fully dressed when he went back into the bathroom. Moving automatically—this whole routine seemed bizarrely natural nowadays—Dean got Sam to brush his damp hair and his teeth, then steered his brother out of the room, down the stairs, and all the way out to the car, even as he dreaded this whole thing.

It was time for his absolute, total, desperate, completely rock-bottom plan.

You know, the one he thought up while Sam was showering?

Yeah. That one.


Oh, God, please let her be alone… Dean thought anxiously, scanning the crowd uneasily as he got Sam settled in a chair and put his plate in front of him. "Well, go ahead, kiddo, eat up," he murmured distractedly, still watching for one familiar face among this crowd of total strangers. He really wished he'd thought to call, but the number was in Sam's phone and that was in his bad—being useless to him at the moment, and all.

Please, please, please let her be alone…

And yet it would seem that luck was very much against him lately, because when Becky finally came into the common, she was accompanied by two people. Dean recognized one of them, from a picture in Becky's house—that was her brother Zack. But he didn't know the other one…

Dean was about to lose his nerve entirely—about ready to grab Sam and book out of there—when Becky spotted him. A wide grin broke across his face, and she waved to him while she reached out to shake her brother's shoulder. Zack and the other guy looked over, puzzled, and Becky kept talking as she dragged them over—probably some sort of explanation.

Dean carefully and unobtrusively moved to block his brother from view as they came close, and it had the desired effect—no one noticed Sam immediately.

Becky got there first, and as she reached out to hug him, he murmured very quietly, "I'd hoped you would be alone…"

Becky released him, and she looked confused. "Dean, what…?"

"Sam!" the guy who wasn't Zack cut her off suddenly, and Dean grimaced. Damn…

He reached out and put a hand on the man's chest without pausing to think about it, not quite shoving, but effectively halting him mid-step.

"What the hell…?"

"Look, man, I'm sorry, but…" Dean sighed. "Damn, this is hard…I really wish you'd come alone, Beck."

"Dean, what's wrong?" Becky demanded, her eyes, along with everyone else's, now fixed on Sam, who was eating calmly, taking no notice of anyone around him.

Dean just sighed and brushed a hand through his hair, holding the other out to one of the two guys. "I'm Dean. Sam's big brother. I dunno if—"

Zack grinned easily and reached out to shake. "Yeah, he talked about you all the time. You guys got me out—Becky told me. Hey, Sa—"

"Dean, what is going on?" Becky demanded, cutting off both Zack and the other guy—Derek, Sam's old roommate, apparently—and looking agitatedly at Sam. She'd seen the problem, even if they hadn't.

Dean sighed again—he'd been doing that a lot lately. "Look, Becky, it's a long story." Then he thought about it, and shook his head. "No, it's short. Our dad died a month ago."

Becky gasped, and covered her mouth with one hand, while the other two just gaped. "Oh, my God, Dean, I…I'm so sorry…"

Dean, however, just plowed on—best get it over with now.

"Yeah. We finally found him, and then he died barely a week later. I guess it was one too many for Sammy here, 'cause he's been like this ever since."

"…Like…what, exactly?" Derek asked, and before Dean could do anything, he darted over and clapped a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Hey, man!"

Sam didn't so much as flinch, and he definitely didn't turn. He just kept eating slowly. Confused, Derek leaned to look him in the eye—and flung himself back with a startled yelp, having finally gotten a look into Sam's dead eyes.

Another gust of air escaped Dean as he took the seat next to his brother. "Well, I guess that question becomes rhetorical now…"

"W-what's wrong with him?" Derek gasped.

"Dean, is it something s—" Becky began, but Dean shook his head.

"No, nothing like that—I don't think. Doctor said it's something like post-traumatic stress, that he'll come out of it when he's ready."

"But you don't believe him."

Dean shrugged. "All I know is, wherever Sammy is now, he's not in there." He looked around at them, managing a small smile. "It's okay, you guys can sit down. He's lost his mind, but he won't bite." I almost wish he would.

And that was how Dean came to be eating breakfast with his brother's college buddies, while Sam himself sat in the middle of his favorite place in the world without even noticing.

That was how the last fragments of Dean's heart came to be in pieces.

You are pulled from the wreckage

Of your silent reverie.

You're in the arms of the angel.

May you find some comfort there.

It hadn't worked.

Sam hadn't reacted in the slightest to the presence of his friends, or his school, or the aspect of the "normal life" that he so craved. Dean had waltzed him back into this world—dangled that string so temptingly in front of him—and the youngest Winchester didn't even notice.

So this is what giving up feels like…

Dean's head rebelled against the idea, violently, but in his heart Dean felt a sudden sense of…something. Grief? Release? Relief? Or a bizarre combination of all of them?

Well, he knew one think he was feeling—guilt. That feeling was not new to him, but its intensity was. How could he give up on Sam? How could he even consider it? How could he think about giving up the last remnants of his world?

And yet…did he really have any other choice?

"Hey, Becky, can I talk to you for a minute?" he asked suddenly, his voice effectively silencing the incredibly strained and awkward conversation that went on as the three obviously tried to forget that bomb that had just been dropped on them.

"Uh…sure," Becky said, glancing at Sam as she got up, as if expecting him to respond in some way.

Dean gave a bitter, silent chuckle, wishing—wishing, hoping, dreaming—that he still held that slim hope.

"Look, Beck," Dean murmured in a low voice, glancing over at the table. "Here's the thing. I haven't really been…by myself…since all this started. I've just been trying to change what's happening. I'd hoped that seeing you guys would…" He shrugged. "But I guess I was just fooling myself. I guess he's just…gone. And…"

"And you need some time?"


He couldn't believe he'd just said that—said he needed a little time away from Sam. And this next part was even worse, because it was such a very strange think to say about a twenty-three year old man.

"So do you think you could…uh…take care of him? Just for a little while?" While I go to a bar and get filthy stinking drunk at eleven in the morning…?

Becky looked at least as surprised at hearing his request as he was about making it, but she didn't even pause to make up her mind. "Of course I…we…will. He's still our Sam, after all….somewhere in there."

Our Sam… Dean thought, a little taken aback. But then… I'm not so sure anymore.

So tired of the straight line

And everywhere you turn,

There's vultures and thieves at your back,

And the storm keeps on twisting.

Dean had only been planning to stop for a second at their motel room, to leave the car there. (He had no clue what state he'd be in when he left the bar later, so it was best just to walk, probably.) But then he went up to the room to use the bathroom, and when he came out…he didn't end up leaving. Instead, he made his way over to his own bed, and sat down, slowly.

Moving like a zombie, he dropped his keys on the table between the beds with a quiet clink, and stretched out on the bed with his arms up behind his head, resting against the pillows.

He wondered what San was doing right now. Were Becky and then still eating? Come to think of it…they hadn't had any food when he'd left, and they hadn't looked remotely appealed by the smell of breakfast. So, either they had come into the common for absolutely no reason at all, or…

Or seeing Sam like this makes them sick, too.

He didn't know precisely why that thought surprised him, but it did.

He just hoped Sam had consented to go with them. Dean hadn't left him alone since all this happened, but Sam didn't seem to care who he was with these days—or even if he was with anybody at all—and he really hadn't seemed to notice Dean leaving. (That thought came with a twinge that Dean resolutely ignored.)

He wondered what they'd do with Sam, where they would take him. Probably to a library or something, if they were all as geeky as Sam…used to be…

Dean wasn't sure when he started crying, but he suddenly noticed that his face felt odd, and when he put his hands to it, they came away soaked.

It had been a long time since he'd cried, and now he remembered why he always avoided it. He hated the way it made him feel—the way it made his eyes sore and his cheeks tender, the way it made his stomach hurt and his chest tighten like that time he got that 100,000 volt shock…

But now that he'd started, he couldn't seem to stop. In fact, the more he tried, the more tears there seemed to be—a month's worth of tears held back and forced down for reasons Dean could no longer understand. And finally, Dean concluded that the tide could not be stopped, and gave himself up to it, curling into himself and burying his face in his hands.

He cried until there were no tears left, great, wracking sobs that shook him to the core. Just when he thought they were finished with him, a new wave broke over him, and he bowed before its strength. His throat began to ache, and once or twice he had to choke back bile as his stomach rebelled at the treatment.

At last, though, he physically could not do it anymore. There was nothing left in him—just a deep, horrible emptiness. He lay there, curled up with his head buried in his arms, shaking like a leaf in the wind, and wondering how it had come to this.

Dean lay there for a long time, and slowly, he drifted off to sleep.

He woke to fire.



Whirl of thought.

Distance, from emotion, from thought, from all things painful.








You keep on building the lie

That you make up for all that you lack.

It don't make no difference,

Escaping one last time.

It's easier to believe in this sweet madness, oh,

This glorious sadness that brings me to my knees.

It was interesting, seeing things from up above. Okay, so from a plane it sort of sucked. But from a height of maybe eight feet it really wasn't so bad. A different perspective…it was nice…

He knew he should be frightened. After all, he was pinned to the ceiling of his motel room, his stomach sliced wide open and flames licking around him, though they didn't touch him yet, but rather drew closer with agonizing slowness. He should have felt the pain, the blood, the heat, and been terrified.

And he was, really—in a morbidly fascinated sort of way. But the thing is, it's actually very difficult to be frightened when watching your own demise. And besides, what with the way his life had been lately…

He'd lost everything, and it was only now that he was able to fully comprehend—to fully embrace—all that he'd lost. And suddenly, it was as if a door had opened, and he stared at the flames with a new eye. Suddenly, they were not harbingers of death, but rather bringers of peace, of a new life.

He closed his eyes and gave himself up to the cleansing of the Fires.

In the arms of an angel,

Fly away from here,

From this dark, cold hotel room

And the endlessness that you fear.

Screaming inside.











And Sammy came for him.

You are pulled from the wreckage

Of your silent reverie.

You're in the arms of the angel.

May you find some comfort there.

Dean kept his eyes tightly closed for a long time after his mind woke up, taking careful assessment. His back was against something soft, so he wasn't pinned to the ceiling anymore. There was no heat, so the fire was gone. But he felt very stiff, and there was pain, though it was a little fuzzy and all.

Hmm…all signs point to alive…

He felt…disappointed.

"Dean, I know you're awake, man."

Okay, maybe a drastic revision of the facts was in order here, because that sounded like Sam's voice. So, he must have been wrong—he had to be dead.


"Dean, stop being so dramatic. The doc already said you'd be fine, so there's no reason to milk it anymore. Dean!"

Well, there was really no reason to do this anymore. If this really was heaven, and Sam really was here and talking to him, then by God, he was going to see it!

His eyes actually opened fairly easily—none of that nonsense about too much weight on his eyelids, luckily—they seemed to realize that he was in no mood.

He looked around, and there was his brother.

And it was shocking how normal he looked, his 6'5" frame folded into a chair pulled up as close as possible to the bed. His hair was mussed and he looked like he hadn't slept in days. But he was looking right at Dean, and though his eyes held fear and grief and endless amounts of pain, they still held something.

And as he looked, Sam smiled, a very small, barely-perceptible lifting of the lips, and he lifted a shaky hand to brush his too-long bangs out of his face as he leaned in closer, bracing his elbows on his knees, opening his mouth to speak again.


It was difficult to say which one of them the sound came from as Dean sat up and grabbed his brother in a sudden, fierce hug, his movements made easy by shock and so many other things.

"What the hell? What the hell, Sam?"

For a long moment, Sam sat limp in his arms—and Dean thought he might have actually resisted the hug for a second—but then, slowly, hesitantly he lifted his arms to return the gesture.

Dean was not embarrassed. He had no room in him for embarrassment—not on top of everything else he was already feeling. So he just let himself be in the moment for once, and forget that he wasn't supposed to let anyone in.

Explanations would come later, of course.

Later, he would learn that Sam had left Becky's house with no explanation.

Later, Becky would call and ask why Sam had stolen her car yesterday, and what the hell was going on?

Later, Sam would tell him that he'd felt Dean was in danger, and how that, at last, jerked him out of his catatonia.

Later, Dean would hear the whole story of the rescue—how the firefighters and cops had all been there when Sam had arrived, how they'd all tried frantically to keep him out of the building, how they'd all been completely unable to get near him as he'd walked calmly into the burning building, how the flames had seemed to part just for him and break a path to his brother, and how Sam had come out minutes later with Dean in his arms.

Later, there would be cops and friends and questions to deal with.

Later, both of the Winchester brothers would have to truly think about what had happened, and they would break then—break and fall and shatter under the sudden weight of their world.

But they would do it together, and that was the important thing.

Sam was back, and Dean wasn't alone anymore, and as he held his brother closer, Dean glanced at the clock, for no reason at all.

As he did, the numbers changed to 10:42.

You're in the arms of the angel.

May you find some comfort here.

Author's Note: See? It's not a deathfic! I didn't kill anyone! proud Anyways, I really hope you all liked it—I have to admit I'm rather proud of it, myself. Limp!Sam is DA AWESOMENESS! So, bottom line: please review, 'cause it'd make me very, very happy!