Author's Notes: This is the first thing I've written in about two years. Well, I've written some, but this is the first I've finished and posted. Comments are very appreciated, as is concrit. This takes place directly after the pilot.
---Sam didn't sleep the night of Jessica's murder.
The firemen had finally put out the blaze and a few were poking at the wreckage while speaking to the police officers that had come to assess the situation. Sam had been silent after he'd proclaimed to Dean that they had work to do, wanting to get on the road and hunt that murdering son a bitch down, but not able to bring himself to tear his eyes from what had been his first stable home.
Dean stayed near the car as Sam wandered close to the charred rubble, his head down and his hair in his eyes. He watched as his younger brother stood still amidst the burned remains on his future and felt a pang in his heart for him. He hadn't known Jessica, but he knew that Sam had loved her. He hadn't spent time in his apartment, but he knew that Sam had considered it his new home.
When Dean had burst into the door and seen Jessica on the ceiling, it felt like his blood had literally reversed itself in his veins. It was like twenty-two years ago all over again. The demon had been there and once again tragedy had struck right above Sam's head. Now he was watching Sam, dazed and broken, walk through what was left of his life, and Dean wondered if he was going to be able to put him back together again
---When they finally left Sam and Jessica's apartment, the sun was beginning to peek over the horizon and the sky turned pink. Dean drove to a motel, checked in, and came back to find Sam staring straight ahead with bloodshot eyes.
"Come on, Sammy," he said, opening the door for him and then retrieving their duffel bags from the backseat. Sam climbed stiffly out and followed Dean to room twenty-six.
Dean was thinking about all the things Sam would need. Some new clothes, for sure—he'd only packed one extra change for their little weekend hunting trip. Toothbrush. A razor. He looked up when Sam made a little sound and saw his brother scrub at his face furiously. They'd need some Kleenex, too.
Sam sat down on the bed and Dean paused before speaking.
"You need to sleep, Sam," he said gently. Sam shook his head slightly.
Dean was confused. "What?"
"How? How am I just supposed too—" he stopped abruptly and stood up, going to the bathroom.
"Sam," Dean called out, not knowing what else to say. Sam sniffed.
"I just need a shower." He closed the door. Dean sat quietly as he heard clothes rustling to the floor and the water being turned on. He reached out for his bag to pull out some clean clothes for himself but stopped when he touched the cloth. His hand fell away and he closed his eyes as he listened to his brother cry.
Sam's cell phone rang constantly. Dean would stifle a curse every time it did, wishing everyone would just shut up and leave his brother alone. Sam answered in a soft, broken voice, informing his friends that yes, their apartment had somehow caught fire and yes, Jessica just hadn't made it out in time. Sam sat on the other side of the bed with his back to Dean as he spoke, so Dean retreated for a quick shower to give Sam some privacy. Twenty minutes later he came out to find five of Sam's friends in the room and suddenly Dean was very thankful that he'd gotten dressed before exiting.
There were three boys and two girls huddled around his brother and one girl was sitting on the bed with her hand on Sam's shoulder. They all looked up at Dean.
"You're Sam's brother, right?" one of the boys said. Dean nodded and came over, taking a look at Sam to make sure he was all right—or as all right as he could possibly be. Sam looked teary and he blinked at Dean before running the back of his hand across his eyes.
"I can't believe this," a girl choked out. "Jess—she's just... it's so unreal."
"Sam," a dark-haired boy said in a shaky voice. "Jess's parents... um, they asked if you could speak. At her, you know. Her funeral."
Sam looked up and Dean saw that this boy had just asked the impossible from his brother. He stepped closer and Sam's friends made room.
"You guys, Sam didn't sleep last night. I think he just needs some alone," Dean said, trying to sound considerate and firm at the same time. The girls nodded and one of them reached over and hugged Sam hard.
"Sorry, I—" Sam's voice broke off and Dean laid a hand gently on his shoulder.
"He won't be able to speak at the funeral," Dean said. Sam nodded and sniffed a few times.
"I can't," he finally croaked out, and the boy nodded.
"It's all right, Sam. I get it. Her parents will understand."
Dean finally got Sam to lie down and close his eyes. His brother hadn't slept in over twenty-four hours and he looked like death. Sam was clutching his phone loosely in his hand, but didn't protest or even open his eyes as Dean gently took it from him and turned it off. Dean pulled the covers up and watched Sam breathe for a minute. He'd locked the door and put up the complimentary do not disturb sign. Sam's friends seemed to be coming in waves and finally Dean had to turn them away, telling them that Sam really wasn't up to visitors.
He wanted to talk to Dad. He needed their father to know that the demon had struck again, had killed Sam's girlfriend. Dean felt that John should know that his son was suffering, that maybe if he heard how bad the situation was he'd come out and find them.
Dean quietly rose from Sam's bed and stumbled to his own. He hadn't slept in over a day, either, and exhaustion was quickly catching up to him. As he pulled the covers down he heard Sam whimper, and turned around to see him trembling, wetness glistening on his lashes.
"Dean," Sam said in barely a whisper.
"Hey," Dean said, matching Sam's tone as he returned to his brother's side. "I'm right here, Sammy."
Sam made a choked sound and swallowed. "I don't—don't want to—"
"Shh," Dean soothed, putting a hand on Sam's hair. Sam swallowed again and seemed to calm slightly.
"Don't want to be alone," he breathed. Dean nodded, moving his thumb across Sam's scalp.
"You're not. I'm not going anywhere."
Sam visibly relaxed, tears drying on his face as he closed his eyes. Dean gazed at Sam's forehead, still knotted in pain, but would take what he could get. Dean snuck away for a moment to drag a chair between the two beds and settled down, Sam's hand immediately snaking out and resting on his knee. Dean brushed Sam's hair out of his eyes and briefly ran his hand down his arm, giving him a gentle squeeze to let him know that he was there.
---Sam's sleep was fitful and Dean jerked awake numerous times to find Sam tormented by nightmares and grief. Dean would lean over and murmur to him, shaking him gently until Sam's eyes opened and his body stilled. They would close seconds after; Sam wasn't quite awake but not exactly sleeping healthily. Dean would wait for his breathing to even out and then shift in his uncomfortable chair, his entire body aching. He wasn't getting the greatest sleep, either. He got up once to close the blinds since the noon sun insisted on shining cheerily.
When he woke again the room was dark and he realized night had fallen. He glanced at the bed and saw what had woken him: Sam was sitting up, finally awake. The room was silent for a moment before Sam looked at him.
"You slept in that chair?" he asked, his voice cracking and rough. Dean muttered something unintelligible and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, ignoring the pain that shot down his neck at his slight movement. Sam leaned back against the headboard before speaking again.
"Did you call Dad?" Sam felt compelled to ask, although he knew that if Dean had heard from their father, he would have told him.
"He's not answering."
---When Sam asked about food, Dean was more than happy to oblige. He was worried he would have had to start forcing his brother to eat. He told Sam he'd go pick something up from the diner down the street and Sam had nodded, mumbling something about a Diet Coke. Dean came back with what he thought was a pretty damn healthy meal that Sam would probably like, only to find his brother staring at something in his wallet and he immediately knew that something was wrong.
"Sammy?" he asked, putting the food on the table, and sure enough Sam let out a half gasp, half sob, and hurled the wallet across the room.
"She's gone!" Sam cried, throwing his face into his hands and rocking himself back and forth. Dean grasped his arms, trying to ease them down.
"Sam. Sammy, stop," he said, pulling Sam's hands away from his face. Tears fell down his cheeks, his eyes shining.
"I can't. She's gone. She's gone!" Sam was sobbing and struggling against Dean, pushing him away, but Dean wouldn't let go. Sam tried to grab his cell phone off the nightstand to undoubtedly chuck it in the direction of his wallet, but Dean snatched it away and tossed it harmlessly on the other bed. "She can't be dead. Not Jess, no, no, no..."
Dean grasped Sam's chin firmly, looking into his pained eyes. "Sam."
"Dean, let go of me!" Sam shrieked, freeing one arm and swinging in a wild punch. Dean wasn't expecting it and Sam's fist caught him right in the eye. "Let me go!"
"Sam!" Dean yelled, suddenly half blind but still keeping a grip on his brother. He desperately wished for their father; he would know what to do. Dean couldn't take this. It was breaking his heart to see Sam this way. Sam needed a parent, not him.
"God, Jess! Let go of me, Dean, for God's sake, let me go!"
Suddenly Sam was being embraced, tightly. He felt Dean's hand on the back of his head as his face was pressed into his shoulder, Dean's other arm wrapping around his waist. Sam fought for a moment, snarling in acute sorrow, before he broke down in sobs, burying his face into Dean's chest. He clutched at Dean, his fingers fisting in his blue jacket as his body was wracked with painful cries of loss and bereavement.
Dean shut his eyes tightly, his fingers gently working through Sam's hair. He held his little brother close as he wept, feeling every shake and shudder vibrating against his own body until he couldn't be certain he wasn't crying himself. It just wasn't fair that the demon had decided to go after their family again after all these years, after they'd already lost so much. It wasn't fair that the first time he'd been able to see his brother in two years would be this, would be Jessica dying and their place burning to the ground, and why did fire and blood have to follow them every damn place they went, why couldn't they ever just catch a break once in their lives?
Sam was quieting slightly, still crying, but not quite as hard. Dean eased his hold on him and Sam shifted his face so that his cheek was against Dean. Dean looked down at his brother's ridiculous mop of hair and wondered if Sam had ever considered a haircut.
"I miss her," Sam croaked. Dean looked up, wondering where the hell their dad was and why he had just left him without a word.
"I know, Sammy."
---It was nearing one in the morning when Sam decided to heat up the food Dean had brought and finally eat. He warmed up a plate for Dean, too, but his brother had crashed on his bed with his hand over his eyes. Sleeping in that horrendously uncomfortable chair couldn't be counted as actually sleeping, and Dean felt like he'd been awake for days.
Sam sat on the chair beside Dean's bed, picking at leftovers. Dean was dead tired and his eye was bruising nicely thanks to Sam's fist, but he couldn't quite fall asleep. He peeked at Sam through his fingers, pleased that he seemed to have emptied his plate. He felt like he should say something, like, it'll be okay, Sammy, or we're gonna hunt that evil son of a bitch down, don't worry, but nothing really sounded right and the silence wasn't so bad.
Sam put his plate on the nightstand and stretched, a yawn escaping his lips. He caught Dean's eye and they just looked at one another for a long moment, and Sam noticed the concern in his brother's eyes, concern for him, and suddenly gratitude mingled in with his grief, and he was so thankful that he had Dean, Dean, who he could somehow always count on even after two years of separation, because he was positive that things would be a hundred times more painful than they already were if he didn't have his brother watching out for him.
"Sammy," Dean said softly, his eyes sliding shut. "Get some sleep. You need it."
Sam blinked and pushed the chair back so neither of them would trip over it when they got up the next morning and climbed into bed, missing the warm body of his girlfriend that used to be there with him. Instead there was nothing and he felt so alone, but he craned his neck and looked at Dean, and Dean was still there and that was something.
"You, too," Sam replied in an equally soft voice. Dean hummed in response and Sam closed his eyes, and finally fell into a restful sleep, and a little while later, Dean did, too.