Once a Heart

Why? Why does everyone around me have to die? Why do I have to be the one to do it…god I don't think I can.

She asked you to…you have to be the one to do it.

Please, I can't…I can't watch her die…I've already seen so much. I can't stand it, I can't do this…

"Sam?" Oh god…I don't deserve it…I can't do this…don't try to make this alright…oh god Dean please fix this…

Sam didn't think he could face his brother, he knew what he'd see and he didn't want it. The concern, the pity, the regret…he couldn't deal with it and didn't want it but at the same time, he longed for it. He longed for his big brother to make this ok, to fix this. Dean had always been able to fix anything, make life easier whether it was with a gentle touch, his voice, or his insufferable sarcasm.

Not this time though. Sam knew he couldn't ask that of him, it would be just too much. Plus, she wanted Sam to do it and he didn't have it in his heart to deny her anything. God he wished there was another way, he would do anything to save her. Anything.

So he made up his mind. It didn't make anything easier, god it made things worse. But he sniffed quietly and set his face, prepared to look at his older sibling, or so he thought. He turned to face his brother and his mask almost dissolved immediately. Pain. It was so clear in Dean's eyes that it hurt to look at him and the pain was directed towards Sam.

Sam couldn't believe how easy it was to read Dean right then, as if his brother had opened up to him just to allow the emotions to help heal. To ease his decision, this situation that was tearing his heart in so many directions he thought he'd be sick. And it did help, a little. It helped Sam open more, to feel more human when his emotions surrounded him. Even as they suffocated him, he felt more at ease. I'm not a monster…I can't feel this way and be a monster.

"I'm sorry." The gun, it was in Dean's hand and Sam hated that it would soon be in his. Why is he apologizing. Please don't guilt yourself about this. I can do it…oh god I have to do it.

"No you're right, she's right." Why do they have to be right? For once I need them to be wrong…please be wrong… Hot tears stung his eyes, his heart bleeding and screaming for a way out. And it was offered.

"Sammy I got this one, I'll do it." Please do it Dean…I don't think I can…please Dean…

"She asked me to." But why? Why do I feel like I have to…why do I love her…please don't love her…

"You don't have to." Oh god…I have to…

"Yes I do." Sam choked on the last word, the realization stealing the air from his lungs. Tears continued to fall, not unchecked but Sam now lacked the control to contain them. What was more, he'd lost the will to. He didn't care about the weakness he was showing, the heartbreak. He wasn't even aware that his eyes were burning anymore. The only image in his mind was the sickening metallic shine that reflected off the tears in his eyes from the object in Dean's hand.

He paused to breath, try to drag air into his lungs, to keep his heart beating although he wished right now it wouldn't. If there was no beating, there was no pain. Dean's eyes bored into his own and he looked down, not knowing if he would look up again. God he wanted to sink to the floor and stay there. Bury his head in his hands and cry, forget about the promise he had just made to himself.

He wanted to disappear. He wanted to wake up from this nightmare. He wanted there to be a cure, something other than this. He wanted a normal life, one where he wasn't being chased by a demon and supposed to go dark-side. He wanted to believe that his brother wouldn't have to keep his own promise to Sam. He wanted to believe he could be saved.

He wanted his mother. He wanted his father. He wanted Jessica. And he wanted out.

But there was no out. There was only one way to go, and in Sam's opinion, that was down. He had only one choice, one right decision to make. He had to save her, he owed her that much. He had failed to keep her free from the curse, to free her from it and now he owed it to her to save her the only way he could.

He loved her too much to let someone else do it, someone who might not feel the same remorse and pain he would feel. He needed her to be loved in her last few moments and the only way for that to happen would be for him to be the one to do it.

Oh god…I really do kill everyone I love…

He sniffed and gained enough composure to lift his eyes. After a few attempts they met his older brother's and held, strong and pained.

"Please." It wasn't a question, hell it wasn't even an order. It was a plea, he needed to do it and he knew Dean wouldn't deny it of him as much as it would pain the older sibling. His hand remained outstretched, trembling not so discretely, waiting to be obliged.

He saw his big brother hesitate, shift, ready to argue. Sam knew it wasn't because Dean wanted this hunt, his brother could never think about this that way. He was a hunter, not inhuman. No, Sam knew it was because Dean didn't want him to have to do it. He imagined that on some level Dean was angry with Maddy, that she had asked his little brother to kill her.

He hesitated to protect Sam. Sam also saw it as his chance to get out of this situation, to turn tail and run; hand the responsibility over to Dean. Big brother could always make things easier, shoulder the burden and let Sam live a little lighter, freer. But not this time, Sam was going to carry this himself as was his promise to Maddy; to himself.

When his hand didn't waver, despite the trembling, he saw the disappointment and what would have been well hidden fear for his little brother if not for the fact that Sam had seen it many times before. Dean slid the cold, metal cannon into Sam's hand and suddenly it felt so heavy. Not just his hand everything, his feet, his arms, his head, his heart. Even his soul weighed on him.

He rubbed his thumb across the grip trying to warm it. But it didn't help, it still felt cold and dead in his hand. He stared at it with disgust, shame, guilt and fear. He then directed his broken voice to his brother.

"Just wait here." He was trying so hard to keep himself in one piece. Then again his heart was already in a million of them. Yet more tears slipped past his crumbled walls, climbing over the wreckage that was his heart. He tried to reassure Dean with a smile but it came out as a pained expression, his eyes still begging for help but he himself refusing it.

Dean didn't respond, didn't blink, didn't move so Sam thought it would be a good time to move away from him, while he was still willing to let little brother do this. Slowly he unglued his feet from the floor, turning haltingly from the older man, he didn't want to face him. He didn't want to stop moving, fearing he'd never start again but at the same time he longed to stop, to stand still and wait for an eternity if it would only buy him more time with her.

He took slow steps to the end of the hallway. When he reached the end, he spotted the back of his shirt, the shirt Maddy had thrown on after she had changed. His shirt. And he going to put a bullet through it. He spotted it and looked away, to the one other place he could think of.

He stopped and turned back to his brother, who stood rooted to the spot. Still not blinking, Sam wasn't even sure if he was breathing anymore and almost envied Dean for not having to move or breath right then. He could hardly see through the mist in his eyes anymore and when he saw Dean the image was blurred and out of focus.

Sam held back a sob and shook his head, pleading for help. Please don't let me do this…Dean…stop me…

When Dean still didn't move, Sam heaved a breath and choked on another sob before blinking at the tears in his eyes, forcing them to fall so he could see properly. He turned from his brother and once again fixed on his shirt that was on Maddy's back. He nodded to himself, finally accepting that there was no escape.

I made my bed…time to lay in it…I just wish it wasn't without her…

He walked forward, leaving the hall and entering the living room. Maddy heard his steps and stood from her seat on the arm of the couch to face him. She took in his appearance and he received more grief from the look she gave him.

"Sam I'm sorry that I asked you to do this, but it can't be anyone else. You're the only I can trust, you're the only one who can do it right. Please forgive me." She whispered through her own tears as they streamed silently, gracefully, beautifully down her face. Sam only shook his head and looked at the gun he held in his hand. It symbolized so much: death, pain, fear, anger, destruction, war, violence, hatred, the list went on.

But this time it would symbolize something this gun never had before. It would symbolize his love, devotion, selflessness and most of all his mercy. He let that thought circle in his head, trying to let it alleviate the ache in his chest. It didn't, it should have but it didn't. For some reason Sam couldn't allow himself to feel better about this at all, he should feel what he was feeling. He was about to end someone's life, and not just anyone's, it was Maddy's life. The woman, who, in the span of a couple days, managed to capture his heart.

"Don't apologize, you're right. This is the only way I can save you, I just wish it wasn't. I wish we had more-" Sam cut himself off when his throat closed, not wanting to sound too strangled.

"Time?" she offered quietly. He nodded silently, looking at the floor.

"Sam do it now please, just quickly do it. I'm sorry that this happened. I lov-" And the room was suddenly deafening. Just as suddenly, it was silent. The only sound was when Maddy let out a small sigh, her eyes wide with pain and shock. Then they slowly started to relax, he body doing the same and falling to the floor. Sam threw the gun to the side, having raised his arm so quickly he hadn't even registered it until the noise had made him blink. It was out of his hand and he was moving.

Sam met her halfway, wrapping her up so tight that he held her to him crushingly. A few ragged, gasping breaths later they were both on the floor, Sam holding her body to his while on his knees on the floor. Maddy was lying face up, cradled in his arms. Sam was almost expecting her to look relieved, like in some movies he'd seen where people died with a small smile on their face.

But Maddy didn't, she looked scared and pained. Screw scared, she looked terrified. She was so young, she hadn't wanted to die and Sam had brought it upon her, he had inflicted this pain, this fear. He had caught her off guard, knowing it would be harder if she was quietly waiting for it. He had hoped for the fairytale ending with the happy, yet sad, slow goodbye.

This wasn't a movie, wasn't a fairy tale. He didn't think this could even be considered life, this was a nightmare. One he spent every moment in whether waking or in sleep. No smile, no happy, slow goodbye with a bearable sadness.

Instead she was gasping for breath, holding on to her last moments as they slipped away form her. Sam held onto her, wishing she could say anything, more so wishing he could say something but he couldn't. His throat was sealed shut. He couldn't even sob or sigh. He was holding his breath, waiting for his throat to loosen or for hers to clear. And hers did, blood oozed from her mouth as her throat cleared but still she couldn't speak.

And she never did. She was gone before he had a chance to say that he was sorry, that he loved her, that he even cared. She died in silence and he had watched. He was too late to do anything, the only thing he could do now was let go, but he couldn't move his body. So he sat silent, tears running down his face and dropping, glittering in the sun, into her raven hair.

Crying, unmoving and silent, he sat, for how long he didn't know. It surprised him when Dean didn't emerge at some point after the shot to check out what had happened. Then again Sam was almost thankful that he hadn't, he didn't want Dean to witness his brokenness and pain. Broken. It described so much about him right then.

After an eternity of grief and silence he finally had enough strength to say two simple, short words.

"Love you." Almost so quiet to be nonexistent, and then he was silent once more, his body refusing to move. Once again a calm settled over the apartment, time stood still as the world carried on outside the window, outside the door.

Please don't forgive me.

Broken explained it all.