Author's note: This is very short and I'm not really sure about it.. But much as I loved Croatoan and the amazing brotherly moments, what Sam said at the beginning bothered me so I wanted to address it... Hope it's not too bad...
"So you know I'm gonna ask you why."
Dean looked up from what the bottles he was filling.
"Yeah, I know."
The answer was a statement and nothing further was forthcoming. Sam waited but he knew his brother, and knew he was most likely hoping Sam would either drop the subject or they'd be interupted. Unfortunately for Dean, neither was about to happen.
"So – why?"
Dean glanced up at him, but still said nothing. He wanted to pretend Sam hadn't asked him that, to pretend his little brother had never thought him capable of cold blooded murder in the first place. He wanted to pretend that the one person in the world who's opinion meant the most to him had not implied he was the same as those monsters out there.
Sam watched Dean and saw the flash of hurt in his eyes before he could conceal it. And suddenly it clicked into place. He'd been so freaked at the vision and the idea of his brother doing something like that, that he'd never thought about how it sounded to Dean. He'd never thought about how hurtful it must have been when he'd implied in the car that maybe Dean would kill an innocent man. And what he'd said before, about Dean being like them. He'd been afraid, of where Dean's head was at, about what he might actually do, but again he'd never really thought about how much harm his words could be doing.
And now, with the moment passed and the adrenaline dying away, he felt ashamed. That he'd even contemplated such thoughts. And about Dean, of all people.
His big brother. The man who would gladly, and far too readily for Sam's liking, give up his own life for a stranger. Who had weeks of sleepless nights because he was saved and a young man died in his place. Who blamed himself for a young woman's death sentence because they hadn't been able to just ignore a Reaper at work. Who blamed himself for their father's death, even though it had been his choice to make that deal and Sam himself thanked God every day that he had.
Who always did the killing, so that Sam wouldn't have to.
And suddenly Sam could see it. Every death, every time they didn't get there in time to save someone, every tough decision. It was all written on Dean's face, in his eyes, in the weight he seemed to perpetually carry these days. And Sam wondered how the hell he could ever have thought that Dean might not give a moments hesitation at taking a life, evil or otherwise.
His fears for Dean, his worry about what he was going through and how everything that kept getting thrown at them was affecting him, it had all compounded and resulted in Sam actually making things worse.
He felt about 2 inches tall.
Sam cleared his throat nervously, needing to fix things but knowing now wasn't the best place or the greatest moment. But regardless of that he couldn't bear Dean thinking that he thought that of him a moment longer.
His brother's look was wary.
"What?" he said, sounding about as tired as Sam had ever heard him.
"I'm sorry. I'm an idiot."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "Well, I'm not gonna argue with you Sam, but I gotta ask why in particular this time?" he said dryly.
"Because of what I said before. About you killing someone innocent, about you being no better than those creatures."
Dean tensed up and lifted a hand to halt Sam's stream of words.
"Sam, I don't.."
Sam stopped him. "No, Dean just listen – please." He was pleading almost and Dean never had been able to resist that tone of voice.
He sighed. "Fine." he said and Sam was speaking again almost before the word had left Dean's lips.
"I should have known better, I DO know better. You're not a monster Dean, and you never could be. I know you only kill things that are evil, things that deserve it. And I know you would never take an innocent life and I know how hard it is for you – what we have to do, what we see. And don't think I don't understand how much of that you still insist on protecting me from, because I do. And I appreciate it, even though I wish you'd let me handle it sometimes, so you don't have to. But the point is, I phrased things badly before. In the car and here. I was scared because I know how you always want to protect people, and I felt like maybe that instinct would make you see Dwayne as a threat and override the fact we didn't know for sure if he was infected. And I knew you would do what you had to, but that the circumstances might make that the wrong choice and then you'd have to live with that. And I've seen you load yourself with enough guilt to last a lifetime, and I'm scared that any more and you're going to go under completely. And I don't think I could live with that." said Sam, his voice soft.
Dean swallowed the lump in his throat that had materialised as Sam spoke. The relief he felt at hearing Sam didn't think he was a monster was enough to make him almost light headed. Before he got a chance to say anything, Sam was speaking again.
"You do what's right, all the time, you do what has to be done. And I see how hard that is for you. And I hate what it does to you. I just wish you'd let me help you with it sometimes. We're in this together, remember?" said Sam, giving his brother a small smile.
Dean felt his eyes burn and blinked quickly before the tears could materialise. Bad enough Sam had dragged them into an Oprah moment somehow, without him going the whole hog and having a breakdown.
When he was sure his voice would be relatively stable again he answered.
"Yeah I know. And that does help, Sam. Really." he said, hoarsely.
Sam's smile grew, affection clear in his gaze.
"So, we good?" he said tentatively and Dean managed a tired smirk.
"We're always good, Sammy." he said, and he meant it.
Hearing that Sam still thought he was one of the good guys was all that was needed to ease the ache in his chest, to take a little of the burden from his shoulders. As long as Sam believed in him that was all he needed. FBI hitlists be damned.
Clearing his throat and wanting to stop Sam making the moment even mushier than it already was, he ducked his head, indicating the bottles in front of them.
"We're gonna need more alcohol." he said.
Sam shook his head, knowing what Dean was doing but allowing his brother the escape from a conversation far deeper than he was comfortable with. Getting up, he headed into the other room.
Dean watched him go, a rare look of open affection on his face, before he went back to the task at hand. Maybe the day might turn out ok after all.
He looked up again as he heard a lock click on the door Sam had just gone through.
So there it is – short and hopefully sweet! Hope it didn't suck too much.. But I'll accept the criticism if it did! 'ducks head'