He wakes, eyes squinting, to find he's in bed and it's just getting light and he can't remember how he got there. Then after a split second his stomach drops as the memories of last night bombard his mind, the memories of him losing control and breaking down in front of his baby brother. He closes his eyes waiting for the sickening feeling in his gut to subside before sitting up and rubbing his face awake at which point he notices his hands are all bandaged up. He stares at them for a few seconds, shame turning his stomach as he remembers. His thoughts are interrupted by the sound of running water and he realises Sam is already up and in the shower. He sighs thinking what a baby he had been and what the hell must Sam think of him now and then he hears a voice inside his head which sounds a little like Sam, telling him not to be an ass.
By the time Dean's eyes are fully open and the bleariness has gone Sam is walking out of the bathroom a towel wrapped around his waist and his hair all wet.
"Hey, you're awake,"
"How you feeling?"
"A little sore," he gives his brother a lopsided grin and holds his hands up by way of an explanation. He expects Sam to lay into him for being such an idiot but instead he just smiles sympathetically.
"What happened anyway? How did I..?" he still doesn't know how he got into bed.
"You pretty much cried yourself to sleep - so I er- put you to bed." Sam shrugs and smiles, his voice light trying to make it sound like it's no big deal that Dean fell asleep in his little brother's arms after sobbing himself into exhaustion.
"You undressed me?" He's more than a little embarrassed but tries to sound horrified and disgusted but Sam's unfazed.
"Please, I've done it before. That time when you got wasted with those guys from the kids' home, and you couldn't even stand up to take a pee..."
"Yes, yes thank you," he holds up a hand to stop Sam in his tracks reluctant to relive that moment from his teenage years but secretly grateful to Sam for making light of the highly uncomfortable situation they both seem to be in.
He tries not to look embarrassed. It's gone way too far for that anyway. Sam walks past him to his bed and puts some clothes on while Dean gets up and takes a shower and neither of them says any more.
He stands face upwards in the shower letting the water strip away the previous night's events easing the tension and melting away the shame he still feels for letting himself go - allowing himself to be comforted when he knows he should be the strong one. He wonders briefly if maybe, he should, just this once, give himself a break, he is human after all. He smiles to himself:
Sammy's making you soft
When he's done he's surprised to feel a little less like shit and thinks that can only be a good thing. Walking out of the bathroom he sees Sam sitting in the chair by the window casually reading a newspaper. He doesn't even look up before he starts to speak:
"So I was thinking that we could go get some breakfast then maybe just chill for a few days,"
"I haven't found any jobs anyway so I thought maybe it's time we took a vacation,"
"Sam," he repeats himself a little louder although knowing full well his brother had heard him the first time.
"What?" he looks up at him his eyes soft and full of compassion, silently telling him he doesn't have to explain himself or feel ashamed or embarrassed and he thinks to himself what the hell did he do to deserve such an amazing little brother.
"You don't have to do this, Sammy."
"Act like nothing happened, walk on eggshells - I'm - I'm ok- I mean I will be - you don't have to worry that I'm gonna crack or something." Sam smiles a little sadly and Dean thinks he looks like he could do with some cheering up.
"And don't think that after last night I'm all of a sudden gonna start showing my feminine side and go around hugging you all the time either. Last night was - well it was one hell of a night and frankly - I'm all chick flicked out."
Sam laughs a little shaking is head.
"Oh and another thing- if you ever slap me again I am so gonna haul your ass down to the nearest gym and give you some boxing lessons,"
Sam looks up, apparently puzzled:
"What you'd prefer it if I'd punched you?"
"Well duh? Yeah, I mean - man you are such a girl."
Sam shrugs, slightly amused and thinks to himself well what did you expect but is secretly relieved to have his brother back in one piece, if a little scathed and traumatised from all the chick flicking.He continues reading while Dean gets dressed and then looks up as his brother switches on the TV and then almost straight away switches it off again his forehead crinkled by a slight frown. Sam puts the paper down as loudly as he can and turns to his brother:
"Dean," he puts just enough warning into his voice and is a little surprised to see Dean's shoulders drop and hearing his sigh of defeat he thinks optimistically that maybe things have changed.
Dean thinks to himself how great it isn't that Sam has got to him. Again. He gives in without a fight thinking he may as well just spill his guts as his brother is apparently taking no shit from him these days.
"I was just thinkin'. What do you think the deal was with Jessica?"
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, like why she wasn't comatose and how come she died so quickly. Most of the kids that were admitted around the time we showed up survived. Why not her?"
Sam looks at Dean knowing exactly where this is going and sighs in frustration at his brother's inability to let himself off the hook.
"You think that Hydecker- the Shtriga got to her because he saw you talking with her and now you're blaming yourself because there's nothing else for you to beat yourself up about?"
Dean just stares at the bed and says nothing.
"I don't know why she wasn't comatose, maybe her parents interrupted the feeding process or maybe she had something about her - maybe she was stronger than your average eight year old. It doesn't really matter, Dean you couldn't have saved her. I mean short of sitting in the hospital with a big gun like a psychopath on crack waiting for him - which wouldn't have worked anyway considering the fact you would have been arrested on sight - there was nothing you could have done. Can you please just accept that you weren't to blame for any of this and for once give yourself a break?"
Dean looks at him sadly.
"She was a brave little kid,"
Sam just nods because like his brother he has also had to come to an acceptance. An acceptance that Dean will never completely forgive himself and that a part of him will always be wondering if he could've done something else. That's just who his brother is and he can't change that. He looks away briefly, feeling more than a little depressed that he didn't manage to fix his big brother, and realising that there are parts of him that just can't be fixed and scars that will never heal.
He looks back at his sibling and decides that Dean isn't quite ready to venture outside just yet and so gets up and heads for the door.
"Where you going?" Sam swears he detects a slight panic in his older brother's voice.
"I'm gonna go get us some breakfast. Thought we could eat in today. What do you think?"
"Dean," his brother looks at him but he can't think of anything to say and Dean seems to understand and steps in for him.
"Bagel with bacon and ketchup. No cheese." Sam smiles and shakes his head as he turns for the door but stops at the sound of his name.
"Sammy?" his voice his soft and sounds a little sad.
"Yeah?" his brother his looking him in the eyes and he swears he sees them filling up and he feels his own eyes sting in sympathy.
"I just, I mean about you know – last night? I wanted…."
There's a brief pause as Dean shakes his head annoyed but Sam just waits and his patience doesn't go unrewarded.
Dean looks back at him eyes glistening:
"Thanks. For... you know."
"Anytime, Dean." Sam smiles a little and is about to leave but he senses that Dean isn't finished so he walks over and sits down on the end of his brother's bed.
Dean hesitates but somehow finds his voice:
"Sam look, I know I can be an ass sometimes,"
"Shut up," Sam smiles again because he's missed this banter between them and was so afraid they wouldn't get it back. There's a pause as Dean gives him 'the look' and then starts again.
"I know that I treat you like crap and I push you away, but it doesn't mean that I…."
A long pause
"You're really getting a kick out of this aren't you?"
"So much," Sam can't help but laugh but feels more than a little guilty.
Dean looks away and sighs, giving up and Sam suddenly takes pity on him and decides his big brother has suffered enough.
He says it deliberately making sure Dean gets it and he's rewarded by a look of gratitude from his brother that speaks more than he could ever say with words forcing a smile from Sam who is really getting tired of finding his eyes filling with tears. He pushes himself up after slapping his brother's leg lightly and finally heads for the door until not for the first time in the last twenty four hours Dean surprises him:
"Love you little brother." He turns around to see Dean fiddling with the batteries in the TV remote pretending that he hasn't said anything of the sort and he's so shocked he can't bring himself to make fun of his normally emotionally phobic brother and returns the sentiment with only a moment's hesitation.
"I love you too Dean," and then is forced to roll his eyes and attempt to hide the huge grin threatening to take over his features when he hears the inevitable insult exit his brother's smartass mouth as he casually pops the back on the remote and switches on the TV:
"Y' big dork,"
And Sam's comeback doesn't miss one, single beat:
Then he closes the door behind him and that's the last time they speak until Sam returns with breakfast for them both and they sit together at the small table by the window in comfortable, companionable silence with only the sound of the TV in the background, airing the regional news of a local girl who died in her sleep after losing her two year battle with leukaemia.
The disease had returned after a period of remission but the brothers, lost in their thoughts didn't hear or see the picture displayed of a pretty auburn haired girl of around eight years old.
Not sure about the ending, but I kind of needed to explain why she wasn't comatose other than the obvious reason that I needed her awake in order to make Dean feel even worse.
I'm a bitch like that.
Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed.