Disclaimer: yeah, yeah. The usual, man.
Authors Note: I wrote this at 2.30 in the morning, after suffering from a severe lack of sleep and it hasn't been beta'd. Nor may it be any good. Just though I'd warn you.
Oh, and, beware: chickflick moment ahead!
It's when Dean steps out of the shower, whistling, that Sam cracks.
It's when Dean rummages through his bag, humming, that Sam can't pretend any longer.
It's when Dean is so completely fine, that Sam has to know.
" Why did you do it?"
Dean looks up, half-dressed, fumbling with a shirt. Not paying too much attention to what his brother is saying. Because his brother is always saying something.
"Huh?" He fishes a relatively clean shirt out of his bag. It'll do.
"Why do you always do that?" Sam repeats his question, the anger now clearly recognisable in his tone, in his choice of words.
Dean holds up the pair of jeans he was looking for, a triumphant look on his face.
"Do what, Sammy?"
"Why do you put my life before yours?"
Dean freezes, lets his shoulders drop.
"Sam..." It comes out as a sigh. Tired. Clearly revealing that he doesn't want to do this now. Not now. Not when, at this very moment, everything is finally okay.
"No, Dean." Sam won't let go. Won't back off. Not this time. Not when there is hardly any time left. "I have a right to know. I'm not gonna let you walk away from this. I want to know why. I want to know why you, for some reason, have it made up in your head that my life is worth more than yours."
Dean tries anyway. "Sammy...Not now. Okay? Not now. That yellow-eyed bastard is finally dead. We're not. We're fine. Let's stay that way for a while."
Sam snorts, and lets frustration take over. "No. Not okay. You gave up your life for me. You're gonna die in a year. We're not okay. We're not fine. Not by a long shot."
Dean loses his patience. "Look, Sam. What's done is done, okay? Nothing you can do about it. I'm not gonna die today. So, let's just enjoy this moment, shall we? Let's just be, for a moment."
It isn't enough for Sam. Like it never is. Not when it comes to his big brother.
"I can't 'enjoy the moment', Dean! Not when I know that, in a year's time, my brother might be dead, because of a deal he made with a demon to bring me back from the dead. And I can sure as hell not 'enjoy the moment' when that brother seems so intent on sticking to that deal! So I want to know why. I want to know why you did it. And why you are so willing to let her get you!"
Sam is, he believes, on the verge of tears now. He's an eyeblink away from crying. And seeing his brother in pain, has just never been something Dean handles very well. He can't accept it. Not when he can do something about it. And certainly not when he's the cause.
He turns his back on his brother, now fully dressed and stands near the window. There is nothing but a grey sky. He can see the sun fighting to come out. He thinks it's a losing battle.
He inhales deeply the musky scent of the bedroom they're currently sitting in. Sam on one of the twin beds. He doesn't know how to make this right. He doesn't know how to fix his brother without breaking himself. But when it comes to a choice, between him and Sam...well...there never really was a choice, was there?
"He was right. The demon. When he said that I need my family more than they need me."
"No, Sam... Don't...don't try and make this better. He just was. I know he wasn't right about everything. I know he was saying it just to goad me. But he was right. You and dad...I know you guys needed me around for things. I know that I'm not worthless to you. But you don't need me. Not the way that I need you.
Sam has to interrupt now. He can't let this go by: "No...Dean. You can't really believe..."
Dean doesn't move, doesn't listen. Just keeps talking.
"Sam...you don't know..." He hesitates. Unsure of his words. "...You are the one thing in my life that I did right. The one single thing I didn't screw up. The one thing keeping me here. As sane and grounded as I can be. The thought of doing this, living this life, living at all, knowing that you're not ...It would've killed me Sam. In saving you, in making this deal, I saved us both. And I'm not mad. I'm not 'letting her get me'. I'm giving her what she wants, because she gave me what I wanted."
Sam can only listen, mesmerized. He has never realised how little he knows about his brother. How little Dean shows, so when it hits him, it's like getting hit by lightning, like being swept up in a thunderstorm, and thrown into suffocating blackness. It almost doubles him over in pain. His stomach clenches and he feels the inevitable nausea climbing its way through his body, bile rising up in his throat.
"He doesn't think he's worth it."
It's a thought he can't acknowledge. Can't accept. How did he mess up like this? What did he do, or didn't do, to make his own brother feel this way? How can he let him go on thinking this? The answer is simple: He can't. So he goes for the facts this time. No beating around the bush. The truth.
" I can't do this without you, Dean."
" Yes, you can."
The memory of a conversation a lifetime away.
" Yeah, well. I don't want to."
Sam can actually picture the twitch of that almost-smile. The one Dean saves only for him.
"You will." And before Sam can respond: " And you'll go back to school. And find that girl. And the labrador. And the whole white picket fence- wet dream thing you got going on. And you'll be happy. I know you will, Sam."
One tear finally makes its way down his cheek, runs down to his chin. Stops there. The way tears do.
"How can you be so sure?"
Dean turns around now, and the halfsmile is there.
"I'm your big brother, Sammy. I always know."
Another tear. How can he be so blind?
"Then why can't you see that this is going to kill me? Why can you not see that I could never be happy, waking up in a world you're not waking up in? Why can't you see that I'm not Sammy, when you're not there to be my big brother?"
"Why can't you see that none of it, not any of it, means anything without you?"
It's Deans turn to interrupt now. Tries to, by speaking his brothers name, but Sam won't have it.
"No, Dean. It's my turn to talk. And if you really believe everything you've just said, then it's going to be a long one. And you don't get to interrupt. Or sigh, or moan, or complain about chickflick moments. You're going to listen to what I have to say, because I should have said it a long time ago."
He takes a deep breath, sits up, and looks straight into his brothers eyes, willing him to look back.
"Dean, you have no idea what you've done for me. What you've been to me. You have given up everything for me. You've sacrificed everything. Whatever you had to do, in order to keep me safe, keep me happy, you did it. You protected me and made me laugh and took care of me. You are what kept our family together, what kept me together. You've done more for me than I could ever do for you. You say you need me more than I need you? Dean. I don't even exist without you. I am nothing, when you're not around. Even in school... I barely spoke about you, not because I didn't care or didn't want you in my life, but because I couldn't think of you and not want to run back. I thought about you everyday. Even Jess knew that, because when it was your birthday, or my birthday, or Christmas or any other stupid day with any significance at all, I would just...bow out. I didn't say a word and stared at the clock and at my phone and I didn't sleep for a single second and I just wanted to be alone. You think I don't know the pain you've been in, and maybe I don't, but I know that this pain, this fear of not being good enough, of not being needed, of being left alone, will never, ever, be grounded again. Ever. Dean, I am who I am, solely because of you, and yes, I know dad was there but he wasn't to me what he was to you and when I look back on my life, all I see is you. I want you to understand, need you to understand, that I can not live my life without you in it. I won't. You say I am the one thing that you've done right? You are the one thing keeping me that way. I need you, as much as you need me and I won't let you think anything different."
He keeps his eyes trained on his brother.
"You got that?"
Dean stands staring at him. Speechless. He actually is at a complete loss for words. He could have never, would have never seen this coming. But here it is.
The absolute, impendible truth:
His brother needs him.
He lets the realisation sink in. Feels it flow through his body.
Sam lets out a harsh, almost desperate laugh.
He stands up and takes a step forward, sees his brother eying him warily.
"Don't be scared, Dean. It's just a hug. It'll be over in no time."
And he steps forward, while Dean stands rooted to the spot, and puts his arms around him.
It's a weird sensation. A forgotten one. And yet, so achingly familiar.
He takes in the smell of his brothers jacket, the feel of the strong muscles under his arms and the simple, yet unbeatable, sensation of hugging his brother for the first time in years. Why were they so scared of this?
And just as he is about to step back, let go, he feels Deans arms go up, around his back.
He's hugging him back.
And not the quick, barely conscious is-it-time-to-let-go, fleeting manly hug that men sometimes exchange, but an actual embrace.
And it strengthens.
Dean clings to him as desperate as he is now clinging to Dean, and he vaguely remembers not ever before having hugged somebody like this.
His brothers head on his shoulder, his hands fasted in his shirt. He pulls him in a little tighter. He's not ready to let go. He never will be.
He closes his eyes, and lets the moment last.
So I'm sitting here, with all these chocolate-covered Jensens and Jareds, waiting to send them out... Want one? You can order one by reviewing.
Did I mention I enchanted them to do your bidding?
So, what are you waiting for? Let me know which one you want. And also what you think of my fic, of course...