Disclaimer: I don't own. Sadly all belongs to The Great Kripke and his Minions of Awesomeness. I can only play. And play I do.


The room is dark and still. It shudders in the aftermath.

The air is drawn in ragged breaths through a shattered casement. It exhales and smells crash into each other. Mixing like water and oil.

Sweat. Blood. Fear.

It saturates everything; rushing into his mouth and clumping like charcoal.

Dean gags against the stench, the death.

Slowly, the darkness shifts and things become clearer. He wishes they hadn't.

Heaps. A mountain range of shadows covers the floor. Shadows that drown in a river of black-red. Shadows steaming life, like smoke from a snuffed candle.

He can almost see their faces, feel their empty stares. And in their midst Sam turns to him. Milk-white in the darkness.

No. Not Sammy.

Long fingers caress an arched knife. Silver blade and red blood grinning at him in the moonlight, like some sick joke.

Oh God. Sam.

Dean feels the bile crawling from his stomach. The claws are sharp and they dig deep. He falls, bent and toppled under his pain and shame and revulsion. The wood rushes to catch his knees, crushing them in its hard embrace.

No, not Sammy. Not Sammy. Not Sammy. Please, no.

His mind is like a broken record; each plea echoes off another.

A cry coils around his lungs and catapults into the air.

Sam watches with no remorse, no recognition. There is nothing. Dull eyes stare between long lashes; muted pools of color.

Dean fists at the tears he won't let fall. He questions the figure before him.

Why?

But he knows the answer.

"One day Dean..." His father's voice tears at him. Taunts him. Thrusts him to action.

He raises the pistol. He aims.

I'm sorry.

And as his finger presses back on the trigger he truly believes he is.

. . .

Dean wakes and the motel room swells into focus. He remembers this place, a little town outside of Topeka. The beds are hard and the comforters smell of cigarette smoke. There are wilderness paintings on every wall and the TV is plagued with static.

There is no blood, no grip of death in the air. No ejected casing of a bullet that's found it's mark in flesh and life. There is no loss. There is only sweat and ragged breath and the nightmare that caused both. Dean wipes at them, the sheet comes away from his brow soaking wet.

It's the middle of the night and the room is dark, ringed only around the curtain by the light of the stars and a sliver of a moon. Dean rolls over slowly, unsettled, though he'd never admit it.

Sam rests in the other bed, three feet away. His lanky figure is swathed in blankets and sleep. Safe.

Dean attempts a calming breath: inhale, exhale. It shakes and wobbles, crawling no further than his lips.

It was only a dream, he tells himself.

His reassuring words lack reassurance.

. . .

Local 5-0 is alerted to the fake credit cards the next morning and Dean has barely enough time to crawl out the bathroom window. Sam picks him up three corners down and immediately relinquishes the steering wheel. Dean puts his foot to the floor and the town behind them.

Sam settles into the passenger seat and his silence. It's been following him around for a while now, always within reach to pull over his shoulders at a moment's notice, like a favorite coat or a security blanket.

Dean doesn't like seeing him close up like that, alone with his thoughts. But what is he supposed to say?

Is he supposed to tell Sam that when he looks at his brother he sees someone else? Sure, it's his brother sitting there, folded into the leather seat: long legs and brown hair, same voice and smile and uncanny proclivity for geeky knowledge; his flesh and blood. But then there's the flicker of memory: a flash of dead eyes, the rusted-penny and rotten-meat smell of leftover carnage; there's the click of a trigger, the release of a bullet.

Shame wells inside his chest, filling it, drowning him.

Is something wrong? And Sam asks him because he has eyes, because he can see.

Dean shakes off the worry with a slapdash retort and a cocky smile. He thumbs the volume on the radio and music fills the Impala, bouncing off the back speakers, making it hard to think let alone speak.

Sam turns away and Dean does too.

And he knows he could tell Sam the truth, open up his mouth and lay out all his fears and worries and the damn crushing weight of the last words of a dead man. But he doesn't.

Instead he hums along with the song on the radio and watches the road and the sights, Sam curls up into his silence in the passenger seat, and the lie they've adopted fits in snugly between them -as though it always was, as though it would always be.

When the truth offered no answers and even less peace, was it so wrong to cling to a lie that gave some semblance of hope? Empty and foolish as it was, it was something to rest in nonetheless. And when things grew dark and the way stretched long, the comfort of a lie became hope enough.

And Dean knows that the lie would not live forever, it will break down and crumble like any other flawed thing formed by mortal hands. But in the safety of such things was temptation. And against the world, against an unknown destiny, against haunting things done on a night in November long ago, such temptation was hard to resist.

fin


Author's Note: This is set as a sort of coda to Simon Said. It is the promise Dean made to his father and the continuous withholding of such that I offer as a catalyst of sorts for his dream and subsequent events. I realize this piece moves the story neither further nor back, I found the scene of Sam and the bodies unwilling to leave my mind. I assume you understand why I had to get it out :)

It must also be said that this ficlet would not be without the encouragement and assistance of one much more talented and intelligent in the art of words (and their "connectors") than myself. So I dedicate this jumble of words to the one and only Solitaire. Thank you my friend.