A.N Okay I wrote this for Round Three of SFTCOL(AR)S Secret Santa Summer fic exchange and this round was tags. This fic is for Spellbound who asked for a fic about the boys in the week after Jessica's death so…enjoy

A HUGE thank you to Kaly for being a great beta and sifting through the mess that was this first chapter!

Despite the heat radiating from the car, Sam felt wave after wave of violent shivers wrack his trembling form.

All former broken determination and the overwhelming desire for vengeance seemed to have dissipated the moment he sat down and shut the door of the Impala, the dull thud of the door seeming to quash every feeling all together, leaving only a hollow emptiness. He was shutting the door on his old life, on Jess.

What was he supposed to do?

He felt the weight of the car shift as Dean got in and shut the door. The breeze the open door had provided ceased and the air seemed to thicken; he was trapped with the suffocating smell of smoke and ash that clung rebelliously to his clothes, his hair, his skin.

Sam shivered again, swallowing hard to keep his churning stomach at bay. He was aware of Dean's gaze weighing heavily upon him, but he couldn't bring himself to meet it.

They sat in silence for several minutes and all Sam could hear was the rapid thrumming of the blood in his ears, and his heart pounding in his chest. The pounding rhythm was taunting him, the beat that no longer sounded within Jessica's chest.

He was dimly aware that the car was now moving and that the blue and red lights had faded into the distance along with the billowing smoke towers that marred the night sky. The burnt out shell of the apartment became a speck in the rear-view mirror. Closing his stinging eyes, Sam leaned back against the passenger seat; the familiar feel of the cracked leather was somewhat comforting, reminding him of long car journeys spent in the back seat with Dean, playing games to pass the time.

Jess used to play stupid games in the car. When they'd driven up to her family's place last Christmas, she'd insisted on playing I Spy, the license plate game and whatever else she could think of. Sam had been miserable with a cold and she'd managed to make him laugh so much that he sneezed twice and ended up nearly coughing up a lung.

The memory stung and made his eyes water beneath their lids.

He'd never see her again.

When he closed his eyes, Sam could still see her face, burned onto his retinas. Her mouth hanging open, eyes wide and dead,then the flames, the burning fire engulfing her.

His stomach lurched again dangerously.

"Dean, pull over!" He said as loud as his hoarse and burning throat would allow. Dean looked across at his brother worriedly before swerving sharply onto the side of the road.

Sam scrabbled and fought with the door handle, fingers trembling and fumbling for the catch as bile rose up his throat.

After what felt like a lifetime he managed to get the door open and stumbled out of the car, long legs feeling like jelly as he hit the dirt on all fours, vomit rushing up his throat as he heaved and emptied the contents of his stomach onto the roadside.

He could hear Dean's footsteps rushing from the car. His stomach rebelled again violently and he heaved, throat burning, eyes tearing as the vomit hit the road with a splatter. He coughed and stayed where he was, trembling as he waited tentatively for the nausea to subside. He could feel sweat, cold on his brow as a breeze played across his face and he shivered, spitting and letting out a weak, shaky breath.

"Here," Sam looked up and saw Dean holding out a bottle of water, and examining his brother critically, his brow furrowed with concern. Sam took it and nodded a thank you, taking small sips from the bottle and relishing in the coolness against his raw throat.

Sam swallowed, satisfied that he wasn't about to throw up again. He handed the half empty bottle back to his brother who took it mutely, still watching Sam as he got unsteadily to his feet.

"You okay?" Dean asked quietly, and Sam looked away, eyes stinging slightly. Not trusting his voice, he nodded. They both knew it was a lie.

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Dean had left Sam in the car whilst he went to go and get a room for the motel they were currently parked outside. The flickering neon sign had bathed the car in crimson light and Sam didn't want to get out of the car.

He didn't want to stay in a motel. He didn't want to face the rest of his life without Jess. Walking into that motel room meant he couldn't pretend he was going back to Jess. That he was just hanging out with Dean before going back to their apartment.

Maybe if he hadn't gone with Dean, if he'd stayed, he'd have been able to stop it from happening, he could have protected her.

Sam sighed heavily. He could see Dean emerging from the office, keys in hand, and he reached for the door and opened it, swinging his legs out and letting the cool night air wash over his face.

"Room 18, go ahead I'll bring in the stuff," Dean said, tossing Sam the keys, who by some miracle managed to catch them. He gripped the keys tightly, the sharp edges biting into his palms, and walked over to the door with the brass number 18 attached.

He opened the door to the silent, dark motel room and flicked on the lights. The walls were slightly stained and the wallpaper was peeling, but otherwise it wasn't too bad, they'd stayed in worse. He left the door open for Dean and crossed the room, the only sound was the whisper of denim as he walked over to the bed on the far side and collapsed onto it. Dean always took the bed nearest the door.

He needed to get out of these clothes, get the smell away from him, it was choking him. As he sat on the end of the bed, it didn't feel like anything had really sunk in yet, sitting here in the dingy motel room it felt like he was 17 again, hunting, living out of motels and diners, so much had changed since then.

Sam looked up as Dean walked through the door, dropping the bags next to the bed and shutting the door, looking across at Sam. Sam knew his brother well enough, even after four years apart, to detect the worry in his eyes, but he was too tired to think about anything other than how exhausted he was and how he needed to get away from the smell of smoke.

"I'm gonna have a shower," Sam said hoarsely, and Dean nodded.

"Hey um… you can borrow some of my clothes. We'll get you some tomorrow," Dean said.

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"Dean your clothes haven't fit me since I was 15," Sam said, and Dean smiled weakly. He watched his brother disappear into the bathroom and let out a long pained sigh, like a breath he had been holding since he had got into the Impala with Sam.

He didn't know what to do, he was floundering. His brother was hurting, he'd lost his girlfriend… the same way they'd lost mom and Dean didn't have a clue what to say or do to make it better. It was weird enough having his brother back after years away at college, they still weren't like they used to be but now… now things had been made even harder.

Dean wished he was more emotionally adept for his brother's sake. He needed someone who could help him through this, not someone who struggled to deal with his own emotions properly let alone someone else's

He heard the hiss of the shower as it turned on, and sat down on the edge of the bed, cradling his head in his hands.

There was one thing Dean hated more than seeing his brother hurting, and that was not being able to do anything about it.

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Sam let the scalding water beat down upon his back heavily, it ran down his skin and he closed his eyes, running his hands through his hair and letting hot tears leak from his eyes.

He willed the water to beat down heavier, to bruise his skin so he could start feeling something other than the emptiness, the gaping cavern of loss that was swallowing him. His arm protested as the hot water ran over a burn but he barely noticed it. His chest was throbbing from the hunt but it felt like years had passed since he had been in the car with the Woman In White

Jessica was gone. Dead.

He killed her.

This was his fault. The dreams. He'd thought they were nothing, just stupid nightmares, about mom or something.

He could have done something, warned her.

Realistically Sam knew he couldn't have warned her, he couldn't have done anything without her thinking he was crazy, but he needed to blame someone, something, and the only person he could lash out at was himself.

If he'd never left for Stanford, he would never have met Jess, she would have been happy with someone else, she'd be alive.

He scrubbed at his hair, trying to erase the ash and the smell.

He'd barely noticed when the water had run cold, that he was trembling from head to foot.

He just stood there, letting the water run down in icy torrents trying to think what he had done to be punished like this, what Jess had done.

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Dean flicked mindlessly through the channels, barely seeing the screen in front of him. All he could think about was Sam. The look on his face outside the apartment as the police asked him questions, his wet, desperate eyes.

He hadn't realized how much he missed hunting with his brother until he had him back. He couldn't help the feeling of resentment as he had dropped Sam back off at his apartment .That Sam could go back to his happy, apple-pie life with a hot girlfriend and actual prospects for the future, whilst Dean was stuck going back to a life of hunting and a Dad who had abandoned him without a word.

He'd wanted Sam back, but not like this. Glancing at his watch he frowned, realizing Sam had been in the shower for 40 minutes.

Anyone else would think Sam was just taking his sweet time, but Dean knew his brother. Sam was an 'in and out' kind of guy, a lifetime of motel bathrooms had taught him that hot water didn't last long and leaving Dean with a cold shower would result in him paying for it later. That was how the prank wars had started, after all.

He smiled bitterly at the memory before walking over to the door. He could still hear the shower running, the small tendrils of worry creeping in as he knocked on the door.

"Sam? You planning on leaving me any water in there?" He asked, playing his concern off with the usual Dean Winchester bravado.

He received no reply and the concern doubled. He knocked again, louder this time.

"Sam? Sammy?" he called loudly, banging on the door again.

What if Sam had done something stupid? He began to panic, and banged on the door furiously.

"Sam? Sam, I'm coming in!" He said loudly, and was about to kick at the locked door when he heard the mumbled reply.

"I'll just be a minute."

Dean let out a long breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding and sagged against the door. He scratched absently at the back of his head and eyed the door.

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Sam shut off the shower, he hadn't realized how long he'd been sitting there, lost in his own thoughts. He shivered and stepped out, grabbing the towel from the rack and wrapping it around his waist.

He patted himself dry and rubbed another towel quickly over his hair before unlocking the door. He started when he saw Dean standing in the threshold, frowning.

"Why didn't you answer?" Dean asked, surveying his brother critically.

"I… I didn't hear you. I kind of spaced out… sorry," Sam mumbled, and Dean's frown eased. He could see Sam's eyes were red.

"You can have the shower," Sam said quietly, but Dean shook his head.

"I'll have one in the morning, there probably isn't any hot water left anyway," he said, but truthfully he didn't want to leave Sam by himself, he wanted to keep an eye on him. He wasn't leaving his brother alone, not tonight.

Sam got changed into his boxers in the bathroom whilst Dean changed in the room, the closed door between them made him uncomfortable but the prospect of watching his brother change was worse.

When Sam emerged he looked exhausted. Purple bags hung under his hazel eyes and his face was pale and drawn.

The silence was heavy and uncomfortable, but Dean couldn't think of anything to say. What could he say to someone who had just watched his girlfriend burn up on the ceiling.

He still remembered the feeling of panic as his watch stopped, the squealing tires and protesting traffic as he turned back and sped back to Stanford, drawing up outside the apartment and seeing the orange flicker of flames through the window.

He looked across at Sam, who was lying with his back facing him, but Dean could tell by the tension thrumming through every muscle of his brother's body that he wasn't sleeping.

"Sam if… if you need to uh… talk…" Dean started uncertainly, not sure where this was going to go, but Sam cut him off before he managed to trail off completely into awkwardness.

"No. I… I just need to sleep," he said, with his back still to his brother. Dean nodded even though his brother couldn't see him and swallowed hard.

"Okay… but I'm... I'm here if you… if you need me," Dean said, cursing his inarticulateness and the chick-flick moment he was possibly initiating. He wished he could just be there for his brother without sounding like a bumbling, insensitive idiot.

There was silence for a long time and Dean thought Sam had finally drifted to sleep so when he spoke, Dean started.

"I know." It was just above a whisper but Dean caught it. He settled down into the bed and stared up at the ceiling.

He knew neither of them would be getting much sleep tonight.

AN So that was chapter One, hope you guys didn't find it to boring. More to come in the next few chapters. Tell me what you thought!