A/N: So, I've had this story since the beginning of July and I finally had the courage to post it so review away!!!! It's more broken up than my other stories and it's kind of staccato because of the way I thought Dean must have been feeling. It's a new thing so please please please tell me what you think!

And to think I'd told myself I wouldn't write a AHBL tag…right.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who read and reviewed Detachment! You guys are the best! I dedicated the sixth chapter of Detachment to my new baby sister but I think she deserves a story of her own so…

I dedicate this story to my baby sister Cecilia Marie on the occasion of her six-day-old birthday.

And on to the story! Sorry for prattling on!

-Marvin

SPNSPNSPN

They were in a house.

In the deserted town with the big bell.

Bobby had brought food.

He didn't want to eat, didn't want to sleep, didn't want to live.

He wanted Sam.

Sam was lying on a bed looking like he was sleeping peacefully, something rare even when he still breathed, still had life flowing through him.

Dean was watching him.

Just watching.

Like he had done so many times before.

Watched Sam like when mommy would shush and rock him into slumber, like when daddy would leave them in a motel room and watching Sammy giggle and kick on the bed was the only thing keeping Dean sane in a world turned up-side down by fire and lost mommies, like when Sam was 3…4…7, 8, 9… 12… 14, 15… 17….

His first steps, first word, first skinned knew, first day of school, first test, first crush, first kiss, first hunt, first kill, first wound, first hospital, first scar, first girlfriend, first date, first fight with dad…

First grade, second…fourth…sixth, seventh…ninth…eleventh, twelfth, Stanford.

Potty training, shoe-lace tying, bike riding, bow-hunting, knife-cleaning, homework, shooting, bed-time stories, gun cleaning, baths, Latin lessons, power-rangers, exorcisms, Bobby, Caleb, Pastor Jim, Jefferson, Joshua, Dad.

Dean watched Sam.

Watched him at school, in the Impala, in dinners, motel parking lots, playgrounds, dilapidated houses, musty apartments, old cabins, on hunts, in the open, in secret, cheering him on loudly, silently. Watched him with friends, alone, at Stanford, with Jessica, happy, in tears, Dean watched Sam.

"Take care of your brother Dean."

"Watch over Sam Dean."

"Watch his back Dean."

"Don't let him out of your sight Dean."

And so Dean didn't.

He knew every quirk, every imperfection, every scar, every expression of his brother's. He knew when he was lying, when he was hiding something, when he needed to talk, when he needed to think, when he needed to vent and when he'd better watch out for pranks.

Dean watched Sam.

He was Sam's brother, mother, father, friend, companion, partner, protector.

He watched Sam live and now he watched Sam die.

He watched Sam and he protected him. He failed his brother. Failed him as his brother, mother, father, friend, companion, partner and protector.

He didn't save Sam.

His brother was dead. He failed Sam, Sammy.

The 2 year-old hugging his ragged teddy-bear in bed.

The always ever-inquisitive 4 year-old.

The 6 year-old asking for "just 5 more minutes Dean please? I'm big now."

The 8 year-old playing soccer on withered grass.

The 10 year-old worried and shaking with fear for him and dad.

The 12 year-old with wonder and awe on his face as Dean handed him his first very own blessed knife.

The 14 year-old who stitched him up with a white face but steady hands.

The 16 year-old screaming at dad about normal and unfairness and "Mom wouldn't want this for us! Dean should be in college! We should have a home!"

The 18 year-old who gave him a desperate hug and whispered "goodbye Dean," in his ear before walking away from him without looking back.

The 20 year-old flourishing at school without him.

The grief-stricken 22 year-old desperate for answers and revenge.

The 23 year-old who collapsed in his arms on muddy ground, back bleeding like a bitch, spinal cord severed and not listening to Dean's desperate pleas for him to be okay.

The little brother who died in his arms and left him alone.

"You protect your little brother? You'd do anything for him?"

"Yeah. I would."

"As long as I'm around, nothing bad is gonna happen to you."

"I gotcha. That's my job right? Watch out for my pain in the ass little brother. Sammy? Sam? Sam! Sammy!"

Dean failed Sam

After Jessica and dad and visions and telekinesis and Meg and The Demon and The Colt, Gordon, the FBI, Madison. After everything they'd fought through, Dean failed Sam.

Sam was gone, he was alone and he couldn't do it. Couldn't continue without Sam.

Couldn't hunt of help Bobby or bury his little brother.

Dean couldn't do it.

He wasn't tired anymore. He was beyond exhaustion.

Sam was gone; he had nothing to live for without his sasquatch-sized, heart-on-his-sleeve, geek brother.

He needed his Sammy

SPNSPNSPN

Nothing more than an echo of himself, standing beside his stoic, hardened, invincible older brother, seeing him fall apart and break in front of him…

Sam watched Dean.