Ok, then. This is a mini-tag to All Hell Breaks Loose 2, so spoilers for that.

Again, like all my other stories, I don't own anything you might recognise, I only own the order the words are written in. This is a one-shot, no more chapters, I just needed to get this out of my system. Let me know if you like it because I'm always loving the feedback!

This story was first posted on the 15th August 2007 – I didn't like it very much so I re-edited it and re-posted. I much prefer this version and I hope you do too.

Enjoy! x

Supernoodle – 13th Oct 2007


A Better Deal - revisited

By Supernoodle


Dean was sat on Bobby's sofa, cold beer in one hand, ice pack in the other, trying to decide if he had a concussion or if his skull was actually broken this time when Sam began to speak.

Dean sighed heavily. He knew Sam had been biting his tongue all the way back to Bobby's house. The kid had been too quiet by far, lost in his thoughts, but still, he wasn't expecting to have this conversation right now… In a day or two maybe, but not over their celebratory beers.

"How could you do it, Dean?... After what Dad did for you? How could you do the same thing? How could you make a deal?"

Dean had hoped that Sam might want to enjoy the moment, at least for a moment. The yellow-eyed bastard was dead and Dean was euphoric, but that might have just been the semi-serious head injury he'd suffered after being dropped from fifteen foot in the air, head-first onto a gravestone. What was it with demons? Why did they feel the need to throw you around so Goddamn much?

Bobby had tried to get him to visit the emergency room of the local hospital on the way back but Dean was having none of it. All he wanted was to drink a nice cold beer. The war was over. The battle was won and he was going to celebrate even if it killed him. Which, Bobby had pointed out, was not out of the realms of possibility.

Sam stood up, beginning to pace back and forwards like he was trying to work out something. The expression on his face was one Dean hadn't seen before – all narrow lips and puppy-dog eyes but he couldn't read it.

"Sam, don't… Please, Man…"

Sam stopped pacing and turned to face his brother.

"You know, Dean. I've lost everyone I ever loved in my whole life." He took another drink from his bottle and shook his head. "I've lost my Mom, my Dad, I lost Jess... Let's not even mention Madison - and now you, Dean. I'm going to lose you and I can't deal with that. I just can't."

Dean looked hard at his brother, taking a swig of his beer, and then looked away. Unable to meet Sam's heartbroken gaze. Almost unable to swallow for the lump in his throat.

"It'll be okay, Sam. You got Bobby. And then there's Ellen… Jo… "

Sam let out a harsh bark of a laugh and began to pace back and forth again. Dean could see his hands shaking as he clenched them into fists. "Can you hear what you're saying, Man?... Don't worry, I'll be gone, burning in Hell for eternity, but its ok cuz there's Bobby?"

"Sam please, come and sit down again. What's done is done. I can't take it back." Dean replied, pushing himself up unsteadily and reaching out to grab hold of his brother's arm, but Sam pulled away and glared at him.

"You know, when Dad died, you were so angry at him and yourself, so full of self-loathing because he sacrificed himself to bring you back. I though the guilt was going to kill you, Dean." Sam told his brother. "I could see it eating away at you and it hurt so bad because there was a part of me that was glad."

"Sam, No…" Dean muttered. He didn't like where this conversation was going. Not at all.

"I was glad, Dean. Glad that he brought you back." Sam replied, ignoring his brother's protestation. "I loved him; I really loved him, Man… But I love you too. When you were dying in that hospital bed with a Goddamn tube down your throat, that machine breathing for you, watching them shock your heart back to life when it stopped - Man, I felt like sticking a gun in my mouth and eating a bullet..."

Sam took a shaking breath, seeing his brother's eyes fill with tears but he carried on regardless. He couldn't hold this in. It was rolling around inside him like boiling acid, eating away at his insides and it hurt like hell.

"I need you more than I ever needed him - and Dad knew that. That why he did what he did. But then you go and throw it all away. You just gave away everything without thinking and you did it for me. How do you think that makes me feel, Dean? You don't think I might feel guilty as well?... This is killing me!"

Dean felt a tear slip down his cheek and brushed it angrily away with the back of his hand. Did Sam not get it? "What was I supposed to do, Sam?" He murmured, voice cracking with choked down emotion that he could never in a million years bring himself to express. "I couldn't let you die."

Sam spun on his heels and grabbed Dean by the shirt, catching him unawares and propelling backwards until he had him pinned against the wall. Dean winced as the impact rattled his skull, intensifying the throbbing a hundred times over. But Sam seemed not to notice, not to even care as his own tears spilled down his cheeks.

"I was already dead, Dean." He yelled wildly. "You didn't have to do anything. It was over. You didn't have to do anything at all... I died and all you had to do was carry on living. All you had to do was carry on. The dead should stay dead, remember that?"

"It wasn't right, Sam." Dean replied quietly after a moment, waiting for Sam to take a breath, to calm down a bit before he carried on. He wanted his brother to listen, to really hear what he was going to say. "How could I leave you dead? How could I do that? When I was four years old I…" His voice broke then as he struggled against the tears, he had fought so hard to keep them at bay but he was losing. Clutching Sam's arm, he wound his fingers into the fabric of his shirt as if that was the only thing keeping him on his feet, which wasn't far from the truth.

He looked up into Sam's eyes. Why the hell couldn't the kid understand? He'd done it for himself as much as for Sam. He'd done it because his little brother was the only good thing in his life, the only reason he carried on. He was his only reason for living. When Sam's life ended, Dean had died too; it was just that his body didn't know it. Simple as that.

"Sammy, when I was four years old, I ran out of a burning house with you in my arms. Dad told me to take you and run, and that's what I did. I took you in my arms, Sam, and your life has been in my arms ever since... So you tell me what I was supposed to do?... Bobby wanted to freakin' bury you, Man. He wanted me to put you in the groundWhat the fuck was I supposed to do?"

Sam looked away, anger slipping away with the tears that slipped freely down his cheeks, only to be replaced by icy tendrils of fear that wound round his heart, freezing him from the insides out.

Burial or cremation?

How long was it since he'd heard Dean say those words as he lay dying in agony in a hospital bed? He hadn't been able to cope with the thought of losing Dean then any better than he could cope with it now and he wanted to shake his brother. Shake him until his stupid head fell off, which at that moment probably wouldn't have taken much effort.

Sam took a few deep breaths then looked back up at his brother and for once in his life, Dean's defences were completely down. He looked like a scared little kid.

When he spoke next time, his voice was gentler.

"One year, Man…" He murmured. "How could you only get one year?"

Dean looked up at Sam; the deep gash on his hairline had begun to bleed again, blotting through the dressing that Ellen had carefully applied. It was in bad need of stitches and Dean was in bad need of a CT scan but it was unlikely either were going to happen anytime soon. He gave Sam a small, sad smile and pulled gently out of his grip. Walking unsteadily back to the sofa, he sat back down, closing his eyes briefly and clutching a hand to his forehead against the pain in his skull before he spoke again.

"I tried for ten, Sammy, but the bitch turned me down. Apparently my gutter soul is too tarnished even for a demon to want it."

Sam hung his head, slumping backwards until he was leaning against the wall. He closed his eyes tight, his body thrumming with tension and he wanted to scream.

"Got a better deal than Dad did, didn't I?" Dean told him, picking up his beer bottle once more.