A/N – This is my very first oneshot, I hope you like it! I knocked it up in about two or three hours of solid inspiration! It's not beta'd, but then most of my work isn't, so any and all mistakes should be taken as my own and as enthusiasm!

Enjoy the inner musings of a Winchester!

Disclaimer – I dabble, I play, I fanaticise, I dream and yet nothing ever changes… Supernatural, the boys, the concept, the car, ain't even remotely mine and I DEFINITELY don't profit from this… but it's fun!

The InnerMusings Of A Winchester

I sat down and talked to a shrink not too long ago. Not something I ever saw myself doing, but it was in line of duty and, like any good hunter, I did what I had to do. People were relying on me, lives were being ruined by this haunted asylum, and the hunt relied on me sitting there talking to this shrink about some big thing that had happened there. It was the best way we could think of that would give us an idea of what we were walking into, and it sounded simple at first.

But this guy was good! He figured I was there to "talk", whatever than meant. He kept asking questions, and I tried to get the subject back to where I needed it to be, but this guy had obviously taken a leadership class or something because he started pushing me back to what he thought was what we needed to talk about: me.

And that was the last thing I wanted to talk about! I mean, hell, what was I supposed to say to satisfy this guy so he would tell me what I needed to know? A lots happened over passed months, and none of it was particularly good, so when he asked what I'd been up to I scrambled to try and find something to tell him that wouldn't lead too far into the truth. What was I supposed to say, after all? That my brother had hijacked me from Stanford after our father disappeared when he was hunting a woman who was actually a ghost abducting unsuspecting men as they picked her up from the side of the road and killed them? That when I got home, I found my girlfriend burning on the ceiling above my bed and that I would have burned right there with her if my brother hadn't pulled me out? That I've hit the road since then, obsessed with the thought of finding what killed my girlfriend – and my mother over twenty years ago – and that my every waking thought was about that thing? That I had nightmares about Jessica days before she died?

That part of me wished I'd died with her, except…

Well, I told him the only thing I could without lying. I'd been on a road trip with my brother. And the next thing I know, he wants to know how I feel about my brother! How am I supposed to answer that?!?! I mean, hell! This whole therapy thing really is hard, he should be paying the patients to talk! I wouldn't do it again if I WAS paid! No way!

But, he had promised that if I talked to him about Dean he would tell me about the riot, and I had to do the right thing here, right? I had to tell him about Dean, I had to tell him the truth because he seemed to be the type of person who would be able to tell if I was lying.

So I did.

I told him that Dean frustrates the hell out of me! How he always takes Dad's side, how he always does as he's told like a good little soldier, and how infuriating I find it that no matter what Dad does, Dean never questions him on it! The man's not perfect, he's only human, and yet Dean thinks that he knows the best about everything, and he just doesn't! Sometimes I wonder how many mistakes Dad's made because of what he THOUGHT he knew. He always thought he knew what was best for Dean and me, and yet how could it be possible that the best thing for us was to sacrifice our childhood, to risk our lives every day to save strange people that we don't know? How is that the best for US? I get that we have knowledge, that we know what's out there, that we can fight and defend ourselves, but all of that came at a price!

And Dean doesn't see it! He doesn't think there was any real price to pay – either that, or he doesn't realise how much he had really missed out on. I know he can shoot, but can he shoot a hoop? I hope he can, because honestly I worry that he's had no real life – ever!

He'd disagree with me, I know that. But is he disagreeing because that's what he really thinks? Or is it because he's so used to agreeing with Dad?

I know Dean thinks I disagree with Dad because I'm angry, that I'm just picking a fight, but I'm not… well, at least, not most of the time. Most of the time I really do believe what I'm saying, but sometimes, when Dad's been pissing me off, I do find fault in what he's saying so I can vent at him, so I can make him angry. Why shouldn't I? It's the only way he seems to understand! It's the only language that he knows! Fighting is what he does best, after all. Not being a father, not being there for his son's, but fighting… any fighting. So that's how I learned to relate to the man, by telling him what I really think and getting ripped apart for it.

John Winchester. The man doesn't like to be wrong, that's for sure. He doesn't like to have his faults pointed out to him, to have someone tell him there's another way, a better way than his. Sometimes, in a hunt, he would have us separate when I didn't think we had to and so we'd be bickering in the car on the way to the hunt. Then, of course, we'd all go in there angry and frustrated with one another…

even Dean.

Sometimes I was angriest with Dean. After all, Dad was doing what he does, what he thought was best, but Dean? He was ignoring his own instincts and listening to what Dad said instead. He wouldn't listen to any other argument after Dad had said what he thought, and even if he knew a better way he wouldn't speak up because he wouldn't believe it himself! He grew up thinking that John Winchester was a genius, that he knew better than anyone else, but sometimes I knew that Dean had a better idea. I even tried to get Dean to tell me what it was! Hell, I was willing to champion the idea as my own if he couldn't, to tell Dad there was another way and give Dean the credit if we tried it and it worked out…

but he never told me, I never championed it, so it never worked out.

I even wonder how many times one of us got hurt if we didn't have to. Dad especially. He was too busy fussing over what we were doing, that sometimes we would have to patch him up at the end of the day. Like once, he didn't trust that I could take this shot that would save Dean's life, and so he jumped in the way and got himself sliced by a big demon with razor sharp teeth and claws. Dad could have died that night, and he could have taken Dean right now with him… and that was the day that I saw fear in Dean's eyes and that glimmer of trust as he looked from our bleeding father laying at my feet to me who was the only one left who could save his life…

So I raised my gun, took the shot and got the demon right between the eyes just before he tore his teeth into Dean's throat. I saved my big brother that day, and Dad could have gotten them both killed… and still, Dean said nothing! He never really thanked me for taking that shot, either, not that I ever really expected a thank you. I didn't even want one, I'd done it just as much for my own sake as for Dean's. I couldn't stand the thought of losing him, even if he is a giant pain in the ass.

Dad didn't speak to me for the rest of the night, I guess he couldn't admit when he was wrong. It's certainly not something he would find easy to do, but I didn't care. I didn't even need to hear him say that, I just needed to know that he was okay and that Dean was okay.

The wound was pretty serious, and even Dean wanted to take him to the hospital. I knew that that was the right thing to do, but Dad refused and, as usual, Dean listened to him. We took him back to the motel and I sat by and watched as Dean patched him up. After that, all I got was a nod from Dad before he took off to his room, and a "G'night Sammy" from Dean before he turned out the light.

I felt like a lepar to my own family! I thought I had done something good, I'd saved their lives! And yet they would barely look at me!

I figured it out, years later during a psych class at Stanford, that they weren't avoiding me or ignoring me, they were embarrassed. They had both been so busy looking out for me, ever since I was a baby, that they forgot it sometimes went the other way. I left that class that day in a bit of a daze, and that's actually when I met Jessica.

The thing that amazed me most, though, was Dean! Normally, even if he wouldn't openly disagree with Dad, he would at least tell me I'd done a good thing when something like this happened, but he didn't say a word! To this day he has no idea… and to me, that's what happens when you follow someone blindly without question.

And sometimes I think that's what Dean does with me. He doesn't follow me blindly like he does with Dad, and Dad still overrules me in Dean's mind, but when it's just the two of us and the stakes are high, he wants to know what I think. Once, when we were on a hunt and this professor was telling us about this legend, Dean and I walked out of his office, got three feet from the door and Dean said: "What do you think?"

He wasn't just asking my opinion, he wanted to know if the professor was right or if he was full of crap! I had two years of college, to this guys thirty years in the field and then years of teaching after that, and yet Dean valued my opinion above anything the professor could have said. So I did my own research and found out the professor had been right – although there were a few minor things that he had actually been wrong on, a slight error in a translation, and once I figured out what it was actually supposed to be we were off and running.

I've often wondered why Dean does that. If he doesn't have Dad's opinion, does he need another one? Or does he really value what I have to say? I don't know, and I doubt I'll ever actually find out, but either way I don't think it really matters. It's just the way Dean's had to be over the years.

I tried explaining this to that shrink, but I'm not sure I did a very good job. He sort of looked at me like I was crazy, and I guess I would have come across a little strange, especially with how lame the story sounded when I omitted the part about the demon and said that it had been a bear that was going to rip my brother's throat out… he seemed to think that was strange, I wonder what he would've thought if I'd told him the truth!

Dean had to sacrifice a lot when we grew up. I don't think I got the shrink to understand that, either. He didn't get why Dean had to do anything that important just because he pulled me out of a fire when I was a baby and that Dad wasn't around much and he needed a lot of help… I guess, again, when you take the demons out of the picture it doesn't really seem like much. But when I was trying to get that across to this doctor, that's when I realised how I actually felt about my brother… for the first time!

Sure, I was frustrated with him, he drove me crazy sometimes and I really do wish he'd stand up to my father, but… none of that really matters. Dean did everything for me growing up. He was always there, I could always rely n his even when I had no one else in the world. Even at Stanford, as much as I hoped I'd never have to, I always knew that if I needed him, Dean would be there. He looked out for me, protected me, packed my lunches!

He was there on my first day of school! Somehow he'd gotten hold of the old camera and took a photo of me before we went to school, and for my birthday that year he framed it in a frame that said : BIG BOY on it. That meant a lot, like Dean was acknowledging that I was growing up, but I never knew if he realised how much of me is because of him.

I always saw Dean as this awesome, strong, independent person. The only time he was any different was when Dad was on his case and that bothered him because… well, I guess it was because he felt like he must be doing something wrong, like he wasn't taking care of me properly. That always made me mad because I didn't think Dad had any right to say anything when he was never around to take care of me himself! He left us alone all the time, SOMETIMES he dumped us at Pastor Jim's… but generally, Dean was left with a loaded shotgun and instructions to shoot to kill.

And what if he had done that? What if someone had broken in and Dean had shot them dead? Did Dad think that Dean would ever really recover from that? From knowing that he was forced to take a life because Dad couldn't be bothered being a dad? It didn't seem fair! And if someone had found out we had been left alone for days at a time, we would have been taken away from him and put in a foster home of some kind… and I could just imagine what our lives would have been like then!

But Dean never had to shoot anyone, or kill anyone – at least not when we were young. I can't count how many times he's saved my hide in a hunt. Or how many times I saved his I guess, though I don't think they quite even out.

I've always been grateful to Dean for what he's done for me over the years, for the way he pulled the family through whatever drama we were facing at the time. For the way he told Dad that everything would be okay after a particularly bad hunt… the way he would tuck me into bed and be there in an instant if I woke up from a bad dream. Dean was everywhere all at once, and he was everyone I had ever needed.

I always felt like I was missing out when I was a kid. I wanted to play soccer, or some other mundane and childish sport (well, that's what my Dad thought of them at least) but I wasn't allowed to. I'd make a friend and then we'd have to leave. I'd start a new school, and we'd hit the road again. We were never in one place very long, and soon enough I stopped trying to fit in wherever we stopped. I became the quiet kid in the front row of the class, doing my work and ignoring everyone else. I tried not to get to know anyone because I didn't want to have to leave them behind.

One day, this little girl with blonde hair came over to me. She was really beautiful. We were both eight years old, and yet she seemed to have this wisdom in her eyes that told me she understood somehow what I was feeling and what I was going through. Her name was Elizabeth.

On this particular day, I had forgotten my lunch. Dean was sick, so he had walked me to school and then gone back home again. Elizabeth saw me sitting alone at lunch time with nothing to eat, so she came running over and offered me half her sandwich. Corn beef and relish, yuck! And yet it was the best thing I'd eaten for as long as I remembered. She and I played together for the rest of the day and on the way out of the classroom, this other boy, Jonny, pushed passed her and knocked her over. He started picking on her and calling her names, so I got in his way and told him to back off. We fought, he got a bloody nose and a black eye and I walk with Elizabeth the rest of the way to the school gate where Dean was waiting for me. We went our separate ways, and he whole way home Dean had teased me and teased me about having a girlfriend.

I blushed, that I remember very clearly, but it was fun. Dean seemed to have been feeling better, and I had ended up having a great day because of Elizabeth, so we just walked home laughing…

until the next day when I came to school and saw Elizabeth's seat was empty. I thought she must have been sick or late or something, but then Miss Sanders came in with tears in her eyes and very bravely tried to tell us what had happened. Her voice kept cracking and I remember thinking I'd never seen a grown up cry like that before, especially not in front of kids! But Miss Sanders had always cared about us and had treated us like family – in spite of my trying to pretend otherwise, I had liked her and was already dreading the thought of having to leave.

And then she told us. Elizabeth had been crossing the road after school to get to her mother's car when she had been run down by another car. Her mother had tried to help her, and the ambulance had been called, but she had died in her mother's arms…

not five minutes after I had left the school with Dean!

All I could think about at that moment was that it was some horrible dream, that Dean would hear me soon and wake me up, that somehow he could make it better! It couldn't be true!!!

I jumped out of my seat and ran out of the room, not bothering to grab my books and things. I ran to the spot where I had left Elizabeth the day before and ran to the middle of the road. There was glass everywhere, and some of the glass had blood on them. I picked up a piece by my shoe and turned it over and over in my hand, trying to remember what she had looked like, but I couldn't. I closed my eyes and squeezed them tight, trying not to cry, but when I opened them I realised I had also squeezed my hand shut over the glass and it was bleeding… I didn't care, it didn't even hurt.

I got to my feet and walked slowly to the edge of the road again. A car passed by and drove over that very spot, Elizabeth's spot, as if nothing had ever happened there… and I turned and ran all the way home.

When I burst inside, Dean looked up from the comic book he had been reading, surprised to see me. He had asked me over and over what was wrong, but all I could do was stand there, crying, heaving, trying to breathe. When Dean noticed the blood, he had pulled me to the bathroom and began cleaning the wound.

And all I did was cry!

Eventually I told Dean what had happened, and he had listened quietly. I sat there afterwards saying nothing, tears still falling down my cheeks but no emotion really registering. I guess I was numb. Dean put his arm around my shoulders and just sat next to me for a while, and there was nothing but silence… he was only a few years older than me, he didn't really know any better than I did how to deal with something like this, and yet he tried. And the way he dealt with it was by simply being there… better than anything anyone else could have done for me because nobody else knew how to be there for me. Just Dean.

At that moment, when I was crying on our bathroom floor, the bathroom floor of some cheesy motel Dad had rented for a while, I knew I was home.

I never knew how to describe how much losing Elizabeth hurt, but I didn't have to. Dean knew. Somehow he always knew, and he still does. I'd love to know how he does it, I guess it's the same way I can tell with him… I saw the same look on his face after Jessica died. I was standing at the trunk of the Impala, loading a shotgun while the fire brigade tried to douse the flames coming from my place… my old place, the only home I'd ever known away from Dean… Dean looked in my eyes and I knew that he saw everything in that moment, all the hurt, the pain, the loss… and not just losing Jessica, but losing what we were to each other, losing what we were meant to be… having that taken away from me in one hideous, horrible moment. Dean had probably never seen that kind of feeling in me, and I was trying to hard to hold it in! I saw the look register on Dean's face, the shock… he was stunned at what had happened and how much hurt one person could suffer and still be standing. His mouth opened a little as if to say something, but I think it was just the shock of the pain he was seeing in me, in his little brother…

And yet, he knew… he knew not to say anything. He knew that I'd talk when I wanted to, he knew that I needed time – and he knew that I needed to hunt. I wasn't going to be leaving the Impala as long as it lead to whatever had killed the girl I was going to ask to marry me…

and meanwhile, when my world was falling apart, Dean had been there and I had been safe with him.

He had never told me how he'd known something was wrong after he'd left. He never told me what had made him turn around and come back for me, but if he hadn't I wouldn't be here. I would have died in that fire. Sometimes I think it should have been me, a tiny part of me had even wished for it… and yet I have Dean, and in spite of that fire in my chest that keeps me up at night, I have a fairly good life. I have my brother back after two years, and I have to admit that, even after everything that happened on that first hunt, we had had fun…

but I still cant stand the thought that I should have been there for Jessica. Maybe I could have saved her somehow, maybe I could have warned her, told her the truth. I think Dean blames himself a little, he said I should blame him for dragging me away from her in the first place, but I cant blame him and I wish he wouldn't.

Looking back on that moment, I realise now how Dean had tried to protect me from everything. Pain, fear, everything. He had always tried to keep me safe. When Jessica died, Dean saved my life but I don't think he thinks it's enough. He thinks he should have been able to save her too, to stop me from feeling the pain of her death. I don't think he could have done that, to be honest. I don't know how he could have gotten there any sooner. Hell, I was there! I was in the room, and I couldn't save her! Dean got back in time to save me! That was a miracle in itself, and I know I couldn't have asked for anything else. I could have wished for it, and I do, everyday… but Dean couldn't have saved her.

Everything I've had in my life was because of him. I had a real birthday once, when I turned ten. Dean had even gotten me a cake – chocolate with icing and sprinkles. He was delicious! I felt really spoiled, but there it was! Cake, on the table at Pastor Jim's house! Dean had insisted to Dad that we go there for the weekend of my birthday, and that Dad had to go out and buy me some presents. Dad really sucked at buying me presents, so one day Dean snuck off and bought some stuff out of quarters he'd saved along the way. He got me some toys and books and a couple of games, and it was great! Pastor Jim had even bought me some stuff, and we had all sat around the table eating cake and soup – because, for some strange reason I would only eat soup for a while when I was ten – and then everyone gave me presents and we all played games and ran around laughing like we were a normal family.

Later that night I tried to thank Dean for the party, but he didn't want to hear it. It seemed important to him that I believed Dad had arranged it for me, I guess because he wanted me to think Dad had even realised it was my birthday, so I let Dean believe that I believed it… even though I knew the truth. The fact that I knew, and that Dean was trying to give me one last present – possibly the most important one of the day…

he was trying to give me a real Dad, not just one that turned up to play father figure every now and then, but one that thought about things like birthdays.

So I carried on pretending that it had been Dad who had gone to all that trouble. I even gave him a hug the next morning when we settled down to pancakes and orange juice for breakfast. I said thank you for the party and Dad said anytime. In a way it made me mad that Dad hadn't owned up to the fact he had just been following orders, but I let it go because it had seemed to mean so much to Dean. Dean had been so happy that weekend, watching me and Dad playing and laughing together. I wish I could give that to him all the time.

All Dean ever wanted was for us to be a family. When we were hunting together, before I left for school, things had been far from perfect, but Dean had bee happier. He had his family in one piece and in one place, and that was all that mattered to him… and I wish I could go back and change some things to make that time even better for him. Maybe I could have tried harder not to fight with Dad, but I don't know… it's instinct when someone sits on your chest until you can't breathe, you fight them for air… and that's how it was for me growing up like that. I was fighting for air all the time. I love Dad, but he was not an easy man to get along with. You couldn't just talk to him about something important, it was always about the hunt.

The day I got my acceptance letter to Stanford I'd been so happy and so excited that I had to hide it from Dad and Dean. I couldn't tell them that I was planning to leave to go to school, that I was abandoning the hunt… how could I tell them that? How could I let them down like that? As happy as I was, I felt twice as guilty about it. I felt like I was letting them down in the worst possible way – especially Dean. I felt like I was betraying him, like I was spitting in his face after everything he had done for me. He was the reason I had this opportunity after all. I wouldn't have gotten the marks I had if Dean hadn't been there to tell me it was okay to do homework. That's not the conversation a normal kid would have, asking permission to do their homework, but I always felt like I needed his permission. He always supported me in my studies…

until he found out I wanted to go to college. He found the letter in my jacket one day just before we left for a hunt. He didn't say anything, he just handed me the jacket, the letter still safely inside, and we left for the hunt. It was fairly basic, as some hunts can be, and we all got out relatively unscathed… okay, well I had a mild concussion, but nothing serious. I wasn't puking or anything, so we count that as pretty good in our family. Most families, the word 'concussion' is cause for concern, but in my family we look at the symptoms… okay, Sammy has a concussion, but he's not up-chucking all over the Impala's upholstery, so we're good to go!

We moved out that night, and when we hit the road, Dean turned the music off. He didn't look at me, didn't even speak at first. I knew he was mad at me about something, but I couldn't figure out what it was… until he asked me when I had been planning on telling him. I knew instantly that he had found he letter, and my face burned. I was angry with myself, knowing that I should have said something by now. I was due to leave in a little over a week, and yet I hadn't figured out a way to tell them the truth yet.

And now I didn't have to. When we got to the next motel, I sat in the car a little longer while Dean grabbed our stuff from the trunk. He yelled at me to move my ass, but then he just stormed passed Dad and into the motel room. Dad stood there, confused. He'd never seen Dean act like that before, especially not to me, and when we were all inside and Dean told me to fess up and tell Dad the truth, I was cornered.

It was possibly the worst way it could have come about, and I knew that it was my fault. When I explained, Dad's face turned red and his eyes narrowed. I knew it was bad, this was really really bad, but I it was what I had to do. I wanted more for my life, I didn't want to hunt forever…

When Dad told me that if I left I wouldn't be welcome back, I knew it was over. I grabbed my bag from the bed where Dean had dumped it, looked at my brother for help and got nothing. Dean wouldn't even look at me.

I left.

I heard Dean and Dad shouting at each other as I walked away, but to this day I had no idea what they had said. I didn't care, I just knew that I had nowhere to go and a week to get there… I had no home left.

Now I realise that everything that happened that night was because Dean was hurt. He had been proud of me, in his own way. He wanted me to have a life outside of hunting, he wanted me to be able to go to school. He did believe that we had a responsibility to the people in the world that didn't know what prowled in the night, but he wanted more than that for me too. But he had been hurt that, when it came down to it, I hadn't been able to share what should have been good news with my brother.

And my brother had wanted to be happy for me.

Spending that hour talking about Dean and how I felt about him, I heard myself ranting about how frustrated I was with him. At first I thought I had been talking about him, but then I realised that I wasn't. I was talking about Dad – and about myself in a way – and how frustrated I was that, no matter what happened, I couldn't get the man to listen to me. That everything good in my life was Dean, everything I had in my life I had because of Dean, that he had fought and defended me and my right to have what any other normal child would have had! He was a kid, too, but he had been willing to give up everything so that I could have it, and when all of this hit me I was struck dumb.

That's when the doc had told me what I needed to know about the asylum, but I had barely heard him at first. I really had to force myself to listen because I had all these thoughts running through my head that I didn't quite know what to do with. I didn't know what to say when I saw Dean waiting for me outside, because I'd spent an hour basically bagging him out and then, all of a sudden, there he was and there I was with this new realisation that it wasn't him I was mad at.

I had gone through the hunt with the thought in my head that I was mad at Dean, that I was pissed off that he was always the perfect little soldier. I even tried to focus on that anger because it was easier to deal with than what was really going through my head…

and that had been a big mistake. When I ran into Ellicott in the basement, he had played his little mind game with me and suddenly Dean's on the floor and I have a shotgun aimed at his head. I didn't feel anything but the initial bout of anger at Dean, the frustration, the rage, and ye somehow it was more than it should have been. I knew that it wasn't quite what I was feeling, that there was more to it than that, but I couldn't seem to push passed that rage and find the truth behind it. Goes to show that all Ellicott did for people was piss them off…

I could have killed my brother that day. If he hadn't figured out what had happened while we had been separated, he would have been rotting corpse meat and me? Well, I guess I would have turned the gun on myself just like the others did… but once Ellicott was dead – well, deader than he had been at least, I felt the anger ease back to what it should have been in the first place, and I realise that the anger I'd been trying to hold onto at Dean was actually aimed at myself for not realising it sooner.

Dean still frustrates me to this day, and I'm still pissed at him for not standing up to Dad, but then again… at least now I can understand why he does it and I remember what he's done for me. The reason Dean follows Dad's orders is because he's afraid that if he doesn't, something will happen to me. I get that, and I guess I'll try to be a little more understanding about it…

Until next time we run into Dad, I guess. I know they'll bug me again pretty quick. All those 'yes sirs' get annoying, you know.

The last thing Ellicott junior said to me before I left was what inspired me to write this. He dared me to write a page about how I felt about Dean, our lives and our experiences, memories I had of us… well, it took more than one page, but our lives are more complicated than most peoples I guess. Anyway, he said that once I did that I should write a letter to Dean explaining how I really felt about him and what I had always wanted to say to him.

That's a lot harder to do that you might think, but I'll give it a shot anyway.

So here goes:

Dear Dean,

Have you ever wondered what the one thing you would say to someone would be? Someone who had had a big impact on your life, made an impression on you, what would you tell them? I don't know who that would be, but maybe you have someone that you would want to talk to that maybe you could never talk to before. Imagine how hard it is to do that, to say what you really mean.

I'm guessing that you would choose Cassie, actually. You guys seemed to have trouble communicating, so it would make sense to take your opportunity to tell her the one thing you had always wanted to say.

Anyway, I always thought that I would want to tell you thank you for everything you gave me. For all the times you were there for me when no one else was, for coming to get me at Stanford when Dad was missing, for coming back for me and saving my life when… well, we wont go into that. I thought I'd even thank you for pulling me back into the hunt, though I'm not sure why I'd want to thank you for that because I never thought I wanted to hunt again. I guess I still don't, but you've given me purpose beyond what I had before, and though there's a lot of pain involved in this life, it really is the only life I can choose now.

But, strangely enough, thank you isn't what I want to say to you. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to you for everything you've done for me! You came and watched me play soccer, cheered me on my first game and slapped me proudly on the back even though we lost and I sucked at it in the first place. I never told you this, but that's what made me want to get better, and by the end of the season I was awarded best player. You were the only one I ever showed that trophy too. I knew you would understand it, and that's one of the reasons I thought I'd want to say thank you.

But I don't.

I also remember waking up with nightmares about fires and houses burning down. To this day I'll never understand that. I was just a baby when Mom died, but I guess it left a mark on my mind after all, because somehow I was dreaming horrific dreams about houses burning to the ground, and bodies burning to a crisp. I never really told you what was in those dreams, not properly, I just woke up crying and you were always there to make it better… usually with a cookie and a glass of milk. The language of children, huh? It always worked, too.

But that's not what I wanted to tell you either.

I bet you're rolling your eyes at me right now, wishing I'd get to the point, but that's another reason I thought I'd want to say thank you! You were always patient with me, always listened to me… you were always there for me, and I could never explain how much that meant to me. I couldn't vocalise it back then, I was just a kid. And I guess when I got older we were both busy hunting and figuring out what our new lives were supposed to be like – we were teenagers and ready to hunt and fight and protect and all of that stuff that Dad had always wanted us to do, and I guess it never really occurred to me that we should have a talk in there somewhere. I didn't realise that I had something to say to you – and then later, when I'd grown up a little and started to become less angry and more aware of the world, I realised I wanted to say something but wasn't entirely sure what. All I knew was that you had given up your life over and over for me, so I could have a 'normal' childhood, even when yours was non-existent, but now I know what it is I wanted to say.

It's not 'thank you'…

I'm sorry.

That's what I've wanted to tell you all this time. I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything I've put you through, for everything I've done to make your life so much harder than it needed to be. I'm sorry that you didn't get to play soccer, that you didn't get to go to college, that you didn't get to have dreams about the future and wonder what life was like beyond hunting.

I'm sorry that you were burdened with me for a little brother. That you had to be in that house when Mom died.

I'm sorry that you were always being told to look out for me.

I'm sorry that you never felt like you'd done your job.

I'm sorry that I made you feel guilty for wanting the only family you'd ever known to get along and be together.

I'm sorry that I didn't want the same thing you wanted.

I'm sorry I didn't try harder to give it to you anyway.

I'm sorry I was selfish, that I ran away to college to live out my dream and left you to deal with the hunt all by yourself.

I'm sorry I didn't get along with Dad better, that I always questioned everything he said and demanded more answers than I got.

I'm sorry I never called you from Stanford.

And I'm sorry that when you came to get me, when Dad was missing, I told you I wasn't going to hit the road with you. I'm sorry I was willing to let you deal with it on your own, that I didn't trust your instincts about Dad more. You were right, after all, he was in trouble, and I should have listened to you when you had told me that in the first place.

I'm just so sorry that I wasn't a better little brother for you, and that you didn't get to be a normal big brother.

Love,

Sam.

SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Dean could hear the shower turn off and knew he didn't have much time. He grabbed a pen and with a smile on his face, scribbled something in Sam's notebook and put it carefully back where he had found it.

A few minutes later, Sam walked out of the shower in jeans and a fresh shirt, and rested himself against the pillows. He was still stiff and sore from the hunt, and he knew Dean must still be hurting too. Dean had been thrown into yet another bookcase, after all. Those things don't get any softer.

Sam picked up his notebook and pen and opened the book to where he had left off. His brow furrowed with confusion at the scrawled not he saw at the bottom of the page. It wasn't in his handwriting, and it hadn't been there when he'd put the book down.

That was Dean's writing!

Dear Sam,

You never have to apologise for anything, and I would do it all over again. You're an awesome little brother, no matter what you think… and of all people I would write a letter to, I'd write it to you to say 'thank you'.

Thank you for being my little brother. Somehow things never seem so bad when my geek boy little brother's around.

Dean.

"I guess you hit your head worse than I thought," Sam said, looking up at his brother. Dean was watching him, with a little smile on his face as Sam had read the note he'd left him.

"I guess so," Dean agreed, his grin widening. "Either that or I was dying of curiosity about that damned notebook you've been scribbling in all this time!"

Sam heard the message in Dean's tone. He was trying to play it cool, but it was the Dean Winchester way of saying "Thanks Dude."

Sam grinned right back at Dean, and then turned his attention back to the page to re-read Dean's message.

"Pizza!" Dean announced, excitement in his voice. "That's what I want to eat!"

"That's what you always want to eat," Sam pointed out. He put the book beside him on the bed and walked over to where Dean was sitting. "So pizza it is!"

Sam left to get the pizza, leaving a mildly concussed Dean alone to rest. For the rest of the night they were both quiet, but they were smiling...

…the Winchester brother's had finally said what they'd always wanted to say.

SUPERNATURAL

A/N – Thank you for reading! Reviews welcome!!!