Warning; I think this is my most angsty piece yet. So if it's possible to over-dose on angst, it's very possible that this will be the fic to do it. Only for the strong of heart, mates. ;)
Dislaimer; I don't own anything from Supernatural- Dean, Sam, Demons, you name it. Their tortured souls are all bound to the CW.
We should all be so lucky to have someone who will never let us go.
The ultimate legacy is to leave behind someone who will love you forever.
There was a melody ringing through the air; the sweet harmony of the birds singing and the distant rumble of cars drifted on the soft whispers of the wind. They mingled together, and fell upon the deaf ears of Sam Winchester. He was frozen in one moment in time, just two days before. It seemed that the fragile threads that bound Sam to his world, to his own reality, had been severed. And there was the evidence of his sweet fantasy- an empty body, a body that had once possessed the spirit of Dean.
He looked like he was sleeping, his pale face was just so peaceful...it was easy to pretend that Dean was finally at rest, that he was happy at last. But it would just be a lie...because Dean's soul was trapped in hell. He would never find peace, only more pain, more suffering...
Sam couldn't hold his tears back. They flooded his face, and he reached for the only comfort that he had ever needed in his life. He gathered Dean's lifeless form into his arms and buried his face into the soft leather of Dean's jacket.
"I was supposed to save you." Sam's voice trembled violently. "It wasn't supposed to be like this, I was supposed to save you."
Part of him was waiting to hear the low rumble of Dean's voice, telling him to stop being such a damn girl and get over it, to feel his brother pushing him away, rolling his eyes and huffing in exasperation...although it was always clear that he wasn't completely exasperated.
But another part hated himself; this was the part of him that knew knew that Dean was very far away, and unable to respond to such embarassments as having his brother sobbing over his body.
"What am I supposed to do?" Sam felt as if he could drown in his own grief. Dean had been so much more than a brother...he had been a best friend, a constant anchor throughout the turbulant years of Sam's life. And now he was just...gone. And Sam was still here, very much alive, and very much in need of comfort that only Dean could offer.
"What am I supposed to do, Dean?"
When the sun's rays hit the earth on the last day, Sam woke up, and Dean wasn't there.
It would be a major understatement to say that Sam panicked. He looked over to the empty bed beside him, and felt as if icy tendrils were strangling his heart. There were so many things that had been left unsaid, so much that Dean needed to know- three words that he hadn't yet had the courage to say-
"Sam?" Dean poked his head in through the door. "Dude, seriously. Don't tell me you're already getting all depressed and writing poetry, and girly crap like that."
"Don't make fun of me. I thought you were..." Sam shook his head,
Dean softened instantly, offering Sam one of the cups of coffee he held in his hands. "Sammy, you're going to be fine. I promise. You made it after Jess-"
"Don't you get it?" Sam collapsed on his bed without any grace. "You're not the same as Jess. Jess was beautiful, and I loved her a lot. But she wasn't everything."
"No, Dean, let me finish! You are everything to me. You've been there for me since before I can remember. You carried me out of a fire when you were four. You probably stopped Dad from strangling me a few times. You taught me how to talk, how to walk, how to read-"
"Can't tell you how much I regret that last one, Sammy- lost half of your life to those books. It wasn't healthy."
A ghost of a grin flickered across Sam's face. "You get the idea though. You've always been there for me. You're my brother, my best friend- hell, you're the only family I have left..."
"That's why I had to do it. I couldn't just let you down like that." Dean sighed and sat down next to him, nudging him gently with his shoulder. "I know, Sammy- believe me, I know. When Dad went for me, I didn't understand. Just...nothing made sense, y'know? Like, why would he bother bringing me back? And I- well, I think I finally get it."
"Get what, Dean?"
"He wasn't concerned about me. He wanted to save you, Sam. And I was the only one who could do it- that was my role in this world, to save you. And to help kill off our demon friend, of course. But that was my purpose. C'mon, Sammy, can you really see me living the apple pie life? Having 2.2 kids, and a Stepford wife? Eating meatloaf and mashed potatoes every night- pizza, if I'm feeling particularly daring? I couldn't live like that, and you know it. This is the end for me- I got to help clean up our mess, and now, my time's up. And I'm okay with that." Dean paused, then met Sam's gaze hessitently. "You told me once that just because it was over for you, it didn't have to be for me. Now it's the other way around, Sammy. It's your life- it's your dream. You could settle down, hunt a little if you wanted...I just want you to be happy, Sam."
"What about you? God, Dean, you deserve to be happy too! You don't deserve to go to hell for all of eternity!"
"No?" Dean offered him a weary shadow of his old shit-eating smile. "Well, it's a little too late for that." He looked back down to his hands. "I just wish it had meant something more, you know? Sounds dumb and all, but I wish that someone would remember me..."
"Are you kidding me?" Sam felt hot tears rolling over his cheeks again as the anger faded. "Dean-"
"Just forget it." Dean jumped to his feet and clapped his hand. "Alright, last chance to eat the greasiest meal they can make anywhere in the world!"
The day passed far too quickly; the seconds with his brother seemed to be like sand trinkling through a hourglass. Before he knew it, dusk was settling, and Dean's last day was over.
The sun had just started to set when Dean parked the car in the middle of a deserted road. The confusion left Sam as soon as he looked up to see the crossroads looming ahead. Without a word, they both got out of the car and leaned against the hood.
It could have been hours, maybe even several days filled with only sunsets...looking back later, Sam wouldn't believe how short this final wait had been. But then, it seemed to go on and on, the seconds leading into infinity.
Then, all too quickly, the sun sank beneath the earth, and a Demon appeared from nowhere. He stood in the center of the crossroads, beckoning for Dean to come to him. Dean held up his hand in acknowledgement, then turned to Sam.
He took Sam's hand and gently something into his palm before closing his fingers, then pulled him into a one-armed hug. Sam couldn't meet Dean's eyes, so he just looked down at his dusty sneakers, fighting back the wail that was rising in his throat as Dean released him and started down towards the crossroads.
"Wait!" The shout errupted from Sam before he realized what he was doing. He sprinted after Dean, who had stopped in the middle of the road, and hugged him fiercely, tears spilling onto Dean's jacket. After what seemed like a lifetime, Dean pulled away, holding Sam at arm's length. His eyes searched his little brother's face, like a man memorizing a map that would someday lead him back home.
"I love you, Dean," whispered Sam, his voice cracking. "I love you, big brother."
Dean smiled his first real smile in weeks. "I love you too, Sam," he said softly before he looked back to the horizon, where the Demon was waiting, and continued down the road.
And then, his brother crumpled, and the Demon vanished into the sunset.
Just like in the movies, except in this case, there would be no happily ever after.
Sam couldn't move, couldn't go cling to his brother's body- not yet, anyway. He opened his fist, and saw the keys to Impala.
"You better take care of that car, or I swear, I'll haunt your ass."
And then the tears came.
He sprinkled salt over Dean's still form, feeling warmth burning like fire in his eyes.
"Spirits are the easiest- just give 'em the good ol' salt-and-burn, and they're gone forever! Works better than damn roach spray!"
He suppressed a laugh. Only a twelve-year-old Dean could come up with an analogy like that to explain what their Dad did.
Sam tipped the bottle of kerosene, sending streams of liquid splashing down onto his brother's chest, drenching his cold skin. As he emptied the bottle, his tears mingled with the kerosene. He gasped for breath in between sobs, breathing in the fumes.
"You both can't wait to sacrifice yourselves for this thing, but you know what? I'm gonna be the one to bury you!"
Sam forced himself to focus. He placed his hand on Dean's chilled cheek, trying to memorize the exact texture of his brother's skin, the way the stubble felt beneath his fingertips. Then he ran his fingers through Dean's short, blonde hair, savoring how soft it felt, how it resisted his touch...
Finally, he gently took Dean's necklace from his neck. He bent down, and planted one last soft kiss on his brother's forehead.
Then he struck the match, and stepped away as the flames consumed Dean.
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed it! It's been a while since I've written anything, so feel free to leave a review and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!