Title: I Walk Alone
Author: Montecarlogurl87
Chapters: 1
Rating: umm, PG...I guess
Warnings: angst, with a side order of schmoop
Spoilers: umm Pilot maybe? It's pre-series
Feedback: Hell yea! I didn't post this thing for my health.
Disclaimer: I do not own Dean or Sam ::damnit:: or anything else from the Supernatural universe.
Author's Note: I made a comment to one of my friends, about it being hard to let someone go only to see them fall on their ass, but watching them get back up and walk on their own is always better, and as cheesy as that line was I kept thinking about it, and then all of a sudden it was Dean in my head saying it, and then next thing I knew Sam was sitting next to him and then this happened...I had it done in under an hour

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Dean made a mental note to oil the door as he swung it shut with a slam. The metal hinge squealing for the first time in forever in the cool damp morning air as if the car itself was cringing at the way Sam sat slumped on the doorstep of their weekly rental makeshift home.

"Hey," Dean said cautiously, nervous eyes darting over the parking lot and not seeing their father's truck.

Sam's sniff, wiping his nose with the sleeve of his hand-me-down jacket brought Dean's eyes shooting back to him.

"Sam?" he asked, harsh crack of his own voice imitating the Impala's whiney door.

He settled himself next to Sam on the dusty front porch step, keys cradled in his hands, fingers absentmindedly twirling the cool metal, a nervous fidget he wasn't even aware of.

"Dude, what's going on?"

"I'm leaving," Sam whispered, voice drug raw over the gravel of emotion.

"What?"

Sam sniffled again, pulling a crumpled piece of paper out of his pocket. He tried futilely to smooth it over his thigh before wordlessly pushing it towards Dean.

Dean's hand shook as he carefully took it, making sure not to damage it anymore than its already tortured state.

"Stanford," he whispered, whatever else he was going to say choked silent in his throat.

"Full ride," Sam supplied, as if it wasn't all black and white glaring letterhead topped in front of Dean as it was.

Dean's lungs trembled, muscles fluttering like a nervous colt as he desperately dragged in air.

"Dad did it."

Dean's mind skidded, trying to catch up to whatever side street Sam's had turned down.

"What?" he murmured.

"Dad's the one that ruined it."

"Sam…"

"The paper. I showed it to him and he…he said I couldn't go, crumpled it up and tried to throw it away."

Dean was still having a hard time breathing and stared out at the Impala, a cool drop of water from the early morning's rain, sliding down off the headlight and making its way down the chrome of the bumper.

"I'm going Dean. I don't care what he says…I don't care what you say," he added quietly.

Sam and their father had been going at it nonstop for past year or so. Any little thing would spark them off and they'd go at each other like dogs in a ring. Growling and jaws clamping shut, refusing to release until Dean pried their bloody teeth apart. Leaving him to take them back to their respective kennels and clean their wounds.

"I mean," Sam sniffled again, swiping at his face angrily with his sleeve again. "It's a goddamned full ride, and he can't be proud like any other normal father. He had to forbid me to go, I just…I'm going," he growled, a finality in his tone that shocked Dean back into the present.

"There's a bus to California that stops in town at six…I'm going to be on it Dean," he said softly, finally turning to look at his brother, his red rimmed eyes way too old for a eighteen year old.

Dean sucked in another ragged shallow breath, and couldn't find it within himself to do anything but nod.

When Sam zipped up his duffle two hours later, and heaved a broken sigh, glancing around the little two room efficiency like it had meant something more than any of the other places they had ever stayed in, Dean picked the keys up off the table, it's leg propped up with a old book.

"I'll drive you," he said quietly, knowing Sam would never have asked.

Sam just nodded, and walked out the door.

Dean killed the Impala's engine in the parking lot of the bus station. It rumbled on for a moment or two, as if she wasn't quite ready to give up before finally acquiescing.

"I guess I need to idle her down," Dean said softly, staring at the gauges.

"You could come with me you know."

Dean felt his heart flutter-jump, losing a beat, as he looked up out the windshield, the glare of the sun making him squint.

"You know I can't do that Sam."

The leather squeaked as Sam turned, propping his arm over the back of the seat.

"You can Dean, come with me. We can get an apartment, and you can go to the community college, Evergreen Valley. I looked them up, they have an automotive program there, you'd be the teacher's pet with this thing," he rambled out optimistically, patting the back seatback.

Dean just shook his head sadly.

"I can't Sam," he whispered.

Sam's angry huff and the slam of the door as he stormed his way to the ticket counter sounded a lot like goodbye.

Dean couldn't bring himself to leave, so he sat, in the protective confines of the car and watched as Sam bought his ticket out of this life.

The door creaked again as Sam settled back down into the soft leather, bus ticket clutched in his hand, and Dean inwardly winced as it slammed shut.

The silence that stretched between them, silence thicker than any that had ever been before them before was more deafening than any shouting match could ever have been.

"You know…when you were little," Dean started quietly, swallowing thick in his throat. "You always wanted me to carry you everywhere."

He chuckled dryly and purposely ignored Sam, who was staring at him.

"I think the only words you even knew then were 'up', 'no' and 'Dean.' I didn't mind really, and it was easier to just carry you, keep up with Dad.

"Dad finally told me you were big enough to walk on your own and I should stop babying you. You still asked 'up' every chance you got, and I always carried you anyways 'cause you were just too damn stubborn to even try to walk."

He paused, "You were always so damn stubborn," he whispered, his own throat clenching at the way Sam audibly swallowed next to him.

"There was this one night, Dad was gone, and I had spent all day cleaning and cooking, doing laundry and just…stuff. And I just…I got so pissed, I was so tired and I just refused to pick you up."

He waited a beat; eyes locked in the distance somewhere, grabbing at the frayed edges of his memory.

"And I yelled at you," his voice cracked, "I just…I yelled at you and went storming off into the kitchen. And you called my name, and I saw you just in time to take your first couple wobbly steps before you fell flat on your ass and started screaming at the top of your lungs."

Dean heard Sam sniff beside him, the choked hiccup strangled in his throat and could still hear the phantom cries of little Sammy in his ears.

"I panicked, went running towards you, so damn scared that you had hurt yourself somehow…and I tripped. Smacked my foot into the side of the couch, twisted my ankle, went down hard on the floor, busted my chin open," he said quietly, hand unconsciously wiping across his chin where the barely-there scar stood.

"And then I heard you babble my name again, and I looked up…and, and I saw you," he whispered wistfully. "And you…you planted your little hands on the carpet, and hauled yourself up and walked over to me, slapping me on the head and said….'Dean, hurt,'" he choked, tears falling unwanted down his face.

"I had been so scared of you walking, so scared of you falling, hurting yourself. So damn terrified when you fell…but god Sammy, watching you get up and walk," he murmured, finally turning to see Sam's watery eyes. "Greatest damn thing I ever saw."

Sam was trying in vain to hold back the tears, chest tight, breathing shallow.

"Dean…"

"This is your time to walk Sammy," he whispered. "And I can't be there to carry you."

Sam nodded, dropping his head, bangs covering his eyes and stared numbly as his tears fell onto the Impala's leather.

The hiss of the air brakes on the bus jerked his head up.

"Now's your time to walk Sammy," Dean whispered, locking eyes with Sam when he turned back to look at him.

Sam just nodded, awkwardly sliding across the street and pulling Dean into a hug.

"I'll call you," he whispered, voice lost in the collar of Dean's jacket, and Dean just nodded, squeezing a bit tighter before letting Sam go.

Letting Sam go.

Sam nodded again, hesitating for a moment before finally getting out. He hesitated another moment, door wide open; before everything came crashing back and he had to make a run for the bus before it left.

The Impala's door squeaked again when he slammed it shut, and Dean didn't even think about oiling it as his own sob broke free from his throat.