Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Sam and Dean Winchester aren't mine. Supernatural isn't mine nor are the lyrics of the song.

Set: After the events of Mystery Spot.

Chapter 1/3


My Immortal – Evanescence.

Sam watched his brother sleep. Studying him as if he had just started to crawl and realize he had an older brother. He watched the rise and the fall of Dean's chest, his heart tearing into shreds as he told himself that after two months, that chest would remain still like the earth beneath his feet. Flat and unmoving. The once-long coil of rope resembling Sam's time left with his brother was slowly burning away, now only inches left before nothing remained.

His life felt like it was coming to an end. Imagining a world without the person he'd known all his life was just impossible. For the past months, he had been barely keeping it together. Every time he entered the bathroom, he felt a small wave of relief. Not because he wanted to get away from his brother, but because he needed that wooden door between them at times when the tears would come.

Every time Dean would smile, showing his row of perfect teeth, giving him the charmed look with his piercing eyes staring at his soul, he would tell himself not to think about two months later. He would wish the voices in his head to go away, always whispering in his ears that he would not see that signature look again.

Every time this battle took place inside of him, tears would burn the back of his eyes and if he thought about it for a little longer, he wouldn't be able to keep them in. It had been like that ever since he was little.

I'm so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears
And if you have to leave
I wish that you would just leave
'Cause your presence still lingers here
And it won't leave me alone

The memories of leaving Dean and John for college were forever etched in Sam's mind like words carved into a tombstone. During his stay at Stanford, he had no one to talk to. No one to share his past with. He would pretend to walk away or sometimes be lucky enough to change the subject without arousing any suspicions when they touched the subject of how people were like before school.

Every night spent lying down on his bed; he would think about that night that he put his back in front of Dean and John's faces. They had exchanged some unpleasant words to each other, and after each insult, Sam's brain was screaming at them to leave. Leave not because he wanted them to stop yelling at him, but because he didn't want them to cause themselves so much pain. If they had given up, that meant that Sam had won. It meant on some level, they accepted what Sam was trying to say and let him go.

But that didn't happen.

They wouldn't give up. Their feet were planted firmly onto the ground, their eyes a swirl of anger, sadness and disbelief. After endless arguments tossed around, Sam decided that that was it. With a defiant 'I'm going, and that's final,' he spun around and walked out the door.

Knowing that his family wasn't the one that had given up on him, he felt a twinge of regret every night. No friend could fill up the space where John and Dean had been. No textbook could replace the vocabulary Dean had taught him from toddler to now. No gym worked the same program as John's. It was all different.

But wasn't that what he wanted?

Their presence still lingers, always on Sam's mind, always around the room like an angry spirit reluctant to leave. At times, his smile would fall just thinking of them. His eyes would lose their shade of happiness just speaking their names out loud.

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

Some wounds remain so deep that scars wouldn't need to make themselves known. By looking at a person, you could see the things they have endured. Sam would only show signs of weakness when no one was around to witness it. And when he did, it didn't look pretty at all.

The words that were exchanged that night could never be forgotten. Dean's voice so clear in his head, asking him why he had to do this. Dad's voice like a knife piercing through his head, so sharp and evident that he was angry, telling him to stay gone if he were to go.

Sam didn't have an autopilot mode like his brother. He always needed someone to talk to, someone to discuss things with to make him feel better. Putting one foot in front of the other just wasn't him. He couldn't do that.

The more he'd dwell on the things that had happened that night, the more he'd venture on the past. He'd dig up long forgotten memories and relive them again in his mind, whether if it was feeling the comfort of Dean's hug ten years ago, or putting his hands on the steering wheel of the Impala for the first time.

Above everything else, Stanford was painful.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

Dean always said that Sam made everything better. When Sam's patching up skills were professional enough, he would help Dean stitch his wounds up every time he ended up hurt from a hunt. When Dean thought Sam wasn't watching, small tears would well in his eyes when he'd pull the needle out. It made Sam ache to see his courageous brother cry, but he pretended not to notice. Instead, he laid a hand on his shoulder.

A question that Dean always knew how to reply.

"Don't worry, Sammy. I'm okay. I'll always be okay. You just have to play your part."

Sam knew what the last part meant. To play his part meant to stay alive- to be in his world and that was all Dean needed to be okay. It was comfort that spread through his being like a fire that refused to die out.

A forever burning flame in his heart.

Sam was a solid existence in Dean's life. It was how he always thought it'd be. Just the two of them- two brothers against a marching army of demons. Two months later, it'd just be him. Him alone fighting some unknown war with no one to watch his back, No one to keep the smile from his face. It would be like stranded on an island.

You used to captivate me
By your resonating light
Now I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts
My once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away
All the sanity in me

After the Yellow Eyed Demon crashed the Impala, it was a downward drive to hell. Seeing Dean on the hospital bed, pale and still was breathtaking and shocking. Dean had never touched death, never needed paddles over his chest to keep his heart beating. How can one soldier fight in a war against hundreds? How? It sounded ridiculous.

When Sam was nine years old, he remembered the coolest dream he had. He was riding his own motor bicycle with his own shades, helmet and expensive leather jacket. The breeze made his hair like brown seaweed in the air, and his jacket would flap behind him as the wind danced past. He didn't want to wake up. He even believed it was a dream from God for a few days.

A little over twelve years later his dreams changed dramatically. From motor bikes, to his dead girlfriend and now his brother. A recurring nightmare. Dean would stand before his bed and tell him that he made the deal because of Sam. It was all about Sam. "I didn't want to do it." Dean said, his eyes cold and no longer the gentle color Sam was always used to. "I really didn't. But seeing you there, you were so weak, so helpless…"

It was always after that word that Sam would awake instantly, his eyes snapping wide, always turning to look for Dean.

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase

Sam gave it time during school. For the first couple of days he pushed it out of his mind, tried to forget it like wrenching a memory away from his mind. He gave it weeks and when the weeks didn't make it any easier, he gave it months. He pleaded that the weight inside his chest, threatening to push his heart straight down to his stomach would subside. Not one hunt has made Sam endure so much pain.

The months flew by with exams as he struggled to keep up with what was going on around him. Each spoonful of food was getting harder to place in his mouth, let alone swallow. Each word of affection spoken to his friends was getting too hard to make his eyes light up and his chest explode with joyous laughter. His friends didn't notice, but he did.

He didn't need anyone to tell him; he knew it deep down.

He was getting colder on the inside. His flame was dying out. And even though he knew, Sam just knew that his family was just a phone call away, he found it hard to breathe, found it hard to live. He couldn't even begin to imagine what kind of breakdown he'd go through if the last of his family wasn't a simple phone call away.

The casual stroll through the hospital corridor with the desired coffee in one hand seemed just like another day. Sam finally felt light again, his brother had just woken up from the car crash, and John was there. He was their father again. It all seemed normal.

He was just about to smile at himself when a figure on the floor caught his attention. With a glance to his right, his eyes widened and in just a mere second, he found it difficult to breathe again. The cup of coffee, long forgotten, crumbling like the walls inside Sam's heart fell to the floor as he sprinted over to his fallen father, taking simple strides but it seemed like he was crossing a bridge.

A bridge that separated life from death.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

Dean always used to tell Sam that their Dad was once a normal Dad. One that tucked their children away at night. Sam only believed what he was told, but the person that played this role in his life had always been Dean. Dean was the constant being in his life.

Sam was a growing plant and Dean was the sunlight, the water, the soil and the plant growing beside it.

Dean had always been a brother, a father, a best friend and a teacher to Sam. A brother that lightly punched him when he said something stupid. A father that patted his back when he was told to duck in a hunt. A best friend that was always in his life standing beside him. And a teacher who always taught him new things; whether it was safe sex or how to roll out of the way in style during a fight.

And he was like no other comedian.

The fun and cocky personality Dean was born with. Whether it was prank wars, a lesson on the difference between "Real Music and Shit Music, Sammy," or just a way to pass the time, Sam remembered each one of them. Even if he had rolled his eyes, his heart had warmed up. It was what they did. They relied on one and another to see the daylight of tomorrow and that being said, it wasn't only watching out for each other. Dean was a constant person in Sam's life, someone you couldn't get rid of, who you wouldn't even dream of getting rid of and someone who you couldn't ever live without.

When the doctor called time of death on John, Sam was devastated. The whole situation was making his head spin- He didn't want to think anymore but he just had to. Questions were making their way into Sam's mind before he could block them out.

Was this Sam's consequence for walking away from his family to go to school?

Did Sam deserve this because of all the orders he refused to listen to when he was younger?

Sam took a deep breath, but it didn't feel like his chest was inflated with air. He didn't feel anything. His father had just died and his brother looked about as shocked as Sam. No matter how many breaths he took, the emptiness in his chest was never filled. It was like a constant reminder of what a failure he was and everything that went wrong in his life.

I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along

He couldn't help but think for the thousandth time in his twenty four years of living, that if he had never existed, his family wouldn't suffer such a terrible life. Hell, if Sam was to think about it his Mom wasn't even given a chance at living. Her life had just accelerated to a new level, one where she was the boss and had her own two beautiful bright kids. Every mother's dream was to watch their sons grow into fine young men, have women on their arms and watch as her grandkids mature in the same fashion.

But that never happened to Mary. Just when one of the two treasures of her life was a mere 6 months old, she was murdered in her son's room.

Now that was cruel and unfair.

And Sam didn't even need to think to know that his father wasn't given a proper life.

Fathers react almost the same way as mothers when children are born. When Dean jumped into John's arms at the age of 4, he imagined his sons handsome and proud. He imagined Mary and him, the two of them at each other's side until normal deaths took either of them away.

After finding out the truth about what happened, John's heart slowly became cold and his mind was slowly obsessing about the wrong thing. He forgot how to be a father, how to communicate and how to love.

And if Sam thought deeply about Dean, he knew that if, and if Mary was killed in the same fashion, which he highly doubted, the partnership of father and son would be so strong and powerful and they wouldn't have a burden by their side. Dean learnt quick, followed John's instructions without any questions because he understood. He understood what was happening, knew that a dominant evil had murdered their mother twenty two years ago.

What was there for Sam to get except words that weaved their way into Sam's mind, desperate for a real image of what had happened?

It was simple. Life was a bitch. And if Sam didn't exist, life would be much less of a bitch in the Winchester family.

After what happened in Cold Oak, Sam remembered how alone he felt when he woke up and no one was there. Every other time, when he was unconscious after a hunt, he had always found Dean hovering over him. When Sam woke up, he didn't register the pain. The only thing that went through his head was where his brother was.

Swallowing hard, his mind raced. What if Dean had gone after Jake? Or worse, what if Jake finished off Dean? Sam felt terrified and alone that struck him deep to the core. Where was everyone and why was he the only one left here?

Pushing himself up onto his elbows, he whimpered as the pain in his lower back made itself known and he knew he had to see how serious the wound was. After taking a quick look at it, the door opened as he was smothered by the material of Dean's shirt.

When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
And I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have
All of me

Sam seldom showed his weakness. He rarely cried in front of anyone.

Sam remembered the time when he was young, a few years before his teenage years and his Dad was so angry at him because he did something wrong on a hunt. He didn't understand it, the three of them got out alive, the hunt was hours ago and everything was fine. Why did he have to scream at him until he looked him in the eye and spoke a clear "Yes Sir, I won't do it again." He remembered that time he had balled his fists up so hard that his little nails bit into the palm of his hand as he willed himself not to cry.

Sam remembered the time when he was fourteen and John didn't let him go to his friend's house to complete an assignment that he'd been keen on completing. Standing up to his father, he argued back and the longer they were at it, the more harsh words were exchanged. Each minute, a bad memory of the past was brought up and tossed around, lingering in the air. John had shouted for the millionth time that they were here focusing on the spirit, not about school and that this spirit could appear anywhere and Sam might be caught off guard. Sam had countered back, saying that he could defend himself, that he could look after himself.

But John had had it. He counted in Sam's face the times he didn't follow instructions and nearly got them killed, and further explaining that he would stand no chance against a spirit or something supernatural if it jumped Sam when least unexpected. Before Sam had a chance to argue, John had whispered a "So what makes you think that I'll let you go by yourself for a few hours when you're not as expertly trained like your brother?" Sam remembered how his own eyes flashed and his jaw was clenched so tightly that he was afraid he would damage his teeth, but that was least of his worries. He couldn't cry in front of his father, especially since the situation had gotten so out of hand.

With a stubborn "Fine," through clenched teeth, the tears never even dared to burn Sam's eyes as he lied on his bed.

Sam remembered the time he walked out the door, each step getting closer to Stanford, each step getting further away from his family. He had to stay strong, because Stanford didn't accept pathetic people. That was why Sam was chosen. They thought it was resilient, strong and smart. He couldn't let the world see how two faced he was. He needed to be what they thought he was. Resilient, strong, smart and normal. Passing the threshold of the door, he wiped the memories of his family's hurt faces away from his mind. To stop his chin from trembling, he bit his bottom lip so hard until small droplets of blood oozed from the abused flesh. He wasn't a kid anymore, but Sam knew deep down that that was the closest he'd ever come to breaking down.

Sam remembered when he was leaning on the black, shiny Impala, asking Dean whether he had truly died or not. His brother shook his head as a smile formed on his face. There was no humor in it, and both knew that. His eyes bore down on the earth below him. It was as if he was telling himself that he had been busted, that he should have tried to hide it more clearly. The answer was confirmed. With a strained question asking Dean how long he had, he knew he didn't want to hear it. The answer would be too much to bear.

It seemed like forever as the silence rang between them but it was only short seconds. One year, Sam heard. One year. Sam asked Dean how on Earth he could have done that and again he didn't want to hear the answer. Dean's love for Sam was unconditional when he didn't deserve such love. Dean deserved it more than he did, but now he was going to die in a year and Sam owed him so much that words could not explain. Sam owed Dean something that no money could replace, no smile could lighten and no action could comfort.

Or so he had thought.

And that was when Sam's heart shattered as he broke down. Tears cascaded down his cheeks. No balled fists, no clenched teeth and no biting of the lip could stop the tears, the trembling of the chin, the heaves his chest were assaulted with nor the hiccups that surfaced. Dean's words echoed in his head, taunting him and teasing him, beckoning him to surrender and to do something about it.

One year.

One year.


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