A/N: Sam's numbers are marked in italics; Dean's are marked in bold.
1 - S:
By the time Dean's through with the three of them, they're looking in serious need of a First Aid kit. They're on the ground, whimpering and shaking in terror as he stands before them, arms crossed and a glare on his face that's way too threatening for someone who's only eleven years old. "If I ever hear about anything like this again? I'll really kick your butts," Dean says in the same low voice he's heard his dad use on monsters, and it works on these three, too. They pick themselves up, sniveling and looking so less impressive than they did before Dean started whaling on them.
Dean lets them run off, back to their mommies to show their boo-boos and cry like little girls. He doesn't actually really care anymore what happens to the little eight year old brats.
The only thing he cares about is that they leave Sammy alone.
"Sammy?" he calls, heading over to the bushes he knows he saw trembling a little while ago. Besides, he and Sammy have almost magnets inside of them that leads them to the other. 'Brother bond', Dad had told them. And right now, it's helping Dean find his little brother.
Sure enough, Sammy's in the bushes. He's got his knees pulled up to his chest and his head tucked in his jeans, making himself as tiny as possible. "Sammy?" Dean tries again, softer this time. "Sammy, they're gone. I promise. I got rid of 'em all."
Sammy sniffs and raises his head at last, his little face wet from crying and red from getting hit. Dean wants to follow the eight year old punks home and show them how fast he kicks again. "Are you hurt?" Dean asks, crouching next to him.
Sammy thinks about it for a second, then shakes his head, his longer hair shaking with him. "I couldn't find you," Sammy finally says, his voice whisper-soft. "I was scared, Dean."
"Well, you're okay now," Dean says, and reaches over to wrap his arm around Sammy's shoulder. Sammy uncurls at that and reaches over too, except his arm goes around Dean's neck, burying his face in Dean's neck. Since they're not anywhere near girls, and it's Sammy, Dean hugs him back.
Then, "Wanna go home?" and Sammy nods, so Dean leads him out of the bushes.
2 - S:
There's a frown on Sam's face as soon as Dean walks in the door, and he knows instantly that it's going to be one of those days. "Ah, damn," he mutters under his breath, pushing the door shut behind him. The car's not out front; that means Dad's out somewhere again. Probably researching the latest hunt. "What's up, kiddo?" Dean says louder, giving Sam a big grin.
Sam doesn't return it. His gaze hasn't left the wall ever since Dean came home and Dean's a little irked. Dean's not that boring. "Seriously, Sam, what's going on?" he says, trying a direct answer this time. Sam likes direct these days; twelve years old and already knows exactly what he wants. Most of the time.
Sam sighs, as if aggravated, but Dean knows it's just part of the routine, and Sam's about to tell him exactly what he wants to know. "Dad won't let me try out for the soccer team," he says, sounding angry.
Dean waits for the rest of it, and when that's all that's forthcoming, he snorts. "Dude, soccer's not important. Hunting things, now that's important."
"He wants me to learn how to use the bow," Sam says, his frown even more ferocious now. "C'mon, Dean. What do we need a bow for when we have guns? He was just trying to find an excuse that would let him win."
"Hey, some things can only be killed with a bow," Dean defends. "It's a good skill to have."
"Yeah, and I'll pick it up in a single afternoon," Sam says, finally turning to Dean. There's anger there, but there's also hurt. A lot more of it than Dean would've expected, considering it's just soccer. "We'd be here long enough, I could do the soccer team. I'd be out of his hair for most afternoons, which should make him happy. I'll be getting exercise so I'll stay in top shape, and it'll help with my agility, reflexes, and accuracy."
Dean has to admit, his little brother knows how to put up an argument. "And what'd Dad say?"
Sam glances down at the floor. "He said no, end of story, and he didn't want to hear about 'stupid' things like this again. He didn't even let me finish."
Dean's not surprised at that. He just wishes, though, that their dad would've listened just this once. If he keeps this up, he's only going to push his youngest away.
Dean sighs and moves over beside the chair where his brother's sitting. Sam doesn't look up. Dean crouches down and looks at him for a minute, then makes up his mind and reaches out, pulling his brother in to his chest. "I'm sorry, Sammy," he says.
A minute later, Sam leans into the embrace, and Dean can feel hot tears on his neck.
3 - S:
The door shuts quietly behind him, and Dean thinks it'd be more appropriate if it slammed. Sam's outside already, duffel bag over his shoulder and eyes on the distance horizon. They've always been on the distant horizon. They do turn towards him as he steps out, and Dean's surprised at the tears in his eyes. He's getting what he wants; Dean's the one who's getting his heart ripped out.
"You're gonna miss the bus," Dean says, then turns away, unable to look at Sam. The Sam he carried out of the fire, the Sam he nurtured and raised when their Dad didn't know how to be a Dad, and this is what he's getting for it. The ultimate betrayal.
"Dean," Sam says helplessly, a wet sound in his voice that sounds suspiciously like crying, and Dean's never been able to say no to that voice. He does glance over, and Sam's arms are no longer by his side. They're lifted slightly away from his thighs, palms outreaching towards him. "Dean, please," he begs.
"I'm sorry, Sam," he says hoarsely, because he truly is. He turns and heads back into the room, letting the door shut as quietly behind him as it did before.
From the windows, though, he watches as Sam leaves.
4 - S:
"Sam! Sam! Hey, listen to me, Sam!"
Sam doesn't want to listen, from the looks of it. Dean's still trying to get him out of the building, and Sam doesn't seem to care. All he wants is back in that room, and that's what scares Dean the most.
"Sammy, c'mon here, dude. We gotta get out. Let the fire department do their job, right?"
Because he can hear them coming, the sirens in the distance screaming their arrival. They'll be too late to save the apartment and the pretty girl on the ceiling bathed in white, red, and flames.
As soon as they're outside, Sam's much more compliant. He's not pushing at Dean to get back inside, but he doesn't say anything either. He lets himself be manhandled to the Impala across the street, and then stands there, staring at the flames that are visible through the windows.
A shattering of glass, and the windows finally give, letting the flames out into the night. Meanwhile, his brother's still standing there, eyes wide and shimmering. No tears fall, though, and Dean doesn't have a clue how to fix this one.
The firetruck slams to a halt in front of the building, and men begin jumping out, yelling at one another, giving orders. Dean stands in front of Sam, feeling stupidly protective, then realizes his main concern is really behind him, still silent. "Listen to me, Sammy," Dean says, taking Sam's shoulders in his hand. Sam still doesn't register. "Sam. Sam!"
Sam finally glances down at him, and there's a wildness in his eyes that's slowly being edged out by grief. There'll be tears shed tonight, Dean knows. Tonight's a night worthy of tears.
"I need you to listen to me," Dean says quietly, ignoring the shouts in the background. "You're here, I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. All right? I promise."
Sam's eyes stay locked on his, but after a moment, he whispers, "Please don't leave."
"I won't, I swear," Dean says, and Sam's already moving forward, wrapping his arms tight around his brother. Dean holds back just as tightly, knowing there could've been more than one life taken in the flames tonight.
1 - D:
It looks...not at all as bad as it feels. Sam frowns and tries to twist again, wincing and hissing in pain. When he manages to get his shirt up and glimpse back in the mirror, there's dried blood, but no wound.
There's no bandages, either, which makes Sam wonder what happened. He knows it was bad. He remembers pain (man does he remember the pain) and he can still feel something piercing, something sharp and hot like a poker.
Then he remembers Dean, Dean finally finding him, Dean's eyes going wide in horror and shock, and Dean screaming, screaming as he runs towards Sam.
Where is his brother? Isn't he still here? Why ARE they still here? Wouldn't a hospital or a hotel have been the better choices?
Sam turns around, lets his shirt fall back as he does so. Dean's in the doorway, looking as if he hasn't slept in a week, with relief and obvious joy on his face. And, unless Sam's still not with it and he's just seeing things, there's tears in his brother's eyes.
Dean steps forward, as if wanting to rush into Sam, and almost knocks him over with his embrace. His arms are tight and locked around Sam's neck, and Sam knows instinctively that his brother needs this. He bears the pain it's causing the wound/not wound and wraps his arms around his brother's chest.
5 - S:
It's quiet out here in the middle of the night. Dean's not sure if he prefers it that way or not. Sam's quiet beside him, and Dean breathes in deeply, one of his last as a free man.
In a short time, he'll be bound to Hell forever. Might as well take his breaths when he can.
"Don't," Sam cuts him off, his voice quiet but trembling. "Please Dean, don't. You know I won't be fine or okay or whatever it was you were going to say. Just...just be here, okay?" For just a little bit longer is the unspoken phrase they both hear clear as day.
Dean can't fault him for it, and only nods, sending him a small smile. He's...actually feeling peaceful now, but Sam's breaking his heart. His brother's trying so hard to be strong right now, but Dean can tell by the lip that refuses to stay still that Sam's going to give into the urge to cry. "Sam?" he says, and Sam turns towards him.
A shuffle on the crossroad in front of them, and both turn to see the massive dog waiting. It looks more like a wolf than a dog, really, black and huge and quiet, for the moment. It seems to know that Dean's come of his own free will to the crossroads. That was one of the only reasons Dean let Sam come along for this. Dean really wishes he hadn't, but all Sam had said, when Dean had asked him why, was, "You were there for me when I went."
Dean couldn't fault him for that either.
Suddenly arms are wrapped tightly around him, and he can feel Sam shuddering against him, trying desperately to keep the sobs at bay. "Sammy," Dean says, and he suddenly gets how helpless Sam felt all those years ago when he had to leave and couldn't really explain why. Not in a way that his brother would understand.
Sam's tears are soaking his skin, and Dean clutches back, giving Sam this final thing. It's all he really can give. Words mean nothing right now. Everything will sound like the goodbye it is.
There's a growl to his left and Dean stiffens, but Sam lifts his head to glare at the hound. "He's coming," he says, and the anger fades back into the grief it was fueled from. "Just...just let me have him for a little bit more."
"Sam," Dean says, and Sam's turning back to him, his breath hitching. Sam looks at him for a moment, and then shakes his head, the misery only heightening.
"Don't say it. Please don't say it."
Dean can't help it; it's the last, single time he's going to be able to say it. "Bitch."
The sob tears through Sam, followed by another, and it's all Dean can do to hold him upright. Dean's own lip is quivering now as Sam's fingers clutch and shake. This is really it, and while Dean hates that it's now and so early, it's almost better that it's this way. He at least knew when, and he got to say goodbye.
Dean pulls away, and Sam tries to pull him back. "Sammy, I have to," he whispers, and only then does Sam release him. He's still sobbing, tears rolling down his face, and Dean can only give him a watery smile before he turns to the hound waiting in the middle of the crossroad.
It's a few short steps and he's there, and he turns back to give Sam a smile over his shoulder. It's not helping Sam at all, who's trying to calm himself down. And that, Dean knows for a fact, isn't going to happen. Especially not now.
Because whenever Sam was upset, it was Dean who helped calm and soothe him. Dean won't be here to help his brother through this pain.
He turns to the hound, who's still waiting quietly, as if Dean were approaching his throne. "You gonna rip me apart to get to my soul?" Dean asks quietly. "Because I don't want him to watch that. Don't make him watch that."
The hound doesn't respond with words, simply steps forward until it's suddenly nose to nose with him, and while Dean's still trying to figure out how that's possible or how it happened, it's breathing on his face.
The last thing he hears as it all fades away is Sam crying his name.
2 - D:
"...stupid son of a bitch, I swear I will rip you from limb to limb for whatever crazy-ass idea you used! I told you, I told you to leave it alone, and you didn't listen to me, dammit the hell Sam! When you wake up, I swear, just, just please wake up, Sammy, please..."
He can't ignore a request like that, and slowly Sam opens his eyes. Dean's furious but relieved face is the first one he sees, and Sam feels relief of his own. "You sonuvabitch," Dean seethes, but his voice shakes. "What the hell did you do?"
"What I had to," Sam says simply, sitting up. Gravel and dirt weren't the bed he wanted, but Dean insisted on doing this out here at the crossroad, so Sam had to alter his plan. He wasn't even sure it was going to work.
"I could kill you, I swear to-"
"Been there, done that, and now you have, too," Sam says, cutting him off. He gives his brother a hard look, but it immediately softens at the look on Dean's face. If the plan worked (which it has to have, because they're both here) then Dean's got a reason to be freaked. It took longer for Sam to get out than for Dean to.
"How long do you have, huh?" Dean asks, angry again, and Sam shakes his head.
"As long as we have, Dean. No more deals, I swear. It was the only clause I could think of in your contract, and I wasn't even sure it was going to work."
Sam smiles for the first time in months. "Contract stated that you had to go to Hell. It never said how long you had to stay there. So I followed the hound into Hell and took you back."
Dean looks shell-shocked. It couldn't have been that easy is the first question he'll ask, Sam knows, and it really wasn't. He'll never tell Dean what happened down in Hell. He obviously doesn't remember, and Sam's not about to give him visuals.
Sam decides he really doesn't want to hear whatever statement or question his brother's got ready to say, so he instead says again, "Can we just not think about this right now? We got out of the deal, Dean. They can't come after either of us for our souls. We're out, and we're both okay." He doesn't want to think about the deal anymore. He was so afraid it wasn't going to work, and he was really going to lose Dean, and watching him die was one of the hardest things Sam's ever done on a long list of hard things ever done.
Dean stares at him some more, then lunges forward, and Sam cringes and waits, only...
Only there isn't a fist. Rather, Sam gets all of Dean piled up against his chest, one arm wrapping around his shoulders, the other reaching up to let Dean's hand clutch in Sam's hair. Sam closes his eyes and smiles, tightening his own grasp on Dean. He can't help but smile; after all the grief, the tears, the fight for Dean, the relief brings giddiness.
"You're okay," Dean says, his voice rough and full of too much to name.
"We're okay," Sam agrees. "I promise."