The Little Things Count More
After several more hours of suffering, Dean's fever finally broke and the pain had stopped. Dean still felt weak and could barely walk to the bathroom, a fact that only irked him no end when he had to ask for help. Bobby and Sam would delight in the knowledge that a complaining Dean was a Dean on the road to recovery.
After a couple more days of solid food and moving around, Dean was almost back to his old self again. Bobby had watched as Sam finally got to nurse Dean back and smiled at the delicate caring gestures Sam gave Dean despite Dean's resistance. It had been a refreshing view into two young men, who, if you didn't know they were hunters of evil demons and spirits, would have just seemed like two ordinary brothers, one taking care of the other. Bobby wanted to freeze the moment in time because as much as he wanted it to be, they weren't just two ordinary brothers, one was dying in the least conventional way imaginable and the other was slowly coming to reluctant terms to a future without his big brother. It pained Bobby to his soul.
Sam packed their stuff into the trunk and Dean, for one of the very few times in their lives, had given Sam the keys to the Impala. Dean knew that he was still in no condition to drive his baby and facing Sam's glee was less humiliating than crashing the car into a tree. As Sam smirked, Dean glared and reminded Sam to not get used to it. As Sam climbed into the car and closed the door, he paused for a moment and looked over at Dean. Dean noticed and gave him a puzzled look.
"What?" Dean asked.
"Um…I was thinking, maybe we should take some time off, you know, do something different, something we've never done like see the Grand Canyon."
Dean listened to his brother's shy appeal to him and relaxed. Sam was admitting something that Dean thought he never would. Sam was coming to terms, if reluctantly, to Dean leaving in a month. It didn't mean that Sam was accepting his trip to Hell, Dean wouldn't expect him to, but he was giving him a chance to walk away from the life, if just for a little while. If it had been a year ago, Dean might have taken him up on his offer, but knowing that he only had a little time left, he knew he couldn't walk away, not now. He had remembered what Bobby had said about not being able to walk away himself. For as long as he had left on this Earth, Dean had to fight for Sam. Even if others believed it was a losing battle, Dean didn't believe that anymore. Every battle counted. Every moment together fighting counted, not to just being human, but also to being a big brother.
"Thanks, Sam. I appreciate what you're doing, but I can't."
"Why not?" Sam said, his voice hovering dangerously close to pleading with him. "Haven't we both fought enough? Don't we deserve time just to be brothers again?"
"We've always been brothers, Sammy. We've never stopped being brothers and that's why I can't walk away."
"I don't understand…"
"Back at Monument, I thought fighting was enough. I even told that to Henriksen, but when I watched Nancy offer to give her life to save her friends to a demon who didn't give a rat's ass about who she was or what she was doing, I realized she was worth winning the war for, that her life couldn't have been sacrificed for nothing. You are worth winning the war for," Dean said.
Sam looked at him and swallowed hard.
"All Ruby saw was that the end justifies the means. I meant what I said, Sam. If that's the way to winning wars, I don't want to win, not that way. I don't think you do either. Good has to win because we choose not to sacrifice innocents, to not make those kinds of choices."
Sam watched the conviction and belief in Dean's tired, but determined eyes, flair into a fire that he, himself, had seen and felt. Dean wanted make what time he had left to count for something. Sam wouldn't sway him from that choice with all the brotherly pleading in the world and something inside of him told him that he didn't want to.
Dean looked at Sam and tried to find the words to say what he knew Sam would reject in his heart, but that he had already known in his head.
"After I'm gone, do everything you can to win this war. I know there are no guarantees. Hell, until a month ago, I was ready to write off the world and be happy to just go down fighting, but I don't believe that anymore. You can't stop trying. I know it's a lot to lay on you and I'm sorry I didn't think about that when I made that deal, but what's going to happen to me is not a reason to surrender, to give in and let the world…well…go to Hell. You and Bobby, you can win this. Believing is everything, Sammy, and I believe you can do it. I don't know how, but I know you will."
Sam bit his lip then nodded his head and smiled.
"Okay, Dean," Sam said simply.
Dean then sat back into the passenger seat of the Impala, still feeling exhausted after barely exerting himself, two states that were completely alien to him. He closed his eyes, placed his shades over them then smiled.
"Enjoy it while you can, Sammy, 'cuz as soon as I'm back to my old handsome self, I'm taking my baby back.
Sam couldn't help, but laugh at the thought. If he were to admit it, he liked it when Dean was behind the wheel. When he was, everything felt right, the way it should always be.
"House rules, Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole."
Sam turned on the tape deck, blared Motorhead through the speakers, knowing the music would lull Dean asleep then started the engine. It roared with comforting familiarity.
It was the little things that counted most.
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