Author's Note: So this, story, drabble, whatever you want to call it, came out of no where. Okay maybe somewhere. I just got done watching the season premier of Supernatural, and I lost a family member a couple of days ago, and I guess this has been festering for a while, and I just had the impulse to write it. Make of it what you will. Oh and a warning for 3x16 Spoilers!

--

"For we are born in other's pain, and perish in our own."

-Francis Thomas

If there is one thing that Sam knows, it is that pain is ever present.

After he buries Dean, he discovers that it varies in intensity. There is the dull ache that settles over him every time he thinks- "Dean is dead. Dean is dead and he's in hell."

And then there is pain. Harsh, brutal, bulldozing pain.

Sometimes Sam will lay there; the silence buried next to him, reminding him of what he had, what he lost. It's in those little moments that it hurts the most. In the moment when he turns around and Dean isn't in the bed next to him breathing softly. In fact there's no bed at all, just empty space, because Sam always gets a single now.

It's the memories of Dean laying in the bed next to him, the rustle of his worn out jeans, or the way his boots would sound on the floor of the Impala. They add up together, all these memories, to equal Dean. Always Dean. Only Dean. And they remind him, Dean is gone.

It's those moments that cut Sam in half, leave him gasping and weeping, fingers clutched against his palm, half-moon crescents decorating them, until all Sam can taste is the salt from his own tears.

Sam discovers that it is those moments that define pain. Pain is in the memories of how Dean's eyes would crinkle when he smiled, or the timbre of his voice, or the smell of leather from his jacket, the way he would say "Sammy." Pain is all those memories Sam carries around of him.

Pain is in all those memories Sam is making without Dean.

The End.