Author's Note: Can't say I like the 4th season much, there's too many things missing, most of all Dean and Sam acting like anything but strangers... Anyhow, this is just a short drabble/tag for "Hell's Angels" that popped up this morning and wouldn't leave me alone. All mistakes you might find are purely my own. I don't own anything supernatural, all belongs to somebody else.
They sat in silence, Sam absent-mindedly watching the scenery while Dean kept staring at the road ahead, lost in thoughts Sam found himself praying were not memories of what his brother had told him mere moments ago. He cast a glance at him, studying the familiar face, gaze lingering on unshed tears he could still make out in his eyes. It scared him, Dean didn't cry, he just… didn't. Ever. For him to show… to admit such a level of emotion was… unheard of, at least for Sam. Hearing Dean's voice crack, watching those tears fall was almost worse than listening to the heartbroken confession of what his brother had been forced to endure… forced to do to survive.
A slight intake of breath broke the silence before a still rough voice sounded.
He realized his glance had turned into some kind of stare at some point and Dean had finally noticed, was watching him in turn now, an unvoiced question shining in his eyes. Sam blinked then swallowed thickly, eyes still on his brother, his own voice low, soft, hesitant even.
"If you knew what was going to happen… would you do it again?"
Dean frowned, then stiffened, casting a quick glance at him, nervous, cautious. "Would I do what?" He was stalling for time, he knew exactly what Sam was talking about.
Another quick glance and when Sam didn't react, just looked at him, a nervous smile tugged at Dean's lips and he nodded. "Yeah, of course I would." Sam knew he had meant it to sound like he was annoyed at him for even asking the question, but he had not missed the slight pause. And so he stayed silent, watching.
Dean avoided his eyes for a moment, then turned sideways in his seat, towards him and looked at him. Really looked at him, holding his gaze, studying his features. Sam looked back though it became increasingly difficult not to flinch away.
Emotions flashed across Dean's face, touched his eyes and became more pronounced, anger, fear, pure agony, desperation, helplessness, something he couldn't even begin to understand, feelings Sam had never seen in such intensity. It physically hurt to watch, each switch of emotion caused him to sink down into his seat, instinctively trying to get out of his brother's personal space. Dean just watched him, silent, unmoving, pinning him down with more than just that look. Sam understood then he had not been meant to see this, that this was the reason Dean had kept his back towards when he spoke about his time…
Dean tilted his head at some point, squinting his eyes a bit as if he was trying to focus on something and Sam understood that he was looking for something in his eyes, something he was more than just afraid to have lost somewhere in the past months, a part of him he sometimes feared he would never be able to find again. There were so many things he wanted to tell Dean right there and then, that he was still in there, that he was still Dean's brother, Sammy, not whatever monster everybody seemed to sense inside him… But he couldn't, the words wouldn't come, no matter how hard he tried to shove them past the lump in his throat.
And then Dean smiled.