Talking Without Words

Rating: PG13 (for some language)
Genre : Gen
Word Count: 1076
Characters : Sam and Dean
Spoilers : general for season 3 but nothing specific

Written for the A Little More Conversation Challenge at spnflashfic livejournal.

Disclaimer: Borrowed and returned but not mine.

Summary : Sam contemplates Dean's ability to communicate non-verbally

Talking Without Words

You'd think after knowing his brother for the last twenty-six years, give or take a few months, it's easy to lose track after all, that Sam would be used to him by now. Nope, it's not that, not that at all. He is used to Dean, more than anyone else he's ever known. He can tell you more than anyone should ever know about his big brother's eating, bathroom and sleeping habits and he will, at this point, absolutely, hand on heart, confess to knowing Dean way better than he ever knew Jessica.

So, given all that information, why is it so difficult to have a conversation with Dean? Let's be honest here, Dean's loud, he talks a lot. Most of the time, he talks way more than Sam does. So what's the problem? The problem is that Dean doesn't use words to communicate the Truth.

Don't get the wrong impression about Dean, planning a hunt and he's way up there for clarity of communication. On a hunt where Sam's safety is concerned he's pretty darn clear then too and Sam appreciates it, even when it comes in comments like, "Sam, will you get your stupid fucking ass down before I fill it full of rocksalt!" Yup, clarity of communication at times, Sam will admit Dean has it down to a fine art.

But then see, he doesn't, not at all. Bluster, bravado and fuck-you attitude, Sam's sick to death of it. How many times has he listened to his brother say he's fine with going to Hell at the end of the year, as if Sam suggested eating in Taco Bell rather than the local diner? What's with that? Sam gets the whole 'I'd do it again' thing, appreciates it, kind of, maybe . . . but he doesn't expect 'I'd do it again' to convert into 'Hey it sounds like a brilliant idea, let's go now.'

It has taken months for Dean's attitude to calm down, months for even Dean's eyes to begin to give away the fear he's got locked up inside and there's a problem with that. The problem is Sam can't listen to Dean's eyes, he's got to be damn well looking at him and Dean is smart enough to be able to go for hours at a time without Sam being able to get a straight look at his face to see what he really needs his little brother to know. By the time, Dean has watched the TV, looked out of the car window, read a few menus, spent a whole meal staring at the food methodically vanishing from his plate, spent a few hours poring over Dad's journal or some other hefty guide to killing monsters, Sam wants to just shake him till he looks up and lets Sam read what Dean needs him to know.

Would it be so difficult for Dean to actually use a little more conversation to convey all this . . . all this everything that he's got inside? See when he's managed to maintain a long enough look at Dean's face, he's managed to see 'love'. Yup okay, he did kind of already know that one, his brother loves him, would do anything for him and when Sam gets a good enough look at his face, it's written there pretty clearly, but then the whole 'Sell my Soul into Hell for Eternity' kind of said that anyway.

Then he managed to figure out the "I know I keep telling you not to work on the whole saving my soul from Hell but I don't actually mean it, unless the only way to save me is to send you there instead." Sam figures he probably should have known that one, but yeah, Dean fooled him with the whole 'not sweating the cholesterol' and trying to get in the panties of virtually every girl they meet. Of course, Dean waits until Sam figures it out to then actually go and put it into words anyway and if that doesn't make Sam want to shake him or bang someone's head against a wall in frustration he doesn't know what does.

Sam's got it, he's used to his brother . . . he's had, give or take a bit of time, twenty-six years practise. It wasn't enough. Dean still says too much without words and Sam hates that it takes him so long to work out all those things that Dean's telling him then. He doesn't need the month or two they've got left, he needs a lifetime, a lifetime to understand and learn how Dean communicates, to recognize when he's telling the Truth in something more than words. He sits down on the edge of the bed and drops his hands into his hands, wishing that he could find some answers.

The door behind him opens and he hears Dean putting the bag of take-out down on the table before crossing the room. A hand drops to sift through Sam's hair and down to his neck, massaging gently, reassurance. "It's okay, Sammy," Dean's voice is warm and soothing. "I know . . . I know you don't want me to go, I know you want to find a way out of the deal, I know you wish things could be different and that I hadn't made the deal. I know you're frightened for us both of what comes after. I know it all, Sam, I do."

Sam wonders how the hell Dean got it all figured out, because he hasn't said half of what Dean apparently knows out loud. Dean's obviously way higher up the scale of understanding the whole non-verbal communication than Sam at this point.

"I get it Sam and I'm sorry. I know you hate what I've done and part of me hates it too, but only part because I couldn't live with knowing that I'd failed you, Sammy. I couldn't live with you gone. The only thing I regret about it is the guilt you're torturing yourself with, it shouldn't be there. This is as it should be, I promise, Sam."

With that Dean's up and across the room lifting out the take out containers as if everything is fine. All those words crammed into those brief moments of time and no chance for Sam to reply. Sam's left with the distinct impression that maybe it isn't Dean with the communication problem after all.