This is another tag for the episode Sex and Violence. Like many, I am still emotionally working through the episode and looking down the innumerable paths that the Winchester's could take.

Thanks again to Insane Troll Logic for editing and suggestions.

No copyright infringement is intended.

Desperate Times

It had been a tense drive from Iowa. I was glad to put the debacle with the siren in the Impala's rear view mirror. Dean had hardly said two words, but every once in a while I would catch him looking at me with an unreadable expression. That was part of the problem, I thought. Once I could have read my brother's expressions. Once I knew what he was thinking. Now, I wasn't positive I even wanted to know what he's thinking. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant.

And wasn't that an understatement.

After having beat the living day lights out of each other, courtesy of the aforementioned siren, we'd driven until we were close to physical collapse and then lucked into finding an abandoned motel that was really little more than a hole-in-the-wall. That was a literal description. Still it didn't cost us anything and had running water.

We had stayed in worse.

There were still mattresses in some of the rooms. We hauled the best we could find into the room we chose, threw a couple of blankets that didn't smell too bad over top of them and were asleep before our heads hit the pillow, or in this case a folded up jacket. At least I fell asleep. I can only assume Dean did too. His nightmares, if he had any, didn't wake me.

I didn't wake up until almost noon the next day. Dean's bed was empty and I didn't hear him in the room. There was a large cup of coffee sitting on the floor by the door and a small brown bag. I went to the bathroom and then checked out the bag. It contained a chocolate chip muffin. The coffee was not quite hot but still warm enough that I didn't mind the bitterness. I needed the caffeine so badly I would have injected it straight into a vein.

I had some breakfast and wondered where my brother was. I also wondered what I would say to him. Maybe it would be better if I didn't talk to him about the words the siren's venom forced me to spill. It's not like I really meant what I said--not really.

It was strange; we had tried our best to kill each other. In fact, if Bobby hadn't shown up when he did, it was likely that I'd be taking up space in a shallow grave or my ashes would be in a shoe box in the trunk of the car. The bruises were the easiest to forgive. I didn't blame Dean for the dark bruise I had where my back connected with a door or the shallow cut on my neck and I know he didn't blame me for any of his physical pain. What we said to each other--that was a whole different story.

The only thing my brother said to me was that I'd changed, he didn't trust me to have his back anymore and he wanted his brother back. In retrospect, it hurt a little to hear it but I couldn't deny that what he said was true. I have changed and I'm not certain it's for the better. It was necessary though I didn't think Dean would agree.

What I said to him, I didn't think he would forget easily. I had told him once already that I didn't mean what I said, that it was the siren's venom talking, not me. He said we were good but his continued silence said differently.

Dean only went quiet for a few reasons: he was too angry to talk, too depressed to talk or was being too introspective to talk. In this case it was probably a little bit of all three. I think that I would rather have him yelling at me than be faced with his somber reticence. It reminded me too much of the silence during the months that he was gone.

By the time I had finished my coffee and muffin it must have been past noon but still my brother hadn't stuck his head back in the room. I picked up my cell and called his number. I heard his ring tone coming from right outside the door. I hung up before he could answer and walked outside instead. Dean was leaning against the Impala, slipping his cell phone back into his jacket pocket. He glanced my way when he heard the door open. By the dark circles under his eyes, I revised my belief that he had woken earlier than I had. I didn't think he had actually been to sleep at all.

In the light of day, the abandoned motel's parking lot looked a lot worse than it had the night before when the Impala's headlights and the waning moon softened the cracked and pot-holed asphalt. The motel looked a lot worse too. Well, you got what you paid for.

I ambled over to the Impala and leaned against it next to Dean, working up my courage to start a conversation that I knew neither of us wanted to have. I opened my mouth, still not certain what I was going to say when Dean turned, looked at me and said, "I'm sorry, Sam."

"What?" I was a little startled. I had expected Dean to say something but that wasn't it.

My brother waved his hand in the general direction of my neck. The shallow cut had quickly scabbed over. Having attention brought to it made it itch and I concentrated on not scratching it while Dean gave a weary sigh and continued, "And for letting the siren get the drop on me." He looked down, obviously embarrassed. "Man, I did not see that coming, not the least bit suspicious." He looked up, training his eyes back on the end of the parking lot. "Still, I guess it's best that all our cards are on the table. No more lying."

That was what I was afraid of. Dean believed I meant what I said. My brother acted cocky but most of the time, it was a bluff. He tended to believe the worst about himself. He tended to believe that others believed it too. "Dean, I thought you believed me when I said I didn't mean any of what the siren made me say." Damage control was going to be a bitch. But if I could convince my brother I didn't mean what I said, maybe I could convince myself too.

Dean barked a short and bitter laugh and looked down, shielding his eyes from me. "Of course you meant what you said, Sam. Just like you meant what Ellicott made you say." He shook his head and then caught my eye. "Doesn't matter what you think of me. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't matter. What matters is that you're my brother and I need to take care of you. That's my job. It has been since Dad put you in my arms and told me to run outside as fast as I could.

"Besides, I have been weak. I've know that you were lying to me for a while but I didn't want to say anything. Afraid you might get pissed at me and leave if push came to shove.

"I've been drinking too much, sleeping too little; I need to get my head out of my ass and get my act together. I am afraid of Alister and Lilith. Someone bleeds you day and night for years and you develop a healthy respect for their blades. Still, being afraid never kept me from doing what needed doing and I'm not gonna let it start."

I started to deny, well, just about everything. My brother survived Hell. I had to tell him that I didn't judge him for how Hell had changed him and I didn't think he was weak but he continued before I could even open my mouth.

"I am trying to hold you back, Sam--just not doing a very good job of it. But, bro, that is stopping now. Dad told me that if I couldn't save you, I would have to kill you. I saved you. Castiel said I had to stop you. I would rather go back to Hell than…stop you." He snorted, "Sort of a damned if I do and damned if I don't."

"That's not funny Dean."

"It's a little funny."

Thinking of the number of nights he had woken me with his nightmares, I shuddered. "Not even a little bit."

My brother sighed, "You're right, not even a little bit." He cleared his throat. "Anyway, I've been thinking about it all night, made some plans. I know what I got to do."

Now, I was apprehensive. "What do you mean?" I could feel the corners of my mouth turn down in a frown. A hundred thoughts were going through my mind as to what he could be meaning and none of them were good.

"I'm going to save you, Sam, whether you want me to or not."

I shook my head. "Dean?"

"You've been making some bad choices, Sam. It's partially my fault. I wasn't here when you needed me but that couldn't be helped. But the bad choices started back before I was puppy chow. That's when you started keeping things from me too."

I knew that Dean thought my working relationship with Ruby was a bad choice. I knew that I kept how often she was coming around while I was looking for a way to save Dean from his deal from my brother, as well as a few other pieces of information that I didn't want to burden him with but I really had no idea to what he was referring. He must have noticed my confusion because he decided to explain.

"In Colorado, in that jail, you were going to go along with Ruby's plan to sacrifice a virgin. You were buying into dark magic. You would never have even thought of doing something like that before that bitch became your new BFF.

"Then the first night I got back from my trip down under…I should have realized how much things had changed."

That really confused me. I knew I lied to my brother when he asked me point blank if I had used my psychic powers and I hid it from him until Castiel told him. I felt bad about that but then I didn't have the courage to tell him the truth, not when he had just crawled out of his grave hours before.

"I come back from Hell, not knowing how I got out or if what pulled me out would be coming for me. You left me alone."

That night, after Dean had fallen asleep, I had gone off with Ruby to exorcise the demons that were at the diner, to see if they knew what pulled Dean from the Pit. When I got back to the room and saw the glass shattered on the floor and Dean gone, I thought the worse. Remembering that still made me sick to my stomach with guilt. After Cold Oak, it was weeks before Dean left me alone. Sometimes at night I would wake up and find him watching me sleep. A little creepy but reassuring at the same time.

Dean was raised from Hell, found me, trusted me to watch his back. I let him wake up alone. My throat tightened.

Dean's jaw clinched. "You've been making bad choices for a while but I know who to blame for them."

I had a really bad feeling about where this was heading. "What are you planning, Dean?"

"Castiel said he had work for me to do and it's about time I started doing it. I'm going demon hunting."

I felt a little rush of hope that Dean had finally come around to my way of thinking. We would finally be pro-active rather than re-active. "When are we leaving?"

"We're not." Dean looked me straight in the eye. He must have seen something in my face because his fell. "Sam, I am only beating you to the door."

"What are you talking about? I'm not the one taking off," I said bitterly.

Dean shook his head slowly, no doubt remembering our siren enhanced conversation. "Sam," he said quietly, "you already have your bags packed and are headed out the door. You just haven't called your favorite demon to pick you up yet. Look me in the eye and tell me that you haven't thought about taking off."

Well, I'd gotten a lot better at lying to my brother but I didn't think I could pull that off. Ruby had been after me to come with her. I had considered it. I wanted this to be over. I needed it to be over but I didn't want to hurt my brother to do it. I didn't want to but I knew that if I kept on this path, I would. Anger comes easily to me lately. I was mad at my self but didn't want to have to deal with that so I lashed out at Dean.

"So you were just going to leave? Take off without telling me!" I was so mad that I almost missed the hurt that flashed briefly through his eyes.

"I wouldn't do that to you Sam," he said softly.

My anger turned to guilt so fast it was like a sucker punch that left me reeling. Of course, Dean wouldn't do that to me. I'm the only one that runs out on family.

There was a bright flash at the far corner of the lot. I blinked the spots from my eyes and saw a man standing where a second before there had been no one. He had his hands in the pockets of his rumpled trench coat and was looking at us. For just a second, I thought I saw the shadow of wings superimposed on the asphalt. Castiel had pulled my brother from the Pit and now he was pulling him from me. My mind shied away from any comparison. The angel was never my friend but for just a second, I hated him. It was better than hating myself.

"Well, it looks like my ride's here." Dean shrugged and started across the broken pavement.

"Wait!" I didn't know what I was going to say, but I was desperate to make him stay. There was a stirring in my gut that reminded me of the months that I waited for hellhounds to rip my world to shreds. He stopped but didn't turn around. I said the first thing I could think of. "You can't go. You don't have your stuff."

Dean's head tilted up as if he were looking for answers in the sky. His voice was rough and low. I could barely hear him. "I was told if I could just have faith, all would be provided. I've tried fighting, pleading, arguing and bleeding. I don't know what to do anymore, Sam. Nothing's worked. I lost mom. I lost dad. Now, I'm losing you. So, I thought, as a last resort, faith couldn't hurt."

At one time my brother had faith in me.

I only just restrained myself from running and grabbing him, from shouting that he wasn't losing me. Except…I knew that he already had. That he had been losing me since the first time I listened to Ruby and ignored that little voice in my head that warned me to stop; the voice that sounded just like my big brother. He was leaving and I had no one to blame but myself. I was disgusted with myself and ashamed.

The worst part was that I knew what I could say to make him turn around and come back. I knew what I could do to make every thing good between us again. I knew… but I couldn't do it. I had already made my choice and it wasn't my brother. This was how I was repaying all his sacrifices. My eyes started to sting but I refused to wipe them. My heart hurt but I deserved the pain.

I should contact Ruby and let her know to make herself scarce.

"Are you coming back?" I shouted after him.

He kept walking toward the angel. "I hope so, Sammy. I really hope so."

End