Chapters: one shot
Type: coda, drama, angst
Rating: PG
Main characters: Dean, Sam
Timeline: 1x09 – Home
Summary: Little coda for episode 1x09 Home. Set after the end of the episode.
Beta Reader: none
Disclaimer: Don't own the show; don't own the brothers (sadly).
Written: March, 2009

"I heard your voice through a photograph
I thought it up and brought up the past
Once you've gone you can never go back
I've got to take it on the otherside"
Otherside – Red Hot Chili Peppers


Winchesters were not good at emotions. They had been brought up to become strong and confident men, capable of surviving pretty much anything. But all that left them pretty inadequate and deficient in the relational area.

In their book tears were only allowed in case of serious injuries and/or bullet wounds. Suck it up was the family mantra but Jess's death and Sam's countless nightmares that had followed were lesson enough for Dean to realize that this was one order he didn't have to follow that seriously. So he'd allowed his brother time to grieve; spent a few nights by his brother's bed to keep the nightmares at bay. And somehow they had both managed to get through it.

Still, old habits die hard and were difficult to get over, and in usual Winchester demeanour they hadn't really acknowledged the latest events.

Sam and his powers had brought them across a new hunt, their dad had once more failed to show and oh yeah they had encountered their long lost and dead mother. What was there to talk about anyway? It was just another day at the office.

"Right," Dean muttered, gently massaging his neck to relieve the tension that had been building in sore muscles. They had been on the road most of the day, driving out of Lawrence then out of the county and finally out of the state. Dean had stopped at nightfall and booked them in a motel somewhere in Nebraska. They had taken their bags in and he had offered to go get food.

He wasn't really that hungry but after a day of sitting together in the car, the idea of some time alone and the coldness of the night was somewhat appealing. He had wandered around a little, letting the soft breeze sooth his distraught thoughts.

Styrofoam in hand he paused at the door. Setting his game face back on, he forced a small smile at the corner of his mouth as he pushed it open. He set the food on the table and made way to his bed, shrugging his jacket off, sparing a short glance for his brother.

Sam was back sitting on his bed, right where he had been when Dean had left. Slightly ticked off, the oldest looked in a bit more intensively and noticed the kid wasn't just sitting in the same place, he actually hadn't moved at all. With his jacket and sneakers still on, he looked as though he had just sat there and shut off.

"Brought you a burger," Dean let out casually. He got no reply, not even a nod. It was as though he hadn't even spoken.

"Everything alright Sam?" He asked, voice less casual. When his question was met with an equally eloquent silence, Dean dropped the bag he had been fiddling with to turn and look Sam squarely on.

Dean could see tears starting to pool in his baby brother's eyes and it tore at his heart. He took the two strides that separated him from his brother's bed and sat down next to the younger man, knees brushing.

"Sam," he started and stopped unsure what to say as the kid bowed his head, long bangs effectively shielding away his gaze.

Dean swallowed around the lump in his throat and slowly raised his left hand to brush away the strands of brown hair.

"Sammy, I-"

"Don't," He interrupted in a horse voice, shaking his head.

Dean sighed loudly, but kept his mouth close. Fair enough he thought. He kept stroking his brother's temple absent-mindedly, the only bit of comfort that Sam allowed him for the moment.

It had been a hard day, week or even couple of weeks for the both of them. First dad going missing, then Jess and now mom… Sam had gotten through the first two, sure there had been tears; especially the first nights after Jess had died but he had managed to pull through. But now Dean was scared this new event would be the one which would totally break him. And he wasn't even sure how to help when he himself wasn't doing much better.

He watched silently as a lone tear made its way on his brother's left cheek. Mom He had seen her again, still as beautiful as remembered her; long blond hair floating and illuminating her soft features. She had looked at him and smiled like she used to when he was younger. Not now he berated himself, forcing his mind to clear off the memory. He wasn't sure he would be able to keep it together if he let himself remember too much. There would be time for that later - he thought - when he was alone. Suck it up an echo that sounded much like John Winchester resounded in his ears, but Dean tuned it off, bringing all his attention back to Sammy.

Sam swallowed slowly and Dean could see he was having a hard time keeping from braking apart, and he wished again there was more he could do. But he knew better than to be too invasive. Like always, Sam would let him in when he was ready. He kept stroking his brother's temple in silence. He was tempted to brush away the offending tear, but resisted the urge, not wanting Sam to think he shouldn't cry.

"Are you ok?" The softly whispered question took Dean by surprise. Of all the things Sam could have said, it was the last he was expecting.

"I'm…" He trailed off, not knowing how to end his sentence. How was he? Fine? Peachy ? No, not even close. Seeing her again had reopened some old wounds and it was hurting more than he would like to acknowledge. But now was not the time for the trip down memory lane. Not when Sam was sitting mere inches from him, bleeding his heart out and waiting for an answer.

"No I'm not." He simply replied, trying to keep the emotions at bay.

Sam nodded, seemingly appreciating the - for once - honest answer.

"Me neither," He replied, turning his head to his right, eyes tentatively rising to meet his brother's.

Their eyes locked; each a mirror of the other's, filled with pain and trauma. Dean's first instinct was to break away but he fought the urge, needing the momentary brotherly connection. As bad as it was to know Sammy was hurting, there was some small sort of sick relief in the knowledge that at least he wasn't the only one. No they were in this together, and it was side by side that they would get through this.

"It's gonna be ok," He said finally with certainty, and the moment was gone. Sam blinked and averted his gaze, nodding softly.

"How about a cold burger and some crappy TV?" Dean asked finally, his tone lighter, as he sat up to get the discarded Styrofoam.

"Sounds about right,"

And so they did. Feet propped up on the bed, back against the headboard they ate in front of a re-run of Indiana Jones. No more words were exchanged that night for there was no need to. Their touching shoulders and now and then brushing knees were eloquent enough; words concealed in touches in the middle of silence. They spoke of comfort and family; loosely translating into "I'm here", "You're not alone" and "We'll get trough this".