Disclaimer: Supernatural does not belong to me. It belongs to the ever brilliant Erik Kripke and probably a host of other people who I have no clue who they are. I'm just borrowing it along with some very awesome guys. And I promise to bring them back relatively unharmed.

Summary: Tag to 4.16 'On the Head of a Pin'. What will Sam's reaction be when he finds out his brother's part in starting the Apocalypse? And how will he convince him to keep fighting when there's nothing left to fight for?

Author's Note: For those of you who have wondered what happened to me since I've been away for almost a year now, I do greatly apologize. Poor health and life in general have sapped the creativeness clean out of my soul. This is the first time in months that I've been slightly inspired to write anything at all. I'm seriously hoping that I can keep the momentum that this little fic has started me on again. And just maybe I might be able to finish one of the other two fics I have not finished.

Now to the actual story notes. I am normally a Dean girl but have been told by my friends that I write Sam better. Take that as you may. Personally I don't really see it. But that being said, this One Shot is what I would have liked to see happen at the end of 4.16 but knowing the spoilers I've read for the end of season five I do realize that this is all wishful thinking. Here's hoping you like what I've done.

Eerie silence settled between the two brothers during the short drive from the hospital to the motel Sam had checked them into once he knew his brother would make it through his latest brush with life and death.

His older brother had not spoken a word. Not since he had woken with Sam sitting by his side. The look in his brother's eyes had said so much, but Sam was no longer able to read his emotions like he had just a year before. Whether Dean was changing as life and hell took their toll on him or if Sam just didn't understand his brother anymore, he just did not know. Before, Sam could have probably pinpointed what had done this to his brother. Now he was lost to know what. But those eyes, his brother's eyes, were full of painful emotions. What exactly had taken place in that room with Alistair, Sam had no clue. What had put that look in his brother's eyes he could not determine. But whatever it was, it frightened him. Dean looked for lack of a better word, broken. That wasn't his brother. True he knew that his brother was going through so much and it was taking its toll on him. But this… this was something all together different. Never before had he seen a complete lack of determination in his brother. But it was there now. And in a single flash he realized what he was seeing in his brother. Dean was giving up.

As he pulled into the nearly empty lot of the motel Sam sat for a moment staring through the windshield running through his mind what could have caused this reaction. Had torturing the demon sent his brother into a tale spin? Or the fact that the angels had failed him. The Devils Trap had failed and Dean had been hurt. Hurt bad enough that Sam had practically dared to order Castiel to heal him. Or was it the fact that Dean had failed to get any information from Alistair, when Sam had?

Then again, how Sam had gotten the information could cause his brother to topple too couldn't it? What if Castiel had told Dean what Sam did while he was unconscious? Sam had left the hospital long enough to check them into a motel and stow their gear there. Had the angel warned Dean that his brother had gone a step further? That now he could kill demons with his mind. Not just exorcise them but kill them. But if that was the case wouldn't Dean be even more determined to stop Sam? Unless he had realized that Sam just couldn't be stopped.

He glanced to his brother and saw that Dean hadn't even bothered to open his door yet. Almost as if he were waiting for Sam to tell him to. "We should go in. Get you settled," he said in almost a whisper.

Dean nodded slightly and opened his door, getting out ever so slowly as if it was all too hard. Sam followed, his face filling with concern for his brother. Dean stood aside waiting as Sam opened the door and then followed silently. Sam stood back though watching as his brother made his way into the room and did something that Sam had never seen him do. He sat on the bed next to the bathroom wall and looked as if he were about to lie down. The bed that was normally Sam's. The bed away from the door, away from danger.

Sam could feel his hands begin to tremble. Not even after Hell had Dean ever relinquished his right to the bed nearest the door. Not after Dad, not after killing the yellow-eyed demon, not even when his heart was giving out before they got to the faith healer. And in one terrifying moment Sam knew exactly what it felt like to get what you wanted most only to realize it was the last thing you could ever need. "D..Dean," he stuttered out, his tongue not cooperating with the strength he felt he should show for his brother's sake.

Dean's eyes had slid shut the moment his body had sunk down onto the mattress but his brother's voice brought them open again and for the first time in days Sam heard his brother's voice. "Yeah, Sam." It sounded old, worn out.

Sam licked his lips wondering just what he should say. What would it take to bring back his brother? He had to know first what was causing this and he had a feeling that he could guess. "Did Cas talk to you?"

Dean didn't flinch, blink, or show any sign that the angel's name had affected him, but his answer was still in the affirmative as he nodded without speaking.

Sam drew in a deep, shaky breath. "So you know what I did." It was a statement not a question and for the first time since he had started using his powers Sam really wondered if they were gonna cost him more than just his soul. Were they gonna cost him his brother too? And if they did would it be a cost he was willing to pay?

Dean didn't move for several seconds as if he was trying to process what Sam was speaking of. What his brother did? A look of bewilderment crossed his worn features and he shook his head slightly. And then it stuck him that even though his brother wore a guilty look on his face, Dean just couldn't bring himself to care what Sam had done this time. Whatever evil the angels thought he was up to just didn't matter anymore. "It's okay, Sam. Whatever it is… well I'm sure you had your reasons." With that Dean went ahead and stretched out on the bed easily, hoping to find oblivion within the soft surface.

Sam's eyes more than doubled in size at his brother's statement. Dean was just letting him off the hook. He didn't even care to know what damning act his brother had recently committed. Sam's head shook and he couldn't believe what he knew he was gonna do next. After all the lies and hiding his actions from his brother he was going to willingly admit to something Dean would not approve of, just to get a reaction from his seemingly uncaring brother. "Dean, I killed Alistair... with my mind."

Dean's eyes had closed the moment his back touched the bed but Sam's words bought them sluggishly back open. Sam expected rage, disgust, or at least disappointment from his brother but instead Dean's eyes darkened in even more pain if possible. "Can't say the bastard didn't deserve it."

Sam strode forward within a few feet of the bed Dean was lying on and his hands were gripping and releasing at his sides, his whole body a bundle of nerves, tense, and agitated. "No, Dean. You don't get it. I killed him. Not exorcised. I killed him!"

Dean nodded slowly. He had caught that part already, and somehow it hadn't surprised him. "As I said, the bastard deserved it."

Sam slumped to the bed across from his brother feeling as if he had been sucker punched in the gut. This wasn't his brother. This wasn't Dean. Not even the Dean he had known since his stint in hell. "Dude, I know you are worn out and beat, but why aren't you ripping my head off?"

A large sigh left Dean's lips as he sat up again. He didn't want to do this. He didn't want to go over why his brother was using all these freaky demon powers and just why it was so wrong. He didn't have the energy for it, and honestly after everything he'd learned in the past few days he just didn't have the stomach for it either. And in the seconds it took him to sit up properly he realized the one truth that he couldn't deny anymore. "I don't have any right to say whether what you are doing is right or not, Sam. I never did."

Sam's face twisted into a wry smirk as his next words tumbled out before he could properly think. "Well that's exactly what you've been doing ever since you got back from hell. So tell me, Dean, what has changed?"

Dean didn't rise to the barb in his brother's words. Sam was right. "I know the score now, Sam. And it's gonna take a hell of a lot stronger man than me to fix this. So maybe what you are doing is the right thing after all."

Sam deflated immediately. He had never felt completely right about what he was doing, and mostly because of what he knew his brother would think. But now Dean was giving him the go ahead to do whatever he wanted. He knew he should feel elated, but the thought that this wasn't the Dean he knew and loved robbed him of the celebration. "I don't know what to say, Dean."

"Don't say anything, Sam. Because I'm not saying that you are gonna win this war for us. It's already lost. I'm just hoping that these abilities of yours keep you alive through the hell that this world is gonna soon become." The words weren't spoken in censure as Sam would have expected but more in defeat and self-loathing.

Sam sprung to his feet and backed away from his brother then, feeling as if everything he had ever known was flipped upside down. "What the hell are you saying? We've already lost? What's that crap? This ain't you, Dean. You don't give up. You don't quit fighting, no matter what."

He didn't even flinch at his brother's words, at the accusation they held. "Don't I? I gave up in hell. After thirty years, I gave up. And look where it got us. I've brought hell to earth, and now I don't have the guts to stick around and fix what I did."

"What do you mean…" Sam began to say confused by his brother's cryptic confession, but Dean cut him off, his voice for the first time raising and showing at least a little anger, even if the anger was directed at himself.

"It was me! I did this. I started it, Sam. I brought hell to this world," he shouted angrily pounding his fist into the bed beside him, wishing it was a harder surface that would bring him a measure of pain. Anything to distract his mind from the knowledge gnawing away at him, forcing him into a state of self-deprecating loathing.

"I don't understand, Dean," Sam answered his voice almost pleading. He wanted his brother to stop talking. Decided that whatever secret his brother was carrying now was not one he really wanted to know. Not if it could tarnish the image he carried of his brother even farther than it already had been by the other secrets he had already revealed from his time in the pit.

"And it is written that the first seal shall be broken when a righteous man sheds blood in hell. As he breaks so shall it break." His voice quavered with the words Alistair had spoken to him several nights before, his voice tapering off to almost a whisper towards the end and with his breaking voice came the first tear sliding down his cheek.

Sam's face screwed up in horror hearing the words, which could only be prophecy, but his head shook back and forth in denial. "Demons lie, Dean!"

He reached up wiping away the tears now cascading down his face swallowing hard on the sob that threatened to choke from his mouth. "Not this time, Sam. Cas confirmed it. I did this. I started this, and he says that I have to be the one to finish it. That it's me or we lose." He paused then knowing his next words would only bring revulsion from his brother. "And that is why we've already lost. This world got saddled with me as its savior and now it's screwed."

This was so not what Sam had expected when he entered the room a few moments before. Nothing could have prepared him for this. For the amount of guilt that was laying on his brother's shoulders. For the weight which he did not deserve to be pressed upon him. A weight, which would be too much for any man to accept. The fact that Dean didn't have enough faith in himself to withstand this, was not a surprise though. Dean had never placed faith in himself. Had never thought of himself as worthy of anything good. How could the angels or even God himself expect Dean to face this? And how the hell was he gonna convince his brother otherwise. "Dean, you've got to snap out of this. You can't just give up. I know you better than this. You may not have faith in yourself, but you are still a fighter. You can't just give up."

"Don't you get it, Sam? This isn't a matter of giving up. This is a matter of facing reality. This is too big. It's more than I can handle. You were right, Sam. I am too weak. I can't face this. And we might as well face the fact that I screw up every time I turn around anyway. Everything I do ends up sliding sideways. The law of averages just ain't in our favor this time, Sam. And if I try, what kind of consequences are we facing this time?" His words all but saying 'We aren't gonna make it.' He had already told Cas that. He had been telling himself that for days now. It was time to face up to it and let his brother know exactly where they stood. The only thing he had left to hope for was that Sam would somehow survive. Even if there was to be hell on earth, his brother might find a way to make the best of it.

Silence descended between them as Sam stood half way across the room from the one person in the world that mattered to him, his entire body shaking in fear of the enormity of the situation they found themselves in.

He had told Ruby that Dean was weak, that hell had changed him. It had taken a part of him. The part of him that had always made him seem almost invincible. The part of him that Sam had looked up to, the part of him that Sam wanted back the most. The part that he was now determined to get back. He walked forward slowly and stood before his brother. For a split second Dean lifted his head and looked into his brother's eyes but couldn't hold the gaze as he looked down again, and Sam wasn't gonna have that. He kneeled in front of Dean without touching him, trying to garner his attention with just his presence.

When his brother refused to look up into his eyes he let his voice loose saying a few things that he always thought he should have told Dean, but just never had the chance to do so. "Dean, you say you screw up all the time, and maybe you do." A small snort left Dean's lips and Sam could almost hear him thinking 'What a pep talk there, Sammy.' But he continued anyway. "But you take more risky chances than anyone I've ever seen. You risk everything for everyone else. You always have. So doesn't it sort of make sense that you've got a lot more opportunity to mess up than everyone else?"

He could see his brother's teeth worrying his already torn lip, thinking over his words, considering, and Sam took that opportunity to press his point a little further. "I know the things you blame yourself for, Dean. And every one of them are things that came about because you were risking yourself for others, for the people you care about. It's all cause and effect. You care about someone, you dare to love them, and something happens and you have no choice but to do something to protect them. Whether it's something smart or something totally crazy that's gonna end up with you in too deep, well it's no telling with you, Dean. But your motives are always right, they are always fair, and just, and almost never for your own sake."

He could see his brother swallow hard, knowing that Dean couldn't deny anything he was saying but he had to try. "What difference does that make if I bring the apocalypse down on the world, Sam? Is it gonna matter any at all what my motives were behind my mistakes?"

Sam reached out then placing his palm against his brother's neck, using his thumb to raise Dean's chin needing to look him in the eye as he spoke. "No, Dean. What's gonna matter is how damn hard you worked to prevent it." Dean tried to pull away denial in his eyes, not wanting to hear his brother suggest that. But Sam sensing that at the moment Dean's will wasn't even strong enough to effectively pull away, clamped his hand tighter holding his brother still. "Don't do that, Dean. I've listened to you talk ever since you got back, talk about the angels, talk about how wrong what I've been doing is, talk about the things that happened in hell… well now it's your turn to listen to me."

Dean's movements stilled but Sam could see just a bit of steel creep back into his brother's eyes. Even if he was mad at Sam for forcing him into a very uncomfortable position at least he was getting mad. Now Sam had to direct that anger in the right direction. "Dean, I used to know you better than anyone else in this world. And Hell took that away from me. It took you and it stripped you bare of everything that made you what you were. It took away all the parts of you that I cared about. The part of you that put family before everything in life. It left you an empty shell. Cold, scared, angry, and bitter. Face it Dean. Operation save Sammy has become operation stop Sammy. And yeah, maybe I have changed, and maybe I do need to be saved. But who's gonna be there to do it?" With that Sam felt tears prick the corners of his eyes knowing what he was asking of his brother.

It wasn't fair. Sam knew it. To ask Dean to shoulder that responsibility again after everything else the world was putting on him. But there was only one thing in the world that Sam knew could motivate Dean to action when it seemed he had nothing left to give. "Sammy, don't do that to me. Don't lay that on me," he pleaded, his voice coming out choked as tears began to cascade down his cheeks again.

"Dean, Cas told you that it has to be you who finishes this, but even if you aren't willing to face it, I can't just turn a blind eye. I'm gonna try to stop Lucifer's rise. I have to. So you can either sit back and watch me fail, probably watch me die, or you can pull yourself together and save my ass yet again. Because the only person who can do that is the brother that went to hell for me. Not the shell that came back." With his words Sam let a ghost of a smile brush his lips as his eyes shined with the hope that he was gonna somehow win his brother back. If Dean only accepted the challenge.

Dean saw the pleading look in his brother's eyes and the tears just starting to slide from the corners of those eyes. He had to admit that Sam was right about him. Hell had turned him cold. It had made him less sympathetic to the situation his brother faced, and on several occasions he himself had admitted that if it weren't Sam he was dealing with he would have ended him himself. And he hated every moment of it. He didn't want to feel like Sam no longer needed him. He didn't want to feel that in the near future he might actually manage to kill his brother if he couldn't save him. He didn't like feeling weak and ineffective next to his brother.

All these thoughts coalesced into one truth. He wanted things back the way they were, before Hell, before the deal, before their world had been turned upside down and didn't resemble anything either of them knew. And he could see it in Sam's eyes too. Sam wanted it just as badly as he did. But what Sam was asking him to do… Too much, just too much. "Sam, I'm getting too old to be saving the world every few months."

Sam knew without a doubt that he had his brother now. That was the opening he wanted. Dean was considering it at least. "I'm not asking you to save it every few months, Dean. Just once more. That's all I'm asking and you won't be alone doing it. I've got your back, big brother."

Dean couldn't hold back the small smile that those words brought to his lips. It had been so long since he felt like he even had a brother. So long since Sam had felt like anything more than a stranger to him. "Yeah, Sammy, I know you do," he whispered reaching out and clasping his brother's forearm. He didn't pull Sam's arm away, he just held it there feeling the bond they once shared being reforged in the link between them. He knew then that no matter how hard the road ahead was that he'd have what he needed the most to face it. Sam may be headed down a dark and dangerous path, but Dean would be there to catch him when he fell, and Sam would be there when Dean became too overwhelmed with his newfound responsibility of saving the world. Together they'd save the world or they'd die trying, the way it was always meant to be.

After several long moments of a comfortable silence Dean pulled away from Sam and wiped the tears away from his eyes, then the smile on his face did broaden into a full blown attempt as he shoved Sam backwards landing him full on his ass. "Move it, Bitch. I want my bed back." With that Dean stood and stepped over him making his way to the other bed.

Sam couldn't help the deep laugh that bubbled up from deep inside as he watched his brother take his rightful place. "Jerk," he pronounced loudly but with no venom in his voice. A sigh of contentment left his lips as he just watched his brother and for the first time in a long time felt like he was home again.

A/N: Well that's all folks. All comments are appreciated and will be treated as bribes for future fics.