Three days after they had arrived at Bobby's, Sam and Bobby were sitting on the back porch watching Dean wander aimlessly through the junkyard.
"What do you think he's doing out there?" asked Bobby.
"Avoiding me." Sam had decided that he was going to get the truth out of Dean about what had happened with Alastair. He had been asking Dean about it every opportunity he had. He was hoping that he could at least make Dean angry enough to tell him but so far nothing had worked.
"Seems to be working for him." Bobby raised his eyebrow at Sam.
"What am I supposed to do, Bobby?" Sam jumped up from his chair and paced to the end of the porch. He was almost beginning to understand how Dean was feeling even if he didn't know why. Helpless, hopeless. Nothing else mattered to him at this moment except getting his brother back and he had no idea how to do it.
The tears came upon him so fast that Sam couldn't hold them back. He held on to the porch rail and let them come. What was the point in trying to be strong for a brother who didn't care about anything anymore?
Sam felt a hand on his back and then Bobby's usually reassuring voice said, "It's going to be okay, son."
But Sam didn't think anything would ever be okay again. "How am I supposed to do this without him, Bobby? How am I supposed to stop the apocalypse when I can't even help my brother?"
"You're not supposed to stop the apocalypse. I am."
Sam and Bobby whirled around to find Dean standing on the porch behind them. Sam wiped furiously at the tears on his face.
"Sammy, are you okay?"
When Sam heard the concerned sound of Dean's voice, the tears started again. He had been afraid he'd never hear any kind of emotion from his brother again.
"No, I'm not okay, Dean. But neither are you."
"Is this the part where we get all touchy-feely, caring, sharing?" Dean looked from Sam to Bobby.
"I think I'll leave you boys to talk this out," said Bobby. He turned to go in the house but Dean grabbed him by the arm.
"You need to stay," said Dean. "I want you to hear this too."
Bobby shrugged and leaned against the porch railing. Sam's insides were churning. Dean had seemed concerned about him but now he seemed angry. Sam didn't care as long as Dean was feeling something.
"Remember how you said I was holding you back, Sammy." Dean's eyes were piercing right through him, forcing him to remember the terrible things he'd said under the influence of the Siren. Things he would give anything to be able to take back.
"Dean, you know I didn't…."
"Yeah, yeah. Didn't mean it. I know. Well, guess what? Seems all these secrets you've been keeping, the things you've been doing with Ruby? None of that matters because I'm the one who has to stop the freaking apocalypse."
Bobby and Sam just looked at each other. Both were afraid to say anything. Dean was finally talking and they didn't want him to stop until everything was out in the open.
"Aren't you going to ask how or why? I mean, come on. This joke has one of the best punch lines ever." Dean strode across the porch and slung a chair out of his way. "The righteous man who begins it is the only one who can finish it. How's that for a punch line? Righteous man. Do I look like a righteous man to you? Huh, do I?"
Dean was shouting and Bobby was giving Sam a confused look. What the hell was Dean talking about?
"Dean, I don't understand…."
"Damn straight, you don't. You have never understood what it was like to be me. How much pressure Dad put on me to be his little soldier. What it was like after Dad died, knowing that I had to save you. And then when you died I thought that bringing you back was my way of saving you but I was wrong. I should have let you stay dead but I was too selfish to do that." Dean turned away from them and Sam saw him take a deep breath.
"If I had never made that deal, none of this would have ever happened." Dean turned back to face them. "And now I'm the only one who can stop it. You can never understand what that feels like."
A look of understanding was dawning on Bobby's face. "Oh my God, I read about it but I didn't believe it. You're the righteous man who shed blood in Hell. I thought it was just a story, a myth."
Sam looked from Bobby to Dean. "Could someone please explain to me what is going on?"
"I broke the first seal, Sammy." All the anger drained from Dean's face and was replaced by immense sadness. "While I was in Hell. Dad stood up to Alastair for a hundred years and I couldn't even last thirty. This is all my fault and I guess maybe that's why I'm the one who has to stop it."
Dean collapsed into a chair and buried his face in his hands. Sam knelt on the porch beside him. "Dean, you're not alone. We can….."
Dean raised his head to look at his brother and Sam's heart twisted inside him. He had never seen such grief and self loathing in anybody's eyes. "Sam, I can't do it. I don't have any more to give. Please just leave me alone."
Bobby filled Sam in on the prophecy of the righteous man shedding blood in Hell after they had left Dean alone on the porch. Sam had been afraid to push his brother any farther at the moment.
After Dean went to sleep that night, Sam took up residence in the chair next to his bed again. He was worried about his brother after what happened today. At least he had finally learned what had gotten Dean to this point. Now he just needed to figure out a way to get him through it. Dean wasn't completely lost and Sam wasn't going to give up on him.
Sam had been sitting there for a couple of hours when Dean began to moan and talk in his sleep. He was still apologizing to their dad. Now Sam knew what that meant. Even in his death, John Winchester continued to make things hard on his eldest son. Sam felt some of his old resentment stir and immediately felt guilty. His dad was dead and what was happening now had nothing to do with him.
Sam sat on the edge of Dean's bed and gently shook his brother. Dean yelled and sat up in bed with a terrified look on his face.
"It was only a dream, Dean."
"Oh, God, Sammy." Dean covered his face with his hands and his whole body began to shake. It took Sam a minute to realize his brother was crying.
"Dean, it's going to be okay."
Sam put his arms around his brother. Dean stiffened and tried to pull away but Sam held him tight. Dean needed him and Sam had to let him know that he was there for him. Dean began to sob harder and clung desperately to his little brother.
"I can't carry this weight, Sammy." Dean's voice was muffled against Sam's shoulder. "How am I supposed to live with this? You were right. You're stronger than me. You don't need me anymore. I'm only holding you back."
Sam pulled away from Dean so he could look at him but Dean lowered his gaze. Sam put his hands on each side of Dean's face and forced him to look in his eyes. "We are both strong but we are strong together, okay? I need you, Dean. I can't do this without you. When you were gone, in Hell, I can't…." Sam's voice broke. "I can't lose you again."
Dean pulled away from Sam's grasp and wiped his face on the sleeve of his shirt. "This world is in pretty sad shape if it's depending on us to save it."
Sam attempted a laugh. "Yeah, I guess you're right. But we can do it, Dean."
"Together?" Sam heard the question in Dean's voice.
Dean shrugged. "What the hell. Let's give it a try. Apocalypse is something we haven't done yet."
Sam smiled. His brother was back.
I hope you guys like it and I hope it makes sense why Dean finally started to talk. It made sense in my mind but sometimes my mind is a weird place to be. :) Thanks for all the great comments you guys have made!