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 4.18 'The Monster at the End of This Book'. ~ If one moment can make a difference between hating your brother or knowing he'll have your back forever, then this would be that moment for the Winchester boys.

Author's Note: There was one moment during this episode that I actually missed at first but now that I've watched it twice again this little thing just dropped into my head and I had to put it on paper.


Three days had passed since the confrontation. Three days since Sam had faced Lilith. Three days since she had held Ruby's knife poised above him. And Sam was quiet. Way too quiet.

Sure they had had that one conversation in the car as they drove away from the hotel. Sam had vowed to kill Lilith, and Dean was one hundred percent positive that his brother would let nothing stop him from doing just that. And that thought scared the living hell out of him. There was no telling what his brother was willing to do to accomplish this one task. But he could bet there was almost nothing he wouldn't willingly give to do so.

But this silence between them was more than Dean could take. Maybe he shouldn't have said the things he said. Told Sam that he thought he was gonna go dark side. That was something they had been bouncing back and forth with, grazing it, skimming it, but somehow up until that moment Dean had always let Sam believe that he still had a little faith in his brother controlling his demon side. Not this time though. He had flat out told Sam that it was what he expected. No pulled punches. No sugar coating. No assurances that they'd keep him on the straight and narrow. Just the horrible gut feeling that he had. The feeling that Sam had no other path he could take and he was barreling towards it full speed ahead.

And Sam hadn't even been surprised. He knew it was coming. He knew it's what his brother expected. Guess he just had to finally hear it out loud. And Dean hadn't let him down. He'd finally let it all out.

But where did that leave them? Neither of them really had faith in each other anymore did they? Dean could see Sam going further and further into the dark. And Sam just didn't have the faith he used to have in his big brother. Dean wasn't invincible anymore.

Normally on a day like this one, with the sun shining down on them as they barreled down a piece of blacktop in the middle of nowhere Nebraska, life would have seemed brighter. The music would have been jamming, as Dean tapped his fingers along the steering wheel with the beat. But not today. The radio was just as silent as the brothers occupying the car as if it's interruption would have broken the fragile link they shared between them. And nothing felt right about their lives at the moment.

Wanting to alleviate some of the tension in the air Dean cleared his throat and said the first thing to come to mind. "You getting hungry, Sam? I can stop at the next town." Okay, sort of lame way to break the silence but at least it wasn't something heavy that would lead to an argument or worse.

Sam glanced over to his brother and Dean met his eyes for a brief moment. There was something there. Something Dean just couldn't put his finger on, or even slightly decipher, but within seconds it flashed away as Sam just shook his head and turned his face back towards the window.

"Okay," Dean nodded and turned back forward trying to hold back a large sigh. Since when was he the one that did the whole angst filled sigh meant to draw the other one out of their funk? That was certainly a prelude to one of those talks; the talks that Dean avoided like the plague. The ones that almost always ended in a major chic flic moment. No, not going there. Not this Winchester. But damn there it was. The large sigh. It came out of its own volition and there wasn't a damn thing he could do to keep it in.

Sam glanced towards him for a moment, not sure he had heard something or not but when Dean just continued to stare down the road he convinced himself that he had to be hearing things. So he turned his face back to the view of the open fields by outside his window.

That's right, Sam. Sure am glad you are better at ignoring my lame ass angsty moments than I am at controlling them when they try to take over.

But now positive that his inner angst was working against him another sigh escaped his lips without any warning bringing a low curse on it tail muttered under his breath. He had read somewhere in a magazine once that uncontrollable yawning was a sign of anxiety. But the article hadn't said a damn thing about uncontrollable sighing. So not cool.

Sam had definitely heard the sigh this time and probably the curse too. This led to him staring openly at his older brother with a questioning look across his features. Dean glanced his way again and saw the look. Oh hell, hear it comes. "What?"

Sam's brow scrunched in confusion. "What do you mean, what?"

His brother did his best to plaster an innocent look upon his face as he again chirped out, "What?"

Sam huffed testily as he shook his head in disbelief. "Dude, you are the one over there trying to get my attention. What do you want?"

"Don't know what you're talking about, Sam," he answered sliding his eyes forward praying Sam would just forget about it.

Sam's head sunk back onto the seat behind him and he let out a large sigh of his own. "Come on, Dean. Apparently you want to talk about something and I just don't feel like playing games to get to it right now."

"Really, Sam, how often am I the one who has to talk everything out?" Dean asked still trying to divert the whole conversation.

"Honestly, Dude. In the past few months it's been more often than I can remember during the entire rest of our lives. It used to be me that wanted to talk things through, but apparently the roles have changed on that one. So seriously, let's just get to it." His voice wasn't exasperated or even tired sounding, which surprised Dean. It was almost as if the thought struck Sam as something interesting.

But that didn't stop Dean from glaring at his brother for a moment, now regretting his uncontrollable urge to get him talking. "You are so full of it!" he growled out staring forward again.

"Oh come on, Dean. Don't do that. I sort of like this new part of you. It's a lot easier than having to drag everything from you by force, like I used to have to." And now Dean really could hear it in Sam's voice. It was almost humor. Not mocking humor but just that type of ironic humor you felt when you learned something completely unexpected about someone and found that it was something you really liked.

He was glad to see that his brother didn't seem to be brewing over his accusations from three days before, but still… "Whatever you want to believe. If it makes you feel better to lay your angst riddled moments on my side of the table, then I'll play the sharing and caring type."

Sam couldn't help the chuckle at that one. "Sure, Dean. It's all me… But seriously, while we are on that table of yours, what's on your mind?"

For a moment Dean considered just telling Sam to drop it. It didn't seem as important after hearing the levity in his brother's voice, but still… he really didn't want this one to jump up and bite him in the ass later. "You've been really quiet for the past few days. Scary quiet actually. And that blowup we had back at the motel before Lilith got there… I just wanted to know if this is something that's gonna cause problems for us?"

Sam sat up straighter and nodded in understanding. He had spent the entire first day thinking about Lilith and the fact that he knew he would find a way to kill her. The thought had been intoxicating almost. The revenge he longed to visit on her overshadowing everything else that had happened. But then once the adrenaline had cooled and he had stopped imagining ways to kill her, his thoughts had turned towards his brother. "Dean, I already knew you felt that way. You didn't want to admit it, I know. Your faith in me during the three years before your trip to hell was amazing. But you can only see so much before your faith is tested. I promise you, Dean, I don't want to go dark side. But I'll do whatever it takes to put Lilith down and stop the apocalypse."

Dean sighed again, this time in defeated acceptance. He couldn't stop the path his brother was on. He could damn well try to steer the path in a direction that left his brother alive and not completely demonic, but he couldn't pull him off it no matter how hard he tried. "Yeah, Sam. I think I got that part."

But Sam wasn't finished with what he had to say. "Part of me wants so desperately to be mad at you for not believing in me anymore, Dean." These words drew Dean's gaze as he heard the hurt in his brother's voice. Not anger as he expected, but pain and disappointment. "But I keep hearing you ask me if I was gonna go with you. You could have left me there to rot. I could see it in your eyes. You wanted to go so bad. And for the first time in my life I really knew how you felt all those times when I left and when Dad left. And damn did it hurt."

Dean swallowed past the lump in his throat and felt a prickling sensation behind his eyes. He remembered that feeling all too well. Sam leaving for college, Dad leaving to hunt the demon, and then Sam leaving again in Burkitsville Indiana to go find Dad. They always left him. But never once had he dreamed of leaving them. "Well I didn't," was all he could manage to force from his throat.

Sam smiled a wry smile at that. "No you didn't. I thought you were going to. You had your duffle in hand and you were almost to the door and I was too damn proud to ask you to stay. But instead you threw your duffle down and went out to clear your head, and I have never been more relieved in my entire life."

Dean faced the road again feeling more at ease after hearing that his brother didn't want to lose him anymore than he wanted to lose Sam either. "Yeah, that's when Cas gave me the idea about the whole Archangel thing. He sure saved our asses on this one." With that statement Dean had to smile. Despite his best intentions, he was really beginning to like this particular angel. He might be stiff around the edges but he could be creatively devious when it came to making things come out for the best.

Sam turned in the seat facing his brother and Dean knew this was gonna be the lead up to the whole chic flic moment he was trying to avoid. "Yeah, Dean, and Chuck told me what you did. Threatening him, ready to bring down the Archangel on yourself if you had to. Damn, that took guts!"

"Ah, I knew he'd give in once I threatened him," he answered trying to brush off the praise.

"But if he hadn't… you really would have done it wouldn't you? Pulled your gun and waited for your end to come." Sam's voice sounded slightly frightened. He knew the answer without asking, but it challenged a lot of what he had been thinking of his brother for a while now. He had even accused Dean of running scared from Lilith and now his own words left a foul taste in his mouth and he wondered how he could ever have thought that of his brother, a brother who was willing to face the wrath of an Archangel to save him.

When Dean answered his words were quiet but they still sent shivers down Sam's back. "Yeah, Sammy, I would have."

"Still willing to die to save me, big brother?" Sam choked out and Dean could hear the tears in his brother's voice without even turning to see them.

And he wasn't gonna turn. If he did he'd be right there in the same boat as Sam. And that was not where he had expected this to go. Hadn't he shed enough tears for their crappy life? "You are still my pain in the ass little brother," he quipped hoping to break up the tearful moment before it could start.

But Sam was already too far gone for his jokes to have much effect and he wasn't gonna let his brother back out of this one gracefully. "Dean, please."

And Dean just couldn't withstand that. Not Sam pleading. It had always gotten to him, ever since they were little kids. So he steeled himself to turn and face his brother's tears hoping to keep even a shred of dignity over this moment. "Yeah, Sam, I couldn't have done it any other way."

Sam nodded sniffling slightly trying to dry up his own tears in front of his brother, knowing this was hard enough on him, but it wasn't hard to see the way Dean's own eyes were beginning to shimmer with the tears he had yet to shed. And Sam said the one thing that he had been wanting to say the most during the past three silent days. The one thing he hadn't known how to say until his brother had made the first step towards getting them out of him. "Thanks, big brother. Thanks for staying."

~fin~


A/N: Ah how I love adding these little moments that they never give us on the show. It makes all the pain we watch the brother's suffer just a slight bit more bearable. Thank you for reading this little fic and as always reviews will be treated as bribes for future fics.