Title - Easy Choice

Author - sholot

Disclaimer - I don't own the boys, they're Kripke's masterpieces. I'm just playing with them.

Warnings - pre-series and pilot, hints of Dean/Sam - I thought of it as brotherly love, but if you want to see as wincest, not my fault...

AN - this is the first Supernatural piece I wrote. It sat on my hard drive as I threw drabbles out to the world, as I tried to figure if it was good enough. All of your kind reviews of my drabbles give me the courage to post this now. Thank you so much for all of your support and I hope I can continue to write pieces you will enjoy.

-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

For all of Sam's rebellion and stubbornness, especially in the face of his father John, he was forever loyal to Dean. Anything Dean asked, Sam would give, for Dean asked for so little, truly asked instead of hinted or cajoled. Dean gave and gave and gave his everything for their little family, for his Sammy, and almost never asked for anything in return. He would brush off help, would be determined to be the strong one, the protector and provider and giver, not the defended or needy or taker. He gave Sam everything, the food off his plate to spare Sam hunger, the time of his days to play Sam's games, the comfort of his nights to stave off Sam's nightmares, all his love he gave to the little one who had been placed into his arms, into his protection, that fiery night when Mommy was stolen from them and Daddy became Dad and Sir, a distant commanding officer barking out orders to young ears.

What so few realize is this : Dean could have done what John's threats and anger and fear could not, kept Sam safe with the family and wandering in the hunt. He alone had that power over Sam, that if he asked Sam would do, give, surrender, in love and gratitude for all that Dean had given him. If Dean had asked that night, the cold night Sam stepped on that bus toward Stanford and away from his family and their past, Dean walking with him there, always protective and supporting at his brother's side. If Dean had turned to Sam and asked him to stay, Sam would have gone back to the little motel room at his brother's side, closing that door of a possible future. He would have abandoned his dreams of college, of normalcy, if Dean had asked, if Dean had said he needed Sam at his side, if Dean had admitted he didn't want his brother to leave him. Dean could have changed everything.

But above all things, above his father's approval and revenge for his dear mother, above women and alcohol and the wild fire within him as he fought evil and saved an innocent, above everything, Dean wanted one thing: Sam's happiness. His little brother was held above everything, even his own happiness and peace of mind. Dean had known for years that Sam would leave, ever since that English teacher had put the idea of college into Sammy's hungry eager mind. Sam loved learning, had devoured every book he could get his hands on, and was always asking questions, seeking to understand the world they lived in. Little Sammy, for he was little in Dean's mind no matter how tall he grew, had always been full of curiosity and rained his queries upon his patient brother who surely knew everything in the world. He was Dean after all. His little brother dreamed of a quiet normal life away from the fears of what lay waiting in the darkness of the night or deep within men's hearts. Dean watched his brother wish and long for that safe innocent life, a life Dean had lost yet Sam still had a chance at, if Dean was willing to let him go, to give him that opportunity. And Dean gave everything, sacrificed everything, for his Sammy.

Dean knew if he asked, Sam would stay. He would rejoin the hunt and not speak of college again. But instead, he would hold a secret desire for the safe normalcy of that world. Sam would never speak it aloud, but he would mourn the loss of that chance of freedom. He would fight their dad and battle evil beside them, business as usual in the broken Winchester family, but a part of Sam would grieve. And Dean hated it when Sam was sad or hurt, when his brother suffered. He had the power to bring Sam joy, or lock him in a life he did not want to live.

It was an easy choice.

After all, Dean always gave. He almost never spoke of his own wants, the wishes hidden within his own heart. He ignored those, and instead sought to ease his father's pain and brighten his brother's world. He withheld nothing if it meant it would aid his family even a small amount, would banish the darkness of grief in John's eyes or bring a warm smile to Sammy's face for even a little while. All his energy and efforts were to help them, support them, love them. He gave it all to them, and kept so very little for himself. He just gave.

So Dean gave Sam a warm proud smile and gentle teasing and a slap on the back. He gave Sam the money he had been saving for Sam's birthday present to help his little brother make his way through the confusing paths of college. He gave Sam words of congratulations and approval, well wishes for his happiness and faith that his little brother would go far in the world.

Dean gave and gave, ignoring the part of him that was whimpering and crying at the idea of losing Sam, of his brother leaving him, of being alone. They had been together since before Sam was born, through fire and blood, fear and hope. Dean felt a deep seated dread and terror within himself at the thought of being without his brother, floating adrift in a vast pain-filled sea of loneliness. For what would Dean be if he didn't have his Sam? Would Dean exist if he did not have his Sam at his side, his Sam to protect and guide? What would Dean be without his Sam, for all he knew was what he was to Sam. Sam's protector. Sam's support. Sam's brother. Always Sam's.

But Dean held back his fears and doubts and pleas, pushed them into a locked box far back in his mind, hidden deep within his heart. Those emotions and thoughts would hide there beside his secret disapproval of his father's choices in raising his sons and his own secret wishes to have a normal life with college and real friends, to escape the hunt and settle down in some peaceful little town with a pretty wife and three kids. He shut all those things away, sacrificing his dreams to stand at his father's side, to protect his brother with all he had, to live the life of a lonely hunter walking the paths of night. Dean knew sacrifice very well, and he would sacrifice this bit more for Sam's happiness without a second thought.

So Dean held back those small yet powerful words of "stay" and "I want". He gave honest approval and happiness for Sam, strong reassurance that even if their father would not speak of his pride for his youngest son's achievements, Dean would not withhold this for Sam. He was honestly proud of Sam, that his little brother had made it so far in the world, so he told Sam that and more. He watched the bus drive away, taking away his brother and only anchor in his crumbling world as his father became colder and more distant, as the burden and struggles of the hunt took their toll on his body and soul, as his faint hopes for a happy life crumbled a bit more. Dean watched with a smile on his face, and inside he died.

Years later, when Dean came to Sam, seeking his brother's help in finding their dad, he was desperate. His world was falling apart, his father missing and his soul worn thin with weariness, so he went to the only solid thing he knew. He hinted and stated, argued and cajoled. None of those reached Sam; his little brother had become good at brushing off the wants of others.

So Dean gave in and asked those few words aloud and dozens silent, asking for Sam's help, for Sam's presence, for Sam's support. Dean had been struggling to exist without Sam, and he was worn to the bone. For just a few days, could Sam be by his side, to remind him what he was and what he was fighting for.

Sam could never and would never deny Dean when his brother opened himself to rejection and actually asked.

When the yellow-eyed demon that stole everything from their family is destroyed, the husk it had been wearing cooling on the floor, Sam would make a choice. His revenge would be gained, his obligations fulfilled. A crossroads would he stand at. On one path, Stanford and a quiet normal life waited, shimmering with hope and peace. The other path held his brother, standing there in the shadows forlorn and lonely, a strong mask on his face but those green eyes silently pleading. By this point, Sam would have learned, or relearned, all of his older brother's silent language, the looks and movements and tiny signs that spoke what his mouth seldom dared to say. Sam would understand Dean's silent request.

It would be an easy choice.

For all the loyalty and love Dean gave Sam, Sam returned twice over.

And Sam would always give Dean anything if Dean only asked for it.

-=-= end =-=-