Title: Reflections: Every Single Minute That We Linger Will Burn Me To Your Side
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG
Warnings: None, really... Maybe language at a couple of spots.
Spoilers: Um… The Pilot? I don't know. Probably none, really.
Disclaimer: I own nothing...
Summary: A weird little SPN, Stanford-era Christmas fic that's… kind of hopeful? Maybe. A little bit. Have I ever mentioned I don't do fic-happy well? It's kind of angst-y and kind of maybe a little bit hopeful and kind of strange, and I'm not even completely sure what to make of it, since I forgot about it for so long… Wrote it forever ago.

A/N: Title comes from "Outside" by The Age of Information.

Reflections: Every Single Minute That We Linger Will Burn Me To Your Side

There's a faint glimmer in the darkness. Shard of glass staring back at you with cold, dead eyes. Whispers of something… odd. Out of place.

It's wrong.

Secrets exist only in your mind, because he reads you like the open book you are. You hold emotion back, try to convince all that you're immune to moments of weakness, but when they grab hold, they pull you down, drag you until you feel as though you're drowning, and he's there and sometimes the flood doesn't even have to start before he knows, understands, sees right through the walls you thought were built up of the thickest stone, but apparently exist in only shades of clear, spotless glass.

For him.

It works both ways, though. You see him. Understand him.

Or you thought you did.

But then, that was before, wasn't it?
Before he walked away.
Before the notion of family had somehow shredded itself at your feet.

He'd sworn never to come back. Dad had made sure he would never again feel welcome.
But you… You had done nothing to break away. Done nothing to keep him from you.

And yet, he refuses your calls. Ignores your messages. Stands in that bright, cheery room, kisses the pretty blonde and flashes that smile (the one you had only ever seen reflected back at you) at everyone in the tiny little room. Brightly colored lights dance over his features from the little tree with the homemade ornaments you know aren't his, and the pretty little angel blinks away at the very top.

Your fingers play, tug at the amulet that reminds of how he had once loved you, trusted you, more than anyone else.
Including dad.

But then, that had been when he had had no one else.
Maybe this was better.
Maybe this was right.

He deserves a real life, always has, you know, and you were the one to try to give him just that. Tried to protect him. Encouraged him in the face of all that was broken and wrong and fucking painful. Stood up to dad when he had been wrong, and sometimes, even, when he had been right, to give your baby brother the right to fight for a real life.

But then, that was when you had believed real meant the both of you, side by side, just like always.

Maybe it's your own fault. Maybe you should have gone after him. Maybe you should have kept him with his family.
But he was meant for more. That you know. Can't forget it, because if you do, if you ever forget it, then you have lost him for nothing…

You remember the last words you had said to him, that day in the parking lot of the junk motel while dad steamed in the other room. That moment when he had been trying so hard not to just fucking knock you out, because he had been so sure you were trying to stop him. You remember grabbing hold of his arm and spinning him to face you, tears clinging to the corners of your eyes where you saw only anger in his, and you tried to hold him back as you watched him for a moment with big, sad, broken eyes… Remember when you'd registered the look in his, and understood that this could be the last moment you ever spend face to face with the brother you'd practically raised, you'd pulled him into a harsh hug and held tight to his tense frame just long enough to whisper the words "I'm proud of you, Sammy," before letting go and stepping back and watching the confusion shift back to finality and determination as he turned away, eyes lingering just long enough for your own to register the faint glossiness that had taken over as he stepped back and away.
For good.

You're torn. Because something in you wants this for him. Everything in you wants this for him… Just not without you by his side. Or at least around the corner…

Cold eyes focus in reflection once more. See the emptiness there. You wonder what you are without your baby brother. Wonder what you could be.
You like none of the answers.

When you're about to turn away, walk out and never look back, erase him from your life, because, damn it, maybe that's what's best for him, you can't help but look up for a moment; losing focus from your own worn features and slipping to those of your lighter little brother… you find him watching right back. Lips tipped up in a sad little smile you know would never read that way to anyone but you, and for a moment you wonder if maybe, just maybe, he refuses to pick up the phone because you both know the moment he does, he'll run right home to you.

And that's not best for either of you.

So he turns back and smiles and laughs and drinks egg nog with people you'll never know, while you walk away into the cold dark of the abandoned streets, the echo of an "I miss you" he never actually spoke whispering in you mind until you think maybe, just maybe, it'll be okay.