Salty tears ran down Sam Winchester's cheeks. He stared back at him for one final moment and bit his lip. Everything rode on one word. Hunting or living a normal life for him was over. It had been over for him since the first taste of demon blood. Ruby had paved the way for the blow that had destroyed the lives that he could have lived. His own actions had lead to his downfall and the betrayal of his brother Dean.

Sam wasn't going to make the same mistake again by trying to be righteous.

There wasn't anything righteous left in the world.

Sam, from his postion kneeling on the floor, looked up the man's sorrow-traced face and inhaled to give his final verdict.

"Y--"

The rest of his word was cut off by a flare of flames. Out of the crimson flames was a man that Sam knew all too well.

"Dean?"

Dean Winchester barely glanced at him before swinging back and plunging his fist through Lucifer's vessel's torso. Sam was shocked and amazed all at once. How did he do that?!

In an explosion of light, every piece of glass in the room broke. From the vessel's body came sapphire streams of electricity. From the vessel, it flowed into Dean. Sam watched the spectacle in fascination and horror. What did this mean?

Suddenly, the light burst and a dead silence ensued. Dean dropped to his knees and then to the floor, unconscious. Sam crawled over to him, checking for a pulse that was weakly there.

"Dean. . .Dean. . ."


Cradling Dean's body in his arms, Sam wished his hardest that his brother would wake up. Prayers didn't matter anymore, wishing was all that he had.

Finally, there was a groan from his brother and Sam became fully alert.

"Dean?"

"Sam?"

"Yeah."

Dean's eyes opened and Sam winced at the color. They were a fried red as if it had been there for a while. His brother wheezed a cough and then barely choked out, "You okay?"

"Yeah, why did you do that Dean? Why?"

"Had to save you. You're my brother."

"But I started the Apocalypse and I--"

"Sammy, no. . ."

"Dean, I caused all this," Sam's sorrow began to grow, "I don't deserve you sacrificing yourself for me. I--"

"Sam," Dean attempted again, a tad bit stronger this time, but ultimately failing for Sam's voice began to raise.

"I'm so sorry, Dean. I love you and I never wanted to hurt you," Sam burst into tears, not caring if he was girly or not. This was the Apocalypse after all, pride didn't matter. "I shouldn't have ever listened to Ruby and you were right all along. I just want to be a kid again and have you as a brother. We could be a family, but I had to screw that up. Now you hate me and I don't deserve to be around you. I don't deserve to touch you or say your name. I'm s-sorry, D-Dean. . ." Sam's voice began to crack and waver. Ultimately, his voice was choked off in his throat with the emotional buildup.

Finally, Dean spoke again, "I know you're sorry, Sammy. This time, I forgive you," he coughed violently, "I l--"

Suddenly, Dean began to cough up blood and shake. Sam, panicked and startled, held onto his brother tightly, "Dean, no. . .please. . ."

But Dean was already on the edge of oblivion.


When Dean woke up again, Sam had been pacing for two hours like a maniac.

When Dean had moved his hand, Sam had raced to his brother's side.

When Dean said "Sam", Sam had already been listening.

"Hey, Dean," Sam answered, masking his fear to the best of his abilities, "How are you feeling? You passed out."

"Like shit."

"That's understandable."

"I remember you freaking out about something."

"Dean, I--"

"No, let me say something."

Taken aback, Sam fell silent to his brother's voice which was gaining in strength.

"I've never gotten to tell you this and I was stupid not to a million years ago," Dean swallowed, "But I love you and I will never be able to stay mad at you."

Half of Sam's braincells exploded, "You mean, you're not mad?"

"Nope."

"That I betrayed you?"

"Hurts, but I'm not mad at you."

"That I ditched you for Ruby?"

"You needed to get a better woman, but no, not mad anymore."

"That I started the Apocalypse?"

"Not mad, you couldn't have helped it."

"You mean it?" Sam asked with tears watering up in his eyes.

"Yeah."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah," Dean answered with finality.