Disclaimer: Don't own them.

Summary: Tag to Abandon All Hope 5x10; I don't regularly do tags, but this episode just touched me in ways that stayed with me. It's unbeta'd (MAZ101 is working far, far, away). I know, never a good thing, all mistakes are mine.


The fire was still going, but the picture of the final five was long turned to ash.

Sam jabbed the logs with a poker stick and watched as the fire reignited briefly, crackling in the quiet of the house.

"You check on your brother?" Bobby's voice drifted over and Sam glanced over. Their old friend was pushed up to a large desk, books stacked high, Jack open, shot glass empty.

Sam had washed and dried the other shot glasses. Put them away out of Bobby's reach, but it didn't matter. Bobby hadn't let go of his own glass since they'd arrived there.

Sam didn't answer him, but he stood and walked up the stairs. Dean had gone up about an hour ago – had said nothing, just turned and left – and Sam and Bobby hadn't even flinched when they heard the sounds of books falling to the ground. Hadn't ran up to check on him when a fist hit a door. And then the door had slammed.

No, they just stayed in the quiet. Let Dean work out his anger in the noise.

Sam reached the only closed door upstairs and hesitated a moment. He brought his hand up to knock and then thought differently about it, swung the door open.

The room was a messy cluster of fallen books, magazines, old records and cassette tapes. Sam walked over it all. He sat down on the bed next to his brother, who was sitting still, hands folded in front of him, watching the night out the window.

Funny how he seemed so quiet. Rage spent and now, resignation.

Sam cleared his throat, like maybe Dean hadn't noticed the swing of the door or the tramping of his feet across the rubble or the dip in the bed. Maybe if Sam made a sound to alert Dean that he was here, maybe then Dean would look at him.

But Dean didn't turn around. He just kept his eyes pinned out the window. And Sam wondered what it was Dean was seeing. What picture was playing in his mind because there was nothing but glass and black and Dean was somewhere else.

Sam leaned forward, let his elbows rest on his knees. He took in a deep breath, held it for a few seconds and released it with a soft, "Dean?"

It was as if something sucker-punched his brother then. His face contorted into a mass of wrinkles and pain. Hurt and loss ghosted Dean's face for seconds before he masked it back, smoothed out the lines and tightly he shook his head in Sam's direction. His throat worked hard and only one word could escape, "Don't."

Sam felt the air leave his body in one heavy exhale. He didn't know if he'd have the strength to take in another breath. He was exhausted. The whole day, the whole night… there just wasn't words.

He lifted a hand, without even thinking, laid it gently on Dean's shoulder. But there was so much room in between them, so much wasted space, and Sam wished he was closer because it was awkward and he just wanted to close the gap. He wanted to retie what was broken and pull that knot secure and tight again.

"Sam," Dean began and Sam stayed silent, waiting him out, letting his fingers wrap around, rock-solid. "Please, just… get out."

It only took one wiggle of Dean's shoulder to get loose of Sam's grip and Sam looked away. He didn't have as strong of a hold on Dean as he thought he had.

The air in the little room was smothering him. He tried to take a breath, but it was impossible and he pushed off the bed, tramped over the fallen books, and almost tripped over his feet getting back down the stairs.

Bobby hadn't moved. Still wheeled up to the table, still staring at the shoot glass. Maybe it was a time just for staring, Sam thought as he made his way to the table and slumped down in an empty chair near the older hunter.

Sam watched the fire. It still had a lot of life in it, breathing in deep and releasing puffs of dead smoke above it. He hoped it had been quick for them. Hoped neither Ellen nor Jo had felt the heat or the burn. Not like Jess had. Or their mom.

And, Dean, kick it in the ass… Sam's heart sunk. Don't you miss… The Harvelle's had always been fair to them. Ellen, hard as nails, and Jo a carbon copy in many ways, had always accepted them into their lives. But Sam had rocked things with them. Scared Jo, even though it was a demon who was in control at the time. It was still strange to be around her. She was comfortable with him, let herself be in the same room with him, when others were around. She never allowed herself to be alone with him again, though. Hell, both women had disappeared from their lives for so long and when they were reunited, it was Dean they migrated to.

Because Sam was like a fire and he seemed to burn bridges just as easy as people. The acceptance into the women's lives now wasn't as easy as before. John Winchester's youngest boy didn't hold the light like it had. Now it seemed Sam was let in because he was Dean's brother.

Sam folded his arms and laid his head down, staring at the reds and the oranges of the firelight. It never mattered whom it was in their small circle of souls, if Sam could do permanent damage, he always seemed to find a way to do it.

Detroit. Six months. The devil would come to collect his due. He seemed so sure of it, knew it was to happen, like it was already written. Fate. Destiny. All that crap wrapped up and ready to stuff itself into a neat package of blood and tissue. Sam's skin was just the ribbon needed to bind it all together.

Dad would have never let it go this far. He would have let what was dead stay dead. And everything that Sam had caused – everything that was his fault – would have never happened. All the pain, all the death, all the wrongs he had done would have been avoided.

The yellow-gold glow of the fire blurred and Sam blinked long and slow. He heard Bobby shift in his chair. I ain't cutting you out, boy. Not ever. Words from a friend, not a demon. Words from a person who protected him, not a thing who tricked him.

He swallowed hard, felt the heat of his tears as they ran sideways down his face. Bobby and Dean. They were the only two Sam had anymore. And since Jess and Dad, they were always the only ones. Everyone else, Sam had hurt too much to call his.

So it wasn't that much of a surprise to him that Dean had asked him to go. With everything he had done and inflicted, why would anyone want him in room, sitting beside him, trying to offer comfort? What the hell did Sam know about giving anymore?

He sniffed in a strangled breath, heard Bobby pour another drink into the shot glass and toss it down his throat.

"I'm sorry," Sam blurted out, his lips moving thick and numb against his forearm, keeping his head down, turned away from Bobby.

There was a moments pause and then, "What for?"

Oh, such a loaded question. Really? Should he make a list? Because it wasn't ghosts that haunted Sam, it was memories. "When Dean…." Aw, God, he still couldn't go there… "When Dean left, I left." Left was so much better than went to hell. And his mind always ended that open-ended sentence with for me. "You were just trying to help."

"Oh, that." Like it was an afterthought, which now? It probably was.

Sam watched the fire. Stared at it. Imagined himself inside it. Arms burning, feet burning, heart burning. If he could pretend hard enough to become the fire and burn away, maybe he could just spontaneously combust.

Burn, baby, burn.

He felt a hand rest on his back and fingers curled around his shoulder. The reds and oranges swirled together now and Sam blinked, tried to focus. It felt warm, not suffocating. It felt like friendship and acceptance and love.

A flame flickered for a moment and then died away, the rest of the fire following suit and Sam really didn't want to watch it anymore.

Several heartbeats passed and another palm quietly pressed into the center of Sam's back. It didn't move, it just held there and Sam knew that hand from the center of his soul.

Dean cleared his throat behind him, sounded like he was settling into a chair, but the hand stayed still and the room was quiet and Sam didn't want either man to let go.

The future scared him. He was afraid he'd become that fire for real. No one would touch him again and each time he'd touch someone, he would burn them.

He felt everything blur and he squeezed his eyes shut. People he cared about were dead. Again. And people he cared about were alive and here.

It was comforting. And it hurt. So he concentrated on the warmth behind him and knew they wouldn't let him go. Not ever.

And, truth be told, Sam didn't want them to.


A/N: And no music in this one! Is it a first? I think so. When the episode ended, I wanted more so this is one version of what could have happened. Thanks for reading.