Tag to "Crossroad Blues" Oh the boys were just puddles of angst. *loves*
A/N: Huuuuge thanks to my betas and dear friends, Danielle, dev and sid. Your friendship means so much. Any mistakes left are mine.
Just thought I'd dust this off and post it. Thanks sid for the encouragment! *hugs*
Letting the music provide a much needed barrier between himself and the rest of the world, Dean didn't hear him at first.
"STOP." Louder, almost desperate this time. It was a cry. A broken demand from the little brother Dean had sworn to protect long before he could even write his own name. "Stop the car!"
He was about to ask 'what for' when the passenger side door was flung open. "Sam!" Hitting the brakes, he barely had the vehicle stopped and off the road before his brother jumped out—slamming the vintage door shut behind him.
Quickly placing the car in park and cutting the engine, Dean stepped out into the night, onto the cold, wet road and eyed Sam with a mixture of annoyance and concern. "What the hell? I thought I broke you from jumping outta moving vehicles when you were three."
Sam had his back to him. Shaking his head, his fingers dug deep into his hips. Shoulders tense in the moonlight.
"Sam!" He rallied again for the younger's attention. He was given none so he stomped around the back of the vehicle and grabbed an arm. Of all the things Dean could have imagined happening in that instance, a fist in the face wasn't one of them.
Stumbling back against the Impala, he rubbed his smarting cheek. "Again," he reiterated, eyes wide and confused. "What the hell, Sam?"
Regret and anger fought for domination across Sam's face. "Raincheck," he finally grated, anger winning out.
A pause. "Oh." Dean looked like he was trying to work a kink out of his jaw. "Then I guess I should thank you for not using your casted hand," he muttered dryly, straightening. Still, that was gonna leave a mark.
Sam didn't say anything. He just turned his back on him again. However, the anguish in his eyes didn't go unseen by Dean.
"Can I ask what made you decide to cash in all of the sudden?" He gingerly touched fingers to lips to see if he was bleeding.
Another shake of the head. And still, though his back was to him, Dean knew that posture and he hated it—even feared it and often high-tailed in the opposite direction because he didn't know how to make it go away. Dejection screamed from the younger man's stance and the only reason Dean could figure he wasn't already getting an ear full was because Sam couldn't speak past the pain.
Damn it, Sammy.
Hands on his own hips now, standing alongside the deserted road, Dean scratched the back of his head, feeling awkward, helpless and dangerously close to pissy. He really didn't want to get into it right now with his brother about anything—let alone what he had a feeling it was about. "Look, Sam. It's dark. It's starting to rain…" He carefully prodded his cheek. "I need ice…"
It was so soft, Dean had barely heard it. Here we go. "Why what?" he sighed.
Sam turned to him this time and with tear-filled eyes demanded, "why aren't I enough?"
Dean couldn't help it. He winced. And though he wanted to tell himself he didn't understand the question, or the desperation radiating off the younger man—the misery alone in which he spoke with left him feeling ashamed. After all, he was the big brother.
The pain in Sam's voice hurt him more than the left hook had.
Damn it to friggin' hell.
As smoothly as his suddenly tight throat would allow, "Do you come with a Decoder Ring there, Sammy? 'Cause, ah, you're making no sense, bro."
"Dean…" The taller of the two breathed brokenly, looking away. Dean's bright green eyes watched him with veiled worry.
"I get the guilt." After a moment Sam said hesitantly, carefully—looking so vulnerable as his gaze darted back and forth between him and the pavement that Dean found himself unable to look away from the car wreck that was his little brother.
"I get that you miss him, but…" Sam's voice cracked suddenly—his face contorting miserably. "but you still have me, Dean."
Hazel implored green and this time Dean was the one swallowing hard and looking away. He went to open his mouth to say something, but the lame joke never met his lips and the sardonic smile barely touched the surface. He had no quick comebacks to douse the intensity of those eyes.
He went to walk away, but Sam grabbed him by the arm—his voice gaining strength with his determination to be heard. "You're so torn up about what he did, you can't even wrap your mind around it. You can't comprehend why he would do such a thing, can you?" he realized aloud, shocked.
Dean tore from his grasp. "He gave up, Sam! That's what I understand!"
"No, Dean, he didn't!"
"Yeah, Sam, he did!" Dean spat heatedly. Sadly. Turning away, he sat on the trunk of the car. The weight he carried on his shoulders causing him to rest heavily on the steel.
"Dad chose this life for us. Hunting these things was our lives. And then right when we needed him most… Right when we were on the front—" Throat constricting on the grief-stricken words, Dean swallowed thickly. His emotions were raging and he had to get a handle on them before he continued—before his Game Face slipped completely. Finally he forced his voice on—but it sounded as strained as his heart. "He gave up on us when we needed him most." When you needed him most.
The car dipped and their shoulders brushed. Subtle, but the only warmth the night had to offer. Without even realizing it they leaned into each other—something they've been doing all their lives.
"I know there's something you're not telling me." Sam said out of nowhere.
"I swear I don't know Bobby's secret recipe for chicken dumplings, Sammy."
The once reluctant hunter smiled softly, appearing to allow the matter to rest for a moment. "Dean?"
"Yeah." It was barely a whisper. Dean swallowed.
"Dad did go out fighting," Sam spoke gently, but confidently, watching the rain splash off the black pavement. "He went out fighting for us."
Muscles in his jaw drawn tight, Dean wordlessly watched the puddles begin to grow before them—spreading across the asphalt, ever reaching to spread itself just a bit further.
"I wish—I wish I could say something to make it alright." His little brother sounded so heartbreakingly sincere that it twisted Dean up inside. "I wish…" Sam sighed remorsefully. "I wish I could make you see your worth."
Dean rolled his eyes. His little drama queen.
"I wish," Sam continued after a beat, more than just his voice breaking. "I wish that was my power."
"Sam," The warning was low, gutted and thick. Dean's bravado could only take so much before it fell into the rain.
"Dean…" Sam breathed achingly, staring into the darkness. He wanted so badly to tell his brother how much he needed him—that as much as it hurt, he could survive their father's death, he had survived, but not Dean's. Never Dean's.
"Dean, I…" …That he would die without him at his side. That he was sorry for always being the one so willing to walk away before. He didn't know… He had no idea how badly it hurt. He wanted to apologize for not being enough… He wanted his big brother to yell at him for thinking such a thing.
"Dean," he choked. He wanted to tell him how much he loved him. He wanted…
A warm hand wrapped around the back of his neck and roughly pulled him in against a beating heart. The unspoken words were received and understood. Closing his eyes, stifling a sob, Sam latched onto Dean's jacket with a fierceness and need he hadn't felt since he was a child. Breathing in the leather and safety, he held on relishing the warmth, the moment. HHe knew it wouldn't last. And it didn't.
"Come on, princess," the last person he had in the world cleared his throat and said gruffly, standing and ruffling Sam's now damp hair. "Your cast is getting wet."
Cold once again, Sam watched as his self appointed guardian got back in behind the wheel.
He could only hope their unspoken bond was enough to keep him in the fight.
But more importantly…
At his side.