A/N: I know it's already been done, but it was another idea I had, which actually just started out with the dialogue between Sam and Dean in the yard and the rest of the story just kind of fell around it when I started writing. I hope you enjoy it and give me some feedback whether you hate it or like it. Thanks!
Takes place after "Abandon All Hope."
Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or Supernatural.
Dean scrubbed a hand through his shortly cropped disheveled hair and down his face, brushing the stubble beginning to come in. He brought his hand to rest with his other around an empty glass of whiskey. The bottle sat on the dresser, it too now empty.
Two more of their friends had died three days ago, good people who didn't deserve to. Even worse, they had died because of them, because of what they had started and now had to finish, this 'crusade.' How many more people they cared about would die because of them? There weren't too many left now.
Why him? Why did everything have to rest on his shoulders? Why did he have to watch his friends die? He had known that there would be losses, that there would be casualties, it was all too big not to have, but he still never thought they would be so close and so painful. He hadn't really been prepared for it. He was sick of watching those he cared about die. He didn't think he could do it anymore. The cost was too high and they would probably lose this war anyway.
It was almost dark out now. Dean became vaguely aware of this as the light had faded in Bobby's upstairs guest room. For three days he had pretty much isolated himself outside as well as in, not speaking to Bobby or Sam. Both men had tried once or twice to talk to him but to no avail.
There was a soft knock at the door and Sam peered in. "Dean?" he questioned almost cautiously.
"Go away," Dean said without looking up. Sam sighed.
"Dean," Sam tried again.
"Leave me alone, Sam," Dean's voice warned, his tone agitated. Sam took a step into the doorframe but before he could open his mouth to say something Dean shouted.
"I said GO!" Sam's face fell a bit then settled with a look of determination.
"No," Sam stated defiantly as he stepped in the room, his stance defensive, preparing for whatever resistance Dean would give. Dean looked up at Sam, stood up, and stalked over to him. He grabbed the collar of Sam's shirt and tugged him close to his face.
"I said leave me alone," he seethed.
"Dean, I just wanna help. If you would just talk to me..."
"Talk to you? You are the last person I wanna talk to. This is your fault, Sam!"
Sam's face fell. There was raw hurt in his eyes. Suddenly they flickered briefly with anger as he grabbed Dean's arms and yanked himself out of his grasp. He spared one last glance at his brother, whose expression was still set like stone, eyes regarding him coldly. He walked out, slamming the door shut behind him. Once again, Dean rubbed his hand over his face and went back to sit down.
Sam thudded down the stairs and into the kitchen where he was going to head out the back door when he was stopped by Bobby.
"Sam?" Bobby reached up and grabbed his arm and looked at him, brow furrowing.
Sam was looking away from him, staring down at the kitchen table, eyes transfixed.
"Sam?" Bobby asked again.
"I'm fine, Bobby. Just gonna go out for a walk." Sam pulled away from the older man as he grabbed his coat off the table and headed out the door. Bobby watched him and let out a frustrated sigh.
In the back of his mind, Dean had regretted the words he said to Sam as soon as they left his mouth. He didn't believe them, not really, but he was too angry and lost in a deep hole he kept hidden away inside to care. He had said just about the worst thing he could come up with, with what he knew would hurt Sam - to get him to leave him the hell alone. Turning the pain to anger and taking it out on someone or something else was more bearable than dealing with it.
Part of him wanted to blame Sam. Don't shrinks say it's easier to blame someone else and project your anger and frustration out on them, especially on those you love most? In Dean's case that had always been Sam, so Sam always got the worst of it.
Being at Bobby's drowning himself in booze and grief, Dean couldn't help remembering how he had felt after their father died. He had taken his pain, anger, and emptiness from his father's death out on Sam then too. Still, his little brother never seemed to stop trying to help him, to try to get through the walls he'd built up around himself. Sam should have been angry that Dean was being a complete jerk to him. Anyone else would have. But Sam had always only wanted to help him, and Dean didn't think he would ever know how much he did. He probably would have lost it completely if not for Sam. Once again, helping him was all Sam had been trying to do just now.
It occurred to him that Sam and Bobby were all he had left, and as much as he may want to at the moment, he couldn't lock himself in that room away from everyone and everything forever. He began to wonder about Bobby and Sam, how they were dealing with all of this, probably in about the same manner as he was. With a breathy defeated sigh he got up and went downstairs. He didn't want to. They each dealt with things their own way, but he knew he should. At the very least he could get another bottle of liquor.
Dean walked into the kitchen and saw Bobby. The elder hunter was seated at the table in his wheelchair, arms crossed and apparently lost in his own thoughts. He immediately looked up as Dean walked in and stood at the far end of the table. They held one another's gaze for a moment before Dean couldn't look the older man in the eye anymore. He adverted his gaze to the floor, still feeling eyes on him.
"You look like crap," Bobby stated plainly. Dean gave Bobby a once over.
"You don't look much better," Dean told him in return as he leaned on the table supporting himself with his arms. It looked as though Bobby hadn't slept in a while either and he looked about as worn and weary as Dean felt.
Bobby was still looking at Dean, eyes narrowed as if studying him, burning a hole in him, trying to read him, and as usual, Dean felt like the man could see right through him. He shifted uncomfortably.
"You seen Sam?" He asked.
"Went out just a minute ago, for a walk or somethin'." Dean gave a slight nod. He knew why he left.
"I think the kid's pretty torn up, blames himself," Bobby added after a moment. Dean gave a small scoff.
He's not the only one.
"You know it wasn't your fault, right, Dean." It wasn't really a question.
"Bobby…" Dean was cautioning him not to go there. He really didn't want to get into this now, or ever as far as he was concerned. He just wanted to bury it nice and deep.
"They made their choices."
Dean stood and began pacing. So much for that.
"Yeah, and now they're dead." Dean said in a low and dangerous tone. "They're dead because we dragged them into this, because Jo gave her life to save me."
"She knew what she was doing."
Dean slammed a fist down on the table and Bobby inadvertently flinched just a little. He knew the kid was angry as hell, mostly at himself, but he could tell Dean was beyond civil reasoning right now. Dean leaned back on the table but didn't advert his eyes from Bobby's this time. Instead, he glared at him, his jaw clenched. Definitely beyond civil reasoning.
"Dean-" Bobby began sternly.
"ENOUGH!" Dean yelled.
Bobby was unfazed this time. He was not a man of fear. He was a force to be reckoned with, wheelchair or no. So this was how it was going to be. He was done trying to be nice. He moved right over to Dean, eyes fixed.
"Don't you raise your voice to me, boy! You're doing the same thing you did when your daddy died; shutting everyone out, actin' like you're the only one that's hurtin'. Well you're not the only one who lost them, Dean. And if you'd get your head outta your ass maybe you'd see that!"
When the tensing of the muscle along Dean's jaw was his only response, Bobby used a tactic he knew the younger man couldn't ignore. At least, he hoped that was still true, even after everything that had happened.
"Have you spared a glance at your brother lately? He's a mess, Dean. I haven't seen him lookin' near this lost and alone since…" He trailed off, still unable to bring himself to say it.
Since you died.
Dean's face fell a little and he ran a hand through his hair.
"Now you need to get your head on straight," Bobby continued, "And start thinkin' about the people that care about you that are still here."
Dean placed his hands down on the table, bowing his head as silence stretched between them.
"Because we are still here, Dean." Bobby's voice softened. Like Sam, Bobby only wanted him to be okay. Neither of them deserved his wrath for their pain too.
"Okay," Dean said, "Okay. You're right, Bobby," he admitted in a low voice.
"I know," Bobby stated. Dean looked up and a small grin tugged at the corner of each hunter's mouth.
Dean had been so lost in his own guilt, anger, and self-pity. He imagined he still would be for some time with what more there was sure to come. He didn't want to think about it. What had happened to Ellen and Jo was tragic, but if he wasn't paying attention to those that were still by his side they could slip through his fingers. His thoughts turned to Sam. He had taken his pain out on him. Dean had seen the hurt in his brother's eyes and had ignored it. He needed to set things right but wasn't sure if he could. He wasn't sure that Sam would listen to him now, and he wouldn't blame him if he didn't. Things were so screwed up.
Dean looked back down at the table as he stood upright and something registered in his mind, but he didn't know what. He suddenly found himself thinking about how Bobby had said Sam went out for a walk. Something was off. He could feel it in his gut.
"You seen my .45?" Dean suddenly found himself asking, brows creasing a little as he looked at a spot on the table.
"No," Bobby replied, his own brows creasing in bewilderment as to why Dean would be asking.
"I left it on the table. It's gone." He looked up at Bobby and his stomach sank at the other man's expression.
Bobby's face fell as he thought about Sam staring at the table, a faraway look in his eyes, picking his coat up off of the table before he left the house. Lost and alone and guilt-stricken.
"No. Can't be," the man muttered disbelievingly as a crazy thought popped into his head. It had to be crazy.
"Bobby?" The older man met Dean's eyes. Concern etched its way on to Dean's face upon seeing his friend's troubled face, and Dean knew what he was thinking. That bad feeling in his gut increased ten-fold.
"C'mon. You don't really think…"
"He's hurtin,' Dean. He believes it's all on him."
Dean's heart clenched as he realized the implication. It couldn't be true. Sam wouldn't... Dean ran out the door. Bobby followed as quickly as his chair would allow.
"I'll check out back!" Dean yelled back to Bobby knowing that he could check the salvage yard a hell of a lot quicker and easier than Bobby. He ran around back of the house and stopped as he looked around, his breath coming out in white puffs as he panted. The rows of demolished and stacked cars were like a maze and it was now dark. His heart thumped wildly. Finding Sam wasn't going to be easy and Dean was likely racing against time. He ran down the middle of the yard, looking side to side into the rows of vehicles as he ran with no sign of his brother.
He stopped for a moment when he got almost to the end of the yard before a patch of woods and looked around again, looking for that tall figure he'd know anywhere.
Somewhere to his left, Dean could have sworn he briefly heard what sounded like someone crying. Even in a crowd of people, Dean would know any sound that came from his little brother. Then he heard the unmistakable click of a gun hammer being pulled back. He quieted his breathing and rounded the corner in between a row of cars.
He could finally see his brother's silhouetted form in the rising moonlight. He was sitting on his haunches in the dirt, back against an old car, elbows resting on his knees. Dean saw the glint of the gun in Sam's right hand. Sam's head was hung low and he gave no indication that he noticed his brother's slow and cautious approach.
"Sam?" Dean said quietly, his heart racing. Sam suddenly looked up, seeing Dean. He dropped his head back down and let out a small sigh, as if disappointed.
"Go away, Dean," he said in a low tone not looking up.
"I'm not gonna do that, Sammy," Dean said as he very slowly made his way over to his brother, hands held out slightly in a 'I mean no harm' gesture.
"Just go away and let me do this," Sam said in the same tone, still not looking up but instead looking down at the gun.
The words and their ramification slammed into Dean. "C'mon, Sam, what are you doing?" Dean inched closer. Keep him talking.
"What should have been done a long time ago," he answered. Dean's heart clenched again.
"No, Sam. Put the gun down. Think about this." He was almost within reach.
"I already have," he answered looking up at Dean with wet pain-filled eyes. "I'm sorry," he whispered. He looked away and raised the weapon to his right temple.
Dean flew forward as fast as he could and flung out his arm. The gun flew out of Sam's hand just as it went off, the sound of the shot reverberating through both men and splitting the silence of the night before becoming quiet once more. A distant metallic thud was heard as the gun hit the ground several yards away.
Dean roughly grabbed Sam's shoulders. For a few mind-numbing seconds the two just looked at each other, shell-shocked. Dean stared at Sam, his fingers digging painfully into Sam's biceps. Dean began to breathe, unaware he had stopped and was suddenly filled with incredulous rage.
"What the hell were you thinking!?" Dean yelled ferociously, giving Sam's shoulders a hard shake. Sam looked down but didn't flinch.
"Sam!?" Dean demanded jerking Sam's shoulders again. Sam slowly looked into his brother's eyes.
"Why, Dean?" he asked disappointedly. "Why did you stop me?"
"What do you mean why did I stop you? You were going to kill yourself, Sam!"
God, he almost succeeded.
"You said it yourself, Dean. It's my fault... All of this." Sam started to cry and dropped his head.
Neither brother noticed Bobby as he had finally made his way over and stopped a short ways away from them.
Upon seeing his little brother's despair and hearing the utter brokenness in his voice, Dean's anger actually began to fade and he felt a guilt settle comfortably on his already weighty shoulders. His words had pushed Sam over the edge.
"Sam," he began earnestly, "I was pissed. I just wanted you off my back... It wasn't your fault."
Sam's hitching breathing quieted, his body relaxed just a little in Dean's grip. He raised his head slightly, but didn't meet his brother's eyes.
"But I started all this. They're dead because of what I did."
Dean sighed. It was true that Sam had brought forth the damn Apocalypse. The fact that he hadn't knowingly done so only made it a little better. But playing the blame game and shouldering more and more guilt wasn't getting them anywhere. They had to simply deal with what was in front of them.
That, Dean figured he could do.
His grip on the younger man's arms lightened, no longer hurting. He looked back to his brother. "You didn't make them choose this," Dean told him, echoing words similar to Bobby's. Sam met his eyes then. They were dark, hollow and now incredulously disbelieving, and Dean really could see the deep guilt and hurt there that he'd been too uncaring to notice before. His own eyes stung at this. He closed them for a second.
"I'm the one who freed Lucifer." Sam said regretfully.
"And I broke the first seal," Dean countered, dipping his head a little closer to Sam's. His voice was calm and steady. They had equal blame, whether Dean had wanted to acknowledge that at times or not. Silence stretched for a moment.
"I know you cared for Jo..." Sam ventured with a small teary voice.
"Don't," Dean warned but his tone was almost a plea. He closed his eyes as his head drooped. It was too fresh.
"I'm sorry," Sam breathed in a low voice as more tears slipped down his face, and Dean knew that he wasn't just apologizing for the statement. "It's just… With everything that's happened…" Sam seemed to be searching for some way to put all of the heartbreak and hell that was their life into words. "We've lost so much," he confessed quietly.
"So you were going to make me lose you too?" Dean cried as he gave Sam's shoulders another shake. He looked down, tears welling and then falling from his eyes.
"Dammit, Sam," he breathed, "I can't…" He looked up and met Sam's eyes and for a moment they just looked at each other, saying everything they needed to say without words.
'I can't lose you.'
I can't do this by myself.'
"Sam…" Dean's voice broke. He was no longer able to deny the painful lump in his throat and the stinging in his eyes, the ache in his heart. His tone was tender and raw. Sam clearly heard the need behind it. It was the same as what he felt.
Dean pulled Sam into him, wrapping his arms around him tightly. Sam returned the gesture immediately, his hands fisting into Dean's shirt. Dean tightened his grip, pulling him impossibly closer, one of his hands in the back of Sam's hair.
They stayed like that for a while, crying silently into one another and finding solace, even if it was temporary.
Bobby kept his distance. His eyes shimmered with tears but a small smile was on his face as he watched the brothers. 'It's about damn time.'