Summary: Your brother has always been a practical man – you, not so much. You feel so many things; you want so many things, that somewhere along the way you forgot your priorities and what really does matter to you. Because after all, family is about love and understanding and it seems that you, first of all, forgot that. A sneak-peek in Sam's life through moments that he felt like loosing grip. ( A companion fic, sort of 'sequel' to As The World Shakes. Can be read as a stand-alone.)

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. If I did there would be so much 'brotherly' love that the show would probably had never seen the light of the day…

A/N: I don't like Sam, not really. Season three of the show is the reason why I don't absolutely hate him; he was okay there. So if you feel like this fic is being unfair to Sam then that's probably the reason. I tried to do my best, reasoning his actions as I saw fit. Oh, and it's quite obviously AU after the end of season three.

xxx

You're seventeen years old and you're arrogant. You think you know everything and that you are always right; you're not – even if you're too stubborn to see it. You're angry and frustrated and you always feel like nobody understands you. You've tried to explain yourself many a time, but it won't work - you don't think it's meant to work.

You're sick of your life, you're tired and want so many things. Contrary to what your father believes you don't hate your family. It's the hunting that you want to quit. But he doesn't understand, he doesn't want to. He thinks that hunting is your family business and you can't quit one without walking out of the other. You want to tell him that family is supposed to be about love and understanding, not some sick idea of revenge.

The worst part is that your brother actually enjoys hunting.

You want out and you want to have a life, a real one, with opportunities and friends and a home. You want to feel relaxed and pretend there's nothing supernatural going on in the world. You've waited long enough and now you can see your way out, your way to get the life you've always wanted.

It's easy and reasonable, yet you still make a list of pros and cons. You're geeky like that – your brother's words, not yours.

You stare long at the list and at the words written there, long enough to make your back hurt from the position you've been sitting in and long enough for your eyes to burn. There's no surprise to the fact that the pros outweigh by a long way the cons. What does surprise you though, is the fact that the only thing written under the cons in the list 'Going to Stanford' is enough for you to actually negate all the pros.

But you're an angry, rebellious teen, desperate to have your way and for one moment you stop being sentimental. You stand up and crumple the paper in your fist, throwing it away with the only word under the cons crossed out.

Dean

xxx

You're eighteen and completely overwhelmed. You may have just made the biggest mistake or simply the cleverest thing in your entire life. You can't decide yet, it's too soon, but you guess you'll figure it out along the way.

You're on a bus on your way to Stanford and you think that you finally did it. What you've always wanted; heading off to a normal place, with normal people, living a normal life. You didn't expect this day to ever come.

You also didn't expect that you wouldn't be feeling exhilarated. It seems that walking away was easier said than done. But you've made up your mind and there's no going back now. Not because dad told you to never come back - you know that Dean would take you back in a heartbeat - but because you have some dignity. You're not backing up just because it's harder to be away from Dean than you thought. You're not backing up just because you never knew how lonely a person could be even while amongst a crowd.

No, you're sticking to your plan. Go to school, make friends, get a job, live a life; a normal, happy, secure life. It doesn't sound too exciting, but to you it's more than enough. You'll leave behind the craziness of the hunting – the craziness of your family. You'll start afresh and no matter how much it hurts you, no matter how much it breaks your heart, you'll eventually have to cut all ties to the only person that ever gave you a semblance of home. Dean.

xxx

You're nineteen and surprised. Surprised at how easily people accepted you, made you feel like one of them. You never thought it would be that easy to pretend to be normal.

Because you're not a fool and you never lie to yourself. You know perfectly well that you are pretending. You still haven't gotten used to this kind of life, but you're trying and you've got friends. And that sounds so weird that you almost want to laugh at yourself. But it's true. They are your friends, and this is the life you're living and you think you're doing pretty good considering.

You're nineteen and you've never been more aware of the time that passes. It's been ten months and fifteen days since you last spoke to your brother. And you feel every minute of this time as a heavy weight on your shoulders.

But that was the deal. You knew it all along and you agreed to it. Have a normal life and leave Dean behind. You figure it's probably for the best. You figure that he'll get used to it and soon realise it is actually better this way.

You figure some day maybe you'll stop wishing there had been another way.

xxx

You're twenty-one and you're falling in love. She's pretty and smart – a rare combination – and you feel so lucky. You can't believe she's into you and sometimes you think there's a voice in your head – so out of your league, Sammy – and you pretend you don't know what it is.

You're falling in love, but the fact that you feel like clinging to her desperately doesn't escape you. She's perfect in your eyes - the epitome of normality; an only child to middle class parents, born and raised in California, likes jogging, going to movies, reading books and cuddling.

Yes, she's the epitome of normality and you truly are in love with her, but you also cling to her as she's obviously your golden ticket to the life you've wanted since you were seven years old. You haven't forgotten who you used to be and you can't force yourself out of some habits – find the nearest exit in a crowded room, count the people in said room, look behind your back twice before turning in the road – but with her you feel closer to the person you've always wanted to be.

So, the more the hunter instincts rise in you, the more you cling to her. And she makes you forget and she's there when you wake up from a nightmare, offering a kind of comfort from a bad dream you haven't had for the past two years, eleven months and almost a week now.

xxx

You're twenty-two and you're shaken to your core as you're abruptly brought back to reality. Because now you realise that the past four years could not have been real. You were fool enough to believe you were worth that kind of quiet, normal life, but now you've come to your senses and you know that some things you can't leave behind, only because they won't leave you.

So, you're back on the road and now that what you considered as your rock for the last eighteen months is gone, you feel like loosing grip on things. You don't let your mind linger too much on certain stuff, mostly going by instinct and driven by a very weird need for revenge; revenge for the girl you lost; revenge for the life you lost - the life that you sacrificed a great part of yourself in order to built.

Probably somewhere in the back of your mind you know that you're making one mistake after the other, reacting without thinking, pretending to be the person you once were; always pretending.

And you go on like this for a long time, trying to salvage a relationship you so foolishly destroyed, yet, still thinking it was for the better, if not for you then maybe for Dean who didn't deserve a brother as inappropriate as you.

You try to make sense of the workings of your broken relationship, trying to find the brother who held you through your nightmares in the man driving the Impala by your side. You try to find the boy who gawked at his big brother when he reached up to grab something for him when he was too short to do so himself in the hard face looking back at you in the mirror. You try and sometimes you get a glimpse of the past and yes, Dean has always been right, not everything had been so bad.

xxx

You're twenty-three and you're scared shitless. You never knew fear like that existed. You had come close to feeling it with the nightmares about Jess's death. You had come even closer while watching the apartment burn, feeling the heat of the flames on your cheeks. Maybe it's the time that has passed or maybe it's the dynamics that were never the same, but you think that these fears were nothing compared to the one that's gripping your soul right now.

Dean is dying and how could that possibly happen? Dean is the strongest man you've ever known, the best hunter and, although he doesn't let it show, he has the biggest heart in the world. And now he's lying on a bed in a hospital and the doctors say that he probably isn't gonna make it, that the injuries were fatal and that you should probably prepare yourself. Well, you say screw them.

You're scared shitless, but you're also determined to do your best to keep him with you, especially now that you have both started letting things go; started knowing, loving unconditionally each other again. You're determined to keep a hold of him, drag him back from wherever he is with your own two hands.

And at that moment you realise it; you had never forgotten, you had never really let go. You had probably pretended so much that in the end you believed your own lie. You never forgot what it's like loving Dean, looking up to him, letting him take care of you. And now that you finally realise it, you also find yourself missing it so much that the overwhelming need to have your brother alive and talking and safe and just there almost knocks you out.

And it may not be you that in the end saves Dean, and you might miss your father more than you would have ever thought, but somewhere deep inside you, you are grateful to whoever it is that makes this universe work for having Dean in one piece by your side.

xxx

You're twenty-four the first time you die. You can't exactly tell much about that experience since you only remember a distinct pain on your back and strong hands trying to hold you up. But still, this is a moment in your life that changes so many things and you should be shocked by the fact that you actually died and lived to tell the story – and how freaking weird is that? – but you're not. Not so much shocked, anyway, as dumbfounded.

Because you died, only to come back to a world where in a year's time you'll have to watch your brother being torn apart and know that he did it for you, so you could live – without him. Selfish, son of a bitch that he is.

You're twenty-four and once again you can feel every minute passing by, mocking you, taunting you and you're racing frantic and desperate against time. You don't realise it yet but you're spending the time given to you the wrong way. You try to find a small window to the deal, you try to buy time and Dean is being so uncooperative that sometimes all you want to do is punch him because you know when he's lying and it frustrates you that he actually thinks you're buying the whole cool-attitude thing.

xxx

You're twenty-five when you loose everything and then get it back in less than five months. It seems that being away from Dean by choice was a lot easier than being away from him because he was ripped out of your hands. And you realise, too late now, that the reason you managed to live through college was the knowledge that Dean, even though miles away and with more that three years apart from each other was always there, at the other end of a simple phone call; a phone call you never made.

The world now seems much darker and there's nothing that looks remotely worth living for; only revenge. You have almost forgotten how to smile and it feels as though a part of you has gone missing; a part that included self-preservation.

And then, when you think that there's only one way this could possibly end, and you've made a hell of a lot decisions you would never have, given the circumstances were different, out of the blue you find out that miracles do happen.

And it's such a completely overwhelming feeling of joy and relief, to have Dean back, alive and breathing and smirking and laughing, that you forget yourself for a moment. You forget the walls you built years and years ago and that they're now a very solid part of you. You forget everything that ever made sense but one thing: your brother, Dean. And so, you do the only thing that seems natural at the moment. You crush him to your chest, your lips sealing over his, breathing in the air he breathes out, all your senses zeroing to his loud heartbeat – the most beautiful sound you have ever known.

xxx

You're twenty-six and all Hell has broken loose – literally. And you don't think anyone's fool enough to believe it wasn't your fault – except maybe for Dean who, like always, decides to share responsibility.

You don't think this is gonna end good for anyone, especially for you and your brother, but at the moment you decide you don't care. You are doing your best to fight against the devil, to help as many people as possible and you think that this should be enough. You don't care what comes next because right now, after so many years of hurt and pain, you are at peace with yourself.

The days are darker than they had ever been, most hunts hit too close for comfort, people are being more and more suspicious and mean. You don't have the time to be in a place long enough to even remember the names of the people you meet, demons, ghosts, werewolves and all supernatural crap seem drawn to you trying harder to get to you. You don't have much patience and there's no room for compassion any more, but what you do have, amongst this hell of a life, is the nights with your brother. Nights that hands grip tight on warm flesh, shallow breathes mingle together, low moans echoing in the stillness of the night and sweaty skin is moving against sweaty skin. Nights that the world stops existing and it's only you and him, like it should have always been.

You've lost count of the years you have waited for this, you've lost count of the times you made yourself forget, forced yourself to pretend. You leave everything behind, because one thing you have learnt is to never think too much about your feelings. You are not an angry teenager anymore nor a desperate student nor a revengeful hunter. You are Dean's brother and that is enough – should have always been enough.

You were eighteen and you expected your brother to ask you to stay, to show that he didn't want you to go, to tell you that he needed you. You were nineteen and you always expected him to call again and again even after the first few times you ignored his calls on purpose. You were twenty-one and trying hard not to whisper Dean's name while clinging to Jess after a nightmare or, to your embarrassment, even after sex sometimes. You were twenty-three and you realised that no one could have ever stopped loving someone the way you did with Dean, even though it was too late to forgive yourself for leaving him behind and hurting him so much.

Nowadays, you consider yourself to be a lucky person, maybe one of the luckiest in this shitty world, because you don't think anyone deserves to be as happy as you are while with Dean - especially after having fucked up so many times in so many different ways. You tell Dean how much you love him as often as possible, making sure he knows and understands, because you don't know how much time you've been given and you want him to never doubt you again.

He doesn't say it back, not in words at least. You know your brother better than anyone ever could and you never expected him to be able to say these words aloud so soon, especially after having to watch you walk away not once, not twice, but three times. And that's another reason you say it so often; because when you whisper I love you, you want him to also hear the hidden I'm sorry.

Dean may never say the words, but you feel them conveyed in the way he sometimes kisses your temple before you fall asleep; I love you. In the way he leans over you and breathes in your ear while you're doing some research; I love you. In the way his eyes sparkle when you say a joke, however lame it is; I love you. In the way he treats your wounds after a hunt, sneakily caressing the tender flesh around the wound; I love you.

And you think that even if the world ends tomorrow, whether Hell or Heaven win - you don't really care – then at least you were given the chance to tell Dean how much he truly means to you and you were lucky enough to be loved by him as much a person can be loved.

The End (this time it's final)