A/N: Sooo... This idea just sort of struck me out of nowhere, and with the rumors of a sixth season, it'll probably be invalidated by the end of the season, but what the heck, let's do it. This is either a three or four chapter fic, depending on whether I want to post both endings, and updates should be vaguely regular, but promises can't be made, not in this uncertain life.
Dean Winchester sunk to the ground, body burning, aching, shuddering and pretty much running the gamut of all the other verbs he couldn't begin to wrap his mind around because it had gone blank from the pain, the worst pain he'd ever felt, and that was compared to a lifetime of being shot, shattered and smacked around by any and every evil son of a bitch in the books.
A hand, maybe his own, touched his chest, and it had to be his hand because suddenly he could feel the sticky warmth of blood coating his fingers and pain flared up extra fierce in the general area. Glancing down, he saw the blood gushing from his chest, turning his hand bright cherry red in the returning sunlight. Vaguely, he realized he needed to breathe, attempting a deep breath that turned into more of a rattling surge of unregistered pain that left his throat tasting like iron. Still, he stared at the blood on his hand blankly, mind too numbed by the pain and fading adrenaline to comprehend exactly what was going on; instead, he looked back up, eyes meeting his little brother's own glassy pair.
Sam was on his knees a few feet from Dean, face devoid of any expression beyond stunned awareness and marred by spattered blood, though he really couldn't remember whose it was anymore. He looked at Dean with vague recognition, a hand pressed absently to his side where blood flowed freely from a gaping wound. Suddenly, the kid seemed to gain some cognizance and smiled weakly at him.
"It's over. We won," he laughed weakly, sounding happier than he had in ages despite the blood and dirt caked all over him. His whole body began to shake with silent laughter, at least until he doubled over, coughing and hacking until a fresh layer of blood coated his hand. Still, he kept laughing, more and more blood surging from his wounds the harder he laughed.
Dean just tilted his head, still hazy on what exactly was going on and body nearly exploding with pain he could hardly register, there was so much of it. Why was Sam laughing? He couldn't even remember what they'd won, let alone what was so funny about it.
Then, still laughing like a hyena, Sam collapsed, and it didn't matter why he was laughing anymore. Dean barely registered shouting his brother's name as he lunged forward, completely unaware of the searing pain that was threatening to burst out of his body. He picked the kid up, cradling him in his arms, wondering what the hell was going on, what they'd won, what was so damn funny.
The surrounding world filled in slowly around them, filling his awareness with sudden noise that resounded way too loudly in his ears. There were shouts mingled with the clash of metal, cries of joy blended with distinct sobbing, screaming drowned out the sheer noise of mass movement and none of that mattered because Sam was bleeding to death in his arms and none of these new sights or sounds made any sense, not when he couldn't even figure out what the hell had happened, what had led to all of this.
Sam smiled broadly as his laughter died away, making eye contact with his brother again even as shining blood dripped down from the corner of his victorious grin and through the haze, Dean still couldn't pin down exactly why his brother was so freaking happy.
"We won," he repeated jubilantly, as if he could read Dean's muddled thoughts and for all the older Winchester knew, the kid could. "We won, it's all over. He's gone, they're gone, we won." Dean furrowed his brow, not even noticing the stinging that meant one of his eyebrows was split open and almost certainly needed stitches.
Sam chuckled again, hacking intermittently with blood spraying all over his already dirty hands and suddenly he was serious, grin dropping away but blood remaining in its crimson glory.
"I-I love you, Dean," he rasped. The kid relaxed in his arms, eyes never leaving Dean's own even as their luster began to fade and Dean shook him and repeated his name, begging him with desperate, fading words to hang on. Sam just smiled one last, feeble grin and whispered, "I love you." His head drooped back, eyes completely glossy but that damn smile pasted on his blank face.
Dean just stared at his brother, his little brother, the enormous fucking Sasquatch he'd always protected who now lay dead in his arms, and as the blind fury cleared his mental fog, the pain of every single wound overwhelmed him. He barely lowered Sam to the ground before crashing to the ground next to him, a hand that was most certainly his back to the gaping wound that aimed to consume his chest by way of flooding streams of blood and torn flesh.
His pulse was thunderous in his ears, jackhammering away at his thoughts that were fresh and new and he could remember everything that had gone down, from the angels and demons and burning skies to Michael and Lucifer and Sam saying no and Dean saying yes and they had won, sweet Jesus on a popsicle stick, they'd won.
Like his brother, he chuckled to himself, eyes fluttering shut. The apocalypse was done, through, over with, kaput. The pain didn't seem so bad anymore, not when he knew they'd saved everyone and the Devil was back in a cage in the deepest circle of Hell.
He felt himself fading, dying in a way he never had before: peacefully. Cuts, holes and bruises throbbed, ached, screamed across his body, but that didn't matter because they'd accomplished the single most important hunt of their lives. Sam was already gone, surely ready to meet up with Dean in Heaven or Hell, and honestly, Dean didn't care which one he ended up in. Bobby would miss them, even mourn them, but he would persevere. He was strong enough.
The city around him buzzed with whatever was going on after the last battle; Dean didn't care. Laying next to his baby brother in the middle of a city he'd never seen before in his life and never would again, surrounded by angels fighting demons all in their borrowed meatsuits, the blackness swarmed in around him, and for the first time in his life, he wasn't afraid of it.
Next to his kid brother, Dean Winchester died with a smile on his face.