SOLDIERS

CAN'T CRY

By: Karen B.

Summary: Very Short tag to: Fresh Blood. Season Three spoilers. After Sam fixed the Impala scene. Angst and drunken fluff abound.

Rated: Some angst. Some drunkenness, but mostly silly brotherly fluff. Just because I needed a little light and airy meringue.

Disclaimer: Not the owner! Not now. Not ever. Kripke is the one and only great and powerful wizard! My ugly muse cowers before him.

Thanks much for your care and time!

Sunshine even in rain,

Karen


Sam was done fixing the car. Did a good job, too, because I'm an awesome 'good job' teacher. We still had a cooler full of beer, and it was a quiet spot, so I turned the radio on and decided we should stay awhile.

Sam and I lay on the hood of the car. Me, on the driver side, him, the passenger, drinking and staring up into the sky. The sun had gone down over an hour ago. The night was clear and warm, the sky purple-black, the moon full and the stars bright. We downed bottle after bottle, catching a buzz and not saying a word. Just my brother and me, enjoying the night. Was like a chick moment, but I didn't care. We weren't going to get many more moments together, chick or otherwise.

"Uh-oh," Sam muttered, opening another beer.

"Uh-oh, what?" I asked, watching the tiny light of an airplane speed across the sky.

"What, uh-oh?" Sam slurred, taking two quick chugs.

"Dude, you uh-oh'd me first." I smiled inwardly.

"Uh-oh, I'm a little drunk," the kid snorted, taking another swallow.

"No shit."

Sam started humming along to Fat Bottomed Girls -- normally he hated Queen with a passion. Gotta love drunken Sam, gotta love Queen. Hearing Sam hum happily made something rock-like lodge at the back of my throat, I loved the kid, drunk or not. The thought prompted me to take another good, long swallow of my own beer -- washing the rock back down. I remembered many nights like this one. Nights we'd spent at Bobby's, sitting on the hoods of graveyard cars, staring at the night sky, telling jokes, covertly looking at Bobby's skin mags and wishing for dad to come home soon. Back then we drank soda, not beer. That was long before Sam threw himself on a Greyhound and headed off to Stanford. Long before we were the last two Winchester's standing, and long before I hitched a ride on this roller-coaster circus. Soon, I'd take the drop and plunge straight down into the pit. Get a close up view of my worst nightmares and fight off demons with my bare hands. I was scared, but I'd make the deal again and again if it meant saving Sam. I'd sell my damn soul on Ebay if it meant Sam would be okay. I wondered how many people would actually bid on my soul. Should I put up a reserve? And what about shipping?

Sam let out a sasquatch-sized, juicy burp, startling me from my thoughts. Little brother hadn't been gas-free since the day he was born.

"You burp like a horse, man." I slugged down a drink.

"Horses can't burp, Dean, but they can fart."

"Sam..." I groaned. "Tell me you...Gawd damn," I gagged, scooting away. "You reek."

Sam sniffed the air. "Doesn't smell that bad."

"Smells worse over here. You have a gift." I held my breath.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sam smiling.

I remembered that grin. Used to see it a lot when we were kids. Now only time I saw that smile was when Sam had too many beers. To bad things change. I let out the breath I'd been holding. One thing hadn't changed -- when Sam caught a buzz he was up, he was down, he was all around. I took a quick glance, noting his smile hadn't faded, but his stink had. Still, I could see right through him, right through his drunken happy face. Everything Sam was feeling, had felt, or was going to feel was tattooed right there on his creased, emo forehead. I wanted to tell him it would be okay, but I couldn't. I wanted to fix this, unfortunately, I was no magician waving a magic wand. And even if I was -- I wouldn't try. Fixing this would kill Sam -- literally. Yet, I wouldn't leave the kid on his ass, out on the broken highway of life. Not without teaching him how to get up and run again. Maybe I couldn't fix this deal, but there was one thing I could fix. Today was just the start. I'd teach my baby brother the things that I always thought I'd have time to teach him. More days like today, and less days watching Sam try to break the deal. Wasn't going to be easy getting the kid to let go, but I had to try to help him. He had to forget about finding me a way out of hell, or he'd burn too.

It'd been a long time since Sam and I did something brotherly together, and there wouldn't be many more chances. Drinking beer, working on the Impala was about as brotherly as we could get.

I seized the fresh brew I had ready and waiting inside my jacket pocket. Twisting open the bottle, I flicked the cap launching the top up toward the stars and listening as metal tinked to the ground. I briefly glanced over at Sam. He was a million miles away. Staring up through the dark, beyond the sky. He had that 'wish upon a star' look on his face. The one he used to get when he was eight. I wished things were that easy. Wishing upon a star, makes no difference who we are, our dreams would come true -- bullshit. All wishing upon a star every got me was a kink in my neck. All wishing ever got Sammy was heartache.

I'd gotten used to having Sam around again. Used to his OCD, the drooling in his sleep, even the toxic gas; though I'd never share that with him. I even got used to how he knew just my right buttons to push to annoy me. The way he drove me crazy when he borrowed one of my shirts, always finding someway to put an unwashable stain on my favorite one. I was going to miss him, but he'd be all right. I just had to keep telling myself that, and maybe I'd believe it.

Kid's been spinning his wheels trying to get me out of this deal. Thing Sam didn't get, even if he found a way to checkmate hell, I wouldn't let him make that move. I wasn't taking my finger off my king -- and if he tried to make me -- I'd beat the ever-loving snot out of him. I sucked down more beer, trying to ignore the hum of mosquitoes in my ear. Sam didn't seem affected by the little blood-suckers, too sweet, I guessed -- the pansy.

I slapped at my neck, killing another tiny vampire, before going back to my bottle

The trees along both sides of the road swayed in the warm breeze, bringing the odd smell of skunk -- or was that Sam -- mixed with the musky smell of leaves, dirt, and coyote piss. Crickets chirped along with Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer, yet I could still hear Sam breathing next to me. I had caught a small buzz, but Sam, was flying high. I lifted up to an elbow. Peering down at the ground, chicking out...I mean... checking out the open cooler; gaging just how high Sam was flying. The Coleman was mostly empty, maybe only six beer bottles left lying under water, moonlight reflecting off the thawed ice cubes. I eased back against the windshield and stared down the long stretch of quiet, lonely road ahead listening to Sam take another drink, smacking his lips.

Taking another swig myself, I followed the white line with my eyes past the seemingly unused railroad tracks, until the line disappeared into the blackness. I was as empty as the road itself, could feel hell burning deep inside already. The closer I got to kick-off time, the closer I felt the heat of the devil's breath. The more tangled my insides got. The more I felt soul-free. The more I swore I could hear Hell Hounds baying, tracking and hunting me down -- a figment soon to turn reality. I couldn't take the silence any longer.

"Sam, say something."

"Something," drunken Sam giggled, sloshing down another mouthful of beer.

"Seriously, Sam, say something."

"I can't hear you," he grumbled.

I took a breath and yelled, "I said... Sam! Say something!"

"Dean." Sam rocked his head toward me, cheek pressed against the windshield and squinting. "Don't yell." He awkwardly took a small swallow of beer. "Knock, knock." Another swig.

"You're so wasted," I chuckled lightly.

"No shit," Sam deadpanned.

He inched upward, using his index finger as a pencil, Sam squiggled a word on the few inches of space between us.

I leaned down and breathed on the spot. "Boo?" I read the word. "Boo, who?"

"Aw, Dean, don't cry," Sam said in a high-pitched whine.

"Oh for the...soldiers can't cry," I murmured, thumping back and not finding my brother funny. "Bitch." My mouth tamped tightly over the lip of my bottle and I took a long drink.

I could feel Sam staring at me with hard eyes, sucking me into his thoughts like a vacuum. Inside Sam's dirty, little, dark spot I could hear his screams, his pleading, begging, wishing -- racking his brain to find someway to get me out of my deal.

"Yes, they do...cry," Sam said firmly, twisting away.

I turned to see his face, but he was hiding in the shadows of the swaying trees so I couldn't see him.

I frowned. Up and down Sam, was making me dizzy. "You okay?" I gently nudged Sam in the ribs with an elbow.

"Fuckin' great!" he snapped gruffly. "I'm fuckin' drunk."

"Thought you were only a little drunk," I laughed, Sam laughed with me.

The laughter died on Sam's lips fast. He closed his eyes a moment, whispering something I could hardly hear. Something about putting his shoulder into more important things than a rattle.

Leave it to drunken, up, down, Sam to ruin the moment.

Not taking my eyes off the kid, I listened to the radio: Highway to Hell -- under normal circumstances -- a cool song.

"'Course," I grumbled, knocking back more beer.

A sudden, fierce sadness filled me trying to spill out. Going to hell -- was going to be bad for me -- worse for Sam. Something stung the back of my throat. Maybe I'd swallowed a giant mosquito. The night blurred, and I bit down on my tongue. Shaking off the feeling, I took another swig of beer. Whatever the feeling was, bottomed out when the beer hit my gut and my eyes cleared. Right now, I just needed to be close to Sam. Determined to enjoy this rare brotherly moment, I scooted closer to him. Just when I was about to stop resisting the urge to hug the kid, Sam's eyes snapped open and he looked at me.

"Knock knock," Sam breathed, the smell of alcohol and vanilla coated granola bars floated my way.

"You always were the world's worst knock, knock joke teller, geek." I rolled my eyes at him, nonchalantly inching away -- damn skunk smelled better. "Who's there?" I took a drink, smiling at the cheese-ball grin on drunken Sam's face.

"Handsome."

"Handsome, who?" I glared at him, suspiciously.

"Handsome more beer to me," Sam barked out a laugh, his eyes beady and unfocused.

"Stupid." I pressed the bottle to my lips taking another mouthful.

"Get it, Dean?" Sam laughed harder, pawing at my jacket with one hand, ruffling my hair with the other.

"Bro, of course I get it, now get off me!" Frustrated, I sat up and shoved his hand away.

"Get it, get it, get it?" Sam hiccuped between bouts of laughter.

"Bro! I get that you've kissed enough beer bottles for one night." I made a move to take away his beer, but surprisingly drunken Sam was faster, stealing the bottle from my reach. "Son of a… Sam!" I hissed, giving up for now, and easing back against the warm spot I had left on the glass.

"Dean?" The joking smirk vanished from Sam's face, and I watched him grow pale before my eyes, he was going down -- fast.

"Yeah?" I took a small sip, never knowing which way drunken Sam would crash. High or low.

"Will you remember me in five years?" Sam's eyes narrowed as he leaned his face closer to mine.

"Sammy!" I choked, beer spraying out my mouth. "Don't worry about that."

"Will you?" he asked so softly I barely heard.

"Yeah, Sam." I swiped beer off my chin.

"Will you remember me in ten?" Sam asked, his tone flat and serious.

"Sam, stop it!" I protested, not wanting to go there with him. I went there enough with myself.

"Dean, please." Sam sat straight up, tilting his head ever so slightly to the left. "Please." He shot me the sad, 'somebody stole my cookie' eyes. "Will you?"

Damn those eyes always did get results.

"I will," I answered, staring up into the sky. "Sam, you know I will." Everything seemed to swim and blur. "Shit." I scrubbed the road dust from my itching eyes.

"Will you remember me in twenty?" Sam implored.

"Yes, Sam, I'll remember you in twenty, okay! Enough already, man!" Full-on 'stolen cookie' eyes or not I was done with this line of questioning.

"Knock, knock."

"Dude!" My anger flared fast and hard. "Are you friggin' kidding me?" I bolted up, about ready to jump off the hood and get our show back on hell's highway.

"Knock, knock!" Sam said louder, demanding I answer.

I stopped mid-bolt, concentrating on the hood of the car. "Who's there?" I squirmed uncomfortably using my jacket's sleeve to rub a smudge off baby, polishing her to shining once more.

"See that, Dean, you forgot me already." Sam broke out in hysterics, thumping flat to his back against the windshield. "Ha, ha, ha! Get it. Do you get it, Dean?"

"I know somebody who's really going to get it." I twisted around just in time. "Whoa, whoa, hey!" I shot one hand out, grabbing a fistful of Sam's jacket before he could roll off the hood and eat the pavement. "Clumsy freak."

"Ha, ha, ha, sucker," Sam wiggled, slipping sideways out of my grasp.

"Sammy, come here." I tightened my grip, pulling him closer, draining my beer in one long pull. I was dizzy, needed to ground myself. "Knock, knock, Sam." I smiled slyly, figuring if you can't beat 'em -- bait 'em.

Drunken Sam didn't bite at first.

"Knock, knock, Sam," I repeated.

Sam started to giggle like a silly, little schoolgirl skipping rope. "Who's there?" He took the bait.

"Who?" I snagged his half-full beer bottle from his hand, haphazardly tossing the brew into the weeds, along with my empty.

"Who, who?" Sam asked, ignoring the fact I took his bottle, he rolled onto his hip and fluttered his eyes at me in a very uncomfortable way.

"The guy who's going to knock your drunk ass off this car if you don't stop telling knock, knock jokes, and acting like a chick on a hot date."

"Lame, Dean, really l-l-l-lame," Sam stuttered, his head wobbling down to my shoulder. "Don't cry, Dean…" Sam yawned, raising a hand toward my face." I'll think of some…tin," he slurred, fingers ever so slightly brushing my cheek before his hand fell away flopping to my chest.

"Go to sleep, Sam." I leaned back against the glass, dragging Sam with me, exasperated.

"It's okay to cry, Dean."

"And I told you, freak, not going to cry." I cleared my throat, damn night air, damn drunken Sam. I peered down at the top of drunken Sam's hair that stuck out all over the place, kid needed a barbershop two years ago. "Close your eyes, shaggy," I ordered.

"'Kay," Sam stretched and groaned groggily, snuggling to get comfortable. "Want to know something?" he asked, tucking his head up under my chin and I could feel him going limp.

"Get your sasquatch fur out of my face," I complained, spitting and pushing strands of wayward hair out of my mouth.

"Dean..." Sam moaned. "Won't let you go," he pledged, letting out a long breath and passing deeply out.

"Sorry..." I ran my fingers through Sam's hair, kid didn't stir. "Sonofabitch," I cursed the chick moment I felt coming on. "I can live in hell, Sammy, but I can't live in this world without you," I uttered the words I would never say to sober Sam. One elephant-sized drop came from nowhere, dripping out the corner of my eye. I shivered and I wasn't even cold. "Uh-oh," I mumbled. "I'm a little drunk." I felt the drop do a slow roll down my cheek. "Funkin' great, I'm fuckin' drunk," I gritted out clenched teeth. Maybe soldiers could cry after all.