His father is dead.

He's sitting on his kitchen in Palo Alto and his father is dead.

Pastor Jim is asking if he's okay on the other side of the line but he can't breath.

His father is dead.

He can't breath.

His father is dead.

He can't breath or answer or live but he hears Pastor Jim say something about Dean and he's back.


Dean's missing.

His father is dead, but Dean's just missing and that gives him something to focus on.


He misses the doorbell ringing but he doesn't miss Jess' yelp of fear and he's jumping back to the living room where his friends were studying a couple minutes ago and now they all look terrified because there's a man in a leather jacket with vacant eyes and a silver gun in his hand at the door.


"He's here. I got him, I got him. I'll call you back, Pastor Jim", and he turns off the phone and let's out a sigh he didn't know he was holding.

His father is dead, but Dean is alive and he can focus.

Jess is wide eyed looking at him and he tries to reassure her that it's okay, he's okay, just wait over there, and his eyes never leave his brother.

His father is dead, but his brother is alive.

His brother is alive, but just barely.

His hair is spiky everywhere, his back is rigid, his jaw is set, his eyes are focusing on something around Sam's tennis shoes and his knuckles are white around his gun.

"Dad's dead", he whispers and Sam wonders how much pain can someone let out in a single sentence.

"I know, Pastor Jim just called me", Sam makes a conscious effort to sound reassuring and soft and not like the terrified little brother Dean's supposed to take care of.

His father is dead, but Dean's alive and he can focus.

"Hey, man, just come on in, okay…" and he can tell his friends are not really thrilled about letting the crazy man with the gun inside and he knows all eyes are on them and he really didn't want to be the freak in Stanford, but he doesn't care because his father is dead, but his brother is alive.

Dean doesn't move though.

"I was…", Dean tries and Sam's amazed about how his voice can sound deep and barely a whisper at the same time. His brother leans on the doorframe and smiles a wicked smile as he playfully knocks the gun against his own head. "I was gonna shoot myself".

Sam's back at not breathing.

"Then I thought… I should find you, you know…", his eyes widen a little and Sam realizes he's drunk, he's so past shitfaced drunk, Sam's amazed he only smelled the whisky now.

"I thought I should find you because we always patch each other up whenever we get shot…", Dean's laughing lightly now, looking back down and for just a split second Sam sees the wisecracking big brother he loves so much underneath the broken man about to shoot himself in his living room.

"That doesn't make a lick of sense, right? I mean… if I'm gonna off myself, I ain't gonna be needing no patching up…", he's talking and moving his hands and his white knuckles are still on the trigger and Sam just finds his focus again.

"No, dude, no, it makes perfect sense", he tries. "We patch each other up, we take care of each other. You did right. You should have come to me".

Dean's eyes shoot up to meet his and Sam's heart is on fire because if dad was Dean's superhero, Dean was Sam's and his eyes are just vacant and dead.

No, his father is the one who's dead, he reminds himself.

Dean's alive. Focus.

Sam reaches his brother's shoulder, gently, knowing better than to reach for the gun right now. He coaches Dean inside and closes the door behind him. Last thing he needs is the neighbors calling 911 now.

He tries to ignore his friends' stares.

Dean's alive. Focus.

"I'm done, Sammy".

And what? "What? No."

He's in his brother's face now and Dean's face is up but his eyes are looking past him, as if he was made of glass.

"I can't do this anymore… I can't. All I know… all I know is fighting and now I ain't got nothing left to fight for…", Dean's very lightly beginning to shake now. "Dad's dead. Mom's dead. You…", Sam's heart tightens. "…I lost you…", and it breaks.

He takes his brothers shoulder and shooks. Focus.

"You didn't lose me. I'm here, Dean. I'm right here. You can't leave. You can't leave me, Dean. I'll be all alone, you're all I got. You can't leave me", he's desperate and he knows it but his brother is slipping and it's pointless to take the gun, because if Dean wants to kill himself, he will, and Sam has to get through to him somehow. Sam has to get through to him and he tries the only card he knows how to play.

"Who's gonna take care of me if you're gone?"

He lets it out and waits for what he's sure is the inevitable turning point coming up right about now, but… nothing. Dean's eyes are still away, his knuckles still white and tight.

"I'm just so tired, Sam….", his voice almost breaks and Sam is sure his brother is so far gone he has no idea they aren't alone in the room. He probably has no idea where he is.

Sam's friends are still staring, but by now Sam hopes they know Dean isn't shooting any of them. Not that he cares, at this point, about friends or Stanford or anything.

His father is dead.

Dean's alive.


Time for a new card.

"Then, why don't you rest, Dean?", his hands on his brother's shoulders are gentle now and his voice is soft. "Just rest, okay. You've earned it. Let me take care of you for a change, huh? You always took care of me, right? That's what big brothers do, right? Well, I'm all grown up now, man, and you did it yourself. You raised me, you raised me right. You did good. Let me take care of you now, okay?".

Dean's eyes soften and Sam's eyes goes straight to his fingers and his focus is strong because, by God, they are relaxing. "Okay?", and he reaches down. "Let me get that", and he lets out a silent prayer that Dean's fingers give out. He takes the gun, empties it, puts it on his waistband.

Dean's just standing there and he looks a lot less menacing without the .45 in his hand. He's barely breathing and Sam's hit with a nauseating wave of home sickness because Dean looks all of 12 now and Sam can't help but feel like he's 8.

But he can't be 8, because his father is dead and his brother is alive.


He takes a step closer and takes his brother's shoulder again and it's not a hug, but Dean's head falls down a mere inch from his collarbone and it's close enough.

"Hey, when's the last time you slept?"

He's not sure Dean's not sleeping standing up when he takes awhile to answer but then "I dunno…." comes. "What day it is?"


"Oh…", Dean's head is still down. Sam's arm is still on his shoulder. "I have no idea."

Sam thinks he should smile but he's not sure he'll ever be able to smile again.

His father is dead.

"Then let's go upstairs, ok? You need to sleep", he takes Dean by the arm and remembers what he used to hear when their situations were reversed. "This will feel better when you wake up."

It's a lie, he knows.

His father is dead.

But Dean's alive.

He needs to focus.