In the Darkness

Sam has always been the person Dean trusts the most with his life but now Sam feels like he's been replaced by Castiel. Insecure!Sam. One-Shot. No spoilers.

Disclaimer: I would never even begin to insinuate that I own or am in anyway associated with Supernatural.

Author's Notes:

- I Took liberties with series timelines, mostly because I wanted to include Castiel's reference to his "profound bond" with Dean from episode 6:03.

- Special thanks to my betas SupernaturalGeek, Erika Jane & clair beaubien.

- Reviews and feedback are greatly appreciated.

Sam Winchester is completely unprepared for the stab of pure envy that pierces him as he enters the motel room and sees his brother with Castiel. Dean is seated on the standard issue chair that generally accompanies the standard issue motel desk, while Castiel is at the foot of the nearest bed.

Something Cas says causes Dean to raise an eyebrow and then flash his killer grin and for reasons Sam can't quite understand or explain, the easy familiarity between them has him seeing green.

"Do you two mind?" Sam can't quite keep the edge off his voice, "I'm beat."

"Tired," Dean supplies, still smiling as Castiel gives him a questioning look.

"Oh," Castiel nods and his patient tone rouses Sam's ire even more. "I'll just...go, then."

Before Dean can even get to his feet to walk Castiel out, Sam is grabbing his duffle and slamming into the bathroom. When he emerges, showered, changed, and ready for sleep, Dean is sitting in bed, with his arms folded and a look on his face that says Sam better start explaining.

In no mood for talking, Sam just tosses his bag on the floor, sits on his bed and brings his feet up.

"What's wrong with you?" Dean asks, since it's clear he won't get a voluntary explanation.

"Nothing," Sam switches off the single lamp on the table between the two beds, plunging the room into darkness in an effort to avert the unwanted conversation. "I'm just tired."

"Tired, irritable, rude," Dean continues, undaunted by the darkness. "If I didn't know better I'd say it was that time of the month."

Sam turns the light back on to give his brother the full benefit of his glare. "What's the matter Dean? Upset because I cut in on your quality time with your guardian angel?"

"You need to take your Midol, Princess. Whatever problem you have with Cas is your own business, cause he sure as hell doesn't have a problem with you."

"Sure, stick up for him. After all, the two of you share a 'profound bond' as he so aptly puts it."

"Yeah, well when you've been through what Cas and I have been through, things do tend to get ...'profound'."

"And what about what you and I have been through? Doesn't that count for anything?"

"It counts for everything, Sam! And you damn well know it. So stop acting like a two year old girl who doesn't want to share her favourite doll. However you may feel about Cas, he's got my back."

"That used to be my job Dean. You and I, we've always been a team and now it's like you need this...this re-enforcement and I wanna know why you think you always have to have angel boy around. When did you decide that I wasn't enough?"

In the aftermath of the Panic Room Dean had tried to reassure Sam that nothing had changed between them. But his brother just seemed to be growing more petulant and insecure with each passing day. And while Dean didn't discount the hell Sam had been through, what was killing Dean was that Sam seemed to be having such a hard time accepting his reassurances.

Now Dean can't help but wonder if trust was going to be the biggest casualty of all. And if it was, Dean had no idea how he was going to handle it. If they lost that faith that they had always had in each other, that faith that made them believe in one another without question, then – while he couldn't speak for his brother – for Dean it would probably be the worst heartache he would ever suffer in his pain-riddled life.

"Look, we're literally up against hell here, Sam, and I'm running out of ideas. So I would appreciate it if you didn't make me feel like this was some damn popularity contest, because I don't know about you, but I need all the help I can get."

This time, it's Dean who reaches for the light switch, hoping the darkness will shut Sam up. Irritated, he pulls up his covers and turns his back to his brother.

It stings Sam to hear Dean dismiss him like he's some spoiled child, especially now in the post-panic room era when Sam's constantly worried that he was becoming a liability to his brother. And if he wasn't useful to Dean, then Sam figured he may as well just give up here and now.

In the dark, with his irritation giving way to dejection, Sam turns to face his brother's bed. "You're all I have left," he says tiredly.

"Same here," Dean sighs.

"No. You had Mom, even if it was only for a few years. You had the good sense not to spend all the time you had with Dad fighting. You never had to bury the woman you wanted to spend the rest of your life with. Dean, you even have better memories than I do, and now, for all intents and purposes, you have Cas."

"Sam," Dean turns towards his brother and moves to the edge of the bed. "No one can ever or will ever take your place."

Grateful for the darkness, Sam squeezes his eyes shut as silent, solitary tears run down his face. "So much has happened Dean," he tries to keep the grief he's feeling inside from reflecting in his voice. "So much has changed that sometimes I wonder if you still..." Sam can't quite bring himself to ask.

Now Dean's eyes are moist. Why would Sam even need to ask? How could his brother not know?

"Sam," Dean tries to answer but his voice sounds strange and his throat feels dry. "Sam, I'll always...," he falters again.

Then, Dean clears his throat, collects himself and tries one last time. "No one will ever mean as much to me as you," is all he can manage in the end.

"You sure about that?" Sam gives a rueful snicker. He hates himself for asking, but after everything they'd been through, he has to.

"Yeah, I'm sure. But why do you have such a hard time believing that, Sam? Why do you have such a hard time believing me?"

Sam hears the ache in his brother's voice. He knows Dean can easily handle the anger and the yelling, but the distrust and the second-guessing are another matter entirely.

"It's not you," Sam admits tiredly. "It's just so hard for me to believe anything now. I've lost everything Dean. And sometimes I think it's just a matter of time before I lose you too."

"I'm not going anywhere," Dean promises.

"Dean we both know that some things are out of our control."

"You're right. So there's no sense sweating what we can't control. But as long as we're both here we'll take care of each other, just like we always have O.K?"


Still detecting the slightest bit of uncertainty in his brother's voice, Dean tries to reassure Sam once again. "I know you have my back, Sammy and you'll always be the one I trust with my life."

The response is a long, relaxed yawn followed by a tired but relieved; "O.K. Dean."

Hearing the belief and the much welcomed acceptance Dean turns over and nestles into his pillows. "Dry your eyes and go to sleep," he orders gently.

"I am not crying," Sam says sleepily, much too tired to make it sound convincing.

"Yes you are," Dean insists groggily. After a lifetime of these 'conversations' he knows all the signs. "You always get emotional when you're tired, which is yet another reason why you shouldn't skip your Midol."

Quietly, Sam uses his sheet to wipe his face. Then, he relaxes into the gentle lull of slumber figuring he'll just let that last one slide.