Little souvenirs and secrets shared

Little off guard and unprepared

It's been weeks since Sam thought about it. He normally tries not to; he goes about his day and tries to ignore the weight in his pocket, even though without it there he feels naked and vulnerable, and the one day he tried leaving it at home for the first time he nearly had a panic attack.

Dean still doesn't know, or hasn't realised; Sam's not sure which, but he's never going to tell him. He loves his big brother, but he also knows that Dean is a little short on the emotional side of things. If he had known what Sam had been planning- just how much he had wanted his 'apple-pie life'- he would either be annoyed at the betrayal or torn up about dragging Sam away from it. If he knew that there were still nights that Sam wakes up crying, gasping for air, an image of fire burning behind his eyelids and the scent of burnt cookies in the air, he would probably try to get Sam committed.

If he knew that there were still nights- not often, but sometimes, when Dean was away and Sam had the room to himself- that Sam pulls the tiny box from its place in his coat pocket, imagines over and over getting down on one knee in front of Jess, imagines the look on her face when he asks her those four words…

He doesn't know what Dean would do, and he doesn't want to find out.

And so he doesn't tell him.

He doesn't tell him that he leaves the box in his pocket, feels it hanging, every day, impossibly heavy against his hip.

He doesn't tell him that, if things had been different, Dean would probably have a sister-in-law by now.

And on the nights Dean comes back to the hotel room and he rushes to the bathroom when he hears the door open, when Dean teases him about jerking off and asks him good-naturedly what he was watching, he definitely doesn't tell him that what he's trying to hide is tears.

Say you'll never die, you'll always haunt me