All the Rest

Author: Cheryl W.

Disclaimer: I do not own Dean, Sam or any rights to Supernatural, nor am I making any profit from this story.

Author's Note: More angtsy sap than you can shake a stick at because I couldn't let Sam stuck in his memories of Hell.

Summary: Tag to "Unforgiven." No slash.

When the agony returned to him it was like it had never left, was constant, was an integral part of him, a part of him he should have always known wouldn't be sequestered away. It had been with him too long, over a century and it never dulled, was always as startling sharp as it was the very first time. Nothing had changed.

And then something did. A voice, a voice that was a balm to his decimated soul, he heard it, faintly, like it was calling to him from a place that barely existed anymore, even in his memories.

"Sammy."

Whatever heartbreak Sam knew he was suffering, the owner of the voice was suffering too, had been sobbing when the name burst from him, was nearly without hope, was being tortured in his own way.

"Sammy, please. You're not there, man. You're safe."

But Sam knew it was a lie because this was not safe, this was not home.

"I should have found a way to get you out sooner, should have realized he wasn't….you. I…I failed you and I …I'm sorry Sammy, I'm so sorry."

The words were a mesh of confusion and confirmation, a lance and a salve to the things he knew and thought he didn't know, of the here and now and of the somewhere else. But he clung to the voice, to the voice that had sang him to sleep as a kid, the voice that had patiently, gently, instructed him on all the most important things in life, the voice that had always offered him strength, hope when his own was gone.

"I can't …undo anything, can't change what happened, what I let happen. But you're not in hell anymore and you're not alone. I got you and I'm …I'm not leaving."

He had heard that declaration before. In the cemetery. They hadn't been false, desperate promises, not then. Dean had not left him, had stayed…even when it had meant death, when it meant that he would stand right there on the precipice, viewing the end of the world by his own brother's hand. He had come for him, to be with him, to play it out together, to end it together.

"I'll….I'll…chug down some dreamroot, stand with you this time. Whatever they did to you, they can just….stop. Start doing it to me. I'm the one that said no to Michael, I screwed their pooch too. They can leave you alone, I'll make them, Sam. I'll make them."

Then he knew it, that what was done to him, the ways he was taunted and scarred, the levels of agony awakened in his soul, it had miraculously been ….bearable. Because Dean wasn't there, because they could do their worst to him but his brother was safe, was out of their reach, forever.

Now Dean was going to take that succor away from him, was going to leap in the hole after him, was going to destroy him in ways the most powerful evil in the universe could not. His shout emanated more from the depths of his soul than from his shredded vocal chords. "NO!"

It was like some….barrier was broken through. Some wall crumbled under the terror of Dean being where he was, under his desperation to do anything to stop that from happening, under the need to protect his brother, to save him, under the love he felt for Dean.

Suddenly, he felt it, something cold pressed against his burning face, arms holding him tight, protecting him against any threat and a sound even more precious than his brother's voice. A heartbeat under his ear. Dean's heartbeat.

"Just come back, Sam. We'll build a new wall, you and me. We've been doing it our whole lives. Come back to me, Sammy. Please. Please. Please, Sammy."

It was all he ever thought about in hell, coming back to Dean. Of remaining someone that was worthy to be returned to Dean. Opening his eyes, he blinked sluggishly in the dark, could make out the outlines of a bed, a fireplace, of the ramshackle house they had squatted in Bristol. They, he and Dean. His breath caught, happiness and hope, despair and agony, stealing it away.

Dean froze under him, had noticed, had always noticed every important thing that happened to him. "Sammy?" his brother's voice tentative, tender, yearning.

His brother's name came whooshing out of him. "Dean," even as he moved, wrapped his arms around his brother's waist, ensured that this wasn't some sick game in his head, was real, that Dean couldn't leave, couldn't leave him. His face pressing harder against the buttons of Dean's shirt, he exhaled in a relieved sigh, "Dean," contentment and relief distorting the baritone of his voice.

"Oh thank God, Sammy," tears overflowing in the words and the arms that held him tightened, the chin that rested on the crown of his head shifted and he felt his hair ruffle as his brother's face buried itself in his thick tresses.

Sam clung tighter to Dean, to the reality that he wasn't in hell anymore, that he wasn't in pain, that Dean was there, with him. And Dean held him, just …held him. He would do it until they both withered away and died, it was Dean's way. Today, Sam would let him.

He felt himself literally coil around Dean's soul. He didn't have the strength not to, to worry that he might taint Dean's soul with his own. He was not that humanitarian, could not be. Not when he held in his grasp what he had been deprived of for over a hundred years: a gentle touch, kindness, love, his brother.

He didn't know how long they remained that way, tangled together, souls and limbs alike. He hadn't registered when the darkness had given way to the light, when the shadows of the house had slunk away into sharp clarity. When the heartbeat under his ear had slowed down, changed as its owner succumbed to exhaustion even as his brother's hands had never loosened their grip on him.

Unwilling to topple Dean over, Sam reached up, hand under Dean's chin, supported his brother's head as he slipped his own out from under it. His breath caught again on a sob as he saw the weariness, the strain in his brother's slack features, as he took in the position his brother was in, sitting on a hard wooden floor, nothing to brace his back, holding his little brother all night long, the air in the abandoned house so frigid that little puffs of white mist appeared at his every breath.

Sam had never loved his brother more than in that moment, knew that the tears that crystallized on his cheeks weren't about sorrow this time. They were about love. Something hell had not been able to diminish, no matter how long he had been down there.

Shifting carefully in his brother's arms, Sam sat up straighter and slid his hand from under Dean's chin only after his brother's head had found security on his shoulder. Sliding closer to Dean, he changed his grip from clinging to supporting and pulled the blanket that Dean had wound around him across his brother's shivering form as well.

This was them at their best…and at their worst. Savaged, irreparable, ruined, protected, healing, saved.

"Sammy," Dean mumbled, fingers instinctively flexing in the fabric in his grip.

"I'm not alone, Dean. You're with me."

Then with sharp clarity, "I wasn't…" Dean's voice close to shattering, regret, guilt overflowing.

Sam closed his eyes and rested his forehead down on Dean's. "I didn't want you to be, Dean. That was never what I wanted….or needed. Not then…and not now. Don't…don't ever …the dreamroot…you can't…promise me…" But silence came as Dean's reply as loud as a shouted 'I'll never make that promise'.

"Jerk," Sam sobbed, knew that he couldn't stop Dean, never could when his brother's heart was leading him.

Dean exhaled in contentment, as if Sam's endearment told him something he had longed for his brother to vow. "So the great wall of Sam…it needs some work."

Sam gave a small laugh, "Yeah, guess so." Surprised and relieved that Dean was not pushing him away, not trying to recoup his big brother, invincible status, was letting him do the holding for the moment.

"I worked in construction, when I was with Lisa and Ben. I'm not half bad…with walls and stuff."

"You never were, Dean," Sam complimented, knew that Dean had sheltered him his whole life with walls, from the monsters, from their mother's absence and their father's presence. That his brother had built a wall for him against every dark thing that clawed into his soul and took hold. That Dean had erected a wall for his own soul after hell and he would do it for his, brick by brick, as long as it took.

"Sam whatever happened, whatever you remember…."

"Just tell me you're not leaving. I need that… I need you and I know it's too much…"

Dean pushed off Sam far enough to meet his brother's eyes, to make sure Sam didn't miss a single word out of his mouth, didn't misinterpret them. "I'm not leaving, Sam. Ever. And it's not too much, idiot. Us being together, it's what I want too. Come on, I'm sitting here freezing to death, getting splinters in my butt cheeks, if that doesn't say …."

"It does," Sam cut in, matching affection mirrored in his eyes. He didn't need Dean to say the words when actions were far greater, always came at such a higher cost for them.

Caught off guard by Sam's declaration, it took Dean a moment to recover, to grunt out, "Good" But then concern darkened Dean's features. "Sammy, can you.. are you alright?"

Sam swallowed, pushed down everything that had resurfaced, all the consuming agony, the abysmal loneliness, the unrelenting fear. He wasn't alright, not by a long shot, maybe would never be alright, might implode an hour from now, a year from now but he wasn't in hell anymore, wasn't alone anymore, and Dean, he was alive and real and there. "I'm where I want to be, Dean," praying that Dean knew it wasn't about being alive, about being topside, it was about being with him. "All the rest.." he gave a shrug even as a tear slipped free.

Pain shifted in Dean's eyes but he nodded, reached out, and cupped the side of Sam's neck, heart constricted as Sam leaned into his touch instead of recoiling from it. "Yeah," he agreed because no other words were needed, not between them.

All the rest, they would deal with. Together. It was how they maintained their walls, it was how they lived their lives, it was how they kept each other close.

SNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSN

The End

SNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSNSN

And now I can breathe a sigh of relief because the brothers are alright.

Have a great day!

Cheryl