He wasn't sure if looking at it had caused it. He didn't know if the words he'd read in the old Campbell journal, that his grandfather had recorded their previous hunting adventures in, had triggered the memory, but knowing what he knew now, he wished he would've never found out...

One Day Earlier

Sam had been pacing Bobby's living room, flipping through one of the senior hunter's old, tattered books, researching to find some way to kill their newest foe; the next evil bitch that decided she wanted to take over the world this time. Oh yes, she. She who rivaled even the devil in power, Eve. Mother of All Monsters. And she really wanted both Sam's, and his big brother, Dean's heads on a stick, as well as the entire human race dead it would seem. It was like Lucifer in a chick's meatsuit all over again, and Sam just rolled his eyes at the mere thought. The only thing the younger Winchester had come across was a bit of Greek mythology about a Greek Goddess by the name of Echidna, who'd mothered all monsters. Not much help there.

Sam sighed, running a hand through his locks of slightly unkempt hair, and closed the book, laying it on the desk in front of him. He gazed around the messy room. Empty bottles of scotch and glasses sat on the desk near where the older hunter usually settled himself down for researching. It was like Bobby had emptied the entire liquor cabinet, but Sam wasn't about to scold the older man. Their relationship was still somewhat rocky, but better than it had been and the younger Winchester wasn't about to do anything that could set it ablaze again.

Sam cast a furtive glance toward the window. Bobby was still outside in the salvage yard with Dean helping him fix the Impala from it's latest beating. He was bored, restless, and was finding absolutely no leads that could even help them find the crazy monster mother bitch. His hazel eyes scanned the room and came to rest on one of their duffels leaning up against the couch where they'd kept the journals amongst other top priority items for hunters. Dean had specifically told Sam to stay out of it, stay out of the journals, don't read, don't do anything because it could trigger something in the wall. Of course the younger brother rolled his eyes at the idea, and the only thing it did was pique his curiosity even more. Sam looked around the room, peeked toward the kitchen and the door, but still no sign of Dean or Bobby. No footsteps could be heard either.

"Sorry, Dean," Sam murmured as he cautiously approached the duffel. "I've just gotta know. If there's something in there that can help me fix things, make things right, I have to do it." Sam dug for his grandfather's thick, leather-bound journal and tugged it out curious on what readings he'd find inside. If maybe perhaps Samuel had written something on Sam himself and his soulless year, then maybe Sam could go about fixing anything he might've done, and he would too. If that meant putting his life in danger to make right his wrongs, especially if he'd done anything to Dean, Sam would do it. That's just how much he loved his brother. As long as he could redeem himself for the wall completely fell and rendered him enable to fix what he had to fix, Sam would do it. One last good thing. His grandfather's words wouldn't leave the younger hunter's mind either, only making Sam just that much more determined to find something.

"Trust me, what I did pales in comparison to what you did, and on more than one occasion."

Sam began pacing the room, holding the journal carefully and flipping through the pages, trying to find some sort of answer. He scanned each one in hopes he'd come across something written about himself, but nothing yet. Sam turned slowly to a page with the words ALPHA VAMPIRE written in large, dark, blockish letters at the top followed by a long paragraph and a strange drawing off to the side of the writing. Growing ever more curious, Sam began reading the writings when the first one hit him. Just like back in Bristol. "Oh no..." was Sam's first thought before the memory slammed him full blast.

Sam and Dean were in what looked like a young, teenage girl's bedroom, Sam seated at the desk after finding a red laptop hidden under the pillows piled on top of a red, satiny comforter laced in black flowers. Yep. Your typical, emo-loving teen.

"Aha!" Sam stated sounding pleased. "Let's see what we can see." He flipped open the lid and turned the device on. Instantly a large face of a man with golden eyes popped up on the screen followed by the sound of a scream. "That's...just...uncomfortable," Sam stated, drawing his upper lip up in disgust..

Dean drew back from the laptop himself and grumbled. "What's he so bummed out about?" Sam's gaze flickered upward at his older brother before turning back down to look at the screen and concentrating on hacking his way in. He felt Dean turn away from him and before he knew it, the older Winchester was shoving a book in his face. "Look at this. He's watching her sleep. How's that not rapey?"

"I gotta concentrate here, Dean," Sam responded casting a brief glance toward the book his brother was holding and turning back toward the laptop. He typed in a password "Dracula" trying to break into the girl's files, but no such luck. The laptop just screamed bloody murder at him like it had when he popped it open.

"He could hear the blood rushing inside her, almost taste it," Dean began reading somewhat dramatically from the book. " He tried desperately to control himself. Romero knew their love was impossible...Romero? Really?" Dean continued, a hint of annoyance and disbelief at the stupidty of the story, heard in his voice.

Sam felt a twinge of his own irritation, and he turned toward his brother. "Dean. Shut up."

However, so typically, Dean chose to ignore Sam before turning to his brother and holding the book up, the same disbelief heard in his voice. "This is a national best seller!" he exclaimed before putting the book back. "How is that possible?" Dean questioned to nobody in particular, and the sound of the laptop just kept screaming at them as Sam tried his best to work a way into the girl's account.

"Hey, try uhhh Lautner," Dean suggested to his brother, and Sam turned around to look at him momentarily.

"Wait...he's a werewolf," Sam pointed out. "How do you even know who that is?"

"What are you kidding me?" Dean shot back. "That kid is everywhere. It's a freakin' nightmare."

Sam kept typing in names before one struck him. "Hey how many Ts are there in Patti-," he paused as he typed in the name and found his way in. "That's it! We're in!" Sam announced triumphantly. "Hah! Alright." Sam clicked on the file and began scrolling through the Kristen's inbox.

"Well?" Dean questioned, walking up behind his brother.

"Well her inbox is full from some guy claiming to be a vampire," Sam stated, eyes not leaving the screen.

"A real vampire?" Dean inquired, sounding slightly dubious.

"Well, I can only meet you at night. I don't trust myself with you. The call of your blood is too strong," Sam read from the screen, before turning back to look at Dean. "Vampires fishing for victims?"

"It's probably just a human mouth-breather, right?" Dean asked, leaning over Sam's shoulder to look at the screen as well.

"On the other hand, talk about easy prey," Sam pointed out.

"For actual vamps?" the older Winchester continued, still sounding doubtful.

"Yeah. I mean these chicks are just throwing themselves at you, all you gotta do is...I dunno. Write bad poetry," Sam replied, shrugging slightly.

"Huh," Dean remarked before standing up.

Sam clicked on one of the emails to the girl. "Well, this guy wanted to meet her at a place called 'The Black Rose, ' Sam confirmed, huffing a brief, amused laugh.

"Gimme a break," Dean responded, sounding annoyed.

"Just reporting the news," Sam stated matter of factly.

"This is probably just your standard-issued perv, right?" Dean inquired, still continuing to be dubious about the whole situation. Sam himself wasn't so sure. He flipped the lid shut on the computer and looked up at his brother.

Sam blinked his eyes rapidly as the images faded from his mind, and he rubbed his temple slightly with his index and middle finger. That was definitely a flashback, a memory from this past year, and it was obviously some time after he and Dean had met up again. Something undeniably had happened. Sam Winchester was positive of it. Becoming curiosity driven, Sam slowly moved to the moth-eaten sofa before slowly plopping down, eyes not moving away from the old journal in his hands. He scanned the page, searching for anything else that may trigger more memories and the urges to know, the desperate need to scratch at the wall became ever more pronounced. Dean had told him not to scratch the wall, and Sam knew what could happen but if he had come so easily out of the seizure before, why couldn't he this time?

The younger Winchester settled himself back against the couch cushions and settled the journal onto the arm rest of the couch eyes sliding back and forth across his sockets as he read his grandfather's print. There was nothing that truly interesting, just some rambles about the alpha vampire, until Sam came across Dean's name and the word "cure." Sam started to read further and he barely got past the words on something about there being a cure for vampirism, when it hit him again and his rubbed his eyes, squeezing them shut. It wasn't like when he used to get visions, but rather like a terrible itch that was being scratched. The young hunter opened his hazels, and all he saw was the memory that was leaking out from behind that fragile wall Death had constructed in his mind.

He came running up from behind the wall of the bar, peering down the damp alleyway to see somebody being attacked. Somebody was repeatedly punching another person. As the curiosity took over, Sam ran up closer to get a better look and saw Dean laying across a rusted dumpster, a huge vampire with wild, unruly, curly hair pressed up against him, almost seductively. Sam tilted his head slightly, inquisitiveness filling his senses and watched as the beast bit into his own wrist. He squinted his eyes thoughtfully, as a badly beaten Dean who was barely conscious lay motionless and helpless. He couldn't move, and couldn't fight off the monster who held him in his strengthened clutches.

'What if Dean could get us into that nest?' Sam thought as he watched the monster's teeth piercing the flesh of his own wrist. 'Dean can handle it. He's strong enough. As long as I can, I'll keep him under lockdown until we can find the nest and get what we need. He'll be fine. Samuel has a cure too, so it's not like he can't be cured. Yes. This is perfect. Dean can get us in there. We're finally going to get what we want. '

The hissing creature took his bleeding wrist and rubbed it all over the older Winchester's mouth. Sam found that couldn't hold back the slight smirk of the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment as it filled him up. This was absolutely perfect. Using Dean to get into the vampire's nest with Dean having the power of a vampire plus with his hunting skills would get them all of the information they needed and perhaps the alpha vamp itself.

Making sure the monster had done it's job and the vampire blood had entered his brother's system, Sam grabbed his machete from inside of his jacket and shouted a delayed "NO!" before running toward the creature and Dean. Sam halfheartedly swung the weapon at the vampire, but made sure not to hurt it as it laughed at the younger Winchester before taking off up a set of metal stairs and disappearing from sight.

"Sammy," he heard gruffly and quietly as he looked down at a beaten and defeated Dean Winchester. Blood was smeared all over his mouth, and his moss green eyes lay at half mast. Sam cast his stare into his older brother's eyes and he wasn't sure what to think, so he tried to fake a concerned look. That was what his old self would do, right? Make it look as though he cared, right?

Another Flash...

Sam watched his brother pacing the room, clutching his head, shielding his eyes. Dean was knocking down lamps, ripped the alarm clock right out of the wall, beat on the wall trying to tell the people next to them to keep it down before he turned toward his younger brother. He was glaring, giving him a look that he could clearly tell something was up with Sam, and it definitely wasn't good.

"Why aren't you freaked out?" Dean questioned him.

"Of course I am!" Sam exclaimed, doing his best to feign concern for his older brother. The problem was was that he just couldn't feel it. What did caring feel like again? Sam searched himself, tried reaching deep down in himself, but it wasn't there. It was just a giant, empty, black hole of what once was.

"Really? Because I can hear your heartbeat, and it's pretty damn steady," Dean stated harshly, accusingly, his green eyes piercing Sam's hazel ones.

"That's because-I, I'm TRYING to remain calm. Dean, look, Samuel will know what to do!" Sam insisted to his older brother, and he knew he was telling the truth then because he knew of the vampire cure Samuel had taught him and the others about months ago.


"Can't keep track of your brother?" Samuel scolded the younger Winchester as he stomped into the motel room, a bag slung over his shoulder.

"Well, I didn't think he'd just-," Sam began to counter his mistake, but Samuel interrupted him.

"He's not himself, Sam. He's a monster, and he's hungry," the older man tried to explain. Normally screwing up and letting Dean get loose, or hell even letting Dean get turned for that matter would've eaten Sam up inside, but he just...didn't care. It wasn't there anymore, and If Dean was a monster then he was a monster, and if it came down to it, Sam would kill him. Just like he would any other monster. "We've gotta prepare to do the right thing," Samuel added as he unzipped the duffel laying across the rickety table.

"I told you he'd kill me when he showed up," came Dean's voice from inside of the room. Sam's head shot up as he looked around, eyes searching the room frantically and trying to find where he's brother might be. He and Samuel each snatched a freshly sharpened machete from the bag ready slice his head off if that came down to it.

"Did you feed?" Samuel questioned the older Winchester brother.

Dean came out from behind a wall, not looking at Sam or their grandfather. "I went to say goodbye to Lisa," he began. Sam squinted his eyes in curisosity at his brother. 'Why would he go and say goodbye to her now? What did anything like that even matter? He was a vampire now. What a stupid idea. So did he feed on Lisa and Ben? Did he drink them?' Sam wondered to himself, but found that he just didn't even really care if he had or not. "Which for the record was a lousy idea."

"Dean, answer the question!" ordered Samuel from across the room. Sam stood and waited, ready in case Dean turned on them, his hand clutching the handle of the machete tight. He observed his older brotherly slowly turn around to stare them down.

"You can relax, I didn't drink anyone," Dean told them, answering both of their questioning looks. Sam couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief, but not for his brother. No, he was grateful that Dean hadn't drank anyone because it was still possible to get into that nest and then administer the cure as long as Dean kept from feeding. "But I came close," he added. Sam could tell his older brother was feeling anguished, sorrowful. Something had definitely happened, but he just couldn't feel anything for him himself. He just didn't care. All that mattered was getting into that nest and getting info on that Alpha. Nothing else did.

Standing up from his place on the couch the young hunter began to pace, breaths coming in short, heavy pants and his heart beating erratically against his ribcage. THRUM THRUM THRUM. Sam ran one large hand through his hair and held the journal open in his other, staring down at it, hazel orbs widened in honest disbelief and shock after his memories subsided. No wonder Dean hadn't wanted him to know. Sam tossed the journal onto the desktop in front of him, and it landed with the Alpha Vampire page laying face up. Sam heavily thumped into the chair, his legs giving out from underneath him and he placed his head in his hands, threading his fingers through his hair and pressing his fingertips into his scalp.

I did all of those horrible things...I truly just stood there, careless, and all that mattered was the hunt. I let...my brother...get turned into a vampire...a VAMPIRE. A MONSTER! How could I do that? How could I...? Lisa and Ben... It's all my fault. I let my brother get turned. I gave him an open way to go and see Lisa and Ben. They could've been hurt or killed and it would've been all my fault. How could I do such a horrible thing? And Dean... I almost killed Dean. When he showed up back in the motel room, I had my machete ready. Not a care in the world. I was going to kill him, chop his head right off. What the hell...how did this happen to me? WHAT happened to me? Why me? Why does this always happen to me, and I end up hurting the people I love most? Bobby...Dean...Cas? So sorry. So so sorry.

Sam could feel the familiar tingle behind his eyes, and he squeezed them shut tighter behind his hands. He shook his head, long locks tickling the tops of his hands. He chuckled humorlessly at himself, and his eyes really began to burn. Sam pressed his hands firmly into his eyes and scrubbed them with his fingertips before sitting up, trying to process everything he'd just saw. Was he honestly so cold, so uncaring and so ruthless that he'd let his own brother, his flesh and blood, his own only remaining family get turned into a monster for the sake of a stupid hunt? Sam leaned up toward the desk, folded his arms over the journal still laying page up across the desktop, settling the bottom half of his face into them, burrowing his nose into the crook of his elbow so that all could be seen were his eyes, forehead and his hair.

How on earth would he ever ever begin apologizing to Dean for something like this? Sam had swore to himself after the incident with Ruby that he would never hurt his brother again, and he went against exactly what he'd said. He done just that, or so he thought. Turns out, he did let his brother get hurt. Dean could've been killed, and it would've been all Sam's fault. Lisa and Ben...it was all his fault that Dean lost them. Had he never let Dean get turned into a vampire in the first place, he wouldn't have put Lisa and Ben in danger thus Dean losing them in the process. At least Dean was back to normal. At least there had been a cure, but still. There was nobody to blame but Sam himself. Sam knew this, and he accepted it.

It was no wonder Dean struggled to speak about them in front of Sam. No wonder he couldn't look his little brother in the eye when talking about them. They had been Dean's family, and Sam ripped them right away from his older brother. Torn his brother's precious family and perfect life asunder. The one thing that Dean had wanted all of his life, and Sam just ruined it without a care in the world after making Dean promise him to go find them and try living a normal, apple life. Dean had loved them. Sam knew it. He probably still did love them. He saw it in his older brother's eyes. Ben had been like a son to Dean. He and Lisa had definitely shared something special. Now it was all gone, it was ruined and it would never happen for Dean, and it was all because of him. Sam felt a sob building up in his chest and shuddered.

His eyes burned relentlessly now with unshed tears. It was all his fault. Every single thing. Standing there and letting Dean get turned. Dean escaping to go see Lisa, and Sam not giving a rat's ass if his brother was a vampire or not because they needed into that vampire nest. His brother could've fed. If he had fed, Dean might be a vampire right now unless of course Samuel or he himself had killed him first. Sam squeezed his blue-green eyes shut hoping to stave off the tears, but it did no good. They escaped, hot and wet, even through closed eyes. Sam let out another great, shuddering sob and opened his eyes. It was blurry all around him, like a smeared painting, and two more unrelenting tears found their way out, making warm tracks down his cheeks. He ignored them splashing onto the pages of the journal, smearing the ink on the page. "I'm sorry, Dean," Sam whispered, his voice hitching. "I'm so very sorry." And since nobody was there to see him, the young hunter succumbed to his guilt, his grief, his pain and buried his face into his arms and cried with silent restraint, not wanting to completely give in, just in case Dean and Bobby came back in.

Sam wasn't sure how long he'd been laying with his head on the desk, trying to make his mind go blank. At one point it had, and Sam couldn't tell if he'd succeeded or if he just dozed off, but he heard the door fling open and heard loud, bickering voices, and the unmistaken sound of Bobby calling Dean an 'idjit' over something, most likely the car, and Dean loudly and obnoxiously arguing back at the older hunter followed by a "shaddap." Dean and Bobby made their way through the kitchen and toward the living room where Sam hurriedly closed his eyes, pretending to be asleep. "Don't you talk to me like that in my house, boy," Bobby began but was hushed by the older Winchester.

"Shhhh, Bobby!" Sam heard Dean whisper from a ways away, but still loud enough to where he could hear his big brother. Sam opened one of his eyes just enough to spot his older brother and Bobby standing in the doorway, and Dean was pointing toward Sam somewhat obnoxiously, trying to point out that Sam was sleeping.

"Well ya idjit, don't you think you should wake him up and at least move him over to the couch? It'd be more comfortable for him and not so hard on his back," Bobby whispered back, argumentatively.

"Oh yeah and like Sasquatch can actually fit on your itty bitty old sofa. I told you to get a bigger one," Dean retorted, and Sam could almost hear the roll of his eyes in his big brother's voice. He heard Bobby's gruff, reply about liking his couch just fine and mumbling on something about going into the kitchen for a beer, leaving Sam and Dean by themselves. Sam heard Dean's footsteps beginning to approach him. He peeked up at his older brother with one eye barely open, trying to fake being asleep, even faked the heavy breathing and couldn't help but wonder how in the hell he could never care for Dean at all, soul or not. How he could just let him get turned into a monster without a care in the world. He could feel his throat tighten again at the mere thought. "Hey, Sammy? You awake?," Dean questioned softly, his footsteps coming closer and closer to his little brother. How could Dean honestly still trust him and love him after all of that? Sam truthfully didn't understand anything anymore. He felt so lost.

The younger Winchester pushed his face a little further into his arms, not wanting Dean to know what he'd been up to, and that had been sobbing like a little girl into his arms on Bobby's desk. He was hoping that the longer he feigned sleep, the more Dean would leave him alone and let him rest, give him time to pull himself together. Plus, he didn't want his older brother finding out about the journal that lay underneath his arms. Some of Sam's hair fell across his forehead into his one eye visible and not hidden in his arms, and he heard Dean approach him. He felt his brother's calloused fingers gently brush back the fringe of hair in his eye, and his heart clenched. How could Dean be so brotherly, touching him with such a simple and yet warm gesture like moving hair away from his face?

"Awww, Sammy," Dean breathed out softly, and Sam realized in sheer humiliation that Dean had caught sight of the not-so-dried tear tracks on his face. "Hey, Sam?" Dean spoke quietly, putting a hand on his little brother's shoulder and giving him a gentle shake. "What's wrong, huh? I know you're not asleep, or at least you might've been falling asleep. C'mon. Tell me what's up."

Sam opened his red-rimmed eyes and peered upward at his older brother, feeling all of five years old again with big brother Dean ready to comfort him and make it all better, make it all go away. Only this time, Sam wasn't so sure he could. And they were being honest with each other now. No more lies, no more secrets. Sam turned away from Dean and sat up, scrubbing a hand down his face to wipe away any traces of left-over tears. He knew Dean had spotted the journal because he felt it being gently moved from the desktop, and heard the soft thump of the heavy book being closed. "Sorry, Dean," Sam spoke in barely above a hoarse whisper as he could still feel the tears building up in the back of his throat.

"It's okay, Sammy. Let's just get you over to the couch and you can tell me what happened, alright?" Dean told him softly, not a hint of anger or upset could be heard in his brother's voice. Just sheer and genuine care and concern. Dean grabbed a hold of Sam's bicep and steered the younger Winchester toward the couch where he landed on the cushions with a large, soft thud, his body feeling unnaturally heavy on his legs.

His head was hurting, but Sam was sure that was probably from the crying and not the flashbacks. He didn't feel like he was going to get hit by a planet again. Sam leaned against the arm rest, his hand covering his burning eyes, and he swallowed against a lump, that felt like the size of Texas, in his throat. After everything he'd done, how could Dean still treat him like his little brother? He heard the rustle of the bag and the journal being slipped back inside. Dean zipped it up and then Sam felt the couch dip behind him along with Dean's hands resting gently on his brother's shoulders.

"Alright, Sam. What's going on? What happened?" the older Winchester questioned his brother gently, tugging on Sam's broad shoulders.

At first, Sam didn't want to talk, but before he could control it, it was pouring out of his mouth and even though he tried to, he couldn't stop talking. The words will spilling out of him with no control. "I don't... I can't...I don't even know where to begin, Dean. Apologies just aren't even enough for something like this. I could tell you over and over again how sorry I am and believe me, I am, but it will never be enough for what I did to you," the younger Winchester told him, his breath hitching on the last word and he lowered his head, long bangs falling into his face, hiding his eyes from view. "Nothing will ever be enough, Dean. What I did was just...it was unforgivable."

"What are you talking about, Sammy? You've got me totally lost here. So unless you share with the class, I honestly don't know how I can help you here, little brother," Dean replied, sounding genuinely confused and a little worried now.

"Vampire, Dean... I-I let you get turned into a vampire, and I didn't even care!" Sam exclaimed, his voice sounding broken, defeated. "I let you become a monster all for the sake of the hunt. All for the sake of hunting down the Alpha vampire and getting information. Nothing mattered to me, Dean. I put my own brother's life in danger. I ruined what you had with Lisa and Ben, and none of it mattered to me. I just didn't care. Every single bit of it was my fault, Dean. Dean...god. What have I done? What did I do?" Sam knew his expression was childish, and helpless and he just didn't care. Nothing mattered to him anymore except for the fact that he'd let his brother become a monster and nearly got him killed.

"Hey! Hey you listen to me and you listen good right now, Sam," Dean stated firmly, grasping his shoulder and pulling his brother around to face him. Sam might've been bigger, but Dean was still strong enough for this maneuver, even though Sam had pretty much let himself go almost dead weight. Dean stared his little brother right in his eyes, looking more serious than Sam had seen him look in a long time. Sam couldn't help but flinch slightly, awaiting the inevitable blastwave from his older brother. Dean grasped Sam's chin harshly, his fingers digging into the side of his face, and pulled it back toward him. "Look at me, Sam." Sam obeyed.

"None of this was your fault, Sam. You get me? You didn't let me get turned into a vampire, because it wasn't you, Sam. It wasn't you, alright? If it had been you, you wouldn't be as devastated over it as you are right now, Sam. You wanna know where the real you was? In Hell. You were in Hell being tossed back and forth between Michael and Lucifer like a hackysack, alright? Your body and your brain may have been up here, but the Sammy I know? The real Sam Winchester? He was in Hell and undeservingly at that. It was MY choice to go and see Lisa and Ben, Sam. You didn't make me go see them. You didn't talk me into jumping out that window and running off to go see them. I did that. All by myself. I could've been smarter than that and stayed where I should have, but I didn't. I cost my relationship with them all by myself, you understand that?" Dean told him in earnest, holding onto Sam's shoulders and giving his brother a small shake.

"So I'll be goddamned if you sit around here and blame yourself. Because that soulless douchebag wasn't you, Sammy. The real you wasn't home. He is now, and I swear to God if you sit there and blame yourself for this, Sam, I'm going to punch you into next week until you realize and accept that none of this was your fault."

Sam could only sit and stare at his older brother, the intensity he held in his moss green eyes, the sincerity and the strong love for his little brother, Sam could see it all and if he weren't sitting, he would've went to his knees. His eyes filled. "God, Dean. I'm so sorry. I am just...I am so so sorry," Sam whispered around the tightening of his throat because he couldn't say anything more. His chest was clenching so hard that all he could feel was pain. It was the type of pain that was so unbearable that sometimes Sam just wished he could stop breathing and let darkness take him.

He felt Dean grasp him by the shirt and pull him into his shoulder, one arm going tightly around Sam's shoulders and another around his back. Sam sank into the comfort that was his older brother, and he let the tears come, thick, fast, and hot with heavy, silent sobbing that hurt so badly from the inside out, Sam thought his heart was being ripped into agonizing, tiny pieces one right after the other. His arms went around Dean and his fingers found themselves clenching onto the back of his older brother's jacket and not wanting to let go. Dean held onto Sam's heaving shoulders, squeezing, if possible, even tighter and Sam felt Dean rest his cheek against his hair.

One of Dean's hands made it's way to the other side of Sam's head and began threading his fingers through his thick strands. His other hand laid against the back of Sam's neck and his thumb rubbed gentle circles in obvious comfort, and Sam cried harder, feeling he didn't deserve his brother's compassion, his support. Even though Sam felt he didn't deserve it, he selfishly drank in his big brother's comfort. He listened to Dean's voice as he told Sam over and over again that it wasn't his fault, that everything was going to be okay, softly shushing him, and Sam soon felt the sobs easing up in his chest, the tears slowing and before long all that followed was soft sniffling and careful hitched breathing until there was nothing left. He'd cried himself out, until he was completely empty, exhausted and his eyes hurt. Still laying against Dean's shoulder, Sam felt a gentle shrug of his shoulder.

"Hey, you done flooding the place yet?" Dean questioned him gently but playfully. Sam breathed a soft, short laugh before nodding his head up and down. "How about you lay down here on the couch for a bit and take yourself a nap? As much as you needed that Sammy, I think you'd be pretty exhausted by now, huh?" Sam sniffed again and nodded his head in agreement, still not trusting himself to speak yet. "Alright then," Dean stated as he gently pried his little brother back from his shoulder. "Let's get you laid down so you can get some sleep, okay?" Sam pulled back reluctantly, keeping his head lowered. Dean grabbed one of the pillows from the end of the couch and propped it up against the other as he helped Sam stretch out across the couch and lay down comfortably.

The younger Winchester peered up through swollen, red-rimmed eyes at his older brother and gave him a small smile of gratitude. "Thanks, Dean," Sam whispered hoarsely and before he knew it, he was asleep, falling into the depths of warm, blissful darkness where no pain resided. He never felt the soft blanket Dean pulled over him, nor Dean's hand brush over Sam's forehead. "It's gonna be alright, Sammy. Everything is going to be alright."