Author: fade_in2_dreams |Gosenshii

Title: Memory
Fandom: Supernatural
He finds the old picture gently folded and carefully placed between the withering pages of one of his father's many volumes, weathered and brittle with age...
Characters: Dean and Sam Winchester. Dean-centric one shot.
Warning: First time writing SPN, and my beta is MIA, so all mistakes, if any, are mine.

Fan art: disquieted (DOT)tumblr(DOT)com/post/10260087699/he-finds-the-old-picture-gently-folded-and

For: Malfoyprincess, you know why.

Hold on to what you believe in the light,
When the darkness has robbed you of all your sight.

~~~Mumford & Sons~~


He finds the old picture gently folded and carefully placed between the withering pages of one of his father's many volumes, weathered and brittle with age. The inscription neatly written in his father's familiar scrawl at the bottom is simple;

September 28, 1997. Indiana.

Careful fingers begin to unfold and smooth out wrinkles until Sammy's smiling face is staring up at him. There's no helping the swell of his heart or the silly lopsided grin that plays on his lips at the sight.

Time had long since taken its toll on the image, smudging lines and bleaching color; but the memory of that day remained, clear and crisp like the blue Indiana sky of that autumn morning.

Sam had insisted on taking the picture, of course. The youngest of the Winchesters had found the old camera while cleaning one of their father's storage rooms in Chicago the weekend before, and he had done nothing but follow his big brother around taking pictures of him until Dean had threaten to break the damn thing. The picture he now held in his hands was the last picture of the roll, taken by their father right before the boys went in the school yard.

You grew up too fast, too soon, Sammy. But you'll always have that shiny hope of yours, won't ya? He could see it in the picture just like he could see it in his eyes now as a grown man, even after all this time and everything they've been through. I just wish you could smile like that again.

He grows somber then, his playful grin slowly turning into a soft, sad smile, and for the first time he notices his own younger self in the picture. His hands are placed protectively on his baby brother's shoulders, full lips drawn in a tight smile, and his bright green eyes cold and guarded. He never had that light of hope and innocence Sam had. Not even as a kid and least of all now, especially now. He figured he had been far too broken from the start; there had always been little room for light in a heart so hardened and touched by darkness. So he clung to his brother instead, clung to his light and his darkness, to his hope and innocence as if it was his own salvation. And perhaps it was.
Sam kept him sane, kept him believing; Sam was the reason he was still alive. Dean Winchester had never been a child, but he took comfort in knowing his little brother had (even if it had been only for a little while). That was more than enough for him, and he knew he wouldn't have it any other way if given the chance. Sam would always come first, the rest of the world be damned if needed be.

He's so caught up in his thoughts the hunter doesn't hear the front door opening, or the moose steps down the basement steps.

"Dean? Where are you? I brought dinner, and your pie. Dean...?"

"In here Sammy." He calls, hastily taking the old picture and placing it safely in his wallet before casually looking over the book where he had found it. Stealth was Dean Winchester's middle name-or so he liked to believe.

Sammy makes his way through scattered books and food wrappers, dodging low ceiling lamps. "Hey. Found anything about the dagger yet?"

The green-eyed hunter looks up from his readings, innocent as ever. "Nope, maybe it's time we give Bobby a visit."

"Bobby? Dean, we're a good 3 day drive from Bobby's."

Dean could see the beginnings of his younger brother's infamous moose bitch-face (as Bobby liked to endearingly refer to it at times) slowly forming; he needed a logical (crap!) argument, and fast.

"Sammy, we still have no clue where this son of a bitch-"

"-Supai, the Inca god of death and greed-" they younger man interrupts. Dean glares, but continues anyway.

"--will kill next and we can't kill it without this dagger, which-if I may remind you-we haven't located yet. We might as well go. Plus, there's something I need to do."

His little brother raises an eyebrow at that. "You have a plan?"

"Nope! But do you think Bobby still has that old camera lying around somewhere? I think it's time we take another family picture."

"...another…family picture?" There it was again, that adorable, confused (and slightly annoyed) puppy look that used to make him give up his cereal price as kids.

"Yep. Now, where's my pie!"

With one last shrug Sam follows him out of the basement and into the empty house they had been occupying for the past week. He makes a straight line towards the kitchen table, waiting for his little brother to sit across from him before unwrapping his burger and fries. They joke and banter during their meal, but his head is still with the picture safely stored in his wallet. Any good hunter would know better than to keep it, but Dean was never one to play by the book. He knew that keeping sentimental links to your past made you week, and weakness was something no one in their line of work could afford. But it was like he had once told Sammy, they kept each other human.

It was Sam's hope that got him through another day, and it was Sam that kept him believing that perhaps one day the light would finally win against the darkness.

It was Sam that kept him believing that maybe one day they could finally rest, together; Always together.