Title: So Shall It End

Author: Still Waters

Fandom: Supernatural

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural. Just playing, with love and respect to those who brought these characters to life.

Summary: 7x13 tag. Dean knew his response hurt Sam. But the truth would have hurt worse.

Notes: Like many viewers, I was floored by Sam's heartbreaking "don't get killed" at the end of 7x13 (The Slice Girls). Yet, it was Dean's voice that came to me so strongly later that night, expanding on his thoughts at that moment. This was the result – the shortest piece I've ever written, but one that simply would not let go. I hope I did the characters and emotions justice. Thank you for reading. I truly appreciate your support.

"Just don't…..don't get killed."

Dean heard every nuance in those words; couldn't help it, even as depleted as he was, because it was Sam. It was "I need you", "I love you", "I'm scared", and "hold on, we can still get through this together" all rolled into one; the sum of their entire relationship, a lifetime of brotherhood. And it was just too much for Dean's overloaded system – the despairing weight of that plea, the promise Sam was waiting for him to make, the pressure of it all. Potential responses were a funnel cloud of destruction in his head, a maelstrom of possibility. He didn't even have the energy to fight with Sam anymore, let alone pick a reply.

But he did.

He told Sam what he needed to hear. What he wanted to hear.

"I'll do what I can."

And wasn't surprised when Sam fought him on it. Hell, once, when he'd had the energy to care about anything enough to get truly pissed, he'd have done the same thing. But he just repeated his answer. Whether it was unconscious big brother protective instinct, stubborn, long-buried hope, or pure, utter exhaustion, he didn't say it. Wouldn't say it.

Even if it was the truth.

"Don't get killed."

Dean stared out the window, pretended he saw the highway flowing past wheels that would never be home, and blew away the storm ravaging his mind with a resigned, internal sob of air.

How do you really think this is all gonna end, Sammy?