Sam doesn't remember that Dean is in the room until he reaches out and takes the gun from Madison's hand. It's a quiet gesture, but Sam knows what it means. Dean is willing to bear this burden for him, just like he always does. And for a second, Sam considers it. When Sam looks up at his brother, he knows his eyes are begging Dean to help him. Dean's his big brother, his superhero, the one who can fix anything. Sam feels like he's five years old again, terrified of the monster under the bed, and he needs Dean to make the bad stuff go away. Sam needs his brother, now more than ever.
And the look on Dean's face says he's willing to do whatever it takes to help him.
But deep down…Sam feels like he needs to do this himself. It's what she wants: for him to be strong. And Sam wants to be just that. For her.
But God help him if it doesn't hurt like Hell. God help him if….
And suddenly, Sam gets it.
"So me you won't kill, but her you're just gonna blow away?"
Sam feels like an idiot. Of course Dean isn't willing to kill him. Of course Dean refuses to even discuss it, refuses to accept that Sam will turn evil.
Suddenly, Sam knows exactly what he's putting Dean through every time he tells him that he might have to shoot his brother.
As he walks away, an image flies unbidden into his mind. It's a memory he forgot he had, something he witnessed when he was possessed by Meg.
"I can't. I'd rather die."
Sam never told Dean that he was awake for some of what Meg did. That he watched himself kill that hunter. Watched himself torture Jo.
That he watched himself tell his brother to kill him.
The memory is a faint one, but as he stands in Madison's kitchen it comes back to him in vivid detail. Madison asked Sam to kill her…just like Sam asked Dean to kill him.
Sam can't believe he ever asked his brother to make that promise.
And it's this thought, more than anything, which makes him realize he has to be the one to kill Madison. He has to know just what he'll be putting Dean through if he turns evil.
So he can try his damndest to stop himself before it's too late.
So when Dean says, "You don't have to," Sam says "Yes, I do."
Dean holds out the gun, and Sam takes it, hands trembling.
"Just wait here." It's not an order, or even a suggestion. It's a plea. He's begging Dean to stay with him through this.
He heads out of the kitchen, then stops. He looks back at Dean, tears streaming down his face, shaking his head. And it's not because he doesn't want to do this, or because he can't believe this is happening, though both of these things are true.
It's because he's sorry. Sam's sorry he ever asked his brother to kill him.
Someday he'll tell him.
But for now….
Sam doesn't remember pulling the trigger. Doesn't remember hearing the gunshot echo in the quiet of the apartment. One minute he's looking at Madison, telling her he's sorry. The next he's on the floor, cradling her in his arms, rocking her gently back and forth.
Sam doesn't know how long he sits there holding her before he hears someone call his name from far away. It's quiet, but something about the voice is soothing, familiar.
Dean. Of course it's Dean. He should have known. Dean's always there for him when he needs him most. Dean's the only one who calls him "Sammy."
Sam feels a hand grip his shoulder gently, feels another hand touch him tentatively on his back. Sam tries to say his brother's name, but his voice just comes out as a strangled moan, and suddenly he's sobbing and he can't stop.
Dean doesn't leave his side. He kneels on the floor next to him, one hand on his shoulder, the other on his back, rubbing in gentle circles. Dean stays quietly by his brother's side as Sam lets it all go.
"I'm here, Sammy. I'm here."
It's all Dean says…and it's all Sam needs.
The tears stop without warning. There one minute, gone the next.
He doesn't cry as he lays Madison's body down gently on the floor. Doesn't cry as they clean up the apartment, erase every trace that they have been there. Doesn't cry as they wrap her body in a sheet, carry her out to the car, and drive away. They drive until the sun sets, and then they keep driving.
They burn her body in a small clearing, deep in the middle of the woods where no one can see. No one but Sam, and his brother. Dean doesn't say a word, just stands by his side the entire time.
When they finally stop at some crappy motel on the outskirts of some crappy town, Sam still doesn't cry. His eyes have been dry since that morning, and he hasn't said a word since he begged Dean to wait for him.
Dean closes the door behind them and turns to Sam. He looks like he wants to say something, but Dean's never been good with words, and so Sam's the one to break the silence.
"Dean." His voice is hoarse, from nonuse, or from emotion, or possibly both.
"I'm sorry." Sam's voice breaks when he says it, and he feels the tears rising in his eyes again. He wants to tell Dean why he's sorry, has to make him understand, but he can't get the words out.
But that's fine, because Dean's not his big brother for nothing.
"I know, Sammy. It's okay."
Sam smiles as the tears fall down his face once more. He walks over to his brother and pulls him into a tight hug, and when Dean hugs him back, Sam feels nothing but gratitude.
And as Sam pulls away, he makes a promise to himself. He was strong for Madison. Now he has to be strong for his brother: the only one who has always been strong for him, no matter what. He can't put his brother through this. Ever.
Sam will fight, but not just for himself.
AN: I almost felt bad making Madison's death more about Sam and Dean than about Sam and Madison, but then I thought "who are we kidding?" This show is pretty much all about the relationship between those two boys. :)