To Face Goodbye

Summary: As Dean's deal nears, the brothers are faced with saying that final goodbye. Sam's inability to stop it pushes him close to the edge and Dean struggles to help his brother while close to one himself. Angsty/ worried/big brother!Dean & Angsty/Upset/Drunk!Sam.

Tags: Not tagged to anything. Set in Season 3 between 03x15:Time Is On My Side and 03x16:No Rest For the Wicked.

Spoilers: There are spoilers if you're new to the show and haven't seen Season 3. Other than that, I don't think so.

Warnings: Language of course since this is an upsetting time for the boys. Nothing else.

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural or anything to do with it. This is for fun.

Chapter One

The crack of a ball on a pool table in the middle of a crowded busy bar filled with people, the smell of stale beer and smoke was what Dean Winchester was used to. It was what he did to relax when he wasn't using it to run a pool table to make easy money.

Downing the shot glass of Jack Daniels with a hiss he tried to focus on the last ball on table but was finding it hard to concentrate that night. Dean just wished his lack of concentration was because of the alcohol and not because of what else he'd been thinking about.

He hadn't planned on drinking while on the road since the last thing he wanted was to get drunk, get into a wreck and…kill someone since he knew it wouldn't matter much if he died by this point since he had…a quick look at his watch told him the exact amount of hours, minutes, and seconds he had left before his deal came due.

Dean had figured on just trying to find some peace and quiet to force his thoughts and his own feelings down while allowing Sam to wind down from the both the encounter with Doc Benton and from being forced to face the fact that there was nothing he could do to save Dean from going to Hell.

Sam's last hope had been whatever the crazy old coot of a doctor from 1816 was using to keep himself alive but in order to put a stop to Benton's snatching of body parts they'd buried him alive…or somewhat alive in a fridge. An act that would eventually end Benton once all his used parts expired but it also stopped Sam from getting whatever information he'd need to save his brother…something that Dean knew the kid wasn't taking well.

Blowing out a breath, Dean rested his chin on the pool cue and struggled to ignore the pain in Sam's too huge puppy dog eyes the moment he realized that chance was gone and what would soon be happening.

"Mom…watch over him, please," he whispered, allowing his hands to shake for the first time since he wasn't having to put up the strong and brave act for Sam right then.

Nearly a year ago now Dean had made a choice. He'd chosen to give his life and his soul in return for his younger brother's life because he hadn't spent all those damn years watching over Sam to allow him to die like that. Now, it was almost time to face the music and Dean was forced to admit he was scared out of his mind.

He'd put up the caviler attitude, he'd pretended that it didn't matter, that he didn't care. He'd acted rashly, taken risks that normally he wouldn't have and truly hadn't cared…until the night Sam finally called him out on it.

Running and hiding out from an obsessed Gordon Walker turned into a vampire, Sam finally got into Dean's face and called him on the act. It hadn't been the near fight between them that made Dean back down from going to face Gordon alone but the loss in Sam's eyes when he said he just wanted him to be his brother again.

"Geek boy always knows what buttons to push," he muttered then shot the last ball into the corner pocket, accepted the grumbled congratulations of the guys he was playing against and shoved the wad of cash into his jeans with a mental reminder to slip it into the envelope in his duffel that he'd been putting money away in for Sam so his brother wouldn't be broke when he…

Nodding for another drink, Dean swallowed it without a hiss this time since he'd rather face the burn and pain of drinking then the burn and pain that was causing his chest to tighten.

He'd tried to accept dying and had done a pretty good job at it until the past few nights when the nightmares had started, when he'd hung up on Bela right as her own deal came due and they at least gained the name of the demon holding Dean's deal…not that it would help now.

Now it was a matter of facing hard facts and facing them with a stoic face so that only one of them would break. In some way, Dean accepted that he'd jumped without really thinking that night after Cold Oak when he'd made that crossroads deal but he never regretted it. He'd saved Sam which is what he'd been trying to do. Now he just had to face…saying goodbye without breaking in front of the kid brother that he'd always been so strong for and a part of Dean wasn't sure he could do that.

"Damn," he started to motion for another when he glanced at his watch again to see that he'd stayed out for a lot longer than he'd planned. "Sam."

Pulling his cell phone out to speed dial his brother to let him know he was coming back and to see if he needed anything, Dean was paying his tab while ignoring the obviously flirting waitress when he scowled at the phone the moment it went to voicemail because he knew if Sam was hard to deal with when he was upset then he was even worse when he was pissed off and ignoring him.

"Pain in the ass little brothers," he mumbled, taking time to stuff his winnings in the manila envelope in his duffel before driving back to the motel more slowly since even Dean admitted that he'd drank more than he should've when he accepted in his mind that he couldn't handle Sam and what was coming if he was drunk or hungover.

Having tried several more times to call his brother from the bar to the motel Dean was deciding between if Sam had finally just fallen to sleep or if he was plain avoiding him. Choosing the latter since Sam knew not to ignore a phone call, especially repeated phone calls, Dean tried to be more quiet when he put the key in the lock only to frown when he found the room unlocked.

"Sam?" more cautious now because neither Winchester would ever leave the door to their motel unlocked, Dean pulled his .45 as he eased the door opened, flipped the light switch on and froze at what he found. "Sonuvabitch."

The motel looked like a whirlwind…or a huge fight had hit it. Both beds had their covers and sheets tore off to be thrown in a corner, one pillow had been torn to pieces to allow feathers to spread over anything they touched. The nearby tiny able had been overturned and Dean's now hardening gaze noticed the laptop that his little brother prized had fallen along with the rest of the table's contents.

"Sam?" he called more loudly this time while looking around for signs of sulphur or anything that would say a demon had ambushed his brother when he knelt down to touch what he knew was blood on a discarded shirt that he remembered Sam wearing earlier. "Sammy!"

Pure big brother instincts were now taking control as the alcohol buzz in Dean's brain wore off to be replaced by the hunter who would kill anything that threatened his brother. A low sound from the bathroom caught his attention but as he was pushing to his feet, Dean's eyes caught the scattered contents of Sam's duffel.

Not sure if his brother had been attacked by a demon or something else, Dean was cautious as he rounded the bed that would've been Sam's to see that everything in his brother's duffel had been tossed as if Sam had been looking for something.

Clothes were tossed, Sam's weapon was just laying on the floor as if placed there and ignored so that told Dean that his brother couldn't have been attacked unless he'd been taken by surprise and hadn't had the chance to go for the gun but then he began to see the little things that were more telling signs of what must have happened while he'd been gone.

Every book they had, every scrap of research Sam had been doing for the past year, even some books that Dean knew his brother must have sneaked out of Bobby's library had been thrown over the floor as if in a fit of restless rage by an upset young hunter being forced to finally accept the truth…that he was going to have to face saying goodbye and Sam still wasn't ready to do that.

"Damn it, Sam," Dean whispered, still not putting the .45 away until he was certain the room was clear; he then saw the two empty bottles and swore under his breath. "Sam!"

The trunk of the Impala had three full bottles of Jack Daniels that Dean carried for 'extreme circumstances'. He hadn't bothered to check tonight if the liquor had still been there or not since he had no reason to. He was going to the bar and Sam rarely drank because if there was one thing his little brother could not handle was drinking.

Two bottles of empty whiskey gave Dean the final clue to why his brother probably wasn't answering the phone even as he was reaching for the bathroom door to push it open. "Hey, you drink my whiskey or…shit! Sam, what the hell have you done?"

Expecting to find his little brother passed out on the bathroom floor or something to that nature since normally when Sam did drink more than a few beers he'd become a bit more moody then just go to sleep to wake up with a royal hangover. That was how Dean expected to see him now. The actual sight was enough to finish clearing Dean's head as he was immediately hit by the heat of the shower, the smell of raw whiskey on top of whatever had been on Sam's stomach and…blood. A lot of blood and one look told the older Winchester where it was coming from.

"Sammy!"

TBC

Author Note: I hadn't planned on a multi-chapter for this one. It was supposed to have been a straight 1-shot but as is usual for me, the plot bunnies took over & changed the story a little. I've always wondered about those last few days between the time they finished Doc Benton to the beginning of the Finale. This is my take. So read and enjoy.