Sacrifice and Separation

Summary: After being locked up by Henriksen, Dean considers the options he has and what it'll take to protect Sam from the fate promised to them of Federal prison. His decision doesn't sit well with his brother since Dean's plan will still involve sacrifice & separation for both brothers. / Worried/big brother!Dean & Upset/concerned!Sam

Tags/Timeframe: This is tagged for 03x12: Jus In Bello and takes place shortly after the boys are arrested.

Spoilers/Warnings: Minor language, nothing serious. Will contain spoilers for Season 3 up to this point so if you haven't seen the season yet then be cautious.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, the boys, or anything to do with them. This is all for fun.


'"Never again, hotshot. Take a good long look at Sam because once I get the two of you locked up in SuperMax you will never see your brother again. How long do you think either one of you will last? How long do you think he'll last?"

The mocking words were still ringing in Dean Winchester's head long after Special Agent Victor Henriksen tossed them in his face from the opposite side of the small jail cell's steel bars.

'Longer than the first Fed or cop who puts their hands on him will,' Dean thought to himself, fighting the urge to bang his head back against the cement wall in frustration because he knew it wouldn't help if he gave himself a concussion.

Shifting as much as he could right then without either making the bed squeak or disturbing Sam, who had finally fallen into an uneasy sleep, Dean stared at the chains that not only held his wrists & ankles together but also bound him to his brother who was also chained in the same fashion and he clenched his hands into fists as he once again swore he'd find someway to get Sam out of this mess.

Dean had been pissed before this day started. He'd been vowing to make Bela pay for stealing the Colt from them and now that the no-good double-crossing thief had set them up to be arrested by not only the local cops in Monument, Colorado but also by the one goddamn FBI agent on the whole planet who had been dogging their heels since Milwaukee and that damn shapeshifter at the bank.

Just from the brief phone conversation, Dean figured out that the Fed wasn't going to very agreeable to the things he and Sam did. Henriksen made no bones that he considered Dean one of the worst serial killers going right then and would do whatever it took to bring him and Sam to justice.

The Winchesters had been able to avoid the Feds both that time and the time in Folsom when he'd actually first met Henriksen face to face. This time they hadn't been so lucky and now, thanks to the man's sneering promises and threats of the Federal governments SuperMax prison he was wondering just how he could play this.

"…No…De'n…go…don' let 'em…" the sudden soft whisper brought his thoughts back to the present as Dean's green eyes shot to where Sam was trying to curl up tighter but the chains made that hard, especially when it had taken some twisting and maneuvering to just get them into a place where Sam could lay down enough to try to sleep…not that the sudden interruption in his brother's sleep was a surprise. If anything, Dean had been expecting it. He'd just been hoping it wouldn't happen.

"Hey, Sammy…take it easy. I'm right here and nothing's gonna happen," Dean promised quietly, grimacing when the cuffs around his wrists pulled when he went to reach up to simply play a reassuring hand on his younger brother's shoulder but swore viciously when they wouldn't reach that far. "Just try to sleep. I'll get us outta this."

The promise fell flat even to Dean who knew this wasn't like the usual times either of them had been busted, either as teenagers or more recently and Dean knew he had to take full blame for it too.

Ever since he'd been young enough to know what their Dad did, what had changed their lives, Dean had quickly learned the roles he'd have to play in order to not only survive himself but to also protect his little brother.

He'd quickly learned to shield his emotions, any fears he had never showed in his voice or his actions, he learned to cover them with a cocky attitude that more often than not would get people to back off or just assume he didn't give a damn.

Dean taught himself how to be cool, cocky, arrogant, and uncaring when he needed to be. That got him through life, that got him through never knowing when the day would come when either their Dad wouldn't make it back from a hunt or a school official would start to question things too much and either Dean would have to think fast to explain John's absence or a quick call to Jim Murphy would have to be made.

Protecting Sam, the need to shield his brother and the deep set fear of ever losing him or being separated from him long term were the biggest things Dean focused on, growing up and today, which was one of the biggest reasons Henriksen's threats to separate them got to Dean…not for himself since Dean knew he only had so much longer to live anyway but for Sam.

Another moan made Dean grit his teeth and resist the urge to wake his brother up. Instead he shifted again to move a little and was able to lightly touch Sam, enough to hopefully let him know he wasn't alone and it would also give him a head start if the nightmares increased and he had to wake Sam quickly.

Henriksen's threat had been made to throw ice water on the attitude that Dean knew he was still portraying even if just by his body language. It had been made to show that this time nothing Dean did or said would get them out of this one. It had been made to put the fear of God into him with thoughts of prison, of what could and would possibly happen to not only happen but also to the brother he'd dragged down with him.

'So you got your wish,' he muttered softly, closing his eyes but pushed back the images that wanted to come in order to think. Dean knew the Fed's words had worked on him even if he'd barely reacted but more to Dean's concern is that Sam had caught on and the promised threat of being separated, of being locked in that prison did scare Sam but then being locked in this cell also wasn't helping things there.

Lightly tracing sigals he'd known since childhood on Sam's arm where he could reach, Dean knew his little brother had more than a few fears that were rearing their ugly heads. Fears that Dean had sworn to protect him from.

Ever since Sam had been a child he'd had a fear for small places, which was something Dean had never understood since until he hit that growth spurt at fourteen Sam had been pretty small. His fear of cells on the other hand was something Dean knew fully about. Jail cells were one thing that was pretty common in their lives even though Dean had been the one to see the inside of those regularly as a teenager much to John's dismay but there had been one time that Dean knew of that Sam had been tossed in one.

Neither his father nor brother had ever fully told Dean what the hell had happened but Dean's big brother radar had picked up the signs clear enough even as John was saying to let it go. Dean let it go at the time but had never forgotten it.

The biggest other issue with a cell that Sam had was more recently with those crazy rednecks in Minnesota. That time Dean had pushed for answers after learning that Sam had been hurt a lot more than he'd first let on. He'd pushed…then had wished he hadn't and could only cope with the results...and wished that he'd hurt them a helluva lot more.

So for Sam, being chained like they were, being confined in a very small cell with the threat of prison, more cells and a lot more in the way of physical threats on top of knowing he'd be losing his brother soon with or without the threat of SuperMax, his fears were clearly growing as were his nightmares.

"Sammy," Dean felt the first hard jerk of his brother's body and knew he needed to wake him up if for no other reason than to stop the images that were probably filling the kid's head. Plus, he didn't need a cop or Fed running in here with guns drawn if Sam woke up shouting. "Hey, little brother, wake up for me. Sam!" he moved his hand until he felt it suddenly grabbed with a near bone-breaking hold of relief and desperation and he smiled tightly. "You awake now?"

Gasping as the last vestige of the dream slowly slid away, Sam fought to wake up when he felt the familiar hand that he'd latched onto and let out a breath. "Yeah, I'm…awake," he murmured, going to sit up when he was reminded of the chains and felt himself go rigid. "Kinda hoped this was part of the dream."

"No, but Bela's going to wish I was a nightmare for her the first time I get her within gunshot range," Dean replied, making his voice easy but felt the way Sam seemed to be shaking and guessing he hadn't shaken free of the dreams yet. "Hang on a sec," he considered then went about untwisting in whatever way he'd gotten earlier so Sam would have a little more freedom to move or at least sit up like they had been earlier. "Just don't freak out on me, little brother."

Shooting a small look of disbelief at Dean, Sam felt like shouting. They were locked up in a cell, chained together with no visible way out and his brother was saying not to freak out when that was all Sam felt like doing right then until his shoulder was nudged and he was reminded that he wasn't alone this time. "We aren't getting out of this, are we?" he asked softly, staring at his hands and realized he's been twisting his wrists in the cuffs.

"I'll get you out," Dean assured him firmly, refusing to accept anything less while praying that in Sam's still half asleep state that he wouldn't catch those exact words but knew the second his brother's head jerked toward him that he wouldn't be that lucky. "Don't."

"What the hell does that mean?" Sam demanded, his fears of the cell, the chains, of prison or of being separated from his brother all forgotten as he pounced on his brothers' statement. "You'll 'get me out'? What's that supposed to mean, Dean?"

"Exactly what it sounded like, now drop it," Dean knew he was sounding gruffer than he liked since he didn't want to scare Sam more than he would be possibly but he also didn't want the fight that this could involve.

Gauging the length of the chain, he guessed it would give him enough space to stand up to take a few steps from the cot and also give him space away from the widening hazel eyes that would soon go to pure puppy power which was not something Dean felt strong enough to handle at the moment.

"No, you're not doing that," Sam refused flatly, grabbing the chain to yank it and Dean back down to the cot as he realized what his brother was planning. "You are not going to do something stupid to up the charges on yourself or…"

"That's an idea," Dean acknowledged with a smirk that dimmed the moment Sam looked at him fully. "Sam, except for a few things, they've got nothing on you except guilt by association. I've been caught red handed at so many murders, burnings, etc that what they charge me with can't really be argued without trying to prove that ghosts and shapeshifters exist," he grabbed for Sam's arm to keep him still as he went on carefully, needing to make his brother understand.

"Yeah, they might suspect you of a couple incidents where we might not have wiped all the prints but a phone call to your pal in St. Louis could probably get you a good enough lawyer to turn that. I'll plead to what charges they want…hell, I can lead 'em to every body Dad burned, or buried and claim it as mine," he shrugged then smirked with more cocky confidence than he felt. "Henriksen thinks I'm the worst serial killer this century? I'll prove him right…providing they drop the charges on you."

Blinking as if not understanding fully, Sam's pre-law mind began shooting scenarios at him and none of them were things he liked. "No…you can't do that," he argued, managing to grab Dean's hand before he pulled away again. "Dean, some of those states still have the Death Penalty. If the government allows extradition, and…no, I won't let you do that. They'll put us both away or…"

"No, you are gonna let me do what I have to, Sam," Dean cut him off, seeing the fear building in Sam's eyes along with the first sign of tears which was something that he was anxious to cut off. "Sammy, in another month or so it won't matter if I'm locked in a Federal Prison or some local joint, there hasn't been a prison built that can stop a hellhound and we both know that since Bela took the Colt that's where I'll be going anyway," hating to have to drop that reminded on his upset brother on top of everything else, Dean turned his hand over so he could squeeze the younger man's and chose not to comment on the blood he could see on Sam's wrist.

"I won't have you locked up in a goddamn prison for crap that I did when I won't be there to protect you," he declared firmly, giving the one smile that he rarely did. The full one that he was hoping didn't show the emotions threatening. "You're my little brother, Sam. You said that you wanted your big brother back well this is him doing what he needs to do to protect you like I swore I would so many times. Trust me, Sammy."

Sam had grown up trusting his older brother and despite what Dean might think now and then he never stopped trusting him…he'd never stop needing him which is why the thought of separation either by prison or Hell scared him so much because Sam knew that he wasn't as strong as Dean and he'd never survive on his own.

"I don't want you to…" he started but knew to stop the moment the fingers squeezed just a little harder which he knew was his brother's way of warning him to back off. "What if the Feds don't go along?"

'Leave it to my little brother to pick out the one drawback to this scheme,' Dean thought sourly but just offered his best 'I know what I'm doing' look. "Henriksen wants me more than a Wendigo wants fresh meat, Sammy. He'll bite and once you're free and clear…once I'm…gone…you wanna do your awesome big brother a favor?"

"Kill Bela?" Sam didn't have to ask, he knew that's what his brother would want more than anything. Normally Sam was the more practical of the two, the more kindhearted or sympathetic and he knew that was the image he gave off to others.

He didn't mind that image. It had often come in handy for them. On the other hand, Sam knew he could infrequently be something else. Pissed off and that's what he was at Bela Talbot. She'd cost them the one weapon that might've saved Dean's life and she'd gotten them arrested. The thought of losing Dean because of those two acts had already made up Sam's mind for him. "Yeah, Dean," he murmured, nodding as he heard the out cell door open as if someone was coming closer. "I'll handle Bela," pausing, he smiled shakily as something came into his mind. "Can I shoot her?"

Attention on the heavy steps nearing the cell had Dean's attention until the question dawned on him and regardless of the bleakness of their situation he had to turn to meet Sam's eyes with a smile then he shook his head, recalling a time not so long ago when he'd asked his brother that same question about the very same woman in question. "Not…in public, smartass," giving Sam's arm a final squeeze in assurance while catching sight of the FBI agent that had come with Henriksen. 'Here we go.'

The End

A/N: Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. It didn't flow as well as I'd hoped but I still like it and…for judyann, I promise on the Impala that I will get those tags to the 'Benders' episode done soon since I had to throw in a mention of that time here, lol.