The Awful Truth

Summary: Dean pretends he has nothing to hide, but he has secrets he'll never tell anyone, especially not Sam. Companion piece to "Deep Dark Secrets".

A/N: This follows on after "Deep Dark Secrets". If you haven't read that story, it provides some amount of context, particularly for the first chapter, but it isn't completely necessary for you to get gist of what's happening in this fic.

A/N: From the moment I started writing "Deep Dark Secrets" and delving into all the things that Sam had to hide, I knew I'd have to write about Dean's secrets as well. So here's a look into the depths of the mind and heart of Dean Winchester. Buyer beware.


Prelude to Catastrophe

Afterwards, when the seemingly unbreakable bond between them had been shattered, Dean realized that the entire catastrophe could have been avoided if he been vulnerable enough to confide in Sam.

Dean had his chance to be open with his brother, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Sam had given him the perfect opportunity but Dean passed it up.

Always conscious of his older sibling's tendency towards emotional impenetrability, Sam had waited until they had drunk a few rounds before he broached the subject. But not even three double shots of Jack could get Dean talking.

They had gone out drinking to celebrate that their latest major blow up had been smoothly resolved. As blow ups go, this one had been particularly bad, even by Winchester standards. In a weak moment, Sam had written out his darkest confessions and as Winchester luck would have it, Dean had read every word.

The resulting confrontation had been spectacular.

However once again, even after all the hurtful words had been said, when the anger had blown off they'd patched things up. As far as Dean was concern the case was closed and the issues were resolved; but for Sam, it wasn't that simple.

Initially, he had felt relieved that after everything Dean had discovered, his brother hadn't shown him even the slightest hint of disdain. However, in the aftermath of the revelations, Sam was now feeling an unprecedented level of vulnerability. He had been totally unprepared for the insecurity that followed the exposure of secrets he had worked hard to keep buried. That insecurity left him hesitant to take Dean's acceptance at face value. Now, he was constantly wondering how his brother really felt about him having discovered the depths to which Sam had sunk in some of his more desperate hours.

Reactively, Sam had been seized by a desire to know if Dean had any similar secrets. Maybe they would be back on some form of equal footing if he knew what his big brother had to hide. There were very few secrets between two people who lived as closely as they did. But given what Sam had been hiding, he knew he'd be fooling himself to think that Dean always told him the whole truth.

However, broaching the subject proved particularly problematic for Sam. At the heart of the matter was a deep fear that he would invite his brother to confide in him and Dean would push him away. That fear led to Sam's inspired idea to use liquor to loosen Dean's tongue and build his own resolve. So, it was in a dimly lit bar, in a backend town, after a few rounds that Sam finally popped the question.

"So Dean," he grinned, buzzed enough to actually try to sound lighthearted. "Now that you know the dirt on me, is there anything I should know about you?"

Dean's attention moved from the blond in the short skirt at the pool table to his little brother. Sam's words may have been said with a breezy, flippant smile, but his face told another story. The puppy-dog eyes were beseeching.

Please talk to me.

Sam may as well have spoken the words because Dean heard them loud and clear. Caught off guard, Dean could only hold eye contact for a few seconds before guilt had him looking away.

I can't Sammy.

Instantly, the fleeting remorse was replaced by a wicked grin.

"You know me," Dean shrugged, "I'm an open book."

It was a lie and they both knew it. And on hearing the fabrication Sam tried to keep the deep hurt that was engulfing his heart from reflecting on his face.

"Oh come on," he said teasingly. "Everybody's has something to hide."

Taking a quick swig of beer, Sam smiled at his recalcitrant sibling trying his best to intonate that this was casual guy-talk. But Sam's eyes couldn't lie; at least not to the big brother who had been reading them from the day he was born. It was plain as day to Dean what Sam was inwardly saying.

Trust me. Please.

It had never been easy to deny his little brother when Sam appealed to his emotions. This time, however, Dean summoned the resistance.

No Sammy, I won't risk it.

Keeping his own fake smile in place, Dean shoved his brother's shoulder playfully.

"Sam," he kept his tone light. "I'm a dropout without a red cent to my name; almost everything I own can fit in a duffle bag, I drink too much and I sleep around. All my sins are right out there for all the world to see."

Sam pretended to laugh, although his eyes let him down.

I told you my secrets.

No you didn't. I found them out.

The difference was critical in Dean's estimation. The revelation of his brother's secrets had been a discovery, not a confession. And yes, Sam's secrets had been hard to hear but Dean had forgiven his little brother and he'd gotten over it just like he always did. However, if the tables turned Dean wasn't sure Sam would let him off so easily.

He figured Sam probably felt some lingering humiliation that things he had wanted to keep hidden had now come fully to light. And knowing how his brother's mind worked, Dean suspected that Sam felt that a reciprocal confession would ease the burden of his embarrassment.

However, while he rarely refused Sam anything that his little brother really wanted, this time Dean just couldn't oblige. One fact that Dean had never been able to stand was that Sam had proven over and over that he was capable of leaving and not looking back. So neither the lubrication of hard liquor nor the sight of Sam's pleading eyes could pry the truth from his lips. Dean wasn't about to give his little brother a reason to walk away.

Needing a smooth exit off the slippery slope Dean turned up his trademark devilish grin.

"Hey," he gestured towards the mini-clad blond. "Think I should try my luck?"

Sam's disappointment was crushing. Instead of honesty and vulnerability his brother was keeping him at arm's length with his to hell and back with the world routine. Grudgingly, Sam gave his brother credit; Dean could certainly put on a good show. And knowing that a breakthrough was as unlikely as a snowstorm in the summer Sam gave up the clandestine interrogation.

"Go for it," Sam stood and drained his glass. "I think I'll head back to the motel."

"Already? We're not even up to the legal limit."

"You keep at it. I'm gonna turn in."

"It's no fun drinking by myself."

"Don't worry," Sam nodded in the blonde's direction. "I'm sure you'll have no problem finding company."

Sam pulled a few crumpled bills out of his pocket and dropped them on the table. "This one's on me. See you in the morning."

Dean watched Sam walk out and saw the disappointment clearly reflected in every inch of his brother's six foot, four inch frame.

"Sorry Sammy," he whispered, downing his last shot. "There are some things that you're just better off not knowing."

Maybe, if Dean had opened up to his brother the impact of the calamity that followed would not have been quite so devastating.