You never really know what you've got,
until it's gone.


UNTIL IT'S GONE

The whole no-name town was asleep, except for the insomniac youngest Winchester who laid down on the bed furthest from the door in another dingy motel room that's no different from the thousands they've stopped in, all with cobwebs and dust in the corners of the ceiling, and puke-colored walls and carpets that decorated the room, and rusty doors and furniture and bathroom floors that stunk like crap. The whole world outside went on, unaware of the depressing thoughts swirling around the despaired young man's head. He tried to contain his soul-wrenching sobs in, tried to keep the tears filling his eyes every once in a while at bay as he replayed the argument he had with his older brother, all the while staring grievously at the thing in his hand. He knew he deserved it, every venemous word, because this time, he had really screwed things up. Starting the apocalypse, betraying the only family he had left, doing some serious crap behind his back, hurting him in so many ways, and he was sure that no one had hurt Dean worse than he did this time, throwing back his confession of hell in his face, calling him weak and stupid under the Siren's influence. He had really crossed the line this time, and he knew that there was no going back.

"We need to talk about this, Dean."

"Not now, Sam." Dean said wearily as he took another swig from the alcohol bottle.

"You can't keep doing this to yourself Dean!" Sam yelled. "Look, I understand how you feel right now. I know what I did — "

"Sam, I'm not really in the mood for all of this right now, alright?" Dean replied, trying to keep his anger and frustration in check as he clenched his fists at his side. He could feel the buried hurt and anger build into rage as his younger brother decided to ignore his protests.

"I know I screwed up Dean, and I'm really sorry. But Dean — you have to understand. You — " He swallowed convulsively. "You died." Sam whispered softly, the memory of his brother being torn to shreds by the hell-hounds' claws still shot pain across his heart, the screams of anguish, the growling of the hell-hounds, the blood spurting out of his brother's chest profusely, the dead, empty look in his eyes as he cradled his big brother's lifeless body in his arms and cried, the loneliness he felt after his death, the constant ache in his heart since the moment he buried him, until Ruby came and gave him a purpose, revenge. The despair and loneliness he felt, the depression that he tried to drink away, and going into an almost catatonic state for the first few days that he even had Bobby worried. "I was alone, and — "

"Sam." Dean warned. "I told you, I'm. not. in. the. mood." The frustration and rage only kept growing when Sam didn't stop. He knew if he opened his mouth and talked, he'd only spew out his anger, and when he'd start, he won't stop until he'd say something he's going to regret later.

"Just let me explain, alright?" Sam said desperately, his wide eyes pleading with him to hear him out, and understand.

"There's nothing to explain, dammit!" Dean snapped angrily. "You wanna talk? Fine. Let's talk. What are you gonna explain, huh? That I died? That you were alone? Revenge? What?"

Sam stayed silent, letting his brother take out his anger on him, pour out his feelings.

Dean crossed the gap that separated them, standing right in his personal space as he stared at him. "There is no explanation for what you've done, Sam." He grabbed his biceps in a bruising-grip, ignoring his brother's discomfort as he squirmed slightly under his grip. "End of the world, Sam! You started — the goddamn end of the world!" He emphasized, rage seeping into his voice.

"You went behind my back, sneaking off with that demon bitch and drank demon blood, exorcising demons — with your mind! Hell, your eyes went demonic black Sam! You became something that — that deserved to be hunted."

The youngest Winchester flinched at his words.

"You became something that you promised me, that you won't ever become Sam! A — A goddamn monster!" He bellowed. He wished he could shut up, but it was gone too far now, and he had no control over his mouth anymore. The eldest Winchester's mind subconsciously focused on causing him as much anguish as he did him the past year.

"No.." Sam whimpered. "I — I didn' mea — "

"Yes!" Dean continued to bark venomous words at his little brother as he whirled away from him, letting the gap grow between them once again as he moved away from his personal space, wiped a hand down his weary face. "I should have never made that damn deal — then maybe this whole mess would've never started in the first place." He whispered wearily to himself, but it was still audible enough for Sam to hear it.

"Dean, you — you don't mean that." He said shakily, tried to convince him, or maybe himself desperately.

"I never should've brought you back dammit!" Dean bellowed in rage as he slid off all the things from the desk ahead of him in fury.

Sam lost the fight, turning his face into the pillow to muffle the sobs and cries, uncontrollable tears soaking the pillowcase.

— —

Dean laid on his side with his back to his sibling, trying his hardest to ignore his brother's sobs coming from somewhere deep within his soul, and he could hear all the anguish, the guilt, the self-loathing in it. He resisted the urge to tell him to 'shut up goddamnit!' not because it annoyed him, but because it hurt, like a thousand knives being plunged straight into his heart. No matter what his brother may have done the past year, he still couldn't bear his younger brother shedding tears, it still effected him the same way it used to, but it hurt even worse to know that he was the cause of it.

He wanted to apologize, say sorry for all the cruel words he said, but he won't, even though he regretted those words profoundly. The rage burning inside of him forced him to say those terrible things to his brother, things that were all a lie, words he should've never said to his brother, and he hoped that his brother knew that it was just his anger, that he didn't mean any of it. But his pride and stubbornness kept him from apologizing. His brother asked for it anyway by pushing him into talking when he knew that isn't how he dealt with his grief.

He didn't know when it happened, he never remembered when his eyelids slid shut together, and he never remembered when slumber took him away into the darkness.

— — — —

The next thing he felt was a hand, shaking his shoulder lightly, a soft feminine, but unfamiliar voice sounded in his ear, gently telling him to wake up, and despite how soft it was, it was still annoying. He furrowed his eyebrows, and lazily, slid his emerald green eyes open, blinking rapidly at the blur clouding his vision until it was clear enough to see.

It took him a few seconds to take in the surroundings, the white floors and walls, the women in nurse uniforms, the doctors in lab coats, the carts of medical tools and all that crap, uncomfortable and cold metal chairs, people in blue gowns walking around the long hallways along with their family, or loved ones.

He was in the waiting room of a hospital.

"The doctor would like to see you right now, sir." The blond nurse with gray sympathetic eyes, about six inches shorter than him in height, said.

Dean scrunched up his eyebrows together in confusion, but he decided to play along as he let the nurse pull him off the chair and lead him to the doctor.

"Mr. Winston?"

Dean tried to remember the name in their insurance card, and then nodded. "Yeah."

"I'm very sorry." The doctor sympathized, his voice and face weary, but filled with sorrow for the young man and his brother. "We were too late to save your brother."

"Wait what? What happened to my brother? What's wrong with him!?" He yelled anxiously, gripping the doctor's collar in his tight fists, jerking him frantically.

The doctor stared down at the floor in sadness, sighing. "Your brother committed suicide. Took a whole bottle of sleeping pills. He was brought in hours later after that, and we've tried everything to save him, but our attempts were futile." He whispered sorrowfully.

Dean's mind froze completely at 'Your brother committed suicide', and probably didn't pay attention to the rest of the doctor's words. Scratch that, his whole body froze, unable to do anything else but replay those horrific words in his head. Never had he thought that he'd hear such words from someone.

Never had he thought his brother would do such a thing.

He barely noticed when the nurse kindly and carefully led him to a chair to sit down, he barely noticed the tears blurring his vision, spilling down his cheeks, he barely noticed the pitiful looks thrown his way from the people. He could only feel the hollow emptiness in his chest, as if a huge part of his heart, his soul went missing, leaving nothing in its place except the wound from two years ago, a deep gouge that just reopened, that familiar loneliness he felt when Sam died in Cold Oak came back to haunt him once again.

— —

The nurse led him to the room slowly, and before he walked inside, she gave him a comforting squeeze on his shoulder. He would've flirted with her since she was kinda cute, but right now, he didn't have the heart to, he didn't have it in him, because his baby brother was dead, gone from this world, from his life, and he wasn't ever gonna come back.

It was only when the nurse left him alone did he release all the overwhelming emotions, letting a lone drop of salty tear spill down his cheek, his face crumpling as he slowly walked over to his baby brother's dead body, a white cloth draped over him.

It felt like miles, when in reality, it was only a few steps, but he finally reached there. He pulled back the sheet, and stared silently at his brother's face, drifting to his closed eyes, the same hazel eyes that would never open again — Ever. Those same puppy eyes that used to have get him everything he asked for.

He sat on the edge of his brother's deathbed, so close their hips were almost touching. He ignored the tears that spilled down his cheek, and he moved his hand slowly to grasp his brother's cold ones, and maybe a part of him expected a light squeeze — just maybe, hoped that somehow, they were wrong, that his brother didn't really die. His fingers absently searched for a pulse in his wrist, searched for a reassurance, a sign that his brother was still alive.

Only to find none. No beating underneath the pulse-point, no rise and fall of his chest.

And he felt his whole world crash down around him as he realized again, fully this time, the slight bit of denial and hope in his heart washed away with the sea of despair.

His baby brother was gone — and never, ever coming back — no matter what.

This is what he asked for, isn't it? To never have made that deal? And this is almost the same as it. He lost his brother, forever.

A bitter smile stretched across his lips at the thought, feeling angry at himself as he remembered all the words he said to his brother before.

The bitter smile slowly faded.

His mouth scrunched upward, more tears spilling down his cheek.

"Why'd you do it Sammy?" He asked his brother softly. "Did you — did you do it 'cause of me?" His voice broke at the last word, carding his fingers slowly through his hair and his scalp.

"You — you could'a come to me, ya know. You didn't have to do this — you didn't have to go through all this alone. I — I know I've been treating you like shit these days, but I still would've been there for you. I would've tried to help you. God Sammy, why didn't you tell me?"

He wiped roughly at the tear-tracks making their way down his cheeks, biting his lip as he laid his other hand on top of his brother, leaning down to rest his forehead against his baby brother's cold, pale one, so dead-cold. "You're still my brother, and I still loved you, kid." He whispered softly to him. " — no matter what happened in the past year."

He swallowed thickly as he remembered their last conversation once again, his last words to his brother, and he would never be able to change that past, regretting those words deeper than he did before. His baby brother died, thinking that he hated him. "I guess I didn't really give you much of a choice, did I? Hurt you so much the last time you did, that you found it easier to just..." He trailed off, not wanting to say that word out loud.

He pulled back, biting his lip, before pressing a soft kiss to his brother's long, lanky and so cold and pale fingers, and resting his own forehead on the back of them.

"I'm so sorry Sammy." He whispered softly. "I — I would do anything to take it all back."

But then he jolted awake.

— — — —

He jolted awake, sweating profusely through his tee-shirt and tears pouring down his face. He quickly ran a hand across his face, wiping away the tears with them as he looked around frantically. "Son of a bitch. It was just a dream." He whispered softly to himself. He felt waves of relief and gratitude wash down on him as it dawned on him that none of that was real, all just a terrible, horrific nightmare.

Thank God. Not real. Just a terrible nightmare.

He snapped his head to his brother's bed, feeling joy and more relief fill his heart at the occupied bed. His baby brother, alive, and breathing, and there.

He wrestled out of his sheets and quickly strode over to his brother's bed — not caring that he might be interrupting his brother's sleep — and lifted him off and pulled him tightly against his chest. He just wanted to feel, to know, to be reassured that his brother was alive instead of dead, that his brother was warm instead of cold, that his skin was tan-colored instead of deadly-pale, and he could feel the rise and fall of his chest against his own, his breaths hot against his neck.

— —

Sam heard rustling from his brother's bed, and he quickly hid the thing under his pillow, closing his eyes and trying to keep his breathing even, expecting him to go to the bathroom or something, and then go back to sleep.

But what happened, was something he hadn't expected in the least. He heard soft, but fast footsteps and soon, he felt himself being pulled off the bed in an instant and into his big brother's arms, warmly, securely, safely. protectively and closely against his chest.

He was being held by his big brother, and he didn't really know the reason why.

A heartbeat.

"De'?" He choked out through the emotion clogging his throat, his voice a whisper.

And the only response he got was being pulled even closer if possible.

Sam swallowed convulsively, and just melted into the embrace, the solace he had been yearning for, and he burrowed his face into his shoulder.

They stayed like that, for long minutes, just breathing into each other's scents and absorbing in all the love and comfort from each other.

And Dean was finally beginning to understand the overwhelming loneliness, how your loved ones feel when you give away your own life willingly. Sam was alone, completely alone, with nothing and no one to hold on to, and he thought he understood the feeling where you'll take what you can get, which in that case for his brother, was Ruby. Despite the fact that she was a bitch, she had still saved his brother's life in a way.

The silence was peaceful and relaxing rather than tense and uncomfortable like it used to be.

Dean never knew that he had just saved his baby brother's life. He never knew that one simple gesture, that one simple hug had sparked up the hope inside his hopeless brother.

He never really found out about the full bottle of sleeping pills lying under his brother's pillow, about all the depressing and suicidal thoughts that went through his head as he stared at it.

They never found out about the invisible figure in the dark corner of the motel room, his piercing blue eyes staring intensely at the brothers, the soft rustling noise of wings flapping away, the breeze that swifts by his trench-coat gently.