Sam sat against the wall and listened to his brother on the other side. The room was small and gray and smelled like dust. Time seemed to crawl by in uneven bursts. There was nothing to mark the hour, Sam had torn the clock out of the wall that morning and the room didn't have a window.

Dean's girl was giggling softly. How could he do it? Night after night, town after town, girl after girl. Meaningless words and names. Was it Mindy? Or Cindy? Or Sandy or Mandy? There was never going to be any real connection for them anywhere.

John was gone, he was always gone. There was nothing stopping Sam from leaving. Any lie would have him out of the apartment and at the next bus. The letter from Stanford lay on the bedspread. Unfolded like a dead bird. This should be what freedom tasted like.

Except that nothing seemed to taste like anything anymore. All that Sam could really feel was the gun, smooth and cold in his feverish hand. All of Sam's personal weapons were laid out next to the letter, dimpling the soft fabric. So many weapons that they had spilled out in neat rows to where Sam sat.

The eldest Winchester's had this gunmetal coldness, the scent of oil and dusky leather. They had purpose and intention. They knew what had to be done. Sam smelled like peppermint and dust.

Ifitdoesn'tlooklikeadog, ifitdoesn'tsmelllikeadog, it'snotadog.

But he wasn't a Stanford student either. Both sides were a trap and he was stuck in the middle, watching the world pass in uneasy circles. He could escape right now, just blow himself away into something else, something better or worse, it didn't matter, as long as it was different.

The girl's giggling stopped and turned into breathy whisper's. Sam could hear the vibration of Dean's voice through the wall they shared. The rugged breathing and moans of two teenagers in heat. The gun dangled limply, the barrel swinging back and forth over the floor and Sam's foot. He sat, mesmerized by the motion, lulling himself in the rhythm of Cindy's harsh breathing and the pendulum swing of the gun.

The gun swung up again and passed out of his vision, before he could register what he was doing it was at his lips, clicking against his teeth. He let it pass, sliding it over his tongue, feeling the soft hardness of it. He wondered what it would feel like. The bullet splitting skin and bone and brain and bone and skin and hair, would it burn or ache? Would it sting, would he even feel anything? He was dead already, one of the monsters to be hunted, a zombie or a shape shifter in Sam form. There wasn't anything for him here. He could leave. Like a caught bear he could die or gnaw his own leg off.

He slammed his head into the wall, tried to feel something. Numbness.

The voices had stopped, but Sam couldn't hear it. Couldn't feel the pain that should be hitting him.

Again, he rocked forward and arched himself backward, pounding his head against the wall in a panic. The gun jerked out of his mouth with the movement, teeth clamping down on his tongue, drawing blood. If he had lost the sense to feel, could he even die? Something warm and wet was trickling down the back of his neck and tricked down his chin, he could feel that, but no pain.

He lifted the gun again, put it to his temple, grinding his sweat soaked hair against his skin, finger trembling on the trigger. He was going to do it. The acceptance letter was reason enough. Let John read that as a suicide note.

No going back.

And then the door was slamming against it's hinges and Dean was standing there. Silhouetted in the darkness of Sam's room, hair disheveled, shirt twisted, and a gun clutched both hands, looking for the thing that was attacking his little Sammy.

The girl was screaming and Sam knew what it must look like. Little boy in a sea of weapons. And a small trickle of blood was worming it's way from the back of his head to his collarbone.

Dean must have seen his finger twitch at the noise the girl was making because he was pushing her out telling her to go, not to call the police because it was going to be okay, it's going to be okay, right Sammy?

"Don't call me Sammy." The usually fiery words seemed dead in his mouth, dried and rotten. There was no feeling left for him to express.

"You wanna tell me what's going on?" Dean was edging towards him, gun magically disappeared and hands outstretched. Dean trying his hardest not to be threatening. That was a laugh, Sam had seen him wrestle werewolves.

"It's too late." Sam said listlessly, letting the barrel grind against his temple. It was too heavy to hold much longer. He should just kill himself and it would be over.

"You're Sam. You're my brother." Dean was too far away to do anything.

"No, It's gone. There's nothing left." He shrugged, the gun flopping around on his boneless wrist. "I'm empty Dean."


"I should have done this a long time ago."

The trigger snapped and he was suddenly staring at the ceiling again, his ears ringing from the gunblast. Dean was lying on him, one hand on Sammy's wrists, holding him to the ground, and the other sweeping over Sam's body to make sure he hadn't caught the bullet.

Sam looked up into his older brother's face. Dean was still carrying him away from the flames. Still clutching him, like daddy had told him to eighteen years ago. There was no pity or shock or horror in his older brother's eyes. Only determination to keep Sam living or at least breathing, because Sam didn't particularly feel like he was living.

He couldn't curl into a ball with Dean on op of him, and he couldn't cry,because that ability had been taken away from him long ago when John had turned around in the car to push a hard hand against Sam's chest.

Winchester's don't cry, Sammy. Hunter's don't cry.

Because like everything else in this strange new world, crying could get you killed.

He was going to die someday, whether it was in Stanford, in the Impala, or here in this dingy fucking motel room. It didn't matter where, when, or how.

The last thing he expected was to be brought into a bear hug. Dean's distinctive gunpowder and polished leather scent filling his nostrils. Gasoline, fast food, sweat, and a little touch of Cindy/Mindy/Lindy's perfume. This smelled like home, the only home that Sam had ever known and he was sick of it.

He shoved Dean away, a futile gesture, because Dean had a pretty good grip on him and didn't seem ready to let go. Not that Sam blamed him. He was hauled up by his T-shirt and dragged through to the living room by the scruff of his neck and slammed down into the couch.

A rag doll, Sam didn't move. He wasn't going to say anything to Dean. This was John's way of dealing, the hard-ass, no nonsense Winchester approach because that's the only way either of them can show they care.

Sam glared at the wall opposite, pale and generic. Crusty drywall, dehydrated and stretched.

His view was obstructed by Dean's face, eyes wide and panicked. Hands clasped on either side of Sammy's face as if to hold him still to listen.

"Listen. Listen to me Sammy." Sam let his eyes slide away from his brother's face only to be shaken back, "Stop it, Samuel, just listen to me."

It's the use of his full name that gets to him. Not even John has ever used it, and Sam had almost forgotten that it was his. It shocks him enough and to his surprise a dull ache starts on the back of his head where his head had hit the wall.

Now he can see the tears in his brother's eyes and it nearly kills him. What have I done?

He should have just gotten killed in a hunt. Fuel for their revenge, the way a Winchester dies, as a last favor to Dean.

It was for Dean. He would die in the hunt.