A/N I do not own Supernatural or any of its characters. For entertainment purposes only.

Letter

Dean sits at the worn motel room kitchen table, the cheap oil cloth table cloth sliding off the surface with each trembling movement of his hand. The penmanship on the motel stationary is messy, the usual neat handwriting hindered by the tremors in his hand and the effects of the bottle of Jack he has nearly downed. He writes with a heavy heart, his vision occasionally blurred by tear and the fuzz of the drunkenness that is rapidly consuming him. The room is abandoned, Sam having gone off alone to try to find something, anything, to stop Lucifer's plan, to somehow avert the Apocalypse. But nothing can be done, Dean knows that. Which is why he is alone in a crappy motel room in the middle of nowhere, his belongings placed with care in two cardboard boxes, one to be labeled "Sam", the other "Bobby". Dean knows that there is no chance to dodge the bullet, to avoid becoming Michael's vessel, or for his brother to avoid saying yes to Lucifer. For the first time, Dean feels that there is no hope.

He finishes his final sentence, signs his name, and gently sits his pen on the page. For a moment, Dean stares at what he has written, with a sense of both accomplishment and disgust, before sitting up, draining the bottle of whiskey. He pulls the keys to the Impala out of his pocket, fingers the metal and leather keychain with love, and gently lays it on top of the box intended for Sam. He has to make sure his brother has his Baby. If anything happens to Sam, god forbid, he will bequeath the car to Bobby, but for now, Dean wants his brother to have the car. To take care of it and (hopefully) remember the good time, before the goddamned Apocalypse, when they hunted wendigos and vengeful spirits, not demons and angels. The good old days, when the brothers could indulge in silly prank wars and hustling pool, or driving cross country on off days to see an Ozzy show. Dean allows a single tear to fall as he closes the lid and seals it with painter's tape. Picking up his Glock, Dean heads to the bathroom, climbs in the tub. He can't leave a mess for Sammy, the kid's gonna be devastated as it is. He looks at the weapon, toys with it, feeling the cool metal in his sweaty, trembling hands, the tears now flowing freely.

"I'm sorry Sammy," he whispers, raising the gun to his temple. "I'm so sorry."

XXX

Sam comes back to find the motel surprisingly neat. Dean's bed is made, his duffle packed. Not like Dean, Sam worries, scanning the room for any other disturbing signs. He sees the two boxes, sealed, sitting on the floor near Dean's bed, and Sam's heart nearly stops. No. He couldn't. His stupid brother couldn't be thinking of killing himself. Not now. Not when he needed him.

He looks to the left, sees the pale blue stationary sitting on the table, and for a moment, Sam feels his knees buckle beneath him. Fighting off the waves of nausea, Sam walks over, picks up the note with trembling hands, and reads:

Sammy.

It's always been my job to protect you, ever since we were kids. Even when Mom was still alive, Dad had always had this expectation that I was supposed to be the awesome big brother, looking out for my big brother. And I loved it. Thought it was cool how Dad had placed such a responsibility on my shoulders. I was this big shot. And after Mom died, it became more of a job, something I had to do. And I tried. Dammit Sammy, I tried. So fucking hard. And I started this whole goddamned mess in the first place. I couldn't live with you dead. I just couldn't. I broke the first seal, Sam. That was me. If I had not made that fucking deal this wouldn't have happened. But you know something? I'd do it again. In a heartbeat. Because I'd do anything for you Sam.

But I can't do this. I'm tired. Tired of always being the strong one, tired of carrying this burden on my shoulders. Zachariah was right, I can't escape this. Cas seems to have faith in me, but I don't have faith in myself. It's too much Sammy. It's like there's this huge weight on my shoulders, and this is the only way to lift it. I wish it wasn't. God help me, I wish it wasn't. But if I'm not around, if there's no one to say yes to Michael in the first place, then maybe, just maybe, I can keep you safe. I've got to try, Sammy.

Take care of my Baby for me (just please don't try to douche her up like the last time!). Keep changing the oil regularly, she's due for one in a couple weeks actually. She takes Supreme, none of that cheap shit, but I know you know that already. You can have my porn mags too if you want, but have a feeling that you might not want those. If not, give 'em a good home, ok? Tell Bobby that it wasn't his fault, and that I'm sorry for checking out early. I know he'll be pissed because I told him not to. I guess I'm a hypocrite, huh? But tell him he's been more than a friend and ally, but a father to the both of us.

I know we've never said it out loud (figured we didn't need to, and it would be such a chick flick moment, but this whole letter is one big chick flick so what the hell) but I love you Sammy. I'm so sorry that I'm leaving you alone, I'm sorry I'm doing this to you, but if my killing myself gets Lucifer off your ass, it will be more than worth it.

Take care, Sammy.

Love, Dean

Sam finishes reading, tears streaming down his cheeks. He's done it. The sonofabitch has killed himself, leaving him alone to fight the damned Apocalypse. How could he? How could he do this to him? Shaking, trying to control his sobs, he sits on Dean's bed, his brother's suicide note fluttering to the floor beneath. He's gone. The brother he's looked up to since he was four is gone. He reaches into his jeans pocket, pulls out the amulet he had saved from the trash after their trip to heaven, rubs his thumb against the cool metal. It wasn't a creature, demon, or even another damned human that had killed his brother, it was himself. Himself! He finally is overcome and sobs, overwhelmed with anger and grief. He sits like that for several minutes, his body shaking, when he hears something from the bathroom. Something that sounds like a faint sob. Carefully, Sam draws his weapon and makes his way to the bathroom, blinking back his tears, trying to clear his head. Slowly, carefully, he pushes the door open.

There's Dean, alive, sitting on the edge of the tub, his gun still in his trembling hand. Sam looks down at his brother, at first angry that he has put him through hell for the last fifteen minutes. But to see Dean, breathing, still with him, is too much. He rushes over, kneels down beside him, and holds him close, relishing in the warmth of his skin, the sound of his heartbeat, the feeling of his breath against his neck. He didn't go through with it. Thank God, his brother couldn't go through with it. They sit there for a few moments, Sam not wanting to let his brother go. Finally, after regaining his composure, he pulls away, the anger suddenly taking over.

"How could you do this, Dean?" he nearly shouts. "How could you just check out like that? Leave me to take on the fucking Apocalypse alone?"

For a while, Dean says nothing, eyeing the gun that was intended to end his life not a half hour earlier. When he looks up, he whispers "I'm sorry, Sammy."

Sam calms for a moment, gently reaches for the gun. Dean relinquishes it without issue. "What kept you from doing it?" He knows the answer, or at least has a good feeling, but asks anyway. He still needs to know for sure.

"You," Dean whispers, still not looking up at his brother. "I couldn't let you find me, have you go along feeling guilty, that you could have stopped me. But mostly I just wouldn't stand to see you upset that I was gone. That would hurt more than being Michael's bitch."

Sam looks at his brother, the anger gone. Without a word, he pulls him into another hug.