Summary: Sometimes what you don't say matters the most. Tag to 8.23, Sacrifice

A/N: Thank you to JediSapphire for the beta

Disclaimer: Not Mine

o0o

Deciding to stop for the night at a motel instead of making the trip back to the bunker, Dean booked a room and helped Sam inside.

Sam, who'd been breathing without trouble, appeared to be fine other than being physically and emotional drained from the events in the church and from the duration of the trials. Yet he insisted on getting into the shower, his body and hair literally coated in blood, sweat, and tears.

Which afterwards left Sam clean and in fresh clothes but with barely enough strength to make it to his bed where he collapsed. Dean, who had voiced strongly what a bad idea this had been, helped him get under the covers, muttering what a knuckle head he was not to wait until morning to shower.

"Knuckle head, seriously Dean?" Sam questioned, turning over to curl up on his side.

"It's a term of endearment," Dean answered tucking the covers around him.

"Since when?" Sam asked fighting hard to keep his eyes open.

"Since I decided it was," Dean responded.

"Fine Dean, whatever you say," Sam murmured drifting off to sleep.

"Yep," Dean said affectionately studying his brother in sleep. "You're my knucklehead."

Dean sat on the edge of his bed and watched over Sam until his breathing evened out before grabbing some clean clothes and taking a quick shower himself. Checking on Sam afterwards and finding him snug and sound asleep Dean tried to get some rest with only a few hours of darkness left.

o0o

It was dawn when Sam awoke sensing a presence on his bed. "What is it Dean?" he asked the familiar silhouette seated to his right. The struggle it took to sit up was a reminder of his weakened condition.

"How could I have not seen it?" Dean asked in a troubled voice.

"Seen what Dean?" Sam questioned, still gathering in his surroundings.

"That things had become so bad that you didn't care if you lived or died. My little brother..." Dean's voice trailed off as he lowered his head. The way his shoulders shook gently told Sam he was crying.

Pushing off his covers, Sam moved to the edge of the bed and sat beside his brother. "Dean, don't," he spoke gently resting his head on his brother's shoulder. "There's no way you could've known."

"I should have seen it somehow." Dean insisted wiping his eyes.

"No Dean you couldn't have," Sam countered lifting his head to look at Dean. "Not anymore than I could've known the way I thought you felt about me wasn't true!"

"None of it was true Sammy!" Dean emphasized strongly.

"I know that now Dean. I do." Sam said in a soothing voice. "What I'm trying to say is last night happened because we both buried how we felt instead of talking to each other. We let our insecurities get in the way of us."

"I know," Dean nodded in agreement.

"You're the most important person in my life Dean," An emotional Sam spoke. "All those years of burying my feelings. I want things to be different. I want to be able to talk to my big brother about anything."

By the hitch in Dean's breathing and the "I'd like that," he barely got out. Sam knew he should have opened up to Dean a long time ago.

But the demon blood forced upon him as a baby. The very root of Sam's insecurities and fears always seemed to override him sharing anything about it with Dean, and with seeing himself as a whole new level of freak Sam began to bury his feelings which set a precedent for years to come. His biggest fear being Dean would one day reject him because of it. When all Sam had ever wanted was for Dean to love and accept him unconditionally.

But yesterday in the church everything changed. At the lowest point in his life Sam opened up to Dean and discovered that all of his fears and assumptions on how his big brother felt about him were unfounded. Dean had debunked them all in an emotionally powerful way and left Sam with no doubt that Dean had always loved and accepted him unconditionally for who he is and always would and that they'd be okay. All they needed to do is keep talking to each other and anything else like Dean said, they'd figure it out, like they always do.

o0o

"Sam there's something I need to tell you." Dean stood to pace as he talked. "Something I'd told the Padre that gave us Father Thompson's notes."

"What did you say to him?" Sam, asked wondering what Dean could've possibly said to someone they met once. That caused his brother to seem uncomfortable bringing it up.

"When you didn't feel well and left to use the bathroom. I told the padre that you were going to take every black-eyed bitch out there and get rid of them for good. That I had seen you do crap the past couple of months that I didn't think was possible and even with you miserable and hurting, I had no doubt in my mind not one that you'd cross that finish line, and I was right Sammy! You would have cured Crowley, and shut the gates of hell for good if I didn't show up to stop you."

Sam sat there stunned for a moment, "You really had that kind of faith in me Dean?"

"Yes I did." Dean confirmed and the way Sam's face lit up told Dean he was right about what he suspected in the church yesterday. That it was what he didn't say all these years to Sam that his brother needed to hear the most.

Freely telling Sam that his "psychic crap" scared the hell out of him and that if he didn't know Sam he'd hunt him and not concealing his fear of how the demon blood could affect his younger brother. Dean knew he had a long history of giving Sam reasons not to open up to him.

Dean also knew that out of fear of losing Sam he had tried to control him and the harsh, critical, and at times cruel words he used over the years left a trial of reasons why Sam would think he'd let him down. Anger, disappointment, and worry that is what Sam most of the time saw in Dean's effort to keep him in line and lost and not spoken by Dean were the many ways he admired and had faith in Sam.

"I told everyone what I should have told you Sammy. Apparently that's been a pattern of mine for years."

"You're telling me now." Sam said warmly.

Dean smiled. His brother could always find the positive and make him feel better.

o0o

"You look tired Sammy, thinner too. Dean remarked placing a bagel and a cup of coffee on the nightstand beside him. Having made an early breakfast run to the nearby diner. "You need to take it easy for a while, get your strength back."

""I'm not going to argue with you." Sam answered.

"Good, and I know just the thing you need." Dean added, talking in between bites of his bagel.

"What's that?" Sam asked taking a sip of his coffee.

"A vacation," Dean announced.

"A vacation? Where?" Sam asked.

"At our secret lair."

"The bunker, Dean. You make us sound like Ninja turtles when you call it a lair."

"Okay, yes the bunker Leonardo. We take a few days off, rent movies, eat junk food, and forget about everything else. That way you get your rest and we both get a much-needed break."

"Sounds good." Sam responded without hesitation.

"Okay," Dean asked. "What's up? You agreed without your usual protest to take care of yourself and now you have no problem taking a long weekend off even with the new Angel population."

"After everything we've been through this year Dean. I'm more than in on a bunker vacation. Which reminds me I picked something up for you."

"You got me something?" Dean asked sounding like an excited child.

"Actually I got it for you a few months ago," Sam explained. "But with the trials I forgot about it until now. But it's perfect timing for our vacation. You'll love it and no it's not porn."

"Sammy always with your mind in the gutter," Dean chuckled. "What did you get me?"

"You'll see when we get home."

"You're not going to tell me?" Dean asked surprised.

"No."

"Seriously Sam?"

"What you can't wait?"

"No."

"Why not?" Sam asked

"Because I can't."

"That's not a reason."

"Sure it is."

"It's a DVD," Sam caved. "That animated movie we used to watch as kids. It only aired on Thanksgiving at that time."

"Gulliver's Travels?" Dean asked wide eyed.

"Yes," Sam nodded.

"The real Gulliver's Travels?" Dean questioned. "Not any of those crappy remakes."

"It's the original, the 1939 version." Sam confirmed.

"I love that movie."

"I know you do Dean."

"I haven't watched that movie in a long time, Sammy. You know before Dad thought I was old enough to hunt with him. Thanksgiving used to be just you and me, turkey TV dinners and that movie," Dean fondly reminisced.

"You probably don't remember this since you were very young and small too. But when we started this Thanksgiving tradition of ours you used to curl up next to me Sammy, all excited to see the movie. But you could never stay awake to see it all no matter how hard you tried." Dean smiled in thought, "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Sam said warmly, seeing that it wasn't just the movie itself Dean loved but the memories attached to it.

"How about we get out of here?" Dean asked.

"Now?" Sam asked surprised. "It's pretty early."

"Yes, the sooner we get home, the sooner our vacation starts," Dean said stuffing his clothes into the duffel.

"Okay Dean." Sam moved to get up.

"You stay put, Sammy, and rest. I'll pack for you."

"Dean. I only have a few things."

"Nope. You sit. I'll pack. Then I'll pull the car in front."

"Dean! I'm weak, not bedridden."

"Sam."

"Okay Dean have it your way."

"You know Sammy," Dean talked as he threw Sam's clothes into his duffel. "This is the first vacation we ever took together. I'm looking forward to it."

"Me too Dean." Sam smiled. "I know it's not the Grand Canyon or Oahu or The Garden Of The Gods."

"No Sam, it's not any of those. It's better."

"Yeah, it is," Sam nodded in agreement.

"Who else do you know that has a bunker with a dungeon and the Spear of Destiny where they stay on vacation?"

"No one but you and me."

"Exactly!" Dean said slinging the duffel bags over his shoulder.

The adoration showed in Sam eyes as he watched Dean head out the door, softly singing Gabby's song from the movie he treasured as a child.

Sam was both emotionally and physically exhausted in ways he never experienced before. But he was also happy for the first time in a long time. He and Dean had purged their past, learned from it and they would together face whatever came their way in this unique life journey of theirs. The bond between them stronger than ever.