Warnings: angst, vague mentions of Wincest
Spoilers: up to 8x10
Word Count: 739
Summary: A very brief view into Dean's thoughts when Sam leaves the cabin to think about his decision.
A/N: Inspired by Pearl Jam's song "Just Breathe" and slf630's opposing Sam POV ficlet.
Dean watches silently as Sam slips out of the cabin and pulls the door shut behind him.
They can make this the end, or they can make it the beginning, but there’s no room for anything in-between. Not anymore. It’s ironic more than anything else, considering that they’ve spent their entire lives carefully treading the blurred edges between everything they are to each other. And even after all this time, they still haven’t figured it out.
Dean just sits there for a few moments, takes a second to just breathe. He used to think he was lucky that he could count on one hand how many people he had ever loved; now he’s not so sure. But none of it matters anymore, not really. The person he used to be – little boy with the gold-flecked hazel eyes and mischievous grin – is long gone, broken into a million pieces like glass scattered across the highway.
Sam’s the only one who can put him back together again, and he damn well proved that he could – again and again – without hesitation. They both did. But nothing stays new forever. Everything fractures; everything breaks. There’s just too much out there in the world that wants to hurt them, wants to make them bleed. But it has nothing to do with fighting the evil lurking in the shadows and everything to do with the fact that it’s always – always – been Sam.
Outside, the wind picks up, whipping through the trees and sending a tremor of anxiety rushing down Dean’s spine. His eyes slam shut against the images flashing suddenly across his vision, but all of the emotions still remain – the pain, the fear, the exhilaration – of fighting for his life out there in that desolate landscape, of fighting just to see his brother’s face one more time.
Dean’s never told Sam how much he needs him, how badly he wants things to go back to the way they used to be. He’s a damn fool because of it, but he just can’t – at least not now, not out here in the light of day, where he can’t hide his scars behind the darkness that’s taken hold inside him. Sam doesn’t even have to say a word. Dean knows how his brother feels by the way he looks at him – caught somewhere between anger, disbelief and disappointment – and that’s the part that hurts the most, makes him want to close himself off and protect what little is left of his heart.
Honestly, he’s ashamed of what he did. And yet he’d do it all over again just for a chance at Sam letting him back in to the world they used to share. It’s no excuse. He needs to come clean, has to prove somehow that he can be trusted again, even though he’s not even sure if he can trust himself. Dean dials the number without realizing it, hears his voice somehow saying the words that have been caught in his throat since the day he got back. He bites back the tears and nods resolutely as he hangs up, inexplicably hopeful that Benny will keep his promise.
Dean’s gaze snaps up when Sam steps back inside and quietly shuts the door. He catches his brother’s eye and is startled to find a hint of a smile tugging at the corners of Sam’s lips. It’s gone just as quickly as it appeared, but Sam still sinks down onto the couch beside him, the length of his thigh pressed against Dean’s. He instantly feels the warmth radiating from his brother’s body, filling him with equal parts hope and regret. It makes him ache for innocence that’s long gone, of days spent chasing fireflies through fields of tall grass until the sun went down and nothing mattered anymore.Promises can be kept or they can be broken. From here on out, there will be no more in-between. He glances over at Sam and finds his brother already studying him closely, his eyes shiny with un-shed tears. Dean’s mouth opens and closes over words of reassurance that don’t make it. Instead, he reaches over and instinctively drapes his arm across his little brother’s shoulders, fingertips threading through the too-long hair at the nape of Sam’s neck. His eyes fall shut as the rapid flutter of his heart slowly falls in tandem with his brother’s and he just breathes him in, grateful for the promise of another day.