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Title: Empty Barrel
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: Sam, Dean
Rating: PG
Word Count: 395
Warnings: So old it is moldy! Does that count as a warning?
Summary: Sam smiles at Dean, a lazy pull that flashes his brother’s straight, white teeth, and claps the man on his back. “I’d never leave you,” Sam tells Dean, “you’re stuck with me.” And Dean smiles back, a sarcastic comment rolling off his tongue: “That’s beautiful. Hold me.”
Disclaimer: Kripke owns Supernatural.  


     On the long ride to another sleazy motel after their night at the asylum, Dean tells Sam that he doesn't blame him.  If he was honest with himself, Sam never felt that the blame lay with him to begin with.

     They settle down in the dim room and Dean eases out of his ruined shirt in slow, pained jerks.  Sam steals a look-- he tells himself it is guilt, that he can't believe that he... but he knows that is a lie-- at the smattering of bruises across his brother’s chest. Dean tells Sam that he's "...fine, damn it.. They're just a little sore and I'll be fine after a a good night’s sleep." Dean eases himself onto the bed, tucking his chin to his chest and gritting his teeth underneath a calm mask.  Sam's sure the small whine that breaks the silence between them as Dean stretches out on the cramped bed is the box-spring creaking under him.

     That night, Sam wakes up in a cold sweat surrounded by a waddling of torn up bed sheets, Dean is awake and he tells him that it was only a nightmare and that he should get some sleep because he’s miserable to drive with when he goes without. Sam can only nod mutely, his mind still grasping the fringe of his night terror as he desperately tries to push the thought away. He didn’t do it, he thinks forcing his breath to come in slow, steady draws. He didn’t do it. The tingling in his fingertips and the phantom feeling of cool metal beneath them.

     Sam smiles at Dean the next morning when they are packing to leave and it is a lazy pull that flashes his straight, white teeth.  He claps the man on his back and his fingers spread wide, fingers a smattering across Dean's back as he feels the hollow thump and a hitch of breath.  Dean stops balling up his spare jeans and looks up expectantly.  “I’d never leave you.” Sam tells Dean, “You’re stuck with me.”  

     Dean smiles back, a sarcastic comment rolling off his tongue: “That’s beautiful. Hold me.”

     Everything seems right between them after that, even though behind Sam’s eyes there is still that light of psychosis when he follows the movement of his brother's strong arms as he tucks the bags in the trunk. He knows its the same look that was reflected back at him from the slick metal cabinets in the basement when he “woke up” that night in the asylum all those towns back. That mixture of fear and self-loathing and hatred and disappointment when he realized what could have happened. What he wanted to happen. And what had transpired none the less.

     Even now, when Sam looks into Dean's eyes he can see the caution.  The jest behind Sam's words ‘I’ll never leave you’ holds more weight than apparent in their light context.  But Sam also sees how Dean wants to see him; his kid brother who ate canned spaghetti and played soccer.  Dean is wary, but reluctant to listen to his instincts.  And, when Sam asks Dean for his forgiveness Dean grants it even as it leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. He has to forgive Sam because, what else is left for him?

     Sam smiles and says that he's got Dean's back; everything will be fine.

     Dean does his best to ignore the whispers of doubt ringing in his ears like the death cries of a bullet.

October 2010


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