smalltrolven (smalltrolven) wrote,

Rankle & Gall - Part 3 of 7

Back to Part 2
Sam can’t help a small smile, and his shoulders loosen just a little. But the easy air between them has gone sharp again. He remains silent though, not saying anything, but still chewing over what Dean had said before the waiter’s interruption. His internal conversation is one Sam’s all too familiar with; self-doubt being first, especially about how much the relationship thing actually means to Dean. It’s always been such a surprise that Dean would even want to be with him in the first place, much less want to stay with him. There’s such a tangle of feelings about it, and he can’t sort it out here in this place while they’re waiting on the next course to arrive. He shrugs and finally looks up to meet Dean’s worried face.

“You okay?” Dean asks.

“Yeah, I will be. Just thinking,” Sam says, offering him a placating smile.

Luckily the waiter arrives before the silence gets too awkward. “Here we are, two lasagnas. Can I get you gentlemen anything else now?”

“Nope, we’re good, thanks,” Sam answers the waiter with a smile he doesn’t mean. They both dig in without another word or hesitation, all this angsty discussion has made them even hungrier than usual. Dean starts making his food porn yummy noises, and Sam kicks his ankle under the table.

“What? It’s really good,” Dean asks, sounding surprised to be kicked in the midst of enjoying his meal.

“Yeah, it is. But you sound like you’re two seconds away from coming in your pants over there,” Sam says.

“You would know,” Dean says, and looks up like he wishes he could take it back.

That stops Sam in his tracks, because, yeah. He does know what Dean’s sex noises sound like. It’s been a while, but it sure isn’t something he’s ever going to forget. And it’s definitely something he wants to hear again. “Yeah I do, and cut it out. You know what those noises do to me.”

“Oh, yeah. Uh, sorry,” Dean says. Sam finds himself shocked to actually believe that Dean is sorry about teasing him about anything related to their moribund sex life.

“No sweat. Hey, you know what?” Sam asks.

“What?” Dean answers with the expected question.

“I think that your lasagna was going to be better,” Sam says, voice filled with admiration for his brother’s kitchen prowess.

“It’s all Garth’s fault that we’ll never know,” Dean says with a shy smile. And Sam smiles to see his brother glowing a little at Sam’s praise of his cooking. He’s so impressed with Dean trying to cook anything beyond burgers and eggs.

But Sam doesn’t say anything to Dean’s comment, just makes a confused face and keeps chewing his mouthful of lasagna. Dean laughs a little and answers his brother’s unasked question. “He’s the one that told me to talk to you, remember?”

Sam finishes chewing and has a swallow of wine. “Oh, yeah. Remind me to send him a fruit basket.”

“Better make that a meat basket,” Dean quips with a smile, picturing Garth’s face, drooling at the sight of a basket full of choice cuts of meat.

They both laugh at Dean’s joke but go quiet after that, concentrating on the good food, thinking about the conversations. Heavy as they’ve been, it was important that they did it.  Sam feels like he’s standing in the middle of a dense tangled jungle in a clearing that he’s hacked out with a dull machete.  But he can just see Dean through the underbrush now.

“Now that was good. You save any room for dessert?” Dean asks, leaning back in his chair and patting his stomach.

“No, not a bit. Let me guess, you did,” Sam answers, matching Dean’s casual lean and letting himself enjoy the normalcy of the Dining-With-Dean-Experience. It’s been a lifetime of this routine, and he’s still just as charmed and ensnared as he was when he was a kid.

“Well, it would be rude not to sample their cannoli, wouldn’t it?” Dean asks.

Sam of course expected some sort of dessert ordering happening, and why not cannoli? Dean deserves something good and sweet. “Knock yourself out.”

The waiter reappears to clear and take their dessert orders.

“I’ll have a coffee, with milk. He’ll have a cannoli, and a double shot of espresso,” Sam says, looking at Dean while he answers the waiter. The waiter smirks a little and makes a quick exit.

“So now you’re ordering for me all of a sudden?” Dean asks in a voice that sounds like he’s struggling to control himself from either anger or seduction, Sam can’t really tell.

“Thought you liked it,” Sam says, going with teasing and light. Because this is what they do with each other.

“Yeah, sometimes,” Dean says, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand in the tell-tale gesture of unease. “Just wasn’t expecting it is all.”

“Why, because it’s something I used to do, before?” Sam asks, as gently as he can manage. This is an extremely touchy subject, for both of them. A minefield that must be crossed to reach each other or they’ll probably blow up on the sidelines from the tension of waiting for someone to take the first step. Sam isn’t sure if he wants to be the one to take that step, and he didn’t mean to tease Dean. Not consciously at least.

“Yeah. And it’s not like that, at least not yet, right?” Dean says, raw hope twisting the edge of his voice.

“Right,” Sam answers, sounding a little sad even to himself.

The silence stretches out awkwardly between them, the waiter’s interruption welcome when he brings their order.

Sam watches Dean dig in to his dessert while he sips his coffee, thinking about first steps and whose turn it is this time. “How’s your cannoli?”

“Good, want a bite?” Dean asks.

“Sure,” Sam answers, leaning forward, mouth opening slightly in invitation.

Dean’s eyes go dark at the sight; he spoons a bit into Sam’s waiting mouth, watching him chew and swallow without a word.

“Wow, that’s awesome,” Sam practically purrs, meeting Dean’s eyes. He sees the effect of his words, and clears his throat, because that’s not what he really meant to do. There’s a time for teasing, and this isn’t it, at least not yet. He’s not going to be the one risking it first. He tries to put his walls back up, so that Dean can’t see everything he’s feeling.

Sam can see Dean’s disappointment flash across his face before he’s able to hide it, and his heart sinks along with Dean’s. They’re both wanting a break-through here tonight, in-sync even in their impatience. “Hang in there with me, Dean, we’ll get there.”  Dean doesn’t answer, just nods and smiles a little sadly, hiding his eyes with the napkin as he wipes his face off dramatically.


The waiter brings the check and they settle up quickly, but as they leave, Sam’s hand is back in place on the small of Dean’s back, just a little pressure guiding him through the restaurant. Dean wants to shake him off, tell him to cut it out and quit teasing, but he takes it for what it is. Sam is reaching out across the divide still separating them. At least he’s touching him. Improvements have been made. All this damn talking and spewing of emotions has been worth something.

The drive back to the bunker is almost as quiet as the drive to the restaurant at first; both of the brothers in their own worlds, rehashing all of the things shared between them today.

“Thanks for this today,” Sam finally says, breaking the silence.

“For what? Dinner? Yeah, it was pretty good,” Dean says, flicking a look over to gauge Sam’s mood.

“It was good. But I meant the talking, the sticking with it even though it was hard to talk about that stuff,” Sam says, waving one hand around quickly to encompass everything.

“I should be thanking you,” Dean says, thinking about all the thank-you’s he owes Sam, one of those things they just don’t say to each other until it’s too late. Kind of like those three little words, the ones Sam referred to earlier. Hearing the word love get thrown around had made Dean’s heart leap up and cheer. But, he knows he’s getting ahead of things, it’s one step at a time here to work this out. So going with thank-you’s seems like a good way to start.

“For what?” Sam asks.

“Giving me a million second chances,” Dean answers.

Sam doesn’t answer for a bit, just lets out a couple of sighs that sound painful. “Just how I roll man, you know that.”

“Yeah I do, and I’m lucky you’re like that. Most people would have left me a long time ago,” Dean says, thinking about that possibility is one of his nightmares, one of the things he tortured himself with while waiting for Sam to find out about Gadreel. Just the fact that they’re here together, and talking, makes him feel more grateful than he can remember being in a long time.

“Probably. I keep tellin’ you, you’re stuck with me,” Sam says with a hearty firmness.

Dean looks over at him and sees that he means it. That’s a relief, but who knows how long that’ll last this time? He decides to go with go with something positive in answer though. “I know, don’t stop, seems like I need all the reminders that I can get.”

“Dean, why’d we let it get this bad?” Sam asks a little hesitantly.

“Stupidity, stubbornness, I guess, least from my end,” Dean shrugs, barely holding back what he really wants to say. About how it’s all his fault, but he’s scared that Sam might agree this time instead of talking him out of blaming himself like he usually does.

“Sounds right from me too. But like I said before, hang in there, - I’m not saying no or not ever, just …no for right now,” Sam says.

The words just hang there for a moment, tender and strong at the same time. And Dean falls for him all over again. His brother is a fucking saint, and Dean knows he will never ever be worthy of his love, but he’s going to fight like hell to get it all back anyways. “Well, you let me know, I’ve held back for a long time now,”

“Hey, I was wondering, why didn’t you push me on starting up things between us again? After I got better from the Trials?” Sam asks.

Dean doesn’t answer, can’t answer. He just parks the car and gets out, starts walking back up the stairs from the garage, he pauses in the hallway between the bedrooms only because Sam grabs his shoulder to stop him.

“Wait, so all this time, since the Trials, that was because of Gadreel? You didn’t want to fool around because of him being onboard?” Sam asks, still holding onto Dean’s shoulder.

Dean sighs, shoulders bowing in defeat, “Yeah. It didn’t seem right.”

Sam lifts his hand off of Dean’s shoulder and puts both of them up in a questioning gesture. “Why? Because he would have seen us? He was in my head, he already knew everything about you and me.”

“No, not that. I was worried he’d take over. You know, while we were, uh, engaged,” Dean mumbles, not able to look Sam in the eye or tell a lie to cover his ass. He’s embarrassed to have to explain this, and he’s completely unsure how Sam’s going to take the truth.

“Oh, so it’s okay for me to have an angel riding around inside of me, just not when you’re riding me too. Got it,” Sam says with a whole lot of sarcasm he’s apparently been saving up for just this occasion.

“So you’re not over this then?” Dean asks, surprised at Sam’s sarcastic outburst.

“What? Which part of it Dean? The angel possession and the lying about it for months, I’m in the process of getting over. But the part where you abandoned me there on that pier with Cas? We still need to work on that.”

“But I thought … hold on, you said I should go. So I did what you asked. I figured Cas’d fix you. He did, right?”

“Yeah, thanks for asking. You really never talked to him about what we did, huh? Yeah, you should probably ask him about that some time. I bet you’d be real interested. But no, you were too busy screwing off with Crowley and getting the god damned Mark of Cain.”

“I wasn’t thinking right, Sam. It seemed like the only thing I could do to fix things,” Dean says, slumping against the wall. He needs the support to get through this, where is he going to find the strength to really tell Sam what the Mark of Cain means.

Sam takes a step towards Dean, towering over him. “Fix things? How is taking on a demonic mark you know absolutely nothing about, at the urging of Crowley, of all people, going to end up ever being a good thing?”

Dean looks up at his brother looming over him like some avenging angel set to smote him for his stupidity. “Well shit Sam, what the hell was I supposed to do?”

Sam’s head falls forward and he looks at the floor, taking in some deep breathes. Then he puts both hands on Dean’s shoulders to hold him in place. “Stay. Work it out with me. Let me be mad. Let me get over it. With you around. Not taking off on your own just to end up marked by a demon. God, Dean, wasn’t one of us enough?”

“It’s my turn, I guess,” Dean says, shrugging to get Sam’s hands off of him so that he step away from all this, it’s too much, he feels like he’s drowning in all of Sam’s honesty, expectations, forgiveness and disappointments.

Sam pushes his shoulders hard against the wall and then lets go. “You are such an idiot, I swear! Your turn, shit, it wasn’t ever supposed to be your turn again.”

Dean straightens up and knocks Sam’s hands off, leaning up to get closer to Sam’s face. He’s had enough of the damn looming. “What do you mean?”

Stepping backwards until he hits the wall, Sam just looks at him. He sags there, all his weight resting on the cool cement brick. Finally he says something. “Hell Dean. I mean Hell. And how you were when you came back. How I thought I’d never see the real you again. And how proud I was that you fought your way back to yourself. Now it’s going to … I don’t know, just all go to shit again, or worse, and I can’t take seeing it happen to you. Not when it’s some stupid penance or something, when all you had to do was talk to me.”

“I’m sorry,” Dean says, on the edge of bursting out in tears or begging or something equally embarrassing. Instead he presses himself back into the wall, letting it take the force he wants to use to rip himself apart for hurting his brother so much.

They look at each other, each braced up against their wall, the space of the hallways between them like the widest impossible gulf. Dean wonders if they’ll ever be able to get through this, even if he built a raft of sorries, it still wouldn’t be enough to get to Sam.

“I know you are. But what are you really sorry for?” Sam asks.

The question stops Dean for a moment, and he knows he needs to answer this one right. It might be the only thing stopping them from a reunion. But he can’t come up with an answer fast enough, there’s too much to dig through, too many meanings, so he stalls with a lame attempt at a joke. “What happens if I give you the wrong answer here?”

Sam raises up one hand in a stop gesture. “Stop. Just stop. If you’re not going to be serious, then don’t bother answering.”

“I was kidding. Giving myself a chance to think about it.”

“You mean trying to figure out what I want to hear?” Sam asks.

Joking didn’t work, so maybe bald-faced honesty is worth a try. “Yeah, pretty much. Because you’re mad at me, and I don’t want you to be mad anymore.”

“Dean. I’m not mad at you. I swear I’m not. What I am is upset about is that you’re not going to give me a straight answer when I really need one. And you need that answer too by the way, that’s why I’m saying all this. And I’m scared and worried about the Mark and how it’s going to affect you.”

Dean let Sam’s words wash over him, feeling the worry and love and desperation that Sam’s expressing fill him up enough to be able to answer in the face of his greatest fear. He can only just barely breathe at first, just thinking about it made his heart hurt. He hears Sam shuffle a little across from him, like he’s going to give up and lock himself back up in his room. Sam needs to know it, the truth, no matter how much it will worry him or make him mad. After all these second chances, Dean tells himself, maybe I’ve finally learned my lesson. “He killed the person he loved most. Abaddon made him.”

“Who, Cain?” Sam asks.

“Yeah, her name was Collette, and she was his true love or something. And she wanted him to stop killing, and he tried to, but Abaddon took her over. He tried to kill her, but just ended up killing Collette instead,” Dean says, suddenly glad to have been unburdened of holding this story to himself.

“Wow. And that story doesn’t worry you at all?” Sam asks, his sarcasm not covering how worried he is. Dean can see that even from across the hallway.

“It’s not going to happen, Sam,” Dean says, hoping that Sam will buy his reassurance, even though this is epic, biblical-scale stuff they’re involved in again.

“What, you’re not going to kill me? Isn’t there something about him killing his brother too?” Sam asks, sounding like he’s on the edge of yelling again.

“Yeah. So? That’s him, and I’m me. I’m not killing anyone that doesn’t deserve it,” Dean says, sinking back into the wall, glad that it’s there behind him. He does notice that Sam picked up instantly on the ‘killing who he loves most’ thing and assumed that it would be him. At least there’s no question of that he comforts himself.

“Isn’t that what this thing does? Make it seem like everyone needs to be killed?” Sam asks, shifting against the wall as if he’s trying to hold himself there and not cross the distance between them.

“I don’t know,” Dean answers. The honest truth is, he hasn’t thought about it too much, it hasn’t really affected him yet and everything with Sam seemed much more important.

“Not yet,” Sam says.

“Well, so far I’m okay. All I want to do is kill Abaddon, and Gadreel if we can find him.”

“What about Crowley?” Sam asks.

“What about him?” Dean asks instead of answering, because he doesn’t want to think too closely about Crowley’s involvement in all this. The realization that he’s been manipulated into this Mark thing is definitely something he’s trying to not look at too hard.

“Where is he on your kill list? What’s his involvement in this Mark thing, besides wanting you to kill Abaddon so he can keep ruling Hell?”

“Well, I don’t know if he has a plan past finding the weapon I’m supposed to use on her. It’s like a matched set or something along with the Mark. I don’t really know. Cain said it’s supposed to be at the bottom of the deepest ocean, so who knows how long that’ll take,” Dean says, scratching at the Mark. It always seems so itchy when he talks or thinks about it.

When Sam sees Dean scratching he steps forward and grabs Dean’s arm, bringing it up so he can see it in the overhead light. “So that thing just sits there on your arm. Does it make you feel different?”

Dean is almost distracted by Sam’s warm hand encircling his forearm, the skin on skin touch is something he feels starved for after all these months. But he makes himself answer. “Not that I’ve noticed.”

“You know what we need to do right?” Sam asks, dropping Dean’s arm and stepping back.

“What? Oh no, c’mon,” Dean complains in a near-whine that he knows is uncalled for since it’s his issue they’ll be researching. At least they’ll be doing it together.

“Early tomorrow morning. I’ll meet you in the library and we’ll get started. There’s got to be something in this place that will help us get some intel on that thing. We can’t be stuck not knowing as much as Crowley does about it.”

“Okay, you’re right. But you’re making breakfast,” Dean says, pointing at Sam as he stands up from his position against the wall.

“Fine, rolled oats it is. Good night Dean,” Sam says, turning towards his room and stepping away.

“Night, Sammy. Thanks for, uh, not being mad anymore,” Dean says, figuring one last thanks will be a good way to end this intense and confusing day. At least they’re not going to bed mad for the first time in several weeks. He wishes he could fix it all overnight somehow, and make it better for them both. He really wishes he could just hug his brother, but he’s not sure Sam even wants to hug him again.


“Thanks for finally talking to me,” Sam says, stopping halfway through his door.  He turns to watch Dean’s shoulders slump as he walks towards his own room.  Sam doesn’t want this day of near reconciliation to end like this, not with Dean looking so defeated, so he takes a couple of steps in Dean’s direction.

Dean turns around at the sound, surprised to see Sam in his space.  Before Dean can say anything, Sam gathers him into a hug. Dean doesn’t hug back at first, too shocked to respond, but then his arms come up through Sam’s to ring around his neck, pulling him down so he can tuck his head into Sam’s neck. They stand there in the dim hallway, midway between their rooms, just holding each other close, neither wanting to let go. Finally Sam straightens up, breaking Dean’s hold on him. He smiles down at Dean, with just a touch of sad regret, then takes a few steps back to his room. Closing the door with a quiet snick.


At least it wasn’t a slam this time, Dean thinks, going into his room. His body still tingles from the after-effects of hugging Sam for the first time in way too long. It seemed like a more-than-brothers hug, but maybe a postponing, sort of not quite ready for much else kind of hug. Which seems okay, considering. It’s a heck of a lot better than what he had before, which was worse than nothing.

He gets undressed and slips into his bed, feeling how cold it is, noticing how it only smells like him. He remembers back a few months ago when he had Sam in here, wrapped in all the blankets because he was suffering from the Trials. He’d held Sam all night, made him drink water, brought him soup, until Sam waved him off and then staggered around the bunker pretending he was all better. He feels bad for missing that closeness, because Sam was in such pain then, but the empty bed mocks him now with how much he’s lost.

He goes over the conversations they had today. There was so much he didn’t understand, probably still doesn’t get just how bad being possessed really is, and why Sam hadn’t wanted to keep on living. He shakes his head thinking about it, how he’d unthinkingly pushed Sam into that hopeless state last year. How he’d almost lost him for good because of it. The tears come then, hot, stinging salt running down his cheeks into his ears. He lies there and cries for what he’s learned about the darkness in his brother that he didn’t know was there. That same darkness that’s always been inside him, and Sam’s always helped him cope with it.

Sam’s question about what he’s really sorry for comes back to the forefront of his mind as his tears taper off. What’s he sorry for? Everything. But that’s not the right answer. Sam said he thought Dean needed this answer too. Why?

He gets up, puts on his dead-guy robe, and sits at his desk, where he turns on the light and gently touches the picture of his mom. He whispers brokenly, “Mom, you gotta help me out with this.”  He stares into her smiling face, then pulls a notebook out of the drawer and picks up a pen and starts writing, a long list, of what he’s sorry for. First it’s just bullet points, a page or two filled up with quick sentences. Then he starts writing some paragraphs, explaining it all to himself. He writes until his hand is so cramped that he can barely hold the pen.

Finally he’s done; it’s all out there, all the bile spewed onto the page.  He wishes there was a fireplace in his room so he could immediately burn the thing. Instead he switches off the desk lamp and climbs back into bed, feeling a little lighter from having let out all the heavy baggage onto the page. His last thought before he drifts off is that it might help him explain it all to Sam tomorrow.

The next morning, Sam wakes Dean up by banging on one of the pots in the kitchen. Dean shuffles in and sits down at his usual spot and digs in to his bowl of oatmeal without complaint after downing the cup of black coffee Sam hands to him.

Sam watches Dean eat, beginning to smile like he’s watching the cutest cat video on YouTube. “I am surprised you’re eating this without any comments.”

Dean looks up at him a little blearily, his bed-head is outstanding this morning. “Well, I’m not really awake enough yet. And it’s not so bad.”

“Yeah?” Sam asks, hoping that maybe he’s made something that Dean might like that is also good for him. It’s such a mother-hen thought that Sam laughs at himself but Dean does the same kind of thing to him.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be having bacon and eggs, but this is okay sometimes too, ‘specially if you’re the one having to make it,” Dean answers along with a full open-mouthed smile coated in rolled oats.

Sam shakes his head at the sight of Dean eating oatmeal with such gusto. “You are getting way too flexible in your old age.”

“Shut up you. I am not old,” Dean protests.

“You are. And it’s pretty cool that I get to tease you about it. You always said you didn’t expect to see thirty, remember?” Sam asks, remembering all those times Dean had gotten fatalistic about their chances of surviving their lives as hunters.

“Oh, how little we knew back then,” Dean says, adding in a small chuckle.

Sam smiles to hear his brother’s amusement and stands up from the table. “So, onto some research? I’ve got a thermos of coffee to take in there with us.”

“Well since there’s coffee, I say lead the way, Poindexter,” Dean says, standing up and stretching his arms up towards the kitchen ceiling. Sam studiously avoids looking at his stomach, knowing what that will do to him, he needs to spend the energy on helping Dean, not lusting after him.

They take up their positions at adjoining library tables, stacks of file folders, leather-bound folios, and faded manuscripts ready and waiting to be searched through.

Dean looks at all the material on the table with a resigned smile. “You sure got your research on early this morning.”

Sam doesn’t answer that, because he knows they’ve got to get down to work. “So I’ve got you set up with the more recent stuff, it’s easier on the old eyes, and hopefully not too many weird languages. Keep an eye out for anything that mentions owth, miracles performed by Moses, or signs seen in the stars.”

“Owth? What, is that spelled o-w-t-h?” Dean asks.

“Yeah, it’s how Mark is translated in Hebrew. It’s mentioned a bunch of times in the Hebrew Scriptures. The Mark is supposed to be a protection from God, so that Cain could not be harmed,” Sam says, getting settled in the seat next to Dean’s.

“That’s why I’m so invincible lately?” Dean asks.

“I guess so. Pretty good side effect. Too many other downsides though. And that’s what we’ve gotta figure out. Hey, could you write out for me what you remember Cain and Crowley saying about the Mark? Since I wasn’t there, I don’t have any of that beyond what you’ve told me about the Collette thing.”

“Sure, no problem. There wasn’t much. I was too busy fighting off a house full of demons to ask too many questions. But I’ll get down what I remember.”

“A whole house full, huh? Cain must have been impressed,” Sam says.

“Yeah, I guess he was. Said I was worthy of the Mark,” Dean says.

Sam hears a little bit too much pride in that remark, and it bothers him how much Dean needs that validation. “Just what you needed to hear at that point, I guess.”

“Hey, if you’re gonna get all crappy about it, I’m outta here,” Dean says, slapping his hands on the table like he’s about to get up and leave.

Sam holds his hands out, shaking them in a no gesture until he sees Dean relax. “No, no. I’m sorry. Please, stay, help me figure this out. We need to do this. I need your help, Dean.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll stay. Just leave me alone for a while, let me write this down.”

“’kay, you got it,” Sam says, watching closely as Dean sits back down and curls over his notebook, writing like he’s carving the words into the pad. “Dean, I’m sorry.”

“No, I am, Sam. I thought about it. What you asked me last night,” Dean says without looking up from the notebook.

“I asked you a lot of things,” Sam says. He’s not sure what Dean’s referring to, there were so many questions left unasked and unanswered last night.

“About what I was sorry for. I sat up for a few hours thinking about it, and I wrote it all down. I was just going to make you read it, but now I feel like I need to say it, so you’ll believe me,” Dean says, finally looking up and meeting Sam’s eyes.

“Okay. I’m all ears, go for it,” Sam says, eyes riveted to the sight of his brother’s strength and determination in facing their issues.


Dean turns his chair to face Sam and meets his eyes, holds them like the lifeline they are in this moment and pretty much always. “Just don’t interrupt me.”

Sam nods and doesn’t say anything.

“So, last night, you asked me what I was really sorry for, and after going through a very long list, I’m sure you can imagine a lot of what was on there. Well, it comes down to that I’m most sorry for making this Gadreel thing all about me. When I left you on that pier with Cas, that was the most cowardly thing I think I’ve maybe ever done in my life. Leaving you to recover, and deal with it, without me. Just taking off and running away, because I was scared, Sam. I was really scared about how mad you’d be, and how the guilt I’d been feeling for months now wasn’t ever going to go away, it was only gonna get worse. And I lost sight of you, Sam. I was so focused on how the fallout was gonna affect me, and for that I’m most sorry and I don’t think I can ever forgive myself. I don’t expect you to either, I really don’t.”

“Oh, Dean,” Sam says softly, sounding like he’s breaking into too many pieces to put back together.

“She helped me, Sammy, Mom did. I sat there lookin’ at her picture last night, askin’ her to help me figure this out, because I wanna get right with you, you know? I can’t take this anymore. And I thought about her, and the fights I saw her and Dad have, and I remembered hearing her apologize to him one time. I remember it so clearly, lying under the kitchen table playing with my trucks while they talked. And she’d done the same kind of thing I did, making an issue that was really his thing all about her instead, because she was scared of how mad he’d be. It was something about money. She laid it all out on the table, and he listened to her, and then they were better for a long time. I remembered that last night Sammy, and I thought maybe it’d be worth a try,” Dean says, stopping to get himself under control.

Sam stays silent as he promised he would and nods at Dean to continue.

“So yeah, when Cain said I was worthy, it was exactly what I needed to hear. Because I was feeling worthy of just about zero, still am really. That’s why I jumped at taking the Mark on. It was something I could do, one of my screw-ups I could maybe fix.  I’m not tryin’ to justify it or anything, just explain it. So that’s where I am, and why I’ve got this thing. And I’m seriously just grateful that you’re even still here and tryin’ to help figure it out,” Dean finishes and blows out a relieved breath.

He didn’t think he could get through it and now that he has, he’s not sure what Sam’s reaction will be. There’s all kinds of ways that what he said could make things worse, especially if it isn’t the answer Sam was looking for. But it was honest, and that’s what Sam’s always saying he wants. He searches Sam’s face for clues to see if his words have meant anything good and all he sees is Sam broken open with all his emotions on display

Onto Part 4
Tags: fic, rankle & gall, reunion, sam/dean, season 9, spn-j2-bigbang, wincest
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