Rating:PG-13 for language
Spoilers:Season 3. The majority is set after 3.12, Jus In Bello. But there are spoilers for all of Season 3.
Summary:Picking up the pieces from a soul-crushing loss, Sam works to find a way to regain focus as Dean escapes his destiny inside another hunt. But this time, will 'acceptable losses' include the Winchesters?
Disclaimer: They're not mine. More's the pity.
A/N: This is for yasminke.
Pontiac, IL, now
"He fought, Sam." Bobby's voice was rough from sorrow, his words tearing apart the quiet of the night that pressed close around them. "He fought until the end. Damn kid wouldn't give up. Always admired that about him. He always believed there was a way…."
Bobby's voice cracked, dying. Sam knew he was right; Dean had fought until the end—all-but challenging the Hellhounds to get him and drawing attention from Sam. But there was a part of Sam that knew Dean had accepted the truth weeks ago.
He remembered the moment, exactly. Before Ruby's Hail Mary plan. Before Indiana. Before the hallucinations.
He remembered the quiet tear splashing the back of a soot-covered jacket. He remembered the hollow echo of hopelessness in his brother's voice. Maybe it was real. Maybe…it was a warning.
"You want to know why?" Sam asked the older hunter, his voice like a rusted hinge.
Bobby startled at his words, and Sam realized they were they first he'd spoken since Dean had been taken from him.
That's how he thought of it. Dean hadn't just died. He'd been ripped from this world, torn apart and dragged below right before Sam's eyes.
"Why, kid?" Bobby asked, softly.
Sam forced himself to look again at Dean's face. They'd closed his eyes, cleaned the blood from it. He could be sleeping, Sam thought, and for one wild moment wanted to check, but it was pointless. He could be sleeping but for the horrific tears in his body, Sam knew.
"Because he's going to need a body when I get him back," Sam informed his friend.
Ignoring the note of horror in Bobby's tone, Sam knelt next to the crude wooden box they'd built for his brother. He reached behind Dean's cold neck and gently shifted his brother's head, removing the amulet that Dean had worn for so many years. Lifting it from his brother's body, Sam stood and dropped it over his own head, closing his eyes as he felt the weight rest like a gentle hand against his chest.
Oddly, the metal still felt warm, even hours after Dean had gone cold.
Sam took a shallow breath, images of his brother assaulting the darkness behind his eyes. Dean angry, Dean smiling, Dean in tears, Dean teasing him, Dean singing in the car, Dean in pain, Dean bleeding, Dean fighting, Dean holding him, Dean protecting him….
"I'm gonna get him back," Sam vowed, unable to watch as Bobby placed the lid on the box that held Dean's body.
He helped his friend lower the box into the grave, swaying dizzily as Bobby dropped in the first shovel full of dirt. It hit the box with a dull thud that nearly sent Sam tipping over the edge to join his brother.
"I know why you did it," Dean had said once, "but just…don't. Not again. I can't handle it."
Sam felt himself breaking inside, his own shovel slipping from his sweaty grasp. He dropped it, stepping away, watching numbly as Bobby finished the job.
He couldn't bury his brother. He couldn't handle it. He knew Dean had done the only thing he could when he'd saved Sam at that crossroads. And he knew his brother had fought right up until he realized one more swing would take Sam with him.
He knew Dean hadn't wanted to die, but would rather be dead than live without Sam. And now Sam was left in a world of demons without his protector, without his brother.
It's not gonna last, Sam promised himself. I'm gonna get you back, Dean.
The moment Dean had accepted his fate was the moment Sam had vowed he would get him out of it.
No matter what.
a/n: Thank you for reading.
FYI, I took the idea of the Asphyx from a movie by the same name. I pulled a Nester Ambrose, though, and made the lore my own for the purposes of this story. I've a few one-shots planned for people as very sincere thank-yous. I look forward to your thoughts as always. My best to you.