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Chasing Shadows

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Chasing Shadows

Dean was sitting at some shitty picnic table across from his brother doing everything he could to hide his disappointment. His father told him to watch out for Sam, and Dean failed spectacularly. Every second he spent with his kid brother reaffirmed that fact.

Would he ever see his brother again? That boy he made Spaghettios for? The one that cried when he learned monsters were real? The man he yanked out of Stanford University to go on a 'hunting trip'? The man he sold his soul to bring back?

That was exactly what he had done: revived Sam. At the time, he thought his act of sacrifice would save his brother; instead, it condemned him. Dean should've known that Sam would go off the rails after his dead. Hell, when he'd seen Sam's dead body, he'd fallen apart. Why did he expect his brother's reaction to be any different than his own?

He distracted himself from his thoughts and the impending Apocalypse as he always did, with a glib remark.

"So, pit stop at Mount Doom?" he asked as he held up the ring they pilfered from War's hand.

Sam began, "Dean - "

He couldn't do it. Not this conversation. Not now.

"Sam, let's not," he interrupted.

"No, listen," Sam pressed. "This is important. I know you don't trust me."

He clenched his jaw. He didn't trust his brother, and he had no one to blame but himself.

"Just, now I realize something," Sam continued. "I don't trust me either."

Dean's eyes returned to Sam's face, unbelieving. All the pop media crap of Alcoholics Anonymous came to the forefront of his mind. Wasn't admitting to the problem the first step?

"From the minute I saw that blood, it was the only thought in my head," Sam said, rapidly devolving into his inane babble voice. "And I tell myself it's for the right reasons, my intentions are good, and it, it feels true, you know? But I think, underneath - I just miss the feeling."

Dean realized that AA was about addiction. There was nothing for Not-Being-A-Demonic-Asshole, which is what Sammy really needed. His brother was still speaking, but he wasn't really hearing any of it, even though he forced himself to listen.

"The problem's me. How far I'll go. There's something in me that... scares the hell out of me, Dean. In the last couple of days, I caught another glimpse."

Dean asked, "So what are you saying?"

"I'm in no shape to be hunting. I need to step back, 'cause I'm dangerous. Maybe it's best we just...go our separate ways."

He wondered what would happen to Sam out in the world, alone. He couldn't trust that Sam would keep on the straight and narrow; Dean's Hell tour proved that. Then again, he couldn't trust his brother or on the job.

Bottom line: Dean couldn't trust Sam at all.

"Well, I think you're right," Dean replied.

"I was expecting a fight."

"The truth is I spend more time worrying about you than about doing the job right," he said, softening the blow with a half-truth. "And I just, I can't afford that, you know? Not now."

Sam nodded. "I'm sorry, Dean."

"I know you are, Sam."

The younger Winchester stood up from the table.

"Hey, do you, uh, wanna take the Impala?"

"It's okay."

Sam walked away. As if it just occurred to him, he turned back to add, "Take care of yourself, Dean."

"Yeah, you too, Sammy."

Sam grabbed his backpack out of the Impala and walked over to a nearby pickup truck. The driver behind the wheel glanced over, and Sam casually asked for a ride.

Dean watched as his brother drove off with a stranger. 'Dean Winchester,' he thought to himself, 'This is your life: your brother abandoning you, going off with a stranger.'

He needed a drink.