Title: Tastes Like Heaven
By: elfin
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: PG
Warning: incest
Spoilers: ***coda for 5.16***


He’s standing in the middle of the parking lot in the middle of the night.  It’s raining so hard it’s pouring off him, running over his face, a stream down the back of his neck, plastering his hair to his head and his clothes to his body.

There’s blood dripping from his palm, mingling with the rain water, lost in the puddles on the gravel under his boots; the points of the amulet are stabbing into his palm he’s holding it so goddamned tight, the leather cord hanging, sopping, over his fingers.

And he’s screaming.  He doesn’t remember screaming before, not ever, not once; not when Jess died, not the thousand times he held Dean in his arms and watched him die.  But he’s screaming now because he’s feeling like this is the end, and if he fails now it’s over.

“...you’ve already given up, Dean, so say yes and just fucking end this!”

Dean’s back is still to him, shoulders high and tense, bag clutched in his hand until he drops it, just opens his hand and it lands hard next to him.  “There’s no hope left,” he says, low, defeated; Sam can barely hear him.  But he sounds like this is the end.  “Cas has given up.”

That hurts so much it takes Sam’s breath away.  “So that’s it?  Cas quits so you do too?  After everything we’ve been through?”  Dean doesn’t move, doesn’t nod or shake his head.  He just stands there.  “Fine.  Then say yes.  Say it now.  I’ll say it too.  Bring it on.  Let it happen.  Let them fight because I don’t care anymore, Dean.”

“Lots of people will die.”  It’s an old line and it sounds run down and weary.

“People are dying,” Sam responds in the same flat tone and for a while all he can hear is the rain.  Then Dean says quietly,

“We’ll die.”

It stings but at the same time it’s a relief to hear sorrow in his brother’s voice and he echoes it.  “If you’ve quit on me, Dean, I don’t have anything to live for.”

Dean turns suddenly, spins and starts towards him, fists clenched.  Sam doesn’t flinch.  If Dean wants to take a swing, that’s fine.  After tonight, if his brother wants to beat him unconscious he’ll let him.  But he stops, inches away, so angry, so very angry.

“You want to finish what you started, Sam?” he growls, “You started the apocalypse, now you want to end the world?”  He can lie to himself; the tears in his eyes could easily be rain.  He doesn’t answer, just holds his ground and stares into his brother’s stormy face.  Dean takes two deep breaths.  “What do you want from me?”

“I want you to not give up.  I want you to have faith in yourself even if you can’t have faith in me.  I don’t want you to throw your own brother in the fucking trash just because an outcast angel has lost faith in his god!”

Something changes in Dean’s face, like a switch has been thrown, and for a second Sam sees his brother look at him the way he used to, before Heaven and Hell screwed up their lives even worse than they were.  “Throw you away?  Sammy, what the fuck....?”  Sam holds out his trembling hand, fingers open, the amulet covered in blood, digging into the centre of his palm.  “Before Cas, you would never take this off.  This is us, Dean!  This is what you mean to me, what I... what I mean to you.”  He is crying now, tears blurring his eyes, nose running.  “And you’re throwing it away?”  This is all he has left, everything he is now is being poured into this moment.  He knows if Dean walks away he will say yes, because he has nothing left to lose and one of them has to end it because he can’t take any more.

Then Dean’s hand is under his, supporting it, and it feels heavy all of a sudden, aching as Dean takes the amulet carefully from his palm and the rain washes away the blood.  “Sammy....”  The anger’s gone, just like that, and he sounds scared and small, “... I’m sorry.”  He drops the leather cord over his head and the pendant stops against his shirt.  “I don’t know what to do.”

Sam stares at the tiny bronze face against the dark of Dean’s soaked clothing.  “I know.  Me neither.  But I need you, because without you I can’t do this.  I can’t fight this alone and I don’t want to.”  He watches Dean’s chest rise and fall, then Dean’s taking a step forward, fingers pushing into his dripping wet hair, pulling his head down until they’re forehead to forehead. 

“No matter what, Sam,” he says, eyes closed, voice fierce, “you’re my brother.  That’s what you mean to me, what you’ll always mean to me.”

Sam takes a deep, deep breath and relaxes just a little.  Soul mates.  He thinks it.  But he doesn’t say it.  It’s too much like clinging to hope.