Title: Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand, Six Hundred Minutes
By: Angyl
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: PG-13
Warning: incest
Spoilers: Up to and including season 3
Disclaimer: Owned by Kripke, Singer and the CW, lucky bastards!
Summary: Sam contemplates the slow count down of days as they race towards Dean's deadline.

For their first anniversary as a couple Sam had wanted to surprise Jessica with a really romantic evening. It meant a lot of fore-planning and extra shifts at the coffee shop he worked at as well as some good old-fashioned Winchester hustling at pool halls and poker tables, but he’d managed to pull it off—dinner at one of Palo Alto’s best restaurants followed by tickets to a show that Jess had been raving about for months: Rent.

Sam had expected to be bored to tears. Let’s face it, growing up as he had, he could probably recite the lyrics to "Iron Man" in his sleep, or "Free Bird," or "Down South Jukin’" or.... Well, the point was, musicals were just not his shot of Jack—or so he’d thought. But by the end of the play he’d been enchanted, and the next day he’d gone out and bought the soundtrack to both the Broadway production and the movie.

He still listened to it sometimes; it was on his iPod, and there was just so much of mullet rock he could take even if it did make Dean smile to be driving down the back roads of their state de jour with windows open and stereo blaring "Back in Black" or "Ina-Gadda-Da-Vida."

Truth was, he could relate to those songs more and more as each day slipped through Dean’s fingers like so much sand. Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes—that was how long Dean had been given in return for Sam’s soul. Bought cheap, Dean said... bought for more than Sam was worth or so he thought in the darkest part of the night while watching Dean sleep when he couldn’t.

How did you measure the life of a man—of your brother—of the most important person in your life? Sam wondered. How many times had he cried alone in the Impala, unwilling to let his brother watch him shake apart with fear and loneliness? How many bridges had he burned in denial while he tried desperately to find a way to save Dean? How was Dean gonna die? Would he just go to sleep; would the demon come for him; would Sam have to watch as hellhounds dragged him away?

There’s only this; forget regret, or life is yours to miss.... The song played in his head, lyrics of tragedy, loss, pain and possible redemption; it was the music of Sam’s life as the days sped up, suns and moons passing at cosmic speed with hellfire looming ever closer and the sound of hellhounds baying somewhere in the distance.

Sam had wasted so much time denying that he needed Dean as much as Dean needed him. Even now the thought of being without Dean was like an icy blade straight through his heart. He had no doubt that the nightmare that the Trickster had shown him was, in fact, his future—the one without Dean in it. Sam’s blood froze in his veins, and his heart stuttered painfully at the thought. He sat up in bed in another fire-trap motel with garish décor and clutched at his chest, despair freezing the air in his lungs and making it next to impossible to breathe.

There was no sound other than his panicked hyperventilating, but Sam wasn’t surprised when he felt the bed dip and strong arms curl around his waist, pulling him back against a rock solid chest. His rock, how would he go on without Dean?

"You will because you have to, Sam," Dean whispered, his chin resting on Sam’s shoulder. Sam hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud. "You will because you’re stronger than you realize, and I have faith in you." Sam knew Dean didn’t believe in God or a higher power so to hear his brother say that Dean’s faith was in him didn’t just put a chink in the armor surrounding his fears and anguish, it melted it to slag.

Scrambling around to face Dean, Sam latched on with all his strength, wrapping himself around his brother until he couldn’t tell where he ended and Dean began, and then buried his face in Dean’s neck. "Don’t leave me, don’t leave me, don’t leave me," he begged, sobbing quietly as he held on for dear life. For both their lives.