I Can Do Nothing More

A wee story inspired by [x]. @ TorCon : “Jensen dreamt that Sam died, he couldn’t bring him back, and Dean gets out of the impala and hands the keys to a stranger.”

 

Beginnings are always easier to see than the end.

It’s easy to recognize a first time–the first time you saw him, you kissed him, you watched your name break in his smile as he came.

They’re flashbulbs, snapshots. Feelings that you sure you’ll never lose.

But last times–they’re harder to trace. Even when you know the end is coming, that death is chasing its inevitable tail, it’s a lot harder to recognize this as the last time you’ll fuck him. The last time you’ll punch him. The last time that he’ll say your name.

Maybe it’s because at some level nobody wants to believe in the last. Everybody wants to stay in the moment, to tell themselves that surely they’ll be more. Even if it’s only just one.

For Dean, it’s only when he’s watching Sam’s body burn, lit up like lightning on some deserted beach in Maine, that he realizes he can’t remember the last time Sam kissed him. Really kissed, in a way that meant something more than good night or hello or you’re an asshole, but I love you anyway.

Sam’s been sick–been dying–for a long time.

Dean didn’t know that today would be the day, though.

He wonders if Sam did.

They’d been laid up for a few days near the coast, chasing some lead that was shit. Sam hadn’t been great. But Dean had no idea this was it.

Sam’d woken up coughing, with a terrible fever and pain so bad he’d passed out.

He hadn’t been conscious all day, just got weaker and gray. More and more still.

In the evening, just before the ten o’clock news, his eyes had opened, but Dean knew right away it wasn’t him. Even before that flat scatter tone fell out of his mouth.

“Dean,” Ezekiel had said, thready and hoarse. “Your brother. I can do nothing more.”

Dean looked down at where their fingers were tangled, he and his brother’s. Held on tight.

“Ok,” he said.

There was a pause. He could feel angel highbeams on him, pouring out of Sam’s cloudy eyes.

“I will leave him,” Ezekiel said. Softer now. “It may be some time before I can find another vessel, but I will see you again. Soon.”

Those words from Sammy’s mouth, in some stark sketch of his voice, seemed especially cruel.

“Ok,” Dean said again, thumb tracing over Sam’s palm.

Wet fingers on his forehead. A little tap and press of flesh.

“He will be at peace. Know that, Dean. He will rest.”

There was a flash of grace, a rush of heat and light.

Sam’s hand fell from Dean’s face.

And he died.

On the beach, Sam burns fast, his body racing up to meet the stars.

Burns faster when Dean empties the trunk, tosses everything he can into the flames.

Salt. Silver. Iron. Guns freed from their bullets. Prayer books. Crosses.

Boxes of shit he can’t bring himself to open. Doesn’t want to know what’s inside.

One box flares up in blue. Another he swears seems to sing.

His cassette tapes, one by one. Each of them cracks like a shot the moment that they hit the flames.

By the time the sky is gray, the sun creeping up from the waves, all that’s left is Sam’s backpack. His duffel. His favorite gun. Sam’s journal, the one built from the bare bones of Dad’s.

His cell phone.

He piles it all in the front seat and drives towards civilization. The nearest strip mall. The nearest town.

He stops at a diner outside of Augusta. Pulls into a spot near the back.

He doesn’t know what he’s looking for until he sees her, a girl with a ponytail and beat-up Camaro.

He gets out and leans against the hood.

All in all, it’s easier than he’d have imagined. Giving his baby away.

“Are you sure?” she says for the fourth time, her eyes hungry over the Impala’s frame. The keys dangling heavy in her hand. They look like they fit.

“Yeah,” he says. “I’m sure. Just let me grab my stuff. And she’s yours.”

He walks out of the parking lot, Sam’s bag on his shoulder and his own in his hands.

He wants to. But he doesn’t look back.

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