Sam enters the room and sits on one of the beds. He leans against the headboard, stretching his legs out. He doesn’t take his boots off – he’s not ready to get that comfortable, not ready to make that commitment to staying here. Dean assumes the same position on the other bed, and Sam waits. Waits for Dean to turn on the TV, announce he’s going out to get food (beer, laid, whatever), or do any of the other things he does to signal that This Conversation Is Not Happening Right Now, And Maybe Not Ever. But he doesn’t. He sits and he stares at his thumb and he starts picking at a blister (and oh, there’s a good analogy for this conversation, thinks Sam) and just when Sam can’t stand it any more, when he’s about to say something, something that would almost certainly not help, Dean speaks.
“So you get it,” he says.
"I get it?”
Dean sighs, still concentrating on his thumb. Clearly annoyed that Sam is actually going to make him say this out loud, he continues. “You want to be here with me even though you want to kick my ass. Or maybe, maybe it’s not that you want to be here with me. Maybe it’s just that you need it, whether you want it or not. So it’s the same thing, right? So you should understand."
“Understand what?” says Sam. Because really, he's not going to make this any easier.
Dean rolls his eyes. “Fuck, Sam. I wanted you to be happy, okay? I’ve always wanted you to be happy. But if being dead is what makes you happy, then I’m sorry, I can’t do that. You can’t ask me to do that. I need you to be alive. I need you to be here with me even though I want you to be happy. And if we’re going to… whatever… you have to accept that. I’m always going to try to keep you alive, Sam. If you can’t deal with that, you may as well…” May as well leave, he doesn’t say out loud, but it hangs there between them.
“Okay, here’s what you have to accept. I need you to not keep secrets from me when they’re secrets about me. This isn’t the first time, and I just can’t. Not any more. It makes it impossible to trust you.”
Dean opens his mouth like he’s going to protest, to deny he’s done that, and Sam kind of hopes he will. Because the part of him that still wants to kick Dean’s ass? He’d totally let it take over. And he should feel guilty about that, about wanting an excuse to hurt his brother, but he doesn’t. Not yet. But Dean doesn’t give him the opportunity. He just nods and says “Okay.”
Sam is not sure if he’s actually achieved anything. Their uneasy truce feels slightly more solid, but it’s still just that – a truce. The blister is popped but it’s not healed. Dean doesn’t seem satisfied either; he’s still sitting silently on the bed, not turning on the TV or rolling over or changing the subject or giving any of the other signals for This Conversation Is Officially Over.
Finally he speaks. “I did try to tell you. Remember? After Vesta? I tried to tell you, but Zeke. Gadreel. He stopped me. He wouldn’t let me.” Sam’s anger starts to bubble up again, because seriously? You don’t get to be the victim here, Dean. You don’t get to use your sad voice and whine that the fucking psycho angel was mean to you. He’s not going to give that to him. He’s not going to tell him hey, thanks for trying, you get an A for effort.
The room really is untouched. Glasses still with their little paper caps, towels folded precisely on their bars. The bed was unused until Sam got there, and he pictures Dean sitting at the small desk, staring at the wall, like a schoolboy told to stand in the corner. Think about what you’ve done. Feel bad about this. You’re supposed to feel bad about this.
Dean starts again. “How are you doing? We didn’t really get to… are you okay?”
Fuck. Sam still wants to hurt him. “Physically, I’m fine. Mentally? I keep seeing Kevin. Every time I try to go to sleep, I remember killing Kevin. And yeah, I know, don’t tell me it wasn’t me, because it doesn’t matter. I still see my hand on his forehead. It’s still me. Killing Kevin.” And fuck if it doesn’t feel good to see Dean wince at that (except of course that it also doesn’t), because Sam’s body has done horrible things under someone else’s control, and Dean will never understand what it’s like to live with that knowledge. And he needs to know, dammit.
“What about Cas? Do you ever remember that?” Dean asks tentatively.
“No.” God, what else happened? “What do you mean? What about Cas?” Of course he’s going to regret the no-secrets policy. Because everything he wants is also exactly what he doesn’t want.
“You saved him. Remember? The reaper?” Dean swings around to face Sam, suddenly animated. “You saved him, Sam. I told you I forced the reaper to bring him back, but it was you. Well, not you you. But if you’re going to blame yourself for killing Kevin, you have to give yourself credit for bringing Cas back. And Charlie! Remember the witch in the bunker? She killed Charlie, and Gadreel saved her. You don’t remember any of that?”
Sam remembers the Sam part of those events. He remembers seeing the reaper kill Cas, and waking up to find him alive again. He remembers Dean acting kind of freaky after the run-in with the witch. But he’s no longer in his own headspace and he can’t pull up the rest. “No,” he says sadly. “I don’t remember.”
"I'm sorry, Sam. I really wish you did.”
“Yeah, me too. But thanks for telling me.”
Dean leans back on the bed and picks up the remote. “Wanna watch TV?”
Conversation over. And it’s okay. It probably won’t be okay tomorrow, and things are going to be really uncomfortable for a while, but right here, right now? It’s okay.
“Yeah,” says Sam. He tries to remember Castiel’s heart fluttering back into rhythm under his hand, and he unties his boots.