At first, he thinks he’s on a hunt.
There’s a gun in his hand. He feels like he’s searching for something. This house is creepy as fuck and perfect for a haunting. All of that equals a hunt.
It isn’t until he finds Sam in the third room he checks that he realizes what he was really looking for. They must have gotten separated or something.
He’s so relieved that Sam is okay. He moves toward his brother, but Sam steps away from him, glaring furiously. Dean pauses, wondering what the problem is. He takes another step forward and Sam takes another step back.
“Always were too stupid to learn anything the first time,” Sam scoffs.
Dean stops dead at that and when Sam steps forward, he takes a step back.
“Huh, look at that. Looks like you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you sure can teach a dumb one,” Sam says.
“Sammy,” Dean says.
“Shut up,” Sam replies, “I don’t want to hear it from you. You’ve had enough say without my input, don’t you think? I’m sick and tired of you trying to control my life. I don’t fucking need you. I’ve never needed you.”
“Sam, I’m not…” Dean starts.
“I don’t want to hear it!” Sam snaps. He stares at Dean, anger darkening his features.
“Give me your gun.”
Dean stills. The four words echo in his brain and he knows what’s coming. He kneels slowly and slides his gun across the floor to Sam’s feet. He doesn’t stand back up. No point. It would just be further to fall.
His gaze isn’t focused on the gun pointed at his head. It’s on Sammy, whose expression is twisted with anger and disgust. Dean is sure Sam can’t wait to rid himself of the scum that’s stained him for too long. Even so, Dean still wants his Sammy to be the last thing he sees.
Sam hesitates. Dean can see him wishing it didn’t have to come to this.
But Dean understands. He knows why Sam is doing this.
“It’s the only way I can be free,” Sam says, more resigned than sad. Dean nods.
He’s looking into Sam’s hazel eyes as the shot goes off.
They both shot straight up in bed, gasping for air.
Dean caught sight of Bobby heading their way before he closed his eyes and tried to calm down. The two of them were practiced. They hadn’t woken up with any more noise than the quiet gasps. But Sam was starting to flip out.
Dean wrestled himself under control, beat down his hurt and betrayal and anger. Sam needed him. He had to take care of Sam, because his brother was well on his way to a full blown panic attack.
“Sam,” he said as he moved over to that side of the bed. “Sam,” he repeated firmly, jerking his head so their eyes could meet. “I’m fine. I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere. It’s okay.”
For a moment, Sam stared at him with wide, uncomprehending eyes. Then he threw himself at Dean. He was sobbing, apologizing, desperately assuring he didn’t mean it and he would never.
Dean sighed and wrapped his arms around his brother, soothing the way he used to when Sam was little and still trusted Dean to protect him from monsters instead of insisting that he could protect himself.
“It’s fine, Sammy,” he said. “I know you wouldn’t do that. It was just a dream. It wasn’t real. It’s okay.” He hushed and petted and soothed until Sam managed to fall back asleep.
Dean finally looked at Bobby then. The other man simply raised an eyebrow, clearly asking what the hell the dream was about. Dean shrugged and looked away.
“Bull-fucking-shit. Whatever it was about had Sam sobbing like a little girl that just saw her first monster, saying he needed you and loved you. That ain’t nothing. What the fuck happened? I know you know because you both woke up at the same time.”
The blond hunter exhaled slowly, but didn’t look at Bobby. “Sam shot me in the head,” he said blankly. “Said it was the only way for him to be free.”
Bobby was silent for almost five full minutes. “Was that your dream or his?”
Dean shrugged. Did it matter?