Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand, Six Hundred Minutes
Disclaimer: Owned by Kripke, Singer and the CW, lucky bastards!
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 heíd managed to pull it offódinner at one of Palo Altoís 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. Letís 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 Jukiní" or.... Well, the point was, musicals were just not his shot of Jackóor so heíd thought. But by the end of the play heíd been enchanted, and the next day heíd 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 Deanís fingers like so much sand. Five hundred twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutesóthat was how long Dean had been given in return for Samís 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 couldnít.
How did you measure the life of a manóof your brotheróof 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?
Thereís 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 Samís 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 futureóthe one without Dean in it. Samís 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 dťcor 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 wasnít 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 Samís shoulder. Sam hadnít realized heíd spoken out loud. "You will because youíre stronger than you realize, and I have faith in you." Sam knew Dean didnít believe in God or a higher power so to hear his brother say that Deanís faith was in him didnít 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 couldnít tell where he ended and Dean began, and then buried his face in Deanís neck. "Donít leave me, donít leave me, donít leave me," he begged, sobbing quietly as he held on for dear life. For both their lives.