Author: Kat Lee
Dedicated To: Happy (late) birthday, my dear kiramaru7!!!!
Character/Pairing: Dean, Sam
Word Count: 420
Date Written: 26 October 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Kripke, not the author, and are used without permission.
“I’ll be back -- “ John had started to say only to have his teenaged son cut him off.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Dean had muttered darkly, not looking at his father, “when you’re back.” Those words seemed to hang now in the stale, dark air of the hotel room in which his father had left him. Dean sighed, rolled over, and punched a pillow. He hated this life sometimes.
But it hadn’t always been so bad, he had to admit, if only to himself as he rolled to his feet and padded over to his backpack. He unzipped it, took out a prepackaged cake, and tossed away its wrapper. Next came the candle he’d been hiding for months. He fished his lighter out of his pocket, lit the candle, and stuck it into the snack cake. As he gazed at the flickering flame, refusing to acknowledge the tears in his eyes, Dean knew exactly when this life had been better, the only time it had come close to being good. It was when he’d still had his brother with him.
His father wasn’t often right, but he was right about one thing. Sammy had a right to live his own life. He had a right to make a life for himself, if he could, away from the monsters and the hunting and all that made their lives so terrible. It wasn’t his fault that that meant he also had the right to take away from Dean the one thing that had ever made him happy.
Dean sniffled and shoved his fists angrily across his eyes. He was not crying. Winchesters did not cry. Grown men did not cry, and he’d been grown up ever since the night that thing had killed his mother. He’d been grown up and protecting Sammy ever since, and this -- letting go of his kid brother so that he had a chance to live his own life -- was just another part of that protection, no matter how badly it hurt him. His feelings didn’t matter after all; Sammy was all that mattered.
Dean leaned over the little cake with its single, flickering candle. He thought of his brother, wondered where he was and what he was doing now, and hoped with all his heart that he was happy. At least one of them could be happy. At least one of them could live. “Happy birthday, Sammy,” he whispered and blew out the one light that still penetrated the darkness that had settled around him with the night.