Story notes: This is an AU. Gen, no rating. Feedback of all types - positive and negative - is much appreciated.
Spoilers: 1x12 ("Faith") – in fact, the story will not make sense to anyone who hasn't seen this episode.
Betaed by Solo, Jo Lasalle, Katja, Gwendolen, Without_me, Auntpurl, and Chaneen. Again, thank you very much! You all helped me enormously.

Last Truce

by Sylvia


Dean never stops whining about his stupid car.

"That car was a classic," he whines. "I loved that car. Seriously, man, you shouldn't have done that."

Sam ignores him. They have a new car now, bought cheap off a grateful client. Sam always drives, and they usually drive at night.

Dean thinks this is stupid, on both counts. "Did anything Dad taught you stick in your brain, college boy?"

Driver makes the rules.

When Sam reminds his brother of this, Dean harrumphs and looks out the side window in a classic sulk, too-long eyelashes and obstinate set of the jaw making him look weirdly young. But soon his shoulders relax and his posture eases, and he leans back into the seat and looks over at Sam thoughtfully, and Sam knows he's been forgiven. In another couple of minutes Dean will come out with something entirely unrelated and probably concerned with the bloodthirsty creature they're heading towards.

It's easy to be forgiven by Dean. It's always been easy, and that, at least, hasn't changed. Even the big things… Give him some time to cool down and Dean will relent, and not even make you pay for it, or not more than you can afford.

Sam's different. Sam can't let go – he never could. Maybe it's because he's selfish.

He must be, because he'd do it all again without the slightest hesitation.

They find a motel just before dawn. Dean looks worn-out and pale in the dim pre-morning light, and Sam reaches out without thinking. But Dean gives him a smile, and his shoulder is reassuringly solid beneath Sam's hand.

"So, you think it's a ghoul?" Sam asks once he's settled into bed. When Dean doesn't answer, Sam turns over and goes to sleep. There'll be time enough to talk this over when they hit the road tonight.

He wakes with a start, Dean's silver knife in hand. Dean snorts and jostles the bed again; he's wearing the same things he always does, hair brushed and gelled in the usual stylish spiky way. Dean's always been vain.

"Dude," Dean says before Sam can do anything but swing his feet over the edge of the bed. "You shouldn't have done that to my car."

"Yeah, I should have," he says, and Dean stares at him accusingly and sulks for a while.


It turns out the thing that's been snacking on people isn't a ghoul, after all. It's not a zombie, either, or a vampire, or anything that Sam knows; it's more like a cross between the two, from what they gather from Dad's journal. Because yes, of course there's an entry on whatever it is, even if neither Sam nor Dean can pronounce its name. Sam is pretty sure it's misspelled in some way. Wiederschmätzer? Seriously.

They dub it Jaws instead.

Dean waits outside the cemetery gates. Sam goes in to burn the shroud. The earth is undisturbed by the dead thing's rising, but even so the grave is impossible to miss; Jaws has a habit of chewing on things, and no table manners to speak of. It's at home when Sam breaks open the coffin, and for a couple of minutes it looks like an easy kill, but Sam's hand is slippery with sweat and dirt and the various stinking fluids leaking from Jaws' rotting body, and he slips. His cross clatters to the ground, Jaws makes a break for it, and Sam tumbles into the open grave and the utterly disgusting coffin.

By the time he's clawed out of the mess of decaying flesh and tangled, chewed-up shroud, Jaws is almost on top of Dean.

It has more teeth than anything that used to be human has a right to. Sam gets a good look as it opens up to bite Dean's head off.

Things get a bit confused, but Sam remembers his own voice screaming, and Dean standing unnaturally still with a weird look on his face, and too many sharp teeth and a flash of really bright light and the sound of a Wiederschmätzer shrieking.

Dean is still standing in the same spot, his face in shadow, when Sam barrels through the cemetery gates. He's looking down at the unmoving heap that used to be a walking corpse, and Sam hesitates for a moment, but he's scared and shaking and even if it's stupid and he knows it he reaches out anyway to assure himself that nothing happened to Dean.

Nothing did happen to Dean, of course, and Sam knew that already, but even so Dean allows him to draw a filthy hand along his neck. The skin is smooth and cool to the touch.

"Man," Dean says a moment later. "Did you see that? Was that cool or what?"

The edge to Sam's laugh sounds slightly hysterical in his own ears, but it really was cool, so he just agrees and doesn't ask any questions.


"Sam," Dean says, and he doesn't even have to finish the sentence.

Sam sighs. "You're never going to let it go, are you?"

It's a stupid thing to say – he's pretty sure Dean can't let it go, couldn't even if he wanted to. There are rules to this kind of thing, and they've never spoken about it, but given everything, Sam can take a pretty good guess at some of them.

He glances over at Dean, and sure enough, Dean is giving him a look that makes him flush with embarrassment.

After a moment, Dean relents unexpectedly, looking away to watch the night pass by behind the window. When he speaks again his voice is soft, almost gentle. "You could always say you're sorry."

"I'm not sorry!" It comes out harshly and rather aggressively, and the reflection of Dean's face closes down into a frown.

Sam breathes deeply for a couple of miles before he trusts himself to speak again. He knows he should ask, because he knows he should be able to let go. "Do you want me to apologize?"

Dean doesn't answer right away.

Sam isn't sure he can apologize, if Dean asks him to. He should. He knows Dean would, in his place. But there's abstract ideals like right and wrong, and there's situations where abstracts just don't apply, because other things are more important.

For example... If Sam had been the one to see the reaper, not Dean – if Sam had been the one to realize that all Le Grange was doing was exchanging one life for another – he would not have stopped the man. Not before he healed Dean. Sam knows this about himself now, and he's less bothered by the knowledge than he suspects he should be.

But Dean is not like Sam. The rage and grief of it burn in Sam even now, and his hands tighten on the steering wheel.

He can feel the weight of Dean's attention on him – he always could, but it's stronger now, almost like a physical touch. It's probably something to do with Sam's Shining. Either that, or it's just his imagination.

Dean's smile is the same it's always been, even when nothing else is. He reaches over to ruffle Sam's hair, and duly ignores Sam's protest. "Whatever, Sammy. You gotta do what you gotta do."

This is all that's left. He'll do whatever he has to in order to keep it. He thinks he'd keep Dean here even if he wanted to go, and the relief that Dean will not force him to find out for sure is strong enough to lodge in his chest like pain.

Take care of that car, Dean had said. Or else.

Sam remembers the feel of the crowbar in his hands, the sound of glass shattering, the dull impact of metal on metal. He'd taken the crowbar to the motor after smashing the headlights and windows, and by the time he'd moved on, it had been only a twisted, stinking lump dribbling oil, water and gas. Last, he'd smashed the tape deck and broken apart every last one of Dean's cassettes, reeling out Twisted Sister and Skynyrd and Nazareth in long, gleaming tangles that he'd ground into the shards and oil and gasoline with his shoes. If he'd thought to bring a lighter, he would have set fire to the wreckage right there in the hospital parking lot.

"Thanks," Sam mumbles, and blinks a little until his vision is clear again. Dean pretends he's been looking out the window all along.

Sam never could let go.




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