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Silence is Golden

Title: Silence is Golden
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating/Pairing: PG/gen
Notes: Very pre-series. Sometimes silence means noise, and sometimes it doesn't, and words can be weapons as well as tools. Written for spnflashfic's fight challenge.




"You totally suck. I hate you. I'm not talking to you," Sam announced sulkily, glaring across the table at Dean through a fringe of hair that needed cutting again. "Ever."

"Fine by me," Dean shot back. God, baby brothers were so fucking annoying sometimes. At least this way there was a chance of them spending a quiet evening.

(Please, God.)

But after a few minutes, Sam started humming, loudly and off-key. Dean kicked his chair -- there was just enough distance between them, and Dean was just enough taller, that Dean's legs could reach and Sam's couldn't -- and said "Shut up, Sammy," but Sam scooted his chair back from the table and hummed louder. It wasn't even a recognizable melody.

And then he started talking. Out loud. About everything and nothing.

"I thought you weren't going to talk to me," Dean said loudly.

Sam paused to take a breath, and then without looking up, said, "and it's a good thing there isn't anyone in the room, because they might think I was talking to THEM, but I'm just talking to MYSELF, that's all," and then went back to his babbling. His loud, relentless babbling, sometimes in sing-song, sometimes in a made-up language, a constant wall of noise.

Dean honestly didn't care whether Sam was willing to talk to him, but this? This was beyond the bounds of what he was willing to put up with. He slammed his book down on the table (Dad would have given him a Talk about treating research materials with more respect, but Dad wasn't fucking here.) "That's enough," he said, trying to sound as much like Dad as possible. "Sammy, I swear to God, if you don't shut up..."

He didn't.

Fine.

"I'm going to tell Dad," Dean said in a low, determined voice. "Everything you did while he was gone and a whooole lot of stuff you didn't, and he'll believe me because I'm older, and you'll be in so much trouble you won't be able to sit down for a WEEK." He glared at Sam, who had gone quiet and wide-eyed. "And you know what else? I'm going to pretend you aren't even here. And I'm real good at pretending."

And for the rest of the day, that's what he did. He carefully didn't look at Sam; bumped into him sometimes, and didn't bother saying sorry; went to the bathroom when he wanted, never mind if Sam was in there or not; did everything in stubborn silence, because hey, that's what the whole thing was about, right? Not talking?

He did -- accidentally. of course -- make just a bit too much mac and cheese for dinner. Not that he couldn't have eaten the whole thing, but he left the pan he'd been eating out of sitting on the table, and paid enough attention to make sure that Sam crept up and ate. But that was all accidental. Dean was done taking care of stupid fucking baby brothers.

That night, somewhere around midnight or so, Dean woke to the sound of slow shuffling footsteps by his bed. He kept his eyes closed, and his breathing slow and even, ignoring the fact that Sam was there.

"Dean?" A moonlight-soft whisper, threaded with a raggedness that meant Sam had been crying. "Dean, you awake?"

Dean didn't bother to answer, and Sam sighed. There was a thump as he dropped to his knees by the bed. "Dean, don't be mad at me, please, I'm sorry, I am. I don't care what you tell Dad, please, just stop being mad at me?"

"I thought you weren't talking to me," Dean mumbled into his pillow, and Sam flinched backwards.

"I ... I'm not." He was obviously trying to sound stubborn, but his voice wobbled too much to be anything but pathetic.

"Good."

Sam said nothing, just made a choked-off lost-sounding little half-sob. Dean finally opened his eyes, but Sam's face was too much in shadow for him to see his brother's expression.

"'Night, Dean," Sam said finally, completely miserable, and turned to leave.

"Hey." Dean rolled over and lifted his end of the blanket. "Heater's busted, we might as well conserve energy."

Sam drifted over, even as he asked, hesitant, "You sure?"

Dean just made an impatient gesture with the hand holding the blanket, and Sam quickly bounded onto the bed and burrowed beneath the covers, his body cool in contrast to the cocoon of heat that Dean had built up.

"Thanks, Dean," Sam mumbled, and was asleep quickly.

Dean waited until Sam's breathing had evened out before he brushed the (still way too long) hair back from his brother's face and snuggled closer with his arm draped (for warmth, of course, not anything else) over Sam's body. Knowing Sam wouldn't hear anything he said, he whispered, lovingly, "You are such a freak."

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