Supernatural is owned by Eric Kripke and the CW.

Takes place after 10x14 Executioner's Song.

Written because of this Tumblr post about Jaxcon 2016: ( post/137504174031/tbh-the-best-thing-im-taking-away-from-this-panel)
tbh the best thing i'm taking away from this panel is that jensen would've liked an explanation/reasoning in the show for why dean feels like such a failure when he asks for help and what happened in his past to make him so against asking for help from sam and his friends and why he feels the need to carry weights all by himself. like that is fucking amazing can we get a flashback story please?

The bunker was quiet without Sam. Dean only really noticed the noise and feel of home it caused when he was missing; and recently Sam had been leaving for unexplained hours.

Unconsciously Dean rubbed his right arm where the Mark of Cain was currently hidden under his sleeve. He knew that Sam's recent distance was because of it. He wasn't sure if he was concerned or grateful; but ever since the fight with Cain, Dean wasn't sure he trusted himself.

He needed help, he just couldn't bring himself to ask for it.

He stood up and started making himself a cup of coffee, and pulled out his laptop. Maybe he could find himself a case. Lately the only time he felt at peace was when he was working a job. The news was mostly normal stories. Crash accidents, a jealous lover, some local gang activity. There was a story in the Austin local news about their growing homeless problem, specifically with panhandlers.

The story caught his interest for purely nostalgic reasons. Austin was the first time he had understood why the person on the corner was there.

Dean couldn't have been more than five or six when he tugged on his father's arm as they walked past a person holding a cardboard sign up asking for help.

"What is that man doing?"

John had knelt down so he was face to face with his son. "They probably fell on some tough times and now they need help from strangers to try to get back on their feet."

"Oh." Dean said. "Why aren't their families helping?"

"I don't know." His dad had replied. "Maybe they don't have a family anymore." Dean nodded as he processed the new information, and smiling up at his dad, resolved to never ask strangers for help. He wouldn't ever need to. He had the best dad ever and he would make sure that Sam never had to ask for help from strangers either.

Licking his lower lip Dean continued to scour the news for a case, putting the memory firmly out of his mind.

He couldn't find any strange occurrences though so he closed his laptop and went downstairs to their shooting range. Maybe the familiar feel of a gun would help take some of the edge off. The pull of the Mark was getting worse.

Bang

Pulling the trigger felt natural to him, almost as natural as breathing. The explosion and recoil felt good, and the slight ring in his ears afterwards helped him forget himself for a moment.

"Okay Dean, now that you've got the right grip, aim at those bottles over there. Make sure you're ready for the recoil." His dad took a step back. "Now inhale and shoot on the exhale."

Bang! Crack!

Dean looked over his shoulder at his dad with a giant smile.

"Now try hitting the other ones."

He turned back around and aimed. Bullseye every time.

His dad smiled at him. "Keep this up and you can start helping me on hunts."

"You don't need help because you're the best." Dean said as he tried and failed to hold back his smile.

"I'm sure one day you'll be even better than me, son."

Dean knew better. He would never be a better Hunter.

Bang.

"I had your pop on my rack for close to a century." Alastair had said as he watched Dean sort through the tools for torture on the cart.

"You can't stall forever." Dean said.

"John Winchester. Made a good name for himself. A hundred years." His voice had grated on Dean's frayed nerves. "After each session, I'd make him the same offer I made you. I'd put down my blade if he picked one up."

"Just give me the demon's name, Alastair."

"But he said nein each and every time. Oh, damned if I couldn't break him." Dean took off his leather jacket as he half listened to Alastair, folded it carefully then put it under the cart. "Pulled out all the stops, but John, he was, well, made of something unique. The stuff of heroes. And then came Dean. Dean Winchester. I thought I was up against it again."

Dean had grabbed the whiskey and drank straight from the bottle. If he was going to become what he had been in Hell there was no way he was going to do it sober.

"But daddy's little girl, he broke. He broke in thirty. Oh, just not the man your daddy wanted you to be, huh, Dean?"

Bang

He hadn't been able to hold out. Hadn't been able to stop the apocalypse that he had started; and Sam had suffered the price for his failure.

Bang

Sam who time and time again tried to help but more often than not ended up making things worse. Drinking demon blood so he would be strong enough to end what Dean had started. Killing Lilith and releasing Lucifer. If he had just let him die back during the year after Jessica died instead of bringing him to that fake faith-healer.

But even then people had died to save his life. To save Dean fucking Winchester.

Bang

Dean had come back after visiting Reverend Roy Le Grange's house, throwing his keys on the bed, he took off his jacket as he looked at Sam sitting in front of his laptop.

.

"What'd you find out?" He had asked.

"I'm sorry." Sam had replied his voice barely above a whisper.

"Sorry about what?"

"Marshall Hall died at 4:17."

"The exact time I was healed." Dean replied stunned.

"Yeah. So, I put together a list of everyone Roy's healed, six people over the past year, and I cross-checked them with the local obits. Every time someone was healed, someone else died. And each time, the victim died of the same symptom LeGrange was healing at the time."

"Someone's healed of cancer, someone else dies of cancer?" Dean asked.

"Somehow. LeGrange...he's trading a life for another." Sam had said guilt in his voice.

"Wait, wait, wait. So, Marshall Hall died to save me?"

"Dean, the guy probably would've died anyway." Sam had tried to justify to his brother. "And someone else would've been healed."

"You never should've brought me here."

"Dean, I was just trying to save your life." Sam pleaded to his brother.

"But, Sam, some guy is dead now because of me."

"I didn't know."

Dean put the name Marshall Hall on the list of people whose death he had caused. A list that had only gotten longer over time.

Bang

His dad had joined that list not long after. Had sold his soul for his stupid son's life.

Bang

John Winchester should have let him die; should have watched out for Sammy instead of Dean. So many mistakes had been made, so much death, all for the sake of saving him.

Bang

Dean pulled the empty cartridge out, and put the safety back on. He went back upstairs after putting the gun away, not even bothering to look at his target. He knew the score.

His dad had never asked for help, and now he knew why. Helping meant death to the people they got to close to. Dean hadn't lied when he told Sam he was poison. He had never spoken truer words.

As he walked upstairs he pulled out his phone. Maybe Sam had called to tell him when he would be back, or someone might have a case for him; and while Castiel didn't usually leave messages over voicemail, he would sometimes send texts that had way too many emojis; but Dean's phone was silent. Not even a drunk text from Crowley.

He sighed and pulled out his laptop again, rubbing his hand over his scruff.

Cas was another example of someone who tried to help him but got the short end of the stick. The poor Angel had died for him, been cast out of heaven, had his grace stolen, possessed by Leviathan, left behind in Purgatory, brainwashed, and ostracized from his family. All because he had saved Dean from Hell.

Sam had asked Dean once why he prayed to Cas and not God. The only reply Dean could give him had been "Because he's family."

The Angel had certainly earned his honorary seat in the Winchester family. Made the same kind of mistakes and learned to love just as deeply. Maybe that's why even after all these years he still prayed to Cas. His own personal phone line. Someone he could trust and who he knew was listening.

But the Mark? This was to much, even for him. Cas couldn't help, Sam couldn't help, and they would kill themselves trying.

When Sam finally came home that night Dean told him about the job he had found. He didn't make a big deal out of Sam's absence or tell him what he really wanted to say, because he had already broken the people close to him before. He didn't think he could survive doing it again.

This was his burden to bear. He would do it alone, and when he couldn't take it anymore he would call in one last favor.