Disclaimer: Supernatural and its characters are the property of Eric Kripke. Sadly, I do not own any of these guys.
A/N: Alright, here's the happy ending I felt compelled to add after all that nastiness before. Feel free to ignore it if you want to experience the story the way I did. *shudder* But if you want some Awesome Big Brother Dean after all that Psycho-Dean, then please read on. ;)
"Sam? Sammy!" Dean shouted, shaking his trembling brother as he whimpered and writhed in the throes of a nightmare. He hadn't been planning to talk to his brother again until at least the following morning, especially when he had found the door locked. But the instant he'd heard Sam scream in the middle of the night, he was up and out of bed in record time, picking the lock and racing to his little brother's aid like nothing had ever happened. "Come on, man, wake up!"
He shook Sam's shoulders again, wincing when his brother cried out as if in pain and released a new stream of tears from the corners of his eyes. Mad at his brother or not, he'd never want him to suffer like this for any reason. When he was beginning to think he'd just have to give up and sit beside his brother through the whole thing, Sam shot up with a gasp, hands flying to his chest as he nearly hyperventilated in his desire to take a breath.
"Hey, easy, Sammy. You need to –"
Dean wasn't at all prepared for the reaction that seeing his face got out of his brother. Sam's eyes widened so much it was almost comical, at least until he flinched back and screamed in terror, falling off of the bed and backing himself into the corner as tightly as his enormous body would allow. Now Dean was more than a little panicked, himself.
"Sammy, take it easy. It's just me," he said softly, beginning to crawl toward his brother until the sound of breathless sobbing halted him in his tracks.
"Just… just kill me if you're going to…" Sam gulped out between harsh breaths. "I can't… I can't do this… any… more…"
Dean couldn't make any sense out of a word Sam had just said, but he could tell that this train of thought was going nowhere good. Without a second thought, he leaned forward the rest of the way and wrapped his arms around his brother, pulling him into a tight hug with the younger man held flush against his chest. Sam immediately tried to back away, bucking and struggling and screaming when he found out he couldn't.
"Sam," Dean said softly, loud enough that he knew Sam could hear him but hopefully not enough to spook him further. "You're okay. Everything's fine. Take a breath, alright? Try to do it with me." He inhaled and then exhaled, deeply and slowly, exaggerating it so that Sam could feel it against his own chest and hopefully do the same. It took a few attempts, but eventually Sam began to copy Dean's breathing pattern, some of the tension leaving his shivering muscles as he leaned ever so slightly closer to his big brother.
"There you go, that's good," Dean said gently, unintentionally speaking to Sam the way he had when they were both children and Sam was prone to night terrors. "You ready to move back to the bed?" Sam nodded slowly, attempting to stand up on his own and ending up falling when his legs trembled like a newborn colt's. The second attempt was much more successful, with Dean carrying the majority of his weight and depositing him gently on the mattress.
"Thanks…" Sam said unsteadily, closing his eyes against the headache that was already beginning to build behind his eyes thanks to the stress and tears.
"Don't mention it," Dean said, making a mental note to be sure and give Sam some Tylenol before he left the room. "But Sam… What the hell was that?"
Sam flinched visibly, his head dipping low in embarrassment before he looked back up at his brother. "I… I don't think I can talk about it just yet."
"Alright, fair enough. You want to go back to sleep?"
Sam shuddered. "I doubt I can right now."
"I can get you some sleeping pills or something, if you need them."
"Could you… Maybe, ah… Stay here, for just a little while?"
Dean was taken aback by that question. Apparently Sam had forgotten that he was the one who didn't want Dean around anymore. He was really starting to get emotional whiplash here.
"Alright, but on one condition," he said firmly, wincing only slightly when he realized he'd put a little too much John Winchester into his tone.
"Okay…" Sam said apprehensively.
"When you wake up, we're talking about whatever this nightmare was. Got it?"
Sam swallowed hard, shivering once at the memory. "Got it."
Dean smiled, thankful for small victories. "Alright, then," he said, sitting down in the desk chair beside Sam's bed. "Get some rest, man."
Sam was asleep within minutes, and Dean smiled sadly, his heart only a little lighter after this recent turn of events. He knew that after tonight Sam was probably going to be even more withdrawn than ever, and what had transpired last night between them was most definitely not forgotten. But for now, he had his little brother back, and he'd take whatever he could get. After all, that was all he could ever really do.