Giving Back

Summary: Missing scene from 9x19. Sam was obviously suffering from blood loss. What happened between Dean killing the vamp and the boys leaving Jody's cabin? Basically a chance for Dean to act like Sammy's big brother again. *Hurt!Sam & Worried/angsty/protective!Dean* Spoilers for 09x19 Alex Annie, Alexis Ann.

Warnings: Warning for mild language and some schmoopy stuff.

Tags: 09x19 Alex Annie, Alexis Ann.

Spoilers: Yes, there will be spoilers so if you haven't seen the episode then you might want to avoid this one until you have.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything. This is merely written for the enjoyment of other fans.

Note: Thanks to Jenjoremy for both the plot bunny and the beta work! This was written to give a little extra brother bonding time than what we got to see. Hope you guys enjoy it.


"Look at me, bitch!"

The rage was there. The burning in his blood from the searing mark on his arm; the mark that was screaming for blood and got it as the sharp-edged blade sliced through the vampire's neck. Holding back in the last second, Dean Winchester leaned in close to whisper something in the wide-eyed dying vampire's ear before completing the act. He then stood there for a second to allow the rush to fade before a low sound from across the room filtered in slowly.

"Sam! Sammy!" Dean whirled, dropping the blade in his hand to bolt across the kitchen to where his younger brother was tied to a wooden chair. "Sonuvabitch!"

One look at Sam erased his sarcastic comment about his little brother losing his edge if several layers of duct tape could keep him stuck to the chair because the older brother quickly saw the pale face and wide eyes that indicated that his brother was close to passing out.

Of course what caused the vicious curses to start was the sight of the two thin tubes leading from Sam's arms to the buckets sitting on the floor on either side of his brother; Dean realized the goddamn vamps had been bleeding his little brother.

"…De'n…" Sam's words were slurred and whisper soft as he tried to look up at his brother, but his vision was too blurry to even keep his eyes open much less work on focusing.

The rush of killing the vamp quickly cooled as Dean began to work on carefully getting the tubes out, glaring at the bloody wounds made by a knife to insert the things. That made the receding burn of the brand on his arm sear back to life as Dean's temper warred with his surging big brother instincts that still came out whenever Sam was in danger or hurt.

Dean looked around the kitchen until he saw what he wanted. He grabbed two cloths to wrap around each arm as he gently removed each piece of tubing, quick to apply pressure to the wounds that continued to sluggishly bleed. He tried to ignore his madly beating heart; tried not to panic at how cold and clammy Sam's skin felt to his touch.

Tying the cloths as tightly as he could without cutting off circulation, Dean quickly but carefully cut the damn silver tape that was wrapped around Sam's chest, wrists and ankles, moving quickly to catch the younger man when Sam began to slide out of the chair with a moan of pain.

"Hey! Whoa, let's stay sitting for a second." Dean didn't like the pale face. Sam's huge hazel eyes showed both pain and shock, but also something else that he'd been seeing more and more in Sam lately, and that was fear…but he wasn't sure who the fear was directed toward. "How bad?"

Dropping his eyes to the nearly full buckets, Sam let his head fall back as he tried to breathe. He was pretty sure something was bruised, or possibly cracked, where the vampire had slammed the butt of the shotgun into his chest. "I…I think I might need some of…some of that…umm…back," he finally mumbled, trying to rub the center of his chest, but he was too weak. "Hurts."

"Okay, if you think you can move, I'm getting you clear." Dean's thoughts were centered on Sam rather than the nest, the vampires, the possibly innocent girl, or…

"De'n…" Sam tried to reach for his jacket when he went to help him up. "Jody."

Well that put an instant halt to Dean's plan to remove his brother from the scene. He inwardly cringed a little because he had forgotten that he and Sam weren't alone on this hunt. His little brother being hurt was a major problem, but leaving the house, even to get Sam clear, without finding Sheriff Jody Mills was unthinkable.

"Shit. This is why we don't involve other people very often. I can't handle worrying about more than you," Dean muttered, then sighed and reached down to carefully ease one of Sam's arms over his neck and shoulders to help him stand…or lean against him since actually standing was obviously not going to happen. "C'mon, Sasquatch. Let's go save the girl…or girls depending on things."

Sam hissed in pain as he tried to support himself but quickly realized he'd lost too much blood and would have to let Dean help him as they found the steps to the basement. He's eyes were still a little blurry but Sam still saw the spray of blood that happened as Jody swung the machete to take off the head vampire's head.

"I don't think she needs saving," he muttered to Dean who guided him to hold onto the railing before stepping closer to take in the scene. Sam could tell that Jody was badly hurt, and while the girl, Alex or Annie…Sam couldn't be sure what they were calling her, had obviously been turned, he didn't think she'd fed. "Y'know…he was a pain in our asses…but times like this…I miss Gordon."

"I know you've lost way too much blood when you say something that crazy, Sammy," Dean shot back. He whirled to grab his brother as Sam's legs finally gave out and sat him on the steps. He took a deep breath and took a better look around him. "Okay," he muttered, trying to decide the best way to handle this. "Can you walk on your own?" he asked the Sheriff of Sioux Falls as he took in the bruised and bloody face and badly injured knee.

Jody Mills had seen and done a lot since meeting the Winchester boys, more since she'd appointed herself surrogate Winchester watcher after Bobby's death, but this case made her wonder how these two had done all they had and still ended up as normal as they were.

Jody glanced at Alex, who was still staring at the woman she called 'Momma' right up to the moment she injected her with dead man's blood, and then to the decapitated female vampire. She finally moved her good eye to look at Dean before noticing the pale-faced younger Winchester barely conscious on the steps. It was obvious she was going to have to try and make it to the car on her own. "Do I have to move at marathon speed?" she asked tiredly, ignoring the pain she was in for the moment.

"Does Sam look like he'll be racing you to the car, Sheriff?" Dean took an automatic step back when the young girl moved closer, putting himself between her and his brother since he knew how bad the urge to feed must be for her now…and Sam was still dripping blood. "No, we're gonna go real slow…get you guys to the car and then I'm going to come back and collect some blood from this one. As long as the girl doesn't feed, we can make a cure to keep her from turning. Then I'm gonna destroy this place while you make sure she doesn't vamp out on Sam. He can't afford to lose anymore blood than he already has and the cure won't work if she feeds even once."

"I…I can get the blood," Sam offered, trying to stand only to fall back with a low grunt and a mutter that had Dean's eyebrows winging up.

"Right, sure you can, Sammy." He nodded sagely, moving back to kneel down and lift Sam's drooping head in his hands. "You with me in there, baby brother?"

Sam's eyes were huge as he tried to pinpoint his brother's voice even though Dean was right in front of him. "Yep," he nodded, staring at his arms with a sudden frown. "I…hate bleeding, De'n," he mumbled, and then said something else that Dean had to strain to hear. The older brother quirked a small smile.

"Yeah, I know. Vamps and ghouls do seem to like to try to bleed you out." Dean didn't need that reminder as he managed to get Sam back to his feet and eyed the steps with a groan. "These are the times when having a little brother four inches taller than me really bites," he muttered sourly, tossing a look over his shoulder. "You grab her while I get him up the steps."

Jody could have offered what little strength she had left to help Dean, but she knew better. She'd seen him snarl and growl at Bobby Singer too many times when it came to handling Sam, and she knew that no matter what, Dean would never let someone else touch his brother and especially not when he was hurt.

It seemed to take forever before they were back on the road to her family's cabin. She'd sat in the back seat of the Impala with a twitching Alex beside her while Sam huddled in the front seat wrapped in Dean's denim jacket as well as a blanket from the back.

Jody had sensed some tension between the boys earlier, but before Dean had gone back to get what was needed to help Alex and destroy the place, she'd caught the quiet words he'd whispered to his barely conscious brother and the way his hand had squeezed the back of Sam's neck.

She wasn't sure what was happening between them, what was worrying Sam, or what seemed to be making a change in Dean's already stoic and hard façade, but she hoped it was something they could heal from since she'd seen for herself how much Bobby had been right. Sam and Dean were all each other had, and she'd hate to see one of them hurt again.

It took Dean no time at all to collect the blood of Alex's sire and to burn the place to the ground so that no trace of the vamps would ever be found. It took him slightly longer to drive back to the cabin since he kept watching Sam who'd slowly given up leaning against the passenger door like he normally did to move closer to him until his head was on Dean's shoulder, and only then did Sam settle down into a mostly still sleep.

Arguing with Jody Mills reminded Dean of arguing with Bobby after she said to drop her off at the local clinic so she could get her leg looked at, check with in her deputies, and see if she could call in some favors with a friend at the blood bank while Dean did whatever was needed with the cure and got both Alex and Sam settled at the cabin.

He hadn't liked that part, especially since he'd been hoping to get on the road again once Jody was back to look after the girl, but the moment Sam, who'd woken up enough to help him mix the cure and get Alex to drink it, had passed out in the middle of the yard, Dean knew they weren't going anywhere soon.

He'd left Jody to deal with Alex since he had the time and urge to care for only one person right now, and that was the unconscious young man currently shaking like a leaf under a pile of heavy blankets in one of the cabin's other bedrooms.

Accepting that they weren't leaving until Sam's color and blood pressure were better, Dean settled down into the role he'd been playing since the day his parents had brought his little brother home, that of over-protective big brother. A role that he knew he'd let slip a little these past few months.

Forgetting the brand on his arm that still wanted blood and action, forgetting the hunt for Abbadon and her hunt for souls to fuel an army, forgetting the fallen angels and all the hassles that was causing, Dean found himself easily reverting back to his former mindset of 'touch my brother and I'll rip a lung out.'

Nodding his thanks for extra blankets, the first-aid kit, the hot water, and also for putting Sam in a room with a small fireplace, Dean politely told the sheriff she should go care for her other guest and leave Sam to him.

"Y'know I'm quoting Bobby when I say that you don't have to take care of him alone," Jody remarked from the door, but she had seen the tense shoulders, pinched look, and twitching jaw enough times to know that Dean was fully set in big brother mode and nothing she said would get him to let her help him now.

"No matter what else might be going on, he's still my little brother which means it's still my job to take care of him," Dean replied. He began wrapping an ace bandage as tightly as he dared around Sam's bruised torso. He had bitten back a harsh oath when he seen the mass of black, blue, and purple bruises on Sam's upper chest where the rifle butt had hit him and knew he had to have at least a few cracked ribs which would explain his unsteady breathing since drawing even a small breath had to be painful.

Jody watched normally steady hands shake as Dean finished wrapping Sam's chest and then cleaned the cuts on his arms before setting up a line to give back some of the blood his brother had lost. She just hoped the two bags she'd managed to acquire would be enough to help. "Well, then here's another line I'm sure you've heard plenty of times. Fix whatever the hell is wrong between you two before I slap both your heads together."

"Toss in the word 'idjit' a few times, and you'd have it down." Dean's smile was tight but at least it was there as he looked over at her with a simple nod. "We've both said some stuff lately…and I'm going through some stuff that I know is scaring him…but it's not easy for me to let go yet so we're…coping." He checked the IV line to make sure the blood was flowing into Sam's veins correctly before sighing. "I know he didn't mean it when he said he wouldn't do the same for me as I did for him when I saved him this time. I get that he meant it another way but…this is me, and if Bobby told you anything about me, then he told you that I don't always read between the lines or let go of stuff easily."

"If I repeated everything Bobby told me about the two of you, I'd be blue in the face before I was done speaking…next week." Jody nodded to Sam's prone form and then down the hall. "If you or he needs me for anything, just open the door and yell. I'll hear you."

"Thanks, Jody," Dean waited until the door shut to turn and stare down at his sleeping brother's still pale face. His had was still slightly trembling as he carded damp hair back off of Sam's forehead, frowning at the deep shadows under his little brother's eyes. "Sammy," he whispered, hating how young and innocent Sam looked when he was this hurt or sick because it brought back too many memories, both good and bad.

Ever since the night Sam was six months old and their lives changed forever, it had been Dean who looked out for, protected, and raised his little brother. He'd inwardly celebrated when Sammy had escaped the life he hated, and he still sometimes regretted foolishly drawing his brother back in and possibly costing him his shot at happiness.

Rubbing a hand over his face, Dean squeezed the ache in his arm while keeping his eyes on Sam's face as it scrunched in pain or fear…he couldn't be certain which.

It used to be that Dean knew what every look on his brother's face meant, but these days it was harder. He and Sam had definitely stopped communicating well after that bitter fight in the kitchen. It still hurt whenever Dean let himself think about Sam saying that he wouldn't do the same thing to save him, but as he sat there now with nothing to do but think, Dean began to work through the thoughts in a way that he hadn't given himself time to yet.

Since that fight, there had been several times when Dean had been in trouble that Sam had come running to help him without pause or hesitation. When Dean had gotten himself drugged at that so-called health club, he'd dimly heard the fear in Sam's voice when he'd been trying to find him. When Kevin had first made his presence in the bunker known and Dean had shouted for his brother, Sam had responded instantly and again with concern in his voice. Perhaps the biggest clue to that fact that Dean should just call a big fat do-over on this whole fight was the day when he'd been grabbed by Magnus.

The nut had poofed Sam out of his hidden mansion. Sam had been free to leave, but he hadn't. He'd come back in knowing he was risking himself, and the worry had been plain when he'd first seen Dean chained to the pillar. The worry had been plain and so had the pain when Magnus had been cutting his brother, but the only fear Sam had shown was of Dean…when he'd been holding the blade.

The same worried and scared little brother that he'd seen countless times growing up had been there that night…and several times since when Dean was on the verge of losing it and only Sam could pull him back. It had been Sam that day who had snapped him back, and it had been Sam earlier today who had caused the burning of the brand to release its hold.

Sam was still the one person that Dean had who could focus him, and he suspected that if push came to shove, Sam would risk his life for him because that was something else that was hardwired into them. Maybe he wouldn't run the risk of letting an angel possess him, but the rest…Dean was feeling more confident about that. Not that Sam would ever have to make that choice since Dean didn't plan on putting his brother in that position anytime soon.

"No…don't." Sam's voice was soft, slurred, and scared as his hand flailed restlessly until a strong hand gripped it and held it so he didn't pull the IV loose. "De'n…don't…please…"

Now that was something that pulled at Dean's heart because in his gut, he knew that Sam was scared both for him and of him. And that was Dean's deepest fear himself…that this mark…this damn need to possess the blade…would make him lose control and do the one thing he'd sworn never to do: hurt his brother.

"Shhh," he whispered, keeping his other hand moving back through Sam's hair. He could see his little brother's lashes fluttering as his eyes moved restlessly behind closed lids. "Don't what, Sam?" he asked, voice dropping to a low, soothing, nearly gentle tone that he only used with his brother…one he hadn't used in a long time. "Tell me what you don't want me to do."

"Don'…give…in to it." Sam's eyes opened slowly, but they were far from clear or alert; he was just responding to the deep voice of his brother, knowing he was safe but still afraid of what his dreams were showing him. "Please…don' leave me like that. Gonna…save you this time," he mumbled sleepily, voice much like that of a sleepy child. "Failed…last…time and it all went wrong but…this time…this time I'll save you from it. Won' let you go again. Won' let the Mark take you or make you evil. You're…my…big brother and this…time…I'll make you proud of me."

Dean froze; there were a lot of things he might've been expecting his hurt, in shock, and exhausted brother to say, but that wasn't one of them, and he found himself feeling numb. He didn't even realize the tear had fallen down his face until it hit the hand that was holding Sam's.

He'd known Sam was getting more worried about how the Mark was affecting him, but he hadn't had a clue that it was actually scaring his brother. Now it looked like Sam was reliving his guilt over failing to break Dean's deal years ago and worrying that he might lose his big brother all over again.

"I…I am proud of you, Sammy. I've always been proud of you…but you know showing it…telling you that ain't easy for me." Dean knew Sam would never remember this conversation, so he'd risk saying what was in his heart now. "I've been proud of you since the day you took your first real steps and actually managed to toddle to Bobby's old dog without falling on your butt. I was proud when you said my name…even before you said Dada…that surprised some people, but not me." Dean smiled at that memory, trying to reconcile his memory of his baby brother with the man lying so still on the bed. "I was proud when you brought home your first gold star in Kindergarten, and your first report card full of straight A's. Every damn thing you did made me proud, little brother."

"Even…when I fought with…Dad?" Sam's eyes were trying to stay open as he worked his fingers to close tighter around Dean's.

Dean still tried to avoid thinking about those fights because he'd often been put in the middle, between brother and father, but at the times when push came to shove, he'd never once had to think about his choice…he'd always pick his stubborn little brother…every damn time.

"You will not remember me saying this but…yeah, especially then." Dean smiled a bit more, the smile that only Sam got to see, the relaxed, calm big brother smile that was real and honest… not the brittle fake one he'd often put on to appease their father. "You stood up to Dad for what you wanted, Sam. You didn't let him push you around or slot you into the world he created for us. You did what I never could and even though the night you left for college hurt like hell, I was never prouder of you than I was that night.

"So many times these past nine years you could've given up, but you haven't. I know I've done a lot of crap that's hurt you, and I wish I could take it all back…but you'll be my annoying pain in the ass little brother until the day I die and…" Dean took a shaky breath as he reached for a glass of orange juice with a straw in it, holding it up so Sam could sip from it. He knew the younger man needed to be kept well hydrated and the juice would help with the loss of blood as well. "The odds were stacked against us back then, Sammy. You didn't fail me. Everyone from heaven and hell wanted what happened to happen so I'm telling you one more time…to let that go."

Sam sipped the juice for a few moments and then let his head fall back to the pillow, feeling a little more awake now. He glanced around, taking in the blood bags, and he realized that somehow either Dean or Jody had gotten blood to replace what the vampires had taken. "Scared…for you," he murmured; he couldn't remember the last time they'd been in the same room for this long without bickering or sarcasm, much less the last time he'd seen Dean this open. "I see…what it's doing to you and…don' wanna lose you to it."

"Hey, this is your big brother. I've survived hell, purgatory, two versions of Meg, Ruby, and way too many angels to count. I'm not gonna let some mark and a blade made of bone take me out that easily," Dean scoffed with his usual bravado, squeezing the hand in his. He was relieved to feel the skin finally warming up as well as the stronger pulse. "It's not easy, but I'm not letting it win, so I don't want you to worry about me. I'm going to be fine. We're gonna find Abbadon, use the blade on her and Crowley, then go find Cain so he can take his mark back."

Dean eased his hand away long enough to remove the now empty bag of blood, peering at Sam's face and trying to gauge if it had been enough. "You back with me now, or do I have to give you some of my blood on top of this?" he asked warily, leery about that choice since he wasn't certain how the mark was affecting him.

"I'm dizzy and tired, but at least I can see you now, and it doesn't look like I'm under water. I think I'm okay." Sam yawned, feeling the warm touch of fingers on his face and not minding it for once. He realized that he'd missed the comforting little touches that had once been so common between them; Dean's way of showing support without breaking his no chick flick rule. "We…we still at Jody's?"

"When you face planted in her yard, the sheriff pulled rank until I agreed to stay," Dean smirked, moving his hand up and laying it over the bruise on Sam's chest, watching the wince and hearing the hiss. "Can you breathe or should I worry about hauling your ass to the ER?"

Sam wasn't ready to face the ER or the questions so he shook his head slowly. "Hurts but it's better than it was earlier…as long as I don't take a deep breath or move too quickly," he admitted. He started to sit up only to have Dean's hand push on his shoulder.

"You try to get up this soon, and I promise Bobby at his worst will be tame compared to Jody Mills. Just stay down and try to sleep, Sam. We're in no hurry…we're not going anywhere until you get some strength back." Dean still felt the itch to be moving, to be searching for the last Knight of Hell, but he wasn't risking his brother's health, not even for a shot at Abbadon.

The need to touch the blade was still there, but now it took a backseat to the need to protect Sam. He didn't know how this whole thing would play out, but as he watched Sam slowly relax on the bed, pulling covers closer to keep himself warm, Dean was certain of one thing. He'd use that damn blade on himself before he let it control him to the point where he'd ever become a threat to someone he loved.

"Can you…stay…until I fall back to sleep?" Sam had buried his face under the covers when he asked this since it had been a long time since he'd asked for his brother to stay with him while he slept, something that once had been second nature for Dean. "I mean, unless you have to check on Jody and Alex or…call…"

Dean was almost certain that the sheriff had put his brother in the main bedroom since the bed was almost big enough for Sam fit comfortably on it, and it also allowed him room to sit on the edge with his back against the headboard…which is what he did in answer to Sam's request.

"Jody's gone all mother hen on the girl, so she's fine and…yeah, I'll stay with you, Sammy." Dean saw the small smile and waited a heartbeat before he felt Sam shift closer to him, seeking both warmth and security. "She'll turn that loose on you tomorrow if I let her near you," he remarked casually, fingers carding through long dark hair. He felt Sam's body relaxing again and realized how easy it was for him to slip back into this habit of soothing his brother as he slept.

"Not wise to piss off the local sheriff, Dean," Sam reminded him, sleepy and still worried, but feeling safe for the first time in a long time. "Thanks for being there today, Dean."

"I'll always be there, Sammy," Dean told him gruffly, trying to convince himself that the burning in his eyes was just from being tired.

As he sat there watching Sam fall back asleep, his fingers in constant motion, Dean let his eyes close slowly. The burn on his arm reminded him that it might not be easy to keep that promise, but he was determined to try his best to keep Sam safe…not only from Crowley and Abaddon, but also himself if needed.

"Love you, little brother," he whispered, confident that Sam was asleep by then. "Sleep now cause I'm sure Jody will be waking you up first thing tomorrow to be sure you're alive and well."

Sam mumbled a reply that made the older Winchester quirk a smile, settling his free hand on the back of his little brother's neck in both protection and support. "No, you cannot introduce Jody to Mrs. Tran. I would not survive those two combined, and yes, I'll see about making waffles in the morning if you tell me what the hell happened to my waffle iron back at the bunker."

The End