Still His Brother

Chapter Three

The air in the room suddenly began to thicken as Dean's eyes narrowed and began to darken Jody stepped in to tap the trench coat wearing guy who'd appeared out of nowhere in the middle of her telling him exactly what Dean had said on the shoulder.

"Are you an Angel?" she asked curiously. "As in a being of omnipotent power?"

"Yes but my grace is waning so I no longer have the power that I once did," Castiel told her while feeling the change in Dean as his words sank in. "And I was never omnipotent."

"Uh-huh," Jody breathed, seeing the way the elder Winchester's jaw was clenching and having no doubt what was about to happen. "Good luck," she told Castiel while stepping more into the room to take the wet cloth to begin to bathe it over Sam's face.

Dean wasn't fully surprised to have heard the Angel's words. He'd been hoping he didn't hear them but they didn't surprise him. "Can't or won't?" he asked in return, feeling his temper burning slowly even as he kept his palm light when he touched Sam's chest.

"Dean, you know that if I had the power that I would willing give what Grace I have left to heal Sam but…he is injured to the point where even if I were to burn this body out it would still not heal him enough to save him," Castiel told him grimly. "I…will ask Hannah or one of the others if they would heal him but…"

"But to most of your pals Sammy's still Lucifer's vessel, he's still tainted because of the demon bitch and let's not forget they probably still hold the whole soulless thing against him too so basically the kid who has helped to save the world more than once, cleaned up more than one of your messes isn't good enough to be healed by your kind," Dean's lips curved in a sneer. "Y'know what I always found amusing when you guys invaded our lives, Cas? Sammy was the one who believed. Sammy was the one who used to pray to God, to the angels. Sammy believed in the images that Pastor Jim put in his head about halo wearing dudes with harps and white fluffy wings. It took one meeting with you and that other dick to show him that it was all lies.

"He got used by Ruby because he wanted to save me. Your side could've protected him from all of that by getting involved sooner but then that would've ruined the whole master plan of brother against brother that your bosses had until I ruined that plan anyway," he snorted in disgust, furious that no matter what his brother did it was always those things that came back to hurt him. "You do realize that if my brother dies because none of your so called Heavenly pals would help him over things not even fully his fault that I will see Heaven fall."

Dean's voice dropped as his eyes flashed briefly but stayed a deep green. He leaned down to whisper something to Sam when he whimpered in pain, rubbing his hand over his hair before he took a step away from the bed. "Try to cool him down. Castiel and I need to have words upstairs."

"Dean, don't go frying an Angel," Jody warned, risking her life when she grabbed his wrist just as his phone went off. "Expecting someone?"

"No, and I really don't want to talk to him either," Dean was glaring at the Angel as he jerked his phone out to hit the speaker button. "What? Busy here."

"Yes, I'm sure you are, Squirrel," Crowley twirled a pen around while picturing the scene he was interrupting. "I also figure by this point you're about ready to unleash that rather impressive power on poor Castiel who has probably just told you that he doesn't have enough mojo left to heal Moose. Am I right?"

Dean frowned while Castiel shot the phone a dark look and Jody rolled her eyes at the voice. "Crowley, I swear if you have me bugged and I find it I will rip your throat out through your nose!" he growled. "What do you want?"

"Well since Castiel is about the only halfway normal feathered bugger upstairs that I can even remotely stand I'd hate to see him blasted out of existence just because he's running low on battery power," Crowley ignored the growl he got to sigh. "You can heal Moose yourself, Dean. You don't need a bloody angel to do it. You can do it and avoid the ever pesky being indebted to me, Heaven, or someone else issue."

"Come again?" Dean eyed the frowning Angel as he sat back down beside Sam to grab for his left hand before it slapped blindly at Jody. "How can I heal Sam? Demon here. I didn't think the healing thing went with this gig."

"Yes, well it's not exactly a widely known aspect of a demon's power but if one wanted to, depending on the strength of said demon, we can heal," Crowley knew it was a left over effect of too much human blood that he was sharing this news with his less than favorite hunter but hell he also knew this was for Moose so he'd throw the kid a bone. "I could heal the kid myself but somehow I don't think either you or the lovely Sheriff Mills, hello darling, would let me within five feet of him right now…or am I wrong?"

"Hey! I don't know what Dean might do but I've been dousing demons with Holy water for days keeping Sam safe!" Jody shot a sour look toward the phone and the demon that had tricked her into a date and then nearly killed her. "You show your face anywhere near him, I'll stick this super soaker water gun filled with the stuff so far up your demon ass you'll look like one of those cherub fountains!"

As Crowley seemed to be trying to find a comeback to that rather interesting image, Dean was trying not to smirk and laugh at the same time while Castiel was just blinking at the human woman's guts to speak to the King of Hell like she just had.

"Huh, okay there's an image I didn't need," Dean muttered, still unsure. "Are you telling me the truth, Crowley?" he demanded. "I know I took some pain and healed a rib or two but…you're telling me that I can heal him without having to deal or threaten either an angel or a demon or a witch?"

"Bloody hell, stop with all the threatening!" Crowley blew out a breath, seriously regretting what he'd done by letting Dean take the damn Mark of Cain. "Most demons were scared of hearing your name when you were still a bad-ass, scarier than nearly everyone else hunter. Now since it's gotten out some what you might be I'm lucky to get my boys out from under the covers. They're scared you might show up!"

"Give me a straight answer then. Can I use this power to heal my brother?" Dean demanded, ignoring the way Castiel and Jody were looking at him to focus on the phone when he dropped his tone. "Lie to me, give me one wrong piece of advice or tell me the wrong thing and it ends up hurting him and not only will I make your life even more of a living Hell than I plan to but I will also go find Gavin."

Crowley went silent for several long moments as if debating calling Dean's bluff but then he remembered what he had said to Castiel one time about everyone underestimating those denim clad nightmares and he knew that Dean, now especially, would not be bluffing. He knew that he would hunt down his time displaced son and probably kill him if Crowley screwed with him now.

"So it seems that we both have a certain someone we'll need to keep safe," he replied slowly before blowing out a hard breath. "I'm not leading you on, Dean. All it'll take is your concentration locked on Sam and a place where you'll be able to be safe. A place with power would be ideal…or that dim, dark little hole in the ground you boys burrowed into. There's a lot more to a few of those rooms than it looks.

"I know you're pissed at me for leading you on about the mark but I meant when I said that I didn't fully know it would affect you the way it did. I also meant when I told you that there's going to come a time when you might have to trust me or work with me cause I'm picking up rumors of a new player on the board," Crowley told him seriously. "Now, do you plan to drive Moose back to your little home in the ground or ask the waning Energizer Angel there if he has the power to teleport him or…can I offer assistance in that at least?"

"Jody will hurt you if you show up, Crowley," Dean replied firmly. "I'll decide that later but you better go to ground if I find out you've lied to me. Now don't call me again," his finger pressed the disconnect button to throw a hard stare at his former ally. "Is he telling the truth? Can I heal Sam?"

Castiel looked between the brothers, considering his answer carefully. He had no doubts what would happen if he lied. "Yes, with the powers Cain's mark has given you it is possible for you to heal Sam," he confirmed, choosing to add as he knew what Dean's next question would probably be. "The powers won't harm him. He's your blood. I honestly don't think you could ever turn on Sam unless you were possessed by another. But…Dean, this will not make you popular."

"Saving my brother or being whatever I am?" Dean countered, smirking. "Cas, none of my choices have ever made me popular with the brass up top. That won't ever change but I'm also not letting Sam die if I can stop it when you can't help me. Now, is there anything else you want to say before you poof out of here?"

There was a lot that Castiel could have said but he knew that no matter how much he apologized for his past errors that it wouldn't be enough for Dean. He also couldn't blame the man for those feelings. "I will find a way to renew my grace and once I do I will help Sam in his efforts to reverse this. This is not what my Father would have wanted for either of you."

"I won't have Sam completing those trials, Cas," Dean had made that plain to his brother. Out of all the plans that Sam had rambled off that night it was the mention of completing the trials, curing him, and possibly dying that had helped to make Dean's decision to put distance between them. "You have access to all of Heaven's records and scrolls or whatever you guys write on. You find him some other way to try to reverse this but you also better make sure no one from your side decides to target him because if anyone, angel or demon, touch Sam again I'll use this damn blade and tear both Heaven and Hell down!"

There was silence in the room as Castiel nodded his understanding before vanishing in the soft flutter of wings, leaving Dean and Jody alone with Sam.

"So…got an idea in that hardhead or are we winging it?" the Sheriff of Sioux Falls asked curiously, ducking a random hand that tried to push her away in Sam's sleep. "Is he always this unreasonable when he's hurt?"

"No, just if it's someone other than me touching him," Dean offered a small, dry grin while catching the hand to fold it over his brother's chest, holding it there until the younger man calmed down again. "Ever since he was little he got used to it mainly being me who took care of him if he was sick or hurt," he explained while planning the best way to do what needed to be done.

"Our Dad wasn't around much…fine, at all. He was pretty obsessed with hunting and used to take us with him. Sam was pretty much…mine from the night of the fire when he was six months old. When Dad met Bobby he did start to leave us with him or Pastor Jim, the man who actually ran this church, but kids were not Bobby's element and even at that young an age I was sort of…possessive of my baby brother so it still ended up being me taking care of Sammy," he carded his fingers back through Sam's hair again to feel a spark of power lighting inside him as if it knew what needed to be done. "Sam got used to me picking up the pieces or stitching him up. Even now with a lot of crap between us when he gets hurt this bad or if he gets sick it'll be me he lets close to him over anyone else. It's nothing against you. It's just how he is."

Jody had been given the back story of the Winchesters by Bobby one night so she had an idea of just how much responsibility a young boy had taken for his brother and how much he was still willing to take even now. "Do you think you can help him?"

"I'll heal him or someone else will die trying," Dean replied firmly, looking at Sam before lifting his eyes up to Jody's. "You following me back or heading for home?"

"Don't take this the wrong way, hotshot," she began with the usual tone she gave Dean when he said something that would have had Bobby slapping him in the head. "I'm not leaving Sam alone until he tells me that he can take care of himself. Can he make a drive?"

"After some sleep and I see what I can do he should be able to make it back to the bunker," Dean wouldn't move Sam from the church unless he was certain of that. "Jody…thanks for coming for him," he glanced over at her while shrugging out of his jacket. "Sam's never had a lot of people that would drop everything and come if he called them. The few we did have are dead and I know this was out of your area so thanks."

Deciding to leave the brothers alone while she went up to grab Sam's duffel and bring it down, Jody stood but placed a hand on Dean's shoulder. "I promised Bobby to look out for his boys. I happen to actually like you two despite the trouble you get me into so I'll always come for him…you too."

"Thanks," Dean smirked, waiting until they were alone to let a shaky breath out. "Okay, Sammy, let's see what I can do for you."

Jody had hurried up to grab the duffel in the hopes that there were clean clothes inside in addition to whatever the hell a hunter might carry in a duffel bag that she was almost certain weighted almost as much as she did.

By the time she got back to the boys she had to blink a few times to remind herself that she'd left her nice safe and sane world a long time ago so this shouldn't really be a shock but it still rocked her to see Dean's eyes black as he focused on Sam's face while his hand moved slowly over the broken bones of his brother's right arm and shoulder.

She noticed that Sam was still asleep but the pain he was in from bones knitting back together, or moving back into their correct place could be seen by the way his facial muscles were tensing and by the way his left hand was gripping the hand that held his tightly.

Jody also noticed the fine sheen of sweat of Dean's face which told her that using these new powers to heal wasn't as easy as that damn ass on the phone had made it out to be.

"I brought his duffel down. Do you want me to look and see if he has clean clothes or something?" she asked when she saw Dean's eyes flick back to a dark green; worried when she also caught some pain there as well. "Dean? How is this healing thing working?"

"Not well," Dean grunted, shaking his hand out but did notice Sam's arm could move now and he noticed the shattered shoulder had also healed. He planned to heal the inner bleeding next so the ride back to the Men of Letters bunker wouldn't kill his brother as he tried to heal him. "I'm hoping the bunker will be a better place or hell, even the Impala since to Sam the car has always been more of a home to him than any other place we've stayed at except maybe Bobby's place."

Dean looked over to see Jody going through the duffel looking for clothes, smirking as most of his brother's duffel seemed to be filled with books, weapons, and other things that Sam must have stuffed in there to help him do research on having a demon for a sibling when his eyes saw something fall out of a side pocket on the inside that he'd never noticed before.

Leaning down to reach for the black bag that had fallen, Dean frowned as he swore he felt something warm both in the bag and his body and felt his chest tighten when Jody pulled out a folded piece of paper that had also been in the bag with Dean's name written on it.

"There looks to be other notes too but that looks the newest," she stared as he took it slowly. "Do you want me to leave while you read it?"

"No, I think I know what it'll say plus this is the new me," Dean smirked with a touch of his old cockiness. "Nothing Sammy could write will get to me. Keep digging until you find a shirt or jeans or something cause these jeans are shot."

Dean opened the small bag to dump the contents into his hand. As the silver ring that he once wore fell into his palm he sighed but when the next item dropped out that he felt a lump form in his chest because Dean remembered the day he'd dropped the small bronze amulet into a motel trash can five years earlier.

The bronze horned amulet had been given to him by his brother one Christmas. It had been a symbol of their bond as brothers. There had only been one time that Dean hadn't worn it and that was after his deal came due and he'd died but as soon as Sam could he'd given it back. He'd worn it until the day too much doubt and crap had finally came between them and Dean lost that faith in them.

He had dropped it and if he tried he could still see the pain in Sam's eyes that day. In the time since, Dean had never stopped regretting that decision but had never guessed that his brother had picked it up and still had it.

In the time that Sam was in the Cage or Dean had thought his brother was in the Cage and had the duffel locked in the trunk of the Impala, he'd never been able to work up the guts to look through it because it had hurt too much.

Now as he stared at it sitting in his palm, a warm familiar weight, he held it out by the black cord to stare at it while suddenly realizing what Sam's hand had been trying to reach for in his restless sleep every time his hand lifted to Dean's chest.

"You…used to wear that, didn't you?" Jody asked quietly, watching the emotions she wondered if Dean knew were flickering over his face at the sight of that amulet.

"Yeah," Dean's voice was oddly hoarse. He took the note to open it with a hard mask that he hoped covered the sudden burst of emotion that he swore he shouldn't be able to feel as he read his little brother's handwriting.

"'This is the fourth time I've rewrote this note. I suppose I should burn the others but I left them for you to find when you hopefully find this one, Dean. I'm not really sure if either the note or what's in the bag will matter to you as you are right now but I hope if my ultimate plan pans out that they'll matter to you again. If not…then burn them when or if you burn me.'"

"Sonuvabitch," Dean gritted, realizing that he'd been wrong yet again. His little brother's note was indeed going to bring out the emotions that only Sam had ever been able to bring out in him.

"'I know when you dropped the amulet you said to leave it, but I couldn't. I couldn't let myself believe that everything we'd gone through or had could be destroyed by the lies and manipulations of the Angels. Dean, I don't know everything you saw that day in Heaven after Roy and Walt shot us but I know those weren't my memories of what I considered important.

"'My Thanksgiving? Was one where you were 14 and did your best to scrimp and save from what little Dad left you with to buy a little roasted chicken, a jar of pickles, and my favorite dessert. You gave me Thanksgiving even though we were alone in some run-down dump because as usual Dad didn't come back like he'd promised.

"'My favorite memories or what I would consider as my Heaven? They'd be of times you and I spent together as brothers. The time in Bobby's back lot that you taught me to ride a bike that you'd rebuilt. The day you let me drive the Impala the first time or you taught me to play pool and let me win to give me confidence. There was never a time when we were apart that I truly enjoyed it…not even my time in Stanford because everything I accomplished there I wanted to share with my big brother. You helped me be able to make the grades to earn that full ride and the time I was there half the time I hated it because by choosing to be normal I'd lost the one person who was proud of me for it.

"'I know I did a lot of things wrong after you went to Hell. I know I was led on and lied to but I believed that I had to able to get you back, to make it right. I…I was wrong and even after all this time those mistakes, or the mistake of me not dying back in Cold Oak is still costing me. I picked up the amulet and kept it because I hoped that one time you'd want it back, that maybe you'd forgive me for those mistakes…that you'd be my brother again.

"'I can probably guess why you never found it after Detroit because it was clear that you never went through my bag. It took me months after you died to be able to. Hell, I still don't think I would've been able to touch yours even now. I rewrote this after I got my soul back. I was afraid the wall would fall and I'd be unable to tell you stuff or give it back. I did it again after you got back from Purgatory and we were fighting because I figured one of us would leave. I was planning on making sure you found it before I…left. This time I'm writing it before I either find Cain and make him take it back or I find you long enough to cure you with my blood. I know it'll kill me but I'd rather die knowing I'd brought you back than live with the fear of ever crossing paths with you if you go full on dark.

"'If you find this, then I hope something I've done has worked. You said you were proud of us. I hope you still are. I hope…you'll be proud of me. I know you used to say no chick flick moments but if this is the last thing you'll read from me then I'll say this…I love you, Dean. Thanks for being my brother and for doing everything you did for me growing up and even now. Bye. Sam.'"

By the time Dean finished reading the note he knew that Jody had silently slipped out to give him privacy and for that he was grateful as he reached up to wipe his face free of tears he didn't think he could still shed. "I am proud of you, little brother. And I've forgiven you for those things you thought I held against you a long time ago," he slipped the black cord back over his neck to feel the familiar weight of the amulet settle back against his chest. "I…what the hell?"

Dean had felt the amulet warm but as soon as it was put back on it felt like his whole body went hot, then cold then warm when a strong burst of buried emotion nearly swamped him and left him shaking until it finally passed.

It was only then that he noticed the hand that had touched Sam's chest had a soft glow emitting from it and the bruises and open wounds that had been there still were now gone but he'd felt none of the earlier strain. "I'll be damned," he muttered and wondered if there wasn't more to the amulet than just when Cas had said it could find God. "You're gonna be fine soon, Sammy," he promised quietly.

72-Hours Later: Men of Letters Bunker:

Dull pain and a grumbling stomach woke Sam Winchester after what seemed like days of agony and sickness. He recalled the demon attack, he recalled escaping their first attack to make it to Pastor Jim's church where Jody had come to help him. Sam also recalled the last demon attack there, his hand being impaled and then hearing his brother.

It was thoughts of Dean that made him struggle to wake up fully now because he thought he'd been hearing his brother's voice as well as the low familiar rumble of the Impala's engine and old cassette tapes that Sam knew by heart but had missed terribly.

Sam thought he had memories of seeing his brother in the church back in Blue Earth but as he woke up to rub his eyes and see he was back in Dean's room at the bunker he frowned in confusion.

How had he gotten back to the bunker? Had Jody brought him back? Sam knew he'd been hurt to the point he figured he was dying and he also remembered that Jody didn't know where the bunker was so that ruled that theory out.

He was in the process of pushing himself up when it hit him that he was pushing with his right arm; the arm that had been broken along with his shoulder. He glanced down to realize his fingers were curled around soft leather to also know that hand had a hole in the palm but yet now other than some tight muscles and minor bruises he seemed healed.

The jacket distracted him because he'd woken up once or thought he had to feel the familiar leather that still smelled of gun oil, leather and Dean despite his brother not wearing the old jacket that had once belonged to their Dad. It, along with the Impala and his brother's amulet, had always been Sam's version of comfort when he was sick or hurt.

Dizzy and still in minor pain, Sam debated on getting up or falling back onto the bed that had been Dean's pride and joy after they moved into the bunker when a noise from somewhere else made him decide to try to stand to go see what was going on.

"Whoa," he shot a hand out to steady his suddenly wobbly legs, falling back to the bed with a low curse.

"If you try to get outta that bed I will sic Jody on your ass so fast it will make your head spin, little brother."

Sam knew his head had jerked toward the voice but the sudden movement caused the room to spin and he felt himself fall forward until a firm hand landed on his shoulder to support him. "D-Dean?"

"I'd say that takes care of Jody's worry about brain damage except it's my name that always comes out of your mouth after you've been unconscious or sick so tell me something else to let me know that big brain of yours is still functioning." Dean had felt the change in the bunker and had almost known Sam was waking up so he left Jody Mills to come face his hopefully fully awake and fully coherent brother.

Dean had healed enough of Sam's more serious wounds so he felt safe enough putting his brother in the Impala for the drive back to Kansas and the bunker. Driving back with Jody tailing them in her truck felt easier for Dean and he knew it was because of who was with him.

Whenever he drove by himself or with someone else in the passenger seat it felt weird. To him the Impala didn't feel right without his tapes and his little brother riding shotgun bitching about his music.

He'd kept the music turned down low but always had it playing when he noticed that whenever the classic rock stopped Sam would tense or shift in his sleep so Dean made sure to always have the music on.

Only once did he have to pull over and that was when Sam started getting sick due to the infection that he still hadn't wiped out. After that and as his brother's fever spiked before finally breaking, Sam would either lay with his head against the window like always or he'd move over to use Dean's shoulder for a pillow like he'd been prone to as a kid and not feeling good.

When Sam's fever spiked to the point his brother was shivering, he'd pulled over to ask Jody to go dig through the trunk until she came across his old leather jacket. It had also been something he'd stopped wearing after Sam had gone into the Cage.

The moment he laid it over Sam, his brother had calmed down and burrowed into the soft leather more while mumbling something that made Dean smirk. "Driver picks the music, Sammy," he'd returned simply.

Now as he sat on the edge of his bed where he'd put Sam once getting to the bunker, Dean looked to see his brother still looked pale but his fever had finally come down and his pulse was back to normal.

After putting the amulet back on Dean had noticed that healing Sam had become easier. He'd also noticed that Sam responded better to it the one time he'd laid his hand over a welt on his back in the Impala. Dean had finished healing welts, cuts and other wounds once he'd gotten Sam settled in his room instead of Sam's and then just watched to be sure there was no side effects.

Dean ignored calls from Crowley and a few from Castiel. He only left Sam to shower and go see what the hell his brother had let happen to the kitchen when a comment from Jody about some strange substance on the ceiling had him bolting into the room that he'd once found a lot of peace in.

"Give me a birthday or something, Geek boy," Dean carefully moved his hand from Sam's shoulder to the back of his neck, letting his fingers squeeze just slightly and was a little surprised not to feel any tension like he thought he might.

"January 24, 1979," Sam muttered, keeping his eyes closed until his stomach stopped rolling and letting himself start to believe he really wasn't imagining this.

"That's my birthday, genius. I kinda meant your birthday," Dean snorted but then remembered that it was normal for them to recite the other's birthday rather than their own. "How do you feel, Sammy?" he asked, still concerned.

Sam considered that, giving up the idea to stand when his brother's hand helped to nudge him back to the pillows. "Like I was run over by a truck but not as bad as I thought I would considering what I think I remember happening," he replied, hearing a bottle open and was pushing up enough to accept the pills and water he knew would be coming. "You real, Dean?" he thought he'd asked that one other time but was now more awake to believe the answer.

"Yeah, I'm real," Dean assured him, letting his hand rest over the shoulder that had been shattered to be sure all the bones and muscles had healed. "Though if you can't tell me what the hell hit my kitchen you might be wishing I wasn't. Dude, what the hell is on the ceiling? And I think Jody used the shotgun on something inside the fridge," he shook his head. "I haven't been gone that long."

"Oh…I think something I might've accidently summoned possessed the fruit salad in there," Sam winced a little but could feel warmth spreading along his arm until the leftover pain disappeared. "The ceiling wasn't my fault though. Cas was here, tried to make something for me to eat cause I was brooding and it…exploded."

"Huh," Dean muttered and closed his eyes as if asking for patience. "Neither one of you are allowed near the kitchen. If I cook you better eat cause Jody's going into full mother hen mode and she's bonding over the phone with Mrs. Tran who is also threatening to come up here…and what the hell do you mean something you accidently summoned? I thought we said no summoning in the bunker since we don't know what else might pop up?"

"I…was practicing," Sam shrugged and slowly opened his eyes to find familiar green eyes staring at him. "Hey," he murmured.

Dean recognized the quiet unease as Sam being unsure of what was happening and also how long he was probably staying. "Hey, Sammy," he carded his fingers back through Sam's hair to get it out of hazel eyes that were finally clear and not glassy with shock. "Do you remember hearing anything I might've said back at Jim's church?" he asked, needing to know what Sam remembered and what he might have to go over to reassure his brother.

"Some," Sam admitted. He did recall hearing Dean talking to him before. He was about to speak again when his eyes suddenly caught sight of what was hanging back around his brother's neck and immediately went still. "You…you found it?" he asked softly, fingers lifting as if to touch the amulet but holding back.

"It fell out when Jody was tearing your bag apart looking for clothes," Dean nodded, watching Sam's face to gauge how he felt when he saw the hesitant movement of his fingers. "I also read all those notes that came with it. I…made a mistake when I dropped it that day, Sam. I was just so raw that I didn't stop to think that what I'd seen there might be lies. It wasn't until that night and I watched you sleep that I realized that Zach had probably played me again. By the time I knew what I'd done it was too late or so I thought. I thought this was gone."

Dean's fingers touched the amulet before reaching to move Sam's hand up, feeling the moment those long shaking fingers grasped onto it like Sam had almost always done to reassure himself that he wasn't alone and that everything was alright between them.

"A day hasn't passed in five years that I haven't wanted this back. Why didn't you tell me you had it?" he asked but knew the answer even before watery puppy dog eyes lifted to hold his.

"I…I thought you still didn't have faith in me as your brother and I was afraid to find out that you really didn't want it," Sam murmured, running the horned amulet through his fingers and was surprised to feel it warm. "Now I wasn't sure if you'd want it or…"

"Do you remember the part where I told you that despite being like this that I am still your brother?" Dean saw the nod. "I meant that. I know this will be weird and I won't say that everything is the same with me cause it ain't, but what is the same is I still happen to look at you like my annoying little brother so…I guess that means you're stuck with me."

Sam swallowed thickly, unsure if his brother was serious or not. "You'll…stay?" he asked.

"I left you for less than a month and there was possessed fruit salad in the fridge and I don't know what on the ceiling. If I don't stay I'm afraid of what else might happen to this place," Dean scoffed, fingers light when they squeezed Sam's neck and caught the faint smile that he hadn't realized he'd been missing since waking up like this. "Just promise me one thing?"

"What?" Sam yawned, letting go of the amulet to touch the jacket as it was spread over him again. "I won't promise not to try to reverse whatever this is so don't ask me that."

"Yeah, I figured that would be how you felt but no, that's not it," Dean waited until Sam was settling back and looked to be willing to rest instead of getting up. "Promise me that however you try to fix me that it won't involve you completing that final trial. There has to be another way to try and since I'm not possessed or haven't lost my soul I don't know if that would work anyway," he saw as that dawned on Sam. "Just promise me that and I won't stop you from looking for another way."

Sam hadn't considered that because he still wasn't sure what his brother was yet. He nodded slowly. "Okay," he hesitantly agreed, yawning as he watched Dean's hand settled over his and began to realize the warmth that seemed to take the leftover pain mainly came when his brother touched him. "Who…healed me?" he asked warily, a sneaking suspicion beginning to form in the back of his head. "Castiel couldn't because I was hurt too bad and you better not have made a deal with Crowley or…"

"Please. He won't come close to us so long as Jody's around after she threatened to shove that water shooter up his ass," Dean snorted, smirking at Sam's raised eyebrow. "Yeah, the image that gives is scary," he paused to consider this next piece of detail. "No, no deals were involved and no, Cas couldn't heal you. I did."

"You didn't fry…" Sam's question died off to lift his eyes back up to see Dean actually looking uneasy with that admission. "You did what?" he stared when it clicked. "You healed me? How? I didn't think demons could heal people like that?"

"Crowley said it's not a highly advertised thing but if they're strong enough then they can if they choose to. He said I can heal more because I'm not a normal demon and Cas said I can because you're my brother," Dean touched the amulet again to shrug. "It got easier after I put this back on."

"Uh-huh," Sam was still working over the shock that Dean could heal him when the comment about the amulet was heard and he began to silently ponder a few ideas that he might have to talk to Castiel about. "So…are you okay?"

Dean blinked before smirking. "Still some kind of demon, kiddo," he shifted so he could prop his back up against the headboard, sitting beside Sam like he used to do when getting his restless sibling to stay in bed required sitting with him. "If you mean am I alright from healing you or kicking demon ass for what they did to you? Yeah, I'm good there. Crowley says there's a new power rising in the East or something like that."

"Wonderful," Sam muttered, tired but not wanting to sleep yet when he felt an arm go around his shoulders to bring him closer; his head resting on Dean's shoulder. "Someone worse than Crowley?"

"Isn't nearly everyone worse than Crowley, Sam?" Dean returned, eyes shooting up when he sensed they were no longer alone. "Sheriff."

"Keep your tough macho tone to yourself, Winchester," Jody rolled her eyes from where she stood in the door to watch him with Sam, deciding the younger man would be safe enough. "I finally scraped off whatever that crap was on the ceiling so now I'm heading to town to buy actual food since one of you still has to eat. Do we have a food preference?"

"Soup without noodles to start with, then he can go up to light broth with a few noodles, blue or orange Gatorade and some fruit," Dean replied on instinct and before Sam could speak. "Actually, give me 20 minutes and I'll make a list. I can make broth better than that canned crap…unless you managed to get the frozen whole chicken in the freezer possessed like the fruit salad."

While Sam shot his brother a sulk, Jody was staring at Dean as if she didn't know him. Seeing him mop the floor with a room full of demons didn't shock her as much as this side of him did. "And you call me a mother hen?"

"I think he's still nesting," Sam put in, feeling the fingers on his neck squeeze a little harder but knew he wasn't in danger and let himself relax more to go back to sleep. "What if I want a burger?"

"Dude! Right now you'll be lucky to keep broth down after however long it's been since you actually ate," Dean rolled his eyes, beginning to recite his list to an amused Jody. "You keep broth down for a day or two and we'll ease you into one of my burgers."

It took over an hour for Jody to get the list done since Dean kept adding stuff or Sam wheedled his way into having a couple things added. By the time she left the bunker to head for the nearby town she was almost certain she'd seen another change in Dean but wasn't sure what had brought it on.

Once they were alone again, Dean sat still to allow Sam to use his shoulder for a pillow while his brother's hand searched out and wrapped around the amulet to hold and Dean was reminded of so many other times they'd had moments like this.

"Hey. I am proud of us," he smiled as he saw Sam's smile. "I'm proud of you, Sammy."

"Thanks for coming back, Dean," Sam still had some pain but figured he probably would until he started moving around some.

"I came back because you needed help, Sammy," Dean wondered when the help did it get so easy to almost cross his own rules again. "I would've been there sooner if I'd've known they'd nailed you."

"Thanks, Dean," Sam could feel sleep coming on and actually didn't mind it now that he felt better that his brother would still be there when he woke up. "I…I…um…y'know…"

Dean grinned, nodding and gave another squeeze of his fingers to Sam's neck in the way that had always been the way he showed his brother how he felt without saying the actual words. "Yeah, me too, Sammy. Go to sleep. When you wake up I'll let Jody mother hen you while I make dinner…and maybe exorcise the fridge to be safe."

Once he was certain Sam was asleep fully, Dean took a slow breath to settle the emotions he could feel. He glanced to the arm that had the mark of Cain, that mark that he could have sworn didn't look as deep as it once had, and over to where he'd placed the blade.

Dean wasn't certain what the coming days would bring either of them. He wasn't sure where the next danger would come from but he was certain of one thing. "He's my brother and I will ruin the next son of a bitch who tries to hurt him," he vowed to the silent room and then let his own eyes close to rest until Jody got back from the store and he could see how being the demon that he was mixed with being a very possessive and over protective older brother.

The End