Note: I wrote this tag after I watched the episode (Baby/11.04) and decided to post it. Enjoy! :)


Dean winced and Sam hissed as the damaged Impala rolled over a bump in the road.

"Sorry man, didn't catch that one." Dean apologized, glancing to the right at his tensed-up little brother.

"It's fine."

A declaration that may have been more convincing if it hadn't been grunted out through clenched teeth.

"I've got to fill up the tank. I'm going to pull off at the next gas station and get you some ice or something." Dean informed, keeping his eyes peeled for the first sign of a station.

"You don't have to, I'm fine."

"Your well-being has nothing to do with the lack of gas in my girl's tank." Dean pointed out.

"I mean you don't have to get any ice. I think we are past the icing stage anyways." Sam added as an after-thought.

If that was supposed to make Dean feel better, it did the exact opposite.

He pushed the pedal closer to the floor, patting the steering wheel in apology as he forced his baby faster down the road.

Sam rested tiredly against the window, willing the agony flowing through his body to fade.

He had known he was banged up, but it wasn't until the adrenaline seeped from his system that he began to feel just how much of a beating he had taken.

Sam was so focused on trying to take his mind off the pain that he neglected to notice the car had stopped, startling at the feel of his jacket being pulled to the side.

"Whaa?" He slurred, oh-so-eloquently.

"Just taking a look at you, buddy." Dean's soft voice pushed it's way through the fog in Sam's mind, as he tiredly turned his head to the left to watch his brother.

Dean grimaced as he tugged Sam's shirt up and got a look at the array of colours patterning his skin. The older hunter traced the bruising from high up on his brother's chest, all the way down to his left hip.

Sam gasped and Dean cursed as his deft fingers travelled around the damaged torso and felt two ribs give-way to the clinical touch.

"Crowbar." Sam bit out as an explanation.

Dean frowned, glancing up at the younger man's face.

"A crow bar did all this damage?"

Sam shrugged faintly.

"And a boot, a couple of boots...pretty sure at least one of them was steel-toed."

Dean clenched his jaw, not appreciating the mental image of his kid brother being kicked so mercilessly.

"You feel okay?"

Sam raised his eyebrows at the question, assuming the answer to be fairly evident.

"I mean, other than the bruises and shit."

"Well...my knee hurts." He stated, still unsure as to what information his brother was fishing for.

"No, I mean like inside. Internally, Sam. Is there any damage? Anything feel off? Anything that can't wait until we get back to Cas? Anything we need a hospital for?"

Sam took a moment to assess himself, opening his mouth to reply, but being cut-off before he had the chance.

"And do not lie to me, Sam. I'm serious."

There was a dark warning in the tone, Sam knew full-well that his brother wasn't trying to rub in the fact that the younger man had lied about being infected, but rather pleading with Sam not to make a repeat performance.

"Honestly, Dean. My chest and left side are on fire, my face is throbbing, and my knee is killing me, but that's it. Nothing internal, nothing dangerous, nothing that can't wait until we get back to the bunker."

Dean eyed his brother skeptically, searching his face for the truth he often just assumed to be present. He found no deceit in his brother's open expression, and released a sigh of relief.

"Alright, good stuff." He stated, pulling Sam's shirt back down into place and gently tugging his jacket back around him.

"You chill out here, I'm going to fill up the tank and make sure my baby's headlights still work." Dean announced, grumbling the last half of the sentence.

"Yeah, no kidding. What the hell happened to the car, I mean-" At his brother's vicious glare, Sam clamped his mouth shut.

"Sorry, won't ask." He amended quietly.

Dean griped and cursed his way out of the vehicle.

Sam smirked at his brother's frustration, and rested his head back against the window, sighing as the cool glass aided to ease the pounding in his skull.

Dean filled the Impala, and checked to be sure all her lights were operating well enough that they didn't have to worry about being pulled over on the way home; all the while keeping a watchful eye on his kid brother.

Regardless of Sam's objections, Dean grabbed a few ice-packs from the store and the medkit from the trunk.

Sam roused at the cold object tucked up against his side, and the second one that was wrapped around his knee.

"Said I was fine." He mumbled, without opening his eyes.

"And I said shut up, Sam." Dean retorted thoughtlessly.

"No you didn't." The younger man declared, peaking over at his brother, noticing that he no longer had blood all over his face, but rather cleaned scratches and cuts beginning to scab over.

"Yeah, dude. I totally did." Dean replied, pulling two bottles from the kit on his lap.

"Extra-strength Advil or T3's?" He recited, shaking both containers in front of Sam's face.

"Advil is fine. Save the good stuff."

Dean snorted at his brother's answer, but didn't argue, dumping out two Advils.

He pulled Sam's hand off his lap and dropped the pills into the large palm, holding the water bottle out to his brother after he took the meds.

"You take some too." Sam demanded, finally opening both eyes all the way, giving Dean a serious look.

"You're so annoying." The older man grouched, but cooperated nonetheless, he couldn't deny that all his bumps and bruises were making themselves known.

Sam smiled smugly, his dimples disappearing when he shifted in position, searching for a comfortable position that simply couldn't be found with a body as beaten as his.

Dean frowned in sympathy as he cautiously maneuvered the Impala back onto the road.

"We'll drive a few more hours and the pull off and find somewhere to spend the night."

Sam looked worriedly over at his brother.

"Why? You too hurt to drive? You need me to take a turn?" He questioned in complete sincerity.

Dean rolled his eyes.

"No, dumbass. We have a long drive ahead of us, we aren't going to make it back in one night."

"I know, but we don't have to stay anywhere. We could just pull over somewhere."

"Dude, you're not going to get any sleep on these seats. Hell, you probably couldn't even get into the back if you wanted to."

"I could stay-

"Being all hunched over in the front seat isn't going to be any good on your ribs, Sam." Dean reasoned.

The younger Winchester huffed in frustration, but he let the matter slide, because - honestly - the mere thought of a bed sounded heavenly.

"Here."

Sam looked at the object being dangled in front of him.

"Is that a baby wipe?"

"Yeah, dude. For the blood on your face." Dean stated, as though it were obvious.

"A baby wipe?" Sam repeated.

"Your hearing damaged or something?" The eldest brother inquired, glancing over to his baffled passenger.

Sam chuckled at the testy look in Dean's eyes and obediently wiped his face with the damp material.

"There's more beside you if you need them."

Sam looked down to his left to see a small pack of baby wipes on the seat, he opened his mouth to make another comment, but his brother beat him to it.

"Shut up, Sam."

"I didn't say anything." The younger man bickered.

Dean tossed his brother a knowing look before returning his eyes to the road.

Sam could mock Dean's methods all he wanted, but the wipes were sufficient at cleansing the cuts and ridding of the blood, which was all he needed them to do. Seeing blood on his little brother's face never sat well with Dean.

Once Sam's face was clean to his brother's standards, he rested back against the side-door, struggling to find a position that didn't put pressure on any of his bruises, a task which he deemed impossible after nearly twenty minutes of shifting about.

Regardless of how subtle Sam tried to be, Dean did not fail to recognize his brother's distress and wished that the kid had opted for the stronger medication.

The younger hunter was unable to get any rest, but he allowed his mind to wander. He became so immersed in his own thoughts, that he barely realized the car was pulling into a parking lot a few hours later.

"You wait here, I'll get a room." Dean i nstructed, sliding out from behind the wheel.

Sam nodded distractedly as he stared out the front windshield at the building before them. It wasn't like any of the kinds of places they usually stayed. It wasn't even a motel, it was a hotel, the nice kind. The more expensive sort of lodgings that were deemed impractical when it came to the hunting life, due to their level of security and the lay out that was unconducive to hunters that came and left at strange hours, often returning covered in blood and dirt.

Hotels also didn't have separate outdoor entrances for each room, so Sam knew that regardless of where their room was located, Dean wouldn't need to move the car, which meant that he was just sitting there uselessly for no reason at all.

Sam pulled himself out of the Impala, holding onto the door and placing a stabling hand on the roof when his injured knee gave out.

"Shit." He swore softly as struggled to get himself moving.

Sam had both hands on the roof, just barely keeping himself on his feet as he shuffled to the trunk.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" Dean barked out as he returned to the parking lot.

Sam made a conscious effort to straighten out and appear less dependent on the Impala to keep him standing.

"I was just grabbing our duffels" He explained, feigning complete innocence.

Dean shook his head in disbelief and kept his brother in the corner of his eye as he unlocked the trunk and popped it open. Before Sam was even able to reach his hand in, Dean had both bags in his grip and was slamming the lid shut.

Sam scowled, feeling Dean's watchful stare as he pushed off the car and began hobbling toward the hotel entrance. He made it about five steps before his left knee failed to hold his weight and he began to crumple to the ground. Two firm hands were the only things that prevented Sam from coming into very close contact with the pavement.

"I gotcha, buddy, I gotcha." Dean reassured, sliding his brother's right arm over his shoulder for the second time that day. Dean reached down to grab the duffel he had dropped in his haste to reach his brother, and began a slow trek to the entrance.

Sam made no comment, just worked to control his breathing as he held on tight to Dean and focused on remaining vertical.

"Got us a room on the first floor." Dean said as he steered them through the lobby, thankful that it was empty and the receptionist was busy behind the computer.

Sam hummed his appreciation, concentrating on taking shallow breaths to prevent further irritation of his ribs.

"Almost there." Dean encouraged softly.

Sam nodded, tensing his muscles and taking a little more of his weight as Dean unlocked the door.

They entered the room, Sam making a quick glance around the clean, fresh smelling space.

"That's right. Soak it in, we are living in luxury tonight. I bet these mattresses are soft as hell." Dean commented, dropping the duffel bags to acquire a more firm grip on his brother as his steps faltered.

Sam re-gained his footing, and lightly pulled away from the bed Dean was prompting him towards.

"Wha-

"Shower." He explained.

"Seriously? You sure you can stand that long?"

Sam frowned in consideration, and reluctantly shook his head, already feeling his left leg trembling as his knee throbbed in protest with the weight it was being forced to hold.

"Toilet." Sam amended, nodded towards the bathroom.

Dean knew better than to argue with that.

He helped Sam hobble over to the smaller room, impressed to find it looking perfectly clean when he flicked on the light.

"I'm good." The younger man declared, pulling away from his human-crutch.

"Alright, dude. Just don't fall. I don't want to have to come in here and help your nude ass off the floor. We already had one close encounter and-"

"Shut up, Dean." Sam ordered in exasperation, pushing lightly at the other man's chest, while holding onto the sink to keep himself from tumbling over.

Dean snorted in amusement before vacating the small space, pulling the door shut behind him.

Sam didn't even have time to undo his belt before the door cracked back open.

"What the-

"Don't worry princess, I'm not looking. Change into these." His brother said, reaching his hand in and dropping a pair of sweatpants on the counter and then quickly closing the door again.

Sam knew what the sweatpants meant.

Dean was going to to play doctor.

The younger Winchester completed his business and slowly changed out of his clothes as he listened to Dean speaking on the phone.

He rolled his eyes at the short conversation he heard, his older brother behaving typically.

Dean ended his call, and went down the hall to the ice machine, filling up the bucket, and then dropping some cash into the vending machine and grabbing some snacks, before returning to the room in time to help his sasquatch of a brother make the five steps to the bed.

The kid was exhausted.

The beating he had taken and the energy he had expelled doing something as simple as changing his clothes, had him practically out on his feet.

"How's Cas?" The younger many questioned through clenched teeth as Dean propped pillows behind him so he could sit more comfortably against the headboard.

"You eaves dropping on my calls now, Sam?" Dean inquired as he tried not to wince now that he had a clear view of the damage done to his little brother's torso.

"We were separated by a door, Dean, not Fort Knox. It's not eaves dropping when you don't have to try to hear it."

"Whatever you say, dude." Dean replied distractedly, while he tucked homemade bags of ice against the darkest bruises, scowling at the nearly-black mark by Sam's hip that looked much like a boot-print.

"So, how's Cas?" Sam repeated, hissing as the cold penetrated his injured side.

"He's fine. Feeling better. Pretty sure he's still watching Netflix, because he didn't seem to be hearing a damn thing I said." Dean mumbled, being sure he had all the darkest bruises covered with ice.

"Not even when you told him he better have enough angel juice in him to fix my 'sasquatch-sized ass?'" Sam questioned in amusement.

Dean glanced up from rolling Sam's pant-leg over his knee.

"Eaves dropper." He accused again.

"I did not eaves drop...I over heard." Sam defended lamely. "Anyways, Cas better have enough 'angel juice' to heal both of us, because I'm only-"

"Letting him heal you if he heals me, yeah dude, I know." Dean sighed in annoyance with his brother's martyrish qualities.

"Good." Sam confirmed stubbornly.

Dean shook his head, clenching his jaw at the sight of the damaged joint. Sam's knee had been wrenched. It wasn't dislocated, but it definitely wasn't perfectly in place either. It was swollen, discoloured, and by the looks of the joint, Dean had no idea how his brother had been walking at all, with or without assistance.

"Shit, Sammy." He cursed softly, his fingers ghosting over the damage, unsure whether to touch it or not.

He decided he had to be sure that nothing was broken, and carefully began to probe the injury.

Sam flinched, biting back a groan as his brother's practised fingers explored his knee.

"Just give me a sec." Dean requested sympathetic, hating to be the cause of Sam's pain, but needing to know whether or not they could wait to get back to the bunker to have him healed.

Sam attempted a deep calming breath, but choked on it as his ribs objected painfully to the expansion of his lungs.

"Fuck." Sam wheezed, his exhaling coming out in stutters.

"Sorry, dude, almost done." Dean promised, gently patting Sam's hand in apology.

"I'm fine." Sam bit out.

"Sure." Dean snorted. "Just like you were fine when you were infected?"

The older man regretted his frustrated comment the moment it left his lips, Sam was hurting, this wasn't the time to bring that up.

Sam sat in silence, unsure of how to respond do his brother's bitter remark.

He swallowed a gasp as Dean wrapped his knee in ice, and then stared steadily at the back of the bent head as his brother gently slid a pillow under the aching joint.

"I'm sorry. I should have told you."

Sam declared honestly, hoping to make it paste the hunter's defenses.

Dean remained stoically silent as he packed up the first-aid supplies, pulling the bottle of t3's out before closing the kit.

"I got you some cheese-crackers and Doritos from the vending machine. I'm sure you're not hungry, but you haven't eaten in awhile and you shouldn't take meds on an empty stomach."

Dean handed the crackers over to his brother, only to have Sam grab his wrist.

He looked down into the puppy dog eyes staring up at him.

"I'm sorry, Dean. Seriously. I know I should have told you. I..I just didn't want you to worry, you were busy and-"

"I don't care how busy I was, Sam. If something happens to you, you tell me immediately. You can't keep that kind of thing from me." Dean insisted, hating the pleading inflection he could hear in his own tone.

"I know. I'm sorry. It won't happen again." Sam stated in complete sincerity.

"It better not. I mean what if you hadn't figured it out, what if you weren't okay, what if you had gone rabid or died and I hadn't even been there? What would I have..." Dean faded off, his voice cracking. He was shaken by the mere thought of losing Sam. And not being able to do anything about it? Not even being able to be there for him? That terrified him.

Even as Dean directed his gaze to the carpet, Sam could still see the pain in those green eyes; he was the one who put it there, his lies put it there, and it was his job to rid of it.

"But I'm okay, Dean. And I won't lie to you about that kind of thing again. I promise." Sam affirmed earnestly.

"Good. That's good, Sammy." Dean stated with a nod, half a smile on his face.

Sam released Dean's wrist and returned the smile, knowing that his brother didn't completely believe him, but making an internal vow to himself that he would keep his promise and give Dean a reason to trust him.

"Eat your crackers." The older hunter ordered. "I'm going to take a shower."

Sam nodded at the information, accepting the bottle of water, pills, and TV remote that were handed to him.

"Wait, can you pass me your bag?"

Dean's eyebrows rose at the request.

"My bag?"

Sam nodded.

The eldest Winchester shrugged and grabbed his duffel off the floor, setting it on the bed next to his brother.

Sam unzipped and dug through the duffel, quickly finding what he was searching for and tugging it free.

"Sweatpants? Sam, you're already wearing sweatpants. And I don't think mine would fit your giraffe legs anyways." Dean pointed out.

"Not for me, you moron. For you." Sam said in complete irritation, waving the sweatpants up at his brother, wincing as the basic movement sent a stabbing pain in his ribs.

"Alright, alright, don't hurt yourself." Dean warned, grabbing the pants, knowing full-well what he was committing to by accepting them; the same thing Sam committed to when he accepted his, a clinical examination.

"I'll be back in a minute. Don't get up." He instructed, staring down sternly at his kid brother.

Sam nodded in a rare sign of complete obedience and began to nibble on one of the cheese-flavoured crackers.

Satisfied that Sam wouldn't try and do anything stupid, like move, Dean headed to the bathroom.

Dean showered quickly, wincing as the hot water pounded against his numerous cuts and bruises. He gingerly towelled himself off and rolled his eyes as he slipped into his sweatpants.

Dean barely made it out of the steam-filled room before Sam was focused on him, waving him over to the beds.

"Dude, you really don't need to examine me, I'm fine."

"I can see your bruises from here, you idiot." Sam retorted.

"Yeah, just bruises, and not nearly as bad as some of the ones you're sporting. I'm fine." Dean said, opening a Snickers bar and dropping down onto his bed.

"Are you seriously going to make me come to you?" Sam challenged.

Dean appraised his brother for a moment, recognizing that rebellious gleam in his eyes, which told him that his little brother damn well would stumble his way out of bed to check Dean's injuries - even if it would mean aggravating his own.

Dean rolled his eyes, but forced himself to his feet and made his way over to Sam, sitting on the edge of the younger man's bed, next to his knees, facing him.

Sam's clinical gaze swept over his brother's chest.

"First aid kit." He demanded.

Dean reached over to where he had tossed it and placed it open on the bed next to Sam.

He watched as his brother pulled out some butterfly bandages, applying two to a cut on Dean's neck, and another couple to a slice on his arm.

"I think there is still glass in this one." Sam muttered, pulling out the tweezers, and angling Dean's shoulder closer to him.

The older hunter inhaled sharply as he felt something being pulled from his skin.

"Two more." Sam warned, dropping the shard of glass onto the bedside table.

Dean grunted in understanding, taking another bite of his Snickers bar as he stared absently at the wall. Sam swiftly removed the remaining pieces of glass and then applied a few more bandages. Next, his deft fingers trailed over Dean's bruises, eliciting soft curses from the older man.

"Nothing's broken. Just lots of bruising." Sam diagnosed.

"I could have told you that." Dean grumbled.

Sam ignored his brother's comment, assessing the rest of the damage.

"Turn around." He ordered after a moment.

Dean thought to argue, but then bit it back at the knowledge that if he didn't listen, Sam would probably hurt himself trying to force him to.

Dean sat with his back to his brother, his eyes tracking to the television.

"Seriously? A shipwreck documentary?"

"It's interesting." Sam defended, smearing disinfectant on some of the contusions on his brother's shoulder blades.

Dean went silent, his mind working as he patiently sat through Sam's ministrations. He flinched and Sam apologized when his fingers came in contact with the welt on the back of Dean's head, and then he waited some more as Sam began to pull hidden slivers of glass from his hair.

"Mom would have been proud of you, Sammy."

Dean didn't know why he said that. It just slipped out, but it had been something that his mind had been mauling over ever since his little brother told him he dreamt about their mother. The confession got Dean thinking about what Sam would dream about their mom, what kind of relationship he imagined having with her. The couple times the kid had even met her, he had never really gotten the chance to know her, especially not the motherly side of her, the one that Dean knew so well.

When Dean dreamt about either of his parents, he often found himself dreaming and hoping they would be proud of him, and he wondered if Sam felt the same. The problem was, Sam didn't even know their mother well enough to know what would make her proud.

And that realization had torn at Dean in a way he couldn't even describe.

Dean knew he couldn't give Sam his mother back, he couldn't give the younger man time to spend with the woman who had brought him into the world, but he could give Sam some reassurance.

The nimble fingers that had been picking through his short hair froze at the surprising statement, and Sam remained deathly still behind his big brother, afraid that any movement would cause the spoken words to slip away.

Dean remained facing the TV as he proceeded to speak, knowing that the emotionally charged conversation would be easier if he didn't have to stare into Sam's expressive face.

"She would be proud of all the people you have saved. She'd be proud that you always try to do the right thing. And that even when you make mistakes, it's cause you think you're doing the right thing. She'd be proud of how hard you always try to make things right. She would just be really proud of how good you are, you know? Underneath everything else, inside, you are just really good...and I think she always knew that."

Sam could barely breathe, the lump in his throat growing with every word his brother said. He almost wondered for a moment if he was having another vision...because it was all the things he had wanted to hear, but never imagined he would. But he could tell it was real, because the way his brother was going about telling him was just so incredibly Dean that it couldn't be a vision. So he sat silently and tried to keep the moisture in his eyes from overflowing as he listened.

"She would have liked you as well, not just have loved you in that parental sort of way, but really liked you. She adored you, always saying you were the sweetest little thing she'd ever seen. Even when you were just a baby she said you had 'soulful eyes' and a 'kind heart', I never had a clue what she was going on about, all I saw was a wrinkly, hairless little blob."

Sam chortled softly at his brother's humour, his hands finally unfreezing as they continued their search for hidden cuts or glass, but his attention stayed with his brother's voice.

"I remember this one time Dad was holding you. You were crying, so he was sort of bouncing you to get you calmed down - apparently that was what always worked on me - and Mom came in and told him to rock you gentle, she said you weren't like me, that you were different and Dad had to remember to be careful with you."

Dean was speaking reflectively, almost as he was living the moment all over again; stating a memory that was so distant and felt entirely insignificant at the time, but now seemed to hold so much meaning and importance. Sam was listening closely, more attentive in that moment than he had ever been in his entire life.

"She always had a thing for those puppy-dog eyes of yours too. I'd imagine they would still work on her if she was here. And she loved those stupid pits in your face."

"They're called dimples, Dean, not pits." Sam corrected with a roll of his eyes, but entirely unable to wipe the smile from his face.

"Whatever they are, she thought they were adorable. I thought they were some sort of weird birth-defect."

Sam flicked the back of his brother's head, holding back a laugh at the insult.

"Ow." Dean whined petulantly.

Sam packed the medkit up, having completed his doctoring, but he didn't speak, waiting to see if Dean was finished or not.

His brother didn't move or turn around, but he continued to talk.

"I think she would have gotten a kick out of the fact that you grew taller than me." He added, with a playfully sour tone, which pulled a snicker out of Sam.

"She would have totally dug that giant nerd-brain you have. And I think she even would have liked your ridiculous amount of hair, god knows why, but I think she would've."

Sam grinned at the thought.

The boys sat in silence for awhile.

Dean distracted by his own thoughts, and unsure as to how to end the conversation without coming off as a total pansy. Sam was wiping away the tears that had escaped from his eyes, and trying to breathe through his emotions, knowing that Dean would never open up like that again if he knew it turned his brother into a total basket case.

After a few moments, Sam had collected himself enough to give his brother the out he needed.

"I was really hairless?" He asked, feigning shock.

Dean barked out a surprised laugh as he glanced back at his brother, the deep emotion of his expression replaced with amusement, but Sam could still see the remainder of the profound feeling left being in the bright green eyes.

"Hard to imagine isn't it? That there was once a time when you didn't have a mop on your noggin." The older man teased, rising stiffly from his seated position.

"You should put some ice on your head." Sam said.

"Nah, I'm good."

The younger man frowned, but did not force the issue. Dean had both allowed him to patch him up, and opened up about their mother, in one night, Sam wasn't going to request any more of his brother.

"You want something else to eat?" Dean asked, gesturing to the stash of candy he had dropped on the small desk by the door.

Sam shook his head, he had barely been able to choke down the pack of crackers, his body to sore to go through the effort of digesting.

"Alright. You should get some rest. Did you take any meds yet?" The eldest Winchester inquired, nodding to the bottle on the side-table.

Sam shook his head again.

Dean scowled.

"I gave those to you before I showered. You were supposed to take them." He chastised.

"They make me tired. I didn't want to take any until I finished patching you up."

"Well I'm patched, I got so many bandages on me I look like I was attacked by a porcupine." Dean declared, dumping two pills into his palm.

"Oh please, there's like seven." Sam shot back, accepting the drugs and the water to chase them down with.

"You were always far to liberal with the bandaids." Dean recalled, checking to be sure the door was locked and flicking off the lights as he returned to Sam's bedside and waited to be sure his kid brother actually took the pain meds.

"Well if you had it your way you wouldn't bother with bandaids and end up bleeding everywhere and getting infections instead." Sam disputed.

"It beats looking like a mummy." Dean joked, already grinning because he knew he was annoying his brother.

"Oh my gosh, you are such an ass. Eight butterfly bandages does not make you a mummy."

"I thought you said it was seven?" Dean jeered, casually leaning Sam forward so he could readjust his pillows and help the younger man lay flat on his back.

"I said it was like seven, which could also mean eight, or six." Sam grunted, his ribs flaring as he carefully inched himself further down on the bed.

"Wow, that's some solid math there, kiddo." Dean laughed sarcastically, his touch remaining gentle as he finally got Sam horizontal and shifted the pillow beneath his knee so it was in a more comfortable position.

Satisfied that Sam was as pain-free as was physically possible for him at that moment in time, Dean pulled the comforter up over Sam's long frame, and then went to move away, but stopped as Sam latched onto his forearm, the long fingers encircling it.

Dean looked down, his brother's face lit by the glow of the TV and the moonlight drifting in past the curtains.

"You have to take these also." He declared, tone serious as his other hand presented the pill bottle.

"I don't-"

"Cut the bullshit, Dean. You're covered in bruises and cuts and the bump on the back of your head has got to be killing you. Just take the damn meds."

"Fine."

The hunter dumped two tablets into his palm and tossed them into his mouth, dry swallowing them and then sticking his tongue out on display for his little brother.

"You happy?" He asked.

Sam nodded, content that Dean had swallowed the pills.

"Can I go to bed now, Nurse Ratchet?" Dean mocked, tugging gently at his arm.

But Sam's fingers only clenched tighter around the limb.

Dean stared down, eyebrows raised, awaiting his bossy little brother's next demand.

But Sam's expression didn't display stubbornness or even concern, but rather gratefulness, and a chic-flicky degree of love.

"Thanks, for telling me about Mom. And the things you said. I just...it means a lot." He explained briefly, not wanting to make of big deal of it for Dean's sake, but needing the older man to understand his appreciation.

"Yeah, no problem, buddy." Dean rasped, resting his hand gently on Sam's collarbone - one of the few places that wasn't black and blue - and patting it comfortingly.

"And Mom would be proud of you too Dean. I know she would. So would Dad."

The words were spoken with such conviction, it made it clear to Dean that his brother had absolute faith in what he was saying.

And that meant to world.

Dean swallowed the lump in his throat, and slid his had around under Sam's hair to gently squeeze the back of his neck; an action that was tremendously familiar to the older man, so much so, it was practically instinctual.

"Thanks Sammy." He whispered. emotion clogging his throat.

Sam smiled up at his brother, squeezing his arm once more before releasing it.

"Get some sleep, dude." Dean instructed softly, straightening up and grabbing the remote from the side table, using it to flick off the television, before falling into bed, sighing as the soft mattress cushioned his bruised body.

The guarantee of soft bedding had been one of Dean's main reasons for selecting the more expensive over-night option. He hoped the comfort would provide Sam with some decent sleep and that there would be no nightmares or strange vision-dreams to impeded on Sam's need for rest.

The kid was hurting and exhausted and he just needed a solid night's sleep.

That was all Dean wanted for him.

Actually, Dean wanted a hell of a lot more for his kid, but for now he would settle for a pain-free uninterrupted eight hours of rest.

And Dean would do whatever he could to insure that Sam at least got that.

Sam shifted around in bed. It was a comfortable mattress, but he almost never slept on his back and he was unable to move to a different position due to his various injuries.

Sam sighed softly and shifted again, his frustration growing as his exhaustion mounted, but his body refused to allow him to sleep.

Then he heard a soft sound coming from the bed to his right.

Dean was humming.

But he wasn't humming the usual songs, it was one Sam remembered form just recently.

One that Dean had said was their mom's favourite.

One that Dean apparently had the tape for, but Sam had never heard him play it.

And as though the soft melody was some sort of spell, Sam's body relaxed into the bedding, and his eyelids began to fall shut.

He was quickly lulled into a peaceful sleep where his pain and his worries faded away.

Dean continued humming the tune until he heard Sam's steady, even breathing.

Before last night, he hadn't heard that song in years, decades even.

He had been shocked when Sam had started humming it in his sleep back in the car.

And hearing it then had filled him with a flood of somber feelings, but this time the melody brought a sense of peace with it.

Using his mother's song to help get his kid brother to sleep seemed so fitting and just so incredibly right.

Dean welcomed the sense of calm and peace, and allowed it to wash over him.

Tomorrow, Sam and him would return to the bunker and have Cas fix them up.

They would start working on how to stop the darkness.

They would do what they could to right their wrongs.

But for now they would rest.

They would remember what was important.

They would remember who they were.

And they would remember why they fought.

Family.

That was why they always kept fighting, and why they would never stop.

Because family was all that mattered anymore.

It was all that had ever mattered.

It was everything.

The End


Note: I wasn't overly content with this fic, so I wasn't going to post it, but I decided to anyways. Hopefully someone enjoyed it :)

Thanks for reading! - Sam