Part 9.

It's mostly dark, soft light shining on him from overhead. Sam smacks his lips trying to get rid of that nasty dry taste in his mouth from sleeping so long. The hospital. That's where he is, that's where he's just woken up. He vaguely remembers the nightmare of the EMTs taking Dean away from him, unconsciously fists his hand in his quilt.

Dean.

He sits up all too quickly, closes his eyes against the rush of nausea and dizziness, winces with the tug on his skin and turns to find an IV sunk into his arm. He runs a hand through his hair and then jerks the IV out, staunches the small flow of blood with some tissues. Spots his jeans sitting folded on the chair beside his bed (the chair usually filled with protective big brother) he shakes that thought from his head and slides his jeans on.

Knows Dean would be here if he could...in any way. And that's what's scaring Sam so bad, Dean wasn't there, everything was quiet and peaceful something life never was when Dean was around. He pads over to the door in his socked feet and glances through the blinds, checking to see if there are any hovering nurses.

The worry and guilt is a tight pull in his chest, a boulder crushing his heart. What if there was no Dean to go to? What if Dean was gone already...what if Sam really lost him this time? He can feel his big brother's dead weight even now in his arms, the unsteady, barely there pulse under his fingertips...the chill of his white skin...

Sam slips out of his door, his heart beating loud in his ears as he tries to find a floor plan, something to tell where Dean might be. His condition had been bad enough to earn him a place in the ICU, add the self inflicted wounds to the list of wounds Dean had been sporting and there was no way he hadn't been put under twenty-four surveillance.

If he's alive.

Shut up! Sam yells inwardly at himself as he walks down the dark, cool halls, reminding him cruelly of home. It's eerily quiet, but Sam's thankful for the silence and the absence of nosey nurses. He's followed by the sound of his own quiet footsteps, his heavy breaths because he's already worn out, he must have been worse off than he'd thought at first.

With a hand on the wall helping him keep upright, and the dizziness stabilized Sam manages to find the ICU. He slips in behind a nurse who's not paying much attention in the early morning hours. One quick survey of the large room lets him know which one is Dean. He would be only one alone.

Sam heart sinks into his feet at that, but quickens his footsteps. He arrives in the doorway out of breath, eyes wide and uncertain. His big brother lays still and pale on the hospital sheets cover by two thick blankets, good, he thinks, Dean gets cold easily. He's wearing an oxygen mask, his arms wrapped in stark white bandages and god, Sam doesn't mind them in the least...at least they weren't those long, gaping knife wounds.

"Dean," Sam whispers, walking to the side of his bed, his fingertips just barely skimming over the arch of his knuckles. And he swallows thickly, tears blurring his vision thinking of how close he'd come to losing Dean, the evidence in front of him. But his heart is beating constantly, the beeping in Sam's ears, and if he could bear to look away from Dean's face he'd see it jumping up and down on the heart monitor.

He collapses into the chair by Dean's bed, nearly unconscious of himself threading his fingers into Dean's limp ones. His shocked and grateful and so overwhelmed when Dean shifts in his rest with the contact...turns towards Sam a little.

"I'm so sorry Dean," he whispers huskily, the tears veiling his words in love, sorrow and relief. "I shoulda been there, I could have stopped you...I'm sorry."

He rests his forehead against the white bandages on his brother's arms, lets his upper body melt into Dean's mattress. The tightening of Dean's fingers around his makes him turn his head and look up into his resting face. A tired smile turns his lips up, "Be right here De, not going anywhere..." he whispers before slipping off to sleep, because now he can rest, now his job is done, the case truly closed now that Dean was going to be okay, the sisters gone from his mind along with their dark influence, and the brothers, with their lust for life, reunited.

...

Sam wakes with fingers in his hair. Strong, calloused, familiar fingers. His eyelashes flutter against his cheeks as he struggles to return to the waking world, lets out a sleepy sigh as he opens his eyes and is met with Dean's vibrant green one's sparkling as they look down on him fondly.

There's bags under them, more wrinkles than usual around them but they're open and they are most assuredly Dean's. There's no words between them, Sam simply takes the opportunity to study Dean's face, and his big brother lets him, just looks back with a tired smile arching his lips and his fingers still in Sam's hair.

"You look like crap." Sam says softly, though the scared, relieved break in his voice kind of gives him away.

Fingers lift and brush hair from Sam's eyes and Dean's smile doesn't go sardonic like usual, just sweetens. "You too Sammy, you 'kay?"

Sam nods, the catch in his throats making him abandon speech. His eyes skitter away from Dean's thinking of how it felt to have his brother jerked from his arms and to be held down powerless to follow, powerless to know what had happened...he'd thought Dean was gone...in those minutes he was awake after the ambulance had taken Dean away he'd thought his brother was dead.

"I'm fine," he whispers, doesn't pick up his head, doesn't release Dean where they're fingers are still tightly merged together. "I thought you were dead," he whispers, eyes falling closed again as he tries to drown all those memories out with the here and now of Dean warm and real and close. Dean's face inevitably softens as Sam looks back up to his older brother.

"What are you doin' in here, anyways?" Dean asks, a fond smirk on his lips, fingers on Sam's scalp, threading through the silky strands of chestnut hair. "You nearly scared the nurse to death, she didn't know how you got in here."

"I thought you were dead," Sam simply repeats himself, and Dean's fingers skitter gently across the bruising on the side of his little brother's face, ending with a barely there tap on the tip of his nose.

"Sh," Dean urges in a whisper, a sad old look in his eyes but the sweetest and strongest of loves in his gaze too, forget about it, don't dwell on it, I never wanted to scare you like that, I'm sorry, I'm not leaving you, never leaving you. "I'm not."

...

It's a couple of days before Sam manages to get Dean out of the hospital, he picks Dean up at the door in the impala and his brother slips into the passenger seat with a sour look on his face, but doesn't even start to argue with Sam about who's driving. Simply pulls his coat tighter around him, his blood still thin, and lets his head fall against the back of the seat to catch some real sleep.

Baby had more often than not been Dean's bed, and her familiar rumble worked like a charm to put him into deep peaceful sleep. Sam drives straight through back to Kansas, waking Dean to make him eat and his older brother looks better, his face finally less white, the bags under his eyes less black...his eyes more green.

Sam knew what it felt like to be possessed, to have your mind attacked and taken away from you. He knows it takes a few days to really be yourself again, to really know for sure that you're you. Dean is quieter but Sam doesn't bother him, allows him the space he needs, but that doesn't mean he lets him drift, he keeps Dean present with him as they talk about everything but nothing and Sam can see Dean getting more and more convinced...he is himself.

And Sam knows what's bothering Dean, knows Dean is asking himself, how much of that was Amy and Amber, and how much of it was me? Would I really kill myself? Sam knows the answer, but knows Dean has to figure it out for himself; he wouldn't believe anyone else.

Dean watches the flat plains of Kansas roll by, watches the trees as they cast sunny stripes over his skin and Sam looks over to him in the quiet, the little smile pulling at Dean's lips as he turns at that moment to share a look with Sam...can't wait to be home.

He just wants to be home. Doesn't want recognition or reward, doesn't want compensation for the wounds still healing in his wrists, or the confusion and doubt now wracking his already shaky self confidence. Simply wants to be home...and wants to be home with Sam. And maybe it's got something to do with the sunlight, or Dean's peaceful smile or the fact that Dean is, in fact, alive but...

...god, Dean's beautiful.

Sam sends Dean on into the bunker as he grabs their bags, and the takeout they'd picked up. When he comes into the library with the food he finds his older brother standing over the table, his fingers sliding over their initials etched there. His face unreadable and Sam's heart stops wondering what he's thinking. Does he want to get rid of them so that they don't end up like Amy and Amber? Does he regret making them, does he regret the bond he has with Sam, does it scare him?

"What is it?" Sam asks, coming to stand beside him, setting the food down.

"Just...thinking about our legacy again." His big brother muses, the wood cool and smooth against his skin except for the part they had scarred with their mark.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, I mean, do you think we could end up like Amy and Amber?" His question in quiet, the fear is there...but it's more than that, it's mostly just curiosity. Sam cocks his head to one side trying to understand Dean.

"I guess anything is possible." Sam says carefully.

Dean shoots him a wry look that's says I know you got more than that.

Sam shrugs with a little laugh, "I think when we go Dean, we're gonna be ready for all this to be over...and as for becoming ghosts I can think of a lot better ways to spend my afterlife, especially an afterlife with you, than killing people."

Dean laughs. A full bellied, rumbling in his chest laugh and Sam smiles with it, watching the way the happiness makes the wrinkles in Dean's face show themselves. And as Dean drifts his fingers over their carved initials one last time Sam sees him know himself again.

Sam sees him realize that it was all Amy and Amber, he would never slit his wrists alone in a bathroom...and Sam doesn't think about other circumstances...doesn't think about Dean bleeding out over his own cold corpse. But Sam can see where Dean finds himself again, a fighter.

The man who stands for what's right, the man who hangs onto family like religion. A man who loves better than Angels, a man who hates deeper than demons...a man who understands life. He doesn't give up on life, they don't give up on life...and they most certainly do not give up on each other.

That's the man Sam wants his name besides that's the man Sam wants to leave is mark with...that's his brother. The brother he hopes and prays will leave many more D.W.'s beside his S.W.'s. So maybe their legacy didn't really matter to anyone but themselves, but saving lives was their legacy none the less...I will never not save you, please don't ask that of me...Sam's legacy to Dean, Dean's legacy to Sam.

As they dig into their supper before Sam forces Dean off to bed, they clink the necks of their beer bottles together in a toast...

Our legacy.

THE END.

...

ALL DONE! So relieved but also sad to say goodbye...thank you so much for reading and going on this mini adventure with me! LAST CHAPTER SO... REVIEW?!;););)

Huge thanks to all my readers and reviewers...you guys have no idea how much you mean to me! Who's excited for the new episode? MEHH! :):)