-- Okay! This is my first Supertnatural fic (yay for me!) so go easy on me, big ol' meanies! I kid, I kid... basically, I wrote this because I didn't think Asylum said everything. It was obvious at the end of the episode that Dean was in real pain, more real then a bruised rib, but they didn't delve into that at all... so, that's why you have me . anyway, I own nothing! NOTHING, YOU HEAR ME? NOTHING! So don't sue... instead, give me Jensen Ackles for Christmas.

... I'm serious, he's on my list--

000

Ding dong, Dean died today... well, not really...

He felt like he'd died. He would have had to question on that, if it weren't for the steadily churning pain in his diaphragm. Lucky he'd been shot with the rock salt first then, ah? Damn, he had a dark sense of humor sometimes...

Now he sat in the driver's side of his precious '67 Chevy Impala, the only one he could trust never to leave him. What? You honestly think, to someone who'd seen all the things he'd seen in his life, who knew all the things he knew and above all how huge a single life is, that something as insignificant as a car would be cherished simply for being a car? No, it was symbolic. It was a little mind game he played with himself to stay sane, or as sane as someone who hunts demons for a living could be.

He clenched the steering wheel so tight his knuckles were white, a way of coping with the pain that sitting upright made him want to vomit and/or pass out. He would have clenched his jaw, too, but Sam might see that when the street lights roll through the windshield... he couldn't give Sam the opportunity to vent on him. He didn't need his guilt now, not tonight.

Sam, who was staring at him now; as if he could read the lines of Dean's face, decode the subtle twitches and dimples into his thoughts word-for-word. Good luck, Dean had been working on his poker face since he was ten! Sam hadn't been able to call him on it since he was fifteen, either.

His brother, his brother, his god damn baby brother! Dean had cranked an old Metallica tape up as loud as his ear could handle it to separate himself from his brother. He couldn't deal with speech right now, the wounds were still too fresh; and we're not talking about his chest here.

His baby brother, whom he'd devoted his entire life to protecting and caring for, had tried to kill him. Sure, he knew that the crazy doctor had a hand in it... but they were Sam's emotions, no matter how you sliced 'em.

Dean had given up his childhood after their mom died to take care of Sam. Ever since the moment their dad had thrust his baby brother into his arms, Dean had taken his orders as something eternal. Growing up, they were all they had... their father had always been out hunting, leaving them alone with relatives or something rather of, until they were finally old enough to be trained to hunt, too. Even then, they'd always been a team... their father had taught them how to work in perfect sync.

That was always their niche, but Sam never wanted any of that... so Sam left. It was the most painful experience of Dean's life. Something broke inside him that day, and he knew it would never be back... it wasn't his connection with Sam, no; he was ready to patch that back up the moment he'd seen him again at Stanford. It was something... in his heart, perhaps his heart entirely, that died.

He'd failed at protecting his brother then, the cord that bound them together had been broken, and now it was reoccurring to him. At first, he thought he'd failed again... now, he had to consider if he'd never gotten back on the job at all. He'd tried; he'd sure as hell tried! But had Sam ever let him? Could he overpower Sam in that way? Was it even possible? What had he always been so sure of, that was escaping him now?

Now he was cold, colder then he should have been, and he couldn't stop his mind from wandering back to the events that had just passed through him. The pain was just too real.

His brother, his baby brother, had really hated him enough to kill him... or, at least, he would have if there'd been any bullets in that gun. Of course there wasn't, Dean may have been blonde but he wasn't stupid! Why had he even let it go on that long? He could have blown the show right after Sam had discarded the shot gun. When he thought about it, he'd try to convince himself that it was so he could brace himself against the spreading pain that had overtaken his sense after being shot with the rock salt (not to mention force of that having thrown him through a wall), but in the very bottom of his mind, he knew the truth... he had been doubting Sam.

Dean knew he loved Sam (in an entirely brotherly way, you perverts!); he didn't have to say it or even acknowledge it. It was always there, always had been; simple as that. But after Sam had shot him with the rock salt, and he'd laid barely able to breathe on that cold, dirty floor... his intentions were fearful, he had to prove them wrong. So he waited after Sam took the bait... only to prove them right.

His brother pulled the trigger, and Dean felt his heart stop. Dead on his back, no need for bullets; the lack of loyalty had done him in.

And to think... what was it, a week ago? Last week they were in Kansas, and Dean was holding Sam to him and rocking back and forth after his baby brother had been strangled nearly to death by a poltergeist. This week, Sam had shot and killed him.

His whole life seemed built on shaky ground now, and Dean was left trembling. He tried to concentrate on something else to prevent from losing control. Dean was the stone giant, nothing ever got through his skin. He was the rock... no wonder his own family walked all over him.

Dean kept his eyes fixed on the road as if it were the most interesting damn thing he'd ever seen, glancing up only momentarily to scan the blinding neon signs. One in particular caught his eyes. Sure, a letter was out so it said "Star-Lite otel", but it was the closest one he'd seen and if he didn't lay down soon he feared his chest might explode all over the impala's beautiful interior.

He swung through the opposite lane into the parking lot well above the speed limit, causing his sibling to grab the dash in his usual start over Dean's stunt-like driving, before gliding to an easy stop into one of the cut out spaces next to a red pick-up truck. He had to hold his breath when he leaned foreword to pull the key out of the ignition to prevent his body was releasing any tiny sound over the pain. He succeeded, stiffly, before lumbering out of the impala and dragging his feet to the reception office, not once glancing back to see if Sam was following him.

He did the regular fake ID, fake credit card deal, signing the fake name in a fancy cursive he'd never use otherwise on all the paperwork, before receiving a key. Room 28, wonderful; he'd get to climb stares to the second floor of the motel!

He hauled his ass into their room about three minutes later, Sam practically breathing down his neck as he stumbled with the key in the lock. He couldn't get his damn hands to stop shaking! It pissed him off a little, but he got it, and lumbered off in the direction of the bathroom without a word to his brother. No conversation had passed between them since Dean had groaned about just wanting sleep, and he liked it that way, too!

Once inside the safety of the tiny white room, Dean locked the door with a small click, and then leaned over the sink. He tried to allow his breaths to come in heavy like they wanted to, but the pain was unbearable then. He settled for the nasal hiss that had been growing shallower and shallower since he'd been shot.

He looked in the mirror, and instantly thought that he'd definitely looked better! His skin was sickly yellow/white, like milk that had gone over. Dirt and grime were smeared on his face and clothes, as well as the ash and cobwebs that netted in his hair. He smirked sadly, but couldn't keep it on his face.

His brother hated him enough to kill him. The pain in his chest wouldn't let him forget. Sam might as well of shot him in the heart, then... suppose the diagram was good enough for now, though. Maybe he'd shoot him in the heart next time...

Before Dean realized it, tears had collected in his eyes. He wiped them away with a vengeance, but the dirt and dust on the back of his sleeve just made the smeared tracks more defined. Sighing – which stung like a bitch I might add – he flicked on the faucet to a warmth that suited him, before scrubbing his hands clean, and then cupping them under the water so that he could splash it on his face... after he learned how to bend over without groaning like he'd just been kicked in the stomach.

He leaned back up, very slowly, hissing with the number it did to his injury awareness. The throbbing that had not relented since it'd been inflicted inspired him to lift up his shirt and check the area... a deep, angry redness interrupted the paled flesh, with darker more varied colors blossoming out from the zone of maximum impact. Oh yes, another bruise to frighten the eyes of the normal was forming pleasantly on his body again.

Regularly, this would be when he'd have Sam bandage him up – his ribs were more likely than not cracked, or even possibly broken – but not tonight. Tonight, he couldn't bear it... for God's sake; he couldn't even stand his own brother's eyes on him! A touch would break his neglected heart.

Instead, he allowed the fabric to fall back into place. He shook himself off, and recovered enough composition to face the world again... he hardened his poker face on his features as he reached for the knob, before twisting it and descending out into the room.

His brother glanced up from where he was reclined against the bed closest to the bathroom, the TV on and remote in his lap, but his lips did not move and Dean was grateful.

The elder brother crossed the room to the empty bed, plopping down on the side of it and removing his shoes, pants, and jacket. He crawled under the covers before removing his shirt so he could hide his wounds beneath their security, before bundling up like a child with his back to Sam, and then closed his eyes.

He couldn't say that any of this surprised him... physical pain was something he'd learned to withstand from an early age, and emotion something he'd learned to discard. It was unnecessary, and could get you killed. Besides, he'd been taught through experience that everyone was going to leave him; die or leave or just forget to stay. How could anybody really care about him if that was the outcome of all his life's emotional attachments?

No one loved him, no one ever would... he was alone, now and forever, and he'd taught himself to accept it and move on. He'd thought it was different with Sam – hell; he'd even taken a second stab at it! – but he knew better now. It hurt greater then his chest could ever muster, but he choked on it. It would go away, it always does... die or leave or just forget to stay.

He drew himself away from these contemplations and tried to focus on ignoring the pain and lowering himself into a state of half-consciousness. The last thoughts he remembered thinking before darkness and rest took him was that he might as well be dead... because, even though his chest would return to normal over time, he still bore wounds that would never heal; only sink beneath his consciousness.

Ding dong, Dean Winchester died today. Funeral services in his head; the clouds gathered, but no one came...