Standard Disclaimers Apply

Sam walked wearily to the third floor. His mind was in turmoil. He had to talk to Dean and find out what supernatural being had caused his condition. Then he could figure out how to fight it. Find the cure. Save his brother. And this time, he could not fail.

Even though Sam knew that Dean's condition was bad, he was not prepared for the way his brother looked on the hospital bed. His skin was so pale Sam could not imagine that his brother still had blood to lose. His eyes looked sunken and there were lines of pain etched on his face. Dean looked so vulnerable that Sam felt a strong urge to reach over and hold his brother, and shield him from the evil that was attacking his body. And the thought scared him. Dean never looked weak, he was always the one who held Sam and chased away his fears. He was the protector, not Sam.

Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out the talisman that Dean had left for him.

"Even when I drove you away, you tried to protect me by giving me this. But I am never going to need anything other than you to keep me safe. And you are not going anywhere, " he whispered as he slipped the leather strap over his brother's head.

Sam sat down and watched as Dean slept. He reached out and held his hand, and let the tears brimming in his eyes spill over. He felt exhausted and drained from all the events of the day.

Dean opened his eyes slowly. Every part of him hurt and it seemed like an effort even to lift his eyelids. He beeping of the machines in his room told him that he was in the hospital. Something shaggy seemed to be resting on his hand. Once his eyes adjusted to being open, he looked down to see his brother's brown mop of hair.


Sam's shot up when he heard his brother's raspy voice. His head hit the side railing of the bed.

"Whoa there, tiger. Take it easy. Six months of hunting and your reflexes are in overdrive."

"Dean? You're awake."

"Your observational skills are top-notch too."

Dean flashed his cocky grin at his little brother. He was so glad to see Sam he had forgotten all about everything that had happened in the last twenty-four hours. But then he saw his brother's red-rimmed eyes and the pain in them. Sam knew. Dean sighed and looked away. He was the reason for the hurt apparent on his brother's face.

Sam reached over and turned his brother's head so he could look him in the eye.

"Dean, why didn't you tell me?"

"Wasn't much to tell. I was too slow getting out of the way of a curse."

"And that's it? You are going to give up just like that?"

"Sam, it's a curse. You can't fight it, once it is cast, you can't turn it back."

"No, Dean, there has to be something we can do. And I am going to find it. I am not going to lose you. You are the only person I have left. Jess is dead and Dad does not want to be found. I will find a cure."

The tears were pouring down Sam's face. It broke Dean's heart to see his brother in so much pain. But he had to make Sam understand, there was nothing they could do. Dean did not want to be one more reason for Sam's guilt. His little brother had enough of that.

"There is no cure, Sam. I have looked, trust me. I am going to die and you can't stop it."

"No! Don't say that. Dean, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything I said at the asylum, I'm sorry for leaving you and going to Stanford. I'm sorry for not being there for you. I love you… please, please don't leave me."

"Sammy, stop. You don't have to apologize for any of those things. I wanted you to go to Stanford. I wanted you to have a chance at a normal life. And you were always there for me, little bro. I know you were. And…I love you, too. And I am proud of you Sam, I want you to remember that. Otherwise you are going to make me come back from the dead and remind you. Then, the shotgun with the salt will really hurt."

When Sam did not crack a smile, Dean's tone grew serious again.

"Sam, I mean it. I know how much this is hurting you right now. And if there was anything I could do to make it stop hurting, I would. But I can't.So, I need you to be strong, and I need you to be ok."

Sam looked up into his brother's hazel eyes. He knew Dean had meant every word he said. But it did not make the pain subside. He still could not accept that he was going to lose Dean. But if his brother wanted him to be strong, he would try to be strong. But he knew he would never be ok, never be fine. How could he? Dean was what made him ok. When he was young, it was Dean who tended to the boo-boos and make things ok. When he fought with his dad, it was Dean who patched things up and made it fine again. When he needed to study, it was Dean who convinced their father to give him a break from the training and hunting. When he got into Standford, it was Dean who drove him there and told him things would be fine. When Jessica died, it was Dean who had pulled him out of the fire. When the nightmares came, it was Dean who had comforted him. Whenever he had fallen, it was Dean who had picked him up. Now Dean needed Sam to say that he would be alright without his big brother, and so he would lie. He wiped the tears from his eyes and looked away.

"I will be."

Dean knew his brother was lying, but he also knew that Sam had accepted what Dean was saying. He still had time to try to fix the rest and make sure that Sam would be fine.

"Good. Now can you go andcall one of the nurses, all this emotion is making me feel light-headed."

Sam shot Dean a concerned look, but seeing the smile playing on his brother's lips he knew that this was Dean's way out of the "chick-flick" moment.

"And Sammy…"


"Make sure it is one of the cute nurses."

As Sam walked out of the room, Dean looked down at the charm that hung again from his neck, and finally let the tears fall.

---THE END---