- Author: Sensue
- Summary: Post Asylum. After a serious injury, Sam's role changes: the protected must now become the protector. H/C.
- Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural: the series or either of the two hot guys in it. Wish I did, especially Jensen Ackles.
- Rating: TV-14
- Pairing: Brotherly love (only): Dean/Sam. Smarm, NOT slash.
- What is Smarm?: Smarm is a loving relationship between two members of the same sex, usually men. It is highly emotional and physical (touching), and completely NON-SEXUAL.
- Author's Note: This is my third Supernatural Story. This story, at first may sound similar to some of the other stories published at however, trust me, I'm twisting it differently than any one else could imagine, as usual. I hope that everyone enjoys this as much as I've loved to write it. This story will be completely written in Sam's POV (third person), but is about Dean. So, it's Sam's thoughts about his brother.

Looking Back

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Sam stared at Dean, silently studying his older brother as he drove. He knew that his scrutiny was being ignored from the way his brother stared ahead, teeth clenched, and body tense. He had been driving for over twelve hours only taking restroom/snack breaks every so often since they had received the phone call from their father.

It infuriated him. They had both been searching for him for months now—all of their calls to John Winchester's cell phone and voice mail had been ultimately ignored. The only thing that kept Sam from calling the FBI to help search for him was Dean and his complete confidence that they would find him. No matter how many times that he tried to convince Dean that the man had abandoned them, he refused to give up that hope.

Sam ran a shaky hand through his hair, turning his angry face away from his brother to look out the passenger side window beside him, their latest argument still fresh in his mind.

After the 'events' that happened at the Roosevelt Asylum, Dean had driven to the nearest motel and then proceeded to ignore everything that had happened there, claiming that he was 'fine' and just needed to get some sleep. Sam knew, he KNEW, that his brother was hurt; he'd been shot at point blank range with a gun full of rock salt then flung across the room and through a wall. He'd been unconscious for a few minutes--that he remembered from his psychotically altered mind.

He should have insisted that Dean get some medical help or at the very least let him wake him in case he had a concussion, but the man was so stubborn. And instead of actually getting some rest and letting his body heal from his wounds, they were driving across the country yet again on some mission their father deemed necessary to send his sons on.

"Dean," Sam had argued, "Just tell him 'no'. You have a chest wound, and possibly a concussion. You don't need to be driving across the country just because our father, who hasn't spoken to us in almost six months, told you to. The damn ghost will still be haunting the place in a couple weeks; we don't need to leave now."

Dean fought back and he spoke without mercy, his voice hard and sharp, "Sam, either help me or get the hell out of my way! I need your help, but I'm getting so fucking sick of you and your attitude! Now, I'm going. If you want to come, just shut the fuck up and get in the car. If not, well, maybe one of your old college buddies can come and pick you up." He didn't even wait for an answer, just picked up his bag with a grunt, tossed it in the back seat of his car and started the engine, all without once glancing at the passenger seat.

So, twelve hours later, the view hadn't changed. His brother still wasn't speaking to him, disregarding every suggestion that he'd made for them to take a break. Finally, Sam stopped trying and just ignored the nearly silent grunts and moans that Dean was unable to mask behind the blaring Metallica rock music that was pounding out from the Impala's speakers.

The silent treatment, as annoyingly concerning as it was, had also given Sam time to think about the recent events that had so stirred up their lives and, of course, their reactions. Mostly, though, Sam thought about Dean. He looked up to his older brother; he had to, Dean was the only person that he could trust throughout his entire life. No matter how much he screwed up or said the wrong thing, Dean never turned his back on him. Dean took care of him, had taken care of him since he was a little baby. He knew for a fact that Dean would willingly give up his life for him, just as Sam knew that he'd do the same.

But somehow, through the all years they had traveled together, it had taken this moment for Sam to sadly realize that HE was all Dean had. His brother never let anyone into his life—not one single person knew the real Dean Winchester. He had no friends, he'd never fallen in love, hell, his big brother never had a single girlfriend; one night stands aside.

How many times in his life did he hear Dean refer to himself as a 'freak'? It was always said jokingly, in a sarcastic tone. But he really believes it, Sam thought.

The car door slammed, jarring him from his contemplation. Dean had already got out and walked over to the passenger side window. "You comin'?" He asked quickly, though he didn't wait for Sam to answer before walking towards the house that he parked in front of.

Sam nodded before climbing out to join him at the Anderson home, their newest 'clients'. They had reported a string of recent supernatural activity at their newly renovated mansion slash hotel. It seems the family had a resident ghost. It was tearing the place apart in its efforts to get rid of any intruders in its territory. Mr. Michael Anderson placed a call to John Winchester and of course, Sam huffed under his breath, he referred him to Dean's cell phone.

Now, they were stuck in some middle-of-nowhere small country town researching town history in order to determine the identity of the ghost. Dean knocked on the front door and silently waited for someone to answer the door.

The door opened with an old-house creak and revealed a young girl. "Hello? Can I help you?" The girl asked timidly, glancing over her shoulder every few seconds.

Dean blinked a couple times but then gently kneeled down to her level and spoke softly, "Is your Daddy home?"

The little one bit her nails, but nodded. Sam inserted, "Can you get him for us?" She ran from the door to another room and yelled 'Daddy' at the top of her lungs. Sam watched as Dean struggled to rise back to his feet. Biting back his automatic 'I told you so', Sam just silently helped him, wrapping his brother's arm around his shoulder and wrapping the other around his waist to pull him up gently. Sam pretended to ignore the grunt as Dean straightened and pulled away.

"Yes, is there something I can do for you, gentlemen?" A man opened the door, patting the same little girl who'd opened the door on the head to run off and play.

Dean stepped forward, "Mr. Anderson?"

The man looked at them with a questioning gaze, but answered, "Yes, I'm Michael Anderson. And you are?"

Sam answered for them both, "I'm Sam. This is Dean. I believe that you called our father in regards to some strange, um, happenings in your newest real estate purchase."

The man quickly stepped outside, looking around before shutting the door behind him. "Yes. Thank you both for coming so quickly." He held out his hand to them both, shaking their hands. "Please, let's go somewhere a little more private. I'm afraid that my family is in the dark, so to speak on the current situation. I—," he rubbed his hand over his mouth as he walked them over to a small cottage which was along the side of his house. The small house rested on a small hill which overlooked the larger mansion the man had purchased in order to renovate into a luxury hotel. "I just wanted to keep them safe, so I told them it was dangerous in there, due to architectural instabilities. I'm afraid that I just don't know what to do about this. That—thing is getting more and more violent. Just last week a man was killed, one of the glass windows shattered and his throat…"

Dean reassured the man with a tight smile. "Well, that's what we're here for. Sam and I will take care of it. We'll get this problem settled and this will be like a horrible nightmare soon." He shook Anderson's hand again, then nodded to his brother.

As always, when the job started, the two brothers became an unstoppable force, it was as if they could read each others minds. Sam spoke, completely professional, "Mr. Anderson, what can you tell us about the property? Do you know if anyone that had previously lived there died a violent death? Suicide? Murder? Anything like that?" They walked into the cottage, Anderson flicked the switch filling the small room with a warm bright light.

"It's Michael, please. And everything that I know about this house is here." He went over to a locked desk drawer, unlocked it, then handed Sam a large old fashioned leather bound folder. "Those are the legal documents that I acquired after the purchase."

"Thank you, Michael. This will help us. We'll, of course, return them to you once we're done here." Sam gave him a tight smile, looking over at his brother for the next step.

Dean walked over to his little brother, then gently pushed his shoulder towards the door. "Michael, we need to research this house first, you know, so that we know exactly what we're getting into before we make any moves, alright?"

The man nodded robotically, as if he had been placed in this situation many times in his life, agreeing to whatever they wanted. "Again, I wanted to say thank you for coming this quickly. You must've driven for hours, why don't you come in for dinner? I'll just tell my wife that you're –architects or something—that I hired you to oversee the architect plans for the hotel. So, what do you say?"

Dean jumped in before Sam could think of a response, as usual. "Oh, thank you for the offer, Michael. But Sam and I ate on the road. We really need to get started, okay?" Sam was floored with shock, his brother was not known for turning down free food. "Oh, more quick question, can I ask how you know our father? His—our services are usually from referral."

"Oh, actually, my brother served under your father in the Unit. Jim, my brother—uh, didn't make it back, unfortunately. But your father occasionally calls to see how the family is doing. We keep in touch."

"You haven't seen him recently, though?" Dean asked, his eyes wide with hope.

Michael answered in the negative, causing the hope to fade fast from both brothers.

Dean nodded, and then using a little bit more force than before, practically shoved Sam out the door. Dean strode back to his car, keeping a tight hold on Sam's arm the entire time. Once he knew they were both alone, Sam questioned, "Dean, what's going on? Are you alright?"

Dean licked his lips, not answering him, but just running his fingers through his hair, messing it up. Sam waited patiently, knowing from years of experience that his brother would answer in his own time and that rushing him would only lead to another fight.

"Sam," Dean started, his tone unsure, "Did you feel anything?"

Sam's forehead wrinkled up into a frown, leaning against the hood of the car to mirror his brother. "What do you mean, feel anything?"

He watched as Dean gulped, running his tongue over lips as if he was dry, which knowing Dean, he probably was. Sam held his hand up, giving him the universal 'wait a minute' sign. Walking over to his side of the car, he rummaged under the seat until he found a half-full bottle of water and then gave it to Dean. For a second, Dean looked surprised before twisting the cap to gulp the lukewarm water. Taking a deep breath, Dean re-capped the bottle then looked up.

"I—that guy Anderson I—Hell, I don't know. I just thought he felt OFF to me. It just—he made my skin crawl. I can't explain it; I just wanted to get the hell away from him." Dean put his hand over his mouth, blowing into his palm. "Did you?"

Sam put a hand on Dean's shoulder, rubbing it slightly. "I didn't." It was all he could say. Dean pulled away from him suddenly, walking over to the drivers' seat and started the engine. Sam stared at the spot where his brother had been only moments before for a few seconds before walking over to his side of the car to get in.

And like a switch had been flicked, the silence returned and the rift spread a little wider.

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It was 3:00am when Sam opened his eyes. Squinting, he noticed that his brother was in the same place he'd left him; sitting at the table, still researching the Ghost of Anderson Manor. "Dean," he called out from under his blankets, "Why don't you just give it a rest? You need to get some sleep."

Dean flipped another couple pages in the book in front of him, "Don't tell me what to do, Sam."

Sam sat up, now angry, as he got out of bed to walk over to where his brother was sitting. Huffing before placing both hands flat against the surface of the table, he wanted to be calm when he confronted his brother. "Dean, listen to me. You haven't slept in almost forty-eight hours. You look like shit and I know that your chest has got to be hurting. Dean, you can't keep on like this. You need to rest."

Dean stood up, no emotion evident on his face beside anger, "No, you listen to me, little brother. We've got a job to do and that's what I'm doing. I'm being a 'good little soldier'." The words that Sam had spoken in the fit of rage at the Roosevelt Asylum had been flung back at him, hitting him in the heart.

"Dean!" Sam grabbed his arm, not letting him turn away. He wasn't prepared when Dean's fist flung in his face with a quick round-up punch. Landing on the hard ground with a startled yell, he stopped himself from the instinctual urge to attack him physically. He didn't want to hurt him—not any more than he already had.

Levering himself off the floor, Sam glared at his brother, but left him alone. He returned to his bed, purposefully turning away from the table and throwing his pillow over his face to sleep.

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Next Day

Research complete and plan formed—tersely and without the usual conversation or jokes, Anderson and both brothers entered the Anderson Manor to burn and exorcise the ghost of Madsen Gilmore. In the 1920s, the man had, by accounts of the city records, almost owned the entire town. He was a greedy little pig that built himself a little kingdom, complete with a fortress-like mansion and let the rest of the town rot. The town rebelled, rioting against his tyrant behavior. They threw stones through the stained glass windows and gained entry, supposedly beating the man and then locking him in his own wine cellar to die a slow horrible death. The bastard refused to let go of his house—his prized possession, haunting it to repel any human entry to this day.

It was going to be hard, it was a gut feeling. The ghost wasn't playing fair, it was out to kill anyone that entered its residence. It was going to be dangerous and Sam wanted nothing more than to tell Dean that he'd handle it on his own. His brother was running on pure adrenaline and will. The lines of pain around his eyes were deeper than they had been the previous day and it was obvious from the way he moved that the bruises were killing him. It was fear that held him back.

Fear that Dean would, yet again, take it the wrong way. Sam knew that the hunt was the only thing that Dean had faith in; it was the only thing that hadn't let him down. He didn't want to take it away, question his brother's ability to do the job. Somehow, Sam knew that would probably be the last straw—the straw that would break him.

Anderson was the guide; he would lead them down to the cellar where Gilmore was supposedly buried after starving to death.

Dean walked ahead of both men, taking point, rock salt rifle at the ready to repel the ghost, at least temporarily. It was deceivingly quiet…the sounds of rats scratching the walls the only sounds that echoed through the mansion. Dean put up a hand, motioning for Sam to watch his back as he made his way down the stairs that Anderson pointed out. Pulling out flashlights, they hooked them onto their belt harnesses, their beams lighting the way through the old mansion.

Sam took the rear, senses tingling as the continued the trek. The feeling that something was wrong grew stronger as they neared the cellar door. Dean reached it first, opening it slowly. Anderson held the EM meter that Dean had rigged. It was quiet, not even a flicker of activity showed on it.

Yet both brothers still felt the wrongness of the situation. "Sam," Dean whispered, "check it out." He nodded towards the cellar. Sam nodded, bringing up his own rifle before stepping into the cellar. It was dirty, dusty, and smelled of rat feces. There was nothing. It was quiet.

"Clear." Sam called out to the two men waiting.

Anderson entered with Dean following behind, his body still tense, waiting for the ghost to spring something out on them. "I don't understand…where the hell is it?" It was mumbled under his breath.

Anderson looked around at the old bottles of wine, which were covered with spider webs and dust. He handed the EM meter to Sam, before picking up a bottle, studying the old label. Sam put his rifle down on a barrel of wine, before taking a moment to study the non-readings.

Dean walked over to his little brother, whispering to him, "Sam, what the hell is going on here?" Sam could only shrug, his brow furrowing in his confusion, while tapping the meter he held in his hands.

There was no warning—none at all when the bottle of 1921 Palmer Margaux Bordeaux wine that Michael Anderson held was shattered over Dean's head. Sam reacted immediately to break his fall to the hard concrete. Lifting his head, Sam was forced backwards; the dripping broken glass of the bottle was pressed too close to his face for comfort.

"What the hell are you doing, Anderson?" Sam grounded out angrily, his teeth clenched.

The small town man—father that had greeted them disappeared before Sam's very eyes, leaving behind the monster before him. "Payback," he snarled.

Sam glanced down at Dean's unconscious body, the anger growing. "Payback? Payback! We don't even know you!"

The bottle was suddenly swung towards his neck, nearly cutting him before Sam whipped himself away. "Your father left my little brother to die in that fucking mess he created. He was in charge of the operation! He should've been the one to die, not my brother. The bastard ordered everyone to leave; they left my brother to die alone while they ran! And to top it off, they give him a fucking Metal of Honor. A fucking Metal of Honor for killing my brother. I promised myself that he'd pay one day—that he'd feel the same loss that my family felt knowing you'll never come home again."

Sam spit, "How did you know we'd come?"

Anderson laughed, "I knew that he'd send Dean here; that was evident from the voice message on his phone service, but I got a two-for-one deal. I already did all the research on the Estate; I knew about the Gilmore murder. All I had to do was set up the 'accident' and you'd come running to save us from the mean old ghosts. John's obsession with the supernatural is common knowledge; so is the fact that he raised the both of you to follow in his footsteps. I just played on it. And now, you're both going to die."

The man backed away, grabbing their rifles before running out of the cellar door. It locked behind him with a metallic grind. Darkness soon filled the corners of the sealed room, the only light coming from the flashlights that remained with them.

Sam stared at the locked door, "FUCK!" He swore before kneeling down to check his brother. He ran a hand over his head, pulling back at the feel of wetness.

Blood covered his fingers, his brother's blood.

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To Be Continued…

Don't worry, much more to come. And a twist no one will expect.