Few things in life.

There are few things that are constant in life, mused Sam. Death was a given, no matter how one reacted to it afterwards. Taxes always seemed to apply, even if some dodged them; and then there was Dean.

Ever since he was young, Sam had always known that he could rely on his brother.

However much he had sometimes resented his brother's superior attitude, it was reassuring to know that there would always be someone there who gave a damn and Dean was one of the few things that had never, ever, let him down.

When his dad would go off on a hunting trip, Dean was waiting when he got home with a plate full of spagettio's and sausages, a demented grin on his face and a firm "Do your homework".

When kids at school mocked the fact that he had no mom, Dean was there to apply a fist or two and bail him out of trouble.

Dean had been there at his high school reunion, Dean had bought him a round when he received his letter of acceptance to College and Dean had bought him his first car.

His big brother took his role seriously and Sam knew that that was what was currently killing him.

When Sam went off to college, leaving Dean and their father alone to fight the monsters, their dad had reacted like it was a betrayal. Dean had stood up, face first and demanded that Sam be allowed his own life.

It had been one of the hardest decisions of Sam's life and he had taken it, waving goodbye to his brother in the mirror of his battered Chevy.

But that act, that one decision, had changed them both forever. No longer was Dean Sam's protector and no longer was he the hero of Sam's world.

Sam knew things that Dean couldn't even dream about; school stuff, intellectual stuff and it changed their dynamic.

Dean was no longer sure where he fit into Sam's world and that was the reason that he wouldn't ask about the nightmares.

Sam knew he wanted to; hell, Sam even wanted him to ask, he wanted his brother to take away the pain that he felt whenever he dreamed of Jessica, he wanted Dean to fight his battles and make it all better.

But Dean wouldn't ask and Sam wouldn't offer.

So they stayed, night after night in cheap motels filthy and rotting, ignoring the barrier between them, pretending that it wasn't there and that it didn't matter.

But when Sam woke up screaming her name, Dean was always there and he was always awake, keeping guard like when they were children.

No matter what happened Dean was there, battling away the monsters and taking away the pain with a wise crack and a hunting knife.

There were few things that are constant in life.

Death, taxes… and Dean.