Summary: It helped. It made the days easier to get through. But when Dean get's hurt because of Sam's secret, Sam finally has to face the repercussions.

Ido not own Dean or Sam. I do not own Supernatural. But the rest is all the property of my subconscious.

Hi guys! Here's one more that just begged to be written. Hope you enjoy! And don't forget to respond. Reviews make me happy!

Sam rolled out of bed long before sunlight began shining through the window and, after making sure Dean was still fast asleep, snuck into the bathroom, taking his toiletry bag with him. He reached unconsciously into the shower stall and turned the water on, not caring what the temperature was. This was the normal routine, and he wouldn't be getting into the shower any time soon. Shaky hands dug through the bag until he unearthed the consecrated bottle, the contents innocuously hidden behind a 'Tylenol' label and tossed out several of the white pills into his hand. Immunity had him up to five of the sacred tablets every four hours, and he chased them with a glassful of water out of habit, but not necessity. He ate them like candy these days, and he could easily swallow them dry if there was no water to be had. Even risking the bitterness on his cottony tongue was better than the alternative, so Sam always made sure he downed the capsules on time. His body made sure of it.

He couldn't remember the exact day that he'd pulled his first con to stock up on the precious salvation, but he remembered the day he realized how precious the pills were to him in the first place. And he remembered what had led to his finding out. He and Dean were on what they considered to be a routine hunt; a banshee was terrorizing men in a small town in North Dakota, and he and Dean had stopped on their way to a larger job. Their intention had been to be in and out in less than an evening's time. But the banshee had a different idea entirely. She had put up a fight with every last ounce of strength she had, and Sam had born the brunt of her attacks. By the time she sucked in her last breath Sam was writhing on the floor in agony, his hip shattered in two places. A few well placed pins and a bottle of prescription Codeine later, and he and Dean were back on the road, primarily because they couldn't afford to pay the hospital bills. They'd had to hightail it out of the town before their debts caught up with them.

At first, Sam just took the drugs for the excruciating pain he found himself in during any single moments lucidity. The Impala was as comfortable as any car for the physically healthy, but is wasn't built to accommodate his need for a full prone position. He'd tried the passenger seat and the back seat, tried every position possible in both seats, but it was impossible to get comfortable without some help from his little white friends. They drove for several days before Dean finally pulled the car off at a little roadside motel and announced they would take a few days to recuperate. But the damage had already been done. Sam had discovered an additional perk to his painkillers. They didn't just ease the physical pain; they eased the emotional pain as well.

That was back in November. It was July now, and his hip had long ago healed. But the emotional anguish that had haunted him since Jess' death still lingered over him, refusing to be subdued. But the pills helped. They made him forget. They fought the pain. So he'd continued to take them. Town after town he found himself sneaking away from Dean just long enough to find some gullible doctor to believe his contrived story of losing his prescription. They took pity on him, every last one of them, and so Sam continued to fill prescriptions for Codeine. He back-stocked them, tossing the obtrusive pharmacy bottles and replacing those with unquestionable's. Old bottles for Vitamin C pills, Fiber pills, Multi-vitamins, they all contained Sam's precious supply, and Dean would never know because he didn't believe in all that crap. He believed the body created its own supplies of everything, and pills just weren't required to supplement. He never looked in the bottle's, and because he never suspected, Sam was now addicted. Not that Sam would admit to any of that.

He stayed in the bathroom for several minutes, collapsed on top of the closed toilet seat until the shaking subsided and nausea disappeared. Then, he reached back into the shower and shut off the water. He returned to the bed, hoping to get at least another hours worth of sleep before Dean woke up ready to get back on the road. Sam looked over at Dean's sleeping form and let out a sigh of relief. Dean didn't suspect a thing.

As Sam had expected, Dean woke with the first rays of the sun, getting himself showered and dressed before waking Sam to do the same. "Rise and shine sleeping beauty," he crowed in an all too perky voice. Sam groaned as Dean pulled the covers down, shaking his shoulder for added measure. "Dude, come on. Get up. Get dressed. We need to be on the road early."

Sam climbed groggily out of the bed and made a beeline to the bathroom, this time adjusting the water temperature in the shower to his liking and climbing in. His skin itched, and the hot water beating down on him made everything feel so much better. Closing his eyes, he used both hands to steady himself against the tiled wall of the shower and remained that way for the good part of ten minutes, relishing the soothing feel of the waterfall.

Dean's voice interrupted his reverie, and Sam snapped to attention when he heard the pounding on the bathroom door. "Dammit Sam, don't be taking all day in there! Come on, lets get a move on!"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming." He rolled his eyes, but moved into action, finishing the remaining components of his shower in record time. Grabbing the breakfast sandwich Dean had picked up for him, Sam stuffed it in his mouth in four bites and chased his anxious brother out the door. They had two days to make it to their next destination before another sacrifice would take place under the full moon, and Dean was determined to cross the thousand or so miles with time to spare.

They were barely back on the road when Sam's head lulled back, his mouth dropped open, and hushed snores emitted from his nose and throat. Dean glanced over at his little brother, unsure if he should be relieved or worried that Sam had once again fallen into a routine that he'd mastered in the last several months. The boy spent so much of his time asleep these days.

Dean had noticed a change in Sam, but he honestly believed the changes were for the better. Sure, he slept more, and he seemed slightly less attentive to the tiny details of life, and he often complained of blurry vision; but Dean had no intention of getting involved. A sleepy Sam was certainly better than a mopey one. And he wasn't about to complain about Sam's lack of pointing out every freaking landmark in every freaking city. And the blurry vision meant he got more time behind to wheel of the precious Impala without Sam whining that he never got to drive. So for Dean, the changes were welcome. But he still couldn't shake the feeling that there was some underlying cause to all the changes. No matter how hard he tried to convince himself that everything was fine, his gut told him differently. He just didn't feel like dealing with it. Dealing equated concern, and concern meant chick-flick moments. No thank you.

"Dean, we gotta stop, man. I gotta pee." Sam's voice rose over the boom of Dean's music.

Whipping his head around, Dean regarded his brother with surprise. "When did you decide to rejoin the land of the living?"

Sam rolled his eyes, irritated. "Just stop at the next gas station, will ya?" He bounced his foot nervously against the floorboards and shoved his hands beneath his legs, trying to stop their trembling, or at the very least, hide it from his brother. He barely gave the car time to stop before bounding from the vehicle, backpack slung over his shoulder.

The bathroom was built into the side of the gas station, and required a key, which Sam didn't have. Desperation overcame him, and he found himself frantically rattling the locked doorknob and pounding insistently on the barrier taunting him as sweat began to pour down his face. Failure to wake earlier had cost him a precious hour, and the effects of withdrawal were beginning to take their toll.

"Looking for this?" Sam's head snapped up and he spun around. Dean stood holding the key to the door triumphantly, an ear to ear grin spread across his face. Sam lashed out, grabbing at the oversized key chain and stumbling a little as he closed his hand around it. He didn't even spare a thank you before sliding the key into the lock and letting himself into the filthy bathroom hidden behind the solid door. A stunned Dean remained outside, unsure what to make of the action.

Sam barely noticed the pee on the seat of the unisex bathroom. He didn't care that the urinal was clogged by a wad of some nasty looking green thing. And the cockroaches that dared to scurry across his path barely registered in his fogged brain. He had something far more important on his brain, and the only thing standing in his way was a vinyl backpack and a little plastic bottle. Those, and hands that were shaking so violently now that he could barely get a handle on the zipper.

"Hey, Sam! You OK in there?" Dean's voice came clearly through the door, concern obvious in his tone, but Sam didn't hear him. And he didn't react as Dean pounded on the door. "Sam! Open this door! What the hell is wrong with you?"

The zipper finally gave, and Sam's hand plunged into the depths of the bag, desperately searching for the 'Tylenol' bottle. His fingers finally found it and he pulled it out triumphantly, the urge to kiss the blessed bottle trumped only by his serious need to get inside. As he pushed on the lid, spinning it off, he cursed his decision to put the pills in something with a childproof lock. It meant that much more time before he found salvation. But he had experience with the lock, and Sam still had the five little pills in his hand within seconds. He tossed them down his throat, bypassing even the thought of water, and then fell against the wall of the bathroom.

Dean's pounding became more insistent as Sam's senses began to return, and when the shaking had disappeared and his heart was beating more steadily he finally pushed off from the wall. After splashing some water on his face Sam finally grasped the doorknob, yanking it open and glaring at Dean. "Dude, give a guy some privacy, will you?" He stormed off toward the car without a backward glance at his confused brother.

Racing after Sam, Dean caught his arm and spun him around. "What the hell's wrong with you? You tore into that bathroom like you were running from the apocalypse."

"It's nothing, Dean," Sam dead panned, squirming from the firm grasp and heading back to the car. "I'm fine."

"Yeah, well you sure didn't look fine. What's going on with you?"

Turning on his heel, Sam faced his brother, teeth clenched angrily. "Look do we really need to get into this right now? Do you really need to hear about my intestinal problems? Because I'd rather not talk about it, if-you-don't-mind."

Dean backed off, as Sam had expected he would, and grew silent. He stalked to his own side of the car and slid in, inserting the key into the ignition before he even dared to breathe. Staring straight ahead, he gunned the engine and tore out of the parking lot, rocking Sam's unbelted body toward the dashboard. "Dammit Dean, slow it down. I have a headache as it is."

He stayed silent, but complied with Sam's request for him to slow down. The music was turned up to a painful level and Dean occupied himself entirely with the road ahead and his own off-key renditions of the music blaring into the car.

Sam rolled down the window, welcoming the cool breeze against his face and the moderate escape from the bass beat pounding painfully against his skull. His thoughts went to his their last stop, and how close he'd come to Dean bursting through the locked door and finding him with the pills. Why is Dean so obnoxious. I just need a little privacy. What the hell's his problem? Why is he constantly dogging me? He has no right! I guess I could just tell him; I mean, it's not like there isn't a reason for taking the medication. I need it. It gets me through the day. He'd understand; wouldn't he? But deep inside Sam knew Dean wouldn't understand; knew he wouldn't just accept the fact that Sam was popping pills to make it from daybreak to nightfall. And if he really dug deep, he could admit that he knew why Dean wouldn't understand. But digging that deep meant admitting things about himself that he just wasn't ready to face. So he contented himself with what was on the surface. Sam was doing what was necessary to get by, and Dean was just being annoying.