Chapter Eight

Disclaimer: I have borrowed the Winchesters and the world they inhabit from Kripke and his talented team. They own it all. Lucky them.

Missouri had drawn up two chairs next to Sam's bed. One for her and one for Dean. John was in a chair against the wall. He had taught the boys from early on to depend on each other, and they were so much closer than other siblings. Still, he knew Mary would be disappointed that he and Sam were not closer. Maybe, no he would, be able to straighten things out so father and son would not be at each other's throats all the time.

Sam's right hand was cradled in Missouri's left hand while Dean's was in her right. "Don't say anything, boy. Just relax and let me pull you along."

Dean felt like a fool believing in what they were trying. Only the fact it was for Sam made him want to try. Even after all the things he had seen, he still didn't have much faith in what he couldn't see. The stakes were too high, though, so he had to believe that she could do what she promised. He closed his eyes and waited.

Pictures formed in Dean's mind. He heard a voice speaking to Sam, "Have something to show you." Dean saw what Sam was shown. Unlike his brother, he could feel Missouri's "hand" on his hand, so he knew she shared the visions, the pain, the grief. Dean saw their mother die. He had barely met Jess, so he wasn't torn apart like Sam surely was. He was shocked with his own close call. He saw Sam slash his wrists, and the demon saving his life. Not out of compassion, but for a purpose that was horrible to contemplate. No wonder Sam had withdrawn, seeing all the death that, knowing him, he blamed on himself. Dean now knew why Sam refused to wake up; now he had to give him a reason to wake up. A door centered in an endless wall appeared in his mind. Encouraged by Missouri, Dean walked up to it. "Go on, boy, knock. You're on your own," a soft voice whispered inside his mind.

"Great," Dean muttered before tentatively knocking. No answer. If Sam was hiding, there was no way he'd open up. Dean sent a call outward. There was a feeling of denial, the knowledge that Dean was dead. Dean sent back another call, reminding Sam of long-ago events that only he should have known. After a brief wait, the door creaked open. It was not what Dean had expected. A Sam from twelve years ago opened the door.

"What?" piped the younger Sam.

"Can I come in?"

"Who are you?"

"It's Dean." A wave of dizziness swept over Dean, and when he opened his eyes, he was closer to Sam's height. He too looked like his younger self. Dean wondered why Sam had chosen that age as being safe. Sam was already going with Dad and Dean on hunts, mostly staying in the car but very aware of their missions. Sam burst through the door and latched onto Dean. He began sobbing and led Dean back into the room. Both boys sank to the floor.

"Sammy, why won't you wake up? I need you back with us, with me."

Sammy snuffled, "Why should I? Everyone around me dies. You died."

"No Sam, I didn't."

"But you're here. There's no way you could do that," he said with childlike certainty.

The determination in Sammy's voice made Dean smile. Once Sam got an idea in his head, it was very difficult to convince him otherwise. "Sammy, Missouri brought me here. We're back in the hospital. Dr. Ashcraft put us in the same room. I'm keeping an eye on you, Sammy. I won't let you down again. Dad and I got you out of that club." He snorted, "Man, you stopped the demon cold, burned the place to the ground. You used the shining, Dude."

Sammy burrowed into Dean's side. "I don't want to remember."

"Yeah buddy, I know. I saw what it showed you." Dean's hand rubbed a slow circle on Sammy's back, an unconscious action from thousands of other conversations from their youth. "I wish I could have found you before it did that. I'm so sorry."

Tears flowed down both boys' cheeks while they remembered those they had lost. Sometime later, Dean raised his head. Both of them had reverted to their adult selves. He turned Sam around so he could look him in the eye. "Sam. You can't stay here. You have to wake up."

"Why should I? I am so tired of fighting. Dad…"

"Dad went to the hotel to talk to you, to apologize. Yeah, he was upset, but I think he was more furious at himself than you. He got himself captured. He failed first. Your choosing not to shoot him came second."

Sam was shocked. Dean had always seemed to have unshakable faith in their father. Now that faith seemed broken. Or at least challenged. Sam remembered other times when Dean had stood up to John for his sake. And here Dean was, begging, once again, for Sam to do something for Dean.

"Sam. I can't do this alone. I can't watch you lying in that bed, or any other bed with no will to live. I can't protect you and keep things from hurting you if you don't wake up. I . . . Please Sammy, I need you."

Sam turned away. Here he was safe. Nothing could touch him. But here wasn't anywhere, and Sam wasn't sure he wanted to stay there forever. "Do you know the way back?"

His half smile made Dean's heart jump with joy and then confusion. "Uh, not really. Huh. Missouri didn't tell me what to do to come back. Any bright ideas College Boy?"

"Great. You came to get me, and you didn't have any plan to get us out. Dean. You . . ." Sam started to laugh. It was laugher on the verge of tears, but laugher all the same. "You really do need me." Dean looked at Sam and started to laugh too.

Both boys were still chuckling when Dean felt himself whacked on the back of the head. They both heard Missouri say, "Well, what are you waiting for? Sam and Dean, come on."

"I guess we have our marching orders. Come on Sam. Let's get outta here. I want a beer."

"You said we were in the same hospital room. You're still hurt. It hasn't been that long has it?"

"No, we rescued you about three days ago. What, you think you grew a gray beard there, Rip?"

"No." Sam opened his door. "Which way?" They felt a tugging to the left and facing that direction, shot into a silvery grey cloud. Both felt a warm hand in theirs. It was Missouri bringing them back.

ooooOOOOoooo

They opened their eyes at the same time. Dean's chair shot back as he stood up quickly. He looked into his brother's eyes which were aware for the first time in days. Dean's smile was mirrored by Sam's grin which became a gasp. Sam clasped his arm across his midsection as he once again could feel his body. He'd forgotten being stabbed. Other aches and pains made themselves known. He looked up as John tentatively approached his youngest son's bedside.

"Sam." John's voice shook. "Thank God you're awake. I need to tell you. . ." He cleared his throat. "When I thought we'd lost you. . .With you thinking. . .I'm not mad at you! The important thing is that you're back and okay."

"If I may?" Dr. Ashcraft stepped forward. "I would like to check things out. If the two of you would step out and you," she glared at Dean, "get back in bed. This should take only a short time."

Dean had no idea when she had come into the room. He wondered what the doctor had seen. Missouri had stepped back out of the way. She reached out her hand which was met by Dean's. Heartfelt thanks burned in his eyes. He was forever in her debt. She had given him back his little brother, his purpose for life. Bone tired, he crawled into bed. He listened as Dr. Ashcraft asked Sam a series of questions, secure in the comfort that Sam was back.

When the doctor left, silence filled the room. A soft sob crossed the room. Dean shut his eyes in sympathy. "Sammy, I wish you had never seen that. You need to remember them when they were happy."

"Dean. I never knew Mom when she was happy or anything."

"She was happy with you. She did love you; she wanted you."

"I thought I'd lost everything when it showed you dying. I hated myself for being the reason."

"Sam." The guilt in Sam's voice tore Dean apart. Even if the demon had wanted Sam and killed Mom and Jessica, he had no choice in being born, especially with gifts like he had. But could he convince Sam? "You were wanted by the three of us. We both need you. I need you; I've told you before. You know I hate these chick-flick moments, but Sammy, believe me, it would kill us if we lost you." There was only silence from the other bed.

Finally, Sam's voice crossed the void between the beds. "Thanks for saving my life, Dean. We. . . I guess we have to start all over." They both thought about the long road before them. Dean was conflicted. He wanted to tear the demon apart for hurting Sam, but he couldn't risk Sam's life in revenge. If Dean went after the demon, Sam would be with him and throw himself on his own pyre just to take it with him. What to do? Watch and wait. And protect Sam from the demon and himself.

A/N: This was my first fan fiction story. I hope you will let me know what you thought of it. Thanks so much for taking the time to read it all.