Aftermath: The Asylum

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or anything affiliated with it.

A/N: This is my version of what could/should have happened after the crummy ending of the Asylum. This is my first Supernatural fan fiction, so please be kind in your reviews.

The tension in the car was thick enough to cut with a knife. For once, no mullet rock was roaring throughout the interior of the car, there was no good natured teasing between the brothers, and Dean was actually going the speed limit. Sam opened his mouth for what must have been the dozenth time but found he still couldn't force any words past the lump in his throat. Sam closed his mouth again and turned to stare out the window, resolutely ignoring the burning in his eyes. Any pain he was feeling had to be far eclipsed by what his brother was sure to be feeling. Sam felt sick to his stomach when the events that had taken place in the Asylum played across his minds eye yet again.

Dean's fingers were clutching the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles were white and the imprint of the steering wheel would be in his hands for hours. But that was okay, it gave Dean something to focus on that wasn't the fierce burn of salt still embedded in his bruised chest or the emotional agony he felt at his beloved baby brothers words and actions.

Dean had spent his entire life taking care of Sam; going hungry so Sam wouldn't, making sure Sam was warm, making sure Sam got to school on time, did his homework and making damn sure to make Sam smile at least once a day. His father had drilled protecting Sam into Dean's head since the night their mother had died and Dean had never minded the responsibility, he had enjoyed it. But now, to learn what Sam really thought and felt about him, and to learn how completely he'd failed as a brother, well, Dean almost regretted taking the bullets out of the gun. Dean hunched his shoulders a bit more and violently cut off the line of depressing thought.

"Finally," Dean muttered as the flickering neon glow of their motel's sign came into view. Dean felt a slight vindictive pleasure at Sam's wince. A part of Dean wanted to yell at his brother, to make Sam feel some of the pain that he was feeling but Dean beat the feeling down. If Dean went off on a tirade against Sam, they wouldn't be able to even pretend to get along anymore.

Dean slowly got out of the car, his body hunched in a feeble effort to staunch the pain radiating from his chest. Dean vaguely noted Sam grabbing their bags and the first aid kit before shuffling in the general direction of their room, with Sam following a few paces behind. Sam hurried ahead to open the door for Dean, who merely grunted in passing and snatched the first aid kit out of his brother's hands before locking himself in the bathroom.

Sam paced in front of the bathroom door, knowing from long experience that if Dean was conscious and remotely capable, he would want to take care of his own injuries. Sam took a moment to mentally curse Dean's macho tendencies, no doubt instilled by their father, before resuming his pacing once more. While he paced, wearing the old pea green carpet even further down, Sam tried to figure out a way to get Dean to talk to him. With Dean's deep dislike of anything resembling a 'chick flick' moment, it wouldn't be easy but Sam could tell that Dean hadn't accepted his apology and he couldn't let his brother go to bed thinking Sam meant a word of what had been said.

Sam still hadn't come up with a plan when Dean stumbled out of the bathroom, a cloud of humid air following. Sam jumped a little at Dean's sudden appearance, then paled as he saw a rather spectacular bloom of black, purple, and red forming above the stark white of the bandages Dean had clumsily wrapped around his ribs. "Dean," Sam said, stepping forward to steady his brother.

"Don't," Dean said gruffly, pulling away from his brother and making a bee line for the bed at the far end of the room.

"Dean, please, just let me help you," Sam said pleadingly, looking for any way to diminish his guilt at hurting his brother, "Let me at least re-wrap your ribs, those bandages look like they're going to fall off."

"I don't need your help," Dean responded, a slight sneer in his tone.

Sam swallowed hard and looked at the ground for a moment while he tried to compose himself. "Dean we really need to talk," Sam said softly. Dean just snorted and gingerly sat down on the edge of the bed, eyes drooping from the pain killers he had taken. "Dean, please," Sam entreated moving to sit on the other sagging motel bed across from his brother.

"I've talked about as much as I want to today. You're sorry, I get it. Now let me get some sleep, Sam," Dean ordered, lying back on the bed, trying in vain to get comfortable on the lumpy mattress.

Sam was surprised at how much it hurt for Dean to not call him Sammy. "Dean we can't let this fester between us. Why won't you believe me when I say I'm sorry?" Sam asked, his voice rising slightly.

"Because you're not sorry Sam, not really," Dean snapped angrily, struggling to sit up again and look at his brother.

"Why would you say that? I was possessed Dean, it wasn't really me talking," Sam said plaintively.

"Bullshit," Dean growled, "Everything you said down in the Asylum is everything you've been saying for the past few weeks, Sam, so don't you dare try that excuse on me. Just because it didn't come out the way you wanted it to doesn't mean you didn't mean every damn word that came out of your mouth."

Sam jerked back at Dean's words as though he'd been sucker punched, shock making his jaw drop open. Sam's jaw worked uselessly for a few moments as Sam tried desperately to think of something to say in reply. "Dean," Sam said weakly, "I don't hate you, I could never hate you."

"Really," Dean hissed coldly, "Then why didn't you say goodbye? Why didn't you pick up the phone?"

Sam frowned slightly, confused. "What? Say goodbye when?" Sam asked, rising to face his brother.

"When you left," Dean said, standing and speaking slowly. "It was just a big fight with dad and you were gone. You just packed up your things and left and never said goodbye." Dean swayed slightly as he took a step forward. Maybe taking four pain killers hadn't been a one of his better ideas, Dean thought idly. "When you care about someone and are moving across the country normal people generally say goodbye."

Sam took a step back as Dean took another step forward. "And I called you, every god damn day for two fucking years Sam and you didn't pick up the phone. Not once," Dean continued the hurt he felt overriding his earlier decision not to yell at his brother.

Sam struggle to keep the tears from falling but a few escaped along with a choked sob. "I'm sorry, Dean, I'm so sorry. I was so mad and confused, but I never hated you," Sam whispered. Dean's anger quickly deflated when he saw his brother's tears.

"Look, Sam, it's been a long day. Let's just get some rest," Dean said, going back to the bed and sitting down gingerly once more.

Sam looked at his brother incredulously. "How can you just go to sleep Dean?" Sam cried, "And how can you expect me to sleep with you thinking I hate you?"

"Try downing pain killers," Dean said with a faint smile, his eyes already closed.

Sam looked over his brother closely. "Dean how many of those things did you take?" Sam asked worriedly. Dean had never reacted this quickly to pain meds that Sam could remember. Sam scowled at his brothers muttered 'four'. Sam quickly made his way to his brother's side and pulled open a closed eye, ignoring Dean's weak attempt to bat his hands away. Sam began feeling the back of Dean's head and paled when he felt a large bump forming.

"Dean when did you hit your head?" Sam asked, trying not to panic.

"Went through a wall Sam," Dean muttered, "And hit the floor on the other side."

"Dean you could have a concussion," Sam said, angry at his brother and himself for not noticing, "You know better than to mix pain meds and a concussion."

"Had other things on my mind, like not getting killed," Dean responded, trying to focus on his brother's worried face.

"Dean, you idiot," Sam muttered, reaching for his cell phone.

"No hospital," Dean said. Sam was torn between listening to Dean and getting him professional aid. "You can take care of me just fine," Dean continued.

"Are you sure you trust me?" Sam muttered, not meeting his brother's eyes.

"Sammy, you're my brother, and I'd die for you," Dean replied, using Sam's words against him.

Sam smiled slightly at the nickname but it quickly wilted, "You think I hate you," Sam said.

Dean closed his eyes, "Sometimes its hard not to," he answered.

"Dean, I love you. You take care of me; you've always taken care of me. But because you've always been right by my side you've always been an easy target to take my anger out on. You've always been the strong one Dean, no matter what I said you brushed it off and still took care of me and I'm sorry I never apologized before and I'm sorry for everything I've ever done to hurt you and I'm sorry I can't be as strong as you," Sam said tears making his voice hitch in his throat.

"Aw, man, that's low. Using tears against your wounded brother," Dean said with a faint smile.

"Hey, you're the one who taught me to fight to win, even, or especially, if you have to fight dirty," Sam said with a ghost of his usual smile.

"Bitch," Dean muttered. "You know the only reason you got away with this chick flick moment is because I'm hurt and on drugs right?"

"Of course Dean," Sam said, humoring his big brother, "And, I'm sure in the morning it'll be completely forgotten."

"You catch on quick, college boy," Dean said, yawning widely.

Sam carefully got Dean under the covers of the bed. "Dean, you know what a concussion means right?" Sam asked, with a smirk. Dean just grunted and rolled over. "I get to wake you up every hour."

"Bitch," Dean whined plaintively. Sam got ready for bed and set his cell phone's alarm to wake them up in an hour.