Author's Notes: This one-shot takes place after Devil's Trap. AU for second season, but in a pretty tweakable way. Spoilers for anything in first season.

Also, as the general disclaimer: I don't own the show or anything about it, as if that wasn't completely obvious.

"A Fairy Tale Can't End Like This"

Dean's been in a coma for six days, and Sam hasn't slept for four of them. He's thinks he's starting to lose some focus on reality, but that might have nothing to do with the lack of sleep. Six days ago they had arrived and five days ago Dad woke up and four days ago the doctor admitted that it was likely Dean never would. Wake up, that was, Dean might never wake up, and twenty minutes later their Dad was out the door. "I've got to hunt it," Dad had said. "I've got to find the demon before I lose it's trail." And Sam watched his father leave again, and heard what Dad hadn't actually said: I've got to leave you alone now, Sammy. I've got to kill the thing that killed your brother.

Sam had wanted to run after him, wanted to scream, "Dean's not dead!" but he couldn't leave Dean's side, not when Dean could wake up at any moment. So instead Sam had stayed and sat and watched and waited, and the longer that he waited, the louder the doctor's voice got in his mind. He could hear it now, echoing in his head, like an old record stuck on repeat. He might never wake up (and so sorry, just so sorry) He might never wake up (so damn sorry for your loss) He might never wake up (dreadfully sorry, dreadfully sorry) He might never wake up (dreadful sorry, Clementine).

When Sam hears himself starting to sing, softly but distinctly, under his breath, he has to clamp his hands over his mouth and attempt to suppress the giggles threatening to break through. It takes some time, and by the time he's recovered, the nurse has come in to check on Dean's IV. She smiles politely at Sam ("and how are you today, Mr. Vedder?") while cautiously watching him with one eye, the way that all the hospital staff does. It might be because he's not sleeping or it might be because he's not eating or it might be because he looks like he's about to murder somebody at any given moment, but the nurses and doctors have been watching Sam almost as carefully as they've been attending Dean. They haven't bothered him about visitor's hours or tried to keep him from Dean's side, but they watch suspiciously every second, as if they're just waiting for that moment. They stand and bide their time, waiting for that inevitable, final moment where Sam loses it completely—and then they can come with their sedatives to knock his ass out.

In some ways, that almost sounds appealing, really, because Sam thinks he might be just too damn tired to dream, but Dean hated (no, hates, hates, there's no past tense for anything about Dean) sedatives and Sam feels like he should be acting more like Dean. If their situations were reversed and Dean was the one awake, he'd never be going looney toons the way Sam is. (Here there's a small shadow of doubt, something that only briefly flickers through Sam's mind, because he remembers what Dean looked like when he was interrogating Meg. . .but no, this is different, it's not the same kind of crazy. Dean's strong, Dean's strong. Dean would know what to do.) Dean would be figuring something out; Dean would be saving Sam's ass, and all Sam can do is twitch and try (and fail) to not completely lose his mind.

Sam hears a voice in the room, a quiet, shaking voice, and he looks sharply at Dean to see if he's woken up. But Dean's in the same exact place he was this morning, and yesterday morning, and the morning before that, and Sam realizes that the broken voice is his own; he's talking out loud again, a habit that sorely needs to be broken. But this time Sam doesn't try. He doesn't care if anyone hears him. (Fuck the doctors. Fuck their sedatives.) He moves closer to Dean and lets himself ramble.

"Okay, man," Sam says, and in a way, he's almost glad Dean's not awake to hear him—Sam's voice is more than just shaky. He sounds high pitched and warbled, as if he's been walking on a tight rope and is only seconds away from falling. Then again, if Dean was awake, he wouldn't be ashamed. He'd just pretend that Sam's concern didn't move him, didn't raise all the big brother alarms, and then he'd call Sam a girl, and Sam would call him a jerk, and everything would be normal again. A few months ago, Sam was bitching that normal shouldn't include psycho killer trucks, and now those killer trucks could be driven by cross-dressing aliens for all he cared—the only thing that constituted normal was Dean waking the fuck up.

But he isn't waking up, he's so, so still, and Sam takes Dean's hand in his, waiting for Dean to shove him off with a rough, "No touchy feely shit, Sammy." He was waiting but Dean still wasn't moving so Sam started to talk again, as if he talked long enough, Dean would finally get tired of listening and wake up to yell at him.

"Dean," Sam says, "I can't. . .I can't do this on my own." ("Yes, you can," Sam had said, when Dean had said those words to him). "And if I can, which I really doubt if sleep is any kind of an important factor. . .if I can do it, I don't want to. It's not worth it if you don't wake up. I don't want to hunt this fucking Demon down, not out of revenge, not for you. Mom's dead, and Jessica's. . .Jessica's gone, and I did want it, I wanted to find this thing and kill it, so bad that I couldn't think of anything else sometimes, but. . .you were right, Dean. Okay? They're gone and revenge isn't going to bring them back. Revenge isn't worth it, not if you're dead. I'd give it all up, give up the hunt, the quest, the vengeance, if it meant that you would be okay. You hear that, Dean? I just said that you were right. I just conceded that I was wrong and you were right. So you need to wake up now and be triumphant and tell me that older brothers are always right. Remember that man, before the practical joke war? You said older brothers are always right, and I'm saying that you win, okay? You win, so you get to gloat and brag and be insufferable for weeks. . .but you have to wake up, okay? You have to wake up to do any of that, Dean. Otherwise, you're just an asshole. Did you hear me? I just called you an asshole. Now it's your turn. It's your turn to call me something. Anything. Dean? Please? Dean?"

Dean doesn't move. He doesn't do anything. He just lies there and lies there and lies there, and Sam angrily pulls his hand back, glaring at Dean as though he can feel it. "You're such a selfish bastard," Sam says. He's pretty sure he's not yelling yet, because no doctors and no sedatives have come to take him down, but he's also pretty sure that he can feel something building, in his stomach, in his throat, and he thinks he's going to have to start screaming soon, or he might just explode.

"Did you hear me? I called you selfish. You said I was the selfish one, but I'm not because I'm not the one lying here like the world's biggest jerk, ignoring everything around me, refusing to wake up. I need you wake up, Dean. I need you, okay, and if you weren't so fucking selfish, you'd wake up for me. You can do this, I know you can, you're just not trying hard enough. You're just not trying. You're a Winchester, for Godssake. What's the fucking matter with you? You're supposed to be trying. I don't care if the Demon carved into your chest. I don't care if a semi broadsided the Impala. I don't care if it hurts so fucking much than you can't even breathe; it is time to wake up now, Dean! That's an order, do you hear me? That's a godamned order! Wake the fuck up!"

There's something, somewhere, in Sam that knows that the moment the doctors were waiting on, the moment where Sam loses it completely. . .well, this is it. This is it, it's happened, and it's not even the tears streaming down his face or yelling at his comatose brother that tell him that he's gone off the deep end; it's the fact that he's giving orders, like he was Dad or something. Somewhere, Sam registers that he's going more than a little nuts, but most of him knows nothing except that Dean's not complying. He's ordered Dean to wake up, dammit, and yeah, it should be Dad but Dad's not here, Dad's off on his never-ending quest for vengeance, off doing anything but being with his sons when they need him, so it's up to Sam to give the orders, it's up to Sam to be the leader. But Dean's not listening; Sam's ordering him, but Dean's not listening, and we can't have that, now can we? We wouldn't want THAT, now WOULD we?

"Godammit, Dean," Sam's saying, and his voice is no longer high-pitched and warbling; instead, it's rough and thick, as if trying to subdue the mass number of sobs that were threatening to get out, threatening to drown him. "I told you to wake up! I told you to wake up! Wake up! Wake up!" His hands are on Dean's body, on his shoulders, his torn up chest, and Sam's shaking him frantically—he'll beat Dean into following orders, if that's what he has to do. "It's not supposed to be you, remember? You're supposed to bury me! My vengeance, my sacrifice—you're not supposed to die, remember?"

And then there are hands grasping him from behind as he tries to physically shake Dean awake—Sam half supposes that it's the doctors with their happy juice; they've finally come to make Sam sleep—but then hears a stern, "Sam!" and he feels himself go slack as his father turns him around. Sam opens his mouth to say something, as if there's some sort of explanation as to why he was just assaulting his comatose brother, but nothing will come out by sobs, sobs so fast and hard that Sam can't breathe. He half expects his Dad to slap him, to tell him to shape up and be strong for his older brother, but Dad has this look on his face that he doesn't recognize, something that Sam would understand as sorrow and compassion on anyone else's face. And then Dad's pulling Sam into a hug and this, my foes, my friends, this is the moment where Sam really loses it. He thought he had before; he thought shaking Dean around like a rag doll was about as low as he could go, but now his Dad's holding him, and Sam's sobbing into his arms. And then somehow he's on the hospital room floor, and Dad's rocking him back and forth, rocking him gently back and forth the very way Dean used to. "Dad," Sam says, not knowing what he's going to say, and Dad just shakes his head.

"Just sleep, Sam. Just sleep."

And either his dad's a great hypnotists, or four days and an emotional breakdown have caught up with him, but Sam can feel his eyes growing heavier every second he lies there. He's so out of it and exhausted and feeling so young, being rocked like a child in his father's arms, that Sam feels the crazy urge to ask his Dad for a story, even though it was always Dean who told stories, and Sam's certainly not seven anymore. He looks up and catches up a brief, worried glance flickering across Dad's face, and he realizes that he must have actually asked for the story out loud (damn, that just keeps happening to me). Sam tries to tell his dad never mind, he didn't mean it, but before he can, his father begins to speak.

"Once upon a time, there was a family of warriors who went after a Demon that had taken away one of their own. In a great battle, one of the children, the older brother who always took care of them—he was hurt, hurt very badly, and he slept for a long time. His brother and Daddy, they were so sad and angry, and all they really wanted to do was just fall apart, but instead they decided to finish their quest, to kill the thing that had broken their family. And so they did, they went out and found the Demon, and they killed it, killed it once and for all."

"That. . .that made everything better? That made. . .Dean wake up?"

Sam heard something that sounded like a sob, and he drowsily tried to glance up to see his father's face. But it was hidden in the shadow, and Sam was quickly losing the battle to stay awake. "Yes, Sammy," Dad said. "That'll make Dean wake up."

And Sam fell asleep, praying that just for once, it wasn't a lie.

Fin

Hope you enjoyed. . .please review and lemme know!