Chapter 4

Dean really didn't like this room. The machines were noisy, the lights were too bright and there was no Sam. This was the first time Dean slept without his little brother in the room. His father expected him to watch out for Sam. How was he supposed to do that if Sam wasn't there? He trusted Caleb to protect Sam, but knew the teen had little patience for his inquisitive sibling. Dean sighed, hugging Slither tight. He really wished he could go home.

The nurse watched Dean through the window as the boy sighed and held the stuff snake tighter. It was almost two in the morning. and the boy hadn't slept at all. His father came in every hour to sit with him for the time allowed, but even he couldn't get the boy to go to sleep. The nurse decided it was late enough that she could break protocol.

John Winchester tried to get comfortable as he waited to see Dean again. The couch provided for visitors were too short for his long frame and his legs hung over the edge. He finally gave up trying to sleep and sat up. That's when he noticed the nurse walking towards him. He knew she was coming for him since he was the only one there.

"What's wrong?" John asked as he met her half way.

"Dean's fine," she said. "But he won't sleep."

"He's used to having his brother with him," John explained.

"He really needs to get some sleep," she said. "So I'm going to let you stay with him for the night."

"What about the rules?"

"The hell with the rules," she declared. "My patient's well being comes first."

John smiled as he followed the nurse back to ICU. They both entered Dean's room.

"Hey Dad, how come you're back so soon?"

"You won't sleep so the nurse said I can stay."

"Too many lights," Dean complained. "And the machines are noisy."

"And there's no Sam," John added and Dean shrugged.

"If I turn out the lights will you try to get some sleep?" the nurse asked.

"I'll try," Dean replied.

John pulled the chair closer and sat down. They both watched as the nurse checked the machines. She made a few adjustments then wrote something on the chart and walked out dimming the nights.

"Try to sleep, Ace."

"I can't," Dean admitted.

"I know things are frightening…"

"Please," Dean scoffed. "No, that's not it."

"Okay tough guy," John smiled. "Then why can't you sleep?"

Dean sighed. "There's no Sam."

John laughed and squeezed Dean's hand. "You'll have to make do with your old man."

"If I have to." Dean smiled.

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Caleb opened his eyes but didn't move. He wasn't sure what pulled him from sleep but he sure wasn't going to advertise he was awake. The room was dark and he strained his ears for any sound. When he decided it was nothing, he grumbled, punched the pillow and shut his eyes. That's when he heard something clicking on the hardwood floor. He reached under his pillow for the knife he kept there. When he had a good grip on the knife he sat up quickly brandishing it in front of him. He heard a gasp and a yelp. Caleb reached for the light, turning it on.

"Sam?" The small boy stood in the door with Scout sitting at his feet. "What are you doing awake?"

"Can't sleep."

"Why?" Caleb asked glancing at the clock. "Geez, runt, it's three."

"It's too quiet," Sam sighed.

Caleb rubbed his eyes as he gently probed Sam. He wasn't surprised when he found out the boy couldn't sleep without his brother.

"You're not supposed to do that."

"So sue me," Caleb groused. "I know you want Dean but can't you just try to sleep without him?"

"I tried," Sam answered. "But he keeps calling me."

"He what?" Caleb said surprised.

"Dean thinks really loud," Sam said. "And he can't sleep either."

"How do you know?"

Sam shrugged, stepping closer to the bed. "Can't you tell Dean I'm okay and to go to sleep?"

"I don't think I can," Caleb admitted.

"Why?"

"He might be too far away."

"Can you try?" Sam begged, rubbing his eyes. "I'm tired."

Caleb drooped back against the pillows rubbing his own eyes. He calmed his mind reaching out for Dean. After a few minutes he could 'hear' Dean in his head. No wonder Sam couldn't sleep. His brother was very loud. The blond's thoughts tumbled over and over worrying for Sam. Caleb gently reached out

"Dean."

"Caleb!"

"Not so loud!"

"What's wrong? Is Sam okay?"

"Sam's fine. But he was worried about you and won't go to sleep until I checked on you." Caleb wasn't about to reveal what Sam told him.

"You sure he's okay?"

"Would I lie to you? Now go to sleep!"

Caleb felt Dean relax and go quiet. When he was satisfied the older boy was asleep he pulled away and opened his eyes

to find Scout curled at the foot of the bed. Sleeping next to the pup was Sam. The teen sat up and pulled the youngest Winchester towards him. The Retriever looked up but didn't move. The six-year- old didn't even stir as Caleb placed him next to him and covered him with the blanket. Reaves stretched out next to Sam.

"Don't let this get around," Caleb said to the dog. "It would ruin my tough as nails rep."

Caleb reached for the light, turning it off. Maybe now he could get a good night's sleep.

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John Winchester arched his back and tried to work out the kinks. Dean finally fell asleep around three and slept the rest of the night into the morning. Dr. Thompkins came to check on his patient. When he was finished with his exam he said Dean could go home. John was worried about his son's arm. It was still very swollen. The doctor assured him the selling would go down in a few days but he wanted Dean to keep the arm in a sling.

"Did you call them?"

"Yes, Dean, I did."

"Why aren't they here yet?"

"Jim said Caleb and Sam were just finishing with the horses," John explained. "And they'd be here as soon as they could."

Dean sighed dramatically and John smiled. He knew his eldest want out of the hospital. A few minutes later Caleb walked into the room.

"Where's Sam?"

"Hey, Deuce, it's good to see you too."

"Whatever," Dean growled. "Where is he?"

"He's waiting with Jim," Caleb answered. "He's not allowed in here, remember?"

"Let's go," Dean said, attempting to climb off the bed.

"Hold on a minute, Kiddo," John said, halting his son. "Think you might want to get dressed first?"

Dean smiled holding out his hands for the bag Caleb carried. The teen smiled and handed it to John. The blond gave him the finger as John shook his head. It didn't take long the get the 10-year-old dressed. However, his son stifled a cry when John brushed against his arm.

"Dean if it hurts you have to tell me," John said, gently putting the injured arm in the sling.

"I just hit it," Dean hissed. "It's okay. I just want to go home."

The nurse entered with a wheelchair and Dean's paper work. John signed all the release forms.

"We won't need that," John said, picking Dean up.

Caleb handed Dean the snake. The ten-year-old clutched it to him as he laid his head on John's shoulder. They took the elevator down to the lobby where an impatient Sam waited with Jim.

"Dean!" Sam raced towards his father.

"Quiet, Sam, you're in a hospital."

"Sorry, Daddy," Sam said reaching his hand up to Dean.

John walked past Sam leaving the boy with his hand stretched out. Caleb shook his head as Sam's soulful eyes filled with tears.

"John," Jim scolded. "Let Sam see Dean."

John turned back to see his youngest son start to cry. Dean saw him to and squirmed to be let down.

"Stop, Dean," John demanded, walking back to Sam. "I'm sorry, Kiddo."

John went down on one knee and picked Sam up with his other arm. Sam smiled and threw one arm around his father's neck and the other over his brother's back. They walked to the car and Caleb opened the back door. He took Sam and put him in the back seat. He crawled over to the far side and sat quietly. John placed Dean in the middle, stepping back so Caleb could slide in. John opened the driver's door, sliding behind the wheel. He glanced to the pastor in the passenger's seat and held his hands out for the keys. Murphy smiled and handed them to the younger man. The old station wagon chugged to life and John drove away from the hospital. Things were quiet in the back seat and John got nervous.

"Everything okay back there?"

Jim turned in the passenger seat to see Dean sleeping across Sam's lap. The younger boy was smiling happily as he ran his fingers through his brother's hair.

"Everything's just fine." Jim smiled.

Thirty minutes later John pulled up to the house and cut the engine. Caleb climbed out as John looked in the back seat. He saw Dean was sleeping on Sam's lap and walked around to the other side.

"Okay, kiddo, slide out from under your brother," John instructed.

Sam nodded and did as he was told. Once his youngest was out of the way John lifted Dean out of the car. They went into the house and John took Dean to his room. Sam stood next to the bed as John tucked the blankets around Dean.

"You're to leave your brother alone," John said.

"Yes, Daddy."

"Come on," John said, holding out his hand. Sam reluctantly took his father's hand as he walked out of the room. "Now go play."

John left Sam in the living room as he headed for the kitchen. Jim handed him a cup of coffee as he sat down at the table.

"Why don't you get some sleep?" Jim suggested.

"Can't," John said, rubbing his neck. "Got a call from Joshua, there's a nasty poltergeist he needs help with."

"Well gee, if you haven't noticed your son just got out of the hospital," Caleb said, sarcastically.

"I know." John sighed. "I told Joshua I needed a couple of days before I could help him out."

"Why don't you let me go?" Caleb asked.

"Right," John laughed. "Your father would have my hide."

"You afraid of him?"

"Hell no."

Jim left the two youngsters to bicker as he checked on Sam. The small boy was being awfully quiet.

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Sam watched as his Dad went into the kitchen. After the swinging door closed behind him Sam quietly made his way back to the bedroom. Atticus and Scout followed close behind. The small boy bit his lower lip as he pushed the door open. He could see his brother was still asleep. He started across the floor and cringed as one of the boards squeaked.

"Sam?"

"Yeah, it's me."

"You okay?" Dean asked, sitting up.

"I'm fine," Sam said, stepping closer to the bed.

Atticus jumped on the bed settling at Dean's feet. Scout tried to do the same but was too small. Sam lifted the pup on the bed then crawled up after her. Dean settled back against the pillows. His little brother settled next to his good arm as Dean hugged him close.

"Good night, Dean."

"Night Sammy."

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Jim stood by the bedroom door and watched the two boys sleep. He was glad they were both getting some sleep. Last night was hard for both of them. They had never been apart before. The bond between the Winchester boys was strong. Far stronger then Jim had ever seen. He knew that nothing could break it.

"I thought I told Sammy to leave his brother alone."

"Leave him, John," Pastor Jim said, blocking the younger man.

"I don't want him to hurt Dean." John turned to face him.

"He won't," Jim assured him. "Neither of your boys will hurt each other."

John looked back at his sons. "Can't say the same for their father."

"You're too hard on yourself."

"I don't think I am." John sighed. "Look at the life I've dragged them into. Mary always wanted more for them."

"As long as you stay together, Mary will be happy."

"Sometimes…"

Jim heard the catch in the younger man's voice. He squeezed his arm in sympathy.

"It's not wrong to wish she were still here."

"I know," John sighed. "I just hope I can always be there for them."

"You will," Jim said.

"I'm not so sure." John sighed, walking away.