Title: I've got you.

Author: XsilicaX.

Category: Post-Ep; Angst; HC.

Characters: Dean; Sam; Jess by proxy.

Words: 2011

Spoilers: Pilot

Warnings: Some language used.

Disclaimer: SO not mine!

I've got you

Dean thought he'd never be able to forget the smell of smoke. He stank of it. His hair, his jacket, his boots; hell the whole damn room reeked. The one stained window in this cheap motel was painted shut, Sammy was curled up on the bed furthest from the door, and Dean couldn't breathe.

He wiped his hand over his face, grimacing as the choking stink wafted up though his nostrils. He'd showered, as hot as he could stand, but he could still feel the soot coating his skin, could still taste the ash in his mouth. He'd pushed Sammy in the shower, throwing a couple of hotel bottles of shampoo and soap in with the kid, and then he'd slumped against the door, head bowed. The temptation to put his fist through the wall had burned within him, but he'd held back, knowing it wouldn't help. He did give in to the temptation to bang his head against the wood though, when he heard his brother's attempts to choke back his sobs. That'd undone him.

Dean had never been able to stand Sammy crying. It was one of those things that just kept gnawing away at his last nerve; and the kid had been going all out this time. He obviously thought the water was covering the sounds, or he'd never have let go like that. It'd been heartbreaking to listen to, and it wasn't the first time Dean had had to hear his family's grief. Maybe it was the smoke, hell, maybe it was the fact that whatever son of a bitch that had stolen his Mom from him had now taken his brother's chick, but Dean had been viciously struck with the memory of his Dad, late at night, thinking everyone else was asleep and that paper-thin walls were soundproof, sobbing his damn heart out. It was that horror which had really clued Dean in to the fact that something terrible had ripped to pieces the happy life he'd known. His Dad was his hero, untouchable and he had been crying; not cut knee tears, they were gut-wrenching cries; exactly like those he could hear now.

He'd thrust his fingers through still sooty hair then, rubbing at the ache from the door, tightening his fingers against the urge to pull hard at his hair. Letting Sammy have the first shower had seemed sensible, but Dean had quickly realised that the silence was going to be his undoing because at the heart of the matter he felt guilty. Yeah, he'd saved Sammy, but Jessica had still died. Dean hadn't been quick enough and worse, he'd stolen Sam's last days with her, by taking him away. Two days, in which his brother could have - well no need to think about it in that much detail, although knowing Sammy he probably wouldn't have done any of the things Dean would have considered - but two days. Sam would never get those back, and there was no way that he wouldn't resent his brother for taking them.

Dean had snapped then; the silence of the bedroom had overwhelmed him, and he'd known that listening to his kid brother's heart bursting was going to break his own if he remained there any longer. He'd ransacked through his bags, looking for something big enough that Sammy could wear it without feeling like a damn refugee. That had taken all of two minutes. One tee one set of sweats later and Dean had sat on the edge of his bed, trying not to shed soot on the covers. Not that he could tell if any was flaking off or not; wasn't like they were clean in the first place. Sam had still been running the shower, so Dean had made one quick trip outdoors, and left the door open to the not-so-chill California air; room had stunk even before the smoke came in with them. Dean was left with nothing to do but wait. He'd bundled his and Sammy's charred clothes into a bag and buried it as deep as he could in the Imapala's boot. He'd tried to call Dad earlier, while he was still watching the building burn, leaving Sammy to hold himself together by the car - he'd made it obvious he wanted some alone time. Naturally he hadn't gotten an answer, no one picking up. Dean'd slammed the phone down with some force. This was really starting to piss him off, and yeah, maybe worry him a bit.

Eventually the water had cut off, and Sammy had stumbled through the door, wrapped in a towel, vacant expression on his face as he stared through exhausted eyes at the motel room. Dean had swallowed hard; he'd seen that look before, and he just knew that he wasn't up to it again. He'd cleared his throat and pointed at the clothes.

"Get some sleep Sammy, you'd better not have used all the hot water, or," he'd broken off then. Sam was just staring at him, and Dean had recognised that he was barely holding it together. "Yeah, well, see you in a few, okay?" Threatening the kid had just seemed heartless.

The water had burned against his skin, and he'd welcomed it, knowing from how quickly the heat faded that Sammy had done his fair share of trying to share Jessica's pain, before him. A few hot tears of his own had leaked out into the water that pooled around his feet. Anger mainly, that anyone could have dared to take away Jess, hurt his family all over again in the same way. Guilt too, but he'd kept it quiet, knowing that Sam could hear everything, knowing that just right now his world had collapsed and he needed to hold onto something stable. Dean wouldn't let him down again.

Eventually, when the water was so cold he couldn't stand it any longer, Dean had crawled out of the shower. Every muscle had ached, every bone had felt twice its weight, and his lungs had burned with every breath. The steam from the shower had cleared most of his cough, but he could still hear Sammy choking intermittently in the other room. He hadn't been sure if it was tears or smoke, but he hated it. He'd scrubbed his hair dry, and grimaced as he smelt smoke on the towel. He'd pulled on his last pair of jeans and relatively clean shirt, sucked in as deep a breath as he could hold without coughing again, and stepped out of the shower. Sam had been turned away from him, quilt pulled right up to his eyes, which were squeezed tight shut. Kid didn't want any sympathy; Dean could get that.

Dean had lain back on his own bed, grateful for the fresh air that crept its way through the open door. He'd coughed again, and turned his head towards his kid brother, who'd remained with his back turned, face pointed away.

"Sammy, you sure you don't need to visit the hospital, man?" he'd grated out, voice aching like the rest of him. He took the lack of answer to mean no. "Okay dude. Goodnight then." Silence filled the room, marred only by Sammy's heavy breathing and cough/choke/sob things that bit right into Dean's chest.

The next couple of hours were probably among the worst he'd ever known. Years of growing up and sharing rooms with the kid, he'd learned to recognise the usual sounds. And yeah, a few years away at college would have made some difference, but Dean could always tell when his brother wasn't sleeping. And he wasn't sleeping. Tossing, turning, breathing all good things when, like him, you needed to know that you hadn't got there too late and let your brother burn, but not good when said brother needed to just get some damn sleep.

Three a.m. came and went. Two nightmares later, and Sammy was safely asleep again, drugged this time; Codeine had more than one use. Dean was still restless. He'd taken the bag of filthy clothes out of the Impala, walked the two miles down the road to the nearest laundrette – couldn't risk waking Sammy with the car – and done a full load. He'd bummed out at a bar while he was waiting for the washing, broken even at pool, but not won, distracted by the slow moving hand on his watch, so he was still pretty low on cash. Not good, when he'd have to buy a whole new wardrobe for Sam. Fire destroyed everything. He found himself chewing on his thumbnail as he realised that Sam had lost all Jess' clothes, all her pictures, everything that reminded him of her. In fact everything apart from that oh so small duffle he'd dragged along on the road trip. Couple of shirts, pair of jeans, bathroom stuff; that was all that Sammy had to show for his four years away. The damn demon had taken everything again.

He got back to the motel in time to pick up Sammy's phone that was ringing some bizarre theme tune he thought he recognised as the Ghostbusters. Yet another thing he'd have ripped the piss for, in any other situation. Some girl was on the other end, Becca he thought the name was. From the high-pitched, fast-paced speech he managed to work out that Sam's friends had just heard, and she'd been nominated to call him. Thankfully he'd managed to put her off until later; he didn't know when Sam would be up to phoning, but she'd seemed concerned enough not to bother the kid when he was so down.

Dean hung Sammy's clothes up on the chair at the end of his bed, cursing as the kid rolled over onto his back and then jerked upright so quickly that Dean would have sworn he heard his spine crack.

"Dean!"

Sammy had reached out to him then, maybe it was the drugs, maybe it was just that Sam had grown used to sleeping with a soft body near him, or maybe it was that his brother was so desperately in pain that he needed someone to take him away from it for a few hours, but Dean knew that it was alright to touch him now. Kid had been throwing up walls all night, but now one look of pleading in his eyes had Dean sitting next to him on the bed, wrapping one arm around Sammy's shoulder, pulling his head firmly into Dean's shoulder, and jerking in time to every sob that wrenched through Sam's body. Dean rocked him gently, using his soothing voice that Sam had outgrown years ago to whisper words that he'd never remember, words that meant nothing, knowing that Sammy needed to focus on the sound of his voice, needed something, anything to distract him from his grief.

Sam had lost two lives tonight, Jessica's was the most immediately painful for the kid, and would probably scar deep and remain with him the rest of his life, but it hadn't been the only life lost. Sammy had up and walked away from his family four years ago, for a normal life with school and friends and a new lookout. That future had burned up too. Dean had known from the look of determination on Sam's face that oh so closely mirrored the one their father had worn for years, that he'd not rest until he'd utterly defeated the evil that had stolen Jessica from him. So Sammy had lost two lives tonight, and probably wouldn't even recognise the second loss until tomorrow when he'd gotten over the initial shock. In the meantime, Dean would be there to hold him, pull him through and make sure he didn't lose what little was left of him in the battle ahead.

Gradually the sobs died down, as Sam gave in to his fatigue. Dean rested his chin upon Sammy's head, not slackening the embrace any; it didn't matter how long he had to sit there; Dean had hold of Sammy, and he wasn't letting go any time soon.

Finis

A/N: So what did you think? First S/N fic, first fic for several years; would greatly appreciate commentary!