Title:Motel 6

Author:Cheryl W.

Disclaimer: I do not own Dean, Sam or any rights to Supernatural, nor am I making any profit from this story.

Author's Note: Brotherly sap ahead. Written cause I was in the mood. Posted cause….I guess I like torturing you all…and giving myself nervous fits, and biting my nails over what you guys think.

Summary: The light is on but Sam can't force himself to leave. Brotherly sap. No slash.

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Bending over the Impala's trunk, Sam loads the shotgun and stows it in the carry all bag, hands already reaching for the silver knife and the .45 Magnum because he believes in 'better safe than sorry'. 'I'm already sorry,' ripping through him as he shoves the knife and gun in the bag with more force than the bag appreciates, the seams threatening to rip. Zipping up the bag, he pulls it free of the depths of the trunk and shuts the trunk lid with care because Dean wouldn't appreciate him abusing his baby.

"Yeah, he worries about the car, about the townspeople, who, I might add, are strangers," Sam grumbles, as he opens the car's back door tossing the bag in, shutting the door with the same care as he had the trunk.

Crossing over to the driver's side door, his hand on the door handle, his eyes on their motel room door, he just stops, freezes, forgets to breathe. It was close, no one has to tell him that. Out of close calls, this was one of the closest, heart-attack and coma thankfully not toppled from their standings. But the gamut of couldas and mightas choke him, make him close his eyes, bow his head, grip tighter to the door handle even as he leans against the Impala's gleaming black paint.

He had almost lost Dean. The cynical part of him says he should be used to it, shouldn't be nearly blubbering like a baby hours after it's over, especially when Dean is "fine". Dean's version of fine anyway. Alive. Hardly injured compared to…. Sam can't think further than that even if he can't get the rewind button in his head unstuck. Living it once was bad enough but on instant reply…it just mocks him for letting it get so bad, for not reacting before, for almost reacting too late.

Sam's fist slams down on the roof of the Impala, a sob almost breaking from him because it was too close, the despair, the loss almost swooped in, almost consumed him. And now Dean is acting like it's business as usual. Job to do and all that. Fool would be out here, would be getting behind the wheel, insisting he could drive if his knee wasn't so screwed up that it won't take his weight. "Finish the job, Sam," Dean had ordered, pushing Sam's hands away from him after he was finally settled back on the bed, his breath coming out harsh, sweat dampening his hair, pain dulling his usually sparkling green eyes.

Putting his hand to his face, Sam swipes at the tear that escaped, tries to bury the sob, to pretend that he can focus now on the job, that his nervous breakdown is over. Again he glances to their motel room, can see the light shining through the pulled curtains, knows that light will stay on until he's finished the job and come back to Dean, until he comes home. Freakin' Motel 6 'we'll let the light on for you' stuff, Dean stuff, cause that's what Dean had done on the nights he knew Dad was returning. A beacon, a lit path, a 'welcome home and I've been waiting for you' sign all rolled up into one lousy motel room lightbulb.

But Sam can't leave, can't get his hand to open the driver's side door, can't stop leaning against the car, looking at the freakin' light, envisioning his brother lying in there, blood soaked bandage wrapped around his knee, grimacing in pain, alone. Without him.

And then it's clear, clearer than anything ever is for Sam. He's not leaving Dean, can't, won't. Screw the job, the hunt, the warrior's code. Screw John Winchester's 'you never walk away from a hunt' philosophy because it has no place in Sam's life, not when it contradicts his own number one rule.

Slipping his hand from the door handle, Sam pushes off the car and strides for the door to their room. Wiping his face of any vestiges of terror, of his nervous breakdown, he wonders how he is going to explain to his big brother his decision to not finish the hunt. Dean will tell him again that the hunt has to be finished, tonight, before anyone else gets hurt. He will quote their father and when that doesn't work, he'll try to climb out of the bed, to do the job himself, crawling on his freakin' knees if he has to. And Sam doesn't know how he can avoid all of that, how he can make Dean understand why he can not leave him, will not leave him. Sam knows that coming right out and telling Dean that nothing matters more to him than he does, certainly not some hunt, it won't fly with Dean. Not when Dean has this whole self sacrifice thing going, when he doesn't really know how profoundly his little brother values him. That he values his stupid jokes, his cocky smile, the light in his eyes, the way he walks beside him and his every breath. Values all of that because Dean is more than his brother, more than his only family. He is his best friend, his personal beacon of light in a darkening world. Dean is his home in a million better ways than a structure made out of wood could ever be.

'Ah screw it! Dean'll just have to deal with it,' Sam thinks as he opens their motel room door, ready to defend his emotional decision, only to come up short. Dean is exactly as he pictured that he would be; sprawled out on the bed right where he had left him, sweat soaked hair plastered to his head, knee propped up by the pillow, the bandage starting to show spots of red where the blood has soaked through. But Dean is asleep, pale, sweat streaked face turned toward the door, as if he was watching it when he succumbed to his body's exhaustion.

Quietly shutting the door, Sam comes over to stand beside Dean, looks down at his brother's face where vulnerability and pain war for domination on his features. It takes a moment and a fair share of willpower before Sam can walk away, can cross to the bathroom, let Dean out of his sight long enough to soak a washcloth. Reentering the room, he drags the room's only chair beside Dean's bed, sits down and gently uses the washcloth to wipe Dean's pale face.

Dean flinches and Sam instantly soothes, his voice gentle and quiet, "Easy, Dean, it's just me," watches as his brother's eyelids twitch. "Nothing's wrong. Just go back to sleep."

But Dean stubbornly blinks, squints against the light and finally acknowledges Sam's presence with a "Sammy? Thought you left."

"I couldn't," Sam confesses, an earnestness and a brokenness in the two words as he gently moves the washcloth across Dean's too hot forehead.

"What?" Dean says, unleashing that little boy, lost tone, the one that takes Sam apart, seemingly molecule by molecule.

"Not with you…" Sam bites his lower lip, pulls the washcloth back and looks down at his hands as they unconsciously wring the towel, sending water splashing onto the floor.

Shaking his head, Sam knows that Dean won't get this but he has to say it anyway. When he looks up, he sees Dean's eyes have sharpened but a crease has settled on his brother's temple and confusion is flickering in his pain dulled eyes.

"I just couldn't leave you, not after what happened today, not with you hurt. I couldn't, Dean. Don't ask me to, just don't ask me to," Sam says, tears in his voice and a blatant plea in his words. And he makes no effort to conceal his gut wrenching sorrow or overwhelming relief from his brother. Doesn't even know that love is pouring out of his soul, love for his brother, for the cornerstone of everything he has ever been, is and wants to be.

There is a beat of silence as Dean's eyes search his brother's and then a tired smile emerges on his pale features. "I didn't really want you to go anyway," he murmurs, giving Sam's knee a pat before his eyes slide shut again. And there is a look of peacefulness on Dean's face that wasn't there before, not when he was ordering Sam out of the room and not when Sam's presence was markedly missing from the room, from his side.

A tender smile lights up Sam's face and he can't help but be amazed at the turn of events, at the complex man that his brother proves to be at every turn. Settling into the chair for the night, Sam turns out the light beside his brother's bed without regret. He no longer needs the light to guide him, he has found his way home.

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Ok, disgustingly sappy, right? Please don't throw tomatoes at me! I did warn ya up front about the sap! Anyways, I figured sharing a story that is overkill in sappiness was better than posting my other angsty one shot I've been working on when I'm feeling down. You know, doing that self therapy thing and all that.

Have a great evening!

Cheryl W.