Title: Just for Kicks
Summary: A second sooner, an inch lower, and Sam wouldn't have even been fazed.
A/N 1: This fic was written for the winning fic idea from the SFTCOL(AR)S Bunny Contest. As part of our one year anniversary, we asked for people to suggest their favorite unwritten limp ideas. The winner would have their fic come to life. So much congratulations to Dawn N (Feretory) for her fantastic suggestion! This was a TON of fun to write. I'm not divulging the bunny or it'll spoil it, but Sam's condition is ENTIRELY her fault :) I hope I do an adequate job.
A/N 2: Much thanks to Tyranusfan and Lisette for their mad beta'ing skills. Lisette is determined to see me stop using sentence fragments. BUT I just like them SO MUCH! Also, sendintheclowns is super amazing. Seriously. How she puts up with me is truly remarkable and she is the reason I finish half of what I do.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. Really. Sometimes I wonder if my brain is even mine.
It was Saturday.
Days of the week didn't mean a whole lot to them. After all, evil didn't exactly operate on a nine-to-five, five days a week schedule. Theirs was a job of odd and long hours, rain or shine, holidays or not.
But still. There was something about Saturdays.
Lazy days. Days where normal people were out having picnics or washing their cars. Days where couples could take long walks in parks and check out the scenery. Days where girls liked to lay out for hours and sunbathe.
He loved Saturdays.
And this Saturday had so much potential. They'd wrapped up the hunt yesterday, and Dean had gotten a good night's sleep. He was feeling refreshed and ready for a small reprieve before Sam found something new to go running after in the name of the greater good.
Well, that was assuming he could get Sam to get off that chair where his butt seemed to be permanently glued.
His younger brother had grown an additional appendage in the months since his resurrection--one of the laptop variety. It was always in front of Sam, and Sam was always on it, looking, researching, studying. Dean could give it twenty different names but it all came down to the same thing: Sam was obsessing.
Not that Dean didn't understand that, and not that on some level it didn't make him feel loved. Sam was positively desperate to get Dean out of the deal, to save Dean's soul, to save Dean's life.
It would be sweet, really, if Dean was so inclined to think of it that way. And if it wasn't so suffocating.
His little brother was positively wasting away, becoming a ghost of himself, and Dean just couldn't let that happen.
Nor could he let his own good looks and sex appeal languish in his last months on earth.
And it was Saturday.
He was lounging on the bed, flipping channels aimlessly. There wasn't much on, nothing worth watching, and Dean's eyes were on his brother, anyway.
Sam was slouched over the laptop, his eyes peeled wide. At this rate, he was going to be a blind hunchback before the year was out.
"Dude," Sam said, without even looking up. "Stop staring at me."
Dean raised his eyebrows. At least in Sam's obsession, he was still ever-vigilant. "I'm not staring," Dean said, keeping his eyes fixed on his brother.
"So what do you call the prolonged look you've got going on there?"
It was certainly reassuring that Sam hadn't lost his sense of humor in all this. "Dude, you need to get out more."
"No," Sam said, leaning back in his chair with a sigh. "I need to figure this out."
Dean glanced furtively at the TV. There was a denture commercial on that made him scrunch his nose. "We both need to get out more."
At this, Sam finally looked at him, a small glance through the fringe of his hair. "You don't need me to go out," Sam told him.
Turning the TV off, Dean tossed the remote aside. "I think we need some good old-fashioned brother bonding time."
Sam looked more than a little skeptical. "The only times we did brotherly bonding as kids resulted in you kicking my ass."
Dean grinned. "I know," he said. "How about it? We haven't sparred in awhile."
That much was true, and he knew even Sam couldn't deny it. His brother sighed. "I'm a little busy here."
Dean groaned, rolling off the bed and moving to Sam. He snagged the laptop's cord from the wall and yanked, sending the machine flickering as it switched to the battery power.
"Hey!" Sam protested. "I'm using that."
Dean reached over, shutting the laptop cover in Sam's face.
Sam growled and caught Dean's arm before he could pull it away. "Don't touch my stuff."
Excitement sparked through Dean. His eyes twinkled. "Make me," he taunted.
Sam's eyes narrowed as he glowered, but Dean could see a hint of life sparkling within them.
"Unless you're afraid I really will kick your ass," Dean said.
Before he even finished the sentence, Sam was up and out of his chair, twisting Dean's arm hard behind his back and applying deadly pressure. Sam swept one leg forward, attempting to buckle Dean's legs out from under him.
Dean anticipated it and used Sam's motion to throw him over his shoulder.
Sam grunted as he crashed to the floor, and Dean was suddenly grateful for how large their motel room was this time.
Advancing, Dean was on Sam before his brother had a chance to fully recover. But Sam was good, and he rolled them both until Sam was on his feet again and Dean was scrambling to catch up.
They both took a fighting stance, one familiar from their youth when their father had trained them in it. Dean had been a natural, and had loved the practice. Sam had always been more reluctant, but he was a force to be reckoned with. Dean had enjoyed years of dominance over his smaller brother, until Sam's height and weight had matched and then exceeded his own, which made sparring a whole lot more difficult and a whole lot less entertaining.
But more satisfying.
Now when he managed to get a leg up on his brother it meant something. A whole lot of something.
Too bad it would always mean more to Sam, who had spent the first sixteen years of his life losing every fight he was put in. That kind of thing made Sam dangerous. He knew too much humiliation, and it made him vicious.
It was Sam who lashed out first with a series of punches that had Dean backpedaling. Sam ended his advance with a swift, hard kick to Dean's side, and Dean nearly fell.
The offensive wasn't half-bad, and Dean could see his brother wasn't holding back. There was a gleam in Sam's eye, an eagerness, and Dean just grinned back. If Sam wasn't going to hold back, neither was he.
His own advance was dirtier, alternating kicks and punches that had Sam scrambling to block. His arm missed though, and Sam caught it, flipping Dean around expertly and applying pressure.
Dean hissed, both in pain and embarrassment, and he executed his own countermove, reversing the hold on Sam. Or trying to.
Sam easily shook his grip and spun again, moving at Dean fast and furious.
Blocking came naturally enough, but Sam was fast. When had the kid had so much time to work out?
If Dean wanted to win (and Dean always wanted to win), he'd have to act--and fast, or else he'd end up pinned beneath his not-so-little brother.
He took a risk and swung out a foot, hoping to make enough contact to quell Sam's offensive and give him enough time to go for a takedown.
It wasn't even a very good kick. The technique was forced and sloppy, and his aim was haphazard at best. He simply needed to get some space between him and Sam before his little brother's advance overtook him completely.
The foot connected, squarely, though higher than he'd intended. Kicks to the gut knocked the wind out of someone; kicks to the chest were too apt to result in rib injuries, which, for the sake of the hunt, they both liked to keep to a minimum.
Sam didn't have time to feint away, and he took the impact, harder than normal because of his forward movement.
It only took a second, and his brother was halted, crumbling backwards with the contact.
Dean started to grin, eager for the reprieve and the potential opening. Sam would recover quickly, and he tensed himself, ready to spring forward.
Only Sam didn't recover.
The younger man gasped once, eyes wide and pained, and then he crumbled to his side, his long limbs splayed out in front of him, limp as a rag doll.
One minute Sam was up.
The next he was down.
Dean's eyebrows raised in concern. He hadn't kicked Sam that hard. Either his kid brother was getting soft in his old age, or Dean's kicking skills were more powerful than he had thought.
He stepped forward. "Sammy? You okay?"
There was no response, no movement.
Sam was out for the count.
Alarm spiked inside of Dean. He'd knocked his brother out a few times in his life, with the amount of training they did it was inevitable, but with a kick to the chest? That was a new one.
"Sam?" he tried again, this time going to his knees beside his brother.
It was a familiar gesture, a simple procedure, nearly second nature whenever one of them wound up unconscious. Shake them gently, see if they rouse, then check the pulse.
But as he leaned over Sam's prone form, saw the whiteness of his skin, the stillness of his body, Dean knew this time was wrong. All wrong.
"Sam?" he asked, taking his brother's shoulder and shaking it.
Sam's body jerked with the motion, but flopped still again.
"Sam!" he called now, louder, more insistent.
Sam didn't even twitch.
His body felt cold as he swallowed back his unease and reached two fingers to Sam's throat.
At first, when he felt nothing, he thought he'd aligned his fingers wrong. Incorrect placement.
He tried again.
He was shaking now, and a numbness was sweeping over him. The realization was coming to him, slowly, painfully.
He tried the other side of Sam's neck before roughly rolling Sam to his back. His brother's body rolled under his touch, one arm flopping out next to him, the other lying across his stomach.
Leaning over, he listened, looked, felt—
Sam wasn't breathing. Sam's heart wasn't beating. Sam was—
How could Sam be—?
He'd only kicked the kid, a misplaced kick that Sam had deflected a thousand times in his life.
But this time, this time—
This time Sam was dead.
The realization was harsh and heavy, and his mind rebelled against it the minute it acknowledged it.
"No," Dean murmured, denial taking root. "No."
It wouldn't happen. It couldn't. Dean wouldn't let it.
Frantic, Dean ripped open Sam's shirt, looking for signs of injury, something that he'd missed, something Sam hadn't told him about. Sam's chest was free of abrasions though, only darkened by a deepening red mark near his heart.
Right on top of Sam's heart.
Dean swallowed bile. No.
"Sammy," he grimaced. "Don't do this."
He was working quickly now, spurred to efficiency by his abject terror. He moved to Sam's head, tilting back his chin before pinching off his brother's nose and blowing into his mouth hard. Once, twice.
He watched with some satisfaction as his brother's chest rose and fell, rose and fell.
At least he didn't have to worry about airway obstruction.
Desperately hopeful, he checked for a pulse again, but came up with nothing. If Sam's heart wasn't beating, he'd just have to beat it for him. Anything for Sam. Anything to keep Sam from being…
Dean wouldn't even think it. Not again. Not ever.
Moving to Sam's chest, he went to his knees and kept his arms straight, pushing down hard on Sam's sternum. It hurt to watch, hurt to see his brother's chest compressing cruelly under his hands, but it was what he had to do, had to do for Sam.
Anything for Sam.
He was panting hard by the time he finished, his awareness splintered into two realities. One, there with Sam, counting off compressions, giving breaths. The other, hovering somewhere above, flitting between denial and grief and a thousand other emotions he couldn't give voice to yet.
It was a long minute that passed, breathing for Sam, staying alive for Sam; a long minute of doubts, of regrets, of guilt, of fear. Doubt that he'd ever get his brother back, that Sam was really Sam, just like the demon said. Regret that he hadn't saved Sam earlier, that he hadn't told Sam that he believed in him. Guilt that he'd done this, that he'd put his brother here, not just on the floor, but in this life, in this paralyzing position of having to save Dean.
And fear. Fear that he would lose Sam anyway. Fear that all his sacrifices were in vain;that in the end, no matter what he did, no matter what he sacrificed or traded, Sam wasn't his to keep.
A long minute, and Sam still didn't breathe.
Dean needed help.
He was proud, and he was fiercely independent and insanely skeptical of the world around him. It didn't matter though. None of that would ever interfere in his protection of Sam.
Asking for outside help was always a last resort, not just because of the risks, but because it meant that Dean couldn't fix this alone.
It was about swallowing his pride, his fear—everything—and putting Sam first.
He gave Sam two more breaths before fishing his cell phone out of his pocket. It was hard work, harder than it should have been, and he cursed his own clumsiness as he worked it out and open. His vision was swimming so badly and his fingers were shaking so hard that he could barely dial the three digits.
Cradling the phone with his shoulder and smashing it against his ear, he moved back to Sam's chest. Sam couldn't afford any delays, not when he was growing paler, more blue, cold.
When the operator came on the line, Dean nearly jumped, his compressions faltering.
He barely heard her questions, but he was using his panted breaths to delineate the situation (my brother's not breathing) and the location (Freeway Motel on Route 74, room 3A) and to tell them to hurry (please).
All the while he pressed on Sam's chest, hard and even.
The phone toppled from its perch on his shoulder as he leaned over and breathed for Sam again.
Compress, breathe, repeat.
Again and again until Dean's mind stopped working, until Dean's awareness zoned out, and there was only Sam.
He didn't hear the sirens. He didn't hear the pounding on the door. But someone was next to him, above him, around him, pushing him out of the way.
"Sir, let us help him," someone said. The paramedic. A young woman, Sam's age. Dark brown hair. She was looking at him intently. "We can help him."
Dean glanced over to the other side of Sam where the other medic was already taking over Dean's job.
A surge of frustration passed through him. His job. Sam was his job.
"We don't have a pulse," the other one announced, and he was opening something and laying it out next to Sam. "Can you tell us what happened?"
Dean's voice worked, and no one was more surprised than he was. "We were--we were sparring," he said. "Sam got hit--in the chest--and he--he--"
The woman smiled gently and put a hand on his shoulder. "We'll take care of him," she assured him.
"We're going to have to shock him," the man said.
The girl took that as her cue and her attention went from Dean to Sam, and she opened another case of equipment.
Dean fell back on his heels and took gasping breaths. He could see his brother clearly now, too clearly. Sam was even more pale now, a little blue, and his head lolled to the side, strands of his dark hair lying limply about his face. The t-shirt was gone, ripped, exposing his brother's body, but it was wrong. His body was still. Unmoving. The medic had attached two pads to Sam's chest, but the bruise was still visible. Sam's limbs were stretched out around him, and Sam was--
"Charging," the man said, holding up the paddles that looked vaguely familiar. The girl purposefully leaned back, out of the way. "Clear."
The man touched the paddles to Sam's chest and released, and Sam's body jolted upwards, before falling back, just as limp as before.
"Still V-fib," the man said, but Dean could barely hear him. Dean could barely hear anything above the deafening silence of Sam's lifelessness. "Charging...clear."
The process was the same. Sam arched up and flopped back, and Dean felt something sting his eyes.
"We got a rhythm," the man announced.
"Let me get in a line and then we'll take him in."
The paddles were put aside and the girl took hold of Sam's arm, working an IV line into it.
Dean's mind struggled to catch up.
They weren't shocking him any more. They were putting in an IV. They don't put IVs in dead people. "He's okay?" Dean asked finally, breathless and confused.
The man looked up at him with raised eyebrows. "We got his pulse back," he said, reaching for the backboard.
"We'll have to let the doctors see if there's something else going on," the girl explained. She looked up and flashed a smile at him. "But he's alive. How old is he?"
"Any history of medical problems? Any allergies?"
Dean's mind raced, cataloguing the various accidents Sam had been involved in, trying not to remember the scar on Sam's back, which was the only evidence of the death he should have died. Dean opted to shake his head instead.
The medics didn't stop, kept up a steady stream of work as the IV was hooked up and Sam was rolled onto his side, and then rolled back onto the board that the man slid into place.
Dean cringed as they strapped Sam into place, and managed to rise to follow them as they stood.
"You're going to have to follow after us," the girl said. "We're heading to St. Mary's."
Dean just stared at her. "I need to be with him."
"There's no room," the man said.
"And no time," the girl added. "It's a short drive."
Dean opened his mouth to protest, to say something, but nothing came out. His eyes tracked his brother, wishing for movement, for some sign of life, something beyond the reassurance of two strangers.
All he did was stand there, in the doorway, and watched as they loaded Sam into the ambulance, situating him on a gurney, before the doors shut, and Dean could see his brother no more.
The wail of sirens split the day as the ambulance pulled away.
Dean stood there a moment more before he remembered how to move again. He shut the door behind him, dug his keys out of his pocket, and jumped in the Impala.
Finding the hospital was a blur, and if Dean had thought about it harder, he would have known he was in no condition to drive. Not that it would have mattered. Not when Sam had just been whisked away by ambulance.
He should have insisted on going with them. By the time he got there, Sam was already in a trauma room, to which he had been refused access. Instead a nurse had shoved paperwork in front of him and directed him to the waiting room.
Any relief from knowing Sam had been alive when they'd taken him was cold comfort. Sam seemed to be rather keen on dropping off dead these days, and Dean wanted to know why, wanted to be sure it wouldn't happen again.
He chewed his thumbnail, taking to pacing the small room. Not that he knew what had happened at all.
Not more than twenty minutes ago, his brother had been healthy, alive. Sam had been annoyed with him, fighting with him, sparring with him. It'd been normal, fun, safe. It'd been the closest thing to happy and home either of them had had in a long time. It had been just like every other day, every other moment. So normal.
Too normal for it to end up like this.
What the hell had happened, anyway? It didn't make any sense. Nothing made sense. One moment they were fine, the next, Sam was dead.
His stomach turned at that, his mind slowly working through the implications.
A sudden death didn't just happen. Dropping dead didn't just happen. Not to healthy 24-year-olds.
The demon—her promise suddenly resounding in his ears. Try to weasel out of the deal, Dean, and Sammy goes back to rotting meat.
Sam had been trying for weeks to find a way out, coming up with farfetched plans that Dean humored for his brother's sake. What if…
The thought made his knees weak.
What if Sam's efforts had somehow voided the deal?
Dean sank to the closest chair, his heart pounding and his head light.
It couldn't happen. Not like this. Not at all. He'd saved Sam once, he'd done everything he could to save Sam, so it couldn't end like this. Not when Dean had traded everything for his little brother. Sam was all Dean had left. His own life, his own soul--they were both fleeting. Anything he had was in Sam.
It had been too long. They should have said something by now. Something about what was wrong with Sam, about what tests were being done, about surgery—anything. Something.
There was no unless. Dean couldn't let there be an unless.
He was completely numb when someone finally came to him. "Mr. Gregor?"
Dean blinked dumblyand looked up at the doctor standing above him. She was young—too young, really—with a ponytail and a pink blouse beneath her lab coat. She was smiling.
"Mr. Gregor, I'm here to tell you about you brother," she said, her voice gentle, dangerously compassionate.
Dean just stared at her. Her disposition, the smile—that meant…that meant it was good, didn't it? He fumbled to his feet, surprised to suddenly find himself taller than the young doctor. "He's okay? His heart's still beating?"
Her smile widened slightly in sympathy. "Sam's going to be fine," she assured him. "He's already awake and alert, though somewhat groggy. We've moved him to a room."
Relief dared to spike in him, seeping throughout his limbs warmly, ebbing away the numbness that had taken hold there. Hearing it was good, necessary; seeing it would be the only real consolation.
"Your brother's case is rare," she continued, her voice a little awed.
Forehead creased, Dean looked at her with suspicion. "What do you mean? What happened to him, anyway?"
"You two were sparring, right?" she verified.
Dean swallowed hard against that one. "Yeah."
"And Sam took a hit to the chest."
"A kick," Dean managed to admit, his voice hard, steeled.
She simply nodded, no condemnation in her face. "The bruising suggested that the placement of the kick was right above the heart."
"I didn't even get him that hard," Dean protested.
"I know," she said. "There was little evidence of trauma beyond a superficial bruise."
That was reassuring on some level—maybe it hadn't been his fault—but then Dean wasn't sure he wanted to know what was to blame.
"From what I can tell, your brother suffered from Commotio Cordis."
Dean's confusion showed plainly on his face.
"It's a rare occurrence," she repeated. "It's not so much the force of the trauma, but the placement and the timing. If someone is hit right over their heart, right between the contractions of the heart, then one just one average blow can cause sudden cardiac arrest, just like Sam suffered."
Dean stared, feeling the blood drain from his face. He'd wanted to know what had happened, he'd wanted a reason why, but it hardly assuaged any feelings of fear or doubt he'd had. It may not have been hellhounds taking his brother home, but it was his fault. His own stupid fault.
The doctor put a hand on his arm. "It wasn't your fault," she said gently, as though she'd read his mind.
Dean just looked at her, and smiled humorlessly. "Then whose fault is it?"
"It was a fluke," she said. "You didn't do anything that would be considered dangerous to anyone. A second sooner, an inch lower, and Sam wouldn't have even been fazed."
There was nothing to say to that, nothing to even really think, and he laughed a little in disbelief. "A fluke, huh?"
She smiled at him, a little sheepish.
Sounded like the story of their lives.
Dean had been more than a little relieved when the doctor took him to Sam's room. It saved him the trouble of having to beat down every door himself. All he wanted--what he needed--was to see Sam. Alive.
"He's going to be a bit groggy," the doctor informed him. "That's to be expected. He needs to get some rest before we discharge him tomorrow."
Dean couldn't nod fast enough, barely even hearing her. Instead, his focus was on the room, the bed inside with a long, stretched-out form on top of it.
"Page me if you have any problems," the doctor said.
Dean was already inside the door, pulling it shut behind him.
Once inside, it seemed oddly calm. The room was dim and bare. The heart monitor next to Sam's bed flashed, but the beeping must have been on silent.
Sam's lower half was covered in a pale blue blanket, revealing the standard issue hospital gown tht hid his bruised chest from view. Though stretched out on his back, likely to accommodate the IV which roped out from his left arm, his head was turned to the window. His hair was mussed and Sam looked a little haggard.
Haggard but alive.
And that was about all Dean needed at the moment.
He just stood there, watching, and was still watching when Sam shifted and blinked, waking up to see his brother.
"Dean," Sam said, pulling himself upright. His brow furrowed. "You look awful."
Dean laughed at that, short and relieved. "I'm not the one who nearly died," he snorted.
Sam just raised his eyebrows. "Seems like I'm prone to that these days," he quipped.
That one wasn't funny, no matter how much Dean wanted it to be. He had no regrets and he'd been all about living it up this last year--but only on the stipulation that Sam was okay. That Sam was alive.
The image of Sam being dead was still too fresh. The grief was still too real.
He let his eyes drop to the floor, trying desperately to reign in his emotions. He was the king of no-chick-flick moments, and he didn't want to lose it like this. His brother hadn't seen him cry, and he didn't want to get into all the bad memories this entire incident had brought back. All the terrifying what-ifs it brought up.
"Dean? Are you okay?"
Sam sounded concerned, probing. Just like Sam.
He had missed that. He would miss it. He didn't want to think about how close he came to missing it right now.
"Dean?" Sam's voice was louder now, the concern more prominent, edgy.
His teeth were clenched hard, and he couldn't look at his brother. He couldn't even glance at Sam for fear his tentative control would shatter. "I can't do it again, Sammy," he said finally, the words quiet and forced. "I can't watch you die again."
He could feel his brother's eyes on him, and he could almost see the look of pity his brother's puppy dog eyes were likely fixing on him.
"I don't have anything left to give for you, Sam," he admitted. "If you died again—there'd be nothing I could do."
"Dean, if you even think about making another deal, for any reason whatsoever, I'll kill you before that damn demon has a chance to come back for you."
Dean looked up, surprised by the vehemence in Sam's voice. The softness he expected, the sympathy, it wasn't there. Sam looked—Sam looked angry.
"I'm doing everything I can," Sam continued, his eyes steady on Dean. "I'm doing everything to get you out of this, to save your soul and your life. And you seem hell-bent on not letting me, on giving it all up over and over again."
Sam shook his head. "I know why you did it, Dean," he said. "I know all about the reasons why. I felt it after the rawhead, and, damn it, Dean, don't you think I've felt it every single day since the deal? We can't keep doing this to each other, or we'll both end up in hell together."
It was hard to breathe through that, hard to stand there, letting Sam's eyes penetrate him, letting Sam's words envelop him. But the look in Sam's eyes—the determination, the loss, the fear—and Dean couldn't look away, couldn't do anything except stand there and take it.
Sam was still staring at him, his eyes tense and begging; begging for Dean to understand.
Dean swallowed hard, forcing down the lump in his throat along with his pride."Okay."
It was simple, too simple, and Sam just stared at him, his intensity layered with confusion. "Okay?"
"Okay," Dean said, his tone tired. He sunk to a chair, feeling the weight of the conversation coupling heavily with the events of the last few hours. "Where we go, we go together."
Sam looked uncertain, skeptical of Dean's sudden agreement. Dean couldn't blame him for that; it wasn't often he caved to his brother's requests.
But he couldn't deny Sam this one. Not this time. Not after everything. Because he remembered holding Sam's body in his arms.He could remember the way the light had died in Sam's eyes, the way Sam went pale then cold then stiff. He could remember feeling like everything inside of him was already dead, lying there cold and still right next to Sam.
He knew the feeling that drove him to the crossroads with no regrets.
He didn't wish that on Sam.
Sam's anger was abating, and he looked stricken and weak, and Dean tried not to think about how close he'd come to losing Sam again.
Sam laughed a little, awkward and tired, as he melted back to his pillow. "Okay," he said softly, his voice barely a whisper.
Dean leaned forward, making sure he was in his brother's field of vision. Sam was fading now, just like the doctor had predicted. Coming back to life certainly seemed to drain one's energy, especially when it involved cardioversion and CPR, which were far rougher on the body than the mysterious ways of demons.
"For now, you sleep," Dean ordered.
Sam blinked slowly, already giving into the request. "We rest," Sam said. "What we do, we do together."
Dean rolled his eyes.
"Seriously, man," Sam said. "You need it."
"Fine," Dean relented. "You've made your point, smartass."
Sam grinned. "It's about time you started listening to me."
"Yeah, yeah," Dean said, watching his brother's eyes close. "Next time you don't need to die to make your point."
The small half-smile was still on Sam's face as his breathing deepened, his limbs relaxed, and he fell asleep.
With a sigh, Dean leaned back in the chair, satisfied. Sam would be okay. They'd been lucky this time. He couldn't guarantee next time, but for now, it was enough.
Slouching low in the chair, he closed his eyes.
"Where we go," he murmured. "We definitely go together."