Dean slid into the room just as the door shut behind him. He turned towards the corner, already knowing who he'd see. "You sonuvabitch," he growled, stalking forward. John and Sam were already standing tense and ready. "Leave them alone. You're not getting either one of them."

"I didn't make the deal," John was saying. "We didn't agree, remember?"

"No deals were made at ALL!" Dean said angrily, glaring at the yellow-eyed Demon. "And I swear I'll rip you apart if you make one."

The Demon ignored him, and Dean only spared it another glare before hurrying over to his bedside. He was out of time. "Oh that's right; we didn't shake on it," the Demon said. It was Dean's turn to ignore it. There had to be a way back in. "We should've, you know. Because then I wouldn't have been tempted by a better offer."

He was way out of time. He didn't need to hear his dad's confused question followed by his stunned, soft whisper of Sam's name. The Demon had made its choice, and if Dean couldn't find a way back into his body right now, it was going to take Sam.

He'd already tried diving in, like the movies always had the character do. He'd tried stepping into a nurse's body earlier (she'd been fairly hot, and it was all for research purposes, of course), and that hadn't worked, either, which had shattered his Ghost dreams. Of course, he'd managed to knock the glass off the table, but...

"We didn't shake on it, like you just said," Sam was saying now, and Dean turned at the obvious fear in his brother's voice. Sam was trying desperately to keep cool and calm, but Dean knew Sam better than anyone, and right now, his baby brother was terrified.

"Dammit Sam, don't do this," Dean pleaded. "Just say the deal's off. I don't care if I die; it's not worth this. Please just let it go!"

But the Demon was already moving towards Sam, who immediately stepped back towards the bed. John's attempt to get to Sam was ended by a simple wave of the Demon's hand, and Dean had a sudden brainwave. If the Demon could see him, could hear him, then maybe, just maybe...

Hell, it had moved away from Dean in the basement, hadn't it? Maybe this would work. Dean couldn't think of another way. The only thing with the power to get Dean back in his body was the thing that had caused him to fall into the spirit crack in the first place.

"Oh, don't worry Sammy," the Demon said, continuing to move forward. Sam was frozen now, fear evident on his face. "It won't hurt...too much. You'll like playing for the other side."

"The hell he will!" Dean shouted, letting his anger and every other emotion he had rolling inside him come to the surface. He shoved the chair his dad had been sitting in as hard as he could, and watched in satisfaction as it hit the wall with a cracking sound. Dean turned to the Demon, and found it watching him with obvious amused.

"Getting the hang of it, are you?" it said, grin widening.

"Yeah," Dean said, his rage still boiling within him, begging to be released. "I think I am."

He breathed out, letting the fury and anger and everything else fill him, and a wind began to fill the small hospital room. The curtains rustled, not a lot, but enough. The Demon didn't look as amused anymore. John's look was back to shock, but Sam looked hopeful and a tad bit worried.

He better be worried; he had an ass-kicking like no other coming his way when Dean was back in his body.

"You'll have to do better than that, Dean," the Demon said, annoyance popping into its tone. Dean gave him the biggest, most aggravating grin he could think of to help further the annoyance along.

"He's here?" John called out, glancing around the room. The Demon turned its gaze back to Sam, and Dean's grin fell back to a firm line of anger.

"Leave him alone!" Dean shouted, clenching his fists. The Demon barely spared him a glance, its attention still on Sam.

"Sorry Dean; can't do that. Your brother made an offer. I'd be unwise not to take it. You know how business is." John made another move forward, and the Demon quickly pinned him against the wall. That thing was way too close to Sam for Dean's liking.

Dean ran through the bed and his body to reach the only other loose object in the room: a small table by his bedside. He lifted it easily and threw it, knowing Sam would duck in time. The Demon was barely hit, but Dean had made his point: physical violence could and would be used against it to keep Sam safe. Plus, it had taken its attention off of Sam, and back on Dean, just like Dean needed.

Time to bring in the big guns and finish this. "You know what was unwise? Trying to play the Winchesters. That's all you've done, and really, where's it gotten you?" Dean said, glaring as he moved to the front of his bed. "Your daughter's rotting in hell because you tried to play us. Your son's dead, and by the way, where do demons go when they die? I can only think of a nasty hell pit reserved for the unluckiest of demons who actually do die. Man that must've killed; you were right there, possessing my dad, and your son was shot right through the head. Of course, you could've done something to help, because you were right there. Guess you didn't care enough, which means all that spiel you fed us back at the cabins? Just a story. A good story, I'll give you that, but just a story," Dean said. He had no idea if any of this was hitting home, but from the way the Demon was glaring at him, he thought he might've hit a few nerves.

"You're no longer a part of this," the Demon snapped at him, giving Dean a joyless grin. "And when you are, boy, it'll be you against your brother. I think I'll enjoy making Sam kill you." Then it was right there, with a hand on Sam's head, giving Sam a wide grin even as Sam's eyes widened in obvious fear. "Time to go, kiddo."

"NO!" Dean screamed, jumping to Sam's side and straight into the Demon's hand.

The explosion was instantaneous. Sam was thrown one way, and Dean was thrown another. Suddenly Dean was being weighed down, unable to move, and fighting to breathe.

Breathe.

It had worked.

Even as he choked on the tube down his throat, John was hitting the call button and shouting for help. He also had the Colt aimed at the Demon, who glared at him before vanishing. John kept the gun aimed towards where the Demon had been, but as voices were heard in the hallway, he placed it in the small of his back, tucking it quickly under his shirt.

Doctors and nurses flooded into the room, several immediately stepping over to help Dean and the heart machine, which was shrieking out of control. One of the nurses came forward with a sedative, but a doctor stopped her, staring at the machines with a stunned expression. "Take it out," he said, shock in his voice. "His levels are back up."

The tube was removed, leaving Dean gagging for a few moments. "Just breathe nice and slow, sweetie," the nurse said.

"I need a gurney in here!" one of the doctors called out, and Dean glanced over the side of his bed. Collapsed in a heap against the wall was Sam.

Before Dean could protest, a gurney was being wheeled into the room, and the orderlies who had brought it in were helping to lift Sam up. "Don't take him," Dean found himself saying, his voice scratchy and hoarse. "Please, just..."

"He'll be fine, Dean," his dad said from beside him, and Dean turned towards him. John was gazing at him in almost wonder, but did manage a small smile. "Let them work."

"He could be..." Dean couldn't finish. Maybe he hadn't gotten there in time; maybe Sam wasn't in there anymore.

John's face fell into a blank stare. "I know, Dean. I know. Let them work."

"You should really rest," one of the nurses told Dean.

Dean instead turned away from the both of them to watch as they quickly wheeled Sam down the hallway.


When Sam came to, it was to a white ceiling. There's stucco ceilings in Hell. Figures.

"I hope you're enjoying the bed rest," a voice said to his left. A very familiar voice, and Sam swore he would've given himself whip-lash considering how fast his head snapped to the side.

Dean was sitting in a wheelchair next to his bedside. There was a nice scar on his forehead from the accident, he looked pale and tired, and there was a scratchy sound to his voice. It was Dean, though. Dean was alive and okay, and Sam could've laughed and cried all at once.

Dean didn't look happy, though. If anything, Dean looked angry. "Because I swear as soon as you're out of that bed, and I'm out of this wheelchair and I can actually frickin' stand on my own without feeling like I'm gonna topple? I'm going to kick. Your. Ass," Dean hissed.

Dean was beyond angry. Dean was pissed. "Dean-"

"Don't you dare 'Dean' me," Dean snapped, breathing harshly. "I followed you all over this frickin' hospital, Sam. I know that you refused treatment, which, by the way, genius move. You had a sprained muscle in your shoulder, your shoulder was this close to being dislocated, a concussion, and blood loss. Good job," he said, sounding anything but praising.

Sam swallowed. "Dean, I-"

"Then, and this is my favorite part, you almost sold yourself to a demon. What part of that screams 'good idea' to you?"

"It would've killed you if it had been Dad who made the deal," Sam explained softly.

"And it wouldn't have if it'd been you?" Dean said incredulously. "Dammit Sammy!" He coughed suddenly, wincing and pressing a fist over his heart.

Sam immediately reached over for the call button. "Leave it, I'm fine," Dean said, taking a deep breath in and slowly releasing it. "I'm just gonna be sore for awhile."

"Dean, they said there was damage to your heart," Sam said, sitting up as best he could and glaring at Dean. His shoulder did hurt like hell. "They said there was no possible way to wake you up, that you were probably never going to wake up, and that you were..." He swallowed hard and forced his lower lip to stop trembling. The possibility of losing Dean was still too vivid in his memory.

Dean seemed to soften at that. "Turns out, it didn't actually touch my heart. It was planning to, I think, but it only bruised the muscles around it. So yeah, breathing's gonna be a pain for a little bit, and my heart's weak from the blood loss, but gimme a couple of weeks, and I'll be back on my feet. There shouldn't be any lasting effects. I'll be all right."

"But you weren't, Dean. You had a Reaper after you, for crying out loud, and it was because of me! If I'd taken the Demon out when I'd had the chance, or if I'd watched more carefully and seen the truck-"

"Don't you dare," and Dean was furious now, leaning forward over Sam's bed. Sam slid back into the bed, Dean looming over him for the first time in a long time. "It wasn't your fault. None of it was. Dad was wrong to say what he did," Dean said, pursing his lips together. "And trust me, we've discussed it."

Sam blinked in surprise. Dean's version of 'discussing' usually meant bringing the person down to size and telling them how incredibly stupid they were. Sam really didn't think Dean had done that with John Winchester.

From the way Dean was looking at him now, though, maybe he had spoken to John. "Bet he was thrilled," Sam said hoarsely.

"Don't care if he was or not," Dean said. "He had no right to tell you that. None. He was scared and angry, I get that. There wasn't any excuse to take it out on you."

"But I-"

"Don't even start, Sammy. It wasn't your fault. You hear me?"

Sam gazed up at his brother, seeing the anger still prevalent on his face. There was concern in his eyes too, though, and a love that was so obvious anyone that was blind could've seen it. "I can't believe I missed you calling me Sammy," he finally said softly.

Dean stared at him for a moment more, then finally, finally, began to smile. "Don't think by saying crap like that you're getting out of the ass-kicking," he said.

"Wouldn't dream of it," Sam replied, and Dean's smile got even wider.

"Good. I've had nothing else to think about for the past day waiting for you to wake the hell up. I've got it all planned out."

"I bet you do," Sam said as Dean leaned back into the wheelchair with a wince. "Is Dad okay?"

Dean raised his eyebrow. "Besides the tongue lashing I gave him? Yeah; the Demon didn't throw him around too bad." His face began to form into a glare once more. "And THAT sonuvabitch hasn't been seen since yesterday. Which is good, I guess, but..."

"We'll get him," Sam said, and Dean nodded.

"Yeah, we will. And whatever he's got planned for you isn't gonna happen. I won't let it," Dean promised.

With the look on Dean's face displaying his determination and care for everyone to see, Sam had to wonder why he was ever worried in the first place. He had Dean on his side. That was all he really needed.

The fear of Dean's possible death was slowly fading with each minute spent with him, safe in the knowledge that Dean was right here and would be right there. Sam hadn't lost him. "I know you won't," he said.

Whatever Dean would've said in response was lost when a petite nurse came in, smiling at them both. "Good to see you awake! I'm surprised you didn't collapse earlier, though, considering what your body's been through," she said perkily, turning to Dean. "I've gotta take you back to your room sweetheart. The doctor needs to talk to him and then he needs to rest."

"I'll be back later," Dean promised. "Expect Dad to pop in, too."

"Yeah, and that won't be awkward," Sam said sarcastically, causing Dean to grin. "How bad a tongue lashing did you seriously give him? Be honest, Dean. Is 'tongue lashing' even the right phrase?" They were talking John Winchester, here, after all.

Dean's grin only broadened in response. Sam found his jaw dropping slightly. "Holy crap," he said in awe.

The nurse took the handles of the wheelchair and pulled Dean away from Sam's bed. "If he tries to talk you into helping him bust out, ignore him," Sam said, earning a dirty look from his brother.

"Oh trust me, I will," the nurse promised, turning the wheelchair towards the door. "And he's already tried. This was our compromise, bringing him in here."

Sam smiled at that. That sounded like Dean all right.

The nurse stopped at the door, and Sam frowned until he saw her turning Dean back towards Sam, Dean glancing away from her to Sam. "What you were willing to do..." Dean paused a moment, then said, "I didn't like you doing it or even thinking about it. But it...it meant a lot. That you were willing to go that far for me."

Sam found his eyes were burning again, and Dean's own eyes looked a little red. "Just don't do it again," Dean said after he'd swallowed, and Sam laughed softly.

"No promises, bro. Not any more than I could get you to promise the same."

Dean made an annoyed face at that, and Sam's laugh felt less constricted than the first.

The nurse looked between the two of them and shook her head. "You two boys are something else," she said, turning to push Dean out of the room once more. "I've never seen brothers more connected and dedicated than you two, and your dad? You're both very lucky."

Sam watched them go, relaxing back into the bed and smiling. "I know," he said softly. "Trust me, I know."