Author's note: Ok so this was supposed to be a one shot but I decided that I couldn't leave it with Dean still unconscious. So this second chapter has been sitting half finished on my hard drive for a couple of years and, since my muse seems to be cooperating, I decided to finish it and put it out there- Hope you like it- please let me know:- J

Chapter 2: Re-establishing Connections

Sam knew that it would happen, knew that without a doubt if he spent 23 hours and 55 minutes in the room with Dean, he would wake up during the five minutes he was out, and true to form Dean didn't disappoint. He was sitting up on the bed staring at the door when Sam pushed it open.

Logic had told Dean that Sam was around, that Sam had got him here, tended his wounds, helped him break the fever. Sam's laptop was still open on the desk, his pack on the bed. He had just popped out to get something and would be back any minute. He knew that, but he still couldn't quell the panic that was churning his insides, because Sam wasn't actually there and that could mean. . . "Sam," he schooled his expression back to neutral as quickly as he could manage but he knew that Sam had seen the fear. Damn this was going to get old fast if he didn't get over it soon. He couldn't panic every time Sam left his side.

"Hey," Sam said, if he had noticed anything he was judiciously ignoring it "I just went out for some food, don't think I've eaten in three days, didn't think you had either so I. . .er. . . I got some of everything."

He dumped his bags on the table and shifted it over to Dean's bed so that his brother wouldn't have to get up.

Dean eyed the food, but didn't move to take any of it. Sam was right, he couldn't remember the last time he had eaten but that didn't make him hungry. In fact looking at the food was making him feel a little queasy. He looked up, Sam had taken a step back and was watching him, waiting. "Thanks," he said, not wanting to seem ungrateful for his brother's efforts. "Maybe later." He carefully manoeuvred himself backwards on the bed until he was resting against the headboard.

"Nausea huh?" Sam asked not unsympathetically.

Dean's automatic reaction was to deny it. He wasn't a. . . "The smell," he confirmed.

Sam shifted the table away again. "You don't mind if I. . ?"

"Knock yourself out." Dean stated.

"No I think it's nice having us both conscious for a change."

"Bite me!"

"Again you have too many injuries for me to take you up. . . ."

"Sam," Dean growled dangerously.

Sam grinned, that was a sound that he hadn't realised he'd been waiting for, but his brother using his name, with any tone, in fun, in anger, in humour, in frustration, any damn way that he wanted to was something he'd sat in silent vigil for the last two days and waited for, in fact any sound other than slightly uneven breathing and unconscious moans of pain when he shifted was preferable because it meant that Dean was finally back with him, and it was amazing how much you could miss someone even when they were in the room with you. Sam hadn't had nearly enough interaction with his brother since he'd been kidnapped to quell the tearing sense of separation, and as for watching Dean sweat out a fever, succumb to the punishment of torture and beating and not even be awake to deal. . .

"Because if I did bite you, you know that it would be nasty right?" Sam continued, because they both needed the banter.

"OK literal boy," Dean countered, "If you're going to take it literally then why don't you just go and. . ."

Sam held up his hands in surrender before Dean had chance to finish what he was sure would have been a very colourful instruction."OK, ok I give in." Sam picked up a handful of fries pushing them into his mouth, because he hadn't been lying, he was starving and seeing Dean awake had kick started his appetite, besides the movement gave him a moment to study his brother. Dean for his part was busy trying to shift himself into a more comfortable position and it was a testament to the number that his injuries and the subsequent fever had done on him that even the slight movements needed to shift his body against the pillows that he'd managed to get behind his back was clearly an effort. Sam was half tempted to get up and help, but what an unconscious Dean would allow in terms of assistance and care were out of the question when Dean was in any way conscious. Sam knew from experience that any attempts to help would simply push his brother to try to show that he was Ok, however much of a lie they both knew that to be.

Dean looked up and Sam made a good pretence of concentrating on the various containers of food in front of him. He picked up the carton of Cajun chicken salad, and shouldn't have been surprised that it provoked a reaction.

"Seriously?" Dean asked, "You have burgers, Pizza, Fried chicken and what's in the take out boxes?"

"Mu shu Pork" Sam supplied helpfully.

Damn that was one of Dean's favourites, if only this damn nausea. . ."You have all that and you're seriously going for leaves." He held up his hand, although it was clearly an effort to do so "And don't start all that healthy body crap with me. "You were kidnapped and that means you get to ignore all that and eat whatever you damn well please, the unhealthier the better, for at least a few days because dammit you need to bulk up and build back up. . . " and suddenly this wasn't Dean's usual rant about Sam's post-school eating habits, "because they had you in a damn cage, Sam! A damn cage, like some animal and they were going to hunt you like. . So you get to damn well eat crap. You need to eat crap, human crap, pizza and burgers and Chinese and the sort of crap that separates us from animals because. . ."

Dean's gaze finally met his brother's and if Sam noticed the tears that were welling he didn't comment. He simply put down the salad, carefully closing the lid and picked up a slice of pizza in its place, because if that's what it took to reassure Dean that all was right with the world then that's what he would do, that and a whole helluva lot more.

Dean swallowed and let his head rest back against the pillows, his arm curling protectively against his chest to reign back some of the pain from his shoulder, trying hard to let the uncontrolled emotion that had just spilled out settle, the sight of Sam, whole and well and taking a bite of pizza just to calm his irrational rantings had the desired effect and the adrenaline spike, the near panic that had driven the outburst bled away leaving only exhaustion in its wake, Exhaustion which he could now give in to, because Sam was there and he was fine and he was damn well eating pepperoni pizza, simply because Dean needed him to. . .

Sam placed the pizza slice on the table. He'd had a couple of days to get used to being back with his brother, to heal up a little emotionally. Dean was going to need some time to get to the same point, and even that was still a long way from OK, but that was all right because they could be not OK together.

"Crap!" Dean said expressively. "I'm sorry I shouldn't. . ."

"It's ok Dean," Sam said. "I get it."

Dean looked up and there was a moment of appreciation, a moment of communication that said more than most people could in long conversations, but that was all either brother could let it be, there were damn good reasons why both of them normally buried this sort of emotion. Dean was still a little raw at the moment so Sam knew it was up to him to cover things before that fine line between what they could deal with and what they couldn't deal with was crossed. He grinned again. "Human's eat crap monsters eat salad. Does this mean we just take a head of lettuce out next time we're hunting and jump on anything that takes an interest?"

"Sam!"Dean growled again but even that was music to his little brother's ears.