Hours later….

Even though the window beside him was wide open, he didn't want to look at the outside world. He didn't deserve such beauty after all the pain he caused- after all the carnage- the blood- the destruction. He closed his eyes so tightly that spots appeared, but even that reminded him of shame and the time Dean taught him how to compass himself with the stars.

In the strangest twists of irony, Sam had fulfilled the contracts of his deal. No demon hands could harm his brother and once again in Dean's self-sacrificing way, he had made everything alright. That's what Dean did after all; He made everything okay. Yet, that resolution had to come at a price, usually a price of pain. Sam's demonic hands were the instrument of that pain. He thought he had worded his deal so cleverly, insuring that nothing could ever touch his brother, but he didn't count on that evil being him.

He curled into a corner of the couch, trying to burrow into the seat and bury his head into his face in his knees. He didn't even realize he let out a few tears, not that they really stopped since he tainted his hands with his brother's blood. His entire body tingled to numb, except his brain, which was so aware of his past actions.

"You're going to guilt yourself to being sick." Bobby said as he handed Sam a cup of coffee,

Sam stared at an arm hung expertly in a homemade sling. "I can't help it. What I've done is unfor…"

"Nothing is unforgiveable, especially in your brother's eyes and mine. I'm hitting the sack. You should do the same. Or eat somethin'. You can't dwell on the what ifs now."

"Bobby?"

"Yeah, kid."

"If I ever get there… again…. And I…"

"You won't…"

"If I do…"

"Guess I'll have to get your ass back. Seems a pity to stop the trend now, doesn't it. Now, stop pouting 'round and rest up. Dean'd skin ya if he saw that."

"Yeah… he's like that." His thoughts had disturbed any notion of real sleep, thinking of the monster he had become and what it took to bring him back. Never again would he make such a bargain. Never again would anyone pay a price to save him. No more pain and no more death, he vowed.

"Night son." With that the Winchester's life-long friend left Sam to his own devises and thoughts. Somehow, knowing Bobby was there brought a great comfort.

"Night." Sam flopped back on the couch, his long legs jutting over the too short surface. Even in the cramped space, his body ached for the comfort of sleep. Just when he thought his mind could not be quieted, the melodious tones of crickets lulled Sam into some sense of numbness. Finally, after the longest time, he drifted to a dreamless world.

A desperate moan interrupted the tranquil moment as a strangled groan echoed across the room. Sam's eyes popped open and his body was in motion before sleep had finished retreating. His piercing eyes narrowed as he heard it again and this time it sounded like the whimper of a young child. He bolted from the couch, his heart pounding panic throughout his body all the way to the cot on the other side of the room.

Dean lay upon the mattress, looking up at the ceiling, trying to get up. The sight should have been relieving, but it made Sam's stomach churn. This was his fault- another instant of not being in control. That's when he noticed the red stain over the neatly wrapped bandage.

"Dean?" Sam approached the bed carefully, methodically watching Dean's reactions. "You're bleeding again! What happened!?" Regret and anger painted his eyes.

"Had a dream and moved too much. A little sore," Dean admitted, but shook his head. He couldn't stop the soft hiss that escaped his lips when he tried to readjust his body. "Are you going to let me sit here and bleed to death—or are you actually going to help me?"

"Don't you dare say that!" Sam spoke harshly. "You shouldn't be up at all. You were shot." He scooted on the metal bar at the mattress edge.

"Yeah, I know. You shot me." It was strange how unusually calm Dean was in this situation. There was no fear, no tears, nothing to show how horrid he felt. "It's not as bad as it looks."

"This is serious." Sam's heart was beating so quickly, pounding in his ears as if trying to escape. It only stopped when heard a snicker from the man next to him. The calmness before was enough to freak Sam out, but the humor was overkill.

"Why are you laughing? This isn't funny."

"Nothing… just… dude, go to bed."

"You're bleeding again."

"I just moved in my sleep and pulled it!" He said a little bit exaggeratedly "Thought I would get a bandage. . I can do this myself. "

"DO THIS MYSELF!"

"Glad you agree."

"Don't… just…" Sam took in a stressful breath and tried to exude calmness. "Just don't twist my words right now… please… I…"

"I'm okay…. It' okay…hear me."

"It's not!"

"It will be."

"Watching you bleed was… it……"

"Don't do this to yourself. We both…we both messed up a lot in the past." Dean leaned up even further, grimacing as the pain intensified in his side.

"I was….I thought you were going to die…that I killed you…."

"But, you didn't. It saved you. Don't you understand by now… Sam….I….I would give my life to save you any day."

"I wanted to do this for you… for once….. save my big brother. I couldn't let you go to hell.

"Well… it was hell without ya… you didn't do me any favors."

"I don't think I am strong enough to do this without you. They knew I would become a monster."

"But you came back."

"Only because of some loophole… Lilith promised you wouldn't…"

"Hey... hey… stop… It's my job to guilt you- I also get the perks of doing swirlies, uncles, atomic wedgies, melvins, Indian burns, and noogies….And that whole warm water on your hand when you sleep- That was so me! You need to read your job description."

"That's not funny. I really…. I just need my brother."

"That's right." A second voice chirped. "And we need you too." Bobby crossed over to the duo.

"See even Bobby agrees with me." Dean smarted and then groaned when a pain shot up his side.

"And you… you….boy if you scare me like that again. I swear…" His words were stern, but his tone was full of worry. "I swear I'll kick your ass six ways from Sunday."

"Yeah, yeah…heard things like that before."

Afraid that Dean would burst his stitches even more, Bobby took matters into his own hands. "Dean Harley Winchester, just what the hell do you think you're doing moving around? Lay back down or do I have to tie you down!?"

"Stop worrying, I'll be fine. Am I the only one calm here?" Dean smiled, looking up at Sam, who could hardly share the smile, simply prompting Dean to lay back down. Dean's mouth may have been covering, lying that everything was okay, but his body was more than willing to listen. All of his muscles ached for rest.

"Don't fight us here." Bobby demanded, grabbing the first aid supplies.

"Have either of you slept?" Dean settled back on the cot, one hand covering the hole in his ribcage.

"No, but we would if your keister would listen and keep from bleeding everywhere." Bobby chimed in, moving Dean's hand away to get a look. "Guess I'll have to redo that dressing."

"What are you waiting on? Christmas? Can we get this over with?"

"Cranky."

"And who is taking care of you?" Dean asked knowingly, inspecting the two men before him.

"We're taking care of each other." Sam offered. "Don't argue." His brows furrowed, strong as ever.

"Let me take a look at that banged of yours" Bobby muttered something else quietly as his hand gripped the bed post to sit on the floor.

"I'm fine." Dean insisted, setting back into the mattress and involuntarily wincing as the Bobby's hand connected with his wound. He contemplated ordering Sam to go to sleep but didn't bother; his own energy was almost entirely drained. If he was a car, the phrase would have been running on fumes.

When Dean hissed again, Sam peeked at the used bandage and grimaced. "You okay?"

"Peachy." His side burned and a whimper slipped past his lips. "That hurt."

"You just pulled your stitches, big baby," Bobby muttered. He took a look around inside the wound, re-stitched it, and placed a new bandage over the hole. "You were lucky this time." He said when he was done. "The bullet never reached any nerves or the bone"

"Still hurts like hell." His head was screaming worse by the moment and he was sure it wouldn't be long until his skull exploded. His body felt heavy and leaden.

Sam was busy opening a pill bottle, dumping at least four in his hand. Obviously, he wasn't going to let Dean protest about taking them or even offer an opinion about them. And whether he admitted it or not, Dean really needed to quell some of the pain. So, he obediently tossed the pills to the back of his throat and winced as he swallowed the foul tasting caplets sans water.

"I'll get you a drink."

"Don't need water… sshhshshuhsss…think I need about ten more of those."

"Does this bother you?" Sam finally asked softly, his mind elsewhere other than first aid. His eyes focused on the cuts on Dean's face and chest.

"Getting the crap kicked out of me?" Dean asked in confusion. "Well, yeah, I mean, I don't enjoy it or anything and looking like I shaved with a machete is not a look I particularly go for."

"No, I mean…" Turning back to the first aid kit, Sam's hands rummage aimlessly through the pills, ointments, and bandages, his eyes seemingly fixated on the task at hand. "Me hurting you……I mean some asshole with my face cut you… shot you." Having said more than he meant to, Sam narrowed his focus on a pill bottle, rolling it back and forth between his hands.

"He wasn't you," Dean offered simply.

"It was and I've shot you twice now."

"The first time wasn't your fault- that was Meg. And this time wasn't either. It wasn't you,"

"Doesn't matter.' He thought bitterly. 'I did it. I DID IT.'

"Sam, stop it… Bobby demands."

"Yeah! Stop it." Dean mimicked.

"What do you expect? I thought you died."

"You saved countless lives just by killin' Lilith and Meg. All in all you killed lots of demons... seems like it's worth a hole in my ribs…a freakin' painful hole... but I say our score racked up on this one. I'm alive and I'm not going anywhere," Dean said softly.

"I know," Sam whispered, feeling a tear slide down his cheek and onto Dean's t-shirt. "I just had no idea how I was going to live when I thought you were dead. All those years without you in them…. The thought… and I couldn't breathe."

Dean heard the pitch change of Sam remembering earth-shattering grief. "Well, I'm here and I'm staying here."

"Did you boys take Midol? Do you think we can skip the lifetime movie on this?"

"Yeah… how about... it's down to you, Bobby, and me, you freaks!" He was back to his jovial self or at least pretending for Sam's sake.

In a way, Sam and Bobby were comfortable with this side of Dean, finding it hard to keep frowns plastered to their faces. "Just when I thought he was going to be serious."

"Can't teach an old Dean new tricks."

"Depends who you ask, the showgirl in Vegas… tch… she was...whew." Dean yawned, his eyes already slipping close as the exhaustion of his injury and medication pounded into him

"Okay, he's delusional." Bobby smarted off as he got up, Sam helping him balance until he was full on his feet.

"Nothing new there."

The blonde haired man slowly let his tired body relax, throwing an arm over his eyes and tried to ride out the wave of nausea. He closed his eyes, utterly spent. "You guys suck!"

"Just yell if you need anything before you damage yourself again." Bobby demanded.

"We'll take care of anything you need." Sam added.

"Same here," Dean offered. "I will always take care of my little brother…well… except if you need Depends! Then you are so on your own!"

"Go to sleep." Sam rolled his eyes amazed at how hard Dean could fight something he so desperately needed. He'd probably sleep all day tomorrow, if not a week.

"He's hopeless."

"Wouldn't have it any other way." Sam smiled as his friend.

Muttering under his breath, Dean made some smartass comment, but exhaustion stole anything that resembled a sentence, making the noise come out like an amused groan. The room was silent for a few seconds, and then something cold and damp was placed across his forehead. A cool sensation spread over the face and his breathing relax. He took several deep breaths as he sighed in appreciation. He was too bone-weary to do anything more, letting himself go to dreamland.

Sam snorted softly, thankful that Dean was well on his way to resting "Goodnight, Dean."


-THE END-


Author's note: Is it wrong that I had 10 ideas on how to break Dean's deal? Hope you liked the two I managed to get out of my random head. And if you read any of my crackfic stuff you know how random I am. Catch you all on the next one. Thanks for reading. For that I think you deserve a Winchester group hug.