Hey guys,this is my second supernatural story (I'm going to finish Fitting the Pattern, I just had to get this out of my system). So there's going to be a lot of Dean!whumping, Sam!comforting etc and, in terms of warnings, probably violence, references to torture, bad language and probably other nasty stuff I forgot to mention (you know you love it really). Spoilers for, probably everything but most prominently the season finale. Erm, anything else? Oh yeah, this is gen. No Wincest to see here folks, move along.

Sorry that was so long but I didn't want to forget anything. Here's the (unbeta-ed) prologue.

It took two days before Dean opened his eyes. Two days of Sam worrying he'd brought back some comatose, zombie-Dean and wondering if he'd ever see Dean's eyes again. Two days of Sam thinking that something, anything, would be better than this.

On the third day Sam realised he might have been wrong as Dean screamed and Sam thought he'd never stop. Throughout Sam's assurances that he was okay, that he was safe, that was back – Dean screamed. Even when Sam bundled him into the Impala and away from anxious motel staff and irritated guests he screamed. Parked in a lay-by on a deserted highway after gagging his own brother, Sam curled in the seat of his Impala, the radio turned on full blast and his hands clamped over his ears lie a child, Sam longed to go back to the second day.

Day four was a day where both brothers tried. Dean tried to scream though abused, vocal chords too exhausted to produce any sound and Sam tried to ignore his wide-eyed, open-mouthed, silently-screaming older brother. Just like he tired to pretend that he was happy because this was better than yesterday.

On day five Dean slept and Sam dozed when he could, snapping fitfully awake from his nightmare dreams into his nightmarish reality. But with his brother just lying there sleeping (admittedly far too pale and thin), if you ignored the stifled whimpers and barely concealed trembling, Sam could almost pretend things were normal.

Six days in, Sam realised just how far from normal they really were.

Dean wasn't screaming now, simply huddled, wide-eyed and frightened in the corner of the latest motel room while Sam, crouched down and moving slowly tried to ignore the fact that this was Dean he was dealing with.

"Dean, it's okay, it's me, it's Sam"

Dean just simply blinked at him, not a trace of recognition in his frightened gaze.

"I'm sorry I hurt you, but I gotta look at those wounds Dean." Sam moved a couple of tiny paces forward and pretended to ignore the way Dean tried to press himself into the wall. Dean's body had come back almost exactly the way it had been before the Hell hounds had ravaged it (Sam blanched at that memory) aside from a series of scratches down Dean's left arm which hadn't stopped bleeding since day one. Sam had bandaged them while Dean was comatose and then things had got all kinds of crazy and he hadn't had time to replace the now crimson, sodden bandage.

"It's alright…let me help you" Sam continued gently, startled when Dean launched himself at him, fists and feet flying everywhere, but far too weak to cause any real damage to Sam who found himself raising his voice.

"Dean! Dean stop it!" And even as his arms wrapped around his older brother's chest and his well muscled legs settled over Dean's atrophied weaker ones, Sam tried to wonder whether this was good or bad. Good, he decided, as Dean, pinned and helpless against Sam's larger form, finally stopped thrashing.

"It's okay. It's okay I'm here now. You're safe…" Sam muttered the words like a mantra into Dean's ear as he cradled the older Winchester. It was only as he paused speaking to blink tears out of his eyes that he realised Dean had set up a mantra of his own. Dean was talking! Sam strained to hear the barely whispered words and felt his heart break when he heard the mumbled stream of Latin. The constant, desperate repetition of exorcisms, protection charms and prayers that he knew wouldn't have done shit for Dean in Hell.

What had his brother gone through? Sam wasn't even sure he could handle knowing.

The seventh day, Sam woke in the same position with Dean, now silent, slumped in his arms.

On the seventh day, Sam began to hope that maybe Dean wasn't lost to him forever

On the seventh day, Sam thought it might be okay to leave Dean alone for thirty seconds while he nipped to the impala for the first aid kit. When he returned, he found Dean slicing into his wounded arm with a razor bade Sam hadn't thought to remove from the bathroom.

On the seventh day, as he re-bandaged his brother's mutilated arm, Sam himself wanted to scream for two days, just like Dean had done.

It took Sam Winchester seven days to realise he couldn't deal with this alone.

AN: So future chapters will be longer and hopefully better. This will also be posted on my LJ (which you can find through my profile on this site) if you prefer that site to here. I hope it wasn't too bad and I haven't annoyed you all with my rambling.