Okay, here it is...the finale of Niagara.

This was originally going to be two separate updates, but I thought they were too closely related to make into individual chapters.

This has been my theory since the S2 finale. Every time I watched Nightmare after that, I always thought that Sam would find himself in a similar situation to that (Seeing Dean die) and tap into his unknown power.

It was really weird not writing Dean for most of this story, I missed him: (

Alright so this is the last chapter so that means...well I can't tell you what it means cause that would be giving it away, but I think you all know what to expect so yeah...prepare yourselves; )


"You're lying safe in bed, it was all a bad dream spinning in your head...So here it is, another chance. Wide awake, you face the day, your dream is over...or has it just begun?"

-Queensyrche "Silent Lucidity"


Chapter 13

It was dark. But not like before. This was a comfortable, peaceful, welcomed dark that meant rest and rejuvenation. He heard voices; one familiar from years of listening to it and coming to love and respect whom it belonged to and the other familiar only by hearing it once previously. The hushed conversation pulled him away from the dark and he carefully blinked his eyes open, adjusting to the light. Objects gradually lost their fuzz and began to take clearer shape. He turned his head towards the voices, the movement sluggish and uncontrolled.

A man in a white coat stood with his back to Dean and standing before the doctor, talking quietly, was Bobby. Dean opened his mouth to speak and realized the oxygen mask was still on. He tried to will his hand to reach up to remove it, but it felt like his arms and legs, hell, whole body, were made of lead. He licked his dry, cracked lips and tried to speak again. His attempted "Bobby" came out as a squeaky croak. "Oh, that sounded real solid, Dean." But the sound was enough to get both men's attention. Bobby's face softened in relief and he immediately went to Dean's side.

"Sweet Jesus, boy it's good to see you." Bobby's chuckle sounded strained with emotion, but still filled with happiness.

Dean tried to return the smile, but got the feeling he looked more like an idiot than anything else. Bobby laughed again and gave Dean's uninjured shoulder a squeeze.

"You're a lucky man, Mr. Kirke." Said the man in the white coat.

Dean looked coolly from the doctor back to Bobby upon hearing his new pseudonym. Bobby's eyes twinkled with amusement.

"Yeah, Simon, you had us worried there for awhile."

Dean did manage a proper smile this time. "Simon Kirke, that's cute. Had to be Sammy's doing...Sam." Dean's eyes widened a little and he felt his heart start to beat faster. How the hell had his brother not been the first thought to cross his mind? Bobby read Dean's expression and turned to the doctor.

"Doc, could you give us a minute?"

Dr. Herschfeld nodded. "Of course." And left the room.

Dean's eyes darted back to Bobby after the door closed.

"Whrs Sam?" He croaked out weakly. Dean then put all his energy into trying to sit up. He didn't get far before Bobby pushed him back. Frustrated tears welled in Dean's wild eyes when he found he was still to weak to resist.

"Let m'go." He managed to put a little more power into his voice this time as he glared up at Bobby.

"Calm down or I'll make them knock you out again." The older man hissed quietly, no real threat in his voice. Dean just shook his head and tried to sit up again. He made it up most of the way this time before pain seared through his chest, back, and shoulder. Dean groaned and fell heavily back against the pillows. He noted how wonderful the softness felt.

"Ya see? Now stop being the stubborn ass you are for just a minute and listen to me."

Dean rolled his eyes in frustration over his failed escape and looked impatiently at his friend. Bobby pulled up a chair and sat. He blew out a breath and leaned forward against his knees, clasping his hands.

"Sam's safe. He's here."

Dean sagged visibly in relief. "He is?"

Bobby nodded, sadness passing over his eyes as he realized Dean didn't quite understand him. "Yes, but I mean. He'"

Dean's brow furrowed softly, his mind still a bit sluggish, before comprehension dawned and his eyes widened with fear. "What happened? Is he okay? I wanna see him right now!"

Dean heard the slur disappear from his words, his voice bolstered by concern for his brother. The two questions and single demand came out in a rush as Dean ignored the pain and managed to struggle up until he was sitting lopsidedly. Bobby tapped the air with his hand in attempts to stop Dean's building anxiety.

"I'm not one-hundred percent sure what happened, he's fine, and you're not going anywhere until you've rested up a bit."

Bobby leaned forward and propped an extra pillow up behind Dean's back so he could remain sitting more comfortably.

"He's...okay?" Dean's voice shook and, to Bobby, the expression he wore and the look in his shiny, green eyes made him look four years old again.

"He's in the ICU-and before you freak out, he's being moved out today. I got them to agree to bring him in here."

Dean felt his stomach flip with eagerness to see his brother and fear for the same reason. "Why is he in the ICU? How is he okay if he's in there? Why do I fee like I'm not getting the whole picture here?" A thought occurred to him suddenly, abruptly stopping the blur of questions flying around his head. "I'm not dead..."


Dean blinked. He hadn't realized he'd said the last thought aloud until Bobby was staring at him like he was crazy. "I'm not dead." Dean repeated quietly. "My year was up, the hell hound got me, so why am I still here?" Dean swallowed hard and looked back up. " long have we been in here? Me and Sam?"

Bobby gave him another appraising look then sat back with a sigh, rubbing at his beard. "Four days, nearly five. You were...out for all of the first, you woke up, freaked out—I think you remember that—then slept til just now. Sam...well he came in later the first day. He's been mostly unconscious, and when he wakes it's only for a minute and he's out before anyone can get a better reading on him."

Dean swallowed hard, fear growing. "You said, late the first day..."

Bobby looked away at something non-existant over in the corner.

"We weren't brought in at the same time?" Dean urged.

Bobby still didn't move, but shook his head after a moment. "I'm not dead." Dean heard the explanation in his old friend's silence, but he needed to hear the words before he let himself believe it was true.

"What happened, Bobby?" Dean asked softly. He looked intently at his old friend, saw Bobby searching for the right words to say and suddenly Dean knew that what he'd suspected was about to be verified. Bobby sniffed, eyes shiny, and looked at Dean finally.

"Your brother saved your ass, that's what happened." Bobby said quietly, his voice devoid of any humor that the words might suggest. It was Dean's turn to look away. He looked down at his hands, vaguely noting the absence of the ring on his right ring finger. Dean lifted his arm heavily and reached a hand up to his chest. He felt the bandages wrapping his chest beneath the thin, white t-shirt before his fingers found what they sought. He felt tears tickle his sinuses, a strange sensation when mixed with the cool oxygen flowing to them. Dean closed his hand around the amulet, knowing without explanation that his brother had been the one to put it back on him.

"Sam summoned Lillith didn't he?" Dean waited, and after a pause.


Dean nodded slowly, lost in thought. "He used his powers." It was more a thought then a question, but still Bobby answered.


"Did he...did he kill her?"

Bobby's too long pause forced Dean to look back at him. Bobby returned the gaze, suddenly looking exhausted and much older than he actually was. He breathed out a weary sigh and shrugged in a way that said he'd considered every other possibility and discarded them all.

"You're alive, son. He had to've."

Dean bit his lip. It was exactly as he'd thought. In...wherever that was—but he was sure now it wasn't Hell—he'd felt Sam. He'd felt his pain, emotions, his unbelievable power. Sam had done as he'd promised: he'd found a way to save him. Dean felt a swell of love in his chest quickly followed a pang of anger. What had Sam been thinking? He could have gotten himself kill and what if...

"I don't think he's changed, Dean."

Dean's head snapped around to look at Bobby. The hunter just looked back at him, his expression confirming to Dean that he really was that transparent. Dean wanted, more than anything, to take Bobby's word and not give it another thought. But it never was that simple.

"Why?" He whispered, hating to ask.

Bobby just looked back at him. A sad smile crinkled his kind blue eyes after a moment.

"If Sam had changed, I don't think he'd be with us right now."

It took Dean only a minute to decipher the meaning behind Bobby's words, and the translation comforted him and made him sick at the same time. Bobby was right. If Sam had felt out of control or...different, he would have ended it himself. He wouldn't be down in the ICU right at that moment...he'd be in the morgue. The thought made Dean suddenly feel anxious again, on the same level he'd felt when he'd come back from...there.

"Bobby, please take me to see him." Dean didn't want to ask. He'd take himself if he could, but he could feel his weakness like a weight on his body. Bobby shook his head, his eyes shiny with apology.

"You damn-near died, Dean. You need to take it easy for awhile."

Dean fisted his hands angrily. He didn't want to take it easy. He wanted, needed, to see Sam. He wanted to hug him, then kick his ass, then hug him again. He needed to know how close he'd been to losing him.

"At least tell me why he's in the ICU." Dean said, managing a weak gesture with his hand.

Bobby nodded in agreement, seeming to find it a fair compromise. "Nasty case of exhaustion. Boy's as stubborn as you are when it come to choosing everything else over rest. He showed all signs of having a brain hemorrhage, but uh...his CT came back clean." Bobby shrugged. "Doc can't explain it. I think he's starting to suspect you two of being medical marvels." He tried a soft smile, but continued in all seriousness when Dean still looked desperate for information. "He's got a stab wound to his right shoulder. A lot of blood loss. Thank God for transfusions."

Dean's eyes flashed wickedly. "Stab wound?"

Bobby nodded knowingly.

"Son of a bitch." Dean growled. He almost wished Lillith were still alive so he could kill her himself for doing that to Sam.

"The bitch herself, more like." Bobby offered.

Dean went over the diagnosis in his mind, feeling a little nauseous when he came to one part in particular. "Wait, brain hemorrhage, wha-...I mean, is he okay?"

Bobby nodded and shrugged, a combination that said "I don't know how, but yeah." "The scan came back perfectly clean."

"Then why'd they think he had one to begin with?"

Bobby blinked and just looked at Dean for a moment before answering. "Nose was bleeding something awful, the doctor, Herschfeld, said it's common when a certain amount of physical stress if put on the brain but uh...there was no damage done to it."

Dean's face softened. He let his eyes drift away from Bobby. "Oh." He said softly.

He saw Bobby nod sagely out of the corner of his eye. "Yeah."

He spoke just a single word, but in it Dean could tell that Bobby knew what he was thinking and had reached the same conclusion himself: Sam's powers had reached a high enough level to take a physical toll on him. Nothing else could explain it.

Lillith might have caused it. Dean knew better than anyone what kind of torture a demon can inflict without lifting a finger, but he knew in his heart that that was not the case this time. He'd felt Sam. Felt his power. Dean didn't know how, but he had. He didn't know where he had been but he sure as hell never wanted to go back. He couldn't believe when Bobby said it had just been a day since he'd been brought in. It had felt like a lifetime in that place.

Dean suppressed a shiver at the memory. He swore that he still felt sore from the constant torture he'd gone through there, still felt achy where the hooks had torn into his flesh.

The smallest hint of an amused smile coming from Bobby broke Dean from his stupor.

"What?" He crinkled his eyebrows in question.

"Don't you wanna know how you are?"

Dean blinked. Funny, the thought hadn't cross his mind. He shrugged.

"I'm fine now. Does it matter?"

Bobby frowned, obviously displeased with Dean's demeanor. "Have you learned your lesson yet?"

"Don't wrestle with hell hounds?" Dean quipped softly, inwardly wincing at the volley of reprimands he knew was about to be thrown his way.

"Dean!" Bobby snapped sternly, his eyes wild with disapproval of Dean's levity.

Dean squirmed under the pressing stare. He hadn't meant to make a joke. It was a defense mechanism that he had trouble controlling sometimes, but even so he didn't want to talk about this. Not now. Not ever.

"What do you want me to say, Bobby? That I should stop looking out for Sam? Is that supposed to be the lesson I've learned?"

"I want you to promise you won't do something so damn stupid again."

Dean dropped his gaze and looked down at the gauze taped to his right arm a little ways up from the IV, thinking it to be a little twisted that he'd had enough close calls to know it was where a blood transfusion line had been. He would, and would always, do everything he could to protect Sam, so he wasn't about to promise a damn thing.

"You listen to me, boy. You've seen enough that you should know otherwise, but don't you dare think luck like this comes along every day. Me and Sam? We almost lost you. And because of that, you almost lost him."

Dean flinched at the gravity of the words and the sharp tone in which they were said.

"Do you wanna look your brother in the face and tell him he almost killed himself to save your stubborn ass just so you could do it all over again?"

Bobby grabbed Dean's un-tubed arm. "Look at me." He growled.

Dean hesitantly did as he was told, wishing that somehow Bobby wouldn't see the tears in his eyes. The older hunter locked eyes with him, denying Dean's attention to wander.

"It's your responsibility as a the eldest to watch after your kid brother...but it your right to play God."

Dean could feel the tears starting to brim and felt mild anger that he couldn't stop them. Bobby's face softened a little and he loosened his grip on Dean's arm to be more comforting than warning.

"I think the fact that both you boys are alive right now is proof He's doing his job right."

Bobby had never really voiced it to anyone, in a world so conflicted it was really no one's business, but he believed in a higher power. It was one of, and sometimes the only thing that kept him going all his years of hunting. He had to believe there was a reason that he had survived so many hunts gone wrong and he knew only a miracle could have spared Dean and Sam's lives. Now if only he could convince Dean of that.

"You understand me?"

Dean had looked down again, but Bobby could still see the shine of unshed tears. He knew Dean didn't want or deserve to be pushed right now. Bobby couldn't imagine what he'd been through, but sometimes that was exactly what needed to be done.

"Yeah." Dean's delayed reply was low and gravelly, but Bobby was satisfied that it held the right tone: true acceptance and not just an answer to appease him. He nodded curtly and gave Dean's arm a squeeze before drawing back his hand. Bobby's lips curled into a slightly amused smile after a moment. He had made fun of Dean before for not thinking of himself, but he had failed to ask as well.

"How ya feelin'?"

Dean lifted his uninjured shoulder in a half shrug. "Tired. Kind achy."

"Any pain?"

"A little. Not really if I hold still."

"Best stick to what works then, hmm? I'll bet they have ya on the good stuff." Bobby smiled.

Dean quirked up the corner of his mouth, the plastic of the O2 mask distorting the slight smile. He managed to reach up with what was meant to be nonchalance and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger. His hand bumped the mask on the way back and it fell lopsided on his face. Dean grumbled in annoyance as he readjusted it.

"Can I take this damn thing off yet?"

Bobby suppressed a chuckle. "Doc said you could be switched to a nasal cannula once you woke up."

Dean mumbled an irritable "Well, good." and heaved out a sigh. He noticed Bobby smiling warmly at him after a moment.

"What now?" Dean asked, weariness pulling down his mood a bit.

"It's good to have ya back, kid."

The words seemed to hit Dean hard and he thought over the true weight of them. He nodded slowly, eyes lifting from their down-turned gaze of thought to look up at Bobby.

"Thanks, Bobby." He said quietly, smiling softly at the man who'd come to be like a father to he and Sam. Dean had never really expressed his gratitude towards Bobby for all he'd ever done for his family, but he hoped his thanks now could encompass his appreciation for all the things Bobby had helped them through over the years.

Bobby closed his eyes as he nodded and his smile told Dean that the worn hunter knew the magnitude behind his words. Dean sighed and looked out the window on the wall opposite him, wondering briefly why it was cracked, but dismissing the thought as his mind focused else where. It was good to be back. For the first time since...well, for the first time in awhile, Dean felt a little bit safe. Now all he needed was to see Sam.

A quick tap at the door quickly preceded the entrance of a small nurse with a kind face. Her mouth turned up in a smile as she noticed Dean sitting up.

"Well, welcome back, Simon."

"Uh thanks." Dean said, taken slightly aback by the familiar manner in which the nurse acted towards him.

"This is Jillian." Bobby explained. "She's been keeping a pretty close watch on you boys."

"Well they're just such handsome devils. It's hard not to." Jillian added, winking at Bobby before turning back to changing the IV bag.

"How are ya feelin'?" She asked Dean.

"Fine, considering."

Jillian's brow creased with sympathy. "Yeah, I heard what happened."

Dean froze. "You did?"

"Yeah, you can never be too careful when you're hunting. There's all kinds of wild creatures in the woods. I've got an older brother and boy has he told me some horror stories."

Dean relaxed and glanced at Bobby who just shrugged.

"Right. Listen, any chance I could get a less annoying-as-hell set up here, please?" Dean motioned his index finger in a circular motion at his face.

Jillian giggled and nodded. "Sure." She hooked a tube to the oxygen behind the wall on the bed and, after allowing Dean to sluggishly remove the mask, hooked it over his ears and under his nose. Dean smiled, very appreciative of the less constricting feeling.

"Thanks." He grinned his "Make the ladies melt" smile at Jillian, the intensity toned down by fatigue.

Jillian smiled back and moved to the end of the bed to view the chart hooked over the footboard.

"Green eyes." She said with a slightly dreamy sigh. "Surprising. I was expecting blue for some reason."

Dean wasn't sure if the remark was intended for a compliment until Jillian tossed him a shy smile.

"You don't see those enough."

Dean's grinned, but the smile tightened a bit as the eagerness to ask the question he so desperately wanted an affirmative answer to became unbearable.

"Can I see my brother?"

Jillian chuckled and shook her head. "I was waiting for you to ask. I checked in on him not too long ago. Janice in the ICU told me they'll move him in here sometime before five."

She looked down and scribbled something on the chart, her face mellowing a bit. She flicked her head to the side briefly. "That boy's a fighter."

Dean felt his throat tighten. He looked quickly at Bobby who conveniently failed to meet his gaze.

"He had to learn it from someone though I suppose." Jillian's jingly voice broke the silence and, with a departing smile, she left the room. Dean's jaw clenched as he looked back at Bobby's still averted gaze. He was angry that his friend had obviously been keeping things from him, but decided to let it slide. He knew this couldn't be easy for Bobby either. Dean had played the waiting game in hospitals more times in his life than any one person should. He knew how much stress it put on a person.

"Have you been down to see him?"

Bobby looked up finally and shook his head. "Not for lack of trying either. They just always said it wasn't a good time."

Dean let his heavy head fall back on the pillow and he sighed discontentedly. He felt trapped by lack of information. Of results. He knew he'd been told a few times now that Sam was fine, but each time it failed to appease him. He needed to seefor himself that Sam was alright. Until then, he would not feel at ease.

A few moments of silence later, Dean remembered and inquired about the family in the demonic suburbia. He half-listened as Bobby relayed the events of the night and stared in thought, still thinking about Sam. How he was doing right now, what he'd gone through to defeat Lillith, if she'd hurt him besides the stab wound. Dean nodded when he realized Bobby had finished the story and a little while later begrudgingly drifted into a restless, though much needed, sleep.


The next time Dean woke, the room was darker. "Night." A single light over the sink by the door cast a pale, hardly sufficient illumination around the room. He blinked a few times, realizing what had woken him up. His back ached and cramped from being in the same, upright position for too long. Each beat of his sleep-paced heart throbbed in his multiple wounds and he set his jaw as he carefully shifted to find a more comfortable position. Dean felt the indescribable feeling of someone watching him and he rolled his head over to see Bobby still sitting in the chair by his bed. Dean swallowed the cottony feeling in his mouth and forced his eyes to stay open.

"Hey." His greeting pitched low and sounded raw.

Bobby nodded once in a return greeting.

"How's Sam?" Dean managed in a hoarse whisper.

Bobby's eyes sparkled mischievously and a smile crinkled his scruffy features. "See for yourself."

Dean's eyebrows started a slow dip as his still sleep-clouded mind blanked. Bobby nodded to something behind Dean. Understanding cleared Dean's mind and, as quickly as he could manage, he pivoted his head to his right to look where Bobby had hinted. Dean felt pure, delirious relief. Sam lay in a bed no more than five feet away, propped slightly upright, and sleeping peacefully. Dean's attention quickly narrowed on Sam's chest and refused to stray until he saw the sure rise and fall of life. He rolled on his side and pressed up against the rail closest to Sam, ignoring the stress it put on his injuries. Dean gripped the rail, staring wide-eyed at his brother.

"Sammy?" He breathed out.

Grunting quietly, Dean pushed himself into a sitting position and slung his feet over the side of the bed. He'd already unhooked the nasal cannula from around his ears and was about to start in on the IV when Bobby appeared in front of him, stopping his attempt.

"Whoa there, slow down a minute. Ya know it wouldn't kill ya to ask for help once in awhile."

Dean waited impatiently on the edge of his bed, eyes still locked on Sam, an irrational fear telling him if he blinked reality might snap back and admit its cruel trick. Bobby rolled up a wheelchair that he'd requested, knowing well that Dean would attempt, and fail, to get to Sam the moment he woke up. Carefully, he took an arm under Dean's uninjured shoulder and slowly moved him from the bed to the wheelchair. A beading of sweat had formed at Dean's hairline and his face scrunched in deep concentration to ignore the stress he was putting on his injuries. Bobby rolled the IV pole to stand by Sam's then turned back to wheel an anxious Dean to his brother's side.

Dean leaned forward eagerly and lifted his left arm, his right held tightly against his side. As soon as he was close enough, Dean reached out and wrapped a shaking hand around Sam's lower arm. The warmth of his brother's skin and the solid feel of confirmation that Dean needed washed over him in an overwhelming flood of emotion. He blew out a breath, failing to disguise the light sob. Dean leaned forward with a grimace as Bobby stopped the chair and he rested against the side of the bed.

"Hey." Dean said in a shaky whisper. He licked his dry lips, feeling the burn of their chap at the action, and smiled weakly. "I'm back." Dean knew only Sam would understand the true weight of that statement. He knew Sam had figured it all out somehow, even if he himself hadn't quite yet.

"It's your turn now." Dean finished quietly. His smile faded away when Sam's eyes remained closed. Dean frowned a little as he took an evaluation of Sam's current state. The young man's face was pale with dark circles accentuating the hollow under his eyes. A nasal cannula, like the one Dean had quickly rid himself of a few minutes earlier, nestled under his nose. There were white squares of gauze on both sides of his neck and his right shoulder and left hand were bandaged. "He did this for you." Dean swallowed hard at the thought, willing off the growing threat of tears.

"Has he been conscious at all?" He asked Bobby without moving his eyes from his too-still brother.

"A few times down in the ICU and just for a few minutes. He woke up again not too long ago, that's when they brought him up here. He kept asking for you."

Dean just nodded. "Come on, Sammy. Time to wake up." He said in a low voice, giving Sam's arm a squeeze. Dean almost gasped when Sam took in a deep breath and fidgeted a little. He had voiced his plea, but hadn't expected Sam to actually listen to him. His heart leapt and pounded impatiently.

"Sam?" Dean gave his brother's arm a gentle shake. Sam's eyes rolled beneath their lids and after a minute cracked open to slits. He blinked lethargically a few times and stared ahead with unfocused eyes.


Sam let his head fall heavily to the side as if he didn't have the strength to hold it up. His eyes gradually focused on Dean and widened minutely. The muscles in the arm beneath Dean's hand tensed and he could tell Sam was attempting to sit up. Sam's half-mast eyes sparkled with tears and his mouth turned down, the corners shaking as his lips formed a word Dean couldn't hear, but knew was his name. He smiled and felt the tears that had been waiting finally well up in his eyes.


Sam struggled to sit up, but again failed.

"Dean." The name cracked and passed Sam's lips sounding like a choked sob. His arm lifted a fraction off the bed and he reached a shaking hand desperately towards Dean. His fingers brushed the material of Dean's shirt and he fisted the fabric tightly, pulling weakly at his brother. Dean obeyed and moved as far forward as he could, but still Sam didn't let go. He wrapped a hand around Sam's wrist, just below where the hand held his shirt so tightly. Dean gave Sam an attempted reassuring smile, the action crinkling his eyes and threatening the awaiting tears to fall. A quiet sob shook Sam and he tugged weakly at Dean's shirt. Dean felt the answering need within himself. He wanted to hug his little brother. He wanted to hold on tight and never let go. The fact that he didn't quite feel strong enough to get out of that damn wheelchair and do just that annoyed Dean and made him feel a little trapped. Instead he tightened his hold on Sam's wrist to the point he was sure he ran the risk of inflicting pain, but Sam seemed not to care; he just stared back unblinkingly, tears rolling down his pale face.

"Dean." Sam managed to whisper again. Dean nodded, hearing the need for confirmation in Sam's voice.

"You okay?" Dean's voice cracked. Sam closed his eyes a moment and Dean knew he had attempted to nod. His features darkened a little and he gave Sam's arm a little shake. "What the hell were you thinkin', huh?"

Sam just stared at him for a moment, then dimples appeared shakily as soft indentations on his cheeks. Dean couldn't help but see the bright-eyed little three year old smiling weakly at him.

"Niagara." Sam whispered, the word barely audible. Dean's eyebrows dipped and he leaned forward a little more, straining to hear what his brother was saying.

"Sammy, what?"

Sam took in a deep breath and swallowed audibly before trying to speak again. "Jump you." He wheezed.

Dean's look of inquisitiveness remained as he tried to make sense of the words. He was beginning to think that Sam was still soaring on the pain meds or had taken a more serious bump to the head when the relevance of the words clicked in his mind. Dean's puzzled expression relaxed to one of understanding. "Someone goes over Niagra in a barrel, you gonna jump in to try to save them?" Dean felt his heart clench and he nodded tightly in understanding.

He wanted to reprimand Sam. Yell at him for taking such a dangerous risk, for trying something that could have ended in a terribly wrong way. But looking at Sam's relieved, loving expression, Dean couldn't bring himself to do it. It had, mercifully and for the first time in their lives, not ended in complete disaster and Dean knew that in that moment there was no use for harsh words.

"Thank you." He said in a husky voice, his jaw tensing as he fought to control his emotions. Sam clenched his hand tighter in response and tugged at him again. "Alright, Sammy...alright." Without a word, Dean released Sam's wrist, braced himself against the arms of the wheelchair, and began to push himself up. Pain flared, forcing Dean to bite back a groan and falter. He immediately felt hands under his arms, helping him stand. Dean had almost forgotten Bobby was there, but he was glad because the second the pain had hit him he'd realized that he wouldn't have been able to go any farther. The strong hands helped him stand and move to sit on the bed next to Sam. The hands held him until he felt steady enough to hold his own, then disappeared silently.

Dean reached out and curled his fingers into the front of Sam's shirt. Carefully, he pulled Sam forward and into a one-armed embrace. His arm hooked gingerly over Sam's right shoulder and crossed his back. He felt Sam's hand twist in the fabric at the back of his shirt. He felt him shake with quiet sobs and felt warm tears on his right shoulder where Sam's face was buried. Dean sensed that Bobby was still in the room, a quiet strength of reassurance, but he wouldn't have cared if the whole world was standing watching. He just closed his eyes and held onto his little brother, tears finally rolling down his face to land soundlessly in the brown mess of Sam's hair. It was a long overdo gesture. Neither of them was dying, or even dead. It was simply the pure need to literally feel that they had both made it through this one.

Dean had been a hypocrite; he knew that. He'd done what he'd mocked in his allegory and he'd jumped in to save Sam. And Sam, being the son of John Winchester and his own brother and in all other ways stubborn, had gone in after him. Holding Sam a little tighter, Dean realized that no matter how hard he fought it, that was what the rest of their lives were going to be like. They would always look after each other. Neither one of them would ever be willing to give up on the other and Dean knew all he had to do was keep his end of the unspoken understanding. No matter what.

"I will be watching over you, I'm gonna help you see it through, I'll protect you in the night. I'm smiling next to you..."


...The End.


A few final thoughts

There ya have it. The end. La fin. El fine.

I REALLY hope ya'll liked it and I hope at no point was it TOO cheesy or unrealistic. I realize I may have been pushing it at the end, but come on! Sam and Dean have been through QUITE an ordeal! If they don't actually hug after all this...I'm gonna write a letter.

I was originally going to have Sam have a REAL brain hemorrhage, but after doing some research I realized that that particular injury either requires additional writing that I don't have time for or it ends in death, so I figured since the "hemorrhage" was psychically related, then it wouldn't exist...if that makes any sense.

Ok so you can take that last sentence however you want. You can take it as an elaboration of Dean's determination and loyalty to protect Sam...or you can take it as a hint of just how much that loyalty might be tested. I realize that Sam turning evil (if only for a little bit) is inevitable, but I don't have the heart to write that (again, anyway) so I simply left it open. It is up to Master Kripke now.

I really did love writing this story. It was one of the only stories I've written so far where I knew exactly where I wanted it to go and wrote it with little to no hesitation or difficulty.

I would like to thank everyone who read this and for your reviews. They were always the highlight of my day and I appreciate you guys for sticking with the story and taking the time to tell me what you thought. Cookies and huggles for everyone.

Alright, I shall sign off and say for the last time on this fic that reviews are simply love.