"We got work to do"

Dean slammed the trunk of the Impala shut and grinned at his baby brother, perfect white teeth putting a front on the tumultuous emotions roiling inside him.

The Winchesters pulled up outside a motel nearby and Dean killed the engine, "You go get us a room, I'll get our stuff." Sam nodded and got out of the car, flipping open his wallet and sorting through the slivers of plastic until he found a credit card that he hadn't maxed out in the last 6 months. Sam emerged 5 minutes later and tossed the room key to Dean who caught them deftly in his right hand. Dean smiled and in turn tossed a duffel pack across the hood of the car, where it struck his brother square in the gut. Sam exhaled sharply and glared at Dean but all he did was hoist his own duffel over his shoulder and head for the room number indicated on the key fob.

Once inside Dean exercised his right as the eldest and staked claim to the bed closest to the window. Sam grumbled good naturedly before tossing his bag to the floor at the foot of the other bed. "I'm beat Dean, I'm gonna get a couple hours sleep. You should do the same, then we can go find Bobby and Ellen and plan the next move."

Dean nodded, "I'm gonna take a shower first," he gingerly fingered the gash on his forehead and then placed a hand on his back, "got a few aches and pains I'd like to introduce to a nice hot shower. Seeing as this place doesn't exactly have a masseuse on call."

Sam nodded as he listened but he was exhausted and Dean's words just washed over him. Coming back from the dead and foiling the plans of a demonic army, all in one day, had really taken it out of him. He stripped off his bloody clothes and dumped them on the floor beside his bed, hauled back the covers, crawled in, and was asleep almost before his head hit the pillow.

Dean meanwhile grabbed a first aid kit from his bag and headed for the bathroom. Closing the door behind him he sagged against it, all the fight gone, tiredness overcoming him. After a few seconds he pushed away from the door and covered the few steps to the shower on the other side of the room. For a 40 dollar a night fleapit, the bathroom was astonishingly clean, and the towels looked like they actually still had most of their threads intact. He pulled back the shower curtain and reached in to turn on the water. He held his hand under the spray until it warmed up and then he turned away to get undressed, letting the curtain fall back behind him.

Dropping the first aid kit on the counter beside the wash basin, and cautious of his aches and pains, particularly the screaming bruise on his back that had come courtesy of old yellow eyes hurling him into a tombstone, he removed his shirt and the t-shirt underneath. His jeans and shorts followed to be kicked across the room to join the other garments.

Dean stepped into the shower cubicle and paused for a second before he stepped under the water. He dipped his head into the stream, looking down at the water pooling at his feet. As it ran through his hair and dripped from his nose and chin he stared down at the patterns made by the blood falling from his forehead.

Dean wasn't sure when he started crying, he didn't even realise he was until the silent sobs came so hard that he couldn't breath. The tiredness, the responsibility to his brother and the weight of the decision he had made all of a sudden came crashing down on his shoulders and the tears flowed anew, mingling with the water from the shower and the blood running down his face. Dean stepped back to brace himself against the wall just in time as his knees buckled beneath him. He slid down the cold tiles to the floor and sat there, knees pulled up to his chest, arms wrapped round them and his head just resting there. He let everything go then, every emotion he was feeling he let pour out of him to be washed away.

20 minutes later the tears were gone and Dean finally trusted his legs enough to stand up. The water was starting to get colder so he quickly lathered soap over his body and hair, wincing as the soap stung the cut on his forehead. Just as the temperature turned icy Dean shut off the flow and stepped out of the shower. Grabbing one towel he wrapped it around his waist, and then grabbed another to dry his face and hair. He opened up the first aid kit and rummaged till he found a bottle of antiseptic spray, covered his eyes to protect them and then sprayed it on the gash on his head. It was clean, and had stopped bleeding, but it still stung and made Dean inhale sharply through his teeth. Tossing the towel he had used on his face in the sink, Dean opened the bathroom door and walked back out into the room. Towel clutched in one hand at his waist he walked across the room with a new purpose, cleansed, the healing process underway. He smiled at the sleeping form of his baby brother, "Sleep well Sammy, you're safe now".