Disclaimer: refer to chapter one

NOTE TO READERS: Sorry! I apologize that I missed my posting date of either this past Friday or Saturday but it couldn't be helped. Thanks as always for all of the reviews and PM's you sent for chapter 3. This is the last chapter of the story. It's around 7 pages long. Happy Reading, I hope.

Chapter Four

Walking Alone

By Dawn Nyberg

Early Evening, 6:30 PM, Observation Unit

Bobby glanced at his watch for what felt like the hundredth time. Sam had finally succumbed to a restless sleep. The young hunter had waited for his brother's return, but Dean had never come back or called. Bobby had tried to smooth things over by assuring Sam that his older brother would return once he cooled off and had his head on straight. The sun outside had dropped low behind the trees and night was coming. Bobby sighed when he looked at the time. He'd just about had enough as he glanced at Sam sleeping. They had moved the young man to the Observation unit earlier in the day. Bobby was grateful that the only other bed in the room was currently unoccupied which leant them some level of privacy. Bobby stood up and left the room quietly. He had a call to make.

Meanwhile, the Impala

Dean sat in the car looking over the lake. He had driven straight out of the city and had turned into one of the nature reserves outside the city limits. He had stood outside the car for a while and mulled over his thoughts … thoughts consumed with his little brother, the Crossroad deal, his ticking clock that was clearly running out and the idea that he was leaving Sam behind to deal with the loss. The shadows were lengthening across the water and Dean glanced at his watch and sighed. He knew he had to face the music back at the hospital. He needed to mend things with Sammy and make things right or as right as they could be considering the looming dark cloud of the deal and Sam nearly dying from alcohol poisoning.

His cell phone ran in the passenger seat and he sat afraid to answer it, afraid it was Sam, afraid it was Bobby. It was the beep indicating a text message that got his attention. He picked it up and saw that it was Bobby. He grinned slightly. The older man although tech savvy to a degree had never mastered nor desired to use text messaging. Bobby had groused that text messaging was for lazy asses who didn't care to talk. He had also complained that he could say what he wanted to ten times over in the time it would take to text the info. Dean flipped the phone open to read the message and what he saw made his gut clench and the car was rumbling to life and kicking up pebbles on the asphalt as he tore out of the abandoned parking lot.

Back at the Hospital, outside hallway near the Observation Unit

Bobby felt a little guilty over his brief text message to Dean but he knew it would get the boy here. He'd apologize later for sending the message: 911.

Fifteen Minutes Later, Hospital Lobby

Dean ran into the lobby. His mind had been playing nightmare scenarios ever since he had received the text. He had tried to call Bobby once frantic to know what was wrong with his brother. The lack of pick-up had only served to further his panic. He took the stairs rather than wait for the elevator. He skirted the stairs two at a time and ran for the ICU. He slowed his pace once in the unit but his eyes were set on Sam's room and he turned into the room and stopped dead … Sam's bed was empty and Dean felt hollow.

"Dean?" a young nurse that had tended to Sam during his first night stood behind Dean. He turned and looked at her trying to swallow the knot in his throat.

"Where's my brother?" his voice broke and he didn't give a damn. Her face registered the emotion on his face.

"Oh, Dean, no," she assured quickly. "He's fine."

"Then where is he?" Dean asked his voice clearly desperate.

"He was moved to the Observation Unit earlier, room 106," she leaned and looked at the recent transfer list for the day. "It's on the third floor … just follow the signs for the unit." Dean nodded and was gone quickly. Something must have happened in the new unit and he knew he had to get to his brother.

Dean walked into the unit his eyes scanning the numbers on the outside of each room but when he saw Bobby leaning against a wall outside a room his pace quickened to an almost run. "Bobby?" Dean's voice was urgent as he approached the older hunter. "What happened?"

"Relax, he's fine," Bobby answered quickly.

"Your text said '911'," Dean hissed. "What the hell happened to my brother?"

"He's asleep right now Dean but he's okay." Bobby felt a little measure of guilt for the text message but it had to be done. "Look you need to talk to your brother, Dean. You were gone long enough."

"Dammit Bobby," Dean barked. "You scared the shit out of me. I thought …" his voice drifted off as the nightmare scenarios he had cooked up assaulted his mind once again.

"I'm sorry; I just thought if anything would get you here that would. I'm sorry."

Dean could see the sincerity in Bobby's eyes. He nodded and glanced at the room that held his brother.

"How is he? Did the doc see him again or anything?"

"Yeah, a couple hours ago on his final rounds. He thinks he'll discharge Sam tomorrow sometime."

"Really?" Dean turned hopeful eyes to the man he considered his second father. Bobby had been there for him and Sam on and off for years since they were little and after John died Bobby had become the closest thing they'd ever have to a father.

"Yeah, but you boys need to talk now Dean, otherwise you might never and that boy is hurting. He needs you Dean."

Dean swallowed the lump in his throat and nodded. "Is he alone in there?"

"Yeah, the other bed is still empty. Talk to him son." Bobby patted Dean's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze and left Dean to mend his brother.

Ten Minutes Later

Dean sat watching his brother sleep. He sighed and leaned forward. He placed a hand on his brother's forearm and patted gently. "Sammy?" His voice was soft. "Rise and shine Sammy," he encouraged. Sam stirred under his brother's touch and voice prompts.

"Dean?" it was sleepy and unsure. Sam opened his eyes and blinked his older brother into focus. "You came back."

"Yeah, figured a TJ run was out of the question," Dean tried to lighten the mood. Sam forced a small lopsided smile. Dean cleared his throat. "Sorry, Sammy," he started.

"Why are you apologizing," Sam's voice was quiet. "You didn't do anything wrong."

"Nah, Sam, no free passes for me kiddo … I was a dumb ass for walking out of here, for spouting off at you and a …" he couldn't finish the statement that was on the tip of his tongue. Sam looked at him.

"Dumb ass for making that crap deal," he offered to insert for his big brother. Dean shook his head sadly.

"Nah, Sammy, I mean I'm sorry for what the deals done to you man, I am, but I ain't sorry for making it. You're here and alive. That's all that matters to me. When you died in Cold Oak … I just couldn't … I didn't know how … I'm sorry I hurt you, okay?"

"Dean, I know why you did it, alright, I do. Hell, I'd do whatever I had to for you, too, but I wish you hadn't sold your soul … dammit, I'm not worth it, okay?" Sam looked away but Dean had seen his brother's tears brimming in those dark eyes.

"Not true little brother," Dean urged. "It's worth it to me." Sam looked at his brother and offered a small grin.

"You're biased," Sam offered. Dean chuckled lightly.

"Yeah, but it's the truth." Dean looked at his brother for a long moment and took a deep breath. "Sam?"

"Yeah?" his voice was unsure. He could detect the fear and resolve in his older siblings voice and partially feared whatever question Dean was about to throw his way.

"The alcohol man … you almost died … what were you thinking?" His tone wasn't accusing just worried, scared. "Were you … were you trying to …" he found the sentence almost impossible to get out of his mouth and was thankful he didn't have to when Sam finished it for him.

"I wasn't trying to kill myself if that's what you're trying to ask," Sam offered quietly as he stared at his hands. Dean blew out a shaky breath.

"Then what were you doing Sammy?"

"It's just …" Sam's voice broke off.

"Just what?" Dean pushed gently.

"The more I drank the more I could …"

"Could what?"

"Forget, okay?" Sam's shot his brother a look. The expression made Dean ache. "Forget about everything. I was numb, alright. It made me forget the deal and the fact that pretty soon you're not gonna be around okay."

"I'm sorry I did this to you Sammy. Look I know this is my fault…" Sam cut him off.

"No, it isn't Dean. I did this all on my own but at least for a little while, I didn't…"

"Didn't what?"

"Hurt," Sam offered solemnly. "Dean," his voice was hushed, but it was the underlying fear in Sam's voice that pushed the red alert big brother button in Dean. The older sibling leaned forward.

"Sam? You okay?" Dean reached up and grasped his brother's forearm gently. "What is it?"

Sam turned anguished eyes toward his big brother. "I'm afraid," his voice was a mere whisper.

"Afraid? Sammy you're gonna be okay, alright, you will," he encouraged. "You can stay with Bobby; he'll watch your back. It's gonna be okay. You'll be okay."

"No," Sam choked. "Not afraid of hunting …"

"Then what?" Dean felt his protectiveness rising up full force. Had Sam been holding out on him. Was there something out there threatening his little brother? "Sammy what?" he urged with a little more forcefulness.

"Afraid of losing you, dammit," Sam barked under his breath. "I'm afraid of not having my big brother anymore, okay?" There it was in all of its painful, agonizing truth for Dean to hear and understand. No matter how old Sam became he was and always would be his little brother and in Sam's eyes he was larger than life, but that shouldn't have been news to him … Sam had been looking up to him for most of his life and now his kid brother was faced with being alone in the truest sense of the word.

"Sammy," Dean's voice choked and he cleared it. "We're going to always be brothers even when I'm gone and I'll always be your big brother," he assured. "I won't be here with you but I'll be with you in other ways, right?"

"Dean I got enough memories to last me a lifetime but I want the real thing not some memory." Sam dropped his eyes from his brother's gaze a single tear cascaded down his cheek. "I'm gonna save you," he looked back up and solid resolve in his voice. "You're not going to hell, I'll find a way."

"Sam," Dean's voice held hesitation and a warning tone. "You know the terms we jack around with this thing and you die. That ain't happening kiddo. I'll stop you if I have to."

"I'll be careful, we'll be careful. There's a way to save you I know it and I'm going to find out what it is. You're not going to hell Dean … you're not dying for me."

Dean could see his brother getting worked up. "Okay, calm down, alright? We'll figure it out." He assured. "So," he shifted the conversation quickly. "Are you really feeling okay?"

"Yeah but these small sutures itch a little," he offered his brother a smile as he gently scratched the area of his gown covering his stomach.

"Yeah, well don't go poking around okay? It's from the dialysis thing they did to clean the alcohol out of your system," Dean explained.

"Yeah, the doctor filled me in," Sam dropped his hand from lightly scratching. "I'm sorry for scaring you," he offered quietly. "I just wish…"

"I know Sammy me too, okay man," Dean smiled genuinely at his younger brother but frowned a little when Sam became quiet and turned his face away. "Hey, what is it? Talk to me," Dean urged.

"Nothing," the word was wet and choked and Dean swallowed the full lump in his throat. Sam was crying. He reached his hand out tentatively and grasped Sam's forearm gently.

"Come on Sammy, you're always a chatty Cathy when it comes to feelings, so tell me, okay? I'm asking and that doesn't happen often … I mean it must be a blue moon or something right, so …"

"I just …" Sam's voice wobbled and choked. Dean squeezed the forearm beneath his hand.

"Just what?" his voice was gentle.

"I just don't want to lose you not like we lost Mom and Dad. I can't lose you, too. I can't …" Sam's voice dissolved into quiet tears. "Dammit," he hissed quietly as he roughly rubbed the tears away trying not to look at Dean.

"It's okay Sammy, I got ya," he said gently and leaned forward and pulled his brother to him and hugged him. It was something they did often but t his was one of those moments that called for it. Sam was hurting and Dean couldn't ignore that, so he gave Sam what he needed the most in that moment, him … he gave Sam his big brother. Sam held tightly to him and allowed the tears to come. "I got ya kiddo," Dean reiterated.

"Promise me we'll find a way out of the deal Dean," Sam whispered into Dean's shoulder. Dean sighed.

"I'll promise you we won't stop looking until the last second, okay?" It wasn't what Sam had asked but it was good enough and he'd have to take it. He nodded against his big brother's shoulder. Dean squeezed tighter to his little brother and held him close.

Bobby stood out in the hallway having come back to make sure the boys had at least attempted to talk, he felt the sting in his eyes and an emotional tightness in his chest. He'd help them search for a way out … he wouldn't stop until the last second either. He walked away quietly to allow the boys more time.

Two Hours Later, Sam's Room

Bobby walked into the dim room and smiled at the sight. Sam was asleep and Dean had fallen asleep in his chair with his feet propped up against Sam while one of Sam's hands had latched onto his brother's jean clad leg in his sleep. He knew the boys were both emotionally and physically drained from the last couple days. He left quietly with a soft smile on his face that quickly turned to one of determination, he was determined to find a way to not just save Dean but both boys because in losing one, both would be lost and that wasn't an option.

The End

I hope the ending was a satisfying one. Again, I apologize for missing my posting date, but real life has just been too hectic verging on insane busy, so for better or worse I got the chapter done as quickly as possible.

I may be on a posting hiatus for a while, but rest assured that I have a lot of fic ideas that have been percolating for a while, so it's not that I don't have stories in my head ready to write for all of you, but I have to find the time to write them and post, too!

Thanks again for reading, I hope you enjoyed the story!