Sucking in a harsh, ragged breath, Dean reached as far as he could. Sam more threw himself at Dean's outstretched hands than jumped at them. The second Dean's fingers brushed Sam's wrist he clamped down. Kicking, trying to find some small purchase on the smooth concrete wall, Sam gripped Dean's arm with his good hand but failed to get any closer. Inching forward as far as he dared, Dean grabbed Sam's elbow with his other hand.

Moving his legs, Dean tried pulling the two of them back, but it was useless. He had nothing to hook his feet around for extra leverage. The fire was lapping Sam's feet and legs, not enough to catch his clothes on fire, but enough for him to feel the heat of it Dean was sure. Panicked, Sam struggled more to get his feet flat enough to push up towards Dean.

Smoke curling upwards made his eyes water and his throat raw.

The angle was wrong and with two-hundred pounds of panicked, flailing Sam dangling from his hands Dean realized they were both stuck. If he let go with one hand to help ease them back from the edge, he'd lose his grasp on his brother. Sam's weight jerked him forward, dropping them down a few inches and leaving Dean balanced very precariously over the edge.

"Dean," Sam rasped out. "Let go. I'm too heavy, going to pull you over too."

Pain screaming along his back and shoulders Dean cranked one arm back, regaining the few inches they'd lost. Another streak of flame shot out and at them making Sam cringe against the wall. "Hang on, Sammy."

"You'll burn, you can't...I can't hold—" Twisting his head around, Sam's eyes widened. He garbled out some odd noise and began kicking furiously.

Dean caught movement below them. The surviving werewolf had crawled to them and was swiping at Sam's feet. Smoke and the rancid odor of burning flesh coiled around them in thickening billows. Heat from the fire slithered up and over them in waves that rippled the air.

Sam may have been saying let go, but he had Dean's wrist in a vice grip.

"Tough shit, do it anyway. I got you. Kick!"

Pulling one knee nearly to his chest, Sam lashed out, slamming his foot into the werewolf's face, gasping and coughing from the effort. Dean sucked in a breath and felt his muscles turn to mush when Sam's fingers went lax in his grip without warning.

Sam's weight against his arms was suddenly eased. At the same time something heavy leaned on him, pinning him to the ground with what felt like a knee to the middle of his back. A hand and arm in a tattered denim jacket—Sam's jacket—appeared beside his on Sam's wrist.

"I got him." Forge's voice was right in his ear. "Cover him."

Dean turned his head far enough to see that Forge was kneeling partially on the floor and partially on Dean's back, preventing him from sliding any more toward the edge. Dean's gaze followed the arm extending beyond his face to the handgun Forge gripped. Letting go of Sam with one hand and pressing his palm against the side of Sam's head he turned Sam so his face was away from the gun and pushed against Dean's arm, his hand shielding Sam.

He barely nodded before feeling Forge tense and brace. "You don't get this kid," he snarled out and fired the gun. Two shots to the werewolf's head, one to its chest, dead center. The silver bullets from Forge's gun ripped into the werewolf. It fell away from Sam, dead.

"C'mon, up you two go." Forge tucked the gun into his shoulder holster then rocked back and away from Dean, grabbing Dean's belt with one hand, still holding Sam's arm with the other.

Able to anchor on Forge's grip, Dean got his knees under him, one arm under Sam's shoulder and across his back gripping his brother with everything in him. He heaved his upper half off the ground, straightening and pulling Sam, barely coherent and conscious, up with him and over the edge. Forge hoisted them farther back. Once he let go, Dean twisted around, landing on his butt hard, pulling Sam across his legs and against his chest, both arms wrapped tightly around Sam's shoulders.

"Sammy?" Dean gripped his chin and turned Sam's face up.

Eyes moving in a slow, lazy path around the area, they finally landed on Dean's face and focused. Sam gave him a small smile, exhaling slowly, "You didn't let me fall."

Cupping the back of Sam's head and holding him to his chest, Dean shook his head, "No way, Sammy. Not ever." Sam took one deep breath before he went still and lax in Dean's arms. As soon as he felt Sam take a breath, then another Dean was left a quaking mess. Hands gripped firmly under his arms and hefted both he and Sam up.

"We really gotta go, guys," Forge ground out, shoving Dean at the barn's entrance.

Dean saw at once, Forge had ripped the door there off its hinges. Now there was nothing but a ragged hole where a neat, square doorway had been. Carrying Sam between them, they made their way to the entrance. Forge shoved against Dean's back, forcing him away from Sam. More out of it than not, Sam's hand fluttered against Dean's shirt more tangling in it than holding on. When Dean turned and tried pulling his brother closer, Forge shook his head, "We're not all going to fit through, get out there and I'll hand him out to you."

Ducking outside, Dean turned at once. True to his word Forge guided Sam out the entrance. Grabbing both of Sam's arms, Dean backed away from the building as flames began eating at the roof. He was about to go back in for Forge, worried the man might decide to end it in the fire when Forge popped outside, grinning. He closed the distance between them and wrapped Dean's jacket around Sam's shoulders. "Somebody's clothes might as well survive." Looking down and turning his arm over a few times Forge frowned at the tatters his clothing had become and shrugged. "Damn bastards sure as heck wanted me to go shirtless. Guess I owe Sam a new jacket."

Barking a laugh, Dean gave in when his legs buckled and dropped to his knees, Sam going with him.

"Give me your car keys." Forge held out one hand.

"What?"

"Dean, you going to carry him the half mile or so to where we parked? That kid brother of yours isn't exactly light. I can get there and get your car back before you can wrestle him to the end of the driveway."

He was right and Dean knew it. Sam was barely awake, not holding up his own weight and only coherent enough to utter a word every few seconds most of which were nonsensical. Digging in his pocket, Dean extracted his keys and handed them over then sank to the ground with Sam. Rubbing one hand up and down Sam's spine a few times Dean bent his head so he was sure Sam would hear him, "Hang in there buddy, just a bit longer."

A minute later the sound of the Impala's engine echoed down the road and rumbled to a stop behind him. Hoisting Sam to his feet, Dean let Forge brace him against the car with one hand while Dean slid into the back seat then held out his hands to guide Sam in after him.

Squirming around, Sam turned his head to look out the window. "It's burning," he observed then went completely limp and passed out on Dean's chest. Forge sprinted around to the driver's side of the car, was inside and speeding to the road in less than a minute. Dean glanced back and watched the barn burn until the road bent and took the farm out of sight.


The world came crashing back making every one of Sam's muscles jump as if he'd been plugged into a socket. A warm, strong hand pressed firm against his shoulder and a low, gravelly-deep voice washed over him, soothing, steady and instantly calming.

"Hey, easy, kiddo. It's okay, all over now."

Taking Dean's offered hand to pull up against, Sam glanced around the room. "Where are we?"

"Haven." Dean twisted away for a few seconds, grabbed a tall container with a straw and offered it to Sam, holding it for Sam to sip from the straw. "You know the routine."

Sam grinned, "Yeah. Drink, eat or Carter puts a tube down my throat."

"Dude, I think he'd still do it too."

"Where is everyone?" Sam squinted into the darkened room, a very vague memory of them being met by Bobby and Carter poking at his brain then down at his chest. His wounds were neatly bandaged, a sling held his arm tightly to his side.

"Asleep I'd imagine, it's about three A.M.."

"You've been sitting here all this time."

Dean snorted and waved one hand in the air, "Hell no, I just got up to pee and your moaning and groaning was keeping me awake."

Nodding, Sam held out the container, "Can I have more water?" He shifted his legs around, moving Valkyrie off his knees. She raised her head, gave them both a dirty look and resettled in the spot between Sam's feet.

"Man, I think you just got told off."

Sam chuckled softly then winced. He had sutures in his shoulder and side, any quick movement or sharp inhale made them pull and hurt. He let his head drop back onto the pillow. "They dead?"

"Finally. I thought that one was never going to go down. And dude, seriously, why'd you shoot the werewolf in front of me? The damn thing was half dead already, I could have dealt with it just fine."

Shrugging, Sam smiled, "Seemed like a good idea at the time. How else was I going to get out of there? I wonder how many families those two took out."

"I don't think we're ever going to really know." Dean perched on the bed, the container full again. "Gotta pee, kiddo?"

Sam slurped down the water and handed the empty container back to Dean, watching as he stepped away only long enough to set it down. "Yeah." He pushed up, wincing and sucking in a breath from more tugs to his injured side and arm. Smiling weakly Sam pretended not to notice the odd look Dean gave him when there was no protest at Dean's arm around his shoulders helping to heft him up. Dean's arm slid around his middle, steadying him on his trek across the room to the bathroom. He was absolutely not in the least surprised when he found Dean waiting for him, leaning casually against the wall beside the bathroom. A hand gripped his elbow on the return trip to the bed.

"We're out of commission until those stitches come out." Dean plumped one of the pillows then put his arm around Sam's shoulders again, helping to ease him back down.

Sam nodded, "Okay."

Dean's eyebrows shot up. "You're not going to argue?"

"Are you going to be hanging around keeping me company?"

Cracking a grin, Dean nodded, "You bet I am."

"Well, then I won't argue." He sighed. "I hurt…everywhere."

"Here." Shaking two pills from a bottle, Dean handed them and the container of water over, "Carter said you could have them as long as you were coherent."

"Thanks." Downing the pills, Sam handed the container over again.

Sam reached out and gripped Dean's arm for a minute, he relaxed, his shoulders broadened and his chin raised. Dean was a warrior, but like any warrior he needed a reason to battle. What he fought for, Sam saw now, was Sam. Dean needed Sam to talk because that's what Sam needed. For Dean to talk was what Sam needed. What Dean needed was to know their bond was strong and sure. To know there was safety and security for Sam, to know Sam was there. Dean had his reason to fight, Sam had his way to protect and help Dean. Kinda simple really.

"There's another bed." He pointed to the bed behind Dean. "You don't have to sit in this chair all night."

Dean patted his shoulder, "Wasn't planning on it, Sammy."

When Sam next woke up there was sunlight streaming in. Dean was twisted at an odd angle in the chair, head tipped to one side, drooling. The pain pills had helped him sleep soundly and he felt much better than he had before. Valkyrie and the puppy batted at one another for a few seconds before the pup pounced on her, snatching her tail and yanking on it. When she yelped, Dean stirred and straightened, scratching at his chest with one hand, blurry eyes scanning the room.

"Hey, hey." Forge ducked into the room and grabbed the puppy up. "Sorry. I've been relegated to dog sitting."

"Doing a fine job there." Dean stretched and twisted his back, cracking and popping before rolling his shoulders.

"I was thinking of calling him Moose, he's going to be about as big as one." Forge swiped one hand over the puppy's ears.

"It's a great name." Sam eased around and swung his legs off the bed. "Shower." He waved Dean back into the chair. "I got it covered."

The others were waiting for him in the small kitchen as well as wonderful smells of coffee, eggs and sausage.

"We saved you some." Bobby pushed a plate across the table.

Settling in the chair beside Dean, Sam smiled. "Thanks."

"Don't suppose you guys can drop me at my building?" Forge held bits of sausage out for Valkyrie and the puppy. "I'll have to figure some tale to spin for them at the station. Then I'm going to have to start looking for another place to live. No dogs allowed in my building and this little guy needs a yard."

"Plenty of room here." Carter said between bites. "Besides I'd miss the pup."

Sam froze, eyes shifting from Dean to Carter to Bobby then back to Dean again. Bobby seemed oblivious. Dean pulled a quick face and shrugged. Forge straightened and stared for a minute at Carter. "I…uh…is that…?"

"Settled then, you can just move here. Be sure you don't bring your cop buddies around." Bobby stood up, took his plate to the sink, poured some coffee into a to go mug that he waved at them. "I'm taking off. You boys take care. Leave the stitches in, Sam."

"Yes sir." Sam mumbled and ducked his head.

Bobby nodded, "Call me."

After dropping Forge and Carter at Forge's building later that day, Dean grabbed the GPS and tossed it in Sam's lap. "Where do you want to head to for some R and R?"

Sam sat for a minute studying the device in his lap, but not turning it on. He was the one who needed to take the next steps for them to continue recovering. He remembered how they'd both been so much better after that first trip to the grocery store parking lot after Sam's kidnap. It'd helped Dean just as much as Sam, them going there and him knowing Sam was safe with him when they returned to the store parking lot.

"You okay, Sam?"

Looking up, meeting Dean's worried eyes, Sam nodded, "Can we go to Bobby's for a few days?"

"You sure?"

"No," Sam laughed softly, "But it's a start."

Dean nodded, cranked over the engine and guided the car onto the road.

Cutting through the kitchen to the back steps, Dean did a quick scan of the room. Neither Sam nor Bobby were to be found. Seeing the delighted look on Bobby's face when they drove up, asking if they could spend a few days there so Sam could heal almost made up for the lost, unsure expression Sam wore the first two days. Bobby didn't push the issue, nor did he constantly give Dean his don't smother look whenever Dean sat between Sam and the fireplace. It'd been four days and this was the first time in those days Dean didn't know exactly where Sam was since Dean hadn't tripped over him in a whole hour. Their stay took Dean back a year to the time Sam wouldn't get out of reach, literally. The fact Sam asked to come here was a huge step in the right direction, for them both Dean realized now.

Hearing small noises in the yard behind the house, Dean trucked down the stairs and stopped short.

He was catapulted back half a year…breath catching in his throat, his chest tightened and his eyes immediately watered.

Burn him, get you….will he kill himself for you?... torch himself up, nice and bright so you can watch, hear his screams, smell his burning flesh, see the terror in his eyes. And he'll do it all for you, for his big brother…I'll burn him, get you…you'll watch him die…memory of the words, the notes, the spirits hammered his skull.

"Sam." His voice squeezed out of his raw throat.

Sam sat in front of a pile of wood built into a small pyre. His gaze flicked up then away, eyes settling on the pile of wood. One thin branch was twirled between his fingers, a lighter rested on the ground near his knee.

Sam stepped into the middle of the pyre. Carefully he sat, holding the torch in his hand, keeping it up and away from the wood. Not even trying to stop the choking breath, his shoulders from hitching and jerking, the tears, Sam shut his eyes and let the torch fall to the wood surrounding him.

"Sammy?"

"I can't…" Sam drew a deep breath, squeezed his eyes shut for a few beats then opened them, head tilted to Dean. He held out the branch and lighter. "I can't do this. I thought I could, learn to get over it. But I can't. Not by myself."

Dean took a few of his own deep breaths, continued down the steps to sit on the ground, cross legged, next to Sam, close enough his shoulders pressed against his brother's. Sam leaned against him as he handed over the twig and lighter. "You sure about this?" Valkyrie wiggled between them, resting her chin on Dean's knee and her body against Sam's.

Sam swallowed and nodded.

Lighting the twig and blowing softly on it until a small flame flickered and grew, Dean leaned over far enough to light the paper Sam had neatly placed under the small pyre. Between the paper used and the dryness of the wood, the entire thing whoosed into flames in less than a minute. Flinching, Sam's hands balled into fists but when Dean dropped one hand on his shoulder-blade Sam's breathing evened out and he relaxed, shoulder and arm still pressed firmly against Dean's.

Maybe not today with this fire, and maybe not tomorrow with another, Dean was willing to admit maybe Sam would never be completely over his fear of fire, but together they'd always get each other through whatever fires ignited in their path.

Two souls bonded through eternity.

Without one there truly would not be the other.

END