THREE BAGS FULL

Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the plot. Sam and Dean belong to Kripke.

A/N: Hello, just another one shot that came to me. I hope you like it.

For Joyce. May you find happiness once again.

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Dean pulled the Impala into the small motel's parking lot and then sat there for a moment letting the engine idle. The low, throbbing purr of the engine helping settle him slightly as he twisted his hands on the steering wheel. Sitting there, just staring out at the motel entrance but not really seeing it, he bit his lip and tried to pull his thoughts together.

In a way this seemed so familiar and yet…it was completely new. He'd been here once before-- over twenty years ago--but then he had been a shell-shocked little boy who only knew that his mommy was gone and that if he wasn't careful, something could happen to his daddy or little brother as well.

Dean closed his eyes and took a deep breath trying to push those thoughts away and gather his frazzled nerves. Right now, he didn't have time for this. With that last thought, he turned his head to look at the passenger seat and felt his heart break at the sight that greeted him there.

Sam. Closed down and as shell-shocked as his big brother, he just sat there staring out the front windshield lost in his own thoughts.

It hadn't even been twelve hours since Dean had watched his little brother inspect a gun as he stood in front of the Impala's open trunk. His back to the remains of the fire that had consumed his apartment building and his love, Sam had had tears in his eyes and determination on his face as he had uttered those five haunting words that encompassed their whole lives. We've got work to do. Since then, Sam had not said one word.

Dean sighed again and turned back to the front not sure what to say and just grimaced slightly as he shut off the engine. "I'm gonna go get us a room." Not receiving any answer and yet not expecting one, Dean climbed out of the sleek, black car without hesitation and headed towards the front office. When he returned with the key, Sam was still sitting in the same spot and Dean wasn't even sure if he knew that Dean had gotten out. He pulled the car around to the appropriate parking spot and then got out to get their stuff.

As he opened the trunk he started to reach in and then hesitated.

Three duffels.

He just stood there looking at them for a moment, still marveling at the sight. It had been so long that there had only been two duffels and now for there to three? Even though he knew that his brother was hurting, he couldn't help the giddy feel of happiness that sight brought to him. Sam was finally home. As the reason he was hit home, he suddenly felt guilty for being happy about it. Once again, someone important to Sam had been taken from him and now all that remained of that life--that person--was just this one duffel.

Dean leaned in and slowly pulled out the three duffels with a grimace and headed towards the room. As the light flipped on, he couldn't help but pull back slightly at the sight of the 70s looking décor with mismatched furniture and rumpled looking beds and wondered hesitantly what the bathroom looked like. Please let it be better than I think it will be.

He plunked the bags down on his bed and scouted out the rest of the room. Noting what else he might need to bring in from the car or take care of before he went out to get Sam, he was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't as bad as it first appeared. After deciding it was acceptable, he then turned back to the front door and sighed wearily.

Now for Sam.

When he went back out to the car again, Sam was still in the same position and Dean approached cautiously not sure what Sam might do. He rapped on the window softly hoping to catch his brother's attention but that didn't seem to be working so he finally opened the door letting the hinges creak as it swung open.

"Sam?" Dean said quietly and waited for his brother to finally realize he was being spoken to. As if with great effort, Sam finally managed to look at his brother and a chill went down Dean's spine at the total lack of emotion in those usually very expressive eyes. "Come on, I got us a room," Dean said gently and stepped back to give Sam room to get out.

Sam just blinked at him a few times before things started to click and he started to move to get out. His movements--jerky and slow—showed Dean how out of it Sam was. And Dean knew from experience that it probably felt like his entire body was numb and that it was taking everything he had just to do this one thing. So for now, he would be patient.

As Sam stood up, he swayed slightly and Dean reached out a steadying hand. "Easy, Sammy," Dean said gently pushing and pulling to help maneuver his brother's unresponsive form away from the car and then towards the room making sure to keep a hand on his shoulder at all times.

As Sam shuffled jerkily into the room and looked around, Dean kept his eyes on his brother. "Not as bad as it looks," Dean said finally looking around once again. "I even think the shower's got some good pressure this time if you wanted to take a shower."

When Sam just stood there blinking at him, Dean realized that that wasn't what Sam really needed right now. But maybe later it would probably be a good idea to help get the smoke smell out of his hair and off his skin. "Come on. Let's get you settled."

Dean guided his brothers over to the farthest bed and then helped him take his jacket off before pushing him down to sit on the bed. As Dean looked down at his brother's mop of dark hair, he couldn't help but feel his heart break a little more at how devastated Sam looked.

Trying to think of something to do, Dean quickly took off his own coat and went into the bathroom to get a washcloth and started to wet it under the faucet. As he glanced up, he had to do a double take as he caught a glimpse of his own face. God, is that me? Soot covered and haggard, his own eyes spoke volumes of his devastation and worry for his brother. But that wasn't important. Right now, he had to take care of his brother.

Dropping his eyes back to the sink and the task at hand, he quickly rang out the cloth and headed back into the room. He slowly sat down on the bed beside Sam, knee touching knee for a moment, before he turned slightly towards his brother. Fiddling with the cloth slightly before finally clearing his throat, Dean tried to figure out what to do next. "Here, let's get you cleaned up."

As Dean took each of Sam's hands in his own and wiped them clean he couldn't help but think of when he used to do this same thing when Sam was a kid and he would get food everywhere. He could still remember the first time he had made macaroni and cheese for Sammy and thought that Sam was big enough to eat it by himself. After giving Sam his own bowl and spoon, he had quickly fixed himself a bowl of the gooey concoction, his all-time favorite, and then sat down eat. When a cheesy noodle smacked the side of his face, he jumped and turned startled eyes to his little brother feeling his jaw drop slightly at the sight. There sat Sam, mac 'n' cheese in every possible area, grinning like a fool as he threw another noodle at his brother and laughing.

Dean snapped back to the present as he finished cleaning Sam's other hand and then gently turned Sam's face towards his own. Pain filled eyes met his and Dean had to stop for a moment as the sheer volume of devastation held there smacked into him full force almost taking his breath away. Tears started to well in those puppy dog eyes and Dean could only watch as Sam fought to keep them from falling.

Swallowing the thick lump in his own throat, Dean finally managed to press his lips together and gently reached a hand up to wipe at the smudge of soot on Sam's cheek. "You're a real mess you know that?" Dean spoke gently as he continued to wipe away the ashes and consequent tears, hoping to give Sam some form of comfort through the gentle touch. "I swear. I can't take you anywhere."

When he finished, he dropped the cloth to his lap and just sat there looking at Sam giving him permission--if he needed--to just let it all out. Whatever you need little brother. But Sam just sat there looking at him until he finally turned teary eyes away letting a few tears drop silently onto his jeans. Dean just swallowed hard against the lump in his throat again and put a hand on Sam's shoulder letting him know that he was there.

They sat that way for God knows how long neither talking but just taking comfort in the subtle knowledge that the other was there. That they would always be there for each other no matter what. Finally, deciding that it had been long enough and that Sam should really get some sleep, Dean gave his brother's shoulder a final squeeze before letting his hand slip down Sam's back. "Do you want to get changed before you go to sleep? I brought your bag in."

Sam just looked up at the three bags sitting on Dean's bed, his Adam's apple bobbing frantically, and just shook his head slightly before letting his eyes fall again to the carpet.

"Okay. Come on." Dean helped to pull back the covers and then gently pushed his brother down onto the bed. He quickly slipped Sam's shoes off and then pulled the covers up to his brother's chin before smoothing them back down again. "There." As he sat down on the edge of the bed making sure to keep his hip in contact with his brother's side, he put a hand on Sam's head and then watched as his brother started to drift off to sleep.

Sam blinked slowly a couple of times before finally closing his eyes and gave a deep weary sigh. "Go to sleep, Sam. I'll be here when you wake up." As Sam's breathing started to even out, Dean stayed by his side hoping that maybe--just maybe--that simple touch would help Sam sleep better. Finally, sure that Sam was asleep; Dean pulled his hand away and brushed his brother's bangs out of his eyes. He moved slowly until he was sitting with his back up against the head board, his hip close to Sam's head and settled in for the long haul knowing that right now Sam needed him close more than anything and Dean wasn't about to leave him alone until he was ready.

Sam shifted slightly, curling onto his side facing towards Dean with his fingertips just brushing Dean's leg, and Dean couldn't help but smile. Even though they had been apart for almost four years, Sam still knew exactly where Dean was. He sighed heavily and laid his head back against the head board and let his eyes close. At least he would be here if Sam needed him.

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It almost seemed like no time at all, and Dean woke trying to figure out where he was and why he had left the lamp on until...

A soft whimper brought everything slamming back home and he looked down to see Sam starting to toss and turn as sweat dripped from his face as another small whimper fell from his lips.

Dean swore slightly, and tried to shake Sam's shoulder. "Sam, wake up."

Sam whimpered again and thrashed against the pillow as his nightmare started to grow.

"Sam."

"No. Please," Sam pleaded with the images in his head as he continued to dream.

"Sam! Wake up!"

"NoooOOOOO!" Sam shot up in bed breathing hard and trembling as he looked around the room with confused eyes. "Jess?" he said panting heavily. "Jess!?"

"Sam, it's okay," Dean said trying to soothe his brother as he continued to hyperventilate and

Sam whipped around to look at him with fear filled eyes.

"It's okay, Sam, it was just a nightmare."

Sam's breathing started to calm and the confusion in his eyes started to lessen as memories came back to him. As he realized where he was and the reason why he was here came back, his face crumpled and he hung his head in devastation. A moment later he began to sob.

The wounded cries that came from Sam made Dean ache as he watched his brother let out his grief. He reached out a tentative hand to rub Sam's back feeling Sam's body shake with the power of his grief and felt completely inadequate.

As Sam continued to cry, Dean scooted forward pulling Sam into his arms. "Come on. Let it out," Dean whispered as he gathered Sam to him wrapping his arms around Sam's shaking form. "That's it."

Sam continued to sob shrinking into Dean's grip as he let all of his hurt and sorrow flow out of him. He fisted his brother's shirt in his hand feeling the soft cotton between his fingers and Dean's strong arms encircling him and he cried even harder.

"It's okay, Sam. It's gonna be…okay," Dean soothed as he started to rock slowly continuing his soft mantra.

Sam continued to cry, his head tucked into his brother's strong neck until his strangled sobs finally turned into softly hitching breaths and still Dean continued to rock.

"That's it, Sam. It's okay."

Sam blinked lead-like eyelids against scratchy eyes, a few hiccupping sobs the only thing left of his grief as he continued to stare off into the distance too tired to do anything else but that.

The soothing motion and Dean's firm embrace helped to soothe his frazzled nerves and Sam could start to feel his body slip as he began to relax.

Dean felt Sam start to sag against him as he continued his soothing litany and only stopped when his brother's grip on his shirt started to lessen. Finally, after a moment more he started to pull away and gently moved his brother back towards the bed.

Finally getting Sam settled he could see sleepy eyes blink several times more as they tried to stay open but finally fell closed out of sheer exhaustion.

"It's okay, Sam. I'm here," Dean said softly settling down on the bed beside him. Dean continued to sit there, staying close, as he continued to rub Sam's arm until he was sure he was asleep again. "Don't worry, little brother, I've got you. We'll make it through this. I promise."

As Dean continued to rub Sam's arm, he leaned back against the headboard and sighed. God he hoped they could make it through this. As he looked around the room wearily, his eyes fell on the other bed and the three duffle bags that still sat there untouched. Once again, three bags full.

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A/N: I hope you liked it. Please send me a review and let me know what you think. Good, bad, or the ugly. I don't care. Until next time.