Summary. . . . . . . "I'm fine Dean!" It was their motto after all, hide the hurts, suck up the pains, tell a few white lies; but this time will those white lies come back to haunt them. As they take on a hunt, with multiple spirits, will Sam's failing health become an issue, as he hides the truth from his brother?

Disclaimer. . . . . . . Still not mine, but I have my fingers and toes crossed. Until then I'll just continue to play with Kripkies toys.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . . . . Thanks as always for taking time to read, I'm sorry you had to wait for an update. I hope you enjoy chapter 13, Peanut x

Dean grunted in exertion as he helped Sam stumble back into the motel room they had rented and onto the bed he had claimed. Easing his brother down onto his side, he palmed out two of the pills the doctors had prescribed and handed them over, following them quickly with a bottle of water he had left on the night stand in preparation, watching as Sam barely had the strength to swallow the pills before succumbing to the exhaustion the small trip from the hospital had produced, his eyes drooping heavily even as he battled to keep them open. Smoothing a hand through his unruly locks, Dean whispered that everything was okay, that he could sleep now, that he would stand watch, the words and the comforting motion combining and working to ease the youngest Winchesters worries allowing him to drop into the rest he still so desperately needed.

"You sure this was such a great idea?" He asked over his shoulder once Sam was asleep.

"No, but we didn't have much choice in the matter did we? Once they started asking more about insurance, you know we had to get him outta there."

"But he's still so weak?" Dean worried out loud.

"Yeah but the doc said he was on the mend, that the bleed had stopped and was closing nicely. He said that Sam would have difficulty for a while when it came to getting tired easily, headaches and dizzyness, you have to give your Sam time, he'll bounce back."

"I'm so gonna kick his ass for this when he's stronger." Dean replied, his mind drifting back to his when he had caught sight of Sam at the grave site, in pain, on his knees with the spirit about to strike, and his first glimpse of Sam as he was led into his brothers room after his surgery, and the god awful catheter that protruded from his brain.

"No your not." Joshua shot back. "You'll brush it all under the table like you Winchesters do all the time. You'll say things, Sam will say things, promises will be made, but you'll both do the same thing if it ever happens again. It's the way you've been made, trained to suck it up and never show weakness." He paused as he looked at Dean before adding. "I'm not saying it's right, I'm not saying it's wrong, but I will say you'll both never change. If you think by hiding a hurt you'll prevent the other from going off hunting alone, you'll hide the pain in an instant."

"But Sammy shouldn't have to."

"Why Dean?" Came the whispered reply from an unlikely source. "Why should it be okay for you to do, but not for me?" Sam's tired and weary voice asked.


"That's not an answer Dean. Why can't I protect you, look out for you, as you would for me?"

"Because you shouldn't have to. Because it's my job to watch over you."

"And mine is to watch over you." Sam paused, a small part of him wondering if he should share the next piece of information. He watched Joshua silently creep from the room giving the two some privacy. Licking dry lips he added. "I'm sorry Dean. I'm sorry I failed."

Dean looked on incredulous. "Failed? What do you mean failed?"

"I failed in being strong enough to protect you. You must have thought I couldn't do the job, that's why you chose to hunt with Josh instead of me. That's why you allowed him to take my place in the Impala."

"What? Sam what are you talking about? Are you loopy on the meds?"

Sam looked away as he spoke, his words muffled and scrambling together in his haste to get them out. "You left me here and took Josh and he was sitting in my seat and I just thought. . . . . . . . ."

"That's just it Sam, you didn't think. You should have told me." Dean shouted back, failing to really hear Sam's words.

"I tried to."

"Well obviously not hard enough, you could have died Sam. How would you have protected me then? Since that's what you say you're so worried about doing?"

"I did try Dean, a couple of times when I was feeling bad, but it always seemed as though we got interrupted, and then when Josh showed up. . . . . . . . . ."

"Don't go blaming Josh!"

"I'm not Dean, it's just I would see you two together and I guess I got jealous and when I saw you both ride off it hurt."

Light bulbs seemed to go off inside Dean's mind as he listened to Sam ramble on, how could he have not realized? How could he have not seen what driving away would have done to his emotional brother. It wasn't as if he had done it on purpose, he hadn't even really given it a thought, but he should have. He should have known what his actions would have sparked in Sam.

"Sam, I'm so sorry I didn't even think. You were just looking so ill and I just wanted to get this damn hunt over and done with, I didn't realize what it would look like to you."

"It's okay Dean really. I know Josh is a better hunter than me."

"Hey!" Dean shouted causing Sam to shrink into the pillows. "Don't ever let me hear you say that again cause you're wrong." The room went quiet as both boys contemplated the results of their actions, the silence only broken as Dean noticed Sam struggling once more to stay awake. "Sam, go to sleep. We can talk more later."

"I am sorry Dean." Sam replied, his eyes once more closing.

"I know Sam, next time though I will kick your ass if you ever keep anything like this away from me. You got that little brother?"

"Yes Sir." Sam whispered back not hearing Dean's reply as he surrendered to sleep once more.

"I'd die without you Sammy, don't you realize that? I need you around Kiddo, so make sure you never keep secrets again." Placing the covers higher up Sam's chest, he brushed back a few errant locks before retreating to the other bed, resting back against the head board determined to watch over his slumbering sibling, not realizing just how exhausted he was feeling himself, his eyes closing, barely able to rise as he heard the door open as Josh re-entered, the lids closing once more as Josh settled in to watch them both muttering as he did so about "stubborn Winchesters". Yeah they might be stubborn, Dean thought as he drifted off, but they were family and to him that meant everything.

The End.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . . . . So here we are at the end of yet another fic, and I'd just like to thank each and everyone who has taken time to read, or review, or add to favs, you've made this the most alerted story I have ever written, and let me tell you to a writer knowing people are interested in reading your work is a huge buzz. Will be back soon with a new fic, catch you all later, Peanut x