SLEEPLESS

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters from Supernatural. They belong to Kripke. This is done strictly for fun, not profit. Also, if anything seems familiar, I don't own it.

A/N: A little story that I've been holding onto for a while. I figured I owed you all a chapter for my other stories before I posted this one. But the good thing…this one is finished already. Yeah! So, I'll be posting a chapter probably each weekend while I work on my other stories as well.

Spoilers: Up through the Season 3 episode "Dream A Little Dream". I guess you might call this a tag to that episode maybe? But other than that…I don't think there's much.

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"You can't stop this." Dean sat by the window in their motel room looking out at the blackened parking lot, and even from across the room Sam could see that he was scared.

"You don't know that," Sam said defiantly knowing this argument by heart now but still railing against what he knew now was inevitable. "There's still time. Maybe we can-"

"Can what, Sam!?" Dean shouted finally turning to glare at Sam with angry eyes. "Find some kind of...of ward, or a spell?!"

Sam flinched at Dean's tone and let his eyes fall to the floor.

"You know as well as I do that none of that shit will work." His voice broke slightly on the last word and he had to swallow hard against the clog of emotions filling his throat. "Truth is…I'm screwed," he said with obvious defeat in his voice and that broke Sam's heart even more. To think that after everything there was nothing more to do just seemed so wrong. There was always something.

"Besides…it's too late," Dean whispered, his eyes having slid over to the digital clock sitting between their beds.

Sam's blood ran cold as he quickly whipped around to look at the clock with wide eyes and saw it flip over to midnight. "No," he whispered and turned back to meet Dean's eyes.

Dean just stood there with a sad look on his face as the sounds of howling dogs started to fill the night air. The door to the room started to shake with the force of the dogs trying to get in and they both could hear their claws scrape against the flimsy wood with a tearing scrape. Slowly turning to face the door, Sam could see that Dean was trembling slightly in fear even as he faced his fate head on.

"No!" Sam screamed trying to move to protect his brother from the hell hounds but found that he couldn't move. "No! Dean!"

The door burst open, the flimsy hinges flying off as the hell hounds bust through and then all was quiet for a second as man and beast stared each other down.

"Sammy?" Dean choked out, the quaver of fear obvious in the one word and then the hell hounds lunged with open jaws.

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"Sam! Sammy!" Dean was shaking his brother's shoulders trying to get him to wake up, but Sam just continued to thrash around and fight against Dean's hold as if Dean was trying to hold him down instead of wake him up. "Come on, Sam, wake up! It's just a nightmare!"

"No! Dean!" Sam's eyes shot open and he bolted forward only to smash into something hard making stars pop behind his eyes.

"OW!" Both brothers said at the same time as they rebounded from where they had bonked heads.

Staggering back a few steps, Dean held a hand to his stinging forehead before landing heavily on the edge of his bed. "Damn it, Sam!" He pulled his hand back to look and make sure there wasn't any blood and then glowered at his brother who had fallen back on his own bed cradling his head in his hands. "Give a man some warning will you?!"

"Sorry," Sam finally managed to get out and then scrunched his eyes even more against the pain that little word caused to shoot through his head. Man that hurt.

Dean frowned and gave an exacerbated huff of annoyance. "That's okay," he grumbled and then took a closer look to make sure the kid was alright. "You okay?"

"Fine."

The automatic response just made Dean roll his eyes and shake his head. He'd known that's what Sam would say even before he finished his question. After all it was their motto wasn't it? They could be bleeding to death and they'd still be fine.

After a moment more, Sam began to relax as the pain in his head began to fade a little and he let his hand fall away. "What happened?" he asked not looking at his brother.

"Do you mean before or after you hit me in the head with that rock of yours?" Dean ground out as he got up to go get Sam a glass of water.

"What? Rock?" Sam asked clearly confused.

Dean stopped just outside the bathroom door and turned back to give Sam a funny look and then just shook his head and rolled his eyes again for good measure before turning back to the bathroom. As he headed into the bathroom, Sam thought for sure he was muttering something about little brothers and hard heads. "I take it you had another nightmare?" he called from inside the little room just before the water was turned on.

"Why do you think that?" Sam asked on guard as he tried to sit up again and winced slightly when his head gave a slight throb.

When Dean came back out a minute later with a glass of water and a cold washcloth, his face was a blank slate. "Oh, no reason, except for maybe the screaming of my name."

Sam gave him a small smile as he took the washcloth and tentatively put it to his throbbing forehead.

After making sure Sam had it taken care of he sat back on his own bed. "And unless you're a girl having a really good time then… On second thought," Dean said thinking about what he just said and wishing he hadn't. "Don't answer that question. I really didn't need that image sequence running through my head." He then shuddered slightly at the thought.

Sam frowned at him slightly and then his face screwed up in disgust. "Oh…dude! Are you trying to give me more nightmares?"

Both brothers shuddered a second time trying to dispel the mental image then all was quiet again.

"So it was a nightmare. Right?" Dean asked searching his little brother's face for the answer hoping that that was all it was.

"Yeah, I guess," Sam said softly lowering the washcloth to fiddle with its edges as Dean's face flashed through his mind as the hounds came for him. "At least, it didn't feel like a vision…unless you count the throbbing pain from the impact afterwards." He couldn't help the small smile that crossed his lips at the jibe as he touched the washcloth to his forehead again.

"Ha ha, very funny." Dean said sarcastically before rubbing his own tender forehead again feeling the fading sting from the impact and thinking he was probably gonna have a bruise in the morning. Great, just what I need. Another bruise. "Do you want to talk about it?" Dean asked seriously knowing that Sam probably needed it.

"No, I'm good," Sam said and let the now warm washcloth fall away from his face. "Thanks for offering though. Seeing how you love those chick-flick moments."

"Hey…anything for you," Dean said getting the smile from Sam he was hoping for. "Get some sleep, Princess. You're scary when you don't get your beauty sleep."

"Jerk," Sam said pulling the covers back up.

"Bitch," Dean said with a little smile and got up and turned out the light again.

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Dean closed the door to the bathroom and then let out a heavy sigh as he leaned back against it wearily. Rubbing his hands across his face for a moment trying to wake up a little, he finally turned towards the shower wearily and just stared at it.

God he was tired. His eyes burned and itched with the need for sleep and his body just felt like every little movement hurt.

Maybe a shower would help a little.

Quickly adjusting the knobs, he peeled off his clothes and slid behind the shower curtain. As the hot water hit his tense muscles, he groaned slightly and hung his head enjoying the feel of the pitter patter of the drops across his head and neck.

Oh yeah. That feels good.

Leaning against the wall slightly and closing his eyes, he let the hard spray wash over his tense shoulders and down his tanned back helping to loosen those muscles as well.

Standing there, he let his mind wander slightly over everything that had happened lately and a small frown crossed his features. The closer they got to the time his deal was due, the more nightmares Sam was starting to have and quite frankly, Dean was worried.

He knew how hard his brother was pushing himself to try and find a way out of Dean's deal and at first hoped that Sam would just deal with it and be able to move on. But now…the barely eating or sleeping and the all night research sessions interspersed with hunts was starting to take its toll on his brother. And—not for the first time—he was afraid that if Sam continued this way for much longer, he wouldn't last until Dean's deal came due.

And there was no way in Hell that Dean was ever going to let that happen.

Dean gave a slight chuckle at that and shook his head.

Hell.

Before he had made his deal for his brother's life that word had never held much meaning, but since then...

Dean swallowed hard as images from his dream-walk through his own mind came back to him and he shuddered slightly at the thought. His own inky-black, soulless eyes staring back at him from his own blood-spattered face; and the fact that they had shown such hate and contempt made his blood run cold.

"You're gonna go to Hell, Dean. And this...this is what you're going to become!"

Dean snapped his eyes open with a start and realized that he had actually fallen asleep for a moment standing up. Blinking his eyes hard a few times, he then wiped the water away from his face and let out a few heavy breaths before closing his eyes feeling his heart beating almost double time in his chest.

"Damn it," he mumbled slightly and then turned back towards the shower spray. The water had already started to cool and he wondered just how long he had been in there. Too long he was sure if he could judge anything by the pruney look of his fingers.

Quickly finishing washing up, he stepped out of the shower letting the water drip and bead off of his back and stomach for a moment before reaching for a towel.

As he toweled off, he looked at his foggy reflection in the mirror thinking for a moment and then frowned at it. The form was hazy behind the mask of mist that clung to the mirror's surface and Dean couldn't help but think that was how he felt these days. Like he was walking around in a thick fog and was just trying to keep from crashing and burning or letting anyone see what was really going on inside.

Like the simple fact he was scared shitless of going to Hell.

True, he had admitted to Sam that he didn't want to go to Hell, but he also knew that Sam had known that far before Dean would even let himself think that. With his constant 'I'm fine' mantra, Dean had tried to not let his looming deadline bother him; but he knew that Sam could tell. And how could it not bother him knowing what they did about the things that resided in Hell. But he would be damned if he would let others feel pity for him.

Because in spite of being scared of Hell, he was not sorry that he had done it. He had known the consequences even before he went to the cross-roads, but he also knew that the alternative was no choice at all.

There was just no living without Sam.

And if anyone asked him, he would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant Sam would be there by his side for that much longer.

As he finished drying off, he tied the towel around his waist and then picked up his toothbrush. Putting toothpaste on the bristles, he looked up at the mirror and hesitated for just a second before finally wiping the mirror clean and looking at his reflection in the glass. Tired looking eyes stared back at him from the glass and for a moment Dean wasn't sure who it was he was looking at. Dark circles hung below the murky green orbs and his skin though warmed by the shower's heat still looked pasty.

Looked tired and beaten.

Hating how he looked, Dean gritted his jaw and finally tore his eyes away from the image to start brushing his teeth. No pity. Not even from himself.

When he finished, he switched off the light and headed back out into the other room. The cooler air prickled his damp skin as he padded his way over to his bag with unnerving error and pulled out his sleep clothes and some boxers.

After getting dressed, he crept over to his brother's bed and watched Sam sleep for a moment smiling at the sight before him. The big nerd had somehow gotten the blanket twisted around his waist and left leg which shot out across the bed diagonally while his right arm hung off the edge of the bed with the whole hand dangling against the carpet at an odd angle. Dean just smiled a little more and shook his head as he ran his fingers slightly through Sam's unruly hair.

Goodnight, Sasquatch.

Dean then climbed into his own bed and laid there blinking hazily up at the ceiling. At least it wouldn't be too much longer until sunrise.

He turned so he could watch Sam sleep and listened to his rhythmic breathing. He hadn't said anything to Sam yet, but he hadn't been able to sleep since their excursions into dreamland with Jeremy for more than a few minutes at a time.

And that had been almost…five days ago?

God, it somehow seemed so much longer than that. But Dean knew that if he didn't do something soon, he would probably end up endangering Sam even more. Even he needed some sleep.

He already seen the usual signs of sleep deprivation but now it was becoming even worse. His concentration and reflexes were shot and sometimes when the need for sleep became almost a palpable thing he would find himself slipping. It was just yesterday he had been almost positive he'd seen a squirrel tapping at their window and beckoning him to come outside. And then he would have to try and get some sleep. But then the nightmares would come and he'd try not to wake up screaming for fear of waking Sam, and he wasn't sure how much longer he could last before he finally cracked.

Dean sighed and turned to look at the ceiling again in frustration. Maybe they could head towards Bobby's after they finished this next hunt? If nothing else, maybe the older hunter might have some idea what was happening to him.

If he pitched the idea right…maybe Sam wouldn't get suspicious? Yeah right, and that'll happen when pigs fly. Dean sighed again and then scooted down in the warm covers even more and closed his eyes. Maybe. If he tried really hard, he could sleep for a little while before Sam woke up.

Yeah right. And maybe when he woke up he would find out that he and Sam were actually famous actors starring in a hit TV show and were filthy rich to boot.

Sighing heavily he gave a little snort of a laugh and tried to calm his thoughts.

Oh man, I'm so screwed.

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A/N: Okay, hope you liked. Let me know by sending me a review. I think probably three more chapters to this story and I'll get them posted soon. Until then, keep reading.