Holding On

by Visionairy

Added scene to 4x21 - Between Sam's seizure and waking up on the bed, Sam and Dean come to an understanding.

* * * * * * * *

Dean couldn't divert his attention away from his brother's face as he choked and jerked against Bobby's belt. Horrified didn't begin to describe how he felt. All the anger and suspicion he felt minutes ago dissolved in the face of his brother's seizure. This was Sammy – the same Sammy that … that had lied and lied to him while drinking demon blood.

"Dean! Before he has another fit!"

Right - pull it together. "Yeah, yeah … let's just get it over with."

As Dean reached over to pin Sam's other arm so Bobby could get the restraints, Sam's flailings began to diminish. His eyes were still rolling wildly, but the stiff jerking of his limbs was easing. Bobby leaned back, "Here, I'll help you get him up and over to the bed. I can attach the cuffs there."

"That's okay, Bobby, I got him." Dean eased back on the panicked grip he had on his brother's wrists. "You think it's going to stop now?"

They both stared at the groaning, twitching Winchester as he rolled under Dean's arms.

"Damn, I hope so." Bobby pushed up to his feet and wiped his arm across his damp brow. "I shoulda' hooked up a camera in here or something, so we could keep a better eye on him."

"Not like I gave you much notice to set up your little 'clinic' here." Dean looked back down at his little brother, whose face was still tight with pain. Reaching over, Dean pushed sweat-damped bangs away from his brother's face. He looked miserable and just so - drained.

"Damn it, Sammy." Then cursing himself for forgetting exactly who caused the situation he was dealing with here, Dean abruptly dropped the stilled wrists and stepped away from the other man. This was the ride Sam bought the ticket for, he had to live with the fallout.

Bobby watched as Sam's eyes dropped shut, while his arms and legs still twitched occasionally alongside him. This was killing all of them. He knew he should go get the restraints before Sam came around, but it was hard to walk away. He shook his head, "Ya' know, passed out like that he reminds me of the time you boys …"

"Bobby," Dean roughly interrupted, "just … just don't."

"Yeah," the older man rubbed his hand across the stubble on his chin, "I'll go find those cuffs." Bobby turned and then stopped at the door, "Do you want a hand getting him over there?"

"Nah … I got it." And as Dean heard the heavy door begin to swing closed, he couldn't help but call out, "Bring some, uh, padding, … you know … for - for his wrists."

As the door clanged shut, Dean turned back to his brother. He almost looked like he was asleep by now, only the barest muscle contractions running across his limbs. Under his skin. Next to the blood vessels that still pumped demon blood through his brother. A blood infection that was powerful enough to throw his ginormous brother around the room like a mouse caught in a wheel. And wasn't that the truth.

Sammy was running in the little cage and wheel that Ruby had created for him – thinking that the maze was the world, and this was the only part he could play. And as the timer counted down, with the sound of seals breaking in the distance, Sam just kept going back to the pleasure button to get more demon juice.

And Dean felt no better. He was the lab rat thrown into the opposite end of the maze by the angels. Salvation, promises, manipulations – each taking him one direction or the other every time he hit a wall.

Meanwhile, Sam was solely focused getting to the Lilith-sized cheese at the end of the freakin' thing. So whichever of them got there first, did he win or lose?

At least Dean had managed to pluck his little brother from the maze before he self-destructed. But from the frying pan … into the hell fire? As Bobby was so quick to point out, were Sam's chances for survival any better now?

Shaking his head to rid himself of the images, he squatted down to pull his brother up from the floor.

* * * * * * * *

There was a humming in his ears. And sore, … he was so unbelievably sore. He tried to move his arms, but they didn't want to respond to him. He could taste blood on his tongue, and it felt swollen and dry.

He could tell he was on the verge of waking up, but couldn't remember where he was or what was going on. He knew there was something extremely bad lurking just on the edge of his memory - something that made him want to stay in this world of semi-awareness rather than return to his senses and whatever horrors it offered.

Fuzzy brain cells kept firing though, whether he wanted them to or not. He discovered that he was on a hard floor, and his muscles were twitching, and he hurt all over. So, yes, something bad.

So where was Dean? And then - was Dean okay? And some adrenaline started to flow throw his limp body. Sam tried to open his eyes to see, but they would only twitch. And his ears were still only filled with static.

Whoa, someone grabbed his hands and began pulling on his wrists to get him to move. Could he move? No, he didn't think that was going to happen. But in the next couple of seconds, he'd been pulled up and held in a somewhat vertical position, his arm slung around something …someone.

Dean. He would recognize the smell and the feel of his brother anywhere. Okay then, if Dean could pick him up, Dean must be okay. He had to be. So, Dean was taking care of him. And though he would ideally like to stand up and take care of himself, he didn't seem to be capable of that right now, so he would have to let himself lean on Dean again for awhile.

Something still at the edge of his consciousness told him that this was unexpected, something about Dean not being around much or not being there recently, and that he should be especially grateful that Dean was there now.

Struggling to help, Sam managed to fling one arm over his brother's other shoulder and hang on. He still felt so infinitely sad. Lost, and he really didn't want to know why. He just wanted to hang onto Dean. The one place where he had always felt safe and, uh, … loved. If he could just go back to sleep, Dean would make sure he was okay.

He treasured that about his brother. Even when he felt like this – like a scared 10 year old waking from a nightmare that he couldn't quite remember - Dean was still there. Shaky, sore, nauseous, and scared – Sam did what he'd done his whole life. He clung to Dean.

With every bit of fear and strength he had, Sam tightened his arms around Dean's back and tucked his chin over Dean's shoulder and just held on. This – this is what would take him through whatever nightmare he would face when he woke up. He knew Dean would share his strength and support when Sam just didn't have any anymore. And, just for a moment, Sam felt Dean tighten his arms in response.

* * * * * * * *

Dean heaved on Sam's wrists and managed to get his brother up on his feet and leaning against his chest. He turned and pulled one arm over his shoulders as he tried to half-walk, half-drag his brother over to the bed. "You'd think with all that demon strength going for you, you'd at least be able to get your feet under you."

But there was no response, Sam's head lolled on his shoulder. "Come on Sam, help me out here."

Dean tried to call on his anger to give him more strength, but he was stopped in his place when Sam suddenly rolled against his chest and threw his other arm across Dean's open shoulder. Not sure whether this was a move designed to help Sam escape, Dean twisted to get his arm free. This threw them both off balance, so Dean was inevitably forced to grab at Sam once again.

A whimper met his ears as Sam simply tightened his hold on his back. Leaning his head against his older brother's shoulder, he simply held on.

Held on like he did when he was six and been scared of a small hairy spider; holding on like he was eight and the first damn clown had terrified him. Was this a hug? Was that what this was? A damn emo hug in the middle of all this fear and betrayal?

Dean couldn't do this, he just couldn't. Sam had lied to him, had ignored him, had even ignored the angels, and had time and time again over the past year betrayed his trust.

But he could hear Bobby coming down the stairs with handcuffs clinking together, and he knew that shortly Sam would be chained to a bed in the middle of a freakin' demon detox room. And even if he survived this, it would be a long, long time before they found common ground again.

So, if not for the Sam he had become, but for the Sammy who he had once been … and for the Sammy who, no matter how misguidedly, he still tried to be … Dean grasped his brother in his arms and clung back. At least for this small moment in time, they knew they were still brothers, and would always be there for each other no matter what. It was a promise that despite hell or heaven or words or deeds, they would end up together at the end of the damn maze.

So as the door opened, and Sam's arms slumped to his side, Dean carefully laid his brother's unresponsive body on the cot. He placed his head on the blanket and took the cloths from Bobby and gently started to wrap his wrists. Sam may not comprehend it right now, but Dean was going to protect Sammy in every way that he could.


Author's Comments: I hope you like this one. Please let me know what you think.

(Tthere are so many layers to this season: heaven, hell, faith, trust, power, corruption. I think the show is doing an great job of presenting both Sam and Dean's motivations. Whether the choices they make are the best or not, at least they keep trying to do what they think is right. I do love the grey area.)