Sam's a sucker for self-help books.
He always had been since that fad came out when he was a kid. He would go to the library or a bookstore and sit in the corner reading one to see what tips would make his life just a bit better. He liked the ones that taught emotional restraint and motivated work ethics. He found those the most helpful. The ones about dieting and exercise were good for educational purposes and the ones about time management and self-esteem were always the key to improvement. Every once and a while Sam would save up money from pick-pocketing or odd jobs to buy an interesting self-improvement guide and had a collection in his backpack that he kept away from view. The only times that he read them was when he was alone. Nobody knew about his particular interest.
Or that he was a self-help closet addict.
For years Sam read those how-to-be-a-better-person manuals and studied them closely even through Stanford. Then his problems increased and he needed to read the books more often. The comfort they had once given him was waning and Sam was desperate to find a solution to his misery.
One evening Sam went to the bookstore in the town he and his brother had driven into. It was about a month after Dean busted out of Hell and Sam was in an emotional whirlwind. He searched the shelves until he found his Holy Grail. "How To Regain Your Self-Respect".
Sam greedily smiled at his prize, paid the clerk, and walked back to the motel. Reading while walking wasn't a good idea, but Sam needed to ingest as much knowledge as possible before Dean saw his book.
He wouldn't understand.
Once Sam arrived at the motel, he shoved the book into his coat and went inside. Dean looked up from the burger he had been eating on his bed and asked after swallowing, "Where've you been? I got dinner."
"Went out for a walk," Sam lied.
"Dude, it's like negative thirty degrees out there," Dean pointed out.
"You must be an icicle."
"Whatever," Sam rolled his eyes, "Its not that cold."
Dean raised his eyebrows when he saw a white object in his brother's coat, "What that?"
Dean got up from the bed, setting the burger down, and pulled the book from Sam's coat.
"Hey!" Sam exclaimed in protest, "Give that back!"
"'How to regain your self-respect?'" Dean quoted while keeping the book out of his brother's reach. Dean raised his eyebrows in surprise, "What the Hell is that?"
"Its a self-help book," Sam muttered, snatching the book back and throwing it into his suitcase.
"What? Why do you need that? You don't feel like you have any self-respect?"
"I feel like I don't have any self respect," Sam admitted.
Dean fought to keep his mouth closed after a "Why?" came out.
"Because..." Sam struggled to find words, "Because you shouldn't have gone to Hell for me!"
"What? Sammy, I went to Hell because that was part of the deal to bring you back to life."
"I know, but you shouldn't have given your life for mine. I don't deserve it."
"What do you mean, Sammy? Of course you deserve it! You're my brother!"
"But nothing," Dean cut him off firmly, "You don't need any damn book to tell you that I love you and care about you and will do anything for you. I know you have self-respect and you deserve to live because you're my baby brother and a good person, okay? I'll tell you every day that I love you, chick-flick moments and everything if it makes you feel better because a freakin book is no substitute for a brother."
Sam nodded, biting his lip and staring down at the floor.
Dean gripped Sam's shoulder and handed him the remainder of his burger, "Here, I already ate yours so here's the rest of mine."
"Dude, that's gross. You're mouth goes places I don't want to know about."
"So? Eat it. We're both family."