I was so distraught with S4 Sam and I am relieved to see S5 Sammy returning to his usual brooding, pouty, puppy-dog self. I thought I'd write a fic to celebrate. I thought I'd overkill the sap in said fic. So I did. Sam's detox in 5x14, and the hug that made it all better.

Disclaimer: I don't own. Please don't sue.

It was over.

He hoped. He thought. Maybe. Please?

The door to the panic room creaked open, and Dean's worried face came into view. Sam's eyes were still blurry, and he felt like he had run two marathons after a John Winchester training session in Death Valley, California. How much more of this could his body take? He was still shaking from the after-effects. It was like catching a flu after getting your ass kicked by a legion of vampires and falling onto cement from orbit. Who knew cold turkey could pack this kind of a punch?


He was too weary, too hurting, to flinch, but if this wasn't the real Dean, if this was his brain playing tricks on him again, seeing Dean didn't spell anything but more pain. But it was over, wasn't it? He didn't want any more demon blood. He didn't want anything except the pain to stop. And he really wanted his big brother.

"Dee'," he managed, rather pathetically, and, to add needy to pitiful, he struggled to lift his arm to reach out to his brother. But his hands were still cuffed to the bed. Good. That was good. Maybe he couldn't do anything stupid if he was still cuffed to the bed.

"Whoa, whoa, easy, tiger," Dean shushed, "I think you're all right, now, Sammy, I'm gonna let you go." Dean had settled beside him, his body warm against Sam's chest, and he began unlocking the cuffs on his wrists.

Sam moaned his disapproval, and whined, like a frightened animal. Apparently human speech was beyond him right now.

"Hey, easy," Dean said, stopping his movements. He took Sam's hand in his, and Sam gripped his hand back frantically. "Are you…" Dean began to ask, then immediately stopped and tried again, with more force. "You're back, man, you rode it out. I'm gonna let you out now."

"You sure?" Sam croaked.

"Yeah, Sammy. I'm sure."

Dean had to tug his hand free from Sam's clinging fingers in order to unlock the cuffs. He was ready with warm water and bandages to wrap Sam's wrists and ankles, and armed with cool water to trickle down Sam's throat, but Sam didn't want either. Instead, once free and Dean had turned away, he launched himself upright, which required almost more strength than he had, and made him dizzy, and startled Dean, who tried to force him back down:

"Whoa, Sam! Chill, man, where's the fire?"

Sam saw the briefest flash of panic in Dean's eyes, wondering if his brother was truly over his withdrawals, and Sam stopped cold, wounded. God, maybe he wasn't all right yet? Dean even stood up, recoiling, as if to get away from him.

"I…" he began. He was trembling, sitting with his head down, hands together in front of him, afraid that his brother was afraid to touch him. "I'm sorry, Dean. Dean, I—" Oh, Christ, was he crying now?

"Hey," Dean said. "Hey." The voice said more than the words: Don't you dare cry now, not on my watch, if you cry I did something wrong, if you cry then damn it, Sam, I'm gonna start crying, too. What he said out loud was, "It's okay, man, nothin' to be sorry, for…"

And then Dean did the only thing Sam wanted, the only thing that would keep him from crying, the thing that would fix all this, fix it for a few fleeting seconds, at least: he sat down on the edge of the cot and hugged him. Yeah, gay, girlie, wussy, whatever. Dean needed this as much as he did. Sam snuffled into his brother's shoulder and melted against his chest, his body going lax instantly, like the hug was a spell.

Sam hadn't been held this tightly, this earnestly, by his brother since—since Dean had sold his soul to bring him back from the dead. Sam hadn't understood it then, he had just been in pain, but right now he knew that this was like that hug all over again. Dean's relief was palpable, and a soothing balm flowing out from him into Sam. How long ago had that been? Three years? Since then—no, God no, not now. Don't think about that now. Sam turned off his brain—no small feat—and just laid there against his brother, his fists clinging tightly to Dean's shirt, eyes closed and watering, and would have stayed there all day if he had anything to say about it. He focused on Dean's hand which ran up and down his spine, a steady reminder of his presence, of his desire to comfort. Sam wanted nothing more than to be comforted, all the more because he knew he didn't deserve it.

It took him a long moment to realize Dean was talking to him, murmured words of solace to the pained and semi-conscious. "…I got your back now, Sammy. You did good, and I gotcha. We're gonna pull through this. We're gonna make it, hear? I wasn't there before, man, but I'm here now, and we'll get patched up, right? Munch some ranger candy and get back in the game. Got it? You did good, man. I'm proud of you."

"I can't keep doing this to you," Sam whispered after a long while. There was a wet spot on Dean's shoulder beneath his face, and Sam kind of hoped it was drool, because Winchesters just did not cry.

"What?" Dean stopped, surprised more than anything. Sam bristled, but to his great relief, Dean did not release his hold. "Sam, you—" he sighed, his breath huffing against Sam's ear. "Just shut the hell up, Sammy." The hand continued rubbing up and down his back. "Rest for me, okay, man? Just rest. Then we'll talk, you can cry and be a girl and I can get mad and maybe throw something. But not now. You gotta rest, and, hell, I gotta rest, too."

"How long was I—out?"

Dean shifted Sam in his arms, but did not let go, to check his watch. "Twenty-two hours. Shit, man, I don't know what you remember but I can tell you you definitely didn't get any rest. You must be exhausted."

"You, too."

"Nah, too busy worrying about your junkie ass to be tired. Still comin' down off the high, man." A long pause, then, "Tell you what we're gonna do." This was Dean's plan voice. Dean liked it when he had a plan. Sam liked it when Dean had a plan. His plans were straightforward, uncreative, and 99% effective, like a tactical nuclear strike.


"We'll get you cleaned up and get some more blankets and crap in here, 'cause you're still burning up. We'll stay in here 'til we're sure you're good."

Talk about buzzkill. That was as close to an admission as Sam was going to get: Dean didn't think he was fine yet. Dean didn't trust him.

"You shouldn't have uncuffed me," Sam said miserably. Damned if he wasn't ready to cry again.

"What? Shut the fuck up, Sam. You're fine. I'm even staying in here with you, okay? I wouldn't stay if I thought you were gonna go psycho on me."

Now he was just saying that.

"Maybe you should go," Sam tried. It would be better to hear that his brother didn't trust him than to have to suffer through any more lies.

"Damn it, Sam, shut up! Why won't you believe me? I told you we were done with the lying to each other crap. And I also told you that you are okay now. You'd be belligerent and giving me lip if you were still jonesing, so I promise you, I've never been so glad to have you so clingy and chick-flicky in my fucking life."

Sam frowned. "Sorry, Dean, I—"

"Sammy, just—" he spluttered a bit before, "what did I say about you shutting the fuck up?" Dean growled.

Sam tensed, clinging tighter to his brother if that was possible, and shut his mouth with a decided click. No way did he want Dean mad. Not now. Not when everything was safe and comfortable again. "Thank you," Dean sighed, and Sam felt Dean's jaw move into a smile, pleased that his order had the desired effect. Sam, pleased that his brother was no longer mad at him—and now he trusted him again and so maybe everything would be okay—slowly relaxed in his brother's embrace.

Dean, feeling Sam's body go lax, held his brother for a few moments longer, and then gave him a light squeeze. "We okay then? Can I put you down?"

Sam tensed again, a very little bit, but sniffed and nodded. "Yeah. C-can I stay sitting up?"

"Sure. For a little while," Dean said as he detached himself, working Sam's white-knuckled fists free of his shirt without a word, and making sure Sam was solidly upright before letting go. He then cleaned the wounds on Sam's wrists and ankles, took his temperature, checked his pulse, gave him water, and helped him change clothes, all without a word. Sam was pliant in his arms, concentrating only on not passing out, and on not making Dean mad.

"Okay." Dean now straightened up. He waved a bucket in front of Sam's eyes. "You need to pee?" Sam blushed, and Dean took the opportunity to smile sophomorically. "I'm gonna go get the other cot," he said, by way of explanation. "You need to go, you got your privacy. Then it's bed time for you. If you're good, you'll get a story: it's titled Dean and his Pain in the Ass Little Brother Get Some Serious Shut-Eye. Capisce?"

Sam was tired enough to grin at the good attempt at bad humor. He nodded, and with another probing look, Dean left the room, shutting the door behind him. Sam distinctly did not hear the bolt being drawn. That was good. Dean really did trust him again. That was really good.

He did have to pee, actually, and was glad Dean had left the room. When Dean finally returned, dragging another old army cot in, and taking the piss bucket out again, Sam sat shivering on the edge of the bed, looking pale and drawn and ready to topple over.

"Hey, you okay, man?" Sam felt a hand on the back of his neck and another hand on his arm. "Why didn't you lie down?" Although Sam was pretty sure his eyes were open, he wasn't sure he could see.

"Dunno which way…" Sam slurred.

"Sure," Dean agreed, lowering Sam's head to the pillow and covering him with three additional blankets. "And they say you're the smart one."

"Jerk," Sam whispered.

"Bitch," Dean replied, patting Sam's arm.

How long had it been since that customary exchange had passed their lips? Dean snorted, bemused and surprised. Seeing the smile that tugged at the corner of Sam's mouth—that, and the brow smoothing in painless sleep—made the past twenty-four hours worth it. If they had to be brought to their knees to get back to being brothers, then so fucking be it.