Okay, yet another one-shot after MBV. Pure fluff. Reviews are welcomed, but remember – please be nice! I have thin skin. I've never used a Beta, I think I am too shy to ask. Perhaps I should though. Thoughts? Thanks! ~Shannon

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This time… withdrawal took longer, hurt more and just plain sucked worse. He had to finish this time. Last time he managed to escape, like an idiot, and he also escaped complete withdrawal. This time, when he was finished, he was weak, dirty and exhausted. He felt sick… not just sick, he felt defeated. He couldn't look Dean in the eyes. His big brother helped him up the stairs and into the bathroom. Sam knew that Dean was right outside the door as he slowly climbed out of his disgusting clothes and into the shower for the first time in a week. He let the water run over him for a few minutes, relishing the hot steam. He grabbed the soap and proceeded to scrub. He basically scrubbed until his skin was raw. He still, somehow, felt dirty. After his shower, he brushed his teeth until he was spitting blood. Spitting blood. He worried it was still in him. He wrapped a towel around his waist and exited the bathroom, walking past Dean and shutting himself into their room. Dean had left his bag on his bed. Sam grabbed a clean pair of jeans, boxers and a t-shirt. Anything else was too much. He was still sweating out a bit of a fever. He opened the door. Looking down, anything to avoid eye contact just yet, he asked Dean, "What now?"

Dean lightly squeezed Sam's shoulder, sad his brother wouldn't look at him. "Now you eat something."

"Dean, I… I'm not sure I can yet." Sam mumbled.

"It's okay Sammy. I'll make you some toast and tea." Dean spoke quietly and steadily as he guided Sam down the stairs and into the kitchen.

Sam slumped into the closest chair and sighed. "How can you look at me, Dean? How can you call me Sammy?"

"Sam, stop. Just… stop. You weren't the only person affected by Famine. Hell, look at Cas. He dug into that trough of raw hamburger like a freaking vulture." Dean spoke quieter now. "I'm not mad. I'm not disappointed. I'm sorry you were put in that position and knowing you… you are being harder on yourself than I ever could be. Let's just get you better and try to keep moving. We've got work to do."

Sam looked up. He looked into Dean's eyes for the first time in days. He saw forgiveness and sorrow. He didn't see hate or disappointment. Sam muffled a cry and put his head into his hands.

Dean walked to Sam's side, once again squeezing his shoulder and then proceeded to grab a cup and a kettle for Sam's tea. Turning around once the tea and toast was finished Dean was not surprised to see Sam asleep at the table. Dried tears stained his cheeks as his under-eye circles just got darker. Dean hated to wake him, but he knew Sam hadn't properly eaten in days. Setting the tea and plate on the table he spoke calmly, "Sammy, I need you to try and keep some of this down now."

Sam rubbed his eyes and looked around, slowly recognizing Bobby's kitchen. He remembered where he was and why. He picked up the mug of tea with both hands. Shaking like a leaf, he brought the cup of tea up to his lips. He felt the warm liquid travel down his throat and into his stomach. He willed it to stay down. He cleared his throat tentatively, "where's Bobby?"

"He's in town on a supply run. He should be back tomorrow." Dean replied as he sat across from Sam. He didn't want to be far in case Sam couldn't hold the mug; he could see what a hard time he was having.

"Oh", Sam replied quietly as he put the cup on the table and tried to pick up the piece of dry toast. He was shaking so much that he dropped it twice before grasping it and bringing it up to his mouth. He was nervous, but took a small bite. He began to cough as the crumbs invaded his throat. As he tried to grasp his mug again, it fell from his hands. Luckily it fell straight down and only spilled a few drops. He tried going for it again, only to realize that Dean was now standing behind him holding his hands in his as they grasped the cup. Together they brought it to his lips and he took a long gulp, ending the coughing fit. After they placed the cup back down on the table, Dean walked back over to his side and sat back down, not saying a word or acting as though anything unusual had happened. Sam was grateful that Dean seemed to inherently know what he needed and when. As usual. "I uh, I think that is all I can do for now Dean."

Dean nodded, happy that Sam had gotten a little something down. "Do you want to go upstairs to sleep?"

"I don't think I can go that far. How about the couch?" Sam said looking down, ashamed at how weak he felt.

"Sure, Sam. If you change your mind, I can always help you upstairs." Dean walked over to Sam, gently grabbed a hold of his arm and walked him to the living room couch. He put a pillow under Sam's head and pulled a throw from the recliner onto Sam's long form. Sam was asleep within minutes.

Dean watched Sam sleep for a few minutes; he just needed to make sure his brother was okay. When he felt assured, he went into the kitchen to clean up Sam's "breakfast". He then sat in Bobby's old recliner and grabbed an automotive magazine and began to read, his mind (and body) never far from Sam.

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About an hour later, Dean was flipping through television channels while the TV was on mute. He wasn't really watching, merely keeping himself occupied. Sam began to toss and turn, moaning in his sleep. Dean knelt down next to Sam's head and soothingly ran his fingers through Sam's hair, sentiment be damned. His brother needed him now. Sam flung his body up and began to wipe furiously at his hands and mouth. "Dean! Dean, get if off me! I can't get it off! There's so much blood! So much!" With that Sam began to scratch at his face in his desperation.

Dean grabbed his brother's hands and said his name over and over. "Sam. Sammy. Stay with me here dude. Look at me. You are okay. There's no blood. There's no blood Sammy." He did his best to stay calm for his panicked brother.

Sam's breathing slowed as he looked into Dean's eyes. Refocusing, he looked down at his own hands and saw the lack of blood where there was so much only a moment before. "N… no blood?"

"Nope Sammy. None. Now why don't you do me a favor and lay back down." Sam's sleepy mind did as it was told. He lay back down onto the couch. Dean kept a hold of one of Sam's hands to keep him grounded as he sat on the floor beside the couch. As sleep overtook Sam once again, Dean quietly told every happy story/memory he could recall from their childhood. Sam fell into a deep sleep dreaming of diners, ugly motel room wallpaper and invented games he and his brother had made up as children. Hours after Dean had run out of stories and his voice had become hoarse, he continued to hold Sam's hand as he read aloud from a pile of automotive magazines.

Dean hadn't even realized that he had fallen asleep, when the sound of his cell phone woke him. He laughed a bit at himself when he saw that he had been sound asleep with his head on Sam's arm. He grabbed his cell, attempting to not wake Sam, and headed out onto the porch. He saw Bobby's name on the caller ID, and answered. "Bobby, what's up?"

"Hey boy, how's Sam?" Bobby had a one-track mind when it came to the Winchesters.

"Well, thanks for asking, I'm fine." Dean laughed as Bobby huffed his displeasure. "He's okay Bobby. He's upstairs, he's showered and has eaten a few bites. He's still really weak."

"How is he… mentally?" Bobby hesitated.

"He's… having a hard time. He wouldn't even look at me the first hour. I'm pretty sure he will slowly but surely come around." Dean said with hope in his voice.

"Good… good. I think I oughtta give you boys a bit more time alone together. I don't want to remind Sam of his last encounter with blood withdrawal. I've got more stuff I can take care of here in town. Why don't I come home in a couple of days?"

"Bobby, you don't have to do that. You are family too. Sam would like to see you, I'm sure of it."

Bobby paused, "I'm glad to hear that Dean. But just the same, I want to give Sam more time."

"Okay man. Thanks. I'll tell Sammy you were asking about him and that you are looking forward to seeing him in a couple of days."

The two men wrapped up the conversation, and Dean walked back inside.

Sam was just waking up, his eyes searching the room for Dean. When he saw his brother, he sighed in relief. "How long was I out for?"

Dean glanced down at his watch. "It's been 4 hours. Not bad Sam!"

Sam smiled as he tried to stand. "Thirsty".

Dean watched his brother struggle to stand, resisting the urge to help him. He wanted to see if Sam had improved from their siesta. However, his restraint didn't last long as Sam's eyes rolled back into his head and he pitched forward on a fast track to the hard floor of Bobby's living room. "Sam!"

Dean reached Sam in time to slow his descent to the ground. He held Sam's head in his lap and gently shook his brother. "Sammy? Sam? Are you okay?!"

After a moment, Sam's eyes began to move around under his closed eyelids. Slowly they opened to little slits. "Wha?" Sam looked up at Dean and then down to his own body lying on the floor.

"You're okay man, you passed out for a second. I think you are really dehydrated Sam. We need to get some liquids and food into you right now." Dean looked worriedly into Sam's eyes.

"Thirsty." Sam repeated his pre-swan-dive sentiment.

Dean chuckled, "Okay Sammy. Up we go." Dean gently lifted Sam to a seated position, gave him a moment to adjust, and then helped him to a standing position. He never let go of his hold on Sam. He sat him down in Bobby's recliner, not wanting a weak Sam to sit at the kitchen table. He handed him a bottle of water and sat next to his brother as he drank. He reminded Sam to take his time, afraid of the water making a quick reappearance. Once he was sure Sam was okay, he went into the kitchen and cut up some fruit and placed it in a bowl. Fruit has water in it, right? he thought, as he handed the bowl to Sam. From here on out, he was going to do whatever it took to get Sam better. Holding a passed-out Sam was too similar to holding a dead Sam. Dean shivered with the thought.

Grabbing another bottle of water for Sam and one for himself, Dean sat near Sam on the couch. "How you feeling?"

Sam put down his fork, his hands still shaking, "a bit better, I guess."

"Good. After you eat and drink that, upstairs for a nap, up for dinner and then we are going to sit outside for a bit before bed. You look like you could use some fresh air."

"Kay mom." Sam laughed weakly.

"Dude, you faint like that again, and I'll go 'Mommy Dearest' on your ass." Dean growled harmlessly.

"No more wire hangers…ever. Got it. Can I have some more water?" Sam smiled as he finished the latest bottle. Sometimes hunters watched way too much television, he thought.

Dean gave Sam a completely fake servant-like bow and headed back into the kitchen.

Sam knew he didn't deserve it… yet. But he felt loved. He was cared-for, which is the best medicine on the planet. He felt stronger already.