Definitions of the Word Fine

A/N: I had a couple requests for a sequel to the sequel ;) and I was feeling bad about leaving Sam the way I did. Figured the story wasn't quite finished.

I promise I'll stop after this one though. What was meant to be a one shot has turned into a trilogy and enough is enough.

In some unrelated news, any Twilight fans here? Just have to mention that I hugged Chaske Spencer! Twice! He felt very… werewolf-y.

And one more thing, does anyone else think that we should start some kind of email campaign to make Sam wear his hair in his face again? (Sorry, I seem to be obsessed with Sammy's hair)

XXX

Dean carefully kept his eyes on the road, music turned down low in consideration of his little brother's headache, and built slowly on the courage to talk.

"Sam." He cleared his throat uncomfortably, "I think… maybe you should talk to someone."

Sam opened his eyes and turned his head towards him. "Talk to someone?" He feigned confusion.

Dean shot him a pair of raised eyebrows and Sam slumped slightly, pretenses over.

"I don't need to talk to someone," he muttered to the dash.

"Maybe it would help," Dean nudged carefully.

Sam scowled, "I'm not crazy."

Dean sighed heavily, and spun the wheel, letting the Impala idle to a stop at the side of the dirt road. He turned to Sam.

"Don't be melodramatic. I don't think you're crazy, just… this has gotta stop."

Still scowling, Sam hunkered down further in his seat with all the petulance of a moody teenager, and said nothing, head turned towards the window.

"Sam, we're having this conversation whether you want to or not. I basically had to carry you out of that bar last night. That's not you, Sammy."

"I slept right through, didn't I?" Sam countered, and honestly, that had been a relief. First uninterrupted nights sleep – for both of them – in what felt like an eternity.

It wasn't the first time Dean had been at a loss on how to help his brother, but it still left him floundering, feeling helpless and unsure, and Dean hated that almost as much as he hated seeing Sam… shattered like this.

"I don't think drinking until you pass out is the best way to go with this. You need to… deal. It's not going away, Sam."

Sam's eyes lost a little of their steel, his arms, folded across his chest, loosened and came to rest on his thighs. He rubbed his hands over his jeans a little, as if he were trying to get a stain out.

"It's never going away," he murmured helplessly.

Dean's own features softened a little more. "You can't keep going like this, Sammy."

Sam dropped the tough façade altogether. He flicked his downcast eyes up to look at Dean, and Dean recognized the plea in them. The little brother in Sam was begging the big brother in Dean to fix it, to make it better.

"I don't know what to do," he said.

Dean felt woefully impotent when all he could offer was a firm, "We'll figure this out, Sammy."

XXX

Sam hadn't been afraid of the dark since he was a kid. Finding out what really lurked in the shadows, training to fight it, had gradually replaced the fear with wariness. He didn't have to be frightened if he knew how to deal with it.

But this… being overtaken by mere humans, and being unable to do anything about it, had forced the childhood fear back. There was so much evil in the world and the terror of being unprepared just wouldn't go away.

Dean had always teased him for his OCD tendencies, but Dean was silent that night, like countless nights before, as Sam prowled the motel room, checking and rechecking the locks on the door and windows, inspecting the thick salt lines for any break, adding protection wards and sigils that they usually didn't bother with. When he started on the weapons, however – cleaning and sorting – Dean stood and gently took the 9mm out of his hands, placing it down on the bed.

"Enough, Sammy."

Sam bit down an argument. He knew he was being irrational, and he was worrying Dean, but… he just couldn't help it. A split seconds inattention was all it had taken… last time, and he wouldn't, couldn't let it happen again.

Dean eyed him for a moment, then, apparently satisfied, went back to his own bed, flicking on the TV as he went.

Sam tried – he really did – to focus on the B-rate action film that Dean had on, but his eyes kept wandering to the door, the windows, a sense of something close to panic building up inside him.

Apparently, Dean wasn't as engrossed in the movie as Sam had thought, because he barely made it two steps before Dean was in front of him, barring his way.

"Dean-"

"No, Sammy." Dean's tone was firm but his use of the childhood nickname suggested compassion, "You've checked them twice already."

"But…" Sam trailed off, shifting anxiously from one foot to the other. The thing about irrational urges is… well, they're irrational, but it didn't make them any less real.

"Sit down, Sam. The salts in the same place it was fifteen minutes ago. Everything's locked. The wards are still up. Nothing – no one – is getting in."

Dean wasn't backing down. Sam knew to pick his fights and this one he wasn't going to win. Sighing, he sat himself back down on his bed.

XXX

They were at a diner, eating breakfast, when Dean brought it up again.

"Sam, I think you should talk to someone."

Sam kept on tearing the crusts off of his toast, didn't even look up. "No."

Dean sighed, taking a gulp of his lukewarm coffee, "You can't hunt like this."

That caught Sam's attention. He dropped the piece of toast onto his plate. "I can hunt. I'm fine."

"I think you need to refresh your memory on the definition of the word 'fine.'"

Sam picked up his napkin and started tearing the flimsy tissue paper in shreds. "I don't need to talk about it. I can hunt."

Dean leant back in his seat, "When did you last eat, Sam?"

Sam frowned and looked down at his plate.

Dean folded his arms, "You haven't had one bite of that, Sam. What, you think if you push it round your plate and break it into pieces I wont notice that you're not eating?"

Sam's frown faded. "I'm not hungry."

"You don't eat. You don't sleep. You really think I'm going to let you go hunting?"

"I'm fine," Sam half-heartedly insisted.

"Bullshit, Sammy."

Sam distractedly sprinkled the confetti that had once been his napkin over the tabletop.

"You need to talk to someone."

Sam hit him with the kicked-puppy look, that no one his age should be able to pull off, but it worked and Dean dropped the subject. For now.

XXX

It hadn't been Sam's intention to hide it from Dean. At least, not at the beginning, but in the beginning a couple of beers in the evening with his brother was still healthy and normal. It was when Sam started to out-drink Dean, and Dean started to voice concerns, that Sam had started to become more secretive.

It wasn't easy. Living in one-room motels, spending whole days in the Impala, left very little privacy for one to sneak around, but Sam managed.

The flask that usually contained holy water instead held whisky and, hidden under layers of clothes at the bottom of his duffle, there were two 600ml bottles of Jack Daniels.

It wasn't a problem. It was just… something to help him sleep, and any grogginess or vague nausea in the morning was well worth the uninterrupted, dreamless, nights rest.

"Earth to Sam?"

Sam blinked, looked up. Dean stood over him, a hint of exasperation and more than a drop of concern on his face.

"Huh?" Sam said articulately

"Sam-"

"Don't," Sam said thickly, cutting Dean off as soon as he heard the tone of his brother's voice.

Dean paused, forehead creasing a little between his eyes as he considered his next step, then smoothing out as he deliberately, to Sam's relief, changed track.

"I'm gonna go get something to eat. What d'ya want?"

Sam shrugged. Dean always asked and always got the same answer. "Whatever. I don't mind. I'm not-"

"Hungry," Dean finished in time with him, tone disapproving. Sam shrugged again.

Dean eyed him for another moment, and then moved to retrieve his leather jacket from the chair it had been draped over. He shrugged it on and headed for the door.

"I wont be long," he said casually, although Sam knew it was meant as a reassurance.

Sam waited until he heard the Impala growl out of the parking lot, then got up off the bed and checked that Dean had locked the door, checked the windows, the salt lines. Then he went back to the bed, picking his duffle bag up off the floor, and rummaged around inside until his fingers brushed the cool neck of a glass bottle.

XXX

When Dean found the near-empty bottles – shoved in the bottom of the kid's duffle bag – his first notion was to get pissed.

Exactly how long had Sam been hiding this from him? And what the hell did he think he was doing anyway, drinking in secret?

Then the anger turned on him. How had he not noticed that Sam had hit this point? How long had he been oblivious to Sam trying to drown himself? Because, of course he knew what the kid was doing.

It had been weeks since… that night in the alley. Almost two months. It had gone from 'I think you should talk to someone', to 'You need to talk to someone', and now Dean was thinking that the time had come for a 'You're going to talk to someone'.

Damn, this whole mess had gotten out of hand.

A key rattled in the door and Dean sat up straighter, whisky bottle in hand, making no attempt to hide the fact that he'd been going through Sam's stuff – something that had been officially and mutually banned somewhere in their early teens. He hadn't been sure exactly what he was looking for when he'd first started to rummage through the duffle bag. Maybe just some hint at what was going on in his little brother's head. Well, he'd found it, and now he had to deal with it.

The door swung open and Sam stepped into the room, a Styrofoam cup of coffee in each hand. He nudged the door shut with his foot and looked up at Dean as if to say something but then his eyes rested on the bottle in his hand.

Dean watched his little brother's eyes flick over the scene, taking in his open duffle bag, the look Dean was pretty sure he had on his face, then rest again on the bottle. Dean saw him add up all the factors and realize that he was screwed.

"You went through my stuff?" he asked weakly.

Dean stood, tossing the near-empty bottle down on the bed. "We need to talk."

XXX

Sam was tired. It seemed to hit him all at once. He was tired of the nightmares and the incessant voice in his head that warned him he wasn't safe, tired of drinking to silence it and definitely tired of hiding things from Dean.

He looked around the room at the immaculate salt lines, protection symbols on the walls, then at his brother who stood waiting, the bottle on his bed, thought of the hipflask at his side, and nodded slowly.

"Yeah, I think we do."

END

Hope you enjoyed! Don't forget to review!