Proofed by Twilightrayne who is doing an awesome Supernatural fic called Outlet, so check it out. I've been pestering him about doing a fic for this fandom for awhile and am pushing him in the hurt!Sam direction ;). So give him some love (and I guess help me coax him more into the hurt!Sam thing).

Spoiler: This is a missing scene from In My Time of Dying and it's basically nothing more than comfort without plot, because I needed it after watching the finale. Warning: Fluff.

It was a little difficult to put both of the men's experiences in here since Dean and Sam were technically on different planes of existence at the time. But I tried!

Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural, and am not making a profit from this fic.


Pent up frustration born from the heated argument spewing from his little brother and father had shot from Dean like a smoldering bullet, sending the half-full glass of water on his father's hospital tray flying into the room. In amazement, Dean and his family watched as shards of crystal-like glass and water rained down upon the hospital's standard, white-washed tile floor. The dispute between Sam and John had died immediately as the newly spilt water had soaked up their fervent row like a worn and well-used sponge. Stunned, Dean, though in his non-corporeal form, glanced at his baby brother in awe, and let out, "Dude- I full on Swayze'd that mother."

Dean didn't have time to marvel at the product of his white-hot frustration, however.

Suddenly, existence flickered in and out of reality in fleeting waves of darkness, as if there was something inside of his non-corporeal body: an invisible hand winding like a serpent around his being, pulling his very fabric in and out of nothingness. Dean wound one arm around his middle as he found himself eye to eye with the side of his father's mattress, knees having been pulled down to collide with the tiled floor. Overwhelmed by the unseen force yanking him like a rag doll between dimensions, he blinked convulsively as dizziness hounded him. "What the-? What is-?" the words died on Dean's ethereal lips as he vaguely heard a woman's voice over the hospital's PA system, followed by a herd of rubber-soled shoes trampling down the hall outside John's private hospital room.

Something was wrong.

"Something's going on out there," John voiced all three of the men's thoughts out loud, and Dean watched as Sam spun out of the doorway and hurried down the hall towards his older brother's hospital room.

Sam's muscular legs had him at his brother's room in a matter of seconds, heart racing at the sound of the medical alarms pulsating loudly throughout the packed air circling in the small, bleak room. The flat tone of the heart monitor had Sam's stomach doing flips like a pro gymnast going for the gold in the Olympics, and his knees wobbled when worried heat flushed his face.

Dean was dying.

"No."

Panic washed over him like a wave, drowning out the doctors and nurses swarming over his brother like flies. Sam's head pounded in time with the alarms going off around his brother; legs weakened, his body listed to the side, catching the door frame to his brother's room.

A sense of powerlessness wormed its way through Sam's blood: more than anything-including John- Sam needed Dean, but Dean was dying and all he could do was watch.

Dean couldn't move as fast as his little brother, being that he was tethered by a fragile string to the world-of-the-living, and, apparently, someone -or, more likely- something was hell-bent on cutting that bond as if it were but an annoying clothing tag. Even while in a supernatural state of being, Dean had lived the hard life of a hunter long enough to be able to tell that something otherworldly was attacking his body. But that wasn't the only issue Dean had to deal with: he'd seen the horrified and worried look on his kid brother's face as he ran from John's room: Sam needed him.

The machine's alarm attacked Dean's ears before he caught site of his kid brother, but when he glanced over his freakishly tall little brother's shoulders, he stopped cold in his tracks. In an instant, Dean's universe shrunk to the wraith-like being hovering like a wispy gray and white fog over his prone physical body.

It was, unmistakably, the same creature that had taken the young nurse's life earlier that very day.

And now, it was after his.

Dean's eyes narrowed dangerously. "You get the hell away from me. Stay back!" In an instant, Dean was in the room, approaching with deadly force towards the creature sucking his life away.

Panic rose as Dean heard the doctor: "No change; starting CPR." Dean, along with every nurse and doctor in the room, knew with crystal-clarity that his body was fading, and fading fast.

The sound of Sam's worried breathing cut through to Dean's consciousness, causing his anxiety to quadruple.

He couldn't die and leave his brother alone.

With that, a deep rumble burst from his throat as he bellowed, "I said, get back!" As soon as Dean's hands struck out and grasped the spirit, a rushing sound filled his ears and an invisible shock-wave sent him sailing across the room like a feather caught in a violent windstorm. A sharp, ghost-like pain pulsed through his non-physical back when his form struck and bounced off the wall. Steadying himself, he froze as he realized that the spirit was looking at him with old, ancient eyes. Dean locked onto the spirit's gaze for less than a second before it bolted, sending a gentle gust of wind to caress him as the form wafted purposely from the room. The drive to hunt and kill overpowered Dean, and his ethereal legs had him shooting out of the room like lightning in a fast and deadly pursuit of his attacker.

Dean was gone before he could hear a nurse state in a relieved breath, "We have a pulse: we're back into sinus rhythm."

The tiles beneath Dean's feet blurred as he swept over them, chasing after his attacker. A burst of energy shot through him when he saw the creature round a corner, but he stopped short as soon as he cleared the hallway: the spirit was nowhere in sight. The urge to continue trailing the spirit dogged him, but an even stronger urge ate at his core: he had seen his brother bordering on shock and he needed to go back to him.

A mix of confusion and curiosity ate at the back of Sam's brain. He'd thought for sure that he had heard Dean's voice while the doctors and nurses were attempting to revive him, but the sound had been nothing more than a deep, distorted whisper on the wind: none of the doctors or nurses had even heard the low, but fervent echo of his big brother's voice. That, and the glass breaking not minutes before as he and his father had been arguing did not add up to coincidence in a hunter's life. But, in a matter of seconds, Sam's adrenaline crashed, sending him spiraling in a whirlwind of emotion: confusion gave into relief, which flooded his system; then relief of Dean's revival left, leaving in its wake the empty feeling of silent shock at having witnessed Dean's brush with certain death. And if Dean was around as a spirit- though lively enough to curse his own failing body (Sam assumed) and shatter glass in frustration-it was a sure bet Dean was closer to death than he was to recovering. Devastation at the last revelation drove away the shock that had settled into his system and buried itself into a pit in Sam's stomach, leaving him standing just outside of his older brother's room in a catatonic-like daze.

Dean was surprised to see Sam standing silently in the middle of the hallway, eyes no doubt focused on his physical body. Feeling the need to break the silence around them and console his brother, Dean quickly hardened his determination and decided to try to talk to his brother once again. "Don't worry, Sammy: I'm not going anywhere. I'm getting that thing before it gets me." He turned his head and followed Sam's lost gaze into his hospital room, confirming that Sam had his eyes glued to his big brother's body. Dean watched as the doctor and nurses in the room hovered over him, performing their ministrations. Returning his gaze back to Sam, Dean added, "It's some kind of spirit, but I could grab it. And if I can grab it, I can kill it."

If Dean had a heart in his ethereal state it would have stopped: Sam had turned his head toward him. "Christ, please tell me he can hear me," was Dean's silent plea.

Taking a step closer to his brother he spoke, "Sammy? Can you hear me?" When Dean didn't get a response, he focused his eyes on Sam's face and got the feeling that his kid brother was looking through him, not at him. Which was creepy in and of itself, but more than anything, it caused Dean's hope to plummet to the floor. "Damn it Sam-tell me you can hear me-" Dean let out, something akin to desperation coloring his voice, but stopped short when he watched his brother's face crumple in a whirl of mixed emotion, causing Dean's gut to churn: he never wanted to see his brother like this. More to the heart of the matter, Dean never wanted Sam to feel like this, and it didn't help matters that he, though to no fault of his own, was the cause of the lost and hurting look on his brother's face. Ethereal and invisible body not withstanding, he had to do something besides breaking glasses to get his brother's attention.

Sam had turned his head towards the far side of the hall, having sworn someone was standing next to him. Someone whose presence had felt like Dean. When he saw that no one was there, the pit of desperation in Sam's stomach began to pulse into his bloodstream; and the need to be close to his brother pounded through his system. But breaking down in front of hospital staff or his father wasn't an option, so he found himself moving swiftly down the hall on autopilot, the desire to get out beating at his brain.

Before a brilliant plan could up and hit Dean that would enlighten him on how to reach his brother, Sam had bolted, long legs taking him quickly down the hall. "Sam?" Dean called out, practically on his kid brother's heals as he trailed him down the hall. "The hell are you going?" he yelled, frustration and worry getting the better of him: Dean knew his brother better than Sam knew himself, and Dean could tell Sam was itching to escape to somewhere. The problem: if Sam left the hospital's premises, it was extremely unlikely that Dean could follow, being that he was most likely bound to his body and the hospital by proxy; he couldn't let Sam leave, not after having to deal with watching his big brother come so close to death. But Dean couldn't get his kid brother's attention, regardless of the fact that he was yelling so loud in the kid's ear that if Dean had had his body back, Sam's eardrums would have burst.

When Dean's eyes caught the red glare of the exit sign in his periphery, he lost it. It was bad enough that he let the spirit get away, now he was going to let his brother get away too? "No freakin' way," came the thought. Dean's hand shot out to grab his brother's shoulder, "If I could break the glass I might as well try," but stumbled awkwardly to the side when Sam made an abrupt B-line and disappeared behind the doors of the men's restroom. Dean steadied himself immediately, somewhat grateful that, while in the middle of an out of body experience, no one was able to witness the clumsy mishap. Sam had pushed himself into the men's room with such force that the door was still swinging widely on it's hinges, and Dean, who was reasonably sure Sam didn't have to take a leak, made his way past the threshold and into the bathroom.

And found himself inches from his brother. The bathroom, though big enough for a wheelchair, was small, housing only one urinal and stall. The potential awkwardness of the situation was lost on Sam, and it quickly left Dean as he watched his brother lean against the porcelain sink, scooping large handfuls of cold water over his face and neck. A queasiness was starting to stir lightly in Sam's stomach; his mind was haunted with images of the doctor applying the defibrillator to his brother's chest, the shock causing the elder sibling's back to arch even as Dean himself remained unresponsive. Watching his brother so close to death took his mind back to the cabin they'd holed up in after rescuing their father from the demon-infested Sunrise Apartment complex. Only it hadn't been their father they rescued: they'd fallen for The Demon's trap, and Sam had watched as the creature that had slaughtered their mother tore Dean to shreds.

Both times he'd witnessed his big brother being pulled toward death, and he was powerless to stop it each time.

A squeak broke through the silence as Sam turned off the tap and leaned his forehead against the cool mirror, his warm breath fogging up the glass. Closing his eyes, Sam breathed out, "Damn it, man…" and then added in a weary sigh, "I'm sorry, Dean."

Before Dean could stop them, his eyes ran a lap in their sockets. "C'mon, Sam…don't do this," he let out a little too gruffly; he went silent as Sam leaned against the bathroom's wall and slid down the plaster, legs stretching out against the tile. "Sammy- don't do that: you never know what happens on these floors. You could get crabs, or worse: some brat probably pissed on the tile," Dean tried to joke lightly with the kid, but he found himself letting out a somewhat aggravated sigh as Sam's long legs moved into his space. Not wanting to find out if his kid brother's legs would pass through his spiritual form, Dean maneuvered around his little brother; he kneeled down next to Sam, his head practically against the sink due to the room's lack of space. "Man, am I glad you stopped growing," he said fondly, glancing at how Sam had to bend his knees a bit to fit in the small bathroom. "'Can hardly fit you in the car as it is. Would suck if we had to strap you to the hood just to get you places," Dean added, rambling.

Dean let his eyes pass over his brother. "Kid looks like he's gonna jump out of his skin." Sam's cheeks were flushed and his breathing was ragged, both physiological and emotional by-products of witnessing his brother's stroke with death.

Sam's mind was spinning.

He had to save his brother: he'd been dead serious when he told his father that he'd get a hoodoo priest to lay some mojo on his brother, but the search had lead him nowhere. Frustration and anxiety mounted, leaving Sam to scour his father's journal in desperation, and he even sought out Bobby for help when he went to retrieve the colt from the seasoned hunter.

Both sources came up blank: there were only charlatan Faith Healers to be found, and even Missouri couldn't supply the names of any psychics that would be able to provide assistance.

The only person left Sam would have turned to for help was Dean, but Dean wasn't around to help him.

Sam was alone.

Closing his eyes, Sam rested his elbow on his knee and knotted one large hand into his hair, "I looked everywhere- what else is there?" he asked himself brokenly. It didn't take a genius to figure out what Sam was talking to himself about: Dean had practically been breathing down Sam's neck when Sam had searched his father's journal for a way to heal his body. And, knowing his perfectionist, OCD brother, it was clear to Dean that Sam would have gone above and beyond to find away to save his big brother. But, Dean also knew that it was a fat chance in hell that Sam would have found anything.

Sighing, Dean studied his brother's face, as if looking at him intently enough would clue Sam into his big brother's presence, and tried, "Sam…." A pause, "C'mon, dude, you'll think of something…" but his voice trailed off as he watched moisture from Sam's closed eyes leak into the tap water still dripping off his baby brother's face.

Something pulled taut in Dean's chest at the sight.

Talking wasn't working: his brother couldn't hear him. But the drive to let his kid brother know he wasn't alone was overpowering his being, and before his brain had the chance to compute that his muscles were moving, Dean's hand had immediately shot out and landed firmly on his little brother's knee.

Dean stilled, both dumbfounded and in awe; but before he got a chance to proudly vocalize his awesomeness, he felt Sam instantly tense at the cold, cobweb-like sensation that had engulfed his knee and Dean watched as his brother's face went rigid. Dean had seen that look countless times in his life: it was the mug of a hunter. But it was also the face of his baby brother, flushed and stained with stale tap water and salty tears, which had Dean thinking that, even with the prowess of an experienced hunter ghosting underneath his skin, Sam still looked like his puppy-faced Sammy to him. He'd of course rot in hell before admitting that thought, which was more stereotypically parental than anything else, but that was beside the point: Sam was coiled to strike, and Dean, grateful Sam didn't have any salt on him, needed to do something to let Sam know it was him, to give him encouragement.

So, in a gesture only he'd done since Sam was a kid, Dean pressed his free hand to Sam's forehead and slid his palm firmly yet slowly down Sam's face, wiping away the sink water and tears from his skin. Dean was simultaneously surprised and comforted by the heat billowing off Sam's skin, the feel of the cool tears and water somewhat satisfying to his ethereal flesh. The fact that Dean could still comfort his brother during an out-of-body experience: priceless. Once he felt a cool pressure sink into his forehead, Sam had gone beyond stiff in an instant, jerking his head back to collide with the plaster behind him. Sam could feel his well tone muscles quiver, body pumped to confront the invisible attacker; but as the force pushed at his eyes and travel down past his cheeks and chin in a familiar circuit that had the tap and tears sprinkling from his face, he let out a sob and deflated.

Sam knew who this was; the glass breaking, the voice calling out that only he heard. It was-

"Dean…?"

This time, Dean swore the heart in his comatose body did stop.

"Sammy?" he asked, hopefully. Dean watched as Sam moved his eyes back and forth in front of him, obviously seeking his big brother out, but he didn't respond: right now, Sam could feel Dean, just not hear him. "Oh well, at least this is something," he thought as brushed a hand through Sam's fluffy hair and curled a palm around the back of Sam's neck. Squeezing, Dean whispered, "I'm here, Sammy." Dean felt Sam shiver under his hand, the baby hair on the back of Sam's neck rising as if brushed by electricity. Moving his hand up and down Sam's neck, Dean watched as the look in Sam's eyes went from hurt and alone to safe and loved. "I'm here, Sammy," Dean said again, slight smile pulling at the corner of his lips.

Sam didn't say anything else.

Sam's breathing began evening out, and silence stretched in the enclosed space as Dean kept one hand anchored to his baby brother's knee, the other sweeping gently over Sam's neck and hair. Soon, however, a feeling of heaviness and exhaustion began to eat at Dean's limbs, and he realized that he could no longer feel the heat radiating from his baby brother's flesh. The cobweb-like cold pressure claiming Sam's neck and knee also faded, even though Dean was still gently holding his brother.

"Bitch…I guess my ghost-powered Energizer Bunny's losing its juice," Dean thought to himself.

It didn't matter though, what little contact Dean had with his kid brother had done the trick: Dean's presence, although non-corporeal, birthed confidence in Sam's veins. Sam sucked in a deep breath; he remembered the doctor telling him to prepare himself in case Dean didn't wake up, remembered his father telling him that he didn't think they could find anyone to help his big brother. The curse, "Screw them," shot through Sam's brain: as long as his big brother, who was practically toe to toe with death, was too stubborn to giving up on life, then so was Sam.

After all, stubbornness was the Winchester way, and it appeared Sam had learned that infamous trait from his big brother.

"I'm going to save you."

Sam's whispered voice abruptly cut through the silence, surprising Dean.

"That's my boy," Dean grinned; out of everyone, including his father, the eldest Winchester sibling knew that the one person who wouldn't leave him for dead was his brother, his partner. A burst of pride ignited within him, pushing enough otherworldly energy through his system to playfully knock Sam's shoulder. The force of Dean's caring jab was slight, but caused Sam's shoulder to bump gently against the wall, making an almost imperceptible smile pull slightly at the corner of Sam's mouth.

Sam was standing in an instant, determination oozing from his frame. Running a hand through his hair, he pushed his way to the bathroom's door and stopped. Watching Sam's eyes dart around the small space, gaze still looking through but not at, but Dean froze when Sam's eyes landed in his direction.

"Thanks, Dean."

End.


The ending is not what I had in mind! But since this was only supposed to be 1,000 words, I figured I had to end it before it got out of control. So I do admit it tapered at the end. I may continue this…emphasis on the "may."

Constructive reviews welcome.