Disclaimer: Not mine. I wish though...
A/N: What happened to me? I never write anything this short! I blame the new laptop... it attacked me after tonight's episode!
If anyone had asked him that morning, he would have assured them (perhaps physically, just for the hell of it) that he knew -knew, in his heart as well as his head- that the man sitting beside him in the Impala was not Sam. Not his Sam, not the boy he had practically raised, not the man he had fought beside and literally died for. Not the one person he would give up anything for.
Just an empty shell. He was a robot, an imposter. The lights were on but nobody's home. Running on autopilot. A coherent zombie, but at least one that wasn't trying to gnaw Dean's arm off. He hadn't appeared to be dangerous (at least not physically, and Dean stubbornly refused to acknowlege any other danger), so Dean had put up with his presence. Or so he told himself.
All those delusions were shattered in the second it took for Crowley to touch Sam's hand, for Sam to scream in pain. Horror had flooded him drowned out only by helplessness as he watched the redness spread across Sam's hand. His heart, stomach, and fists clenched as he watched what he had accepted as an expressionless face twist in pain. The cry he let out (because Dean refused to even think of it as a scream) was all the more horrifying because of the lack of emotion he had heard lately. The man sitting across from him was untouchable, unflappable, unbothered by such petty things as right or wrong. Dean felt his fingernails dig into his palms as he restrained himself from reaching out to knock Crowley into the second Tuesday of next week.
Another touch from the power-mad demon and the pain, along with the wound causing it, disappeared. Dean's jaw clenched even harder with anger and helplessness as Sam's face slowly relaxed, the last remnants of pain fading and leaving him again expressionless, flexing his now healed hand. A flare of jealousy shot through him that this -thing, Dean thought, trying to be generous- could take away his brother's pain and he couldn't. Dean's head jerked up when he put the pieces of what he had just said together in his head.
His brother. Whoever the sasquatch across from him was now, he had once been Dean's brother. And could be again. And somehow, Dean had managed to forget that he had voluntarily promised his soul to Hell to save Sammy once. And seeing him in pain, just for a moment, was enough to remind him that he would do it again. Without thinking twice.