A/N: A note about this fic - over on LJ a friend issued a challenge for an injured Sam/awesome big brother Dean gen fic of absolutely no more than 500 words. A vignette was born. I have to say, after a rough start to a new year I continue to hope will be better than the old, it was nice to get something on paper. Even if it's a teeny-tiny something.

Kung Pow

Sam was dying. He knew it, because he'd done it before, knew what it felt like. Most could only be hyperbolic about feeling like they were on death's door. Despite his mortal illness, he took some sort of weird, messed-up pride in being special like that.

Dean would think it was all his fault. Sam moaned, the most pathetic and miserable sound in the world. He knew all about pathetic, miserable sounds as well. He flopped and let gravity take him down. His vision was blurry but he could see he was aiming straight for disaster. Before his forehead contacted the hard surface, a hand grasped his left shoulder. Another hand cushioned his forehead with a warmth he leaned into even as it pressed back, pulled him bodily up. The metal of Dean's ring bit into his forehead a little.

"Hey, easy, easy," Dean said, in a rare moment of un-gruffness.

Death moments erased all the John Winchester out of Dean. Sam remembered that, though he wasn't sure how. The last time he had died all he had really known was rain and mud and white, pained light.

"I'm dying," Sam moaned.

"No, you're not. I'm not letting that happen." Dean's voice shook though. "Damn it, Sam."

"Wasn't your fault."

Sam wanted to say more, but the pain doubled him over and burned in the back of his throat. He choked, certain the time had come he was going to start puking his guts out, literally. He tasted bile and a tang of blood.

"Jesus, Sammy, just hold on."

There was a thump, then Dean's hand was gone and Sam was laid out on his back. He was going to die in a stinkin' motel bathroom. He frowned at the blurry shapes above him and the strange voices and sounds. It was true, what he'd told Dean. They knew they were looking for evil in Couer d'Alene, but neither of them had expected it to be serving them kung pao chicken at the Golden Dragon. The shi-tien-yen-wang had seen an opportunity and taken it, somehow knowing that in killing Sam, it would also disable Dean, long enough to make its escape. A Winchester trapping, or maybe just a human one.

His hand flailed when someone, not Dean, jabbed sharpness into him. IV. It was Dean who held onto his hand and kept holding on as his world became a mass of confusion and noise. He slipped into darkness he knew he'd never escape.

Except, somehow, Sam opened his eyes. He stared at a barren hospital ceiling. Pressure on his left arm and he was warm, pain free. He looked left, saw Dean there, asleep. His hand was the weight on Sam's arm. He had at least three days' worth of beard growth. Sam moved his arm, knew right away that was all he was going to muster for days. Watched Dean stir.

"See?" Dean said, with a smile that looked haunted. "I told you I wasn't gonna let you die."