Promises Kept

Summary: "If Its the last thing I do I'm going to save you" Sometimes a promise is all we have to hold on to, all we have to pull us back from the edge. AU I suppose, takes place during Mannequin 3, the Reckoning.

"Sammy." Dean's worried form crouches down beside his brother who is sitting on the edge of the twin sized hotel bed somewhere in Piedmont North Dakota. He places a strong hand on the back of the crumpled mans neck and gives it a reassuring squeeze inwardly cursing at the amount of sweat and tremble it contains.

Sam's shoulders are tight and ridged his fingers just as stiff as they grip like claws into his forehead his normally mellow and serene features etched in pain and what his older brother can only classify as fear as he deals with the ramifications of another 'seizure' that had only ended short of fifteen minutes prior. His pale and exhausted state causing bile to rise manifest inside Dean's throat, he needed to do something, anything...

His little brother was suffering and he needed to make it better.

"mm'fine" the words are tight and clipped as though it hurts the frazzled man to even speak

Dean makes sure to keep his voice low even as it develops an unmistakably demanding tone that leaves no room for argument."Dude you are father from fine than Elton John is from being straight."

"You're bed side manner is amazing you know that?"

"Yeah. Well" Dean retrieves a plastic pill bottle from his jacket and opens it sliding two pills into his hand and holding them out. "You are going to take these either without my help or with it your choice."

Sam's frown increases opening his eyes just enough to look at the two pills and grimace, he was taller than Dean, he was more muscular too... But Dean was playing with all hands on Deck currently while Sam was only playing with one and he felt as though even that one was dangling by just a few fingers only seconds from falling over, "Dean..." He tries one more time halfheartedly to protest.

"We are not playing with this one Sam, there is no room for discussion here I'm sorry. I told you what Cas said, this isn't a laughing matter."

"Then its a good thing I'm not laughing." The tired man's hazel orbs look defeated at the figure hovering over him as he takes the pills and slides them on to his tongue swallowing them dry with a scowl and a disapproving grunt.

"Hey." Dean tries to sound extra chipper as he offers as much of a smile as he can find buried beneath the mountains of worry inside himself, "Whats the worst that can happen?"

* Sn*Sn*Sn*Sn*Sn*

It takes exactly forty Seven minutes and thirteen seconds for the little yellow pills to spread through the youngest Winchester's blood stream and for euphoria to grasp him warmly, hold him close like a mother holds her new born child.

"Tree Trunks." The slurred whisper of his little brother diverts Dean's attention from the laptop where he'd been half assedly investigating their next case for the last hour or so.

"What's that Sammy?" He watches as the six foot four gigantic creature that he has the pleasure of being related to slumps a little more into the not so Sam sized Hotel chair he was now sitting in. His face is cast downward and the mechanical slow blink of his eye lids implicates to Dean that the little yellow pills had begun to take effect.

"Tr-treeeee... Tree Trunksss." The tone of his words reminds Dean of their last trip to the bar where Sam had had a handful to many Tequila shots and after a round of Aerosmith's Cryin' karaoke The Sam version complete with an air guitar solo, Dean had to fireman style carry his two ton ass out to the impala where he passed out after emptying the contents of his stomach on to her freshly cleaned apholstry.

"Oh yeah?" His brows raise up questioningly as Sam attempts to nod and only manages a single motion before his neck flops back and he is now starring dazedly at the ceiling with a lackadaisical smirk on his lips.

'At least the pattern up there is less busy than the horrid multicolored checkers on the floor, less chance of him cookie tossing and me having to play clean up crew.' He thinks to himself finding that his brothers sudden declaration for an inanimate object has peaked his curiosity, Dean, being Dean presses forward trying to worm his way into his brothers complex and far to geeky mind. Most peoples drug induced illusions involved naked women, dancing mushrooms and pie or at least a psychedelic cat smoking a huka right?... Or was that just Dean's?

He shrugs. "What about them Sammy?"

"Hmmmm?"

"The Tree Trunks, What about them?"

"Oh th-that..." He shakes his head and tilts his head forward managing to hold it there steadily for the time being, his glassy, drugged pupils blown as he looks in his older brother's direction . "My legs are tree trunkkks Deen'o... rooted... can't move... mm'turning into a tree.. mmm'turning into a tree" he repeats the last part twice his voice conveying startled amusement as he lets his head droop back down to study his legs again with wide eyes. "Treee... Trunks." His shoulders shrug.

"Sam-" Dean has to cover his mouth with his fist and fake a cough to hide his laughter his emerald orbs begin sparking with the same emotion and he clears his throat.

"Yer gonna have to plant me." Sam's Puppy dog eyes look more than saddened by this realization as he forces them up again and Dean notices they are now moist with somber emotions and in an instant his laughter is swallowed like a large lump that constricts his air way.

"Ah crap..." 'So much for happy little yellow pills, next time death make it the green ones... Green is always happy...

In Sammy's drug bathed mind his discovery is as real as peanut butter or rock salt and he looks truly horrified by his impending life as a tree "Promise me you'll plant me some place nice... s'mmm place warm but notttt... Not to hot..." He blinks and swallows his eyes closing only for a second before opening again his jaw clenching, "hot not like the cage... no fire... trees dun like fire, dun like fire i dun like fire either...When I'm a tree I won't like it wont like it more than I dun like it now." His head again drops to his chest, his chin trembling as he fights to stop the flow of tears nearly defenseless thanks to the supposedly helpful little yellow fuckers Dean was now kicking himself for making Sam swallow. "I dun wanna be a tree... a helpless tree... I dun wanna be a tree Dean."

Dean is up and out of his chair in an instant as he watches the horrified expression spreading across his brothers features. The tears never seizing to fall from Sam's eyes, they slide down his cheeks without mercy, without relief. "Hey... Hey come on Sammy, you're not turning into a tree and no body is going to plant you." It takes the older man only a few large quick strides to reach the other side of the room where he crouches in front of his brother and places a strong reassuring hand on his knee. "Sammy?"

"I'll be alone... I'll die Dean, die in the winter... and someone will cut me down, I'll be alone and you'll forget... mhmmmm I'll be alone again I'll be alone...Alone...I dun wanna be a tree... Please I dun wanna be alone, don't leave me alone..." He wipes his cheek with the back of his hand and sniffles drawing his lip into his mouth.

Suddenly the situation had fallen from comedy and landed in the lap of tragedy as Dean's heart splintered threatening to shatter inside his chest, the remains of what hell had spat out merely resembling that of his Sammy, his courageous yet awkward little brother whose smile could light up a room and whose tears could drowned the world, well Dean's world anyway.

"I won't leave you Alone Sammy, I won't leave you alone, I promise I won't leave you ever again you hear me, not now not ever...?" He can feel his stomach churn and has to steady his own emotions as he rubs the knee under his palm soothingly. If he ever saw death and his walls of mud and straw again he was going to go big bad wolf on that lying bastard for sure.

"The ca-cage." Unshed tears still clung to Sam's dark lashes as he swallowed his adams apple bobbing quickly inside his neck over and over again trying to force the words out. "In the cage... in the caa-cage I was alone... only my screams, only my screams to comfort me...through... everything... everything..." His words were broken and thick with anguish."

the fire... it was so hot... it burned and burned it bit me and I wanted to fight I tried to fight I tried Dean... I tried..." The last word slipped out as a whisper and the younger man closes his against his will his features beginning to relax

He looked like the three year old child who Dean had tucked into bed after countless nightmares and Dean felt his arms ache to hold his baby brother close, to run his fingers through unruly brown masses of uncombed hair and whisper words of comfort.

To be the hero his brother had told all the kids in his grade school classes he was and make everything ok again... His stomach clenched as he shut his own eyes tightly and rubbed them forcefully with his palms He could feel the tears building and did his best to hold them off, to be strong.

He couldn't save Sammy from hell, but he would do anything in his power to save him from the treacherous clutches of her after math. "It's ok Sammy, it's gonna be okay. You hear me little brother?" His fingers tremble as he brings them up and brushes a few strands of hair from Sam's forehead comfortingly.

At first he's not even sure his words are heard it takes over a minute for Sam's lips to curl at the corners into a sloppy groggy smile, "I know..." He manages quietly "Because if its the last thing you do... you're going to save me..." there is a break in his statement as he exhales "You promised... "

"Yeah man. Yeah I did" Dean can't help his own sad smile at the memory of his own words that flickers inside his head.

"So I waited... because I knew you would never break a promise Dean.. I...I knew you would come." Sam's words are nearly muted as he lets exhaustion grip him and the comforting realization that his brother had kept his promise lulls him to near unconsciousness "I knew you would save me... You would find a way. You Promised."

They came now hard and fast and he didn't fight them... Falling back his soul aching with a weight to heavy to bare anymore Dean Winchester, hunter, thief, con man... Brother. Bowed his head closed his eyes as memories, realizations and silent sobs shook his body.

-fin