It's still me! Lost in a Forest! I just changed my name! Again… Promise!

I'm still not getting ANYTHING from FF in the way of messages and alerts, nothing, nada, jip! It's been months now! So I'm sooo sorry if you've sent me anything and I've not replied! My reasons for absence this time… it's a REALLY long story but basically, first my computer had to be put back to factory status so I lost everything. I've been really tired and sleeping a lot lately. Exams are almost here. Me and SamanthaV are still at a brick wall from the other two WIP's (we still promise we'll get them finished some day!) Not getting any emails from here has made me forget FF even exists, I know, I'm an awful writer and friend. There's a lot more stuff that's happened (nothing bad just incontinences I guess you could call them.) But I hope this co-written fic with moviegeek03 makes up for my slacking, at least a little bit!

Title: Matching Weight

Authors: beckaboo and moviegeek03

Warnings: Hurt!Sam, slightly mean!Dean.

Characters: Sam and Dean. Gen.

Disclaimer: These characters are not ours, we're just borrowing them to make this story.

Summary: Dean is hurt on a hunt, Sam can't feel worse about it, except he can when he realizes he's hurt too, he can't do anything right these days it seems.

Matching Weight

Sam moves to grab the bags, all of them. They're heavy when they're all on one shoulder, his laptop bag, his and Dean's duffels filled with clothes and the usual on the road necessities. And being hurt but trying to hide it, makes them weigh even more.

"I got it," Dean insisted, moving his good hand out to take it from his brother.

"No, I got 'em," Sam sort of snaps, closing the trunk lid and resisting the urge to support his side while he reaches up.

"What's got your panties in a wad? I'm the one with the fucked arm remember?"

Dean is in a bitch of a mood, hurting and trying to stir up some frustrations in his brother, misery loves company and all that. The last hunt didn't go so well, Dean ended up with a dislocated shoulder, again, thirty one stitches up the very same arm complete with an infection, and it was putting them out of commission for at least another day or two.

Sam doesn't take the bait; he's too sore to argue tonight. He just dumps the bags in the appropriate beds before taking off to the bathroom with his shower gel and toothpaste.

"Don't use all the hot water again princess!"

Sam sighs closing the door behind him, deciding he's not having a shower tonight…there is only ever enough water for one person in crappy motels like this one, if you were lucky. Sam can't handle his brother whining for hours in the car tomorrow about how he was hurt and how if anyone deserved the warm water it was him. Yeah he did, with all he'd been through these last few months, almost dying, dad dying for him, dad dying period. Dean needed a break in life already, but fuck did he have to keep droning on about it to the one person that already knows all too well? Sam got it, he got it more than probably Dean himself did, he'd gone over it enough times inside his head, so he was sick to death of hearing it outside as well.

He takes out his tooth paste and squeezes some over his brush, holding his free hand around his middle as sweeps back and forth over all of his teeth, wincing when he bends down to spit out the foam and rinse his mouth out.

It had been three days since he was tossed into a grave head first. The gash along his hairline was closing up quickly, but his ribs, if anything, were getting worse. He thought it was a cracked rib or two, the bruises certainly pointed to that conclusion. But the black and blue was spreading, plus they felt deeper than just bone and the usual throb of cracked ribs was blooming into a fast burning sensation. Usually he'd tell Dean, in a manly way of course with a grunt and a shrug. Something like 'dude my side feels like a bitch' or 'man that ghost must have hit me harder than I thought.' Whatever it was he said, it would trigger a chain reaction of Dean's over protective brotherly senses. He'd ask Sam countless questions, being thorough like any good doctor and with the information Sam would give him. He would then choose the best course of action, be that stronger pain killers or a trip to the local clinic.

This time though, Sam felt like he was on his own. Dean had too much on his shoulders weighing him down already, he didn't need Sam's complaining over something as miniscule as sore ribs added to his pile of steamy shit.

He'd give it a few more days and if by the next time they found a hunt it wasn't better, he'd get checked out. He wasn't any good to Dean slow and clumsy, one hand on his gun and the other clutched to his side. What hand would he hold the holy water or salt in that case?


It wasn't any better…five days later…almost a week…and his 'sore ribs' were even putting pressure on his breathing now. He'd been lucky and kept it from Dean for all this time, a lifetime in overbearing brother terms. But last night he wasn't so lucky. He'd dropped the ball with the latest spook of the month, leading Dean to ask 'Dude what the fuck is wrong with you? Get your ass up and get moving!' Which was the current version of Dean saying 'Are you okay?'

Okay maybe it wasn't, but Sam was just keeping himself humored, deluding himself that Dean still cared a little. If you couldn't give yourself a little happy lie when you hurt this bad, when could you?

Dean was currently interviewing new witnesses from a Poltergeist attack while Sam was at the library doing research on the history of deaths around the place, or so he said he was.

"Samuel Bloom?"

Sam stands and follows the doctor into a small room, a desk and chairs at one end, an examining table on the other. Sam always hated rooms like this; they still had the chill of hospitals but were never equipped enough to actually do much good besides prod and poke you. They would tell you what was wrong followed by 'I'll have to refer you to the local hospital.' Sam had heard that too many times. He still wonders why Dean takes him to clinics when things were bad bad…might as well just skip and go to the ER straight away. Or maybe his big brother did it to comfort them both, thinking that if they just went to the clinic then it might not be as serious. It was almost never the case but again, delusion was a wonderful thing…it was nice and warm and safe.

"What seems to be the problem today?"

Sam clears his throat and his thoughts. "My sides been hurting for a while."

The graying doctor eyes him, "What would you call a while?"

"A week, maybe two."

"Have you been doing any exercises lately that might have resulted in an injury?"

Sam rolls his eyes. You have no idea. "Me and my brother got into a bar fight, been hurting ever since. I thought it was cracked ribs but now I'm not so sure."

"What type of pain is it?"

"Um… started off as just an ache, but now it kind of burns and feels like someone's sticking a knife in my side if I lift my arm too far."

The man nods, and Sam knows already this is too much for the good doc to handle…why they even bother with medical school he doesn't know. Waste of time spending all those years training to treat nothing but minor coughs and colds.

"Okay, if you'll hop up here I can take a feel of your ribs."

Sam moves from the chair, his arm still in its safe place around his middle and lays down on the table, pulling up his shirt and tee underneath. It was a nice time saver for them both, because the doc was just going to ask him to do it in about a second anyway.

The man tries not to look alarmed by the amount of swelling and marbled purple on Sam's abdomen, but he's good at reading people and this guy was bad at putting a mask on over his wide shocked eyes. On the bright side, it was only one side of his stomach that looked like road kill.

"You said you did this in a fight?"

Sam nods, even though he knows the doctor doesn't believe him. It's not like can say 'Actually no, me and my brother were hunting down this ghost that got murdered by his wife in 1986 and when we were salting a burning his remains to stop anyone else from getting killed, he sort of didn't like the plan and tossed me into the air straight for John Franks grave stone.' Yeah, that would go down well. Forget referral to the hospital, he'd be heading right for the nutty farm and there wouldn't be a choice in the matter.

"Well this looks like you've got some internal damage here, and there's not much I can do for that so I'm going to-"

"Refer me to the hospital. Yeah, I get it."

The doctor raises his eye brows.

"I get a lot of bar fights… my brother… he's a little frustrated these days and biker crowds help release the tension I guess."

"Well we can't choose our families, but may I suggest spending a little less time with that brother of yours, at least until you're fit to back him up in the bar again."

Sam smirks…okay this guy wasn't so bad. He takes the slip of paper once the doctor writes it up and tells him it should get him bumped into the front of the ER waiting queue and he'll call ahead on his behalf so he can get seen to quicker.

Sam checks the time, he's been in there half an hour, another hour or two in the hospital shouldn't raise any alarms with Dean. Hell, maybe he got to the library and it was closed and he spent the rest of the afternoon looking for another one but found squat. Yeah, that would work.



"Surgery, I'm sorry son but you've got a sizable tear in your liver and this isn't one of those that's going to magically close up on its own accord in a few weeks. If you'd have been on complete bed rest when you first got the injury then maybe but… now you're going to have to go through with this operation or you'll risk liver failure and your body going to go into shock. If, and when, that happens, you won't make it back here in time for us to fix that tear, it will be too late."

"But… I don't have time for surgery, isn't there any other way you can fix this? Pills? I can make sure I get bed rest until I feel better." Sam's not stupid, he's a genius in fact, but when it came to his health, he's always been seriously dense. He's lucky he's always had Dean to hold that fort for him as well, otherwise he wouldn't have made it past his early teens with how much of a klutz he was.

"It's only a small procedure son, and it might not even require an overnight stay. I do always recommend it to be safe but if you're so adamant on getting in and out quickly then I'm sure we can organize something."

Sam takes a few seconds to decide. He may only have one option with the surgery but the aftercare was a different matter to consider.

"How long would it take, from when I walk into the building to when I can walk back out again? How long would I be here?"

"Well… half an hour pre op to get you prepared for surgery. The operation itself takes about an hour and half, and then another hour for recovery and getting you to your feet without seeing double from the anesthesia. I'd say three hours minimum."

Three hours, three hours for Dean to go out, have a few beers, hook up with a busty blonde, or brunet, or red head…Dean liked them all…and Sam could be back at the motel before he even realized he'd been missing.

"Okay, what's the latest tomorrow you can do it?"

The young doctor this time, holds up a finger telling Sam to wait a second before he checks the records on the computer. "Five in the afternoon is the latest slot."

Sam chews his lip, nodding eventually, he'd just have to push Dean out of the door and to the nearest bar a little earlier than usual, not that his brother would have a problem with that, it was ten at night somewhere as he'd say.

The doctor runs over all the risks, how the keyhole thing works, how he won't be able to eat all day tomorrow, all the usual surgery crap.

"If you're going to go home then you need someone to pick you up, hospital regulations, is there anyone that can watch you overnight and take you home?"

"Yeah, yeah that's no problem." Calling for cab to meet him outside the hospital at eight PM was no problem, sure the driver wouldn't be willing to stay overnight in the motel room watching Sam for signs of internal bleeding, but the doctor didn't have to know that.

"Okay, that's everything, bed rest for the rest of the evening and tomorrow and I'll see you in the evening."


Sam leaves looking and feeling pastier than he started the day, but his plan was going to work tomorrow night. The only hard part would be hiding it from Dean all day.


"Hey, where were you?"

Sam freezes in the doorway of the motel as Dean's annoyed voice floats through the small space. He had so hoped to avoid this argument. His side is killing him, sending pain searing through his whole body with each step. All he wants is to climb under the crappy motel covers and not move 'til it is time to go back to the hospital. But it looks like that is not what Dean is going to allow him to do…

"I told you Dean, I was going out to do some research at the library."

"It takes this damn long to look through some old files?"


"No…the library was closed. So I had to try to find another one in the next town over. With the bus ride and the time it took to get there and back, I didn't get much chance to find anything for us."

Dean looks less than convinced, but doesn't keep at it, much to Sam's relief. "Whatever…look I'm heading out for the night. Don't wait up…"

"Never do," Sam mumbles too low for Dean to notice. He understands that his brother needs the time to heal, but this is becoming too much. Sam misses being able to just crash at the motel and watch crappy movies on TV. But lately Dean hasn't been able sit still long enough for anything of the sort. Any time he would allow himself to relax, the memories of his dad's death and the aftermath would soon invade his peace. Because of that, Sam never bothers to push the issue, instead opting to allow Dean whatever it is he needs.

Without another word, Dean leaves the motel room and heads out for the nearest dive filled with lots of booze and women. Sighing, Sam moves towards the bathroom to take a quick shower. While the water feels amazing on his sore body, the motions of actually bathing sends searing pain down his side. He decides to make the shower as quick as possible and head to bed early.

Sleep does not come easy for the hurting hunter. The pain from the tear in his liver simply does not allow for a comfortable position to sleep in. Finally, after over an hour of trying, exhaustion overtakes Sam and sends him into blissful oblivion…

"Rise and shine, Sammy!"

The loud voice echoes through Sam's aching head. The lack of sleep combined with the soreness of his body leaves Sam feeling like death. Sam would like nothing more than to stay curled under the covers and ignore the world.

Dean has other plans…

A pillow from the unoccupied bed goes flying through the air with a decent amount of force behind it before landing directly on Sam's injured side. The throbbing ratchets up a couple of notches, something Sam didn't believe was possible. He wakes with a gasp falling from his lips. Before he is able to recover, Dean flops down on to the bed, jostling Sam's pain riddled body.

"Stop," he manages to slur out through his clenched teeth.

Dean huffs instantly. "Stop being such a princess, bitch. I was just waking you up so you could eat. I grabbed some donuts and coffee on my way back home this morning. Excuse me…"

The smell from the paper box hits Sam and floats through the pained haze. He starts to get up to grab one when a twinge in his side brings him back to reality. He can't eat…not before surgery…

"Um, no thanks Dean. I appreciate it, but I'm not all that hungry."

"Ok…Just figured you didn't eat much yesterday. But, whatever, man," Dean says around a mouth full of crumbly pastry.

"How's the arm?" Sam asks when he notes Dean isn't wincing once while he lifts it to and from his mouth, shoveling food in.

"I'll live."

"Yeah… sorry," Sam says, because he knows that was a hit at his impressive backing up skills lately.

"Whatever princess. Just get up and dressed. I want you to do some research on a new hunt while I take care of the poltergeist problem."

"You doin' it alone?" Sam tries hard not to allow the hurt to escape into his voice.

"Yeah… it is an easy hunt Sam. I can take care of it myself. I want you to start searching for the next one. I want to be able to leave in the next day or two."

With another sigh, Sam throws the covers off his body and slowly makes his way out of the bed to the bathroom. His movements are stiff, and he silently prays Dean won't notice.

"What's wrong with you? I didn't hit you that hard. Don't be a dick and act like I did."

"I'm not!" Sam snaps and for a moment real concern flashes in Dean's eyes. Sam desperately longs for his brother's concern and help, but knows he can't allow that right now. "It's the damn bus from yesterday. The seats are too close together and small. I was really cramped up the whole time. Guess my muscles are just sore."

Dean easily accepts the explanation, and Sam breathes a sigh of relief as he goes to hide out in the bathroom. He is breathing heavily by the time he shuts himself in the smaller room. 'Today is going to be a long day,' Sam thinks.


Sam's earlier thoughts come back to haunt him throughout the day. It is long and filled with pain every step of the way. Part of him is really glad he's going in for surgery that evening… he's not sure how much more of this he could take.

During his time at the library he nearly passes out on the computer and books spread out in front of him. The glares the snooty librarian sends his way manage to keep him fairly alert. But he doesn't get much work accomplished. Around one in the afternoon, Sam gives in and slowly treks back to the motel. Once there, he throws himself on the bed, not even bothering to undress…

And that is how Dean finds him a couple of hours later. He shakes his head and lets out a frustrated sigh at the sight. "Guess it's a good thing I planned on doing this hunt alone," he mutters to himself. He grabs a notepad from the table and jots a quick note to Sam, just to let him know he is going to go through with the hunt and will then hit the local bar again, before grabbing his gear and heading out for the night. He shuts the door to the motel behind him hard, startling Sam awake in the process. Dean hears Sam's gargled awakening, but doesn't bother to go back in. He instead walks to the Impala and drives off to the hunt.

"Wh…" Sam half sits up in bed and looks around the motel room. His eyes first settle on the alarm clock, which reads 3:30 PM. He then notices the note sitting a few inches from the clock. He struggles to free himself from the bed; although it is painful, he manages to crawl out and grab the note. He shoulders slump with each word, but he knows there isn't much he can do about it at this point. So, instead of crawling back into bed and wallowing like he would love to do, Sam shuffles over to his duffle bag to get everything he needs for his trip to the hospital. Each step ratchets the pain up to another notch, making Sam feel ten times worse than we he started. Knowing there is no way he would survive a walk to the hospital like he planned, he places a quick call into the local cab company and anxiously waits for it to arrive.

The time passes in a blur, and before he knows it he is laid out in pre-op as a nurse moves around his bed. The exhaustion and soreness are making it hard for him to concentrate on whatever she's saying… something about needles, drugs, and anesthesia…it isn't like Sam has never heard any of it before. His anesthesiologist and surgeon file in not long after the nurse hooks up his IV; they quickly go over the procedure. He nods in understanding and soon feels the pull of the drugs flooding his bloodstream. After that everything become lost to the sweet, pain free oblivion.


"Mr. Bloom?" The irritating voice filters through the drug induced haze. "Mr. Bloom?" This time it is accompanied by a slim hand gently patting his shoulder.

"Mmmm," Sam moans.

"You with me sweetie?" The nurse moves her hand from Sam's shoulder to run it soothingly through his sweaty hair.

Sam groggily opens his eyes to take in the middle-aged woman leaning over him. He moans again as the bright light hits his sensitive pupils and squeezes his eyes shut against the intrusion.

"I know hun," the nurse tries to sooth. Although the drugs dull his senses considerably, Sam still feels stiff and sore. The entire situation makes him realize how much he wishes Dean was standing beside the bed instead of this nurse. His cocky grin and his 'About time you woke up princess, if it wasn't for the hot nurses I'd be bored out of my skull by now.'

After a few moments of Sam feeling sorry for himself, he opens his eyes back up. "When can I go home?" he slurs.

"Not just yet, I'm afraid. The surgery was a little more complicated than expected. Once they got in with the camera through the small incision sight, they found that the tear in your liver had worsened. It took longer to stop the bleeding so that they could repair the organ, sweetie. Because of that, you had to be given a higher dose of anesthesia during the procedure. It should wear off in the next hour or so. Then we'll see if you are up to walking around and everything. But right now, just lay back and get some more sleep."

As much as Sam wants to just get up and sign himself out of the hospital, his body doesn't comply. So for now, he leans back against the white pillows and gives into the pull of the drugs again.

The next time he comes to, there are more voices around his bed. Upon opening his eyes, he recognizes it to be his surgeon and the nurse.

"Hello Sam," the surgeon says once he sees that Sam is now awake. "How do you feel?"


"Any dizziness or nausea?" The doctor moves closer and begins taking Sam's vitals.

Sam's body screams 'hell yes' to the doctor's question, but he refuses to stay any longer than necessary. He already is worried that he won't be able to beat Dean home as it is. "No, not really. Just sore and tired."

To his relief, the surgeon seems to believe his response. "Ok… that's to be expected after this type of surgery. You'll probably feel that way for a couple of days. I just want to go over a few more things then we can see about getting you out of here this evening." He pulls a couple of pamphlets and papers out for Sam. "The main thing to look out for at this point is infection. Your incision might leak some fluid over the next couple of days, but if it looks more yellow or bloody you need to come straight back here. You might feel a little bloated; that's also normal. Air sometimes gets trapped in your stomach and there is nothing we can do about that. It should go away on its own, and is nothing to really be concerned about. Now if you develop a high fever or start vomiting, you should also come in. The fever could indicate an infection. Vomiting may also be indicative of infection or just a reaction to the anesthesia. Either way it can put a strain on your abdomen and cause complications. These papers detail the other things to look out for, but those are the main concerns. These also have some instructions on foods and activities you should try over the next days and weeks. Just make sure you and your caregiver pays attention to them."

Caregiver? Shit….

"Your medications are here in this bag and also have instructions. I'm going to go start your paperwork while Nurse Aims gets you up and moving." With that, the doctor exits the room to allow the nurse to take care of Sam. She is gentle and kindly, but everything she does ends up causing Sam immense pain. But Sam's fierce determination to get out of the hospital prevents him from letting it show. Instead he does his best to smile back at her and follow her every order.

By the time she walks him around the room and helps him back into a pair of sweatpants, t-shirt, and hoodie Sam is dripping with sweat, exhausted beyond belief, dizzy and sick to his stomach, and in pain… lots of pain.

"Ok, sweetheart. I'll go check on your discharge papers and grab you a wheelchair. Is your caregiver meeting you outside?"

Shit…hadn't thought about that…

"Um, could you just call me a cab?" he completely forgot to get one from the hospital in his rush to get one to take him here. "My brother will be home in a little bit to help me. He just got stuck working late. He couldn't change shifts. He tried…" Sam does his best to look convincing.

"I really shouldn't let you go home alone."

"I… please, he'll be in to look after me in a little bit, an hour won't make a difference." The fatigued tone in his voice combined with the sad puppy dog eyes seem to be enough to convince the nurse, because roughly twenty minutes later Nurse Aims is walking back in with a wheelchair.

"Your cab is waiting right outside for you, hun. So let's get you out of here and back home." She smiles sweetly at him as she moves him through the corridors and elevators. She even helps to guide him into the cab and slips him her card. "Here," she says, "take this in case you need anything. My cell phone is on there as well as my work extension. Take care Sam."

As she shuts the car door, Sam says a quick thanks and waves at her. She really was helpful and nice, much nicer than he had given her credit for while in the hospital. But once in the car, he definitely realizes it. His cab driver is the complete opposite…the man doesn't seem to give a crap that Sam just had surgery and feels awful. He ends up hitting most of the potholes and bumps along the road back to the motel. By the time he swerves into the parking lot near Sam's room, Sam is dripping with sweat and feels like he is going to be sick. His nails have dug indentions into the vinyl of the backseat. His abdomen feels as if it is on fire and the drugs have definitely worn off during the trip.

Somehow he manages to hand over the correct amount of money to the guy and stumble into the room. Once inside, stumbling over Dean's tossed jeans he'd probably worn on the hunt, cursing as he wraps a tighter hand around his stomach, he discards all the papers and bags onto the table. He then pads over to the bed farthest from the door. Each steps makes things worse, but he forces himself to keep going. It may take longer than normal, but Sam eventually has the bed covers pulled down and is slipping under them. His pain-addled mind forgets to take more meds beforehand and to drink fluids like the doctor had advised. All he wants at this point is to go to sleep and forget everything about the night.

So that is what he does…he easily slips back into sleep without much thought. However it isn't long before he is rudely brought back into consciousness. The couple next door starts an all out screaming match, startling Sam awake. He jumps harshly in the bed, pulling on his abused abdomen and stitches.

"Gah!" Sam puts a hand around his waist, as if that will somehow alleviate the throbbing. However, it just gets worse. It all becomes too much for his overtaxed body to take. His stomach lurches. Sam tries to make it up out of the bed, but he has no such luck. He ends up empty the meager contents of his stomach over the side of the bed and onto the motel's floor. "Mmm…" he groans miserably. He knows he needs to get up and clean everything before Dean comes home, but his body has other plans. Sam's arms give out on him, and he flops back against the bed. He passes out almost instantly…


"Son of a bitch," Dean mumbles. He is pissed…beyond pissed really. The hunt was not as easy as he had hoped and he was not able to even make it into the local bar like he wanted. He had left messages for Sam to come help him, but the little brat never answered. Now, fully intent on ripping his brother a new one, Dean fumbles with the motel's key card and enters the room. The smell of sickness and sweat hits him instantly, taking away most of his anger. "Sammy?"

Sam doesn't answer. Dean flicks the light on and frowns, holding an arm under his nose at the smell that only gets strong. Sam is sick? Why the hell hadn't he picked up on that earlier? No wonder the kid was in bed at three in the afternoon, that was completely unnatural. Sam hated sleep at the best of times, so he especially didn't take naps in the middle of the day…no matter how tired he was.

"Sam?" he calls again, crossing the distance from the door to the furthest bed in his most impressive time yet. Sam is face down in his pillow, his body curled and shaking slightly. Dean puts a palm to his brother's shoulder and feels heat radiating from him. His hand comes away slick with Sam's cold clammy sweat. Shit. "Sammy, come on man wake up."

Still, there's no response; Sam just sleeps and shivers on. Dean looks around to find clues as to what is up with his brother, apart from the puddle of puke by the bed that he was really not looking forward to cleaning up. Signs of aspirin if Sam had been compos mentis enough to take anything, or drink anything, or even do much besides sleep.

"Oh you son of a bitch," he curses when he sees the pile of pamphlets, the words 'post surgery care' screaming out at him like a damn fog horn. "Please tell me you don't need surgery you dumb ass," he whispers picking them up and taking a closer inspection. But everything, the words 'post,' the medication on the nightstand, the antibiotics and pain killers, all pointed to something else, Sam didn't need surgery…he'd already had it. How the hell could his brother have fitted that into the day? Was it this morning? Last night when he was out with Stacy, no… Tracy, wait… Kimberly.

He reads the care givers notes more thoroughly, seeing what he needed to do if Sam had just been for surgery…someone knocking him out, cutting him open, waking up alone. Fuck Sam shouldn't have to go through that alone. No one should. Why did he go through that alone?

Back to the task at hand, he forces himself to take in the warning signs of Sam needing to go back to hospital. Vomiting, fever, dizziness, yellow puss from the surgical sight…God he hoped Sam didn't have an infection and this was just the anesthesia wearing off. Badly.

"Okay, well you're not gonna be much help are you?" he asks Sam, but not really expecting an answer. Like he just said, Sam wasn't going to be any help at all in giving him more clues as to what the hell he needed to do at this moment in time to help. "Let's gets these sheets off you for starters. You're too hot."

He can imagine Sam making some sarcastic jibe at that. God knows he learned from the best and Dean's done it plenty of times when he's had a fever and Sam said something that could totally be misread as being gay as hell.

After getting a cloth from the bathroom and wetting it with freezing cold water, he rolls it up and puts it over his brother's forehead.

"I know, I know," he says when Sam moans. "Heat packs are more your thing but just be thankful I'm not dumping your ass into a tub of ice right now…or dragging you straight back to the hospital. When you wake up we are going to have a seriously long conversation about little brother's going for surgery without even telling their big brother's they're hurt. Then again that's kind of my bad for not noticing…for being a complete jackass lately."

He brushes the hair underneath the cloth and smoothes it back; he snorts to himself when Sam's damp bangs just flop right back down. When he feels Sam wince, before he actually does, he thinks it's about time to find out just where he'd been operated on.

He checks Sam's limbs, examining his sweat clad legs with gentle pats all the way from his thighs to his ankles. No hisses there. He gets a look at Sam's arms, what little he can, before it all comes clear with the way he's curled around his middle, his back arched protectively. Sam had had abdominal surgery, possible the worst kind not counting the brain. Definitely not something to take lightly, and certainly not something that should be done in and out in the space of what…the five hours he's been gone at the most?

He shifts to ease away Sam's arms, but his efforts are quickly fought. "Sssh, it's okay, I just need to look, Sammy," he soothes when Sam fusses and pulls away. After a bit of struggling, Dean gets Sam still enough, managing to tuck Sam's hands under the pillow under his head. He then lifts up his slightly damp t-shirt to see where the incision is. Dean hisses when he catches sight of the stark white gauze against bright red inflamed skin with the blue and yellow bruises above.

He ghosts a finger over the red blotted white strip and hates how tender it must be because Sam tries to curl himself into a tight ball again.

"Sorry, still raw?" Sam's whimper is answer enough. "Well, looks okay, no puss so far. I'll check the stitches later, see if those doctors can match my sewing skills." Dean smirks. "We've probably had more practice than all of those quacks put together huh Sammy?"

He thinks Sam would say yes if he was awake, followed by something like 'And that's not a good thing Dean, you sick freak.'

He puts Sam's t-shirt back down for him and watches his breathing as it evens out as much as it probably can in his restless state.

After a few moments of stillness, Dean cleans the mess Sam made on the floor and down the other side of the bed. He just takes relief in the fact that Sam didn't puke in the middle of their two beds; otherwise Dean's sheets might have gotten a mist too. It's disgusting and he gags once or twice. He still manages to get a few smart ass hits in while he's at it, telling Sam he so owed him for this and the next time he was sick, Sam wasn't wimping out and getting another motel room without cleaning the mess his big brother had made.

When he's done all he can, Dean dumps the soiled towels he's used from the bathroom into the trashcan and leaves that outside. No one's going to want to use those again. Though it doesn't bare thinking about how many others have probably sprayed some bodily fluids on them in the past and not had the consideration to trash them like he did.

He washes his hands and opens the windows to get rid of the last of the lingering smell.

Making his way back to his brother, he turns the cloth to the cool side for Sam then decides its time to take a quick shower. He doesn't want to think about what he's been kneeling down on. Even if his knees did miss the vomit puddle, he still feels gross. He leaves the door open the whole time and pokes his head out of the curtain every few minutes to make sure he Sam was still sleeping blissful, well… sleeping anyway. He doesn't hear anything from his brother in the other room, which is good but not so good at the same time.

He pulls on a clean pair of sweats and a white bed shirt. Neither of them were going anywhere for a few more days at the very least, so he might as well be comfy as he lounged around and looked after his brother.

"Sam?" he calls when he hears a moan just as he exits the bathroom followed by a cloud of steam.

Sam twitches his head a little; his fists tighten in the sheets he's managed to get tangled up in again. Dean unwraps his brother's freakishly long legs from the material and tugs free the vice like grip he has with his fingers. He takes the sheets away for good and sets them in a pile on his own empty bed. Sam goes still again now that he is free. Dean takes away the lukewarm cloth, cools it again with fresh water, and places it back on Sam's head. The young hurt hunter starts to turn again but Dean presses his palm to his chest, a comforting touch, and Sam relaxes fully for the first time since Dean walked in the room.

"Alright, just rest okay? I'll be here."

Dean sits on the edge of his bed and drapes his hands between his legs, sighing, watching, waiting. He switches on the TV and turns down the volume. He thinks even if it was blasting through to next door, Sam probably wouldn't wake up, but it was common courtesy that counted. Half an hour into some Jerry Springer re-run Dean moves. Standing from his own mattress, carefully he eases himself down onto Sam's, leaning against the headboard, one hand around the remote and his other around Sam's closest wrist.

"Your bed has better view of the tube," he says to Sam, who still isn't awake to listen, but he feels like he has to defend himself anyway. This totally was not because he needed to be close to Sam at all, to touch him to make sure he was okay enough as he could be. Okay maybe it was.


"Sam, Sammy, hey, little brother, I need you to wake up now. Sam," he calls, shaking just a little harder, talking a little louder, the worry in his voice just a little… lot deeper. Sam had started kicking his legs three hours into the Jerry marathon and Dean knew he was caught in a nightmare, couldn't the kid get any peace? At least Sam was waking up now. "Sammy, I know you're awake, come on."

"Whu… g'way."

"Sammy, come on, open those eyes."

"De… don'feel g'd, leme'lone."

"I know you don't feel good you moron. You went and had surgery and let some doctor slice you open. You should be in a hospital bed right now, not a motel one with broken springs sticking in your back at every moment."

"Guh-wa'y Jerk."

"Sam, I am so close to loading you in the backseat of the Impala right now and breaking several speeding laws to get you back in the hospital. So don't even try it, just open your eyes and look at me."

Sam whimpers but turns on his back as much as he can to face his brother. His eyes are glassy and his mouth is tight with pain, agony in fact.

"Why didn't you tell me you were hurt?" Sam shouldn't be under the 411 spotlight right now. He should be resting, but Dean had waited too long biting his nails…he needed answers.

"Didn't wan'yu to worry. Do too much 'lready."

Dean rakes a hand through his hair. "Ya know, for someone as smart as you are, you're doing a remarkably good impression of a dumb ass right now."

"M'sorry De." Sam's slurred hurting voice, along with the tremors running through him, kicks Dean right in his chest. How did he not see how much Sam had been hurting? Both physically and…the other one.

Dean sighs, "It's alright Sammy, let's just… forget about that for now. Your fevers gone down at least, and you haven't puked since your last stunt when I first got here. You need to hurl any time soon again? Because if you do, you are going to the hospital, I mean it Sam."

"No, don't wanna. M'fine."

"Yeah, you look it."

Sam moans as he moves just an inch, barely. He tries to push himself up into a sitting position or at least to rest against the headboard but doesn't get far before the pain blossoms and catches his breath, beads of sweat dribbling down the bridge of his nose, his chest heaving trying to pull in lost oxygen, pulling on his sutures.

"Whoa, easy, Sammy, easy." Dean's hands are on his chest and his forehead, forcing him to stop. "It's okay, just lie still alright, easy, you're okay." Dean watches the agonizing seconds roll on as Sam tries to control his breathing. The added trembling isn't helping where he's been gutted and butchered. He can't manage it…tears sting his eyes and he squeezes his lids shut tight, panting as they spill down his cheeks. "Sam? Sammy?" Dean is desperate. Sam can barely breath and all those bullet points on the leaflet say he should have called 911 for Sam hours ago. "Sit tight for a few minutes while I bring the car around."

Sam grabs hold of Dean's wrist with all the strength he can muster, "No," he pants, holding on until Dean sits on the small empty edge of his mattress. "Please… just… tired. Need to get my… breath back. Just wanna sleep. Dean… please?" He's pleading, sounding like a kicked puppy, looks like one too. It's pathetic really. "Please," he says one last time until something behind Dean's eyes gives in.

"Fine, but if anything else happens, you so much as scratch your ass, I'm dragging you to the ER. No questions asked; you'll do as I say." Sam can't ask anymore than that; he knows it's a good deal considering Dean is this wound up. So he nods, his body giving out on him again, his eyelids especially. "Don't fade out on my just yet. I still need some answers."

Sam forces his eyes open and grimaces.

"When do you need those meds?"

Sam looks at the clock. 2:03AM. "'Bout five hours ago."

"Damn it Sam. When you feel better I owe you a serious ass kicking." Sam moans again, and Dean can't help but feel even worse. "Okay, let's get some pills in you, then I'll let you sleep for a week."

Sam nods along, just barely. Dean knows he's going. He gets him the medication, crushed into a glass of water to make it easier for his brother to swallow.

"Can you manage something to eat?"

Sam makes a face.

"Okay, ginger ale it is." It was sugar at least. He holds the can for Sam with one hand and wraps his other arm around his back to hold him mostly upright. Sam mewls when he can feel the stain on his stomach muscles he's not meant to be using for at least another day. Dean rubs his chest when he's flat again until he's relaxed and his eyes close, and he drifts off letting the meds do their work.


The next time Sam opens his eyes, the afternoon sun is high in the sky, trying to peak through the closed curtains. Sam is instantly thankful they are closed. His whole body aches and he's not sure his sensitive head could take any added light. He shuffles around in the bed, bringing his hand up to rub at his eyes. He barely notices the blossoming bruise brought on from the IV the surgical nurse had inserted and removed the night before. However he does notice the stab of pain across his abdomen when he tries to push himself up some in the bed. "Gah!" he moans involuntarily.

"Hey!" Dean is instantly at his side, grabbing him around the shoulders so as not to cause any more trauma to his stomach. "I've gotcha, buddy."

"Dean?" Sam breathes out. "Wh-what?"

"The one and only," he quips back.

Sam wants to scowl at the smart-ass attitude, but can't bring himself to as he leans back into the pillows Dean is pushing under his back. "How?" he mumbles instead. He doesn't remember a damn thing… Dean was here?

"I came back last night. You were pretty sick… surgery will do that to you dumbass."

"So… you… last night wasn't a dream?"

"Well, coming in and seeing you like that was pretty much like a nightmare…" Dean grimaces when he realizes he said that out loud, pretty cheesy of him it was. He walks away from Sam and moves towards the motel's kitchen area. He starts the coffee maker before going to the fridge and grabbing Sam another can of ginger ale and snagging the bottles of pills from the table. "Here," he says as he moves closer to the bed once more.

"Thanks." Sam takes the glass and sips slowly; he hadn't realized how thirsty he was until the can was in his hand. He then gulps down the handful of meds.

While standing near him, Dean takes the opportunity to check Sam over again. He puts his hand on Sam's sweaty forehead, breathing a sigh of relief that the skin is definitely cooler than it had been hours earlier. Sam tries to back away, but Dean holds him in place. "Sit still… I have to make sure I don't need to drag your ass to the ER."

"No… Dean… I'm fine…" he shifts and swats Dean's hand away, "Really!"

"Sam," Dean huffs, "I found you passed out on your bed, shivering your ass off! You had a fever and were soaking with sweat! There was vomit all over the floor by your bed! Then to top it all off… I find these damn pamphlets on the table! So excuse me for being a little concerned this morning…"

"I… I thought I could keep it from you," Sam mumbles, his eyes fixated on his lap.

"You're good Sam, but you're not that good."

Sam let's Dean check his stitches then, he presses his lips together when the sticky gauze is pulled from tender skin. Nods when Dean says sorry for adding more pain to his already taxed out body.

"They didn't do a bad job, little red, not yellow at least, how's it feel?"

"Sore," Sam admits.

"Like I said, surgery will do that to you." Dean doesn't speak while he applies antibacterial stinky as hell crap over the four inch slit in his side and tapes over fresh padding from their rather extensive medical kit. "So…" He starts again when he's done. "I think I've waited long enough, and if you feel up to slapping my hand, you must be up to explaining to me when the hell you got hurt bad enough to need someone slicing and dicing you. Start talking, what happened?"

"I was…" Sam swallows. "Hurt… on our last big hunt, when I was thrown into that headstone. I thought it was just some busted ribs, but it got worse. So I stopped at a clinic the other day instead of researching. They did some tests… ended up sending me to the ER. That's why I was so late…" Dean nods in understanding and sits down next to his brother. "They did some scans and found a small tear in my liver."

"Shit," Dean mutters.

"It didn't seem that bad, I swear!"

"Okay, Sammy, calm down. I believe you." Dean reaches up and squeezes his little brother's shoulder.

"The doctor said they would have to go in to repair it. Wasn't supposed to be that bad though… just a small incision and I'd be in and out."

"Sam, I don't think you should've been in and out. No matter what type, surgery puts stress on your body. I don't like that they just shoved you out the door."

Sam looks to his feet. "I wanted to be back before you got here. I thought I could just act like I had a stomach bug for a day or two and you'd leave me alone. I didn't want to make you worry. You've been… well… lately things…"

"I know Sammy," Dean interrupts. "I haven't been much of a brother lately huh?"

"No! It's not that. It's just that-"

"That I've not been doing my job."

"Dean shut up already!" Sam instantly regrets the outburst as it puts added strain on his abdominal muscles. He groans from both the pain and the frustration.

"Take it easy damn it," Dean says, more worried than angry.

"Dean, I'm not a baby. I should be able to handle things without bothering you with it. You've got enough crap of your own to deal with."

Dean goes about checking the stitches and surrounding area. "I could've done better…"

Sam smiles for the first time in a long time. "Probably."

Dean tugs Sam's t-shirt back down and noting the lack of a fever, he takes the pile of blankets from his bed that he didn't use last night and lays them over his brother, tucking them under his chin. "Look, I know you're old enough to take care of yourself. But I also know you don't like admitting when something is wrong with ya. That's why I can always figure it out. But things have just been… well… hard on me," he says selfishly.

"Understatement of the year, Dean."

"Pretty much," Dean smiles sadly. "I want you to know… no matter how pissed I am, no matter what the hell is goin' on… you can come to me when something's wrong. Always here… I might be a complete jackass but I'll still be here…"

Sam nods, knowing his voice would crack with the emotions. Once he feels like they are better under control he looks up at Dean. Tears still shine in his eyes, but he doesn't allow them to fall. "Thanks, Dean."

Dean's eyes look as wet as Sam's, but he shrugs it off as best he can. "This chick flick moment needs to end, now…"

"Yeah," Sam laughed then clutched his stomach. "Ouch… okay… shouldn't laugh."

"I think you should get some more sleep, dude. You're still recovering." Dean pats Sam's shoulder. "By the way, for real, how are you feeling?"

"Tired… sore… like I was hit by a train… and the driver got out and beat me with a bat just for the fun it."

"Headache? Nausea? Dizziness? Anything like that?"

"Yes… no… sorta…"

"Sam," Dean warns.

"My head hurts from the anesthesia. You know it always gives me a headache. I just forgot how rough it is to come off of it."

"You really didn't think all this through did you?"

"I thought I did, at the time," Sam pouts slightly.

Dean shakes his head and sighs. "Well, your ass is still lucky I'm not draggin' ya back to the hospital. I want to… don't think I don't…"

"I don't want to be in the hospital Dean!" Sam winces as his yelling and movements pull on his stitches.

"Calm down," Dean soothes. "What's going on Sam? Hell, no one likes going there. But when you have to you have to. Even you know that. You don't normally fight this bad when it comes to hospital visits. You're the rational one out of the two of us for crying out loud."

Sam's puppy dog eyes go wide with emotions, and Dean can see how hard Sam is trying to hide them. But after everything he has been through over the last 24 hours, Sam can't quite keep it all in. A few tears leak from the corner of his eyes, making Dean worry all the more.


Sam draws in a deep breath, well, as deep of a breath as his abused abdomen would allow. "The last time I was at the hospital, well before all of this, was when you and dad… when you… after the demon…"

Dean quickly realizes what is going on with his little brother. "Sammy…" Obviously he wasn't the only one hurting. Hell, Dean knew Sam cared about their Dad and that the events had taken a toll on him. How did I not see it get this bad?

"I know… I'm being stupid. I can't avoid hospitals forever, but I would really like to try for now at least. Please? I don't want to go back… it was bad enough last night."

"Which is all the more reason you should have told me so I could go with you and… I don't know, moral support and all that."

As another tear falls from Sam's chin, Dean gives himself a mental kick in the go-nads for not thinking before he spoke… again. "Sorry tiger, I just… next time, tell me so we can do it together okay?"

Sam nods, he smiles a little at Dean calling him tiger, it's actually refreshing to hear it in a sincere manner from him.

"Okay kiddo," Dean says patting him on the chest. "Just get some rest. I'll keep an eye on ya."

Sam smiles his appreciation and snuggles back into the bed. He closes his eyes and feels Dean pull the blankets higher around him. He hadn't even realized they'd fallen down. "Thanks," he mumbles from around the pillow, not bothering to open his eyes. He feels Dean's hand run through his hair and settle at the back of his neck. With a gentle squeeze, the hand is gone and footsteps quietly resound through the small room.

Sam knows Dean has moved to do something else around the motel, but he also knows Dean is close by, watching out for him. Like always…

With that in mind, Sam finally lets the tension slip away and falls into a peaceful sleep, his mind finally free of all the worries and pain from the past weeks. The only thought to float through his blissful state is Dean's words from earlier… Always here…

The End.

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