Set in season seven. For the ohSam comment fic meme. Prompt by brokenangel6662: After being in the Cage, Sam can't even really tell when he's been hurt, no matter how bad it is. He'll get hurt in a hunt and not know till Dean freaks and tells him he's bleeding. He'll wander off barefoot, lost in his head, and Dean will wake up and run after him. His feet will be all cut up and bloody and Dean's panicking that he doesn't know what's wrong with his brother and doesn't know how to help him. Gen preferred.

"Lest Thou be Consumed"

Dean keeps a fairly level head when Sam burns both of his hands on a pot he'd dumped ramen noodles into. Sure, he has to pry the boiling hot object from his brother's fingers and sure, he gags and nearly vomits on the stench of smoldering flesh. That's no reason to freak out. That's no reason to curse, and spit, and wake up the entire neighborhood. So what if Sam doesn't even bat an eye lash at what normally would have even the strongest of men screaming? So what if he would have just kept on standing there, cooking himself, if Dean hadn't walked in? No reason to freak out…really.

A few soft words later, some gentle bandaging and Sammy's as good as new. He keeps insisting he's fine; that he doesn't feel any pain, that he didn't even realize the pot had been getting so warm. The worst part about the entire thing is that Dean believes him.

Whole heartedly he believes his broken little brother.

So, noiselessly, Dean listens, reminds himself the god he wants to pray to is the reason this is happening, and can only nod his head once in the end, his own helplessness more prominent than ever. "I know Sammy." Sam stares up at him, lost and confused, awaiting the usual big brother band aid Dean slaps onto all their problems.

He doesn't have a big enough band aid though. Not this time. So instead he swallows, squeezes the back of Sam's neck, and whispers once more, as if masquerading as some type of consolation, "I know."

Dean keeps an even more level head when Sam somehow manages to hike the mile back to the Impala on their hunt unaware that he is bleeding out the entire time. He's totally, completely oblivious. Yes, doesn't even feel the freaking five inch deep knife wound. Only when Sam's tossing their weapons into the trunk does Dean see the giant expanse of red staining his little brother's side. "You're bleeding…"

And Sam looks at him like he's grown a second head, like he's the unstable one. "What are you…?"

"Sammy, you're bleeding." Dean's moving forward, stumbling; whatever stupid, unimportant thing he'd been holding falling from numb fingers. "You're fucking bleeding! Jesus, Sam…" fumbling, he at last pulls the drenched shirt away, fingers sliding across slick, tanned skin. "Damn it…" He chokes a bit, the words catching on the sudden lump within his throat.

Sam's just standing there, like there's nothing wrong, like he's not critically wounded, like he shouldn't be in agony. "Huh," Sam mutters, eye brows scrunched in that geek boy way. Dean's busy trying to put pressure on the gaping hole, trying to pull Sam to the car, and trying with every fiber of his being not to say 'god'.

But he doesn't flip out.

Not even after the trip to the hospital, during which Sam seemed shocked by the blood pouring from his own body, as if it wasn't even his, like it couldn't be his. Not even after hours of waiting and pacing and not knowing what was happening to his brother. Not even after sitting at Sam's bed side, not even after Sam wakes up, blinks at him and whispers, "I don't feel any pain, Dean."

Not even after the subsequent pause, shortly followed by a soft, "I'm sorry."

Dean looks at the scars on his little brother's palms, at the white bandages visible beneath the hospital gown, at the hell haunted, watery hazel orbs. "I know, Sammy." Brushing the bangs from his sibling's sickly pale skin, he forces himself to gaze steadily back into eyes begging him for answers he simply doesn't have. He can't fix this type of damage. He can't make this better. He can't erase over a century's worth of torture, nor even begin to understand it. But he does believe his brother, so can only repeat, "I know."

Dean's most level headed, though, when three weeks later, he wakes up on Bobby's couch in the middle of the night to discover Sam to have wandered aimlessly off into the salvage yard. It wouldn't really be that big of a deal, after all, his baby brother sure does enjoy a good brood, except when Dean finally finds him, he sees that Sam is entirely without shoes.

The poor kid went out traipsing amid a glass covered, scrap metal mine field completely barefoot. "Aw, Sam…" Dean sighs in a mixture of relief and exasperation. Sam's sitting, back up against a truck, watching the night sky blankly, akin to an inert statue. Moving slowly, making sure not to spook his sibling, Dean lowers himself into a seated position beside him, their shoulders brushing.

Dean's not even sure his brother comprehends his presence. Sam's checked out, mind somewhere else, somewhere filled with flames, screams and torment. Dean recognizes the signs almost as clearly as he can distinguish the dirty cuts on the soles of Sam's feet, the jagged glass burrowing into skin, the dark blood trailing in small, mesmerizing rivulets. His chipped nails dig into the fabric of his worn jeans, eyes burning despite the knowledge that his baby brother can't sense the abuse he's inflicted upon himself.

"He liked to talk…liked to ask me things." Dean jumps, literally, at the sound of Sam's meek voice. After a brief instant of confusion, he abruptly understands the ominous meaning behind the words. Something cold slithers athwart his skin, gripping his insides and encompassing his heart. It's the first time Sam's spoken about the cage, about his time spent there…about Lucifer.

Dean stares at the hunched form, taking in the slump to Sam's shoulders, the sheer defeat in his stance. A ringing begins in his ears as he anxiously and mutely awaits more. He's not sure he's ready for this, not sure if he can take whatever information his sibling may impart. Sam's eyes are still on the stars however, the small and distant specks reflecting in their shadowy depths. Dean needn't look to see. "He'd get mad when I got things wrong." His brother continues, tone deceptively soft and conversational.

Dean's heart breaks a bit further…cracking, shattering.

Sam swallows, a shudder passing through him, and then he's leaning against Dean, against the support always so readily offered. "Even more mad when I got things right."

Dean's wrapping an arm around his baby brother in a second, drawing Sam into his side in an attempt to offer some semblance of comfort and support, to offer some semblance of the big brother band aid he can't provide. "It's ok, Sammy…" what an utter lie. In so many ways. "You're not there, it's over. You're not there…" He's here, with Dean. So why does it never seem that way?

Sam shivers, his flesh freezing and icy to the touch. Dean feels it through his t shirt, feels it all the way to his bones and all the way to the bottom of his tarnished soul. He doesn't have nearly enough heat for the both of them, because Sammy is cold in places that just can't be warmed. Can't be reached, or touched, or healed.

The disturbed, anguished hazel orbs blink away tears, moving to glance down curiously at the gory feet appearing attached to two very long legs. "I don't feel it, Dean." Sam murmurs.

The kid is pliant in Dean's arms, mere putty as the older man holds him tighter, as if able to keep every crippling bad memory and every knee weakening adversary at bay by his own protecting touch. He pulls Sam's head away, forcing his gaze from his ravaged feet, from the products of his ravaged mind, and tucks it instead beneath his chin.

"I know, Sammy," Dean soothes, voice escaping strangled and grief stricken. Yet he refuses to pray, even though he wants to, even though there isn't anything else he can do. Sam whimpers. Dean's well aware it's not from pain. Not physical pain.

But he believes Sam. "I know," and at least that's something his little brother can feel.

END

Soooooo this is me meekly adding that I do hope for less heart break than this when season seven comes around ;) though it sure is taking its sweet time! Lol, Hugs!