This short story just came to me. I felt it was a subject not many people had touched on in Supernatural Fanfiction. I decided to leave it up to the reader as to what the disease is.

Thanks for reading :)

Dean had promised he'd always protect Sammy. Always. He'd fight to the death for the kid, take a bullet or jump off a cliff.

But nothing could prepare him for this obstacle. He couldn't fight it- couldn't touch it or stab it- and he knew deep inside that this was a battle he and Sam would fight without knives or guns.

"Dean," Sam pleaded for his brother to see sense, his voice coated in a mixture of defeat and helplessness, just as lost in the world of illness as his older brother.

"No Sammy. There's got to be another way. Some witch or something-"

"You know that's not true." The truthfulness of Sam's words ringing in the hunter's ears. "That faith healer was rare. It's no use."

Dean looked up at his brother. He seemed so young. So pale.

So sick.

And Dean knew that Sam would get through this. He just knew, 'cause after all they'd been through it couldn't go down like this.

He remembered when they were younger, in another outdated, crappy motel room.

Dad's friend had died. 'Went down fighting,' according to John, and Dean and Sam promised each other to go out strong like that, too: The true hunter style.

But if Sam went now, it would be quietly. The softness of death in a hospital looming in front of them like the inevitable.

Then two weeks later Sam shaved his long hair and Dean shaved his too, just for the inkling of a smile that appeared on the younger brother's face; The first one in weeks.

They donned ski hats and, looking more identical than ever, spent nights in hospital rooms together.

They would read magazines and classics. The new releases and everything in between, smiling at the sappy vampire romances and amiable wizards plastered over the lists of books Dean was constantly looking up.

"Dean." Sam spoke one afternoon. "When was the last time you went out?"

This put the eldest deep in thought because, quite honestly, it was too long ago to remember.

"Like, a week ago." He answered, and Sam nodded, glad his brother didn't spend all of his time holed up in hospital rooms. Just because he was sick didn't mean Dean was.

"You need to get out. I know Sam's your brother but... Dean, you're not sick. You need to get out of the hospital and do things." Usually Dean took Bobby's words to heart, but he refused, hanging up abruptly.

Dean couldn't help but smile when a preview flashed on the TV for a new movie and Sam's face lit up, the latest horror movie exciting him.

"We should rent that when it comes out on DVD." Sam stated, returning to his crossword.

The two had never been much on movies, maybe going a couple times when they were younger, but never recently.

It gave Dean an idea.

"I guess for a day, but if he feels queasy or dizzy, you guys have to return." The doctor didn't know who he was talking to. Dean refrained from a "Duh," and went to tell Sam the good news.

:::::::::::::::::::

I'm not a grim person, as most would assume. I do my job, and I do it well.

There are rules, as a reaper, and I follow all of them.

The Most Important Rule

Death is final.

For once in my life, I broke the rule.

I wasn't even there for either of them. I was there for a young girl down the hall.

But as I was making my way out, after reaping the girl, something made me stop in the doorway.

I recognized them. I had visited them before. As a reaper, you're assigned people- families- and I knew I had visited the two young men too many times.

I could see it now:

Most recently, their father, and I remembered a young women, on the ceiling, the youngest son being pulled out by the oldest, his screams still echo in my head.

I reached into the back of my mind. I knew there was one more, years ago, and as the oldest glanced out the doorway, his face- so much like her's- jogged my memory.

Their mother- young and blonde and hanging from the ceiling. She burned and I remember distinctly not being the only supernatural being there that night.

I was curious. This might come as a surprise, but reapers don't get to know the names of people until they reap them, unless they are higher ups.

But something about these two... It made me wonder. Why are they in a hospital? Was the man sitting in that chair next to the bed going to lose everyone? I held off on the questions for now.

I don't know why, but some feeling kept drawing me back to the pair and I found myself thinking. What could go wrong if I simply learned their names?

I approached them cautiously. The forms by the door beckoned me.

Sam Sparrow. Age 23.

I didn't read on. I wanted to know more. About the other. His wallet lay on the nightstand and they were both drifting off, so I took my chance.

But he had a few different credit cards. There was nothing of importance. Just a few bills and cards and a license. They all had different names.

I saw the book peeking out the edge of his jacket. They were both asleep now and I grabbed the book, flipping through it. A journal.

"Dean's 12 today. I promised him a new gun and he was so excited..."

"Sammy's finally 8. We're spending yet another birthday at Jim's but..."

"Left Sam and Dean with Bobby. Hunting a werewolf outside of town..."

Finally, true identities. The younger one was Sam, the older Dean.

I wanted more.

:::::::::::::::::::::

Dean knew something was wrong that morning when Sam woke up and felt worse than usual.

"Nothing's wrong." He said, but he wasn't even sure he believed it himself.

The doctor came in and pulled Dean away, a grim look on his face. It had taken a turn for the worse, he said, and they weren't sure how long he had.

The thing that hurt Dean more than anything the doctor could say was Sam's acceptance.

"It's okay, Dean." He whispered. "It's okay."

Dean couldn't fall asleep and, when he finally did, his dreams were haunted with nightmares of doctors and demons and the occasional burning Mary.

:::::::::::::::::::

I went to the hospital finally understanding why you don't get curious about people's lives: They grow on you, and eventually you'll have to "kill" them.

I walked cautiously into the room. Dean was awake, flipping through the novel he'd just gotten for them to read.

Sam was asleep, his pale figure barely noticeable under the covers. But I couldn't just reap him like this.

Dean needed his goodbye. I nudged Sam- not enough to make him suspicious or in any pain, but enough to wake him up.

"D'n?" He said tiredly, and it was obvious his time was up.

"I'm here, Sammy. Always. How ya feelin'?"

Dean was worried, but he tried not to show it.

And suddenly, as I put my hand on the young man's forehead, I knew. I couldn't do this.

But it was too late.

Unlike most, Sam didn't ask any questions, like Am I dead? or What's it all mean? At first, I thought it didn't work, but I turned around in confusion to see him sitting in the chair behind me.

"So this is it." He stated quietly, hands beneath his chin. He was looking unblinkingly at Dean, who was hugging his brother's body to him, tears falling freely.

"I-I'm sorry, Sam, really." But he looked up at me, his calm eyes gazing into mine.

"I'm okay with it." He told me. "Really. Honestly, my whole life I thought- knew- a hunter's death is almost always painful. Or bloody. Or both. This... This is better."

Nurses were coming in the room now, pushing past us.

"Time of death: 8:47 P.M." A doctor called, and Dean looked at the side of the bed with such anger in his eyes, such despair, I realized what was necessary.

People underestimate reapers. Those who know about them, that is. We can do much more than we get credit for.

The consequences were often harsh and ironic, as Death himself had a unique sense of humor, but it seemed worth it.

::::::::::::::::::::::

The doctors had called it a miracle. Sam died but his heart got going again.

"It's gone." The doctor had told Dean. "He's perfectly healthy."

When Sam woke up, the first thing he saw was Dean, eyes still red, smiling at him.

"Hey, Sammy." He told his younger brother about what the doctors said, but Sam didn't agree.

::::::::::::::::::::

The Most Important Rule

Death is final.

After meeting the Winchesters, I'm not sure I believe in the most important rule anymore.