Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural, I just like to act like I do.
Summary: Sam is injured but he's furious when Dean wants to take Cas on a demon hunt instead of him. Dean says it's for Sam's safety but Sam knows between his powers and his addiction his brother just doesn't trust him around demons. Set in Season 4.
A/N: This started out as an additional chapter of my very first fic, "In the Darkness" but I spun it off as a separate story because I thought it could stand on its own. I wanted to dabble with the Cas, Dean, Sam fraternal triangle and revisit the jealous little brother theme before Season 7 irrevocably alters the dynamics between these three. However, my irrepressible muse had other plans and I took an unexpected detour into Season 4 angst. What follows is the result.
Sam had honestly thought he'd put his jealousy of Castiel behind him. He knew it had been unreasonable and childish to envy Dean's relationship with his guardian angel, but his resentment was too real to ignore. His insecurity had led to a confrontation with Dean and a legendary Winchester yelling match. However, once they had both blown off steam, Dean had reassured him that angels were angels but brothers were brothers. That had settled the matter in Sam's mind. Then came the muddled hunt that left him injured and had Dean calling Cas for back-up and Sam's envy flared again.
The brothers were investigating a haunted church in Ohio which wasn't haunted at all. The building had become a hang out spot for about half a dozen demons on a respite from hell. The Winchesters had arrived with their ghost fighting arsenal and were unprepared to respond when they came under demonic fire.
The brothers had gotten tossed around like soft balls with Sam getting the worst of it. Dean had managed to run from the building, but Sam's departure had been through a ground floor stain glass window at a demon's behest.
When Dean got him back to the motel and inspected the damage, Sam's left hip and shoulder were badly bruised and sore from the impact of the fall. He also had multiple minor scrapes and scratches from the shards of glass.
Instinctively, Dean new his priorities; take care of Sam and then take care of the demons. He settled his little brother in bed, cleaned and dressed the cuts, then quickly activated two large ice packs which he taped to Sam's hip and shoulder. Once the first aid was complete, he dug through his duffle pulling out his father's journal, holy water and a few hex bags.
"What are you doing?" Sam asked as Dean hurriedly transferred the supplies to a backpack.
"Finishing the job," Dean replied.
"Not tonight you're not," Sam insisted sitting up and then wincing as his body protested. "You need to take it easy. You got hurt too."
"Nothing I can't shake off," Dean looked around for his car keys.
Sam quickly grabbed the bundle from the night stand.
"O.K., just give me a few more minutes on this ice and I'll come with you."
"No you stay here," Dean ordered. "I'll take care of this."
"Without back up?"
"I've got a plan."
"And what do you expect me to do lie down and watch pay per view while you go off on a Kamikaze mission?"
"Don't worry about it," Dean shrugged. "I'll call Cas. I'll be back before the credits roll on the first movie."
The ease with which Dean had substituted him had Sam seeing ten shades of green and ready to curse a blue streak.
"I cover you," Sam's ferocious tone had Dean looking up in shock. "That's my job."
"And protecting you is my job which means you don't go into a building full of demons when you're practically debilitated."
"I've taken on more than that in worse shape than this and you know it."
"True, but not this time."
"Why, because you have Cas?" Sam said the angel's name like it was a curse.
"No, because it's demons Sam! I shouldn't have to remind you about our colourful history with this particular brand of monster."
Rage and shame had Sam struggling for control.
"What's the matter Dean?" he asked, his tone was as measured as it was bitter. "Scared that I'll use something more than a spell to exorcise them?"
Dancing around the issue had gotten them no where in the past, so Dean faced it head on.
"Quite frankly, yes. But it's not what you're thinking," Dean added quickly when he saw Sam wince as if he'd him hit. "Just trust me on this one. I'll take Cas and we'll take care of it, you just stay here and get better."
"Have it your way," Sam yelled. "Take Cas. After all your guardian angel isn't a blood-sucking liability who's bound to confuse a demon hunt with an all-you-can eat buffet."
Enraged at the accusation, Dean turned on his brother. "Don't put that on me Sam," he shouted. "I'm only trying to do what's best for you."
"No! You're trying to keep me out of the way because you don't trust me."
"Just be honest with me Dean. You don't want me in a building full of demons because you think I'll use my powers to fight them or I'll end up get juiced up on their blood!"
"You said we've moved past all that but you still don't trust me and you don't believe I'm strong enough to do the right thing."
"No, I'm not strong enough Sam. I don't have it in me to watch you go through withdrawal again and have to sit by like an invalid while you suffer. And if withdrawal wasn't hell enough for both of us there was everything that led up to it, the secrets, the lies and us not trusting each other. If there's the slightest risk that anything is going to send us back down that road then that's a chance I'm not prepared to take. I'm not allowing you anywhere near anything or anyone that's going to come between us like that again; because you may be strong enough to go another round Sam but I sure as hell am not!"
Dean turned away and covered his face with hands. Even he was surprised by his own vehemence but he meant every word; nothing was going to take his little brother from him again. Stunned, Sam could only stare at Dean's back as his brother's words echo through his head and resounded in his heart.
"I've learned from my mistakes," Sam's said softly, praying that Dean would believe him. "I'll do the right thing."
"What is the right thing Sammy?" Dean asked tiredly turning to face his brother. "If we go after those demons together, and I get myself into real trouble, you're going to use your powers, to get me out of trouble and we both know it."
"Dean, I ..."
"I know you would Sammy," Dean sat on the bed where he could look his brother in the face. "And you don't have to defend yourself because if I was in your position, I'd do the same thing."
They held each other's gaze as the weight of the admission hung between them.
Dean broke the silence.
"Either way, it's not a decision you're going to have to make. I'm not putting you in that position Sammy."
"I get where you're coming from," Sam conceded. "But I can't just leave your safety up to anybody, angel or not."
"I'll be fine," Dean squeezed Sam's good shoulder reassuringly.
Sam looked at Dean closely, searching his brother's face for any evidence of mistrust or what he feared most, loathing. Instead he saw what he had seen all his life; concern, dogged protectiveness and love.
"O.K," he agreed quietly. "I'll sit this one out. But if anything happens to you, your guardian angel is going to feel the wrath of hell."
Visibly relieved, Dean got up and grabbed his backpack. "I'll be back before you know it," he said confidently.
"Just be careful," Sam pleaded.
"I will," Dean headed for the door and then turned back looking for his car keys.
Sam tossed them to him. "Call me as soon as it's over."
"Sure." Dean approached Sam's bedside giving him a quick once over again. "Don't leave that ice on too long or you'll get burns to go with those bruises."
"Five more minutes and they're off," Sam promised.
Then Dean rummaged through his duffle and pulled out a small plastic bottle.
"Take some painkillers," he ordered handing over the pills and a bottle of water.
Sam quickly popped a few pills and gulped down some water. "Done."
"Now get some rest," was Dean's final instruction.
"I will," Sam promised. "As soon as you get back."
"Then I better do this quickly," Dean made a show of rolling his eyes before he headed for the door again.
"Dean," Sam called his brother back one last time. "I'm a hunter; I can't hide from demons forever."
"Not forever," Dean reassured. "Just until we figure everything out. In the meantime, me and Cas can handle this one. Angels are practically indestructible but brothers don't exactly grow on trees."
TO BE CONTINUED ... Going to throw in some sick!Sam and a little hurt!Dean because I just can't resist.