I'll Never Stop

Summary: A simple comment from Sam causes Dean to think about his own words as he realizes that not protecting his brother would be harder than either of them though. Big brother!Dean/ Tired!Sam/ Tag & spoilers for 7x08 Season 7 Time For a Wedding.

Tags: This is tagged for 7x08, Season 7, Time For A Wedding

Spoiler/Warning: Anyone who hasn't seen the episode, maybe shouldn't read even though I try to keep spoilers to a minimum a huge one is in here.

Disclaimer: I don't own Sam, Dean or anything related. Eric Kripke has that honor. This is written for fun and meant to be enjoyed as such.

Author Note: The first of probably 3 tags that might pop up for this episode. This is mainly in Dean's POV since that end statement from Sam really bothered me as I can't see Dean taking care of himself anywhere near as good as he does Sammy…and I swear no obsessed fan girls had pianos dropped on her…yet, lol.

Dean's POV:

Since I didn't have to look after him all the time I could actually start looking after myself? Me and my big damn mouth.

Sam and I had left Becky the Superfan who decided it would be a good plan to drug my little brother into loving her and then marry her behind a few hours ago before he suggested we stop at a motel. Normally I'd insist we keep going awhile longer or until I was zoned out but this time something in his tone had me agreeing…well that and that fact that I just hadn't felt like going on.

It was a big enough motel with not very many people so I did something that I'd never done before and booked two rooms which I think surprised Sam but he didn't say anything since I suppose we'd come to some unspoken agreement that he was all grown up and didn't need his big brother looking after him all the time.

Uh-huh. Yeah, I openly admitted that and then wanted to take the words back the second I heard them because who the hell was I kidding? I've been looking after Sam ever since Mom first brought the kid home but the look of surprise then what I took as relief filled his eyes that I kept my mouth shut…even when he chose to make a comment that was harmless enough to him but managed to rip my heart out.

"'Now that you don't have to look after me all the time, you can start looking after yourself for a change.'"

Sam had been through hell even though he hasn't talked about it yet and I know he's been waiting years for me to admit that my pain in the ass little brother was grown up but still…even after all the crap, the fights, the strain, I thought he knew. I thought he'd always known but I guess I was wrong.

Not feeling like sleeping, I flip on the TV but get bored since normally I'd find the most annoying show on just to bug Sam. No fun watching TV by myself so I toss the remote on the other double bed in the room which makes me roll my eyes. Sure, I booked two rooms but each had two beds. Guess it'll take some time to get used to booking us into two single rooms…which is something I never thought I'd do since Sam and I've shared a room ever since we were kids and this…just feels weird.

I had heard the shower come on in his room as soon as he hit it which doesn't surprise me since I know Sam and while I'd made certain to at least get the big details out of him about what the hell had been going on with Becky I still knew he'd hit the bathroom at the first chance. Some habits from his past are hard to break and while I know the girl didn't really know some things about Sam's past that Chuck, thankfully, kept out of the books it still pissed me off…especially when the geek Bobby teamed me up with and I got to that cabin.

I've been a big brother for over twenty-eight years and I know when Sam's in trouble. I can tell just by looking at him when he's getting sick, or he's hurt and hiding it or when he's just plain hiding. It took every ounce of strength I had not to lose my temper when I got to Sam and Becky to find my little brother tied to the bed and even knowing the girl was essentially harmless I knew what she didn't. That Sam did not like and would not handle being tied down well but I still made the usual cracks about getting whacked with a waffle iron by a girl half his size even as I was cutting him loose and ignoring the shaking I could feel in his arms.

Sam didn't say anything but I know he was remembering the same thing I was and I just wanted to get him loose, knowing the moment I did he'd make short work of getting as far away from that bed as possible and big brother instincts were right on…as usual.

Now, I'm in a separate room listening through paper thin walls for the water to cut off but after an hour and a half it was still on which was making me frown but since I'd admitted that he was a big boy now I tried to relax. Yep, Dean Winchester tried to chill but after another hour of being bored by even the Magic Finger bed and deciding against going out for a drink, I was about ready to toss it when I finally heard the shower next door shut off.

Take care of myself? Riight, how he thinks I'm going to do that when all I've known is protecting him is beyond me.

"'Take care of your brother, Dean. Take care of Sammy,'" words I'd heard from my Dad since the night Sam was six months old and everything in our lives changed. I'd grown up from the age of four…okay, I'll be honest and admit to myself that I'd been taking care of Sam since I first laid eyes on his chubby little self.

From the first moment our Mom let me hold him I knew what no one else could understand. Sam was mine. He was my little brother and I'd protect him for the rest of our lives no matter how big he got or how old we got. Even before the fire I'd vowed to always protect Sammy and…I'll never stop. I'll never be able to stop protecting him…even if it means going behind his back occasionally to do it but I will always keep him safe, especially from super fans with delusions of grandeur.

Of course that might also mean eating crow when I tell him I made a mistake…not that I think he's not a grown up because I do. Hell, the kid's four inches taller than me…which I hate, and has been through so much that it's hard for him not to have grown up but in some way…he'll always be a kid to me. Even if he thinks he doesn't need his big brother watching his back so much these days when…

A knock on the wall made me nearly jump out of my damn skin and swear to kill the very same little brother that I've been brooding over. "What?" I ask loud enough to be heard through the thin wall then wait for more time than I'm comfortable with for a reply. "Sam?"

"Umm, I think you have the case with my laptop. Can you bring it over or you want me to come get it?" the pause at the start makes me blink since I'm also excusing the tone in his voice as simply the wall between us and the fact that I'm still upset and brooding.

Looking around my room, I only see my jacket and my one bag which I know does not contain his laptop but to avoid the argument that I know will come I look and then stare at the tiny black bag laying on the top of my stuff.

"Huh," snatching the laptop case I head next door to his room and am just getting ready to bang on it when it's pulled open as if Sam was timing me. "How'd it get in my stuff?" I ask him after he took the case with a smile that immediately puts my warning bells up then I look around his room.

Normally Sam's the most clean and organized of us so to see most of his duffel tossed out on the floor as if he'd been searching for something I start paying more attention to him. That's when I look at him while he sets the laptop on a tiny table and catch the tells that only I'd see in Sam.

Despite the calm act he'd given me earlier he was tense now. "Sam?" I peek into his bathroom to see the clothes on the floor then I spot the towels while waving away the steam that's still trying to escape. "You trying to roast yourself or what?" I ask him then finally turn to see that Sam was watching me and chewing his lip which was pure Sam signal that something was wrong.

"I must've put it in yours by mistake," he shrugged then reached to pick his jacket up and that's when I see his wrist and forget everything I'd told him earlier when I grab his hand.

"What the hell, Sam?" I'm looking at the raw red marks on his wrist then push the sleeve of the worn sweatshirt that I hadn't seen him wear in years up to see the red skin caused by the heat of the water and rubbing too hard. "Huh, yeah. By mistake," I'm expecting him to pull away because when he's on edge he doesn't like to be touched or held until his nerves are settled. "You sure nothing happened, Sam?"

Hazel eyes snap up and I let go to allow him to sit on his bed with the laptop but I know he's not seeing it. The laptop was just a focus tool, something to keep his mind off of anything else and to get me over here, not that I'll ever mention that to him. "No, just brought back some stuff," he mumbled which was another habit my brother had only when stressed. "Um, thanks for bringing this over, Dean. Guess…you were doing something or watching…"

Seeing that his TV was on some movie that Sam would never choose to watch himself I can't help but smirk but make a casual look around before sitting on the other bed as if just noticing the show. "Not really. I hadn't found anything on TV yet," I tell him, seeing him watch me under his lashes before nodding to the TV. "You want this shut off since you'll be working?"

"No!" the sharp tone had me lifting an eyebrow at him then settled back on the bed as if to watch the TV like I normally would only to see him relax at that. "You…you may as well stay and watch it since I got you outta bed. We can call out for pizza or something."

Sam wanting pizza? Yeah, if I didn't know what was probably happening I'd be going for the holy water but since I do know and I accept it without a word I just nod and let him make the call with only a mild disgusted face at what he ordered on his half.

An hour later had most of the pizza gone, the movie over and my little brother nearly asleep on his bed so long as I didn't move too much. "Sam?" taking the laptop off the bed before it hit the floor, I reach over to lay a testing hand on his shoulder only to have it grabbed but instead of him pushing it away like I expected Sam tightened his grip like he's done only a few times since Stanford. "Hey, you okay?" I ask him, a little more worried when he didn't respond.

I'm starting to suggest that he get some sleep since Bobby really wanted answers on how this crap went down and then go back to my own room when I feel the first tremor go through him and I stop acting to just sit on the edge of his bed next to him. "You know it won't ever happen, right?"

"…what?" he asks after a few moments and I hear the tone of voice that he's been hiding all night. The one I hadn't heard in the past few weeks. The tone Sam used when nervous or scared and not wanting me to know it.

Moving my hand from his shoulder up to his neck to squeeze it lightly, I keep it there. "I'll never stop protecting you, Sammy," I tell him quietly, firmly then add as he finally looks up at me and I can see the emotion in those big hazel eyes. "I will never stop having your back or watching out for you. No matter how grown you are, I'm still your big brother and I'll always have your back. Now, go to sleep."

Yawning, Sam shifts on his bed to watch me as I reach for the blanket that he tossed in his restless quest to get comfortable. "You…going to bed?" he asks warily and I see his gaze move to the door as if waiting for me to leave him.

"Yeah, because it'll be my phone that Bobby calls first thing in the damn morning and I'm finally tired," I reply easily and with just enough of my usual gruffness to sound normal but I still feel him tense at the thought of being alone when I nudge his arm. "You, on the other hand, are talking to the guy since you're the one who had to go camping in the damn desert," I put in while flopping down on the other bed but turn so that I'm facing him when I catch his eyes. "My mistake, little brother. One room from now on. Okay?"

" 'kay, De'n. Night," he smiles in his sleep then I know Sam's out for the night when I see him roll onto his stomach and I watch for any more signs of tremors or shakes before seeing his breathing had evened off.

"Night, Sammy," I murmur, staying awake a little while longer to be sure he'd sleep since Sam was prone to nightmares when tense then I close my own eyes to go to sleep while making a silent promise to not only Sam but also to myself that I will never stop looking after my little brother…no matter how big a pain in the ass he might be at times. "Good night."

The End