Growing Up

Summary: After being told he was grown up enough not to need Dean watching him, Sam realizes the effects of this even as recent events begin catching up to him in some bad ways and he understands why having his big brother around is always good. Sick/upset!Sam /Big brother!Dean. Brotherly fluff.

Tags:Tagged to 07/08: Season 7, Time For a Wedding

Spoilers/Warnings: This does contain spoilers for episode 8 of Season 7, Season 7, Time for a Wedding so readers beware even though I try to keep most spoilers low key this one does hold them.

Disclaimer:I don't own the boys or anything to do with the show. This is written for fun and meant to be enjoyed as such.

Author Note:This is the 2nd tag for this episode with probably one more planned since we all know I can't leave it alone once I get going, lol. Sam's POV turned out a bit differently than I'd planned but still came out well. It's mostly brotherly fluff since I love those moments.

Sam's POV:

What's it mean to be told you're finally grown up? To most people it should mean a time in their life when parents are letting them have the keys to the car, being allowed out past nine o'clock or getting out on their own to live a life without Mom and Dad watching over them.

To me? What's hearing those words that I've been waiting years to hear actually mean to me? Ask me after it sinks in or I stop shaking and maybe I'll know but…I doubt it.

The past couple days had been…weird to say the least. Dean and I'd made our annual trip to Vegas but my memories tend to blur after I'd been camping in the desert a few nights. Lesson learned. Next time, do what Dean wants to do and forget communing with nature or getting to be one with my somewhat scattered as of late self.

Right now as I try to see how much steam this shower will make, I'm trying to decide which is the worse feeling for me. Waking up to discover that Becky Rosen, the Super fan from Hell as my brother likes to call her sometimes, had managed to drug me and got me to marry her or hearing that I'm grown up and doesn't need to have my big brother watch me so much anymore from the self same big brother who had been doing it all my life.

Memories of the time with Becky were sparse since the drug that's slowly going out of my system is making those come in flashes but unfortunately the memories that I do have are the ones I could do without on top of everything else.

Dean and I had been working on things ever since the Medium case and we'd been good. Sure, I knew he wouldn't go camping with me since camping and Dean Winchester just didn't go together unless we were hunting a Wendigo and then he was surly about it. This whole mess with Becky…I'm not sure how it is now.

I know I'd said some stupid things while under the control of that damn drug but I wasn't expecting after it was over, after Crowley took care of his own misguided Crossroads demon, after the annulment papers were signed and the little guy Bobby sent to work with Dean for my normally pissed off, hyper manic protective brother to admit that I was finally grown up…that I didn't need him watching my back so much these days.

I think it was the shock of hearing the words 'grown up' come out of Dean's mouth that threw me for a loop and shocked me so much that I then had to go and screw things up more than they were. I'm blaming it on that and drug and what I was feeling from that time on what I said to him next because afterwards, in the next few moments of saying them I knew I'd messed up huge but couldn't find a way to take them back.

I'd told Dean that since he didn't have to watch after me so much that he could start taking care of himself for a change, which was something my brother hardly ever did, but

I still knew by the way his whole body language changed, by the way he got quiet on the drive, that I'd hurt him…again.

Assuming I'd have time to go back and fix what I'd said, I kept quiet until finally being in a car that wasn't our Impala and three times two small for me to fit comfortably I began feeling tense. The events of the past few days catching up to me in a way that I knew Dean was probably watching for because I'd known since finally catching up to us at that cabin that he'd been pissed anyway and got more so the second he broke in the door to find me tied to the bed.

Being tied down or held down had never been a good thing for me. It hadn't been since I'd been a teenager and had gotten worse since I had a run in with some rednecks awhile back but those were little things that Chuck hadn't put in the books and for that I'm thankful because just having Dean know about some of my phobias or fears was bad enough even though only Becky knew those books of Chucks' were real.

I think being ruffied by Becky was bad enough but waking up with a throbbing head, which I suppose I should've let Dean look at, and tied to her bed strained things for me to the point where I have memories coming back that I don't want or need. Being left tied and gagged while she went for her little meeting with that Crossroads demon had me about going nuts to the point that by the time Dean got there I knew he could tell with just one look what I was going through and of course handled it with pure Dean style.

He's cracking some sarcastic line about getting taken down by a girl half my size with the very waffle iron that he'd given us even as he's cutting me free but I feel his hand shake before it touches me in a way to reassure and I recognize the concern in his eyes but by then I just wanted free and away from that damn bed to respond.

Dean knew that while nothing had happened it was still enough to bring crap back for me but I didn't want it right then and I'd managed to avoid it until now.

After beating the bad guys, getting unmarried…God, Bobby's gonna be pissed that we can't even go to Vegas without issue, and getting as far away from our number one fan as possible, I needed to crash so I suggested a motel. That's when Dean hit me with another surprise.

For as far back as I can remember, Dean and I've shared a room. As kids, we shared a room. When we began hunting again, even after all our problems, we'd always shared one room…until tonight when he booked us two rooms which told me that I'd seriously hurt my brother by saying what I had in response to his idea that I was grown up.

I didn't say anything and guess I managed to keep a straight face as I unlocked my room and then just hit the shower which is where I've been for the past couple hours.

This motel is old, the walls thin so I'd heard, over the water, the sound of the TV next door come on along with the squeak of an old bed frame adjusting to unfamiliar weight then I try to lose myself in the steam, the hot water that I know will turn my skin red.

Leaning into the spray that I feel starting to cool, I still see the slight gashes on my wrists from where I'd instinctively tried to twist my hands free from those ropes but Becky was a much better rope tier than I gave her credit her…or just that desperate to keep me away from my brother but either way I'd ripped my wrists up pretty good and was only just now realizing how bad.

Finally turning the water off, I grab a towel to dry off on then reach for the clothes I'd grabbed from my bag when my fingers touch worn material that I know without looking is my old hoodie and I smile a little because this was my go-to piece when I was upset or on edge.

Hissing as my head seemed to throb again, I try not to let the material touch my wrists or the spots that the scalding water along with the brisk scrubbing had made raw when my eyes seem to burn as they gaze at the other empty bed in the room.

Dean booked two rooms but he booked two double rooms which I suppose was still a habit for him. I wonder briefly how much it'll hurt when I realize he's booking singles but then know he's trying to give me what he thinks I want. To be treated like an adult finally…which is something Dean has never been able to do.

Sitting on my bed, I stare at the one closest to the door which has always been my brothers and feel like I did the first time I booked a room after he'd gone to Hell. I want to be treated like an adult, sure. I want to be treated like an equal, like his partner but I never said I wanted him to stop being my…my big brother.

Wondering if Dean's asleep, I consider hitting the wall with same lame excuse to get his attention or just going next door to tell him what I feel and deal with his 'no chick flick rule' look when I realize that I'd lost a couple hours in between leaving the shower and sitting on my bed.

Staring blearily at the clock between the beds, I see that it's 3:18AM and figure Dean's asleep which means waking him is suicide unless a Leviathan is pounding on the door but something deep down is telling me to risk it.

I'm not sure if it's the pounding head, the sudden chills that I'd been getting since before Vegas, the burning on my arms, or the fact that I'm seeing three of everything but gut instinct had me wanting my brother which is why I vaguely remember calling for Dean then try for the door when I remind myself that my brother isn't in this room with me tonight.

I think it was wishful thinking that had me hearing Dean's voice before I'd even taken a step from my room to knock on his door then all I can remember is losing what little was in my stomach before I feel myself falling and I miss the strong arms that keep me from faceplanting or the harsh oath that follows.

Time becomes a mystery to me as I seem to drift in and out of sleep, fever making me see things in my sleep but I'm mildly surprised that Lucifer isn't one of them. It's mainly memories of my youth, of the good times between me and Dean before I'd grown up to the point where even he saw less need to watch over me despite me being one step away from a rubber room.

In between bouts of coughing, when the hell I picked that up is beyond me but Dean'll pissed when he finds out, I think I hear more familiar sounds, feel the touch of cool rags being used to try to get the fever down along with a much more relaxing touch as fingers card through the hair that I can feel is in my eyes again.

"No, I don't know where he picked up whatever the hell he's got, Bobby. I just know that if I suspect he got it from that little twit or from whatever the hell she doused him with then I'm gonna go back and…"

The hushed voice was pitched low but even with an aching body, throbbing head and a stomach that just wouldn't stay still I still could read the ragged tone which usually meant its user was tired, worried, pissed or a combination of all three as my eyes try to open to find…

"…De'n?" my voice is barely audible and it hurts to even breathe but I still know the moment my brother hears me because I hear him telling Bobby that he'll call later then I feel a bed, a bed I have no memory of getting back to, dipping slightly under his weight as Dean sits on the edge with a bottle of water in his hand.

"Hey, you coming back to life, Sammy?" despite the easy going tone, Dean's voice is way to deep and gruff so I know he's trying to shield his concern which makes me wonder just what the hell happened to me. "Sam? C'mon, little brother, open those big puppy dog eyes for me. Sammy!"

Groaning at the louder voice, I try to throw an arm over my head only to feel one held to my side and I feel myself going rigid until Dean's fingers squeeze mine before releasing whatever he'd used to tie my hand down.

"You were too wild for the first few hours and I needed the damn IV to stay in so I had to tie one wrist down," he sounded really upset about that too because I can always hear Dean's deeper emotions in his voice even before I feel shaking fingers lightly touch my face like he would when checking for a fever. "Drink this and you won't need another bag of fluid."

Okay. Fluid, Ivs, fever and I was wild in my sleep? What the hell? "De'n?" I try again to ask then feel like throwing up the moment the water goes down my throat. "What...?"

"You gave me another reason to hate your Super Fan, little brother," Dean replied, sitting the bottle aside to pull the blanket tossed aside back up but I felt his hand stay on my chest which was another thing he'd down when I was a kid. "On top of the drug she used, on top of probably bringing back crap we both know we did, somehow you came down with a really nasty bug…and a damn concussion, ripped up wrists from the ropes and I won't ask about the skin abrasions since I guessed you did those yourself in that three hour long steambath you took after we got here."

Yeah, but he was going to stop watching over me so much? Only Dean could figure all that out in…well, I have no clue how long I've been out so I stop trying and feel myself slipping back to sleep but don't miss the way my brother's hand stays on my chest as I do.

By the time my head's clear and I assume the fever's down or broken so I wake up more, I feel like I did after being beat around by a water spirit when I was seventeen. Moving slowly, I feel weak which isn't a shock to me but what was a shock was the sight of Dean asleep in the chair he'd pulled up next to the bed so he'd be close to me, the bottle of Gatorade and the bucket filled with melted ice also within easy reach.

Blinking a few times, I see that I'm in my room and by the amount of takeout and delivery containers I can tell that I must've been sick for some time. That and the fact that Dean hasn't shaved in a couple days which means I was bad enough that he didn't trust leaving me alone.

Noticing that his hand was laying on the edge of the bed as if he'd had it over mine, I simply turn my hand over to grasp his and feel him jerk awake but wait until he's worked through his normal wake up fast routine to try to speak.

"Sam?" his eyes are tired with more shadows than I'd seen since Jess first died and he stayed awake with me.

I'm not sure if it was seeing Dean with his more guarded emotions down, knowing that he'd been with me for however long it was since I'd crashed on top of the memories that being so tired made it impossible to bury but the events with Becky finally had me feeling the first crack in walls that I'd managed to keep up since getting my memories of Hell and my time without a soul back.

"Hey, hey, Sammy?" Dean saw the change the second it happened because that's what awesome big brothers are for…or so he's told me in the past. "It's okay, little brother. Let it come and we'll blame it on the leftover fever and call do-over tomorrow."

Dean has never pushed me much for answers on things he knows make me uncomfortable. Only twice has he had to, that mess with the Benders being the biggest one, and I know he won't push me now. He knows that eventually I'll open up but tonight…today…whatever the hell time it is, he knows it's the emotions and memories coming up and he'll do what he's always done.

He'll sit beside me, let me talk if I can…which considering the raw throat probably won't happen, or hold me as much as he thinks I'll allow until I either get rid of the feelings or fall back to sleep to cope with things later on.

I feel a firm arm ease behind me to help me sit up because if there's one thing I can't do when I feel like this is lie down but being so weak I'm barely able to move so it's up to Dean to handle that but I'm still surprised to feel him lean me against the headboard before letting me make the choice if I wanted to lean closer like I used to as a kid or after Jess had died.

"Y'know, I'm pretty sure we're owed enough favors with someone that I can get a piano dropped on that little dingbat," he tells me easily enough and I know he's only half kidding since a part of Dean will never forget seeing my eyes in the cabin or understanding what being drugged would mean for me. "Or…"

"…Dean…" I merely say his name with as much strength as possible right then and he understands that I just want it put behind us. I can hope that Becky learned her lesson and for her sake knows to avoid my brother because Dean's lethal if he thinks someone has hurt me.

It's always been like that, from the time I was a kid to recently which is why it hurt so much to think that he would stop doing that but…

Taking a deep breath, I feel the tightness but not so much pain now and am able to swallow the Gatorade that he holds up for me to drink. "…So much…for being…grown, huh?" I get out before coughing and swearing never to camp out again. "Sorry…I…"

The not to sincere apology stops midway the moment I feel Dean ease closer so I was leaning against his shoulder for support while his other hand turned mine over as if to look at the now freshly dressed wound on my wrists before he lightly squeezes just above the bandage.

"Y'know, I meant what I said about you growing up," he began quietly but something in his rougher than normal voice made me look up to see that he was looking right at me and when Dean's serious I know to listen. "You're not the same twenty-two year old kid I came to Stanford for and you haven't been in a while and I admit that it's hard as hell for me to admit that but…"

I feel his grip tighten just enough for me to look back up at him and for the first time in a long time I see the wetness in my brother's eyes. "…but, being grown up doesn't mean I can ever stop being your big brother, Sammy," he tells me with a voice full of emotion, more emotion than I knew he was at ease with showing but guessing that Dean was willing to this one time for me.

"I've been your big brother for nearly twenty-nine years, Sam. You've been my pain in the ass little brother from the first moment I felt you kick in Mom's stomach and…no matter what else happens in our lives or how annoying I get, I will always be your big brother. I will always have your back. I will always be here when you're sick…though warn me next time you're about to lose your lunch cause those boots are now in the trash."

Only able to give a weak grin, I know I'll hear about the boots for months since those were his new ones but before I can say anything else I simply feel Dean's fingers card through my hair again in the same way he would when I was sick as a kid and I feel some of the tension going away.

"I want to give you normal, Sam. I want to be able to treat you like an equal but it's so hard to see past the little brother who used to want to be just like me that while I'll try to remember you are grown…I'll never stop looking after you," he pauses a long second as if waiting to see if I'd reply. "So, are we good…despite you still being sick and probably having nightmares again?"

Ah, nightmares. Those were never fun after something bad happened to me but Dean was always around to help me cope. I just wonder how hard they'll be in two rooms which is what makes me curl up a little tighter only to feel his arm tighten more as if in response.

"Growing…up, being…grown or wanting that…didn't mean anything if I lose…my big brother, Dean," I tell him quietly, hearing the soft 'huh' as if he was thinking then I simply feel the fingers that he's kept on my shoulder lightly rap my forehead as if recalling the lump on the back of my head.

"College boy isn't smart all the time," he murmurs and I fell the tears burn as I remember every single time he's called me that then I stop when he gently shifts so that things are a bit more comfortable for him and it takes me a moment to realize that his arm had also changed to a hold that would offer security but give me freedom too. "I'm still your big brother, Sammy. That won't ever change but what will change is this double room crap because you get into too much trouble if I'm not sharing one with you. So, from now on, I don't care how much you gripe and bitch-face at me, we are sharing a room. Okay?"

The tone was firm and pure Dean acting as bossy big brother but deep down I know what he's doing. He didn't like the two-room thing either and was essentially using my sudden illness as an excuse to go back to haring a room while not making it seem like he was taking back what he'd said about me being grown up.

"You're still bossy, Dean," I tell him with a tired yawn but it's my way of agreeing which I know he knows but even as I feel sleep coming again I still feel the need to say one more thing before he can call do over. "Dean?"

"Yeah, Sammy?" he's wary which tells me that Dean suspects what I'm leading up to but I ignore it even as I'm rolling more to my side but still need to stay close to my brother until the first wave of nightmares hits. "Sam?"

"I…I…you know that…" growing up with an ex-Marine for a Dad didn't give much time to learn to say three words that I think I can recall on one hands the times that I've said them to my brother. "I…"

The blanket, along with his jacket, are pulled up tighter to keep me warm while I feel his hand begin to move over my shoulder like he used to when I was small when I finally hear his voice close to my ear. "Yeah, I love you too, little brother," Dean whispers and I'm asleep with the low tones of the TV show he's chosen to watch before I know he'll fall to sleep until I wake up again and I smile fully for the first time a long time.

Growing up might be what most people aspire for but it's nothing, it means nothing, if in the process you lose the thing that you've grown up with all your life. Because being grown isn't anything if I lose the brother that raised me, so maybe being grown isn't all that it's cracked up to be because it's nothing if it ever causes me to lose Dean.

He can still watch out for me as I've learned and look out for himself…well, I'll look out for Dean because that's what brothers do. We look out for each other and God help whoever tries to hurt us next.

The End