Thankful For a Brother Like You
Summary: Still recovering from getting electrocuted then healed & dealing with a Reaper, Dean thinks his troubles are over until he learns that not all is well with Sam & he then must cope with a fevered, sick and exhausted little brother who has more wrong than just the common cold. / Sick/hurt/guilty!Sam & hurt but still big brother!Dean
Tags/Spoilers: This is tagged to 01x12: Faith. It happens after the end of the episode and will contain details for the episode so if you're new to the show be aware of this.
Warnings: I'm rating this one for language and some other things, including the use of OTC anti-sleep pills.
Disclaimer: I don't own them. I just write, abuse and then heal the boys for the fun of it.
Author Note: I originally planned this to be a 1-shot…a rather long 1-shot but a 1-shot. It's turning longer so I'm chaptering it. Please read, enjoy and feed the muse. Thanks!
"No, I know if you'd have known about Roy Le Grange that you wouldn't have given Sam the tip, Jefferson," Dean Winchester tried to reassure the older hunter over the phone while flipping through the TV channels in the motel room he and his younger brother Sam were sharing in the small Nebraska town that they'd come to in hopes of saving the older Winchester's life.
A week earlier he and Sam had been hunting a Rawhead that had been kidnapping little kids. They'd tracked the thing to a run down shack and while Sam had gotten the two kids out to safety Dean planned on frying the thing extra crispy with a taser set to 100,000 volts.
Good plan except for the part where he found himself getting electrocuted along with the Irish Hobgoblin thing and damaging his heart beyond repair. Learning that he only had a month to live shook Dean more than he was willing to show to his little brother who already appeared freaked out but he wasn't expecting when Sam said a friend and acquaintance of their Father's gave him the name of a specialist in Nebraska that it would turn out to be a blind faith healer operating out of a tent.
"Besides, the way I look at it we took care of something that would've turned nasty eventually and I'll still be sucking air in a couple weeks," Dean went on, tossing the remote on the other bed while touching a hand to the grayish colored hooded sweatshirt he'd been wearing while sick.
Dean barely recalled much after the first shock hit him in that shack. His next clear memory was of seeing Sam's huge eyes go pure puppy dog fearful as the doctors explain about the damage done to his heart. He'd stayed in that hospital for four days before checking out to learn that Sam had been driving himself half crazy trying to find doctors, specialists or something that would save him.
He'd known that his brother had been calling everyone both they and their Dad had ever known or worked with but right then he hadn't known just how bad it had been for him until some things Jefferson was saying began to hit him.
Still distracted by actually being healed, Dean had known right off that something wasn't right with it. Then it became obvious that every time Roy healed someone another person died. Learning that Roy's wife Sue Ellen had used binding magic to ensnare an actual Reaper of Death to heal people she chose while killing others she didn't approve of turned what had been a minor miracle into a case.
Now, after dealing with Sue Ellen when Sam broke the spell after she'd turned the Reaper on Dean, the case was over. Sue Ellen Le Grange was dead, a victim of the very Reaper she'd tried to control. Dean was still alive with all the tests saying his heart looked fine with no damage ever done to it. The only thing that still bothered him was that while he lived, the young woman they'd met, Layla, would die and he wasn't sure if it was a fair trade.
Sam was still a little manic, not wanting to let Dean do too much on his own or risk him overexerting in case it triggered something so that was why he found himself sitting in their room while Sam took their laundry to get it down before they split town.
Jefferson had called to check on them so that was what Dean was doing as he tried to relieve the man's guilt for sending them into something like they'd found. "Jeff, relax. I'm fine and Sam's…Jeff, what's Caleb doing with you?"
Deciding to finish packing so they could leave as soon as Sam got back, Dean was only half listening and half paying attention to what he was packing as he ran his tongue over his teeth while debating on telling his friend this. "Umm, you are aware that Caleb can't hunt Wendigos because with him being so skinny and so damn bald they usually mistake him for one of them and…well, let's just say it wasn't pretty the last time."
Smirking at the other voice that shouted at him over the phone, Dean was grabbing for Sam's hooded jacket that he rarely saw his brother without these days when something fell from the pocket that immediately caught his eye and made his blood chill. "Hey, Jeff? Put Caleb on the phone."
Sitting down on the edge of his brother's bed, Dean felt his chest ache which was his only real clue that he'd been hurt recently. Staring at the over the counter bottle he was looking at, he fisted it in his hand while trying to make sense as to why his level headed, always in control little brother would have meds to help him not sleep when he knew Sam wasn't sleeping well as it were.
"Hey, Ace, what's cooking? Besides you, that it?" Caleb was a long time friend of Dean's and around the same age so they'd hung out growing up while Caleb learned what he could from John Winchester.
"Cute, real cute," Dean rolled his eyes while hearing Jefferson shout in the back ground to watch what he said. "You've talked to Sam recently, right?" he asked, glancing to his watch and realizing that Sam should've been back by now.
A low snort was heard. "Who hasn't talked to the kid recently, Ace?" Caleb countered, still remembering the tone of Sam's voice the first time he called him and how much worse it seemed with every call since. "How is he anyway?"
"I'd say fine since we all know that Sam's the level headed one of us but…" Dean once again looked at the bottle in his hand. "How often did he call you?" he wanted to know, pocketing the pills while finishing tossing things into their duffels. "I mean…do you know how much he was sleeping?"
"Sleeping?" Caleb could have laughed at that since he'd picked up early on that Sam's obsessive need to heal or find a way to save Dean wasn't leaving much room for anything else but that. "Dean, this was Sam in pure manic obsessive overly hyper little brother 'Dean's hurt, John's no where to be found as usual, and it's up to him to save you' stage. I doubt if that kid's head has hit the pillows yet…much less closed his eyes for more than five minutes in order to make sure you were still alright," he replied, ignoring the looks Jefferson was shooting him.
While amused that Caleb still called Sam 'kid' when his brother towered over him even more than he did Dean, he shook his head. "Huh," he grunted, trying to recall the last time he could remember seeing Sam sleep and coming up blank since when Dean was sick he could blearily recall his brother sitting next to him every time he opened his eyes and now when he'd wake up during the night Sam would either be staring at the TV, his laptop or their Dad's journal.
Hearing Caleb make another thinly veiled joke about Dean's shocking thrill at the hands of the Rawhead and Jefferson yelling at the younger man, he was about to make another type of suggestion when he heard a beep come through.
Looking to see that it was from Sam's cell, he quickly put his friend on hold to take this call and was expecting to hear his little brother's voice on the other end but instead heard a much deeper, more gruff voice.
"Um…is this Dean?"
Instant flashes of concern, panic and anger hit Dean all at once as his fingers closed on the phone. "That depends on who the hell you are and what the hell you're doing with my brother's phone," he shot back, knowing Sam would never let someone call him unless he was either sick, hurt or otherwise unable to make the call himself. "Where's Sam?" he demanded.
"That's what he said his name was. My wife's taking care of him. I'm Scott, the owner of the Laundromat in town and your…brother, well, let's just say I've raised six kids and three grandkids long enough to know sick when I see it and this kid is sick," the man on the phone told him. "I stopped him from driving and he didn't want me calling 911 so asked me to call you instead. He said you'd know what to do."
Groaning silently, Dean was torn between slapping himself or slapping Sam when he got to him. "Yeah, just keep him there until I get to you," he sighed, writing the address down before going back to Caleb. "Hey, gotta go so you go blow up a Wendigo without letting it think you're its wife or something."
"Shut up, Ace," Caleb growled then noticed the edge to Dean's voice and knowing it. "Sam good?"
"Not sure yet," Dean admitted, grabbing his leather jacket when he noticed that Sam had taken the Impala which meant he'd need to walk to the laundry or call a cab. "I'll call later when I find out."
"Dean…" Caleb had known both Winchester brothers long enough that he could hazard a guess what probably had happened because and knew what Dean's first response would be now. "I know you and Sam still like to take on too much because Johnny taught you that being self efficient was key but…if the kid's sick or hurt too bad then do the smart thing and call Jim," he urged, hearing a reply but knowing that his friend would have to be desperate to asking for help…much like Sam had been and wondering how calm Dean would be to know just what else Sam had been considering to save him. "John needs shot," he decided while choosing to place one final call to his mentor's phone.
Mind whirling with scenarios, Dean made it the few blocks he needed to go while wondering what the hell was happening. He'd known by Sam's actions as of late that his little brother was trying to make up for what he felt was his fault for leaving Dean alone to face that Rawhead, then by getting them mixed up with that Reaper and making him feel bad about Layla.
Though the instincts that Dean had picked up raising Sam also warned him that something else was going on in that big head of his brother's and he still wasn't sure if he liked the implications of those pills or figuring out that Sam hadn't been sleeping as much as he should've been lately.
Stepping into the small Laundromat it didn't take him to find his brother or the massive mountain of a man who approached Dean. "You Dean?"
A quick look at the 6'6" man who weighed a little over three hundred pounds of solid muscle if Dean had to guess assured him that neither he nor Sam were in danger from him or the equally petite black haired woman who seemed to be kneeling on the floor clear in the back while talking as if soothing a small child and that made his nerves prickle.
"Yeah, I'm Dean," he held out a hand while keeping his eyes moving to check out the main room filled with older style washers and dryers. "Where's my brother and what happened to him?"
If the older man was surprised by the abrupt questions he didn't show it and he seemed to understand Dean's concern because he nodded toward the back. "Eva, my wife, noticed the boy right when he came in," he began quietly. "She was a nurse so she said he looked sick then the longer it went the more pale he got until he finally passed out. When he came to, he was fevered with chills, eyes are dilated for some reason like he's in shock and was just mumbling that he needed to get back to his brother. That he couldn't leave Dean alone too long cause he was sick but when I wanted to call the E-squad when he began vomiting he panicked and just gave me his phone. Said you'd take care of him," he slid a sideways look next to him and rubbed a hand over his red beard. "Didn't know he was sick, did ya, son?"
"No, I didn't," Dean's voice was tight as he stepped around a washer to lean on while looking down and with just a single glance knew what he was dealing with or at least some of it.
The worn hoodie that Sam had taken to wearing when sick or upset had been shed despite the chills wracking his body. Dean could see the sweat soaked hair before he even knelt down to try to look into hazel eyes that he already knew would be three times their normal size because when his brother was full blown sick he had puppy dog eye power to the Nth degree on top of the shock and exhaustion that he could read by just watching Sam's body movements.
The younger Winchester's fingers seemed to be moving restlessly over the rubbery black band he wore on one wrist, a band that they each had while his other arm was switching between rubbing his eyes like he would as a child when tired and fighting it and clutching his stomach against the cramps ravaging it.
"Hey, Sammy," he murmured, already placing a strong hand on what he was shocked to realized seemed to be a fragile shoulder even as Sam's head was jerking up at his voice. "Were we planning on telling me that you were getting sick anytime soon?"
Blinking past the haze that he couldn't seem to get out of his eyes, Sam stared toward the voice until it clicked and he reached automatically for his brother as if knowing a hand would be there to grip his in return. "De'n," he mumbled, blearily recalling the last few days and knowing deep down that he'd screwed up by letting himself get sick or at least by letting Dean find out about it. "You…sup…'posed to be…restin'," he got it out finally even though it took his brother a couple more minutes to translate the slurred and mumbled words into something he could understand.
Rocking back on his heels from where he'd knelt, Dean took a longer and better look at his younger sibling and knew this was more than just a common cold or not sleeping right. He'd seen some of these same symptoms in Sam when he'd been nineteen and into his second year of Stanford. He hadn't like them then and he didn't like it now.
"C'mon, little brother, let's get you on your feet and into the car," he decided, standing to take a better grasp of Sam's arm and again was shocked as how thin that arm seemed compared to just a few weeks ago before all this shit had happened. "Whoa, Sammy. Easy does it cause I don't want your face broke on top of whatever the hell else you've done to yourself."
Grateful for the strong hands that helped him get Sam to his feet, Dean took a couple moments to steady the younger man against a dryer so he could then gently grip both sides of Sam's face in his hands to lift it up for a better look and then blew out air between clenched teeth when he noticed the sunken eyes, how pale and clammy Sam's skin was in comparison to the heat radiating off of him. "Shit, what've you done, Sammy?" he asked of no one in particular but didn't seem surprised when the boy's eyes seemed to blink owlishly at him as if considering a reply then only a big brother's knowledge of Sam gave Dean the time to shift to one side while latching on when Sam went back down to throw up again.
"He'll need a hospital to fight the dehydration this vomiting is going to give him," the petite woman spoke from beside Dean while holding out a bottle of yellow liquid that he knew on instinct was Gatorade. "He's been sick awhile but he mumbled that so had you and he didn't want to bother you."
Remembering another time Sam had said something similar and had gotten sick without Dean's knowledge, he merely nodded but had already decided against a hospital because there was no way he could explain how his brother had gotten sick and if this was also the results of the pills in his pocket then he definitely knew he needed to keep Sam away from doctors. Especially since Sammy liked to talk in his sleep when sick and there was no way in Hell that Dean was explaining about Wendigos or water spirits to a bunch of doctors.
"Thanks. I was sick this past couple weeks so I didn't see him going down," he also decided against telling these people that he'd been dying and a faith healer using the powers of a Reaper saved his life.
Lightly rubbing his hand in the same soothing circles over Sam's back and shoulders as he had when he'd been a child, Dean felt his brother relaxing in his grip and knew he could at least get him as far as the Impala before dealing with the rest of this.
Hearing Sam mumble something between an apology for being sick and something that tore at Dean's heart because it was plain to him by this point that Sam's fever was making him confused and he didn't know where their Dad was.
"Sshh, Dad'll be home soon, Sammy," Dean was still amazed that he could pull that lie off with a steady voice as he briefly debated between the front or back seats then just as quickly chose to lay his little brother down in the back seat that he still remembered could fit Sam fully…at least it did before the kid hit that damn growth spurt. "You just stay here a second while I grab our stuff."
Taking a moment to catch his breath and look up to the darkening sky as if seeking some kind of help, he then went back inside to gather up the things that Sam had originally taken to be washed. "I appreciate you calling me and keeping an eye on him until I got here," he was reaching for his wallet when the owner shook his head.
"It wasn't any trouble and my wife went and did the clothes he'd started before he crashed," he waved the young hunter's attempt to pay away. "I knew a Winchester in 'Nam," he eyed Dean with a critical eye and if he caught the way that announcement caused him to tense he didn't let on. "You boys relation to a John Winchester?"
Trying not to swallow his tongue at this coincidence, Dean finally nodded. "He's our Dad," he admitted while not wanting the man to start asking too many questions that would've required more strength than Dean had right then to answer but the man only nodded.
"Yeah, that one looks like John so I kind of figured you might," he then smiled while holding out a hand to shake Dean's. "It looks like it's gonna be a bad storm so you boys better find a motel to hole up in until he's over this bug."
"Thanks, we'll probably do that," Dean smiled, shook the offered hand before getting behind the Impala's wheel with a final look in the backseat to be sure his brother was resting comfortably before putting the car in gear and heading out of town with hopes that it would be that simple.
Three hours later though Dean's confidence went into the gutter the moment Sam woke up in the back seat screaming, thrashing, and choking. "Sonuvabitch," he growled, jerking the car off the road before he wrecked it in his haste to get to his struggling and clearly frightened little brother. "Sammy!"
The rain had started shortly after they'd left the small Nebraska town in which they'd come to meet Roy and Sue Ellen Le Grange. Forty minutes later it had turned into a small downpour and now as Dean parked the car safely off the road and struggled against the whipping wind, blinding lightening and torrential rain to get out of the car and to the backseat, he'd wished they had found that motel.
"Sammy, calm down," he urged, ignoring the soaking rain as he fought past Sam's fears and confusion to get into the backseat because after years of handling Sam when he'd been fevered, sick and frightened Dean knew the only way to calm him down was to first get a hold of the kid before he hurt either himself or Dean. "Sam, stop it. It's me…it's Dean."
Struggling against the images of seeing his older brother lying lifeless in a puddle of water after getting shocked and thinking that he was dying on top of other images only Sam could see, the younger Winchester fought the sudden touch of strong hands as they tried to grab for him while all he wanted was to find his brother, to have him make the pain go away but knew it was too late. "De'n!" throat sore, words slurred from shock, illness and exhaustion, he tried to push past the offending arms of whoever was holding him until something seemed to click and he latched on to grasp one of the hands that had been laid on his chest. "De'n…don' die. Don' go…I'll save…ya…find some way…De'n!"
The shortened form of his name and the way Sam was clinging to his hand along with the tears streaking his fevered brother's face told Dean that this had been let go too long and it would take more than a couple days in a motel, some juice and aspirin to help Sam.
Dean had known the moment he had taken a good look at Sam and seen how blown his eyes were and how weak he was that on top of the illness that he'd picked up somewhere that staying awake for who knows how long by taking those damn pills had caused the kid to crash in a way that he hadn't seen since Sam had been younger…and then in Stanford when he hadn't even known Dean was around to witness that mess.
Finally getting a better grip on his sick brother, Dean was able to card his fingers back through sweat soaked hair and felt the fever had gotten worse since he'd last checked and swore violently while softly whispering to Sam who had started to curl up against the pain he was in.
Dean had been taking care of his little brother since the moment he'd first seen him after their Mom and Dad had brought the chubby baby home. He'd sworn after the fire to keep him safe and had tried to do just that over the years. He'd always been thankful to have Sam as a brother since he couldn't picture his life without his pain in the ass little brother.
Now as he realized just how bad Sam had gotten while trying to save him, Dean heard Caleb's words echoing in his head and bit his lip. He knew a hospital was out of the question since he could never be sure when Sam would have a vision or say the wrong thing. Caleb and Jefferson were hunting a Wendigo in Minnesota. He had no clue where in the hell their own Dad was hiding himself.
Considering their present location, the time it would take if he pushed the Impala and himself to their already stretched limits, Dean blew out a breath that bordered on defeat because he knew he needed more help for Sam this time then he could give.
Glad his phone was in his jacket pocket and not in the front seat, he moved one hand cautiously away from where he'd had it lain flat on Sam's still heaving and obviously congested chest to flip open his phone, staring at a number before finally hitting the speed dial button then merely waited three rings to hear it picked up by a cautious voice on the other end who would clearly be surprised to hear from him since Dean knew he normally hated to ask for help.
"Pastor Jim? It's…Dean. I…Sammy…we need your help."
Author Note II: Okay, this was meant to be a 1-shot but it decided to switch itself into a short Chapter tale. Stay tuned for more as Dean struggles to get help for Sam and learns that this isn't the first time his little brother had gone without sleep and more.