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When Sam woke up the following morning he felt all warm and comfortable – and safer than he'd felt in longer time than he could remember. Sam rolled his head a bit to the side without opening his eyes and he then realized that he was leaning against something.. No, someone. Someone Sam connected with home, safeness and love. Someone that had currently got his arms wrapped around the youngest Winchester brother.
"Dean." Sam mumbled.
"Sammy? You awake, dude?" Dean's voice asked.
"Yeah.. What's going on?" Sam asked, still without opening his eyes.
"What's going on?" Dean repeated with a sigh. "You, my brother, got hit by an avalanche and nearly froze to death. Thanks for giving me a frigging heart attack you moron!"
"Sorry." Sam said.
"Yeah well, it's not like it's your fault." Dean said. "But what a way to spend the New Year's! I could have hooked up with some random chick somewhere instead of being squashed by your giant body."
"So you're telling me that I spent New Year's Eve dangerously close to your groin?" Sam asked. "That makes me feel really uncomfortable."
"You're an ungrateful little brat, you know that?" Dean asked which made Sam snort a little. "Besides, it's not like I've seen you move yet."
Sam didn't answer.
"Sam?" Dean asked.
"Mmm, just five more minutes.." Sam mumbled and buried himself impossibly deeper into his brother's warm embrace.
"What are you? 12?" Dean asked, though a wry smile had spread on his face.
Sam's retort was muffled by a cough and Dean moved one of his hands up to feel Sam's forehead.
"How are you feeling?" Dean asked.
"Have I ever told you what a mother hen you are?" Sam asked and coughed a little more.
"Shut up and answer the question, bitch." Dean said even though he knew Sam couldn't be entirely A-okay since his brother's forehead still felt hot to the touch.
"I'm not so cold anymore." Sam answered which relieved the older brother.
"Good. That's good, Sammy." Dean said in a soft voice.
Sam never spoke much about his time in the cage which Dean understood fully. He hadn't exactly been keen on sharing his hell experiences with his brother either when he'd returned from hell – whether it had been to protect him or his brother from the horrible memories. When Sam once in a while did share something from his time in hell though he often mentioned the piercing coldness.
"It wasn't fun being burned alive." Sam had said one day at a random drive in the Impala. "And I know it sounds strange but.. it was nice trying something different than the cold for once, ya know? No matter how painful it was."
And Dean understood it perfectly well but that didn't mean he hadn't found it necessary to turn all his focus on the road just then, to focus on anything else than his brother in that moment because otherwise Dean would have broken down in tears. The thought about Sammy, his baby brother, having experienced so much pain and torture was unbearable and Dean wished more than anything else that he could wipe away those bad memories from his brother's mind.
Dean knew it would only be a matter of time before his little brother again felt cold, but for now Sam was warm and content in Dean's arms and that thought soothed the older Winchester brother.
"Sam?" Dean asked in a low voice but the only answer he got was the steady and even breath of his brother's, and Dean realized Sam had fallen asleep again. "You always did rest more calmly this way, huh?"
Dean carded a hand through Sam's curly brown locks and sighed. He really needed to go pee but he guessed he could stay like this just a little while longer.. For Sam's sake.
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Sam was sick for a whole week and a half. What Dean had first expected to be a common cold from the run-in with the avalanche had turned out to be pneumonia, so Dean had treated the disease with antibiotics and had taken care of his sick brother like he'd always done. Exactly ten days after New Year's Eve, Dean finally decided it was time to leave the motel room – to Sam's big relief. Dean had forced the younger brother to stay in bed every single day and Sam had barely even been allowed to leave the bed long enough to go to the bathroom to pee. So now that Sam was more or less healthy the brothers would be hitting the road again. Sam still felt pretty weak though but he was sure he just needed some days to adjust.
"Come on Sasquatch, hurry up!" Dean said as he picked up one of their bags to carry it to the Impala.
"I would be a lot faster if you didn't make me wear all this stuff." Sam grumbled while putting on a pair of warm socks.
When Dean had decided it was time to leave it had been on the condition that Sam was gonna wear as much warm clothes as possible which Sam had agreed on. He hadn't realized it included an undershirt, two t-shirts, pants, a hoodie, two pair of socks, a jacket, gloves, a scarf and a hat.
"It's for your own good, little brother." Dean said and didn't even try to hide his grin when he spotted Sam's outfit.
"I look ridiculous." Sam stated with no amusement in his voice.
"The important thing is that you're not cold, right?" Dean said.
"Yeah, I guess." Sam sighed.
"Good." Dean said and picked up the last bag. "Let's go, Marshmallow Man."
"Haha, very funny." Sam said dryly before he left the motel room with the sound of Dean's laughter behind him.
Not long after the Winchester brothers had hit the road again Sam had fallen asleep with his head resting against the glass of the passenger window. He was woken up when Dean gently shook his shoulder and Sam looked confused around as he realized the car was no longer moving and the day had turned to night.
"Where are we?" He wanted to know.
"I have something I want to show you." Dean said.
"What?" Sam asked.
"You'll see." Dean said. "Stay here, alright? I'll come get you in a minute."
"But Dean.." Sam said as Dean opened the door and stepped outside.
"A minute, Sam!" Dean said before closing the door behind him.
Sam stared at the closed door while trying to gather his thoughts. He could hear Dean rummage in the trunk for a short minute before closing it again and disappearing into the dark. What the heck was his big brother up to now? And it was Dean, right? Not one of Sam's hallucinations again? Sam bit his lower lip and then took off his gloves to rub his thumb across the scar on his left hand before letting out a relieved breath. His brother was real then. Sam was startled a little when the passenger door was suddenly ripped open and he turned his head to see Dean pop his head inside the car.
"What have you taking off your gloves for?" Dean asked. "Put them back on, it's cold outside!"
"But what are we.." Sam started before Dean apparently lost his patience with the younger brother and took the gloves away from Sam before putting them back on his little brother's hands. "Dean, I'm not four years old!"
"No, but you're slow." Dean retorted right away before he suddenly conjured up a blanket that he dumped into Sam's lap. "Wrap that around you too and come outside."
Sam decided to stop trying to figure out what Dean was up to and he instead wrapped the blanket around him before his brother had a chance to do that for him as well. Sam then stepped out of the car and Dean led him to sit down on the hood of the Impala.
"Just a second." Dean said before he disappeared into the darkness yet again.
Dean was running back to the car a few moments later and took a seat next to his brother on the hood of the car. Before Sam could ask more questions, the surroundings were suddenly lighted up and a bang sounded above them. Sam jerked his head up to see a big bouquet of colors form on the sky and his mouth fell slightly open.
"Fireworks." Sam said as another one went off. "You did all this?"
"Yeah." Dean said with a shrug of his shoulders. "I figured since we both missed out on the real turn of the year we could watch the fireworks together now. No big deal."
Sam nodded and turned his head away from the fireworks to look at his brother and his eyes suddenly filled with unshed tears. Sam was so grateful for everything Dean had done for him throughout the years, the way he'd always protected and taken care of Sam and still was. When Dean felt Sam's gaze on him he turned his head as well and saw the emotion on his little brother's face. Dean shot Sam a wry smile and reached out a hand to give his brother's shoulder a gentle squeeze.
"Happy New Year, Sammy." Dean said.
"Happy New Year, Dean." Sam said before they both turned their attention back to the fireworks.
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