But in Your Dreams (Whatever They Be)

Five times people passed out on Dean, and one time he returned the favor.


1.

"Dee," Sam hiccupps between sobs. "Dee—"

"'S okay, Sammy," Dean whispers into his brother's hair, hand on the back of his shaggy head to keep him still. "It's okay. We just gotta be quiet, okay? Just be real quiet."

"No," Sam whimpers, shoving at his chest. Dean realizes belatedly that he's probably crushing him like this, both of them crammed into the footwell of the Impala's back seat.

"Shhh," he hushes him, easing back as much as he dares. "Dad'll be back soon, I promise, and then we can go back to the motel. C'mon, Sammy, please?"

"No!" Sam says again, halfway to a tantrum, and all Dean can do was hold him close and put a hand over his mouth.

Sam kicks and bites and hits him with tiny fists, but that's okay. Sam's a little kid and doesn't understand anything yet, still baby-pudgy and slow. That's why he's Dean's responsibility; Dean, who is eight and has already been on his first hunting trip, who gets to practice with his daddy's .45 and cab already hit a can at fifty feet, who has already salted and burned more ghosts than he can count on his hands. Dean, who knows that when Dad says Stay in the car like that, things have gone bad, really bad, and that his first and most important job is to protect Sammy. Always.

Eventually, Sam's hitching breaths even out and the hands he has fisted in Dean's t-shirt go lax. Dean carefully gathers him up and makes a pillow of his arm, Sam's head resting on his shoulder and his sleeping face turned towards Dean's.

"'S okay, Sammy," he whispers again, wiping the tears and snot away with his sleeve and curling around his brother's small body. "I'll keep you safe."

Always.