Born Again

Summary: After Sam's breakdown and healing, Dean struggles with the worry of what's to come as he waits to see if Sam survived or not. Big brother!Dean/ hurt!Sam /From 07x17 The Born-Again Identity /SPOILERS!

Tags: 07x17: The Born-Again Identity

Spoilers/Warnings: While the actual episode hasn't aired yet this may contain some spoilers since I did use some things seen in the previews so maybe wait until AFTER the episode to read it even though this is only my thoughts as of right now.

Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or anything to do with Supernatural. This is just for entertainment.

Author Note: Yes, this episode has plot bunnies hopping and it hasn't even aired yet. I took some things from the clips and ran with it since Dean was feeling chatty today and wouldn't wait.

SPN SPN SPN SPN

There's been plenty of times in my life that I've sat beside my brother and waited for him to wake up. The first time was when he was still that chubby little baby boy in his nursery and I'd just sit in there and wait because Sammy's first baby smile of the day was the best…not that I'd ever tell him that.

Since the night of the fire, since the night Mom died, I've lost count of the times that I was the one sitting next to Sam when he'd be sick or scared. Dad was usually out hunting or something so it was always me who sat and worried…worried if this would be the time that those big puppy dog hazel eyes didn't open again.

I've sat this exact same way so many times that it's at times like this that I seriously wonder if it's worth it. Oh, I know that what Sam and I do help people. I know we've saved lives…but I also know that I'm getting really tired of watching my little brother like this.

Twice though has it been this bleak. I can pull two times that I've sat or paced while wondering if Sammy would wake up and if he did…how the hell would he be.

The first was after Cold Oak and he…died. I sat in that damn shack and talked to him even though I knew the kid was gone. Then I went and made a deal that would eventually see us both in Hell…literally because no matter what he's said or how I reason it out it was my deal, the deal I made to save him, that sent my brother down the path that would eventually lead to where we are right now.

The second hasn't really been all that long ago but hell, it seems like a lifetime. I sat with Sam after Death restored his soul, after he put the wall up in my brother's head that would have…was supposed to, shield him from all this crap. I sat and wondered then too what the hell would I have if he ever woke again.

Is it my fault what happened? Yeah, probably since I'm the one who insisted Sam needed his soul but hey no one was controlling Robo Sam for much longer so I thought the risks were worth it. I was also arrogant enough to think that I could handle it. That I could shield and protect Sam from that wall ever falling and him having to cope with what happened to him in the Cage.

Bobby and I were doing a…decent job…until Cas kicked that wall down and all hell blew up. When that wall fell and Sam admitted he was seeing Lucifer I was scared outta my mind because I know flat out that I couldn't lose Sammy on top of everything else and I still feel that way.

I've been a hunter since I was old enough to fully understand what my Dad did but I've been a big brother for a helluva lot longer. I've taken care of this kid for more years than I really care to admit but up until I got the call about the accident, until I fully realized how far Sam had fallen, how badly scarred he was emotionally from that time in the Cage did I finally understand how much I'd failed him.

Oh, I can hear Sam now. Telling me that it wasn't my fault, that I couldn't have known and that it was bound to happen, that he knew the risks when he went into the Cage with two pissed off Archangels and that this was just something we'd delayed.

I can rationalize too. We're both adults, hunters who know the risks of what he do and I knew the risks of messing around with a soul as damaged as Sam's had been. I can say that a huge part of this is Sam's own fault for not coming clean with me about his nightmares or Lucifer coming back so strong or how long he'd been staying awake or how he'd managed to stay awake in the first place…yeah, that'll get him the lecture of the century when he wakes up…if he wakes up.

I can think all of that but it's not Sam's fault, it never has been. I made the choice to the cut the deal that sent me to Hell. That choice left Sam alone and open to the demon bitch who did her best to turn him into the very thing we hunted. My one choice caused a domino effect that in the effect broke bonds I never though could break. Bonds that were just starting to mend and now I'm sitting in this old cabin wondering how much more I can lose before I call it quits.

I'd seen Sammy in a nuthouse once but we'd gone in on a job so I always said what happened inside those walls was left behind but this time just seeing him inside that place, just seeing the hopelessness in eyes that used to be so damn alive broke my heart and nearly caused that wall I'd put up after Bobby to break because I knew that if I'd been paying more attention to the things that really mattered then maybe my brother wouldn't have broke.

Our Dad always taught us to bottle it up, that emotions would kill us faster than a demon and I usually listened to that. Sam was about that only thing that could cause me to break my 'no chick-flick moments' rule. After Bobby, after Cas and all this with Dick Roman it got easier to bury it because if I let it out, if I let out every damn feeling I had then I knew I'd probably be in the same hospital with Sam. I just hadn't counted on it costing me my brother.

Sammy knew how I was coping and the damn kid buried his own problems so he didn't toss more on me and let it all pile up…until that fragile house of cards finally came tumbling down and now I'm sitting and waiting to see if Sam would wake up.

I wasn't giving up the kid. I'd done that before and it cost us so I was damn bound and determined to find some way to heal Sammy. I didn't care if it meant finding another faith healer but I was not losing the last person that I cared for…I was not losing the last link to my family.

Garth the annoying little pipsqueak that Bobby stuck me with on that one job told me about a healer. I had doubts but I went…and found a lot more than I expected. To say I was shocked the night I learned my Mom was a hunter was one thing cause what I found out after finding this Emmanuel knocked me for a loop.

He didn't trust me, I didn't trust him fully much less who he was with but I tossed all that aside just for the smallest hope that maybe, just maybe, he could heal my brother. I knew Sammy was dying in that place and I just wanted him out.

Well, like the night that Death put Sam's soul back in along with the wall, I got my wish. He healed Sammy or at least healed him enough that he's alive. Will he be…Sammy when he wakes up is a huge question mark and since my so-called mystery healer went back to where he came from with barely enough memories of who he was to fill a thimble I'm on my own.

This annoying little itch on the back of my neck is like a gnat that you feel like squatting but a bigger part of me is saying if I squat it I'll get it upside the damn head which is another thing I'll have to deal with sooner or later but tonight…tonight is just me and Sammy…one more time.

Am I prepared to give it up if Sam's not healed? If his mind is still fractured or worse destroyed by what he'd been through? Can I quit hunting and give the assholes like Dick Roman a free hand? I…don't know.

I know what Sam would say. Sammy would say to park him someplace and go kick evil in the ass like Dad taught us but the sad part of that is…I drilled that speech into his head. Sam hated hunting, Sam hated the life we led and once upon a time his biggest wish was for us to give it up and maybe if I had my brother wouldn't have been tortured in Hell, maybe his head wouldn't have shattered and maybe I'd have a freakin' clue as to what I'm supposed to do now.

Watching Sammy now is like watching him as a kid when he'd be sleeping. He's peaceful and I wish to God that he could at least have that. If he can't be healed fully then at least give him some kind of peace.

"It ain't your fault."

"I'm his damn big brother. I swore that so long as I was around that nothing bad would happen to him and this is what finally happens to him. I survived Hell but they rip his mind to shreds. It isn't fair."

"Family ain't supposed to be fair or make things easy. Sam's stronger than you think so stop kickin' yourself and just be there for him now…idjit."

And I have officially either lost what remained of my own brain or I've drank too much when I realize I've talking to a blank chair even though I still feel the slap to my head.

Sammy's lived through the nightmares of his youth, he's survived losing Jessica, finding out about the Angels, my death, letting Lucifer out and so much more. The kid coped with crap that I accepted long ago would've driven me into the bottle I've been eyeing all night and he handled it. Can he handle this? No clue. Can I handle this? No, probably not but…

"…De'n?"

It's a whisper but it still sounds like thunder to me. I'm moving even before I realize it but even as I'm grasping the hand he's trying to lift I'm not ready to look at his eyes.

"Hey, Sammy, you coming back or what? It's your turn to drive, y'know and we're about outta pie."

Do I know I'm babbling? Yeah but it's that or make myself look and I'm just not ready for that final step because I know it's what I see in his eyes that'll tell me the next step I take.

I'm watching his hand as his fingers seem to have trouble grasping my hand but my gut's still willing to put that off to what he's been through. My brain still refuses to accept that my little brother could very well be gone for good…especially when I hear him make a sound that he used to make as a kid when he was disgusted by something I'd said and my stomach began to sink.

"…you drive…til we can have…the Impala back."

I'm trying to check his pulse and his reflexes when that line hits me and my eyes shoot up to see Sam looking at me with… "Sammy," his eyes are still too large but I expect the shock. What I'm seeing is the bright hazel eyes that are watching me like he used to when wary about how I'd react to something and I know I have to ask. "How d'ya feel?"

I'm pretty sure that he could hear the sound of my own heart it was beating that hard or at least it was in my ears as I move so I'm sitting on the edge of the couch but I haven't released his hand yet as if afraid of losing that contact.

"It's…quiet," it takes me a couple seconds to fully understand what he means and then I feel myself releasing the breath I'd been holding and deciding I was dropping that no chick-flick moment rule for the next decade or so when I grasp his face in both hands in order to make him meet my eyes again and I see things reflected in that gaze that I hadn't in years.

"You…know where we are?" I'm still leery of pushing it but I have to know. I have to know how centered he is or how clear when I see it. Yep, pure Sammy bitch face…weak but still there as if he's disgusted by all the questions.

"We're at the cabin, I still don't know quite what you did but I know that I don't hear Lucifer and…I don't feel like…throwing up," Sam when he's sick is quiet and I feel him shake so I know he remembers the past months and I'm already bracing for what I know will come. "Is…it over? Is he gone? How'd…"

Yeah, there's the little brother I know and love. A thousand questions all in one breath and I wish I had answers for him but even I can't be sure how he was healed so for the moment I only shrug and feel him latch on like he did the morning he woke up finally after his soul was restored and I'm just relieved Sammy's awake and okay.

Sam knows how I am so I feel him begin to edge back when I just tighten one arm to reassure him that it was okay and decide to give the kid a big brother moment since I know within a week of me hovering over him he'll be bitching that I'm smotherin' him again but until I know for sure this fix is full term I'm not taking any chances and I will feed the next sonuvabitch who looks at my brother wrong their lungs.

The kid's been put through the ringer this week so Sam falls back to sleep but I'm still in the overprotective overly hyper big brother phase that I haven't been feeling in awhile when I feel like we're being watched.

Making a mental note to upgrade security on this place and deciding it might be a good idea to drop in on Sheriff Mills so she can mother hen Sam I'm reaching for my gun when I know who it is. "Is he healed?" I ask even though I know I won't get an answer.

"He'll always have the memories because those are a part of what makes him who he is but…as for the rest, yes, I believe so."

Huh, I'd almost forgotten how serious he could be without even meaning to. I know I could try to convince him of who he was, what he was but something just said to wait and let it play out. That this wouldn't be the last time Sam or I saw him. "Guess I should thank you for saving my brother. He's all I got left so…"

"I said I would heal Sam, Dean. He shouldn't have had to deal with this because of a mistake."

I couldn't disagree with him there but then it hit me what he was saying and I'm turning to look when I see the change in the man who had healed my little brother. The face is still blank, the tone still a little too clinical but there was something in his eyes when he looked toward me that was plain. "Ca…"

"Goodbye, Dean."

He was gone in the next second and a part of me wondered if I'd dreamed it until I noticed something in Sam's hand that hadn't been there a moment ago. "Sonuvabitch," the little gold amulet had been lost when I tossed it out in a fit of rage and despair. I knew my brother didn't have it because I'd been through his stuff more than once so that only left… "Cas."

How he survived what happened to him I still don't get but right then I was willing to let it go. He healed Sammy and while road wouldn't be easy for us because I wasn't stupid enough to think that the kid wouldn't have scars or nightmares from this I was willing to take what we had.

"Thanks, Cas," I whisper to the room and ignore the brief breeze I can feel while swearing to find a way to deghost this place as I pull the recliner closer to the couch in case I needed to get to Sam in a hurry and finally let myself fall to sleep for the first time in a very long time.

What would come next I wasn't sure but I still had my pain in the ass little brother and as soon as I could manage it we were getting the Impala back because the hell with the damn Leviathans. That car was home and I'd at least give Sammy that.

"Night, Sam."

I'm not expecting a response since I was pretty sure Sam was out fully but after a couple minutes and just when I'm almost asleep I hear it. "Night…jerk."

"Go to sleep…bitch," I'm smiling when I drift off after I hear Sam laugh and I hear another sound that I won't mention to Sam yet since I don't know how he'd take being called an 'idjit' this soon but it reassures me that we're at least safe for the moment and that's what I'll take.

The End