AN: I don't know where this came from, but I decided that it was a good story, so here ya go!

Summary: Collection of one-shots about the Winchester brothers, and how they keep an eye out for each other.

Author: scarlet79

Rating: T (for language)

Disclaimer: Alas, I own nothing in the Supernatural-verse. If I did, well, there'd be a whole lot more fun going on at my house, I'll tell you that!


Brother's Keeper

"Backstitching"


The first time Sam sewed Dean up, they were teenagers. A dark elf – cantankerous and even more murderous than usual – had sliced a thick gash in the elder Winchester's back. Blood poured from the wound, soaking into his brand new jeans and smearing on the Impala's leather seats, but Dean was more upset about the car than his pants.

"Make sure this gets cleaned up," he told Sam, who was driving while Dean reclined in the passenger seat, trying not to pass out. He needed to stay awake, to make sure Sam took care of his Baby.

"Dean, relax," fifteen-year-old Sam said, "I'll take care of it."

Dean nodded, suddenly too tired to comment further. Sam noticed the silence and reached over to nudge his brother with the back of his hand.

"Hey," he said, quickly glancing at Dean before shifting his eyes back to the road. "C'mon, Dean. Stay awake."

"I'm tryin!" Dean growled, though his voice had lost much of its edge. "Burns like hell."

The motel was just ahead. Sam made the right turn into the pot-holed parking lot, wincing as the front right tire briefly sank into one such hole, jarring them uncomfortably. Dean grunted at the jolting pain and glowered at Sam, but kept his mouth shut. Sam knew then that his wound must have been serious, as Dean normally would have at least cursed aloud.

"Okay," Sam said as he screeched the Impala to a stop and shut off the ignition. "We're here."

It took nearly all the strength in Sam's thin frame to help Dean out of the car and into the shabby building, and by the time he'd sat Dean in the ripped vinyl chair by the door, Sam was sweating and gasping for breath. Stripping off Dean's torn shirt, Sam tossed it in the waste basket, whistling softly at the damage the wood elf had caused. He pulled open their medical kit and started laying the necessary tools out, then handed Dean a bottle with a small amount of amber liquid inside. Wordlessly, the injured brother unscrewed the cap, tipped the bottle up and took a big gulp. As he swallowed it, he handed the bottle back to Sam, nodding as he did.

"Ready?" Sam asked, and Dean frowned.

"Didja see me nod?"

Sam's jaw clenched, but he let the angry reply go without answer. He knew Dean was just in pain, and probably tired, too. They were always tired these days.

Tipping the bottle of liquor, Sam poured the remaining inch or so inside onto Dean's wound. Dean's breath hissed out between clenched teeth and his hazel eyes squeezed shut, but he remained completely still. Sam blew his hair out of his eyes and carefully threaded the needle, knotting the heavy-gauge thread at the ends. He took a step toward Dean's ragged shoulder, then hesitated, his hand in mid-air.

Dean's left eye cracked open, and he frowned. "What're you waiting for?"

"Maybe..." Sam's voice squeaked. He cleared his throat and tried again. "Maybe I should try and call Dad."

Dean shook his head. "No. By the time he can get here I'll have some God-awful infection. You can do this."

"But, Dean..."

"Sam," Dean's nineteen-year-old voice, already deep and full of warning, cut through the air. "Stop being such a girl. You can do this."

Sam looked from his hand, still holding the needle, to Dean's back. So, Dean thought he was acting like a girl, did he? Okay, maybe it was time to show him what he could do.

Sighing out a "fine", Sam held his breath and cautiously slipped the sewing needle into Dean's torn skin. His hands shook at first, but as he went on, keeping his stitches neat and even, his confidence grew. When he was halfway done, he leaned forward and checked Dean's face for any sign of faintness.

"You okay?" He asked. Dean nodded. "Good. Almost done."

"Any whiskey left?"

Sam shook his head. "Sorry. I can run out and get some after?"

"No, that's okay. Just finish this up so I can catch some sleep."

Five minutes later, Dean's shoulder was cleaned and bandaged, and under the gauze a neat row of stitches ran from his shoulder blade and down three inches. Sam ripped a final piece of medical tape off the roll and secured the bandage, then stood back to admire his work. He heaved a relieved sigh as Dean turned his back toward the mirror above the dresser and looked over his shoulder, then nodded somberly.

"Did a good job, Sammy," Dean noted.

Sam tried to smile, but it came out crooked. Instead, he ducked his head and went to work cleaning up the blood-stained sheets and gauze he'd used.

Dean watched his little – well, younger, but definitely not smaller – brother intently. Sam was only fifteen, right on the edge between boy and man. He'd only just mastered the fine art of kissing – Dean had caught Sam and a shy brunette named Kelly in a barely-used hallway at his school – and yet here he was, hunting monsters and sewing his big brother up.

Dean thought of what their dad would say when he saw Dean's shoulder, when he discovered that Sam had been the one to patch him up, and a frown darkened his face.

Dad.

Left me in charge again, while he runs some hunt two states away.

The being-in-charge part was fine with Dean. Sam was a pretty good kid, and as long as there was a library within five miles of whatever horrible motel they were camped in, he was happier than a pig in shit. Meanwhile, that left Dean free to drop into the nearest bar, play a few games of pool, maybe find a cute girl to have fun with. He always won out at pool – usually walking away with a couple hundred bucks – and more often than not he left with a beauty on his arm.

He knew Sam disapproved of his...activities. But hustling pool was how they made money to live on. The cash Dad left them never quite lasted until he got back, and sometimes he was gone longer than he'd told them to expect him. How else did Sam think they were going to eat, to be able to stay another week at the motel?

But of course, Dean never told Sam when Dad's money ran out. He didn't want Sam to worry, and the kid already worried enough for the both of them. When Dad was late, Sam paced around the room like a caged animal, peeking through the blinds to the parking lot every five minutes, as if he checked long enough, Dad's truck would suddenly materialize. When they stumbled across a job and Dean got hurt, Sam pestered him with enough are-you-okays that Dean ended up yelling at him to shut up.

But really, Dean understood why Sam did it. With Mom dead and Dad gone, Dean was his only family left. And if something happened and Dean died, Sam would be alone. It was Sam's worst fear – being left to fend for himself in the big wide world. He could do it if he had to – Dad and Dean had taught him well – but he didn't want to. Family was everything to Sam. Knowing where his place was, that he had a place at all, was what kept him feeling secure.

There were monsters out there, but as long as there was someone – like Dean – fighting alongside him, those monsters couldn't scare him.


Next chapter to follow...