Set vaguely in late S7. Because I do love the boys taking care of each other.
A successful hunt, a raging snowstorm, and Dean with a badly sprained wrist all combined to keep the brothers holed up in the cabin for the night.
Sam passed the time at the table, reading an e-book on his computer. Camped out on the couch, Dean was excavating trash out of his duffle bag, shoving it into the five gallon empty creosote pail he'd turned into a wastebasket. The few times Sam glanced over, he saw mostly candy wrappers, an empty whiskey bottle or two, and a lot of sheets of paper get tossed.
"I'm glad to get rid of all that, finally." Dean said. He shoved the pail away from the couch and pushed his duffel onto the floor.
"Hey, Sammy. Is there any chicken left?"
"You know there is."
"Can you get me some?"
Sam looked at Dean over the top of his computer.
"You hurt your wrist, you know. Not your leg."
"Your point is?"
"That you can walk?"
Dean seemed to consider that.
"And your point is?" He asked again.
Sam huffed and went to the actual 1930's icebox and brought the take-out box of chicken over to Dean, then went back to his computer and his book.
"Hey, Sammy?" Dean asked, not three minutes later. "Would you get me a beer?"
Sam brought Dean a beer and turned back to his computer.
"And a napkin?"
Sam stopped, squeezed his eyes shut, and silently counted to ten. All he wanted was a quiet night of coffee and computer. But Dean was hurt, he knew that. Dean's wrist was eight shades of mourning-purple and Easter-yellow, and hurt bad enough that he'd taken the strong painkillers. And he had gotten hurt – of course – protecting Sam. So if Dean wanted a napkin -
- he'd get Dean a napkin.
When he brought the napkin to Dean, Sam asked,
And Sam turned back to his coffee and computer, and Dean said,
"Not right now."
Sam managed to get through four chapters before he realized Dean hadn't asked him for anything in nearly half an hour.
But Dean was asleep on the couch, with one hand draped out to the side and the take-out box on top of the wastebasket, and Sam let himself feel relieved for one tiny second that Dean wouldn't be bothering him for anything else, before he felt guilty for feeling that. He got a blanket from Dean's bed and brought it to the couch and covered it over Dean. He picked up the take-out box and beer bottle and took them back to the 'kitchen', then brought the wastebasket to the woodstove to burn the trash.
The printing on the paper right on top of the pile caught his attention, 'when someone you love has died'. It was a page Dean had apparently printed off of a self-help website.
So – Dean was trying to deal with Bobby's death with more than alcohol. Good. Good for him.
Then Sam noticed that the date the page was printed was two years before Bobby had died. It had been printed about six months after Sam jumped into the cage.
Dean had been trying to deal with Sam's death.
He flipped the sheet up to read the one underneath.
'When someone you love is grieving.'
It'd been printed right after Jess died.
Just like the next one,
'When someone you love is depressed.'
Sam stopped looking at dates and just shuffled through the rest of the papers. All printed from self-help pages on the internet.
'When someone you love is sad.'
'When someone you love is angry.'
'When someone you love has a chronic illness.'
'When someone you love is addicted.'
'When someone you love is hurt.'
'When someone you love has PTSD.'
'When someone you love is suicidal.'
'When someone you love needs care.'
When the pages suddenly blurred and Sam couldn't breathe, he opened the woodstove and shoved them in, every last one of them, all at once. Then he slammed the door shut again and opened the damper all the way until the paper was blazing.
"Sam?" Dean's tired, confused voice reached him from the couch. "S'going on?"
"Um – uh – I'm just tossing your trash into the fire. You know, just straightening up before I go to bed."
"You were done with them, weren't you?" Sam asked.
"Yeah. Done w'them." Dean answered, still sounding exhausted. "All stuff I knew anyway."
Sam looked through the chinks in the woodstove at the flames of Dean's papers dying out.
"Yeah, I bet it was."
"Get me a pillow?"
"Sure. You bet." Sam said. At the moment, he was glad to have something, anything, to do for Dean. He brought the pillow to Dean who took it and punched it into place and got comfy on it.
Sam turned back to the table and his computer.
"And another blanket?"
Sam stopped and shook his head, but he brought the blanket it and tossed it over Dean.
Who wasn't done yet.
"Now go t'sleep. Y'gotta not stay up so late. Not good for you."
And Sam finally laughed.