Author's Note: This was a quick fill for a comment-meme over on LJ. Since it is Sam's birthday today, I figured to celebrate in the limp Sam. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks, Charity.


A stupid toothbrush.

All Sam wants is a stupid toothbrush. It doesn't matter what brand or what color, he just wants to brush his teeth. Is that too much to ask?

When he went digging around in his duffel looking for the damn thing he realized he must have left it in Oklahoma. Of course he figures he's allowed some forgetfulness after recent events. Sam shivers and pulls his jacket closer around him as he browses through the small convenience store.

It's about 2:31 in the morning; the cold air is leeching through the poorly sealed barriers in the store making the room as cold as ice. His thin jacket is doing little in keeping him warm. Sadly though, his heavier winter coat is in the Impala.

Impala. Pain ratchets up in his heart just thinking about the muscle car. Sam shakes his head of the saddening thoughts; he doesn't want to freak out in the middle of the store. Maybe he will buy a bottle of jack to go with the toothbrush and silently grieve in his motel room.

It's not like Dean is dead. Of course he isn't, Sam's been keeping tabs, but the distance between them is so thick and long Sam knows that any attempt to pass the distance will end in disappointment or heartache. It's just not right. They're not right.

Sam understands that, he does. It doesn't make it hurt any less. If anything it makes the pain more real. Knowing Dean is out there but being unable to reach him? Talk to him? Even see his face? It hurts so badly Sam is afraid he's going to die from a broken heart. He's scared and all he wants is his brother, but he drags Dean through enough crap; it's time to deal with shit on his own.

Swallowing painfully, Sam keeps his head down as his hands slide into his jacket pockets seeking out some warmth. He is so lost in thought that he doesn't notice when he runs right into another customer.

He yelps and almost falls on his backside, but a strong hand grips his forearm and hauls him back upright. Shame and embarrassment flood his cheeks as he does his best not to blush.

"I'm so sorry!" Sam apologizes quickly, hoping the man isn't angry for his clumsiness.

"Sam?"

Sam freezes. It can't be. Fearing that maybe he is losing it, Sam hesitantly lifts his head to look into the deep green eyes of the person he ran into.

His brother.

"Dean? What the hell are you doing here?" Sam blurts out. Realizing how he sounds Sam quickly corrects himself, "I mean, it's good to see you. What made you stop through this town?"

Dean is still looking at him strangely, as if trying to process whether he is real or a mirage. Sam figures he owes Dean a reason for why he's trying to flatten him out in a convenience store in the middle of nowhere Minnesota.

"I-I needed a toothbrush." Sam stammers out.

"A toothbrush? What-" Dean frowns but is cut off by a sudden screaming.

"Give me the money old man!"

Sam jumps at the voice. Embarrassment once again taking hold of him. Though, if Dean sees his reaction he isn't doing anything about it.

Dean's staring at the cash register with a look of mounting horror. Sam finally focuses on the scene and groans at seeing the man has a gun.

"Is this really happening?" Sam asks incredulously.

"Afraid so man." Dean whispers back. Sam watches Dean's reactions to gage what to do next, despite not seeing each other for a while Sam is still tuned into Dean's cues.

"Stay low and come on." Dean whispers harshly, ducking behind the shelves and dragging Sam along with him. Sam follows behind Dean planning to back him up on whatever he decides to do.

Dean's boot scuffs the linoleum floor which draws the gunman's attention away from the shaken man at the counter to Sam and Dean trying to surprise him from his blind side.

"Hey!" The gunman screams swinging his gun in their direction. At Dean.

Sam doesn't even need to think, he just knows if one of them is dying tonight, it sure as hell isn't going to be Dean. Sam pushes his brother out of the way and winces as Dean's head connects with the ground harshly. Within seconds Sam feels a force plow through his shoulder and knock him off his feet.

Suddenly sounds are buzzing around his ears, like he is under water. His shoulder aches fiercely and he wonders why.

"Sammy!"

Dean? Sam questions. It can't be Dean, Dean hates him. Says they need to be on two different hemispheres. Sam agrees but it doesn't make his heart take the blow any easier.

Tears begin to collect in his closed eyes. They travel down his cheeks until he feels a callused palm wipe them away.

"Don't cry, okay Sammy? The ambulance is on its way."

Sam lets these words comfort him as he drifts off into unconscious where the pain won't penetrate. I'm sorry.


Sam wakes to odd smells and sounds. He is feeling pleasantly numb until he attempts to open his eyes. The lights pierce through his sore eyes and make him immediately close them with a wince.

"Easy man. Take it easy."

Dean?

"You should be feeling nice and high right now. They pumped you full of the good stuff man."

Good stuff? Sam really wants someone to explain what the hell is going on. "D'n?"

"I'm here Sam." Sam feels the bed shift under him as a heavy weight settles on his left side. It makes him feel good inside, knowing that Dean isn't mad enough to leave Sam in the hospital alone. It's more than he feels he has the right to ask for.

"What the hell were you thinking anyway?"

I spoke too soon. Sam thinks, misery beginning to fill his heart. He hesitantly flutters open his eyes and breathes a sigh of relief at noting the light is turned off. He is scared he's going see pure hatred in his brother's eyes when he focuses on him, maybe even disgust or worse of all disappointment. But all he sees in Dean's deep green eyes is worry. Plain as day. He is still pissed, Sam can see that in the way his eyes shine brightly but most of all he sees worry.

"I-I…" Sam doesn't exactly know what to apologize for.

That is when he notices Dean has a slight cut on his temple, perfectly closed up with a neat row of three stiches.

He remembers the convenience store, the robber, the gun. He also remembers pushing Dean out of the way and the bullet slamming into his shoulder. Now that he mentions it, he can feel a dull ache coming from his left shoulder. Oh. "Dean I'm sorry."

It looks like Dean might argue again or start yelling but instead he settles his fist flatly against Sam's thigh. "It's ok."

It really isn't though but for now everything can be. Sam drifts off peacefully knowing his brother will be there when he opens his eyes again. Keeping watch over him while he sleeps.

Dean's hand never leaves Sam's thigh.

The End.


Well I hope you enjoyed it. The original prompt was: AU after the boys' separation in season five. Gen or Wincest is fine. Sam and Dean run into each other at the grocery store, and it's robbed. Sam is shot. It certainly appealed to me. I hope you've enjoyed this short story. Reviews are love. Thanks, Charity