Last chapter! I can't believe I've done it again. Seems impossible though it is shorter than the last one. I hope it's a satisfying ending. Maybe a little abrupt, but I just wanted one last chapter to tie up the story and maybe explain my reasoning.

Have some cute brotherly love after this past week's painful episode :/

Ch. 11

Dean doesn't take Sam's hand. Instead, he helps him sit up, re-dressing the stitches over his ribs before carefully sliding the shirt over him. He lays him back down and scoots him over. Then he changes his own pants, climbing in next to Sam and tucking him into his side so that he's laying his head on Dean's chest. He kisses the top of Sam's head. "Sammy, this new… thing between us scares the shit outta me. Okay? And I'm trying to figure out any reason that it could be alright. In the meantime, can you wait? Please?"

Sam tightens his arm around Dean's middle, kissing Dean's neck. "I'm sorry I'm so pushy. And I know it's… weird. I guess I've felt this for so long now, I'm having an easier time adjusting. But I know it's wrong. And I'll let you take as long as you need before we talk about it to make the decision." He presses his face into Dean's neck. "Just don't treat me different."

Dean hugs Sam to him. "I won't. You'll first and foremost be my little brother. And you know that no matter what, I'll love you. Right?"

Sam nods. "Okay. I'll always love you too, Dean."

"Okay? What do you mean by okay? You were supposed to say, 'Right, Dean. I know that. Of course you will.'"

Sam chuckles. "Sorry. There's always that fear that I'll ruin everything now."

"Sammy, you're mine. Nothing is ever going to change that."

Sam grins, hugging Dean even tighter to him. "I think I like hearing that more than the 'I love you'."

Dean chuckles. "Well that's less girly too so I could say that more often."



"You're mine too, right?"

Dean smiles softly, turning his head into Sam's hair to murmur into it. "Sammy, I have always been yours." He kisses the soft strands. "Just like you've always been mine. Don't you ever doubt that this is a two way street."

Sam burrows himself into his brother, almost wishing he could climb inside and live there. Warm and loved for the rest of his life. He lets out a content sigh. "Goodnight, Dean."

"'Night, Sammy." He lays awake for a while, just looking down at Sam's soft face. He's out almost instantly, giving Dean plenty of time to stare without Sam asking about it. His brother is kind of beautiful. Anyone could see that. There's a look of innocence about him. It makes him want to keep Sam right here. Safely next to him forever. "I'll always be right here little brother." He lets himself get comfortable, falling asleep minutes later.

It takes a lot of convincing from Dean, but they manage to check out the next day with lectures from every nurse that's ever taken care of them to be careful. Dean rolls his eyes at each one, smirking to himself when Sam blushes under the attention. They've become pretty popular during their stay.

Dean lets Sam be the mother hen for a minute as he gets dressed, pausing in putting his shirt on to let Sam look over the stitched up gash. It isn't infected anymore, starting to heal nicely. When he hears the relieved sigh, he pulls his shirt on and turns to his brother. "Hey. You've known it was better."

Sam shrugs, hands sliding into his pockets. "Seeing it makes a huge difference. I saw it down there. By the tiny glow of the lighter. It was… gruesome."

Dean chuckles, pulling Sam to him by an arm around his shoulders. He kisses the top of his head. "C'mon, Sammy. I'm ready to get out of here."

Sam smiles into Dean's chest. "Me too."

The last to talk to them is the doctor. He sighs when he walks up to them. "Well you're checking out sooner than I'd like, but you are healed enough I suppose." He holds out the brace to Sam. "Riding in the car shouldn't hurt too much, but if you ever have to do a lot of moving around, I'd put it on to keep your ribs from shifting. It acts as both a support and a way to keep you from bending where it would hurt anything."

Sam nods. "Okay."

"Don't worry, Doc. I'll take care of him." Dean ruffles Sam's hair much to his annoyance.

The doctor chuckles. "I'm sure you will. You boys be careful now. No more exploring abandoned mines," he jokes wryly.

Dean snorts. "No problem." He and Sam turn to go. He gives one last, warm smile to Tami, who holds the door open for them. "Thanks, sweetheart."

She smiles warmly. "You keep him out of trouble."

Dean winks at her.

They find the impala, Dean opening the door for Sam and standing by in case Sam needs help getting in. He settles in fine by himself, huffing in annoyance when Dean closes the door for him and goes around to the other side. "I can do some things myself, you know?"

"Yep." Dean starts up the impala, eyes falling closed and a small smile appearing on his face. It's been a while since he's driven.

Sam scowls. "Geeze, you'd think you hadn't been here in a year."

"Ah, don't worry Sammy. You're still my favorite." He grins at him, pulling out of the parking spot.

Sam huffs. "We both know you have an unhealthy relationship with this car, Dean. Even dad knows."

Dean rolls his eyes. "Whatever bitch. Which way to Bobby's?"

And for the first time ever, they're going across states by themselves. Usually they don't have to go far when it's just the two of them. This is the first time they've been navigating without John sleeping in the back seat or less than a state away. It's nice. Dean sings along to the radio, ignoring Sam's scowl and eventually cajoling him to singing along. It's very rare he can do so, smiling widely in victory when he does. He's glad Sam is having fun with him.

They don't stop for hours, content with having each other close and being back to SamandDean again. No more hospital staff hovering. No John giving orders. Just being brothers on the road. For the first time, Sam looks at the passing landscape and thinks 'I could do this forever'. If only it were just him and his brother. No monsters. No hunting. Just riding in the impala with Dean at the wheel. Yeah. He could do that forever. It's everything else that's the problem.

He's leaning his back against the passenger door now, feet having moved to his brother's lap an hour ago. Perfect vantage point to see both the map in his lap and Dean's face when he looks up. Watching shadows and sunlight move across his brother's face is his new favorite past time. And he thinks, 'Why are we stuck in this life?'

Dean finally pulls over to get gas when he sees Sam shifting around to stop the pain in his ribs from the uneven road. After filling the impala up they go in to the station to get some snacks, Dean hovering around Sam in case his brother is pushing himself too much. And if maybe his hand hovers just brushing Sam's back, neither mention it.

It's a skeevy gas station though. Out in the middle of hillbilly country in the middle of nowhere. Dean has his gun at his back as usual now that he's out of the hospital, but he still keeps his eyes on the two other men that are here. Isn't afraid to make eye contact when he sees them looking at Sam too long. Or himself for that matter. He knows they're both too pretty for their own good at times. He's glad for his decent size and hopes Sam gets big too when he finally starts growing.

They check out fine. It's when they're opening the doors to the impala that they get trouble.

"That's a mighty fine car ya have there," a man drawls, stepping away from his truck. "You look a little young to be able to afford it."

Dean turns to Sam. "Get in the car."

Sam doesn't move. "Dean. You too."

"Sam. I said get in the car."

The man stops two feet away from the end of the open door that Dean is standing behind. "Hey, I'm talking to you, boy."

Dean's face gets stone cold, turning away from Sam to face the man. "Back off. Now." The fact that Sam is hurt and unable to defend himself if things get really messy makes Dean more serious than usual. No joking around this time. No playing around. He can take this man easily if things get out of hand. Usually he'd be egging him on. But Sam is right behind him.

The man chuckles. "Or what, pretty boy?"

Not in the mood to play around, Dean pulls his gun, resting it on the top of the door. "Or I'm gonna shoot you. And trust me, I won't feel guilty."

The man jumps back, but stands his ground and narrows his eyes. "You wouldn't."

Dean nods back towards Sam. "See my brother here? He just got out of the hospital. Bad car accident. Has a few broken ribs. I'm not in the mood to mess around today. Anyone comes within ten feet of him and I won't hesitate to shoot. You get me?"

The man sneers at him but backs up. "Ya'll get outta here. Before I call the cops."

Dean chuckles. "I have a license for this one. But don't worry. We're leaving."

Sam lets out an airy laugh after they close their doors and Dean starts the impala. "You have a license for that one?"

Dean grins. "I do. Dad has a license for the one he carries all the time too. Figured if we get caught with our usual, we can't get busted for unlicensed carry."

Sam blinks. "Wow. I didn't know that."

Dean chuckles. "Not everything we do is illegal, Sam."

Sam snorts, watching the man standing by his truck disappear into the distance. Then he looks over to Dean. "Hey. You did good back there."

Dean smiles, reaching over to rest his arm on the back of the seat. His hand rests on the back of Sam's neck. "No one messes with us, little bro. Especially when you're hurt."

Sam scoffs. "I could have taken him."

Dean chuckles lowly. "Not without hurting yourself again. Besides, I wouldn't have let him get to you. I didn't like the way he was eyeing you up."

Sam frowns. "He was looking at the car, Dean."

Dean's eyes narrow and dart over to Sam before returning to the road. "The car was an excuse to get closer. But he was looking at you. What were you looking at?"

Sam grimaces. "I was watching you. And the distance between you two. Watching for if he got closer."

Dean sighs, yanking lightly at a bit of hair at the back of Sam's head. "You need to pay attention Sammy. To anything that might be a threat. Not to me. I can take care of myself. I can take care of you. But always keep your eyes open to the little details. If he had went after you and you weren't ready for it…" he trials off, stricken with the thought.


Dean looks over. "What?"

"Thanks," Sam murmurs again. He shrugs. "I'm glad I always feel safe with you."

Dean huffs. "I know for a fact you didn't feel safe down in that mine."

Sam leans over, suddenly tired. He slowly maneuvers himself down to lay his head on Dean's thigh, his hand resting on his brother's knee. "Actually, I did. I didn't feel happy. I was a little scared that we'd never get out. But I always felt safe. If we both died together, I wouldn't mind. But you kept me safe until it was hopeless. You never fail if it isn't your fault."

Dean hesitates only a second before letting his hand fall to run his fingers through his brother's hair. He sees a habit forming. "Well… thanks I guess," he barely whispers.

Sam smiles softly, eyes closing. It isn't long before he's lulled to sleepy by the fingers in his hair and the comforting sound of the impala. The leg beneath his head is the perfect pillow. He doesn't wake up until they make it to Bobby's late that night.

The house is empty but unlocked, the dog used as the only security seeing as how a lock wouldn't keep out demons or any other monster that mattered. Dean calls John, leaving a message that they made it before giving Sam a new dose of pain pills. He hovers around Sam as they make their way up the stairs to the familiar guest bedroom. It's slow going, Sam still a little disoriented from waking up and the affect of the new pain pills, the lingering pain not helping matters. But they make it up.

Dean turns on the little lamp by the bed, pulling Sam's shirt over his head before laying him down and covering him up. He pulls his own shirt off as he goes around the bed. Climbing in, he reaches over to turn off the light. He stops when Sam's hand closes around his other arm. "Okay." He turns around, pulling Sam into his arms. "It's okay. The light can stay on. I've got you."

Sam burrows into his brother's chest. "Thanks," he slurs sleepily.

Dean chuckles. "Of course, Sammy." He holds his brother close, eyes falling closed only minutes after he buries his nose in his brother's hair.

For the first time in two weeks, the two fall asleep content. For the first time in years, they fall asleep happy. For the millionth time, they fall asleep home.

Thanks for following the story guys. :)

What's funny, is this started out with the idea of what made Sam so desperate for a safe life. That's what he always talked about when he said why he went to Stanford. That he "wanted to be safe". This story started out as a reason for him to want to leave the life. How Dean won't always be able to protect him. It was supposed to be an impossible situation that Dean couldn't save him from and got him wanting to find a way out.

But... it took on a mind of it's own. And i realized that Dean was never the problem, just as Sam says. Eventually, he probably just got tired of Dean having to protect him and decided he wanted a 'safe' life that wouldn't require anyone to do so. And maybe he even asked Dean to go with him which we all know Dean would never be able to do, good little soldier that he was at the time.

But anyway, this story told the opposite of what the idea started out as. How Dean was the only way Sam ever felt safe in the life of a hunter. He was the only reason he stuck around as long as he did. Down in the mine, Dean was the only reason Sam was able to keep it together. He was Sam's 'safe'. So in effect, this story became how much Sam trusted his brother and how when Dean came back for Sam at Stanford... he had trusted him to keep him safe. Get him back in time for the interview. Dean was never the reason he didn't feel 'safe'.

No matter the changes in my thought process, i had fun writing it. So thanks for the reviews! I had fun :) And... I might have another idea for a story starting already...