so, this is just a random idea that came to me in spanish a few days ago. figured i'd write it down now rather than wait until the idea burns itself out.

Doesn't take place in any particular time period, really. It's just kind of...there. Probably sometime post-season 5, but before the wall comes down, but Sam isn't soulless, and Cas is, for a currently unexplainable reason, MIA, but I don't think the wall has come down yet...

And yes, Dean is kind of a giant dick in some parts. I love him, but it was necessary to the plotline. The plotline shall come first. Sorry, Deano.

Also, as usual, all of my medical information comes from WebMD, so if it's wrong, go yell at them, not me.btw, there is a very subtle doctor who reference. It's hardly there, but I worded it just slightly differently because I couldn't resist the opportunity. Kudos to anyone who finds it.

Also, as usual, all of my medical information comes from WebMD, so if it's wrong, go yell at them, not me.

I don't own supernatural *sobs*

Enjoy :)


To think I might not see those eyes

Makes it so hard not to cry

And as we say our long goodbye

I nearly do

Light up, light up

As if you have a choice

Even if you cannot hear my voice

I'll be right beside you, dear

Run - Snow Patrol


Dean slammed the door right in Sam's face. The wall trembled slightly as it rode out the impact, and Sam sighed. He wasn't sure what he'd done wrong now; it always just seemed to be something these days. It was hard to apologize to someone who wouldn't listen to a single word that came out of your mouth.

He took a moment to brace himself before carefully turning the door knob and stepping into the grimy room. Dean was lying face-down on the bed closest to the door. A bottle of Jack was already out on the bedside table, the cap lying pitifully on its side next to it.

Pushing himself into a sitting position, Dean contemplated ways to get his little brother out of the room. Anger had been simmering just beneath the surface for the past few hours. Sam would never let him drink himself into a deep enough stupor to forget about it, and that was exactly what he planned to do anyway.

"You hungry?"

Sam shrugged a shoulder. "Not really."

Dean scoffed inwardly. 'Course not... "Boo-freaking-hoo. It's your turn to get food." He flopped back onto the bed.

With an aggravated sigh, Sam glanced outside. The rain was coming down sideways. "Well, can I take the car?"

"What? Of course not."

Sam dug his fingernails into his palm, the sharp sting helping him focus. He could feel a headache coming on, and a thick cloud of general malaise and lethargy hung over his head. "Dude, it's pouring. I'm not getting you your damn pie unless I can take the car."

A tense silence fell over the room, until Dean dug the keys out of his pocket and lobbed them, a lot harder than was necessary, at Sam. "Fine. But don't you dare hurt her."

"Yeah, yeah, I know."

He walked out before Dean could say anything else.


The sign just seemed to be glaring at him, as if it was spiting him intentionally. Closed. Of course they were closed. Everything else was.

He'd walked into a nearby diner only to have an elderly waitress usher him out immediately, "Sorry, sugar, we're closing up for the storm. You should get on home, people get killed in this kind of weather..."

She suggested a gas station minimart that was apparently nearby. It was closed. He found another one. And so he glared at that fucking 'closed' sign, hatefully acknowledging the shivers that shook his bones as the freezing, icy water soaked into this skin. It wasn't just raining, anymore, it was sleeting, practically snowing. It wasn't safe to be out there, and he knew it.

But Dean...

He was waiting back at the room. He was tired, pissed, likely sore from driving all day, hungry, and if Sam knew anything at all about his brother, Dean was also good and drunk by now. Dean was an angry drunk, and a violent one, and a drunk Dean was not the kind of thing he wanted to deal with if he came back empty-handed.

There had to be something. There had to be.

He got back into the Impala. His head ached terribly; what was once a subtle twinge was now an agonizing throb. Sam was pretty much certain that he was running a dangerous fever, which only served to disorient him further. Somewhere in him, he was well aware that this wasn't what Dean had wanted him to do, that Dean would be even more pissed if he went and got himself hurt. But the part of him that knew that had been buried for so long, replaced by that constant thrum of all the words Dean had spoken to him, everything he'd ever done wrong. Dean wouldn't care if he was hurt. He'd only be angry. And he was already so, so angry.

Don't kid yourself. He won't care. Stop pitying yourself. He'd probably be better off if you just went off and di-

Sam never got a chance to finish the sentence. There's just something about a semi plowing into the side of a guy's car that just makes him lose his train of thought.


Sam thought someone might be talking to him. He could hardly hear them, though. His hands moved to his head, tugging anxiously on his hair. The Impala...the Impala...

She was trashed. Dean was going to slowly, deliberately torture him, and then he was going to kill him. And then he'd bring him back, and then he'd do it again.

The Impala. Dean's Impala. The side of the once-gorgeous car had been smashed inward, thereby bending the roof to an unnatural degree. One of the headlights was decimated, the other one cracked. Both of the taillights were gone. All of the windows were. The engine most likely needed to be completely replaced.

As if on cue, his phone started to buzz in his pocket. Cold dread filled him. Only one person would be calling him right then...

"'Lo?"

"Sam?" Dean was slurring slightly. "Where the hell are you? I'ss been hours."

Sam's brow wrinkled. Hours? Really? How long had he been out? He'd woken up on the ground...he felt fine. He wasn't injured. He almost wished he was. Being unconscious sounded pretty good right about then. Being dead sounded a lot better.

He mentally kicked himself. Stop it, dumbass. You don't get to think like that. "Uh, Dean...something happened."

"Is she al'ight?!"

Sam sighed. It was to be expected, but it still smarted a little that Dean asked about the Impala first.

"...that's kind of the thing, Dean. A semi skidded on an icy patch, he T-boned her. I-"

"WHAT?! WHERE IS HE?!" He suddenly sounded a lot more lucid.

"No, Dean, it wasn't the guy's fault. There's zero visibility out here. It..." He couldn't get his thoughts together. Was he concussed? His head felt fine. He couldn't be sure.

"It what, Sam? And just where the fuck were you when this happened?"

Sam opened his mouth to reply, and then he stopped. Should he even tell him? Would he even care?

"Sam? Kinda waiting for an answer here."

"I was in the car." When Dean didn't say anything for a moment, he hastened to continue, "But I'm fine, really, I-"

Dean huffed angrily. "Great. Just great. You crashed my car. Thanks, Sammy."

"I'm-"

"Sorry, yeah, whatever. I'll call Bobby to come tow it. And you get the hell back here. I won't be here. I can't..." He paused. "I don't even wanna look at you right now. I'll see you later."

The line went dead. Sam sighed, running a hand over his face.

"Great," he muttered cynically, "This is just perfect. Just what I needed."

He brushed off the concerned locals. He didn't need a hospital. They were probably just worried that he would sue someone anyway.

It would be getting dark soon. And he had a helluva long way to walk.


By the time Sam got to the motel room, it was about 9:30. It was even darker than it normally would have been. Thick, black clouds covered the moon and the stars, obliterating any light that there might have been. Now that adrenaline was no longer pumping through his veins, he began to wonder if perhaps he shouldn't have turned down that hospital visit. His head was pounding terribly. He couldn't focus on anything, hell, he couldn't even walk in a straight line. His chest hurt horribly; every time he took a breath, he nearly blacked out. His entire abdomen felt like he'd been punched in the stomach by the Hulk.

He sluggishly grabbed a bottle of aspirin and dropped a few into his hand; he couldn't see well enough to tell how many. He dry-swallowed them and dropped onto one of the beds. He couldn't stay awake any longer, but he wasn't sure if he was surrendering himself to sleep or unconsciousness. He really couldn't be bothered.

Sam was usually a light sleeper, but he didn't stir at all when Dean crashed into the room four hours later. A few years ago, Dean would have been concerned.

These days, Dean was too drunk to care.


Dean's eyes cracked open. Just a millimeter. Too-bright sunlight was beaming in through the window. The blinds had been thrown wide open. Dean groaned.

"Sam...SAM! Shut the...sh't the window."

No response.

"SAM! C'mon, just shut the fuck'n window."

Silence.

Dean fought through thick waves of nausea and sat up. "S'mmy?" Still no reply.

Feeling an awful surge in his stomach, Dean stumbled to his feet.

When he got out of the bathroom, he found that his overgrown little brother was still lying on his bed, still as a statue. Dean smiled softly. It was good that he was sleeping. He'd been having a lot of trouble with it lately, and even when he managed to catch a few winks, he'd usually be thrashing around with nightmares.

Dean sighed, taking a seat at the desk next to Sammy's laptop. Now that he was sober and coherent, he found that he was truly dreading the massive apology he owed the kid. It wasn't really Sam's fault that he crashed the car. The Impala was a beauty of a car, but even Dean would admit that she wasn't the most maneuverable machine, and Dean had sent the poor kid out in the middle of a storm. Sam wouldn't blame him if he didn't apologize, really. Somehow, that just made it all the more necessary that he does.

He'd been harsh on him. It wasn't really Sam he was angry at. He was angry at, well, everything, and Sam just took the brunt of it.

At least now he was getting some sleep. He looked peaceful. Dean frowned.

Maybe a little too peaceful.

"Hey, Sammy, it's gettin' late. Rise n' shine."

Sam didn't react.

"C'mon, kiddo. Up and at 'em." He gave his brother a gentle shake. He still didn't move.

Slightly less calm now, Dean rested shaking fingers on his brother's neck, searching for a pulse. Weak and thready. Dean's eyebrows shot up. Something was very, very wrong.

"Sammy, wake up." He shook him a little harder. "Sammy!"

Sam rolled over slowly, his eyes sliding open just a little. "D'n...I dun feel so good..."

That was about when he started to seize.

For a painfully long moment, Dean was frozen. A seizure? Sam never had seizures. And just how the fuck had Dean seen that many episodes of Dr. Sexy M.D. and he still had absolutely no fucking idea what to do?

He chewed on his lip. What do you do with seizures? Get them on their side? Or was that a stroke? Dean brushed it aside. Either way, Sam might be choking on his tongue soon, and Dean couldn't have that. He rolled him onto his side.

The Winchesters weren't exactly fans of hospitals, but Dean had no exaggerated opinion of his medical skills, and he was well aware that he was out of his league. He'd just get Sam into the Impala and-

Oh.

Sam had finally gone still, now panting heavily, and Dean frantically dug around in his pockets for his cell phone. Come on, Dean, what the fuck did you do now?

Other jeans? Nothing. Bathroom? Nada. Pulling at his hair, he gazed around the room. Table? Dean swore quietly.

"What the fuck, why would I have..." He shook his head, grabbing it.

"9-1-1, what's your emergency?"


Dean really hated hospitals.

Just everything about them. The smell. The crappy magazines. The sympathetic smiles. But most of all, he hated the despair. Sitting in that waiting room, every single person was drowning in thoughts of what they should have done differently, and slowly being strangled by the knowledge that there was absolutely nothing that they could do.

At least, that's the way it is for Dean.

"Family of Sam Masters?"

Dean jumped to his feet. "Right here. I'm his brother." His voice caught when he tried to ask if Sam was alright. Of course he's not alright, jackass. And that's on you.

"I'm Dr. McClellan. Now, before we get started, was Sam in any kind of an accident recently? Maybe a fight?"

"Uh...yeah." He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "Car crash, but he was fine. He was walking around, he could talk, he was fine."

"This was...today?"

"Yesterday. Afternoon."

"Alright, then. Now, your brother. We very quickly discovered that he has several broken ribs, in addition to a broken femur, but that's the least of our concerns. We suspected that he may be bleeding internally, so we ran a CT scan. We found a subdural hematoma, as well as an intra-abdominal bleed. Hopefully, we'll be able to repair it without removing the spleen entirely, but it's hard to tell until we get in there."

"Until you- You mean surgery? My brother needs surgery?" The room seemed to be spinning. Dean sank back into his chair.

The doctor paused, but continued without actually answering. "What we're most worried about is his heart. He has a tear in his aorta, Mr. Masters. These are common with victims of blunt-force trauma, but we need to act very quickly. Sam is not actually conscious at the moment, and if he was, he wouldn't be in a very stable state of mind, so we're bringing the consent form to you."

Dean took the clipboard slowly, staring at it. "I...Is that necessary? Is there...anything else? At all?"

"Mr. Masters, if you want your brother to live...this is the only option."

Dean nodded slowly. "Yeah. Okay. It's just..." He took a shaky breath. "Surgery." He signed his name messily and dropped the pen as if it had burned him.

"If you'd like to see him, this is your last chance. We need to start prepping him immediately."


Sam was pale. Too pale. Some nurse was getting him ready for the knife, and Dean rushed to his side. He was staring woozily at the ceiling, eyes half open.

"Sammy! Hey, little bro, how you feeling?" Stupid question, Dean berated himself, he must feel like shit.

Sam blinked slowly. "D...dean?"

"I'm right here, Sammy." He felt like he should be saying something. His little brother was about to get cut open, and he had absolutely nothing to talk about.

"Wh...wha' happened?"

A lump was starting to form in his throat. This felt too much like a last goodbye. "The doctors say you're hurt pretty bad, kiddo. They're gonna make it better."

"'M sorry, D'n."

"What?" He smoothed Sam's hair back. "What for?"

"I cr'shed your car."

"Dude," he laughed bitterly, "my car crashed you."


They told Dean that the surgery would take anywhere from 5 to 6 hours. It had been seven, and Dean was freaking out.

No one had come out to talk to him. There had been no explanations, but Dean, as usual, was fearing the worst. He checked the clock approximately every three seconds. He was panicking, and most likely seconds away from hyperventilation.

And then his phone rang.

It was an odd feeling. He felt like he was being pulled out of the nightmarish bubble of the hospital in which he was drowning in his brother's blood, and back into the outside world. He didn't much care for either side.

"Hey, Bobby."

"Hey, Dean. I just got your car back to the lot. She's pretty banged up, but she's had worse. She should be fine. Also, I found a bit of lore on that problem of yours. It's an Orc. They-"

"Uh, Bobby...could you maybe give this one to someone else? We're...there's a bit of a problem."

Bobby sighed. "What'd you damn idjits get your stupid asses into now?"

Dean had never believed in the whole 'talking about it will make you feel better' thing, but, well, it did. Nothing about the situation was fixed, but there was something comforting about hearing Bobby say to, "sit your ass down and wait. I'll be there in a few hours."

So even if it did go south, and with their luck it would, Bobby would know what to do about it. It's Bobby. He fixes things. That's how it works.

Exactly 42 minutes later, McClellan came back out. He still had a surgical mask tied loosely around his neck, though it no longer covered his mouth. He looked absolutely exhausted. His hands were shaking. "Mr. Masters?"

Dean stood apprehensively. The doctor was shaking his head. "I...I'm not sure what to tell you." His voice sounded so distant all of a sudden, as if he were speaking to Dean from across the room. "I...we did everything we could."

Dean wanted to cry all of a sudden. No one was going to just magically zap them out of this one. Sam can't be gone. Dean had never even gotten the chance to apologize. He had to say he was sorry. Sam had to know...

"Mr. Masters?" The room felt like it was shaking. "Mr. Masters?"

Dean shot into consciousness, breathing erratically, with ice-cold panic painting his insides.

"Mr. Masters..."

Dean's eyes focused in on Dr. McClellan. "I...yes?"

"Your brother is out of surgery..."

That was all Dean really wanted to hear, but something was...wrong. It just didn't feel, somehow, as if the doctor was quite finished with what he was about to say. Dean fought to keep his hopes from getting up, but...

"Can I see him?"

"Ah, yes, in a moment, he's just being moved into the ICU. He..." McClellan sighed. "Look, you don't look like the type of person who likes to beat around the bush, so I'll just say this. There were a few complications. He coded three times on the table. Your brother isn't doing so well, and honestly, I'd be lying if I told you I expected him to wake up. I'll take you to his room now, unless you need a few moments...?"

"No..." Dean shook his head harshly. "No. I want to see him now."


The worst thing about the ICU was the quiet. It was a smothering, all-consuming silence that filled into every corner of the entire floor and threatened to suffocate all of them. The only thing that Dean could hear was the muffled sobbing of a mother over her dead son and that awful beep...beep...beep and the whirring of all those machines. The only things keeping his little brother breathing.

The chairs by the bedside were lumpy and uncomfortable, accented by broken armrests and torn lining. To be quite honest, Dean couldn't care less.

If it was just any other hospital visit, if they'd just made a quick run to the ER for some quick fix, if it had been anything other than this, Dean would have been bitching about it just to make conversation. It had been so hard lately, just to talk to each other. He was well aware that a lot of that was his fault, but it was in the past now. What was done was done, and now all that mattered was that Sam was in a coma and that none of this would have happened if Dean would have just gotten over himself and not sent Sam out in the middle of a fucking blizzard.

All that mattered was that Sam was lying in some hospital in the middle of Fuck You, Alabama, paler than death itself, and it was all Dean's fault.

He dropped his head into his hands. "And the greatest fucking brother award goes to..."

"Dean?"

Dean's head snapped up. "Bobby!" He tried to smile. The waver of a motion trembled for the second that it was there, and then it slipped away.

"Aw, kid..." Bobby took two steps forward and wrapped Dean in a hug. Neither of the two men were exactly fans of emotions in general, but Bobby was slightly worried that if someone didn't do this now, Dean would shatter into a thousand million pieces that no one would be able to put back together.

All Dean could do was try not to cry. He was unsuccessful, but Bobby was kind enough to pretend not to notice.

And then they had an orderly bring in another chair for Bobby to sit down, and Dean told him everything.


"Dean, I know it ain't pretty, but this is up to Sam now. I know that these quacks say that he's got to fight his way out of this, but they've got a point. Sam will come back if and only if he wants to. I'm sorry, Dean."

Dean huffed, shaking his head. "So then what the hell do I do?"

"Honestly?" Bobby hesitated, then hardened his resolve and frowned. "You're doing all you can right now."

Normally, Dean might have just nodded, unhappily, but nodded all the same, and gone on hating his existence like he does every other day. But...he hesitated. Dean would jump at any chance he could see at this point.

"You're lying. Why?"

Bobby glared at him. "I am not lyin', Dean. I have no idea what you're talking about."

"There's something else, isn't there? What is it? Is it dangerous or something? Because you know I don't care about that."

"Yeah, well maybe I do, ever think of that?"

For half a second, Dean was speechless. "Y... What?"

"You and Sam are damn fools when it comes to your own selves, you know that? I'm not about to sign your death warrant just because Sam is jumping ship. There comes a point when a person is past helping."

Dean's hand curled into a fist. "Two things, Bobby. For one, Sam is not dying. He needs my written permission to go and pull something like that, and I have no intention of giving it. And two, he's my little brother, and if you don't let me save his stupid ass, I am not responsible for my actions. Got it?"

Bobby shook his head, but it wasn't a negation. It was more of a hateful acceptance.

"Er...everything okay in here?"

A young nurse was leaning through the doorway, pursing her lips nervously.

"Yeah," Dean replied, still glaring at Bobby, "I was just gonna get some coffee." He turned on his heel and stormed out.

Bobby stared after him helplessly. "Dean..."

Dean didn't acknowledge him. Bobby glanced at Sam's prone form on the bed.

"Kid..." Bobby sighed. "You better as hell wake up."


"I hope you realize that this is one of the stupidest damn things you've ever done."

"Yeah, you keep sayin' that."

"Well, it's true."

A silver bowl was on the floor in front of Dean, an odd assortment of ingredients stirred into a grainy paste at the bottom. Bobby was carefully slitting open Sam's palm, allowing the thick, red liquid to drip down into the liquid. Dean did the same, with his own palm.

It was just past two thirty in the morning. No one would be checking on them for at least another solid five hours, which, if all went according to plan, should be plenty of time. If it went slightly off-plan, than they should scrape by, but be fine. If nothing at all went according to plan, both Dean and Sam would be dead and Bobby would have a few bodies to get rid of.

"I can't even guarantee what you'll find in there, Dean," Bobby half-whispered at him, "Are you sure about this? Not too late to change your mind."

Dean gave him a look. "Bobby, seriously."

"Yeah, okay, I know."

Double-checking that no one was around, Bobby lit a match and dropped it into the bowl, causing it to flare up. He chanted briefly in a lyrical archaic language that not even Dean recognized, and silence fell.

Dean waited for a few moments, a question on the tip of his tongue, but he wasn't sure if he should ask. When all Bobby did was stand with a sigh and drop into his chair, Dean gave an aggravated scoff.

"So? What now?"

Bobby didn't react.

The room blurred into a pale blob, and a bright light obscured Dean's vision.


Well, it was certainly a forest. Sam could be sure of that.

Wolves howled in the distance. A banshee was screaming somewhere, but he didn't know how to stop it. His head throbbed dully. He couldn't think.

"Hey, Sammy."

Sam searched frantically for the source of the voice. "Dean?! I...Dean!"

"Not quite. Sorry, kiddo."

It took Sam a few long moments to focus on the owner of the voice, his vision blurring harshly and spinning skyward.

"Hey, hey, careful." A hand closed on his shoulder, righting him.

"G-Gabriel?"

"The one and only." Silence fell for a second as Sam stared. He looked just as Sam remembered him, all the five o'clock shadow and a cynical smirk. The same mischievous spark was in his eyes, and he regarded Sam with a raised eyebrow. "What the hell have you gotten yourself into, Sam?"

Sam frowned. "What are you talking about?"

"Do you even know where we are?"

The thought had hardly occurred to him. Sam looked around. He had thought he was in some kind of a forest, but it had changed. Now that he really looked, he couldn't see anything. Just darkness, and Gabriel.

"We're inside your noggin, Sam. This isn't real."

"What? Why? Am I dreaming? Are you real? I thought you were dead."

"One at a time, kid. The first two are stupid questions; I don't like stupid questions. Are you dreaming...yes, technically. I am real. And you thought I was dead because I am. Was. Something. I don't know, I've been on an extended vacation from...life."

"Where are we?"

"Stupid questions, Sam. We're wherever you decide we are. Try not to kill us while you think about that. Your brain isn't the safest place to be."

Their surroundings swirled around them, blending into a thousand colors and shapes, before finally evening out into a dirty motel room. There's no place like home.

"Am I...dead?"

Gabriel gave him a sad smile. "That's up to you, Sam."

"What doest that even mean?", he asked exasperatedly.

The archangel gave him an aggravated look. "It means that out there," he gestured towards the ceiling, "in the real world, you're lying in some hospital with that asshole brother of yours. And you can die now, or you can go back and let him kick your ass. It's your decision, Sammy. This is on you."

"Is he alright? What did I do?"

Gabriel laughed incredulously at him. "You really are fucked, you know that? You're literally on your death bed. And you're worrying about him? Dean is fine, you dumbass. His biggest problem right now is his hangover. Well, and you."

A heavy silence fell. Sam took a seat on one of the beds. "How do I get back?"

He didn't reply for a moment. "Have you even considered that maybe...you don't go back?"

Sam scoffed. "Don't be ridiculous. I'm going, and that's final." No reply. "Why are you even here?"

After another moment passed and Gabriel still hadn't spoken, Sam turned around, and after a moment, he heaved a defeated sigh. "Typical."

Gabriel was gone.


When Dean's vision next cleared, he found himself standing in an empty field. It wasn't a particularly nice place. Just a barren expanse of dead grass and collapsing trees and...headstones?

Oh, no. Dean had most definitely seen this place before. It wasn't a particularly happy memory.

As the ground collapsed, Dean desperately looked around, not wanting to watch it play out all over again. A grey door was stood up next to him.

What the fuck?

As he considered his options, the door swung open. It was right in front of him, but he couldn't see through.

C'mon, Deano. The voice was somehow deafeningly loud and completely silent at the same time. Don't be a dick. Just go through.

"Great," Dean muttered to himself as he obeyed, "Now I'm hearing voices, too."

The door didn't just close behind him; it disappeared. He was in a white expanse of space. No walls, no visible floor. He wasn't anywhere. He was just...there.

"H-Hello?"He cursed himself for stuttering.

"You looked like you could use a hand. I was in the area."

Dean whirled around. No one was there. Back around. Still no one.

"Stop twirling, Dean, you make a shitty ballerina. Find Sam. He needs you."

"How?" No response. "Who are you? What do I do?"

"Find the door, idiot. And then do it again. Get moving. I can only hold the reaper off for so long."

"What door...," he murmured, bristling at the insult. Before he'd even had a chance to start looking, a door identical to the last one appeared in front of him. "Well, then. Stupid fucking cryptic little..."

He opened the door, and was greeted by a face-full of snow.


Sam hadn't moved since Gabriel left. Just what the hell did he mean, 'maybe you don't go back'? Of course he had to go back. He couldn't leave Dean. Dean needed him.

Well...

Did he? Did he really need him?

The majority of Dean's injuries wouldn't have happened if Dean didn't feel that inane need to protect Sam, drilled into his head by his father. Lately, Sam wondered if Dean even cared, anymore. Actually, he'd been wondering that for a while. "Protect Sammy." That was all Dean heard growing up. It was all he knew to do. And he'd continue to do it, whether he himself wanted to or not.

And he'd crashed the Impala. Dean's most prized possession, the one thing he'd put before everything else. So of course, it would be Sam that had to fuck it up. He seemed to fuck everything up when it came to Dean. Fucking things up seemed to be the only thing he was good at.

"Just gonna sit there?"

Sam didn't even twitch. "Where've you been?", he asked tonelessly.

"Eh, different quadrant. Dean's here."

"Dean?" For a moment, Sam looked up, before resuming his slumped posture. "Why?"

"Why do you think? Lookin' for you."

"He is?" He paused. "Well, that's good for him, I guess."

Gabriel took a seat beside him. "Are you going to go with him?"

"I'm not sure yet."

Gabriel didn't reply.

"What would you do?"

"Hmm?"

"If this was you. And you were dying. Again. Would you stay? Or go with him?"

"Honestly? My first inclination would be to stay. But I've been known to run away from things. So have you. And I think we both know how that works out. So I guess I'd go with him."

"I...I don't know."

Gabriel laughed softly. "You're allowed to not know every once in a while, Sam. This is your choice. Go with your gut."

"Yeah," was all he said.

"And just so you know, Dean is working his way through some of your memories just to get to you. Whether you're staying or going, you might want to go find him before he sees something you don't want him to."

Sam jumped to his feet, but by the time he turned around to thank the archangel, Gabriel was gone.


December 3, 1989.

It wasn't the first time that Sam had seen snow, not by a long shot, but it was the first time he'd been allowed out to play in it. John had left them in a motel room in Ohio. Long story short, it snowed overnight, and in the morning, Sam's puppy-dog eyes convinced Dean to take him out to play in it.

Dean watched with a nostalgic smile as his nine-year-old self helped Sam's six-year-old self build a snowman. It was so vivid, he almost would have thought he was there. But he couldn't feel it. The cold wasn't biting his skin the way it had been back then. The sun reflected off the snow and ice, but it didn't hurt his eyes the way it had then. And though he smiled slightly watching, he didn't feel the unadulterated glee that he'd felt then. Just playing in the snow with his little brother.

"We did have a few good times, all things considered."

Dean nearly jumped out of his skin, whirling around to face his overgrown little brother. Sam attempted a slight smile. It didn't really work.

"What the- Sam!"

Not noticing the illogicality of it, Dean grabbed Sam's shoulders, frantically checking him for injuries. Sam brushed him off with a humorless chuckle.

"This isn't real, Dean. I'm not hurt here."

"Sammy..."

"Yeah, Dean. I'm here. I mean, we're kind of in my head."

"Look, I don't have that long. We need to go. Now."

Sam hesitated. "Uh, about that, Dean..."

Dean gave him a critical look. "What?"

"I, uh, I haven't really decided yet, about if..."

Dean's eyes narrowed. "If what? You better as hell not be about to say what I think you're about to say."

"I just haven't made a decision yet."

"Quit it with the cryptic bullshit. You haven't made a decision about what, Sam?"

Sam just looked at him. Dean was beginning to fear that he already knew the answer.

"About what, Sam?!"

"Dean..." His voice was barely audible. "You know what."

If Dean hadn't been so damn glad to see him, he probably would have punched Sam in the face.


Neither of them said anything for at least ten minutes. The scenery shifted around them. They stood on a dock, suddenly, looking out at Lake Huron. Their younger selves skipped stones up at the shoreline.

"What do you want me to say?"

"What?"

"What do you need? For you to come back. What do you need me to do? Sky's the limit."

"Dean, it's not you, it's just something I need to...consider."

"Consider?! What the fuck is there to consider? This is choosing to fight, or choosing to die, Sam. And you're just gonna die? You know what kind of person does that?"

"Dean-"

"A coward, Sam. You're a lot of things, okay, but I've never known you to be a coward. Are you really gonna prove me wrong?"

"Just hear me out, alright?"

Dean frowned, before relaxing his face when he found that he was dangerously close to pouting. He didn't reply, but gave Sam a pointed look. He was listening.

"I wasn't gonna even think about it at first. When I was first told what was happening, I obviously immediately thought that of course I had to wake up. I mean, how could I even consider just dying, right?" He swallowed. "But then I started thinking."

"Dangerous habit," Dean muttered. Sam glared. "Go on, go on."

"I had figured that I had to go back because I was needed, you know, but I mean, am I really?" Dean started to interrupt. Sam held up a hand, effectively silencing him. "Let me finish. You hurt yourself for me, because of me. And why? Because of some absurd delusion of yours? Because Dad told you to? You work better without me. I'm your Achilles heel.

"And look where we are now. You wouldn't be here if you didn't feel that I was your responsibility. What kind of spell are you using, anyway? Can't be anything safe; if it was, it wouldn't be powerful enough. I don't want you to risk your life for me. It isn't worth it."

Sam didn't seem like he was quite finished, but Dean succeeded in interrupting him this time. "Not worth it? Your life isn't worth it? I went to hell for you, and what, it wasn't worth it? I can't tell you what to think of yourself, alright, but don't you ever tell me where my priorities are. You are my top priority. And if you won't come back with me right now...Sammy, I honestly don't know what I'd do. I'd probably spend the rest of my life in the bottom of a tequila bottle. You don't get to leave me out there, 'kay? You're a hunter, Sam. The world needs you, and if that isn't enough for you, I need you to come back. Do it for me."

Sam seemed to be shocked speechless. Dean noticed he was shaking slightly. He nodded almost imperceptibly. Satisfied that his words had hit home, Dean took two steps forward and gave him a much-needed hug.

"If you tell anyone about this, I'll kick your ass, dude," Dean muttered in his ear.

Chuckling softly, Sam nodded slightly. "Yeah, I know."

A ways away, Gabriel rolled his eyes, but he suppressed a grin. He turned on his heel and disappeared. His father was calling him home.


Dean was pulled from the dream a few moments later. Sam had yet to wake up, but Bobby told him not to worry. It wasn't supposed to be instantaneous.

The next day, Sam started fighting his breathing tube. He was breathing on his own, so they took him off the ventilator. His brain activity was increasing by the day, making it look more and more promising, and by the end of the week, Dr. McClellan was saying that Sam could wake up at any time. Dean hardly left his bedside, terrified that Sam would wake up and find himself alone.

It was a Monday afternoon when Sam woke up. His eyes cracked open, and it took him a good few minutes to work through the groggy haze that encumbered him. Dean was slumped over the side of the bed, an empty cup of coffee more propped up against his hand than actually being held by it. As Sam shifted in the bed, Dean's eyes started to open as well.

"S'mmy?"

Upon realizing that Sam actually was good and conscious, Dean bolted upright, eyes popping wide open. "Sammy!" He leaned over and hurriedly pressed the call button next to Sam's bed. He sat back down in the crappy hospital chair. "You feel alright? They have you pretty hopped up on pain meds right now."

"Well, that explains a lot," he replied with some difficulty.

Dean's smile faded after a moment, and the atmosphere grew a little more serious. Dean normally wouldn't have initiated anything so chick-flicky, but after everything he'd seen in Sam's head, he thought that Sam might need to hear it. "I'm glad you're okay, Sammy."

"Well, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you."

He smiled softly at him, but any reply he might have had was silenced when the nurse walked in.

As they prepared to take Sam up to get another X-ray, Sam caught Dean's eye just before they wheeled him out of the room.

"Thanks, jerk." Sam smirked slightly, but his eyes spoke of sincerity.

"No problem, bitch."

Sam would need weeks upon weeks of recovery. He would probably need physical therapy, as soon as he got through all the bed rest. He'd need several types of painkillers just to get him through the night. And he'd need a reliable caretaker, but god knows that's something he has.

He'd be okay. And all of a sudden, Dean found that he could remember how to breathe.


It's stupidly late (or early, whatever you want to call it), and I don't have a beta, so there might be some spelling mistakes, and some 'your's that should have been 'you're's or some 'their's that should have been 'they're's, but overall, I think it turned out alright. I am most definitely going to bed now, so I will finish this off by saying thank you for reading, and reviews are always appreciated, good or bad. If you didn't like it, constructive criticism, please. I want to get better, not read nonsensical garbage about how much you hated it.

Goodnight, everyone. I'm too tired to give you any kind of my usual supposed-to-be witty farewells.