Believe In Me

Summary: Dean's awake at night which is never good. He broods over recent events and comes to see that Sam's belief in him doesn't end with just hunting. / Pensive/brooding/big brother!Dean & slightly!upset/hiding it!Sam. SPOILER! Contains spoilers for 08x14 Trial and Error.

Warnings/Spoilers: Some for language which is minor. It does contain spoilers for 08x14-Trial and Error so if you haven't seen it yet, you may want to steer clear.

Tags: Happens after the end of the episode so I'll tag it to 08x14: Trial and Error

Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own the boys, the show, or anything to do with Supernatural. This is just for fun.

Author Note: Ugh, I don't do summaries well since some stories are harder to describe than others without giving away the whole plot. So I'll apologize if the summary is too bad, lol. Enjoy the story.

SPN SPN SPN SPN SPN

"'Just believe in me',"

The words spoken hours earlier by his younger brother were still ringing in Dean Winchester's head as he laid on his new memory foam mattress back at the underground base that he'd fondly began to call the Bat Cave after he and Sam had found it.

The old base of the Men of Letters was nothing like the rundown motels he and Sam had grown up in and still occasionally stayed at and Dean was also slowly letting himself get used to having a place that was semi-stable, a place that he'd even set up his own room.

He'd told Sam that he hadn't had his own room in…ever but Dean knew that wasn't quite true. He'd had one when he was four and Sam was a baby, before the fire and the endless motel rooms or the Impala became 'home'.

Tonight though he was having issues settling down for the night and the hunter knew the reasons for that. The one was the overly hyper prophet living on Garth's houseboat.

Ever since Kevin broke the code on the tablet in their possession, he'd been going gung-ho to figure out the other two trials or tasks that needed to be done in order to slam the gates of Hell once and for all.

Normally Dean was all for that and he was…he also was aware that Sam was concerned for Kevin and after seeing the kid the last time a big part of Dean was too. He was also wondering how far to let it go before siccing Mama Trang on Kevin's ass to get him to at least sleep or…eat something that wasn't processed since even Dean had inwardly winced at Kevin's diet.

"Damn it," giving up on sleeping for the moment, Dean decided to go get a snack since thinking of Kevin's choice of food had reminded him of the leftovers in their actual real fridge and if he was going to brood then he'd brood with food.

A low light was still showing under Sam's door which made Dean wonder if his brother was awake and studying the thousands of ledgers and journals they'd found in this place or if Sam was just awake as the full and total weight of what he'd just taken on hit him.

"Knowing Geek-boy, it's the first," shaking his head, Dean debated on his choices before finally choosing a slice of cherry pie and sat at the small table that was in the kitchen.

Thinking of Sam soon reminded him of another reason he wasn't sleeping well that night. Dean had planned all along to be the one to take on the three tasks that would seal the gates since he'd been down this path before and wasn't stupid to think it would have any better outcome than any other time they tried to save the world. One of them would end up buying it and he was determined that it wasn't going to be his little brother.

It had taken Dean a long time to finally see that out of the two of them Sam had the best chance of walking away from the life of a hunter and settling back to a real life like a real normal person. He hadn't always seen that since for Dean the life of a hunter had been all he'd come to accept since his Dad had driven that into his head and so he'd hated it that Sam had not wanted that as well.

These past few months since Dean's return from Purgatory, since the more outward strain between him and Sam had surfaced over Sam's mistrust of Benny and Dean's dislike of Sam living a year with Amelia, it had slowly hit Dean that no matter what they did, where they went or what happened that his brother had the uncanny ability, no…gift, to just shift back to that normal life and perhaps if Dean was honest with himself that rare gift Sam had was Dean's own fault.

Ever since Sam was six-months old and their Father went on a path of destruction to find and destroy the thing that had killed Mary Winchester, Dean had taken the biggest part of raising his baby brother and that carried on as they grew up.

Dean accepted his life and his roles in that life. He also accepted that his little brother would have no part in it until there was no choice so for Dean, making Sam's life as normal as possible no matter how hard or how strange it got became second nature.

Now Dean realized that perhaps Sam's ability to slip back into that normal side of life was because that was how he'd grown up and if so then maybe Dean hadn't done as bad a job with the kid as he once feared he had since a small part of Dean's inner self always worried that one day his brother would snap or fall apart after all the crap he seen, done or had done to him.

Which brought Dean back to right where he was, sitting at a table staring at an untouched piece of pie and brooding because all his well-laid plans to kill a damn hellhound and complete the first task got totally screwed when his well-meaning but more stubborn than he'd counted on little brother stepped into that barn and not only saved Dean's life but also took the burden onto his own shoulders.

"Sonuvabitch," scrubbing both hands back through his short hair, Dean debated with himself before deciding he wasn't in the mood for pie after all.

If he were honest with himself and Dean hated to be honest with anyone much less himself it was meeting their Dad's father that had started him thinking more and more about their lives…or Sam's life.

For Dean, being a hunter was all he'd known and it was what he'd grown up accepting he'd be. He was good at it or so he thought so at least and except for the time he believed Sam was locked in the Cage, it was all he ever done.

Now after meeting Henry Winchester and learning about the Men of Letters and the legacy that would have passed down to John if his father hadn't disappeared from his life so many years earlier, Dean couldn't help but think of the differences that might have been or more importantly he thought of how different Sam's life might have been.

Despite the fighting and the obvious difference between them, Dean had seen a lot of Sam in Henry. His little brother would have fit right in with those Men of Letters while Dean knew he would always be in the hunter line which was fine with him and that's why he'd settled on doing the tasks alone.

He'd been more open with Sam the other night at that ranch than he had been in a long time. He'd always considered himself a grunt, a foot soldier that his Dad set on this path and that was fine with him. He'd been to Hell, he'd seen his baby brother fall apart in more ways than one and he'd been more than ready for a second stab at Hell if it meant getting Sam out of that damn Cage. He'd even spent a year in Purgatory so taking what came after finishing the three tasks wasn't anything out of the normal for him…so long as he got one thing.

So long as he got to see his little brother safe, sound, and out of this crazy life then dying or whatever would be worth it.

Hell, Dean figured he'd come as close to actually saying those three little words that he hardly ever said to Sam that night. Sure, threatening to shoot the kid in the leg ruined the moment but right then Dean wanted Sam as far away from that mutt from Hell as he could have him since Dean also knew his little brother still had nightmares from one of the other times he'd heard a Hellhound.

"Sure didn't figure I'd be actually trying to see one of those ugly suckers since they're kinda hard to forget," Dean muttered to himself while putting the pie back in the fridge for perhaps breakfast and reached for a bottle of beer before deciding to head back to bed.

The night his deal had come due, on Sam's birthday, Dean had seen the mutt that had been sent to drag his ass to Hell and despite what he'd tell Sam later he did recall every detail but he knew that so did Sam which was another reason he'd wanted Sam in the house with the family. He did not want that night brought back to Sam.

Seeing the Hellhound hadn't shaken Dean as it had that night even though the mutts hadn't gotten any prettier in five years. He'd allowed himself to be distracted which had given the mutt an edge and the ability to slice him open which once again brought back memories Dean would rather have forgotten but then all his attention was on the shotgun blast that hit the dog, drawing it away from Dean and right toward Sam.

Very few things in his life had ever made his blood run as cold as it had the moment the shock wore off and Dean realized Sam had rolled to grab the knife he'd dropped and he couldn't do anything as his little brother ripped the blade right through the underbelly of the hellhound, covering himself in what counted as Hellhound blood and both knowing what that meant.

Stubbornness aside, Dean was more than willing to find another mutt to kill just so this didn't fall on Sam. The kid had been through more in his life than most people would see in five lifetimes and Dean did not want him to go through more since neither of them knew what doing the spell or taking this one would ultimately mean.

"Then he has to go all puppy eyes on me," Dean knew his brother's deep soulful looking hazel eyes had always been his one weak spot and the trouble was Sam also knew it since Dean was the one who taught him that trick but when Sam also went emotional with the speeches then it was rare for Dean to win a fight of wills with him.

"'You're not a grunt, Dean. You're a genuis. When it comes to lore…you're the best damn hunter I've ever seen. Better than me, better than Dad. I believe in you, Dean, so please, please believe in me too.'"

"Believe in him?" Dean chuckled as he thought back to those huge eyes and that silent plea in his brother's voice that very nearly could have broke them both if Dean had let it.

Hearing Sam say that he still believed in Dean meant a lot more than Sam could know since there had been times recently that Dean wondered if they'd get past everything that had been happening to them since he knew there were still issues from the past several years that needed to settled, the big one still being Dean's lack of faith and his tossing of the amulet but that was something that Dean knew he'd rectify one day…hopefully before either of them died…again.

Pausing on the way back to his room to see that the light was still on in Sam's room caused Dean to stop, consider then shrug before knocking lightly to see if his brother was awake. Not getting a response nearly made him shrug and continue to bed but once again big brother radar had him stopping to turn the knob.

Deciding to just stick his head in to see why the light was on if Sam was sleeping, Dean's frown turned deeper when he noticed that his brother had fallen asleep sitting up on his bed surrounded by journals but it was the tears streaking Sam's face that drew his older brother's full and undivided attention.

No matter the trouble they'd faced, the strain between them or when they were downright fighting it took a lot to cause Dean not to go big brother the moment he saw pain, fear, or tears on Sam's face. This night was no different.

"Sam?" stepping into the room that Sam had taken for his own, Dean noticed that unlike his own room that he'd recently taken special care to actually personalize, his brother hadn't down nearly anything to even mark this as his own space and for some reason that truly bothered Dean.

Rolling his eyes at the old journals, Dean quickly picked them up to set them on the desk when he saw that Sam was clenching the fingers of one hand over the arm that he'd been favoring since doing that spell.

Lips thinning, Dean had no doubts that these tasks were going to have some effect on Sam despite what his brother was saying since if Dean knew one thing it was that Sam was going to try and hide any ill-effects from Dean so that was another thing he'd watch for but right then he wasn't certain it was Sam's arm that was causing his brother to suddenly twist and whisper for his brother.

"…Dean…no…"

"Sammy, wake up," Dean had a bad feeling he knew what this was about and supposed he should have seen it coming.

Between Dean's own speech on how he was just a grunt and accepting his role in what things would be and how all he wanted was to die with a gun in his hand, to trying to convince Dean that there was a light at the end of this tunnel they'd found themselves in to finally coming face to face visibly with a Hellhound, Sam's dreams would hit and hit hard.

"Drawback to not sharing a damn motel room," Dean grumbled to himself, deciding that he needed to think ahead to still give them each space in their new base but still be able to know when his brother needed him…like now. "Sammy, c'mon, wake up now and I might tell you about something I did on your laptop while you were gone this last time. Sammy!"

Seeing then tension on the younger Winchester's face told Dean by instinct he needed to wake Sam up but was shifting from where he was sitting next to his brother to be able to get a better hold if he needed to when his hand touched Sam's arm and then he was seeing stars.

"Damn it, Sam!" not expecting the blow to his jaw, Dean's basic reaction was to strike back but another instinct had him stopping to grab the fist before it connected again and held on while he used his other arm to push back on his brother's straining shoulders. "Sammy! One more time and I forget that you used puppy dog eyes on me to get your way again and I slug you!"

"Dean!" jerking awake with a gasp, Sam's eyes weren't clear for the first few seconds after opening them as he struggled to clear them of the dream he'd been caught in as pain in both his arm and his hand began bringing him around. Then he heard his brother's voice and felt the strength in the hand that was gripping his arm and knew where he was…or close to it. "Umm, hey,"

Blinking, Dean wasn't certain if he should growl or laugh at the casual, slightly confused greeting. Still keeping a grip on one arm, he did ease back a little to let Sam up. "Hey," he returned, wiping his lip to see if he was bleeding and seeing Sam's eyes shoot to his. "Clifford the Big Dead Dog give you nightmares or…" he drew off to see what answer his brother would go with but frowned the moment Sam's fingers latched onto his arm like he would when he was younger after a nightmare. "Sam?"

"You saw it, right?" Sam asked, hoping his brother understood what he meant then frowned slightly. "The Hellhound? You saw it before it got you?"

Blowing out a breath, Dean had actually been hoping he was wrong and his brother's trouble sleeping was for any other number of reasons than this one. "Yeah, I saw it," he admitted then grimaced. "Ugly bastard but then I guess they don't get prettier…Sam, don't."

"Any way of knowing if it was the one that…" Sam drew off the second his brother's body went rigid, shaking off the dream of the night his brother was tore to shreds by something only Dean could see but Sam could fully hear. "Forget it. Sorry, I shouldn't have…I wasn't going to sleep tonight cause I knew I'd see it again but…"

"You're still seeing that?" that wasn't making Dean happy since it had been five damn years since that night happened. "Sammy, we've been over this. I made the deal, I knew the risks, I survived…alright, I coped and…" suddenly Dean stopped and he looked at Sam fully to see the way he was flexing his fingers and avoiding his gaze. "Look at me."

Hesitating briefly, Sam had the choice taken away when his brother's hand reached over to lift his chin up so their eyes locked. "Tell me you didn't go after that mutt because…Sammy."

"Not the only reason, no…but one of them," Sam murmured, hearing Dean hiss between his teeth and figuring he might as well tell his brother the truth. "I went out to the barn because I didn't want you to face it alone. You had to face it alone that night. When I saw you down and bleeding, I flashed back and the rest was instinct. I also did it because I meant what I said later, Dean.

"Yes, I want to shut the gates too and I want to live after doing it but I want us to do it together even though I've taken this on I want my big brother with me because I believe in you," Sam sighed, unaware that he'd been rubbing that one arm and unaware of the intensity of the green eyes watching him. "I know you haven't believed in me in a lotta years but…I can do this and we can both survive this is only you'd…"

"I've always believed in you, Sammy," Dean cut him off since he heard Sam's tone start to shake and knew he was getting way too close to full on puppy eye power to the Nth degree and Dean was too short on natural resistance to that so he decided to cut in and just do the chick flick thing and call do over tomorrow.

Seeing the open surprise in those big hazel eyes told Dean that he'd left this wound open too long too. "We've both done things in these past few years since Dad died that we've both regretted. I've done and said things to you that I wish to God I could take back but I can't but no matter what…I have never stopped believing in you. Hell, I'd believe in you before I would anyone else…including Dad."

Sam's eyes jumped at that and he had to concentrate to speak since he'd never once thought he'd ever hear his brother admit that. "But you said that I'd…let you down and…"

"Yeah, and you've said plenty to me in eight years. We're brothers, Sam. We fight, we disagree. We will probably never agree on anything except maybe the Impala…unless you douche her up again but no matter what else I will always be your big brother and I will always believe in you," Dean reached up to nudge the nearest shoulder and saw the first small smile. "We good now or are you gonna keep me awake all night playing Dr. Phil?"

Guessing that was the closest he was going to get his anti-emotion brother to express any right then, Sam nodded with a small smile before yawning. "Yeah, sorry if I woke you up," he remarked.

"I wasn't sleeping," Dean shrugged, standing to go but kept an eye on Sam to see if he was going to sleep or staying awake. "You planning on sleeping or should I just knock you out and save us both the hassle?"

Not sure if he could sleep, Sam started to make an excuse when one eyebrow went up in confused surprise. "What're you doing?" he asked upon noticing Dean had straddled the chair by the desk. "Don't you have a mattress that remembers you?"

"Flip one liners are more my style when I'm avoiding something, kiddo," Dean pointed out, clearly at ease where he was. "Figured I'd hang out to make sure Clifford didn't bring my baby brother anymore nightmares cause as I recall once I was pretty good at chasing those things away."

Nearly feeling the urge to laugh at the image that brought, Sam sobered once it dawned on him that his brother was fully serious and he settled back on the bed to slowly meet Dean's calm gaze.

Ever since Sam was a baby there had been so few times in his memory that he hadn't woken up to his brother so the months that Dean had been in Hell or the more recent year had been harder than he liked to admit. Even in the more recent times of strain, there had only been one time and that was partly because of something Sam had said to his brother.

Moving in to this place had been a change for them since even when they'd stayed at Bobby's they had shared a room. Sam had only had his own room after he'd left for Stanford and then at first he'd had a roommate and then he'd had Jessica so to be alone like this was a little strange for him.

He'd seen how pleased Dean had been at the prospect of having his own room again after so long of sharing one with Sam so he understood what his brother was offering.

"There are a couple pages in that one journal I marked for you to read," Sam motioned to the journal closest to his brother's elbow on the desk. "I was going to show you tomorrow or…"

"Joy, reading," Dean rolled his eyes but picked up the journal then shifted a look up. "I'll read it since I'm here," he shrugged the chore off easily since he accepted this was Sam's way of asking him to stay awhile longer. "Oh, and before task number two pops up or Kevin crashes how about you turn this place into geek central? A real computer, some pictures of people like Einstein or Beeker from the Muppets. Y'know, make it 'your' room, Sam."

Swallowing the lump both the suggestion and the fact that Dean thought of it brought, Sam coughed while stretching out on the bed without really being aware of it now when he opened one eye. "You actually know who Einstein is?" he deadpanned, relaxing more at the sound of Dean's laugh.

"Go to sleep…bitch," came the good natured reply and Sam, despite now being sleepy, heard the hesitance at the use of the long ago created insult which had once been second nature to them.

"Jerk," Sam tossed back before rolling on his side to try to sleep and was unaware of how fast he slid under or how long his brother stayed.

Sitting still for the next hour until he was certain Sam was sleeping fully and would stay that way, Dean laid the journal aside before switching the desk to it's lowest setting so the room wasn't in total darkness before stepping close to the bed.

"G'night, Sammy," he whispered, pulling the door shut without a sound then went to his own room to drop down on his mattress with a sigh. "Kid believes in me to still chase away the nightmares. The least I can do is believe in him to slam the damn gates of Hell in Crowley's face and come back out the other side."

Dean closed his eyes, confident he'd sleep now and that he and Sam would face what came next in the trials and he would be with his brother to find the light at the other end of the tunnel Sam was so sure would be there for them.

The End

Author Note: This one took a turn I wasn't planning but then some will do that. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it.