Disclaimer: Not mine.

Author's Note: Not exactly a tag, and who knows how it'll play out on screen? But I had to write this.

Thanks to Cheryl for the story idea and beta and title suggestion.

Summary: Dean finally finds out what Sam's been trying to keep secret. He isn't pleased. Spoilers through to 8.15, Man's Best Friend with Benefits.


No More Secrets

There aren't words to describe how furious I am as I lead the way into the bunker. There are literally no words. Right now I could happily deck Sam, even with him being weak as a kitten. I have my hands shoved in my pockets to prevent myself from doing just that.

"Dean," Sam begins.

Before he can launch into an explanation, I say, "Don't."

"But –"

"Don't!" I snap, whirling to face him.

Sam takes an involuntary step back, and I know he's seen the anger in my face. I feel an odd mixture of hurt that he's flinching from me and savage pleasure that he at least seems to have realized he screwed up.

"Dean, I –"

"Don't say you're sorry," I warn him. "You could've gotten us both killed."

"Dean –"

"And you know what? That's not even what I'm mad about." I fist my hands in his shirt and shove him against the wall. The breath leaves him in a pained gasp. "See? This is what I'm mad about."

"Dean, please –"

I shake him, and he stops talking. "No. I don't want to hear it. I don't want any explanations. What happened back there doesn't even matter that much. So you were a bit slow and we almost got our asses handed to us by a pixie – a freaking pixie, Sam! – but that's OK. That happens to us all the time. That's not what I'm mad about." I shake him again. "I'm mad about this."

"Dean, you're hurting me."

"Yeah, I am. And you're letting me."

Sam strains against my grip, clawing at my arms, but he's already beaten up and sore and he's probably running on the last reserves of his strength. He can't push me off.

And that breaks my heart, because I've seen him knock a Leviathan down with nothing but a well-placed fist and take demons out with a poker. He's shoving at me with everything he's got, and normally I would be flat on my ass. Now I just wait it out for a minute and then he's panting, sagging in my grip.

"This is what I mean," I say, pulling away, leaving him to support himself on the wall. "We spar harder than this, Sam. Every freaking day. I've been sending you on your own to speak to potentially violent witnesses. And at no point have you thought to tell me you're getting sick. I should probably be going back and thanking that son of a bitch Carlton because if he hadn't broken your rib I wouldn't have made you get a chest X-Ray."

"Dean, I –"

"It's those trials, isn't it?"

"So what if it is?" Sam snaps. "It's not like you could have done anything about it."

"I could have gone with you to interview the ex-convict! And I could have watched your back more and I could've gone easier on you!"

"I didn't want you to go easy on me!"

"You don't get to make that decision for me! Do you have any idea how I feel right now?"

"Oh, now you want to talk about your feelings."

"Shut up," I growl. "You owed me the truth, Sam."

"Why? So you could start off again on how you think I'm not good enough to do the trials?"

"That's what this is about? Proving that you can do it without help? Sam, if you want to start having teenage rebellions at this age, go get your freaking tongue pierced. You don't take risks with your life."

"Oh, so that's your decision?"

"It's our decision."

"It's my life!"

"And you're my brother!"

"That's always the problem with you, Dean," Sam spits, shoving at me. It isn't forceful, but I'm startled enough that I stumble a couple of steps back. "You never trust me and you're never going to."

He steps away and past me. I can tell he plans to stalk irritably to his room but his legs aren't on board with that plan, so it turns into more of a swaying stagger as he makes his way through the bunker. I suppress every instinct to go after him. Right now I can't be sure I won't hit him just to knock some sense into his stupid head. Maybe if I take some of the Latin out of it there'll be room for reason.

He stays in his room all afternoon and he doesn't come out for dinner. I'm tempted to let him work off his sulk, but I busted my ass with that nutrition chart the doctor gave me to figure out what to make. I'm damned if I'm letting all that hard work go to waste.

I fill a plate and take it to his room.

"Sam!" I bang on the door. "Stop being a bitch!" There's no answer. "Fine. I hope you're decent, because I'm coming in."

I open the door, and I stop short.

Sam's sprawled on his bed on his stomach. He clearly collapsed onto it as soon as he came in, because he hasn't even taken off his shoes and jacket.

I set the plate down on his desk, pushing aside a couple of heavy books to make place for it. I pause, looking down at his desk, realizing that at the rate he's been getting through the library here, he can't have been getting enough sleep even for a perfectly healthy person.

That's going to change.

I lean over Sam, patting his shoulder. "Hey. Wake up, Sammy. You need to eat something."

Sam blinks, looking up at me like he's not sure where he is. I'm trying really hard to stay angry, reminding myself of every reason I have to be mad at Sam for hiding the fact that he had a potentially life-threatening illness. But it's difficult to be mad when Sam's eyes are all dewy and apologetic.

I decide to put being mad on hold until he's done eating. I'll yell at him again when he looks less like a five-year-old.

"You need to eat," I tell him again, helping him sit up before I retrieve the plate and put it in his hands. "The doc said you need fresh fruit," I explain when he looks at the plate in astonishment.

"But… Dean, there's enough fresh fruit here to feed twelve people."

"Well – um – strawberries, the doc said they were good for you and I cut them in halves so it would be easier. And the hot chick in the grocery store said if you eat blueberries you live to be like five hundred. And you always liked apple juice when you were a kid and you had a cold. So, apples, same thing, right? With extra fibre. And –"

"Dean," Sam said softly. "Thank you. And this is –"

"Chicken salad," I say as he pokes a piece of lettuce with his fork. "The doc said no greasy food, so burgers are out. But the salad's good, I had it –"

"You ate salad?"

I shrug uncomfortably. "Waste of time making burgers just for me, right? Anyway, he said you need protein and those purple things taste weird but apparently they have loads of vitamins, so you make sure you eat them all."

Sam doesn't finish everything on the plate, and I have to admit it would have been difficult to because I did load it with about six times as much food as he usually eats in an entire week. But he eats enough, and when he's done I tell him to stay awake so I can check him over.

"The doctor already did that," he points out.

"Yeah, but I need to make sure he did it right." I tilt Sam's head up to examine the two stitches in the cut down his temple. "I would've done a neater job."

"Yeah," Sam agrees. "But it won't scar much."

"If I'd done it, it wouldn't have scarred at all." I finish checking him over quickly. "OK, we're good. Well, except for your arm – you need stitches, the doc was wrong about that. Hang on."

I go to the bathroom to get the first aid kit. There are a couple of tissues in the trashcan with rusty stains on them. That explains why Sam's been so obsessive about taking out the trash.

When I go back, I find myself with my arms full of little brother as soon as I open the door.

"Sam?" I ask cautiously. "What's wrong?"

"I'm sorry."

I let out a breath, putting the first aid kit down so I can wrap both arms around him. "You should have told me." Sam's breath is hitching and unsteady in my ear so I have approximately half a minute before I lose all ability to lecture him, even if he doesn't pull the eyes. "This isn't something you try to deal with by yourself. I had a right to know, Sam. I have a right to know when things are going wrong with you, especially things like this. I said I had your back, Sammy. And I said I'd believe you if you said you could handle it. You should have trusted me."

"I know. I know, I'm sorry."

"You let me hurt you. I've been shoving you around like I usually would. You know how I feel about people who hurt you."

"I'm sorry."

"And?"

"And I'll eat all the blueberries you want."

"And?"

"And you're the best big brother ever?" Sam tries.

"Sam," I warn. "This isn't the time for flattery."

"And I'll tell you how I feel and when I feel sick," Sam says. "And I'll tell you if I think something's too much for me."

"Good. Then we're good." I give him a light squeeze.

Sam lets me lower him to the bed while I open the first aid kit and take out what I need. He doesn't move while I sew up his arm, resting his head on my shoulder and occasionally looking up at me with eyes that are big and damp and pleading.

The fourth time he does it, I say, "You can quit it with the eyes, Sammy. You're not in trouble anymore." A warm, trustful gaze meets mine, and I sigh. "Fine, and you also have a free pass for the next ten stupid things you do. Now let me finish this and get your meds so you can sleep."

Sam's expression turns mischievous, and I wonder if there's anything I can do to be less of a pushover. Maybe there's a class I can take. A how-to-resist-Sam-Winchester's-puppy-eyes class.

Yeah. They should totally have that.

Sam hisses when I accidentally tug the needle too hard. "Easy, little brother," I murmur. "We're almost done."

"Dean?"

"Yeah?"

"It isn't that I didn't trust you. I was just… scared. Of what was happening to me."

"Sam –"

"It was so much like… like when Lucifer was in my head and wouldn't go and I had no idea what to do about it, and I was so tired –"

"Sammy –"

"And of course this isn't like Lucifer but it's the same thing. I tried to fight it then but I was just so tired and it didn't do any good in the end. All I could do then was sit around waiting to die and –"

"Sam!" I tie off the last suture, thankful that I was almost done anyway. "Don't say crap like that without warning." I put down the needle, cupping Sam's chin and forcing him to meet my eyes. "You're not going to die. You told me yourself you see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I might not see one for me, but I do see one for you. You are not going to die."

"OK," Sam says softly, and it almost sounds like he's trying to comfort me. "OK, Dean."

"Who's going to take me to the light if you don't?" I ask lightly.

Sam laughs, and although there's still a hint of fear in his eyes, it's barely noticeable under the dewiness that's turned into something suspiciously like affection. "Don't worry, Dean. I'll be there."

"Damn straight you will."


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