Title: Sanctuary

Author: Shimmerinstars77/Cheryl

Summary: The brothers have words. While Dean leaves to cool off Sam gets some frightening news about the tablet tests.

Thanks to Jedi Sapphire for the beta on this.

o0o

I sought my soul, But my soul I could not see. I sought my God, But my God eluded me. I sought my brother, And I found all three - William Blake

o0o

Dean already suspected Sam was hiding something. But he wasn't prepared to see his little brother cough up blood while eating breakfast one morning. Horrified but also hurt and angry that Sam had kept this from him, the brothers had words. After Sam confessed to also being in a weaker physical condition Dean left, needing space to deal with this and time for his anger to defuse.

Outside the bunker Dean desperately needed a distraction. So on impulse and against his better judgement he pulled out his cell and called Benny,who was a two hour drive away in the next state.

o0o

Sam knew Dean had every right to be pissed off. He just hoped Dean heard what he said to him through the anger.

That he was sorry. That he was scared. That he couldn't tell Dean what was happening to him because once Sam said it out loud that would make it real.

Sam knew this wasn't much of an excuse or one he really understood himself but it was the truth.

o0o

Dean joined up with Benny at the town library and tried to keep his mind off of Sam by helping the Vampire try to locate a few remaining members of his nest,who were still actively feeding and perhaps in the area. Benny who was working the night shift at a diner was also playing detective during the day trying to track them down. If found he planned on taking the rest of them out, finishing the job he started.

o0o

Sam tried to keep his mind off of Dean by documenting their most recent case. Being a part of the "Men of Letters" legacy had Sam feeling he'd finally found a place where he fit into the hunting life. The sense of belonging in the family business it gave Sam, felt good.

Not bothering to stop for lunch Sam worked until he finished up the file on their case and then dug into the wealth of information he had only begun to tap into in the Men of letters Library. Time always seemed to move faster whenever Sam immersed himself in a book. Hours seemed like mere minutes and it was only at his stomach's insistence that he stopped and made himself a sandwich for dinner.

o0o

Benny and Dean spent the afternoon in the library on the computer and going through old newspaper articles. Which eventually established a trail for them to follow and from there led to a couple of addresses to check out.

Outside getting some much needed air and nourishment Dean leaned against Benny's old pickup truck and downed a beer and burger as they relaxed for a few minutes before readying themselves for whatever was to come. Be it nothing at all or beheading what was left of Benny's nest.

Dean pulled out his cell and thought about calling Sam. But he reconsidered and put his phone down. No they would talk when he was done here and back at the bunker. Besides Sam knew he could call if he needed anything. They had their unspoken rule that no matter how mad they got at each other they'd always picked up the phone when the other called.

"I thought you were here to forget about everything," Benny asked noticing Dean's indecisiveness.

"Not to forget, to take a break!" Dean corrected him.

"I haven't asked but I'm guessing this has to do with your brother?"

"New rule," Dean stated strongly. "The subject of my brother is off limits, okay?"

"Okay, just seems like he's the one causing you all this stress."

"Do I need to repeat the new rule?" Dean asked giving Benny a look that said drop it

"No," Benny answered. "Now what do you have in that car truck of yours that might come in handy if things get a little lively?"

"I'll take a look," Dean answered perking up at the idea. "Sure I can find a few things."

o0o

Sam had just taken a bite of his sandwich when his cell rang.

"Sam?"

"Kevin. Hey!"

"You feeling alright?" Kevin asked.

"What? Yeah I'm fine," Sam lied. "Why?"

"According to the tablet you shouldn't be." Kevin grimaced. He didn't mean to be that blunt.

"You deciphored more of it?" Sam deflected.

"Are you feeling alright, Sam?" Kevin asked again concern heard in his voice.

After a long silence Sam admitted, "I've been having these symptoms."

"What kind of symptoms?"

"Similar to Tuberculosis." Sam answered. "Kevin please tell me everything the tablet said."

"Well from what I understand these symptoms are part of the spell although no specific illness is named. These symptons begin once you pass the first test and have read the spell outloud, like when you killed the Hell hound. If you are successful with the second test."

Kevin paused. "Sam, I don't mean to pile more on top of what you are already dealing with. But if you pass the second test it looks like you will be suffering from symptoms of two illnesses. Again no specific illness is named but this second set of symptoms will affect your mind, in specific memory loss."

"So I'll be going into the third and final trial physically and mentally crippled!" Sam uttered in disbelief.

"I'm sorry man." Kevin felt horrible being the bearer of such bad news.

"No, I'm sorry Kevin you're just delivering the message. Besides Dean and I wouldn't have even had a shot at closing the gates without you."

"Are you going to be okay Sam?"

"I'll be fine Kevin, thanks."

"If you need anything, you know where to find me," Kevin offered wishing he could do more.

"Same here. Can you read me exactly what the tablet said?" Sam requested. "I'd like to study the wording myself."

"Sure. Maybe you can see something I missed."

Sam jotted down what Kevin read him and they said their goodbyes.

Sam needed Dean. Not that his big brother could change what was to come but his presence would be a comfort. Even just hearing his voice would be a comfort. So Sam pulled out his cell and called but it went straight to voicemail. So Sam left a message for his brother to call and that it was important.

For the next few hours Sam studied the few sentences from the tablet he had jotted down on a notepad. Adding arrows that pointed outward to a variety of meanings he felt each word or group of words could have and off them more arrows with more meanings including his own thoughts.

But no matter how he worked it Kevin was dead on with everything , including that he would be suffering with the symptoms of two illnesses if he passed the second test.

Sam tried Dean's cell a second time and again it went straight to voice mail. Sam left another message for Dean to call, and again that it was important.

Sam went back to studying his notepad and examining everything again even adding in a few new observations but another hour later it yielded the same conclusion. Not only were these trials going to be difficult and he had no idea what was in store for him but his chances of success now would be weakened by illness.

This time when Sam called Dean he didn't realize "I need you" slipped out until the words were said.

Sam tried to immerse himself in the men of letters library the closest thing outside Dean to being a sanctuary and for a short time it worked.

Close to midnight Sam decided to go to bed. Placing his pen, notebook, and cell on the small table next to his bed, he decided to give Dean another call and with it going straight to voice mail, this time Sam left no message.

"Why won't you call me back Dean?" Sam spoke out loud as he scribbled it on his note pad.

Sam began to fear that something happened to Dean or that he was so mad he didn't want to talk to him. So much he'd break their unspoken rule to always pick up when the other called.

Sam consoled himself as he got under the covers with the idea Dean had most likely been in a bar getting drunk and hadn't heard his phone or that he was now drunk and passed out in some woman's bed.

Turning over and curling up on his side Sam tried to get some sleep.

o0o

As Sam drifted off to sleep Dean entered the bunker. "Sammy," he called out but it took the quietness of the place and no sign of Sam with his head in some old book to remind Dean of the hour. Sam was probably asleep but Dean not spotting his lap top anywhere thought it possible he was up doing some kind of research. So he headed towards Sam's bedroom and quietly pushed the partially closed door open where enough of the hallway light reached in to reveal Sam curled up on his side asleep in bed.

Dean stood in the doorway soaking up this image of Sam with his hair falling over his face but enough exposed to show his innocent childlike features while he slept. In this moment any remaining anger was cast out, and the love Dean felt for his little brother filled his entire being.

Walking over to his brother's bedside Dean smiled as he gently brushed the hair out of Sam's face and softly said "You seriously need a haircut." The notepad full of his brother's familiar handwriting caught Deans eye so he picked it up and moved closer to the doorway to study what Sam had written in a better light.

Kevin must have called with new info on the tablet. "Oh God!" Dean's voice hitched as he read about the two sets of symptoms Sam would be suffering with.

The possibility of losing his brother had become all too real.

"Sammy." Dean gazed teary eyed over at his brother and back to the notepad. "Why didn't you call me?"

The question had barely escaped his lips when Dean caught sight of what Sam had written: Why won't you call me back Dean?

Dean didn't know what to think as he received no calls today and he would have picked up if Sam did without hesitation.

Before Benny and he left to check out those addresses Dean had double checked that his phone was on to ensure he wouldn't miss a call from Sam.

Dean pulled out his cell and checked the settings. His ringer and alert sounds were all turned off, as was his missed call list.

He checked to see if Sam had left a voice mail and he found three. Listening to each when Dean played the third and final one hearing Sam say "I need you!" his heart physically hurt. Sam had needed him and someone prevented that from happening and that was unacceptable and unforgivable in all that makes up who Dean is.

"You fanged bastard," Dean said quietly pacing back and forth. "You did this! You did it when I put my cell and beer down to grab the weapons from the Impala. For someone who hated these things you sure got pretty familiar with them."

Dean had no doubt Benny thought he was doing him a favor when nothing could be further from the truth. Benny could never understand what Sam meant to him or the relationship he and Sam shared as brothers.

But what Benny understood didn't matter anymore to Dean.

o0o

"Dean is that you?" Sam asked in a groggy voice.

Dean turned to see Sam sitting up in bed.

"Who else would it be you geek!" Dean said affectionately as he sat opposite Sam on the edge of the bed.

Dean had barely sat down when he had his brother wrapped tightly around him "You're okay." Sam said closing his eyes and hugging his big brother even tighter.

I'm fine," Dean said in a soothing voice, holding onto Sam just as tightly. Both of them basking in the comfort of the embrace, a love not voiced but deeply felt.

"I'm sorry," Sam apologized his words sounding a little shaky.

"Hey, its okay." Dean grabbed hold of his brothers arms and gently unwrapped them so he could hold onto them as he looked into his eyes "I'm sorry too Sammy. You should have never kept this from me and I can't begin to tell you on how many levels of wrong it was to do so, but I could've handled things a lot better too."

Sam spotted his notepad on the bed.

"I looked at it when I first got in." Dean explained. "What Kevn said. What it means. How much it sucks!"

"Dean I can deal with the physical symptoms but not knowing what I will remember or not. I don't know."

"You'll be fine," Dean tried to reassure Sam. "You're strong and smart. You will pass these tests I know it!"

"I'm scared!" Sam openly admitted. His emotion barely contained when he asked "What if I forget you Dean? I can't do this without you!"

Dean was floored. The idea Sam could forget him was something that never occured to him.

"It won't happen!" Dean quickly remarked.

"How can you be so sure?" Sam asked looking doubtful.

"Because I won't let it!" Dean answered as if it were that simple.

"Dean." Sam began, knowing what his big brother was doing and loving him for it.

"It won't happen!" Dean stated stronger this time. "Because I'm going to be right by your side every step of the way. There will be no way you can forget me."

"You know another reason why it won't happen?" Dean asked .

Sam nodded he didn't.

"Because of what we have," Dean pointed to Sam, then to himself and back at Sam again. "This bond we share, its stronger and more powerful than any spell Sammy. Trust me on that!"

"I do," Sam warmly said. "Trust you."

"Dean?"

"Yeah?"

"I want you to know. From now on I'll be up front with you on everything," Sam promised. "No matter how hard or uncomfortable it is."

"I know you will," Dean said looking into the eyes that were home to him.

"On the subject of uncomfortable," Dean began. "It's now my turn to live up to the honesty I'm asking of you Sammy. Today would have been a better day for both of us if I'd made a wiser choice of where to work off my anger and with whom. That won't happen again."