Going Home

Summary: 1-shot. Sam's POV. Thinking of his time in Purgatory and Hell, Sam's thoughts trail off to other things, like his brother, what's happened and what's ahead for him as each trial continues to take a toll on him and he begins to doubt if he'll go home after the third trial is finished./ Angsty/limp!Sam & Understanding/big brother!Dean /Spoilers!

Warnings/Spoilers: Minor language. There are spoilers for 08x19-Taxi Driver so beware.

Tag: 08x19-Taxi Driver

Disclaimer: I don't own the boys or show. I've got nothing to do with it. This is written for fun and enjoyment.

Author Note: This is from Sam's POV but as always with these recent tags took a different turn as Sam pondered things. I may have to do a non-tag to clear up a few of Sam's questions. Please read and enjoy.

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When I was a kid, Pastor Jim would sometimes describe Purgatory in his sermons. Most of what I learned about religion was from sitting in on either his Sunday sermons or when he'd be writing them.

I've learned since then that maybe not all he believed was true since I've found out the hard way that Angels sure aren't what I was led to think they. Hell or at least the parts I've seen have come close but the Purgatory I just recently escaped from wasn't anything like Jim often preached.

Am I disappointed? No, since it's been a long time that I've let myself believe in the things I once did and a part of me kind of suspected that Purgatory wouldn't be like what Jim described.

After all, my brother spent a year trapped down there and I could tell by Dean's refusal to talk to me about it or what happened to him there that it wasn't anything I'd expect.

Of course I don't think Dean ever expected for me to find out on my own. Not that I did either when I learned that to complete the second trial I'd have to go into Hell to free an innocent soul.

Learning that the soul that needed freed was Bobby's had been one shock but when the rogue Reaper that had agreed to help me go into Hell's backdoor (for a price, of course) dropped me into Purgatory…that was a bit more intense.

Ever since Dean returned he'd been more quiet and close-mouthed about Purgatory than he even had been about his time in Hell. The only thing he'd say was that it had felt…pure. I hadn't fully understood him until now maybe.

We grew up as hunters. Our Dad taught both of us but especially Dean how to hunt and kill anything supernatural. I didn't always agree with the 'family business' and that was often a huge problem between my Dad and me but Dean…he never questioned it and despite it all I never doubted until just recently that being a hunter would be all my older brother would ever be.

I suppose in some way Purgatory had been freeing for him since from what I could see just to survive each day must have been a fight and fighting monsters meant not holding back something that Dean always seemed to do up here…unless he was pushed to far or I was threatened.

My older brother has several sides to his personality, some of which I've only just begun to see again after a few years of strain had pushed us apart.

Dean's usually cocky and arrogant if you just meet him or if he needs to put that side forward. His self- confident, nothing ever bothers him, nothing ever scares him side is what he usually portrays except for the past few years then it was his more gruff, he didn't give a damn about nearly anything self.

To see the other sides of my brother it takes a lot of work. I've only just started to see the one I'd grown up with; the more worried, concerned, at times overly protective older brother that I honestly haven't seen in several years.

Finding out about the three trials that if completed would shut Hell for good, Dean's original plan was for him to do them and just let what happened happen. I still recall the night he told me that he wanted me safe and that he was just a grunt.

That didn't sit well with me but it wasn't my deliberate intention to kill the hellhound and take on the trials…I just wanted to save Dean from being chewed up by one again and it sort of…happened.

I meant what I said to him about doing these trials and surviving. I believed there would be a light at the end of the tunnel for both of us…now…I'm not so sure.

I know Dean's worried about me. He's gone back to big brother mode and Castiel telling him that there was something wrong with me that not even he could fix probably sealed my brother's feelings.

It didn't exactly make me feel any better either especially when I know I'm getting weaker every day and traveling to Hell and Purgatory didn't help any. Completing this latest trial hadn't helped any.

We're driving back to the Men of Letter's base after leaving the houseboat where Kevin had been hiding out. I'm not sure if Kevin did finally flip out like Dean seems to leaning toward or if something else happened to him. I'm just trying to come to grips with what's happened in the past twenty-four hours.

The Impala is quiet except for the radio that Dean's got turned down since he thinks I'm sleeping and while I'd started out trying to sleep the visions of Hell, of things I'd seen there and in Purgatory keep flashing in front of my eyes so I know better than to even attempt sleep until we're either back to where we've been staying or Dean parks for the night.

Dean had shared some of his time in Hell, a very little bit and I know that he was actually in a lower level than where I'd broken into but the screams, the smells, the horrible conditions of the souls trapped there are making me wonder yet again just what the hell else did my older brother endure in those forty years.

I was there for less than hour or so and it hurt so much to be unable to help those souls. Then I made the mistake of letting myself think if Dean suffered half of that for his first three months or thirty years before finally giving in…how in the hell had he managed to stay sane or what was the final straw Alastair used that did break him.

Hell is still a weird topic for both of us so I doubt if I'll have the guts to ask him that anytime soon but it's mainly Purgatory that's bothering me now and there are a couple questions that came to mind while Bobby's soul and I were trying to find a way out after I realized my ride out wasn't coming.

Accepting that I had to do the trials alone was one thing but knowing I was literally alone and locked in a place that Dean couldn't get to me did bring back a lot of fears I'd thought I'd buried long ago.

I asked him to trust me and despite knowing I'm not on my best game I know he does. It's just good to also know he has my back if something goes wrong because no matter what I also don't doubt what he'd do or try to do if he thought it necessary and that brings me back to the side of my brother that very few people ever get to see.

Or I should say, very few people get to see it who are still alive.

Dean's intense and when I say he's intense I mean when he goes to another level in a fight or he's hurt or he scared or if I'm hurt then that's usually when the side of him comes out that even my Dad was leery of.

In my life I've only seen Dean lose control like that three times. Twice was when I'd been hurt and he very easily and politely took care of the problem. The third time was when I'd been soulless and had allowed him to be turned into a vampire.

That was still a sore issue for me since I hate what I did without a soul but I especially hated the things I did that hurt my brother. Samuel, our Mom's father, and I had followed Dean into the next seeking the blood of the vampire who'd turned him and by the time we'd caught up to him he'd taken out the full nest…alone.

That side of him scared me when I was younger and I know it became more intense during his time in Hell since he learned a lot more than he's ever told me from Alastair but it was also that side of him that I figure allowed him to survive in Purgatory and I wonder how hard it's been for him to lock it down again.

I think some of it came out more recently after I made the mistake of mentioning the real reason I'd dropped out of hunting and I know Dean went after Walt but that's another thing he just shrugs away and says not to worry about it. I usually worry when he says not to worry but right now I'm too tired.

The fear of being trapped in Purgatory was huge for me. I've faced a lot of things in my life that have scared me but the thought of being stuck down there, with as weak as I've been and knowing there was no way Dean could help me was terrifying for me…not that I've admitted that fully to him yet.

I wanted to go home. That's what I kept thinking even as I know Bobby kept talking just to keep me calm because even as a soul he knew me and would know no matter the shell I portrayed, the truth would be simple. I just wanted to go home to my brother.

Surviving the Cage with Lucifer and Michael nearly cost me my sanity so I had serious doubts if I could survive the nightmare that is Purgatory but then Dean reminded me why he will always be the most awesome big brother.

No matter if he was locked out and unable to help me himself he still managed to find a way to help even if it meant asking Benny, the vampire who'd helped him survive and escape, to come back to find me.

Seeing Benny was a shock considering I've spent most of the time since learning about him arguing with Dean that he needed to be killed. It was actually kind of an oxymoronic thing for me to want considering I tried to convince Dean that Lenore and her nest could survive alongside humans.

It hadn't really dawned on me that if it hadn't been for Benny that my brother might not have survived as well as he had and for Dean to have actually formed such a tight bond with him then I should've listened and given him a chance…but in some small way that I also haven't shared with Dean I guess I might've been afraid that Benny was replacing me in some way.

Dean and I've been strained or pushed apart by one thing or another since his return from Hell and hearing him say that Benny had never let him down hurt me a lot more than I ever admitted to Dean or to myself, at least out loud.

The many times that I've let Dean down are never far from my mind and thinking that maybe he'd found someone he thought wouldn't let him down in Benny brought back another silent fear I've had…the one of my brother finally having enough and walking away.

Dean's been watching after me since I was little and I know better than most what he's sacrificed and given up over the years to either keep me safe or make sure I had what I needed or what I wanted.

I swore to myself after taking on these trials, after Dean said he trusted me and that he'd always be around, that I wouldn't let him down again and I won't. I will do these trials, I'll see that the door to Hell gets slammed on Crowley and I'll see that my brother finds the light at the other end of the tunnel.

The rest of it, the part about me surviving is a bridge I'll cross when I come to it but if Dean was willing to do these without regards to surviving then I suppose I can too because I've seen him sacrifice himself for me, for Dad, for the family business too often and it's time I start looking after him like he has me.

I don't want to die. I don't want to lose my brother. Hell, the thought makes my throat tighten even now and while a part of me wants to talk to Dean about the doubts, the fears I know my brother. The first admission of fear on my part and he'll go back into this idea to stop and find a way to do them himself…and I know that isn't even an option anymore.

The sudden burning pain in my arm hits and I barely can stifle the groan that wants to come but I do tighten the grip I've kept on that arm since getting into the Impala and I know that I won't be doing any heavy lifting or probably anything that requires a steady hand for the next several days.

Dean knows my arm is weak, he also knows I'm coughing up blood but what I haven't brought up to him yet is the other morning when it took a near panic attack and thirty minutes for me to be able to move my right arm at all or the fact that some mornings it's a good five minutes before I can see.

I know I've promised not to lie to him about my health and I'm not…I'm just avoiding the huge panicked look he'll get and the fight it'll cause since I know my brother. I know what his first reaction to this will be. I know it because if it was him this was happening to I'd also be demanding to stop the trials and just deal with Crowley like we have been.

Self-sacrifice seems to be what we do or so I've figured out but it always seems to be my brother doing it in some form or another.

Oh, I'm not saying I haven't sacrificed since I did stop the Apocalypse and nearly lost my soul and sanity doing it but in my mind Dean's been to Hell and Purgatory so if I can close Hell and keep him safe then that's what I'll do.

I'm tired but now the pain in my arm is getting to the point where pretending to be asleep won't work much longer since my stomach's twisting in a way that's warning me that if I don't get out I will be hearing Dean's pissed off voice after he has to clean the interior of the car.

It's then that I haven't realized that I've let time get away from me and I'm trying to will the pain down and control my breathing when I can't hear the engine anymore. I'm just starting to risk either puking or not being able to see when a hand taps on the roof of the car in Dean's way to wake me before he opens the door.

"You puke in my car and I'll kill you," he warns and that's the first time that I come to understand that we're stopped and he's been out of the car for a little while since I can hear keys jangling in his hand. "C'mon, Sasquatch, we're home for the night."

Looking I see not the outside of the Men of Letters base we've sort of come to think of as 'home' but an actually decent looking motel.

"I…thought we were driving straight through," that had been Dean's plan but I only get a shrug as he goes to unlock the door and then my stomach and the pain I'm in overrule anything else I might say.

Being sick like this when the pain gets too bad isn't new for me but it has been a long time and on top of already being weak, every time this happens I just feel like finding a nice dark hole and crawling in.

Deciding I just didn't feel like standing and going back into the bedroom to flop onto one of the two double beds I knew by heart would be there, I just lean back against the tub and see if the pain will stay gone long enough for me to at least sleep a few hours or not.

The familiar sounds of an old cop show on the motel TV, Dean deciding the mini-fridge should automatically come with pie or beer (it changes from week to week) and the smells that all motels seem to have were relaxing to me.

Motels and the Impala were more like home to me than any other place I've been. Even when I was in college, the dorm room then the apartment with Jess just didn't feel like home.

The Men of Letters base is good. It's secure and a lot like Bobby's minus the junk but even that just isn't home and I think a part of that is because Dean and I don't share a room like we do when we're on the road…like tonight.

I know I would gripe a lot growing up about privacy but now I miss not having my brother in the same room but I'd never tell him that since he's so happy to have his own room back there. That's why I'm shocked that we've stopped. Relieved…but shocked.

"Before you crash, drink this."

I hadn't realized Dean had entered the bathroom until I felt a cool wet cloth drop on the back of my neck and feel him nudge something into my hand that instinct tells me will be blue Gatorade even though I have no clue when he'd bought that.

"Thanks," I reply, debating on trying to stand up when I feel his hand on my arm and let him help me, hearing him curse under his breath when I nearly fall. "Just…tired."

"Sure, and I'm a purple dinosaur," Dean muttered but he doesn't lecture like I thought he would.

Instead he helps me back into the bedroom and lets me go only when the bed's close enough and I drop onto the mattress and feel muscles pop as some of the tension in my back lets go as soon as I lay down and feel secure in the motel room.

"Dean?" suddenly tired and wanting to sleep, I also wanted to know where my brother was and was surprised when he answered that his voice was right by the bed.

"Yeah, Sammy?"

I thought he'd crash on his bed or go out for food but looking through the eye that I could get open since the other one was buried in the pillow I saw that Dean was sitting on the bottom on my bed as if waiting.

Dean looked tired and it also showed in his voice but I knew he wouldn't sleep until he thought for sure I was. He'd also stay sitting on my bed until he was sure of that as well.

Those were little things he'd done since I was a kid and it brings up a lot of emotions in me that even after all the crap I've done, that's come between us that he's still willing to do those tiny things that others wouldn't think of.

I'd wanted to ask him about Purgatory but tonight just didn't seem like the night. Instead I chose to ask him something else. Something that might not've seemed important to most but it was to me.

"Where we at?"

"A motel," came the smart retort and I don't miss the way his eyes roll but even as I shoot him what Dean likes to call my bitch face I know he's just trying to annoy me. "A very nice but pieless motel about four hours away from our little Batcave."

Dean never calls it 'home'. The Men of Letters base is usually referred to as the 'Batcave' or when he has to organize something he likes to call it 'this damn hole in the ground with too much shit' but he has yet to refer to it as 'home'.

"Uh-huh, why'd we stop?" I try again but even as I start to move I feel his hand gently nudge me back down and then I'm growling when his fingers card through my hair like he would to really annoy me and my hair is in my face. "Dean…"

"Because I didn't want you puking in my car again, I was tired, you're tired, you're in pain and…you'll sleep here," Dean tells me after a moment of muttering. "I didn't feel like sleeping in the Impala so the motel choice won the toss."

Motels or the Impala was where I grew up and where I could always sleep the best, as a child and now as an adult.

I like the 'Batcave' but if I'm honest with myself it will never have the same feel for me as a rundown motel or the Impala do. I think that even though he loves his new room and bed, that this is my brother's way of also admitting that a part of us will never leave this side behind.

Of course, that doesn't mean I'm willing to let him off the hook yet. "Where are we at, Dean?"

I can tell by the way his jaw muscle is twitching that he's debating on answering me or choking me when I see him release a breath and feel a hand squeeze my still aching arm.

"We're…home for the night, little brother and we'll keep going home in the only way either of us are comfortable with until I can see you settled in that nice normal life you've always wanted."

The drop in tone, the more huskiness in it is another giveaway to when Dean's more open to his emotions and I only nod then grin when I hear his next comment.

"Now go to sleep before I throttle you since this place has no pie and no good TV."

I hear him settle on his bed since he knows he's close enough if I need him and as I feel myself drifting off I think back to Purgatory and the fears of not coming home again.

I may have doubts of how this will turn out but the one thing I don't doubt is if there is a way to do the last trial, close the door, survive and make sure Dean survives too then I'll do it.

I'll do it and I'll make sure that both Dean and I can go home.

The End