Mr. Smith Goes Home

Chapter Five

The sound and feel of a thousand little strippers dancing in his skull is what Dean Winchester woke up to or at least he thinks he was waking up since his memory seemed about as shaky as his head.

Groaning when his head wanted to explode along with his stomach, Dean's hand shot out to grab for something to smother himself with only to have his hand grope silky material instead of a pillow like he'd been expecting.

Dean's fingers continued to feel for something familiar but just continued to touch silk until he finally rolled to his stomach which made his blurry mind consider this bed seemed too big for the ones he and Sam usually got in a motel.

As the pain slowly began to ebb, Dean's mind also began to wake up fully and as it did his memory shot back. Stupid Angels screwed with them, messing up reality and his and Sam's lives. He woke up fine but…Sam.

Eyes shooting open at the thought of his brother, Dean's brain went into overload and he ignored the blinding pain and flash of light behind his pupils when he opened them too fast but his biggest concern was locating his brother.

Sam had been hurt. His mind hadn't come out of that little angel experiment in one piece and he'd been bouncing between himself and who he'd been in that other place until finally the wounds he'd been given decided to open.

"Sam?" voice a choked frog from being dry and probably hours of sleep, at least Dean hoped it was just hours, he looked around to see he was still in the loft in the cabin that Bobby had directed them to.

The huge custom made heart shaped bed freaked Dean out anyway and so he was quick to try to get himself out of it only to feel his head swim and his legs nearly buckle. "Sam?" surprised at being so weak, he grabbed for one of the creepy wall hangings to see the one he'd put his fist through at the realization his brother was dying and he was powerless to help him.

Struggling to bring back those last few moments, Dean remembered sitting beside Sam until his little brother had slipped under for what probably would be the last time. He remembered the rage and loss he felt, as well as screaming for Castiel when he heard a voice.

"Must've…passed out," he reasoned, thinking he could remember trying to turn toward the voice while also putting himself between the angel who'd arrived and his already dying brother.

Furious that it had been Castiel's superior, Zachariah, and some angel goons who had grabbed his brother in between Dean's meeting with the bald arrogant Angel of the Lord and when things were shifted back to how they should be, the hunter wasn't trusting one who just showed up out of the blue.

However, it had been several days since Dean had slept fully or ate so when those were combined with the grief he'd been feeling the natural reaction was for his body to simply take him out for a few hours.

A quick look at his watch however told Dean that he'd been sleeping for more than a few hours since the dates and time on the watch were saying he'd been out for over thirty-two hours.

A burst of panic hit him as he realized he'd not only failed to shield Sam from further harm but he'd left him alone in those last final moments of life. If Sam had woken up again he faced death by himself because his big brother hadn't been strong enough to stay awake for another day or so.

"Sonuvabitch!" Dean felt the same anger and loss that he did in Cold Oak when he'd failed to find Sam in time or prevent Jake from stabbing him, and then it hit him that he was alone in the loft.

Blood still showed on the silk sheets of the bed as well as a line of it running across the neon green shag carpet toward the ladder but that meant Sam's body would've needed dragged from the loft as if…

Dean already felt weak and sick at the thought of losing so many hours, of not being with his little brother like he promised he would but at the thought of why Sam's body wasn't where it damn well should have been his still tired emotions shifted from grief to anger.

"No, no way in hell," he gritted, forgetting how much he was hurting to just slide down the ladder to the main floor. Grabbing his Colt from where he'd tossed it earlier, he didn't stop to think or consider anything else since his mind had focused on two things: Sam was dead but he'd be damned if anyone burned his little brother's body.

Standard practice for hunters is to burn the body. Dean had seen it done more than once. He'd done the same when his own Father had died and he expected he'd do the same many more times in his life but not this time. He had no intention of giving Sam a hunter's funeral for the simple reason of he had firm intentions of getting his little brother back.

Sam had gone against tradition when he'd buried Dean, of which Dean was sort of glad since he'd come back, but Bobby had explained the bitter fight he and Sam had gotten into over that matter.

The older hunter had wanted to burn Dean's body both out of respect and so nothing evil could bring him back. Bobby knew the old ways were often best…he also would've known that there was no way that Dean would've agreed to burn Sam.

On the rational side, Dean's head knew if he'd been in Bobby's position that he would've taken care of the matter while Dean had been dead to the world.

That was what the rational side was saying. The irrational side, the grief stricken, pissed off older brother side of Dean's personality on the other hand was saying something totally different and it involved a huge fight if he couldn't locate Sam's body soon.

Pausing to get his bearings since he didn't know the area he was in, Dean listened but it was the smell that caught him first. Gasoline, wood, smoke all rolled through the clean mountain air and straight into his heart. "Goddamn it, Bobby," he gritted.

Dean took off running down a path where the smell seemed to be coming from, ignoring the pounding in his head from this much exertion after waking up still feeling like crap. All he was aware of right then was feeling betrayed and lost.

When his Mom had been killed when he'd only been four years old, he'd still had his Dad and Sam. After his Dad had died making the deal that had spared Dean's own life, he'd still had Sam. Dean had made the deal that took his own life to save Sam since he could not, would not, see himself without his little brother.

He fought to survive Hell, to get back mainly for his brother and had just come to the conclusion that it would take a lot more than some bitching angels or a demon skank to force him and Sam apart. Now Dean was forced to face being alone, without the last thing he considered family outside of Bobby, for the first time in his life and that just wasn't improving his mood any.

Seeing the fire burning in a small clearing by a lake made all rational thought leave his mind as all Dean could see in those dancing flames was the eyes of his little brother. He could see Sam as a baby learning to walk or talk. He saw his brother growing up, all through the fights, the troubles…all Dean could see now in the flames was the fear in Sam's huge puppy dog looking eyes before he'd gone under this last time.

Eyes burning from the smoke, since Dean refused to admit the tears clouding his vision were from anything else, he wasn't even fully aware of when his body moved or his next actions. "Bobby!"

"Dammit, boy!" Bobby figured he'd jumped nearly a foot off the ground at the unexpected shout, figuring he probably had another day at the least before he'd have to face the elder Winchester brother. "How'd the hell you get outta that bed?" he asked without looking away from the roaring fire he'd been tending to all day. "Much less how'd you get out of the loft or the cabin for the matter? We figured you'd fall flat on your face with the way you went down. Dean?"

Turning a brief look aware from the fire to check on Dean, Bobby had expected him to be upset when he woke up. Winchesters were notoriously testy when first waking up after being hurt, sick, hung over or just in general.

What he hadn't been expecting was the short, fast, and hard fist that slammed into his jaw, sending him stumbling away from the flames. "Balls!" he yelled, trying to regain his footing only to have a fist curl in the front of his shirt to yank him closer to Dean's enraged face. "Boy, what the hell's gotten into you?"

"You had no right, Bobby!" Dean yelled, fury outweighing his common sense as he could feel the heat of the fire on his back through his black T-shirt and he thought of Sam asking him what hell would be like. "No damn right at all! He was my brother! Sam…damn it, you know I wouldn't have…not to him! Not to Sammy!"

Wanting to throw more punches until the pain in his heart eased, a loud pop from a piece of dry wood suddenly had him forgetting his rage at the older man to take a sudden quick step toward the burning pile, burning green eyes locked on the top as his memories shot him with views of his laughing and smiling brother.

Despite bitching at what a pain in the ass his little brother could be it never failed to lift Dean's spirits or take his mind off of something when Sam would laugh or make some joke…except for the time the brat super glued his hand to a beer bottle.

"Sammy," he whispered, slashing violently at his face before moving as if he was going to jump at the flames. "I promised him that I'd make it right. I promised him that I'd be there when he woke up. I. Promised. Him," Dean gritted, both fists clenching and when the pile of burning wood shifted again that was all he could take, forgetting the flames and the heat as his muscles bunched to move. "Damn it!"

"Dean!" Bobby shouted, moving a lot quicker than even he thought was possible to grab Dean the moment he realized what the enraged stupid boy was about to do. "What the hell are you doing?" he demanded, ducking the rushed blow when Dean jerked free. "Dean, stop it! Get away from there before you get burned or…damn idjit," he muttered when two hands flat on his chest shoved hard but this time Bobby wasn't budging.

"I need to put it out, Bobby," Dean snapped, eyes wilder than the older man could ever recall seeing except for once…the night Sam died in Cold Oak. "I need to stop the fire. I need to at least keep one damn promise. You should've waited…Sammy…didn't deserve this crap and I don't care what else we've said I would not have burned…Sonuvabitch!"

Suddenly understanding what was happening, Bobby was quick to grab onto Dean again. Shoving him back from the fire that he seemed determined to get to, he stared in shock that quickly turned to anger. "You think this is a funeral pyre, boy?" he demanded loudly, wondering if he knocked the boy out if he'd wake up with more brains. "Is that why you're so determined to catch yourself on fire? You think I burned your brother?"

Raw emotion had Dean fighting back against the grip preventing him from trying to knock the pile of burning wood apart. "What happened after I went out?" he wanted to know, hating the thought of Sam suffering any more pain. "Were you with him at least, Bobby? What happened?"

Sam had always been the creative one out of the two of them at least outwardly but Dean had a vivid imagination when it suited him and right then it was working in overdrive.

He could see Sam waking up one last time, being confused as to why Dean wasn't with him like he said he would be. He hoped Bobby had checked back in so at least Sam wouldn't have been alone or…with an angel that Dean didn't honestly know could be trusted or not.

If he let himself think too hard Dean thought he could hear his brother's voice calling for him and that merely made the hurt he was feeling worse.

"Dean, listen to me," Bobby realized too late that this situation had gotten out of hand and he was running out of options to calm the young man down without hurting him. "Damn it, boy! Listen to me a second. I didn't burn Sam's body!"

"Then where is he?" Dean shot back, no longer caring the tone he used or if he was pushing Bobby's temper since all he knew was that his brother's body wasn't in the cabin and there was a huge fire burning. "Where the hell's Sam, Bobby? Where is he?"

"Behind you, ya idjit!" Bobby snapped back gruffly.


The quiet voice that spoke from behind him once again had Dean whirling on the heel of his boot to find it only to feel something hard slap into the base of his head and he saw a brief glimpse of shock in hazel eyes before things went black.

"Damn stubborn idjit," Bobby muttered, tossing the small piece of wood he'd grabbed when Dean became distracted and to knock him back out with. "I swear, both of you are enough to drive me to drink more than I already do."

Moving quickly despite still feeling stiff and sore, Sam Winchester was able to grab his brother by the shoulders to keep him from falling face first into the dirt before giving Bobby a look that was between surprise and irritation. "Wasn't that a bit extreme?"

"He got in few lucky shots on me too, Sam," Bobby groused, rolling his eyes as he gave the younger Winchester a hard look. "Now you wanna tell me what the hell you're goin' outta that cabin? You still look like hell."

"When I realized Dean was awake but I couldn't find him inside I figured he might've come outside but I didn't think he'd leap to this conclusion," Sam sighed, beginning to lift his brother to his feet only to have Bobby nudge him aside. "Bobby, I can…"

Growling under his breath about stubborn boys and even bigger pains in his ass than their Dad had been, Bobby shot Sam a glare that he usually gave to his brother. "You're barely in better shape than he is, Sam. You're living…well, I'm still not sure I understood it all, now get your ass back inside while I bring this moron," he ordered firmly, using a tone he reserved only for the Winchester brothers as he wondered something. "What're you planning on telling Dean about this?"

Pausing to try to stretch his arms over his head and wincing as he felt tight muscles pop in his neck and back. "Since I'm not sure I believe or get it all either…I'm not sure what to tell him, except…I'm alive," Sam replied, walking next to Bobby as he half dragged, half carried Dean back inside to drop him on the sofa in the main room then went to get the first aid kit.

Sitting on the edge of the sofa to look at his older brother pale and haggard looking face, Sam considered what he'd woken up to and supposed from what little he could recall of the past few days he could understand Dean's reactions.

He just wondered how he'd take it when he woke up again to learn that Sam wasn't dead when not even Sam fully understood why he wasn't…

Thirty-Two Hours Earlier:

Watching as shock, pain, exhaustion and more importantly grief caused Dean to pass out after he'd tried to stand too quickly to put himself between his dying brother and herself, Anna Milton shook her head.

"I won't hurt him, Dean," she assured the hunter as she knelt beside him, running her fingers through his short hair while remembering their brief time together before she'd gotten her Grace back. "Not all Angels are like Zachariah."

On the run from the garrison since she didn't approve or agree with some of the decisions coming out of Heaven these days, she'd had a target on her back even before getting her Grace back and had stayed running since.

Anna had spoken to Castiel only once and that was when she'd realized what they'd made Dean do. She had hoped after realizing Uriel's part in Alastair's near escape that Castiel would begin to see that following orders blindly would be the worst thing for both himself and the Winchesters and was disappointed that he hadn't.

Sensing Dean's mounting anguish and hearing his shout for the trench coated Angel; Anna had come when she realized that the higher ups in Heaven were keeping Castiel from hearing Dean's call.

A simple look at Sam laying on a bed that Anna had to admit she found quite…interesting clearly told her what had happened to the younger man.

Being an Angel, she still had the ability to recognize the handiwork of others in the garrison and since she was all too familiar with Zachariah's unique style Anna easily knew he'd been the one to hurt Sam. She also knew it had been Zachariah who had decided to release the wounds so they'd show in the real world but not heal.

"Killing Dean's brother won't get you his help," she spoke softly, eyes sad when she took in the internal injuries on top of the external ones and noticed how labored Sam's breathing had become. "Losing Sam will just more than likely make Dean all that more determined to spit in your face."

Debating on trying to wake Dean up, a ragged sound from Sam told the redheaded Angel that she needed to act quickly if even an angel's power were to save Sam Winchester.

"…De'n?" coughing on blood, Sam's eyes struggled to open when pain all over his body forced him back to a semi-consciousness. "De'n…where…?" he gasped as he tried to move to find his brother since he knew Dean wouldn't leave him. "…"

"Dean fell asleep, Sam," Anna told him as she stepped closer to the bed, sitting on the very edge with a gentle smile. "He didn't want to but I'm afraid hearing me made him move too fast and he…passed out."

Body in agony, eyes fighting to clear, Sam heard the soft female voice and while he wanted to tense the moment his wounds reacted to the aura Anna gave off, he recognized her and decided he was dying anyway so it didn't matter if he died on his own or if an angel killed him.

"Don'…hurt…him," he whispered, finally able to see and saw that Anna still looked the same as she had the last time he'd seen her in that barn right before she'd gotten her Grace back.

Sam had never asked his brother exactly what had happened between him and Anna that one night but all he'd known was that the young woman had made Dean happy even if it had just been for a short time.

It was this reason that he really didn't think she'd hurt Dean. Sam realized his brother would probably be hurt bad enough as it were from this but he just didn't have the strength to fight which he would've done to protect Dean.

"I'm not here to hurt Dean, Sam," Anna assured him, lifting her hand slowly and offered a calm smile when Sam winced, a soft whimper being heard when her hand lightly touched his face. "I'm not here to hurt either of you."

Sensing Sam's pain along with his fear made Anna hurt. As an Angel she understood the basic reason that her former superiors wouldn't approve of Sam but it was her ability to also sense the inner goodness in him that angered her at Zachariah's willingness to do what he has.

Not feeling pain when she touched him, Sam slowly relaxed to try to move his eyes so he could find Dean then guessed it was probably better if his brother did sleep through this part.

"Anna…tell Dean…I'm…" fingers gripped into the mattress as his chest suddenly bloomed in pain and Sam felt his heart beat fast then slow down. "He'll…be hurt."

Understanding that in some way Sam knew that regardless of what Castiel believed or told Dean that his brother would end up being hurt in some way, Anna nodded. "You'll be with him, Sam. You and Dean will get through this," she replied, smiling at his look and realized this was what Dean meant by his brother's 'bitch-face'. "You're not going to die, Sam."

"He…can't help…hospital can't…help," Sam gasped, feeling the amulet in his palm warm when Anna placed her other hand over his while keeping her other on his face. "Don't wanna die but…Anna?"

Smiling again, Anna met Sam's eyes fully as she began to let her full power build. "Close your eyes, Sam," she advised, squeezing his hand while leaning forward to press a soft kiss to his forehead. "Tell Dean that no matter what else happens…I won't forget him or that night in the Impala."

This time when Sam groaned it wasn't so much from pain but from too much information. He knew if Dean had been upset about Sam's description of his early time with Ruby then he really didn't like the imagery of his brother and a then former Angel in the backseat of the car Sam still mainly thought of as home.

However before he could think of a proper response, Sam felt the warmth in his palm begin to spread up his arm until it slowly seemed to go through his entire body and despite having his eyes closed against the brightening light he could see or feel, he wasn't sure which, each wound begin to slowly close.

Clenching his teeth against the pain of now healing wounds, Sam gasped when he felt whatever was on the back of his neck do more than just pinch at Anna's healing. He swore he could almost hear an angry roar deep in his thoughts only to have the softer tone of Anna's voice override it.

Sam wasn't certain of the language she was using. He only knew when he felt her slender hand move from his face to the back of his neck the pain that was close to making him writhe eased away until it was just a dull ache.

Suddenly it was like a switch being flipped and Sam felt the pain stop. His tired body which had been emotionally and physically wrecked for days just went limp with Anna's words in his ears.

"Some wounds will need Dean to watch for a day or so since I can only do so much but these won't reopen," she'd made certain of that just as she had that Zachariah wouldn't be able to affect them without direct contact. "You'll have the memories of that time and place just as Dean has his but Sam Wesson will just be a memory. Take care, be careful and always remember that no matter what he says or how he acts that Dean's your brother and he will always be there for you."

As Sam pondered that, the warmth of the amulet in his hand once again got nearly hot then a final surge of warmth and assurance shot through him and he sat up with a gasp, eyes fully clear for the first time in what he figured had to be days.

Looking around, Sam tried to figure out where he was. Anna was gone but his eyes shot to where his brother was laying on the really bright neon green shag carpet.

A quick look at his chest and arms showed Sam that the wounds he knew had been there were gone even though he knew where the ones were that he'd have to let Dean see, right then his biggest concern was getting to his brother because one look told him that Dean looked about as bad as Sam still felt.

Easing a leg off the bed he heard a door then a shout from a voice that made him breathe a sigh of relief. "Dean? What the hell's going on?" Bobby demanded, grumbling as he climbed the ladder to the loft that even he hadn't been expecting to look this odd. "Every damn one of the electronics in my truck and the other cabin just blew up and…" he paused as he took in the scene. "Well, I'll be damned."

"Bobby, where the hell are we?" Sam asked since he'd already taken in the heart shaped bed, the hangings on the wall of men, the carpet and the mirrors above the bed and knew this was not a place his brother would have picked on his own.

"Shut up, Sam," came the returning growl which made the younger Winchester smile weakly as he eased to his still weak knees beside Dean on the floor while looking at the amulet he still held and found that he had all the memories of his recent days, including the last few and hoped his brother really did feel the way he said he did.

Some Time Later:

"There's a stripper pole in that one back room!"

"Shut up."

"There's a stripper pole & what I'm pretty sure used to be a mechanical bull in that one back room!"

"Shut up."

"Plus a sunk in the floor bathtub with multiple pulsating shower heads in a bathroom bigger than the one bedroom with a real bed that also has a heated floor and what I swear is velvet walls."

"Shut. Up."

"That loft has a heart shaped bed bigger than a lot of motel rooms we stay in, a mirror over the bed, things hanging on the wall with paintings of GUYS and neon green shag carpeting!

"Shut the hell up, idjit!"

The not so muted conversation once again made Dean Winchester wish he could find something heavy to cover his head with but as he went to roll to his stomach in the hopes of at least smothering his face to dull the pounding in his head he felt open air then his body striking solid wood when he fell off the sofa to the floor with a short curse.

"Son of a bitch!"

Green eyes snapped open as soon as he hit, Dean offered a short and pithy string of obscenities to the soon to be dead moron who decided he'd be better off on a sofa rather than a bed before remembering where he was and deciding he might not want the bed.

"I swear, you two are worse now than you were when you were four and he was barely crawling," Bobby Singer's voice echoed through Dean's head as he came to see what had happened and shook his head at seeing the younger man on the floor. "Need a hand?"

"No," Dean growled, figuring the floor was fine since he didn't think he had the energy to try to stand right then.

A look at a disgruntled Bobby reminded Dean of his last thoughts before his head exploded and he slit a dark look up. "You knocked me out," he accused, hearing something from the back of the cabin that both worried and confused him.

"Yep and if you do what you're thinking of doing now I'll knock you upside your head again," Bobby replied almost happily before he turned to shoot a scowl down the hall. "Hey! Quit playing with whatever the hell you found and get out here before your idjit brother tries something stupid again!"

"Dude, you couldn't get me to touch half the stuff in that one room without a ten foot pole and rubber gloves," Sam Winchester replied with a soft laugh, stepping into the main room and immediately knowing when he was pinned by a sharp look. "Um, hey," he murmured.

Sam still felt tired but supposed that he would considering the last week. A shower, clean clothes, a few bites of food and a couple short naps had helped him feel more like himself.

Now as he stood watching his older brother, he could feel his nerves coming back because Sam knew it would depend on Dean's reaction how things went from then on.

Bobby had stepped back to give the brothers space but as the silence and the tension built he was debating on giving the older one a swift kick in the ass if he didn't get moving when he finally saw Dean's expression change from hard, to wary, to surprise until finally it went to relief.

"Sammy," shoving to his feet easily and ignoring Bobby's attempt to steady him, Dean shoved past him to close the gap between himself and his suddenly uneasy little brother in three steps to reach out without thought or care to his normal 'no chick flick' rule and pull Sam in for a hard hug.

Slightly surprised by this sudden move Sam tensed on instinct since too many times recently had things gotten violent between them and it was only when he realized that his brother's action was out of honest relief at seeing Sam alive that he slowly returned the gesture.

While always the more emotional out of the two of them, Sam had slowly begun to hold back his when it became clear how distant he and Dean were becoming. Despite the times recently when he wanted to share them or show more than he did, Sam closed them off to avoid the pain of having his more abrupt as of late brother turn away.

A part of Sam nearly did that now until he felt the grip tighten and then all the buried feelings he'd had while fighting to regain control of his own mind, the fears of dying, the thought of dying despite everything his brother had already given up to save him once suddenly broke inside and Sam felt himself latch on much like the night he opened a motel room door to see Dean standing there.

Once Bobby saw that the boys seemed alright he decided to step outside to give them a chance to talk alone and to make sure his old friend didn't decide to come back over. Sam's reaction was one thing but he knew without a doubt what Dean's would be and wanted to avoid that.

Hearing the soft click of the door told Dean they were alone and after holding the hug another two seconds, which was still longer than he normally would have except for when his brother had been small and scared, he pushed Sam back to arm's length but kept both hands on his neck as if looking for something wrong.

"You can tell me how later," he decided once he was certain he wasn't dreaming and that his brother was standing in front of him when something else suddenly hit him. "You…are okay, right, Sam?"

Understanding the meaning behind that cautious question Sam slowly nodded. "Yeah, I'm alright, Dean," he assured his worried brother then felt Dean suddenly weave and made a grab for him. "How about you?"

"Shut up, smartass," Dean growled, letting Sam nudge him back toward the sofa but snagged a firm hold of his brother before he could move back. "How are you alright then?" he knew he probably didn't want to know and honestly didn't care but needed to anyway. "I…damn it, Sam. I thought you were dead when I woke up and…"

"Yeah, you owe Bobby a huge apology too, dude," Sam remarked, wincing a little as he sat down beside Dean but didn't look right at him yet. "Anna…I guess she healed me. I woke up looking for you and…Dean,"

Tensing at the thought of his hurt and confused brother waking up alone with the knowledge that he was dying and him not being there. "I…swore I'd be there, kid. I was pissed off that I couldn't help you, that Cas wasn't answering me then I heard…Anna was here?"

"She said you'd been awake too long and that was why you weren't with me," shifting a look next to him, Sam didn't miss the shadows under his brothers' eyes or the clear signs of exhaustion still showing despite the days that Dean had slept. "Why didn't you sleep?" he asked, seeing the look of 'are you kidding me' he got in return.

"Hel-lo? You were hurt and half the time your brain wasn't exactly your own? Kinda hard to sleep when I needed to stay by you," Dean rolled his eyes but still caught the flicker on Sam's face that reminded him that it had been a long time since he'd done that sort of thing. "Then when the wounds started popping up I knew I needed to be close in case anything else happened."

Flashes of memory came to Sam of hearing his brother's voice always close to him, even when he hadn't been in control he somehow knew Dean had always been there. "I thought…" he didn't know what he'd thought or how to approach what he wanted to say without the fear of pushing Dean away. "You know…he told you…damn…"

Seeing Sam struggling gave Dean a clue as to what his brother was trying to say and guessed he could forgo the rest of the no chick flick rule for the day and call do over later. "I don't hate you, Sam," he began slowly, hearing the sharp breath and feeling Sam tense since they both knew how distant and cool Dean had been treating him lately.

"We've had a lot of crap happen between us since I've been back and yeah, I've been giving you hell for most of it but…it's not all your fault," Dean sat up fully so he could lay a hand on the back of his brother's neck which had always been his way of showing silent support or assurance when Sam needed it the most. Now he hoped it wasn't something that Sam shifted away from.

"I've told you…a few things from my time in Hell and I won't tell you more but…coming back from that, it hasn't been as easy to forget or get over as I thought it would be," he admitted, making himself stay sitting despite the inner urge to pace since even the thought of Hell and being this close to Sam bugged him.

"I thought I could come back, find you, pick up where we left off…hunting, killing things…the family business. But it…hasn't been like that and I've taken a lot of that out on you," Dean felt Sam tense but just tightened the grip he had enough to warn Sam to stay still but not enough to hurt him, which was something else he figured was a shock to his quiet brother.

Sam didn't mind the hand on his neck since he'd grown up with that gesture from his anti-emotional brother but since he didn't know what else to expect from this sudden serious discussion Sam couldn't quite stop himself from tensing or the way his hands shook.

"I lied to you…about Ruby, about what I was doing so I knew you'd be mad. It just…hurt what you said about if you didn't know me…you'd want to…hunt me and on top of what I heard this time…" Sam cut off, not wanting these memories this soon when he felt Dean's fingers tighten again. "Dean…"

The shaking soft voice gave Dean the answer he'd been wondering about. "Finding out about Ruby, about what she had you doing on top of getting time-jumped back to learn way more about Mom and Dad than I really wanted to know left me raw, Sam.

"It bugged me when I really saw how much of you had changed or I thought had changed but now I'm starting to see that while you're not the same as you were when I left when my deal came due because you had to grow up to survive…you will always still be my little brother," Dean paused until Sam's eyes slowly moved to meet his and he saw the same huge puppy dog eyes he'd been hoping to see.

"You're not a monster, Sammy. You didn't ask for those powers and while I hope you know the line you're walking and when not to cross it…I will always have your back and no one will ever hunt you," he added firmly, giving a firm squeeze on Sam's neck to stress his point. "Now, I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to like this place when I really think about it so…you have a free chick flick moment coming, take it."

Blinking at Dean in surprise, Sam started to make a comment about his brother must be tired if he was willing to say that but then decided to take him up on the offer.

"The first week or so after you…died were like I was walking through a fog. I didn't give a crap about anything but killing demons and finding a way to hurt Lilith. Even after Ruby showed up, I was still going down a path I knew in my heart that you wouldn't like but I…couldn't stop it," Sam looked at his hands rather than at his brother, reaching into the pocket of his shirt to remove the newly cleaned amulet. "I got careless one night in a bar fight and ended up with a piece of glass in my stomach. I was bleeding out and I didn't give a damn."

Dean had been expecting Sam to take him up on the offer of a free chick moment but he hadn't been expecting this type of admission or the tone of self-hate that he could hear now and that made him pay more attention. "I taught you better than to get taken out in a bar fight, Sammy," he chided, hoping he could ease Sam back into a lighter mood but the moment Sam's jaw clenched he knew this wasn't going to be good and stayed still to listen.

"I knew Ruby's reasons were sound. I knew every demon I killed put me one step closer to Lilith and getting you out of that damn pit that I put you in," Sam missed the sudden flash in Dean's eyes as he kept focusing on his wrist and also on the amulet. "I also knew what you'd be saying if you knew what I was doing. I knew you'd hate it and probably hate me but I was willing to chance it if I could find a way to save you.

"Now you're back and you found out about it, about me…you've seen it…and you do hate me. I didn't need that angel to say that. I knew it by how you've been acting with me but to hear you…say it…that hurt," Sam murmured, voice low like it always was when he was struggling to bury his deeper emotions and not let the tears fall.

"Huh," Dean grunted, feeling the muscle in his jaw twitch as his temper sparked but shoved it aside since his anger wasn't at his brother. "When…when did I say I hated you?" he asked quietly, easing his hand down to Sam's shoulder both in support and to keep his brother sitting still because he knew in a minute Sam would shoot to his feet in order to put distance between them.

Not expecting the quiet tone or the question, Sam turned to look and caught the intense expression his brother usually only got when debating on if he was getting angry or not. "What?" he had to think then frowned. "Before…this happened," he shook his head. "I mean, after we…they…whoever we were there killed that ghost and we got separated. You agreed with…that bald guy you say is an Angel and said…"

"Uh-huh, alright," Dean bit the side of his tongue to keep from growling in any way that would upset his brother but swore he'd find a way to hurt the next angel who had the guts to show up. "Did you see me or just hear me?" he demanded tightly, silently hoping he didn't get the reply he feared was coming but knew the second Sam's head dropped what had happened. "Sonuvabitch," he gritted, grabbing onto the shoulder he still was touching. "Stay."

Guessing if the angels had the ability to alter a reality and screw with their heads then they could make Sam see and hear crap that wasn't there if it was a way to further hurt him or make him doubt or fear Dean more. The issue for Dean now was to convince his brother that it hadn't been him.

"Sam…" he stopped when the shoulder under his hand went rigid and understood. He'd been using his brother's name more due to the stress between them when normally Dean would call Sam by his nickname, the one that only Dean could use. "Sammy, that wasn't me."

Moving so he could make Sam's eyes meet his, Dean waited until he was sure Sam would listen and understand. "When we killed that ghost, by the way we're also paying a visit to those two geeks, I didn't see you again until I got to that hospital. What you heard or what you saw was not me," he reached over to firmly lift his brother's chin up to keep his eyes on him.

"That damn bald son of a bitch is playing us, Sammy. A lot of people are playing us and while I won't say we will still have issues I'm only going to say this one time," Dean paused to settle his emotions before adding firmly. "You're my brother. A pain in my ass usually but still my little brother and I would still die for you. I also want this crap stopped that you put me in Hell because I made the choice, I made the deal."

"And you're still suffering for it," Sam replied, expecting some yelling but he wasn't expecting the small sad smile from Dean.

"I've been doing that since Dad made the deal that saved my life. I shouldn't have lived after that crash and we both know it," Dean watched his brother process all this and rolled his eyes at the frown he saw. "Do you believe I hate you, Sam?"

"No," Sam whispered, hoping he was right. "I know you're mad at me for what I've said and done recently but…I still didn't mean what I said with the Siren or anything, Dean," he had a hard time explaining to his brother what he'd been trying to understand himself. "I didn't believe that crap when I was saying it but it just came out.

"You're my brother. I still look up to you no matter how much I've failed you. I just wish we could still be like we were before," Sam sighed, suddenly feeling tired. "I thought maybe you'd prefer having…him since he hadn't made anywhere close to the screw-ups I have."

Having to take a second to figure that out, Dean stared then lightly slapped his brother in the back of his head. "Dude, he was a bigger geek than you and I can only handle one huge super geek in my life and that's my little brother," he heard Sam chuckle then made a grab to slip his brother into a headlock when he wanted to finish relieving the tension in the room.

"Smith and Wesson are a great team…when it comes to being a gun. We're Winchesters, Sammy and I don't want anyone besides my pain in the ass, big brained brother riding shotgun with me," Dean finished, letting go but not missing the still visible wound on Sam's neck. "You still got wounds?"

"A few," Sam admitted more easily, relaxed since he'd gotten some things off his chest and did believe his brother that it hadn't been him he'd seen or heard. "Anna says you can look at 'em," he paused to run his tongue over his teeth, hearing Dean grunt then chose to add. "She also said to tell you that she'll always remember that night in the Impala."

Pushing himself up from the sofa to go in search of food, Dean lost his balance and struggled to keep a straight face despite the bright eyed look of curious innocence his brother was giving him. "Uh, yeah…" he coughed, this time not being so gentle when he punched Sam's shoulder. "Shut up or I'll toss it back at you about Ruby or…"

"I never had sex with Ruby in the back of our car, Dean," Sam broke in, inwardly shuddering at even the thought of that since to him the Impala was home and sacred. "Geez, you and Anna? Really? Now I won't be able to sit in the car without images of my brother having sex with an Angel."

"Shut up, Sam," Dean growled, debating on tossing his brother into the lake but vetoed that since Bobby would bitch and it'd be his luck his illness prone sibling would catch something which was bad since Sam wasn't fun when he was sick. "I didn't comment too much when you had to spell it out in graphic detail what went on between you and Ruby and Anna wasn't an Angel then."

Another flip retort was on the tip of his tongue when Sam suddenly realized this was the first time in weeks, since the mess with the Siren that he and Dean had actually bickered without it being mean or for real. He seemed to stumble a little over that thought. "Dean…are we good now?"

"If you drop bugging me about Anna then yeah, we're good," Dean grumbled, getting the sudden change because he'd also just had the same thought. "So, can I have that back now?" he glanced at his amulet.

Surprise made Sam look down and he nodded, holding it out. "I woke up with it," he knew Dean had let him hold it since the hospital. "Thanks."

"It beat letting you choke me with it," Dean smirked then laid his hand back on Sam's neck. "Sammy, I know I don't say this to you a lot but…I…c'mon, are you really going to make me say it?"

Laughing, Sam moved to give a quick brotherly one shoulder hug before stepping back. "I should," he grinned then headed for the kitchen which was his way of letting Dean know he understood what he'd been trying to say. "I think Bobby brought burgers."

"Thank God," Dean rolled his eyes at the thought of food since his stomach was reminding him that sleep wasn't the only thing he'd been lacking.

Slipping the amulet back over his head, Dean felt its familiar weight and relaxed. Looking toward the kitchen he thought back on the past several days since he woke up in the Impala and smiled fully as he heard Sam groan about something he'd found in the fast food bag. "I love you, little brother," he whispered, deciding one day he'd actually say that out loud to Sam when his brother wasn't hurt or on the verge of dying.

"Hey," Sam called from the kitchen, deciding since he wasn't dead and he and Dean weren't fighting at the moment to have a little fun. "This cabin is…weird."

"Tell me something I don't know, kid," Dean shot back, trying to recall the argument his brother and Bobby were having when he woke up but only getting images of stripper poles and old riding bulls in his head. "Your point on that would be what?"

Sticking a carrot stick in his mouth rather than laugh, Sam fought for a straight face. "Have you seen the stripper pole and the other stuff in the back room?" he held out a burger but knew he'd gotten Dean's full attention as his brother seemed to be putting things together slowly. "Oh and Bobby's old friend that owns this place? His name was Fred."

Debating on biting into the burger that seemed to be calling to him or paying full attention to what his now fully grinning brother was saying, Dean's eyes narrowed. "Used to be?" he frowned, knowing he'd hate himself for the next question. "What…what's his name now, Sammy?"

"Freida," Sam replied then quickly bit his lip as he dropped his head while adding. "He's a sixty-two year old ex-biker with a beard down to his knees…wearing sequins. This place is where he and his…buddies hang out on weekends…Dean?"

Suddenly all the pieces dropped into place and Dean's hunger left as he dropped the burger, shot a finger toward his struggling not to laugh brother while whirling to go in search of Bobby Singer. "You, pack," he told Sam, halfway out the door. "We're gone as soon as I throw Bobby in the lake. Bobby!"

"Your idjit brother has a damn big mouth when he's awake," Bobby could be heard complaining as he headed off the highly upset hunter. "Dean, I swear when I told you to come here I didn't know this damn old fool had gone experimental…"

"The shag carpeting and heated floor not enough of a clue?" Dean shot back, hearing Sam's full laughter coming from the cabin and vowing to make him pay…later since it made him happy just to hear his brother's laugh in any form even if it was mainly at his expense.

Sam peeked his head out the door to make sure his brother wasn't in Bobby's face too much when he caught sight of the 6'6" owner of the cabin hiking down the trail in neon high tops, shorts that seemed much too flashy for his age and a sequin tank top and he knew the moment Dean saw him too because his brother's face literally paled.

Knowing Dean as well as he did and understanding his brother's reactions to certain things, Sam was already moving to grab the duffel bags he'd packed a day ago. "Sammy! You! Impala! Now!" he heard the shout and was still laughing as he stepped outside to have both bags taken from him and tossed into the trunk.

"Gee, is that a worse image than me and Ruby, Dean?" he asked innocently, ducking when Dean tossed his jacket at his head and still chuckling an hour after Dean had gotten them back on the road and well away from the cabin that if Sam was honest would probably even give him nightmares.

"Never again," Dean growled, mentally scrubbing his brain of the image that old man presented. "The next time I listen to Bobby about staying someplace it's gonna be somewhere we've stayed before and he'll swear on a stack of Bibles that it isn't someplace that Dad would've choked over."

Managing to stop laughing a little, Sam yawned. Shifting his shoulders until he was curled against the door like he normally slept when in the front seat, he felt his brother's leather jacket being tossed his way since it had only been thrown into the car in Dean's haste to leave the cabin in West Virginia.

"Kinda reminded me of that stripper club Caleb took me took that one time," he murmured, feeling his eyes drift shut and smiling a little as sleep came to the sound of the Impala's engine, Legos rattling in the heater, classic rock blaring on the radio and the outraged shout of his once again shocked older brother.

"What the hell do you mean the stripper club Caleb took you to?" Dean demanded, fighting to keep his eyes on the road but still throw his sleeping brother a dark look. "When did Caleb take you to a strip joint, Sam? Sammy? Sonuvabitch!"

The End

A/N: Well, that's it. I hope everyone enjoyed this one and look for more stories coming soon.