Fangs and Fury

Chapter Seven

"'Benny's been a better brother to me than you've been.'"

"'Sam looked for you for nearly a month before something happened and he vanished for like two weeks.'"

"'Boy was so distracted trying to find someone to help him find wherever you took off to that he was easy meat when I grabbed him.'"

"'Yeah, I know what you think I am, Dean.'"

Fury and guilt all were rolling around in Dean Winchester's already sick stomach as he tried to focus on the road, the directions on a hastily scrawled piece of paper while months of hurtful jabs all piled back on him, along with things from recent days.

It had taken Dean far longer than he liked to finally get out of the fishing cabin and on the road to either track or find the damn hunter who'd nailed his little brother.

Shane Morrison had been a son of a bitch even back when Dean had been a teenager and just from the short time he'd seen him this now assured the hunter that much hadn't changed.

What would change as soon as Dean caught up to him was his ability to suck in air since he planned to feed the man his lungs…or his heart, depending on how generous he was feeling at the moment.

Right then Dean wasn't feeling anything but hate, guilt, and worry. Hate for the goddamn hunter that had not only kidnapped Sam this time but had apparently done it before on top of shooting Sam just recently.

The guilt was aimed at himself since he was very much aware now just how badly he'd screwed up with his brother lately. He'd taken all his pain and turmoil, the bitterness he felt at returning to the belief that he'd been abandoned and turned it on his little brother, the little brother that he was now worrying over because Sam had been hurt, physically and emotionally, even before the attack at the fishing cabin had occurred.

Dean's mind was locked on the inner pain he suddenly realized had been in Sam's eyes during their last time together and he felt his fingers clenching on the wheel while offering several well-chosen phrases for himself for being a moron.

No, moron didn't begin to cover what Dean figured he'd been to Sam lately. A cold blooded, heartless, unfeeling, blind bastard would slightly get him into the right range to describe what he'd been these past few months.

He'd accused Sam of being unreliable, of not being there for him when how many times had Dean let his little brother down.

The part that truly pissed the hunter off was that he actually bought that damn excuse Sam had given him to explain why he hadn't been looking for Dean. He had listened to it and believed that his brother would have walked away just that easily and he'd been using that pain to really hurt Sam at every chance he got.

Now he found out that it had been something far more drastic and far more dangerous that had caused his brother to leave hunting after a single phone call to the one other hunter Dean knew Sam might turn to gave him a better picture of his brother's life after the final confrontation with Dick Roman.

"'Sam was coming to see me since I'd told him I knew a man who might have information that he needed in his search to find you. He'd been running himself into the ground for close to a month. He'd already gotten hurt a couple times according to Garth and I was worried he'd end up dead if I didn't get to him but…it was too late.'"

Jefferson had been an older man, a friend of the Winchesters for as long as Dean could recall but who had retired from hunting a while back. Though retiring from active hunting didn't mean you ever fully got out of the life or so it seemed.

"'When Sam was three days late I began trying to call him since at first I thought he got tied up with something else but after a week I knew something was wrong because while you'd been prone to ignore phone calls, your brother never would,'" the older man sounded grim over the phone, as well as a touch guilty. "'Morrison was a friend of some other hunters you boys had some problems with a few years back but then I think he and you had some issues anyway.

"'He's got a lot of friends who cover for him so it took me a while to find out that he'd nailed Sam and another few days before I could get to him but your Dad, Jim and Bobby still have friends too that helped me get your brother out but damn, his back and one shoulder looked like raw meat and…'"

Sam had looked for him, had tried to find him only to get jumped by some asshole with a chip on his shoulder and a mean streak a mile wide.

Dean had listened to the rest of Jefferson's story with one ear on the words and the other on what he wasn't being told. It was there that he pieced together what happened to have caused Sam to drop out of hunting and lose himself in some small Texas town.

Morrison had hurt Sam bad enough that it had taken Jefferson over a week to get Sam's fever down. Then came the time when it fully hit his brother that he was really alone and the panic of that on top of being hurt and whatever else the bastard had promised made him run.

"'I shot the son of a bitch's kneecap which is what's kept him from coming after Sam before now but Dean…Shane's dangerous and you know what hunters are capable of doing so you've got to find him.'"

"Yeah, no kidding," he muttered to himself, wincing as the wound on his side pulled when he shifted on the seat to grab a bottle of water since he knew he was still dehydrated.

The other reason he wasn't answering his ringing phone since he was tired of getting lectured by Benny about taking it easy or having the damn bite marks or bruises checked or eating something that he could suck through a straw.

Dean wasn't worrying about any of that until he had Sam back in the Impala and far away from this crap. He wasn't thinking about any of it until he knew he could hopefully fix what he made go wrong. He wasn't dealing with anything else before he ripped Shane Morrison's head off for thinking he could touch his little brother and still live the week out.

When the phone rang again and he couldn't ignore the flashing headlights in the Impala's mirror any longer, he jerked the phone open to answer. "What?" he growled, aware that his tone had dropped back to one he hadn't really used since Purgatory. "No, I'm not stopping or resting or doing anything else until I find Sam and kill that son of a bitch so stop calling me unless you got answers for me."

The low chuckle he heard suddenly grated on his already strained nerves but Dean knew that was the point behind it because Benny was only too aware of how to get under his skin. "Sure, you want to fall flat on that face the first time you go to swing on the guy," he tucked the phone against his neck while reaching for a bag of blood. "What type of answers you lookin' for from me, brother?"

"You can start with sucking up to me big time since it was your brother that tried to use me for a damn blood bank. Then we can move onto why the hell Sam got shot in the first place since you were supposed to be watching him or why Morrison isn't dead after shooting my brother while you were watching him," Dean began seriously, thinking to himself that Sam must have been seriously upset as it were to even call on Benny in the first place.

"Oh, and telling me what you told him about Purgatory is also a good thing too," he tossed in since he wanted to know exactly what the vampire had been telling Sam since this began.

"Had to tell the kid something to explain why you made me promise to watch after him," Benny shrugged, knowing he had to take this with some care since Dean was pissed off enough and still hurting. "I danced around what I thought you wouldn't want him to know but you're gonna have to talk to him sooner or later since your little brother carries guilt on him like a duck sheds water, Dean."

Dean was only too aware of how much and how easily Sam carried around guilt. Hell, his brother would carry around guilt that wasn't even his if he could…and he had in some cases.

"Sam doesn't need to know most of what happened down there," he muttered, accepting that he would have to explain some things but figured he could gloss over most of the horror if he could just manage to get Sam to speak with him and convince his brother that he didn't hate him or any of the rest of the stuff he'd allowed him to think.

"You can't coddle him, Dean," Benny was more serious now.

His time with Sam had given him a little bit better view into the Winchesters lives and understood not only why Sam disliked him but also why Dean tried so hard to shove his brother away.

"I don't coddle him," Dean argued, sighing as he swore to hit his friend as another chuckle was heard. "I just try to protect him from knowing too much. That's still me job, Benny. Looking after my pain in the ass little brother…even if he doesn't always want or need it."

"He needs you, Dean. No matter what he may say or makes you think, that kid thinks you walk on water, brother," the vampire heard the deep sigh and didn't recall hearing that before. "You okay?"

"Ask me that after I get Sam back and see if I can fix this mess," Dean's eyes looked to the directions on the paper. "You sure you want to help me with this?"

Smirking in the dark of his own truck as he followed the Impala, Benny snorted. "Like you say, I owe you for getting you into this mess so yeah. I'll have your back," he assured the hunter, not missing the worry in the deep voice. "He'll be fine, Dean. Sam's your brother and that makes him stronger than this asshole."

Under normal circumstances Dean would've agreed but something in his brother's eyes this time, in the soft tone of voice when he turned away from Dean this last time made him worry that Sam was hurting too much to be able to withstand very much for too long.

"Hang on, Sammy," he whispered, pressing harder on the accelerator to push the Impala and himself closer to finding and saving his brother after Sam had worked so hard to save him.

Texarkana, Somewhere:

"You still breathing, pretty boy?"

Somewhere in the back of his head, Sam Winchester was wishing he wasn't but he knew he was in too much pain to be dead. Plus the mocking voice was too loud and cruel to be anything but real.

Time or days had lost meaning since Sam wasn't sure how the long it had been since he was knocked out back at the fishing cabin to wake up with his arms chained above him, hooked to a pulley system that allowed his captor to raise and lower him however he pleased.

Upon waking, Sam's immediate thoughts went to his brother and he'd gotten that demand out before a series of brutal fists to his ribs, stomach and kidneys left him gasping for breath and gagging while Shane Morrison only smiled that slow evil smile that made him think the worst.

"Pretending to be unconscious won't save you, boy," the hunter growled, sounding menacingly close before something sharp and hot touched his side and the sound of a taser igniting hit only a second before his body jackknifed in the ropes. "Remember that feeling, Sam?"

"Just…kill me already," Sam managed to get out between clenched teeth, fighting to control his breathing but his body still seemed to be experiencing little shocks.

The younger man was fairly certain he was going to die this time. He didn't know if Morrison had killed Dean or not and even if he hadn't his brother was still hurt and wouldn't be able to find him.

Sam also wasn't sure if Dean would want to find him if he could which is part of the reason Sam no longer cared if he died here or not…he just didn't want the pain to go on and he knew that would because the hunter was a sadistic bastard.

"No, it won't be that easy. Y'see, I plan on killin' you but not before hearing you scream for it," Morrison had planned this better than he had the first time which is why he'd chosen a place so out of the way that possible neighbors wouldn't bitch about the screaming.

He debated with himself on drugging the boy but wanted Sam to be awake and coherent for the most part of this and had been enjoying the past forty eight hours of abuse that he'd afflicted on him.

"I'm doing this for a lot of reasons, Sam," he began as he picked up a short but wide board that had a few sharp tacks sticking out of it before tapping it on his palm as he stepped up to jerk a handful of hair in order to force Sam's head to rise. "Some could say it's because of the rumors I've heard about you. Some could say it's because I think both you damn Winchesters think you're too good for the rest of the world or that your old man was a good for nothing bastard who looked down on me just because I didn't share his opinions."

Sam tried to jerk his head free but hissed as the fingers merely tightened to keep him still while the board hit hard against his pulled tight abdominal muscles and still he bit his already bleeding lip to keep the strangled cry of pain in.

"But to be honest, I'm doing this because it's what I like to do to assholes who don't know their place in the world," Morrison sneered, giving the long hair he'd wrapped around his fingers a final vicious yank before releasing it to take a two handed grip on the board. "Lotta hunters out in the world but most of them don't pull the crap you boys have and always come out of it smelling like roses."

Surviving the Cage with two vengeful Archangels had taught Sam a lot about pain and this wasn't the first time he'd been in a situation like this but it had been the first time in a long time that he was having trouble focusing on something other than the pain.

"Hunters don't…argh!" the sudden searing pain in his lower back, right over the scar that he'd gained last year from Morrison's attack, had Sam's body trying to arch in the ropes but that only served to put more strain on his arms and shoulders.

"I ain't been a hunter in a few years. Not since I realized it's a lot more fun to hunt other things," Morrison admitted, giving another couple whacks with the board before dropping it to watch the boy. "You're probably figuring your big brother will bail you out this time but I don't see that happening," he stepped in behind Sam to run the tip of a blade between his shoulder blades. "Even if I hadn't taken care of him, from what I saw and heard it didn't look like he'd much care what I did to you, boy."

Pain, shock and exhaustion was wearing thin on him but that comment made Sam's head jerk up to try to find the man inducing the pain on his body. "What…you…what did you do to Dean?" he demanded, tasting blood as he hoped his voice was hoarse from dryness and pain and not the fear now clutching at his heart.

"I just took advantage of the boy being tied up so nice and pretty," Morrison laughed, giving a rough slap to the back of Sam's head as the harsh curses thrown his way. "Why so upset, Sammy boy? Not sure what kind of kinky crap you boys got into after your Daddy bought it but it looked like trouble in paradise to me. It might be good that I slit his throat."

"You son of a…you wanted me. You didn't have to hurt my brother," Sam gritted, feeling the tears blinding him but not able to feel as they slid down his cheeks. "Dean…he couldn't…defend himself…"

"That's the best way to kill 'em, boy," the hunter replied cheerfully, trailing the tip of the blade along Sam's neck until he came to the hollow of his throat to press it in a little harder. "With you though, I'm gonna slice and cut and tear until you're beggin' to join your brother in Hell. Then I'm gonna bleed you slow so you don't die anywhere as fast as what he did and you can wonder just what else I did to make him scream before he died."

Sam wasn't even paying attention to the knife at his throat anymore. All he could see and hear in his mind was his brother as Dean tried to get him to untie him that night and how if Sam had done just that his brother would've been able to fight back.

All he could focus on now while his breathing began to get faster was that he'd managed to save Dean from vampires and he'd hoped the damn withdrawal only to get him killed by some asshole looking to hurt him.

Thoughts flashing on memories of his childhood, of before he'd gone to Stanford, of the good times between them and even when things weren't so good and he'd always held the belief that Dean could and would survive anything.

He'd survived Hell, he'd made it out of Purgatory and through hell at the hands of vampires this time only to be helpless and alone at a time when…

Sharp pain seemed to want Sam's attention but he was too close to hyperventilating to care even when a fist pounded into his face.

"Hey! You pay attention to me when I'm talking to you!" Morrison had caught on that his captive no longer seemed to be interested in amusing him as he jerked another handful of hair to yank his head back, seeing the wide eyes filled with tears but didn't seem to be focused on anything.

Furious that Sam didn't seem to care about the pain he was in or what was to come, the ex-hunter got more enraged when not even slamming a hard fist into the boy's face got his attention and he was just bringing the blade up again to give a better lesson.

"Now see if you were smart you'd be lowering the blade and letting him go."

The whiskey smooth voice had very different reactions in the room because while Morrison whirled at the unexpected sound and then stepped behind Sam to place the blade against his throat as if to use him for a shield, Sam seemed to go further into an emotional spiral.

"How'd you get in here, bastard?" Morrison demanded, gripping both his knife and the boy's hair tightly while glaring at the bearded asshole that had confronted him in the motel parking lot. "You come closer and I'll cut him!"

Benny shifted his head slightly as if just watching the man calmly while he was really checking to see how lethal the situation was if he moved. "No, I don't think you will," he spoke slowly, frowning a little as he took in the new bruises and wounds as well as the way the stitches in Sam's stretched shoulder looked to have been yanked out. "I'm tellin' you now to step away from him."

Hearing Benny's voice gave Sam mixed feelings. Relief in some small way but he felt more loss and pain at not hearing the rugged and gruff voice of his older brother like he'd grown so used to in these situations.

The sharp pain of his hair being yanked forced Sam's focus back to the room and he met the vampire's eyes briefly, surprised to see him coming to the rescue but more surprised by the look of calmness directed at him as if trying to silently reassure the younger man that the situation was well in hand.

"I told you before that this don't concern you!" Morrison snapped, glaring at the man while letting the blade press hard enough to draw a thin line of blood to the surface. "Back off or I'll kill him now!"

Seeing the blood, smelling it caused a low ripple to spread through Benny but rather than push it down like he normally would have he smiled again but allowed the fangs to show, chuckling when he watched the human's eyes go wide as realization hit him.

"You caught him again and I promise you that it won't be Sam dying," Benny made a casual move but held back when he caught the way the hunter jerked both Sam's head and the blade. "Man, you are making a mistake."

"A damn vampire!" Morrison spit after getting control of his shock upon seeing the fangs. "Looks like the end of the line when Sammy boy has to have a vampire rescue him," he sneered, hearing the small hiss as the blade again skated against skin. "You gonna kill me, vamp? You think I'm gonna get taken out by some damn freak? You take one step and I'll kill him."

Benny held his hands up as if to show he wasn't moving but he let the fangs retract while smiling a bit more and eyeing the hunter as if he truly pitied him. "Oh, I ain't gonna you," he remarked, moving his gaze to Sam before letting it slide to look over Morrison's shoulder. "But I figure he might."

Morrison frowned as he watched the vampire, expecting him to make a sudden move. He was just about to make another threat when the sudden cold pressure of a muzzle barrel pressed into the back of his neck, freezing him in place as much as the ice cold low gruff voice that followed did.

"Hey, asshole, I think you have something that belongs to me."

Sam's eyes jumped at the sound of his brother's voice, feeling his breathing catch and he had to fight the urge to twist just to find Dean but he felt the blade tighten a bit more while Benny still seemed calmed even if his posture had changed as if ready to move if he needed to.

"Winchester," Morrison gritted, wincing as the muzzle pressed harder as if in warning but he could tell without looking that there was no way he could disarm the other man easily. "I'll…"

"Here's how this plays, Morrison. You're going to move your hand real slowly, taking that blade away from my brother and if you so much as scratch him with it again I will end you right here, right now," Dean's tone was deep and dark, fury and fear at coming in while the man had been distracted to see the blade at Sam's throat.

The older man's teeth clenched, enraged that his plans were falling apart after being so well thought out. Refusing to back down, he decided to call the bluff by wrapping his fingers tighter in Sam's hair to the point where the boy made a low whimper against the pain.

"I let go and you kill me anyway. What makes the difference, hotshot?" he asked, a sneer in his voice as he still held the knife ready to slice even though it was plain that vampire could move in a flash if he felt it was needed.

Confident that he'd called Dean's bluff, Morrison grunted as the muzzle shoved harder but this time it shoved into the side of his neck as the man holding the Colt moved slowly to the side.

"The difference is how long it takes you to die and how much screaming you do before you die, asshole," Dean growled low, green eyes lethal as he locked eyes with the hunter. "Short and quick or long and painful; either's good for me but what you get depends on how smart you are right now. Get the hell away from my brother or the next sound you hear will be this gun shooting you."

Sam hadn't realized he'd been holding his breath until his vision began to swim when his head started buzzing from a lack of oxygen and only having his wrists tied like they were kept him standing but he still nearly jerked at the feel of the razor sharp knife when it began to move.

Half expecting the hunter to twist it at the last second to stab him in the throat, he held himself still only to gasp at the touch of a familiar hand laying over the center of his bruised and bloody chest.

"You okay little brother?"

Not able to form a sentence with his heart pounding in his ears and his mouth too dry anyway, Sam waited until he felt the blade move away from his throat to simply offer a slight nod then figured it'd be good if you opened his eyes when he heard a thump, a thud then a groan.

"If he wakes up before I'm done, kill him," Dean growled over his shoulder before shoving the pistol into his belt to move around to the front of his brother, green eyes slits as he took in the rest of the fresh bruises and wounds on Sam that he could see right then while reaching up to clasp both hands gently on Sam's face to lift it up. "Sammy? You still with me?"

Suddenly tired, Sam forced his eyes open to meet and hold his older brother's as he felt a thumb brush over his cheek to wipe at the drying tear tracks. "…De'n…" he whispered, tasting blood again as speaking broke open his dry and bitten bottom lip but he made himself hold that steady gaze. "Thought…he said…you…he said he'd…killed you."

"He probably wishes now that he had," Dean replied, feeling the slight fever under his hands as he looked harder to see the slight glassiness of hazel eyes that screamed concussion which probably came from any number of beatings or hits to the head his brother had suffered. "Hang on. I'll have you down from there in a second."

Stepping back to see that Morrison was still lying unconscious where the butt of Dean's weapon against the side of his head put him, he began looking for something to cut the ropes with when Benny pulled the blade he normally carried from under his jacket.

"You want to cut?" the vampire inclined his head to mean he'd support Sam in the meantime so Dean could cut the ropes.

Dean felt the shudder move through Sam and couldn't be sure if it was his body slipping more into shock now that he knew he was safe or if his brother didn't want Benny touching him right then. "I have him. You cut those damn things loose," he nodded to the pulley system of ropes. "Sam, let take the weight when the ropes go because you won't be able to stand."

"Boy's heavy, bro…Dean," Benny made a conscious effort to watch what he called the elder Winchester and didn't miss the slight twitch to Sam's bruised face at the near slip up. "You sure you don't want to…okay, tell me when you're ready," he knew not to argue when Dean gave him the 'I have it' look.

Sam hated to be the one ending up needing saved when he swore he'd be the one protecting his brother this time and he wanted to argue that he could hold his own weight just fine except when Dean accidently bumped his right knee and the agony flared up his leg, barely able to stop himself from screaming.

Catching the way Sam's face went white suddenly, Dean looked down to see that the right knee that he'd noticed days earlier looked swelled was now clearly swelled to the point that he was writing the jeans off as a lost cause the moment it came to treating the wounds and injuries.

"It's okay, Sammy," he murmured, being more careful not to nudge or jostle the right knee any more than was needed, Dean stepped up closer to wrap one arm tight around Sam's waist to support him while using his other to gently push back the pieces of hair that had dropped onto his brother's face and frowned at the feel of sweat and sticky blood. "You ready?"

If Sam was honest he could've said no since he dreaded the pain that was going to come but he wanted his arms free if for no other reason than to check for himself that Dean was really here with him. "Yeah…do it," he gritted, preparing to clench his teeth.

"Deep breath, little brother," Dean urged, tightening his grip while wrapping the fingers of his free hand around the back of Sam's neck to gently guide it until it was leaning against his shoulder before he gave Benny a nod to cut.

While he'd been waiting for Dean to get ready, Benny had found where the ropes had been tied off and chose to cut there while gripping the rope in his hand so once the knot was cut he could hold it and manually lower the ropes holding Sam off the floor.

"Cut," he remarked, letting his friend know then began to slowly let the ropes move in his grasp so the younger man went down gently rather than forcing either hunter to handle a quick and painful descent.

"Easy, easy…I've got'cha, Sammy," Dean knew the moment the ropes cut because he felt his brother's body jerk once then he was focusing on supporting the younger man as he gently eased Sam to the floor, being more careful of his right leg when he heard the muffled cry against his shoulder as the pain went through it the first moment Sam's feet touched the ground. "Easy, just a bit more."

Sam could feel his muscles wanting to bunch up and knew once full circulation returned to his arms and wrists he'd be in more pain but right then he just wished it was over.

He was fighting the pain as best as he could, listening to Dean talk even while realizing how tense his brother was right then as he struggled to take Sam's weight while also trying to keep Sam's mind off the pain.

It seemed like a lifetime for Dean before the damn ropes were loose enough that he ducked his head so that Sam's still tied hands could slip over and around his neck until he got the kid on the floor to work on those. "Sam? Sammy?" he winced as his own injuries pulled but he chose to ignore those as he eased to the floor supporting his brother by keeping him propped up against his chest. "C'mon, stay with me until I get you outta here, kiddo."

"Really…you?" Sam's sounded slurred but now that he wasn't focusing on staying alive or having to know where Morrison was at all times the shock was setting in. "Not…dead?"

"Yes, it's really me and no, I'm not dead," Dean gently lowered Sam's arms, hearing the groan and hoping neither had been dislocated from hanging so long. "Gonna get your hands free," he spoke more softly now, using a tone he tended to only drop into when dealing with his brother when Sam was hurt or sick. "Then I'm getting you into the Impala before I deal with this prick."

Sam slowly felt strong fingers dig into his shoulders until he was able to relax them enough that his arms could stretch out, then he felt Dean begin to work on the ropes binding his wrists together. "Sorry, De'n," he mumbled, only tensing when he heard the footsteps coming closer.

"For what?" Dean shook his head to warn Benny to not come any closer right then while using his penknife to carefully cut the final ropes away from Sam's bruised and bloody wrists. "Now if I find a scratch on my car then you may have something to be sorry over."

"Should've…untied…God!" Sam suddenly tensed, nearly curling up as light fingers probed his side and it erupted into white hot pain. "Beat…me there so may have broken ribs."

Dean was hoping that was all there was to it and that his brother wasn't bleeding internally but he didn't care for a lot of the bruises or welts that he could see on Sam right then and just wanted to get him out of there and into the warmth of the Impala.

"Okay, Sammy…we're getting you up and into the car," he glanced up to nod at the vampire before carding his fingers back through Sam's hair much like he'd always done. "I need Benny's help for this so I want you to let him help you up and then I'll take it from there."

Both hunter and vampire waited to see if Sam would agree to this or not. It seemed a long time before slowly Sam looked up to stare at the calmly waiting Benny then tried to turn his head to find his brother and he finally gave a nod since he understood that right then Dean couldn't move him while still supporting him.

"Just get him up but watch that damn leg," Dean ordered, his tone back to the no nonsense one that was part growl and part warning.

Benny offered the same smile he normally gave the hunter when amused by him but he made certain to grasp Sam's left arm rather than the injured right as he helped him stand, then steadied the boy while feeling Sam try not to pass out in pain when it was impossible to keep weight off his right leg. "Dean…"

He'd heard the sound only a second before Dean's hunter's senses picked up on it, causing him to roll to his feet with far more agility than he honestly felt like having at the moment but pulled his .45 caliber back out to aim it at the now conscious Morrison.

"You are the stupidest son of a bitch I've seen in a long time," Dean growled, looking back once and the look reflected on Sam's face was all he needed to see. "Get him out of here," he spoke back to Benny, adding to prevent the fight he could feel coming. "I'll be right there, Sammy. After I take care of the garbage."

Normally Sam might've seen fit to remind his brother that hunters didn't kill humans as a general rule. That was the rule three people in their lives had drilled into both of them, except only Bobby and Pastor Jim had also given the small exception of some people fell into that elusive grey area of being human but not acting like it.

He knew his older brother had killed humans before but only if they'd been threatened and he didn't want Dean to resort to any of the skills he'd learned in Hell or do something that might bring the memories of Purgatory back to him…but he also didn't want to have to live the rest of his life wondering when Morrison would show back up.

"Dean…" he stopped to stare at the murderous glare the other hunter was giving them and remembered the year before. "Just…I don' feel so good."

"I'll make it quicker than he deserves, Sammy," Dean promised, meeting his brother's eyes briefly and seeing his concern but also the fear and swearing that no one would ever make his brother feel that way again. "Get him outta here."

Benny understood the rage bubbling inside the hunter but had to admit he was impressed with the change in Dean now.

There was a time he knew the man wouldn't have buried or dulled the rage and fury he felt for the man who'd made the foolish error of trying to hurt Sam. No, the vampire knew Dean would've fallen back to how he was in Purgatory and taken Morrison apart quite literally with his bare hands.

Instead a simple tone and comment from Sam had him reining those darker emotions in because for Dean at the moment it was simply more important to get Sam safe and care for than to do what he wanted to do to the man.

Not that he figured Dean wasn't going to kill the bastard because Morrison's fate had been sealed from the second Dean had learned that the man had hurt his brother a year earlier.

"C'mon, Sam," he was cautious when he adjusted his grip on Sam since he figured he still wasn't the kid's favorite person. "Front or back?"

Not hearing his brother's reply, Dean's eyes had gone to green steel as they narrowed. "You seriously think you could kidnap Sam, twice, torture him like you did…twice, and not pay for it, Shane?" he smirked, debating on the gun in his hand of the knife under his jacket. "You knew he was running solo without me and figured he was a good target?"

"Something…like that," Morrison considered pulling his backup pistol when a booted foot stepped down on his wrist. "What're you think you're old man or that old drunk would think of you running around with a damn vamp?" he sneered, missing the flash in the younger man's eyes. "He who you're replacing Sammy boy with, Dean? You dropping him for a…argh!"

The first bullet went into Morrison's right shoulder as a way to pay him back for shooting Sam as Dean dropped to one knee to yank the man up to his face. "Sam," he corrected tightly, making certain the hunter got the point before his fist struck several times to leave his face a bloody mess. "I'm the only one who calls him Sammy, asshole and he's not replaceable.

"You see, that's the biggest issue with dicks like you, Shane. You look at Sam and all you see is a big guy who's made some mistakes along the way in this screwed up thing he calls his life. You see someone to hurt because it's always been so easy to hurt Sam and you get a kick outta it…but then you make the same mistake everyone else has with him," Dean stared at the blood dripping off his knuckles to the gasping man on the floor before pushing to his feet. "You forget he's got a big brother that will kill for him."

The sound of the .45 in the silent cabin sounded like two mini bombs going off but Dean slid his finger from the trigger after the third round went into the dead man's heart. "That's for touching my little brother, asshole," he spoke to the corpse before turning to walk out without another look or care.

He could hear Benny's voice talking low in the darkness, guessing he was just talking to keep Sam occupied. Letting out a low whistle to alert the vampire of his approach, Dean rounded the car to see that Sam had chosen the front seat despite how it must have made his injured knee flare.

"Alright?" Benny merely asked to see if it was over and what was needed to be done now to cover it.

"We burn it to the ground," Dean told him lowly before dropping to his knees outside the open passenger door to see that Sam was wrapped in a blanket from the backseat but still had visible tremors going through him as his body now was fully in shock. "Sammy? You awake yet?"

Sam really wasn't but at his brother's voice his head turned to stare at Dean, his left hand reaching up as if looking for something and relaxed when he felt it grabbed. "This…hurts," he muttered, not objecting when he felt his brother lift his head back to check his eyes. "See…four of Benny."

"Yep, you've got a concussion," Dean decided, swearing under his breath while making a choice he only did when one of them was seriously hurt or he didn't trust his own skills at the onset of treatment. "ER time for you, Sammy."

"Call…Garth?" Sam sounded only partially there but he tried to hold on to Dean's hand when it went to ease away long enough to shut the door.

Benny had just stepped away to go get the gas cans out of his truck when he paused the moment he sensed the way Dean's body had gone rigid.

"Why would I call Garth?" Dean asked, leaning back in so he could hear what Sam mumbled next and only his hand on the top of the Impala kept him from falling back to his knees. "No, Sam. I'm not leaving you and Benny's not staying," he whispered, meeting the vampire's eyes in the distance and felt the understanding pass between them. "We'll talk about this when you wake up."

"You did a number on him," Benny remarked then left it alone since he felt the hunter already was feeling enough guilt over that. "I'll burn this place. You take him to the hospital."

Dean nodded, wanting to say more but not knowing where to start. "Thanks for being there for him," he finally chose to start with while accepting the handshake that ended in the usual little one armed hug. "You understand why I can't…I need to make him understand that I'm not choosing, Benny."

"You've got a little brother to be proud of, brother. I envy you that," Benny nodded his understanding. "We're good, Dean. You just watch your backs until I make sure no one else decides to come after you cause of me."

"Yeah, I could do without that honor again," Dean returned, slipping into the Impala with a final silent nod and then gazed over at Sam who seemed to have slipped unconscious. "No one's a better brother than what I've got beside me."

A week later, a cabin in the Texas Panhandle:

"No, he's fine or he will be once he wakes up and no, I don't need you to ditch Kevin and come here. I think I can still handle…that better not have been a snort, Garth."

Dean Winchester was tired and it showed in both his voice and his body as he walked back into the private cabin he'd rented in a secluded area since he knew they both needed something more than a dingy hotel this time.

Once leaving Benny to handle burning the evidence and dealing with Shane Morrison's body so no one would be the wiser, Dean had taken his injured brother to the nearest hospital while working up the easiest excuse for Sam's injuries that he could that didn't requires overtaxing his own exhausted brains.

The excuse of Sam getting attacked and nearly killed by pissed off bikers had been a stretch but his brother's wounds seemed to make the staff believe it once he'd convinced an overly helpful nurse that he hadn't done to this Sam himself since he guessed in his own ragged shape he looked one step up from a week long excursion with some interesting alcohol.

Dean had suspected and got confirmation that the worst wounds would be the infected and reopened bullet holes in Sam's right shoulder.

He'd stood by and watched as the ER docs finished removing stitches that had looked like they'd been ripped out with pliers while blindly wondering how in the hell Benny had gotten his brother still long enough to stitch it up to begin with.

Sam's right knew was a mess and Dean made a note to buy his brother a new pair of jeans because as he guessed earlier that pair was trash the second they'd been cut off just to get to the swelled body part.

Extensive x-rays and an MRI had assured him that there'd been no lasting damage even though it was swelled four times what it should've been but once they'd drained some excess liquid, of which Dean gagged his way through since leaving Sam had been out of the question, it had slowly began to look a little better.

The new wounds ranged from shallow cuts to a few that needed stitches to removing a couple thumb tacks that had been embedded in the skin at the small of Sam's back which as Dean now could see had an interesting array of older scars that made him wish he'd killed Morrison a bit slower.

The lack of nutrition and fluids had been a bit harder to explain since Dean hadn't known how long it had been since his brother had actually eaten real food since for that matter Dean was still unclear when the last time he'd ingested anything more than simple things to keep him going for the moment.

Sam, for his part, hadn't been much of a help when he regained partial consciousness because he refused to answer anything asked by anyone that wasn't Dean so it took a good hour of hits and misses before the doctors decided to keep Sam overnight to at least give him some IVs of fluid, antibiotics, and some killer pain meds that reduced his already loopy sibling to a mumbling and clingy mess.

Because they were too close to where too much crap had happened, Dean was anxious to get Sam farther away and so once his brother was at least able to keep his glassy eyes open long enough to sign his name, they got him out of the house against several medical professionals advice and Dean drove until he and the Impala couldn't go anymore.

A sign proclaiming private rental cabins by a secluded lake came into view and Dean took it without further thought since he'd been debating on where to go.

He didn't think either of them could handle a cheap motel since he was only too aware of how Sam could get when sick and fevered and he wasn't too good himself now that he wasn't focusing so hard on other things but Dean also was aware of how Sam would react if he woke up at Jefferson's place.

Sam had always feared when he was a kid of being left behind if their Dad decided he was a liability on a hunt and once when Sam had come down with a serious case of the flu John had left his youngest son in the care of Pastor Jim while taking Dean with him.

Even now, twenty years later, Dean could still recall the late night call from Jim Murphy and how it took Dean over an hour to calm his sobbing and crying little brother down. Trying to reassure Sam that he hadn't been abandoned or left and that they'd be home in a few days, he'd promised himself that he'd always be there when Sam woke up and usually he had been…except for a few damn times.

The cabin he rented wasn't big but it had two bedrooms, though only one was being used at the moment, a kitchen, a good sized bathroom with a shower that Dean nearly proclaimed was from God when he first felt the hot water and actual water pressure.

Sam drifted in and out of sleep but mostly when he was half awake he wasn't with it enough to make more than soft mumbles or whimpers of pain if it was when Dean was cleaning or dressing the wounds.

The doctors had given Dean a prescription for the good stuff since Sam's knee would be in pain and needed to be immobilized in the brace for at least another week before he could start trying to put real weight on it.

Dean had always enjoyed when Sam and sick and fevered or doped on pain meds because his little brother could say some off the wall shit when like that, even though he was coming up with some stuff that involved Caleb that Dean wasn't sure he liked.

He also decided that this time Sam wouldn't be as fun to listen to when he would go from whimpering in pain to crying for Dean but it was when his brother reached the point of begging his big brother to forgive him for not looking for him, that he didn't want to be left alone again or replaced…again that Dean decided to target practice against the tress or risk losing it in a way that he wasn't ready to yet.

However it was only two nights later while trying to sleep the floor next to Sam's bed that that moment finally came when Sam woke up or opened his eyes even though it was plain that he wasn't awake and screamed for Dean.

Knowing that his brother had the type of bad dream that would require more than a hand on the chest or a gentle shake to bring him out of since Sam's fever hadn't fully broke yet, Dean resorted to his old time baby brother nightmare method of sitting next to him to pull Sam over until he was leaning against Dean's shoulder and he began talking in the tone that no one ever heard him use except Sam.

It took a good ten minutes of listening to Sam whimper and talk in his sleep for Dean to realize that Benny had told Sam something about the damn shapeshifters while in Purgatory and he swore to beat the vampire to a pulp for that because of any monster he could've told his brother about the shapeshifters would be the worst one.

Ever since that mess in St. Louis eight years earlier Sam had serious problems with the things and while Dean didn't care for them, especially now, he knew only too well how his little brother hated them and why.

Soothing Sam down, reassuring him that he was fine, that Dean was fine took a lot more energy than he'd had right then and by the time Sam had slipped back into a semi-relaxed sleep the older Winchester had been on the ragged end of too much emotion.

Emotions he'd kept buried and hidden from Sam since his return from Hell's backyard. Dean wasn't aware of the tears he was crying until he felt them drop on the hand he hand gripped around Sam's one bandaged wrist and knew at that point that there was no pulling back from it then and had finally let go.

He'd been glad Sam slept through the scene of his stubborn macho no chick flick moments older brother crying as he remembered only too well the pain he'd endured in Purgatory, the loss of those little pieces of humanity just to survive and the need to get back to his little brother.

After that Dean had to admit that he was more relaxed and while he didn't know if he could tell Sam everything about Purgatory he knew what he did have to talk to his brother about…if the kid ever woke up with clear eyes.

Today as he sat beside Sam to wipe him clean of sweat and dried ointment as he redressed the wounds that still needed it, Dean ran a hand over the thin lines of scar tissue along Sam's upper back and wished wherever the hell Morrison went after death that the monsters who lived there ripped the bastard apart for the pain his little brother had endured twice at his hands.

The fever broke fully in the middle of the night which reminded Dean that while Sam was four years younger, he was also four inches taller and several pounds heavier as he tried to change the sheets without moving his brother fully.

Now Dean ran a cool cloth back over Sam's face and over his shaggy hair a few times before sighing in the room, hating the silence more than anything.

The place had cable and even had Wi-Fi since Dean knew better than to park his brother anywhere for extended periods of time and not have Wi-Fi access.

Sam was a geek who often moaned and bitched about Dean's compulsions but put the kid in a place without access to the Web and Dean had literally watched his little brother slowly freak out to the point where it no longer was funny and he'd moved them to a different motel before the night was up.

He had an old radio on in the background just to have some noise to drown out his own too loud thoughts but by now all Dean really wanted to hear was his brother's voice. He just needed to hear…

"… De'n?"

Sam's voice was ragged and almost a harsh whisper but to Dean it sounded like a jet engine, making him nearly jump and drop the rag back in the bowl of water he'd been using as he swung his head around to see half opened but much clearer hazel eyes gazing up at him.

"Sammy," putting the bowl aside, Dean reached up to lightly brush the hair back from Sam's eyes to both make certain the fever wasn't coming back and so he could have full access to his brother's eyes to see if his pupils had finally gone back to normal. "Hey, you back with me?"

"Not…sure," Sam admitted, wincing at the sound of his own voice but tried to keep his wavering eyes locked on the sight of his older brother sitting beside him. "Still…here?"

Frowning a little over that, it took Dean a heartbeat to understand and sighed with a small smile while moving his hand to the back of Sam's neck to help him lift it to take a sip of water. "Yeah, little brother, you're still here and so am I," he replied.

It broke Dean a little to know that Sam thought he'd be gone when he woke up or that he expected Dean to leave him with someone else but he supposed after the way he'd been treating his brother, the hurtful little jabs at him, that he should've been expecting it.

Sam was able to swallow three little mouthfuls of blissfully cold water before making a face that meant he'd had enough and felt his head being lowered but was surprised when the strong fingers gripping his neck didn't move away. "Where…we…at?" he asked, trying to look around the room but even the slightest movement of his eyes made his head swim.

"Cabin in the woods somewhere in the panhandle," Dean replied, shrugging while only moving his hand enough so that it remained on the side of his brother's neck much like he'd hold years earlier when needing to give some kind of support. "No real clue where. Just followed the signs and we've got it for another week with a third in the wings if we need it."

Blinking slowly as his still fuzzy head did some math; Sam managed a tiny frown when it hit him that he must have been unconscious for a week or more. "How…long?"

"You've been in and out for over a week but the doctors said that was normal so I wasn't too freaked," Dean refused to admit that he had been freaked out more than once by Sam's lack of waking up. "How many of me do you see this time?"

"One's usually enough," Sam muttered, closing his eyes and missing the amused smirk that answer got him as he began to recall recent events and felt a warm hand press into the center of his chest as soon as his breathing picked up.

Even as a kid, Sam had needed some type of physical contact to ground him if the injuries were too bad or he was sick and while Dean wasn't the most emotionally open man he'd always been the one to sense when to touch his brother or how to touch him since there were times and places you did not touch Sam without seeing stars.

Usually a hand to the neck or on his chest was enough to calm Sam down and as Dean felt his brother's breathing slow down again he knew it had been this time as well.

"Morrison's dead but as far as the community goes he just dropped off the face of the earth and I seriously don't think most of it will mind or so Garth said," Dean assured his brother, guessing that was a huge part of Sam's near panic attack. "Sorry I didn't get to you sooner, Sammy," he sighed, wishing that Castiel had for once answered his damn call.

"Huh?" Sam blinked, hearing the tone of voice and knowing Dean blamed himself and not understanding it; though he didn't understand a lot of things right then. "Not…your fault," he winced as he tried to move a little and felt pain. "Bad?"

"Yeah, it was my fault and no, you're not hurt too bad…just a little bad," Dean replied, seeing the way his brother's forehead gave that little scrunched up furrow and motioning down to the knee. "You have a slight concussion which considering the baseball size lump on the size of that hard head it's a shock it wasn't more. Some of the wounds, like the bullet hole in your shoulder that you neglected to tell me about, were infected but the knee is the worst one."

Sam could now see his right knee encased in a heavy brace over jeans that he knew were new and bit his lip when he went to test the movement until a firm hand clamped down on his leg right above it, pressing down in a warning to not even think about moving it.

"Move that right now and I can promise you will throw up in pain, so let it alone," Dean ordered in pure older brother voice, then he pushed to his feet and was pleased when he only swayed a little but it was enough that Sam still caught it. "I'm fine."

Dean didn't look fine to Sam. His brother looked like three day old roadkill and that was only a way Sam seen him when Dean was too busy looking after him to take care of himself.

Watching as Dean walked to the bedroom window to open it, allowing fresh air into the room which he hadn't wanted while Sam was running a fever and sweating so much.

Sam could tell Dean was tired because his green eyes, while alert, look shadowed and he showed signs of not having shaved yet which was something his brother did every morning religiously unless distracted.

In the heat of the cabin, Dean had sworn off the flannel over shirt to just wear a t-shirt and Sam's eyes went to the still visible bruises and the few bite marks he could see. "You…okay?"

"Remind me to see if you can think in full sentences," Dean turned to meet his eyes and smiled, actually smiled, at the tiny bitch face he was getting and understood the question. "Yeah, I'm fine," he replied then sighed. "Okay, Samantha, I'm as fine as I can be for being used as a vampires' chew toy. Happy?"

The teasing didn't escape Sam nor did his brother's mood which was suddenly making him nervous since this wasn't how he was used to Dean being. "Christo," he mumbled under his breath, jumping at a sound that he hadn't heard in more months than he cared to think about…his brother's laugh.

Even before Purgatory it was rare to get Dean's full laugh; the laugh his brother used to give more freely when they'd been kids. These days it was next to impossible to get his brother to smile without seeming faked or force much less a laugh so hearing it now gave Sam a moment to wonder if he wasn't still fevered and dreaming this.

"I'm not a demon, Sammy and no, you're not hallucinating again either," Dean walked back to sit on the bed. "I've been a real jackass to you, haven't I?"

Sam's eyes dropped to look at his wrists, noticing he still wore the black bracelet and wondered if he should offer it back to his brother…even if he still had his doubts if this really was Dean since he sure wasn't acting like the brother he'd been traveling with.

"Are you gonna make me do the whole silver knife thing, Sam?" Dean suspected his change in attitude was probably scaring the crap out of Sam in lieu to what Benny must have told him. "I'm not a 'shifter, little brother but I will if it'll make you look at me."

"What's…wrong?" Sam sighed, wishing he could actually think of something to say that did require a full sentence but still felt so tired and leery.

"Nothing's wrong or at least nothing more than usual for us," Dean wondered how to do this before he just said the hell with it and went with his gut. "Why didn't you tell me about Morrison jumping you, Sam?" he asked, reaching over to grip a hand before Sam could try to move away. "Did you honestly think I wouldn't care that some bastard and his buddies nailed you, hurt you like they did and that's why you dropped outta sight and outta hunting?"

Sam wasn't sure he was ready for this confrontation yet but knew it needed to come out so Dean could move on even if Sam didn't know where that would leave them.

"Wanted to," he began slowly, trying to push himself up but grunting as he was even too weak for that until he felt his brother's strong hands helping until he was finally leaning against the headboards a bit more. "Soon as I…saw you I wanted to tell you but…then I got scared and…went with…"

"You hit a dog and met a girl," Dean snorted, keeping a hand on Sam's arm to ensure some type of contact for this. "You know if my head had been on straight I would've called that bullshit for what it was cause I should've known something else happened to make you run. How bad was it?"

"Bad enough," Sam hedged, not wanting those memories on top of the more recent ones. "Then you hated me for not looking, for letting you down and I…didn't wanna tell you that I got jumped by hunters cause yeah, you already didn't think I could have your back like…" he broke off to look down at the fingers as they tightened and loosened on his arm. "Benny, he…I guess I can see why…he told me…Dean?"

Tensing at that, Dean kept his eyes away from Sam for a long moment until he felt a hesitant touch on his hand and made himself look up into eyes that showed his little brother's fear and worry.

"What he tell you, Sam?" he asked finally, knowing it didn't matter but curious to how the vampire described their adventures in Purgatory.

"He said it was like a war and that you and he survived day by day by fighting that war and that you hadn't really slept until you met up with him," Sam frowned as he tried to recall what he'd been told. "He said…you talked about…me."

Dean chuckled, figuring that Benny downplayed a lot because he'd known that Dean hadn't wanted Sam to know too much. "Yeah, a mortal sleeping in Purgatory wasn't exactly a safe thing to do," he admitted, coughing to clear his throat. "Sam, I told you before that it was pure down there and it was but it gain that it meant shedding everything else.

"To survive, and that's what I was doing, meant losing the humanity I still had left after Hell. Before meeting up with Benny and even after, surviving meant doing crap I never once in my life thought possible or that I'd have to do unless it came to protecting you," he looked up to see that he had Sam's full attention then went on slowly. "Working with Benny was hard at first because of what he was and because he wasn't you but the first time I got sloppy and nearly got killed and he was there it became plain I needed his help.

"He had a way out, I wanted out so fighting together in that place it formed a sort of bond that I can't say I've ever had with anyone, even you," this time Dean heard the soft whisper and felt the body next to him go rigid but he reached up to lift his brother's face so their eyes met. "You and me have a different kind of bond, Sammy.

"We grew up together, we live through hell together in more ways than one and…we've died for one another. We're brothers, blood makes us that but the crap Dad raised us in, the stuff we've survived makes us stronger brothers in ways that no one can ever break," he lifted a brow but didn't turn away as he watched the tears fill in burgeoning puppy dog eyes.

"Benny calls me brother because we survived something that I would be dead before you even came close to seeing or dealing with and…when I said he was a better one than you…that was wrong and I said it to hurt you because I was pissed off and hurting myself but no one, not Benny, not Cas, no one will ever be a better brother to me than the little brother I've had all of his life."

Sam felt the tightness in his chest and he wanted to look away from Dean's intense eyes but afraid to, afraid if he did he'd wake up to find that this was all a dream. "I…looked, De'n," he whispered, unaware of when he dropped a letter in his brother's name and wishing he had the courage to risk taking the step he wanted to. "I tried to find you, I wanted…"

"I know, Sammy," Dean smiled again, moving his hand so he could lightly grip the back of Sam's neck again while leaning close enough so that their foreheads touched. "I talked to Jeff so I know you were running yourself into the ground when Morrison nailed you. I shouldn't have blamed you without finding out the truth or I should've seen the signs that you were hiding."

Knowing Sam, Dean could practically see what was going through his brother's head and sighed. "Benny knew he was a cheap replacement for you down there and hell yeah, I talked nonstop about my pain in the ass little brother," he coughed to cover his unease for what he was about to say. "I missed you, Sammy and I think that's how that damn 'shifter got so close…no, don't move," he felt Sam tense at that and shook his head at the unspoken fear.

"I let it get too close. Even though I knew it couldn't have been you, I missed you so much that a part of me wanted it to be and by the time I realized the truth I was on the ground and it…Benny was there then and killed it and I knew I had to distance myself from the emotion if I stood any chance of making it outta there to find you," he ignored the tears he felt drop on his hand, giving his brother all the chick flick time he needed if this would start to make it right.

"When I got back, after I kept up my end of the deal to bring Benny back, I didn't realize how much of those emotions I'd walled up until you walked into Rufus's cabin. I think I could tell something was off with you but the edges were still so damn raw that it wasn't until now, until it hit me that you were walking into a nest of vampires for me and Benny threatened to pound me for what I was doing that I'd been so unfair to you," he used his other hand to rub over his eyes before lightly squeezing Sam's neck again.

"You thought I'd let you down but I guess that's what I do. I let down the people that I love," Sam murmured with a one shouldered shrug, still unsure of what he was hearing. "I came because you're my big brother and it didn't matter if you wanted me gone or didn't want me there…I wasn't losing you again like that."

Dean's eyes had narrowed slightly as he heard his own words come from Sam's mouth because he recalled saying that very thing the night he'd sat by his little brother's body after he'd been stabbed and killed in Cold Oak.

"You've never let me down, Sammy," he squeezed harder to make his point, seeing when Sam's eyes looked up and nearly broke at the look of loss reflected deep in those huge wet eyes that always could make him give in to his brother. "You've down things for me that no sane brother would have, especially after some of the crap I've laid on you.

"Hell, you've saved the world from the damn freakin' Apocalypse. You've fought off Lucifer and tried to save me when I was sure to die by that Egyptian God thing," he shook his head while softening his smile as he once again carded his fingers back through hair that he was now going to complain to Sam was too long. "You will always be my little brother and even when I'm a jackass I know you'll have my back like I will always have yours."

Sam felt the sob try to break through as he held Dean's gaze and read the truth and the emotion there. Exhaustion and pain made it hard to clamp down on his feelings suddenly as flashes of memory hit him and he could see Dean fighting the withdrawal, he could see him in that nest and he could recall the gut wrenching fear of thinking his brother was dead from Morrison.

"He…said…I wouldn't untie you and he said…he said you were dead, Dean!" the words rushed out suddenly and all of the last week or so worth of emotion broke through Sam's walls as his fingers suddenly found themselves clenched in his brother's t-shirt. "I thought…dead! I thought you were dead and it was just like the day in Roman's office when I didn't know and…"

"Hey, hey, wait a minute," Dean had seen the change in Sam only a moment before the walls broke and he suddenly had his arms full of a sobbing, fear wracked little brother whose pain and exhaustion had just overwhelmed him finally on top of everything else he'd been keeping inside. "Sam…Sammy, shhh, calm down. I'm not dead and…"

Dean understood that Sam wouldn't have known that. That his brother would've had no way to know that Morrison hadn't killed him and finally just gave up trying to say that in favor of doing something he hadn't in years.

The general rule of no chick flick moments normally didn't allow times like this to happen but Sam had always been the more emotional one and Dean figured he had some extra chick flick time saved up and so just wrapped his emotionally drained baby brother in his arms to hold him while he got it out.

Not since Sam's soul had been restored had Sam had this big a breakdown but Dean knew they'd both been through so much that it was only right, especially since he knew he'd put his brother through hell with how he'd been treating him and since Sam had watched him fight the drugs he'd been given by Benny's brother.

"It's gonna be okay, Sammy. We're gonna be good," he promised quietly, sitting still and letting his hand card through Sam's hair in a soothing motion until finally he felt his brother's body relaxing against him and he laid him back but noticed that Sam still had a death grip on his shirt. "Guess you want me to stay here?"

"Yah," Sam mumbled, body and mind numb after that outpouring and just wanting to sleep but he needed to still know his brother was with him. "De'n?"

"Yeah, Sammy?" Dean grinned in mock frustration when he'd gotten one hand unclenched from his shirt so he could move up to lean against the headboard only to find another hand latched onto the bottom of it. "You know, I lost my shirts as a kid like this when I needed to move and you wouldn't let go?"

Sam opened his eyes a little to watch his brother settle back against the headboard with one leg propped over the over in a way that meant Dean would stay until he woke up again. "We good?"

"We are unless I find a scratch on my car then I will so kick your ass, baby brother," Dean replied easily, relaxing when he heard the soft laugh before Sam's eyes closed and he fell back to sleep and it was only when he was certain that Sam was asleep that Dean frowned a little.

He hoped he'd gotten through to Sam that no one would ever replace him as his brother and that he wasn't choosing Benny over him.

Dean knew they both had a ways to go in the healing department, both from this and emotionally but he'd do it even if it meant admitting everything about Purgatory to Sam and what else he'd seen or done there while also promising as soon as he could get to his phone again to make certain Jeff knew to pass the word that the next goddamn hunter that came after his brother would eat a vital organ.

Smoothing a hand over Sam's arm, Dean let his head rest against the headboard to close his eyes and let himself sleep for the first time in over a week knowing they were safe for the moment and knowing that Sam wouldn't be a happy little brother once he learned he was on bed rest until he could stand on his leg without shooting major bitch faces.

"Should call Garth for that one," he muttered, smirking at the thought of the skinny hunter trying to convince Sam to stay in bed once he was awake enough that boredom sank in and he figured out he also had to unfreeze his computer again. "Maybe not."

Sam wasn't sure how long he'd slept before waking up when he'd accidently shifted his leg to cause pain to sear. Looking over to see that his fingers had cramped where they still gripped Dean's t-shirt, he smiled a little upon seeing that his brother was still with him.

He knew they had a ways to go because Dean would still have questions about the time Sam hadn't told him about which was fair since he still had questions for his brother but right then he felt relaxed and at ease for the first time since Dean's return.

"Dean?" the whisper was soft but Sam still grinned when he felt the hand on his arm squeeze in a way that meant his brother was awake and probably had been from his first movement. "Can we go fishing once I can walk?"

They'd gone fishing before as kids or when they'd been on a case and needed food but it was rare for them to be off work and have a chance to actually fish.

Sam enjoyed it and while his brother bitched and moaned he knew Dean did too. It was just a matter of getting him to agree to it but Sam wasn't above using puppy eyes to get what he wanted.

"You catch 'em, you're cleaning them, Sammy," Dean yawned, not opening his eyes but the faint upturn of his mouth gave away the grin that came at Sam's huff. "I'll cook."

"Fine," Sam grumbled, going back to sleep when he felt a hand brushing through his hair and relaxing until he heard his brother's next comment.

"But if you get the brilliant plan to push me that water…I will drown your ass, Sam."

The End

A/N: Thanks to everyone who read this and I hope you enjoyed it. I apologize for the delays in between chapters but the boys don't always cooperate when it comes to what I plot. Hopefully I tied it all up.

Stay tuned for new stuff soon and be sure to look me up on Facebook under morgana07 for comments, questions or anything.