DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything you recognise. I really wish I did, but nope. Kripke is the one who created them. We owe him. If Sam and Dean were mine, though…


Lengthy author's note:

The fic idea came to me while I was studying internal medicine and DDx-ing Sam in my mind. And I decided to make a story out of one of the conclusions I drew about what he could be suffering from. This fic, therefore, will focus mostly on Sam's health, and Sam and Dean's (very brotherly) relationship after episode 8.23, Castiel being human, and Destiel. However, please remember that this is NOT a season 9 speculation fic, and is pretty much AU. There are angels and tablets and everything else, but that's not very important to this plot. There are brief mentions and appearances at best. I'm taking a very different turn with this.

A lot of time has passed since 8.23 in the prologue, but chapter 1 will pick up from where the episode ended.

Also, the story focusses on a potentially fatal illness, and will feature a very ill Sam, and if that is bound to trigger anything, please don't read it. Some parts in the end are from a dream I had a while ago. The dream sent shivers through my spine when I woke up, and I noted the idea down, hoping to use it some day - so here goes.

Basically, this story serves no moral other than the fact that sometimes, you can love some people so hard, that nothing else in the world matters beyond that. You'll find more angst, heartbreak and drama than action in this story. It's more emotional than physical and if that's not your type of thing, please turn around. I don't want to disappoint anyone.

This story contains slash. The ship will be Dean/Castiel, which I have built up slowly because I want to get the dynamics between those two clear. You might need patience, but I promise it will be worth the wait. And I notice I have non-shipper readers (I love you guys so much for that) and I have a tiny note ahead if there's an approaching scene you might want to skip, but I'm not apologetic about this being Destiel. I love writing it as much as I love writing the rest of the story.

Warnings: Sexual situations (not explicit, slight smutty bits), alcohol abuse, strong profanity, alternate universe.

Trigger warnings: Some disturbing behaviour by certain characters, depression, suicidal tendencies, sensitive health issues. This fic is on the darker and angsty side and if dark topics disturb you, please stop here. It can be severely upsetting if you're easily triggered. I have individual chapter warnings when these occur, but I thought it was necessary to mention right here that there will be such themes in the story.

Thank you, BohemianMoose and quickreaver - both of whom joined me in the later chapters, and have been amazing help! :)


STAND STILL AND BREATHE

Prologue

Agony. Fucking agony.

"Come on, Dean!"

Dean could vaguely hear Sam's encouraging words as they shuffled forward, trying to find their way out of the house. Everything ahead of him was blurred; muted, somehow, and even Sam sounded like an out-of-tune radio.

Out of the corner of his eye, he could make out Sam's hazy figure twisting around to cast a look at him now and then, his arm curving around his elder brother's waist in order to hold him up. The elder Winchester had one arm looped around his brother's neck, and his other hand clutched the wound at his abdomen, which was oozing little rivulets of blood, dampening his clothes and leaving a trail on the grimy floor.

"Come on, man," Sam said again, as Dean's knees buckled, "don't pass out on me. We need to get out of here."

"C-Cas…"

"He's on his way."

"D-Did he…?"

"He did," said Sam, and Dean could feel worried eyes on him again, "we just saw the ghost flame away, remember?"

"T-Then why… why are we… here?" He struggled to formulate complete sentences through the pain.

"Dean," Sam breathed. "We came to rescue those teenagers. They were going to camp in here for the night. We sent them away… You don't remember?" Dean could hear the apprehension seep through Sam's voice. Yes. He was supposed to remember this, wasn't he? He was supposed to remember this. But somehow, his memory couldn't grasp on to anything.

Had it been a simple haunting? Maybe. Had he and Sam come to the help of some foolish teenagers, while Castiel had gone off to salt and burn the remains? Maybe. Had Sam and Dean helped the teenagers escape, beforegetting trapped in the house themselves because the ghost got angry with Castiel for trying to get rid of it? Maybe. Dean couldn't remember much, really. But from what his brother said, this was the gist of what had just happened.

"Nearly there… just a little more…"

Dean nodded weakly at his brother, his eyes rolling in and out of focus. "Dean, stay with me," Sam said in a pleading voice, and the other man tried to concentrate on the faint rectangular outline at the end of the room.

Finally, they were at the door. Someone was already trying to open it from the other side — Castiel, no doubt, having done his job.

"Dean!" came Castiel's muffled voice, as Sam tried to open the door from their side. It wouldn't budge.

"Okay, just a minute… wait here," Sam said to Dean, depositing him against the wall before trying to pull the door open with all his might. Nothing happened.

"Cas?" Sam called out to the former angel, "it won't move from here. Get the axe from the Impala. And hurry!" He bent over and slid the car keys under the door.

"Okay," replied Castiel. Dean heard the jingle of the keys being handled from the other end, muffled footsteps, and the sound of the Impala's trunk opening, then slamming shut.

Castiel was back after a couple of minutes. "I'm breaking down the door. Stand back."

There were two thumps and then a crashing sound as the door gave away, wood breaking and splintering under the impact of the blade. Sam came back to Dean and helped him stand up again. "Almost there, Dean," he encouraged again, "almost there."

Dean was cold and nauseous. The pain was numbing away, though, and blackness was settling into the corners of his eyes. The blood was still seeping out; the wound was too huge and deep to facilitate quick clotting. But Dean wasn't worried. He had his brother. He had Cas.

"Almost there," Sam whispered again. The hole through the door finally opened enough for a man to pass through, and Castiel came in immediately.

His blue eyes widened at the sight of the elder Winchester. "Dean!"

"He's injured pretty bad," Sam explained unnecessarily, as Castiel came forward to help. Together, he and Sam moved Dean outside, Sam still whispering the same two words over and over again. "Almost there."

Dean leaned his head against Castiel's shoulder and sighed, causing the latter to tighten his hold on him, pulling him closer. He let the added warmth ease him. He was happy. There was nothing else that he wanted.

"Almost there," said Sam, again, reiterating the two words like a refrain, tears breaking his voice. That was when Dean saw his Impala. His beloved car. It stood there, glinting in the sunrise. The white glow of the new day began to overtake black and Dean glanced at Sam, who went ahead and opened the door to the vehicle.

"You're going to be okay."

"Yeah," Dean whispered, "I… k-know."

He turned to Castiel, who was evidently on the verge of tears as well. "You have to hold on, Dean. Please."

"Cas…" said Dean, "L-Love… you, man…"

And then the former angel's face melded into the sunlight as Dean let go of the reins. He was safe. Safe with Sam, safe in Cas's arms. They'd never let anything bad happen to him. He had nothing to worry about.


A/N: Thank you for reading, hope you decide to stay on! :D Reviews are always awesome!