Summary: Season 9, Come Darkness, Come Light 'verse – Weak Sam / Big Brother Dean – Only two days had passed when Sam asked the question. "Who's Ezekiel?"

Disclaimer: Not mine

Warnings: Spoilers for season nine, plus usual language

I'll tell it all tomorrow...or the day after tomorrow. I'm sure I'll tell you then. ~ Saybia

It was hard to believe only two days had passed since the angels had fell.

It seemed longer, a lifetime of changes having occurred over the past 48 hours.

For starters, Kevin now lived at the Batcave; the prophet spending his time alternating between pouring over the tablets and ranting about Crowley.

The former King of Hell – which was possibly now a demon-human hybrid – had recently had his accommodations upgraded, compliments of Dean. Crowley no longer stuffed in the Impala's trunk but instead residing in the Batcave's basement that doubled as a dungeon, tied up and left in solitary until he felt chatty.

Castiel was human...and missing – the graceless angel having yet to arrive at the bunker.

Heaven was locked.

The angels were pissed.

Metatron was silent.

And somewhere in the world, Abaddon roamed free.

All of that added up to Sam being right when he had said they had work to do.

But Dean didn't care about work.

...or Kevin or Crowley or Cas or anything else.

Dean cared about Sam.

And Sam had been sleeping for the past two days.

...which meant Dean had been right beside him.

Sam's big brother monitoring his vitals and checking for fever while Sam had laid as motionless as he had in that coma.

While Dean had paced, had second-guessed...then had sat, had laced his fingers with Sam's.

"C'mon, Sammy..." he had murmured more times than he could count.

And then sometimes the worried big brother would whisper to another.

"C'mon, Zeke..."

Because Dean had known Sam wasn't alone in his fight.

Dean's little brother freshly home from the hospital...and still possessed by an angel, though Dean hadn't heard from Ezekiel since the drive from Linwood Memorial to the Batcave.

But Sam was still alive, so that meant the angel was still within.

Ezekiel healing and doing whatever else had to be done to make Sam well again.

And that would take time.

So Dean had waited.

For two days, he had waited.

Then that morning, Sam had finally opened his eyes.

In fact, Dean's little brother was looking at him now.

Dean sighed as Sam blinked from across the table, the kid still pale and thin and weaker than he would admit.

But Dean knew.

The big brother having noticed how Sam had walked slower than usual, how Sam had braced himself against the wall for balance as they had made their way to the kitchen half an hour ago.

Dean had frowned but had said nothing as he had matched his pace to Sam's shuffled, sock-clad steps in the hallway, had allowed his arm to hover behind Sam's back just in case his brother needed his physical support.

And instead of insisting he was fine or bitching that Dean worried too much...Sam had said nothing as well. Had seemed too breathless to speak but had offered a shy smile in silent thanks to his big brother for always being exactly where Sam needed him.

Dean had nodded and winked – because they were in this together...always together – and had settled his hand on Sam's bony shoulder, had squeezed it affectionately before steering his wobbly little brother into the kitchen and directly into a chair.

Sam had gratefully collapsed into the seat, then had curled forward to rest against the table; his elbows on the smooth surface, his fingers steepled, his head bowed.

Dean's frown had deepened as he had lingered at Sam's side, feeling his brother shake beneath his hand.

The short walk from Sam's room to the kitchen proving to be too much, too exerting for a little brother who had severe internal damage and had been comatose in a hospital barely 48 hours ago...not that Sam knew that, not that Sam remembered that.

Dean had felt a stab of guilt knife through his stomach.

Because Sam needed to know, deserved to know but...


That one word echoing in Dean's mind had said it all.

And although Dean would tell his brother everything at some point, that conversation wasn't happening today.

Sam needed to be stronger, healthier, better.

And then Dean would confess.

The big brother had sighed as Sam had continued to breathe fast and shallow beside him; Sam's head still bowed, his hair obscuring his face.

Dean had tilted his own head, angling for a better view. "Hey. You okay?"

Sam had swallowed before nodding slowly.

"That was convincing..." Dean had drawled and then had shaken his head. "Dude. You act like we just ran a marathon," he had commented, trying to mask his worry and lighten the moment...and then had narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Wait a minute. Is this your drama queen way of saying you want breakfast in bed tomorrow?"

Sam had snorted, had finally leaned back in his chair and had glanced up at Dean through his fringe of bangs. "No. I don't..." He had swallowed again. "I don't want breakfast at all. M'not hungry."

"Too bad. I'm not asking," Dean had pointed out.

Because whether Sam liked it or not, he was going to eat.

Big brother's orders.

Sam had glared in response, the expression stubborn...but also weak and tired.

"Oh, that's scary..." Dean had remarked about his brother's scowl and had arched an eyebrow as Sam had found the energy to flip him off. "And that's even scarier..."

Sam had laughed, breathless and hoarse. "You're a jerk."

Dean had smiled, had missed his kid so damn much.

Thank god Sam was awake.

Thank god Sam had said yes.

"And you're a whiny little bitch," Dean had countered to his little brother, the comeback fond and familiar. "But I think I'll keep ya."

The teasing words bittersweet with truth and deceit.

If only Sam knew what his big brother had done to keep him...

Dean had swallowed against the confession aching in his chest.

"Good," Sam had replied to Dean's affectionate snark. "'Cause I think I'll stay."

Dean had smiled, had blinked against the burn of unexpected tears. "Yeah," he had agreed and had cleared his throat when his voice had threatened to crack with emotion. "Damn right you will."

Sam had returned his brother's smile, the expression tired but genuine with dimples and all.

And it had been too damn long since Dean had seen his kid smile like that.

A beat of silence had passed between them.

"Okay..." Dean had sighed and had patted Sam's shoulder before crossing to the fridge. "It's breakfast time for Sammy."

Sam had wrinkled his nose at the announcement. "Dean. I told you...I'm not hungry."

"Sure. I'd be happy to make you something..." Dean had answered as if Sam had just proclaimed he was starving and had asked his big brother to cook.

Sam had scowled. "Dean..."

"Humor me, Sam."

Because like any parent, Dean just wanted to feed his kid. The instinct hard to explain but as strong as any other instinct Dean had in regards to his little brother.

After Sam had woke up in Cold Oak, Dean had made sure the kid ate.

After Sam had regained consciousness with his soul back in place, Dean had been making sandwiches and passing the chips.

And now that Sam was awake after lying in a coma...after almost dying...after being possessed by an angel...Dean wanted to feed him.

Sam had sighed, recognizing his brother's determined expression. "Fine."

Dean had smiled at his small victory and had kicked the fridge closed behind him.

Sam had yawned as he had watched his brother putter around the kitchen...and then had yawned again. "I'm so tired of being tired," he had complained inside of yet another yawn. "And I'm tired of feeling like crap, too."

"I know, Sammy," Dean had responded to his little brother's despondent statement, hating this as much as Sam. "But you've been sick, man. It's gonna take some time to bounce back."

"I guess," Sam had agreed reluctantly, once again leaning against the table since sitting up by himself required too much energy. "But how long?"

It was a good question.

One Ezekiel had refused to answer when Dean had asked.

Dean had shaken his head. "I don't know," he had admitted as he had opened the carton of eggs he had placed on the counter and had crouched to grab a pan from one of the bottom cabinets. "But it takes as long as it takes."

Because that's what Ezekiel had said - that was the best timeframe the angel could give for completing his project of healing Sam.

"And in the meantime, you're gonna take it easy and get some rest and do whatever your big brother tells you..."

Sam had grunted.

Dean had smiled over his shoulder. "I'll take that enthusiastic response as your heartfelt agreement that I am older and wiser and always right."

"Well, you got the old part right..."

Dean had scowled. "I said older, not old...smartass."

Sam had twitched a smile at his brother's grumbling, hearing the love between the lines.

Dean had glared in mock irritation, then had refocused on the task of making breakfast for his kid.

Sam had yawned once more, had stretched and sighed...then had snagged the newspaper from across the table as he had started thinking aloud about forming a plan to deal with the fallen angels.

Dean had listened as he had stood at the stove, scrambling an egg to go alongside the slice of dry toast he was forcing on Sam.

Because the kid may not be hungry, but he still needed to eat.

And eggs and toast seemed like a safe place to start since soft solids and bland food usually worked in coaxing a sick little brother's appetite to return.

But now, almost half an hour later, the toast only had two bites missing and the eggs were barely touched; the fluffy yellow yolks half-heartedly shoved around the plate until the plate was shoved away.

From the opposite side of the table, Dean arched a disapproving eyebrow at his finicky little brother...but let the issue go.

Because Sam's bruised eyes still testified to his unrelenting exhaustion, his pinched expression hinting at his lingering pain; his scruffy beard and overall appearance reminding Dean of how sick Sam had been, how sick Sam still was.

So if Sam had eaten all he could manage, then Dean wouldn't force any more.

Sam was doing the best he could.

And as much as Dean hated seeing his kid like this, it was okay.

Sam wasn't going to get well overnight.

They were taking this one day at a time.

And for now, Dean's little brother was alive and awake and had actually made it out of bed and to the kitchen for Dean was counting that as progress.

And least Sam was drinking his apple juice.

The big brother quirked a smile at the nearly empty glass of pale liquid sitting within inches of Sam's hand; amused that some things never little brothers wanting their juice when they were sick.

Dean's smile lingered as he turned his attention back to his heaping bowl of frosted flakes.

They're grrrreat!

Dean snorted softly, shoving a spoonful of cereal into his mouth and allowing himself to feel happy.

Because yeah, Sammy was still sick...and there was still a whole lot of shit that needed to be explained...and a whole lot of other shit that needed to be dealt with beyond these four walls.

But for this moment, sitting in the kitchen across from his little brother, Dean was happy...until he noticed Sam was frowning at the newspaper.

Dean frowned as well, the brothers often mirroring each other's expressions without even noticing.


Sam glanced at him. "Who's Ezekiel?"

Dean blinked at the unexpected question, then froze as his heart stuttered to a stop; his hand halfway between his bowl and his mouth. Hoping his eyes weren't as wide as they felt; hoping he didn't choke on his mouthful of frosted flakes.

Sam tilted his head at his brother's reaction. "Dean? What's wrong?"

Dean shrugged, determined to play it cool even if his heart hammered its way right out of his chest.

"Nuttin'," he replied, the word distorted from the cereal still crammed in his mouth.

Sam made a disgusted sound. "Dean..."

"Wha'? Why d'ya try to as'me ques'ions when m'eating?"

Sam rolled his eyes at Dean's mumbled complaint, then squinted and rubbed his forehead like doing so had hurt.


Sam nodded, wrinkling his nose at his brother. "Stop talking with your mouth full."

Dean pulled a face, effectively communicating that Sam should stop asking questions when Dean's mouth was full and then they could avoid this problem.

Though, truthfully, Dean wanted his brother to stop asking questions...period.

Especially this question – who's Ezekiel?

Because holy shit...

Where did that come from?

Had Ezekiel already gotten sloppy and allowed Sam to sense him somehow?

Dean hoped not.

He really, really hoped not.

Because Dean would eventually tell Sam about his "angelic pacemaker"...but not today.

Sam wasn't strong enough for that news.

And Dean wasn't strong enough to deliver it.

Not yet.

They both needed more time.

Ezekiel needed more time to heal and mend and fix what was broken within Sam.

Dean's mind buzzed, considering his options for dodging this question.

Sam stared at him expectantly over the edge of the newspaper, his patience disappearing almost as quickly as his stamina.

Dean slowly chewed the mush of cereal in his mouth, stalling as his heart pounded.

Sam waited, shifting in his chair and then wincing as his sore muscles twinged.

Dean swallowed and reached for his glass of milk. "Who?" he asked before taking a gulp.

His tone and expression overly someone who knew damn well who.

Sam sighed. "Ezekiel," he repeated. "Do we know him?"

Dean shook his head, his mouth now full of milk.

Sam made a frustrated sound. "Dean. Stop screwin' around. This could be serious."

Correction: this was serious.

If Sam was asking about Ezekiel, then this was really fucking serious.

Dean plunged his spoon into his bowl of soggy cereal and finally swallowed the milk, the liquid warm from being held so long in his mouth.

"Sammy. Listen..."

But Sam was already talking, his tired gaze flickering between the newspaper and Dean.

"It says here that some guy was found in a hospital a couple days ago sitting in some comatose patient's bed," Sam reported, beginning to sound more energized than he had since he had woke up.

Dean's little brother always jazzed about research...even if that meant just combing through the newspaper for potential clues on their latest case.

"But the comatose patient was gone..." Sam continued. "Just completely vanished, along with his brother – and the room was, symbols and all kinds of stuff drawn on the walls. And from the brief description, sounds like maybe our kind of symbols, you know?"

Sam didn't wait for Dean to respond.

"So, anyway...the room is trashed, plus the entire floor of the hospital...Linwood a mess with shattered glass from some kind of freak earthquake...or something. But this guy who was found in the bed has no clue what happened or where he is or even who he is."

Sam paused, making sure Dean was listening and keeping up with this bizarre story.

Dean stared back from across the table and swallowed against the urge to throw up.

"You with me?"

Dean managed to nod at his brother.

Sam nodded in return and continued half reading, half paraphrasing the news article.

"So the doctor is all freaked out – I mean, who can blame him? – and the police start searching for this missing patient...and his brother, I guess, though it doesn't say that here. And they also start questioning this guy with no memory. But even after several hours of interrogation, the guy still couldn't tell them his name."

"Huh," Dean mused, knowing Sam expected a response but not trusting himself to say more.

Because holy shit...

Holy shit.

Where was this story going?

"Yeah, I know. Crazy stuff..." Sam agreed, misinterpreting his brother's comment. "So of course the police are getting really suspicious and pissed with this guy...thinking he's just playing them, right? But no. The doctors order a CT scan and vouch for this guy's amnesia."

So what did that mean? Ezekiel just mind-wiped whoever, whenever to suit his purposes?

Dean shifted in his chair, once again second-guessing whether or not the angel within his brother could be trusted.

Sam glanced at Dean, then back at the newspaper. "So the police are still on the case, and it's only after they start asking around that a few other people come forward and report that this guy had introduced himself to them as 'Ezekiel'."

Dean swallowed.

Shit, shit, shit.

"So, everybody's thinking that must be this guy's name," Sam concluded. "But then, after further investigation, the guy's wallet was found in the hospital's parking deck...and his ID listed the name 'Tahmoh'."

"Tahmoh?" Dean echoed and cringed. "Wow. That's almost as bad as 'Misha'..."

Sam huffed and flashed a weak bitchface, wondering if Dean would ever let that go; his brother always comparing what he perceived as bad names to the name of that actor from that alternate world a few years back.

"Dean. Really..."

Dean smiled at Sam's annoyance, hoping the expression looked genuine; hoping his little brother couldn't sense his growing panic, couldn't hear his heart about to beat out of his fucking chest.

Because this was bad.

This was really fucking bad.

"Anyway..." Sam continued, glancing back at the newspaper spread over his side of the table and now covering his plate of barely touched food. "Since this guy seemed to possibly have an alias and a very convenient lapse in memory, the police decided to check security footage at the hospital."

"Oh my god..." Dean blurted.

Because he had forgotten about that – had forgotten about the cameras in the hospital's hallways.

With everything that had been happening with Sam, he had completely forgotten about that.

How could he have forgotten about that?

Sam blinked at Dean, frowning in concern at his brother on the opposite side of the table.


There was a beat of silence.

"I, ah...I forgot to thaw the chicken for dinner," Dean announced randomly to cover his outburst and stood, crossing to the fridge.

Sam snorted at the sudden change in topic, always amused by his big brother the badass hunter being a bona fide Julia Child in the kitchen.

"Okay..." Sam allowed and shook his head, hearing the solid clunk of frozen chicken packages being set in the sink behind him. "So...anyway...the police check the security footage on the hall where the comatose patient was. And it was clear up until this guy approaches for the first time, then the image gets all distorted and bright..."

Sam paused and turned in his seat.

" something supernatural," Dean finished – because he knew that's why Sam had left the statement hanging – and then leaned against the counter, facing Sam still sitting at the table.

Sam nodded. "Exactly. And what kind of supernatural beings usually emit a bright light?"

Altogether now – angels.

Dean swallowed, determined not to throw up as this story just kept getting worse.

Sam nodded again. "That's right," he agreed as if Dean had actually answered aloud. "Angels. And it gets better..."

Oh, god...

"How?" Dean prompted, his hands gripping the edge of the counter as he continued to lean against it; his fingers hurting from how hard he was digging them into the smooth surface.

"A few hours later, there's more distorted footage...and then an 'unbelievably bright flash of light'," Sam read from the paper.

Dean nodded, remembering how he had banished those two angels threatening harm to Sam if he didn't tell them the whereabouts of Cas.

And nobody threatened Dean's little brother...especially when the kid was already sick and vulnerable.

Dean twitched a satisfied smile – wishing he could banish those sonsabitches again just to see the looks on their faces – and then instantly refocused on the seriousness of this situation.

Because Dean's secret was possibly seconds away from being exposed.

And then the shit was really going to hit the proverbial fan.

Dean sighed, bracing himself for the answer to his next question. "So, what then?"

"Well, that's just it..." Sam replied, his voice hoarse as his earlier burst of energy began to wane; the excitement of recounting this story draining his strength. "They don't know what happened next. The last flash of light was so bright and so hot that it completely melted the camera. If the security footage hadn't been digitally recorded and transmitted and stored in a different location, then the police never would've been able to view it."

Dean nodded, wishing the footage had indeed been destroyed, but sighing in relief that there was no visual evidence of him and Sam – and Ezekiel – leaving the hospital...or at least leaving the hospital floor.

Chances were still good that some other camera on the hospital's property had caught their images.

In fact, Dean would bet money there were cameras in the parking deck recording every second of his fight with another douche angel before Ezekiel had showed up...and then recording his interrogation, complete with a ring of holy fire.

But even still...that encounter along with Dean and Sam's escape from the hospital would likely be distorted by Ezekiel's angel light.

So maybe Dean didn't need to panic quite as much as he had been panicking a few minutes ago since it seemed his secret was still safely tucked inside of Sam.

But holy shit...this had been too fucking close.

Dean would have to more carefully monitor what Sam read or watched or even surfed on the Internet.

Because he couldn't risk Sam finding out about Ezekiel before he had the chance to tell the kid.

And Dean wanted to be the one to tell him.

He owed Sam that much.

Dean sighed, then smiled as he watched his little brother yawn; Sam rubbing his eyes in a way that reminded Dean of a toddler Sammy.

Sam blinked at him, tired and sleepy as he slouched in his chair. "Anyway...they still have that guy in custody, charged with...something. The article doesn't really say. And the coma patient and his brother are still missing."

Dean nodded.

Damn right they were missing.

And Dean would make sure they stayed missing.

Because Sam didn't need the stress and trauma of being questioned by the police about something he didn't remember. He didn't need to be upset in a way that could hinder Ezekiel's work within, that could possibly delay his recovery.

Sam was where he needed to be and was with who he needed to be with – with Dean at home.

Everyone else could fuck off and leave Dean's little brother alone...especially until Sam was well again.

Dean couldn't risk any setbacks to the kid's health.

...which was why Dean was delaying his confession about Ezekiel and everything that had happened between the church and the angel possessing Sam.

And Sam would just have to understand.

Dean sighed, still leaning against the counter by the sink and noticing Sam blinking long and slow. "Hey..."

Sam startled slightly, then focused on Dean. "What?"

"Ready for a nap?"

And how many times had Dean said those words to his little brother over the years?

Dean smiled at the memory.

But Sam shook his head.

"No," he refused. "There's no time for a nap. Not here, anyway. I can sleep in the car. We need to get our gear and hit the road."

Dean's smile instantly dissolved into a frown, his heart once again pounding at the suggestion. "What?"

"We need to hit the road," Sam repeated and stood, holding himself steady with one hand on the table while the other gripped the back of his chair until he found his balance.

Dean shook his head. "No."

Because that shit wasn't happening.

Sam wasn't going anywhere.

Dean's little brother scowled.

Dean was unfazed.

"Why?" Sam pressed, stubborn even if he was exhausted. "We need to get to Linwood Memorial and check out that room. Check out the whole floor and the parking deck and take a look at those security tapes. Then we need to talk with that guy...that Tahmoh, or whoever...and find out if he remembers anything."

"He doesn't, Sam. The article already said he doesn't remember."

Sam glared at his uncooperative brother. "He might if he was asked the right questions...our kind of questions."

And yeah...he might.

But this guy remembering anything would be a huge fucking problem, so no.

Dean shook his head again. "Ain't happening, Sammy."

Sam made a frustrated sound, still standing and bracing himself between the table and the chair. "What's wrong with you?" he demanded. "There's reason to believe this guy was possessed by an angel, and you just want to sit here and do nothing?

Dean didn't respond, continuing to lean against the counter and listen to his brother rant.

"Dean..." Sam huffed. "This guy might be a clue. Maybe one of the fallen angels possessed him...and then left the hospital using one of those brothers as a new vessel."

Dean clenched his jaw at how close Sam was to the truth.

"And maybe that angel's name was Ezekiel..." Sam reasoned. "...or maybe not. I don't know. But the point is, we need to get to that hospital and find out what's going on if we're gonna make any progress on this, Dean. Heaven's not gonna unlock itself, and the angels aren't gonna play nice much longer. We both know that. We've got work to do, remember?"

Dean shook his head once more, hearing the logic in Sam's speech but still denying his brother's plan to hit the road.

"I hear you," Dean assured and nodded. "I do. But we're still not going, Sam."

"But why?" Sam asked, beginning to shake; his body too weak to handle such strong emotions. "Why would you – "

" – because I almost lost you, Sam!" Dean snapped, his own emotions running high as he roughly pushed away from the counter.

Sam blinked at the outburst and watched as Dean paced the length of the kitchen; knowing he had been in rough shape after they had halted the third trial...but now realizing that his condition had apparently been worse than Dean had told him.

And that close call was haunting his big brother; was making Dean more protective than usual, more reluctant to let Sam back out in the world.

Several seconds passed before Dean stopped pacing and stood in front of his brother.

Sam waited, holding Dean's gaze.

"I almost lost you," Dean repeated more quietly, his voice wavering at the memory. "You almost died, Sammy. And I was so fucking scared, man. So fucking scared..."

Sam nodded, feeling tears begin to rim his eyes.

Because he knew that kind of fear – that fear of losing your brother and being powerless to stop it.

Dean released a shaky breath. "But then you came back. I was lucky enough to get you back, little brother. And I'm just..." He paused. "I'm just worried, man. I'm worried about you."

Sam's eyes further misted at the confession, Dean rarely so candid.

"And I just want you to be okay," Dean continued. "I want you to rest and get well. But you can't do that if you rush and push. You can't do that on the road chasing a case."

Sam nodded. "I know," he agreed, his throat tight with emotion. "But – "

" – there's other hunters working on this," Dean informed his brother, not knowing specifics but knowing he and Sam weren't the only ones who had noticed a sky full of falling angels. "And I say we let them take the lead on this one. We let them handle it until you're better. Then when you're well...when you can stay awake and shoot straight...and you can stand and walk without holding onto something...and you can eat a full meal, then I'll be waiting for you in the car."

Sam laughed softly at his big brother's requirements for rejoining the hunt, the sound watery and choked by the tears that still rimmed his eyes.

Dean smiled.

There was a beat of silence.

"I can't lose you again," Dean confessed to his brother and shook his head. "Not ever again, Sammy."

"You won't," Sam promised.

Dean nodded, then blinked as Sam pulled him into a hug.

"Thank you," Sam whispered into Dean's shoulder.

Dean rubbed his brother's back affectionately but narrowed his eyes. "For what?"

Sam inhaled a shaky breath. "For not giving up on me."

Dean felt the sting of tears.

Because Sam had no idea...

But Dean nodded against Sam's shoulder, accepting his brother's gratitude and hoping Sam would still be grateful when the kid found out what Dean had done to save him this time...when Sam found out about Death and Ezekiel and everything in between.

After several seconds, the brothers pushed back from each other.

Little brother staring at big brother in the middle of the kitchen, then glancing into the hall when a door slammed somewhere in the Batcave.

Dean chuckled at Sam's confused expression. "Oh, by the way...we've got houseguests."

Sam arched an eyebrow at the unexpected announcement. "What?"

Dean nodded, confirming that Sam had heard right. "Kevin's here. And Cas should be here soon. And then there's...well...I'll show you later."

Because Dean really wasn't in the mood to talk about Crowley.

"Okay," Sam agreed, not pushing the issue since fatigue was pulling at him.

Dean noticed. " 'bout that nap?"

Sam shook his head. "But I just woke up..."

"Yeah, an hour ago..." Dean pointed out, like that was a long time to be awake, and then reached for his brother. "C'mon..."

Sam didn't resist as Dean steered him out of the kitchen and into the hall, heading back to his room.

Two minutes later, Sam was in bed; Dean's little brother warm and drowsy beneath the blankets Dean had pulled over his chest.

Dean watched as Sam blinked up at him, long and slow.

"Stop watching me," Sam complained quietly. "S'creepy."

Dean chuckled. "Shut up and go to sleep, Sam."

Sam hummed a response.

A few seconds passed.

Dean continued to watch until Sam's eyes stayed closed as he drifted to sleep.

"Atta boy, Sammy..." the big brother praised and nodded his approval.

Because Sam needed the rest and Ezekiel had said he worked better and faster when Sam was sleeping.

So Dean would make sure that Sam slept a lot.

Because the quicker Ezekiel was done healing Sam, the quicker the angel could leave and the quicker Dean could stop living this lie.

Dean sighed at the thought of the angel still inside of his brother, knowing he had dodged a huge bullet earlier with Sam's questions...and knowing he had his own work to do to make sure no one ever traced him and Sam to that hospital room at Linwood Memorial.

Not to mention the security footage that needed to be destroyed and Ezekiel's former vessel who needed to be kept quiet...

Dean sighed again - slightly overwhelmed with what had to be done - and then refocused on Sam, waiting to see if Ezekiel would surface.

But no...that was Sam breathing deep and steady.

Dean's little brother sleeping, alive and safe.

Dean smiled softly – glancing at his watch to gauge how long before he would come back to check on his kid – and then affectionately tousled his little brother's hair before easing out of Sam's room.