Title: Love is More Than Skin Deep
By: KaitlynRose
Pairing: gen
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't own them so please don't sue me.
Summary: Takes place during and after Skin. A look into the thoughts and feelings of the brothers.


Sam's head was pounding. Why did it hurt so bad? A tugging on his wrists caused him to open his eyes. Standing before him was his brother, only it wasn't his brother. It was that thing, the shape shifter.

"What are you going to do to me?"

"I'm not going to do anything…but Dean will," it sneered as it walked to the kitchen drawers and began to search for weapons.

Sam tried to put on a false bravado. "They'll never catch him."

"Doesn't matter, murder in the first…of his brother, he'll be hunted for the rest of his life."

Sam knew it was true. Dean was already wanted for a supposed assault on Rebecca. If the police thought Dean murdered him too, his life as he knew it would be over. Sam watched the thing as it pulled a long butcher knife out of the butcher block and smiled at him. Sam suppressed the shiver that ran up his spine. Typically he wasn't afraid of the ghosts and spooks that they hunted, but this time was different. Yes, it was a shape shifter, but it was also a serial killer. Somehow it's humanity made it more fearful than other supernaturals they had faced.

"We need more room to work, don't you think?" It grabbed Sam by the shoulders of his shirt and dragged him from the side of the sofa to the room with the pool table. Once there it let go of him and Sam hit the floor with a thump.

It was strange; a month ago he had faced death in the face…literally…when he took on Bloody Mary. A month ago he wasn't afraid to die. Hell, he might have even welcomed it, but not now. The realization almost shocked him. He didn't want to die. Even more, he didn't want his death to be a noose around his brother's neck. Yes, the police would blame Dean, but even worse than that, Dean would blame himself.

Sam watched as the monster wearing Dean's skin, walk over to the bar.

"I will say, I'll be sorry to lose this skin. It has a lot of fine qualities. You should appreciate it more."

Sam did appreciate his brother, more than this bastard would ever know. He would appreciate him even more if he would finally show up and kill this thing.

"Cheers," it said as it downed a glass of scotch.

Dean drove the Chevy like a man possessed. Sam was in danger and it was his fault. Sam had told him to meet him at Rebecca's but he decided to go wandering in the sewer instead. Now Sam was alone and with a serial killer who had supernatural powers and super strength.

"Red light," Rebecca said.

Dean saw it, but he just punched the accelerator. He tore through the red light as other cars swerved and honked their horns. He didn't have time for this. He needed to get to his brother. Sam had to be okay, he had to be.

It walked to the side of the pool table and withdrew the butcher knife from a knapsack and made a point of showing it to Sam before stabbing it into the table side.

'Oh god,' Sam thought. 'This is it.' He began to look around frantically for a weapon of some kind when he realized what he needed was right in front of him. He lifted his legs and kicked for all he was worth, sending the fake Dean flying. Instantly he rose up and used the blade to saw through his ropes.

He worked his hands up and down even faster when he saw Dean getting to his feet and approaching him.

Not a moment too soon the rope broke away and Sam grabbed the knife and held it in the manner his father, and even Dean for that matter, had taught him.

The monster came at him and Sam swung the knife. Dean grabbed his arm and flipped him. He crashed to the floor and the knife flew under the pool table. Sam jumped up and took a swing but Dean blocked it. Jabs went back and forth before Dean finally gave him a good one to the face. Sam stumbled back.

"You son of a bitch."

Sam was shocked for a moment. The thing was so much like Dean, his manner, his speech, even his saunter. He wished it's eyes would change. Then it wouldn't feel like Dean anymore.

Sam went to strike but once more it grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back with a jerk so strong that Sam thought it might come out of the socket and he couldn't stop the cry that came from him.

He wasn't helpless though. He had spent his entire childhood sparring with his brother. A few well placed karate moves and soon the situation was reversed.

"Not bad little brother."

"You're not him," Sam spat.

Dean got out of the hold and punched Sam hard in the face. He then took advantage of the moment to ram his knee into Sam's gut, leaving Sam gasping. Finally Dean planted a kick to his stomach that sent him flying into the bookcase. His back felt as if it would break as it came into contact with the shelves. Then to add insult to injury that damn thing broke and the shelves and all their contents landed on top of him.

Sam was on all fours trying to hold on to consciousness as well as stand up. Every part of his body hurt and he didn't know how much longer he could last. Was the real Dean this strong? Dean…where was Dean? He was supposed to meet him here. Fake Dean walked casually, like he didn't have a care in the world, to the pool sticks.

"Even when we were kids I always could kick your ass," he bragged as he hoisted the stick and prepared to swing.

Sam was tempted to repeat the fact that he wasn't Dean, but it would have required too much effort and his energy was fading fast.

Dean swung the pool stick and Sam just avoided taking the blow. He rolled along the table to avoid the second strike. Dean struck the overhead lamp, busting the bulb and sending sparks flying.

Sam used the side of the table for leverage and kicked Dean in the stomach, which caused him to drop the stick. He moved in to hit him but once more Dean grabbed his arm and struck him instead.

For a minute the two fought frantically back and forth until Dean punched him in the jaw and sent him sailing into the back of the sofa. Dean used Sam's backwards momentum against him and hit him with a tackle that sent both of them over the sofa and crashing through the coffee table in front of it.

Sam grunted as the table nearly snapped his back in half. Dean was on top of him but Sam was too far gone to push him off. His head snapped to the side twice as Dean struck two more times. He was literally seeing stars.

Suddenly, Dean wrapped his hands around Sam's throat and began to squeeze. Sam gasped and tried to push Dean off him but Dean was too heavy and had the advantage of being on top and pushing down. Sam tried to grasp Dean's neck but he couldn't reach.

Awful croaking noises began to come from him as he tried desperately to draw in air. He was weakening. The fight was over and he had lost. He realized he was about to die and the last thing he would see of this world was the face of his brother, filled with rage, choking the life from him. He didn't want to die this way. 'Dean, where are you?' he thought.

Dean entered the room quietly through the front door. He wanted to sneak up of the shape shifter and surprise him. He was the one who was surprised though. Lying on the floor was Sam, gasping for air while he, or the thing that looked like him, was choking the life out of his baby brother.

Sam's hands, which had been pushing and slapping at Dean, began to slowly slide towards the floor and his eyesight began to blur. He wanted to call out for someone to help him, but he couldn't.


The grasp on his throat eased up and suddenly Sam could breathe. He felt it jump off of him. He wanted to sit up and see what was happening, he even made an effort to do so, but no sooner had he lifted his head the room spun he fell back to the floor.

The sound of a gun shot echoed in the room and the rush of adrenaline it caused in Sam was enough for him to roll on his side and lift his head. His eyes came to rest on his brother, his dead brother. Dean was dead, lying on his back, looking at him with open and empty eyes. He flailed his arms about trying to move, to do something, but his body wouldn't cooperate.


Sam felt someone grasp him from behind, soft hands offering comfort, but he hardly cared.

Then Dean walked into his field of vision. Dean? Dean was suddenly kneeling next to himself. Sam's battered brain struggled for understanding as he felt the hands that held him grip even tighter. Then Dean, the one that was alive, looked up at him and the fog began to ease and he realized what had happened. Dean saved him. Dean killed it.

Dean took his necklace from the thing and just stared at the body for a moment.

It was Rebecca who finally said, "Sam, are you okay?"

Dean tore his gaze away from the shape shifter and took a good at Sam. In an instant he crossed the space between them and was at Sam's side.

"Sam?" she asked again, but Sam still didn't answer. He didn't move. He continued to lie there and stare.

Dean realized Sam was in shock. He positioned himself so Sam could no longer see the dead body and then gently turned his head so he could look him in the eyes.

"Sammy, you look like shit," Dean said, giving him his best shit-eatin' grin. Truth was he was scared, but he knew Sam needed him to be strong. He was bleeding from so many places Dean couldn't even count them all.

Sam opened his mouth, "dean." The word was little more than a whisper but it was the best Sam could do at the moment.

"Can you stand?"

Sam nodded his head up and down and wished he hadn't. He tried to remember how many blows to the head he had been forced to endure in the past twenty four hours, but he found it was actually painful to think and he gave up.

Dean placed his hands under Sam's arms and hoisted him up. The vertigo and pain that swept over Sam was too much. His eyes rolled up into his head and he lost the battle to remain conscious.

"Sammy!" Dean exclaimed as he maneuvered to keep Sam from hitting the floor, which was not an easy feet since Sam was three inches taller than he was.

The sound of sirens could be heard approaching and Dean knew time was running out. They had to get out of there.

"Help me," Dean ordered Rebecca. With no other options available to them they positioned Sam and Dean hoisted him up into a fireman's carry. Rebecca opened the door and Dean carried Sam to their car in the alley. Once more Rebecca opened the door and Dean dumped Sam inside.

"Tell the cops you were attacked again and you shot him!" Dean shoved the gun into her hands and he hopped behind the wheel and started the car. "Hurry, get back in the house. Don't mention us. It will just make things more confusing."

She nodded her head and did as told.

Dean gunned the engine and left the alley and the dead body that looked like him far behind. For the first few minutes his attention was focused on making sure the police weren't following them, but once he was sure they were safe he looked over at Sam. He was still unconscious and blood was flowing from several locations on his head.

Sam needed medical attention but he couldn't take him to a hospital. That was just too risky, not to mention even if they didn't recognize him, questions would be asked and he couldn't very well give them any answers…at least none that they would believe.

Dean pulled into the first motel he came across and parked the car far away from the others in the lot. He left Sam alone and ran into the manager's office and paid for a room. He was glad that their room was in back. He drove around and parked in front of their door.

He looked around to make sure no one was watching. He opened Sam's door and kneeled down.

"Sam! Sam! Come on, wake up." He tapped lightly at Sam's bloody and bruised face. A small moan came from his lips and his eyes flickered open several times before finally focusing on Dean.

Sam was confused. Where were they? Why was he in so much pain? Why did Dean look so nervous?


"Don't talk," Dean ordered gently. "We need to get in our room. Do you think you can walk this time without passing out?"

Sam honestly didn't know the answer to that question. He couldn't ever remember feeling this messed up. His memory was returning, though. He remembered the shape-shifter…the fight…almost dying…thinking Dean was dead.

Dean reached into the car and helped Sam out. He quickly wrapped Sam's arm around his neck and wrapped his arm around Sam's waist. Sam stumbled over his own feet and almost went down but Dean held tight and after a minute's struggle they made it to the shelter of their room.

Dean laid Sam down on the bed and hurried back to the car to get the first aid kit in the trunk. When he returned he wasn't surprised to see that Sam had fallen back to sleep. Unfortunately he would have to wake him up. He was fairly certain Sam had a mild concussion among other injuries.

"Sammy, wake up." He sat on the side of the bed and lifted Sam's shirt up. His stomach and chest was a mass of bruises but nothing was bleeding. He began to feel Sam's ribs to see if anything felt broken.

"Unh," Sam moaned and rolled his head to the side.

"That's it. Time to wake up little brother."

Suddenly Sam's eyes popped open and he groped at the blankets trying to push himself away from Dean.

"Whoa, calm down. Sammy it's me, I swear. It's really me!"

Sam stared at Dean with wide, fearful eyes that lacked the trust they usually held. Dean felt physical pain at having Sam look at him in such a way. He held up his hands to show he was weaponless.

"Stay there," Dean said and hurried to the bathroom. He came back with a cup of water and offered it to Sam.

Sam took it with a shaky hand and drank the whole cup down despite the pain in his throat. He handed Dean the empty cup.

"How does your throat feel?"

"Don't call me that," Sam said in a whispery voice.

"What? Sammy?"

"Little brother," Sam rasped out.

"Why?" Dean asked. He had been calling Sam little brother since he was a baby.

"Just don't," Sam said. "It's what he said."

Dean didn't have to ask who 'he' was. Usually he would say some smart ass comment to break the tension, but he had a feeling that at the moment Sam needed him to just take care of him.

"Okay. I won't say it." Dean calmly got up from the bed and went back to the bathroom. He came out with several wet washcloths and another cup of water. Once more he sat on the bed and started washing the blood from Sam's face.

Any other time Sam would have be mortified to have his big brother cleaning him up, but right now he was content to lay there and let him do it.

Dean opened the first aid kit and removed peroxide, ointment, bandages, and other things. He opened a bottle of Tylenol and handed four of them to Sam.

"Do you want to tell me what happened?" Dean asked.

"He tried to kill me," Sam whispered and carefully swallowed the pills.

"I managed to figure that one out all by myself. I mean, do you want to talk about how you're feeling about this."

Sam shook his head. He would never tell Dean everything that happened between him and the shape shifter, or the secrets that were revealed. All it would do is hurt Dean. No, Sam would add these secrets to the ones he already held.

Dean let out a frustrated sigh. "That cut on your head needs stitches. I need to find the thread and needle." He started to get up but Sam grabbed his arm. Dean looked him in the eye and Sam said, "It wasn't you. I don't blame you."

Dean gave him a small smile and then went to find the needle and thread.

Two hours later Dean was sitting in an uncomfortable chair watching Sam sleep. He didn't have to wake him up for another forty-five minutes. He had stitched Sam's head and applied ointment and bandages to the cuts on his back that he said he got from falling into furniture. He also put more ice in the towel that was around Sam's swollen and raw neck.

He was tempted to tell Sam to go back to college after he recuperated. In the past four months he had basically managed to ruin his brother's life, not to mention almost get him killed several times over.

Was he the reason Jess was killed? If he had stayed away would she still be alive? Because of him the Woman in White almost ripped his heart out of his chest. Sam's chest hurt for a week after that. He never complained, but he had seen him holding and rubbing it several times.

Just a month ago Sam had almost become one of Bloody Mary's victims. When he broke that mirror and Sam just sat there hunched over in the floor his own heart almost stopped. His whole life had been spent protecting his baby brother. Ever since the day his father had thrust an infant Sam into his arms and told him to get him to safety he had felt it his duty to protect him. Even when Sam got older and didn't feel he needed protection, Dean continued to do it. When he thought Mary had killed Sam or scratched his eyes out he felt as if he had failed, even worse he felt as if he had led him to his death.

Now Sammy was lying in a bed, unconscious, covered in cuts and bruises the size of Texas. Sam had been happy. Sam had a real life. Sam had friends, and he, Dean Winchester, his sworn protector, ripped it all away from him. In exchange for his happiness and his future, Dean had offered him nothing but pain and near death experiences.

Dean knew he should tell Sam to get away from him. Far, far away and start to live his life once more, and yet he knew he wouldn't…couldn't…do it. He needed Sam though he hated to admit it, even to himself. It wasn't that he needed a partner, or even someone to go on hunts with. Nope, he needed Sam because if he had to do this job alone, really alone, he knew that the loneliness would be the death of him.

His attention was drawn when he heard Sam moaning in his sleep. A second later Sam's hands raised up to his neck and he struggled against an invisible foe only he could see. Dean knew instantly what Sam was dreaming about.

"SAM!" Dean called from his chair. He didn't reach over to grab or shake him awake. If he opened his eyes to see him standing over his prone body he would probably mistake the dream for reality. "SAM!"

Sam opened his eyes and drew in a deep breath. Quickly his eyes darted back and forth before looking at Dean sitting in his chair.

"You were having a nightmare," Dean told him.

"Sorry if I woke you," Sam said.

"I was awake," Dean said.


"Because someone has to take care of you."

"Don't need taking care of," Sam griped.

"Uh, yeah ya do. You have several large bumps on your head, which means you probably have a small concussion, which means I need to wake your ass up every hour so you don't turn into coma boy."

Sam became aware of the ice pack surrounding his neck and he hated the feeling of it being there. He reached up to remove it and was surprised when Dean actually sat up and smacked his hand away.

"Leave that," Dean warned. "It's keeping the swelling down on your neck. You were blowing up like a balloon."

"It's cold and it's tight."

"You sound like you're five years old again," Dean said. "Now stop complaining and just listen to Dr. Dean."

Dean was relieved to see Sam crack him a smile. Okay, so it wasn't a real smile but at least it was a smirk.




"For what?"

"For saving my life. For taking care of me."

"Okay, let's not turn this into a chick flick moment," Dean teased.

Sam smiled again. "Fine, but I am grateful. I appreciate what you did for me tonight…and…and while we were growing up."

For a moment Sam thought Dean looked a little misty eyed, but then he blinked and Sam wasn't sure if he just imagined it.

"Yeah, well, saving your butt just happened to be a perk to shooting that SOB. That guy was walking around with my face. He was going down. So are you hungry. There's some fast food restaurants just down the street. I can go get ya something if you want."

"No, I'm fine," Sam said, letting Dean change the subject. "I'm cold, but I'm not hungry."

"Oh for crying out loud, fine, take the ice pack off, but don't complain to me if you swell up again."

"Don't worry, I promise not to sue you for malpractice or anything," Sam teased as he pulled off the ice pack and dropped it to the floor.


Dean woke with a jolt. He was still sitting in his chair. He looked at Sam and understood what had woken him. Sam was thrashing on the bed once more. The dreams that plagued him were back.

Dean reached over and gave Sam a gentle shake. "Sammy, wake up."

"Dean!" Sam gasped.

"Hey, it's okay. It's a dream." Sam nodded and tried to stretch out the kinks but gasped once more when his body reminded him of the abuse it had taken the night before.

"What's wrong? Where does it hurt?" Dean asked.

"Everywhere," Sam replied. He tried to sit up but couldn't.

"What can I do?" Dean asked.

"Help me to the bathroom."

Dean offered Sam a hand to sit up and then wrapped an arm around his back and helped him walk to the bathroom.

"You gonna be okay?"

"Yeah, I can take it from here," Sam answered.

'Thank god for that,' Dean thought as he walked out of the bathroom and closed the door behind him.

In the bathroom Sam relieved himself and then had a seat on the toilet lid to brush his teeth. His whole body hurt worse than he could ever remember. He had settled even sorer over the night and now he felt stiff and achy all over. His back was the worst. Any movement at all and it felt like someone was stabbing him.

He rinsed his mouth out and began the arduous process of walking back to his bed. Dean watched him closely as he made his way out of the bathroom and across their room.

Dean couldn't believe the way Sam looked. All he was wearing was his boxers and his body was black and blue. There was more though. Months of hardly eating was having an effect too. He realized he could see Sam's ribs quite clearly. Sam was six-two. It took a lot of calories to keep someone that tall healthy. The bags under Sam's eyes had bags of their own. This had to stop. If something didn't change and change soon, Sam was going to die. When the time came for him to fight something he wasn't going to have the strength to fight and win.

Hell, isn't that what happened last night? If Dean had arrived even one minute later than he had, his brother would be lying in a morgue right now. The thought sent a shiver down Dean's spine. He would fix this and he would fix it starting today.

Sam laid back on the bed and tried to find a comfortable position. He was miserable and Dean's scrutiny wasn't helping. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore him. He felt blankets being placed on him and he looked up to see Dean covering him.

"Listen, I'm going to go get us some food. You just stay here and rest."

"Just give me a couple of more hours and I'll be ready to go," Sam said.

"Yeah, sure," Dean grinned. Sam wouldn't be going anywhere today. "I'll be back soon."


Dean grabbed his wallet and the room key and stepped out into the blazing sunlight. Luckily they were in a motel just off the freeway so there was a pretty good cluster of businesses right here. Big Boy, Tim Horton's, Applebee's, and Bob Evan's were all in walking distance. That was good, but right now he needed a pharmacy.

He got in the car and drove just down the road and found what he was looking for. He pulled into CVS's parking lot and went inside. He grabbed some Sportsman's cream for Sam's sore muscles, and a bottle on Tylenol PM's. It was time for Sam to get some real sleep, even if that meant drugging his ass. He grabbed some tabloids from the rack so he could do some research while Sam got better, and he also grabbed two books for Sam to read. He had never heard of the books or the authors who wrote them, but they were on a rack that numbered one to twenty and they had one and two over them so they must be good, he figured.

He paid for his purchases after flirting with the checkout girl for a few minutes and then headed across the street to the bank.

Sam laid in his bed. Right now he found himself missing Jess more than ever. He remembered fondly last winter. He had come down with the flu something awful. Jess had ordered him to bed and spent the next two days spoiling him rotten. She had made him chicken soup and breakfast. She spent the day watching movies with him to keep him company. Then in the evenings she would read to him from his textbooks so he wouldn't fall behind in his studies. Tears fell down his face as he thought of her.

No one had ever cared for him like that. He'd never had a mother, his father was too busy, and Dean…well, Dean had taken care of him, it was true, but Dean had been just a kid himself until he got to be a teenager. Dean was six years older than Sam and he knew that with Dad so busy and focused on finding their mom's murderer, the job of raising him had fallen to Dean.

Still, things were different between him and Dean right now. They weren't kids anymore. If what that thing had said was true, then Dean resented him more than anything right now. Sam never realized that when he decided to go to college he was hurting his family so much. Dean was strong, Dean was fearless, Dean didn't need anything or anyone, or so he had always believed. God life was such a mess right now.

Dean pulled out one of his credit cards and walked up to the ATM machine. He knew this would be a one time use card and instead of using it at a restaurant he decided to get as much money out of it as he could.

The limit on the ATM was $400.00 so he pulled the entire $400. That should give them enough money to eat and pay for the room for the next few days.

Now it was time to get Sam a healthy breakfast. No greasy burgers today. He drove back and pulled in to Bob Evans. He ordered two coffees, two orange juices, two breakfasts with eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon, a fruit platter, two blueberry muffins, and two cinnamon rolls all to go. The waitress raised her eyes at the amount of food he was ordering, but he figured this would take care of breakfast and lunch. This way he would only have to go out and buy dinner tonight.

Sam heard the key in the door and quickly wiped at the tears on his face. He closed his eyes against the bright light that entered the room.

Dean set all of the food down on the little table that was in their room. He looked at Sam and saw the red nose and blood shot eyes. He knew Sam had been crying but he didn't comment on it. Sam had always been the sensitive one.

"I hope you're hungry," Dean said. "I managed to get us some honest to god good food. No greasy burgers or stale coffee today." Sam didn't reply but Dean just carried on. He opened up the containers and laid out everything nice and neat on the table.

Sam had to admit the food smelled good, really good. It had been twenty four hours since he had eaten anything and his stomach rumbled loudly. He struggled to stand up and Dean hurried over and pulled him up, keeping the sheet wrapped around him so he wouldn't get cold. Sam hobbled over to the table and sat down.

"Wow, where did this come from?"

"Bob Evans," Dean replied proudly. "For once we landed in a motel surrounded by good food instead of being in some shit town with only one dirty dinner in the whole place."

Dean sat down opposite Sam and the two ate in silence for a few minutes. Dean practically wolfed his food down but Sam ate more slowly. Dean guessed it was because it hurt to swallow.

"Hmm, the coffee feels good," Sam said. The heat was so good on his raw throat.

"I'll be sure to get you more later. I also have muffins and rolls for us later, and some orange juice. Speaking of which, I need to go to the ice machine and get a bucket of ice to put the juice in."

"Why did you get so much food?" Sam asked. He thought they would be on the road in a little while.

"Because we need to eat, especially you. If you get any skinnier I'm going to change your nickname from Sammy to Twiggy."

"Ha, ha," Sam retorted. "There's nothing wrong with me. I'm fine."

"Sure you are," Dean mumbled, earning him a look from Sam.

"So when are we leaving?" Sam asked, trying to change the subject.

"I figure in about two or three days," Dean replied.

"What? Why?" Sam knew once a job was done Dean couldn't wait to get back on the road.

"We're not leaving this room until you've had a chance to recover and get some of your strength back," Dean said bluntly. "You look like you've been hit by a truck."

"I'll be fine," Sam said. "I can rest in the car."

"No, and that's my final decision."

"Your final decision? Who made you boss?" Sam asked, getting defensive.

"The fact that I'm the one using some common sense makes me boss," Dean said. "You can barely walk, you have several head injuries, you haven't had a real night's sleep in months, and you're slowly starving yourself to death!" Dean's voice was raising with every fact he dished out.

"Now wait a minute…"

"No! You wait a minute," Dean interrupted. "I had no control over saving mom's life. I had no control over Dad disappearing, but I'll be damned if I'm going to stand quietly by and watch the last member of my family slowly fade away to nothing! I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU DIE!" Dean jumped up from the table and started pacing the room in an attempt to calm himself before he really lost control.

Sam sat there dumbfounded and watched Dean's emotions and fears play out across his face. He no longer had to wonder if the things the shape shifter had told him were true or not. He knew now for a fact that Dean was afraid of ending up alone, and he had been adding to those worries.

"I don't want to die," Sam said softly.

"What?" Dean snapped.

"I said I don't want to die. I kind of realized that last night while that thing was getting ready to slice and dice me."

"Good!" Dean replied. "Now finish your breakfast. I'm going to run you a bath so you can soak your back for a while."

Sam just nodded and picked up his fork. Dean headed for the bathroom and shut the door. He turned on the tap for the tub and had a seat on the toilet.

"Calm down, Dean," he told himself. He drew several shaky breaths and ran a hand through his hair. "Well, that was definitely a chick flick moment. Shit!" He hated losing control but if it got Sammy to listen to him maybe one chick flick moment wasn't that bad.

Sam finished his food and drank the last of his coffee. Dean's angry outburst had shocked him at first, but then it made him realize something. Dean wouldn't have reacted that way if he didn't love him. Yes, Dean resented Sam when he left, but he was back now. They were together again and Dean was letting go of his resentment towards him.

Dean stepped out of the bathroom looking much calmer than he had when he went it. He looked at Sam's food carton and was visibly pleased to see it empty.

"The tub's full."

"Thanks." Sam stood up carefully and held on to the table until his legs were steady enough to hold him up. He walked gingerly towards the bathroom.

Dean made a point of letting Sam walk by himself but he was watching closely and was ready to help if needed. Sam would fight him if he thought he was being coddled.

In the bathroom Sam dropped his sheet and slipped out of his boxers. He stepped into the hot water and held on to the sides of the tub to lower him self down without causing too much pain. The water felt so good. He laid in the tub for almost half an hour and was about to fall asleep when Dean knocked on the door to check on him.

Sam got out of the tub and dried off. He was feeling more limber and his muscles hurt a lot less. He slipped back into his boxers and grabbed the sheet once more. He was feeling really relaxed.

"Well it's about time you came out of there," Dean teased.

"Sorry," Sam said with a yawn.

'Perfect,' Dean thought. "Lay down on your stomach. I have some medicine to rub into your back.

Sam flopped onto the bed and let Dean rub the Sportsman cream into his back and shoulders. Dean spent a little extra time working out any left over stiffness and Sam was almost asleep by the time Dean finished.

Without a moment to lose, Dean grabbed the bottle of Tylenol PM's and popped four of them into his hand. He already had a glass of water on the table.

"Say aaa," Dean ordered.

Sam didn't even open his eyes. He just opened his mouth and accepted the cup of water to wash the pills down.

"Sleep well," Dean said.

"I doubt it, but thanks," Sam mumbled into his pillow. He curled up under the covers and was out in a matter of seconds.

That night Dean ended up having dinner alone as Sam slept the entire afternoon and evening away. Dean watched television and read through the tabloids looking for any strange stories that might be up their alley.

Sam continued to sleep all through the night without so much as a whimper which let Dean sleep through the entire night as well.

The next morning Dean woke up first. He was shocked at how long Sam had been asleep, but he understood that this was his body's way of catching up on what it had lost.

He cleaned up and crossed the street to buy breakfast once again. Today he didn't buy so much since not all of the food from yesterday got eaten. When he got back to the room he opened the door and a stream of light landed right across Sam's face. His eyes began to flutter.

Dean closed the door and set the bags of food back on the table. Sam sat up in the bed and looked slightly confused.

"Didn't we just have breakfast?" he asked.

"That was yesterday," Dean told him.

"What? How long have I been asleep?"

"Umm, about twenty hours."

"What!" Sam exclaimed.

"Yeah, you must have been more tired than you thought. After your bath and rub down yesterday you were out like a rock and never even stirred."

Dean prayed that Sam wouldn't ask him about the pills. Even though he had nothing but good intentions he doubted Sam would appreciate being drugged.

"Wow. I can't believe I slept that long," Sam muttered.

"How do you feel?" Dean asked.

Sam stretched out his back and tested his limbs. "I'm sore, but I'll live. We should be able to leave today. I just want to say good-bye to Becky before we leave."

"We're not leaving today," Dean told him.

"Why? We can't stay here forever. We have to find Dad."

"I know," Sam said and started to think of an excuse of why they should stay put. "But, uh, well, my face is all over the TV. If we leave I might get recognized. We should probably just hang out here another day or two and let things settle down."

"Has anyone recognized you yet? I mean, when you went for food?"

"No, but I'd rather not take any chances. Out on the road with all those state cops, and let's face it, my car is pretty hard not to notice. I'm supposed to be dead after all."

"I guess you're right," Sam said.

"Of course I'm right," Dean said. "I'm always right. Now come and eat. You have to be starving."

"Actually, I am," Sam agreed. He sat up in bed easily enough and pulled on his jeans which were lying in the floor.

Once more Dean laid out all the food. Today was pancakes with sausages, ham, and bacon, along with the much coveted hot coffee.

"Hmm, this looks awesome," Sam said and dug in ravenously. He wasn't buying Dean's excuse for not leaving. He knew the reason they were staying another day was because Dean wanted to make sure he was fully recovered before they left. A couple of days ago that knowledge would have made him furious, he would have felt like a burden, but today he found it oddly comforting. He would beat this depression that had laid claim to him.

Maybe he was powerless to stop the nightmares, but he could stop taking his anger out on Dean. Not to mention the sleeping pills Dean slipped him did a fantastic job of keeping the dreams at bay. Yeah, he knew what Dean did, but he wouldn't call him on it. Not until tonight, when he would actually ask for a couple. He couldn't wait to see the look on Dean's face when he asked Dean to pass him two sleeping pills! It would be priceless.

As Dean watched Sam stuff his face and saw that for the first time in months there weren't any bags under Sam's eyes, he started to have real hope that everything would be okay. Sam, his baby brother, was going to be okay. He was still covered in bruises but those would fade in time.

Tomorrow they would leave this place and continue to hunt, and to search for their father. But it could wait for tomorrow.

The End