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Title: What Makes Us Whole
Pairing: Gen
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 1400
Summary: Coda to 7x11 Adventures in Babysitting. Dean practices smiling until his face aches. It doesn't last long though because now Sam won't wake up
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bientot for the beta


Dean practices smiling until his face aches but even then the dull pain is a welcome relief from the agonising weight on his chest that’s been crushing him for the past three weeks.

He drives with no real destination in mind. They don’t have a job lined up and he still has no clue how to take down Dick. Even by the Winchester standard, which is pretty fucking low, things look bleak.

Eventually he pulls into a motel parking lot, not because he’s tired or wants to sleep but simply because he feels bad for Sam sitting with his stupidly long legs all scrunched up in their latest jacked car. After being chewed on by a vetala for god knows how long the least Dean can do is give his brother a bed for the night.

Sam doesn’t stir when Dean stops the engine so he leaves his brother to sleep while he checks in. The woman behind the counter barely looks at him, her eyes continually flicking over to a small TV in the corner of the room while Dean counts out the cash for their stay. His practiced smile gets no response and she simply grunts the room number at him and tosses the key onto the counter. Still, better to test his smile on someone who doesn’t give a shit how fake it looks.

Dean grabs the key and heads back to the car where Sam is still slumped against the door with his head resting against the window.

He taps on the glass. “Hey, Sam, move your ass. Got you a real bed to sleep in because I am an awesome brother.”

No response.

He taps again, a little harder this time. “Dude, if you don’t wake up I’m leaving you here for the night.”

Still nothing.

Dean moves around to the driver’s side and opens the door, kneeling on the seat and leaning across to shake Sam’s shoulder.

“Come on, Sleeping Beauty, I’m freezing my ass off out here.”

It hits him like a punch to the gut when he realises Sam still isn’t waking up. He hasn’t been a heavy sleeper ever since his wall had come down. Something is seriously wrong.

“Sam, don’t you do this to me! Come on, wake up!”

He shakes Sam harder this time but all it does is cause Sam’s head to loll forward and so that his chin is now resting on his chest.

“Fuck!”

It has to be the vetalas. Dean knows plenty about hunting them, but nothing about treating someone who’s been bitten. He’d just figured patching up the wound would be enough. Lee had been fine and he’d been chewed on way more than Sam had. What the hell is going on?

He takes a breath. He can’t do anything for Sam in the car so the first thing he needs to do is get him inside.

He pulls the car up as close to the door of their room as he can manage and then, after checking no one is around, he hefts his brother into his arms, carries him inside and settles him on one of the beds.

Now that there is better lighting he can see just how pale Sam is. He looks worse than he had when they’d found him in the truck but what terrifies Dean most of all is that he has no idea what’s causing it. He needs help.

He’s halfway through dialling Bobby’s number when he realises what he’s doing and for a moment he just stands there there, staring numbly at the numbers on the screen. For the first time in his life he is truly alone. There’s no one else he can call. Bobby is gone, Cas is gone, Ellen is gone. Every single connection he had to the hunting community is now gone, and his brother who is the research fiend is unconscious.

“Come on, Sammy, don’t do this to me. I can’t sit and watch you like this again. You gotta wake up, man. Please?”

Okay, he can figure this out. He’s hunted vetalas before. He just needs to dig deeper and find out what the hell they’ve done to his brother. For once he’s glad Sam had forced him to go out and buy his own computer.

Sam, nerd that he is, has set up some sort of network that he’d explained at the time but that Dean had ignored in favour of something interesting. Like staring at the walls. But the bottom line is that all Sam’s research material is shared on both of their computers which means Dean has his own stuff plus whatever Sam has dug up to read through.

Unfortunately a quick check reveals what they have is nothing new. The vatelas have a venom that the they use to knock their victims out, feed on them over a few days and then kill them.

“Dean?”

He’s about five seconds away from tossing his computer out the window and dragging Sam to the hospital when the weak sound of his brother’s voice startles him out of his research.

Sam is struggling to sit up, eyes half closed and if it was even possible he looks paler than before.

“Sam? You okay?”

Sam groans but nods. “Can you get the lights? My head is killing me.”

Dean is on his feet before Sam has even finished talking, switching the main light off and leaving the room dimly lit with the small light from the bathroom.

“What the hell happened?” Dean asks as he moves over to stand at the foot of Sam’s bed. “One minute you were fine and then you were out for the count.”

Sam makes it onto his feet and actually manages to stay there for a few seconds before his legs buckle and Dean moves quickly around the bed to catch him before he hits the floor.

“Still got vetala venom in my system," Sam groans. "The doses are stronger to start with to stop their victims trying to escape.”

“And you thought getting out of bed would be the best thing to do?” Dean asks as Sam’s head lolls onto his shoulder. “I thought you were supposed to be the smart one.”

Sam moans into Dean's neck. “I think I’m gonna puke.”

“Shit, okay!”

He drags, quite literally drags, Sam to the bathroom and only just gets him settled on the floor when his brother empties the contents of his stomach (what little there is) into the toilet.

All Dean can do is fill a glass of water as Sam coughs and heaves, and hand it to Sam once he’s done.

“Thanks,” Sam whispers as he takes the water and rinses his mouth out. “I should be okay in the morning. Just gotta ride it out while my body flushes this crap out of me.”

Dean nods and helps Sam to his feet. “Gotta say I prefer the puking to the coma thing you had going on earlier. You scared the shit out of me, dude.”

“Sorry,” Sam mumbles as Dean helps him back over the bed.

Dean swears he draws the line at tucking his 28 year old brother in, but when they reach the bed he finds himself pulling back the covers instinctively and easing Sam down.

“You need anything?” He asks as he pulls the covers back over Sam and makes sure there’s a fresh glass of water next to the bed in case Sam needs it.

“I’m good,” Sam replies, his voice soft and slurred. “Just need to sleep it off now I think. Thanks, Dean.”

Dean shrugs. “We take care of each other. It’s what we do.”

And there’s no one left to do it for us now.

Sam smiles and closes his eyes, falling asleep almost immediately. It’s a restful sleep this time, not the deep unconsciousness he’s seen his brother in way too often over the past few months.

He brushes Sam’s hair out of his eyes. The kid really needs a haircut but he knows there’s no way Sam is going to let anyone near him with a pair of scissors. Not even Dean, who’s been cutting Sam’s hair since he was five.

“We’ll be okay," Dean promises. “No matter what happens we’ll be okay.”

And this time the smile that he flashes down at his sleeping brother is genuine, and for a moment, just a moment, it doesn’t hurt anymore.
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