Disclaimer: Alas, I don't own the boys or anything Supernatural related. I'm making no money off of this. Just being paid in fun and entertainment. :)

A/N: This is my first published story. Any and all reviews are much appreciated. Special thank you, thank you, thank you to my beautiful, wonderful friend valawenel. This story would never have been published without you!

Never A Burden

Sam's not sure what scared him more. The fact that when he asked if Dean was okay, he shook his head slightly and whispered, "I don't think so, Sammy," or the way his eyes had rolled back in his head as he crumpled to the ground.

"Dean!" he yells as he runs to his side. He drops to his knees beside him and rolls him over onto his back, pulling him up to his chest. "C'mon...don't do this," he pleads as he lightly pats his cheek. It's then that he feels how hot he is. He ghosts his palm over his brother's forehead. The fever was back with a vengeance.

He grabs the front of his jacket to lever him up closer to him. Something warm and sticky draws his attention to his hand. Blood. Dean's blood. His shoulder had been injured in the hunt on top of being sick.

"Never do anything halfway do ya, bro?" he asks his unconscious sibling. "Dean...you hear me?" He shakes him slightly.

A slight moan escapes Dean as his eyes blink open. "S'mmy? Wha' happened?" he asks quietly.

Sam can't resist the thought that enters his mind. "You fainted," he answers with a smirk.

Dean winces from a mixture of pain and disgust. "Dude... I do not faint. That's what chicks do, Samantha."

Sam smiles slightly. "Okay. You passed out. Better?"

Dean nods, pressing his lips together in pain. "Better," he croaks. "Need to get a move on, Sam."

"Yeah...it'll be getting dark soon. Think you can walk?" he asks, knowing what the answer will probably be.

Dean turns his pale face up toward his brother. "I...I don't know...help me up."

Sam is shocked and a little scared that Dean didn't offer up his usual bravado. "Alright...here we go."

Dean groans slightly as Sam hoists him to his feet and sways marginally. "Whoa...hang on. I got ya," Sam whispers to his sick brother.

They take a few stumbling steps with Sam holding him up with an arm around him and fingers hooked in Dean's belt loop. Dean stumbles and almost loses his footing, hissing as the motion pulls at his injury. They stop as he squeezes his eyes closed, waiting for a wave of dizziness to pass.

Sam looks at his face worriedly. "Are you okay? Can you make it?"

He sags against his younger brother as they stumble along toward the car. He is being uncharacteristically quiet. Sam turns wide, scared eyes to his older sibling's face. "Dean?"

" 'm s...s'rry...S'mmy," Dean mumbles as he goes limp and sags nearly to his knees beside Sam.

"Shit shit shit!" Sam kneels beside him and pushes Dean back with a hand on his chest so he can see his face.

His face is slack for a moment and then a flicker of pain flashes across his features. Sam turns his face toward him and lightly taps his cheek. "Can you hear me? Hey!?" He panics slightly as Dean's eyes drift open slightly but there is no focus in their green depths.

"It's alright...I'll get you out of here, okay? You're gonna be fine," he whispers as he stands, lifting his brother into his arms.

Dean looks into Sam's eyes for a moment. "S'mmy?"

Sam starts walking in the direction of the car. "Yeah, I'm here. You're gonna be okay." He's a little distressed that Dean isn't arguing about being carried.

Dean keeps his unwavering gaze on Sam's face allowing him to see the trust there. "Gonna get you back to the room, get you fixed up and get some antibiotics started. You'll be fine after some rest."

The green gaze begins to waver as Dean's eyelids begin to droop. "'K, Sammy..." he whispers before his eyes finally drift closed. His head falls to Sam's shoulder as he passes out again.

Sam looks to his face with surprise. He must feel bad, being so agreeable.

After reaching the car and wrenching the passenger door open, he eases Dean onto the seat. "There ya go, bro. Time to hit the road."

After easing the door closed, he slides behind the wheel of his brother's baby. He reaches the motel in a relatively short time and parks directly in front of their door.

Their bags are the first order of business before retrieving his brother. After depositing them inside he returns to the car. Holding his brother in as he does so, he eases the car door open. Dean's eyelids flutter open and his emerald gaze lands on Sam. "We here?" he mumbles.

"Yeah, Dean...wanna walk?" He decides to give him the option to see how he will respond.

Dean blinks, thinking about the question, clearly taking inventory of how he feels. He shakes his head slowly. "You get some...some kinda thrill outta carrying me around. Be my guest," he rasps hoarsely.

Sam knows that's his way of accepting help without accepting help. "Alright. Thanks for humoring me. C'mon, let's get you standing up." He swings Dean's legs out of the car and helps him to his feet. Hooking one arm behind his knees and one under his shoulders, he hefts his brother into his arms again. He bumps the car door closed with his hip and gets Dean inside.

He gently deposits him on the bed furthest from the door. Dean moans softly in pain as Sam slips his arm from under his shoulders. "Shhh...it's okay," Sam whispers. "Gonna fix you up."

Sifting through his duffel looking for the first aid kit, he steals glances at the pale figure on the bed. Dean twitches periodically in pain. Then, shivers from the fever wracking his form.

He makes his way back to the bed and carefully removes Dean's jacket. He winces as the fabric sticks to the wound. The plain, gray t-shirt underneath won't be able to be salvaged. Taking the scissors from the kit, he cuts the shirt away quickly. "Good grief," he gasps as the wound comes into view. The gash is pretty deep and soaked with blood.

After getting the wound cleaned and disinfected, he takes the needle in a trembling hand. I hope he stays out for this. I'll never get used to ramming a needle into my brother's skin over and over.

The first stitch goes well, so Sam continues. By the third stitch, Dean is clenching his fists as his eyes fly open. "Crap!" Sam groans. Looking up to his sibling's starkly pale face he soothes, "It's okay. It's me. Shhh...it'll be over soon."

Dean presses his lips together in pain and his back arches off the bed. "Ahhh! S'mmy? SAMMY!?"

Sam stops, unable to continue through Dean's cry of anguish. He carefully pulls his brother to his chest. As Dean lets his head fall to his brother's shoulder, Sam cards his fingers through the sweaty hair at his nape. "I'm sorry...so sorry. I know it hurts, but I gotta get that closed up. It's deep, okay? I'll work as fast as I can."

The sound of his voice always calmed Dean. No matter how badly he was injured, or how

sick he was, Sam knew if Dean could hear him it would soothe him. He nods slowly and rasps past his raw throat, "'K...'k, S'mmy..."

Sam blinks back tears as he hears Dean's teeth chattering. Easing him back down to the bed, he resumes his work. He works quickly, despite his trembling and finishes after Dean thankfully passes out again.

He carefully cleans his new stitch work and places a fresh bandage over them. His gaze wanders to the injured man's face. Dean is sickly pale and the sprinkling of freckles across his nose stands out starkly against his pallor.

His breath hitches even in unconsciousness. Sam carefully removes his boots and finishes stripping him to his boxers. He discards the dirty clothes near the duffels, which he digs through for the antibiotics and painkillers he managed to get from a clinic in the last town.

After getting a glass of water from the small kitchenette, he takes the medicine over to the bed. "C'mon, bro," he whispers. "Ya hear me?"

Dean stirs and turns an unsteady gaze to Sam's face. "Mmmm...S'mmy?"

"Yeah. I got you some pain meds and antibiotics for that shoulder wound...and the crap you still have in your lungs. We gotta sit you up and get them down you, okay?" Sam studies his face to see if any of what he said is getting through.

Dean nods slowly, then asks, "The...hunt...'s o-over?"

"Yeah...it's over."

Wide green eyes instantly give Sam the once over. "You 'k? Don' member..." His voice is fading as the effort to talk is almost too much.

Sam allows his features to relax somewhat. Even though it's infuriating that Dean insists on putting everyone before himself, it is touching to have him show such concern for the younger Winchester. "Yeah...I'm fine." He hooks a strong arm under his shoulders and lifts him enough to be able to swallow the meds.

Dean is too weak to put up a fight and allows his baby brother to put the meds in his mouth and hold the glass to his parched lips.

"S...Sam...s-so cold."

"Alright, bro. Shhh...it's okay." His brow crinkles with worry. He's gotten so sick again so fast. He eases the quaking mass back to the bed and tucks the blankets around him.

Sam busies himself cleaning up his supplies, being as quiet as possible, trying not to disturb

Dean. He steals glances at his sleeping, more like unconscious, brother as he puts the rest of his first aid supplies in the bag.

Dean shivers and moans quietly. "No...n...no...please..." he pleads with some invisible assailant. He has wrestled himself from under the covers and his head tosses from side to side as his breath comes quicker. He grips the sheet in his fists on either side of his body. Sam sits by his hip on the bed.

"Hey," he reaches out a hand to cup his cheek. "Hey...it's okay."

Dean's legs twitch and he brings one knee up as if in a move to defend himself. He straightens his leg back out and shudders.

"S'mmy?" His eyes are closed, but he turns his head as if searching for the source of Sam's voice.

"I'm here, Dean. Right here. Not going anywhere. Just rest, bro," he responds as he places his hand over Dean's heart. His heartbeat is fast...indicating just how sick and agitated he is.

A tear slips from the corner of Dean's eye and rolls down his cheek. "Sam?" he whispers."Where...S-Sammy? Please..." Another whimper. "Find...c-can't find..." He coughs weakly and groans as it pulls at his stitches.

"Can't find what? You're okay. You're safe. Okay?" He goes and gets a wet washcloth and sits back beside Dean.

Running the cloth over his face, he murmurs, "You're okay. Just rest. Stay calm. Shh..."

"Can't...can't rest. Gotta fin'...gotta fin' 'im. Jus' turned...for second." Dean's eyes blink open but he isn't seeing the motel room. He grabs the front of Sam's shirt in his fist. "My...my brother...t-turned for a sec...he was gone. Please...you see 'im?"

Sam covers Dean's hand with his larger one. "It's me. It's Sam."

There is a slight twitch of a smile at the corner of Dean's mouth. "Th-that's right...Sam...I call him S'mmy...he hates it. You...see...see 'im?"

He squeezes the hand fisted in his shirt. "It's me, Dean. Look at me...I'm Sam. I'm here, not lost."

Huge, hopeful green eyes roam over Sam's face. "S'mmy?" he croaks. The unsteady hand leaves his shirt and palms his face. Recognition lights Dean's eyes. "Sam," he whispers. He swallows a lump in his throat as a tear rolls slowly from the corner of his eye. "Thank

God...I thought..."

Sam smiles sadly and uses a rough thumb to brush the tear from his sibling's cheek. "No, I'm here. You took care of me like always. You did good, Dean."

Sam remembers what Dean is reliving. They were both young. Dad was gone on a hunt. Food was running short, so Dean took Sam out to the store to get some. Dean had turned his back for one moment to look at a car magazine and Sam had wandered off. Dean had panicked as he ran through the store before finding Sam sitting on a bench in the front of the store. He was happily munching on some M&Ms that a woman had bought for him.

Dean's anger dissolved as Sam looked up and smiled as he swung his feet gleefully. He kept grinning at his big brother through the chocolate on his teeth. They had gone back to the room and Dean had made them both supper, making sure Sam got the bigger portion.

And so goes the story of Dean's life thus far. Making sure Sam is okay; that Sam is taken care of. Dean thinks he is a burden when he is sick or injured and needs Sam's help. Nothing could be further from the truth.