Summary: Epilogue of My Brother's Keeper

Author's Note: It's short and sweet. Enjoy!

In the end, Sam was Dean's keeper. He made sure the older brother safe and calm, awoke him during nightmares and held him during the bad nights, never mentioning anything later. He was the younger brother, but he was more protective than Dean could ever imagine being. Sam destroyed all reminders of John Winchester, making sure that the man would never bother the siblings or their surrogate father. The sixteen year old would always deny killing his father, but the fact remained that the man did disappear. No one in the real or hunting worlds had seen the abusive man in years, nor had anyone mentioned said fact.

If anyone were to ask Sam who the strongest Winchester brother was, he could honestly answer in a single syllable; Dean. The brother who kept going after years of abuse, who always got up, who fought until the very end was, without a doubt, the stronger of the two. He was the one who wouldn't touch alcohol in fear of becoming like his father. He had nightmares six times a week, ate only twice a day out of habit – three times when forced into lunch by coworkers– and saw a psychologist no less than twice a week. He hadn't touched a gun since the incident, hadn't went back to hunting. Those facts alone made Sam smile at the progress his once soldier brother had made.

It makes his gut twinge in anger that Dean hated mirrors. Sam could tell by the distaste in his brother's green eyes every time the man looked at himself. He had the self-esteem issues of a teenage girl, and Sam blamed their father. He wanted to see the man once more in his lifetime, just to punch him.

Dean, calm and mellow, with colorful tattoos along his forearms and throughout his back and chest, would never do so. The twenty year old had turned into something that reminded Sam of a giant teddy bear (to which his brother would call him a moose). Sometimes Dean even snuggled (spooned) things for hours at a time. His longtime girlfriend of two years usually helped him with that particular need, but so far he had used Sam twice over the years – he shivered at that memory – and several times he had used Bobby's large and annoying, drooling mastiff that was Fluffy. The soon to be nurse (Dean just needed to pass the boards) still needed Bobby and his brother to remind him to brush his teeth. With his clinical in the ER department ending soon, he was running around like a headless chicken trying to both study and apply for jobs. Sam laughed at his misery, until Bobby reminded him in a not so kind way that the Bar Exam for lawyers was several times worse. It would soon be his brother's turn to laugh at his own displeasure.

Dean, the tall, muscular man he had become, may call himself stupid, but he read books as thick as a dictionary when he wanted a quiet afternoon. He went to the library more than Sam and loved his girlfriend more than he'd ever admit out loud.

So, forgive Sam for thinking it, but he thought Dean was stronger than him. He woke up every day with a smile on his face, standing tall no matter how he felt, saying, "I'm hungry." The youngest Winchester knew if he had to wear his brother's shoes, he would not stand. Sam would not walk smiling, singing I'm a Barbie Girl when he wanted to cry in the corner of the library for it all to just end.

Sam knew he was his brother's keeper, but he also knew that every day – for all of his young life and for as long as he could remember – Sam was just as dependent on Dean as Dean was dependent on him. Neither brother strayed far from the other as they grew older in the Singer household.

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