Thank you so much for your support through reviews, following, and favoriting this story. Hopefully I won't break your hearts too much with this chapter :)

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Also, a huge hug and shoutout for Emma Winchester 424 for helping me write this story-I couldn't do this whole fan fiction thing without her. Be sure to check out her Dean-daughter fic!

Sending lots of prayers to those affected by or in the path of the hurricanes! Stay safe!

As always, read, review, and ENJOY!


Sam knew exactly what he had to do.

He discarded the half full beer bottle on the coffee table and took off upstairs with a jolt of energy. Retrieving two suitcases from the closet, he entered his bedroom without turning on the lights. He wasn't ready for that. He hadn't even slept in the bedroom yet, only using the guest room and forcing Dean to sleep on the couch before he'd been kicked out.

Sam didn't want to see things, her things in the light because it somehow made it all more real and extremely more difficult. Through the dim light from the setting sun, he grabbed clothing from his drawers and closet and carelessly tossed it in his bag. Within a half an hour, he had all his and Emily's items stowed away in the SUV. They had to get out of here and it had to be now before Sam made a decision to do something he'd deeply regret. There was only one person in the world who could keep him from going off the deep end…again.


Emily had woken up an hour into the journey in a much better mood than before. She'd inquired why they were driving and Sam simply said they had somewhere to go before passing off his phone to her so she could watch a movie. It was a very uncommon parenting move for him, but desperate times called for even more desperate measures. After Finding Nemo and a happy meal in the car, she was sound asleep as Sam continued to forge through the night.

A few hours later and well past 1:00am, they arrived at their destination. Sam knew he should have called ahead, that would have been the responsible thing to do. But lately he was being anything but that. It was like he didn't even know who he was anymore without her.

Once the car was safely parked in the garage, he retrieved his sleeping daughter from the backseat, balancing her on his hip as her sleeping head rested on his shoulder with a limp body. He paused for a moment, soaking in the warmth of her, before taking a deep breath and walking ahead.

Sam tried the door between the garage and the bunker and was thankful that it was unlocked. The old metal creaked loudly as he entered the bunker, announcing his unexpected presence preemptively. He took a few steps inside and sat one of Emily's bags down in the hallway before closing the door behind him with another squeak. He just had to get up the hall to a bedroom, where he could hide out…and just feel safe behind these concrete walls.

Dean was sitting in his room with a beer, watching reruns of the Three Stooges. But when he heard the creaking of the door, he instantly set the TV on mute and grabbed the handgun on his dresser. Something was wrong—creepy sounds didn't just happen in this lifeless bunker. He slowly made his way towards that part of the bunker, keeping his gun low but ready.

Sam continued to make his way quietly inside, wanting to drop Emily off before retrieving the other bags. He was about to round the corner where Dean was nearing as well. As Dean was cautiously making his way towards the sound, he realized he knew that footfall. He'd recognize it anywhere. He called out quietly, "Sammy?"

Sam's eyes snapped shut at hearing his voice. What was he doing up now anyway? Before he turned the corner, he took a deep breath and rubbed his hand up and down his face, as if he could wash away the tears and pain reflected on it. He pulled his shoulders back, standing tall and walked around the corner, coming face-to-face with his brother. He shifted Emily again so he was holding her tightly, gaining some comfort from it. He said quietly, "Hey, Dean."

Dean quickly tucked the gun into the small of his back and rushed over to his brother. "Sammy- what's wrong?" He immediately started scanning Emily, looking for any signs of hurt or discomfort, because in his mind, that would be the only reason he'd bring her here for the first time.

The concerned look and tone in his brother's voice was enough to make Sam go weak again. His eyes welled up with tears as he finally forced the words out, "I'm not okay." It was something he admitted for the first time, after telling everyone he was doing okay for so long. It hit him hard and he tried to keep it together, not wanting to fully crumble in front of his brother.

However, that admittance, coming from Sam, turned Dean's guts inside out. "Come here," he said in his strong but kind way. He pulled Sam in, making sure he got Emily in the hug too. Chick flick moments be damned- Sammy needed comforting right now and that was still his job.

The sudden and unexpected burst of affection was too much for Sam and there was a release of tears while he was still struggling to keep it together. Winchesters didn't show weakness, especially not in front of one another. But to Dean, this wasn't weakness. This was what they did best- be there for each other. It was all they'd ever really known in their lives. "It's okay. It's okay, Sammy, I got you. It'll all be okay." He wasn't letting go until he felt Sam was ready.

And that was enough to break the camel's back. Sam let the tears just flow, no longer trying to hold them back. It was the release of emotion he'd needed, to admit he wasn't okay. That he was sad, broken, a mess inside. He was safe inside the bunker walls and so was his daughter. Nobody spoke or did anything for the longest time…they were just there, in the moment. Then from Sam's moving body as he cried and the noises, Emily started to stir in her sleep, picking up her head and rubbing her eyes. "Daddy?" she called out. At that simple word, Sam immediately shut it down again. His tears ran dry and he quickly released his death grip hug on Dean. His daughter couldn't see him like this...she just couldn't.

Dean immediately understood why Sam was pulling away, so he slapped on his happy go lucky grin and held his arms out to his niece without a second thought. "Hey, there, shortie. Come to Uncle Dean."

Emily briefly looked between the two men who were standing in front of her. This didn't seem like it had been before she went to sleep, but like any sleepy and confused child, she leaned her body toward the familiar person that was calling her. Dean easily grabbed her from Sam's arms. Sam quickly gave her a kiss on the side of the head before he disappeared down the hall and into the bathroom, needing a moment to himself. He slid down against the wall and let the next wave of tears come crashing over him in privacy.

Meanwhile, Emily tried to get her eyes to focus. Why was Uncle Dean here and holding her now? She looked up and around and all over her new surroundings and then back at Dean. This didn't match up. She clearly had no idea what is going on. Dean felt her confusion and put his hand on the side of her head. "Sshhh, shhh, it's okay, Em. Go back to sleep." He kept his hand on the side of her head and pulled into his chest, gently bouncing her as he walked towards a vacant room next to his. He put his cheek on the top of her head, the painful memory of how close he came to losing her in the accident still fresh in his mind. He laid her down in the middle of the bed and gently pulled the blankets around her.

She closed her eyes, sensing the blanket tucked in around her. Her face scrunched up for a moment and she whimpered quietly, half asleep, "Dada."

Dean's heart broke and for a moment he unknowingly felt like Sam had at the grocery store when Emily had called out for another. He smoothed the hair back off her forehead. "Shhh, shhh. Daddy will be back soon. Go to sleep." He continued stroking her hair, watching to make sure she was really under before he left. The stroking of her hair did her in and her breathing started to even out as she fell asleep again.

Sam, on the other hand, was anything but in a peaceful slumber. He'd managed to pull himself together enough to stop the tears. He struggled to get himself on his feet, feeling weaker than ever, but made it over to the sink to splash water on his face, trying to camouflage the tears.

After Dean was sure that Emily was under, he quietly closed the door, then went to find his brother. He stood in the doorway of the bathroom, not sure what Sam needed most right now. Finally, he asked through the door, "Beer?"

Sam was gripping the sink for a moment before running a hand down his face to wipe off the water. He replied flatly, "Whisky."

Dean smiled his sideways smirk, "Comin' right up. Meet you in there." He knew Sam needed a moment to gather his thoughts. Dean walked into the war room and waited for Sam to join him. Once he did, he procured a beautiful crystal decanter from behind one of the old-fashioned machines surrounding the room. He looked at Sam for a moment, who was staring at the crystal. He shrugged, "Who says I can't have nice things?" He poured a healthy draught of whisky for his brother and one for himself. He handed it off to Sam, then raised his own glass. "Cheers."

Sam reluctantly raised his glass, not feeling that he had anything to "cheers" about. He took a sip and then twirled the liquid in the glass, staring at it for a while before speaking. "Do you have any hunts coming up?" It was his way of asking if it was okay that they were staying here.

Dean put his feet up on the table. "Just finished one. I was thinking about laying low for a while- just taking a break." All this was code for of course- stay as long as you need. They slipped into silence for a while. Finally, Dean broke the ice, knowing Sam would need prompting to actually get to the reason behind his sudden appearance. "You wanna talk about it?"

Sam took a rather large gulp for him. There was a long pause, and Dean's patience was clearly noticed. "She threw a tantrum at the grocery store." Another long gulp and pause, Dean could tell that he was not done. "She...she cried out for Sarah." He finally looked up with water laced eyes. "She wanted her mom…and I can't..." He looked away. "I can't give that to her, Dean."

Dean ran a hand over his hair and down his face. This was so out of his realm. He didn't know what to say or do. He took another sip, then finally said, "Does she...understand? Does she know why...why Sarah's not coming back?" He couldn't bring himself to say outright that she was dead. It was just too much and he didn't want to risk pushing Sam over the edge. He'd been down this road when Sam had lost Jessica all those years ago, so he was no stranger to a grieving Sam. But with his daughter involved, it added a whole new layer to the unchartered waters for him.

Sam chuckled more out of frustration than anything. "She's two. How much of this do you think she's really going to understand?" In a very un-Sam gesture, he gulped down the rest of his glass.

Dean reached over and refilled his glass without a second thought before answering honestly, "Dunno. You caught on pretty quickly. But then again, you had Mom for a shorter time." He tossed down another gulp. "Has she asked for Sarah before this?"

Sam shrugged like the answer was obvious. "Of course she has. She asks where her mom is or when she's coming home. It's not as frequent as it was the first week...but today was the first time she called out for her. She was having a tantrum in the middle of the store and I couldn't control it. Emily knew that and she wanted her MOM." He pounded back another huge gulp of whisky.

Dean tried to speak as gently as he can- he was still Dean, after all. "Sammy, she was throwing a fit. She didn't know what she was saying. She was probably just looking for an 'out.' Was she not getting her way?"

Sam subtly nodded, letting Dean know that he'd hit it spot on. He responded quietly, "But Sarah would have known what to do." Because she never froze up in these parenting situations. It was flawless for her.

Dean tilted his head, trying to see if Sam was serious. After realizing that he was, Dean looked into his glass and swirled the contents of it around. After a moment, he spoke, "Do you remember when we were kids, and that time that you cut your knee open on a broken piece of glass in a parking lot at a motel?"

Sam slightly chuckled, having no idea where he was going with this, but he welcomed the distraction. "You mean the broken beer bottle?"

"Yeah, that one. You were probably like...four? I think? Anyways, you were freaking out. There was blood all over your leg. I took you into the motel bathroom to try to clean it up. And you remember me making up that stupid little rhyme about the broken glass, where I kept saying 'ass' and making you laugh?" Dean took a drink while smiling, thinking about that memory. "You remember that?"

Sam did faintly recall the memory. He hadn't remembered Dean's choice of words, but he did remember the feeling of being cheered up by his big brother. He nodded. "Yeah, I remember."

"Do you think I had a freaking clue what I was doing then? Nope. I only knew I had to help you out- get you distracted, keep you from crying. And it worked." He took another sip. "So what makes you think Sarah would've had it all figured out? That she would have known what to do about Emily's tantrum? Dude, I hate to burst your bubble, but she was making it up- just like you. She was damn good at it- I'll give you that. But kids don't come with a 'how to' manual. You'll figure it out. And I'll help you." It was his necessary big brother speech that he had to get out.

Sam really let the words sink. He'd never thought about it that way. Dean had always had the answer to everything. He'd known how to fix it all without breaking a sweat. "So you're telling me to make everything up as I go?" He laughed at how it sounded. To him, that was the worst possible scenario. Sam planned. He couldn't 'make it up' as he went along with his daughter. He liked to know what was coming and what to do. But then again, when had his life ever been like that? No. He'd always had to make everything up on the go, so parenting wasn't going to be any different. "I guess that's how it'll be then." He was starting to realize that he didn't have any other choice. Hating the sudden epiphany, he drowned himself in more whisky.

"Sam- look. I know you hate making it up on the fly. But whatever you're doing- it's right. All you have to do is take one look at that curly haired kid. She's awesome." He sniffed and got a fake pompous look on his face. "Probably gets that from me, but I'm sure you've had a little influence on her." He grinned as he sipped again.

Sam shook his head and chuckled at the usual Dean comments. So he threw it back at him with his own cocky grin, momentarily forgetting about the pain. "You said you'd help. Guess that means you're in diaper duty this week."

Dean about choked on his drink. He came back up with a rogue grin. "Hey- if she wasn't having a tantrum about a loaded diaper, that's still on you, buddy. I'll take care of everything else." They drank in a comfortable silence again, before Dean broke the ice again. "How are you doing?"

Sam's smile slowly faded at the question. He hated talking about himself, especially in such a vulnerable state, but he had to have known the question would eventually come up. He thought through his response, wanting to be truthful to his brother now. "I've been better." There was a pause and when he turned to look at Dean, his eyes reflected how he felt. "I know we will be okay." It was because he'd finally accepted he wasn't okay. He'd made himself open up to his brother's help. Dean would help pull them through this. He had to because Sam wasn't sure he could do it himself.

Dean reached over and slapped a hand down on Sam's knee. "I know you will be too. You can stay as long as you need, man. I can handle the noise." He grinned, but the truth of it was that Dean hated it, being here by himself. He needed the sounds, the knowledge that there was another human being nearby, so he didn't feel abandoned. But he didn't think about that. Right now, it was all about Sam and what Sam needed. "You want to try to make Em her own room here? Or do you want her with you?"

"It's a nice idea but I can't trust her in any room alone here. There are literal ticking bombs just waiting to go off." He threw in a chuckle. But it was really just an excuse so he didn't have to be here alone. He'd rather have her close for comfort.

"Hey! I got all the bombs." Dean took a drink, but just before he tilted the glass towards his mouth, he muttered, "...I think." He finished off his glass and poured himself another. "Yeah, it's probably better that she's with you. I'll try to keep the hookers away from her." Dean grinned, clearly teasing him.

Sam shook his head with a lighthearted laugh. "She catches a hooker around here, that's something you'll have to explain."

He quipped, "I got no problem with that. You're the one who'll have a problem with my graphic explanation. I'll use drawings." He chuckled before taking a long sip. Looking into his glass, he quietly commented, "I miss this, man."

"What, whisky? Isn't this your bedtime ritual?" He took a mouthful of his own, nearing the bottom of his second glass.

Dean snickered, but swirled his glass around. "Naw man. You. I miss having you around here. I know you're doing what's best for Emily- I can't deny that. I just...whatever. I'm just glad you knew where to come." After another pause, he added, "So why now? Why not a week ago when you were lying through your teeth to me that you were fine?"

Sam smiled at his brother's confession and for a moment he felt bad inside. This was the first time he'd been here in more than two years. He'd never wanted to bring Emily or Sarah around this part of his life but today he had no choice. "Glad we're still welcome here." He gulped whisky as he prepared his own confession, the alcohol clearly taking effect. "We came because I didn't think I could hold it together anymore. A week ago, I was trying my damnest to be okay…trying to hold it together for Emily. She deserves that. And after today...all I wanted to do was find a way to bring her back for Emily. It's all I WANT to do. It's an urge coursing through my veins and I'm not sure I could fight it on my own, Dean. That's why we are here….so I don't…so I don't go down that road."

Dean froze, the glass half way to his mouth. "'Bring her back'?" There was a warning tone in his voice. Not harsh, but more like 'you better not be thinking what I think you're thinking'.

"My daughter cried out for her. Wouldn't doing anything possible to fix it cross your mind?" His eyes were begging Dean to challenge his –flawed- logic. Dean had been down a very similar road himself with Sam years and years ago, so he couldn't be one to judge.

Dean carefully put his glass down, choosing his words. "Yes. But we both know how that ends. And you've got someone who needs you- badly. Even more so than I did."

"I know that." He was overly aware of how he was needed now. "That's why we came here. I couldn't make my mind stop reeling with ideas, so I had to get out of that house, get away from the memories. So, we came here because I knew you'd talk me down from the edge." He gave his brother a soft glance, his eyes showing how much he needed the support.

Dean smiled, relieved that Sam made the right call. He snorted under his breath. "Well. That's a change, eh? Usually we're trying to fight over letting each other drop into the abyss." He finished off his second glass, but just let the empty tumbler sit on the table for a moment. He leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. "Sammy...look. I'm not gonna give you the speech. Okay? You know what happens when we try to raise the dead. We've both been there enough. I know it's tempting, man. And I can't even begin to know what this feels like for you, alright? I know that. But we're in a totally different league now, dude. There's a kid involved. And not just any kid- your kid. Those kinds of ideas aren't an option anymore- and I don't mean you can't do them. I mean- they aren't an option. And you need to get that through your head before I let you step foot outside of this bunker. You get me?" There was a side to Dean that always felt he had to protect Sammy, even though his 'kid' brother now had a kid of his own.

Sam's eyes welled up with tears from the onslaught of emotion. He knew he wanted to bring her back, even if it was just to have one final goodbye, but there was no way it could happen. And Dean saying out loud what his inner monologue had been saying all along really hit home. He tried to wish the tears away as he smiled. "Well, we may be here a while." Healing was going to take more time than he knew.

"Good. 'Cause I ain't lettin' you out until I'm convinced. Big brother prerogative, you know." Dean grinned and poured another round. "Are you going to be able to remote in for work? On the Twitter – Face – thing?"

Sam gladly took another sip of the liquid, already feeling the first two glasses. But he didn't mind-not tonight. He laughed at Dean's question. "I think Em knows more about technology than you do." Dean would never learn, but maybe one day his daughter would have the necessary patience to teach him about technology. Then Sam truly responded, "No, they gave me a month of leave, so it's been nice to have a break. Emily's going to be excited tomorrow when she really realizes you're here."

Dean chuckled, already looking forward to corrupting his niece. "You think she'll like this place?"

"Oh I'm sure she will love it. She likes to run around and explore, which is why we need to lock up some of the rooms." That was the last thing he needed, his kid finding the torture dungeon. Sam finished off his last glass of whisky in one almighty gulp that put even Dean to shame. "I think it's time to turn in."

Dean held up the decanter, smiling his rogue grin as he swirled the liquid. "Sure I can't tempt you into one more?"

Sam stood up and held his hand out to stop Dean but it actually took him a moment to steady himself. It'd been a very long time since he'd downed that much hard liquor in such a short time. "I need to pace myself to I can keep up with you." He walked over and squeezed his brother's shoulder. "Thanks, man."

Dean chuckled at Sam's stumbling, despite the thanks. "You've gotten soft on me in the 'burbs, Sammy. Come on." He took the hand that was on his shoulder and pulled it around himself, taking some of Sam's weight. "Let's get you to bed, lightweight," he teased as he started to walk towards Sam's room.

Sam let his brother help him for the first time in a while, not having the energy to fend him off. The only come back that fell out was, "Yeah but you're an alcoholic. I can't keep up with that." His dimples shined through.

"Hey- I prefer the term 'liquor enthusiast'." Sam could hear the grin in Dean's voice. They got to the doorway of the room, and Dean carefully reached out to open it, not wanting to wake Emily. He made sure Sam was carefully seated on the edge of the bed before he let him go. "Alright. You sure you're okay?" he asked in a whisper.

But Sam stood right back up and pulled Dean into one of those "I thought you were dead" hugs they'd shared on so many occasions. It was a death grip around him and the whisky let him think it was okay to hold on longer than usual. After a long moment, he finally pulled back and slapped him on the shoulder. "I know we don't say it enough and now I'll never be able to tell Sarah again." There were tears forming behind his eyes. "I love you, man."

Dean was unsure of what to do. Even though he didn't want to admit it, he knew Sam's words were too true to deny. He put his hands on either side of his little brother's face, just like he did on every occasion when he thought he'd lost Sam for good. "I love you too, brother." He gently patted him on the cheek once and dropped his hands before he could do something dumb like cry at the chick flick moment. "Now get some sleep." He laughed lightheartedly. "I'll make sure the coffee's extra strong in the morning."

Sam gave him one last appreciative dimpled grin before gently getting under the covers. He scooted over close to a sleeping Emily, who instantly melted into her father's side.

Once Dean had gently closed the door, he leaned back against the wall, scrubbing his hands down his tired face. He went back into the war room, poured himself another whisky, and then made quick work of removing all the lore books in the library that he knew held spells or incantations to raise the dead. It wasn't that he didn't trust Sam, but to him, leaving those books there taunting his brother was the same as leaving a pack of cigarettes in the room with a recovering smoker. He quickly dumped the books into a closet and locked it, dropping the key into his pocket. Another quick swing and listen by Sam's door, making sure he wasn't in distress, and he headed to bed himself.

Sam closed his eyes and for the first time in many, many days, he fell asleep without tears and an empty feeling in his pit. Emily slept right into Sam's side the whole night, subconsciously sensing his presence and feeling at peace. He had his arm wrapped around her protectively like he would never let her go. He was going to protect her forever- come hell or high water.


The End.