A/N: Tag to Adventures in Babysitting, so some minor spoilers. Takes place between the rescue and the visit in the hospital. Yes, I know, I own you all a chapter of Snark, and a few others but I REALLY needed a little hurt and more to the point comfort after this week. It just screamed for a moment between the boys. Now, for some reason Dean won't talk to me at all, so this is Sam's POV. A special thank you to Merisha.

Antidote for a Wounded Soul

The ambulance is disappearing into the night, the lights reflecting on the buildings as it races towards the distant hospital with the victim of the "pit bull" attack in it. Dean sighs as it turns a corner, moving finally out of sight, only the sounds of the siren left echoing in the cool night air.

"You should be in one of those. You know the poison could kill you," Lucifer says, laughing at me. "Dean's given up on you. I'm the only one who loved you." I ignore him. He's gotten a little louder again, since we lost Bobby, somehow that aching hole of grief was a perfect place for Lucifer to set up base camp. Bite me, I tell him silently and gently brush my hand, grounding me. My neck is throbbing too, that helps. The pain of this world keeps me in it, makes it real. I haven't hurt myself on purpose, but if I do stub my toe on that damn threshold at Bobby's, I don't complain.

There is something wrong, even without Lucifer's comment, I know there is something wrong. "Dean?"

"What?" he growls, sounding exhausted and angry.

"I…" My knees start to give way, there is no way I am going to be able to stop this fall.

"Sammy!" Dean's there, catching me before I hit the ground, concerned eyes meet mine. "What's wrong?"

"Sammy is dyiiiiing, Sammmmmyyyy is dyiiiiiing," Lucifer sing-songs.

"Hey, talk to me!" Dean snaps.

"Feel weird." I swallow and realize the throbbing in my neck is much, much worse. "My neck hurts."

He forces a laugh. "Happens when you get chewed on." Without seeming to strain, Dean lifts me onto my feet and steers me to the car. Opening the passenger door, he shoves me in, tucks my legs in and closes the door. "Stay with me," he says, getting into the other side. "Sam?"

"I told you—you never left hell," Lucifer says poking me in the back of the head.

Fire begins to lick at my body, burning my skin, the pain in my neck becoming the tearing of claws. The rational part of me tells me it's a reaction to the poison. Soulless Sam says I should shoot myself, and Lucifer? He's singing again. I really hate his singing. Soulless Sam has told me quite rationally that this is a reason to blow my brains out, because I cannot possibly know all these songs, so it has to be Lucifer. My Soulless Self is an asshole.

"Hey!" A hand closes over mine, gently putting pressure on the long-healed wound. The flames recede—but not the heat, I must be developing a fever. "Stay with me, Sammy."

"Here," I assure him, reacting to the desperation in my brother's voice.

"Yeah," Dean says. I hear the engine rev up. He is in a hurry to get somewhere.

I am drifting now, I know it. I can't focus and Lucifer kicking the back of the seat is not helping me keep focused. My fever is getting worse, and it is translating into Hellfire burning over my flesh, frying under my skin. Dean's hand squeezes mine, reminding me where I am. It doesn't take away the pain or the fire, just changes them. The window is cool against my head. I let that and Dean's hand keep me safe. Lucifer is singing Oklahoma. For some reason he decided to start with "Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City." It's really annoying.

"Sammy!" Dean yanks the door open and pulls me out of the car. I open my eyes, not even remembering closing them and glance around. We are at a motel, the door to a room already open. "Come on, just get inside." He's carrying most of my weight, I know it. I can feel how heavily I am leaning against him. He manages to get me into the room and heads straight for the bathroom. Once there I am dumped into the shower, my feet and legs dangling over the edge and my butt in the tub. "Sammy?"

"Here," I mumble, or try to, it doesn't make much sense, it's a sound.

"Hang on, I will be right back," Dean says, the desperate edge in his voice reaching a level that indicates panic.

"He won't be, he's gone, it's just you and me now." Lucifer perches on the toilet and kicks one of my legs. "You knew he'd leave your pathetic ass one day." Soulless Sam seems to agree with him. Nice to know part of me is on the side of the hallucinations. For some reason that strikes me as funny and I start to laugh. It hurts, but it's the good hurt, the real world hurt, the excruciating pain of the everyday earth.

"Hey, it's okay." Dean is back, his cool hands on my face. "I need to get to the wound, Sam, do you understand? I have to cut away your shirt, I am not going to hurt you any more than I have to."

"He is so going to cut your throat once and for all," Lucifer says.

":About time," Soulless Sam agrees.

"Bite me," I tell them.

"Sammy?" Dean's hands are shaking.

"S'okay, Dean," I mumble. "Not hurting."

"Here we go, you just stay with me okay?" The panic isn't even hidden anymore, Dean is working towards terror. His hands are shaking, I can feel the trembling through the blade as he cuts the fabric from my body. "Oh, shit."

Now, that might seem a little mild for most people, but from Dean that calm bit of profanity is enough to make my heart race. It means it's bad, crossing the beams bad. "Dean?"

"You're okay, Sammy, you're okay," he says. He has now gone from terror to that calm beyond. He can take care of this, but he is sure things are not going to go well.

"You're toast, Sammy, that's what he's saying and you know it," Lucifer says cheerfully.

"I am washing the wound, Sammy, I have to get the poison out, okay? You've bled most of it out but I have to clean it okay?" Dean's voice has a weird, eerie calm to it. There is something he is not telling me. Of course, the fact that he is in this state is enough to worry me.

I try to open my eyes to reassure him, but they won't open.

"Here we go." Something cold runs over my neck, an instant later it turns to fire. "I know it hurts, it won't hurt long."

Weirdly it doesn't. It gets numb—and that's when it hits me. He's numbing it down to stitch is. How bad can it be to scare him like this? It's not just the poison, there is something else so awful he is terrified.

"Told ya you were dying," Lucifer says, then launches into "I'm Just a Girl Who C'Aint Say No".

Dying does seem like the option right now. There is a strange tingle in my body, robbing me of life. I can feel it ebbing away, flowing out my skin and into the cool of the tub. Soulless Sam thinks it's a good plan. I am just a liability anyway. I start to let myself go.

"Sammy, please." Dean's voice is full of tears, of fear and of grief that will kill him. "Don't."

The request, so softly spoken it is nearly a whisper, stops everything. Lucifer breaks off mid-verse, the tingle slows. I can't leave Dean alone. Not again. Not now. Without a soul I could come up with a thousand reasons to leave him alone—the Soulless Sam still can, but I, Sam, I cannot leave my brother alone. We have been alone too much and he once told me we were all that kept each other human. He's right. Dean's lost so much, so very much, Cas, Bobby, I cannot let him lose me. It's not an option. He needs me at his back.

The tug of a stitch registers in my brain, even though I am mostly out, and another. There must be a huge gash. I really hadn't thought about it. I float and feel the stitches, when he finishes, always talking, I let myself be picked up and helped to something soft—it must be the bed.

"I am right here, Sammy," Dean says.

I slip away into the dark. It's quiet for a long time, no hell, no Lucifer, just a sense I hadn't known for many years that I am safe. For most of my childhood it never occurred to me I wasn't safe. Dean was always there. He was never safe. I wish I could make his world safe, in a way I guess I tried, and more to the point I will go on trying. As I begin to wake I realize Dean has my hand, his thumb pressed gently into the scar, the thing that binds me more firmly to this earth than anything.

Opening my eyes I look up. He is sitting on the edge of the bed, his eyes on my face. "Hey," he says.

"Hey," I answer. "How am I?"

"Not dead."

"Always a good thing," I say, trying for a little laugh.

"Always," Dean says with a choked sob and pulls me into a brief tight hug. "It is always a good thing."

I'm worried about him, so desperately worried, but for now, we are teetering in balance.