Tears form in the corner of my eyes as my baby brother screams my name again followed by frantic screams for help. I pressed my forehead against my knees and started rocking back and forth.
“Go see him, son,” I felt Bobby’s hand on my shoulder.
“I can’t,” tears fell down my cheeks.
“Dean, he’s terrified and hurtin’, and that poor boy is screamin’ for you,” Bobby said.
“You go down before I drag you down myself,” he said, “I’ll bring him down some soup and water in a few minutes.”
After his footsteps faded away, I slowly dragged myself down to the panic room to take care of Sam. When I cracked open the door, he was thrashing and screaming and drenched in sweat, but when he saw me, he lay perfectly still.
“I know why you’re here,” he said sadly and quietly.
“Why am I here, Sammy?” I asked and pulled a chair next to cot.
He looked away from me.
“Hey,” I said, grabbing his chin and forcing him to look up at me, “Why do you think I’m here?”
“You’re going to kill me,” Sam said calmly, “And you’re gonna make my death long and painful. But that’s okay, because I know I deserve it. Hell, I deserve worse than you could ever do to me.”
“Sammy, no,” I said with horror, “I came down to you because I wanted to tell you I was sorry and I came to take care of you. I would never hurt you.”
“Dean hates me,” Sam looked up at me with sad eyes.
“No I don’t, kiddo,” I stroked his sweaty hair out of his face, “I could never hate you.”
“You aren’t real,” a tear fell down his cheek.
I pressed the back of my hand to his forehead, “You’re burning up.”
“I wish you were real,” he leaned into my hand, “You’re like the old Dean, the Dean who would take care of me when I was sick or hurt. I always fought it, but it was nice to know he cared.”
“Of course I-” I was interrupted by a knock on the door.
Bobby came in carrying a tray and handed it to me, then he left me with my little brother. I grabbed the bowl of soup and scooped up a spoonful for Sam.
“You need to eat, Sammy,” I said.
“I’ll only throw it up,” he protested.
I took a minute to place a wet cloth from the tray on his forehead before saying, “Tell you what, you eat half of this bowl, and I’ll let you take a shower, or at least a bath.”
I moved the spoon in front of Sam’s mouth and this time, he swallowed it.
“Good job, Sammy,” I praised him as I fed him nearly half the bowl.
“Gonna be sick,” he muttered.
“No you’re not,” I snuck a hand under his head and rubbed calming circles in his damp neck.
“Shower?” he asked hopefully.
“Nope,” I disagreed, “You are going to take the good stuff and then if you can make it up the stairs, you get a bath.”
“I will force these pills down your throat if I need to,” I warned.
But my stubborn little brother kept his mouth clamped shut and turned his head away even with my threat hanging over him. I pinched his nose shut until he had no choice but to open his mouth for me to push pills and water into. He glared at me, but Sam swallowed anyways.
“Good, little brother,” I gently stroked his hair, “Lets get you nice and clean, now.”
“Don’t think I can stand, De,” Sam pushed his face against my thigh, suddenly docile.
“We gotta get that fever down, kiddo,” I rubbed my thumb over his cheekbone, “It’s okay, I can carry you there.”
Before he could protest, I had unlocked his wrists and ankles and slung his shaking body over my shoulders in a fireman’s hold. I had wanted him to be able to walk up to the bathroom on his own since Sam was far from lightweight, but having his weight on my shoulder was comforting in the fact that I could definitely tell that my baby brother was there and alive.
Luckily, Bobby had already filled the tub with icy water by the time I dumped Sam into it.
“Dean!” he shrieked, “It’s cold!”
I chuckled at his protesting, but held him firmly down in the water until his weak struggling stopped. Cupping a hand over his forehead, I scooped water onto his head. When his body was cooled down enough, the pills had kicked in and sam was passed out.
“Why’d you have to get so big, huh?” I grunted as I picked him up.
But as I tucked him under the covers of his bed, I knew I didn’t really care how big he was, as long as I still had him.