Mom’s down the hall and they shouldn’t, but Dean can’t help himself, takes Sam to bed and undresses him slowly and runs his fingers over every cut and blister and bruise. The soles of Sam’s feet are in ribbons, sliced deep and ingrained with dirt. Dean sponges them carefully, dresses them and binds them and then looks up low along Sam’s body to his brother’s face, his closed eyes, the stubble-shadowed line of his jaw. Dean brushes his lips over Sam’s bandaged foot, slides his dry palm up the inside of Sam’s calf, presses a kiss to the soft skin behind his knee.

“Hey,” Sam says, throaty; not asleep. His hand strokes feather-light over the back of Dean’s head.

Dean crawls up Sam’s body, careful careful not to hurt him. When their faces are level he stops, poised on all fours, his shins tucked neat against Sam’s hips and his hands beside his brother’s shoulders, dug deep into the bed. Sam looks up at him, serious. There’s a cut scabbing over high on his cheekbone, purple-green bruises blurring the skin. His hair is still damp, floral-sweet with shampoo. Dean’s chest aches. He wants to swallow Sam up, consume him completely, keep him safe inside.

“Hey,” Dean says.

Sam closes his eyes. A tell-tale drop spills over, runs down into the shell of his ear. “I thought,” he says, and leaves the rest of the sentence unspoken.

“Yeah,” says Dean through the lump in his throat. “Yeah, I know.” He slides his knees back, lowers his weight until he’s resting mostly on Sam, Sam’s body warm and strong and solid underneath him. “Sam,” he says, and he cups his hands around the back of Sam’s head and kisses him, thorough and slow.