Summary: AUish Tag to 9x16, "Blade Runners" – Hurt Sam / Big Brother Dean – Dean sighed harshly and turned in his chair, preparing to lay into his brother...and then abruptly changing his mind when he actually saw his brother. Because Sam was standing there...but he was barely on his feet as his blood covered everything.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Spoilers for Season Nine and usual language
A/N: I see a knife wound in Sam's neck and just have to make it bleed...a lot.
All of these hard times can't change the way I feel 'bout you now. ~ The Lone Bellow
Dean tensed as he heard Sam approach from behind, his annoyance instantly flaring at his brother's intrusion.
Because after they had finally returned to the bunker, Dean thought he had made it clear that he wanted to be left alone.
Dean had even clarified his instructions to Sam as they had stood in the map room, his brother blinking at him from the opposite side of the glowing table.
"You hear me?"
Sam had said nothing – his concerned expression having said it all – but had nodded his understanding before he had turned, disappearing down the hallway.
Dean had watched him go and then had promptly opened a new bottle of whiskey, discarding the cap and not even bothering with a glass since he planned to finish the whole damn thing before morning.
And now, almost an hour later, Dean was well on his way to accomplishing that goal as he camped out in the library, leaning back in his chair and staring at the half empty bottle on the table.
Feeling pleasantly buzzed as he allowed the liquor to calm the lingering rage ignited by the Mark of Cain; to soothe the residual shakiness. The alcohol effectively numbing all the different emotions pulsing through him...except the uncertainty, the fear.
Those two remained, tightening his chest as Dean wondered just what the hell he was becoming.
Because he had felt so fucking powerful back at Magnus's place.
In that moment, with the Mark and the Blade reunited, Dean had felt strong enough to handle anything...and lethal enough to kill anything.
It had been both exhilarating and terrifying.
And god help him...but Dean was already jonesing for another hit.
Was already craving that rush, needing that sense of absolute control, that high that accompanied the level of power and strength he had felt with the Blade in his hand.
He needed it.
Like an addict needed his drug of choice.
Dean needed to feel that lethal euphoria.
But thanks to Crowley, the Blade was gone.
And the Mark was useless without it.
...which left Dean trying to quench a new thirst by substituting the remedy for an old one.
He refocused on the whiskey bottle and reached for it, having enjoyed becoming reacquainted with a lifelong friend over the past hour – just him and Jack.
But now Sam was inviting himself to the party – deliberately disturbing Dean's tenuous peace – and Dean was pissed at the interruption.
Because whatever his brother had in mind, Dean wasn't in the mood for it.
He wasn't in the mood to talk...or to stare at each other in heavy silence...or to ignore each other in even heavier silence.
In fact, Dean wasn't in the mood to even be in the same room as his brother, which was why he had told Sam to leave him the hell alone.
But since Dean knew that Sam was ultimately going to do whatever the fuck Sam wanted to do, he also wasn't surprised to feel his little brother standing behind him, staring at him.
Dean shook his head, swearing under his breath before he took a swig of whiskey and swallowed it down, savoring the slow burn.
"What do you want, Sam?"
Sam didn't respond but shifted where he stood, sounding more anxious than impatient...and maybe even a little unsteady.
Dean frowned, feeling a twinge of worry.
Because except for being tired, there was no reason Sam should sound – or be – unsteady.
After all, Dean was the one who had been drinking, not Sam.
Sam had spent the majority of the past hour in the bathroom, cleaning up and administering first aid to the two cuts Magnus had sliced into him.
Between long sips of whiskey, Dean had listened to his brother down the hall; vaguely wondering what the hell was taking Sam so long...especially since the wounds had not appeared deep and were no longer even bleeding when Sam had left the map room.
But as usual, Sam had taken his sweet time – doing things his way – and now that he was finally done, he had decided to invade Dean's space.
Because obviously Sam thrived on annoying the ever-living-shit out of his big brother.
Dean sighed, freshly irritated by Sam's presence...and his silence.
"Either say something or leave," Dean snapped, the whiskey sloshing as he tipped the bottle to his lips, taking another swallow of liquor. "I told you that I didn't want to be bothered."
"I know," Sam replied, his voice quiet; sounding as if it had taken him too much effort to say just those two words. "But I...I think I need your help."
Dean snorted as his mood plunged even darker.
Because of course...of course Sam was only there because he needed something from Dean.
But what about what Dean needed?
What about what Dean had said earlier about needing to be left the hell alone?
What about that, Sam?
Dean sighed harshly, setting the bottle on the table as he turned in his chair, preparing to lay into his brother...and then abruptly changing his mind when he actually saw his brother.
Because Sam was standing there...but he was barely on his feet. His left hand braced against the table to hold himself steady while his right hand pressed a towel to his neck...and his blood covered everything.
The towel, his hand, his neck, his shoulder, half his arm...
The blood having saturated Sam's t-shirt and was now trickling off the sleeve as Dean watched; the red rivulet sliding to the tip of the kid's elbow before dripping on the floor.
"Oh my god..." Dean blurted and was out of his chair in the next second, instantly sober; his irritation and anger swept away as worry and panic flooded his chest.
Sam blinked at him, detached.
"What the hell, Sam?" Dean demanded, closing the gap between him and his brother. "This wasn't bleeding an hour ago," he unnecessarily pointed out, gesturing at Sam's neck. "Hell, you didn't even bleed this bad when it first happened..."
"I know," Sam agreed, looking pale and sounding weak; breathless from the past hour of battling against his own body. "I don't know what's wrong. It just...started. And now it won't stop."
"No shit," Dean remarked, his tone sharp with concern.
Because Sam's blood was everywhere.
"Let me see..." Dean urged, his voice softer as he nudged Sam's hand away from the wound; feeling his brother's blood slick across his own skin as he peeled back the towel and narrowed his eyes, inspecting the slice in Sam's neck, compliments of Magnus's knife.
Dean glared at the thought – smirking at the reminder that he had killed that arrogant sonuvabitch...human or not – and then glanced at the other cut on Sam's cheek; thankful that while it was inflamed and slightly swollen, it was not still bleeding.
But this cut in Sam's neck...
It was out of control.
Like someone had turned on the proverbial faucet, so Sam's life could gush out of him.
Dean glared again, remembering Magnus's words to Sam and wondering if that little hocus-pocus asshat had performed some kind of spell; had cast something over Sam – or over the knife he had used to cut Sam – and then had somehow delayed its activation.
Some kind of spell that would lull them into thinking everything was fine...until Sam started bleeding profusely for no fucking reason.
Kind of a backup plan to finish the job in case Dean finished Magnus first.
It was possible.
Anything was possible with a lunatic who liked to dabble in magic and other supernatural realms.
Dean sighed – determined to stay calm and focused – and dabbed at the blood covering Sam's neck as he tried to actually see the injury beneath all the red.
Sam continued to stand there, tilting his head back to give Dean a better view...and then stumbling when the angle made him dizzy.
Dean frowned as Sam suddenly listed backwards. "Whoa..." he commented, grabbing his brother's arm and holding him steady. "Don't go passing out on me, Sam."
Dean pulled a face. "Yeah," he drawled. "That's why you're blinking at me like that..."
The way Sam always did right before he passed out.
Dean shook his head at his stubborn little brother. "C'mere..." he called and steered Sam to the chair Dean had been sitting in earlier. "Sit," he ordered, settling his brother in the seat. "And stay," he added, giving the kid a pointed look.
Sam blinked up at him, his long legs sprawled beneath the table as he slouched in the chair; looking too weak and too hazy to go anywhere under his own steam.
Dean held Sam's gaze, trying to ignore the amount of blood that absolutely covered the right side of his little brother.
"Here..." he told Sam, returning the blood-soaked towel to Sam's neck and guiding Sam's hand up to hold it in place over the wound. "I'm gonna get fresh supplies from the bathroom so I can fix this."
Because that's what Dean did – he fixed Sam no matter how shitty things were between them, no matter how hopeless the situation seemed.
"You gonna be okay for me to leave for a minute?"
Sam swallowed and then hummed his response, as if talking or nodding was too much effort.
Dean nodded for him. "Okay. Sit tight..."
And with that, Dean was jogging from the room, noticing the trail of red spots on the floor as Sam had bled all the way down the hall...and then pausing in the bathroom's doorway when he saw the blood-splattered counter and sink.
"Jesus..." Dean breathed, feeling a stab of guilt that his brother had tried to handle this crisis by himself for the past hour because Dean couldn't be bothered.
That's what they had come to?
Not now, Sam. Go quietly bleed out by yourself and leave me alone.
Dean cringed at his inner dialogue and then shook his head, reminding himself that now was not the time to feel anything except urgency.
He nodded and fully entered the bathroom, shoving scattered first aid supplies back in the kit, then closing the lid with one hand while snatching fresh towels with the other.
Barely a minute later, Dean was back in the library; his heart sinking when he saw Sam's closed eyes and boneless posture.
Sam's hand no longer on his neck but resting in his lap.
The towel on the floor.
The blood still flowing.
"No..." Dean growled, dumping the supplies on the table – and not even noticing the whiskey bottle as it clunked on its side and spilled its liquor across the shiny surface.
Dean grasped Sam's shoulder, the fabric of Sam's t-shirt wet with blood.
"Sam..." Dean called, shaking his brother. "Hey!" he yelled, crisply snapping his fingers within inches of Sam's face. "Look at me!"
Sam's startle reflex was delayed and sluggish – but it was there – and Dean sighed in relief as his brother blinked at him.
"Don't talk," Dean admonished, grabbing one of the fresh towels from the table and pressing it firmly against the wound in Sam's neck.
Sam grunted in pain, feebly trying to squirm away.
"Be still," Dean ordered, resting his hand on Sam's chest while the other continued to apply pressure to the cut that was deeper than Dean remembered.
Sam winced but settled beneath Dean's touch, completely sprawled in the seat with his head resting on the back of the chair.
Dean frowned as Sam closed his eyes. "Sam. Stay with me."
Sam hummed a response, indicating he was still conscious but didn't possess the energy to keep his eyes open.
Dean nodded, understanding that level of weakness...even though a few hours ago he had felt the strongest he had ever felt in his entire life.
Dean glanced at his arm – the edge of the Mark visible under the hem of his sleeve – and suddenly wished it was able to heal instead of destroy.
That he could just touch the Mark to Sam's neck and seal his brother's wound.
But no...Sam's neck was still bleeding despite the amount of pressure Dean was applying, his arm beginning to cramp from the rigid position.
Dean sighed and forced himself to press down even harder.
Sam moaned. "D'n..."
"I know," Dean soothed, feeling his brother's frantic heartbeat in his neck...which was not helping the situation. "Hey, man. Relax. Sammy..."
Dean rubbed his thumb over Sam's sternum as his left hand remained splayed in the center of Sam's chest, steadying his brother in the chair.
"Try to relax, man. You're okay."
Sam swallowed but didn't respond.
A few seconds passed.
"Are you okay?"
Dean shifted his attention from Sam's neck to his face, surprised to see Sam squinting up at him...and to feel the spark of instant bitterness.
He snorted at the question.
"What's it to you...partner?"
Sam's reaction was delayed but he twitched a tired smile; the expression a flicker of the way people looked when they knew they deserved something, when they felt a well-aimed but poorly timed jab.
Dean clenched his jaw, feeling both validated and disgusted with himself.
Because now was not the time to air hurt feelings.
Not when Sam's blood was staining everything.
Not when Sam could be bleeding out from some kind of sneaky, fucked-up spell performed by an equally sneaky, fucked-up man.
Dean sighed, refocusing his attention to Sam's neck; doubling over the towel and pressing even harder.
Sam didn't seem to notice. "S'okay," he murmured instead, staring at Dean with half-closed eyes. "I know that hurt you."
What he had said several months ago about him and Dean working as partners, not brothers.
Sam knew that had hurt Dean, could still see his brother's wounded expression.
"But..." Sam swallowed, flinching as Dean repositioned the towel. "You know...I was pissed when I said it. And I didn't mean it."
Dean said nothing, though he did know that Sam had been angry and hurt as well; his little brother lashing out in response to what he had done...the tricking and the lying.
Dean kept his attention on Sam's neck, now clasping one hand over the other to further increase the pressure against the wound.
The blood still flowing...but not quite as freely as before.
Dean nodded his approval, willing it to stop.
Sam's eyes closed, then opened...then drifted to Dean's arm, blinking at the Mark of Cain within inches of his face.
"I know how it feels."
Dean arched an eyebrow at the comment, following Sam's gaze to his arm.
"Not that," Sam clarified, his words slightly slurred.
Because he didn't know how the Mark of Cain felt.
"But I know how...how it feels to have your arm glow."
Sam twitched a loopy smile, amused by the weird conversations only he and Dean could have together.
"And I know..." Sam continued, his voice breathy and lilting. "I know what it's like to...to feel powerful...to feel so powerful you scare yourself. But you don't care. 'Cause it...it just feels so good...and you just...you just want more."
Dean stared at his brother, knowing Sam was referring to his former addiction to demon blood...and not wanting to talk about it.
Not wanting to talk about the similarities between that and the Mark.
"Sam – "
" – you don't hafta talk 'bout it," Sam interrupted, seeming to read his brother's thoughts as he weakly shifted in the chair. "M' just sayin'...I know how it feels...an' you...you're not alone in this. No matter what I said...we are brothers...an' I got...I got your back, D'n. 'Kay? I got y'back..."
Dean felt his eyes sting; something twisting in his chest at Sam's words, at Sam's expression – the kid too weak to be anything but open and honest.
Dean's little brother barely conscious from the effects of blood loss...but stubbornly blinking long enough to keep awake; to apologize and reassure his big brother.
You're not alone in this.
We are brothers.
I got your back.
Dean swallowed against the emotions threatening to choke him and smiled softly at Sam.
"You're not alone either, Sammy," he assured. "I'm right here, watching your back. And you are not bleeding out on my watch."
In fact, Dean could feel his brother's blood continuing to slow; its flow noticeably reduced as it finally, finally stopped seeping from beneath the towel and started to clot beneath the pressure.
The kind of pressure that Sam couldn't apply to himself but needed Dean to supply.
Just as Sam had offered the kind of reassurance and support that Dean couldn't offer himself.
One brother needing the other.
Both brothers needing each other.
It was just the way they worked.
Dean nodded, wondering why it always took some kind of crisis for them to get their heads out of their asses.
There was a beat of silence.
Sam still sprawled in the chair as Dean maintained the pressure against Sam's neck, tending to his brother the way he always did.
The way he always would.
Dean smiled as Sam blinked at him.
"M'gonna save you," Sam mumbled, the comment seemingly random but his gaze surprisingly focused as he stared up at his big brother. "M'gonna save you, D'n. Promise."
Dean paused, touched by Sam's words, and then frowned, shaking his head. "Save me from what, Sam?"
"Yourself," Sam whispered before closing his eyes, trusting Dean to take care of him as he finally gave in to the darkness that beckoned.
Dean's smile returned, soft and tender and maybe even a bit sappy.
Because this was the little brother he knew.
This was the little brother he had missed.
This was the little brother he loved.
This kid right here.
Dean's smile lingered. "I hope you can, Sammy..." he murmured about his brother saving him from the darkness building within and continued to hold his hand over Sam's neck.
In the morning, the crisis would be over.
But the battle would be just beginning.