Summary: AU tag set between 5x21 and 5x22 – Severely Hurt Sam, Worried Big Brother Dean, Awesome Bobby – Dean frowned, seeing Sam half a second before he saw the car that would hit him.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Warnings: Language, a life-changing injury, and spoilers for season five.

A/N: If the last few months have taught me anything, it's that life can change in an instant. And most times, you won't even see it coming.

Life is anything but fair. ~ Kaleo

As with most things in their life, this was never supposed to happen.

It was just a regular hunt.

The brothers splitting up to cover more territory as they tracked the shapeshifter through town on foot, hoping to corner it before it could change into someone else; hoping to kill it before it could kill someone else.

And this was finally their chance.

After being on the case for almost a week, this was their chance to put a silver bullet through its heart and move on.

Because they had other shit to do.

A devil to trap, an apocalypse to stop...

Important, world-saving shit to do.

But this had been just a regular hunt – a break – and both brothers had agreed it was what they needed to regroup and reconnect before the big impending showdown in Detroit.

So they had headed to Geneva Falls, Wisconsin...which was an unusual location for a shifter – and just further proof the entire world was fucked up with Lucifer on the loose and the apocalypse looming

But here they were.

And this was their chance to kill one more evil sonuvabitch before going back home to Bobby's and finalizing their plans for the ultimate endgame – returning Lucifer to his cage.

"Follow him down the alley," Dean told his brother, pointing in the direction the shifter had disappeared. "I'll circle around the block and head him off."

Sam nodded at the plan and rounded the corner.

Dean headed in the opposite direction, dodging pedestrians and traffic as he zig-zagged from sidewalk to street...and then back to sidewalk.

He squinted as he ran, the streetlights and the headlights both illuminating and distorting with their harsh glare.

But up ahead, Dean clearly saw his brother.

Sam suddenly appearing as the alley emptied into the street.

Dean frowned, seeing his kid half a second before he saw the car that would hit him.

And there was no time.

No time to call out to Sam.

No time to reach Sam before impact.

No time to take Sam's place.

The car was heading straight for Dean's little brother.

The driver not seeming to realize there was a person in the street.

Sam looked disoriented as well, startled by where the alley had unexpectedly emptied and momentarily blinded by the flood of lights from above and all around.

Trying to gain his bearings, Sam turned slightly – sensing danger as he had been trained to do – and looked confused...then horrified when he realized what was about to happen.

In the next instant, the car struck him.

"Sam!" Dean yelled, watching as his brother's body was flung in the air before landing on the hood of the car...and then staying there.

The driver predictably panicked upon impact, overcorrecting and steering wildly as the car jumped the sidewalk's curb.

People screamed and scattered like ants, their Friday night out on the town suddenly interrupted by a careening car.

Tables and chairs toppled like bowling pins.

The car's tires squealed; the unmistakable stench of burnt rubber filling the air as the wheels skidded across the concrete when the driver braked hard and fast before slamming into the brick wall of a local pizza joint.

Sam's body followed the momentum, flopping back into the wall and then landing once again on the car's hood.

"Oh my god..." Dean murmured at what he had just witnessed and at the sight of his brother now pinned between the car's crumpled bumper and the building's crumbling wall. "Sam!" he yelled again and hauled ass, pushing stunned bystanders out of his fucking way as he raced to reach his kid.

The street around him was chaos.

Some of the pizza joint's customers crying hysterically at the near-miss, the car having almost hit them while they had dined on the sidewalk.

Others just stared, speechless.

A few of the more heroic witnesses were beginning to make their way over to the wrecked car; calling out orders to dial 911, to check the driver, to check the guy sprawled motionless on the hood.

But no...the guy on the hood was Dean's – and the big brother made that clear as he approached.

"Stay the fuck away from him! Don't touch him!" Dean growled, shoving away the two men who were reaching for Sam.

The men froze and stared at the newcomer, startled by the hostility in the stranger's voice and body language.

"I'm his brother," Dean told them and crouched, lowering himself to be eye-level with Sam as the kid laid on the hood of the car. "Sammy..."

And thank god Sam was conscious.

But Sam didn't respond, obviously in shock as he blinked slowly at Dean.

Dean's heart pounded as his gaze swept over his injured little brother. "It's okay. You're okay," he soothed, determined not to freak out as he quickly triaged his kid, taking in the amount of blood covering Sam's face from where his head had impacted the car's windshield.

Sam watched with a detached stare as Dean snatched off his outer shirt, using the fabric to carefully clear the blood from Sam's face so he could better see his brother.

"Help's coming, Sam," Dean promised, already hearing the sirens in the distance.

Sam just blinked at him; his breath beginning to wheeze, beginning to fucking gurgle in his throat.

And Dean knew that sound.

Had heard it more times than he cared to remember.

The death gurgle.

The sound of blood rising to choke his kid.

Blood from the massive internal injuries Sam must have sustained when he was hit by a fucking car.

Dean glanced to his left as rage surged through him, seeing the driver on the opposite side of the shattered windshield and wanting to hit her with his car.

Just ram the bitch with the Impala – over and over – and call it even.

But the woman was fine.

Barely a scratch.

Dean could see that as she was eased from the driver's seat by multiple pairs of hands; everyone urging her to be careful as she unsteadily stood, bracing herself on the edge of the car door.

She swallowed, staring at Sam in shocked disbelief before her attention flickered to Dean, holding his gaze and opening her mouth to speak.

But Dean spoke first.

"Not one fucking word," he hissed, not interested in her apologies.

Because her words weren't going to help Sam, weren't going to put Dean's little brother back together.

Dean glared at the woman until she looked away and then refocused on the only thing that mattered – Sammy.

"You're okay," Dean repeated, his knees beginning to ache as he continued to crouch on the sidewalk beside the wrecked car.

The big brother still using his shirt to dab at the blood that trickled from Sam's forehead – the blood that matted the kid's bangs and seeped into the corners of his eyes and streaked over his cheeks and down his neck.

Blood and bruises and scratches everywhere...and that was just the damage Dean could see.

He didn't even want to think about the kind of damage that was inside his little brother, the kind of trauma Sam's organs had sustained...or what this meant for the kid's legs trapped beneath the car.

Dean glanced down at the thought, seeing his brother's bloody, tattered jeans on the other side of the tire and knowing Sam's left leg shouldn't bend that way.

At best, it was broken.

At worst...

Dean briefly closed his eyes – refusing to allow himself to go there – and returned his attention to Sam's face.

The big brother clenching his jaw against the fear and anger that burned hot, against the panic that threatened to suffocate him.

Because this was bad.

This was really fucking bad.

And this had been his idea.

Sending Sam down the alley had been Dean's idea.

And this was the result – Sam possibly dying, possibly bleeding out as he was sandwiched between a car and a brick wall.

Dean felt a stab of guilt even as he smiled at his brother, keeping his touch light as he smoothed the kid's blood-soaked hair away from his battered face.

"Everything's gonna be okay, Sammy."

Dean refused to believe any other option, any other outcome.

Because they had weathered a really shitty year but were finally back on track, had finally regained their trust in each other and had reconnected as brothers.

Their relationship recovered, their bond stronger than ever.

And Dean refused to believe this was how it was going to end – that his brother was going to be snatched away from him by some never-saw-it-coming accident.

Sam inhaled a wet, shaky breath and coughed, spraying the car's hood with blood.

So much blood.

Dean inwardly freaked-the-fuck-out but kept his expression neutral as he refolded his shirt, using the unstained fabric on the opposite side to wipe his brother's lips.

"You're gonna be okay," Dean whispered, the words becoming a prayer.

You're gonna be okay.

You're gonna be okay.

Please, please let him be okay.

Sam's fingers twitched. "D..."

"I'm right here," Dean assured and gently grasped his brother's left hand, feeling Sam's blood smear across his palm as he laced their fingers and squeezed. "Right here, little brother."

Sam coughed again, choking on the blood clogging his throat. He swallowed audibly and wheezed another breath. "M-my..."

"Shhh..." Dean hushed. "Don't try to talk, Sam. Just try to relax." if it was that easy.

As if it was even possible.

As if a person could just relax as his broken body sprawled over the warm hood of the car that had just plowed into him.

Sam's breath once again gurgled in his throat. Dean's kid drowning in his own blood but still holding Dean's gaze...along with his big brother's hand.

Dean tightened his grip around Sam's fingers, glancing at the ambulance as it arrived on the scene and then refocusing on his brother. "You're gonna be okay."