A/N: Oh... to the person who was questioning Sam finding Dean like he did : it was the current of the river. Passed out or not, the current, even slow, would have moved him from where he first fell to a place further downstream. The logs across the river served as a convenient way to get Sam out to him, but also as a break in the ice. The water hitting the logs there was enough to keep it from freezing over. Again, convenient, eh? ;)





Something was trying hard to interrupt his sleep.

Something was succeeding.

Torn between a peaceful dreamless sleep, and the burning need to know what was dragging him from that bliss, Dean floated in the black nothingness a moment more.

His brain registering the noises of the world, and thus far unable to register anything else, he was more inclined to give into sleep. But of course, curiosity coupled with his body's instinctual ascent from unconsciousness, he had no choice but to open his eyes.

Slowly, very slowly, he did, wincing against the brightness that threatened to blind him.

Squinting in the sudden light, he could only wait until his eyes adjusted and he could see normally again.

With roving eyes, he spotted the annoyance that had dragged him from sleep; a heart monitor.

A heart monitor...

Which meant a hospital.

Which meant...


Surprised at how weak and hoarse his voice was, Dean swallowed, realizing how dry his mouth was. And how utterly sore he was. Lying flat on his back was like lying on a bed of fire, and now that he was awake, he was feeling every flame that licked against his skin. His body was aching and throbbing, every inch of him bruised and beaten. His mouth burned and when he opened it to speak he felt his lips crack and the healing skin pull.

Disgusted, he tried to refrain from frowning, disliking the way his wounds threatened to rip again.

Okay, so silence was good for now.

He let his eyes roam his quarters again, past the curtain that blocked off most of the room, and back to the heart monitor. An IV stand behind that caught his eye and he let his eyes trail down the tube to where it was taped to his arm.

Interesting, but it didn't answer any of the questions he had.

For starters, where was he, and how had he gotten there.

And most importantly, where was his brother?

As if someone had finally decided Dean deserved a break, his answer came in the form of the door swinging open.

Dean wanted to shout when he saw Sam, looking a little worse for wear, but alive.

His brother was struggling with the door, pushing it open with his back pressed against the heavy, one hand holding a Styrofoam coffee cup, the other arm encased in a sling.

Dean closed his eyes against tears of relief, but immediately opened them again, unable to tear his eyes away from Sam, living and breathing Sam.

His brother turned around as the door swung shut, his eyes automatically falling on his brother.

First amazement, and then joy crossed his brother's bruised face, and he rushed to Dean's bedside, his coffee cup shoved unceremoniously on the bedside table.

"Dean!" his brother cried, his free hand grasping Dean's.

Normally, Dean would shun this show of affection, but the touch of Sam's warm hand grounded Dean to reality.

"You're awake," Sam said, smiling broadly.

Dean could only nod, any strength he'd had upon waking already gone.

Sam's smile disappeared. "They weren't sure you were gonna wake up."

Dean furrowed his brow.

"You were underwater for a long time," Sam said, sitting down stiffly in a chair that had been sitting at the bedside. "You were unconscious for a few days."

Without hearing it, Dean knew Sam hadn't left his side more than a few minutes at a time during those days.

The poor kid looked exhausted, drawn and so much skinnier than when Dean last saw him. Hell, he probably looked worse, but all that mattered was his brother's pale face, bruises, his arm and that stiff posture. Cracked ribs, no doubt.

As if sensing Dean's need to know what happened, Sam continued, "You weren't breathing when I found you...I thought for sure you were dead. For a while, you were. Good thing Dad taught us CPR, huh?"

His brother's forced laugh made him want to cry.

"I ran to the road," Sam said, looking apologetic. "I didn't really care if Earl was looking for us or not. I'd rather go down fighting than sitting in the woods waiting to freeze to death."

Good boy.

"I got lucky," Sam said, his eyes far away. "I saw a car, and I flagged it down...it was stupid, dumb luck that that cop drove by when he did. He called for help and helped me drag you out of the woods."

At Dean's questioning glance, Sam said, "I told them everything."

Dean squeezed his hand, and Sam looked surprised at that.

He cleared his throat. "They're being tried for attempted murder... and the police are going to dig up every body in that graveyard and get them for every crime they committed."

It was over? Just like that?

It felt too easy, but for now, Dean was content to accept easy.

"I..." Sam trailed off.

At Dean's questioning look, he swallowed, and forced out, "I almost lost you, Dean!"

His eyes softened.

"I almost lost you," Sam repeated. "Don't scare me like that again. Do you really want me behind the wheel of your car? Come on..."

No response.

"You're gonna be okay," Sam continued, sighing. "Hypothermia was the least of your problems, I guess."

Dean tried to smile, and failed horribly.

Licking his lips again, he forced out, "What's a few scars?"

Sam laughed, biting down on his lips. "The chicks dig it, right?"

Dean nodded once.

Scars were only proof that you were alive. Proof that you got through worse. Maps of survival on the skin.

In time, they would fade. Maybe the memories wouldn't, but he wouldn't worry about that.

Not now.

Right now, he had some living to do.

Starting with a vacation.

Yeah, Sam could use a break.




A/N : Okay, I know, the last chapter is short and rather dull. But after all that, to put them through any more bad stuff would just drag out the plot. Trust me, I had a few ideas, like you all thought of making the cop on their side? But ... no. The poor boys have been through enough. A little closure is all we need.

I hope you all enjoyed it, but the ride's come to an end...


Ask not for whom the bell tolls...

It tolls for thee...

A/N 2 :

Though, I doooo have a few ideas floating around in my twizzisted noggin!

Anyone want some new stories:P