Author's Notes: Many thanks to Amy for the plot bunny and for beta'ing this silliness, and thanks to all the kids on my Yahoo mailing list. This is named after Metallica's song, of course, but it would be against the rules to post the lyrics. (grin)


He was running through the darkened streets, the sound of his sneakers beating a hurried rhythm in the night. His lungs burned and hot sweat dripped down his spine, creeping below the waistband of his jeans. His muscles ached with fatigue- but Sam wouldn't give up.

Dean was out there somewhere, scared and alone.

The moon glinted off the dirty glass windows as he passed the abandoned office buildings. Dim streetlights were placed along the sidewalk periodically, but they were few and far between and offered only minor assistance in lighting his path. The air was cold and smelled of smog and exhaust fumes.

But still Sam pushed on.

They had been hunting a creature of the night- an estranged form of zombie-slash-vampire that had already killed nine people- when they'd gotten lucky and come across a hot lead. The brothers had followed the trail to the thing's home turf- an abandoned part of downtown Santa Fe. Sam had grown uneasy when the Impala died and he became downright nervous when the flashlights and cell phones died. They were on their own, and their prey knew the territory a lot better than they did.

It felt as if they were close to becoming the prey themselves.

Then they'd caught a glimpse of it- a tall, bulky shape vanishing around the corner of what used to be a phone company building. Sam's hand tightened around the grip of his .45 before Dean shoved him, motioning for Sam to go around the right side of the building as Dean took the left.

They'd separated, and that was the last he'd seen of his brother.

Sam's foot splashed in a deep puddle of dark water and his shoe was instantly soaked through. He cursed as he panted but kept running. The creature was ahead of him, and it had Dean.

Then he heard it- his brother's moan. Sam skidded to a stop, his lungs burning as he forced himself to be absolutely still, and he listened harder. Where had it come from?

There it was again- a soft moan coming from the alley up ahead, to his left. Sam's heart twisted in his chest and he exploded into motion, his gun drawn and ready as he headed for the alley.

Dean was nothing more than a dark blob of shadow. He was on the ground, against the brick wall of the building behind him, and he was writhing restlessly and without any coordination. Sam pushed on the .45's safety and shoved the gun's muzzle against the small of his back before dropping to his knees at his brother's side.

"Dean! Can you hear me? Are you hurt?"

Dean appeared to be untouched- but he was unresponsive and simply tossed his head, burring his face into the cement beneath them. Another moan escaped him and Sam's worry mounted.

"Dean, what's-"

Something squeaked. It was metallic sounding and hollow- like a rusty spring. Sam straightened and squinted through the darkness, trying to find the source of the misplaced noise.

He heard it again, then again… its steady rhythm slowly picking up pace. Dean moaned in response, drawing Sam's attention back to his brother. "What is that?" he asked, his voice barely above a whisper. He'd never heard a monster make that sort of noise, but there were many types of monsters that made many types of noises. "Dean, is it here?"

"Oh God…" Dean only continued to writhe upon the ground.

Sam's mind raced. He had to get them out of here. "Come on," he murmured, reaching down and bringing Dean's arm up over his head. "We gotta get outta here." When he had Dean's arm braced against his shoulders, he stood, bringing them both to their feet.

"That feels good…"

Sam jumped, the woman's voice still ringing in his ears. What the hell was going on? There was no one else in the alley…

The squeaking grew louder and faster…

"Come on…" Sam said, starting to drag Dean towards the mouth of the alley. "We're leaving." He'd admit it- he was scared. But fright was a survival tool, and tonight, we was going to use it.

"Be quiet," Dean murmured, though his head hung limply against Sam's chest. "He'll hear you…"

Sam furrowed his brows. "Who, Dean? The creature? Can you see it?" And what was that smell?

Dean moaned again, louder this time, and Sam flinched.

"Dean!"

Sam sat bolt upright in the darkness, his hand shooting out to snatch the .45 from the nightstand, mouth open and panting heavily. The center of his chest and back were damp with sweat and a warm weight over his legs reminded him he was in bed.

A dream. He took a deep, calming breath. It had all been a-

"Sam!" Dean hissed, anger thick in his voice.

Sam blinked and looked towards the voice. Dean was in bed as well, silhouetted by the moonlight from a thinly-curtained window- however he was holding himself above the mattress as if caught in the middle of a push-up. Sam blinked and cocked his head, a question on the tip of his tongue- then he saw the second person.

A woman, on her back underneath Dean.

Time seemed to slam to a halt as he sat, gun in hand, staring at how Dean was not suffering through the aftermath of a zombie attack. "Oh God, I-"

Dean shifted as he grabbed something and threw it at Sam. "Get out of here!"

Sam was already moving as the object bounced off his ribs. Embarrassment burned his cheeks as he stumbled into his jeans. He yanked the denim up over his hips, shoved the gun in his waistband, hopped awkwardly towards the door while fumbling with the button, snatched his shirt from the floor, then fled the room.

Once outside, Sam didn't stop until he reached the Impala. He shivered as the cold air dried the sweat upon his skin, but it also served to ease the burn in his cheeks. He pulled on his t-shirt and reached into his back pocket, grateful he had been driving earlier and still had the keys in his possession. Sam pulled the keys out with a jingle and let himself into the car.

It wasn't the first time he'd had to spend the night in the Chevy, and it probably wouldn't be the last. Sam pulled the door shut behind him, grabbed his sweatshirt from the backseat, and settled down in the leather bucket seat. He'd have a sore neck tomorrow, but couple of Tylenol could fix that.

The image of Dean and the girl flashed in his mind again, and Sam shivered.

The Impala really wasn't that uncomfortable, considering. And paybacks were really a bitch- especially if you're a Winchester.

That night, huddled under his worn sweatshirt with his face pressed upon the cold window, Sam fell asleep with a smile on his face.

END