Hello, everyone! This is my first Supernatural fic, though I've got several NUMB3RS ones up right now, which are giving me lots and lots of headaches. I needed to take a break and work on something a little different, and here it is. All places and names ('cept for the ones I don't own and the state of PA) are fictional.

Summary: After a poltergeist leaves Dean on the mend, Sam decides it's time they both took a bit of a break--and, of course, he picks one of the most haunted spots in Pennsylvania.

Disclaimer: I, like the many other female followers of this show, wish eternally to own both of the Winchester brothers, though I'd settle for just Sam. Alas, I do NOT own them, and I am making nothing off of this story except for a few hours of personal amusement. Please don't sue me--I'm already really broke.

Pileup, Chapter 1

"This sucks."

"It's a safe place to stay while you recuperate, Dean." Sam replied patiently, switching off the Impala's engine and turning in his seat to retrieve Dean's crutches.

"Didn't you hear me?"

"I heard you. The first twenty times." Sam sighed and tried to keep his patience. His brother was the hot-headed one. Sam was dependable, tolerant, and steady. He wasn't sure how much longer that was going to last, though. He climbed from the car, went around to the passenger's side and, ignoring his brother's protests, pulled Dean to his feet and handed him the crutches.

After a run-in with an unusually violent poltergeist, which left win-or-die-trying Dean with a severely sprained left ankle and a set of cracked and taped ribs, Sam knew that it was time for him to be the level-headed Winchester and insist that his brother get some much-needed rest, despite his vehement protesting that he needed no care and that they should just get back on the road.

And Dean hadn't shut up since.

They had rented one in a series of cabins that sat at the edge of a serene wooded lake, explaining that they'd had an accident while hiking, despite the frigid February air, and that Dean needed some down time. The man on the phone had been very understanding and promised that as long as fifty dollars per week--cash only--appeared under the door of his own home, Dean and Sam had the place to themselves for as long as they liked.

"What do you want to eat?" Sam asked, helping his brother stretch out on the couch and forcing himself to ignore Dean's hiss of pain.

"What is there?"

"Leftover doughnuts. Some chips. Canned stuff." Sam shrugged. "You know how light we travel."

"Do we have any soup left? Something hot sounds really good."

"Uh…" Sam rummaged through the canvas bag he'd brought in from the car. "Yeah. Chicken noodle."

"Good 'nough." He sniffed. "This couch smells." He said cheerily.

"Sorry…no one's been here in months. It's going to smell kind of weird in here." Sam chuckled.

"…This sucks."

Dean hated to be fussed over. He hated being hurt. But most of all, he hated being reliant.

Relying on anyone, even his baby brother, was simply not in his nature. He was independent, level-headed, and easygoing. He rolled with the punches; he took what came at him. But, he admitted to himself, perhaps even the invincible Dean Winchester needed some down time.

But that didn't mean he was going to make it easy on Sam. If the younger Winchester insisted on taking care of him, Dean was at least going to get some amusement out of the situation.

"Hey, Sam." He pushed up on his elbows, regretting the action as soon as it sent jolts through his ribcage.

"Yeah?" His brother glanced up from where he'd just sat down, paperback book in hand.

"Can you grab me a beer?" He asked sweetly.

With a sigh, Sam complied. The moment he sat again, however, an evil smile spread over Dean's face. It was concealed from his little brother by the spine of Sam's book, which he had just broken open again.

"Hey, Sam?"

----------------------------------------------------

Three days later, Sam was ready to scream. Despite his greatest efforts, Dean refused to be consoled; instead choosing to endlessly list off places they should've been going or things they should've been working on. On Sam's part, he continually fussed over his brother, making sure to follow the doctor's orders (despite Dean's vehement proclamation that he could do it himself) and change the taping on his brother's ribs and check his ankle.

The walls seemed to continue to close in on both of them, and, finally, Sam could take it no more.

"I'm going for a walk." He said suddenly, tossing down the paperback book he'd been reading.

Dean looked up from the fuzzy-pictured TV, surprised by the outburst. "To where?"

He shrugged. "Around."

"'Kay. Be back by dinner, don't get lost." He teased, returning his gaze to the television.

Sam rolled his eyes, pulled his coat around himself, and moved to the door.

"Seriously, Sam. If I have to get off this couch and come looking for you, I'll kick your sorry--"

"Got it, Dean." With that, the younger Winchester stepped out into the blustery February afternoon.

It wasn't too bad out, he noticed. Warm, in fact, for the middle of nowhere in February. Pennsylvania sure had some unpredictable weather. Glancing at the thermometer thumbtacked to the weathered log wall, he realized that the temperature was nearing fifty.

Jacket open, he took off over a small crest, and within minutes, he'd lost sight of the cabin. A gentle breeze stirred his wavy hair into his eyes, and he brushed it away impatiently, threading his way through the trees along a dirt road that obviously hadn't been used in years, judging by the saplings as big as his arm growing from the middle of it. It felt wonderful to get out of that cramped, stuffy cabin.

He loved his brother. He really did. But sometimes--just sometimes--he liked to pretend that he really was on a road trip, and that soon enough, he'd be heading back to college: getting away from this stress, this never knowing what was happening, never knowing which mistake they made might be their last. Lapsing into a thoughtful haze, Sam continued along, taking pleasure in the crackling of leaves and twigs beneath his feet.

He was surprised to realize that even those wishful times were becoming fewer and farther between. He was falling into a pattern that involved exactly what he'd been so desperate to escape, and he was actually okay with it. Spending time with Dean wasn't exactly what he'd expected in life, but it certainly wasn't something he couldn't get used to. Maybe he could learn to enjoy this, after all.

He suddenly realized something else, too. While he'd been lost in thought, he had deviated from the road, and his thoughts were no longer the only things lost. Cursing mentally, he spun on his heel. Relief washed over him as he realized that the ground beneath his feet was muddy…He'd just follow his own footprints back to the path.

That worked fine, for the first few steps. Then the prints disappeared, swallowed by the muddy ground, and Sam was just as lost as he'd been a moment ago.

Just as he was getting more than a little frustrated, he glanced to his right…and his heart stopped.

Not ten feet from him stood a girl. Young, probably no more than thirteen, she wore thick boots and a long black overcoat. Earbud headphones were pushed into her ears, the cords held in place by a hand-knitted bright purple scarf knotted around her neck. Wavy brown hair blew into her face, but she made no move to brush it away. In fact, she made no move at all. She stood silently, gazing at him, hands pushed into the pockets of her coat.

"Hi." He said uncertainly. "Um…can you tell me the way back to the road?"

Nothing. She didn't move, didn't breathe. Her grey-green eyes were wide, glassy, and unblinking.

"Or the way back to the camp? I'm not from around here." He tried again.

No response. A chill raced down Sam's spine as he realized exactly what it was he was looking at. This child was most definitely not of the living.

Cursing his stupidity, he backed away. One of the top three Winchester Rules--never go anywhere unprepared. He'd been dumb enough to do just that, and he might have to pay the price.

The girl, however, didn't appear to be very interested in harming him. Instead, she simply turned and began walking off through the trees. With no other alternative, Sam followed, keeping a safe distance between her and him.

A few minutes later, as he topped a small hill, she gave him a glance over her shoulder, and he drew up next to her and saw, with a pang of relief, the cabin below him.

"Thank you." He said, but she had already moved past him and was starting along a path parallel to the cabin. She stopped and looked over her shoulder at him, then continued. Mildly creeped out, he hurried down the hill and let himself into the tiny chalet.

"Geez, you've been gone forever." Dean said. His younger brother had a retort forming on his tongue when he realized that Dean's voice was serious—and a shade worried.

"How long?"

"Almost five hours."

"What?" Sam's eyes widened, and he glanced at the beat-up vintage Coca-Cola clock above the couch, which had obviously stopped working years ago. "Are you sure?"

"'Course I'm sure." Dean's head lifted from the pillow. "You okay?"

He paused. "I'm not sure. You'll never believe what happened to me."

"Make a believer outta me, kid." He flopped back to his previous position and clicked off the television, then settled his crossed arms over his chest as Sam sank down on the couch's arm.

"I got lost, and--"

"I'm not supposed to believe that?"

"I'm not finished yet, Dean. I got lost, and while I'm standing there trying to figure out how to get back here, I see this girl. Little girl, probably eleven or twelve."

"A ghost." It was a statement, not a question.

"Yeah." Sam thought back to the chilling, vacant look in the child's eyes and shuddered. "She looked so sad."

"You didn't have your gun." It was a statement, not a question.

Sam avoided his brother's eyes. "I didn't need it."

"What if you had? Dammit, Sam! You've gotta think about stuff like this! I'm not always going to be around to save you, you know."

"I'm sorry. I was stressed out." Sam explained, trying to keep his temper under control.

"That's not an excuse."

"God, do you have any idea how much you sound like Dad right now?" He snapped.

"At least one of us does."

Sam spun on his heel and stormed from the room before he could say anything else. Dean could get under his skin like no one else.

He couldn't stop the yelp of surprise as he reached the small space that separated the two bedrooms and the bathroom. There, beneath the unlit overhead light, stood the girl from the forest, looking angry now. She was dressed differently this time, wearing nothing but a long, plain white cotton gown that danced around her bare feet. There was a set to her jaw that hadn't been there before and a spark in her eyes that read murderously.

"Sam?" Dean called from the living room. Sam stood rooted to the spot, unable to answer. "Sam?"

When no response came, he began to lose patience. "Sam, come on, I know you're mad at me, but would you at least let me know you're--"

His words were cut off by Sam's strangled cry. He'd never know how he managed it, but somehow Dean was on his feet, rock-salt-loaded gun in hand, moving down the dark hallway. The sight that met him made his blood run cold.

Sam was kneeling on the floor, his face held in the hands of a child who was on her feet, forcing him to look up at her. Their eyes were locked in a silent battle of some sort, and apparently, she was winning.

Taking careful aim, Dean fired the gun (straight and true, he noticed, even though he was shooting with his left hand, his right occupied with a crutch) and the girl screeched as she was thrown against the wall, where she slid to the floor and then through it, out of sight. Dean dropped the gun and the crutch and hurried to his brother's side, where he knelt and took Sam's face gently in his hands.

"Sam! Sammy, you okay? Say something!"

The younger man looked up at him, ignoring the protest that sprang to mind at the sound of the old nickname. "Thanks."

"Sure." Adrenaline faded, and Dean found himself sliding fully to the ground, holding a hand to his taped ribcage. He'd be feeling that one tomorrow morning.

Instantly, Sam was helping him back to his feet and into bed. "I don't think she'll bother us again tonight. Get some rest."

"What was she doing to you, Sam?"

"Nothing." Something about the way his eyes flashed told Dean that he was lying.

"Sam…"

"I didn't get all of it before you cut her off."

"Oh. Should I be sorry?"

"No…it hurt. I'm glad you stopped her."

"Maybe you should stay in here tonight. It would be a lot easier to save you if I didn't have to get out of bed."

Sam chuckled. "I'll be fine, Dean."

"If you say so." He was reluctant to let Sam go, but he wasn't about to say that. Instead, he watched him make his way out the door into the hall. A moment later, the click of a latching door reverberated in the silence. Dean tried to push the unease out of his mind and settled back, instead, on his pillow. Yawning, he forced his body to relax, one sore muscle at a time, and was asleep shortly.

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Yay--at least I can say that I've put something up this week. Writer's block has got me tearing my hair out by the roots. I haven't had it this bad in years. It's painful.

Okay, thanks to all who read and I hope you'll stick with me until the end! It will be a fun ride!

Love to all,

Sila