Disclaimer: The TV show Supernatural and all characters therein are owned by assorted Americans, not me. This fiction is purely for the enjoyment of readers; no money is being made. All Original Characters remain the property of Catherine D. Stewart and may not be used without the express permission of the authoress.

Summary: Dean looked at the bathroom door. It wasn't supposed to be like that, because it was a nice bathroom. Warning: sensitive themes.

Rating: 'T'/17. Set post-Shadows. Warning: Sensitive themes, discussion of controversial subject matter, sexual references. Opinions regarding psychology, religion, and self-harm that some readers may not agree with. Please see Author's Note after Epilogue. NB – The locations mentioned herein do exist, but UNT Amarillo and Lake Meredith Hotel are straight from my imagination.


Dean looked at the bathroom door.

It wasn't supposed to be like that, because it was a decent bathroom for a hotel; a nice bathroom. That was why he'd got them a room here.

Sam had tried to hide it, but having to split from their Dad after Chicago had really hurt him, even though his head knew it was the only thing they could do right now. Sammy was casual and dismissive and full of 'let's chalk this one up to experience and move on' BS, but Dean knew the kid was beating himself up over the fact that his 'Shining' hadn't instantly pegged Meg Masters as Evil Incarnate, about how he'd almost let her persuade him to go to California anyway even though his brother was in danger from a psycho scarecrow/pagan god.

What Dean had splurged on this middle-range hotel room on Lake Meredith in North Texas would have lasted them for over half-a-dozen sleazy fleapit motel rooms, but it had been worth every cent to see the Kodak-moment look on Sammy's face when Dean had chivvied them into the room. A room that smelled like 'Pine Fresh' furniture polish not cigarettes or coke mixed with stale air; carpet with proud fluffy pile not a hard, waxy covering from years of accumulated dirt, grease and spillages compacted down; bedclothes without tears, stains and bullet holes; mattresses that didn't sag, weren't filled with rocks, razor-sharp broken springs and a trillion dead bedbugs; walls that were magnolia white not nicotine yellow.

But the bathroom…Sam had surged into the bathroom like a Great White going in for the kill. The bathroom had a bath and a shower, with different settings and stuff; a proper bath and a proper shower, for grown-ups to stand upright in and without bashing their elbows. It was wide as well as long, and there were big gaps between the toilet and the washbasin and the shower cubicle, not like usually where everything was crammed into one tight corner and you had to stand in the shower to take a leak or wedge your body in the hair's-breadth gap between the toilet and the washbasin sticking out from the wall.

It was a real bathroom, for real people, not a bathroom that only worked if you were six, or short, or Twiggy. Sam had stood in the middle of it and flung out his arms either side without catching his hands on the bathroom walls; he'd twirled completely round like a kid playing spin without cracking any limbs against the shower, sink, john or bath. Even the door had swung open and shut properly and silently, instead of looking like it had been scavenged randomly from a garbage heap and just propped into the opening. There was a real, oiled bolt on the inside instead of a rusted, seized-up immovable lump, or a flimsy, half-hanging-off the screws latch that would flirt off if you so much as farted to let the door spring open and reveal you sat on the john in all your humiliated glory to whoever might happen to be in the bedroom – brothers, chambermaids…

Sammy had grinned. He had grinned that grin, that huge, beaming, 'you're the most wonderful person in the world ever' grin that would have had Dean offering to rearrange the stars in their courses for him if Sammy had wanted. Then he'd shoved Dean out of there, bolted the door and spent the next two hours in the bathroom, singing Country & Western crap as Dean listened and laughed, coming out looking like a human prune. He'd used all the hot water and Dean hadn't minded a bit, even the cold-water shave he'd finally managed to get.

So…the spreading puddle seeping under the bathroom door and ruining the carpet shouldn't be there.

It was a nice bathroom, and the door fit properly, without any gaps or cracks.

But the puddle continued to seep, and the carpet was going to be ruined because of the burgundy-black liquid, all sticky and spreading from under the door…

Sam would be angry, because it would spoil the room, and Dean knew he had to clean it up, but his hand didn't lift and grip the knob and turn it and push open the door, even though he told it to. It would be better just to complain to the manager and get them moved to another room – he'd insist on a bigger bathroom; Sam would go for that. But he didn't move to the room phone.

He had to clean up the spill; Sam would be so disappointed if the bathroom was spoiled. So he turned the knob and opened the door and pushed it over the sticky liquid that congealed beneath it.

Sam was seated on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor with his back against the bath side and his knees drawn up to his chest just below his chin with his left arm wrapped around his knees as he stared at the opposite wall.

Dean was a little irritated at the sight. The Glock-17 was his favoured gun and instead of moving it out of the way, Sam was letting it lie there in the palm of his free right hand in the middle of the spillage next to him, where it was getting wet in the congealing liquid.

But Dean couldn't be irritated for more than a second, because Sammy's face was so sad – and he was badly hurt. They would have to go to the hospital straight away because all the back of Sammy's head behind his face was…was…

Sammy continued to stare at the wall; his face wasn't bruised or marked in the slightest which was good because he'd complained he was fed up of always being the one to end up with the black eye or cut cheek or bruised chin; Dean's dings were usually on his body not his face, which meant he could still flirt with the ladies but the girls looked askance at you when you looked like you'd gone ten rounds with Ali, even if the wounds were gotten in a good cause. At least that was something Sam could be pleased about, because the doctors would have to really work on where he'd hurt his head, which was…his head was…


Very, very faintly, Dean was aware of an annoying noise. It was kind of like those old steam kettles you used to use on camp fires, where the spout whistled to let you know the water was boiling. It was a sort of a high-pitched keening sound. It seemed to be coming from somewhere close by but Dean couldn't think where because he doubted very much whether the manager of the Lake Meredith hotel would look kindly on guests using camp fire kettles in their rooms, and besides, who'd want to after paying out for modern comforts? But at least it wasn't bothering Sammy – he just carried on staring at the wall.

He must be mad at Dean for not clearing up the spill before he got back. Maybe if Dean cleaned it up right now Sammy would forgive him and not blank him by just keep staring at the wall. He'd smile at Dean and call him a jerk and they could go down to the bar and cosy up again with the long-legged waitress twins who were UNT Amarillo Seniors?

But Sammy just kept staring at the wall, and that damned annoying keening sound wouldn't stop, and he had to get Sammy to move because the spillage was all underneath him so his pants would be soaked through and ruined – just like his head was…was…


At least his Glock wasn't getting wet anymore now it was in his hand, though the grip was sticky and his palm was all gungy like black-strap molasses. The liquid didn't seem to have seeped into the clip or around the trigger mechanism but Dean should probably clean it to make sure – look after your weapons and they'll look after you, Dad had always said – he'd rigorously cleaned every one of his guns every other night, oiling them and polishing them to keep them in good order. It was a smart routine to get into. But that would have to wait till later – right now Sammy needed him because his head was…


Dean was wasting time. He was Sammy's big brother; he was always there to look after him. Sammy was on his own in a strange place, he must be frightened and scared on his own there, wherever he was. Dean would have to go immediately to have his back, 'cause knowing Sammy he'd go and drive the Impala on his own, just 'cause he knew it made Dean crazy.

He had to go to Sammy; Sammy needed his big brother to look out for him…and the Glock would take him straight there. Faster than Concorde, though not even that would have been enough to make him fly, or a top-range Porsche…not that he'd trade the Impala of course…

He had to go to Sammy.

Continued in Chapter 2…

© 2006, Catherine D. Stewart