I can't thank you enough!! Honestly!! You've made my week amazing . To all my readers and reviewers, a whole huge batch of cookies; chocolate and plain, milk;strawberry and chocolate, and a big huge THANK YOU! Love you all !
So here it is, the last chapter.
They walked slowly, Sam deliberately keeping the pace to allow Dean to make progress without exhausting him. Truth be told Sam wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for a week. He was booking them into the motel for at least another two days. No doubt about it. One glance at his brother told him Dean wouldn't object too much to the idea. He stumbled forward, one heavy foot in front of the other, eyes at half mast, head bowed as if his shoulders could no longer support the weight. One arm protectively around his ribs.
"You want to rest?"
"No, no I'm good."
"I need to rest."
"Ok then." And with that Dean lowered himself gingerly to the forest floor and laid back, allowing his body to sink into the leaves. Sam smiled as he handed Dean one of the bottles of water.
"We've only got a little ways to go now."
"I'm sure of it."
"As sure as you were about the grave being only a little way from the main hut?"
"Ok, well, we've definitely covered enough ground to be almost there."
"Dude you suck."
Sam moved forward slowly and laid his hand against Dean's forehead before the old Winchester realised what was happening.
"Dude." Dean complained wearily. Yet he didn't try to bat Sam's hand away. "I'm fine."
"Sure you are." Sam gently cupped Dean's chin and turned his head so he could better assess his injury. Frowning, the younger man brushed Dean's hair aside and pursed his lips.
Dean regarded him with a slightly amused expression.
"Am I gonna live?"
"You've got one hard head there man." Sam rocked back onto his hunches and drank again from his water bottle. Dean lowered his head back to the forest floor and covered his face with his arm.
"You got a headache?"
"Yes, don't make it worse by going all….Sammy on me." Dean gestured with his free hand before removing his arm from his eyes and smirking at his brother.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Dude, you're doing it now."
Sam frowned and sat back. Well that was just great, he'd officially become an adjective. Dean sighed heavily and Sam wondered if he was going to make it.
"Maybe I should go for help."
"No. I'll be fine."
"Sam, just give me a minute, I'm fine."
"Sure. Of course you are."
"Fight fire with fire Dean."
Dean's mouth quirked and Sam couldn't help but smile.
"Come on man, lets keep going." Sam stood and held his hand out for Dean, the older Winchester predictably ignored the offered limb and tried to stand on his own. Sam waited patiently as his stubborn, bull-headed, older brother attempted three times to stand without help. He eventually grabbed Sam's hand and even allowed him to wrap his other arm around his waist.
"This sucks donkeys."
"Yeah. Donkeys, one step up from it sucking out loud."
"Where the hell did you hear that?" Sam began to lead the way, slowly making progress through the trees.
"That Aussie chick, you remember her?"
"No, when was that?"
"Dude, you must remember her, she was The one in that bar in Atlanta, Burnaby's I think it was called."
"Not ringing any bells."
"Dude are you serious? She was hot. You don't remember her? How can you not remember her?" Dean narrowed his eyes and looked up at Sam, who still had an arm around his waist. "Are you gay?" He whispered.
"Just checking, anyway, she was the chick who kept asking if we offered Winchester sandwiches."
Sam's face crumpled into puzzlement before exploding into recognition.
"I do remember her, man, what is it with girls wanting brothers?"
"Beats me, surely I should be enough brother for any woman to handle."
"Dude you sound like an extra in a Spike Lee movie."
"Nothing. So , when did she say the 'donkeys' line?"
"Right after you came up, spoiled the party and said we had to go."
"Must be an Australian thing."
"Man she was hot." Dean gave a little moan and Sam resisted the urge to drop him then and there. They both trudged on, determined to make it to the car before nightfall. Sam allowed Dean to pull away from him, knowing he'd need his strength for when Dean did finally collapse. Dean walked unaided. Forever determined to be the big brother, even though he knew somewhere along their path he'd be planting his face firmly into the soil and having himself a little nap.
Both brothers were exhausted by the time they reached Isiah's main home. They looked longingly at the inviting entrance, holding within it the promise of another mattress and a good nights sleep, but they kept going. The forest being more than they could stomach for another night.
As the impala came into view along the main road into the forest Sam gave a thanks to every god and angel he could name. It was starting to get dark again and Dean hadn't spoken in at least two hours, had instead trudged behind his brother. Sam was certain he was actually asleep while walking.
"Thank god! Hey Dean, we made it man!"
Sam turned and smiled as Dean let out a thankful laugh.
And promptly fell flat on his ass.
Running forward Sam dropped his bags and knelt beside his fallen brother. He put his fingers to his neck and dropped his head as the steady pulse beneath drummed a happy dance into his heart.
Once again he gathered him into his arms and deposited him in passenger seat of the car, tucking the blanket around him and closing the door quietly so he didn't wake his sleeping sibling.
The drive back to the motel seemed to take only seconds after their marathon walk through the forest. Sam carefully lowered Dean onto the bed , pulling his jacket and shirt from him. He checked his ribs again, frowning at what he thought was a definite broken one. Grabbing the first aid kit he gently began to clean the gash to Dean's head. Working slowly but steadily. The promise of a shower his reward once he'd patched his brother up.
Ten small stitches later , some antibiotic ointment and Sam had Dean wrapped him up in the covers not only from his bed but Sam's as well. He then went and took a long, long, long, long hot, steaming, scolding shower.
Exiting the bathroom in a haze of steam Sam smiled at the scene before him, Dean was curled up in a ball, the blankets wound so tightly around him it was a wonder he hadn't turned blue from asphyxiation. He was snoring quietly. It seemed a shame to have to wake him, but seeing as he'd saved hot water on purpose just for his brother, he was damned if tearing himself away from another half an hour under the hot water was going to go to waste.
"Dean? Showers free. Come on man, you need to get warm and clean."
Groggy green eyes peered up at him, clumsy movements in an attempt to rid himself of his own blanket prison had Sam bending down to help him, ignoring the slaps at his helping hands Sam pulled Dean free and steadied him as he swayed .
"Don't put your t-shirt on when you come out. Ok man?"
Dean nodded slowly and walked into the bathroom, for the briefest of moments Sam wondered if he was still asleep, until he heard the distinct hum of Foreigner drifting from the small room.
An hour later Dean came out of the bathroom in his own haze of steam, he felt warm, refreshed and the shower had helped ease his headache. He was damn tired, but he felt a hell of a lot better than he had before. As he walked into the main room he stopped dead and practically drooled at the sight before him.
Sam had ordered them a large pizza each, with all the toppings, and was wafting the smell toward the older hunter.
Dean sat heavily on the chair by the table and stuffed a whole slice into his mouth.
"That's gross." Sam said before shoving a whole piece into his own mouth. "But oh so good."
"Dude, keep your mouth closed when you're eating." Said Dean around a mouthful of pizza.
Once their bellies were full Sam carefully wrapped Dean's ribs. Despite his brother's claims to the contrary he confirmed one rib was indeed broken . One broken rib too many.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"You couldn't do anything about it Sam."
"Not the point."
Sam looked up and searched the apologetic green depths.
"No not really, just thought I'd try a new tactic."
Sam slapped Dean's arm as he finished wrapping his torso. Both brothers laid back down on their respective beds. Booked in for another two days they'd made a pact to not move unless they absolutely had to. This was as close to a holiday as the Winchesters got and they were going to enjoy it. With the covers and an extra blanket over him Dean sighed happily and allowed his eyes to droop. He began humming softly, lost in the embrace of warmth and the feel of his brother so close.
Sam yawned heavily and turned down the TV, he rolled to his side and listened to Dean humming.
"Dude," he laughed. "Of all the songs to hum you pick that one!"
"What? What's wrong with Foreigner?"
"You could have chosen Hot Blooded at least."
"Yeah well, Cold As Ice has been stuck in my head for two days now, what are ya gonna do?" Dean raised his arms and smiled fully at his brother. Sam watched as his face fell and a frown appeared.
"Dean? What is it?"
"Thanks, you know, for.." He gestured with his hand and relaxed when Sam nodded.
"Anytime man. That's what I'm here for."
Dean closed his eyes and allowed sleep to claim him once again. He smiled slightly, Sam had no idea he was actually thanking him for the hug, as well as the whole 'saved your life' thing.
Across the room, in his own embrace of sleep Sam thanked his brother for the gratitude, Dean having no idea that when Sam said 'anytime' he was actually referring to the hug.
Anytime he needed it, he would be there to offer it.
Whether either brother admitted it or not, each would hold that memory close to their hearts, to forever keep the cold at bay.
I'd love to know what you think! Any thoughts, send them my way!
Until the next time that Dean needs a whumping...take care xxxx