A/N: I've gone all angsty. There's no other explanation.

What Wasn't

When you signed up for the police force, you didn't really expect to see these kinds of things. Sure, a dead body or two, you expected that, you'd be naïve if you didn't, but this is like something off CSI. No, it's worse than that, it's the kind of thing you get in books and movies, and as far as you're concerned, it's the kind of thing that should stay in books and movies.

Five people hanging by their wrists from the ceiling, needles in their necks to siphon off blood. It's like some kind of blood farm. The thought of it makes you sick. A couple of the guys have already gone to a corner to throw up, but you're stronger than that. At least, your stomach is. When you got the call, none of you were expecting anything like this.

You check the girl for a pulse. The girl that doesn't look half mummified, that is. She doesn't have one; you're too late for her. Her eyes are open and staring into nothing, you hate it when their eyes are open.

You move forwards to the two remaining victims. Two men hanging side by side. You check the first one for a pulse but there isn't one. You're reluctant to check the final one because you don't want to know that he's dead; you'd rather not know if you were too late to save him or not, but you have to know. You put your fingers to his neck and find a pulse. It's surprisingly strong considering the situation and you wonder if he's unconscious for some reason other than blood loss. Concussion, maybe.

"We've got a live one!" you call over your shoulder and others come flooding towards you. Someone pulls out a knife to cut him down as two others join you to catch him when the weight is taken off his arms. You slip the needle out of his neck, because you know that can't be good for him.

He's a big man, and it's a shock to have his weight fall into your arms, even though there are three of you to hold him. He groans as his arms move from the position they've been in for well over a day, judging by the state of him. It's a good sign and, being the nearest to his head, you're the one to call to him and to try to coax him back into consciousness. You call to him and jostle him, he frowns and tries to disappear back into his dreamworld but you don't let him.

"Dean?" he asks and you take this as a good sign and persist. "Dean?" he asks again as his eyes flutter open. He frowns harder as he tries to focus on your face and then even more when he finds that your face wasn't the one he was looking for. "Where...?" His voice fades out and he swallows, trying to get all bodily functions back under his control. He's on the floor now, and you're saying all kinds of comforting things to him that you don't know are true, but you're sure that he needs to hear them.

Then his eyes fix on the other guy that's hanging, the guy that you were too late for. You kick yourself for not blocking him out.

"Dean!" he calls, "Dean!" and then his eyes fix back on you, boring into you with an intent you've never seen before, like you're the only thing keeping him alive. "You need to help Dean, he's been here longer than me. He'll be... he needs your help more." You shake your head but can't find the words to tell him that Dean's beyond help. "Please, you have to help my brother, the... thing, it's had him longer, please, you have to get him down!"

He starts to struggle, and reaches for his brother's hanging body, but you hold him back. He looks at you with confusion.

"Please, you don't understand. Dean... he needs me, you have to get him down. He needs... dammit! I need him! Why won't you let me go?" Someone's already phoned for an ambulance, you made sure of that. You have a feeling that whatever's been done to this man, it'll pale in comparison to what you're about to tell him.

"Sir, your brother is dead; there's nothing we can do for him." You blink back the tears . The man's staring at you like an alien, like you're speaking a different language and tries to get to his feet. You hold him down and call to one of the others to check the brother again, make sure there really are no signs of life. No, he's still dead. No matter how much you and the man you're holding down want him to be alive, he's still dead.

The man shakes his head from side to side, vehemently denying that Dean could possibly be dead, that no matter the blood loss, it's not possible that anything could kill him. It's not possible for him to die. You sincerely wish that were true. The man screams to be let up so he can make sure no one made a mistake, as though his close proximity could coax a pulse out of his brother. You deny him until he starts thrashing and threatens to give himself a concussion.

You help him off the floor and he leans heavily on you and Officer Jones as you make your way to the brother. He checks the pulse much the same way as you did, and finds the same thing. That is, nothing. Then he runs his hands all over Dean's face, intoning his brother's name over and over, like it could bring him back.

"You can't leave me!" the man finally decides. He shakes his brother's body, the head lolls further forward, but there's no other movement aside from that. "Dean! You can't... we were just..." You think you can probably pinpoint the moment the man accepts his brother is gone, but you wish you couldn't. You and Officer Jones struggle with his weight when his knees give out and you carefully lay him back on the floor.

He's sobbing loudly and brokenly, still calling for Dean, but now he's damning God and demons alike. Usually you'd take offence, but you can't bring yourself to now. Your consoling words fall on deaf ears.

An ambulance is on it's way, but you know this kind of damage will never be healed, not really. He might be able to stand on his own two feet again one day, but he'll never really move past tonight.

You think perhaps that being too late to save his brother isn't the worst thing about this. The worst thing is that you came for him too early.

The End.

Hope you, umm... 'enjoyed' possibly isn't the right word... didn't cry?