Summary: Set after the end of Season 2 (All Hell Breaks Loose Pt2). The knife wound in Sam's back is healed, but was there was lasting damage?
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the characters …
Sam absently rubbed the wound on his lower back. It had only been a week since Dean's bargain with the demon had secured his life, healing the fatal knife wound in his lower back. He tried not to dwell on what had happened, on how he'd died; instead he needed to concentrate on finding a way to release his brother from the bargain that would claim his soul in a year. Less than a year now – time was already moving too quickly, and he felt momentarily overwhelmed by all that he had to achieve.
There were possibly a couple of hundred evil spirits and demons to destroy that had escaped the confines of hell and needed to be sent back. And he had to save Dean. That was his priority, the one thing he was not prepared to lose focus on, no matter how many jobs vied for their attention. Dean came first, and there were only 51 weeks left – not much time. Not enough time. Never before had time seemed so precious.
They didn't need to go out searching for jobs; they had their pick of cases. The opening of hell's gates, even momentarily had really increased their work load. Dean seemed determined to work tirelessly, killing as much evil as they could before it dissipated and spread over a wider area. He was tempted to retreat, to move to safety. They'd been through so much and a little time to focus on themselves. Focusing on releasing Dean from the deal seemed the most appropriate move.
In compromise, he followed Dean's lead, hunting down whatever evil Dean preyed upon. In his little spare time he researched, desperate to find a way to break his brother's deal.
He understood what his brother was doing. Shit, if you knew you were destined to end up in hell in a year's time, you would need to keep busy, to focus on anything else, or lose your sanity. But Dean didn't seem to understand. If they didn't break the deal, if they didn't find a way to free him, he would be joining every evil sonofabitch that they hunted, that they'd sent back to hell.
Exhaustion was starting to take its toll though, and he knew he was going to have to ask Dean for them to slow down, maybe take a break. He rubbed a hand across his forehead, trying to ease the headache that had been throbbing behind his eyes for the last couple of days. He really wasn't feeling that great, but was reluctant to bother his brother. Dean already had so much on his plate, had sacrificed so much.
He watched Sam like a hawk.
It was like he constantly needed the reassurance that his brother was with him again, that his death was only temporary, that his deal for his brother's life remained cemented. He struggled to rid his mind of the memories of Sam's death, of his startled look of shock as the knife plundered into his back, of his body slumping lifelessly in his arms.
He didn't want the memories.
Since he'd made the fateful bargain with the demon, he couldn't help hovering over his brother, needing the quick touches and familiar words to know that he had Sam back. That Sam's body was warm again, breathing. He couldn't contemplate the alternative. He'd been through that, and couldn't go through it again.
No matter what Sam said, he didn't regret the deal that he'd made.
He watched as Sam rubbed the spot on his back where the rusty blade had pierced his back. A jagged scar on his spine was a vivid reminder of the events of that fateful night. His brother still seemed to be in pain from the injury, even though the fatal wound now appeared healed. He couldn't help the worry that encompassed him every time his brother touched that particular spot on his back, worrying that he'd done something, that the deal had somehow come undone.
"You okay?" Dean asked, trying to mask his level of concern.
Sam dropped his hand from his lower back and looked into the intent gaze of his brother. "Just tired I guess."
"Yeah …think we'll call it a day." Dean wasn't prepared to gamble with his brother's health.
The motel room was cheap and nasty. Mustard colored carpet set the theme for the room, with the sparse furnishings toned to match and the stale scent of cigarette smoke completing the effect. Just entering the room made his head pound a little harder and he rubbed a weary hand across his brow, attempting to alleviate the pain.
He was starting to feel progressively worse.
Although they'd taken a few rough cases over the past week, neither of them had sustained any injuries apart from the odd bump and bruise. They'd been lucky, comparatively speaking.
Knowing the deal that his brother had made, he assumed he'd been completely healed, but couldn't suppress the small slither of doubt that persisted every time he felt the twitch of pain in his lower back. He had to be healed – otherwise his brother's sacrifice was for nothing.
Maybe he was just sick.
Despite the mild evening, he felt kind of clammy and could feel a thin layer of sweat adhering to his skin.
Maybe he was coming down with a cold.
His muscles ached, like he's partaken in strenuous physical activity without warming up of cooling down. He felt that he needed to stretch, remove the kinks and loosen his cramping muscles.
Maybe he had the flu, or a virus.
He wanted to crawl into the bed and sleep for the next week. But he couldn't afford to. Time was ticking down – too fast. Already a week had pasted and he was conscious of ever hour that slipped away, every hour that pushed them closer to the end of Dean's year. He didn't have time to be sick. He needed every moment to research, to seek out a solution, to find a way to save his brother.
Swallowing thickly he pushed himself off his temporary position on the end of the bed. Deciding that a hot shower would help, he made his way towards the bathroom, pausing to retrieve some fresh clothes from his bag.
"You sure you're okay?" Dean's question broke through his self absorption.
"I'll feel better after a shower."
"That doesn't answer my question Sam."
"I feel like crap Dean …is that really what you want to hear?" Sam couldn't keep the irritation from his voice.
"I just want the truth – is that too much to ask? …God dammit Sam, it's only been a week …you need time to rest, to heal."
"Yeah Dean, it's been a week …a whole week already …we need to concentrate on you…" Sam grabbed his clothes and strode into the bathroom, slamming the door in his wake.
Dean stood there, dumbfounded. That hadn't gone well.
Sam immediately felt guilty for reacting so harshly to Dean's concern. He hadn't meant to snap. After all Dean had done, how could he be such an ass, treat his brother so poorly.
He showered quickly, trying to wash the weariness from his body with soap and water. It didn't help. If anything, he was starting to feel worse.
His head throbbed and he could feel the heat radiating off his forehead. He knew he was running a slight fever.
Wiping a hand across the fogged up bathroom mirror, he looked closely at his reflection. He now knew why Dean was concerned, why he suspected he was sick. He looked as bad as he felt. Worse maybe.
He couldn't go back into the bedroom and pretend nothing was wrong.
To be continued…