Co-written with the lovely Devil'sDesire14 who suggested a hurt!Sammy story, because the world needs more hurt!Sammy :) So after you're done reading this, go read her stories and tell her how great she is!

Summary – Set a few days after Cracks In The Glass, Sam and Dean come across a haunting on their way to Missouri's.

Disclaimer – Not my characters, I just use them improperly.

You like? You don't like? Review and tell me why! (Constructive criticism only please, if you don't like the subject, don't read the story.) If you haven't read Full Moon, Fast Cars, you'll probably want to read that first or this won't make much sense :)

Falling, You're Not Alone

"Kid, we don't have time to stop. We gotta get to Kansas in a week. Missouri's expecting us." Dean eyed Sam over the scummy diner table. The waitress, a would-be pretty young thing if not for the cynical twist to her mouth and the thick layer of makeup caking her face, dropped two plates in front of them and strode away without a word.

Sam was holding a newspaper in his hands, an imploring look on his face. "C'mon Dean, this is what we do. And it's on the way. It shouldn't take more than three days, tops."

Dean sighed, his head falling into his hands, partly because his instinct was telling him to take cover - the puppy-dog eyes would be out any minute now… "Sam, don't you think we could do with a break? I mean, it's barely been a week since you got out of the hospital."

"These people need us, Dean. We can't just ask all the bad things in the world to take a holiday just 'cause we're not feeling like hunting this week." Sam did his head-tilt thing which Dean knew from experience was accompanied by the big pleading eyes. Usually that look was enough to break him and Sam, the manipulative little bastard, knew it and exploited it mercilessly. Luckily for Dean it didn't work so well with the Ray-Bans still perched on Sam's nose.

"No, Sam."


"No." Dean picked up his fork and began digging into his bacon and eggs like he hadn't eaten in days. If he just kept his mouth full then maybe…

"Please, Dean?" Maybe Sam would take the glasses off, his still-bloodshot eyes making the picture sitting across from him even more pathetic.

Dean sighed again, this time in resignation. He didn't miss Sam's triumphant grin. The boy didn't even need the eyes now. Great. Dean was so whipped.

The job that had Sam so worked up seemed to be a regular haunting, nothing that would involve hours of research or strenuous activity. Which was good, because after their encounter with the demon and its evil little family, Dean was aching in places he didn't know he could hurt. And Sam wasn't doing much better, despite the front he was putting on. The Ray-Bans had become a semi-permanent fixture on his face and Dean had seen the pained faces the kid tried to hide when he got out of bed in the mornings. But, he grudgingly admitted, Sam was right. They couldn't just take time off on a gig like this, not when there were people in danger.

Which all led to the situation they were in now; standing outside the widow's house pretending to be sympathetic neighbours moving in down the street.

Dean shuffled his feet as the old woman started telling them how much her Bill had enjoyed tending his geraniums. For the fourth time. Sam was doing his compassionate and understanding thing, the look on his face suggesting he actually cared about the state of the woman's garden. He'd taken off his Ray-Bans, claiming it would come across as disrespectful to be asking personal questions when the woman couldn't see his face properly. Secretly Dean thought Sam had probably figured out his tell-me-everything-you-know look didn't work without the big shiny eyes to accompany it.

"So, Mrs Calvert, how long have you lived in your house?" Sam asked politely.

The old woman smiled, pulling her worn cardigan around her middle. "Oh, Bill and I moved in a few years back. Normally we couldn't have afforded a place like this, but the owners wanted to sell it fast." She looked up at the second storey window with a wistful sigh. "Bill was in the middle of redoing the front bedroom, for our grandchildren when they came to visit."

"It's a lovely neighbourhood."

"Yes, we've never had any trouble around here. All the neighbours were so kind after Bill's accident. I've still got frozen pot roasts and lasagne in the freezer from after the funeral. It's a shame I have to move, but I can't afford to stay here by myself. Besides, what would I do in a big old house like this? The family that are moving in have two little boys, and I'm sure they'll get much more enjoyment from the place than I ever could. It's just a pity I have to leave Bill's garden." She looked over at the neatly tended flowers again with a wistful sigh.

Dean started talking before she could start on about the geraniums. "What happened to your husband, Mrs Calvert? If you don't mind me asking?"

Mrs Calvert smiled at him. "Oh, it's fine, I don't mind talking about it. Bill had such a full life, he wouldn't have wanted to go out in a hospital bed anyway." Her smile turned wistful "He had some kind of heart attack while he was fixing the guttering and he fell off the ladder. I didn't really understand what the doctor was saying, a lot of technical terms. The coroner said he didn't suffer at all."

"He sounds like he was a very active person."

"He was, never liked to sit still when there was something he could be doing. It's strange though, he seemed to have a lot of little accidents after we moved in. Bruises, sprained ankles, that sort of thing. But what they're saying in the newspaper, that's ridiculous." Her expression darkened slightly.

"What did the newspaper say?" Sam asked, his head tilting to one side in that way he had that seemed to make people spill information like water from a fountain.

Mrs Calvert looked up at him, her lined face suddenly showing a strength that belied her years. "That someone pushed the ladder from inside the house. Apparently a couple were out walking their dog when it happened, and they thought they saw a person standing at the window. But that's impossible. There was no one inside the house but me, and I was in the kitchen when it happened. Oh, I don't blame them, of course. It must have been terrible, seeing someone die like that. But there was no way they could have seen what they thought they did. And besides, who would want to hurt an old man?"

"So what do you think, some kind of spirit out to get old men?" Dean asked, sipping his mug of environmentally-friendly Starbucks coffee. The only other people in the tiny Starbucks were a couple of kids obviously playing hooky from school and the barista, a tall guy who kept shooting dirty looks their way like he was just waiting for them to throw their coffees to the ground and start humping on the table. And they hadn't so much as touched hands since they walked into the place. Apparently they were giving off some kind of gay vibe. Surprisingly enough to Dean, it didn't bother him in the least.

Sam looked up from the laptop, squinting at him from across the table. His eyes were red and sore and Dean instantly felt terrible for not insisting he keep the sunglasses on.

"Actually I'd say it was just out to get men in general. Seems the last owners of the house moved so fast because their youngest son broke his neck falling down the stairs. They say that before it happened, he suffered a lot of unusual injuries around the house. And before that a thirty-year old accountant was electrocuted when the wiring in the bathroom shorted out while he was in the shower. The week before it happened, he was in the hospital with a broken wrist."

"So, what, the ghost is playing with them before it kills them?"

Sam shrugged. "Seems like." He pawed at his eyes with a fist and Dean made an exasperated noise in the back of his throat.

"Dude, just put the glasses back on."

Sam tried to give him a dirty look, which failed spectacularly through half-slitted eyes. Dean picked up the Ray-Bans, ignoring Sam's set face and holding them out until the kid gave in and slid them on.

"Maybe we should get you checked out again, Sammy. Your aim's already bad enough with all that hair in your face, no need to go making it worse." He was pretty sure Sam could read through the flippant remark and the kid's face softened.

"Dean, I'm fine. It's only been a week. And they're getting better, they're just a little sensitive still."

He held Sam's gaze for a moment longer, but another one of the drawbacks of Sam wearing dark glasses was that it was impossible for Dean to read him. Not that Sam was exactly an open book without them. Finally, he sighed.

"Okay, kid, but if they get any worse, you tell me." He punctuated his words with a pointed finger. "I mean it, don't go playing the martyr. I wanna know."

Sam nodded, a smile on his lips. Dean couldn't tell if it reached his eyes.

They returned to the old woman's house the next day, waiting until she'd gone out for her weekly trip to the grocery store and slipping around back where the neighbours wouldn't see them breaking and entering, which was Sam's idea. Because despite what Dean said? It was breaking and entering.

Inside, the house was cool and dark, a few boxes cluttering up the hallway. Dean peeked inside one of them, rummaging through old photos and neatly wrapped figurines before Sam caught him and whapped him on the shoulder.

"Dean! Stop going through her stuff!"

"What, like it's an invasion of her privacy? Can't get much more invasive than breaking into her house, Sammy." Dean smirked, holding a framed black and white photo up. "Look man, she was hot, like, fifty years ago."

Sam huffed, snatching the photo out of his hand and shoving the EMF meter in its place. "Stop being a dick and do some work, Dean. We don't know how much time we've got 'til she gets back."

Dean rolled his eyes dramatically, affecting a pouty face. Unfortunately it seemed Sam had got out of bed on the pissy side this morning, and the look he gave Dean was strong enough even through the dark glasses to have him stamping up the stairs, muttering to himself under his breath.

"I heard that!" Sam yelled after him. Dean winced. So this was what marriage felt like.

He did a sweep of all the upstairs rooms, only pausing once to rifle through a half-open drawer full of junk. What Sam didn't see wouldn't hurt him. The EMF buzzed softly at the window overlooking the front lawn, residual energy left over from when whatever killed Mrs Calvert's Bill. It detected a fainter trace at the top of the staircase, probably where the victim before him took a nose dive.

Nothing lit up though, and Dean was starting to think maybe they'd made a mistake, maybe the spirit had moved on by itself.

He was nosing through Mrs Calvert's bathroom cabinet, wincing at haemorrhoid cream and nose-hair clippers, when something downstairs smashed.

"Sam! Sammy!" Dean was halfway down the stairs, leaping over boxes and stumbling to the kitchen. "Sam, you okay?"

He skidded to a halt in the doorway. The kitchen looked exactly as it had on the way in, airy and light. The walls were a soothing shade of eggshell blue, everything set out in its proper place on the countertops and surfaces. Dean blinked, scanning the room. Sam's EMF reader lay discarded on the island in the centre, like he'd put it down absently and wandered off somewhere. Except Sam wouldn't just leave a piece of equipment lying around.


Heart jackrabbiting in his chest, Dean stuffed the second EMF in his pocket and quickly scanned the downstairs rooms of the house. In the living room his eyes fell upon the source of the smash; an overturned glass vase. Dying flowers lay in the wreckage, water surrounding them like the glass shards were melting chips of ice. A table of porcelain figurines watched him with frozen eyes from one corner of the room. The rug covering the glossy hardwood floor had been shoved to one side.

And no Sam anywhere to be seen.

Sam blinked, his head throbbing painfully. He couldn't see, and for a second his chest contracted in tight bands before he realised that, no, his eyes hadn't finally given up. Crazily, the panic receded and his heart slowed. Even the realisation that he was trapped in a tiny dark space barely wide enough for his body didn't bring the dread back. He could still see, and Dean would find him. Once he figured out where exactly in the house he was. Lying down, and he put a hand tentatively out in front of him, encountering wooden boards inches from his chest sealed so tight together not even a crack of light could sneak through. There was room above his head and he awkwardly bent his arms until they could reach out. His fingers only brushed against cobwebs and the boards running parallel to his body, and he shivered before pulling them back.

His Ray-Bans were gone and his face felt vulnerable and unprotected without them. He'd gotten used to wearing them in the past week, gotten used to hiding his wince every time the sun hit his face. Sensitivity to bright lights was to be expected, or so the doctor had told him, and he'd held onto that like a dog with its teeth in a scrap of meat. His eyes would be fine. They had to be, or what use was he on a hunt?

"Dean?" His voice was a dull croak. He banged on the boards in front of him, calling out again, louder. "Dean!"

Dust rained down on him, knocked loose from the wood. He coughed as it hit his face, his mouth.

The spirit was supposed to start off slow, small things like tripping him up or tossing books at him. Not knocking him out and kidnapping him. Sam closed his eyes. He never should have insisted that he and Dean separate once they got in the house. God, he'd known, he'd known the thing would go after the youngest male in the house at the time. Why had he kept it from Dean? Why had he been so determined to do this alone?

He banged against the wood again, coughing as more dirt and dust crumbled on his face. Claustrophobia crawled around the edges of his mind, taunting him with what he couldn't see and he hit out with both hands, clawing at the dry wood. There wasn't enough room to pull his arms back, not enough room to get a proper swing. His elbows banged against whatever he was lying on. Reflexively he kicked upwards, his boots making dull thuds against the boards. Something brushed the side of his neck, and that was it, he was done here, he had to get out.

The pounding of his heart drowned out all the other noises around him, so when the wood was wrenched back suddenly a yelp escaped his throat. The searing light hit his face full on and he screwed up his eyes instinctively, hands still going through the motions of fighting his way free. It was only after a minute that he could calm down enough to breathe, enough to feel the arms holding him tight and the words being repeated by his ear.

"It's okay Sammy, I got you, it's okay now, calm down, you're okay."

"Dean?" Sam blinked, a mixture of sunlight and dust making his eyes run. Dean pulled back far enough to give him a shaky grin, the pallor of his face giving away his fear.

"Hey, kiddo. Hey, you okay?"


"You were under the floorboards."

Sam frowned, looking over his shoulder at the gaping wreck that used to be the nice old lady's living room. Dust and wood splinters covered the cushions on the sofa, the rug a dirty heap in one corner. In the middle of the room the floorboards had been ripped up, jagged edges of wood like a cavernous mouth surrounding the hole in the floor.

He looked back at Dean. "How…"

"I don't know, what do you remember?"

"I was in the kitchen, then I…tripped? I dunno, I can't really remember."

Dean drew in a long breath, his arms still around Sam's middle as they crouched on the floor. He looked over at the hole, then back at Sam. "I think the old woman might know someone's been here."

They sat in the Impala, paper cups of coffee on the dash as they watched the police car drive away from Mrs Calvert's house. The policemen hadn't stayed long, not that Dean had expected them to. Actual honest-to-god caring policemen were a rare breed these days, and most would rather get back to desks of paperwork than comfort a traumatised old woman.

Said traumatised old woman was currently climbing into a cab, overnight bag in hand. Dean felt bad about wrecking her house, but he liked to look on the bright side. At least she'd be out of the house for a while.

Beside him, Sam was unusually quiet. His Ray-Bans had been lost somewhere in the house, so Dean had picked up a cheap pair of sunglasses from the display at the gas station. The kid hadn't been too impressed with the Matrix-style plastic frames, but apparently his eyes were bothering him enough that he put them on without complaint. Secretly Dean thought they looked kind of cool on him.

"So, we wait 'til it's dark and head back in, right? Any idea who this guy was yet?"

Sam looked over at him, newspapers spilling from his lap. "Actually, I think I figured it out." A blush crept up his cheeks. "Uh, I don't think it's actually a spirit, as such. I found an old newspaper article about the house. Seems it was used as a whorehouse in the seventies, until this religious family moved in next door. The parents only figured out what the house was being used for after they moved in, and they staged protests and the house got trashed a few times by angry Christian mobs, that sort of thing. But the youngest son of the family, Joseph, apparently he really took his parents' anger to heart, and one day he went around there and killed everyone in the house with his dad's pistol. And then he turned it on himself."

Dean blinked. "Okay…"

"So, I think it's like a poltergeist. You know, malevolent activity that built up after a violent act. There's no way of avenging the women who died because the guy who killed them is already dead, so it's going after any guy who steps in the house."

Dean frowned, looking down at the printout on Sam's lap. The printout he was just now seeing for the first time. "Then why did it only target you? And when exactly were you planning on sharing this information with me?"

Sam looked away, the blush on his cheeks darkening. "I, uh, I researched into it before. The house, it only seems to target the youngest guy there at the time. The family who moved out before Mrs Calvert moved in, only the youngest son was killed. His older brother and father were left alone. There are incident reports going back to the early eighties, when the house went on the market again for the first time since the killings. People would move in, and the youngest male in the family would end up dead. It didn't happen straight away, so no one thought much of it when guys started having strange accidents around the house. And the family always moved away before it could target the next guy in line."

Dean stared at him, his jaw clenching. "And you didn't think I needed to know any of this? You just went in there, knowing it would go after you?"

"I thought it would just mess around at first, I didn't think it would…" Dean slammed his hand against the dash, effectively cutting off Sam's excuses. Sam flinched ever so slightly and he pretended not to notice, plowing on.

"Damn it, Sam, how the hell am I 'sposed to watch your back if you're off keeping things from me? I thought we weren't gonna do this anymore!"

"I'm sorry Dean, I thought I could handle it! I didn't mean to…"

"Yeah, well, you did." Dean slouched in his seat, staring angrily out through the windscreen. "Anything else you'd like to share before we go in again? Or shall I wait for you to get hurt again?"

Out of the corner of his eye, he watched Sam sag, his mouth tight and upset. "That's it, I swear," he said quietly.

Dean took a few deep breaths, not trusting himself to talk. Sam didn't look over, his gaze fixed on the curb outside the passenger window. After a few minutes, Dean felt sufficiently calm to face the kid. "So. How exactly do we get rid of this if it's not a salt-and-burn?"

"We need to do a cleansing ritual. I've got the ingredients together, we just need to scatter them under the floorboards and the spirit should dissipate by itself." Sam didn't look up as he spoke, the flush still staining his cheeks.

Dean nodded to himself. "Well. Lucky I knocked a gigantic hole in the living room, then." He opened the car door, stepping outside and waiting for Sam to do the same. "This time we stay together, okay? If this thing's going after you then you don't leave my side. Got it?"

Sam nodded, his eyes on his feet. "Yeah."

"I mean it, Sam."

Sam's head came up sharply. "I got it, okay. I won't go anywhere without you."

The hour wait until nightfall was one of the most uncomfortable hours Sam could remember spending. And that included his time with Jim Miller. Dean was a stone statue beside him, his face taut. Sam's tentative attempts at conversation were met with silence or brusque one-word answers until he gave up on talking altogether, huddling down in the seat and sneaking peeks at Dean through the dark glasses.

He hadn't meant to keep Dean in the dark. Not at first, anyway. But god, if this was his last hunt before stopping at Missouri's, if she was going to take one look at him and tell him he should be kept in a padded cell, then he wanted to do it right.

Sam huffed quietly, drawing Dean's attention for a second. Maybe Missouri wouldn't tell him he was a freak, a danger to everyone. But he still had the demon blood in him even if Dean seemed to have conveniently forgotten that fact. He had no doubt that the other man would be reminded of it as soon as this psychic woman took a look in Sam's head. If Dean started treating him differently because of it...

Not that Sam could blame him if he did.

A car rumbled past the Impala, its headlights casting the front seat in brilliant white. Sam squinted, the light painful even through the sunglasses. As if he didn't have enough to worry about at the moment. Despite the calm-and-confidant front he was putting on for Dean, his stomach clenched painfully every time he thought about the possible damage his powers, whatever they were, might have done to his eyes.

"Hey." Dean said, startling him out of his thoughts. The other man didn't look his way, his gaze firmly fixed on the dash. "You ready?"

"Yeah. Let's go."

Sam slid out of the Impala, closely followed by Dean and they made their way along the small path dissecting the garden. A quick fiddle with the lock-pick (this was Dean's area of expertise and wisely Sam stood back) had the door swinging open without a sound. Apparently Mrs Calvert oiled the doors. Which was weird but Dean shook his head, cocking his pistol and following Sam, who had the medicine pouches in his hands. Five, Sam had said, one for each corner and one in the centre.

Dean was almost expecting things to start flying at them from all directions considering the extremes the poltergeist, malevolent spirit, whatever it was, had gone to before. So when they made it to the living room without incident he let out a long sigh, barely refraining from touching Sam's back to check the kid was okay.

"So what, we gotta start crawling around under the floorboards now?" Dean spoke in a whisper.

Sam turned back to him, his body a long shadow in the dim light filtering through the curtains. "Uh, I was thinking we could just knock holes where they're supposed to go."

"Oh." Dean was glad the darkness hid his blush. "Yeah, that might be easier."

"We do the corners first, going anti-clockwise."

Dean felt his way to the wall, intent on following it around to the corner of the room. He was tempted to turn on a light, but as Mrs Calvert had taken great pains to tell them earlier, this was a good neighbourhood where people watched out for each other. They probably took turns at hosting weekly neighbourhood watch parties. Dean shuddered to think of it.

Something brushed his wrist.

He leapt backwards in alarm, falling into some kind of table behind him and knocking whatever was on it flying. Multiple smashes echoed each other, and Dean closed his eyes, remembering Mrs Calvert's collection of china figurines, lovingly displayed on felt placemats and obviously polished regularly. Well, that was a few less things for the old woman to pack.

The light was switched on, revealing Sam by the doorway. His mouth was pinched and he looked about two seconds away from making tsking noises. "Dude, you couldn't just watch where you're going?"

"It was dark, Sam, I obviously don't have your wonderful super-powered night vision." Dean snarked back without thinking. Sam recoiled like he'd been spat on.

Dean closed his eye, immediately wishing he could take it back.

Before he could attempt to make it right, something whizzed past his face.

"Shit!" Sam yelped, holding his forearm like he'd been stung. A tiny white object was embedded in the wall beside Sam.

Then another appeared in the wall, and another. Dean watched for a second, transfixed at the odd sight before it suddenly registered what they were. He looked down at the broken pieces of china at his feet, the sharp jagged shards lifted into the air by invisible hands, freezing for a second and then shooting forward in a blur. At Sam.

Sam had dropped the pouches of herbs and was trying to cover his face with his hands. Tiny red lines were appearing on his skin as the fragments nicked at his cheeks and arms. The sleeves of his shirt were rapidly being shredded, snatches of fabric dropping to the floor in wisps.

"Sam, fuck, get out of here! I'll deal with it!" Dean yelled, crouching to snatch up the pouches.

"No! It'll go after you if I'm not here!"

"I can deal with it!" He was already scrabbling at the floorboards in the left corner of the living room, battering a hole using the broken base of one of the china figurines. "Go, Sam!"

Sam hesitated, an indecipherable look on his face as he met Dean's eyes. Then he was spinning on his heel and disappearing from view, and Dean heard the sound of the back door slamming in the kitchen. He tensed, waiting for the porcelain to start its attack on him.

But the remaining pieces dropped to the ground with a clatter like rain falling on window panes. Dean frowned. And then went back to smashing through the floorboards as fast as he could, because if there's one thing he's learned from life, it's that you don't question lucky breaks. A porcelain baby's head, broken off at the neck, watched him with pink lips and rosy cheeks as he dropped the first pouch into the hole. Dean made sure to crunch it under his boot as he headed for the hallway and the second corner of the house.

The second pouch was faster, the loose floorboards easy to pry up with the end of the lock-pick. Dean kept one eye on any potential weapons the spirit might choose to throw at him, but nothing moved. Maybe the thing was planning a big finish. Or maybe it just wasn't strong enough to fight now that the cleansing had started.

Mentally dismissing it all until the job was done, just like John Winchester had taught him, Dean grabbed the three remaining pouches and headed for the third corner.

It turned out the third corner of the house was located in the cupboard under the stairs, and Dean cursed the old lady loudly as he dug through piles of shoes and coats and a set of golf clubs that nearly brained him as they were knocked loose. Throwing it all on the floor behind him, Dean crawled into the tiny cupboard and began prying the floorboards up.

His ass was left hanging out into the hallway. He winced as his mind began a slideshow of colour pictures featuring all the things a man-hating spirit might do to his unprotected rear end.

But nothing was happening, no flying golf clubs or coats trying to choke him. Even a weak spirit would be making some attempt to stop him by now. Unless…

Dean hit his head on the cupboard door in his haste to get to the kitchen.

Sam was pressed tight into the corner of the kitchen, a wall on one side and the painful edge of a cabinet digging into his ribs. The spirit didn't seem to be bothered by Dean's attempts to remove it, choosing to occupy itself with Sam instead. Good. Sam hoped it would give Dean enough time to finish the job, and a few scratches wouldn't hurt him in the long run anyway.

A few scratches that seemed to be bleeding a lot, and Sam closed his eyes for a second to try and push back the dizziness making his vision spin. His jeans were ruined and his shirt hung in tattered strips, sticking to his skin as trickles of blood ran down his arms. The china had ripped open tiny wounds on his face that stung as the air hit them.

A knife dislodged itself from the rack, diving toward Sam with deadly accuracy. He flung himself forward, just missing the blade as it grazed his shoulder. It joined the other five kitchen knives impaled in the wooden cabinet doors.

Sam crawled forward, propelling himself to the centre island and the relative safety of being able to keep his back covered. His hands were sticky on the floor, leaving dark prints behind.

"Sam?" The door leading to the hallway opened just as the spirit decided to step up its game. The only thing saving Dean from getting skewered by a drawerful of cutlery were his quick reflexes.

"Shit Sam, I thought I told you to get outta here?" Dean said, ducking down behind the island.

Sam felt a smile tugging at his lips and went with it, his head heavy. "Didn't wanna leave you without backup." The room was getting darker, the light pulling away from him. His skin felt clammy like he'd been out in the rain.

"Sam? Sam? Oh Christ, you stupid stupid kid!" Dean seemed to be whispering again. Sam wanted to ask him why he was bothering; surely the spirit - along with the entire neighbourhood - must know they were there by now.

And then Dean suddenly disappeared from his sight and Sam opened his mouth to tell him to come back, I'm sorry, don't leave me, but everything was fading around him. In the distant parts of his mind he heard something dripping, and the repetitive sound lulled him into black.

His head felt as if it was on fire and his eyes like someone had pricked them with a pin. Tiny sore points all over his body reminded him that he'd been sliced up, probably come pretty close to bleeding out. And wouldn't that be a way to go; death by Royal Doulton. Sam slowly opened his eyes and regretted it almost instantly as a sharp ray of light hit his eyes directly, intensifying his pain. Shit, that hurt. He closed his eyes in a hurry and a thought suddenly hit him. Where was Dean?

The next few seconds were a blur. Sam tried to open his eyes and stand up at the same time which hadn't turned out so well with the whole room spinning before his eyes. He was sure he would've fallen hadn't it been for strong arms around him, holding him up against a firm chest.

"Sam. Sammy, hold still!"

Sam instantly stilled under the sound of the voice, leaning against Dean's chest without hesitation, "Dean?"

A sigh, "Right here, kid."

"... Oh."

Dean chuckled a little, moving Sam so that he was lying down on the bed, "Hey, you okay? I don't want you tryin' to get up until I say it's okay, all right?"

Dean's voice was a soft murmur next to his ear and Sam relaxed, pushing away the residual fear of Dean's gone, he's gone, he's not here.

Sam let his head rest against soft, fluffy pillows, knowing what was coming.

Dean shrugged apologetically, sitting on the bed next to Sam, fingers rubbing up and down Sam's well-bandaged arm, "I don't wanna, but you know we gotta talk 'bout this."

Sam sighed, there was no way out of this. He opened his mouth to say something but one calloused hand covered it, preventing speech. Dean's lips were suddenly on his forehead, caressing the knotted skin repeatedly. Sam so desperately wanted to open his eyes and look at Dean but unfortunately Dean's other hand was over his eyes, making sure they stayed closed.

"Nuh uh, you aren't up for talking yet, so how 'bout I talk and you listen, huh?"

Sam swallowed when those lips left his forehead and Dean's nose nudged against his, but he nodded anyway, his own nose bumping into Dean's hand.

"Okay kiddo, first of all, I'm not mad at you. Well, maybe a little, but not all that much. But you know that it was a stupid thing to do right? You could've gotten yourself killed. And that ain't nothin' to joke about. You are not consciously putting yourself in danger, no matter the situation, do you understand me?"

He waited for Sam to nod before continuing, removing his fingers, "And for the record, kiddo, if you do anything like that ever again, I'll kick your ass."

Sam took a few moments to open his eyes, blinking until he adjusted to the light and then gazing into Dean's face, seeing all he wanted to see there. He carefully propped himself up on his elbows, hesitantly lifting his mouth to touch Dean's. The older man smiled against his lips and deepened the kiss, tongue stroking against Sam's gently, reassuringly. His fingers came up to rest in Sam's brown hair and Sam lifted his arms, wrapping them around Dean's neck. Dean's lips wandered, as they'd been doing lately, to his neck and Sam bit back a moan, automatically cupping the back of Dean's head and forcing him to press his lips to Sam's throat.

Dean grinned against him, small nips making both of them shiver, tiny licks that had Sam arching his neck so Dean could have more access. But it was all over too soon, with Dean pressing him against the mattress and nuzzling his cheek, whispering, "Go to sleep, you need rest."

Sam closed his eyes, huffing out a contented sigh when Dean curled around him, cradling him to his chest. A soft kiss to the top of his head and Sam was already one foot in slumber, poking the tip of his nose into the curve of Dean's collar-bone.

"'Night, Sammy."

"You too."

"Sammy! I swear to God, kid...put your head back in! Sam!"

"But it's hot," Sam grinned smugly, dodging when Dean made a grab at his shirt, sticking his head back out of the window and whooping loudly.

Dean tried to keep his eyes on the road and Sam at the same time, failing miserably on both counts. Finally he linked his hand into Sam's jeans pocket and tugged him forcibly back into the car, leaning across to close the window before Sam thought of something else.

"Remember our little talk about not putting yourself in danger?" He snarled, or tried to snarl at least; the sweet smile on Sam's face made his lips twitch in spite of himself. "I think you falling out of a moving car counts as danger."

"You'll save me." Sam said, almost too soft to be heard over the growl of the engine. Dean grinned to himself, glancing over at the kid and turning back to the road before Sam caught him looking.

And when Dean's hand found its way to Sam's knee, he pretended not to notice the hand that sneaked down to twine fingers in his. He just held on tight.