Title: Two Steps Back

Author: maimat
Rating: T
Length: 2000
Warnings: Language
Spoilers: Up to and including Season Three
Characters: Sam, Dean.
Notes: Gen

Summary: Revised 04/22/08. Set after Red Sky. The past catches up to us at the most inconvenient times.


"You got hit. Just stay still."

Sam didn't remember being hit. Laying on the pavement with concerned but unfamiliar faces looking down on him, he had no idea how it happened or where he was. A woman crying hysterically to his left caught his attention, and made him wonder if someone died. He assumed the car shooting exhaust fumes right beside his head was what hit him. A hand pressing something against the back of his head moved slightly and Sam tried to pull away.

"You got hit by a car, man. Flipped right over it. You're bleeding all over the place." A young guy with multiple piercings on his face hovered closely, his expression more akin to fascination than concern or horror.

"I'm okay."

"Looks like a fucking tap!"

The sound of sirens in the distance caught his attention; police and ambulance, and he knew that if he was still there when they arrived he'd be in a hell of a lot more trouble than a simple car accident. Stifling a groan Sam pushed himself up. Multiple piercing guy backed off slightly, and Sam felt the trickle of fluid snaking its way down his back.

"Dean?" Sam stared at the multiple piercing guy holding the bloody cloth for a moment, then searched the crowd for his brother.

"Your name's Dean?" The hysterical crying woman rushed to his side, tears smearing the mascara under her eyes. "You just ran right out in front of me. I couldn't stop. It wasn't my fault. You just came out of nowhere."

"I'm fine." If the world stopped spinning so fast Sam thought he might have even been able to say it convincingly.

Blood was everywhere. Sam felt it under his jacket and on the side of his face, and saw the puddle of it on the pavement. He twisted to brace his arm against the street to push upright, and failed. First, his shoulder wouldn't support the movement, and second his brain felt like it might explode.

He couldn't find Dean.

After a moment, he tried again, the need to be gone driving him, the need to find Dean overpowering everything else.

Multiple piercing guy reached out to stop him, but only half-heartedly. "You have to wait for the ambulance. You have a head injury."

"I don't have insurance. I can't afford an ambulance." As lame as it was, Sam figured it sounded better than, I don't want to be arrested. The ID in his pocket didn't identify him as a Winchester, but one can never be too careful.

With one hand on the lamp-post beside him, he managed to mostly stay upright.

The hysterical woman calmed down somewhat at seeing him stand. "You're going to be okay, I mean, I couldn't have hit you that hard if you're able to stand up, right?"

"Yeah, I'm okay."

She blew her nose into a wad of Kleenex and turned away from Sam and towards her car. "God, will you look at that dent in the hood, my husband is going to kill me. Do you have auto insurance? I mean, it was you that walked out in front of me, right? Or does that not count?"

The urge to get away was so totally overwhelming at this point that he really didn't care that one shoe was missing, or that he couldn't really focus on anything for long without it becoming several things. Sam backed away a step and spotted the lights coming around the corner. He backed up a couple more steps and stumbled into a back alley a few feet away. A couple people followed tentatively and watched until he turned another corner.

Simple.

Except for the fact he still couldn't remember the accident, and he couldn't remember what happened to Dean. The cool afternoon air whipping through the back lane carried a dusty garbage smell. What city was this? He could still hear sirens in the distance and tried to quicken his pace. The back of his head felt like it was still bleeding, and it throbbed in time with his heart beat.

As soon as he was confident that the sirens were a sufficient distance behind him, Sam sat down beside a recycling bin and rested against the brick wall. God, he groaned inwardly, he could even hear the pounding in his skull, and when he touched the side of his head he felt the warmth of fresh blood on his fingertips. A concussion was obvious; the blood on his skull aside, the double vision and nausea gave that away pretty easily.

Dean. He needed to find Dean. Sam patted his jacket pocket for his cell phone and pulled out several pieces of it. Fair enough, so phoning was going to have to wait. He closed his eyes a second and concentrated on what to do next. It felt good to rest a moment, and the moment turned into two moments. Two moments slipping into unconsciousness.


Waking up felt like falling. Sam threw out his arms to steady himself, and felt the icy damp cement beneath him. The list of damages Sam could feel right off the bat ranged from, muscle strains, to the mother of all headaches. The blood matted in his hair felt dry, but he couldn't stop shivering. Sam pushed himself up, stumbling on his first attempt, and feeling not much steadier on his second. The temperature must have plummeted since nightfall and he could see his breath in the air.

And where was Dean?

Oh shit, Dean.

The memories Sam couldn't focus on earlier were clearer now. He grabbed his pocket for his cell phone before remembering it was broken. He needed to warn Dean. With a hand on the brick wall beside him, Sam staggered slowly towards the end of the alley. He needed to find a pay phone, and fortunately he found there were still some coins in his pocket.

Barely one ring.

"Sammy?"

"You okay Dean?"

"Me? I'm fine. Where the hell are you?"

"I, uh, ran into some trouble at the library. Remember Steve Wandell? I think I met some of his friends today. They know what... uh... they think they know what happened."

"You're okay? Why haven't you been answering your phone?"

"It broke." Sam looked at his watch, which was also busted. He didn't even know what time it was.

"Where are you?"

Sam looked at the street signs. "Second and Illinois. How far away are you?"

"I'm already on my way Sam."

"How long?" The younger Winchester turned away as a group of people walked past where he stood. He needed to find somewhere to wait that wasn't in the open.

"About thirty minutes, less. You'll be waiting? We'll meet on the corner at quarter to twelve."

"Sure." Thirty minutes, he could do that.

Time passed slowly, and Sam stood back in the shadows of the entrance to the closest office building too keep himself out of sight. Several cars drove by; a red Honda accent slowed down close to where he hid, but did not stop. A police car cruised by shortly after that and Sam pushed himself even further into the shadows than he'd been before.

The deep rumble of the Impala never sounded as good as when it turned the corner and stopped at the phone. Just as Dean cut the engine, the police made another pass, at which point Dean got out and went to the payphone to make a call. Sam waited. Dean smiled and waved at the officer, and the cruiser moved on. As soon as it was out of sight Sam bolted from his hiding place and into the waiting car.

He watched Dean glare at him through the darkness, then slam down the phone and stalk over to the driver side. "What the hell Sam?"

"Let's just go."

Dean didn't argue with that, he put the car into gear and they were gone. Sam cranked the heat and leaned back.

"You said Wandell's friend's caught up with you?" Dean attention was focused on the road, and Sam was thankful it was dark enough for the bloody mess he was in to go unnoticed for the time being.

"Yeah. They, uh." Sam rubbed his forehead trying to think through the headache. "At the library."

"What do they know? They're sure it was you?"

Sam laughed humourlessly. "Yeah, pretty sure."

"So, you gave them the slip, and you didn't phone because?"

"My phone got wrecked."

"You've been dodging them all day?"

"No."

"So what were you doing from the time you went to do the research to now?"

Between Wandell's buddies cornering him at the library shortly after one, and waking up on the pavement after the accident, it was just blank. He still couldn't remember actually getting hit by the car.

"I don't know." Sam answered, and had to brace himself as Dean pulled over and slammed on the breaks.

Dean flicked on the interior light and took a closer look at his brother. "Shit, Sam, I've seen Roadkill prettier than you."

Roadkill, yep, that pretty much summed it up. Sam snorted a laugh, but the headache wasn't getting any better. "Do we have aspirin?"

"Sammy."

Sam cleared his throat. "Where's the aspirin."

"What happend to you?"

"I don't remember." Because it was better than admitting to having been hit by a car. Walking into traffic was just plain stupid.

"You don't remember. From the library, up to when you phoned me? That's a lot of unexplained hours Sam."

Dean got out and pulled a bag out of the trunk, slamming the door after climbing back in. He tossed the first aide kit on the seat beside him. "Here's your aspirin. Wash it down with this."

"Holy water." Sam contemplated the flask. Or maybe letting Dean know that there was a more mundane reason for not remembering a chunk of time wouldn't be so bad after all.

"What ever it is, we'll deal with it." Dean waited. Sam popped the aspirin into his mouth and took a swallow of the holy water.

"Okay." The tension visibly melted from Dean's shoulders.

"I have a concussion from when the car hit me. That's probably why I don't remember much." Sam finally said.

"And then?"

"I don't know Dean. I got out of there before the ambulance arrived. The last thing we need is for the FBI and Wandell's friends after us.

"Just how bad was the accident? Turn your head." Dean reached over and gently touched Sam's chin to turn his head to the left. "So, a car hit you in the face?"

That was actually funny, considering. "No, but I might have landed on it."

"Seeing double, nauseous?"

"Yes, but that was mostly before, I'm feeling better now."

"And you took off before the ambulance arrived? So where did you go after that?"

It sucked to be admitting this, but it was better than Dean pulling out more holy water. "I fell asleep beside a dumpster, I phoned you as soon as I woke up."

"You spent six hours passed out beside a dumpster in 30 degree weather?"

"Well, I think it was a recycling bin."

Dean leaned back. "Fuck, Sam. Something like this ever happens again, you wait for the ambulance, got that? I'll feel a whole hell of a lot better breaking you out of a county jail than looking for your dead body in back alleys. You understand me?"

"Sure."

"Anything else?"

"That's not enough?"

"Just checking."

"Whatever." The aspirin was finally kicking in. Sam's head pounded less than it did before, which counted for a lot. He felt warm, comfortable. Tired. "So how was your day?"