A/N: Spoilers for Fresh Blood. I actually wrote this several days after Fresh Blood first aired in the US. The ending as it exists now was what I wrote that first time out. I went back and tried to rewrite it five or six times, but this is the way it wants to be. The conversation between the brothers covers topics that they touched on in later episodes, but I decided to leave it here… I'd like to offer a very special thanks Dennis, Abni, TraSan and Manavie for encouraging me to post this! Their support has made me brave enough… AU… Not death fic.
Vampire bites…How much fun is that? I guess there is a first time for everything, but wow, could have missed that a little. Love the blood-running-down-my-neck sensation, one of my favorites. Dean glanced over at Sam, his brother still had the same shell-shocked look he had on his face at the warehouse. Sam hadn't said anything since they had gotten in the car, he just stared out the window as the lights flashed by, lost somewhere.
After all that about wanting me back, little brother, you get lost more these days than I like to think about. Dean sighed as he pulled the car up in front of the motel. Sam stumbled out, opening the door and disappearing in the dark room before Dean could say anything. Great, we need to talk, Sam. Dean followed more slowly. My neck hurts. Damn, that sounds like a whine, but hey, got chomped, you know. Dean closed the door and locked it. He looked at the bed frame he had used to block the door earlier. Nah, I don't think we need that now. Sammy took care of that problem…With razor wire. Dean turned into the room. Sam was standing by the table, still with that lost look on his face.
His brother looked up at him, not really focused. "Yeah?" he said absently, looking at his hands. Dean took a good look. He hadn't noticed in the warehouse and on the drive back Sam had kept his hands well hidden. But now that I get a good look at them, oh, my god, Sam. What the hell?
Sam suddenly lost the unfocused, shell-shocked look. "Dean!" He stepped forward. "What happened?"
"What do you think happened, Sammy?"
"Gordon bit you?"
"Chomped is better, he chomped me good," Dean said with a smirk. Sam grabbed Dean's shirt and pulled him into the bathroom. "What are you doing?"
"Let me fix that," Sam said. He shifted Dean's head a little to the side to get a better look at the wound.
"I'm okay," Dean said. He was looking in horror at Sam's hands, trying to see if they had gotten cut during the fight with Gordon. Sam's hands were covered in blood, but Dean couldn't tell if he'd been cut. "Sammy!" Oh my god, are your hands cut? Did you get Gordon's blood on your hands? Oh god, Sammy, please say that didn't happen.
Sam looked at Dean for a moment, his eyes following Dean's stare, he looked down at his hand where it rested on Dean's neck and met his eyes. "Oh, god, Dean." Before Dean could react, Sam had Dean's head over the sink and was running water over the bite.
The water was cold. It slowly warmed. Soap lathered against Dean's neck, stinging the open wound. "Wash your hands too, Sam," Dean said calmly, his voice muffled a little by his brother's arm. And really that's great since I am not calm at all. Not calm a tiny bit. In fact full-blown panic might be part of this. My heart may explode any moment now, Sam. This is so not good. Oh god, Sam, what do I do if…If somehow you're…? "Water's getting cold." Sam ignored him, still frantically scrubbing the wound on his neck. "Water's cold, back hurts, Sam." He realized Sam was repeating "I'm sorry, oh god, I'm sorry." Okay, Sammy, that's enough. He pushed up against his brother's hands. Sam tried to shove him down again. "It's enough, it's clean."
"How can you be sure, Dean?" Sam said, his face white, hands shaking. "I…I didn't think. I'm sorry."
Dean ignored his brother's mumbled apology and pulled Sam's hands under the cold water, carefully lathering them and rinsing the blood and soap away. My god, his hands are a mess. This is so not good. What did you do, Sam? What were you thinking? How badly are they actually cut? Wait…Dean looked at his brother's hand. Maybe it's not as bad as thought. Sam tried to pull his hands away. Dean held them firmly under the water. I know it's cold, should have thought of that. How long? Can you even wash that poison out? And if you can't, are we both affected? "Are your hands cut?" he said, pulling Sam towards the table. Sam reverted to that lost look as Dean had washed his hands.
"Dean…I don't know, just this one I think." Sam held out his left arm, there was a small wound just below his wrist. He swallowed, meeting Dean's eyes. "Do you think?"
I could pretend I don't know what you are talking about, but what's the point? "I don't know, Sammy. Let me bandage this first. You were lucky. You must have grabbed that wire just right." Oh, god, Sam, your wrist was cut, did you get blood in there? Did you??
"How fast will it affect us, do you think?" Sam said, watching Dean wind a bandage around Sam's wrist.
"We don't even know if we are infected, Sam." Yep, don't know, but I'm thinking when you popped Gordon's head off, you might have gotten a little blood on you.
"I probably got a little of his blood on my hands, Dean," Sam said. "I didn't think when I checked your neck, god, I'm sorry." Sam took some gauze from Dean and carefully covered the seeping bite mark on Dean's neck. He taped it into place, tears slowly getting heavy in his eyes. "I'm so sorry, Dean." Sam sank into a chair, his head in his hands.
"Sammy, hey, it's okay," Dean said, sitting in the chair next to him.
"Not really." Sam looked up at him. "Not at all." He looked down at his hands, the white gauze on his wrist already stained with fresh blood. "I didn't think, Dean. I should have. I just…"
Okay, Sam, what are you talking about? There is a lot in that statement. "Yeah?" he said, looking at Sam.
"I just…Gordon…and then you were…I didn't think."
"Yeah, and Sammy? You're not actually making much sense either," Dean said with a little laugh, trying to break the look of utter despair on his brother's face.
"What?" Sam looked up at him. "Not really am I? I'm sorry, Dean, I didn't think about his blood on my hands. I just saw your neck and…" He shrugged sadly.
"It's okay." His blood on your hands, Sam. And an open wound on your hand, oh god. Even if you didn't pass it on to me, how can you not be infected? And if you are, what the hell do I do? "He did take a pretty good chomp."
"It's not funny."
"It's a little funny," Dean said, smiling. The smile faded when he saw Sam's face. "It happened, we just have to wait and see, Sam, that's all."
"Wait and see?" Sam said with a dangerous edge. "Wait and see what, Dean?"
"I don't know, what happens, I guess."
"Wait and see if one or both of us are infected?" Sam said with dangerous calm. "Wait and see which one of us decides to try and kill the other first?"
"Probably wouldn't try and kill, just eat, don't you think?" Dean said, watching Sam.
"And if that happens, what do we do?" Sam was calm, unmoving, his hands, resting on the top of the table, were visibly shaking.
"We'll deal with that when and if it happens."
"Since when are you Mr. Wait and See?" Sam said in a deathly calm voice, as if all emotion had been pulled away.
About the time I had to face that this was you, Sam, what the hell do you think? If it were anyone else, bam, no head, but this is you, Sammy. YOU. Don't you get it? I would wait till the world ended if I had to. DON'T YOU GET IT, SAM? Killing me is no problem, actually that would make it easier, but not you. Never. And if you do go down, Sam? I'm going too, infected or not. "I don't know," Dean said with a shrug.
"Don't know?" Still calm.
You know that calm thing you do freaks me out a little, Sam, it's like the weird, freaky calm before the class-seven hurricane blows in. "Yeah, Sammy, I don't know. I don't know, okay?"
"You don't know?"
If you say that again, Sam…Dean shrugged again. "Yep, don't know."
"You…Don't…Know…" Sam said, spacing the words, his voice, if anything, getting calmer on each word.
Here it comes. "I…Don't…Know."
"You don't…" Sam took a deep breath, it sounded calm, or would have to anyone but Dean. He heard what was under his brother's soft inhale. "I…and you…" Sam looked at him, utter calm on his face, his eyes wild. He took another breath and exploded. The table slammed against the wall, followed by a chair. Dean grabbed Sam before his brother could inflict any more damage—on the room or himself.
"Let me go, Dean," Sam said, trying to pull away.
"As soon as I'm sure you're not a danger to the furniture. There isn't much in here."
"Let me go," Sam repeated, holding perfectly still. Dean could feel the tension in his brother's muscles.
"Are you going to leave the furniture alone?" Trying to keep his voice light.
The tension suddenly left Sam, he sagged against Dean. "Yeah, I will," he mumbled.
"Good boy." Dean let him go with a slap on the back.
"I'm so sorry, Dean." Sam picked up the chair and set it back on its feet. One leg wobbled. "Sorry."
"Breaking furniture is never good, Sammy."
"That's not what I'm talking about." Sam turned back to Dean.
Do I purposely misunderstand? Or do we talk? If he was infected, what do I do? Why do I keep asking myself that? I know what I'll do. Simple. Oh, god, not simple at all. "Sam, it'll be okay, I doubt you were infected."
"Me?" Sam blinked at him. "You think it's because…? Me?" His brother gave him another wild look and paced across the room. Dean could see the tension starting in Sam again.
"Sam, calm down," Dean said. His brother turned on him. "Or not."
Dean shrugged and walked over to his bag. After rummaging around in it for a minute, he pulled out a bottle of tequila. Sam watched him pick the table up and set it back in the center of the room. Dean dragged the wobbly chair over to the table, set the other on the opposite side and sat down. He put the bottle on the table. The adrenaline was rapidly running out, he was exhausted, his hands were shaking. Cold was beginning to seep through his bones. I'm getting to old for this shit. Dean smiled as the quote played in his head. Loved that movie. He took a drink, grimacing as the tequila burned its way down his throat. "Smooth."
Sam stood staring at him for another minute before dragging himself to the table. He sat down, the chair wobbling a little as he settled. "Gave me the broken chair?" Sam said, his voice neutral.
"You broke it, you buy it." Dean grinned and passed the bottle to his brother.
Sam accepted and took a swig. He started coughing. "What is this?"
"The bottle says 'Geronimo's Finest,' Dean. And the label looks homemade."
Dean took the bottle and peered at the label. "Does look homemade." He took another drink. "Did I ever tell you about the time I bought that bootleg mescal out in New Mexico?"
When Dean offered the bottle, Sam took it again. Planning on matching me drink for drink, Sammy? Bet you're out before me. "Is that the little adventure that led to your sage advice 'never buy tequila that's in an old apple cider jug'?"
"I think I always add 'with a handwritten label' to that advice, Sammy." Dean took the bottle again. "I'm hoping this stuff will warm me up. I'm freezing."
"What do we do about this, Dean?" Sam matched his drink and upped the ante with a second swig.
"We wait, Sam. We don't know if you were infected." Dean drank again. The tequila didn't seem to burn as much. Or I've dissolved the lining of my throat already.
"Dean…" Sam scrubbed his hands over his face. He swallowed and looked up at Dean again. Grabbing the bottle, he took another drink. "I think it's melted my throat," Sam said, coughing a little. "Chasers are good, Dean."
"Chasers are for girls." Dean reached for the bottle again, he had a hard time getting his hand to close around it. He knew Sam was watching him, Dean focused and forced his fingers around the bottle.
"No, Sam, we wait."
"And if…" Sam stopped for some reason. "If I'm infected?" he said with a frown.
"We worry about that if it happens, Sammy," Dean said, hearing a slight slur in his voice. Have I had that much? He looked at the bottle, trying to figure out how much of the tequila he'd consumed. When did I eat? Empty stomach and tequila…
Sam was watching him. "Dean?"
"No, not hearing it, Sam. I'm not going to lose you again." Dean was surprised at the anger that was suddenly boiling out of him.
"Lose me? You're the one who's been trying to push me away," Sam snapped back. "And Dean, I'm not going to do it."
"Do what, Sam?"
"Spend the last year of your life like this. I won't, Dean. I'm tired of…"
"What?" Dean snapped. Tequila, stress and Sam? Not good bedfellows.
"I told you, Dean. I want…What's the point in me being alive if I don't have…"
"What, Sam? WHAT?"
"You, Dean. I want my brother back."
"Sam…" Dean said, the anger draining out of him, replaced by cold exhaustion. The room wavered at the edges.
"I don't care if you're scared or…or whatever the hell you're telling yourself, Dean." Sam stopped himself and sighed. "I'm an adult. I don't need you invincible anymore, I just need you."
Dean picked the bottle up again, carefully closing his hand around it before lifting it off the table. "Sam…" he said, pausing before taking a drink. Shut up, brilliant, shut up. Just drink the tequila and don't under any circumstances open your big mouth. "What do you want me to say?" How is that shutting your mouth? He took a long pull on the bottle. What was that? About a…what do you call ten shots? Dean blinked. Sam was a little fuzzy around the edges. "Focus," he laughed.
"Dean?" Sam took the bottle out of his hand and put it on the table.
"What do you want me to say?" Dean sighed. "You think I want to die?"
"A little." Sam said, frowning at him.
Dean blinked. "Stop moving around." Shut up, don't go on, tequila and you? Not good bedfellows. "I don't want to die, Sammy. I just want it to end. I…If you're infected, Sam…" He made a grab at the bottle, Sam pulled it away. "Ah, come on, Sammy. Give me the bottle." Dean stood, the room did a somersault around him. He blinked. "How'd I get down here?"
Sam walked around the table and reached for his hand. Dean grabbed it. "Dean?" Sam was frowning as he steered him back to the chair.
"Thanks," Dean said. He snatched the bottle off the table. "Ha."
"You've had enough."
"Never enough, Sam. There's just not enough."
"Enough for what, Dean?"
"To make it stop, all of it." Shut up, shut up. Just shut up…you are going to say something you will…"I want the pain to stop, Sammy. I want…god, I want a normal life so bad sometimes it makes me ache. I want…" See? Shut up.
"What, Dean?" Sam asked, his voice gentle.
"Nothing," Dean muttered to the table. I want what you want, I want…Oh, god, Sam what do I do if you're infected. How do I? How can I?
"Dean?" Sam dropped a hand on his shoulder. "What?"
"I…" Shut up, shut up don't… "I don't want to go to hell, Sammy. Dying is bad enough. I don't want to go to hell."
"I know, Dean," Sam's hand tightened on his shoulder. His brother was frowning at him, concern squinched between his brows. "I'll figure it out, I promised, remember?"
"Not if it means your dying, Sam. Never. Promise."
He pushed himself up and grabbed Sam's collar. "Promise me, Sam. Promise me you won't die trying to save me."
"Dean…" Sam's frown deepened, his eyes were bright with tears.
"Yeah, I am, but that doesn't have…promise me, please Sam, it terrifies me, knowing what you might do, please Sam." So much for shutting up.
"Dean…" Sam swallowed. "I…I can't Dean."
"I told you, I'd do anything, and I will, if I have to."
"You die, Sam, I'm not saved any way." I think I might have slurred a little there.
"You're not shaved?"
"I said saved." Dean pulled back a little, Sam was completely blurry. "Can you focus, Sam?"
"You need to lie down, Dean." Sam pulled Dean's arm over his shoulder and helped him to the bed. "We'll talk later."
"No, now." Okay, you might want to shut up now. Who knew tequila was truth serum? Smart. Really smart.
Sam patted his chest before pulling the blanket over him. "In the morning, Dean. We'll talk then."
"I. Sam. We." I think I said more words than that… Maybe not? "Morning."
"Yeah, Dean, in the morning."
"Sammy?" Panic suddenly rose back up, a huge flood wave, pulling him along with it. "Are you…? Sammy?" Are you infected? I need to stay up for you…I…I…"I need to…" Dean reached out for his brother.
Sam grabbed his hand and gave it a squeeze before setting it down on the blanket. "It's okay, Dean, sleep." Sam's voice sounded a little off to Dean.
"Sammy?" He struggled up through the layers pushing him down. Opening his eyes—When did I close them?—he blinked against the light from the bathroom.
"I'm okay, Dean, I think we'd know by now if I was infected at the warehouse."
"Thank god," Dean said, letting his eyes close again. "Sam…"
"In the morning, Dean."
"Kay," Dean said. Sleep was creeping up on him, numbing his body, slowing his mind. "Cold," he heard himself say.
"Okay, Dean." Sam pulled another blanket over him, tucking it under his shoulders.
"Thank…" Dean drifted into the dark.
"Not good enough, damn it," Sam was shouting, the words pulling Dean away from a velvety darkness.
"Some people have hangovers," Dean groaned.
"Call you later," Sam said. "Dean?"
"Don't yell." Dean's head was pounding, his stomach ached with a burning intensity, he felt like he couldn't move at all. His heart was pounding loudly in his ears, nearly drowning out all other sounds. "God, my head is killing me. Too much tequila last night, eh, Sammy?"
"Last…Yeah, Dean," Sam said softly. Dean could hear his brother moving around the room.
"My stomach…" Dean groaned again as his stomach twisted. "Won't buy Geronimo's Finest again." He tried to sit up, but the blanket seemed to be holding him down, the movement made his brain slam against his skull. "Don't want to move much."
"I know." Sam stopped beside the bed and slid his hand under Dean's head. "Here, this will help." A cup was placed against his lips.
Dean drank, the sweet liquid warmed him, took the pain from his stomach, eased the pounding of his head. He took another drink, greedily consuming all of the liquid. "Good stuff, Sammy," he said as his brother gently put his head down.
"Yeah," Sam's voice was sad. "Sleep a little longer, Dean. I'll be here."
"You okay?" Dean asked. Whatever Sam had given him took away the pain, but it was also making him sleepy again.
"Sure, Dean." Sam put a gentle hand on his head. His brother's hand felt warm, it eased the last of the headache.
"Okay, just give me a few minutes more…" Dean sighed and let sleep carry him away again.
"I don't know, Bobby," Sam was saying as consciousness reared again. Dean groaned, the headache was back, pounding against his skull with a fury he'd never known. His stomach was gnawing at him, his heart slamming into the headache with physical violence. Oh, god, never again tequila with homemade labels. You think I would have learned last time.
"Sam?" he said, his voice sounding strained.
"Got to go. Dean?" Sam said.
Dean forced one eye open, blinking at the brightness of the lamplight. "Hangovers suck."
Sam's smile was sad. "Yeah, they do."
"Why are you…?"
"Oh, I tried your cure, the greasy pork chop and ashtray? Fixed me right up."
"Oh, god, Sam, don't." Dean swallowed the bile that rose in his throat. Sam laughed a little. Dean got his other eye open, blinking away a few tears from the light. "My head…Oh, god."
"I'll get you something, Dean, it'll help."
"Same stuff you gave me last time? That really helped."
"I know," Sam said, his voice breaking.
Something is going on, Sammy? What? "Sam?" Dean struggled to sit up, he couldn't. He was held in place by the blankets, he fought them for a moment, then dropped back down. "Yikes."
"It's okay, Dean." Sam picked up a jar and poured the contents into a mug. Dean blinked again as he got a look at what Sam was pouring.
"Sammy?" he said.
His brother met his eyes. "Yeah, Dean?"
Dean's heart accelerated. Pounding against his head, the sound nearly deafening, the heartbeat y frantic. Panic, terror, pain—they were all there in that pounding beat. Dean shook his head and took a deep breath, trying to calm the overly fast beat. It didn't help. As Sam approached the bed, Dean realized why he hadn't been able to calm that frenetic heartbeat.
Oh, god. Oh, no. No.
It wasn't his heartbeat he was hearing at all.
It was Sam's.
To Be Continued