Over the Edge
The relentless hunt keeps Dean going, but wears Sam down. Too many unspoken words and one Winchester falls over the edge.
Timeline: Set during Season 2
Tag: Just after- Everybody Loves a Clown
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but boy I wished I did.
Beta : Kokoda2007!! As always, she improves my story with very minor changes and makes me think. Thank you - Kokoda!!
Over the Edge
The cold Nebraska wind whistled through the trees and Sam pulled his jacket up tighter around his body, a light shudder racking through his tall frame.
"Dean, let's come back tomorrow. It's cold, and I'm tired." Sam muttered, as his frozen fingers gripped the shotgun up against his chest, icy puffs of air drifting from his lips.
Dean tilted his head slightly and stared at his whiny little brother through the dim light of the late afternoon air.
"Geez, Sam, you want some cheese with that whine?"
He shook his head in exasperation and rolled his eyes. His gaze dropped once again to the trees and brush around them.
Sam huffed and curled in tighter on himself, attempting to keep warm, his body shuddering slightly with each gust of wind.
"Asshole" he muttered.
Dean laughed smugly as his eyes flitted around the woods, to the clearing and out past the trees. Nothing, maybe Sam's whiny ass was right, maybe, this was a bust.
Sam sighed loudly, and eased his shoulder back against the tree behind him. His head fell slowly against his chest and he hastily jerked it back up and thrust his eyelids back open, darting his gaze to his brother. Shit, stay awake; don't let Dean see you do that.
Sam was tired. The last month had been spent on the road, rushing from one hunt to the next, sleeping in the car, eating microwave burritos, stale potato chips, and guzzling coffee. Drifting on the road with his brother and not talking. It had become their life, since Dad died, and it was exhausting. His brother had become a man on a mission; to rid the entire world of evil, and he was doing it all right away.
The air in the Impala had been heavy and stagnant, both their minds on their father, and their own grief. Sam had hoped his brother would open up, talk to him, but Dean, just brushed Sam's attempts aside, kept silent and wrapped up tightly in his own anguish. So Sam had kept his sleepless nights, aching body, and feelings to himself. He had stolen quiet tears in any rest area or diner that they stopped at. He rode quietly, gazing out the window, lost in his own grief, while Dean drove them endlessly from one hunt to the next.
Dean was in a mad rush to kill any and everything he could find. The death of John Winchester was way too fresh in his mind, and the reasons behind it, all too overwhelming for him to even attempt to comprehend right now. They had left Medford Wisconsin right after the hunt for the killer clown at the Cooper Circus. Dean anxious to get to another hunt, to keep his mind busy, his thoughts away from the grief that threatened to overwhelm him. He had to stay focused on the hunt. Sam had tried to talk to him, but he wasn't up for it. He shuddered as he recalled Sam's words, "I feel guilty as hell, and I'm not alright, but neither are you." He remembered he had beaten the shit out of the Impala that day, grief and anger overcoming him in a mad rush of adrenaline. Now he was done, wasn't up for talking about it, rehashing it. He had better things to do than dwell on past mistakes. Their father was dead, and that was it, end of story. Sam was just going to have to deal with his feelings and issues with their Dad's death all on his own. He was now a man on a mission, and he would carry out his father's quest for the thing that killed their mother, and he would kill every supernatural son of bitch he could find along the way.
Sam must've dozed off against the tree again because the next thing he knew he was stumbling forward, nearly falling over his own gangly legs as his brother bumped his back harshly with his elbow when he stalked past.
"Some hunter you are, don't tell me you weren't asleep right there against that tree." Dean muttered angrily. "Gonna get us both killed."
Sam's face flushed with embarrassment. "I was just resting my eyes….Sorry", he mumbled.
Sam stumbled along, falling in behind his brother. God, did he say, Dean was an ass?
"Where's this razorback? Thought you said it was out here, you did the research, remember?" Dean huffed as he continued at a rapid pace, feet stomping against the dead leaves and dirt. He hated wasting his time running around the woods looking for some mysterious creature, no tracks, no sounds, nothing. What a freaking waste of time.
Sam blinked tiredly; his eyes glancing up at the mist hanging around the trees, the skyline, then behind them as he came to an abrupt stop. "I did research it Dean, three innocents were killed. Something chewed them all to hell. And all the articles said it happened right here."
"Well duh, but no one has seen it, or been hurt in at least six months? Long time, huh, Sammy, maybe, it moved on? Just 'cause someone says to jump off a cliff, you going to do that too? Huh?"
"Whatever…." Sam rolled his eyes, his weary body not up for another battle of words with his older brother. Sam sulked and started walking away from Dean.
"Uh…dude, that's the wrong way. The car's that way." Dean's finger pointed the opposite direction.
"No Dean, it's this way." Sam muttered his hand waving haphazardly in the evening light.
Dean came to an immediate halt, eye brows twitching in an aggravated motion, angry glare falling to his kid brother'. "What? You got to be kidding me, right? Like I don't know where I freaking parked my car?"
Sam's face fell in disbelief, "Dean, I wouldn't make this up. The car's that way."
"Is not, you fell asleep remember, must have gotten turned around."
"The car is that way."
"Is freaking not." Dean stepped closer to Sam's tall body, face growing beet red.
Sam thought for a minute his older brother was going to have an aneurism or at least stomp his foot like a little kid.
"Dude, calm down." Sam looked wide eyed at Dean, amazed at how pissed he had become in just under a minute.
"Screw you Sam." Dean turned and began walking in the opposite direction, dry leaves crunching harshly against the soles of his boots. "You coming?"
Sam stood silently glaring at his brother's back, finally, yelling loudly behind him, "Dean, YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!"
"NO SAM, I'm not. I repeat, you're tired, you fell asleep and got turned around." Dean shouted over his shoulder as he continued his stalk through the woods.
"Well, I'm going the other way so; let me know when you get tired of traipsing around in the woods." With that note, Sam turned sluggishly and began trudging the opposite direction of his brother. He was too tired for this shit. They had been out here all afternoon; he just wanted a warm bed to fall asleep in.
"You know what Sam, you're an idiot." Dean stopped and rolled his body around to face his brothers back.
Sam came to an abrupt halt and turned to face his angry older brother. "You know what Dean, you're freaking selfish. It's all about you isn't it. Dad dies, and you think you got to save the world now, well, it's all just bullshit."
Dean's eyes grew large. What? "Listen here, you little prick, don't bring Dad into this. I can't help it if you had issues with him and now he's gone. Those are you're issues, not mine…." He did not just say that to Sam…again? What were they arguing about?
Dean watched as his little brother's body fell into silence, large eyes looking across at him in disbelief. "And don't give me those big wide eyes of yours either." Dean stated flatly. "Cause I'm not buying what you're selling."
Sam just glared his mouth agape. He couldn't believe Dean was so hard core, what happened to his older brother? He released a trembling breath, sucked in some shaky air and turned, leaving his older brother standing behind him. He stomped up the hill, without another word, away from Dean.
"Sam, get your ass back down here. Dean yelled. "SAM, god dam..." Little brothers were such a pain in the ass. Dean gazed at his brother's retreating back. He pulled the compass out of his blue jean pocket and eyeballed it carefully through the shadowed haze of the sunlight woods. Yep, came this way.
"SAM", he yelled. He tucked the compass back in his pocket and glanced back up the hill. No Sam? He let his eyes move around the hillside, then down to the left and over to the right. No Sam? Shit! Where'd he go?
His feet thudded beneath him as he ran across the path he had just trudged down, eyes squinting in the dim light. "SAMMY?"
Sam slammed one foot in front of the other as he plodded his way up the hillside and away from his jerk of a brother. How could Dean say that to him, taunt him with his own words, it made his heart ache just hearing it. He could hear Dean yelling behind him, but he didn't care. He was sick and tired of his brother…of dealing with all of this…. He just wanted to get away from him, get to the car, and fall asleep in the passenger seat. He was so tired. Dean could find his own way back to the car… His thoughts roamed back to last few weeks with Dean. It was obvious, he didn't care about anything but the hunt now…
The next moment was a blur to Sam. He came to sudden awareness that there was nothing under his feet and his eyes darted downward, his sneakers sliding against the dirt and grassy embankment. His shotgun fell from his fingers as he wind milled his arms around attempting to gain his footing. It was too unexpected to even scream, as his body went tumbling face first over the edge and down the cliff. He grasped for purchase against the dirt, the brush, and tree limbs as they went falling past, his body rolled and flailed down the side of the embankment in one long tumble. He saw the ground moving past him as he plummeted through the trees, body thudding harshly against branches that scratched and tore at his clothes and flesh. The pain was immediate as it assaulted him, his limbs smashed into the dirt, beating off the rocks and brush. He gasped, his body flailing limply against the ground as he slammed to a sudden stop, his head thudded loudly against something hard, as oblivion over took him.
This was so not good, not good at all. Dean's mind raced as he ran up the hill. Maybe the razorback got him, but he would have heard something?
"SAM…Sam, answer me." Dean yelled loudly.
His eyes scurried in the shadows as the sun was falling behind the trees, the low light of dusk crept in around him. He needed to find Sam before dark?
His boots skidded to a halt as he made it to the top of the hill and realized there was nothing on the other side. He fell suddenly to his knees in an attempt to stop his downward dissent over the edge, his fingers dropping his shotgun in the fall, as he lurched for grass and bushes. Oh God, Sammy? He leaned over the rim and peered into the trees and faint light below, eyes straining to see the bottom, his brother. Maybe he landed on a ledge?
"SAM…SAM…answers me….SAM!" Dean's voice echoed back and around him.
His eyes caught something just below him, against a rocky ledge, and he squinted to see it in the faint light. Sam's shotgun. Oh God. Oh God. His eyes darted around in fear. He fell down there? His mouth fell open in dread as his mind comprehended where his little brother was.
"SAMMY…I'm coming. Sammy, can you hear me? SAMMY?"
Dean voice echoed down the hillside. His eyes scanned the ridge as he struggled to find the easiest path down to the bottom, below the treetops, and hopefully to his 'not dead' little brother. Don't think about it, Sam's fine…Sam's fine. His boots slide precariously on the rocks as he slowly skidded down the side of the slope, fingers and palms being gouged by rocks and thorny brush as he struggled to stay upright. He had to walk at an angle, just to get down the side of the rocky ledge, and he didn't even know how far it was to the bottom. His vision was obscured by trees, brush and dimming light. He knew he was probably veering away from his brother, but he just needed to get down the cliff, down to the bottom, down to Sam.
Sam's body moved sluggishly against the rocky ground, wet leaves plastered against his face, twigs and dirt covering his hair, cloths and exposed skin. A low moan escaped his throat as a large wave of pain washed over him. He whimpered. Dean? He shuddered, as his eyes dragged open to confused slits, his mind draped in a heavy fog. He blinked incoherently, his head lolled and twisted around on his neck. He gazed incomprehensibly up at the blurriness; the stark shadows encroached on his peripheral vision as he struggled to pull in some air. His throat made a low moaning sound as the pain overwhelmed him, his back arched up slightly from the ground. His eyes rolled slowly back into his skull as his mangled body fell limply back against the hard earth.
The rocks and pebbles slid beneath Dean's boots, his body almost vertical now against the side of the cliff. His fingers grasped at the rough service, clinging to remain standing. Blood rose from his fingertips, as the ground ate into his skin, but he didn't feel it, his mind focused on one thing. Find Sam . He squinted through the dusky air, eyes straining to see the solid ground coming up to greet him. His muscles tensed to remain standing as the incline got continually steeper toward the bottom.
"SAM" Dean's voice hitched out in a loud sobbing cry. God, why doesn't he answer me?
He blinked past the moisture as his feet finally hit bottom. His eyes darted up and around the area, searching, beseeching that he find Sammy. He scrubbed his bloody fingers against his blue jeans, a light grimace escaped from his lips. He stumbled, half running, as his eyes fell to the limp form of his little brother off in the distance. He ran faster. His heart pounded loudly in his ears the closer he got to the brown mass of hair, the long gangly limbs that were sprawled limply on the ground.
He boots skidded out from under him as his knees ungraciously hit the grass and rocks next to Sam, shaky fingers ghosted out in front of him above his brother's damaged frame, not knowing what to do first. Okay, how bad is he hurt? Big brother mode kicked in, and he immediately began to assess the situation.
"Sammy…?" A weak whisper escaped from his lips. Firm, but gentle fingers against Sam's neck, hoping and praying he found a pulse. A fretful smile rose from his lips when he felt the firm thudding beneath his fingertips. Relief welled up in him and he felt the breath he didn't know he was holding slowly ease out.
"Its okay Sam…I gotcha." He whispered. "You're goanna be fine kiddo, just fine…"
He noticed right off that Sam's left arm was twisted at an awkward angle, possibly broken from the fall. His clothes were torn, and little gashes and cuts decorated his body. Sam's face was already swelling, becoming a mass of purple, black, and blue bruises on the left side. The thought of hidden bruises made Dean winch. He drew his eyes to pool of blood rolling slowly down Sam's cheek, and with tender fingers he tugged the long bangs away to look at it. The cut was deep, right along the hairline, just above Sam's ear. It was bleeding profusely, and would definitely need stitches. Dean swiftly ripped off his jacket and covered his brother's trembling limbs. He removed his extra tee shirt and held it tightly against his brother's bloody face; applying light pressure to the wound in hopes to squelch the blood flow. Sam's eyebrows flinched at the motion and Dean looked keenly at him.
"Sammy? You with me? I gotcha. Open your eyes." Dean watched with baited breath as Sam's eyelids scrunched up in momentary confusion, and then his eyelashes fluttered, his eyes opened to murky green slits as a low whimper escaped from his lips.
"'…ean?" Sam's voice was a soft sigh. His legs moved restlessly as he attempted to focus on Dean's face.
"Easy, easy…you fell. Remember? Took quite a tumble there big guy." Dean's hand rested quickly against Sam's chest, holding him steady as his body continued to move agitatedly against the dirt. "Easy."
"Guh…" Sam mumbled; breathe in short gasps as his bleary eyes darted around in confusion and fear.
"Sam, look at me. Sammy…look at me." Dean's voice was firm, heavy with concern for his suffering little brother.
"F…fell?" Sam's eyes gazed blankly at Dean and then slowly fluttered closed.
Dean's agile fingers moved slowly along Sam's body, checking for further injury. Once he had completed his check, he was satisfied that his little brother had taken a hard knock on the head, and probably had a concussion, a wrenched arm, multiple cuts, bumps, and bruises, but he would recover. He tugged Sam's body up to rest upon his chest, his little brother's head lolling against his shoulder. He moved his hand over and placed it against Sam's neck, holding it steady, thumb caressing soothingly through his brown hair.
"Come on Sammy, open your eyes. Don't make me carry your heavy ass back to the Impala." Dean let his calloused fingers rub small circles against Sam's back, hoping to rouse his sibling to wakefulness.
Sam felt warm fingers flowing through his long hair, caressing his face; he heard his older brother's voice whispering comforting words into his ear. He slowly let his eyes flurry open and looked lazily up at his big brother.
Dean's hand quickly dropped to the leather jacket, tugging it tighter up against Sam's chest.
"Hey, kiddo. Glad you decided to join me."
Sam smiled sluggishly as he nuzzled in closer to his brother. Dean was warm . He tried to pull his jumbled thoughts together, but he wasn't too clear on how he ended up nestled up against Dean on the cold ground. Where were they? He blinked slowly, befuddled eyes looking to his big brother for answers. Dean was here. He would take are of it, make everything alright.
"You fell – off a cliff – ring any bells? Dean offered to his little brother's weak face, "You scared the shit out of me."
Dean gazed at his incoherent little brother. The blood from the hairline cut was clotting, blood now a small trickle in his hair. His badly wretched arm was stuffed inside his jacket, zipper holding the traumatized limb steady. Various cuts and bruises covered his body and spots of blood seeped and soaked into his clothes. He was a mess, but he was going to be okay. Just need to get him back to the room and cleaned up.
"Sam, you with me?" Dean queried, firm arms wrapped tightly around Sam's body.
"Yeah…I think…think so." Sam stuttered. "Just need to rest for a bit," his sluggish eyes blinked at Dean.
"No, stay a wake kiddo." Dean ordered. "I think you got a concussion."
"Okay' Sam hesitantly agreed. That was an order. He knew he wasn't quite ready to stand up yet; his bruised and mangled body now ached from head to toe. His mind was clearing up, though, focusing, and he recalled his recent tumble over the edge, and down to the bottom of the hill. The thought alone made every part of his body hurt. Was he snuggling with his big brother? He could say something, but he had missed his brother a lot lately, even though he had been right next to him everyday in the Impala bounding from one hunt to the next. It had been lonely since their Dad died, and comfort was not something Dean had offered a lot of.
They sat, listening to the sounds of silence as the night air closed in around them. Dean flipped on the flashlight and eased it down beside them. He felt Sam push against him, and looked at his baby brother as he struggled to set up, wobbly body leaning heavily against Dean.
"Easy… you got a concussion…." Dean gazed inquisitively at Sam's bruised face.
"Dean? Are you okay?" Sam's tired, low voice whispered in Dean's ear.
Dean reached over and tugged his leather jacket up around Sam's shivering body giving him a questioning gaze.
"Am I okay? What? I didn't just fall over a cliff?"
"I mean…with…Dad's death…" Sam's unfocused eyes fell to Dean.
Dean's face went expressionless, his muscles tensing up, moving slightly away from his brother. Oh, man, he didn't want to talk about this -must be the concussion talking.
Sam felt his brother pull away, and his concussed mind shattered, tears immediately filling up his eyelids. Dean was never going to talk to him….
"I'm tired…" Sam murmured. His shaky hand tugged up to rub at his bruised face.
"Don't Sam." Gentle callused fingers griped Sam's wrist, tugging his fingers away from his face.
Dean watched his little brother, saw the tears welling in his lids, the sad confusion on his face, and his anger morphed to concern. Where had he been? Sam suddenly looked bone weary, bruises and cuts a stark contrast against his pale face.
Dean felt suddenly sick as reality leaked in around him. By the looks of Sam, he had needed Dean for awhile, not just since the tumble down the hill. He had been so busy focusing on the hunt, getting his mind off their father's death, pushing them nonstop; he had lost sight of his number one priority. Sammy.
Dean leaned his arm over and pulled Sammy back against him. Chick flick moment be damned. "Com'er Sammy."
Sam's eyes went wide as he felt himself being pulled gently back to rest against Dean's chest. His big brother's hand held him tightly against the nap of his neck, his chin brushing lightly against Sam's hair.
"Dean?" Sam whispered, voice sounding tired and confused and a lot like the five year old Dean remembered from his youth.
"It's okay Sammy; it's going to be okay. I'm here now. I'm sorry we got in a fight, and I'm sorry for what I said. I didn't mean it - any of it." Tears pooled in Dean's eyes and he brushed them quickly away with his shirt sleeve. God, he missed his Dad .
"Me too." Sam blinked, as tears brimmed over his eyelids and rolled slowly down his battered face. His weary body leaned into his brother's welcomed touch. He relaxed. They had been through a lot this last month. It was okay with him if Dean needed to release some of his grief. He rested his concussed head against his big brother, words no longer necessary, as anger fell away and they sat in stillness, soaking in strength from one another.
"You ready to go?" Dean's soft voice wafted through the darkness and Sam blinked his eyes open, his brother's concerned face looking intently at him. He must have dozed off.
"Yeah", Sam pushed lightly off his brother, rising on his shaky legs, wincing with every motion. Dean's steady arm rested around his waist, his strong grip never wavering.
"Com on sasquatch lets get you back to the room and cleaned up."
"Okay…" Sam whispered as he swayed slightly against his brother.
"Next time someone tells you to go jump off a cliff - don't do it."
Sam's face curled up and a giggle escaped from his lips. "Ow...ow…don't make me laugh." He scowled.
Dean chortled and then grinned widely, as he tugged his little brother forward, back toward the car, the motel, and a much needed rest.