Outlet

Outlet

Their day had started off innocently enough. They job they were on in Georgia had been quick, easy, and most importantly, blood free. They should have known, just known in their gut, that things are seldom that easy for a Winchester

They moved silently through the house, looking for the door leading down to the basement. Phillip Marks was the, ah, mark, so to speak. Full time investment banker, and part time black-arts conissure. Not. The most that this guy had managed to do was to give some people an annoying rash. No biggie. They hadn't even been looking for this case when they had overheard some people talking about him in the coffee shop. What had really caught their interest was when the older woman in the group next to them mentioned that she had seen him walking out of the creepy shop down the street with all sorts of strange things; herbs books, crystals and the like. The list made Sam a little uneasy. Even with someone who didn't know what the hell they were doing, the wrong combination of items could cause trouble all on their own. Better to head this guy off at the pass, so that they could make sure that rashes were the worst thing that these people had to worry about.

So that was how, after a little research, they found themselves in the house of Phillip Marks that evening. Hell, they hadn't even had to pick the lock. The guy had left the door open. "Yeah, Sammy, I think we're dealing with a real professional here. This yahoo doesn't even lock his front door when he's conjuring, and believe me I use the term loosely." Sam just rolled his eyes at him, and eased open the basement door.

With the things that they had seen through their lives, they pretty much worked under the assumption that there was little left in this world that would surprise them. But this guy…wow. He had on what Sam recognized as a terrible imitation of a shaman headdress, the symbols on his chest were painted on wrong and, oh wait, upside down. And he was wearing a shiny purple robe. Dean tried really hard not to laugh as he made his way over, but a few chuckles slipped out.

"Wha…what are you doing here? Wait, stop!" Phillip made to move toward Dean, but Sam held him against the wall with one hand.

"Oh, don't get your panties in a bunch Phil. Even though I think that you are a moron and seriously not a threat, we're just here to make sure that you don't accidentally hurt these people."

"Or yourself," Sam added.

"Right! Right, or…your…anyway…" Dean turned back to Phil's make-shift alter and just dumped the whole thing over. Coating the contents with lighter fluid and some salt, he dropped the match and watched the contents go up in flames. "Sam?" He didn't wait for a response, just turned around and walked back up the stairs, Sam right behind him. Sam actually made it all the way to the front door before he burst out laughing.

"Oh God, did you see his face? And that get-up? Dean when you knocked over the alter, I thought that he was going to cry!"

"Yeah Sammy. Let's get going, I want a beer." Sam's chuckles died down as he slid into the car. "Yeah, I guess a gig where neither of us needs medical attention is reason enough to celebrate. Let's go." Dean made the quick drive back to the motel and parked the impala in front of their room. The local bar was only a couple of blocks away, and they set off into the pleasant Georgia evening, entering the bar a few minutes later.

It started off by Dean making off-handed comments about where Sam chose to sit. Then the bar nuts were not salty enough.

"Dude, chill." Dean looked at him. "Sam, how can I sit here and 'chill' and enjoy my beer if there aren't any decent bar nuts?" After that Dean almost threw his empty bottle at the bartender when he failed to bring the next round over in a 'timely fashion'.

"Dude, what's up with you? Just chill out!"

"Sam, we're in a bar, and I want a beer, so if this guy can't handle that then he should find somewhere else to work." The sat there in silence for a few minutes, just drinking their beers, but all the while Sam was thinking. Maybe Dean just has some pent up energy. I mean, it's not like he got to waste anything tonight or anything. Hopefully the beer will help him relax a little.

If Sam wanted relaxed then he got anything but. Some guy walking past the bar knocked into Dean's shoulder on his way past, causing Dean to spill his beer. Dean jumped up and rounded on the guy. The man looked at him in apology. "Hey man, sorry about that." But Dean's answer was a punch to the gut, followed by a left hook. Dean got in a few good punches before Sam managed to shake off his shock and move in to break it up. Unfortunately, the guy's buddies were right there as well, and they didn't take too kindly to outsiders starting trouble.

So instead of breaking up the fight and getting Dean the hell out of there, Sam was ducking punches and trying to put these guys down as quickly as possible. Less than a minute later, he turned to find his brother. And there Dean was, wailing away on this guy who had already stopped fighting back, just trying to protect himself as much as possible from Dean's onslaught. Sam wrestled him away from the man and hauled him towards the door, Dean still trying to kick at the man as they left.

Once outside, he shoved Dean out in front of him and started walking. "What the hell is wrong with you Dean?" He punctuated his question with an irritated shove of Dean's shoulder, getting him to continue moving towards the motel. "That guy deserved it Sam." Sam's steps stuttered just a little. "For bumping into you? He apologized Dean! It was an accident!" Sam didn't understand. "He was aiming for me Sam, that was no accident."

Sam just shook his head in amazement. "Whatever man. We're going back to the motel so that you can just chill the hell out." He felt a hand around his throat as he was pushed backwards, and his shoulders connected roughly with the nearest tree. Dean was right in his face. "Don't ever tell me what the hell to do Sam!" The venom in Dean's voice was unmistakable. For the first time that evening, Sam really looked at his brother, and immediately was unsettled by what he saw.

Dean's eyes were no longer green, but they had turned darker. Ringed in red. Sam tried not to let his panic show. What he hell was going on? The grip on his throat began to tighten, and Sam shoved him off and massaged his throat. "Dude, let's just go, okay?" Dean didn't say anything, just turned and continued walking back towards the motel. Sam's mind was going a mile a minute. What was wrong with his brother? He wasn't acting like he was possessed, and he had been with his brother the whole time, so he knew it wasn't a skin-walker or anything. But he had to figure this out. Fast.

As they neared the motel, Sam could only think of one option, and it wasn't one that he particularly wanted to think about. He turned slightly to his brother as he spoke. "Dean, I'm going to grab the bags, I'll meet you inside." There wasn't even words thrown his way, just a terse grunt as Dean continued to stalk towards their door. Sam popped open the trunk and began to rummage around for what he was going to need. He didn't want to hurt his brother, but in the mood that Dean was in right now, he didn't really think that he was going to do what Sam wanted willingly. He knew Dean had them, now where the hell…there they are. Slipping the two pairs of hand cuffs and a couple of other essentials into his bag, Sam tried really hard not to think about what Dean used those hand cuffs for. Securing the trunk, he made his way back inside.

"Jesus Sam, how long does it frickin' take to get two bags out of the trunk, huh? Your big Stamford brain have trouble counting that high?" Sam closed the door and mumbled and apology, handing Dean his bag. His mind was on other things. "Damn right you're sorry. Couldn't take a frickin shower cause you had all my stuff!" Dean had his bag on the bed and was rummaging through it as he spoke. Sam slipped his gun out of his bag silently, hating what he was about to do. Checking and double-checking the safety, he moved behind Dean. Sam brought the handle down across Dean's temple, all the while sending silent apologies his way. Dean immediately crumpled, and Sam just managed to slow his descent to the floor before Dean face-planted on the less than clean carpet.

Tossing his gun onto his bed, he quickly checked Dean's pulse, making sure that he was alright. It was steady, and Sam breathed out a sigh of relief. He fit his arms beneath Dean's shoulders and knees and lifted him up onto the bed, leaning him up against the headboard, and secured Dean's arms to the posts on either side of the bed with the hand cuffs. He took the bottle of holy water out of his bag and, after hesitating momentarily, squirted a liberal amount over Dean's chest. Well, not a possession then. He then went about their normal routine, lining the doors and windows with salt. Only then did Sam allow his emotions to make their way to the surface, as he collapsed onto his own bed, facing his brother. His brother that he had just knocked out and hand-cuffed to the bed. God! Their lives were so messed up! He ran his hand through his hair. What the hell happened?

He mind ran through the events of that day over and over again, and he came back with nothing. He thought about Dean's "symptoms" for lack of a better word. Sudden onset of behavioral changes. Sam thought for a minute. Cursed? Probably. Could it have been from Phillip? Sam had kept him against the wall the whole time, and he hadn't said anything. And the guy wasn't nearly skilled enough to project a curse with his mind. Cursed object? Sam blanched a little as he went through a mental slideshow of the objects that had been in the basement. Damn it, that guy had had so much crap on that alter he couldn't remember them all. He moved to Dean's duffle and pulled out his father's journal. Quickly flipping through, he wasn't really surprised when nothing jumped out at him. He tossed it on the bed next to his gun, and ran his hand over his face. He needed help.

He rose and checked the hand-cuffs. He didn't really think that Dean would wake up anytime soon, but truthfully he didn't know what it was that they were dealing with. Just to be safe, he fished his brothers lock-pick set out of his pocket and tucked it in his duffle, then grabbed his phone.

Bobby answered on the third ring, the dog making a racket in the background until a harsh word from Bobby silenced him. Then the gruff voice returned to the line. "Hello?"

"Hey Bobby, its Sam." He tried to keep his voice neutral, but Bobby was a seasoned hunter, and a good friend, and he wasn't so easily fooled. "Ah hell, what'd you boys get your selves into this time?" If the situation had been about anybody other than Dean, Sam would have smiled at the tone that Bobby used. Even so, Sam couldn't help but add his two cents in. "We don't actually try to get into trouble, you know." He paused. "It's Dean. I think he's on the receiving end of a curse, but I could use some help with the research." There was a pause. "Hmmm, a curse huh? What happened?" Sam gave him the whole story, from why they went to go and investigate Phillip Marcs to the events of a couple of minutes ago. When he finally finished, there was a long silence on the other end of the line, and he could almost hear the gears in the older mans head turning.

Finally, Bobby spoke. "Well it sounds to me like a Rage Curse." Sam nodded before realizing that Bobby couldn't see him. "Yeah, I was starting to think the same thing. How much do you know about them?". "Not much, but I know I've got something in this library that should help. Let me take a look and get back to you. You gonna be alright?" Sam looked over at his brother, still slumped in the same position as before, before he answered. "Yeah Bobby, I'll be fine. Call me when you find something. And thanks." He hung up and rubbed at his eyes. This was going to be a long night. He grabbed the laptop and a chair and settled himself in between the beds to begin his own research.

About a half hour later, Dean began to stir, which Sam was grateful for. He was beginning to worry that he had hit Dean a little too hard, but waking up was a good sign. Dean woke up with a start, groaning. He went to go and grab his head, and noticed the hand-cuffs. He angrily started pulling on them, hoping that they would give, but they held fast, securing him to the headboard. "What the hell Sam? What the hell is going on? Get these things off of me!" Sam moved forward, but instead of unlocking the cuffs, he peered into Dean's eyes. Nope, still an unnatural ring of red. He sat back down with a sigh. "Now Sam! Get these the hell off me!"

Sam looked at Dean and tried to remain calm. "Dean, just calm down and listen to me. At Phillips house, I think that you touched something that put you on the receiving end of some bad mojo. Bobby and I are looking into it. We're just trying to help you."

"Dammit Sam! I'm not freakin cursed alright? There's nothing wrong with me! Now get these the hell off me!" His struggling continued, and Sam was worried that Dean was going to hurt himself. "Dean! Dean, look, you need help. We're trying to help you." Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say. Instead of calming Dean down, Sam's words just riled him up even more.

"I don't need help, Sam! Especially not help from you! You always think that you need to help me, that you're better than me! Well news flash Sammy, you're not!" Sam cringed. It was a good thing that they had requested the empty corner of the motel, because at this point Dean was shouting and his voice was only getting louder.

Through all of the commotion that Dean was making, Sam heard his phone vibrating its way across the small table. Please let it be Bobby. Anything other than news from Bobby could wait. Saved by the bell… Dean had not taken kindly to being ignored, so his tirade started up with renewed vigor. Sam decided to take the call outside.

"Bobby, hey." Sam winced at the clarity with which he could hear his brother's angry words, and hoped that Bobby wouldn't be able to hear it as well. No such luck. "Well, that sounds like a rage curse to me, no doubt about it." "Were you able to find anything?" "Well, there are a couple of amulets that I want you to look up, see if you recognize any of them. They are all common to the area, and easy enough for this yahoo to stumble upon accidentally. If those don't work we'll move onto something else." Sam had made his way inside. "Alright Bobby, what are they?" He jotted down all of the names and hung up, promising to call him in a little while. He made his way back over to his brother, who had quit trying to shout the roof down, but if looks could kill, then, well, yeah. "Dean that was Bobby. He-"

And he suddenly found himself staring at the ceiling, with an unpleasant ache emanating from his gut. He picked himself up off the floor, rolling his shoulders and mentally slapping himself in the back of the head. Pissed-off, cursed brother in hand-cuffs, move the chair out of the reach of Dean's legs. He picked up the computer from where it had fallen to the floor, and relocated himself to the table to continue his research.

"Sam, if you don't let me out of here, I swear, I will kill you!"

Sam sighed, collecting himself for another round of this. "Dean, listen to me man. This isn't you. Bobby and I think that it's a cursed amulet. We're going to help you, okay? We're going to fix this."

"There's nothing wrong with me! Why do you always think there is something wrong with me? I don't need your touchy-feely emotional California crap Sam! I never did!"

"Dean, believe me, this is not you. Well, not all you. Whatever you touched, I think it's bringing out and amplifying all of this anger." Sam was starting to loose his composure now, Dean's angry words starting to worm their way under his skin. "What you did at the bar tonight…you almost killed that guy Dean!"

"And I'll kill you if you don't get these the hell off me right now. You want anger Sam? That wasn't anger. Let me go and I'll show you what real anger looks like." His voice was low and steady. Sam knew this voice. This was the voice that Dean used when he talked about things that he loathed. Things that he wanted to kill.

Sam didn't say anything in response to his brother. He went back to the laptop to continue his research, trying to ignore the prickling in his eyes. The comments continued the whole time, hateful and cutting, just as Dean meant for them to be. Dean left no topic untouched, not even Jess, and only then did a few tears fall before he could stop them. In his head he heard only one thing. Not Dean. Not Dean. Not Dean.

It didn't take long for him to find the items on Bobby's list, and as he looked at the pictures, he wracked his brain trying to remember what the wackjob had had on that alter. Wait a minute. Sam went back to the third picture, and studied it closely. This one looks kind of familiar… He closed his eyes and tried to put himself back into that basement. Okay, there's the alter. Where is it? His mind searched his memories, leaving no second of that moment unexamined. Wait! Wait is that it? Yes, there it is! And it was there, hanging from a leather cord off of one of the candlesticks. Dean must have brushed it when he went to flip the table. He opened his eyes and focused on the information that accompanied the picture of the stone. There wasn't much to go on. The stone didn't even have a proper name, the locals just calling it Claire's Stone. It was said to have been worn by Claire Winthrop, a young woman who was put to death by stoning back in the 1800's. Why am I wasting my time trying to look this up? Bobby has more information about it than I do.

Sam looked back over at Dean, who had quieted down sometime in the last couple of minutes, but his eyes still overflowed with hatred. He was pulling and straining, trying to find a weakness in the cuffs or headboard, and Sam thought belatedly that he should have thought to pad the cuffs. He grabbed is phone and stepped outside before punching in Bobby's number.

"Bobby, hey, I think that I've got something. How much information do you have about Claire's Stone?"

"Well the good news is that it's not really a hard curse to break. No counter spells or rituals or anything. With this curse you just have to let it run its course."

Sam could hear a little hesitation in the man's voice, and Sam's own mind was jumping ahead to the logical conclusion. He didn't really like where this was going. "So Bobby, what's the bad news?"

"Well, the problem becomes what Dean is going to have to do to break this curse. The curse needs to reach its peak. In this case, Dean basically needs to blow off some steam. And because it's a rage curse…"

"Bobby, I can't just let him loose out there! That guy at the bar, he would have killed him if I hadn't stopped him! As it was I heard the ambulance sirens as we were leaving!"

"Sam, I know that this situation sucks, but listen to me, there's more. The stone has been in the possession of several other people over the years since Claire's death. They all showed the same symptoms that Dean is showing right now. Three of them were arrested for murder-"

"I'm not going to let Dean kill anybody Bobby, there's no way-"

"Boy let me finish! God you Winchesters are stubborn bastards! Not all of the recipients of the stone have let the curse reach its peak. And before you say anything, no that's not a good thing! Every single one died of heart failure, Sam. Trying to keep all the hatred and anger that the stone wakes up in you bottled up puts all the strain on the heart. He'll have a heart attack and die."

Sam was silent. Closing his eyes, he slid down the side of the motel until he was sitting, and rested his head on his knees. "Sam, you still with me?" He let out a breath he didn't remember holding and leaned his head back against the wall of the motel. "So I either have to let Dean become a murderer or watch him die by heart failure. This is what you're telling me?"

"Sam, like I said, this situation sucks. But I don't really think that there's much of a choice here."

"He's not a killer Bobby." Sam's mind flashed back to a time when Dean assured him of the exact same thing. "Well then. I guess he's going to get to show me how angry he can get after all."

"What are you going on about? You better not be thinking what I think that you're thinking."

"Bobby, think about it. At least I know what he's capable of. We're pretty evenly matched. If I can keep him long enough, get him angry enough, I think it will break."

"Sam, I don't know about this-"

Sam cut the older man off. "I'm not letting Dean turn into a killer Bobby. End of story. This is the way that it has to be."

"You damn Winchesters are all alike, stubborn bastards, the whole lot of ya. Don't go and get yourself killed, cause I don't feel like driving out there to clean up your mess."

That brought a small smile to Sam's lips. That was probably as close as Bobby was going to get to saying you boys are like sons to me. Be careful. "I'll be careful Bobby. I'll call you when it's all over. And thanks." He hung up the phone and stood up, the smile immediately leaving his face. He steeled himself for what was about to happen. He was about to go into the motel room, un-cuff his brother, tell him that they needed to fight, possibly to the death, well, his death, all to break a curse that some chic had set in motion over 200 years ago. God, how is this really my life? He mentally shook himself, forcing himself to concentrate on the task at hand. This was anything but funny.

Sam knew better than anyone just how dangerous Dean could be. One false step from Sam and he knew that Dean would have him. He needed to be on his game.

He made his way back into the room. Dean was still pulling on the hand-cuffs, chest heaving and face red from the effort. As soon as Dean saw him, he started in on him. "Always knew you weren't much of a man, Sam. This is how you get your kicks? This is how you have to prove that you're better than me? Because you're weak, Sam. Weak and pathetic. You're a coward, have always been a coward."

Sam fingered the key in his pocket and made his way over to his brother. "Dean, if you want to fight me, if you really loathe me that much, well then here's your chance. I'm going to go out back of the motel, and if you want to show me how much of a man you really are, if you want to put me in my place, that that's where I'll be." He moved to the bed, weary of Dean's legs, but his little talk had defiantly hit home, at least to his cursed mentality. He could practically see Dean salivating at the idea of getting to pound his face into the ground.

He unlocked one of Dean's wrists, and left the key in the cuffs, instead turning to exit the room. He didn't really trust Dean not to start right in after his wrists were free, and Sam didn't want to fight in the room. Too many things that could be used as weapons. Like Dean needs weapons. He quickly made his way to the small clearing behind the motel, Dean just seconds behind him.

Dean wasted no time. As soon as Sam turned around to face him, Dean was right in his face with a right hook to the jaw that had him stumbling back a few steps. Not having any time to be dazed, he quickly blocked the next combo of moves that his brother sent his way.

On and on it went, with Sam on the defensive. Every couple of minutes he would get in a good solid hit on Dean, but he was not fighting back against the onslaught that Dean sent his way. Dean, on the other hand, was not pulling any punches, going for maximum contact, maximum pain. As much as it killed Sam to do it, he started in on the verbal abuse. He brought up Dad, Cassie, and Stamford, anything to get his brothers blood boiling. He was getting tired, and more and more of Dean's attacks were getting through his defenses. He needed this to end, soon.

Sam was loosing steam, and fast. Dean was ruthless, and Sam was seriously starting to question his decision. A knee to the gut made him stumble, and he struggled back upright.

And that was his mistake.

The punch had enough force behind it to send him straight to the ground. Darkness threatened to overtake him, but he struggled to hold it off. Dean was on top of him now, and he could feel his abused ribs protest the added weight. He saw Dean bring back his fist as if it was in slow motion, and the last thing that ran through his mind was I guess this really wasn't a great idea after all before the darkness took over.

Two more punches, and Dean was on his feet, looming over his prone baby brother. "Get up Sam!" He punctuated his demand with a kick to the side. "Get up and fight me you coward!" Another kick, forcing Sam over on his side. But still Sam didn't get up. Dean literally saw everything through a haze of red. What the hell was Sam playing at? Dean wanted to fight him, needed to fight him! Sam needed to stop being such a damn coward and get his ass up, now! And then it occurred to him that he finally had put Sam in his place. Sam wasn't getting up.

It was like a switch inside of him had been flipped. The change was sudden, and left Dean feeling dizzy and unsteady on his feet. He sank to one knee and covered his eyes with his hand, trying to regain his balance. When he opened his eyes, the first think he noticed was the blood. It was smeared across his hands, some dried, some fresh. What the… A gripping fear made him take in his surroundings, and it took less than a second for his eyes to find the form of his brother lying next to him.

"Sam? Sammy?" Sam didn't move. Dean's foggy mind made the connection. His bloody hands. Sam's bruised and bleeding body. The realization at the damage inflicted by his own hands to his brother made him sick. Trying to gain control over his nausea, he moved his shaking hand to Sam's jaw, checking his pulse. A little slower than normal, but there. But that did little in the way of easing Dean. Because Sam still hadn't woken up, hadn't even stirred. And that was freaking Dean out like nothing else could. He needed Sam to wake up. He needed to know what the hell had just happened. He needed…he needed his brother.

He tried to rouse him again. "Sam? Come on man wake up!" Sam twitched his hand, Dean had felt it. "Sammy? Come on Sam. Wake up for me little brother, come on." Sam stirred again, more noticeable this time, and opened his eyes a slit. Dean saw that his face was already starting to swell up, so that was probably as good as it was going to get. "Sammy? You with me?"

"Dean…" It was more of an exhalation than a word, but right now Dean would take what he could get. He gently cupped his face, mindful of the bruising. "Yeah Sammy, right here. You with me?" He could tell that Sam was trying really hard to hand onto consciousness, but it would soon be a loosing battle. Dean almost didn't catch what he said next.

"Let…see…eyes…" Okay maybe he really had heard his brother wrong. "My eyes? Sammy, are you-" But Sam struggling weakly to get up cut him off mid-sentence, and he gently placed a hand on Sam's chest to top him from moving. "Dean…please…" Dean had never been able to say no to his brother. Bracing his hands on either side of Sam's head, he bent over him, his face inches from Sam's. He could see Sam's eyes moving back and forth, as if scrutinizing every inch.

And that's exactly what Sam was going. His head was pounding, his body felt heavy and weak, and he really couldn't see shit. But he focused all of his concentration, all of his waning energy, into this one task. His eyes searched for any signs of red, but found himself looking into his brother's eyes. God, if ever there was a Winchester chick-flick moment, begging Dean to let me look into his eyes defiantly ranks near the top. Sam felt most of the tension leave his body, and he closed his eyes, to tired to keep them open for much longer.

But Dean didn't know what was going on, his brain so confused and worried that it wouldn't have even registered Sam's comment had he managed to say it out loud. "Sammy? Come on Sam, keep those eyes open for me, okay?" And maybe it was the desperation that even he could detect in his voice, but Sam actually obeyed, opening his eyes a slit. But Dean could tell that Sam was done, hid eyes already drifting back shut.

"Dean…Bobby…" And now Dean was confused. Bobby was here? What? "Bobby? Sam, come on, let's get you back to the room." But there was no response. His brother was out cold, unconsciousness setting in again. Panic started to grip Dean's heart, but he quickly pushed it aside. He needed to get Sam back to the room, assess what kind of damage was done, and clean him up. Everything else was second. He could do this, he had done this before. Being as careful as he could, he picked up his brother and started the relatively short trek back to the room. By the time he got back to the room door, his arms were shaking; carrying your 6'4'' brother even a short distance was no small feat. The door had not been shut properly, luckily for him, so he kicked it the rest of the way open and moved Sam as gently as he could onto the bed farthest from the door. He turned around in search of the first aid kit when several things hit him at once.

The door; it was as if someone had just walked our and forgotten about it. Walked out…or someone had come in. His eyes hastily made a circuit of the room, and that's when he noticed observation number two. The hand-cuffs. On his bed. With flecks of dried blood decorating them and his bedding. As if that had opened up his sensory flood gates, he was suddenly very aware of every ache and pain in his body. His back, his shoulders, arms and…his wrists were stinging like a bitch! He quickly pushed his sleeves higher onto his arms, and saw the red ring of skin rubbed raw on both of his wrists. All right, screw waiting for Sam to wake up to talk. I need answers. Now!

He dug out his phone and called Bobby, remembering what Sam had said. A gruff and somewhat sleepy voice answered the phone. "Bobby, what the hell is going on?" There was a pause on the other end of the line. "Dean? Are you alright? Where's Sam?" "There are hand-cuffs on my bed, blood on my hands, and I can't remember a 6 hour chunk of my night. How do you think I'm doing?" "And Sam? Is he alright?" There was defiantly worry behind the question, and Dean willed himself to calm down so he didn't fly off the handle on Bobby. "He's here, unconscious and a mess, but here. I think I…Bobby…Bobby what happened?" He had found the first aid kit and had gotten what he needed to start cleaning Sam up, and had seated himself on the bed next to the prone form of his brother. "Dean, boy, you might want to sit down while I catch you up…"

Dean cleaned Sam up while he listened to Bobby patch up the holes in his night, his hand faltering several times as he uncovered more of Sam's bruising; like the distinct set of shoe prints that he could see on Sam's abdomen. As Bobby was telling him what happened, pieces of memory started to float back in. He had to fight off nausea for a second time when the memory of the hurtful things he had said to Sam about jess came slamming back in. He hung up with Bobby, not even sure if he said goodbye or not, and just continued to clean up his brother. The bruising and swelling was bad, but he couldn't find anything broken. His ribs had seemed a little tender, so he wrapped those just in case. With all of the major patching up done, Dean quickly tended to his own wrists, slapping anti-biotic ointment and gauze on them in minimal time. Turning back to Sam, he was surprised to see his eyes staring back at him.

"Sam…" He grabbed a cloth and started to gently wipe the dirt and grime off of his face. "Sam…that was one of the stupidest things that you have ever done. I could have killed you."

"Dean, I couldn't let you go out and fight some random Joe on the street. You really would have killed them. This was the only choice."

"Yeah, well, that doesn't mean I have to like it."

"It was the only way that I could help you Dean. You're not a killer." Sam expected some kind of retort, but Dean was silent. He was thinking about what his Dad had told him, what he might have to do. "Dean." Sam's voice pulled him out of his musings. "You're not a killer," he repeated.

"Yeah Sammy. But I would have been. I almost was."

"I told you, I wasn't going to let that happen. I won't let that happen, and I mean it, Dean." Dean didn't say anything, just nodded and went back to cleaning out the minor cuts and abrasions covering Sam's skin. He was deep in thought. While Sam was flinching when he touched a sensitive spot, that was the only reason why. It surprised him sometimes just how much faith and trust his brother had in him. Here he was, cleaning Sam up, patching him up just like so many times before, yet this time he was the one who had inflicted all of the damage.

"Dean." Dean lifted his head to meet his brother's eyes. "It wasn't you, you now that, and I know that. So stop stressing about it." Dean smirked at the fact that Sam was able to read him so well. He hadn't fully wrapped his head around the events of the past couple of hours, but he nodded and patted Sam on the arm.

"Go to sleep Sam, you look like hell."

"Yeah…well…jerk..." but Sam's eyes were already closing, his body giving into the sleep that it wanted. Dean gently ran his hand through Sam's hair. "Bitch," he whispered quietly, and he pulled up a chair, setting up his perch to watch Sam through the night.