This story has been posted before on DeanDamage (dot) com, the newest archive for all things Dean-whump. It's where I post my Dean-whump stories before I put them up here on fanfictionnet. It's a great archive already, and new authors and readers are always welcome. Check it out! It's also the place where I'll soon start posting my sequel to "Whatever you do, don't let go", so if you want to read that before it goes up here, keep an eye out on the site.

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. All publicly known characters and locations belong to their rightful owner. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made with this story as it was written for enjoyment only.

Rated for some language and blood.


Chapter 1

The drive passed in silence. It wasn't unusual, neither Sam nor Dean really was the chatty type when there was nothing important to say. But this time the radio was also silent and no music was blasting from the speakers. But the real problem was not driving through the night in total silence. Sam was used to that by now. No, the real problem was that he was itching to talk. They needed to talk about what had just happened to them. Sam needed to talk about what had happened.

After weeks and months of searching for their father all across the country they had finally found him. Or rather, John Winchester had found them. And contrary to what Sam had feared, meeting his father again after everything that had happened between them had been good. He'd have never thought it, but seeing their father again had felt really good. Sam couldn't remember how often he had imagined what their reunion might look like. It had been countless times, and just as many scenarios had been the outcome of those imaginations. But he had never thought that it would be this easy.

When he had seen his father again in the motel room, it had felt as if everything had simply fallen into place. It wasn't as if all the harsh words and hard feelings had all been forgotten in that one single moment. That was all still there, and Sam had no doubt that sooner or later it was all going to break out again. He knew his relationship to his father too well for that. But upon seeing his father again, the relief that John was all right, that he was alive and healthy had simply been too great. Everything else lost importance in the face of that.

They had found their father again.

And then they had let him go.

Sam hadn't been able to believe his ears when Dean had suggested that they split up again, not after all those months spent searching. He was not willing to let his father go again. There were too many things he still needed to ask, things only their father could provide answers to. But just like always, Dean and their father had agreed. It had been like it had always been, back to Sam being the kid who wasn't even asked for his opinion while the two of them came to a decision.

Sammy got to sit at the children's table while the adults made decisions.

Dean and John had agreed that it was better if they split up again, and before Sam had known what was happening John had driven off in his truck, back to life as it had been over the past year – Sam and Dean on the road, and their father nothing but a voice in a voicemail account, asking for a message of which they never knew whether it reached him or not.

Sam wasn't willing to go for that. He had left on this quest with Dean not only to find their father. Of course that had been their main goal, but Sam had always wanted to find John so that they would finally get some answers. Answers to what John had been doing, why he had left. Answers about the thing that had killed their Mom, that had killed Jess. He was entitled those answers, but once more he had been ignored. As far as his father was concerned, his opinion didn't count for anything, and whenever John was around Dean seemed to regress to that opinion as well.

It pissed Sam off like nothing else.

But once more, he hadn't found the words, hadn't even been allowed a say until everything was already decided.

So maybe it was a good thing that they were driving in silence, because if they had been talking about what had just happened, Sam was fairly sure he and Dean would end up fighting about it. Sooner or later they would end up fighting about it anyway, but it was a battle Sam didn't particularly want to fight right now.

The left side of his face was throbbing where the shadow demon's claws had ripped his skin. They were both banged up really bad, just like their father had said. All the more reason to stick together, Sam thought. But he had been overruled in the silent vote which he hadn't even been invited to participate in.

Sam shook his head and turned around towards the back seat. The more he kept thinking about it, the angrier he got. He needed to distract himself, otherwise he was going to start picking a fight with his brother after all, just to get it out of his system.

One of their duffle bags was standing on the back seat, and Sam bent backwards to reach for it. Dean didn't react, didn't even cast his eyes to the side as Sam leaned over the bench seat to reach for it. Sam didn't care. He struggled to pull open the zipper and rummaged around until his fingers closed around the small metallic flask he had been looking for. The bottle of holy water and a clean cloth in his hands, Sam turned around and settled back into the passenger seat.

When he unscrewed the flask of holy water, Dean cast a short glance into his direction, but he didn't say anything and Sam decided to ignore him. He was still seething about the decision to split up, and with his defences down as they were right now, he wasn't above letting Dean know. So what if it was childish? Dean had treated him like one earlier, now he was going to pay him back in kind.

So instead of saying anything, Sam poured some holy water onto the cloth, part of an old t-shirt that had been recycled to be an all-purpose cloth. Using the surface of the flask for a mirror, he started wiping at the blood on his face. The cuts in his face weren't that deep, but the holy water sizzled in the wounds, setting the whole left side of Sam's face on fire as he started cleaning out the gashes.

It was easier to let his brother deal with that kind of treatment normally, but they would have to stop soon for the night, and checking into a motel all torn up and bloody aroused more suspicion than Sam was willing to deal with tonight. Besides, one thing Sam had learned during all these years on the road was that you didn't let wounds go untreated for any longer than necessary. Since Dean was busy driving and no conversation was forthcoming, it beat sitting there and staring at the scenery.

One of the gashes was deeper than the others, and as the holy water sizzled and burned into his skin Sam couldn't hold back a hiss of pain from escaping.

Maybe that was the moment when he should have started noticing something was amiss.

Maybe it should have worried him that Dean didn't take his eyes off the road. Dean not reacting to Sam in pain was a warning sign, but at that moment Sam was too focussed on the sensation of the skin burning off his face as the holy water cleansed the wound. Jaw clenched, Sam breathed in short bursts until the pain became bearable again and until his hands had stopped shaking enough to wipe off the rest of the blood.

Eyeing his reflection in the smooth surface of the holy water flask, Sam came to the conclusion that it could have been worse. One deeper cut and three shallow ones. Nothing that would require stitches, and the wounds had stopped bleeding all on their own. Two or maybe three butterfly bandages on the deeper cut and he'd be as good as new in about a week, maybe two.

Sam screwed the cap back on the flask of holy water and with a sigh leaned back in the bench seat. The headlights of the Impala illuminated the dark interstate in front of them, but the scenery they passed was shrouded in darkness. Sam felt his eyes grow heavy as he looked out into the black expanse beyond his window. He didn't want to fall asleep. In fact he had planned on staying awake until they reached a place to stop for the night. But his eyes and mind were not cooperating with his desire to stay awake and he slowly blanked out.

The next thing Sam knew was that his head jerked up to the sound of screeching tires, and his body was pressed against the passenger door as the car swerved to the left, grassy ground bumping under the tires before they finally found purchase on the asphalt again and Dean brought the car under control once more.

Heart beating fast in his chest, Sam straightened up in his seat and cast a glance at his brother. Dean was pale, and his eyes seemed heavy lidded as he blinked the world in front of him back into focus.


Dean's answer was a grunt that could mean practically anything, but he kept his dead grip on the steering wheel and didn't look to the side to meet his brother's eyes.

Sam knew what had happened. It hadn't taken his brain long to catch up on the fact that Dean had nearly missed a bend in the road – because of fatigue, inattentiveness, Sam didn't know. But that was exactly the thing – Dean didn't do that kind of thing. Dean loved this stupid car so much that he'd rather spend money on a motel room if he was overtired than risk running the Impala off the road.

Also, it was as clear a sign as any as to what their next course of action was going to be.

"The next town we come to, we'll stop and get a room."

Dean only answered with another grunt, but Sam felt all former signs of fatigue slip away and watch the road in front of them attentively, making sure that Dean wasn't going to miss another turn. It would be just their luck to escape Meg and the shadow demons just to find their untimely end in a ditch somewhere in the middle of nowhere just because they hadn't stopped for rest.

But whatever had caused Dean to nearly drive off the road with Sam asleep, it seemed to have passed. Dean still looked pale and tired, but his gaze was fixed on the road ahead and he was entirely focussed on driving. In silence.

A few minutes later Sam saw the first sign, and about half an hour after their near-crash, Dean pulled the car into the parking lot of a motel. He killed the engine but made no move to get out of the car. No small wonder, considering that Dean's face still looked mauled and bloody, so it was a reasonable decision to let Sam handle the small act of getting them a room.

Every bone and muscle in Sam's body protested against the movement as he climbed out of the car. Sam longed for a hot shower to loosen his muscles after being tossed around and smashed into walls all day long.

The motel's office was small and cramped, coffee vending machine wedged into the narrow space between the door and the desk and an ugly potted plant taking up space that wasn't there. Nobody was in the office, but there was the muffled sound of a TV coming from the back room. A bell rang as Sam opened the door, and as he approached the front desk, a young guy in his early twenties shuffled out of the room, tiredly scratching his messy hair.

"Need a room?" The kid asked in a voice that was only half-awake.

"Yeah. Two queens, please."

The kid shook his shaggy hair as he consulted the ledger in front of him. "Sorry, no can do. I only have three singles and a king left." He looked up, glassy eyes meeting Sam's with an expression that clearly said to hurry up with his decision so that he could go back to sleep. His eyes strayed over the cuts on Sam's face for a second, but he gave a half-shrug as if he couldn't really bring himself to care about what had happened to his new guest. Not at 2:30 am in the morning.

And really, there wasn't much of a decision to make. One of their father's firm and unshakeable rules of hunting was not to expose themselves as more of a target than necessary. Especially with just a few hours and only slightly more miles separating them from the last thing that had attacked them, splitting up in two rooms was out of the question. Sleep left you vulnerable enough, and with both him and Dean hurt there was no way Sam was going to take two single rooms.

"I'll take the king."

He handed the kid one of the credit cards Dean had scored over the past months and filled out the registration under the name of Andy Dawson, his mind straying off as his hand automatically went through the necessary motions.

Dean would moan and grumble about the king-sized bed, but in the end he'd agree with Sam's choice being the strategically better one. Considering their current state, maybe for once he'd leave out the complaining altogether.

Besides, it wasn't as if they had never been forced to share before. Both he and Dean had outgrown rollaways a long time ago, and three-bed lodgings had not always been in the budget when they had still been on the road together.

As beat as they were, it wouldn't matter much anyway where they fell asleep.

Besides, there were ground rules for that kind of situation, firm rules that had been established over the years:

Stay on your side of he bed, no flapping around your arms and legs when you turned, no blanket hugging. Break those rules and you get kicked out of bed. It was as easy as that. And it worked.

Absent-mindedly Sam signed the credit cart slip, grabbed the key and left the office again. Dean was still sitting right where he had left him, slumped in the front seat of the Impala. His eyes were closed, testament to how exhausted he really was, but he turned his head the moment Sam opened the passenger door.

"Number 19."

Dean nodded and started the car, setting it back and then driving down the length of the building to pull up into the parking slot in front of room 19. Sam got up and got out, grabbing the duffle bag from the back seat as he rounded the car. Dean slowly followed his lead, movements tired and sluggish as he pulled himself out of the driver's seat and closed the car door behind himself. Sam opened the trunk, grabbed another duffel with some of their clothing and the much needed medical supplies, then he went over and unlocked the door to their room.

He dropped the bags next to the bed and watched as Dean entered the room and cast his eyes on the single bed. But contrary to the outbreak Sam had expected, Dean only gave a tired shrug and turned over towards the side of the bed that faced the door.

"Wanna hit the shower?"

Dean tiredly shook his head. "Nah, go ahead. I'll wait."

Sam frowned, but Dean had his back turned towards him and seemed to be looking for something in their weapon's bag, so he didn't question his brother's behaviour. His body craved a hot shower, and once that was done he'd have his head together enough to help Dean clean out his own wounds before he hit the showers. It was as good a plan as any.

It was a good feeling to get rid of his torn and dirty clothes and step under the hot spray of the shower. Sam wanted nothing more than to stand there and let the water massage the soreness out of his muscles until the hot water ran out, but Dean probably wanted to take a shower after him and wouldn't take too kindly to cold water. With their sleeping arrangement in mind, Sam didn't particularly want to incur his wrath tonight of all night. Not by something as stupid as how much hot water was left. So Sam tore himself out of the steaming bliss after what seemed like far too short a time, got out and towelled himself dry.

Condensation had fogged up the bathroom mirror, so Sam wiped it off as much as he could with the heel of his hand and took a look at his injuries. He would have some nice bruises all over his torso tomorrow, but aside from the cuts on his face there wasn't anything that needed treatment.

The hot water and change of clothes had not only washed away all the dirt and blood, but also increased the bone-deep weariness that came from too little sleep and too much stress. All Sam wanted was to lie down and sleep for a day or two. He kicked his dirty clothes into the corner by the sink and opened the bathroom door. He could worry tomorrow about which pieces of clothing were still salvageable and which not.

"Shower's free. We should clean out those cuts before you…Dean?"

Sam looked around in confusion. At first glance, the room was empty. But Sam hadn't heard the front door open, and in all honesty Dean had barely looked capable of making it to the bathroom.


Frowning, Sam stepped out of the bathroom and walked around the bed. His body turned cold from one moment to the next as his eyes fell on his brother.


Dean was lying on the rug in front of the bed, face down, the duffle bag buried under his torso. The flask with holy water was lying in his limp hand, as if he had been reaching for it when his strength had run out. Sam was frozen in place for a moment, then he ran to his brother's side and fell to his knees beside him.

"Dean! Talk to me man, what's going on? Dean?"

Sam slapped Dean's cheek without getting a response. Dean's skin was hot and clammy to the touch, and his eyes were moving restlessly beneath his closed lids. Sam's heart was beating adrenaline through his body at a frantic pace as he tried to figure out what was going on. Dean was running a fever, but he had been fine only a few hours before. And he hadn't said anything during the drive, hadn't shown anything but signs of fatigue. Or what Sam had thought to be signs of fatigue.

Damn it, why wasn't anything ever easy with his brother?

"Dean! Dean come on, wake up."
There was no reaction, and Sam forced himself to push down the rising panic and start dealing with this.

Panic wouldn't help Dean. Sam could only help his brother if he remained calm.

Forcing down the bubble of panic that was threatening to rise inside of him, Sam took a closer look at his brother.

Dean was unconscious, he was running a fever, his respiration was shallow and he wasn't exactly looking peachy.


First step, check for injuries.

There were the claw marks of the shadow demon, similar to Sam's own but located on Dean's forehead. They had stopped bleeding, as had the small cut on Dean's right eyebrow that had bled profusely before. He was going to have one hell of a shiner tomorrow, but you didn't run a fever and fall unconscious from a black eye.


Sam pried first one eye-lid, then the other apart with his fingers. Dean's eyes were glazed, but the pupils were the same size and reacted to the light. So probably not concussed. At least not bad enough to explain Dean's unconsciousness.

Not good.

So not good.

"Come on Dean, help me out a little here."

Carefully, Sam ran his hands along the sides and the back of Dean's head in search for any injuries he might have missed before. But there was no blood, no suspicious lumps, nothing.

"Okay. I'd say we get you out of this jacket and off the floor."

Sam reached for the hem of Dean's leather jacket and pulled it open.

And froze.

The left side of Dean's shirt underneath the jacket was saturated with blood, and only the thick leather had kept it from seeping through the jacket. And suddenly Sam saw his brother's behaviour over the past hours in a different light. What he had put off as signs of fatigue, or remnants of the thorough tossing around they had both received from the shadow demon suddenly all shone in a different light.

Dean's hunched posture when they had split ways with their father. The way he had kept his left arm pressed against his side. The pained grimace and small groan as he had gotten into the car. The way he had silently sat in the car and waited for Sam to get a room. Sam had thought maybe Dean had bruised some ribs, he'd have never guessed that his brother was bleeding so badly.

And of course Dean hadn't breathed a word.

Not Dean Winchester, captain of the League of Stubborn Idiots.

No, because it had been so much easier to just grind his teeth and drive than maybe ask Sam to help him wrap the wound or, god beware, ask Sam to drive. No, the idiot had ignored the pain and probably would have continued to drive if it hadn't been for their near-crash and Sam's insistence that they stop and look for a motel.

"Damn it Dean, why do you have to be so stubborn?"
There was no answer. Of course there was no answer, and answers could wait. For now Sam had to take care of Dean's wounds.

It was a struggle to get Dean out of the leather jacket. His brother was unresponsive and his limbs didn't cooperate the way Sam wanted them to, but with a bit of cursing and a whole lot of physical effort Sam finally managed to get the stiff leather garment off. The shirt would be next, but for now Sam needed to get Dean off the floor. And that was probably going to hurt. Sam quickly made sure that there were no other wounds he had missed, then he put one arm under his brother's knees and the other around Dean's back, mindful of the wound on his side.

Dean was heavy.

There had been a few times that Sam had lugged his only half-conscious brother around, either due to an injury or to alcohol, but he couldn't think of a time when he had lifted an entirely unconscious Dean. The phrase dead weight suddenly got a whole different meaning. Muscles straining with the effort, Sam ignored his brother's grunt of pain and manoeuvred him onto the bed.

"Sorry bro. But we need to get this taken care of. I hope you're not too attached to that shirt because I think it has to go."

Sam didn't know why he was talking to Dean when it was obvious that his brother was unconscious and unaware, but it made him feel better. And maybe there was a chance that Dean could hear him, after all.

The shirt was torn from the demon's claws and it was beyond saving. So instead of wrestling Dean out of yet another piece of clothing, Sam pulled a pair of scissors out of the duffle bag and cut the shirt off. Congealed blood made the shirt stick to the wound, and Sam grimaced as he pulled it off. But even though it had to hurt when the fabric tore at his flesh, Dean didn't so much as twitch.

It were definitely claw marks on Dean's side, similar to the ones in Dean's face. Only these were a lot deeper and had bled worse. At one point during the attack, the shadow demon must have caught Dean with a hard swing, but Sam hadn't noticed with everything else that had been going on. The deepest scratch was also the longest, and it ran all the way down Dean's side to his hip. There was too much blood smeared around the wound to make anything out clearly, but the wound had bled so badly that the waistband of his jeans was also soaked through.

"You never do anything halfway, do you?" Sam said with a sigh as he undid the button of Dean's jeans and started to shrug them off. It was the first time that Sam was glad his brother was unconscious since he had come out of the bathroom. Had he been awake, him taking off Dean's pants would have been a whole lot more of a struggle. Dean would have probably tried to manage that on his own even if both his hands were broken.

And it was difficult enough as it was to get the garment off and take a closer look at the wound on Dean's side. It were four gashes all in all, three of them more shallow, but the longest one was pretty deep and stretched from roughly an inch to the left of Dean's navel all the way down to the side of his hip. Sam winced as he pulled the waistband of Dean's boxer shorts down a bit to inspect the wound.

It had to hurt like hell, so maybe there was another upside to Dean being unconscious.

Sam sat down on the mattress beside Dean's knees and ran a hand through his hair with a sigh. Dean's fever seemed to be getting worse, and sweat was mixing with the blood on his face and side.

Dean wasn't doing well, and his condition, whatever it was, wasn't getting better on its own, so it was about time that Sam did something against it. There'd be time for sitting around and moping later. He gave Dean's knee a pat.

"I'll be back in a moment."

Sam got up from the bed and hurried back into the bathroom. He grabbed all unused towels he could find and hurried back into the other room. The medical kit was in the duffel bag that Dean had decided to take a nap on, and Sam quickly put the towels down on the bed beside Dean.

The flask with holy water was still nearly full. Fortunately, because Sam knew that his brother wouldn't have said anything about his own wounds even if he had known that Sam was about to use up the entire rest that was in the flask.

"Okay, this is going to hurt. But considering how much it stung earlier when I did it, I'd say it's about time we get this done."

Instead of wiping the holy water on the wounds like he had done with his own face earlier, Sam poured the holy water directly on the gashes, starting with the scratches on Dean's forehead. Dean's flesh sizzled and smoked as the holy water came into contact with the demon-tainted wound, but Dean didn't make a sound. He twitched slightly and his face turned into a grimace, but no sound escaped his lips.

"Sorry," Sam mumbled as he wiped at the excess holy water with one of the clean towels. "I'm sorry."

Sam had never been a fan of one-sided conversations, and right now his constant stream of apologies was nothing but a monologue. But the alternative was silence, and Sam thought that silence was even worse than rambling on for only himself to hear.

Judged by how badly his own wound had stung when it had come into contact with the holy water, Sam had a pretty good idea what was in store for Dean now. But it had to be done, and without deliberating any further, Sam poured more of the holy water onto the deep wounds in Dean's side.

The reaction was immediate.

Dean gave a sharp yell of pain and tried to curl in on himself, hands flaying wildly to fight Sam off, unaware that the pain was unavoidable to help him heal. Sam hated himself for doing it, but there was no compromise when it was about his brother's health. He reached for Dean's hands and held them down, using his own body weight to keep Dean from curling in on himself.

All the while he kept op his muttered stream of apologies, more for his own benefit than his brother's. Dean was breathing in harsh bursts, eyes pinched shut and his face a grimace of pain. Sam just knew that had he been awake Dean would have done his best to put his game face on, grit his teeth and not let the pain show, but in his unconscious state all his defences were down. Sam didn't hold it against him, and he'd certainly not ever would in the future. He wouldn't even mention this display of weakness, or the tear that Sam saw escape from his brother's eye and roll down his cheek.

Because the way Dean was writhing, struggling to escape Sam's hold despite all the weight that Sam put on him to hold him down, it had to hurt like hell. Sam would have put more effort into restraining Dean, but he was afraid that if he held on more tightly, he was going to do more damage than good.

When the worst of the pain had abated, Sam slowly loosened his hold on his brother's wrists and leaned back. That should have been the worst of it, but unfortunately it hadn't been all. With Dean's reaction to the holy water as bad as it had been, Sam had no choice but to pour another measure of the liquid onto the gash before he had time to hesitate or think about it twice.

This time the reaction was much less violent, but still Dean flinched as steam rose from the wound. But Sam didn't have to hold Dean down again, and once the worst of the reaction was over Dean sagged in on himself, unmoving, unconsciousness even deeper than it had been before.

Butterfly bandages would suffice for most of the gashes, but the large one that ran down Dean's side would need stitches. Sam finished cleaning off the blood with one of the towels, then he pulled out the suture kit from the medical bag and disinfected his hands.

He hated this. He hated that they had to deal with that kind of thing, that it wasn't the first logical step of action in face of such a wound was to drive to the hospital. The way their father had raised them, both he and Dean knew how to deal with a variety of wounds. He knew he could stitch up a gash like that. But that didn't change the fact that he hated doing it. It always made him feel as if he was giving makeshift-care, that somebody with a medical degree might give better help than he could.

But he couldn't change the situation anymore, so he had to do what had to be done. Winchesters did what needed to be done, and they didn't whine about it. And at least this one time, Dean couldn't protest or flinch away.

Sam placed the stitches, taking great care to make them as small and even as possible to minimize the scarring. He taped the other gashes with butterfly bandages, smeared some antiseptic ointment on the wounds and wrapped Dean's side with gauze and a bandage.

But despite all of Sam's ministrations, Dean's skin was still flushed with fever. And it didn't seem to be getting any better, and that was what worried Sam the most.

He opened the medical kit again and pulled out the thermometer that was stored there. It was one of the few things that he had talked Dean into buying after he had started on the road with his brother. The old thermometer had been a relic of their youth, an old thing that Sam remembered being in there since he had been a small child. It had been time for an update, and ear thermometers were much faster. No reason not to arrive in the 21st century even if you were living on the road. Especially where medical issues were concerned.

So Sam had talked Dean into buying one. Or rather, he had simply thrown out the old one and bought one himself. The following lecture about how credit card fraud was hard work and hustling pool no fun at all had been cut short by a little reminder of the one time that a sixteen year old Sam had nearly choked on that old thermometer because he had lost consciousness with the thing in his mouth.

It had been the end of the discussion, and the ear thermometer had never been mentioned again.

Sam didn't have to wait long for the result. The quite worrisome result of Dean running a fever of 103°. Sam sighed and ran a hand through his hair. Dean had been healthy earlier, so this was an infection, or another reaction of his body to the shadow demon's claws. Sam had never seen an infection cause such a fever, not in such a short time. But he also new next to nothing about shadow demons and what damage they could cause. His own wounds felt fine, and he didn't feel flushed or feverish. But then again his own wounds hadn't been as bad as Dean's, and he had treated them with holy water a lot earlier than Dean had.

Sam picked up two of the remaining towels and went back into the bathroom where he soaked them in cold water in the sink. He might not know what caused Dean's fever, but he knew how to bring a fever down before it got dangerous.

Or he hoped he did, because the alternative didn't bear thinking.

Dean was lying much to still on the bed, the only movement the restless shift of his eyes beneath his lids. Sam wrapped a wet towel around each other his brother's calves, covered them with a dry towel and pulled the blanket up over Dean's chest. None of that, not even the contact of cold and wet towels with fever-flushed skin, provoked any kind of reaction.

Sam leaned back and sighed. So much for bone-deep fatigue and his desire to sleep. Only half an hour ago he could have dropped at a moment's notice, but now adrenaline and worry were running through his system, letting him forget all about his own tiredness. There was no way he could sleep now, not until he was sure that his brother's fever was going down instead of up.

Sam got up from the bed and started pacing up and down their motel room. He didn't like this. He absolutely didn't like this. If this were an illness, or a normal infection, he'd know the drill. But this? This was progressing far too fast for an infection, it wasn't a fever, and Sam had absolutely no idea about daevas and the kind of damage they inflicted. Up until this morning, he hadn't even known that they existed.

He should call his father.

Maybe John would know what to do. And he had been injured by the demons as well, so Sam should warn him not to let the wounds go untreated for too long.

But Sam already knew what his father's reaction to the call would be.

Of course he'd be worried about Dean, even if he most certainly wasn't going to let it show. But they had split up for a reason, and Sam didn't think that Dean running a fever was enough of a reason for John to come rushing to their aid. And their father had been a hunter for so many years now, he knew not to let wounds go untreated. Especially if he was on the road alone, without backup.

If Sam called him now, John would only berate him for breaking the silence that was supposed to protect them. No, Sam was in this alone now, he could as well spare himself the lecture. However Dean was going to get through this, it was Sam's job to make sure he did.

He cast a long look at his brother, lying pale on the bed with his cheeks flushed from the fever. A thin sheen of sweat covered his face, but he still wasn't moving. Sam sighed and returned to the bedside. Settling down on the edge of the mattress he reached for the thermometer again. If he only got the fever under control, could stop it from rising further, then things weren't looking quite as grim anymore.

But he should have known that things were never easy when his brother's health was concerned. Dean's skin was hot and sweaty, and Sam didn't even need to wait for the beep of the thermometer to know that the fever hadn't gone down in the slightest.


"Damn it, Dean."

Definitely not what Sam would call sinking. The fever wasn't yet high enough to send him into spurts of panic, but Sam had to stop it from rising further. Whatever it took.

He got up from the bed and drew back the blanket. A low moan escaped Dean's lips as the cold air met his flushed and sweaty body, but right now the warmth of the blanket wasn't helping.

The calf packings were drying out already, so Sam hurried back in the bathroom and soaked all towels that he could find in cold water. He and Dean had a few towels of their own somewhere in the car in case he needed more later on, there was no time to think about resources. He'd soak all their clothes in cold water if that's what it took to get Dean's fever down.

Sam didn't care that he was dripping water wherever he went as he carried the towels over towards the bed.

Dean flinched as Sam wrapped the cold and wet towels around his calves again, but his eyes stayed closed and he showed no sign of awareness. Sam packed another folded towel on Dean's stomach and two more around Dean's upper arms.

"I'll be back in a moment," he said to his unconscious brother, then he hurried out of the motel room.

The ice machine was standing right next to the office door, just a few steps away, but right now it could as well have been halfway across the city in Sam's perception. It took him maybe a minute to come back into the room with a plastic cup full of ice, but his gaze immediately strayed back to his brother to see if anything had changed about him.

Dean had his face turned towards the door, his movement unconsciously tracking his brother's departure, but nothing else was different. Still flushed, still running a fever, still unconscious.

Sam closed the door behind himself, sat down on the mattress and poured some of the ice into the last remaining towel. The bone-aching fatigue was still there as he folded the towel up and pressed it against his brother's flushed forehead, but his mind was wide awake, and focussed on one thing only – Dean.

This was going to be a long night.

This is a four-chapter story. The next chapter should be up soon, and the story is entirely posted on DeanDamage (dot) com already, if you want to check out the site :) Thanks for reading, and as always, please let me know what you think.