One-shot #6 in my limp Sam mission for each episode of season four. This is my version of the last few scenes of Yellow Fever, starting when Sam and Bobby are at the sawmill looking for Luthor. Ta for reading :0)
warning: spoilers for 4x06
disclaimer: just borrowing
Sam stared into the glassy eyes of the girl in the picture. He pinched the paper.
In one swift motion he tore the picture in half. The pieces fell to the floor.
He hated doing this. It was cruel. It wasn't the ghost's fault.
But he had to make Luthor angry.
Dean's life depended on it.
Sam grabbed another picture, shredding it. He couldn't lose his brother again. He wouldn't allow it. He wouldn't screw things up; not again.
The torn paper fluttered over his boots. His thoughts skipped to Bobby.
The older man waited in the car, ready for Sam's signal. Sam had been reluctant to ask for his help. He'd been hesitant.
I hurt him.
For months, Sam had avoided Bobby. Bobby had tried desperately to track him down, but Sam hadn't allowed it. He'd been so scared that Bobby would blame him for Dean's death. Now, there was a great distance between them, and Sam was worried that it couldn't be fixed…
Not the time.
Sam kicked himself mentally. He didn't have time to be thinking about this. Self-pity would have to wait for later. Right now, he had a ghost to catch.
A sudden chill against his right ear woke him up. The hairs on the back of his neck stiffened, and his stomach dropped. He knew, even without turning around, that Luthor was behind him. Slowly, he looked over his shoulder.
Luthor loomed. His eyes dropped to the shredded pictures.
Sam's chest tightened. He couldn't feel bad. This ghost was responsible for hurting Dean. It had to be stopped. Shredding the pictures was necessary.
The ghost made a funny sound.
Sam knew what he had to do.
Luthor swung his fist.
Sam ducked, and dove for the length of chain on the ground. The clock was ticking. Dean's time was running out; again.
Luthor's boot caught Sam's stomach.
Sam lost his breath, and lost sight of the chain. He was flipped over. The impact jarred every muscle in his body. He bit his tongue.
Luthor's hands were frighteningly strong. They gripped his shoulders.
Sam's shoulders and head were smashed against the concrete floor; once, twice, three times. He tasted blood.
He couldn't see the chain. His eyes ached from being rattled so hard. His tongue was coated in copper. He tried desperately to punch and kick the dead man.
But Luthor was fuelled by rage. He kicked Sam in the side.
Sam cried out, sucking in a mouthful of woodchips as he twisted his face towards the concrete.
Luthor kicked him again, more viciously.
Sam felt one of his ribs snap. He gagged. Fire burst through his chest. He choked on the woodchips. He couldn't breathe.
Sam's eyes were stinging with tears. He forced them open. The chain was within reach, if only he could move.
He forced himself to move. The pain from Luthor's next blow was suffocated by the sheer agony already tearing through his body.
Luthor wasn't allowed to hurt Dean any more. Sam wasn't going to let him...
Sam's fingers curled around the chain. He wouldn't let Dean die again. He gripped it tight, and flung himself upright.
The ghost's eyes widened as Sam wrapped the chain around its neck and yelled for Bobby to step on the gas.
There was a roar from outside.
Sam fell back, gulping and choking.
Luthor was torn from the room. The chain dragged him violently across the floor and out onto the asphalt of the sawmill's parking lot.
Sam struggled to get his bearings. He gagged, this time coughing up vomit. There was wood in his teeth. All he could taste was blood and bile. He couldn't breathe.
The sound of the Impala's engine was muffled. It roared, slowed, and then stilled.
Sam forced himself onto hands and knees. He forced himself calm. Staggering, he clutched at a piece of machinery and hauled himself off the ground. Using the back of his sleeve, he wiped his mouth. He couldn't stand up straight.
In the distance, a car door slammed. Bobby was coming.
Sam willed his body to co-operate. He sucked in sharp breaths through his nose. He swallowed back the blood in his mouth.
Bobby jogged into view. He was a silhouette against the brightness of the day outside.
Sam bit back the urge to cry out. Pain threatened to break him. He glanced briefly at Bobby, and fished his cell from his coat pocket. He punched in Dean's number.
"You okay?" Bobby's eyes were concerned.
We'll see. Sam swayed as he waited for his brother to answer. He wanted Dean to pick up. He needed to know that Dean was okay, that he wasn't too late; again.
Finally, after far too many rings, Dean answered.
Sam was blinded by relief.
The clock stopped ticking.
Bobby reached out and squeezed his shoulder. "Pretty impressive, kiddo." Bobby's hand lingered a moment, before dropping away.
Sam nodded. He closed his stinging eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. His hands trembled. He ended the call.
He couldn't breathe, but it didn't matter.
So long as Dean was still breathing, he knew that everything would be okay.
Dean was alive, but he was far from alright. Raw fear still coursed through his veins, leaving trails of ice through his body.
He was on the floor of his and Sam's motel room, stretched on his back. His heart, which only seconds before had been on the verge of seizing up, was now pumping frantically against his ribs.
He could still see her.
The sight of her had almost killed him; the threats she'd made to send him back to Hell had been terrifying. She'd been right here, in this room. Or so he'd thought
The sickness had turned him inside out. It had taken his worst fears, and had amplified them a hundred times.
His eyes skipped across the floor, and came to rest upon a bible. He remembered clutching it.
He'd seen many horrific things while he'd been under the ghost's influence. He'd seen his brother, with yellow eyes…
His little brother had become the very thing that Dean hated the most. The image, even as a memory, made him feel sick. He wanted to fold in half. He wanted to shy away from it, and blot it from his mind.
His worst fears had been given life. They'd mutated into living, breathing monsters. They'd devoured him.
He remembered being at the sawmill earlier. He'd been so scared that he'd nearly let Sam go in alone to search for the ghost. For nearly two whole days, he'd failed to watch his brother's back.
Dean's chest hitched. He stared at the ceiling.
He stared through the ceiling.
His eyes stung and he couldn't swallow back the ache inside him.
If it wasn't for Sam, he wouldn't be alive right now. Sam had continued to stand by him, even though he'd abandoned Sam. He'd run away.
This wasn't okay. Dean couldn't laugh it off.
He was proud of his brother for saving his life; but he was so damned ashamed of himself for needing to be saved, again.
Bobby took a sip of his beer and watched Dean.
They were seated in the small lounge area of the shabby motel room the boys had been staying in. Dean was hunched at the shoulders, elbows on his knees. His bottle dangled between his legs, swinging a foot or so above the carpet.
Bobby could sense Dean's shame. The older brother was used to being in control. The past forty-eight hours had rattled him. He was bruised, and he'd take some time to heal.
Bobby inhaled deeply. Dean was strong. He would be okay. Ghost sickness caused its victims to hallucinate, and he could only imagine what Dean had seen. Hell had to have left him with some pretty powerful memories to draw upon. But whatever he'd witnessed, he'd be okay. He'd pull through.
Right now, Dean wasn't Bobby's main concern.
Sam hadn't touched his beer. He'd been awkwardly seated upon a wooden chair, holding himself at a funny angle. His brow had been pinched, his cheeks flushed.
Now he was in the kitchenette, and Bobby could see him across the small room.
Something was wrong.
Bobby watched Sam closely, noting the stiffness of the younger man's movements.
Sam took a glass, and filled it with water. He leaned upon the sink.
Bobby was proud of the way Sam had handled himself today. He was a bright kid, and the plan he'd come up with to cure Dean's sickness had reflected his intelligence.
But perhaps things hadn't gone as smoothly as they'd thought. Bobby wondered whether they'd possibly been too hasty with their celebrations…
Carefully, he placed his beer upon the carpet and stood up.
He felt that he had a lot to make up for with Sam. He'd failed John's youngest son, when Dean had died. He'd allowed Sam to run away. He'd allowed Sam to hide with his pain.
Sam had become good at building walls and wearing masks. But Bobby saw through his mask now. Sam was injured.
Bobby began walking towards the small kitchen.
Dean shot him a questioning glance, but Bobby didn't reply. His gaze was locked on Sam.
Sam's fingers trembled around the glass he was holding. When Bobby approached, he made an obvious effort to hide the fact that he was shaking. But there was sweat upon his brow, and his bangs were sticking to his pale forehead.
"Where did it get you?" Bobby's tone wasn't angry. He made sure his words were gentle. Sam's walls wouldn't be broken by force.
Sam's expression twitched. He swayed, but managed to catch the edge of the bench. Jerkily he shook his head. He opened his mouth, but no sound came out.
Dean pushed up from the couch.
Bobby reached a hand for Sam's shoulder. The kid was rigid. His eyes were glazed. He looked like he wanted to pull away, but couldn't. He began to sway more violently.
Bobby tightened his grip. He reached for Sam's other shoulder, steadying him.
Dean was beside them now, his brow knotted.
"Where did it get you, Sam?" Bobby asked again, his tone cautiously begging for an answer.
Sam put in one more effort to argue. But the strain was too much and his expression toppled and shifted into an unspoken apology. He looked very young. His knees buckled, and he began to collapse.
Bobby's reaction was fast. He thrust his hands under Sam's armpits and pulled the boy towards him.
"Sorry…" Sam whispered, his head falling against Bobby's shoulder.
"Sam-!" Dean lurched forwards.
Bobby shook his head stiffly. He shifted and allowed Dean to help take some of Sam's weight as Sam's eyes closed.
Once again, Sam hadn't trusted him enough to say that he wasn't okay. And Bobby hadn't noticed that there was something wrong, until now, when it should have been obvious a lot earlier.
Sam didn't want to open his eyes.
He was on his back, upon a mattress. He was comfortable.
He was tired.
"Don't pretend you're not awake."
Dean. Dean was nearby. There was shallow annoyance and heavy concern in his voice.
Sam risked pulling his eyes open, just a crack.
Dean was a silhouette in the dim light of the room. His shoulders were hunched. He was seated in a chair beside Sam's bed. He leaned forward, regarding Sam seriously.
Pain lanced through Sam's chest. For a moment it stole his breath.
"Broken rib," Dean explained. His eyes dropped away. "Must have been quite a hit you took back there."
Sam gulped in shallow pockets of air. He willed the pain away. His eyes watered.
He remembered. Luthor had beaten the crap out of him.
Dean chewed his lip.
Sam watched his brother through half-open eyes, wondering why Dean looked so different. There was a strange, fragile expression across the older brother's face.
Dean allowed it to linger a moment, before scrubbing it away. His lip twitched. "I told Bobby I'd kick your ass, once you were awake."
Sam's thoughts snagged on the older man. He glanced around the room, but Bobby wasn't there.
"He got an urgent call," Dean explained. "He had to go."
Sam's stomach felt heavy. It had been nice to see Bobby again, even if he'd been reluctant to ask for the help in the first place. Sam felt guilty. He hadn't told Bobby that he'd been hurt…
"He patched you up," Dean said, his voice soft. "I said I'd do it, but for some reason he was adamant that he would do it himself. He didn't want to go, when he got the call."
Sam swallowed jaggedly. His fingers traced the tight bandages around his ribs.
"That was quite a crazy idea you came up with." Dean's expression cracked into a thin smile. "Scaring a ghost to death." He snorted. "Only you could come up with something like that."
Sam was grateful for the change in topic. He squeezed a smile in return, keeping his fingers on the bandages.
The smile vanished from Dean's face. "I was pretty awful, wasn't I?"
Sam cast his thoughts back over Dean's behaviour. A splinter of amusement bubbled in his chest. Yes.
"I screamed like a girl, didn't I?" Dean's cheeks flushed.
Sam grinned, more genuinely this time. Yes.
Dean hung his head. "God…"
Sam's gaze floated towards the ceiling. Dean had scared the absolute shit out of him. It had been frightening beyond words, seeing Dean so fragile. Sam never wanted to see his brother in such a state again.
Dean pushed up from his chair.
Sam noted the darkness smudging his eyes, the pinkness beneath his lashes. He looked like he hadn't slept in days. Sam wondered what Dean had seen, towards the end of his sickness, when the hallucinations would have been the most intense.
Dean sighed wearily. He grabbed his cell from a low table.
Sam decided he would ask some other day, when the wounds weren't so raw.
"I said I'd call Bobby." Dean flipped his phone open. "He wanted to know when you woke up."
Sam once again felt guilty for having made Bobby worry. He shifted uneasily.
"You know-" Dean's finger hovered above the keypad. "He reminds me of dad sometimes." His throat worked. He waited a moment, and then turned away from Sam, holding the phone to his ear.
Sam caught his brother's words. He turned them over. He considered them.
"Bobby-" Dean greeted. He flashed Sam an over-the-shoulder look. "Yeah," he nodded. "Yeah, he's okay. Just woke up… Yeah, I gave him an earful…"
Sam shut his ears off from the conversation. He let his thoughts linger on their dad, and then on Bobby.
He closed his eyes. He would patch the gap between him and Bobby, even if he wasn't sure how to. He'd at least try. He owed his friend that much.
Once again, his fingers traced the bandage around his ribs. A weight slowly lifted from within him.
John and Bobby were nothing alike.
Dean was wrong.
Sam knew, beyond a doubt; John would never have asked Dean to call.