"A Struggle to Survive"
Summary: After their Dad's death, the brothers investigate bizarre killings in the Minnesota woodlands. Bad weather, a sick Sam, and an unfocused Dean, make the hunt a struggle to survive. A Limp Sam, Big Brother Dean Story.
Setting: Sometime in Season 2
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I wished I did.
Just Like my Brother
Dean Winchester slammed the library book in his hands closed with a loud thud, an exasperated sigh escaping from his frowning lips. Several faces rose from various areas of the quiet room, eyes fixated on the sandy haired man. He felt Sam's shoe bang abruptly against his leg, and he raised his eyes to glare across the rickety table at his little brother.
They had been holed up in this library all day long, researching the hunt that brought them to Minnesota in the very dead of winter. The town of Osanti was so far off the beaten path that they didn't even have the internet. So, here they were, researching in the run down library. It was freezing cold outside, almost two foot of snow covered the ground; and Dean would have rather been anywhere but here. Research had always been Sam's gig, not his. He glared at his brother and stood stiffly up.
"I'm taking a break," he offered, "I'll be outside." Dean rolled his shoulders, and attempted to release the tension that had knotted in his neck muscles from hours of reading boring facts and figures.
Sam inhaled thickly, the tickle in the back of his throat making him stifle an unexpected cough. He glanced up at the clock on the library wall. Jeez, they had only been researching for 2 hours, and Dean was already quitting? He nodded agitatedly at his older brother, "Whatever," he muttered, swallowing against the rawness in his throat. He let his burning eyes fall back to the pages in front of him.
Dean sauntered toward the doorway, just happy to be escaping the stuffy environment. He tugged the zipper up on his leather coat, and stepped out into the wintry midday air. The cold, or the library, no real choice on that one. He grinned to himself as he moved hastily toward the Impala, and the much needed heat.
Sam's tired eyes scanned the pages of the historical book about the area. He yawned with a sigh, and rubbed his bleary lids attempting to focus on what he was reading.
There had been 3 victims, each found over the last 3 months. All the victims were found just outside of Osanti, all during a full moon. All the victims had been ripped to shreds, clawed, and chewed on, until they were unrecognizable. Each one so mangled they had to be identified by their dental records.
The hunters had spent the last two days talking to the victim's families, friends, and town's folk, in an attempt to make heads or tales out of what they were actually up against. They had met the only survivor, a 13 year old boy, and the son of the last victim. The kid had cried large tears as he told of his father's death and the echoing screams around him as he ran numbly from the woods. He sobbed when he told how his father had pushed him out of the way and yelled for him to run. The boy broke down when he stated that his father had given his life for him.
That's when Dean had left, went outside; no longer interested in what had happened or why.
Sam had wanted to follow, make sure his brother was okay, but figured Dean needed time alone. So he stayed, asked more questions, found out the creature resembled a lizard, had large red eyes, sharp teeth, and claws.
Then, Dean had brooded all the way back to the motel, and Sam was sure he was thinking about their Dad - the sacrifice he made to save his oldest life.
Once they arrived at their room, the evening had just been one big argument. Dean insisting that they go directly past go and hunt the ugly mother right away, Sam being adamant that they do additional research, have all the facts before they go off half cocked into the woods.
Dean eventually gave up, rolled his eyes at his kid brother, and stomped angrily from the room, saying he was going for a beer.
Sam was once again left alone to read through all the research. Ever since their Dad's death, Sam had felt alone, even when his brother was around. Dean seemed to be lost in his own world all the time. He was erratic, moody, and out of sorts, and that scared the heck out of Sam.
The weary hunter dropped the large book back to the tabletop and yanked up one of the newspapers that Dean had pulled earlier. He sorted unenthusiastically through the obituaries, making detailed notes on the latest victim. He squinted, and rubbed his burning eyes. Why was he so freaking tired?
The ringing of his cell phone pulled him from his research; he grimaced, then hurriedly yanked it from his coat pocket and punched the silent ring button. He glanced up to see numerous faces glaring at him and the old librarian giving him a stoic frown. He nodded weakly at her, and mumbled, "Sorry," as he moved quickly toward the front lobby. His eyes darted up to check the clock as he made his way to the doors. It had been an hour since Dean had left; it was just like his brother, leaving him with all the research…again.
"Sammy?" Dean's voice blared excitedly through the cell phone.
"Dean? Where'd you go?" Sam asked hoarsely.
The younger man reached his hand up and covered the phone receiver as he cleared his tickling throat. He could barely hear Dean's voice over the noisy bar. He waited sullenly for his big brother's reply.
"Listen, I'm playing some pool and I got the upper hand. I figure I can make some cash. So, you walk back to the motel, and I'll meet you there in a couple of hours for the hunt."
Sam rolled his eyes. God, Dean sure pissed him off sometimes.
"But Dean, it's like two degrees outside."
"Oh come on Sammy, it's not that cold…I'm winning money here….you know, stuff we use for gas and food." Dean said sarcastically.
Sam released a heavy sigh. They did need the money.
"Okay," Sam whispered as he rubbed his aching head, "I'll meet you at the motel."
"Great" Dean said hastily, the phone line dead before he even got the word completely out.
Sam snapped his cell phone closed and zipped up his lightweight jacket. He blew out a heavy sigh, angrily yanked open the library door, and shivered as his pale skin met the chilly mid-afternoon air.
Sam's was cold as he walked steadfastly toward the motel. It was only four blocks, but seemed like miles to his shivering form. The frosty air chilled him to the bone and he tugged at his flimsy jacket. He could see his foggy breath as he exhaled, frosty particles dancing lightly around his face. He stared glumly at the ground, then, kicked absently at a stone beneath his water soaked sneakers, sending it flying off in a mound of frozen snow. Damn it, Dean pissed him off. He sucked in the freezing air, feeling it sting as it traveled down his scratchy throat, and settled heavily in his lungs. He shoved his icy hands into his pockets and willed himself to walk faster.
Dean Winchester watched eagerly as the eight ball fell in the right corner pocket, a satisfied smirk tugging to his lips.
The large biker released a light chuckle as he forked the hundred dollar bill reluctantly over to Dean's anxious fingers.
"Good game, buddy." The large man grabbed up his half empty beer bottle, gave Dean a little salute, then, chugged the lukewarm liquid
Dean grinned, "It's been fun, dude."
"Double or nothing?" the leather clad man asked as he sat his empty beer to the pool table.
"Nope, got to get back to my kid brother," Dean smirked, stuffing the bill into his blue jeans pocket, he guzzled down his beer.
The walk from the library to the motel room had exhausted Sam; he could feel his chest rattling with every wheeze of air. His head was hurting and he was sure he had a fever. I feel like crap. He shuffled his frozen body into the room, moving slowly to his duffle, and grabbing up the half empty bottle of Tylenol. He quickly dry swallowed three tablets. He thought for a moment about removing his damp coat and wet sneakers, but his dog-tired limbs did not want to comply. He fell, boneless against the musty bedspread, as sleep immediately claimed him.
The sun was falling behind the treetops when Dean pulled the Impala into the motel parking lot. It's late, Sam will be pissed. He shuffled hastily out of the car, knowing he and Sam needed to hustle in order to get to the woods, and get set up before dark.
"Sam, you ready?" the older brother's voice boomed as the motel doorway flung loudly open. He screwed up his eyebrows when he saw Sam, face down on the bed, cheek squashed against the pillow, drool dripping from his chin, sound asleep. Lazy bum. His hand slapped his brother on the leg as he walked rapidly toward the bathroom.
"Hey, Sammy, rise and shine….hunts a-waiting."
Sam felt a firm hand bump against his leg, and he blinked open his bleary lids. He lay still on the bed, listening as the bathroom door closed with a thump. He gulped in a long breath of air, attempting to pull oxygen into his congested chest. His sore throat ached, and he swallowed convulsively, wishing he had a cough drop. He stared blankly at the ceiling, and contemplated not going on the hunt tonight. Not an option, people were dying.
"You ready?" Dean flipped off the bathroom light, and peered through the dimly lit room at his brother's shadowy form.
Sam nodded, and watched Dean's back exiting the room. He pushed slowly to his feet, swayed slightly, and followed his brother out into the cold evening air.