warning: spoilers for 4x09

disclaimer: don't own them

Limp Sam one-shot number 9 :) I really enjoyed this episode. It left me with a much better feeling than last week. But I have to say if we get more like this, I'll struggle to find something to write about ;) Thanks for all the comments so far- I really appreciate your feedback! Ta x

Sam hit the ground. The impact sent a shockwave through his entire body. He gasped, flinging his eyes wide.

Dean was beside him, groaning and rolling to his side

Sam blinked at the shattered stained-glass about them. His jaw clenched. He gritted his teeth. He pushed himself up, his mind spinning.

The demon was coming.

The window they'd just fallen through was a gaping hole above them. It was a great wound in the face of the old church. Sam's eyes rolled towards it and then dove back down to his brother. He couldn't focus. He stood, staggering.

There was a piece of glass, about four inches across, protruding from his left upper arm. Blood welled around it. He clutched it, and ripped it free. He bit down upon his lip to stop from crying out.

Dean was trying to stand, his face pinched in pain. He hunched, pressing a white-knuckled hand against his left shoulder.

Sam's heart pounded frantically. They had no time. The demon they'd been fighting would soon be upon them. Sam's powers hadn't been enough; it had been too strong. It would kill them.

Stomach in throat, Sam grabbed his brother's jacket. He hauled Dean to his feet and barrelled them both towards the Impala.

"Sam-" Dean tried to fight him off.

But Sam wouldn't let go. His vision was a tunnel. His thoughts were a raging torrent. Hot blood pumped from his wound and drenched the sleeve of his jacket. He couldn't hear what Dean was saying. He didn't care. They had to get out of here.

Ruby had taken Anna. Anna would be safe.

Sam had to take care of Dean. He was on auto-pilot.

"Sam-!" Dean batted with his good arm, struggling against his panicked younger sibling.

But Sam was fast. He snagged Dean's keys from the older brother's pocket, unlocked the car, and pushed Dean into the passenger seat.

Chest heaving and lungs screaming, Sam fell behind the wheel and jammed the key into the ignition. He stomped on the gas. The tyres spun and squealed. The car fishtailed away from the church and Dean cursed and grabbed at the door handle as he was flung against his seat.

Sam didn't look at his brother. He kept his eyes locked on the road. Blood was snaking its way down his arm to his wrist. His breaths grated against the back of his throat. His heart pounded so hard he thought he was about to be sick.

Thumpthump- thumpthump- thumpthump-

For a moment there, back in the church, he'd thought that he wasn't going to be able to protect Dean. His powers hadn't been enough, and the demon had nearly got the better of them.


That had been too damned close. He pressed harder on the gas. Too God-damned close. His vision blurred. They nearly took out a streetlight.

Dean yelled frantically.

But Sam ignored him, refusing to slow down for anything.

Sam snatched a bottle of whiskey. He wrestled the cap free, his fingers slick with his own blood.

Dean was in the bathroom, gagging over the sink. He clutched the icepack Sam had thrown him from the motel room's small fridge.

Sam pressed the bottle to his lips and gulped down the fiery liquid. It burned a path to his stomach, mercifully numbing him from the inside out. He staggered to their first aid kit and fumbled until he found a needle and thread. He found a towel and pressed it against his weeping arm, pushing against the angry wound. The pain was suffocating.

"Sammy-" Dean's eyes flung through the bathroom doorway, pinning Sam where he stood.

Sam stole pieces of breath, his chest hitching. He tore his gaze from his brother's and fell upon the edge of one of the beds.

Dean's face was contorted in pain, his expression pleading. "You can't stitch that yourself, Sam. Don't be an idiot! Let me help you-"

But Dean was wrong. Sam was more than capable of completing the task. He'd stitched himself up many times while Dean had been gone.

"Sam!" Dean wheezed, sweat beading upon his brow.

Sam knew that Dean couldn't put his shoulder back in himself. He'd have to wait. Taking another mouthful of whiskey, Sam struggled with the needle and thread. He could barely see, and he was dizzy from blood loss. He'd have to be quick.

The needle piercing his flesh was nothing compared to the agony of the actual wound. Tears threatened to spill from his eyes. He began to shudder, holding his breath. He paused, and grabbed the bottle again.

Dean staggered forward. He tripped over his own feet. He fell against the bathroom door frame.

Alcohol splashed over Sam's chin as his hand shook. He managed to swallow jaggedly and return the bottle to its place between his knees. Ruthlessly, he continued stitching.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Sam had barely seen a moment of sobriety. Dean's death had driven him to the very edge of life, and God knew; he'd damn near fallen off. He should have fallen off. His desperation had bled him dry. He'd been so frighteningly gutted and raked raw by his inability to save his brother, that he'd all but given up. His vision had narrowed, and dimmed. The only thing he'd wanted was Lillith, and he'd been willing to die fighting her. He would have died fighting her.


Blood streamed down Sam's arm. Spasm after spasm shot through his muscles, threatening to rip tears from his eyes and his voice from his throat. He wanted to cry out. His stomach flipped in sickening cartwheels. He pulled the needle through his flesh for the last time, and broke the thread with his teeth.

Dean's face was white. He was watching Sam with a saddened, terrified expression.

Sam wobbled. He clutched the sheets of the bed he sat upon. He grabbed the bottle, drawing it once again to his lips. His eyes rolled in his head. The bottle mouth knocked angrily against his teeth as he took another sip, and another.

Something was aching inside him. It wasn't something he could stitch up. It was screaming to be set free, but Sam didn't know how to achieve that. It had been aching since the day before, when he and Dean had argued in the car.

"Boy, something major must have happened while I was downstairs. Because I come back, and you're BFF with a demon..."

Dean's words slit Sam's insides again as he recalled them. They nagged at the ache within him. They fuelled it, and it grew more suffocating. He wanted to talk to his brother. He needed to talk to his brother.

God, he'd needed to talk to Dean then too, but Dean hadn't been there.

Ruby had been there.

Sam pushed up from the bed. The movement drenched him in vertigo. For a horrifying moment, the room spun and Sam thought he would fall. He could see his brother still staring at him.

Sam shook himself to his senses. He swayed, approaching Dean.

"You done?" Dean's words were harsh, but his gaze upon Sam's arm betrayed his worry more than his frustration. "You're stupid for stitching that yourself. I would have taken care of it."

Sam didn't reply. He fumbled his brother into position, bracing himself. This was going to hurt them both. "Ready?" He rasped. "On three."

Dean sucked in a breath.

"One-" Sam clenched his jaw, and yanked Dean's shoulder back into place.

Dean cried out and staggered, winded by surprise.

Sam bit down upon his lip, wanting to cry out as well as the jolt sent pain lancing down his arm. He managed to hold back, and stumbled towards the bottle.

Dean snatched it from his hands and forced the liquid down his own throat. He coughed, doubling over.

Sam stole the whiskey back and poured it over his still-weeping arm. His eyes were full of hot tears. He nearly gagged, but prevented himself from vomiting by taking another swig.

Dean shot him a troubled look.

Sam jerked away.

"We've gotta find Anna." Dean's words were heavy with anxiety.

Sam clutched the bottle. They'd lost the girl. They'd lost the knife. Mentally, he rattled his thoughts.

No. Ruby had the girl.

Sam fell upon the mattress, ignoring the way his legs folded against his will. "Ruby's got her. She'll be safe."

Dean's expression spoke his thoughts before he'd even opened his mouth to say them aloud.

Sam braced for the question he knew was coming.

"How can you trust Ruby so easily, Sam?"

It should have been a simple question. Sam should have been able to offer his brother the answer.

But the answer didn't come.

The pressure within him swelled, and the ache it carried ratcheted up another notch. It drove the bottle to his lips and he forced more of the stinging liquid down his throat.

Dean grabbed at the bottle. "Sam-"

But Sam spun away. He launched himself from the mattress, and staggered away from his brother, putting distance between them.

He couldn't tell Dean exactly what had happened in the months that Dean had been dead. It wouldn't matter if he had all the words in the world, they wouldn't be enough to convey the desperation he'd felt without his brother. He had no right to tell Dean that. Dean didn't want to hear it. Dean hadn't been there. Dean had been in Hell.

Sam tried to make for the front door, but his legs wouldn't work. He dropped the bottle. Thankfully, the thin carpet was enough to prevent it from shattering. It lay on its side, most of its contents spilling out.

Dean hadn't been there, and Sam had all but disappeared.

Sam's shoulders tensed and shook. He saw Dean stagger towards him, and he tried to turn away. But Dean's hand clamped his uninjured arm and Sam swayed against it. The ache within him grew and grew until it became unbearable. Sam wanted more alcohol, but the bottle wasn't within reach and it seemed he'd reached the point he'd been dreading.

"Sammy-" Dean's tone was begging. He struggled to steady Sam and steer them back towards the bed. "Talk to me. You need to talk to me. Please."

Sam shook all over. His whole body was rattling. He didn't want to talk. He was scared to talk. His voice shuddered over his lips. "You wouldn't understand." He let himself be pulled back towards the mattress and sat down.

Dean's stare was intense.

Sam rocked against his light-headedness, swallowing back bile. His arm throbbed. His stomach knotted.

"Make me understand," Dean said firmly. His gaze was unwavering. "Tell me what I missed. Fill in the blanks for me."

Heat rose under Sam's collar. Six-month old memories bombarded his mind, overwhelming him.

Dean hadn't been there.

Sam squeezed his burning eyes closed. Dean hadn't been there, and he'd reached the very end. He'd lost more than just a part of himself.

He'd unravelled.

"Ruby…" Sam's voice was an anchor he had to dredge up from the very pit of his stomach. He opened his eyes, but couldn't look at his brother.

Dean hadn't been there, and Sam had missed his sibling so God-damned much. He'd wanted to die.

"Ruby what, Sam?" Dean prompted gently.

Sam's eyes shivered to his brother's. He swallowed. His throat was on fire.

Finally he admitted hoarsely, "She saved my life."

There were so many points during Sam's story that Dean wanted to stop his brother, but didn't.

Sam's words were raw in their honesty, burning with painful truth. He wasn't making them up, though by God, Dean wished he was lying.

Dean sat silently.

Sam's voice tapered off. His shoulders shook violently.

Dean searched for a response, but couldn't find one. He felt the brokenness radiating from Sam, but had no idea how to stop it.

Sam misinterpreted Dean's silence. He staggered up from the bed and repeated the last thing he'd said. "Ruby came back for me."

Sam's description of what had happened had been so detailed and graphic, Dean felt ill.

"Whatever you have to say; she saved me." Sam swayed dangerously, clutching his wounded arm. "More than that; she got through to me."

Dean was struggling. He was so horrified by what Sam had been through, and yet, so grateful that Sam had finally shared it.

"What she said to me…" Sam fixed him with a haunted look. "It's what you would've said."

Dean's throat worked. He'd been wrong thinking that he'd been the only one sent to Hell. Sam, it seemed, had been there too.

"If it wasn't for her-" Sam's eyes skipped across the floor until they collided with the bottle of whiskey. He stumbled towards it. "I wouldn't be here."

Dean felt the reality of Sam's words hit him. They tore him up. They ripped through him. He pushed himself off the bed and kicked the bottle out of the way before Sam could reach it. He caught his brother's sleeve.

The motion sent Sam staggering.

Dean grabbed Sam's t-shirt and they collapsed together.

Sam winced, gasping against the pain of his injury. His breath smelled of alcohol. He attempted to curl in on himself, rocking and groaning. His forehead hit Dean's shoulder.

Dean was on his knees. He held Sam upright.

There was a knock upon the door. "Housekeeping-" A woman's voice announced from the other side.

Dean threw an angry look towards the door.

Sam's shoulders heaved. Blood oozed from the gaps between the sutures in his arm. His t-shirt was damp with sweat.

"Not now," Dean called back, his tone impatient.

But 'housekeeping' didn't get the hint. The lock on the door unlatched itself and the door suddenly flung open.

Dean's heart stalled. He wrapped one arm more tightly around his brother, searching with the other for the bottle which he would use as a weapon if he had to.

A woman bustled in. She paid his defensive actions no mind. She hastily closed and latched the door before hurrying to the window and pulling the curtains closed. She then spun around and thrust a piece of paper at Dean.

Dean blinked, his mind desperately trying to catch up.

"I'm at this address," the woman stated, her tone commanding, not threatening. She dropped beside them and regarded Sam with an expression akin to concern.

Sam had grown still.

Dean pressed his fingers against Sam's back, but Sam didn't move. He was unconscious. His cheek rested against Dean's chest, and his body was slumped.

"Go, now." The woman's eyes narrowed. "Go through the bathroom window. Don't stop. Don't take your car."

Dean pulled Sam closer, opening his mouth.

"There are demons in the hall, and in the parking lot," the woman continued.

Realization hit Dean. "Ruby?" His heart hammered.

She offered a half-nod.

Dean gaped. Thoughts rampaged through his head. He wanted to say so much to her, but had no idea where to begin. Again he opened his mouth.

She tore her gaze away, straightening. Her features became shadowed. Her eyes skipped once again to Sam, shining with obvious anxiety. She shook her head abruptly. "I'm being serious, Dean. Get him out of here." She spied the whiskey bottle, and her brow pinched. "Do what you do best." She pinned him with a weighty stare. "Look after him."

Dean closed his mouth. He shook himself to his senses. Awkwardly, he began to wrestle Sam off the floor.

Sam was as limp as a rag-doll.

Dean got them standing, somehow. He pulled Sam's good arm over his shoulder, and thrust an arm around Sam's waist to take the weight. His stomach knotted. His mind was still reeling from all Sam had told him. He called out to Ruby as she hurried to the door.

"If it wasn't for her… I wouldn't be here."

She shot him a silencing look.

Dean took the hint. Now wasn't the time. They had to get out of here.

He re-adjusted his grip on his brother. Stiffly, he nodded at Ruby. He would take care of Sam. He didn't need to be told.

She jerked open the door, nodding in return.

And as silently as Dean had offered it, she acknowledged and accepted his unspoken thank you. Then she disappeared.