One Lump or Two
Disclaimer: The brothers, the concept and the copyright belong to Kripke et al. The love belongs to us.
Beta'd: By no one due to time constraints. Bwahahahahahahahha. Now you'll see why I don't post anything without a beta. No, really, I'm sorry guys. :) All errors are, obviously, my own.
Time Line: Season One sometime after Dead Men's Blood.
Dedicated: To Muffy, a little 'c' to go with your 'h.'
Sam thumbed a streak of blood off Dean's face, ignoring his brother's soft squeak of protest. "Take it easy, Dean," he said, reaching over for a warm, damp cloth. "It's all over." He wiped the side of the other man's face hoping to get a better view of the gash that was somehow hiding under Dean's short-cropped hair.
A fist came up, clocking Sam squarely in the jaw. "Dean!" Sam gasped, rubbing the side of his face with the back of the hand holding the washcloth. "It's me, Sammy." He cringed at the childhood nickname falling from his own lips, but it would get through to his brother even if he was concussed which Sam sorely suspected he was.
Slits of glassy green rewarded him for the sacrifice. "Sammy?" Dean mumbled, looking around wildly. "Where?"
"Motel room," Sam said, capturing Dean's face with one hand. "Hold still. You have a cut on your head and it's bleeding."
"M'okay," Dean said, offering his biggest and most oft told lie. Okay apparently included everything from 'I'm getting laid tonight' to 'It's only a flesh wound, Sammy.'
"Right, sure," Sam said, agreeably. "But here's the thing. You don't let me do this and I'll take you to a clinic and let a doctor do it."
The older man glared, heat radiating from his gaze for a half a moment before he acquiesced, his body relaxing deeper into the mattress. "Fine."
Sam nodded, satisfied that at least for the next few minutes his brother would cooperate. He leaned closer, frowned, then angled the bedside light towards Dean's face for a better look. The gash wasn't long, but it was deep and situated atop a nasty lump. "It's going to need stitches," he announced.
Dean groaned, but otherwise endured the pressure Sam kept on the wound while he rummaged in the first aid kit one-handed. He quickly threaded the needle stopping poised over the trickling cut. "Hold still. I'm going to stitch it up now." He waited for acknowledgement from Dean and when he didn't get any, he tried again. "Okay, Dean?"
"Mmmm," Dean hummed through his nose. Sam took it as a sign of affirmation and slid the needle through the first layer of skin. He paused, half expecting his brother to react, but Dean lay still breathing heavily through his nose. "Done?" he groaned.
"No," Sam said, completing the first stitch. "Just making sure you weren't coming up swinging this time." He ignored the snort and wince from Dean, finishing the sutures in record time. "I'm going for ice. You have a big lump and I want to see if we can get the swelling down." Dean waved a hand of dismissal, his eyes closing shut.
Sam snagged the room key and ice bucket, sure he had seen the machine near the office in the alcove under the stairs leading to the upper level. The concussion came courtesy of the third vampire they hadn't seen until Dean had dispatched the first one quickly followed by Sam cornering the second. He had roared into the room, fangs bared, and headed straight for Sam.
Dean had rushed the angry vampire getting thrown into the wall for his efforts. It gave Sam the time he needed to behead the woman, then turn and do the same to the distracted vampire who stood hissing at Dean. The older man had managed "Stop giving me that squinchy look, Sammy. M'fine." before passing out.
Ice rattled out of the ancient machine clunking loudly in the plastic bucket. Sam glanced around, not entirely comfortable with the location. From where he stood he couldn't see the motel room or the office and while he was certain they had killed the whole nest, it always paid to be cautious. He swung by the vending machine on his way back for candy, chips, and sodas, pleased to discover Cup of Soup and tea packets, an unusual offering in most machines. It wasn't Sam's idea of a good dinner, but pizza was out until their cash was up, the noodles would sit easier on Dean's stomach anyway.
He hesitated at the door, eyes narrowed. Someone or something was moving around inside the room. Slowly he turned the key in the lock, quietly easing the door open. The only weapons he had on him were a bucket of ice and a can of soda. He'd had less.
Dean wasn't lying in the rumpled bed.
Sam fumbled for the light knowing the vampire would have the advantage in the dark. Movement from the blind corner to his right had him reacting on instinct. He took a hard blow to his ribs knocking the breath from his lungs. As his attacker made another sweep, Sam blocked the jab and countered with a pop can enhanced punch. The grunt from the dark form sagging against the wall sounded all too familiar.
"Dean!" Sam shouted, flicking on the light. He rushed to his brother's side, crouching low in front of him. "You okay?" Dean groaned, cradling his head in his hands. It was then Sam noticed the knife. "Hey, Dean," he said quietly, reaching for the blade, "it's just me. Everything's okay."
The knife slipped effortlessly from the older man's hand as he surrendered the weapon. "Let's get you back into bed," Sam said. Dean's gaze skittered just off center and Sam realized his brother was having a hard time focusing. Blurry vision, probable concussion, neither of them made for a happy Dean.
"Yeah, it's me," Sam said. "Can you stand?" Dean frowned, his face scrunching in confusion. Sam sighed. "Just work with me, Dean."
The younger man helped his brother to standing, staggering to the side when Dean stumbled. In a crazy tango of missteps and tangled limbs the Winchesters made it to the bed. Sam fussed with the blankets and pillows earning a disapproving glare from his brother. "Leave me alone," Dean weakly protested.
"Tried that," Sam said, frowning at the glazed expression on Dean's face. "You ambushed me, remember?"
Deep lines edged the older man's forehead when he frowned. "Where'd you go?"
"To get ice," Sam explained. He shook three painkillers into the palm of his hand. "Here, take these." He cracked open the unshaken soda, wrapping Dean's hand around the can. Sam dropped the painkillers into his brother's other hand and sat back onto the other bed, watching to see if Dean could manage on his own.
Dean swallowed the pills, taking a long drag of cola to wash it down. He handed the can to Sam sliding down into the carefully arranged bedding. "Thanks."
"Get some sleep," Sam said, his tone leaving no room for argument.
"Bossy," Dean said, his lips curling into a smirk although the tight lines of pain didn't completely disappear.
"Learned from the best," Sam said, with a smirk of his own. He noted with satisfaction that Dean didn't fight the pull of sleep, but rather succumbed between breaths. He decided that it would be a good time to read a book that wasn't related to research, but an honest to God novel. He bent in half, leaning over the edge of the bed to grab a battered, well-read Robin Cook book out of his duffel.
He'd barely made it to the theory about tainted rye being a possible factor in the Salem witch accusations before Dean started making retching noises. Sam dashed to the bathroom, grabbing the wastebasket before hurrying back to his brother just in time to provide the makeshift emesis receptacle. He gently rubbed small circles on Dean's arched back. "Easy, easy," Sam soothed in a low voice.
After a few moments, Dean graduated to dry-heaving then stopped altogether. He leaned against the headboard and groaned. "God, I hate puking," Dean said, his voice hoarse from the abuse.
"You'd probably feel better if you hadn't gotten out of bed in the first place," Sam chastised, standing to empty the wastebasket.
"No," Dean said, "I'd probably feel better if you hadn't slugged me."
Sam ducked his head, sheepishly. "Yeah, sorry about that." He flushed the vomit down the toilet, rinsed the wastebasket and flushed again. He grabbed a hand towel, stopping to fill it with ice on his way over to Dean. Sam placed the towel-wrapped ice on the nightstand, depositing the garbage can on the floor next to his brother's bed. "Here, just in case."
He hadn't completely stood back up yet when Dean grabbed his arm, tugging it hard. "Are you okay?" Sam's brow knitted in confusion until he realized what Dean was really asking.
"I'm good, walked away without a scratch," Sam said with what he hoped was a reassuring smile. It seemed to take his brother an extra few seconds to process the information, but Dean finally nodded, releasing his iron grip on Sam's shirt sleeve.
"So, you uh, took out two of them?" Dean asked, a hint of pride in his voice.
"Yeah," Sam said, his neck heating from the unexpected praise ringing in the other man's voice. He sat down next to Dean, ignoring his brother's grumbling protest. "Course, you were taking a nap at the time so somebody had to."
Dean elbowed him in the ribs. "Shut up, Sammy."
Sam chuckled, reaching one long arm across the expanse to grab his book from the other bed. "Fine, as long as you go back to sleep."
"Deal," Dean agreed, edging down into the blankets. Sam grabbed the towel of ice, pressing it against the lump on his brother's head. "Ow, knock it off, Sam."
"Stop whining, Dean," Sam said. "It'll help."
Dean shot him a dirty look, pulling the towel out of Sam's hand. He cupped it to his head, wincing as the ice made contact with the lump again. "You know what, Sam?" Sam raised an eyebrow in question. "If you're still this bossy in the morning, I'm gonna beat that attitude right out of you."
Sam smiled, opening his book to the last page he'd read. "Deal."
Within moments Dean's concussion induced snoring filled the room. Sam glanced over at his brother, patting him on the shoulder. If Dean so much as twitched, he'd know. In the meantime, it was his turn to stand watch.
AN: I probably should have warned ya'all about the schmoop level. :)
AN II: Premise: Write a story of 200-1000 words, prompt words: vampire, bloody and squinch. Check out the other stories too, participating writers are Abni, RoweenaC, DeansBabyBird, and Manavie.