A/N: Okay SciFiNutTX, I here ya go. Hope you enjoy it! I'm not counting the words in this chapter, kidlings. It's done when it's done. Chapter title taken from Shock The Monkey by Peter Gabriel. Italics indicates thoughts and memories. Just so ya know.
Disclaimer: I don't own Sam and Dean Winchester or Bobby Singer. Eric Kripke does, and he's just letting me play with them for a while.
Chapter 2 - wheels keep turning, something's burning
The fun began when they reached the Impala.
Sam limped over to the driver's side, then put his hand out. Dean stopped, stood there swaying, blinking slowly.
"What the hell, Sam. I'm drivin'."
"Hell you are. I am. You're walking wounded, dude. You've got a fever."
"No I don't."
"Yeah, you do. Your skin's flushed. You been leaning on me for the last ten minutes."
Dean huffed. "I didn't….didn't lean on you. You kept bumping into me."
Sam's mouth set in a firm line. "Keys, Dean. I'm driving."
Dean snarled wordlessly as he flipped the keys up into the air. Sam put up a hand and caught them in mid-air.
As he rounded the car to get to the passenger seat Dean stumbled into the left front bumper of the Impala.
Sam pretended not to notice.
Dean was quiet on the way back to the motel. Too damn quiet. He sat slumped down in the seat sideways, stared blankly out at the world through those impossibly long eyelashes of his. Sam decided not to push it. The fact that Dean was quiet was proof enough that he wasn't feeling well.
Once Sam pulled up in front of their motel room Dean just sat there. He didn't move, even as Sam turned off the ignition. Dean didn't move until Sam gently touched him on the shoulder.
God, his skin was too warm. Sam could feel it through his clothes.
"Dean?" Sam nodded toward the motel room.
Dean blinked. "Oh. Okay." He fumbled with the car door, and finally got it open on the second try.
As Dean stumbled towards his bed (the one nearest the door, naturally) Sam decided it was time to stop playing around. "All right. Let's see it."
Dean stared at him goggle-eyed for a moment as he sat down heavily on the edge of the bed. "See what?"
'That scratch you were telling me about."
Dean sat there scowling. There was a disconnect there. The anger and menace didn't reach Dean's eyes.
"Dude," Sam said, "the infamous Dean Winchester pout does not work on me, remember?"
"I don't pout."
"Sure you don't, princess." Sam stood there. "Well? I'm waiting. "
Dean sat there staring at the floor.
"I can wait all night. I'm not the one that got nailed by that bastard, Captain Macho. So let's see those battle scars of yours."
"It's just a scratch, Sam." Dean lifted up that grey t shirt of his just high enough for Sam to see a long stripe of dried blood that slashed across his flat belly. "I can tend to it myself. Quit staring at me, you perv."
"Okay. You shower and then you can use this to clean the wound."
Dean frowned at the sight of the brown glass bottle Sam pulled from his duffle. His fingers shook slightly as he unscrewed the top, and that frown of his deepened when he took a sniff.
"Sam? What the hell, dude?" Dean wrinkled his nose up. "What is this crap?"
"Diluted lavender oil, holy water, and witch hazel."
"Bobby recommended it. Way I remember it, he made sure that we had some on hand, as he put it, in case my idjit brother decided to play hero."
Dean blinked once, and then again, slowly. "'m not an idjit."
"You're the only brother I've got, Dean. Any grey hairs in my head are because of you."
"You still got your head attached because of me," Dean grated out, and his tone was so unnecessarily harsh that it rattled Sam. But only a little.
"Daddy would be ashamed of you, Dean. Gone and got you and Sammy killed."
Damn. Sam saw the way Dean's green eyes kept going in and out of focus. He was replaying what the dygaa said to him down in the sewer.
Burn in hell, you sonofabitch, Sam thought.
"Now if you're done with the mother hen routine," Dean lurched to his feet, "'m gonna take a shower." He rummaged in his duffel for a clean pair of black boxer briefs, nearly face-planted into the bed when he leaned over, then stumbled into the bathroom and slammed the door behind him.
Stubborn bastard. Dean took his shower.
Sam let him. He stood outside the door. Waiting.
Sure enough, three minutes later Dean's body hit the bathroom floor with an awful thump.
Sam was not surprised.
Dean must've been unconscious before he even hit the floor. He hit limply, didn't tense up. Still breathing. That was always good. He'd cooled off a little, but it wasn't enough. There was not even a bump on that hard head. There were five fairly deep claw marks going diagonally across Dean's flat stomach. Five, not one.
Sam was not surprised at all.
The sight of Dean lying there, curled on his side, too still and too quiet underneath that lukewater spray of water, was even more unnerving. Despite the stubble Dean looked young, tired, and fragile.
Sam grabbed one of the motel towels from the rack, and wonder of wonders, the towels were big enough and thick enough for the job. Sam bundled Dean up and lifted him up from the floor.
Dean was dead weight, but he was clean dead weight, and for that Sam was grateful. He didn't know exactly why. He'd cleaned and dressed Dean's wounds before, but helping his brother shower was not exactly on Sam's list of Things I Have To Do Before I Die.
That was when Sam realized he'd been lucky.
When the dygaa first attacked them down in the sewer, Dean somehow sensed it first. Somehow managed to get between Sam and the damn thing, otherwise Sam would have been the one feverish and sick. Dean wouldn't have left him, no way, and they both probably would have died down there. Putting himself in harm's way like that was something Dean had done all his life, and he wasn't going to stop now.
And Sam couldn't get mad at him for doing it.
Dean seemed lighter, as though the fever had hollowed him out. Sam didn't know if it was adrenaline, fear, worry or both, but he took Dean's weight easily as he lifted him up in his arms. Sam placed Dean gently on his own bed and finished drying him off.
Don't wake up, dude. Please. Don't wake up. Sam prayed silently. Apparently the patron saint of hunters was listening, because Dean didn't even stir.
Bobby's concoction of lavender oil came next. The slashmarks were fairly deep, but they didn't require stitches. Sam used cotton balls to apply the stuff to Dean's skin. That patron saint of hunters came through for the third time tonight: Dean stayed fast asleep.
That damn dygaa had been playing with Dean; its claws wwere sharp enough. All it had to do was dig a little deeper, and Dean would have been slashed wide open. Bastard.
Next came the boxer briefs and one of Dean's t shirts, that thin white one. Dean got it from Wal-Mart. Dean hated Wal-Mart, for some reason.
"Take this, too," Bobby grunted in Sam's memory. Sam took the silver flask from the older man and stood there with one eyebrow quirked at the man. "If either one of you gets nailed by that thing – and I've got money on Dean, by the way – make sure he drinks this. All of it. It'll bring the fever down."
"What's in it?"
"Bobby sighed. "Don't ask, kid. Don't ask."
So Sam didn't.
"Come on, Deanna. You have to take this."
Dean's eyes blinked open. For a brief second he stared wildly at Sam, as though he didn't even recognize him. Then his eyes cleared, and he untensed. "Whazzat?"
"Don't ask. Come on. Drink."
Judging from the face Dean made as he drank it all, Sam really didn't want to know what was in Bobby's brew.
Dean went back to sleep, and so did Sam.
He slept in that chair he pulled up alongside Dean's bed. Sam dreamed about Jess and Stanford, the good times, dreamed of Jess smiling and whole. She was soft and warm and she purred softly whenever he kissed her.
Sam dreamt of Jess' laughing bright eyes, and he woke up staring into Dean's hazy fever dulled green ones. Dean lay curled up on his side, and he stared at Sam with a slightly wide-eyed expression, as though he didn't really believe Sam was there in the room with him.
Sam smiled. "Hey. How you doing, princess?" He leaned forward, pressed his fingertips against Dean's forehead. "Fever's gone down." Dean didn't even snarl for Sam to keep his friggin' hands to himself. That would come later.
Dean blinked sleepily.
"Don't wanna get you killed, Sammy," Dean muttered.
"Don't wanna," Dean mumbled softly.
In Sam's memory the dygaa clucked its tongue. "What would Papa John say if he saw you now?"
"And the hospital afterwards?" the darkness whispered. "That was fun. You had time to think about how you wasted your life, time to think about all the stuff you'd never have the chance to do. Damn shame."
Dean was having trouble keeping his eyes open. "I think…Dad would be ashamed of me…"
Oh no you don't, Sam thought. You don't own this one, buddy. It's mine. All mine.
"Don't listen to that bastard, okay, Dean? It was just some fugly trying to mess with your head. Our heads. Doesn't matter anyway. Didn't work. None of it did. It's dead, and we're alive. You did good tonight, Dean. You did real good."
"I did?" Dean wondered aloud.
"Yeah. You did."
Dean closed his eyes all the way. He was pale now, no longer flushed with heat. With any luck he wouldn't even remember this conversation in the morning.
"I love you, Dean. Dude, you know that, don't you?"
Dean didn't answer. Finally he huffed, rather indignantly, his eyes still closed. "Love ya too," Dean drawled sleepily. "God, you're such a girl, Samantha."