It was one of those days where everything is like a movie. The kind where the sun is out and the sky is blue and those perfect clouds make the afternoon the perfect color while you drive down an empty highway and park alongside the road next to an open field of golden brown dirt and dried grass that looks oddly soft for being so thirsty.

Yeah, just like a movie.

Strolling along, it was actually pretty serene in Dean's mind, crossing the field while Sam rambled about some battle that took place there, about some soldier who built his home here, something Dean didn't really pay attention to. There was a low, barely there remnant of a brick laid wall across the middle of the field, the old kind of bricks that are brown and oversized, and it was as short as a foot in some places and as high as Dean's chest in others. An old rusted wheelbarrow was buried halfway in the dirt, little curly weeds fluttering over it, and there were supposedly land mines on the south side -- Dean paid attention when Sam told him that. He figured it wouldn't be a problem; they wouldn't be heading to that end anyway.

Somewhere along the old brick wall, Dean noticed something stuck in the wall, an odd round shape, a small flat piece coming off of it, sticking out. He didn't look too close, just made sure not to snag his jacket on it as he walked past.

Apparently, Sam wasn't so lucky.

Dean was a good ten feet in front of his brother, but as soon as he heard fhe muttered, "Damn," and glanced back, it was obvious Sam's hoodie had snagged on the little jutting piece of whatever.

Sam gripped the thing and pulled, freeing his jacket.

And for the slimmest, split second, Sam stood there almost comically, looking down at his hand at the key to the shrapnel grenade in the wall that Dean was now staring at, and even as Sam's fingers seemed to react instinctively and toss the thing away toward the wall, pulling his hand back with a panicked swiftness; just for that second, it wasn't like a movie. There was no soundtrack, or heightened volume of the timer to combustion ticking away. No zooming in to a tight shot around the gray, dull metal before-

The explosion wasn't even that loud. There wasn't a shock wave. If anything, it was like the thing had just slit apart and flown in different directions, a whistling and whizzing and sick kind of slip through the air, the strangest sound. Dean dropped, hit the dirt in the most literal way with teeth clenched and face tucked, hands hid beneath him. The flying pieces of metal were done before he'd taken his next breath; they'd landed and settled in the dusty ground or impaled themselves in the lower crumbling bricks of the old wall.

And already Dean was up, scrambling when the dust made his right boot slide, swiftly taking his feet and lurching toward Sam, who was flat on his back just six feet away, eyes open and blinking up at the clouds, his hands and forearms in the act of raising and faltering a few inches from the ground, like he wasn't sure whether to do something with them or not.

But it was stupid that Dean even wasted the second it took to notice that, because Sam's blood was everywhere. The shard, that solitary curved piece of metal was glaring at him from where it was sticking out from somewhere in between Sam's right ribs, embedded deep, the dark staining around it already spreading out to Sam's stomach. Even more stupid was the fact that Dean didn't immediately drop to his knees beside his brother. More stupid was the fact that Dean came to a grating, boot-sliding halt just as his eyes met Sam's face; Sam who wasn't looking at him but up at the sky, his eyes reflecting the calm blue in the country quiet, the left side of his face split open from his ear to the crease of his mouth, fleshy cheek and the inside of his mouth exposed, blood in a river, turning the ground a disgusting burgundy.


It was horrible how Sam's voice was wrong. It was horrible how he sounded lopsided, like part of his face was numb, like part of it was missing.

It wasn't numb or missing. It was just sliced in half.

And Dean came to his senses just in time to avoid vomiting over the burgundy coating the ground.

"SAM!" He knelt, hand on his brother's chest. Sam's wasn't even shaking, obviously in shock, he didn't even look concerned, he just blinked at the sky, not meeting Dean's eyes, "Sam! Sammy, hey," he stopped Sam's hand before he could lift it to his face,"it-it's okay, it's alright-"

"Dean....oh god."

Dean felt sick, so sick, he couldn't fathom this reality. His blood was a literal mallet against the walls of his veins, he couldn't stop shaking, his chest was tight and he couldn't tear his eyes from the straight slice that had extended Sam's mouth to his ear.

It was a miracle Dean could manage to speak at all.

"Sam, Sam? Hey, look at me buddy, look at me, hey. Sam?"

"Oh my, help me."

And there it was. The panic, the pain, the realization. Dean could see it flaring, see the rabid, wild look spread from Sam's pupils and out as he started to move, to buck against Dean's restraining arm, to arch against the pain, to shake.

"I'm here Sam, I-I've gotcha, I'ma fix it, just-"


Dean dug in his jacket pocket, pulling a bandana out, bundling it and steeling himself before pressing it lightly to the uncut part of Sam's face, catching blood and trying to find a way to stop it, trying to find a way to press to stop the bleeding until he could get him to a hospital. Dean's eyes were burning, he couldn't fix this -- he didn't know how to fix this.

"I know, I know Sammy, I'll take care of it, it'll be ok, I promise-"

"Help, help-"

"Don't talk, Sam, d-don't talk-"


Sam's eyes were rolling, he was spluttering blood, his lips not working right when he tried to press them together, his mouth gaping grossly wide when he opened just the slightest. He was still squirming, shaking, trying to pull back, but one flailing hand had gripped the lower right side of Dean's shirt and wasn't letting go, the fabric twisting in his grip.

And Sam started to yell.

There weren't really adequate words to describe it right. Throughout their lives, Dean had heard Sam crying often enough, and he had heard him screaming before. He could pinpoint either sound from ridiculous distance, it was part of his job description.

But this....this was the most horrible sound he had ever heard Sam make. It wasn't as simple as sobbing, even though tears dripped and joined the flow of blood down Sam's body as Dean hauled him up and all but dragged him toward the car. It wasn't exactly a scream, less shrill and more undefined.

But Sam yelled. Again and again. In a pattern, like he was moaning, but shouting unintelligible words, just making sounds at the top of his voice, a guttural, agonized yelling, like he wasn't even aware, but he was involuntarily crying out again and again.

It was the most exquisitely painful sound Dean had ever heard. It was killing him to hear it.

And the way that things moved so much like oil through water, slick and blurred and almost like a flash through time, a speed up, a cut; it was horribly like a movie again.

He muttered and pleaded and talked to Sam the whole way to the hospital, sure every second that Sam would fade any moment from blood loss, that the shard in his chest would nick something, pop something, bleed something.

But it was like Sam didn't even know he was there, like Sam didn't even know the shrapnel was there.

Like the sliced flesh across is face was all there was, and nothing more.