AN: Ok, it looks like we've come to the end of another story and like I said before, you all can thank Sammygirl1963 for this since it was her challenge that spurred me to do it. Now remember the criteria given to me, and I do believe I've accomplished every single one. Now, on a totally different note... 1) I do not endorse starting a fire in a wooded area without taking the proper precautions, however I'm sure the character who does it can be forgiven... this once, right? 2) Tramatic Brain Injuries are nothing to fool around with, and some of the symptoms mentioned are from what I've witnessed from my son... I am not a doctor, nor would I claim to be a medical expert, just someone whose observant to certain things. However, I didn't want to dwell on it too much either, since that's not the point of the story. With all that said, I'd like to thank everyone's support during this story and I hope you've liked it as much as I have. Take care!!!
John ran as fast as his legs could carry him, but he could hear the creature playing with him as if he were a toy to be batted or herded around; and if he was completely honest, he'd admit that it gave him a demented sort of thrill. Although he knew the wendigo was planning on attacking any moment, he was determined to have the trap set and the creature dead before it could turn the tables on him.
The blow was sudden and it took him a moment to fully understand that he wasn't on his feet anymore. He managed to stay conscious, but it was only barely as everything seemed to dip and waver around him. Seeing movement to the side, he was able to narrowly avoid the long claws that came bearing down upon him. Seeing his opportunity, he staggered between the trees while attempting to find his location once again.
'Damn it.' He cursed silently, trying hard not to become chow for the monster that was currently chasing him, but at the moment he was really wondering how he was going to lead the bastard without getting caught in his own trap.
Finally the area took a familiar turn, and he would have breathed a sigh of relief if it wasn't for the fact that the damn creature wasn't acting according to plan. Groaning, he doubled back far enough to give the appearance that he was still looking for Sammy, but in all actuality he was trying to line up the best way to get it to follow him straight through, otherwise it would know what he was doing and he couldn't have that.
Bursting through the entrance, he immediately dodged to the side as he watched the wendigo leap from above him swiping its claws on its decent towards his head.
Dean watched Sammy carefully, knowing that what he was asking was difficult, not because he didn't think that his brother could do it, but that it was going to take too much of a toll on him.
It took only another moment before Sammy wiped away the tears that had formed and reached confidently for his big brother's knife. He knew that he had to hurry, he had to get Dean down before the creature came back – his only hesitation was the knowledge that he was going to be the reason for the pain Dean was about to suffer.
"It's ok Sammy, you take your time little brother, ok?" Dean said quietly. He knew they needed to hurry, but there was no way he was going to lay more on his baby brother's shoulders – the kid had been through too much as it was. "Sammy?"
"It's ok Dean… I… I can do it. Just… uh… give me a sec, ok?" Sammy begged quietly. If he was going to do this, then Dean needed to be quiet… or at least not talk to him. It was one thing to use his brother as a rope; it was another for the rope to make conversation. "Ok, I'm ready… but Dean, please… please try not to talk. And… and I'm really sorry for this."
Puzzled, Dean was trying to figure out what Sammy was apologizing for when suddenly he had his little brother's full weight on him and it took everything he had not to cry out. He understood instantly why Sammy didn't want him talking him through it; he knew it would have made the task more difficult. Right now though all he could think about was how as soon as they were free he was going to make sure his little brother knew exactly how proud of him he was.
The task took longer than initially planned, as Sammy had to keep his legs firmly wrapped around Dean's ribcage while at the same time trying to keep his balance and the majority of his weight off his brother as he used one hand to hold onto the rope above their heads while using his other to do the actual cutting. It wasn't easy as every groan made Sammy pause and take another steadying breath before resuming the arduous task of freeing his brother without slitting his wrists.
Taking a deep breath, Dean knew they were close because of the small shift in his bindings, but his concern was elsewhere and his Samdar was starting to go haywire. All through this Sammy didn't make a sound, would instead periodically pause before taking another breath and started again. He had been watching Sammy carefully and knew that his little brother was spent but refused to give up. His chest would have puffed out with pride if he wasn't suddenly hitting the ground.
"Damn it!" Dean groaned as he tried hard to breathe past the pain, he had other worries to deal with. When he was able to draw in a lungful of air again he was able to focus once again and his gaze instantly went to Sammy's face and groaned again, this time in deep concern. "Aw Sammy…"
Rolling out of the path of the descending claws, John was sure he had completely cleared them when he heard the distinct sound of rending material. Ignoring the possibility that he might have actually gotten cut, he dove back through the opening and quickly placed the rock into place that completed the protective circle – only this time… it was going to keep the damn bastard in.
The roaring from the creature echoed through the forest, but John stood firm and smirked at the irate creature. Knowing that it was trapped, but not wanting to take chances, he unfastened his pack and immediately pulled the flare gun out. He knew he probably wouldn't be able to hit it if he shot at it; he smiled as he pulled out the other tool in his pack – a large container of lighter fluid. Dousing the inside of the circle was done quickly and efficiently, with only a small attempt at hitting the creature before he fired the flare gun into the middle and watched it set off the blaze that he knew would kill the very thing that took his boys.
He turned and quickly found the way they'd come and he looked carefully for signs of which direction the wendigo had actually come from. Taking his time, he worried about his boys, but he knew if he hurried, he could overlook something. Forcing himself to slow down, he focused all his energy on tracking his now deceased prey in hopes of finding Dean and Sammy. All the while praying he wasn't too late.
Dean moved closer to Sammy and nudged his little brother's shoulder. "Come on Sammy… come back to me little brother." The vacant stare was more than a little unsettling, but it was the length of time that had him the most concerned – it seemed to be taking longer for his brother to come back and it was more than freaking him out.
After pulling his knife out of Sammy's hands, Dean worked to freeing his wrists before turning his brother onto his back to check him for injuries. Although he didn't see anything new, he couldn't get rid of the feeling that they were missing something. Placing his hand over his little brother's heart he waited for recognition, confident that Sammy would come back to him again – there was no other option.
It wasn't long before Sammy began to blink, gaining focus once again on his worried brother's face.
"Sorry Dean." He said quietly as he began to move his fingers to begin his own inventory to make sure everything was in working order. Seeing the question in Dean's face he smiled wanly. "You know… for spacing out again. I don't mean to."
"Dude… don't worry about it. You're tired, it's to be expected. Tell you what though, as soon as we're out of here, we're hitting the nearest hospital to make sure nothing else is going on." Dean said firmly and was surprised when Sammy didn't argue, giving him more reason to be concerned.
Nodding, both brothers helped each other up and began their trek through the caves. Dean had to follow his little brother's lead since he had found his way around earlier, but that didn't mean he was going to let the kid be the first one in danger. Any new area and Dean was immediately scouting it first before motioning Sammy to follow and show which direction to go next.
After several pauses to rest, they both saw light illuminating the next chamber and hurried towards it, careful not to make a sound in case the creature was still lurking around. Finally they made it to the opening with Dean and Sammy holding onto each other as they walked further away from the cave and into the fresh air.
"DEAN! SAMMY!" John shouted as he saw his boys stumbling from the rock face he'd just found. He couldn't believe what he was seeing, but was more than thankful for it. "Boys!" he cried out as he finally reached his sons and enveloped them boy into a strong hug.
"Oh my God, Dad…you have no idea how happy I am to see you!" Dean said wearily as he hugged both his Dad and his brother. Now he knew he could rest, everything would be alright now. "Dad, we need to get Sammy to…"
John pulled back only a bit to look into the faces of both his boys and shook his head. "We're getting both of you checked out… no arguments, got it?" he asked as he smiled at Dean. When he turned slightly to get a better look at Sammy, he ruffled his youngest son's hair before asking. "You tired kiddo?" Seeing the barely nod, he softened the hug and nodded. "Ok, son… just a little bit longer and…"
John sat watching both his sons sleep while the night nurse made her rounds. He didn't think he'd ever get the sight of his baby boy passing out in his arms out of his head, and too be honest, he didn't think he wanted to. If he allowed himself to forget, then he'd forget how close they actually came to losing him – and that was unacceptable. Leaning back in his chair he looked up at the ceiling and once again thanked his precious wife Mary as well as whatever deity that had been watching over them, for getting them the help they needed as quickly as they had. The fire he had started had alerted those in town and had sent a rescue team into the area to make sure no one was caught close to the blaze. It hadn't taken long for them to be found and a rescue chopper to be dispatched to get all three Winchesters the help they needed. Now he was waiting for his oldest to wake up from his drug induced nap, and his youngest from… well, he was just waiting for him to wake up.
"I'm sorry Mr. Winchester, but I'm having trouble understanding how the previous physician missed it."
Those words even now sent cold chills throughout his body and once again he was thankful that someone or something was watching over his boys, especially his Sammy. Dean had cooperated for the first two days to deal with his injuries until the doctor admitted that the cranial bleed that his little brother was experiencing was making a firm prognosis difficult – they wanted to believe he would be fine, but it could just as easily be that he wouldn't wake up at all. That was when Dean began to show just how stubborn he really was by refusing to eat or sleep until they told him something definite about Sammy. It took John's permission, but finally a sedative was administered leaving John to sigil vigil by himself.
It was a couple of hours later when movement caught his eye, sending him rushing to the bedside and pushing the red button to call the nearest nurse. "Sammy?" he asked quietly as he grasped his son's hand and squeezed gently. "It's ok son… you're in the hospital, but you're going to be ok."
Confused, Sammy looked at his Dad before whispering, "Dean?"
"Dean's fine Sammy, the question is how are you?" John asked as he heard the doctor and nurse rush in.
"Tired and my head hurts Dad, but I'll be alright." Sammy croaked, gratefully accepting the ice chips his dad was feeding him. He saw a doctor and nurse but he didn't care, he just wanted to see his brother.
"Right here little brother, go back to sleep, ok?" Dean called out from the other bed, smiling groggily at Sammy, happy to see him awake. The doctor hadn't been confident Sammy would wake up, and if so would possibly have 'issues'. With the first issue taken care of, he was confident they could deal with any of the other and seeing the look on his father's face he knew the sentiment was shared.
"Yeah Sammy, you go back to sleep. We'll talk later son." John said while carding his fingers through his boy's hair, lulling him back to sleep. No matter what the outcome, he was confident they could deal with it together, and he wouldn't have it any other way.