Title: Under Pressure
Author: Mad Server
Characters: Dean, Sam
Word Count: 1500
Summary: The boys clean up after a hunt. Dean isn't feeling so hot.
A/N: I had help from three amazing people for this one: i-speak-tongue and pdragon76, whose smart, thorough, and generous betas made this fic leaner and meaner; and SciFiRN, who broke down the medical mumbo-jumbo for me in fantastic detail.
Disclaimer: I don't own these guys.
"You look like shit."
"Thanks." Dean spits onto the weedy lawn, straightens up.
"Let's bag 'em fast. This place gives me the creeps."
"What?" Dean dabs blood off his split lip with the back of his wrist, glances from window to window. There's not a single light on in any of the run-down houses that line this street. "Nobody saw. Let's just scram."
"Uh, do you want to see the apocalypse from inside a jail cell?"
Dean watches him fidget his grip on his machete. "You're such a pessimist, Sam." Light's glistening off the wet pavement, big city pollution bouncing off the clouds and tinting everything a dirty orange. It smells like wet sand, wet pavement, car exhaust, and piss.
"Cause me? I'd rather, I don't know, stop it from happening."
There's a big blind spot over Dean's right eye. He shakes his head but it doesn't budge. "Have it your way, you big downer."
The Impala's half a block back, hastily parked with her nose part-way up somebody's driveway. He starts toward her, and trips on one of the vampires' heads as it disappears into his visual black hole.
"You OK?" Sam asks.
They bag the bodies, stuff them in the back, and roll.
It smells like fish down at the pier. Fish and grease. Dean watches Sam tie pilfered cinder blocks to the bodies with the bugaboo-proof rope Dean spent two hours chanting over.
"I'll bless us a new one," Sam offers distractedly when he brings it up.
"I see any bugaboos between now and then," Dean warns, pointing through the empty place in his visual field, "I'm sending 'em your way."
The blank area isn't alone anymore. It's got some flashing lights for company. It's hard to see. And the weird thing is, Dean doesn't remember hitting his head.
He opens his mouth to ask Sam what it could be, but at that moment Sam finishes tying off the last cinder block, and requisitions his help. One by one, they drag the bodies to the water's edge, drop them in, and watch them disappear under the thick, creamy foam.
Dean's not feeling so confident in gravity all of a sudden. He takes a careful step back.
"You hit your head?" Sam asks him.
"Naw," says Dean, trying to find his face through the flashing lights and the blind spot.
"We need a doctor?"
"I'm good, Sam."
Sam's right. They need to cut town. And if there's something wrong with him, it's probably just the flu.
The car lurches sideways, brakes screeching. Dean fumbles his door open, leans out, and pukes.
"Shit," says Sam. "C'mere, I want to look at you."
Dean wants to tell him it's the flu but he's too busy not vomiting again. It's three in the morning, give or take. It smells like wet leaves in the country, wet grass, his own barf.
He feels Sam's fingers warm at his throat, pressing into his carotid. Opening his eyes gives him the spins so he just keeps them shut, wishes the flashing lights would get the hint and leave. Sam murmurs, "Be right back," makes a godawful racket slamming the trunk shut, and then sinks back onto the seat beside Dean. Dean hears the first aid kit snapping open, and then Sam shines a flashlight in his eyes, which hurts more than it probably should. Warm hands run over his scalp, his ribcage, his belly.
"Tickles," Dean manages.
Sam nudges him forward and he drops his head onto his hands on the dashboard, shivers as Sam lifts up his shirts and runs a hand down his back, taps Dean's kidneys.
"It wasn't much of a fight," Dean breathes as Sam lowers his shirts, helps him find the seat again. He risks cracking an eye open, sees a funny look on Sam's face, like someone's just dumped a steaming cup of coffee on his laptop.
"Your wrist," Sam says. "It's bleeding."
"Oh," Dean says, when he doesn't elaborate.
Sam's quiet for a long moment. Then he blows a noisy breath out through his nose, rubs the cut with antibiotic cream, and bandages it up.
They've agreed to stop at the next motel, only, there hasn't been one. The map had shown a couple of towns up ahead, but one of them turned out to be about six farms and a church, the other only slightly bigger. Town #2 rates a general store at least, although at four in the morning, it's closed. No motel, nobody to ask for directions, no wireless.
They park at a fork in the road, trying to decide what to do. Dean's not soldiering it up anymore - he feels like shit, and he doesn't know why, and he wants to not feel like shit anymore. It's mostly just his head; light, noise, everything seems to hurt. The blind spot is gone, and he kind of misses it. He feels flushed, sweaty, but Sam tells him he doesn't have a fever and therefore, he doesn't have the flu.
The next big cities are five hours down one stretch of highway, three hours down the other. It's an hour and a half back to the city where they might be wanted for murder, but where there are motels and a hospital.
"You decide," says Sam.
"Gimme Door #2," Dean croaks stuffily. "And some Tylenol."
The next time they stop so Dean can puke, he lets Sam bundle him into the backseat afterwards. Sam slides his hands under Dean's arms and hoists him to his feet. Eyes squeezed shut, Dean grips Sam's shoulders and lets him guide him around the open car door with tiny, shuffling steps. It reeks of swamp, and a bird is singing at eardrum-bursting volume. He presses his face into Sam's chest to block out as much as he can. Even through the shivers and the vertigo, he's aware that Sam's heart is slamming double-time.
They catch up with the storm.
It's a problem.
Rain on the roof, thunder and lightning. Dean thought the pain was bad before. Now it's so much worse, and not only that, he's exhausted. Bundling his jacket around his head doesn't seem to help, just makes him feel hot and sick. He can hear himself moaning. He doesn't care.
He forces himself up in the seat, reaches desperately for Sam. Grabs his shoulder and feels him jump a good four inches. Sam guns it for the side of the highway, slams on the brakes, and the force throws Dean against the door. His head hits the window. It's all he can take.
The last thing he sees is Sam's face, pale in the overcast morning. He looks terrified.
"I had a migraine, and you thought I was a turning into a vampire?"
Dean's burrowed down into thin white sheets and misshapen foam pillows. He's tired, washed out, still not ready for anything as drastic as food; but the headache, finally, has lifted.
"You didn't know what was wrong either."
"Yeah, but... a vampire?"
Sam shrugs sheepishly, scratches the back of his head. He's at the table, drinking coffee.
Dean sniffs, pulls the sheet in tighter. "Why didn't you tie me up, then? I could've killed you."
Sam raises his hands. "I had it all worked out, OK? I was gonna get a trailer, and you were gonna live in it, and I was gonna pull you around with the Impala. Like on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was gonna feed you blood from the butcher's and we were gonna live happily ever after."
"You didn't tie me up. You wanted me to kill you."
"I didn't believe you were really a vampire."
"You wanted me to kill you, so that you wouldn't have to kill me."
Sam's jaw drops. "I told you. The trailer."
"Now do you get why I need you to stop what you're doin' with Ruby?"
Sam flushes. A muscle in his jaw twitches. "Get some sleep," he says, and turns on his laptop.