The Nightmare Before Midnight

Dean got the envelope from the front desk, but didn't pay any attention to it. He'd completely forgotten about it actually. He was focused on his little brother.

Sam as released from the hospital earlier that day. He wasn't supposed to walk for at least another twenty four hours. The son of a bitch that took him hadn't cut through to the tendons, thank god, but he had gotten really close. He was on mild pain killers that he took twice a day. And they knocked him out for four hours straight after every dose.

Dean sat down in on the bed opposite his brother's, eighteenth cup of coffee in hand. He swallowed a mouthful, watching his sleeping baby brother.

He called Bobby an hour ago and told him what was happening. He said he was on his way.

Dean was sure the people that took Sam were the same ones that had taken him two months ago. Or at least it was connected.

Sam jerked in his sleep, his face screwing up in discomfort. He whimpered. Dean went to him instantly, cupping his cheek in his palm.

"Shh…It's okay, Sammy. Shh…" He knew how bad nightmares could be. He knew what they could do to a person. "Shh…It's alright."

"Dean…" Sam moaned.

"I'm here, Sammy, I'm here. Sh…" Sam calmed, his features smoothing, his breath relaxing. Dean sighed, looking down at him.

"Dean." A voice said behind him. He spun around, his body tense and ready to strike out and anything.

"Cas?" He said. The angel looked at Sam, his forehead creasing.

"What happened?" He asked. Dean swallowed, turning his head away from Sam.

"Someone took him and did this to him." He said.

"Do you know who took him?" Castiel asked. Dean shook his head, standing and grabbing his coffee cup to go refill it.

He froze halfway there and whipped around, his face a mixture of raw begging and desperation.

"Cas, can…can you heal him? Like you healed me?" He asked softly.

Castiel felt his heart ache at Dean's plea.

"Dean…I can't." He said regrettably. Dean wilted, his face becoming even more vulnerable.

"Why?" He whispered.

"Because…Because of Sam's blood." Castiel admitted. Dean shut his eyes, sadness and frustration deep in his face.

"Why should he have to suffer and I didn't?" He asked. Castiel bowed his head. His initial response would have been: "The lord works in mysterious ways." But Dean would most likely hit him in the state he was in. He filled his coffee cup and drained it in one gulp before he sat down on the bed again.

Castiel said nothing. He kept his eyes on the overly stained floor. Dean was exhausted. The circles under his eyes were a very dark brown. His eye lids were a light shade of purple, his face pale and gaunt. For the second time in two months, Castiel could see how old Dean truly was.

"Dean, Sam will be alright." He assured.

"He's not even supposed to be hurt right now, Cas. I am. It was my food run…and I asked him to go instead. I told him I would get the next two," He laughed ruefully, hating himself. "And then this happens," Dean looked up at the angel, his face naked. "How am I supposed to look at him now?"

Castiel bowed his head, unable to look his charge in the eye.

"I don't know, Dean. I know what you're feeling right now, but I do not understand it. I wish I did. Then I might be of some use…though I have no idea what." He ended quietly.

"Dean…" Sam whimpered. Dean winced, tears in his eyes.

"Shh…I'm here, Sammy. I'm here. Shhh…" Sam quieted and leaned into Dean's soothing hand.

"Do you have any idea who might have done this?" Castiel asked.

"It might have been the same people that took me," He said. "But I have no way to prove that."

"You found nothing when you found Sam?"

"No. I didn't even get a look at the guy who did it," Dean's eyes suddenly widened in realization. "The envelope." He whispered.

"What envelope?" Dean ran over to the chair in the corner and snatched up his leather jacket, reaching in the inside pocket and ripping through the flimsy paper.

"That son of a bitch," Dean hissed through his teeth, his eyes scanning the paper. "That fuckin' son of a bitch!"

"What's wrong?" Dean shoved the paper at Castiel, dropping onto the bed opposite Sam, his face in his hands.

Thanks for giving me your brother, boy. He sure was fun to play with. It's a funny world we live in. I got to torture all three of you Winchesters. And one didn't even have to go to Hell for it. You better tell that angel that if he and his friends don't back down and let the inevitable happen, it's gonna get ugly. Uglier than it already has been.

Hope Sammy's doing well.

Best regards,

Alastair

Castiel dropped the letter as if it had burned him. He didn't understand. Alastair's words could have been taken as kind. But…coming from a man so evil, it didn't make any sense. But he understood why Dean was so angry. The letter was a mockery.

"What are you going to do?" He asked. Dean shook his head.

"I have no idea." He mumbled.

"Or we should surrender, like Alastair wants." Dean glared up at him.

"Don't you go talking like that, not now," He stood. "Not when I need something to hang onto. I need a reason to fight. You're the one that always told me we have to. I need you to stick with that…Please."

That raw begging was there again. Castiel felt his heart give a painful jolt.

"Okay. Then we'll keep fighting," He said. "For now, you should rest. You look terrible." He said bluntly. Dean nodded. A blink later and Castiel was gone. Another ten minutes, and Dean was asleep.


Dean sat bolt upright, sensing something was wrong. He looked wildly around the room. His eyes came to rest on his brother's bed. His brother's empty bed. He stood instantly, his heart pounding in fear.

"Sammy?" His voice came out as a rasp. He looked toward the bathroom. The door was shut, the light was on underneath, and a great deal amount of steam was billowing from under it. Dean's brow creased and he bolted toward it, noting that the clock to his left said 2:45 am.

The knob twisted in his hand and he shoved the door open.

He got a lungful of steam and a face full of fog when he did, and it took a moment before he could see anything.

"Sammy?" He coughed. He heard whimpering. He walked toward the shower, trying to see the figure through all the steam. But the smoke was clearing fast. Sam was huddled under the stream of boiling water, his skin bright red and raw. He was still scrubbing at it vigorously with his hands. "Sammy!" Dean knelt down, trying to hold his brother's wrists. "Sammy, stop! Stop, stop it," He held Sam's arms tight, folding them to his chest. "Hey," Sam looked at him, only half awake, half lucid and completely terrified. "It's okay, it's okay. What the hell are you doin'?" Sam started to shiver.

"I can't get him off, D-Dean," He stuttered. "I c-can't get him off." Dean shut the water off. Sam started to shake harder at the sudden coolness around him. Dean hugged him, knowing he was getting soaked.

"Shhh…It's gonna be okay, Sammy. You'll get him off. One day you will. You'll get him off." Sam sobbed against his brother, that same helpless, vulnerable, naked feeling washing over him again.

"C'mon, Sammy," Dean said quietly. "You need to rest, c'mon."

Dean got him dry and got him dressed.

"Alright, lie down, Sammy." He said gently, easing him down onto the bed. Sam wrapped his arms around Dean's shoulders, gripping them tightly, when Dean started to back away.

"D-don't go." He begged softly. Dean winced, swallowing hard. He hugged his baby brother and once again did so all night.

That was the last incident Sam had. He was normal in a few days, and able to walk in another week. Dean was happy. But he couldn't help but think about what Alastair could possibly do next. If he only knew.

END

--K, that's all the hurt!Sam from me. But there's probably one more to the boredom chronicles...In the meantime, feedback!--