TLC

Note: This was supposed to be a drabble for the word "ditch" but it kind of got away from me. Let me know what you think.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. I'm simply borrowing and playing in Kripke's sandbox.

Sam felt himself roll down the side of the ditch and land in the foul smelling water at the bottom.

"Great, just great!" If it wasn't bad enough that he had to walk home from the library; now he lay in a stinking pool of filth. God only knew what was in this water. Dean was going to have a field day teasing him about how his big feet would someday be his downfall. No pun intended.

Sam put his hands in the water to push himself up when all of a sudden he felt a sharp pain in the palm of his left hand. "Shit, that hurt!" Sam pulled his dirty hand out the sludge and saw a fresh slice on the fleshy part of his palm. "Crap!"

Using his other hand and legs, Sam finally managed to get standing and started up the incline back to the side of the road. He could see the motel from where he was and cursed his bad luck at having fallen when he was so close to the motel.

XXXXXXXXXXX

Sam pushed open the door to the room and found Dean just taking his jacket off. "I got us some....What the hell happened to you?"

"Nothin."

"Nothing?? You look like a drowned rat!"

"I uh....tripped and fell in the ditch on my way back from the library." Sam kept his eyes downcast in hopes of avoiding his brothers cackles and jibes.

" Jeez, Sam. I thought you got the hang of that walking thing when you were a year old! If I had known you couldn't handle the walk I would have waited for you before going to pick up diner."

Sam could hear the laughter in Dean's voice and to be truthful, it was kind of funny that he could take down a big bad monster but couldn't manage to walk home without ending up on his ass.

"Why don't you get cleaned up and we can eat. You smell like a toilet."

"Nice, thanks."

"Hey I just call um as I smell um!"

Yeah, I guess your right, I can hardly stand the smell of myself."

"Right back at ya, bro!"

Sam headed into the bathroom, slowly peeling of his layers of filthy clothes when he felt the burning sensation of his hand. He had all but forgotten about the slice to his palm. "Guess I'll have to put some antibiotic cream on that later."

The hot water felt great on his muscular shoulders at he stood in the shower. He hadn't realized until then how achy he felt and chalked it up to taking a header into the ditch.

"Hey Sam...hurry up will ya. I'm starving and I can't guarantee there'll be any food left if you take much longer."

Sam bent to turn off the shower and felt himself dizzy for a second. "Wow, I guess I'm hungrier than I thought." Forgetting about his sliced palm, Sam pulled on his clean clothes and join Dean at the little hotel room table for burgers and fries.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Once the meal finished, they started to discuss the case they were currently working. They had just arrived in town around noon today after reading about a case of bad luck for a construction company in one of the local newspapers. It would seem that the local land developer was having a streak of extremely bad luck. Two of his employees had been seriously injured while clearing a track of land for new construction, several pieces of his new heavy equipment had inexplicably broken down and his on site office had been vandalized. To the ordinary reader, nothing seemed out of question, but to the two experienced hunters the incident led them to believe the construction crew had inadvertently disturbed something.

Sam had been to the library first thing after a quick lunch in order to research the land and surrounding area while Dean had checked out the construction site. After having let himself into the on site office and seen the damage, Dean was pretty sure they were dealing with an angry spirit. All they needed now was for Sam to find who and they could get this done.

Sam for his part, had looked up everything he could think of regarding the couple of acres being developed for new row housing. He checked previous owners, historical significance, even land treaties between settlers and Native tribes in the area. Nothing. As a last ditch effort, he started looking a past copies of the local newspaper on microfiche. It was there he found what he was looking for. Ten years ago, a couple had purchased the land with the intent of building their dream home.

They had worked hard to clear a path to their chosen building site on the top of a hill overlooking the town but as luck would have it, their dreams were crushed, literally, one fateful afternoon.

The paper reported that tragedy had struck when a tree they were cutting down had crushed the husband. It had fallen as planed but bounced and rolled knocking him down and breaking his neck. A fluke accident the paper had said. But that was enough for Sam. If this land had meant so much to the guy when he was alive, it might just be him who didn't want to let it go even in death.

Sam looked up the guys obituary and found the necessary information. Richard Thomas Marks, loving husband, was buried on the very land they had intended to build on. His grieving widow having wanted him to rest for all eternity close to his dreams. "Nightmare is more like it" thought Sam.

XXXXXXXXXXX

After having shared his findings with Dean they both agreed that Mr. Marks seemed like the likely culprit. The brothers decided to get some much needed rest as tonight they would surely be up late with this latest salt and burn. Digging graves was hard and tiring work. They stretched out on their respective beds and each fell into a lite doze.

Dean awoke to the sound of a low moan coming from Sam's bed.

"Aw...not again. I wish he could get a descent rest without any nightmares." thought Dean. He dragged his hand down his face and sat up ready to wake his little brother. He wasn't expecting what he saw however. Sam was tossing and turning, sweat covering his face and two bright red patches on his cheeks. Sure sign of a fever. But how?

Dean quickly made his way to Sam's side and laid the back of his hand against Sam's forehead.

"Damn, he's burning up! What the hell did you do to yourself now little brother?"

Dean glanced down at his sleeping brother and was met but two bleary and unfocused hazel eyes.

"Hey Sammy, how ya feeling?"

"Hot...t'rd..what's going on?"

" You've got a bit of a fever. Were you feeling alright earlier?"

"U mm...yeah..hurts..."

Panic struck Dean in the chest. Sam was hurting. Why? He had looked fine while they researched earlier. Maybe a little pale but Sam hadn't been the picture of health for a while now. Since being back on the road with Dean, he had been plagued with nightmares of Jessica's death and obsessed with finding their Dad and the thing that had ruined their lives.

"What hurts, Sammy?'

"uh mm...hand.."

"Your hand? What happened to your hand?" Dean picked up Sam's right hand and turned it over in his own two hands not seeing so much as a blemish. When Dean picked up Sam's left hand however, his little brother let out a hiss of pain and tried to pull it away.

"Let me see Sam. I have to check your hand to be able to make it better."

"K."

Dean slowly turned Sam's hand over in his own, being a gentle as possible. There on the base of Sam's palm was a fresh looking cut. What was worrying was that it looked inflamed and was slightly hot to the touch. Infection.

"Sam? Hey, Sammy? What happened to your hand buddy? It looks infected."

Dean gently squeezed his brothers shoulder trying to wake him. He needed to know what had happened in order to help his little brother.

"I u mm....fell and...um...hot..too hot...."

" Sam, I know your hot but you have to tell me how you got this cut. Come on Sam."

Dean quickly walked over to the tiny bathroom and wet a facecloth with cold water. He marched back to his brother's side and started trying to cool him down.

"I uh.. cut myself when I fell. Put my hand down on something in the water. Don't know what. Forgot to put something on it. Sorry.."

"You forgot to put something on it! Sam, that ditch water is filthy! God only knows what cut your hand. You know better than that Sammy!"

"S s sorry.."

"No, no, I'm sorry. I'm just.. worried. I'll have you fixed up in no time. I want you to take a couple of Tylenol to try and reduce your fever."

"OK"

Dean went over to their first aid kit and dug out the bottle of Tylenol and a picked up a half empty bottle of water from the table. He walked back to Sam's bed and sat by his little brother's hip.

"Here you go, Sam." Dean said as he put the two tablets into his brother's mouth. He lifted Sam's head off the pillow enough to give him a couple of sips of water to make the pills go down and laid his head back onto the flat and worn out pillow of this latest crappy motel. "You just relax and get some sleep, kid."

Once Sam had drifted off to sleep again, Dean set about cleaning and disinfecting Sam's hand as best as he could. He also dug through the first aid kit looking for the bottle of antibiotics he remembered being there from one of their many visits to the ER. The next time Sam woke up he would try and get him to swallow a dose. With the Tylenol, the antibiotics and some big brother TLC, Sam would be just fine.

As Dean sat watching over Sammy, he had time to do a little thinking. He had forgotten what it was like to have Sam with him. The weight he happily carried on his shoulders for his baby brothers safety and well being. He had forgotten that any little mishap with Sam sent him into a blind panic. He had been alone so long since Dad had left that he was afraid his big brother instinct had kind of gone into hibernation. He even thought maybe they were not as well honed as they were before Stanford. But this had cleared that up pretty quickly. The mere thought of Sam hurt or in pain had pushed everything else to the side in his mind. No, big brother's instincts were still as sharp as the knife hiding under Dean's pillow at this very moment.

They would wait until Sam was feeling better and then take care of Thomas Marks. Construction had shut down until repairs could be made to the office and machines so no one was in immediate danger.

But before anything else got taken care of, Dean would take care of Sam.

The end.