Title: Desperate Measures
Characters: Sam and Dean
Beta: Faye Dartmouth – Thank you for the help. Your knowledge and encouragement was greatly appreciated. Reminder to my readers - I did tweak it some more after Faye's wonderful beta job, so all errors are my own.
Rating: PG-13 (Gen/Angst)
Word Count: 8,948
Disclaimer: Sadly, no ownership here.
Summary: Set during Season Two. Dean is oblivious to his little brother's depression after their Dad's death, too angry and wrapped up in his own grief to care. A One Shot.
Tag: 'No Exit'
A/N: Written for Rozzy over at The Summer of Sam Love Fan Fiction Exchange 2009. Thank you Roz for the story prompt - I am very excited to be writing this one. Hope it meets with your approval. –Denise-
It isn't so much the words; it's the way Dean says them that always cuts Sammy to the core.
"What the hell, Sam, we hardly even know Ellen, and you - - you go off and tell her all about your weirdo psychic mojo crap and the yellow eyed demon. For God's sake, what were you thinking?"
Deans' fingertips grip the steering wheel tighter as his steel blue-green eyes dart across the passenger seat to Sam.
"There's no telling who'll find out now. Jeez, Sam, she runs a bar for hunters… hunters, Sammy…men that kill the supernatural freaks of nature."
Back on the road, and on their own, the reality of their Dad's death and the conversations with Ellen and Jo Harvell seem to set between the Winchester brother's like giant boulders, suffocating them both.
Dean sighs and tugs one hand through his cropped hair. The events at the roadhouse and Ellen's revelations that John had a part in killing Bill Harvell were weighing heavy on his mind. Why should I feel guilty for something I had no control over? I got enough to do to just watch out for Sam. His Dad's words echo inside his head. If you can't save him, you might have to kill him. The heavy hearted Winchester sighed again. While Dad could've been responsible for Bill Harvells death, we don't know that, and Jo's angry reaction, it too was for something totally out of our control. Hell, we were just kids when Bill Harvell died. His thumb taps on the steering wheel. Stop thinking, damn it, just focus on the road.
Sam looks across the bench seat at his older brother. He heaves in a shaky breath of air. The drive from the roadhouse to their next destination seems exceptionally long. The silence in the Impala is stifling and thick, more from the unspoken words then from the heat.
So, Dean's ready to talk, now? I've been desperate for Dean's attention for the last two months, needing someone to talk to since Dad's death, but no such luck -- Dean wouldn't hear of it, 'no, chick flick moments' he'd said. Now, I'm just too tired to talk.
"I'm sorry, Dean." The younger brother finally whispers sullenly.
Dean just stares, mouth falling slightly agape. "That's it, that's all you've got to say? Two months of whining, wanting to have sharing and caring moments, and that's all you freaking got?"
A knot forms uncomfortably in the younger brother's throat and he swallows it thickly. He tilts his head slowly and eyes Dean through hooded lids, his face covered by his too long shaggy bangs. He'd known this was coming, had actually been expecting it for weeks. Dean was having another meltdown. His older brothers anger and resentment with everything was always there, bubbling just beneath the surface - - every single day. It was exhausting. Sam doesn't want to think about what Dean might do this time. The memory of his older brother freaking out and slamming a crowbar multiple times against his beloved Impala, well, that was an image Sam never wanted to see again.
The younger Winchester understands his older brother's angry about everything, and he knows that everyone deals with grief differently, but Dean, well, he just shuts down, checks out, hides somewhere deep inside himself and hunts, relentlessly. Dean's a scary hunter on a normal day, but when he's like this, it's all Sam can do just to keep up. His older brother's pursuit to eliminate evil is wearing down them both, but Dean's too hard headed to see it, too bogged down in his own grief to even care.
Sam heaves a sigh. He's just exhausted. He can't sleep or eat anymore; he's got a headache twenty-four-seven. He knows he's spiralling out of control, but, he's learned to keep it under wraps, emotions are not something his brother likes for him to share. He can't whine to Dean - his brother has enough to deal with all the time, with hunting demons and ghosts, and taking care of his pitiful ass. Every time he shuts his eyes, he remembers his dead girlfriend, his father. It's more than his mind can seem to handle. Why, Sam? The memories are just so clear that it's like everything happened yesterday. He can still see his Jessica, pinned to the ceiling, flames licking fiercely at her skin. He blinks back the moisture that's suddenly building in his eyes. It's my fault she's dead.
Sam rubs at his temple, eyes staring out the window. He knows he should be over Jess by now. Hell, it's been over a year since her death, but then, his Dad died, and it all came rushing back. The agony – regret – unrelenting guilt. Guilt for Jessica, guilt for Dad. Sammy - just shoot me! John Winchesters voice begs and pleads inside his head. He can still see Dean looking at him like he was crazy that day in Bobby's junkyard. I'm sorry that the last time I was with Dad I tried to pick a fight. I'm sorry that I spent most of my life angry at him. I mean for all I know, he died thinking that I hate him. So you're right -what I'm doing right now, it's too little. It's too late. I miss him, man. And I feel guilty as hell. And I'm not all right. He own words reverberate over and over in his head, all day, everyday.
"Sam, Earth to Sam?" Dean yells heatedly. His hand bangs excessively hard against the steering wheel in an attempt to pull his brother from his thoughts.
Sam's blank eyes look across the bench seat at Dean.
"So, you got nothing to say?"
"It…it just slipped out Dean, I didn't mean to tell her," the youngest Winchester stammers out forlornly, "I already said I was sorry, okay?"
"Yeah, man, whatever…" Dean grunts, rolls his eyes, and glares angrily out the front windshield. His fingers yank suddenly at the volume button, sending ACDC thundering through the car at an ear splitting decimal.
Sam frowns, and struggles to think of something else to say. "Dean…I…."
Dean cuts him off with a hard wave of his hand. Conversation over.
"Just shut up, Sam, just shut the hell up," His words are barely audible beneath the strained guitar riffs and the blare of drums. Save Sam, nothing else matters. John's voice rebounds inside the older brother's head. He frowns. What does that mean Dad? All the questions just piss the older brother off more. What kind of father tells you to shoot your own brother?
Sam sets stunned into silence, eyes growing moist against his lids. He gazes sadly over at his older brother. He sinks back against the worn leather of the front seat, once again absconded into silence. I didn't mean to tell her, it was just a mistake; it slipped out. He wouldn't soon forget the glare that Dean had given him that day - the wide eyed - 'what the hell' look he had received, right before he got the 'you are such an idiot' face. He blinks back the wayward tears again and chews on his bottom lip. My brother thinks I'm a freak of nature. He gazes off into the distance, focusing on the trees, the houses, the ground, anything that is whizzing past the passenger window, anything but Dean.
Dean crumples up and drops his soiled paper napkin back against the empty plate, one large hamburger with extra onions devoured. He yanks up the glass of coke and swigs down the balance with a huge gulp. He belches loudly, hoping to get some kind of reaction from his little brother. I live to torture the kid. He smirks as he glances across the booth at Sam.
Nothing, no reaction. Dean frowns, then, looks curiously at Sam. The kid's avoiding him, his hazel eyes are purposely shielded by his messy, dishevelled hair. He looks downward to his baby brother's barely touched plate of food.
"Hey, are you going to eat that or what?"
A hint of concern glimmers in Dean's green eyes, but then its' gone. He sets his now empty glass back down on the sticky tabletop.
Sam stares at the unpleasant heap setting on his plate. Somehow the chicken sandwich doesn't look very appealing anymore, fat soaking through the bun giving it a soggy wet appearance. The French fries are swimming in a mass of slimy grease. He swallows convulsively.
"No," he whispers and shakes his sagging head.
Dean snorts, anger quivering back into his tone, "Well, it freakin' figures you'd waste our last ten dollars on something you're not even gonna eat."
Sam just shrugs up one shoulder. I feel sick. He slides out from the booth, "I'm going to the restroom," he advises flatly.
Sam shuffles sadly from the table. Why's Dean always so mad at me?
Dean whips out his cell phone, "I'm calling Bobby, tell'm we're comin' and find out about this hunt."
The youngest Winchester glances back over his shoulder when he reaches the bathroom; Dean's engrossed in a conversation with Bobby Singer, already oblivious to Sam. He worries silently with his lower lip, chewing on it until he tastes a slight metallic liquid coat against his tongue. He blinks back the tears that well into his eyes. He pushes hard against the bathroom door as he swipes one hand across his face. What the hell is wrong with me? Jeez Winchester, get a grip.
Standing in front of the dirty sink, he looks at his pale drawn face in the mirror. I miss Jess, I miss Dad, but most of all, I miss my brother. His chin begins to quiver uncontrollably as a low sob escapes across his lips. He tries to swallow it back down as he stumbles into the bathroom stall, abruptly shutting the door. He dry heaves momentarily. He can't seem to control the tears that roll unabated down his cheeks. His long trembling arms wrap tightly around his middle and he pulls in a shaky breath of air. He cries harder. Stop it, damn it. Dean's right, you're a wuss.
He doesn't know how long he stands in the bathroom stall crying his eyes out, for Dad, for Jess, for Dean. All he knows is he cries until there's no more tears to shed.
Suddenly, the restroom door swings open with a loud thud against the wall. Sam startles from the noise. His head darts up; snot dribbling from his nose as remnants of tears dry upon his cheeks.
"Sam?" Dean's voice echoes in the almost empty room.
Sam sniffles. He hiccups in a breath of air and holds it for a long tense moment, pondering what to do.
"Sam?" The older brother stoops down to glance beneath the stalls, recognizing the worn out sneakers.
"What?" a low, indistinct whisper filters out to Dean.
Dean huffs noisily, "Jeez, Sam, what the hell, you fall in? He straightens back up, glances in the mirror and grins at his handsome mug. "Get a move on, asswipe, Bobby's waiting." His hand slaps once on the stall door, causing Sam to jump. "I'll be in the car," he states point-blank.
The bathroom door bangs abruptly closed.
Sam listens as his brother exits from the restroom, making sure that Dean is gone. He tugs in a weary sigh and slowly opens up the stall door. He lets his puffy, bloodshot eyes glance around. Empty. He stumbles to the sink and splashes some cold water on his face. Suck it up, Samuel, be a good soldier. John Winchester's military voice resounds inside his head. He dries his face with the harsh paper towels, swallows down his distraught emotions, and shuffles tiredly from the room.
These boys are a mess. Of that much, Bobby Singer is sure. Sam looks bad. The kid's lost weight. His face is pale, and his eyes are tired and bloodshot. Dean's not fairing much better, pacing back and forth like a caged animal. He looks exhausted too, and fidgety, pumped up like a kid on Ritalin. These boys miss their daddy. He shakes his head sadly and reluctantly sets the two cups of coffee down in front of the younger hunters. I think they need some time off.
"You sure you need more coffee?" their friend looks inquisitively at Dean.
"What? I'm fine, live on the stuff." The older brother snickers as he yanks up the cup and gulps down half the hot liquid.
Bobby nods and smiles hesitantly. Not so sure that's good. He watches silently as Sam toys with his cup, fingers gripping nervously at the handle, eyes flitting around the table top.
"Sammy, you okay?" the hunter utters with slight apprehension. Something's going on with Sam.
Dean tilts his head to look with confusion at their old friend. What the hell, Bobby, Sam's fine. "Course, he's okay, why wouldn't he be?" he answers abruptly for his little brother, his eyes never looking across at Sam. "So, tell us about this hunt."
The youngest Winchester just shrugs vaguely in response to Bobby's glare.
The surrogate father frowns in disbelief. Damn it Dean, can't you see something's wrong with you're brother?
Dean rolls his eyes and finishes off his cup of coffee. Bobby worries too damn much, Sammy's fine, just a little tired, that's all. Jeez, tell us about the hunt already.
Bobby sighs, yanks off his baseball cap and drops it to the tabletop, "I believe it's a spirit returned to terrorize an old family farm just outside of Wichita, Kansas. A friend of mine lives down the street from there, says the whole thing's just plain crazy. The old farm was bought out by a new developer and they're building houses there; four construction workers have died mysteriously in the last three months."
The senior hunter places his hat back against his head, fingers fumbling with the bill. He yanks up a crumpled piece of paper from the tabletop and looks at it.
"Vengeful spirit, huh?" Dean smirks wickedly. "That's right up our alley." He stands and quickly grabs the piece of paper dangling from Bobby' Singer's hand. "So this all the information you got?" He glances haphazardly at the barely legible hand writing.
"Dean." Bobby looks across the table at Sam, who still hasn't said a word, but is staring at him blankly. He looks unhappily back at Dean. "Okay, you idgit, I still need to do some more research, maybe you two should take a break, wait for me to get more information, hell, I'll even go with you on this one." Please kid, listen to me.
"Nah, we're good, thanks though." The older brother grins, and moves in a whirlwind through the front door. "Come on, Sammy, move your ass."
Bobby watches Dean's retreating back with slight alarm.
Sam slowly stands with a low grunt barely audible to Bobby's ears.
The older hunter notices the kid is wobbly, fingers gripping at the table for a moment, before he pushes away.
"Thanks, Bobby," the younger brother whispers as he makes his way gradually toward the front door.
Bobby shakes his head in sheer amazement as he hears the Impala rev up in the driveway. He reaches his hand out and places it gently against Sam's elbow, momentarily stopping the young man. He looks the kid in the eye.
"Sammy, you sure you're up for this?" The kid has dark circles under his eyes and he looks completely exhausted.
Sam's head drops to gaze inquisitively at the floor. "I'm just tired," he mutters. He exhales noiselessly, "Since Dad's death; he just doesn't stop, you know…" He raises his hazels to look at Bobby though his too long scraggly bangs.
"I know, son, I know. I can talk to him."
Sam's eyes dart nervously up to Bobby. Man would that ever piss Dean off.
The older hunter sees the apprehension in Sam's face, "If you want…" He squeezes the kid's arm.
"No, no, Bobby, I'm fine."
Sam tugs his elbow free from the concerned hunter's grasp.
"SAMMY, you com'n or what?" Dean's voice bellows in from the driver's window, words wafting in through the screen-door.
Bobby follows Sam out to stand on the rickety front porch. He watches as the kid moves to the passenger side and slides silently into the car.
Dean grins broadly. "See you later, Bobby."
And just like that the Impala whips back out onto the highway, dust and gravel blowing in its wake.
Bobby grimaces. He stands for a long time on the front porch after the car has faded from his view. His dark eyes gaze out at the horizon, a sad frown tugging at his lips. This is so not good.
The grass is dry and flat in the state of Kansas, and the heat is sweltering as it beats down against the plains. The windows are down in the jet black Impala, but the temperature is sizzling and sweat is prickling on both the young hunter's faces.
Sam's long hair is matted to his forehead, half mast eyes looking sluggishly out at the world. A dry breeze is blowing into the car, it whips against his face, but it's nothing near being cool.
Dean's just as bad. He's taken off all his over-shirts, leaving him in nothing but his dingy wife-beater. The perspiration is making the shirt cling to his damp and sticky flesh.
"Jesus, it's like an oven in here," the older brother grumbles. He grabs up a greasy rag from the floorboard and gingerly swipes it at his brow.
Sam says nothing, just continues to stare out the window.
"Hey? You awake over there or what?" Dean hisses out heatedly. For God's sake, it's like riding in the car all by my self.
Sam head turns slowly, his weary hazels staring emptily at his older brother.
Dean looks at Sam for a long moment, and then lets his eyes go back to the road. Kid looks a little pale to him, but hey, that's understandable. They're both succumbing to the stifling August heat.
"We're almost there, should be coming up soon." Dean states matter of fact. "Here, look at the map and figure out where we are," He drops the dirty mangled map into Sam's empty lap. He gazes back out the windshield, thumb tapping on the steering wheel, as he watches the steam roll off the asphalt.
"Huh?" the youngest Winchester mutters weakly, fingers floundering around with the map. His movements are uncoordinated and sluggish.
Dean glances over at Sam's confused face. What the hell? "The map, Sam," he nods down at Sam's lap, "Look at the freaking map!"
Black dots dance lazily across Sam's bloodshot eyes. He blinks to clear his tired vision. He looks down at the map. He can't seem to focus and gropes confusedly at the object. Dean wants me to do something. He blinks several more times, clearing his blurry eyes. He looks curiously at the drawing. What's he want me to do again? He doesn't know why he can't grasp what his brother wants. He blows out a weary breath and stares uncomprehendingly at the paper flopping in the breeze.
Dean just gets more frustrated as he watches Sam fumbling around. Finally, in exasperation, he yanks the map away from Sam's clumsy fingers, ripping and tearing the road worn object into two frayed disjointed pieces.
"Damn it, Sam, now look what you've done, gone and tore up the freaking map!" In a heated hasty action, Dean tosses the roadmap out the window and glares across the seat at Sam. "I'll call Bobby and get directions," the big brother huffs out angrily.
Dean yanks his cell phone from the dash and punches in Bobby's direct dial number; a loud beeping permeates his ears. No signal, now that's just great.
"Well, shit," the older brother gives Sam a heated glare as he slings the phone into the back seat. "Guess I'll have to figure out where we're going all on my own," he snaps angrily.
Sam bits his lip, slumps further down against the seat, and stares vacantly out the front windshield. I'm so damn tired and Dean's mad at me… again.
The Hogg family farm is way down a desolate road - smack dab in the middle of nowhere.
Dean laughs lightly to himself. Who the hell would build homes way out here anyway? He's spent the last hour and a half figuring out where they were going. Sam tore up the freaking map. Finally they've made it and he pulls the car up next to the brand new sign stating 'If you lived here, you'd be home. Welcome to Hogg Heaven'. What a name for a place. He chuckles and throws the car into park. He lets eyes skim out the dusty windshield.
There's an old run down house among the tall grass and weeds, sitting way off to the left, nestled deep among some trees. Most of the shingles are torn off, the roof halfway caved in. A dilapidated barn is falling down right beside it. Must be the old family home? Off to the right is the making of a brand new subdivision, supplies all shiny and new. There are several houses started, but noticeably, none are finished. The equipment is laid barren, the concrete in the mixer hardened like a rock. Shovels and various other implements are lying on the ground; nails and screws sitting where they were quickly dropped against the dirt. Several lunch boxes have been left open, sandwiches half eaten, flies feasting greedily on remains.
Dean shakes his head. From the looks of it, the construction workers left here in a really big hurry.
The older brother pushes open the driver's door as he gives Sam a sideways glance. He sighs. Maybe Bobby was right, maybe he does need a break.
Dean exits the car. After a couple of minutes he realizes that Sam isn't moving from his perch against the seat. He eyes his brother curiously as he leans down, ducking his head in through the driver's window. Sam looks really tired, hell they both do. It's been hard since their dad died, harder than Dean even likes to think about, so he doesn't, he just pushes it to the back of his mind, keeps them moving forward.
"Dude, you getting out of the car or what?"
Sam's head tilts slightly as he looks expressionlessly at his brother. Sudden recognition seems to dawn on his haggard face and he shoves the passenger door open. He wavers on his feet as his fingers white knuckle grip the door frame.
Dean doesn't notice Sam as he moves hastily away. The oldest Winchester is too pumped, adrenaline running thickly through his veins. The only time he feels alive now, is when he's hunting. It's the only thing that fills the empty void. He opens the trunk hastily and peruses through the items, attempting to decide what it is they need to get the job done. Eventually, he feels Sam join him, his brother standing by his side. Took you long enough, dude. He pushes a shovel into one of Sam's open hands while yakking on and on about the details of the hunt.
"Bobby said the construction team left here three weeks ago, said they were all scared when the last worker was killed. Everyone said that they saw an old farmer dressed in overalls just before each death, said it looked like old man Hogg, and get this," he says excitedly, "seems the last construction worker was buried in concrete, even though the mixer was turned off."
Dean waggles his eyebrows up at Sam, enthusiasm evident on his face.
"No record of where old man Hogg is buried though, but it's believed he's buried on the farm. Find him, burn him, and we're out of here."
Dean slams the trunk closed with a loud resounding thud as his lips curl up in a satisfied grin.
Sam's brows scrunch; he's hearing Dean, but it's like a buzzing in his ears. He can't quite make out all the words. He looks up as his brother pushes a sawed off in his hand. What'd he just say? He glances down as Dean thrusts some salt rounds flat against his chest. He fumbles to hold onto the objects.
Dean eyes Sam with slight trepidation. "Holy crap, would you get your shit together," he hisses out exasperatedly. He shakes his head in disbelief.
"Uh…huh…yeah, yeah, sorry," Sam mumbles. He shoves the extra salt rounds in his blue jean pocket and stumbles along behind his older brother.
Dean scans the area in front of him with the homemade EMF meter, the monitors not moving. He sighs, a little discouraged. Where the hell is this thing? He glances over his shoulder to see his little brother tripping along behind him. What is the deal with him? He shakes his head and heaves out an exasperated breath. "Get a move on, Sam, we got to figure out where this dude is buried, and we got a lot of ground to cover."
Sam's lip quivers like he's going to cry again and he feels the tears welling up against his lids. Get a grip. He stares at the back of Dean's head and trips over some loose gravel. He hears Dean mutter something about moving and ground, but he can't seem to grasp his older brother's words. He doesn't want to cry, but he's so worn-out and Dean's always mad at him, and he misses Jess, and he misses Dad. He chews unconsciously on his lower lip and tugs the sawed off tighter up to his chest. The shovel seems really heavy in his hand now, and he lets it drag against the ground. I'm so damn tired...Shut up, Sam; just shut the hell up, Dean's words echo inside his head.
The older brother leads the way up the plank board that is leaning against the side of one of the houses some ten feet above the ground. "Watch your step, Sammy, this is pretty shaky," Dean says in his best big brother 'I'm taking care of you' voice.
Sam stops midway up the board; he tilts his head slightly, eyeing the back of Dean's head. Dean?
The eldest Winchester carefully places one boot in front of the other on the shaky little board until he's well inside the house. He hears Sam's sneakers as he moves silently behind him on the wobbly two by four, moving slowly toward the door.
Suddenly the EMF meter goes crazy and Dean yanks it from his pocket.
"Its show time, Sammy," he says excitedly.
Sam's still on the plank, balanced precariously between the ground and the front doorframe.
The next moment is a blur as the poltergeist suddenly wavers right in front of Dean. He raises his salt gun to shoot at the spirit of a large man in coveralls.
"Say so long - Mr. Hogg."
Dean's gun explodes, but the ghost has other ideas, and it quickly lets out a loud screech as it lunges quickly away from the salt spray.
"Move, Sam," Dean yells loudly. "MOVE!"
Sam sees the ghost flare up in front of Dean. He drops the shovel with a loud clang to the ground. What's going on? His fingers struggle with his shotgun, attempting to pull it quickly up as he wobbles on the board. He's loosing his balance. He hears Dean firing his weapon. A loud yell echoes in his ears, "Move, Sam, move." But, it's too late. A mass of bright light and electrostatic air slams against him ruthlessly and he feels it coursing through his limbs. He's suddenly falling; the ground rising quickly up to meet him.
"Hey, you fugly son of a bitch – get the hell away from my brother."
The entity scatters like the rock salt when Dean's shot barrels through it. The large apparition screeches and swirls into the hot and stagnant air.
Dean glances at the ghost, watching as it flares up in the sky. He turns quickly back to Sam. Sammy?
The plank board walkway is empty now, no little brother balanced perilously against it.
Dean's wide eyes fall below the board, down, down, down to the ground ten feet below. Sammy? His chest constricts tightly at Sam's unconscious form. He runs abruptly back down the two by four. Please be okay, please be okay.
"Sweet Jesus," the older brother mutters when he gets closer to Sam.
The blood is pooling down the side of Sam's hair where his head is pressed against a cinder block on the dirt.
Dean's heart thuds loudly in his ears. He scrambles to get to Sammy's side, boots skidding against the damp grass as he plummets to his knees. His shotgun drops limply to the ground as his fingers cup the side of Sam's discolored face.
"Sammy?" he whispers gently. "Sammy," he says louder.
Sam is out cold, a large gash just behind his ear, bright blood matting in his hair.
Dean swallows back the bile rising in his throat. How'd I let this happen? He snatches a greasy rag from his pants pocket, just thankful he stuck it there sometime earlier in the day. It's nasty, but it will do what I need. He presses the rag tenderly against the side of Sam's pasty face, holding it steadily on the slowly seeping gash.
Sam's eyebrows scrunch, and he moans weakly, eyelashes fluttering.
"Sammy?" Oh, thank god.
His hands trace a quick pass over Sam's body, nothing feeling out of place. No broken bones. Dean's fingers tap lightly on the side of the kid's sallow cheek. He is rewarded when brown-green eyes slide open to look sluggishly at his.
The younger man blinks, staring blankly at his older brother's face.
"Jesus Sammy, you scared the shit out of me, damn ghost could've killed you." Dean's voice quivers with rage and fear. He stares at Sam, his anger ebbing quickly away.
Sam's unclear eyes are still struggling to rationalize what's going on around him.
The oldest Winchester reaches down and tugs his brother toward him, his arm wrapping solidly around his shaking form.
Sam whimpers as his unstable head lolls loosely on his neck. His forehead falls to rest against Dean's chest with a light thud.
Dean grips his brother firmly. His free hand holds the nap of Sam's wobbly neck, keeping his head steady.
"Easy, Sammy, easy, just let me see," Dean says gently. He grips Sam's chin in his blood covered fingers, lifts his head to stare directly in his little brother's eyes.
"Damn it," he whispers softly. Pupils constricted to pin pricks – major concussion here.
Sam's eyelids flutter close.
"Hey, hey, hey….Sam…Sam, stay awake, Sammy…" Dean's voices urgently as he smoothes his hand over Sam's pale face. He gives his brother's cheek a gentle nudge.
Sam's eyelids slowly open to stare glassily around. He can hear his brother's voice; see him barely through the blackness that is creeping in his periphery. He's exhausted, and he loses the battle as the darkness takes him down.
"Sam? Sammy, stay with me, Sam?"
Suddenly, there's a loud screeching sound and Mr. Hogg abruptly reappears. Dean eases his unconscious sibling back down against the dirt. He hastily grabs up his shotgun. This son of a bitch is really pissing me off.
Dean shoots several rounds of rock salt at the wavering apparition.
"Take that, Mr. Piggy," the older brother hisses as the large entity flounders in the wind.
He immediately redirects his attention back to Sam. Shock is setting in, got to get him out of here.
Suddenly the apparition appears again, a large grin curling its lips.
Damn it. Dean's really irritated now, 'cos he's gonna have to get rid of this son of a bitch before he can get Sammy out of here. He doesn't want to take the time, wants to come back and deal with this creep later. The fat ass isn't giving me a choice. He glances back at Sam's still face, and cringes at the amount of dark blood that is pooling on the dirty rag.
"It'll be okay, Sammy," he says softly.
He tugs his fingers through Sam's sweat laden hair and brushes it tenderly aside. His mind is racing with thoughts, attempting to figure out where the old Hogg is buried. Bobby's words echo in his head. "Okay, you idgit, I still need to do some more research. Maybe you two should take a break, wait for me to get more information, and hell, I'll even go with you on this one." He thinks the older hunter maybe was right and he is a freaking idgit.
The senior hunter had a bad feeling resting in his gut. The Winchester's hadn't been gone ten minutes when Bobby made a hasty decision, one he should have made before they even left. I shouldn't have let the boys go off alone; they're in no shape to hunt. He wasn't sure why he hadn't stopped them; put his foot down with Dean. It was obvious Sammy was exhausted. Hell, they both were. This being a dad stuff is hard, never knowing when to cross the line and step in. No wonder John had such a hard damn time. The older hunter sighed heavily and pushed the gas peddle of the beat up '69 Chevy truck to the floor. It's time for this to stop. John Winchester is gone, but his boy's are still alive.
He drove faster, wind whipping around the truck, destination - the old Hogg family farm.
Dean knows he's running out of salt rounds. He used up all his bullets the last time the ghost decided to reappear. He can't get to Sammy's gun without leaving Sammy, and that's not happening. He can see the shotgun; it's lying some twenty feet away, obviously ending up there when Sammy took his plummet to the ground. He remembers giving Sam some salt rounds. He pats Sam down gently. His little brother whimpers, but doesn't open up his eyes.
The older brother is rewarded when his fingers slid over the extra salt rounds and he smiles. Good job Sammy. He removes them from his little brother's pocket, stuffing them gingerly in his own.
Sam's eyes suddenly blink open and he mumbles something Dean can barely hear, "D…Didn't mntotelEllen."
Dean's heart constricts tightly. "It's okay, Sammy, it's all okay." He grips Sam's shoulder firmly, feeling the kid lean into his touch. I am such an ass.
"Si…ck…" Sam's face swiftly turns an olive shade of green, and Dean quickly turns him to the side as warm bile shoots across his lips.
Sam gags and chokes, vomit dribbling down his chin, his head sagging heavily toward the ground.
"Ew," the older brother whispers as he pulls Sam up to keep him from toppling forward and falling in the mess. He knows Sam's head must be throbbing as he's gulping in the air. Kid's out of it, eyes wandering around, not focusing on anything.
"Easy, Sammy, just let it go, it's gonna be okay, you'll see."
The older brother eases his free hand up and rests it firmly on Sammy's back, grounding him. He moves it in little comforting circles like he used to do when Sammy was a child.
Sam moans, unable to push away, or move. Head hurts. He leans heavily into Dean, his body sagging from exhaustion that he can no longer hold at bay.
All of a sudden, old man Hogg reappears above them.
Dean's torn. He doesn't want to let go of Sammy, but he can't keep the ghost away from his brother and hold on to him too. If he does let go, then Sam is going to end up wallowing in his own sickness. Not a good thing. Just when he thinks he'll have to do it anyway, he hears a loud resounding shout.
"Dean, down." The older hunter's voice bellows from behind him, and Dean complies, taking orders his whole life, there's no question in his mind. He slumps quickly across Sam.
The gunshot rings out in the late evening air, salt rounds pounding the apparition and spraying down against Dean's head.
A smile curls the older brother's lips as he raises his head to look at Bobby Singer. Thank god…"Holy crap, Bobby, you almost shot my head off," he mutters loudly.
"Shut up, Dean, be glad I showed up to keep your idgit ass alive."
The older hunter skids to the ground next to Sam.
Sam looks bad. Unfocused hazels blinking up at them both as tiny shivers rack his skinny frame.
Bobby frowns. "Well shit, Dean."
Dean exhales noiselessly. He sounds pissed.
Bobby looks around, feeling sure the ghost is temporarily out of commission, he sets his gun down against the ground. His fingers grope inside his backpack to pull out a small first aid kit and a shiny thermal blanket. He pushes them toward Dean.
"Here, you fix him up; I'll go torch this son of a bitch."
Dean's hands grab at the supplies. "How you gonna do that, where's he buried?" He asks curiously as he rips open the blanket and tucks it up around Sam.
"Well, wouldn't that have been a neat-o fact to have before you came out here all guns a-blazing?"
The older hunter grunts and looks angrily at Dean. He yanks up his sawed off and pushes to stand up.
Dean looks like he's been punched in the gut. The oldest Winchester doesn't want to look at Bobby; he's sure he doesn't want to see the look on the older hunter's face. He nods slowly, blinking back the moisture welling to his lids.
"Take care of, your brother," Bobby hisses out as he disappears around the house.
It barely takes the senior hunter fifteen minutes to find the grave site, dig up the bones, and torch old man Hogg back into oblivion. Sheer adrenaline is pumping through his veins, and he isn't sure if it's worry about Sam, or anger at Dean, that's fuelling this frantic salt and burn, but either way, it's the quickest one he's done in years.
Dean watches silently from his position in front of the house. Sam tucked tightly to his chest.
Old man Hogg was buried not thirty feet away, beneath the large oak tree planted right in front of the run down family home. If I'd just waited, done the research, let Bobby come with us, then, this wouldn't have ever happened. The guilt is eating him alive. What the hell is wrong with me, coming out here all gung ho, not taking care of Sam? He sighs and runs a shaky hand through his hair - a nervous habit he'd done his entire life. His brother looks deathly pale pressed against his chest, what little color he had is now completely gone.
Sam's incoherent hazel eyes are gazing glassily up at Dean. He whimpers eyes wide, confused, and troubled.
Dean just tugs him closer. "Shhhhh, Sammy," he rests his hand against Sam's cheek and coos against his ear. "I'm gonna take care of you."
The senior hunter watches the flames burn the final remains of old man Hogg. He turns quickly and hurries back to the boys. Dean looks lost, tired, confused, and angry. Bobby's sure the kid's mad at him. No question about that. But, he doesn't have time right now to wonder. Got to get Sam taken care of, get them both back to the house. He nods at Dean and then checks Sam over one time; just to make sure Dean has done the job.
The oldest Winchester glares at the senior hunter, not sure he likes being second guessed when it comes to Sam. Sure, he probably deserves it. Hell, he drug them out here hunting with barely a slip of paper to go on. He's not really sure when it happened or why, but sometime since John Winchester's death, he lost his focus, got crazy. He lost his main goal in life, his purpose for living, simply tossing it aside. Take care of Sam, it resounds inside his head. He hugs his little brother tighter.
"Dean, pull the car over here," the older hunter states softly, tugging the tired, overwrought man from his guilty thoughts.
Dean looks from Sam's colourless face to Bobby.
Bobby's fingers waggle at the flat area between the new homes. "Right here."
"Yeah, okay." Dean chews on his lower lip. He stands up slowly, reluctant to release his hold on Sam. He looks anxious eyes at Bobby.
"Its okay, Dean, just go get the car and pull it over here closer, so we can load Sam up." Bobby voice is soft now, concern evident on his face. He knows he's being rough on Dean, but hell, the kid needed a wake up call. Needs to realize what he's doing to Sam. He sighs as he watches the older brother move quickly to the Impala. He shakes his head and smiles. It's my job to keep Dean straight.
Bobby glances down at Sam. The pressure bandage has worked wonders against the side of the kid's pale face. The blood flow has diminished some, and his color seems to have improved. His eyes are still dilated and flat, but he seems a little more aware.
"Deannn?" Sammy slurs out in confusion, his glassy wide eyes looking perplexedly up at Bobby.
"Sam, just lie still." Bobby say's firmly. He pats the youngest hunter lightly on the arm. "You got a bad concussion."
Sam open and closes his eyes, tears welling up against his lids. Where's Dean?
The two hunters load the semi-conscious hunter into passenger seat of the Impala. Dean tucks his brother's long legs beneath the dash. He covers Sam with the warm army blanket they keep stowed inside the car. He tosses Bobby's thermal cover into the back seat.
Sam looks blankly at Dean, not really sure who's putting him in the car. He can hear voices mumbling around his head, something about taking it easy, staying awake, and you're gonna be okay. But, he's too tired to care. He wants to focus, he really does, but the words are all jumbled up and lose and he just can't make them out.
"Follow me." Bobby orders as he runs quickly toward his truck.
Dean just rolls his eyes, No shit. He doesn't say anything, already knowing Bobby is pissed. Like I don't know the way back?
The older brother's got one hand on the steering wheel, the other resting on his little brother's chest. Sam's head is lolling against his arm bouncing lightly with the movement of the car. The kid's mumbling again, something about secrets, and mad older brothers.
"Shhhhh, Sammy, its okay buddy. Just forget it; I'll take care of it."
He pats Sam's chest unconsciously and watches from the driver's side as hazel eyes well up with unshed tears. Sam's long eyelashes flutter and then the tears roll slowly down against his cheeks.
Dean swallows guiltily. I did this to Sam. His brushes his fingers on the side of Sam's pale face.
"We're almost back at Bobby's…kiddo, just hang on."
"I'mtrd…." Sam whimpers as his eyelids flutter shut.
Dean gently nudges Sam's shoulder blade. Foggy hazel eyes jerk abruptly open.
"Stay a wake, Sammy."
Dean smiles as Sam's eyes grow wider.
"Just a few more minutes, Sammy, and I'll let you go to sleep."
Moving an injured Sam from the Impala is a chore on any day, but moving an incoherent, concussed Sammy is an unrelenting task. The kid is all limp legs and arms, swaying and swerving as soon as Dean lets his feet hit the ground.
Bobby's practically running around the car. "Damn it, Dean, I told you to hang on a minute."
Bobby quickly grips Sam by the opposite shoulder, arm sweeping in around the kid's slumping back.
Sam's head lolls forward to rest against his chest, little pants escaping across his lips.
"Easy…Sam. Dean, you got that side?" Bobby gasps for air. To be such a skinny runt, the kid sure weighs a ton.
It takes them both to manhandle Sam inside the house. They give up on the prospect of putting their incoherent burden in the bedroom and ease him quickly to the couch.
Dean sighs as he tucks the afghan up around his little brother, fingers ghosting through Sam's too long chestnut hair.
Sam's heavy eyelids tug slowly closed.
Both hunters stand, hands falling to their hips as they gulp down some oxygen. Whew, that was a job.
"Stiches," Bobby says abruptly as he retrieves his real first aid kit, the big one, with all the bells and whistles, from the corner.
"I'll do it," Dean says as he reaches for the kit.
Bobby notices the slight tremble in the older brother's hand. "Sit," he says as he nudges Dean down toward the chair next to the couch.
"But I…I need to, I have to fix this." Dean says shakily, adrenaline rush leaving his weary body.
"I said sit, Dean." Intense dark brown eyes glower at him.
Dean reluctantly does as he is told. He flops boneless into the chair.
The older brother watches silently, guilt eating him alive, as Bobby cleans his brother's head wound, stiches it so finely that there won't even be a scar. He listens as Bobby talks to Sam, telling him about the time he hunted a Big Foot up in Minnesota. Rambles on in a soft comforting tone, as he does what he needs to do for Sam. He looks on as their oldest friend doses his little brother with pain medication and brushes his callus fingers through his too long messy hair.
The semi-conscious sibling opens and closes his eyes several times, looking over Bobby's shoulder at the blurry figure. Dean? Finally, his head falls slowly to the side as the darkness takes him under.
Bobby closes up the first aid kit, stands, and stretches his legs. He looks at the quiet Winchester perched against the chair. The kid's obviously letting the guilt eat him alive. Enough of that…
"Not your fault, Dean," the older hunter mutters. He stows away the kit and pulls another chair over to sit by Dean's side. Both men staring at Sammy's sleeping face. "He'll be okay."
"I should have listened to you," Dean finally offers up softly as angry words spill across his lips.
Bobby nods silently and listens.
"He's run down, I see it now. Damn it," Dean hisses out. "I'm just a son of a bitch, forgetting what's important." Moisture wells up in the older brother eyes. He glances across at Bobby. "It's just, well, since Dad died, it's hard, you know. Bobby, it's so damn hard. I can't think about anything. I'm just so angry because he's gone. The only thing I can do is his work, hunting, taking out all the evil in the world."
Dean brushes his hand across his now damp face, removing the remnants of unrecognized tears from his cheeks. Jeez, Winchester, Bobby'll think you're a freaking wuss.
Bobby ponders Dean's words briefly, and then decides to reach a hand over and rest it lightly on Dean's knee.
"Son, there's nothing wrong with doing you're father's work." He offers up solidly. "He'd be proud of you for that."
Dean's head rises, damp eyes looking back at Bobby.
"But, Dean, you need to learn to do it in moderation. This relentless pursuit, it's gonna kill you." Bobby pauses, hesitant to say the words. "Kill you're little brother".
Dean's eyes scrunch shut - if you only knew. If you can't save him, you'll have to kill him.
The senior hunter looked with remorse at Dean. The kid looks overwhelmed with grief. He knows he had to wake Dean up to the fact he was running them both into the ground, but man, it sure doesn't make it any easier. Obviously I hit the right nerve. Bobby sighed, he knows Dean has to face reality, come to terms with John's death, and move on, without getting either remaining Winchester brother killed in the process.
Dean looks sadly across at Bobby. He knows he's been lacking in his big brother skills of late. Bobby's right, take care of Sammy. That's my job. He nods his head in slow agreement.
The surrogate father give's Dean's kneecap a gentle squeeze and stands up. My work is done here. He smiles. "I think you got this covered." He shuffled stiffly toward the kitchen, hand rubbing at his aching back. "Hell, I'm too old for this shit," he grumbled.
Dean's lips quirk up in a grin at the lightly muttered words. Thank you, Bobby. Momentarily, he can hear pots and pans banging around in the kitchen and knows the older man is making something to eat.
Sammy's moves slightly with the new noise, head rolling slowly against the pillow. A low moan filters across his lips.
Dean looks quickly at his brother. He's waking up.
Sam whimpers lightly, then, his eyes blink open, as he stares groggily at the ceiling.
Sam's head tilts slowly toward his brother, cheek mashing into the pillow. "Dean?" His slitted eyes attempt to focus on the unclear face above him.
The older brother leans forward, features riddled with concern. His hand moves up to cup gently against the side of Sam's pale cheek.
"Easy, you're okay." The older brother says sympathetically.
"Dean?" the concussed kid whispers again. His fingers move slowly up to his head attempting to figure out why it hurts so badly.
"Whoa, take it easy there, kiddo. You're okay. I gotcha."
Dean pushes the wayward hand back down and holds it still against Sam's chest.
A warm, strong feeling creeps across Sam's body, and he revels in it. He glances down, sees Dean's hand resting on his own. He blinks and looks lethargically around the room. He feels his older brother squeeze his fingers tightly. He vaguely recalls what's happened, the hunt, the poltergeist, how he wasn't in the game. He studies his older brother's face for along moment as his vision starts to clear, his thoughts becoming more coherent. "You still mad?" he finally asks, looking sadly back at Dean.
"What?" Dean looks surprised and releases Sam's hand. "No, no, Sammy, I'm not mad." The older brother sighs heavily. How do I fix this? He runs his fingers through his hair as he stares at the dirty carpet. Silence descends upon them as Dean struggles to find the right words to say.
"It's my fault, Sammy, I pushed you away, and I pushed so hard, all the time, every day." Dean pauses, not sure what to say next. "It's just…." He swallows thickly against the object lodging in his throat.
"What?" Sam asks curiously as he looks forlornly up at Dean.
"It's hard, Sam," Dean's head rises to look at Sam. His emerald green eyes are moist from unshed tears. "I just…I miss Dad." I miss Dad a lot.
Sam nods weakly, "Me too," he whispers, as teardrops roll unabated down his face.
Dean's thumbs brush the tears away from Sam's face. He looks nervously at his little brother. Oh God, not a chick flick moment. Suddenly he feels the need to keep busy and he tugs and pulls at Sam's blanket.
"You just get some rest."
The younger brother is loosing the battle as his heavy eyelids start to droop. He forces them to stay open as long as he possibly can, blinking sluggishly up at Dean.
"Go to sleep, Sam."
Exhaustion finally wins out and Sam's eyes shut altogether. "I got my brother back," he mumbles softly as he's drifting off to sleep.
Dean strains to hear Sam's whispered words. He grins. It's gonna be okay – big brother will see to that. He pats his sleeping brother lightly on the chest and lets his fingers linger for awhile. He's just really glad that Sam's alive and breathing, and he's for sure going to keep it that way. He releases a weary sigh. His own body is bone tired and he slumps silently back against the chair; leaving his hand right where it sets against Sam's chest. He needs the contact right now, just needs to know that Sammy is okay. His mind is beginning to float as he smells the freshly cooked coffee, bacon and eggs wafting from the kitchen. He breathes in the wonderful aromas as he watches his little brother fall further into sleep.
He smiles. "It's my job, Sammy," he says softly, "my job to take care of you, and I won't forget again."