"Ow! You're such a friggin jerk!" Sam yelped as the Winchesters walked back to the Impala.

Dean had reached out and slapped him pretty hard in the back of the head a moment before causing the outburst.

"You're the one who didn't watch my back when you were supposed to!" Dean snapped back, not bothering to look behind him.

"I was a little preoccupied!" Sam retorted hotly, remembering how he had been ambushed from behind. He had been thrown into a tree and heard something pop and then white-hot pain. He had temporarily forgotten about the pain during the firefight that followed, but now that it was over and the adrenaline was waning, the pain was back in full force.

"Well, I don't need you to be slacking off while we're hunting," Dean answered darkly.

"I wasn't slacking off!" Sam protested.

"Yeah, whatever," Dean rolled his eyes.

Sam sighed and grimaced as with each step sparks of fire shot through his back up and down his spine. It was becoming difficult to walk now and stand up straight at the same time. Sam didn't say a word to Dean about it. His brother probably didn't want to hear it since he was pissed. Once they got to the Impala, Dean stuck his keys into the ignition and Sam slid into the seat. It hurt to sit straight, so he slouched in the passenger seat. Dean didn't notice. If he did, he didn't give any indication that he did. Soon they arrived at the motel and Sam gripped the sides of the Impala to pull himself to his feet. Their room on the second floor was only accessible via stairs and Sam wanted to cry at every step upward.

Once inside, Dean wasted no time in ditching his weapons on his bed and announcing, "Keep your phone on, I'm going out for a beer."

With that, he was gone.

Sam turned his phone on loud and threw it on the bed. He saw his pajamas on the floor (the ones that he would kill to be in at the moment) and stopped over to pick them up when World War III went off in his back. Sam cried out, falling to his knees and then onto his side on the floor as tears dropped from his eyes in miserable agony.

--

Dean sat at the bar not too far from the motel, sipping at his beer and watching the burly men play pool in a corner. Usually, he would join them to win some extra pocket money, but he just wasn't in the mood. Something was nagging at him and it had to do with Sammy. Hell, it always had to do with Sammy!

Sighing to himself, he checked the time on his cellphone.

11:48, he had been gone for about an hour and after two beers he wasn't feeling better. Maybe he shouldn't have been so harsh to his brother.

Maybe.

Conscience getting the better of him, Dean pressed Sam's speedial and held it to his ear.

Ring...ring...ring...ring...ring...ring...ring..."Hey, this is Sam leave a--"

Dean pressed the cancel button with a frown. Sam always answered his phone when Dean was out, even if it was late at night and he had been asleep. Dean pressed the redial and had the same results.

Something was wrong.

Getting up, Dean ordered a beer to go and went out to the Impala. Minutes later, he opened the motel door.

--

Sam heard his phone ring and couldn't move to get it from his bed. His body wasn't cooperating. His phone went off again and Sam struggled to move. Finally, he just gave up again and laid there motionless staring up at the ceiling. About ten minutes later Dean came through the door. Sam sighed in relief, "Down here."

Dean studied him for a moment in bewilderment, "Why didn't you answer your phone? And why the Hell are you on the floor?"

"Back hurts. Can't move. Help?"

Dean reached out and Sam grabbed his hand. The older brother pulled the other man to his feet as Sam declared an exclamation in pain. Dean helped him lay on the bed and ordered him to stay still.

As if Sam could move!

Dean handed Sam the to-go beer and sat down beside his younger brother, "How'd this happen?" He asked.

"Ambushed, slammed into tree, didn't get to you in time," Sam replied shortly.

"Oh."

"Yeah."

"Sorry for yelling at you."

"Okay, Jerk, I accept your apology."

"Thanks, Bitch. You're gonna hate me tomorrow though."

"Why?"

"You're gonna go to the doctor to have that back looked at."