Bobby said Sam had to find the site of the bite. Most likely there was a stinger that had been left behind in Dean's flesh that was the source of the venom and the cause of all this trouble. The problem was…there were actually many problems. The immediate problem was that when Dean wasn't convulsing so hard Sam was afraid he'd break a bone or smash his skull into the wall, he was terrified and wouldn't let Sam get near him.
The hallucinations had come on hard and fast. It was lucky for Sam that Dean had decided to fortify a defensive position between the bed and the wall instead of making a break for it and running out into the night. At least this way Sam knew where Dean was and could do as much damage control as possible. As long as no one came to investigate the sound of the screaming and flailing they would be alright.
Now that Sam had finished talking to Bobby and prepared the supplies he thought he would need, it was time to approach Dean. Any move Sam made in Dean's direction made him freak out, alternately threatening to kick his ass and begging him not to get any closer. It was obvious to Sam that he wasn't what Dean was seeing, but it pained him to hear his brother talk to him that way.
Whatever it was that Dean was reacting to – voices, faces – Sam knew he had to differentiate himself from the confusion that surrounded Dean in order to get closer. There was a pattern of sorts to Dean's condition. First he would be a whimpering, fearful mess, nearly immobilized with terror, then his body would take over and he's be wracked with painful convulsions. What had Sam concerned was that the cycle appeared to be increasing in speed, and he was afraid of what kind of damage was being done.
Sam waited, anxiety twisting his guts, for the next set of convulsions to hit; it was the only time he could move in closer without Dean freaking out; Sam couldn't risk that this time wouldn't be the time when Dean made a break for it. As Dean's eyes rolled back into his head, Sam made his move. He shifted from the chair and crouched at the foot of the bed where Dean had built his barricade. Sam hurriedly removed all of the hard edged debris that he could in order to make a path to Dean leaving the softer pillows and blankets in place.
All too soon the convulsions passed and Dean was aware once more. Though his body was slower to recover from the intensity of the convulsions, Dean's face already wore the "fight or flight" expression Sam had become far too familiar with through the night. Sam froze where he was not wanting to startle Dean with his presence. From where he was sitting, Sam couldn't see a bug bite or any kind of inflammation, but only Dean's arms and face were exposed, and with all the blankets and pillows in the way he couldn't even get a good look at those. He needed to get closer.
Sam inched sideways until he was facing Dean. He had his empty hands out in front of him in an universal calming gesture. Sam made himself as completely non-threatening as he could, but it didn't make a bit of difference – it wasn't Sam Dean was seeing. Dean became hysterical to the point of hyperventilation almost immediately. His mumbled pleas and cries of fear were torturous for Sam to listen to, but he marshaled his focus because if he couldn't remove the source of the infection quickly Dean's life would be at stake.
Sam took the opportunity to squeeze himself between Dean and the bed, trying unsuccessfully to examine Dean without getting unintentionally hit in the face or kicked in the leg. There was the briefest pause between the time Dean's body relaxed after its spasms and the moment his awareness returned bring terror and anger with it. It was the best time for Sam to try and find the bug bite, but it didn't last nearly long enough.
Fiercely Dean struck out at Sam, "fight" swiftly winning over "flight". It was hard for Sam to protect himself while still trying to keep Dean contained. Dean's strength was fueled by adrenaline giving him a distinct advantage in such a small space; but he was hampered by the fear that quickly took over and had him crammed as far into the corner as he could possibly jam himself. The freckles on Dean's face stood out in stark contrast to his pale face and his eyes appeared to take up all of his face. If Sam never saw this particular expression on his brother's face again it would be too soon.
Much too quickly for Sam's comfort, Dean was wracked with convulsions again. Again he tried to find the stinger with no success. Three or four times the cycle was repeated with Dean's terror increasing exponentially. What now had Sam concerned was that it seemed as though Dean's emotional state directly affected the intensity and duration of the convulsions. Unless Sam could get Dean to calm down he might literally be scared to death.
Sam knew that remaining where he sat was a risk, but he couldn't justify losing ground by moving across the room just to start over. He was so close he was practically on top of Dean and that was sure to make him panic. In that moment when Dean's body was released from the hold of tightened muscles, Sam reached over and rolled Dean so he was facing the wall and Dean's shoulders and back were against Sam's hip. Sam pushed himself to a seated position against the wall with the headboard and stretched his legs out to lie parallel to Dean. Even if Dean curled up in distress, Sam should still be out of his line of sight. It was time to try another tactic.
After shifting Dean, Sam kept his right hand on Dean's neck. When he could feel the muscles begin to tense again as Dean came back to awareness, Sam started to sing. Somewhere in the throes of Dean's hysteria Sam realized that the visual hallucinations were what frightened Dean the most, so he decided to try and get through to him auditory.
And he had a total brain freeze.
What do you sing to your brother who had been zapped by some bug carrying a nasty witch's curse? The theme song to emThe Facts of Life/em, of course.
"You take the good, you take the bad
You take 'em both and there you have
"The facts of life
The facts of life…"
If Dean had been in any other mental state other than the one he was in, Sam would never hear the end of it for the rest of his life. But Sam didn't care because though Dean had started shaking and his breathing was rapid, he wasn't screaming or trying to get away.
"There's a time you've got to go and show
You're growing now you know about
The facts of life
The facts of life…"
Sam moved his hand down slightly, low enough to get a hold of the collar of Dean's t-shirt. He kept singing even as he tried to investigate, but quickly lost the words to the song. Though Dean wasn't facing him, he could tell that the visual hallucinations were quickly gaining a foothold. Again, Sam had a brain freeze; for no good, goddam reason he could only think of shows with instrumental theme songs - Simon & Simon, Charlie's Angels and Knight Rider were completely useless to him! In his own rising hysteria it was all Sam could do to stop himself from yelling out, "Thundercats, ho!"
Before Sam could come up with a better plan, Dean's muscles started seizing once again. He didn't think it was his imagination that it didn't seem emquite/em as torturous as before, but maybe it was because Dean was jammed into such a tight space that he simply didn't have the room to flail anymore. It took a little longer for Dean to return to consciousness after his muscles relaxed; though it gave Sam a little more time to examine him, it didn't bode well for how much time Sam had left.
Sam was already singing by the time Dean was paying attention. Sam could tell how intensely Dean was listening and using that to fight off the visions that tormented him. Sam hoped that this time he would find what he was looking for.
"Just the good ol' boys,
Never meanin' no harm,
Beats all you've ever saw
been in trouble with the law since the day they was born."
Sam couldn't see Dean's face, but he could see in his mind's eye the barest ghost of a smile that must've graced his expression when he heard the theme to The Dukes of Hazzard. Dean never got tired of those Duke boys outsmarting the hapless law enforcement in Hazzard, and he loved the General Lee.
With Dean's back to him, Sam slowly eased the knife he brought with him under the collar of Dean's shirt. Hoping the sound of the fabric ripping wouldn't send Dean off the deep end, Sam sliced through the thickest part of the shirt at the base of Dean's neck. He sent up a silent prayer that Dean didn't flinch away because that could've been ugly.
"Straight'nin' the curve,
Flat'nin' the hills.
Someday the mountain might get 'em,
but the law never will."
Dean was shaking again, he seemed to be doing his best to hold himself still in spite of his fear. Sam knew that Dean knew he was trying to help, and was fighting as hard as he could to make it easier for Sam to do.
Makin' their way,
The only way they know how,
That's just a little bit more than the law will allow.
Sam's fingers skimmed down the fever-hot skin of Dean's back. Inadvertently he brushed the spot he was looking for, a raised welt of skin near the middle of Dean's back. This time Dean did flinch violently and cried out in pain instead of fear. Instantly the convulsions wracked his body; it was the worst Sam had seen yet.
Sam waited, his breathing as nearly ragged as Dean's. The spasms slowly released their grip, but Dean didn't return to consciousness at once. Sam prepared his tools knowing instinctively that he'd have one shot to remove the poisonous stinger because Dean was out of time.
He had to wait to begin the procedure because although the large convulsions had ceased, small, erratic tremors still shook Dean's body. Sam took the time to get Dean into the most stable position he could manage. Twisting slightly, Sam bent his left leg and rested Dean's head against it. Rolling Dean a little more toward the wall gave Sam a better angle on Dean's exposed back.
While he waited Sam ran a soothing hand over Dean's head and shoulder even as he began crooning a new song. He hoped that the reassurances he wanted to say would be transmitted through his touch. The singing had worked to get through to Dean so far and Sam didn't want to change his strategy now.
"Look at what's happened to me
I can't believe it myself
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world
It should've been somebody else."
A deep breath from Dean seemed to indicate his return to awareness. For the first time since the ordeal started, Dean whispered Sam's name. That small bit of recognition gave Sam the courage that he needed. Laying his left hand flat against Dean's back surrounding the area of his attention, Sam could feel Dean tremble, but he did not pull away.
"Believe it or not
I'm walking on air
Never thought I could feel so free"
Sam laid the flat of his blade against the welt in Dean's back.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer…
With his left hand Sam pinched the area around the wound.
Who could it be…?
Sam rubbed his right thumb across the raised flesh, felt the ragged edges of the accursed stinger and with a swift flick of his knife, cut it out.
Believe it or not, it's just me.
Between one line of the lyric and then next it was over. Dean collapsed completely, but was not overcome with the devastating convulsions that had shaken him just minutes before. Sam grabbed the poultice he'd concocted with Bobby's help and held it against the bloody gouge in Dean's flesh. Sam's own uneven breathing calmed down in time with Dean's. With nothing better to do, Sam finished the song he was singing.
Just like the light of a new day
i hit me from out of the blue
Breaking me out of the spell I was in
Making all of my wishes come true.
"You're such a girl."
Sam's face split into a wide grin and he sagged with relief. He had to keep pressure on the herb poultice, and Dean was probably disinclined to move, so they just stayed where they were and Sam started whistling the them to The A-Team instead.