Disclaimer: This is a transformative work of fiction. It is based on the original concept of E. Kripke (aka God) and is for entertainment purposes only.
A/N: This is a tag/missing scene/au for Hunted – Playthings so spoilers up to there.
So this has been the summer of my mind-blowing inability to get my shit together and write, respond to reviews, or get my head out of my sorry ass. This is the only thing I've written and it's been done for months. I haven't posted in hopes that I would get my wips done first. Didn't happen. But I want to post this before S5 begins. It is complete. Part 2 will be up tomorrow – and that's all she wrote – sadly, literally.
The first thing that Dean became aware of was a throbbing pain in his head. The second thing he became aware of was that he was alone.
Dean knew his brother wasn't in their motel room before he'd even worked up the energy to crack one eye. This innate sense had been honed over the twenty years that Dean had spent watching his brother.
Being alone, Dean allowed himself the luxury of groaning. He would never do that in front of his brother if he could possibly help it. Big brothers were not weak. Little brothers didn't worry about their big brothers. And Dean was pretty sure that if Sam knew he had the hangover from hell, he'd never let him live it down.
Actually, Dean couldn't really figure out why he felt quite so bad. He thought back to last night. It was pretty hazy. He'd actually been surprised when Sam tagged along to the bar.
After he'd finally broken down next to the lake and told Sam about the secret, Sam'd been beyond pissed. Dean wouldn't have been surprised if Sam had taken a swing at him. They'd finished their beers in stony silence. Dean tried to get Sam to talk to him, but he wouldn't even look at him. Sam had just stared at the water, his face a black cloud until they'd climbed into the Impala and driven away.
They'd checked into a motel when they got to the next town. Dean wasn't even sure if he remembered exactly where they were at this point.
Sam had still refused to talk to him. Dean had grabbed his coat and headed for the bar across the street. He'd been on his second beer when Sam showed up. He'd ordered food because Sam had. When the food finally came, Dean had tried again to get Sam to agree to a time out. He was so tired from trying to figure out what was going on and still hunting and looking out for Sam and dealing with.... Dad.... He just needed to be able to concentrate on one thing. Sam had seemed to at least listen to him, even if his eyebrows had knit together and the bitch-face threatened to be a permanent look. Dean had gotten a grunt out of his brother that seemed like it might be an agreement. They'd even managed to make a little polite conversation toward the end of the evening.
Dean remembered coming back from the bar. They'd had some beers left over from the afternoon. Sam asked if he wanted one. He actually hadn't but Sam seemed keen on having one, so he said sure. Dean barely remembered finishing that one.
Suddenly, Dean needed to know where Sam was. He cracked an eye and was rewarded with a stabbing pain through his eye and a sickening flip of his stomach.
Dean groaned again. He realized he was still in his clothes.
Rolling onto his side, Dean pushed himself to a sitting position. He scrubbed his hands over his face and turned to look at the other bed.
It hadn't been slept in.
Damn it, Sam.
And that was it for Dean's stomach.
He bolted for the bathroom and barely made it before everything he'd eaten in the last month shot from his toes into the porcelain bowl he knelt in front of.
By the time he finished dry heaving, he was shaking and sweating.
Sammy'd ditched him.
How friggin' worthless was he that his own family kept doing it.
Dean groaned and leaned his head on the cool porcelain. Then he just let himself slide to the less than clean tile floor, curling into himself on his side. He let his eyes slide shut.
When Dean woke up again, he was shuddering on the unyielding floor. His head still throbbed. When he finally managed to push himself back to a sitting position, he dry heaved a bit more, seeing as how the toilet was right there and everything. He managed to get to his feet, splash some water on his face, run a glass of water, and stagger back into the room in search of aspirin.
As he put the glass on the table, Dean noticed the remnants of white powder. Suddenly, passing out last night and feeling so bad this morning made perfect sense. His brother had roofied him.
That made Dean mad. Why couldn't Sam just talk to him. Yell at him, sure. Hell, punch him if it made him feel better. But drug him? How desperate was he to dump him? Well, he had to give Sam some credit. If he'd just left while Dean was at the bar, he wouldn't have been able to guarantee himself as long a head start.
Dean sighed and slumped onto a chair, elbows resting on the table and head in his hands. That's all that Sam had wanted. To ditch him. He didn't want to talk to him. Why would he? He'd been lying to his brother for months. He'd already had months to figure this out and was no closer to any answers.
Dean slammed both fists onto the table, causing the water glass to jump and almost tip over.
"Screw you, Sammy," he spat out to the empty room. "I'm gonna save you whether you want me to or not. You're not getting rid of me that easy."
Twenty minutes later Dean was in the Impala having showered, changed, packed, and paid his bill. The water glass sat forgotten on the table. He'd live with the pain, his aching head just another reminder of how he'd let his brother down again.
He had no way of knowing for sure where his brother had gone, when he'd left, or how he was travelling. It occurred to Dean that his brother could have chosen to fly somewhere. Dean would never willingly get on a plane, and Sam had never asked it of him, but Dean knew that Sam had no problem with flying. Maybe he should check the airports?
Dean knew immediately that the car stolen from the motel last night was how his brother had left the motel. As soon as the manager had started talking about it, Dean knew that Sam had taken it. But he might have decided to ditch it as quickly as possible. Sam would know that Dean would figure out who had taken the car.
Dean shook his head. He still felt muddled. Of course, he'd felt like he was drowning ever since his father had whispered in his ear all those months ago. Dean was pretty sure that Sam was counting on him being off his game.
Dean pulled out his phone. He was headed to the nearest airport. Wouldn't hurt to check. In the mean time, he could see if anyone else had seen or heard from his brother.
"Dean. You boys alright? Haven't got yourselves into trouble again have you?"
"Um, no. Not really. Bobby? Have you heard from Sam?"
"Should I have? What happened?" Dean couldn't see Bobby shake his head, but he did hear him sigh.
"We... we...um kind of had a fight, and he took off." Dean tried but didn't quite keep the tremor out of his voice.
"Damn. Sorry kid. Haven't heard a peep from him. I'll call you if I do hear anything, and I'll get the word out."
"Thanks Bobby. I knew that I could count on you," Dean replied. "Um... Bobby? Have you had any leads on demonic activity?"
"No. There was a spike in activity this past week in the northwest, but it seems to have settled down again. It's pretty quiet right now. Why do you ask?" Bobby's voice reflected his concern.
"No reason. I just think Sam might be looking for something like that," Dean tried to stay vague. There was no way he was telling anyone else that damn secret. Not even Bobby.
"For both your sakes, I hope you're wrong about that."
"Yeah. Thanks Bobby."
"Be careful, Dean. Sam can look out for himself. I know you don't see it, but he's a big boy now. I'll call if I hear anything, and you call if you find that idjit," Bobby's voice was gruff as always, but Dean was still comforted.
After hanging up, Dean tried Ellen. She hadn't heard from Sam either but promised to call if that changed. Dean was sure that Sam was heading for the roadhouse. Ash had become their most valuable source for all things demonic, and Dean knew that Sam was hell-bent on finding answers.
Dean checked the airport. After showing Sam's picture around for an hour, he'd come up with nothing except some suspicious stares from airport security. Dean decided it was most likely that Sam was heading back through the more central states. He briefly considered California, but then decided that was one place he could pretty well rule out. All the leads in Palo Alto were stone cold. Dean drove until it was too late to really make it worthwhile to get a room the first night. He pulled into a closed gas station to rest his eyes and woke up when the owner showed up at 7 to open for business. Dean grabbed a cup of coffee, a bottle of water, and a package of M&Ms.
Dean drove the whole day, checking in periodically with Bobby and Ellen. It was late in the day when he figured he just couldn't keep driving and pulled off to get a room. He paid the one night in advance and then parked the Impala in front of the room. Dean grabbed his duffle and strode up to the door. Just as he was about to put the key in the lock he froze.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't spend another night alone in a motel room. The empty bed beside him just another reminder of his shortcomings.
Dean backed away from the door, turned to the Impala, threw his duffle in the back seat and climbed back behind the wheel. He was sweating and shaking. He backed out of the spot and got back on the highway.
He found a truck stop with showers and finally managed to force down a bowl of soup. He spent that night pulled onto the shoulder of the highway.
Next morning he tried Bobby and Ellen again. Still nothing. Dean managed to drink a cup of coffee but his stomach started to rebel at the very thought of food. He bought a bag of M&Ms anyway and a couple of bottles of water just in case. He knew he should eat. It was getting harder to concentrate. Or maybe it was just getting harder to distract himself from thinking and re-thinking his decision not to tell his brother what their father had said. He'd only wanted to protect his brother. He'd wanted to figure it out first. And then he'd re-think what his father had said. Maybe he'd heard him wrong. Maybe he'd misinterpreted what he meant. And then he'd re-think telling his brother.
When Dean remembered telling his brother and relived the whole scene at the lake in his head, he had to pull over. He barely got the door open before he was sick. Which was pretty anti-climactic considering there was virtually nothing in his stomach.
God. Why was he such a screw up? No wonder Sam left. He couldn't protect his brother. He couldn't even keep his father's insane ideas to himself. Sam hadn't deserved that. Just when Sam had begun to find some kind of peace with his relationship with their father. No wonder Sam couldn't stand the sight of him.
He'd just have to do better. Show Sam that he believed in him and was willing to support him whatever he wanted to do. Show him that he didn't believe Dad. That he didn't always have to be the good soldier. Because there was no way that Dean was ever going to kill his brother.
Dean got back on the road.
Finally, that night he got a call from Ellen. Sam was safe.
Dean pulled off at the next exit and ordered something to eat. He still couldn't face a motel room and made do with a couple hours of sleep in the Impala, but at least he had a full stomach. Tomorrow he'd find Sam and after ripping him a new one for ditching him, he'd start to make it up to Sam for his being such an ass since Dad died.
It was a little past mid-day when Dean pulled into the Blue Rose Motel. He kept the Impala to the furthest corners of the parking lot. He didn't want to tip his brother off that he was there; he couldn't risk him bolting again. No. He'd scope the place out first. It was the fifth motel that Dean had checked.
Dean scanned the open windows looking for a particular shaggy head and didn't have to wait long to be rewarded. He let out his breath that he hadn't even realized he'd been holding. Sam's ginormous back filled the window, and he turned to look out the sliding glass door.
"Thank God you're ok." Sam moved, and Dean could see a young woman.
"Why, you're better than ok," and then Dean's face split in a huge grin.
"Sam, you sly dog," Dean chuckled. Apparently Sammy was feeling a lot better. Dean decided the brothers' reunion could wait. Dean was just so happy to see his brother. His brother who was apparently making good use of being on his own.
Dean settled in to wait. Out of habit he carefully scanned his surroundings. That's when he spotted Gordon. And the high powered rifle in his hands.
"Shit!" Dean was out of the Impala and sprinting towards the container Gordon was perched on. Dean was closer to Gordon, and even though he couldn't get off a decent shot, it made more sense to try to stop him than take the time to warn Sam.
Gordon managed to squeeze off three shots before Dean got to him.
"Gordon!" Dean's foot connected with the side of his head. But Gordon was a tough and experienced hunter – it barely phased him.
The fight was short. Dean was far from at his best; he'd barely eaten or slept since Sam had left. Nonetheless, he repeatedly punched Gordon in the face, savouring every hit and channelling all of the anger that had been steadily building inside of him.
"You do that to my brother? I'll kill you!"
"Dean, wait," Gordon attempted to stop the beating.
And then Gordon's gun made contact with the side of his head. Dean was thrown sideways off of the other hunter. He shook his head, trying to rid himself of the stars blocking his vision. Dean's sight cleared just in time for him to see the butt of Gordon's rifle coming at his face. And then.... there was nothing.
Dean was tied to a chair when he came to. The pounding headache that he'd just managed to get rid of was back with a vengeance and so was his rebellious stomach.
"Good to see you back with me, Dean."
"Gordon," Dean bit out, his voice harsh and rough in his own ears.
"I need you to make a phone call for me," Gordon stated, coming up beside Dean with his phone.
"Screw you," Dean snapped back.
Gordon's quick jab to Dean's face had him seeing stars again.
"You know the drill, Dean. There's the easy way to do this and the hard way. Your choice." Gordon smiled at Dean. There was no doubt in Dean's mind what choice Gordon was hoping he was going to make, at least at first.
"You're a stubborn bastard, you know that? And stupid too," Dean wasn't planning on disappointing Gordon. He'd have to make it look good if he was going to get any kind of chance to warn Sam. Dean knew that whether he called him or not, Sam would come looking for him as soon as he saw the Impala.
"I think that the winner of the stupid and stubborn prize probably has the last name Winchester," Gordon taunted as he backhanded Dean again.
As it turned out, Sam didn't see the Impala before he called Dean for help. But Dean felt a swell of pride when he knew that Sam had heard and understood their private signal. Of course, he was pissed that Gordon had figured out that he'd managed to warn Sammy. Now he'd have to sit by helplessly like a useless appendage and hope to hell that Sam didn't get himself blown up...
Suddenly the night was torn with shots.
"C'mon," Dean yelled.
Why won't Sammy ever let me end the guy? Dean wondered not for the first time.
"You call this taken care of?" Dean shouted.
Dean shoved Sam ahead of himself just as he felt an impact with his left bicep. Just three more steps and they'd be safe, but as he dove for the ditch, Dean felt white hot pain along his left side. He stifled the gasp of surprise and grunted as he hit the ground beside his brother.
"What the hell are we doing here?" Dean asked as he peered over the edge of the shallow ditch they were hiding in.
"Just trust me on this, all right?" Sam shot back.
Dean opened his mouth to protest and shut it when he heard the sirens. His brother was a genius. And then Gordon was on his knees, dropping his weapons, and the brothers were grinning like mad at each other.
"You're a fine upstanding citizen," Dean grinned at his brother.
They pulled over for gas and something to eat on the way to Peoria. There was no way that Dean was letting Sam know he'd been grazed. He'd just do a quick patch job now and look after it when they stopped for the night. He was sure it was nothing. He knew he was lightheaded, but he was still running on almost no sleep or food. Being unconscious didn't really count as sleep. He'd feel better once he'd had something to eat.
While Sam went in to get them something to eat and coffee, Dean pumped the gas. Once he was done, Dean leaned into the Impala and snagged a roll of electrical tape that he had stashed in the glove box. He slid it into his pocket and indicated to Sam that he was going to visit the washroom while Sam paid for the gas and the rest of his purchases.
Dean was glad for the dark jacket he was wearing. You couldn't see the blood on it, and he had to admit that he was a little surprised at the amount of blood.
Dean hissed as he slid his jacket and flannel shirt off. The one bullet had passed pretty harmlessly through his bicep. He cleaned it up quickly with a little soap and water. He wrapped some paper towel around it and secured it with the electrical tape. The electrical tape had the added benefit of acting a little like a tourniquet. There was enough give to insure that there was still circulation in the limb, but it was tight enough to discourage bleeding.
Dean smiled grimly to himself. He'd learned the advantages of electrical tape a long time ago, and that's why he always kept a roll in the glove compartment. It was an excellent, multi-purpose triage tool.
Dean hissed again as he lifted his t-shirt to inspect the graze to his side. It wasn't all that deep, but it was fairly long and it was still oozing pretty good. Luckily, most of the blood from this one had soaked into the waistband of his jeans. He again quickly cleaned the wound with soap and water. He'd be sure to put some antiseptic cream on both of them when he could sneak the first aid kit.
Part of Dean considered just fessing up to Sammy, but another part was embarrassed that he hadn't said anything at the time. Yet another, and perhaps the biggest part, didn't want Sam to see him as having screwed up yet again. As too weak to be the protection and support his brother needed.
Dean snorted at that. He'd let Gordon get the drop on him, and Sammy was the one who had done the rescuing. Dean hadn't protected Sam from the bruises covering Sam's face. Dean had been pathetically tied to an old chair.
Once the wound on his side was clean, Dean first used pieces of electrical tape for butterfly bandages, securing the edges of the wound together. Then he laid some paper towels over the still weeping wound and secured it with some tape.
When he was done, Dean pulled his t-shirt back down and put his shirt and jacket on. He had a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and upper lip. Quickly splashing water on his face, Dean hurried back out to the Impala before Sam could start to wonder where he was. As it turned out, Sam was on his phone trying to contact that Ava girl again. Dean was really getting curious about what had happened between his brother and that chick. Dean stashed his jacket in the trunk and grabbed his other jacket.
Dean slid behind the wheel trying to keep his face neutral. He would really kill for some ibuprofen at this point but that would just make Sam curious. Sam had grabbed coffee and sandwiches which weren't too stale. Dean gratefully sipped at the steaming coffee. Despite the sweat that still graced his face he was feeling the chill of the evening. Just the thought of the sandwich made him want to gag, but he forced himself to choke down a few bites before taking advantage of Sam's distraction in trying Ava's number unsuccessfully yet again. Dean quickly tossed the majority of the sandwich out the window.
"God, Dean. You ate that already?" Sam said as he hung up. "I could have gotten you two if I'd known you were so hungry."
Dean just shrugged and was grateful for the darkness in the car that must be covering up how green he felt.
A/N2: Anybody still interested in part 2?