Title: Shades of Comfort

Author: Ghost4

Disclaimer: I don't own them, I'm making no money. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Author's Note: This was supposed to be a little one shot to get me through a small case of writers block. While on a chat, I asked everyone (two Sam!girls, one Dean!girl, and one Brothers!girl) what their favorite H/C was. The responses I received were: Concussion, Restraints, Intubations, and Blood-loss. The idea was to write a little H/C piece using everyone's favorite type of injury. Short and fun. *sigh*. Not so much.

So this is dedicated to my chat buddies… hope you guys like it.

Also: for anyone who is worried - this fic is complete. I'm posting as I edit. I will still be working on Parting Shot.

As always: Any responses, good, bad, or indifferent, are very welcome.

Dust. Not just he smell of it, the thin, dirt-like undertone to the air – but also the feel of it, gritty and coating his nose, his throat. He frowned, not really conscious yet but aware that something was wrong with the air. Each breath irritated; moldy and dry, and eventually it was enough to make his lungs rebel and he coughed.

Pain. Horrible, crippling pain ripped though his head. The massive throb of it made him gasp, which made him inhale more dust, which made him cough, which brought more pain. It was a vicious, endless cycle and it was going to kill him, his head was just going to shatter leaving nothing more than a broken skull full of dust….

Unconsciously he started to reach up, to try and cover his mouth or rub his eyes – but his hand only came up a few inches before something caught it, held it.

The fear did what the dust and pain could not, and Dean came fully awake, forcing his eyes open past the blinding pain in his skull and yanking to free his hands.

It didn't work. He was bound, restrained by something that creaked like old leather and twisted around each wrist and his feet. Carefully, he took a breath, calming himself and trying to figure out where he was and what had happened.

It felt like he was laying on some sort of thin bed. It smelled like he was strapped down to a pile of moldy, rusty blankets. The whole thing shifted and rattled when he moved. It all added up to one creepy-ass image: gurney. He was strapped to an old medical gurney. Well, wasn't that just perfect.

At least he remembered where he was now.

Kentucky. Freaking DeLanney Park Sanatorium. An old, long abandoned TB camp from back in the thirties.

This was all freaking Bobby's fault. And Sam's. And the idiot brigade's. It was all their faults that he was trussed up on a freaking gurney like a hog on a butcher's table.

See if he ever did them any more favors.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't Sam's fault. But damn it, he was having a lousy night and somebody had to pay…and Bobby was too far away. So he was going to blame Sam by default.

Dean pulled again at the old restraints, hearing the brittle leather creak and feeling the hardened edges dig into the skin of his wrists. And the straps might be old, but they still knew their job, and Dean stayed bound to the table.

He would have beat his head against the thin mattress in frustration, but even the thought of the shockwave of that soft impact was enough to make his head throb and his stomach churn.

He knew the feel of a bruised brain very well, and diagnosed himself with a low grade concussion. Enough to hurt, enough to make him miserable…but not enough to stop him from moving if – when – he needed to. Thank god for small favors.

He tallied up his options. He could go back to sleep; just close his eyes and let the pain fade away – though he was pretty sure that was actually a craptastic idea, since he had no inkling about which of the freaking army of deadites had put him here in the first place, or when it would be back.

He could fight the fetters, tear the hell out of his wrists; and get nowhere, because the restraints were pretty damned restraining.

Or he could maybe rock the gurney, tip it over…and end up face down in the dust, still tied to the freaking table. He couldn't see how that would help, really.

He could scream.

He thought about it, sucking his teeth and staring up into the dark. If he screamed he might get Sam. He really wanted Sam. Sam could fix this. Sam should fix this; it was all his fault anyway.

But screaming might draw in whatever had tied him up to this bed in the first place, so no. Besides, the way his head felt, making that much noise might just be the last straw and pop his skull open like a rotted melon. Man, his head hurt. Maybe closing his eyes, just for a second, wasn't such a bad plan after all.

No. No. No way was he gonna just lay here like some kind of damsel in distress when there were ghoulies just begging to have their asses kicked.

He kicked and struggled, pulling at the straps on his wrists, fighting the binding around his ankles. Blood began to run. He yanked harder. He gave one more massive wrench – and the gurney tottered. He froze, hands clamping onto the sides of his narrow prison, eyes wide in the dark as he waited to see if he was about to faceplant on the floor….

The gurney wobbled, a motion that went straight to Dean's already uneasy stomach – and man, he so did not want to blow chunks while strapped down flat on his back – then it settled back on all four of its wheels with a solid thunk.

Dean took a deep, relived breath. Not falling onto his face while his hands were bound was a good thing all by itself, but if the gurney had gone over it most likely would have dislocated his shoulder. Again.

He just laid back for a minute, riding out the wave of nauseous pain that followed any movement of his head. He was trapped; helpless and vulnerable and alone in the dark.

This was so not good.

He thought about it for maybe half a second… then started struggling again. He kicked. He thrashed. He bucked.

Eventually, lightheaded with pain and breathless with exertion, he had to stop. Little white sparks danced through his vision, matching the throb of his heart and the beat of pain in his skull. The bands holding him weren't even a little bit looser.

Well, that was just freaking awesome.

He laid his head back puffing out a frustrated breath.

So much for option one. Time for option two.