By: Karen B.
Summary: Simple. Frivolous. Short. Sweet. Why? Because -- stuff happens. A lake monster. A hurt Sam. More hurt Sam. And yet -- even more hurt Sam. Tender, brutally handsome, hero on a white stallion -- or behind the wheel of the bat mobile -- Dean.
Dedicated to my friend, PHX: Hoping this picks you up!
Disclaimer: Kripke is the big fish of the seven seas. I'm just a fry -- swimming in a plastic cup.
Thank you always for the kindness in reading,
He was a little bit lonely -- okay a lot of bit lonely. Choking and clearing water from his nose and throat. Fatigue had set in fast and Sam was beyond any meaning or thought. How could he have let Bessie catch him off guard?
He was smarter than the average hunter. He wasn't paying attention, and the lake monster had snagged hold of his ankle, dragging him off the pier and into the dirty water of Lake Erie faster than Dean could say Hooters.
Sam fought hard, but the harder he fought, the harder the thirty-foot snake-like creature fought back, pulling him further and further away from land -- away from Dean. Sam had floated off easily, like a child's beach ball -- swept away by a summer breeze. Only this was no breeze. And Sam. Sam was no beach ball. It was disturbing to think, Bessie could swallow him whole. Three other's had already met her fate. Sam briefly wondered how long it would take him to digest in the giant serpent's belly. Or worse, what he would look like coming out the other end. How many human skeletons lay at the bottom, undisturbed beneath the rolling waves. Lake Erie may be the shallowest of the Great Lakes, but that didn't mean it wasn't the deadliest.
Sam could still see the shore line. The dock he'd been standing on, smaller now. Seemingly drifting farther away. He felt himself sinking,but he had to try, anxious to get back to the dry land. Within seconds he realized -- he couldn't. Bessie had pushed him too far out, he had expended almost all his energy fighting her off, desperate just to keep his head up-- failing miserably -- ingesting lake water.
Sam was 'not' the little fish who could. Normally a strong swimmer he had weakened considerably. Hesitating between breaths, having difficulty feeling arms and legs, head bobbing just below the surface. His clothes -- sodden and heavy. Tight denim and tee shirt plastered to his skin, hindering his range of motion.
He didn't exactly know why he was staring at sand, rock, and swaying kelp instead of blue sky.
He'd gone down, not up. Gotten turned around, heading toward a murky grave. He was so cold. So weak. Exhausted, and barely moving. Not one to give up, Sam somersaulted -- hands scrambling at the water, clawing fingers urgent to tear their way through, propel his head back up to the life giving oxygen of his world. Arms flapping, feet kicking, nostrils burning, urging ever bit of strength he had in him to climb his way out.
Seemed like a lifetime, but Sam finally broke the surface. Desperate, sputtering, trying to call for help. Call out to Dean -- inhaling and choking on foamy lake water -- gasping for breath. His body went rigid, cramps hitting him hard. Sam fought the desire to double over. Drowning was said to be a tranquil peaceful way to die. Sam grunted. Not everything you Googled was true. Drowning was scary and lonely -- Sam's lungs already a tight mass of pain, his entire body lake-water cold -- deadening his awareness.
Looking upwards, Sam took in the blue sky, a lone bird, or was that a cloud passing by. Water rippled around his ears. He tilted his head far back, chin raised high, yet, barely keeping his face above the water's surface. Bessie was playing with him. An oversized, killer kitten -- Sam -- her ball of yarn.
Yanking him down.
Letting him surface.
Yanking him down, again.
He wasn't going to make it.
"Sam! Sammy!" Dean's far away voice beckoned him.
For the moment Bessie had let him be. Sam thrashed about in a frenzy, trying to stay afloat but only slipping under -- popping back up -- rasping agonizingly. He knew he was drowning slowly, and was desperate to connect with his brother one last time. Everything wavered. Jiggled. Colors diluting, like looking through a Jell-O-shot, perhaps drinking one. Yet, Sam somehow managed to follow his brother's voice, catch sight of Dean as he raced across the graying, slated planks of the dock.
"Swim! Sammy, swim!" Dean yelled, reaching the end of the dock and diving in headlong -- total abandon.
Sam scolded himself. The fight in him renewed.
Don't give up.
Never let go.
Find a way.
Sam struggled, all his attention focused on Dean's command, knowing his brother was on his way. He just needed to hold out a little longer, but his left arm had already gone completely numb, his other limbs would soon follow.
The snake-like thing in the water was unnerving, creeping around underneath him. There were no footfalls to announce Bessie's approach, and he could only see a few inches into the darkened water. Sam listened for Dean, but all he heard now was the wind whistling cold in his ear, and water lapping against his neck. There was nothing but open water everywhere he looked. Where was Dean? An abandoned sick-in-his-heart sensation took over. Sooner or later, Sam was going under -- and staying under. Dean would never be able to find his body in the blackish green lake.
Sam caught a glimpse of a large outline swimming past. He panicked. He had lost his weapon. There was no wall to back up against. No tree to climb. The misty- gray shadow coming straight toward him. Muscular body surging by, brushing against Sam's side -- tingling his skin -- chilling him to the bone.
"Gaah." Sam spun around in a circle following the dark shape.
The water was freezing cold -- and Sam -- he was confused, frightened, disoriented, hardly treading water.
Swim. Sammy, swim. Dean's voice -- a warning -- in his head.
Sam's sluggish memory struggled to define the word. An aquatic sport. To travel through water -- stay a float, don't touch bottom, don't breathe in the liquid. The monstrous dark silhouette brushed by him again, and this time Sam caught sight of one watery-gray eye peering hungrily up at him. Bessie was that one, big fish that always got away. With widely separated eyes for super vision, jagged teeth for tearing, her sheer size and agility -- all made for one scary-ass fish.
"Shit," Sam's breath came in short sporadic pants. His brain was swimming, but his body wasn't. "Ahhh!" Sam cried out suddenly, unsure of what hurt worse, his heaving chest or the stabbing pain of teeth sinking into his right calf.
Was he swimming? He couldn't be certain, everything was numb, the pressure in his chest -- burning -- the only thing that felt warm. He was pulled under again, hands groping for a hold of something, anything -- a rope -- but only water slipped through his splayed fingers.
Sam kicked his feet. Waved his arms. Still he sank. Ears filling with water, like a fish who's fins had been ripped off, gills stuffed with sludge.
He struggled once again up to the surface, drawing in a gasping breath.
Sam sucked in a deep, choking breath. "D'n." Consciousness was slipping, but he swore he could hear the splashing of Dean's hurried rescue efforts. Or was that the lake monster? "H're," Sam gasped in distress, the call of his name now buzzing in his ears -- Dean begging him to hold on. "Deee…" Sam's breath slipped in and out along with a mouthful of water. "Can't," he gurgled, shook his head.
Sam took a deep breath and sank.
Dean wouldn't get to play his favorite dark and mysterious superhero -- Batman.
Grappling hook woud be nice, right about now, he thought, pressing his lips together to keep the water out.
As if on cue, above him on the surface, the waves rippled. Strong arms reached out, cutting through the water, two legs kicking hard -- propelling the human form forward.
Sam forced himself not to call out, his arms searching, reaching upward toward his rescuer, but still he sank -- his body giving up. He took in the grisly details as the lake monster appeared -- jaws open -- ferociously heading Sam's way. He was going to die.
The big bitch was looking straight at him when the glint of metal caught Bessie off guard, a knife jammed into her left eye.
'Dean.' Sam gasped involuntairly, air-bubbles escaping his mouth.
Dean's swimming ability was awesome -- twisting and turning. Stabbing Bessie over and over -- in an all out underwater fight.
Swirls of blood, darker than the water itself invaded Sam's mouth and nose. He wanted to spit the vile invasion out. Breathe in something clean and fresh, but it came to mind, if he did that right now his life would be all over. He continued to sink, staring upward. Dean and the monster circling above -- ignoring him -- bravely locked in battle.
Everything began to slow down. The water -- slim green -- turning cloudy brown as Sam neared the sandy bottom.
Sam, sucked in water --silently coughing -- sucking in more. The lake tearing and burning, filling his lungs up like an old rubber boot.
Water flowing down the back of his throat -- taking his tongue with it -- strangling him.
He tried to lift his head, look at his brother. Dean was all that mattered to him now. Seeing him just one last time, but the water pressure wouldn't allow Sam's simply last request.
He couldn't feel the pain anymore. Couldn't feel a thing. He needed to sleep. Accepting his fate, Sam went totally limp. Muddy brown turning ink-well black, the last of his air escaping in an Alka-Seltzer-like fizz of bubbles out his mouth and nose.
Someone or something, grabbed hold of him, a firm band wrapped around his chest. Holding him afloat. Tugged him upward. Sam wanted to fight, but couldn't. All he could do was hang limply in the hold of whatever had him now.
Closing his eyes -- floating in a dream.
Sam was semi-aware of being tugged from the water's hold. Dragged across grit. Belly flopped face down. Someone was choking, gagging beside him.
"Sam! Sam." A strangled voice summoned him, frantic in his ear. "Damn it, Sammy!" So close now Sam could feel warm breath on him, but he couldn't take any of the air in. "Son of a bitch. Dude! Open your friggin' eyes!"
Screw you, buddy.
Sam didn't want to obey. Who was this nut job? He was warm here. Strangely calm. Pain free. He wanted to tell this crazed person to leave him alone. He was okay. He was at peace. But hard as Sam tried -- he just couldn't.
Hands fumbled awkwardly with him, rolled him over roughly, his head flopping back. Cold, trembling fingers invaded his space. Pressed along the side of his neck, annoyingly hard -- here and there. Sam tried to slap the hand away, strange, nothing worked.
"No." The cold fingers stilled in one spot "No, no, no!"
Sam wandered through a fluffy white cloud. Someone behind him barking out orders.
"Hold on!" A distant pained voice kept repeating.
Hold on to what?
There was nothing, but white fog.
"One-two-three- four-breathe. One-two-three-four-breathe." A composed voice repeated over and over, small amounts of warm air fluttering down his closed off throat.
What the hell?
A pounding come to his chest. His heart? No. The force was not coming from the inside as it should, but from the outside.
"No…" The voice was muffled as if a pillow had been shoved over his head. "…Saaa…mmm…yyy." He was drifting slowly, floating away.
The pounding came faster, fisted, nearly making him sit bolt up, making his heart jump once then still, his body thumping hard to the ground.
And shit, okay, that hurt.
There was pressure against his chest again, rib cage moving. Bone rubbing bone. Up and down. His heart forced to beat in quick jerks. This was wrong. All wrong, and Sam was losing all of his senses.
The peace was gone.
Replaced with fear.
Lungs stuffed inside a glass jar full of water --crushing him.
Someone called to him. No, screamed. And not just someone -- Dean. His brother's shaking hands running through his hair, thumbing along his cheekbone. He couldn't hear what Dean was saying, but could tell he was afraid.
"Slacker, do your job!" Dean's voice grew louder, growling angrily.
He heard that.
Sam tried to obey, but his body was not his anymore. He twisted and turned about in the darkness. Trying to find his way out. Suddenly, he saw the green carpet of spring come into focus. A lush meadow filled with yellow buttercups and one enormous sturdy oak tree in the center. It was like he was captured in a world within a world. Sam watched as something appeared from behind the tree. A pretty girl, watching him. White wings -- soft as petals -- unfolded slowly. Her light brown eyes found his. He looked closer. A tiny drop slid down her cheek. How many facets of the universe could be held captive in a single tear?
Everything was all too clear now.
Jessica. His world of golden happiness. Brilliant. Peaceful.
Jessica beaconed him nearer. Wanted him to journey beyond the meadow. A fog of sleep seemed to creep over Sam. He knew there was something beautiful yet to be discovered if he went with her. He so wanted to go with her. He missed Jess so damn much. But, something held him in place. A cold frost fringed around his whole body, and he knew he was on the edge of death. One step was all Sam need take to complete the journey from the cold painin to summer warmth and peace. One step and he would know all the answers to all the questions he had ever asked. Jessica stood patiently, waiting for him to decide. Her eyes soft as sparrow's wings and a love that could consume his every tear, every hurt. He heard Jessica's voice in his head. He was not to be afraid. Everything that lives; becomes something else. There is no ending. There was no end of the line--only another beginning.
"Jesus, today, bitch!" A voice broke forth through the silence, and absorbed him. "Damn you!" It was strong pulling him back. The voice wasn't about to let him take that single step. "Come on!" Something inside Sam recognized the fact that the voice was right. He needed to breathe. He wasn't done with his life. Jessica smiled. She understood. She would wait.
Sam shivered, felt like the coldest morning he could ever remember. The meadow turned white with frost, ice crystals hung from the oak and the buttercups were hidden beneath a blanket of white. The spell broken, he felt like a snowflake drifting into blackness.
"Sam!" His chin was tugged upward, mouth pulled open, warm lips pressed to his cold ones.
Hot breath trailed down his throat.
"Don't!" A voice yelled.
"You are not geeking-out on me, man!"
Sam could hear water lapping against a grassy bank.
Another mouthful of air.
Sam struggled, but only arms and legs twitched.
"Sam! Stop screwing with me!"
A hard slap to his right cheek.
Sam's fingers flexed, something gritty filling his palm.
"Sammy! Right now!"
A hard slap to his left.
"Son of a bitch! Do you hear me!"
He heard, but was paralyzed.
Can't. Can't. Dean, help.
Two more deep breaths raised his chest.
"Take in some friggin' air! Do I make myself clear?" Forceful hands gripped him by the shoulders, shaking the daylights out of him.
Still -- everything went still.
"Sammy, please." A quiet whisper breezed across his eyelashes. "Sam! Breathe!" he yelled.
Dean. He had to get to Dean.
Sam felt his right hand move -- his right leg.
"Yes." Came an excited whoop.
Sam's head turned to the side, toward th voice, his body suddenly thrusting upward.
"Yes, yes, yes!"
Water silently gushed from his mouth, and nose.
"Thank God." Frantic hands rolled him onto his side.
"Guh!" Sam drew his knees inward.
"That's it, little brother."
A faceless enforcer pummeled the center of his back.
Sam's chest was throbbing, his body hurt all over.
Was he crying? No, he was to busy choking, desperate for air.
"Here." Two strong arms wrapped around him. "Right here." He was tugged up to sitting. "Get it out, pal. Get it all out. Come on now. Breathe in!"
Sam squirmed in the hold, doing his level-best to do as he was told.
He couldn't open his eyes, lashes glued and bunched together.
Sam leaned back against the well-known body, his head rolling side to side.
"Stupid, Sam. Just… stupid!" Dean rocked him roughly. "Breathe out."
Lesson's in breathing? Just who was the stupid one?
Sam let out a painful moan and opened his eyes.
"Lemme…le…mme…up," Sam gagged, trying to move, but was pinned against a heaving chest.
"Stay put," Dean huffed. "Give yourself a minute. Me too, while you're at it. I just drug both our asses out of Bessie's toilet." Dean trembled slightly. "You almost drowned on me. Hell, you did drown on me!" His voice snapped, hands tightening their hold.
"Dean…too tight," Sam panted.
"Dude, y'r crushing me," Sam wheezed. "Le' m' up."
"Sorry." Dean let up. "You scared the crap out of me, Sam."
"What we doin' in the…r..r…rain?" Sam blinked droplets of water from his eyes.
Dean bent forward catching Sam's eye. "Not rain. Lake water. You…crap, Sammy, I…you…" Dean's gaze slide sideways. "You…you went under. I didn't think I got to you in time. Sam." Dean made eye contact again. "What happened? How'd Charlie Tuna's wife get hold of you?"
Sam frowned, quickly remembering he muttered, "Oops."
"I…just… oops." Sam shivered. and started coughing again, whole body vibrating from the effort to rid itself of the dirty lake water.
"Easy." Dean's flattened hand rubbed back and forth along Sam's chest. "Just easy, take it easy."
A few minutes of coughing, gagging and dripping water passed -- Sam finally settling.
Panting with exertion he looked up at Dean. "How'd you get to me? Last I remember, I was pretty far down."
"I walk on water."
"Oh, yeah, forgot."
"Don't ever forget again, Nemo." Dean reached down and brushed the grit from Sam's face.
"Car," Sam muttered.
"Wrong," Dean said sternly.
"Sam, you're barely coherent, your leg is bleeding, and your sopping wet… inside and out and you weren't breathing."
"Breathing just fine…" Sam coughed whole-bodily. "…Now. C…c…car."
"Check that idea, Bitch, you still have piss water in your lungs and you look like a drown cat." Dean trembled. "Blast it anyway, Sam, you almost died."
"You gave me mouth to mouth?" Sam asked weakly.
"Don't make it weird, man," Dean grumbled.
"No hospital." Sam's head tilted to the side. "Please." Lost puppy, staring straight up at Dean with wet, sad -- take me home eyes.
"Dude, that's cheating."
Sam smiled weakly.
"Fine." Dean slowly wiggled out from under Sam.
"Fine." Sam began following his brother's upward momentum, not even halfway when the earth dumped him upside down. Sam shot a hand out to grab onto Dean -- missing his mark.
"Whoa! Hey! Hey!" Dean caught hold of him before he could fall. "What the hell are you doing?"
"No way." Dean gripped Sam lowering him to sitting. "You're to weak to walk anywhere." Dean hunkered down on the balls of his feet, eyeballing Sam sternly. "I'll go get the car."
There was a but on the tip of Sam's tongue, he bit it back knowing by the look in Dean's eye he didn't stand a chance of winning that argument.
"You wait here, Sam. Don't move." Dean fixed him with a hard stare. "I mean it Sam. Don't. You. Move!"
"Not an idiot." Sam shivered. "College boy, remember?"
"Thinks he's so smart," Dean muttered, hiking his voice up an octave.
"Not today he doesn't," Sam coughed into his fist.
"Won't take me long, bro." Dean patted Sam's shoulder and stood. " I'll have the car nice and warm for you," Dean said bleakly, turning to leave.
Sam shuddered. Leaving? Dean was leaving. He'd be alone again. Floating away. In the dark water. By himself.
"Dean." A panicked sob left Sam's lips.
Dean stopped, half-turning around.
Sam looked away embarrassed by his weakness, pressing a palm to his chest suppressing a cough.
"Sammy?" A question.
"Sam!" An order
Sam turned his head peering up at Dean.
Dean waggled an index finger at his brother. "Don't you ever, and I mean ever… 'oops' me again. Got it?" Bullying.
"I got you covered, Sam. Inside and out." Dean lowered his head, eyes steady. "Car's not far. Just over there." He pointed in the Impala's direction. "Won't be out of your sight for a second. Okay, little brother?"
"Okay, Dean," Sam replied.
Green eyes twinkled. "Watch my back, Sammy. You haven't seen anything like this." A sarcastic smile formed on Dean's lips. "I'm Batman." In a grand gesture, arms waving, imaginary cap twirling, Dean spun around and trotted off.
"My big brother, my hero," Sam whispered fondly, taking in several deep breaths, never taking his sights off his superhero, walks-on-water brother as he got behind the wheel of the Bat mobile.
Chapter Two added