By: Karen B.
Dedicated to: Enkidu07 -- who requested a tad bit more to the story. Thank you for the inspiration, friend.
Buckets of water poured down his throat. Sam tried to open his eyes, but every time, he was only met with a dark haze making him dizzy. Breathing was like torture, something hard constantly slamming into his chest. Over and over. The echo of a panicked voice all around.
He was hot.
Then hot again.
Fiery needles burned his chest.
He was scared.
Where was Dean?
Sam managed to open his eyes.
He was on his back.
Torn to shreds by Bessie.
Lying on the lakes murky bottom. Sand layering around him. Keeping him from moving, his body already decaying. He was cold again. A cold so deep, and so lonely -- it hurt. The undertow rocking him back and forth, making him sick. Waves rolled, curled and churned -- foamy white -- far above. Sunlight barely filtered down through the turbulent water. The warmth, too far to reach him. Too far for Dean to get to him. Too far for Sam to swim.
Neither of them would have the fortitude to make that trip. The lake held him prisoner, pressing down on his chest. One gallon of water weighted 8.3 pounds. How much did Lake Eire weight in at? Sam couldn't do the math fast enough.
All Sam could do was lay there, sixty-two feet under, mindlessly weak. He tried to take in a breath -- gasped and struggled for air -- a coiled viper wrapping around his throat.
He thought of Jessica. Her peaceful image, carving out his heart. Eyes, begging him to come to her, but something wouldn't allow him that right of passage. His face twisted in raw, agonizing pain.
If Sam wasn't underwater, he'd swear he felt tears tug at his lids, spill down his cheeks.
A sharp pain powerfully burrowed through his chest, involuntarily forcing his eyes to squeeze shut.
It was so dark.
He never used to be afraid of the dark.
He could hear Dean screaming. Begging Sam to help him. To do something. To do his job. Something awful was happening to Dean. Bessie. She was after his brother. Desperate to get to Dean, Sam fought, but the muscles in his legs and arms only tightened with cramps, convulsed against his efforts.
He couldn't reach his brother.
Couldn't rescue him.
"Guhhh…" Sam let out a low, painful growl.
Sam did as he was told. Lay very quiet and very still. Whatever he had been dreaming about --faded. Where was he now? He tried to open his eyes, but they refused. He remembered suffocating. A pleading voice. Restless footsteps. Ghost-like fingers running through his hair, tucking him in someplace warm. Sam shifted, trying to roll onto his side, but stopped when a stabbing pain shot through his chest, producing several low grunts.
"Open your eyes." An exhaled whisper in his ear. "Sam." The voice a little louder this time. "Open your eyes."
Sam coughed jaggedly.
"Easy." A cool palm came to rest lightly on his heated forehead.
"Ehhh." The sudden touch made him jolt.
"Just me, Sam."
Sam drew his eyes open slowly -- narrow at best-- staring up into a pair of green ones. He knew this person sitting next to him, but the signal from his brain didn't quiet reach his mouth. A warm feeling washed over Sam. A feeling he pinned down as love. This person would not harm him -- not ever. A few more ripples of pain ran through his chest. Sam grimaced, glancing around the room, trying to reorient himself. Everything wavered, like a flag in a windstorm. Sam absently rubbed at his chest. Hurt. Like a blade shaving off bone -- hurt.
"You with me?"
"I think," Sam croaked, his voice raw.
"What friggin' took you so long!" Green eyes smirked.
"I don't. Might have been....gah." Sam fought to sit up. "...The whiskey," he muttered.
"You wish." A firm hand pressed him back down. "Take it slower, little brother. You haven't gotten your sea legs back yet. No yippie-ki-yay for awhile, rodeo cowboy."
"Yippie…what?" Dean and his metaphors. Sam trembled with cold-- confused -- mind mashed, like overcooked something or other. "D'n," Sam frowned, taking another minute to realize, he was lying in a motel bed, breathing hard and sweating. Pillows, sheets, and blankets tangled and wrapped around him like they'd been through a war zone.
Sam could still feel lake water glugging and gurgling around inside his belly, maybe he'd even swallowed a fish who was hell-bent on escaping the polluted lake. He wanted to throw 'said fish' up -- but swallowed -- keeping the poor little fellow down.
Sam licked his cracked lips. How could they be so dry? He'd drank enough lake water to fill a crater. He needed to sit up or he was going to throw up. He struggled again, fingers crawling out from under the covers, shifting uncomfortably, coughing hard.
"Pigheaded!" Dean growled, slipping a hand behind Sam and helping ease him upright, higher on the pile of pillows. "Here." Dean reached over to the nightstand "Drink this." He lifted a mug to Sam's lips.
Water." Sam shook his head 'no', bangs falling over his eyes. "No, water." He shoved the mug away, sloshing some of the liquid over the rim.
"Not water, pal, tea, just drink it."
"Bossy." Sam pushed his hair off his forehead. With shaky hands he reached for the mug, still out of it and way too weak to navigate the mug to his lips. Dean wrapped a hand around Sam's guiding the mug for him.
"Thanks," Sam mumbled around the cup, taking a few swallows of honey-flavored tea.
"How's the pain?" Dean asked, taking the mug and setting it on the nightstand.
"Painful." Sam slumped back into the pillows, damp bangs falling back into his eyes.
"You know... " Dean drew a hand across Sam's forehead, pulling hair out of his eyes, soothing away the ache. "Not only did you suck in piss water, damn bitch broke a few of your ribs trying to flush your big ass down her toilet bowl."
"My big ass is fi…" Sam half-sat up, hunched over, coughing and bulking. "Ugh." He fisted a handful of sheets, knuckles white as ivory tusks.
Hey, hey, hey." Dean scooted around behind Sam, holding him up, kneading his back gently.
After a moment, the coughing fit stopped, Sam falling against Dean. Heavy with weakness his eyes slipped shut, gasping and trembling hard. Silence hung between them. Sam melting further against his brother's warmth, desperate to stop shaking.
"Huh?" Sam reopened his eyes.
"How 'bout some fires with that shake?" Dean chuckled.
'Sam recognized the small hint of fear shinning through Dean's laughter.'
If Sam thought he was scared and alone, Dean must have felt the same. In his rush to kill Bessie, unable to get to Sam fast enough. The whole weird mouth- to-mouth thing.
"Want to know something?'' Sam whispered, wanting, needing to erase his brother's worry. Let Dean know he had no intentions of dying on him.
"I saw... Jess."
"I saw Jess, you know when I was….was out of it." Sam cocked his head to one side, staring off into space. "She…she wanted me to go with her. She looked good. Peaceful. Happy. I wanted to go. I wanted to feel that peace." Sam's glance flicked up at Dean.
"Why didn't you?" Dean bit down on his lower lip.
Sam shrugged -- the kind of brotherly shrug that said everything.
Dean smiled knowingly
"Dean, that oops thing."
"Sorry. Didn't mean to scare you when I was, when you were giving me…you know…mouth-to…"
"You're making it weird."
"Blah, blah, blah," Sam muttered, his eyelids twitching, fighting the draw of sleep. "Can't keep my eyes open." Sam blinked repeatedly.
"It's okay, Sam, you can go back to sleep."
"You'll be okay?" Sam reached up a hand.
"I'll be okay." Dean entwined their fingers.
Gazes held one another, hard-white knuckled grips -- confirming.
"What about those fries?" Sam's head lolled.
"Donut and coffee run sounds better," Dean said.
"Dean." Sam stiffened, not wanting to be left alone.
"In the morning," Dean informed, not taking his eyes off Sam.
"Stop looking at me like that." Sam nestled closer to Dean, welcoming the smell of oil-tanned leather.
"Like what?" Dean griped.
"Like creepy stalker guy." Sam smiled.
"As far as creepy stalker guys go, I'm awesome," Dean chuckled.
"Agreed." Sam closed his eyes.
"Dude, don't' make it weird," Sam mumbled falling asleep -- smile still on his face.