A/N: I just want to thank everyone for their awesome reviews, and everyone who put this story on their favourites and story alerts! I've had warm fuzzies for days now.
I don't think I write Dean as well as I do Sam, so I hope people aren't disappointed by this chapter, but I did my best.Chapter Two
Dean woke with what felt like the worst hangover in the history of hangovers. His head pounded as if something was trying to break it's way out, his chest ached and nausea was clawing its way up his throat. He had no idea where he was, what day it was, or what he'd done last night to warrant this kind of punishment. He hoped he'd had a good time.
"Eurghmmhuuh," he groaned unintelligibly.
"Dean? You awake?"
Huh. Bobby's voice. Wonder where Sam…
Dean sat bolt upright, almost colliding with Bobby, who had been leaning over him.
"Hey, easy!" Bobby ordered.
"Where's Sam?" Dean demanded, his own discomfort forgotten as he frantically searched the room. His gaze landed on the second bed, and he was up and heading towards it faster than even he thought possible.
"He's been in and out," Dean heard Bobby say behind him, "Mostly out."
Sam looked pale. Dean stared down at the still figure in horror, his mind reeling as he connected vague memories to the state his brother was in. Both of Sam's eyes were black, ringed with dark purple bruises; a small gash on his forehead had been expertly stitched, as well as a cut on his lower lip; dark bruises stood out around his neck, and Dean knew without studying them that they'd match up with his hands; thick bandages smothered his chest and more wrapped around his wrists. The shredded remains of a t-shirt lay on the floor at his feet, cut off in haste and thrown away without a second thought.
"I was possessed," Dean forced out. As if that was some kind of excuse…
"Do you remember anything?" Bobby asked gently.
Dean painfully looked back over his memories. He recalled the sudden overwhelming scent of sulfur, a sharp slice across his chest… the sound of Sam's face hitting a countertop, fighting and screaming for control of his body as he watched himself…
"Enough," he said shortly, shaking the thoughts out of his head. He cleared his throat, "How long…?"
Bobby sat down at the small motel table, huffing out a breath. He ran a hand over a large book on the tabletop. Dean barely glanced at it, his eyes fixed on the steady rise and fall of Sam's chest.
"I figure about five weeks. When I couldn't get Sam on the phone… Took me a while to figure out that it wasn't you I'd been talking to."
"Five weeks," Dean echoed in horror. That long? An involuntary shiver ran down his spine. He felt… contaminated, as if the demon had left a permanent dark mark on his soul.
"It was Meg," he spat, the sudden anger making him lightheaded.
Bobby was eyeing him up, "You should lie down. Being possessed for that long…"
But Dean could tell that Bobby knew he wouldn't listen, and before Bobby had even finished talking, he was up and dragging his chair over to Sam's bedside, pushing Dean down in it.
"At least sit down," he grumbled.
Dean gave in easily, not only because Bobby looked almost as tired as he felt, but because he didn't think his legs would have held him up for much longer anyway. He sunk down into the hard chair, burying his face in his hands for a moment, before returning his weary gaze to Sam.
"It's not your fault, Dean," Bobby said softly, demonstrating an uncanny ability at mind reading.
Dean sucked in a breath.
"How did you find us?" he asked, not-to-smoothly changing the subject, but Bobby didn't push.
"Guess demons don't know about GPS." Bobby gave him a humourless smile, "Tracked your cell phone. Got here just in time." He cast a glance at Sam's battered face, "Wish I'd been a lot faster."
Dean shook his head, "No, you did good, Bobby. Thanks, for… uh…" he gestured vaguely around the room, "The exorcism, and Sam…"
"Don't thank me," Bobby replied gruffly, "Sam did most of it. I just jumped in at the end."
Dean turned to Bobby, stunned, "He did? How?"
Last thing he remembered Sam had been bound to the bed, as helpless as he was. Dean quickly shoved the image to the back of his mind.
Bobby shrugged, "Beats me, but he managed it somehow. I'll bet, if Meg hadn't pulled a knife, he would have finished it too."
Dean swung back to look at Sam, panic building, "A knife?! I… She stabbed him?!"
Bobby ran a weary hand over his face, "Calm down. It's okay. I got the wound cleaned and stitched. It wasn't too deep – maybe you had a bit of control back by that point. He lost a fair bit of blood before I could get to him but he'll be alright."
Dean felt anger building again, which may not have been the best idea as the room suddenly swayed around him.
"I'm gonna kill that bitch!" he growled, thumping a fist down on Sam's bed.
"Get in line," a weak voice mumbled.
The rage drained from Dean immediately as he jerked his head up. Sam was blinking groggily at him.
"Hey," Dean said softly, leaning in, "How you feeling?"
"…holy water…" Sam mumbled, rolling his head on the pillow to look past Dean at Bobby.
"What?" Dean asked, brow crinkling, just before a splash a liquid hit him straight in the face.
"Oh," he muttered, wiping his face with a hand as he turned to see Bobby screwing the lid back onto his flask.
"Had to check," Sam murmured sleepily, his eyelids slipping closed again.
While Sam slept Dean and Bobby tried to piece together the puzzle of what had happened. Seeing Sam conscious – barely – had taken the edge off of Dean's worry. Not enough the sleep, as Bobby had half-heartedly suggested, but enough to let him think a bit clearer. The strong coffee Bobby had forced into his hands, obviously accepting defeat in the task of convincing the older Winchester to rest while the younger was injured, helped too.
"I remember a fight. Me and Sam… or Meg and Sam, whatever… and, God!"
"Start from the beginning," Bobby offered helpfully.
Dean shook his head, trying to place his thoughts into an order that made sense. Eventually they managed to figure out that Bobby's estimate of five weeks was about right. It had been five weeks and two days. Meg had moved from motel to motel, switching every few days. Dean remembered – he didn't think he'd ever forget – snatches of an unconscious Sam handcuffed in the Impala ("That bitch drove my car!"), a string of motel rooms, syringes and beatings, screaming silently inside his own head. Everything else was either blank or a blur.
Bobby filled in his side of the story, explaining that after three weeks without a single word from Sam, and then silence from both brothers, he had grown suspicious. For two weeks he had tracked their cell phones, arriving at numerous motels mere hours after they had left, until he finally pulled up in a parking lot next to the Impala. A few quick words with the manager and a flash of a police ID badge had gotten him their room number.
"Meg was on the verge of busting out of you when I came in, just in time to see Sam go down. There were only a few lines of the exorcism left, and I think she must have been pretty surprised to see me – probably got over-confident after five weeks – 'cause I finished it off before she'd even taken a couple of steps. And then I had two unconscious Winchester's to deal with. You boy's sure know how to get yourselves into trouble."
Dean ran a hand through his hair, feeling a little less zombified now, "Yeah, well, trouble follows us round."
Throughout Bobby's story, Dean had had a chance to inspect the room, inspecting the damage to piece the story together. He hadn't talked much to Sam about his own possession by Meg, preferring to forget and not dwell, but the busted Devil's Trap on the ceiling said that perhaps he should have remembered to mention Meg's little party trick. It seemed that Bobby had already made a start of cleaning the floor but Sam's blood still spread a wide stain on the carpet. Dean sat with his back to it, trying not to imagine himself raising a knife to his brother.
God, he wanted out to get out of this room, put the whole damn mess in the Impala's rear view mirror and never ever think about it again, but Sam needed him, and the condition Sam was in right now told him that they wouldn't be moving on for a while.
Dean knew that they were coming. Despite Sam's repeated assurances that he was okay – which was hardly convincing seeing as he could barely sit up by himself two days after Dean's exorcism – Dean saw the haunted look that appeared in his eyes when he thought Dean wasn't looking, the involuntary flinches when Dean touched him or spoke unexpectedly. Sam had refused pain relief.
"No more drugs," he had said, and the track marks adorning his arm told Dean not to push. Other than that, Sam didn't talk about what had happened.
So of course Dean was expecting the nightmares. He just wasn't entirely prepared for Sam's reaction. Hindsight, of course, told him that he should have been.
Having woken an hour or so earlier from a nightmare of his own, he pushed himself out of bed and padded over to Sam at the first sign of disturbance. He leant over his brother, taking hold of the uninjured shoulder and shaking very lightly.
"Sam, wake up," he whispered.
Sam's eyes shot open with a gasp, widening as they focused on Dean. A fist flew out and caught Dean on the jaw, sending him sprawling. He hit the ground cursing.
"Damn it Sam, it's me!"
Sam blinked at him, confused, then the glaze lifted from his eyes and he took in his surroundings with waking awareness.
"Oh… Shit, I'm sorry, Dean. I didn't…"
"It's okay," Dean muttered, standing up and brushing himself off. "Oh no you don't," he warned as Sam made movements as if to help him, "You stay where you are."
Sam – obedient for once – sunk back down onto the pillows, rolling carefully onto his side.
"Thought it was Meg," Dean finished grimly. "You okay now?"
Sam nodded, resting his head on his arm as Dean plunked himself down on the edge of his bed.
"So," Dean started. Might as well talk about it now. They'd have to some time, and maybe it would be easier in the dark. Maybe. Dean cleared his throat.
"Five weeks, huh?"
Sam's eyebrows creased in confusion, "What?"
"That demon bitch was riding around in me for five weeks," Dean clarified, "Dragging you around with her."
Sam obviously didn't miss the involuntary shiver that worked it's way up his spine at the thought of it.
"Makes you feel violated, doesn't it?" he said.
Dean brushed the topic aside, "Must have been worse for you."
Sam shrugged, then grimaced.
"Careful," Dean admonished automatically, "You'll bust those stitches."
Sam shifted uncomfortably, pressing his face into the pillow for a moment. Dean felt guilt tug in his stomach.
"Would you just take the damn pain meds?" he snapped.
Okay, so that came out rougher than he meant it to, but geez, the kid had to be in a world of pain and he was just too stubborn to do anything about it. But Sam was looking up at him reproachfully.
"Thought you knew what it's like to have no control." Sam rubbed an arm absently, "No, I can't…"
Dean backed down immediately, feeling suitably chagrined.
"Sorry. I just… don't like seeing you like…Jesus," he swore, "I'm so sorry for everything, Sammy. I remember… God, the things I did to you…"
Dean's gaze lingered on the fading bruises and stitches that still adorned Sam's face, visible even in the dim light.
Sam looked back at him wearily.
"After all that time you spent telling me that what I did while possessed wasn't my fault, you're gonna take all the blame now? Kinda hypocritical, Dean."
But it felt like his fault. He felt it when he heard pain in his baby brother's voice; when he saw fear in Sam's eyes; when he looked at the bandages on Sam's torn up wrists and saw himself gleefully clicking handcuffs into place; looked at the track marks and saw himself depressing the plunger of a syringe, watching Sam sink into helpless oblivion. And then there were the blank windows in his memory, when he could have been doing anything – anything – to Sam, and he didn't want to think about what he might have done.
"I stabbed you," Dean said through clenched teeth. The guilt was burning a hole in his stomach.
"I shot you," Sam retorted.
"No, it was…" Dean trailed off.
"Meg," Sam finished, "It was all Meg."
And apparently that was the end of that. Well, Dean figured he could live with that, for now anyway, and besides, even in the darkness Sam didn't look like he could handle much more arguing.
Sam shifted on the bed again, biting his lip and hissing as he put pressure on one of his many wounds. His face screwed up in pain.
"Hey, stop moving so much," Dean ordered gently.
Sam stilled, breathing heavily.
"Hang on a sec."
Dean stood and made his way to the bathroom, returning with two painkillers – the good ones – and a glass of water. He held them out to Sam.
Sam took a moment to focus, then –
"Dean, no. I don't-"
"Sam," Dean cut his brother off, "Nothing bad is gonna happen, I promise. You need these."
Sam looked up at him apprehensively, clearly too tired to argue but not happy with Dean's idea. Dean wondered briefly whether he was taking advantage but pushed the thought to the side. Big brothers are supposed to take advantage, especially when it comes to getting little brothers to take their medicine.
Finally, Sam reached out and took the pills.
"Don't go anywhere," he warned.
"I wont," Dean promised, as he helped Sam sit up so he could swallow, then he took the glass of water back and set it down on the nightstand.
When he looked back, his brother's eyes were already half closed. Dean took Sam's hand in his, careful not to disturb the injuries on his wrist.
"It's okay now. I'm not gonna let anything happen to you."
Sam blinked slowly up at him. "Are you sure you're not still possessed?" he mumbled.
Dean frowned, "What?"
Sam's gaze traveled downwards, "You realize you're holding my hand, right?"
Dean grinned, shaking his head.
"Shut up and go to sleep, Sam."
And Sam obeyed, letting his eyes close with a sigh. The pain lines faded from his forehead.
Dean sat on the edge of his brother's bed, watching Sam sleep. They still had a long way to go before they both recovered from their latest ordeal, but if Sam could let go and trust Dean to watch out for him while he let his guard down, maybe Dean could let himself heal too, let go of the guilt and anger.
Dean stood and moved to his own bed, settling himself down under the covers, his eyes automatically taking stock of his brother. The bruises were fading, the dark purples slowly turning to light greens and yellows. A week or two and Sam would probably be able to be seen in public without turning heads. The bandages on his wrists and ankles could probably be removed in another week or so, but the stab wound under his collar bone would have Sam laid up for a while.
So maybe Dean wouldn't let go of all the anger. Winchester's are good at two things – killing evil sons of bitches, and revenge. And no one hurt Dean's little brother and got away with it.
For now though, they were safe. Soon the open road would be calling them and, together, they would move on.
A/N: I'm working on a new story already, but it will be a long chapter story instead of my usual one shots, so it'll probably take me some time before any of it's posted. I like to have the whole thing written out in a rough draft before I start posting, in case I lose interest, and it will be a different sort of story than the one's I usually write. Rest assured however, that there will be plenty of Limp Sam and Protective Dean. I'm quite excited about it, so I hope you'll all stay tuned and watch this space.
Many thanks, Menthol Pixie.