A Single Breath

Title: A Single Breath

Author: supernaturaldh

A/N: This is a continuation of a wonderful drabble written by IheartSam7. I was so intrigued by her words that I asked and happily received permission to continue her little drabble and make it into a story. Thanks Sam7, as always, your words were an inspiration to me. I love all of your stories and drabble so much. Everyone reading this should check them all out at .net/u/394745/IheartSam7

Characters: Sam and Dean

Setting: Sometime in Season Two.

Rating: PG-13 (Gen)

Word Count: 5038
Disclaimer: Sadly, no ownership here.

Summary: John is dead. Dean is relentless and throwing caution to the wind. A botched hunt, and one older pissed off brother, didn't change the fact that Sammy was hurt.

A Single Breath

Part One

Dean walked past the Impala, mouth falling suddenly agape, his eyes widened in disbelief.

His precious baby was covered in mud and dirt, black paint barely visible through the muck. The windshield was grimy with a nasty film of filth. But, the worst part, the part that had him gasping for some air, was the huge dent that was staring starkly back at him from just above the left tail light.

What the shit?

At that very moment, mad didn't even begin to explain how Dean felt, a heated anger coursing quickly through his veins.

You son of a bitch!

He had trusted his little brother to take care of his baby.

What the hell, Sam? I've only been gone a few hours…tops!

He tugged in a deep breath of the frigid evening air and struggled to maintain his composure. His fingers coiled into tight fists setting stiffly by his sides.

Sam is sooooooo dead.

He squinted and glared at his badly damaged baby; the dinged and twisted metal had his heart thudding loudly in his chest. His beer buzz dwindled as his head pounded fiercely in his skull. He was so damn mad at Sam.

I'm punching him squarely in the face.

He shuffled hastily to the motel doorway, swiped his key card, and flung open the door in a heated fit of rage. He eyes darted quickly around the chilly room. One harsh word screeched loudly out and past his lips, "SAM!"

The door slammed shut with a large resounding thud.

He had to strain his eyes to see.

The room was dark, the moonlight cascading lightly through the window. In that brief moment though, in that single breath of air, everything changed. All was forgotten as he made out the shadow of his brother's lax and pliant form.

Sam was curled up on his side against the wrinkled, messy, bed. His eyes were closed. If Dean didn't know better, he'd have thought his brother was asleep, but Dean did know better; he hadn't been a big brother his entire life for nothing. He knew immediately that something was amiss.

He squinted, his emerald eyes giving the kid's lax body the once over from clean across the room. The older brother was familiar with the way the Sammy was coiled in on himself. It was a sight he'd seen before. In the dim light, he could barely make out the fine sheen of sweat that was damp across his little brother's brow; the kid's dark hair matted and sticking wildly to his slightly frowning face.

What the freaking hell?

He blinked, his alcoholic anger melting abruptly away as reality slammed hard against his chest.

Sammy?

It was obvious to him that his brother was in pain.

Sam had one long arm wrapped tightly around his midsection his boney knees hugging closely to his chest. His other arm hung lifelessly from the bed, relaxing limply downward toward the dirty floor. It was reaching out, grasping for something?

Dean immediately directed his glance downward and spied the cell phone lying not two feet from his brother's outstretched hand.

He was trying to call for help??

He took three long strides and was at his baby brother's side in an instant.

He fell abruptly to his knees.

These were his clues and he recognized them for exactly what they were…

Sammy was hurt.

Earlier that same day-

"Dean, we need to do some more research. I'm telling you that this seems to be legit."

Sam's large hazel eyes looked pleadingly across the motel room at his older brother's face. He stared back down silently at the library book he had opened on the table. He was intrigued, his mind was racing with the knowledge about everything he'd read. And then there was the information that they'd heard from all the towns folk. Yeah, that was some interesting stuff.

From the farmer who said the leprechaun promised to show him where his treasure was buried, only to push him down a hill; to the young boy who was asked to come out and have fun only to be taunted and teased by the little monster until he ran away. Then there was the young girl who stuck her hand in a hollow log hoping to pull out a wondrous prize only to be chased by a great big swarm of bees. It was obvious to Sam, the little creature, whatever the hell it was, enjoyed terrorizing anyone who would come around and play.

Dean smirked as he leaned back on the headboard of the bed. This was all a load of crap. People fell down. Bees chased people when their hive was disturbed. He didn't really see that any of this was supernatural or warranted them to do anything at all.

"Hey Sammy," the older brother said cockily, face hidden behind the computer he had sitting on his lap. "It says here that the little short guy will give great wealth if allowed to go free by a mortal." Dean just grinned at that. "We could sure use some extra money; a pot of gold beats the hell out of shooting pool."

The older brother cackled loudly at his funny little joke.

Sam grinned, he couldn't' help it. "Well, we'd have to find him first, big brother, and since you don't even think he's real, well then, we need to do more research, and then go check it out."

Dean rolled his eyes at that, shut off the computer, and pushed gingerly to stand.

"Forget it Sam, you're so damn gullible. Just what about this seems worth checking into?" He huffed in disbelieve. He yanked up his leather coat from the back of the rickety motel chair an incredulous grin curling tightly to his lips.

"But Dean…" Sam stammered out.

"Don't but Dean me."

Dean shrugged and nodded toward the doorway.

"I, little brother, am not going out there today. I'm walking over to the bar across the street. I'm going to have a few beers and check out the scenery."

Sam just stared in disbelief.

"But Dean," he stammered out again. "I just think we should go back to the library and do some more research, we must be missing something?" He quickly stood up from the table, body rocking on his heels.

The older brother shook his head incredulously. "There's no hunt here Sam. Nada end of story. This is just some guy joking around with the people in this town." Kid is hard headed as hell.

"I don't think so." Sam huffed out angrily as he crossed his arms defiantly across his chest. Dean is always so freaking hard headed. "Dean, these people aren't lying, something is out there, scaring them."

Dean blew out a weary breath of air. They'd been talking to townsfolk and researching all damn day. He was dog tired, hungry, and in bad need of a drink. "Okay Samantha, calm down. We can go tomorrow, okay; it's not like anyone has died."

"Not yet," Sam huffed, "but it's not to say they won't."

"Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam, Sam," Dean chuckled. He flung his hands up in the air. "I give up, you want to waste your time looking for some stupid mythical creature, well go right ahead." He plopped the car keys on the table. "If you want to go back to the library and do some more geeky research, well then, knock yourself out, dude, but, in my opinion, it's a total waste of time."

Deansnorted as his hand reached for the door. "As for me, little brother, I'm having a few beers, and some interesting discussions with the opposite sex, if you know what I mean." He waggled his eyebrows as a cocky glare rose up on his face. Beer and pretty girls, what more could a guy want?

Sam just stared.

"You could come with me you know, might really do you some good."

Sam shook his head disgustedly at his brother. Geez, he has a one track freaking mind.

Dean was halfway out the doorway when he turned back to look at Sam.

"Tomorrow Sam, we'll go out there tomorrow." He admonished firmly. "It can wait, just chill out will ya." Geez, sometimes I need a break.

The door slammed shut and Dean was gone.

Sam sighed and rolled his eyes. He just really pisses me off.

The younger brother stood silently staring at the closed doorway for a good five minutes. He chewed his lower lip as anger pulsated tightly through his limbs. Well, shit. He sighed and tugged his long fingers through his wild and wayward hair. He didn't understand why Dean didn't take this hunt more seriously, what if it was a Leprechaun, so what? Yes, that seemed a little bit far-fetched; but hell; they'd hunted crazier things than that.

His mind made up, he grabbed the car keys from the tabletop. At least he could do more some more research, be ready when Dean decided to get off his ass and go. He rolled his eyes. As he slid into the Impala, he pondered that maybe, just maybe, they both needed time apart. Ever since their father had died, well, they'd been wearing on one another's nerves…alot. They'd been arguing all the time about everything from hunts, to laundry, to where to stop, and what to eat. Yeah that's it; we just need a break from one another.

He released a weary sigh as he started up the car. He glanced one last time at the bar across the street. Time apart…yeah, that's what we need. He grinned complacently to himself. I'll just go do more research; I'll show Dean, I'll just figure it all out.

He smiled to himself as the car rumbled slowly back out on the road.

-0-

Sam had been at the library about thirty minutes, the small town of Shamrock Illinois lacking a lot to be desired in the way of research. Dean was right. He hadn't found anything new and mind boggling on this second little trip. Too tired to concentrate any longer, he closed the library book with a light thud. He looked around the musty room. No one here but the librarian and me, Dean would say that's sad. Dean? His eyes dropped to his watch, it was almost closing time.

He stood; stretching his long arms upward and shook his head to clear it. He couldn't help the loud yawn that passed across his lips. Maybe this is a bust? Just like Dean said. He shrugged into his jacket, his fingers unconsciously jingling the car keys just inside his coat pocket.

The older grey headed librarian shushed him.

Sam just looked at her in awe. Holy crap? He'd never gotten shushed in a library before; Dean was always the one that created chaos everywhere he went. Dean, he really wished his older brother would take this hunt more seriously.

He glanced around the empty room. He licked his lips and stood silently pondering his next move. Go back to the motel to wait for Dean, or…or…I could just go out there, and take a look around.

Dean's words reverberated deep inside his head. 'It's not like anyone has died.'

His mind made up, the young hunter nodded at the Librarian and moved swiftly toward the door. It couldn't hurt to go and have a look.

-0-

Dean entered the bar discretely. Remembering his late father's words he immediately assessed the room. Always know your surroundings. He memorized the set up, just in case he had to go. You never knew when a pool game might turn nasty. He saw several pretty women scattered all around the tavern. He let his lips curl to his best flirty smile as he saddled up against the bar.

"I'll have a beer, whatever you got on tap." He told the bartender.

He leaned heavily against the dark and faded wooden counter. He looked across at the bar keep as he filled a glass with brew. He sat silently, thinking about his last conversation with Sam. He pondered the hunt and the fact that his brother was relentless when it came to doing research. Sam and his research…Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The kid needed to learn how to throw caution to the wind sometimes, have a little fun. He should've made him come with him. Yep, Sam was a pain in his ass; had been ever since…well, their father….He cleared his throat uncomfortably, he wasn't thinking about that just now.

Suddenly a frothy mug slammed down on the counter just in front of him. He smirked and took a long refreshing gulp. Man I need this. All thoughts of Sam were forgotten as he glanced down at the hot little number that was standing by his side.

She smiled and tucked a lock of her long blonde hair behind her ear as she sat down on the bar stool next to him.

Dean gave her his best smile, his 'yes' smile, and looked straight at her.…um…eyes…yeah…um, her eyes. Yes sir, things were looking up.

-0-

It took Sam all of thirty minutes to find the right rode outside of town. While he had written down the details, he had left them in the room. Realizing driving around in circles wasn't getting him anywhere, he finally found a farmer out working by the road. He stopped the Impala and rolled down the window.

"Sir," Sam said loudly as he looked across at the older man who was working on a fence.

The farmer's head darted upward as he gazed intently across at Sam.

"Can you tell me where I can find Emerald Creek?"

The man frowned. "You're looking for that damn leprechaun?" He gave a regretful sigh.

Sam smiled reluctantly, "Yes sir," he stuttered out, "just thought I'd go and check it out."

The old man yanked out a handkerchief from his pocket and swiped it across his sweaty brow. He pointed up the road a ways. "Go down that way, turn left at the tree stump, go right at the old pig farm, can't miss it, ain't no sign, but you'll run into it. When you hit the creek, well, I'd say you've gone too far." The old guy kind of laughed.

Sam just stared at him. What?

The old man snorted. Kids are all so young and dumb. "Emerald Creek, that's where the little bastards lurking," He shook his head in disbelief. Stupid people need to leave the damn thing alone.

Sam chewed his lower lip. Old guy looks kind of pissed. "Well…okay then," he sighed in slight confusion. "Thanks." I think?

The large black Impala pulled slowly to the road.

"You'll regret it." The old man muttered as the car disappeared around the curve.

-0-

Sam's sneakers crunched on the damp leaves as he moved slowly through the woods. His eyes squinted, his senses on high alert. He looked inquisitively around. The slowly setting sun was casting indefinite shadows that seemed to waver in the breeze. I really wish Dean had come with me. It's kind of spooky out here. He laughed lightly to himself. His older brother would say he was being a pussy. He tugged his lightweight jacket up tighter against his chilling frame. His fingers clutched at the handgun he had tucked inside his coat pocket, just making sure it was still where he has put it. He released a calming breath. It's just a look around he reminded himself. He clamored forward through the trees.

Suddenly he heard a loud rustling just behind him, and he tried to turn around to see. He wasn't fast enough.

He felt something slam into his back. Agh! He tumbled forward, his arms flailing outward in a wild attempt to stop his hasty fall.

Smack, his body hit the surface, his face pounding hard against the wet and muddy ground.

He heard hysterical laughter as it bounced around he trees. What the hell?

He paused for a second, the wind pushed completely from his lungs. He struggled to pull in some oxygen as he slowly rolled over to his back and blinked blankly up at the foliage and the dimming evening sky.

He willed the black dots away. Shit! That freaking hurt. His head rolled slowly to the side as he heard something moving by his side. He blinked again and attempted to clear his hazy vision. What is that? A foggy face leaned down into his own, a veil breath blowing in his face.

"What ye want?" the tiny figure said.

Sam drew his head backward on impulse and pushed with his arms in an attempt to skitter away from the disjointed figure in front of him. He sucked in air deeply attempting to gain back his breath as his vision slowly cleared.

It wasn't a man, that's for sure. It was ugly too. The figure wasn't very tall; in fact, it could probably be a kid. No…not a kid, a leprechaun, he reminded himself. Yeah, that's what he was here to find.

"What ye want?" the figure hissed again.

Sam stopped moving as he stared at the leprechaun, or whatever the hell it was. "I want to know why you are hurting people in this town," he whispered shakily. He shivered, not sure if it was from the dampness soaking through his clothes or the angry creatures face.

The little man chuckled as he flashed his pointy teeth at Sam.

Oh shit, this ain't a damn leprechaun.

"Oh, I could kill'm, but it's more fun watching 'em run." A long ragged finger rose up from the creature's side and pushed hard against Sam's chest.

Okay, okay, think now, stay calm, don't piss it off, and just get away from here.

The hunter pushed to stand.

The little creature watched. His eyes grew huge as Sam stood shakily to his full height.

Sam's mind raced. A Noid? A Gremlin? A Killikantzaros? A Killikantzaros…oh shit. Silver bullets won't work on a Kallikantzaros. Holy water's a bust. How'd Dean and I miss this? The winter solstice, a damn Kallikantzaros…what the hell?

"Ye are a tall one ain't ye." The creature walked around Sam, giving him the evil eye.

"I don't want any trouble." Sam said, his palms rising up in front of him complacently. A big fat chance of that? He slowly backed away from it, eyes darting all around. He had nothing, no way to kill it, no way to stop if, his only chance - to run.

The creature laughed loudly, "Well, looks like ye got it."

With that Sam turned and ran.

He could hear the monster chasing him, loud feet thudding on the ground.

He could see the Impala parked down the hillside. It seemed very far away.

His feet kept sliding on the nasty mud and muck, his breath pounding in his ears.

He ran faster, the creature hot upon his heels.

Suddenly, he was shoved hard from behind and went tumbling down the hill. His limbs flailed uncontrollably. The stray tree limbs scratching and clawing at his skin. He tumbled uncontrollably, cold mud sticking to his face. Rocks bumped and banged against his body. It hurt. But, he couldn't stop his fall. The last thing he remembered was the blaring pain that radiated across his midsection as he ran into a tree. He felt some of his ribs snapping, and then, the darkness took him down.

-0-

Sam blinked open his eyes, a hot breath cascading on his skin. There, staring down at him, not two inches from his face was the ugliest mug he'd ever laid eyes upon. The foul breath made him want to gag and he turned his head away.

The creature grinned wickedly and then punched him in the nose.

Sam winced with the force of the punch, his vision wavering as he felt blood cascading from his nose. "Son of a bitch," he muttered. And he pushed to get away. He stumbled awkwardly to his feet his own hand swinging out and knocking the creature out of his space. "You little…." he mumbled.

The creature skittered on the ground.

Well, he guessed it was true, these damn it things were hard as hell to hurt, let along kill.

"Oh, ye are a fun one." The tiny man giggled as he rolled abruptly to his feet. "Giving me a run for my money, eh?"

And Sam ran.

The Impala was close now; he could see it rising up quickly in front of him. His finger floundered in his pocket for the car keys as his slide across the grass. His breath was heaving in his chest and it really hurt to move. But he had to get inside the car, he had to get away.

"Ye better run boy, cause I'm gon'a get ye."

He was shoved again, but he scrambled and remained upright on his feet. Pain flared down his back where the little monster's hand had slammed harshly in his side.

"Screw you." Sam screeched loudly as he hastily opened the Impala driver's door.

Get in, Get in, Get in.

He could see the creature bounding toward him as he slammed the car door shut. He abruptly locked the doors. His head fell limply back against the bench seat as he glared out through the glass.

The little person looked unhappily back at him as it clamored up atop the car. Its hairy hands pounded hard against the windshield.

Please don't break the freaking glass.

Sam quickly started up the engine and the Impala roared to life.

I'll just run the damn thing over. End of story.

He floored the gas pedal and slammed the car into reverse, but the creature hung on tight. Slipping the car back into gear, he pushed heavy on the gas. He grimaced as the car careened out into the field, mud splattered up around it as Dean's baby roared and bounded through the muddy grass. Dean will be so freaking pissed at me for this.

He had to knock the thing free.

The Impala swerved and swayed, tires peeling out and flinging mud and muck all around.

Still the damn creature hung on.

Both Sam's shoes slammed hard against the brake, sending the little son of a bitch flying abruptly through the air. It rolled across the ground then jumped quickly back up to its feet.

Sam grinned as he looked into the rearview to see the creature standing just behind the car. This stupid monster was really pissing him off. He yanked the gear shifter into reverse and had the car roaring backwards toward the Kallikantzaros.

Dean's baby hit the creature with a loud resounding thud.

Sam's slammed into the steering wheel the young hunter seeing stars.

The car stuttered then stalled out.

Sam blinked attempting to clear away his vision as fresh blood ran in his eye. His freaking face hurt. His thoughts were muggy and confused. The pain in his chest was intense and it had him wheezing for some air.

He glanced into the side mirror, the crumpled thing that was lying limply on the ground.

He grinned triumphantly at the little ball of fur.

His eyes grew suddenly wider though when he saw movement, and then, the Kallikantzaros bounded to its feet.

Well shit!

He floored the car. Dirt and rocks flew wildly out around the Impala as it bounced haphazardly back onto the road.

The old man's head rose up from his work. He shook it in disbelief as he saw the muddy vehicle go careening down the road. He snorted. Damn stupid kid.

-0-

Sam barely made it back to the motel, the car swerving madly on the road. He glanced at the bar across the way as he put the car in park.

He should just go get Dean.

He wheezed in a gulp of air. Well, that didn't sound too good. He heaved another shaky breath. No he couldn't do it; he didn't think he could make it to the room. He should've called Dean already, but he didn't have his phone. Stupid, stupid, stupid. He had left it in the room. How funny is that? A Kallikantzaros – who'd a thunk?

Slowly he clamored out of the front seat, his hands white knuckling at the door.

He waited, letting his vision stop wavering as he looked at the motel - it might as well been a million miles away. Suck it up, Sammy. His father's voice resounded in his head. He frowned at the memory. Man he missed his Dad.

He pushed unsteadily away from the car door, his body swaying as he did. His arm curled snugly around his badly aching midsection as he walked unevenly forward toward the room.

He leaned against the entry way as he struggled with the key. Finally, he got it in the lock, and he pushed the heavy door open. He hung on for dear life though, the smooth metal the only thing keeping him from falling face first to the floor.

He stumbled inside and shut the door.

He vaguely made out his cell phone on the table by the bed. He reached weakly out to grab it. I'll just call Dean and see how long he'll be.

He sat slowly down on the bed his body aching from the move.

The room began a lazy spin and he swallowed convulsively. Everything began to gray out. He felt his cell phone slip gradually from his fingertips as he curled up on the bed. He didn't want to close his eyes, but he couldn't help it, and he drifted toward the dark.

-0-

Sam didn't know how long he was out, but he attempted to pull himself from the darkness when he thought he heard a noise.

A door slamming shut with a loud resounding thud.

He struggled to open up his eyes.

He definitely heard his older brother yell his name.

"SAM!"

He blinked slowly, tugging open his gritty lids.

A foggy figure appeared in front of him, but he couldn't quite make it out. Dean?

-0-

In three long strides Dean was at his baby brother's side. He fell abruptly to his knees.

Sam was still in his jacket, as if he'd just come inside. He was curled up on his side against the wrinkled, messy, bed. His eyes were blinking sluggishly. He had matted blood running a trail down the side of his face and past his chin. There was dark blue bruising decorating his left eye and his nose, well, it was definitely broken.

What the hell?

"Sam?" The older brother said softly as he pulled his hand up to brush the hair off of Sammy's face. His fingers cupped Sam's cheek forcing his brother to look him in the eye.

Sam's eyes tugged open a little wider and he gazed in confusion up at Dean.

"Sammy? What the hell happened?"

Sam blinked sluggishly at him. "H...hurts D." he mumbled. He brought his other arm up and crossed it on his badly aching stomach, his eyes cinching shut in pain. He pulled his knees up higher to rest against his chest, body almost tucking in a ball.

Dean didn't know how Sam did it, but he could always make himself smaller when he was hurt or sick.

"Okay, sh…sh…let me have a look at you." Dean said with deep concern.

Sam moaned.

"Relax, its okay," the older brother said softly, "Just let me have a look."

Dean's hands were gentle as he pushed Sam's long arms away. He slowly rolled his brother to his back against the messy bed.

Sam winced, but didn't fight him.

The older brother tugged up the damp tee-shirt that his baby brother was wearing. How'd he get so muddy and wet? As the fabric pulled upward, his eyes grew huge. How the hell did this happen while I was gone to have a drink?

Sam's stomach was a mass of black and blue bruises; it was obvious some ribs were broken too.

Dean couldn't believe his eyes.

"Sam? I thought you went to the freaking library? He hissed out in amazement.

Sam moaned again, his eyes looking glassily up at Dean. He could tell his brother wanted answers, but right now, it hurt too much.

Dean recognized the shear agony his little brother was in, he'd had broken ribs before, and they hurt like a bitch. He collected himself immediately, he wanted answers, but right now, it would have to wait. Sammy needed him.

He cascaded his fingers gently through his little brother's hair. "Easy, it's okay kiddo, I gotcha," he said softly, "Just let me get you fixed up and then, well, then, little brother, you're going to tell me what the hell is going on."

Sam nodded slightly his face contorting up in pain.

-0-

Dean sat in the chair by the bed and gazed at his sleeping brother's form. He had wanted answers, but he hadn't gotten them. Sam had drifted off to sleep. A leprechaun chasing him in the library, what the hell is that about?

So now, the older brother sat, waiting, fuming. Anger didn't even begin to cover how he felt.

He tugged the blanket up around Sam's slightly shivering body and brushed the hair back from his bruised and mangled face.

His little brother was a mess, at least two broken ribs, a broken nose, all kinds of cuts, bruises, and contusions.

He pulled his fingers through his short cropped hair as he sagged back in the chair.

And his car, his other baby; well that was another story entirely.

Sam would never do that much damage intentionally to his car. He knew that much. Nope, something was responsible for this mess, and by god, it was going down.

-0-

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