Special acknowledgement: Thank you to the folks over at the E/O 100-word drabble challenge. This story was born from a couple drabbles I did over there. It's amazing how a few words can spark a fire, and how trimming words can, in my minds eye, make an image clearer. Thanks guys!
The silence of the night coupled with the lingering scent of the compost pile, reminded Sam there still was one witch left. Sam huddled close to Dean as they made their way back across the field. The only thing they could do now, was to get back to the car, their motel. Recoordinate their efforts, allow Dean to swab and stitch his wounds.
"Motel?" Sam asked, woozily.
"Hospital, man. That's a compound fracture you got going on there."
The thought of the dreaded hospital made Sam's stomach roll. His eyes fluttered, and he momentarily lost his footing, his head lolling to one side.
"Sam?" Dean pulled Sam's arm more securely across his neck and clutched tighter around his waist.
"Still walking," Sam said, feeling drunk and uncoordinated, gathering his feet and taking a couple steady steps.
"Thank you, captain obvious," Dean said softly, glancing over.
The trickle of blood Sam felt slipping down his cheek and arm made his stomach spasm, but he fought the need to vomit. Sweat rolled down his face and Sam panted out of breath. Dean started jabbering about the music he listened obvious attempt to distract him, yet both hunters stood on high alert, aware of everything around them. Countless stars shown bright enough to light there path, but still didn't help Sam to see beyond the twisted, darkness that surrounded them. Once again, Sam tripped over his own feet and lurched sideways.
"Hey." Dean stopped and grasped him by the shoulders.
"What?" Sam's eyes narrowed.
"We need a break." Dean fumbled the straps of both flamethrowers. Slipping them off his shoulder, he laid the weapons to the ground within reach, next to a thorny bush.
"We don't have time…we're low on fuel and..." Sam's eyes slid to the left, watching dizzily as a slow fog crept toward them. "Crap!" Sam stiffened. "Dean. We got incoming."
"Son of a bitch," Dean whispered, letting go of his hold on Sam and gathering the weapons off the ground.
"Dude." Sam cocked his head. Standing in the shadows were two figures, the same two figures from the cabin. He turned to Dean. "I thought you flambéed one."
"Thought so, too," Dean snarled, dropping to one knee and firing both weapons, at both witches. "Not enough juice left," he muttered over the roar of flames.
"Obviously doesn't matter. Fire won't kill them." Sam stumbled back a step.
"What'll it take to end this bitch fest!" Dean growled his frustration over the wailing cry of the witches that slowly continued to encroach through the wall of fire. "I mean what the hell…"
"Dean." Something clicked inside Sam's brain. "Where do witches get their power from?" He took another tentative step back.
"I don't know." Dean rose from the ground as the flames sputtered, threatening to give out.
My best guesses... ruby red slippers, talking to their butt-ugly selves in a mirror." Both witches gasped fighting to get through the flames. "Take that you bitches. Toto in a chick's picnic basket." The flames died out, and Dean quickly gave the weapons a solid shake bringing the flamethrowers back to life, although weak." Dude, I have no friggin' ass clue…"
"Their guidebook, Dean…we have to burn their spell book."
"Oh, no." Dean continued to fire. "You don't know if they even have one or where."
"Oh, yes," Sam challenged, seeing the flamethrowers were about to become as useless as a plastic toy.
"Run. That's my official plan, Sam." Dean side glanced briefly at Sam never lowering the weapons as flames continued to erupt, holding the witches back. "When I say go," he shouted. "You make for the car. You got me, man?"
Dean turned back to engage the witches. Witch one and witch two lumbered closer, only slightly stunned by the flames. Their toad-like features, no longer masked by the shadows made Sam shiver. No way he was running to the Impala, leaving Dean behind with two failing weapons.
"Sorry," Sam said in a muted whisper, his own official plan settled upon.
Dean readied himself, falling into step in front of Sam. The witches were closing the distance, the fire from the flamethrowers hardly holding them at bay.
Sam didn't move.
Flamethrowers still sputtering, Dean turned to Sam, frowning. "I said, go!" He yelled louder, "Get the hell outta here!"
"Don't worry," Sam said. Decision final, he whirled, heading back toward the cabin.
"Sam! Fuck! Sam, stop! Shit!"
Dean's cursing faded as he ran, Sam's desperation to save his brother giving him the strength he was sure he didn't have.
Sam gasped as he ran back across the field towards the broken down cabin.
His head felt heavy, like an overstuffed pillow. He swore he could still hear Dean cussing and damning him six ways to dooms day. Maybe Dean was right. What the hell kind of concussed plan had Sam come up with. What the hell was he doing? Leaving Dean like that.
"Just hold out, Dean," he growled as he kept running toward the cabin to find the book, despite his own misgivings.
Sam's foot caught in a hole and he fell to his face. Spitting out grass and dirt, he ungracefully pushed back up. He wobbled dizzily, having a terrible time keeping his balance as the world around him waffled once again. Sam's eyesight blurred, the pain in his head and arm threatening to harness what was left of his stamina and drag him under.
"Keep going," he ground out to himself, his rubbery legs proceeding to follow his orders.
Dean was in trouble, that was all that was going through his head. Sam couldn't even be sure the spell book existed. And what if it did and it wasn't back at the cabin. What if he was wrong. He'd left Dean alone, with barely enough firepower left to start a campfire. Left him, not just with one, but two skanky wart-covered witches. Sam's panic was back, a whole new kind. The worst kind. Sam shoved panic aside, making his feet move faster. Whatever he did, he had to keep going. He had to concentrate on nothing but running, keeping his legs moving at top speed under him, keeping himself upright.
The cabin came into sight, and Sam barely put on the brakes as he stumbled through the broken doorway and skidded to a grunting halt inside. He hesitated only for a second before he started tearing through the room. There had to be a book and it had to be here. He was sure of it. Dean's life depended on that certainty. Sheer willpower kept Sam standing. Kept him searching for something that was little more than a hunter's hunch.
"Where is it!" Sam yelled. "Come on!" He fell to his knees pulling at a loose floorboard. Nothing but dust and spiders. "Gaaawd!" He drew in a deep breath, trying not to get sick. His brother was about to become biodegradation of the brotherly kind. "Crap!" Sam got to his feet and ran a hand down his face, ignoring the red-hot pain slicing through his injured arm.
He'd ditched his brother for this. The book had to be squirreled away somewhere in here. All witches had guidebooks. It was the source of their power, their existence. Sam stood stock-still, time out. His eyes wandered over the contents of the cabin. Think, think, think -- outside the box. He was not prepared to lose his brother. Not now. Not ever. He should never have left Dean -- exposed. Sam choked on his emotional turmoil his gaze landing on the cast iron stove. It'd be the last place anyone would hide a book, or important papers -- of course. In utter abandon, Sam rushed forward, dropping with a hard thud to his knees, and ripping open the stove's door. He jammed his hand inside, right off feeling a heavy leather bond book.
Sam gave up the breath he was holding. "Yes!" Quickly, he dug the matches from his jacket. One-handedly striking a match. The matchstick lit, only to quickly fizzle out. "Damn it." Soggy matches equaled a soggy Dean. That straight-jacket was back, tightening around his chest. Sam took a breath, closed his eyes. "Please." He held his breath as he tried another match. He opened his eyes to see the unstable firelight dancing in the breeze coming through the cabin's walls. "Easy..easy…gah," Sam cried out in pain as he was forced to use his broken arm. He gingerly cupped a trembling, blood covered hand around the fluttering flame. "Stay with me. Stay with me," Sam chanted as if the flame he was protecting was his brother's very life -- and it was.
He opened the book and lowered the flame carefully lighting a page. Sam didn't dare breathe, afraid the fire would die out before the book could burn. He hovered close, tending the fire, afraid to even think how bad this was going to be if his official plan didn't work.
The room was silent, save for the crackle of the black, shriveling pages of the witches book. Suddenly a loud bang and hot flames burst from the pages, jerking Sam backward and onto his ass. For one captivating, breathtaking moment, he sat as twinkling fog filled room. It appeared as if the words inside the book had leapt off the page and exploded into color, like a box of Trix inside a storm cloud. The cabin walls shook -- earth quake style-- the rainbow fog, literally, taking his breath away. Sam scrambled to his feet and staggered out the door. Everything seemed fuzzy around the edges, he choked and gasped, his stomach lurching and waves of nausea threatening to drop him.
Sam fought to stay standing, keeping his injured arm, once again, held close to his chest as he made his way, herky-jerky, back across the field. Burning the book was a big, fat 'maybe' of an idea. Hell, at least there was a book, although he'd have been surprised if there wasn't. As Sam faltered along, he scanned the landscape before him. Listening, searching, trying to sense what may have become of Dean and the witches. All he heard was his ragged breathing and groans of pain. A horrible picture became painted in his head. Dean's body, a bloody, gawd-awful smelling blob added to the compost pile. What if his brilliant plan hadn't worked? What if Dean had run out of fire-juice. What if burning the book was just -- stupid. Sam had left his brother alone, with no backup, face-to-face with not just one but two wicked witches to fight on his own. It was a showdown he doubted his brother could win. The thought scared the crap out of Sam, and he tried to make his feet move faster.
He blinked repeatedly trying to keep his eyes open, searching, listening, desperate to get back to Dean. The moon shown down bright, laying out the path before him. Sam followed the trail of trampled grass, back to where he'd left Dean, begging his feet to keep moving. The eerily silence that had held the area in its grip began to lift. Sounds of the night filled the air. Crickets chirped, a frog croaked, and the lonely cry of a Loon was answered by its mate, only seconds later. Still, the darkness around him made him feel alone, scared, cold.
Sam wanted to cry out for Dean, needed his brother to respond as quickly as the Loon's mate had.
He teetered off his feet, gripping his injured arm closely. "Dean," he called, but the word only came as a muffled whimper.
Five hundred feet ahead a figure suddenly appeared out of the shadows. The form stopped, hesitated a moment swaying off its feet, then continued forward, moving awkwardly toward him.
Sam never slowed, swiping at his eyes and trying to clear his vision. When he looked again the figure was gone. The darkness around Sam oozed into his soul. What if Dean was….
"Sammy!" Dean's voice floated out of the darkness. "Sam!" Dean appeared, spotlighted by the moon.
"Dean!" Sam's voice coming a tad stronger.
They hobbled toward each other, the distance between them shrinking quickly.
"I take it you found the book," Dean said as he approached.
"I take it the wicked witches are dead?" Sam came to stand directly in front of Dean.
"Undeniably and reliably dead," Dean deadpanned.
"You sure?" Sam questioned, cautiously.
"Poked 'em with a stick, dude." Dean grinned. "They're dead," he assured. "That was some theory you had there, Dorothy." Dean looked angrily.
"Was more of a maybe." Sam kept his voice low.
"Yeah, well, maybe next time you hold off the bitch fest while I burn the damn book." Dean wobbled.
"Dean, you okay?"
"Don't, 'Dean, are you okay', me, buddy boy! I'm fine. What have I told you about racing off alone to burn spell books, leaving your big brother to single-handedly entertain two ugly witches?"
"It's stupid." Sam quirked a half-smile.
"Right." Dean waggled a stern finger in the air. "You ever do that again…my fist…" Dean balled his hand, shaking bare knuckles close to Sam's face. "Will clue you in on how rude… and… how stupid. I am so seriously pissed…"
"Wha'…Unnnhh!" The ground gave way and Sam's eyes rolled as he slumped forward good arm reaching out to drape over Dean's shoulders in a weak imitation of a bear hug.
"Whoa, there, Kansas." Dean pulled Sam closer to him
"You sure you're okay, Dean?" Sam breathed softly against Dean's neck.
"Samantha, that extra sensitive, chick fainting into my arms routine only worked when you were twelve."
"Gon…gonna have to come up with a new routine." Sam's arm slipped away from Dean's neck to hang limply at his sides, along with his broken one.
"Sam? Hey!" Dean gave him a little shake. "Sam!"
Sam tried to lift his head.. "Nnnnn," he groaned, easing closer to Dean, every tired muscle in his body quivering weakly.
"Want me to carry you?" Dean's hand gripped the back of his neck -- steadying him.
"Just - hold me a second," Sam rasped.
"Totally inappropriate, dude."
"You need mental help, Dean."
As inappropriate as Dean may have said it was, Sam noted big brother never let go his hold on him, gentle fingers rubbing up and down Sam's back.
"How we doin'?" Dean asked.
"I'm -- we're doin' fine."
"Attagirl." Dean smiled.
"Whatever," Sam mewed.
"You -- uh." Dean's fingers stilled against Sam's back. "Think you can walk?"
Sam shifted in Dean's arms. "I'm a big boy, Dean," he said, his head falling to rest on Dean's shoulder.
A long moment passed between them. Sam breathing raggedly, Dean holding him upright.
"Hey, big boy." Dean tapped Sam on the shoulder.
Sam pulled away, staring blankly.
"Bro?" Dean bent forward, searching Sam's face.
"Feel like crap," Sam murmured.
Dean nodded. "Kind of figured. You're coming down off your adrenaline high." He lifted Sam's undamaged arm over his shoulder and started them walking. "And you're pretty chewed up."
Sam shuddered, his head was pounding faster than his heart, his arm burned, and his feet took on a life of their own, crisscrossing over one another.
"You're such a clown," Dean grumbled, hobbling next to Sam.
"You're such an ass." Sam glanced over. "What happen?" He gestured with his chin toward Dean's right leg.
"Don't worry about it." Dean tripped, nearly taking them both down to their knees before righting himself.
"You suck," Sam panted, his right boot heel dragging in the grass. He stumbled, his head drooping forward to touch his chest then snapping back up.
"Doing better at walking than you are." Dean hoisted Sam upward more firmly. "I'm doing most the work here, bro, 'case you hadn't noticed," Dean retorted.
Sam stiffened in annoyance. He could feel Dean teetering between worry and anger, the anger seemed to hold the winning edge, shooting daggers through Sam. Sure he'd saved the day, barely, but scared Dean didn't see that right now. Sam was on the verge of shoving Dean away, when he looked up and caught the playful smile spreading across his big brother's face.
"Gotcha. C'mon, little brother." Dean urged Sam on.
Sam tried not to show how bad off he was, tried to nonchalantly breathe through his nose and not pant like a dog out his mouth. He swiped the sweat off his cheek, staring at his fingertips, realizing the drops weren't sweat, but a fresh dribble of blood coming from the slice on his cheek.
"Uhhh." Sam's stomach twitched and flopped, like freshly hit road kill.
"Sam, just hold on to me." Dean grew tense beside him.
"Awkward." Sam winced.
"Idiot, just keep walking."
Sam leaned more and more of his weight into Dean.
"Sam, you're not only stupid, you're friggin' heavy, man," Dean said in a rough and angry tone. "I swear you ever play the desperate hero again and I'll …Dean paused."
"Shove me in a gym locker, Dean?"
"I'd never do that to you again, bro. But man, don't you ever do what you just did to me ever again or so help me." Dean let his words hang in the air.
Behind the anger, Sam could sense Dean's fear. His older brother's body shaking with the effort to keep them both moving through the tangle of grass. Sam had a horrible sinking sensation, his breathing came faster and he shivered hard.
"Wh-where's the car?" Sam asked, a hazy buzz in his ears.
"Few more yards. Think you can make it?" Dean was right next to him, why did his voice sound so far away?
"Yeah." Sam nodded, trying to see through the strange blotches swirling in front of him. He put one foot in front of the other. At least he thought he had, but instead one foot went right the other foot, left, in a strange game of Twister. "Guh," Sam groaned, trying to find some kind of stability, trying to call out to Dean but the name was mute in his throat.
His knees buckled and he started to go down.
"Son of a bitch." A strong pair of hands fumbled to grip his forearms holding him up. "Easy, pal, just take it easy. " Sam found himself staring into Dean's eyes, barely able to hear him.
"Changed my mind," Sam whispered.
"About what?" Dean frowned.
"Walking." Sam felt his eyes roll, sliding from Dean's grasp.
Every thing after that -- was black.
Dedicated to my ol' friend, Shannanigans….who asked for some drugged up Sammy. Here you go, ol' friend. I enjoyed changing this around. Thank you for the suggestion.
"Uhhh." The sound was like a wounded animal in his ears. Had that awful noise come from him?
"Hey, you comfortable enough?" A caring hand brushed through his hair. "Sam?"
"Where am I?"
"The car?" Sam scowled.
"Bro, you're lying in a hospital bed. Open your damn eyes."
Sam scrunched his eyes closed tight.
"Wrong way, Sam. Open your eyes… right now!"
Someone physically thumbed his right eye open and he was forced to stare into morning's bright light. "Come on, Sammy."
"Aahaahh!" Sam batted at the annoying light or was that a hand. "Uggh. Please stop," Sam groaned. The back seat of the car was always way better than any motel bed Sam had ever slept on, but right now the comforting seats didn't ease his pain. Sam's jaw clenched. "Ahh." He shifted onto his side, grunting when a sharp stab shot through his right arm.
"Take it slow." A quiet voice above him drew his eyes up.
Dean was staring down at him with a smile on his face.
"Where are we?" Sam wiggled uncomfortably.
"Dude, you have the attention span of a goldfish." Dean's smile faded. "We're in the hospital. Bad food, bossy nurses, funny smells, and don't try to get up." Dean gentled a hand to Sam's chest stopping his wiggling. "You've got one of those cheap paper napkin gowns on and I don't want to see all your goodies hanging out everywhere." Dean made a very ugly 'Dean' face. "I'll be scared for life."
"Hospital?" Sam wrinkled his nose, still hearing the beep-beep, varoom-varoom of the car.
"Need you with me, Sam."
"I'm awake now," Sam garbled.
"Being awakes, good, bro," Dean gave a light laugh. "You had to have surgery on your arm. Was a good break. Gotta wear that cast for eight weeks, maybe longer."
Sam peered down at the heavy, white cast. "I see…I heard…wait, no."
You sure you're feeling okay?"
Dean leaned further forward, staring "No. No, you're not."
"How do you know?" Dean reached up and flicked the overhead light on.
"Are you kidding?" Sam raised a hand. "Owe, hurts my eyes. Stop that."
"You look like crap, Sam."
"Don't look at me, then." Sam blinked owlishly.
"I mean, you have that color, Sam." Dean shut the light off.
"What color?" Sam's hand fell limp to his side.
"That's not a color, Dean."
"It is now. You look like you're about to pull a Linda Blair.
"You're a big jerk."
"You should be used to that by now." Dean shoved a little basin under Sam's mouth.
"That ashtray is not going to be big enou…Dean, move!" Sam scrambled to sit up. "Gonna throw…Agghh!" He rolled sideways, head hung low, yellow water splattering from his mouth to the floorboard.
"D'n." Sam panted trying to catch his breath. "I'll…I'll clean the car." Sam tried to move.
"Don't move." Dean clasped his shoulder and held tight, offering Sam nothing but comfort. "You'll be okay. Let me know when you're done." Dean paused. "It's just the drugs, Linda." His hand gave Sam's shoulder a gentle squeeze.
A few gags and coughs later. "Done," Sam breathed. "Dean." He swiped his mouth clean, gripping Dean's arm frantically. "You're not…not going to inflict bodily injury are you?"
"Why?." Dean frowned.
"Not…" Sam took in a breath. "N-not going to say, I told you so?"
"Call me a whiny bitch?"
"Cry blood and tears?"
"Thanks," Sam muttered, flopping to his back and smiling up at Dean.
"Sam, you do understand…we are in the hospital right, buddy?"
"Hahahaha," Sam laughed. "No, we're in the car."
"No, you are in the hospital and my ass is tired of sitting in this hard, plastic chair."
"No, your ass is sitting behind the wheel…driving."
"Sam, you burned the book, the witches are dead. Your arm was broke and your face and head busted up. You had surgery. The doctor's swabbed and sutured you. You're in the hospital," Dean repeated. "Look around. Is any of this making sense to you?"
Sam glanced all around. "Yup," he chimed. "That was the exit you wanted, Dean, you better turn around."
Dean leaned in close over Sam. "Bro, you are so doped up."
"Drugs are good." Sam swung his cast upward, glancing a blow off Dean's chin.
"Owe, damn it, Sam, that hurt." Dean rubbed his chin.
Sam stopped laughing. "Sorry. Dean, I'm sorry. Want me to drive? I can drive. You're hurt…lemme…lemme drive."
Dean sighed, "Sure, pal. Can you scoot over?"
"Uh-huh." Sam inched over, and Dean sat next to him. "Uggg." Sam's head dipped down to rest on Dean's chest and he closed his eyes.
"Hey, man, thought you wanted to drive."
"Too weak to drive," Sam said groggily.
"Ouchy on my arm."
"Try to go to sleep." Dean smoothed a hand through Sam's hair.
"Pink Floyd… blaring in my ears."
"Fine. I'll turn the radio down."
"Dean." Sam creaked open one eye. "I may be doped up, but I'm still smart enough to know we're in a hospital." Sam lazily let his eye fall shut.
"All right," Dean huffed. "You know what, smart ass, you just lost driving privileges for a week. You got me?" No answer. "Sam, you got that?" Still no answer. "Sam, no driving privileges for…"