Under My Wheels
A/N: Sam's 13, Dean's 17. This is an idea I've had for a long time and, after calling in sick to work today, I found myself with some free time, so it has finally been written, albeit very quickly.
You'll have to forgive any glaring errors with the driving instructions because I don't know how to drive (Wish I had Dean to teach me) and I don't know how to drive an Impala. I think I got it about right though, and if I didn't, hopefully it wont detract from the story.
"Stop panicking. You need to stop panicking."
Dean sighed. As if he hadn't noticed. It hurt like a bitch. And yes, okay, the walk to the car had been almost more than he could handle, but there was no way he was going to tell Sam that. The kid was freaking out enough already and they wouldn't get anywhere anytime soon if he couldn't convince his brother that there was no need for the panic. Even if there was… which there might be.
Damn wood nymphs. Dean carefully removed the wadded up shirt from his side, hissing under his breath as he leant against the Impala. His thirteen-year-old brother hovered in front of him, anxiously bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet. Kid was a bundle of nervous energy.
"It's not that bad," Dean lied smoothly, hoping his face didn't betray him. It wasn't life-threatening, he figured that much, as long as he kept the bleeding under control until it could be stitched.
And therein lay the problem. If blood loss came in a pill bottle Dean was certain that there would be a warning against operating heavy machinery, and the Impala certainly classed as heavy machinery.
Dean pressed the shirt back into place with a grimace.
"We need to get back to the motel," Sam was babbling, "It needs stitching. It's bad enough, Dean. We shouldn't have come out here. Dad's gonna kill us."
He's gonna have to get in line, Dean thought grimly, feeling sticky wetness seeping through the cloth onto his fingers.
"Chill, kiddo, you're making me nervous. Don't get yourself worked up. I need you to do something really important, okay?"
He watched his younger brother pause, then make an effort to control himself, but Sam's eyes wouldn't stop flicking to the blood on Dean's side, fear evident in the kid's too-expressive face.
"What do I need to do?" he asked finally.
"Okay," Dean pushed himself off of the car, wincing to himself at the pull on his wound, and stood shakily, "Go get in the drivers seat."
Sam looked bewildered and Dean rolled his eyes and made a shooing motion. Obediently, Sam made his way to the other side of the Impala. Dean tugged open the passenger door, glad that his brother couldn't see his face as he did so. He took a deep breath and held it as he bent and lowered himself onto the leather upholstery, feeling quite proud that he'd managed to do it without making a sound.
A glance over at Sam's wide eyes stopped his self-congratulations. Kid was terrified. He shouldn't have brought him here, but it was only supposed to be a look around, to see if there was anything to Harry's insistence that there was something in the woods. He wasn't exactly expecting to be attacked by a pissed off wood nymph with a hang up on territory. Honestly, he wasn't really expecting anything other than a creepy forest that high school students like Harry used for drinking and scaring each other.
"It's okay, Sammy. I'm fine."
"You're so not," Sam disagreed, his eyes on the blood again.
"Sam." Dean waited for his brother to meet his eye, "I need you to concentrate, okay? Can you do that for me?"
Sam nodded hesitantly.
"Okay, good. Put your hands on the wheel, just like you've seen me and Dad."
Sam's eyes widened even more in alarm - Dean hadn't thought that was possible – and he pushed himself away from the steering wheel, pressing himself against the seat.
"I can't drive, Dean! I don't know how! You never let me touch the Impala. It's at least half an hour to the motel. I've never even-"
"Sam!" Dean interrupted. Listening to the frightened babble was making him dizzy. "I promise you, this is easy. I'll talk you through it."
Sam didn't look convinced. Time to pull out the big guns.
"Sam," he fixed his little brother with a somber stare, hoping he looked earnest rather than desperate. "You can do this. I need you to do this for me."
Sam looked dismayed, and more shaken up than Dean had seen him since their Dad had come home with a badly broken arm he insisted on setting himself. Hell, Dean had been shaken by that, but as he watched Sam's eyes flick back over the wound, take in the twitching in his hands that Dean couldn't manage to control, and the blood that, despite his best efforts, was beginning to mar the upholstery, he saw determination build behind the hazels.
"Okay," Sam said stiffly, swallowing. He rubbed his hands together and pushed back the sleeves of the too-big hand-me-down jacket he was wearing. He shook his mop of hair out of his eyes and placed his hands on the steering wheel, chewing on his lip. "I don't know what to do. What do I do?"
"It's alright, Sammy. It's easier than you think. You've watched me and Dad hundreds of times, right?" The constant stream of encouragement didn't seem to help loosen Sam up but it kept him focused. The car was starting to shimmer slightly and Dean took that for a very bad sign. Better get started.
"Okay, make sure you're in neutral – yeah, like that – now turn the key in the ignition… step on the brake – that one – and pull the parking brake off. Good. See, simple."
"Simple," Sam repeated tonelessly, pushing his hair out of his eyes again. Dean would feel a lot better about this if his thirteen-year-old never-drove-before brother could actually see. "Now what?"
"Shift it into drive. See the gearshift by the wheel…?"
Dean trailed off as Sam changed gears. "Great, okay…" Now was the hard part, actually getting moving. Dean battled with the urge to warn Sam that if he scratched the paint… which was utterly ridiculous because he had bigger things to worry about right now, and Sam certainly had enough on his plate without Dean making threats that would only wind him up tighter. He just really loved the car.
Focus, Dean! He realized that Sam was staring at him, looking terribly small in the driver's seat of the big car, apprehension and fear plain on his face. Gotta help Sammy.
"Okay, now, ease your foot onto the gas and off the brake. Not too fast, just… slow and steady. Both hands on the wheel-"
Dean cut off abruptly as the Impala hopped forwards and stalled, jolting him and sending a burning flare up his side. He couldn't help the groan that forced its way past his clenched teeth.
"I'm sorry!" Sam's frantic voice buzzed somewhere close to him. "I'm so sorry, Dean. Dean? Hey, Dean, please-"
Dean forced his head up and fought against his body to straighten out from the ball it had been trying to curl him into. It hurt – God, it hurt – but there was no time for that now. He needed to reassure Sam so that the kid could get them both out of there.
"I'm okay," he tried for a grin that he could tell came out looking like anything but, "Not your fault. Just try again."
"Dean," Sam started, shaking his head desperately.
"Sam, you can do this." He would have reached out and squeezed the kid's shoulder in a show of support, but he didn't think getting more blood on Sam would help, "I know you can. We'll just try again. You're doing great."
Sam took a deep breath, turning regretfully back to look out the windscreen. "I can barely see over the wheel," he stated, scrunching up his face.
That was a problem, but there was nothing Dean could do about it, so he'd just have to hope for the best. "It's okay, now just do what you did before, but slower. Keep it steady."
The Impala jumped forwards again, but didn't stall this time. It crawled on down the dirt road. Dean thanked God that they were facing the right direction. He didn't fancy having Sam try U-turning.
"See, you got it. Now you just need to keep your foot steady and steer. Easy."
Sam followed his instructions, the speed creeping up as he got more confident and the road evened out. Dean leant his head back against the seat, breathing out a sigh of relief.
"Are you okay?" Sam glanced over at him worriedly.
"Keep your eyes on the road. I'm fine."
Which, of course, wasn't true. The drive went by in a blur and before he knew it, they were pulling up at the motel. Dean had a vague memory of coaxing Sam through the traffic once they hit the town. He wasn't sure how good his information had been but they had made it in one piece so that was good enough. He exhaled the tension he's been carrying.
"Where the hell have you boys been?" a thundering voice above him jolted Dean back to the car park. Somehow, he managed to get his door open and stood on wobbly legs in front of his father.
"Taught Sammy how to drive," he heard himself say before the world did a frightening summersault and the pavement rushed up towards him.
When Dean woke, it was dark. He had no idea whether it was late night or early morning or even if it was the same day, but Sam was curled up beside him on the bed, still in his clothes, breathing deep and even in sleep.
He didn't hurt too much. The burning had faded to an uncomfortable niggle at his side, which told him he was under the influence of some particularly heavy drugs. He decided to blame his actions on the medication when he found himself reaching out a hand to brush the hair from his little brother's eyes, gazing at him with appreciative affection.
"I knew you could do it, kiddo," he murmured proudly.
Sam shifted, eyes still closed. "Don' ever ma'e me do it again," he mumbled sleepily.
Dean smiled. "Deal," he agreed, before letting himself succumb to sleep once more.