A/N: Another one for the prompt meme at OhSam, this one an AU of 5x10.
He wasn't going to see it happen twice.
Dean was down and trying to find his shotgun, and from the way the clawmarks in the pavement and the growls in the air were moving, it was a safe bet that Dean was going to get hit. The hellhounds were going to rip his brother to shreds, again.
And Sam wasn't going to see it happen twice.
Before Jo or Ellen could do anything Sam was running back, shotgun already pumped and ready. He fired once when he spotted movement, relishing in the whine and the way blood spattered. He fired again and again, focused completely on taking the sonuvabitch out. It wasn't going near Dean.
Movement on the other side caught his attention too late, though. Before he could swing to the side he felt claws and teeth latching onto him and pulling, ripping, tearing. Dean was yelling somewhere in the background, Ellen and Jo were god knew where, but all Sam could feel were the tear tear tear of teeth in his chest, claws in his arms, blood spilling and rolling down his skin.
Then they were gone and Dean was there, catching him before he could fall. "Go!" Dean yelled, and Sam seriously hoped he wasn't talking to him. Going wasn't happening anytime soon. His legs wouldn't work right, the world was spinning, and something was shifting inside of him that had never shifted before.
Someone caught and lifted his legs, and Sam tried to pull away, terrified it was the hounds back for him. Ellen's worried face met his, and then he was being cradled against Dean's chest and carried fast. Buildings passed his eyes, making him dizzy, before one of them came closer. "Hurry!" Jo was shouting, and Sam realized the growling was getting louder.
Then the world changed, buildings to a store. It felt cooler inside, and the floor Dean gently set him down on was colder yet. It felt nice.
The growling was getting louder, something was rattling hard, and Sam closed his eyes just to try and recover for a minute, just one minute.
When he opened his eyes again, the rattling had stopped. There were no more growls in the air. It was silent, save for the rustling of clothes as people moved. Jo. Ellen.
Dean, who appeared instantly in front of Sam. His eyes were wide and scared, and Sam immediately tried to reach out to him. He'd gotten the one hellhound, hadn't he? Killed it before it could get to Dean.
But he hadn't gotten the second one.
"You with me?" Dean said. His voice was trembling, and his hand shook when they gently touched Sam's cheek. His other hand was pressed against Sam's side, a constant pain that burned and ached.
Sam blinked and swallowed hard. The cold floor beneath him didn't feel as nice as it had before, and the hardware store around him was dark. From beyond Dean, he could see Jo leaning against a shelf, eyes dark and worried. Next to her was her mother on what looked like a radio, talking with someone. Sam couldn't make out who, but Ellen's voice was low and urgent.
Something rolled down his skin, slow and nauseating. His left arm was on fire and wouldn't move, so he moved his right to stop the liquid from sliding down his chest before Dean could stop him.
His hand came away red. Very red. The something in his chest slid again, and breathing was hard.
"Think it got my...my lungs," Sam whispered, breath heavy in the stillness. "Dean-"
"Shhh, shhh," Dean said desperately, pulling Sam's hand away when he tried to explore again. "Take it easy. Just...just take it easy, okay? You're gonna be fine. You're gonna be all right. I promise. I promise, okay? Just stay with me."
Except the look on Dean's face was like a man prepared to swim a river when faced with a tsunami. He was trying to fight against something that couldn't be fought against, and he knew it.
He wondered if Dean had said similar things when he'd died before.
Footsteps announced Ellen's arrival, and Sam tilted his head back when she didn't crouch down. She looked just as scared as Dean did. "Bobby's trying to find a banishing spell for the hounds," she said quietly. "If we can get rid of those sons of bitches, we can get Sam out to medical help."
Sam closed his eyes, eliciting an instant response from his brother. "Stay awake, Sam! Don't you close your eyes on me now, don't you dare-"
"There's no banishing spell," Sam said softly, though he did open his eyes. Dean looked downright terrified now, fingers digging in tightly where they gripped Sam's right arm. "There's...not one, not big enough for..."
"You can't just give up," Jo started, but Sam shook his head. It shifted the torn something inside of him again, and he coughed against the rising blood. Dean bit his lip hard, tears rising in his eyes, and Sam tried to smile at him.
"Not givin' up. I looked, when...when Dean had his deal," he explained breathlessly. "Thought maybe I could. Y'know. Make them leave. But there isn't anything." He was pretty certain Bobby knew that, too.
Dean's hand pressed harder against Sam's side. "We'll get you out of here," Dean promised. "I swear to god Sammy, if it's the last thing I do-"
"It's okay," Sam told him. The cold was seeping into his bones now, and he could feel himself trembling, trying to seek heat. Shock was setting in, if it hadn't already. He was dying, and he was...okay with it, actually. If this was how it worked out, then he would go and gladly. Lucifer couldn't wear him if he was dead.
Except, apparently, Dean wasn't okay with that.
Sam found Dean's forehead suddenly against his own, his bloody hands grasping the sides of his face. "You listen to me," Dean said, voice low. "You're not dying on me now. You hear me? Don't you dare. I didn't just get you back so you could...could die. I can't do this on my own," he whispered, eyes locked on Sam's.
Sam gazed back for a long moment, then smiled sadly, thinking back to the conversation that had pulled them together years before. "Yes you can," he said, fighting to pull in the air to say it. Dean wanting him around meant a lot, after everything Sam had done. But Dean could do this on his own.
Dean slowly shook his head against Sam's. "No," Dean said slowly. "No, Sammy, I can't."
"Ellen, are you there? Ellen? How's Sam? Is he still holdin' on? Ellen!"
Bobby's crackled voice had Ellen running for the radio. "Go," Dean said when Jo hesitated. "Whatever Bobby needs, it's gonna require help."
Jo nodded and hurried off. "Go," Sam repeated, panting heavily now. His side was on fire, and his arm was no better. Both weren't in any shape to move.
"No," came Dean's immediate response. "I'll stay here."
"I'm not leaving you," Dean said harshly, then softened his voice. "No. If they need help badly, I'll help. But I'm not leaving you."
Sam closed his eyes and let Dean pull him against his brother's shoulder. His side hurt even more for a flare of pain, and it was enough to make him shudder.
When he opened his eyes, there were four small buckets in front of him. His legs were now lifted across Dean's lap, and he was being cradled like a child. Breathing felt nearly impossible, and every breath he took felt like it was going to be the last.
His eyes wandered over the buckets, seeing a variation of objects in each one. Salt, little cans of lighter fluid, other flammable materials. Wires were attached to each one, and underneath them all was a pattern spray painted onto the floor. Devil's trap, maybe. He couldn't really see all that well.
His side and arm didn't hurt anymore, though. They were both just numb. Everything felt cold and numb, except for Dean against him, who felt warm.
He was dying.
He thought he gave a small noise as a response; he wasn't sure. But either way Dean was shifting until he could see Sam. Dean's face was pale, eyes red-rimmed and full of fear. The last time he'd seen Dean look that way was when he'd let Lucifer out, and the time before that, right when the hounds had grabbed him and dragged him off the table to the floor. Neither were thing he wanted to remember.
"We got a plan?" he whispered. Anything more was taking up too much of his remaining lung's power.
"We think so," Ellen said. Sam managed to tilt his head on Dean's shoulder to where Ellen was. This time, she gratefully crouched next to him. Dean's hand tightened reflexively on Sam's good arm. "Ash taught Jo a thing or two about electronics," Ellen continued. "We've got a banishing spell of sorts, which is more like a mystical bomb than a spell. Lots of salt and the hex bags you boys had on you."
"They're on timers," Jo continued, sitting next to Sam on the floor. She winced when she looked at him, and Sam could only imagine how he looked at the moment. Appearances weren't really an issue at the moment. "We'll have about forty-five, thirty seconds before they blow, depending on how I set it. Can't make it too long, or they'll follow us."
Couldn't make it too short, or no one would get out.
"Should give you guys 'nuff time," Sam whispered. His eyes kept falling, too heavy to stay open. Everything felt like it was slowing down, from his breaths to his heartbeats.
"Don't even start," Dean said, speaking up. "We're gonna get you out of here."
"We've got a tarp with some of the shelving set up," Ellen said, her voice firm and unrelenting. When she brushed some of the damp hair from his face, though, she was nothing but tender. A mother at her best. "I won't leave you here, Sam. I refuse."
"I won't either," Jo said, just as firm as her mom. "We're gonna get you out."
No need to ask Dean. His hand had to be cramping at how hard he was clutching at Sam, but Dean wasn't letting go. He'd clutched that hard in the convent, too, pulling Sam away from Lucifer's light. He hadn't let go then. He wasn't letting go now.
Sam could try and hold on long enough for him.
They had him on the tarp within ten minutes. He'd caught a glimpse of himself in a reflective surface and had cringed. His skin was pure white from lack of blood, and from the top of his chest down he was covered in dark red blood. His blood.
"We're gonna get you out," Dean whispered as they headed for the back door. "I promise. I'm right here, okay? Not going anywhere, you'll be fine." Back to the desperate promises, but Sam clung to them this time, the tossing and turning of the makeshift gurney sending pain throughout his weak body. He wasn't sure he'd survive the trip out.
"Going up to the roof would be the easiest way out," Jo said, kneeling by the buckets. "But there's no way with Sam."
"Then we'll find another way," Dean said before Sam could protest. He wasn't worth screwing with the safe escape route. They should just leave him there, he'd be fine, he could press the button or trigger or whatever while they got away and killed the devil-
Dean was suddenly right there next to him, tears in his eyes again. "I'm not leaving you," he murmured, his voice hot in Sam's ear. "You say it again and I'll owe you a smack down, you hear me? You're worth this. You are always worth this to me."
For some reason only God knew, Dean was completely serious. "Dean," Sam protested, feeling tears of his own.
Dean leaned over him and smiled. "That's final, Sammy," he said. "I'm not losing you. I can't."
"Ready?" Jo called from somewhere else.
Sam felt the gurney shift as Dean took his place. "We're ready," Ellen said.
Then the gurney moved fast, almost too fast, and Sam had to grab hold of the side. The store moved to buildings, a sickening deja vu of before, and then they were out in the alley. Sam could hear the growling of the hounds, and the memory of the teeth and claws left him shuddering helplessly. Everything felt like it was spinning, the growls and the quick pattering of running feet echoing in his ears, Dean's panting breath telling him to hang on, just hang on Sammy-
And then there was heat and a bright light and Sam closed his eyes, the pain too much. Dean's voice was louder now, more desperate, possibly screaming, but Sam couldn't hold on. He could feel his hand slipping from the side of the gurney, and he thought he might be falling off.
And then he didn't feel anything.
When he opened his eyes again, he was in the back of the Impala. "Dean?" he said. The car lurched to a stop just as realized he could breathe. He took in a deep breath to prove it, and the use of both lungs had him sighing in relief.
Doors opened and slammed, opened again, and then Dean was crawling over him, hauling him up and holding on tight. There was no pain this time, nothing but warmth. Sam used both arms to cling back and felt something slide down his skin. When he pulled back to look at his brother Dean didn't even bother trying to wipe his eyes. "Jesus, Sammy," he choked.
"Dean?" Ellen called from somewhere. There were more car doors slamming, and Sam closed his eyes, the sensations too much.
"It's too much for him, Dean. The noise-"
"Tell Ellen and Jo he's okay," Dean managed to get out. Castiel, whom Sam realized had been talking, nodded from his position in the front seat and disappeared. A minute later Ellen and Jo's voices faded away, and Sam leaned into Dean's embrace.
"Lucifer," Dean said tightly. "He found us as we were leaving, as you were..." He swallowed loud in Sam's ear, but the noise wasn't unbearable. "Healed you up, said he still needed you. As soon as he did I put two rounds in him with the Colt."
There was something wrong with Dean's voice, though. There was no sense of victory, and Sam's stomach plummeted. "It didn't work, did it," he asked hoarsely.
Dean was quiet, the answer loud enough on its own. "We'll figure it out," Dean said instead. "You're okay, and that's all that matters. We'll figure it out, Sammy."
It would have to be enough. For now, there weren't hellhounds ripping him apart, and Dean, Ellen, Jo, and Castiel were safe. He could handle that.
He didn't try and move, though. So long as Dean was okay holding him, Sam was okay with being held. They'd move in a minute.