Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Supernatural. I can't even get my Seasons 2&3 DVDs to come in... Stupid mail:(
Authors Note: I know this might not be the normal reaction in the story, but it was my experience, and it's not completely uncommon. And of course, nothing ever goes easy for the Winchester brothers... Please review. I'm getting ready to start my next multi-chapter story, and I need all the input I can get:)
The scream, a raw sound of fear and pain, seemed deafening to Dean's ears, and he silently thanked God that there was no one else staying in the run-down motel that night. Anyone hearing this would have called the police, the paramedics, and the freakin' National Guard at the racket coming from the Winchester brothers' room, and Dean just had too much on his mind to deal with well-meaning intruders at the moment. Like having to watch his brother suffer like this, and the killing blow of knowing he was the one causing it.
Sam's hands flailed in front of his face as if trying to fight something off, and he whimpered pitifully, which to Dean was more painful than the screaming. Every sound the thrashing, sweat-drenched young man made tore through his older brother's guts like a knife, and he would gladly take a physical knife to the gut to take back his earlier action. To not have done something so stupid, to not make a mistake that was torturing Sammy while he could do nothing but watch helplessly.
He had never meant to do this to him. He would never cause him this level of anguish, and thought he would be helping him. It had been weeks since Sam had gotten a good night's sleep, or even a peaceful hour of sleep without horrific nightmares. Dean thought it had been bad after Jess, but this whole thing with Madison had really screwed with Sam head. Not that Dean blamed him… Sam had faced Dean's worst nightmare with far more strength than Dean could have. He had fallen hard for the girl, only to have to admit that he couldn't save her. To have to put her down like a rabid dog, at her request. The same damn thing Sam expected Dean to be able to do if he somehow snapped and went all Darth Vader or whatever. He had seen Sam go through some serious crap, but nothing in his life had caused him as much pain as watching him set his jaw beneath tear-streaked cheeks, take the gun, and walk away. He would have done anything to spare the kid that pain, had offered to do it himself, but Sam always had to do the right thing, no matter what it cost him. Madison had asked him to do it, so he had. Even though there was a great chance it was going to cost him his sanity.
And that fear for his brother's sanity, that deep big-brother need to give him some peace had led him to do something stupid. He had always believed that Sam's refusal to take sleeping pills, even when the nightmares had been at their worst was simply more of his martyr complex, or maybe fear that they might cause him to miss a vision and maybe cost someone their life. So Dean had taken that responsibility off him. Several sleeping pills crushed up were mixed into the younger Winchester's salad dressing when he had gone to the bathroom, and unknowingly consumed. Dean had secretly patted himself on the back, thinking for once, the kid could get a full night's sleep.
Not so much. The sound of the first scream had shot Dean instantly into consciousness, and it was a few seconds before he realized that this wasn't supposed to happen. Sam was supposed to be sleeping soundly, not thrashing around like he was having a seizure. A pained moan escaped him, and Dean was out of bed and beside him in an instant. Sam needed sleep, yeah, but he didn't need to have to endure whatever was currently going on in his head.
"Sammy!" Dean called, trying to wake him up without actually having to touch him. Startling Sam awake was often painful for anyone who got too close during a nightmare, but when that didn't work, he knew it was worth the risk. He called to him again, with no better results, and then grabbed Sam's flailing wrists.
Sam's struggles increased, and it took all of Dean's strength to keep him from breaking free. "Sam! Sammy, wake up, it's me! It's Dean. Just wake up, you're having a nightmare!" His little brother seemed to believe he was fighting for his life (or Dean's life… or possibly Jess's or Madison's… You could never really tell what was going on in his head when he was at the mercy of his nightmares), and it was starting to become obvious that something wasn't right. Sam was never this hard to wake up. Never…
Dean felt his stomach sink to his feet as the pieces clicked together in his mind. He had never seen Sam this hard to wake up, because he had never seen Sam under the influence of sleeping pills. They knocked him out, but didn't stop the dreams, and now Dean couldn't get him awake. Great…
That had been a few hours ago, and Sam not ceased fighting or squirming or whimpering or screaming for more than five minutes the whole time. Dean wasn't sure if the nightmares were particularly vicious this time, or if it was because he was stuck in them and they were allowed to progress farther than usual, or if it was just Dean's guilty conscience working on him, but Sam seemed so pitiful fighting unseen monsters and moaning in pain.
The more he watched, the more he could see the rough pattern to them. Sam would be in a few moments of relative piece, then he would start to squirm a little. Then there would be a fierce struggle, sometimes a moan or whimper. Finally there would be a cry or even a scream, his muscles stiffen then his whole body falls limp. Then it all starts again… lather, rinse, repeat, Dean thought randomly.
Sleep wasn't going to happen for Dean that night any more than peace was going to come for Sam, so he sat on the other bed (the one closest to the door, of course… he always protected his baby brother. Except when he did something stupid like this…) and watched. He figured if Sam had been sentenced to a whole night of this, the least he could do was watch. It was hard to see his brother like this, but if he couldn't get him awake, and wasn't about to leave him alone in this simply for the sake of soothing his conscience, there wasn't much choice. And in reality, he had seen Sam go through worse than this. The nightmares were their own form of torture, but Sam was strong. He would wake up eventually, hopefully remember nothing (Dean could occasionally be an optimist, even a deluded one…) and they would move on. If he had to, if Sam figured it out or he got all confessional, he would even apologize. But come morning it would be over. Sam could take it, and he could take it.
And that belief lasted perhaps another hour. When Sam started calling out names, really more agonized pleas than anything else, Dean wasn't sure how much more either of them could take. Then, a moment later, Sam thrashed around violently for several minutes, and then there was quiet. Dean had almost released a sigh of relief when Sam's breath hitched. In a weak, terrified, pitiful voice Dean barely recognized as his little brother's, Sam almost whispered "Dean?" He waited a moment, then asked for him again. Before Dean could even formulate a response, try to reassure him that he was fine, they were both fine, and all was well, Sam started sobbing. Not just crying. Curled into a ball, tears and snot flying, barely able to breath sobbing. That was more than Dean could take. What was that part of the medical oath… First, do no harm…? Well, good freakin' thing he wasn't a doctor, 'cause he had pretty much blown that one.
Dean dove onto the other bed, grabbed Sam by the shoulders and shook him hard. He didn't care if Sam punched him- Hell, he'd welcome it if it meant Sam would just wake up!- didn't care if this ended in the biggest damn chick-flick moment in the history of man, he just knew that he had to snap him out of it. No response. "Sam, dammit, wake up! It's just a dream, wake the hell up!" Desperation leaked into his voice, whether he would admit it or not. "Sam, wake UP!"
There was no response, the heartbreaking sobbing continued. He was still trapped in the world of his nightmare, and Dean had to rescue him. It was just like any other monster that had him-
Except this time was his fault…
-and Dean had to rescue him. Had to. But there was nothing in their father's journal to help, no exorcism, not magic spell, no amount of salt would fix this or Holy water- oh… Eyes widening in inspiration, Dean shot off the bed and grabbed the bucket off the dresser. Not bothering with his shoes, he ran barefoot outside. Returning a moment later, he didn't even hesitate to dump the entire bucket of ice on him.
The response was instantaneous and no less dramatic or welcome than a huge black cloud coming out of Sam's mouth. He sat straight up with a yelp, automatically swiping the ice cubes off his bare chest and the front of his boxers. The fog lifted from his green eyes as he looked at his brother. "What the hell?" He asked.
Dean let out the breath he was holding in a shaky laugh. "A nightmare. Just a stupid nightmare. You're okay now."
"Why did you feel the need to cover me in ice to get me out of it?" Sam still felt a little fuzzy, but that was definitely a new one.
Dean winced. He couldn't lie about this. "Sam, I'm sorry. I thought you needed some sleep, so I… uh…"
He didn't have to finish. Sam could remember the gauntlet of nightmares he had been through with horrific clarity. "You drugged me?"
Unable to meet his eyes, Dean stared at the floor. "I was trying to help. I thought you were just trying to be tough and you needed some rest and…" Looking back up, he decided to give Sam's favorite tactic a try. Trying his best to copy Sam's hurt-puppy expression, he said "I just thought you deserved a break. One night of peace. I didn't realize what I was putting you through."
Sam tried to remain angry. He really should be. His brother had drugged him, for crying out loud! But he couldn't. He knew what had happened, and how hard it must have been on Dean to have to watch. His brother had suffered enough. The anger melted from his face. "Dean, you really thought I was just trying to be tough not taking sleeping pills?"
Dean shrugged. "That or you were afraid you would miss a vision and be responsible for someone getting hurt or killed. So I figured I'd take the responsibility off your shoulders."
Sam shook his head. "Jess had the same idea… Well, she asked me first," he added with a small grin. "But I was having a lot of nightmares then, and she suggested we try it. It didn't stop the nightmares, just made it harder for me to wake up." He glanced at his watch. "But I was never out this long. How many did you give me?"
Dean's expression was somewhere between a smirk and a wince. "Four."
"Four! Dean, you could have overdosed me! In fact, you probably did!"
Dean didn't want to think about that. "That last dream sounded like a doozy. What were you dreaming about?"
Sam shook his head. "It was horrible! You were-" He cut off with a wince and grabbed his head. "Dean…"
Dean's eyes went wide. "Sammy?"
Fear crept over Sam's face. "Dean, my head hurts. Bad."
"Bad? Like, vision-bad?"
"I don't know, Dean! It's bad, and things are kinda blurry. But…" This couldn't be a vision. He couldn't let this be a vision. No way, he could never let that happen to Dean… "Maybe I'm just hung over. From the drugs." The desperation in his eyes told Dean he didn't believe it for a moment.
"Yeah," agreed Dean. "Just hung over. You never could hold your… whatever…"
The pain struck again, and it was all Sam could do to pull the sweatshirt on and get to his feet. "All the same, maybe we ought to get on the road."
"Yeah," agreed Dean, tossing Sam his duffel bag so he could get pants.
As Sam pulled his jeans on, still trying to get the pain to ease, he looked up at his brother. Nothing was going to happen to him. He wouldn't let it, he would die first! "Dean?"
"Stay away from abandoned buildings. No matter what! Understand?" Nothing was going to get his big brother. For a moment, Sam was glad he didn't have a normal reaction to sleeping pills. If he had been knocked out and missed this vision, he could never have forgiven himself… The opportunity to save Dean was worth a night of Hell.