Disclaimer: Guess who still owns the Winchesters?

Also, sorry this chapter is so exceedingly long compared to the last one...


Sam pulled at Aaron's grasp, desperately trying to free himself. His body thrummed with the need to help his brother, the blind panic shooting to his very core and blocking out all other thoughts except to get Dean safely on the ground again. If he paused a moment to think, he would know how completely pointless it would be if Aaron actually liberated him. At this point, there was nothing he could do. Dean was in the Wochowsen's grasp, hanging limply like a rag doll once again and Sam was completely powerless to save his brother himself.

"DEAN!" Sam called uselessly, his voice grating harshly from his throat.

With a strong pull, Sam tore free of Aaron's grasp only to limp awkwardly a few paces before his right leg gave out beneath him. Sam barely registered the impact against his knees as his legs met the ground heavily, the bow still held tightly in his grasp.

"There's nothing you can do, Sam," Aaron said softly, coming up behind the younger Winchester and placing a reassuring hand on his shoulder. His tone lilted slightly as he continued, "Not unless you can sprout wings."

Sam's face scrunched up briefly and he snuffled as his panic fell away, leaving despair in its place. He would've laughed at Aaron's comment if he wasn't so distraught. His chest was beginning to ache and he wasn't sure if it was from the sudden lack of adrenaline or if it was the completely helpless feeling that caused it.

"He's… He just… I can't…" Sam stuttered awkwardly. His eyes stung from the emotions that threatened to usurp his tear ducts. He turned his gaze downwards, not really taking in anything in particular; he pursed his lips in frustration and tried to calm himself.

Sam had never felt so powerless in his life - not when Jess had been taken from him by Azazel or when the Trickster had trapped him in an unending loop of new and unique ways to watch Dean die . He wanted to yell, scream, cry, anything, but he couldn't shake off the shock of the situation to do anything more than feel bitterly and utterly useless.

No chick flick moments, Sammy.

The voice echoed through his mind so suddenly that Sam had to physically force himself not to look for his brother. He took a few steadying breaths, using his brother's voice to fuel his need for calm as he placed the bow on the ground at his knees. His thigh began to whisper words of hurt to his brain somewhere during that time. Looking down, Sam marveled at the large blood stain that pasted the denim against his flesh. It was dark and slowly - ever so slowly - growing in size.

Sam shook his head and knew he needed to work quickly to staunch the bleeding of his newest stab wound. If he didn't, the blood loss would get the best of him and then what good would he be?

Sam shrugged off his jacket, shaking off Aaron's reassuring touch in the process. With a bit of effort, he managed to shift himself off his knees and sat on the ground, bending his right leg so that he could get a good look at the injury there. His fingertips pulled at the denim to get a better view and Sam grunted as the flesh moved with it. This would definitely need some stitches.

Aaron deftly ignored the man on the ground.

He felt uncomfortable. He wanted to help Sam, but he wasn't quite sure what he could do. He didn't have a first aid kit and he was by no means a magical creature. Sure, he was the Thunderbird. That in itself was "magic"… But it was a mixed blessing that didn't come with the added benefit of healing powers. There was nothing more he could do other than stir up storms and fulfill the destiny he had been born to live. He turned his back on Sam, slowly beginning to button his jacket. He knew it was time to end this.

Taking a breath, Sam balled up his jacket and prepared himself for what came next. Carefully positioning the fabric over the wound, Sam pressed down on the injury gently, testing his reaction to the pain. He hissed slightly and knew this was going to suck. He counted to three in his head and pressed down as hard as he could. His vision momentarily whiting out in response.

"Just be grateful she wasn't aiming to kill," Aaron murmured casually. His jacket was only halfway fastened, but he couldn't resist the call of his bow anymore. He picked it up gently and eyed it adoringly. Sam couldn't help but be reminded of the way Dean looked at the Impala. He pushed down on his leg a little harder to push Dean's face out of his head.

"Yea," Sam replied with a dark chuckle. He was grateful for Aaron's attempt at keeping everything light. It made everything seem less severe than it really was. He glanced at the man as he picked up the bow and Sam swore he saw it shimmer and wriggle momentarily in his grasp. He blinked a few times and when he looked again, the bow was rigid as though nothing had happened.

"That spear head looked ancient," Sam commented - shoving away what he thought he saw - as he pressed even more tightly against his leg. He groaned at the pressure.

Aaron nodded slightly, "Its at least as old as my bow. It might be older."

"So is it sacred like your weapon?" Sam asked vying for a distraction. Usually that was Dean's job - distracting him from the pain. It was something his brother had done since they were kids and Dean excelled at it. Sam grimaced and shut out thoughts of his brother; he had to take care of himself first.

"No," Aaron replied, "but it is passed down from generation to generation much like my bow. It is an heirloom for them. Nothing more."

Sam nodded in understanding and slowly began to peel his jacket away from the sticky wound on his leg. He hissed as the last bit of fabric came away, but was happy to see that the bleeding had stopped altogether. If he tied something around it, he'd be able to keep it closed until he could get stitches into it. Sam tore at his t-shirt, ripping off a sleeve and stretching the fabric so he could tie it around his leg securely.

A soft rain began to fall and Sam looked at Aaron, whose head hung heavily with grief. It wasn't a look that dictated sadness for something that had happened; it was a look that warned of the sadness that was yet to come.

"You have to kill your sister, don't you?" Sam asked with as much sympathy as he could muster for the beast that had taken his brother. After all, she was (technically, at least) human.

"She wasn't always like this," Aaron said, shaking his head as bitter tears threatened to spill from his eyes. His voice quavered as he continued to speak, "She understood her boundaries, before the inevitable happened."

Sam watched as Aaron's gaze scanned the clouds above him for signs of his sister. The man had placed his bow at his feet and was fingering the buttons of his overcoat nervously - hesitantly even. It was clear that part of him - the legendary part - wanted to take to the sky, while another part - the human part - wanted to keep his feet planted firmly on the ground. It was painful to watch.

"She… She's not a monster," Aaron said heavily and eyed Sam cautiously, expecting him to laugh. When he saw that Sam was taking this with the seriousness it deserved, he continued, "The Wochowsen is only a counterpart to the Thunderbird. It provides the winds to the storms that the Thunderbird cannot. It destroys what the Thunderbird is fated to protect."

"Protect things like your brother-in-law?" asked Sam skeptically. He hadn't meant his words to be so bitter, but he was having a hard time understanding how the Thunderbird was any less destructive than the Wochowsen - especially after Dean had been taken a second time.

"I didn't mean to hurt him," he began. He spoke quickly as he felt the pressing need to take to the sky, "but if I hadn't…"

Aaron let his words trail off as memories flooded back to him, replaced by alternate endings and what-if scenarios. His voice was hardened when he said, "She needed to be stopped. Still needs to be stopped. She's lost her humanity."

"What?" Sam asked, not understanding.

Another rumble of thunder followed by a vicious gust of wind from overhead distracted both men momentarily as Gail swept into view just below the clouds, Dean still in tow. Although only a few minutes had passed, it felt closer to years and Sam knew they needed to do something and do it soon.

"Sam, I wish I had time to explain it fully," Aaron said hastily. He was having a hard time resisting his purpose. He worked at the buttons on his coat again as he continued to speak, "She's changing the balance. Destroying things as she sees fit. I have to stop her."

Sam's brow wrinkled in thought, his mouth a thin line of contempt and concentration. Rain began to splatter the ground with dark dots of color as Sam fought to understand.

Aaron stilled his hands as he reached the last button on his jacket and spoke softly, "She tried to punish her husband for being unfaithful. When I got there, she had stirred a tornado so large that she would have wiped out the entire town. To stop her, I needed to break the unbalance. I need to…"

Sam watched as Aaron stretched to his full human height and secured the last button. His form beginning to elongate as his voice became rough and animalistic once again.

"I had my bow then too. It is the only way that I can deal any deadly blow. To the Wochowsen or whatever is unlucky enough to get in my way. However, it also ends my reign. That is why I only take it with me once the Wochowsen needs to be stopped."

"So, your place in this world is to sacrifice yourself to stop the Wochowsen?" asked Sam, finally understanding the heavy burden laid upon this man.

"Yes," he responded as he began to lift his hood, "And if you want your brother back, you will let me go, friend."

Sam paused for a moment, unsure of what to say. He knew that this was Aaron's fate, just as his father's fate before him. It was the fate that rested on all of the Thunderbird's before them too.

"Who comes after you?" Sam asked, never once hearing Aaron mention a family of his own.

"Gail's sons," Aaron replied briskly, "Two. Adults now. Just starting families of their own. They already know their fates, friend. We are not as young as we appear."

Both men cringed as the Wochowsen shrieked somewhere overhead, once again obscured by the clouds that were beginning to swirl over the dessert. Sam looked at Aaron and a silent understanding passed between them. Grabbing the bow, Sam pushed himself to his feet and stood unsteadily as Aaron paused just as the hood of his jacket was about to slip into place.

"You need to find safety," Aaron said, "Find some place that can ground a tremendous bolt of lightning."

And with that, Aaron lowered his hood onto his head for the last time. There was a brilliant flash of light followed by a clap of thunder as the Thunderbird stood before the youngest Winchester with its beak open in an answering cry to his twin's.

Sam took a step forward, his leg shaking precariously beneath him and placed the bow into the Thunderbird's outstretched talon; he wanted to laugh at the ridiculous proportion of the now tiny longbow held in the enormous bird's grip, but he refrained.

Sam hobbled backwards quickly as the bow began to tremble, stretch and sway in the Thunderbird's grasp. With a faint gasp, Sam saw at once why the legends conflicted over the Thunderbird's accomplice as Aaron took off into the sky.

In his grip was a majestic serpent that seemed to glow golden just as the string had done on the longbow. Its eyes were closed, looking as though it were sleeping peacefully in the Thunderbird's grasp. A smile began to curl on the youngest Winchester's lips as he watched the snake dangle; both its tail and its snout facing the ground much in the same way the broken arrow symbol had on the etching along the bow.

"Peace," Sam mumbled to himself as he watched Aaron soar away into the sky.


The stormy air was cold, damp and harsh, working its chilly fingers between the feathers of both great birds' wings as they soared in the air. Neither creature could look at the other quite yet, hoping to prolong the inevitable. They both knew, however, that in the long run, it was futile. It would end today.

The Wochowsen continued to circle, creating jetties with casual flicks of her wings to carry her and her burden with minimal effort. She closed her eyes and savored the feel of the wind beneath her wings - the freedom that she had learned to cherish since she had first been attached to her destiny. Fragments of memories began to swim into view and a familiar warmth spread through her.

A warm spring day. Laying in bed with a warm, squirming bundle heavy in her arms. Her first son, Collin, named after his father, moving in his confining blanket to stretch and yawn. Her husband stretched out beside her, in awe of the beautiful life they had created. He kissed her, softly and affectionately, whispering words of endearment in her ear. It was the happiest day of her life.

A bit of turbulence brought her back to the present, but as she straightened out, another memory pulled her away again.

A cold winter day. Colin perched on her lap, wrapped in her arms as his tiny 3 year old limbs held onto the fragile bundle that napped in the warmth of a familiar blue blanket. It was the same one that Colin had been wrapped in as a baby, though he would never recognize it now.

"Hewwo, bwuh-ver," cooed the little boy to the best of his ability.

It melted his mother's heart and she kissed the top of his head. It was her favorite memory, sharing the position with the memory she had enjoyed a moment before. It was the day she had brought home Oliver, her youngest son.

A rumble of thunder brought her back to the present and she swept her wings downward, creating a strong gust of wind in response. She shivered, her feathers bristling as her body tensed for what it knew was to come. It would all be over soon. She would be with her lover shortly.

Coasting along the rivers of air created by its counterpart, the Thunderbird soared with little effort. He could feel his heart hammering in his chest, not from impending battle, but from impending doom. His life had been nothing if not full of suspense. Everything he knew had led to this moment - the watchfulness, the anticipation, the expectations.

His golden eyes narrowed as he summoned the memories he would need to steel his resolve. He summoned the destruction she had caused - the hate that was fueled by her loss of humanity. A dangerous glow began to radiate from the reptile in his talons as a vision of his last attempt at this floated to the surface.

It had been a bitterly cold day. Rain had plummeted to the ground, casting the world outside into a white splattered haze. Anything caught outside had been lucky to see more than a few inches in front of their face. The rain was simply that harsh.

He soared off the ground, looking for the Wochowsen, trying to sense her with his heightened awareness in the state he was in. It didn't take long for him to feel the familiar tug of ancient magic as the wind began to surge. He knew where she was without looking.

His left wing dipped, turning him in a tight circle, as he came face to face with his sister in her inhuman form. She swatted the air, fierce screeches forcefully leaving her gullet as she continued to churn the wind to her will. The vortex she was creating was abysmal and larger than anything the Thunderbird had ever seen.

A much diluted version of that same screech momentarily filled the air as the Thunderbird and Wochowsen continued to circle each other. He allowed himself to finish his vision, knowing the reaction it would have with his mystical accomplice.

The tornado tore through the air, growing and stretching towards the earth as Sisiyuta, the golden snake, began to stir to life in his talons. He could feel the thrum of its ancient power sapping strength from him, but he knew this was his destiny. He could not turn back now.

Sisiyuta's eyes opened with a terrible blue glow and searched out the Wochowsen. It flicked its tongue, tasting the air for the telltale scent of its evil presence. A screech tore through the air and the serpent's head followed the noise. There was a pause and a ripple, pulling energy from the Thunderbird into Sisiyuta as a lethal bolt of lightning shot from the serpents eyes, tearing through the tornado and ending its life.

The Wochowsen, however, dipped out of the way with only seconds to spare. Instead of finishing off the great beast, the lightning plummeted towards the earth. With a cry resounding, the Thunderbird could only watch in terror as a man, a mortal man, was struck by the blast, immediately ending his life.

The Thunderbird cried out at the painful memory, a rumble of thunder tearing through the air. He could feel the snake twitching to life in his grasp. He could feel his energy slowly draining from his body. He didn't have to glance down to know that Sisiyuta had awoken from her slumber.

He mulled over the memory of his lethal blow to his brother-in-law, asking the Great Spirit for forgiveness of his misdeed. He could still see his sister's face, strewn with tears at her loss. He felt the guilt and the self-loathing rip through his soul.

Anger bubbled up and overshadowed all else as the image of his sister stealing into his home and taking Sisiyuta from under his nose while he slept. He felt the thrum of his most powerful weapon and ally as he used his anger to fuel his courage. This had taken too long and needed to be finished.

They had lasted the longest of any duo - 55 years. Most generations were lucky if they lasted past 40 after their gifts were given in full. They usually had just long enough to start a family - to continue the cycle - before it was ended. It was cruel, but it was necessary to continue the line unless the Earth should perish without water from the storms. It was the way life would always be.

The great birds turned simultaneously, facing each other as they both beat their strong wings to stay in place. The balance was going to be restored. With open beaks, the cries of the great beasts intertwined and tattered the air around them. Sisiyuta opened her eyes fully, the blue glow filling the emptiness between them. Surrendering to their fates, the Wochowsen opened her talons and released the man from her grip as a great bolt of lightning jumped from the serpent's eyes and struck her heart.


Sam was panting heavily, leaning against the steering wheel of the Impala as sweat dripped over his body to mix with the rain that dripped from his hair and clothes. His thigh burned and twitched, angered by the exercise Sam had given it in order to get to safety - to the car. The stinging along the surface warned that the gash had opened again, the rain and sweat agitating the torn skin.

He wiped a hand over his face and leaned back, surveying the car as if it was the first time he had truly taken it in, and looked down at his rain drenched clothes. A squelching sound placed a smile on Sam's face as he shifted his weight against the seat and laughed through his exhaustion.

"Dean's gonna kill me," he muttered, remembering something about not damaging the upholstery while shaking his head and patting his pockets for the keys. Naturally, they were in his brother's pocket, not his own.

Sam rolled his eyes and watched as the storm above him intensified. There had been strong winds as he stumbled his way back to the Impala as quickly as he could move. Aaron had warned him to find shelter and somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew a car was one of the safest places to be during a thunderstorm. The Impala jumped to mind and Sam couldn't help but wonder if Aaron had anticipated his thoughts. Maybe the prolonged storm was nothing more than Aaron buying time for him to get to safety.

Sam's thoughts wandered a bit to a middle school field trip, one of two Sam had ever been on in his entire student career. This trip had taken the young learners to a local science museum which had shown, among a multitude of other fascinating things, a giant Van der Graaf generator shooting sparks to metal poles buried into the ground.

At the time, Sam had been awestruck by the enormity of the machine and a little frightened by the intensity of the static it could create. Now, he was grateful that he remembered the trip at all, because it was at that field trip that he had witnessed a man sit within a metal cage, touching it with his fingertips, as zaps of electricity danced about the outside of his prison. The charge could only stay on the outside meaning it couldn't penetrate through the metal of a car.

Sam was torn from his thoughts as the hair on the back of his neck began to stand on end. He could feel the charge permeating the air and he yelped when the enormous blue beam of electricity made contact with the ground, shaking the Earth to her roots.

He grabbed the steering wheel, his knuckles white, and rode out the shock waves. He was glad he had made it back to the car. He was pretty sure that if he had managed to survive the electrical charge somewhere out there instead, the earthquake that followed would've killed him for sure.

As his breathing leveled and his heart fought to return to a normal pace, Sam's thoughts churned and a fresh wave of panic flooded his senses.

"Dean!" he cried out to no one in particular.

Oh God, he thought, Dean. He couldn't have… But he can't be… Nonononononono.

Sam felt the wave of pain hit him hard. His chest ached just as badly as it had the night the hellhound had ripped his brother to pieces and Sam couldn't do anything more than hang from the wall and yell for Lilith to call it off.

Tears welled in his eyes as Sam thought of any logical scenario that could mean Dean's survival. If he was in the Wochowsen's grasp when the lightning struck, he'd die. If the Wochowsen let go, he'd fall and hit the earth resulting in death. Even if he somehow managed to survive the fall, the overflow of electrical energy would surely kill him as it struck the earth.

"No, he can't be," Sam moaned pitifully as tears began to tumble down his cheeks. It hurt like hell the first time he had lost his brother and he had hoped he wouldn't lose him for a long, long time still. He could feel his heart slowly breaking again.

Sam sniffled, wiping furiously at his eyes as he shifted around, knowing he'd have to hotwire the Impala if he wanted to get out of here. He chuckled sadly, a lump forming in his throat as he thought about what kind of ass-kicking Dean would dish out for the mere thought of his younger brother ripping through wires of his baby to get it running.

His fingers were just grazing the underside of the dash to get to the wires he needed when a golden light began to shimmer somewhere to Sam's left. He whipped his head around, completely startled by what he saw.

There, outside the window, was the Thunderbird glowing with an intense light the likes of which Sam had never seen before. He shifted upright, ripping open the driver's side door, and jumped out of the car. His heart just about leapt to his throat as he saw that the Thunderbird was there, and not only that, it was carrying two burdens instead of one.

In his left clawed foot, the snake lay once again either end facing the earth as it slumbered peacefully. In his other clawed appendage, dangled the limp form of his brother who's eyes were fluttering beneath his lids as though he were intensely dreaming.

"Dean!"

Sam rushed to the Thunderbird's glowing form, carefully supporting his brother's weight in his arms as the bird released his hold on the prone figure. There was a flash of light and suddenly Aaron was standing beside the Winchesters, his bow Sisiyuta in hand.

"Aaron?" Sam asked, his adrenaline pushing away all pain and fatigue, "But I thought you…"

Aaron held up his free hand and smiled. His voice was thin as he spoke, "I don't have much time. I am using the reserves of Sisiyuta's power."

He motioned to the bow as the confusion streamed from Sam's gaze and the Winchester nodded once his mind made the connection. The bow had more power than Sam had originally given it credit.

Without words, Aaron opened the rear door to the Impala and Sam placed his brother inside, careful not to jar his brother's leg which was turned at an odd angle. It was obviously broken.

"How did you…?" Sam tried to ask, but he was once again silenced by Aaron's hand.

"I am a protector," he said simply, "A guardian especially of hunters and warriors."

Sam smiled a small, thankful smile at the man before he turned and fished for the Impala's keys in his brother's jacket pocket. Dean had started to twitch, his eyes jumping beneath his lids more rapidly than they had earlier.

"He's gonna wake up soon. I gotta get him to the hospital. Thank you for…"

Sam turned towards Aaron and was shocked to see that he had vanished. There was no bow, no man and no evidence that anything had ever happened. Even the puddles that ordinarily followed the storms had completely and inexplicably vanished.

[the end]


[epilogue]

The Polecat Motel
Hawthorne, Nevada
2:47am

"C'rice, Sammy. You gonna. Um. Gonna smother me 'til 's thing comes 'soff?" Dean slurred out as he surfed the tidal wave of Demerol the friendly hospital staff had given him before the brothers were released.

He knew somewhere in his mind that he was in a lot of pain. Hell, he had even told Sam it hurt and then laughed about it which, of course, only made it worse and therefore made him laugh harder. The drugs in his system just made him forget to care about the excruciating throb in his leg and side.

Oh yea and the one in his head. Couldn't forget about the concussion too.

Dean looked up at Sam with glassy green eyes, a combination of exhaustion and the medication in his system working against him. Without warning, a wide smile broke out on his face. He chuckled once before dissolving into another fit of laughter.

"Dean, c'mon," Sam whined, having a hard time keeping his face even and his own laughter under control.

Dean had obviously taken the brunt of this hunt physically, but Sam had taken it emotionally. He was completely drained and wouldn't have felt like dealing with Dean on normal standards; Dean high as a kite was another story altogether.

The elder Winchester rubbed his rubs as the laughter subsided, subconscious instinct still working its way into the picture even as his mind ran away from the pain. Sam rolled his eyes and huffed with impatience as he held the car door open for his brother.

Sam forced himself to stay still despite the fact that his brother was struggling to get both himself and his pair of shiny new crutches out of the car on his own. It was obvious that he needed at least some help to get his sorry ass out of the car and into the room, but far be it from Sam to suggest it.

Sam had been expecting the independent streak to start as soon as Dean had woken up in the backseat of the Impala on the way to the ER and he hadn't been disappointed.

At first, Dean had joked weakly - "Whoa, Sam. I just got the strangest feeling of déjà vu…" - before the shock of the situation combined with the adrenaline started to wear off and the full force of his pain set in. Digs and insults aimed at Sam came next but those quickly turned to anger over the wet clothes pressing against the leather interior of his precious car…

Which Sam took great pleasure in reminding him was there again.

For the second time.

In two days.

Dean had lost his cool at his younger brother's words and shifted to pull himself forward enough to get in his younger brother's face. However, Dean's face had drained completely of any color as his movement, sudden and without thought, jostled not only what was confirmed to be not 1 but 3 broken ribs, but also a broken tibia.

The remainder of the car ride had therefore contained a lot of banter once Dean had found his voice again. The pointless arguing had amused Sam greatly, especially when he started to gain the upper hand.

Unfortunately, the distraction had only worked until Sam had to slam on the breaks to avoid a careless driver that pulled out in front of him without actually checking for traffic. Dean's only complaint after being thrown towards the front of the Impala was a cantankerous declaration of "SONOFABITCH!" followed quickly by a "Samuel Winchester, I swear to God if you do that again I will kill you in your sleep. Slowly. With a plastic spoon."

Even more f-bombs and even a few pleading versions of "Sammy, please just shoot me now" filled up the rest of the conversation before the Winchesters made it to the Emergency Room entrance. Dean was taken away on a gurney as soon as they had pulled in; Sam, although clearly bleeding again and hobbling around, was left to fill in the medical forms with fraudulent information.

Sam was brought back to the present by the sensation of a stare boring into his forehead. Looking down, Sam saw Dean smiling with what could only be some kind of drug induced insult.

Here we go, he thought.

"What?" asked the younger Winchester, his eyebrows raised in irritated interest.

"Nothin'…Satchmo," Dean said, his face wrinkling in confusion, "Tha's not right."

Sam grinned and spoke, "Did you mean Sasquatch, Dean?"

"Shuddup," Dean shot back sluggishly.

Finally giving into the ridiculousness of the situation, Sam allowed a snort of laughter to escape him, catching a glare and a few choice curses that were hardly distinguishable through the slurring of Dean's words.

"Just. Take your time, alright," Sam said, his fatigue finally getting the best of him as he left the car door open and walked with a slight limp to the chipped, red entrance of their room.

He fought with the lock a little before it gave way and Sam opened the motel room door. He made sure to shove the edge of the doormat under it to prop it open for his stubborn brother.

Sam sighed, taking the pill bottles out of his pocket before shrugging off his jacket and throwing it across his bed. Eight stitches poked out of the hole in his jeans as he sat himself on the edge of his bed. He gently ran his finger over them, feeling the tickle against his finger, but not his leg. He had forgotten how nice it was to get a shot of Novocain before having a needle pulled through his skin.

The scratches on Sam's chest and hand had been flushed and covered over with an ointment that made him wrinkle his nose, but at least all of his wounds were treated. Sam had felt oddly pampered by the hospital staff as they took care of him and his brother.

With a "whoosh" of air, Sam plopped back on his bed and just lay there for a few moments. He took a deep breath and raised his wrist, now baring Dean's watch after the hospital staff had asked his brother to remove it, and took in the time.

Six hours, he told himself, Six miserable hours.

Only 12 minutes of that time had been spent getting his brother to the help he needed. Another 30 minutes or so had been spent getting his uncoordinated older brother into the car and back to the motel. Forty-two minutes accounted for, which left 5 hours and 18 minutes of sitting in uncomfortable plastic chairs, filling out paperwork and being stitched back together in uncomfortable places by one cute blond nurse.

Sam blushed a little with that thought and wished he hadn't chickened out giving the young woman his number. He sighed and shoved away the thought. If he wasn't careful, he'd start loving and leaving just like Dean - besides if he needed a quick fix, he had Ruby.

Sam shoved that thought away, not willing to think about the nasty little secret he had been keeping from Dean. There would be time for that later.

The Winchesters had been lucky today, which for them was saying a lot. They escaped suspicion, Dean got the medical attention he needed and Sam had managed to bolster the diminishing prescription strength pain killers in the First Aid Kit. He rattled one of the bottles in his left had, the name Samuel L. Clemens typed neatly along the label made him chuckle a little.

Why can't people see the obvious? he wondered.

He shook the bottle in his hand, as if to reassure himself that the medicine was there by hearing the rattle. Sam felt a little dishonest holding the Percocet in his hands, but he knew they needed it for emergencies. Sam had had to do a little acting \ and tell one or two white lies to get it. Fortunately, it had been easy enough. Sam knew more than his fair share about concussions to fake a few symptoms and get a sympathetic doctor to write him the script.

Yes, Sam had been lucky.

Dean? Not so much.

Unfortunately, Dean managed to escape this entire situation with the worst of it. Sam had winced when the doctor showed them the x-ray of Dean's leg. Dean, on the other hand, just closed his eyes and flopped his head back into the cheap hospital grade pillow they had given him in complete defeat. Any color that had returned with the medley of fluids laced with liquid pain killers being force fed into his system through the IV quickly rushed out of his face, but his trademark tough guy mask slid back into place perfectly.

After that, Dean had been dealt another hand in the exciting game of good news/bad news. The good news had come in three (debatable) forms, the first being that the fracture was a clean break that could be reset without surgery. More good news followed in the form of location. The break was pretty much an even split between knee and ankle meaning a cast was the only thing necessary for a complete recovery. Better yet, it wouldn't have to stay on any longer than 12 - 14 weeks at most.

Dean had blanched at this news, but Sam had been elated. For such a big break on a bone that took all of the human body's weight? That was nothing!

Unfortunately, the bad news had come in the form of Sam almost losing his hand as they reset his brother's leg with only a healthy helping of liquid morphine.

The emergency doctors had given the older Winchester the option of staying the night and taking care of the break under local anesthesia in the morning, but Dean had wanted out of that hospital more than anything.

They had brought in a few doctors, immediately putting the injured hunter on edge.

He had gripped the side of his bed when they began poking at the swollen shin with more gusto than before; Dean had adamantly refused his brother's hand because it was an "overly emotional, chick-like need to…OH GOD! DON'T TOUCH IT!"

Sam's hand, snatched up in Dean's iron grip without a second thought, was stark white when they were finished and Dean was barely coherent when they had started wrapping his leg in plaster...

…conveniently leaving Sam in charge of the color of the waterproof layer of his brother's cast.

Dean was so getting his just desserts for that little shaving cream stunt. …and the Metallica wake-up call before that.

"Sammy?" Dean asked, startling his brother into a sitting position, as he hauled himself in through the motel door.

"Yea, Dean?"

His words were much more coherent as he calmly asked, "Why's my cast pink?"

A mischievous smile grew on Sam's face and he began to chuckle. Dean blinked a few times before his glassy green eyes sparked angrily and he understood what was going on.

Payback's a bitch.

"Oh. You're an ass," he said with an undeniable note of anger after a brief pause. He grimaced and shot his brother an evil glare as he pulled himself towards his bed.

"Yea? Well you're a jerk," Sam said, placing a nice little kick on the k of his last word. He cleared his throat only to throw a little more fuel on the fire, "Don't worry. I hear women just love aman in pink."

"Dammit, Sammy," Dean ground out in frustration.

Using his spiffy new crutches to carry himself around aggravated his ribs even with pain killers keeping the burning pain at bay. He could only imagine how it would feel once the good stuff wore off.

Reaching his destination, Dean lowered himself onto the lumpy surface of his motel bed. He paused for a moment to catch his breath and a cocky smile tugged at his lips, "You think that Sarah chick from the diner likes pink?"

Sam shot his brother a look that hovered between amusement and disgust. Leave it to Dean to think of some hot little number even after literally sitting down for the first time in his own bed after a trip to the ER.

"Really, Dean?" Sam asked.

"What? Gettin' busy releases endorphins, right, college boy?" Dean nagged, "Doesn't that reduce pain?"

Sam blinked at his brother before he said, "I'm surprised you even know that. Or that you remember our waitress's name even was Sarah for that matter."

Dean smirked as he carefully balanced his crutches against the wall near his bed. His face hardened in concentration as he hooked his right foot under the scratchy surface of his left ankle to pull his casted leg onto his bed. He smiled when his little plan worked and leaned against the pile of pillows that were still there from the night before. Satisfied and truly exhausted, Dean let out a breath as the dim light of the room danced merrily in his vision.

"You alright?" Sam asked tentatively. He could sense that the time for joking was over.

"Dude, whatever they gave me," Dean said groggily, turning to look at his kid brother, "makes everything alright."

Or not.

Sam smiled, knowing Dean would be in a world of hurt when that stuff wore off. He picked up the other bottle of pills and read the label with curiosity; his brother's fake name, Tim Clemens, stamped across the top proudly.

Oh yes, this was definitely going to be a fun 2 weeks with his brother.

"Then you'll love what they gave you for when that crap wears off," Sam replied.

A yawn escaped Dean's lip and he blinked heavy lids in Sam's general direction. His voice was softer than normal when he said, "Mmm?"

"The street name is Tylox," Sam responded.

"'Kay," Dean responded with a hint of a question in his tone. He snuggled back into his pillows and let his eyes drift closed. He didn't really see how that was exciting.

"Dean, this is a mix of prescription strength Tylenol and, get this," Sam said, putting the bottle on the table between their beds, "Oxycotin."

"There is a God," Dean declared with a sincere smile lighting up his face. He couldn't find the energy to open his eyes.

"And his name is Tylox?" Sam asked, running with the joke.

"Damsdraight," Dean replied beginning to slur his words together again.

Sam shook his head, incredibly grateful that this disaster was over. He had to admit, it was nice not having to do any clean up on this hunt. Actually, it was nice to have had the whole situation resolve itself with only a little involvement.

It was just too bad that that minimal involvement had caused the Winchesters to commit insurance fraud once again.


A/N: And so concludes my first ever attempt at a SPN fanfic! I hope you all enjoyed it!
Thanks so much to all of you that read and reviewed! Coming back to your comments gave me a reason to finish this!

xoTrebleMaker

PS: Anyone that can tell me what's so "obvious" about Sam's pseudonym from the epilogue will win a SPN story with a topic of their choice from yours truly! The first correct answer I get will win. (Reviews/messages come with time stamps!) Good Luck!