A/N: Today when I was eating my barbecue I imagined what it'd be like to hurt my ankle while I was salting and burning something. And then I washed my hands and face (ribs are messy, lol) and wrote this.
By Deanie McQueen
Sam couldn't stop staring.
The hunt had gone well enough – bones burned and reburied – and Sam was fairly convinced that Mr. Tigger's ghost problem had been solved. His award-winning petunias would finally be left alone after months of ghost-pestering and bad fertilizer.
They made it back to motel before he noticed Dean's wound.
"Oh god!" Sam cried when he spotted it. Dean had taken off his shoes and Sam had immediately zoned in on his ankle. The dark splotch was suspiciously brown and egg-sized. "Oh god!" he said again, clutching the ends of his hair.
"What?" Dean looked over, and then down at his ankle. "Oh."
Sam's eyes welled up. "You'll get an infection!" he wailed, lashes now heavy with tears. "You'll get an infection and perish!"
"Perish?" Dean stopped examining his ankle long enough to look up at Sam, skepticism in his frown. "From a bruise? I should be set, man. Just gimmie the ice and look in the bag for a towel. A clean one, because don't think I don't know what you—"
But Sam was already gone, awash in worry and despair. He could see it now: the small bruise growing bigger and greener and more nasty looking by the hour. Dean's eyes would inevitably turn terrible colors and his brow would break out in sweat, pain growing as the illness spread and ate away at important bodily organs. Sam feared this. Dean needed things like his heart and his spleen and what if it had already begun? He'd be brotherless by morning and it was all so very terrible that Sam clutched at his knees and huffed out breathless sobs.
Sam shook his head. His lungs felt like they were full of marbles and other childhood games, and hearing Dean's voice only made him wail harder. He pulled himself together enough to crash into Dean, pulling him into a brotherly hug. "Don't leave me!" he cried, rubbing his wet nose on Dean's collar. Sadness was messy business. "Don't go!"
Dean's arms flexed at his sides, and Sam supposed he was paralyzed in fear. "I…guess the ice can wait."
"It can!" Sam clutched him tighter, because now other sad images had floated into his head. Homeless puppies and uneaten candy and broken shovels in garbage cans. "Dean, it really can!"
Sam felt Dean awkwardly pat his back.
Dean fell asleep sometime after Sam's third box of Kleenxes, having refused to go to the doctor. Sam fell asleep worrying at his thumb and woke up feeling much better. Dean seemed to be alive and his worry fell away. Perhaps bruises weren't so bad, after all.
He had dreamed of apples.