Another one! I just barfed this out over the course of a couple days. It's pretty awkwardly written, in my opinion, but oh well. The theme is 121. No Way Out. Some time(a week or so) after 5x14, My Bloody Valentine.

Warning: Language, as usual, along with some graphic imagery per violence. I know, I'm a bully.

Disclaimer: Not mine, or else... well, let's just leave it at that.


He sits up a little straighter.

"You drive. I'm tired."

He nods. Looks over. Dean does seem really tired, and he wonders how he didn't notice it before. Dean's eyes are bloodshot, the shadows under are almost black. Like two symmetrical bruises. Dean moves sluggishly, like he's in slow motion.

He begins to slide over, while Dean does the same, lifting his body up so he can go under and get to the wheel.

He's stopped by Dean's hand. Gazes up to see Dean turned to face him, arms spread to trap him between them.

"Dean, what?"

"Sam." Dean stares at him, eyes full of emptiness and something— something else. "I'm tired." Dean holds Ruby's knife in his left hand.

He can't move.

Dean pushes his brother's shirt up and places his right hand against his stomach. The fingers are cold and soft, as is Dean's forehead as it comes down to rest on his own.

Dean moves the knife to a spot between his middle and pointer finger of his right hand, the blade feathering the flesh of his stomach.

Dean presses it against his skin slowly.


Dean pushes it in slowly.


He screams.


Hands are shaking him, throttling in such a fast pace that Sam feels like throwing up. It's too fast, it's trapping him—

"Christ, Sammy! Stop screaming!"

Sam coughs and hacks and blinks and swallows. "Dean?"

"Yeah, Jesus, Sammy, Jesus. Jesus." His face is right in front of Sam's, and the Impala is parked on the side of the road like it was thrown there. It's quiet, Dean's sweating. So is Sam.

"Dean, what?"

"You were screaming for like, five minutes. Christ," he falls back onto the seat as if he were pushed, sighing away the panic; some of it, more than Sam can get rid of. He has a hummingbird's heart rate. Dean is staring at him like he's still screaming.

"Jesus, Sammy," he repeats, to prove he hasn't said it enough, then, "What was that about?" when he moves to touch Sam again and is met with a flinch.

"A nightmare."

"No shit! What's going on with you?"

"I don't," Sam's stomach twinges, "remember. Can you not, can you just drive?"

"Sure," Dean shifts over behind the wheel, not looking sure. "Sure."

They drive until the next motel shows up, and they check in but are both too restless to stay.

"You hungry?" Dean asks, and they head to the nearest diner because neither want to think about what happened, and eating unwinds them more than sitting in a dark room.

He comes back from the bathroom, finding that Dean's already finished eating. Dean flashes a quick smile, patting the seat next to him, and moves the bowl of soup to his side of the table.

He frowns. Sits next to Dean anyways. Begins to eat his cooled soup.

"Finish it fast, Sam." Dean breaks for a moment as he watches him eat. "I wanna go back to the motel soon. I'm tired."

He nods, then pauses. He keeps dipping the spoon back down and bringing it back into his mouth, consistently, repetitively. He stops. Glances up. Dean really does look worn out, the bags under his eyes almost seeming exaggerated. His irises are surrounded by red.

The shadows under his eyes are nearly black, like two symmetrical bruises.

He wonders how he didn't notice it before.

His soup tastes off. He wonders how he didn't—

"Dean... why-?"

"Shhh, Sam." Dean puts his hand on his cheek. His stomach hurts. Dean looks at him. "I'm tired." Dean's eyes are empty, there's something there.

He's choking and coughing and gagging. Heaving. He can't take his eyes off of Dean's.


Dean pets his cheek. His fingers are cold and soft.


He can't move.

Bile mixed with blood and spit run out of his working mouth, and something inside him is burning, ripping, something's tearing—


Hands are gripping him, bruising, and turning him over as Sam heaves into the toilet, fluid vomit rising up in the form of what little soup he had eaten before going into the bathroom. His mind is reeling from being violently jerked back and forth between reality and illusion.

"Shhh, Sammy. Calm down."

Sam finally stops retching, finishing with one long string of spit hanging from his lip, and stares drunkenly at the wall.

Dean stops rubbing his back to grab some toilet paper and wipes Sam's mouth off. Sam flinches. Dean reaches past his shoulder to flush the toilet. Sam flinches.


"Can you not," Sam pants, his stomach churning, "can we just go back to the motel?" His voice is thick and rough and small all at once.

"Okay," Dean stands up, dusting things off his jacket from when he crawled under the locked stall door, not looking okay. "Okay."

As soon as they get inside their motel room, Dean gives Sam a little shove towards the bathroom. "Shower," he demands. "Don't fall asleep in there," he jokes when Sam makes to close the door. Sam knows it's an order as well.

Sam walks out of the bathroom with a billow of steam behind him and water still dripping from his hair. He beelines to the bed, walking widely around Dean who's standing in the middle of the room. Dean seems to snap out of his thoughts, walking towards the shower. He shuts the door, opens it a second later, steps out.

"We're going to talk about this when I get out." Closes it again.

He's roused by the mattress sinking a little as Dean sits down beside him. He never made it under the covers, and both of them still have wet hair. Dean's is just beginning to spike up.

He starts to rise, but Dean sets his hand on his collarbone and pushes him back down. "You're fine," Dean assures him.

The room is dark, barely lighted by the dim glow from the bathroom. Dean's hand is still on his chest.

He yawns, and Dean waits, then, "So these dreams of me killing you. You wanna talk about it?"

"Well I-" He freezes. Looks down. Dean pushes his thin shirt up in slow motion, the harsh air freezing his skin instantly. Dean's fingers are cold and soft.


"I never said," he quiets as Dean places a pistol right above his belly button, gently nuzzling the barrel against the tensed flesh.


"Dean?" He's trembling now, his breath coming out in shallow gasps. His pupils are blown up in fear, almost completely covering his irises, and he tilts his head back up to look at his brother. "Dean?"

"I'm tired." Dean leans in and presses the gun harder simultaneously, water from his hair dripping onto Sam's cheek. It's too dark to make out Dean's eyes, but he can see the shadows under them. He wonders—


—how he didn't notice it before. He can't move.


Two black, symmetrical bruises.

Dean squeezes the trigger.


Hands are pushing and pulling at him, jerking him violently back and forth against the bed, he can't take it anymore—

"Sammy, wake up!"

Sam starts keening, lets out a long, agony-filled wail that shuts Dean up.

He stops when he can't breathe, leaving the room silent. He opens his eyes. Dean is hesitating, staring at Sam. His eyes are bloodshot, but the skin around them is puffy and flushed, as if he was crying. Sam returns the stare with no idea what his own expression is showing right now. Everything is really still.

"Sammy," Dean pleads.

"Can you not," Sam begins to tremble again, but doesn't continue.

"Can I not what?" Dean's eyebrows furrow from hearing the unfinished phrase for the third time. "Sam?"

"Touch me," he completes it with a whisper.

Dean acquiesces, taking his hands off of Sam's shoulders, but doesn't move away. "Talk to me, man."

Sam doesn't, not for a few minutes, in which he sits up and swallows a few times, tries to even out his breathing, and runs his fingers through his damp, stringy hair.

"You," he begins on an exhale, hitching once, "stabbed me in the Impala."

"In your nightmare?"

"And you poisoned me in the diner. You shot me on the bed."

"Jesus Christ, Sam."

"I don't know what to do," Sam says, his eyes pleading to Dean. The last words end in a sob, and he continues in a tiny, vulnerable voice. "You keep hurting me, Dean." He ends with shiny eyes and a pathetically sad smile.

Dean reaches out a hand. Pulls it back. "Do you think, Sammy, do you think it's just stress? Or do you think something got to you?"

"Can we just go," Sam whispers to him after a minute.

"Fine," Dean sighs, rising up from the bed, not looking fine. "Fine."

They go to Bobby's, which was where they were headed before the detour to the motel. Sam substitutes sleep with driving while Dean naps in the back seat with the demand that Sam stop the car if he gets tired or anything freaky happens.

Dean wakes up to the feel of the Impala coming to a halt, and he gets out to stretch. His back pops as Sam climbs out of the car as well, grabbing his laptop.

"Boys," Bobby calls from his place on the porch. Dean jogs up to him and inside, while Sam stays put.

"A minute," he calls back. Bobby follows Dean in.

Sam shakes his head rougher than a dog to clear the fatigue out of his system, then lets in a few deep breaths. He takes in his surroundings, gazing at the rusty cars and the pre-dawn sky. He trots up to the door and goes inside.

"-was just a couple of hours ago, right before we drove over here." Sam catches the last of the situation Dean is explaining to Bobby, who looks just about as tired as Sam still feels. He regrets waking him up in the middle of the night just to have a chat about Sam's dreams, but he figures Bobby was awake anyway.

"Do you have any water," Sam manages to croak out.

"There are bottles in the fridge. "

"And his first one started... a little after we crossed the border."

Sam nods in confirmation, taking a swig of the water. He eases a little in relief as coolness slides down and pools into his belly. Looking around, he voices out, "Where's Castiel?"

"He flew off not too long after you two a while ago. I tried callin' him a dozen times, won't answer his damn phone."

Dean curses, looking at his brother staring at the table, quiet. "I thought he might be able to help."

"What do you think this is? You think maybe something latched on to him?"

Throwing up his arms in frustration, Dean huffs, "We don't know, Bobby. Maybe. But we were driving eighty miles per hour when the first one hit. It could just be..."

"Psychological," Sam finishes helpfully, scrubbing his eyes. "I doubt it. Even though it's been... it would be random for my mind to start rebelling now. This feels different," He adds.

There is a hush that crawls around the room after Sam speaks, and it settles in for a good five minutes before Bobby breaks the pensive tension.

"Well I hate to seem like I'm downsizing this, but it ain't gonna be solved tonight. Why don't you let me sleep, and we'll figure this out when the sun's up. As long as it doesn't cause any physical damage, you should be fine for a while, Sam." As testament to his overpowering exhaustion, Bobby barely waits for a response before he wheels into another room.

Dean sits down at the table across from Sam, and the two stay silent in the isolated light of the kitchen. They remain that way for hours, with Dean occasionally getting up to grab two beers out of the fridge. Dean looks at the darkness of the next room while Sam tries not to blink.

"Sam," Dean says, after their fourth beer. His tone is quiet but slightly commanding. "Maybe you should try to sleep."

"You know I can't," Sam looks up, frowning, into his brother's eyes. They're pinkish, concerned.

"Aw," the older stands up, pushes his chair back, "come on. I'll be right there, Sammy. You can't stay awake forever."

"Dean," Sam pleads.

"Sam," Dean matches his voice. "Just one more night, okay? Then we'll fix this tomorrow. Just one night."

He casts his eyes downwards again. Sighs. He waits a while, maybe for Dean to give up, maybe for the sun to rise.

"Sam, come on. I'm tired."

He stops cold, his heart skipping a beat and his eyes widening. Slowly, he looks up.

Dean's eyes are bloodshot, full of something and nothing. The bags under them look exaggerated.


There are dark shadows. —how he didn't notice it before. They're almost black.

"No, no, no."

"Sam," Dean smiles, and walks over to stand behind him. Dean moves in slow motion.

"No, no, no, no, no, no-"


Dean leans down, puts his hands on the shoulders below him and squeezes a little. Dean bends more, his lips pressed to an ear. They're cold and soft, like Dean's fingers on his neck. A tear slides down his cheek. He can't move.

"If anything happens, I'll wake you up."

Symmetrical bruises.

"Dean, please."

Dean clutches at his neck, fingernails digging in slowly. He's wheezing, crying, his own whitened fingers scratch at the table desperately.


Dean presses in harder, choking him, breaking skin, strangling him. He grasps at air with his open, blue mouth, trying to force air in, all the while failing, falling. It's slow, it's agony, it's torture, he's dying


Hands are scraping him, moving all over him, scratching at his clothes, but he's so afraid to respond—

"Sammy, breathe!"

Sam gasps in a giant breath of air, his back arching and chest rising off the cold, wooden ground as he struggles to take in more than he lets out. His lungs are screaming, but he can't stop, doesn't ever want to stop again, so he keeps gasping, panting.

Dean's gasping above him as well, sobbing out barks of breath and curses as tears track down his face.

"Sammy, thank God."

Sam feels dizzy, the room wobbling back and forth. "Can you not," he heaves out.

"Yeah, Sam. Yeah. Jesus." He shuffles a little away from Sam, giving him some space. "Jesus."

Sam breathes. "What happened?"

"Christ, Sammy, I was talking to you, and you just dropped. In the middle of my sentence. And I thought, well, I thought that wasn't too bad, you know? Exhaustion finally overtook your system and you were getting some sleep. You needed to sleep, Sam." Dean's talking as if he did something terrible, trying to convince Sam it was the right thing. His voice changes a little, gets high and sad. "And then you stopped breathing, Sammy. I panicked. I didn't know what to do."

"It wasn't your fault," Sam nods at him, chest still heaving. Dean lets out a string of curses.

"Dean," he says.

"I'll be right back."

Sam lets out a gust of air in frustration, but waits, staying on the cool floor. The dizziness returns for a moment, and he blinks his eyes a few times to clear it. He works on slowing down his breathing, his heart. Stares up at the ceiling.

There's a crash, a few feet away, glass breaking, and he starts in surprise. He begins to get up, but he's pushed back down.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa, I got it, Sam. Try to keep still." Dean puts a hand on his chest, keeping him to the floor. He complies.

"Okay, I'll stay. Jeez, you're like-"


He jerks, reacts almost immediately to Dean speaking. He starts struggling, but Dean's hand is strong, knocking his head on the wood and dazing him momentarily.

"I'm tired, Sam."

Dean moves in slow motion. Dean sits on his torso, straddling him, and forces the air out of his lungs again. He can't move.


He tries to bring air back in, looking up at Dean's face, his bloodshot eyes, the shadows under them. Dark. Almost black. Symmetrical bruises. Dean's holding a broken beer bottle.

"Deeeaan," He pleads, moans, tears bubbling out of his eyes, "pleeeaase."

He wonders how he didn't notice— Dean puts his empty hand on his face, his cold, soft fingers tracking the tear tracks. "Try to keep still," Dean repeats, eyes holding something vacant.

He's screaming before Dean's even putting the bottle down on his shoulder, the sharp fragments biting into the flesh and digging in deep. Dean twists the shards in. Dean pulls them down his arm, crimson welling up in their wake.

"Ghhhh," he cries. Dean strokes his cheek, moves hair out of his face. Dean gets the bottle to the inside of his elbow.


His shirt and hair is getting soaked in blood. Dean pushes and pulls, making his way down to the inside of the wrist.

"Deeaaa-" He starts with a shriek, his voice cracking midway into a series of chokes and sobs. He squeezes his eyes shut.


Dean reaches his wrist, finishes by pulling the glass past his palm and lifting it up, finally, slowly. His arm is a bloody mess, haphazardly ripped open in deep, jagged lines. Blood pours out, running across the floor in erratic streams. Dean brings the bottle over to his other shoulder, starting to drag it downwards.

The agony is too much, he can feel himself lose too much blood, his nerves are screeching, his heart speeds up then slows down drastically, it's too much, it's too much, it's stopping—


"Don't touch me!" Sam shrieks, jackknifing up and scooting as far back as fast as he possibly can. His head hits the edge of the table, his back hits the chairs, he keeps going until he runs into the corner of the kitchen.

Sam clutches at his arms and presses them against his chest with a great amount of force, bringing his knees up against his forehead. He sobs and screams through his teeth, his curled frame bending over with the power of each moan, every one of them sounding so terrible that Dean can barely keep from falling apart right there.

"Sammy, please," he begs Sam.

"Don't hurt me," Sam begs him. He can still feel his arms being ripped to shreds.

"Bobby!" Dean yells.

"Don't, don't, don't, don't," the words are repeated over and over, mirroring how broken they both feel. It keeps going even after Bobby wheels in, becoming falling and rising background noise.

"Boys, what the hell?" Bobby barks out harshly, voice still rough with fatigue.

"You sleep like a goddamned rock," Dean pants, still crouched on his knees.


"Bobby, go help Sammy, please. He won't let me near him."

Bobby appears to notice Sam's litany of don'ts and works his way over to the bundle in the corner. He places his hand on the man's head, and Sam flinches, his chant raising an octave, but otherwise doesn't react. Bobby manages to lift Sam's head and lowers his hand a little.

"Jesus, he's burning up. Sam, can you hear me? You're not dreaming anymore, son. Dean ain't gonna hurt you. You need to calm down."

"I left him for two seconds, Bobby. I was just getting him some water, he must have passed out."

"You aren't making a lick of sense, boy. Sam," Bobby turns back to the other and continues, leaning over in his chair further, "calm down. You're fine, you're not hurt."

Sam stops his whines and just breathes.

"That's better. Can you get up and walk over to the couch? Dean, I think you're going to have to move."

Dean curses a few times, but obeys, heading into the next room to wait for them. Sam makes his way in, still holding his arms to his torso, and sits on the couch, a safe distance away from his brother. Dean doesn't get any closer, but catches hold of Sam's gaze.

"Can I get you anything, Sammy?"

There's a tense silence, in which Sam takes a few shaky breaths, tears welling up in his eyes again, and he finally speaks.


Dean nods, gets up, leaves. No one speaks, instead listening to the sounds coming from the kitchen. Sam attempts to collect himself.

Coming back, Dean holds out a steaming mug to Sam, who takes it calmly, more or less. It warrants a sigh of relief from his brother, and Dean plops down on the couch next to him, knees touching.

"So," Bobby begins, "I suppose now is as good a time to start than any. Why don't we just list off what it could be, first."

Dean exhales loudly. "Stress, something psychological. Some sort of supernatural shit."

"Could be something left over from detox," Sam adds softly. "Could be Lucifer."

"Is he in any of these dreams, Sam?" Bobby scratches his capless head, rubbing his fingers down to his face. Sam shakes his head, relaxes more.

"Sam hasn't been sleeping much after the detox," Dean rambles, peering over at his brother, "Maybe a handful of hours this past week or so. Whatever this thing is, it's acting up like Nightmare on Elm Street, you know? Like that newest one. They have these things called micro-naps, where they fall asleep just by blinking, weird shit like that. So they don't notice the shift between reality and their dreams. One of the girls in there seemed familiar..."

"Where in hell do you get time to watch movies?"

Sam ignores Bobby's remark, thinking the situation over. "That would explain the diner, since I couldn't just fall asleep walking out of the stall. Dean," he warns when he sees his brother's mouth twitch.

"I'm gonna call Cas again," Bobby sighs, leaving to get his phone.

"Can't be any sorta monster," Dean mumbles to himself absentmindedly as Bobby wheels off, "It can't be. We were driving..."

"We need to research," Sam states tiredly, drinks his coffee.

Dean sighs. Sam sighs. A moment passes, where they both hold their breaths, then Dean sighs again.



"Maybe you should-"

"I can't." Sam levels a stare at his brother, head slightly tilted. "Dean, I can't."

"Yeah," Dean nods, his jaw moving. But with the rush of panic and fear gone, he doesn't really agree, especially with Sam growing physically sick right beside him. "Your fever, though. Medicine?" And reluctantly, when Sam stays silent, "Coffee?"

"Sure." He gulps down the last in his mug as Dean jumps up. A loud curse stops them both.

"Bobby?" Dean calls, and is responded to with a long string of curses while the old man makes his way back into the room.

"What's the use of being a goddamn angel with a phone if you never pick up?" he mutters. Dean fishes out his phone and dials, Sam standing up and heading into the kitchen to grab more coffee.

"Cas, I swear to God, there better be a really damn important thing you're doing right now to explain why you're not picking up— you better be on the verge of giving God an ass-kicking, else you better get to Bobby's right now or I will give you one myself." Then, lower, "Jesus, Castiel, it's Sam."

Sam doesn't think he's supposed to hear the last part, so he chooses not to comment.

"So?" Bobby pipes up. "We just gonna wait?"

"No," Sam snaps, "No. We can at least go through some possibilities of our own." Before Dean can protest, he grabs his laptop and heads into the library.

"Sam," he protests anyways, following his brother, "I know you want this fixed as soon as possible, but you have to acknowledge that it may take a few days." He doesn't know if he even wants to believe what he says, if it's just something to convince himself to rationalize and not freak out. He would like to think he's being reasonable, and not underplaying the situation.

Sam doesn't reply, doesn't even look up from the screen, so he continues. "These dreams don't hurt you, Sammy, but refusing to sleep while being sick does. And you're panicking, I get it, but-"

"Yes," Sam interrupts, looking up with a mix of sorrow and anger. "I'm panicking. Dean. You know why?"

He stands up to loom over Dean in an intimidating manner, which only makes Dean more miserable, because his brother just looks desperate and pathetic.

"I can feel everything, Dean," Sam's hot breath is on his face, and he can see the trembling mouth and red-rimmed eyes on top of his ashen complexion. "And usually, it is very slow."

Dean doesn't have anything to say to that, so he stays mute as Sam backs off and sits down again. The air between them is heavy. Dean watches his brother for a moment, then clears his throat.

"I'll uh, I'll see if I can find something in any of Bobby's books."

Sam doesn't answer.

Hours pass, and the sun is setting before Dean confronts Sam again. Except they're all sort of lost, confused, overwhelmed, so the only thing he can say is "you need to take a break, Sammy," and Sam's still refusing to acknowledge him, so he lets out a gust of air and shuffles into the kitchen to join Bobby in a discussion over how there's too much to go off and not enough and where do they even start?

Sam's shivering now. Constant tremors running through his sweat-soaked body, and his head is swimming dangerously. Too dizzy to focus on the text in front of him, he scrunches his eyes shut and shakes his head to clear the haze.

He's freezing, then hot. He inhales. Smells smoke.

"Sam," Dean speaks. He turns around. Dean moves closer. "I'm tired."

Red surrounds Dean's irises. The shadows under them, like black, symmetrical bruises. He doesn't know how he didn't notice before. Dean really does look exhausted. His eyes are empty, there's—

"You're not Dean," Sam accuses, blinking furiously.

"What? No, I am Dean. Sam, you're not dreaming." Dean's expression changes, is one of concern.

"I don't..." He feels drunk. Manages to almost fall out of the chair. Dean's expression is blank again.


He slumps down on the ground. He can't move. Waves of vertigo crash over him, he's too weak to cry.


"Sammy?" Dean's crouching down by him, hand on his shoulders. Dean's movements are frantic— no, they're not. Dean's fingers are cold and soft.

His head hangs down, and he's too overwhelmed to lift it, the smoke is too overwhelming. The air is thick and opaque, then it's clear. He blinks, and it's solid again.

"Sammy?" Right by his ear.

"Can you not..."

"Shhh, Sam." Right by his ear.

He coughs, sways, bends over. Dean pushes him back up. Dean takes out his lighter. Dean pulls up his shirt.

Dean looks scared.

"Dean?" He asks, pleads.

"Sam," two Deans say at once. One sounds clear, precise; one sounds distant, underwater.

There's a click. There's a pain. On his back. There's smoke.

Fire devours his jeans, his shirt, his hair, his skin. He watches the flames flicker. Watches his vision flicker.

Dean's right there. The shadows under his eyes— they aren't— they're symmetrical.


He's screaming, because it's hot, his flesh is burning, the fire has consumed him completely, and he doesn't know what's worse, the sensation of being burned alive or the feeling of still being alive while pieces of him are falling off in ashes

"Sam! Sammy, please!"

He's still screaming, still burning—

"Sam! Goddamnit, Bobby, is the ice bath ready? Goddamnit!"

He's picked up, and lets out a long shriek as his charred back is touched, his legs—

"Christ, Sammy, stop! I'm not— tired, Sam—rting you, we're trying to help, you're burning up-"

He's still on fire, but he's dunked into freezing water, and it floods him. He can't see Dean, he can't hear Dean—

Cold, soft hands are pushing him under all the way, and holding him there, he's frozen, he can't move. He can't...

He can't even fight for air, he can only inhale cold water which fills his screaming lungs, destroying his—everything, enough to where all he knows is agony, and it lasts for a lifetime, he can't—

"-am, it's not real,Sam, it's not real, Sam, it's not. Sammy, none of it's real. It's not working, Bobby-"

He doesn't know where he is, maybe a bed, and he's not hot or cold or burning or drowning, he just feels really sick. He doesn't feel like he's anywhere.

"Sammy, Sam."

Until soft, cold hands, entangled with cold, hard blades are wrapping around his neck and squeezing and slicing so hard and slow he can feel his windpipe severed, his vocal chords wanting to snap, and it's drowning all over again, but without the water. It's worse, it's Dean.

He can't bring himself to move, fight, think, feel anything but pain. Slick vermillion running down his throat, bubbling out of his mouth. He opens his eyes, the only thing he sees is two dark, symmetrical—

"-Sam, and it's only getting worse, we don't know what to do, his fever is past anything humanly possible, and he's hallucinating, Christ, he can't even tell what's real and what's a dream while he's awake, please, you have to do something, Cas!"

"—I'm tired, Sam"

"Dean, I don't-"

"He's dying, Cas. Sammy's dying."

There's an echo, and a flutter, and then everything goes blank.

He wakes up to warmth, to hands in his hair. To a vibration coursing through his skull from the humming of a throat, a chin, a mouth, on his scalp. It's rough, and soothing. He inhales. Exhales.

"Sam, thank God," Dean stops his humming to comment, holding him tighter. He chooses not to move, instead settling against Dean's chest. He feels the heartbeat, the slow rise and fall of the form against him. It's nice. It's quiet. It's the first comfort he's felt in...

"How long?"

"A couple days. Cas has knocked you out for a while."

He closes his eyes in acknowledgement. Thinks about it. Cas has...

Dean lets out a big sigh. "I'm tired, Sam."


Dean's fingers petting his hair, clutching, not letting go.

His heart skips a beat, starts to accelerate.

Dean's hands pressing in harder, hurting, bruising.

—Two bruises...