Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. I just have a lot of fun borrowing the characters for my stories. Please don't sue me!
A/N: This is a one-shot for dreamlitnight who won my trivia "contest" and this story.
Her "demands" were simple.
She wanted a sick or hurt Dean fic with Sam in charge.
She also wanted a mermaid.
...I think I had a little too much fun with the mermaid.
Sam's hands had barely made contact with the damp earth to help break his fall when the gunshot echoed deafeningly somewhere over his head. There was a wail of ghostly agony followed by complete silence. Sam peeked to his right and watched as wisps of a dark, angry fog swirled and evaporated into the air.
The ghost had almost gotten the drop on him that time.
"Dammit, Sam," Dean said angrily, casting his gaze about for the spirit as he reloaded his sawed-off with salt rounds.
Sam got up, shaking slightly from the adrenaline coursing through his system, but still in control. He took in a deep breath and let it out with a whooshing sound to try to calm the buzz working its way through his nerves.
"Thanks," Sam mumbled, holding his gun loosely in his grip.
Dean looked up at his brother, his face practically giving Sam the dictionary definition of the word angry and then some. However, Sam also caught the faint shimmer in his brother's green eyes that Dean couldn't quite hide. Dean had been afraid for him. Had it really been that close?
"I take it you haven't found where Paul Bunyan kept his axe," Dean said with more than just a hint of frustration.
His fingers were clumsy and he kept telling himself it was from the cold - that it had absolutely nothing to do with his Bigfoot sized brother almost losing his head. He shifted his stance to quell how close it had come and focused on reloading his weapon. It took him a few moments longer than normal to get the rock salt rounds into the chamber, but he got it done. He kept his face even as he snapped it back together, ready to take out their friend when he showed up next, and kept his eyes trained on his brother.
"Gee, Dean," Sam shot back, a defensive strain coming through, "What was your first clue?"
"It might've been the phantom's axe that was making its way towards your head a few seconds ago," Dean shot back with a cool wave of indifference coming over him.
Sam saw it and knew not to be offended by Dean's seeming nonchalance about almost losing his baby brother. Inwardly, he knew Dean was forcing down a heaping helping of big brother sized worry. Unfortunately, it happened more times than Sam was willing to admit.
"Whatever," Sam mumbled back, picking up his gun and turning away from his brother.
Tension was running high on this hunt and that probably had more to do with Mr. Murphy and his incredible law than anything else. It was supposed to be a routine salt and burn. Dig up the body, torch it and leave - no one ever the wiser.
Unfortunately, in the time they had been here, three people had died in the woods; every one of them had sustained multiple slices and a few near amputations. They were all finished off the same way too - beheaded with a small axe that was only really useful to chop fire wood.
Sam had been the lucky finder of the first body. It was a bloody, headless mess that burned its image into his skull in no time flat. Dean had teased him about it and called him a whiney little bitch, but inwardly, he was squirming at the gruesome sight himself. The next body was only a few feet away from the first and in just as bad condition. Sam and Dean had decided to give the victims a hunter's burial to keep their spirits from coming back.
Sam and Dean trotted along together now, their guns at the ready, because this bastard had been sneaky and completely unpredictable. They couldn't expect anything less from a spirit that had been infected with Rabies while he was alive, though. After all, the man's brain was probably full of more holes than Swiss cheese before someone had finally found him and beheaded him, hence all the beheading the spirit was doing himself.
Dean shivered a little at the thought. He hadn't liked the smell of this hunt from the start, but they were far too invested in it now. Sam had done the bulk of the research on this one, especially after Dean had started to give him hell about the local legend of the "tame" spirit in the woods that chased away its victims with an axe held over its head. That's when the murders had started; axe murders no less.
Sam had hunted down all the facts and uncovered a man named Jack Troudor, a death certificate for said man and the burial plot where they could find him. Jack had lived in a small log cabin built by his grandfather and worked as a lumberjack, hence the Paul Bunyan nickname Dean had given him.
So here they were, stalking around the guy's forest armed with shot guns, salt, lighter fluid and some matches. They had already found the body buried exactly where they thought they would. They had even managed to dig up and burn his body without incident. However, there had been sirens rushing past the cemetery, leading straight into the woods where the man had lived, screaming into the night only moments after they had filled in the grave and gotten rid of any evidence that they had been there.
The spirit had killed another hiker in the woods. It wasn't dead, which meant the bastard had attached itself to something else.
"You know, I still can't figure out why a spirit would attach itself to the thing that killed it, Dean," Sam said at long last.
Dean let out a throaty chuckle, checking their backs, and swinging around to answer his brother, "And I still can't figure out why you feel its necessary to blow dry your hair in the morning, Samantha. But it still happens."
Sam rolled his eyes at the insults. He would've objected to Dean's insistance that he blow dried his hair, (Because he had only done it once… And that was year's ago… And it was only because it was a freezing cold night in the dead of winter… And the motel they had stayed at happened to have one attached to the wall!) but something glinting in the moon light had caught his attention.
"Dean," Sam said, hitting his brother's bicep with his left hand and motioning to the object with the gun in his right.
"Nice work, Nancy Drew," Dean said, lowering his weapon and strutting his way over with that cocky grin stuck to his face again. He had reached the weapon in no time, taking it down from its place on the dilapidated wall that must've once been a shed with no effort and dropped it at his feet.
Wasting no time, Dean sprinkled a gratuitous amount of salt over the weapon before drenching it in accelerant. He struck the match and held it for a moment, savoring the end of the hunt a little, like he always did. The smell of the lighter fluid and sulfur from the matches mingled and wafted up through the air, putting a relieved grin onto Dean's face.
Sam's face, however, pinched together in irritation and he was just about to tell his brother what he should do with that axe before he torched it, when a chill shot up his back and the hairs on his arm stood on end.
Paul Bunyan was back and advancing on Dean fast.
"Dean!" Sam shouted, raising his gun and taking aim. The rock salt rocketed out of the gun, but Sam was a millisecond too late. The spirit had already swung.
Dean turned to his brother's panicked voice, expecting to see Sam trying to pull a prank, but definitely not expecting to see the very sharp, very real head of a spectral axe swinging towards him.
The elder Winchester's eyes grew nearly as large as the full moon over head, dropping the matches - thankfully on top of the real axe - in surprise as panic suddenly set in. He did his best to dodge to the side, twisting as he moved.
The spirit began yelling as the object it attached itself to finally caught fire. The apparition and its weapon began to smolder and churn, but there was nothing that could alter the physics equation already set in motion. There was a moment of intense clarity before the object hit its mark followed by a very real, mind numbingly, unbearable pain as it ripped through his left shoulder.
Dean blinked, dumbfounded. Pain. It was all his brain could comprehend. There was nothing but the agony that flashed in a million colors before his vision. There was nothing but the feel of tendons and tender muscle tearing away from bone. Then reality came crashing down on him and he could barely force himself to breathe.
He could feel the scream that was ripping out of his throat, but the static that rushed to his ears covered the sound of it completely. He felt himself staggering back and he knees give out beneath him. He hit the ground hard, stunned and in too much pain to do anything more than turn his head to see what was causing his pain.
Dean's features blanched as he saw the axe buried in his flesh, stopping only where metal met bone. It seared his skin as it, as well as the now screaming Jack Troudor, burst into flames and then quite suddenly crumbled into ash. He started hyperventilating, having absolutely no control over himself anymore. Slowly, he registered his name and saw his brother running towards him. However, with a few blinks of his pain glazed eyes, Dean lost himself to the whispered promises of relief and allowed the darkness to engulf him.
Sam paced the waiting room. He was tired of checking the clock. He was tired of the off white walls dotted with its photographs of sunsets and tropical paradises. He was tired of the tan carpets complete with its suspicious stains of wear and tear. Most of all, he was tired of waiting to hear anything about how Dean was.
No time had been wasted once the spirit had gone up in flames and the axe in Dean's shoulder had disintegrated. Sam grabbed Dean and threw him over his shoulder in a fireman's carry. He wasn't quite sure how he remembered to grab the guns with his free hand, but Sam had done just that, leaving only the salt and accelerant behind.
Evidence be damned; Dean needed help and he needed it now.
The car ride had been intense and extremely quiet, leaving Sam to fret and worry over the outcome of this situation. He didn't remember pulling up to the doors of the Emergency Room until he was in the hallway yelling for help. Nurses rushed to his side and tried to pull him in farther, but Sam had pushed them away and told them to get his brother out of the car.
It was only after the small gathering scattered to get a gurney that Sam looked himself over and understood why they had wanted to help him. Sam was covered in blood - Dean's blood. A fresh wave of panic rolled through him. He hadn't realized his brother had been bleeding that badly.
Sam glanced up at the clock to break his thoughts, cursed and turned to continue pacing. Dean had been in surgery for nearly two and a half hourse now. The emergency staff had wasted no time asking Sam a few simple questions which Sam had answered - blood type: A-, no allergies and an angry, "Take my verbal consent and I'll sign the damn form when I get it!"
In a flourish, Sam had been ushered into the waiting room by a kindly, heavy set woman with graying hair. She had given Sam's arm a reassuring squeeze as she handed him the insurance forms he had to fill out. His eyes had softened and began to tear up as he looked at her. She had only nodded in understanding sympathy and left him, not knowing he would be supplying false information.
Sam looked up, an older gentleman standing in the doorway removing a face mask and a sterile head covering. He looked weary, as though he had been up too late and working too hard.
"Yea, that's me. How is he?"
There was a sigh and the doctor walked towards a quiet corner of the waiting room, gesturing for Sam to follow and have a seat. Sam's anxiety began to rise again. Sitting in a quiet corner was never a good thing. Never had been and never would be.
"It was pretty iffy there for a while, son," the doctor said, his voice a deep baritone, "And he lost a lot of blood. He'll be anemic for a bit."
"Was iffy or is iffy?" Sam asked, taking in the information and then holding onto semantics for hope.
The doctor smiled and chuckled a bit, "You don't miss a thing do you?"
Sam smiled back weakly, his knee bouncing to let out some of the energy pounding through him.
"Your brother will be fine," the doctor said, a smile filling his face as he watched the young man before him physically relax. He waited a moment before he continued, "But he will need to take it easy for quiet a while."
Sam smirked and said, "Clearly you don't know my brother."
The doctor chuckled at this and shook his head.
"No, I don't," he said, "But if that wound I patched up is any evidence, I'd say he knows how to get himself into trouble."
Sam chuckled, letting the comment roll of his back. Seriously, the guy had no idea how close to the truth he really was.
"You gave the police a statement of what the guy looked like, right?" the doctor asked, all traces of joking gone from his voice.
Sam nodded. It was a lie, but he knew it was necessary to keep the police away from him and his brother. Sam had been avoiding the authorities since they arrived at the hospital to interview him. He hid in corners and held magazines strategically to keep from being seen; it was childish, but it had worked.
He had had to tell the medical staff that the wound was caused by an axe swing. There was little else that could have torn through flesh and wedged itself into a bone the way an axe could. The resulting surprise at being the only survivor so far in a string of murders in the area had made Sam a bit of a celebrity. The winks and lust filled glances sent to him by most of the females - and even a few males - on staff had made him incredibly uncomfortable.
"Do you have any questions for me?" the surgeon asked, breaking Sam from his thoughts.
"Uh, yea," he said, "One I know my brother will want to know is when can we leave?"
The older man smiled kindly, "Tomorrow morning. I want to keep him under observation for at least the night."
Sam nodded and continued, "Okay and this one's for me. Can I go see him?"
"Of course," the doctor replied, standing and leading the way.
"Thanks again, Dr…," Sam trailed off, shaking the man's head.
"Dr. Nathans," he replied, "And it was my pleasure."
Sam watched the man walk down the hall with a quizzical expression on his face.
His pleasure? Gross.
Sam took a breath to steady himself before he walked through the open door to his brother's room. Dean was asleep and attached to an assortment of monitors and tubes. His chest was bare except for the tight wrapping around his left shoulder and part of his collar bone. Sam was only partially surprised to see a restrictive style sling around his left arm as well.
This was definitely a doozey.
The younger Winchester let out a heavy sigh, his lips smacking together like a horse's gentle whicker as he ran his fingers nervously through his hair. He spotted a chair in the corner and dragged it over to his brother's bedside. He sat as close as he dared, not wanting to disturb Dean, but needing the proximity.
Sam found the remote to the TV next and turned it on. After a few minutes of channel surfing, he settled on Animal Planet. Nothing else even remotely intriguing was on at such an hour. Sam rested his head in his hand, elbow on Dean's bed, staring blankly at the TV. He was out before the first commercial was even over.
Music gently coaxed Sam back to consciousness. He listened for a few minutes, eyes closed, trying to identify the melody. It was so nice and full. Strings and winds melting together in an enticing blend of emotion and sound. It was all strangely familiar…
Its… No. It couldn't be.
Sam's eyes slowly popped open and he chanced a look at Dean. His brother rested comfortably against the pillows, the end of the bed raised. His gaze was distant, fuzzy, drugged. Sam looked up at the TV and rubbed his eyes to make sure he wasn't seeing things. However, it was his brother's voice singing along that made him sit up, his mouth agape.
"I wanna be, where the people are…"
It was out of tune and absolutely horrendous, never mind the fact that it was a Disney tune coming out of Dean Winchester, badass extraordinaire.
"The Little Mermaid?" Sam asked, choking back the laughter. Wait until Bobby heard about this one!
Dean looked at Sam with a cheesy grin splashed happily across his face. His green eyes were glassy and a little fuzzy around the edges; Sam understood immediately. Dean was completely stoned.
"Dude," Dean said lazily, "Ariel's hawt."
Sam licked his lips and smacked them together to carefully to contain his laughter. He looked at Dean, wrinkling his brow as he saw the upset written all over his face. It took Sam a minute to figure out why and when he did, he had to look away and bite his cheek to keep from laughing. Dean was actually torn between watching the movie and trying to talk to his little brother.
Sam composed himself as he talked, "You feelin' okay."
Dean blinked slowly and said, "Uh huh."
Pretty sure he's feeling more than okay, Sam thought to himself.
"Do you remember what happened?" Sam asked with some hesitation. He hated doing this, but he knew it was a necessary evil.
Dean swallowed thickly and he looked himself over, finally taking in where he was for the first time.
"'Min a hospital?" Dean asked with some confusion.
Sam nodded and watched as Dean's eyes flickered with a moment of lucidity. Dean sucked in a breath and started to look Sam over, inspecting him for injury.
"Dean," Sam said softly, "I'm fine. Really."
He nodded minutely and a bit of fog rolled through his eyes again as he started to look himself over. His eyebrows drew together when he saw the sling and he tugged his arm experimentally. The hiss the left his lips made Sam cringe, but he was glad when he saw Dean fight the haze of drugs a little stronger than before.
"Bastard got me with his axe," Dean said.
Sam rubbed a hand down his face before he said, "Um, pretty bad. You were in surgery for two and a half hours."
"Son of a bitch," Dean mumbled as the wave of morphine started tugging at him again.
"Yea, understatement," Sam replied. His brow wrinkled a little as Dean seemed to slip away from reality a little bit and turned back towards the TV.
The song moved onto the last verse of Part of Your World and Dean started grinning like a five-year old. Whatever they had given him buzzed away merrily through his system as though he hadn't just realized what happened to him moments ago.
Cautiously, Sam slipped his phone out of his pocket. He probably didn't need to be stealthy; in fact, he was pretty sure Dean was cocooned in his own little world right now, but it wasn't worth the risk.
Sam pressed a few buttons and engaged the video mode on his camera, pushing the button that placed a round red circle on the bottom right corner of the LED screen. The timing couldn't have been more perfect.
"When's it my turn! Wouldn't I love! Love to explore the world up above!"
Dean held out the note, growing with the crescendo and cutoff right on time, just like the red haired cartoon vixen on the screen. His eyes were wide in anticipation. Sam bit his fist to keep from laughing and ruining his blackmail video.
"Out of the sea. Wish I…could be. Part of that…world!"
Sam couldn't hold back his laughter any more. He sniggered and started full out laughing, causing Dean to turn his attention to his brother. His face was happy…until he saw the phone. Sam kept the phone trained on his brother's face as it shifted from happy, to confused to…
"Sonuvabitch," Dean slurred, anger sweeping away the happy-go-lucky effects of the morphine in his system.
"Language, language, princess," Sam said, ending his home movie.
Dean blinked lethargically, using his anger to stay clear headed.
"When we get out of here, I'm so breaking your phone and kicking your ass."
"Whatever you say, Dean."