Title: Rats

Summary/Prompt: Not surprisingly, from pkwench at the hoodie_time Dean-focused h/c comment-fic meme. Dean and Sam investigate a haunting at an abandoned hospital and get separated. Dean's overcome by the ghost of a dead anesthesiologist and the spook slips him a paralytic that renders him fully unable to move, but leaves him fully conscious. He can't move, he can't yell for Sam, he can't even tell if he's still breathing. But he can feel and he can hear. And what he hears is the mad little scrabble of claws on old tile. Then they come, rats. Maybe just a dozen or so, but to him, unable to move in the darkness, it feels like hundreds of them, crawling over him, little tails sliding over his cheeks and his tongue, one of them right up in his face, the whiskers tickling him. And, maybe they start to gnaw a bit and he keeps trying to shout for Sam to move a finger or a hand to swat them away. But? He can't. Hope Sam gets there soon. Bet Dean does too.

Warnings/Spoilers: No spoilers. Swearing. RATS.

Wordcount: 1,183

Neurotic Author's Note #1: I just whipped this up in about half an hour. No beta, no revision, nothing. Just Dean getting chewed on by rats.

Neurotic Author's Note #2: I swore I would work on other things this weekend, but APPARENTLY I can't resist pkwench's prompts any better than before. So.

The spirit is long gone. Dean should be grateful for that, he tells himself, except it's hard to be grateful when he's spread-eagled on the incredibly filthy floor of an abandoned hospital operating room, completely incapable of moving. Figures the spirit would be a dead anaesthesiologist, he thinks bitterly. He's wedged uncomfortably halfway under an operating table, getting a much closer view of the underside of medical equipment than he ever really wanted. Everything is covered in dust and cobwebs, and how did spiders even get in this far? Maybe they live off the cockroaches, he thinks, and then realizes he can't even shudder. Fucking spirit.

He can't look around, but it's pretty dark, anyway. He can blink, which is good. He seems to remember that bad things happen to your eyes if you can't blink. They dry out, the corneas get scratched, you go blind. There was this thing on TV once where the guy was in a coma with his eyes open and his mom had to put drops in his eyes to keep them from drying out and, like, shrivelling straight out of his head. Fuck. He wonders if Sam would put drops in his eyes. Where the fuck is Sam, anyway? Probably really far away doing something useless and emo like trying to connect with the ghosts and make them move on. They could make a TV show about him, like with J. Love Hewitt. They could call it the "Ghost-Hugger" or something.

Dean tries swallowing, and swallowing works too. Awesome. No choking on his own saliva. Turning his head isn't as successful, and he's pretty sure that the feeling of moving his big toe is psychosomatic. He tries yelling for Sam, but apparently that's not in the cards. He manages a very strangled moan, not much more. Sam will come for him eventually, though. He always does. It's like a rule. All Dean has to do is lie here, patiently, and wait. This sucks. He can't even sing the beer bottle song. Singing it in his head just isn't the same.

There's a soft scuffling sound over to his left. He tries to turn his head to see what it is, but of course that doesn't work. He blinks in frustration, blinks some more just because he has control over that one thing, dammit. The scuffling gets louder, like teeny-tiny beads being dropped on the floor. Shit. He feels his heart speed up in his chest, because he can't fucking see what it is and it could be anything and oh, fuck, it's getting closer. He swallows, takes a deep breath —or as deep a breath as he can manage under the circumstances. The scuffling sounds like it's right next to him, somewhere near his knee, and then something clambers over his leg.

He wants to jerk and scream, blinks frantically at the underside of the operating table. There are more of them, he can hear the scuttling, clicking sounds all around now, and he squeezes his eyes shut because if he can't see them then they're not really there. Except that if he keeps his eyes closed he won't be able to see them coming, and so he opens his eyes just as one of the somethings clambers up onto his chest. It's large but light, can't weigh more than maybe half a pound, and it has nails that are scraping against the denim of his jacket. Oh God. Oh fuck. He directs a half-desperate prayer to the God he's pretty sure doesn't exist, please let it not be rats, please God, fuck.

The thing on his chest scrabbles forward, and he's barely able to make out the silhouette as tiny claws scrape against the skin of his neck. It's warm and soft, and when it skitters to the floor he feels the cool slide of a tail against his jaw. It noses at his cheek, presses a cold paw to his cheekbone, whiskers quivering, and that's it. Dean whimpers, blinks. His chest hurts, and he realizes he's been holding his breath.

The other rats are coming closer too, he can hear them. Oh fuck. He can't breathe, can't pull in enough air. He's going to suffocate even before the fucking rats can start chewing on him, like those fucking horrible stories of the Middle Ages when rats ate babies in their cribs. Where the fuck is Sam? Oh God. Something damp is nudging at the fingers of his right hand, and he tries to jerk away and the only thing that happens is that he emits another strangled whimper.

Sam, where the fuck are you? Sam, please get the fuck over here. Oh fuck, oh God, they're going to eat his eyes right out of his head while he can't even scream. Sam, Sam, Sammy-Sammy-Sammy please come please come get me oh fuck please!

Sharp teeth dig into his ear, and he whimpers, feels tears leaking from his eyes. His breath hitches and wheezes, and another rat buries its teeth into his hand, while the others mill about, clambering over him like he's the fucking prize at a fair. Fuck, fuck-fuck-fuck, please Sammy come back please come back and find me! There's one clambering over his head, pulling at his hair in an attempt to get at his face. They're swarming him, fur and skin slip-sliding over his body, teeth and nails pulling at his clothes, nipping and tugging and holy fuck they're goddamned chittering at each other, squeaking and muttering and squabbling amongst themselves right on top of him. He can't see them, the last thing he's going to see in this fucking ridiculous universe is the underside of a fucking operating table, and he moans and tries really really hard to move, even so much as a finger, and stays right where he is.

Sam. Sammy-Sammy-Sammy Sam Sam Sam please!

Sam's probably too far away, on a different floor, even. He doesn't even know anything's wrong. He's going to be off somewhere, salting some poor schmuck's remains while his brother gets eaten alive by rats. Oh God. Dean's hair is wet from the tears still pouring down his face, and he can't bring himself to care because he's being fucking eaten by rats oh God, Sammy, where the fuck are you please God fuck just come get me!


Oh, thank fuck.

The rats are gone in a flurry of fur and squeaking and pink tails. Sam kicks them away with a booted foot, and Dean feels a surge of pleasure as he hears the distinctive squelching, crunching sound of a tiny skull being crushed under Sam's heel. Then Sam is kneeling next to him, pulling him out from under the table and propping him up, wiping the tears from his face with his hands, murmuring soothing nonsense as he checks him for injuries, and Dean feels his breathing begin to slow, his heartbeat to return to normal. Sam smiles, wipes the rest of the tears from his cheeks, gathers him up into his arms.

"It's okay, Dean. I gotcha."