Sam didn't even remember falling.

He didn't remember Dean screaming his name.

He didn't remember hitting the water with the force of a brick wall.

The last thing Sam remembered was a clawed paw coming at his face.


Dean watched in horrid as the possessed bear connected a sharply clawed paw with his brother's cheek. Sam's head snapped to the side, and then his little brother was gone over the edge of the cliff.

"SAM!" It was a strange choked cry that in better circumstances, Dean would never recognize as his own. He was running before he knew it, leaping from the edge of the cliff, and following Sam's path into the water, possessed bear be damned.

The cold water was a shock to his system, sending him sputtering and coughing to the surface. For a minute it hurt to breathe, but thoughts of Sam floating unconscious in the river, his own body hurting and in shock, made Dean forget his own problems.

Sam was his priority, and when he knew the younger man was alright was when he would take the time to worry about himself.

Frantically searching the water around him, Dean cursed the fact that twilight was slowly stealing his vision, making it harder to find his brother. The glare of the setting sun on the water worsened his sight for the search, frustration a heat in his throat that threatened to bubble up through his mouth.

Taking a deep breath, Dean dove under the water and looked around, hoping and praying that he would be able to find Sam. A dark shadow was bobbing in the water just a little ways ahead of him, and Dean pushed forward.

Fighting against the current, Dean struggled toward the shape, and the closer he got the more he just knew that it was Sam.

Reaching out a hand, Dean felt the fabric of his brother's drenched Carhartt, and twisted his fingers in the coat. He kicked off from the bottom of the river and pulled the unconscious younger man with him.

Breaking the surface of the water was both a blessing and a curse as oxygen finally filled his deprived lungs, and as the evening air chilled right through him.

Sam remained limp in his arms even as Dean himself was gasping for breath, and something cold spider webbed through his chest and threatened to freeze his own lungs.

Sam wasn't breathing!

Trying to push his fear back, Dean fought toward the edge of the river. It took longer than he would have liked, and even when Sam was safely resting on the shore's rocks, Dean's heart was still pounding harshly in fear.

Sam's lips were tinted an awful shade of blue, and his chest was still.

Ripping himself from the encompassing fear that held his body in a vise, Dean leaned over Sam and tilted his head gently back. Gripping his hands tightly together, Dean drew in a deep breath and started compressions on his brother's chest.

"C'mon Sammy, don't make me kiss you, this isn't the Sandlot!" Sam remained still, so Dean moved to plug Sam's nose and draw his mouth open. Looking back down at Sam, Dean shook his head and breathed twice quickly into the younger man's mouth.

Though his chest had moved while Dean was pushing air into him, afterwards the younger man remained impossibly still.

"No, nonononono!" Dean breathed, wishing it was Sam who was the one breathing.

Reaching down, Dean once again pushed down on Sam's chest, hoping against hope that his brother would breathe for him. It was a miracle when only seconds later, Sam did just that.


Heaving and gulping in air, Sam's eyes flew open, wide and panicked when the gulp of air turned into harsh coughing. He rolled over onto his side, curling up and wished for the coughing to subside so he could draw in a full breath.

His chest hurt and it felt like his throat was a swollen mass of flames. Coughing was a whole different torture, ripping and tearing at already sensitive flesh, but it felt like he wasn't getting enough air, and every time he breathed, his gasp would turn into coughing.

A solid hand in the middle of his back grounded him, leaving him something to anchor himself to when it felt like he was flying apart at the seams.

As his coughs died down into small spasms, Sam was aware of a low murmuring, a soothing tone that lulled him safely back into full consciousness and pulled him out of the panic mode he had been in since waking.

He cracked open watering eyes and tried to quiet down the last of his lessening coughs. A blurry head lowered itself down into his vision, and though it took a moment for his vision to clear enough to see that it was his brother, he knew immediately when it first appeared that Dean was there; that he wasn't alone.

"D'n?" His voice was harsh and raw, his throat screaming at him for the use.

"Yeah Sammy, I'm here." The simple sentence managed to sweep most of the remaining panic from his system, leaving him exhausted and loose limbed where he lay. Dean's free hand made its way to cup his cheek, while the other slid from his back to rest on his chest. "You're okay, little brother." His brother whispered, and Sam didn't know if he was even meant to hear the words, but he was comforted all the same.

Clumsily, Sam moved his own hand to rest on tops of the one Dean had on his chest. He awkwardly patted the hand before gripping it loosely in his own. Dean turned the hand in his grip, and linked their hands together, squeezing tight for a moment, letting Sam know, without words, just how afraid he had been.

They stayed there like that for a few moments, just resting and taking in the fact that they were both okay, before Dean moved. "We gotta get outta these wet clothes before we both get pneumonia, don't think Bobby will appreciate that call." A small smile quirked at Sam's lips in response before he nodded, moving to push himself into a sitting position, never letting go of the grip he had on his brother.

Dean didn't say anything, just moved to help Sam sit up, and then pull him up to stand. Dean slid deftly under Sam's shoulder to help him to the car, and Sam gratefully accepted the help, a little voice chanting 'chick flick moment!' gleefully in his head, was quickly squashed.

When they got back to the car, a good ten minute walk from where they had ended up from their swim in the river, Dean quietly and efficiently helped Sam slide into the car, before jogging around and dropping quickly into his own seat.

Sam was already drifting when he felt Dean reach over and pull the seat belt down to clinch at his hip, and he dumbly wondered just how he had forgotten to do that himself. He set the thought aside easily, and let his eyes close the rest of the way, only just barely feeling his brother's hand link loosely around his wrist.


Dean watched as Sam drifted; only feeling slightly mothering as he belted Sam in. Turning the ignition, he took a deep breath, wondering at just how close he had come to losing his brother that day. He let the breath out in a deep sigh, and scrubbed his calloused hand roughly over his face.

Looking back over at his now asleep little brother, Dean reached over and wrapped his hand loosely around the wrist Sam had sitting lightly on his thigh.

The contact made something in Dean's chest unravel, leaving his stomach feeling easier than it had since the whole thing had started. He knew he still had to take care of the bear, but in that moment nothing else mattered, but the fact that his brother was safe.