Chapter 1

A routine hunt for a poltergeist turns bad for the boys.

Disclaimer: I own nothing Supernatural, I just borrow it to play with.


A kaleidoscope of images, a deafening cacophony of sound …

The hunt; the poltergeist; the fire; the heat … chaos … panic …

Sam shifted unconsciously in the chair beside his brother's hospital bed; a pained cramp in his stiff back jolted him into momentary wakefulness.

He managed a brief, disorientated scan of the unlit room before his heavy eyes fluttered closed and his nodding head dragged him back into his haunted sleep.

The flames; roaring, leaping, burning … Dean stumbling out of the burning house … the child in Dean's arms … thick, choking smoke … the screaming; the sirens … Dean's shirt burning … the child crying; her toy rabbit …

Sam jolted awake again.

He scrubbed a heavily bandaged hand across his weary face.

Realising that any attempt at sleep was going to be a lost cause, he stood up leaned into a long and satisfying stretch, glancing across at the sleeping figure in the bed before slipping out into the corridor in search of coffee.


A few moments later, Sam crept back into the room, a cup of rancid lukewarm vending machine coffee in his hand.

"Where'shmine?" The whispered voice was barely audible, but the mischievous smirk was there, unmistakeable even in the gloom of the unlit room.

"Dean", Sam leaned over the bed, smiling at the glassy, unfocussed eyes gazing up at him. He rested his palm against Dean's head; "you should be asleep; why are you awake bro'?"

"Cos' I ain't 'shleep, genius!" Heavy sedation slurred Dean's speech and Sam smiled at the sound - just like Dean had sounded after that disastrous experiment with the Icelandic potato vodka – only without the projectile vomiting he observed gratefully.

"Is it hurting?" Sam cast an eye over the expanse of gauze taped across Dean's right shoulder and side. "Should I call the nurse?"

Dean's shirt is burning – he's on fire … screams … Dean is SCREAMING … Dean never screams …

He was answered by breathy silence, as his brother once again succumbed to the drag of the heavy sedative which had been pumping through his veins in various quantities since they had arrived at the hospital.

Sam took time to listen to the soothing sound of his brother's soft breathing; it sounded like sweet music compared to how it had sounded when he was brought into ER. The sound had terrified Sam; ragged, grotesque wheezes, punctuated by violent coughing and breathless gasps. Smoke inhalation; that's what the doctor had said. He'd talked about possible burns to the respiratory system, that's why Dean had almost stopped breathing.

... Dean's soot-blackened face ... don't close your eyes ...

A ventilator had helped his brother along in those first desperate hours. Dean had been kept unconscious until it had been removed a few hours ago, but those in the know had decided that Dean could still benefit from a little R & R and were keeping his IV topped up with the good stuff for a little while longer. This had the result of making Dean's infrequent moments of wakefulness both brief and entertaining.

Sam looked down at the decrepit chair where he had spent the best part of the last 48 hours. It seemed to creak just under the weight of his gaze. His long, muscular frame wasn't designed for long periods of time doubled up in a chair, especially one which seemed to have been expertly designed to be as uncomfortable as possible; he flexed his protesting back again with a groan and glanced enviously at his dozing brother. A nice big dose of morphine please … ice and a slice ...

Satisfied that Dean was settled and comfortable, Sam reluctantly returned to the dreaded chair. He took a sip of coffee and grimaced. He'd done that with every single cup; each one as vile and bitter as the last. He didn't even know why he bought the stuff; Sam briefly remembered reading something about the addiction with smoking being about holding something between your fingers; "perhaps it's the same with sad coffee addicts", he mused, "they need to be holding a cup of something, even if it tastes like rats pee!".

Watching Dean's still form in the bed, Sam's eye settled on the object nestled in the crook of his brother's arm, cradled tightly against his uninjured side, and he smiled, allowing the gentle, rhythmic rise and fall of his brother's chest to gradually lull him back into a fitful, neck-breaking, chair-hating sleep.