MY CAR'S BETTER THAN YOUR CAR
By: Karen B.
Summary: Season six warning. AU. Sam's new car gets wrecked. Short and simple. No fuss. No muss. No plot. Guilty pleasure.
Disclaimer: Not the wrecker - 'eh owner.
Sam was numb. Cold. Falling through black space. Past Orion's belt, Sirius the Dog Star, The Great Bear, Ursa Major. He shuddered, looking past the stars.
One by one Sam's senses came back. He could hear the wind; a lonely whisper brushing against his ear. There was a low steady peeping of a strange bird or tree frog off to his left. A bit of relief washed over him - birds and frogs were harmless enough.
An irritated wrinkle came to his nose, and he held back a sneeze - Goldenrod - he was allergic to Goldenrod. His mouth was bone-dry and he licked his lips trying to moisten them, they tasted like dirt and blood, and was that gasoline he smelled?
There was more - beyond space - the final frontier.
Lifting his head a little at a time, Sam blinked away the stars, opening his eyes. His first thought - was he out of his head? Why was the world topsy-turvy? He stared in dazed confusion out a spider-web cracked windshield at a large mound of sandy dirt.
His second thought - was he at the beach? He didn't hear the ocean's waves. A stone rolled down the mound and a friggin' lizard crawled out from under it. The reptile hesitated, its tongue darting in and out as it looked around, then scurried away - running upside down.
Wait, Sam blinked repeatedly. His third thought hit hard and with great disappointment. The friggin' lizard wasn't the one upside down - Sam was the one upside down. His feet were where his head should be, and his head was where his feet should be.
He titled said head inquiringly toward the lighted window. Was that right? Yes, that was right.
The sun was out, he couldn't have been here long. Or maybe he'd been here for days. Where was here? He listened harder, could hear the slow spin of a lone tire. Looking about more carefully he found he was still behind the driver's wheel, strapped inside his car. With even greater care he tried to move, but his full weight was suspended by his seatbelt. Everything was fuzzy-white and all his blood pooled in his brain and he felt like his skull just might explode. He was disoriented, hot and dizzy and shaking.
Sam started breathing heavy. He wanted to curl into a ball, but the seatbelt held him firmly in place.
Didn't take Sam's consciousness long to grasp the concept of more pain. His right cheekbone throbbed, like someone had hefted a brick to his face. His heart was exceeding the speed limit of normal and there was a roaring, like the sea and he felt nauseous. He ached everywhere, like he had the flu. Pain and Sam were no stranger to one another, but he'd be lying if he said he ever got used to it - vomiting upside down - that would be horrible.
He forced himself to breathe slower. Calm down and shift his mind, trying to make sense of how he got here, what had happened.
"Crap," Sam whispered, suddenly remembering a harsh impact, the sound of metal crunching against rock. "Dean," Sam moaned, the thought of his brother bringing him to struggling, but he quickly realized Dean wasn't in the seat next to him.
Oh, man, why didn't they ride together anymore?
They had been driving down a twisted mountain road, headed to Bobby's place. Dean had been driving behind him in the Impala. Why? Because both men were born of the same stubborn stock. Refusing to park their ride and carpool. The old 'my car's better than your car' macho bullshit cliché.
Sam allowed his eyes to survey his situation further. His left hand still clung to the steering wheel, his right dangling, legs crammed underneath the dash. His rear mirror was shattered, the outer hood crumpled. He watched out his cracked windshield for a few minutes, distressed and shivering. Just how did he get here?
Why hadn't Dean come for him? Why hadn't his brother called for help? He must have seen Sam crash. Hanging around here wasn't going to give him any answers. Besides, something could be out there, waiting to attack. Sam could feel his revolver still tucked between his back and waistband. The gun was of some comfort until Sam tried to reach for it using his dangling right arm, and was damn near blinded by pain.
"Oh, gaw," Sam cried out.
Sam ground his teeth together and every nerve tightened. He envisioned the passage of time. His body leathery and shriveled, his spirit walking the roadside for all eternity. Damn, if he expected to get out of this he needed to gain control.
Where was his brother? Sam forced his mind to remember.
The vision of Dean behind the wheel of the Impala came to him. Damn all the blood in his head was messing with his mind.
Dean had text Sam that he was making a quick pit stop to fuel up his baby, grab a few candy bars and hit the head. Sam had kept driving knowing Dean would catch up fast. The Impala was forty-two years his car's senior, but she still ran like a champ. He missed riding in her. Bu still, having a car all his very own, for the first time, was exciting.
"What's happening?" He sucked in a few panting breaths. "Crap." Sam sniffed. The smell of gasoline was stronger, and something else - Sam paused to think. "Oh, Gawd," he whimpered. Burning rubber. "Not good," he weakly garbled.
At least he didn't see or smell smoke. Where there was smoke - there was fire. Gasoline and fire - not a good combination. Sam swiped his tongue over droplets of blood that congealed on what he was certain to be a very large split wide-open lip. He squeezed his eyes shut against the tunnel vision, concentrating harder, trying to recall what got him in the predicament in the first fucking place.
Daredevil stunt - no.
GPS gone South - no.
Head on collision with another car - still no.
He'd been driving along happily, listening to Bob Seger on the radio. The day was sunny and bright. The canyon highway was a lonely stretch of road and Sam hadn't seen another car in miles until...
"Ugh," he moaned as flashes of memory whooshed, pulsing in time to his heartbeat.
To the right of him was the cliff with no guardrail, to the left, passed an eighteen-wheeler. Then suddenly, smack-dab on the painted center line - only a few yards ahead of his car - stood a dog and little girl.
Sam had to think fast. Crashing into the big rig would send debris blasting every which way like shrapnel, endangering the girl and her dog. He only had one choice.
Sam veered off. Braking hard, he swerved heading his car toward the cliff. He hoped he could ride along the edge and gain back control, go around the girl and Rover - get back on the road.
However, he overcompensated, his car's tires bumping along the rocky shoulder and he lost control. Sam stomped repeatedly on the brake, but the brake refused to obey. Gripping and turning the wheel with both hands, he desperately tried to pull the car back under control, but the tires slipped off the gravel and nose-dived down the hillside. Sparks of fire spit inside his open windows as shiny new metal scrapped against old, jagged rock, then flipped and rolled, and rolled. How many times, Sam lost count as he'd blacked out.
Sam shuddered back to the present.
Had Little Orphan Annie and her dog what's-its-name, been real? He couldn't be sure as all the blood still bubbling inside his head was making him tingle, feel red-faced and woozy - blurring everything inside his brain as well as outside.
He couldn't risk hitting the wayward pair, if they were real he'd never forgive himself for splattering little girl guts all over the highway. He'd done enough wrong in his life and he'd paid the price. The guilt floating around inside him - a permanent fixture of his soul.
His guilt quickly turned to panic as the smell of gasoline increased. Damn car was going to burst into flames. Sam painstakingly tried to move his legs.
"Arrrrrrr!" He roared, hardly able to stand the ache. "My leg," he panted feeling as though his right leg had snapped in two.
He was so cold, his hands and feet tingled. He had to get out of the car. Again he fumbled with the seat belt, but it was jammed. Sam twisted and stretched reaching for his knife, normally hanging from his belt, but it wasn't there.
"Okay, Sammy," he hissed. "Now what?" For a few minutes he was unclear as to what to do. He glanced at his radio, now silent.
Dean - he could call Dean.
"Stupid, come on, Winchester." Sam struggled to stay conscious, breathing in and out his mouth in short, stuttering breaths.
Concentrating the best he could, Sam let his fingers do the walking to his jacket pocket, searching. Thank God. His phone was still there. He flipped the cell open, index finger going straight to the button that would speed dial Dean.
He slowly eased the phone to an ear and waited.
"What the hell, Copperfield?" Dean's voice came over loud and clear. "Didn't take me long to fill up. I've been back on the road for twenty minutes and don't even see your tail lights," Dean fumed not stopping to take in a breath. "You take a wrong turn or some shit?"
Sam swallowed hard, his lips trembling. "Some shit," he parroted.
"You trying to be funny, Sam? Prove your car is all that?" Dean rambled on. "Dude, so not cool, just pull over and let me catch up."
Sam leaned into the phone trying to hear through the ringing in his ears. Everything was spinning, he was cold and getting colder. A sharp pain surged once again through his leg and he contorted his body to escape.
"Guhhhhhhhh!" He cried out as some unseen piece of jagged metal stabbed at his thigh, spilling blood down his body like hot soup.
"Jesus! Sam!" Dean screamed in his ear. "Sammy, what? What's going on?" He raised his voice even louder.
Sam whimpered weaving in and out of darkness.
"Bro, talk to me." Dean calmed down. "Sam. Come on. Talk to me, man."
A long breath escaped Sam as the pain subsided some. "Don't know how bad it is," he muttered, trying to swallow, but hanging upside down was making that damn near impossible and he choked on his own saliva.
"Easy, Sam. Just…" Dean paused. "How bad what is?" he asked softly.
Thoughts raced through Sam's head like a dog hunting down and chasing a rabbit. Everything was jumbled and confusing. Fading in and out. "C-can't," Sam slurred.
"Can't what? Sam. What can't you do?" Dean's panic was back.
"F-freezing." Sam stiffened against the gridlock of pain. "Probably shock."
"Shock from what? Where the hell are you?"
"Damn it, Sam!"
"Get me out," Sam wheezed. "Seat belt, smell gas. Thinking not… not much time."
"Fuck," Dean swore. "Sammy listen to me dude, I get it. Hang on. I'm turning around. Just hold on. I'll find you."
"My car." Sam grew tired, the phone slipping from his hand clunking to the floorboards, or was that the hood? "Help," he choked just before staring into raven-black nothingness.
Time made its own rules and Sam didn't know how long he'd been hanging around in the dark. He was shivering from cold. And damn it, nothing made sense. Sam's heart beat a steady rhythm, at least he was still alive. He'd forced himself awake, more than once. Tried and tried to unbuckle himself, but he was jammed in good, the effort only turning his shirt wet with perspiration and his fingertip's bloody.
"…am! …ming to …et you.
Through the glaze of his pain, Sam thought he heard whispering voices and the hard-packed thumping of feet. He knew he should look. He was vulnerable. His strength weakened and at the mercy of whatever horrible creature lurked beyond the shadows. Yet, he was too tired to care to look - accepting his demise.
The whispering world around him turned up the volume.
Badly startled, Sam tried to open his eyes but the moment light filtered in, his head throbbed and he slammed them shut.
Metal crumbled noisily and suddenly hands - unfamiliar - were touching him here and there. "Kid's in shock. Let's work a little faster."
Sam tried to scream. To fight. Get a grip of the steering wheel. Anything to get away, but the pain bolting through his leg was like an arrow - keeping him from doing anything. His heart was beating fearfully out of his chest and he couldn't stop shaking.
"Uhhhh," Sam cried out as he was freed from the seatbelt and slithered down. "Nuh. " Hands directly below, caught him.
"We got you now."
Sam twisted away, but the hands were there, gently moving him little by little.
"Should you be moving him?" A worried voice asked.
Sam distinguished the one voice he so needed to hear out of all the others. Dean.
"We just have to do it. This thing might blow."
Were they referring to his car? Sam wanted to ask. To tell his brother to get far away, but nothing came out except a choking breath.
"It's okay, son, we're getting you out of there," a strange male voice spoke loud and firm.
Sam fought against the hands, biting into his tongue to keep from screaming. His leg felt like it'd been wrapped around a tree, and he arched his back, winded.
"Ungh." He gurgled, blood from his tongue and lip, filling his mouth as he was placed onto a wooden backboard, and strapped down.
"Easy," Dean growled. "Easy with him. That's my brother!"
"We know our job, mister."
"D'n." Sam lifted his head slightly, looking around with unfocused eyes. "Dean," he called out, still struggling to get away from the hands that forced him to stay still. "Ahh." His head fell weakly back.
"Son of a bitch, get out of my way!"
"Sir, just…okay…okay…just give us some room and keep him clam."
"Come on, Sam, let the medics who know their job so well take care of you." Dean's hand gripped Sam's tightly. "Here, dude. I'm right here."
Sam peeked open fuzzy eyes staring blankly upward. Dean was so close he could feel his brother's breath on his face.
Sam opened his mouth, but froze a moment in surprise. "F-found me?"
"Course," Dean said softly. "With a lot of help from a little girl and her dog," Dean said with a smile.
"What's he talking about?" One of the Medics taking Sam's blood pressure asked.
"I-I…" Sam stammered. "I thought she was a ghos…"
"How you feeling there, pal?" Dean interrupted swiftly. "Should feel like a hero saving that little girl. She was lost, wandered away from her parents looking for her dog."
Sam frowned in confusion. "Everything's real…." He took in a long shaky breath, to orient himself. "Real c-cold." Sam trembled uncontrollably.
"You can handle this," Dean reminded, taking Sam by the hand. You're tough, Sam." He squeezed Sam's hand, staring at the bloody gash on Sam's right leg.
"I-I am?" Sam mumbled, his hand squeezing back at less than half his normal power. "Feel kind of dizzy." Sam's eyes did a little dance and roll.
"Sam," Dean spat, holding Sam's hand tighter. "What's wrong with him?"
"Pressure's too low," the man explained. "He's drifting into shock."
Sam groaned, staring groggily up at the sky.
"Your brother's right arm is broken."
Sam listened unable to respond as a blanket was tucked tightly around him.
"And his leg's torn up good, going to need surgery, but you're right, your brother is tough."
Sam's strength was draining, leg pulsing to the beat of his heart. "Tired." His eyes fluttered.
"Hey, eyes open," Dean ordered gruffly.
Sam blinked, then let his eyes fall shut.
"Buddy," Dean said softly. "You have to stay awake." Fingers carded through his hair. "You understand me?"
Sam didn't answer, the warm, pleasant hand sending him adrift further.
"Sammy, look here," Dean frantically called.
"I'm awake." Sam's teeth chattered miserably, and he grimaced, eyes barely able to stay open.
"Hurts, huh?" Dean asked calming his voice and leaning over Sam.
"I'm tough, re-remember?" Sam uttered, fighting to stay awake.
"Yeah, pal, I remember," Dean said in a tearful tone.
"We gave you something for the pain, Sam," a distant voice said, strapping Sam down on the gurney. "It's okay to go to sleep."
"No." Sam panicked. "Dean." A fumbling hand crept out from under the blanket.
"Shhh," Dean whispered in Sam's ear. "Close your eyes, dude."
Sam nodded, letting himself slip into a drug-filled sleep.
Sam licked his dry lips and opened his crusty eyes. Where was he? Not moving his head, as it ached, his eyes roved. Everything was blurry, but he knew several things at once. He was laying on his back in a bed. The bed was situated in a very dimly lit room. The room was very clean, very white, very crisp and smelled like everything in it had been swabbed down with rubbing alcohol. He wasn't alone. A few feet away he sighted a shadow ghosting back and forth - predatory, fierce, silent.
Sam lazily followed the shadow, eyes slowly coming into focus when the figure stopped its tip-toed pacing. A man stood near a window, staring out the slits of a dustless green blind. Between the slits, Sam could see the pinkish-purple sky of the setting sun. The shadow-man started pacing again. Back and forth in short strides in front of the window, keeping his gaze averted to the white-waxed floor; that shined so bright, Sam wondered why his brother wasn't wearing his sunglasses.
His brother. What was his name again? Oh, yeah.
'Dean,' Sam mouthed, but no sound came out.
He shut his eyes, fussing a little under the covers to untrap his hand, only managing to bring on a grunt of pain.
Rubber heels stomped quickly across the floor.
"Hey, easy." A gentle, but restraining hand came to Sam's shoulder. "You're in the hospital, Sammy."
Sam sleepily mumbled, wondering if Dean would understand what he'd just said - because he sure as hell didn't.
"Sam. Sammy. What's it matter which name I call you, bitch."
Sam lifted heavy-lidded eyes and tried for a smile.
"All that matters is you're finally awake," Dean growled, leaning in low. "About damn time too," he gripped. "I've been pacing like a well-trained lion for hours."
'Sorry,' Sam tried to speak again, but nothing came out. "Uh," he gasped, raising a weak hand to his throat.
"It's okay, pal." Dean gently pulled back the covers and untrapped Sam's hand. "You're just coming out of the anesthetic," he explained, giving a gentle squeeze before laying Sam's hand back to the bed. "You remember how that is right?"
Sam nodded. "Sucks," he said, finding his voice, although gravelly.
"Major suckage." Dean plopped down in a bedside chair and scooted closer, the legs squeaking as they scrapped against the polished floor.
Sam glanced down at his casted arm, then leg.
"Busted up pretty bad," Dean said sadly, "Like that toy of a car you found at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box"
"Car's a ser…" he strained to talk. "Serious street machine."
"Was." Dean eased an extra pillow behind Sam's head. "Even if the little bitch didn't have a carburetor. Here, try this." Dean retrieved a plastic spoon, and Styrofoam cup full of ice chips off the nightstand. "Open up, Sam."
Sam opened his mouth.
Dean spooned in some chips.
"Mmm," Sam sighed as he swallowed, shivering a little against the coldness that didn't seem to help his sandy-dry throat.
"You'll be here a few more days," Dean continued.
"Water." Sam turned pleading eyes to Dean.
"You know the drill, Sam. Gotta work your way up to the hard stuff."
Sam nodded, the slight movement playing hell on his body and spinning him around the room like a roulette wheel. "Damn," he moaned pitifully, slamming his eyes shut.
"You okay?" Dean lay a palm to Sam's chest.
"So, you admit…" Sam chanced opening his eyes again. "Wasn't a bad car." Dean's hand on his chest seemed to stop the spinning.
"Not bad." Dean shrugged. "But, I can think of better."
"Impala," Sam murmured. "She's…good car."
"Goes without saying." Dean presented Sam with another plastic spoonful.
"Wh…" Sam winced, damn his throat felt like he'd swallowed a box of matches. "Where is my car? The weapons?" Sam eased upward in panic.
"Eat your ice and shut up." Dean put action to his words, feeding him the spoon. "Cas took care of the weapons. As for the car..."
"Cash for clunkers, huh?" Sam plopped back, moving the chips around on his tongue before swallowing.
"You know that car was fully loaded. Kicked ass," Sam said, his voice sounding a little stronger.
"Lot of cars kick ass, dude." Dean offered Sam another round.
"Like?" Fighting sleep, Sam yawned then closed his lips around the spoon Dean poked into his mouth.
"Like the Millennium Falcon."
"Not a car, Dean, " Sam mumbled, sucking happily on the ice chips.
"Frank Bullitt's GT 390 Mustang was one bad ass car. And how about the 1961 cherry red Ferrari Ferris wrecked on his day off?" Using the spoon, Dean swirled the ice around helping the chips melt. "The Bandits black 1977 Pontiac Tran's Am, Ghostbusters '59 Cadillac ambulance, Goldfinger's 1964 Aston Martin DB5, The Love Bug, The Bat Mobile, Christine, Herbie…"
"Same as The Love Bug." Sam raised a hand gesturing that he was ready for more.
"Hidalgo," Dean said, this time scooping out more water than ice. Being careful not to spill a drop, he raised the spoon to Sam's lips.
"Also not a car, Dean," Sam said sleepily, slurping at the water. "Thanks." He turned his head away.
"Was one tough horse, though," Dean laughed lightly.
"I'm tough." Sam closed his eyes.
"You can say that again, little brother." Dean set the cup of half-melted chips back to the nightstand.
"I'm tough," Sam said again, his head lolling deeper into the pillow.
"For a princess."