AN: You've all been so wonderfully fantastic through this nutty story. Thank you - most sincerely - thank you!
He could barely see through the whirlpool of whiteness. He tried to move, but couldn't. All he managed to do was lift his chin off his chest slightly. Was as if he was a marble statue, frozen like an icicle to the ground. His head plopped back painfully against something cold and rough.
Damn he was so sleepy.
He blinked several times, long and slow, staring upward. For awhile, all he could do was breathe in and out. Watching his own breath swirl like cigarette smoke from between his lips. He huffed and puffed - more for the fascination of it all then actual needing to breathe - enthralled by the white smoke that streamed out, then disappearing into nothingness.
"Huh," he moaned, unable to hold his head up, chin dropping back to his chest, a chest that ached dully.
He squirmed around, but the ache didn't go away. Something told him he knew why. He was in danger. Someone was coming for him. There was someplace else he should be. Little-by-little he became more aware. He was so cold and started to shiver violently. He needed to get up. To get away. But to where?
Took him several more minutes to figure out exactly where he was and why he was so cold. His back was pressed up against a pile of logs supporting him. His left arm at his side, hand buried in the snow, legs numb and scissored out in front of him.
Thing weakly roamed over the rough, ice-covered bark near his head.
Eventually, his frail state wore away enough that he at least knew what had happened to cause him not to be able to move. The sharp pinch of a needle poking out of his neck and the weird buzzing in his head - all too well-known
He'd been darted - a four step process.
Step one, his whole body would become heavy with sedation, collapsing and unmovable.
Step two, involuntary streams of tears leaking from his eyes at the same time snot dripped out his nose.
After awhile, step three kicked in - a goofy giddiness taking over - clarity would not return to him for a long time. And when clarity did return so would the final and least favorite step of them all.
Step four. After an undetermined time of being knocked unconscious - came the pain and the nausea and the puking.
He fought the darkness that was setting in around the edges of his vision. Didn't know why he bothered fighting. The darkness was bliss, but something inside him never would let him give up the struggle. Yet, no matter how hard he wrestled to stay with it, deep sleep would always come to him and drag him under. The wet-cold soaking in through three layers of clothing seemed to be the only thing keeping his eyes slit open right now. That, and a faraway, wildly fear-filled voice calling out his name. He lifted his chin from his chest, unable to support the weight, banged his skull painfully against the logs. Staring up into the sky, he listened to the muffled calls.
"Boy! Answer us!" Another voice. Different. Older. "Sam!"
Sam? Was that his name. Sam. That was him. Right?
The swirling snow seemed to slow. It made him feel dizzy, confused. He was hot. He was cold. Which? Cold. Right. Cold. He tried to stay focused. Kept telling himself he was outside. In the snow. Bleeding. He should try to stand, but his eyes groggily slipped shut.
There were footsteps. Hiking boots. Crunching closer. Light and fast. Behind them, heavier, slower steps. Someone was huffing and puffing out of breath - perhaps they were a chain smoker. He wondered what it would be like to inhale smoke directly into your lungs.
Never mind that now. Something was coming. Several something's. A dead body perhaps. Looking for it's head. A head Sam had chopped clean off.
Take action. Run. Move. Hide. Whispered the wind. Sam tried to get away, but all he could do was squirm around.
Thing stopped moving aimlessly across the icy logs, scrambling to grasp hold. A lame, half-assed attempt at getting Sam's body up to its feet.
The footsteps of the intruder's stopped. They were very close by. May have even already spied him. Helpless and unable to defend himself.
Play dead. Play dead. Play dead. The hidden voice whispered through the wind again, changing tactics.
"Dad?" Sam muttered, then went still. Eyes barely squinting open, so desperate to see what was coming for him, but everything was shrouded in white.
Thing fell away from the log, cowering in Sam's lap.
"There." The older voice sounded off, laced with excitement.
"Damn it," someone growled, the intruder's footsteps starting up again.
Instinct pulled at Sam's gut. He wanted to fight. Needed to fight. He wasn't going down easy. But that dull ache in his chest turned to burning, plus the drug surging through his veins, kept him in the snow where he sat.
Someone was there beside him now. "Sam." Hands gripping roughly at the fabric of the front of his jacket. "Talk to me." Shaking him. "Dude." Touching him. "Sam!" Fingers ran through his wet hair and traced down the sides of his freezing-cold face.
"Is he?" The huffy-puffy, older voice suddenly was there.
The fingers moved to press firm against the side of his neck, wiggling the dart, but not dislodging it. "He's alive. Aren't you, Sammy." The person seemed overly excited and giddy as a girl even. A thumb pried his left eye open. "Pupils are dilated." The thumb moved away and Sam's eye closed. Fingers now searching along his neck. "Fuck." The deeply embedded needle was quickly removed as well as some of Sam's skin.
"Guh," Sam moaned low in his throat.
"Easy." A warm hand reached behind his head, pillowing him away from the rough logs and slackening a little of Sam's fear.
"Nuh," Sam coughed, turning his head away.
Thing reached up, only to plop back down shakily into Sam's lap.
"You'll be fine. You'll be fine," The person kept saying as a gentle hand unzipped his jacket. "I got you now."
A strange, but familiarity - warm and deep - melted away some of Sam's cold.
"Crap," The younger of the two gasped. "His chest wound's opened up wider."
"How bad's it bleeding?"
"Make a snowball and pack it over the wound until the bleeding stops," the gruff older man snapped.
"Yeah Bobby," the younger man retorted angrily. "I think I know how to control a bleed."
"Don't get all testy, boy."
Icy pressure came down just under Sam's rib cage.
"Mmmm," Sam whimpered and fidgeted.
"Hey, Frosty." Fingers snapped near his ear. "Try to open your eyes."
Someone took hold of Thing. Squeezed once, stroked ice-cold knuckles, held tight.
Sam's eyes blinked open.
He turned his head slowly and honed in on a shadow bouncing around between the falling white bricks. This half-creature half-person, although not as big, looked ten times as fierce as the one Sam had decapitated.
"Ugh." Sam's sensibilities, again, told him he needed to move. To run. To not let himself be eaten alive.
Thing could only continue to lay unresponsive and barely twitching in the warm hand that held tight.
"Sam." A face bent over him. "You're okay." The creature/person's fingers brushing the snow off Sam's face.
The falling bricks must have knocked his brain into place, because Sam suddenly knew who the person was.
"How you feeling, reckless?"
Dean lay Thing down to Sam's lap.
Sam took a steadying breath, eyes scarcely able to stay open. "Out of it," he muttered.
"Out of what? Brains-in-the-ass," Bobby angrily answered his own question.
Sam averted his gaze from Dean to peer down his body at Bobby, who was checking his leg. A leg Sam couldn't even feel anymore.
"Because I don't care how the story goes," Bobby continued. You don't go taking on Goliath by yourself! What were you thinking, Sam?"
Thing fluttered. Knuckles iceberg white, struggling up toward Sam's face to wipe away the frozen tears and snot under his nose.
"Owe." Sam winced at how raw his exposed skin was, his shivering increasing. "Was think…thinking… dizzy…guh…tired." His eyes rolled back.
Thing plopping into the snow.
"You're good, Sam." Dean let up some of the pressure on Sam's chest. "Bleeding's under control here, Bobby. How's the leg?" Dean asked.
Sam opened his mouth to answer. To tell Dean he had no clue. He couldn't even feel his toes, but he was sluggishly slow and Bobby beat him to the punch anyway.
"Looks like it was leaking for a time, but not anymore," Bobby replied.
Why was Sam trying so hard to be apart of the action? He was numb, but yet achy. Weak. And even though cold, he was starting to sweat. His vision graying - close to passing out.
Thing was still, mostly covered in snow, red and blue and for all the world dead.
"Hey, man." Dean worriedly grabbed the hand, rubbing, trying to revive the frozen appendage.
Thing didn't responded to Dean's warming efforts this time.
"Son of a bitch," Dean sighed worriedly looking at Sam. "Flying needles. Flying stars. You're a friggin' dartboard, man."
Blinking snowflakes off his lashes, Sam looked all around. Everything was white and gray and black. The colors blending into blobs. The weird shapes moving up and down lazily like Bobby's lava lamp. Sam was hypnotized - in an amusing sort of way. Step three.
"Fantastic," Sam mumbled under his breath.
"Sam, you with me?" Dean asked skeptically.
"Doubtful," Sam laughed lightly, body going droopy at the same time his eyes rolled back in his head and stuck there.
"Keep with me, huh?" Dean ordered, adding a cold, but gentle slap to the side of Sam's cheek for emphasis.
"Arh." Stimulated back into half-consciousness, Sam groggily slurred, "Feel little weird."
"Some hot coco and a warm wool blanket will help with that," Bobby offered encouragingly. "Stitch up these wounds," he added.
"That'd be nice, huh, Sammy?" Dean almost sung the words.
"Yeah," Sam garbled.
"Let's try to get him on his feet," Dean directed at Bobby.
Hands tugged at Sam until he was upright. At least he thought he was upright as the bricks were no longer falling in his face.
Huffing and puffing out his open mouth Bobby said, "You take one side, Dean, I got the other. We ought to be able to wrangle him back to the cabin." They started to move.
They stopped moving.
"You breathing, Sam?" Dean asked, anxiously.
"Repeatedly," Sam muttered, staring into Bobby's bearded face and wondering why Dean's voice was coming out the older man's lips.
Sam slowly turned his head to stare at Dean through glassy eyes.
"Think you can walk with our help?" Dean's lips moved, Bobby's voice seeping out.
Sam laughed. It was rather funny. His brain getting things all wrong.
Bobby and Dean stared across Sam at each other and frowned. "Think he's hypothermic?" Bobby asked anxiously.
"I think he's high," Dean snorted, but there was worry in his tone. "Hard parts over now, Sam. This is the bonus round. Gotta get you back to the cabin. Patched up and warm. Think you can make it, pal?"
A sloppy child-like smile came to Sam's lips. "I did the chicken dance," he told Dean.
"You what?" Dean drew back some, eyes wide with surprise.
"Took my head off," Sam chuckled.
"Not your head, Sam. Beefcake's head," Dean assured confidently.
"Huh?" Sam cocked his head, mesmerized, expecting Bobby's voice. "How are you doing that?"
"Doing what?" Dean glanced at Bobby. "You ready?" he questioned.
"Let's get the kid home, before I just park it right here in the snow. Never get up again if I do that," Bobby grumbled.
Sam hung limp between Dean and Bobby as they began to lug him back. "Know what a headless guy will never get again, Dean?" Sam's head bobbed up and down, the snowy ground rising and falling in time, wet bangs dangling in his eyes.
"No, Sam, what?" Dean trudged along, breathing with exertion.
"A headache…ha ha ha," Sam bellowed with laughter, arms and legs going all floppy and bendy - flaying in every direction.
"Idjit, come on!" Dean was once again using Bobby's voice. "Try to help walk a little here."
"Am walking, Bobby," Sam said, tearfully. "Here lemme help." He slung his right arm up around Dean's shoulder. "That better?"
Thing reached up to the back of Dean's head, fingers weaving tenderly through the nap ofDean's hair.
"You two planning your wedding?" Bobby shook his head at Sam's hand.
Sam laughed harder at that.
Dean sent Bobby a heated glance. "Must you egg him on?"
The white spots encircling Sam started to turn black. "Ugh." Sam did a country two-step, draped wet and weighty as a wet towel between Dean and Bobby.
"What'd I tell you about this not being dance class, kid?" Bobby offered readjusting his hold on Sam.
Sam fixed his eyes on Dean, a smile frozen on his face. "I can't dance."
"Dude, I know."
"Don't go night-night, Sammy," Bobby ordered - or was that Dean? "Not until we get you back to the cabin. You got me?"
"I…I…" Sam's breathing accelerated. His feet weakly scrambling to gain purchase in the snow, but his legs shot out from under him.
The two arms around the middle of his back grappled for better support.
"Son of a bitch." Came the combined curses as they all three almost tumbled to the ground.
"Hold on to him," Dean rasped with annoyance.
"Yeah. Hold on to me," Sam muttered, his feet slip-sliding under him as if he were walking on ice in high heels.
"Damn it, Sam," Dean berated. "Just stop."
Sam tried to stop shivering. Tried to keep his eyes open. To keep his feet on the ground.
The snow was still flying. Wind, cold and shrieking in his ears as he was pulled along.
"One foot in front of the other. You can do that right, little brother?" Dean huffed, nearly out of breath.
"Right, Bob…" Sam breathed, going first weak in the knees, then completely weightless, boot tips dragging in the snow.
"Ho." Dean pressed his side closer to Sam for support.
"There goes that option," Bobby wheezed, also taking up more of Sam's weight.
"Can you handle him, Bob?" Dean chuckled lightly.
"Don't you ever call me, Bob, boy. Bob was a spoiled, little boy in big trouble with his mother," Bobby snarled. "And the day I can't handle a Winchester…is the day you can lay me in my grave. You hear me asshat?"
The snow continued to fall, slower now. Floating like large feathers from the darkened sky. The wind picked up - loud and cold - pulling snow from the ground. Churning and twisting it upward. A white funnel cloud suddenly appeared, blindingly spinning before them.
"Oh, shit," Dean cursed.
"What in jackrabbit shit is happening now? Not ready for the grave yet," Bobby squawked, a stumbling back a few steps.
"Weird stuff." Dean hunched away from the swirling mass and over Sam, desperate to shield his brother.
"We're going to die," Sam chuckled, suddenly aware again.
Thing tried to shove Dean out of the way, so Sam could see better.
"Sam, enough with the hand already," Dean scolded.
Before any one of them could react, the snow tornado dissipated into the frosty night air, dumping Castiel into the snow right on his trench-coated ass.
"Cas!" Dean's mouth gaped in shock through the flakes of feathery snow.
"Thank the pearly white gates," Bobby sighed with relief.
"Wicked," Sam said with awe, nearly slithering out of Dean and Bobby's hold, and wobbling side-to-side.
"Sam! Come on, man!" Dean reprimanded more strongly, both he and Bobby tugging Sam upright.
"That was less than enjoyable." Castiel frowned, pulling his hands out of the snow and shaking off the numbness. "I request forgiveness for startling you," Castiel stood. "I nearly collided with a very large Blue Spruce."
Sam laughed harder at that. "Angel topper."
Castiel cocked his head curiously at Sam. "That is funny to you, Sam Winchester?" Castiel's tone almost fatherly.
"Yeaaaah," Sam slurred out drunkenly. "It is."
"Sam," Dean warned, heatedly.
Thing slapped against Sam's mouth, to keep the kid from saying anything further.
Castiel turned to Dean. "Is Sam inebriated?"
"He's high," Dean simply stated, working to hold Sam in place as the kid kept wanting to go to his knees.
Castiel stared with interest at Sam's feet. "But he is standing on the ground."
Sam snickered behind Thing.
"He's high you snow angel idjit," Bobby griped, in agitation. "His body's here, but his brain is sleeping in a sock drawer," he explained.
Castiel continued to ponder, a concentrated grimace upon his face.
"Never mind that now," Dean snapped, impatiently "Where the hell have you been, Cas? Because we could have really used you down here. You know that full-colored, cardboard cut-out of Sam showed up along with…" Dean swallowed hard, couldn't even say the word.
"Your grandfather," Castiel helped, attention drifting from Sam to Dean.
"Yeah, well he was searching for product replacement for his peewee football team and he almost got it here with Sam. And you…you were…"
"Delayed, Dean. It could not be avoided." Castiel snapped his fingers, and the falling snow, fell no more. "I sincerely apolo…"
"Don't…bother." Dean shook his head, noticing not only had the feathery snow stopped falling, but all of them now stood in front of the cabin.
"You are safe now. I've spent the last twenty minutes searching around the immediate area and found no sign of clone activity. Their band is small. Regrouping will be difficult."
"What do you mean by immediate area?" Bobby questioned suspiciously, obviously not reassured they were safe.
"The surrounding forty-nine states," Castile assured.
"Yeah, okay, Phineas Fogg, thanks," Dean snapped. "Let's get Sam inside."
"What is a Phineas Fogg?" Castiel's interest peaked yet again.
Sam's squawking laughter filled the night.
"Was this a joke then?" Castiel gave the appropriate response - laughed and smiled.
"Just never mind," Dean bit out, both exasperated and exhausted.
Castiel glanced up at the sky, suddenly distracted. "I must go." In a whirl of snow, the angel was swept back upward, toward heaven.
"Going to sleep now." Sam went faint.
"Wait, Sam. Just wait," Dean growled.
Bobby barely able to hold him up.
"Guh," Sam moaned, dipping downward further, body flimsy,
"Oh, no you don't." Dean yanked Sam upright, shaking the kid. No response. "Damn good drugs," Dean muttered. "Sam!" He yelled loudly. "Stay awake." He shook Sam again.
Sam's eyes popped wide. "Don't be a jerk, Dean," he whined, tiredly, muscles tensing up.
"Just walk, bitch," Dean retorted as the three of them tripped up the porch stairs. "We're almost there."
"Keep it up you two…" Bobby opened the door with one hand. "I'll hit ya where the almighty split ya."
"Huh?" Dean stumbled inside, dragging snow and Sam with him.
"Translation…your ass, Dee…" Sam let out a breathy sigh and went lifeless.
"Sammy!" Dean quickly took up his half of his brother's weight.
Bobby took up the rest, his back damn near giving out. "Balls."
"Sam." Dean maneuvered them awkwardly over the wreckage scattered across the floor. "Bobby?"
"I got him. Get the couch, Dean."
Dean gave Bobby an unsure glance.
"I got him," Bobby insisted, securing Sam closer to him.
Dean stepped away, and made for the couch, clearing a path. Kicking books and crap out of the way as he went..
Bobby took on Sam's full weight with a grunt and a groan.
"You think we should get him upstairs into a bed instead?" Dean asked anxiously as the couch had seen better days.
"Jesus on a hay ride, boy. Stop mother-henning your brother and get that couch turned over." Bobby awkwardly juggled Sam.
Dean twittered about with the couch, getting it up on all fours and started to rummage for some pillows.
Finally they lay Sam down. Long arms and legs sprawling out over the undersized, busted up piece of furniture.
"I'll get some blankets," Bobby said, heading out of the room. He glanced back at the two boys. Dean huddled close to Sam, swiping wet hair away from the kid's eyes and talking in whispered tones. "Looks like I'm gonna need a new couch," He groused heading upstairs. "Love seat or some crap."
Hell was a black dungeon full of true horror. The place made even the lowliest of worm's skin crawl. It was a place where demons - who had nothing further to offer, but torture - did so until the end of time.
Sam missed the sun, the sky, the wind in his hair. He even missed Led Zeppelin blaring in his ear while he tried to sleep in the passenger seat of the Impala.
He missed Dean.
His brother wouldn't come looking for him. He'd promised not to.
No one would come.
For Sam was the least of them all and he'd gone to hell - and in hell - Sam would stay. Be it below or above ground.
The numbness of the drug was slowly wearing off, like it always did. Damn crap always knocked him to the dirt floor. Made him loopy and confused. Made him cry and drool. Made him goofy. Then made him sick.
Sam didn't dare make a sound or open his eyes. He wasn't ready to come back down to reality. He'd had plenty of dreams under the sedation. Nightmares even. But this was the craziest dream of them all.
Bobby's cabin. An evil twin. Evil grandfathers. A clone factory.
Sam frowned to himself, he'd take his nightmares over hell any day. He wished himself back at the cabin. Or at the very least lying against that pile of logs, cold wisps of air burying him in snow. At least in his dream world he knew Dean would come for him. He could be someplace else. Feel something else. Like being safe and strong and loved. He could feel human. In his dreams he could escape the four gray walls that were his only world. But the sedation was wearing off, and it'd be a while before he'd be darted again into oblivion. At least that was something he could look forward to.
For now, however, he wondered what puke inducing slop he was left to choke down today. The crap he was served made Dean's grits in his dreamland seem sweet as honey.
Sam waited behind closed eyes for the drafty, damp, bone-stabbing cold walls of gray hell to close in on him. To penetrate the burlap sacks that never kept him warm. He waited for the smell of vomit and rotting flesh to fill his nostrils and flood his mouth with sickness. He waited for the grim silence of the windowless, brotherless cell to drown him once again in agonizing loneliness.
Eyes pinched shut, Sam waited.
And waited some more.
He started to feel a bit creeped-out when none of the usual things occurred. Should he chance a peek? Did he dare want to know what, or who had him where now? His father's voice, once again, spoke inwardly -John Winchester - always pulling military tricks out of an empty hat, even after death.
It's all about eye discipline, Son. Always shoot with both eyes open, but sleep with one eye closed. Sure, that knocks out about a 1/3 of your peripheral vision, but you can still assess the situation. And when captured - peep. Take in what you can without alerting your captors. Being a peeping solider can save your life.
Sam chanced a peep. Cracking one eye open ever, ever so slowly and so slightly. Peeping was always hard. Mostly all he saw were his own eyelashes, everything watery and only half-lit. But even so, the facts hit him hard. This was not gray hell. Not black hell either. He was warm. Lying on something soft. The sound of dishes being stacked, food sizzling in a pan, twisting plastic, soft breathing. The smell of pine, coffee, fried chicken, fresh hot biscuits.
His senses kicked in further telling him something more. Something he'd wanted so badly. Something he never thought he could believe in again.
Be it motel room. Rented trailer. The Impala. Dean's arms or…
Sam let his one eye open wider. He was lying on a couch. Staring up at a rustic beamed ceiling.
Sam almost gasped, but instead his other eye fluttered, joining the first. Images were blurry but he could see well enough. The cold gray walls of hell had been replaced by warm knotty pine paneling. Sam glanced down at himself, brow puckering further. He was lying on his back. Shirtless, under a ton of blankets. He turned his head gradually to one side. His eyes growing bigger. Dean was sitting across from him in a reclining chair. Cursing under his breath, diligently working the colored cube.
Could this be real? No way he was dreaming again. A dream within a dream. How Edgar Allen Poe would that be?
Oh, God, let this be real.
Thing nervously crept out from under several layers of wool blankets. Reached up and started to pick at the back of Bobby's couch.
Sam's mouth was parched, burning with dryness. He eagerly licked drool from his lips - leftover step two of the sedation. He tried to call Dean's name but all that came out was a low moan.
Dean glanced up from Rubik's bullshit, a smile on his face.
'Dean,' Sam mouthed, blinking hard, unsure.
"That'd be me," Dean set the cube down. "The more adorable looking brother." He grinned, climbing tiredly out of the chair. "You going for the longest nap world record there, Sammy?" Dean questioned, immediately coming to sit on the low coffee table that was situated in front of the couch.
"How?" Sam gasped and winced, raising his head up off the pile of pillows stuffed behind him.
"Hey. Shush, easy all right?" Dean placed one firm hand on Sam's shoulder regarding Sam carefully. "Don't move too much. Mess up your stitches," he said.
Feeling the tight pull in his chest and a sharp pinch in his thigh, the ache in his shoulder blade - crap - the ache in his entire body; Sam nodded, dropping his head back into the pillows.
"How you doing?" Dean asked worriedly, gently going about checking over Sam's chest bandage.
Hmmmm. Good question. Sam mulled the answer over, while his eyes traced about the room. Colored bindings of old books, no longer dusty and strewn across the floor were stacked back on shelves. Deer antler lamps, now missing a few points, sat on the end tables. The sound of Bobby whistling, came from the kitchen. An obviously broken window was boarded back up. His dream had been real. He was home. Back at the cabin.
Sam's stomach rumbled, unsettling and sloshing about like he'd swallowed a bowlful of live goldfish. Crap. Step four.
"Sam? You okay?" Dean's worried gaze met Sam's.
Sam swallowed thickly and opened his mouth, but before he could answer Dean slipped a hand behind Sam's neck and tipped his head forward. "Thirsty, huh?" A plastic cup, complete with paper straw, magically appeared at Sam's lips. "Sip slow," Dean strictly ordered, holding the cup for Sam.
Sam took two small sips and was about to take a third when…"Ugh," he gagged, the paper straw sticking to his lips as one of those goldfish decided to jump from the bowl and swim straight up his gullet.
Dean quickly pulled back, stealing the straw from Sam and shoving a silver bowl under Sam's chin.
"Oh, guh," Sam heaved, spitting mucous-mixed water into the bowl and wondering where the goldfish went.
"That the way you impress chicks the morning after, little brother?" It was meant to be a joke, but Dean didn't laugh, supporting Sam's back with his free hand.
Sam groaned, the taste in his mouth horrible.
Thing pointed, demandingly at the cup sitting on the coffee table beside Dean.
"You won't keep it down, buddy," Dean said sadly but brought the cup to Sam's lips anyway. "You have a low grade fever."
Sam took half a sip, then another half sip. "Better," he murmured, pushing the straw away with his tongue.
Thing waved the cup away.
"That chest wound of yours is a little infected." Dean set the cup back to the coffee table, and lowered Sam back to the pillows. "And wandering around the North Pole didn't help." Dean shook his head.
"How long?" Sam's voice cracked.
"You've been drooling on yourself for two days almost now," Dean answered, sadly.
Thing went to the customary spot, picking at the back of the couch.
"You remember what happen?" Dean asked, watching the hand pull at the material.
Sam thought about that a moment. Memories mixing - like a blender - changing color until combined into one.
"Sort of." Sam shivered under the covers. "Safe now," he breathed out nearly in a whisper staring down at his exposed and bandaged chest.
"Right. No one is ever going to dare touch a hair on your chinny-chin- chin again," Dean quirked a smile
"Wha' if they touch my chest hairs?" Sam gave a weak smile.
Thing decided to meddle with the edges of the tapped bandage.
"Dude, you are so still high." Dean grabbed thing away. "Leave it. That's not chest hairs. That's puppy fuzz."
Sam winced as ocean waves of large rocks began to pound against his stomach.
"Sam, you're turning green-green." Dean sounded scare. "You going to be sick again?
"No." Sam swallowed back another goldfish escapee.
"Can you tell me what happened, Sam?" Dean pressed, obviously trying to assess Sam's awareness further.
"Got knocked out." Sam swallowed down.
Gawd he always felt so sick after the sedation started to wear off.
"You going to be sick anymore?" Dean reached down toward the floor, reading his mind.
Sam shook his head no.
"'Cause I have the bowl right here." Dean lifted the container in show.
"I'm fine," Sam patronized, running his tongue back and forth over his clenched teeth, keeping the goldfish back.
"Yeah, sure you are." Dean set the bowl by his feet.
Thing wiped his nose.
Dean made a face. "You remember what else happened?"
"I…" Sam searched the air as if he could pluck the answer to Dean's question from the room itself.
"I got you back with me, right, Sam?"
Sam turned, watching Thing go back to ripping the hole in the couch bigger.
Dean leaned forward insisting on an answer. "Right?"
"You see my head, tell it I'm looking for it," Sam groaned.
Thing started in on another button, bored of the big hole.
"Stop that." Dean chastised, capturing Thing. "Sam, you still have your head, man."
Thing wiggled away from Dean grasp, reaching up to caress Sam's forehead.
"No, kidding," Sam said wincing at the pounding going on there.
Dean snuffed, "Whatever Samuel darted you with must still be working its way out of your system."
Sam sprang upright, completely unnerved. "Samuel." His gaze flitted around the room, wildly-frantic.
"Hey." Dean gently pressed Sam back down to the couches toss pillows. "Told you. I got him."
"You got him?" Sam panted. "How? Where?"
"Thought I was the one asking the questions, little brother?" Dean chuckled lightly. "An arrow. Right between the eyes," he said seriously.
Sam stared intently at Dean, gathering his breath and composing himself. "He's d-dead."
"'S what I been telling you." Dean touched Sam's arm.
Sam thought about that a moment. Eyes expressive and watery, then he smiled. "Guess neither of them is going to get a-head in this world now, right Dean?" Sam's belly shaking laughter was cut off in a grimace at the pain radiating from his chest. "Uhhh."
Thing reached toward Sam's chest.
"Said to leave it." Dean stopped Thing cold.
"Feels funny," Sam muttered. "Itchy."
"Stitches, man. You're a human dartboard." Dean tucked Thing under the covers for safe keeping.
Dean," Sam whispered.
Dean bent in closer. "Yeah, Sammy?"
Sam swallowed repeatedly. "I…I…I…"
"Take your time, pal."
Thing came out of hiding and seized hold of Dean. Fingers gnarled into the front of his shirt.
"Gonna be sick again," Sam told him, gut wrenching nausea contorting his face.
"Oh, crap." Dean pulled away, quickly snatching the large stainless steel bowl at his feet.
"Ugh." Sam lurched forward just as Dean got the bowl under his chin, shoulders hunching as he heaved up pretty much nothing.
"Relax yourself, deep breath, Sam. Be over soon," Dean said an arm wrapped around Sam's chest to help hold him upright.
Thing white-knuckled the side of the bowl.
"Dean. "Sam squeezed his eyes shut.
"'Em sick," Sam said pathetically, curling over the bowl and retching hard - still no goldfish escaped.
"Really, dude? Never would have guessed," Dean spoke softly, pity in his tone. "You done?"
Sam grunted out a breath.
"That a yes?"
Thing shoved the bowl away.
Sam shivered, titling sideways as the room seemed to twirl around him at ninety miles an hour.
"Let's lay you back down." Dean nestled Sam down into the pillows, tucking Thing back under the covers. "We'll wait twenty minutes then try to get you to drink some more water. Don't need you getting dehydrated along with everything else."
"Thanks," Sam uttered. "Feel bit better."
"Well, well, well." Bobby stood in the kitchen doorway holding a rolling pin in one hand and wearing plastic goggles over his eyes. "Ass for brains er….the kid's finally awake." Bobby happily dusted off his flour-covered apron that read: Turn on the heat.
"Going with the dorky look this season, Bobby," Dean snarked.
"Those are Dean's goggles," Sam complained, then looked down at Bobby's feet. "Can't go swimming in the hot tub with no flippers," he chuckled. "Right, Dean?"
Thing struggled weakly out from under the covers and reached up to pinch Dean's right cheek.
"That's not what I used them for, Sam." Dean ducked away.
Thing abruptly headed for the opposite cheek.
Knock it off," Dean said irritably, lightly wacking the hand away.
Thing feebly plopped down to Sam's side and lay still.
"Boy's brains still riding the gravy train, and that hand of his is slicker than a bar of prison soap," Bobby noted, more to himself than anyone.
Sam gave a big yawn, eyes starting to close.
Dean brought the blankets up to tuck them in around Sam's neck.
"So, Bobby, what are you wearing the goggles for anyway?" Dean asked, giving Thing a 'good-boy' pat.
"Chopping onions. No more tears," Bobby said with a smile. "Works like the dickens too. Why? What were you using them for?"
"None of your bee's wax, Bob," Sam tried to lift his head, but couldn't.
"Bobby," Bobby corrected gruffly, then glared at Dean. "I don't want to know do I?
Dean blushed, and shook his head. "Nope."
Sam shifted about, trying to get comfortable. Eyes fluttering, he groaned fighting and losing the battle to stay awake.
"Dude? Need the bowl?"
"'S 'k." Sam wrinkled his nose.
"There's my favorite mixing bowl." Bobby stomped over and bent down to snatch up the container.
"Bobby, I don't think you want to…"
Before Dean finished, Bobby had the bowl in hand grumbling, "Ain't got a pot to piss in let alone a window to pitch this crap out of."
Dean scooted in to replace the pillows, laying Sam's head in his lap.
"Kid can hardly stay awake. He needs to get some more rest," Bobby bent in to take a closer look at Sam. "You know you're adorable, Sam, when you're falling asleep."
"Not falling asleep. He's out already," Dean snickered, gingerly scooting about to get comfortable.
"I'll let you ladies be." Bobby tip-toed away.
Hearing the sound of soft snoring, he turned to linger in the kitchen doorway, staring longingly at the couch.
The old piece of furniture had survived three moves back and forth across the state. Spilled beer and wine. More than a few bouts of flu. His wife Karen's white Persian cat, Annabelle, who liked to claw the back of it. All night poetry fests. Romantic dinners and other unmentionable activities for two. How many times had he fallen asleep there on the soft cushions before the final quarter of the big game? Cozy and warm and safe. The smell of homemade pie wafting in the air.
He often thought he should have burned the dream cabin when Karen had…had died. Bobby shivered. He did what he had to do where Karen was concerned, and it hurt like a bitch. Still did. He couldn't go there most days. As much as he couldn't destroy this part of his old life…that… he just wasn't ready to let go of. Probably never would be. The cabin would remain here for as long as he did and maybe even longer. The way Karen loved it. Away from the hustle and bustle.
He smiled at the two boys now sleeping soundly. Sam cuddled on Dean's lap. Dean holding Sam's hand. A draft blew down the fireplace, dispersing some of the wood ashes across the floor.
Thank you for keeping my boy's safe - whispered the hidden voice.
"My pleasure." A tear rolled down Bobby's cheek "Sappy old man." He retreated to the kitchen to empty the grossness from the bowl. There were dishes to wash.
The blah… blah…blah…whew! Blah - final end. Gah! Shrugs.