Disclaimer- I don't own Supernatural that privilege belongs to the CW, Kripke, Gamble and Co. I'm simply borrowing them for a while but I promise I'll give them back when I'm finished but all the rest is mine. Also I'm making no profit, its just for fun and all standard disclaimers apply.
Summary – Set in season one. Dean couldn't think of a worse place to be stuck. In the middle of nowhere, on a flooded side road, with a bleeding brother and no plan B. Plenty of h/c and brotherly bonding.
Thank you – To Scullspeare for waving her magic beta wand over this not once but twice! Your time, help and encouragement are greatly appreciated. I've tinkered and tweaked this, so any mistakes are all mine.
A/N – I'll admit that this fic is the result of my own selfish needs. I couldn't find what I was craving – so I wrote it myself! I'll give you a warning for a bad word or two and a little blood but other than that - enjoy!
Hell and High Water
...worst flash floods Maine has seen since...causing chaos...many roads are closed...Authorities are advising...only travel in emergencies...
"Damn static." Dean punched the radios off switch, squinting ahead, trying to see through the blanket of rain sheeting down the windshield and drumming on the roof like a mallet. "What the hell use is a weather report when we can't hear the freaking thing because of the weather!"
"It's useless anyway," Sam said, his voice pinched and weary. He was wedged against the passenger door, his body tilted towards Dean, his right hand holding a shirt against his left arm.
Dean frowned. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"We don't know where we are, Dean. So listening to what roads are closed really isn't going to help."
"I know where we are."
"Oh, yeah?" Sam raised his eyebrows. "Is that before or after you missed that turn half an hour ago?"
"It was the wrong turn, Sam," Dean snapped, tightening his grip on the steering wheel as the water dragged against the tires, pulling the car from side to side. "You'd know that if you could read a damn map properly!"
It was like they'd been cursed or hexed by a skanky witch. Because Dean should have known it was going to be one of those days the moment the storm got record breaking bad and they had a Black Dog that needed tracking and wasting. Not only had they gotten soaked in seconds but flashlights didn't do squat when visibility was close to zero due to the rain.
An hour of trudging through mud and puddles and finally they'd found some tracks they could trail. The Black Dog was the largest Dean had ever seen. Huge bear-like paws with lethal claws to match, a pelt of dark, matted hair and a mouth full of vicious, razor-sharp teeth. It had taken a full clip of silver rounds to gank the thing.
Then, just to piss off Dean, one Black Dog turned into two. A mate Dean figured, not that he saw much of it before Sam screamed his name and then slammed into him, Dean's knee twisting in the wrong direction as they landed on the muddy ground. Before Dean had time to raise his gun, Sam had fired five rounds into the dog's chest, the shots ripping through the night air.
In a mess of tangled limbs, it had taken Dean a moment to realise the warm wetness seeping into his clothes was Sam's blood, that he'd escaped the hounds claws, but Sam hadn't been that lucky.
The slashes on Sam's left arm were deep and nasty looking and the sooner they were cleaned and stitched the better. But then the main road back into town had closed due to the floods and they'd been forced to take a different route. A handful of missed turns, a few arguments and here they were, up shit creek without even a boat - let alone a paddle.
The wipers swished frantically as Dean bent forward over the steering wheel, struggling to see through the rain that pounded on the glass. The headlights picked up a long stretch of brown water, the road underneath no longer visible.
"Shit!" Dean slammed on the brakes, his sprained knee burning as the Impala spun uncontrollably into the left lane of the road, the tires struggling to grip through the plumes of floodwater as she fishtailed. Dean steered into the skid, the pull of the steering wheel straining his arms as he fought to maintain control as they slid to a stop in front of the lip of the flood.
"Son of a bitch!" Dean yelled, adrenaline flooding his veins as he glanced over at the passenger seat.
Sam's right hand was clutching the dash, his breathing harsh and pained. Through the darkness, Dean could see that the shirt his brother had been using to staunch his bleeding arm was now lying on his knee.
"You okay?" Dean asked, shifting on the bench seat, stifling a yelp as he knee protested. His hands ghosted over Sam's arm, assessing the injury.
"Peachy." Sam pulled his arm back, his eyes closed as he exhaled, slowly and deliberately. "Don't touch it."
"Just don't, ok?"
Dean shook his head. "The hell I won't."
Placing his hands on Sam's back, Dean gently propped his brother against the passenger door. Sam picked up the bloody fallen shirt, his jaw bunched, his eyes warning Dean to back off.
Dean raised his palms in surrender. "OK, OK. But keep pressure on it."
Dean couldn't tell if the bleeding had stopped. The angle of Sam's body blocked his view of the slashes as Sam replaced the makeshift bandage, gritting his teeth around a grunt. If they were lucky, the wounds should have clotted, the bleeding slowed.
Sam stared back at his brother. "How's your knee?"
"It's fine." It wasn't; it hurt like a son of bitch and felt twice its normal size but there would be time to deal with it later.
Dean glanced again at Sam's arm. "Besides, I'm not the one losing body fluids. And not the fun kind either." Dean took in his brother's slumped position, wishing they were at the motel, that he could take a better look at Sam's arm.
Sam shifted uncomfortably under the brotherly scrutiny. "You want a picture or something?"
Clearing his throat, Dean turned his attention back to the road. "You get blood on the upholstery, you're riding in the back seat. No more shotgun. Period."
Switching on the high beams, Dean watched as they lit up the stretch of murky water ahead. The deserted road was narrow, flanked by water-filled ditches and they hadn't passed anything remotely resembling a town in well over an hour.
Dean couldn't think of a worse place to be stuck. In the middle of nowhere, on a flooded road with a bleeding brother and no Plan B. Not to mention that they were running low on gas.
Digging out his phone, he glanced down at the scratched screen. Still no reception.
Cursing under his breath, Dean dropped the phone on the seat and shifted the Impala into reverse. Pressing his boot down on the gas, he hissed at the pain that flared in his knee but at least it hadn't locked on him yet. Backing up a good car's length, the tires fighting the steadily rising water, Dean revved the engine feeling the purr vibrate through the steering wheel.
Sam took in the maneuver. "Are you crazy? We can't go through the flood. There's no way of telling how deep the water-"
"I know, Sam! But I really don't see another option." Dean's slammed his clenched fists against the steering wheel. "You got a better idea? Because I'm all ears, man."
Sam shifted on the bench seat, the squeak of leather barely hiding the groan that he attempted to swallow. He peered into the darkness beyond the windshield. "Well, it looks like the rain's slowing. Why don't we just wait until sun-up and see if the water level drops."
"Are you serious? You want to wait?"
Dean turned around to stare incredulously at his brother. "You're bleeding like a stuck pig and you want to wait until the water drains away."
Sam lowered his chin, his lips pinched. "I don't see that we have a choice."
"That's not a plan, Sam. That's suicide!"
Sam's jaw set stubbornly. "If we keep going, you're gonna total the car. You willing to risk that?"
"I'm not willing to risk you bleeding to death." Dean's heart was hammering in chest. Damn. He hadn't meant to say that out loud. And when he saw the way Sam was eyeballing him, he knew exactly why.
"It's not that bad," Sam said. "I'm OK, really."
If Dean hadn't gotten a good look at Sam's arm earlier, all torn skin and ripped muscle, he might've believed him. "Not that bad, my ass. I'm surprised your arm's still attached to your friggin' shoulder."
The words were gruff, anger mixed with worry, and they stuck in his throat like tar.
As Sam's gaze shifted to the stretch of water ahead, Dean's guts churned and he clamped his jaw shut, his teeth worrying his bottom lip.
"We could walk across the road?" Sam suggested quietly. "Check the depth of the water."
"We?" Dean shoved open the door, the Impala's hinges groaning loudly as the wind tried to snatch the door from his grip. "You, stay put," he ordered, his index finger punching the air with each syllable.
Swinging his sprained knee out of the car, he turned up the collar of his leather coat, took a deep breath and hobbled out into the rain.
On any other day the order would have lit a fire in his belly, but all Sam could do was snort. He doubted he could even get out of the car right now, let alone walk. But he'd have tried. When he said 'we', he really had meant it.
The slam of the driver's door rattled his teeth and sent blinding pain shooting down his arm. As soon as Dean was out of eye-shot, Sam's eyelids screwed tightly closed, his body dropping forward, a deep growl rolling over his lips.
His arm hurt. Like he could rip it off hurt. Blades of agony sliced through every nerve and tendon each time he flexed a muscle. He was glad that Dean had backed off and hadn't insisted on inspecting the wounds again, knew that when he did Dean would rip him a new one.
His palm was pretty much glued to the worn cotton of Dean's shirt that served as a makeshift bandage, and he could feel the warmth of fresh blood down much of his arm and chest. His head was feeling lighter by the second and he knew all too well what that meant.
After the hunt, he'd been so sure that he could wait it out until they got back to the motel. So sure, he'd even offered to drive, an offer that was quickly dismissed, despite the fact that they both knew Dean couldn't put any weight on his right knee.
But as the rain got heavier and they were forced to take a new route, the fifteen-minute drive back to motel turned into an hour and things began to take a serious nosedive. Sam was spacing out, unable to answer Dean's litany of questions fast enough for his brother's liking. From then on he'd just tried to ignore every sideways glace that Dean had shot his way.
But that was then, when they weren't stuck on a flooded road in...hell, he didn't know where they were.
Through the fogged-up window he could see Dean approach the water, staggering against the wind as it tried to knock him off his feet. It was just like Dean to storm ahead and take charge, to bellow orders and mask his worry with anger, something he'd done as far back as Sam could remember.
A half smile curled his top lip. It was something that was part their father and part purely Dean.
The soaked black-top looked like glass in the headlights glare. Squinting, Sam could see Dean limp his way into the flood, the water reaching half way up his shins before he'd barely walked a yard.
They were grounded, going nowhere anytime soon.
Straightening his shoulders and fighting back a grimace, Sam took a deep breath as Dean hobbled back up to the car and slid in, his breathing seemingly normal but Sam could pick up the strain as Dean struggled to mask the pain.
Reaching into the back seat to retrieve a borrowed motel towel, Dean ran a hand through the flattened spikes of his hair, flicking the excess water at Sam. "You so owe me."
Sam chuckled. "Hey, I was just following orders."
Dean turned to face him, fat droplets of rainwater dripping off his chin. "Since when do you follow orders?" His tone was easy as he dragged the towel across his face.
"Since now," Sam said, feeling a chill curl down the length of his spine. "So, I guess it's Chez Impala tonight."
"I don't know about that."
"We're low on gas," Sam said, watching as his brother's gaze turned from the dashboard to him. "You're not exactly subtle, Dean. You must have checked the gauge at least a dozen times since we got in the car."
"I'm not subtle?" Dean snorted. "You think I didn't notice your little meltdown from outside?"
Dean shifted in his seat to face Sam. "Were you planning to tell me how bad it is?"
Sam dropped his gaze to his lap. "I just-"
"What?" Dean waited until Sam looked up at him. "Thought you'd quietly bleed to death in my car?"
Sam hated it when Dean got all reasonable and serious. When there were no smart-assed comments, things were bad. "I really thought I could wait until we got back to the motel."
Dean turned to study the flooded road. "Yeah, well you thought wrong." His tone was flat and definitely pissed off, but there was an inflection of something else, too. Hidden behind it all was worry, a we-need-a-new-plan-and-now kind of worry.
"You sure we're not cursed?" Sam asked, trying to lighten the mood as he rested his head against the glass on the passenger door, blinking slowly as the rivulets of rain on the car window fell in slow motion.
Dean scrubbed a hand down his face. "Not any more, no."
Sam snorted, then let his eyes slide closed. It was only now that he noticed how quiet it was, the dying rain beating a soft patter on the roof, the wind whistling as it curled around the curves of the car.
A warm hand tapped his knee. A warning, Sam realized before he felt callused hands join his own on the bloodied shirt over his wounded arm.
"Stay awake, OK."
And then his hands were being lowered to his lap and he couldn't help but grunt as Dean peeled the shirt from the bloody gashes, feeling the edges of puckered skin pinch and pull, making his eyes water.
He clamped his jaw shut, to stifle a cry of pain.
"Damn it," Dean snapped, pressing the shirt back against the slashes that ran from the top of Sam's shoulder to his elbow.
"M'okay," Sam said, opening his eyes and making an effort to sit up straighter without yelling out or toppling headfirst into the fog that was creeping into his vision.
Something told him he wasn't being quite as convincing as he'd hoped.
"Take it easy." Dean's tone was soothing, but an order nonetheless as a palm planted itself in the centre of Sam's chest, pushing him back against the support of the seat. "Don't move and keep pressure on your arm."
Sam heard himself grunt, and it was all kinds of weird; his body and mind so disjointed and off kilter. Through the dull ringing in his ears, Sam could hear Dean rummage through the junk on the back seat, cursing like a sailor.
It was only then he realized his eyes had slid shut again.
It wasn't panic. Not really.
More like a typical day for a Winchester. Because despite the fact that Sam was bleeding, the road was flooded and the car was grounded in the middle of nowhere, now Dean was going to have to stitch up his brother in the car.
A seedy motel room was bad enough. But at least there they would have running water, a bed and a nearby store to gather further supplies. Instead, all he had were the contents of his pocket and whatever supplies were in the first aid kit.
That is, if he could find the damn thing.
Dean eyed his brother, head tilted against the glass of the passenger door, his body slumped awkwardly on the bench seat. He was pretty much out of it.
"Hold on, Sam," he muttered, feeling like a hypocrite because he wasn't sure he could hold on much longer.
Pulling his Maglite from his pocket, Dean opened the door, the wind trying to rip it from his stubborn grip. Hauling himself out the car, he was unable to hold back a yelp as his knee protested. The pain was red hot and blinding, his vise-like grip on the door the only thing keeping him from crashing into the ground.
With a stuttering breath, Dean pushed himself off the door, his leather coat flapping in the wind, his steps cautious. Twisting the key in the lock, Dean opened the trunk, the wind screeching in his ears like a banshee. A collection of spare jackets, suits and fake uniforms greeted him as he searched for the first aid kit before finally digging it out from behind the cooler. He slammed shut the trunk then hobbled back to the driver's door, not sure if it was his sweat or the slowing rain that stuck his clothes to his skin like glue.
Sam hadn't moved. He didn't even flinch when the wind slammed the driver's door closed.
Popping open the lid of the kit, Dean took out the essentials: antiseptic, gauze, thread and a selection of needles. There was no sign of any pain meds and the bottle of antibiotics was empty. Awesome.
He glanced up at his brother. "You with me, Sammy?"
A quiet groan echoed its way from Sam's side of the car.
"I'm gonna need more than that," Dean said, switching on the flashlight and positioning it on the dash. Tapping his pockets in search of his lighter, Dean dug it out and flicked the flint wheel, holding the needle in the flame.
It was habit. Precaution. They were pretty strict when it came to sterilizing the needles. And Dean wasn't willing to chance anything, not out here, not when it came to Sam.
His brother's eyes were drowsy but open, fixed on the dancing flame. "Stitches?" Sam mumbled, the word slurred with what Dean hoped was sleep, even if he knew better.
"'Fraid so," Dean answered, trying not to wince as the needle started to glow red. He flicked off the lighter and, with practised ease, threaded the needle before unscrewing the bottle of antiseptic. "You ready?"
Sam forced his eyes open. "No." He ground his teeth as Dean gently pulled the bloody shirt away from the slashes, watching as fresh blood welled up and flowed down Sam's arm.
Dean mopped up the blood with a piece of gauze, glancing up at his brother apologetically. "Sorry, dude, we're out of Jack."
Sam probably knew that by now, and that a slug of whiskey wasn't the only thing they were out of.
Sam gritted his teeth again. "Just do it."
Generously dousing the wounds with antiseptic, Dean winced as it bubbled and fizzed. Sam bit his lip, his face contorted as he tried to curl himself away from Dean's grip.
And it was only going to get worse.
That's when Dean's hands started to shake. He was too worried to hide it behind a slick smile or a smartass quip.
Mentally shaking himself, Dean swallowed his panic and focused on the task ahead. Some of the slashes were deeper than others. A few didn't require stitches, but the ones that cut into muscle, the ones that were bleeding more heavily, they'd require small, precise stitches to stem the blood flow.
Dean let out a slow, steady breath. "Here we go." He dipped the needle into Sam's clammy flesh, feeling his brother's muscles bunch and spasm.
"Mom wanted a VW van," Dean said as he pulled the thread tight before starting another stitch.
Sam frowned up at his brother. "She did?"
"Yeah. Thank God Dad picked the Impala."
Sam's voice hitched as Dean pushed the needle through again. "What? Can't imagine yourself driving around in a bus like that?"
"Not cool enough?"
Dean wiped a piece of gauze over the stitches, mopping up the welling blood. "There's not a car on this planet that's as cool or as bad ass as my baby and she's going on 40!"
"You gotta thing for older women, huh?" Sam's voice was thick and gravely.
"It's all about experience, Sam." Dean smirked, as he tied a knot into the thread and poured some antiseptic onto a wad of gauze. Wiping it over his handiwork he then wrapped the wounds tightly, trying to ignore Sam's grunts. "All done, Frankenstein."
Dean handed Sam the last of their water supply, wishing he had something to give his brother for the pain, and vowing that this was the last time that they'd leave the kit this bare of drugs.
"Thanks," Sam said, handing the water back to Dean who tried not to notice the fine tremors that were shaking the bottle.
After taking a deep chug of the water, Dean shucked off his jacket. The leather was still a little damp but it was heavy and warm.
Sam had sunk down on the bench seat, his head hanging loosely. How the kid slept in the car Dean would never know, Sam's gangly limbs twisted like a pretzel.
Laying his coat across Sam, Dean's mind shifted into overdrive. Grabbing the first aid kit, he cataloged the contents, planning for the worst-case scenario. They had some tubing, tape and needles and he figured he could MacGyver some sort of transfusion line if Sam's blood pressure bottomed out. He'd seen his Dad rig one once before, a decade ago, but the memory was still surprisingly fresh.
He just hoped to hell he wouldn't have to make use of it, that shock and infection wouldn't take hold and that they wouldn't be stuck in the middle of nowhere for much longer.
Picking up the scissors from the kit, Dean looked down at his jeans and sighed. "You were my favourite pair, too."
Controlling his breathing Dean bent over, sliding the cool blade of the scissors into one of the holes in the denim just above his knee.
The scissors snicked through the wet material and with each slice Dean felt a bead of sweat roll down his face. He kept cutting until he reached his ankle, struggling to cut through the turned up edge of the cuff. When the denim parted it revealed a knee grossly swollen and misshapen.
Snagging an ice pack from the kit, he snapped it, feeling the chemicals react as it cooled in his palms. Placing it over his knee, he reached down and took off his boots, still drenched from his little dip in the flood and sank back against the bench seat with a hiss of pain.
Turning his head, Dean fixed his eyes on his brother as he wrapped his arms around his chest and jammed his fingers under his armpits.
It was going to be a long night.
There were claws gouging into his flesh, tearing at muscle and peeling away the skin from his arm, layer by painful layer. The pain was fiery hot, the air thick and stuffy but his feet were blocks of ice. Looking down he could see water pooling around his ankles as the car began to flood, trapping him inside.
He felt a warm hand on his knee.
"Sammy, wake up."
Sam's eyes snapped open, staring up at the cloudless sky, the sun warm on his cheeks. Next to him he heard Dean fire up the engine, its throaty growl replacing quiet as they crept slowly forward.
"We're moving," he said, the heaviness of sleep tugging at his eyelids.
Dean snorted. "You're pretty sharp for a college dropout."
"Bite me," Sam muttered drowsily, catching Dean's relieved smile as the car approached a muddy tide mark.
"Water dropped overnight." Dean steered slowly and smoothly as the tires easily cut through the remaining brown-tinted water that covered the road.
Sam groaned as he slowly sat up, Dean's jacket sliding down his torso. Funny, he didn't remember asking for it. Or feeling cold.
He flicked his eyes over at his brother, looking for an answer. Dean just shrugged and shifted his gaze back to the road ahead.
Sam's arm felt stiff as waves of fiery pain rolled like molten lava from his shoulder to his finger tips.
"Will be," Sam said, knowing that after the night they'd had there was really no point in hiding the truth. Besides, if last night proved anything, it was that Dean could smell a half truth from a mile away.
Dean raised an eyebrow. "You gonna hurl? Cause you look like crap, dude, and the upholstery...I don't know..."
"No, I'm good," Sam said, watching as Dean dragged a heavy hand over his weary eyes. "Did you get any sleep?"
Dean shrugged. "Some."
Dean wasn't the only Winchester who could smell a lie a mile away.
Sam took in the discarded ice pack, the scissors and the slashed jeans. "Really?"
Dean kept his eyes on the road ahead. "Really."
Sam stared at his brother pointedly, knowing full well his brother could sense the glare.
Dean sighed. "It's just a sprain. I'll survive."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Right. You-"
"Yahtzee." Dean nodded his head at the mile marker on the side of the road.
Sam frowned at Dean's deflection, but leaned forward to pop open the glove box and pull out the map. His vision shimmered like a mirage and before he could close his grip on the paper, his back hit the leather seat.
A second later Dean's face swam into view, his eyebrows drawn in concern, his eyes battling to focus on both the road and his brother. "Sammy?"
"M'okay." Sam pinched the bridge of his nose, forcing the world to straighten itself.
"Sure you are."
Sam could hear the engine growl louder as Dean stomped on the gas. The tires spun faster, eating up the blacktop, trees whirling past in a blur of muted greens and browns.
Sam grabbed the map and, with his right hand smoothed it out onto his knee, his finger tracing the road they were traveling, his eyes straining to focus. "Nearest town is...10 miles."
Dean's eyes flicked to the dash.
"Gas?" Sam said, recognizing the cause of Dean's worried glance.
"We're pretty much running on fumes," Dean said. "But she'll make it. She's never let us down."
Sam nodded. As far back as he could remember the Impala had been there for them: quiet, unshakable and determined to watch their sixes.
Dean cleared his throat. "So, if you ever pull a stupid stunt like you did last night with that Black Dog, I'll rip-"
"You're welcome, Dean," Sam chuckled softly, his eyes catching Dean's gaze, both knowing that Dean's threat was empty.
Feeling himself relax, Sam slid down on the leather seat, his eyelids slipping closed, a grin deepening his dimples. "So, you gonna say it?"
Sam's eyes stayed closed. "That you were wrong."
"I said we should stay put. Wait it out until the water drains," Sam said, throwing Dean a shit-eating grin over his shoulder. "I was right. Which makes you...?"
"Shut up, Sam," Dean growled, his tone light as he spun the steering wheel, gunning the engine as they sped around the corner and down the road.
And despite everything, through hell and high water, Sam knew that the Impala wasn't the only one who'd never let him down.
A/N -This fic was a joy to write, I genuinely had a blast putting these boys through the wringer! Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed. Take care, Madebyme