Author's Note: I have been overwhelmed by the response I have received for my last two stories about our boys - your reviews make my day and have kept the inspiration flowing! This is the fic that resulted from that, and it is a small gift to all you wonderful people who I am sure, like me, sometimes pine for the simpler times, before hell and the apocalypse, when Sam n' Dean were just Sam n' Dean;)
Disclaimer: I am not Eric Kripke OR Sera Gamble in disguise, believe it or not!
It should have been a routine hunt; get in, get out. Just a simple vengeful spirit haunting an abandoned factory, decapitating the rare, unwary visitor. Of course, now that the factory was going to be torn down in order to make way for a newer, shinier building, visitors weren't so rare (though still distressingly unwary), but still. It should have been easy. Ha. When were things ever easy where the Winchesters were concerned? Somebody had blundered, as the old poem said, and it turned out that whilst there was indeed a rather vengeful spirit in the old building, there was also a particularly nasty poltergeist who had decided that the rusty old machinery made for perfect missiles.
This was the timbre of Sam's thoughts as he flew across the room yet again and landed with a sickening crunch in the opposite corner. Dean was not faring much better, currently lying in a crumpled heap a few metres away, seemingly unconscious, with a trail of blood sluggishly leaking down the side of his face. The way things were going, Sam knew that they were going to have to leave with the hunt unfinished. He hated doing that, but frankly they had not come prepared for a poltergeist and neither of them was in fit shape to battle it right now. The spirit alone had proved violent enough. And that was before Dean had been knocked out and Sam had been thrown into the wall. No. They had to get out of here, now. Before the poltergeist latched on to one of the horribly sharp-looking pieces of machinery and sent it their way.
Just as Sam thought that, he noticed the screws that were holding a nearby guillotine to the floor start to turn. One by one. Ignoring his protesting muscles, he crawled across the floor to where Dean was lying unconscious and, hooking his considerably non-lightweight brother under the arms, he started to drag him across the dusty floor towards the exit. Fortunately the old door had long since rusted away, otherwise Sam was sure the poltergeist would have blocked their escape somehow.
Sam heard, more than saw, the last screw come loose and drop with a menacing tinkle to the floor. Mustering his last few shreds of strength, he took a deep breath and hauled Dean through the opening, muttering apologies under his breath as Dean moaned in response to his manhandling. Shoving Dean out ahead of him, Sam threw himself out, hearing a resounding crash as the guillotine hit the door frame behind them and vaguely aware of a burning pain in his right calf. It was quickly dulled by adrenaline however, as Sam once again hooked his brother by the armpits and dragged him towards the waiting Impala.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~
Back in the motel room, Sam carefully settled his brother on one of the beds, before leaving a message on Bobby's phone to let him know about the poltergeist and ask him if he knew of a hunter in the area who could take care of it. That done, he turned to the task of triage, Dean first. His own injuries were negligible by comparison. Pulling up a chair beside Dean's bed, he noticed that his brother was starting to regain consciousness, eyelids fluttering.
Systematically working his way downwards, he started by examining Dean's head, which was now encrusted with dried blood. The cut appeared to be fairly superficial, but Sam knew that head injuries could be deceptive. Checking Dean's pupils, he noticed that the one on the left was more dilated than the other, and sighed. A concussion meant that he would have to keep a close eye on his brother over the next few hours. What initially appeared to be nothing more than a concussion could potentially turn into compression of the brain if there was also bleeding within the skull or swelling. This was why their dad had drilled it into them to never leave a head injury patient alone for the first few hours, but rather observe them carefully for any signs of confusion or slipping into a comatose state.
Feeling exhaustion already making his eyes burn, he steeled himself for a sleepless night. Sighing again deeply, he continued his examination. A couple of Dean's ribs appeared to be cracked, but fortunately none seemed to be broken and there were no signs of internal bleeding. His arms and legs were intact with a few faint bruises, but otherwise fine. The main concern, therefore, was his head injury, and only time would tell how serious that was.
Getting up from his spot by his brother's bed, Sam retrieved the First Aid kit from where he had dumped it by the door and rummaged around in to find some antiseptic and bandages.
Dean groaned as Sam started strapping his ribs and flinched away from him.
"St'p. Hurts." He mumbled, still clearly not altogether with it.
Sam gentled his hands as much as he could, but carried on with the necessary task. "I know it hurts Dean, but I've got to do this. You'll thank me later."
Dean mumbled something else that Sam couldn't catch and Sam tried to work faster, so that he put his brother in as little discomfort as possible.
Once he was finished, he pulled the covers up over Dean and turned to the unpleasant task of trying to stay awake so that he could observe any potentially ominous changes in his brother. It was going to be a long night…
~ O ~ O ~ O ~
By dawn, Sam was struggling to keep himself awake, but knew that the worst was over. Dean's pupils were back to normal and his pulse and breathing were also indicative of natural sleep. Feeling that it was finally safe to cease his vigilance, Sam collapsed in an undignified heap on his bed and was asleep within minutes.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~
The next time Sam woke up it was dark again, and he realized that he must have slept the whole day. Glancing over at Dean he saw that his brother was still asleep, but had changed position at some point and wasn't quite as pale as he had been. Sam sat up and became aware of a nagging pain in his right calf. Pulling up his jeans, he turned his leg so he could examine the back, and saw a long cut marring the flesh there. It was not deep enough to require stitches; however it was looking rather angry and inflamed. Sam thought back to the night before and remembered experiencing a sudden burning pain in his leg as he had dived out the door of the factory with Dean. Presumably he had not managed to get his legs clear in time and had received a (fortunately) glancing wound from the flying guillotine. Sam decided to take a shower first and then tend to it. The hot water would no doubt do it good anyway.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~
Feeling refreshed after his shower, Sam cleaned up his cut and put some antibiotic cream on it, and then decided that as he had slept all day, he might as well do some research for their next hunt. Soon caught up in his favourite pastime, Sam didn't notice the hours ticking by. Occasionally, he would check on his brother, who was still sleeping, but Dean's pulse and breathing remained normal so Sam wasn't overly concerned. Dean hadn't been sleeping well lately (because Sam hadn't been sleeping well lately), and Sam figured that he had earned this rest. So Dean carried on sleeping, and Sam carried on researching.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~
It was raining. Sam was standing outside in the rain, but for some reason he wasn't getting wet. In fact he was quite hot. Looking at the raindrops, he saw that they were steaming…and falling upside down, making him dizzy. No wonder he felt so ill…
Sam woke up to the sound of running water. Glancing over at Dean's bed, he saw that it was empty and realized firstly that his brother was in the shower and that it was that sound which had penetrated his dreams, secondly that he had fallen asleep at his laptop and drooled all over his hand and thirdly that he wasn't feeling very well. He wasn't sure if that could be attributed to sleeping in front of his laptop all night, not eating for a day and a half, or whether he was actually coming down with something.
He didn't have much time to ponder on it however, as Dean chose that moment to come out of the shower, humming Metallica as he towelled off his hair. He stopped when he saw that Sam was awake and grinned.
"Hey Francis. Nice to see you up and about. Thought for sure it'd be Christmas before you woke up."
Sam frowned. "Dude. You're one to speak. You've been out since that poltergeist threw you into the wall in the factory. I had to drag your sorry ass back here, and FYI you need to lay off the pies."
Dean patted his stomach and smirked. "Aw, Sammy, you're just jealous that I can eat whatever I want and still look like this. Anyway, are you ready to blow this joint? I've had enough of laying about and I want to hit the road. Be ready in ten?"
Sam nodded, glad that Dean at least was feeling perky. Clearly all that sleep had done him good. Getting up carefully, he moved to pack his things. Dean seemed to notice that he was moving more slowly than usual, because he frowned in concern.
"Hey Sammy, are you OK? If you want dude, we can stay here another day. I don't mind. Really. Unless you're just moving like an old woman for kicks."
Sam wasn't sure whether to bitchface at the last remark or smile at Dean's concern. He could tell that in actual fact, now that he was feeling rested and a bit better (bar the cracked ribs of course), Dean was itching to get on the road again, but was touched that Dean would brave cabin fever for him. However, despite the fact that he was feeling a bit off-top-dead-centre, he thought that maybe getting outside into the fresh air for a bit would do him good. Maybe that was all he needed.
So deciding to compromise and give his brother a bitchy smile, he replied with "Nah, I'm fine. Nothing that some fresh air won't help. And I would watch who you call 'old woman' – you're not going to be going anywhere fast with those ribs."
Dean rubbed his chest gingerly and grimaced. "Yeah, maybe you're right. Well, I'd still beat you in a race even on my worst days, so no worries huh?"
Sam just raised his eyebrows and ignored the remark. Dean was fast, sure, but he had nothing on Sam's long legs, and he knew it.
Sam didn't mention his cut, because hey, it was just a cut right? And Winchesters don't whine about little cuts. He'd had far worse.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~
Ten minutes later, they were on the road. Dean was driving, having insisted that he was perfectly recovered from his head injury thank-you very much and no way was he letting Sam drive his baby, and Sam was slouched on the passenger seat, head back, eyes closed, window open. Despite the cool breeze blowing on him, he felt uncomfortably warm and wondered once again if maybe he was coming down with something. Flu maybe. Yeah, maybe that was it. Well, they probably had a long drive ahead of them, so he'd just rest a little now. Yeah, sleep sounded good…
To be continued….
A\N: Your feedback keeps me happy and inspired!