A very happy, but belated, birthday fic for Vanessa Sgroi!
Mad Server, Enkidu07, sidjack and I all wrote a little something involving sick Dean because, c'mon, look who it's for!
Mad Server beta'd and whacked my tenses into their proper alignment.
Dean's chalk white face was almost luminescent in the moonlight. He was staring, with flat, almost eerie intensity, at the immense full moon hanging overhead.
"Dean. We have to get to the car. Can you get up?" Sam got an arm underneath, lifting his brother's bandaged torso upright.
"Fuck." Dean hissed in pain and his head dropped to his chest, arms moving to wrap around his stomach. Finally, his head came up, angled back on his neck to look back into the serene mottled landscape above.
Sam could almost pick out the individual craters in the reflection in Dean's eyes, now wet with pained tears. "Nice moon. We'll look at it some more from the car." He hoisted, and Dean got up on unsteady feet, muttering. Sam got a shoulder under Dean's, a hand in Dean's belt loop, and Dean's legs moving. He bent his head, listening. Spoke in Dean's ear: "Couldn't make that out."
"Said 'last time'."
Sam snorted. "Last time for what? Forest at night? Hunting a Were?" Steadying him again, Sam got them within sight of the car. "Last time you're going to shout 'Got'cher white meat right here?'"
Dean coughed, wrapping an arm over his bandages. His voice was leaden. "Last time I'll see it."
"See what?" Dean stumbled just then, bringing Sam's attention back to the logistics of moving an injured brother through forest, darkness, and a down a rough path. He was breathing heavily by the time the Impala came into view. "Here, lean against the car." Sam unlocked the door, caught Dean on his slide to the ground, and swung him onto the bench seat. "Going to get you a towel. Don't bleed all over the upholstery."
Popping the trunk, Sam snagged a towel and two blankets and wrapped Dean up like a mummy, ignoring Dean's vague complaints. Back to the trunk for some water bottles and the first aid kit, and Sam was back, flicking on the overhead light. Squatting by the door, Sam took in Dean's eyes, squeezed shut, pain lines creasing his forehead and bracketing his mouth.
"Take these." He held out two pills from the kit. "Percocet."
Dean cracked one eye open, squinted at the pills, but made no move to take them. Finally, he grumbled, "Can't get my hand loose."
Sam laughed softly and pulled back a blanket to free up Dean's right arm. His brother took the pills without protest, and drank some water before adjusting himself back under the blanket. "You going to be all right here?"
An eye roll accompanied a breathy "Yeah. I can sit in a car."
Sam didn't reply, just patted Dean's shoulder. He stood, and carefully stretched his back and shoulders, before heading back to the kill site to collect their gear and burn the corpse.
An hour later, Sam hustled back to the Impala. A shiver of anxiety had been working his nerves since he'd left his brother. Something felt off, well, more off than usual after the hunt. He knew it had something to do with the pain Dean had to be in—the Were had been trying to gut his brother when the silver bullet had entered its heart. Still.
Sam tried to figure it out between shovelfuls of dirt, the smell of burned meat and kerosene deep into his sinuses, but he was still puzzled and even more worried when he dropped the duffels by the trunk and couldn't see Dean's head through the rear window. He breathed out a sigh of relief when he found his brother lying on the seat, facing the windshield, legs tangled on the passenger door armrest. His unrest grew again when he realized Dean was gazing at the moon, hanging balefully in the night sky above them.
Tapping the window, then opening the driver's door, brought Dean's eyes back to earth and to his brother. Dean inspected him. "You okay?"
Sam smiled. "I'm fine. Let's roll." He helped Dean struggle upright, surreptitiously feeling for and finding the fever he'd been expecting. "Gotta start you on antibiotics soon as we get back." He watched out of the corner of his eye as Dean slumped over to the passenger window, resting his cheek on the cool glass.
"Don't need 'em."
"You're building up a fever, Dean." Sam cranked the ignition, and headed the car for the road. "I washed out the wounds with holy water, but…"
"Not gonna make a difference." One of Dean's hands was picking at a bandage on his arm.
Sam stopped at a light, turning his body slightly to take a long look at Dean. "What do you mean, won't make a difference? You weren't bitten. I checked."
Glassy eyes turned toward him. "Wasn't? I thought…" Dean swallowed, shook his head. "Light's green."
Sam took his foot off the brake and brought them up to speed. "You're still taking the pills." He turned onto a main road, toward the motel. "You didn't steal them for nothing."
"Supposed to be clear again tomorrow night. If you're up to it, we'll head for that park by the motel. Watch some stars." Angling his head down and his eyes up, Sam took another look. "Beautiful moon. Waning after tonight, but should still be spectacular. If you want to go?"
Dean didn't speak again until they reached their room. He didn't fall asleep on the drive, just closed his eyes.
Sam came out of the shower, eyes immediately going toward the far bed. He'd been expecting his brother to be exactly the way he'd left him, just more drool on the pillow. Even with the painkillers, Dean had struggled to stay quiet during the second, more thorough first aid session on his chest and stomach. Sam was tying off a stitch when a limp arm brushed against his knee, and Dean visibly sank further into the mattress.
His brother didn't disappoint. Soft snores, and Dean's sleeping 'click' noise from a broken septum followed Sam as he gratefully climbed into his own bed.
He wasn't sure what woke him. The room was dark and quiet. Lying quietly to listen, Sam didn't hear any noise from the parking lot or the rooms around them. What he didn't hear was Dean. Sitting up, Sam rubbed his eyes, taking in the empty bed next to his and the digital clock's red faced display of '3:17'. Shit. He didn't know why he hadn't seen this coming. Dean's fever had been over 102 when he'd last checked, and sometimes Dean, opiates, and a fever equaled a delusional ramble.
Sam found his brother soon enough, hunched over a picnic table in the deserted park. Dean was facing away from him, head angled skyward. Casting his own angry glare at the unheeding moon, Sam jogged toward the table.
"Hey. Hey, Dean." Sam stretched out a hand and tentatively touched Dean's shoulder. His scorching hot shoulder. "Man, Dean, you're burning up…" but before he could finish, Dean flinched violently away, lurching to his feet and spinning, his pearl-handled Colt aimed at Sam's left eye. Sam instinctively backed up, palms out. "Whoa, Dean, it's me."
"Sammy?" The moon overhead and behind him cast Dean's face into shadow. He looked like a wraith in the cold light, bone white and dry.
The gun wavered and dropped. Before Sam could step forward, the muzzle was back up, but this time Dean aimed it awkwardly back at his own chest, both thumbs on the trigger.
"You're not supposed to be here."
"Dean—give me the gun." Sam held out his hand, snapped his fingers. "Now, Dean. Give. Me. The. Gun."
Dean angled his head down. "Need to do this." His head came up suddenly. "Not going to do a 'Madison' on you. Not going to make you kill me."
Sam could see the muscles in Dean's hands flexing. "Dean, no one has to do this! You weren't bitten, remember? You aren't going to wolf out. I promise, Dean. I promise. You don't need the gun." He stepped forward, again reaching for the Colt. "C'mon, give it to me."
Dean stepped back, turning slightly into the moonlight. "Not going to wolf out?" He took one hand off the gun and ran his fingers over the wide bandage on his forearm before looking up at Sam's face. "Not bitten? What's this?"
Sam took another step forward, releasing a breath he didn't know he was holding when his brother didn't back away. He ghosted a hand toward the bandage. "Couple days ago. You were doing something under the hood. Your hand slipped. You cut your arm on a manifold or a flange or something." A final step brought him next to Dean. Sam gently tugged the gun from Dean's lax hand, thumbing on the safety, talking the whole time. "You cursed up a streak. Said your 'baby' must've been angry." He drew in a breath, almost a laugh, almost a sob, when Dean nodded. "Didn't need stitches or anything. Remember?"
"Yeah." Dean swayed, one hand rubbing his forehead. "Yeah." When his legs went out, Sam caught him. "Not feeling so good."
"Let's go back to the room. Time for more pills."
Sam grinned. "My thoughts exactly."
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