Disclaimer: I don't own these guys.

A/N: This is just a short, silly, unbeta'd one-shot because Sam sure does get strangled a lot on the show.

Warning: there's a bunch of swearing in this

Is There Anyone Out There? ('Cause it's Getting Harder and Harder to Breathe.)

Oh shit … Not again.

Sam is falling, landing hard on his back while ghostly fingers have him by throat, squeezing and tightening with inhuman strength until Sam is seeing stars. His hands reflexively go immediately to the cold fingers latched around his windpipe, trying to pry them off before the lack of oxygen to his brain renders him unconscious.

But it's okay, he thinks. He knows the drill. This has happened like what? Ten or eleven times now? He's not exactly sure as he's lost count … but sooner or later Sam knows that Dean will light a fire to this fucker's body and send his dead ass packing.

And when that happens, the crushing constriction will disappear, the air will rush back into his lungs, he'll be able to breathe again and be just fine.

No biggie.

It's just another day in the life of Sam Winchester - strangulation magnet extraordinaire.

The pressure against his throat increases and he can do no more than make raspy, wet wheezing noises. He wonders vaguely why so many of these damned bastards seem to have some sort of thing against him breathing and always seem to prefer going straight for his neck.

If it wasn't pissed off poltergeists trying to strangle him with lamp chords, demons throttling him for the fun of it or plain 'ol run-of-the-mill ghosts like this one choking him out right now, then it was dick-faced angels fucking stealing his lungs.

Seriously … Dean doesn't have this problem – why him?

Sam feels the vice grip on his throat tighten as he struggles to get a breath in.

Dammit ... can't breathe!

Dean really needs to hurry his ass up, right the hell now.

Any minute would be good now, Dean!

Fireworks are bursting in a kaleidoscope of colors in his eyes. He kicks, he squirms, he pulls with all of his strength against the powerful bonds squeezing his throat, but his vision his getting darker and his limbs are tingling, growing numb and heavy.

Hurry the fuck up, Dean!

He hears a gurgling sound and something in the back of his head tells him that it's his voice making that God-awful racket.

Sam can't feel his arms anymore, his hands can't hold onto the fingers digging into his neck and fall to his sides while his legs won't respond to any of his brain's requests to keep fighting. All of his muscles relax, leaving Sam thinking that he just might be floating away.

Dean? … Where are you?

Everything suddenly becomes very quiet and dark. It's almost peaceful in an eerie sort of way, but Sam thinks that may also be the hypoxia talking. But, either way, he just can't bring himself to care anymore and thinking is too much of a burden when the silent promise of serenity is calling.

The last thing he sees before giving in and letting his eyes slip shut is the feral, victorious grin of his attacker.

OOOOOO

Sam is motionless … scarily still.

It took much longer to get the fire started thanks to an unexpected rain storm and an uncooperative lighter than it should have and now Sam is lying limp and pale.

The finger-sized red bruises brightly highlighted on Sam's colorless throat tell Dean all he needs to know. That bastard choked Sam out cold before he could set his corpse ablaze and get back to his brother.

Fuck … not again.

What was it with Sam and getting strangled on every other hunt anyway?

Dean places his fingers against Sam's clammy neck, feels a pulse and sighs in relief, but his sibling's skin is grey and no air is passing between his pale, bluing lips

"Shit … Sam –" Dean is on his knees and tapping his brother's pasty and ashen face. "C'mon, man. Take a breath."

Sam's chest is stubbornly refusing to rise.

Fuck.

"C'mon … Don't be such a bitch, Sammy."

Nothing.

"Fine, have it your way." Dean tilts Sam's head back, opening his airway and leans in. "Sorry about the garlic and onions I had for lunch, Bro."

Dean's mouth covers Sam's and he puffs out two short breaths into his brother's lungs and watches his chest rise and fall, hoping that Sam will get the point and start doing the whole breathing thing on his own.

Dean holds his breath and waits.

Sam still isn't responding.

He gives him two more breaths and waits, watching intensely for any movement, his heart thumping wildly in his chest.

Memories of Sam lying on a filthy mattress, his hands folded over his chest and his body relaxed and so utterly, deathly still washes over Dean.

He can't do that again.

Dean desperately shakes his uncooperative brother's shoulders.

"Dammit, Sam …...just breathe, Goddammit. Breathe."

Dean leans in to repeat the exercise, but before he can place his mouth over his brother's again, Sam's chest suddenly rises and he gasps, following that with a long sigh as he exhales.

Dean feels his shoulders slump and can finally breathe for himself and not just for Sam. He closes his eyes, letting the tension leave his body.

"Way to give me a heart-attack, Sammy." Dean pants. "You gotta quit doing that."

Sam's lungs fill and deflate in response. Dean checks him over for signs of any other injuries and Sam begins to stir with a deep-throated moan. Dean grins when he sees the younger man pry open his eyes, blink blearily and lock his gaze on him.

"Hey there, Sammy. Welcome back."

"Dean?" Sam rasps then coughs roughly. "Wha' happened?"

"Looks like you got your neck wrung … again."

"You … you … get him?" Sam asks, looking around as if the spirit might still be hanging around, his hand coming to his throat and rubbing it. Dean didn't envy the soreness Sam had to be experiencing.

"Yep … his bacon's been fried." Dean pats Sam's shoulder, reassuringly then switches to sarcasm since he doesn't want Sam to know just how freaked out and scared shitless he had been finding him lying on the floor half-dead. In fact, he decides there's no point in letting Sam know that he had to lock lips with him in order to get him breathing again either.

"Way to distract that SOB, by the way …" Dean adds. "Just wish you could have found a better way of going about it than letting him throttle you."

"Sorry 'bout that. Wasn't exactly my plan." Sam offers a weak apology and allows Dean to help him up off the floor. He sways for a second, but Dean keeps him vertical with an arm wrapped around Sam's waist. As soon as he's firmly on his feet, Sam smacks his lips and pulls a confused and disgusted face.

"What?" Dean asks. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing … It's just … I don't know why, but my mouth tastes like onions and garlic."

"Huh … weird."

"Yeah, weird. Especially since I haven't had any garlic or onions in days. "

Dean shrugs.

He'll never admit anything.

The End