The two shots were nearly simultaneous, and Dean felt himself jerk with each one before lunging into action. "Sam!" he roared, sprinting down the hall, images whirling of Samuel standing over his brother bleeding, dying, dead-

He burst into the room and froze, eyes flicking from Samuel on the floor, dead; Sam still standing. Relief flooded him, and then Sam folded forward and said "Dean" in that voice that meant he was hurt and wanted Dean to make it stop – a voice that hadn't changed since he was two with a stomachache.

"Sam?" Dean said, the edge back in his voice, and started to move forward when Bobby who had just caught up to him grabbed his shoulder.

"Could be in him," Bobby said, low. Dean shook him off.

"Sam," he repeated tightly, "What-"

"Shot," Sam said through his teeth, and Dean found Sam's hand clamped just under his collarbone. "Before I…shit-"

Dean cast one more look of utter loathing at the Campbell patriarch's corpse before moving forward, watching Sam's shoulders heave once, twice, breathing short and pained. "Lemme see," he said, and Sam pulled away, an instinctive motion. He could see dark liquid seeping through his little brother's fingers even in the low light.

"Where's the worm?" Rufus asked. "You see it come out of him?"

Dean took the moment of distraction while Sam shook his head to grab his arm and pull his hand away from the wound, moving his own hand up to take its place. Blood spilled over his fingers and Sam gasped, wobbled precariously against Dean. Dean planted his feet.

"Whoa," he said, "Steady-"

Sam steadied, with effort. "M'okay," he breathed a little faintly. Dean snorted and pressed his hand where Sam's had been, trying to staunch the flow.

"Exit wound?" He asked, grimacing already because he would have seen it and he hadn't. Sam shook his head minutely, and groaned, wobbling again.

"Still – yeah. In there." Sam twitched. "Can feel it." Causing more damage, Dean heard, ripping more muscle, blood vessels-

"Dean," Bobby said tightly, "We don't know where that thing is. Let's get into a room and then we can…"

Sam's mouth jerked. "Get it out."

Dean considered that, and winced. "Need to stop the bleeding," he said, shedding his coat and reaching to tear his shirtsleeve. "And keep your arm still. Hold that," he said tersely, pressing the strip of shirt against the wound, and observed worriedly that Sam was already looking pale, sweat a faint sheen on his skin.

This hunt sucked.


They locked down in a room with a table for Samuel's corpse, and by then Sam was barely upright, sliding towards shock too fast for Dean's taste. Dean wrapped his coat around Sam's shoulders before pushing him into a chair (too easily) and noting that the cloth Sam was holding over the bullet hole was already crimson. Sam breathed heavily and rapidly, his head dropping forward as he slouched in the chair.

"Fuck," Sam ground out. Rufus was staring at Samuel's corpse and saying something about a saw. Dean shot him a look.

"Hold on a minute," Bobby said, indicating Sam. "Should probably…" He looked at Dean. Dean swallowed.

"Sam," he said, harsh to get his brother's attention. "Take it out or leave it in?" Dean knew the answer to that, but he asked anyway.

Sam lifted his head with what looked like an effort. Dean didn't like the glassy look of his eyes. "Out," Sam said. "Take it out. Dean…" His name was plea and demand at the same time. Dean swallowed. Warehouse surgery. Even better than motel surgery.

"Okay," he said, "Okay." He glanced at Bobby, who looked at Rufus.

"Some stuff in my truck," Bobby said, and tossed the keys. "Get the cranial saw while you're at it." Rufus muttered something but stumped out as Bobby looked back at Dean. Sam didn't seem aware of the conversation. "Get him flat," the older hunter said, "See how bad-"

"I know what to do, Bobby," Dean said tightly, and reached out to nudge Sam carefully out of his daze. "Hey, bro. Come on. Need you on the floor, see what's what." It was almost unnervingly easy to maneuver Sam down, his body limp and pliant. Sam blinked up at him as Dean hastily peeled and then tore fabric out of the way to look at the bullet wound.

It was ugly – they always were. Puffy flesh around the bloody hole, the skin around it a little hotter than it should have been. Sam jerked and made a small, cut-off noise as Dean pressed lightly, hoping maybe the bullet was near the surface, but they weren't that lucky. Sam's Adam's apple bobbed once, blood continuing to ooze. "Fuck, Dean-" Sam said, trying to twitch away from Dean's probing fingers, his voice almost breathy. Dean's stomach lurched and turned over.

"Hold still," he said, sternly. "You know better." Sam fell still, his eyes squeezed closed.

Bobby crouched next to him, eyes on Sam's pale face. "Bad?" he said, shortly.

Dean watched Sam's eyes flicker under his eyelids and said, "Deep, anyway." He pressed the heel of his hand down to try to slow the bleeding before they got started, at least keep some of it where it was supposed to be, and Sam's whole body bucked with a yell. "Are you sure we should," Dean started to say.

"Dammit, Dean," Sam panted. "It'll get worse. Stop – pussyfooting. Just." His chest heaved, shuddering.

"Pussyfooting, dude?" Dean said, finding a smile, and Sam grimaced at him. The door opened.

"Got what I could," Rufus said. Dean focused on Sam, worry running like shivers down his spine. Sam hadn't been hurt this bad – in a while, at least that he knew of, and all he could think of was what if, what if the pain triggered something…

Rufus set down five suture packets, bandages, forceps, and a bottle of whiskey. Dean went for that first and had a swig, then offered it to Sam. "Good bracing drink?"

Sam's eyes opened a sliver, his pupils blown wide, and he shook his head slightly. Dean guessed he probably expected it'd just come up anyway, and alcohol wasn't nearly so good the second time around. He squared his shoulders. "Okay," he said, "Rufus, keep an eye out. Bobby, you think you can hold him down?"

Bobby grunted and gave Dean a look that was very nearly insulted. Dean just shrugged, steadied himself. Sam's breathing had quickened; he was clearly listening. He picked up the forceps. "Sam-" he brushed against his brother's undamaged shoulder with his free hand. "—relax, okay? Try to hold still. You'll just make it worse if you thrash around."

Sam didn't say anything, just nodded, barely, his eyes closing again. Rufus stepped back to give them space and Dean to straddle Sam's torso, Bobby's hands on his shoulders, carefully placed on the damaged side. They couldn't wait any longer, not with Sam's breathing rapid and uneven and the damned worm to think about.

He took a deep breath, focused on the wound, and slipped the metal forceps into Sam's shoulder, trying to ignore his brother's shuddering gasp and the way his body twisted against Bobby's hands as he probed deeper. Dean felt his face spasm and distanced himself, forcing his hand to stay steady, seeking metal amid torn flesh. He tried to move quickly, but that meant he kept skidding into elastic muscle fiber and the damn thing was deep in. His fingers were nearly flush against Sam's shoulder when he finally hit something that wasn't flesh, but metal.

Sam's whole body jerked again, back arching, his cry choked in his throat, and then he went entirely limp, finally unconscious. "Got it," Dean said, mostly to Bobby. He could still feel Sam's body shuddering. "Fuck," he said, thinking anxiously now of shock and blood loss, but he focused back on the instrument in Sam's body, groping to grasp the metal casing nestled against bone.

He got it without scraping against anything, but he was still glad that Sam was out of it as he maneuvered to draw it out. "Get stuff ready to close it," he said tightly to anyone listening, vision narrowed to Sam's shoulder and the forceps, beginning to tug the thing back through its previous channel, anxiously watching the increased blood flow.

The bullet and forceps moved with a squelching noise through flesh and emerged with a noise like a faint pop. Sam moaned faintly, and Dean glanced up worriedly, reached for the suture kit Bobby was handing over, ripped it open, and started to work as rapidly as he dared.

Sometimes it was a good thing they'd had so much fucking practice with fixing each other up.

Dean finished the stitches as Sam's eyelids started to flicker and open, just a sliver, but it was still awareness Dean was grateful for. He cut the last thread and breathed out, letting his shoulders slump. Everything was covered in blood and they needed to get out so he could make sure Sam was actually okay, but the fact that he was conscious was, Dean felt, a damned good sign.

Sam blinked blearily at him, plainly not quite there. "It's out," Dean said, "No more hole."

"Oh," said Sam. "Good." And started to shove himself up. Dean grabbed his unharmed shoulder and pushed him back down.

"Whoa, whoa," he said, "Slow down a minute." Sam looked mildly bemused. "You just – stay down. Bobby and Rufus and I can handle this."

"I can help," Sam said, eyes just slightly too wide.

"No," Dean corrected, perhaps with a bit less patience, "You can stay right where you are until we get the fuck out of here. Can we just go worm hunting already?" That last, he addressed to Bobby. Rufus lifted the cranial saw.

"I'm ready when you are."

"Then go ahead," Dean said firmly. Bobby frowned at him.

"You sure you don't want to leave the room? He is your grandfather."

"I don't have a whole lot of fuzzy feelings for him," Dean said, eying the chair and wondering how much of a struggle it would be to get Sam into it. "Besides, someone's got to keep an eye on floppy over here."

Sam's eyes narrowed a little and he lifted his head. "m' fine," he said, a little petulantly, and too slurry to be convincing.

"Yeah," said Dean, "Sure you are." He looked back at Bobby, who shrugged.

"Suit yourself. Rufus?"

Dean decided Sam was better off on the floor, and settled for checking the bandage again (still white, thank god; he wasn't sure how good those stitches had been). "You'll be fine," he assured Sam, suspecting it was more for his own feelings than anything.

Then there was a clang and a yell of "oh, shit!" from Rufus, and when Dean spun around Samuel was on his feet, dead eyes swiveling from Bobby to Rufus to Dean.

He charged Dean first before he could brace, and he only had time to lash out with an embarrassingly weak punch before his grandfather grabbed his shirt and flung him across the room.

His head hit the lockers in a spray of blue-white fireworks and he watched, dazed, as Sam (when had he gotten on his feet?) tried to move, to attack, but too slow, too clumsy, and the hand that jabbed for Sam's shoulder was quite sure of its target.

He heard Sam yell and saw him start to crumple, thought, oh, shit.

His consciousness flickered and went out.


Dean came back to Rufus shaking him. "There you are," said the older hunter roughly. "Campbell's dead – really dead now. Got shoved into some open wiring. I guess this thing doesn't take to electricity." Dean's head throbbed, but he shook it off, shoved it back.

"Sam?" That last yell – fingers jabbing into and reopening a wound…Sam had already been so freaking pale.

"Standing," Rufus said, gruffly. "More than I can say for you. We need to find the damn thing, don't think it's dead yet. Your brother came up with giving each of us a little shock to see who it's set up shop in now."

That's my Sammy, Dean thought, before he remembered that Sam might well be half empty of blood and should not be electrocuted. "Help me up," he said, roughly, and Rufus held out a hand. Dean took it, and then yelled in part surprise, part pain as the wire touched the top of his wrist and sizzled.

"What the-"

"Clean," said Rufus, brusquely, and then dragged Dean up. Dean looked at once for Bobby and Sam and found them looking at the dead body slumped against the pillar. Dean didn't spare a glance for the corpse, focused on his brother, who looked more gray than white and unsteady on his feet. Sam held up his arm with the sleeve rolled up, a narrow burn visible.

"Rufus?" he said, and even his voice sounded wan, but it had the tone in it like Sam wasn't going to let go and Dean knew that voice (knew it and hated it) and that there wasn't much to do against that determination.

"Can do it myself," the older hunter groused, and turned the wire, pressed the bare portion to his own skin, and barely winced. Not fair, Dean thought, and then wondered why it mattered.

"Okay," said Sam, seeming to relax, or rather, go limp. "Now you, Bobby?"

"Already checked me, boy," said Bobby. "Must have gone out with your grandpappy."

Sam's eyebrows furrowed, and Dean could see Rufus shift. He tensed. "No," his younger brother said. "No, I'm sure we didn't…"

Rufus moved closer, holding up the wire. "Well, no harm checking again," he said, and Dean was moving before it happened, just not quite fast enough.

The knife seemed to jump into Bobby's hand, and went through Rufus' throat like butter. But it wasn't Sam, Dean thought, even as Sam jerked backward and he drew a fist back to swing. At least he hadn't gone for Sam first.


Overpowering Bobby and the thing inside him was the easy part. Electrocuting him was the harder part. That and the gloating edge on their old friend's voice, the sheer glee as he spoke of death and destruction, and Dean had had it up to here with death and destruction.

No, actually, that wasn't the worst. The worst was when it was over and Bobby was breathing again, his pulse racing but strong, the way Sam blinked owlishly, said, "S'over?" And proceed to collapse bonelessly to the floor.

He fretted for hours over hospital or no hospital, back safely in the motel room, but bullet wounds got too much attention and were hard to explain. He would have felt better if they went, but there was Bobby to look after too, since he wasn't exactly peachy.

Dean guessed killing your best friend would do that to you.

He worried most, though, that the pain and mild fever would trigger another crack in the wall, that any minute Sam would be thrashing in the throes of a seizure and might never come back, and that was why he had to stay close, watch all the time. Like he could hold hell back if it came.

(Dammit, he would.)

Sam was in and out for a while, what seemed like days, and mostly incoherent. Dean knew when he came back, though, because he opened his eyes and said, "Where's Bobby?"

Dean dared to breathe again. "Next door," he said. "Waiting on you."

"Hmmm," said Sam. And rolled over like he was going back to sleep. Dean settled back again and let him, breathing easier just for that. Then, "Thanks, Dean," Sam said blearily.

Dean felt his eyebrows quirk. "For what?" he asked.

"Everything," Sam said, and sure he might have been a little drugged, but that didn't mean it couldn't give Dean a little bit of a warm fuzzy feeling just the same.

"You're such a girl," he said anyway, for form, and only reached out to adjust the sheets when he was sure Sam was asleep again.