Title: Keep your shirt on
Author: Enkidu07
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me
A/N: A belated birthday offering for the loved Miyo86. Sorry this is late and thanks for the inspiration. I hope you have an awesome birthday month and please check out other offerings by MadServer, PADavis, sidjack, and NewspaperTaxis.

Dean pulls at his shorts self-consciously. He pushes his sunglasses up and watches Sam jog up the beach. "Anything?"

Sam grins, happy in the sunshine, shakes his head.

A splash and an aborted yell rip their attention toward the ocean.

Sam's already running as Dean jumps from the lifeguard stand, hands curling around a life preserver, and follows him into the waves.

He awakes with an ineffectual gasp that crushes his lungs. His panicked fingers pluck at his chest, he curls tightly into the sterile sheets, pushes himself away from invasive hands.

He can't breathe.

A strong grip tightens around his wrists and forces him flat. A burst of adrenaline almost fuels his escape, but the lack of oxygen causes bright flecks in the encroaching darkness.

Bands tightening around his chest waken him the second time. Before he can even move, a hand wraps around his jaw, "Dean, open your eyes."

Dean opens. Sam is inches from his face. He opens his mouth to respond but is interrupted.

"Don't move, don't panic, just… stay." Sam orders. "You're okay. Stay calm and you can breathe."

Dean assesses. Fire wraps his chest and a sharp intake of air makes his lungs seize up. His eyes widen and he paws at his chest, unable to pull in a full breath.


He loses Sam in the darkness.

The next time he wakes up, he's floating. "Sam?" His voice is barely a rasp.

"Relax, Dean. The doc gave you a muscle relaxant to keep you calm. You hurting?"

"Can't breathe. Did I drown?"

"No. The nymph almost crushed your lungs with the rope from the preserver. You weren't even under water."

"Ahhh… suffocation. That's much better," Dean wheezes.

They both turn as a doctor in salmon scrubs pushes his way into the room, "Welcome back, Mr. Wilson. I'm Dr. Russell. How are you feeling?"

"Chest's… tight."

The doctor pulls the sheet down to Dean's torso, Dean cocks his head to take it the reddened band around his chest, sucks in a breath as the movement pulls at the injured skin, sucks in another as the first breath burns his lungs. A soft touch at his shoulder has him looking up, "It looks bad but nothing's broken, it's mostly rope burn and bruising. Just relax, no sudden movements, okay? Keep your breaths slow and calm." Dean relaxes his head back on the pillow, lets his breath out slow.

Sam's careful with him, eases him from car to room, but Dean's choking, eyes damp, chest constricting, by the time he's prone.

He focuses on breathing, slow, in and out, for a full minute before opening his eyes. Sam's hand is a warm soothing weight on his chest, calm and unrushed.

Dean nods.

"I'm going to get our stuff and get the prescriptions. Do you need anything before I go?"

Dean shakes his head.

"I'll be right back. Don't move."

Cool air on his chest rouses him but he knows enough now to stay still.

"I got the cream. It's medicated and should help you breathe."

Dean sucks in the scent of menthol, feels it opening his lungs. But Sam's touch on his chest hurts, the medication burns, and he's seized up and panting at the light touch. Sam lets him roll to the side, using the opening to medicate his back. Dean arches away, harsh coughs pushing their way out of his lungs. Sam wraps a hand around his bicep, just holds tight, and Dean feels himself slipping.

Dean turns in front of the mirror, shirt raised high. The deep burn has faded to an angry welt. He takes a deep breath, winces at the pull on the healing skin, but revels in the sweet lungful of air.

Sam zips up and shoulders his duffle. He pauses behind Dean and pulls up the tail of his shirt to scan the healing wound across his back. Dean pulls away before Sam can smack the tender skin, pulls his shirt back into place as Sam grins. "Come on. I found a cult in Arizona who think they can fly."


"So. There are witnesses. And no one seems to survive more than a month after their first flight. Plus, it's no where near water and you can keep your shirt on."

Dean grabs his pack, snags the keys from Sam's hand. "Now that's what I'm talking about. I'll drive."