Dean gripped tighter onto Sam's shoulder, at the same time raising the flask of holy water and flicking his wrist to send a horizontal arch of water into the air at the oncoming rats. The instant the water left the flask he dropped it and grasped the stair rail, releasing his grip on his brother's shoulder Dean dropped to his knees, making himself as small as he could against the spindles.
As Sam felt Dean's hand let go of his shoulder, he released his own hold from around Dean's waist and shot a round of rock salt into the oncoming bodies before flattening himself against the stair wall.
The high pitched shrieks of the rats as they were caught either by holy water, rock salt, or both made the brothers cringe and screw their eyes closed as the sound seemed to ricochet around inside their heads. Then there was total silence.
The brothers opened their eyes and looked across at each other before scanning around to check the impact of their efforts.
The stairs in front of them dripped wet with water, granules of rock salt gleamed in the low lighting, clumps slowly dissolved where they lay in the water. There was no sign of any rats, dead or otherwise. Dean frowned,
"What the f...?"
Sam glanced back at the basement floor, again seeing no sign of dead or injured rats. He shrugged and looked back at Dean,
"Who knows? We'll figure it out later. Let's just go, before they decide to try again."
Dean nodded and tried to pull himself up using the stair rail. His adrenalin peak subsiding, he cried out and sat back down on the step with a thud as a symphony of aches, soreness and pain reminded him of his numerous injuries. His head pounded and he felt totally exhausted. Sam noticed Dean's eyes closing and his body starting to become limp,
"Oh no you don't! Not yet."
He was quickly at Dean's side,
"Come on dude, suck it up. I can't carry your ass up these stairs so you either work with me, or I leave you here as rat bait."
Wearily Dean opened his eyes and reached out to grab onto Sam,
"That's right brother. Live with it."
By the time the two brother's stumbled out into the night air, Sam was having to take most of Dean's weight,
"Come on. Not far now, you're doing good."
Dean shook his head,
"Need to stop. Hurts. Dizzy."
Sam gave in,
"Ok. I'm going to sit you down and I'll bring the car over."
No sooner had Sam managed to get Dean sat on a grassed area, Dean laid down and closed his eyes, wincing as his back touched the floor. Sam rested the back of his hand against Dean's forehead, noting that his brother's skin felt warmer than was generally healthy but satisfied that Dean didn't feel dangerously hot.
As Dean lay, eyes closed, waiting for Sam to return with the car, he heard the sound of something moving through the grass in his direction. Half opening his eyes he looked toward where the sound was coming from. A small grey rat was wandering towards him, nose snuffling along the floor, seemingly unaware of Dean's presence. Dean raised his arm and waffed his hand in the rat's direction, startling the animal,
"Get out of here you over grown hamster. This spot's already taken."
The rat turned and ran.
As Sam pulled up in the impala, he saw Dean flapping his hand at something, worry began to build in the pit of his stomach as he quickly climbed out of the car,
"Dean? You ok there?"
Dean raised his head and looked at his brother,
"M'fine…s'just a scrawny rat."
Sam frowned, his expression a mix of confusion and thoughtfulness,
"Which way did it go?"
Dean began to try to sit himself upright,
"How would I know? Forget it. A hand here?"
With more cursing and groaning from Dean, Sam finally managed to settle him as comfortably as he could on the back seat of the car. By the time he had covered his brother with a blanket, Dean was fighting to keep his eyes open,
"Rest up. I won't be long then we'll get your ankle fixed up."
"Where you goin'?"
"Need to finish the job Dean. I'm going to warm the place up a little."
Dean shrugged himself out of the blanket,
"M'coming with. Can't go alone. King Rat might eat you."
Sam eased Dean back down, pulling the blanket over him again,
"Actually Dean. I've got a feeling there won't be any rats this time."
Well, for one, I don't think you're so afraid of rats anymore so, if you did come with me, I'm guessing we wouldn't see any."
Secondly, if I'm right, what you and those kids ran into down in that basement were your own personal fears. I'm not afraid of rats, so I don't think I need to worry about them."
"But…Sam, if you are right, that means the place will attack you with your own fear surely?"
Sam smiled softly and leaned forward, running his fingers through his brother's hair,
"It did Dean. It did."
Thank you for reading. Any reviews and constructive criticisms are always welcome.