A/N: So I had an idea and it totally ran away with me. The basic idea is that Sam and Dean are in Montana while their dad is hunting elsewhere, and they stumble onto a case. It seriously has everything: Sam and Dean being brothers, a bully, a fight, a case, an injury, and h/c like you wouldn't believe. I'm actually really proud of this one so I'd love to know what you all think (good or bad.)
Be aware of: language, blood and injuries, a few bad words against John (but nothing that's really untrue), talk of sexual preferences, and…I think that's it. Sam's 16 and Dean's 21.
Also: The stupid site messed up my original formatting. There is a section somewhere in the middle that has paragraph breaks indicated by this: /
The door slams open and shut, letting the frigid air cool the sweat box they're currently staying in. The furnace is broken but not in the conventional way; they can't turn the damned thing down or off. It's a balmy eighty-two degrees in the three bedroom rental, a stark contrast to the twenty-eight degree chill outside. Sam's lounging on the ugly floral sofa with a bare chest and cut off shorts.
Dean comes stomping into the living room, shaking snow off and stripping off winter layers.
"It's hot as shit in here."
"I know," Sam replies, bored as he flips the page in his history text book.
"I hate this friggin' town."
Sam rolls his eyes. Dean's managed to tell him the same grievance at least once a day every day, for the past four weeks. He wonders if this is some way for Dean to get back at him for always hating everywhere they go, for hating this life, for being a teenager. God knows Dean's listened to him complain about towns and schools enough, maybe Dean figures he'd turn the tables. Sam wouldn't put it past him. Or maybe Dean just really hates this town. Who knows.
Honestly, Sam doesn't see what the big deal is. Eureka, Montana isn't much different from other towns they've stayed in: small, conservative, anonymous. It has a school, a church, some diners, mountains, and a lot of trees. It's also a stone's throw away from the Canadian border, which is new as far as towns are concerned, but Sam doesn't see why Dean would have a problem with that.
Dean drops his snow-wet jacket on Sam, the cold burns his over-heated skin.
"Whatchya reading, geek?" Dean asks as he flops into the arm chair on the other side of the room. He picks up the remote and ignores Sam's glare.
Sam shoves the coat onto the floor angrily and wipes the melted snow of this chest. "Doing history homework," He grumbles.
Dean half snorts but smiles fondly as he starts flipping through channels, "Dad call?"
Sam can tell that it was the answer Dean expected but he can also see the brief, nearly undetectable flash of disappointment in his eyes. Fresh anger burns in Sam's stomach. Their dad…
He wouldn't go as far as to say he hates their father because he doesn't. Sam hates that he's selfish, that he's stubborn, that he thinks extra PT is a suitable punishment, and that he doesn't come to his school plays or soccer games. But what Sam hates most of all is that their dad has turned Dean into a mindless soldier who's willing to do anything and everything it takes to make John proud. He hates that John makes Dean need and love the hunt. He hates that their dad can crush Dean with a simple look or word, that he can make Dean feel like he didn't try hard enough. Sam can never forgive their dad for any of that, especially not when he's trying to do the same thing to him.
He wishes he could make them understand, make them both understand, why he doesn't want this life. Dad and Dean, they're always preaching to him about family, mom, and saving people from the same fate. Sam understands that. But family isn't going to matter if they're all dead. It isn't the moving that gets him or even the hunting; it's wondering if this is the time that his family's not coming back. It's knowing that one day they won't be coming back. And Sam just can't take it anymore.
"Hey, space cadet!"
Sam starts briefly and looks at Dean, who's staring with annoyance.
Dean rolls his eyes, "I said, let's get target practice outta the way so we can get some food. I'm starving."
"You're always starving," Sam mumbles but follows Dean out into the cold anyways, ducking when his brother tries to cuff him on the back of the head.
Sam stops in his tracks with a soft sigh. He's well aware of all the other students stopping as well. He feels like the circus freak with everyone watching to see what he's going to do. Robert Canova has been bothering him ever since Sam refused to write his theory paper for him three weeks ago, thus gaining himself a mortal enemy.
Maybe Dean's onto something when he says this town sucks.
When Sam doesn't immediately turn, Robert pushes Sam in the left shoulder, making him stumble slightly. Sighing again, resigned to the fact that he's going to have to deal with this joker again, Sam turns and glares at Robert's sneer. So far he's been able to avoid getting in a physical fight but Sam's getting the feeling that it isn't going to happen this time. For reasons unknown to Sam, Robert has a look of pure rage and hate on his face.
"What's your deal?" Sam's tone implies weariness and boredom, but his feet are shifted into a subtle fighting stance, and his shoulders are tense. He's prepared for a fight, if it should come down to that.
"You are my deal, Winchester."
Sam rolls his eyes and barely restrains himself from saying something that would surely escalate this fight, which is getting more stupid by the minute.
The next thing he knows Robert has his shirt curled up in his fists, and he's slamming Sam against the nearest locker. Sam mentally curses himself for getting distracted for those two seconds, and considers his options: either fight back, or let Robert run the show. As annoying and humiliating as it may be, he thinks his best option is to let Robert think he's holding the chips right now; if all Robert wants to do is threaten and insult, then Sam can walk away from this without getting suspended or worse.
"Listen, Winchester. You stay outta my way, you hear me? Stay the fuck away," Robert growls as his fists tighten impossibly tighter in the front of Sam's shirt.
Sam would point out that he goes out of his way to make sure that he does avoid Robert, mostly because they're meant to keep their head down when their dad's not in town. He'd point out that Robert's the one who's always doing shit like this and making them cross paths, because Robert's the one who has some kind of vendetta. Sam would say all of this, if it wasn't for the fear tangled up with the anger in Robert's eyes.
For a moment Sam's confused. He's seen panic and fear before, the real thing, and he can see it in Robert's face. But he doesn't understand why…
Until he notices that Robert's a little too close despite the situation they're in, that his leg is pressed up right alongside Sam's, and that Robert's having a hard time keeping his eyes from drifting downwards.
And suddenly Sam gets it; he understands exactly what has been going on the past few weeks. He softens in sympathy, feeling all of his anger and irritation melt.
"Sure. I'll stay outta your way," Sam says, because what else could he say?
Sam can still see the emotions warring in Robert's eyes when Dean's voice, tight with anger and warning, sounds from behind Robert's back.
"You're gonna want to let go of my brother. Now."
Robert drops his hands as if he'd been burned and backs away just as quickly. Released, Sam slowly eases his way from the lockers and takes a place next to Dean.
Sam's worried. He knows that Dean's been aware of Robert bullying him the past few weeks, but now that he's caught him in the act, he doesn't know if Dean will keep his fists to himself.
Dean takes a threatening step towards Robert. To Robert's credit, he doesn't move, only flinches.
"You come near my brother again and you'll be pickin' your teeth off the floor. Got it, Canova?" Dean says as he points at Robert threateningly.
Robert sneers but Sam can see the fear, the relief, in his eyes when he says, "Got it."
Dean glares for a second more before he turns, "C'mon, Sam."
Sam throws one last look at Robert, something twisted up in understanding and sympathy, before he follows Dean to home room.
"You didn't have to do that," Sam says.
"I know I didn't Sam, because you could've. Why the hell did ya just let him throw you around like that?" Dean's pissed but Sam can't tell who he's pissed at. It could be any combination of Sam, Robert, or even Dean himself.
"He has a crush on me."
Sam can feel Dean's shock when he pauses briefly and turns wide eyes to him. "So? What, you like him back? Dude, that's no reason to let him shove you around. Do we need to talk about…"
"No, Dean," Sam interrupts in annoyance, "Think about it. He has a crush on me."
He watches Dean work through the information and he sees the moment it clicks into place. A small spark of sympathy ignites in Dean's eyes but it's dulled because crush or not, Robert threatened Dean's little brother.
"That…that sucks," Dean finally says, and Sam can tell that he means it.
Because it does. Being gay, or even thinking you might be gay, in a town like this is downright dangerous. Living with that fear and pressure is bound to twist something up inside you. Like when you have a crush on the boy in your class and the only thing you can think of to do in order to survive is beat the shit out of him.
Sometimes Sam thinks his life isn't so bad.
They get in the Impala, ready to drive back to the sauna they're calling a house, but Dean just sits in the driver's seat. Sam looks at Dean, looks at the key in the ignition, and says, "Dean?"
"It'd be ok, you know. If you liked him too."
Dean faces foreword when he says it (Dean's always been uncomfortable when it comes to anything remotely sincere and emotional) but Sam knows he means the sentiment just as much as he meant the threat he gave Robert.
Sam's not interested in guys, but knowing that he has Dean's support regardless makes Sam's chest tighten and eyes burn. It's moments like these that Sam knows he has the best brother in the world, that he knows that he couldn't love him any more than he already does.
But all Sam does is smile and say, "Yeah. I know."
Dean smirks softly, turns the engine over, and peels out of the parking lot, Metallica blaring.
"Dad called," Dean says as he sits across from Sam and starts digging into the mac n' cheese that they whipped up.
"What'd he say?" Sam doesn't really want to know but he knows it's expected of him to ask.
"He caught wind of another werewolf a few towns over from where he is, he thinks it may have been a pack. He'll be home next month after the full moon."
Sam can't decipher the tone in Dean's voice and that bothers him, but he can see the tension in Dean's shoulders and knows that whatever Dean's feeling, it isn't good.
"Do we have enough…"
"He's mailing cash and I do know how to hustle, Sam." This time Sam can pick up on the tone: hostile, threatening, sarcastic.
They don't talk for the rest of dinner.
A few days later Dean drops a newspaper on Sam's open text book, earning him a glare.
"Read it, dork face."
Three Teens Mauled at Stahl Peak
Sam shrugs and pushes the paper off his book, "Probably a bear or cougar. Even if it wasn't, dad's gone. He'd kill us if we took on a case alone."
"Ok, first of all, I'm 21, dude. Second of all, there was a survivor. Four of them went up the trail, three were shish kabobed. The survivor? Said that the thing had glowing red eyes. What does that sound like to you?"
Sighing, Sam pushes his text book away, knowing that Dean wasn't going to give up until Sam at least paid some attention.
"Could've just been the lighting. Did they have a fire? Any kind of flashlight?"
"Eyes still wouldn't have been red," Dean argues, "They'd have been yellow or that creepy green."
Sam nods. "Couldn't have been a werewolf; full moon ended four days ago. Not the right M.O. for a wendigo and not the right description for a black dog. Could be a chupacabra but they don't usually go after humans. Guess that leaves an adlet; it'd make the most sense with the red eyes description."
"We should check out the bodies, see if they're mauled mauled or just adlet mauled. There's a difference."
"How we gonna do that, Dean? Dad's not here to play fake FBI and dude, I don't care if you're 21. No one's gonna believe you're any kind of cop or agent," Sam says.
"It's called B&E, braniac," Dean replies and flicks Sam's ear hard as he walks out of the room.
"Oh yeah, definitely an adlet."
They have the first body uncovered to the waist, bathed in white from their flashlights.
"Report says the bodies were drained dry. Not a drop between the three of them," Sam says as he shines his light on the manila folder he's flipping through.
"Guess that settles that," Dean says as he pulls the sheet back over the body.
"What do we do?" Sam asks, setting down the folder.
Dean rubs the back of his head and stares at the closed doors of the freezers.
"We go after it," Dean finally says, "Dad's not gonna be back for a month and this thing could do too much damage in that time. So we go after it."
Sam nods even as the sharp sting of fear guts him.
"Hey," Dean says, "You trust me?"
"Yes," There's not even the briefest hesitation.
"We'll watch each other's backs like always, right? It's gonna be ok."
They climb back through the window they jimmied and walk home with Dean's arm slung around Sam's shoulders the whole way.
It's a Friday when they set out for Stahl Peak. The trail's long and tough, running right up the mountain side. They each carry packs with provisions, first aid kits, weapons, water, and sleeping bags. With the added weight, the hike isn't exactly fun. The snow and cold doesn't help much either. It's freezing temperatures, so they're bundled up in ski jackets, insulated boots, and heavy gloves.
At least the adlet should be easy to take down. They're strong but not incredibly fast, and their eyes usually give away their position. All it takes is a silver bullet to put it down. So long as they avoid the thing's claws they should be golden.
Golden, Sam thinks cynically, not with our luck.
It's the claws that get you, in the end. First there's the actual mechanics of it; getting clawed open by anything is a sure way to earn yourself a trip to the hospital or the morgue, possibly both. The adlet's claws have venom in the tips, which has an anti-coagulant property. The adlet survives by drinking blood; if the wound can't clot then it's like an all you can eat buffet.
Fun times, as Dean would say.
It's just after one and they're about half way through the trail.
"Let's take a break, dude. Eat something, hydrate, take in the scenery."
Sam's had about enough of the scenery but he doesn't mention it to Dean. The last thing they need out here in the wilderness is an argument.
They park themselves on a log and eat granola bars and jerky in silence. It feels weird, hunting without their dad, kind of like wearing two different shoes. It works just the same but everything feels off. He wonders if Dean feels it too, if he's just as unsure and worried. If he is, he's hiding it well.
That's one thing that's definitely different about hunting without their dad: dad orders. Dean asks.
It's nearly three when they reach the peak where the kids were mauled. It's taped off and they duck under it, brushing the bright yellow plastic with their packs.
"Jesus," Dean breathes as they take in the sight.
There's blood everywhere, stark red and rusty against the white snow. It's spattered on plants, on rocks, on trees.
"Guess the cleaning crew hasn't come yet," Sam says tonelessly.
Dean shifts slightly, brushing his shoulder up against Sam's, "They probably figured it'd melt away, or get snowed over.
A heavy silence passes between them for a moment before Dean breaks it, "C'mon, let's look for tracks; see if we can figure out how it attacked."
They follow the scuffs, scrapes, prints, and claw marks until they get a pretty good picture of what happened. The four teens were sitting on the ground, probably throwing back a few beers, when the adlet crept in from behind. It took them by surprise, mauled two of them before they even realized what was happening. The other two ran, only the one who was closest to the massacre was dragged back, leaving the sole survivor to make a break for it.
"It doesn't seem to have much tact. It looks like it was just passing by and sniffed them out," Dean says as he crouches by some bushes, "It settled here but didn't stay long, probably just long enough to scope out its prey. Then it launched. Poor bastards were just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"So basically we're dealing with an oaf with poisonous claws," Sam states.
They make camp south of the peak, unwilling to be too close just in case it's the adlet's hunting grounds, but wanting to stay close enough to track it. They drag fallen logs to use as benches and create a small fire pit with rocks and branches. They have no intention of staying overnight in the freezing cold but they need a place to group, to decide what to do.
"Now what?" Sam asks.
Dean's sitting on his log checking and re-checking the weapons, just the way John taught them, "Well, we can do this one of two ways. One, we track it the old fashioned way or two, we use bait."
"The hell are we gonna use for bait?"
Dean shrugs in a way that makes Sam's stomach flip and his mouth tighten.
"We're not using you, if that's what you're thinking. There's no way."
"I didn't say anything," Dean replies, his hands up in surrender.
"You didn't have to," Sam snarls.
Sam's pissed, furious. Dean must've had this plan already in mind when they started up the trail. They didn't think to bring raw meat or blood from the butcher (stupid) and Dean probably realized that it'd take too long to track the thing the old fashioned way, and without dad. Sam also knows there's no way Dean would let him be the bait instead. The goddamned self-sacrificing asshole…
"Shut up, Dean," Sam snaps, "You said. You promised that we'd watch each other's backs. How the hell are you supposed to watch my back if you're torn to shreds, huh? Dad's not here, Dean. You don't have anything to prove."
Dean's eyes narrow and his jaw clenches. Sam sees the wall slam down in his brother's eyes, the same way it always does when he brings up John's influence over Dean. For reasons Sam can't understand, Dean holds their dad on the highest pedestal. It's so high that Dean can't even see what John's doing any more. And that pisses Sam off because Dean doesn't deserve to be under anyone's thumb, especially when that thumb is looking to squash him.
"How else are we gonna do it, huh Sam? Are you going to go out and fetch us a deer that we can slaughter? Or a rabbit? Or a goddamned squirrel? Cause I sure as hell ain't."
"Maybe you should've thought of that before we started up this trail!"
"Maybe you should shut the hell up and do as you're told!"
They're right up in each other's faces by now, ironically reminding Sam of his altercation with Robert almost a week ago. Only Sam's not going to let this fight go because he's not John, and he's not going to let Dean get hurt for the hunt. He pushes down the sting that resulted from Dean's words, and puts his hands on Dean's shoulders, shoving his brother enough to make him stumble.
"Screw you, Dean! You're not dad and you said we'd do this hunt together. Ordering me around and offering yourself up like a lamb is not doing this together!"
Dean rights himself and shoves Sam back, who slips and barely avoids braining himself on a nearby rock. When he shakes off the shock from hitting the ground, Dean's already stalking away, putting space between them before someone does something stupid.
Sam throws a rock in frustration, cursing his stubborn brother, this hunt, and their dad, and waits for Dean to come back. He knows it won't be long.
Twenty minutes later Sam's on the ground, leaning against the tree with his eyes closed. He's able to pick up each whisper of the earth like this; every rustle of the leaves, the shrill sounds of insects, and the snaps of branches are magnified like they're on surround sound. So he hears Dean approach from yards away. Dean sits next to him, his knee pressed up firmly against Sam's. Sam doesn't open his eyes yet.
"You were right," Dean says. "If we're gonna do this, we're gonna do it together. We'll figure out another way."
Sam cracks open his eyes. Dean's sitting next to him cross legged, just an arm's reach away. Sam sits up from the tree so that they're shoulder to shoulder.
"Yeah. I'm sorry too."
"I hate this, Sammy."
Sam shrugs and holds the knife out to Dean. It's the agreement they settled on. There is no way they are gonna let each other be bait, so the only option is for them to both do it. They decide to cut open their hands and use the blood as bait, and hopefully it'll be enough to draw the adlet in. They chose an area closer to the peak, hoping the adlet frequents the area and will be enticed by the fresh blood.
Dean sighs and grabs the knife, wasting no time in pressing the sharp blade into the meat of his palm; he winces deeply but doesn't make a sound. Sam grabs a bottle of water and douses the blade, washing off the blood. Dean flips the weapon over and hesitantly hands the knife to Sam handle first. Sam knows that Dean isn't exactly happy with this; it kind of goes against his big brother instincts. In the end Sam argued that, "It's just a cut, Dean. It'll heal in like, two weeks tops," and Dean grumbled but relented. Sam makes the cut with a low hiss between his teeth.
Palms cut, the boys make a huge circle with their blood, pressing it into tree bark and onto flat surfaces.
"Now we wait," Sam says as he surveys the dark smears.
"No, now we clean your hand," Dean replies firmly, grabbing Sam by the elbow and directing him back to camp.
Sam rolls his eyes, "You have a cut up hand too, genius."
"Yeah and when I'm done fixing you up you can do something about it."
It's getting close to sundown; the mountains and trees are painted bright orange and red as the sun slowly sinks bellow the skyline. Nestled in the forest, Sam and Dean melt into the emerging shadows, keeping silent as they wait for their prey. They've been staked out for close to an hour now, guns in hand, tense and prepared. Sam knows where Dean is - about ten yards to his right - but it's getting harder to see him as darkness creeps in. His limited vision of his sibling doesn't bother him. Even from yards away, he can feel Dean's eyes drift over him every few minutes; he knows his brother's there.
The forest is mostly silent, interrupted only by the wind rustling the trees and birds disrupting branches. With it being so quiet, it should be impossible to miss the adlet if it comes within range.
They should be able to hear the adlet from yards away but they don't, because they forgot one important thing: snow muffles sound.
So by the time Sam hears the tree branch snap and he turns around, the adlet's on him, a heavy weight that's suffocating and terrifying. He can't breathe, can't even think, under the mercy of the dog-like creature. Through the chaos he can barely hear Dean yelling in the background. Sam cries out as razor sharp claws cut through denim and his long johns, right into the meat of his thigh. It burns like acid and Sam doesn't know if that's the venom working of if it's from the wound itself. He brings an arm up to protect his face and throat from the jaws of the adlet; his right arm and his gun are pinned by the beast.
It all ends with the sharp explosion of Dean's Taurus; the silver bullet cuts through the adlet's head, dropping it instantly. There's blood on Sam's face, the adlet is crushing him, and Christ his leg hurts.
"Dean…" The word is barely a whisper.
"Sammy!" Dean crashes to his knees next to Sam and immediately shoves the adlet off. "Are you hurt?" he asks, even as he looks up and down Sam's body, assessing. Sam sees the moment that Dean notices his slashed thigh, seeping blood.
"Shit," Dean hisses and yanks his coat off, pressing the fabric into the cut, "Shit. Ok, Sammy look at me, hey. You're gonna be ok, we're gonna get out of here."
Sam can feel the blood pumping right out of his body, soaking through Dean's coat, running through his fingers. He knows there's no way he'll make it down the trail and back to town before he bleeds out. He knows Dean knows it too. As if he's thinking Sam's thoughts, Dean backs off for a second and yanks his belt out of his jeans. He wraps it around the top of Sam's thigh, tying it off tightly but not too tightly. Sam can see his hands shaking.
"It's gonna be ok," Dean repeats. Sam's unsure who he's trying to reassure at this point.
"It is," Dean insists, his eyes flaring in determined panic, his hands pushing more insistently at Sam's wound.
The snow is soaking in through Sam's clothes to his skin, he can feel the cold and wet pressing against his back and legs. Dean's hands haven't moved from his thigh and his eyes are locked on Sam's; he's never seen his brother look this scared. Dean breaks the connection and gently moves the coat away from the laceration. Sam can't see it but he can feel the blood run down his leg, a steady flow of life burning out of him. Dean's jaw ticks and he presses the fabric back over the wound; Sam grunts at the pain.
"You know what we gotta do, Sam," Dean says as he turns his eyes back to Sam. His voice is apologetic but unrelenting.
Sam's heart thumps in his chest with anxiety and his eyes burn, but he refuses to let tears fall. Not yet, anyways.
"Yeah, I know."
He's already starting to feel weak, the world's looking hazy, and he knows if they don't do this, he's going to die.
Dean carries him back to camp bridal style, all the while muttering reassurances and cracking bad jokes.
As gently as possible, Dean sets Sam down so that he's leaning up against one of the logs they were sitting on earlier. He steadies Sam as he starts to slump to the side, too tired and in too much pain to stay up right.
Dean cups Sam's face in his hands, "Hey, stay with me ok? Just a little longer, Sammy. C'mon."
Sam nods sloppily as if drunk and Dean curses.
"Alright. Hang on."
Dean disappears for a moment, standing to grab his pack a few feet away. He reaches in and rustles through it, throwing things on the ground that they're going to need: the first aid kit, lighter fluid, hunting knife, and liquor.
"Ok, ok," Dean mutters to himself, as much for his benefits as for Sam's. Maybe if he keeps talking things won't be so bad. Maybe if he keeps talking, they can pretend that they aren't in this worst case scenario.
He grabs everything and shoves it into the crook of his arm, hauling everything back over to Sam. He dumps the supplies, grabs the lighter fluid, and douses the branches that are piled in their fire pit.
"You with me, Sammy?" Dean asks frantically as he lights a match and drops it in the pit. It ignites in a huge burst of orange. Once the initial inferno dulls to a manageable size, Dean props the hunting knife against one of the stones, letting the blade rest in the flames.
"Yeah," Sam's voice is weak, straining with pain, but there.
"Ok," Dean says and scoots up into the v-shape of Sam's legs. He presses down on the coat, wincing when Sam lets out a pained noise, "I know, m'sorry."
"S'ok," Sam pants, clenching his fists as he rides out the pain.
The silence that envelopes them is heavy with fear and anxiety. They know what's coming and neither of them wants to go through with it.
"Never should've come out here," Dean mutters as he glares at the blood-soaked coat, which is probably next to useless by now.
"Shuddup," Sam mutters.
Dean's free hand briefly cups the side of Sam's neck; Sam recognizes it for the apology that it is: sorry that we're here, sorry for letting it get you, sorry that I can't make it stop. Sam clumsily reaches up and squeezes Dean's wrist. Apology accepted.
Fifteen minutes later they can no longer delay it. Sam's pale and getting paler, and the cut is still bleeding heavily.
Dean takes a deep breath, "Sam? Hey look at me."
Sam turns bleary, terrified eyes to his brother but holds his gaze.
"We need to do this, Sam. OK?"
Sam's breathing hitches and tears noticeably fill his eyes, but he presses his lips together and nods.
"I'm gonna be right here, ok?" Dean reassures as he gently pulls the belt from Sam's thigh and then holds it up, "I want you to bite down on this as hard as you can."
Sam grabs the worn leather from Dean and shoves it into his mouth, clenching it between his teeth. Dean pulls the coat away, grimacing at the amount of blood, and drops it down next to him. Then he rips Sam's jeans so that there's no fabric in the way of the wound. He grabs the vodka bottle from beside him, unscrews it, and pours a liberal amount over the cut. Sam tenses and cries out gruffly, squirming slightly under the sting. Dean keeps a hand on his shin, trying to ground his sibling. Wound cleaner but still bleeding, Dean braces himself for what he has to do next.
With a shaky breath he turns back to the fire and takes hold of the heated knife. Once he has it in hand, he scoots as close to Sam as possible, placing himself right between Sam's legs so that he has room to cauterize the wound, and so that Sam has something to anchor too. Immediately Sam grabs on, fisting Dean's jacket in both hands tightly, burying his face in his brother's side.
Dean takes another deep breath, "You ready?"
He feels Sam nod against his ribs.
Heart pounding, Dean steadies his hands, and presses the hot metal to the claw mark. Sam bucks and screams; the sound is loud and decipherable even though it's muffled by Dean's jacket. Dean takes the knife off the wound, feeling his own tears prick his eyes. He knows that it's not over yet. Steeling himself and pressing a restraining hand against Sam's leg, he touches the knife to the wound again, making sure the skin is sealed. The sound Sam makes is near inhuman, tortured. It cuts into Dean like a dull blade, painful and invasive. He removes the knife once more and looks at the cut. It's red, angry, and undeniably painful, but it's no longer bleeding. Relief mixes with fear and pain in Dean's stomach, and he feels like throwing up. He tosses the knife away in disgust and turns his attention to Sam.
"Sammy? Sam, hey, you with me?" Dean gently shoulders Sam so that he's no longer leaning into him, and he can see Sam's face. Sam's hair is plastered to his forehead with sweat, tears cover his face, and he's shaking under Dean's hands. Dean can barely understand how his brother's still conscious. He gently pries the belt from Sam's mouth, it comes away with teeth imprints and strings of saliva. Dean reaches up to push his bangs off Sam's forehead.
Sam's eyes slit open; they're filled with exhaustion and lingering pain, "Dean?"
"Yeah. It's over, kiddo. You're gonna be ok."
Sam's eyes slide shut, finally falling into sleep or unconsciousness. Dean guides his brother so that he's tucked into his chest, his chin resting on top of Sam's head. In a minute he's going to have to bury the bloody jacket, roll out the sleeping bags, lay down some salt, and prepare to stay the night. But for now he's going to hold his brother, feel Sam's back move as he breathes, and stop the trembling in his own hands.
A/N: For right now I'm leaving this as a oneshot but I may come back later and add a second part. I hope you enjoyed it!