I'm trying something a little different. Sam is AU and is a college student at Stanford. He is still with Jess, and is a Campbell, but is not a hunter. Dean and Bobby are in character, but Dean and Sam aren't related. I think if you go into the story knowing this, it should be easy enough to follow.
Sam gets caught in a blizzard and needs help.
The setting is in Maine, my home state, and yes, it really does get that cold up here in the winter, especially in the mountains. We just typically stay inside during snowstorms!
I make no profit from this, nor do I own any of the characters.
Too Cold for Man and Beast
(Sam knew that he was in trouble…potentially life ending trouble. As he lay in the knee deep snow, all he could think about was what a fool he was. His body shook violently and he could barely breathe as hypothermia took over and began to shut his body down. He was completely soaked and his jacket and jeans had frozen stiff. If he could just make it a little bit further…..)
An hour earlier, Sam Campbell had been driving his rented Toyota Prius through Maine for winter break from Stanford University. He had flown in from California to meet up with his girlfriend, Jess, for Christmas this year, and also for the ski vacation they had been planning since October.
However, a snow storm had surprised him by coming a day early, and with the blinding snow it wasn't long before the visibility was near zero. As he continued along the nearly deserted road, his car began to skid and slide along the layers of snow and ice. The roadway was also pitch black as the power lines had been down in a few places along the way.
As fate would have it, it wasn't long before he missed a turn and his car slid off the road and struck a telephone pole, knocking out the car engine. Sam tried in vain to restart the car, but to no avail. Taking his cell phone from his pocket, he also realized that he had no service.
Sam gave a forlorn look to his faithful golden retriever, Bones, and sighed.
"Well boy, I guess we don't have much choice but to try to find some civilization, or at least a cell signal."
Sam pulled the hood of his heavy grey sweatshirt over his head and buttoned his brown jacket all the way up. He grabbed a white cloth from his glove box and tied it around the back of his head, covering his nose and mouth. He pulled his gloves on and tucked his jeans into his work boots. From the trunk of his car he grabbed a flashlight.
"Man, I wish I had all the cold gear that we plan to buy next week at L.L Bean for skiing with me now." Sam said to Bones as he slammed the trunk shut and began his trek down the road.
Sam remembered passing a turn off about two miles back that looked like a driveway or private road. He hoped that he could find someone there to let him use a land line to call for a tow, or at least call Jess and tell her that he would meet up with her tomorrow.
Following his tire tracks back along the road, it wasn't long before Sam realized just how incredibly cold it was out there. The wind howled through the treetops and the snow flew over him from every direction, sending an icy blast of near arctic air through his body right down to his bones. He was at least grateful that he had dressed in layers and had heavy socks on, although his work boots offered little warmth from the now shin deep snow.
He tried to walk in the tracks from his car, but with every step those tracks were quickly filling with snow. He kept his flashlight shining forward, his back strong and head tucked down as he trudged along, determined to make it back to the driveway he had seen earlier.
Bones obediently plodded along by his side, although it seemed to Sam that every now and then the dog would give him a worried look, as if questioning if this were really the best idea. Every few minutes he would stop momentarily to shake off the snow that had collected on his fur and whiskers.
After about twenty minutes, Sam stopped to empty the snow that had sunk into the tops of his boots. He realized that it was very difficult to maneuver his fingers and hands to remove the chunks of snow from his boots, and at that time also noticed that he had no sensation on the skin of his legs from the knees down. He tried wriggling his fingers to get the circulation back into them, only to find that this caused them to painfully throb and ache. He stomped his feet hard against the road and stuffed his hands deep into his pockets, holding his flashlight between his elbow and his side.
Sam's breath became labored and walking became difficult as he stumbled along. He had gone much too far now to turn back. Desperately he looked for the road, or any signs of life.
As he rounded a corner, miraculously Sam saw a glimmer of light from a house up ahead. He estimated that it was still about a half mile away, but at least it was something. He tried to quicken his pace to get there sooner and with any luck get inside and warmed up. Sam made it about twenty five steps before his feet could no longer maintain the speed and he lost his balance.
Sam hit the ground hard, slamming his flashlight down and knocking it out.
"Shit!" he cursed as he tried tapping it against his hand to bring it back to life. When nothing happened he lost his temper and threw the broken flashlight into the darkness. He sat in the snow for a moment to catch his breath and recollect his thoughts.
He had only stopped for a few seconds when the uncontrollable shivering began. His teeth chattered nonstop and he could feel the moisture from his eyes, nose and mouth begin to freeze on his face the moment it left his body. Gasping for air, he began to choke and wheeze. He forced himself up and used every ounce of his energy to move his now frozen legs and feet to somehow get him toward the light ahead of him.
With no flashlight, he could no longer see the road. He focused solely on the light ahead and made a beeline toward it. It wasn't long before he was in knee deep snow. He could no longer walk as the snow was too wet and heavy, but he forced himself to crawl forward, stopping to rest and try to catch his breath every few feet.
Sam had somehow made it close enough so he could now see the source of the light. It was a small cottage, and it looked as though the light was coming from a fireplace inside. He was so close now that he could smell the smoke in the air as it emerged from the chimney.
Sam knew that he was in trouble…potentially life ending trouble. As he lay in the knee deep snow, all he could think about was what a fool he was. His body shook violently and he could barely breathe as hypothermia took over and began to shut his body down. He was completely soaked and his jacket and jeans had frozen stiff. If he could just make it a little bit further…..
Bones whined as he lay down next to Sam, licking his face and nudging him with his nose.
"I'm sorry, Jess." Sam thought. His entire body was in immense pain as he closed his eyes and succumbed to the storm, the need for rest overtaking him.
Dean Winchester stirred his coffee as he sat by the fire. Of all the stupid places poltergeists had to take up residence, did this one really have to be in Bumfuck, Maine in the middle of freaking December during a freaking blizzard? Why, just once, couldn't South Beach be haunted?
At least the poltergeist had been put to rest. That was one less thing they had to worry about right now. He and his uncle Bobby had gone to the ski resort where the ghost had taken residency and had flushed it out and burnt the last of its remains.
Now they were stuck here in one of Rufus' old cabins with no power, no cheeseburgers and not even any porn. However, Bobby had cooked up a nice supper of lobster stew that the ski resort owners had given them as a thank you, and it was fantastic. Plus, Dean had to admit that the snow outside was quite beautiful, as long as he was nice and warm by the fireplace and didn't need to be out traveling in it.
"You want the last of these biscuits before I toss them out?" asked Bobby as he was clearing the table.
Dean patted his belly, "Nah, I'm stuffed."
Bobby smiled. "And they said it couldn't be done."
Dean handed Bobby his cup of coffee and began to sip at his own. They both sat down in their overstuffed chairs and soon became hypnotized by the flames of the fire as it shown warmly on their faces, providing the only light in the cabin besides the few lanterns that were around.
A noise caught Dean's attention. It was a distant sound, but it was strangely familiar. He cocked his head and strained his ears to get a good listen to it. Upon hearing it again, he turned to Bobby.
"Yah hear that? Or am I going crazy already?"
Bobby got up from his chair. "I was just about to ask you the same thing.
Dean went to the front door of the cabin and looked out the window, straining to see anything in the blinding snow.
"It sounded almost like a dog, but it can't be. A dog couldn't be out here this far up on its own."
Bobby went to the kitchen closet and pulled out a floodlight. He aimed out the window and turned it on, illuminating some of the front property through the snow. A moment later, they saw a large dog running toward them.
"I'll be damned," Bobby gasped. "It is a dog. How in the Hell? It ain't fit for man or beast out there."
Dean opened the door and whistled for the dog to come to him. The dog bounded toward him, but just before reaching the porch he turned around and ran back out in the snow.
"Come here, stupid dog, before you freeze to death out there and we let all our heat out."
The dog kept running back and forth, trying to coax one of the humans to follow him.
Bobby shook his head. "Dean, something's not right. That dog didn't just happen along this way. It's twenty below zero out there. He knows something and is trying to tell us about it."
Dean frowned. "Why did I have a feeling you were going to say something like that?" He sighed as he put his coffee down and reached for his heavy jacket and boots. "Is there some rule that I'm not allowed to be comfortable for more than five freaking minutes?"
He took the floodlight from Bobby as he pulled his hood over his head. "Keep a watch out the door for me. I should be back in just a few minutes. I'm not following this dog too far, not in this weather."
Dean walked out into the storm as the dog ran circles around him, barking wildly. Bones dutifully ran up ahead and stopped at Sam's side as he lay, now partially covered in the snow.
Upon seeing this, Dean bolted toward Sam's body, turning him over onto his back.
"Bobby!" Dean screamed, "There's a body out here!"
"Alive?" Bobby hollered back.
Dean kneeled beside Sam and felt for a pulse.
"Alive, I think. It's really hard to tell. He's damned near frozen solid."
Dean scrambled to his feet and grabbed Sam under the arms, dragging him back toward the cabin. He called over his shoulder to Bobby.
"Grab all the blankets you can find."
Bobby quickly disappeared back into the house as Dean turned his attention to Sam and to getting him inside as soon as possible. He frowned down at the unconscious man.
"Dude, you are one heavy son of a bitch."
As Dean reached the porch, Bobby was back at the door and picked up Sam's legs, helping Dean carry him and lay him down on a couch in front of the fire. Bobby then grabbed a large pot, scooped some snow from the porch and filled the pot with it.
"I'll get some warm water started on the fire while you get him out of those clothes. Strip him right down to his drawers, and then cover him with the blankets."
Bones also helped himself to a nice warm spot by the fire as he watched Dean struggle to remove the frozen and stiff layers of clothing from Sam's torso. Even unconscious, Sam's body involuntarily shook.
"I don't mean to get personal, man." Dean quipped, "I just gotta try to get you warmer so maybe you'll turn back to a prettier color than blue." Bobby helped Dean by getting Sam's work boots and socks off, making it much easier for Dean to peel down his jeans, which were fully caked with snow and ice.
Bobby set the large pot on top of the fire, kneeled down beside Bones and began to dry and warm him up with a small blanket. It was then Bobby noticed the large iced snowballs that had formed between Bones' toes. Bobby got a towel and used it massage the dog's feet.
"Let's see if we can get those nasty snowballs out from there, shall we?" Bobby smiled down at the dog as he lay still and obedient, allowing Bobby to help him warm up.
Bobby looked up at Dean. "How're you making out with him?"
"Well, he's breathing, and the inside of his mouth is warm enough, but I don't like the color of his toes and fingers."
"Are they blue or black?" Bobby asked.
"Well, blue can be revived, black usually can't. Once the snow water is warmed up, we'll put his feet in the water and restart the circulation in them. You'll want to hold his feet still though, it's gonna hurt like a bitch for him once his feet start to awaken."
Dean had Sam stripped of all his clothing except his underwear, which actually seemed fairly dry, despite the condition of the jeans. Dean pressed his hand against Sam's chest.
"Holy crap, Bobby, he's like an icicle." Instinctively, Dean began rubbing a blanket vigorously against Sam's chest and arms, using the friction to warm his skin.
"No, Dean, don't do that. There's a much better way to warm him up, but you won't like it much."
Dean grimaced. "What's that?"
Bobby tried to hide the small smile that crossed his lips, in spite of the severity of the situation. "Take your shirt off and give him a big bear hug."
Upon seeing Dean's negative facial reaction to his suggestion, Bobby raised his hands and shrugged his shoulders.
"I'm not making this up, honest. Skin to skin contact is the quickest, most effective way to get a person with hypothermia's core body temperature to a safer level." He smirked as he shrugged again. "Look it up if you don't believe me."
Dean almost scowled as he reluctantly removed his shirt.
"Fine. In the call of duty, I will do what I need to do to help this poor bastard." He turned and pointed to Bobby. "But if you ever breathe a word of this to anyone….."
"Yeah, I'm gonna alert the media just as soon as we get out of here." Bobby retorted.
"Okay, Sasquatch, here we go….just don't try any funny business."
Dean scrunched his eyes shut as he sat in front of Sam and pulled him close, leaning his chest to his own and wrapping his arms tightly around Sam. Immediately, Dean sucked in his breath and his eyes flew open wide.
"Oh my God! That's so freaking cold! It's like hugging a glacier!"
Bobby couldn't help but snicker at Dean's reaction to this whole ordeal.
"You're a real hero, Dean. John would be mighty proud of you."
"Yeah, he'd be real proud of his son's gayest moment, ever! I'm just really glad this dude's unconscious and doesn't know what I'm doing."
After a few minutes, Dean unwrapped himself from Sam and lay him back down.
"Okay, I can't take that cold anymore. Hopefully that helped him some." He began to cover Sam up with the blankets, and then put his own shirt back on.
Once he had the rest of Sam's body completely wrapped in blankets, Dean turned his attention to Sam's fingers, rubbing them and holding them between his hands. "It's like holding popsicles in my hands. His fingers are so cold they're making my hands ache from holding them."
Sam let out a small moan and turned his head.
"Looks like he's starting to come to." Dean said, then lightly tapped Sam's cheek, "Hey there buddy, are you with us?"
Sam opened his eyes slightly, trying to focus on where he was and what he was doing there. He was shaking so violently and his teeth were chattering so badly that he couldn't speak. Instinctively he tried to get up.
Bobby brought his face closer to Sam's so Sam could see him.
"It's okay, we're trying to help you. Don't try to speak or move just yet. You're gonna be fine, we've just got to get your body temperature back up to normal. Just let us help you. You hear me, boy?"
Sam stared at Bobby for a moment and then gave a sharp nod, closing his eyes again. His head was killing him, and for the life of him he couldn't figure out who these people were or how he got here…..or why he wasn't wearing any clothes.
Bobby took the large pot of water from the fire.
"Okay, the water's warm enough now. Let's get his feet soaking in it." He set the pot on the floor in front of the couch as Dean sat Sam up. "Now remember, once his feet start coming back to life, he's gonna be in a world of hurt. We gotta hold his feet and legs still in the water, at least for a few minutes."
As Dean placed Sam's feet in the warm water, he stood with his legs on either side of Sam's knees and pressed his weight down on Sam's lap, holding his knees tightly together.
For a moment Sam had no reaction. Then slowly Sam began shaking his head back and forth and his breathing became more rapid. Suddenly Sam let out a scream and aggressively tried to lift his feet. Dean held on as tight as he could with both hands to Sam's legs, forcing them still while Bobby ran behind the couch and held Sam's upper body down.
"I know it hurts, boy, I know. Just hang in there. Believe me, it's helping, it just doesn't feel like it."
Sam continued to struggle and thrash as he hollered out in excruciating pain. His feet felt as though they were in boiling water, even though the water wasn't too much above room temperature. After about three minutes, Sam stopped struggling and crying out and simply lay his head back against the couch cushion and tried to catch his breath.
Bobby patted Sam's shoulder and spoke gently to him.
"There you go. The worst part is over now. You did great." He then nodded to Dean "You can take his feet out of the water now. I think he's got some circulation back."
Dean removed Sam's feet from the water, dried them and wrapped them tightly in the warm blanket.
Bobby also had some water on the gas stove in the kitchen heating up, which he used to make a cup of warm tea for Sam. He then took two washcloths and dipped them into the warm water as well.
Sam watched cautiously as Bobby approached him once again. Fearing the worst, Sam couldn't help but flinch as Bobby removed the blanket and placed a washcloth under each of Sam's arms. Sam breathed a sigh of relief when he realized that it wasn't going to hurt and actually felt really good. Bobby held the cup of tea in front of Sam's lips.
"Here, drink some of this. You need to get warmed up on the inside, too. Drink as much as you can tolerate."
Sam leaned forward and let Bobby pour the tea into his mouth. Sam's fingers were still far too cold and he wasn't able to hold the cup yet.
As he swallowed the mouthful of tea, Sam's eyes shot open wide and he sat up.
"Bones!" He shouted.
Dean jumped at the sudden outburst.
"My dog, Bones…..was out there….." Sam tried to clarify through his still shivering body and jawbone.
"It's okay, dude. He's right here." Dean pointed to the dog, showing Sam that he was okay. Sam sighed heavily and lay back down.
"Actually," Bobby added, giving Sam another sip of the tea. "This dog saved your life. If it weren't for him you'd still be out there and would've definitely been frozen solid and under a foot of snow by now."
"Yeah," Dean laughed as he scratched Bones' ears, "You owe this dog a steak dinner every night for the rest of his life."
Bobby got up, grabbed a flashlight and headed to the bathroom. A few moments later he returned with a small object in his hand. He dipped it in the warm water and dried it off with a towel.
"Can't believe old Rufus had this in his bathroom, but I'm glad he did." He began shaking his hand vigorously and again approached Sam.
"Here, let's see what your temp is. Open up and hold this under your tongue."
Sam eyed the thermometer for a second, then opened his mouth and lifted his tongue. He couldn't wait to get full use of his hands back so he wouldn't be so dependent on strangers for help. He still had no idea who these people were, but he was incredibly grateful to them.
After a few minutes, Bobby retrieved the instrument and eyed it carefully in the firelight.
"You're up to 94 degrees, which is good for now. With a good night's rest and continued warmth from the fire and blankets and you should be a new man by tomorrow morning."
Dean kneeled down in front of Sam.
"I'm Dean, by the way, and this is Bobby. We're up this way, um, hunting. Now that you can talk, who are you and how did you get out here?"
Sam told his story to Dean and Bobby as they listened intently. Sam couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed by the fact that he had damned near gotten himself killed out there, but Dean seemed impressed with him.
"Shit, man. I can't believe you made it as far as you did with the clothes you were wearing. With the snow and wind chill tonight, it's gotta be damned near thirty below zero out there. You're pretty tough for a guy with such a baby face, and coming from California you can't be used to dealing with this type of weather."
"Yeah, well, my grandfather, Samuel, raised me and he was a Marine, so I got a lot of my stubborn streak from him."
"Yeah? My Dad was a Marine too." Dean remarked. Then looking downward added, "But he died last year, so ever since then it's just been me and Bobby. We travel a lot together, so we're used to all sorts of different climates."
"Okay, boys." Bobby chimed in. "Now that we've all been introduced and know each others' stories, let's call it a night and get some rest. Dean, go grab the mattresses from the bedrooms. We'll all sleep out here by the fire tonight. We'll get a fresh start in the morning."
By the following morning the storm had stopped, leaving fifteen inches of fresh snow on the ground. The sun peered through the clouds, and snowplows were out in full force, opening the roads back up.
Sam was feeling much stronger. His temperature was back up to normal and, although his joints were still quite stiff and sore, he had full use of his fingers and toes.
Sam was finally able to get a cell signal, and used the phone to call Jess and the rental company to explain what happened to the car. The rental company would be sending a tow truck to retrieve the car. It was decided that Dean and Bobby would give Sam a ride back to the car to get his belongings, then to town and Jess would meet them there. Jess was very relieved to hear from him. She had been up all night worrying about Sam when he never arrived at her parents' house.
Sam also decided that he wouldn't be skiing this vacation. He opted instead to find a warmer activity, at least until his resistance was fully back to normal.
As they arrived at the agreed meeting place, Jess was waiting in her car for Sam. Sam turned to Dean and Bobby, offering out his hand.
"Hey guys, I really can't thank you enough for everything you did for me back there. Without you, I'd be dead right now. I honestly owe you both my life. I with there was a way I could repay you."
Dean smiled and shook Sam's hand.
"You and Bones just take care of yourselves, and don't go out on anymore impromptu hikes in the snow."
Bobby took his turn shaking Sam's hand.
"And take good care of your girl. You gave her quite a scare. Hell, you gave us all a good scare."
"Yeah," Sam agreed, "I scared myself pretty good too. Take care, guys. Maybe our paths will cross again, but under better circumstances next time."
Sam made his way to Jess' car slowly on his sore and stiff feet. Dean and Bobby watched as she hugged him tightly and then drove away, waving and smiling brightly at them.
Dean smiled. "I'm glad that all turned out as well as it did. Those two make a cute pair."
"Yeah," Bobby agreed, "He sure was lucky, like he had a guardian angel watching over him."
Dean made a face at Bobby. "C'mon, man. If there's one thing we know from working the job we do, it's that there's no such thing as angels!"
Thank you so much for taking the time to read. I hope you enjoyed it. Please take a moment and let me know what you thought.