The original prompt was :
Dean's in the shower after a hunt gone bad and he just can't warm up - it was in the woods during winter and there was snow and he might've put his foot through thin ice and forgotten his gloves so he's half frozen with white fingers and blue fingernails and may or may not be mildly hypothermic - and for some inexplicable reason (okay, he knows why - it's the grief and stress of the past four years but he's damned if he admits it) he starts sobbing so hard he slides down to sit on the bathtub floor and the water goes cold and it's too much work to shut it off but he does it anyway and his whole chest hurts... and he still can't stop crying.
Check them out on live journal, and special wonderful thanks go to my friend, Newspaper Taxis' for her encouragement and assuring me that this was good enough to post on .
And also provided the prompt!
She has some great h/c fics if you wanna check her out. She rocks ; )
Possible 7x10 spoiler **********************
They can only hope noone ever dredges the lake. That stupid, icy, FROZEN lake. Because what remains of the corpse is at the bottom, along with a pint of Sam's blood and Dean's right boot.
In the steaming shower, Dean attempts to wiggle the toes on his bedraggled foot. His right foot shifts, but all that moves is his big toe. The rest are still numb, possibly from frostbite or nerve damage. Maybe he'll lose feeling all together.
That's ok. There are parts of himself that Dean hasn't felt in years.
The skin on his chest tingles as previously frozen flesh thaws, and despite the warm water,
he starts to shiver. He coughs, scratchy and hard. If he's hypothermic, its his own fault for plowing into a December hunt with no gloves, hat or scarf.
Long ago, someone with blonde hair would have nagged him. Someone in a ball cap would have cared.
Dean allows thoughts like that- keeping memories vague when they surface.
He doesn't have to name the faces that come to mind. The names, the rollcall of who these people were to him and Sam-thinking about that hurts more than breathing.
Especially now-that even-
It comes out of nowhere, and deep, and everywhere- but the first hitch in his breath he carefully smooths over, letting the air out slow. The second and third are trickier and by the forth his lungs are hiccuping air in a regular fashion, leaving Dean fighting to hold back what his body is telling him it's going to do anyway.
His eyes join in this rebellion, tears leaking down into his stubble and his lips part in ugly, horrible wails.
This is crying, weeping, deranged and uncontrolable sobbing. How can he be crying?
Because eventually even a heavy, guilty heart does break.
He's shaking again, and this time it's not from the cold. With a quivering arm, he reaches for the side of the stall and leans into it. His breaths are quick stutters, seesawing in and out and in and out again, only staying long enough for him to voice an instant of sorrow. The blue tile is slick beneath his fingers and there is no strength in his legs to help keep him upright. Like his entire life, it's a slow, sorrowful creep downward until he reaches the bottom. Dean lays there in the puddled bathtub water, head lying limp against the soap dish as he cries.
Last time he'd cried this hard, Sam had been dead. But that was years ago. Freaking flying frog fucks he shouldn't be crying now.
The water turns lukewarm and then chilly, biting at his frostbitten cheeks.
A sob turns into a groan as Dean sucks in a gasp of air, stills himself long enough reach for the tap. His brusied torso throbs at the movement, diaphram protesting harshly and inside, his heart just aches.
He crawls forward and turns off the knob.
There's too much silence after that, which his trecherous body takes as cue to resume it's lamentations. Sopping hair brushes his knees as Dean curls around his legs, clamping a hand over his mouth to stifle the sound.
He can't think, can't analyze, can't admit aloud to the feelings that crash down over because they would break him,
again and again and again.
That dying was only the easy part.
That maybe 10% isn't enough to survive on. That he feels alone and scared out of his mind.
That too much Hell and Heaven, not enough angels worth a damn,
absolutely no mother fucking peace on this earth have almost done him in. That Sammy might not be enough to carry him through.
Dean forces his mind to go blank, letting the grief take over completely. There is no longer conscious thought- only wave after wave of tears and coughs and sobs. From the depths of his battered heart come all of the things he was glad not to feel- terror and fear and pain, oh so MUCH pain, now escape his mouth and eyes. The ebb and flow of his bawling lasts forever and leaves him in an exhausted, sniffling, dripping pile in the tub floor.
Hinges creak as Sam opens the door, and Dean can't find the energy to be embarrassed. Of course Sam heard his bawling.
Of course he did.
His eyes sting and he scrubs at them with pruny fingers before picking his head up to meet his brother's gaze.
Sam's eyes appear to have leaked recently too.
Wordlessly, his younger brother drops a dry towel onto his lap to cover himself, then helps Dean to his feet.
Dean is worn out and compliant as Sam takes over the mundane aspects of his care- checking his heart rate and circulation in the foot(oh yeah, that hypothermia thing...) getting him dressed, pulling down the covers and tucking him in.
Dean's lungs and stomach muscles are sore from the long crying jag. He closes his eyes as Sam fetches aspirin and water and fusses over his still numb finger tips, rubbing them warm between his own palms. Palms that remind him of a softer caress, of flexible fingers and butter smooth touches from a woman who would have-
Reflexive, his eyes squeeze shut against the sting. Unlike the bathroom, this time the tears are quiet, intimate and hot as they trace salt over his lips. The breaths only shake at the end. This time, he lays on something soft while unseen arms provide comfort.
This time he isn't alone.
Sam doesn't shush him or make empty promises, just holds him tight through the ache until Dean cries himself to sleep.
They don't talk about it in the morning, nor will they ever. Sam is beside him on the bed, computer in his lap when Dean wakes. They greet each other with a nod, and Dean tosses the bedspread off, on his way to the mini-fridge.
But before he goes, Dean wraps Sam in a crushing, unexpected hug, which Sam willingly returns with equal force. The embrace lingers for several moments, Dean even burying a kiss in the lawn of Sam's hair because he needs his brother to know(even if he cant say it) now more than ever.
Sam thinks-even after everything- maybe this is his Christmas miracle