"C'mon, Dean. Help me out here. These aren't exactly prime care facilities." He was trying to keep Dean alert and focused, but no response was forthcoming, and Dean's eyes fluttered closed and his body stilled.


Sam grabbed the flashlight and pried open his brother's eyelids, shining the beam to view the pupil response. Concussion, for sure.

Dean regained consciousness a few minutes later, much to Sam's relief. Further examination revealed at least two busted ribs, as well as serious bruising along Dean's torso.

"You're one lucky kid," Gus murmured. "Could have been much worse if we'd hit you full on."

"Well, it's all thanks to Sammy's mad driving skills," Dean said, sarcasm positivley dripping off his slurred words.

"Hey!" Sammy reprimanded. He was working hard enough to fight off the guilt without his brother heaping another load on him. "What were you doing jaywalking in the middle of nowhere, anyway?"

He recalled seeing Dean's dazed eyes and almost drunken behavior on the road, and tried to mask his concern with frustration.

"I…something in woods…don't…" Dean wiped a hand across his eyes wearily, straining to remember.

"It's okay, Dean. It's understandable after…you know." Sam stopped himself from saying, after I hit you with the friggin' car.

No, it wasn't okay, Dean thought. He had to know what was going on at all times. Dad had drilled it in to him all his life. "Know your surroundings. Assess the situation." The only problem was Dean's head felt like it was going to implode, and when he tried to focus and remember he only caught distorted flashes, but one image stuck out amidst all others,

"Cora!" Dean shot up from the floor and quickly crumpled in pain as Sam helped him lower back to the ground.

"She's okay, Dean. She's right…" Sam looked behind him expecting to see the girl, but found an empty room instead.

"Cora? Gus? They were right here." Sam stood up, confusion sketched across his face.

"Sam?" Dean asked weakly, his eyelids drooping.

"They must've gone out to get some fire wood," Sam reasoned.

"But the woods…not safe…" Dean mumbled. His eyes widened and earnestness made its first appearance on Dean's features, "You hafta find her, Sammy."

Sam raised his eyebrows at Dean's fervor, "She must be pretty special."

"She's a real lady, there. I mean, she's…" Dean stopped, turning a little red.

"Dude, you better have a fever, otherwise you so just blushed." Sam took a thoughtful pause as he contemplated his brother. "You must really like this girl." Dean threw his protective gear on and muttered under his breath,

"Just making sure everyone's safe."

"Yeah, sure." Sam said sarcastically.

"What? Sam, I'll be fine in here. Go help the civvies."

Sam looked from his brother to the open door doubtfully. He didn't like the idea of leaving his wounded brother alone, but the two idiots had wandered off somewhere with both man and monsters after them.

"Fine. Take this." Sam handed his brother a shotgun and a silver blade. "Anything comes through that door, you shoot." Dean's eyes fluttered closed. Sam slapped him lightly on the cheek.

"Wuh? Yeah, I know."

"Unless of course it's me," Sam added. Dean nodded, but quickly regretted the action as his head swam.


Sam trampled through the woods and thick undergrowth, calling Cora and Gus' names softly as he went. He didn't know what was out there, but he had every conceivable weapon he could carry. Suddenly he saw a strange track made in the dirt. The leaves blanketing the forest floor were disturbed as if something had been dragged along its surface. Sam stumbled over something on the ground and fell, barely catching himself with his hands as he met the dirt. He looked back at what had tripped him, and cringed at the sight before him: Gus' body with bloodied gashes scored across his chest and torso. The poor man's dead face was frozen forever in an expression of horror—eyes unnaturally wide and mouth open perpetually in a gaping scream.


A/N: Feedback most welcome! Share your thoughts and impressions whether good or bad.