A/N: hiatus adventure and semi-AU taking place between 7.10 and 7.11 ('Death's Door' and 'Adventures in Babysitting). My take on what could contribute to Sam's fritzing mental state.


"Dude, that's not going to fit in the car long-term. The less stuff, the better; that's how we've always lived," balked Dean as Sam tried to load a third box into the Impala.

"Says the guy who grabbed Bobby's best guns, his switchblade, and all the beer he had left," Sam shot right back.

"That stuff is actually useful!"

"So are these books. Bobby helped us how many times with research? This is how he did it." Sam put the box in the back seat, and shut the door. "So we do like he did and stash most of it in various lockups. But for now, they have to go in the car."

Nearly a week had passed since they cremated Bobby's remains. At first, the shock was so great that both Winchesters barely moved, much less left their motel room. Then grief set in, and Dean especially got so drunk there was no way they could go anywhere for days. Their dad's death was hard, but Bobby had become so much more in recent years. They truly felt lost without him.

"Fine," grumbled Dean. He climbed into the driver's seat, slamming the door. Sam followed suit on the passenger's side. "So, where to now?"

"Minnesota. I found some leads on what looks like a gathering of spirits in a town outside Minneapolis."

"Should be interesting."

Dean cranked the stereo even louder than usual, as if trying to blast his emotions into the dust trailing behind them. Sam clutched his ears protectively. To say they were having a hard time with the loss of Bobby was a gross understatement. While Sam didn't agree with Dean's way of coping, heavy silence wasn't appealing either. And Dean was driving, which pretty much negated Sam's opinion, anyway. So he held his tongue…and his head.

They beelined pretty well through the eastern states, stopping only for lunch and gas. Around three in the afternoon Dean finally got tired of his live-concert acoustics, and Sam was able to take a nap. Long driving days were soporific whether or not he was doing the driving. Anyway, he hadn't slept well the night before. Hallucifer was becoming increasingly lonely in the night hours…

They made it to seven o'clock and somewhere near the Pennsylvania/Ohio line before stopping for dinner. Sam hadn't shaken the headache from the stereo yet, only to find out the diner they had found boasted an enthusiastic bluegrass ambiance.

"Hey, food is food," muttered Dean as they sat down. Despite his rumbling stomach, Sam didn't really feel like eating. He picked through a wilted excuse for a salad and tried not to watch Dean inhaling his typical greasy cheeseburger.

When they left, dusk was settling in around them. Maybe it was just a trick of the fuzzy outside lighting, but Sam's balance kept wavering ever so slightly. His head felt worse even though he had choked down a couple of painkillers half an hour ago. Only when he had to fumble for the car door handle did Dean start to notice.

"Hey, you feeling alright?" his older brother asked. "The waitress slip you something? I knew she looked shady."

"Dean, it's more than that. I've been feeling it come and go for awhile, since Bobby…" Patches of darkness interrupted Sam's thoughts. He didn't know if he was imagining scenes of Hell out of habit or not, but as he pressed his thumb into his scarred hand, consciousness completely abandoned him.

"Sam!"

Dean bolted around the car as Sam fell against it, convulsing. A few bystanders called out in surprise. One said, "Hang on, I'm calling 911." Dean tried to wrestle his flailing brother still.

"Sammy—Sam! Listen to me, whatever you're seeing, it's not real. You got that? I'm right here, right here." He tried Sam's palm to snap him out of it, then tried to hold his head steady, and finally had to pull him away from the car before he could hurt himself. This wasn't a normal hallucination (if that could be called normal in the first place). Sam was seizing just like back in Sioux Falls…and it wasn't stopping on its own.

Someone approached Dean from behind. "An ambulance is on its way. I'm an RN, I can help." The man who had mentioned calling 911 carefully turned Sam on his side, using a jacket to support Sam's head and keep his airway clear. "Is he prone to seizures like this?"

"No," croaked Dean. "He's only had one, a few months ago, after getting a concussion. Since then he's been fine."

The man felt for Sam's jugular. "Pulse is fast, but no abnormal rhythm that I can tell. Any allergies, or any unusual occurrences or behavior before this?"

"Uh, he complained of a headache, but I had the stereo cranked most of the day. Eats healthy, even on road trips. No allergies that I've ever seen." He refrained from mentioning that Sam had died a number of times prior to this.

"Are you brothers?"

"Yeah."

Sirens wailed in the distance, growing closer, until Dean saw flashing lights over the tops of the cars. The few people daring to watch jumped out of the way. The ambulance pulled past them so the back door was closest. Two emergency technicians hopped out with portable equipment.

"Let us through! What's the emergency?" one asked while the other unloaded the gurney.

"Male, late twenties, no significant medical history except a recent concussion, in a seizure for going on seven minutes," the nurse replied quickly. "Pulse around 145, respiration as normal as can be expected. This man here is his brother."

"This is an abnormal occurrence?" rapped the EMT, this time to Dean. Dean nodded emphatically.

"Way abnormal. Can you help him?"

"We'll do our best. The nearest hospital is ten minutes away; you'll need to follow in your own car so we have space to work." At this point, the EMT turned his attention to readying the gurney. He and his partner lifted Sam on the count of three, strapped him down, and started oxygen and fluids in one seemingly continuous motion. "Let's get him in the bus and hooked up!"