Here's another chapter – hope you like it.

I've changed the rating to take into account bad language (just to be on the safe side).

x-x-x

Dazed I reached for my weapon, fumbling to reload it as the enraged beast turned for its next attack. Moments later it was hurtling towards me and I knew I wouldn't make the shot in time; was bracing myself for the onslaught.

But it didn't happen. My obstinate brother made sure of that when he leapt onto the enraged animal's back and plunged his knife deep into its neck.

"Dean," I screamed my riffle now fully loaded and ready to fire. But I couldn't risk the shot; couldn't risk hitting my brother. I could only look on helpless as the creature roared; bucking wildly; screaming in agony as Dean plunged the knife in deeper, piercing arteries; severing the spinal cord. It collapsed then, dead before it hit the ground, dislodging its attacker as it fell, crushing his right leg beneath its still shuddering body.

Adrenaline pumping I pulled the heavy carcass away from my semi-conscious brother, freeing the trapped limb. From where I stood I knew it was badly damaged; cold tell from the obscure angle that it was broken.

I should have been rushing to his side then, kneeling beside him, offering reassurance, tending to the brake – checking the wounded arm.

But instead I reeled on him, red faced, my body trembling with unreserved rage.

"You fucking stupid bastard," I yelled, as Dean stared up at me, eyes glazed. "What is it with you, huh? You really think I'm that incapable of looking after myself."

I was on a roll now - unable to stop myself, consumed by a flood of emotions that I had no control over. I was angry and frustrated with my brother; with the world; with myself. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, miles from help and my gung-ho brother had done it again; had willingly sacrificed himself for what he considered to be the greater good – me. And I had been unable to stop him.

"I've got fucking news for you, Dean," I continued, pacing up and down beside his trembling body. "I'm a big boy now … I don't need your help, I don't need you to self-fucking-sacrifice yourself for me anymore. Do you understand?"

I gave no time for him to answer; didn't even look in his direction - just continued to pace up and down the darkening clearing.

Finally, spent, I stopped walking, ran fingers through my matted hair and stared up at the rustling branches; stared up at a large black crow that was perched warily in a nearby tree. I took a deep breath and looked down at Dean.

"Why'd you do it?" I murmured, not really expecting an explanation.

He gave it anyway. "Because … I'm … your brother," he mumbled. It was a simple statement but it had taken all of his remaining strength to say it.

It was the jolt that I needed, the smack across the face that served to focus my mind on the here and now.

Dean had stated the obvious. There was no need for him to say anymore – we both knew how that particular sentence always ended – "and I'd die for you."

I knelt beside my trembling brother. "You jerk," I grinned, squeezing his shoulder gently.

"Bitch," he replied weakly as I positioned myself alongside the damaged limb. Dean flinched but made no sound as I ran my hands gently along the already swollen area, confirming my earlier suspicion that the leg was broken.

"I'll have to set it," I told him, as I began searching the area for appropriate equipment, thankful for our Dad's first aid training. A few minutes later I'd returned with two reasonably straight branches, each of the right length. Placing them on either side of the leg I removed Dean's belt and placed it on the ground alongside my own. I took a deep breath and made ready, wrapping both hands around his lower leg.

"I'll count to three," I told my brother, preparing him for what was to come.

"One," I murmured feeling Dean's body tense as he waited for me to say "two." But it was never said. Instead I pulled the leg towards me, straightening the crooked limb with one urgent move.

My brother's screams filled the clearing, intermingling with the screech of startled birds.

"S'okay," I soothed as I began strapping the tree-branch splints into place. "Almost there."

"Thought … you … were gonna .., count to three?" Dean panted.

"Never said I'd count out loud," I grinned, already trying to plan out our next move, unaware that the black crow was still watching.

x-x-x

To be continued ….