A/N This is an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for a while now, so I figured I'd better get it down in writing before my poor little plot bunny explodes, (and I don't approve of that sort of thing). I see this as being primarily angsty hurty comfort but my muse is a deranged little tart, who knows where she might take me as things unfold - my stories never end up looking too much like my original plan!
Usual rules apply; no spoilers, no particular resemblance to canon, rated T for some naughty words and violence later on.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, and I will never stop whining about this.
The boys find themselves in a situation where the phrase 'fighting for your life' takes on a terrifying new meaning.
Sam groaned as he rolled heavily over onto his side, moving with the freedom and agility of a beached whale. His eyes fluttered open but closed again almost instantly; a tear trickling down the side of his face as vivid and brilliant sunlight assaulted his vision.
As he lay boneless and disorientated on the ground he could feel grass scratching against his skin; warm, moist earth pressed against his face.
His head spun; the warm breeze whispering in his ears, distracting and disturbing him.
He took a couple of slow, deep breaths, trying to calm the throbbing head and raging nausea that were currently warring for dominance within him.
What in hell just happened?
Only moments ago he was with Dean and Bobby conducting a moonlit exploration of a small provincial museum because of a strange job that Dean had found; four missing guys, three weeks, two deliciously perplexing newspaper reports and one museum.
Sam's fog-stuffed mind gradually began to refocus. Dean and Bobby; that's a point … where were they?
Manfully attempting to sit up, he swallowed back the gradually receding nausea and tried to open his eyes again. He was halfway through the manoeuvre when his attention was captured by a distant sound.
He couldn't help but smile.
Glancing around himself he could see he was laying in some kind of meadow; except that it wasn't. Sun-baked rather than verdant, it was an open grassy wasteland, barren and lined with unfamiliar trees. The particular area where he found himself appeared cool and damp, and the swaying mass of bulrushes behind him provided a good clue as to why.
"Dude? The voice sounded a little more urgent now; "Sam?"
"Dean?" Sam replied, cringing as his voice sounded alarmingly high-pitched with rising panic. He shuddered, and tried again, deliberately levelling his tone; "Dean?"
He hauled himself slowly and shakily up onto his hands and knees, still blinking wetly through the harsh sunlight.
"Dean, you okay man?"
As he stumbled clumsily toward the bulrushes he heard a muttered oath and a breathy mumble which sounded suspiciously like, ''thank God'.
Tentatively picking his way through the bulrushes, Sam peered over them and didn't know whether to be shocked, relieved or amused at the sight that met him.
Dean was sitting, muddied and soaked; legs and eyes akimbo, wet hair plastered against his head, in a wide, shallow stream. The stream's entire depth, around six inches of muddy, weed-laden water, lapped and babbled lazily around the creased denim at his hips as he stared in slightly dazed silence up at Sam's face which loomed over the rushes surrounding him. He appeared to be patently unaware of length of weed draped over his left ear or the frog perched on the toe of his boot.
"Sammy?" There was genuine relief in his voice.
"That's me," Sam smiled, offering Dean his outstretched hand.
Dean shuffled to his knees, splashing and squelching through the watery mud, and irritably dislodging the startled frog. He stifled a wet cough as Sam pulled him shakily to his feet.
They stood side by side on the stream's bank, surrounded by the softly swaying rushes, and wordlessly scanned their surroundings.
Dean's voice was the first to break the silence. "We were in that museum," he mumbled in Sam's direction; "I goddamn blinked an' then nex' thing, I'm sprawled face down in this freakin' mudbath, an' feelin' like I've been treated to the world's biggest hangover."
Sam nodded; "I was flat out over there," he pointed in the approximate direction; "woke up feeling like crap too."
Dean coughed again; "and I think I swallowed a friggin' tadpole," he grimaced; "… ugh, salty."
They fell silent again. Dean's spluttering coughs and the dripping of muddy water, the only sounds that carried on the breeze.
Eventually Dean spoke up again, "where's Bobby?" he asked, rubbing a wet hand across his equally wet face, attempting to push his dripping bangs out of his eyes but serving only to spread the mud from his palm across the bridge of his nose.
"Don't know yet," Sam replied, concern tightening his face.
"C'mon," Dean snapped, grabbing Sam by the arm and seemingly regaining his bearings as he strode defiantly through the rushes, sending panicked waterfowl and coypu rats scattering for safety in every direction.
Sam jogged along beside his brother and joined in the chorus; "BO-OBBY … BOBBY!"
"BOBBY," Dean yelled, his voice cracking under the strain; "BOBBY, YOU THERE?"
Fumbling in his pocket, Sam pulled out his cell.
"No signal," he sighed, glancing across at Dean; "try yours."
Dean shook his head irritably, "can't," he grunted; "it's somewhere in that stupid river."
"C'mon, dammit," Dean stormed; "Bobby, where the freakin' hell are you!"
"And where the freakin' hell are we?" Sam pondered; "this place, I don't like it, it's just … weird."
Dean sighed, glancing around him; "what'dy mean weird? It's a field, how weird can a field be?"
"I dunno man, it just feels – wrong," Sam muttered; "look, no buildings, no asphalt, no cell signal, no power lines; it's just … weird."
Dean's frustrated glare prompted Sam to continue.
"It's, like, all wrong; "he stammered, "it feels wrong, it even smells wrong."
Dean rubbed his head, spreading the mud even further; "it smells of …" he sniffed, "shit." He hesitated, "but then that could just be this mud."
"No," Sam replied, oblivious to Dean's grumbling; "it's not that, it's kinda, I don't know; it's just …"
"Weird?" Dean offered dryly.
"Yeah," Sam sighed, wilting slightly; "weird."
Dean stepped forward and slapped Sam on the back; "c'mon Weirdy McWeirdass, let's head out and see if we can find Bobby."
Bobby's flashlight bobbed and weaved through the darkness as he made his way between the glass cases which cluttered the 'Roman Antiquities' gallery in the Maple City Museum.
Those Winchesters were on the other side of the room and were being unusually quiet; and that made him uncomfortable.
He made his way over to the massive glass case where he had last seen them before he'd wandered off to check out some particularly disturbing marble bust of someone so profoundly ugly, he'd felt compelled to break out the holy water, and stopped dead in his tracks.
Where the freakin' hell were that pair of idjits?
He turned, grumbling under his breath as he scanned the room, then looked down on something that caught his eye.
His blood turned to ice.
It was Dean's abandoned flashlight.