Sam heard Dean shouting.

"Sam! Sammy!"

He looked up in the direction of it and tried to focus his eyes, actually startled by the sound of alarm in his brother's voice. A sharp pain dug into his side that made it hard to breathe, and he brought a hand up to it, pressing hard against the hot wetness that seeped through the fabric of his shirt and jacket.

Whatever it was, it was fine. He was fine. It would be fine. It didn't even really hurt. His head was pounding. Had he hit his head? He tried to call out to respond to Dean and let him know he wasn't injured.

Dean just needed to know he was all right so he could get his attention back on the job at hand. He was injured. He knew that. But it was fine. Whatever was wrong, he would think about it once they were clear. Dean would fix it, stitch it, bandage it, whatever. It was fine, deal with it later, just get through this moment. This moment. Then the next one.

"I'm-" he started, and something stopped him from drawing in the breath he needed to say fine. And then, for some reason, he was falling.


Dean felt, more than saw, the blast of force that pushed his brother against the opposite wall of the abandoned warehouse, hurling him into a makeshift workbench that splintered on impact. At almost the same moment, giving himself over to instinct and adrenaline, he raised a shotgun and fired a round of salt into the hovering figure that was turning its attention to him. The apparition shrieked and was gone. Not gone gone, obviously, but out of the way for a moment. He had probably bought them no more than the few minutes they needed to make their way to the back office where the creep's corpse had been stowed in a supply closet.

Sam was on his hands and knees, apparently struggling to get his feet under him. "Sam, you all right?" he called out. "Let's go, this way!"

That was when he saw that Sam was holding on to his side, bright red beginning to peek between his fingers.

He called out his brother's name and broke into a run, reaching him just as Sam's eyes rolled and the arm he was supporting himself on trembled and folded under him.

Shit, shit, shit. Dean took in the damage at a glance. Broken table, sharp edge, bad gash but not life threatening. That meant head trauma or shock. He anxiously surveyed the empty warehouse and then he gritted his teeth and yanked Sam's limp form up by his wrist, pulling Sam's arm around his shoulder and forcing them both to a stand.

The temperature around him suddenly plummeted, and his labored breathing came in visible puffs from the cold. "Oh, come on!" Dean shouted, pivoting under Sam's weight to draw his weapon on the approaching spirit. "Just one break. Is that too much to-"

Something hard hit the side of his head, hard enough to knock his vision out of line before everything went black.


To be continued