Simple story behind this, I was on Facebook in the beginning of December, said I AM SOOOO COLD, and some very helpful friends (you know who you all are) said; do something productive with it, write a hypothermia story. And I was like okay. So this is the hypothermia story. Or well, something like it. Thank you for all the support, guys. Loveya.
Betaed by the lovely Marlowe97, but if you see any mistakes they are all mine, because I just can not resist adding more things to a story after it had been betaed.
I own nothing.
-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:- PART 1
There's an owlet trying to hoot for the very first time, not really succeeding, because the hoot turns into a high whine at the end that sounds suspiciously like ' damndamndamn that's not how it's supposed to go'.
Even animals cuss this new world.
The late august night is hot, hot like someone set the world on fire and the sweat that's running down Dean's back in rivers of red sand and dirt is soaking his thin, black T-shirt. There's a long rip on the left side of the tee, right down the seam at his ribs that he got while running through some bushes three days ago. The wind that's making its way to his overheated skin there is doing nothing to cool him down. It's hot...the heat merciless.
He shouts up to the dark, dark sky, because when the world went bat shit crazy, the crazy took away the stars. He doesn't really know why, doesn't know if there's just something covering them and the stars are still there, or if the Earth really is the only planet left in the vast universe, besides the moon and the sun, because those two are still there.
The crazy just took the stars.
He yells again, no words, just a battle cry against the whole fuckin' madness that this place is - an almost endless 'a' that stretches out to the horizon and beyond and scrapes his throat raw.
He punches a tree trunk - because he can't goddamn well punch Sam, not anymore, because this isn't his brother's fault - and feels the pain shoot up his arm, knuckles going skinless and blood welling up, bark falling silently down to the ground.
The owlet agrees with him and is still nowhere near a perfect haunting hoot
He shakes his hand as if that would make the ache go away. Nothing makes the ache go away these days, nothing makes anything go away these days. He hisses at the sting and the feel of hot blood running down his fingers, but it's okay because running blood just means that he's still alive.
Although ... he doesn't know if that's something he should be happy about.
He looks up at the moon that's a strange bright green color, hiding behind some hill tops, and says to the owlet: "Keep trying, sweetheart." before turning around and stumbling his way back to his brother.
The forest is dense, trees and bushes, moss and fern growing huge and wild on forgotten boulders that are scattered all over the place. It all makes his way back to Sam twice as hard as it would if this was a normal forest. But it's not normal, there are trees here he had never seen in his life, vines hanging down from branches that not even a knife, sharp as he keeps it, can cut through, fern thick and as big as the trees at some places. It's not normal. Neither are the animals living in it.
This world is almost obscene with its contrasts. Lush, dense forests on one side and dry, hot sand on the other.
The pitch black sky and the green light from the moon ain't helping things none either.
Sam doesn't say anything when he finally sits down on a log next to his brother. He just pokes at the fire and lets some sparks fly up to the nothingness.
They're sitting there in silence and looking at the fire crackle, because they can't look at the stars no more. It's a comfortable silence, one that comes from years and months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds spent in each other's pockets.
A silence that contains a conversation that's just never gonna happen with actual words.
I heard you yell…
Sam, just shut up…
Dean, come on, I'm sick of this too…
"Shit, dude you're bleeding."
And just like that the silence is broken, the conversation ended and his hand is in Sam's before he can even think about blinking. His brother's hand is dirty, dried soil underneath bitten fingernails, some blisters ready to pop on his palms, the skin on his knuckles dry and peeling, but it's his brother's hand and it feels safe. He trusts his brother's hands that're as lethal as his own, with or without a weapon, because he knows they will keep him safe, no matter how banged up they are.
"Nah, 's just a scrape." he rasps back and tries to get his hand back.
"Dude, your skin is ... flapping around your knuckles. Damn it, Dean!"
He looks down and yeah, okay, gross. He tries to flex his fingers, make a fist and punch something again, but Sam's fingers are holding him too strongly - there is no escape.
There is no escaping anything. Nowhere. Unless to death, but they both agreed that Heaven (or Hell) can wait a little longer. Because even with all this crazy shit going on, they still wanna be here, wanna live here even if there's no TV - and Dean's still not over that - no running water minus rivers and streams, no soap and shampoo, not a lot of food and not a lot of alcohol ... they still wanna be here. They aren't afraid to die, they just don't wanna leave this place just yet. Because maybe, maybe they're having a twisted kind of fun. They're hunters, it's in their blood no matter where they are and no matter what they hunt. Monsters or food, a hunt is a hunt.
And maybe, deep down where they are afraid to look at, they're still hoping that the world will one day change back to what it was before.
Sam says steadily and softly, words he'd said so many times, Dean dreams them. They often sneak into his dreams just when they take a weird curvy lane, and those words steer him back straight. Dean, breathe. He will, for Sam he will do anything. Kill and survive.
"You're overreacting, man."
"Dean, we don't know what kinda bacteria live here or, or whatever, and we can't afford an infection, I can't... just, shut up, alright?
Sam's right, of course he's right, damnit, the brat. They don't know a lot about this world, they don't know what kinda crap lives here, what huge or little shit could kill 'em.
"Yeah, okay, yeah you're right..."
And there it is, the alcohol they got from some guy a month or so ago, alcohol they have no idea how, when, where it was made, but they only use it for stuff like this. They won't drink it ... it's too dangerous, because they don't wanna spent any time puking their guts out. It's too dangerous to spend a long amount of time in one place and too dangerous to de-hydrate like that.
And now the liquor is spilling all over the raw meat of his knuckles and half of his hand.
The burn makes him go down on his knees, arm still firmly in Sam's grasp and he bites at Sam's boney knee, sinks his teeth in the jeans because he wants to roar with how fuckin' sick he is of this life, this world. So he bites down, before he could make everything even more awkward and groans. It burns, not just the wound, but all the questions in his head - why, where, how, what, what, what - all the days spent wondering what the fuck, what the fuck, and all the hours spent learning how to survive in heat, sand and forests that can kill a person if he just breathes wrong. He groans and puffs warm air on his brother's knee, wetting the worn fabric with his spit.
The burn doesn't ease up and he knows that it won't for some time, so he relaxes his jaw and lets go, gripping Sam's wrist with his bloody fingers instead.
He thinks he can hear his flesh sizzle and go charcoal black but he thinks that if that would be the case, Sam would stop it.
Or they'd chop off his hand, because food is food no matter what.
He hears Sam whisper and wants to say "no, man I'm so far from good it's not even funny anymore, I'm not even in the same league as good, good had left the building a long time ago" but instead, he lets his forehead drop on Sam's knee and pants like a dog. He feels like a dog too; a beaten, hungry, thirsty, lonely dog that this world made.
He clings to that hope of all this just disappearing one day and concentrates on Sam's steady heartbeat vibrating through his palm where he's holding his brother. It's soothing in this bizarre green moonlight, that's spilling all over the landscape, making them both glow with a sickly green color. He remembers how the first few days, he had checked Sam for any signs of illness, because the green color had made their skin look like they would die at any moment. But now, now they both know it's just the moon.
He doesn't wanna let go; he knows how he must look like, kneeling in front of Sam like that, holding his hand, but whatever happened to the world didn't make him harder, didn't make him tougher, didn't change him into stone ... he's still who he was, who he was raised to be.
And besides ... there's nothing - not anymore - that he can hide from Sam. Or Sam from him.
Not in this world.
"Don't, just... don't..."
He wants to stay like this with the fire hot on his right side, Sam's boney knee supporting his forehead, Sam's heartbeat strong under his palm, no words that could make this even more awkward, he just wants to close his eyes and get lost in the darkness behind them, where if he squeezes them really tight, he can see stars again.
How he misses the stars.
-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:- PART 2
They caught a rabbit a week ago, ate it whole, only threw away the intestines because there was some funky green shit in it. They would eat anything, but that was just too much.
And now they haven't eaten in three days. They long for that stew and that cooked meat and the brains and the eyes and the heart and liver and lungs and anything, just anything... even the green stuff.
Their bellies are filled with water and berries, but it's not enough. Not for all the walking and hiking they do. Not for the days filled with heat that's so unbearable, Sam wants to cut off his skin. Just peel it off and air his flesh out, because the heat is making him burn from the inside out. He knows it's worse for Dean, because his brother's skin is burned at some places, white bubbles of puss all over his nape and forearms, his face full of freckles. He feels bad for him, but there's nothing any of them can do about it, but drink a lot of - thankfully good - water and try to stay out of the sun's way.
Or at least try to, because if the moon's light green, like the biggest emerald ever, then the sun is dark(ish) blue and casts a light on everything that makes their head hurt if they stare at it for a minute too long.
It's a light that makes them wanna scratch out their eyes. Sam had tried that once, and he never wants to do that again. Dean ... he doesn't wanna make Dean hold him down again and see him cry and beg and curse and punch him in the face. Ever again. His jaw is still a bit sore.
There are never any clouds that would cover up the sun and bring some relief, the sky is always light blue and the sun always dark(ish) blue and hot and shades have become a scary place. They feel old and worn and creepy like they wanna devour them while kicking and screaming when and if they would ever step in them. It feels like they want to take them and keep them forever... and not in a good way, Dean added a few days ago.
So they try their very best to avoid the goddamned shades. Step over them if they aren't too big, or go around them, which is hard to do when hiking in a forest full of things that offer shade and cast shadows everywhere.
They've heard tales from people they've met along the way about how some folks have sought shade from the burning sun and have disappeared in a blink of an eye.
They don't know if that's true or not, but they don't wanna find out.
So they walk under the burning sun, under the blue light - because they have to move, have to see if there's a hidden door somewhere in this damn sand and woods that would get them back to normal - and wait for the night to fall, because strangely, the night feels safe.
It's the day they all should be scared of.
And Sam is. He walks beside his brother if the path allows, shoulders lightly brushing, stomachs growling, demanding food. His skin feels funny and he knows it's the same, if not worse, for Dean; feels like something oily is touching him, something that wants to get inside of him through every pore in his body.
So he touches Dean whenever he can and his brother does the same, just to feel real skin, feel something that is normal and familiar. They bump their shoulders, hands, fingers. It feels awkward, like they're kids again, but touch makes them okay, makes them forget about the world and the shades and how the light wants to eat them up and never spit them out again.
He wants the night to fall soon, but what could be considered summer is always hard, because the day lasts for twenty hours and the night only for four.
He's sore, exhausted, hungry and burning up and he's not afraid to admit it. There're no more secrets between him and Dean, there's nothing to hold back and keep quiet about, because they just never know what could happen to either of them. Or when. Telling everything that's on their minds, is like writing a will to normal people, he thinks.
"Dean, we need to find something to eat. And just rest for a while, 'm tired and so are you."
"Yeah, I know. We will, okay?"
They don't find food. Not for another two days of walking and drinking water that they cooked three times on a fire that seemed to burn cold.
They walk a lot. They never walked a lot before, because baby took them anywhere they wanted, but baby is gone now. She is gone, just scrap metal now, burning black under the blue sun. Dean had been pissed, then sad and then he just kinda fell into a numb state of mind when they were walking away from her. Sam had tried to talk to him, but Dean either growled something back or didn't answer at all.
It was a silent two days before Dean had said: "She's gone, we're all there's left."
Sam just nodded and they started walking down roads that they had driven many times before, and when the roads became too dangerous, they went to the back roads and then deeper into the country, into forests and mountains.
They aren't scared to die, but they ain't stupid either. Being out on the roads could kill you faster than the shade could take you. Shade they can avoid, but all those scavengers and creatures out there... well it's a little harder.
Not that they haven't tried to or actually killed some of them, but a hunter has to be smarter than his pray, and walking down roads is not smart. It's a sure way to die under ten minutes. So the woods and the mountains are a smart way to move around. And one has to move around a lot, because the creatures have a sense of smell better than anything they ever met.
The creatures, they just showed up one day after the world went bat shit nuts. They simply appeared out of nowhere, all gooey and black, their bodies looking like a dog's, a very large, muscular, broad dog, with their skin looking like black oil running all over them and their eyes as red as rubies. They don't have a name for them, not even an idea on how to call them, so it's just creatures. There's no need to name everything one comes in contact these days, because there's a huge chance one will not live long enough for the name to spread.
The creatures have - until someone will say otherwise - only been seen around during daylight; just walking around like their life goal is to just move around, here and there and then back and left and right. No one knows how many there are, but everyone's guess ... a lot.
But at night, they disappear just as suddenly as they appear at sunrise.
At first Dean had said: "Dude, freaky." and Sam had nodded, but now... now it's just something that happens and they try not to think about it too much. They know the creatures can be killed, know the best way to do it and that's that. Killing these creatures ain't so different than killing the things ... before. Everything dies, no matter where.
They don't really talk about how it happened, they don't wanna think about it too much, because it just happened, suddenly, like flipping a switch. One second they were sleeping in some flower-power decorated motel room and when they woke up, the crazy took over the land. When Sam dared open the motel room - after they both stared through a cracked and filthy window for two hours - dust caught in a hot and dry wind whipped into his face, making his eyes water and teeth crunch down on soil.
Wherever they looked - left, right or straight ahead - the land was dry as pepper, sand everywhere. It was like standing in the middle of a desert with nothing, absolutely nothing but sand up to one's knees.
Dean had said: "Didn't we go to sleep in the middle of a town? As in like, buildings and cars and ya know, not sand."
"Uhhh, yeah." Sam muttered, while cleaning his eyes of sand.
"Well, this doesn't look like the middle of a town to me."
"Nah, no it doesn't..." he spat out some brown spit and let go of the door handle to step outside, where just a few hours before there was asphalt, but was now just sand up to his ankles.
"You don't say?" The eye roll was implied, because there was something gritty in his eyes and man, it sucked.
When they finally gathered enough courage and Sam cleaned his face of all dirt, they stepped further out of their room to what once was a freakin' town, but was now a freakin' desert.
Everywhere was sand, but their motel. That was still standing as a building- not as a sand castle as Dean expected when they turned around to look at it - solid in solitude.
"Oh my baby..."
When they noticed the Impala was still kind of where they left her, they both sighed in relief, but Dean had gone a step further and patted her hood and roof and smiled a goofy smile that looked a bit crazy to Sam, but he couldn't blame Dean... the Impala was a sight for sore eyes and a mind that was already starting to feel the loneliness of a flat, sandy landscape.
Because it was lonely. Everything looked lonely; from left to right everything was nothing. Just sand. Dry whirling in the hot wind.
It felt alone, even with Dean there and the Impala... it still felt lonely.
And then... there was the sun. Dark blue like indigo. Fuck 'em if they were still in Kansas.
They hadn't mentioned the sun, because that way they were able to pretend that it wasn't really there. But it was, still is, they weren't able to escape its heat and color, weren't able to escape its light, the brightness of a dark glow. It followed them everywhere and it made the inside of the car look like the inside of a blue sapphire.
When Dean turned the car on, they both knew she wouldn't make it long; not in these conditions and not without gas.
They have seen a lot of crap in their lives, seen some really crazy, bizarre crap, but this... this took the cake with cherry on top and vanilla ice cream beside it.
There were roads - where Dean made the Impala fly, because he knew she was slowly dying - asphalt roads, just like ... normal and for a while it was normal. They pretended they were just going for a ride from one town to another, one case to another. The music as loud as they could take it, pedal to the metal and the Winchester motto "if you ignore it, it didn't happen".
Unless they looked left or right. And when that happened Dean's words were always what the hell, what the hell, what the fucking hell? and Sam was mostly silently agreeing with his brother, because yeah what the hell?
And when they finally met some people, normal people who they had completely normal conversations with about where the fucking hell they were and what the fucking hell happened to the world while they were all sleeping.
Because apparently that was and even after all this time still is, considered a normal conversation to have.
Then they discovered mountains and hills and forests and everything started to look even lonelier.
-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:- PART 3
Blood is dripping all over Sam's right arm, dark red blood like a river down his sun burned skin and Dean's just grateful to whoever's still wherever that it's not his brother's blood. But that doesn't stop him from panicking and yelling: "Son of a bitch! Son of a bitch!" up to the blue sky, because goddamnit that was close. The creature came out of nowhere, just appeared out of thin air, right there, in front of them in the goddamned woods, right between the two huge spruce trees. That had never happened before, the creatures stick to the roads, brainless as they seem to be, wandering around like zombies, and not in the goddamn woods. Woods are supposed to be safe, fuck damnit.
He's pissed, he's livid while almost dragging his brother behind him towards a river, ignoring three bodies of good men scattered all over the ground. The creatures attack lightning fast, there's no escaping. Unless you have hunters blood running through your veins.
It's winter. Yesterday it was summer, scorching hot and today it's winter with snow and so cold their teeth clatter all the time. Over night, the season just changed.
The snow is puffy, kind of violet, lilac even like an amethyst, which is another thing they are not gonna discuss. The colors of this new world are insane and they would like to stay sane, thank you very much. Because all this, is just a dream. Has to be. Just has to be. When they woke up to violet snow and cold, they decided that all of this is a dream. The end. And when they will wake up, it will be into a normal world, with normal fucking colors and good people won't be getting killed by nameless creatures - more than usual - and there will be food on demand and showers and clothes and beer and ... yeah.
He pushes his brother to the river bank, pushes Sam down on his knees onto pebbles covered by lilac snow and starts to break the ice on the river with his bare hands. It's so cold even the running water caught ice and it's thick ice too. He knows his hands are bleeding, but he can handle that. Its blood on his brother he can't handle.
"Okay, come on, wash it off, come on."
Sam like this, bloody and scared and bloody, is too much. There should be no blood, no blood, not on his brother and blood is still red, even with all the crazy colors the world has going on, and he hates seeing red anywhere near Sam.
"Wash it off Sam, come on man."
He helps him pour icy cold water all over his arm, washing away the red blood that's thankfully not his brother's nor his, and okay, it's gonna be okay.
"Come on, come on..."
They're rubbing the skin now, rubbing it raw even with their almost frozen fingers and a desire to forget the slaughter they just went through.
Sam's cheeks are rosy from the cold and his breath's coming out in a mist, his eyes are red and teary and Dean knows... he knows.
"Dude, we're okay, alright? I'm fine, you're fine, we're fine."
Sam nods and whispers okay, and they continue to wash off the blood of innocent men who just didn't have the right skills and training to fight. It was no one's fault... just life.
The water is cold and running fast underneath the ice, but it doesn't matter because it's still the right color, even if tinged a bit red, and they both can't stop touching it. Their fingers are getting completely numb, their knees wet, their arms thankfully clean if a little red from cold but if they close their eyes, it's like they're in a normal world. Winter in a normal world.
The winter lasts for ages or at least that's how it feels like and they crawl under three bear skins at night, to get warm. Sometimes it helps, sometimes they just lay there staring at whatever cave's ceiling they're in and shiver and shake and thank their last six bullets that enabled them to kill six bears. The last six bullets ... from now on they're stuck with weapons they made; machetes, knives, bows and arrows, spears ... no more guns. No more easy.
Every time they open their eyes in the morning, after sleeping in a cave or smashed inside a snow igloo, they hope its summer again. But it never is. Not yet. Everything's still covered with violet-lilac snow and it's still cold as hell, and they start snapping at each other because it's cold and lonely and their stomachs are gonna eat themselves soon.
So when Sam spots a huge rabbit, it's game on. They chase it on the snow, among the trees and bushes, shoot three arrows at it, try to spear it, but the thing is fast, cunning and slippery as an eel.
"Go left, go left!"
Sam goes left and tries to shoot it again with an arrow, but it gets lost in the snow, because the rabbit made a quick turn to the right. Sometimes... it's like the animals can hear them. It's uncanny.
But the chase is making them feel alive and warm and like they're actually doing something and not just thinking about where the fuck they are - it's like they're little kids again, almost giddy with excitement of getting the prize in the form of food.
Until there's a crack and a clatter and Sam disappearing right before Dean's eyes.
There's lilac snow lightly fallin' down from a blue sky, lightly getting comfortable on bare tree branches and spruce needles, so lightly and so quietly like the whole space is wrapped in cotton where all noise just disappears. It's beautiful and so silent, the snow crystals glowing in the dark blue sunlight, the cold like razors on his exposed skin, but it's still beautiful even if his heart is in his toes, then in his throat. So beautiful even if he can't breathe; his breath stopped somewhere in his throat. He blinks, because whatever just happened, didn't really happen, yeah? He'll blink and Sam will be there all huge smiles because he just caught the fuckin' rabbit. But Sam's not there. He's nowhere. There's just lilac snow gliding on the wind, swirling down to the ground. And silence so loud, he can feel it in his head and chest.
"Sam!" He yells as loud as he can, doesn't care who or what will hear him because without Sam, he's as good as dead anyway.
He runs to the spot where his brother just went down and slides like a baseball player to his base. When he stops there's a hole between his knees and he cringes, because a little more force and he would've fallen in too.
There's dark, almost black water sloshing at the edges and he can see the sun reflecting in it. It seems wrong somehow for the sun to shine like that on the hole, into that darkness.
The snow is falling in the hole too, over his head, melting in the water slowly ... apparently the water is colder than the snow.
"Sam!" his voice booms inside the hole. It's really, really dark down there. So dark. Could be a river, could be a lake, could be anything, he just can't tell because everything is lilac for fucks sake. The hole's walls are lilac, violet really, and they look like they were made by hand. Not his brother's body. But hands. Ice fishing, maybe?
He yells down and his voice cracks a little when he whispers: "Sam..."
The water keeps on making waves against the hole's violet edge.
Silently. The movement's hypnotizing, and he sways a little while looking down into the darkness. He could totally fall inside, his eyes heavy and a feel of serenity so strong wrapping itself around his mind, the feel of relaxation and calmness wrapping around his bones. It would be so easy, just sway a bit more forward and just fall. The water's calling him, with the sound and sight of crashing waves. Just lean in and let go.
He blinks and he's himself again and he has to do something. He has to do something fast, because he's sure that this ain't just water. Not normal anyways and isn't that just awesome. Why oh why did he even think it was normal water? Apparently, in all the time spent here, he had learned nothing. It figures.
He doesn't know what to do. There's noting he can use as anything really, so he grips the serrated edge of the hole with his numb fingers, leans in with half of his body and screams: "Sam!"
He leaves the please unspoken, because if Sam can hear him, he'll know.
He lets go with one hand and reaches inside the pitch blackness and when the tip of his fingers make contact with the water it's cold. It's freezing cold, and he has to punch a hole through a thin layer of ice that's already started to form after Sam's fall.
Cold. And no air.
He flinches and hisses, but doesn't stop threading the water with his fingers, because Sam has to be there somewhere, just has to be. Has to be.
"Sam! Sammy!Come on, come on, damn it!"
The jeans at his knees are wet, but the rest of his body's hidden under bear skin - heavy, stinky, warm bear skin - so the cold isn't as biting as it would be otherwise.
The snow's melting fast under the heat of his body and he's hoping it won't melt him into the water lurking underneath him. Because if there's just a slight chance that he can save his brother, he will try.
"Goddamn it Sam, come on, you little bitch, where are you?" he's scared and frustrated and pissed at himself so damn much, that he allowed this to happen to Sam.
So when his fingers brush something that feels like hair, he yelps and withdraws his hand. Which, goddamnit, he ain't a coward, he touched worse things in his life, damn it.
"Jesus fuck, what the hell?"
And then he begins to sweat, because what if that was Sam? What if that was his baby brother and he just let him go? What if that was his only chance? What if...
He pushes his whole arm back into the water, as much as he can anyways; leans almost fully into the hole, cutting his chest on the ice and there, there it is again...
"Sammy ... I gotcha, gotcha!"
He grabs hold of the wet, silky hair that seems to flow all around and between his fingers and doesn't care if its algae or some corpse he's gonna haul out, because there's also a chance it's his brother and he's gonna take it.
He chases the elusive hair with his fingers and grips hard when he thinks he has enough of 'em in his grip and tugs, doesn't care if he'll rip off Sam's entire scalp. He needs to get his brother back. Needs to and if he won't he is going to jump right in, find his brother and die with him. He's going to do whatever it takes, because there's no way, no fuckin' way he's going to live here alone.
But what he brings to the surface is not his brother, definitely not his brother, because his brother doesn't have a blue-gray, waxy, bloated face, and bulging eyes that stare into nothingness with skin peeling off of his cheeks.
He drops the corpse back into the water and swallows down the scream that wants to bubble up to the surface, while crab-walking back from the hole a bit, because that could have been Sam. That could have been his little brother all bloated and decaying. Dead.
It's been too long. Sam has been in the water for too long, too long in the cold, too long with no air.
He's dead. His kid brother is dead. His baby brother is dead.
They both are.
Until they aren't because there's a hand with stupidly long fingers gripping the edge of the hole and it ain't the corpses, obviously, because Dean would know that hand anywhere, anytime. Would know how that hand looks like when it's holding a weapon, slicing into a dead animal, holding a piece of cooked meat, flailing around when arguing...
He quickly crawls to the hole, snow falling every which way under his arms and grips the wet cold hand, pulls. Slides his hold higher to Sam's forearms, tugs and groans, because his brother is a heavy son of a bitch. He keeps on pulling until Sam's whole body is free from the hole, free from the evil, evil dark water.
He drags Sam in between his spread legs and crashes to the snow with his back; the force of the impact and his brother's chest colliding with his, takes his breath away. He can't breathe for a while, but that's alright, because he just got his baby brother back. Alive and breathing.
Sam's a dead weight lying on top of him, their chests squeezing air out of both their lungs.
"Uhh, Sam, ow."
Heavy, heavy son of a bitch even if neither of them had any proper food in a while - how he longs for a burger with fries - and he's not wearing his bear skin. The kid must've taken it off in the water, the heaviness would've surely taken him down to the bottom. Smart move, he has to give him that.
"Hey buddy, hey, you good?"
He cradles Sam's head in his hand, buries his fingers in the wet strands at his nape and almost weeps with how his brother is alive, breathing and shivering. He has a perfect view on Sam's back, the blue T-shirt soaking wet and clinging to the skin. He can almost see how pale Sam's skin is through the shirt, how his spine is bowed in while he's shivering and shaking.
"Okay, okay buddy, I know you're cold, come on we have to go."
Sam says nothing just shudders so hard, Dean's whole body vibrates with it.
"Come on, man."
He shifts Sam a little and tries to get up, but then his brother makes a gagging sound and there's warm water spilling all over his shoulder and down his back.
"Jesus Christ ... Sam, Sammy, hey." he grips Sam's head as best as he can by his cheeks and slides lower, giving Sam more room to puke on the ground and not down his bear skin.
Sam gags and pukes up some more water: "Whoah, okay, okay..."
He rises up on his arms as best as he can with Sam pressing him down, pats Sam on his back real good 'n' hard and cringes when Sam coughs from somewhere deep in his chest, gags and spews out some more water. His brother's alive, breathing and puking his guts out, but he's going to be just fine.
But it's not fine, not right now, because Sam's shaking so badly the entire ground is rattling and that's not fine.
He squeezes his right hand between Sam and himself and unlaces his bear skin and Sam's wet, cold body falls on top of him.
It's a shock, cold on hot so fast he hisses and grunts, but it's okay. It's Sam. And Sam's not dead, which ... why isn't Sam dead? How come he's even still breathing? On his own? How come he didn't freeze? Isn't that what should've happened? Sam should never have been able to get out of that water, not without help anyways. Yet, he did.
Fuck, fuck, fuck this fucked up world that just gave him another riddle, he's sure he'll never solve. Fuck.
"Mpff..." and cough and more water rushing out of his mouth. The sound is making Dean's stomach roll in part sympathy and part disgust. Listening and watching someone puke, is not really his favorite past time. It's really not.
"Okay, 's okay. We have to go back, man. Come on, you can puke on the way, but we got to get you somewhere warm."
He covers Sam up as best as he can with his bear skin and hauls them both up. It takes time and strength and a couple strained muscles, but he manages because it's Sam. Who isn't dead.
They're trudging through the lilac snow with the blue sun at their backs and Dean has never liked this place more than right now because it didn't kill his brother. It took him but it gave him back too.
He won't question it anymore. Sam's alive, breathing, coughing and spitting and gagging and shivering but breathing.
It's all he asked for. All he wanted and even when Sam bends over and groans out another mouthfull of water, it's okay.
The walk doesn't take that long, they weren't chasing the rabbit for long, and the crunching snow beneath their feet, is kinda beautiful. Sparkly and glowing and nice. Their eyes don't hurt when looking at it, well his don't and Sam's are closed anyways, but it's a nice change from when its summer.
Now, if it just wouldn't be so cold, things would be kinda neat. Well, minus Sam getting drowned. That, that's just not nice.
Sam gags and leans more heavily on Dean and Dean takes that as an agreement.
At the cave that they made a home in for a coupla days, the fire's still going strong, they haven't been away all that long really, and Sam had put some more wood on just in case they would've came back with some meat.
Which they didn't. They came home with one of them wet and almost unconscious and the other one pissed and pleased. Their lives, sometimes...
He all but throws Sam down on his side of the make-believe bed, because really, it's just some rabbit furs they'd arranged near the fire, so it's nice and warm when they sleep, but in no danger of catching fire. Them or the fur.
"Alright, man, gonna get ya all nice and warm, okay? Just hang in there..."
He's babbling, he knows it, just as he knows that Sam's rolling his eyes under the closed eye lids, but undressing his brother is all kinds of awkward and embarrassing so he needs to fill the air with stupid babble, otherwise he's gonna start thinking about it and its gonna become even more uncomfortable as it already is.
Damn it, he thought undressing his brother stopped being his job when Sam turned three. Or so. Back then his brother was a squirmy mass of flailing limbs and high pitched sounds that sounded like giggles and Deandeandean... so seeing his brother now just lying there, arms and legs all over the place and so still ... he sighs.
He feels really uneasy with doing this, but ... it's Sam. Who almost drowned, but not really. Sam who's shaking so hard now, he's almost convulsing, arms and legs jerking like he's trying to swat away a fly.
"Damnit, okay, okay, Sam, okay."
He drops his bear skin to the ground, moves closer to Sam and starts with his T- shirt that won't unstuck from the kid's skin, shoes, no socks because they became too dangerous in the summer to wear, jeans that's like peeling off super glue, boxers that he throws in a corner where they make a splashy noise.
"Okay, that wasn't so hard, huh?"
But it was because it took him some time, wet clothes are a bitch to get off a body that is cold, shaking and not really all that cooperative. He wasn't really graceful and his hands were shaking as much as Sam was and he's pretty sure he was about to pull Sam's shoulder out of its socket, but: "All's good now, yeah? Gonna get ya all warm and then you'll open your eyes, right?"
All he gets is a grunt and a cough. And a shiver that seems to travel from his brother's neck to his toes.
"Alrighty then...that's the spirit."
There's no damage to Sam's body - that he can see in the light of the fire - no wounds, skin intact, ribs all in a row, legs, arms, dick, all there as it should be. No blood, no cracks, all bones still under the skin.
All but the shivers that are so strong Sam's entire body's vibrating and he quickly throws a bear skin over him.
That's gonna have to be enough, until he'll be able to lose his clothes.
He's not wet, except for a wet patch on his knees and his arm is halfway to dry now, so he's undressed in a blink of an eye, puts another big log on the fire and then he's sliding next to his brother. Sliding under three more bear skins because call them whatever but unprepared.
"Yeah, 'cause this ain't embarrassing at all."
He arranges Sam on his right side and pulls him back to his chest.
"Damn, that's cold." he hisses, because Sam's back is cold as ice, skin hard as if frozen.
"Gonna get you warm, don't worry..."
He tucks the kid's head under his chin, hoping that it will prevent heat loss a bit, and rubs his hand up and down Sam's left side. Maybe that will get the blood flowing.
"You with me, here?"
He puts his left arm across Sam's waist -skin and bones, damnit Sammy - and finds the kid's wrist. The arm feels frozen, hard skin over delicate bones and he clamps down; he ain't gonna let go of that pulse point through the night. He needs to feel the fluttering of a strong heartbeat, needs to cling to it and trust it to not fail him.
"Shh, come on, I gotcha, come on, warm up..."
Sam says nothing just coughs, shudders and weakly pulls his legs up closer to his chest.
They mold together like two pieces of a puzzle. One shivering from cold and being nearly drowned and frozen and the other from nearly losing everything that ever mattered in his life.
He knows that Sam shivering and shaking is good, very good, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't pull Sam closer to him, every time Sam does it.
"Yeah buddy, I know, I know, gonna get ya warm, alright?"
He squeezes Sam's wrist and sighs at the strong heartbeat against his fingertips.
"You wanna tell me what the hell happened back there?"
Wanna tell me how you're still alive? Wanna tell me how come you were breathing just fine back there? Wanna tell me how come you didn't come out of the water as a dead icicle? Wanna tell me what the hell happened down in the water?
"Dean, t-t-trussst me, I d-d-don't 'now."
He knows Sam would tell if he knew, because ... no secrets, that was the deal.
"Did you notice a, uhh, body in the water?"
"A corpse, did you see anything while you were in there?"
Maybe having this conversation with Sam at this moment isn't the smartest move, but damnit, he just wants something, just one little piece of information that would make him sleep better, knowing that he isn't going nuts.
"Dark, was d-d-d-dark a-a-a-nd cold. There we-e-ere hands and dunno, pushed m-m-me up."
Sam shrugs and coughs, a shudder running down his spine, Dean feels in his chest.
"Okay, 's okay now, bro. We got you out."
He tightens his hold and watches the fire with Sam's hair trying to break into his mouth. At least Sam is warming up, drying up and is lucid.
"Just look at the fire, okay? It's warm, you'll be warm in no time."
It's not awkward anymore, doesn't feel uncomfortable or embarrassing ... it feels delicate, this sharing body heat thing, because it means he's doing his job - protect Sam, keep him safe. Feels private, only theirs, and he breathes warm breath on the top of Sam's head and watches the fire.
He has no idea when he falls asleep, but he knows it's dark outside, Sam is warm and snoring.
Its summer when Dean wakes up the next day. Summer. Summer! He closes his eyes and opens them, because come on, it's a dream, but no, it's definitely summer. The fire went out sometime during the night, but he's hot, the heat coming into the cave through the entrance.
"Uhh, damn..." he groans and stretches as much as he can, what with Sam pressing at him from the front. His brother is hot as a furnace and his skin is clammy from sweat, but at least he's not shivering anymore. He's okay, will probably have some sniffles for some time, but they can handle that. He just hopes there's no lung damage, because they can't handle that.
"Sam?" he whispers into Sam's ear, but the kid doesn't even stir. He's breathing, the heart beating good, which means he can unstick himself from Sam's back and go outside, giving his brother some privacy.
God knows, they both need that right now.
When he steps outside, sees the blue sun and the heat blasts into his face, he gets frustrated. So much that he could cry.
"You mocking me, huh?"
He says to no one really or maybe to this new crazy world. Maybe it's crazy enough that it will answer him.
"Are you mocking me, you son of a bitch? Gave us winter, nearly killed my brother and now this fucking heat again? Are you enjoying this?"
Because really, to him, it sure feels like it.
There's no sign of snow, the trees are lush and green, there's absolutely no sign of winter that by his watch lasted for three months, but who knows, maybe it only lasted for three days. Or hours, beats him.
He doesn't know anything anymore. Everything's blue and bat shit insane, the nights are green, the whole world's mocking him, he lost his baby, almost lost his baby brother and he's just had it. But he won't give in. He can mock this world too.
"You screw with me, I will screw with you, you son of a bitch!"
"You talking to yourself?"
Sam's voice is raspy, he's holding his middle with his left arm, his right side leaned to the cave's wall. He's dressed with no signs that he was ever freezing to death.
"Dude, scared the crap out of me."
"Yeah well, sorry."
"How ya feeling?"
"Okay, I guess. Not freezing anymore. Hey, its summer."
"Yup, fucking weird."
"Ha, ha, hilarious."
Sam smiles and it's okay. Winter or summer, as long as this world carries them both, it's alright.
Dean scratches the back of his neck: "Wanna talk about it?"
Which usually means wait until sleep time and then I will scream it all out, so Dean can wait.
He watches Sam take a step forward, away from the cave's wall, that he was using for support, watches how his foot steps into some shade that wasn't there before - fucking sun an its fucking movement - and for a split second, a brief moment their eyes meet before Sam disappears from his sight once again.
Just disappears like puff and he's gone.
He feels his heart stutter, feels cold and then hot, flustered, sweat forming all over his body. He feels pain so deep inside of him starting to spread to every nerve he possesses.
The shade. Sam. The shade. Sam.
It's so silent, everything so quiet, just him and the sun.
The shade's still there, but Sam isn't.
There's nothing else to do but to step into the shade, because being here without his brother hurts more than whatever's gonna happen to him in the shade. Nothing can compare. Nothing.
So he steps into the shade and says: "Suck it, world."
-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:- PART 4
What he sees when he opens his eyes is not really what he expected. He expected pain or just absolute nothingness of space and time, of himself, just nothing, so... this, this is just so shocking he can't even seem to catch his breath.
He's standing in the middle of a sidewalk, near a bakery and a flower shop, people walking past him, chatting and laughing, talking on their cell phones, reading newspapers on the benches, drinking coffee, just... living normally in a normal world.
There's no sign of dust that he had lived with for what feels like years, the sun's bright, yellow orb in a cloud filled sky, there are cars on the road, there's normal as he knows it. No bloody people walking around, no creatures moving around looking for their next kill, there's just normal. He's surrounded by normal and it feels bizarre, like it will consume him and he will never be the same again. He's utterly lost.
He stops a man, just plucks one from the crowd and asks:"Sorry, erm, I just...where are we?"
Although he already knows where he is, knows all too well where this place fucking is, but he needs proof, confirmation that this is real and he's not losing his goddamned mind. Again.
"Man, are you on something? You don't look so good."
Well, yeah he doesn't look so good, he had just spend god knows how much time in a world that has no name but is so bat shit nuts, he doesn't even know where to begin. He's covered with dirt, his clothes are jeans with so many holes in them its uncanny how they are still on him, and his shirt is not even a shirt anymore but some fabric covering his body. He knows he has crazy in his eyes, knows he looks a bit like a rabid animal, so: "Can you just answer the fucking question?" He adds please as an afterthought.
"You're in Arizona..."
And then he tunes the guy out, because yeah, he knows. And he knows its 21st of August and he vaguely hears the guy mention hospital, because the word is ingrained into his brain just like the word Sam, and he collapses to the pavement. He doesn't faint, and he will fight with Sam about that until they both die, he just collapses to the ground. His legs can't take the weight of everything anymore, can't believe it, can't even imagine anything anymore.
When he rouses there's a familiar weight on his shoulder, a hand holding and shaking him and he opens his eyes to Sam's.
"We have to go, people are watching, man."
Sam pulls him up and they wobble a little like they're drunk - we're home - and stumble walk across the road to the motel that's stretching alongside the road. Their motel. Their room, where everything's still just like they left it when they went to sleep years, no, hours ago. Of course. Because they haven't been gone more than just a couple of hours. Makes sense. Of course.
They fall into their beds, dazed and confused, dirty and hungry and thirsty.
"Dude, I want a beer."
"Make that twenty."
Sometime in the middle of the night, with a bright silvery moon and a sky full of stars, with the Impala roaring down creaturless road, Sam asks: "What do you think that was?"
"You think it was Cass? Somehow? Angels? Demons?"
"I dunno, but I don't think so. It didn't feel like any of their games."
"What then? A witch? Aliens? God? Pegan gods? Demi god? A portal? A bad dream?"
It is what it is, little brother wanting answers from his big brother. But in this case big brother's just as clueless as little brother.
"Sam, Sam chill dude. We'll find answers, trust me."
He grips the steering wheel tighter, clenches his jaw and vows that Sam will get his answers one way. Or another.
The Impala roars on. It's normal.