Title: Cramped

Author: Disasteriffic Kaz

Info: Sam in a box. Trapped and injured, Sam can only hope Dean will find him in time. Two Shot. Set post 1x04 "Phantom Traveler" Hurt!Sam Comfort/awesome!Dean

Author's Note: This one is for Leahelisabeth and her love of 'Sam in a box'. It's been a while since I gave her this and really…Do we ever get tired of reading this particular scenario? LOL

Beta'd by the always awesome JaniceC678 :D– Friend and Muse's co-conspirator.

**Follow me on Facebook as "DisasterifficKaz" for frequent fic updates or just to chat!

~Reviews are Love~
There are so many of you and only one of me. Please know that I see, love and am grateful for each and every review though I may rarely respond. I figure you would rather have me writing than be a slave to my inbox. :D I love you all.

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Sam woke in a fog. He felt like he was still asleep…still dreaming and tried to remember where he was; what he was doing. Where was Dean? There was a job…a motel room painted a yellow just a little too bright. Dean had called it 'sunny side puke' and made him laugh. There had been a trip to the library researching…Sam frowned…was it a spirit? He thought it was and had a vague memory of finding a picture of someone…a woman? Yes, it had been a woman…killed by her lover and...and something about her being buried alive and then…then Dean had called…

Sam's eyes snapped open. He blinked through his blurry vision and saw nothing, only darkness. He opened his mouth to call for his brother and found a musty cloth of some sort stuffed into it. Sam tried to bring his hands up to pull it free and the first thread of panic wove through him. His arms were bound fast. He felt ropes around his arms, his shoulders, his chest and waist. He tried to move his legs and found them bound tightly as well with what felt like coils of rope wound all the way from ankles to hips. The sound of his frantic breathing filled whatever space he was in. He lifted his head no more than an inch and it thumped into something above him. He realized his shoulders were wedged on either side against a hard surface. Sam kicked with his feet and couldn't straighten his legs. They were bent awkwardly while bound so his knees pressed against the wall of his prison and his feet were bent back to make room for his long frame. The more he wriggled to try and free himself, the more a coil of the damned rope around his throat drew tighter, digging in to the flesh of his neck, and he could feel it starting to restrict his breathing and he could not help the wave of panic that washed over him.

He shouted through the gag for his brother in the grip of true fear. Sam knew where he was. He was buried alive.

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Dean grabbed the bags off the passenger seat of the Impala and climbed out, knocking the door shut with his hip and went for the motel room. He rolled his eyes while he fumbled the room key out because that damn yellow paint job was going to blind him eventually. He sniffed at the burgers inside the bag and sighed happily.

Dean opened the door and kicked it out of the way, determined to drag his little brother away from the laptop long enough to eat something for a change. "Hey, Sammy! Time for…Sam?" The room was empty. He frowned and set the bags down on the table next to the still-open laptop and went to the bathroom, but it was empty as well. "What the hell?" He swallowed back the initial burst of fear and narrowed his eyes, looking at the room with a lifetime of hunter's experience for anything out of place. Dean went from one area to the next, the beds, tables, eyes scanning the floor and the tatty carpet for signs of blood or prints from shoes that didn't belong, but nothing seemed out of place. He went to the door and studied the lock, but, like the room, it was untouched.

"Sam, where the hell are you?" Dean couldn't explain why, but a terrible sort of dread fell into his stomach as he went back to stand in the middle of the room and look around again. His eyes roamed the room again and this time landed on the room phone. The handset wasn't in the cradle properly; it lay tilted at an odd angle, like whoever had put it back hadn't cared whether or not they actually hung it up. Dean went to it and picked it up, listening. There was nothing to hear but dead air over the line.

"I don't like this." Dean glared down at the phone. "I really don't like this." He hung up the phone properly and headed for the door. If getting a call had been the last thing Sam did before leaving the room for whatever reason, he was going to find out where it came from because Sam's cell phone was sitting on the table beside his laptop, forgotten, a fact which in and of itself was enough to set off alarm bells in Dean's head.

Dean jogged down the side of the motel to the office. The manager was in the process of locking the door for the night and Dean banged into it, shoving it open against his protests. "No. You're not closed for the night. Not yet." He glared until the much shorter man sighed and threw his arms up.

"Fine. What's so damn important at midnight?" The manager went back to his desk and raised a brow at Dean.

"A call came in to our room in the last hour. I need to know where from," Dean told him and rapped his fingers on the counter impatiently. "Room 102."

"A call? That's it?" The manager groaned and waved a hand. "Fine, just…don't steal anything for a minute."

Dean glared at his back as he went through a side door. He looked over the counter, grabbed the pen from the log-in book and pocketed it. "Tell me not to steal anything. Jackass," Dean grumbled. In his mind, he went back and forth between anger at his little brother and his vanishing act and fear that something horrible had happened in the hour he was gone…that Sam was already lying dead somewhere because Dean had left him alone and unprotected. He shook his head at himself. Sam wasn't a kid anymore, and he sure as hell wasn't helpless, or so he kept insisting to Dean every chance he got. Dean smiled at that because, damn, he'd missed Sam's obstinate streak, irritating as it was. Maybe he wouldn't feel so warm and fuzzy about it once they had Dad back, and they would, but in the meantime Sam was all he had to hold on to and he'd take him, bitch-faces and all.

"Here. Now get the hell out so I can get some damn sleep," the manager said as he came back and handed a piece of paper to Dean, waving him toward the door.

Dean went without argument and looked at the number. He didn't recognize it and took out his cell phone as he went back to the room. He dialed the number and scowled worriedly as he was immediately told the number he was calling had been disconnected. "What the hell?" He slammed back into the motel room and went to the table, sitting with the laptop and booted it up to search for who the damn number belonged to. He struggled to hold the fear back because he knew his brother; Sam wouldn't have left like this without his phone, without putting away the laptop, without leaving a damn note! He just wouldn't.

"That's…not possible," Dean breathed as he stared at the screen and the results of his search. The number had once belonged to Lara Newman…the dead woman whose ghost they were hunting. She had died twenty years ago, and the number that had called Sam belonged to her house. "Son of a bitch." He leaned back in the chair with a thump. The house was a historic site now and several people over the last few months had been accosted by a woman's spirit while touring the place, but what had caught Sam's attention were the five people who had gone missing, all of whom the last time they had been seen by anyone was in or near that house. Lara had quickly become the prime suspect as she was rumored to have been murdered by her lover and her body hidden somewhere in the house or on the grounds. Dean leaned forward again and brought up Sam's browsing history. Sam had been researching where she might be buried when Dean had left on a food run. He scrolled through the pages his brother had last been on and found the last thing he'd looked at. Dean skimmed down through the article, the account of one of the maids who had lived in the house with Lara and it made his blood run cold.

According to the account, the maid had heard her mistress' voice in the house for several days after she vanished but had never found her, though she had searched high and low. She had finally come to the belief that her mistress had been buried alive somewhere in the house. Lara's lover had apparently been a sadistic bastard and taunted the staff with hints as to what he'd done with her.

"Oh, God, Sammy." Dean lurched up out of the chair with the realization that, somehow, the bitch of a spirit had called and lured his brother to the house alone. He swept his brother's cell from the table and into his pocket and ran for the car.

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The darkness was making him sick along with the fetid air that smelled of dead things and didn't move, though Sam was thankful he could, at least, breathe. His head swam where it rested on the rough wood surface under him. He'd realized that the right side of his head felt sticky and wet, and, if he concentrated, he could just feel something trickling through his hair. It had to be blood. A blow to the head hard enough to knock him out would explain why he couldn't remember anything after speaking with his brother on the phone.

Dean had called and he had sounded…off. He hadn't said much other than he was at Lara's house and needed Sam's help. Sam vaguely remembered hotwiring one of the cars in the motel parking lot and then…he frowned, squeezing his eyes shut as pain ratcheted through his skull again. He remembered nothing after that.

Sam carefully turned his head, trying to shift the gag enough that he could spit the fabric out of his mouth. It was making breathing difficult with the rope uncomfortably tight around his throat from his earlier panic in trying to free himself. It had taken everything he had to fight back the blinding fear and calm himself down, but he'd quickly learned he had to lay still or risk being strangled. In a very dark corner of his mind, he registered the fact that, should it reach a point where hope of rescue was gone and he was faced with a slow death through either suffocation or dehydration depending on whether his tiny prison was airtight or not, he could actually end the suffering quickly just by struggling a bit more. It was an oddly comforting thought. His legs had cramped horribly for a while and twitched, making him desperate to move. His arms had done the same, twisted as they were behind him and bound across his back. He knew the ropes were cutting off his circulation, but there was little he could do about it. That damned rope around his neck stopped him.

He wondered where Dean was, how much trouble he was in that he hadn't been able to speak more on the phone. For that alone, Sam wanted to try and free himself again, but his limbs were deadening and, even if he did somehow manage to free an arm before he choked himself out, he'd never be able to move it in time to unravel his neck and save himself. Sam felt helpless and a little worthless. What possible good could he be to Dean out here on the road when he couldn't save himself, let alone his brother.

Sam stilled his head as the temperature began to drop. A cold wind blew through his tight prison and froze him, making him shiver and sending fresh stabs of pain through his limbs. He picked his head up, careful not to move too much and tighten his garrote and blinked in surprise as a soft, blue glow began to brighten before him. He reared back in surprise when a woman's face appeared in front of him. The movement cost him, the rope on his neck tightening, and he coughed around the gag, dropping his head until it eased slightly so he could breathe again.

"I'm sorry." Her voice was soft. Her face was a study in sadness that Sam could see even though she was transparent, an after-image of her former self. "I tried to save you. I always try to save them."

Sam's eyes widened in surprise and he fought to get the gag out of his mouth again.

"He took you." She - and Sam was sure this was Lara - put shimmering, freezing fingers to the side of his face. The chill spread over his skin making him moan as his body shook. He wanted to tell her to stop, but realized she was pulling at the gag, and a moment later, it slipped down his face and over his chin.

Sam spit out the rag, coughing and swallowing, trying to get some moisture back in his mouth. "Lara," he managed at last in a ragged whisper.

"He's killed you."

"No. No! I'm still alive!" Sam coughed again and stared at her eyes. "Please. Let me loose. My brother…he's here somewhere." He licked dry lips and pleaded. "Lara, please. Let me save him."

"He is not here," Lara said sadly and touched her cold fingers to his cheek, brushing the backs of her knuckles there like she was offering comfort. "You did not speak to him."

"Yes, I did. I…" Sam broke off and it all suddenly made sense. The way Dean had sounded and his inability to give Sam any detail before the line had gone dead. He let his head rest on the floor and groaned softly. "I'm an idiot." He let his eyes roam around his prison in her light and jerked hard within his restraints as he finally saw it for what it was - a coffin. "Lara…" Sam gasped and met her cold eyes again. "Where…where am I?"

"Not alone," she whispered and gave him her sad smile again as she gently pushed his long hair out of his eyes. "With me…with the others."

Panic threatened to steal his breath again, but he made himself hold onto it. "Lara…my brother. Tell him. Please?"

"He is not here." She frowned and started to fade.

"No! Please!" Sam jerked in the ropes, choking himself again as her light dwindled. "Lara! I nee…" He broke off coughing and gagging as his frantic movements tightened the rope at his throat, and he forced himself to settle, canting his head back as far as he could to find the room to breathe past it and wished he could feel his hands and his feet. "Dean," He breathed in a bare whisper and closed his eyes as the last of her light fled.

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Dean screeched to a stop outside the landmark house. He was out of the Impala like a shot and to the trunk. He grabbed his sawed-off loaded with rock salt and stuffed a can of salt and a bottle of lighter fluid in his pockets along with extra shells and his EMF meter. He took a hand-axe as well and slid it through his belt, figuring he'd have to knock some walls down to find his brother. He slapped the trunk closed and looked up at the sprawling, portico-fronted house.

"Alright, you bitch. Let's dance," Dean growled and jumped up the steps of the porch. He kicked in the wide front door and took out his flashlight. "SAM!" Dean stopped and listened but heard nothing. He swept his light through the foyer, up the curved stair to the next floor, and then in the halls on either side, all the while fighting the sheer panic that he was too late, that he'd pulled his little brother out of that fire at Stanford only to have him die here, alone and no doubt terrified.

"Come on, Sam." Dean went left, striding down the hall. He stepped into the first room and shone his light over a pleasantly decorated parlor. "Sam?" He stomped on the floor and banged on a couple walls and moved on to the next room. "Sam!" He searched the east wing of the first floor, stomping, banging and yelling, and then jogged back to the foyer to start on the west. The EMF in his pocket started to whine, and Dean skidded to a stop in the entryway, staring with a cold rage at the ghost of the woman across from him.

"What'd you do to my brother? Where is he? SAM!" Dean raised his shotgun and aimed at her.

"Tried to save him." Her voice carried softly through the moonlit room.

Dean frowned. "Say what?"

"Always try to save them, but he comes." Her face darkened and she seemed to look around fearfully. "Killed him."

Dean's heart stopped for a moment, he was sure. His fingers numbed around the stock of the shotgun and his jaw worked soundlessly for a moment. "Where…is he?" Dean asked, barely able to get the words out, and he was unable to keep the tremor from his voice.

"Buried with me." Lara shook her head sadly, and then her eyes focused on him, seeing him for real. "You are…brother?"

"Yes!" Dean said quickly and took a step toward her, letting hope quiet the screaming fear that he was too late in his head. "Tell me where he is, dammit!"

"Wants to save you." Lara drifted a little away from him. "Doesn't think he's dead, but…in the box…only death."

"Box?" Dean demanded and followed her as she backed another few feet away. "What box? You mean a coffin?"

Lara nodded and her face became fearful. "He's here. Kill you too."

Dean narrowed his eyes and raised the shotgun at her, thinking she was threatening him but her eyes when she looked at him were sad. "Lara?"

"Run. Please. Can't…can't stop him." Ghostly tears began to track down her glowing face. "Never stop him."

"LARA!"

A new voice bellowed her name through the massive house, and Dean jumped in surprise. Lara gave a choked off scream and vanished in front of him. "What the hell now?" He turned back to the foyer and watched the spirit of a man appear at the top of the stairs. Dean's eyes narrowed, aiming the shotgun steadily at him, and he had a sudden feeling that this whole mess now made sense.

"You're the asshole that killed her, aren't you?" Dean stalked to the bottom of the stairs and glared up at the translucent form of a tall man with blonde hair and cruel eyes. "Lara's not the one that's been killing people. It's you. She's been trying to warn them."

"Bad girl." His voice blew through the hall, rattling the chandelier above in a ragged wind as the temperature took a nosedive.

Dean shivered and aimed up at him. "Where's my brother, you son of a bitch?"

"Can you hear her?" The man asked and the grin he gave sickened Dean. "She calls. She calls!"

Dean snarled, listening to him laugh and started up the stairs. "Where is my brother? Where's Lara?" He knew with a certainty that wherever the sick son of a bitch had planted his lover, he'd put Sam as well, and probably all the others he'd made vanish over the years. The man kept laughing and Dean rolled his eyes. "Lara! I know you can hear me! My brother's not dead yet!"

"Shut up." The man said angrily.

Dean ignored him and appealed to the one spirit in the house who seemed to care. "I can still save him!" He fired both barrels into the man, shredding his spirit and reloaded quickly. "I'm sorry no one saved you, Lara, but my brother is not dead yet! Please!"

"Please?"

Dean turned, hearing the softly spoken word and found her cowering in the door to the hall. He nodded. "Please, Lara. Let me save him. Tell me where Sam is."

"He…he said please." Lara frowned. "Your brother said…he's not dead, is he?"

"No. No, he isn't," Dean said it fiercely, having to believe that. "Please. You show me where he is and I swear to you I will roast the son of a bitch that killed you. He'll never hurt you again, but you gotta give me my brother." He shouted angrily when Lara vanished suddenly. "NO! Come on!"

"Here."

Dean spun again and found her at the top of the stairs. "He's up there?"

"Follow," Lara told him and drifted out of sight above.

Dean ran up the curved stairs and found her waiting in the hall, moving slowly away. He followed her through the house and up another flight of the stairs. Her lover came back, screaming at Dean from the wall beside him and he shot him again, enjoying the spirit's rage-filled scream, and was relieved to find Lara hadn't run away this time. "Lara?"

"This way." Lara led him down another hall and then into a richly appointed bedroom.

Dean looked around the room. It was big. He could have parked four or five Impalas in the thing, and a king-size, four poster bed stood against one wall. Lara stopped beside it. "Where is he?"

Lara turned to the bed and rested a glowing hand lightly upon one of the posts. "He liked to listen to me….while he slept."

"Jesus," Dean groaned with sympathy for the woman whose lover had buried her alive and then listened to her screams every night from his bed. He went to the side of the big bed, bent, and heaved it across the floor with a squeal of wood on wood. Dean straightened and looked at her. "Where? The wall?"

Lara shook her head and pointed a delicate hand to the floor. "So that his bed was the only bed I would ever grace."

Dean shook his head and knelt on the floor. "Lady, your lover was one sick twist. Sam?" Dean banged on the floorboards and put his ear to them and grinned, feeling close to tears when he heard his brother's soft, ragged voice.

"Dean?"

"I'm here, Sammy! Hold on!" Dean shouted and pulled the small axe from his belt.

Sam couldn't believe his ears. He closed his eyes as tears escaped him to run down his cheek. "Dean." He couldn't get his voice above a loud whisper. The rope around his throat was simply too tight and he forced himself not to move. His brother was here, he told himself to force back the near frantic need to be free. He was scared. He couldn't feel anything from his arms or legs. They were dead weight, feeling more like they belonged to someone else than were actually attached to his body, and he knew there was a point where, if the circulation had been cut off long enough, doctors started throwing around words like amputation.

Dean went at the boards of the floor with a vengeance, slamming the hand-axe into them, tearing and digging. He pried up a board and attacked the one next to it. "You tell me…if he's coming…back," Dean said to Lara's spirit over his shoulder. He knew she was still there. He could feel the cold chill from her presence and shook his head at the strangeness of trusting a ghost to have his back, but there was no other choice, because no way was he leaving Sam in the damn floor to gank the lover. He broke through another board and pulled it clear and paled when he saw the coffin hidden beneath them.

"Shit." Dean leaned down and banged a hand on the top. "Sam? You still with me?"

"Yeah."

Dean frowned. His brother's voice sounded…wrong somehow, hoarse, soft, and a little choked. "You alright?"

Sam smiled for the first time in hours, hearing the gruff concern in Dean's voice. "Yeah. I'm…I'm ok." He tried to speak more loudly but the rope stopped him. "Just hurry."

"I'm coming."

Sam arched his head back more to give himself more room to breathe and hoped Dean wouldn't lose it too badly when he saw how he'd been tied up. He smirked. Things like that tended to piss his brother off.

"What'd he do to you?" Dean turned to look over his shoulder and asked Lara. She didn't answer him, giving him an incredibly sad smile instead as she turned away. "Awesome." He turned his attention back to the floor and tore up more of the boards, sweating with the effort in spite of the supernatural chill in the room as he worked to make a hole big enough to reach his brother and get him out. The EMF in his pocket, which had been at a steady whine with Lara's presence suddenly screamed.

Dean dropped the axe and scooped up his shotgun, turned, and reared back with Lara's lover right behind him and towering over him. "Shit!" Dean fired reflexively, dissipating the spirit and glared at the empty doorway where Lara had been and was now gone. "Nice, lady. Thanks for the warning," he growled and went back to his widening hole.

It took him another twenty minutes to rip up enough of the floor and two more shells unloaded at the bastard of a spirit who seemed determined to stop him. Dean stared down into the floor and sighed. The coffin was surrounded by bones, far more than just Lara's. They had to be all of his victims over the years, emptied from the coffin each time he found a new occupant to torture to death. Dean swallowed hard thinking how close his brother had come to being the next of those victims.

"Sammy?" Dean stepped carefully down among the bones and jammed the head of the axe between the wall and lid of the coffin. "Almost got you, dude. Hang on." He rocked the axe head back and forth in the aging wood, grunting with effort until the lid popped clear with a crack. He grabbed hold of it and ripped it off, tossing it up and out of the hole and then had to take a minute to just stare in shock at his little brother, hog-tied inside the coffin, wrapped with rope from ankle to neck with a pool of blood under his head. "Sammy?"

"Dean." Sam gasped and managed to turn his head enough to see him from the corner of his eye. "Get…get me out."

"Ok. Ok, buddy. You're ok." Dean grabbed his flashlight from the bed where he'd propped it to light his work and shone it down along Sam's body, trying to see where to start. He scowled, face darkening with rage as he realized there was a length of rope wrapped around Sam's throat that had clearly been strangling him from the deep abrasions and blood he could see. "Son of a bitch," Dean said softly.

Sam blinked furiously in the sudden light as Dean looked him over and heard the angry hitches in his big brother's breathing. "Dean, can't…can't feel my arms…legs."

"No big. I gotcha," Dean assured him. He pulled the small knife from his boot and put a hand on Sam's shoulder. "Just hold still. I'm gonna get the rope off your neck." Sam gave him a small nod which probably hurt with the way he had his head craned back unnaturally to breathe. Dean slipped the blade in near the front of his throat, keeping the flat of the blade to his skin, and carefully pressed out, taking the rope with the blade until it split along the edge. Sam gasped, sucking in a deep breath and bent forward coughing. "Easy, buddy." Dean dropped a hand to the back of his head into his hair and cursed, feeling all the tacky blood dried into it.

"Thank you," Sam gasped breathlessly and got his breathing back under control with effort. "Thank you. It's not…not Lara. She's…"

"Been trying to save people, yeah. I know." Dean smiled for him when Sam looked up and patted his shoulder. "She's the one who led me to you. Relax. I got this."

Sam nodded and let his head drop back. Just being able to breathe helped calm the panic he was still feeling. "We have to…find him. She doesn't…doesn't deserve…this."

"We will," Dean assured him and set about carefully cutting through the ropes binding him. He shook his head angrily as he cut coil after coil of the heavy stuff. It was wrapped so tightly, Sam was no doubt going to bear the marks of it for weeks. He grimaced when he freed Sam's arms from where they had been bent and strapped to his back; his shoulders were going to be a misery when the feeling started to come back. Dean bent and freed the rope around his brother's hips and then cut through the line that went from his ankles, up his back and had been wrapped around his neck.

"He comes."

Dean jerked in surprise with Lara's voice. "Shit!" He reared up out of the hole and grabbed his shotgun, seeing her spirit hovering at the edge of the hole and looking down at Sam.

"Dean?" Sam managed to roll to his back and saw his brother standing over him with the shotgun and Lara's sad ghost looking in at him. He tried to move his arms and groaned when they didn't do more than twitch.

"Don't move, dude," Dean told him. "Not 'til I untangle you." He didn't want Sam hurting himself trying to get loose when he couldn't feel anything. Dean cocked the shotgun as the EMF screamed again and had to duck when a heavy, metal statue of a rearing horse flew off a shelf on the other side of the room and came for his head. "Come out, you son of a bitch!"

Sam jerked as something heavy crashed above him. He wanted to sit up, to help protect his brother, and groaned in frustration when his body wouldn't cooperate. "Dean, be careful!" He watched as Lara lowered herself into the hole and into the coffin with him once more.

Lara ghosted her fingers over his face as she had before. "Shh. You will be safe now." While Sam couldn't help flinching away slightly from the icy, dead touch just on instinct, after the horror of being left to die alone and essentially buried alive, he was surprised to find her gentle words comforting nonetheless.

Dean saw the man forming in the corner and fired, blowing the spirit apart. He lowered the shotgun and growled. "Wish I had enough salt to do the door and windows in here. Ok." He turned and raised his brows, finding Lara's spirit beside his still-helpless brother with a hand on Sam's face, and he could see his brother shaking from the cold of her touch. "Hands off, lady," Dean warned and bent back down as Lara flickered out of sight. "Why do the dead chicks always get handsy with you, little brother?" He grinned at the disgusted face Sam gave him and went back to cutting the ropes off of him.

"Alright." Dean put the knife back in his boot and leaned over his brother. "I'm gonna get you out of here. You just let me do the work."

Sam rolled his eyes and winced as it made his head pound. "No problem."

Dean smirked, knowing Sam couldn't use his arms and legs yet. He carefully uncurled his brother's arms from his back and slid his hands under his shoulders, pulling him up until he was sitting. He grunted, groaned under Sam's weight and got him standing until he could carefully roll him up onto the floor.

"Dean." Sam swallowed furiously through being moved and lifted, his head rolling, and the pain from his concussion slamming through his head.

"Yeah?" Dean looked down Sam and frowned at the look on his face, recognizing it. "Oh, crap. Hang on." He quickly pulled Sam back up so he was sitting and leaned him forward over the coffin, supporting him with an arm across his chest and not a moment too soon as Sam's stomach rebelled and he vomited down into the coffin. "Breathe, Sammy. Just breathe." He squeezed a hand on the back of his neck and tried to get a look at the head wound that had bled into the puddle.

Sam coughed and gagged and finally it eased off, leaving him weak and gasping while his head spun, and he closed his eyes. "Sorry," He said softly and was grateful for Dean's arm keeping him from tilting back down into the coffin.

Dean snorted. "All part of the service." He wanted to lay Sam back and let him rest, let the feeling come back into his limbs, but he knew damn well Lara's ex wasn't going to leave them alone long enough to do that, and Dean knew the pain was going to be bad and soon. He tossed the shotgun up onto the bed and took a firm grip around Sam's chest again. "Alright. Going up, and try not to puke down my back, dude."

Sam nodded and didn't…couldn't argue as Dean pulled him up into a fireman's carry. His arms and legs were still asleep, but he could feel sensation beginning to tingle in his shoulders and hips. "What…what about Lara?"

"I'll come back and finish this," Dean said firmly, hoping the woman was listening wherever she'd gone off to. He picked up his shotgun, steadied Sam over his shoulders, and made his way out and back down the stairs as quickly as he could with Sam weighing him down. "Dude, how can you…eat salad...and weigh this much?" Dean asked with a gasping laugh as they stepped outside into the night.

Sam had his eyes closed, fighting the need to throw up again and groaned. "'cause…m'not…a midget."

"Shuddup!" Dean growled. They reached the car, and he pulled open the passenger door, carefully lowered Sam down, and got him in the seat. He bent and eased his brother's legs inside the car and closed the door. He gave a last look to the house and ran around to the driver's side, sliding behind the wheel. "Lara's gonna have to fend for herself for one more night."

Sam nodded and let his head fall back to the seat. "S'gonna be bad…isn't it?" He asked tiredly. The faint burning in his shoulders and hips was becoming a dull ache of pins and needles. It was a relief to know he would get feeling back, but worrying at the same time for how much it was going to hurt when he did.

"Yeah, buddy." Dean didn't bother lying. He'd spent half a day pinned under a tree once when they were kids. It'd taken their Dad that long to find them and, after he had, after he'd killed the wendigo, Sam had spent the other half of the day rubbing feeling back into his legs with him while Dean had tried and failed not to cry with the sensation. "One night only free pass for you, Sammy. You get to whine all you want and I won't give you crap about it." Dean grinned. "Well, I won't give you too much crap about it."

"Jerk," Sam said with a soft laugh while the rumble of the Impala's engine helped soothe his frayed nerves.

"Bitch," Dean chuckled and stretched a hand over the seat, resting it on Sam's shoulder, not wanting to hurt his already abused neck.

Sam was twitching in his seat by the time they reached the motel and Dean winced in sympathy for the grimace of pain on his face. He went around to the passenger side and opened the door, kneeling down. "How bad is it now?"

Sam shook his head. "Not bad."

"Uh huh." Dean didn't believe him for a moment and knew it was only going to get worse. He reached in and pulled Sam out slowly, getting him over his shoulders again and could feel his brother's arms and legs beginning to jump with returning blood and sensation.

Sam's head protested the up and down movements and he wanted a shower so bad he could cry. "Wish I could stand up."

Dean nodded as he arranged Sam on his bed, straightening his legs out and went to the fridge. He grabbed a bottle of water and then went to the bathroom, filled the ice bucket with water and grabbed a towel. "Ok, I need to get a look at your cracked melon." He sat next to Sam and smiled when he turned his head away so Dean could look.

"Feels disgusting," Sam said of his blood-caked hair and sucked in a breath in pain when Dean's fingers touched behind his ear.

"Easy." Dean gently moved the caked hair away, letting water dribble from the towel into the mess until he found the gash about an inch behind Sam's right ear and roughly an inch long. It had long since stopped bleeding, but it had been a hell of a hit. He set about cleaning it with the towel. "What the hell were you thinking, Sam? Going out there without me?"

Sam closed his eyes as Dean's ministrations made his head pound, gentle as he was. "Thought it was you…used your voice on the…crap, ow…on the phone." He swallowed hard against another wave of nausea and tried to use that to ignore the increasing burning sensation in his limbs. "Said you…were in trouble."

Dean's mouth fell open and he groaned. Sam running off in the middle of the night to save him made perfect sense and he should have figured it would be something like that.

"When I was…" Sam's voice hitched slightly. "…trapped….in there, all I could think was that you were somewhere in the house, too…..in trouble, maybe hurt…..or….." he couldn't finish the thought. "And I couldn't help you, and..." He closed his eyes briefly, and Dean remained silent, gently trying to wipe away more of the blood, sensing that Sam wasn't finished and was just working up to whatever else he needed to say. "Dean…if you were in trouble too…." A shudder ran through Sam's body and a single tear escaped to roll down his face. "I really thought I might…die there….like that. Dean…" Sam felt his control slipping as the experience washed over him now that he had time to process it, and he fought to push it back down.

Dean's face had darkened as Sam spoke, realizing the terror and horror that his little brother must have gone through alone and trapped and wondering if there was even a hope of rescue. "That son of a bitch is dead, dude. I'm really gonna enjoy ganking his ass tomorrow night."

"He's…buried in the town cemetery," Sam had to fight the growing need to cry out while he choked back tears. The pins and needles were slowly crawling down his arms and legs and becoming maddening. "Found him earlier."

Dean huffed a quiet laugh and set the towel aside. "Of course you did." He watched his brother's face and his twitching arms and legs and sighed. "Feel your fingers yet?"

Sam shook his head, suddenly afraid to open his mouth and let out the moan of pain trying to escape. His eyes flew open when he felt hands at his shoulder.

"Take it easy." Dean smirked and started rubbing briskly up and down Sam's arms, first one and then the other. He gave each a few minutes and then moved on to his legs. "It's gonna get bad fast with me doing this, but it'll pass faster."

Sam nodded. "I…I know," He gasped it and then let out the pained moan, rolling his head and slamming his eyes closed. "I remember." That night in the woods after their Dad had gotten the tree off his brother had been the only time he'd ever seen his big brother helpless and crying. Sam would have done anything to make him feel better, and, at only twelve, it had been a little scary. Dean had always seemed untouchable to him until that night, and Sam had spent hours massaging feeling back into his legs until his hands had cramped and hurt and Dean had finally passed out in exhaustion. Sam wished he could do that now, pass out and just sleep through the liquid fire that began to pour down his arms and legs.

"Breathe, Sammy. Nice and easy," Dean coached, hearing the ragged breaths start to punch out of his brother's chest. He was working to keep his anger in check as he found spiral bruises running up Sam's legs and arms from the ropes. The kid had been pretzeled inside that damn coffin.

Sam's arms and legs were twitching in earnest, burning and itching, and he couldn't stop the grunts of pain escaping him. "Shit…Dean!"

"Right here, little brother," Dean patted a hand on his chest and went back to rubbing his arms.

An hour later, the tear-tracks had dried on Sam's face. His chest burned from the effort of surviving the feeling returning to his limbs while his head pounded. He still had pins and needles in his arms and legs, but it was more manageable now. He was even able to somewhat help rub the feeling back, but still couldn't stop the twitching and jumping while the nerves came back to life screaming. He'd thrown up twice more, though he'd had nothing but water to toss.

Dean paused, taking his hands from his brother's leg and tried to shake some feeling back into his own fingers. They were cramped and tired, but Sam was still hurting. He looked up at Sam's pale face and the lines of exhaustion there and sighed. "Dude, try to sleep."

Sam shook his head. "Can't." He opened his eyes and looked miserably at him. "Still feels like my legs are on fire." He shifted his shoulders and groaned. "And I think both my shoulders are dislocated from being tied up like that."

Dean snorted. "No, they're not. Stop whining."

"Hey! You said I could whine all I wanted." Sam managed a lop-sided smile through the pain and Dean laughed.

"Fine. Go on." Dean grinned and slapped Sam's leg before he started rubbing below his knee again. "Knock yourself out." He rolled his eyes. "No, really, knock yourself out, man."

"Shut up." Sam groaned and went back to opening and closing his fists. It was still difficult, but he was relieved they were listening to him again, even if it hurt like hell. Dean had helped him get his jacket and flannel off and seeing the angry bruises ringing his arms from the rope seemed to make it hurt more. The dead bastard who tied him up hadn't been taking any chances, and he wondered if he'd done the same to Lara.

"She'll be fine, dude."

Sam looked up in surprise. "What?"

Dean rolled his eyes again. "You're transparent sometimes, you know that? Ghost chick. Lara. She'll be fine. I'll torch her boyfriend tomorrow, and if she doesn't go on her own after that, I'll hit the house and send her right after him. Stop worrying about the dead lady."

"I'm not worrying," Sam protested and let his head fall back to the pillow while his eyes slipped closed.

Dean chuckled. "We should go to Vegas after this. Take a break." He smiled when Sam cracked an eye to look at him over his twitching body. "There's this stripper. Calls herself Remora."

Sam picked his head up enough to raise a brow and stare at him. "What kind of stripper name is that?"

"You know, like the sucker fish!" Dean pursed his lips for effect. "Lips like a Hoover, dude! She can suck your…"

"Please stop traumatizing me." Sam groaned with a weary laugh and let his head fall back; no longer able to hold it up.

Dean snorted and switched legs. Sam was close to passing out, he could tell in the way he was slow to react, and as he watched, his brother's head tilted over, rolling to the side while his mouth fell slightly open. Dean smirked and sat back. "Sammy?" He asked softly and didn't get a response. "About damn time." He stood, stretching the kinks out of his arms and back and tugged the blanket off his bed. He laid it carefully over his brother's still twitching and jumping arms and legs and hoped he'd get at least a little sleep before it woke him again. Dean brushed careful fingers over the bruises and abrasions on Sam's neck, relieved that they didn't seem to be causing him any trouble other than just hurting. It could have been a lot worse.

Dean laid out on his own bed, leaned up against the headboard and picked up the remote. He turned the television on low and kept one eye on Sam, letting the sight of him there settle the last of the soul-deep terror he'd felt when he thought he'd lost him…when he thought he'd been too late. He shook himself and smiled grimly.

"Not on my watch," Dean promised himself and his brother softly. He didn't know where the hell their Dad was or what trouble he was in, but he would keep Sam safe no matter what. That was his job; watch out for Sammy. He nodded to himself and let his head drop back to the wall, closed his eyes, and let sleep take him for whatever time Sam was out, sure in the knowledge that he'd wake the moment his brother did. "Night, Sammy."

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To Be Continued...thank Sammynanci and JaniceC678 for giving me ideas. :P