This fic was written on a dare from soncnica, offering me a few lines she'd written to get me out of a writer's block I had talked myself into. Of course then it evolved in a "write off" of sorts, her taking the same lines and writing a fic to that prompt. We're posting our fics simultaneously, so if you like mine please check out hers, see what she came up with (I'm soooo curious too!). I know it's gonna be much longer than mine, and probably much better, but then this is the first time I dabble in SPN fic.

Thanks a mill to my lovely betas anuna and hufflepuffsneak, you are awesome!

Dean's side hurt like hell. No, scratch that, he'd been there, done that. This was nothing compared to hell, but it still hurt like a son of a bitch. Stupid fucking ghosts. He hated salt and burns right now. He hated Isabelle van Doorn even more. She'd been dead for over 150 years, but that hadn't calmed her rage in the least, it would seem.

Dean's ribs had made the unfortunate acquaintance of a headstone when sweet little Isabelle had thrown him just as Sam drenched her bones with lighter fluid. Dean was still trying to regain his breath when he saw the flames shoot into the night and Isabelle vanished with a shrill scream.

Sam's yelled, "Dean!" was louder. Dean felt more than heard his brother run towards him, the soft earth he's clawing at vibrating under his brother's fast moving bulk.

He finally managed to draw in a lungful of cool night air pungent with smoke and gasoline. He coughed, and the pain flaring through his chest almost made him lose the cheeseburger he'd had for dinner. White sparks danced in front of his eyes as his brother's big hand closed around his shoulder.

"Dean, are you alright?" Sam's voice was shaky, as were his fingers where they dug into Dean's flesh. He stayed hunched over for a moment longer, his brother's warm hand lending him strength.

"Peachy," he finally huffed out as he righted himself and shook off his brother's hand. Nothing broken, he was sure of that, but the bruise was bound to be spectacular.

"Lemme see," Sam demanded, already pawing at the hand Dean had clamped over his aching ribs.

"'m fine, Sammy. Hands off the merchandise," Dean snarled, ignoring Sam's hurt puppy eyes as he turned away in the direction of the still burning grave. "It's just a bruise."

Sam strode past him, his brows drawn together and his hands clenched. "I just wanted to help, jerk." He grabbed the shovel and began to fill the grave again.

Dean sighed. A pissed off Sam was rarely fun, better to let him burn off the fear and anger with some physical labor. Besides, he didn't think he'd be able to even hold the fucking shovel. He settled for packing up their supplies, his side throbbing every time he bent down. He was so slow that Sam was done filling in the grave by the time Dean shouldered the duffle bag. His side throbbed and he felt sick, wanting only to be in his baby and on the way to Bobby's.

"Gimme that," Sam said calmly and reached for the duffle. Dean didn't fight him, and when Sam held out his hand, looking at him expectantly, he dropped the Impala's keys into it.

"Bitch," the older Winchester huffed, a slight smile ghosting over his lips.

"Jerk," came the expected reply with Sam's next exhale, the younger man leading the way to the car.

The Impala's bench felt heavenly, old and broken in just the right way. Dean sighed as he allowed himself to relax into the leather seat, closed his eyes and leaned his head against the side window.

"You want a painkiller?" The car rocked slightly when Sam got in. Dean shook his head.

Metallica's Enter Sandman blasted through the stereo when Sam turned the key. The music stopped even before they began rolling as Sam searched for a station on the old turn-dial.

"What the fuck, Sammy?"

"Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole. Your own rules, bro."

Dean glowered at Sam when he settled on a station playing Coldplay (and didn't it suck that he could even name the band?), a smug little smile on his lips. "I hate you so much right now."

"Shut up, you love me. Now get some rest, we'll be at Bobby's soon."

Despite the throb in his side persistently keeping him from sleep, Dean tried to relax into the soft rumble of his baby. It didn't work. He felt sick, the slow motion of the car and the pain in his side conspiring against him. When they finally rolled into Bobby's scrapyard, he had a headache on top of his aching side. He knew he should have taken Sam up on the offer of painkillers, but after his last experience with them (he'd talked all night about dancing with a purple cow, Sam had laughed at him for days) he didn't want a repeat.

He carefully extricated himself from the car, holding his side. The trip up the stairs was painful, to say the least, but Sam was close and unscathed and that was the most important thing.

They found Bobby in the kitchen, the strong smell of coffee permeating the air in the old house. He huffed at Dean, who was standing hunched over in the doorway. "Sit down before you fall down, idjit."

Feeling a little unsteady by now, Dean hurried to comply.

"Did you break anything?"

"Nah, just bruises," he winced as he sat down on one of the old chairs. Sam slunk into the seat opposite him.

"Good, I guess," Bobby answered as he set down a mug of coffee in front of Dean, then took the seat next to him.

"Thanks, you're a lifesaver." The elder Winchester inhaled the aroma of his favorite beverage, the mug warm against his cool hands. He drank greedily, only now realizing how cold he was. His head began to buzz comfortably, lulling him to sleep.

He put the coffee cup on the table, the black liquid sloshing over the top and sighed: "Sammy, you know what?"


He slurred and blinked, trying to keep Sam in focus. "I think this coffee ain't just coffee."

"Good job, Sherlock," Bobby huffed. "I knew you'd never take the pills voluntarily. Here, let Sam and I help you to the couch, you'll feel better in the morning."

He blinked as two pairs of arms helped him up and to the old couch, removed his jacket and his shoes. The world was fuzzy, the cushion under him soft and the pain in his side had dimmed to bearable.

"Sam, there's a sack of peas in the freezer, get those for me, will ya?"

Dean felt the cool makeshift icepack numbing the residual pain just as someone draped a blanket over him. A big, no ginormous, hand closed around his shoulder gently.

"Sleep, Dean. I'll be here."

"Good, 's good." He drifted off, dreaming of giants and brothers, uncles and fathers.