Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or its characters, but Christmas is coming and they would make great stocking stuffers (hint, hint)

A/N: Hello all! Here's a little 2-shot story that I wanted to get out before Christmas that is pretty much just an excuse to whump poor Sam. I warn you that I do not have a beta for this, so let me know if you find any mistakes that need to be taken care of. This is set just after season 2's 'Hunted'. I hope you like it. :)

.

Assumptions, or How to Make an Ass out of U and ME

.

Part One

.

Dean pushed the accelerator to the floor, weaving almost manically through traffic, his mind singularly focused on getting to his destination. Speed laws and the honking of the pissed-off drivers he cut off were blatantly ignored as the engine roared and powered the car, at times driving onto shoulders and sidewalks just to get around the other cars.

After far too long, a three-story brick and mortar building finally came into view. Dean took the turn into its parking lot at full speed, never letting up on the gas, even when car's tires hit the curb and sent the vehicle onto two wheels for a split second, nearly toppling it over.

The car jarringly came back to the pavement with a bounce high enough to cause Dean's head to hit the roof, but his attention on the building never wavered as he slammed on the brakes just outside the entrance and killed the engine. At that moment, he didn't care that he was parking illegally nor that his car would probably be towed, his focus was centered squarely on the double doors of the building and getting himself inside. Grabbing his keys, almost as an afterthought, Dean pushed open his door and slammed it shut again before running towards the entrance.

In his race to get inside the busy place, Dean pushed past several people, never hearing their shouts of 'Hey!' or 'Watch it!'. By the time he made it inside and to the long desk manned by three women wearing pink scrubs he was out of breath, sweating, and frantic for answers.

"I got a call that my brother's here. His name is Sam …" Dean had to pause a moment and pull himself together enough to remember their cover name of the week. " uh … Winters, Sam Winters."

"Just a moment, sir. I'll need to look him up." The disinterested woman behind the desk spoke, never once looking up from her computer screen. She tip-typed away and then sighed, "Sorry … we're really busy and the computer system is running kinda slow today. This could take a few minutes. Why don't you have a seat."

Dean wasn't in any mood to sit down and wait for these people to get their acts together. He didn't know what was going on with Sam, why he was in the hospital, or how bad the situation was, so there was no way in hell he was going to sit on his thumbs and wait.

He spied a set of doors with a sign for the emergency department near them and started to head that way. "Nevermind. I'll find him myself." He muttered, ignoring the nurse as she tried to call him back. The doors were marked for hospital personnel only, but with the high volume of people coming and going in the busy reception area, he easily passed through along with some hospital workers without anyone making a fuss.

However, finding Sam turned out to be a bitch, the maze of corridors only leading him to room after room filled with people that weren't his brother. Dean was almost to the point of grabbing a passing nurse and asking for directions, violating his own code of masculinity, when a voice broke out over the PA system.

"Code Blue, room 12! Code Blue, room 12!"

Dean's stomach took a plunge towards his knees ... he hoped to God that wasn't a call for Sam, but his gut was screaming at him to find room 12. A little ways down the hallway, Dean saw a nurse drop what she was doing and run in the opposite direction in response to the announcement. Dean quickly ran after her, finding himself rounding a corner that fed directly into a large treatment room.

The room was more of a bay, really. There were several areas sectioned off by curtains, each with a different patient in each one. The area furthest from the door was surrounded by a flurry of activity and voices giving orders. Like some kind of organized tornado, nurses and doctors flew in and out from behind the curtain, working to save their patient with frenetic, yet efficient energy. The nurse Dean had followed slipped behind the curtain only to come back out a second after and grab a machine, pulling it towards the professional whirlwind occurring behind the curtain.

Dean gulped, his feet doing all of the work of propelling him forwards where his mind didn't want to go. He scanned the beds in the other sectioned off areas of the bay, hoping to find Sam in one of them rather than in the last one where all of the activity was occurring, but of those beds that were occupied, his brother wasn't to be found.

With a lump beginning to lodge in his throat, Dean approached the final curtain from behind which he could hear the whine of a defibrillator begin its ascent. Reaching out with a hand that trembled, Dean pulled on the fabric that blocked his view, trying to stay out of the way of the people working to save their patient all while needed to see for himself what he could only hope wasn't true – that Sam was the one behind that curtain.

Just as Dean pulled the curtain to the side, a voice cried out "Clear!" There was a loud popping noise as a burst of electricity exploded out of the defibrillator's paddles. Dean couldn't make out much or even the face of the person lying on the bed as he was surrounded by too many people, but what he could see was disturbing, even to his own eyes which had witnessed for too much.

Dean watched, his breath caught in his throat as the back on the bed arched upward from the jolt of electricity. It seemed as though time itself had stopped and that the power coming from the paddles pressed into his chest would never stop flowing. Dean couldn't see much more than that, his view blocked by a nurse's posterior, but as the body on the bed flopped down boneless with an arm dangling limply from the side, Dean could just make out a dark mop of shaggy hair enter his line of sight.

Dean's head spun in denial, losing all feeling in the rest of his body as his world came crumbling down around his ears.

"Asytole." A man's voice announced with professional detachment, as he looked at a monitor and shook his head. "Time of death: 16:53."

48 hours earlier …

Sam pitched another shovel-full of dirt over his shoulder, heedless of where it landed, but somewhat satisfied when he heard Dean shout in annoyance as several clods of dirt and clay hit his head, embedding soil into his neatly styled hair.

"Jeesus, Sam! Watch it, will ya?" Dean grumbled, vigorously rubbing his hands through his hair to shake out the dirt, leaving his hair sticking up in all directions. Sam turned and tried to suppress a laugh.

"Whoops … my bad." Sam replied, sarcastically unapologetic, "guess you should move out of the way or say … I dunno … take a turn at digging."

"Hey … I did the hard part. I found the grave and dug through the sod. Getting through the grass is always the worst part and you know it."

Sam struck his shovel into the earth once more, but not before sending his brother a severe glare. "Not when everything under the grass is hard-packed clay, Jerk."

"Someone's gotta hold the flashlight and keep watch, which, but the way is hard to do when you're constantly bitching. Really … you should hear yourself -" Dean switched into full-on mocking mode, his voice traveling up in pitch as he sing-songed a girly version of Sam's voice "Oh Dean, this dirt is so heavy that my freakishly long arms can barely lift it. My manicure is totally getting ruined and I'll never get all of this filth out of my beautiful, flowing locks of hair."

Sam sent the load of dirt he had just shoveled purposefully into Dean's face. Dean managed to dodge the flying clumps of clay just in time, clearly receiving the message his brother was sending.

"Alright … fine, you pussy. I'll dig the rest up. It'll probably go quicker anyway since I'm the stronger, faster one."

Sam, sore from digging and sweating from exertion, glared again at Dean, but was glad for the break and wasted little time climbing up and out of the grave. He pushed the shovel forcefully into Dean's hands while grabbing the flashlight from him at the same time. Grinning wickedly, Sam watched his brother drop into the hole, knowing just how much fun Dean was going to have trying to break through the firmly packed ground.

Dean grumbled as he got to work and Sam couldn't help but laugh as his brother's face turned red, struggling with exertion to lift the heavy, clay-like earth.

After about a half hour of teasing Dean and many strings of curses being hurled his way later, Sam suddenly stopped laughing, feeling a weird tingle of energy work its way up his spine. His neck and arm hairs stood at attention as the temperature dropped suddenly and his breath misted with each exhale. Sam lifted his shotgun to his shoulder and aimed it outward, his eyes scanning to surrounding graveyard for any movement.

"Everything okay?" Dean called out from inside the grave, continuing to dig.

"So far." Sam replied cautiously, his finger clicking off the safety of his gun. "But I think Mr. Elmont isn't too happy that we're getting close to his bones."

"I just need a few more minutes, Sam."

"I got you covered." Sam assured Dean, turning in a circle. Almost as expected, a loud voice roared and filled the air with vehement anger as a large figure of a man in overalls and a ghostly pallor appeared mere steps away from Sam, barreling straight for him.

Sam's reaction was nearly instantaneous. His finger pulled the trigger back and in the next moment the ghost of the farmer haunting the nearby grain silo was vaporized by the rock salt pellets. Sam breathed out and lowered his weapon, relieved knowing that it would be at least a few minutes before the angry ghost would be back for a second round. Turning back towards the grave, he could see that Dean had sped up his efforts to uncover the dead man's coffin.

"Dude, need me take over?" Sam asked, knowing that Dean had to be tiring.

"Nah. Almost there." Dean breathlessly informed Sam without looking up from his task, grunting as his threw out another load of dirt. "Just keep an eye out for Mr. Greenjeans."

Sam backed away from the grave and turned around again to keep watch over area, but his action was brought to a screeching halt as Mr. Elmont was instantly in his face again, his angry, dark eyes throwing daggers at him. Sam had no time to wonder how the ghost had been able to reappear so quickly or raise his weapon before the vengeful spirit grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket and lifted him from the ground. Sam kicked and fought against the cold, hard grip of the ghost, but anything he tried to free himself only made the angry spirit more pissed off.

With a roar of pure wrath, Mr. Elmont easily threw Sam into the air like he weighed nothing. Sam's stomach lurched as he flew, a shout caught in his throat as the world turned end over end. His trip through the air came to a pain-filled and jarring stop the moment his back collided with the sharp corner of a solid headstone. All of the air in his lungs exploded from his chest on impact and crumpling to the ground, he fought to draw in a breath. The pain in his back screamed through him, making it impossible to move before the spirit was tackling him, straddling his hips, and pressing what felt like the weight of ten defensive linemen into his body. Fat, cold fingers wrapped around his neck, and what little air Sam had managed to take in since his return to earth was immediately choked out of him.

Sam's heart thudded with adrenaline, the blood rushing so loud in his ears that he never heard Dean yell his name. His one and only thought was on breathing again as he struggled to pry the ghost's fingers off before he crushed his windpipe. Without the benefit of oxygen coming to his brain, Sam's vision tunneled and his attempts to fight grew feebler by the second.

Just as young man started to feel his body go numb and darkness tumble towards him, a resounding bang filled the air. At once, the pressure on his throat was suddenly released and the weight of the spirit disappeared. Almost belatedly, Sam's brain caught up with his body and reminded his lungs that breathing was once again possible. His gasped and coughed, sucking in delicious air once more into his empty lungs, the rest of his body still too stunned to move as he focused solely on breathing in and out.

Sam didn't realize that his eyes were squeezed tight until he felt a hand pat his cheek, "Sam? … Sammy? C'mon, man … just breathe."

Eyes flicking open, Sam took in the sight of his brother kneeling over him, his face etched with worry and smudged with caked on dirt, his hair sticking up at odd angles. Something about Dean's appearance suddenly struck him as hilarious. It really wasn't all that funny, but Sam just couldn't stop and a chuckle bubbled out of his throat until he was laughing hard enough for tears to come to his eyes.

"Dude … you hit your head or something?"

Sam breathed in deep, trying to put a stop to the giggle fit he was afflicted with and wiped the tears from his face. "I'm fine … really … you just look so …" He giggled again.

"I look so … what? Handsome? Badass? I already know that, Sammy. I just don't see what's so funny about it."

Maybe it was the lack of oxygen that had made him so giddy, but now that he had a steady supply of air coming in and out of him again, he felt himself returning back to normal. "I dunno, man, but I'm okay now."

"Ya sure?" Dean asked.

Sam nodded as he took in a deep breath and blew it out again. Being choked out always left him feeling weird for several minutes, he just needed to get his bearings again and he would be fine. All of this he assumed until Dean offered him a hand and tried to help him sit up. Pain immediately ripped across his back, radiating from left side flank where the corner of the headstone and broken his fall. Sam sucked in a gasp and felt the blood drain from his face as white-hot pokers skewered him from behind.

"Ahhhh …. Owww." He groaned as he levered up, but once he was seated on his rump and no longer moving he felt the pain dissipate and ebb away into dull throb.

"You alright?" Dean asked once again.

"It's okay. I just hit my back." Sam wasn't looking forward to moving again anytime soon, but he knew they had bigger things to worry about than his bruised back. He'd live, he readily assumed, and what was more important right then was what had happened to Mr. Elmont. "Did you burn the bones?"

"Not yet. I was just about to when you did your human cannon-ball routine. I shot him, but the guy came back pretty quick last time, so –"

"We better get him burned right away before he comes back for more." Sam finished for his brother and made a rather weak attempt to get himself standing, but Dean laid a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back down, handing him the shotgun.

"I got it. You sit here and shoot anything that moves, got it? " Sam was about to argue that he was fine and could help, but Dean was already returning to the open grave. "But I swear to God if you laugh at me one more time, I'll knock your ass into next week with the shovel." Dean called out over his shoulder.

Thankfully, Elmont didn't reappear before Dean salted and lit the bones and by the time the flames had started to die down, Sam had managed to pull himself back onto his feet. His back still throbbed, pulsing with a deep-seated ache that felt like a million little knives digging into his flesh and he didn't need to be able to see it to know that he was going to have one hell of a bruise there, but compared to some of the other injuries he had received since getting back into hunting, this one was barely a blip on the radar. A nice, hot shower and a good, long sleep until noon and he would be ready for whatever hunt came their way next. He even lent Dean a hand in filling the grave back in, even though Dean made him quit after just a few shovelfuls because, according to big brother, he was looking like crap.

The sun was just beginning to peek above the horizon when Sam and Dean finally returned to their motel room dirty, tired, sweaty, and smelly from the nighttime excursion to the cemetery. Dean immediately began stripping his shirt off and called dibs on the first shower. Sam was too tired to fight for the shower and instead, dragged himself over to his bed, carefully sitting down onto it with a weary and exhausted sigh. His back continued to twitch and complain with every movement and sitting in the car for the past half hour on the way back to the motel hadn't done it any favors, but the promise of rest was in the forefront of his mind above the aching.

Sam had just enough juice left in him to strip down to his t-shirt and underwear and choke down three ibuprofen before lying down on top of the covers of his bed. He had every intention of staying awake long enough for Dean to finish his shower so he could take one himself, but as soon as he rolled onto his uninjured side and felt some relief spread across his back, his eyes closed on their own and he was swiftly carried off into sleep.

ooOoOoo

Dean woke to sun shining directly into his face and his phone buzzing by his ear. Reluctantly, he flung out a hand from under the blanket and grabbed the offending device, torn between answering it and flinging it across the room.

"What?" He answered without opening his eyes or caring who was on the other end.

"Don't tell me you just woke up, ya damned idjit."

"Oh …hey, Bobby." Dean opened his eyes and glanced at the clock, not really surprised to see that it was 1:30 in the afternoon. "Yeah … we had a late night – a salt n' burn of a f'ing farmer pissed off over the new owners of his farm building a grain silo on his land or some shit like that. No big whoop."

"Where you guys at?"

"Uh …" Dean had to think for a moment. They'd only been in this town a day or two and he hadn't planned on staying long enough to remember its name. "Southern Nebraska, I think. Why?"

"I got something for ya."

"What is it?"

"Tell ya the truth, I'm not sure what yet. I got a contact out in Utah who called me about some strange cattle deaths out there. Might be demon activity, but then again, could be just a bunch of Satan-worshipping morons. Either way, I thought you boys might want to look into it."

Dean thought he could hear the sounds of something sizzling on the other end of the line and he could just imagine the older hunter frying up something on his old stove. Thinking of that only seemed to remind him that it had been since the previous night since he last ate and he was getting hungry.

"Yeah … I'll talk to Sam. We'll head out that way as soon as we eat."

"Alright. You boys be careful."

"'Kay, talk to ya later."

Dean shut off the phone and dumped it bank on the nightstand and then rolled over to see that Sam's bed was empty, but the sounds of water running in the bathroom indicated that his brother was in the shower and breakfast would have to wait a few minutes.

Getting out of bed, Dean reached for his bag and started to get dressed. Once he was fully clothed, he noted that the shower was still on and that Sam seemed to be taking his sweet time in the bathroom and the need to pee was growing more imperative. He walked over to the bathroom room and gave three solid knocks.

"C'mon, Sammy. Leave some water for the rest of the town, will ya? Other people need to use the pot."

Dean heard the squeak of the taps being turned off followed by Sam's voice, "Hold on."

Tapping his foot impatiently, Dean waited by the door until Sam finally emerged from the steamy bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. "Bout time, Princess. You enjoy your spa treatment?"

Sam just grumbled and brushed past his brother and turned to mock him a little more about being such a girl for taking such a long shower, but the moment he saw Sam's back, he stopped short and gave a low whistle. The entire left side of Sam's back was one large, mottled, red, purple, and black bruise.

"Jees, Sam. You okay?"

Sam turned around, confusion written on his face, "Huh?"

"Your back, Genius. That's one impressive bruise."

Sam shrugged and that simple action alone seemed to cause him some pain and he winced , "It's fine. Just sore."

Dean didn't believe that for a moment, but knowing Sam, his definition of 'fine' meant 'not in immediate danger of dying', so Dean decided to drop it and go about his business in the bathroom. He would just have to assume that his brother was old enough to know when he needed to take it easy. Besides, it was just a bruise and both brothers had had far worse. Dean would just have to ignore his instinct to worry, especially since things between him and Sam had been going so well lately and he didn't want Sam thinking that he didn't trust him.

And it had been hard enough winning back Sam's trust for not telling him about what their father had told him before he died and after the whole debacle with Sam taking off to find answers about his connection to the yellow-eyed demon and Gordon's little attempt to kill his brother, they had both come to some kind of understanding – they had to trust each other and stick together – they couldn't hide things from each other because it was just too damn dangerous. Since then, things between him and Sam had improved a lot and they had put several successful hunts behind them. Sam had even gone along with Dean's suggestion to take a week off and decompress, ending up in Vegas for a few days and lining their pockets with some extra cash that would last them for the rest of the month.

So yeah … Dean didn't want to upset the status-quo, so he let it go. He'd still keep an eye on Sam, but he had to remind himself that Sam was a grown up now and coddling from him would only make him upset.

Stepping out of the bathroom, Dean found Sam dressed and packing his bag. Apparently, Sam had already assumed that they would be leaving town even before Dean could tell him about Bobby's phone call. "So … where to now?" Sam asked.

"How does Utah sound? Bobby called and gave us a lead on some possible demon activity there."

Sam nodded in agreement and finished packing, following Dean out to the car only a few minutes later after Dean had gathered his things as well. Dean couldn't help but notice his brother moving stiffly and slowly and the wince and grunt he made as he lowered himself into the car showed him just how much his brother was hurting. Again … Dean had to remind himself to not worry – Sam was a big boy. He didn't need his older brother fussing over him.

ooOOoo

Sam wasn't going to admit it, but the trip to Utah was pure torture. He had taken plenty of painkillers to combat the pain, but still, his back was giving him fits. Sometimes it was nothing more than a twinge while others, it throbbed and ached as if he had taken bullet to the back. He tried to tell himself that it wasn't so bad, so long as he didn't stand up, sit down, bend over, walk, twist, cough, sneeze, or fart, then he was mostly pain-free. Granted, it was hard to function or hunt without doing any of those things, but given a day or two, he was certain the pain would recede enough for him to take on whatever came their way next.

For now, at least, all he had to do was sit in the car. But even that was becoming harder to do. As the miles sped by, he found it increasingly hard to find a comfortable position and though he was weary and tired, he couldn't get any rest. On top of all that, the constant motion of the car was starting to give him a headache, making him slightly nauseous.

Every so often, Dean would look his way with a face marked with concern, but to his credit, he didn't baby Sam. Dean had always been overly protective of him and while it was nice to know his brother cared, sometimes it was just plain annoying. Sam could take care of himself and he's said this many, many times to Dean and for the most part, his brother seemed to be trusting him more and trying not to hover over him like a helicopter like Sam knew he wanted to. For this, Sam was grateful and he was finally starting to feel as if hunting with is brother was becoming more of an equal partnership rather than Dean calling all of the shots and Sam following after him like an obedient puppy.

That being said, Sam knew that part of the responsibility of a partnership was sharing the things that were bothering him and right then, his back was bothering him and all he wanted to do was crawl into a bed and lie down. It was time for him to speak up and admit that he wasn't feeling as great as he let on.

Dean, however, seemed to have already picked up on Sam's discomfort. "I think we should we should find a place to stay for the night. We're only about 10 miles out from the area those cows were killed. How's that sound?"

Sam nodded, trying not to show just how relieved he was. "Good. I need to start researching and maybe tomorrow visit a library to get more info. Maybe there's been a pattern of cattle deaths in the past or documented reports of any occult activities in the area."

Dean pulled into the first motel they came across, a rather sad looking establishment painted in a peeling aquamarine that seemed so ill-fitting when compared to the industrial part of town it was situated in. Sam didn't really care about the décor, all he cared about was getting a bed, which he allowed Dean to handle.

As soon as they had a room, Sam didn't waste any time melting down onto the first bed from the door. Dean announced that he was going out on a food run and would be back in a half hour, but even though Sam nodded tiredly, his eyes had already closed and he was asleep before Dean had even left the room.

Sam hadn't meant to sleep all night, but that must have been what happened as he woke to the sun just beginning to rise. He didn't remember getting under the covers the previous evening, but somehow, his shoes had been removed and he was covered in a warm blanket. Dean must have had a hand in that, but knowing his brother, Dean wouldn't want him to say anything about that act of kindness.

Thinking of Dean, Sam looked towards the other bed and found it messy, but empty. To his surprise, another glance across the room found his brother already up, tapping away at the laptop with a couple of steaming cups of coffee sitting next to him.

Making an attempt raise himself onto his elbows, Sam immediately felt his back seize up and he gasped involuntarily. The sensation of red-hot knives being driven into his flank was enough to make tears spring to his eyes and bite his lip to keep himself from making a rather undignified yelp. Pushing through the pain with tight, low groan, Sam managed to sit up, bending over a little until the pain became bearable.

Dean turned at the noise and raised an eyebrow, "You okay?"

Sam nodded, letting his hair hide his face and the discomfort he was in.

"You sure? That didn't exactly sound like a happy noise you just made."

Sam sighed, "I'll live." Changing the subject, Sam pointed at the computer open before Dean, "Research?"

"Yeah … thought I would get a jump on it since you conked out early last night."

"Sorry 'bout that. I guess I was more tired than I thought."

"Nah, man. It's okay. So far, I haven't found much. The police around here are saying that the cattle deaths are due to disease and I haven't been able to find any reports of other demonic activity like electrical storms and stuff like that, so …"

Sam nodded, finishing for his brother "I need to take over?"

Dean grinned, "By George, I think he's got it."

"Okay … let me take a shower and get dressed then you can drop me off at the library."

"While you do that, I'll check around town and see what the gossip is. If those dead cows died of anything other than disease, I'm willing to bet my last dollar that they'll be talking about it."

Sam snorted a little and the wished he hadn't as the nerves in his back sent pain signals up to his brain, but he covered it with a derisive question, "And by 'check around town' you mean go bar-hopping, right?"

Dean splayed out his hands as he shrugged, "What can I say? Drunk lips are loose lips."

Sam shuffled his way to the bathroom and turned the shower on, making the water hot enough to be near scalding. He stayed under the water, just standing there with his forehead resting against the wall while letting the heat sluice over his aching back. He must have turned the water on a little too hot, because when he was done and stepped out, dark splotches floated across his eyes and he had to grip the edge of the toilet to keep his knees from buckling until the dizzy feeling subsided and he could straighten up again.

Even though his skin was scorched by the hot water, Sam shivered as he grabbed a towel and dried off. And as he dressed, grunting with the effort it took to just pull his pants up, he still felt chilled like a fever was trying to settle in. An this was just his luck - not only was his back messed up, but now it felt like he might be coming down with something.

Half an hour and four ibuprofen later, Sam stiffly dragged himself out of the Impala and slowly walked in to the local library branch. Truth be told, he felt like dog shit, but he had hope that sitting around in a library where he could get up and stretch his legs every so often would help his back feel better by the end of the day and that whatever bug he had picked up would have worked its way out of his system. At least they wouldn't be hunting anything out in the field that day and for that, he was thankful.

Sam tried to ignore the throbbing as he found the old-fashioned card catalog and began his search. After just a few minutes of standing, however, his back began to protest and the aching in his flank had traveled from his back to his front, lower abdomen and down his legs all the way to his toes. Working through the insistent discomfort and spasms in his flank, Sam pulled several books from the shelves and found a table to work from. Carefully, he sat and breathed though his nose and the pain ratcheted up another level the moment he sat. It seemed that no matter what he did, the pain chased after him and followed every move he made.

Eventually, his back began to settle the longer he sat and focused on flipping through the pages of the books. Unfortunately, nothing in the reports or the back issues of the local papers he searched pointed to anything demonic. It looked as though this hunt was going to be a bust and Bobby's contact had jumped the gun on this one.

Two hours into his research, Sam started to feel strange. He was hot and cold at the same time and soon it wasn't just his back that was achy, but his entire body. The words on the pages before him began to blur and run into each other and concentrating on reading and comprehending became a struggle. Sam had the urge to just lay his head on the table and take a nap for a few minutes, but his bladder reminded him that it was time for a trip to the bathroom. It struck him then that he hadn't needed to go that morning, which now that he thought about it, was unusual for him. Then again, he probably just wasn't drinking enough water and since he had that cup of coffee Dean handed him that morning, now he finally had to pee. Though he dreaded getting up from his seat and facing whatever pain his back was going to give him, he couldn't put it off forever. He had to go.

Taking a deep breath, Sam pushed himself up from the table, thankful that the library was practically empty except for him and the librarian because the moment, his rear end left the chair, the stabbing sensation in his back returned with a vengeance, leaving his gasping and lightheaded.

Sam leaned forward with clammy palms on the table for several moments, a little worried about how weak he suddenly felt and dizzy he was just from standing. He gave himself few moments for his equilibrium to return before straightening up as best as his back would allow (which was about half-way) and heading for the head desk where the librarian sat reading a magazine.

"Excuse me, " He asked the middle-aged woman, "Is there a bathroom near?"

Looking up from her reading, the woman gave Sam a somewhat concerned look before she pointed to a hallway to her right. "Sure. It's right down the hall."

Sam nodded, causing little black splotches to float before his eyes. "Thanks." He mumbled as he shuffled towards the bathroom.

Just pushing the door open to enter the bathroom was ten times harder than it should have been and Sam had to admit that he was feeling like absolute crap. As soon as he finished in the bathroom, he decided that he would call Dean to come and pick him up. After that, he'd spend the rest of the day in bed and maybe he'd even ask Dean to buy him a heating pad for his back.

Sam stumbled over to the urinal and unzipped, resting his forehead against the cool porcelain. He waited for a moment for relief to come, but instead, a tight, burning pain gripped him as soon as he began to urinate. Ten times worse than the pain in his back, Sam felt as though he had lit himself on fire in the most intimate of places and he cried out, tears streaming down his face. Sam gripped the urinal as his knees failed to hold his weight, but what truly sent his heart racing was the sight of the red liquid slipping down the drain of the basin.

The black spots that had invaded his vision earlier returned, but this time, bigger and more insistently, trying to pull Sam down into a dark tunnel he couldn't drag himself out of. He needed to call Dean – needed to hear his brother's voice telling him he was coming to help.

Sam reached into his pocket, pulling out his phone, but his eyes lost focus on the screen and his fingers wouldn't work. He sank to his knees and the phone hit the tile floor. After that, all of the lights went out.

To be continued

Thanks for reading! Sorry for the cliffy, but tune in tomorrow for the conclusion. :)