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Hurt and Hurt/Comfort works

Chapter Text

A visitor to the cave

She was blindfolded as she stepped in to what must have been an elevator. Her heart was racing and her hands were getting clammy. She wringed her fingers, mentally preparing for what she would see when the blindfold would come off.

Living in Star City meant that you were faced with some weird stuff sometimes, and as a doctor, with a regular appearance at the ER, she saw more than most. But this was out of the ordinary teen playing vigilantly, or the victims of some new attack no one understood. This was bigger than that. She didn’t know what she had gotten herself into, but when her old school-friend Felicity Smoak turned up red-eyed and out of breath in her office, she really didn’t have much time to decide.

The elevator stopped and the sound of the door opening was quickly replaced with the sounds of rattling breaths and moans. Felicity took away the blindfold and rushed into the light the doctor’s eyes weren’t used too yet. The smell reached her before sight. Burning flesh and fabric, maybe rubber. Her years in the burn unit had thought her that if this was from only one person, it was not going to be pretty.

The brightest place in the room were the center. The place where all commotion resided too. She quickly made her way there, already finding cloves in her bag. The sight that met her was a trembling figure in green, black and red. The head were covered behind a white curtain of sorts and Felicity was standing behind it, now fully in tears.

“Is this… the Arrow?”

“Please help him. Dr. S… the other doctor is too far away. Can you help?”

A big man was standing across from her. They both looked at the violently squirming body between them and then at each other. The body was covered in burns, at least 60 %, and whatever he was warring was embedded in his skin most places.

“Felicity said you are the best in the city. You used to work at the burn unit, right?”

Her old friend must have kept tabs on her. They hadn’t talked since they were fourteen.

“We need to get the… clothes off. It’s going to hurt. Do you have medical training?”

The doctor hoped that she was right in assuming the guy to be ex-military. He seemed calm in a crisis, especially if this were his friend.

“Some… The Army.”

“Then you know pain-medication in this state would be too risky?”

The guy nodded and she handed him a pair of gloves.

“Felicity. You need to talk to him. He needs you to keep him still while we work.”

The blonde nodded and sat down at the other side of the curtain, out of the doctor’s sight.

The man screamed heart-wrenching as the first piece of fabric was removed ever so carefully from his shoulder. He gasped and fought them as they tried to hold him down.

“We have restraints”

The statement sounded more as a question. As they held the guy down, waiting for him to come down enough that one of them could let go, she listened for his breathing. In between the soothing but slightly panicked sentences from Felicity, she heard him struggle for air. She looked at the man helping her.

“It might be necessary, but do you have oxygen?”

She hadn’t seen much of the room, but what she did see was money. This was state of the art and maybe it wasn’t all computers.

When the man under them were still enough, that he would stay on the table without help, the former soldier helped Felicity with the oxygen-mask and found the restraints.


 Faceless

Felicity was sitting by the end of the table, looking upside-down at Oliver, but he was not looking back at her. Mostly, his eyes were tightly shut in pain but occasionally they would spring open and every time Felicity was sad to notice that he didn’t seemed to see anything. It just seemed like a reaction that happened when he had no more air to scream.

At first, she had tried to hold his head still, but he didn’t seem to recognize anything familiar and it had only made him more distraught, so she had settled on holding a hand lightly on his forehead and trying to reach him with words. Words didn’t come easily, though. It was hard to talk when she herself were crying, but mostly she had no idea what to say. She was not about to leave him in silence, though. The curtain Diggle had hung from two flipped tables were concealing Oliver from the doctor, but also from seeing what was going on. Felicity were content with her not seeing, but Oliver was a control freak and not knowing could possibly make this harder on him.

“I know it hurts. It’s okay. Just lay still. It’ll be over soon.” If she had her  hands free she would have hit herself. ‘An observation, a lie, a command and another lie.’ The looks on Diggle and her old friend, when either of them went to get something, let her know that this was nowhere near over.

An especially gut-twisting scream made it’s was through the oxygen mask. Per reflex Felicity moved to his side and turned his head towards her face. She held him in place and got close. She had to make sure there were nowhere else for him to look, but into her eyes, and she needed to whisper so the doctor wouldn’t hear.

“Oliver.” His eyes remained closed and the muscles in his neck convinced her that his whole body were tensed up and stiff like a board.

“Oliver. Look at me.” She was firm in her tone, but didn’t know if her whisper would reach him. The mist inside the mask were increasing and disappearing in an uneven pace. It was getting faster now though.

He screamed again. She held on tight and didn’t let him move away from her, but just for a few seconds, then he went limp.

“Oliver?” He didn’t respond, and from the sound of it, the two on the other side of the curtain didn’t stop working. If her eyes hadn’t been so difficult to see out of, she might have noticed the tears on the hero’s face.

“He… He passed out.” Felicity stood up to talk to her old friend. The sight that met her was two people with the same concentrating-frown between their eyes and sweat glistening on their foreheads.

“I figured as much. It’s the pain.” The doctor didn’t look up, she only seemed to increase her pace.

Felicity looked at the body now lying limp between the three of them. Oliver’s chest was badly burned, it seemed like they had gotten most of the suit of, though. It was deep and he was bleeding. The gloves on all four working hands were read. Oliver was still wearing his pants. It didn’t look like the fire had hit him as much there, but the suit had certainly seen better days.

“Is he going to be okay?”

Diggle looked at her but quickly looked down to his work on Oliver’s upper arm. He swallowed and took a deep breath. Felicity looked away, if that man started crying, she would turn into even more of a mess than she already was.

“Okay.” The doctor took a step back. Discarded her gloves on the floor and put on a new pair. She didn’t look at anything or anyone but the Arrow.

“He has third-degree burns on his chest and arms. We need to get the cloves off soon, but I’d like to get him sedated for that. We have to remove the restraints too.”

Felicity recognized the feeling of hope. Hope for Oliver to get some kind of pain-relief soon. Other than being unconscious, which didn’t seem to be helping enough, judging from the moans and sounds of nightmares, Oliver was beginning to make.

“His stomach…” the doctor continued. “is covered in first- and second-degree burns. His legs will probably show the same when we get the pants off.” She looked at Felicity. “How is his face?”

When the flamethrower was fired at the Arrow, it was only four feet from him and directed directly at his face. He had covered himself with his arms and the hood must have taken the worst of the rest. The hood was gone.

“It… It’s not that bad. I think.” Felicity really didn’t like to make that kinds of assessments, she was not a doctor, but she knew Oliver wouldn’t like to reveal his identity if it could be avoided.

Diggle looked at the doctor and only after she had glanced over the upper arm and shoulder and nodded, he removed his gloves. “He has a small first-degree burn on his left temple, not reaching the hairline, and a second-degree burn from his collarbone to his chin.”

Diggle removed the curtain slightly back so the doctor could see the burn on the neck. She seemed satisfied with not knowing who was on the table.

“Clean it with some cold water and keep talking to him.” Felicity’s old friend handed her a pair of gloves, and turned to Diggle. “Let’s get these pants of him before he fully awakes.”

Felicity sat down behind the curtain again. As she observed the moaning and now shaking Oliver, she washed his burns, then the glistening forehead and finally she washed away the tears running from the semi-unconscious man’s eyes.

“Felicity…” The doctor stood at the other end of the table. “We’ve cut his pants and are removing them now. You might want to hold his head steady.”

With that, Oliver’s head pressed back against the table as his eyes flew open. He didn’t quite manage to form a scream, but the sound of disbelief in the choking moan, made Felicity’s stomach want to eject her lunch. She turned his head once again and looked in to his eyes. She didn’t recognize the pained and confused look he sent her, but were glad to see that he seemed to lock eye-contact.

“Oliver.” She whispered. Then she talked louder. “Hang in there. You’re safe.” For a brief moment, it seemed like he heard her and his breathing eased a bit.

“Let’s get that monitoring set up so he can get some morphine.” The doctor barely finished talking before Diggle set off to the other side of the room, dropping his gloves on the floor halfway there.

Oliver seemed startled by the new voice and tried to move, but he was still retrained, which only added to the panic. “It’s okay. She’s a doctor. A friend.”

Felicity looked as Oliver tried to find the person connected to the voice, but he only saw the white curtain. “Look at me.” Felicity tried as the mist inside the mask indicated that hyperventilation was a real concern now.

She moved in his line of sight and held his head with a hand on each cheek, carefully not to touch his burns. “Look at me…” He looked her in the eyes, his fear almost paralyzing her. “…You’ll get morphine soon. Just hang on a bit longer and you can sleep.”

For a second there, Felicity didn’t think he’d gotten any of that, but then his breathing slowly got more controlled. “That’s it, Oliver. Concentrate on your breathing. You’ll be able to sleep soon.”

Oliver’s eyes widened and he stopped breathing all together. “Mn…” He took a quick breath. “N..”

“What is it?!” Felicity could see the distress and the fear tearing the strong man apart behind his eyes. “Breathe, take your time.”

Oliver took a few breaths, then tried again. “N… no.” It was a horse whisper under the mask, but the word was clear. “No sleep... n…” he started shaking his head, still maintaining the eye-contact with the girl above him.

“Okay. I get it. Breathe now.” Felicity understood that Oliver wanted to remain conscious for control, but that the pain didn’t outweighed that, she couldn’t grasp.

Diggle and the doctor had set up a heart-monitor and some other stuff she didn’t really cared about at the moment. “He doesn’t want to sleep.”

Felicity looked at her childhood friend as she came closer with an IV-stand. How did this become a part of growing up? Last time she saw this woman they were only girls and both using way too much makeup. The tears they had shed when her friend moved to Star City and she had to stay in Vegas with her mom, had made black stripes down both their faces.

“Okay.” She looked surprised, but Diggle only sent Felicity a defeated look. He was not surprised at all. Felicity almost regretted that she had gotten Oliver to talk.

“We can still give him morphine, Felicity. He doesn’t have to sleep.” The woman in front of her must have seen the added worry on Felicity’s face. Then she pulled over a chair and sat down on the opposite side from Felicity, but still behind the curtain.


A hero

“M… Arrow?” That was awkward. “Can you hear me?”

“Yes.” The whisper from the other side was raw and didn’t offer any clue to who might be the patient, but the word was audible enough.

“I know you are in excruciating pain. I can help with that, but we still need to remove your gloves. It’s going to hurt, even with morphine. Are you sure you don’t want to be sedated?”

The Arrow moved his right hand a bit. He was still restrained so it wasn’t much. He lifted it just enough so he could move his fingers. His thumb and index-finger twitched slightly and then both hands started shaking. The pain was too much for him to make it stop again.

“He’s passing out again!” Felicity cried from the other side of the curtain.

“Listen. Arrow!” She stood up. She didn’t have time to think about the weirdness of using that name this time.

A moan responded.

“I can’t put an IV in your arms, it has to go in your neck. I’m not gonna look, okay? But I’m lifting the sheath a bit.”

His hands were still sharking, so she knew he was awake, but he didn’t answer. His breathing was ragged and too fast for her liking. She was amazed that he hadn’t gone into shock so far, but he was heading there now. “Felicity?”

“He’s nodding. It’s okay.” By the sound of it, Felicity was breathing just as fast is the Arrow.

“Turn his head against you and hold him still.”

She saw the skin over his collarbone stretch slightly and gestured to the military-man to come over. He lifted up the sheath to just below the jaw and she cleaned the side of the neck.

“Hold still.” She was talking to all three of them, but mainly she wanted to let the Arrow know that she started so he wouldn’t be startled by the feeling of the needle going in and the tape holding it in place.

Soon after, the moans subsided and the breathing got more relaxed. The Arrow responded well to the morphine and didn’t show signs of heart- or lung-problems. Only five minutes after the morphine drip were started they decided to remove the restrains on his hands. The ones on his ankles, hips and shoulders stayed on. They had been removed one by one and reattached on top of the bandaging after the debridement.

The Arrow were now awake, but hazy from the painkillers. He seemed to relax his legs, torso and shoulders. The only thing showing signs of pain were his lover arms and hands. Both hands were lifted half an inch from the table, all fingers spread apart but not fully stretched. They were shaking. Both arms were shaking violently from the elbows and down. The gloves were still on. They didn’t know if the hands would show red like the legs, which were covered in first-degree burns from just below both knees and up, or if the cloves were burned to the skin like the suit had been to his arms and chest. Either way it would hurt enough make him go into shock. She looked at the IV-line coming out from under the curtain and ending at the saline bag and morphine drop and considered to turn up the pace.

“He can’t do this awake, can he?” The veteran, who had more medical training, or experience, than he’d let on, stood behind her. He must have seen her look over the scene with hesitation.

“He’ll possibly go into shock. We have no idea of knowing how bad it is. Either way, first-degree burns are the most painful. Hands has a lot of nerves…” The man cut her off by moving around her and looking straight down at the face of the burnt man.

“Sorry, man. You don’t get to decide this time.”

The Arrow shifted as much as he could under the restraints. “I can do this. Don’t you dare…”

“I’m sure you can, but you don’t have to. Let someone else be the hero for a change, will you.” He moved his hand to the morphine drip and looked at the doctor. “Say stop.”

“Stop!” The Arrow was one stubborn man, she had to give him that, but the veteran didn’t stop, until the Arrow was silent, his hands had stopped moving and she gave the sign.

Felicity busted out crying. She had been crying on and off, all the hours they’d spent there, but now she was sobbing. The man went to her and tried to offer comfort. He only managed to keep her from falling of the chair. He looked at the doctor while still holding Felicity upright.

“You go, I’ll call if I need help.” The big man put Felicity’s arm around his neck and his arms around her back and under her knees. He lifted her up effortless and carried her trembling frame to a couch on the other side of the room. Before he put her down he turned to the doctor already putting on gloves again.

She looked up and saw him watching. “I won’t look. Just take care of my friend and I’ll take care of yours.” She smiled at him and even though he looked tired enough to pass out, it almost looked like he was smiling back, before he sat down, out of sight.

The hands were only first-degree, but she was happy the patient was sleeping because, it would have hurt like hell to get the gloves off. As she attended the burns on his chest she decided to leave the restraints off. They would only add to the pain and the length of the healing process. She did the same with the others.

After she’d looked over the entire body three times, including the neck, careful not to see too much, she sat down and leaned against the backrest. She looked at the ceiling and took a deep breath. What the hell just happened? It had been an ordinary Thursday, she was about to leave the stacks of reports on her desk and go to see her boyfriend. She had texted him on the way here, that she had to work all night. Wherever here was. What time was it anyway? Not that it mattered, she’d stay here as long as needed and then she would sleep for a week.

“You okay?” The man had returned from the couch-area.

“Yeah… I guess. I should be asking you the same.”

“I’m good.” She quickly got the feeling that he wasn’t big on emotions, so she accepted the short response.

“I’m John by the way. Guess we never had the time.”

“Jackie.” She extended her hand and shook his.

“Felicity told me.”

“How is she?” She straightened her back and looked in the direction of the couches.

“She’s sleeping. She’ll be fine as soon as he is.”

John looked at the man lying still on the table.

“He’s stronger than I’ve ever seen. I’m sure he’ll make a full recovery. There will be scars though.” The doctor noticed the bottled-up snort and the small smile and remembered seeing a lot of old, and some not-so-old, scars all over the body. Under the burns. She hadn’t taken notice of them while working.

“He’ll need pain-management for some time and changes of the dressings twice a day. He really should be at a hospital, but I guess that’s out of the question.” She looked questioning at John, but didn’t hold any hope for the answer. She was right.

He shook his head. “I can manage that. We’ll take care of him… We’ve done it before… not quite like this though…”

“You feel okay with this? I can stay as long as you need me to.”

“No, it’s okay. You’ve done more than enough. Thank you.” The man was sincere in his gratitude, she could see that, but she was not quite ready to discharge her patient to home-care just yet. Not that this place had any resemblance to a home.

“How about I’ll stay for a few hours, while you sleep? Maybe you could eat something and take a shower too… if you can do that here. Then you’ll be ready to take care of him when I go home.”

The big man opened his mouth to speak, but stopped himself. Maybe she had sounded more determined than she thought, or maybe he just realized that this would be the best thing to do. Either way he ended up smiling. “If you insist.”

After five hours. They had all eaten and John had slept and taken a shower. Felicity had not moved an inch from the Arrow’s side after she’d waken up. The doctor had started turning down the morphine so he would soon be able to wake up. She told John how to manage the high doses of medication and briefed him in treatment of burns, changing the dressings and what complications to look out for, but it seemed like he already knew most of it.

When she took off her blindfold, she was in front of her own house. John had thanked her all the way there and now he did it again. He gave her a hug and she handed him her card and a look that told him, that he’d better call if anything went sideways.


The face

Two months later she had another lunch with Felicity. They’d been seeing each other almost every other day, since the blonde showed up in her office. The first talks was over the phone though. Jackie had the feeling her old friend didn't leave the Arrow’s side for a moment for over a week.

They’d been talking a lot about old days and how they both had been keeping tabs on each other’s careers but never made contact, despite living in the same town. The conversation had often been about the Arrow, and even though she still didn’t know his identity, she never asked. Of course, she was curious, but she was a doctor to him first. If her knowing meant that he wouldn’t seek help when needed, from her or others, then she had no interest in knowing anything.

There was a knock on the door. She’d come to know that knock again. She looked at her watch, was it really already this much? “Felicity. Come in!”

Felicity opened the door but didn’t come in. She just waited. “I’m coming. Give me a second.”

“Actually, I have a friend that would like a consultation.” The doctor looked up. Felicity didn’t seem worried or upset.

“Is... he okay?” Jackie dropped her stuff on the table and took a few steps towards the door, but Felicity Just moved out of the way and made room for her friend.

“Mr. Queen…” Everybody in Star City knew Oliver Queen. “I have to say, Felicity. You have some interesting friends.”

Felicity smiled and closed the door and letting the two of them alone. The doctor gestured to a chair and sat down herself, on the other side of her desk. Her mind was going a hundred miles an hour. How many new acquaintances would Felicity show up with? Did Oliver Queen know the Arrow? Wait, what if… no… maybe. Was Oliver Queen the Arrow? She knocked the thought out if her head. It would only drive her crazy if she had to guess every time someone who knew Felicity shoved up.

“What can I do for you Mr. Queen?”

“Oliver is fine.” He smiled and didn’t seem nervous. Not that Oliver Queen was known for that, but most new patients did tend to show a bit of unease. “I just wanted to thank you in person.”

The doctor felt her face turn white, but still didn’t want to say anything before she was sure. It wouldn’t be good to overshare. “I’m sorry?”

He smiled and stood up. Was there a redness to his lover neck? Was it the burns showing, or was it her mind playing tricks on her?

“You really didn’t see who I was?” The man started to undo his tie. “I’m the burn-victim.” He looked at her. “The Arrow.” He waited for her reaction but she couldn’t get her thoughts in order to offer one up. Which probably was the reaction, that made him smile even more.

“I wanted to let you know, how I was healing and that I’m grateful for everything you did. That couldn’t have been easy. The blindfold, the secrecy… me screaming.”

She stood up and walked towards him. The shock of the news settled with her and she was able to concentrate about the current situation again. “I just did my job. You were the one to worry about… Can I take a look at the scarring?”

He continued with his shirt and let her assess the result of the healing. The scarring was severe across his chest and lover arms, but his movement didn’t seem hindered. She took his hands in hers and was pleased to see no scarring, just some redness and dry skin that would fade away eventually. “Everything looks good.”

“I told you. You did a great job. I’ll leave you and Felicity to your lunch now.” He started putting on his shirt and picked up his tie from the chair.

“I didn’t know who you were. You could have went on pretending I was never there.” She looked at him as he got dressed. She always turned her back to patients when they were dressing themselves, but it was only a shirt and he had started taking it of mid-conversation before.

“I like to see the faces of the people who safes my life.” He grinned to himself as he left and let the door open so Felicity could slip in.

“You could’ve warned me, Felicity.”

Felicity grabbed her by the wrist. “C’mon. What’s the fun in that? Now let’s eat.” 

Chapter Text

The dim street lights couldn’t do more against the dark night than show the direction of the road. The pulse of light flaring through the windshield, threw fast-moving images of his hands clutched tight on the steering wheel, over his plaid shirt. The blood, striving to fill the white stressed fingers, pounded in unison with the pain tearing at his chest.  

As the rain on the glass made the shadows in the car blurry, he shivered at the memory of his brother and him running over the parking lot. They hadn’t made it to the car before they were soaked to the skin, but were still in such a hurry that they had knocked their heads together climbing in equally fast from each their side. Not a single muscle moved on his frozen face while the film of the two of them laughing played before his eyes.

The cold from that day took hold of him even now, and he turned up the heat. The rattle of the Legos in the vents kept him company till he arrived back. The windshield wiper did nothing to help him see and only the cloudy street lights kept him on the road till he blinked away the water from his eyes.

Not letting go of the wheel, he just sat there. Turning off the engine would mean turning off the sound of a time where they were both there. If he could take the army man with him, he would. But it was stuck. Everything they had, had always been in that car. A roof over their heads. A place to warm up... Home.

But what is a home without family?

The thought of getting out of the car, pierced shards of glass through his lungs, but staying would surely kill him. Not looking if the window was rolled up on the passenger side, he turned the key and moved quickly out of the car.

He had nothing in his room. Everything was in the car. Everything but the bottle on the table. Soundless, he let himself drop on the only chair in the room and tore the cork of the whiskey. The golden liquid filled his mouth and burned hot down his throat, but did not warm his cold body. For hours, he stared down the bottle clutched in his hands, as if it was the only thing he had left to hold on to.

When he woke up, leaning over the table and still holding the bottle in both hands, his whole body was aching. Not from sleeping on a chair, but aching to get back out there. The sounds, the smells and the feeling of being in that car was calling for every cell in him.

Back on the road his fingers slowly turned white on the wheel. They stayed like that till the shadows drew dark pictures of them on his chest again, and Dean had to leave the memories of Sam behind once more to not drive them and himself off a cliff.

Chapter Text

blood on wood

The group was split by a big horde and Aaron had found himself hiding from walkers in a cabin which didn't have anything but a fireplace and whisky to offer a hungry and scared man. Even on the second night, after he’d run out of water, he decided against drinking. He had to stay up and alert. 

After most walkers had cleared out, he had to get out there and find his way back. He had a slight idea in which direction he had to take, but a part of the horde had to be blocking the way so he walked further away to get around. Coming across a small creek, he thanked every god he’d ever heard of while he almost fell in head first, drinking and filling his bottle at the same time.

The first walker he saw was alone and was walking away from him so it was easy for him to get down. His heart was on its way out his chest when he saw three more, but he quickly realized that they also didn’t notice him. He made a move for the one in the rear and got it and the next before the last could get to him. This was weird. They were walking away from the horde, but to what? There was no sound, but maybe there had been. He looked around and didn’t see more of them. He should walk the other way, but there was something in the back of his mind that drew him off the trail. It could be some from the group. Everything is better in numbers.

It seemed like it had only been those four walkers walking towards whatever this was. Five minutes later he still didn’t hear or see anything and he contemplated turning around. Getting lost out here would be life-threatening even for people like Daryl or Jesus. Aaron could usually hold his own, but alone, lost, sleep-deprived and hungry, it would be close to a dead-sentence.

With a head-shake and a sigh he gave up and turned around. Something caught his eye between the trees to his left. Looking closer he froze. Making sure to tread carefully and quietly he moved closer. It was definitely a body. Had someone stung a walker to a tree. No, not a tree, it was a big pole. And if it was a walker someone had already gotten to  the brain. It wasn’t moving.

It was quiet and Aaron slowly stepped closer. It was a man. He was hanging by his hands which were bound to the pole high over his head. He would have been able to stand, but now his feet were hanging limp on the ground, making the strain on the wrists, arms, and shoulders look excruciating. He had no shirt on and as Aaron moved closer he saw the red lines over his bare back and blood still running from them. This was resent. The man’s face had fell to his shoulder and was covered by it and the half-long dark hair.

The shoulder moved.   

Not a lot, but enough to make Aaron focus on the back which was clearly moving in rhythm to a shallow breathing.  

”Shit!” 

With both hands he lifted the man’s head to see his face, earning a deep and loud exhale of pain.

”Daryl!” 

How did he not notice before? The dark shirt still on his arms and chest, the boots, the knives strapped to his thighs.

”Daryl?”

The hunter didn’t open his eyes, let alone answer. The panic filling Aaron’s body, mixed with the adrenaline already taking up too much space, made his ears ring. He had to get him down, and it had to be now. Daryl wasn’t going to pass out or lose control unless he was seriously injured.

He went for his own knife but, realized that Daryl’s could get the job done faster and grabbed one. Daryl made a growling noise that almost sounded as if he was annoyed, but he still didn’t move.

The big knife chopped through the layers of rope with only a few hits and Daryl plummeted to the ground with a loud howl. Aaron was by his side instantly. He lifted Daryl’s head from the mud and to his relief there were two light blue eyes looking up at him.

“Hey.”

“H-he-y.” The whisper was only a shaped breath, there was no movement on Daryl’s face at all.

Aaron wanted to wrap the shaking man in a blanket right there and let him sleep till he was all better, but even without the threat of walkers, and whoever did this, they couldn’t stay. They had to get those cuts treated.

“Can you walk?”

Daryl nodded and grabbed Aaron’s upper arm to get seated at first. It wasn’t easy and the sounds coming from Daryl had Aaron double check for walkers, but eventually Daryl was kinda standing. Leaning heavily on the pole. Aaron grabbed the knife and while doing so he noticed the familiar shape of a wing peaking through the mud under them. Not giving it an extra thought he picked up the leather vest and shook most of the mud of, before putting one arm through both openings and pulling Daryl’s arm over his shoulder.

Daryl couldn’t walk. It pained Aaron to have his arm around Daryl’s torn up back, but not nearly as much as the pain it inflicted on the hunter. With every tenth step or so, Daryl’s legs failed in holding him up. Aaron figured that half of the times, maybe more, it was a result of Daryl almost passing out.

“A-Aar…”

“I’ve got you. Just a little longer.”

Aaron let Daryl stand still for a second after pulling him to his feet one more time.

“No… Just…” Daryl turned his head slowly and still fighting to catch his breath he looked at Aaron with eyes that could only mean one thing.

“I’m not leaving you!” Aaron tightened the grip on Daryl and continued the tenuous walk. “Let me be the bad-ass for once.”

When the five-minutes-tour away from the trail had taken closer to twenty to get back, Aaron knew that neither of them would make it home, so he half-carried, half-dragged Daryl back to the cabin. At least they had a roof over their heads and could kinda hide from walkers.


Aaron’s hands were still shaking when the fireplace started to warm up the place. Daryl had curled up on the floor barely inside the door and with the light from the fire Aaron could see just how pale he really was.

“C’mon. Let’s get you warmed up.”

Aaron took Daryl’s arm and after winning a silent argument between their eyes, he pulled the shaking man to his feet. Daryl hissed and growled as he got down on the blanket laid out in front of the fire. Without words Aaron guided him to lay on his stomach. He cached Daryl’s head and softened the blow when he collapsed and fell the last of the way down.

A hiss and the following angry sigh, cut through the air between them.

“I’m sorry.”

Daryl looked up but only closed his eyes and shook his head.

“I need to get this of you. I need to take a look at those wounds too.”

Daryl only hummed in response. It tore into Aaron’s heart that the strong man didn’t put up a fight or at least try to brush it off as nothing. There was not much of the Daryl he knew left in the man in front of him. With the smaller knife he cut the rest of the muddied shirt off him. He took of his own shirt and t-shirt underneath. It was cleaner. At least it was the best they had to tare up into rags, so he could clean up the mess that was Daryl’s back.

Rags from a sweaty t-shirt, too little water and an unopened bottle of whiskey. It wasn’t close to being an ideal situation, but it was what he had to work with, and he was adamant on making it work. Saving water he used the first rag dry, to wipe away as much as the blood and mud as possible. He was careful, but had to work hard in places, making Daryl growl and his shaking got more violent as Aaron carried on.

“Hang in there, Der. I’m sorry.”

Daryl’s fingers curled around the edges of the blanket and he held his breath. Aaron concentrated on getting this over with.

“Okay. Break. Breathe for a while.”

Daryl’s lungs filled rapidly and for a minute or so he was panting heavily. Aaron laid his hand on Daryl’s upper arm. Not even Aaron knew if it were to tell him that he was still there or to let him know that he was not doing anything else, yet.

After Daryl slowly got back to not moving and breathing in a fixed slow rhythm, Aaron let go and poured some of the whiskey on a rag. Starting at the side, making his way in over the wide of the back, he cleaned Daryl’s torso. Daryl hissed as the fabric covered in burning liquid touched the lines of broken skin. Aaron watched out not to touch the open gashes, but the more superficial red lines were too many to avoid and some were not to be seen before the blood was washed off. Every line that became clear added to the knot in Aaron’s stomach, but what made him want to throw up was not the fresh, burning-red lines that hurt Daryl when touched; it was the old, wide and deep scars revealing themselves to him. The faded ink in the strategically placed tattoo has clearly been added after. Daryl could not have been more than a teenager when that tattoo was made.

Aaron swallowed to make sure his voice were still there before put his hand on Daryl’s arm again and spoke.

“Der...? Take a moment before I clean the wounds, okay?”

Daryl looked up for a second and then nodded and let out a big sigh as he relaxed the muscles in his back and neck and let his face lie heavily on the blanket.

Aaron looked at Daryl’s back. They could really use a doctor with a suture kit, but right now he would settle for clean bandages and painkillers. He had to clean the open wounds and wash everything with water after. Not even Daryl, who had clearly been through more that anyone knew, could take that mush pain.

Careful not to startle the abused man, Aaron slowly moved back Daryl’s hair from his face. “Hey… You with me?”

Daryl’s blue eyes opening to look at him did wonders for Aaron’s ability to keep breathing, but secretly he wished that Daryl would pass out sooner rather than later.

“Here. You’ll need this.”

Arron lifted Daryl’s head and slid his leg under his chest to hold him up, and held the open bottle of liquor to his lips. Without questioning Aaron’s intentions or judgement, Daryl drank fast until the bottle was removed again.

“Okay, okay. I need some left for your back.”

Daryl’s head felt heavy in Aaron’s hand and for a moment Aaron just sat there. When he took a rag to Daryl’s forehead, he told himself he had to wait for the alcohol to work, and when he used some of the water to get the mud off the nearly unresponsive face, he told himself that he could get more later, if they needed it. Five minutes later Daryl was almost sleeping and only hummed when Aaron moved away and let him lie on the floor again.

Aaron threw another piece of wood in the fire and got back on his knees next to Daryl.

“Sorry man, there’s no way around this.”

Half a bottle of whiskey covered Daryl’s back and a scream threatened to knock down the four walls around them. Daryl gasped and coughed and desperately tried to get up, but he was clearly lacking both strength and control to do so. Aaron could easily hold him down while cleaning the wounds. He worked fast. Cleaning out every sign of dirt of debris from the long wounds. Daryl’s hand found Aaron’s knee and latched on like he were to fall off a cliff.

“Almost there. You get to empty the bottle after, I promise.”

Daryl’s coughs and shouts stopped and his hand went limb. For a second Aaron was confused, but as he caught op, let out a breath that almost made him pass out too. Still fast, but less frantic, he got the job done and poured the rest of his water over the cut-up but clean back.

He sat back on his heels and tried his best to calm himself. There was nothing more he could do. There was nothing left to help them except the fire, but Aaron found some peace in that Daryl was breathing calm and had stopped shaking as soon as he passed out. Only now, did he notice how cold he had been himself. He took his shirt from next to the fire and put it on. He wished that he had something clean to cover Daryl with. He could clean the vest later but for now he had to just stay like this.

Instinctively, he laid down with Daryl between him and the fire. Even with the space between them it had to be warmer for Darryl being sounded by heat sources.

Aaron looked at the hunter’s face. He was more relaxed than he would have expected. Not even a frown on his forehead.


“Where is my bow?”

Aaron woke with a jolt, at the low growling voice next to him, and stared directly into Daryl’s barely open eyes.

“What?”

“Where is my bow?”

Daryl moved his hand as if he was going to push himself up, but Aaron took it and held it firmly in his. “Calm down, Der. We’ll find it… just not now.”

It seemed like Daryl’s mind had caught up with what had happened. It had certainly caught up with the pain; his jaw locked so Aaron thought he might brake a tooth as he tried to lie down still again.

“Just rest for now. You need all the strength you can get, before we make our way back.”

The huff and smile from Daryl didn’t go unnoticed.

“What?”

“So you…” Daryl cleared his throat and Aaron held on a little tight to his hand, as to prevent him from slipping away again. “…so, you’re not the bad-ass anymore?”

Even the loud exhale when Daryl had finished his sentence could wipe the smile off Aaron’s face. “You remember that, huh?”

Daryl nodded and closed his eyes. “Yep.”

Aaron rested his head on his upper arm and kept looking at Daryl. “Der…?”

A hum revealed that the hunter was still awake.

“How’re you feeling?” It was a stupid answer he knew, he had to still be in quite a lot of pain, but mostly he wanted to know where his head was at.

“Been better…” the light blues opened and found Aaron’s eyes. “I’ve made it through worse.”

The pain in Daryl’s eyes were not from the present. It was much older and the look on his face were begging Aaron not to go there. With a small squeeze of Daryl’s hand he nodded and let the exhausted man close his eyes.

“It might take two bad-asses to get that bow back, so let’s get you up and running first.”

The small curl of Daryl’s mouth could very well be the beginning to a smile, but it never got that far, before he fell asleep. Aaron considered throwing a log on the fire, but with Daryl holding on to his hand, even when sleeping, convinced him to stay put. At least for now.

Chapter Text

Both Cas and Jack was without powers and both Cas and Jack had insisted that they could go on a hunt just the two of them. Dean had been the overprotective one and shouted at both them and Sam when Sam had encouraged them to go. They had been on lots of cases where use of powers were unnecessary, so they could manage without. Right now Cas wished with all his heart that Dean had gotten the last word.

With Jack hanging with one arm over Cas shoulder, Cas made it slowly down the corridor to the bunker’s infirmary. The boy was hardly supporting any weight and as he got heavier Cas had to slow down a few times to get a better grip around his waist.

“Cas… They’re not here.” Jack’s slurred words were broken up by his loud breaths.

The drive home hadn’t been long but Cas felt like he’d just spent hours, with one hand on the wheel and the other pressing his coat firmly down on the wound on Jack’s thigh. He’s used the time convincing Jack, squirming under the pain from the pressure, that Sam and Dean would have made it back from their own hunt before them. He knew that they probably wouldn’t be.

“It’s okay. You don’t need three people to patch you up.”

After Cas had lost his powers again, Dean had made him watch every time he and Sam patched each other up. The words from last time resonated in Cas’s head as he pushed the door to the infirmary open and pulled Jack towards a bed: Look closely, you’re doing it next time. You need practice, if you ever have to do this without supervision.

This could very well end up being the next time, and if Cas didn’t get a hold of Dean and Sam soon, it would be without supervision.

“Easy down.” Cas felt Jack shake as he held his breath while Cas helped him sit down on the bed. He swayed slightly, but kept enough control to keep seated.

“Take a second to breathe.”

Jack nodded and took a deep breathe, but it didn’t seem to do much for his shaking knees and pale face. The bandage around Jack’s thigh hadn’t done much, and after Cas had taken the coat and the pressure off, to move Jack, new lines of blood was adding to the almost dried ones down his leg. Cas lifted Jack’s legs slowly to lie them in the bed. He almost stopped when Jack let out a pained groan and did what little he could to resist the movement.

“I’m sorry. You need to have your leg elevated.”

Cas situated the leg on a few pillows, he grabbed from two other beds, and helped Jack to lie down with a hand behind his neck and one on his shoulder. He was too cold, too pale and too tired even after the hunt and the pain.

“Jack?” Cas put a hand on Jack’s cheek to turn his face towards himself.

The tears that had sprung from Jack’s eyes when Cas had added pressure to the wound, had left dry salty lines over his cheeks. Cas swallowed the lump in his throat and gathered himself enough to speak calmly. “I’m going to find a few things. You need to stay awake.”

When Jack’s nod was a little too slow for Cas’s liking, he put his other hand on the other cheek and held his head steady. “Jack. You need to stay awake. Can you do that?”

Jack inhaled deeply and took control of his own head and nodded. “Okay. I’m not…” He took another deep breath as if he’d realized that his words were slurring again. “I’m not that tired.”

It was oddly difficult for Cas to turn his back to Jack, even when he knew that Jack would get better faster if he hurried up and got everything. As he pulled antiseptic, bandages and pain medicine from the cupboards he noticed that his hands were shaking. He’d seen Sam and Dean do this countless times, and even without powers, Cas knew his memory was better than most, so why did he hesitate when taking a suture kit from the drawer?

“Jack?!” Cas dropped everything on the small table next to the bed and took Jack’s face with both hands again. “Jack. Look at me.”

With an almost silent moan, Jack slowly opened his eyes and found Cas’s. Quickly, Cas looked down Jack’s body and noticed the bandage was almost completely soaked and blood was already starting to color the sheet on the bed.

“Hang on for a little longer.” Cas waited for Jack to nod a little before letting go and grabbing one of the new bandages.

Jack whimpered shortly as Cas lifted his leg to pull the bandage under. “I’m sorry.” Trying hard to ignore Jack’s cry of pain, Cas tightened the bandage tight around the old one. This time it would hold; Jack wasn’t moving around anymore.

Without thinking about the blood on his hands he grabbed one of Jack’s and held it tight. The boy was panting and tears were running over his face again. “I’m sorry, but I can’t let you bleed out.”

Jack nodded as he calmed himself with a few gasps of air and cleared his throat. “Cas… Where’s Sa… -nd Dean?”

Cas forced a smile and laid Jack’s hand down on his chest. “They’re on their way. I will help you. I am just going to call Sam to make sure I don’t miss anything.”

Jack’s eyes were already closing slowly again, before he’s nodded twice. Cas wanted to shake him and make him open his eyes, but he knew that he needed to stop the bleeding before Jack could stay awake.

Cas walked to the cupboards with IV’s and drugs. Sam and Dean kept everything labeled clearly, and Cas had a hunch that Sam had made everything more idiot-proof after Jack and himself lost their powers. Right now Cas felt like more than an idiot. He was pretty sure he knew what to do, but he was also doubting everything his mind told him. He picked up his phone and called Dean. Sam was probably the obvious choice when dealing with the medical stuff, but somehow Cas felt like Dean would be the one who could help him best now.

Cas, it’s really not a good time Sam and I…

“Jack is hurt.” Cas figured that getting that fact inn there quick was the only way to get Dean to listen when he was in the middle of a hunt.

What do you mean “hurt”?

“He got the werewolf. You should have seen him. He looked just like you… except that it got him too.”

Cas! Get to the point. Where are you? How is he hurt?

Maybe Dean hadn’t been the best to call anyway. Him and Jack had a relationship that none of them really understood, except that it was a strong one, and another thing that was strong was Dean’s protective instinct. Cas could hear Dean’s fast breathing and it wasn’t because he was in some kind of “situation” because the only other sound was Sam trying to talk in the background, but was clearly cut off by Dean.

“His thigh it cut. It’s two claw marks, maybe eight-nine inches. He’s lost a lot of blood; it’s not running fast but it took a long time getting back here.”

You’re in the bunker?” Dean sounded suddenly relieved.

“Yes. How far away are you?” Cas knew that if Sam and Dean still hadn’t wrapped the case, they would be six hours away, and that was with Dean driving. “I’m not sure he can wait much longer.”

No. You have to fix him.” Dean paused to cut Sam off again with a small hum. “Give him blood first, just like the IV-fluid, but use the big needle and put it in his arm. You know how to do that.

Now Cas knew why he'd called Dean. Sam would have formed that as a question, and right now Cas was questioning everything himself and someone, not even asking, was exactly what he needed.

“Yes. You showed me when Sam got knocked out.” Cas pulled the necessary paraphernalia out of the drawer and opened the small cooler where they all had a few bags of their own blood stored. Sam had insisted on it. “For a rainy day” he’d said. Cas guessed that this would qualify.

Good. The dosage for the morphine is on the label.

“No Dean.” Sam must have thought the same because Cas could hear him object in the background. “He didn’t react right to that when he broke his wrist.”

Oh yeah. Crap! Okay, then give him the nitro, but not if he’s too out of it to answer. You probably have to use local anesthesia too, but if the wounds are as big as you say it may be hard to cover all of it.

“Okay.”

Cas found the right shelf and checked every word and made mental notes about the dosage, as Dean rambled off everything.

Alright. Get that blood going and make sure to clean the cuts good. Infection and blood loss don’t mix. We just have to clean up some things and then we’re on our way. If you need; call Sam. I’ll be driving.

With the tone Dean ended the call, and that he’d asked Cas to call Sam, made Cas sure that the drive home would be done in under six hours.

He put everything on a table with wheels and moved it to Jack. The pale boy had his eyes closed and was breathing too slow. Cas once again convinced himself that working on getting him better was more important than trying to get him fully awake. He hastily pulled over a chair and sat down next to the bed. When he took Jack’s hand, the boy loosely folded his fingers around Cas’s, but otherwise didn’t move.

“I’m here Jack. You’re not alone.” Jack opened his eyes for a second and turned his head towards Cas, before closing them again with a big sigh.

Not wanting to let go of Jack’s hand, Cas did everything with one hand. “You need blood. It’s just a needle, right here…” Cas wiped the crease of Jack’s elbow with an alcohol swab. Jack didn’t react. “You know how it is. Sam gave you fluid like this when you broke your wrist.”

When Jack still didn’t react, Cas pushed in the needle. A small disconcerted moan made it out of Jack’s throat, and Cas hesitated for a second before he pulled out the needle and secured the cannula with tape. He quickly attached the blood bag and got it running. Cas got the gas and mask ready, but didn’t give it to Jack yet. He knew that he couldn’t make him pass out completely with that and Jack was already close to unconscious.

Before taking off the bandage, somehow found himself hesitating again. So far everything had been done fast with no reason to stop and think twice. Dean had confirmed everything he already knew, so why was his hands shaking as he put on cloves?

He shook the doubt out of his head and started cutting the bandage on the outer side of Jack’s thigh not to touch the two long cuts down the front. Jack moaned and lifted his head a little, as if he wanted to look down, but never got than far. He didn’t open his eyes either.

“I’m sorry. Just a little more and I’ll give you anesthesia. Just like…” Cas stopped. Jack hadn’t done this before. A chill ran down Cas’s spine as he realized that the first stitches he would ever make, would be the first stitches Jack had ever gotten.

He held of on the rest of the bandage for a minute and stood over Jack.

“Jack?”

It was like the boy’s breathing got more pronounced for a second, but Cas couldn’t be sure that he was reacting to him. Deciding to put on new gloved after, Cas took Jack’s hand in his and turned his face up towards him with a light grip on his chin.

“Jack. I need you to listen.”

Jack moved his head a little upwards as in half a nod, but soon lost concentration.

Cas wasn’t giving up. “Jack! Listen! Squeeze my hand.”

A, too long, moment went by, but eventually Jack’s fingers wrapped themselves around Cas’s hand. The relief was overwhelming, but Cas didn’t let it distract him and pause too long.

“Good, Jack. Now, open your eyes, I need to talk to you.”

A hum filled the quiet room and Jack’s eyes fluttered slowly open.

“There. Good. Jack, can you listen for a second?”

Jack’s eyes blinked slow enough that Cas panicked for a second and squeezed Jack’s hand harder, but Jack found Cas’s eyes again and nodded a little in Cas’s hold.

“Okay. You need stitches, and I need to give you a local anesthetic.”

The frown on Jack’s forehead prompted Cas to believe that Jack wasn’t fully aware of what was happening or how he ended up here. Cas had had stitched once and had hated every second. On one side, he really would have liked being as out of it as Jack was right now, on the other, he wouldn’t want to be surprised with it.

“Jack, do you hear me?”

“Yeah. Werewolf.”

Cas breathed in a long relieved inhale. “That’s right. You got hurt. I need to give you stitches.”

“Sam…? Where?” Jack was only whispering now and his blinks were getting longer.

“I will do it, Jack. You are going to be okay.” Cas put Jack’s hand down again and let his head fall slowly to the side. As he let go Jack’s eyes fell shut again. “We can do this.”

“Cold…” Jack whispered and Cas would have missed it if he hadn’t decided to put on gloves before moving the chair closer. He damned himself ad he ran to gather the blankets from two other beds. Of course Jack was cold. He’d lost enough blood to be close to unconscious.

“Here.” Cas got Jack wrapped so only his face and the hurt leg was to be seen. Why hadn’t he noticed how cold Jack was before now? “I will get you better.”

Cas was in a hurry to get seated and get cloves on. The outer bandage came of with almost no objections from Jack, but when Cas had cut the first one and lifted it off the bare wounds, Jack cried out and reached down for Cas’s arm. Cas looked up and saw tired eyes look at him, barely holding open.

“I know it hurts Jack. Tell me, where you are?”

Even with Jack’s eyes almost closed. Cas saw more contact in them now than before.

“The bunker.”

Cas looked at the wound; he needed to hurry. “Good. What am I going to do?”

Jack looked confused for a second and then looked down his side and back at Cas. “Stitches. Injections…?” The last was a question about the anesthetic and Cas took that as an okay thing to ask, since he hadn’t clarified how it was going to be administered.

“That’s right. It will be okay. Everything is fine.” Somehow Cas believed himself saying that. Maybe it was because he’d just gotten the conversation he needed to make sure that Jack was both not as far gone as he’d feared, but also okay to have the gas take away some of the pain. He pulled the tank over and turned it on as Dean had told him.

“This will help.” He put the mask over Jack’s mouth and nose and followed his head turn as he moaned and pulled away. “Shh, Jack. It’s for the pain.”

Jack took a deep breath and looked back to Cas. Cas nodded with a smile and Jack took another. After putting the elastic behind Jack’s head, Cas put the third pair of gloves, in five minutes, on top of the one he was wearing. Jack moaned complainingly when Cas moved the bloody bandage away, and Cas wanted to grab his hand and explain and make sure he wasn’t scared, but he had already used too much time. The bleeding was slowed down considerably but it could change fast and there was also the threat of infection. Dean normally poured the antiseptic over the wound as soon as possible, but so much time had already passed getting back here, so Cas decided that the painkiller could go first.

The needle went in without a sound from Jack and Cas stole a quick look to see if his breathing had slowed down too much. There was no change from five seconds ago and when he started pressing in the drug, the moan from Jack broke over to a sob.

“I know, Jack. I’m sorry.”

As he injected the second time Jack was moving to get away. He was too sluggish and weak to move fast or far, so Cas forced himself to continue, reminding himself that Jack would be better off getting stitched up if this was done properly. Jack needed two more before Cas believed that the whole area was numbed, and by the last injection Jack was panting in the air and gas in the mask and had pulled his legs as far from Cas as the bed would allow.

“All done, Jack. I’m so sorry.” Cas spoke loudly, he wasn’t sure how present Jack was, but that also meant that there was no hiding his shaking breath and the lump in his throat.

With a shaky hand Cas put a cotton swab with antiseptic on the end of the cut he’d numbed first and to his relief, Jack didn’t react. He cleaned half an inch slowly and carefully, but as Jack didn’t even seem to notice that he was touching him, Cas sped things up and got the two still bleeding lines cleaned fast and thoroughly.

He didn’t even think as he got the crooked needle and the thread ready; he’d learned from watching two very experienced hunters for years. But when he put the needle to the skin he had to pause and force his hand to stop shaking. He looked at Jack’s relaxed face, and the mist filling the mask in the same pace as when he started cleaning the wound. Jack was breathing steadily and not too slow. Cas took a big breath of his own and turned back to the task at hand.

It took almost twenty-five minutes to get the two long lines sewn and Cas couldn’t figure out if it was fast because he wanted to get it over with for Jack. Or maybe it was slow because he had placed the stiches closer than necessary, to make sure it would heal right and that he only had to do it once. No matter what; the bleeding was stopped. When he cleaned cuts and the skin around it from blood, Jack breathed in fast and turned his head away, and Cas was happy that he was done. He knew that when painkillers started wearing off, they did it fast.

“It’s over Jack. You’re all done.”

Quickly, but oh so carefully, Cas got Jack’s leg wrapped in a new, clean bandage and covered his leg with the blankets.

With the gloves in the trash under the table, Cas pulled the chair closer to Jack’s head. He slowly pushed his hand between Jack’s cheek and the pillow, turning his face up towards him. Jack didn’t react. Cas swallowed a rushed breath and took the mask off. All his common sense told him that it was the gas that had Jack passed out. He’d already gone through half the blood and he hadn’t lost that much since they started that. He was even getting some color to his cheeks. Jack was only drugged, but Cas still hated every second Jack couldn’t confirm that with words. Cas reached under the blankets and took Jack’s hand. His fingers were cold, but it was warm under there and when Cas took his wrist to check Jack’s pulse his arm was warm.

For about ten minutes, Cas silently held an eye on Jack’s breathing and pulse. Both got slowly stronger and when his breathing changed to a slightly faster pace, Jack’s eyes fluttered open for a second.

“Jack?” Cas whispered, not wanting to startle Jack if he was still not quite there.

Jack turned his head an inch to have Cas right in front of him when he opened his eyes. When he did, Cas exhaled so fast with relief that he lost feeling in his legs for a second.

“Hi. How are you feeling? Are you in pain?”

Jack blinked slowly and smiled. “M- kay.” He lifted his head a little to look down, but gave up half way with a pained grimace and his hand grabbed tight on the fingers which, up until now, were still on his wrist.

Cas leaned in fast and supported his head down. “Don’t move yet.”

“No.” Jack had his eyes shut closed as he shook his head slowly. “My head…”

“Oh, yeah.” Cas relaxed his hand in Jack’s and Jack slowly seemed to get comfortable in the bed again. “It’s the gas. It can give you something resembling a hangover.”

Jack breathed in through his nose and out through his mouth and Cas was sure Jack was clearheaded; they had both seen Sam deal with the aftermath of the nitro like that. He was always more effected from it than Dean and Cas.

Cas let go of Jack’s hand and felt the boy’s eyes firmly on him as he got up. “You should sleep some more, but that might be easier if you don’t have blood all over you.” He brought back a bowl of lukewarm water and a few cloths.

After Cas had washed Jack’s face, neck and arms, Jack reached to open his bloody jeans. He hissed from pain as he shifted. Cas had wondered about them, they were stiff and sticky by now he was sure, but he didn’t want to be the one to ask Jack to take them off. He could however offer his help.

“Can I cut them off?” He asked a bit tentatively, but Jack only nodded and pushed the blankets to the side.

The fabric on the injured leg was already torn from hip to knee, so Cas only had to cut it the rest of the way down, and the waist too, so he could pull them off the other leg without touching the bandage. Jack didn’t even sit up or try to look at his thigh.

Cas covered him again and sat down next to him and when Jack placed a hand on top of the blanket, Cas took it in both of his. For the first time that day, Cas wasn’t filled with worry and fear when Jack’s eyes closed.


“Hey.” Dean whispered. “Cas.”

Cas’s back hurt as he stretched it and his eyes took forever to focus.

“Have you been sitting here all this time? Why didn’t you lie on one of the beds?”

The first thing Cas saw clearly was Jack’s hand in both of his and the red mark on his forearm where his forehead must have been resting for hours.

“Jack?!” Cas’s voice was panicked but also only a whisper.

“He seems fine.” Sam stood on the other side of the bed.

Cas turned to look up at Dean who had a hand on his shoulder. “Cas…? How long have you been sitting here?”

He didn’t have a watch on so he wasn’t sure. He looked up and saw that the saline bag, he’d put up after the blood had run through, was empty.

“I didn’t leave. I wanted to make sure he didn’t get a fever.”

“Well, he didn’t.” Sam smiled as he looked closely at Jack’s face, breathing and the IV. “Did you push antibiotics?”

Cas nodded. He’d done it as soon as he’d got the saline running.

Sam reached over Jack’s legs lifted up the blanket to see the bandage. There was only two short stripes of red, that hadn’t even colored the outer layer of gauze. Sam nodded and laid the blanked back down. “You’ve done good, Cas.”

Dean tightened his grip on Cas’s shoulder. “If that’s nine inch long werewolf claw marks, I’d say that you’ve done more than pretty damn good.”

Jack’s fingers moved in Cas’s hands and the brothers most have noticed Cas’s change in attention, because they were all three silently looking at Jack when he blinked his eyes open.

“Cas?”

Cas tightened his grip. “I’m right here.”

Jack nodded with a slight smile as he closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. When he opened his eyes again, he looked from Dean to Sam and back. “My leg…?” He asked hesitatingly with a shake to his voice.

Sam quickly leaned in hand put a supportive hand on the boy’s shoulder. “You’re alright. You’re up and alert and there’s no fever. You’re not bleeding. Cas did absolutely everything right.”

Normally, Cas was immune to flatter, unless it was from Dean because he almost never give any, but in this case Cas was overjoyed that Sam could reassure Jack with those words.

Jack pulled Cas’s hand a little and looked at him. “It hurts.”

Dean let go of Cas’s shoulder and turned towards the drawers, but Sam was already there. When he came back he reached over to push it into the cannula, but Jack pulled his arm away. It didn’t get far though, since Cas was still holding his hand.

Cas held lightly on to his upper arm. “It’s alright, Jack. We wouldn’t give you morphine, this is not as strong.”

“I know.” Jack looked at Sam and then at the drug in his hand. “Cas…”

With silent agreement between Sam and Cas’s eyes, Sam handed him the drug. Cas smiled at Jack and pushed it into the attachment on his arm.

“Well. We’ve had a long couple of days, and is clearly not needed.” Dean walked around Jack and put his hand on the shin on his good leg. “Good to see that you’re alright.”

Sam nodded at Dean’s comment and sent Jack a smile. “I’ll be back in a few hours to look under the bandage, but you’re in good hands. Get some rest.” The demand was just as much for Cas as it was Jack.

The brothers left and Cas turned his attention back at Jack completely. “Does it still hurt? You can get a little more if you need it.”

Jack shook his head. “No, I’m okay now.” He looked down at his hand in Cas’s and for a second Cas wondered if it was weird, now that Jack was fully awake and not in pain, but Jack quickly squeezed his fingers. “Cas… Thank you.”

Sam and Dean never thanked each other after getting patched up, often the opposite, when Cas thought it over. It was mostly grunts of pain and complaints about being pitied.

“There’s nothing to thank for. I did what we do… I only did what Sam and Dean would have done.”

Jack shook his head. “Yeah, you did. Even when you hadn’t done it before; I was the only one out of it. Thank you.”

As Jack fell asleep, Cas wondered if the worry he’d heard in Dean’s voice on the phone was how he always felt. If Sam and Dean just hid it from him and each other when the stakes were high. Just like he’d tried to hide his panic with Jack; which he, one way or another, had succeeded in. Maybe he wasn’t the only one doubting his own abilities when dealing with serious injuries. It should make him feel worse about the prospect of ever needing medical help again, but it didn’t. It didn’t make sense but somehow he felt more secure if he would have to be in the Winchesters care.

Chapter Text

It had been a long ride and both brothers had been fighting to keep their eyes open while driving in pitch dark. Sam had used his energy to look for motel signs and keeping an eye on Dean, making sure he wasn’t falling asleep. But Dean had an unexplained ability to stay awake for hours and hours just looking at the same road that lulled Sam to sleep.

The sway of the car had woken Sam right up, and the three crushing the bumper and hood with a hundred miles an hour would surely have woken Dean. With a shaky hand on the passenger side dashboard, he pushed himself back to sit up right. The pounding headache made it unclear if it was blood on his hands or if it was running over his eyes. He groaned as he stretched his stiff neck and breathed in deep with relief when he realized that he could move his shoulders slowly, without too much pain.

“Dean.”

His voice was raw from sleeping and it grew to pain as he coughed up the blood gathering in the back of his mouth. It took a few fast and deep breaths to realize that the blood was from the hole he’d bitten on the inside of his cheek.

“Dean.” He tried again. It took all his breath away to force his neck to turn. Dean wasn’t moving. Sam blinked and wiped his eyes. He hissed and fought a wave of pained blindness as his hand touched the wound on his forehead. With the clearer and less red view, he saw Dean lying over the wheel; face turned towards Sam and the nearest arm hanging limp down next to his legs.

“Dean?!” Sam reached over and grabbed Dean’s shoulder and was surprised to find himself stuck. He didn’t feel pain in his legs, it didn’t make any sense, but sure enough; looking down he saw the car tugged tight around his knees. No pain could delay him from snapping back to what was important. He shook Dean’s shoulder and got as close to his face as he could.

“C’mon Dean. Wake up!” Dean was breathing but the blood was flowing just a little too fast from his forehead for Sam to control his breathing. He stretched as much as possible and took Dean’s chin with his other hand. “Dean? Don’t do this. You need to get help, I’m the one stuck… Dean!”

Dean stirred a little and then the smallest hum had Sam inhaling enough that he almost passed out himself. “Hey…? You here?” He almost whispered, scared to get his hope up.

After a breath a little deeper than the previous, Dean hummed again. Sam steadied his head with both hands as he moved his arm a little. “Easy now. Just your eyes. Wake up first.”

“S-Sam…?” Dean’s voice was deep and raw but Sam noticed that he was breathing freely and made more sound than airy words.

“It’s me. Just take it easy. Can you open your eyes?”

Dean’s eyelids moved as if they were almost opening but only seconds beast before Dean’s face turned unresponsive again.

“No, no, no. Dean! Wake up!”

Sam padded Dean’s cheek roughly and when there was no response he looked over Dean’s neck and back, the side he could see. There was no visual injuries but the headwound. The fast pace of Sam’s heart and the headache had him loose eyesight again and he forced his breathing to slow down. He had more important things to do. He couldn’t pass out. It wasn’t a real pain in his shoulder, but the soreness bit harder into him as he pulled Dean’s shoulders and pushed him back to sit upright and Dean let out an almost silent groan of disagreement. Sam quickly supported the back of Dean’s heavy head with a less than steady hand. He moved the open jacket to the side and lifted Dean’s shirt. No cuts and no bruises that had formed too quick. But a fainter bruise testified to at least a few broke ribs, but that was only what he could she. As Sam turned Dean’s face towards him Dean breathed in deeper again.

“Hey, hey! Dean.” Sam padded his cheek again, maybe even harder than before. “C’mon, look at me!”

Dean inhaled deeply and as he let go of the air his eyes opened slightly.

“That’s it.” Sam held Dean’s head as steady as he could while his brother slowly started to stir in his hold. “Take your time. We’re safe.”

Sam was pretty sure that was true. The car wasn’t burning, and he didn’t detect any light from sparks in the dark outside the car. Besides, it wouldn’t do any of them good if Dean woke up in full fighting mode and hurt himself further.

Dean’s eyes seemed to slowly focus on a steady spot on the broken windshield. “Here, Dean.” Sam turned Dean’s head a little more towards him and eventually Dean’s eyes found his. “Good, now do you hear me?”

Dean blinked slow enough that a rapid wave of panic shot through Sam, but soon he was looking at Sam again. “Yeah.” Dean was only whispering now, but his crunched forehead indicated that he was getting the full feeling of the headwound.

Out of the corner of his eye, Sam noticed Dean’s hand moving and his leg twitching.

“Dean? Can you move…?”

Dean heaved in air and moved his hand from his far side to his thigh so Sam could see it. He locked his jaw and breathed through his nose as his legs moved the tiniest bit.

“Slowly...” Sam took Dean’s hand to settle his tries and was shocked by the growling scream Dean pressed out as his head arched back. “Dean! What?!”

“S-shoulder… no, wait…” Dean gasped for air and tried to move his hand again, but it only twitched. “Wrist… arm?”

Dean tried to turn his head but even if Sam hadn’t been holding him, Sam was sure he wouldn’t have had the trength or the coordination to.

“Okay, breathe. Let me see.” Sam fought the hold on his legs to no avail but leaned forward to see Dean’s other side.

“Sam…” Dean whispered from far away.

“No, Dean no more. Stay awake!” Sam forgot all about Dean’s arm and grabbed his face with two hands. “Dean?!”

Dean’s eyes opened slowly and looked weirdly steady into Sam’s as he made a weak smile. “You’re the one who’re sleeping.”

Dean’s eyes shut slowly and his head fell heavily into Sam’s hands.

“No! Dean…! Wake up!”

Sam’s eyes sprung open and he found himself sitting upright in the seat. Confused and winded from the dream, he wondered if he had been yelling in his sleep. Dean didn’t comment so probably not. In the corner of his eyes he saw Dean’s head drop and before he turned and got a clear look of his sleeping brother the car swayed of the road.

“Dean!”

Sam grabbed the wheel, but it wasn’t enough to keep the car from hitting a lamppost head on.

“Dean…?” Sam moaned the word and turned to Dean before he was fully awake and noticed that his legs wasn’t stuck. They had been cut off from blood supply from sitting too long in the same position though.

Dean was sat up and his head hanging limp back. Sam shook him carefully by his shoulder as he brushed his own forehead clear from blood that wasn’t there.

“Dean… wake up.” He cleared his voice from sleep and tried louder. “Hey! Wake up!”

Chapter Text

”I don’t like being carried.” Stiles tried to force the sound of his fear and pain down, while still clinging on to Derek’s neck as Derek carried him bridal style down the stairs to the basement.

“Well, I don’t care much for carrying you either, but Scott will try to kill me for the rest of his life if I let you die.”

“Die?!” Stiles’s heart skipped more than one beat and he found himself dizzy and holding on so tight he was shaking. “I’m dying…?!”

Derek crossed the dark room and kneeled down next to a metal framed bed. “Let go. But don’t move.”

Confused and lightheaded Stiles tried to follow both demands but somehow it seemed as there was at least six feet from Daryl’s arms to the mattress. Tightening every muscle in his body, sent electricity of pain from the pain in his lower leg throughout his body and he yelped and held on to Derek again.

“Hey! I said don’t move!” Derek’s fingers bored deeper into Stiles’s skin and his eyes locked on the hurt leg. “Didn’t you hear me the first fifty times?”

“I’m in pain here.” Stiles tried to sound offended. “Except, I’m sure it was only like thirty-eight times.”

Derek shot him a stern look that shot down all of Stiles’s planned tries to lighten the mood.

“Just hold on.” Derek leaned in and rested Stiles’s back on the mattress and only when he pulled his arm out from under him, did Stiles find the opportunity to let go safely. Derek still had both legs in a firm hold in his other arm though.

“Derek…?”

“Shh!” Derek moved a little as he held Stiles’s legs steady. “Let me do it.”

Stiles’s lower leg was pounding and it seemed as if it got worse every time anything in its proximity moved, so the slow and cautious movements was a help, but it didn’t settle his stomach or relax his mind. Derek wouldn’t treat any injury like this. Stiles didn’t have to be a werewolf to see the fast pulse on Derek’s neck.

Slowly, Derek let go of the good leg and then he used both hands to carefully lie the hurt one on the mattress. As soon as it was down Derek let go and took a few steps back on his knees.

“Derek…?” Stiles didn’t like the way Derek was looking at his leg; as if he was deciding what to do, or whether to do anything at all. “Derek. Why am I not in a hospital?”

Stiles lifted his head to look at his leg, but Derek pushed him down and basically shouted with his gaze that he didn’t want to tell him not to move again.

“Okay. I won’t move, but what…?”

“It’s still in there.” Derek spoke fast and barely directed at Stiles as he ran around the room gathering things.

Stiles didn’t understand what was in there. Was it in him Derek was talking about and what exactly was it? He tried following everyone of Derek’s moves, but the way he’d looked at him before still had Stiles lying flat on his back.

Derek pushed over two old wooden dining room chairs and sat down on one as he placed everything on the other. Stiles’s heart beat harder as he realized that he wasn’t able to see what Derek had brought, as Derek was blocking the view of the other chair. The look of sudden determination on Derek’s face didn’t help, and he could hear his fast pule rush by his inner ear.

Carefully, too carefully, Derek wrapped something around Stiles’s ankle.

“Derek? What…?” Stiles used every cell in his body to counteract his urge to lift his head and look down.

As Derek wrapped it around the other too, Stiles was convinced that Derek had found a rope and was now tying him to the bed.

“Derek! What the hell?!” Stiles popped up on two elbows and saw Derek fastening the end of the rope to the bed.

“Lie down!” Derek pushed Stiles down again a little too slow for the way Derek was normally acting. “It’s in your leg, now stay still!”

“What…” Stiles took a deep breath, not knowing if he should be scared or angry. “What is in me?”

“The arrow.”

He could barely see Derek’s head and shoulders as he leaned down with a new rope, but shards of glass seemed to move up inside his entire leg as Derek pushed it under his knee.

“D-Derek.” Stiles grabbed the metal frame around the mattress. “Sto… stop!”

The rushed look of empathy in the eyes of the determined man, surprised Stiles, but within seconds his knees were tightly tied to the bed as well.

“Wait… Derek, please… just wait.” Stiles’s voice trembled between breaths he desperately tried to control.

Derek sat down one the chair and grabbed a third rope, but this time he paused and looked at Stiles. It was still possible to see the compassion hiding in his eyes, and it only made the thoughts of what might happen, that much worse.

“Stiles, you have to…”

“Lie still! I know.” Stiles interrupted and left himself winded. “Tell… just tell me what’s… what are you…?”

Derek nodded. “I’m tying your hip too. I’ve tied both legs, because you could move a lot more if you had one loose and it’s…” He looked down Stiles’s legs and frowned.

Stiles started to feel his lower leg throbbing. Maybe his adrenaline was wearing off, even though he would think that this conversation would leave him with more than enough adrenaline to fight of any pain.

He grabbed Derek’s lower arm and made him look at him. “What is it? What’s in me?”

“Don’t you remember…? The hunters, the arrows?”

Stiles tried to think back. It was all still a blur, he remembered flashes of light and sounds of explosions, but no arrows.

“You were hit with one of the arrows.” Derek shook his head as if he was somewhere between amazed and confused. “It must have grazed a three or something to go slow it enough that it didn’t explode in your leg on impact.”

After a few seconds studying Derek’s face, it dawned on Stiles that what was in him, was the unexploded arrowhead. He didn’t get any time to ask where the rest of the arrow went, before Derek pushed a hand under his waist to tie his hip too. He wasn't sure it was real, when he remembered trying to fight Derek off, and how shocked and scared Derek had looked as when they heard the snap. It didn’t matter anyway. The arrow wasn’t important, the bomb was. He had a bomb in his leg. How big of an explosion would that make? The sounds he remembered from the shooting was too big for any limb to handle. Stiles’s eyes didn’t focus on anything, but that wasn’t important either, just as his rapid breathing. This could very well take his leg off. This could actually kill him.

“Hey!” Derek’s stern and loud voice was directly over his face. “Hey. Stiles!”

Stiles felt a hand on each cheek and slowly he managed to focus on the man looking down at him.

“Don’t freak out on me, okay?”

Derek had never held eye-contact with him before, unless it was some kind of threat or warning. Stiles nodded silently, still breathing too fast.

“Good… I have to take it out.”

Stiles started to shake his head but Derek hastily moved one of the hands to a firm hold on Stiles’s chin. “Don’t fight me or the ropes, or we’ll both blow up.”

With no control over either lungs or the tears now rolling from his eyes, he changed his shake in for a slight and insecure nod.

Derek let him go and disappeared out of his field of vision. The first touch, only to his pant-leg, had him gasp and let out a small sob. Derek worked steady but fast in cutting the fabric and soon Stiles felt his skin cool down around the burning pain where the arrow had hit.

“This will hurt as hell, but don’t…” Derek paused, maybe because he knew he’d already told Stiles countless times.

“I…” Stiles, spoke between gasps and sobs. “I know.”

Stiles had always thought that when people bit down on something in movies, it was so they wouldn’t scream, but he learned there was another reason when a white glowing pain consumed his leg, and his jaw jammed his teeth hard together. His lungs locked up only to heave in air suddenly and leave him coughing and gagging. He grabbed on to the bedframe again and did his best to hold still, but there was no break, no coming up for air and eventually there was nothing to do but trust the ropes. As soon as he gave up lying perfectly still, Stiles could use brain capacity to form real words between his cries.

“No… Der-Derek…” He tried pushing himself up on his elbows but a new wave of pain tore through him and he landed back with a massive wail.

“S-stop!”

“Almost there.” Derek spoke loudly to break through Stiles’s screams.

Then he paused every movement and, in fear that something was happening, Stiles silenced everything but his gasping.

“I’ve got it. Take a breath and don’t freak out and blow me up while I take it out.”

This was it. He needed to lie still or they were both blowing up. Maybe just his leg and Derek’s hands but here and not in a hospital, that would kill them either way, only slower and more painful.

“Stiles?”

Stiles closed his eyes and did his best to try and forget the way his leg was still shaking from pain, without his say. He nodded and Derek’s one hand was on top of his shin. It felt like a burning hot knife was twisting in his leg and he wrapped both arms over his face to not shake his head violently from side to side. He had to lie still.

Derek stood up before Stiles felt the pain subside. With his heaving for air and his fast pulse pumping passed his ears, Stiles still heard the metal carefully placed on the chair and Derek moving the chair back.

“I’m not sure that was all of it.”

“No…” Stiles sobbed from behind his arms. “No, more… Derek, there’s nothing there. I can feel it.”

He couldn’t feel it. He couldn’t feel the arrowhead before either.

“It could be that one of the corners got damaged on whatever it grazed before it hit you.” Derek sounded insecure but not nervous and Stiles’s heartbeat slowed with the thought that there would be no blown off leg in his immediate future.

He slowly unwrapped his arms from his face and his gasps turned to smaller hiccups for air. “Just wrap it up and get me somewhere with drugs…” He knew he sounded pitiful but he didn’t care. “I’m sure there’s nothing in there.”

Derek reached up and held a bloody hand firmly in Stiles’s shoulder and looked him straight in the eyes. “I have the explosive out, but I need to make sure there’s no metal. I’m sorry.”

Stiles shook his head, unable to force words over the crying on his voice. He could only gasp as Derek put a heavy hand on his shin again.


The painfully-white light was horribly familiar and the sound coming after forced pictures of the shooting in front of Stiles’s eyes. A scream and a deep pained growl filled the room.

“No, no nono…” Stiles heaved in air and continued the string of words in his head.

There was pain, but not as much as he’d feared, not as much as when Derek was digging into him. He kept his eyes closed, if he was bleeding out or he might end up in shock in a minute, he didn’t want to see. He would most definitely feel everything if he saw.

“Derek…?” The sound was only a shaky whisper. He heaved in lungs full of air. “D-Derek?!”

Somehow Stiles found that he wasn’t getting less clear headed. In fact, slowly his hearing suppressed his heaving for air and loud heartbeat and focused on Derek’s heavy breathing. He was alive. Stiles had to look; Derek wasn’t conscious. He took a deep determined breath and opened his eyes. He couldn’t see Derek on the floor next to him, but his field of vision was limited. He pushed up on his elbows and tried to sit up. Something was wrong, something more than the ropes. He couldn’t move his legs, not only that they were tied, but no part of them would move. He reached down and grabbed something sticky and warm and, surprised and scared that it didn’t hurt, he pulled himself up.

The deep growl he heard when he pulled the last of the way, made more sense as he saw Derek lying over his legs. Derek’s upper body covered Stiles’s thighs and knees, and head and arms were limp on the mattress on the other side from where was sitting before. His back was slowly soaking his torn up shirt in blood. Panicky, Stiles let go on his arm and took in the sight of the room. The chair Derek had pushed behind him was gone. Only splinters were left on the floor. There wasn’t as much blood as expected, but as far as he could tell his legs were still intact. Only Derek’s back was hurt, but it was all of his back and even with the shirt still on and the sparse light in the room, Stiles could see that it would take a long time to heal even with werewolf healing.

“Derek?” Stiles tried while carefully pushing his shoulder. Derek’s hand on the mattress moved a little, at least Stiles thought so.

“Hey, wake up!” He pushed a little harder and Derek growled in a mix of pain and annoyance.

At about the same time as Stiles realized that Derek wasn’t waking up he saw a small piece of wood sticking out of the skin on Derek’s back. He looked closer and saw several more. His stomach dropped. One thing was a hurt werewolf, a knocked out one was worse, but a werewolf with shrapnel embedded in his skin was bad, really bad. He would heal around it in a couple of hours.

Stiles’s pulse and breathing sped up and he desperately shook Derek, only receiving pained whines that he never thought he would hear cross Derek’s lips. Not seeing any other option he pushed Derek lower on his legs and screamed in unison with the heavy man as he was pushed over Stiles’s open wound. With shaky and bloody hands he untied the ropes on his hip and knees. With that loose he could reach over Derek to his ankles. He swore and tears sprung from his eyes as his own movements made his leg feel like it was being torn off. Derek growled loudly and every muscle in his arms and legs must have been trembling, but as soon as Stiles’s leg was pulled out from under him, he fell limp and silent to the mattress.

Hazy from pain and exhaustion, Stiles had to use a few minutes to control his breathing to not pass out. When he placed his feet on the floor, his hands were still shaking violently and he doubted that he could even pick up what he found that could might help him.

The bandage Derek had brought for Stiles’s leg, was lying at the foot end of the bed, and from what he could see it was way too small, so waking for that was futile. Biding his own wound wasn’t worth the certainly painful walk either. He scouted the floor but didn’t see anything in the mess. The bed was just as messy, wooden pieces scattered over the mattress. He was surprised that he hadn’t been hit, but Derek must have taken the brunt of the explosion. On the far side of the wide mattress was a piece of metal, that was already covered in blood, but nothing else in its proximity was stained. Stiles swallowed hard and held in a deep breath as he reached back and took the long pliers. Looking at the bloody tool in his trembling hand he suppressed a gag and hastily and rather angrily wiped his eyes.

Stiles knew he didn’t have anything that could infect Derek, but mixing blood was never a good idea. He shook his head as he realized what he was thinking. How did, digging into a werewolf’s back with a tool covered in his own blood, become a thing he didn’t even consider not doing?

Somehow he suffered through the painful fight to move over the bed and stand on the other side. He gritted his teeth as he put weight on his leg and it took him a few seconds to see the tool still in his hand clearly. He was sure nothing was broken, but gravity didn’t do him any favors.

Derek was breathing heavily against the mattress and beginning to slowly move his arms as if he was going to push himself up but his hands only moved a few inches closer to his shoulders. Stiles put his knees against the bed frame and took the unconscious man’s wrists.

“Derek?” Stiles asked carefully, not to startle him, but got no answer. He pulled one hand a little and Derek hummed and pulled the arm back with a deep pained growl.

With a deep breath Stiles made the decision that he couldn’t wait for Derek to wake up and he pulled his arms and started to drag him towards himself. Derek whined and weakly fought the pull in his arms but couldn’t counteract the move over the mattress. When Derek’s head was almost at the edge of the bed and only his feet hung over the other side, Stiles let go and Derek pulled his arms close and tugged his hands under his shoulders. He panted loudly and Stiles couldn’t help thinking that he looked scared even with his eyes closed.

The shirt was ripped off rather easily. The hard thing was listening to Derek hold his breath every time he would touch him and let the air go in a small sob after. As the reality of the damage done to Derek’s back revealed itself for Stiles he felt his eyes burn again and his stomach clench. There was more wood than he first thought and he had to hurry; scar tissue was already forming around some of the smaller pieces.

Stiles fought every urge to scream and cry in pain was he pressed his open wound onto the matters and sat on his knees next to Derek’s upper body.

“Derek.” Stiles didn’t expect an answer and didn’t get one. “If you can hear me; I’m sorry.”

He put his free hand on Derek’s lower back were there was far less damage and swore internally as he took the smallest piece he could see with the pliers.

Derek tensed and the moaning growl was louder than Stiles was prepared for. He pulled the piece out fast and watched Derek’s body go limp and his breathing calm a little. Not having planned what to do with the pieces of wood, Stiles threw it on the floor and turned back to the work at hand. Knowing how Derek would react was worse than being surprised by it and he hesitated for a second before he hastily pulled out the next one. Derek heaved in heavily and fast and pulled his arms under his chest, whining as he tried to push himself up only to fall back down.

“Hey? I’m sorry.” Stiles leaned in to see Derek’s face but still only saw closed eyes and a locked jaw. “Derek, can you hear me?”

The loud breathing slowing down fast indicated that Derek was still not aware of what was happening and only reacted to the pain. Stiles moved closer to his head and placed his hand firmly on the back of Derek’s neck instead; holding him in place as much as he could, while pulling out piece after piece.

“Sorry, sorry.” Stiles despised every pitiful and scared cry Derek made as he worked and even more he hated that he didn’t wake up. If he was awake he would at least act angry and swear at Stiles to hurry up and get it done, but now Stiles had to make the decision to work fast on his own.

One of the bigger pieces was in deep and Stiles suppressed a gag before talking hold of it. He wasn’t disgusted or repelled by the mess, but soon he would surely break tears from the already tortured man. He moved his hand to the side of Derek’s head not to cut off air supply as he pressed him deeper into the mattress. Derek let out a sob and his eyes opened shortly and Stiles pulled his hand away, noticing the new layer of blood over the dried on his hand. It wasn’t much but enough to direct Stiles’s attention to the blood on the back of Derek’s head. Trying not to provoke a reaction from the unconscious werewolf while being this close to his arms and head, Stiles combed some hair aside and found a small cut on the back of his head. Nothing to worry about in itself, but the swelling under the skin and the fact that it was on Derek’s head, didn’t sit right with Stiles.

Hastily forcing himself to come to terms with that it was out of his control, he turned back to the last quarter of the back and the big piece he’d decided had to be next. It wasn’t easy to get the small pliers to hold on it right. Derek cried out with the first little movement and Stiles willed himself to focus on the work and not on the trembling man under his hands. The pliers snapped off the wood a second time and Derek turned his head under Stiles’s hold.

“No…” Derek’s voice was airy, but the small sound in it sounded scared to Stiles.

“I’m sorry. I have to do this.” Stiles didn’t think he’d ever sounded so remorseful in his life.

He dropped the pliers; it wasn’t like his hands were more dirty than that thing either way. Pressing the side of Derek’s face down into the mattress a bit harder, Stiles took hold of the wood with his other hand and pulled it out fast.

Derek’s scream ended in a low growling sound that was more than human. He grabbed on to the sheet on both sides of his head and when Stiles pulled another, almost as big piece out, he saw wolf claws piercing the fabric.

The prospect of being in that small room, with a limp leg and a fully changed werewolf in pain, was not something Stiles could imagine ending with his survival.

“Derek…” Stiles leaned in front of Derek’s face and was surprised to see open eyes. Not glowing wolf eyes, but pale green glazed over eyes. “Hey…”

It didn’t seem as Derek recognized him, but he surely directed his eyes at Stiles’s.

“Derek?”

Derek looked as far around as he could lying front down with Stile’s sitting in front of his face. Gradually his fingers dug deeper into the mattress and his throat let out small growls with every breath.

“No, no, no. Don’t…” Stiles moved back a little and gasped as he moved his leg under him.

Derek’s hand was on his forearm before he could move too far away and Stiles froze looking at the claws as they slowly retracted.

“Stiles?” Derek whispered with his head lifted as much as he could, looking at Stiles with a frowned forehead.

“Y-yes.” Insecure of what to do, Stiles let his gut feeling take over and placed a shaky hand on top of Derek’s on his arm. “It’s Stiles. I’m trying to help y…”

Derek’s head dropped and his hand went limp and followed his heavy arm down to the mattress.

“No…” Stiles leaned in and with no regard for his own safety he took Derek’s chin in a firm grip and tried to get him to look up, but he was out.

“Hey…! Wake up!”

Derek hummed and Stiles all but exhaled his lungs in relief. Derek wasn’t going into a coma, at least Stiles was more sure about that now than before, and he remembered Stiles’s name. Nodding affirmative to himself, Stiles trusted that Derek would wake up as soon as he’d healed and wasn’t in so much pain. By them Stiles might have gotten his pulse down to almost normal and they could get out of here.

Stiles took the pliers again and moved closer.

“I’m sorry…”

He took a deep breath and grabbed on to the next of maybe fifteen smaller pieces of shrapnel.

Chapter Text

“Behind you!”

Jace grabbed Alec’s shoulders and tried to turn him around but Alec wasn’t moving and wasn’t about to let Jace get up from the ground either.

“Alec!” Jace’s scream was high-pitched and didn’t match his uncoordinated and sluggish attempts to pull himself up.

“Jace. We killed it.” Alec tried talking calmly but the struggle holding Jace on his back was taking the wind out of him. “It’s over.”

Jace shook his head and looked terrified over Alec’s shoulder. “No, no…” He heaved in air and coughed as it passed through his throat too fast. “Alec…”

Alec turned his head a quick second and looked at the buildings standing tall behind him. He turned back and moved himself into Jace’s line of sight.

“Jace. It’s only shadows moving in the light of the car-headlights. Jace were safe.”

Keeping up the fast breathing, Jace shifted his head back and fourth to look over Alec’s shoulders.

“No, no, no. We’re safe.” Alec tried to get his attention but he was only granted short moments of connection. He tried leaning in closer to take up more of his field of vision. “Keep looking at me. Jace, just lie still."

“Jace!” Izzy dropped to her knees on the other side of the hurt hunter and looked over his body. “Alec…?”

“Iz.” Jace lifted his shaking hand and took hers. “You need to…” He looked from Alec to Izzy and then back. “Alec. Be careful.”

“Hey.” Alec took Jace’s chin and looked him in the eyes. “Jace.” He spoke clear and slow. “We are safe. It is over.”

Jace tried to pull himself up but wasn’t strong enough against his siblings and he was slowly pushed back down.

“Did he hit his head?” Izzy looked down Jace’s body again.

“I’m not sure. Maybe. But…” Alec took Jace’s shoulder and rolled him towards himself. Jace screamed out in pain as the deep cut on his back was revealed to Izzy.

“I’m…” Jace held on as tight as he possibly could to Jace’s arms and held his breath as he was turned back. He spoke only in a whisper. “I… I’m sorry.”

Izzy looked confused at Alec and when he shook his head, she cupped Jace’s cheeks with both hands and looked caringly at him. “Why are you sorry?”

“I…” He looked around him, clearly scared. “We should be quiet. They’ll find us.”

Izzy sat up on her heels and Alec was her speculating look.

“It can’t be blood loss…” Alec tried questioning. “I didn’t think it was that bad.”

“No.”

Alec took Jace’s hand in his before he grabbed Izzy’s necklace. “Jace, calm down.”

Izzy tried to look into Jace’s eyes but he shook her hands off his head and avoided eye-contact when she got too close.

“There’s no obvious head-wound, but it could be some kind of poison.” She put her hands around the brother’s joined hands. “Jace, we need to get you home.”

Jace tensed up and his eyes flared open. “No!” He seemed to have completely forgotten about being quiet.

He grabbed Alec’s shoulder with his free hand and pulled him closer. “It’s not safe. You go!”

Izzy and Alec shared a look and a small nod before standing and pulling Jace to his feet. He growled in pain as his back was stretched, but as soon as his lungs was somewhat functional, he pleaded for them to stop.

“No… Please, Alec. Save yourselves.” He tried to push himself from Izzy’s grasp around his waist. “Iz. Make him listen.”

Alec sent a fire message for a portal.

“Alec!” Jace pulled his arm from around Izzy’s shoulders and hung on only Alec’s and grabbed his other arm as well. “Please…”

Tears were flowing freely form Jace’s eyes. Alec tightened his grip, not sure if Jace was really that weak or if he was just too freaked out to manage his own legs.

“Jace. Listen…” Alec got real, retaliated, eye-contact with Jace. “We’re all safe. Izzy, you and me. We killed it.”

“We…” Jace frowned his forehead and looked at Izzy for a second before making contact with Alec again. “We killed it?”

“Yes. We’re okay.” Alec smiled softly at his confused brother.

A portal opened in front of them and Izzy hesitantly took Jace’s arm. He let her but as soon as they faced the glowing opening, he tensed up and pulled both of them closer.

“We… we shouldn’t do that. It could follow us.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, Mr. Rise and Shine! Get up!”

Dean slammed the door open to the motel room. He’d just thrown the last of their stuff in the car.

Sam pressed his face into the pillow with a deep hum and turned it away from the light. Dean never got up first, but Sam had looked more than regular tired the day before and Dean thought it would be best to let his brother sleep longer if he was coming down with something.

“Sam! We need to go.” He walked to the bed and pulled the cover of Sam.

Sam shivered for a brief moment and then pulled his arms close and his hands under his chest. Dean paused for a second taking in the sight of his fully clothed brother, drenched in sweat.

The firm hand Dean put on Sam’s shoulder made him recoil with a shaky gasp. Dean’s stomach churned as he wondered how long he had before he needed to drag Sam to the bathroom and shower him in cold water. It couldn’t be long.

“Sam.” Dean pulled his far shoulder up slowly. “C’mon, look at me.”

Holding in a deep breath, Sam followed Dean’s move and turned to his back. Pain was smeared across his face and as he relaxed back down he let the air out with a pitched sigh.

“Dammit, Sam.” Dean hastily brushed away the wet hair from his brothers face ignoring his flinch as he touched his forehead.

“I’m fine, Dean.” Sam barely had his eyes open as he looked up at his brother standing over him. “I just need to sleep it off.”

“No. I think we’re passed that.”

Without waiting for Sam to answer, Dean ran to the car and got their duffel bags inside again. He dropped the one with the medical kit in it next to Sam’s feet and al but tore it open. Briefly he noticed his hands shaking as he looked through their sparse selection of help, but he made a decision not to think about his own shaking. Sam’s was bad enough, and Sam’s wasn’t from adrenaline.

“Here.” Dean slowed down two inches from Sam’s face, not to attack him with the thermometer as he placed it in Sam’s mouth.

Sam began to say something, but it didn’t take much strength to hold his jaw tight. “Not now. I need to figure out what is happening and you don’t get a say against it.”

Sam sighed and settled for looking at the ceiling while blinking slow enough that it pulled Dean’s air from his lungs every time. How the hell did it get that bad overnight? Sam was tired for sure and thinking back he didn’t really eat that much, but this was happening way to fast.

The thermometer showed 104. High, but Sam had had worse and been more alert than now.

“Sam?” Dean took his chin and turned his head towards him, and after a second Sam’s eyes followed. “What’s going on? You’re in pain?”

Sam pulled his chin slowly from Dean’s hold and locked his jaw, not hiding his pained look, as tried to turn away, but Dean held him down with a hand on his shoulder.

“Don’t! You’re running quite the fever, but that can’t have you hurting all over, not like that. You are going to tell me what is wrong before you burn up.”

It took forever for Sam to find Dean’s eyes again and then give up the silent fight. He shook his head slower than Dean had seen before and when he breathed in deep to talk Dean loosened the grip on his shoulders a bit.

“I’m just tired… and have a headache.”

They had spent too many years cooped up together in shitty rooms like this, as kids and adults, for Dean not to see that Sam was keeping something from him. He pulled over a chair and sat down with his arms folded.

“I’ll sit here till you spill or till you need an ice-bath, which we don’t have by the way.”

Sam tilted his head to the side and looked at Dean as he sighed deeply. “My leg.”

Dean sat up straight. There’s only one thing that could start with a leg and make a fever like that.

“Where?” He asked under his breath.

Sam bit his lip and started to turn away. This time Dean helped him. When he was steady on his side, Dean looked down his pantleg. There was nothing to see, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything hiding under the fabric. He quickly reached to the duffel and grabbed a pair of scissors. There was nothing on Sam’s lover leg, even though the skin seemed warmer than it should be, even with Sam’s fever.

He cut to the middle of Sam’s thigh before he found the edge of a bandage. Careful enough that he could hear Sam’s fast breathing he cut the back of Sam’s pants all the way to the edge of his boxers. The bandage was thick but still Dean could see the orange fluid making its way through. It would surely have soaked Sam’s pants in under half an hour.

“Sam?” Dean took Sam’s elbow, making sure he didn’t roll back. “Why didn’t you say anything?”

“It’s kinda…” Sam breathed in heavy and slow, for once. “It’s a bit too high.”

The bandage was touching up against Sam’s underwear but it wasn’t like it was his ass. Dean would have made a lot of jokes and would have hated to patch that up, but it was better than this.

“You should have asked me to help.”

Sam didn’t answer, and Dean might have imagined the small nod he saw.

If Sam’s fever had been lower he’d most likely shouted and sworn at Dean. If it had been higher he probably wouldn’t have cared about the sounds he made. Listening to Sam trying to suppress the whines and cries as Dean removed the bandage was more revolting than the sight under it.

It wasn’t deep and Dean could understand why Sam had decided against stitches, but yellowish fluid was running from it and the skin around was angry red and swollen.

“Sammy…”

“I know.” Sam rolled slowly to his front and hid his face against an arm as he held on to the pillow with both hands.

When Dean had picked the half empty whiskey bottle from the other duffel bag he paused. If Sam had just come to him right after clearing that vampire nest instead of waiting five days, he could have avoided a lot of pain. And saved Dean from having to hurt him like this.

“Ready?”

Dean put a hand on the back of Sam’s knee, pressing it into the bed. Sam tightened his hands on the pillow and Dean poured half the alcohol over the open wound.

The scream filling the room, was raw and angry and quickly muffled by the pillow Sam bit into. Dean let his leg be, and held Sam’s back steady as he gagged and couched until the air flowed unobstructed through his throat.

“Sorry, man.” Dean’s heart clenched as he hurt how sad his own voice sounded, and steadied his breath before speaking again. “You, with me?”

Winded, Sam nodded into the pillow and lifted his hand a little to signal that he was still there. Dean sighed relieved and let go of Sam. He looked at the wound. Not clean at all but, at least almost all of the vile looking bacteria was gone. He found a clean bandage and had already anticipated the recoil Sam made when he loosely placed it over the wound.

“It’s alright, Sammy. No more right now.”

Sam slowly turned his head towards Dean and Dean quickly brushed the sticky hair from his eyes.

“Dean…?” Through the fatigue, he sounded equally confused and scared.

Dean sat down and leaned in a bit so Sam could see him. “I can’t close it like this. We need real antiseptics and you need antibiotics…” He placed his hand heavily on Sam’s shoulder and leaned in with a smile. “and preferably painkillers.”

Relaxing a bit more, Sam smiled and nodded as he closed his eyes. Dean got up and grabbed the car-keys. “I’ll get two more nights in this suite too. Don’t die when I’m out.”

“Sure.” Sam sounded already half asleep.

Dean locked the door after him and sprinted to the car.

Chapter Text

“Morgan, don’t…” Reid rasped through the choke hold.

“Let him go!” As Morgan raised his gun and stepped slowly closer to the gunman holding Reid, his only regard for his own life was to be able to get his partner to a hospital if he needed it. “Point that thing at me!”

“Sure. Why not…?” The man answered, too calm for Morgan’s liking. He could handle a scared suspect, even a panicked one. This one was calm and collected which meant that he already had a plan. The man slowly directed the gun at Morgan.

“No…” Reid’s air was cut off and in the dim light from the only light on the bridge, Morgan saw his hands tighten on to the arm around his neck.

Morgan took a small step closer, but froze as the man pushed his own and Reid’s backs against the railing. “You know there’s no way out of this if you kill either of us.”

“Oh. You think I want that kind of way out.”

With his knees suddenly shaking, Morgan still managed to keep his gun steadily pointed at the laughing man’s head.

“I know that’s not how it works.”

His sinister smile widened as he rubbed his cheek against Reid’s messy hair. “Your bullet or mine.” He shrug his shoulders. “It’s all the same. But this one…”

If there wasn’t a chance of hitting Reid, Morgan would have emptied his clip between the guy’s eyes when he kissed the top of Reid’s head.

“This one killed my brother. He’s not getting out of this life that easy.”

The second the man lowered his gun and pushed Reid against the railing, Morgan was on him. He grabbed his arm and as the gun once again was pointed at him he pushed his own up under the man’s chin and fired.

“Mor…” Reid screamed but was cut off by the air emptied from his lungs.

The frantic grip Morgan got on Reid’s sleeve wasn’t enough to even make a tear in it as Reid tumbled backwards over the railing and disappeared into the darkness and the sound of the raging river below. When Morgan’s gun landed next to the dead body, he’d already thrown himself in after Reid.

Chapter Text

Derek pushed Stiles from his side and both men submerged in the still water. Still coughing, Stiles rushed back to lift Derek’s head above the surface.

“What the hell?!” Stiles rasped between gasps.

Derek tried to reach a rock nearby but it was too far and, just like a minute ago, Stiles felt a strong hand grab desperately on to his shoulder.

“I told…” Derek’s words were pressed out under his breath and broken up by big heaves for air. “I told you… to leave.”

“You’re stuck. It’s idiotic to drown where there’s no current to drag you under. I’m not going anywhere.”

Why was Derek angry? He couldn’t possibly be that proud that him being thrown into the river and the rock rolling over him was embarrassing.

Fingertips bored into Stiles’s shoulder and upper arm, hard enough that Stiles for a moment thought Derek’s claws were out. Derek turned what little he could and huge panicked eyes found Stiles’s. “I’ll kill you. Just leave.”

Stiles took in the sight of the shaking man in his arms. The water wasn’t rising, they were sure the hunter had given up finding them and Scott was on his way; they weren’t in danger.

An extra layer of fear crossed Derek’s face, before he looked down and again pushed Stiles’s chest. This time Stiles held on and grabbed Derek’s wrist holding him locked. It was surprisingly easy. On any other day, Derek would be able to tear Stiles in half, and he didn’t want to think about what he could do when he was a wolf.

“Stop, will ya?! You’re not going to wolf out.” Stiles looked at the shaking hand he was holding the wrist of. “Please don’t wolf out.”

“S-Stiles…” Derek pulled himself up higher again and almost sounded sad when he spoke. “Just let me be.”

Last time they were in water like this, it wasn’t a rock holding Derek down. It was Derek’s own paralyzed body. But other than that it wasn’t different from this. Except it was; Derek’s voice had been steady, slightly angry, but calm.

“Derek?” Stiles pushed his head under Derek’s arm and looked at his face. “You’re not scared you’ll kill me. Not yet anyway. You don’t want me to see you freak out. You won’t turn from pain or anger; you’re scared of the water aren’t you?”

Derek’s forehead frowned and then he avoided eye-contact, but his arm around Stiles still shook from the test of holding on so tight, and maybe something else too.

“Okay.” Stiles forced his most nonchalant voice. He’d just embarrassed Derek, who was already freaking out. This could very well end up with red water.

With a deep breath, mostly to calm himself, he decided that face to face probably wasn’t the way to go.

“Hang on.” He lifted Derek’s arm but Derek clung tighter around him and his eyes sprung up at Stiles.

“I have to stand behind you. I’m getting tired like this.” The sympathy in Stiles’s voice could have turned Derek on it’s own, but somehow Derek just nodded.

Slowly, Stiles got out from Derek’s grip and stood behind him. With nothing else to hold in to, but Stiles’s arm over his chest, Derek locked both arms around it. Stiles wasn’t sure who was holding on to who.

“Derek?” Stiles tried hesitant.

“Don’t…” The trembling was worse and could be hurt on the one word.

Derek’s whole body was shaking more too. If it was because he was in here for so long or because there was no reason to hide it now, Stiles didn’t know. He just know that the rumble under Derek’s breath wasn’t all human.

“Hey, hey.” Stiles shook Derek’s shoulder with his free hand. “Don’t… C’mon breathe.”

Derek’s deep breath was anger and not calming him.

“Derek, you need to calm down. We’ll both die.” He damned the fear on his own voice. He was never the calm one, but right now he had to be.

He pushed himself a bit further under Derek and gambling both of their lives, as he slowly pushed Derek’s head back to lean on his shoulder. Surprisingly, Derek followed and it seemed as if his next inhale was a bit more controlled.

“Good.” Stiles kept his hand firmly on Derek’s chin and cheek. “Just try to stay calm. Scott will be here any second now.”

“It’s… it’s not…” Derek gasped but the rumble behind the moving air was gone and Stiles’s heart slowed down a bit.

“It’s okay.” Stiles spoke quietly.

Derek shook his head almost careful in Stiles’s hold. “No. I’m…” If Derek could make longer sentences, Stiles was sure he would hear pure fear in his voice. “This is wrong… it’s illogical.”

“You know who you’re talking to, right?” Stiles felt for the guy. The only thing Derek was going through that Stiles hadn’t, was that he thought it wasn’t okay to be scared. “I’m freaking scared all the time. Most I know is illogical, but that doesn’t help it.”

The grip tightened on his arm, but for the first time Stiles was sure it wasn’t from Derek trying not to turn.

“Just breathe. Concentrate on hanging on and breathing and nothing else.”

Derek nodded slightly and drew in a slow and deep breath.

“You’re lucky it’s me out here.” Somehow it felt more natural to speak almost in a whisper. Everything had calmed, everything but the white-knuckled shaking hands one Stiles’s arm. “You know, someone who knows how to deal with fear.”

“If you…” The borderline panic on Derek’s voice took away from him trying to sound threatening. “You… you better…”

“I know. You’ll kill me ugly if I tell anyone.” Stiles couldn’t help but smile at the clear attempt to regain a little of his aggressive bully persona. “I won’t say anything, just concentrate on calming your breathing.”

Why the hell was Scott taking so long?

“Stiles…” Derek’s whisper barely made Stile’s ear. “I… I…” He gasped and swallowed deeply before heaving in a huge amount of air way too fast.

“No, no. Derek.” Stiles lifted him up a bit more and cradled his head tighter. “Listen to my voice. Breathe. Everything is fine. Breathe.”

There was no growl in the desperate heaves for air. A normal, human, panic attack, Stiles could handle. Derek shook his head panting for air.

“Derek. Listen!” Stiles almost screamed. “Snap out of it! You’re okay. You hear me?!”

The head on Stiles’s shoulder nodded hastily and the sound of air filling lungs lowered the pace of Stiles’s mind.

“That’s it. There you go.” For the first time, Stiles wasn’t worried that his caring tone would lead to a bad outcome.

Derek turned his head firmly into Stiles’s neck. Surprised, Stiles moved his hand to the back of Derek’s head and supported it there.

“I need…” Derek broke his sentence, this time, with a long deep breath. “I need… to get out of here.”

Stiles nodded and looked into the woods. “I know… any second now.”

Chapter Text

Sometimes it felt like he was getting stabbed all over again. When he lifted his arm too high or reached out in front of him. Even sometimes when he lifted something heavy with his other arm. He could swear that he could hear the knife against the bone inside his shoulder when he turned over during the night. The only break he’d had the last four days, was when he wore that ugly, pitiful sling. He hated that thing. It was like an invitation for people to offer their help.

Dean swore internally as Sam sat the huge burger in front of him. He should have gone for the salad or a soup. That he would have been able to eat with one hand, but Sam would definitely had thought he was sick on top of injured.

“Oh, sorry.” Sam had clearly seen him hesitate and stood up again. “Hang on…”

Dean scowled after Sam as he asked for a knife and sat down. He reached for Dean’s plate, but Dean pulled it back with his free arm.

“What do you think you’re doing?”

“I…” Sam looked at Dean’s hand peeking out from the edge of the sling. “Dean. Maybe it was easier to eat with one hand if it was cut in four.”

“I’m perfectly fine to eat a burger with one hand. Thank you very much.”

Dean ignored Sam’s loud sigh and shake of head, as he took hold of the meal. He’s fingers barely reached the center of the top bun and before he lifted it half an inch he felt the filling sliding out. He felt Sam’s eyes firmly on him as he reached out with his other hand too. It was easy enough to grab on to the burger. Making the way up was more of a challenge. Dean fought his way through half the burger before he couldn’t decide if lifting his arm or bending his neck down, was making his hand shake more.


“Are you going to let me help you with that?” Sam sat on his bed, behind Dean, and watched at Dean fighting to get out of the sling.

Dean didn’t turn to look at Sam. “The doctor said that I could change the bandage myself. I’m good.”

The strap finally untied and the sling loosened. His arm dropped a quarter of an inch to his lap and Dean hissed loudly as he wasn’t prepared for the pull in his shoulder. Sam stood in front of him before the shoulder let go of the imaginary knife and his sight returned.

“I’m good Sam.”

Sam hunched down and Dean already felt his stomach boiling. He didn’t want anyone to feel worry for him. To think that he couldn’t take care of himself.

“The doctor said that you probably would be able to change the bandage yourself soon.” Sam move the sling from the bed to a chair nearby. “Just let me help you.”

“I’ve been changing it for four days, Sam. I’m perfectly capable.”

“I’ve seen, and heard, you fight your way through it.” Sam placed the antiseptic and the new bandages next to Dean, ignoring Dean’s scolding eyes. “And don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve been adjusting it for hours after.”

It was right; it had hurt like hell. Dean was sure he was going to pass out the first two times. And it had been difficult to get it on right. Sam pulled over another chair and Dean studied his eyes, happy to see no pity there. Dean would have knocked him out with his bad arm, if there had been.

“Won’t you rather use the energy to lift the oversized junk food?”

“Hey! That’s the best burger in the state…” Dean couldn’t help but smile at the surprised look on Sam. “I just forgot how big it was.”

Sam looked at the waist hem of Dean shirt and then up at Dean. It took a long sigh for Dean to come to the conclusion that Sam was right. Damn, he hated when that happened. He nodded and lifted his good arm so Sam could help that side out first. Maybe it would hurt a little less when he didn’t had to stretch and bend to both work and see himself.

Chapter Text

The first he knew was his scull tightening around his brain. The next was the cold. But neither of these things had woken him up. Sam moved his palms over the hard stone surface under him and tried to push himself up, but the pounding pulse in his head knocked him back down, and breathless he curled up on himself. The sound was there again; the sound he recognized as the one waking him up. Metal on stone. He forced down a shiver and held his breath as he opened his eyes. The dim light not making his eyes hurt was a poor comfort to what he saw.

The room was small, all made in dark gray stone. There was a hole near the ceiling as the only window, but no one could fit through there. The one door, had a square hole with three metal bars. The door was made of thick, but old, wood. Sam would might have been able to break it down if he wasn’t so damn dizzy, even lying down. How did he get here? He had no recollection of a case or attack. Worst of all; he didn’t know if Dean was in a cell just like this.

Sam took a deep breath and tried to push himself op again. He made it to all four, before he had to fight back a wave of sudden nausea. Heaving in air through his nose, Sam kept his eyes locked at his hands holding him up. He chose the nearest wall and slowly moved towards it. The metallic rattling stopped one leg from moving and Sam tumbled to the ground shoulder first.

Rubbing his shoulder, Sam rolled to his back. The stone cooled his wet shirt on his back and Sam let out a trembling exhale, noticing his breath turning to vapor in the cold. For a second he closed his eyes, gathering himself before he pushed himself up to sit and look at this legs. His left ankle was locked in a big metal cuff and shackled to the wall. Quickly and intuitively, Sam eye-measured the distance to the door. There was no way he was going to reach it, definitely not break it down. It wouldn’t matter anyway. He couldn’t walk out of here.

A sound from the other side of the door, had Sam forget his headache and the cold. It was far away, but there was no doubt that it was Dean shouting.

“De…” Sam coughed, surprised that his voice was that raw. “Dean!”

Sam!

Sam sat up on his knees, silently fighting the added dizziness. “Dean, I’m here!”

Sa--!” Dean’s voice cut over in coughs.

Frozen in place, Sam listened. There was someone with Dean. Someone with a deep and unsettling calm voice. With the first scream echoing in the hall, Sam threw himself towards the door, but nothing gave and the metal dug into his ankle as he tumbled to the hard floor.

“Dean!”

There was no answer except the continuing screaming. Sam curled in on himself to reach the metal around his ankle. It was stuck. He couldn’t break the lock without a tool, and all he had was his jeans and sweatshirt. They’d even taking his shoes. Frantically, he grabbed the chain and pulled himself to the wall. The hook was stuck firmly in the wall. It’s would take years to get it shaken loose. From how Dean was screaming and calling out for him in half spoken words, Sam figured he didn’t have more than half an hour.

Only one thing in the chain of him being stuck would break in that timeframe. Determined to make Dean’s torture stop and never hear that screaming again, Sam rolled his shirt up from the waist to the neckline and bit on it hard. He ignored his shaking hands as he used them to place his foot crooked against the wall and aim his other heel in the right place.

Chapter Text

“Sammy?” Dean’s voice were low and hesitant. Sam almost never heard it that quiet.

“Sam, c’mon.”

His head moved and his bran tumbled around in his sore skull. He think he hummed but it could have been wishful thinking.

“Sammy… what the hell?” Somehow Dean’s voice was both stronger and more quiet. Sam felt his face held up by the only warm thing he’d felt in, he didn’t know how long. Another warm hand padded his cheek. It was almost too light a touch for it to be Dean, but Sam would know that leather jacket smell anywhere.

“C’mon. Work with me here.” Dean was started to sound desperate and Sam definitely hummed this time, because he felt it resonate in his skull.

“Okay, okay.” With the relief in Dean’s voice the hold on Sam’s head froze. “Now, open your eyes and look at me.”

Sam wanted nothing more than to follow order and reassure Dean that he could in fact hear him, but every time he was sure he was awake, his head got heavy and something covered the dark room in complete black. Dean called him back every time but it took a long time for him to make his eyes stay open.

“There you go, Sleepyhead.” Dean’s relieved smile and tired eyes was finally clear for Sam to see.

He lifted a trembling hand to take Dean’s hand from his face, but before he got there a burning pain rose from his leg. His hand grabbed on tight to Dean’s wrist and the other followed as he screamed out in pain and surprise.

“Alright, Sam. Hang on.” Dean pushed Sam up to sit against the wall and instinctively he pulled his legs close only to make the white glowing pain shoot up through his entire body. Sam only knew pain and the raw feeling of air pressing through his throat, but he didn’t hear his own screams.

“Sa… Hey… Sa-mmy…!” The words breaking though was making his head hurt worse but he clung to everyone of them.

“Sam!”

Sam’s eyes sprung up as the loud call of his name came through clearly. Dean was right in front of him, pressing his shoulders back on the wall.

“Don’t move! Okay?”

Heaving for air, Sam kept his eyes locked on Dean as he nodded. Slowly, Dean let go of Sam’s shoulders, looking just as surprised as Sam was that he kept sitting against the wall.

“How hard did you fight this thing?” Dean shook his head as he looked at Sam’s leg. Sam let his eyes follow and saw the shackle digging into the flesh of his swollen ankle. His stomach churned and he heaved in air, just the thought of moving that made him queasy, and he tried very hard to forget that he already had.

“Dean…” Sam grabbed Dean’s shoulder winded from both the movement and the raspy first word. “How…? What?”

He looked up and down his brother’s body. He didn’t seemed hurt or inured in any way. He was breathing fine; a bit fast maybe, but that was to be expected. Not anything like Sam’s fight against the pain, making his lungs curl up.

“I… heard you.”

“So you did do this to yourself?” Dean took Sam’s hand from his shoulder and moved to kneel next to Sam’s foot.

“But… you?”

“I’m fine. I shot that sick sound system down.” He pulled out his picklock and smiled jokingly. “Good thing I always carry this one.” It didn’t matter though; Sam knew that look on Dean. It was only to hide that this was not going to be easy.

“You…” Sam concentrated on controlling his breathing. “You’re not hurt?”

Dean reached up and took Sam’s chin. “No, little brother. The blood on me is from the sickos who took you.”

“Who…?” Sam still didn’t remember anything from the day leading up to him waking up it this dark hole. “How… how lo…?”

“Sam...” Dean broke off a fight for words that might have pulled Sam into unconsciousness again. “You’ve been here almost a full day. Now, let me get this off you so you can get somewhere warm.”

The shake in the chain when Dean touched the lock stabbed knifes into Sam’s entire leg and his head knocked back into the wall.

“Sorry, Sam. I’ll be quick.”

“No…” Sam heaved in air and coughed it back out when Dean touched the metal again. “No… Dean!” His foot was burning, even his toes felt like they might explode. “Don’t… Dean!” Sam felt the room move around him and only when Dean pushed him back and his back hit the floor did he realize that he was the one moving and putting up a frantic fight against being touched.

“Hang in there!” Dean hissed out the words through his fight with Sam and the lock.

Sam pulled grabbed his jeans on his thighs to pull himself up, but a new wave of pain sent him down on his back again.

“Breathe, Sammy. It’s a tricky one.”

“Dean…!” Sam couldn’t help but pull his leg away from Dean. He knew it made it worse, but his body wasn’t listening to reason. A metallic taste spread in his mouth and he turned his head and spat, it didn’t help. He coughed and tried again to get up, only to get the same result. “No, no. Stop!”

The dark ceiling turned pale green and streaks of bright purple moved hastily over it. “Dean… I. Imma…” He gasped to try and get the colors away, but every time either he or Dean moved his leg he would scream and a new color would add to the mix.

“I’m… Dean…” He heard his own voice get unclear fast.

The only thing that stood clear over the pain was Dean talking. “It’s alright. I’ll get you out.”

Sam shook his head and kicked Dean with his free leg, trying to move him away and stop hurting him. He coughed as he tried to talk through the added jolt of pain.

“Please just pass out. I’ve got you.”

Sam tried to kick again but his leg became too heavy to lift and before he could figure out why his head tilted to the side and all the colors retracted to leave only pitch black. He heard his own panicked breath; he didn’t want this. He wanted the pain gone but not like this. Then the pain diminished and left was only cold and Dean’s voice.

“We’re safe. I’ll get you home.”