Word Count: 4165
Rating: PG-13 (For Language)
Summary: After a bruising hunt Dean searches for the perfect painkiller.
Disclaimer: As before I herby renounce all claims on these men, I stood at the crossroads clutching a bag full of souls (The office staff won’t miss them) the demon said “Look for the last bloody time if I won’t give you Jared and Jensen there is no way you’re getting your hands on Sam and Dean either, now bugger off!” These wonderful creations belong to Eric and now Sera takes care of them , I’m just beating them (Dean) up a little and I promise to put him back the way I found him.
Warnings: None except needless violence to Dean, I know it’s a dirty job but come on, the guy is hotter than hell with bruises.
Notes: This was inspired by the wonderful piece of art with the same name by thruterryseyes , and the lovely lady said I could use the picture as well! So many thanks go to her for the gift that is her hurt Dean art. As usual adoration and groveling thanks go to bigj52 my amazing beta and wonderful lady with the patience of a saint.
From outside the motel room door there was the sound of muffled voices, and the voices appeared to be arguing. Finally, after some very inventive cursing from one of the voices, the door flew open and two bedraggled figures staggered through.
The taller of the two was hunched over, as he supported the shorter and more vocal of the partnership, inside.
“Goddamnit Sam! I’m fine! Get your hands off the merchandise; it’s just a few bruises.” Dean attempted to pull free of his brother’s arms. Sam sighed and held on tighter to the arm looped over his shoulder. With practised grace he kicked the shut without looking.
“Ok, I’ll let go. Would you like to face plant here or on the bed? Because dude, you collapse in a heap and I’m just gonna step over you and get a shower.” Sam waited as his brother tried to find his balance, but he listed dangerously to the side and he gripped Sam’s shoulder tighter. Sam winced, knowing there would be bruises of his own with the way Dean held on.
“Alright then, Samantha, get me closer to the bed and stop hovering so damn much. This was a cake walk compared to the last job.” With that, they had shuffled close enough to the bed to allow Dean to be lowered down on the edge.
Sam ran his fingers through his hair; it was either that or he’d throttle his idiot of a brother. He contemplated calling Bobby and telling him what Dean had done but, considering Dean might have a concussion he felt Bobby screaming “Ya blathering idjit, what the hell did you go and do that for?” may be considered cruel and unusual punishment. Besides, he’d keep it in reserve for the next time Dean really pissed him off.
By now, Dean was trying to take off his jacket. Every bruise and graze had started a chorus of disapproval at Dean’s inconsiderate treatment of them. So in the spirit of co-operation they all sent bolts of red-hot pain through his body at the same time. Dean bit down on his lip and ignored the clamouring, especially from the bastard over his kidneys and kept going until he was stuck.
Sam watched the display of mule-headed Deanness until the sound of soft moans and watching him flinch at every jolt became too much to cope with. He stepped forward and took hold of the jacket and stripped it off, looking at his brother with an air of disapproval.
Dean went cross eyed with pain as Sam pulled the jacket off. He managed to draw in a deep breath which just startled his abused and very possibly cracked ribs. Now they too added their own particular brand of pain to the rest of his injuries. He could hear Sam talking, but due to the feeling of being hit repeatedly by a baseball bat he wasn’t paying too much attention. Dean decided he ought to focus on what his brother was saying; knowing Sam there’d be a test later.
“...Of all the goddamn stupid things I’ve ever seen you do, tonight has got to be up there with the best. I mean, for fucks sake, Dean, what were you thinking? Oh right, you weren’t thinking, were you? Otherwise, there is no way I saw you standing over an enraged ghost’s open grave, holding the corpse’s damn wig, waving your Zippo yelling, ‘Come on, baldy, look what I got. How about a new do? I told you to distract the bastard, not make him even worse. “
Dean gave a snigger and shrugged his shoulders, then tightened his hands into fists - even that small movement was excruciating. “Ah, come on, Sammy, it worked though, didn’t it? It left you alone long enough to torch the bastard.” Dean smirked and Sam really wanted to shoot him.
“Oh yeah, it worked alright, the bastard bounced you off three gravestones to prove the point. Fuck, Dean! You’re lucky it didn’t kill you. Right about now you look like three-day-old road kill! But hey, that doesn’t matter, does it?” Dean watched as his brother was building up to a full-on Sammy rant. He wanted to head it off, his head was killing him. After all, it had become intimately acquainted with the last gravestone when he’d landed on it, face first and seen stars.
Dean tried to placate his brother. If his forehead furrowed much more they’d have to send out a search party for his eyebrows.
Sam drew himself up to his full ‘towering inferno Sasquatch’ and shot him a look that made Dean want to check his clothes weren’t on fire. “How the hell have you managed to survive this long? Dude, the ghost had already scalped three men...and you didn’t think burning his precious wig might just upset him a just a little?” Sam’s arms were flailing wildly now.
Dean couldn’t help himself, “Ah come on, just ‘cause Sweeney Todd had a problem with guys with luscious locks...Shit, man, imagine being a barber and as bald as a badger. Damn, that’s gotta hurt; besides, my quick thinking saved your precious mane from joining his collection. Dude, he’d have taken one look at your hair, and the fat lady would’ve started to warm up.” Dean laughed, pulled up short as his body handed him a warning about Sam’s failed sense of humour by sending several more bolts of pain through him.
Sam winced in sympathy when Dean curled over; he quickly dropped down to his brother’s eye level. Dean slowly lifted his head and glared at Sam’s worried face, “Dude, personal space. I’m fine, just a little bruised like I said. Now, if you don’t mind I want to get ready for bed. We got an early start in the morning.”
Sam gripped Den’s knee tightly, Dean groaned softly. Great! Another bruise and that knee had been fine until Nurse Sammy started with the bedside manner. Sam slowly eased the tight grip, cursing to himself softly, “Ok, I’ll go get you some ice for your bruises and we’ll get you into bed. And as for the early start you can forget that one, Dean, you’re in no fit state to drive anywhere.”
Dean glared sourly at his brother. He knew that this was a battle he was going to lose but he wasn’t going down without a fight, “Alright then, Francis, but I’ll put myself to bed; it don’t take two of us. Now run along and get that ice.” Sam stood up and walked towards the door, pausing only to grab an ice bucket. Dean smirked at his back and called out, “And Sammy, remember, no talking to strangers. If a bad man comes up to you and offers to take you to see his new puppy, I want you to yell for all your worth and I’ll come and get you.”
Sam never turned around; he just continued to the door and called out “Jerk!”
As the door closed Dean responded, “Bitch!” Dean sighed. Right, it was time to stop moping around and get cleaned up. He gritted his teeth in preparation for what he was about to do. “Ok Winchester, time to get moving, unless you want Sammy to cut off your favourite AC/DC T-Shirt.” He shuffled forward slightly and got ready to stand up.
There were two ways to do this. He could slowly stand up and his stiffening muscles could really bitch about moving, or there was the ‘ripping the plaster off quickly’ approach. Dean took a breath and held it as he planted his feet and stood up quickly in an attempt to lessen the pain. He screwed his eyes shut as a firework display worthy of the fourth of July started behind his eyes. He felt as if he was on fire as his body howled its displeasure at being so rudely disturbed from its rest. “Son of bitch!” Dean didn’t have the breath for further cursing, his skin felt too tight and heat poured off the developing bruises. He waited until the burning died away a little, then he slipped off his button-down.
His shoulders and arms protested at his movements but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle; then came the big one. Now he had to take off his T Shirt. He took a calming breath and grabbed the hem of the shirt and with one brutal pull he yanked the T-shirt over his head. Everything swam in and out of focus; his body once again reminded him why such a movement was a very bad idea - his back ached and his ribs throbbed. The pain found its own pulse in time with his rapid heartbeat. Dean swayed forward and only managed to remain standing by using the bed for support. He waited for the aches and pains of his battered body to quieten. He used his age-old method of humming softly to himself to take his mind off his injured body’s very justifiable complaints at its treatment tonight. Despite his bravado, being bounced of three slabs of marble hurt like a mother - not that he’d ever admit that to Sam.
Finally the pain faded a little and Dean was able to focus on what he needed next, and that was a painkiller. He fixed a determined look on his bag at the bottom of his bed. He limped forward slightly, ignoring the wave of dizziness that threatened to drop him to his knees and he reached for the zip. The first attempt missed, as he was aiming for the wrong bag out of the two he could see. The second time he was successful. Grinning in triumph he pulled the zip open, stuck his hand inside the bag and rummaged for his prize.
Dean’s fingers brushed against the cool glass in the bottom of the bag. He grabbed the bottle of Jim Bean and tried to pull it free of his bag. After several seconds of struggling with his clothes he managed to liberate his hard-earned prize but even that small effort had made him sweat and he just wanted to lie down and quietly pass out. Dean hugged the bottle to his chest, letting the cool glass ease his ribs a little. His other hand strayed down his back, and he winced as he gently probed the bruising there.
Yup, he’d been right; his kidneys felt tender. He sighed. When Sam saw that he’d have a fit. There would be a future wherein he’d either demand Dean peed in a cup or the sneaky bastard would follow him into the bathroom to check there was no blood.
Dean gave a sigh. He felt like shit but it had been worth every bruise, graze and aching muscle. What Sam didn’t know was why he’d grabbed Sweeney’s rug. While Sam had been opening the grave and pouring the salt, Sweeney had appeared behind him. The ghost’s fingers began to entwine in Sam’s hair; there had been the glint of moonlight along the open razor that he’d scalped the other men with. It had meant the bastard was too damn close to risk a shotgun blast, so Dean had taken the only course of action he deemed reasonable to protect Sam.
He’d leapt down into the open grave, torn the rug off Sweeney’s head, and proceeded to taunt him. It had worked like a charm, Sweeney had left Sam alone. Ok, so Sweeney had used him for throwing practice, but it had been worth every hit against the gravestones because Sam was fine, not a scratch on him.
As Sweeney stood over him he pulled Dean up, ready to throw him again. Sam had managed to light the remains, Dean had set fire to the wig and Sweeney had gone up like a Roman candle. Dean had crumpled into a heap by the last gravestone, his body throbbing and burning as it remembered every collision with cold hard marble. Then came the warmth of a large hand wrapped round his bicep, and a welcome concerned voice spoke softly, “Hey, Dean? Come on, man, we need to get out of here before the cops show up.” With that, the grip had changed and now there were two hands holding his arms and slowly Sam pulled Dean to his feet, waiting for him to regain his balance as the world whirled around him dancing with vivid colours and flashing lights. Then Sam had wrapped his arm round Dean’s waist and together they had moved slowly away from the graveside.
Now he was paying for his actions. Dean was trying to figure out what didn’t hurt, and after much careful consideration, he was pretty sure the little finger on his left hand was fine and his hair didn’t ache too much, so all in all not too bad. Now if he could get his fingers to function to open the bottle, then the pain would abate somewhat. It wouldn’t kill the pain but he’d sure as hell not care about it.
As Dean had been engaged in his epic battle with his clothes and the bottle of whisky, Sam had been filling an ice bucket with ice from the machine at the motel’s entrance. He was still angry with Dean for his reckless actions, “Stupid, stubborn son of bitch! Crap, Dean, I can take care of myself. Why do you always have to be so damn protective?” He shook the bucket, happy there would be enough ice to pack against Dean’s vast collection of bruises and turned back to the room.
He was just passing their room when he caught a glimpse of Dean through the open curtains. He stopped and watched as his brother struggled out of his T-shirt; he couldn’t help the gasp that escaped from him when he saw the multi-coloured bruises which were starting to develop. Shit! He must be in agony, Sam thought and he watched as Dean retrieved the bottle of whisky. As he straightened, Sam saw the tentative probing of the bruising on his back. He winced at the expression on Dean’s face, and then that expressive face changed.
Sam knew that expression - it was pure relief. It was relief that he had come through the hunt unharmed. Sam felt a surge of affection for his idiot of a brother; he’d felt the cold touch of the ghost’s fingers in his hair. Sam had just been about to wrench himself forward to let Dean take the shot when Dean had leapt down into the grave and grabbed the wig. What happened next had nearly killed Sam; he’d continued to furiously work at disposing the remains while Dean had been hurled through the air. As he’d crashed into the first stone Sam had heard Dean grunt with pain, then after that Sam stopped paying attention, concentrating solely on getting the job done before the bastard really hurt Dean or worse. He’d flinched every time he’d heard the sound of muscle impacting on stone - by the third time Sam was ready to ignite the body. He’d carelessly thrown his lighter over his shoulder, running for where Dean was. Sam’s shotgun was just coming up to fire as Dean was being hauled upright again. He saw Dean drop his own lighter onto the wig and the ghost had burst into flames.
Sam had dropped to his knees by his brother. Dean’s eyes were screwed tightly shut and he was taking shallow breaths in an attempt to keep the pain locked away from anybody watching, especially Sam. Sam had carefully gotten Dean to his feet and back to the Impala as fast as his battered body would go.
Now Sam moved again, it was time to look after Dean whether he wanted him to or not. Sam opened the door just as Dean managed to get a good grip on the bottle, and was trying to undo the cap. Sam moved swiftly forward, “Oh no, you don’t. You know the drill - any chance of concussion and no booze. Come on, hand it over, bro.” Dean squinted at Sam; he pouted at his little brother but Sam steadfastly held out his hand.
Dean sighed, “I’m fine. I don’t have a concussion; it’s just a little headache.” Sam huffed softly, and looked at Dean, his eyes growing large and defenceless. Dean groaned to himself. Damn! He hated it when Sam broke out the puppy-dog eyes. Dean slowly held the bottle out towards Sam, hoping he’d change his mind.
Sam grinned at him and Dean wondered why...”Nice try, dude, but I’m the one on the left.” Dean narrowed his eyes and squinted.
“Ah shit! I knew I shouldn’t have passed it to the good-looking one of you. Ok Sam, take good care of her.” With that, Sam took the bottle out of his brother’s hand, dropped it on his bed and moved to help Dean finish getting ready for bed.
Dean reached for a pair of sweat pants, and tilted to one side. Sam carefully took his elbow and set him right, Dean nodded his thanks tiredly. Dean slowly undid his jeans and let them drop to the floor. Sam stayed back to allow Dean the illusion that he was fine, but he was ready to move in and carry him to bed if needed. Dean wobbled several times but Sam could see the determination on Dean’s face and so he waited patiently as Dean painstakingly stepped into his sweat pants. It took several tries before he managed to pull them up.
Sam had had enough by now. There was being independent and then there was being Dean. Dean had been reaching for a T-shirt to sleep in when his face had tightened in pain. His eyes snapped shut and he’d swallowed convulsively. Sam decided it was time to take over, “Ok Dean, time to get into bed.” Sam quietly but insistently moved to Dean’s side and helped him sit down. He ignored the bitten-off whimpers, as his brother tried to mask the discomfort he was in. Then, as if he’d planned it all along, Sam nonchalantly took the shirt from Dean’s lax fingers and set about getting the T-shirt over the battered body in front of him.
Sam dropped to his knees and slipped the shirt over Dean’s arms. Now came the painful part - raising his arms up and pulling the T-shirt over his body. Sam started his own distraction techniques, “Actually I’m glad we’re staying another couple of days. I scored a telephone number while I was in the library.” Sam chatted happily, as he stretched the old T- shirt without mercy so he wouldn’t jostle Dean too much.
Dean focused on Sam’s words. They helped as Sam moved him about as if he was a child. Embarrassed by the situation he felt it was time to mock his little brother, “Only you could score in a library, Sam. I bet it was the eighty-year-old that kept following me around, looking at me as if I was gonna steal her precious books. No, it was the one with the uni-brow. You know, the one that was half troll.....son of a bitch!”
Dean’s exclamation came when Sam lifted his arms and eased the T-shirt down his protesting body. Sam continued to speak, hoping to distract Dean, “Sorry man, but it was neither of those two, as attractive as they were. I hate to tell you - it was Michelle.” Sam grinned when Dean focused intently on his face. It allowed him to keep fussing around while his brother tried to pick his jaw up off the floor.
“Michelle - as in really hot, perky, looks like Penelope Cruz, Michelle? Damn! That’s my boy! At last it looks like I’m rubbing off on you. Come on, it had to happen sooner or later. Why Sammy, you sly dog. Are you gonna help her with her Dewey indexing after hours in the reference section?” Dean bit back a moan when Sam lifted his legs and eased him further onto the bed.
“No, I’m gonna take her out for a coffee while you get a little rest, and before you start, I can borrow some DVDs from there to keep you amused. Scooby Doo alright by you?” Dean glared up at Sam‘s smiling face.
As Dean eased himself under the bed clothes, “Only if you want itching powder in every pair of boxers you own for the next three months.....then again, Daphne is kinda hot, so it could be worse. Just don’t bring me any with Scrappy in, will ya.” Dean lay back and let his eyes close.
Sam watched Dean grimacing as his battered body relaxed. Sam moved round the room quietly. He knew Dean was still awake; he wouldn’t rest until Sam himself was in bed. He busied himself with his preparations. He opened his own bag and searched and grinned in triumph. He’d found the roll of plastic sandwich bags he’d brought for these occasions. Then Sam grabbed a couple of towels from the bathroom. In the morning he’d smile sweetly at the lady desk clerk, and get some extra towels for them. Although Dean mocked the way ladies of a certain age fell under the spell of the puppy-dog eyes, Sam wasn’t above using it where Dean’s comfort was concerned. Maybe he’d be able to wangle a few extra pillows as well to prop Dean up.
Sam quickly filled the bags with ice and knotted them then wrapped them in the towels. He moved over to the bed, “Dean, I just need to put these on the worst of the bruises. So where do you want them?”
Dean cracked open one eye and rasped out, “Sam, it would be simpler to just fill the tub with ice and throw me in.”
“I could do that but I might damage my back lugging your heavy ass about. Now where?” Sam’s tone brooked no dissent; Dean gave a put-upon sigh and pointed to where it hurt the worst. As Sam expected it was his ribs and his kidneys. Gently as he could, Sam rolled Dean towards him and slipped one ice pack under his back and placed the other against his ribs. Dean sucked in a sharp breath as the cold shocked his overheated flesh. He slowly let the breath back out, and he could feel Sam’s hand wrapped round his wrist, his thumb stroking back and forth gently.
“Not without buying my dinner first, dude. Are you gonna tuck me in now and read me a bed-time story?” Dean smirked as he spoke but he felt a twinge of disappointment when Sam’s gentle touch was withdrawn. He followed Sam round the room without opening his eyes. First Sam went into his bag for the first-aid kit. He heard the lid open and Sam searched for something, then the sound of a child-proof lid being cracked open. Sam moved to the kitchenette and the tap was tuned on. He let the water run until it was cold as he knew Dean hated lukewarm water.
Finally Sam approached the bed again; he stood by the bed looking down at his brother. Sam couldn’t help the wave of helpless anger that washed over him. No matter how hard he tried to tell Dean he was more than capable of looking after himself, his brother insisted in putting himself in harm’s way to protect him. But the anger dissolved as quickly as it came. It was who Dean was. He may never say ‘I love you’ out loud but every bruise on his body screamed it.
Sam smiled down at his big brother when he spoke “Take a picture, Sammy, it will last longer. Come on, man, are you gonna make me beg for those pills because that’s just cruel?” With that, he lifted his hand towards Sam.
Sam dropped three Advil into the outstretched palm. Dean popped the tablets into his mouth and Sam handed him the water to wash them down with. Sam placed the water on the bedside table and then he picked up his lap top. He sat on the bed next to Dean and booted it up.
Dean listened to the soft click of the keys as Sam began to look for their next job. He felt sleep tugging at him and tried to fight it off then he heard Sam’s voice, “Dean, get some sleep. I’ll take the ice packs off in twenty minutes or so. Then you know the drill. I’ll be waking you to see if there are any brain cells left functioning at all.”
Dean felt himself begin to drift away, comforted by the familiar Winchester lullaby. With the sound of Sammy typing, he let himself drift. You could keep all the pills and booze but there was no better painkiller in the world than the knowledge that Sam was safe and sound. With that, Dean finally went to sleep.