Dean Winchester was not having a good day.
No, this definitely ranked on his list of bad days somewhere in the high one-hundreds.
Now that might seem like it was a pretty good day, with so many other worse days before it on the list. But when one takes into account the fact that the first eighty-five or so involve the death or near-death of someone he loved, it puts a different perspective on things.
Although no one had died today. And if he and Sam were lucky, then no one would even come close to it.
At this precise moment Dean was kinda of wishing he was close enough to death to be unconscious, but he doubted he'd get that wish. As if he ever got his wishes granted.
Well, he did get wishes granted on occasion, but they were always the ones he made in haste that he regretted two seconds later because they put everything on the bullet train to Hell. Or they sent him into a dream world where everything he thought he wanted he got, only to have it twisted around into nothing that he wanted.
Sam hit another bump in the road, jostling Dean who was stretched out uncomfortably on his stomach in the back seat and startling a high-pitched groan that was definitely NOT a whimper, dammit, out of the man. He wished he could be on his back or at least on his side, but no, that would certainly hurt a helluva lot more right now.
“Sorry,” Sam apologized.
“You should be,” Dean mumbled into the seat of his beloved car. “You shot me, you bastard.”
Sam gave an aggrieved sigh. “And I said I was sorry for that too. I was aiming for the vampire. I assumed she was going to finish you off! How was I supposed to know she would move at the last second, Dean?”
“At least I got her in the end,” Sam added. Then a moment later tried to cover a snort of laugher with a cough.
Dean lifted his head and glared at the back of his brother's head.
“You assumed she would stay there? At least you got her in the end?” His eyes narrowed as he growled, “Just keep driving, Chuckles.” He put his head back down. “I want me some painkillers.”
He thought for a moment, then added, “And pie. As soon as you drop me off you go right back out and find me some pie.” His stomach growled at the thought of food and reminded Dean that he hadn't eaten since yesterday.
“And a burger,” he added. “And fries. And a beer.”
Sam snorted. Leave it to his brother to be hungry when most people would be nauseated by the very thought of food from the shock of being shot. The painkillers must be kicking in, though, if he thought he was going to be able to have a beer any time soon. Or any of the rest of that food actually.
Jello and powdered eggs with watery reconstituted orange juice were pretty much his menu plan for the next day or so at least, Sam would guess.
“Yeah,” Sam said dryly. “Okay. I'll just pop on over to that all night bakery and then swing by the Red Robin afterwards.”
Dean's eyes had drifted shut but they popped open as he licked his lips. “Damn,” he said softly. Now he wanted Red Robin.
Of course there wasn't even a decent diner in this town so the odds of their being a Red Robin among the fifteen or so buildings was pretty unlikely.
There was, however, a hospital, and for that Dean was grateful. They wouldn't have any good burgers, fries, beer, or pie, but they'd have lots of nice painkillers and, hopefully, some hot nurses.
He gave out a sigh and closed his eyes again. He'd take what he could get.
And when they left this collections of houses along the highway that didn't deserve to be called a town behind, they were heading straight for the nearest city with a Red Robin.
As Dean was rolled down the hall on the gurney, somewhat pleased by the refreshing change in view that meant he was watching the squares on the floor rush past instead of the ceiling tiles, he wondered how a place so small had such a big hospital.
There couldn't be enough people in town to staff this place let alone to patronize it.
Maybe it was supernatural. He should tell Sam to investigate it.
The gurney stopped and a gentle hand on his back distracted him.
“Okay, Mr. Way. We're going to move you now.”
Dean grunted, curious as to the name that Sammy had picked out. He'd have to ask later. Right before he returned the favor and shot his little pain in the ass brother.
He snorted as he was lifted and transferred to the examination table. That statement was now no longer just a saying, he realized. Lovely.
A doctor came in and Dean forced his eyes open to take a look at the man.
“What do we have-” The doctor stopped cold at the sight of Dean, but recovered quickly. “Okay then. Let's get ready to remove the, uh . . .”
“Bolt,” Dean growled softly.
The doctor blinked and looked at him.
“It's a crossbow bolt,” Dean clarified. "Like an arrow? Only 'bolt' is the technical term for it."
“Ah. The bolt then. Let's get it out and see what damage it did.”
Dean craned his neck a little to get another look at the carbon-alloy shaft in question that was sticking straight out of the left cheek of his ass. Damn Sammy.
That vamp chick hadn't been that short either. What the hell had he been aiming at? Of course, to Gigantor everyone was a midget, so maybe that was it.
A cool breeze swept over Dean's ass as his pants and boxers were cut away and he turned his burning face into the thin mattress of the exam bed.
He was so going to kill Sam for this.
He loved those jeans. And he loved his ass even more.
It better not scar, that was all he had to say about it. And if there was nerve damage there would be hell to pay with Sam Winchester's name at the top of the bill in huge fucking letters.
“I'm injecting a local anesthetic to help with the pain while I examine this and then we'll get you ready for surgery to remove the, uh, bolt.”
A tiny prick of a needle entering the skin close to the arrow made him wince, but he bit back any verbal commentary on that and just held still. He didn't want to make this any more difficult than it had to be. And he definitely didn't want to make this take longer.
A thoughtful hum had him looking over his shoulder again to see the doctor staring at his ass—okay at the bolt but it was kind of hard to miss his ass at that range—with magnifying goggles on and Dean had to look away again.
This was so not cool on so many levels. Why couldn't the doctor have been a hot woman? Why did the fates hate him so that he not only got shot in the ass by his brother, but that it ended up with a balding, middle aged, pudgy man staring at his ass?
Dean closed his eyes and began humming Metallica under his breath as he mentally plotted the many and varied ways he was going to exact his revenge.
An hour and forty-five minutes after bringing him in, Sam was allowed in to see Dean.
Who was laying on his stomach spooning jello into his mouth and muttering to himself.
He glanced up at Sam's entrance and glared with enough animosity that Sam stopped cold and had to mentally order himself to not back out of the room and run for his life.
As if it would do any good anyway.
Dean might not be able to chase him right now, but his brother was a damn good hunter and what he hunted he found.
Sam didn't want to die.
He cleared his throat and entered the room, reminding himself that he wasn't going to die. He was Dean's little brother and Dean loved him.
“I'm gonna kill you,” Dean said, drawing the words out slightly.
Okay so Sam was going to die.
Well, no need to drag it out anyway.
He sat in the chair next to the bed and Dean watched him the whole time like a big cat just waiting for the perfect moment to pounce and rip out the throat of the poor hapless deer. And the fact that he looked just a little unfocused only made it all the more scary.
“I'm really sorry, Dean,” Sam said quietly.
“No you're not,” Dean countered and took another spoonful of jello. It took a few tries to get it in his mouth, his nose and cheeks and even his eye all getting first shot at taking in the wiggly dessert, and Sam frowned until he recalled the doctor saying Dean had morphine in his system from the removal surgery. Well that explained that. Dean was high as a freakin' kite.
“But you will be,” Dean added through his jello, spoon pointing—or, well, wobbling—at Sam. He swallowed. “Ohhh, you will be.”
Sam nodded. “Yeah,” he said. “Okay.”
He wasn't going to die.
Death would be too kind a fate for him.
But he would wish he was dead.
Laundry for the next, oh, forever.
Washing and waxing the Impala—on an at least weekly basis.
Never driving again.
All weapons maintenance for the foreseeable future.
Mullet rock until his ears bled.
Never again choosing the restaurant. Ever.
And those were the easy things Sam could think of.
It had been a favored and affectionate nickname for most of his life, but Sam knew that he was now officially Dean's 'bitch' and it had nothing to do with brotherly love and everything to do with sanctioned slavery.
He might as well have the word tattooed on his forehead.
And Sam wasn't even going to protest it.
For a little while anyway. He more than sort of deserved it, even if it had been an accident.
“They're keeping you here?” Sam asked, looking around. He figured it would be a quick in and out sort of thing with a laundry list of do's and don't's and a prescription for painkillers.
“Wanna keep me overnight to watch for infection. Dirty woods,” Dean spat. “And the morphine.” Then Dean grinned, though it had a dangerous glint to it. “I liiike morphine.”
Sam sighed. And the torture began now.
Dean finished the jello and tossed it on the tray next to his bed. He missed and it fell to the ground, but Dean just dropped his head to his pillow, one arm hanging off the bed.
“Not even any hot nurses here,” he grumbled and turned his head the other way. “Stupid old nurses that prob'ly think you're hot. You can have 'em, Sammy.”
Sam quietly rose and turned off the light, then returned to the seat and settled in for a very long night.
The younger Winchester jumped at the unexpected noise.
“You owe me new jeans.”
Sam sighed and let his head fall back.
Yup. Middle of his forehead: B-I-T-C-H.
Sam didn't bother turning on the AC for the ride back to the motel even though the day was a little warm already.
The chill emanating from the back seat didn't need competition or help.
They arrived and Sam meekly and silently opened the back door and assisted his brother in getting out of the car, then backed up without protest as Dean jerked his hand free with a glare and waddled his way towards the door.
Sam sighed and reached into the foot well, grabbing the piece of foam shaped like a toilet seat that Dean had been given along with his painkillers and instructions on what he could and could not do.
The cushion was to allow him to sit up, but Dean had given it and the nurse holding it a curled lip and a look of disgust and waddled away mumbling about how real men didn't need foam donuts. Especially not damn pink ones.
Sam looked at the foam cushion and then glanced at the car.
Yeah, it was going to be a long summer.
Especially since they were stuck here for the duration because Dean couldn't sit on his ass for eight hours a day while they drove, let alone go running around after supernatural beasties.
They'd been benched and it was all Sam's fault.
For the next six weeks Sam's prediction of his indentured servitude came true to the best of Dean's ability to think of things for him to do.
He milked Sam's guilt for every last drop of sympathy and beckon-call fulfillment he could.
Not that he had much choice in the matter. It wasn't like Dean could do food runs or drive over to the grocery store or even change his own bandages.
Though he really did try on that last one. Some ugly male doctor staring at his ass was bad enough, as Sam had been informed. It was downright awkward and creepy when it was his brother.
It was one of the few things Sam did that didn't come with a running commentary from Dean. Neither brother wanted to dwell on what was happening any more than necessary.
Sam, of course, began to chafe under the constant—and occasionally unreasonable orders—but he felt guilty and besides, it would only last until Dean was healed. Sam had already decided that when Dean was able to sit properly without pain this was going to end.
It had been an accident after all.
Dean flipped through the channels on TV with a frown and then turned it off and dropped the remote with a sigh.
He was going stir crazy in this damn room.
Well, okay, that had been true as of the second day back from the hospital. But the fact that even walking hurt—and he looked like a damn idiot while doing so—had kept him here.
And taking advantage of Sammy's guilt had been sufficiently amusing to hold back the hounds of boredom since then.
Especially since he spent most of his time coming up with fun and/or torturous things for Sam to do.
"Sammy, the Impala needs to be washed and waxed. Leave the door open so I can watch and make sure you don't screw up the paint job."
Sam had bitched under his breath the entire time and his glares grew impressively more lethal in their promise with each time Dean corrected him on his technique.
"Dude, I am feeling a serious craving for some Ben and Jerry's Phish Food. But I don't think they'll have any in this town. You'll have to go to the next one over. No, wait, I don't trust you to go alone. Help me up. I miss my baby anyway."
That might not have been his brightest idea because that one had probably hurt him more than Sam. And they hadn't even had any of the damn ice cream in the next town either. He'd had to settle for Chunky Monkey.
"Sam, be a good little brother and go get me some skin mags, would you? Some good ones. Then find yourself something to do away from here for, like, two hours. Maybe three."
Not that Dean had really been in the mood to do anything with the skin mags, but the look on Sam's face and the mental image of Sam blushing a bright red as he looked for the 'good' ones had been enough to keep Dean mildly amused for at least ten minutes or so.
Besides, he could always save the magazines for later when he didn't spend the better part of the twenty-four hours in a day on his stomach.
He was not using that damn pink donut.
Anyway, not all of it had been Sammy-torture either.
Thankfully one of the places in town was a fairly decently stocked Blockbuster, so they'd caught up on every movie they'd missed. For the last twenty-six years or so.
But it passed the time at least.
And Dean got to see some really fucking cool explosions.
Not as good as real life, but he'd take what he could get.
But now his patience was running really thin and he was ready to move on.
He'd spent the last hour coloring the donut with a black Sharpie and blotting it dry so it wouldn't ruin this pair of pants too, and waiting for Sam to return.
Then they were blowing this popstand.
Maybe they'd go bother Bobby for a little while while Dean did some training to get back into shape.
Sam was coming back from his third run to the store—run being the operative word because Dean refused to let him drive the car unless he absolutely had to—and was not pleased with how his day was going so far.
He'd put up with his brother's increasingly annoying behavior for six. Weeks.
And, yeah, he'd done so willingly because right now Dean couldn't actually force him to do anything. He'd felt guilty for hurting his brother.
However the guilt had faded and was now no more than a memory.
One he would desperately like to repress.
Today Dean had been in fine form.
"Sammy, I'm thirsty. No, I don't want any of those flavors of pop. Go see if they have black cherry."
"Sammy! Glad you're back! We're out of M&M's. Go get some for me, would ya?"
"Dude, I need another Sharpie. All of yours are out of ink."
So help him, if he opened the door and Dean 'remembered' something else he needed from the store, Sam was going to Hell for fratricide.
He was digging in his pocket for the key for their room when his phone rang. His lips pressed into a thin line as juggled the bag in his hands—he'd bought every damn Sharpie in the store—and then he got it all settled and punched the on button.
"Dammit, Dean, I'm right outside the fucking door, okay?"
There was silence and then a voice—not Dean's—said dryly, "I take it your brother has called you a few times asking where you've been?"
Sam felt a flare of guilt and bit his lip. "Sorry, Bobby. Yeah. He's just . . ." Sam blew out a breath.
Bobby snorted. "And this is news somehow?"
Sam smiled and stepped back to sit on the hood of the Impala. He almost hoped Dean would look out the window so he could flip him off and maybe wiggle a bit to rock the car and fuck with the suspension.
Yeah, he was feeling a little bitter. So sue him.
"No. But he's been working extra hard at being an ass this past week."
"Again: this is news somehow?"
Sam's smile widened. "So, uh, did you need something?"
"Just wondering how you boys are doing. Been a while since I heard from—or about—you. Wanted to make sure you didn't get yourselves in a heap of trouble or anything."
Sam set the bag down and ran a hand through his hair.
"Ah, yeah, we sort of had to, uh, take a little break."
"Judging by the fact that you are obviously mobile, I'm going to assume that Dean is the one injured. How bad?"
Sam snorted. "Not very. His pride more than anything. He's just being a big baby and playing it up for all it's worth."
"We were hunting vampires and, uh, I missed."
"The vampire. I was trying to shoot her with the crossbow and a bolt dipped in dead man's blood, but she sort of . . . ducked."
"You shot your brother?" A pause that was more than likely Bobby wiping a hand over his face and then a sigh. "Where?"
Sam coughed and mumbled his answer.
"Sorry, Sam, didn't catch that."
"In, uh, in the ass."
"Were these midget vampires?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "For the last time, no! I was trying to shoot her in the leg so she couldn't run off on us while we waited for the blood to take effect!"
"Uh huh. So, he's doing okay then?"
"No. He's just being an ass and I'm gonna kill him if he keeps it up. I'd say that's definitely not 'doing okay'."
Bobby chuckled. "Well, how far away are you? Can he travel?"
"Not far and he can do anything if I drug him enough."
Bobby snorted. "Well don't kill him, but give him something to sleep so you can make it here. I've got some research needs doing and he's perfectly able to do that with his injury. Despite what some people might think his ass and his brain are no co-located."
"Bobby, you're a lifesaver," Sam sighed. "We'll be there no later than tomorrow morning."
"All right. See you then, Sam."
Sam hung up the phone and let his head fall forward, then rolled it around, trying to loosen up the kinks.
Talking with Bobby had helped—coming up with a plan to dump his annoying brother on someone else had helped more—but only the execution of this plan—or his brother—would really get rid of this stress altogether.
And as soon as Dean was in Bobby's capable hands, he was so fucking heading into town and finding someplace that did massages. And he was picking Dean's pocket for money while he was unconscious to pay for it, too.
He stared at the door for a moment, knowing that he couldn't leave for Bobby's until he went in and saw Dean, but still unable to muster up the courage to do so.
And then his phone buzzed with a new text.
He opened it and hit the 'view now' option, then glared at the screen.
I see you outside on my baby, bitch. Get your gigantic ass up and bring me my Sharpies.
He started to snap the phone shut, but another text came before he could finish it.
He debated, then opened it.
And I'm hungry, so as soon as you finish with that, I want a burger. And pie.
Another text followed and Sam hit the 'view now' button with more than a little anger.
P.S. If you scratched her with the studs on your jeans, your ass is toast.
Okay, that was it.
He snapped the phone shut and shoved it into his pocket, grabbing the keys in the same motion.
As soon as the door was open, Dean was talking.
"I want lots of extra onions, too. And whipped cream for the pie. Lots of that too."
Sam threw the bag of markers at Dean's head.
"Ow! Hey! Injured man here!"
"Suck it up, Buttercup," Sam shot back, using one of their dad's favorite phrases learned from boot camp. "You wanted Sharpies? I got you Sharpies."
“Dude, I only needed one.”
Sam clamped his lips shut and inhaled slowly through his nose.
He couldn't kill Dean. He loved his brother. He did.
Dean rooted around in the bag and pulled one out. A quick twist and the marker was free of the package and, within seconds, scribbling on the pink ass-donut.
"You're going for lunch now, right?" Dean asked as he colored.
"Yeah. Burger with whipped cream and pie with extra onions coming right up," Sam added with a grin.
Dean glared at him. "Do it and die, asswipe."
Sam just let his grin widen. "Be back in a jiff, brother dearest!"
He shut the door on Dean's continued threats and walked away whistling.
Sam's first stop was actually the store—again—to visit the produce section for himself and the pharmacy for Dean.
After he picked up his needed supplies he went on to the fast food place that Dean and Sam were both coming to hate. Sam was pretty sure if he ever stepped foot inside one of these places after today he would spontaneously vomit all over the floor.
Unless it was to exorcise the damn mascot. That thing was just creepy.
But he still might vomit. Just to make his opinion clear.
One burger with extra, extra onions; pie with whipped cream; and shake with a little something special added, and he was on his way back to the room.
Dean devoured the food like he hadn't eaten in days instead of mere hours and Sam kept his face turned away as he packed, lest his brother see the grin on his face and question it.
"Wha're you doing?" Dean asked, limp, greasy onion stings hanging out of his mouth as he chewed with it open, his tongue snaking out to pull the stray bits back in.
"Packing up," Sam said. "We're going to Bobby's while you finish recovering."
A loud sucking sound and a pop heralded the cleaning of Dean's thumb of secret sauces. "Sweet."
A few minutes later the bags were packed and in the car and the nauseating sounds of Dean eating ended with a belch and a sigh.
Until he slurped the last of his shake up a moment after that.
"You ready?" Sam asked, looking over the room and doing a mental check of all the usual places to make sure he hadn't missed anything.
"More than," Dean said and tossed the cup at Sam. Who sidestepped so it could fall into the trash.
Dean's arms came up in a touchdown cheer. "Three pointer!"
"Yeah. You're a regular NBA all-star. Come on, Michael Jordan, your limo awaits."
Dean grinned and allowed Sam to pull him to his feet before he shoved off and stood on his own.
"I can handle this, Jeeves. You go start the car."
Sam raised his hands, palms out. "Okay. But I'm gonna wait a moment on that last part. Don't want to let the engine idle for too long and waste the gas."
Dean glared, but Sam just grinned and ducked out of the room.
Dean slowly but surely limped his way to the car and climbed in the shotgun seat—after insisting Sam lay down a blanket to be sure there would be no Sharpie transferred to his leather seats—then eased in to sit.
He hid a yawn behind his hand and slouched down in the seat.
"Mmmm, good food," he murmured. "Gonna take a little nap. Wake me when you stop for gas."
"Sure, Dean," Sam said, with an unholy grin on his face as he shifted into gear and backed out of the space. "Whatever you say, big brother. Whatever you say."
Sam had to give it to the makers of Benadryl. They weren't kidding when they said their pills would make you drowsy. Course, it probably helped when you took slightly more than the recommended dosage.
Dean had slept like a rock all the way to their first stop and was still pretty groggy as he stumbled to the bathroom and back.
Sam handed him a coffee—decaf with more Benadryl—and Dean sucked it all down and promptly passed out again.
This pattern repeated through the rest of that day and into the night until they made their last stop an hour out from Bobby's.
Dean seemed to have finally cottoned on to the fact that when Sam got his drinks they put him to sleep so he gave a glare and turned down the offer from Sam to get another coffee for him, opting instead to limp to the freezer case and pull out one of the big iced Gatorade bottles they were selling. He would have preferred coffee, probably, but all they had was the Nescafé that he hated. He obviously wasn't that desperate for caffeine.
He set his choice down on the counter with a thunk but refused to take his hand off of it.
Sam mentally shrugged. They were close enough and not all of the drugs had worn off yet. He'd be groggy at most all the way to Bobby's, but Sam doubted he'd last the whole way.
Apparently Dean didn't think he'd stay awake either because he climbed into the back, not the front, and stretched out on the seat.
"Crash and die," he threatened before hugging his jacket and settling in for the trip.
"Hopefully not," Sam said, still amused.
A halfhearted slap to the back of his head was the response, but his grin only widened.
One hour to freedom.
Sam's prediction was accurate and Dean was asleep ten minutes down the road. He sawed his way through an entire forest's worth of logs as they traversed South Dakota, that, the hum of the tires on the road, and Sam's softly playing radio selection the soundtrack to this last leg of their journey.
The sight of Bobby's welded arch was a welcome one indeed and Sam couldn't help the relieved sigh.
This was probably the closest thing they had to a home and Sam was very happy to see it again.
Bobby came out on the porch as Sam brought the car to a stop and cut the engine.
Sam grinned and waved, then twisted so he could reach over the seat back and poke his brother.
Sam climbed out and accepted the hug from Bobby, lingering for a moment. "I owe you for this, Bobby. Big time," he said, then pulled back, clapping Bobby on the shoulder and going to help his brother out of the car.
Dean had managed to crawl out on his own, his bottle of Gator-ice clutched in one hand as he straightened up with the help of the door.
"Bobby," he said in a sleep-rough voice with a nod to the man.
"Dean," Bobby replied, nodding back. "Hear you got yourself shot in the ass."
Dean glared at Sam.
"What? It's true!"
Dean chucked his drink in an underhand throw and nailed Sam right in the crotch with the big bottle of still mostly-solid ice block, doubling his brother over with an "OOMPH!" and a bug-eyed expression of pure agony.
Dean's grin stretched wide.
"Payback's a bitch, ain't it, Sammy?"
"I hate you," Sam coughed out, glaring through his watering eyes.
Dean sent an air kiss Sam's direction. "Love you too, baby brother."
Bobby just shook his head. "Come on. There's food and places to sit—or, you know, whatever—inside."
The two brothers limped and hobbled their way to the door, still trading insults and threats of escalating payback in what promised to be a spectacular war of retribution.
Bobby sighed and followed.
He figured he had a week before he wanted to kill them both. Might as well try to get as much research out of them as possible before then.