The last thing either of them could remember was going into an abandoned train station, looking for the nest of the vampires that had been leaving a bloody trail of victims across town.
After that, time had skipped and shifted, and Sam and Dean found themselves in... wherever they were now.
The only certainty that they had was that they were still together and that they were screwed. Deeply, profoundly, completely screwed.
For one, Gordon was there, staring down on them.
Gordon, who the Winchesters had last seen tied to a chair, 'stewing in his own juices', courtesy of Dean's devious ideas of revenge.
Had they known then what they know now, they would've probably never entered the bar where they met Gordon; they would've certainly never have drank with the man or tried to join him in a hunt.
Despite it all, though, Dean would've probably still left Gordon stewing in his juices. Just because the man was a major psycho.
Currently, though, it was Dean who had been stewing. He had been stewing under the sun for the better part of the day. In the summer. In frigging Nolensville, Tennessee.
Ten clouds had passed throughout the whole day. Dean had counted them.
And now that the blazing light of the sun was finally setting, Dean was stewing under Gordon and the watchful eyes of his pack of dickheads.
"You're a good hunter, Dean," Gordon went on. He had been talking for a while now. The man certainly loved the sound of his own voice. "But you need to learn your place, you need to learn that monsters are always monsters, no matter how pretty they look. If your father had lived longer, I'm sure he would've come around to teach you that."
There were only so many times that Dean could tell Gordon to fuck off until the words lost their impact. Now, Dean could do little else but stare daggers at the man. His legs and arms, strapped with sturdy chains to the bars that covered the pit where Sam was being kept, had grown numb and stiff hours ago.
Before that, Dean had struggled. With all his might. Until he had almost passed out from the physical exertion under the heat of the sun.
And after that, he had struggled some more. But the chains wouldn't give an inch.
Dean had fought and cussed and sweated. He had mostly sweated, exposed as he had been to the heat. Stretched out like a lobster on the grill.
Beneath him, Sam had guiltily stood in his brother's shadow. Not because he wanted to. It ate at Sam's soul that he had been kept in the shade while his brother cooked above him.
But Dean wouldn't have it any other way and Sam had eventually given in, consoling himself with the thought that at least Dean had one less reason to further exhaust himself. And that one of them would be in any condition to give Gordon his due.
"Easy decision in your case, Gordy," Dean let out. His voice sounded raspy, weak. Throat too dry to do much else. "Got no monstery doubts there."
Gordon laughed and his pack quickly followed his lead and bellowed. Dean bet that not even one of them knew what this was really about. Gordon didn't struck him as the type of man that would go around telling his fellow hunters about that one time when he'd spent two days in his own pissed jeans.
"It's not just you, Dean," Gordon went on, crouching near Dean's head to peer at Sam below. The younger Winchester snarled at him but kept his silence. "Sammy over there needs to learn too, needs to toughen up a bit."
"You don't get to call him Sammy, you wacko," Dean snapped derisively. It worked fine in getting Gordon's attention back on him and away from his brother.
Sam really, really wished Dean would stop doing that.
A loud racket of slamming doors and dragging chains turned Gordon's attention from the two Winchesters.
"Ah! The evening entertainment," Gordon said with a toothy smile. "Watch carefully, Sammy... you'll find this," he stopped, looking for the right word. "Poetic."
Now that the sun had finally set, that smile alone was enough to make Dean's skin crawl with goosebumps. Foolish of him to think that he would get some respite after sun set.
Below him, Dean could hear Sam moving around, trying to find purchase on the cement walls and see what was happening on the surface. The walls, however, were straight as an arrow and just tall enough for the tips of Sam's fingers to reach the bars above and little else.
Dean, unfortunately, had a clear view of the chained figured walking towards him. Particularly, of the sharp teeth spilling from his opened mouth, snarling in hunger even from ten feet away.
"You son of bitch!" Dean yelled, contorting against the chains. "I'll fucking end you!"
Gordon was smart enough to know that Dean's words were not for the bloodthirsty vampire walking towards him.
Dean managed to create a racket of his own as his struggles against the chains binding him increased with renewed fervor; the result was the same, except this time, he managed to break the skin on his wrists and ankles for his efforts. The only thing Dean was successful at with his efforts was to set Sam in panic.
And to make the vampire even more mad with the smell of blood in the air. Like a shark, eyes blown up and focused on the prey.
Gordon made a show of walking the vamp around the grid where Dean lay trapped, monster closely secured at the end of a short chain, like a dog on a leash.
"Like what you see, you blood sucking animal?" Gordon teased, letting the chain slip just a few inches from his grasp, enough to allow the vampire's fingers close enough to brush Dean's jeans.
"You call yourself a hunter, Gordy?" Dean called out, his voice tense with edginess, the sarcasm barely covering it. "You're worse than the things you hunt!"
Gordon's eyes hardened for a second. "We'll see about that," he hissed before letting go of the chain and walking away.
Sam knew something nasty was about to happen. Sam had grown up thinking that, whenever he opened a dictionary and looked up the word 'stoic', he would probably find a picture of his brother.
It took a lot for Dean to lose his cool. And now, it was gone in seconds. One gaze at whatever was coming and Dean had gone postal.
Few things caused such a reaction on Dean, Sam also knew that. He knew them all by heart.
Their father in danger.
Sam in danger.
Messing with the Impala.
As their father was dead and there were no airplanes around, Sam figured that maybe it was something that was threatening to him. But, stuck in that hole as Sam was, there wasn't much that Gordon could do to hurt him without getting him outside.
Sam heard the heavy thud of a body throwing itself on top of Dean and looked up. His eyes opened in horror.
There was one more thing that Sam could add to the list: hungry vampire on the loose while Dean was helpless on the floor.
"NOOO!" Sam screamed.
Trapped in that hole, with Dean's body on display above him, Sam could only watch as the vampire latched on to Dean's neck and started to feed.
Dean's struggles were useless and losing their vigor. After a few seconds, Dean had stopped struggling at all. The small whimpers that escaped his parted mouth were Sam's only clue that his brother was still alive.
"Please! Stop this!" Sam begged, because he knew Dean would not, even if he could. "You're killing him!"
The feeding went on forever, it seemed.
Sam jumped, trying to grip the bars, to touch Dean. When his fingers curled around one of the smooth iron bars, Sam held on, suspended in the air below Dean.
"Hold on Dean," Sam whispered, his mouth close to Dean's ear. From where he was now, he could see the eyes of the vampire, the bloodlust in his face, the bloody edges of his mouth where it was clamped around Dean's carotid.
Straining to keep himself hanging just with one hand, Sam used the other to fight the vampire.
Reaching between the bars, Sam managed to push him away, a mighty shove that ripped his teeth from Dean's skin.
The vampire snarled at him, teeth snapping in the empty air. The thing looked half starved and Sam wondered how long Gordon had been keeping it unfed just for this purpose.
The vampire lunged forward again. Sam, with his hand clamped around the torn flesh in Dean's neck, didn't even move.
He felt the needle like edges of the vampire's teeth closing around the back of his hand and the pain made him nearly lose his grip on the bars.
It was short lived. The back of the hand, the vampire soon figured out, wasn't as juicy as a neck.
It charged lower, going for Dean's groin.
"Fuck!" Sam yelped.
He knew enough anatomy to know where the major blood vessels went through. He knew enough about vampires to know that they were of aware of that better than most humans. The most accessible spots for them were the neck and the root of the thigh, where an artery bigger than the one in the neck was close to the surface and they weren't usually picky about which they used.
One bite, and it would be the end of Dean.
In the few seconds that it took for the vampire to work out an easier access, unbuckling Dean's belt, Sam worked furious on his. He looped his belt around one of the bars, using it as a peg that he could hook around his arm. With both hands free, Sam could get closer to Dean, cloud fend off more of the vampire's attacks.
The strain on his shoulder was murderous and Sam could feel the joint giving in inch by inch.
He paid no attention to that.
Fumbling blindly, Sam grabbed on to the first thing he could reach. The vampire's hair.
He gave it a strong pull, dragging the thing's teeth away from where they were about to sink back into Dean's flesh.
Above him, Dean moaned weakly.
"Hey! Hey! Dean," Sam called out. "You with me?"
Dean's silence was freaking him out. There was no telling how much blood the vamp had already managed to suck, and Sam couldn't keep pressure on the neck wound while trying to fend off new bites.
Dean's blood, sluggishly dripping on to him, felt like acid against Sam's shirt.
"Let... go, Sam," Dean whispered.
At first Sam thought he had heard it wrong. Then he thought that Dean was delirious. Only when he heard it a second time did Sam realize that Dean was actually telling him to allow the vampire to bite him.
"No," Sam said resolute, renewing his struggles. His hands and forearms were a mess of blood, bites and scratches, a testament of how hard he was fighting to keep the vamps teeth off Dean. Still, the thing had already managed to keep on feeding.
Vampires weren't dumb. And this one in particular wasn't about to fight for his free meal, not when he could see how limited Sam's reach was. He had simply moved further away, towards Dean's extend arms. Towards the crook of his arm.
"No, Dean," Sam said again even as me moved. Quiet, private words, just between the two of them, outside the madness that was happening above. "I will not sit here, watching you die."
The tears, falling silently from Sam's eyes, were private as well.
"LET GO!" Dean screamed, angry.
The first bite hadn't hurt that much. With was odd, because Dean had felt every inch of that filthy thing's teeth sinking into his neck, felt it tear at the muscle and scrape his bone.
It hurt when someone –Sam- pushed the vamp's teeth away. Like fish hooks, pulled from the catch, ripping flesh as they went.
Dean would've screamed then, but he had no strength left.
When he opened his eyes again –seconds, hours, years after- the vampire was still there, still looking hungry.
Dean had no idea why he wasn't dead yet, until he felt Sam's harsh breathing against his back, until he felt his brother's hands fighting for him, peeking from the cracks between the bars.
Sam was fighting for him. Trying the impossible and keeping the vampire from killing Dean. From killing Dean too fast, that is, because every time Sam's hands failed their target, the thing would sink its pointed teeth in a new place, a new buffet source. Dean felt like raw steak, bleeding on display.
Beyond the vamp's body, Dean could see Gordon and his pals, enjoying the show.
Like sick perverts, they were sniggering and laughing at the vamp's frenetic feeding, at Sam's poor and desperate attempts to help Dean.
That, more than the bites and the pain and the feeling of his life ebbing away, enraged Dean. Those pricks were entertaining themselves with Sam's despair, with his helplessness.
"Le'go," Dean tried to voice. It came out soundless, a pathetic excuse for speech. Dean swallowed, tried to muster enough moisture inside his mouth to form the proper words. "Let... go, Sam. Let go, Sam"
Sam refused. Even if he could see the glint of bloodlust in the hunters' eyes like Dean could, even if he could see the pleasure that Gordon was taking from their suffering, Dean suspected that Sam would still have refused.
"LET GO!" Dean yelled, exhausting his remaining strength in one last push of anger. They would not use his death to humiliate Sam. Not that.
Sam ignored him again and Dean whished for one free hand, so that he could smack his little brother's head.
Deep down though, deep enough that it would never be voiced, the touch of Sam's fingers, feebly putting himself in between the vamp's teeth and Dean's skin, was the only thing keeping Dean grounded.
They reminded Dean to struggle, to keep on breathing; they kept reminding him that he was still alive.
That and the determination to pull Gordon's intestines through his nose as soon as he was out of there. Even if he had to come back as a ghost to do it.
Lost in a haze of anger and pain, Dean missed the word when it was spoken. He even missed when the vampire was yanked back, hissing and screaming all the way because it hadn't finished its meal yet.
Two meaty fingers grabbed his chin and Dean forced himself to open sluggish eyes. Gordon's face was hovering above him, too near. Dean startled back, head colliding against iron bars.
"Monster are what they are, Dean. Monsters." the hunter said quietly, eyes searching Dean's face to determine how alert he was. "One day, you'll thank me for reminding you of that."
Dean wanted to spit in his smug face. He really, really wanted to. But in between the lack of spit in his mouth and the three Gordon faces he was seeing, Dean thought it was best to ignore the talking hunter and go back to being unconscious.
Sam remained where he was, still clinging to the bars and his belt even as the vampire was pushed away from his brother. He wouldn't get his hopes too high that it was all over. Gordon was too sadistic for that.
When the hunter himself filled Sam's field of vision, kneeling over Dean's inert form, Sam tensed.
They were so exposed, so vulnerable.
If this was going to be the point when Gordon pulled out a gun and just shot Dean in the head, there wouldn't be a single thing that Sam could do to stop him.
Sam tensed, finally dropping to the ground, keeping his few options free. No matter what happened next, Gordon was a dead man.
Gordon, however, seemed more interested in taunting Dean with words rather than kill him. Sam was fine with that.
When the grade to which Dean was strapped was pulled from above him, Sam panicked. Worse than seeing what was happening to Dean, was being forced to guess while they took his brother away.
Gordon, however, had other intentions.
"We're going now, Sammy," Gordon announced, dark figure looming over the hole, framed by the moonlight like a giant. "You have two choices: you can either chase us and get your revenge... or you can see to your brother."
Sam stared daggers at the smirking hunter. He wanted nothing more than to end Gordon's miserable existence. Right that fucking second.
"I can see it in your eyes, Sammy," Gordon went on. "You're not the gentle soul that your brother believes you to be. I can see the killer in you. Dean will see it too... if he lives."
And then he was gone.
Sam jumped, his fingers touching the edge of the hole. Sneakers slipping in the straight walls of the pit, Sam had to use all of his strength to push himself up. His shoulder, already not too happy about the abuse it had suffered hanging from the grid, slid out of place with a sickening, dry pop.
Sam yelped, momentarily losing his grip on the edge. He fought against gravity, fought against the white blobs of pain, spotting his vision. Sam held on.
He needed to get up there before Gordon ran away; he needed to see where Dean was.
With one final scream, Sam heaved his body over the edge and pulled himself out of the hole. He lay there, breathless, staring at the perfectly round moon in the dark sky.
When he finally managed to roll over, Sam could see Gordon, waiting for him, taunting him at the far edge of the field, ready to get into his car.
Struggling to his feet, Sam was up, ready to give chase, when his eyes landed on the two bodies lying nearby.
The headless one, Sam could recognize as the vampire. The other was Dean, still strapped to the grid, unconscious.
Stumbling over to where he lay, Sam knelt near his brother, fingers working furiously on the heavy chains. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Gordon and his buddies, speeding away. Inside his head, Sam could hear nothing but their laughter.
He needed something to pick the locks on the chains trapping Dean. That fact eventually registered in Sam's panicked mind. Looking around, he could see the Impala, parked where they had left it when they had arrived at the abandoned train station. They were still in the same place.
The pit where Sam had been trapped the whole day, was nothing but a maintenance pit, used to repair trains.
Sam took one more look at Dean, willing without success that the lock-picks inside the Impala traveled miraculously on their own to Sam's hand.
Sam needed to go to the car if he wanted to save Dean, but he was afraid that, the minute he turned his back, the sluggish pumpumpump of blood flowing from Dean's neck and other wounds, would simply cease.
Patting Dean's pocket, Sam took out the car keys and, pushing himself away, raced to the Impala.
The car's suspension would not like the way Sam drove back, jumping over train rails as he went. Sam didn't care. And when Dean found out about it, Sam would gladly welcome the wrath his brother would unleash on his ass. His alive brother.
Stepping on the breaks with unnecessary force, Sam jumped out of the car and made short work of the locks.
"Just hang in there, Dean... almost there," Sam whispered over and over.
His brother had lost too much blood, on top of a whole day of exposure to the hot sun. As much as Sam hated it, he knew that this time he had no other choice but to take Dean to a hospital.
Dean opened his eyes to white. Too white. So much white that it actually hurt. "Fucking bright," he mumbled.
"I was just saying how you have a way with words," Sam's voice came from somewhere on his left, closely followed by a female giggle.
The last thing Dean remembered was Gordon's ugly mug, inches from his face, going on about... something or another. Unless the hunter had undergone some very drastic changes since Dean had last looked, he was missing something.
Dean figured that he might as well open his eyes again and see what was going on.
Sam was dressed in a blue robe, IV pole towering beside him, clear bag of fluids hanging from it. Enclosed in an equally blue sling, his right arm was draped tightly across his chest. There were heavy shadows of exhaustion under Sam's eyes and his hair looked like a wild beast ready to eat Sam's head.
"Why are you in the hospital?" Dean asked sluggishly, still not firing on all cylinders. He looked down, seeing the matching set of IVs attached to his arm. "Why am I in the hospital?"
Sam's face lost its mirth. "Because you lost so much blood, you had basically dust and air running through your veins when you got here, Dean."
Dean swallowed. He remembered that too.
"You were lucky you and your brother share the same blood type. We sure wouldn't have had in storage the amount you needed to get you out of the woods," the woman, a nurse Dean could see from the uniform, informed him. "Nasty thing, these bear attacks so close to town," she added with a shudder.
Sam and Dean exchanged a look. Took a lot of denial for someone to believe the teeth marks all over Dean's body were from a bear, but civilians were imaginative like that. Anything but thinking that something beyond reason had caused those injuries.
"The doctor has left some lotion for you to apply, every day, twice a day," she went on with a gentle smile. "But after you two are done with those bags, you're free to go."
Dean watched her go with little interest. His eyes were locked on the huge bottle of pink lotion that she had left on the table beside his bed. "Er... Sam," he started, looking at the offending bottle rather than his brother. "I know I don't have all the details of what happened, on account of having a vampire attached to my neck and all..." he went on, biting his lip.
Sam, the bastard, was smiling at him, not helping one bit at what Dean wanted to ask.
Finally, curiosity won and Dean blurted out the question. There was no hiding the panicked look on his face. "What the hell is the lotion for?"
Sam kept on smiling, grabbing his cell phone without answering Dean. Opening the cell's camera, he took a picture of Dean's face.
Confused, and already expecting something horrible, like his nose having fallen off or something like that, Dean looked at Sam's cell phone screen with dread.
Dean snarled at his own image like he had spotted something crawling under the bed. And then he moaned in despair.
Sam busted out laughing. Now that the fright of watching his brother almost go into shock from blood loss had worn off; now that the threat of dehydration and heat stroke had been dealt with; now that the swelling had gone down on Dean's face and he was safe and on his way to being okay again, Sam could laugh at the results of Dean's forced tan.
Dean didn't tan, on a principle. He freckled until it looked like he'd gained some color. And that was only when he was careful about the amount of sun he caught.
A whole day, unprotected under the sun, had left Dean's face red and bloated, looking almost like an allergic reaction. With the swelling down and the redness somewhat diminished, all that was left were the freckles and the peeling skin.
It wasn't pretty.
But it was alive.
"I look like a fucking scaling fish," Dean grumbled, throwing the offensive cell phone on the bed. "Next time we see Gordon, he's dead," he said, like the worst that the hunter had done to them was ruin Dean's skin.
Sam grabbed his phone, his gaze intense. "Next time," he agreed.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter end notes:
Betaed by Jackfan2. All remaining mistakes are mine