Hello you wonderful lot!

Like I said, been digging out the old never quite finished fics and I gave 'em a little polish- along with the rest. I hope you like!

Tag to Shadow, season 1. Hurt Sam, protective Dean and John.

Summary: Sam had found everything he'd been looking for all in one night, and now it was slipping through his fingers, much like his consciousness.

Warning: Swears and blood.

X0x0x

Acrid smoke still clung to back of Sam's throat even as he heaved in lungful's of cold night air.

Rushing, heart in his throat, duffle slung over his shoulder, he followed his dad and brother closely down the porch steps to the street, ignoring the blinding white light behind him.

Biting back a grunt Sam let the duffle fall to his side as he brought up the rear, head spinning behind him to check they weren't being followed.

His brother ducked into an alley, arm supporting their dad as they both stumbled and Sam's breath hitched as he pushed on, his own body close to exhaustion.

As Dean slowed, taking the corner wide, the impala came into view. Dark metal shining under the street lights.

Sam rushed ahead past his brother, relief flooding him forward, chest heaving, already grabbing for the rear door he slung the duffels in, holding back the cry caught in his throat.

He swayed, leaning on the door a moment as dizziness washed over him. No. Not now...

He blinked to clear his vision.

Dean steadied their dad as he unhooked his arm. John winced, but straightened himself, nodding he was okay.

Sam's heart thundered in his chest. He'd nearly lost everyone tonight.

Dean scrunched his fore head as he caught his breath, his arm held protectively back over his side.

"Alright...c'mon-" Sam gasped, ignoring the incessant bright flare of pain. "We don't have much time. Soon as the flare's out-they'll be back..." Sam rushed, words tumbling into each other, he slammed the door.

The momentum carried Sam forward and he leaned heavily on the impala as his vision whited.

"Ngh!"

Sagging, Sam squeezed his eyes shut, his breath catching. His back slid easily over the black steel as he spun, his fingers fumbled for purchase, the world tilted as he felt his feet go out from under him.

"Sammy!"- "Sam!"

Sam gasped, eyes rolling in the back of his head as he listed forward.

"No!"

Dean lunged forward with John, as John caught Sam awkwardly between him and the car, Dean's hands splayed on Sam's chest to stop his forward momentum. Kneeling before his brother, Dean pushed him back against the car as John steadied his grip, his arm tight around Sam's waist. Their own pains forgotten. Reaching up for a pulse, Dean's fingers stuck against the drying blood running down Sam's neck and he gently felt a weak pulse fluttering back.

Dean grit his teeth as he flashed hard eyes to John.

"Sam!?" John barked. The authority clear in his voice. That was an order.

Sam didn't respond.

Dean frantically flicked his eyes all over Sam. Using one hand he cupped Sam's chin and tilted his head back. Sam's head lolled to the side, and he took in the angry bruising covering Sam's right cheek, the blood from four scratches across the left.

Dean swallowed against the pit in his stomach, replaying their night, thinking, searching- for anything he missed.

It had got to Sam first, the shadow. Taken them both by surprise, and even as Dean was thrown backwards, knocked out, he remembered hearing his brother cry out. Sam had taken a while to come round too, thinking about it, his voice tight and eyes unfocused when he did.

Dread twisted in Dean.

Brows tight, John leaned Sam against the car as he shifted, tugging up Sam's jacket with his free hand.

The fabric stuck together and John's hand jerked as it slipped.

"Dean." John's urgent voice snapped Dean's attention to the hand fisted in Sam's shirts.

John's hand was covered in blood.

Panic squeezed Dean's throat tight.

"Sammy..." Dean whispered, propping Sam up as John roughly pushed at Sam's jacket.

John cursed, standing jerkily.

Blood had soaked through Sam's shirts and left angry red smears across his exposed hip. John's hand was dark as he made a fist in the fabric.

Panic jarred Dean into action.

Still propping Sam up, Dean stood swiftly, shifting his body close to Sam he slid his arm around his brother, effectively taking Johns place.

Tipping Sam forward into him, Sam's head heavy on his shoulder Dean stepped back as John pulled open the back door and together they wordlessly maneuvered Sam inside onto the backseat.

Running round to the other side of the car, John opened the door and leant in, pulling at Sam's limp body so he stretched across the leather seat.

John's hand ghosted over Sam's shoulders, one hand gently reaching for his son's pulse, hand staying on the youngest a moment longer than he needed.

The eldest Winchester ground his teeth. Sam's pulse was weak.

Without a word, John carefully freed Sam's arm from his jacket sleeve as Dean kneeled onto the backseat between Sam's legs, hastily shoving up Sam's shirts.

Tugging Sam's jacket free John let it fall to the foot well and his mouth opened in shock at the dark stain spreading wide over Sam's side.

The younger boys left side was half dark and wet in the dim light.

Dean grunted as they tilted Sam on his side, bunching Sam's shirts up around his neck John held Sam's arms up as Dean exposed his chest. The elder Winchester's saw the deep gashes running from Sam's shoulder, down across his ribs and sweeping round to his hips.

Dean grimaced. Jesus.

The scratches were deep in places, and long and still bleeding. Dean swallowed down the lump in his throat.

Sam's limp head taunted him with unease, his hair fanned out behind him.

Swearing, Dean shrugged out of his own jacket and fisted it into a bundle.

He laid it across the deepest of Sam's wounds, trying to cover over the worst and pressed down hard.

Sam didn't even stir.

Fear rattled his breath but Dean didn't let it stop him.

Still keeping the pressure, Dean climbed into the car, wedging his body half between and behind his brother and leant down on the wound.

Sam still didn't move.

Snapping his eyes up to John they shared a moment of understanding, concern blazing in their eyes. John's jaw ticked and he grabbed for the keys, slamming the door shut. He ran round to the drivers seat, shutting Dean in in the process and the car rocked to life.

The engine flared, and John roughly swerved, flying past his own truck he skidded with screeching tires as he spun out of the alley.

Streetlights flashed above as John ignored the speed limit. Bright eyes jerking to the rearview every few moments.

Dean leant above his brother, his body weight crushing down over the still bleeding wound, his hands slipped as Sam's blood welled between his fingers.

Dean grunted as he adjusted his hands, pressing with his palm, blood still ran between his fingers.

"Dean?" John asked, his voice betraying his emotion. Car surging forward, he picked up his pace.

Dean knew his dad was aware of how bad this was, and how bad it could go.

"I can't-" Dean grunted, exerting all his force into stopping the bleeding. Despite where he put pressure, the deeper furrows still oozed fresh blood and he couldn't reach every one. "I can't reach them all. He's still bleeding."

Dean flashed his worried green eyes to the rearview and caught his fathers pinched stare.

The car rocked forward again as it clawed up the blacktop.

Determination surged through Dean. No. This wasn't happening.

Growling, Dean fumbled at his already bundled jacket-made-gauze and stretched it to cover the long claw marks, leaning forward, using his forearms as well as his hands Dean spread himself to cover it all.

Dean practically laid over his brother, jaw tight along with his pressure.

Leaning this close over Sam, he could feel his jacket start to stick between them.

"Jesus Sammy..."Dean hissed under his breath, worry coating his angry words.

Dean was also aware just how pale Sam's face was, close up. How still he was. How his breathing was too small, too shallow.

"Dammit Sam!" Dean shouted, pushing down over the wounds as he straightened his arms and leant up, facing John.

"He's shocky." Dean Spat. Worry clawing at him. "We need to stop." Dean said fiercely, determined. Staring into the rearview. I can't stop this all by myself.

John nodded like it was an order and the car sped up.

"Give me five minutes." John bit out, changing course. The Chevy bumped along course ground as John skidded across a field.

The streetlights disappeared and darkness swamped the inside the the car.

The engine thrummed under Dean as John forced her ahead and he leant low across Sam again.

"C'mon Sammy..." Dean whispered inches from Sam's face. "C'mon...hold on...hold on for me little brother."

Dean felt himself tip forward as John quickly pressed on the brake and he held onto his brother as the car rocked to a jittery stop. It had been the longest five minutes of his life.

John was already out the door before he switched the engine off, headlights still beaming ahead.

Dean scrambled to wrap his arms around Sam and keep pressure on the wound. Holding Sam against his chest Dean shifted them as he backed along the seat, fresh air meeting his back as John opened the back door.

Dean stepped out backwards, cradling Sam to him awkwardly he dragged Sam across the seat and shimmied side-wards as John appeared beside him, his dad already reaching forward to support Sam's legs, they lifted him from the car.

Dean grunted with the effort and hauled his brother up. His stomach rolling when Sam didn't even flinch, his arms limp.

"This way." John nodded his head behind him, hands lifting under Sam's knees.

Dean shuffled forward as his father lead the way. Sam was a dead weight in his arms.

Between them they steadily carried Sam quickly, boots scratching in the overgrown grass.

Ahead Dean made out a dark silhouette that shaped into a small cabin and his dad bee lined for the front door.

Picking up the pace Dean puffed out his chest and tightened around Sam, feet hurrying forwards, muscles bunched with the effort.

John stepped backwards up onto the porch like he could see without looking behind him, effortlessly kicked the door open and the Winchesters rushed inside.

Despite the darkness Dean followed his fathers shape as they staggered through a long hallway, into a room at the end.

"On the bed." John breathed, directing Dean with his hold on Sam to the corner.

They slowly lowered the youngest down, the bed dipping as Dean knelt with him, arms still around his baby brother.

John's footsteps echoed away a moment and there was a click.

Light bloomed from a lamp by the doorway and John strode back, a navy sack bag tight in his fist as he rummaged through it.

Now that he could see clearly, Dean's heart lurched to his throat.

His jacket was soaked with Sam's blood, still wadded against him. Dean swallowed. Dean could feel the fabric of his shirt feel heavy with Sam's blood.

John rustled something in his hands and pads of gauze tumbled out beside Sam on the bed. Quickly jerking out of his coat, John bunched up his sleeves and grabbed for Sam's arm, cupping the back of his sons neck he steadied Sam as he tilted him, efficiently putting Sam in the recovery position and exposing his injured side.

Dean moved on autopilot Kneeling at the side of the bed, knees digging into stiff carpet, he splayed his hands across Sam's chest.

Sam's head angled toward Dean and this close Dean could feel Sam's gentle breath.

"Sammy?" Dean asked, pleading with Sam.

Sam's hair hid his eyes from view, but he made no move to say he'd heard his older brother.

As one Dean and John poised, and arms ready, Dean began to peel away his blood soaked jacket as John wadded gauze over the exposed wounds.

John's hands curled firm across Sam's hip as he tried to staunch the flow, grabbing more gauze and adding his second hand as Dean revealed more of the ugly wound.

Dean took over as John's hands were full, peeling away the soaking jacket he pressed at the wound with gauze of his own, bundling a handful with one fist as he used his other to cover over Sam's bleeding ribs.

Pushing with both their hands padded with packs of gauze they managed to cover the entire wound and panted as they kept up the pressure.

Dean's eyes burned as he stared into Sam's lax face. The gentle puff of air from Sam's parted lips, meaning Sam was alive, was the only thing that kept his heart from exploding out of his chest.

Dean swallowed. His arms ached as he tensed but he daren't let up the pressure. The bandage under his hands started to feel suspiciously wet and he ground his teeth as he ignored his own exhaustion.

Glancing up to his father in a similar position they caught eyes.

John gave a small nod at his son.

He's gonna be okay.

Something in the way his father looked at him made Dean nearly collapse with relief. He trusted his dad in most things. And this his dad knew.

John had seen his fair share of injuries over the years, including a war. He had enough field experience than that of both Sam and Dean combined.

Even though John's eyes were hard, some of tension was already leaking out of his features.

Dean ignored the strain and kept up the pressure, sweat beading on his forehead.

"It's stopping." John confirmed gruffly. Hands nearly white with the pressure he was exerting.

Dean breathed out a sigh.

It was several minutes before John moved his hands though, erring on the side of caution, he slowly lifted one hand from the trail end of Sam's wound and tugged Dean's arms to lay over it, keeping the gauze in place. John freed his second hand and adjusted Dean again.

Dean understood without question, shuffling himself wherever Sam needed him despite the painful angle.

The sudden rip of fabric tore the silence as John parted Sam's shirt sleeves from his arms with ease and ripped again at the shirts still bundled at his collar. They parted easily in his strong hands.

Tossing the shred of bloody clothes, John tipped Sam's head back and smoothed the hair from his eyes.

He was still too pale and still.

Dean swallowed.

John's fingers brushed the vivid bruise lining Sam's cheek.

"It knock him out?" John asked gruffly. The command in his voice laced with the worry of being a father.

"Yeah, he was out of it when I woke up." Dean's voice wobbled.

John smoothed his thumb over Sam's cheek as he gently moved his head. The furrows on his other cheek had stopped bleeding already, the bloody rivulets turning dark and sticky down his neck.

Cupping the nape of Sam's neck, John felt around at the back of Sam's head, his face tense with concentration.

"It wasn't a knock to the head that did it." John finally said as he straightened, his hands gently released Sam.

Dean's lips thinned.

Which meant Sam hadn't been knocked out by the Daeva's first attack. He'd been played with for a while before he passed out.

Anger ravaged through Dean like nothing he'd ever felt before.

No! This was not fair. Sam didn't deserve this level of shit and it had been a top level shit day.

"I need to stitch him." Dean growled. Big brother mode taking over. He gestured to his dad, not even looking if he was listening.

"Hold down here... these were the deepest." Dean slid each hand free separately as John took over the spots Dean focused on.

Quickly threading a clean needle Dean started to gently peel the wadded gauze back, clean the area and promptly hook the stitches into Sam's skin. It felt wrong to him that Sam didn't even flinch at the antiseptic, or again as he tugged the thread taught, pulling at Sam's skin. He winced. He'd sure feel all this when he woke up.

Dean started on the deepest furrow curving across Sam's ribs and expertly finished three lines of stitches before he was pointing for John to adjust his hands on the next ones.

As Dean stitched, John replaced the soiled gauze with fresh white bandages and soon, his son was finishing the worst of it.

Dean snipped the thread as he finished the neat crescent row of dark stitches just jutting over Sam's hip.

"The rest I can close with butterfly bandages..." Dean said, only half talking to himself.

John nodded, standing stiffly.

Sam's blood was drying all over his hands, sticking to the hair on John's arms.

John laid a hand on Dean's shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze.

"He's gonna' be okay Dean." John said softly.

Dean nodded, face set with determination. "I know." He swallowed.

John ducked away from his sons in uncomfortable silence.

Dean continued to tend to his youngest. His hands gracefully moving with the precision of having done this so many times before. Completely comfortable in Sam's personal space.

John almost felt as if he was sharing something he wasn't supposed to.

He admired and marveled at the close bond he witnessed between his sons.

Watching for another moment as Dean so carefully wiped at the blood staining Sam's skin, he backed out of the room and walked down the hall.

Dean slowly walked down the long hallway sometime later, boots scuffing over the rough wooden boards slowly echoing the exhaustion he felt.

John looked up from an armchair as Dean entered the room, his hands and wrists dark with dried blood as they hung at his sides.

"How is he?" John asked.

Dean slowly nodded, sighing.

"Still out. Breathing better."

Dean sat stiffly in the armchair across from John. His own wounds reminding him of their presence.

Dean winced.

The fire crackled to Dean's right in the hearth and he let the warmth sink his body deeper into the armchair. Some of the tension left his shoulders.

Glancing around, blinking like he'd only just noticed his surroundings Dean frowned across at John.

"Where are we?"

John handed Dean a glass with amber liquid and he gratefully accepted, taking a long sip.

"Safe house." John answered.

Dean nodded. He trusted his dad if he said this place was safe.

It was old. Unused and unloved by the way the paint was peeling off the walls and the piles of leaves gathered in the corner. Still, the cupboards were stocked and the electric and water worked.

That was better said than some of the hotels he'd paid to stay in over the years.

"You okay?" John asked as he took a sip from his own glass. The fire lit up John's face in an orange glow, glinting on his glass.

"Yeah." Dean breathed. "Just a few scratches, bruises..." Nothing like Sam...

John didn't miss how he was favoring one side.

Dean could feel his fathers eyes on him. He cleared his throat.

"I'm fine." He said with more confidence. "Couple stitches..."

There was a bright white steri-strip currently nipping the wound on Dean's eyebrow and a few across the scratches on his forehead. Bright white bandage flashed just under Dean's collar as he sat back in the chair.

"You?" Dean asked. Noticing his father had cleaned up his own wounds.

John shook his head. "Nothing this can't fix." He held up his glass.

Dean smirked.

The first thing Sam became aware of was how dry his mouth was.

Flinching his eyes open Sam turned his head and then bit back a cry as his chest pulled in a sickening way and what felt like fire licked at his side.

Awareness slowly crept back to him and his head spun.

Now he knew why his mouth was so dry. It was either down to screaming, if the tight sharp stinging in his side was anything to go by or that he'd been out of it for a long time due to blood loss, which also actually, Sam frowned, he put down the sharp flare of pain in his side and the tremble in his body.

Maybe both then?

Trying to think of the last thing he could remember made his head spin, and it wasn't worth it when it all painfully flashed back at him.

Dean! Dad! The Daeva's...

Frowning at the dark unfamiliar room around him, Sam's senses went on high alert. Where the hell was he? Where was Dean!?

Sitting up sent pain he'd never felt before burn into his side, like being branded and he collapsed back against he bed, shaking. Choking out a breath Sam rolled his body instead, biting back the cry in his throat as he twisted his face against the effort, and standing on too shaky legs.

Despite the agony stealing his breath he forced himself up, he needed to get to Dean.

"Ngh..." Sam gasped, light headed.

The whole of his left side thrummed like it was alive with fire and Sam stumbled forward. Breathing becoming labored.

He awkwardly kept his left arm stuck to his side, his shoulder hunched as he could contain the pain radiating there.

Hunter instincts screaming at him, Sam pushed his body forward toward the door ignoring the swaying room around him.

Sam swallowed convulsively. His stomach tensed. "Guh..."

The creak of floorboards snapped Sam's eyes to the door and panic tightened around him.

The door creaked open slowly, the glow of light getting stronger.

Sam flinched as a shadowed figure stepped through into his room. He couldn't make out the face with the light to the back of them.

Pushing the door the rest of the way, light flooded over John's face.

Sam's eyes widened.

"Sam?"

"D'd...?" Sam asked, voice thick with pain. "Wha..."

Sam's head spun, his heart still racing in his chest.

"D'n...where...w- Ngh!"

Sam swayed where he stood, his legs feeling like jelly. He felt himself falling forward.

John rushed to his youngest as he watched Sam pale and topple forward, he caught Sam as gently as he could, strong hands holding up most of Sam's weight like he weighed nothing. Sam fisted into John's shirt as he fell into his father, his forehead resting below John's shoulder. Pain stabbed at his side.

"D'n...?" Sam whispered, concern agitating his voice.

"Hey take it easy son." John spoke into Sam's mop of hair.

"Ugh..."Sam gasped. Flashes of Dean's face covered in blood jolted Sam's memory and he tensed in John's hold. "Gah..."

Sam struggled in his dad's arms, panic threatening to take him down. He needed to get to Dean. Where was Dean? Why wasn't he there-what was wrong with him!?

"Dean..." Sam cried out, with as much strength as he could muster.

"Take it easy Sam." John whispered against Sam's ear. "Dean's fine. I promise. He's okay, he's just out at the car."

Sam could hear John even over the rushing of his blood in his ears and he started to calm his breathing.

Dean was okay...Dean was safe.

"Sammy?"

John's voice faded out as Sam lost focus, feeling himself sag into his fathers arms, his eyes closing of their own accord.

John had to hold Sam tighter to him as he felt him slipping, too aware of the pressure he was putting over Sam's too fresh wounds.

"Dean!" John bellowed behind him, hands shifted so he didn't cause Sam anymore pain.

Thundering boots bounded down the hallway as Dean burst in, eyes wide at Sam's limp body in John's arms.

"Sammy!?" Dean yelled, quickly crossing the room in one stride, arms reaching for his little brother.

Taking some of Sam's weight from John the Winchesters balanced the youngest between them, careful of his stitches and maneuvered him back toward the bed.

Sam gasped as he was laid down, eyes clenched shut as the room spun around him.

Dean's comforting hand smoothed over Sam's forehead, pushing the hair out of his eyes and some of pain lines eased from Sam's face.

"Hey...Sammy?" Dean spoke gently.

Sam's eyes cracked open. "D'n..." Sam whispered, the relief bathing his words.

"It's okay Sammy...it's okay." Dean knelt down next to Sam's bed, his brothers face at eye level. "We're all okay. Just rest. Close your eyes. It's safe."

Sam's lips parted and his throat bobbed as if he was going to speak.

Face beginning to smooth out, Sam's head fell towards his brothers voice as his breathing evened out.

Dean carried on smoothing over Sam's forehead with his thumb long after Sam fell asleep.

The next time Sam opened his eyes, it was light in the room. And Dean was already there.

"Hey..." Dean croaked, ducking forward on his chair beside Sam's bed.

Sam focused on his brothers face. The corner of his mouth quirked up.

"Hey..." Sam mumbled.

Dean's eyes locked on his a moment and then he quickly looked down at Sam's chest. The bandages were still thick and white, padded around Sam. Good.

Dean licked his lips, concern bright in his green eyes.

"You're gonna be sore, okay? So just take it easy..."

Sam nodded. Worry niggling at him. Dean hardly ever spoke to him like that. Guilt filled Sam as he saw the worry he'd caused.

His side throbbed sharply to remind him of exactly why.

Reaching behind him with one hand, Dean handed Sam a bottle of water and two pills.

"Take these." Dean ordered, his face the mask of worried brother.

Sam didn't need to be told twice and he gratefully accepted them, tilting his lips to the water bottle he swallowed the painkillers down.

"It's the good stuff." Dean said with a small grin.

Sam's mouth opened to speak, but Dean shushed him.

"I'm fine, Sammy...Dad too. He's here." Dean jerked his head to the door. "We're okay."

That seemed to settle Sam and he felt his eyes flutter closed and darkness take him again.

They holed up in the safe house for a week after, while Sam mostly slept, Dean never far from his side.

When his little brother could stand on his own again without face planting the floor, they filled him in on the gory details.

Sam had been pale, but listened through all of it, piecing it together against the jumbled memories in his head.

"The Daeva's?" Sam asked.

"Didn't follow." Dean answered.

"What happened to you after they knocked me out?" Dean asked, eyes shielded like he didn't want to know.

"Uh..."Sam swallowed. "Meg tied you up..." His forehead creased. "She-she made another call to whoever she working for...I couldn't hear it..."

"You pass out?" Dean asked softly, hands wringing together.

"No." Sam breathed. "Not until Meg wanted me to."

No one spoke for a moment, the silence long and painful between them. They didn't need a play by play to know exactly what that meant.

"Meg..." Sam frowned. "The Demon...how does this-"

Sam stopped as he watched Dean share a look with their dad.

"What?" Sam asked.

Dean didn't speak as Sam stared at him, but he could tell they were hiding something.

"What?" Sam repeated, dreading the news.

John stepped forward.

"This thing has tried to stop me before..." John said slowly. "And this time it nearly did..." His eyes softened at his youngest. "I need to take off." John finally said.

Sam's gut clenched.

"No! No, dad! We've only just found you, I can't-"

"Sammy." Dean eased. "Meg was right..." His voice broke on the last word. "Dad's vulnerable when he's with us."

Sam shook his head.

"They'll use us to get to him." Dean said, convincing his brother this was the right decision. "They'll use you..." He eyes pinched. "They're not gonna' stop Sam."

Sam pleaded with his eyes up to his father.

"Dad...you can't just...I need-"

"This fight isn't over, for any of us." John smiled sadly. "Right now, you have to let me go son..."

The end.

Thank you for reading :)