There were always people in the library no matter the time. Usually, Sam wasn't one of them, but tonight he was with the other students. He preferred to do his work in the morning and days before an assignment was due, but he hadn't had the option for this one. His computer had glitched, deleting his finished essay. Now, he had to cram to rewrite the essay in time.
Sam's eyes were beginning to burn from looking at the laptop's screen. The paper was due in the morning before class and he'd already been working on it for a few hours. Sam didn't even like the subject. He'd only chosen it in the hopes that it would look good on his college transcript.
Sam rested his chin on his hand as he proofread the essay again. He needed a good grade for this one.
His phone rang and Sam quickly grabbed it before the ringing got the attention of anyone else in the library.
"This is Sam. What's up?" Sam asked, continuing to scan the essay.
"Hey, Sammy. Long time no see."
Sam frowned, turning his full attention to the phone call. "Dean?"
It'd been nearly a year since he'd left for Stanford. He hadn't heard from Dean or his father since.
"I have a small problem. Think you could help me out?" Dean asked. He sounded stressed. Probably from calling Sam. Sam tried not to think about how bad their relationship had deteriorated for Dean to sound stressed from just calling Sam.
Sam sighed. As if he didn't have enough problems of his own. He leaned back in his chair.
"I'm in the middle of an essay that's due tomorrow. Can this wait?" Sam already had a feeling he knew the answer. He doubted Dean would have called him unless it was the only option.
"Wish it could wait, but I have a bit of a situation here."
"Alright, what is it?" Sam asked. He leaned forward; finger positioned above his keyboard ready to look up any creature Dean needed information on. If there wasn't anything in Dad's journal about it, then it wasn't going to be easy to find anything online.
Dean didn't reply for a minute and Sam looked at his phone, wondering if Dean had hung up. He hadn't. "Dean? You still there?"
"What is it Dean?" Sam repeated.
"Uh, San Jose."
Sam stopped. "San Jose? Like, San Jose, California?"
"You know of another?"
On the other side of the line, Dean sighed, exasperation clear. "Yes, Sam. The one in California. I need you to come pick me up. I can't drive right now."
Sam's grip on the phone tightened until stopped for fear of snapping it. He should have noticed the listless way Dean was talking. He should have noticed when Dean had stopped talking as if he'd passed out for a moment.
"Are you drunk?" Sam asked, unable to keep the anger out of his voice. Of course, the reason Dean would call him after a year of not talking would be because Dean was too drunk to drive.
"How many have you had Dean? And what was it this time? Too many beers or did you just cut to the chase and grab something stronger?"
Sam stood, stuffing his computer in his bag and throwing it over his shoulder.
"I'm not drunk, Sam."
Sam rolled his eyes as he pushed open the door of the library and stepped out into the parking lot. He got to his car and unlocked it.
"Cut the crap," Sam snapped. He had an essay due that was worth too much of his grade. He didn't need to be dealing with this right now. "Where are you?"
"Of course, I am."
"I don't know where I am. I see a-" Dean stopped talking and Sam hoped he was looking around, not just passing out again. How much had Dean had for it to knock him out? Sam remembered Dean's alcohol tolerance was high enough to drink most under the table. "I see a Foster Freeze?"
Sam ran though his memory of Foster Freeze's in San Jose.
"I'm on my way. Don't move."
Sam shut his phone, effectively hanging up. Even if Dean did decide to move, Sam doubted he would make it far. Not if he was in bad enough shape that he'd resorted to calling Sam.
Sam stepped out of the car and slammed the door shut behind him.
"Dean!" He yelled. He was at the fast-food joint, but he didn't see any sign of Dean.
The parking lot was empty. They'd probably closed hours ago.
When he didn't hear a reply, Sam headed for the back of the building. He would at least do a perimeter check before moving on the check the next place.
Sam walked around the corner where the restaurant kept their dumpsters.
He saw a figure slumped against the wall. Sam shook his head, as he walked over. He leaned down, preparing to shake Dean awake. He expected to smell whichever alcohol Dean had chosen, but instead all he smelled was the metallic scent of blood.
The annoyance Sam had felt melted into panic.
"Dean," Sam said, shaking Dean's shoulder.
After a moment, Dean's eyes barely opened. "Sam?"
"Hey, man." Sam did a quick scan. In the poor lighting, he couldn't see much, but the bottom half of Dean's shirt was covered in a dark stain. Blood. It'd been a while since Sam had seen that much blood. "What happened?"
"The shifter had a knife, Sam."
Sam gritted his teeth. Dean was only supposed to be drunk. That was it. Not bleeding out behind a restaurant. Sam glanced around. He didn't see Dad. He wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not.
"I didn't recognize him. Not in time anyway."
Sam shook his head. "I'm going to lift you up, alright? You think you can stand?"
Sam slung Dean's arm over his shoulder, taking most of Dean's weight. He tried to move as easily as possible, but Dean still grimaced.
"Sorry." Sam started towards his car. "You staying around here?"
Sam didn't think they would be able to reach his dorm before they were seen. He really didn't want to try and explain this when he was going by his real name.
"Yeah," Dean said.
Sam was reaching for the passenger door handle, when Dean's head lolled and Sam was suddenly supporting all of Dean's weight.
"Damn it!" Sam stumbled before he braced the best he could to keep from dropping Dean. He opened the car door.
He set Dean in the passenger seat then checked the left, inside pocket of Dean's jacket. He found what he was looking for. A room key. The motel's name was written across the top.
Sam jogged around the car to get in the driver's seat.
"Dean?" Sam asked, as he put the car in gear. When Dean didn't reply, Sam tapped his shoulder. "Dean? You with me?"