Ice Cold in LA.

Chapter 2.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful reviews, my darlings. It really helps to know that someone out there does appreciate all our hard work.

NB: From now on, medical stuff will be unmercifully used with a healthy dose of artistic licence, so please don't pick holes. I'm bound to stretch a lot of boundaries with this, and I am aware of it.

Thanks.

Warning: swearing (It's me, after all). Shameless, inappropriate use of Dean's weapon in a motel room. Implied sexual situation, but nothing to get upset about.


Dean heard familiar feet shuffling outside the motel room and cocked his head, listening intently. The feet stopped for a long moment, as though Sam was debating whether or not to knock. But to Dean's utter relief, he heard the kid sniff and move away.

Hot, pepperoni pizza was singing his song, with an accompaniment from Señor Mozzarella and Madame Tomate!

Dean smirked. If only Sammy was here, he'd pick holes a mile wide in Dean's Italian...

The smirk faded.

Maybe not.

He bit off a particularly chewy piece, with the cheese stringing out between his lips and fingers. A small morsel of tomato fell off and slid down his tee-shirt, leaving a red stain. He shrugged and wiped it up with his index finger.

Someone on the TV screamed. Dean just nodded along and slurped his beer, but as the evening wore on, he realised he was missing something... or someone.

It wasn't the first time the brothers had been apart, but something was niggling at him tonight. A little itch at the back of his neck, maybe, or a cold chill down his spine.

Dean turned his head to stare at the motel room door for a few long seconds.

Nah. It was nothing.

The room was secure. No doubt Sammy had laid down wards and protection symbols for his own room. Kid might be many things, but stupid wasn't one of them.

Dean fell asleep with that comforting thought, popcorn spilling over the bed, his sixth beer unopened on the night stand. However, his dreams were anything but peaceful.

Dean... help me... so cold... please... let me in.

Dean blinked away snow collecting on his eyelashes.

Sammy? Where are you, dude?

Right in front of you, Dean. I'm right in front of you! Where I've been all along...

... Dean startled awake, gasping for air.

"Jesus Christ!"

Scrubbing a hand down his face, Dean blinked and forced himself to breathe deeply.

"Huh," he mumbled, and threw back the covers. Caveman mode was in full operation this morning.

Padding over to the window, Dean winced.

Cold carpet. Nasty. Must seek warmth.

Head hurts. Must seek pain killers...

He yawned, stretched and scratched his chest through the pizza-stained teeshirt.

"Whoa! That's some daylight out there!" he exclaimed after tearing the curtains open and wincing again. Snow brightened the world way too much for a guy who'd been on beer and whisky chasers most of the night.

Dean... m'cold...

Even so, he hadn't expected to sleep for so long, but the weather had at least calmed down a little. It was no longer snowing, or raining, which had to be a big friggin' bonus.

Please... need you...

God! Hangovers were a bi-artch!

Dean... help me...

He yawned widely and thought about breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, maybe some hashbrowns...

Dean... please... M'sorry...!

Dean jerked backwards and slammed his fist against the motel room wall. Fortunately, it wasn't concrete or he'd have been queuing up in the local ER for a cast.

As distractions went it was pretty poor, because that feeling of cold dread just wouldn't go. Nothing would channel it away from him, because it quickly became clear that this wasn't just his much maligned conscience talking at him - 'little brother in danger' would always find a way through.

His heart suddenly pounded into a fast gallop and freezingicecold pin-pricked the tips of his fingers.

The sudden image of Sam, blue lipped and frozen solid, wouldn't fade.

Sam's voice, in his dreams, begging for help, still haunted him. And that was just plain stupid. Dean wasn't the psychic in the family. As far as he was concerned there were no psychics in the family. Just a kid brother with a screwy imagination... right?

Right?

Dean... c-cold...

"Oh for God sake shut the fuck up!" he snapped to his imaginary Sam.

A loud thumping immediately came through the bedroom wall.

"Hey!" a voice announced, angrily. "How 'bout you shuttin' the fuck up! Some people are tryin' ta have sex in here!"

Dean responded by removing the Taurus from his duffle, checking the clip, and calmly firing a round into the ceiling.

He waited. Silence reigned, stiff and terse, until the same voice, completely devoid of its previous confidence, but making up for it with a nervous wobble, spoke once again.

"Uh. Whatever you say, dude."

Dean nodded, smugly. I should think so, pal.

Snagging his phone, Dean slammed out the room, already tapping in his message to Sam.

Breakfast. Diner.

Needless to say he was rather surprised to hear a muffled chirping from the vicinity of his car.

"Huh?"

It sounded like the text alert on Sam's cell phone. And it came from Dean's car.

His car, which was no longer black, but white with snow. Around three inches of it, if he was any judge.

Stepping carefully around the car, he swiped some snow from the roof, and let it crumble through his hands. He still couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something about the snow...

Dean's eyes travelled the length of the car, widening slightly when they lit on a strange lump on the trunk lid. He used his arm to sweep all the snow from the top of the trunk, revealing a familiar brown hoodie. His fingers touched the material, and he almost jumped back, gasping. It was frozen solid. But now he knew where the text alert had come from.

He sent another just to be sure.

Beep! Beep!

"Shit!" Dean stood back and turned in a full circle, heart thumping painfully in his chest, eyes scanning the parking lot. "Sammy? Sam!"

His cry was met with dense silence, the entire world muted by snow.

Where the hell could he have gotten to? And what was he doing out here without his jacket?

Dean growled angrily, turned and strode along the sidewalk, intent on having it out with the stupid kid, but he suddenly stopped in his tracks. Guilt flashed hot and heavy in his gut with the realisation that he didn't even know Sam's room number.

He groaned and rubbed his forehead.

Nice going asshole.

A visit to the reception desk was looking likely, but that niggling sensation intensified, and Dean felt ridiculously unsettled. He couldn't bring himself to leave the car...

Turning slowly on the spot, and feeling foolish as all hell, Dean stared at the Impala.

His steps were slow at first, but soon sped up as that crazy gut instinct screamed louder and louder, until he was running. With a stylish, Starsky and Hutch manoeuvre across the hood, Dean came down on the passenger side and skidded to a halt by Sam's window. Brushing away ice and snow, he peered in, frantically searching for a puppy-eyed Sasquatch in the passenger seat.

"Sammy? You in there?" he yelled, and yanked on the door handle. "Sam? Open up dammit!"

Using his elbow to clear the rear passenger window this time, he finally came up trumps. A blanketed bundle lay curled up and unmoving in the back seat, booted feet sticking out at one end, and a mop of chestnut brown hair at the other.

"Sam, wake the fuck up!"

Panic rising thick and fast, Dean thumped on the roof and twisted the handle again. He quickly found, to his distress, that it was not only locked, but when he tried his keys they wouldn't budge. The car was in total lock down. Frozen shut. A tomb of ice and steel.

"Sammy!"

Dean tugged and pulled and pushed, but the car wouldn't allow him entry. Tears leaked from the corners of his eyes when the same result came from trying the trunk. He couldn't even reach the tyre iron to smash a window, and a sharp jab with an elbow not only proved fruitless but fucking painful. For an old car, the windows were like panes of hardened diamond. Real life wasn't like the movies, he reflected bitterly. It sucked.

Scrubbing a hand down his face, Dean's brain was no longer just ticking over, but steaming ahead desperately fast, considering and discarding any non-viable options. Until he came to the last one.

He was getting Sam free, one way or another.

It was time for an act no mere mortal man has ever been truly capable of.

Multitasking.

Dean scrambled back across to the motel room, all the while dialling emergency services. He had no idea just how much trouble Sam was in, or if he was even sick, but Dean wasn't taking the chance. If it took him too long to get the car open, Sam could already be dead by the time help arrived.

There was a kettle in the far corner of Dean's room, presumably for making tea, or instant coffee in the case of the deprived caffeine addict. While talking to the dispatcher on the other end of the call, he wasted no time in filling the kettle up with water and connecting it to the mains. Leg left jiggling anxiously; he waited for the damn thing to boil which, of course, took the exact same amount of time as it takes for a supernova to form.

Watched pots and all, he guessed.

The emergency dispatcher was professional, yet sympathetic when Dean informed her of Sam's plight. She advised him against using the kettle, for safety reasons, (scald burns, cracked glass, etc) but no way was she going to talk him out of it. Instead, she wished Dean luck and warned against moving Sam once he gained access to the car.

"Roger that," he murmured, and blew out a breath of relief once the kettle finally boiled. "At long fucking last!"

Ripping out the mains cord, Dean grabbed the hot kettle and sprinted out the door. He didn't care about the risks. So what if the hot water made the window crack? Better the damn window bought it than his little brother.

Sam hadn't moved in the brief time Dean had been away, still in the same position, buried under his blankets. Dean could only conclude that his kid brother was seriously going to need that ambulance when it arrived.

Bearing in mind the dispatcher's warning, Dean selected the front passenger door, furthest away from Sam's head, and positioned the kettle spout over the lock. He began pouring, just a small amount at first, then poured more over the handle and window, let it gradually sink into the gaps in the panels and locking mechanism. Not until the kettle was finally empty did Dean grasp the handle and give an almighty tug.

With a deep, loud crack of ice and snow, a groan and a squeal of aging hinges, the door miraculously came open.

The kettle hit the snow covered ground with a dull thung while Dean scrambled inside and crawled over into the back, feet tucked into the foot well.

"Sam... Sammy?" he begged, loudly. "Talk to me, buddy."

He pulled the blanket down from Sam's face, the kid's hair falling over his forehead and tangling up in his eyelashes. Sam's skin was ice cold, his lips painted with a bluish tinge. He looked like an extra from the aftermath of the Titanic.

Dean cradled Sam's face between his palms and gave him a very gentle shake.

"Sammy, please," he whispered, fearfully. "Open your eyes for me, c'mon, open them..."

The kid was breathing, but only just. Short puffs of air grazed the back of Dean's hand when he checked, and his pulse was way too weak.

Tucking the blankets back around the kid, he climbed over to the front seat, and slipped the key into the ignition. The engine whirled and spluttered, but didn't catch, sending Dean into an all new panic attack.

"C'mon! Start, baby, start!" Dean pleaded, opening all the vents and switching the heaters on full. "You can do it... for me? You can do it, baby. C'mon, start for daddy, and I'll treat you to an early oil and filter change, maybe some new sparkplugs... attagirl!"

The car roared to life, chilled air flowing through the vents until the heater kicked in and took the edge off. Dean patted the steering wheel with a relieved smile.

"Knew I could depend on you, baby."

In the meantime, he had a little brother to defrost.

Dean knelt back in the rear foot well, and began stripping out of his jacket and shirt. Good job Sam was still unconscious, or Dean was never going to live this down.

"Alright, Sammy. This never leaves the car. You ever tell anyone about this, and the hair gets it!"

He stopped short of removing his jeans (there were some lines even Dean wouldn't cross), and crawled under the blankets with Sam. Tugging him as close as possible, he grabbed Sam's hands and shoved them under his armpits.

Jesus! Kid's freezing!

Dean had a hard time not crying out like a little girl, because the feel of those cold hands against his sensitive flesh came as one hell of a shock. Wrapping his arms around the younger boy, and tucking that head of chilled, brown hair, face-first into his neck, Dean rubbed his hands up and down Sam's back, all the while talking in a soft, low voice.

"I'm here, Sammy. It's all ok, now. I'm here..." he whispered into the boy's hair. He kept Sam's body covered with his, the blankets binding the brothers tightly together. "Just hold on, keep breathing, that's it. In... and out. Good boy, Sam. Keep going, now. Don't give up on me..."

The car warmed up quickly, and it became unbearably hot under the blankets, but still Dean didn't let go. Sam's colour was slowly improving, but he hadn't yet regained consciousness, and Dean wondered if the stench of stale whisky on Sam's clothes had anything to do with it.

Sirens sounded off in the distance, growing louder as they drew near, and Dean sighed with relief. Given the state of the roads, the ambulance was making good time.

"Help's nearly here, Sammy," he murmured in Sam's ear. "Just keep holding on for me, now."

Sam still didn't stir, his breathing remained shallow, but that blue tinge was almost completely gone.

"Hey! Dude!" a familiar voice called out, and there came a loud thumping on the roof.

Dean nearly jumped out of his skin when a big goofy grin appeared at his window.

The blond surf bum was back and that goofy grin, now that Dean thought about it, was turning into a leer. He sighed and wound down the window, the blanket slipping a little.

"Wow! Car sex must've been hot, huh?" the surfer commented, staring at Sam's lax features and taking in Dean's semi naked state. "You damn near steamed up the windows!"

"W-what?" Dean stammered in disgust. "He's my brother, for God sake!"

The goofy leer disappeared, replaced with a look of fascinated horror.

"Whoa!" the kid backed off, hands palm-outwards in front of him, shaking his head. "Not at this establishment! You take that incest shit elsewhere before someone calls the cops!" His head swivelled to and fro, nervously eyeing the parking lot. "Got enough crap going down here without a pervert parade."

Dean bristled angrily. "Hypothermia, you shit head! Now go get us some more blankets!"

The guy's eyes widened and his face flushed with guilt. "Uh... sorry, man... uh... blankets? Yeahyeahyeah! Blankets I can do... uh..."

He skidded away towards the reception office, and Dean called out after him.

"And bring coffee! Black, no sugar! Decent hot coffee! None of that instant shit!

He smiled when he heard a faint "Coffee... got it!"

Five minutes later, there came a scuffling noise from the reception area and Dean saw a walking pile of blankets, with one hand stuck out from underneath, awkwardly clutching a steaming Styrofoam cup. The blanket pile tottered clumsily to and fro along the sidewalk, nearly slipping over on the ice. When it finally reached the car, the hand thrust the cup through the open window, with a muffled "foffee, flack, fo fugar."

Dean accepted the offering gratefully, took an appreciative sip, and placed it on the rear shelf above the seat.

"Thanks."

"Fon't fention fit. Fhatafout flankets?"

Dean frowned. "Huh?"

Surf Bum lowered his arms until his face appeared, and spat out a few mouthfuls of fluff.

"What about – pah - the blankets?"

Staring in exasperation, Dean huffed. "Where'd ya think?" he snapped. "Hypothermic little brother here, dude!"

Surf Bum got the message, jumped to it and opened the passenger door.

"Sorry man, I just... yeah... I'll uh... yeah..." he piled the blankets on top of the brothers, babbling and just making nervous conversation. "I've had hypothermia couple times... yeah... nearly lost a finger 'cos of it."

Dean's frown deepened. "Dude, that's frost bite."

The guy stopped what he was doing to stare at Dean.

"Ya know? I think you're right! Yeah, musta been frost bite," he grinned sheepishly, and started tucking the blankets in around the boys again. "So, like... what happened, dude? Last I saw him, your bro asked me about another motel. But I guess he didn't wanna walk all that way in the snow... can't blame him."

"Huh? What? Why would he ask about going to another motel?" Dean's ear pricked up. Maybe he'd finally figure out what went wrong last night. Why Sam ended up almost frozen to death in the Impala.

Surf Bum looked instantly uncomfortable. "Well, 'cos... uh... you kinda took the last room."

He shrugged, sympathetically, as though guessing that he'd imparted some pretty damaging information. "Sorry dude, but I got the feeling he didn't wanna ask to share with you."

Dean's mouth fell open but nothing came out. It felt like his entire world was coming down around him, and his heart cracked right through the centre like a shifting fault line.

He turned to stare at Sam's face.

"God... Sammy..."

He didn't have time to really process it all, because the paramedics were on the scene, barking out rapid fire orders and gently, but firmly, pushing the Surf Bum away.

No doubt there'd be plenty of opportunity for self-flagellation later on, in the waiting room.

To Be Continued...

I was going to wrap it up this chapter but it ran away with me when Surf Bum came back on the scene. He kept making me laugh and begging to be included once again.

What can I say? I've got a soft spot for the Surf Bum.

So next chapter, Sam will be in hospital. Now, I'm kind of writing this by the seat of my knickers here, which I haven't actually done in many years (I nearly always have the entire story written before I start posting), but I thought it might be good for me to do this just for a change. So you guys have a rare opportunity to make suggestions for Sam's recovery... would you like to see some complications? Nothing too long winded 'cos I don't have an awful lot of time to dedicate to medical research.

Are we all on board for a Winchester brotherly hug? A silently crying Sammy perhaps? Or would we prefer to keep it completely macho?

Just let me know, my dears...

Once again, thank you so much for your show of support. It has been wonderfully overwhelming to read all your reviews, and though I've not had time to respond to each and every one, please know that I'm ecstatic to hear from you all.

When I post the last chapter, I promise to personally respond to everyone who reviews it, but as you can see by the review count for chapter 1, I had to decide between replying, or writing the next chapter.

I hope you all believe that I made the right decision, difficult as it was, because I actually enjoy replying to my readers' reviews.

I've had an extremely difficult few years, culminating in a bad illness last summer which really knocked me off my writing groove. I'm only just getting it back and my confidence is fragile, so keep up with those reviews... let me know you are still reading my fics, and encouraging me.

I would like to point out to certain people that just because I like to read reviews for the stories I share with the fandom, doesn't make me a bad person.

Or does it?

Ok, here we go.

My penname is Skag Trendy, and I have a terrible addiction...

I love seeing reader reviews!

There, I have emerged from the closet with my horrible, nasty, dirty, soulless habit.

I feel so much better now.

And a special note to someone who PM'd me earlier: I do write from the heart and mind, I just don't always post it on the internet.

On a lighter note:

Hunter of the Shadows Book 3 is in progress and well under way, I can assure you, and will hopefully be ready for posting later on this year at the earliest. Phx has been kind enough to read through the first couple of chapters, and you'll be pleased to know that, so far, she's given me a big thumbs up, which is the main reason why I've dedicated this fic to her, lovely lady that she is.

Bless you my darling Phx.

With much love,

ST xxx