Um. Oops? I really can't give any explanation for not updating in so long, except for the fact that I was taking online courses and didn't finish my summer assignments until yesterday. Which is bad because school starts in two days. BUT that also motivated me to update, because I needed to get this done before that. So… sorry for the long wait. Thank you for all the reviews on the last chapter!

Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or anything affiliated.

The screeching of tires filled the air as Dean swerved suddenly on the road, barreling through the white gate that led to a little country house. His father's truck was already parked outside, and that gave Dean hope; if anyone could take care of Sammy as good as him, it was their dad. He leapt from the Impala, snagging the med kit from the back seat before sprinting towards the house.

He kicked the door in, glancing down briefly as little grains of salt scattered across the poor. Dean didn't bother to fix the line, walking cautiously towards the kitchen as he noticed the door that stood ajar. He could his father's voice carrying up from the basement as he got closer, and he smiled when he realized that he was talking to Sam. Atta boy, Sammy, I knew you'd pull through all right, he grinned. Then John's voice raised, and Dean heard newfound panic. "Sam? Come on, you've fought to long and hard to just give up when it's finally over. Don't do this son, your brother needs you. Sam?"

Dean ran to the door, stepping onto the top step and taking the scene in in an instant. His father, kneeling over a limp figure on the floor, holding his face in his hands. The figure wasn't even moving, and from where Dean was standing he couldn't even tell if the guy was breathing. There was a dark circle around him that Dean recognized as blood, and Dean felt his heart skip a few beats. He knew who the figure was without even having to look.


He leapt down the stairs and ran to his brother's side, sliding to his knees. He looked at the body in front of him, shuddering at how pale Sam looked beneath all the cuts and bruises. Fingers fumbled for a pulse on his neck, and he nearly started crying when he found a nearly nonexistent one. "Dad, we need to get him out of here now."

John was one step ahead of him, reaching out and gently pulling his youngest into his arms, holding him bridal style as he staggered to his feet. "Dean, I need you to go get your car ready so that I can put him into the backseat. We're going to have to risk a hospital this time, I don't think I can fix all of his injuries." Dean nodded and ran for the stairs as John walked as quickly as he could after him. Sam was a skinny kid, but he was also tall, which made carrying him difficult.

John rushed up the stairs, risking a glance down at Sam's face when he reached the top step. His face was twisted in agony, and the eldest Winchester could only imagine the pain he was in. He half walked, half jogged to the door, trying his best not to jostle Sam. Dean met him at the door, grabbing Sam's limp hand and jogging backwards so that he could see his baby brother's face. "Come on, Sammy, we're gonna get you to a hospital and everything's going to be alright, okay?"

Without taking his eyes off of Sam, Dean spoke to his father. "Didn't you say there was a girl?" he asked. John nodded, glancing around. "Yeah, she was gone when I got here. Something tells me that if she's around, she won't try anything." Dean nodded as they stopped in front of the Impala and carefully loaded Sam inside. He really wasn't liking the shade of white his brother's face was turning…

Dean ran to the driver's seat of the Impala, only pausing when he noticed John started towards his own truck. He felt a flash of anger and hardened his gaze, eyes boring into the back of his father's head. "Dad, I swear to god that if you leave him now…" He watched as the man's footsteps slowed and he turned around, his expression unreadable to Dean. "Get your brother to the hospital, Dean. I'll be right behind you the entire time."

That was all Dean needed to hear, and without taking another second- time was too precious at that point- he pulled the car into gear and barreled for the gate, swinging out onto the road and taking off in the direction of the hospital. He risked a glance at his rearview mirror, forcing himself to breathe. You've got him, you'll get him to the hospital, and everything will be fine, he assured himself, keeping careful control of the steering wheel. "Hold on, Sammy, I've got you," he murmured, wandering if there was any part of his brother that could even him. Just the idea was enough for Dean, and he continued to talk to Sam as the Impala roared on.

"I've got you, Sammy."

They hadn't ever been more than fifteen minutes away from the hospital to begin with, and with Dean's driving they made it there in ten. True to his word, John stayed behind his sons the entire time, although Dean never once checked; he had bigger, more important things to worry about than that at the moment. He pulled into the parking lot of the hospital, heading straight for the emergency room entrance. "We made it, Sam, we made it," he said aloud. He was met with silence, and then a cough. And then another cough. Dean froze at the sound, looking at the rearview mirror to make sure that Sam was okay. His heart nearly stopped at what he saw.

Sam, lying in the back seat.

Sam, with all of his injuries, pale and sweating, cheeks flushed with what Dean could only assume was a fever, probably brought on by infection.

Sam, coughing up blood.

"Damn it!" Dean cursed, feeling whatever sense of calm he'd managed to maintain slip away. There was no doubt in his mind that one of the kid's broken ribs had punctured his lungs now. "Hang on, Sammy, we're here, we're here." He heard another cough, followed immediately by the sounds of extremely labored breathing. "Come on, man, don't give up on me now." Sam's breathing grew even heavier in response, an awful, wet sounding kind of breathing that the elder Winchester didn't like one bit. And then… nothing.


Dean slammed on the breaks in front of the entrance, turning around in his seat and looking at Sam, whose lips were coated in blood, not breathing. Not breathing, Dean repeated to himself, feeling his breath hitch in his chest. No, he thought to himself, throwing himself for the door and lunging out of the car towards his brother. "No no no no no no, Sammy, you are not allowed to do this!" he yelled, grabbing Sam's face in his hands and shaking him gently. "Come on, Sammy, don't you dare do this!"

But Sam remained unresponsive to his brother's pleas and with no options left but to take matters into his own hands, Dean pulled Sam from the car and cradled him in his arms, trying not to stagger under the weight. "Help!" Dean yelled, carrying him towards the doors. "I need some help out here! Help!"

He blinked at looked down at Sam's face, forcing himself not to freeze when he saw the blue tint that was now coloring Sam's lips. "Damn it, Sammy, no," he whispered. Someone placed a hand on his shoulder and he managed to tear his eyes off of his brother just in time for someone to try to take him out of Dean's arms. Dean instinctively tightened his hold as several doctors or paramedics or whoever the hell they were surrounded the two. "Son, you have to let us help him," one of the men said with a tone that was gentle but left no room for argument. . The young man hesitated for another moment before nodding, letting the medical team take over.


He could feel John's eyes on him as he paced back and forth across the waiting room, but if he heard his father he showed no sign of it. His mind was on Sam and keeping his feet moving at a steady pace.


Left, right, left, right, left-


"What?" he finally snapped, stopping and turning to face John. The man frowned at his son's tone, then sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Running holes in the floor isn't going to do him any good, you know." Dean clenched his fists. "Yeah, well neither has anything else I've done up until now," he muttered. There was a pause as his father stood up and put a hand on Dean's shoulder. "You got him to the hospital. What else could either of us have done?"

I could have not let him run off on his own! Dean wanted to scream. You could have called us and warned us, or better yet not run off in the first place! But he remained silent. "He'll be fine, Dean. He's gone through worse, and he's stubborn as hell; he won't let some demon take him out, not after everything he's been through." Dean stared at his father for a moment before he started pacing again. "Like you would know," he muttered under his breath.

"Family of Sam Daniels?" If he'd been sitting, Dean would have shot out of his chair and bombarded the doctor with questions. As it was, the doctor was standing right next to him and John spoke before he could get the words out of his mouth. "How is he?" The doctor seemed to appraise them for a moment, but he seemed to sense Dean's growing restlessness because he cleared his throat and looked down at a clipboard he was holding.

"Things were a little touch and go for a while, but we finally managed to get him stabilized. He had two broken ribs, one of which punctured his left lung, which was what caused him to cough up blood and subsequently lose the ability to take in oxygen. The wound to his abdomen was quite deep, and he lost a lot of blood, but we gave him a transfusion and stitched it up, and from what we can tell there was no other internal injuries. He had a minor concussion, and he's probably going to be pretty sore for a while, but he's breathing on his own and reactive to stimuli and he's expected to make a full recovery."

Dean couldn't remember the last time his shoulders had felt so light, and the relief he was felt was nearly palpable. "So he's going to be okay?" The doctor nodded, smiling for the first time. "Yes. We're going to need to keep him for a few days, just to monitor the more severe of his injuries to make sure there are no complications, but assuming that goes well he can be out of here within the week."

Dean's grin widened and he glanced over at John, who had a small, relieved smile. "Can we see him?" The doctor nodded quickly, glancing down at his clipboard again. "Certainly, I'll have a nurse take you right now. He'll probably still be under because of the drugs we had to give him, but hopefully he'll come to within the next hour or so. I'll go get someone to take you to him." The doctor moved off, leaving John and Dean standing alone in the waiting room again.

There was a moment of silence, and then Dean looked at his father. "So, uh, Dad. You said that one of the demons, the one that took Sam, she wasn't there when you got there?" Now that they knew Sam was going to be okay, he felt like they could turn to the other matters at hand. He thought he saw something flicker in John's eyes, but it was gone so quickly that he couldn't be sure that it had ever been there in the first place. "That's right. There were two when I got there, but the one I talked to on the phone was a girl." Dean nodded slowly. "Well, as soon as Sam is up and running we can all go after her. I'm sure he'll be hungry for a little revenge," he grinned.

John smirked at that. If Sam was anything like he'd been before he left for Stanford- and John was positive he was- he wouldn't take too kindly to the fact that he'd let a demon get the jump on him. He sobered when he remembered that it hadn't been an accident that that demon had gotten to Sam, and that she was still out there. Someone obviously wanted them stopped, and they'd just shown how far they'd go to do it.

A nurse walked up, and after confirming that they were the family of Sam Daniels, informed them that she would show them to Sam's room. Dean moved to follow her, stopping when his father didn't follow. "Dad?" John blinked a few times and met his son's eyes. "Sorry, just tired. Listen, I think I'm gonna get some caffeine from the cafeteria first. Sam won't be awake for a little while anyway, so why don't you just go on ahead?"

He could tell by the way Dean's shoulders suddenly tensed and his frame went rigid that he was suspicious, but the boy didn't let him down when he nodded tightly. "Sure, Dad," he said quietly. "See you around." He turned and followed the nurse down the hall to Sam's room, not even bothering to look back to watch his dad walk in the direction of the hospital's cafeteria. He was pretty sure John wasn't going that way anyway.

Which was why when Sam's eyes began to flutter open an hour later, Dean wasn't surprised that John had never made it to the room.

"Man, I never thought I'd say this but I've missed our crappy little motel rooms." Dean raised his eyebrows and looked over at his little brother curiously. "Oh, is that so?" Sam dropped his now packed duffel bag onto one of the beds, nodding. "Yeah. I mean, this isn't exactly the royal palace, but damn I hate hospitals. Give me chipped paint and asbestos any day, man." Dean laughed, shaking his head. "Well Sam, you wouldn't have had to go to the hospital in the first place if you hadn't let some chick kick your ass."

Sam narrowed his eyes and Dean just barely managed to dodge the wayward pillow that was launched his way. "She was possessed, man. That so doesn't count." He'd been let out of the hospital the day before, and other than the orders to rest and take it easy for the next few days, he was good to go. Other than a hastily scrawled note that Dean had found on the windshield of the Impala saying that he was going to take care of Meg and to call him if they needed anything, there had been no word from John since he'd disappeared from the hospital that day.

For some reason, Sam had the feeling they wouldn't be hearing from him for a while.

"Yeah, sure thing Sammy, but I'm just saying. You're never going to land a chick if you keep playing the role of damsel in distress. How many times have I rescued you now, huh?" Sam rolled his eyes at his brother's antics. "Whatever man." But he was smiling, and even though it didn't quite reach his eyes the way Dean remembered it doing, Sam's smiles were so far and few in between that Dean couldn't help but smile back.

"Well," Dean said, picking up his own duffel and slinging it over his shoulder, "I know you think this humble abode is home sweet home, but it's still really crappy, and I don't like the looks that manager was giving me when I checked in." Sam smirked at him and stood up, following Dean to the door. "Yeah, sure, just let me use the bathroom and we can go."

Dean nodded and mumbled something that sounded like an impatient hurry up as Sam shut the bathroom door behind him. As he was washing his hands he caught a glimpse of his face in the mirror and cringed. Other than his stiff, sore movements, the only telltale sign that anything had ever happened to him were the bruises on his face, but they were a sore reminder. His eye was still slightly black and swollen, and there was still a light bruise on his cheek. It certainly wasn't a pretty sight, but it could have been so, so much worse.

A sharp rap on the door brought his mind back to reality and he jumped. "Sam! Did you fall in or something? Come on!" Dean stepped back as the door opened and Sam appeared. "Let's get this show on the road, man." Sam rolled his eyes at his impatience and picked up his back, pausing in the doorway and looking back at Dean. "Hey, Dean, uh- I just wanted to, uh, thank you for, you know… coming back for me," he said, stumbling over the thank you. Dean stopped where he was, staring at him for a moment before giving him a small smile. "Hey man," he said, holding his arms in front of him as if to hold Sam off. "No chick flick moments."

Sam laughed before he could stop himself, shaking his head. "Yeah, whatever man." He turned and headed for the Impala, Dean following and closing the door behind.

Dean watched as his brother folded his long legs into the car, holding his side and holding back a grimace. The older brother threw his bag into the truck and let it close, taking his time to walk around to the driver's side. Sam was already reading a newspaper, probably looking for their next gig. Dean stopped at the door, letting his hand rest on the handle. "You're welcome, Sammy," he whispered, pulling the door open and sliding in.

The only sound for the next hundred miles was the roar of the engine and the greatest hits of Def Leppard, and with it came the normalcy that Dean hadn't realized he'd missed from the past week and half. Sam was still recovering, their dad was missing yet again, and they were no closer to finding the demon that had killed their mom than before, but Sam was safe, and they were together again.

And Dean wouldn't have it any other way.

From the shadows a figure watched with cold, calculating eyes. She wasn't angry anymore, at least not the blind fury she felt upon learning that the Winchesters had escaped. No, she wasn't angry anymore; Meg would simply watch and wait for the opportunity to strike again, and the next time she would not fail. After all, plans were made to be changed. And there was one thing she could be sure of.

All roads led to the destruction of the Winchesters.

And it's done! Next time I start a story, I'm going to finish it before I start posting so that I don't have to make people wait for so long. Again, I'm so sorry for the wait, and thank you all for your continued support. Please review!