Title: Consumed Memories
Characters: Sam, Dean
Genre: Gen, hurt/comfort
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural except in my dreams where schmoop abounds.
Warnings: Rated for show level violence and language. Spoilers for Season 1.
Word Count: ~3,700
Summary: After a seemingly sucessful hunt, Dean begins acting strangly and it gets progessively worse. Will Sam be able to solve the mystery and fix the problem in time to save him? hurt!Dean caring!Sam
Chapter 4 Is that a Pistol in Your Pocket
The elevator doors opened on the fifth floor and sure enough, Dean was nowhere to be seen. I'm going to die of not-surprise. Sam pulled his pistol out of one of his many pockets, clicked the safety off, and maneuvered silently down the hallway Dean had undoubtedly gone to explore. There was no sound coming from any of the offices ahead of him. That could be a good sign. Maybe Dean was just up ahead and around that turn in the L-shaped hallway in full-on stealth mode. Or it could be a bad sign, a very bad sign.
As Sam turned the corner and looked into the first office on that stretch of hallway, he was confronted with the very sight he most dreaded. Dean was lying on the ground with the Stalker on top of him. He wasn't moving. Sam fired the pistol three times in rapid succession and this time he didn't miss.
The Stalker let out a high-pitched squeal and dissolved into a black oily spot that became gradually smaller and smaller until there was nothing left.
Sam reached his brother's side in three long strides and skid to a stop, crouching down with one large hand on his brother's pulse point to make sure his heart was still beating. "Dean!" His low voice rumbled with worry, all feelings of annoyance instantly evaporating. A quick scan showed no blood or bruising.
Dean blinked sluggishly before focusing on Sam. "Hey Sammy, what's going on?" He slurred uncertainly.
"What's the last thing you remember?" Sam held his breath, waiting to hear how bad it was.
Dean slowly brought one hand up to his face, rubbing his eyes wearily. "Let's see…the last thing I remember you were braiding your hair for the prom."
All right, so Dean wasn't at his best, but he was definitely trying and that was worth something.
"You're a riot, now seriously, what do you remember from earlier today?"
Dean's eyes were hooded, but he answered readily enough. "We were hunting a Stalker. I assume it attacked me." He cleared his throat guiltily before asking, "Did you get it?"
"Yeah, I got it, shot it with the consecrated iron rounds and it dissipated." Sam grinned with relief.
"Dissipated huh? Extra points for the college-educated word there Sam. Jack OK?"
"Jack definitely lost a couple of years to the Stalker, but according to the research I did, his memories should have been restored as soon as the Stalker was killed. We should check on him tomorrow though and make sure. I sent him home with a friend of his we met down in the lobby."
Dean nodded and his eyes slid closed on the world's longest blink.
"So, you comfortable or are you planning to get up sometime tonight?" Sam teased gently.
Dean made it into the motel room with his bag slung over his shoulder. Sam's worry ratcheted up another level as he watched. I wonder if he realizes how badly he's swaying. Once inside the room, Dean dumped his bag on the floor and flopped sideways onto the mattress on his stomach, arms and legs spread out to the sides like a giant rag doll.
"You feeling all right?" Sam couldn't help asking.
"Just really tired." Came the reply muffled by the pillow Dean had pulled over and mashed his face into.
Fever…fever might explain the sluggishness. Maybe Dean had been hiding an illness from him. It was unlikely, since hiding a serious illness could spell disaster on a hunt, causing injury to one or both of them, and that was something Dean would never consciously do. But, it was best to check, just in case.
"Hey, man, are you sick? You have a fever or something?"
"Dean, I'm coming over there and I'm going to check you for a fever. If you don't want me to all you have to do is tell me to stay the fuck away." Sam waited an appropriate amount of time.
It wasn't a good idea to startle Dean when there were weapons nearby. Even without the weapons it could be a dangerous proposition. Sam eased his brother's knife out from under the pillow that was still at the head of the bed and moved it out of reach before resting a hand on his brother's forehead. Dean moved not a muscle and he wasn't overly warm to the touch. Keeping his hand where it was, Sam considered what to do next. Dean was dead to the world and that wasn't the least bit disturbing. Right.
Maybe he should try harder to wake Dean up. But it could be that the Stalker attack had taken a lot out of him and he just needed to rest. If his brother was down for the night, he at least needed to be a little more comfortable. It couldn't feel all that great to be lying on top of the pistol, flashlight, and all the rest of the hunting paraphernalia he had in the front pockets of the overalls he was still wearing.
It didn't look like Dean was going to be waking up anytime soon, but just in case, Sam held a one way conversation, explaining everything he was doing and never taking both hands off his brother at the same time. It was like dealing with a skittish colt, or an unconscious colt that might awaken and become skittish. Since Dean was used to his touch, he figured it would be less startling if there was constant contact.
"I'm just going to roll you over and get the flashlight. I know what you're thinking and you can just relax. I'm not trying to take advantage of you." Sam moved his brother's arms and legs closer to his body and then pulled him over onto his back.
"Hey Dean, is that a pistol in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Oh, come on Man, that was a little bit funny." Sam wasn't laughing either, but his nervousness sometimes got the better of him and came out in strange ways. Beside, as lame as that joke was Dean would have found it hilarious.
But there was still no response from his sleeping brother.
Sam signed and emptied Dean's pockets of their remaining contents before moving on to his boots.
"OK, boots next. You don't want to sleep with these things on, do ya? No, I didn't think so." The boots pulled off easily once the laces had been loosened.
"How about I move you so you're not sideways on the bed? Your legs are hanging off the edge." This proved to be easier said than done. Dean was completely limp and it was awkward trying to maneuver him at that strange angle. "Dude, you're fucking heavy." Sam grunted.
Through all the pulling and prodding Dean never flinched and his head lolled loosely on his neck.
Oh God, this is so not good.
"That's the best I can do. You sleep and I'm going to recheck my research, see if I missed anything."
Before he left his brother's bedside, Sam pressed his hand against Dean's chest and felt the strong heartbeat and steady rise and fall signifying the deep breathing of sleep.
That, at least, is a good sign.
Rechecking all of his notes and rereading all of the entries on the websites he'd previously viewed netted no new information. Sam expanded his search in every direction, looking for anything connected with Stalkers that would explain what was happening. At least once every hour he got up from his chair at the small table in the room to check on Dean. He was long past his concern over startling his brother. Come on Dean, jump up and throw a punch. No such luck.
The early morning sun found Sam asleep with his head on his folded arms and the laptop browser open to a website describing ancient Egyptian boxes which were rumored to grant wishes in exchange for your memories. He had gotten way off course in his search for an answer. With a sigh, Sam turned off the laptop, rubbed at his eyes, and went to stand next to Dean's bed.
"Dean, its morning. Time to wake up." Without much hope, Sam leaned over and gave Dean's shoulder a little shake.
Green eyes blinked open and Dean's head turned until he was gazing up at Sam. "Sam? What's up with the hovering?"
The déjà vu hit him the same time as the relief. It was like looking into the exact same expression he'd received last night after the Stalker strike. Confusion with an undercurrent of exhaustion and maybe a hint of embarrassment.
Sam's vision began to tunnel and he realized that he'd been holding his breath. Backing up until his knees hit his own bed, he sat down, took a deep breath, and let the relief wash over him. He's awake, he just needed a good night's sleep.
With a grimace, Dean propped himself up on his elbows and his eyes narrowed to slits. He looked Sam up and down before asking, "Dude, what's with the corny overalls, you look like a janitor?"
"Yeah, about that, I kinda freaked out a little bit last night when you fell asleep and I couldn't wake you up. I spent all night researching aftereffects of Stalker attacks and forgot to change out of the overalls." Sam waited for the teasing to begin. He waited to hear about what a girl he was. He was just so relieved that Dean was all right, the expected jibes would be music to his ears.
But Dean was just staring at him in puzzlement. "I'm going to need some coffee before we continue this discussion, because you aren't making a bit of sense." With that Dean lowered his legs off the bed and sat up, getting the first good look at his own attire.
"What the hell, Sam! What did you…" Dean's outburst cut off with an audible click of his jaw while his gaze swept the room. "This isn't our motel room."
Sam caught the quick flash of panic followed closely by determined anger as the emotions raced across Dean's face. A moment later and Dean was lunging for the knife Sam had moved to the dresser last night. Even though his guard had been down, Sam was still fast to react, tackling Dean before he made it to the dresser and restraining him by sitting on top of his chest and grabbing both his arms tightly to stop the punches before they could connect.
If Dean had been in peak condition, this maneuver would never have worked. He would have rolled away, kicked out, done anything to prevent himself from being pinned. As it was, he bucked and twisted, but apparently didn't have the strength to throw Sam off.
"What…have you…done…with Sam?" The words ground out of Dean as he struggled.
"Dean, calm down. I am Sam. I don't know what you think is going on, but if you calm down we can figure this out." Sam tried to sound reassuring, tried to sound as Sam-like as he could.
"No, don't play games with me. There must have been two of you 'cause we already killed one shapeshifter." Dean stopped fighting and lay still panting heavily, probably saving his strength for one mighty effort to get free.
"Are you talking about the shapeshifter in St. Louis? The one impersonating Zac Warren? That was a couple of months ago, Dean. Don't you remember coming to Nolfolk, Virginia? The Stalker?" Sam was speaking quickly, trying to keep Dean's attention and get through to him.
Dean clenched and unclenched his fists in impotent rage, refusing to meet Sam's eye. Clearly not believing a word.
"The Stalker steals memories and it must have gotten some of yours, although I don't know how since it's dead. I can show you my notes and the research I've done for this hunt. I have Dad's journal. All your things are here. What can I do to prove that it's really me?"
"If you're really Sam then you know what you have to do." This time Dean looked Sam squarely in the eye, as if double dog daring him.
Silver, shapeshifters can't tolerate silver.
"Fine." Sam shifted his weight to pin Dean's forearms under his knees before reaching over to extract the spare silver knife from Dean's duffle. The sharp blade flashed in the morning sun coming through the motel room window before biting into the flesh of his own arm. "Satisfied?" He asked, as he showed the shallow wound dripping blood to his skeptical brother.
The tension melted from Dean's entire body. "Yeah, get off me."
The laptop and all of Sam's notes on Stalker lore were spread around Dean as he sat on his bed. This situation was truly and totally fucked up, that's what it was. The last thing he clearly remembered was watching as the shapeshifter, wearing his own face, strangled Sam and then having to pull the trigger to kill the thing. And wasn't that just a treat, the once in a lifetime chance to watch himself die.
But Sam said that was several months ago and he has no recollection of anything between then and now. None of the things Sam described as having happened since then even strike a vague chord, the memories were all just gone. The worst part was that he could feel something churning and pulling at his thoughts constantly. It took most of his concentration to lock his thoughts in place in his head.
"You're sure the Stalker's dead, Sam?" Dean licked his lower lip, one of his few nervous tells.
"I'm sure." Sam was keeping his distance, clearly giving Dean some space to process.
"And I was fine right afterwards?"
"I wouldn't call it fine, exactly, but you remembered everything other than the actual attack."
"Then why am I losing memories now?" Dean's fist came down on the bedspread in frustration.
"I don't know, but we'll figure it out. How are you feeling? Still tired?" Sam left his post near the bathroom door to put one hand on Dean's shoulder in a gesture of encouragement and support.
"I'm good." Dean shrugged off Sam's hand.
It wasn't that he didn't want the comfort, the physical proof that he wasn't alone in this, because he did. He just wasn't ready for Sam to know the extent of his vulnerability yet. He'd given a pretty good show of that already when he had been unable to mount any kind of defense against Sam's tackle. The brief struggle had left him weak, muscles trembling as if he had just gone twenty rounds with the heavy weight champion. Dean was angry that his body was betraying him this way.
Sam sighed as he moved back to sit on the other bed. "Dean, you need to tell me exactly what's going on with you. You're our biggest clue right now."
"I don't wanna be a clue." Dean replied petulantly.
"Dude, spill, please." Out came Sam's emo eyes all soft and he could almost see the tears beginning to well up.
Damn, those little brother eyes were hard to resist. Oh well, Sam was going to figure it out soon enough anyway.
"It's hard to explain. It feels like the energy is being pulled out of me, not just that I'm tired, but like I'm being drained." He couldn't look at his brother and admit to his weakness at the same time so he concentrated his gaze on the laptop.
"I know this sucks, Dean, but it has to have something to do with the Stalker, so we're not completely in the dark here. I have a plan, let's get some coffee, maybe some breakfast, and head over to Jack Bastian's house. We need to check to see if he got his memories back."
"You know where he lives?"
"Yup, the DMV database is a wonderful thing."
They hit a fast food drive-thru for coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Dean didn't really feel much like eating, but he had to keep his ebbing strength up somehow.
Sam was driving and Dean was sprawled in the passenger seat. Driving privileges had been taken away when walking proved to be too much of a challenge. He had collided with the door frame and bounced into Sam on his way out of the motel. If Sam hadn't been there and ready to catch him, he would have ended up in the bushes planted outside the room.
He was glad that Sam had a plan because he was having a hard time stringing two thoughts together. His mind was like a fucking sieve and he was too busy trying to plug all the holes to do much of anything else. On top of that, he'd only been awake for a couple of hours and he was already starting to get sleepy again. The coffee was doing its best to keep him awake, unfortunately, it wasn't enough.
The scenery slipped past the window in a hypnotizing blur. Sam had told him where Jack's house was, but it hadn't seemed all that important since he wasn't driving so that was one of the bits he didn't try to hold onto and soon it was gone, as if he'd never known. His eyes were beginning to burn, so he closed them to give them a break. The sun felt warm against his face, peaceful. He leaned his head back against the headrest to get the full effect of the sunshine.
The car hit a bump in the road, causing his head to bounce against the headrest and he must have been dozing because it took him a minute to focus on where he was and what was going on. Try as he might, he couldn't remember everything that had happened during the day so far. This was bad, worse than bad it was terrible. His heart began to thump painfully in his chest and he rubbed one hand over his sternum in an unconscious effort to ease the pain. He chanced a sidelong look at Sam, but Sam's eyes were glued to the road, his mind lost in his own thoughts.
The entire morning hadn't completely disappeared like the months following St. Louis, but there were holes, huge freaking holes, of time that were just gone. He could remember being tackled and held down by Sam, but he couldn't remember why. Yeah, so that wasn't at all disconcerting. The discussion with Sam about Stalkers was still there, floating around in his brain, but it was like Swiss cheese, bits and pieces missing. He couldn't remember getting coffee that morning, but there was a half a cup of coffee in his cup holder and he could taste the coffee in the back of his throat as if he'd just swallowed some of it before dozing off.
Reality was slipping away from him. Slices of him were breaking off and floating away. He needed a way to ground himself, something to hold onto. Without his permission, his hand reached out and made a desperate grab for the material of Sam's closest sleeve. Luckily, Sam wasn't currently using that hand to steer the Impala, it was resting in his lap. Now he felt Sam's startled eyes upon him, but he didn't return the look, instead he sat staring out the passenger window, trying to pull the stray pieces of his day back into himself. But they were utterly gone, not just missing, but vanished without a trace. His grip on Sam's sleeve tightened.
"Dean?" Sam questioned cautiously.
"Don't let me fall asleep, Sam." His voice sounded raspy, even to his own ears. "Pull over the next time you see a pharmacy. I'm going to need something stronger that coffee, maybe caffeine pills or Red Bull, probably both."
He hoped they got to wherever the hell they were going quickly.
On to ( Chapter 5 )
Back to ( Chapter 3 )
Back to ( Chapter 2 )
Back to ( Chapter 1 )