Characters: Sam, Dean
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural except in my dreams. The title and the chapter names come from the lyrics of the song Mudhouse by Jason Mraz.
Warnings: Sam and Dean tend to swear and there is some violence and mild shmoop.
Word Count: 5,400
Summary: Sam and Dean are hunting a supernatural creature in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Unfortunately for Sam there's more than just the supernatural danger to be concerned about. Set during Season 1. hurt/delirious!Sam heroic/hurt!Dean
The Dope that we Smoke
Chapter 2 I Ain't got Nobody, Baby
It's raining with a vengeance, heavy curtains of water crashing to earth from the heavens. He sees the deluge from the relatively dry interior of a cave, watches the forest beyond the cave opening as if through a thick veil. Raindrops splatter upon the floor of the cave entrance in such huge quantities and with such force that they create a fine mist. The mist swirls further into the cave, coating his skin, his eyelashes, his clothing, everything with a layer of moisture.
Sam lays on the cave floor and remembers the events of the day. Utterly detached, like watching a movie with actors playing the starring roles of 'Sam' and 'Dean', he recalls the morning hike through the woods in the rain, Dean's growing irritation, and the moment when Dean's mood reversed. The change had been instantaneous, from full blown anger to joking good humor. Sam knows the change had been for his benefit. Tentacles of emotion seep through his mind, pushing back at the numb indifference. He wishes Dean were here.
Why isn't Dean here?
Fur tickles his ear, the side of his face. Something blunt nudges his shoulder causing him to roll unceremoniously onto his stomach. The Blink Bear's fur, it's nose. Sam hears a snuffling, snorting noise as the creature investigates his legs. There's a dull ache that sharpens momentarily when the beast's nose presses into a spot on his right shin.
“Go 'way, Blinky.” Sam mumbles into the stone and dirt of the cave floor.
Blinky, the taunting nick name his brother had come up with for the slavering creature. Sam's mouth twitches up in a slight smile, but it fades when he recollects his brother's slumped form after Blinky's attack. He remembers watching the creature throw Dean into a tree, pulling his gun to try and shoot the thing in the eye only to discover that the bullets were ricocheting all around Dean, dropping his gun and running forward with his knife, too late to stop the sting of the Blink Bear's tail into his brother's side.
The apathy recedes. His stomach clenches unpleasantly. Dean isn't here. Why isn't Dean here? The idea of his older brother out in the deluge, injured and helpless affects Sam in a way his own plight does not.
He struggles weakly, trying to pull his arms out from under his torso, trying to push up into a sitting position. A huge paw lands roughly on his back, keeping him in place. The air whooshes out of his lungs.
“Nuh uh, Blinky. Not now. I don' have time for this.” Sam mutters once he can breath again.
But the Blink Bear doesn't relent and Sam recalls his own experience with the tail end of the beast. He remembers how he had been distracted by Dean's collapse, how he had turned away from the creature to look for the backpacks and the antidote, how it had only taken that one second of distraction for the sonofabitch to reach him and rake it's claws down the lower part of his right leg. He remembers clutching his knife and swinging it around towards the creature's face, the despair of being knocked backwards before he could reach his goal, and the prick of the tail as it had entered his thigh. He recalls falling into nothing and resurfacing in the cave.
With the creature's paw on his back, Sam isn't going anywhere. Hazily he stares at the cave wall. The stone melts and changes color, from gray to green to blue to purple...The mesmerizing hallucinations pull him in and scatter his already diffuse thoughts.
When he comes back to himself he's alone in the cave. The drooling, fearsome beast is gone. The whole thing might have been a dream except...he's alone in the cave...no Dean. His fuzzy mind works on the answer to why he's here by himself.
Dean would have found him by now if he was at all able. Sam recognizes that his brother is compelled to watch over him, keep him safe. He knows that he's spoiled by it, counts on it, takes it for granted. His big brother's devotion smothers him, yet allows him the freedom of knowing he's always protected. No matter what, he never doubts Dean's single-minded determination to take care of him. The fact that his overly protective brother has failed to make an appearance is proof in Sam's somewhat compromised mind that Dean must be in just as bad shape as he is or even worse.
The Blink Bear being gone could mean several things including that it's off retrieving Dean from their last location, possibly doing more damage to his already injured brother in the process. Since it left him alive and in one piece, it either has some urgent business elsewhere or isn't hungry yet, saving him for a midnight snack maybe.
Shifting around so he can see the mouth of the cave again, Sam notices that the rain has tapered off to a drizzle. His body protests any and all forms of movement, argues the pros of remaining stationary, and threatens to go on strike at the first signs of any attempt to get up. He ignores the mutiny and rolls the rest of the way onto his side where he begins the exacting task of pushing up to sitting. From there it's smooth sailing to standing until his right leg refuses to hold his weight.
Further investigation reveals the bloody shredded jeans and the sliced skin underneath. The claw marks are no longer bleeding and they don't hurt, but his right leg feels like flimsy rubber. Sam closes his eyes, leans against the wall of the cave when a bout of dizziness catches up with him.
Slow and steady wins the race, he thinks bemusedly, or maybe just slow. He quirks a smile at his own joke given that 'steady' is miles beyond him. He's finding it difficult to stay upright, what with the dancing lights attaching themselves to his arms, his shoulders, his back. They twinkle alluringly as they try to drag him back down, begging him to stay.
But Sam won't be persuaded, he swishes his hands through the air in front of himself to clear a twinkly-light-free path toward the cave exit. Dean needs him. He's going to find Dean.
As if the fucking creature can sense when Dean is no longer under the influence of it's venom, the Blink Bear miraculously appears ten feet away from him once he begins his brother-bound trek. The surrounding gloom of forest night and the penetrating rain reduce visibility to near zero, but Dean is alerted to the monster's arrival by the now recognizable change in air pressure. Swinging his flashlight in a 360 degree arc reveals glowing topaz eyes and white glinting teeth.
A welcoming smile lights his face. “Ah, Blinky, I'm so glad to see you.”
And it's true. After all, if the beast is here with him, it's not messing with his little brother. Dean's smile morphs into a feral grin and the remaining effects of his bout with the Blink Bear venom vanish with the surge of adrenaline.
Within moments, he sheds the packs, drops his flashlight, grasps his knife in an offensive grip, and crouches low. The flashlight sends a beam of light off to his left, but does little to illuminate the immediate area. Never taking his narrowed eyes off his opponent, Dean shifts effortlessly from foot to foot, waiting patiently for an opening. This time he'll let the beast come to him. He sets himself up in an empty space, gives himself plenty of room to maneuver. The bulk of the creature works to its advantage among the close quarters of the trees, but out in the open, Dean's combat skills give him the upper hand.
Now that he's seen the monster's attack moves and knows what to expect, Dean is supremely confident in his ability to defeat the sonofabitch. Confidence fuels his graceful movements as he eases himself into attack stance.
Blinky snorts in irritation, lowers it's head like a bull getting ready to charge, but remains rooted to the spot of it's arrival.
“What's the matter, Blinky? Having a hard time figuring out why I'm not still lying around waiting for you to get hungry?” Dean doesn't know the extent of the creature's intelligence, but he enjoys mocking it nonetheless.
The taunt has the desired effect. Blinky whips it's head left and right angrily and closes the distance between them with a rolling gait, not as fast as a dead run and not as slow as a trot.
Standing his ground, Dean balances lightly on the balls of his feet. His knife point follows the agitated beast's every move, never veering from the glittering topaz eyes.
The Blink Bear hasn't learned any new strategies since their last encounter. A spine-tingling growl accompanies the set of claws aimed at Dean's right leg. Dean jumps out of the way and lands a roundhouse kick to the creature's muzzle. The satisfying crunch sends a jolt of pleasure up Dean's spine. He's totally in the zone now, senses on high alert, nerve endings tingling.
With a grunt of pain, Blinky lowers it's wounded muzzle to the ground and paws ineffectively at it. Not so intelligent then. A slash and a forward thrust of the knife and the whole thing is over, Blinky lying dead at Dean's feet.
Just to be sure, Dean salts and burns the corpse, using plenty of lighter fluid to keep the fire burning through the rain, which has just started to slack off. As far as he knows, the creature can't come back to life, but you can never be too careful in his line of work.
Despite the stench emanating from the burning beast and the temporary nature of the reprieve, Dean allows the heat from the fire to seep past his sodden clothing to warm his clammy skin. As soon as the monster is reduced to a charred lump, thoughts of Sam, wet, alone and suffering, provoke him to gather his gear and continue his search for the cave in his hallucination.
Hiking through the woods at night is a totally different proposition from hiking through the woods during the day, especially once you step off the trail to walk in as straight a line as is feasible. Even with the use of a flashlight, roots and small plants choke the forest floor, making it nearly impossible to walk five feet without tripping and falling. The slippery wet leaves and slimy moss-covered rocks littering the ground don't help either. Not to mention the fact that he's on a fucking mountain, so the terrain is varied, sometimes climbing steeply upwards, other times falling away to nothing right beneath his boots if he's not paying enough attention. Dean's hands and...damnit...his ass have multiple scrapes and bruises by the time he crests a hill to find the cave right where his hallucination showed him it would be.
He's still not too sure how he feels about the vision/hallucination, but he's willing to accept it for now if it helps him get his little brother back in one piece.
Sam isn't there. It's definitely the Blink Bear's cave...or was anyway. Bones, most of them human, from many previous meals cover the far rear corner of the rocky cavern. Dean notes with great relief that none of the meals seem to have been recent. A thorough search of the cave and neighboring area divulges no wayward baby brother.
Dean reels frantically around in the spot where he last 'saw' Sam sprawled helplessly with the Blink Bear amusing itself by poking him with it's ugly snout. He grinds his teeth together while wishing he could kill the damn thing all over again. The reddish brown of dried blood stains the ground where he's standing. Sam's blood. There's not much there, so that's a blessing. Sam won't be bleeding out wherever the hell he went...probably. It also means there's no blood trail to follow, not much of any kind of trail at all what with the rain.
Heart pounding painfully in his chest, Dean scans the land that stretches out from the cave mouth in the weak light of the coming dawn. By standing at the cave opening and staring straight out he faces directly south and the terrain slopes gently downward, unlike the rough, jagged terrain of the direction he came from.
Sam has left no clues as to where he was going, but that in itself is a clue of sorts. As brothers growing up, they'd had amply time to think up passwords, secret signals, and special ways to communicate with each other. If Sam had been thinking clearly, he would have known Dean would come looking for him and he would have left some sort of sign as to where he was going. The lack of anything with Sam's distinctive mark on it tells Dean that his brother is not at full Sammy brain power. Even though Dean didn't see Sam get injected with venom, the smart money is on just that scenario.
Closing his eyes, Dean concentrates on his Sammy-sense, the little brother radar he's had since he was four year old. He immerses himself in everything he knows about how Sam's mind works, both when impaired and when running at full capacity. Like a hound dog following his brother's scent, he breaths deeply in through his nose, letting his lungs expand before blowing the air out through his mouth.
The last Sam saw of Dean, he was unconscious after being stung by the Blink Bear, so Sam would be worried about him. He would try to get back to where that first fight took place, but he wouldn't know what direction to go in. Since they hadn't met on the way to each other, Sam must have picked the wrong direction, which makes sense if little brother is under the influence of the Blink Bear venom. That's some nasty stuff, Dean knows from personal experience.
All possible directions had probably looked equally likely to bring Sam back to Dean, so he would have gone with the easiest way first. Right, downhill it is then.
Having made a choice and feeling pretty good about it, Dean digs a bottled water and the bag of peanut M&M's out of his backpack to eat on the way. Breakfast of champions. If Sam were here he'd be having a conniption fit if he was in a bitchy mood, or rolling his eyes if he was feeling indulgent. That's OK, as soon as he finds his pain-in-the-ass little brother, he can eat all the power bars he wants out of his own backpack.
Incapacitating as that venom is, Sam won't be moving fast. Dean checks Sam's backpack for his syringe of antidote. Satisfied that it's at the ready, he sets out down the sloping hill. Hold on bro, big brother's gonna fix this, just hold on.
The dark of the forest doesn't phase him, nor does the lightly falling rain. He's been wet for so long now that it seems natural, like dry doesn't exist.
When Sam reaches the clearing, it doesn't register at first. Not until there are no more trees for him to lean against does he notice the change. No trees means nothing to use to pull himself back up, so the next time he falls, he stays down.
Lying on his back, watching the faint blush of morning touch the overcast sky, Sam realizes that the plants surrounding him aren't the haphazard jumble of naturally growing vegetation. Instead they're ordered and monotonous, crops of some kind. They look familiar, multi-bladed leaves on stalks. He should probably know what they are, but the knowledge eludes him.
He hears voices before he sees anyone.
“Well, looky what we got here, a trespasser.” A sneering voice announces with eager malice. “We don't take kindly to trespassers in these parts, boy.”
Sam looks over as two men reach his prone body and leer down at him. The mountain man who just finished speaking is large, easily as tall as Dean, but much wider. The baseball cap he wears proudly displays a John Deere logo. He carries a pump action shotgun with the ease of a man who was born to it. The second man is dwarfed by the first in every way. Long stringy brown hair falls to his shoulders and the nostrils in his pointy nose flare in excitement.
Under any other circumstances, Sam would have found the walking, talking, hillbilly clichés comical. Now, however, the earth is tilting crazily and the twinkle lights are darting back and forth making it difficult to concentrate on what the men are talking about.
Frown lines crease his forehead as he looks from the heavy-set (OK, he's being generous) man to the stringy hair man. He wants to ask them if they've seen his brother, but all that comes out of his mouth when he opens it is a slightly hopeful, “Dean...?”
Beady eyes in a sneering face narrow and the heavy-set man points his shotgun at Sam's chest. “You think this is some kinda joke, 'cuz I ain't laughin'.”
If Dean were here he'd know what to do, he'd fix this. Sam wishes for his big brother to come save him like he's done so many times. The consummate hunter recedes, leaving the scared little brother in his place.
“'M sorry.” Sam says with childishly wide eyes.
The stringy hair guy leans over him, gets right up in his face, before turning to his companion. “Look at his eyes Caleb. This here boy's either stoned out of his ever livin' mind or Bubba got to 'im.”
It's heavy-set guy's...Caleb's turn to frown now as he leans forward to peer closely at Sam's eyes. The smell of stale liquor, like a dirty bar, assaults Sam's nose and he wrinkles it without thinking. A rough hand grabs his face, pinching his jaw hard. When he doesn't react, the hand releases him.
“Yup, that looks like Bubba's doing all right. I got a question for you though. If Bubba got to 'im, why's he still alive?” Caleb sucks on his teeth and looks past the fields to the forest edge, as if he's expecting something to come walking out of the tree lined shadows.
“Bubba?” The name and the strange context capture Sam's attention, he can't help but voice the question even though neither of the men are paying any attention to him anymore and that seems like it might be a good thing.
“Bubba's what ya might call...a watch dog of ours. It keeps trespassers off our land.” Stringy hair guy explains, looking exceedingly pleased.
“Shut up, Gideon.” Caleb growls and pokes Gideon in the gut with the business end of the shotgun.
“S'not a dog.” Lost in his own head, Sam doesn't realize he's speaking out loud.
“Not exactly firin' on all pistons are ya? We know it ain't a dog, dipshit. What happened to it? Why'd it let you go?” Caleb studies him with cold-blooded eyes, snake-like and malevolent.
“Dunno.” Sam sighs, drained by the effort to make sense of the conversation.
A kick to the ribs tells him he's given the wrong answer.
“That's OK, you don't have to tell me. I can finish the job just as easily as it can.” Caleb smiles a grim, evil smile while taking aim with his shotgun.
“I dunno if ya should do that, Caleb. Mr. Adam might wanna talk to 'im when he gets back tomorrow.” Gideon sounds reproachful.
With an frustrated grunt, Caleb brings the shotgun back into the crook of his arm, kicks Sam in the ribs a second time to compensate himself for the missed chance to shoot him, and glares at Gideon.
“Gideon, ya sure do know how to ruin a man's fun. Whatcha gonna do with 'im, keep 'im around like some kinda pet?” Scratching the back of his neck, Caleb looks at Sam like he's a piece of trash on an otherwise immaculate lawn.
“A pet, wouldn't 'at be a hoot.” Gideon crows, looking delighted by the suggestion. “We ain't never had this happen before. Bubba's always finished off his prey.”
The two men share a troubled look.
“I wonder what Mr. Adam's gonna say 'bout this. I sure don't wanna be the one ta go check up on Bubba.” Gideon shudders.
“Yer just a big pussy is all.” The bravado doesn't mask Caleb's obvious desire to stay away from 'Bubba' when he glances surreptitiously into the hills once again.
It's all a bit too much for Sam. Words and phrases patter around him, teasing him with hinted meaning, or maybe it's just the rain. The two men, the overcast sky, the field of plants, all strobe in dizzying circles, fading and sharpening, brightening and dimming.
Then he's being hauled up by both arms, head hanging, feet dragging behind him, callous hands under his armpits. They drag him toward a brownish stone building and there's nothing he can do to stop them. His limbs are on vacation, no longer team players as it were, they refuse to respond to his commands.
With a weary groan, he surrenders to the twinkling lights that pull him relentlessly the rest of the way under. Maybe they'll take him to Dean. God, he hopes so.
Dean crouches just beyond the edge of the forest in the gloom of twilight, watching the compound. In the hour or so that he's been here, he's seen five different men coming and going between the building and the massive fields of marijuana. Sammy has made friends with a bunch of hillbilly pot-growers and that is just so wrong, and also freakin' hilarious. Only Sam. Dean shakes his head in wry disbelief.
No, he hasn't actually seen Sam yet, but he has a gut feeling that Sam is in that compound. It's the same gut feeling that told him to turn around and get Sam out of his apartment at Stanford just as his girlfriend erupted in flames on the ceiling. The same undeniable sensation that had him rushing up the stairs at their old house in Lawrence just in time to save Sam from the poltergeist's lamp cord strangulation trick. Some might call it a highly developed sense of intuition, Dean just calls it his Sammy-sense and it's vibrating like a jackhammer every time he looks at that stone building.
It had taken him all day to find the place, much longer than he had expected. From leaving the cave he had walked in a straight line due south. When he had gone farther than a Blink Bear infected Sam could have possible gone, he had walked east for a dozen paces or so and then walked back to the cave. He had continued searching a pattern like spokes on a wheel, using the cave as a hub until he came across this clearing and his Sammy-sense started going wild.
Now that he knows where Sam is, he needs a strategy to get him out. Sam could be there as a guest or a prisoner and Dean's surveillance of the place hasn't yet answered that question for sure. However, people who live in a compound are not the most trusting of souls. Throw in the blatant illegal activity of a fucking marijuana field the size of Texas, the amount of firepower the men are packing, and the isolated location, and Dean has a pretty good idea which scenario is more likely.
But Dean's all about live and let live, at least as far as human foibles go, not so much when it comes to the monster and spirit varieties. The pot and guns don't bother him so much. He has his own vices, Lord knows, so who is he to condemn another man's sins. He's willing to give these guys the benefit of the doubt, for now.
He decides to go with the direct approach. Checking to make sure his gun and knife are concealed, Dean stashes the backpacks with all their supplies, including the antidote, safely under some bushes out of sight. Although the fields are empty when he leaves the cover of the forest, he only makes it halfway to the windowless building before three men swarm him, guns raised, pointed at his chest and head. These guys mean business and that compound is no joke. There must be some type of alarm system around the perimeter of the property.
Hands over his head, Dean smiles ingratiatingly. “Hello fellas. I'm looking for my brother. Any chance you've seen him? Tall guy, dark hair, in desperate need of a haircut.”
One of the three men smirks unkindly. “Yeah, we've seen 'im. That boy's got himself in a might bit a trouble. Ya shoulda kept a closer eye on yer brother cuz we cain't be held responsible fer what's happened to 'im.” The man has short brown hair, a scraggly beard, and wears a pair of overalls that have seen better days.
“Yeah, Effriam's right, he shouldn't otter come sneakin' around our property and that goes the same fer you.” This guy's acne would scare away a banshee, possibly even a boogieman. He's got blond hair that looks like it was cut with a lawn mower set on low.
All three men snicker in a way that leaves no doubt in Dean's mind about their meaning. Fucking back country assholes. If they all three had pieces of straw sticking out of their mouths the picture would be complete.
“Where is he?” Dean asks darkly, all trace of his earlier smile vanished.
“Don't git yerself all riled up now. We'd be happy ta take ya to 'im. Wouldn't we Daniel, Gideon?” Effriam turns to each of the other men in turn. Daniel is the guy with the horrible skin condition and Gideon is the one who hasn't had anything to say up to this point.
“Since ya only want ta find yer brother, I'm sure ya won't mind if we search ya first, eh?” Gideon starts patting him down before Dean has a chance to say yea or nea.
“Woah, dude, personal space, you ever hear of it?” Dean asks with just the right mixture of annoyance and outraged dignity. Even though he thinks he could probably take these three yahoos out, guns or no guns, he's willing to play along if they're actually going to take him to Sam.
They find his gun, of course they do, but not his knife which is concealed at his ankle.
A couple of threats and some shoving and he's shepherded into the drab compound at gunpoint. The inside of the building is just as austere as the outside. Each room contains the bare minimum amount of furniture, no decoration or clutter of any kind. They pass through rooms that appear to function as office space and meeting areas. From there they go down a hallway with closed doors on either side until they reach the end.
Daniel throws open the last door to reveal Sam, lying in a crumpled heap on the floor as if he'd been carried in, dropped unceremoniously, and left thoughtlessly how ever he landed. Dean wouldn't be surprised if that's exactly what happened.
Someone pushes him forward harshly and the door closes, a deadbolt clicks with finality.
“Sam?” Dean kneels next to his brother, places a palm lightly on his forehead. Sam's flushed face radiates heat, but he appears serene, eyes closed.
Anger threatens to choke him as he pulls Sam's lax body out of it's awkward pose and into his lap. It doesn't look as if the hillbilly assholes have done anything at all to care for Sam's injuries, just left him in here as if he were no more than a sick dog. In fact, they probably treat their dogs better than this.
“Sammy?” Dean tries again to rouse his younger sibling, rubbing circles on his chest.
Unfocused hazel eyes blink slowly several times before roaming without purpose over plain white walls, finding nothing of interest.
“Sammy? Over here, dude. Can you look at me?” Dean cups a hand against Sam's cheek, turns his head so he's at least facing the correct direction.
Wandering eyes eventually find him and a bleary smile fans across Sam's face, reminding him of a sleepy five year old Sammy. “Dean? You really here?”
He recognizes that faraway gaze, the limited sense of who and when and where, the detached feeling of watching the world pass around him. This is Sammy, this is Sammy on Blink Bear venom. Any questions?
“Yeah, I'm here. You having fun in Lala Land? You're not feeling any pain where you are, huh bro?” Dean ruffles his little brother's hair affectionately, knows he can get away with anything and Sam won't complain.
A bewildered expression fleetingly crosses Sam's face and then he's all sloppy smile and innocent eyes again.
“Dean, I was looking for you.” Sam reaches up and grabs a fistful of his sopping wet jacket, holding tight so Dean can't get away. As if he's going anywhere.
“Don't worry, Sammy. I got ya now. I'm going to fix this.” Dean curls a loose fist into the side of Sam's neck and strokes his thumb soothingly along his baby brother's jaw.
Yeah, they're being held captive by Deliverance wannabees, but he's found Sam and although his brother is damaged goods at the moment, he's not beyond repair. With a sigh of near contentment, Dean settles in to plan their escape.
( The Dope that we Smoke Chapter 3 )