Title: Paid Back
Type: Gen, shameless h/c
Rating: PG-13 for language and whump
Spoilers: Not much in the way of spoilers; this could be set anywhere from season one to the present; I'm thinking season two in my head.
At first, he thinks it's a nightmare. Blurry, leaping flames; heat licking harshly at his skin; the high crackle and snap of burning varnish and wood. He tries to get up, get off the carpet. If it's a nightmare, he has to find Sam (sometimes it's Dad or Mom, but right now his heart is screaming Sammy).
He can't get up. His head spins, dumping him back onto the floor. He takes a deep breath, to try again, and uh. That was a bad idea. The coughing nearly rips the lining from his throat
Yeah, this isn't a nightmare.
How...? Where...? Fuck, who cares. Get the hell out. Get Sammy out.
He struggles to his knees. There's nothing to see in this room. Too much smoke. No light but the flames. Shadows and billowing gusts of bright red and sheer white. He can feel the skin on the side of his face blistering.
Where's the door?
"Sam!" His voice comes out in a rasp. "Sam!"
"Dean!" It's faint, it's not in this room. His brother's somewhere else, trapped. Okay. Dean can do this, he can get him out. If he can figure out where he is.
He drops to the ground, almost to his belly, starts crawling. The heat is everywhere. He puts his left hand down on something so hot that there's no pain at all, just a sick lurch of his stomach and his fingers and palm are gone, he can't feel them at all.
He pulls back, chokes on the air he tries to suck in. Can't stop here, he hasn't found Sam, hasn't pulled him out. But how can he do that if he doesn't know where he is? Or where the door is? Or where...or where....
A crash, a gust of flame. He pulls back, falls, tries to push himself up again and can't. And can't.
There are hands on him, big strong hands, pulling him forward and up and he'd help if he could, he'd walk if he could get his feet under him, but down is up and up is down and where is Sam? He tries to pull away, go looking, find his brother. The hands grip tighter. Lever him forward.
"Dean." The words are hissed, breathless. "It's me, come on."
Sam. There's Sam. Dean tries again to get his feet under him, tries to stop the choking sob of relief that the voice kicks off in his chest, but there's no sound to stop, no floor to get purchase on, and he's falling into the dark.
The hand on his forehead holds him down. It hurts, dammit, and he tries to say so. The words come out all tangled and blowing back into his nose, stinking like smoke, and it takes a few seconds to realize there's a mask over his nose and mouth.
"Hold still," Sam says, impatiently. "Dean. Hold still and breathe, okay?"
Dean breathes, and coughs, and works on breathing some more. The breeze is chilly against his face. Feels good, like cold water on a sunburn. The grass under him is damp and not warm and cradles his shoulders and hips in its dips and hollows.
There's a lot of racket, sirens and shouting and an enormous hissing, like grease in a pan. But he can't sit up, he can't even turn his head to get a look, because Sam won't take his hand off Dean's forehead. "Wha...?"
"You're gonna be okay," Sam tells him, firmly. "The whole hotel went up, though. They're not sure if everyone else got out." He's leaning over Dean, now, hair spiked with soot and sweat, skin shiny and streaked with gray and black.
Neither of them were that dirty that night, after the first time there were flames and heat and smoke. Dean squeezes his eyes shut, then blinks them open and tries to catch Sam's gaze. "Thanks."
It's muffled by the mask, but after a second Sam seems to get it. Grins. "No problem." He looks up, away; the fire-fighting is still going on. "They'll send someone back for you in a minute. We're good."
Which means I'm not, Dean thinks. Sam looks fine, but he's still got his right hand on Dean's forehead, and he's using the other to pin down Dean's left arm, hand clamped just above the elbow.
Dean tries hard not to remember the literally unbearable scorch of heat. Tries not to wonder what he might have put his hand on in there, or think of what that hand must look like right now. He can't do it.
"Breathe, Dean." Sam leans on him, steady pressure on his forehead and arm, the words right next to his ear. "You're gonna be fine. I've got you. Just hold still and breathe."
Dean can do that. Because Sammy's right here. Sammy got out.
Must be opposite day or something. Sammy got him out.