Summary: When a soaked and shivering young boy runs screaming in front of the Impala that his friend is being attacked by a shark, the boys leap to the rescue. Limp Sam…naturally…
Dean drove with one arm out the window, enjoying the warm breeze on his face as he cruised leisurely down the quiet street. Sam sat beside him, teeth gnawing at his lower lip as he flicked randomly through their fathers old journal.
The brothers were between jobs, and currently driving through a small town in Louisiana with no particular destination in mind.
Closing the journal with a snap, Sam stored it back in the glove compartment, brushing hair out of his eyes, and grimacing at the way it stuck to the sweat on his forehead. Squirming uncomfortably in his seat, he rolled down his own window and let out small sigh of relief when the wind hit him.
Smirking, Dean cocked an eyebrow, "What, can't beat the heat Sammy? You lived in freakin' California."
"Being in a car, driving for hours with no air conditioning is different, jerk." Sam growled, but there was no anger in his words.
"Princess," Dean retorted, smirk cracking into a grin when he saw the bitchface his brother was giving him out of the corner of his eye. "A swim would be nice right about now, though." He relented, wiping at his own brow. Freakin' sticky state.
Sam snorted with disbelief, "Dude - I think I've seen you swim like three times - and the last one doesn't count, it was a case."
Dean turned in his seat, eyes sparkling, "I never went swimming with you, skinny dipping with Alyssa White on the other hand…"
Jerking up a hand, Sam shook his head frantically, "Not another word Dean, I seriously don't want or need to know."
Dean let out a mock sigh of disappointment before turning his attention back on the road. Trees branched out on either side, providing some shade in the sweltering heat. They were several miles out of town, passing only a handful of houses in the past half hour.
"So I was thinking we'd drive until night, set up in a motel and scan through the laptop for anything interesting - maybe give Bobby or Pastor Jim a call -"
"DEAN LOOK OUT!" Sam cut off his brother with a shout, pointing towards a young child that had literally come sprinting out of the brush on his side of the car.
"Sonuvabitch!" Dean cursed, swerving wide, missing the terrified kid by mere inches. The Impala fishtailed, tires burning rubber against the asphalt before the car finally came to a full stop.
"Are you god damn crazy kid? I could have killed you!" Dean spat, practically flying out of his seat, Sam right behind him. His heart hammering against his ribs from leftover adrenaline, he stormed up to the boy, intent on continuing his lecture when a hand to his chest stopped him.
"Dean," Sam said softly, "look at him."
Calming himself slightly, Dean blinked the red out of his eyes and saw the child properly.
He couldn't have been more than eleven, wet hair clung to his face and neck, and fresh scratches covered his shoulders and face. He was trembling even though it was a hot August afternoon and he wore nothing but a pair of dripping swimming trunks.
He was also crying uncontrollably.
"What's wrong kiddo?" Dean asked automatically, kneeling before the child, his tone instantly changing to one of concern.
Gasping, the kid lunged forward, grabbing at the older Winchester's t-shirt, "P-please, a sh-shark! A s-shark…Greg is s-still in the w-water!"
Sam, who had been worriedly eyeing the young boys bloodied feet, looked up again so fast his neck cracked. "Where?" He asked urgently, eyes wide with surprise as he exchanged looks with his grim faced brother.
The kid pried one small hand away from Dean's shirt and pointed shakily into the wood. "The river," he sobbed, "please, please help him! I ran as fast as I could!"
Sam didn't need any more encouragement, in two long bounds he was in the forest and running as fast as his long legs could carry him, renewed adrenaline flooding his system as he tore towards what he hoped was the river.
Dean snarled as his brother quickly disappeared from view. "Call 911!' He barked at the kid, handing over his phone before jumping to his feet and tearing after his brother, swearing as he ran.
Sam heard the terrified screams of several young voices before he broke through a final set of knotted brambles and into a clearing, his feet barely touching the ground as the water finally came into view.
He didn't stop running as he tore off his outer shirt, hopping forward on one leg then the other as he slipped off his heavy boots. Sam barely saw the two hysterical boys on the dock as he ran past them - his eyes only on the scene in the water.
The kid, presumably Greg, was screaming in terror, a small amount of blood darkening the already murky water as he struggled to get away from the shark circling him. Sam growled with determination as he took a running jump off of the dock, gripping the small knife he kept holstered to his calf as he went.
Breaking the surface after his plunge, Sam re-oriented himself and cut across the water, the boy and shark were only thirty feet away but it felt like a hundred. "Hang on Greg!' He shouted, "I'm coming - just keep swimming, try and come to me!"
Crying, Greg tried to do what he was told, but instead let out a shriek of pain as the shark bumped against him mercilessly, the dorsal fin inches from his thin shoulder. "Help me!" He cried weakly, voice hoarse from screaming.
Finally reaching him, Sam hooked a protective arm under Greg's armpits. Spotting the shark a few feet away, he growled and swam backwards towards the shore one handed, holding the trembling and bleeding child close to his chest.
Chancing a glance towards the shore, Sam spied his brother sprinting from the left, coming towards the river at an angle. He was running hard, but it was still going to take the older Winchester precious seconds to reach the water.
Grunting, Sam pushed himself as hard as he could, frantically feeling for the bottom of the river as he went. Finally, he felt his toes brush slimy riverbed, and for a few precious seconds Sam thought that maybe, just maybe the shark was going to back off.
No such luck. The large fish struck from the side so fast that Sam didn't even see it coming. He let out a pained rush of air as teeth grazed his thigh, his heart pounding painfully when he realized that the bull shark hadn't clamped down. Greg let out another weak cry of terror - his white face looking towards his savior for reassurance.
"It'll be okay, I won't let it get you again." Sam panted, eyes scanning frantically for the animal. His side burning where it's nose had struck him. This is bad.
It came at them again, this time from straight ahead, the intent clear. It was going after the weaker prey, the one whose blood was more predominant in the water. Sam snarled and twisted, his split second decision only cemented by the fact that he could hear Dean in the water and swimming towards them.
Finally able to plant his feet in the riverbed even though the water came up to his neck, Sam stuck his knife between his teeth and lifted the small boy as far out of the water as he could manage with his long arms. Grunting with effort, he quite literally threw him towards Dean and the shore.
Sam barely had time to spit the knife back into his palm before the shark was upon him. Razor sharp teeth tore through the already bleeding flesh on his thigh and closed down. For a few precious seconds he felt nothing - and then his vision went white with horrible, god awful pain.
He couldn't stop the strangled scream of agony that slipped past his lips. Struggling not to be pulled down, Sam's vision focused for one solid second - his eyes landing on his brother's horrified white face before he lost the battle and was pulled under the dark water.
"NOOOO! SAM! SAM!" Dean yelled frantically as he swam, it took all of his willpower not to cut straight towards the spot where his brother had gone under. Instead he aimed for Greg, who was rapidly losing his own battle to stay afloat.
Grabbing the skinny body, Dean headed for the dock, which was closer than the shore bed. "Grab him!" He barked frantically, even though he was still several feet from the two boys who stood shaking on the wooden planks.
The taller of the two climbed jerkily down the battered old ladder, one hand clinging onto it with white knuckled intensity as he reached out with the other.
"Put pressure on the bleeding spots! Don't let him fall asleep!" Dean instructed, relinquishing his hold on Greg. Turning back around, he swam faster than he had ever in his life. A silent mantra playing through his head as he cut across the water. I'm coming Sammy, I'm coming, hang on, I'm coming…
When he was less than seven feet away, both man and shark resurfaced in a shower of water and blood. Sam was coughing and breathing harshly, his face white and lips bloodless. The shark on the other hand….
Dean blinked with surprise when he realized that the animal was no longer attacking his brother, instead it was thrashing, blood pouring out of dozens of puncture marks to its face and gills. It's dying! But how…
He got his answer almost instantly when his eyes caught the bloodied knife clenched in his little brothers' right hand. A swell of pride rolled through Dean's chest as he pushed forward. "Sammy, I gotcha little brother, I gotcha." He called before reaching out - knowing that his brother was still in the moment and would probably come at him with the blade if he touched him without warning.
"Dean?" Sam answered, face strained as he tried to keep his head above water.
"The one and only." Dean said lightly as grabbed him, pulling away from the shark and its death throes.
"Dean…" Sam whispered, head rolling upwards as he strained to bring his brother into focus.
A stitch he hadn't noticed before was growing in his side, but Dean set his jaw and swam doggedly, green eyes narrowed with concern at the amount of blood that was trailing after his brother. "Stay awake Sam." He ordered, switching course and heading for the shore instead of the dock. No way could two young kids and just him lift a sopping wet, six and a half foot tall sasquatch onto it.
"Almost there Sammy."
Swallowing his fear, Dean tightened his hold on his younger brother. "Yeah Sammy?" He panted between sharp breaths,
His alarm intensifying, Dean tried to keep his voice calm and controlled. "You don't remember kiddo?" He prodded gently. He's lost too much blood…
"S-s-shark? The b-boy…" Sam stuttered.
The water was at his hips now, and Dean swung his brother around, cradling the lanky body to his chest as he lifted him from beneath the knees. He staggered under the weight before steadying himself. "That's right, there was a shark - but you're okay. You saved the kid Sam, he's gonna be just fine." Of course, that wasn't strictly the truth - Dean had no idea how Greg was doing.
Sam was silent for a few seconds, not speaking again until Dean finally, finally stepped onto solid ground. He staggered a few more feet before gently placing his brother on the dry grass.
Dean wanted to cry when he saw the damage done to his brother's leg. Sam's jeans were in tatters on the right side, his thigh so mangled Dean wondered if he could possibly survive the horrific injury. No – he'll be fine.
Swallowing back bile, the hunter manipulated the leg from side to side, trying to ignore the mewls of pain his brother was uttering. Snagging Sam's discarded shirt off the ground, he tied it tightly above the puncture marks, muttering encouragement to him the entire time.
"Deannnnn…" Sam moaned, body twitching violently with pain.
"You're fine Sam, you're just fine. Help is on the way." Dean replied through gritted teeth, brow furrowed with stress and fear. God I hope that kid called for help when I told him to…
"Did…d-did we gggget itttt?" Sam slurred, blue-green eyes hazy as they tried to focus on the older man.
Dean's gaze flitted towards the dock, Greg's body obscured by his kneeling friends, to the shark that was caught up against some rotted wood, utterly still in the now calm water. "You got it Sammy, it was all you little brother." He gritted out, saltwater flooding his eyes before he could stop it.
Jerking his head away from Sam's bleary gaze, Dean focused instead on the wounds that marred Sam's leg. "You shouldn't have gone in the water alone, Sammy," He whispered harshly, '"You should have waited for me."
Dean closed his eyes when a clammy, fumbling hand landed against his thigh in response.
"Knew y-ou were r-right behind me…al-always g-t'm-my b-back…"
Normally, the sniffle he let slip would have horrified him, but Dean barely noticed the fact that he was crying. "Damn straight little brother…always." He answered, a wobbly smile on his face as he looked back up at Sam.
The hesitant smile disappeared immediately when Dean saw that Sam's eyes had drifted shut. "Hey! Sam? SAM!?"
Frantically pushing long, wet hair out of his face, Dean tried to wake the younger hunter with an increasing level of desperation. "SAMMY!" He growled, cupping the angular face with bloody palms, his heart freezing in his chest. "You wake up now! Now Sam, that's an order!"
"Please Sam, shit…c'mon dude - don't do this to me…Sam…" Dean began to plead when his order went unheeded, trembling fingers searching the cool skin for a pulse even as at least half a dozen emergency personnel burst into the clearing.
"HELP! I NEED HELP NOW!" He roared, red rimmed eyes raw with desperation.
Dean paced the hospital waiting room restlessly, alternating between muttering to himself and storming up to the nurse's station to demand an update on his brother.
The nurses, while sympathetic, weren't helpful. Telling him in soothing tones that he would be the first to know when there was any news regarding Sam's condition.
"Damnit!" He swore furiously, scrubbing a hand roughly through his short hair as he sat down heavily in one of the plastic chairs lining the room. Dean closed his eyes and let his head fall into his palms, trying in vain to calm himself down so that he didn't get kicked out of the hospital.
Taking a deep breath, he tried to keep the images of the harrowing ambulance ride out of his head. Sam had lost so much blood, the paramedic had had a rough time trying to keep him stabilized, and his kid brother had coded just as they had screeched into the ER driving bay. Sam being wheeled through the doors on a gurney while the medic had started compressions, straddled over his prone body, would be burned against the back of Dean's eyelids for the rest of his life – and if Sam didn't make it…
Dean jumped violently, torn from his thoughts as he looked up to see a couple standing in the doorway. Older than Dean, they were both pale and clinging to each other, the woman had cried recently, if her swollen eyes were anything to go by.
"What do you want?" He muttered, uncaring that he sounded rude – he had more important things to worry about, the only person he wanted to talk to right now was Sam's doctor.
"My name is Tom, this is my wife, Angie – we…we were told that it was you and your brother who rescued our son today."
Dean blinked a couple of times before responding hoarsely, "It was all Sam."
Angie stepped forward hesitantly, putting a small hand on the gruff strangers shoulder. "How is Sam? The staff wouldn't tell us how badly he was injured." She asked softly.
"I…it's…" Dean swallowed, nostrils flaring as he tried to reign in his emotions, "Sammy is tough – he'll make it, he has to." Except it's been hours with no word, except Sam was bleeding out and white as a sheet and not breathing when you saw him last, his traitorous thoughts whispered even as he spoke.
Biting the inside of his lip until it bled, Dean forced himself to look back up at the parents and ask, "How is your son? I never got a chance to see him properly." Sammy will want to know when he wakes up.
"Fine – he's going to be fine. Scared of course – but the shark mainly just banged him around a bit, scratched him up with its skin, he has a graze that needed a few stiches. It was mainly just the shock of the whole thing that had the doctors concerned, but they say he'll be okay now." Tom answered, running a trembling hand through his hair, "We honestly can't thank you enough, I don't know what we would have done –"
Dean held up a hand to cut him off. "It's okay, you don't need to say anything else – I'm glad he's alright."
Angie and Tom hovered for a couple more seconds, unsure of what to say, before Dean helped them along.
"You should get back to your son." He said quietly, eyes falling back to the floor.
"Right," Angie agreed, "Chris is probably driving his little brother crazy right about now – we better get back before Greg decides to throw something at him. Can't leave them alone in a room for more than ten minutes nowadays."
Dean's heart clenched a little at the revelation, Greg was somebody's kid brother. God Sammy, what would I do without your annoying ass driving me crazy?
"Please – if there is anything we can do…anything at all. Let us know? When Sam is better I'm sure Greg would love to visit with you both." Angie was saying, even as she and her husband headed towards the hall.
"Ah, yeah sure. Thanks." Dean answered distantly, barely looking at them as they left. He contemplated the phone in his hands. He'd called his dad hours ago and there still hadn't been any word. Bobby had answered though – made him swear to keep him updated and promised to arrange for someone to bring the Impala to the hospital for him.
God damnit dad…Sammy is hurt and you can't even bother to pick up the fucking phone? Growling, Dean shoved his cell back into his jeans and sat back for all of thirty seconds before lunging back to his feet. He paced the room a couple of times, his frustration mounting as he got another look at the clock. Cursing, he turned to head back to the nurses station with his hands balled up into fists, nearly colliding with the petite doctor walking through the door.
"Whoa, Mr. Grant I presume?"
Dean stumbled back and nodded, suddenly unable to speak as he looked at the woman who held the fate of his entire world in her next few words.
"Let's have a seat."
Falling back into his chair, Dean clasped his hands in his lap in an attempt to hide their shaking. He fixed the pretty, forty something year old doctor with an intense stare, jaw locked as he waited for her to speak.
"I'm doctor Ongaro, I was Sam's head surgeon in the OR. Let me start by saying that your brother made if through surgery just fine. The blood loss was significant, but his vitals perked right back up once we started transfusing some O-Neg. He is currently resting in Post- Op before we move him into the ICU for the evening. Don't be alarmed – it's mainly just a precaution due to the blood loss and the fact that he did code once on the way in to the hospital. We want to keep a close eye for the next few hours."
A sliver of tension lifted off of Dean's shoulders at her words, and he let out a breathy sigh of relief. Sam was alive. Finding his voice back in working order, he asked, "When can I see him?"
The doctor smiled warmly, "Thirty minutes, give or take. I can't let you into the recovery room – but as soon as he is settled in the ICU I'll have a nurse sent for you. He is still under right now from the anesthetic anyways."
Resisting the strong urge to argue with her, Dean asked instead, "How bad was it? His thigh…"
"It looked much worse than it was, Mr. Grant. As you know, Sam's vitals did crash on us once, but we got him back quickly, I'm confident there will be no lasting damage from that. Your brother took 124 stitches to his thigh, but the muscle damage was fairly minimal considering the circumstances. I've already been in contact with the authorities who are still examining the shark. It didn't shake Sam's leg after biting down, which helped reduce the muscle damage significantly and it was fairly small in size…"
Dean snorted, giving the woman an incredulous look as he interrupted, "Looked pretty damn big to me."
Dr. Ongaro shrugged, "Bull sharks typically grow to about ten feet, give or take. The authorities at the river are putting the one there at about five and half – a young male. Given the circumference of the bite mark on your brother and I'd have to agree with their assessment. We'll have to wait for the autopsy but it looks like it was fairly malnourished and ill. Given its erratic attack pattern I wouldn't be surprised."
"Why the hell was the damn thing in the river in the first place?" Dean growled, more to himself than the doctor, as he scrubbed a hand against the stubble along his jaw.
"Best guess? We had some pretty bad flooding back in April. The rivers swelled and rose over the dam. My bet is that the shark swam into the river during the flooding, and was trapped there once the water levels went back down. It's incredible that there were no incidents along the river before this one."
Done with the speculation, Dean turned the focus back on his little brother. "So Sam is going to be fine then, right? Some rest and recovery and he'll be all good?"
The doc help up a hand and said cautiously, "We'll have to monitor him closely over the next few days, make sure that everything is healing as it should. He is going to need some physical therapy for his leg once he's feeling better." She paused at the raised eyebrow she received and relented slightly, "Barring any complications – I feel that Sam will make a full recovery. He'll have some scarring, but his leg will function normally."
Dean's face split into a huge grin and he leaned back into his chair, feeling more of the tension between his shoulders bleed away. He had been expecting much worse, especially with the way Sammy had looked in that ambulance. Only Sam would get attacked by a damn shark, kid might as well slap a target sign on his back. The trouble he gets himself into, I'm gonna handcuff him to the Impala I swear to -
"Mr. Grant? Do you have any questions for me?"
Dean blinked, focusing back on the doctor, realizing that she had been talking the entire time he had been zoned out. He shook his head in response, "I just want to see my brother."
The Next Afternoon
"Dude, quit fooling around with those." Dean lectured, swatting Sam's hands away from the bandages that were wrapped along his entire thigh. His brother had been moved out of the ICU earlier that morning, and Sam was already growing restless.
"Friggen' itches." Sam grumbled moodily, even as he settled back against the mattress, glaring at his older brother balefully. He had a low grade fever from the blood transfusion, and they always made him grumpy.
Dean snorted, "Not your first time with stitches, man. You know better."
"Never this many at once." Sam retorted, eyes defensive. He backpedalled immediately when Dean's eyes flashed, a brief haunted look on his face. "You're right, sorry. I'm just tired of this place. When can we leave?" He tried to distract.
The look gone as quickly as it had appeared, Dean grinned at Sam and shook his head. "Not until the doc clears you. The family of the kid you saved is covering the medical bills. No need to bail out early – I want to make sure that that giraffe limb of yours heals up properly. Last thing I need is a gigantor brother with a permanent limp following me around everywhere."
"I don't follow you around!" Sam exclaimed, incredulous, "We got the kid out – not just me. And I don't need to stay here that long, we can do the PT ourselves. I mean – Dean? Are you even listening to me?"
Dean ignored him, his attention focused on the small TV along the wall. They were recapping stories on the local news and he let out a huge laugh at the headline that had just appeared on the screen.
"What're you laughing at? What the – oh, crap." Sam groaned, head dropping into his hands, shoulders slumping even as Dean continued to laugh beside him. Peeking an eye through his fingers, he got another look at the headline beneath the talking reporter.
MAN SLAYS SHARK
"Seriously? Slays? Why would they even use that word? It's ridiculous!" Sam said into his hands, twitching when Dean struggled to talk through his gales of laughter.
"Sammy the shark slayer! Ha!"
"Shut up, Dean."
"The doc gave me a tooth, I'll get it made into a necklace for you. Then you can wear it around and tell everybody about the time you slayed the big bad shark. I guess hunting Ghosts and Wendigoes just wasn't bad ass enough for you." Dean teased good-naturedly.
"You're such a dick."
"Rather be a dick than a bitch, Francis."
"Bite me, jerk."
"Kinda late for that, shark bait."
Sam froze, meeting Dean's eyes even as dread crossed his face. Oh no…
Dean looked at him like Christmas had come early, and he had gotten all of the things on his list. "Shark bait Sammy!" He crowed with delight.
"I so hate you." Sam moaned in defeat, shaking his head.
Dean smirked in reply. Oh yeah, life was good.