Characters: Dean, Sam, Bobby
Spoilers/Warnings: Not canon; warnings for scenes of torture
Word Count: 27,500 over 15 chapters
Disclaimer: I don't own them
Someone - or something - is scaring people to death in New York; Bobby's on the case, but opinion is divided on whether or not he needs the Winchesters' help.But those boys; they just won't take no for an answer …
Sam whispered shaky reassurances as he cupped his brother's heavily stubbled face, hoping his warm touch would soothe the violent trembling which racked Dean's body. His heart broke as Dean recoiled away from his touch.
Discreetly reaching up over Sam's arm, Bobby pulled off the blindfold and stepped away, tossing it to the ground. He knew that Dean's condition meant time was vital but right now, those boys needed just a short moment of privacy.
Sam didn't move, leaning in closely to his brother so that their foreheads touched; his thumb kneading Dean's cheek as he muttered quiet reassurances as much for his own comfort as Dean's. "Dean, hey it's good to see you man; it's me, it's Sammy. I've got Bobby with me; we've come to get you out."
Dean's wet, reddened eyes remained tightly closed as his head lolled heavier into Sam's hands with a barely audible moan. Sam wasn't sure if had actually realised the blindfold was gone.
Dean's brows were wrinkled and Sam gently kneaded the spot between them with his thumb, "c'mon dude," he murmured, "open your eyes, bro’; c’mon, look at me.”
His perseverance was rewarded as Dean’s green eyes flickered open briefly. Dean blinked vacantly, dislodging tears which trickled down his already wet cheeks. Without thinking, Sam reached up, thumbing them away.
"Hey there, big brother;" he whispered, smiling weakly as he fought the overwhelming urge to break down.
He had completely lost track of Bobby who stood quietly behind him on tiptoe, pointing a small flashlight above Dean's head to examine the chains that held him, checking them for weaknesses.
Sam looked away from Dean's face to scan the rest of his shivering body, taking in the damage that he could see; it was difficult to tell in the gloom if the dark patches mottling Dean's torso were bruises or dirt, so Sam decided to go with worst case scenario. He felt his stomach lurch as he looked up to see Dean's arms both heavily stained their entire length with blood from the wounds around his wrists.
Bobby stepped round Sam to get a better look at the chain, when he suddenly stumbled to a halt, letting out a harsh gasp.
"Oh Jesus," he croaked.
Sam looked up in alarm, "what?" he asked urgently, scared by Bobby's stricken face. Even through the darkness, Sam could see the older man's face had drained of all colour.
"L-look at his back," Bobby stammered weakly.
Keeping a reassuring hand pressed against his brother's neck, Sam leaned round Dean's body and the sight that met him turned his blood to ice.
He looked up at Bobby through a haze of tears; "the bastards" he croaked through gritted teeth, "the cruel, evil bastards." Bobby reached out a supporting arm when Sam momentarily swayed, "Bobby, what you did was too good for them," he hissed furiously.
Dean's back looked like a slab of raw meat.
From shoulder to hip, his back was a gruesome lattice of bloodstained welts with barely a trace of undamaged skin visible between them.
Sam stared in stunned silence at the sight; the power of speech slipping away from him.
Gulping back his nausea, Bobby spoke up; "Uh, I'm going out to the truck to get something to break this chain. I'll get a blanket and something for him to drink too."
Sam nodded absently, unable to take his eyes from Dean's mutilated back.
Sam felt the tremors which racked his brother's body increase, and he moved back in front of Dean to wrap reassuring hands around his face once more.
His thumb softly traced the curve of Dean's cheekbone, as he stood whispering nonsense to Dean, relishing the scratch of Dean's spiky stubble beneath his palms.
His mind raced as he thought of all the things that Dean would need to make a full recovery.
Antibiotics were a given; Sam could feel a clammy heat radiating from Dean's face and chest, even though the room was uncomfortably cold and damp. He could hear a weak raggedness in Dean's breathing and made a mental note to stock up on Tylenol.
They would need a good stock of antiseptics; Dean's wounds would need serious cleansing and disinfecting, and assuming he hadn't eaten for the four days of his incarceration, they would need to stock up on simple but nutritious food. Tomato soup came suddenly to his mind, and he smiled as he reflected on how much Dean loved his tomato soup.
Sam guessed he should be looking at getting Dean a tetanus shot too. This place was filthy; laden with grime, dirt, mildew and rust, and it looked like Dean had a lot of open wounds to contaminate. Quite how he was going to get his hands on one of those without getting a doctor involved he had no idea, but a doctor’s visit would attract too many awkward questions, pressure to involve the police … no; unless it was unavoidable he and Bobby would have to deal with this themselves.
Bobby never ceased to amaze Sam. For a stocky middle-aged man, he was surprisingly nimble, and within moments he was back, a bottle of water in one hand, a crowbar in the other and a checked blanket hung round his neck.
Cracking the lid off the bottle, Sam slid a hand behind Dean's neck, gently supporting his head as he lifted the bottle to Dean's lips. Dean's eyes flickered open again as he obediently latched onto the bottle's neck and began to drink greedily.
Sam allowed him to take a few good long gulps before withdrawing the bottle, then turned to Bobby.
"Right Sam," Bobby grasped Sam's elbow and pointed up to the ceiling, "that link there, I can't reach it – but you can; the weld is cracked, it's weak – a good hard jerk with the crowbar should snap it."
Sam squinted up at the chain. "How the hell can you see something like that in this light?" he asked, frowning up at the link which looked exactly the same as all the others.
Bobby patted his back with a smile, "Son, I build and break cars for a living; I can spot a crap weld a mile off and trust me – that one's crap."
Sam smiled, taking the crowbar, and glanced back at Dean, "getting you down now, bro,'" he smiled. He reached up toward the ceiling; a good six inches above where Bobby could reach on tiptoe and slid the end of the crowbar through the link.
They both knew that as soon as Sam snapped the chain, Dean would go down like a sack of coal, so Bobby manoeuvred himself in close, pondering how best to take Dean's unsupported weight without putting any pressure on his back. He settled for hooking his arms under and around the point of Dean's armpits and gripping his shoulders.
It took Sam only two hard, shoulder jarring jerks to snap the link which was, exactly as Bobby had predicted, weak.
There was a loud hollow rattle as the chain slid through the staple which fastened it to the ceiling, and Dean crumpled bonelessly into Bobby's tight grip, his shackled arms, weighed down by the loose chain flopping down either side of Bobby's head.
Bobby grinned as he gripped Dean's shoulders tightly, his knees buckling under the dead weight, their faces barely an inch apart; "this is the last time I'm ever gonna hug you naked, kid!"
Dropping the crowbar, Sam gently laid the blanket across Dean's back, softly squeezing the back of his neck as he gave a shuddering hiss of pain at the blanket's touch.
Bobby looked up at Sam, still groaning shakily under the weight of the barely conscious hunter; "we're gonna have to leave the cuffs until we get home," he muttered, "I can't see well enough in this light to pick those stupid little locks."
Nodding in agreement, Sam gently manoeuvred Dean round in his arms, so that he was supporting his weight enabling Bobby to duck out from underneath him.
Together they pondered ways of carrying Dean out of the building without having to put any kind of pressure on his back. Dean was leaning heavier and heavier into his brother's solid presence, his harsh, wheezing breaths blowing hot into the crook of Sam's neck. Eventually they decided the only realistic option open to them was to move Dean face-down on a stretcher.
As Bobby fussed, fashioning a makeshift stretcher from the guts of an old wooden door he had found lying abandoned, Sam allowed his brother another long drink and took the opportunity to conduct a quick manual check under the blanket of Dean's battered torso to check for broken ribs. Despite his gentlest efforts, every touch seemed to hurt his brother, so he just decided there and then that their priority was to get Dean out of this awful place into somewhere where he felt secure; somewhere clean and comfortable; Bobby's house.
There would be plenty of time to examine wounds and begin the healing process when they got there.
Carrying his blanket-wrapped brother out of that dreadful place on what was effectively no more than a rotting wooden door proved to be no easy task, and both men felt every pound of Dean’s not-insubstantial weight as they slowly staggered up the creaking metal staircase and all the way out to Bobby's truck, walking past the bodies of Dean's captors without a second glance.
Sitting on the back seat of Bobby's truck with his brother laid out on his side beneath the blanket, Sam cradled Dean's head in his lap. It had quickly become clear that the daylight hurt Dean’s eyes but, sensing his distress, Sam refused to cover his eyes again and settled for placing a hand across Dean's clammy forehead to ensure his eyes were in shadow the whole trip. He stayed that way from the moment they set off until the moment Bobby’s truck rolled to a halt in the older hunter’s yard.
As the sun began to dip below the horizon, the three men were back at Bobby's house, Dean settled as comfortably as possible on the bed, curled up on his side under a sheet, the curtains drawn to minimise the light.
Sam produced a glass of juice with a straw, offering it to his brother; he couldn't hide his delight when Dean's parched lips took it keenly, glancing up to Sam with a hint of a watery smile.
Bobby followed him into the room with his lock pick, and pulled up a chair. He sat and gently lifted Dean's lifeless grey hands out from under the sheet onto his lap, trying not to show his concern at the stiff, ice-cold fingers. Working hard to choke back his horror at the damage inflicted by the metal cuffs he methodically probed the locks, his job made more difficult by the sticky, drying blood which clogged the mechanisms.
However, Bobby's perseverence won out as one by one the cuffs snapped open, and Bobby tenderly pulled them away from the wet, bloody wounds, revealing the true extent of the damage.
"Damnit to hell," he muttered, looking at the torn, livid flesh, glancing helplessly up to Sam who paled at the sight, fighting an internal battle with himself to avoid vomiting.
Bobby sat at Dean's head, coaxing him to drink more juice while Sam discreetly pulled up the sheet and worked the foul, wet sweatpants down Dean's legs, turning away with a gasp to compose himself when he saw, for the first time, the angry burning rash over Dean's legs and feet.
Bobby sighed, looking sadly up at Sam.
"We need to get him in a bath. There's too much to do here to just sponge him down in the bed."
Nodding mutely, Sam’s shaking hand covered his mouth, as he turned and walked across the room. Unable to control the flood of emotion that was welling within him, he wiped his eyes, sucking in a long shuddering breath to stop himself breaking down completely.
He was still trying to compose himself when an impossibly weak voice, barely a whisper, drifted up from the bed.
"Stop crying you big girl and cover my ass up."
Chapter 9 here