Perdition
Texas

Dean was out of bed before he had a chance to give it a second thought and, needless to say, both his chest and his leg were not happy about such abuse. With an ill-retained groan of agony, he grabbed onto the foot end of the elaborate bed and only barely managed to keep himself on his feet while nauseating pain rolled through him like a slow, suffocating wave.

His vision wavered in and out and he couldn't even begin to imagine how he was going to remain upright without help when someone grabbed him and steadied him.

"Easy son," a deep voice rumbled. He was picked up and deposited gently back on the bed by the man behind the voice, a tower of a man who would make Sam seem short in comparison. Dean wasn't entirely sure whether that was because he didn't have much control over his vision right now or because the guy actually was taller than Sam. Whatever it was, the guy seemed huge to Dean.

Annie turned up in his line of vision, her expression a tad worried. "Are you alright?" she asked and pulled the sheets back up over him after checking his leg and his chest for further injuries.

Dean didn't bother answering. He felt like crap with the slow steady pulsating pain rippling through him with every heartbeat.

"Dean? Can you hear me?" Annie asked and glanced at the big guy.

Dean followed her line of vision and stared up at the man who had settled down on the other side of the bed.

"Hi Dean," he said, a smile on his lips.

And despite all the reservations Dean had about strangers in general, he couldn't help liking this guy from the get-go. There was something about him that made Dean feel a little better. It was as if the man's presence alone was enough to dull the pain and make him think of more comfortable things than the agony he was in. "Who are you?" he rasped after a moment.

The smile stayed on. "I'm George, founder of this place," he replied and glanced over at Annie. "Any damage that wasn't there before?" he asked.

"No, everything's as it should be," Annie countered.

"You have to stay in bed for a few days, Dean. With your broken ribs and that fracture in your leg ..." George said and his expression became a little pained. "It's amazing what some people do to others in the name of fear," he added, then patted Dean's shoulder lightly. "Don't worry, though. You'll be fine."

"Do you want anything for the pain?" Annie asked.

"No," Dean countered immediately and glanced at her, searching her expression for a sign of that he would be drugged out of his mind in a few minutes again. "No, I need to stay sharp."

She nodded. "Just let me know if you need anything, if it gets too bad. We can do it locally as well if you don't want it to affect your mind."

"No, I'm fine," he said and glanced back up at George.

"I take it you're worried about Sam?" George asked and reached toward the night stand. "Here's your phone. Why don't you call him?"

Dean stared at his phone, then nodded and grabbed it. Then he eyed the pair for a moment.

"Come on, Annie. Let's give him some privacy," George said and got up.

Annie followed his lead, but not before handing out some advice. "Try to stay in bed, will you? It'll benefit you in the end," she said.

Dean watched them leave, gave it another few minutes, then flipped his phone open and dialed Sam's number. "You better be okay, little brother," he muttered.

***

Interstate 95
Nevada

The constant, low-level headache was starting to cut into Sam's patience. It made it impossible for him to sleep at all, light bothered his eyes and the constant drone of the Impala's engine combined with the sound of its tires on the blacktop nearly drove him insane.

Tony seemed to be aware of how it affected him, which made him struggle to subdue it, but with every passing hour it was getting more difficult. To distract himself from the anger, the annoyance, the need to lash out, he tried to focus on what Dean would say. But even his brother's voice was becoming less and less distinct in his head, drowned out by the constant noise and the ever-present ache.

"So, Jennifer can do biolocation," he said after a while.

"Bio-relocation," Tony corrected him. "And yeah, she can. Pretty neat, huh?"

Sam glanced at him. Neat was definitely a word Dean wouldn't use. Not seriously, anyway. "I guess," he agreed halfheartedly. "What's your ability then?" he asked and squinted out at the street, wishing it was night so he at least didn't have to worry about that aspect.

Tony glanced at him, but only briefly. "I'm a healer," he said.

"A healer?" Sam countered with a frown. "Why would the demon give you the power to heal?"

Tony's expression turned a little sinister. "It didn't. When I arrived at Perdition, I wasn't able to heal anyone. Least of all myself," he said, then reached into the pocket of his coat and retrieved a pair of sunglasses, which he held out to Sam. "Here. It might take the edge of the glare," he said.

Sam eyed them for a moment, then took them and slipped them on. It did cut back considerably on the glare of the light and gave him a little comfort in that respect. "Thanks," he muttered. "So, what was your ability?"

The other man sighed. "Not much of an ability, really. More like a curse, to be honest. If I touched someone, they died. I came from a very loving family and by the time I turned twenty-one, this ... 'ability' reared its ugly head. The first one to die from it was my dad. It was kind of a blow straight from Hell. My dad meant everything to me. He raised me alone because my mom died when I was a baby. And he was very affectionate, believed in the old saying that it is easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar. It threw me off course big time when he died. And nobody knew why. They thought he'd had a heart attack. But I knew better." He shrugged, his eyes on the road ahead of them. Even though he tried to hide it, Sam could still hear the tremble in his voice. This guy was far from over having caused his father's death.

"I'm sorry," Sam said, to which Tony shrugged again. "So ... what did you do?" Sam asked after a moment.

"Drifted. I had no clue what to do with myself. I got in a few situations where others died because I touched them, which verified what I had thought from the start. And then the demon started popping into my dreams. I told it to get lost, but it kept coming back and I started to weaken. That's when I met George. He took me to Perdition and taught me how to control my ability. And then he taught me how to reverse it. Instead of killing people, I could heal them. Came a bit too late, of course. I couldn't save my dad. But I've helped a lot of people since then." He smiled and sniffed lightly. "I think my dad would be proud of me," he added and his smile turned affectionate.

Sam eyed him for a moment, and then shifted further into the seat, wishing that his head would stop hurting so much. "Yeah, I'm sure he would be," he agreed. "Not like my dad. I don't think he was ever very proud of me."

Tony glanced at him and rubbed the back of one hand against his nose. "Why would you say that?"

Sam shrugged lightly. "Can't have been easy, having a freak like me for a son," he muttered and made a face at his own words. Dean would have reamed his hide for saying stuff like this. Talking to strangers was sometimes easier.

"I can't pretend to know what was going on between you and your dad, Sam, but from what I hear, your dad was one hell of a hunter. And he did a lot to keep you and your brother safe. So much so that he never really revealed to other hunters that he had kids," Tony said. "From what I hear, anyway. But from that you can probably assume that he knew there was something more to you than other kids. And the fact that he kept you safe speaks in his favor, doesn't it?"

"I don't know. He was so consumed with hunting that damned demon that he never had time for us. Now, Dean, he thinks that our dad was the stuff heros are made of. Far be it from him to ever say a derisive word about the man." Sam couldn't keep the pain out of his voice. His brother's almost blind faith in their father still baffled and worried him. Even though Dean had said a few things lately, it still didn't mean that he had stopped his damned hero worship.

"Sam, I don't really think that's you talking right now," Tony said with a sideways glance at him. "I think it's the pain and the frustration. So, I've got a suggestion for you. Feel free to say no. It's entirely up to you."

"What is?" Sam asked with a slight frown furrowing his brow.

"I can make your pain go away," Tony said. "It doesn't take much. We'll have to pull over, of course, but it'll make you feel better."

Sam eyed him and refrained from answering.

After a moment Tony shrugged lightly. "As I said, it's up to you," he repeated.

Sam considered the offer and wondered what it would be like. Would he be able to feel the intrusion? The more he thought about it, the more appealing the idea was, though. Just the thought of getting rid of the pain enticed him. He closed his eyes and let his head drop against the back of the seat while he considered the offer and more or less decided to accept it. "Okay," he finally muttered.

Tony smirked, found a place along the interstate to pull over and turned the engine of. "It's nothing big," he said and reached a hand out toward Sam.

Sam blinked when he felt the same sort of mild shock he had felt the first time Tony had touched him. It sent a ripple of pure energy through him, but it wasn't unpleasant when Tony's hand made contact with his brow.

"Try to relax. It's easier if you relax," Tony said.

Sam closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath and tried to let it happen. At first he felt no difference. The ache was still there and it seemed to intensify through Tony's touch. But then the pain suddenly ebbed away and in a flash, it was gone.

He opened his eyes again, then pulled the sunglasses off his face and eyed the road. "It's gone," he muttered and glanced at Tony. "The pain. It's gone." With the release of the pain, the nausea subsided and the whole thing left him spent. He blinked heavily when Tony pulled his hand back.

"Yeah, but it kinda drains you, all this pain. Might be low-level, but it's still a killer. So why don't you try to catch some rest while I drive, huh?" Tony countered.

Sam blinked again, finding it suddenly very hard to keep his eyes open. "Yeah, okay," he agreed and smiled for the first time since meeting Tony. "Thanks," he added, closed his eyes, snuggled into the corner and was out like a light.

***

Perdition
Texas

Dean shifted a bit and grimaced at the stabbing pain in his chest. But he'd had broken ribs before and lived to tell the tale. All that mattered to him right now was getting a hold of Sam to let him know he was still alive and breathing.

The phone rang a fair bit longer than Dean would have thought and when Sam finally answered, he sounded groggy. "Yeah?"

"Sammy?"

This was answered by a brief pause. "Dean? Is that you?"

"Who else would it be?" Dean countered, a tad concerned at how tired Sam sounded. "Are you okay?"

"Am I okay?" Sam countered, sounding a bit stunned. "You get abducted and you ask if I'm okay? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. Broken ribs, busted leg, that sort of thing. But I'll live. What about you? You sound like you haven't slept in ages." He couldn't help worry about his brother, no matter how badly he himself was doing.

"Just tired. When you disappeared ..." Sam trailed off and Dean wondered what was going on. Sam wasn't normally one to hold back on how he felt.

"Where are you? Are you driving?" Dean asked, suddenly envisioning that his sleep-deprived little brother wrapped the Impala around a tree, killing himself in the process.

"Uh ... yeah," Sam countered, his tone guarded.

Dean frowned. "No, you're not. Tell me you're not driving, Sam. You don't sound awake enough to talk to me. I do not want you driving the damned car if you're that tired," he warned.

For a moment, Sam was silent. Then he cleared his throat. "Okay, fine, I'm not driving. This guy, Tony, is," he finally said, his tone a bit stand-offish.

Dean was fully aware that Sam expected him to have a fit because someone else was driving his baby, but at this point Dean really didn't care as long as it meant Sam was safe and was on his way to join him. "Where are you now?"

"On the 95, just passing Yosemite," Sam replied a little hesitantly.

"How far is that from here?" Dean asked.

Sam was silent for a moment, undoubtably calculating the distance in his head, then asked a question to this Tony guy, who was driving Dean's car right now. "About one thousand miles, give or take. We'll arrive sometime tomorrow night," Sam finally said.

Dean glanced at the window. "Cool," he muttered. "Then maybe you can tell me where the hell I am right now, because I don't know."

"Uh ... Big Bend National Park in Texas," Sam countered, sounding a little surprised. "Haven't you talked to anyone there yet?"

Dean made a face. "Yeah, but not about that," he grumbled and glanced at the door. "Listen, Sammy, you stay in touch. You hear me? I'm gonna try and get some shuteye right now. I'm kinda wasted."

"No shit," Sam countered and Dean grinned vaguely.

But then he frowned. "How would you know?"

Sam sighed. "Did they hit you hard over the head or something? You just told me you had broken ribs and a busted leg. I take it you didn't get that from going out for food, dude," he countered.

"Oh yeah. I told you," Dean said and grimaced. "Anyway, just get here as fast as you can. And call me."

Sam chuckled. "Okay. I will. And you better answer your phone when I call you," he countered, and then hung up.

Dean pulled the phone away from his ear and made a face at the pain rippling through his chest with every move he made. "Well, at least he's okay for now," he muttered, flipped the phone shut and closed his eyes.

***

Interstate 95
Nevada

Sam shut off his phone again while eying the landscape racing by outside for a moment.

"Everything okay?" Tony asked.

"Yeah, everything’s fine," Sam countered without looking at him. Despite the almost overwhelming urge to be uneasy about everything, Sam found it impossible to not like Tony. The guy reminded him of Dean, just in a mellower edition, and – well aware that a statement like that would give his brother a severely swelled head – who didn't like Dean? So Tony wasn't hard to like, considering the likeness with his brother.

"Well, that’s good to hear. How's he doing health-wise?" Tony asked.

Sam glanced at him and wondered if the guy knew more about Dean's condition than Dean had told him. "Well, he said he was doing better. Mentioned broken ribs and a busted leg."

Tony arched his brows. "Oh, and he forgot to mention that he was beat to hell by a bunch of hunters?" he asked. "When we found him ..." He shook his head lightly.

Sam stared at him. "When you found him what?" he asked, his tone on the verge of being demanding.

"Well ... he wasn't looking too good. That's for sure," Tony said.

"I know," Sam agreed and glanced away.

"You had a vision?" Tony asked.

"Yeah. I forced it and ... well ... it hurt like a bitch. And it didn't give me much in the ways of directions. Nothing distinguishing about the barn or anything," Sam countered.

Tony frowned lightly. "Then how did you find it? Jenn said you turned up there."

Sam stared ahead of himself for a moment. "They called me," he said. "Told me where to go. Said they wouldn't hurt Dean any more if I came. So I went."

"Well aware that they were going to kill you once you got there?" Tony asked, sounding a bit stunned.

"What choice did I have? Dean would have done the same for me. We don't let each other down. We're all we've got," he said quietly.

"Well, then it's about damned time you guys came to Perdition," Tony said with a vague smile on his lips. "We're like family there."

***

Perdition
Texas

Dean quickly realized that there were more people in Perdition than just George and Annie. A knock on the door ripped him out of a half-slumber and even though he said nothing, the door still opened and a girl about Sam’s age stepped in. Two guys loitered around the corridor outside, curiously glancing in at him until the girl closed the door behind her.

She gave him a somewhat self-conscious smile and leaned back against the door. "Hi," she said.

Dean eyed her for a moment. There was something familiar about her, but he couldn't quite put a finger on it. "Hi," he countered, shifted a little and grimaced.

Her expression changed at his pain and she pushed away from the door and took a step toward him, then stopped again. "Is it bad?" she asked.

Dean made a face, well aware that he shouldn't take his presently somewhat bad mood out on her. "I'll live," was all the answer he offered her, though.

"Can I help?" she asked.

Dean frowned. "Help how?" he asked. "If you think I'm gonna get off this bed right now, you've got another thing coming," he added, uncertain of what she was getting at.

"I was there," she said cryptically. "And no, I don't think you should get up. That would be really bad."

"You were where?" he asked and shifted again. This time he accidentally jostled his fractured leg and clamped his teeth together to keep the yelp at bay that would otherwise have worked its way over his lips.

"In the barn," she said and stepped closer, her eyes now on his leg. "When Jenn and Tony came to pick you up."

He blinked. He remembered that girl, but that was about it. He couldn't recall anyone else or what had happened after she had turned up in front of him and reached out for him, for that matter. "Who the hell are Jenn and Tony?" he demanded, pressing the words out through clenched teeth.

"Friends," she said, her eyes still glued to his leg when she took another step toward the bed. Before Dean could even fathom what she might be in the process of doing, she had reached out and placed a hand on top of the fracture.

Dean sucked in a breath, prepared for the pain yet completely overwhelmed by it anyway. It felt like she had poked his leg with a red-hot poker and that was not exactly the best type of feeling he could imagine.

The pain escalated rapidly, sucking the air right out of his lungs, but then it peeked and then rapidly faded away until there was nothing left but a dull, distant ache, which began to dissipate until even that was gone.

Stunned, Dean stared at her hand on his leg for a moment, then slowly slid his gaze up her arm to her face. She smiled vaguely, her head cocked slightly to one side. "Who are you?" he nearly whispered.

"My name's Sarah," she said and blushed all the way to her hair roots. "I'm a healer," she added and focused on his chest. The beads of perspiration which had formed on her brow told him that this wasn't exactly easy for her and when she turned a little to better face him, she wobbled.

"Hey, take it easy," he said, wishing he could dash out of bed to help her, but his broken ribs pretty much prevented that.

She sank down on the edge of the bed with an exhausted sigh. "Sorry. I'd like to heal you completely right now, but ... I'm not as experienced as Tony and he's not going to be here for a bit," she said, her smile weak and apologetic.

"That's okay," Dean said, still not entirely sure what had happened. But then something struck him. "Tony?" he asked. "Is that the same Tony who's on the way here with my brother?"

Sarah's eyes lit up. "Yeah, that's Tony," she agreed.

"And he can heal too?" Dean asked. Sarah nodded almost eagerly and he wondered how old she was. "So, you're a healer, huh?" he added and gave her a smile, which made her blink rapidly and glance away, once again beet-red in the face. It was only with the greatest effort that he contained a chuckle at her response.

"Yeah," she said. "George thinks I have potential to become a great healer. Just like Tony."

Hero-worship was an understatement for what this girl felt for this guy. Dean figured he could be mistaken, but he was pretty sure Sarah had a major crush on this Tony. He just hoped it was well deserved. Mainly because this guy was not only driving his car, but also had his brother along for the ride. 'He'll better be worth it,' he thought to himself.

***