Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: PG-13

Synopsis: A boy with special abilities, a ghost with a split personality disorder and Sam and Dean stuck in the middle.

North Manitou Island
Lake Michigan

"God dammit, Sam!" Dean's startled exclamation didn't go any further than that. Instead Dean let out a stream of curses while trying to disentangle himself from Sam after they had taken a less than graceful spill onto the forest floor of Manitou Island.

"Get off me," Sam huffed and pushed at Dean, who's knee was pushing painfully into his side.

Dean groped for the shotgun while trying to get off Sam without actually hurting him, but that seemed to be downright impossible. Throwing caution to the wind, he put his weight on his right knee, which extracted an annoyed grunt from Sam, before Dean managed to get his left foot under him and push back to his feet. "Of all the stupid, reckless ..." Dean began, but was cut off by something swooping past him, which made him dive for the ground and landed him once more on top of his brother.

Sam, who'd been in the process of getting up, was slammed back down on the ground and with Dean's elbow in his guts, he pretty much lost what little air he had left in his lungs. "Dean!" he pressed out and tried to force his brother off him.

"Ow! Would you stop shoving me?" Dean snapped and struggled to get off Sam again. "Man, I am glad there's nobody around to see this."

They somehow both managed to get to their feet almost at once and Sam started brushing himself off, but a swift turn to gather his notes and the backpack he had dropped landed his elbow in Dean's face, which nearly knocked his brother over.

Cupping both hands over his nose, Dean glared at him. "For pity's sake, would you stop that?" he snapped.

"Sorry. You don't have to stand that close to me, you know," Sam countered with slight annoyance.

Rubbing the obviously sore bridge of his nose for a moment, Dean eyed him. "Since when have you become such a klutz?" he asked.

"I'm not a ..." Sam made a face and stopped himself. There was no sense at all in getting into a discussion with Dean right now. To avoid meeting Dean's eyes, he shifted his gaze to the right and stopped short. Then he snatched the flashlight out of Dean's hand B his own had rolled away into unknown territory when he had fallen B and aimed it at the thing crawling towards them. "DEAN!" he yelled.

Dean swirled around, but not before the thing on the ground lashed out with razor-sharp claws and slashed his calf open, which teased another stream of curses from him before he fired the double-barreled shotgun loaded with rocksalt and silver at the critter.

The creature screeched and writhed on the ground, turning its obsceneness away from them while trying to crawl away again. Despite his wound, Dean was only aimed at killing the Mananaggal, which they had traced to this place. Even though the myths said that you couldn't kill a Mananaggal just by shooting it, Sam had it on good authority that you actually could if you used salt and silver in one go. Dean closed the distance to it, slammed a boot down on its back while filling two new shells into the shotgun, aimed it at the thing's head and pulled the trigger again. And the result was immediate and in part also gratifying, because the critter's head exploded.

"Son of a bitch," Dean snarled and pulled back, finally becoming aware of the tear in his jeans and the bleeding wound underneath.

Sam stepped forward and shone the light down on the remains of the Mananaggal, a slight frown furrowing his brow. "Uh ... was that it?" he asked and sent a quick glance back at Dean, who had dropped down on the ground at the foot of a big tree to inspect his left leg.

"Was what it?" he shot back and gave Sam an annoyed look. "I get gored and you ask stupid questions," he growled. "Give me that flashlight."

Sam handed the flashlight over and hunkered down next to Dean. "That looks bad," he said and instantly felt guilty.

"Bad? I loved those jeans," Dean countered in a suffering tone of voice. "This damned job should come with a clothing budget," he added and picked at the torn edges of the hole in his jeans.

"You have a ten inch tear in your leg and you're worried about your jeans?" Sam asked and couldn't shake the idea of what his brother would have been like if they'd lived a normal life. A quarterback with fancy taste in clothes? He smirked.

"What are you grinning at? This hurts," Dean proclaimed.

"Yeah, I bet it does," Sam agreed and decided not to share that mental image. He grabbed his backpack instead and hauled the first aid kit out of it, then pulled the knife he had in an ankle holster.

"Ho-wow, what are you gonna do with that?" Dean asked and pulled back a little.

Sam frowned at him. "I can't clean the cut through the jeans," he said.

Dean growled something under his breath and got to his feet. "If you think I'm gonna run around on this frigging island for the rest of the night in this chill with a cut up pant leg, you've got another thing coming," he said and dropped his jeans, then braced himself against the tree next to him. "There. Now get it over with. I'm freezing my ass off."

Sam arched an eyebrow and set about cleaning the tear, then bandaged it up. All the while Dean made his feelings known by cursing loudly every time it hurt a little too much. "Are you done?" he pressed out through clenched teeth.

"Yeah, I'm done," Sam agreed and rose. "Sorry. It didn't look that painful."

"Maybe not, but it is," Dean hissed and made a face. "Shit!" Then he focused on the remains of the Mananaggal. "What if that mana...whatever is poisonous?"

"Venomous," Sam countered.

"What?" Dean shot back.

"It's not poisonous unless you lick, touch or ingest it. If it bites, stings or scratches you, it's venomous," Sam said, well aware the moment he said it that this was not going to go over well with Dean right now.

Dean glared at him. "I don't frigging care, do I?" he snapped. "And I'm telling you ... I can feel the poison. That frigging mana...whatever poisoned me."

"Mananaggal. And none of the reports I've read said anything like it," Sam said and glanced toward the corpse. "I think someone would have noticed if it was venomous."

"Yeah, well," Dean grumbled. "We'll see when I come down with blood poisoning, won't we?"

Sam rolled his eyes and packed up his backpack again. "Yeah, I guess we will," he agreed since opposing Dean right now might earn him a punch in the face. His brother's mood had been lousy since Dean had realized that they were on an island they couldn't get off of until the following morning and there was nowhere to stay but some rundown hovels down by the pier. "I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean to bump into you," he added, well aware that their previous entanglement had been his fault.

"How many frigging times do I have to tell you to be alert when you're on a hunt?" Dean snapped and tested his leg's ability to carry him. "Great! Just frigging great!" he snapped when it obviously hurt. Then he glanced at his watch. "When are they picking us up again?"

"Eight a.m.," Sam said, shouldered his backpack and picked up Dean's as well. "Let's find a place to spend the rest of the night. There were some cabins down by the dock."

"Cabins," Dean muttered. "They looked more like ruins to me. And ... dude ... eight a.m.? That's like six hours away. You suggest we bunk down in one of those ... shacks?"

"Dean, we came prepared for the eventuality. That's why we brought the sleeping bags," Sam countered and sighed. "You need a hand?"

"No, I don't need a hand. I can walk by myself," Dean shot back, definitely annoyed. "If you hadn't gotten your nose stuck in those damned papers, that damned mana...whatever wouldn't have gotten the drop on me."

"Yeah, well, next time maybe you could warn me before you stop like that," Sam countered a little grumpily. "And they're called Mananaggal," he added.

Dean sneered. "Whatever," he growled and took the first precarious step in the direction of the pier.

Somehow, Dean managed to make it all the way down there without asking for help and Sam couldn't stop wondering if he liked being in pain. Of course he knew that his brother's pride and B more prominently B his stubbornness had a great deal of influence on his stamina, but it still bothered Sam that Dean was willing to go through the obvious agony every step caused him rather than accept a helping hand. But, years of experience and the lack of his father's bossiness had taught Sam not to push it.

He checked out some of the old cottages by the pier and found one that was in working order. That generally meant it had a full roof and no broken windows. They spread out the sleeping bags and settled in for a few hours of sleep before they would be picked up again and Sam had to admit that it bothered him a bit that Dean wasn't talking to him right now. Granted, he didn't try to strike up a conversation either, but it still stung a little.

Dean just grumbled and shifted around for a bit, obviously trying to get comfortable despite his injury, and finally settled down. Moments later, he was asleep.

With a soft sigh, Sam turned his back on Dean and closed his eyes, not believing that he would sleep at all.


At seven thirty, Sam woke up, feeling if not refreshed then at least rested. Untangling himself from the sleeping bag, he reached over and shoved Dean. "Hey, we're being picked up in half an hour," he said, got up and started rolling up his sleeping bag. "Dean, come on," he added when his brother merely grumbled and refused to move.

It took a moment, but then Dean rolled over on his back and squinted up at him. "Have I ever told you that I hate camping?" he asked and propped himself up on his elbows. "Man, I can't wait to get back to the motel."

"Yeah, well, first we need to get off this island," Sam countered. "How's your leg?"

"Sore," Dean confessed, which probably meant it hurt like a bitch. With a bit of an effort, he got out of the sleeping bag and rose. But the second he tried to put weight on his leg, he let out a choice curse, lost his balance and sat down hard on the floor again. "Son of a bitch," he pressed out.

"Let me just take a look at it," Sam suggested. Dean gave him a glare for his trouble, then shimmied out of his jeans. Sam hunkered down next to him, unwrapped his calf and made a face. "Ouch," he said. "That doesn't look good. It's infected."

"What gave it away, genius?" Dean countered a little aggressively.

Sam let it pass because he knew that the wound had to hurt badly. "I think we need to swing by the ER on the way back to the motel," he said.

"No, I'm fine," Dean countered. "Just ... rinse it out or something, slap on a new bandage and I'll be fine."

"We're out of antibiotics, Dean. And I'm not a doctor, as you keep reminding me," Sam countered. "This isn't something I can deal with."

Dean growled. "Okay, fine. But first and foremost I need a frigging shower," he declared. "Then you can cart me off to the ER."

Sam opened his mouth to object, but it was obvious that anything he said right now would be overruled. With a sigh he relented. "Fine," he said, cleaned out the wound as thoroughly as he could with the limited supplies he had brought, bandaged it and finally rose again. "Let's get a move on. The boat's here in ten minutes," he added.

Dean got up and they packed up their things in silence. Sam did notice that Dean put as little weight on his leg as he could, but Sam kept his mouth shut about it. With Dean's mood still being this bad B now because of the injury B Sam knew he was likely to get slugged for saying the wrong thing. It was easier to err on the side of caution rather than risk a painful bruise.

Eventually, Sam swung his backpack onto his back and demonstratively walked out the door. For once he wanted Dean to actually ask for help even though he knew he wouldn't.

He stopped halfway to the pier and sent a quick glance back to the run-down hut they had spent the night in. Dean stood in the doorway, leaning against the doorframe and looked anything but happy, his gaze sternly on a spot on the ground. And he made no move to follow Sam.

For a long moment neither of them moved. Then Sam sighed, dropped his backpack on the ground and walked back to his brother. "Would it kill you to open your damned mouth and ask for help?" he asked, annoyed now.

"Yeah, it might," Dean growled, but still allowed Sam to support him since it was obvious at this point that he couldn't really walk very far without help.

They made it to the pier just in time for the boat to arrive and the man who had sailed them across the night before eyed them for a moment, muttered something under his breath, then grabbed both their backpacks after Sam had dropped them on the pier, and lugged them onto the boat. "You got hurt?" he asked and looked up at Dean.

"Yeah, stupid accident," Dean countered. "Too many damned branches on this island," he added with a pained grin and eased himself into the boat.

Sam rolled his eyes, but refrained from commenting and followed him. The skipper arched an eyebrow, muttered something about novice hikers and sailed them back to the mainland.

Soon they had solid ground under their feet again and at this point Sam knew his brother needed a doctor as soon as possible. Dean's complexion turned paler with every jerk the boat made and his expression tightened every time the boat bounced on the waves of Lake Michigan.

Sam had to literally haul him off the boat, then released him to grab the backpacks from the skipper. "Go get the car," Dean said, threw Sam the keys and settled down on one of the piles. "I'll just ... wait here."

Sam eyed him for a moment, then shrugged, shouldered their backpacks and hurried over to where the Impala was parked. He threw their backpacks in the back and drove the car over to the pier with the passenger side door facing it.

With a effort, Dean rose, made a face and started to move forward. What he did was pretty far from walking, though, and Sam only let him get halfway up the fairly short pier before he got out of the car and went to help him. "Don't tell me you don't need the ER, dude. You can barely walk," he said and stood by until Dean was in the car. Then he slammed the door, jogged around the back and got behind the wheel. "You're as stubborn as a mule, you know that?"

"Whatever," Dean grumbled, in very obvious pain. "While we're at the ER, you might wanna snurch some painkillers in liquid form, dude," he added.

Sam gave him a slightly worried glance. "Is it that bad?" he asked.

Dean shifted a little and let out a muffled groan. "Well ... it's not entirely pleasant," he admitted reluctantly through clenched teeth, which said a whole lot more than if he'd said nothing.


Keweenaw Memorial Medical Center ER
Calumet, Michigan

Truth be told, Dean hated hospitals. He had hated them for as far back as he could remember. Doctors made him nervous and nurses B even though many of them were hot in his opinion B always struck him as dangerous.

Examination tables made him feel exposed, usually because when he was on one, it was serious business and he wouldn't be able to defend himself if he needed to.

And then there was the looming threat of heavy-duty sedatives. The thought of being drugged out of his mind and unable to fend for himself ... the idea alone made him shudder.

Sam stood by at the footend of the table, hands in his pockets and watched the doctor unwrap the bandage.

"So, Marvin, would you care to tell me what happened?" the doc asked and removed the gauze patch covering the tear. She made a face and Dean realized that he had underestimated the severity of the tear. It looked ragged and deeply infected in the harsh light of the overhead neon tubes.

"Barbed wire," he pressed out through clenched teeth and hissed when she prodded the exceedingly red and puffy skin surrounding the tear.

The doc was in her late forties, dark hair showing sprinkles of grey. She wore half-moon spectacles and struck him as someone's evil aunt rather than a doctor. She was the type of person who was likely to tell him to suck it up if he complained about he pain.

"This is a tad too deep to be barbed wire," she countered, her tone matching her expression.

"The barbs were longer than normal," Dean dead-panned and glanced at Sam for confirmation.

"Yeah, about this long," Sam agreed and held his fingers apart a good one inch.

The doc glanced at him and frowned. "Sounds like old barbed wire," she said, grabbed a bottle of something, grabbed Dean's ankle and pushed his leg around so she could squirt the liquid into the wound to rinse it out.

Dean clenched his teeth and grabbed the edges of the table to stop himself from throttling the life out of her or uttering some choice curses that flitted through his mind. Sam's expression tightened and Dean wondered if the kid would ever reach the point where he would chastise others for what they did. He sure looked about ready to stop her, but of course didn't.

"There's some debris in the wound that needs to come out," the doc said and gave him a look he knew only too well. She may not have said the words, but he knew what that look meant. Suck it up, soldier, was the general definition.

This was definitely one of the reasons that he hated hospitals and in particular doctors working in the ER. They always seemed hellbent on hurting their patients rather than making it easier on them. In his humble opinion, she could have numbed his leg first before taking a rasp to it.

He grunted with the effort of not voicing how much this treatment hurt and at the same time gave Sam a murderous glare. Although he knew that a visit to the ER was necessary with a tear like that, he still blamed Sam.

"God dammit, you butcher," he finally pressed out and very nearly yanked his ankle out of her grasp just to get away from the pain.

She gave him a look and shook her head lightly. "Do you want a puss-infested wound or do you want one that will heal up enough to be stitched up in a few days?" she asked, her tone chilly.

"He didn't mean it," Sam tried to smooth things over. "I take it you can't ... close it up now?"

She rolled her eyes and the look she gave Sam made Dean angry. She might as well have said that he was an idiot, because that was what that look implied. "No, of course I can't. It's infected. You don't close up infected wounds. This needs to be irrigated a couple of times a day and he needs antibiotics to knock back the infection. As a matter of fact, this wound is grounds for an admission," she said and finally finished cleaning the wound. Despite her words, she obviously wasn't going to admit Dean, which made him draw a sigh of relief. She eyed the open gash for a moment, then took a step back. "A nurse will be by in a moment to bandage this up. I'll leave a prescription for the drugs at the counter," she added, gave Sam a curt nod and left the examination cubicle.

Dean sank down on the table with a groan. "Man, I hate hospitals. And I hate ER doctors," he growled.

"That was a bit harsh," Sam agreed.

"A bit? She's lucky I didn't bring my frigging gun in here. I would have ..." He trailed off when a nurse stepped in.

"Ooh, that looks painful," she said when she saw the wound. She grabbed a syringe, filled it with some sort of clear liquid and injected it into Dean's leg at four points. "Just give it a moment. It'll start to feel better in a bit."

The throbbing, pulsating pain slowly began to ebb away and left behind a dull murmur he could live with. "Thanks," he sighed and pushed himself up on his elbows.

"I think you need more than antibiotics for this," she said, picked up two of the vials containing the painkiller and handed them to Sam together with a handful of wrapped syringes and needles.

He gave her that quirky little grin that worked so well on others and stuffed it all into the pocket of his jacket. "Thanks," he said.

"Don't mention it," she countered, treated the wound and then bandaged it up tightly. "You shouldn't walk too much on that if you can avoid it. And come back in about a week to have the stitches," she added to Dean.

"Yeah, well, that might be a problem. We're not from around here," Dean countered. "And we were ... not really planning on staying that long."

The nurse nodded. "Then go look up your own doctor when you get home," she said. "I'll give you a printout of the record for this visit."

"Thanks," Dean said and carefully pulled his leg over the edge of the table before slipping off it.

"Keep it elevated as much as possible and find a doctor if the infection doesn't go away soon," she said and left the cubicle again.

"Nurses I like. But doctors? Not a chance," Dean muttered and carefully pulled his jeans back on. "Man, even with the painkiller it still hurts," he added, then glanced ruefully at Sam.

"We'll go back to the motel, stay a few days," Sam suggested.

"Nope, dude. We're done in this town. We're moving on tomorrow," Dean countered.

Sam sighed. "Okay, fine. But I'm driving," he said. "I'll see if I can snatch some crutches on the way out. You probably shouldn't walk on it if you can avoid it."

"Crutches," Dean muttered and made a face.

Before Sam could leave to find said crutches, the nurse returned with a pair. "Here you go. Just don't tell anyone you're not coming back," she said with a smile, adjusted them to Dean's height and handed them over.

"Thanks again," he said and managed a pale smile of his own. He drew an inward sigh of relief that the crutches she had picked were black. Sam would most likely have returned with something in red or pink.


King Copper Motel
Copper Harbor, Michigan

An hour later, Dean was sitting on his bed, his leg propped up on an extra pillow, while he stared idly at the pristine white bandage now covering his leg from knee to ankle and felt more than a little inclined to let the world know just how annoyed he was by this.

"Man," he muttered and sighed, then glanced toward the door. His mind was made up. They would leave in the morning. But he was not looking forward to the drive. To keep his leg elevated, he would have to sit in the back and that alone ticked him off big time. That the wound was still throbbing despite the fairly heavy shot of painkillers he had been given in the ER worried him.

And now Sam had gone out to find them something to eat and considering how out of the way this place was, he would be surprised if Sam returned any time soon.

Dean grabbed the remote for the tv and switched it on, then started flipping through the channels. Fortunately, the motel had a decent selection, but there was really nothing on that he wanted to see. Daytime TV really wasn't his cup of tea. After a bit he switched the tv off again and scrubbed both hands over his face. "Damn," he muttered and again eyed his leg.

And then his phone rang. He grabbed it, eyed the display and halfway smirked before switching it on. "Bobby," he said.

"Dean. Where the heck are you boys?" Bobby countered.

"Copper Harbor in Michigan. Why?" Dean asked. Bobby's tone made him a little uneasy.

"Cause I need you two to go check something out in a small place called Opheim in Montana. Something weird's going on up there. Could be demons. Could be changelings," Bobby said.

Dean frowned and cursed the fact that Sam hadn't left the map within reach. "Uh ... okay. Well, we're kinda holed up here until tomorrow," he said. "Sam's just out finding something to eat and I have no clue when he will be back."

"I'm surprised you didn't go with him," Bobby said.

"Ha-ha," Dean grumbled. "I had a bit of a run-in with a mana...something on Manitou Island. The damned thing gored my leg."

"A mana...what?" Bobby asked. "What do you mean, it gored your leg?"

"As in put a big long tear in it," Dean said and sighed. "A ... uh ... Mananaggal I think it was called."

Bobby was silent for a moment. "So, you can't go to Montana then?" he then asked.

"No, we can go. No problem. What's going on up there?" Dean was quick to say.

"Uh ... hard to say, really. Some folks are talking about some kids with some pretty serious diseases suddenly getting well. Sounds a bit mystical to me. I'd go myself, but I've sorta promised to help these guys out and ..." Bobby said, but Dean cut him off.

"No problem, Bobby. We'll look into it. I'll get Sam started on the research when we've eaten and we'll leave here early tomorrow morning." He shifted and grunted when that jarred his leg.

"You okay there? I sure hope you got a doctor to take a look at that tear," Bobby said.

"Yeah, I did. I'll be fine. It just needs to heal up a little. Sam will do the driving. I'll be fine by the time we get to Montana," Dean countered. "We'll keep you posted."

"Make sure you do," Bobby said. "And take care of that leg, Dean."

"Sure thing. Catch you later," Dean said and hung up. "Montana, huh?" he muttered and wiped a hand over his mouth. "Changelings. That's a new one." With a sigh, he settled himself more comfortably to wait for Sam to return with the food.


Stage Coach Motel
Opheim, Montana
Two days later

The drive to Opheim in Montana had been grueling at best. Uneventful, yet still grueling. Dean had plowed his way through two bottles of painkillers on the trip and Sam was really starting to worry about him by the time they finally settled into the Stage Coach Motel in Opheim.

Any mention of another ER visit had Dean up in arms and he was grumpier than he had been in a good long while. Sam got that it was because of his leg, but it still bothered him that the painkillers didn't seem to do much. It numbed Dean's leg for a couple of hours and then he started hurting again. And Sam knew his brother well enough to know that Dean giving vent to pain meant it had to be a hell of a lot worse than he indicated.

The antibiotics did little for the infection, even though it didn't seem to be spreading. To forego any problems with stairs, Sam had made sure they got a room on the ground floor and Dean was running a fever by the time they finally settled in.

"This sucks out loud," Dean grumbled. "Douse this with holy water. It might make a difference," he added and positioned his leg carefully on the bed he had just settled down on.

"Dean, if the Mananaggal was venomous, holy water might not make any difference," Sam tried.

"And then again it might. So why don't you just do as I frigging tell you?" Dean shot back and scrubbed the back of one hand over his sweaty brow. "And turn down the heat."

Sam sat down on the edge of the bed. "You have a fever. There's no heat to turn down, Dean," he said and sighed. "Are you sure we should be on this hunt right now? I can call Bobby, tell him we can't do it."

"No, we're doing this," Dean growled and slumped back against the headboard of the bed. "Shit, I don't feel so good."

"I've noticed," Sam said and made a face. "Dammit, Dean. What does it take for you to admit defeat? You're sick. If this keeps up, you might end up with blood poisoning or something. Let's just find the nearest ER B hell, the nearest doctor would do at this point B and get you something stronger for that infection."

"No, I'm fine. We've got plenty of those pills left," Dean countered in a tone of voice that sent an unpleasant shiver up Sam's spine and instantly made him raise his hackles. He had to fight to keep from snapping at Dean in response to that tone.

He eyed Dean darkly for a moment. "Do you have any idea how much you sound like dad right now?" he then asked.

Dean almost flinched, then focused on him. For a long moment all he did was stare at Sam. Then the corner of his lips twitched. "Sorry," he muttered.

"It's okay," Sam countered. "Look, Dean, you've had a lousy time on the trip out here and we're out of painkillers that might actually make a difference right now. I suggest we go see the nearest doctor ... or have the nearest doc come here ... and get you something stronger. Obviously what you got there wasn't good enough."

Dean considered it for a moment, then nodded. "Fine. Call someone. I'm getting tired of this hurting all the time," he said and grabbed his knee just above the bandage with a grunt.

It took less than five minutes to find a doctor who made house calls B the motel actually had one on call and the receptionist admitted she had called the doctor, alerting him to this would-be patient right after they had checked in B and the doctor turned up fifteen minutes after that.

"Gregory Hindeman," he introduced himself with a smile and shook hands with Sam. "Just call me Greg. Everybody else does."

"Yeah, okay," Sam agreed and glanced over at Dean. He had forgotten what the health insurance card said for a last name, so he took a chance. "I'm Sam," he said. "The patient's over here."

"So I see," Greg said and put his doctor's bag down next to the bed. "You look a might out of it, son," he added and held a hand out to Dean.

"Yeah, truth be told I'm feeling like shit here and the painkillers we got at the ER we went to don't really help," Dean countered helpfully and briefly grabbed the doctor's hand.

"And you're feverish, too," Greg said. "Let's take a look at that wound," he added. Armed with a few towels that he spread out under Dean's leg, he unwrapped the wound carefully and eyed the deep gash, that looked deeper than before because of the swelling. "This looks ... unnaturally swollen," he finally said, pulled out a syringe and a vial and filled it halfway.

Even the injection of the painkiller B at least Sam assumed it was a painkiller B caused Dean enough pain to draw a restrained hiss from him and Sam was grateful that the doc had decided to numb the gash before fiddling with it. Otherwise Sam would have had to listen to a long litany of how cruel doctors were afterwards and he was already tiring of Dean's dislike of anything remotely connected with hospitals.

After a moment, Dean visibly relaxed and the doctor started examining the cut carefully. With a pair of tweezers, he removed debris the doc at the ER had obviously missed B among others a piece of what looked like claw B and then he carefully rinsed the cut out, then sprayed it with something. "Well ... essentially I should tell you to go to the hospital and stay there until this is healed," Greg finally said and smirked, "but I get a feeling I won't get far with that suggestion. So, I'm gonna leave you this," he added and handed Dean the vial of painkiller, "and the antiseptic spray. I assume you have enough bandages to last for a bit?"

Sam nodded. "We do," he agreed.

"Good. Don't give him too much of this," Greg said and turned his attention to Sam. "It's pretty heavy-duty stuff, but it should keep the pain at bay. Rest is the key here. Don't move your leg too much if you can avoid it," he continued and returned his attention to Dean to bandage the wound again.

"Okay," Dean said.

Greg reached into his bag again and retrieved a bottle of pills. "These are milder painkiller, but they're also fever reducing. You can mix them and these should keep you going if you're out and can't get an injection," he said and handed it over to Dean.

"Thanks," Dean said and briefly glanced at Sam. "What do we owe you?"

Greg grinned. "First one's free," he said.

Sam arched an eyebrow. "That's great," he said.

Greg packed up his bag and took his leave of them. The second he was gone, Dean opened the pill bottle and shook two out.

Sam got him a glass of water and eyed him thoughtfully. "I don't get it," he finally said.

Dean looked up at him with a slight frown furrowing his brow. "There's something you don't get? The end must be near," he countered sarcastically.

"Shut up," Sam grumbled and made a face. It annoyed him to no end that Dean always had to be sarcastic about issues Sam considered important. And this, in his opinion, was important.

His brother's immediate response to this was silence. He just sat there and stared ahead of himself and said nothing. Then he glanced at Sam. "Okay, sorry. What is it you don't get?" he asked.

Sam sighed. He did briefly consider not answering, but thought that would be a pretty childish response and he really didn't need to give Dean more ammo to use against him. "You don't usually get infections," he said. "How the hell can this be so tenacious?"

"Tenacious?" Dean snorted. "I don't know, Professor. You tell me. You're the genius in the family."

"And you're not as dumb as you pretend to be, so cut the crap, Dean," Sam countered a little more sharply than he had intended. "Look, man, the venom in that Mananaggal's claws must be supernatural in nature. So ... dousing it with holy water might not be a bad idea. But I'm not sure it'll help."

"Then what will? Do I need a damned miracle to make this better?" Dean countered grumpily. "It's only been three days and I'm fed up with it already."

"You were fed up with it the moment it happened, Dean," Sam corrected him. "We killed the Mananaggal. If its venom was supernatural in nature, it should have stopped working the moment the damned thing was dead. So ... maybe it's not dead?"

Dean eyed him for a moment. "Are you just thinking out loud or are you actually going somewhere with this? That critter was dead. You don't get much deader than that. I blew its frigging head off."

"There is no such word as deader, Dean," Sam said. All that earned him was a grumpy look from Dean. "And I noticed that you blew its head off," Sam agreed. "But ... what if the myths about Mananaggals are true? What if they can't be killed in their separated form unless you destroy the more vulnerable part of it and make sure it can't reconnect?"

"Separated form? What are you talking ..." Dean trailed off and made a face in disgust. "You actually think they do that? Cut themselves in half and leave the bottom half standing somewhere?" he asked.

"We've seen weirder things," Sam countered with a shrug. "And I don't think they actually cut themselves in half. According to the myth, they just ... separate themselves. Besides ... the one you shot ... wasn't whole."

"I didn't look at it that closely," Dean said and shuddered. "Still, the idea alone ..."

With a light shrug, Sam dropped into a chair. "Dean ... honestly ... I really think we should ask Bobby to find someone else to deal with this. You can't walk without the crutches and even with them, you're not very mobile right now. What if we have to make a run for it?"

"Sam, I'm not an invalid, okay? It's feeling much better already. That ER doctor obviously had no clue what the hell she was doing. So give it a rest. We're doing this. Just do the research and when the time comes, we go and check this thing out. Until then I promise I'll be good. I'll sit right here and I won't even complain," Dean countered and gave him a grin to prove his point.

Sam sighed. "Okay, I'll start digging. But you'll be bored out of your skull in ten minutes flat," he said. "I know you."

"Don't kid yourself," Dean said, grabbed the remote and flicked the tv on.

Sam watched him for a moment, then grabbed his bag and dug his laptop out of it to start on the research. He hadn't had time to get started on it yet. Normally, Dean was driving and he had plenty of time to check up on where they were going next. As it were, he hardly knew where exactly Opheim was in Montana.