The sun was up by the time that Dean heard the first siren. He had been wearing grooves in the floor of the room all night, anxious and oh so pissed off at everyone and everything, that he didn't really give it much thought until he saw the flashing lights and realized the ambulance had come to this very hotel. A little alarmed, he pulled the drapes away and looked down at the ambulance.

The owner of the hotel was standing down there, gesturing wildly while the paramedics nodded and tried to calm him down. For some reason, Dean turned his attention away from the arguing parties and skimmed over the people assembling to watch down there and that was when he spotted her. She stood among the onlookers and her gaze was on him. She smirked, waved at him, then turned around and left.

And it was at that very second that Dean realized where Sam was. "Son of a bitch," he snarled, swirled around and raced out of the room. He followed the paramedics to the room the hotel owner was taking them to and muscled them out of the way before they could enter. He blocked the doorway for a moment, hearing the sobbing of the maid out in the corridor who had found the room in disarray and ...

Dean's gaze fixed on the shape huddled into the furthest corner of the room. He nearly skittered around the big bed and dropped down on his knees next to Sam. "Sam?" he whispered, his voice breaking with tension. Sam was half sitting, wrapped halfway in a sheet. His eyes were open and staring and for a second Dean couldn't detect any sign of life. "Sammy?" he pressed and grabbed Sam's face with both hands, turning his head a little. Sam blinked and focused sluggishly on him.

"Oh man," Dean breathed.

"Sir, could you please move out of the way?" one of the paramedics tried.

"Get lost," Dean snapped without looking back at him.

"Sir, he needs help," the paramedic tried.

Dean turned his head and glared at the man. "I said get lost," he snarled and it had the desired effect. The paramedic withdrew.

To avoid complications, Dean grabbed Sam and hauled him to his feet and had to nearly drag him out of the room. Without looking at anyone and making damned sure his expression didn't invite anyone to interfere, he guided his nearly catatonic brother toward the door.

"What about this room? It's ruined. It'll cost me a fortune to have it restored," the owner complained, then fixed a steely look on Dean and Sam. "Are you gonna pay for this?"

"Us?" Dean had to admit that he was a bit stunned by this question, but he was also seething with anger already. "Are you out of your frigging mind? My brother gets bashed within an inch of his life in your hotel and you want us to pay for it? What the hell kind of establishment are you running here? Just wait until my lawyer hears of this. He'll sue you for everything you own."

The owner's expression changed from morose to startled. "Oh ... uh ... no, of course you shouldn't pay for it. I'm sorry ... I ... I wasn't thinking," he stammered. "I'm very sorry. I'm ... uh ... what room are you in, sir?"

Dean glared at him. "210," he snapped.

"Feel free to stay as long as you wish. It's on us," the owner said, then glanced at Sam. "Are you sure he shouldn't go with the paramedics?"

"Mind your own business," Dean snapped and urged Sam forward.

But Sam stopped short in the doorway. "M' jacket."

Dean stared at him for a moment. "Forget about your jacket, Sam," he said quietly.

"No," Sam rasped and tried to shift around.

Dean stopped him, glanced around the room and focused on a bundle of shredded clothes on the floor. "Could you get me that jacket?" he asked the hotel owner, who was standing around, watching them with concern.

The guy picked up Sam's jacket and handed it to him without a word and it seemed to satisfy Sam, because he lapsed back into his near catatonic state and only responded when Dean forced him to move.


They got back to their room and Dean shouldered the door closed behind them without releasing Sam, then guided his brother over to the bed. "Sit down," he ordered and Sam complied.

Dean almost couldn't bring himself to look at his brother, but he knew he had to, knew he needed to help Sam deal with whatever injuries the kid had gotten this time around. What cut him more deeply than anything else could was the look in Sam's eyes. It was like he wasn't really there any more.

"Sam?" He hunkered down in front of Sam and just watched him for a moment. And all Sam did was sit there and stare ahead of himself. Whatever that bitch had done to him had broken the bridge of his nose if the swelling was anything to go by. His right eye was so blood shot it was almost black. His lower lip was ripped deeply and swollen. Gingerly, Dean took a hold of his chin and turned his head a little, noting the crescent-shaped cuts along the right side of his jaw, but the injuries to his face weren't the worst. The way Sam held himself, the way he clutched the sheet around him, indicated more serious injuries hiding underneath. Carefully, Dean dislodged the snip of the sheet from Sam's hand and peeled it away from his chest. The first thing he saw was the hand-sized burn on his sternum. It looked bad. The skin was an angry red and in some places it had cracked and had been bleeding. There was another burn on the right side of his chest that looked even worse.

"I can't deal with this," Dean muttered. "You need to see a doctor, Sam."

That put some life back into his brother. Sam focused on him, blinked rapidly a few times, then shook his head. "No," he whispered.

"Sam, I can't deal with this. This is bad stuff. These look like third degree burns, man," Dean insisted, but Sam shook his head again. "Dammit Sam," Dean tried, but Sam's response was to yank the sheet back and cover himself up again. With a sigh, Dean let his head drop. How the hell was he supposed to handle this?

"'m tired."

Dean looked up at him and almost couldn't stop a helpless smile from slipping over his lips. "You're tired?" he asked and Sam nodded lightly, still not looking directly at him. "You've just been ... to Hell and back and you're tired." He rose and took a few steps away from Sam. This whole thing was killing him; the fact that Sam went through this to save him, that this bitch kept coming back for more and that she somehow prevented his brother from fighting back. He scrubbed a hand over his face, somehow hoping to wipe away the frustration and the fatigue and the anger and accomplishing neither.

The sound of fabric rustling made him turn around. Sam had reached for his jacket and was almost a little clumsily pulling something out of one pocket. Using only one hand, he unfolded the paper and held it out to Dean. "Burn it," he said and met Dean's eyes dead on and Dean found he couldn't hold his gaze for more than a few seconds. There was too much pain in Sam's eyes right now.

He grabbed the piece of paper and eyed it for a second, then focused on Sam again. "Is this ..." Sam nodded and Dean looked back down at the contract. "Holy crap," he muttered, drew in a deep breath and briefly glanced around the room until his gaze settled on the trash bin. "Plastic," he muttered. "That won't do. It'll melt."

"Sink," Sam supplied quietly.

"Oh yeah, right," Dean agreed, grabbed his lighter, a can of lighter fluid and stepped into the bathroom. He dropped the contract in the sink, poured the fluid over it and held a match to it. It caught fire and burned for a moment, then the fire died, leaving the paper unscathed. "What the hell?" he muttered. "Guess it's not broken then, huh?" he added mostly to himself.

From the corner of his eyes he noticed that Sam was moving and glanced over at him. He struggled to his feet, every move he made obviously causing him pain, and Dean just couldn't let him do whatever he wanted to do without help. "Hey, ho-wow, what are you doing, dude?" he exclaimed and strode over to Sam, stopping him.

"Gotta burn it," Sam pressed out, his gaze now glued to the contract still lying in the sink.

"Sam, stop. You're hurting yourself," Dean tried and applied pressure to make Sam sit back down, but Sam shifted out of his grip.

"It's my contract now," Sam pressed out and focused on Dean. "I can destroy it."

It was with some surprise that Dean realized that Sam had made a bargain for the contract, that this latest atrocity committed against him had transferred the contract to him. "What do you need?" he asked quietly.

Sam blinked and shifted a little unsteadily. "Holy water. Salt," he said and swallowed hard, then briefly closed his eyes and pressed his lips together while every muscle in his body rippled with tension. He latched onto Dean with one hand and leaned into him with a groan.

"Sam," Dean tried.

"Now," Sam pressed out. "Please."

Against his better judgement, Dean helped Sam into the bathroom and got him settled down next to the sink before he strode back into the room to get the salt and the holy water.

With a hand shaking so badly that both salt and holy water spattered all over the place, Sam poured both ingredients over the contract, then slowly and painfully began to recite the exorcism rites. Once he was done, Dean handed him the can of lighter fluid and he sprinkled it over the smoking paper, then nodded to Dean to drop a match onto it. The whole thing nearly exploded, sending a burst of fire toward the ceiling and within a split second, the seething-hot fire devoured the contract before Dean opened the tap, pouring water over the remains.

"Now it's broken," Sam rasped and doubled over.

Dean caught him, only barely preventing a possibly painful spill from the toilet. With an effort, he got his brother back into the room and into bed. Instead of trying to get that damned sheet off him, Dean covered him with a blanket, then dug out the extra strong painkillers and figured he would have to make a run to the pharmacy as soon as possible. The biggest issue was that he didn't want to leave Sam alone.

Rather than risk anything, Dean settled down on his own bed to watch over his brother.


The first thing he became consciously aware of was the pain. His mind worked sluggishly and he couldn't understand why the hell he was in so much pain at first. Everything hurt. And he was so damned hot too.

The memory of the night before came back in jerks, little by little filling the holes and furthering understanding. Every breath he took caused him pain. His chest hurt, his stomach hurt, all of it adding to the growing tension as he tried to stabilize himself enough to not move at all.


He opened his lids slowly and squinted at the painfully bright light, then shifted his right arm to block the light. But that too hurt and he groaned and instead shifted his face into the pillow, which hurt too.

There was the sound of movement and then the light dimmed. "Sam?"

Once more he tried to open his lids and could finally see without the feeling that his eyes would be burned out of his skull. His lips were dry and he had a metallic taste in his mouth. He focused painfully on his brother, who was hunkered down next to the bed. "Feel like crap," he managed, his voice as broken and sore as his lips felt.

"Don't blame you," Dean countered quietly. "Look, Sam, you're burning up. You need a hospital or at least a doctor," he added.

The thought of having to go through endless questioning and the involvement of the police made him shake his head. No doctor in his right mind – unless they were hunters themselves – would ever leave something like this unreported. "No," he rasped. "No hospital. No police."

Dean frowned. "Who said anything about the cops, dude?" he asked. "I'll call Bobby. Maybe he knows someone in the area who can help."

Sam refrained from answering that. Dean would do what he thought was best anyway. Instead, Sam closed his lids again and wished desperately that he could pass out.


Deeply worried, Dean called Bobby. He had no idea how to explain what had happened or why they were in such desperate need of a doctor, but he somehow hoped that Bobby wouldn't ask too many questions right now.

"Hey, Bobby. It's Dean," he said the second the connection was established.

"Dean? Good to hear from you. Where are you?" Bobby asked.

"Glenwood Springs in Colorado," Dean countered and glanced at Sam.

"That's where you go to recover?" Bobby asked, obviously puzzled. "I'd have thought you'd dragged Sam to Atlantic City or some place like that. How's Sam doing? His ankle any better?"

Dean grimaced. "Uhm ... his ankle was never the problem. It was his knee," he countered and cleared his throat. "Listen, Bobby, I need some help here."

"What are you not telling me?" Bobby countered, his tone even.

Dean rubbed a hand over his brow and sighed. "Sam's in trouble. He needs a doctor, but ... well ... I can't take him to a hospital."

"How bad is it?" Bobby asked.

"Bad enough. It's the nature of his ... injuries that makes it kinda impossible to involve someone who doesn't know about hunters," Dean said and made a face. Having to explain this without actually letting Bobby know what had happened was going to be damned tough.

"I see. So ... Glenwood Springs," Bobby said thoughtfully. Dean could hear him leafing through something. "There's a guy in Craig. That's about two hours away from where you are now. He's a doctor. Peterson is his name. I'll give him a call, tell him to drop by. What motel are you staying at?"

"The Ramada Hotel. Room 210," Dean countered. "Thanks, Bobby. I appreciate it."

"Yeah, I know you do," Bobby replied. "And when Sam is able to travel again, you boys get your asses back to South Dakota and then I want an explanation for why the hell you're lying to me all the time."

Dean swallowed. Bobby had known him for too long for him to be able to pull one over on him. "It wasn't a lie," Dean countered. "Just not ... the entire truth."

"Either way, Dean. Your time is running out and I'm worried sick about what the hell you two are doing to yourselves out there," Bobby countered a little gruffly.

"Yeah, well, there's some good news on that front," Dean said and sank down on the edge of his bed. He wasn't going to believe it until the day came and went and he was still standing, but he felt he needed to let Bobby know that there was a chance he might still be around next month.

"And what's that?" Bobby asked.

"The deal," Dean said. "It's broken."

This obviously stumped Bobby because he didn't say anything for a moment. "Are you sure?" he finally asked.

"Not one hundred percent, but there's a big chance," Dean countered.

"How the hell did you accomplish that?" Bobby asked. He sounded stunned.

"I'll tell you about it later. Right now, Sam needs that doc as fast as possible," Dean countered. "I swear I'll tell you what happened, but ... not over the phone."

"Alright. But stay in touch, Dean. Do you hear me?"

"Yes sir," Dean countered, instinctively reverting back to how he had responded to his father when John had barked an order at him.

"Cut that crap out. I'm not a Marine, Dean," Bobby said sternly. "Just stay in touch."

"You got it," Dean agreed and hung up. "Two hours, Sammy. There's a doc two hours from here. Bobby's gonna call him and have him drop by."

Sam didn't respond, just lay there and shivered.


Dennis Peterson arrived two and a half hours later. "You Dean?" he asked and eyed Dean suspiciously when he opened the door.

"Yeah," Dean said and stepped aside to let the man in. Peterson was about John's age and looked just as tough too. "I take it you're Bobby's friend?"

"That would be me," Peterson agreed and stepped inside. His sharp gaze instantly settled on the prone figure in the bed. "Care to tell me what I can expect?" he asked.

"Demon attack," Dean countered and closed the door. "Burns, mostly."

Peterson nodded and settled down on the edge of Sam's bed. Sam squinted up at him, then glanced at Dean, who nodded to him to let him know this was okay. "Let's have a look," he said.

Sam rolled over on his back, which was neither painless nor easy and uneasily released the sheet he was still wrapped in.

Despite the way Peterson looked, he was a hell of a lot more gentle than Dean would have expected him to be. He peeled the sheet away from Sam's chest, exposing the two burns while his expression remained completely immobile. "Second degree, on the verge of being third," he muttered and met Sam's eyes. "Any more?" he asked.

Sam shifted his gaze away and Peterson glanced back at Dean. "Can we have some privacy here?" he asked.

"I'm not comfortable with that," Dean countered.

"You may not be comfortable with it, son, but it's not really your call," Peterson said sternly and eyed him darkly. "If you're concerned about my identity, then you can just give me a bottle of holy water and I'll prove to you that I'm not possessed," he added.

Dean grabbed a bottle and handed it to him without a word.

Peterson took it, unscrewed the cap and took a hefty swig of it. "Happy?" he asked.

"It just proves you're not possessed," Dean countered sternly, then glanced at Sam. The look in Sam's eyes made him back down at once. "Fine," he added, turned around and left the room. Slightly annoyed and more than a little nervous about the whole thing, he slumped against the wall next to the door. There was more to Sam's injuries than the kid was letting on and it irked Dean that he trusted a stranger more than his own brother right now.


Peterson turned back to Sam and eyed him for a moment. "Let's have a look at that," he finally said.

Sam was not happy with it, but the guy was apparently a doctor, and one who knew about their world, which made it easier to stomach. But it still wasn't easy. He was embarrassed beyond the norm right now, despite the fever raging through him or the burning pain from his wounds.

The doc inspected his injuries with clinical indifference and without saying much. He enquired about the pain, noted that Sam had a high fever, and eventually gave him a shot for the pain and the infection that had already started to wreck havoc on his system.

"Now, the best thing you can do is to put cold cloths on those burns. If I were you, I would stay away from anything that chafes for the time being. Give it a few days to heal up, then take it one step at a time. If you have some loose sweat pants, stick to those for at least a week. No jeans. And no belts," Peterson said and put two vials on the night stand. "I'll leave those here. I'm sure both you and your brother know how to administer this?"

Sam nodded mutely.

Peterson eyed him closely. "That tear in your lip. I wanna stitch that," he added and dug the gear out of his bag. "Don't worry. I've been commended on my needlework," he added with a vague smile. "You need a local anaesthetic for this?"

Sam shook his head and braced himself. But Peterson wasn't only good at putting the stitches in so they barely showed, he was also good at doing the work without causing unnecessary pain.

"If it doesn't come out itself, remove it in a week's time. And try not to tear the suture if you can," Peterson said, took a gentle hold of Sam's chin and inspected his bloodshot eye for a moment. "That will eventually heal up," he said. "You got any problems seeing with that eye?"

Sam shook his head lightly. "No," he nearly whispered.

"Well, nothing to worry about then. If you get trouble with that eye, go see a doctor or find the local ER. I don't think there will be any problems with it, but you never know," Peterson countered. "As for your nose ... well, the bridge is cracked from what I can tell, but it'll heal up on its own. You're just gonna look like a prize fighter for a bit," he added with a vague smile. "Any questions before I take off?"

Sam raised his head a little and glanced down himself. "Is it ... bad?" he asked, embarrassed like hell to even have to talk about this.

Peterson obviously knew what he meant. "It's like a sunburn. It'll sting for a bit, but I severely doubt there will be any side-effects. Nothing to worry about there. It's the other burns you got that can cause trouble. Especially if they get infected. Just make sure you keep the burn sites clean – all of them – and keep cold, moist cloths handy to keep the pain down. If it gets too bad, take a shot of what I left you. And until the fever is gone, you need to take a shot of the antibiotic once a day." He reached back into his bag and retrieved a jar of something. "And apply this to the burns once they start healing. It cools and promotes healing. If you run out, you can get it in any drugstore." Peterson pulled the covers up over him again. "And in future you might want to consider staying away from demons like that."

Sam made a face and flinched when it pulled on his newly sutured lip.

"Yeah, bad joke," Peterson agreed and got up. "Take care of yourself. If you give yourself enough time, you should heal up in no time."

"Thanks," Sam muttered.

"You're welcome," Peterson replied, grabbed his bag and left the room.

Dean stepped back inside and closed the door behind him. "Everything okay?" he asked.

Sam stared ahead of himself for a moment, then finally glanced at his brother. "Yeah," he rasped and cleared his throat. "I'll live." The shot Peterson had given him was starting to take effect and Sam relaxed a little.

"We'll stick around here for a few days unless you wanna leave," Dean said, picked up one of the vials and studied it for a moment.

"Doesn't matter," Sam muttered, finding it harder by the minute to keep his eyes open.

"Yeah, well, you just rest," Dean said before the world faded away.