Consciousness came back like a slap to the face. This time he didn't make the mistake of moving because that was going to send him right back over the edge to La-La-Land where nothing mattered and the world became a swimming sea of nothingness.

He couldn't remember ever having hurt this bad in his life. Even his teeth ached, it was that bad. Whether Miss Bitch Goddess had left him for dead or to die was beyond him and he didn't really care either way. His first return to the real world after she had tried to use him as a jackhammer to bring down the damned wall behind him had resulted in loud-mouthed agony. He had screamed his bloody head off for an indeterminate amount of time and had then passed out again. The second awakening hadn't fared much better. Having blissfully forgotten that every damned bone in his body had been pulverized, he had tried to get up and get moving, his foremost concern his brother's well-being, and the explosion of a pain so enormous he couldn't possibly contain it all had sent him right back into darkness.

So this time he stayed still. He had no idea how long he had been out both times, but the light in this dump had changed and he figured he had been here for most of the day now. A light drizzle soaked him in cold water and he became painfully aware of that if it turned into a damned downpour, he was not only going to die of the cold, but he was damned well going to drown too. This was the basement of a former factory building and the only thing left standing. That meant below water level and no cover up above.

Frantic fear rippled through him and he shifted his head a little to try and catch a glimpse of anything. Nobody would come here. Nobody knew where he was. And he was in no damned condition to do anything about it. Even thinking about moving hurt and he knew what would happen if he did move. Something inside him was severely broken. He was convinced of it. And if Sam didn't get his damned head out of his ass and realized what a cast-iron bitch he had fallen for there, Dean knew he was going to meet a sticky end out here in the middle of goddamn nowhere.

And then his phone rang. He stopped breathing for a second and felt like slapping himself hard, but moving his arm that much was out of the question. That uber-bitch had forgotten about the phone. Or maybe her mediaeval stupidity didn't account for portable communication devices as small as cell phones. But how the hell was he going to get to the phone? He shifted his right hand a little, bent the elbow just a tad and saw black spots. His right shoulder was screaming all kinds of murder right now, insisting he cease and desist all movement or it was damned well going to pull him under again. But he needed to move. At increments, he shifted his arm, bent his elbow and dragged his hand toward his pocket. The phone stopped ringing, but just knowing that it was there, that someone was trying to call him, meant he had a way out.

He let out a wheezy 'yay' when he managed to wiggle his index finger into the pocket. His shoulder protested the movement by throwing up a handful of black spots in his vision and he paused to let the saw-to-bone sensation settle a little before he pushed his two good fingers into the depth of the pocket and somehow managed to extract the enticing lifesaver from its hiding place.

He had next to no feeling in his fingers, which resulted in the tantalizing phone dropping out of his hand, hitting the rubble he was lying on and skittering out of his reach. "No," he wheezed, frustrated enough to be close to tears. The thought struck him that even if he had the damned phone in his hand, he wouldn't be able to raise it to his damned ear. He could barely bend it enough to wiggle his fingers into one pocket without passing out.

Breathing hard, he focused on subduing the pain and tried to focus on his left arm instead. The shoulder was okay, but the arm itself wasn't. There was a fracture somewhere. Hell, if he had to bet good money on it, he would pretty much claim that his arm was dust from shoulder to wrist. It sure as hell felt that way.

His hand dropped to the rubble and he flinched and wished he hadn't. Even his damned face felt broken. He mostly felt like that stupid bitch had put him in a damn press and squashed him flat. With an effort that lay miles outside his present abilities, he dragged his hand forward, using the two good fingers he had left to reach for the phone. The more he stretched his arm, the more angry the pain from his shoulder became, but he couldn't stop. He paused in-between inches to gather his breath, to stave off the darkness tugging at the edge of his senses, until he felt he could go on a little more, reach a little further. And then the damned phone started ringing again. The urgency of needing to answer it washed over him and he over-strained to get to the phone and darkness exploded in his aching skull yet again and dragged him under.

***

Sam shifted uncomfortably on the seat of the Beetle he had stolen. He was sore like hell, most of all just wanted to not move at all until the soreness had receded, but there was nothing to be done about it right now. Dean came first and his damned brother wasn't answering his damned phone.

"Come on, Dean," he urged, pressed the speed dial again and held the phone up to his ear while the red horror of a car puttered its way down the street. In fact it was his own fault that it 'puttered'. He wasn't driving very fast, hadn't tested how fast this box could go, but that was only because he had no idea in which direction he should be heading.

He knew that if it hadn't been for the anxiety and the disgust, he would have had to fight to stay awake right now. But adrenaline was rushing through his veins, keeping him awake and alert, and he needed that. The thought that Frigg might be hot on his heels had a lot to do with that, but his main concern was finding Dean and getting them both to a secure location for the duration.

Again the call switched to voice mail and Sam hung up again. "Dammit," he muttered and inspected the road ahead of him. Silsbee wasn't exactly the biggest town in Texas, but there was still a lot of ground to cover.

At the next gas station he pulled over and went inside to get a map of the area.

"What'cha lookin' for?" the kid behind the counter asked and handed him the map.

"I'm not sure," Sam confessed and unfolded the map. "How much is it?"

"On the house, man," the kid said.

Sam nodded his thanks and returned to the Beetle where he spread the map out on the passenger side seat and eyed it. He blinked heavily, becoming increasingly aware that the dreaded fatigue was creeping up on him. He needed to get going, needed to find Dean and get them the hell out of here.

Instead of playing needle-in-the-haystack, he dug out his phone and called Dean again. "Pick up, man," he whispered urgently while pulling the Beetle back onto the road. And again the call switched to voice-mail.

Sam hung up again and dropped the phone on the passenger side seat. "Dammit, Dean," he muttered. "I should have listened to you. Shit."

***

When consciousness returned once more, Dean figured he was going to die in this place. There was no way Sam could find him here if he was even out looking and Dean had his doubts about that, considering the influence that bitch had on him. Okay, so they'd had their differences lately, but Dean planned on making up for that big time if Sam could just get off his ass and find him. Which reminded him, he needed to get his damned hand on the phone.

He shifted his head a little and flinched at the stiff pain in his neck. "Goddamn bitch," he wheezed. Drawing breath hurt. He had broken some ribs, no doubt about it, and his right shoulder was shot to hell and his left arm had been pulverized. He didn't even want to think about his legs, which he had no real sense of right now because everything above his waist hurt like a bitch.

When he caught sight of the phone, he almost laughed out loud. His right hand was lying right on top of it. He just couldn't feel the damned thing because his fingers were tingling and prickling along. Something was pinched in his dislocated shoulder and it cut the connection. Unsteadily, he wrapped his fingers around the phone and managed to get a grip on it. Then he started to inch his hand toward his hip and it all worked for now, but his shoulder wasn't happy with his plans and he nearly blacked out again when he tried to shift his hand up his hip with the phone still in it.

"Son of a bitch," he rasped. He shifted a little, painfully tilted his hip to one side just enough that he could hook one finger into the pocket before he rolled back onto his back and sucked in a lung full of air when a piece of the debris littering the floor cut sharply into his back and shifted a broken rib. He almost blacked out, but somehow managed to fight it off. Then he began the painful procedure of shifting his hand upward, bending his elbow by increments while fighting to keep his busted shoulder steady.

Despite the downright chilly temperatures and the still drizzling rain that was soaking into him, he was sweating like crazy by the time he'd managed to move the damned phone to the middle of his chest. His shoulder was throbbing, and black spots kept jumping into his line of view. He licked his dry lips and wondered about that for a second, then centered his thoughts on the phone again. If only he could get it high enough so that Sam could hear him, that he might be able to hear Sam, it would be enough. And then he remembered that this phone – a new model Sam had swiped somewhere – had a hands-free deal going. In other words, if only he could frigging remember how to turn the tiny speaker on, he was already halfway there.

And then the phone rang again. He grunted with surprise, shifted it upward a little further while fiddling with the buttons. He couldn't feel them and had to see what he was doing, but eventually he managed to press the right button and, as luck would have it, activated the speaker at the same time.

"Dean?!"

He smiled at the sound of Sam's voice. "Sammy," he whispered, then inhaled sharply. "Sam," he tried again, raising his voice despite the resistence of that growing lump in his throat.

"Dean? I can barely hear you. Where are you?"

"Hurt," Dean pressed out. Even in his own ears, his voice sounded feeble and faint. "I'm hurt," he repeated a little louder. The black dots dancing in his peripheral vision multiplied.

"Where are you?" Sam repeated. "Dean? Can you hear me?"

He realized that time was slipping by faster than he thought. He wasn't responding to Sam and Sam couldn't find him without him telling him where to go. "North-East," he rasped. "Ninety-six. Lillard."

"You're in Lillard?"

No, you moron. Outside, he thought, realized he hadn't said it out loud and cleared his throat. "Aban..." Shit, his voice was failing him. He couldn't muster the strength to speak for much longer. Unable to keep a keening of agony at bay, he shifted his hand higher, closer so Sam could hear him better. "Abandoned factory ..." he gasped. "Outside Lillard. Before ..."

"Leave the phone on, Dean. I'll find you with the GPS."

Sweeter words had never been uttered in his opinion. "'kay," he rasped and closed his eyes. "Tired," he muttered.

"Stay awake, Dean. I'm coming."

Sam's voice was faint, far away. But he was coming and that was all Dean needed to know.

***

Sam had more or less pinpointed Dean's position to a spot just outside Lillard and he floored the gas pedal on the Beetle and realized that for a small car, it could go very fast when it was pushed. Maneuverability wasn't good, but he didn't care. Dean had sounded really bad and the sooner he got to his brother, the better.

The Beetle tore up the 96 until he reached the Trotty Horse Road and pulled up that until he reached what looked like an old factory in ruins. And there, parked out of the way from prying eyes, was the Impala. "Oh, thank god," Sam muttered, pulled up behind the classic Chevy and got out. He grabbed his duffle and his laptop and strode over to the Impala to find that not only were her doors unlocked, the key was dangling from the ignition. Obviously, Frigg had hoped someone would steal her and leave Dean here to rot.

"Damned bitch," he muttered under his breath, dumped the duffle and the laptop on the passenger side of the front seat, then sent a sweeping glance around the area. "DEAN?" he yelled.

Time was of the essence. He needed to find Dean and get them both the hell out of here before Frigg turned up. She had taken Dean here. There was no question that she would know how to find her way back here and would probably expect him to end up here in his search for Dean.

"DEAN!" he tried again. A quick check on the laptop basically told him he was right on top of his brother, but the zoom wasn't very good and it was hard to pinpoint the exact location.

Instead of putting his faith in the computer, he started walking, looking around, trying to estimate where Dean might be. And the closer he got to his brother, the more ashamed he felt of the whole thing. That Dean had gotten hurt was his fault. He had been adamant that Frigg was who she claimed to be and someone to be trusted.

The uncomfortable chafing of his boxers reminded him painfully that she was anything but what she claimed to be, that she was probably a demon with an axe to grind, and his stupid inability to see past a pretty face like hers made him feel lousier than ever. "DEAN!" he yelled again.

A smallish sound made him stop short. Some rubble shifted somewhere. It wasn't much, but it was enough to attract his attention. "Keep it up. Please keep it up," he whispered and started toward the source of the sound. A part of one of the buildings had caved in and what had passed for the basement was now full of rubble. And there was Dean. Sam stopped at the edge of the rubble-made incline and stared down at his brother for a moment. Oh god, he looked horrible.

"Dean!" he then exclaimed and skittered down the incline to drop to his knees next to his battered sibling. "Oh god," he whispered. Up close it looked even worse, much worse than the injuries that had littered his brother after their run-in with the yellow-eyed demon a few months back. "Dean," he tried again and reached out to touch Dean's face. He cupped a hand against his cheek, wrapped his thumb under his chin. "Dean, open your eyes, man. Look at me."

Dean's lids fluttered, then cracked open and he managed a ghost of a smile. "Sammy," he whispered.

"Oh man, you're a mess," Sam muttered. "What's broken?" Dean faded again and Sam tightened his grip on his chin. "Dean, open your eyes," he demanded, on purpose using a tone he normally wouldn't use.

Dean's lids snapped open and he focused blearily on Sam. "Everything," he rasped.

"That's not true," Sam disagreed. "Talk to me. What do I need to watch out for? We don't have much time. Frigg must be right on top of us. We need to get out of here, Dean."

Dean swallowed painfully. "Right ... shoulder shot to hell," he rasped. Sam had suspected as much from the odd angle Dean' shoulder was at. "Left arm ... pulverized." Sam arched an eyebrow and glanced at Dean's left arm. Immediately, he couldn't see anything wrong about it, but that didn't mean there wasn't internal damage. "Broken ... ribs," Dean continued. "Busted ... fingers."

"How many ribs?" Sam asked and gingerly touched Dean's chest. Dean's response was violent albeit without motion. He screamed his damned head off before he passed out. "Jesus," Sam muttered, then carefully peeled Dean's rain-wet t-shirt up and grimaced in sympathy at the dark purple bruising that covered him from the hollow of his throat to the edge of his jeans. But nothing was sticking out anywhere, which at least was a relief. So, no touching him while he was awake, Sam surmised and abused the fact that Dean was out cold to slip his fingers under him and feel along his back. There were at least three broken ribs there, but no blood. He checked his left arm, which was broken in at least two places. His ring and little finger on the right hand were broken, but the rest seemed okay. To avoid undue agony later, Sam carefully pulled Dean's ring off his ring-finger and pocketed it. Then he felt over Dean's legs, searching for breaks and found none. Grateful for small favors, Sam figured it was best to get Dean the hell back to the car before his brother woke up again.

It took some doing. His own depleted state wasn't helping, but he managed to push back on his own needs and wants to accommodate his brother. How he managed was beyond him, but he got Dean out of the ruin and onto the backseat of the Impala before Dean even stirred. Sam bundled a blanket under Dean's head when his lids suddenly snapped open.

"Easy," he soothed. "I'm getting you out of here. We need to find a hospital. You need medical attention."

Dean stared at him for a second, then visibly relaxed. He didn't try to speak, which in Sam's opinion was best for now. He got behind the wheel and took them toward Beaumont to find a hospital.

***

Memorial Hermann Baptist Hospital ER
Beaumont, Texas

Dean wasn't exactly clear on what was going on other than the fact that someone was hurting him and he needed them to stop. But any move he made, even the smallest one, tore into him like a damned blade.

"We're gonna have to sedate him. I can't set his shoulder otherwise. The shock alone might kill him," an unfamiliar voice said.

"Do it." Now that voice he knew.

With an effort, he strained to clear his fuzzy vision and focused on his brother. "Make'em stop," he managed to press out, his own voice sounding foreign in his ears.

"It'll stop in a second, Dean," Sam countered, his expression tight and pale.

Dean put faith in his words and true enough, after a moment – days? hours? minutes? – the pain began to fade and his mind began to drift. "Tha's'mo'like'it." His words slurred together and he let his lids close while the noise around him faded away on a swaying wave of molasses.

He had no sense of anything for a while and then the world slowly oozed back into focus. His entire body felt numb from the crown of his head to the tips of his toes and it was actually not so bad. He wondered if he'd dreamt the attack, but when the first sounds filtered through, he realized he was hearing the steady ping of a cardiac monitor and normal background noise from a hospital. The antiseptic smell was the next thing that assaulted him and he wrinkled his nose.

"Dean?"

With an effort far beyond him, he somehow managed to peel his eyelids back and squinted up at his brother. "'m numb." He had the distinct impression that his voice sounded odd.

"You should be. They filled you with enough morphine to knock out a rhino," Sam agreed with a vague smile. His expression was still tight and pale.

With every heartbeat the world became a little clearer even though his head felt like it was wrapped in cotton and the rest of him felt disconnected. He flexed his jaw carefully and realized his tongue was just as numb as the rest of him. That would attribute for his voice sounding odd. "Ho' lon'." He grimaced – or at least he thought he did – and let out a grunt. "How long," he finally managed to pronounce the words properly.

"Couple of hours," Sam countered and sent a brief glance over one shoulder.

"We ... gotta go." His mind was clear enough right now, but his body felt weighed down and unresponsive.

"You're not going anywhere, Dean," Sam said and scrunched up his face for a second. "You've got a badly dislocated shoulder that they've set, six broken ribs, one of which came very close to puncturing your lung, three breaks in your left arm, two broken fingers and a head injury."

He flexed his jaw again while starting to feel a little disconcerted by the fact that he couldn't really feel what he was doing, and then tried to discern if there was something Sam hadn't told him. "What? No broken legs?" he rasped and tried a smirk.

Sam's expression tightened a little. "No, no broken legs," he confirmed.

"We gotta leave," he repeated and cleared his throat.

"Dean, you're in no condition to go anywhere. They were talking about a possible spinal injury. Your back is one big bruise," Sam persisted.

Dean realized at this point that his brother was nervous. Frigg had to be close to get that kind of reaction out of him. "So's my front," he said and smirked joylessly. "That bitch ... could have a future ... at a dry cleaners," he added and thought it was pretty funny. But Sam's expression told him he didn't get it and he just didn't have the air to pursue it right now. Talking stole his breath and the pain he knew was there was beginning to push through the drugs.

"Stop talking, Dean. You're going to hurt yourself," Sam said.

"Screw that," Dean growled. "We gotta go." Stubbornness as well as the growing anger at this would-be goddess mixed with a healthy dose of fear for his brother's life pushed his reserves into action and even though every inch of him jittered, he slowly sat up. As long as the drugs did their job, he was going to get the hell out of this hospital and get Sam out of harms way. To prove a point as much to Sam as to himself, he pulled his knees up a little and flexed his toes. He couldn't actually feel anything move, but it moved and that was good enough for him.

"Dean, are you nuts?" Sam exclaimed, first now noticing that he had moved.

"You'd better ... get me a damned wheelchair, Sam. As much as I'd like to ... I don't think ... I'm walking out of here," Dean said, having gained full control over his vocal cords at this point. He knew what that meant. In another half hour, he was going to be alight with pain and unable to make the decisions he needed to make.

Sam stared at him for a moment, then nodded once, swallowed hard and left the room to do as he was told and Dean once again marveled at the fact that he had almost always been able to get Sam to do what he wanted him to do where as dad had always failed to achieve just that.

Truth be told, Dean would much rather have remained in the hospital for the duration, to make sure everything was okay, but with their lives ... it had been a damned miracle that they had been able to stay this long. Hospital visits were always cut short and healing would have to be done on the road or in hiding somewhere.

Unable to use his left hand, he clumsily grasped a hold of the electrodes connected to his chest with the three working fingers on his right hand and pulled them off, then maneuvered himself around so he could pull his legs over the edge of the bed. A dull throb was rising through him, announcing the end of the line where the drugs were concerned and he gritted his teeth against the steady rise of pain. With a bit of luck, the few hours of relative painlessness he'd had would have made a difference, but he figured that was too much to hope for.

Sam returned with a wheelchair, the hectic red patches on his cheeks indicating that he'd done something he felt he shouldn't have. Dean didn't stop to ask, though. Sam helped him carefully off the bed and into the chair, dropped whatever of Dean's belongings the nurses had stuffed in a bag and put it on Dean's lap, then pushed the chair out the door. The otherwise mandatory saline drip had not yet been connected, but the shunt was embedded in the back of his hand just the same.

Somehow, Sam managed to avoid suspicion and got Dean out of the hospital and up to the Impala waiting for them. Without a word, he helped Dean into the car, dropped the bag with his stuff on the back seat and got behind the wheel. Then he glanced at Dean. "The further we get away from Texas, the better," he said quietly.

"Agreed," Dean said with a tight nod, then frowned when Sam dropped something in his lap. A small white paper bag. "What's ... that?" he asked and glanced at Sam.

"Antibiotics and enough morphine to drop a rhino," Sam countered, put the car in gear and revved the engine a few times, then pulled out of the hospital parking lot. "I'm not taking any chances with this, Dean. If you have some kind of injury that needs something more than Ibuprofen, then morphine is the next step."

"Gotcha," Dean agreed a little breathlessly. His chest was beginning to hurt and his back felt like someone had run over him with steamroller.

***