Considering their past history, Sam figures that he was stupid for ever thinking things wouldn’t come to this. Avert one apocalypse and watch as another starts. It’s like everything he’s ever worked for has never had the chance to not go straight down the crapper, and that really, really sucks.
He shifts a little, angling the rifle to get a clearer shot and carefully squeezes the trigger, wincing a little as the bullet sings through the air and hits its target, brain matter exploding much like an overripe cantaloupe.
And this isn’t like your run-of-the-mill supernatural zombie that Dean and he are used to: one at a time, nail ‘em to their coffin, done, done, and done. Nope. The Leviathans had decided once again to mess with human biology, but this time, their little experiment had had more disastrous results than a regionalized Turducken sandwich. They were right as rain watching the human race degenerate into a bad George Romero film: easier food for the taking, not as many adversaries. They paraded around in it, pretended to be among the immune: concerned citizens looking for an answer, a cure. By Sam’s last estimate, half of the survivors were Leviathans now, and they were almost impossible to separate out of the crowd.
He doesn’t know why both he and Dean managed to escape the plague that was released into the water supply. He figures it had something to do with angel mojo or demon influence or some shit, because as far as he can tell, immunity hadn’t been genetic. Or maybe somewhere God is playing some kind of sick joke.
In any case, these new zombies are hungry, rotting, and smart. They know how to hide, how to run, how to set rudimentary traps. Most of the people who’d survived the initial outbreak had fallen as prey instead. The other half were those paranoid enough to know how to fight. Those who had prepared themselves for something like this.
Food is scarce and basic essentials are even scarcer. The infection worked quickly enough that the raiding hadn’t been wholly severe, but even so, most supermarkets were exposed. The places where the food hadn’t gone bad, the zombies had taken over, so heading out for supplies was very much like a covert mission.
Sometimes Dean speaks a little bit about when Zachariah showed him the alternate future, the one where Sam said yes and Lucifer won. He doesn’t like to mention it much, because it never fails to make guilt churn in Sam’s stomach, but the thought is mostly the same. Sam’s fairly positive that this is pretty much the same thing, only with a different outcome. Instead of Croatoan, they have zombies; instead of the Devil, there are Leviathans. Same game, different field. Except Sam is still Lucifer’s bitch, no matter what.
“Over to the right, Sam,” Lucifer says, bored. “Two o’clock. It’s like you’re not even trying.”
Sam doesn’t even dignify that with an answer--just takes aim again and fires. He feels like he’s in an old World War I movie, killing enemies from the clock tower. It’s easier to think of this than to think of how he’s going to get back to base. Somewhere across the way, Dean is holed up, equally high and equally eager to kill zombie ass, and Sam concentrates on that, on the steady cadence of Dean’s returning fire, to get him through.
It’s maybe an hour from dusk before Sam gets the signal over his handheld radio. “Fall back,” orders the general, stern. Sam’s glad--it’s a lot harder to fight these motherfuckers in the dark. He switches the button to the other feed, the one that only he and Dean use, and he doesn’t even have to say anything before Dean pipes up.
“Meet you at the alley, Sam?” Dean asks, all business. He sounds bone-weary, and Sam physically sags at it.
“Got it,” Sam responds, letting some of his exhaustion seep through. Dean’s the only one he can show it to, and it’s hard to keep up the facade around the others in the bunker.
Sam quickly scales the steps, keeping the wall at his back, even though there’s no way a zombie could’ve gotten behind him without him noticing. The rifle is pinned behind him on a harness, but he has his handgun out, silencer firmly screwed in place; he doesn’t need to attract more zombies than what have already amassed.
There are only a couple milling around, feeding on a flock of fallen birds, and Sam takes them out with three quick shots. He’s cognizant of his ammo, knows that if there are more, he’s going to have to risk shouldering the rifle while on the move, so he steps lightly, taking care not to engage those that won’t notice him.
The air is stale and oppressive once he gets out of the door, almost heavier on the ground level than it was in the air. The stench is more noticeable here, and if Sam didn’t have to keep both hands free, he’d have pulled his shirt over his nose to stifle it.
He keeps to the shadows, wary of hiding stragglers, and darts his way to the rendezvous point. Dean isn’t there yet, and Lucifer shrugs his shoulders. “Probably dead by now,” he says nonchalantly. “Zombie food.”
Sam ignores him again, even as his heart rate ratchets up another couple of levels. He’s counting seconds, listening for the pound of feet on the ground that don’t belong to the wandering zombie hoard, and has to stop himself from sighing audibly in relief when Dean rounds the corner.
It’s on the tip of his tongue to reprimand Dean for taking his damn time--probably shooting more zombies than fully necessary, but any noise probably isn’t a good idea at this juncture. It’s a treacherous fifteen minute zig-zag back to the entrance of their bunker, and Sam and Dean have to keep an eye out to make sure they’re not accidentally leading any of them straight to it.
They’re lucky today: only two pockets of zombies block their way, and they’re easily dispatched. Still, they stall five hundred yards from the innocuous hatch that leads to their safe house to make sure nothing followed them, and even though the street’s empty, Sam still feels the hair prick up along his neck. He concentrates on Dean, warm and silent beside him and traces the thin scar on his hand until Dean gives a sharp nod and they steal to the door and pop it open.
This used to be a bomb shelter, constructed under a largish office building by a paranoid businessman who’s long since disappeared. Sam doesn’t know who officially found it, but he’s thankful for the discovery. There’s an enclosed metal chute that’s a straight shot, angled to get them down in the bunker, which is big enough to have been broken off into living sections, including an infirmary and a pantry, along with a meeting room. The furniture has been cobbled together by raids over the past months, and it’s hardly the worst place Sam’s stayed.
“Hope the others made it back,” Dean says, a little bitterly. “Wouldn’t want Herr Fuhrer blaming us. Again.”
“He’ll find something else to yell at us about,” Sam responds absently, brushing his fingers through his hair. They keep catching in the dirt that’s matted there, and Sam thinks longingly of a hot shower. The only thing they have down here is a communal bathroom that doesn’t actually run water--they have to haul buckets down every morning, and it’s not worth the waste of energy to warm them up to wash. Don’t even get Sam started on the toilet situation.
“Then why are we even going to the meeting?” Dean asks, scuffing his foot. He’s keeping his voice low enough so that it doesn’t echo on the metal, but that doesn’t mean the general doesn’t hear through the vents. Sam finds he doesn’t much mind.
“So we don’t get put on lean rations again,” Sam says. “I’m not putting up with you complaining about being hungry for the millionth time. I’d rather cut my ears off.”
“I’m sick of this bullshit,” Dean complains. “We do all the work, and he gets to lead us around.”
“You’re the one who thought it was the best idea to stay here,” Sam reminds him. “I was all for leaving.”
“Yeah, let’s trust the crazy guy,” Dean says. “That’s a great idea. Just head out into the motherfucking zombie apocalypse alone with no protection.”
“Fuck off,” Sam says, pushing Dean half-heartedly. “Let’s just get this over with.”
Predictably, he and Dean are the last ones to arrive. The general usually keeps them out latest to make sure they clear the way for the looters. Their bunker is located in a formerly populated suburb of Houston, which means that there are enough grocery stores and residences so that it will take a while for pickings to become too scarce. Unfortunately, they also have to deal with the leftovers of that populace, which are none too personable. Plus, the heat is awful--if they didn’t have the generator and a rudimentary air-con system, Sam thinks they’d bake alive down here.
“Took you long enough,” the general says curtly, and Sam has to step on Dean’s foot to stop him from making a snide comment. It looks like everyone’s accounted for, which is a sight better than some days, and Sam sinks heavily into one of the unoccupied metal chairs. Dean just leans up against the wall behind him and glowers.
The general goes over the day’s haul--more canned food, some boxed pastries that may or may not be questionable--and then he hands it over to the nurse, a pinched-face young woman who Sam doesn’t care for. She simpers, putting it on thick, and then addresses the crowd.
“Fertile One has been impregnated,” she intones, and Sam just barely keeps himself from wincing. In the far right of the room, a blonde girl, hardly out of her teens, is looking at the floor and wringing her hands. “She will be under the control of Timothy, her latest partner, until two months after the birth of the child. I implore you to allow her to care for herself during the remainder of her pregnancy without interference.”
Sarah, the middle-aged woman sitting besides Sam scoffs audibly but doesn’t say anything. She’s glaring at the fertile as if it’s her fault that they’re stuck in this makeshift bomb shelter, and Sam had to quash the urge to chew her out for it.
The general takes the stage again, but Sam has stopped listening. He’s watching the fertile out of the corner of his eye, sees how she shies from Timothy’s touch, how he leers at her. Once things were established down here and the general took control thanks to popular support, the two fertiles had been sequestered into the smallest living space, passed around like prostitutes month by month. The general surmised that it was the best way to ensure the continuation of the human race. Sam thinks it's sick.
The general dismisses the group, and true to form, he holds Sam and Dean back and scolds them for not being as thorough as he’d wanted them to be. Dean keeps clenching and unclenching his fists, and Sam can tell by the tick in his jaw that he desperately wants to punch the general in the face. If it wouldn’t mean complete anarchy, Sam would jump forward and hold him down for Dean to get his blows in.
“Scott was almost overtaken by your sloppiness,” the general says firmly. “You need to shore it up. Improve your aim and combat instincts.”
That’s too much for Dean, who usually can’t take these lectures without some sort of retaliation. It always results in something unpleasant down the road, but Sam can’t fault him for it. “Why aren’t you out there helpin’ us, then? Great war hero and all.”
The general’s eyes narrow dangerously. “I don’t like your tone, Winchester,” he snaps. “I am in charge of this operation. You need to learn to bite your tongue.”
“I’ll do that when you stop being an asshole,” Dean challenges.
“Dean, stop,” Sam says, putting a placating arm on his shoulder. He can’t help but shoot a glare at the general though, not with the way he’s stroking the butt of his gun.
“You’ll find that it’s within your best interests not to finish this conversation,” the general snarls. “Unless you’d like to be part of a one-man mission outside tonight.”
“That would be murder,” Sam spits.
“You’ll find I very much don’t care,” the general says, turning on his heel. “Evening, gentlemen.”
Dean opens his mouth again, probably in preparation to throw some sort of epithet the general’s direction, but Sam steps violently on Dean’s foot. It doesn’t do much, considering Dean’s wearing his steel-toes today, but it does distract him enough so that while he’s busy scowling at Sam, the general turns the corner and effectively walks out of earshot.
“Don’t be a dumbass,” Sam chides. “Now he’s gonna fuck with us for the next month.”
“It was worth it,” Dean declares, and he and Sam start off towards the direction of their partitioned room.
“Not if one of us dies,” Sam says. Beside him, Lucifer is listing all the ways that they could get dismembered by the zombies that are hulking just outside, and it’s very distracting.
“We’re not going to die,” Dean says dismissively. “God, I’m starving. We still have some canned shit left?”
“Some peaches maybe,” sighs Sam, conceding the point. Nothing’s going to get through to Dean, not like this.
“Damn,” Dean grumbles. “This means we’re gonna have to hit up the mess hall tomorrow.”
“Not my fault you pissed off the cook. Can’t you keep anyone happy in here?”
“You seem pretty happy to me, princess,” Dean says. “And it’s not my fault that the zombie apocalypse turned everyone into a raging asshole. And there aren’t even any hot girls to fuck around here. I mean, c’mon.”
“You are pathetic,” Sam says, an old argument. “The world ends and all Dean Winchester can think about is his dick.”
“Just ‘cause you’re a girl doesn’t mean I am, Samantha,” Dean shoots back. He sweeps the sheet that serves as the door to their room to the side and immediately takes the three steps necessary for him to be able to slump down on the bed.
“Dude, gross,” Sam complains. “You’ve got mud and zombie shit all over you and you’re gonna lie there without cleaning up?”
“It’s seen worse,” Dean says. “Damn, I’m tired.”
“At least take your fucking boots off,” Sam says.
“Whine, whine,” Dean mocks. “Like I’d sleep in my shoes anyway. Dumbass.”
“Fuck off,” Sam says, pulling his shirt over his head. He really needs to wash up, but there’s no way he has the energy to schlep over to the bathroom.
He yanks on a t-shirt, ratty but clean, and shucks his pants so he’s just in his boxers. He and Dean, by the sheer luck that they happen to be the only people in this godforsaken bunker to know each other when they came in, were delegated a second hand queen instead of the standard-issue twin. Sam had been equally glad and annoyed by this: on one hand, he would actually fit on the bed; on the other, he was condemned to sharing with Dean for who knows how long, and not only was Dean a cover hog, he kicked too.
“Scoot over,” Sam says nudging at Dean, who just groans and rolls a couple of times until he's on the other edge of the bed, still on top of their one sheet. Sam yanks until it comes free and slides under it, extinguishing the lamp. Lucifer settles down next to the bed, still talking as Sam punches his pillow into place, and with the litany that follows and the concussive sound of Dean’s snores, Sam doesn’t manage to get any sleep until close to three in the morning.
When they gather in the meeting room that morning after a quick breakfast of powdered eggs and dry cereal, Sam can tell by the glint in the general’s eyes that he and Dean are not going to care for this morning’s assignments. Sure enough, Sam is put on lab duty, something he hates because the only scientist that the bunker has is some botanist, and he’s a class-A dick. Dean gets the worse end of the stick though: looting instead of defense, and he complains immediately, earning several sneers from the surrounding group.
“Mr. Winchester, if you don’t stop making a fuss, I will make sure you won’t have a defense unit covering your disobedient ass,” the general says crisply. He dismisses the meeting and disappears to wherever it is he goes when everyone else is risking their ass for his vision.
“This fucking sucks,” Dean snarls, kicking at the floor.
“Just don’t get bitten,” Sam says tiredly. “If you keep your nose down...”
“Whatever, Sam,” Dean says. “I fucking hate it here.”
“Go,” Sam urges. “You’re gonna be late and then Stevenson will miss on purpose and you’ll become someone’s meal.”
“Don’t tempt me,” Dean grumbles. “And don’t you get distracted down in that lab. I don’t trust Doctor Van-Dickhead. Or your fucked up head, for that manner.”
“I’ll survive,” Sam says, grasping Dean’s shoulder. “Be careful.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Dean dismisses, waving a hand. “See you later tonight.” Sam ignores the worry in his gut, makes a concentrated effort to not listen to Lucifer laugh and give a play-by-play of every worst-case scenario there is, and heads to his station.
It turns out that Dean must’ve pissed off the general more than they’d thought, because they spend the next couple of weeks separated. It grates on Sam’s nerves, being shut up in the lab, taking samples, when he knows Dean’s out there and might not return. It’s nearly impossible to loot properly while keeping a shotgun from swinging around, so Dean’s armed with only a handgun and a handful of people who are crap shots at best.
Sam hates it.
And it’s obvious that Dr. Van-Wursterburg is a complete fucking hack, and that makes it doubly annoying that Sam’s wasting his time doing jack-all. It’s boring and creepy, surrounded by zombies shut into makeshift cages, staring lifelessly out at him while he works as some sort of errand boy. Every time he’s allowed to leave, it takes ten minutes to shake the slimy feeling of it from his shoulders.
It’s late, near quitting time, when the siren sounds, echoing eerily throughout the room. The zombies despise it, voicing their displeasure with unearthly howls, and Sam’s out the door before Van-Dickhead can say anything. He has a bad feeling in his stomach; always does when the alarm goes off and Dean’s not with him.
The entrance-tunnel is a cacophony of arguing and the general’s standing there, his gun out and trained on Dean, who’s slumped against the wall with his arm bleeding profusely.
“Who the hell brought him back in here?” the general thunders.
“He came himself!” Thompson defends. “He wouldn’t drop his gun, and none of us wanted to shoot ‘im and risk it.”
“Well, shoot him now,” the general orders. “There are more than enough of us.”
Sam pulls his Glock from where he had it tucked against the small of his back and levels it. “I wouldn’t,” he snarls, and even though there’s plenty of noise, he’s still heard. The general tenses and turns slowly, the picture of calm.
“Put the gun down, Winchester,” he says. “Your brother’s been infected.”
“Doesn’t mean shit,” Sam says. “He wasn’t contaminated when the virus first came out. Doesn’t mean he’ll turn now.”
“I’m not taking that chance,” says the general slowly. “Put your weapon down.”
“Fuck off, asshole,” Dean adds from the wall. “Gonna take more’n that to kill me.”
“Put him in isolation,” Sam says. “There are plenty of rooms upstairs that can be locked from the outside. You can spare someone to be a guard. We know that it takes forty-eight hours for full on-set. Either he’s fine, and we don’t lose another person, or he’s not, and we have someone else to experiment on in the lab.”
“Oh, fuck no,” Dean groans. “You’re not turning me into some psycho science experiment, Sam.”
“Dean, shut up,” Sam snarls.
Sam can practically see the cogs in the general’s head work as he considers the offer. No matter how much he hates Dean, there’s no way he can deny that Dean’s a good shot, an asset to the team. And if he kills him now, it’s not going to go well for morale, not with what Sam’s put on the table.
“Very well,” the general concedes. “It’s a workable plan. But only if you stay in the room with your brother as a second line of defense.”
“Deal,” Sam says.
“Sam, you dumbass,” Dean argues. “Just stay down here. I’ll be fine.”
Sam doesn’t even give that a response. “We’ll take the third floor conference room,” he says. “No windows--it’s easier to defend.”
“Take him now,” the general commands. “The longer he stays down here, the more we risk contamination.”
“Come on, Dean,” Sam says, motioning.
“Sam, no fucking way--”
“It’s now or the shot to the head, Winchester,” the general says.
“I’ll follow you down,” says Sam to Dean. “You know I will.”
“Fuck you, Sam,” Dean snarls, but he gets up off the wall, barely stumbling, and pushes through the throng of people that had gathered at the commotion, everyone eager to stay away from him.
Thompson follows them, and the general, two guns pointed at their backs as they make their way to the staircase. It takes a minute or two to unlatch the heavy deadbolt, and once they’re going up the steps, Sam is sure to keep his gun out and trained in front of him. There’s no assurance that zombies haven’t managed to make it into the office building.
They don’t meet anything--a hint of luck in a day that’s obviously fucking sucked in every other aspect-- and then the general’s ushering them into the conference room. The sweat is already beading on Sam’s forehead, but all the general says is, “We’ll send rations up in an hour,” and then the door’s being sealed behind them.
Dean immediately smacks Sam upside the head with his good arm, scowling. “Why the fuck did you do that, shithead?”
“Like I was going to let them kill you?” Sam snaps. “You were the one stupid enough to get bitten!”
“Not my fault fucking Thompson and Miller don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. I was lucky to even get out of there.”
“Well now you might die anyway, so great, Dean. Just fantastic.”
“Not like it’ll stick,” Dean says. “You shouldn’t have offered to come in with me.”
Sam sighs, a deep sound. “I wasn’t going to leave you in here alone. And don’t give me that shit--you would’ve done the exact same thing.”
“Doesn’t mean I have to like it,” Dean grumbles. “And now we have two days to just sit in this hell-hole and wait till I turn into a fuckin’ monster. You better shoot me in the head, Sam. Nice clean shot.”
“No one’s shooting anyone because you’re going to be fine, dumb shit,” Sam argues angrily. “Just shut up.”
“If you say so, Sammy,” says Dean.
Dean slips into a fever not long after that, which is really indicative of nothing. There’s definitely a contaminant in the zombie’s saliva--the one useful thing that Van-Wurstenburg discovered in the lab--so Dean’s probably just succumbing to an infection. Still, it doesn’t do anything for Sam’s nerves, and although the general had delivered some rations, nothing was helpful for cooling Dean off in a room where the air conditioner barely worked.
Dean’s sucked into a sweat-soaked fever-dream, and Sam can’t do anything but fret. He wishes he’d had the forethought to bargain for something more than the bare minimum of isolation, but at that moment he’d only been concerned with keeping Dean from getting an extra hole in his skull. Sam strips off his over shirt to use as some sort of rag, wetting it with one of the bottles of water they’d been provided, but it doesn’t stay cool, and Sam feels like he’s only wiping Dean’s sweat around. Plus, he feels monumentally stupid: if Dean was awake he’d be mocking Sam for his shitty bedside manner.
Not like Lucifer isn’t doing that already.
“You’re being fucking stupid,” he sing-songs. “Dean’s gonna turn into a zombie and there’s nothing you can do. Maybe if I wasn’t all up in your melon? Maybe then you could help. Ah, if wishes were bullets, right, Sam?”
“Shut up,” Sam mutters, but it’s no use. Lucifer always loves his litanies, following through on every sick thread of thought that Sam is trying to ignore. The over-bright artificial yellow of the lights is giving Sam a migraine, but Lucifer still lingers, pacing around Dean and even toeing him once in a while.
“He’s gettin’ gray there, Sam,” Lucifer comments. “Better load that gun of yours.”
It does nothing for Sam’s sense of self-preservation nor the pit of worry festering in his stomach. The hours slip by slowly, and Dean only wakes up intermittently to complain. Sam has to force him to drink, but it’s obvious he’s not very lucid, even when he is conscious.
Past midnight, Dean seizes; stiff, eyes rolling, and Sam barely has the forethought to shove his hand into Dean’s mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue. Dean’s teeth sink down deep enough that when Sam pulls his hand back, it’s bleeding profusely, but Dean stills.
“Guess we don’t even have to worry about what happens to you once Dean zombifies,” Lucifer says dryly. “Looks like you’re on the same path, slick.” He’s flickering though, very faintly, due to the pain. Sam digs his fingers into the wound, ignoring how they slip through the slick of the blood-saliva that has coated his palm, and Lucifer shimmers a little more, gets a little quieter.
But he doesn’t disappear entirely. Sam’s luck isn’t that good. Obviously.
After that, Sam tries to talk himself into thinking that things will still be okay, that they’ve gotten over the worst of it. Dean’s shivering now, but over the next couple of hours, he doesn’t seize again. Sam gives himself every variation of a pep-talk that he can think of, but he’s not convincing himself. His head is muzzy from lack of sleep and his headache is worse now, but he doesn’t do anything but pace the room.
The second day of isolation passes much the same as the first. Dean lies like a lump and Sam watches over him like some sort of crazed stalker, listening to a figment of his imagination wax poetic about maggots and split skulls. Dean’s sweating through his clothes, but there’s nothing Sam can do about it. The general hasn’t been back since that first round of rations, and he has no way of communicating with whoever is stationed at the door short of wasting one of his rounds on the wall, and he’s not that desperate.
“You’ve gotta be okay, Dean,” he croaks as the afternoon gives way into evening. “Don’t do this.” He’s feeling shitty now too; maybe from worry, maybe from the throbbing mess that’s his bitten hand. His throat is raw, his head buzzing. He keeps piling the food in opposite corners because the sight of it makes him feel ill.
Sam dozes off somewhere near nine that night and when he startles awake a couple hours later, it’s because he was dreaming of hellfire. He’s sure that Dean’s dead, has died while he was sleep (stupid, so stupid, Sam), but he’s still breathing steadily. A little less pale, maybe. Sam can’t allow himself to hope, but something eases in his stomach.
Sam’s staring blankly at the wall when Dean stirs, and for a moment, Sam rests his hand on the butt of his gun, but then Dean speaks sluggishly.
“Goddamn, it feels like something died in my mouth.”
“Dean?” Sam asks tentatively.
“Who the fuck else, princess?” Dean grumps, struggling into a seated position. Sam has to rush over to support him, and Dean promptly shoos him off once he’s propped against the wall.
“You ever do that again, I will fucking kill you myself,” Sam threatens. “I thought you were dead meat.”
“Yeah, yeah, Sam. Thanks for believin’ in me. Got any water? I’m dyin’ here.”
Sam extricates a bottle and unscrews it for Dean, handing it over. Once Dean’s drained the entire thing, Sam lets himself breathe. “I’m serious, Dean,” he says, settling down close. Dean’s still clammy, but it’s a comfort to be this close. Sam tilts his head, snuffling into Dean’s neck, and Dean lets him.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m sorry,” Dean says. “I’ll try not to do it again.”
“I’m holding you to that,” Sam says faintly
It’s another three days before they’re let out. The general seems particularly upset, but he allows Dean to have the week off to recover in an actual bed, which is a charitable move that Sam wasn’t expecting. Sam is shipped back off to the lab, because apparently Doctor Van-Dickhead isn’t as much of a douche as Sam thought and had expressly requested him.
“You know how to sample,” he says in lieu of explanation when Sam shows up the next day, and that’s the only words they share all day. It’s a welcome reprieve to be in the lab without having to think of Dean on the outside, and time passes a little quicker. He catalogues and gets the doctor supplies when he needs them, and even though Lucifer’s complaining about how useless the whole thing is, it’s a better day than most.
It takes a while for Dean to regain his strength, but by his third straight night of having nothing to do while Sam works but sleep and mill around the compound, he’s going crazy. Sam schleps back to their room, two meals balanced in hand, to find Dean doing push-ups on the floor.
“Freak,” Sam says, setting down their dinner.
“Whatever,” Dean huffs. “Wasn’t it you that used to get on my case about this shit?”
“Not if it means you do it all day long, man,” Sam comments, kicking his shoes off.
“You try to keep entertained in this shithole,” Dean complains. “If the general doesn’t give me something to do, I’m gonna go crazy.” He strips off his t-shirt, sweaty more so from the heat, Sam bets, than the actual exercise, and throws himself across the bed. “There’s only so much sleepin’ a guy can do.”
“So read a book,” Sam suggests, snagging a bite of jerky.
Dean practically leers at him from his place on the bed. “Was thinking of something else, actually.”
Sam wrinkles his nose automatically while Lucifer makes a lewd comment behind him. “You always think about sex.”
“A guy has needs,” Dean whines. “C’mon, Sammy.”
Something flares low and pleasant in Sam’s stomach and he savors it for a second. “Go talk to Maria. Or maybe Nora.”
“I’d cut my dick off first,” Dean says shuddering. “You know you’re my only girl, Sam.”
“The only one you can stand in here, more like,” Sam says, but he can’t say he’s not on board with the plan. It’s been a long time since they’ve fooled around--they’re usually beaten down, exhausted when they’re done dealing with the day. Sam gets no sleep and Dean has no hope, and things are so different from when they started this, before everything. But Sam has a second wind from Dean’s lucky escape, and Dean’s in a better mood than he’s been all month, and yeah, right now Sam can’t think of anything better.
“Don’t be a pussy,” Dean says. “You know you wanna.”
“With skills like yours, I’m surprised you’re not still a virgin,” Sam remarks, but he sits on the bed, a tad closer than he might normally, and Dean’s grin is answer enough.
“Looks like they work on you, princess,” he crows.
“They won’t if you keep callin’ me princess,” Sam says, but he twists just enough, leans down and kisses Dean. It’s been months, but kissing Dean is as familiar as always, igniting a slow burn in Sam’s chest. They’re not careful, not gentle; Dean’s mouth is demanding even though Sam’s the one who kissed him, and he uses his leg to knock Sam’s balance out and roll him over. Sam lets him, surges up as Dean settles around him so they’re still kissing. Dean’s weight is a comfort, making it just a little hard to breathe.
The pressure of Dean’s mouth is heady, and Sam hooks his leg around Dean’s ankle so they’re even closer together. Dean makes a little approving noise, his chapped lips catching in just the right way, and Sam grabs Dean’s lower lip in a teasing nip that makes Dean growl.
They’re like that for a while, making out, and it’s so good. Lucifer doesn’t exist here; the only thing Sam can think about is Dean and how they feel together. He’s half-hard in his pants, lazily grinding against Dean as they continue to kiss. He likes the stutter-skip of arousal every time he rubs against Dean the right way, and Dean does too, if his erection is any indication.
There’s no rush, not tonight. This is a luxury they don’t often get to indulge in. Sam thinks they’re just going to get each other off like this, like teenagers, but Dean pulls away, his mouth swollen, his pupils blown wide.
“Let me?” he asks, and damn if that doesn’t sound like a plea. Sam bucks beneath him, just a little roll of his hips, and before he can think about it, he nods. Dean grins, a little lopsided, and starts working Sam’s shirt over his head. Once that’s out of the way, Dean goes for the button on Sam’s jeans but gets distracted, sucking a love bite into Sam’s collarbone. He knows that Sam loves that, the asshole, and Sam makes this little whine that makes Dean grin into his skin.
“Like that, Sammy?” he asks, as if he doesn’t know.
“God, shut up,” Sam gasps, because the last thing they need is for someone to investigate the noise. He squirms his hand between them and starts pushing Dean’s sweatpants down. He’s not wearing underwear, the gross fucker, but that hardly matters now. Dean keeps kissing along the line of Sam’s chest, sloppy, wet, open-mouthed, punctuated with sharp nips. When he bites down on Sam’s nipple, Sam gives a half-choked yell and arches up.
“Jesus, Dean, come on,” Sam hisses, but Dean just bites down again. Figures the asshole wouldn’t have forgotten this particular button of Sam’s. However, Dean’s distracted, and that gives Sam the leverage he needs to twist his lower body and jack-knife until Dean’s half under him, looking up with a slightly bemused expression.
“Someone’s impatient,” Dean quips, but Sam’s not having that, not now. Dean might know just how to drive Sam crazy, but Sam knows Dean’s tells too, knows how the spot behind Dean’s ear is crazy sensitive, knows that Dean will shiver and toss his head to the side if Sam skitters his fingers down Dean’s ribs. He uses that knowledge to his advantage now, because turn-about is fair play.
Dean shudders when Sam sucks a hickey into his neck, tangling his hands in Sam’s hair and pulling just hard enough for a bite of pain. He’s gasping loudly in Sam’s ear, and Sam loves this. Loves making Dean fall apart, loves falling apart under Dean like this. Dean is the only person he’s trusted in such a long time, and this is a culmination of that. In some sort of hugely fucked up way, it’s like going home.
Dean may delight in teasing Sam, but he’s not patient enough to be on the receiving end. He pulls at Sam’s head until they’re kissing again, a hard clash of teeth, desperate. “C’mon, fuckin’ now, Sam,” Dean growls, and Sam fights it for a second, knows Dean likes the struggle. He fucks his tongue into Dean’s mouth, gripping Dean’s biceps hard enough to bruise, but in the end, this is Dean’s game.
Sam rolls over onto his back this time without being forced there by Dean, and Dean is immediately on top of him. It’s a struggle, but Sam kicks his pants off and then his underwear, so that he’s fully naked, slick with sweat. Dean sits up on his haunches and holds two of his fingers to Sam’s mouth.
“Suck, bitch,” he commands, smirking slightly.
“You are such a pig,” Sam complains, but he lets Dean push them past his lips with only a slight bite, sucking in a way that Dean can’t take as anything but lewd. Dean’s eyes glaze over as he looks at Sam, and Sam concentrates on the salty staleness of Dean’s skin until Dean pulls his fingers out again, maneuvering so he’s in the right position to open Sam up. Sam tenses, because it’s been a while and it’s gonna hurt, gonna burn. He wants it like that, wants to feel it, but the intrusion is never really welcome, and Dean’s fingers aren’t nearly slick enough. He pushes them in without preamble, without warning. Dean won’t coddle him, not with this and Sam likes that.
Sam’s clenched his eyes shut as Dean works him open, so the first touch of Dean’s tongue to his hole makes him gasp loudly. Dean has only done this once or twice, thinks it’s too fuckin’ gay, even for them, and it feels good. Sam can’t keep quiet, not while Dean’s eating him out, and he groans low and long and bucks up into Dean’s mouth. His cock is straining against his stomach, spurting precome, and it’s all Sam can do to not start jacking it, but he knows Dean will pitch a fit if he does, so he manages to restrain himself.
When Dean pulls away, seconds or minutes later, Sam’s not sure, he wrinkles his nose. “You better fucking appreciate that,” he warns, and Sam nods weakly. He widens his legs, and Dean settles between them, adjusting so he’s in the right position, and then, again without warning, he guides his cock into Sam. It slides in easy at first, but the burn shoots deep when he’s fully seated. Sam wills himself to relax, takes a slow breath, and Dean gives him a second to adjust before he’s moving.
They don’t do languid, tender sex. That’s not them, and this isn’t about being in love or needing that affirmation. Sam wants the connection of it, wants the knowledge that he’s Dean’s and Dean’s his, and even though it hurts, he gets off on it hard. Dean’s pounding into him, his hands sliding where they’ve anchored on Sam’s chest, and Sam wraps his legs around Dean’s waist, egging him on with little ngh noises that aren’t entirely voluntary.
Time is liquid like this, and Sam doesn’t know how long it is since they started. Dean’s arching above him, breathing hard, and Sam knows he’s close. “Dean, c’mon, please,” he whines, and it takes Dean a second, but then he’s on the same page, palming Sam’s dick and then taking it fully in his hand, jacking it awkwardly. It’s enough though, puts Sam over the edge, and he throws his head back and lets the orgasm rip through his body. Vaguely, he can hear Dean crying out above him, and then he’s panting, back on earth, and Dean’s collapsed on top of him, the heavy fucker.
“Get off,” Sam pants, pushing at Dean’s shoulder, and he pulls out and rolls over so they’re lying side by side. Sam can feel Dean’s come inside of him, wet and fuckin’ gross, and he says, “You’re gettin’ the fuckin’ washcloth, man.”
“Whatever,” Dean says, sex-sated.
“I mean it. This is disgusting. I’m not falling asleep with jizz all over me.”
“Suck it up, princess,” grumbles Dean, but he eventually gets up and finds a bottle of water and a rag and thwaps it on Sam’s chest. Dean Winchester is many things, but after sex, he’s always Sam’s little bitch.
Once the general decides that Dean’s well enough for active duty again, Sam puts in the request to be paired with him on the outside again. The general can hardly deny that they work well together, and Sam’s sick of the lab work. Everyone’s trying to think of the best way to hit up the local hospital for some stronger drugs, but it’s heavily fortified by zombies and in part of the grid that the Leviathans haven’t bothered keeping powered up, so they spend the good portion of a week scouting the place out and looking for entry points. Not that it does them any good, because the general just picks apart every plan they come up with, but at least they’re doing something.
Something’s disquieting though, and Sam can’t quite put a finger on it. Things are the same all around: people in the compound are still dicks, it’s still hot, the food still sucks, and Lucifer’s still trying to make Sam have a mental breakdown, but at the same time, something’s different. Sam tries to voice it to Dean, but he can’t quite put it into words, and Dean’s no help.
They slide into a routine, ammo and running and shooting, and the hospital plan is abandoned for a couple weeks as they replenish their food inventory. Every store that’s close to home base has pretty much been ransacked over their tenure, and now they have to spread out, breaking into houses that look promising to raid the abandoned pantries. It’s slow work, and dangerous, because zombies tend to hide out in closed houses for some reason. It’s a lot of effort for not much payout, and more often than not, they’re out past dark, hearts in their throats as they struggle to keep on the lookout for danger.
Sam’s been in a constant state of exhaustion ever since he left Stanford, but it’s always been worse with Lucifer. When they hit the beginning of November, Sam just thinks it’s another phase of sleep deprivation. He has dark circles that make him look like he has black eyes, and Dean’s started trying to force him to sleep, but it’s just par for the course, really.
When they finally get around to the hospital situation again, the general has drafted up a plan that Sam’s not entirely sure will work without severe casualties. It basically equates to going in blind with a lot of ammunition, and Dean complains bitterly that they wasted their time staking the place out if this is what came from it. He has a picture of a map of the interior of the hospital, though, so it’s not entirely a crap-shoot, and they spend a lot of time memorizing it so as not to be caught off guard by a dead end.
It’s early when they get there: five of them split up between the two entrances to the hospital. Sam and Dean are in charge of finding the primary pharmacy, the one right in the center of the building, where there’s sure to be no light. Sam turns the flashlight over and over in his hands as he and Dean peek around the doors to see if the coast is clear. There haven’t been many zombies milling around in the courtyard, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not lurking in the hospital.
The air is heavy with decay, and Sam has to think hard to stop himself from gagging. Dean motions silently with his right hand, a let’s go gesture, and they slip inside. Sam’s flashlight bounces off the wall erratically as he tries to catch every corner to make sure there are no nasty surprises in store for them. He and Dean have their backs to each other, and they move slowly, following the plan that they’d made the night before, hunched over the grainy cell phone picture of the map.
“There,” Sam whispers, and that’s all the warning they get before they’re being charged. Dean gets off a few quick rounds and the zombies go down heavily. There aren’t many, but they’re grotesque in the low light, ripped hospital gowns and grey, vacant faces. Sam’s stomach rolls as he catches one in the head with a bullet and gets spattered with a bit of wet brain matter.
They’re on edge after that, quick to reload, communicating with silent signals, and it takes them two hours to get to the pharmacy because they keep having to dispatch the zombies that seem to shuffle out from every room. Sam thinks that it’s entirely too easy to get overwhelmed in here, but at that point, there’s no use in abandoning ship. Dean slips among the shelves, picking up prescription antibiotics and heavy-duty morphine, anything that they think they might need in the future, shoving them into his pack while Sam keeps lookout. It’s a quick job, and Dean sneaks back to Sam, his bag bulging.
“We’re probably gonna have to come back,” Dean says lowly. “Can’t get everything on one go.” He hands one of the backpacks to Sam, and then swears quietly when he gets a look at what’s been accumulating since they got to their destination. The staircase is swarming now, maybe thirty zombies who’ve shuffled out from their hiding places to see what was going on, and there’s no way they’re going to get back the way they came without a firebomb or something.
Sam jerks his head sharply to the right, which is a much clearer path. They hadn’t planned on going this way, but he knows how to get out, where the auxiliary staircase is. Still, they have to take it running, shooting as they go, because there are enough zombies that stealth won’t do them any favors. They slam through two heavy double doors, and Dean takes the lead, twisting them through the maze of the corridor.
They find the door to the stairwell without much issue, but Sam can hear the zombies, their heavy footfalls getting louder. It’s so dark that Sam’s afraid he’s going to fall and break his neck, and after a second, he registers the smell, the heavy odor of the recently dead, shit and blood and piss, and he can’t help it. It’s something he’s been used to since he was a teenager, hunting with dad, but it’s overwhelming here. He turns and vomits in the corner, his stomach cramping with it, and Dean hisses out an invective.
Sam hasn’t puked on a job since he was fifteen and they found that girl eviscerated in her bathroom, but he can’t stop, gagging on the slimy bile as it comes up, splattering on his shoes. It’s practically impossible to vomit quietly, and even through all of that, he can hear the thunder of approaching monsters. He’s giving their position away.
When he can finally catch his breath, Dean pulls on his arm. “Go, go, go!” he says, and they take the stairs two at a time, tripping over bodies. This was the site of a recent feeding frenzy, and once or twice, Sam literally has to swallow back vomit as his feet fall through someone’s soft, rotting corpse.
Sam feels off-kilter, off-balance, as he charges down the steps, and more than once, he slips in a pool of congealed blood. “Zombies must’ve been keeping their food supply here,” Dean yells over his shoulder, not bothering to be quiet as the steel above them thuds with their pursuers.
“Just run,” Sam gasps, and they burst out onto the ground floor blindly, the beam from Sam’s flashlight skittering wildly over the walls. The situation could be worse, Sam thinks as they run down the hall, Dean shooting as he goes, clearing the way for them. Looks like most of the zombies have congregated into the other part of the hospital, but they’re still being motherfucking chased, so Sam’s not counting that as a win just yet.
They end up getting out through a back-access door by the rear of the hospital, which wasn’t exactly in the plan. Dean seizes a piece of wood that’s lying on the ground and barricades the zombies in as best he can by threading it through the handle. They’re maybe fifteen feet away when they hear the thud of the zombies hitting the wall, but that branch won’t hold forever. They run faster.
The streets are clogged with the undead, and he and Dean have to keep darting into alleyways to escape. There’s no way they can kill them all, but thankfully the zombies aren’t so good at changing positions so the zigzag pattern Dean is leading them in works in that regard.
Still, it takes a lot of running before they can stop to catch their breath and be sure that they aren’t about to be ambushed. Sam bends over double, clutching at his knees. His stomach’s still roiling unpleasantly, and he concentrates on counting his exhales instead of thinking about how he feels like vomiting.
“What the hell was that back there?” Dean pants. “You haven’t lost your cool on a hunt since we were kids.”
“Dunno,” Sam says weakly. “Maybe I’m comin’ down with something.”
“You haven’t been sick in years,” Dean says dubiously. “C’mon, we gotta get back. I don’t like the thought of staying out here any longer.”
It takes them another hour to get back to the hatch, and the general meets them halfway through the corridor, looking grim. “Where have you been?” he demands. “The others got back forty-five minutes ago.”
“Had a bit of a situation,” Dean says peevishly. “We got the goods though, since I’m sure that’s all you care about.”
“We lost a man today,” the general snaps. “I would show some respect. Go to the pantry and let Collins catalogue what you managed to get. Hopefully it’s not entirely useless.”
Sam gapes at his back as he walks away, his shoes clicking smartly. Once he’s out of earshot, Sam says, “Jesus, he acts as if he’s the one out there every day. What a dick.”
“I hate this place,” Dean grumbles. “I wish we had a better option.”
“Or any option,” Sam mutters, slinging his bag higher on his shoulder. “Let’s get to Collins before the general accuses us of hoarding merchandise.”
Link Part Two
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