Red and White
Summary: Sam versus a bear trap.
Sam's face is the same colour as the snow, dusty white, and this is the detail that Dean's brain fixes on as he pushes past the icy stumps and spiky tree branches, towards the crumpled pile of clothing that he's sure just called his name, more horrifying than the blood that turns the snow around Sam's leg to crimson slush, than the sunlight glinting off the metal teeth that chew into Sam's ankle.
Sam's face is the colour of death.
Dean drops to his knees at his brothers side, his hands hovering, afraid to touch. His breath is frozen in his lungs.
“Dean,” Sam says again, like a sigh, thin and vague. His eyelashes, glittering with flakes of ice, flutter against his snow-white cheeks.
“Hey,” Dean says. His voice comes out tight and high. He clears his throat. “Hey,” he tries again, “Wakey-wakey, Sammy. I'm here.”
Sam shivers, eyelashes quivering again. “Not sleeping,” he mumbles, blue lips barely moving. His eyes crack open and slits of hazel fix determinedly on Dean. “Jus' waiting on you.”
Dean huffs a half-laugh, half-sigh of relief. Sam is conscious and bitching, two very good signs. “Well, someone had to kill the werewolf.” The retort rolls off his tongue, automatic. He slides his duffel from his shoulder and fumbles the zip open, dragging their first aid kit out onto the snow. He takes a deep breath and looks down at the bear trap.
Fuck, Sam's leg is a mess.
“Principal or janitor?” Sam asks drowsily. It takes a moment for Dean to remember what he's on about – it's kind of hard to remember anything but curse words while staring at the tangle of metal teeth, shredded denim and torn flesh that used to be his brother's ankle, at the spread of blood across the snow and the unnatural angle of Sam's foot.
“Principal,” he admits, when his memory returns. He needs scissors, needs to clear away the torn denim so he can see what he's working with underneath. He tells himself the shaking in his hands as he digs the fabric shears out of the kit is from the cold. “You were right.”
Sam shivers in the snow. “Told ya,” he murmurs, lips curling in a tiny triumphant smile.
“Yeah, whatever.” The denim is sticky and stiff with ice and blood. Dean peels it away a gingerly as he can but he can tell by the fresh groves in Sam's forehead that it hurts despite his care. “What was the bet again? A week of laundry duty?”
One side of the bear trap's teeth snag on Sam's boot but the other row bites down deep into his ankle, the torn flesh revealing tissue and tendons and a sickening hint of something that might be bone. Heart pounding violently and feeling as though he might up-chuck in the snow at any moment, Dean readies the supplies he needs; gauze and lots of it, a sturdy nearby branch to stabilize the break, bandages, all stop-gap measures to hold the kid together until Dean can get him to a hospital.
“Two weeks,” Sam corrects him.
“Are you sure?” Dean asks. He reaches carefully around the loops of metal, searching for the release trigger with fingertips that are burning from the cold. The trap is old, stiff and rusted. He braces Sam's leg, and himself, as best he can in the slushy snow. “I'm pretty sure it was only one.”
“It was tw-”
Dean tugs the release, the jaws crank open, and the rest of Sam's sentence turns into a scream.
“Sorry, kiddo, sorry,” Dean says as Sam presses his face into the snow, curling tighter into himself, gasping and shaking. “Two weeks it is.”
Dean eases the trap away from Sam's mangled ankle. Blood sluggishly wells up to fill the gouges left by the metal teeth. Dean swallows hard, sucking in a shaky breath of icy air, and hopes like hell that Sam doesn't notice how much he is freaking out at the sight of his leg. His hands are moving automatically, which is good because his brain has gone numb with panic, grabbing gauze and packing wounds, and his mouth is moving, too, rambling nonsense about laundry and hot cocoa and being out of here in no time, like, sure, this is no big deal, Sammy, I free people from bear traps all the time, nothing to worry about, which he knows Sam knows is bull but, well, Sam's in shock, probably, and hypothermic and running low on blood so maybe the kid will believe him if he puts enough confidence into his tone.
“All right, Sammy, almost done.” The snow is splattered a bright red but the cold has slowed the bleeding and Dean is cautiously confident that his rushed first aid will hold the rest until he can get Sam to the professionals. “Looking good, kiddo. How're you doing? You still with me?”
For a long moment, it seems like he isn't. Sam's eyes are barely open, unfocused, and he's been unnervingly quiet since Dean worked the bear trap loose, save for his stuttered breathing and an occasional murmur of pain.
“Hey,” Dean says, louder this time. He leans over and pats Sam's cold cheek. “Sam. Wake up.”
Sam blinks slowly. Tense seconds pass before his wandering gaze finds Dean's face, which is concerning seeing as Dean's face is only about a foot away.
“'m awake,” he mutters, sounding like the teenager Dean used to have to drag out of bed in the mornings, tired and grudging and definitely not as awake as he claims.
“Okay, c'mon.” Dean shoves the left-over first aid supplies back into his duffel and shoulders it. “No more coddling, we gotta go.”
The moan of pain that forces it's way through Sam's blue lips when Dean takes hold of his jacket lapels and drags him upright feel like a kick to the gut but he steels himself and does it anyway, shoving one shoulder under Sam's arm when the kid tries to wilt back towards the snow.
“Your coddling sucks anyway,” Sam mumbles. His hair is stiff and glittering with ice and it sparkles in the weak sunlight as his head lolls against Dean's collarbone. Dean gives him a moment, watching Sam's breath puff out in wispy clouds.
“Time's up,” he decides, when Sam doesn't seem to be in imminent danger of losing consciousness. “On your feet, soldier. Or foot. Whatever.”
Sam makes a vague attempt at movement that gets him no where. He sighs sleepily. “Don' think I can,” he murmurs.
Dean's stomach sinks. The forest stretches out around them, all white skeletal trees as far as he can see, and he'll carry Sam if he has to, just freaking watch him, but damn, it's a long way and it will take even longer if he has to haul Sammy's weight by himself. Maybe too long, with the cold and the shock and the blood loss and the fact that that bear trap was all kinds of nasty and fuck, now Dean's spiralling into thoughts of infection and amputation and death and he needs to get Sam the hell out of here right the fuck now.
“Yeah, you can.” He rubs Sam's shoulder helplessly. “You have to. Just let me do the work and focus on staying vertical once I get you there.”
“Deeean,” Sam protests weakly, but Dean's already levering them both up, looping Sam's arm over his shoulders and clamping onto his wrist to hold it in place, clutching the folds of Sam's jacket tight in his frozen fingers, and Sam, trooper that he is, does manage to get his good foot under him and bearing at least some of his own weight.
“See?” Dean grunts, shifting until he has a better grip for walking. “Told you you could do it. Stop being a wimp.”
Sam sways precariously. “'m gonna faint just to spite you,” he mutters mutinously, which is strangely reassuring because if Sam's up to bitching at him they might just make it out of here.
“Oh, hell no,” Dean says. He takes a careful step and Sam shuffle-hops along with him. “You faint and I'm not doing any laundry.”
“No fair,” Sam whines. One step. One shuffle-hop from Sam. “That wasn't the deal.”
“Neither was you bleeding all over my jeans. You know how long this is going to take to get out?” Step. Shuffle-hop.
“Don't be a jerk,” Sam moans.
“Don't be a bitch,” Dean mimics.