"C'mon, Dean," the tall, lanky hunter muttered to himself. "This frantic searching-while-expecting-to-find-your-brother's-corpse thing is getting a little old.
" Sam moved through the building with the efficiency of an elite soldier. "Been nabbed before; haven't been too late yet," he reminded himself.
"Wendigo, djinn, shape shifter, freaking Bender...What's got you this time, jerk?"
Having no idea what he was facing, Sam had resisted the urge to call out for his sibling, choosing stealth over expediency.
The sound of Dean's voice raised in a hoarse shout scalded him like a branding iron.
"Dean!" He careened down one hall after another, all thoughts of stealth gone, a desperate echo of his brother's name reverberating in his soul like the howl of a freight train.
There was no answering call, but Sam thought he heard the slap of bare feet on concrete.
A lot of bare feet.
He followed the sound, skidding around a corner into a corridor that ended in a single, blank door.
Sam pulled to a stop, anxiety blossoming in his chest like a living thing, stealing his breath, freezing the moment.
It didn't matter how many times Dean had been lost and then found, died and was then revived.
Hundreds, even thousands of deaths at the Trickster's hands had not proven sufficient to numb Sam to the horror of that scenario. The enormity of it paralyzed him.
A soft moan reached him, and the crystallized moment shattered. An exhaled "Dean" propelled Sam through the door.
His brother lay unattended and nearly motionless on a narrow cot. He'd been stripped bare, arms and legs bound firmly to the frame, eyes covered with a thick blindfold.
Sam scanned the supine hunter with a practiced eye, triaging. Flushed skin; rapid, shallow respirations; pulse strong but too rapid, visible in his brother's neck even from the doorway.
Pain? Blood loss? Hyperthermia? Poison?
In two long strides he had traversed the room and dropped to his knees. With deft fingers Sam worked the encumbering straps free, palpating Dean's limbs as he went.
No injuries to the limbs or front of the torso. Must be something on the back...or poison. Witchcraft, maybe?
Lifting the unconscious hunter into a sitting position began to feel like man-handling two hundred pounds of bread dough.
"Dean! C'mon, man! Help me out here! I can't lift your heavy ass all by myself!"
"I'm here, Dean, I'm right here. We're gonna get you out of here, okay? You'll be alright, but you gotta help."
"Nooo..." Despite the improvement in awareness, Dean's torso remained a dead weight.
An oddly slippery dead weight.
"'No' what? Does it hurt to sit up?"
"'Don't wanna' what? And where are you hurt? I'm not finding anything."
Dean's lazy smile birthed a faint worm of skepticism in Sam's laconic subconscious.
"Nothin' hurts, Sammy. Doesn' hurt at all."
"Dean..." Nude, bound and blindfolded, skin flushed, heart rate and blood pressure decreasing to barely detectable levels, and a shit-eating grin...
Sam's eyes narrowed.
"Save yourself, Sammy. I'll distract them while you get away."
"Dean...What took you?"
"Succubi, Sammy. A whole freakin' harem of succubi." With the last of his strength Dean pulled himself from his brother's grasp to flop back onto the cot. "Not leaving, Sam. Best. Death. Ever."