Dean whips his head around, searching for Ketch who has, once again, disappeared in an attempt to practice “stealth”. He’s just slowing down Charlie’s rescue is what Dean thinks he’s doing.
“Ketch?” Dean calls out, exasperated.
A gun cocks, and the next thing Dean is aware of is some big game hunter wannabe advancing on him. Oh, and he’s laying prone in the snow. Dean pulls himself over onto his stomach and groans at the intense pain in his shoulder. He attempts to army crawl away from his attacker.
The guy is on him before he gets anywhere, and he grunts as his arms get wrenched behind his back. Dean struggles against the man’s grip, and almost manages to flip himself onto his back, but the man grabs his wounded shoulder and forces it back down to the ground. Dean groans through his teeth.
“Oh, you’re a strong one.” The man pulls Dean hands behind his back again and sets to zip tying them together. He digs a knee into Dean’s lower back and speaks close to his ear, “The angels’ll pay double for you.” Dean continues to struggle and groan. “Most of the slaves are scrawny.”
Just as the man tightens the zip ties, Ketch tackles him to the ground. After a brief scuffle, the man is subdued, and Ketch and Dean know the whereabouts of Charlie’s location. Dean clutches his shoulder and wastes no time heading towards the direction the man pointed them in. Ketch shakes his head and follows.
“That hunter may have been a bumpkin, but his weaponry is cutting-edge. These, I don’t even recognize.” Ketch holds up what Dean recognizes as angel blade bullets.
“Angel killing bullets. Might want to hang on to those.” Dean grunts.
“Hm.” Ketch looks at the bullets one last time before shoving them back into the sack they came from.
Dean exhales sharply and grimaces. Ketch notices.
“You don’t look good.” Ketch observes. Dean tosses him the nastiest side-eye he can muster.
“Yeah well you’re not my type either. I’m fine.”
“We’ll take a break. Your wound may be more serious than we thought.” Ketch sighs.
“Aw, he barely hit me. Come on, we don’t have time for this.” Dean tries to makes his point by standing straighter and walking a little faster. He’s not sure if it works all that well.
“Eh, by all means. What was it with you and this earthly “Charlie,” anyway? Old girlfriend? Let me guess - she broke your heart?”
Dean reaches for a tree to balance himself, but misses, and falls limply to the ground.
“Dean!” Ketch rushes over and lays the back of his hand across Dean’s forehead. Dean really hates the feigned concern Ketch is trying to promote.
“Oh god, you’re burning up. Let’s take a look at that wound.” Ketch begins moving Dean’s layers out of the way.
“No, no, I’m fine. We gotta keep moving.” Dean protests.
By the grip he has on Dean’s coat, Ketch jerks Dean roughly, once. “Do shut up.” Dean looks away.
Ketch rips the collar of Dean’s t-shirt to reveal the gruesome bullet wound. Dean grunts at the sudden exposure. Ketch slides his hand across Dean’s chest, away from the wound, to settle on his opposite shoulder. Dean looks up at Ketch, then quickly looks away, uncomfortable.
“How does it look, mom?” Ketch answers with silence. He moves his gaze to Dean’s pale face and offers a grim expression.
“Taro root, trace of arsenic, basidiomycota...” Ketch lists as he creates a salve for Dean’s wound. Dean looks over at him with trepidation. “Why don’t you just skip the bird seed...give me the flask?” He demands weakly.
“Your shortness of breath and delirium are symptoms of a poison the Men of Letters use to disable monsters in the field.”
Dean rolls his eyes. “Of course it is.”
“My guess is that the bounty hunter used a similar toxin to coat his bullets to hobble his prey...at first.” Dean didn’t like the sound of that.
“What do you mean at first?”
“Well, if - if the antidote isn’t administered, the victim dies a particularly gruesome death.” Dean scoffs. “You guys are such dicks.”
“Yes, well, guilty. Now then, this will smart.” Ketch pushes aside the fabric of Dean’s shirt to smear the salve over the bullet wound. Dean tries to keep his noises of pain at bay.
“There we go. Good lad.” He finishes the first coat and moves to scoop up more of the salve. “Good lad.” Dean exhales harshly and blinks the moisture from his eyes.
“There we go, just a little more.” Dean breathes heavily. “Right.” Dean suddenly tenses and stifles another grunt. “There we are.”
Ketch leans back to survey his work. Dean lies still, trying to catch his breath. He feels like a piece of meat under Ketch’s gaze.
“You could have gotten killed, Dean.” Ketch states darkly. Dean drops his head back against the tree behind him. He’s through with this whole situation.
“Yeah, well, he snuck up on me. There wasn’t much I could do-guh!” Dean’s breath shoots out of him as Ketch shoves his knee up between Dean’s splayed legs.
“Get the fuck off!” Dean tries to dislodge Ketch by throwing his left elbow, but that only succeeds in allowing Ketch to efficiently pin Dean’s upper body.
“What if the bounty hunter managed to take down me as well?” Ketch snarled in Dean’s face. Dean whipped his head to the side and grimaced at the pain shooting through his shoulder.
“You are being careless. What would John say?-“
“You keep my dad’s name out of your mouth!”
“Gah-!” The knee between Dean’s legs shoves cruelly into him again. Ketch grabs Dean by the jaw and yanks his head to look at him.
“You almost cost us this mission. I can see you didn’t inherit your hunting skills from your mother.”
“Don’t talk about her, you sick bastard!” Dean’s head whips to the side, cheek burning. Ketch slapped him. He digs his heels in the dirt and tries to push himself away, but Ketch just lays more of his body weight on him and reaffirms his grip on Dean’s jaw.
“I’m the sick bastard that just saved the whole operation! But we can talk about Mary,”
“No!” Dean spits.
“We can talk about how the only thing you’ve inherited from Mary is her pretty features.” Ketch leers.
“Shut the fuck up!” Dean shouts. If only his damn shoulder wasn’t completely on fire, he could probably get Ketch the fuck off of him.
“I do miss your mother, Dean.”
Dean squeezes his eyes shut and tries his hardest to turn his face away. He hates this.
Lips and teeth suddenly smash into Dean’s own. He yells, feeling his lip split and trying to struggle out of Ketch’s grip. Ketch continues his onslaught on Dean’s mouth for a brief moment longer before Ketch rips his whole body away from Dean.
Without Ketch’s full weight holding him down, Dean gasps like he just came up out of the water. Dean wildly searches for Ketch’s new location, and he finds him a few feet away, crouched over his pack. When Ketch doesn’t immediately turn around and come back again, Dean pulls his legs close to his body and continues to try to catch his breath.
“Get up. We’ve still got a ways to go and we are running behind as it is.” Ketch states without turning around to look at Dean. He throws his pack over his shoulder and stalks off, gun in hand.
Dean scrambles get his feet under him. He gingerly rights his clothes over his injured shoulder before scooping up his bag and following Ketch down the path.
“Almost there, Charlie.” Dean whispers to himself.