By the time he pulls Sammy up out of the muck, he's not breathing, and his lips are blue.
"Fuck, fuck, no, Sammy, no," Dean pleads, hauling the deadweight of his baby brother onto the bank. The corpse of the bunyip bobs limply in the murk nearby. Dean silently curses the dipshit of an Australian who'd released the creature into the bayou and lays Sam flat on his back. Dean's knees sink into the swamp as he nestles his shaking fingers into the hollow beside Sam's trachea.
Dean lets out a shallow, "fuck," again, presses harder. Still no pulse. He counts out ten seconds that last an eternity, but the only movement beneath the pads of his fingers is his own. He prays for something, anything that might indicate that Sam is a little more alive than the monster that had pulled him under, but apparently God's not taking requests today.
Dean rips Sam's shirt from collar to hem, and the buttons go flying into the mud. They glint weakly at him as he pulls harder to rip open Sam's undershirt. Finally, confronted with Sam's cool, clammy chest, Dean laces his fingers together, sets the heel of his lower hand in the divet at the center, and presses down.
The crack of Sam's sternum as it breaks free of its surrounding ribs is sickening. Dean feels it more than he hears it, reverberating through his wrists and up to his shoulders. It's easier after that, though. Sam's body gives unnaturally as Dean pushes, rises, pushes again.
"Three, four, five," he murmurs, and, because he can't help himself, he prays again, prays that he's at least remembering how to do this right. If he doesn't, if Sam dies, then it's his fault. Simple as that. He continues to count, and hits thirty, though he can't even remember hitting twenty-nine.
Sam's still not breathing.
Dean swallows, gently presses his thumbs under Sam's jaw, and pushes his brother's head back. His chin tilts upward, and, if Dean's fucking doing this right, his windpipe should be opening up. Sam's mouth opens easily when Dean pulls his brother's lips apart, tongue glistening wetly. His lower lip is soft and plush under Dean's thumb, and Dean could almost lose himself in that if it weren't also so damn cold. Dean inhales, pinches Sam's nose shut, and presses their open mouths together. He exhales, feels Sammy's chest rise under him, and pulls up, just barely off of Sam's mouth for another breath of air. A moment, then he's diving back down, more familiar with the fit of Sam's lips against his own.
And if that traitorous little voice at the back of his head mentions that, yeah, he could really get used to this, well, fuck him.
Dean breathes into his brother once again. He feels the expansion and fall of Sam's ribs, and then Dean's sitting up, pressing the bottom of his interlaced hands to Sam's newly broken sternum.
Dean's muscles are starting to learn the repetition of the compressions, the settling of his weight from his shoulders, to his wrists, to Sam's heart. The movements are pushing Sam's body down into the muck, making it only that much harder to push deep enough into his chest. Sweat is dripping down Dean's forehead, landing among the droplets of marsh water collected on Sam's skin. Dean's muscles are starting to burn, just a little. Dean's knee almost slips in the sludge, but Dean rights himself immediately, and never, not once, stops.
His muttered count reaches thirty again, so he leans back to Sam's mouth, and maybe it's his imagination, but it's looking pinker this time. He pinches Sam's nose between his fingers, and sinks down to Sam's lips, exhaling into his brother. Dean starts to pull back, and-
And, Sam's moving. His chest is rising, all on its own. Dean's frozen, because this might be just too good to be true, that he hasn't failed Sam this time, that's Sam's breathing, and pulsing, and alive.
Sam's lips shift against his own.
They move again, pressing, soft at first, then firmer. Dean's brain is shorting out, because Sam is kissing him, this is what kissing is, and Dean is flooded with relief that Sam's moving at all, so it's the most natural thing in the world to kiss Sammy back. Sam's tongue surges up against Dean's own, and there's a little of the bitterness of the swamp, but mostly something sweet and rich and Dean slides his tongue forward to get more, more of Sam, more of his brother-
Pain blossoms at Dean's jaw, hot and stinging. He's flat on his back, hair plastered in the stickiness of the mud, staring up at the endless gray of the clouded sky. He absentmindedly rubs his palm against the spot where he's sure now Sam's punched him. To his right, he hears Sam retch, and the disgusting splatter of what must be swamp water hitting mud. Dean turns to look.
Sam is sitting up now, hunched over, two destroyed layers of muddy shirt just barely hanging over his goosebumped chest. He looks up, gaze catching at Dean's eyes, and gives Dean his most venomous glare. It's never felt so good to see it.
"Dean, what the hell were you doing?"
Dean blinks. It occurs to him, now, that Sam does seem to be actually upset, and Dean hasn't really figured out why yet.
"Uh, CPR, dude? Ever heard of it?"
Sam gives a scoff of disbelief, throws his hands up like that's going to make the reason for his anger clearer to Dean. When Dean doesn't have anything to say, Sam climbs to his feet, wincing and rubbing his sternum, and turns away.
"CPR doesn't generally involve tongue, Dean," Sam grits out.
And, oh, yeah, Dean supposes it generally doesn't. Especially between brothers. How had that happened, anyway?
"You started it, dude." Dean shrugs, pulls himself up and out of mud, and decides not to think about it too hard. He doesn't look back at Sam, just starts walking, listening as his brother gives up on whatever point he was trying to make, and starts following him back to the Impala with squelching steps.
Dean's about to open the trunk when Sam grabs his shoulder and pulls him around. Sam's filthy, covered in brown mud that only makes the hazel of his eyes greener. His lips, flushed and a little swollen now, open, close, open again.
"Seriously Dean," he starts, softer than before, "what was that?"
And Dean can't meet his eyes anymore, so he opens the trunk, rifling through it for towels. The truth is, he doesn't know any more than Sam does, so he tells him so.
"I don't fucking know, Sam. I don't. So stop asking." Dean doesn't want to see Sam's expression, so he pulls Sam's duffel out of trunk along with the less ratty towel and tosses them in his direction without looking. There's a muffled thud as they land in Sam's arms, hopefully.
"Get changed and get in the car, Sammy."
With that Dean grabs his own bag and the rattier towel, starts undoing the buttons at the collar of his shirt, and stops. He walks around to the other side of the Impala. It's not much of a barrier between him and Sam, not really, but it's something.
Dean makes quick work of his muddy clothes, cleans himself off as best he can with the hole-ridden towel, and nearly sighs in relief at the feeling of fresh, dry jeans sliding up his hips. When he's done, he wraps up his dirty clothes, and deposits them and his duffel back in the trunk. Sam's things are already nestled inside, and a quick glance up the shine of the Impala's exterior reveals the back of Sam's head in the passenger seat.
Dean yanks open the driver's side door, and Sam's eyes flick toward him, then away. Dean settles in the seat, fits the key in the ignition, and starts to pull away.
The Black Sabbath cassette that starts to play is loud, but not quite loud enough to cover the sound of Sam's shaky breathing. Dean turns it up. The guitar riffs vibrate the windows, now, and Dean finally can't hear himself or Sam think.
When he steals a glance at his brother, Sammy's hunched over in his jacket, watching the cypresses blur by through the passenger window. He's shivering, just a bit.
Dean cranks up the heat, too.