Disclaimer: I don't own Sam, Dean, John, or the Impala. Unfortunately, I do own any monster hunting or medical inaccuracies, and grammar and spelling errors.
You're All I Got Left
The moment Dean opened the door he knew something was wrong. Solid darkness met his eyes.
"Sam?" he called softly, already reaching for the gun he kept tucked into the back of his jeans.
The silence was ominous. Dean's heart rate sped up. The hunt had been a success. Sure, they'd both been thrown around a bit, but had only suffered a few bruises. Dean had wanted to hit the bar and Sam had decided to stay at the motel room, saying he was tired. Dean had been gone maybe two hours, and now he'd returned to a dark, silent room, and all his instincts were screaming that something was very wrong.
Dean had the gun in his hands now, and he stepped through the doorway, one hand reaching for the light switch on the wall. It took his eyes a few seconds to adjust to the brightness, and then he quickly scanned the room. Everything was exactly how it had been when he'd left, except Sam wasn't sitting on the bed with his laptop anymore. His little brother was sprawled out on the floor, cheek pressed against the worn carpet, one arm under his stomach and the other above his head. Dean tucked the gun back into his belt as he scrambled to Sam's side, dropping to his knees.
"Sam! Sam, can you hear me? Sammy?" Dean's voice was tense and rushed, running his hands over Sam in an attempt to find an injury, any explanation for Sam's unconsciousness.
There was nothing. Sam stirred, the hand that wasn't trapped under him scratching weakly at the floor. Dean cautiously rolled him onto his back, looking at his brother's pale face, sweat beads on his forehead. Sam moaned softly, his hand pressed against his stomach, and his eyes fluttered open.
"Hey, you with me? Sam?" Dean asked.
"Dean…" Sam murmured, his other hand reaching towards Dean, latching onto his jacket tightly.
"Stomach… it hurts…"
Dean's own stomach was doing gymnastics right then. He yanked Sam's shirt up and his eyes widened. There was a mess of mottled blue and black and dark red under Sam's skin, just below his ribs, spreading across his belly. Sam suddenly stiffened and then twisted to roll onto his side, coughing and spitting, and when he rolled back there was a trickle of blood running from the corner of his mouth.
"Ok. Ok. Alright. We're getting you to a hospital, Sam, right now. C'mon, man," Dean muttered as he eased Sam to his feet, "Up you get. Ok. It's ok. I've got you, Sammy."
Sam swayed, stumbling over his own feet as Dean helped him to the car. Dean yanked open the back door, but Sam pulled back, and nearly took them both to the ground.
"Hey! What are you doing?" Dean asked, struggling to keep Sam upright.
"Th' front, Dean… w-with you," Sam's voice was barely audible.
Dean shifted his grip so he could open the passenger door.
"Yeah. Ok. Ok."
The drive seemed to take hours. They seemed to hit every red light on the way to the hospital. At one set of lights Dean turned to look at Sam, and saw his brother pale and still with his eyes closed, and for several terrifying seconds Dean couldn't tell if Sam was still breathing.
"Hey. Hey, Sam," Dean reached over and patted Sam's shoulder.
And Sam's eyes opened again and he heaved in a ragged gasp.
"Stay awake, Sammy. Stay awake, you hear me? Keep your eyes open."
Sam made a soft, pained sound, and Dean gripped his shoulder a little tighter.
"Just hang on, ok? Stay with me."
"Hurs…" Sam slurred, and coughed again, more blood sliding down his chin and he didn't seem to have the strength to raise a hand to wipe it away.
The lights finally went green and Dean dropped his hand from Sam's shoulder to take the steering wheel in both hands, thankful that the streets were quiet and empty as he roared towards the hospital. Sam was drifting again when they pulled up outside the emergency entrance, tires squealing as Dean jammed the brakes on harder than usual.
"Gonna get you some help, Sammy. I'll be right back," Dean said, and Sam turned glassy eyes towards him.
Dean bolted from the car and sprinted through the doors.
"Hey, I need some help over here!" he raised his voice, and within seconds he had several white coated people approaching him, "My brother, he's hurt bad," he gestured towards the door, and his feet were taking him back to Sam.
The nurses or doctors or whatever they were pushed him aside after he opened the door, and then Sam was on a gurney being wheeled through the white hallways, the doctor saying something about internal bleeding. Dean had to lengthen his stride, until he was nearly jogging, to keep alongside them, his hand wrapped around Sam's forearm. The doctor said something else when they got to a treatment room, which Dean couldn't make sense of, and a nurse pressed an oxygen mask over Sam's face. His little brother slid glassy eyes past Dean's face, not focusing on anything, his breaths shallow. Dean flinched when someone touched his arm.
"We're going to take him into surgery in a minute," a pretty nurse said, looking sympathetic and concerned.
Dean nodded, his lips moving into what he imagined could pass for a smile.
"Yeah. I… Uh…" he couldn't think of anything else to say and the smile fell.
Sam was quiet, monitors already attached to him, although Dean couldn't remember when they'd gone on. Dean's throat was constricting painfully and everything seemed to blur. He looked down, fighting the emotions that were threatening to overwhelm him. He couldn't lose Sam. Not after all they'd been through together. Sam's eyes closed again, and Dean grabbed his shoulder.
"Sammy, open your eyes," he ordered, trying to stop his voice from shaking.
Sam opened his eyes, swallowing.
"I'm right here, Sam."
Sam coughed weakly, and his eyes closed again, and then the doctor was back and the nurse was guiding Dean to a room with a vinyl-covered couch and a blank TV high in the corner, where the only sound was the ticking of the clock on the wall. There was paperwork that Dean filled out on autopilot, and questions he answered with his eyes wandering. And before Dean realized it, he was alone. His hands were shaking and when he sat down his knee bounced with nervous energy. In the silence, Dean's mind raced, and he fished his phone from his pocket, dialling a familiar number.
"Dad? Yeah, it's me. I'm at the hospital. Sam, he's… he's hurt, Dad. I don't…"
Dean's voice cracked on the last word and he had to clear his throat.
"I'm twenty minutes away, Dean," John's voice came over the line, steady and strong and everything Dean wasn't right now, "Tell me what happened."
"I… I just went out for a few beers, and when I came back… Sam was coughing up blood. He's in surgery now."
The muttered curse slipped from John's lips and Dean thought that maybe his father wasn't as tough as he'd thought.
"Ten minutes," John said, and hung up.
Those ten minutes crawled by. Dean picked up the remote and switched the TV on, flicking through channels until he found something vaguely interesting, but it couldn't keep his attention for long. At least it relieved the oppressive silence. His emotions again threatened to rise, but he choked them down. There was a mix of guilt and fear and maybe a tiny bit of grief churning in his gut and it was threatening to spill out of his eyes.
"He's not dead," Dean growled under his breath, "He's not dead."
And so long as it stayed that way, the tears should stay down. He stood up and started pacing the tiny room instead, letting his feelings blend into something more resembling anger than anything else. Finally the door opened and he spun around, heart lodging somewhere in his throat so he couldn't get any words out. His father stood in the doorway, looking tired and worried and dishevelled from the hunt he'd been on.
"Dad," was all Dean could manage.
John closed the door behind him and crossed the room.
"How did this happen?" he sounded angry, but Dean knew it was fear for Sam that was making his voice like a growl.
Dean rubbed his hand over his face, trying to calm down.
"The ghost showed just after we found the remains. We both got thrown around a bit…"
Sam slams into the edge of the table, the dusty wood not giving an inch as his side hits it, driving the air from his lungs, and he hits the floor and is still.
"Sam!" Dean shouts, seconds before an invisible force hits him too and sends him flying to join Sam.
He sails right over the table and hits the wall, the plaster cracking with the force. Yup, he'll be feeling that one tomorrow. He tries to get to his feet and regrets it. Scratch that, he's feeling it right now. His head spins and his left shoulder is screaming. Gritting his teeth, Dean makes it to his hands and knees, scrambles across the dirty floor and flicks his lighter open. The flame teases at the old leather jacket, stained with old blood and already drenched in lighter fluid and salt.
"C'mon, c'mon," Dean growls, willing the fire to catch.
It does, finally, and the poltergeist disappears in a burst of flame. Dean turns, breathing heavily from the adrenaline, and Sam's pushing himself up on shaky arms.
"Sam, you ok?" Dean asks, moving to his brother's side and helping him sit up.
Sam's holding his side, breathing hard, but he meets Dean's eyes and manages a nearly imperceptible nod.
"Jus' winded," he says hoarsely.
"… I checked his ribs, Dad, they weren't broken. We got back and he was kinda tired, he said he was just gonna lay down for a while. And then I… I went out for a few drinks. I was only gone a couple of hours, and when I got back… He… Sam…" Dean stopped.
The room was swimming and Dean wiped a hand across his eyes. When he looked up, John's eyes were as hard as steel and just as cutting.
"What, Dean?" he said, and his voice was steely too.
Dean took a deep breath and tried to make his voice as firm as his father's.
"He was pretty out of it. He was hurting, and his side was all bruised, and then he started coughing up blood. I don't even…"
Dean's voice cracked and he dropped heavily onto the couch, looking at the floor so John couldn't see the tears spilling down his face. He tried to stop them, but his usual stoic wall had fallen and no matter how hard he tried the tears just wouldn't stop.
"I should have been there," he whispered, and his voice came out rough and choked.
There was a long, tense silence, and Dean could just hear his father thinking yes, you should have been there, you're supposed to watch out for him, and you went off to drink? What were you thinking, Dean? because that was the kind of things he always said when Dean messed up. But he didn't have to say that, not this time, not ever, because Dean was already saying it to himself. And this time, John just leaned against the wall and said,
"We'll deal with that later."
"Later" wasn't after Sam had come out of surgery, when they were both standing beside his bed and the nurse had left. Sam was still sedated, but when Dean brushed hair off Sam's forehead, Sam rolled his head towards him, leaning into the touch, whimpering softly, and Dean's throat closed up again.
"S'ok, Sammy. I'm right here," Dean murmured, and he kept his hand on Sam's forehead until John said they should go back to the motel for the night.
By that time, the night was nearly over.
"Later" wasn't at the motel room, where Dean looked at the specks of blood on the carpet that wouldn't rub off, joining the hundreds of other stains scattered across the floor. John came out of the shower and told Dean it was his turn, and Dean looked at him with bloodshot eyes.
"What?" he asked.
"I said it's your turn for a shower," John said, and there was a flash of sadness in his eyes.
Dean's legs felt like lead and his eyes were scratchy, lids drooping as he stood under the water, and there was a cold lump in his stomach. When he came out ten minutes later, he lay down on his bed and stared at the ceiling and the day repeated in his mind against his will.
"Later" wasn't when John woke him up and the sun was streaming in the window. Dean looked towards Sam's bed and his mouth opened to tell Sam it was breakfast time, and then his breath froze in his lungs and he remembered it all.
"You need to eat something, Dean," John said when Dean pushed the food around his plate at the table.
Dean forced a mouthful down and nearly gagged.
"I can't," and he hoped his voice didn't give away how shattered he felt, and he kept his eyes on his plate because he knew they would definitely give it away.
John's face softened and he pulled the plate away, leaving his son staring at the table.
"At least drink this, ok?" and he replaced it with a coffee.
Dean took a tentative sip, and the hot liquid started thawing the icy lump in his stomach.
The phone rang and Dean nearly dropped his cup. Coffee sloshed across his hand and splashed onto the table. John answered the phone.
"Later" wasn't back at the hospital. Sam was pale and drowsy, but he opened his eyes when Dean and John walked in.
"Sammy," said Dean, and Sam smiled.
It was a tired smile, but it was there and Dean smiled a weak, watery one back.
"You look awful, Dean," Sam said, his voice barely more than a whisper.
Dean's smile grew.
"So do you," he responded.
"How are you feeling?" their father cut in.
Sam paused, like he was trying to figure it out.
"They've got me so drugged up I can't feel a thing," and he smiled again, and Dean laughed.
When the doctor spoke to them about Sam's condition, Dean only heard he's gonna be fine and no lasting damage. He put his hand on Sam's shoulder and let their dad do all the talking. All that mattered was that Sam was ok.
When Sam got out of hospital, Dean hovered and worried and was even more protective than usual. There was an undercurrent of tension, because Dean was hiding something and Sam knew but neither of them said anything. The chick-flick moment was unavoidable. They were sitting in a motel room five towns over. Dad was off on a hunt, and Dean was bored out of his skull but he didn't dare leave the room in case something happened to Sam. Sam was sitting on his bed, back against a pillow, trying to read a book but not really focusing on the words, and pretending he didn't notice Dean staring at him.
"Look, man, I'm sorry, I should have stayed with you that night," Dean burst out in a rush, and Sam looked at him with a confused frown.
Sam tilted his head like a Border Collie, all questioning eyes and floppy hair. Dean looked away.
"You were dying while I was out being an idiot," he said, softly, "You needed me, and I wasn't there, and I'm sorry."
Sam snorted and put the book beside him, giving Dean his full attention and those sincere hazel eyes.
"You didn't know. Dean, even I didn't know," he said, "If I'd have told you there was something wrong, you would have stayed, right?"
"Then stop beating yourself up over it. I'm fine, Dean. You came back for me, you got me to the hospital, and I'm fine."
Dean nodded again and sighed, and then stood up, walked to the window and pushed back the curtain, peering out into the rain just because he needed something to do with his hands.
"I'm serious, Dean. Let it go. It wasn't your fault."
It's just that you and Dad, you're all I got left. If anything happens to you... I'd die. "Yeah, I know."
He went to the fridge and pulled out two beers.
"Want a drink?"
When John came home that evening, the tension of the last few weeks had dissipated. Dean was sitting on his bed, leaning against the headboard with his head titled back and eyes closed, Sam's book open on the bed beside him like he'd fallen asleep reading it. Sam was snoring softly in his bed, blankets tucked around him in a way that had to be Dean's doing. John took the book from Dean's loose fingers, and Dean finally woke up with a start, fists raised in defence, nostrils flaring, until he saw it was only his father.
"Hey, Dad," he said, voice rough from sleep and quiet so he wouldn't wake Sam.
"You boys alright?" John asked, because he had to.
The smile Dean gave him was real.
"Yeah. We're good."
And John decided right there that maybe we meant Sam and Dean and that later was whenever you're ready.
A/N: This was based on something that really happened to me and my best friend a few years back. Obviously I've changed some details to fit into the Supernatural world. Anyway, reviews make me happy!