Author: Oldach's Dream
Summary: It was a second nature, an instinct. Get in car. Close door. Reach for belt buckle. It was automatic. It wasn't supposed to save his life. It wasn't supposed to be the reason his best friend was inches from death.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Supernatural.
Rating: T or PG 13
Chapter One: My Life Changed in a Day
"Look, my shoulder's fine. It's barely bruised." A bit of an understatement, but this doctor was really starting to piss him off. "How's Alex?"
"Mr. Winchester, your shoulder was dislocated not 20 minutes ago. Resetting it doesn't make the swelling go..." The graying, going on 50, doctor didn't have a chance to finish vocalizing his concerns.
"I don't care, alright!" The way he yelled it made him sound much more like a whiney eight year old then he'd of liked. Taking a deep breath he tried to compose himself, if only a little. "Look, my shoulder is fine. Even if it's not, you can look at it later. I'd really like to know how my friend is doing."
"Mr. Winchester, I'm really not allowed to give out that information to anyone who's not immediate family..." The good doctor was cut off yet again.
"My name is Sam." he tried to be polite, he really did. But he had inherited his father's patience level and his brother's anger when it came to not being able to help people that he cared about.
"And Alex doesn't have any family. Not really. Great cousins or something, in California, maybe Florida, one of those perpetually warm states. But I don't even know if he knows their number, and they wouldn't come up here, not right away. He lives on his own, I mean, he has roommates, but none of them are actually family. Not blood related. And, I mean, he's eighteen. Does that 'no giving out information' rule even still count when someone's eighteen? I'm his friend and I was in the car with him..."
Sam trailed off at this point only because he could think of nothing else to ramble about. It was something he did sometimes when he was upset or nervous or scared; he babbled on endlessly.
He had been speaking so fast, he wouldn't be surprised if the doctor didn't understand half of what he had said. When he got this anxious, he had been told, mostly by his older brother, that his speech was next to incomprehensible.
The doctor looked at him sadly and Sam could see in his eyes that even if he hadn't made out everything the youngest Winchester had just spewed out, he had gotten the gist.
"It doesn't look good." The abruptness and bluntness of the words startled him at first, but Sam quickly shook it off, listening intently. "Your friend suffered major internal damage tonight. Three of his ribs were broken and one severely punctured a lung, causing it to collapse, making it impossible for him to breathe on his own. They're prepping him for exploratory surgery, it's our only option, but it'll be a risk with his other injuries. We also found more minor injuries around his spleen and kidney."
A moment passed where Sam was sure he could hear the silence rush through his ears. This wasn't happening. "I don't understand." he finally managed, his voice sounded like he hadn't used it in several days. "How can it be that bad? God... I didn't get hurt... I ..."
"You weren't driving." The doctor said it so simply that for a moment Sam's anger was all consuming. He fought it down though, like every other emotion, he made it go away so he could focus.
The doctor continued. "The drunk driver that hit your car tonight, it hit the driver's side..."
"I know, I was there, remember?" Sam snapped. Maybe he couldn't keep all his anger at bay.
The other man massaged his temples with his fingers. For a moment making him seem much older and less professional then he actually was. Guilt replaced anger in a heartbeat, only to be driven out just as quickly by worry and anxiousness once again.
"Because of that," he continued, ignoring Sam's comment. "He received the blunt of the impact, and because of the angle the other car hit at, and the pole your car proceeded to crash into when Alexander lost control, it caused his entire body to hit the steering wheel. With the force of the cars and the fact that he wasn't wearing his seat belt. Well... It's amazing he's still alive at all."
"I was wearing my seat belt." Sam said stupidly.
"And it's the reason why your only injury was a severely dislocated shoulder and a few cuts and bruises." He said this almost sympathetically. As if Sam was supposed to feel bad for having the foresight to put on his seat belt.
Sam didn't think about it as something he did to protect himself, he didn't think about it at all. When you practically lived on the road with your dad and brother your entire life, you get used to wearing a seat belt. It was a second nature, an instinct. Get in car. Close door. Reach for belt buckle. It was automatic. It wasn't supposed to save his life. It wasn't supposed to be the reason his best friend was inches from death. It was just a stupid seat belt...
As Sam was struggling to find words, any thing at all to say, to get reassurance, the doctor's pager started to go off. His old hand went immediately to his pocket where he kept it.
Looking at that pager was as much of a natural reaction for a doctor as buckling up was for a Winchester. Sam thought absently.
"This is your friend. I have to go." And just like that the man was half a hall away from him, heading briskly for the swinging doors of the OR.
"Is everything alright?" But Sam was speaking to himself. The doctor was gone, off to perform a miracle. Sam could only hope.
Not knowing what else to do, he backed himself into a chair in the hospital's waiting room.
What happened now?
Did they expect him to just sit there and wait? Do nothing? While the best friend he could possibly ever have, was dying?
Best friend. It wasn't a term he thought he'd ever get to use. Up until 6 months ago Sam didn't have a clue as to what it felt like to have anything more then a convenient friend. Someone his own age to hang out with, so he didn't get bored. Someone he wouldn't miss when they had to move a month or so later.
He and Dean were closer then most brothers ever got to be. It was a bittersweet relationship in that sense. One that Sam wouldn't give up for the world. They depended on each other, needed each other in a way that was conducive to growing up the way they had. As hunters. Warriors.
So, the way he had always figured it, he never needed a best friend. He had his brother. An older brother who had saved his life more times then he cared to count. A brother who never held it against him, had never lied to him, never stopped looking out for him. With a brother like that, who needed a best friend?
But both Winchester boys had their differences. Sam knew that Dean sometimes tired of his constant role as Sammy's protector. It was no secret to Dean, or their father, that Sam often longed for a normal life. And while they never outright fought about it, Sam knew Dean disapproved of the way he didn't listen to their father, and constantly argued with him.
So when they had moved to Columbus, Ohio a little over 6 months ago, and Sam had met Alex Brecken, he had been hesitant, yet eager to get to know the young man. As it turned out, they had a few things in common. Alex's parents had both died when he was a toddler. He remembered as much about them as Dean remembered about their mother, Mary.
Alex once told him he wished he didn't remember them at all, that he thought if he couldn't remember them than he couldn't miss him. Sam told him quite the opposite was actually true. Not knowing didn't mean not hurting. They'd been best friends since then.
His mind drifted for some time after that. Randomly shuffling through old memories. Ones of him and Dean, him and Alex, his dad. Fake memories he made up as a child about his mom, based on stories Dean used to tell him, ones not about her murder.
His mind flashed through the different friends he'd made over the years. People from jobs who had thanked them, learned from them, ran away scared of them. Died because of them. Sam had seen death before; he saw what it was like for the loved ones left behind. But it had never been personal, making this, in a way, unreal for him.
He continued to zone, watching, but not really seeing, other patients coming and going. Some were crying, some had flowers; others were pushing freshly healed loved ones in wheelchairs away from this place. You only left the hospital two ways, and out the front door was the best way to go.
Sam felt an odd sense of detachment, and not just from his surroundings. His shoulder didn't hurt. Not even a little; he couldn't feel it at all. Which was scary, because if anything hurt worse then dislocating your shoulder, it was popping it back into place.
He knew this because Dean had once done exactly that, and when their dad had re-located it, Dean had yelled out in pain. Not many things made his brother scream like that, and Dean was good with pain. So Sam had expected the worst when they did the same to him in the ambulance. He had, however, merely flinched, and that was more at the expectation of pain.
The doctors in the ambulance didn't have time to comment or notice the oddity if it though. They had told him to keep it still and then went back to trying to keep Alex stable until they reached the hospital. Alex was more important.
And again Sam was lost in his own head. Time passed, but Sam paid it no mind, which might of been why he was so startled when he heard the high spirited voice start to speak to him
"Are you Samuel Winchester?" The bright, female voice pulled him harshly from his thoughts. His whole body jerked, and he thought absently that if dad was here, he'd yell at him for being caught off guard.
"Yeah." he answered the nurse. Noticing only vaguely what she looked like. Skinny, long brown hair. He focused his gaze somewhere over her left shoulder and wished to whatever higher power might be listening that her voice wasn't so damn cheerful.
"Doctor Kurt told me to come out here and take a look at your shoulder. I would of been here sooner, but it's been such a busy night." She shook her head in a loving way. "So if you could, please follow me over here to an exam room."
She started walking away without actually waiting for an answer.
Sam considered not following. Telling the pretty, flowery, obviously naive nurse to go screw herself and that his best friend was dying and he didn't give two shits about the state of his minor shoulder injury.
Even as the thoughts weaved through his head, however, he was already on his feet. Following on autopilot. Dean was the one who said stuff like that. Dean was the one constantly saying 'screw you!' to authority. Their father, of course, being the obvious exception.
Sam was the one that followed the rules, did his homework, got straight A's, and called for Dean when he needed a bully beat up. Saying 'screw you!' to only their father. Resenting him, the way Dean resented authority. It was amazing that they could be so alike, while at the same time, be such polar opposites.
Alex was easier to get along with than Dean. But in the end, Dean meant more. He felt like he was betraying Alex just thinking that. Yet he'd felt guilty far the last 6 months. Having a best friend, he felt like he was turning his back on his brother. Dean never had a friend like Alex when they were growing up. He didn't need a best friend.
"You look like you're a million miles away, whattcha thinking about?" The nurse asked, motioning for him to take a seat on the exam table.
'My dying friend. You know, the one 50 feet down the hall that I can't do a damn thing for.' But he held his tong this time, choosing instead to simply shrug.
"Well don't be worried about the shoulder, I'm sure it's fine." She said it as if knowing his shoulder would get all better was going to come as some great big comfort to Sam. 'Yeah I know it's fine. I don't think I'd care all that much if it wasn't.'
"You weren't driving."
Doctor Kurt's earlier words assaulted him and he felt suddenly nauseous. 'What if I had been?'
Sam knew from years of experience hunting, that 'What if...' questions were pointless. They never changed anything, they couldn't bring an innocent back to life or kill a monster quicker. They wouldn't bring his mother back or allow him the pleasure of a normal life. Knowledge like that, though, never stopped anyone from wondering.
"It looks like you might have torn a ligament." The nurse was saying.
She'd been examining his shoulder for the past couple of minutes guiding it with her hands, rotating it in every direction, gauging his reaction and feeling for the pull of his muscles. Yammering pointlessly as she did so. Sam had absorbed none of what she'd been saying, but the sound of her voice could not be ignored.
"What's your name?" Sam suddenly, needed desperately to put a name to that incessant voice.
She paused and gave him an odd look, obviously thrown off by the suddenness of his question.
"Candy." she answered anyway.
Sam snorted, not even bothering to try to hide it. That just fit way too well. Candy. If he'd of tried to guess, that's probably what he would of come up with. Candy. He snorted again, outright laughed at it. He'd never met a girl named Candy. Something Dean had told him a long time ago now made sense.
'Never date food names.' he'd told him. 'No Cookies, Brownies, Candy's. In fact stay away from cute 'ies' all together, anything that makes them sound like they're in a soap opera. No Mandy's, Shirley's, Cindy's. Defiantly stay away from Bunnie's.' The list continued on for some time and when Sam had asked his brother why, Dean had said simply; "They'll drive you absolutely nuts.'
At the time, Sam had thought it a rather mean thing to say, or believe about anyone, just because of a name.
But now he got it.
"What is so funny?" Candy asked huffily, hands now placed on her hips, helping her ask the question.
Sam just laughed again. "Dean was right. My god, was Dean right."
Candy's face went from angry to concerned, she obviously thought Sam was suffering from some type of shock related to his injury.
Sam wanted to keep laughing at her; at the way her name reminded him of his older brother. Maybe he was going into some type of shock. He had been through a lot tonight; maybe this was just his mind's way of dealing with it. Or hell, maybe he was just going insane.
He discarded that thought though, when his anger returned, boiling just below the surface once again. Apparently, Candy thought the best way to deal with victims of shock was to talk to them like they were five freaking years old.
Sam could never remember being talked to like a little kid. Not even when he was a little kid. Dean had always talked to him as an equal and their dad had spoken to him as a student soldier.
"I'm gonna go get a sling for your shoulder, okay honey?" she asked slowly in a patronizing voice.
"Get a different nurse while your at it." he mumbled.
Candy turned and left the room. Returning a few minutes later with a doctor in tow.
What, Sam thought sarcastically to himself, I'm gonna get yelled at for being a bad patient now?
"Hello Samuel." This doctor was younger then Dr. Kurt. He looked to be only a few years older than Dean.
"It's Sam." He corrected automatically.
The young, spry looking doctor nodded. Sam found himself thinking that he liked Dr. Kurt better.
"Candy tells me you're having some problems with your shoulder?" Which Sam could tell was code for: 'Why the hell were you being such a little shit?'
"Look, I was in a car accident with a good friend of mine. He's in surgery now. With Dr. Kurt? I don't know how he's doing." Sam's exhaustion was beginning to take a toll on him. His emotions were skyrocketing all over the place and he found himself barely able to think straight.
This wasn't supposed to happen. Car accidents were things that happened to normal people. And, try as he might, Sam Winchester had never been normal. This certainly wasn't what he wanted his introduction to normality to be like. He just wanted his friend to stay alive.
Although, to the young doctor and Nurse Candy, he seemingly spoke magic words, for they backed off immediately. Suffering from a dislocated shoulder wasn't enough to get people in this hospital to back off and stop treating you like a misbehaving toddler. But having a friend next to death around the corner did.
"The Brecken kid is still in surgery." and that's as far as the young Doctor's knowledge on that subject went.
Ten minutes later found him with a sling around his shoulder, cradling his arm and the information that he had indeed torn a ligament. And while it wasn't major (gee, who had known that from the beginning?) he had to keep the sling for two weeks and 'take it easy' for an additional month after that. Sam considered telling the doctor that, in his family, taking it easy, meant killing the evil thing without getting yourself almost killed in the process.
Instead he said simply, "I'm gonna go wait in the lobby."
"Hang on a second Sam." Young Doc stopped him "How old are you?"
Sam considered lying, but decided it was too risky, he didn't remember telling anyone else his age, but he'd been pretty out of it when the ambulance had brought him in, so he couldn't be sure. Plus, they already had his real name, wouldn't it be easy enough for them to find out if he lied?
"Sixteen." The Doctor nodded, as if expecting that.
"We need to get a hold of your parents or a family member before we can let you go." He informed him.
"I'm not going anywhere until my friend is out of surgery." Sam said.
"I know that." he spoke with surprising gentleness. "But I still need to contact somebody, to let them know you're here. Isn't anyone worried about you?"
Sam automatically glanced around for a clock. Finding one on the wall behind him, he was shocked to see that it was nearing midnight. How could that be? He thought. Him and Alex had hung out after school for a few hours, ordered and eaten an extra large pizza. Alex had agreed to give Sam a lift home around... eight? Seven thirty? He had no idea when they actually reached the hospital, but mental math told him he had to of been here for 4 or 5 hours. Oh how time flies...
"My dad and my older brother are... On a road trip." A hunting trip. In Cleveland, nearly two hours away. "They usually call and check in around ten, but if they got... distracted," If they were battling a ghost that didn't want to crossover, "They might of forgotten."
Sam realized that if they had tried to call at the time they normally did, and he hadn't answered, they'd probably be back by now. Dean driving could cut an hour off any trip. "In fact they probably did forget." He said the last bit mostly to himself.
"Where's my cell phone?" Sam asked suddenly. The cell phone his dad gotten him, the one that he was supposed to keep with him at all times, so him and Dean could always call and make sure he was alright. Every member of their little family had a cell phone. For as long as Sam could remember. Always have your phone on you. It was a law within their family. Always be in contact.
"The police found it in the wreckage." Young Doc cringed at the words, knowing he was bringing forth unpleasant memories. "They said it was unsalvageable."
"My dad's gonna kill me." he said before he could stop himself.
He closed his eyes painfully, hearing those words come out of his own mouth. It was an incredibly inappropriate thing to say, and if Sam had been talking to someone else in his situation, he would of apologized immediately. Too bad he couldn't tell himself he was sorry.
When he opened his eyes again again, the doctor was smiling sadly.
"Is there anyway we can contact them?" he asked.
"They both have cell phones." he said simply.
When the doctor asked for his dad's number, as he knew he would, Sam gave him Dean's instead. He didn't really think about it, he just did it.
Every time he would start a new school and the teachers asked him to fill out those 'emergency contact' sheets, he'd always put Dean's number as the primary person to contact. Their father's number went on the 'And if that person cannot be reached?' line. No one ever told him to do it that way, and he'd never told anyone he did it. It was just an instinct. Like wanting to save people or putting on his seat belt.
He was light headed and dizzy by the time he made his way back to the waiting room. He felt like all he would need to feel better would be some fresh air and a bottle of nice cold water. Oh, and his friend not dying, that might help too.
But he wouldn't leave the hospital. He would be here as soon as Dr. Kurt came out of surgery to tell Sam that Alex was going to be fine. As soon as he approached him with that tired yet satisfied look that doctors on TV so often wore.
As soon as he was sure Alex would be fine. That bed rest and a couple stitches was all he needed to be good as new, that's when he would leave the hospital. That's when he'd be able to breathe again.
Forty five minutes later the young Doctor came out and told him that he'd left a message on Dean's voicemail, after attempting to get a hold of him half a dozen times.
He questioned Sam as to why it was Dean's and not his father's cell phone that he'd been dialing, but he backed off to a disapproving glare when Sam explained that his older brother was twenty-one years old, and he and dad were together anyway, and Dean was more likely to answer his phone if he didn't recognize the number. Which wasn't at all true, and Dean didn't actually turn twenty-one for another four months. But, oh well.
Two hours after that Sam found himself half asleep when a Nurse, not Candy thankfully, but an older lady, came out to tell him that Dr. Kurt had told her to give him an update.
They were still in surgery, but Alex's prospects didn't look good. She frowned as she told him this, obviously playing the messenger against her will. She looked like the kind of nice old lady who would lie to the tired, skinny, hurt, sixteen year old about his friend's condition to spare him anymore pain. Sam simply nodded until she went away. He didn't have the energy to be sad or angry or even worried anymore.
In his heart, his brain even, he knew the truth. But that wasn't what had defeated him. His mind and heart could be wrong, they had been before. But his gut never was. That feeling, lodged perpetually somewhere in the depths of his stomach.
The one that told him when Dean was nearby or hurt or in danger. The one that told him if someone was trustworthy or if his dad was hurting or angry. He didn't really know what to call it. Gut instinct was the closest he ever came to an accurate description, although it felt more powerful than that. He'd had it for as long as he could remember, and depended on it for the same amount of time.
He had never really explained it to anybody, not even Dean. He'd end up sounding insane. 'I have a feeling.' was what he said when he needed to get Dean to trust him on it. Because if Dean trusted him, then he could convince dad. And Sam was always right.
He knew he'd be right this time too. He knew, because the knot in his stomach wouldn't let up, and he'd only ever felt this way before, after waking up from nightmares about his mom's death. Something he couldn't actually remember, but often imagined, after hearing his father's story so many times.
On nights like that though, he had Dean there to tell him that it was just a nightmare and to go back to sleep because he was disturbing his beauty rest. Sam would tell Dean all the rest in the world wouldn't help him and he'd throw a pillow at him. Dean would throw it back, calling him a bitch. Sam would smirk, say 'Jerk.' and go back to sleep.
But Dean wasn't hear now. His brother, his father and his best friend were all gone right then, leaving no one to stop Sam from focusing on that painful knot in his stomach, no one to bring him back to reality, because he felt as if he was teetering dangerously on the edge of it.
No one was there to tell him everything would be all right.
An hour and a half later, when Dr. Kurt appeared in blood soaked doctor scrubs, when he stood in front of Sam, his whole body slumped with defeat, when he looked at the wise beyond his years, yet still innocent, sixteen year old boy. When all he could do was shake his head sadly and swear that the tears glistening in his eyes were real and not for the patient he had just lost, but for the broken one in front of him; no one was there to pick up the pieces.
Author's Note: Alright, It's up to you guys, if you want more, Review!