Title: Wait for Me
Author: kaly
Category: Gen
Rating: K+
Spoilers: Faith
Summary: Sam searches for a solution during 'Faith'.

Disclaimer: Not mine. The pretty, snarky, angsty brothers belong to the WB.

Wait for Me

At first, Sam was aware of every moment as it passed. The steady beeping of the heart monitor - slower than Sam would've liked - echoed in the room. And although it was a guarantee that Dean lived, it was slowly, surely going to drive Sam insane.

They had been there for what felt like years but in fact he had only rushed Dean to the hospital the night before. It was even less time since the doctor had broken the news that there was nothing they could do to save him. He had been sitting beside Dean's bed since and it felt like a lifetime and no time at all, simultaneously.

At first he watched as Dean nervously flipped channels, neither of them speaking much. All the while Sam was fighting a semi-successful battle with his emotions, trying to be strong for his brother.

Eventually Dean had fallen into a fitful sleep, resting though only barely, with the remote dangling from his lax hand. Sam continued to sit there, fighting to breathe while faced with the supposed inevitable looming over them both. And for one of the few times he could remember Sam was truly, deeply afraid.

He couldn't help but think of his laptop, securely tucked away in their hotel room. Sam knew if he was going to fix this - and he had to fix this - he needed to get started on researching ways to save Dean. And yet, staring at Dean, Sam was afraid to leave. It was a catch twenty-two. To try and find answers, he had to leave Dean's side. But the last thing he wanted - besides Dean dying - was to leave him. He felt pulled in two.

Standing, he looked at Dean - telling himself that he wasn't memorizing the pale features. Almost as an afterthought he pulled the remote from Dean's hand and laid it on the bedside table.

Before leaving he stopped at the nurses' station to make sure they would call him for any changes. Once outside, it was impossible to miss the Impala, parked haphazardly in the ER parking lot amongst compacts and pickup trucks. And as he slid into the driver's seat Sam couldn't help feeling out of place.

At the hotel he pushed the door shut quietly, dropping the keys onto a small table. Pulling the laptop out of his bag, he pressed the power switch, waiting for it to boot. Soon enough he was absorbed in articles, searching in vain for any mention of lesser-known ways of curing his brother.

As web pages loaded, he began phoning, exhausting every contact he could find in their dad's journal, in Dean's cell phone and even his own. He left message after message, with anyone he thought might have any suggestions. When he ran out of phone numbers, he began emailing.

When night fell he reluctantly left the computer long enough to turn on the light. Thoughts of food or drink or sleep had long since faded and the rest of the world soon followed it. Nothing mattered - nothing held his attention - if it didn't bode hope for Dean.

Time was marked by constant checks of his email and glances at the phones, although they refused to ring. Hours passed and before he realized it was brightening outside. Sam blinked, looking toward the thin curtains, hearing the birds singing and the low bustle of traffic. Everything sounded so normal, even though it was nothing but.

Suddenly it hit him how much had changed in less than two days. The night before last they had been doing their job, saving two children and hunting evil. Followed by a hellish night of rushing Dean to the hospital, talking constantly but saying little, of waiting in nauseatingly colored rooms, of hearing the words his heart still refused. How could everything go so wrong so fast?

Faced with little headway and no answers, it was finally driven home - Dean was dying. The doctors had given up and although Sam hadn't, he was failing Dean all the same. Nothing he had done so far had accomplished anything. Guilt swelled in his chest, overwhelming the determination that had been driving him. Shoulders slumping, he sat back from the computer.

Dean was going to be gone in weeks if he didn't find a miracle. Weeks. The word echoed oddly in Sam's mind. While he didn't regret his time at school, the longer they spent together on the road, the more Sam regretted allowing them to stay out of touch. Four years was a long time to be apart, after growing up so close.

Four years apart and only six months together. Six of the lousiest months Sam had known - saved only by the fact Dean had stood by him throughout, even when they fought. Dean was the only bright spot since Jessica had died.

And how was he repaying him? Obsessively searching for a cure that might not exist. But worse, he was hiding because he was too scared to face Dean's mortality. He took a shuddering breath, coughing roughly when the tears tightened his throat. So far he had accomplished nothing in his searches.

He needed to stop hiding. He was waiting - for emails, for phone calls. All of a sudden he couldn't stand the feeling of simply waiting any longer. Standing, he closed the laptop. The keys were in his hand before he'd had time to consciously think about it and he spared only half a thought for locking the door behind him as he left.

Sam moved on automatic, only knowing that he needed to be with Dean. Immediately. The compulsion pressed him onward, the drive passing in a blur. The sound of the engine did little but remind him of who was missing and by the time he reached the hospital it was all Sam could do to keep from running through the corridors.

The longer it took to reach Dean, the more an unnamable fear grew that maybe something had gone wrong. What if Dean was gone and he was too late? What if he'd left him alone at the end, in the name of saving him?

The further he went, the faster he moved. By the time he reached Dean's room Sam skidded to a stop in the doorway. This time, although it was mid-morning, Dean was sleeping instead of complaining about the television.

The hideous black circles still marred his face; his normally tan complexion was waxen and pale. However these things barely registered as Sam watched the slow rise and fall of Dean's chest. In that moment, just Dean breathing was enough.

Relief washed over him as he walked into the room and sat before he fell. Reaching out hesitantly, Sam stopped just short of covering Dean's hand with his own, knowing that Dean needed the rest. Sam was scared of waking him and knew that if Dean did wake he would insist on acting "normal". Normal exhausted Sam, much less Dean. Just being there, reassured that the unthinkable hadn't snuck up on them, was enough for Sam.

He lost track of time as he sat there, ignoring the muted sounds from outside the doorway. The steady beeping of the heart monitor once again marked the time and too soon Sam began to feel drawn back to the hotel. What if one of their contacts had sent word? After all, he was apparently Dean's only hope - as overwhelming as that might be.

Too many times Dean was the savior. Too often he risked himself to save Sam, as though Sam were worth more. Maybe that was true to Dean - the reverse was certainly true for Sam. And now it was his turn. For once the stubborn Winchester drive was going to accomplish something positive. Hell or high water he was going to save Dean.

Standing, Sam waited a moment longer but still Dean didn't wake. Giving into the compulsion for a connection between them, he gently laid his hand on Dean's forehead. Dean tilted his head toward the contact, and Sam smiled sadly; however he didn't wake.

Sam took an unsteady breath, blinking quickly. Before removing his hand, he whispered, "I am going to save you, I promise. Just wait for me."

end