The Wake-Up Call
Title: The Wake-Up Call
Summary: How will the Winchester's pick up the pieces after the events of "Devil's Trap"?
Rating: PG-13 (just in case)
Characters: Dean/Sam/John/Missouri Mosley
Disclaimer: I don't own the show or the boys, that pleasure belongs to the WB/CW and Eric Kripke.
Spoilers: Season 1 is fair game.
A/N: Thanks to Mady Bay for spending her valuable time editing this and providing lots of handholding and to Sodakey for her beta work on the rewrite. Also, I know that I make some abrupt and incorrect POV switches in here—that's on me, not the betas. I chose to keep them even though I know they are incorrect.
Chapter One: Not Before Everything
"Dean!" Sam's cry pierced the air and mingled with his brother's agonized screams. He tried to focus on the gun just a few feet away. Concentrate, Sam, concentrate on the gun and bring it to you, he thought to himself. If you don't do this, Dean's gonna die…have to get the gun—
Another strained, pain-filled cry emerged from Dean. "Dad. Dad, don't you let it kill me."
Astonishment flooded Sam's brain, heart seizing with panic. He tore his eyes from the gun and fixed them on his blood-soaked brother.
"Dad, please…" Dean's voice was cracked in half. His face tightened in anguish one last time before slacking in unconsciousness, head lolling forward, chin coming to rest on his chest.
Fear vice-gripped Sam's heart. "No, Dean! No!" he howled, battering against the unseen force holding him in place. Then he heard his father's voice softly grate, "Stop. Stop it."
There was a lessening, like a weight being lifted off him, and Sam moved. He dove for the gun on the table, got a grip on it. Feeling its metallic coolness in his hand, he aimed directly at his father.
The Demon turned. "Kill me and you kill daddy," it sneered, back in control of its host.
"I know," Sam simply replied before drawing a bead on his father's leg and squeezing the trigger.
The bullet left the chamber in a cloud of smoke. Sam watched his father slump to the floor. Dean quickly followed. Released from the demon's grip, he slumped hard against the wooden floor.
Dean gasped inwardly and coughed up more blood, lungs struggling for oxygen. Sam scrambled to his brother's side
"Dean! Dean? Hey… Oh God, you've lost a lot of blood," Sam choked out, eyes briskly scanning his brother's trembling, soaked body.
"Where's Dad?" Dean breathed, dazed eyes searching.
"He's right here. He's right here, Dean," Sam reassured, throwing a quick look over his shoulder at their dad and then back again to the grimacing, drawn face of his brother.
"Go check on him," Dean choked out.
"Dean?" Sam questioned his brother, unable to believe that, even now, Dean was more concerned for their father's wellbeing than he was for his own. One more reason his brother would forever be his hero.
"Go check on him," Dean pleaded, voice breaking with the pain ravaging through him.
Sam glanced back at their father and then again, at his brother. Dean was in worse shape then their father and he didn't want to leave Dean's side, but he couldn't refuse—especially not after all that had happened between them in the last year.
Sam tentatively walked to his dad, still lying on the floor—blood slowly seeping from his leg wound. Was this really Dad or…
He quietly called, "Dad…Dad?"
"Sammy!" John screamed suddenly.
Sam stepped back, flinching.
"It's still alive. It's inside me, I can feel it." John's body trembled and shook. "You shoot me, you shoot me, you shoot me in the heart, Son! Do it now!" He bellowed, struggling to hold fast to the enemy twisting inside.
"Sam, don't you do it, don't you do it," Sam heard Dean implore as his own arm rose and settled on his father, gun trembling in his hand.
"Sam! You gotta hurry, I can't hold onto it much longer. You shoot me, Son! Shoot me!" his father raged. "Son, I'm begging you, we can end this here and now! Sammy!"
"Sam, no," Dean's voice whispered, torn, fearful--anguished.
"You do this! Sammy…Sam!" his father ordered, pleaded.
Sam couldn't do it. He couldn't pull the trigger. He couldn't do it because this was his father and, despite their differences, he loved him. Sam also knew it would destroy Dean and forever change their relationship as brothers—as friends.
"You do this! Sammy!" John Winchester commanded. "Sam," he tried once more, the plea ringing clear in his voice. Without warning, he arched off the floor—head thrown backward—the air above him filling with the terrifying black mist pouring from his body along with his frightful screams. The demon fog seeped through the floorboards and disappeared. John cried out in frustrated disappointment, head banging to the floor in defeat.
Dean's strangled pants for air sharpened. Sam turned. Checking on his brother, he could see Dean's head droop back to the floor in a flood of relief. Leaving his dad to his private grief, Sam rushed back to Dean with an urgent need to help him.
"Dean, hey…are you still with me?" He hesitated, checking Dean's pulse and cradling his brother's head in his lap. Dean was a fighter. Despite the massive amount of blood loss, his heart was beating strongly. At least for now.
"I'm here, Sammy," Dean feebly responded.
It was like Dean sensed Sam's need for encouragement. Sam knew Dean hated being the one needing to be saved. It had always been his brother's job to be the strong one, the big brother with all the answers. He probably felt he was letting Sam down.
Sam gently put his hands under Dean's armpits, intending to help his brother stand. As he did so, Dean's face paled sharply and instantly Sam knew his brother wouldn't be walking out on his own. In one fluid motion, Sam heaved Dean's weight over his shoulder, up onto his back, trying to ignore Dean's soft whimpers, trying to be careful not to jostle him any more than he had to.
"Just hold on," Sam soothed. He turned toward the door, noticing their dad was rising on his own and limping heavily toward them, a makeshift tourniquet tied around his thigh. Wordlessly, John opened the door, allowing Sam to bear his burden to the car. Once Sam reached the Impala, he bent slightly to open the passenger's back door and deftly deposited his brother inside.
Dean groaned with the movement, face paling further.
Noticing his brother's shivering body and chattering teeth, Sam took off his favorite tan jacket and cloaked Dean in its warmth. Sam leaned in close to Dean's face and sought his eyes. Laying a hand gently on his blood-soaked chest, Sam whispered, "Don't worry, you're gonna be fine. The hospital isn't far. We'll…they'll have you fixed up in no time."
This, they both knew, was more for Sam's own reassurance than Dean's. It was obvious Dean was in bad shape.
Dean grunted softly as he gazed up into Sam's face through heavy-lidded eyes. He could feel his blood draining from his body. There were so many things he wanted Sam to know. So many things left unsaid. Things like I love you, I admire the man you've become, and I am so proud of you. He tried to force the words from his wet lips, but all that came out was another mangled half-grunt, half-groan.
Not understanding, Sam squeezed his brother's hand in reassurance before shutting the door behind him and climbing into the driver's seat. John was waiting silently in the front passenger's side. Too silently, in fact. Even as Sam turned the key in the ignition, bringing the car to life with a growl, he could feel his father's glaring disapproval. Sam desperately hoped John would put this conversation on hold—for Dean's sake if for no one else's.
As the jet-black monster roared down the highway, Sam caught his father wince-gasp from the corner of his eye. Hoping to make a peace offering, Sam said, "Look, just hang on. We'll be at the hospital in ten minutes."
John sighed, letting his words come out in a whoosh. "I'm surprised at you Sam. We could have ended this thing. Here, tonight—the whole thing could've been over. I thought we saw eye to eye on this, Son." His father went on. "I thought we had an understanding; this mission comes before everything, before me—before everything."
Sam couldn't believe his ears, Dad was a real piece of work. He glanced in the rearview mirror, checking on Dean. His brother was slumped over on the door, eyes barely open, his every breath spilling new blood down his throat and onto his chest. Furious anger at his father welled anew in Sam's heart. Not once had their father asked how Dean was or looked back to check on his elder son's condition. Was his dad cold and indifferent toward Dean like the demon had suggested, or was he just too afraid to look at the results of his obsession?
Again, Sam flashed his eyes to the rearview mirror. This time he was met by Dean's pained gaze, fading green eyes seeking confirmation that Sam had learned his lesson well. Do you still feel that way, too, Sammy? Dean's weary face seemed to be asking.
"No, Sir," Sam spat, "Not before everything." Sam glanced back into the mirror. He was hoping to find his brother's approval, but Dean's eyes were now dull and downcast, obviously seeing nothing through the heavy lids. His condition was worsening.
A mixture of terror and worry combined, a potent poison in Sam's heart as it came bubbling up his throat. Surprising himself, Sam heard Dean's words to him earlier that day fly from his mouth, "You selfish bastard! All you care about is revenge. Not me, not Dean, not yourself. What?! Are we expendable, easy sacrifices on the John Winchester alter of revenge?"
Twisting his grip tighter around the wheel, Sam said, "What happens after it's over, Dad, and all you have left in your life is revenge? Is it really worth it if it costs you everything? Look Dean in the eyes," Sam continued in the space of a breath, gesturing to the backseat, "and tell him how all this is worth it. Tell him—no, tell me that we aren't worth living for—because, like it or not, we still need you."
Sam's voice softened before amending, "Look, Dad, we still have one bullet left. We can still—"
Sam's monologue was ripped from his lungs by the sudden impact of a semi truck barreling into the passenger side of the Impala. The light was blinding and the sound was deafening as the Impala exploded in a torrent of twisting metal and shattering glass. It seemed like an eternity before the entwined vehicles finally came to rest several yards from the impact. Several minutes passed before any movement inside the destroyed car could be detected.
Pain, initially that's all there was…fiery, stabbing, throbbing pain. Sam wasn't sure where it was coming from. There was…music, soft music, streaming from the radio, but that was the only sound he heard at first.
Gingerly, he opened his eyes. Big mistake. Bright lights flooding the interior of the car sent cutting shards slicing through his brain. Now, where did that light come from? he thought to himself, still wincing from the shock. What happened? he wondered. This time with more caution, he slowly opened his eyes—barely a crack—and attempted to look around. Okay, he was in the car, but something was wrong…something had happened…
Jolted by a flood of memory, Sam's eyes flew open as he remembered being sidelined by the truck. His primary thought was of family, but when he tried to sit upright, he became immersed in his own obliterating pain. Taking a deep breath, Sam winced, pain blistering through his sides and chest. Possible broken ribs. And there was an incredible throbbing in the side of his head. A mild concussion, he thought. Left wrist was probably broken, too, and there was a sharp ache in his right knee.
As Sam tried to regain control, one penetrating thought urged him on—Dean. He needed to get to his brother. His brother's broken, bleeding body surely couldn't withstand more abuse. And what about Dad? He hadn't made a sound. Angling his whole body to the right let him completely view his father now, but not Dean.
"Dad…Dad, can you hear me?" he called out from swollen lips and a copper laden tongue. No sign of response. He looked his dad over. There were bloody, sweat-mixed rivulets running down his face and neck—covering the front of his shirt. He definitely had a head injury, but Sam could only guess at the seriousness. Sam touched the base of his dad's throat—praying for a pulse.
Oh, thank God, relief flooded through him, there it is—strong and steady.
Sam maneuvered toward Dean. "Dean? Dean can you hear me?"
Silence. Once again using his good arm and leg, Sam propped himself up and twisted around to get a better look, fear running cold in his veins. Shooting knives of fire punctured his sides, causing him to suck in his breath and wrinkle his face. Releasing his breath slowly, he opened his eyes and peered into the back seat, fearfully scouring the darkness for Dean.
His heart skipped a couple of beats when he took in his brother's limp, beaten body. The left side of Dean's face was covered in fresh blood and he was lying propped up against the car door, his neck bent at an odd angle. The most disheartening thing, though, was Dean's blood-soaked clothing. Not only was his entire upper body saturated in wet crimson, but it had breached Dean's jeans—leaving pools of red on his thighs and the car seat. Blood spattered the door around his head in random droplets where his skull had forcefully slammed up against the glass window.
"Dean!" Sam yelled. Dread thickened his leaden limbs. He found himself scrambling to get out of the car—shooting pains be hanged. Sam gathered Dean into his arms as he slid into the car beside him, ignoring well-known edicts to keep the victim still. Pulling Dean across his lap, Sam fought to keep his composure, voice breaking with emotion as he cried, "Dean? Dean? Answer me! Come on, man, open your eyes. Say something!"
"Dean, don't do this to me," he implored, supporting his brother's upper body with his left arm—trying to be careful of his own swollen wrist. Using his right hand, he checked for a pulse. "Please, be there, be there," Sam prayed, begged. Warm relief wrapped around him as a thready pulse beat beneath his fingers. Fishing a forgotten t-shirt from the seat beside him, Sam gingerly began wiping away some of the blood that covered his brother's features and then pressed the shirt into Dean's chest hoping to staunch some of the flow.
Sam shook him. "Dean, can you hear me? It's Sam. I need you to open your eyes and look at me, please."
The only reply was a soft, rasping noise coming from deep inside his brother. God, Dean, that can't be good, Sam thought, furrows creasing his sweaty brow.
"Just hang in there, Dean, I am gonna get help," Sam assured as he removed his cell phone from his pocket and flipped it open. Using voice dial, Sam clearly enunciated the needed number and then anxiously sputtered, "Hello, 911? I have an emergency. My family and I were in an accident and my brother and dad are hurt. Hurry, we need help." Sam proceeded to give a location as close to their position as possible.
"Yes," he responded to the tinny voice on the line, "They are both unconscious, but both have pulses and are breathing on their own. Please hurry, though, my brother's losing a lot of blood and he's wheezing…I," he stammered, "I don't know how much longer he can hold on." Sam pressed the phone hard into his temple, brooked the tears from his voice.
The operator gave him further instructions and promised someone would be there soon.
"Okay…thanks." Sam ended the call, ignoring the request for him to remain on the line. "Just stay with me, Dean, it won't be long now." He absently patted his brother and laid a hand on the side of Dean's face. Carefully, he drew Dean's head toward him, trying to get a better look at the deep gash in his brow.
Dean's eyelids fluttered lightly and he moaned weakly, "S'aamm?"
"I'm here, right here. Just, stay still. Help's on the way," Sam crooned in an even, calming voice.
Dean's eyes cracked open and he appeared to be assessing the damage done to his little brother. "You...," Dean tried, but he was consumed by a coughing fit that sent racking pains throughout his damaged body. Dean's face crumpled in misery.
Alarmed, Sam commanded, "Don't try to talk, please…just take it easy." Sam's eyes took in the pallor of his brother's face beneath the blood and shuddered.
Not one to be bossed into anything, Dean tried again, croaking, "You….okay?" More coughing followed as his face pinched up, blood foaming at the corners of his mouth.
"I'm fine—a little banged up, but I'll survive. It's you I'm worried about. Please, Dean, try to conserve your energy."
"And…Dad?" The words barely whispered out.
"Dad's here. He's hurt—but I think he's going to be okay. Save your strength and don't talk," Sam persuaded again.
Dean began shaking harder and his breathing seemed to grow more labored as he insisted, "Sammy, I need…to tell you…." Dean paused to take another short breath before locking eyes with Sam. "I'm…proud…of you," he grated out. "I…want you to know that...that, I'm proud to be…your brother."
His brother's weak smile was stolen from his face as Dean's head shifted laxly on Sam's arm, torment once again rendering him unconsciousness.
Sam focused on the two stray tears that had carelessly rolled down both sides of his brother's face. He pulled Dean's head closer, touching their foreheads. Breath hitching in his chest, Sam let the tears stream down his face, unbidden and uncontrollable.
"I love you, too, big brother. Please stay with me. I …can't do this without you. You have to hold on. Please, Dean, for me…do this for me," he cried, knowing Dean could never refuse his heartfelt requests.
Sam drew Dean further into his arms, cradling his brother's head with one hand while wrapping the other around Dean's shoulders protectively. Sam rested his cheek atop Dean's head and coddled him, needing to be closer to his brother, needing Dean's comfort and guidance so much just then. Through his quiet weeping, he listened to his brother's rattling breaths. Dean was still alive, but he was losing the life and death battle with each fleeting moment he lay in Sam's arms, drowning in his own blood.
A loud groan from the front seat broke the stillness as John Winchester woke from his unconscious state. "Dad…?" Sam squeaked from the back seat, glad for his dad's presence just then.
John's head slowly swung from side to side as he clawed his way toward consciousness. "Sam…that you?"
"Yeah, Dad, it's me. You okay?" Sam gushed with relief.
"Son…what…what happened…," John's voice trailed off.
"We had an accident, Dad. Don't you remember the truck hitting us?" questioned Sam, relieved his father was speaking.
"Mmm…yeah, think so…," he answered, memory washing over him like the waves of a violent and stormy sea. "You okay, Sammy?" John tossed back.
"Got some busted bones, but I'm okay. Dad…Dean's not so good, though. There's so much blood and his breathing is all wrong."
Sam's voice sounded so small and lost, like when he was about six years old and had woken up from a night terror. It made John's heart lurch. Sam was frightened, was making no effort to hide his fear, and that was not the man his son had grown to be. Sam never revealed his fears to his father these days. Things with Dean must be bad to evoke such blatant fear from Sam.
Spurred on by growing apprehension and Sam's need, John moved his body forward. Smashing currents of pain smacked John back into place at once. John's injuries made themselves clearly known. He feared one leg was broken and possibly his arm. Something was definitely very wrong because he had pretty, luminescent colors dancing in front of his eyes. John beat down the growing nausea and threatening blackness in an effort to give Sam some comfort just knowing he wasn't alone in the car.
Sam, hearing his father's gasps, yelled out, "Dad, you okay?"
John sucked in a few breaths and steadied himself, waiting for the pain to ease a little. "Yeah, Sam," he grunted, "I'm okay—but I don't think I can get back there. I'm pretty busted up. Tell me about Dean," he gently prompted.
Sam stopped. Dean's breathing had grown noisy enough to be easily heard. "His breathing is irregular and loud…rattles deep in his chest. He, uh, looks like he has a nasty concussion and he he's losing a lot of blood. God, Dad. Can't you hear him?"
Listening intently, John made the connection between the intermittent rasping sound growing louder behind him to Dean's sawing breaths. He hadn't realized that the harrowing noise was coming from Dean. Cold, merciless fingers of panic gripped John's heart. Aching within, he called back to Sam in a calming voice, "And his pulse?"
Sam put two fingertips over the carotid artery in Dean's neck and waited for the familiar thump, thump, thump of his brother's heart. Time was at a standstill as he waited for what he knew, what he willed to be there. Just barely, he caught it. Trembling fingers made it difficult to discern, but it was there.
"Umm…well, it's there…but it's weak and unsteady. Worse than a few minutes ago. Dad…I think…I think we're losing him…" Sam's voice faded as he choked on the words.
"Don't say that, Sam. Don't you dare say that," his father roared back at him, panic beneath his angry reaction. "Dean's strong and he is a fighter—he wouldn't dare give up."
A retort fired to Sam's lips, then died as his ears picked up the far-off sound of sirens. "Thank God," Sam breathed, closing his eyes in a silent thank you to The Big Man Upstairs. Looking down again at his brother, he whispered, "Help's on its way…please, just keep fighting, Dean. Don't you give up on me—don't you dare give up!"
It never even crossed his mind how closely he'd just regurgitated his father's words, or how much he had sounded like John Winchester just then.