I wrote this at 2:00 am last night, so be gentle : P and let me know what you thought! The italics separate the story in a way because the tenses are a little different, but hopefully it still flows together for ya.
Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural.
It was easy to pinpoint the moment Dean Winchester's life changed forever. A moment of cutting clarity forever seared into his memory. It was the moment he awoke in that twisted mess of metal. The moment a misty rain began to fall on a highway slick with blood and oil. The moment his brother's panic laced voice whispered,
"I can't feel my legs." The moment everything changed.
Sam's back and Dean's heart were snapped in the violent impact. Sam would lay silent in his hospital bed for hours, watching outside as birds flew overhead and people walked below. Sam looked at Dean and for once in his life Dean didn't know the words to say to his brother. Dean looked away.
For the longest time, Sam refused to learn to use the wheelchair. He also refused to eat. The day Dean signed the document allowing a feeding tube to be inserted was the day Sam actually spoke to him.
"I hate you! Please go away!" The words had echoed across the white tile. For an hour, Dean did go away. He was locked in the men's room crying.
A month at the hospital and Sam somehow convinced himself that he could walk. He tried several times but everytime his legs splayed out awkwardly below him. Everytime he fell, Dean was there to catch him.
Sam's legs were once hung with muscles, powerful and agile, laced with strength. Now they were impossible. Dean found that his father too, was now impossible. Especially when he had taken off the day after Dean awoke in the ICU. Talking on and on about how he was going to kill the demon, with a quiet "Take care of Sammy." As he left. Dean watched the man go and watched his adoration turn into hatred instantly.
Finally Sam took some incentive, still without speaking with Dean. Just because he was there every day didn't mean they had any words left to say. Sam kept trying to walk, using leg braces and handlebars. A useless exercise for useless legs.
Sam fell to the ground, the braces clattering.
"Honey, let me help you." Gladys, one of the physical therapy nurses came to Sam's side, her hand on his arm.
"Leave me alone." He whispered angrily, shaking her hand away. She turned away. The boy was stubborn and destructive, always trying to do things he knew he couldn't. She saw his brother leaning outside the room, sipping coffee in the hallway, his clothes a wrinkled mess and his eyes rimmed with darkness.
"You better go in there, he's gonna kill himself." Dean gave her a curt nod of thanks and threw his murky hospital coffee away as he swung open the door. He stood there for a moment watching Sam who thought he was alone. Sam moved his long legs, weighed down in braces with his hands. He positioned them so they were in front of him and reached his arms up to the bars. His hands clasped the metal tightly and all the muscles along his arms and shoulders began to ripple as he slowly pulled himself upward. And for a moment, one pristine moment filled with hope, Sam stood. But in the next he fell to the floor, Dean quickly at his side.
"Leave me alone!" Sam sat sprawled on the floor, one hand over his face. Dean took a deep breath. It was time for this unanimous Winchester silence to cease. He sat down gently beside his brother.
"Sammy, it's going to be okay." He said the words slowly and quietly. How he wished they would sink in. Sam shook his head and lowered his hand from his face, revealing green eyes swimming in tears.
"No, Dean, it's not. It's never going to be okay again." His shoulders shook with silent sobs and he lowered his head. Dean scooted closer to him, wrapping his arm around Sam's shoulders. He gently pushed Sam's head down to rest on his chest so Sam could hear his heartbeat. It was something little Sam used to love, whether he was scared, sad or sick listening to Dean's heartbeat could somehow make it better. They sat quietly for a moment and Dean could feel his shirt growing wet with his brother's tears.
"Shh…just listen for a minute, Sammy. My heart is beating and so is yours. We can make this work, Sammy. We can do this."
"But we can't be who we were. We can't be hunters." Dean shook his head.
"That doesn't matter to me."
"But what will we do? Where will we go?"
"Well…we'll have to settle down somewhere. Get a house. We'll take it from there."
"But Dean…you can't take care of me for the rest of my life."
"The hell I can't."
"I'm serious, Dean. What about when you want to get married, have kids?"
"Sam, you really think I'm going to marry some girl who doesn't like you or tries to come between us? I mean, you know me better than that." Sam seemed to consider this. He cleared his throat and pulled away form his brother, rubbing the tears from his face.
"I can't believe you said hunting doesn't matter to you." Dean looked Sam in the eye.
"It doesn't. Neither does the car. Neither does Dad for that matter. The only thing I really care about is you, Sam. I want you to feel better. I want you to see that your life is not over, it's just going to be a little different. It's going to work out just fine. We're going to do this together." Sam smiled slightly and gave Dean's hand a slight squeeze.
"I feel better already." It was the best thing Dean had heard in months.
Dean saw his brother take his first steps across a stained motel floor. He also saw him take his final steps across a dusty cabin, Dean on one side, John on the other. Two arms thrown haphazardly across his shoulders, never knowing those steps would be the last he'd ever have the chance to take. Some would call it a curse to a see a chapter of a life from beginning to brutal end but Dean, Dean calls it a blessing.