Feels like Midnight
Thanks once again to everyone who has been reading. Last chapter. I'm sure Dean will be glad to be rid of me. I smack him around something terrible…
Dean wasn't breathing.
No, no, no! Sam's mind was screaming. CPR… ok… he knew CPR. 15 and 2. 15 and 2.
Sam viciously shoved cornstalks out of the way so he could kneel at Dean's side, all the while mentally running through what he needed to do.
Tilt the head back so the air will go in. Pinch his nose shut. Two big breaths like you're blowing up a big balloon. Yes, he could feel the air going in. Sam carefully placed one hand over the other, bracing himself over Dean, the palm of his bottom hand against his breastbone. Arms straight, shoulders directly over your hands, up and down, don't bend your elbows. It's ok if you hear some cracking. Ribs don't like what you're doing. Keep going. 15 times. Two breaths. 15 pumps to the chest. Two breaths like you're blowing up a balloon.
Dean hated balloons.
15 and 2, 15 and 2.
Sam sobbed. His chest burned and his shoulders were starting to shake with exhaustion. Too long. It was taking too long.
When he heard his brother's first harsh gasp Sam fell back in a heap, completely drained. He let out a strangled cry of triumph and lay on his back for several seconds, panting, listening to Dean's rough but wonderful breathing. It was music to his ears. Finally he struggled to sit forward again.
Dean raised a fumbling hand to his chest. "Y… you sh… shoot me again?"
"No," Sam laughed on a sob. "You did it yourself this time."
"Wh… wha time is it?" he murmured.
Sam frowned in confusion, but pushed the button on his watch. "It's midnight."
Dean clutched a hand in his shirt over his chest. "Supposed to change back at midnight."
"What?" Sam frowned.
"Pumpkin. Supposed to change back."
"Dean?" he asked worriedly. Oxygen deprivation? Dean wasn't making sense. "It won't happen again," Sam assured him. "We… you stopped her. No more repeats."
"Midnight… changes back," Dean insisted, his eyes finally fluttering open. He groaned and brought his hand up to rub his long fingers over his beard-stubbled chin.
Sam fumbled around himself on the ground and found his flashlight where it had fallen. He sat up again on his knees, pointing the light far enough away from Dean so as not to blind him, but close enough so that he could study his brother's strained face.
"Midnight," Dean mumbled, trying to get his eyes to focus. "Didn't change back. That Cinderella's full of crap."
Dean's eyes fluttered shut as he passed out. Sam wearily fell back on the ground and laughed.
Sam stood and hurried forward as the doctor appeared in the ER waiting room doorway. The doctor gestured for him to come with him and started walking back down the hallway.
"How is he?"
Sam had managed to haul Dean back to the car, discovering that they were in reality only about 10 yards away from the road. Dean had not awakened as he'd manhandled him into the passenger seat and driven him to the nearest hospital. Nor had he awakened as the attendants had pulled him from the vehicle and disappeared with him inside the ER.
"We're making him as comfortable as we can," the doctor said.
"What's wrong with him?"
"Well… He has some cracked ribs, a concussion. His wrist has a small fracture. His shoulder has some damage. We'll be able to tell more about that later. The bruising on his back as well, though it doesn't appear to be anything serious." The doctor frowned. "His chest is badly bruised in a rather strange pattern. You said he was struck by a car?"
Sam nodded. He'd been so preoccupied when he'd brought Dean in, he'd just said the first thing that had come into his head, pathetic explanation though it might be. Some of the injuries were no doubt from the fight with the zombie. It had managed to get hold of Dean and toss him like a ragdoll. The rest though…
The doctor eyed him, his gaze almost accusatory. "The injuries to his chest are like blunt-force trauma, like impact wounds, but not what I would expect from a pedestrian being struck by a vehicle..."
"Is there anything else?" Sam interrupted.
The doctor squared his shoulders. "Yes," he said, disapproval radiating from him. "He has a fractured ankle."
"He broke his ankle?" Sam asked dumbfounded. That had to have happened during one of the earlier rounds and Dean hadn't told him. Dean had walked into that field on a broken ankle. Sam could kick himself for not noticing.
"The most puzzling thing however is a burn."
Sam's jaw actually dropped open. "You've got to be kidding."
"No," the doctor assured him, now more confused than anything else. "He has a burn on his leg about the size of a grapefruit. Any idea how that happened?"
Sam closed his eyes, trying not to let his fury show. When they'd set the old woman's shed on fire to cover the zombie's death… Crap. Out of the corner of his eye, he'd seen Dean batting at his trouser leg, almost like he was brushing dirt off his jeans. Dean had quickly changed as soon as they'd made it to the car, claiming he had zombie goo on his pants and he was not going to get it on the upholstery. Sam decided he was going to kill him. He was just going to kill him.
"Can I see him?"
Dean felt wonderful. He'd felt beyond awful and now he felt just wonderful. He was drugged to the gills, had to be. That was either a good thing or a bad thing.
Sam walked into his room and Dean decided it was probably a bad thing. Sam looked loaded for bear and Dean wasn't sure he could think well enough to keep his mouth shut.
"Your ankle is broken?" Sam said carefully, quietly.
Uh oh. Sam was in his I-want-to scream-at-you-but-we're-in-public mode.
"Hairline, dude," Dean smiled. "They're not even going to cast it."
"And when did that happen?"
Dean shrugged and then grimaced. "Ouch."
"When did you break your ankle, Dean?" Sam asked patiently, almost.
"Any reason you didn't tell me?" Sam was still using his careful tone.
"Well, pardon me," Dean rolled his eyes. "You were with me when I did it. I just kinda forgot to bring it up again. Am I supposed to keep track of everything you do and don't know?"
Sam narrowed his eyes and Dean smiled again. Yeah, he kept track of everything. It was what he did. Sam knew it too… but he couldn't prove it.
"I'm pretty sure you were there for that too," Dean nodded. "That old lady came at you with a garden weasel." He laughed at the memory. "Shoulda seen the look on your face, dude. Priceless." Oh, yeah… Definitely drugged. His chest didn't hurt when he laughed.
Sam just shook his head and sighed, the picture of longsuffering.
"I take it we saved the day?" Dean asked more seriously.
"The diner's gone. I checked while I was waiting. It closed some time in the early 70s. So basically, everybody died but you. Does that count?"
"Ghosts gone?" He waited for Sam to nod. "Good. Then it counts."
Dean had a sudden memory… the sensation of the barrel of the gun pressed up under his chin… the shot.
"Dean." Sam was abruptly standing over him. "Dean, breathe. I mean it. You gotta breathe. Stay with me."
Freaking ghosts. Dean tried to focus on his breathing. In and out. No scaring the little brother. "S'ok," Dean said, seeing Sam look toward the door. "Don't… don't call the doctor."
"You sure?" Sam asked worriedly.
Dean brought a shaking hand up to brush over his face. Yup. Still there. For just a second… The sensation of it not being there… Holy crap. That was certainly a memory he could have lived without. He closed his eyes, fighting the urge to be sick. Maybe the drugs weren't as good as he'd thought. All of a sudden, his head ached. His face hurt.
"You want to talk about it?"
Dean opened his eyes again and focused on his brother, a mocking grin appearing. "Yes, Sam. By all means. Let's talk about my possession by two completely mental suicidal females who, despite my best efforts, managed to force me into blowing my own head off."
"I take it that's a no?" Sam glared.
"Dude, will you sit down," Dean waved him back. "You're giving me the fidgets… too much hovering."
"If you'll quit passing out, I'll quit hovering," Sam quirked his mouth up at one side. He found a chair and pulled it close to the bed.
Dean noted that when he sat down his brother was still taller than he was. How fair was that? Though he supposed he could have been a whole head shorter right now. Dean decided maybe he should be grateful for small favors.
How did he tell Sam what had happened? How did he explain how it had felt? She… it… While they'd been together… The loss… the isolation… He'd tried to talk to her. It had felt like years while they'd knelt there. It had taken everything he had to keep her from pulling the trigger, to try and make her look at her sister, to make her understand she was needed. All the while Sam had been staring at him, his pleading eyes boring into them.
When the waitress, Lucy he now knew, had joined them, it had all unraveled. Lucy, too, had been making one last effort to convince her sister to stay, adding her voice to Dean's. It had been impossible though. Dean had had only a few minutes. The child had been trying for fifty years. She had even resorted to changing herself, appearing older to try and convince her sister to listen. Children had to listen to adults.
The child's last thoughts had been that it was a lost cause. All was lost. Her family was doomed. She had to save herself and she had to save them.
Hopelessly trapped in her own past and oblivious to her sister's pleas, Lily's last thought had been that she'd killed her father and there would have to be a trial. She couldn't put her sister through that. She had to save her.
The problem, of course, had been that Dean had understood. And at that instant, when each sister had found a way to save the other, Dean's only thought had been that this was going to repeat forever unless he did something. He couldn't put Sam through that. He had to save him.
And that thought… that shared belief that there was only one way to save the person they loved… that was all it had taken for them to pull the trigger.
"What are thinking about?" Sam asked barely above a whisper.
"Dying." Dean's eyes widened. Whoa. That was not supposed to have come out. Loose, uh… drugged lips, sink ships. Sam was sitting back in his chair, waiting to see if there was more.
"Anything in particular?" he asked when Dean didn't continue.
"Can't say as how I cared for it," Dean replied with a yawn. "Definitely wouldn't recommend it."
Dean narrowed his already drooping eyes. Sam probably did at that. The jerk was too smart by half.
Dean's eyes closed of their own accord. He heard Sam stand and walk back toward him. He felt Sam ruffle a hand through his hair.
"I thought you'd left me," Sam said quietly.
"Doesn't feel so good, does it?" Dean murmured, briefly jostled when Sam's hand in his hair stopped moving and then was removed. Oops, his drugged mind thought. Telling the truth was definitely an adverse side effect of whatever they'd given him.
Dean forced his sleep-heavy eyes to open and cleared his suddenly dry throat. "Sam, you don't have to stay with me you know." His eyes met Sam's disturbingly intent gaze. After what they'd been through that night, they both knew he wasn't just talking about the hospital stay. "I'll understand."
"Go to sleep, Dean," Sam whispered. "I'll be here when you wake up."
Dean let out a bone weary sigh and closed his eyes again. Brothers and sisters… Complicated things. They made his head hurt. Literally.
Just as he was drifting off he heard Sam shuffle his feet.
"You scared me, Dean."
"Sorry, Sammy," Dean mumbled, "Won't do it again."
Well, I'll let poor Dean get some rest now. Hope you enjoyed it.