Disclaimer: Not mine. Never will be mine. The Pretty will never come home with me. I'll never be able to do more than watch them through some glass screen…Excuse me, I have to go lie down now.
Characters: Sam, Dean indirectly.
A/N: DT tag. I have no idea where this plot bunny came from! Angst and some humor. Hope you enjoy it.
Sam Winchester rubbed his eyes wearily, though it was only ten o'clock in the morning. He had not gotten any sleep that night. Dean had, had….His fists clenched. Dean had scared the fucking daylights out of him! Coding like that. Sending a medical team scurrying to Dean's room and leaving Sam standing in the doorway, practically hyperventilating with panic until his brother's heart started again. Which it did with apparently great reluctance.
They were unable to pry him away for the rest of the night. Now, with Dean having stabilized, two nurses were giving him a sponge bath. Sam let himself get shooed away, mostly because he knew that, were he conscious, Dean would be embarrassed as hell that he had to be bathed by strangers and it would be worse if his baby brother were standing there watching.
So now Sam sat in the small lobby of the critical care wing, just off the nurses' station. It had one wall of windows that looked out across the hospital parking lot to the church across the street. Sam wondered if the placement of the room was designed to let family members gaze upon the church and be comforted. If so, the plan was failing miserably.
It had been so close last night, so close to being "Here endeth the tale of Dean Winchester." He felt the fear starting to surge once again and he took deep breaths to calm himself down. He wanted nothing so much as to crawl into a corner and cry until there wasn't a drop of water left anywhere inside him. That is, when he didn't want to just stand in the parking lot and scream until he was hoarse.
Two-and-one-half weeks since the cabin and the semi. Two-and-one-half weeks for his own bruises, bumps and minor concussion to heal, for his Dad to be well on the way to recovery—and for Dean to be slipping away from them more each day. Two-and-one-half weeks of feeling utterly and totally helpless. He buried his face in his hands but the image of his brother, still, unresponsive, hooked to machine after machine, was burned into his retinas and he could never block the picture out.
"Are you okay, mister?" a small voice asked.
Sam removed his hands and looked up. A small girl of perhaps six or seven stood in front of him, holding a stuffed bear. Large, concerned eyes peered up at him from behind thick eyeglass lenses and a pair of pigtails bobbed every time she moved her head.
He managed a weak smile. "Hi, honey. It's very nice of you to ask, but don't worry, I'll be all right."
She considered this carefully, then asked, "Is your Mommy in the hospital, too?"
No, my Mommy never had the chance to get to a hospital. "My Dad is here, and my brother. And my brother's really sick; I'm worried about him," Sam replied.
She looked thoughtful. "You should do what I did. Aunt Mattie said that I would feel better if I wrote a letter to God and told Him about Mommy, so I did." She held up a sheet of paper and thrust it at him.
It was clear she expected him to take it and read it. The paper had block writing in pencil on it. Sam cleared his throat and read out loud, "Dear God. My name is Annie Carson and I'm seven years old. My Mommy is sick and in the"—here it was clear that a more adult hand had written "hospital"—"and I miss her. Daddy tries to tuck me in at night the way Mommy did but Mommy did it better. And Daddy is sad all the time. Please send my Mommy home and I promise to go to bed on time and not to hit Jeffrey Miller anymore, even if he is a stupid boy. Signed, Annie Carson."
Sam's smile was more genuine this time. "That's lovely, Annie."
"One of the nurses said she would mail it for me." A slightly worried voice calling "Annie" could be heard down the hall and the little girl looked a little guilty. "That's Aunt Mattie. She's probably worried about me." She looked up at him. "You should write a letter, too." Then she turned and ran off down the corridor.
Sam could never, later, explain why he did it, but, hell, in Nebraska he had wondered why Dean could believe in evil but not in good. He had not really examined his own feelings on the subject. Maybe it was time for a little faith. He walked over to the nurses' station and asked to borrow a pad.
Ensconced in a chair by the window, he chewed on the end of his pen for a moment, then began to write.
My name is Samuel Winchester and I'm twenty-three years old. You may have heard of my family; I suspect we've come to your notice once, twice, ten thousand times over the last twenty-plus years. This last time was a doozy, though, and we could kind of use your help.
We should have been on your radar a few weeks ago. Met up with the damn—uh, sorry, forgot—Demon. The one that fucked---damn, I mean, darn, sorry again.
Sam grimaced. Maybe he should have let Annie write the letter. Her vocabulary was less colorful or Dean-inspired.
Uh, messed up our family. You know, one day I'd like to have a conversation with You about demons and why they exist. People can't mess up their lives enough on their own? They need help from a bunch of Lucifer wannabees?
Um, okay, off topic here. Anyway, we were outgunned. So to speak. And we got our asses, uh, derrières handed to us.
Thing is, Dad and I, we were the ones who wanted to go after the Demon. "Let it come." God—uh, I mean, aw heck, You know what I mean!—I can't believe I was that stupid. Or arrogant. Or both. Did I really believe I was ready to take It on? I must have. Dad must have.
Only Dean knew better. "We're no good to anyone dead." "I'm going to be the one to bury you." And he knew that family was more important than revenge.
So, why is he the one who got mulched? He had to watch the last of his family plan on abandoning him yet again. Had to watch Dad and me trying to cheerfully hurl ourselves into a volcano.
Instead, of course, we ended up throwing him in.
Family has always been the most important thing to Dean. Hell—er, heck—he was even upset when he found out the two demons he killed were the big bad Demon's offspring. Didn't help that two innocents went down as well. He was beating himself up over that even before the Demon…before it….
Well, You know what It did and said.
Maybe I shouldn't be surprised Dean got the short end of the stick. I've spent this last year learning that I hadn't understood my brother at all. Or me, for that matter. Or my life. Can You believe I used to think I was the victim? That must have given You a chuckle or two. The real clobberee was Dean. He gave up his childhood to Dad's needs and my needs. Gave up whatever dreams me might have had when he was younger. Did You know that he wanted to be a fireman once? Well, of course, You did. I didn't.
Why didn't I?
Look, Dean deserves so much more than he ever got. He's the only Winchester who hunted for the right reasons. Not just to get what killed Mom—and Jess—but also to save innocent people. Kids. Families. No wonder he was down on himself over Meg and the other host. He's not supposed to kill innocents.
Heck—See? I'm getting better—he thought it was his job to protect everyone. Dad. Me. The family. Total strangers. Anyone who asked. You know. Everyone.
Except, of course, himself. Dean has a defective selfish gene. I've been meaning to talk to You about that, too. Can I bring him in for a replacement part? Because he'll never make it to eighty, the way he is now.
And I need him to make it to eighty. He's my brother and I love him. But it's taken me this past year to learn how much I need him. I told him once I'd always felt I never really fit in at Stanford. Took me all this time to realize that a major part of the problem was that there was a Dean-shaped hole in my life. I hadn't even figured it out when were in Chicago, so I never told him what he needed to hear. What he should have heard.
And he should get to hear, at least once, how much he's needed, and not be left with what the da—darn Demon told him.
But I've got it all now. So, I'll make You a deal, just like Annie. Well, not just like Annie; I don't think my bedtime is an issue. Or Jeffrey Miller. But if You save Dean, I'll be better.
I'd like to promise I will never, ever, again complain about how aggravating and annoying he can be, but we both know that's a promise I'd never be able to keep. Would probably end up breaking it within five minutes of his waking up.
Because we both know Dean can be one of the most irritating people You, in Your infinite wisdom—
Sam decided that a little shameless sucking up could not hurt.
--ever created. Alright, in the interests of full disclosure, it's possible—okay, if You insist, probable—I may have overacted a few time. Or more. Because, yes, I can be moody and pissy and, yeah, whiny—but that last one is only because it wears Dean down. Sometimes, even the Power of Puppy Dog Eyes is not enough. Still, You have to concede there are times when Dean could try the patience of a saint, even when he's not actually trying to. And I think we can both agree that I'm not a saint.
How about this, instead? I promise that no matter how annoyed and aggravated I will undoubtedly get with my brother a multitude of times down the road or how many times I think that trading him for a donkey would be a trade up, I will never, ever, forget that I'm not always a great bargain myself, or that Dean is a precious gift that You bestowed on me, a gift I never had to—and still don't have to—earn, that I just got because maybe You don't totally hate me—hey, You have to admit there's been reason a-plenty to wonder about it!—and You are interested in my surviving to an old age. And I promise I will try to take better care of the gift and not shoot him with rock salt anymore. Amen.
Sam looked out the window to the church beyond the hospital grounds. The spire seemed to pierce a small cloud that drifted past. He folded the letter, stood up and headed for the exit. He would leave the letter there, in the church. A little closer to the addressee's Home.
Annie had been right; he did feel better.
And besides, they were Winchesters. Considering what their lives had been like to this point, you just never knew.