Author's Note: I owe you all BIG time. All your lovely comments really helped me get this out. I'm cutting it extremely close to my goal, lol, since Hunted airs in less than 10 minutes. Thanks to everyone! I love you guys. It's true. I'll have several PM's to send you guys, hehe. So here's the conclusion, I hope you enjoy it.
Dean woke abruptly, almost painfully, with a familiar, harsh emptiness growing in the pit of his stomach.
His eyes glued to the ceiling with beads of sweat latching onto his skin, breaths heavy and uneven, body rigid as if waking from a nightmare and unable to escape its vague but unforgettable realm of quiet despair.
He sat up in his bed, slowly becoming aware he was in a hospital. Judging by the way his left hand and wrist hurt, the lack of morphine drew him back to consciousness. He was increasingly panicked when he didn't see Sam there, anywhere, though he wasn't alone. An average sized figure stood at the only window in the room across from him, the silhouette of a man all he could discern from the spectacle given the blaring sunlight striking through the shades.
The man seemed startled by Dean's sudden, acute notice of him, but he didn't turn around, only shuffled in his stance a moment and stared straight ahead.
A moment passed. Dean had been too wary to say anything, for the multitude of questions all came at once and seemingly dislocated his tongue. He held onto his throbbing wrist half covered by bandages and a splint, studying the cast around it blindly while waiting for the man to speak or move. When he did speak, Dean was startled by the quavering youngness in his voice, trying so hard to sound firm.
"They had to realign the bones in your thumb. Your wrist is sprained badly, but it should heal just fine. You'll need some physical therapy all together, and it'll take time…but your hand will be usable again. You were lucky not to have severed anything."
"…Are you my doctor?" Dean asked, perplexed by the man's mysterious nature. "Do you know about my brother, Sam? Is he…did he, I mean…"
"…Not your doctor, sorry," he answered with a dry, short laugh. "But Sam…he's in surgery right now. They resuscitated him back at the warehouse."
"Thank God," Dean mused, throwing his head back and closing his eyes. He took in a deep breath and then returned his attention back to the guy at the window.
"His doctor will be in here after the surgery, I was told. They suspected you'd be awake by then…"
"Great…so, if you don't mind, maybe you could tell me who you are?"
The young man turned around and took a few steps forward. The mask of shadows once hiding him diminished into light and revealed him.
Dean's eyes widened. "…Andy?"
"Yeah," he laughed awkwardly, scratching his head. "I'm kind of surprised to be here myself, if that helps any."
Dean favored him with a half smile.
"What are you doing here? And please don't tell me you have another long lost sibling following you around…"
"No worries there, at least that I know of. But, um, well…this does kind of have to do with that," Andy hinted.
"Thanks for the specifics."
"Uh, first I just want to say sorry for the…making you go to sleep deal. I didn't know what else to do."
"Wait a sec," Dean's voice rose. "That was you? That weird voice I heard?"
"What do you mean weird?"
Dean shot him a quizzical you've got to be kidding me look. Andy resigned from his defensive antics. He laughed nervously before calming down to a more serious tone.
"You were kind of losing it, and…it helped you cooperate better when you were unconscious while the medics tried helping Sam." Andy explained with a quiet sympathy. Dean forced a cough and pursed his lips.
"Huh, so, about that….Want to tell me what you were doing there to begin with?" He quickly propelled the conversation forward, not wanting to dwell on the last conscious moments he had with his brother.
"This is going to sound crazy."
Dean lifted his good hand in the air and shrugged. "I haven't been surprised yet. Try me."
"Well, I…think I had a vision," Andy shuddered at his own admittance. "I saw what was happening, to Sam, to you…I freaked, man."
"A vision? I thought you had that nifty mind control power, not visions."
"That's what I thought!" Andy said, remarking his own surprise to the fact. "But it's only happened this once. I thought I was just getting a massive headache…until I saw these flashes of you guys, this motel, the warehouse, all this blood and…"
"And?" Dean coaxed, thinking there was something Andy wasn't saying.
"I just knew I had to do something. I remembered seeing some 'Welcome to Wakefield' sign, I thought. So I got in van and headed out, used what information I could gather, contacted the authorities."
"So you're the reason the cops and ambulance got there just before…"
"…Yeah. Guess so."
Dean was quiet as he swallowed a knot in his throat. Andy looked bashful, confused, standing there at Dean's bedside like he was afraid to make eye contact. Dean didn't know why. He tried figuring it out, this hesitation, this fear in Andy.
"I suppose you think I'm even more of a freak than I was."
"What?" Dean was drawn from his inner questioning and cocked an eyebrow.
"First I have this strange ability to make people do whatever I want, and then add having visions on top of that? I don't know who I am anymore or what's going on. I just…why me, you know? Why Sam? Why any of us…" Andy spoke almost tearfully.
"Hey, hey," Dean warned, coddling his hand while he sat up straighter in his bed. "I don't know why, but I do know that because of you…Sam's alive right now. You saved us. If you didn't get help to us, who knows what would have happened. Every second was crucial and you did something, okay? You did something good."
"It's not such a gift. I've lost a lot of people because of it…I feel…cursed," Andy finished, his eyes downcast and doleful. It reminded Dean so much of Sam, that silent desperation for understanding, to know all the why's.
"I'm pretty sure Sam feels the same way. But whatever it is that's happening to you…you're using it for betterment now, not abusing it. You're taking something bad and turning it into a good thing. You should be proud of that, Andy," Dean said resolutely, then flashed a wry smile. "Now look what you've done. Turned me into Dr. Phil or something…only I'm better looking."
At that, Andy laughed without holding it in.
"Sam's really lucky to have you. The relationship you guys have is so strong…it makes me feel like I kind of wish I could have gotten to know my brother…uh, before all the crazy killing started."
There was something about the statement that hitched in Dean's chest, a dull aching sorrow for Andy, for all his losses and how he's gone through them so alone.
He started to think about his life and what it would have been like without Sam, if things were different. He couldn't imagine never knowing Sam, never running him away from the fire or pulling him out of the fire. He couldn't possibly fathom not having him to look after, to keep him occupied from his own fears of the darkness the world could possess. He didn't want to think about Sam not being there for him when their mother was taken, or through the years thereafter, or when their dad so suddenly perished. Sam kept Dean grounded, he kept him level. For all his foundation to be a mirage, to be obsolete…it made Dean's head spin.
"You're a good guy. Just…don't change that, and you'll be okay. You're not going through this by yourself, all right?"
Andy looked expectantly at Dean.
"I'm not even sure what this is, but…thanks. Really, thank you."
A knock at the door brought their attention to the doorway where a doctor stood. He was tall with short dark hair and bright blue eyes. He greeted the two of them pleasantly and stepped inside. Andy glanced at Dean and nodded to the doorway, signaling that he'd wait out in the hall. He made his way out of the room and Dean took notice of the friendly energy the doctor had.
"Good morning, Dean. How's that hand of yours?" the doctor asked cordially. Dean became apprehensive.
"How's my brother?" he asked hurriedly, ignoring the question. The doctor nodded with understanding at Dean's concern.
"Still in surgery, I'm afraid. I'm Dr. Howser, by the way."
"Dr. Howser…any relation to Doogie?"
Dr. Howser laughed as though he hadn't heard that one before and offered a grin.
"Your hand did suffer some minor fractures when it was, I'm assuming, you pulled it from the handcuffs. Then it appears you had fainted shortly after, the adrenaline wearing off—"
"Hold on, fainted? I didn't faint."
"Well it didn't seem you suffered much, if any, head trauma."
"Yeah, but I didn't faint. Girls faint. Not me."
"Right, my apologies. You underwent the absence of consciousness, is that better?"
Dean raised his eyebrows. It wasn't often doctors were very encouraging of his typical blunt, somewhat audacious approach to talking to them. He shared half a quick smile and sighed.
"I'm fine. You seemed to have fixed my hand pretty well, Doc, but honestly I couldn't care less. I just want to know about my brother."
Dr. Howser's grin faded, putting Dean on edge.
"Well, I'm not his doctor but I was able to glance at his charts. He suffered a lot of blood loss, Dean. He also had some internal hemorrhaging, but his doctors took care of it. He has four broken ribs, a fracture to his clavicle, and the tissue around his sternum is bruised. They were working on his Achilles tendon last I knew."
"Will he be able to walk, still?"
"I can't answer that, we'll have to see what the operating doctor of his surgery says. But from what I can tell, he's a fighter. And from what the authorities can tell, so are you."
"The police probably have some routine questions for me, I bet."
"It's a bet you'd win. I told them I wanted to check on your hand first."
"When will he be out of surgery?"
"Sam? Oh, I can't say for sure. Repairing that tendon is a feat. But I can assure you he has the best surgeons any hospital a hundred counties over have to offer."
"Thanks, but I'm pretty sure they pay you guys to say that," Dean said casually, and Dr. Howser put his head down and let out a small laugh.
"Maybe, but fortunate for you, I'm also telling the truth," he replied, extending his arm down in front of Dean who only looked up at him curiously. "Now, about that hand."
"I've had broken bones before, no big deal," Dean told him, wishing he could skip the next few lectures.
"That may be true, but how many were a result of self-infliction?"
"Hey, I don't get off on self-harm, if that's what your concern is."
"Not at all. It's just not every day I get someone in here who broke their hand pulling it out of handcuffs. They make those things tight for a reason."
Dean shook his head.
"Sam needed me. What else was I supposed to do?"
Dr. Howser considered the other possible outcome, though he wasn't certain of the entire situation he believed he knew enough.
"You're quite the hero, Dean."
"Nah," Dean protested, waving his usable hand in the air. "I'm a big brother."
"You must also have a very high threshold for pain. Morphine has been out of your system for half an hour."
"Yeah, I'm pretty much invincible," Dean answered indifferently, pretending not to wince as the doctor unraveled the bandages around his hand.
"Pretty much, huh. Is that because you're a big brother, too?" Dr. Howser grinned and Dean rolled his eyes.
"No, it's cuz I'm a hero."
"Funny. Well, your hand is looking better. Your wrist may be swollen for a couple days. It seems you've been in similar positions before, so you probably know all about ice packs and proper medicinal procedures. Am I right?"
"I'd like to get one more X-ray before you check out," Dr. Howser recommended. "Which you can leave shortly after I get your script ready."
"That's fine, doc. I won't be leaving until Sam leaves. And I don't need any drugs to make me feel better."
"You mean you don't even want to sell them on the streets?" Dr. Howard teased. Dean's eyes widened with astonishment.
"Are you sure you're licensed in the right field?"
"Just a small joke. Please don't sue me for that. My last lawsuit nearly got me fired." The doctor winked and Dean could hear the chuckle in his voice. At least, he appreciated the assumption that Dr. Howser really was just kidding.
Dean enjoyed the light conversation. It helped take his mind off of the million things that could be going wrong in Sam's operation. He forced a bright smile.
"I can't afford a decent lawyer, so you're safe."
Moments after his hand was bandaged back up and Dr. Howard left, Dean prepared his speech for the two police officers waiting outside the door. He walked out of the room quietly, watched the officers conversing amongst themselves, and was a bit surprised when they hardly took notice of him.
"Excuse me," Dean began, clearing his throat. "You guys need to ask me some questions?"
One of the officers, short with red hair, turned startled green eyes to Dean. The other one looked a bit miffed.
"Um, I don't think so," the shorter cop said.
"Uh, I think so…about the whole warehouse incident? Don't you have some investigation to take care of?"
The taller one scratched his chin, mulling over the poised question. His eyes then lit up.
"Oh! You're the guy who fainted."
Dean threw back his head and grimaced.
"I didn't faint!"
The shorter one straightened his belt and held up a hand.
"No worries, the investigation is underway. We have enough evidence to suggest foul play on Gordon Walker's part with his accomplice Isaac Miller. It's clear in your case it was self-defense. You can make your statement, but we don't need to ask any questions."
Dean looked confused. He threw a knife into someone's heart and twisted it, and they didn't need to ask at least a few questions? He exhaled sharply, somewhat relieved but still not understanding. It was then in the corner of his eye he saw Andy standing further down the hall, a smile plastered on his face while he sheepishly feigned innocence.
Dean quickly dismissed himself from the officer's presence and walked over to Andy.
"Did you…" Dean started, and Andy tilted his head.
"Maybe, kind of, a little bit. They were going to ask you stupid questions with obvious answers, anyway."
They walked down the hall slightly grinning, making their way to the waiting area and each took a seat.
It was silent for a few minutes. Some TV was on somewhere in the background, the sounds of it nothing but indistinct mumbles and noise. Dean was trying not to think about anything particular. He could put himself so easily back inside the warehouse, cuffed and watching Sam's execution play out in his head. But he didn't need to while he was awake because surely the memories would just haunt him in his sleep now for a while.
He'd come close to losing Sam before, close to losing his own life. But this was something new, something different. It wasn't a monster or a ghost, a possessed semi-truck driver or fire that tried taking Sam. It was a human, and a hunter at that. Someone doing what they do, seeking out and killing the bad guys—had mistaken Sam for just that. This made for an entire reconstruction of how Dean would face the world now. He had more things to protect Sam from, more dangers to watch out for. Things just continued to get harder for them.
It was funny to Dean for a brief moment, how he suddenly felt he and Sam were to be ostracized from the Hunting Community, the Roadhouse and all its patrons; yet just weeks ago he hadn't even been aware there was such a community. It didn't matter, though, not in the least. It was always just him and Sam before, and it could be that way forever. They made one hell of a team, as it were.
"Pardon me, but are you Dean?" A voice disrupted his thoughts, bringing him back to reality.
"Yeah, I am."
"I'm Dr. Hale, Sam's doctor. He just got out of surgery."
"God, is he okay?" Dean scrambled to his feet, eyes wide with anticipation.
"He's sleeping right now, still under anesthetics. We repaired the damage to his Achilles tendon as best we could. Only time will tell how well and fast it'll heal up, but I believe we can expect a full recovery with lots of physical therapy. If the tendon was severed just half a centimeter over, I'm not certain it would have been repairable. He's very lucky."
"When can I see him?"
"Once the nurses get him situated back in his room, you can visit him. It may be a while before he wakes up. When he does wake up, he'll have a lot of medication being pumped into his body, so I'm not sure how coherent he'll be."
"That's fine. What room will he be in?"
"Room 210. Also, be advised we'd like to keep him here for close observation the next couple of days. Depending on his recovery rate, we'll keep you informed of when he can be discharged."
Dr. Hale smiled briskly and went on his way.
"Keep me posted on him, will you? I've got some things to take care of. Plus, I haven't slept in two days and I think I could pass out at any moment," Andy mentioned, yawning. Dean clapped him on the shoulder.
"Get some rest. I'll keep you updated."
Andy sighed, rubbed his eyes, and started to walk away. Dean called out to him quickly.
He stopped and turned. "Yeah?"
"Thanks, Andy. For everything. I owe you one."
"Well, you do have a pretty sweet ride I've been eying…" Andy smirked. Dean deadpanned. "But it's more your style than mine," he continued warmly. Then Andy turned the corner out of sight. Dean took in a deep breath, smiling, and began heading to room 210.
Minutes melted into hours, hours went on for eternities, but all the while Dean sat at Sam's bedside and waited for him to wake up. For some time, Dean kind of enjoyed watching his brother simply rest. He was asleep, someplace distant, away from all the pain and memories that would haunt him the moment his eyes opened and everything came flooding back to him. But during that time he was thankful, he was also miserable and missed his brother intensely.
He looked at the bottle of pills next to him that he was informed to take, to help manage his own pain. But they'd make him tired, and Dean wanted to be awake and functional when Sam awoke.
Dean carefully brushed the bangs out of Sam's eyes. He looked like a little kid again, all young and helpless, but he was safe now and that was enough. Sam stirred, mumbling something that took Dean a moment to figure out was his name.
"Sammy? Hey, can you hear me?"
"Dean?" Sam tried again. His voice was soft but the edges of it scratched in his throat.
"How you holding up, kiddo?"
Sam could hardly open his eyes, but he attempted to several times.
"I guess I'm alive," he said, squinting in the dimly lit room, searching for his brother. Dean stood up, leaning over Sam so he was visible to him.
"That's what matters," Dean whispered. He put his hand on Sam's shoulder and rested it there. "You had me scared for a while. Thought I lost you…"
Sam took in a long, slow breath.
"Nope," Sam opened his eyes a bit wider, really taking in the sight of his brother. He gave his best but pathetic attempt at a smile. Then he glanced over to Dean's other hand bandaged up and he frowned. "Your hand…broken?"
"Eh, I'll live."
"Broken…cuz of me?"
Dean stiffened but kept his expression light. "Don't worry about it. You've got your own battle scars to worry about there, kid."
Sam turned his head slightly to his side. The full effects of the damage hadn't yet settled into him. He couldn't register everything that hurt because right now nothing really did. He just felt tingly and sore and tired.
"The last thing I saw…you…you killed Gordon. Stopped him from…killing me," Sam said through a tightening throat. Something distinctly familiar as tears glistened in his half-shut eyes.
Dean wasn't about to look ashamed. He would never regret what he did; just that he had to do it.
"I wasn't about to back down on my promise, Sam. I told you once. I won't let anything bad happen to you. I only wish I had gotten their sooner…"
Sam's apology leapt up and choked Dean.
"Sorry for what?"
"Whatever plans…the demon has...I put you in danger…I put everyone I love…in danger. And I gotta say…you're in danger the most, Dean. I can't…I don't know how to save you from…myself."
Dean silently cursed the burning sensation stinging his eyes. He looked away at Sam, squeezed his shoulder and laughed out a small cry.
"I'm with you till the end, Sammy. But I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure the end isn't for a very, very, very long time."
Sam's tired smile returned, and his eyes glanced up towards Dean. He lifted his arm, slow and weakly, requiring most all the energy he had. His fingers sprawled open and he reached for Dean. Dean noticed immediately and put his hand in Sam's. Their fingers intertwined, strong and tight. Sam started to close his eyes but fought to keep them open.
"It's okay," Dean lulled. "Get some more rest. I'll be here when you wake up."
Sam shut his eyes one last time, squeezed Dean's hand until it relaxed and his breathing evened out.
Dean would wait there for Sam, with Sam. He'd wait forever for Sam. And when Sam would wake up, he'll tell him all about Andy and what happened. He'll explain to him how they'd pick a town to stay in for a while as Sam underwent his physical therapy. They'd stay someplace nice as they healed from both physical and emotional wounds.
But just for now, while Sam slept, Dean will wait at his bedside. Dean will wait at the only place he knows how to, on the only side he'd ever choose to:
His brother's side.
I'm sorry Sam wasn't in much of this, but if I didn't end it the way I did, this story could have gone on for a long time, and I have other ideas I'd like to try out. I really kind of got carried away with Dr. Howser, I have no idea why I made him the way I did, but yeah…I did. I really truly hope you've all enjoyed the ride. Thanks for sticking with me till the end, as quickly it seems it did arise. Feedback of any kind is appreciated.