A/N: And now Sam's view of things. Thank you for the lovely reviews, everyone!
Sam really didn't like hunting at dusk, but some creatures just required it. So Sam was carefully making his way around the perimeter of the campsite to meet up with Dean halfway and report back on what they'd found, which, so far for Sam was nothing. This hunt had just plain sucked so far. The people they were protecting were asses, at least the father was, and a stupid ass at that. He was taking four children camping in woods where five children had gone missing in the last month. Seriously, some people just can't take a hint.
Sam had his knife out, his eyes flicking from side to side, alert to any movement even as his brain mulled over these things. He didn't exactly need to be very alert to hear the scream that came from the far side of the campsite. A child's scream. Shit.
Sam ran fast, barely staying clear of the campsite itself, which was surprisingly calm considering the screaming child. The screaming stopped and Sam sincerely hoped that was a good thing. Ducking around trees and jumping over logs, he finally emerged into a small clearing where Dean was kneeling, hands clamped over the family's youngest boy's shoulder. There was blood, lots of blood.
"Shit, Dean!" Dean looked up sharply at Sam, stopping the quiet mumbling of reassurances he had going.
"It's all fine, it's ok, I'm handling it!" he said, slightly to quick for it to be true, even if you didn't take into account the fact he was in the middle of nowhere with his knife sticking out of a boy's shoulder.
"Fine? Jesus, Dean, you're covered in blood! What have you done?" Dean's eyes went straight to the knife as though he'd not seen it before, even though he had his hands over it.
"I stabbed a kid," he said, clearly not quite believing his own words. Suddenly he let go of the kid and backed away.
"Dean! What the hell are you doing?" Sam could see the blood starting to seep out again now Dean wasn't holding the wound shut and he rushed to take Dean's place. He watched as Dean collapsed back to the ground, staring at his blood-covered hands. There was obviously something going on in Dean's head that wasn't good but Sam didn't have the time to deal with that now, he had a small boy on his hands, all over his hands, bleeding out.
The mother arriving on the scene was never going to make anything better. Dean didn't appear to be paying any attention to anything going on around him so he was useless as a possible distraction. Sam had to get her out of the way, though, she was jostling him and moving her son, no doubt making pain flare up in the wound. What Sam really needed was to get Richie somewhere he could lie down without moving the knife, because lying down here was out of the question, it would push the knife right back out of the wound. Long story short, he needed Dean's help.
Dean! Dean!" he was using the tone of voice that would usually have Dean at his side in a second but it the only reaction it did get was Dean looking up at him, which was an improvement, but not nearly enough of one when small boys were in danger of bleeding out, "Dean, help me move him, Dean, please!" so maybe his desperation had shown a little bit in his words but apparently that worked. Dean came over, still ignoring the mother, Sam wasn't sure if Dean even knew she was there.
Sam explained, more for the mother's and Richie's benefit what they were going to do because Dean still wasn't with it and was just staring through Sam, his hands around the kid's ankles. Still, something had to be said for Dean, even shocked as he was he was able to keep up with Sam as they lifted Richie and carried him to the campsite, keeping him as still and comfortable as possible.
Sam started shouting orders as soon as they got to the campsite, for a table and for a medical kit and for someone to call the park rangers. The older brother and sister got right to it, hauling a picnic bench over to a more convenient spot and telling their little sister to go fetch the first aid kit. The mother was hovering nervously around Sam as he and Dean carefully placed Richie on the table, being sure to avoid touching the knife. Richie was shivering, which wasn't a good sign, but his lips were still a good colour and Sam took some solace in that.
As soon as Dean let go of Richie, the father was all over him. Sam's first instinct was to run to his brother's defence but he had a more important job. He knew that if he stopped looking after Richie to go help Dean, Dean would never forgive him. Dean would never forgive himself either, but Sam suspected that that was just a fact of life now. No matter what the outcome of this situation, Dean would never forgive himself for causing it in the first place. At least, he wouldn't forgive himself when he finally worked out what was going on, he didn't seem particularly with it at the moment.
Sam tried to block out Dean and the father, instead concentrating on the first aid kit and telling the kids what to do. Telling them things he'd had drilled into him when he wasn't much older than Richie. He hated having to tell these kids that their brother's life was in their hands, that they had to hold here and hold tight, ignore him if he says it hurts, otherwise he'll bleed out. Telling the youngest girl to find something to prop Richie's legs up on. These weren't things children were meant to deal with but their mother was far too distressed and their father was... otherwise occupied.
The unmistakable sound of a punch rendered Sam unable to block out the father any more. He looked over and saw him holding Dean up against a tree, Dean didn't even have his hands up in defence. The father punched Dean a second time in the stomach and Dean doubled over. Sam carefully passed the wad of cotton he was holding over to Richie's big brother, reminding him to keep the pressure on it. As soon as that delicate operation had been completed Sam ran to the tree and pulled the father away from Dean.
"He's sorry!" he yelled, "Can't you see that?"
"He stabbed my son!" the father yelled back in his face and it became evident that neither of them were ever going to see eye to eye, so Sam turned and ignored him. His brother, sitting on the floor in a near catatonic state was a far more pressing matter. He knelt in front of Dean and grabbed his shoulders, trying to make Dean look him in the eye.
"Dean, Dean are you with me?" Dean looked up at him, Sam decided to take that as a yes, "Does anything hurt?" Dean shook his head. Well, that was a lie and a half. He'd just seen Dean punched twice, something had to hurt. But what Sam had really been asking was: had something happened in the clearing? Had there been a fight that Richie had got caught up in? Because if that was the case, what would have happened had Dean not been there would have been a lot worse. Richie would be just a smear of blood on the grass by now. "Dean you have to tell me what happened,"
"I stabbed him," ok, so Dean was obviously hung up on this detail.
"Yes, I know Dean. Was there... anything else there?" Sam had no idea if the family were listening in on this conversation. There was no need to sound like complete psychos and start talking about ghosts and demons and shit.
"No, no, he crept up on me. I... I thought he was... something else," which explained exactly why Dean was so hung up on stabbing the boy. It wasn't a case of trying to protect him gone wrong, there had been no immediate danger in the clearing. If Dean hadn't been there, Richie would be perfectly fine right now. Sam could see the aftermath of this particular hunt lasting quite a while, even though Dean would try to hide it. First things first, though, make sure Richie survives the day. Try to make the best of a bad situation. And try to make sure Dean doesn't go completely stark raving mad. Because right now, he looked a little too close to it for comfort.
"How... how is he, Sam?" said Dean. His voice was small and unnaturally quiet. Sam wasn't even aware his big brother could sound that vulnerable. The complete lack of bravado and the bare emotion Dean was showing scared Sam. It was like a huge neon sign screaming, "there's something wrong with Dean!" and Sam didn't know how, or even if he could fix it.
"He's alive. Help'll be here in a couple of minutes," Sam hated that he couldn't give more reassuring news than simply "he's alive".
Sam realised that this whole time Dean had been looking down, staring at Sam's hands where they now rested. Sam's blood-covered hands, and Sam could only imagine what that represented to Dean, he cursed himself for not seeing it earlier, "Hey, Dean, hey," Sam put a finger under Dean's chin and pulled his head up so Dean had to look him in the eyes, "It wasn't your fault, ok? It was an accident," Sam knew before he even said it that Dean wouldn't believe him, but he had to try didn't he?
"Sam, I stabbed him, of course it's my fault!" and now Dean was sounding a bit hysterical. Wow, this whole 'reassure your big brother and keep him calm' thing wasn't going very well at all. Sam decided to concentrate on the physical injuries. He could fix them.
"Dean, you look pale, are you sure you're not hurt?" Dean nodded and Sam wasn't entirely sure he believed that. Dean did look terribly pale, but Sam only really wanted to get him sitting somewhere more comfortable than the floor. Even if Dean didn't look all too bothered about where he was. He pulled Dean up but Dean didn't stay up long. His knees buckled the moment he was upright and he fell into Sam, who did his best to lower Dean to the floor. "Ok, Dean, ok," said Sam, using his best calm and reassuring voice, half trying to calm Dean and half trying to get a rise out of him, to see if his brother was still somewhere in there. But Dean didn't care that Sam was treating him like a delicate china doll, that was worrying. "Are you sure you're not hurt anywhere? Dean? I need to know,"
"Eye hurts," replied Dean, frowning slightly as though he'd only just realised. Which was entirely possible seeing as his brain didn't seem to be working right at the moment.
"Yes, I can see that, you're going to have one hell of a bruise," Dean looked back down at where Sam was holding onto his arm, looked back down at the blood. What Sam wouldn't do for a bowl of water right now, just to get rid of that one reminder. "Dean, Dean? Look at me," Dean looked up at Sam, "I'm going to go see how Richie's doing, ok?" because that was probably the only way Sam could make Dean feel better. To go help Richie and make sure he lived to see another day. Dean nodded, just like Sam had thought he would.
Sam slowly got up and, giving Dean a final once over, made his way back to Richie. Only to have his way blocked by the father, snarling at him and telling him to get away from his family. Somehow, his son managed to talk some sense into him, reminding him that Sam knew what to do better than anybody else there. The father grudgingly stepped aside so Sam could check how everything was going. He sent the younger sister to get some more blankets and told the mother to raise Richie's legs higher. The older brother and sister were doing a good job of stopping the blood and he told them so. Still, Richie's lips were going blue, he hoped the ambulance would arrive soon. It wasn't far to the nearest town with a hospital, which is what made this place such a good spot for families, but even so, it was going to be a close call.
"Is he ok?" said the older sister, gesturing to Dean where he sat on the floor staring at his hands, despair etched clearly on his face.
"Is he ok? He stabbed a God damn eight-year-old boy, and now he's staring at the blood covering his hands looking about five seconds away from tears and you're asking if he's ok? Of course he's not fucking ok!" was what Sam wanted to scream at her, but she was just trying to distract herself from the fact that her hands were one of the few things keeping her brother's blood in his body, so Sam went with a simple, "No."
Sam heard the sound of tyres making their way up the track, there were few times when he'd been so relieved to hear the authorities coming. The mother was so glad that they'd come, Sam had to remind her to keep holding the legs up. There was a park ranger and two ambulances. Huh, two ambulances? Sam hadn't been expecting that, but then, whoever had phoned was probably a little bit hysterical at the time and had possibly made it sound worse than it was. Paramedics seemed to swarm out of the vehicles and took over everyone's job. Sam stepped back, glad to let someone else carry the weight. One of the paramedics came to talk to him, a youngish woman.
"Is that your knife?" she asked.
"No, no, it's my brother's. Richie startled him and, well..."
"I see. Your brother a particularly jumpy guy?"
"When he's hunting," Sam glanced over to Dean to make sure he was still... well, not ok, he wasn't going to be ok, but to check he was still there. "Oh shit," he said when he saw Dean facing the father.
He reached them just after the father had shoved Dean to the floor. He placed his hand firmly on the father's chest and leaned in close, he was angry, they both were. "Stop it! Just stop it. Can't you see he's plenty guilty? You go look after your son. You son's fucking dying and you're here beating up my brother. You go look after your son and stay the hell away from my brother. Don't you fucking come near him! Y'hear me?" the father must have seen something in Sam's face, or heard it in his words because he did the last thing Sam expected and actually backed off. Sam didn't take any time to think about it and rushed to Dean's side to help him sit back up. "Are you all right?"
"Am I a murderer?" that question completely surprised Sam.
"Is he dead? Did I murder him?" oh, well, that probably served him right for leaving Dean to stew in his own juices.
"No, Dean, no. It was an accident and he's in good hands now,"
"But he could still die!" Sam hesitated before replying.
"He's in good hands now, they'll do everything they can for him," which was completely avoiding the issue and Sam knew it, Dean would know it too, if he was actually listening. Sam didn't think he was because his breaths were coming hard and fast, like he'd just sprinted... oh God, he was hyperventilating. "Dean! Dean!" Sam tried to get into Dean's line of sight, to get Dean to look at him, really look at him, rather than through him, "Dean, nice deep breaths now, come on," Dean was swaying slightly, and leaned into Sam for support. Sam wrapped one arm around Dean's shoulders, holding him there against his chest. "Dean, breathe with me, come on, calm down," Sam slowed his own breathing down, taking deep breaths, trying to be a good role model for his brother's breathing. It wasn't working, Sam wasn't getting through to him at all. Why did he have to be so damn stubborn?
Dean's head fell against his shoulder. He was unconscious. "Dean? Dean! Come on, Dean!" he lightly slapped Dean's cheek but Dean seemed well and truly out of it. "Fuck, you fucking idiot, why can't you ever tell me what's going through your head?"
"Insulting him's probably not the best way of getting him to wake up," Sam jumped and looked up to find the paramedic he'd been talking to standing over him with a canister of oxygen and a mask. She knelt down and slipped the mask over Dean's head. "We've got a spare ambulance, I'd feel better if we got him to the hospital and had him checked out," Sam nodded, he knew Dean wouldn't have agreed to it, but Dean was out cold. And Sam had just watched his usually oh so calm and collected brother hyperventilate himself into unconsciousness. Sam wasn't going to turn down the offer.
He slipped an arm under Dean's legs and tightened his grip around Dean's shoulders and picked Dean up.
"I could help-"
"No, no I got him," it was probably a good thing Dean was out cold. He'd never agree to being carried like this. He put Dean down in the back of the ambulance. The paramedic shut the doors behind them and talked to the other one in the front, telling him they were all in.
"How's Richie, is he going to be ok?" Richie and his family were already gone by the time Dean had passed out.
"It's too early to say, but from what I hear, it was probably your quick action that made him able to survive this far. I think you've got an admirer in his older sister, too," Sam smiled but that didn't really make him feel better.
Dean groaned and his eyelids fluttered but remained closed.
"Dean, Dean can you hear me?" Dean tried opening his eyes again, "Dean?" finally, he managed it.
"Give him some room," said the paramedic. Sam moved back and Dean tried to sit up, but Sam stopped him. He frowned at Sam and removed the mask from his face.
"Dude, what the hell?" there was the big brother Sam knew and loved.
"Dean, you hyperventilated and passed out, you don't need to sit up just yet," Dean looked confused upon hearing this news, until an almost comical look of realisation crossed his features. He gripped Sam's arm hard.
"How is he?"
"We don't know, but we're just five minutes from the hospital,"
"You passed out in front of a paramedic, there wasn't much I could do to stop them taking you,"
"Not allergic to hospitals, are you?" asked the paramedic.
"Not my favourite place in the world," replied Dean. Sam spent the remainder of the trip just being glad that his brother was behaving like himself. Worried, but still recognisable as Dean.
The time in the hospital couldn't be considered any of the best of Sam's life. Dean was incredibly irritable, which was understandable, but didn't stop it being annoying. Dean paled every time something sounded remotely like dripping or liquids, which made Sam worry about him and be careful with him, which only made Dean more angry. Still, he preferred this over quiet, scared Dean. He could take some comfort in Dean when he was like this; he was there, he was active, he was being the big brother again.
Sam answered the cops' questions surprisingly truthfully. He and his brother had been looking for the thing that had been eating children around there and Richie had just startled Dean. He got a telling off for he and Dean trying to take things into his own hands, but apart from that the family wasn't pressing charges (which surprised Sam, but he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth).
When Richie's sister (and Dean had even taken the time to tease Sam about the crush this girl blatantly had on him) came out to tell them the news – the good news, thank God – Dean looked like he was about to faint. He sat down in the one of the cheap plastic chairs lining the corridors of the hospital. Sam sat next to him.
"You ok there?" Dean said nothing for a moment, just breathing deep breaths.
"No," Sam could have fainted himself from hearing that admission come from his brother, "We've still got to kill those evil bastards," Sam had almost forgotten the reason this whole thing had started.
"You want to go get them tonight?" Dean nodded, just like Sam suspected he would. This was part of Dean getting over it, or pushing it down and away and not thinking about it. Whatever it was Dean did with things that affected him. It was a sign that Dean was well on the way to being back to normal at any rate. Sam breathed a sigh of relief and let himself – for the first time in God knows how many hours – just relax.
Thank you for reading!