The Power of Prayer
by atrum infractus

Spoilers: Everything before and in Born Under a Bad Sign.

Rating: PG

A/N: This is my new one-shot; it's really different from my other stories. It's an AU to Born Under a Bad Sign, and it's in second-person. Please review!

Edited 4-7-07 for errors.

You don't pray.

When life throws you into some waiting room as the brother you love are suspended on a fragile thread between life and death, you forget all about God- because after all, in the current situation, it seems like God forgot about you first.

You pace. You worry constantly. You harrass every single member of the staff, because, for the love of God, they're supposed to fix this, make it right, and all they can do is twiddle their thumbs and give you a bunch of "all that's left is hope and prayer" talks that belong in the sewers with the other other crap, coupled with so-called "sympathetic" smiles. Well, that's just dandy for them, but it's your brother, and you'd be damned to just wait there. But then you realize that there's not so much else you can do. So you wait.

But you don't pray.

It's the last thing on your mind when they finally let you in to see him. Actually, everything in the world besides him is the furthest thing from your mind. It's hard to remember anything else when what you know to be your whole world is laying helpless on a hospital bed, slipping further away with every beep of the heart monitor. Your knees go weak- it's like you're four again, and you need someone to chase away the nightmares.

You don't want him back.

You need him back.

That's what you tell the doctors when they suggest pulling the plugs. It's become the reason for your defiant "no" every time they tell you the odds. They tell you that your brother could be crippled. He could be mentally retarded. He may not even be your brother anymore. He could wake up and be in pain for the rest of his life. He probably will never be the same.

You ask them if there's a chance that he could ever be himself again.

A hessitant "yes" is what you receive, but they immedietely remind you that what they've been telling you is the most likely situation, with that much head trauma. That it's gonna take a miracle for him to wake up.

You tell them you'll hold out for the miracle.

Why shouldn't you? They don't know what you've seen- how many miracles you've watch unfold with your very eyes. Some people would say that God smiled down on you.

You know better now. It's just sheer dumb luck- but hey, Lady Luck had to pay her dues sometime or another. She didn't make an appearance when John Winchester fell, but she had to come now. Now that it's your brother, your best friend, the only one who really matters anymore...

Even though you know know that he was right. That there is no real good. "I've seen what evil does to good people," he had told you once, right before you saved his life. And now you've seen. Because evil did this to him, you put him in that bed...

But even though you know that God has effectively vanished, after a month and a half of sitting beside him, just waiting, you can't help it.

You say a little prayer. Not much- just a tear-stained plea for help- divine intervention, if you will. You really didn't know who you were talking to until "God" spilled out of your mouth.

And that day he stirred.

You go into a frenzy. You scream for the nurse as you held his hand, softly begging him to stay with you. Who cares if it's a "chick-flick moment"? Dammit, you've been waiting for fifty-seven days. The heart-monitor's going crazy, and his eyes look panicked, although they calm just a fraction when they rest on your face.

They push you to the side- a heavy-set nurse even shoves you out the door, and despite your yells, the door is slammed on your face. You hush yourself when you realize you have to listen, to hear what's going on.

Thirty minutes later, five nurses filed out, all avoiding your insistant gaze. You can hear weak sobs in the room, and though you've never heard a sound like it, it calms you- because you know that he's alive, and that's all that matters. Everything else you can deal with, you just need him to help with the load.

You rush into the room, but the sight that greets you also freezes you.

He's clutching the sheets- they're balled in his fists, and he's shaking. They've propped the bed up, so he sees you. Your gazes meet, and you both just stare. You can imagine you look lost- you're terrified. Hell, you're not completely sure if you can hold onto your sanity for a second longer...

But in those green depths, you see the same emotions mirrored right back to you. Then the curtains are pulled- he shuts his eyes, and you cautiously step forwards and place your hand on his arm, as if you're afraid that the pain he's feeling could burn your palm. But it doesn't- his skin feels cool to your touch, and his eyes open, now filled with exhaustion.

You never thought you'd be so happy to see him smirk and half-heartedly tell you to cut the girly crap (in the hoarsest voice you've ever heard him use; you notice, but hardly care)- but as always, you're content to ignore his "order" and keep contact with him. Because if you take your hand away, then he'll just slip away from you again- maybe forever this time. You know how ridiculous this is. After all, you're not stupid. But you do it anyway.

The next day, you know why your big brother was freaking out.


He couldn't feel a damn thing- no ammount of punching, pinching, or torture would help him to feel his legs. Everything was numb.

You can't help but cry when they tell you. He shuts down after the news, and you're scared he won't ever let you in again. After all, you held the gun. You sent him sailing into that dark water, where rocks lurked beneath the glassy surface. You put him on a road that could have killed him, and in a way, maybe it did.

How can he forgive you when you can't forgive yourself?

The dark motel room becomes your sanctuary. For whole days, you would sit beside him, never saying a word. After all, what's there to say? An apology will never mend this. Nothing can. So you just offer your support, and hope it's enough in the end.

Hope dies in your motel room. You pull the curtains shut and lock the door, effectively closing yourself off from the world. Not even hope can penetrate this darkness. Not even he could penetrate it. Because it was the storm clouds gathered over you, the curse that lingers over your head- the things that no great power could stop. Because it was destiny, and now more than ever, you understand that becoming a monster may be a horrible destiny, but being alone in the end is an even more terrible fate.

You're selfish.

You want someone beside you for the rest of your life, and you can't see why- in the name of all things holy- it shouldn't be him. You hate that you've probably destroyed any affection left in that man for you. You've pulled the trigger twice, Sam Winchester, and now, it's time to pay the dues. This time, it's your brother's love.

You want to pull the trigger once more- to relieve Dean of his last burden. To leave the world a safer place. Sometimes, you pick up the gun when it feels too quiet. Every bone in your body aches to do it, and every day, you lose some of your resolve and give into just a little more dangerous thinking.

You should have done it.

You would have done it.

But to your surprise, as the days turn into weeks, he softens. He warms up to you. He pats your shoulder awkwardly when you're too quiet. Then you realize- he's still Dean. He always will be.

And suddenly, a light seemed to penetrate the darkness. It's dim and dusty, but you follow it, in hopes of finding the sun once more.

It's all Dean. You've got to snap out of it for Dean- and you manage to shake some of it off, but some of that darkness lingers, crawling out of the closet some nights, and everytime you glance at his legs.

The legs that would never walk again.

All those times that he had carried you...ran to your rescue...things that he could have done just a couple of months ago have now been deemed impossible.

But he tries to put on a brave front for you. You recognize it, and you love him all the more for it. It seems like he knows that you can't deal with your own pain and guilt, much less his.

A month later, it's time.

The nurses give you the paperwork, and you sign it.

There. You've just bought a wheel chair.

An hour later, and he's been situated in it. He can push himself around just fine- he even jokes that it's a good work-out to keep his "hot body" fit. But you insist on pushing him out to the parking lot to the car- somehow, it seems appropriate that you should do it.

After all, you put him in that damned chair.

"Sammy?" he says softly, twisting around and looking at you with concern in those light emerald depths. The eyes that have been watching you since you were an infant- have been watching out for you for what you could consider to be all time.

You swallow back the words you want to say. You want to say you're sorry. You want to tell him you love him, that you hate yourself- you want to die. You want to take his place, you want to be stuck in that chair. You want him to say something magical, to fix everything. But you know he can't. You know there are some things that even your big brother can't save you from, and this guilt is just a fraction of it.

You're stopped in the middle of a parking lot, your brother in the wheel chair that will be the prison for the rest of his life, and he's worried about you. The black irony is not lost on you.

You don't want to burden him with it, but he practically raised you, so he knows. You can see the understanding, mingled with a bit of exasperation. "Don't tell me you're blaming yourself," he says, sounding a little annoyed. "It's not your fault."

"I pulled the trigger," you say, wishing he would look away- and he does. You know he can't deal with that. "I don't think I could be much more responsible."

"Meg did it. Not you." He pauses, looking back up to you with those cool green eyes. "At least I'm alive," he says, sounding desperate to make this bleak situation brighter.

You manage a smile- you know it's little more than a twist of your mouth, and it doesn't reach your eyes, but at least it has the same effect on him- he relaxes, shifting back into a more proper possition in his chair.

You wonder sometimes. If maybe God did bring him back. If his survival alone was a miracle, a blessing just for Sam.

Maybe Dean himself was proof of the power of prayer.