Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the characters …
Author's Note: Just wanted to say thank you for all the great reviews – so I've written a final chapter for everyone who asked so nicely.
Written by Kokoda2007
His head felt fuzzy, thick and heavy, like he'd had too much to drink the night before. He wasn't yet ready to open his eyes, to face a new day.
Lying still, he categorically assessed each of his limbs by moving his muscles a mere fraction, searching for the source of his lethargy.
Moving was a mistake he instantly regretted as pain signals travelled haphazardly through his body. His shoulder throbbed with red hot pain competing for attention with his aching head. It felt as though a jack hammer was chipping away at his skull from the inside out.
He remembered, yet wondered briefly how he could have forgotten. He remembered the wound. The bleeding. He remembered Dean patching him up. Where was Dean he wondered.
Opening his eyes took all his concentrated effort and he couldn't suppress a groan as the ray of light reached his open eyes, increasing the pain hammering inside his head.
"Hey Sam …good to see you awake man." Dean spoke from the chair positioned at the side of the bed.
Sam angled his head towards the sound of his brother's voice. "Uummm ahhh." His tongue felt swollen in his mouth and the signals from his brain to his mouth seemed confused and disconnected.
"How you feeling …I should probably check you shoulder again …God dammit Sam …you gave me a hell of a fright last night …what were you thinking …you know how it is …how important it is …to take care of injuries …God, Dad drummed it into us often enough."
"Sorry …I meant to…"
"You could've bled to death Sam, right there on the God damn bathroom floor …there was so much blood …if I hadn't woken up …found you…"
"No Sam" Dean paused and took a much needed breath. " …I should've seen that you were hurt …should've noticed…"
"God dammit Sam …you ever do that to me again and I swear to God I'll kill you myself."
"Dean! …I need …can ya get me a drink …please." He was so thirsty and try as he might to swallow and bring some saliva to his mouth it remained bone dry.
He tried to focus on Dean, but his brother wavered in and out of his vision as he moved away from the bed. He felt light-headed and dizzy and as he pulled himself up a little in the bed he had to fight to remain conscious. He let his head hang low and tried to take a couple of deep even breaths to clear away the cobwebs on his brain. He felt the dizziness retreat slightly, but the position caused his stitches to pull and he was forced to raise his head again. He slouched back against the bed head and closed his eyes.
"Here you go."
He opened his eyes again and reached for the glass of water Dean was holding out to him. His hands trembled as he tried to grasp the glass and a few drops sloshed over the edge and onto the bed covers. When Dean wrapped a hand over his own he felt more confident in raising the glass to his lips. He drank thirstily, gulping down a large mouthful of water.
Dean pulled the glass away from Sam's lips. "Slowly …just small sips."
Sam nodded in reply and Dean let him direct the glass back to his lips. He took a few more small sips, savouring the cool water as it quenched his parched mouth and throat.
"That's enough …for now …you can have a bit more soon …soon as I know you can keep that down ...alright?" Dean placed the glass on the bedside table.
"Think you can lean forward a bit for me …I wanna check your stitches."
Sam braced his hands on his upper thighs and leant forward so that Dean could see his shoulder. As he felt the bandage being pulled aside he couldn't prevent his body from tensing, anticipating the pain. He knew Dean was trying to be gentle, but every touch ignited new pain sensors and he couldn't stop the few moans of misery that escaped as Dean probed the tender area.
"How …how's it look?" Sam cringed at the sound of his quivering voice.
"Yeah …ah …the good news is that it's stopped bleeding …but it's looking a little red 'n puffy…"
"God Dean!" Sam yelped in pain as Dean firmly pressed the bandage back down.
"…ah Sam …I know you don't wanna hear this …but its looking pretty red man …it's definitely infected."
"Can't we just…"
"No, you'll probably need antibiotics or something …I'll see if there's a clinic in town."
Sam closed his eyes, too tired to argue with his brother, too tired to whisper even a single word of complaint when he heard Dean start to tap away on his laptop keyboard. He let his mind drift, heading back towards the pain free solace of sleep.
"Sam, wake up."
He opened his eyes again. He hadn't had time to get properly back to sleep, but he'd enjoyed floating in that place somewhere between awake and asleep.
"…'m not asleep."
"Yeah well, looks like the closest clinic's in the next town over …might as well check-out of here this morning …we're heading that direction anyway …no sense in doubling back."
Dean closed the laptop and shoved it back into Sam's leather satchel before moving around the room and gathering the rest of their belongings.
"Ah …think we're gonna have do a runner anyway …before they see the bed, or the towels for that matter. God Sam, ya really know how to trash a joint." Dean tossed some clean clothes in Sam's direction before starting to pack his bag.
Sam swung his feet to the floor and sat on the edge of the bed. He felt shaky and not yet confident enough to stand – he just needed a few moments to gain his equilibrium.
For once, he decided to forgo wearing a t-shirt and just pulled on his button down shirt. Even manoeuvring that over his arms was painful on his wounded shoulder and he had to bite back the grimace of pain he felt on moving his injured joint.
The jeans were next and he decided to give them a go before asking his brother for help. He had some pride and asking Dean to help him with his pants was just, awkward.
He wasn't able to use his arm to help push himself up, and this made rising a difficult process. Instead, he rocked back a little and used his body's weight as momentum to push himself upwards. The sudden change in position didn't allow enough time for his body to adjust and the room suddenly swam out of focus as he tried to gain his balance.
It wasn't just luck that Dean caught him before he smacked face first into the floor. His brother had been watching the manoeuvre, anticipating his collapse.
"Sam!" Dean was poised ready to catch his flailing brother when he saw him teeter forwards. He guided him back down onto the bed. "Take it easy …deep breaths." Dean crouched down in front of his brother and observed him closely. A sheen of sweat glistened against his pale skin and his breathing was laboured after the small effort. "Think you can get dressed – if I help you?"
Sam gave a small nod in acquiescence. He kept a firm grip on Dean's shoulder for balance as Dean helped him on with his jeans, socks and boots. "Thanks" he whispered when he was finally seated on the edge of the bed fully clothed. Dressing had completely exhausted him and he knew he was going to have to rely on his brother again just to get to the car.
Helping his brother dress brought back many childhood memories for Dean; of other times when Sam was small and he'd dress him in the morning before breakfast. As a toddler, Sam had always chatted throughout the process, wanting to know the name of each item of clothing, needing to know the colors and wanting to help with every zip and button. It had always made the ordeal time consuming, but as he looked back and the images flashed through his mind, the recollections filled him with warmth. The stark contrast with today's events didn't go unnoticed – and the comparison ignited a measure of anxiety inside of him. Sam seemed more unsteady, more weak and uncoordinated, than he should be. A visit to a doctor now took on a greater sense of urgency as he took in the limp form of his ashen brother.
After loading all of their gear into the car, Dean returned to the room to assist Sam. He practically had to drag his brother to the waiting car, with each step Sam got a little heavier and leaned into Dean a little harder. He secured Sam in with the seatbelt before closing the car door and jogging round to the driver's side.
The gravel spun under the tyres as he headed the car back onto the main road, eager to reach the free clinic as soon as possible. His brother had barely moved since he'd helped him into the car, and he had to keep glancing across, just to reassure himself that Sam's eyes were still open – that he was still conscious.
There was little traffic on the road and they made excellent time to the next town. He found the clinic with little difficulty and managed to park directly outside.
"Sam, you still with me?"
"Yeah." Sam raised bleary eyes to his brother.
He breathed a sigh of relief before moving around the car to help his brother get out. Sam offered no protest as he was hauled out of the car and unceremoniously dragged into the clinic and lowered to the closest chair. His body was wavering on the edge of exhaustion and every movement took him a little closer to total collapse. The harsh fluorescent lights burnt his eyes, sending shafts of pain through his throbbing head. He closed his eyes, making a feeble effort to block out the pain.
He didn't know how long he sat there, disconnected from his surroundings. He just concentrated on breathing and keeping the beckoning blackness at bay. When his body threatened to topple forwards onto the grubby floor he felt Dean's hand grab the back of his shirt and anchor him in place. He relaxed into his brother's touch, his body slumping to rest against Dean's solid form.
He didn't hear his name called, just the gentle yank to his feet as Dean pulled him upright. He felt the warmth of Dean's arm wrapped around his waist and heard the tender words whispered near his ear. His steps faltered a few times and the arm around him tightened its grip, holding him firmly. Not letting him go. He focused on the strength by his side and put one step in front of the other, trusting in his brother.
He let Dean answer the doctor's initial questions, merely nodding in agreement to the standard explanations and responses Dean provided. With Dean's assistance he complied meekly when the doctor insisted he sit down on the raised narrow bed so that his wound could be examined.
Pain pulsed through him as the doctor removed the bandage and felt around the swollen flesh.
"You've definitely got an infection here …we're going to need to clear it up with a course of antibiotics." The doctor stated as he cleaned the surface of the infected wound and applied a clean dressing.
Sam tasted blood as he bit his lip to keep back the moans of pain that threatened to escape as the doctor completed his task. He felt increasingly dizzy but resisted the urge to lie back on the bed, unsure whether he'd be able to gather enough energy to get up again.
Black spots invaded his vision and the doctor had to hastily grab him as he started to sway. He felt himself being eased down onto the bed and appreciated the feel of laying flat despite the pain it caused his shoulder. He blinked against the beam of light being shone into his eyes and held steady as a cold stethoscope was placed on his chest.
"Sam, you feeling dizzy, faint?'
"Yeah." Sam replied breathlessly.
"Can you tell me …how much blood you lost?"
"A lot." Dean interrupted.
"That would account for the dizziness. Your body's having trouble compensating for the blood loss …you heart rate's a bit fast and you're obviously dehydrated." The doctor observed Sam's pale complexion and sunken skin. "Ideally, I'd recommend a transfusion or at least a drip to replace your fluids, but we just don't have the facilities for that here …you'd need to go to the local hospital. Your body should recover on its own, but it'll take a lot longer, and you'll feel weak and fatigued until your body is able to reproduce the blood it needs. It's also going to place extra strain on your body as it fights off the infection."
"No hospital." Sam spoke softly.
"Sam!" Dean remonstrated.
"Please Dean, I don't wanna go to the hospital."
"Well Sam, you'll need bed rest for the next couple of days and you have to drink plenty of fluids. Then you'll need to take it easy for at least another week. If the infection doesn't show signs of clearing up over the next day or two, you'll need to come back and see me."
He let Dean help him sit back up and put back on his shirt as the doctor removed his gloves and wrote out a prescription. After thanking the doctor, they made their way slowly back to the car.
"You okay?" Dean asked, concern leaching from his voice.
"Yeah …where we headed?"
"Motel …you heard the doc, you've gotta rest."
"I can rest in the car Dean."
Dean looked at his brother in exasperation. "This isn't a discussion Sam …I'm gonna find us a motel and we're gonna hole up for a few days."
"Thanks Dean …you know …for everything."
"Yeah well, you trash this room and you're on your own."
Sam relaxed back against the seat, a small smile hovering on his lips.