Author's Note: Medical knowledge would be a wonderful thing – but I don't have it. Please excuse any mistakes in this area; Google is a poor substitute for medical training.
I really appreciate the reviews for the last chapter – many many thanks.
Sam closed his eyes letting the exhaustion wash through his body. All he wanted to do was sleep but it felt as though every time he drifted off he was woken up again. His father had made little attempt to engage him in conversation and although he welcomed the steady presence at his side, he was glad for the reprieve.
He really didn't feel so great. He wasn't really sure how long he'd been in the hospital as real time seemed to have lost all meaning. With nothing to do, time seemed to move immeasurably slow. He listened to the beep of monitors which indicated the seconds passing and the hourly observations from the nursing staff which measured the hours. Night and day had lost all relevance. Already he felt that he'd been here too long and the small room's white washed walls were making him a little claustrophobic. Any time in a hospital was too long. But he'd thought he should be feeling better by now, and he couldn't understand why Dean or his Dad hadn't tried to spring him free.
Shifting a little, he tried to get more comfortable, willing sleep to come more quickly, for time to pass more rapidly.
Why couldn't they turn off the lights to make resting a little easier.
Even with his eyes closed he could see the imprinted image of the room spinning around him. He clenched his fists in the sheets in an attempt to steady himself even though he knew deep down that he wasn't really moving at all.
He felt dizzy.
It felt as though someone was squeezing his chest, making it more difficult to draw air into his lungs.
He opened his eyes and stared at the flashing numbers on the medical equipment, mesmerised by their incessant rhythm but unable to fully comprehend their meaning.
He knew something wasn't right.
"Dad?" He whispered the word on a pant of exhaled breath.
Sam watched as his father stirred in the armchair and he silently willed him to hear his call.
He kept his eyes on his father as he watched him jerk awake as if suddenly remembering where he was. 'Help me' he pleaded with his eyes, every breath shorter and harder to inhale.
He tried to control the pain coursing through his system as he suffocated in his bed. Mere minutes felt like hours as his lungs ached from lack of oxygen and his vision became blurry.
A strong hand clasped his as his backed arched involuntarily as his starved lungs tried to find air, his mouth wide open as he gasped to breathe in even a shallow mouthful of life giving oxygen. Tears sprung in his eyes as he struggled, hating the weakness of his own body.
John clasped his son's hand in his own as he reached across and pressed the red emergency call button beside the bed.
He watched in horror as Sam struggled to breathe. "Come on son; don't do this ….you need to breathe."
"God dammit Sammy…" John yanked the pillows from under his son's head so that he was laying flat on the bed, hoping that this change in position would help him.
He felt helpless as Sam continued to gasp in shallow tortured breaths, Sam's skin paling further as he continued to struggle for air.
"Somebody help …we need help in here!" John yelled; no longer trying to disguise the panic that was growing as he watched his son's labored breathing.
Monitors beeped loudly in the room and he wondered when they had started and what their intrusive noise meant. Was Sam still breathing?
Help arrived en masse and John stood by silently and watched as the medical staff fought to stabilise his son. He didn't want to watch but he wasn't leaving.
The minutes felt like an eternity until Sam was breathing regularly on his own again and John never wanted to feel that level of helplessness again. He was a man of action and was well out of his comfort zone when he didn't have full control of a situation. To have to stand by and rely on others to help his son was his worst kind of nightmare come true. Having to rely on strangers is what made you weak, vulnerable, a feeling abhorrent to him. It didn't matter how old his son's got, how independent or self-sufficient, he knew he would always fell this fierce protectiveness over them.
He stood by Sam's bed, strong and silent, as all the staff except for the doctor departed and the room once again returned to calm. Except for the oxygen mask over his son's face, the last few minutes of frantic activity might have never happened. Might have just been a bad dream. A nightmare.
Sam seemed peaceful now, his body finally succumbing to sleep. A little color was starting to return to his cheeks and his breathing was quiet but steady. John allowed himself to take a deep breath and consciously rotated his shoulders, willing his tense body to relax. The panic was over.
"What happened?" John asked the doctor in a hushed tone across Sam's bed. His youngest didn't even twitch at the added noise.
"We'll talk outside," the doctor gestured towards the hallway before making his last few notes on Sam's chart.
John waited for the doctor to finish and followed him out, keeping Sam's bed within his line of sight as he took up position just outside the doorway.
The doctor ran a hand through his hair, deciding where to start. "It looks like Sam has had a reaction to the drugs we administered …but we caught it in time. We had to administer an injection to get his breathing back under control, and we'll be monitoring his blood pressure and breathing closely over the next twenty-four hours to make sure that his condition remains stable. Has he had any adverse reactions to medications in the past?"
"No, I don't think so …ah no …he hasn't …I would've known." John scanned his memory, trying to recollect the many times Sam had ended up hurt and trying to remember any medications he'd been given.
"We'll run some tests just to make sure …sometimes a person won't have an allergic reaction to a drug when they first take it, instead, the first time or first several times they take the allergy-causing drug their immune system becomes sensitized to react when they next encounter that drug… which is why you can't assume just because Sam has had a medication before that it will be safe for him to have it again. You'll need to know what drugs to avoid should Sam require medical treatment in the future."
John nodded in reply. "So Sam …he's …everything's okay?"
"We'll keep monitoring him closely, but yes, barring any further complications, Sam should make a full recovery."
"Thanks." John gave the doctor a heartfelt smile and watched as he walked away. He looked into the room and saw his son sleeping peacefully and felt and enormous weight of relief wash over him. He leant his weight back against the solid cold wall, realising again just how close he had come to losing a son.
Footsteps echoed in the corridor and his hunter instinct kicked in as his body tensed and he raised his head – to look into the eyes of his eldest as Dean strode towards him.
Seeing his father leaning against the wall as if for support ignited a spark of fear in Dean. No, this couldn't be happening, he thought, he'd only been gone a few hours, Sammy had to be okay.
"Dad?" He croaked out as he approached; his voice suddenly dry. He was desperate for reassurance but afraid to hear what his father might say.
When he saw his father smile and nod a little of his tension eased. Reaching the doorway to Sam's room he stepped inside, releasing the breath that he hadn't realised he'd been holding as he saw his brother lying in the hospital bed. Sam was alive.
He moved to his brother's side, taking in the oxygen mask over his face which hadn't been there earlier. Resting a hand for a moment over Sam's, he reclaimed his chair, pulling it next to the bed. Pushing a few stray locks of hair out of his brother's eyes, he took a deep breath before looking across at his father who was settling back into the chair on the other side of the bed.
Touching the edge of the oxygen mask covering Sam's mouth and nose before moving back to stoke Sam's hair, Dean waited for his father to start talking.
"Sam ah …he ah …had a reaction to some of the medication …scared the shit out of me … spoke to the doc …he said Sam's gonna be okay."
"Yeah." John rubbed the frown lines on his forehead. "God, I thought …for a moment …I thought …God, he couldn't breathe …and the monitors all started beeping …I thought we might lose him …and there was nothing I could do."
Dean looked at his father in concern, unused to seeing him so shaken up.
"He's going to be okay." John confirmed, reassuring himself as much as Dean.
"Thank god." Dean relaxed a little, stifling a yawn behind his hand.
"How'd it go?" John asked, hoping that Dean had come out unscathed from his encounter.
"Let's just say that they got what was owing to them."
A few days later and Sam was ready to crawl up the walls of his hospital bed. He felt much better – ready to break free.
The last few days had been nerve racking. Even after he was feeling much better, his father had refused his request for an early discharge, wanting him to stay confined until the doctor agreed that he could go home. To make matters worse, his father had rarely left the room, remaining in the chair beside his bed, asking him regularly how he was feeling but making little other attempt at conversation. He felt like a deer caught in headlights, constantly on edge, waiting for the bomb to fall.
He decided that maybe his Dad was waiting until they left the hospital before chewing him out. Even though he knew he deserved it didn't make it any easier. Yeah. He'd fucked up, but now he just wanted to find out what his sentence was going to be. Maybe, he thought, that was his Dad's plan, to make him sweat it out. After all, dread was just an added punishment.
"Hey Sammy." Sam looked up as his brother breezed into the room. "Ready to blow this joint?"
Dean looked towards their father. "Doc's on his way down now." Dean turned towards Sam. "Looks like you'll get your wish, think the doc's gonna kick you free today puke boy." Dean grinned.
"Yeah, 'bout time."
When the doctor entered, Sam answered all his questions and submitted to his examination, trying to keep the hope from showing on his face. When the doctor finally announced that he could return home, a wide smile spread across his face. Even the stale smell of dust and mould would be preferable to the stark smell of antiseptic and bleach.
He was going home.
Walking through the front door of the house almost felt anti-climatic after so much anticipation. Nothing had changed. The house still looked run-down, uncared for and dirty. He felt a twinge of guilt, knowing that his father and Dean had spent almost as much time at the hospital as he had.
He headed straight to the couch, despite Dean's hand on his arm trying to steer him in the direction of the bedroom. Even though he was tired and his stitches were pulling, he wasn't yet ready to get back into bed. He just wanted to sit up for a little while, feel normal for a change. He was so sick of lying in bed.
"Ten minutes, then you're back to bed." Dean announced, lowering him onto the couch.
"Yes Florence." Sam quipped back.
"I mean it Sam. You heard what the doc said."
"Yeah, I'm stupid, not deaf." Sam replied.
"I wouldn't say stupid, but definitely …"
"Boys, give it a break. …Sam, you heard the doctor, your brother's right, ten minutes, then you have to go lie down."
"But…" Sam started.
"Sam, do we have a problem, 'cause I thought we wouldn't have to go into this …I know it seems unfair sometimes, but Dean and I, we give you orders for a reason son, for your own good …to keep you safe."
"Yeah Dad, I know …it's my fault, all of this, I fucked up, I know." Sam hung his head low.
"We need to know we can trust you son."
"You can Dad."
"Right, then ten minutes and into bed."
"Okay." Sam replied, raising his eyes to his father in surprise. Was that it, he wondered, looking at his father.
John looked into his son's wide gaze. If truth be known, at this moment he'd take questioning Sam, whingeing Sam and even defiant Sam – as long as he had breathing Sam.
"You know Sam, I think you leant your lesson this time …just don't let there be a next time …'cause if there is, I swear to God, I'll kill you myself." John smiled at Sam, belying the severity of his words.
"Thanks Dad." Sam pushed himself up and gave his Dad a hug. He felt as if the weight he'd been carrying around for days had finally been lifted off his shoulders.
Sam turned towards his older brother and stepped towards him. "Thanks Dean." Sam leaned in to give Dean a hug.
"Whoa puke boy, personal space." Dean hugged his brother back.
Thanks for reading – hope you enjoyed.