A/N: Like many writers I work through events in my life through the writing. Something came up Thursday night that resulted in a little ambulance ride (and why I didn't post anything on With What Life Remains). I would like to say Supernatural Fans are the most generous and wonderful people on earth I think. Along those lines I would like to thank the wonderful woman (whose name escapes me) who while hooking me up to all the beepy machines said she was a fan, discovering I was a fan and fanfic writer, offered to find out what was happening on the show, or if I ended up there longer than just overnight offered to download the episode and bring it in on her next shift! Thank you! I would also like to thank Dennis and my much loved beta Abni for holding my hand through one of the scariest events in my life!
Be Still My Beating Heart
still my beating heart
Or I'll be taken for a fool
It's not healthy to run at this pace
It was a sunny autumn day. The air was crisp and colored leaves spread across the ground in a bright carpet. The soft breeze was full of the scent of apples and slightly overripe berries. Pumpkins adorned nearly every doorway and large displays of squash and cornstalks decorated the grocery store.
Dean parked the Impala as close to the door as he could without actually parking in a handicap zone. Sam hopped out. Dean opened his door and stood up, then leaned against the car for a moment as the black spots cleared from his vision. And that is getting increasingly fun. He followed Sam into the store. They were in the mood for movies and junk food after a routine hunt. Like there is anything such as a routine hunt. At least I could just fix Sammy up with a band-aid instead of stitches this time. They had decided they needed a break for an evening, Sam was holding out for more than just one day off, but Dean wanted to be back on the road. And that has nothing to do with this sinking feeling, nothing at all, nope.
He trailed his brother through the store. Sam headed over to produce as they walked in. "Dude, what the hell, how does anything over here qualify as junk food?" Dean said nearly running Sam over with the cart.
"An apple or two won't kill you, Dean," his brother said in his chiding "doing what's best for you" voice that had a tendency to make Dean seriously consider fratricide.
"It might, you never know—the whole apple thing didn't work out very well for Snow White." Sam rolled his eyes and put a bag of honey crisp apples in the cart. Dean smiled, they were his favorite and Sam knew it. Ok, Sam, you can get away with that, but just stay clear of the spinach. Got it?
They wandered down the chip aisle, up the soft drinks and along the beer cooler. Dean pushed the cart into the candy aisle and spied the extra large bags of M&Ms. And check it out, on sale. Two for $6. Maybe things are looking up for a change. He bent over, grabbed the candy and straightened up. The wave of dizziness hit him like running into a wall. One second he was standing there with candy in his hand and the next he was on the floor, a very anxious Sam bending over him.
"Dean?" His brother's face was white.
"I'm ok, sorry, just a head rush that got out of control. It's been too long since lunch," he said letting Sam help him up. Yep, just a head rush, nothing to worry about, it's not like they have been getting worse and worse for the last five days. And we'll just ignore that pressure in the chest too, I think. Good plan.
"I don't know, maybe we should find the local clinic?" Sam said with the little frown of concern curling between his eyebrows.
"I'm ok, Sammy," he said, putting the candy in the cart and pushing it down the aisle, leaning on it a little. I wonder if I should go to the clinic? Nope. I'm just overreacting. It was a rough hunt and I'm beat, maybe have a bit of a cold or something.
"Ok, Dean, but maybe I should drive?" Sam said with a smile
Dean could see concern and worry in the smile. He is so transparent. "Nice try. Nope."
They had found a motel at the edge of town, away from the highway for a change. It was nice and quiet and the room had a kitchenette with a full size fridge and a stove with an actual oven. On the way back from the store they had stopped off at a "take and bake" pizza place and were well supplied when they walked into the room in the early afternoon. Sam turned the oven on and Dean flopped down on the bed and flipped the TV on.
He shifted on the bed. His middle back was bothering him again. It had been for a couple of days and he seemed to notice it a little more each evening. The pressure in his chest was also a getting a little worse. If whoever is standing on me would just move I'd feel better. He sighed. He had to admit to himself that he wasn't feeling very well, and he hadn't been. The pain in his chest had a slightly familiar feel to it and it scared him a little. No, Roy and a Reaper took care of that. I'm just working myself up and having an anxiety attack or something.
Sam came over and handed him a Coke and sat beside him on the bed. Dean had chosen the one with the better view of the TV. Sam looked at the TV. "No, Dean, no way. I have seen Spinal Tap enough to give me cancer. Isn't there anything else on?"
"Rock of Love? Hot chicks fighting over Brett Michaels? Good stuff, at least one of them is a stripper. Or how about the Dallas Cowboy's Cheerleader show?"
"How about not reality? Is there anything that is not a reality show?" Sam said looking at him, eyebrows up.
"American's Next Top…"
"No, Dean, not reality. How about this documentary on…" Sam stopped when Dean groaned. "Ok, no documentary. Hey Ghostbusters is on," Sam said with a smile.
"Ghostbusters? The original? 'Crossing the beams is bad'," he said smiling at his brother.
"End of the universe bad?" Sam misquoted. "Yeah, the original, starts in five minutes, and the pizza should be done by then."
"Good call, Sammy, good call," Dean said leaning back.
"Thanks," Sam said, getting up as the timer on the stove started beeping. He cut the pizza and brought it over to the bed and settled in to watch the movie.
The Stay Puft Marshmallow man was beginning to terrorize New York when Dean noticed he was getting a little dizzy. Just lying here, how can I be dizzy just lying here. He was having a hard time getting his breath and his chest was starting to hurt with a growing insistence. He shifted a little. Pizza, chips, chocolate and beer—I have heartburn, that's all just a little heartburn. Yep. I am just getting freaked over heartburn. Or maybe it's a tiny anxiety attack. It's nothing. Ok, I've been a little dizzy for a week and the headache is getting worse, but the more I worry…It's just stress. He tried to take a deep breath and felt the odd flutter against his ribcage that had become just one more fun symptom in the last day or two.
He sensed Sam's eyes on him. "You're missing the best part—this is the 'wait I thought you said crossing the beams was bad' part. One of the best moments in the movie," he said trying to distract his brother.
"Your face is flushed Dean, do you feel ok?" Sam said putting a hand against his forehead.
"Dude, who died and made you Florence Nightingale?" He said batting his brother's hand away. Dean could hear his breath coming out a little harder than usual.
"You just don't look good, Dean."
"I'm ok, Sam. Ok?"
Sam frowned at him. "Are you sure?
"Yeah, fine. I ate a little too much."
"Ok," Sam stood. "I'm going to dive into the shower. Is that ok? Are you sure you'll be ok?"
"Uh, Florence? I'm ok, don't need a nurse, go away," he said, trying to keep his voice normal, fighting the urge to pant. I'm fine Sam, just stop looking at me and I'll be just fine. Sam looked at him for another long moment before he grabbed his clothes and went into the bathroom.
Sam carefully closed the bathroom door, taking one more look at Dean before shutting it. He was worried. Dean wasn't looking good, he had passed out in the store and for the last few days Sam was pretty sure his brother had been having dizzy spells. Once or twice he had grabbed Sam's arm for just half a second to steady himself and then laughed it off with the "just a head rush, wow and a good one, wish I could bottle that and sell it. I'd make a freaking fortune."
Sam leaned against the wall. Now that he was out of Dean's sight, he finally let go of the emotions he'd kept under strict control all day. He felt his hands start to shake and suddenly it became difficult to breathe. Don't lose it now, relax, take a deep breath. This isn't helping Dean, he doesn't need to worry about you freaking out. He's got plenty to think about, that much is obvious. Although he won't tell me, thinking that he's protecting me by keeping it from me. He doesn't realize that all his evasiveness just make it worse, I can see right through them to the fear that he's trying to hide I don't need to hear him tell me when something's wrong, I can sense it when something's off. I've known for days that something was wrong with him, but it seems to have gotten much, much worse today, with him passing out in the store and being all flushed and breathless.
Sam took a deep breath, trying to regain control of his emotions. Suck it up, this is no way for a Winchester to behave. He smiled, a small, sad smile. Yep, hiding it all away, patented Winchester way. He turned on the shower, then finished undressing and stepped under the hot water, hoping it might soothe the tension in his body and mind.
He needs to see a doctor I think, but how exactly do I get him to do that? He thinks that asking for help unless you're actually missing a foot is a weakness. And even then he'd probably just jump on one leg rather than admit that he needs help. But me he drags off to the emergency room for a scratch. He's not used to the thought that sometimes his body just acts on its own and that when it does, it can be just as—actually even more—serious or life-threatening as when he gets slashed by some creature. How am I going to convince him to go and get it checked out?
He sighed. Dean was good at keeping things from his brother and the fact that these little symptoms were beginning to get noticeable was starting to panic Sam. He never let on when he was sick or hurt unless…Unbidden came the vision of his brother standing outside their hotel room after he had been electrocuted, joking about not wanting to die without hot nurses around. Or the time he had been attacked by the…Or the time he…
The memory of those earlier close calls brought back the old fear of losing his brother, the one constant in a tumultuous life, the one person who had made all he'd—they'd—been through bearable. His breath caught in his throat and he felt his entire body start to tremble as tears sprung unbidden from his eyes.
Oh God, Dean. Do you realize how hard it is for me to see you like that and know that you won't let me help you until it's almost too late? Do you realize how much you mean to me, Dean? Do you realize that if I lose you, there's nothing left for me, no one to keep me together when I fall apart, no one for me to hold together and care about and give my life meaning and purpose?
He mentally shook himself. Just stop, don't do this. You're not going to convince him to go to the doctor by getting emotional. You know that won't work. No, you'll have to convince him how serious this might be. And if he doesn't, well, then I guess I'll just have to knock him out and take him there myself. I'm not letting him fight on this. He's going, and that's that!
Pleased with his decision, Sam quickly finished his shower, stopping briefly to check his reflection. Can't let him see how worked up I got. He'll just think I'm overreacting and get more stubborn than ever. Satisfied that the shower had washed away all evidence of his tears, he finished dressing and then carefully eased the door open a crack and peeked out at his brother.
Dean watched Sam close the door and knew his brother was standing watching him for a minute before shutting the door all the way. I'm fine, Sam. He was trying to focus on his breathing, trying to stop the pounding in his chest. It felt very familiar now. The pain, that odd flutter, the fact that he couldn't take a deep breath. My heart, it's my heart again. I thought that was cured. Why would it come back now? It's been a long, long time. Oh, god, how do I hide this from Sam till it goes away? What if it doesn't go away?
He shifted again. The pain was really starting to get bad. It felt like someone with a stiletto heel was standing on his chest. Someone who weighs about 300 pounds actually. It was getting harder and harder to draw a deep breath. He was focusing on not panicking, but that was getting harder too. He heard the water turn on in the shower and tried to watch TV. The pain was beginning to radiate up and down his chest. His heart was pounding, laboring. He was getting dizzier and seeing black spots in front of his eye. His throat was dry. He tried to get up to get a drink of water and ended up on the floor, and he knew several seconds had passed, commercials had interrupted the show he had been watching. Dean pulled himself back onto the bed and tried to get control of the rising panic.
It's just an anxiety attack, that's all it is. And I am making it worse by getting worked up. I'm ok. It's just stress that's doing this. I'm ok. There is nothing wrong and if I worry Sam with this I'll just feel stupid. I'm ok. If he took me to the doctor and it was just anxiety I'd never live it down. I'm ok. It's just anxiety, just stress. I'm ok. It's no big deal, I'm worked up over nothing. I'm ok. I need to calm down. I'm ok. I'm just a little freaked, scaring myself. I'm ok…No, no, I'm not ok at all, I think something is wrong. Sam, are you done yet? I think something is wrong.
He put a hand on his chest, trying to calm his breathing and he thought he heard the bathroom door open. "Sam?" He managed to get the word out, it sounded a lot worse than he thought. He knew his brother would hear the panic and pain in that one single syllable.
Sam was by the bed in less than a second, his hand going down on Dean's forehead. "Dean? What?"
"Sam…" he swallowed. Wow, getting hard to talk, Sammy. "I need to go to the clinic, I think. It's bad." He tried to smile.
"Crossing the beams bad, Dean?"
Sam looked at him for a minute. A particularly painful push on his heart made Dean grab for his brother's hand and hold on, hoping that would help ease the pain and panic. Sam looked down at Dean's hand holding on to his with white knuckles, then back at him. "No, Dean. 911. I'm calling 911." Without letting go of his hand Sam picked up the phone, sounding remarkably calm, for all that there were tears in his eyes. "I think my brother is having a heart attack. Yes, the Viking Arms Motel, room 27. Thank you." Sam sat down on the edge of the bed, Dean moved a little closer so his shoulder was against Sam's leg. Sam held on to his hand, trying to smile.
Dean could read the fear in his brother's eyes. "Sorry," he got out.
Sam squeezed his hand, "it's ok, Dean. I'm here."
"Thanks," he said holding on to his brother's hand. I know, not like me to hold your hand in any situation, but Sammy, I'm scared. More than a little scared. I feel like I might be dying.
He could hear sirens in the distance, getting closer.
To Be Continued