Summary: Dean has a crappy bedside manner; good thing Sam's too deeply unconscious to hear him. One-shot, set early Season 3, no spoilers. Warning for some cussing.

Disclaimer: Supernatural, Sam & Dean Winchester are not mine. All obscure perverted fantasies which leak out of my head and feature the aforementioned hotties are mine.

A/N: Huge bountiful buckets of thanks to THEvampireninja for being a totally awesome beta who actually managed to understand my writing (aka my crack of dawn scribbled ravings).

Dean Winchester 'Vs' Plastic Hospital Chair

Chicago, Illinois: New Cook County Hospital, Trauma Center, Room 11B.

1:04 am

"Goddamn son of a bitch...I swear Sammy, that light in the hallway outside this room is the brightest damn thing I have ever seen. How the heck am I supposed to get any shut eye around here with that thing burning a hole through my eyelids? Seriously, it must be draining the national grid dry. Which type of bulb do you think they use around here, 'blazing nebula' watt or 'surface of the sun' watt?"

Dean wriggles a little in his seat, like a rebellious child who's just been told to sit up straight at the dinner table. Eventually he hangs his aching legs over the chair's arm and purses his lips as he watches his brother's still face for any sign of movement. Sam's complexion is milky white; his placid expression seemingly carved from marble. His eyes are closed and long dark lashes stand out in stark contrast to the washed-out appearance of his skin. There's a bandage wrapped around his head and an oxygen canula is inserted into Sam's nose. Sam's chest is bare and there are two electrodes attached to his skin on either side of his heart feeding information into an intricate looking electrocardiogram machine by the bed. The noise the machine makes is a quiet but steady and stable rhythmic beeping. You couldn't exactly dance to it but Dean is growing increasingly fond of the reassurance that the sound is giving him; it's a small comfort but one he desperately wants and needs. With the welcome regular beeping continuing in the background, Dean's eyes flit between Sam's face and the sharply spiked lines which appear on the electrocardiograph.

"I don't believe it; you're really not planning on waking up anytime soon are you? Man, that's just like you to be mulish, digging your heels in as usual but I guess why change the habit of a lifetime right Sam? It's not like you've ever listened to me before." Dean pauses and takes a deep ragged breath before continuing with a crooked plastered on smile. "Sleep soundly while you can little bro, I'm sending your well-rested ass out to buy me breakfast as soon as we get you the hell out of here. None of that healthy cereal crap that looks like rabbit food either I want pancakes with a ton of syrup and a side of bacon. It's got to be crispy bacon too. Best way to start the day...great, now I'm hungry."

Dean glances briefly out of the large window at the cool night which has wrapped a shroud of darkness around the hospital building. They're on the tenth floor and the view from there is pretty amazing. Various skyscrapers dominate a skyline, which seems to go on forever. The lights which illuminate some of the skyscrapers' windows look like little stars. Not that Dean ever notices that kind of thing of course or would wish on one if he thought they really were stars. He turns his gaze back to Sam's motionless form and reaches out a hand to pull the loose pale blue blanket tighter around Sam' body.

"Is this payback little brother? Did you think I needed a reminder of how screwed you're going to be when there's nobody around to watch your back?" Dean pauses in an uncomfortable almost suffocating silence. "No. You're not getting me to talk about this; otherwise you may as well just get out of that bed right now Sammy and we can hug, weep into our hankies or hey we could start our own sewing circle."

"But finding you on the ground like that, with blood all over your face...Christ, stop talking about it Dean."

"Please bro, you need to wake up. I mean, look what you're doing to me. I'm talking to myself here, like I'm some kind of crazy person."

2:08 am.

"There's a real mean old battleaxe of a nurse on this ward Sammy, she's going to kick my ass if she finds me sitting in your room after visiting hours again. She's booted me out twice already but I keep coming back because I'm going to be right here when you wake up. But I'd take a werewolf or a rawhead over Nurse Broom-Hilda any day."

"I've seen you get angry when we were kids. You and Dad going stubborn ass head to stubborn ass head until one of you blows your top like a shaken up bottle of soda. But lately...I don't know. I've never seen you so...so desperate and afraid...and all I keep thinking is 'I did this to you'. But you're still breathing and that's all that matters, right? I can cope with everything else but you not breathing, I can't cope with that. Not at all."

"I know you're angry at me, at everything lately, but it's because I'm leaving isn't it? I'm leaving in a few months and you've got to stay behind. As if I don't know what that feels like. It hurts like a bitch. Just call it my revenge for you running of to Stanford little brother, but that doesn't mean I'm not sorry Sammy. I'm sorry as hell but as for making the deal, I'll never be sorry for bringing you back. You're the best part of me Sam."

2:35 am.

"Oh boy, I'm getting sentimental. I need something to take my mind off things. Wonder if there's any 'pay per view' porn on the tube? What am I thinking? This is a hospital not some seedy motel, of course there isn't any porn. Where's the remote?"

"Great, I knew it, infomercials. Just what the infirm need."

"Remember how I made you sit through that skin flick 'Horny Vestal Virgins' a few nights ago? It had that guy in it with the huge nose. You know, the guy with the nose that looked like it should come with a pair of those joke shop glasses and a fake moustache? I couldn't see all the boobs with that guy's gigantic snout getting in the way. That movie sucked, literally. Suppose it didn't help that you fell asleep and I had to watch it with the sound turned down. Still it wasn't like they were spouting Shakespeare whilst they were getting all sweaty. Who knew a nun could bend like that?"

3:00am.

"Sammy...why'd you have to look like you're still a kid when you're sleeping? How am I supposed to leave you?" Crap, crap, crap.

"What time is it? 3:00am! Urgh. So there really is such a thing as two 'three o' clocks'." Dean squirms in his chair again. "Man, I wish I could get comfy. Maybe I could if the friggin' ghost hadn't pushed me down that ravine; damn boulders, I've got bruises covering my entire backside. You should see it Sam. There's so much black on my lily white ass that you could play checkers on it." Dean smiles but it doesn't sit long on his lips. "You stepped in though; distracted him whilst I got the salt gun. I put a round straight through the bastard's chest...but not in time, he still managed to whack you one with his club. Why'd you do that huh? You shouldn't have put yourself in harm's way like that. It's my job to protect you and I'm going to make sure I carry on doing just that until my very last second is up and then I... .I—I can't do this Sam. Let's talk about something else, anything else okay?"

"Where do they get these chairs from? My ass has fallen asleep. Well at least one part of me is taking a nap I suppose. They must have a guy downstairs carving these chairs outta stone. This room smells funny too, like old people...yep, it definitely smells of lavender, lavender potpourris. Reminds me of that B&B we stayed in last year, in San Francisco, the place with those two old sisters running the place. Jeez, I was about ready to get the salt and gasoline they were so old but they took a liking to you straight away, didn't they? Guess I can't be the one who always gets the girls, right Sammy? Hey...hey I saw that, your little finger just moved. C'mon Sam wake up."

"Sammy? Wake up." Dean leans in close to Sam's face. He can see Sam's eyeballs moving underneath their almost transparent lids. He takes hold of his brother's limp hand and squeezes it, just at the moment Sam's body arches and trembles before sagging back onto the bed. The heart rate monitor goes silent for an instant then fills the room with a single prolonged beep. "No!" Dean's eyes dart to the electrocardiograph monitor where there are no more peaks or troughs just one long unbroken straight line. Dean's own heart stutters and he feels it go cold in his chest.

"NO!" Dean scrambles out of the chair and sprints into the hallway almost colliding with a young nurse who is dashing towards Sam's room. She disappears inside and he wants to follow her but his legs won't work. His legs won't listen to him, they won't do anything except feel like jelly and they give way so that Dean ends up crumpled on his knees on the hard tiled floor. He can't seem to catch his breath. He looks at his watch wanting, needing to know.

3:42am.

3:42am and still months left but Dean's life just ended. Right here in Chicago, Illinois. Dean jerks his head back violently and a soft thud echoes down the hallway as it connects with the wall behind him. If...if I could get to a crossroads maybe those hounds could come right now, I can't do months alone, I can't do anything without Sammy...But Dean can't think straight. He can't even remember where he parked the Impala and doubts that he'd be able to manage driving even if he could find his car. His head is full of nothing but his brother, soul-destroying images running on a loop of them both as kids and of them now as grown men.

The door to Sam's room opens and Dean swallows dryly as the nurse steps out. Don't say it lady, don't say it. Dean always thought that if it ever came down to losing Sam again he'd want to vomit or cry or scream until his throat bleeds...but he's numb. Cold and empty. Like Sam must be by now. Oh God!

The nurse looks around confused before glancing down and finding Dean on the floor, a small indentation in the cracked plaster wall behind his head. "Sir?" She can easily recognize the devastation; she's dealt with it often enough before. She crouches down and reaches out a gentle hand, touching Dean's arm even as Dean flinches, trying to move away. "Sir, your brother is asking for you."

Dean flinches again and snorts humourlessly. He's dead lady, dead, gone and I'm going to be gone soon too. Her fingernails dig into the skin of his bicep, it's painful but it grounds him. Dean does a disbelieving double take, reading her eyes. "He's alive?" His voice cracks on the words, as does her lips which form a soft smile.

"The heart rate electrodes must have dislodged when he was waking up. He's asking for 'Dean'. I'd get in there Dean before he starts hollering and Nurse Broom-Hilda comes running."

"Hey, you call her that too?" Dean lets the nurse pull him to his feet. He stares hard at the young woman. She's not what most men would consider attractive, short and a little plump with black hair pulled into a messy ponytail but she's beautiful in Dean's eyes.

The nurse winks and starts to disappear down the hallway back towards the Nurses' Station. "Everyone who's ever met her calls her that. I'll fetch the doctor."

4:01am

Sam's eyes are heavy, laden with exhaustion but they're open now and staring at Dean. "You okay?"

Dean's eyes widen. "Me? Am I okay? I'm just dandy. You're the one with the fractured skull."

"You look, I don't know, you look off is all."

"Well there's gratitude for you. I had to haul my heavy, bleeding, sasquatch brother for at least a mile through those woods before we got to the car and then I drove us straight here."

Sam sighs and looks away sheepishly, fingers absently toying with an edge of his blanket. "Thanks Dean."

Damn it Sam. Don't thank me. It's my job. "All in a day's work." Dean stares at the floor for a beat and looks up to find Sam gazing at him again through heavy lidded eyes. "You should get some sleep Sam." As long as you promise to come back to me.

Sam can see Dean's all-in. His brother looks old, a faint shadow of the young confident swaggering guy Sam knows. Like Sam has somehow slept for years instead of 48 hours. "Why don't you go back to the motel, get some rest. You look like crap Dean, you..." Sam pauses and his forehead scrunches in confusion. "Dean, w—why do you have bits of plaster in your hair?

Dean grunts and rubs a hand across sore eyes. "Go back to sleep Sammy." Me and this chair, we're bosom buddies; I can sit here for awhile longer.

-end-