Disclaimer: Nothing Supernatural belongs to me. Everything and all of us belong to the CW and Kripke Entertainment and Scrap Metal Company. Harder than I thought to get the kids out of the sand box, but the playdate's just about over.
A/N: June 2nd - Final installment of Merisha's 2008 birthday fic. And no, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll write you another one next year. I may be too traumatized from the end of the fourth season. It was a close call on being too traumatized to walk after the end of the third season.
A/N 2: Extra big serving of schmoop with schmoop sauce just for you, Merisha.
Sam was going stark raving mad. When he woke up and didn't see Dean, he'd been totally unable to stop himself from bursting into tears. Dean never left him alone in the hospital. He glanced at the table and saw Dean's watch. He ran his fingers around the band before smashing the call button.
When a nurse appeared, he asked if she'd seen his brother that morning. She admitted she had. "Do you know when he's coming back?" He sniffled reaching for a tissue.
"He left about 6 o'clock. He didn't say when he'd be back." She checked some equipment, took his temperature, and eyed his IV bags. "He can come back during visiting hours."
"What, why? He's my brother, he's supposed to be here."
"I know he upset you, but we won't let him back in if you don't want to see him."
"Don't want to see him - are you nuts?" He grabbed a tissue and blew his nose. Used another to dry his eyes. "Of course I want to see him. He didn't upset me, the concussion did." He winced as his head moved. "I need my brother here. Did he say anything – wait, could you get me my cell phone please? It was right here…." He looked around on the table, then turned his head very carefully toward the stand by the bed. The nurse injected something into his IV. "I need my cell phone please."
"Just relax, Mr. Newsted. The doctor doesn't want you disturbed right now, and we don't allow cell phone use in patient rooms. You should be able to make a phone call on the room phone tomorrow." She brought his bed up slowly, handed him the TV remote and set the call button next to his right arm. "It's a small dose, just enough to keep you comfortable, but not totally zonked. You'll be able to watch TV or sleep, whatever you like."
"I'd like to call my brother." He gave her his best pitiful big eyed look. Dean called it channeling his inner puppy.
"Oh, don't be upset, honey. I'll see what I can do about the phone, but you have to rest."
He blinked, feeling a warm lassitude spread through his limbs. "Get the doctor. Not sure I'll un'nerstan…" he swallowed, and carefully said, "understand everything, but I need to see the doctor. And another box of tissues."
"I'll page Dr. Jeffers right now." She smiled, refilled his water glass, and stepped out.
Sam was staring at the upholstered chair when the doctor came in. He wasn't sure why, his eyes just moved that way, and despite what the nurse said he was too zonked out to move them anywhere else. There was a pattern on the fabric that he'd been trying to figure out, but he kept losing his place because there was a something dark covering a crucial part of the design. He yawned and attempted to unzonkify himself. He'd rip out his own IV if they tried to put more of that stuff in there without his permission. God, he wanted to talk to Dean. He'd looked again for his cell, then, moving as much as his head would allow, tried to see if he couldn't spot the room phone tucked away somewhere. This was just barbaric. After a while, he realized he was back to staring at the chair again. Not so awake yet. There was something … not right. He squinched up his eyes, and tried again to will his synapses to start firing again.
So when a gentleman in a white coat and stethoscope came in, Sam ignored the fact that he was a doctor, and probably his doctor coming to tell him something important, and instead, pointed at the chair and said, "What's that dark stuff?"
"The chair. On the back of the chair. That dark stuff – it's like a stain. What is it?"
"Don't worry about it. I'll ask for another chair for your room. I'm Dr Jeffers."
"Would you just go look at it? Please? I'd go myself, but" waving his right arm, "I'm stuck. Could you just go touch it?"
"Ah, sure thing." The doctor pulled on a glove as he took the few steps to the chair and ran his fingers down the stain. He looked puzzled when he looked at his fingers. He touched the stain again. "This is peculiar. I know what this looks like, but how did it get on the chair?"
Sam tried to crane his head to see the glove. He was afraid he knew exactly what it was. He asked, resignedly, "What is it?"
"It looks like blood, mostly dry, but still a little tacky in spots."
Sam groaned bringing the doctor's eyes to his face. "My brother. My brother who slept in that chair last night. My brother who slept in that chair last night and bled on it. Fucktard." Sam finally looked away from the chair. "Oh, sorry, not you. My brother Dean. He can be such a moron sometimes. He didn't tell me he got hurt too. Did anyone check him out?"
"I don't know. I don't think so. There are some notes from the physician on duty last night about him, but nothing about him being injured. Why isn't he still here if he's hurt?"
"He never thinks he's hurt, or tells me it's nothing, or he's fine when he isn't. It's impossible to get him to a doctor." He took a shuddering breath. "And I made him leave. I lost my watch when it clawed my arm and I made him go look for it." He felt tears start to well in his eyes. "Damn this concussion. I can't think straight and I can't stop crying."
"That should start getting a lot better - maybe as early as today. Mr. Newsted, your nurse heard you ask your brother to leave, that you wanted to be alone. Is that right?"
"It's Sam and no, no, that can't be right. I told him I'd be alright alone in the hospital. I must have lost my mind." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "He went to look for my watch. He left me his so I'd know where he'd gone." He showed Dean's watch to the doctor.
"He went back by himself to where the cougar attacked you? Injured? For a watch?" He looked at the chart again. "That doesn't sound like the man Dr Waters met last night."
"What did Dean do?"
"It wasn't so much what he did, but the inferences Dr. Waters made when he checked your condition." He scratched his head. "Did, um, Dean stitch your arm last night?"
"Sure he did, we both know how."
"Why would he do that rather than bring you right here?"
"Our insurance is crap. We're lucky to have it, but the deductable is sky high … we don't like to owe money to anyone. It's how Dad raised us. But Dean won't take a chance with head wounds." The lies slipped out easily. He gave the doctor his most sincere look. "At least my head wounds. Dean really freaked out when I couldn't stop crying. I haven't done that since I was a kid and had a skull fracture. I hope he wasn't rude to anyone."
"Your Dad in the service?"
"Yeah, Marines. How did you know?"
Jeffers sat down eyeing the stain. "That's what your brother said last night." He started writing in the chart. "Sam, I'm going to do a couple of things. First, I apologize for my colleague. He couldn't talk to you and concluded from your injuries and behavior that your brother might be abusing you."
Sam sputtered, "Abusing me? That's crazy. Dean pretty much raised me. Is that what the phone thing is about?"
"Abuse is never outside the realm of possibility, but yes, that's why the phones were removed. I'm not sure I would have drawn the same conclusions, or taken the same steps, but I wasn't here last night. Does your brother ever look, um, menacing?"
"He can, and he's real protective of me. That doctor is lucky he didn't accuse him of anything, because Dean would have gone ballistic."
"I'm going to have the nurse find your cell phone and get the room phone back. I'll also make sure your brother's visitation rights aren't restricted. He can stay in the room with you all night again if he wants. It sounds like he needs to be checked too. Have the nurse page me as soon as you see him. I'll get back here as soon as I can. Can you think of anything else?"
Sam shook his head a little bit.
"Then let me tell you what the MRI revealed and give you a check up."
Dean had no trouble at all getting to Sam's room. He was sure that was due to good luck rather than his sneaking ability, since he pretty much sucked at skulking and lurking right about now. The back of Sam's bed was up, but he was sound asleep. Dean came up on Sam's right side, and shook his arm.
"Sam, hey, Sam. Wake up will you?"
Sam still looked a little whacked out, but his eyes were clearer. "Dean, are you all right? Where have you been? They took my phone." He looked at him intently. "Shit, Dean, you look like road kill."
"Back at you. Are you better?"
"Let me have the doctor paged. It's just a concussion, no fracture, but I'm sure you want to check that out with him." He thumbed the button and asked the nurse who answered to page Dr. Jeffers. "Dean, what happened?"
He held up his hand triumphantly. "This is what happened. Your watch."
Sam took the watch, and son of a bitch, he was starting to cry again. He turned it over and over checking it carefully, and ended up rubbing his thumb over the inscription, unknowingly mimicking Dean's gesture. "You found it. It's not even damaged. And it has…" Sam was really crying now. "It even has … a little … zombie scar. And you love zombies!" He blew his nose on the tissue Dean held out.
"I'll get you another band, don't worry."
"No, no, it's better. I love the scar. I'll always remember how it got on there." He heard Sam take a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Dean, I should never have asked you to leave. You know I hate to be in hospitals by myself." He held out his hand for a second tissue. "I'm just so glad to have this back."
"No problem. The scout went down easy. The troop leader? He fought me tooth and nail for it."
Sam drew in a shaky breath. "It's just that I have so little of you that I can hold in my hands. What with the deal … I have to find a way to break it, but what if… what if … I just want more than a car and an amulet." He was openly crying again, accepted a third and fourth tissue, before trying his best to smile as he added, "And a leather coat that's too short for me." He held the watch out to Dean. "Will you help me get it on?"
The kid was going to break his heart. "You'll do fine, Sam, and we're going to get me out of it, OK?" This was so not what he wanted to talk about right now. He kept his eyes on Sam's face as he took the watch and fastened it on Sam's right wrist. "You know this doesn't mean we're engaged or anything, right?" This time when he looked up, Sam was drying his eyes and looked almost in control again. "Looks kind of weird there."
"It looks great there. I'm really better, Dean, really. It's just like you say, there's still this huge untapped keg of emo in my head. I kept thinking it was gone forever." Like his brother might be. "Your hands are shaking. How bad is your back?"
"I'm fine, Sam, just tired." He sat on the edge of the chair. "While you've been sleeping the peaceful sleep of the drugged, it's been, um, busy where I was. Need to sleep and take a shower." He rubbed his face. "And shave. Did you tell me that those things moved around in daylight too? 'Cause if you did, I'm going to feel like an idiot."
"They do? No, I didn't see that anywhere. There was a second one?" Dean nodded slowly. "Did you go all Highlander on its ass?" Dean was looking at his hand, but remembered to nod again. "Why don't you sit on the bed? It's still hard for me to focus enough to see you over there."
He sighed but pulled himself up to sit on the bed by Sam's good arm, and dangled his feet. He closed his eyes. "Yeah, met Froggie-san number two. Did a Little John. Had to use a knife." He shook his head. "Anyhow, it got really disgusting." He brushed at something on his jeans. "And I still have some of its hair and crap on me. I should go before I start sneezing." He started to lean forward when Sam pulled him back.
"You need to wait for the doctor."
"I'm not s'posed to be here. Snuck in. Kick me out." He rubbed his eyes and rolled his head and shoulders. "Just want you not to cry. Can't take it." He yawned and started to stretch, wincing when his back pulled again. "Take a shower. Sleep."
"They won't kick you out. I took care of that. But you can't leave. I'll cry if you leave. You can take a shower in the bathroom later. But first, why don't you take your jacket off." He tugged at the sleeve.
"You gonna cry if I don't?"
"Maybe." He held the sleeve as Dean slowly pulled it off and tossed it on the seat of the chair. Sam shifted over, and pulled gently on Dean's arm again. "Why don't you relax until the doctor gets here? Come on, lay down." He kept pulling and Dean finally gave in, slumping to one side, his head on a pillow Sam hurriedly pushed under him.
"Jus' for a minute." Dean was already relaxing, half on and half off the bed.
"Get your legs up. Come on, get your legs up on the bed too." Dean took a slow breath. "I'll cry if you don't get your legs on the bed."
Dean complied with a groan. "Damn baby. Boots're dirty".
"I don't care. If you try to get off the bed, I'll cry."
"We're still not engaged."
"No, but our first date is on Friday."
Dean sighed. "Bitch." Just before he fell asleep, he heard Sam say,
"Yeah, I am, and an emo one too, you jerk."
Sam woke up and cracked an eye open when he heard someone come in the room. Dean hadn't twitched. Winchester alarm system, Plan G – let the concussed guy keep watch. He saw Dr. Jeffers by the foot of the bed. Sam pointed his chin at Dean, now resting against Sam's shoulder. He'd managed to wrap an arm around Dean's arm and shoulder and pull his brother back against him, before he fell asleep himself.
He whispered, "My brother."
The doctor pointed at Sam's wrist. "Your watch?"
"Yeah." He continued to hold Dean as the doctor came around to his side of the bed, checking Dean's pulse, and feeling his forehead.
"Big brother, right?"
"How does everyone know that? He looks like he's 15 when he's asleep."
"Human behavior. He's got some cuts on his neck", he bent down and peered, "chest, shoulders, arms, and we already know about his back. Some kind of bite marks on his elbow?" He looked at Sam, and said quietly. "Whatever got you, got him didn't it?"
Trying to fight the inevitable, Sam nodded minutely. "Yeah, the cougar."
"This wasn't a cougar though, was it?" Sam didn't answer. "Whatever it was, I saw what it did to some bodies they found in the old cemetery on 617." He hesitated again, but Sam wouldn't fill the gap. "Just tell me, is it gone for good?"
"Yeah, they are, there were two. He killed both of them."
"Do I want to know what they were?"
"Not really. I'll give you my number before we leave. Just have to call."
They were both speaking softly, but even so, Dean started to shift out from under Sam's arm. He tightened his hold. "Hey Dean, hey. I've got you. Everything's OK. Just relax." He looked up at the doctor. "Take a couple of steps back. Seriously." The doctor perched on the chair. "Dean's really burning up."
"Fever – I'll have to check his back but probably from infection." He pointed at something on Dean's arm. "Or the bites. And we know about the blood loss …" Jeffers cut his eyes over to the chair, "stress, exhaustion. Maybe more. I'll run some tests if he'll let me."
Without warning, Dean came up off the bed, and stood between Sam and Jeffers. He was swaying a bit, but Sam could tell the whole menace vibe was working on the doc.
"Relax bro, this is Dr. Jeffers. Good guy. Wants to check your back, OK?"
Dean forced his eyes open wider, glancing at Sam. He shook his head and managed to say "What?" before his eyes rolled back and he fell bonelessly back into the bed. Sam yelled "Dean" and tried to grab him. Dean would have hit the floor if Jeffers hadn't lunged forward and gotten beneath him.
Sam sighed. "Guess you can run those tests now." as he pushed the call button.
Dean slept for twenty-four hours, tucked up in what had been the empty bed in Sam's room. The police had checked in and passed on their thanks, then a Wildlife officer who wanted to know where the body of the cougar was. Dr. Jeffers came in, and explained that Dean really wasn't in a coma – he walked to Dean's bed and woke him to prove it – just sedated and running a fever of 103 - before checking his back. Dean had received a unit of blood, and was on IV antibiotics and just a "bit" of morphine, which meant when he did wake up, just a head roll and a "Smmm?", he had no idea where he was, but reacted to Sam's presence with a sleepy grin, a muttered "Girl", or "Y'OK?" or "Assmunch" and once inexplicably "Linda Peterson" before slipping back to sleep.
During the next twenty four hours, the fever spiked, and he slept more and moved restlessly, snoring loudly enough to drown out the TV when the staff left him on his back after checking his bandages, or giving him a sponge bath. Sam got a hand to the bathroom, Dean got most of the nursing staff cooing over him. Dean also got a pillow in the face, lobbed over from Sam's bed, when the snoring got too loud, Sam trying to either suffocate Dean or make him roll over. He would have an arm off the bed, or a leg, or both, apparently only keeping off the floor due to the mysterious magnetic attraction Dean had always had to mattresses. Most of the time, he looked like a sock puppet someone had dropped on the bed from a height.
Sam was walking and alert, his head only twinging now and again by the time Dean had been asleep fifty hours and Sam was finally reduced to a panicked phone call to Bobby for reassurance. Bobby called back after researching over night, and told Sam that sometimes sleep was only sleep. Especially if Dean was feverish, sedated and on morphine. He was nearby doing research, and offered to come to where they were and give Sam a break, but just talking to him made Sam calm down so much he declined. Bobby showed up anyway four hours later, and as their Uncle Bobby, shook hands with Jeffers, threatened to sue Dr. Winters for endangering Sam's recovery, and sat quietly reading People and Dog Fancy magazines from the waiting room, cap pulled low, as both his boys slept under his watchful eye. After he made them bring in a new chair.
They'd checked out after Dean had slept for almost three days and the doctor finally cut out all the sedation and the morphine. Sam and Bobby spent a couple of quality hours waiting while a groggy and bitchy Dean endured a final examination. He almost fell asleep in the wheelchair on the way to the car which worried Sam so much he insisted on driving the Impala behind Bobby's blue truck to South Dakota, loaded with their luggage from the motel and Dean sprawled over most of the front bench seat.
Dean was delighted, once he woke up long enough to drink some coffee, to be in Bobby's yard, and dragged Sam out to work on the Impala, showing him how to checking the spark plugs, change the oil, check the carb, head, and lots of other things Sam had heard of over the years, but had never seen, touched, scraped his knuckles, or burned his fingers on. He couldn't do much one handed, but kept his attention on what Dean was doing, secretly hoping that he would never have to remember what he was learning.
He even had Dean show him some flanges but found them anticlimactic.
After a couple of days, they were sitting on the porch, drinking beer. Dean said, "I saw what you added to the watch."
"Totally in character for you to mess with perfection." He took a long pull on the bottle. "You know, you always use twice the words to say what I can say in, like, one." He belched. "Top that one, bitch."
Sam smiled, gulped air and belched back. "Consider yourself topped."
Dean waited. "Come on, say it back."
"Say what back?"
"You know what. I say bitch and you say…"
Sam gazed innocently back at him. That little brat. "Come on, you owe me. I went back and got the watch."
"I had to cut off its head with a toe nail clipper."
He was sure Sam would have whistled if he dared.
"I puked like eight times."
Sam took a long pull on his beer, gulped air and belched again, looking across the yard.
"You cried. You cried like a teensy little girl, Sam. You wept on me."
He reached over and pushed on both sides of Sam's mouth, making his lips move. "Say it, say it, say it!"
OK, he dared. Sam was humming "Princes of the Universe".
"You, you… ikeike!" he was outraged. "Fucknuckle! You know how this works. I say bitch, you bitch, and you say … Son of a bitch, you were the one who put it on the watch."
Sam opened another beer and handed one to Dean. Bobby came out on the porch, Cheney on his heels, took a beer from Sam, and sat down in his rocking chair. Dean twisted off the cap and flicked it, popping Sam right on his self righteous, superior, honking big nose. Cheney tried to sit on Dean's lap.
Bobby spoke. "How much longer am I going to listen to this?" He drank his beer and glared at them both.
Dean rallied, looked at Sam. "You owe me. I risked my life for that watch. Say it!"
Still nothing. Damnation. He was going to crack this kid.
"Not even for your fiancée? " He simpered. "Do it for me, honey?"
Sam smiled, and he heard a stifled bark of laughter from Bobby.
"Come on Sam, say it." He huffed. "Well if that's the way you want to be about it." Still Sam all innocent faced. "Jerk."
That made Sam smile like a jack-o-lantern with dimples. He looked soulfully at Dean, and said, "Bitch."
Since I borrowed Merisha's watch, I also used a free hand to (steal) mention or gently use stuff from other stories while I was at it, mostly personality quirks and such that intrigued or amused me. In a spirit of fairness however, I stole more than liberally from my other fics too.
Bitch watch – All I Want for Christmas by Merisha
Japanese disembodied floating head – Candle in the Window by Thru Terry's Eyes
Other Japanese demon stuff about which Dean complains – Unforgiven by SupernaturalGeek, Thin Ice of a New Day by Sue Pokorny, and In The Light by Gaelic Spirit. All three are very good fics, Gaelic's brilliant, and all in a freakish coincidence have Japanese supernatural thingies and came out about the same time as Terry's fic. Kyoutendouchi! Amazing!
Don't leave Sam in the hospital by himself – Last Flight Out by Muffy Morrigan
Crying concussed Sam – Renovations by Infinite Shadow