A Fair Exchange

AU ending to Playthings.

Sam saved the little girl from the hotel pool…but now it was his turn.

The second in my AU episode endings, to join 'Your Latest Trick'.

Dedicated to Supernaturalsammy67, who had taken a bit of a liking to a waterlogged Sam after reading my post ELAC fic Aquarium.

She's really not right in the head, that one!

Bless 'er.

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Sam barely hesitated. As soon as he managed to force his way into the pool house he leapt over the railings and into the water. Fighting against the tangled plastic pool cover, he struggled then swam towards the small body floating motionless in the water. His heart was pounding and he prayed he'd get there in time. God knows, if he didn't then another loss of life, especially in one so young, might just kill him. He'd failed enough already.



Sam grabbed the child, her hair swirling round her head, brushing his face, and kicked and fought his way up. He could just about see the concerned faces of his brother and the girl's mother, Susan, before he broke the surface, gasping for air, his lungs burning.

Sam waded across the pool, feeling the water tugging at his legs; almost as though it was trying to slow him down, trying to make sure he failed. But he wasn't having any of that; Sam picked up his pace until he reached the poolside and lifted the child up. Dean and Susan watched in dismay when Tyler remained so still and quiet that Sam panicked, wondering if he was too late after all. But his fears were soon laid to rest when Tyler started choking and gasping, water flooding from her mouth and nose. Sam breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of small childish coughs and pretty soon the girl's eyes opened.

"Tyler? Can you see Maggie anywhere?" Sam asked softly, blinking pool water out of his own eyes.

Tyler frowned then shook her head weakly. "No. I think she's gone…"

The words were barely out of her mouth when Sam was suddenly yanked away from the pool's edge and dragged under. He didn't even have time to cry out for help.

"Sammy!" Dean yelled out. His eyes tracked the water even as he jumped in. Damnit! How did I miss that? The transparent pool cover had snaked its way silently through the water and grabbed his little brother, and was even now holding Sam under, tangled round his limbs. Dean dived to the bottom of the pool and could see his brother's frantic struggles to break free, but the plastic just tightened its grip on him, pinning his arms to his sides, until Sam could barely move. It was stretched taut across his face and Dean panicked when he realised that Sam's small movements were no longer that of someone trying to escape, but were now 

the terrifying convulsions that signalled the body's fight to stay alive was gradually being lost, and the lungs started filling with water.

It was taking too long but finally Dean was there beside his brother, grabbing his plastic wrapped body and dragging him upwards, already tugging on the pool cover. Breaking the surface, Dean mimicked his brother's earlier actions by wading towards the edge, tearing at the plastic that covered Sam's face. It was a struggle but soon Sam's mouth and nose was free and Dean pressed his brother's jaw tightly shut, stooped and breathed down Sam's nose. It was an alternative method of resuscitation when immediate action was required before the casualty was out of the water, and it ensured that no further fluid could get into Sam's lungs.

"Call 911!" Dean yelled out and breathed for his brother again.

"Mommy?" Large tear-filled eyes stared up at Susan as she reached for her cell phone. "Is Sam going to die?"

Susan bit her lip to stop it trembling as she held her daughter close, dialling even as she spoke. "No Hon, his brother's gonna take care of him. He'll be just fine."

I hope to God I'm right!

Dean was now at the side of the pool trying to hoist his brother up and onto the ledge where just seconds ago, or was it minutes? Tyler had been lying motionless in Sam's arms.

Sam's body was still tightly wrapped and tangled in the cover but Dean would worry about that once he got him breathing again. Scrambling out of the water, Dean restarted mouth to mouth.



"Come on Sam. You can beat this!" He pinched off his brother's nose this time, and forced air into Sam's lungs via his mouth, but soon realised that Sam's chest was too restricted by the plastic to gain full benefit; he had to spend several precious seconds trying to untangle the cover, but in the end resorted to grabbing the hunting knife from his ankle holster and cutting the plastic, careful not to knick Sam's skin in the process. He sent a silent apology to Susan for ruining her property, which was strange because he really didn't give a shit.

Once his brother was free he continued resuscitation, noting that Sam's lips had turned a horrifying shade of blue by now. At least he still had a pulse, which meant he stood a chance, even if the dull thump-thump was getting fainter by the second.

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"You'd really do that for me?"

Susan's grandmother stared up at her sister, eyes pleading.

"Yes. If you did I'd let them go." Maggie tilted her head slightly as listening. "But I don't understand. You kept me away for so long. I thought you didn't love me anymore."

Staring into Rose's eyes, Maggie nodded. "Okay. Little sister…."

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"Sammy, come on!"

Another breath.

"Don't you do this to me!"

And another.

"I'm not letting you give up so easy!"

And yet another. Dean was getting desperate now.

"Damnit you little shit, breathe! That's an order Sam!"

And possibly for the first time in his life, Sam actually obeyed. Though he did manage to get the last laugh; he gasped and choked painfully, his back arching under the force as water shot up his windpipe, exploded out of his mouth…and spewed directly into Dean's face.

Dean was still for a moment, grimacing as he blinked away water, water that had just been regurgitated from his brother's lungs no less!

"Well that's just lovely; geeze thanks a lot little bro!"

But Sam still wasn't moving and his breaths came in short shallow pants, as though breathing was painful. Dean peered closely at Sam's face and noted anxiously that although the blue had faded a little from his lips, it still wasn't enough. Sam was still unconscious and struggling to breathe.

Shit! This could be bad. Why isn't he waking up?



His thoughts were put on hold when blaring sirens caught his attention and flashing lights reflected eerily off the water.

EMTs burst through the entrance to the pool house. Seeing Tyler buried in her mother's arms, soaking wet, one of the technicians headed on over and wrapped a blanket round her shivering form. On hearing of the near drowning incident from her mother, the EMT murmured soft words of comfort as he placed a transparent oxygen mask over her child's small face.

But the other paramedic hurried over to Sam and Dean, immediately crouched down and got to work, firing out questions as he checked his patient's breathing, blood pressure, pulse and reflexes.

Dean was on automatic as he answered. "His name's Sam. My brother. He jumped in to pull the little girl out but got tangled up in the pool cover. He stopped breathing and I've been giving mouth to mouth ever since." He paused to watch Sam's face for any sign of life, but apart from the hitched, troubled breathing he was perfectly still.

The EMT cut Sam's shirt open and placed a stethoscope to his chest, listening intently. Dean's heart sank when the guy shook his head worriedly and muttered something about a collapsed lung.

"What?" Dean didn't want to get in his way or ask incessant questions but he was desperate to know if Sam was going to be alright. "He ok?"

The EMT frowned as he started pulling some packages from his med kit. "He's developed air between his left lung and ribcage causing a pneumothorax. I need to re-inflate the lung as soon as possible." He carried on talking and explaining in the hope that constant 

conversation might keep Dean from panicking. "It can happen during a drowning, it weakens the lungs and then there's the resus itself which can cause problems." He glanced up and spoke quickly before guilt could edge its way on to Dean's face. "If you hadn't he would have died. You saved his life."

Dean gave a short sharp nod which turned into a wince when the paramedic made a surgical incision in Sam's chest, then forced a sterile tube inside his body, allowing the build up of air to escape. Once Sam appeared to be stable he was also given oxygen via a mask, and pretty soon both patients were loaded onto the ambulance.

Dean gently grabbed Susan's arm. "Come on. We can follow on behind." They both ran to the Impala and climbed in, then the car roared to life as Dean put his foot down and raced after his little brother.

Susan glanced over at him worriedly. "He's gonna be ok, Dean."

Dean clenched his jaw. He fervently wished they'd never come here; between finding Sam out of his skull on tequila and begging Dean to end his life should he go 'dark side', and now he'd nearly taken care of that issue himself by drowning, earning himself a collapsed lung, and just how was Dean supposed to cope with that, and what if Sam still didn't make it 'cos he decided to give up…..

Throughout all this screaming in his head Dean said nothing, just gave a quick, sharp nod.

Sure he will.

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Dean rubbed his eyes tiredly and leaned back in his seat. Sam had stirred a couple of times in the last twenty four hours but had yet to achieve full consciousness. He was still shockingly pale but his breathing had definitely improved. He was on nasal oxygen by now, although his doctor advised Dean that recovery from a collapsed lung could take anything from a few days to a couple of weeks.

"Guess you aint goin' scooba divin' for a while Sammy." Dean spoke softly as he reached out a hand and cupped Sam's jaw. "Come on little bro. Why won't you wake up for me?"

When he'd asked Sam's doctor the same question, she'd merely smiled reassuringly. "Your brother's just taking some time out; he'll wake up when he's good and ready."

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Sam struggled to open his eyes. He was desperate to wake up now because if he had to listen to any more of his brother's incessant ramblings from what sounded suspiciously like a car magazine, he was going to voluntarily slip into a coma just to get away from it. Right now, he could just be content with telling Dean to shut the fuck up.

His chest felt strange, and when he shifted a little it pulled on something, causing him to groan softly as the discomfort turned into pain. Sam's eyes lids fluttered a little in protest but he eventually got them to stay open, to find his older brother smirking down at him.



"'Bout time you woke up Sammy. I'm bored shitless sittin' here."

"Yeah, well I was bored shitless listening to you droning on about carburettors and spark plugs." Sam sighed gently and winced at the sensation in his chest. "You call me geekboy, but have you listened to yourself?"

"Hey!"Dean sat up in his seat "I am the god of witty repartee."

"Huh, if that's the case then why do I feel like I've just attended a five hour lecture entitled The Future of Head Gaskets?" Sam smirked.

The two of them carried on exchanging affectionate insults for a few more minutes, but Sam wasn't fooled for a second. He could sense his brother's residual fear lurking just under the surface.

"How's Tyler?" Sam suddenly asked during a moment's silence. His sixth sense immediately kicked in when Dean fidgeted briefly, and Sam's eyes widened. "She's alright isn't she?"



"Yeah Sam, she's fine," Dean instantly sought reassure him. "But…Rose passed away. Coroner's report suggested it was another stroke." His eyes locked with Sam's. "They pin pointed the time of death around when you…" Dean glanced down, pursed his lips and made a slight sucking noise at the side of his mouth. "…when I dragged you out of the water. Susan found her after she brought Tyler home from the hospital."

"So does that mean…?" Sam began.

"Yeah Sammy. It's over. Maggie's really gone now." When Sam nodded Dean fell silent for a while.

"Hey Dean," Sam called softly. "Thanks, for pulling me out I mean." He noticed an involuntary shiver run through his older brother and wondered what it meant.

"You nearly died." Dean stated quietly. He turned his head to stare hard at Sam "I couldn't get you breathing again; you were slipping away from me and nothing I did would stop it." He hung his head, hiding his eyes and the tears that threatened to fall.

"Given what Dad told you, maybe that wouldn't have been such a bad thing," whispered Sam, sadly.



Dean's head shot up on hearing that. "What?" Sam flinched at the cold angry tone. Dean got up and paced, his face like thunder. He stopped every so often as if he wanted to say something, but then carried on pacing up and down. Sam wisely kept quiet until Dean finally swung round, stomped over to the bed and loomed threateningly over his brother.

"Dean…"

"Screw you Sam!" Sam stared up at him wide eyed. He'd never seen his big brother so angry, as he leaned down until he was almost nose to nose with him. "And screw Dad!"

Sam blinked.

"Yeah, you heard me." Dean's voice softened, but it didn't lessen the anger or the distinct impression that Sam had just pushed him too far. "Between Dad telling me I might have to kill you, and you begging me to do it, I swear to God this is all starting to burn a hole in my head. And I can't take it Sam, I can't kill you no matter what happens, but I sure as hell can't sit back and watch you die either. So don't ever ask that of me!"

Sam blinked rapidly, trying to hold back the tears that suddenly filled his own eyes.



"Dean, I'm sorry. I didn't see it that way. I've never looked at this whole thing from your corner before." He reached out and gently gripped his brother's shoulder for emphasis, "Dad should never have put this on you, and I was no better, making you promise…I'm so sorry."

Dean tilted forward slightly, resting his forehead against Sam's as he closed his eyes. Somehow he felt relieved though if someone had asked him, he couldn't have said why.

Standing up and stepping back from the bed he gave his brother a half smile. "You 'bout ready to leave Sammy?"

Sam chuckled lightly, a hand crossing his chest protectively. "God yes! I thought you'd never ask!" He shoved back the covers and swung his legs over, whilst Dean gathered his clothes.

"Great! Let's make it fast huh?" When Sam glanced at him, Dean looked decidedly shifty.

"What is it?"

"Uh…our insurance? Weeeellllll…"

"Dean spit it out!"



"It null and void. Apparently they were rather surprised when they met you." Dean started grinning. "You're supposed to be a girl." He grunted when a pillow hit him square in the face.

A few minutes later Sam's now rather bewildered doctor could be seen staring at the empty bed and rumpled sheets, wondering where the hell her patient had got to. Meanwhile, two 'surgeons', dressed in full green scrubs complete with surgical masks, could be seen leaving the hospital via a rear exit. A loud engine rumbled to life, instantly followed by a large black car sweeping past the main building and out onto the road, leaving nothing but a trail of dust in its wake.

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Author's notes:



Hope you enjoyed this little one-shot. Don't hesitate to let me know what you think, but keep in mind that this is an AU. Also please remember that these are not written in any particular order, just as and when the ideas pop into my ludicrous head.

Many thanks for all your kind reviews of Your Latest Trick.

Kind regards,

ST.xxx.