The Longest Weekend – chpt 6 – Monday afternoon... and on.
A/N – This fic has been written by request especially for TraSan. Thank you for asking me to do it, it's been an honor and a privilege. I hope also that when all is said and done you've enjoyed it.
Thanks also to every wonderful reader who's been so kind as to let me know whether or not you've been enjoying this fic too. Your encouragement keeps me going.
"Kid no offense but you sure you oughtta be the one up there? You're not exactly in top form y'know," Alex said grimacing as he watched the teen adjust his position on the tiny platform ledge that held the water tank.
He had one elbow hooked over the lip of the tank itself, that's gotta be pulling those ribs like the dickens... do NOT tell me he's just as stubborn as the old man... worse yet don't tell me Dan was right... sheesh and was working the bolts on the funnel brace so they could solder a patch over the hole while the tank was empty.
"I clean up my own messes thanks," he breathed turning his head just a touch too quickly, setting off a cramp in the middle of the left side of his back that oddly enough took a back seat to the wave of vertigo that made him clutch the tank while his breath caught in his throat.
"Damned stubborn fool kid..." Alex muttered shaking his head, "at least take off the gloves so you can get a grip!"
Not sure that would help, he thought noting the sensation of the blister-ooze soaked gauze as it peeled away from the inside of the hunter's gloves every time he moved his hands. Would be sticky though...eeew, he frowned, "I got it, besides there's only one more to take off before I can get inside and patch 'er up."
"Look it's no problem Dean..." he tried to reason as his heart skipped a beat with the young mans clutch at the rim as his balance wavered.
The teen straightened up and stared him straight in the eyes, "You met my dad?"
"Stubborn bastard ain't he?" He asked with a wry smile.
Again Alex nodded.
"M'little brother's just like him," Dean watched him frown, not knowing where this was going to go, "Me? I'm the reasonable one, but when I screw up, I fix it. You understand?"
Reluctantly the ranger nodded, "Don't you go thinking for one second kid that you don't have your own heaping helping o'stubborn."
I'll take that as a compliment, he shrugged with his free arm and held firmly to the tank as he walked toward the second brace.
"Could just patch it on the outside y'know..." Alex suggested.
"Cold solder won't hold as well against the pressure and temperature changes from the outside."
Inside the cabin Sam smiled at the sound of his big brother bantering with the ranger, but wondered, how's he know he's not up to par? I put the ointment on and wrapped his hands up good... he slid to the kitchen window searching out his big brother on the tank platform. Frowning at the look on the ranger's face Sam shrugged then turned back to stoke the fires.
With those tasks done he returned to the kitchen and sifted through the ice box in the floor wondering what else they might have to eat besides bacon. He'd already been through the pantry and shaken his head in disgust at the freeze dried rations knowing full well they'd both had enough of those to last a lifetime. Even macaroni and cheese was preferable and there was some powdered milk in there too.
Unable to decide he turned back to the living room and folded the bed back into the couch then opened up the bedroom door to let the warmth in.
A woody crack drew his attention and the ranger's shout, "DEAN!" had him reaching for the door just before a painful sounding thud and whump followed by a familiar groan hit his ears.
"Dean!" he called whipping the back door open glad that they'd broken up the ice holding it closed before anything else.
"Dean!?" he skidded out into the daylight, his heart pounding in his throat at the sight of his big brother on his back, the front of his jacket hitching while the ranger knelt beside him.
"Breathe Dean... just try to take a breath... don't move yet..."
"Dean?" Sam slid around to his far side, his face turned down with fear.
"Mmokay Sam..." he croaked. The words seemed to act like a stopper on his lungs though, and as they came out, they made room for him to draw air in.
His right hand clamped onto his little brother's upper arm and patted it. "Just landed flat, knocked the wind outta me," he nodded toward the cabin, "get inside Sam."
"Can you feel your toes?" the teen asked.
"They're cold as hell... I'm fine Sam... get inside or we don't go tomorrow," he gasped then closed his eyes and drew a slow, calm, deep breath.
"What happened?" Sam asked ignoring the older boy.
Alex nodded at the platform, "Top step on the ladder broke," then looked at Dean, "Did you hit your head?"
"Nuh," he shook his head and tried to sit straight up. Biting back a bark of pain he rolled to the right and allowed his little brother to help him to his feet knowing the only way he was gonna get the kid back inside was to walk with him.
"C'mon runt..." Dean allowed Sam to grab him around the waist and hold his arm over his slim shoulders while scrutinizing him, "So help me Sam... if you cop a chill on top of these effing measles I'm gonna make sure dad keeps you out of school for the first week just out of spite!" he hissed.
"You wouldn't..." Sam's head snapped around, his eyes boring into his big brothers.
The fear on the boys' face was not only telling, but also rather confusing for the ranger who would have thought any boy at 13 would be glad to be kept out of school for the first week back after the holidays.
"I won't, I swear... let's just get you inside, we'll both get some dry clothes on you can leave the tank..."
Dean shook his head, "Can't. Dad's rep is on the line you know that."
"Then let me help?" Alex asked holding the door open for two of the most stubborn children he'd ever met. There was something that struck him odd about their relationship, there was more than just the sibling bond and he wondered just how long Dean had been playing both father and brother to the boy. His guts told him it'd been a long time since John's eldest gave any consideration to the idea that he was just a kid too. I'm starting to see why you get so uppity with the guy Dan.
As reluctant as it was the eldest son nodded, "Thanks."
"You guys got it under control?" he asked.
Both boys nodded leaving Alex to return to the tank to smack that patch on the inside while giving them room to tend each other.
Dean glanced around the cabin noting the bedroom door open now, "Get in there and get out of those clothes."
"Why Dean... I had no idea..." Sam jibed.
"Clueless you... now get..." he leaned against the wall, "Toss those sweats over a chair by the stove when you're done, there's a clean pair in the bottom of my bag if you need 'em... and put on that sweat shirt we got you in Florida... and an extra layer of socks." He ordered pushing himself off the wall while Sam grumbled inside the room.
"We're not in freakin' Antarctica!"
"Just do it and don't argue with me!" Dean barked more harshly than he intended to as something in his back snagged, catching his breath in his throat while he moved gingerly into the bathroom closing the door behind him.
Just keep breathing nice and even and shallow... nothing sudden... he told himself gently easing out of the filthy field jacket, blood and mud... the stuff of a hunter's life... or just evidence of yet another of my screw ups? he wondered disheartened.
With his hands on the sink he leaned forward, eye to eye with himself, Long as Sam's getting better the next step is getting dad back together. Just stick it out Dean, you can do this.
Reaching over his head with his right hand didn't hurt so much, but raising his left did, doesn't matter, the shirts aren't dirty... just need a fresh pair of jeans. Still I gotta look. He turned his back to the mirror and raised the shirts up past the deep purple baseball-glove sized bruise immediately to the left of his spine, the outlines of the ribs themselves easily visible now, Mm bruise is bigger, he could still see the darker heart of it where he'd landed on that half rotted bit of tree branch the other night and he wondered if this fall might have cracked those few ribs even further.
"Hey!" Sam pounded on the door, "don't you be dropping any bombs in there dude."
He let the shirts drop, grabbed his jacket and toweled the mud off the back of his head and neck, making sure the scratches hadn't re-opened, then hastily checked the dressing over his belly, easing back the tape to make sure he hadn't torn open the stitches. With a sigh of relief he pressed the dressing back down and stepped out of the bathroom.
"S'all yours princess," he mumbled at the boy before moving into the bedroom.
"You alright?" Sam asked leaning against the wall, watching his big brother's stiff movements, "You're hurt."
Dean shook his head, "Just dented a little... and tired a lot..."
"You sure?" Sam asked, his tone skeptical and bordering on wounded, bringing to mind Dean's long ago promise to never again lie to him about whether he was hurt or not.
Dean sighed and hung his head, his hand inside his bag on the fresh pair of jeans he wanted, "Rib's are bruised a bit, s'just kinda sore y'know?"
Sam nodded stepping into the room, closing the door behind him, "Did you tear your stitches?" he asked moving in front of his brother, reaching for the shirt.
"No you did good...they pulled a little but nothing tore." He assured letting his boy take a look, will you always care like this Sam?
"Are you sure?"
"Positive... you did real good," he smiled kicking off his shoes and sliding out of his jeans.
Dean half smiled sliding into the warm dry pair, "Nope a little bruising, and none of the scratches opened or anything... go get me some aspirin and I'll be fine in no time."
"'Kay..." Sam nodded leaving the room for the first aid kit and their dwindling supply of aspirin.
"I have a little sister... got me wrapped around her little finger I'll tell you... tain't easy," Alex nodded then cocked his head to the side looking from the sleeping teen on the couch to the older boy scoping his cards across the table from him.
Dean glanced smiling at his boy, crashed with his workbook open on his chest, "Yeah but I bet you wouldn't have it any other way either."
"Damned straight... " Alex nodded counting out three pretzel sticks, "I'll see your two and raise you one."
"Call," Dean smiled.
"Two pair, aces over threes," the ranger chuckled.
"Aces takes the pot," Dean grinned dropping his hand to reveal a pair of sevens, "Just be glad we weren't playing for money."
"How many cards do you have up your sleeve son?"
"Enough," he laughed then winced, "Damn... don't make me laugh."
"Should think about some x-rays once we get to the hospital tomorrow," Alex shuffled then held up the deck.
Dean shook his head, "I think we're gonna hit the sack. Just so you know, I sleep with a gun."
"I'll make sure to remember that."
Dean pushed himself out of the chair groaning inside with the stabbing pains from the front and back.
"C'mon Sam... bedtime for bonzo..." Dean dog-eared the page Sam was working on and closed the workbook tucking it under his arm as he shook the boy at the shoulder.
"Mmm," he pushed himself up and let Dean guide him sleepily across the cabin and into the bedroom. Once there he waited while his big brother stooped to pull back the bedding then crawled and flopped onto the squeaky steel spring frame, easily sliding back to sleep with his knees in his chest even as Dean pulled the covers over him.
G'nite runt... just be okay in the morning... Dean frowned easing himself down onto his bed. If he was going to keep his eyes toward the door through the night he was going to have to lay on his left side, son of a bitch... that's gonna hurt... unless... he turned so his head was at the foot of the bed and settled in under the covers. Dean knew that one of his greatest strengths was his ability to get a quick read on folks. He could size people up and get a feel for their character faster and more accurately than most, and every instinct told him that Alex Strickland was a friend. But his sense of certainty was just as dented as his back and the last thing he was willing to do was to put Sam in jeopardy. He'd never forgive himself if anything happened to his boy. Love you Sam. He thought just before exhausted sleep swept him away.
Oh man... that's not good... he shook his head looking deep into the cup, freakin' looks like fruit punch... son of a bitch! Maybe it's a mistake? Maybe it's just... but a look down at himself left him with no real doubt. Son of a bitch... he shook off the pink droplets, tucked himself back inside and washed his hands, fighting a twitchy feeling in his belly. Last time this happened I pee'd pink for three days!
The nurse was waiting for him in the hallway and looked from the cup up into his luminous green eyes, "I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say you've got some blood in your urine..." she smiled sympathetically as he nodded.
"The doctor'll be in shortly with the formal reading."
In the room he moved from the table, to the chair then started looking through the drawers pocketing alcohol wipes, band-aid's, a few pairs of gloves and a handful of single dose aspirin samples. I wish Sam was here... well maybe not... he'd be worried, but on the other hand he'd know what questions to ask. I wonder if dad's come around yet? I should be there with him and Sam... Nurse said he was pretty well sedated. I hope Sam doesn't catch anything while we're here... maybe I shoulda made him stay at the lodge...
"Here we are Mr. Evans..." the doctor slid the door closed and cocked an eyebrow just as Dean was pocketing a handful of sterile gauze pads, "Can I get you a bag for those?" he asked sarcastically.
Dean chuckled and half shrugged, "Bad habit... kind of a pack rat y'know?" but he didn't put them back.
"Anyway, the wound culture from the clawing is on its way to the lab though there's little doubt the most medial one's infected... whoever sewed you up did a good job, I hated to cut the suture to pack the wound... if you can't make it in to get it re-packed tomorrow you'll have to do it yourself." he handed the young man a bottle of packing from the drawer, "GENTLY... fan about eight inches of this into the wound, you'll see how once you pull the old stuff out. There'll be a prescription for antibiotics waiting for you at the pharmacy, take them as ordered until they're all gone. NO stockpiling!" he admonished.
Dean nodded, "Yes sir."
"You're lucky that cat didn't get you any deeper in the neck too."
"Yeah... the claws in the belly were bad enough," he sniffed.
"Alright on to the big problem," doctor Parker, the kindly faced black man flashed a shiny white grin and consulted the chart in his hand. "As you're probably aware you've got a LOT of blood in your urine... I'd like to get you downstairs for what's called an IVP to check the extent of the damage." he looked up, "How old are you again son?"
"Eighteen," he lied easily, "So what's this test consist of?"
"Well, we inject you with some dye then take some x-rays that'll show us if your kidneys are leaking into your body."
"Eeew," he grimaced, "does it take long?"
Dr. Parker shook his head, "Give it about an hour all told, x-ray's not too busy today."
"What caused it? The fractures or the dislocations?" he asked.
"It's hard to say for sure at this point but I'd venture to bet it was the dislocations. You said you landed flat on your back right?"
"You probably snapped that cartilage right off the vertebral facet... and it probably traumatized your kidney."
"How do we fix it?"
Dr. Parker smiled easily, "Let's do the test first then we'll talk options once we know what's going on for sure okay?"
"Is there anyone we can call to come stay with you? Or ..."
"I'm not checking in doc..."
"No no... we just don't like to send patients home alone after a test like this."
"Oh. No... let's just do this and get it over with."
"Where the hell have you been Dean? You've been gone forever!" Sam scolded as his big brother adjusted the roll in his sleeves to hide the band-aid where the IV had gone in.
He smirked weakly, "Sorry runt... I met this hot nurse in the neonatal ward...Mmm." he licked his lips.
"Babies? What were you doing over there?"
"I got turned around and thought it was the babe section... who knew it was a poop and puke factory..." he nodded toward their father, "How's he doing? Has he woken up yet?"
Sam shook his head, "Nuh uh... just a lot of grunting and groaning, Doc said that's a good sign though..."
"Where's Alex?" Dean asked noticing their bags on the floor by the wall.
"He took the cat back up to the lodge," Sam grinned and reached into his pants pocket, "Guess what his buddy Larry brought down?" he jingled the Impala keys in front of his big brother, delighting as his eyes lit up and he snatched them.
"Shhit..." he grimaced grabbing at the door frame and breathing hard.
Sam watched his brother go pale and clutch the door in obvious pain, "What's the matter?" he asked but Dean shook his head.
"C'mon you said you'd tell me later... it's later..."
"Fine..." Dean opened the door, letting his little brother into the bathroom and holding his shirt up so Sam could see the packing in the puncture.
"Eeew dude that's kinda gross... guess I didn't clean it out as good as I thought... sorry Dean."
"S'not your fault... not anyone's fault Sam... it just happened but I might need your help changing the packing until it's all drained out."
He chuckled at the teen's wary expression, "Don't worry I snagged some gloves."
"What's this?" Sam asked tapping the band of white snugged around the older boy's chest.
"S'a rib belt... got a couple fractures, this helps make breathing easier."
"From when you fell?"
Here we go... moment of truth time. "No, that's the dislocations... the fractures came from this branch I tumbled onto when the werewolf attacked."
"You got dislocations too!? I didn't know ribs could dislocate... geez man when were you gonna tell me this stuff?"
"I'm telling you now. Look I didn't want dad to hear okay, unconscious or not, the last thing he needs to worry about is just how bad I effed everything up okay? So you keep this between us... just you and me."
"Effed everything up? You didn't do anything wrong!" Sam protested.
"Fine, whatever... point is dad needs to focus on HIS healing... not worry about..." what kind of crap my incompetence left behind for him to clean up.
"His SON?" Sam asked angrily, "He's gonna know you're not on top of your game."
Dean sighed, "You're probably right... and I'll probably tell him eventually... once he's better. Doc said I'll need about six weeks so there's really no getting around it," oh and let's don't forget that I could be pissing pink for half that time... renal trauma... great. He looked at his little brother wondering just how mad he'd be if he found out on his own rather than having Dean tell him. "But let's just make sure he's okay to handle it first... deal?" He asked watching the care his boy took with swabbing the area around the wound and then replacing the dressing. You got a knack Sam.
"Deal... long as you tell him instead of letting him take you on a hunt or something if you're not healed up."
"Fair enough," Dean nodded reaching into the first aid kit for the thermometer, "Now... open up."
"Awww come ON Dean!"
"You're still flushed and you're still coughing hard enough that it hurts ME..." the glass clinked against the boys' teeth, "Don't bite." He ordered turning the teen by the shoulders and guiding him out to the main room of the kitchenette they'd rented.
"At least we have cable," Dean split the pot of soup between them both then crumbled a handful of crackers into his own before situating himself on his bed while Sam watched, his lips pouting around the thermometer sticking out of them.
"Alright alright Samantha... gimme that thing," he held the rod to the light and sighed.
"101.6. Better but not good, now eat your soup then drink your shot and tuck in."
"What're you gonna do?"
"Find the playboy channel and spank the monkey what do you think I'm gonna do?" he shook his head.
"Was just askin... jeez..." Sam blew on the soup, "Y'know you're a cranky s.o.b. when you're sick."
"Yeah yeah... I'm just getting you ready for when Dad gets released..."
"OH God!" Sam rolled his eyes and flopped back against his pillows, "Are we at pastor Jim's yet?"
One Week Later.
John sat in the car outside of Jim's house, the empty passenger seat left him feeling cold and kinda naked as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out the few sheets of paper Bobby had faxed over to the church office for him.
At first he'd thought it was regarding his own hospital stay there at Miner's End, but when he saw the patient name on the statement of treatment his blood turned icy and his breath came short. He'd had trouble keeping his voice down from Jim's study while he vented his frustration at Bobby.
"You mean to tell me it's not bad enough my kids faced down a werewolf all on their own in the middle of nowhere but one of 'em got busted up enough to get a medical check out? WITHOUT BEING FORCED INTO IT!?" he'd nearly screamed. "Did you read this Bobby? Fractures... three of those, dislocations... where... ah yeah... TWO rib dislocations... and Renal trauma? My kid's been pissing blood and nobody thought to tell me!"
That was two days ago. Two long days he'd held his father's anger inside and watched his boys carefully, making sure neither of them was pushing anything too hard, after all Sam was just getting over a bout of bronchitis that came right alongside of his measles too.
He sighed, the warmth and scent of his firstborn lingering on his jacket while he remembered the first time Dean had tried to keep injuries secret from him. He knew the boy well enough to know he'd only been trying to keep things as easy as possible for John, and he'd engaged his little brother to help keep the secret. His loyalty is always going to be to Dean... even before me... he nodded, "I can live with that."
"If I didn't tell you before Dean? I'm real proud of you son..." he reached over and cupped Sam's face too, "Both of you. You took good care of each other, that's the important thing."
He didn't understand the shock his statement had brought to Sam's face, but there'd be time to think about that later, right now he was satisfied with the look of gratitude on Deans.
He turned his head to look into Jim's front room window and saw Dean staring out at the car. He tucked the paperwork back into his pocket, leaned over and waved with a smile at his boy noting the stiffness of his movement as he raised his hand in return.
"Be back in a couple days... stay safe." Love y'boy.
Slowly he pulled away from the curb rolling toward his next hunt.
I hope you liked.