Dedicated to the warm, wonderful, generous, awesome and just plain cool PADavis. I hope you like this!
A/N: Sorry this update took so long. I have been head down in a project! Hopefully that will see fruit here very soon, but since I made you all wait so long, I thought rather than breaking it into two chapters, I'd give you a nice long one! Thank you to TraSan for hand holding! And huge thanks and hugs to PADavis for sending us off on this road!
Book of the Dead
The room was quiet. Sam wondered if his brother was even aware of the silence. Since he'd performed the spell, Puffy had withdrawn. Not all the way, the smoke still eddied just outside the protective circle, but the assault on their small sanctuary had slowed.
"Bye, Sam," Dean said, the air sighing out of his body.
"Dean?" Sam whispered when he felt his brother's muscles relax. "Dean? No, come on." His brother was still breathing, Sam could hear the flopping with each breath. Pink blood was bubbling on Dean's lips. I have to get him out of here. Sam slid from behind him carefully propped Dean up with the cushions.
Sam picked up the book, and opened it to the summoning spell. He stared at it for a long moment, then shook his head. The first spell didn't work, the answer isn't there. Sam turned the page,flipping idly through the book to calm the panic slamming in his chest. He'd always retreated into books when things were rough, and this was really no different. He needed to focus and the book, the words on the page, the weight in his hands, let him do that.
"He's dying," the spirit said suddenly appearing.
"Why didn't your spell work? I thought you said it would."
"I used one in the past that was similar. It worked." Sam paused. "Human sacrifice changes all the rules. Things summoned with that kind of act are different."
"How?" she asked.
"Just different. Darker, more intense, it's hard to explain. The problem is it takes something similar to reverse the spell." Sam sighed.
"What if you sacrifice me?" she said quietly.
"I don't think that will work." Sam walked back over to Dean and sat down.
"The brown horror disappears during the day," she said.
"I know. I can't wait that long." He was idly flipping through the pages again, trying to think of something else to do. The last time, they'd managed to wait it out. But last time Dean's leg was broken. This can't wait. It might have waited too long already. The spirit waited for a minute, then disappeared. Sam wondered if he'd annoyed her somehow.
What's that? He looked down at the page he'd stopped on. It was old, he could tell from the wording and the way the Latin was phrased. Probably translated from an earlier text. It looks a little familiar. The page itself was older than the others in the ancient book. Sam carefully translated the first few words. Not quite sure he had it right, he walked out of the circle, Puffy swirling behind him, to the language section. He'd spotted a Latin dictionary earlier, and he wanted to double check what he'd found.
The first part was easy enough "To dispel all evil." He got that, it was the rest he was unsure of, and when dealing with something full of words that might be a matter of life and death, double checking was always a good thing. Sam set the dictionary beside him and began piecing together the spell. After checking one last time, he set the book down and looked at his translation. I have no choice. I have to get Dean out of here.
Sam began gathering the things he'd need for the ritual. Once he'd assembled the small pile of items, he looked at the book. I don't want to ruin that. He walked out of the circle again. Puffy followed him, wrapping around him as Sam headed to the front of the store. He opened the door to the office and found what he's hoped for—a large pile of Brodart book covers. He grabbed some off the stack and headed back.
Puffy must have sensed something was coming. It swirled around Sam violently. The cold seeped into him, making him ache, making him want to stop and just stay where he was. Okay, it can't hurt me, but it can affect me. Sam sped up and stepped gratefully into the circle. He pulled the backing out of the covers, so he could read through them, then carefully layered them on the book.
He looked at his brother. I need to be able to get Dean out of here, I might not be able to carry him. Sam pulled the blanket off his brother, then shifted Dean onto it, so he could drag his brother out. Once that was done, Sam pulled out the first-aid supplies he was sure he'd need, opening bandages so he wouldn't have to fumble with packaging later. The very last thing he did was place his cell phone carefully on Dean's chest, he didn't want to worry about having to find it when everything was finished.
"I'll make sure I get you out, Dean," he said quietly, letting his hand rest on Dean's forehead for a moment. He needed the contact, he knew what he was about to attempt was risky. He paused, wondering if he should explain what he was going to do. No, Dean might hear me somehow and try and strangle me.
Sam pushed himself up and walked to his pile of supplies. He lit the candles, glanced at the book for the first few lines of Latin and began. Puffy swirled around the circle, the brown smoke sending streaks of black lightening over Sam's head as he walked the perimeter, slowly chanting the spell. He could hear it, now, the keening note of Puffy's voice shrieking in the quiet bookstore. Finally, Sam walked back to the center and picked up Dean's knife. He'd chosen it for luck—and the fact that Dean kept the blade razor sharp. Puffy sensed the end was near, the attack on their sanctuary increased, a small wisp of smoke found its way in. Sam said a few last words and cut deeply into his arm, pulling the blade up from his wrist towards his elbow. Blood spurted out.
The first of the blood hit the floor. There was a huge flash of light, an explosion of sound and Puffy was writhing around Sam. The angry maelstrom wrapped around him, filled him with the mind-numbing cold. There was another explosion of light and sound, Puffy drove him down to the floor. The light again, dark spots were beginning to dance in front of Sam's eyes, he was getting very close to the moment of no return. No, please no, just let me get Dean out of here. The final blast washed over him, when the light cleared, Puffy was gone.
Sam reached out and grabbed the first-aid supplies, placing a wad of bandages over the wound and then twisting an elastic wrap around it. The bandages wouldn't be enough, he knew that, but he had to get Dean out, just in case Puffy could find a way back. Sam grabbed his cell phone off his brother's chest and began dragging Dean across the floor towards the door. He dialed 911 and managed to get the information to the operator. Consciousness was fading fast. The door was suddenly in front of him. Praying the spell had worked, he turned the knob.
The door opened.
Sam pulled Dean onto the top step and dropped down beside his brother. "You made it, Dean," he whispered before putting his hand over the wound in his arm, and letting all his weight rest on it. He heard sirens as the dark finally caught him and pulled him away.
Pain flashed through his body, sounds assaulted him, Sam forced his eyes open. He thought he was in an emergency room. "My brother?" he asked the woman standing beside the bed. Activity was all around him, people pushing, prodding, talking over him, none of it made sense. All he knew was his arm ached with a deep throbbing pain.
"My brother? Dean?" he managed to get out, consciousness was already fading again.
"Brother?" She looked at him with a frown.
"Chest wound," Sam said, trying to look around, desperately seeking any sign of his brother.
"Is there someone we should call?" the woman asked, seemingly ignoring his question.
"Bobby. Number on my phone." The dark at the edge of his vision was beginning to creep in again. "Dean? Please find…" He struggled to get the words out. "Dean…" He let his eyes close. Only for a moment.
The moment must have lasted longer than he thought, one instant it was all sound and frantic activity, the next quiet broken only by the soft hiss of oxygen and the beeping of a heart monitor. There were flashes between the two moments, but real awareness had been fleeting. He did remember in each of those tiny flashes asking about Dean. The last time the answer had come in comforting, gruff tones. "He's okay, Sam." The calm in the voice eased the panic and pain, Sam let himself relax.
A sound beside him pulled Sam to full awareness. Someone had shifted in a chair. "Dean?" Sam said, knowing that was impossible.
"Sam?" Bobby answered him.
"Bobby?" Sam opened his eyes and looked over at the older hunter. "Dean?"
"He's okay," Bobby answered quickly. Too quickly.
"What?" Sam shifted, his arm ached. He looked down, it was swathed in bandages.
"He's okay," Bobby repeated in the exact same tone.
"Bobby, please," he said, fumbling around for the button to raise his head. It was hanging beside the bed. "Can you give me that?" Bobby grabbed the remote and handed it to Sam. "Thanks." He raised the bed and watched Bobby's face for a minute—the older man was showing signs of exhaustion and oh god, no, please no. "Bobby?" Sam's heart was slamming against his ribs, he heard the change in the monitor behind him.
"Is Dean… Is he…" Tears had found their way into his eyes. "Dead?"
"No! God, no," Bobby said.
"Then what?" Sam couldn't draw a breath around the lump in his throat. "How bad?"
"He's in ICU." Bobby paused. "He came through surgery okay, at least they said the surgery was successful. He…" Bobby ran a hand across his face. "He's still out."
"Will he make it?" Sam asked, trying to sound calm. He didn't fool Bobby, the older man laid a hand on his arm.
"Yeah, they said he should."
"Bobby, what is it?"
"He's not doing as well as they think he should be. The doctor gave me a long lecture on the wound, the surgery and recovery time, but what it boiled down to is he's not doing as well as he should."
"I don't know, Sam." Frustration bubbled in Bobby's voice.
"What the hell did you think you were doing trying a spell like that?" It started as a growl and ended in something close to a shout. "Damn it, Sam!" Bobby stood and paced away, standing with his back to Sam.
"I had to get Dean out of there," Sam said quietly.
"So you decided to risk a spell out of the Book of the Dead?" Bobby turned to him.
"Is that where that was from? I thought it looked familiar." The summoning spell, too, I think.
"Do you have any idea what could've happened?"
"Yeah, Bobby, I do." Sam sighed. "It could have backfired and opened a gate."
"It could have killed you."
"It should have killed me, you know that. Human sacrifice requires a similar sacrifice. I cheated."
"Do you know how close it came?" Bobby came back to the bed and dropped into the chair.
"I have a pretty good idea," Sam said, letting his eyes close. "I need to sleep a little longer."
"Yeah, you think?" Bobby snapped, the anger gone from his voice. "I'll go check on Dean again in a minute."
The next time consciousness crept in, the TV was on. Sam opened his eyes, Bobby was asleep in the chair beside him, the television was tuned to a gardening show. Sam listened to the host talking about perky perennials for a moment. A nurse came in as Sam was debating waking Bobby. She checked the monitors, took his blood pressure, looked at the bandage and left.
"The Victory Garden?" Sam asked, eyebrows up.
"Some of the herbs I need I can't just get in the store."
"Sam…" Bobby took a deep breath. "He's not…"
"I need to see him," Sam said.
"I don't think that's a good…"
"I need to see him." What's going on?
"Is he dead?" Sam reached out and grabbed Bobby's arm. "Tell me the truth this time."
"I told you the truth, Sam. He's in ICU."
"I need to see him," Sam said, swinging his legs off the bed. A wave of dizziness washed over him.
"Sam, you can't, you're not that long out of surgery yourself."
"If he's not dead, why can't I see him?" Sam shouted.
"Sam, calm down!" Bobby grabbed. "You have to calm down!"
"Let me go, Bobby!" A nurse ran into the room, Sam was so focused on Bobby that he didn't notice what she'd done until the warmth rushed up his arm. He dropped back onto the bed, the room swimming around him. "Wha's…?" He looked at Bobby.
"You're on suicide watch, you idjit!"
"What?" Sam blinked, the warmth was quickly dispersing through his body.
"You come in with a wound like the one you have, and they think you did it on purpose."
"But I did," Sam smiled, then tried to control his face. It's the drugs, I hope Bobby sees that.
"I know, but not for the reason they think. I tried to explain, but they looked at me like I needed a trip to the psych ward myself."
"I need to see Dean, Bobby," Sam begged. His eyes closed, he tried to open them, but they didn't want to cooperate.
"You sleep, I'll talk to your doctor," Bobby patted his arm, Sam let himself drift off to sleep.
The TV was on when Sam woke up, he could also hear Bobby talking with someone. Maybe the doctor? Sam tried to focus on what the older hunter was saying, but the words just floated across his mind without settling in to make sense. He opened his eyes and tried to swallow. Whatever they'd given him resulted in one of the worst cases of cotton-mouth he'd ever had. "Bobby?"
"Sam?" Bobby answered immediately.
"Can I have some water?"
"Sure." Bobby came in and poured some water out of the pink pitcher sitting on the bedside table.
"Thanks," Sam said, taking a sip and letting it roll around on his tongue before he swallowed. "Dean?"
"He's… He's fading, Sam."
"I need to see him," Sam said, trying to sit up.
"Easy, Sam. I know. I spoke with your doctor, you can go down there."
Five minutes later, Sam was in a wheelchair and Bobby was pushing him towards ICU. The effects of the sedatives were still very much with him, he was far calmer than he knew he should be. He relaxed and watched the corridors go by. Bobby reached Dean's room and pushed the door open.
The calm left Sam in a rush.
Bobby moved the wheelchair to the bed, Sam barely noticed. He was focused on his brother, how small Dean looked in the hospital bed. The sound of the various machines filled Sam's head with a hum that was almost too loud. He couldn't drag his eyes away from the vent, the tube hovering over Dean's body. Oh god. Dean was pale, the freckles standing out on his face, his lashes lost in the dark circles under his eyes.
"Bobby?" his whisper was remarkably loud in the room. Maybe the machines don't make as much noise as I thought.
"He came through surgery okay, but he's fading Sam. The doctors are baffled."
Something was niggling at the back of Sam head. He tried to put his finger on it. "What is it?"
"What?" Bobby asked.
"Could it be… I remember…"
"There was one survivor, injured but didn't die. They eventually died…"
"What are you talking about?"
"The spirit in the bookstore, Dean called him Puffy. Could it be doing something?"
"There is nothing left of it anywhere, after that stunt you pulled, I doubt there is even one slightly pissed off spirit in this part of the state."
"Then something it did before it died?" The image of Puffy violating their sanctuary and swirling over him was suddenly clear in his mind.
"Could be," Bobby said, pausing.
"What?" Sam asked.
"Well, it couldn't hurt. Let me go out to the car, I'll be right back, you stay put."
"Okay." Sam watched the older man walk out of the room, then turned to Dean. "You need to pull yourself out of this, man." He leaned back in the chair, trying to get comfortable, trying to drive away memories that were suddenly crowding in on him. "There is not one hot nurse in this whole hospital, so what're you doing here?" Sam sighed. "Damn it, Dean! You know the problem with ICU? No TV. What do you expect me to do in here all day? Please hang on."
"Got the stuff, you watch the door for a second," Bobby said, coming back into the room. He pushed Sam over to the door. Sam watched the corridor and listened to Bobby's rapid-fire Latin. He caught most of it.
"Was that an exorcism?" Sam asked when Bobby had finished.
"Something like that. There was no change, though," he said, his eyes sad. "I don't know what to do."
"Go get some coffee or something. I'll stay with Dean for awhile, you need a break." Bobby stayed where he was, eyes locked with Sam's. "I won't do anything even a little stupid, Bobby, okay?"
"Okay, the nurse will be in to check on you anyway. I'll be back in a few."
Sam waited until Bobby was gone and started talking. Telling Dean about the nurses, the corridor, the art on the wall that had a bunny eyeing a deer with what seemed to be a predatory look. He talked about the weather, the nurse that came in. Bobby came back and checked on him, bringing a latte with him. Sam sipped it and kept talking. Bobby watched him from the other side of the bed, but was silent, understanding Sam needed to talk. It's helped in the past. Dean told me he's even heard me before.
Sam was getting hoarse. Bobby had left to take a tour of the hallway. The older hunter would pace up and down for a few minutes, then return. Sam was watching his brother slip away, unsure what to do, unsure how to reach him. Puffy's gone. Sam sighed, casting around for something to talk about, some way to reach his brother. Those last moments before Puffy was gone kept playing in his head. Why? Is there something there? Puffy had slammed him to the floor, Dean had been out of sight for a moment. In the past, the thing had driven people insane.
Then it occurred to him.
"Oh my god."
"What?" Bobby asked from the door.
"Puffy, I think…" Sam laid his hand on Dean's arm, squeezing gently. "Dean, it's me…Sam. I'm here, I'm okay. Puffy's gone. You're going to be okay, too. I got you out, everything's fine. Do you hear me? Dean?"
He was swimming in a sea of pain, it seemed like he'd been there forever, from the moment Puffy had first pushed him down the stairs to that last moment with Sam. The pain had been there, ever present, slowly dragging his life away. But that wasn't the worst of it—the worst was slammed into his brain right before he was plunged into a vast dark ocean. His brother had done something that released Puffy, the thing had attacked Dean in those last moments, violating his mind, forcing image upon image into his brain. The last was Sam, gone, lost forever. The picture of his brother, taken by Puffy, stayed with him, even in the dark. Sam? Why? He fought for awhile, but finally the comfortable black called to him and he was slipping further and further away.
Voices moved around him, sometimes loud, sometimes soft, but never really forming words with any meaning. Another voice intruded, he thought it might be Bobby, the gruff tones familiar even there in the dark. Part of him wondered how Bobby was there, the rest didn't care. The voices continued. One became insistent, droning on and on without a break, not letting him sink that last few feet to the bottom. Reminds me of Sam, when he was in a talkative mood when he was about six.
Suddenly there was something else, something warm, a tiny point of warmth in the vast cold, dark place. "Dean, it's me…Sam." The voice that had been droning on and on said. I'm here, I'm okay. Puffy's gone. You're going to be okay, too. I got you out, everything's fine. Do you hear me? Dean?"
Sam. The images Puffy had forced on him were blasted away. Dean listened again, focusing everything he had left. It was Sam, it had to be. Dean relaxed. The dark was suddenly less cold, the depths no longer called to him. He floated, aware of the pain, but even more aware of that spot of warmth. Sam's hand? He drifted, at peace.
"Dean?" Sam's voice intruded into his awareness again. The pain was more pronounced, his body was suddenly fighting against an intruder. "Dean! They're weaning you off the ventilator, it's okay." Sam's voice was sure, calm. "Relax, you know how it works." Dean relaxed, the pain ramped up, consciousness was getting the upper hand. He forced one eye open, then the other, blinking in the light. "Hey," Sam said, his eyes bright with tears.
Dean opened his hand, he was held down by restraints, but Sam caught the movement and closed his hand over Dean's. Hey, Sammy. Dean looked at his brother. Sam had a bruise on the side of his face, but there was something wrong.
"Dean," Bobby said, Dean looked over, Bobby was standing on the other side of the bed. I did hear him. How'd he get here?
"Puffy's gone, Dean," Sam said. Dean turned back to his brother. Something was wrong. That was as far as his brain would process. "Phoebe's happy. She gave us the spell book. Said she didn't want it there anyway."
"I should hope not," Bobby grumbled. Dean rolled his eyes towards Bobby, the older hunter looked a little angry.
Then it hit him. Wheelchair. He looked back over at Sam. His brother was in a wheelchair, his left arm heavily bandaged. Dean frowned. Sam followed his look.
"I got hurt when Puffy died, that's all, Dean, I'm fine," Sam said quickly. Dean could see the lie on his brother's face as clearly as if it had been stamped there in red letters. He frowned. "I'm fine, Dean," Sam said patiently. Lying to me, Sammy. Won't work. Dean's left eye slid closed, he tried to open it again. Sam laughed softly. "Sleep, Dean it's okay." As if in response to his brother's words, Dean's right eye started to close, he was asleep before he was even aware his eye had shut.
The next time he woke, Sam was beside the bed, talking quietly with Bobby. Dean watched them for a few minutes, Sam noticed he was awake and included him in the conversation, but Dean drifted off before he could find out what Bobby had been doing in Eagle Point, Oregon. Dean was in and out for most of the day, once when he woke, it was just Bobby. If I didn't have this damn tube down my throat I'd ask him about Sam. There was something between the two, Dean could sense it, even in his drug fuddled state.
The hours ticked by and finally—about freaking time—it was time to get the vent out. Sam was there, he carefully undid the restraint and took Dean's hand in his, and it was out. They put an oxygen mask over his face. He took a breath, aware of the ache in his chest. It's not flopping anymore, good.
"How do you feel?" Sam asked.
"Great," Dean answered. "Throat hurts. When do we go?"
Sam grinned, the smile didn't quite reach his eyes. "I think they want to keep you here for a day or two more."
"They are going to move you to my room later today," Sam said, then stopped.
"Your room?" Dean said, looking at his brother.
"It just for observation."
"Right." Dean blinked, the room was getting blurry. "We'll talk when I wake up."
"Okay, Dean," Sam said as Dean drifted off into sleep.
When he woke up he was in a different room. The TV was one, tuned to a gardening show. Great viewing there, princess. Dean turned his head, looking for Sam to give voice to the thought, only to discover Bobby was the only other one in the room. Dean looked from the hunter to the TV and back. "Gardening?"
"What?" Bobby looked over and smiled. "Yeah, gardening."
"Right, okay. They have you on happy pills?" Dean shifted, reaching for the button to raise the bed. Bobby handed it to him.
"A few tests," Bobby said, looking everywhere but at him.
"What's wrong with him?" Dean watched Bobby's face.
"He told you, he got hurt when the spirit died." Bobby looked at the wall.
"You need to talk to Sam about it." Bobby met his eye that time. Okay, not getting anymore out of him.
"Is he okay?" Dean figured Bobby would answer that.
"He is now."
"Yeah." Is that supposed to be comforting? "Can we watch something else?"
"Sure." Bobby said, flipping through the channels.
Dean listened to the drone for awhile, drifting in and out, waiting for Sam. His brother finally returned almost an hour later. Dean watched as Sam came into the room. Sam's face was white, there was a tightness around his mouth that meant Sam was in pain.
"Hey," Sam said, letting the attendant help him into bed. He carefully cradles the bandaged arm against his chest, then looked over at Dean with a smile. "What're you watching?"
"Channels?" Sam frowned.
"Bobby's flipping. I won't let him watch gardening." Dean smiled. "Gardening."
"I know." Sam laughed. He closed his eyes. "I smelled dinner while they were bringing me back."
"We better rest up for that." Dean closed his eyes, listening to the TV. He dozed, rousing for dinner, then dropping off again. Bobby left at the end of visiting hours, muttering something about finally getting a good nights sleep. Dean dozed, a nurse came in and checked on them, she spoke with Sam for a moment, patting his hand, then leaving. What was that about? He slept again. Breakfast came at seven, Bobby came at ten, they switched the mask for a canula at noon, they took Dean for a series of tests in the afternoon, the day wound to a close. Dean watched Sam, he caught Sam watching him.
The next morning, the doctor came in and checked on them both. He smiled at Sam. "We're taking you off the watch."
"Thank you," Sam said quietly. He leaned back in the bed and closed his eyes for a moment.
"Watch?" Dean asked.
"Yes." The doctor smiled at them again and left.
"Watch?" Dean repeated looking at Bobby.
"Dean…" Bobby began.
"Suicide watch," Sam said without opening his eyes.
"What?" Dean raised the bed so he could look at his brother. "What was that?"
"It's not what you think," Bobby said.
"I bet it is. What happened to your arm, Sam?" Dean asked, keeping his voice calm.
"Dean, relax." Bobby moved between the beds.
"Sam?" Dean looked at his brother, Sam had his arm cradled against his chest. "What happened?!" Without thinking Dean sat up quickly, pain shot through his side.
"Dean!" Sam shouted.
Dean dropped back on the bed, breathing through the blossoming agony. Shit. He was aware of activity around him, the pressure at the base of his neck meant a shot of morphine. The pain slowly backed off to the dull roar it had been. Dean sighed and opened his eyes. Sam was beside the bed. "Don't let me do that again," Dean said.
"No," Sam said.
"I sent him out for dinner."
"Dinner?" Dean looked around the room, the light coming through the windows had the slant of late afternoon.
"Yeah." Sam sighed. "I'm sorry."
Dean was quiet for a moment, searching his brother's face. Sam had tears at the edges of his eyes. I scared him again. "Yeah, me, too. What happened, Sam?"
"Sam…" he said in the exact same pleading tone.
"I had to get you out of there."
"You could have waited until morning."
"Yeah, I could have, you couldn't, Dean. I'd tried the spell from before," Sam paused.
"I remember, you told me, then told me about the Hokey Pokey," Dean said a little sourly. Sam smiled.
"Yeah, sorry about that. When I was in the basement—the woman who cast the summoning, she…" Sam swallowed, looking sick.
Dean knew that look. "Human sacrifice?"
"A baby," Sam said quietly.
"What did you do?" Dean felt his heart speed up. Sam frowned at the monitor behind his head.
"Calm down, Dean. I'll tell you, but please stay calm."
Oh that is so not good. "Okay, calm. See how calm I am?" Dean leaned back into the pillow, shifting around so he could see his brother's face more clearly.
"I found a spell in the book, Phoebe's book, well our book now," Sam began.
"Okay, still calm."
"I double checked the Latin with a dictionary. It's ours now by the way."
"Okay, checked the Latin." Dean ground his teeth together. None of this is actually keeping me calm. He heard the change in the beeps behind his head. "Go on." Sam sighed, cradling his arm with his right hand. Dean reached out and touched the bandaged limb. "Just tell me, Sam."
"The spell it was from the Book of the Dead…"
"It was from the WHAT?" The last came close to a shout. Pain shot through his body. Dean took a deep breath, waiting for the black spots to clear. "Sam…" he growled.
"It got rid of Puffy, Dean," Sam said, his eyes pleading. "I had to do something."
"Not like that, never like that. No." Dean tried to control the frantic beating of his heart, it made his chest ache with a bone-deep pain. "How bad?" Sam hesitated. "How bad, Sam?"
"It needed blood."
"I bet it needed more than that." Dean looked at Sam, fury pushing the pain away. How dare you risk that? "Sam. Did it?"
"Human sacrifice usually requires human sacrifice, Sam. How bad?"
"Dean, I knew what I was doing." Sam's voice was calm, his face told the lie.
"How bad?" he shouted. Oh, damn mistake. When the black spots and pain cleared away it was night, the curtains were closed on the windows and Sam was back in his bed. He was asleep, his body turned towards Dean. Bobby was in a chair between the beds. "No gardening?" Dean said.
"Not on this late. The muscle car drag races start in half an hour. Visiting hours end in ten minutes. I'm glad you're awake. Sam was worried." The way Bobby said it mean Sam had been frantic.
"How bad was he hurt, Bobby? He told me about the spell."
"It was one hell of a spell, too, Dean. There isn't one whisper of anything remotely evil for miles. I've called a couple of hunters I know. Ghosts they were hunting? Poof. About the same time as that spell."
"How bad?" Dean looked across at Sam, his brother's face was pale, his eyes a little swollen.
Bobby cleared his throat. "He cut his arm pretty bad, it's why he was on suicide watch."
"Bobby?" Dean took a shaky breath. Oh, god, Sam.
"Wrist almost to his elbow."
"Don't be too hard on him, Dean. He had to have been desperate to try that. You were damn near dead when I got here. I haven't told him, but they lost you on the table."
"What?" Sam said quietly.
"By the time you were awake, Sam, it was over," Bobby said defensively.
"How bad?" Sam said, Dean had to smile, his brother sounded a lot like him sometimes. "Oh, god, Dean."
"Bobby's right, it's over, Sam. Get some sleep." Dean closed his eyes, his mind still reeling with what Bobby had told him. He nearly died. He was drifting off, when his brother spoke again.
"He nearly died, Bobby?" Sam's whisper was full of tears.
"Yeah, but he didn't, Sam." Bobby paused. "You didn't either."
"Yeah." Sam was quiet, Dean listened until Sam's breathing evened off into sleep.
The room was full of the smell of bacon, coffee and maple syrup when Dean woke the next morning. I wonder why hospitals smell that way? He opened his eyes, Sam's bed was empty, Bobby was sitting beside Sam's bed, eating. "Is that Sam's breakfast?" Dean asked, raising the bed.
"He didn't want it," Bobby said, looking over with a smile.
"Where is he?"
"Tests. He should be back anytime."
"Okay, do I get breakfast?"
"I think they need to do some stuff first," Bobby said with a smile.
"Stuff" proved to be exhausting. He was hauled off for tests, then told he needed to get out of bed and take a few steps. They were shaky and by the time he'd walked around his bed he was exhausted. Bobby was hovering and Sam watching him with clenched fists. He dropped back into bed with a sigh and was asleep before the nurse left the room.
An urgent need woke him sometime later. He sat up and swung his legs out of bed.
"Where are you going?" Sam asked immediately.
"Bathroom, where do you think?"
"Call the nurse."
"No." Dean stood up, leaning heavily on the bed. Sam was out of his bed and instant later, wrapping his uninjured arm around Dean's waist. "This is stupid."
"Says the guy who slit his wrist." He felt Sam stiffen. Dean opened the door and grabbed the bars. "I'll be right out." Sam was waiting outside the door when he finished. "I can make it." Dean took three steps before his legs gave way. Sam caught him. He always does. Dean leaned against his brother, wrapping and arm over Sam's shoulder. His brother pulled him close with something that sounded like a sob. He nearly died. Dean stayed that way for a long moment. "You try something like that again and your ass is grass, Sammy."
"Yeah, well you have to promise to avoid spikes and scalping."
"You have to admit, scalping was a new one," Dean said, laughing.
"It was," Sam said, his laughter muted by tears. Dean pulled away. Sam smiled at him.
"I need to lay down," Dean said. Sam helped him over to the bed.
"Yeah, things like that can prove fatal." Sam was laughing at him. Dean grinned back and tossed the tissue box at his brother.
"Thanks, Sam," Dean said quietly, looking over and meeting his brother's eyes. All pretense gone.
"You're welcome," Sam answered softly.
"Let's see if we can get Bobby to bring us back some decent food. Then I'm calling Phoebe and setting up a date for when I get out of here." Dean leaned back in his bed.
"Sounds good, Dean."
Dean looked out the window, the sun was shining. Stupid cute town nearly was the death of me. He looked over at his brother, knowing what Sam would risk scared the hell out of him. I'd do the same for him without even thinking about it. Sam turned his eyes from the TV and smiled. He knew, Dean knew. And that's enough. Dean smiled back, then turned to watch the television.
A/N II: Okay, I promised you all PADavis' prompts for this story! She wanted a bookstore, a little tiny bit of hurt Dean, an angsty Sam having to deal with it alone, at least for awhile.