I didn't mean it…
A series of one-shots where Dean unintentionally hurts his little brother…
Story title: Maybe Later
A/N on the ending: This is what I would like to imagine, so in a sense it's a complete AU...Sadly.
Dean 10, Sam 6.
"Stop it Sam."
"Come on Dean I'm bored."
"I'm busy, go play out in the parking lot on ya own or somethin'."
"M'not allowed. Dad said."
"Yeah well, he aint on the planet right now." John was in fact dead to the world, snoring away on his bed.
"Daddy says it's dangerous to play out there, 'cos of all the cars."
Dean huffed and slammed down the latest issue of Kerrang! – acquired from the top shelf of the local store by virtue of a footstool, some quick thinking and a lot of stealth - to meet the wide, sad eyes of his little brother. Guilt instantly assailed him; he knew he hadn't been paying much attention to the little guy of late, and Sammy was feeling pretty lonely. There weren't many kids round here of Sam's age, not that it mattered. The kid always preferred to hang out with his big brother, following him around like a puppy dog whenever he could.
Still, Sammy had his uses; after all he was real cute and had the local chicks cooing over him. Dean was more than a little too young for most of them but that didn't mean he couldn't practice his boyish charm, and he already had a few phone numbers. Ok, two were offers to babysit and at least one was to pass on to his father, 'just in case...ya know, he feels like some company...' Yeah Dean got the picture alright! Eeeewwww!
"It's a parking lot Sammy, there won't be any cars movin' around 'til everyone gets home from work in a few hours."
"Please Dean?" Sammy held out the large multicoloured ball with both hands, shy smile on a face ever hopeful.
Dean stared at him for a moment, already giving in. "You go on ahead, I'll be out in a minute." He just wanted to finish reading this article on the latest Motorhead tour, then he'd go play catch with the little shit. He watched out the corner of his eye with a fond grin as his little brother bounced gleefully off the bed, landed on the floor with a small thud and immediately set off at a run out the apartment door, a big happy smile on his face. Dean shook his head in amusement.
He liked it here; it was a quiet neighbourhood, a decent school just down the road, and plenty of hot babes for Dean to enjoy. It wouldn't be long before they moved on from here so Dean was determined to make the most of it…
His thoughts were interrupted by a loud squeal of brakes, a sickening thud, and someone screamed. Instinct kicked in and Dean was out the door and running down the sidewalk, out into the parking lot where he skidded to a halt in shock.
Sammy lay unconscious on the tarmac, face up, blood pulsing from a vicious cut above his left eye. The offending vehicle didn't seem to have sustained nearly as much injury as Dean's little brother, though blood-smeared cracks spider-webbed across the windshield. Dean nearly threw up on seeing that; Sam's poor head must have collided with it when he flew up onto the hood….
Dean dropped to his knees, automatically checking for a pulse just like his Dad taught him, ignoring the near-hysterical driver, who was babbling on about a ball bouncing into the road, a small kid coming out of nowhere. Dean wasn't interested in details at this stage.
"Sammy can you hear me? Come on, please wake up kiddo." He was rewarded when two unfocussed eyes blinked slowly open and Sam whimpered in pain. "That's it, just take it easy. No Sammy, don't move!" Large tears filled Sam's eyes and over- spilled to roll down his face as the little boy began shivering under the hot midday sun. "Sorry buddy, didn't mean to yell at you."
Dean shrugged out of his thin button-down shirt and hastily draped it over his brother. He knew the signs of shock when he saw it, and sought to comfort Sam as best he could. He'd already heard someone talking on a cell phone and pretty soon wailing sirens sounded from the bottom of the street.
"I…sssorrry…D…Dean…" Sam whispered, eyes filled with pain. "You in tr…trouble wi…D…Dad?"
Dean smiled, blinking back tears, "no Sammy. I'm not in trouble with Dad." No more than I deserve. "You got nothing to be sorry for kiddo, don't you worry about a thing. You're gonna be ok. I'm gonna take care of ya."
Sammy was fighting hard to stay awake, not wanting to leave his brother, but when a kind voice asked Dean to step back, Sam began to panic.
"D…Dean?" His panic grew worse when something was fastened round his neck and he couldn't move his head, couldn't find his brother. "Dean! I want Dean!"
"Easy there little guy, you're gonna be fine." That same kind voice spoke softly, trying to keep him calm. But only one person could achieve all that.
"No…!" It turned into a raging panic attack that left Sam panting fiercely, unable to catch his breath. He fought back when some kind of plastic thing was forced over his mouth and nose, muffling his voice. "De…"
"Sammy its ok, I'm right here." And suddenly Dean was there beside him again, stroking his hair as Sam stared up at him, eyes wide with fear. "Slow it down or ya gonna pass out like a girl dude."
Sam was still clearly terrified but the panic began to lessen with Dean there. He felt himself being lifted…then someone was tightening straps across his body, tying him down and Sammy panicked all over again.
"Dean…can't move," he virtually squeaked out.
"You're not supposed to move Sammy, you're hurt and they need to keep you still until you get to the hospital." Dean kept up the smile and pretence that everything was ok, though in truth he had no idea just how badly Sam was injured. He hoped and prayed it was just superficial cuts and bruises, but with the way their luck was going it was anybody's guess. "Just stay cool little dude; these guys are tryin' to help you. Ok? Ya with me?"
Frightened eyes locked with his and Sam just about managed a nod around the neck brace, his breathing now much easier. Dean ruffled his hair playfully and kept talking to him, keeping up the cheery attitude, and trying not to break down and cry. Sam looked so tiny strapped to the gurney, the oxygen mask way too big for his little face.
Dean felt guilty as hell, knew he was responsible for this, knew he was in the shit. If he'd just gone outside and played catch when Sam had wanted, he would have been there to prevent his little brother getting hurt.
Once in the ambulance, the EMT carefully bathed the cut on Sam's head, wiping away the blood to reveal a nasty laceration that to Dean's expert eye was going to need stitches. His heart clenched, knowing he'd be forever responsible for Sam's first stitches, but at least it wasn't likely to scar, not with how quickly skin that young could heal.
Sam flinched under the EMT's ministrations and Dean gave his hand a comforting squeeze.
"Keep your eyes on me Sammy and it won't hurt so much." And like magic it worked. Dean always wondered about that.
When his brother started blinking rapidly Dean knew something was wrong. "Sammy stay awake, Sam?"
With a soft whimper, Sam's eyes rolled back in his head and the EMT started urgently checking his blood pressure, pulse, breathing and temperature, then set up an IV in the kid's arm to counter the shock.
Dean was frantic when Sam didn't respond to his voice and was on his feet shouting at him to wake up. Strong arms went round him, forcing him to sit and calm down, and it took Dean a few seconds to realise it was the same EMT.
"It's ok, he just passed out that's all. Poor kid's a little overwhelmed, but he's stable, vital signs are good, and there doesn't seem to be any signs of a concussion, which is pretty lucky given how hard he hit his head…."
Dean stopped listening after the 'vital signs are good' part but he was pretty sure the medic was rambling away, probably quoting an entire medical journal at him, but he didn't care.
On arrival at the hospital, Dean followed his brother into the trauma room, still holding tightly on to his hand.
"Son? Is there somebody we can call? We need to contact your parents." A tall, pretty nurse with short dark hair and hazel eyes smiled softly, and Dean could almost hear the aw isn't that cute, looking after his little brother like that. Realising that he'd forgotten all about his Dad during the chaos, Dean decided to play on her sympathies a little.
"Uh, it's just us and our Dad. Mom died when Sammy was just a baby," Dean stared sadly at the floor. "I was only four." Sam wasn't the only one with puppy dog eyes in the family, and the pretty nurse sucked in a harsh breath when a set of beautiful tear-laden green eyes turned her way. "Could you call my dad? He was asleep in his room when Sammy got hit by that car. He had to work late last night. I was supposed to be lookin' after Sam for just a couple hours. Guess he won't let me do that no more." The mournful gaze returned to floor, tears finally sliding down his face.
He neglected to mention that said work didn't involved pulling beers at the local bar, but consisted of hunting down a particularly nasty witch and making sure she never cursed anyone again, though Dean's already rather cynical young mind was beginning to wonder about that.
The nurse cupped his jaw and gently turned his head to face him, thumb wiping the tears away. "It's ok honey. Your daddy won't be mad, he'll just be glad you're both safe and sound."
She really was very pretty and Dean didn't even mind her talking down to him like he was a five year old. And besides, when she bent over him like that, he could see right down her…
A small whimper from the gurney distracted his train of thought.
"Sam is gonna be ok, right?" Dean looked over at his little brother with genuine concern now. Sammy was beginning to stir right in the middle of having his stitches and Dean could see trouble brewing very quickly if he didn't make his presence known.
"Hey Sammy, how ya feelin' dude?" Dean asked gently, relieved to see that any lasting residual panic was gradually fading as soon as Sam clapped eyes on him.
"Dean, where are we?" Sam asked anxiously, in that loud exaggerated whisper children often used, mistakenly thinking no one can hear them, and that their secret is safe if they whisper just so.
"Uh, we're in the hospital. Remember Sam? You got hurt and now these guys are gonna fix you right up."
The two nurses grinned at each other and even the doctor that now entered the cubicle smothered a small smile. These boys were just too cute, the older brother looking after the younger one, keeping him calm and tolerating his fears.
"Ok Sam, we're gonna take you for a scan and x-ray." The doctor saw Dean's worried expression and hurriedly explained, not wanting to cause anymore distress. "It's standard procedure after a road traffic collision, especially in someone as young as Sam. We just want to make sure everything's ticking over nicely." This guy was talking to him like an adult and Dean respected that. The doctor glanced at Sam's notes and turned away.
The pretty nurse returned and smiled at Dean. "Your father's on his way, he won't be long."
"Was he mad?" Dean asked cautiously.
"No honey just worried. You're brother's gonna be a while, why don't you come with me and we'll go get you something to drink?"
Dean's worried eyes followed the gurney as it was wheeled from the room; Sam had been antsy at the idea of Dean not being there, but Dean soon convinced him it was ok and that he'd come find him as soon as he'd spoken to their Dad.
He only hoped Sammy remained calm for just long enough, because when his little brother lost his temper the whole damn world knew about it.
For some weird reason, that reminded Dean of someone...
John's imposing figure strode through the door of the ER, shouting loud enough for Dean to hear him clear through the glass of the office. The pretty nurse had let him sit there quietly nursing his soda for the time being, but now he was on his feet, nervously making his way out to face the music. He had no excuses, it was his fault, and now his father was mad as hell.
His father stopped and turned. Any anger John was feeling soon drained away at the sight of his oldest son, pale and virtually swaying on his feet with exhaustion. Scrubbing a hand over his face, John gently grasped Dean's arm and led him back into the office, closing the door quietly behind them.
"Dean what happened exactly?"
Dean took a shuddering breath as the events of the last few hours caught up, and a bad case of verbal diarrhoea hit him. The words poured uncontrollably from his mouth and John soon realised his son was in delayed shocked.
"I'm sorry s'my fault all my fault I sent Sammy out to play with his ball in the parking lot thought it would be safe an' I told him I'd be out ina minute and he got hurt dad 'cos of me he got hurt…" Dean gasped for air amidst a panic attack as full realisation hit him for the first time.
"Easy there son." John hooked his foot round a chair, dragging it close and forcing Dean to sit. "Just calm down."
He pushed Dean's head between his knees and instructed him to take slow deep breaths; Dean vaguely realised he'd said almost the exact same things to his little brother not so long ago, and for some reason it helped him get back some semblance of control.
"Ok now kid? Feelin' better?" At Dean's hesitant nod John let him up again. "Come on, we'll talk about this later. Let's go see how Sammy's doin'."
He smiled at the worried look on Dean's face.
Oh you'd better believe we're talkin' about this later!
"Hey there son." John smiled softly when Sammy opened sleepy eyes to gaze up at him, and he stroked his fingers soothingly through the kid's soft hair. "How's the head?"
"S'ok. M'tired." Sam blinked slowly, then glanced around the room, frowning slightly. "Where's Dean?"
"I'm right here Sam." A very subdued Dean popped up, leaning over their father's shoulder. Sam sniffed, grimacing at the irritation just beneath his nose. When he tried to remove whatever was causing it, John gently slapped his hand away.
"Leave that tube in for now. You need it." He couldn't help but grin when Sam pouted at him. "Just until morning, then we can take you home."
Sam's eyes widened with sorrow. "Can't we go home now Daddy? Puleeease?"
"Nope. Doctor's orders." John replied, a little amused at his youngest son's determination, and he smoothed the blankets down. "They take noggin injuries pretty seriously round here, not to mention those are some nasty bruises on your body." But then hitting the grill hard enough to knock you up and over into the windshield will do that. "You're lucky it wasn't any worse. Just get some sleep Champ, and it'll be morning before you know it."
Sam nodded and reached out for his brother's hand, but Dean turned away from him without another word and silently left the room. Sammy sniffed again and his bottom lip began to tremble, eyes filling with tears.
"Daddy? Does Dean hate me?"
"No of course not Sammy," his father replied, keeping up that soothing action with Sam's hair. "He's just tired and little upset right now, but not with you."
"S'not his fault Daddy, I dropped the ball and ran out in fronta the car...din see it. He told me he'd be there soon but I...I...I'm sorry Dad." Sam finished on a tired whisper.
"Don't you worry 'bout that now. I'm just glad you're safe kiddo." But we're gonna have a serious talk about road safety real soon.
John stayed a little while longer, talking to Sam quietly until the poor kid finally gave into exhaustion, eyes slipping shut and sleep claiming him.
John sat back for a moment, wondering just how he was going to handle this one. The last thing he wanted was a yelling match, either here or at home, and frankly any punishment or guilt trips he could lay on his oldest boy couldn't be anywhere near as bad as what Dean was doing to himself right now. In fact, the kid was being a darn sight harder than John would have been.
John could only imagine what was going through Dean's mind. He'd let his guard down once before and Sam had nearly died when a shtriga attacked him. John had been pretty hard on him back then, even meant to apologise for it, but time just moved on and the moment sort of slipped away.
But not this time. Sure, Dean should have kept a better eye on what his brother was doing, but that didn't excuse John's responsibility in all this. It was a hell of a lot to put on a ten year old kid's shoulders, and maybe Dean wasn't ready for it...
...no, that wasn't fair. Dean was more than ready and more than willing; the kid would give his life for Sam.
The question John needed to ask himself was should a ten year old be ready?
Dean should have been entitled to sit reading his magazine in peace, should have been allowed to go have fun without his brother once in a while. He was growing up fast and needed his space.
John shook his head in despair. The life they led was just far too complicated, but he couldn't stop now. Theirs was no ordinary family, with no ordinary family history and things had to be different for them.
But he needed to talk to Dean, let him know he was doing a good job. And not because of the guilt clearly stamped on Dean's face for the entire world to see...
... but because of the quiet words from the EMT that brought Sam in, and the nurses, the doctor...all had taken the time to speak to John and praise him for raising such a fine boy.
John's heart was about bursting with pride. Dean had taken such good care of his injured little brother, keeping him safe, warm and secure waiting for the ambulance, staying light hearted and reassuring Sammy at all times during the Emergency Room treatment.
And now the kid was killing himself over the guilt.
And that just wasn't right!
"We need to talk dude."
Dean nodded but didn't look up from his intense scrutiny of the floor outside Sam's room. John could tell he'd been crying again but made nothing of it, just sat in the chair next to his oldest son and joined him in the floor examination.
"Clean place huh? Better than that last hospital we were at." John tutted. "You could almost see the MRSA and C.diff crawlin' up the walls."
He sensed another hesitant nod, disappointed but not surprised at the lack of a verbal response. Time to take the initiative.
"I'm prouda you boy." John said quietly, and heard the swift intake of breath. "You did good with Sam, everyone here said so. Damn shame I have to hear it from strangers to acknowledge it though, but that aint your fault kid."
Dean turned to face him with what? written across his face.
John chuckled sadly. "Yeah ya gonna tell me you screwed up, but I shoulda been there too." He rolled his head towards his astonished son. "But it turned out ok, and if it's any consolation, Sammy's in there blamin' himself. For gettin' you in trouble."
"But I shoulda been there Dad..."
"Now hold on son, lookin' after a kid of Sam's age aint no easy job, and even the very best of parents make mistakes, have close calls. Just like this one." John smiled at the uneasy expression on Dean's face. "We just have to learn by it. That's all we can do at the end of the day." His own expression turned serious. "Me included."
Dean stared at him for along moment, not knowing what to say.
"Now get in there, 'cos knowin' that brother of yours? He'll be awake soon enough askin' for ya. You ever know Sammy to sleep the whole night through?" John's smile returned. "That kid worships you ya know. And I can see why."
Dean bowed his head for a moment before slowly getting to his feet. "Thanks Dad."
John just nodded and watched his oldest son go make peace with his brother.
You're more than welcome kid.
Hope you enjoyed it and please let me know if you did. Any ideas for further one shots to this new series are welcome; all I would ask is of you is not to include season4 since I haven't seen any yet, and am desperately trying to stay spoiler free.
Those waiting on the promised conclusion to Consequences (The epileptic Sam story) I do apologize; the chapter is pretty much finished but due to a cock up in the emails from work last night...I won't go into it. It's too complicated. Hope to have it sorted soon. But many thanks for all your support.