This one is, once more, to blame on Isis. This time she didn't toss a plot bunny my way but downright demanded that I write this scene, for the simple reason that she always wanted to know what exactly happened before we see the Winchesters in their car at the end of "Devil's Trap". And because I have a weak will and no life, I said yes and wrote this.
Hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Supernatural. Eric Kripke, The CW and Warner Brothers have all the honours. I simply play in their sandbox for a little while.
For Just A Few Moments
There was so much blood everywhere.
No matter where Sam looked, all he could see was blood, and if he closed his eyes he could still smell it, taste its sharp metallic tang on his tongue. It made him sick, made him want to close his eyes and just run away, run until he could no longer see, smell or taste the blood. Until he was safe.
A low moan tore Sam out of his momentary stupor. His father was shifting on the floor, hands on his leg – even more blood seeping out of the wound, the bullet wound that Sam had put there. And seeing that was all it took.
The demon was gone. It had vanished in a cloud of smoke just seconds earlier, leaving behind nothing but pain and blood. But for now it didn't matter that the bastard had gotten away. For now all that mattered was that Sam had to try and save what it had left behind. The demon would pay, but that payback would have to wait until Sam knew that his family was safe.
In two big steps, he was kneeling by his father's side, a hand on his shoulder.
John had his eyes screwed shut, but upon hearing his son's voice he opened them. Sam couldn't help but flinch back, the memory of yellow irises staring back at him from his father's face still so fresh, too fresh and painful.
John's voice was hoarse and couldn't hide the pain he was in.
"Yes, I'm here. It's gone, the demon's gone. We need to get you to a hospital."
John nodded, jaw clenched against the pain as he struggled to get into a sitting position. Sam flinched at his father's pain as if he was feeling it himself, knowing that he had caused it. He had shot his own father. The thought didn't want to go into his brain. He had shot his father in the leg, had tried to save his brother by shooting their father.
"Help me get up."
Sam shook his head and reached for John's arm, pulling him into a standing position. Those thoughts had to wait until later. John was heavy, and he was leaning heavily on Sam's shoulder for support, his right leg useless for putting any weight on it. Sam gave his father a few seconds to compose himself, then he tried to wrap John's right arm over his shoulder. Much to his surprise, John shook it off.
"Dad, I have to get you to the car."
John shook his head. "I'll manage. Go help your brother."
"Go help Dean!"
The answer came automatically, an instinctive reaction to that particular tone of voice, but he didn't immediately turn away from his father. John couldn't stand on his injured leg, and Sam had no idea how he intended to walk out of the cabin and to the car. He got his answer when he saw John reach for a nearby chair and use the back as a makeshift crutch as he hobbled over towards the door. Sam's instinct was to step over and stop this. His father was still bleeding, and this way he wasn't moving forward fast. It would be so much quicker if John allowed Sam to help him, to support him out to the car.
But John Winchester had always done things his own way, and Sam knew that what was driving his father now was fierce determination and stubbornness. If necessary, John Winchester would crawl to the car.
John stopped suddenly and looked over his shoulder.
Sam nodded, and tore his eyes away from his father's retreating form. He had been given an order, and that order was to go and help Dean.
Sam wanted to, he really did. He wanted to go over to Dean and get him out into the car and to a hospital as fast as humanly possible, but he was scared. Dean was just lying there, unmoving against the wall. He hadn't moved for the past minute or two, not since he had pleaded Sam desperately not to shoot their father. Sam could still hear Dean's voice in his head, the raw emotions his brother never showed otherwise, as he begged his brother not to shoot their father.
Because Sam had been ready to. He had been ready and willing to shoot their father to end the crusade to avenge their mother. John had begged him to do it. It had been his brother's pleas, Dean's desperate begging that had stopped Sam from pulling the trigger. Because Dean never asked, he never pleaded. Not like this. So the one time that he did, the words touched Sam in his core and moved his finger from the trigger. If he made that shot, Dean would never forgive him. And while Sam didn't know if he could live with himself after shooting his father, he knew for a fact that he wouldn't be able to live with something Dean couldn't forgive him for.
And despite the fact that his steps never faltered, despite the fact that he didn't slow down on his way over towards his brother's fallen form, Sam didn't want to kneel down beside Dean, stretch out his hand and reach for a pulse.
Because he was deadly afraid that his fingers wouldn't find a heartbeat. He was scared like he had never been before that he had hesitated too long, that not shooting the demon had cost them the few precious minutes that would have saved Dean's life.
There was so much blood. Too much blood. It saturated Dean's shirt, seeping out from the deep gashes on his chest, it had run out of his mouth, was all over his face and hands. Sam's heart was doing double takes in his chest, his mind sending out frantic prayers to whatever deity might be listening to save his brother's life.
Because he didn't know what to do if Dean was dead.
Dean had a pulse. His heart was still beating, he was still breathing, and Sam wanted to cry in relief. Dean was still hanging on, and Sam needed to get him to a hospital, and fast.
"Dean? Come on dude, wake up."
Sam gently slapped Dean's cheek, but there was no reaction. Sam forced himself to breathe, his mind running through his options. He needed to get Dean out and into the car, and that as quickly as possible. Instinctively, he wanted to carry Dean, lift him up and get him out into the car as quickly and carefully as possible. But the black spots dancing around the edge of his vision spoke volumes about his own failing strength. Sam was barely hanging on himself, driven only by fear and desperation. It was enough to keep him going, but it wasn't enough to carry Dean.
And with his brother's chest and stomach slashed open by the fucking demon who got a kick out of ruining the Winchester family, there was no way in hell Sam could carry his brother out in a fireman's carry.
Only one thing left to do.
Sam drew a breath, and forced the fear and panic back into the dark corner of his mind from where they had exploded earlier. He needed to focus on Dean now.
Carefully, Sam crouched down behind Dean and reached through under his brother's arms. Crossing his hands over Dean's chest, Sam straightened up and started dragging Dean towards the door. The shirt under his hands was wet with blood, he could feel it flowing between his interlaced fingers and pressed down even harder.
Dean was heavy, and dragging him like probably jarred his injuries even further, but Sam couldn't think of another way right now. Were their situations reversed, Sam was sure that Dean would figure out a safe and comfortable way to transport Sam without making his injuries even worse, but Sam couldn't. He couldn't, he was simply the little brother who was tapping into his last reserves in an effort to save his brother. If this was the weight Dean was bearing the whole time, Sam gained new respect for his brother with every second that passed. He had been responsible for saving Dean for just a few moments, and already it was overtaxing him. How Dean had dealt with that pressure for a whole lifetime, he had no idea.
Dean's boots were dragging over the dirty and dust-covered floor of the cabin, the sound etching itself into Sam's mind with frightening intensity because it was the only sound in the stillness. That and the sound of Sam's own rapid breathing were the only things cutting through the horrible silence. The only sound Dean was making. His breathing was too flat and still to be heard, and no sound escaped his lips even though Sam's grip around his chest had to be hurting him even further. But Dean was unconscious, his head lolling forward like that of a rag doll.
Sam didn't remember ever being this scared before.
Not when facing down spirits, ghosts, creatures or demons. The fear for his brother was rooted deeper than any primal fear for his own life that he had ever felt before, and his sluggish and exhausted body didn't move fast enough, couldn't move any faster than the lumbering gait with which he was dragging his brother out of the cabin and towards the car.
He couldn't lose him.
He couldn't lose Dean.
Not here, not now, not like this.
It was cold outside, but Sam barely noticed as he dragged Dean over the threshold – boots skipping over the front steps, his brother's legs limp as his boots skidded over the steps. The car was only parked a short distance away, but it could as well have been a mile for all the strength Sam still had. It was only sheer force of will that kept him going, that and the knowledge that if he stopped now, if he stopped walking now, Dean would die. And with his brother's life in his hands, literally, there was nothing that could stop Sam.
Dean's boots were leaving two nearly parallel tracks in the ground outside, grooves that marked their slow and laborious progress towards the car.
But Sam couldn't give up.
He didn't know where the strength came from, which reserves he was tapping into, but it didn't matter either. All that mattered was getting to the car. Now.
Looking over his shoulder, Sam saw his father standing at the passenger side door of the Impala, leaning heavily against the car. The chair he had dragged along as a makeshift crutch was lying discarded on the ground a few feet away from him. Sam only caught a glimpse before he focused on Dean again, but that moment had been enough to see that John had staunched the bleeding on his leg with his belt.
It must have hurt like hell, but John Winchester was experienced in field triage. They all were. Their whole cursed lives had been nothing but a screwed up lesson in field triage and battle plans. A war fought in hundreds of battles, not a life.
As Sam got closer to the car, his father opened the back door on the passenger side. The car stood with the driver's side close to Sam, and he immediately understood that his father wanted him to pass Dean through, so that John could pull Dean onto the back seat by his shoulders. He also immediately knew that this solution wouldn't do. Not this way. He shook his head and started dragging Dean around the car to the passenger side where their father was standing.
John looked at him with a frown.
"What are you doing, Sam?"
Sam just shook his head, too exhausted an too focused on Dean to answer. If his father didn't understand what this was about, then no amount of explaining would make him understand. But Sam instinctively knew that he'd only be able to let go of Dean if he made sure that he'd still be able to see him. There was no other choice but to put him into the car so that Sam could watch him in the rear-view mirror. Dean's head had to be on the driver's side of the car. Anything else just wouldn't do.
And Sam didn't care that his father didn't understand, or that he was watching him with that disapproving frown on his face that he seemed to have reserved only for Sam. He didn't care because this was about Dean and him, and that was something their father had never understood.
So he didn't answer, and he left John standing leaning against the passenger side door, watching as Sam crawled into the back seat himself, dragging his brother along after him.
There were times when being 6'4'' had its advantages. Trying to put your unconscious and limp brother onto the back seat of a car certainly wasn't one of them. But if there was one thing Sam had inherited from their father then it was an extraordinary amount of will and thick-headedness. If he wanted Dean on the back seat, he was going to put Dean on the back seat. And he didn't care if he pulled a muscle, bumped his head or made a total ass of himself as he did so.
The seats were going to get bloody.
Sam didn't know where that thought came from, but as he arranged Dean's body on the back seat, leaning him against the door to accommodate his brother's bulk, he realized that there was no way this whole ordeal wasn't going to leave blood stains on the seats. Dean was going to freak if he saw that. Sam had to make sure that he cleaned the car out good as soon as their father and Dean were in the hospital and on their way to recovery.
Dean's head had slid down, lolling against his chest, and Sam reached out and carefully, almost tenderly, pushed his brother back into a more stable position.
"It's going to be all right, Dean. I'll get you to the hospital now, they'll fix you up in no time. Just hold on, okay?"
There was no reaction to his voice, and after a second Sam withdrew his hand form where it rested against his brother's cheek and climbed back out of the car.
Their father was still leaning against the passenger door, watching Sam's progress from eyes narrowed with pain.
Sam wanted to ask him if he needed help, but caught himself at the last second. John Winchester would never answer that question with a positive, even if he was unable to do something on his own. Instead Sam silently closed the back door, then went over to his father and opened the passenger door.
"Come on, let's get you inside. Dean is in pretty bad shape, we shouldn't lose any time."
John nodded, and with that assessment allowed Sam to wrap an arm around his waist and take the weight off his right leg as he climbed into the car. Sam didn't miss the pained grimace and the groan of pain as John sat down and pulled his injured leg into the car.
But when John looked at him, Sam could read what was going through his father's head. Not relief that they were all alive. Not worry for Dean. All that was there, Sam was sure of it. But the only thing he saw in his father's eyes was disappointment.
Disappointment that Sam hadn't taken the shot. That Sam hadn't killed the demon once and for all, no matter if that meant killing his father along with it. But Sam didn't want to think about that now. It didn't matter now.
They still had the Colt, they still had one bullet left. They had found the demon once before, and that meant they were going to find it again.
It didn't matter.
Right now, all that mattered was Dean.
So Sam wordlessly closed the door once his father was in the car, hurried around the hood and slid in behind the wheel.
The next town, the next hospital was just a bit more than fifteen minutes away. Less if he hurried.
That was all that mattered right now.
Thanks for reading. As always, please let me know what you think. Thanks a lot.