Ocean Breathes Salty
The title is from the Modest Mouse song "Ocean Breathes Salty"
He's cold; a freezing, bone-chilling cold. A headache is brimming in his left temple, throbbing painfully to the beat of his pulse. He can hear the ocean and the crashing of waves rolling onto the shore.
"Sam! Wake up Sam! SAM!" Someone is calling his name. He winces, wanting to tell them to stop yelling. Whoever it is, they are hurting his ears and making his headache worse.
"Sam!" Okay, it sounds like Dean. It has to be Dean. A panicked Dean.
He tries to tell Dean that he's okay, tries to open his eyes to ease the desperation coating his brother's voice but Sam's tongue isn't working and his brain isn't connecting.
The next thing Sam knows is that he's on lying on his back on a hard surface. He manages to open his eyes for a brief second to see that he's hooked to many different wires and tubes. Someone is wiping the crook of his arm with something wet and cold.
Dean. Where's Dean?
A man wearing hospital scrubs looms over him and places a surgical mask over Sam's mouth and nose. Sam tries to yank his head away but he's too weak and the mask clamps onto his face. His hand instantly reaches to yank the mask off but a strong hand grips his arm and brings it back down to his side.
What's going on? Why am I wearing this?
"Its just oxygen." The man says as if reading Sam's thoughts. Sam's eyelids are threatening to close but he keeps them focused as the man injects something into the IV bag that Sam assumes he's connected to.
"Just relax." He says and Sam is left alone, staring at the ceiling, white washed and cracked.
Things are blurry and he can hear the ocean again, the calling of gulls overhead. It's relaxing and Sam is content to let his mind drift along with the surface of the water.
Then, someone is saying his name again and again.
"Sam. Open your eyes. Sam." But this time it's a woman's voice telling him to wake up and not Dean's.
No I'm sleeping. You don't understand how tired I am.
He can feel his body trembling involuntary. And his head. His head aches to the point where it's almost unbearable.
"I'll get him more blankets. He's still cold." The woman's voice is somewhere above him and it's gentle, almost soothing. "This should stop his shivering."
He feels instant heat as something warm is draped over him and he is sinking into a sea of dark, murky water.
Sam opens his eyes a crack.
My head hurts. He attempts to say except his voice isn't working. He tries again but can only muster enough vocal strength to say "…head…hurts…"
His eyelids are heavy and feel as if they weigh one hundred pounds more than he can manage to lift. There are so many people around him, and curtains. He's no longer alone.
But where's Dean? Where's my brother?
Then, the medicine connects from the tubing into his arm and he's falling asleep again. His eyelids win the battle to stay closed and he sinks deeper and deeper until he knows nothing.
Time moves, but he doesn't care.
"How's your head?" A voice is bringing him back from blissful oblivion. He fights it, not ready to surface. Right now, he's more than happy to stay submerged in this dark, warm cocoon.
But someone is jostling his arm and it kind of hurts.
"Any nausea, Sam?" The voice asks but this time it's more persistent and Sam thinks he might have been asked the question already once before. He thinks about this for a moment.
No. Oh wait…
Someone is tilting him to his side just as his stomach decides to empty itself. His throat burns as hands turn him back as he finishes. He's so so so tired and his eyes won't open even though someone is tapping his hand with great consistence.
"Sam? Open your eyes, Sam. Sam?"
He feels fingers pull back his eyelids but he remains unseeing and he drifts once again.
"Sam, I'm lifting your bed up slowly." There's that woman's voice again. Sam feels the surface that he's laying on, crank upward.
Sam manages to shake his head. Just a little.
No. Wait. No that was a lie. Oh shit.
He's throwing up again and he feels a comforting hand run through his hair. He vaguely recognizes it as Dean's gruff touch but the all to familiar pull of medication trails up his arm and he's down again.
Sam opens his eyes. He feels okay. His head feels better as things clear.
Where am I? Oh yeah, a hospital. What happened? How long have I been here? Am I okay? Is Dean okay?
The room is bright but by tilting his head slightly to the right, Sam can see the light is coming from the window across the room. The longer that he stares, the more his head starts to hurt again. It's probably the light but he isn't sure. The room feels stuffy, like he can't get enough air.
There is a curtain next to his bed, separating him from someone else. A neighbor. Sam lets his eyes drift shut, listening to his and his neighbor's heart monitors. They sync up every once and awhile. He wonders which one is his.
"Sam! Are you awake, buddy?" The voice is familiar and that pulls him from his sleep. It's the soothing voice. The woman's. He lets his eyes open and is greeted by the face of a younger looking doctor with blond hair tied in a messy ponytail.
"I'm Dr. Blaney. It's good to see your finally back with us." She smiles taking the clipboard next to Sam's bed and scribbling a few things down on the paper. "How are you feeling?"
"…I'm okay." Sam says, but his voice doesn't sound very convincing, even to his own ears.
She adjusts his bed higher so that he's practically in a seated position.
"Where's my brother, doc?" He asks. She looks at him and frowns.
"You come back to join the living and your first concern is your brother?"
The answer isn't straight and that worries Sam. He pushes himself up, his heart monitor beeping wildly at the sudden movement.
"...Is he okay?" Sam's head hurts.
"Yes, Sam. He's fine." Dr. Blaney smiles, gently pressing Sam back by his shoulder. "I'll go get him."
She leaves the cubicle and Sam feels relief wash over him as well as tiredness. I'll only rest for a minute…just one minute… His eyelids are drooping and his heavy head lulls to the side without his consent.
"Sammy!" That makes his eyes snap open. It's Dean, following Dr. Blaney into the area. "Oh thank god."
Dean leans over and pulls Sam forward into a hug. For a moment, Sam is stunned. It must have been pretty bad if it warrants a hug from Dean. He wants to say something but is too tired to do anything but let his head drop onto Dean's shoulder and close his eyes.
Dean is warm and solid.
It's such a comfort that he relaxes in Dean's embrace and would have toppled forward if Dean hadn't been propping him upright.
He must have drifted off because suddenly Dean pulls away and Sam snaps back into a hazy awareness. He swears that he sees tears in Dean's eyes but he's so tired that it's a miracle that he can keep his eyes even open so maybe his mind is just playing tricks on him.
"Did you just fall asleep on me, narcolepsy boy?" Dean's smile is wide. Dr. Blaney scoots a chair towards Dean and Dean pulls it next to Sam's beside before sitting in it.
Dean looks like hell. Purple circles underneath his eyes and mussed hair. He probably hasn't gotten much sleep.
"How long have I been out?" Sam asks. His words feel almost as fuzzy as his head.
"A little over a week." Dean says. Dr. Blaney goes to the other side of Sam's bed and starts checking his vitals.
"You hit your head pretty hard, Sammy. Earned yourself fifteen stitches and you broke your arm and they had to bring you right into the OR when you got here. Can't ever do anything simple huh kid" Dean says and reaches over to ruffle Sam's hair.
"When can we leave Dean?"
"How about when you can stay awake for longer than a couple minutes." Dean replies. Sam slowly nods but when he does, he finds that was a mistake, as he has no energy to bring his head back up.
Dean always teased him about being a lightweight when it came to painkillers but damn, it was the total truth and Sam notices that his words are starting to slur.
"Where are we?"
"Nebraska." Dean's voice is far away.
"The ocean?" Sam mumbles.
"Nope. No ocean even close to here Sammy. But I tell ya what, as soon as you get better we'll head to Florida and you can soak up all the sun you want."
"...sounds..nice..." Sam says and it does. He imagines himself lying on the sandy beach, the warmth of the sun tickling his bare shoulders.
But he's in a hospital bed and the only sun is coming from beneath the closed blinds of the window. The only warmth is the heated blankets that keep getting rotated every once in awhile.
Sam's bed is lowered to being almost completely flat and Dr. Blaney lifts his head and slips another pillow underneath. His heart monitor is constant, a gentle beeping. He can sense Dean's presence and feels taken care of.
His eyes flutter shut and he faintly hears the ocean and the call of the gulls before the waves crash over him and he's completely gone.
As always, let me know what you thought :D