A/N: This story was very hard to write, and much harder to post and share. The events in this story are based largely after what happened to myself on December 30th of 2008. It was frightening, it was a shock to myself and my family, and the repercussions aren't as easily dealt with as they are here.
But I wanted to try and explain what it really felt like to have a seizure. So I've tried. And for the record, if you feel that Dean is OOC in this, there's a REASON I've chosen Dean for his part in this. Because I'm a smart-ass, over-confident pain-in-the-ass too. And this is what it did to me.
The hunt was brutal, the creature was foul, but it was dead, and the house was clear.
Something burned on his arm, and he raised it up, watching as some of the creature's blood slid into the scratch across his forearm. He had a headache, he realized suddenly.
That was the last thing Dean remembered.
The flashing of the red lights brightened up the night sky. The houses nearby had lights on, and people were standing around, watching silently as the paramedics hurried inside with a stretcher.
Sam wasn't paying any of them attention. His focus was on Dean.
He remembered seeing Dean raise his arm, remembered seeing something shining for just a moment. Then Dean had let his arm drop, turned to walk away, and began shaking even as he fell.
The paramedics were there with him now, trying to get a response out of Dean. Dean was still trembling, eyes open but unfocused, mouth open as he panted. Blood was dripping down his face from where he'd hit the floor. They wouldn't get a response out of his brother, not with their gentle words and careful taps.
Not when Sam hadn't been able to reach him, hands gripping and digging tightly into Dean's shoulders to hold him still, shouting Dean's name over and over until his voice was hoarse.
The usual questions had been asked. What happened. Was Dean allergic to anything. Had he ever had a seizure before. How long had he been unconscious.
Sam answered as best he could, his lips feeling numb. They'd witnessed a seizure before, him and Dean, someone else while they were on a hunt. Some civilian who'd had a history of having seizures, had been all right afterwards. Civilian. Someone Sam didn't even remember or particularly care about.
"Sir?" one of the paramedics called, and it took a moment for Sam to realize they were calling him, not Dean. "We're moving your brother to the nearest hospital; if you're uncertain of where it is, you're more than welcome to follow us-"
"No," Sam croaked, pushing himself up from the floor. Dean was being lifted carefully onto the stretcher, his eyes blinking slowly. "I'm coming with him."
The paramedic looked sympathetic but firm. "There's not enough room in the ambulance. I promise we'll keep an eye on him, and the likelihood of him having another seizure before we reach the hospital is slim to-"
"I can be small," and he was pleading and he knew it, but Dean was so silent and still. "Please, I know...I know I'm tall, but I won't get in the way. I...he's my brother. Please."
And Sam could be firm sometimes too, and any other day, the paramedic's firmness wouldn't have stood a chance against Sam, but at that point, the only firmness Sam had were the bones in his body, and even they felt like crumbling. He felt like he'd continue back down to the floor, where he'd knelt over Dean, trying to get him to focus, trying to get Dean to respond, to come back.
The paramedic gazed at Sam for what seemed forever, and two seconds later nodded. "Then come with me; we'll get you there."
"I think he's coming around," was called out at the same time, and that was the incentive Sam needed to force his bones and muscles together and get him outside to Dean. He didn't even see the porch or the flashing lights or the people standing and silently staring.
Dean was shaking and trembling and jerking up, but it wasn't as wild as it had been, and Sam realized Dean was trying to sit up. His eyes were roaming everywhere, more focused than before. "Dean, hey, it's okay," Sam said, sliding in between two paramedics as they attempted to calm Dean down. "I'm right here, okay? Just lay back down, it's okay."
Dean's eyes slid over to him for a moment, and they still looked too glassy, too unfocused. He did settle down slightly, however, enough for the paramedics to strap him in as they lifted him into the ambulance.
Ache. Headache. Cold. Lights flashing, eyes wanting to roll up and if they do he knows they won't stop, slide right back into his brain and keep rolling, and his head will follow and-
Moving. Disconnected jostling, sound of metal scraping and clinking, and then airborne. Flashing lights disappearing, fading into the dark. Unfamiliar faces, stomach's rolling-
Familiar face. Loved face. Faded and dull and fuzzy around the edges like everything else, but he's there.
Sam pulled himself up with the paramedics and the stretcher and Dean, taking a seat on the bench. His back was pressing hard against something unforgiving, his foot was stepped on twice, and his own elbows were digging heavily into his sides.
Sam didn't even notice. He reached out and took Dean's hand in his, and closed his eyes briefly, at last, when he felt Dean grip back.
The doors shut with a quiet sort of bang, and the lights inside the ambulance came on. They looked like Christmas lights, mute but warm as they glowed.
"Okay honey, we're going to put the IV in now, okay?" one of the female paramedics said softly. Her smile wasn't too bright, just right in the glow in the ambulance. She had the IV in her gloved fingertips, and Sam decided to wait until the last minute to let go of Dean's hand. He wasn't going to get in the way, but he wasn't letting go of-
Sam turned in surprise. Dean's eyes were closed, but the voice had been all his big brother's.
The paramedic paused, her face one of such confusion that Sam almost smiled. "Um...you sure?" she asked again.
Dean's eyes stayed shut, but he spoke again, just as quiet as before. "No."
"He's fine," one of the other paramedics said. A piece of gauze was in his hands, and he was pressing it to the cut on Dean's face. "This is actually good that he's responding so soon from the seizure."
How anything could be good right then, Sam didn't know. But Dean had responded, and his brother's voice was going a long way to soothing Sam's rattled nerves.
Still greatly rattled nerves. But unless Sam could go back and make sure whatever had been the cause of the seizure wasn't there, so this nightmare hadn't even happened, then Sam was just going to be rattled. He was surprised he wasn't shaking himself yet.
The ambulance slowed to a halt, and before Sam realized what that meant, the back doors were being opened, and the paramedics were hopping out. Reluctantly Sam released Dean's hand, letting them pull his brother from the ambulance. Outside the ambulance, Sam could see a darkened night sky, dark asphalt, and bright lights coming from the right.
Then he was following Dean out of the ambulance and into the hospital.
Bright. Bright but fuzzy, faded out. Sensation of moving, smooth but bumpy. Wheels, being wheeled down through the brightness. Voices echoing above, sounding mechanical. Many people passing in front, many people talking.
Slowing to a stop. Turning to the left, through wooden doors, down another bright passageway. Turning left again, through a cloth curtain, into a dark space.
Muted voices, saying and speaking things, but there's no understanding. Underwater, voices are bleary and distant and faded. Faces peering in, can only stare back. Feel heavy and disconnected and unfocused. Everything's blurry.
But he's here. Bringing something soft over, laying it down. Not as cold.
Eyes close. Bright out fades to black out.
Sam leaned back in his seat, blearily rubbing at his eyes. The room was private without being too restrictive, open without having to hear everything in the hallway, and dim enough to see but not go blind. There were computer locked containers around the walls, supplied with everything and anything they could possibly need. A computer was placed into another wall, and the entire room was clean without being too sterile.
It was the worst place Sam had ever been in.
They'd been there for an hour, so far. Dean had been awake, or at least had his eyes open, as they'd come in. He hadn't responded to anyone though, but the nurses had all said that was to be expected, and had also said it was actually encouraging, in a way. If he could open and shut his eyes, they were at a plus.
When Dean's blank eyed stare and stillness was a good thing...god.
Nurses had come and gone. Dean had closed his eyes again. Sam wasn't entirely sure when. The entire night was starting to feel like one big blur.
Dean had been left in his jeans, but they'd removed his top shirts and put him in a gown in order to attach monitors. His bed had been tilted upright slightly to leave him leaning back and sitting up at the same time. A hefty blanket on top of Dean only helped add to the image of Dean being small and fragile in the bed. And that was not how Sam wanted to envision his larger-than-life big brother.
It was only because Sam's eyes were glued to Dean that he noticed his brother open his eyes. "Dean?" he called softly, pushing himself up out of his chair and over towards the bed.
The door was slid open, the curtain brushed aside, and the sweet blonde nurse came back in. "Is he waking up?" she asked at Sam's moved position. "Try and talk with him, see how he responds."
Like Sam wouldn't have been doing that anyways. Dean was blinking slowly, but he seemed to be taking in the room around him. "Hey man, you with me?" Sam asked, smiling as best he could.
And Sam's smile broadened when Dean spoke quietly and answered. "Yeah, Sammy. M'here."
Soft, barely there voice, with a heavy slur on the words, but it was Dean and Sam was Sammy again and the world was finally tilting back from its sharp, unwanted turn. "How're you feeling?" the nurse asked, and Sam finally glanced at her long enough to see her ID tag. 'Hannah' was printed in bright red and bold lettering underneath a smiling photo.
Hannah stepped over to the other side of Dean and offered him a friendly smile. "Do you remember what happened?" she asked. Dean parted his lips and breathed in, paused, then breathed out, before giving the barest of nods. "That's good, really good. We've got you set up in the hospital for right now, just going through the checklist, making sure everything's coming out okay across the board, all right? If you need anything, let me know."
Dean gave another bare nod, lips still slightly parted to breathe. Sam gave Hannah a weak smile as she headed to the computer. He'd never been able to stand hospitals or the nurses that inhabited them, but she was helping Dean, and through that, she was also helping Sam.
When he felt a tap on his shoulder and Hannah pointed to the chair she'd brought over for him to sit in, Sam could've cried from gratitude. "Thank you," he said, and his voice, thankfully, came out strong and sure.
She gave a wink and a nod and headed for the sliding door. "I'll be right back," she promised before she left.
Sam took a grateful seat beside Dean and reached out for his brother's hand. Dean continued keeping his gaze straight ahead, but his eyes darted down to the joined hands, then back up. The grasp back was weak and tentative, but it was still there.
Dean was still there.
Lights weren't as fuzzy now, thank god. Things were clearing up, though everything still looked a little dim. He felt woozy. Shaky. And suddenly, nauseous.
Trembling hand was raised to his mouth fast, but Sam was there, and a small baggish container appeared right underneath his chin. "You're okay. I promise."
Blonde hair attached to a warm, smiling face returned. "He doing okay?"
The nausea faded to the background, but didn't disappear completely. "Think so," he said dully. Everything still felt off kilter, like he was sitting on the edge of a canyon and one wrong move would put him back under. He kept his eyes focused straight ahead, not even daring to move his head. Just kept still.
Burning itch, a tug in his forehead, trying to pull his eyes up towards the ceiling, and he shut them briefly to fight the urge. If he gave in, it'd all fade back out again. He'd lose control and disappear.
He opened his eyes again when he felt he could fight it well enough on his own. Kept his eyes straight ahead, though. No need to rock the boat.
Warm hand in his kept him anchored. He dared a glance to the side, just to see Sam again. Sam immediately offered him a smile, tired but heartfelt. He turned his gaze back to the bluish bag and the plastic opening.
"No more basins?" Sam asked, and he almost felt his lips move up. Read his mind.
"Not for us anymore," Blonde replied. "New, fancy-dancy bags that can be tossed. Personally, they've got my vote just on that alone."
This time his lips did quirk up. Good answer.
"Sherry'll be here in a minute to move your brother down," Hannah said. "The doctor's ordered a CT scan."
Sam frowned but nodded. "To see if anything's going on with...the seizure?"
"Mainly, actually, to make sure your brother didn't fracture his skull," she replied, moving to the door. "He fell and hit the floor pretty hard, from what I heard."
As if the wound on Dean's face wasn't proof enough of that, but Sam still appreciated her gentle response that wasn't condescending. Couldn't be more than twenty-four or five in age, but she wasn't being overly perky or motherly.
Sam could've kissed her Croc-covered feet for that alone.
Dean shifted uncomfortably on the bed, and Sam immediately turned back, using the piece of gauze Hannah had given him to wipe away the blood sliding down Dean's face. If it would close on its own, Hannah said they'd let it. Otherwise, they'd have to stitch it up.
God knew they stitched each other up enough on their own, but for some reason...Sam didn't think either of them could handle stitches on top of this. Not tonight.
A quick rap on the door was heard before it slid open to reveal another nurse, presumably Sherry. She was older with frizzy brown hair, but still gave an easy smile when both Sam and Dean looked her way. She pulled in with her another stretcher, and began locking down the side posts even as she pulled it up beside Dean's bed. "Just a quick CT," she promised. "It'll only take a few minutes to do, and then I'll bring you right back to your brother."
Dean merely nodded, but his fingers clutched the blue bag hard. "I just need him on the stretcher," Sherry said, eyes on Sam. Sam immediately came around to help, and Dean's fingers released their death grip when he realized it.
These women deserved an award for best nurses of all time. Ever.
"Just slide on over," Sherry coaxed. "Easy as pie."
"Oh god, don't remind me about food," Hannah said from the computer. "I haven't eaten in hours, and pie sounds delicious."
Sam let himself smile only when Dean's lips slid upwards. "It does," Dean replied softly, and Hannah gave a pleased grin.
Sam pushed himself up against the empty stretcher, arm reaching past it for Dean. Dean's hand wrapped around his, still trembling, but feeling ten times stronger already. It took a couple of moves, but in a matter of minutes Dean was on the new stretcher, and Sam was helping him lay down to the full recline. Even before Dean's head rested on the pillow, Sherry had a blanket covering him, and the trembling began to decrease once more.
Pies. For both of them. "We'll be right back," Sherry said, once the wheels were unlocked and the sides were back up.
Sam wasn't honestly sure who she was talking to, but he had a suspicion that it was both of them.
Hannah slid the door shut behind Sherry and turned to Sam. "Honey, you need to sit before you fall over," she said, but there was sympathy in her no-nonsense gaze. "Do you want a coffee or something to eat? Cafeteria's not far, and it's not half bad."
Sam shook his head and let himself flop onto the side of Dean's bed, his head in his hands. The tears sprang up, unbidden, and he shut his eyes against them. They continued to flow, hot and unyielding, and his shoulders began to shake.
A gentle hand rested on his back, and when he opened his eyes, his blurred, wet vision could still make out the tissue offered in front of him. "We figured you'd need a little time alone," Hannah said softly. "But he'll be okay, sweetie, I promise."
Sam took the tissue and dried his eyes, took deep breaths, then turned to Hannah. "Have you seen someone have a seizure?" he asked, his voice sounding wrecked.
"Multiple times, all for various reasons," she replied. "Your brother's coming back fast, so he'll probably be released in a couple of hours."
Coming back fast. If this was coming back fast, and Sam slammed the thought to a stop before it could form. "He's barely moved his head or spoken," he said. "Is that...typical?"
The nod from Hannah was both a relief and a disappointment at the same time. "Think of your brain as a computer. When a seizure hits, your brain goes offline, shuts down. Crashes. So afterwards, you need to reboot your brain, bring it back online slowly." When she saw his face, she gave a grimacing smile. "Right now, Dean knows who you are, knows his relation to you, knows who he is, and knows where he is. Even knows what happened. These are good things. He'll start speaking more and moving around more as his brain settles down. I promise. It's just...a nasty shock to the system."
"Anything I can do to help him come back 'online' faster?" Sam couldn't help but ask. Anything to get Dean from being so quiet, so still, so un-Dean-like.
Hannah gave him a smile. "You've been doing it. Trust me."
The nurse wasn't a huge talker type. Her name-tag said 'Sherry'. She looked like a Sherry. No matter how you spelled the name, Sherrys were generally sweet, not obnoxious people. Which was good.
Sherry rolled him to a stop outside of a blank door, same color as the rest of the wall. The door was shut, and Sherry leaned back against it and waited. The hallway was fairly well lit; not as dim now. Not as cold, either; the blanket helped.
The door opened, and Sherry pushed herself away and pushed him into a softer room. More blue colors, not as brown. Stopped right up against another bed in the center of the room, attached to something larger. He kept his eyes and head stationary, blanket and bag clutched between his fingers. One was smooth, one was a little scratchy.
The metal railing next to him slid away, and through the clear wall (glass it was glass) in front of him, he could see other people talking and moving. "We just need you to scoot over again." Sherry. He liked her.
Scooting over to the right again, same as before, but no Sam. The move was faster, less shorter movements in between, and the sitting up from the flat position made him lurch and gag a little. Shook and trembled, trying to breathe, trying not to have to use the bag he had under his chin. Just like Sam had put it.
Finally made it to the other bed. Laying down again was easier, though the pillow wasn't as soft. Stomach still rumbled, but he focused his gaze up. The blanket was gone, leaving his other hand bereft.
He felt himself moving, sliding slowly slowly into a dark space with a laser light above him. He closed his eyes, ignored the humming. Focused on being able to leave the locked in space. Getting back to Sam.
Didn't remember being taken out or set back on the stretcher, but when he refocused, he got his wish, and he was back with Sam again.
Dean had been gone a little longer than Sam had anticipated, so he'd taken the time to call Bobby. He hadn't even finished explaining before Bobby had said, calmly gruff and capable, "Bring yourselves here. You're not that far out. Can you drive it?"
Sam began to answer, then stopped, realization hitting and causing his head to drop. "The car. I left the car back at the house. I-I came in the ambulance-"
"I'll pick it up, meet you boys at the hospital," Bobby answered instantly.
"I'd rather come to you, though," Sam had said, and his throat had tightened up, clogging up the way for the sensible words and voice to come out. All it had let out instead was a cross between a sob and a plea and the words, "I need to take him home. He needs...he needs to go to a home. I want to take him home."
"Then you bring him here," Bobby had said, and if his voice had softened, neither had said anything. "I'll bring the car to the hospital, we'll go back for my truck, and you'll follow me to my place. We'll get him here, and we'll get you here, Sam." He'd paused before they'd ended the call and said, "'Preciate the call in advance, but you don't have to in order to come here, you know. Never do with home."
Sam had wound up needing another tissue from Hannah. He didn't know how with it Dean was, but if Dean wasn't up to playing big brother, then by god Sam would. Which meant no red eyes. No tears. Nothing but strength and support and a smile that said I'm worried and I'm here and I love you all in one.
That was all Dean needed to see.
He was waiting back in the room when Dean returned from the CT scan, looking out of it again. He did blink and glance over at Sam, and Sam gave him a quick grin. "Hannah says we should be able to get you out of here in an hour or so."
"Good," Dean murmured. Despite his voice slurring, he sat up slowly on his own, and began sliding back from the stretcher onto his bed. When he reached a hand out, though, Sam had him, pulling him carefully back to his bed.
Sherry left with the stretcher, and Hannah was there again. "How're you feeling now? Any less nauseous?" she asked Dean. Dean though about it for a moment, then gave a tiny nod. "That's good. There's a few blood tests we want to do, if that's okay with you."
"No," Dean said, breathing picking up. "No, not...no."
"Perfectly fine," Hannah said without missing a beat. "I'll let the doctor know. It may be awhile before we get you released, so you're free to try and sleep until then. If you need anything, you let me know."
"Thank you," Sam said, and tried to put all of his gratitude into his voice. Dean's breathing was slowing back down to normal again, and his eyes were fluttering shut. Sam pulled the blanket up a little higher, just because.
Hannah slid the door back and smiled. "Not a problem, sweetie. It's what I signed up to do. And let your brother know, when he's more with it, that he's missing out on a hot nurse."
Even drifting off, Dean's lips still turned up into a smile. Hannah gave Sam a knowing grin and wink, then turned and left.
Sam let himself smile briefly, shifting in the plastic chair to try and find a comfortable spot. From the looks of it, Dean was already out of it. The more he slept, the better he'd probably be for it.
So they waited.
Waking up different times was still blurry. Not as bad, though. The door slid open and shut a few times, and voices were soft enough to send him drifting back to sleep. Not peaceful enough to really sleep, though. From the words still being spoken around him, he'd slept only minutes, maybe even seconds.
Within him, the itch to roll his eyes back had faded, and was now digging into his nerves and body. Agitation. He wanted to leave. Nothing was comfortable anymore, and he wanted to move, wanted to stop laying still. Anything to just leave, no more waiting, but too tired to move himself.
The door slid open again, and this time it was a bright white coat. Doctor. He roused himself at that, pushing up to try and look with it. Anything to leave.
The doctor shook Sam's hand and gave a friendly grin. "I've had a look at the CT scan, and there's no breaks or damages that we can see. You might want to check in with a neurologist for follow-up as to further tests and such, but otherwise than that, you guys are clear."
"Thank you," he managed to say, and the doctor nodded once before checking with Blonde. Hot blonde nurse; she was right.
The doctor left, and Blonde tip-tapped away on something. Keyboard, computer. Fancy. "Doctor's heading out to sign paperwork, and after I get that back, you guys can leave. Should be only a few minutes at most."
Door slid open again, even as he tried to sit up. "Sir, there's someone here asking for you," a man asked. Dark clothes, cop. Oh god.
"Thank you, I'll be right there," Sam said, and he didn't sound worried. He'd leave it to him, then. Sam had it together. Cop left, and Sam turned to Blonde. "Can he take the blanket and pillow with him? It's a bit of a car drive back."
"Not a problem," Blonde said. She was nice, pretty sweet. He tried to sit up again, and this time, a hand at his back helped him up. "I'll get you guys an extra one to bring with you. Sherry'll be here in a minute with the wheelchair."
Moving. That meant they were heading out. Leaving. He breathed in deeply, trying to throw off the agitation for just a little bit. Blonde tip-tapped away some more, and Sam stood. His eyes darted over to his brother, and Sam smiled. Probably had smiled more today than in the last year. "I'll be right back Dean, okay? I promise."
"I'll be here," Blonde assured him, and he nodded faintly. Sam left, and Blonde tip-tapped away some more. "Just close your eyes for a little bit sweetie; you'll be out of here before you know it."
The security guard was waiting outside the room, and led Sam down to the lobby, where Bobby was standing. "Car's up front; was easy enough to find," Bobby said, and Sam let his smile wobble just a little. He was tired, his nerves were shot: it was totally allowed.
"Thank you," he managed to get out, and Bobby clapped a hand on his shoulder. "He's talking better, responding more, but-"
"He'll be out of it for awhile still," Bobby said. "Trust me. I've seen this before."
Seen...? Sam's eyes widened. "That thing we were hunting?"
Bobby nodded. "Creature's got toxic blood; if it gets in your system, it'll wreak havoc with your brain."
Dean's arm. Sam shut his eyes tightly. "They didn't find a scratch on his arm," he said, focusing on breathing. In, out. In, out. Dean would be fine.
And they were never hunting another thing like this again. Ever.
"Heals up too fast," Bobby said. Then, gentler, "He'll be fine, Sam. We'll get him home, get him to lay down. He'll be weak for a few days, and back to being a pain in our asses before we know it."
Sam huffed a laugh at that. "Go get your brother," Bobby urged softly, and Sam nodded, opened his eyes, and turned back into the hospital to do just that.
Dean looked even more coherent than before, thank god. His eyes were shut when Sam walked in, but by the time the door was slid shut, they were open, and they were a little glassy, mostly lucid.
Sam could work with that.
The wheelchair was sitting and waiting, and Sherry was still in the room, talking pleasantly with Hannah. Sam stepped by them both to get to Dean, whose head still stayed forward, but his eyes slid up to Sam's and held. "You ready to leave?" Sam asked.
"Yeah," Dean said, voice soft but slightly more solid. "More than ready, Sammy."
Most words he'd strung together so far. And he'd gotten another Sammy on top of couldn't ask for more than that. Sam took in another deep breath. "Good. Then let's get you home."
"If you can help like you did before, we'll get him in the wheelchair," Sherry said, already there and ready to help. Dean reached automatically for Sam, and Sam pulled him to standing for the first time since he'd hit the floor.
Sam was gonna have nightmares about that for weeks, but if Dean was alive and there when he woke up gasping, he'd be okay.
Dean wobbled slightly, blinking several times as he stood, and the trembling came back as he fought to stay standing, if just for a minute. "Take it easy, I got you," Sam hurried to assure him, using all of his arm strength to keep Dean from swaying and not crush his brother's hand in the process.
"I wanna walk," Dean whispered, before he swallowed. "For just a little bit."
More words. "I've got you," was all Sam said, his throat trying to close up again. He knew Dean would hear the go ahead in his voice and words, and with unsteady steps, Dean moved forward.
It wasn't anything huge, and Sam didn't hear processional tunes going off in his head. He wasn't getting choked up, and tears of joy weren't burning in his eyes. If anything, his chest felt freer than it had in hours, and the helplessness and fatigue that had caused the tears earlier was fast fading. Dean would be fine.
He looked a little steadier when he finally sat down in the wheelchair, more with it. Still looked ready to fall asleep at the drop of a hat, but it wasn't the glassy, drifting gaze Sam had come to hate with a fiery passion. Hannah immediately laid a blanket over Dean, a pillow and another blanket tucked under her arm. "Do you know how to unlock a wheelchair?" she asked Sam.
He knew. Known since he was about five, but that information wasn't relevant. "Yeah," he replied instead, and then took the blanket and pillow she offered. "Thank you so much. Both of you."
"I told you," she said with a smile. "It's what I do."
She left, and Sam handed the pillow and folded blanket to Dean, placing them on his lap. "You ready?" he asked.
"Yeah," Dean said softly.
Sam unlocked the wheelchair and backed him out of the room, then followed the path back to the lobby where Bobby was waiting. Bobby's entire face softened when he saw Dean, but his voice was just as gruff as usual. "Hey kid."
"Bobby?" Dean asked, and the confusion in his tone was actually good to hear.
"Had to go grab your car; Sam came with you in the ambulance," Bobby said, hearing the unspoken question. As if that was the only reason he'd driven eighty or so miles.
Dean didn't reply, so Sam pushed the wheelchair out through the automatic doors into the night air. He hadn't checked a clock recently, but from the lack of traffic on the road around the hospital, he'd have guessed at two or so in the morning.
"Sammy," Dean said, and Sam stopped the wheelchair right next to the Impala, already bending down anxiously.
"What is it? I'm right here, what do you need?"
Dean turned his eyes and moved his head slightly to the right for the first time in hours. "You left the car at the house?" he asked, and there was more than a hint of indignation in his tone.
Sam threw his head back and laughed.
The pillow was set against the car door, both blankets tucked in around him, and they were pulling away from the brightly lit hospital, the road dark and soothing ahead of him.
The gauze itched on his forehead, but when his eyes slid to the left, he saw Sam's bright smile from behind the wheel. I'm here and I got you and It's okay all wrapped up in one.
That was the first thing Dean remembered when he woke up the next morning at Bobby's, and the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes.