Author's Note: I have absolutely no idea where this story came from, my muse (which has been on extended vacation lately) came back with a vengeance. This is what she produced lol I'm not too sure how many chapters this is going to be, probably two or three. Please let me know what you think!
Disclaimer: As always, I don't own Sammy, Dean or anything else remotely close to Eric Kripke's "Supernatural" universe. Just playing in the sandbox.
He was exhausted.
All he wanted to do was sleep, but he knew deep down in the depths of himself that relief wasn't coming any time soon. He hadn't slept for more than twenty minutes at a time in nearly three days and as his bloodshot eyes slid up to the pale and still face of his little brother, he was once again brutally reminded why.
Things had gotten dangerously out of hand.
Dean had realized that only seconds before Sam was thrown, without mercy, through one of the large glass windows on the far side of the dark and deserted warehouse. Dean remembered in sharp detail the limpness of Sam's body as it flew through the air…he remembered the jarring sound of shattering glass…he remembered Sam's terrifying cry.
The memories were flashes. The sounds were constant.
The poltergeist had been particularly tricky, the hunt lasting nearly four days longer than other similar hunts they had been on in the past. That final midnight jaunt to the warehouse on Seaport Boulevard, only a few minutes drive from downtown Boston, had been the culmination of hours of research, as well as trial and error.
Within only a few minutes of the brothers crossing the doorstep, the poltergeist had attacked relentlessly, bombarding them with incredibly random and incredibly dangerous objects lying abandoned and dirty on the warehouse floor. Chairs, wooden planks, metal garbage cans. It had been chillingly unexpected and they hadn't been prepared.
It had happened in fast forward. Sam had been picked up and slammed viciously into a tall metal shelving unit, a desperate shout of pain as the shelving all but collapsed under his weight. Then, as though he weighed nothing, he'd been picked up again and thrown directly out the window. Dean had stood and watched, panic stricken and horrified at his own helplessness.
It was only due to a resonating need within himself to kill the evil son of a bitch that Dean had managed to place the cleansing bags strategically around the room.
After a blinding burst of white light, Dean had ran.
Across the room, down the stairs, through the large metal side door of the building and out onto the grounds.
He'd found Sam lying still in the grass on a bed of broken glass; there was an unimaginable amount of blood and it was obvious immediately that the younger man's left arm had been broken, bent at an unnatural angle. Sam's breaths were shallow gasps, his pulse slow and sluggish.
Hardly able to draw breath, Dean had called an ambulance. The operator hadn't understood a word he'd said but paramedics responded quickly, the red and blue flashing lights casting an eerie glow over what was quickly becoming Dean's worst possible nightmare.
Sam had been rushed into emergency at Massachusetts General Hospital and it had taken nearly an hour and a half for the doctor to finally make his way out to the anxious older Winchester, who'd been pacing in the waiting room.
Sam was stable, but in critical condition.
His heart had stopped twice in the ambulance.
He'd suffered massive had trauma.
A severely fractured arm.
His heart had stopped a third time shortly after arriving at the hospital.
And finally, in a last ditch effort to save his patient's life, the doctor had placed Sam on a ventilator.
Sam Winchester was now in a coma.
The doctor's words had been direct and to the point, and Dean couldn't decide whether or not he was thankful. The diagnosis was straightforward. Sam has suffered what is known as a closed head injury. The doctor had explained. Due to an increase in pressure within Sam's skull, delicate brain tissue has been destroyed and is now restricting the flow of blood and oxygen to his brain. .
After swallowing the relentless flow of bile that had started making its way up his throat, Dean had asked his one and only question. Will Sam wake up?
The reply? It's too early to tell.
That always seemed to be the answer. When doctors didn't know, whenever they had absolutely no idea, that was the textbook response. 'It's too early to tell' and 'It's completely up to the patient.'
The ICU was unearthly quiet. The steady click and puff of air coming from Sam's ventilator had quickly become the soundtrack to Dean's very existence. He came to depend on that sound. The repetitiveness of it. To sit next to his brother's bed and watch the mechanical rise and fall of his chest was an agony the likes of which the older man had never felt before; Sam had gone somewhere and Dean couldn't follow him, couldn't protect him. All he could do was sit there, anticipating the next breath. Dean's vigil beside the bed was as far as he could go.
The staff of the ICU had quickly come to know him, they actually hadn't had much choice. When Sam had been moved into the ICU from the Emergency room on the first floor, Dean had exchanged harsh words with one nurse Coggins; a wiry old bat who'd seemed determined to banish Dean from Sam's room the moment she'd laid her beady little eyes on him.
As Dean had started to lose his temper, she'd condescendingly reminded him that the ICU was a place for patients in critical condition to rest and heal, and that all the noise he was making wasn't at all acceptable. Dean had responded, his voice only getting louder, saying that he'd quite happily quiet down the second she got the hell out of his face.
Needless to say, Dean's reception in intensive care was seriously in question until Sam's newly assigned neurologist had decided that Dean was allowed to stay at Sam's side indefinitely.
Coggins, thank God, hadn't been seen since.
For three days, Dean had been dressed in hospital issued scrubs; his long-sleeved shirt and jeans had been completely soaked in Sam's blood and after being gently coaxed by one of the nurses, he'd stripped and put on the garments she'd offered him, throwing his own clothes into a "soiled linen" cart that sat only a few steps from Sam's door.
In retrospect, he probably should've found a garbage can. But the clothes, along with all of their horrible reminders, were gone…and to him, that's all that had mattered.
The thought of salvaging his shirt and jeans hadn't even crossed his mind.
Washing clothes covered in his own blood was manageable.
Washing clothes covered in Sam's blood was unbearable.
Dean was in desperate need of a shower and a shave, the stubble on his face making him look more exhausted and haggard then he'd looked in years. But for all his inner strength and resolve, he couldn't find the energy to rise from the chair and disappear into the small bathroom. Leaving Sam's side for even a few minutes was enough to stir a sharp pang of anxiety deep in his chest.
The call he'd placed to Bobby earlier that afternoon was weighing heavily on his mind. The older hunter had promised he was on his way, after spouting off for nearly ten minutes how pissed he was that Dean had waited as long as he had to call in the first place. Dean couldn't be bothered to care. He was anticipating appreciating Bobby's company, and as selfish as it was, that was enough.
He didn't care about explanations or apologies. All he wanted was support; one more person to say that Sam would make it. Dean didn't care how he got it, even if Bobby was pissed.
He sat there now, at Sam's bedside, elbows pressed into the mattress, his head resting wearily in his hands. The darkness that filled the room was broken suddenly as the door flung open, the bright light pouring in from the hallway.
Dean turned around quickly in his chair, his tired eyes falling on the hunched form of Bobby as he slowly shuffled into the room.
Dean understood and recognized the look on the older man's face immediately; shock, horror and pain. It was a look he'd seen a thousand times and a look he'd worn constantly since he'd seen his baby brother thrown from a third storey window.
Bobby's voice was quiet and unsure, almost like he was asking Dean to confirm whether or not what he was seeing was reality. Sam, lying still in the bed; a large plastic tube protruding from his mouth, white tape carelessly holding the tube in place. The countless wires and IV lines, the beeping and the clicking.
Dean swallowed hard and very slowly stood from his chair. He watched Bobby approach the bed and in a voice quiet and raspy from underuse, he responded simply. "Yeah, Bobby."
And that was all it took.
Dean found himself in Bobby's arms suddenly, the embrace rough and unyielding. Awkwardness was forgotten, the need for personal space disregarded. It wasn't a time for boundaries. It was a time for everything else; support, grief and raw need.
His father wasn't there. Sam was there, but at the same time, he wasn't.
Bobby was the only person in the world that Dean had left.
He would take the older man's gentle assurance. He desperately needed it.
"What else did the doctor say?"
Dean sighed, leaning back in the uncomfortable plastic chair. "Absolutely nothing." He looked to Bobby, who had moved to stand at the end of Sam's bed. The room was still dark around them but neither cared enough to switch on the overhead light. "He said that it's too early to know whether he'll wake up or not."
"Said that the swelling in Sam's brain is stopping oxygen and blood flow. We have to wait for the swelling to go down."
"And if it doesn't?"
"Then we wait longer."
There was an unmistakable warning in Dean's voice and he knew that Bobby had recognized it for what it was.
The truth was, the doctors had already talked to Dean about all possible worst case scenarios. They had urged Dean to think about the future; if Sam didn't wake up, and it was determined there was nothing else to be done, what would his next step be? They'd subtly hinted at removal of the ventilator—letting Sam go peacefully—but Dean had refused to even acknowledge it.
That action was a last resort, and at that point in time Dean didn't even want it mentioned.
"You called your dad?"
"What do you think?"
Bobby nodded knowingly, a silent acknowledgment.
Pulling his hand from his jacket pocket, Bobby produced a white card key. "I booked a room." He nearly whispered. "You look like hell. Go shower, get some sleep. I'll sit with Sam."
"You've been sittin' here for three damn days-"
"I'm not leavin'."
"You're drivin' yourself to crap and it won't do Sam any good." Bobby's voice was imploring and Dean sighed. "You think he'd want you sittin' here like this?"
"I don't care what he'd want." Dean said, his voice still raspy. "I can't leave, Bobby. I won't."
"What about a change of clothes?"
"That would involve leaving."
"Impala's parked down in the lot. I can go down and get some of your stuff; put a bag together."
Dean couldn't care less about a change of clothes. Even though he felt heavy and disgusting, showering was the furthest thing from his mind. He wanted nothing more than to sit at Sam's side, where he belonged, waiting for the fluttering of heartbreakingly familiar green eyes.
But as always, Bobby wouldn't be ignored.
Dean shifted in his seat and reached into the pocket of his worn leather jacket, which was hanging on the back of his chair. He pulled the car keys out and tossed them into Bobby's waiting hand.
He didn't say a word.
"Anything else you need? Somethin' to eat? Cup of coffee?"
Dean silently shook his head.
Bobby nodded slowly. "Ok. Be right back." And silently, he left the room, bright lights from the hallway burning Dean's eyes once more.
Dean had waited hours for Bobby's presence and company. The other man's arrival had served as a minor distraction...but one thing hadn't changed; the company that Dean was really desperate for was his little brother's.
Disturbing silence and ice cold skin wasn't nearly enough.