A/N: So I've finally managed more than a one shot! This one, in it's three parts, goes out to my biggest supporters that have managed to keep bugging me until I pulled this off. I know it's not my best work, but I think it's gonna take a heck of a determined muse whipping me into shape to beat War Zone. So I'm sorry if it's disappointing to some of you. I've also been sick so don't punish me too harshly.
Anyhow, mentioning those supporters, this goes to my dear friends Peanut and her husband, Soncnica and a few others who have wondered where the heck I disappeared to. Also, for someone else who encouraged me to try something different once in a while,(I hope you know who you are) there's a little bit of chapter three that I hope you'll like. Just don't shoot me!
Dean leaned forward on the chair, the hard plastic beginning to feel comfortable to his now numb ass. His eyes were flickering between various monitors with squiggling lines and blinking numbers and his brother. His too still, too pale brother. His voice was raspy from talking to his unresponsive brother, the brother that hadn't so much as opened his eyes, in the last…Dean glanced at his watch…three days, fourteen hours, fifty three minutes and twelve seconds. "Hey, ya know this is gettin' real old little brother." Dean quipped as he scrubbed a calloused hand over his weary features. Dean stood, his back cracking, and feet screaming as pins and needles attacked them. He leaned over the bed, resting a hand on his brother's shoulder, and the other carding back through is long hair.
"The crap we get ourselves into huh?" Dean touched Sam's cheek, careful of the band that wrapped around his head and held the ventilator tube in place. "I need coffee Sammy. Be back." Dean left the room, following the white tiled hallway down the corridor. He stopped at the coffee machine and quickly filled a white Styrofoam cup with the hot sludge. He raised it to his mouth, the smell assaulting his nostrils as his mind went elsewhere.
Four days earlier…
Dean pulled his bolt cutters up and pinched the bolt of the heavy lock, clipping through with a resounding clank. Sam sidled up to the door beside him as Dean dropped the lock to the concrete beneath their feet and stowed the bolt cutters. Sam's shotgun was raised and he held out the other hand, looking expectantly at Dean. His hand reached into the duffel and pulled out two small fabric bags. "Dude, same bags Missouri set us up with?"
"Yeah. Mojo bags. Full of the good stuff."
"Good, this poltergeist is getting way too vicious. It's drowned three people, knocking them over the edge of the dam and into the siphons for the water treatment plant." Sam said, gesturing to the twenty foot span of thick circular concrete walls below. The sound seemed to Dean's ears to get louder as Sam drew his attention to the swirling waters draining down through screens some fifty feet below. Sam opened the door and cast a quick glance at his brother. "Dude, we gotta work fast. This bastard finds out what we're doin' things are gonna get bad."
"Yep. You get right, I'll go left. Get the back corner first and get out of the pump shack."
Sam moved in and to the right, quickly finding a secure corner behind a vent screen to tuck the first mojo bag into. Dean found a grate near the back wall at the left corner and slipped his bag inside. He was just standing upright when a cloud of breath fogged the air before his eyes. Dean flicked his gaze to Sam, seeing the matching cloud of air emerging from his lips. "Oh crap." Dean mouthed, pulling his gun up and at the ready. He and Sam both ran for the front corners of the shack, a concrete building that housed little more than a massive, whirring, rumbling pump that ran water from the dam through a filtration plant and pumped it the seven miles to the nearest town. Sam tucked another bag into a seam in the concrete and headed for the door. Dean moved to place his last mojo bag and glanced at Sam, who was headed for the door. The temperature plummeted in the room and Sam felt himself flying forward, shoved hard from behind. His chest hit the concrete and metal door frame, winding him as he felt something give in his chest, pain making his vision gray out. Sam slid to the floor, gasping for breath.
He coughed raggedly, the world spinning as Dean pulled him roughly to his feet. Pain coursed through him as Dean let go of his arm and moved to tuck the last bag into the corner. It fell from his hand as Dean was knocked backwards through the door. He heard Dean cry out. Sam rushed to the door just in time to see Dean topple over the concrete barrier that surrounded the walkway around the pump shack. The poltergeist intended Dean to be his next fall victim.
"DEAN!" Sam cried, feeling a different kind of agony. He rushed to the barrier, afraid of seeing his broken brother so many feet below. He heard harsh breathing, not sure if it came from him or something else. He looked below, seeing a set of boots, attached to flailing legs, hugged by dark colored jeans. Dean was dangling from a support brace just beneath the wall.
"Thank god. Dean!"
"Sam!" Sam leaned over the rail and reached for Dean.
"Hang on!" he grated, feeling his broken ribs move once more as he put weight on his chest. He groaned, pain making black spots dance across his vision, making him lose track of Dean momentarily.
"No Sammy! The mojo bag. I dropped it! You have to waste the bastard. GO! 'M alright!" Sam heard Dean huffing as he fought to hold on to the rail, feeling the short hairs on the back of his neck stand on end even as a cold breeze washed over him. He felt a pull and the poltergeist yanked him backwards, slamming him into the block wall of the pump shack.
"SAM!" Dean cried, gripping the rail with both hands as he heard Sam's grunt of pain. He used his upper body strength to try and pull himself up, gripping at the concrete wall. He lost his grip when a blindingly bright light flashed from above and the whole structure groaned as the poltergeist screeched. The light went out and Dean looked up to see Sam leaning over the wall.
"Reach up Dean." Sam panted, reaching down a long arm. He groaned.
"No! You're hurt."
"Dean." Dean tried to pull himself up again and slid along the support rail, his feet kicking out as he fought to find purchase. "DEAN!" Sam cried, reaching further down. Dean raised his right arm, fear in his eyes, and gripped Sam's wrist. The added weight pulled Sam down against the top of the barrier. He gasped, his breath leaving him. Sam tasted copper in the back of his throat, pain lancing through him. Dean's hand slid down Sam's forearm and Sam gripped tighter, fingers digging in painfully. He pulled as Dean fought to grip the wall with his other hand. Dean pulled as Sam leaned down further, allowing Dean to grip his shoulders. Sam wrapped his arms around Dean's torso and pulled him over the wall. Sam fell backwards, Dean landing on top of him, panting heavily. Sam groaned and curled in on himself, dislodging Dean. He coughed, blood flecks flying from his lips to discolor the concrete.
"Sam?" Dean said, sitting up as Sam continued to cough harshly, the sound dissolving into a painful wheezing gurgle. "Sammy!"
"Can't…bre-breathe." Sam rasped, blood bubbles coating the corner of his mouth.
"Fuck!" Dean breathed, putting a hand under Sam's cheek and raising his head. Sam's mouth was lax, blood dripping with saliva from his lips. His face was pale, and his breathing was more of a hitchwheezerattle. "Okay, I'm gonna get you to the hospital. 'S only nine miles away. C'mon, let's get you on your feet." Dean hauled Sam up, grappling to keep him upright as Sam sagged against him. "W-w-w-whoa. Hey, I gotcha." Dean tipped Sam's lolling head up and ducked his own to meet Sam's half mast eyes. "You just keep breathin' ya hear me? I gotcha." Dean held Sam close and steady as he walked his brother to the car. He eased Sam into the passenger seat, settling him back against the leather.
Dean pulled the coffee cup away from his lips, never taking a drink. He dumped it in the trash, feeling himself pale as he fought back bile. He swallowed hard and repeatedly, not feeling any relief. Dean turned and rushed for the bathroom down the hall. He barreled through the door and into a stall, falling to his knees. Dean wretched painfully, bringing up bile and little else since he couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten. The heaves continued, tears leaking from his eyes which he hurriedly dashed away. He panted until his cramping abdominal muscles settled and then he pushed himself to his feet, rinsing his mouth before making his swaying way back to his brother's side. He paused in the door, smiling half heartedly at the nurse that was leaning over Sam's bed.
"How is he, Teresa?" He asked, his voice gritty from his battle with the porcelain basin down the hall.
"No change Dean. I'm sorry." She brushed Sam's hair back from his closed eyes. "The doctor scheduled another set of tests this afternoon. It should let us know how his lung is healing."
"Thanks." Dean said, resuming his seat by Sam's side. Teresa squeezed Dean's shoulder as she walked past.
Dean reached out and gripped Sam's lax hand, his fingers curling around Sam's. "Hey, tol'ya I'd be back. Dude, I swear, after this we are so hitting Vegas. Y'know, play a little Blackjack. High stakes poker…" Dean ran a hand back over his spiky hair, pausing to work a cramp out of the tight muscles of his neck. "Man, I don't care if we just spend a week in the freakin' car…I jus' want ya back. I need ya back Sammy." Dean leaned forward, resting his forehead on the back of his hand where it overlapped Sam's. He breathed raggedly, eyes scrunched closed as a tear worked it's way from between his lids, finally feeling the silence lull him into the arms of darkness.
Dean slid behind the wheel and fired the engine, a hand going to Sam's shoulder after shifting the car to drive. He peeled out, casting glances at Sam seemingly every couple seconds as he floored the car and sped down the road from the dam towards town. Dean's stomach lurched at the sound of Sam's ragged breathing. Sam's head lolled on the seat back, his eyes closing. Blood bubbled from between his parted lips, slowly rolling down the corner of his mouth to his chin. Dean reached a hand over and plastered it to Sam's racing, thready pulse. "No, nononono."
Sam shuddered, drawing in a breath and releasing it on a bubbling sigh, going limp on the seat. Dean's hand shifted from Sam's neck to his shoulder, settling Sam back against the door panel.
"Sam!" Dean reached again for Sam's pulse, feeling nothing. "NO!" Dean swerved the car out around another vehicle and cut back over, flooring the gas with a roar of the V8 engine and an irate horn blare from the other vehicle.
Dean slammed on the brakes and spun the wheel, screeching into the parking lot of the Emergency room, realizing it was really no more than a sophisticated hospital. Four floors tall, it looked more like a rambling set of offices than a hospital. He pulled the Impala nearly flush with the hospital entrance bay. Dean flew from the driver's seat as two nurses who'd seen the haphazard arrival of the black classic, came through the automatic doors. "I NEED HELP!" Dean said, bolting around the side of the car and easing the door open catching his brother's tumbling body as Sam threatened to slide out onto the pavement. One of the nurses, a small brunette, turned and raced back into the building, returning just seconds later with a gurney, doctor and an orderly.
The nurse who was at Dean's side examining Sam, looked up and spoke to the doctor that ran up. "We've got respiratory arrest, bleeding from the mouth and nose." She said, stepping back and pulling Dean with her as the doctor and orderly stepped in and eased Sam from the car and onto the gurney. Dean fought her until she spoke quietly to him.
"Let them give him the help he needs. I'll make sure you're close at all times, just don't interfere." The doctor was examining Sam with a worried frown on his face.
"Let's go." the doctor said, looking at Dean as they moved Sam. He blasted some rapid fire questions Dean's way, which Dean answered, somewhat dazedly, his eyes never leaving his brother as they rushed Sam inside. "When did he stop breathing? How long ago did this happen?" The nurse stopped Dean at the doors as Sam was rushed through. Dean gasped, standing on his toes to look over her head and watch the doors close between him and his little brother.
"Can I get you anything?" The woman asked.
"They're the best team in this area. Doctor Nelson and Teresa. They work miracles." She squeezed his shoulder reassuringly. "I'm Julia. If you need anything just find me."
Dean sagged into one of the hard plastic chairs, his legs too shaky to hold him up. He rested his elbows on his knees and ran both hands over his haggard face, staring down at the white tile with the speckled pattern. Time seemed to slow for Dean, down to the point where he could hear the clock ticking along the wall across the room from him. Dean found himself going over the hunt once more. What the fuck went wrong?
"Family of Sam Tyler?"
Dean still stared at the tile, his mind elsewhere, not hearing the nurse. He felt a hand on his shoulder and started out of his reverie. "You're Sam's brother, right?" Dean looked up into the face of a nurse about his age, a woman with light brown hair and green eyes. She was smaller than he expected, almost diminutive, maybe five and a half feet tall. She squeezed his shoulder again with a surprising amount of strength. Dean made to stand and she eased him back to the chair.
"Dean. How's Sammy?" Dean questioned as she sat down on it's hard plastic companion.
"Sam held his own through the surgery. We fixed his right lung, where his rib had punctured it. You know he had stopped breathing just before you pulled in with him. That's where the complications arose. We got him back and performed the surgery. He arrested again, this time from internal bleeding pressing against his heart and lungs from a nicked artery caused by a splinter that separated from his rib. I'm sorry…"
"Sam is on a ventilator. He's not breathing on his own. He's not comatose but his brain activity levels are less than we'd like. The oxygen deprivation plays a part in that. We're hoping that, with enough time to heal, that Sam will wake on his own with no complications."
"Wait… you're sayin' he could be…what? Brain damaged?" Dean cried, sliding from the chair and edging away from the tiny nurse.
"Mr. Tyler… We're doing everything we can for Sam. He just needs to rest and heal." She touched his arm comfortingly. "I can take you to him, if you're ready."
"You kiddin' me?" Dean stood and she eased from the chair, walking quickly to the elevator with Dean on her heels.
"Dean, I need to warn you. He's on a lot of machinery. It might be a little disconcerting but he's really doing better than we expected after the complications."
"I've seen it before." Dean said, stepping into the elevator. The elevator dinged and the doors slid open, Dean easing through the metal portal before they were fully open. He stopped when he belatedly realized he didn't know Sam's room number. Teresa smiled,
"Third door down on the right. It's a private room. I'll check on ya both in a couple hours, okay?"
"Thanks." Dean said, turning to walk into Sam's room. He stopped inside the door, his heart in his throat at the sight that greeted him from the bed. Sam was laying flat on the pillows, with a lightweight blanket pulled up over his bare chest to just beneath his biceps where they rested against the mattress. Stark white gauze peeked out from beneath, over a patch of Sam's ribcage. A blue tube protruded from his mouth, held in place by a band of strapping that wrapped around it and fastened around Sam's head beneath his ears. The whoosh-click of the ventilator and a steady rhythmic beep were the only sounds in the dimly lit room. Sam's face was pale, dark smudges rested beneath his closed eyes and were partially disguised by the crescents of Sam's dark eyelashes. His chest raised beneath the blanket with the sound of the ventilator, the click sounding as his chest lowered. Dean swallowed hard and stepped up to the bed, hooking a leg in the chair that rested just a couple feet away. He pulled it with him and plopped down against the hard plastic.
Dean reached a hand out, hesitating before pulling it back to drop into his lap listlessly. Dean remained silent, his green eyes watering as they roamed over Sam and the machinery keeping him alive. Sighing, he finally broke the silence. "I'm sorry." he whispered reaching again for Sam. This time his hand connected, laying on Sam's right hand, his fingers absently playing with the small strand of black around Sam's wrist. "Guess they couldn't get that off, huh?" Dean huffed a short laugh. "Makes sense, you were a runt when I gave ya that. I'm glad they didn't cut it." Dean fell into a comfortable silence, his thumb working over the back of Sam's right wrist.
Dean watched as Sam's chest rose and fell, the rhythm seeming artificial to his eyes. He found himself dozing half heartedly, the discomfort of the hard plastic long forgotten. His eyes closed against his will, exhaustion sweeping him like a wave.
"DEAN!" Sam called out, reaching over the wall. Dean felt himself gripped by his little brother's strong hands. He looked up to see Sam looking down at him, pain ricocheting across his features as blood poured from his lips. Dean watched the crimson fluid pool on Sam's lower lip before dripping onto the back of Dean's hand. Dean flinched with each drop, his fingers slipping from Sam's hand a little more each time.
"De-" Sam cried, blood bubbling now, frothing at the corners of his pain pinched mouth. Dean saw Sam's breath fog as the poltergeist made it's reappearance. Dean felt Sam's hand ripped from his, saw his brother disappear over the wall and Dean was falling. He hooked a flailing arm over the support rail that he managed to grab onto. He grabbed the wall and fought his way up, climbing over to fall hard to the concrete on the other side, breathing heavily. He saw his brother laying just a couple feet from him, eyes closed, face pale and blood stained. Dean scrambled to his knees, rushing to Sam.
"No!" Dean cried, pulling Sam up against his chest. Sam's head lolled and fell against Dean's collarbone, forehead in the crook of his neck. Dean reached for a pulse and felt nothing but Sam's rapidly cooling flesh. "Oh god, oh god." He hugged his brother tight as he felt the temperature plummet. A fog gathered in front of him and coalesced into a man.
"Dean." a familiar voice said. Dean looked up, tears coursing through his stubble.
"I told ya to watch after him, boy."
"If you'd did your job, he wouldn't be like that." John said, pointing a translucent finger at the body Dean held close.
"N-no. I protected him with everything I had! I love Sammy. I'd die for him!"
"Then why didn't you?" John waved a spectral hand and Dean found himself dangling from the support rail once more.
Sam ran to the wall and Dean saw him look over. "Dean! Thank god! Reach for me!" Sam panted, leaning over the wall as far as he could. He groaned, catching hold of Dean's wrist, fingers digging deep around his wrist.
"No Sammy! You're hurt." Dean said. "Let me go."
"No!" Sam said, blood just beginning to show on his teeth.
"LET GO! I won't lose you because of me!" Dean said, jerking his wrist free. He felt himself falling, the sound of rushing water drowning out Sam's cry.
Dean gasped and jerked upright, tears in his eyes and a cry on his lips. Dean swung up from the chair and grabbed his jacket, rushing from the room. He ran down the hall, skipping the elevator and rushing for the stairs, barreling through the door. He braced a hand against the wall, on the smooth white paint of a concrete wall, for just a second before taking off down the steps and onto landing after landing at a dead run. Tears blurred his vision which he blinked viciously away, not really caring though if he fell and broke his neck. He was alive and Sam was on that bed. He let Sam down. He let dad down. I let them down. I always do. I damn near lost Sammy because I was fuckin' scared. How is that protecting him?!" Dean stumbled out the exterior door of the hospital, finding the Impala where he'd left it after moving it in one of his relentless pacing tours of the building. He collapsed, legs going to mush beneath him and just managed to turn and slide down her sleek black fender well to rest his back against the front tire. The sobs he'd fought desperately to hold back were now released. Dean pulled his knees up to his chest and ran his right hand up over his head, his silver ring glinting dully in the moonlight as it came to rest on the crown of his head, fingers flexing in his short spikes. Sobs tore through him, shaking him to the core as his dream came back to the forefront of his mind.
A/N: Hope you liked the start of this. I'll update as soon as I can. Please review and let me know what you think!