It Started With A Sore Throat
Disclaimer: see chapter 1
Sam hurried back to the hospital he hadn't realised just how long he had taken, after sharing his meal with Amy and some fun and interesting conversation he showered and packed a bag for Dean. Before he left though, he did ring Bobby and give him a heads up on where they were and what was happening, knowing that their 'uncle' would have conniptions if he wasn't kept in the loop.
He strode up to the receptionist and tapped on the window to gain her attention, 'ah hi there my brother Dean Jones was admitted by Doctor Atkins earlier this afternoon.'
'And I was wondering which room he was in?' Sam had to bite his tongue literally, so he didn't snap back, though it did make him wonder if all of the staff here had a personality defect.
'Dean Jones? He's in room twenty-one, children's ward east wing, just get on the elevator and take it to the third floor and follow the clown's feet.'
'Children's ward?' Sam nearly choked as a wicked image crossed his mind, 'my brother is an adult.'
'What can I tell ya, we've got a shortage of beds?' The woman replied, snapped her gum and went back to her work effectively dismissing Sam.
Shaking his head at the audacity of the woman, he headed towards the lifts and tried to calm his fertile imagination, the ammunition will last for a long time to come. Dean and a children's ward!
'Swear I'll exorcise your ass if you don't get outta here.' Dean's hoarse voice still carried down the corridor making Sam hurry the last few meters to the assigned room. He skidded to a stop when he took in the scene in the four bed ward.
Dean lay in a bed by the window, opposite a small boy of about six who stared wide-eyed at Dean; twin brothers, identical in everyway including their sore throats and fevers, occupied the other two beds. A very harried young nurse stood next to Dean's bed holding a thermometer and a determined look on her face.
'Dean?' Sam huffed as he reached the bed and dropped the duffle on the vacant chair, 'what's happening?'
'She wants to … to …' Dean tried to force the words out of his severely abused throat and to retain his dignity, 'use that.'
'I have to take Dean's temperature.' She explained to Sam, 'Doctor Atkins wanted a true temperature reading with his ears and throat so severely infected there is only one other way …'
Sam understood exactly what she was trying to say and he fought with everything in him to stop from laughing out loud, 'ah dude I don't think you've got much choice in the matter.'
'Yeah I have and no she aint.' Dean declared his voice cracking and failing on him in the end just to add insult to injury.
'Ah nurse …?'
'Catherine, Catherine Noll but everyone calls me Cat.' She smiled up at the tall young man.
'Hey Catherine, I'm Dean's brother Sam, umm can you give us a few minutes?'
'If you can get him to let me get his temp then you can have all the time you want.' Cat grinned at Sam before turning a baleful stare at her patient, 'I'll be back Dean.'
'Yeah well don't hold ya breath.' Dean grumbled but only a faint whisper came out making him feel even worse.
When the nurse left, Sam moved the bag to the small cupboard next to Dean's bed and sat down on the now empty seat. 'What's wrong dude?'
Dean stared incredulously at his brother, 'what?'
'Hang on,' Sam pulled out a note book and pen from the bag and handed them to his brother, 'give your voice a rest.'
Dean shot Sam a dirty look and then wrote a very quick and foul-worded note to him, Sam read it and then cocked an eyebrow and smirked at his older brother, 'so you can spell when you want too.'
Dean shot off another tirade on the note book; then laid back on the pillows and crossed his arms determined and very, very stubborn.
'Dean there's kids here, they're watching.' Sam whispered as he gazed around the room, he could feel their gazes on his back.
'Don't care.' Dean pouted, he felt shitty, his throat felt like it had razor wire lining it, a nurse who wanted to shove a thermometer up his ass and he had to have his tonsils out tomorrow morning, he was, in his own mind more than entitled to feel crapped out.
'Amy said to tell you that she'll have some homemade pie and ice cream for ya when they let ya out.'
'Amy huh?' Dean wrote on the note book and added quite a few exclamation points after it.
'Yeah she runs the motel, oh and she has an older sister Emily.'
Dean glared at Sam and then quickly wrote down his disgust at the thought of his baby brother finding him a woman. Just not right or natural.
'I ah brought you a few things,' Sam said trying to divert Dean's attention for a few minutes, 'including this.' He pulled out the well-worn leather jacket once belonging to John Winchester and now belonging to his eldest son Dean.
'Ah dude.' Dean's eyes filled with tears and he suddenly found himself fighting against the lump in his throat as well as swollen tonsils.
'Remember the episode of Happy Days when the Fonz...?'
'Hey he was so cool,' Dean rasped and held his jacket tight to his chest, the medication and fever started to conspire against him and he slowly drifted asleep. 'Hey Sammy?' He called out his slightly unfocussed gaze latched onto his brother's face and he squinted up at him, 'you'll be here when I?'
'Sure will dude.' Sam nodded glad to see that Dean was finally relaxing, he glanced over at the other occupants of the room and smiled at them, 'he's gonna be fine just doesn't like hospitals.'
'We noticed,' one of the twins said dryly, 'so what's up?'
'Nothing how bout you guys?'
'Me and Toby gotta get our tonsils out too, we're after your brother,' the young boy nodded over at his brother with a matching smile, 'I'm Tony.'
'Hey Tony, Toby, I'm Sam and this is my brother Dean.'
'How comes he's in here wif us?' a shaky sounding voice came from the last occupant, 'he do sumfin wrong?'
'Nope not really, he got sick quick and this was the only bed available.' Sam explained watching the young boy curiously, 'hey you feelin' okay?'
'Johnny always looks like that.' Toby interrupted a serious look on his face, 'doc said that he's stuck in here with us even though his dad paid for a private room.'
'That right?' Sam smiled this Toby was going to be a fount of information.
'Uhhuh, Johnny gotta have his appendix out.' Toby smirked and glanced over at his roommate, 'aint that right squirt?'
'Yeah that's right, my dad got really mad when they put me in here but I'm glad, I like to talk to people.' Johnny said sounding almost wistful and Sam found himself thinking of all of the times he wanted a little more company than just his dad and brother when he was Johnny's age.
'Hey Sam how did you get on with Dean?' Cat asked as she came back in with the evening round of medications. 'He asleep?'
'Yeah the pain meds kicked in, if you wanna do anything now might be a good time.' Sam smiled at the young woman, 'want me to step out?'
'Please won't take long but umm you had better stay close just in case.' Cat grinned wickedly and produced the rectal thermometer.
Sam stretched and yawned trying to workout what woke him, his large body ached from being twisted to fit into the small chair, another soft whimper sounded and rubbing at his eyes tiredly Sam glanced over to where little Johnny lay in his bed.
'Hey what's the matter little dude? You want me to get the nurse for ya?' Sam whispered as he perched himself on the edge of the little boy's bed.
Johnny stared up at Sam for a long minute, slowly shaking his head, 'n-no I'm 'kay.' He whispered almost fearfully.
'Did you have a bad dream?'
'Uhhuh,' Johnny nodded, 'scary.'
'Wanna tell me about it?' Sam moved to sit next to the very small child and wrapped him in his long arms, 'I used to have lots of bad dreams when I was your age.'
'Yeah? Did you ...?'
'My big brother Dean,' Sam smiled over at his sleeping brother, who both drooled and snored through his swollen and abused throat and mouth.
'He good bro-brother?'
'Yep he is, so what was your dream about?'
'Monsters an-and th-they op-operate on m-me n-not D-Doc.' Johnny shuddered and cuddled in closer to Sam, 'th-they fought it was-was fun-funny.'
'Well monsters are pretty dumb for a start,' Sam began giving the boy an encouraging smile, 'coz if they were the ones having the operation then it wouldn't be so funny.'
'Yeah.' Johnny nodded his head enthusiastically, 'they pretty dumb huh?'
'Sure are, and the doctors are pretty smart I don't think that they will let any monsters into the operating theatre.'
'Oh okkies, thanks Sam.' Johnny snuggled a little closer and yawned again, 'will you stay wif me till...'
'Sure will kiddo, where's your mom and dad?'
'Mommy's in heaven wif the angels,' Johnny said with a big sigh, his eyes slowly started to flutter shut as sleep started to claim him again, 'daddy hunts bad things, he'll be here when he can.'
Sam cradled the small boy close to him for the rest of the night, thinking about what Johnny had said about his dad, unable to sleep he kept watch over the four ailing roommates for that night.
Dean settled down on the surgical gurney and looked up at Sam with an almost pitiful look on his face, 'see ya soon Sammy.' He mouthed a sloppy grin on his face.
'See ya soon bro.' Sam said, 'I'll be here when ya get back.'
Dean nodded his leather jacket firmly grasped in his left hand, he looked up at Sam and gave him a thumb's up and muttered a small 'hey.'
'Get outta here Fonz.' Sam shook his head watching as they wheeled Dean down the hallway.
'He'll be fine Sam.' Cat patted his arm reassuringly, 'why don't you go and grab some breakfast?'
'Coffee sounds good you'll call me if anything?'
'Sure will and take your time Sam.' Cat straightened her clean scrubs top and headed in to tend to the other three surgical patients, 'they do love the puppies.' She wrinkled her nose and smiled up at Sam when she caught him staring at the top.
'Glad it's not clowns.' Sam muttered and walked away heading towards the lift area intent on finding hot drinkable coffee.
Dean snored lightly in his still dazed state, his leather jacket spread across his chest keeping him warm and safe. Sam read the same page of his novel for the seventh time before putting the book down. His gaze kept wandering back to Johnny's empty bed, the little boy was so scared when they took him to theatre so Sam walked with him until they reached the sterile area.
'I'll be right there in the room for ya Johnny when ya come back.' He said softly, making himself resist the urge to wrap the fragile boy in a warm hug. 'Promise.'
'Thanks Sam.' Johnny whispered back and gave his new friend a small wave as he disappeared behind the doors.
'Hi Sam how's things going?' Cat asked as she came in to do the routine obs, 'has he woken yet?'
'Only for a minute or two,' Sam glanced up at the nurse, 'ah Cat do you know how Johnny went?'
'Oh Sam, the poor kid he had some problems on the table, his appendix burst just as they were prepping him it was touch and go but now he's in paediatric ICU and should be back in here in a couple of days.'
'His dad is there, he arrived just as Johnny was coming out of surgery and is staying with him.'
'Oh ... that's great.' Sam gave her a small tight smile and picked up his book again, deep down he wanted to go and check on the little kid himself but one big kid needed him here and now.
Dean grinned happily at Cat while she waited with him at the entrance to the hospital, 'thanks for everything Cat,' Dean whispered and gave her a cheeky wink, 'specially the bed bath.'
'You deserved it Dean,' Cat shook her head in mock horror, 'hey here's Sam.'
They watched as Sam eased the impala into the pick-up bay and jumped out to open the passenger door to Dean. 'Oh hell no, I got the tonsils out not...'
'Ah nope Dean you're on the good stuff so you get to ride shotgun.' Sam grinned mischievously, 'thanks for everything Cat.'
'No probs at all Sam, oh by the way Johnny is going home at the end of the week and he wanted me to give you this.' Cat pulled an envelope out of her pocket and held it out to Sam, 'now I hope that you guys don't take it the wrong way but I do hope that I don't see you two in my ward anytime soon.'
'Not planning on it Cat.' Dean slid into the passenger seat and sighed happily he was home again.
Sam stared at the envelope for a few seconds before putting it in his jacket pocket and getting in behind the window. 'Ready Dean?' He asked as he gave Cat a last wave goodbye, she was the exception to the rule he had decided, after his earlier assessment of all the staff having the same personality traits ... None.
'For?' Dean stared at his brother through half-cast eyelids.
'Well Amy said that her sister has been madly baking since they found out you were getting out of hospital.'
'Pie of course, apple, cherry and a banana one I think.'
'Oh God Sam don't joke with a sick man.' Dean shook his head and closed his eyes hating to find out exactly what Sam was setting him up with.
Dean sat up against the headboard of his bed, pillows fluffed behind his head, clean sheets and blankets pulled up neatly over him and the best homemade apple pie and ice cream sitting on the bed-tray in front of him, life was nearly perfect.
'Want some more coffee Dean?' A silky female voice floated out of the kitchenette, 'I've just made a fresh pot.'
'Please.' Dean grinned his voice slowly gaining in volume sounded stronger and more like his old-self. 'Thanks Em.'
'My pleasure Dean gotta get your strength back up.' Emily appeared next to the bed with two steaming cups of coffee, she placed one on his tray and the other on the bedside chest, 'so anything else I can do for you?'
'Oh honey where do I start?' Dean smirked happily as he stared appreciatively at the young redheaded woman sitting on the edge of his bed, with sparkling blue eyes waist length dark red hair and a figure to die for, 'where did you learn to cook?'
'My mom.' Emily shrugged, 'she wanted me to have at least one domestic activity.'
Just as Dean thought of a brilliant but flirty comeback, his cell phone chimed with an incoming message.
He quickly read the message and looked up at Emily, 'looks like our baby siblings are busy for the rest of the evening, so ya feel like keeping a sick man company?' He added a loud staged cough and sniffle, 'I'm sure I'm gonna suffer a relapse.'
'Oh we can't have that can we?' Emily laughed and mentally made a note to thank Amy.
Dean quickly sent a text back to Sam and then tossed his phone on the chest of drawers,
Thx Sammy, owe ya big.