By Carol M.
Summary: Dean gets busted up on a hunt and there's only so much John can do to make it better, much to his fatherly chagrin. Pre-series John/Dean with Sam away at Stanford.
Disclaimer: Don't own them, only love them
The pungently sweet smell of jasmine filled the room as the flame engulfed the bag John was waving anxiously through the air trying to cleanse the old house of the poltergeist that was currently using his eldest son as a pinball in its own personal machine.
"Hurry dad!" grunted Dean.
John watched helplessly as the invisible entity picked up his son and smashed him into a sturdy wooden hutch that displayed a set of tacky blue dishes through the front glass panel door. It was Dean's arm that took the full impact, signified by a cracking sound following by a pure wail of agony from his son. Before Dean had a chance to recover, the spirit ran him into the hutch again, this time the force so hard it splintered the wood and shattered the display glass panel, the movement from the collision shaking the dishes loose inside. Plates and bowls toppled out of the hutch and exploded like glassy bombs against the wooden floor. The ruckus was almost enough to cover Dean's weak cry of pain. "Dad!"
John urgently waved the cleansing bag through the air, willing it to burn faster. "Almost Dean, just hold on."
The poltergeist bashed Dean against the hutch again and this time his arm made a horrible crunching sound. Dean let out a strangled whimper and turned completely white.
The bag of jasmine flamed out in John's hand and whatever force had held Dean up dissipated, leaving his son to collapse to the floor amongst the crunchy mess of broken glass. Dean curled his body protectively over his mangled arm, his eyes screwed shut as he breathed in shallow pants that added to the movement of his already shaking frame.
"Damn it," cried John, letting the smoking bag of jasmine drop to the floor as he ran over to his injured son.
When Dean made no move to acknowledge him or even attempt to straighten up, that's when John knew his son was seriously hurt. He knelt down next to him and put a tentative hand on Dean's back. "Let me see."
"Gimme a sec…don' wan' move," husked Dean weakly.
"Dean…now," said John in his sharpest, most authoritative voice. Sometimes Dean needed to be shocked into submission, the awareness of which always made John feel like a bullying dick. The move worked though and Dean made a clumsy move to straighten out from the tight ball he was in, groaning miserably in the process.
"That's it," he said, helping Dean into a sitting position. He lifted Dean's hand off the injured arm and took a look for himself. His son's arm was covered by three layers of clothes, but even through that he could tell the break was bad. His son's arm hung at an awkward angle from his shoulder and he saw a small amount of blood staining the sleeve of Dean's T-shirt. He gingerly grabbed the wounded arm through the layers of clothes and felt several hard lumps protruding out in places that weren't natural. He gagged at the thought of his son's jumbled bones.
Dean moaned raggedly and tore the arm away in reflex, but the movement only made things worse. He hissed in pain, a few stray tears trickling down from eyes that had been bolted shut.
"Whoa, whoa," eased John. He put one hand on Dean's chest and one on his back, seeking to steady and comfort him. "Breathe Dean, just breathe for a second. Nice and easy."
Dean let out a shallow wheeze that sounded more like a sob.
"It's okay…take your time. We'll get you fixed up."
Gradually, Dean's breathing slowed and his body relaxed some. His eyes fluttered open, revealing pain-filled emerald orbs. "Think my arm's busted, dad."
John snorted. "Yeah, I got the memo."
"Son of a bitch," cursed Dean through gritted teeth, his head falling against John for a moment. He seemed to drink in the sensation as if he were soaking up strength and comfort from his dad's touch and presence. It was something his son very rarely did, maybe only two or three times in his whole life, and only then when he was either really sick or hurt.
It had been years since John had seen Dean so physically vulnerable. Frankly, it scared the hell out of him. His boy was no wimp when it came to injuries and he had to have been really hurting to let himself melt into his father like this. John protectively curled his body over Dean's, taking a moment to let his chin rest on the top of his son's head. "I'm gonna make it so it's okay," he whispered into Dean's hair. He felt his boy physically relax at his words, and the gesture filled him with a warmth and realization that despite all of his mistakes and shortcomings, when Dean needed him the most, he could still be his father.
"Come on," said John, easing him up. "We're gonna find something to stabilize that arm so it doesn't break off and then were going to the closest hospital."
"Yes, sir," murmured Dean, his face sweaty and pale, his eyes glassy.
John got Dean to a full sitting position and then stood up, removing his own jacket and then the flannel that he wore, leaving him in only a T-shirt. He took out a knife and cut a long thin strip from the flannel. "Here," he said, quickly wrapping the strip around the bottom of Dean's elbow and bringing it up over his shoulder. Before Dean had a chance to tense up in anticipation, John firmly tied both ends together, effectively locking the arm against Dean's body.
"Don't move it. Can you stand?"
Dean raised his eyebrows. "Maybe?"
Without another word, John grasped Dean's good arm and pulled him up to a standing position. Dean blew out a breath, his eyes wavering like he was close to passing out. "Stay with me Dean. Come on." John got behind Dean and grasped a firm hand around his son's good arm and one at his side under his bad arm and forcefully manhandled Dean towards the front door of the house, willing his son to move forward. "Almost." He felt Dean tilt towards the side. "Dean!" He quickly pulled him back so he could see his face and saw Dean's eyes rolling back into his head. He gave him a light slap. "Come on, dude, stay with me."
Dean moaned softly and blinked his eyes open. "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry," said John. He gripped Dean's good arm and wrapped it tightly around his neck, taking all of Dean's weight and basically lifting him off the ground.
By the time John got Dean to the Impala, his son was more out of it then in. He juggled Dean with opening the car door, but eventually got it open and then wrestled Dean into shotgun.
"Thought I was driving the car this week?" slurred Dean.
"Maybe next week, kid," said John with an amused grin as he slammed the passenger's door shut.
A half hour later, John had realized that while the Impala might've been a sturdy and dependable car, one thing it was not was shock absorbent. Every bump, pothole and road imperfection the tires rolled over had Dean gasping, grunting or groaning, fraying John's nerves to the bitter end.
When he finally saw the entrance to the local E.R., he sighed wearily and threw the car into something that could possibly have been a parking space. "Dean, we're here."
John hurriedly got out of the car and ran around to shotgun. He opened the door and started to pull Dean out, but his son stuck his good arm up in protest. "I'm good," he said tightly as he gingerly tried to extricate himself from the car on his own steam.
"Right," said John, ignoring his son completely. He grabbed Dean at his sides and hefted him out of the car.
Dean clenched his jaw in obvious protest, but didn't say anything, instead begrudgingly accepting the help.
They started towards the entrance to the emergency room, which much to John's displeasure, bustled with activity. Several ambulances were unloading in the driveway and he could hear the distant buzzing of a medi-vac chopper coming in for a landing.
"They look a little slammed," murmured Dean, carefully holding his arm as they both walked through the sliding double doors of the entrance. The place was even more hopping on the inside. Kids with serious looking burns and bloody cuts were being walked and wheeled past at a hurried pace. Out of reflex, John threw his arm around Dean and pulled his son close to protect him from the hustle and bustle as they cut through the traffic to the admissions window.
An older lady in Miss Piggy scrubs sat behind the window, typing furiously on a computer. She could've been reasonable attractive if it weren't for her obviously sour puss. John cleared his throat loudly. "Ma'am, my son's hurt. He needs to see a doctor."
Without looking up, she handed him a clipboard with some forms attached. "Fill those out and we'll get to him when we can."
"How long is when we can?" asked John, irritated.
"Could be several hours," said Miss Piggy.
"That's not good enough," said John.
Miss Piggy stopped typing and looking up at him, flashing him unmoved eyes. "Sir, there was a school bus accident this afternoon, and we're taking all the critical cases. So unless your son is gushing blood, vomiting blood or peeing blood, he's just gonna have to wait. I'm sorry."
"Ma'am, he's in real pain," said John.
"Dad," warned Dean.
Miss Piggy kept a face of stone. "You can try Lakefront Hospital E.R. The wait there won't be as long."
"How far?" asked John,
"Forty five minutes east of here."
Dean's face paled and he shook his head furiously. "No freakin way."
John sighed in frustration, glancing at Dean and then back to Miss Piggy. "Look, his arm's really screwed up and the pain is getting to him. Can't you squeeze him in somewhere?"
"Dad…stop. They're kids, you know. I'm fine," said Dean. "I can wait."
"Yeah well, you're my kid. And that arm is a damn mess."
"Just bones, dad. They'll crazy glue em' back together. Hell, if we had some duct tape, I'd do it myself," said Dean. With that, he slinked towards a waiting room chair, looking like he was about to keel over.
John ground his teeth in irritation. "Dean…"
"What, dad?" said Dean. He collapsed into one of the chairs, his eyelids drooping in utter exhaustion as he looked expectantly at John to join him.
John exhaled loudly and followed, clamoring down in a seat. His chair vibrated with the motion of Dean quaking in pain next to him.
"It's fine," slurred Dean as leaned his head back against the wall and closed his eyes, taking deep and calculating breaths as if to ward off the pain. He held his arm against his chest like it was made of the most fragile glass, securing the strip from John's shirt even tighter around the mangled limb.
John went to work on the paperwork, shuddering a little bit when he got to the part of the form that asked for Dean's medical history and most recent injuries. Gunshots, knife wounds, concussions, more broken bones were just what popped up off the top of John's head. His eyes traveled to Dean again. Most people would've assumed his boy was asleep or close to it, but John knew better. He could tell in the way the muscles of Dean's throat jumped and contracted every few seconds that Dean was definitely not asleep and certainly not relaxed. John wanted to put a hand of comfort on his kid's knee, on his back, anywhere at all really, but was afraid the motion would startle Dean and cause him more pain. Hesitantly, he went back to the forms and continued to fill them out.
A while later, he finished and walked the forms back up to the admission's desk. Miss Piggy was still tapping furiously on her computer. John nudged the window and set down the clipboard loudly. "Get him in yet?"
The lady stopped typing and took an irritated glance at the forms. "Still probably looking at hours, Mr. Jagger. Your son Keith will just have to wait."
"Swell," said John. He wandered back to his seat, feeling completely useless. His eyes landed on a young girl probably Dean's age. She was holding an icepack to her wrist and staring thoughtfully at his seemingly passed out son. When she caught John's gaze, she quickly looked away, her face reddening. John chuckled as he sat back down next to Dean. "You're practically comatose and you still got a little girl on the hook."
Dean groaned weakly. "She hot?"
His son sounded more out of it and in even more pain than he had even five minutes earlier.
"You okay?" asked John, alarmed.
"Dandy," breathed Dean.
John stretched his arm to Dean's other side, his hand wrapping around his son's uninjured arm. He pulled Dean in his direction. "Why don't you lay your head on my shoulder? You can relax a little bit more."
Dean groaned more in annoyance than in pain. "Dad," he whined.
"Come on," said John, pulling Dean down until his son's cheek was flush against his shoulder. He could feel the heat of a fever starting to blaze through his son's body. He squeezed Dean tightly against him. "Better?"
John saw another ambulance pull into the bay and a slew of doctors and nurses sprinting outside to greet it. That didn't bode well for one badly scrambled arm. "Shouldn't be too much longer," said John, lying.
Dean only sighed in acknowledgement.
John moved his hand from Dean's arm to his hair, tousling it. He felt so damn helpless. Not to mention useless. Ever since Sam had left for Stanford, he was so much more sensitive and aware of Dean getting hurt. Not that he hadn't before, but for some reason now, it was so much worse. Maybe it was because he felt like he'd already lost one son in Sam and absolutely could not bear the thought of losing Dean too.
Not that Dean kept his mind at ease all that often. He absolutely hated the overly brave face that Dean had taken to putting on, which had only gotten worse since Sam had left. The kid would hide injuries, refuse treatment, not take medicine. It was dangerous. And he knew he had his own self to blame for it. Dean was just doing what he'd been taught, hell, what he'd been witness to his whole life. He was trying to be as unbothersome and unburdensome as possible. The perfect solider. That was Dean. He wanted to ring his boy's neck for following orders only too well.
He felt Dean sag in exhaustion deeper against him and a few minutes later, felt the steady cadence of his breath along with the slight vibration of a snore. His son was out like a light against him and he couldn't tell if the notion warmed him or scared the hell out of him. Maybe a little bit of both. One thing he was happy about was that his son was out of pain, at least temporarily. John held still and quiet for a long while, his own eyes closing, his mind wandering as he braced his injured son in his arms.
Sometime later, the sound of another ambulance's siren jolted them both out of their peaceful interlude. John furiously blinked his eyes open as Dean bolted awake, harshly jerking his arm. "Ooohhh!" Dean grasped his arm tightly to his chest and curled around it, shivering in pain, his eyes glued shut, his jaw muscles shuddering.
John ran a hand down Dean's back. "Hang on, son." He got to his feet and darted to the admissions window. Miss Piggy was still typing away. "Can we get him in yet?" he asked urgently. "He's getting worse."
"A little while longer. We're going to be admitting some of the crash victims to the hospital, so that should free up some of the beds in the E.R. Give us a few more minutes," she replied, not looking up from the computer.
John glanced back at Dean, who was visibly trembling and looking a little green. He turned back to Miss Piggy. "Well, can you at least give him something for the pain?"
"I'm sorry, but not until he's been examined by the doctor and prescribed something through official hospital channels."
John slammed his hand down on the counter causing Miss Piggy to stop typing and look up at him. "Screw your official hospital channels. My son's in pain."
"Sir, if you don't stop, I'll have to call security."
John sucked in a deep breath and stepped away from the window. "I'm sorry…I just…he's my boy. I want you to help him."
For the first time since they'd arrived, Miss Piggy looked at him with something resembling compassion. "We're going to help him, Mr. Jagger. I promise you. Can you be patient for me and give us a little more time?"
"Probably not, but I'll give it a shot," said John uneasily.
"At least you're honest. Just a few more minutes, okay?"
John hesitantly nodded as he walked away and sank back down next to Dean, who wasn't looking good at all. His son was sweating and panting and swallowing convulsively as groans and sighs of pain echoed from his throat
John braced his arm across Dean's back. "Easy, just a few more minutes."
"Dad, I don't feel good." Dean opened his eyes to slits and John could see the pure misery shining out of them.
John's gut clenched in sympathy as he gently pushed Dean forward. "Put your head between your legs. It'll take the spew feeling away."
Dean let John guide him forward until his head was resting against his knees, his arm tucked up against his chest.
"Inhale through your noise, Dean and then blow out your mouth," coached John. "Easy…easy." He soothed his hand up and down Dean's back, feeling his son trying to breathe evenly. "That's it." They stayed that way for a few minutes until John was sure Dean wasn't going to puke on his shoes. "Better?"
Dean nodded wordlessly.
"Okay," said John. He carefully prodded Dean towards his lap. "Lay down against me."
"Dad," grunted Dean in awkward protest.
"Just do it," said John impatiently, rolling Dean so his head was settled in his lap. Despite his protests, after a moment Dean relaxed and then shut his eyes, sinking against him like he was a pillow. John looked down at Dean's face and realized he could've just as easily been five, ten or sixteen as he was twenty three. His son was his son, no matter how much of a man he had grown into. He still wanted to protect him, to take care of him, to take away his pain. That would never change. Ever.
"Keith Richards," called Miss Piggy.
John looked her way.
"You can bring your son back now, Mr. Jagger."
John gave her an appreciative nod and then looked down at his son, nudging his good arm. "Dean."
Dean stirred, moaning
"Come on, time to get you put back together," said John, easing him up into a sitting position.
Dean looked at him wide-eyed, groggy and in pain but with the slight relief that came with knowing he'd be out of it soon. "Hope they give me the good stuff."
John chuckled. "Me too, Dean. Me too."
That's All Folks!