This fic is for Skag Trendy and she's a downright fucking legend! Who's graced us with a many of grand and I mean GRAND fics :) SO this was a little prompt from her.
Hope I didn't massacre it.
Summary: You should really notice when your brother stops breathing under your watch. Hunt gone awry. For Skag Trendy! Happy days hun. Crossover just slightly with Red Dwarf, cos you're that special. Reality likes to bend just for you.
Warning: Language, gore, Set after season 2 when things are still a bit sketchy between them. Remember that time, it was so angsty...
Disclaimer: I certainly don't own Supernatural but I do have a lot more in common with Red Dwarf.
One more thing: GO. And check her out. Now. Skag Trendy.
Warning again: Medical jargon nonsense to follow and swears...
"Well maybe it's not a spirit then, you said yourself the vic's were pretty torn up." Sam shifted in the passenger seat, absently pushing and prodding the fading bruises on his face from the destruction of the crash that had nearly taken all the Winchester's with it.
"Yeah, but you didn't see the pictures man, nothing I've seen can tear people apart like that, almost as if a force did it..."
Dean flicked a glance to his brother, hands tight on the wheel as he took the next exit that would take them to Shell Springs, to look into a rash of killings that were growing in radius just off one of the main camping sites in Indiana.
"There's a lot of local history of Indian ground not too far from there, maybe someone disturbed something and it got a taste for blood." Sam grimaced at the thought. It was rare things weren't all about the bodies piling up so violently these days.
"It's ugh, Native American, not Indian Dean..."
"Whatever...if it's deciding to paint the trees red with people. It's bad. As soon as we get there we can gank it, whatever it is. It's getting fried tonight."
Sam frowned, face turning in surprise.
"Dean- we don't even know what it is-"
"Yes we do. Spirit...or creepy Pet Cemetery Native, chill dude." Dean stared at Sam hard, decision made.
"Dean-" Sam's body was tense, frantic to push at the Dean-dictatorship and get his brother to listen to him, that this was a truly shitty idea.
"What? You did some research, we've got a game plan."
Sam's eyes widened.
"No, I've barely researched it, like at all...this is a little gung ho, even for you."
"Shut up Sam." Dean growled.
Dean was blunt and hard with his voice and Sam shut his mouth with a sigh and sat back in his chair. He knew where it would end up if he pushed. He'd had the recent experience of Dean's too quick anger aimed directly at him and he didn't want a repeat.
The muscle in Dean's jaw ticked, the one he hadn't used in years nearly as much as he was using these last few months. Losing John, Dad, had been one of the punches to his gut he just hadn't come back from, that and dealing with the clinging weights of John's last words to him not being, hey son take care of yourself, I'm proud of you, No, it had been kill your brother if it gets out of hand, which he'd never let it get, but just like Sam had runaway to Stanford, the hunt found him and Sam had to pay a hell of a price- and he couldn't stop that price from happening, but he was damn well going to try and stop anything else breaking his family apart. Sam wasn't turning evil, could never happen. Dean would watch out for that kid forever.
But he was fucking annoying as hell right now.
"You always do this, something gets under your armor and you bite back. What happened to doing this smart? To not getting killed like we almost have in the last hunts." Phantom pains and images of being a split second late and having to bury Dean assaulted his mind and he physically paled. Sam tried to keep the edge from his voice as he spoke to Dean. He really needed his brother to be on his side with this, not against him.
Sam's lips stayed tight as he watched Dean defiantly sigh and jerk his head to look at Sam, anger flashing in his eyes.
"Getting us killed? Cut the drama down college boy, it's been one...or two hospital trips, tops. And it was all minor-" Dean was driving a little bit faster, leaning further into his window and avoiding looking at Sam whilst trying to diffuse his fast burning anger.
"No, that's not the point Dean, you're reckless, ever since Dad and you just, throw yourself out there. You think I can burn someone else? Be alone and tough it out? The rate you're going..." Sam's mouth went dry, he couldn't even finish that sentence.
The Chevy rocked as Dean pressed on the gas and surged forward, clawing up the blacktop.
"No-one else is dying Sam." Dean said thickly. Anger making his teeth grind, and a tight icy grip of fear worked round his body. He visibly flinched at the insult and Sam's eyes softened.
"I didn't mean-"
"No, course you didn't. You just bring up Dad all the damned time, about his car, what he'd want, what he'd say- you even friggin' see Bobby about Bow hunting, what the hell man? That shit's done, buried and goddamn burnt. Shut. Up. About it." The Chevy was vibrating with tension when Dean cast a glance Sam's way. "Fucking conversations' finished."
Sam swallowed in the suddenly deafening silence. His hands suddenly too warm and still, too many words wanting to rush out of his mouth to fix this.
"Doesn't matter. We're here." Dean bit, eyes already maneuvering the car into a space.
Sam's eyes whirled around to where Dean was pulling in and stopping, catching the signs and the dark deep green trees highlighted with the Chevy's headlights.
"Wait, Dean- I didn't-" Sam's heart pounded, he couldn't quite believe this was happening now. No motel, no nothing. Surely he couldn't be this reckless.
Dean's answer was the slamming of his door in Sam's face.
Sam sat back, a sigh heavy as he exhaled and awkwardly pushed his own door open, finding his brother already packed and ready with an exasperated impatience.
"Dean, we're not ready for this..." Sam said, treading carefully next to his big brother, hands tucked at his sides.
"What? Too reckless for you? You worried about getting a splinter Sammy?" Dean smirked, though it was a shade darker than his normal cocky arrogance.
Dean pulled the glock from his side and roughly threw it at Sam, ignoring the hurt look shining in his baby brothers eyes.
"Well tough it and deal kid, that's what you do in this life."
Dean stormed past, Sam's lips parted and his brother knocked into his shoulder with a grunt of annoyance.
"If you'd like to actually join me on this hunt, I'd move now." Dean called as Sam hesitated at the tree line, only faint scuffs and moving shadows to see where his brother moved off to.
"Damn it Dean." Sam bit his lip, jogging forward to catch up. He hadn't even checked over his weapons, if he was carrying his knife, hell- they didn't even know what this thing was. Sam checked the glock, at least he had some silver rounds and salt shells.
Sam followed his brother like he always did, even if it was into the mouth of danger.
Another thirty minutes of tense silence, nothing but heavy footfalls crashing through leaves and underbrush, catching vines and twigs snapping past the thicket of trees they had to constantly push through, Dean suddenly stopped in front of him, turned his face a fraction to catch Sam's, and stand still just behind him, he gave a sorrowful glance.
It was all Sam needed to feel the heat of argument leave him and then the heavy pull of regret and he ached to simply tell his brother he was sorry. He knew what Dean was going through and he ached to find the time and the words to dig into that, to tell Dean that he understood his anger, that he was there for him.
It wasn't that Dean wasn't a good hunter or he didn't trust him, quite the opposite. It was Dean's selfless behavior and his rush in attitude that sometimes worried Sam he wasn't dealing well and Sam just wanted to help. He wasn't exactly dealing well either.
Dean's shoulders sagged and he dropped the duffle, letting it tug his hands as the handle dropped to his fingers and he moved in and gave Sam the sawn off for the glock.
"We need to head to the campsite." Dean said softly, his eyes finally meeting Sam's for a second. Still angry, but now glazed over with guilt.
"Yeah." Sam swallowed, squeezing the gun in his warm palms. He'd take whatever small apology from Dean that he could, they needed each other now and nothing was going to get in the way of that. Sam simply couldn't let it.
"Which way?" Dean asked, stepping back to stand even with Sam.
"We headed North so uh, just a little further...I guess. That's where most of the victims either stayed at or passed."
Dean nodded, waiting for Sam to shift his foot forward before he too set off.
They soon came to a cut off in the trees, a fork in the road that either lead them down the steeper inclines or off into the clearing, where yellow tape still fluttered when it caught in the steady wind.
"Think they keep the rangers around?"
Sam shook his head, eyes alert. "No, they'd kicked the campers off the site, and restricted the access. Who would actually come out here with all the killings? Besides us?"
"Okay, so...you wanna' cry wolf?" Dean raised his eyebrows, glancing round. "Looks like Bambi should be here man. Where's the killer?"
Sam's eyes trained between the trees, in the pockets of darkness where anything could be stood or poised, just watching them and Sam definitely felt like he was being watched.
"Something's watching us." Sam whispered, his back tensing as the hairs on his neck stood on end. A million scenarios rushed past Sam's eyes as to what it could be, how it could go wrong and where would they run, what if...
Sam took a breath and steadied his weapon. Dean's loud click of his own weapon reminded Sam the hunt was well and truly on.
"What? Where?" Dean snapped, instantly scouring for places anything big enough to be a threat could hide.
"Sounds like it's coming from..."
Dean was suddenly ripped from his brother, his back slamming into the dirt and the force rattling his bones. He caught sight of Sam sliding on his back in the opposite direction, pained lines around his mouth.
A figure walked straight out of the darker stack of woods, acting like it owned the place with night black eyes that narrowed at the fallen Winchesters and a sneer set on its face.
"Dean!" Sam gasped, fear catching his breath as he pushed himself up.
They'd just faced a whole shit-fuck-mess of these things and lost to a hell of a price and now here are the hell spawn sons of bitches again, ready to take and kill and ruin. Sam's breath hitched as he saw Dean stiffen, and so far away in the other direction, thankfully still armed though.
"No." He muttered, standing and running, he grabbed the fallen sawn off as the demon turned to Dean, a sick delight lighting up its eyes.
Its hand outstretched and opened and Dean cried out as he felt the familiar pushing pain of his organs forcefully being crushed against the hard earth.
Sam fired once, right into its back, jerking at the spray of blood and the icy stare when the black eyes turned to him.
Sam felt the jolt of the force again, the telekinetic shove that landed him, back against a large tree and a an uneasy then greatly unbreathable pressure seized him for a moment before he slumped, dazed.
Sam coughed, lifted his face with hair hanging over his eyes and saw the demon stood over his brother again and Dean's wide eyes.
"What are you doing breathing Dean? Didn't Ole Yellow Eyes finish you off when he had the chance? When he got your dear old Dad. Guess who's next kiddo..."
The demon had a second to lift its hand and aim a fatal strike at Dean when Sam's knife slid through its heart piercing the skin like butter.
The demon jerked, turned with lightning fast action and roughly grabbed a shocked Sam, shoving his back into the tree and laying a flat hand just over Sam's heart.
"Your turn." The demon growled, eyes dark as it gripped Sam.
The fingers dug into Sam's chest and he looked down a mixture of confusion and fear. The hand jerked and electric like pain fired through his body and he grunted a sharp cry. His heart seizing in his chest made it unable to draw a breath, the hand jerked again and Sam found himself lifted, back against the tree and the intensity only increased.
"AH!" Sam's eyes slammed shut. His head thrown back as he choked to hold the shout back.
"SAM!" Dean scrambled to stand, grunting he ran forward, aiming his glock.
"Answer your brother Sammy." The demon jerked Sam to answer.
The demons head cocked and it felt like liquid fire rushed instead of blood through Sam's veins, his head slammed back and he jerked, an anguished scream torn from his throat.
His hands uselessly grappled at the demons, trying to pull the heat off, to take the pain away and still the waves increased.
Dean emptied his round into the bastard, saw the bullets bury themselves into his back and still his brother screamed.
"LET HIM GO!" Dean wasn't opposed to beating this thing to death with his gun if he had to.
The next shot went through its temple, dark blood spilling down its neck and Sam slumped, breathing heavy and raw as black smoke drifted from its open mouth and curled around Sam as he choked.
Sam slid down the tree, no effort to hold himself up as he toppled on his side, crying out as he landed and Dean dragged the body away, watching the smoke curl up through the trees and shoot off.
"D-Dea...'n" Sam whispered with bloody lips.
Dean shifted Sam onto his back, steering clear of his chest and wincing every time Sam drew in a ragged breath.
"Hey-man, Sammy?" Dean gently started feeling over his brother, for cuts, bruises, breaks, open wounds that could prove fatal... that sort of stuff.
Sam blinked up at him.
As soon as Dean's hand lifted over Sam's chest his brothers eyes widened and shoved at Dean before he could touch there.
"Don't." Sam gasped, his chest hitching with shallow breaths.
Dean pulled out his knife, cutting his way through Sam's shirt and slicing his under shirt as Sam winced.
"Gotta' take a look Sam..." Dean said shakily, pulling the material away as gently as he could.
Dean pealed back the final layer and looked on with widening eyes, a gasp escaped his mouth.
"Holy shit Sam."
Dean reached his hand forward, hovering just above the damage he could see.
"What's it feel like Sammy?"
Concerned green eyes locked with Sam and his looked just as terrified.
"A burn? A break?...Sam? Need some help here." Dean needed to know what he was dealing with, what the son of a bitch did.
Dean blinked at the area the demon touched, wondered how the hell it could've done something like that.
"J's hurts..." Sam muttered, soft tremors shaking his form.
Sam watched as Dean blew out a long breath and sat back on his haunches. Glancing down as his back and neck protested Sam caught a dark purple almost black bruise over his sternum and collapsed back with a gasp.
"What's it done to me?" Sam asked through clenched teeth.
"Sam...just...okay. We need help." Dean's eyes darted round, searching through the darkness if it came back, if there was anymore damn demons.
A demon, this close after their dad- Dean didn't want those memories flooding back to haunt him, the present was doing just that now Sam was hurt. And Sam was hurt following his rules.
Dean caught Sam's large scared eyes then and avoided them, he honestly couldn't explain this and he doubted any doctor would either. What the hell had that damn demon done to Sam?
There was a deep bruise, as dark as Dean's leather jacket fading out from dark purple to blue and even black in places, turning red just around the imprint.
The imprint of the demons hand.
As if it were trying to push through Sam's chest, leaving a heavy burn like a brand.
Sam's eyes squeezed shut and he leant back against the grass, breath still wheezy when he daren't expand his chest for fear of the pain.
The elder Winchester ran a hand over his face. This had happened on his watch, when he'd gone off half cocked thinking it to be a damn spirit.
Yeah, thanks hindsight.
Dean was like this lately, firing off and shooting his mouth. It was his way or the highway and if Sam wanted to come with, he'd be dragged around and do what he was told and to be honest, Sam had put up with a lot of crap from Dean recently, it was only last week he'd had the cast removed and his hand was still getting back to strength. But had he complained? No, because Dean told him to shut up and be a man about it.
"Sammy...I'm gonna' move you okay?" Dean blinked away the memories, biting his lip as he saw Sam grit his teeth.
His brothers eyes shot open and he swallowed, already tensing for wherever Dean touched.
He decided a lift from under the shoulders, Sam wouldn't have to do anything and Dean could get him up, most of the way anyway.
Tilting his head back Sam coughed lightly, and Dean saw the bloody tinge on his lips and let go of Sam's arms immediately.
Sam gave an owlish blink, tasted it on his tongue and licked his lips.
"Think...just bit my tongue...felt like electricity or something." Sam swallowed, his brow furrowed like it was when he was hurting and his fingers twitched like it was a constant pain.
Dean noticed how close it was over Sam's heart and how deep the bruising looked.
"Your chest feel okay? Your lungs?...Your heart?" Dean asked, still nervous where to touch his brother. He hadn't exactly been the big brother for awhile and this all came a bit too sudden. His mojo was off with Sam, it felt wrong being this close to him sometimes.
Sam grunted. "Fine." He answered.
Dean ignored the hurt look on Sam's face and the regret and guilt he felt pass on his own.
"Okay, on three...one-"
Dean pulled in one slow yet swift motion, tugging under Sam's arms and resting Sam's back against his chest as they stood full height.
"AGH-uh...God...nngggghhh..." Sam panted against the movement, didn't jerk away from Dean though, didn't pull away.
His heart thudded against his ribs so hard Dean thought it had to be painful.
There was just the sound of thumping hearts and heavy breathing misting up in the clearing.
Dean turned so it left all the moves to him, just twisted slightly so his brother could rest his full weight on Dean and hooked his hand through Sam's belt loops.
"We'll take it slow." Dean whispered, heading back to the car, hoping this wasn't like their luck always was and it didn't turn out worse.
Could they have a break for once?
"Sam, listen...man, I'm...I shouldn't of made you-"
"Shut up." Sam whispered, and Dean barely heard it as Sam breathed out, closed his eyes again and focused on feet moving forward and breathing.
It got a little harder once they reached the small hill, Dean pulling an unwilling Sam up through every gasp of pain.
He was definitely going to check out those ribs when he got Sam horizontal and call Bobby, find out what the hell kinda' demon that was.
Fitting Sam in the passenger seat was more of a problem, Sam's eyes shutting in need for the sweet release of sleep yet his body protesting any movement that wasn't being completely still.
"Sammy-" Dean said, his voice soft as he watched his brother.
"I can do it." Sam answered, rushed in a heated breath as he splayed awkward sweaty palms on the impalas frame and forced himself forward to sit.
"You can lie down in the back-"
"I'm fine." Sam snapped, eyes widening when his hand slipped and he tipped back, breath already held like a piece of fragile glass.
"Whoa! Hey...I gotcha." Dean whispered, soft towering arms holding Sam gently.
Sam let his eyes sink shut, rolling in the familiar feeling of his brother being there for him, he'd have his back like he always said he would, and then the hateful words came echoing back and suddenly Sam didn't want Dean's false comforts anymore. He only felt that way because he'd fucked up tonight.
Too little, too late... Came back to haunt him.
Be a man
Well tough it and deal kid, that's what you do in this life
"Nuh...Dean, get off..."
Sam pushed weakly, tugging himself free and it felt like ripping off a band aid and the scab.
"Sam, just take a minute. You've got God knows what damage done on the inside-"
"I'm fine, just let go..." Sam tugged again, falling forward into the car, catching himself as Dean let go, hurt in his eyes, and Sam forced himself to sit in and lie back with a gasp against his seat.
Dean shut his door softly and walked round the trunk, catching the handprint on the layered dust, from when he'd dove in the arsenal and grabbed the first bag of weapons he found. Just like he'd dived in on this hunt.
Sam tipped his head back, eyes squeezed shut, straining his chest and he breathed out on the strums of pain. His chest felt beaten, hot, like he'd broken everything in it and it would never work again. The bruising felt like it was spreading, taking over the handprint and seeming to be getting darker from the centre out.
The driver side opened and the car rocked, Dean sitting for a moment staring ahead.
"You still got that Insurance?" Dean asked after several moments of silence.
"What?" Sam croaked, eyes still shut.
"The insurance from the hospital? Ours are gone."
Sam frowned, swallowed and opened his eyes, sitting up to glance at Dean.
"M'not going to hospital. I'm fine...just ice it."
Dean sighed, hung his head low on his chest and inhaled deeply. "Sam, I was wrong about before...you don't need to tough it out, you don't have to do this just-
"What? To get your approval? To be a man? I know!" Sam blinked, tears of building emotion and pain in his eyes. "Just drive the car...find us a motel." Sam whispered, shaking his head and sitting back.
Yeah. Dean nodded. He deserved that. He started the engine and the car rocked to life.
He didn't speak for the most part of the journey but he avoided every bump, every pothole and when his brothers breathing started to wheeze and he saw the sweat glistening over Sam's upper body, he put his damn foot down.
Sam's gasps were getting less and less, his chest rising and falling and then almost as if it stalled and went still his brother was out of it.
Dean reached his hand over, tucking it behind Sam's neck and gave it a light squeeze, concern rising when he got no reaction.
Dean waited with baited breath, ready for when Sam's chest took it's next rise and he'd feel the release of an exhale on his hand.
Except...Sam didn't inhale.
"Sammy?" Dean breathed, the car already slowing, drifting to the hard shoulder and skidding to a stop.
He'd never run to Sam's side faster, tugging the door open and pulling Sam out as fast as he could, roughly grabbing exposed arms and laying Sam out on the cold road.
"Shit, you don't get to do this Sam...Damnit!"
Dean felt for Sam's pulse, felt it ebb and the last weak beat until nothing greeted his fingers anymore and he was staring at Sam's blue tinged lips, his own heart racing.
Tilting Sam's head back, Dean placed his mouth over Sam's and blew a deep full breath.
Rearing back, Dean hesitantly laid his hands over Sam's bruised chest, noticing the spreading darkness of injury and pressed, wincing as he felt Sam's body give way to his hands, knowing if he was awake this would hurt like hell.
"Breathe Sammy..." Dean whispered, tears breaking. He could feel something like dread rushing through his veins, his stomach, tighten in an iron grip of ice around him because still his baby brother was laid out before him, pale and still. Not breathing.
"Sammy, Breathe!" Dean finished the compressions and went in for another breath.
He knew what he was feeling, being a brother again. Being Sam's big brother and the worry making knots of ice weigh him down.
He started the compressions again, Sam jerking as he pushed harder.
"Sam...please-" Dean's voice was raw as he kept up the brutal pace, breathing and beating for Sam.
"Sammy...please. Damnit breathe!"
Dean gave one final push, feeling Sam's chest dip trying to coach his heart into its natural beat, warming his lungs to fucking work and if anything surely the pain would be enough to-
Something clicked, something like cartilage in Sam's chest and Dean's hands flew back, Sam's eyes snapped open and he jerked, a raw sounding gasp as he drank in air greedily.
Dean's hands suddenly become gentle, his voice breaking like Sam hasn't heard in...months actually. Resting over Sam's shoulder, forcing his head to tip back so his brother could breathe easier.
"AH...D-" Sam couldn't stop shaking, new pain like searing fire spreading across his chest and it hurt to breath, God it hurt and his eyes teared up as he blinked against the sting, every movement jagged flaring pain but Dean's keeping him still so he's grateful.
Even if his lungs feel like they're slowly defrosting and his heart feels like it was fighting him. He was grateful.
"Shh Sam. Breathe..."
He's not letting his chest expand, the bruising feeling hot and tight like a band and inside everything's just burning. His breaths are fast and shallow and he has to fight the scream as Dean's hand touches his sternum.
Dean blinks down at his brother, pulling the shredded material away and catching the dark spread of the bruise, noticing as it stretched the colours start to differ and he carefully feels the dark area tucking just under Sam's ribs and his eyes widen.
He knows what this is, or what it's becoming.
"Internal bleeding." Dean mutters, brain firing into action as he checks over Sam's body, seeing the same spread of colour moving out from the handprint which was now nearly black. "Shit Sammy...you're bleeding inside."
Sam doesn't answer, just moans and mumbles something sounding like Dean in pained grunts and pants.
"Sammy? Did you hear me? You need help. Now." Dean growls, pushing to stand up and reaching to grab Sam under the arms again.
"M'fine...Dean..." Sam gasps, clenching his teeth and grunting, his eyes squeezed tightly shut when Dean tugs and he's dragged, half lifted and then pulled over the front seat, his back leant over Dean's thighs as he's tilted up.
"How's the breathing?" Dean asks, starting the engine and letting Sam tip his head back, his feet stretch out to touch the passenger door and Sam wonders when he got back in the car and suddenly they're moving.
Streaks of green and brown blur as they pass the trees and the street light filters through the impala and when did morning happen?
"Sammy, just hold on...okay?"
Sam frowns with glazed eyes, breathing wetly. Why did Dean sound so scared? Why wasn't he sat where he normally sat and as he felt Dean jerk him he wondered when he'd closed his eyes?
What's happening to me?
The pain in his chest had become a dull ache, everything going blessedly numb, his fingers and everything from his neck down feeling like pins and needles.
-"mmy...so sorry...wasn't thinking...can't leave too...I can't deal with that...haven't been...time to be...brother..."
Sam frowned, feeling the car rock to a stop and bright lights shine through the windows. Why was Dean sounding so out of it? Why did he sound so scared?
Sam breathed in heavily, his chest expanding and his eyes widening in a choked gasp when he realized why he hadn't been doing that.
"D'n!" Sam gasped, his fumbling fingers finding Dean's hand and he squeezed.
"-kay Sam...hospital now...hold on...hold on please...Sammy...BREATHE!"
Dean's arms wrapped around Sam, pulling him across the bench seat as he gasped, body tense, and dragged him to the bright white lights of the hospital entrance.
Sam stumbled, feet awkwardly moving forward as he leant in to Dean, holding onto Dean's jacket in a fisted death-grip.
He wasn't letting go and as Sam blocked out the sound with his own rushing blood he felt Dean's heart race and his brothers wide and worried green eyes staring into him as he fell back, more faces appearing and then he felt the world shift as he was wheeled away.
Dean jogged after them, the army of doctors carting his brother off, shouting orders and cutting away his torn shirts.
Dean followed them to the doorway as he saw Sam's arm roll limply off the gurney and his hand open.
No. No Sam looked too still.
The mean looking woman in green scrubs didn't let him go any further but he heard the voices raise and more orders being shouted as Sam finally did disappear from sight.
They pushed at his chest, harder than Dean ever would and prodded, he felt his side flare in pain but he didn't have the breath to yell at them, to tell them to stop and then they pried his eyes open, pulled on his arms and snapped their fingers to get his attention.
They were asking questions, Sam saw their mouths open but he didn't hear them, only the weakening beat of his heart and the ache in his chest suddenly intensify.
Sam took a breath, inhaled to say something, to tell them to fuck right off when something gave in him, his body suddenly soft and warm and he released it in a whoosh, his eyes clenching as he leant back, arms rolling off the gurney.
Lips parted and ever so softly, the word Dean left in a whisper. But he doubted they'd heard it and he knew no more.
"When can I see him?"
Dean asked, eyes weary from the hours Sam was in surgery and he was left to roam the waiting room of white white white.
"The Doctor will come see you hon, try not to worry. We've got the best surgeons in the county here this weekend for a medical convention. You're lucky."
Yeah, Dean scoffed, sure it was lucky. Rushing into a damn hunt and practically dragging Sam to a giant demon attack target.
Dean spun, catching the balding elder man with a clip board searching the array of empty chairs, he walked up and shook the mans hand.
"Hey, is he okay? Can I see him?"
Dean's eyes darted to the chart, to the mans eyes to catch a glimpse of anything and licked his lips when the Doctor held out his hand and motioned for Dean to follow him down the corridor.
"Your brother's okay for now, he's in recovery right now. He did have some internal bleeding, mostly in his chest cavity and some blood in his lungs but-" The Doctor caught Dean's wide eyes. "That's been taken care of. There's a great deal of strain around his heart though, as if it encountered a trauma. Do you have any idea how that came about? And the bruising is strange- but the ribs, none are broken or cracked so I'm confident it's Sam's body reaction to what happened...he fell right?"
Dean swallowed, his eyes closing to re-live Sam's scream, pinned to the tree by the demons hand.
"Y-yeah. He clipped the side of the branch on his way down. Told him not to climb trees."
The Doctor nodded, leading Dean into the lift.
"He's very lucky in that fact then. It's his heart I'm worried about...has he had any contact with electricity or been shocked before?"
...felt like electricity...
"No." Dean shook his head, ignoring his own heart straining in ache for Sam. "No he hasn't."
The lift pinged and they walked out onto the empty corridor.
"Dean, the bruising..." The Doctor's voice lowered. "It almost looks like a hand print and the force-it's as if something tried to rip Sam's body apart- the damage done...Dean. It wasn't a damn tree."
Dean swallowed. His face blank and schooled.
"It nearly succeeded Dean. The marks are a lot like what happened to the hikers just south of here, and I don't care about bears or murderers. It's not normal."
"We'll know more when he wakes up, but right now...I'm afraid there isn't more we can do."
"W-what...wait, will he be okay?"
The Doctor sighed. "Depends if Sam pulls through- this is up to his body now and his fight. I know it's tough son, he looks like he's been through a lot..."
No shit Doc...
"His body is tired, but he's fighting. The quicker he wakes up, the better his chances of a full recovery...but, these things aren't always so straight cut. I'm sorry son."
Before he left, he gave Dean a knowing look, as if he knew Sam needed Dean in this and pointed just off to Dean's left.
Sammy was in there.
Dean turned the handle, felt his body shiver when he saw Sammy, he looked damned tiny in the bed, white sheets nearly matching his skin, all the machines beeping and the wires hooked and fed under his skin.
Dean sat on the hard plastic chair and reached out to hold Sam's hand.
He could see the dark circles under his brothers eyes now he was closer, a result to how bad Sam had been hurt.
His chest was open, the hand print nearly completely gone in the array of angry purple and red bruising.
There was a wad of bandage on one side, probably where'd they'd cut in to drain his lungs and a clear plastic tube feeding out. But Dean didn't want to think why that was there-why any of the tubes were there because Sam didn't need them and if he'd been the brother Sam had trusted with his life, Sam wouldn't even be laid here out of it.
Dean bit his lip, feeling the sting in his eyes and the lump in his throat.
He'd been running away from his Dad's death, running from hospitals and now Sam was stuck in one because he couldn't wait to kill something.
Sam didn't need to tough it out, he did.
"Sammy..." Dean's breath hitched. "I'm so sorry."
Sam hadn't woken up yet, nearly seven hours after his surgery, but they'd convinced Dean it was normal, he was under heavy duty meds and he'd be out for awhile.
The Doctors words were still haunting Dean, there was nothing they could do- and now it was all up to Sam? To keep fighting when he might not have as much fight left in him?
Dean swore to himself when Sam woke up- he was going to be the brother he should've been after Dad, looking after Sam and talking to the damn kid, not pushing him away- into harms way.
"That hunt was all my fault Sam..." Dean bit his lip, elbows braced on his knees as he leant forward, fatigue clear on his face. "Never should of said those things to you..."
The machines beeped and Sam's chest rose and fell silently.
"You still got that damn demon, came right up when you didn't even have to- still watched my back when I practically turned on yours."
Dean blinked and watched his brother, eyes saddening as he took note of Sam's pallor.
"I'm proud you're my kid brother Sammy. You looked out for me when...even when I didn't for you."
His head dipping, Dean closed his eyes, ready for another few hours of silence from Sam when he felt rather than heard something stir and reaching his hand out to Sam's arm, felt the fine tremor snake down to his fingers and Sam's finger press to his.
"Sammy? Come on back kid..."
Eyes rolled behind Sam's lids, his forehead creasing into a frown as his neck turned into a low moan, like a muffled word choked at the back of Sam's throat before his lips even parted he was calling for Dean.
"Right here man. Right here. Bout time you woke up."
Dean's beaming smile at Sam's gathering movement took over for the tears he felt rolling down his face but didn't acknowledge.
Sam's eyes finally opened, unfocused and hazy and he blinked, the room coming to detail as he sought out his brother.
"...Ow..." Sam croaked, swallowing. "Demon...s'it...you get it?"
"Got away. Host was totalled...I was more worried about you getting whammied."
Sam's eyes closed as he came round, rested and huffed a soft chuckle. "...You weren't w'ried...gotta'...tough up."
Even with his eyes closed Dean could catch the fleeting look of hurt cross Sam's face.
He was definitely going to talk some sense for the first time to Sam. And apologize.
"Sammy- I never meant-"
The door drifted open as Dean reeled off his speech and Sam's Doctor glanced between them, smiling when Sam's eyes opened on him.
"Ah, you're up. You were lucky Sam...How're you feeling?"
Sam curled his top lip. "Like I fell...out of a tree..."
The Doctor gave a hearty chuckle and Sam frowned.
He carried out some routine tests, Sam's blood pressure and checked his breathing, the damage still a dark bruise almost covering his entire chest and gently probed each area, stopping when Sam cried out and his breath wheezed.
He filled Sam in on the surgery, why and where he'd be feeling sore and came down to the hard truth- they couldn't do anything for him. This was Sam's fight to finish, his heart was healthy enough before and he could pull through.
The Doc gave Dean another one of his knowing looks and glanced back to Sam.
"This is a fragile time." Watching them a moment longer, the Doctor took Sam's chart and left. "You need a lot of rest."
Sam was sat up, leaning back against the wad of pillows on his bed, mostly awake and conscious from the medication when they swapped his dose earlier. He was still aching, still felt the pain but it wasn't all consuming like before, when he couldn't expand his chest.
"You know, never really said thank you." Dean said, breaking the silence.
"For what?" Sam asked, his voice still thick from sleep.
"After...after the crash. Towing the 'pala, getting Bobby ready for her parts...not freaking out on me...just being there. And then, tonight- you saved my ass."
Sam still didn't look at him, fumbling with some stray cotton on his sheet.
"I'm always saving your ass. S'what lands me in here."
It was said just like a comment, no anger, no heat. Just Sam's resigned voice- his defeated tone. He was sick of saving Dean's ass and taking the bullet.
Dean swallowed. "I know..." He clasped his hands together. "Never should've taken that hunt."
"You practically threatened me to go along on that hunt..." Sam said, hurt shining in his eyes. "If I let you go and you get yourself killed, what? What do I do then? Lose all my family?"
"You didn't have to take the hit for me Sam." Dean said heatedly.
"No, I could've let it rip you apart, then you'd be in this spot, or in a cold drawer."
Dean couldn't stop the concern he felt being crushed with his rising anger.
"Well then why didn't you?"
"You think because you deserve to see what you're doing wrong you deserve to get put in hospital over it? It was going to. Kill. You. What else was I supposed to do? You're reckless and you charge right in...it was there for you Dean, like it was waiting-"
Sam gasped as his voice rose and wrapped a hand over his side, breathing calmly.
"So you take my place? It kills you instead."
Sam shrugged stiffly.
"Better than losing a brother because he was too hot headed to see. You want to know why I've been taking more hits lately? Why I'm always watching your back and taking the bullet?"
"No Sam, enlighten me!"
"You're all I got left Dean, I care about you more than anyone- damn more than Dad." Sam said, his voice breaking as his eyes watered. "And hey, fine- you don't care about me- I'm a kid. Follow you round- annoy you, I've gotta' grow up and be a man. Fine. But I need you here and you go out there alone- recklessly taking these hits- pretty damn quick, I won't have a brother left...the only thing right now keeping you safe and not killing yourself is me playing target..."
Dean blinked at Sam's outburst, watching the way he was greedily taking air, wincing as if the effort hurt.
He bit his tongue to keep his anger in check, he really didn't want to do this now.
Dean stood after a second of silence, voice a harsh contrast to the shouting he'd just done as he whispered. "I'm getting a drink."
Then he left Sam's room, walking down the halls to cool off.
What the hell was he doing? He was supposed to be getting through to Sam not pushing him away again.
Everything seemed to anger him these days and despite Sam being hurt and it knowingly Dean's fault, Sam could still rile him up, still give a powerful sucker punch to Dean's emotions, to what's eating him and instantly the defenses go up and before Dean can reign it in- Dean fights back.
He sighs in the hallway, he knows what he needs to say to the kid but Sam's so damn stubborn.
Dean smiles fondly. He loved that about him.
Several minutes later Dean opens Sam's door and his kid brothers stood, hand over his chest with a look of pain pinching around his eyes as he frowns.
"What the hell are you doing up?" Dean nearly shouted, incredulous.
Sam drops the hand, grabbing his jacket at the side of the bed and moving to put it on.
"Toughin' up remember. I'm ready to go- we can-"
Another flash of pain flits over Sam's face and he clenches his teeth.
"Get back in bed right now- you need to rest up, a demon just fried your damn heart Sam-" Dean's advancing to get Sam horizontal again whether he likes it or not.
"So? You're allowed to check out whenever but I'm not? Another way of telling me how weak I am Dean? How if I have to do this life, I've gotta tough it out?...that it?"
Tears are shining in Sam's eyes as Dean grabs his arm and stills him.
"I never meant that." Dean says softly.
"No?" Sam pants, clearly in pain. "You want to hit me again? knock some sense into me? Maybe that'll give you a brother to be proud of!"
"Sam, calm down. Hey! I never meant what I said- I was upset alright, I was lashing out-"
Sam sags back and Dean's hands are ready to catch him if he falls.
"I'm sick of it Dean." Sam rushes in a breath, his voice marginally weaker than a second before. "I can- can't...take these hits for you...any-anymore...AH!"
Sam goes to grab for his chest, violent pain seizing his heart like a fist slowly squeezing.
"Sammy?" Dean lowers Sam to his knees as he sees the sweat break out on Sam's skin and his breathing quicken, his eyes tightly clamped shut.
"C-can't lose you...j-just wanted to ahh...ah...to help...Uh...D'n...s'hurts..."
"Sammy? Hey- what's wrong? What're you feeling?"
Dean eyes dart to Sam's hand covering his heart, in a tight fist shaking with the pain.
Sam's head ducks under Dean's chin as he weakens and his breathing rattles in Dean's ears.
"S-sorry...can't be...b'tter...'rother..." Sam whispers, barely heard when he jerks again and cries out, a ripped choke of anguish as his eyes fly open and his free hand fists Dean's jacket.
"HELP! I NEED SOME HELP IN HERE! Sammy...hey, Sammy! Stay with me...Don't you dare do anything, you're the best brother ever kid. Everything you do- I've always been proud of you and af-after Dad...I shouldnt've ignored you...you were hurt too. Sammy...please, I'm sorry kid."
Dean had a moment to feel Sam's heart beat furiously into the palm of his hand and Sam's pained breathy retort before the room filled with people and Sam was pulled away from him, pale and still again.
The last two hours had seemed like days, no-one was giving him any information on Sam and after his brother had dropped like a stone and they'd rushed him to the bed, shoved the pillows aside and laid Sam flat ...well, Dean didn't wanna' think on that...
Two hours earlier.
"Sir, you need to stand back. We have-"
"That's my baby brother in there! SAM!" Dean banged against the door, ignoring the nurses attempts to sit him down.
Arms were pushing him back, holding him just by the doorway and Dean could hardly see his brother in the mass of moving bodies in green scrubs, in white coats.
Dean's own heart felt like it was squeezing the life out of him, contracting painfully with weighted worry.
"What's wrong with him- he was fine a few minutes ago and then-"
Dean's breath halted, held painfully in his chest as he stared with wide terrified eyes when they pulled in the crash cart and Sam's bandages were cut off, his bruised chest open, no breath to rise and fall in any gentle rhythm.
It was like watching in slow motion and no matter how much Dean fought he couldn't get to Sam, couldn't stop them when they laid the pads over Sam's chest and the defibrillator was lifted.
Sam's head was tilted back, the crowd standing back as someone shouted clear and the shock jolted Sam, Dean's mouth went dry as his brother jerked, back arching as if he screamed and Dean clenched his eyes shut, the image forever burnt into them.
"Sammy." Dean whispered. Knuckles white.
The flat line still wailed.
Dean heard the bed shake again, the thud as Sam's body bounced.
The machine blipped, one beep like a skipping stone and the nurses closed back in, administering something to Sam's IV.
"Stable...okay, get him checked. His breathing is a little wet- I want an ultrasound and a chest X-ray..."
Dean gasped, air rushing back into his lungs and the bodies left the room, Sam was wrapped again with a loose bandage, oxygen mask over his pale face and even more machines with wires connecting to his little brother.
Dean closed his eyes, tears leaking and sagged back. He took hold of Sam's clammy hand and rested his forehead over Sam's knuckles.
"Sammy...please be okay..."
Dean sniffed, his only response was the heart monitor beeping back. The only sign Sam was still alive beside the tiny rise and fall of his abused chest.
Dean blinked away the wetness in his eyes. There was no way Sam should've gone downhill so fast, he was a Winchester damnit, they didn't give up-
Dean blinked again... he'd practically pushed him to the edge and over. People didn't give up if they thought they were being fought for.
Sam wouldn't fight if he thought his brother didn't want him anymore, didn't need him.
Dean held Sam's hand tighter, feeling the thready pulse.
"You hold on, you hear me? I am not losing someone else to this life...You need to give me time Sammy...I gotta' be your brother again."
It was a wonderful feeling, to float...to be weightless. Like your very body didn't have a care and thoughts just fluttered around like the butterflies you see in really flowery gardens.
"OI! Sam...what are ya' doing there mate? You gotta' get up? Your brother's wracking his brain to get you back!"
A thick broad English accent assaulted his tranquil darkness with a burst of sound and as Sam frowned, his eyes opened and he was startled by red.
It was everywhere.
"What?" Sam croaked, feeling himself sit up.
Bunks. That's what he saw first and someone who looked like a 90's space reject in a silver suit with dreadlocks.
Sam blinked, feeling the face staring at him was oddly familiar.
A hand jutted out and the stranger smiled.
"I'm Lister. Nice to meet you mate...seems like you're 'avin' a bit of a out of body experience. Gotta' get back in there quick- that demon did a bit more damage than you thought."
Sam blinked, jaw hanging open. What the fuck...dude!?
"How...what...hang on where-"
"Heeeyyy Lister! You didn't feed me, what's with no tuna out? I want my tuna! How am I supposed look this good if you forget my tuna!...who's he? Why does he look like a space ball reject..."
Sam's eyes widened and he glanced round the room, it looked more like a dodgy space set, plastic shiny props and surfaces. Was that tinfoil around the window?
Glancing at the new member who looked like an old school vampire who appeared with Eddie Murphy Sam's mind started turning.
"Where...?" Sam swallowed. Eyes furiously taking everything in. The window was small, circular, like on a submarine- and it was tin foil- but the view was...
Thousands of tiny pin pricks of light dotted the darkness as far as he could see. There was so many stars he couldn't count them.
Sam let his hand press on the cool glass.
"What...uh..." Sam's mind raced. One minute he'd been...in the hospital, yeah he was with Dean. Suddenly unfiltered anger flashed through him- he'd argued with Dean in the hospital and then...
Sam felt his chest. He'd felt the worst kind of pain and then there was nothing.
Feeling it now, it didn't even hurt.
Sam looked to the silver space man and the man who appeared asking for tuna. Large white fangs hung over the outside of his lips.
"Where am I?" Sam whispered.
The one who'd introduced himself as Lister, with a sideways glance to the fanged man, stepped forward, lips pursed.
"Sam...this is Cat." Lister pointed as 'Cat' waved at him, lips smiling under his huge fangs. "You're on our ship, mate. And...uh...this is deep space."
Sam just blinked at them.
"I know it sounds like total smeg, but believe me..."
Sam shook his head, hands furiously rubbing at his forehead. "No...no, this is...this-I'm not...I'm dreaming..."
Lister looked at Sam like he felt sorry for the kid.
Cat stood forward, smoothing down his velvet suit, he played with the ruffles on his sleeve and then pushed Lister aside.
"Sam right?" Cat didn't wait for Sam before he continued, long teeth making his words lisp. "I know you don't believe it, hell I wouldn't believe it...but here you are. And here I am. So believe it. The quicker you do, the quicker I can have a hot date with some tuna." Cat nodded at Sam over energetically.
"I'm...I'm in space..." Sam said slowly.
Cat spun to Lister.
"He doesn't believe it." Cat hissed, then suddenly wailed as he cried into Lister. "I'll never be fed!"
"Sam, this isn't a dream...you are still in the hospital but..."
Sam's mind whirled, recognition slammed into him as he fell back against the window.
"Lister?...Cat?...Oh God. I'm...I'm..."
Lister nodded at Sam, arms folded as he hung back and grinned.
"That's right kid."
"I'm in Red Dwarf?"
"Well no...you're not in Red Dwarf kid, that was a TV show. It's more you're- well..." He rolled his eyes. "You created this place because really you've given up on life and this is your crossover. You made this place and you made me. Would you want to be in Red Dwarf, you have seen...Kryten right?"
Sam frowned, whirling round to see the computer screen on the wall with a floating head suddenly appear.
"I'm Holly, sorry about the picture. It's probably all HD where you're from." Holly sounded depressed.
Sam swallowed, brow creasing. "What...what do you mean I've given up?"
Lister leant in, his brown eyes melting to the kid as they both sat on his bed.
"You're ...dying mate." Lister said sympathetically.
"You just left your body...cardiac arrest and all that, your heart wasn't in it. Literally. And having that fight with Dean didn't help- you've half given up ...but your body, the Doctors and even Dean...they're still fighting for you. As for here...I don't know why we're here, this is your limbo mate."
Sam blinked, took a moment to absorb all the information.
"I made you?"
Lister shifted under Sam's stare.
"Well yeah you created all this...what you see, who, why...it all means something."
"So this is...this is Limbo or something..."
"Or something." Cat said chiming in, lisping slightly.
"Why am I here, well not here but...here, why with you?"
Holly flickered behind Sam and he turned to look. A grainy black and white picture appeared with a very modern day Sam and Dean sat in a cowboy themed Motel.
"What's your last happy memory with Dean?" Holly asked glumly, freezing the screen.
Sam had to actually think for a long time about that, it wasn't long after the crash he'd actually spent some time with his brother, the hunt was fairly simple and they'd even shared a smile, shared a beer after.
Sam looked at the screen with a furrowed brow, the bruises much clearer on both their faces in the picture, absence and sorrow in his eyes.
"A Motel in Lynesburg, he let up a little..." Sam cast sad eyes down. "We watched this weird British comedy on some old channel...we watched...Red Dwarf..."
"You made this place because...you have a battle and a choice to make, within yourself."
Holly's face appeared again, his eyes looking down at Sam. "It's not too late kid. Dean's still fighting for you and you get the right fight in you- you're back."
Sam shook his head softly, a small dark splash landed on his sleeve and he sniffed.
"Dean doesn't want me, doesn't need me."
When Sam looked up he saw Lister , Cat and Holly watching with worried faces.
"You're still his brother mate..." Lister said sympathetically.
"Nah, " Sam said, swallowing thickly. "He's just got a shield."
"Okay. Sam's staying then. You heard him. Now about that tuna!" Cat moaned.
Lister ignored him, leaning closer to Sam.
"Why do you think you're here... You didn't just pick Red Dwarf because you could, because it was floating around your head. This is the last thing you and Dean did together that wasn't hunting, when you were happy with each other. That has to mean something right?"
Sam shifted on the bed, leaning forward to rest his arms on his knees.
"So...? It's too few and far between these days. Dean's not..." Sam sighed.
"Sam...we want you to see something. C'mon." Lister patted Sam on his back and urged him to follow.
Cat held out a hand, fangs hanging over his lips as he smiled at Sam and Sam found it oddly comforting.
Making his way down the ships corridors, and god wasn't that just bizarre, walking over meshed panels covering the ships wiring and heading into the main deck- they arrived in a room full of old style computer screens, another man sat at the mainframe and Holly's face appeared again on a bigger screen.
Holly smiled sadly. Although Sam got the feeling, he was just like that anyway.
"Should I show him yet?" Holly asked, seeming annoyed.
Lister ignored him and sat Sam down.
"So you want to die? You've just let everything go from what you've been through...now I'm not your brother or anything but..it sounds like he wants you here Sam. Like he needs you."
The screen flickered, like static and the man in the chair turned with a posh British twang and a shining silver 'H' in the centre of his forehead.
"You're an absolute arse Lister." The man carried on, shaking his head at Lister. "You are a total, total...a word has yet to be invented to describe how totally 'whatever it is' you are, but you are one. And a total, total, one at that." The man smiled smugly. "Total smeg!"
"OI!" Lister interrupted. "My word mate. My. Word."
"You said, 'I'll talk to him, me and him have got more in common than a cat or a hologram. I can get him home' But you didn't did you." He pointed at Sam. "Now he's stuck here with us because you're as useless as an empty bag of coke on a 90's night out."
"Oi!" Lister shouted, affronted. "You can still lick the baggie..." He shrugged. "I'm not useless..." He mumbled.
The man ignored Lister and instead, straightened himself and politely with stiff British eloquence, held out a hand for Sam to shake.
"I'm Mr. Arnold, I believe you've met the other two shit for brains." He smiled smugly.
"'Mr. Arnold' isn't his name. His name's Rimmer, or smeghead, or dinosaur breath, or molecule mind, or on the rare occasion, and I mean rare, you want to be polite, then it's arsehole." Lister smiled back just as smugly.
"Hmm...yes. Anyway, you've met the other two idiots. I'm Rimmer."
Sam shook his hand and he watched them all, remembering what happened on the show the last time he'd watched it with Dean.
"You're ugh...the hologram, right?" Sam asked.
Rimmer beamed. "That's quite right. And you're dying."
Sam frowned at the man's-holograms, blunt words.
"Let me guess, you woke up here- god knows where to us god knows what, Lister tried to explain everything, but you still don't really know what's going on...am I warm?"
"Ugh..." Sam struggled to find the words.
"Right." Rimmer said. "Long story short. You're currently floating on a out of use mining ship, 300,000 light years in deep space, because part of you has given up and part of you hasn't. We're all here because of you. So if you've kindly decide whether you're dying or not, that would be great." He clapped his hands together expectantly.
"Give over mate, can't you see this is hard for him?!" Lister complained.
"Hard for him! He just poofed here! It's hard for me! I've only eaten five times today!" Cat meowed.
Sam watched them all as they spoke and argued around him. Feeling guilty he'd annoyed the imaginary people.
"I think we need Kryten..." Lister said.
"At your command sir."
Sam looked to his left as pale face robot entered jerkily.
"Good...um... day-uh night sir. My name is Kryten and I am the mechanoid on board this ship. It is an honor to meet you Sam."
"Ugh...thank you Kryten."
"Now, I know you have a lot of questions and fortunately we can help you answer them." Kryten smiled.
Sam opened his mouth to start...but he had so many questions running through his head, he didn't know where to start.
"Why don't we start the start..." Kryten seemed to understand Sam's hesitation.
"Holly, if you could..."
Kryten turned to the screen with the floating head.
Holly looked sad as all eyes went to the screen. "I wouldn't watch if I were you Sam..."
The screen flickered like it was changing channels and then flashed bright white.
Sam caught sight of a hospital bed, fear tightening his stomach to when he sat with Dean just months before and the very real possibility of losing him forever.
We were just starting to be brothers again...
Then as Sam watched, it was Dean who was the dark figure sat beside the bed, not him and the camera zoomed, Sam catching Dean holding his hand and giving it a gentle squeeze.
Sam felt a pressure on his left hand, fighting to squeeze back but he didn't and shrugged off the feeling.
"Looks like a good brother to me, he's been doing that since you flat lined Sam. They had to shock you."
Sam's eyes snapped shut, images of Dean's body arching-
"Dean saw that?" He whispered. Agony of what he'd been forced to See happen to Dean now happen to him. He regretted his anger at his brother, instead felt his pain.
"Yeah...just watch kid." Lister encouraged.
Softening eyes flicked up to watch Dean move, a suspicious wetness in his brothers eyes, probably down to the camera or light or something though, Dean wasn't crying, not over a silly kid like him.
"Sammy...I was out of order man...saying those things, getting mad back there. You didn't need me yelling at you like that and- and I'm sorry. If it wasn't for that extra strain youd've been okay Sam...but that's just me. I rush in, make mistakes... please...kid...come back to me, this is your fight...you gotta fight Sam."
Sam swallowed. The eyes of the men-and mechanoid- staring at him sadly.
"He'd had a tremendous strain on his heart Dean. Being so soon out of surgery and already weak, the emotional element was too much for him to handle. He can recover from this though. He's young, he's strong but... His body's just giving up, his vitals are dropping...if he doesn't wake up soon he'll slip into a coma and then..." The Doctor shook his head, watching Dean with soft eyes. "It's hard to tell unless he wakes up. If he wakes up...I'm sorry Dean. This is on Sam now...there's nothing more we can do."
Dean'd never felt the kick in his guts so strong, he ached, his mouth was dry and all these factors rushing through his head, if's and maybes and could've beens... What he shoud've said, could've done, would have treated Sam if they never would have lost their dad.
This was his fault and he damn well knew it, Sam was right, he couldn't take the hits anymore and not only was every supernatural creature aiming for Sam but Dean had been these last few months too.
He owed his brother so much, didn't even think he'd thanked Sam for saving him, for staying alive himself and making sure dad and himself were okay.
He'd screwed up big time and looking at his brother, getting worse and paler, he hoped he had the time to make it up to Sam.
Dean squeezed Sam's hand.
"You feel that? Follow it back Sammy...come back to me. Ain't no demon taking anyone else from me."
"No damn way."
So, as it went, sitting for hours on a stupid plastic dented hospital chair watching your brother slip further down the realm of unconsciousness, it was...oh hell what was he thinking, it was brutal. Heart wrenchingly painful at the best of times when Sam's arm moved a twitch and he thought maybe Sam would just wake up, but it was Dean rubbing his hand too hard.
This was hell.
Sam hadn't improved in the first day and 1 hour twenty five minutes into the second day, Sam was slipping evermore into the void and like the Doctors had mentioned to Dean, if he doesn't wake up soon, he'll fall into a coma and then...
Dean had gasped, eyes snapping open as the tube in his throat choked him, contrasting against his trachea.
Sam's wild scared eyes sought out Dean, his mouth opening in a shout, a scream for help...
Dean didn't want Sam to have to wake up like that. He still had the odd nightmare.
The Doctors came in every so often, checking Sam's chart and the wires, writing something down and giving a hopeless sympathetic smile to Dean.
Yeah, that was helpful.
"Listen Sam..." Dean's eyes slid shut and he kept them that way. He'd been talking to his brother all day, all night and nothing was getting through to Sam, so he took a deep breath. Maybe this would.
"Remember when you asked me...if-if dad said anything to me, before...and I was just...I mean I never told you this. Gotta' stay strong for Sammy right?" Dean scratched absently at his head. "I haven't been doing any of that. He said something to me Sammy...I need you to come back, gotta' talk to me...It's in my head, just shouting at me every day, I can't hold this on my own anymore, I need a brother...a partner. I need you awake...need you to hear this, please kid..."
Dean watched in hope, waiting for the bat of Sam's lashes against his pale skin and confused wandering eyes to slit open as he croaked his name.
Sam didn't move.
"He needs you Sam. I mean I don't have a bro' like, but he's really missing you...you ever think what'll happen to Dean if you stay here?" Lister asked.
Sam licked his lips, hands burrowed in his pockets still watching the screen.
"Listen, Lister...you're watching him now, but you haven't seen him these last few months- what he's been like...and he hasn't needed me- not once. I've been a hindrance to him, just in the way...I'm a burden to him."
Sam watched on sadly. "He just doesn't want to be alone." Sam whispered.
Cat, Holly and Rimmer had left Sam to watch his brother grieve for him in peace, Lister returning when it became obvious Sam wasn't going to go back and he was fading out, the kids energy already breaking up and dimming.
"Dean will be fine then? If he's alone? You'd do that to him? To your brother?" Lister asked, hard eyes bored into Sam.
"Hey-" Sam said defensively. "He didn't even speak to me after Dad died. Practically kicked me away, he's hit me in anger because he won't talk to me...he's just spiraled and I can't bring my brother back. That Dean." Sam glanced at the screen absently. "He can live on just fine without me...m' just a weight he's carrying."
Lister nodded, sitting down on the other side of Sam.
"Okay. So...when he was trapped in the fun house? With the Rhakshasha? And you threw that knife and saved him?...He just didn't need you then right? He didn't need your help taking out the zombie chick? You didn't save him from going over the edge a billion times...C'mon Sam...be honest with yourself."
Sam shook his head. "Dean...Dean doesn't need me. I get that- he made it clear. I'll crossover or- whatever...I'll go."
Lister sighed, watching Sam with a new found sadness in his eyes.
A feeling like sand running down Sam's back made him shiver and he suddenly glanced down, seeing part of his jacket fade out and he gasped like it hurt.
"You're giving up Sam." Lister said like it was obvious. "You're fading away...you want to die- you're doing it. You just watch that brother of yours before you make anymore rash decisions."
Lister left the room, his footfalls echoing down the halls.
The screen flickered in and out of focus, Dean's worried and tired face arching forward as he squeezed Sam's hand and honestly, Sam barely felt him this time and he frowned at the sudden lump in his throat.
"Remember when you asked ...if-if dad said anything to me, before...and I was just...I mean I never told you this. Gotta' stay strong for Sammy right?"
"I haven't been doing any of that. He said something to me Sammy...I need you to come back, gotta' talk to me...It's in my head, just shouting at me every day, I can't hold this on my own anymore, I need a brother...a partner. I need you awake...need you to hear this, please kid."
"You don't need me Dean." Sam whispered to himself.
And then, seizing Sam's heart like a sudden drop of familiar fear, Sam saw something he hadn't seen in what felt like forever...
And god, it hurt...
Dean leant over his body...and cried.
Sam's fingers twitched, an ache buried deeper than bone, a need to reach out and just touch Dean, just hold his hand, squeeze his finger- anything...but he couldn't force it and as Sam watched Dean sob over him he felt a wet splash on his arm and looking down, saw the drop of salty water run to drop from his finger.
"What if I go back?" Sam whispered so softly, Lister had to double take to hear what Sam just said.
"You have to fight, you have to want it Sam. You get back in your body and you live."
"And what if...what if I don't? What happens to Dean?"
Lister watched Sam still, eyes glued to the screen.
"He grows old, he dies. Life Sam...he might carry on, he might not." Lister shifted awkwardly on his feet. "If this is how he acts from losing your dad, what do you think losing you will do to him?"
Sam breathed out, eyes blinking away the tears and he wiped the wetness on his cheeks.
"I have to make a choice?" Sam asked, his voice like a small child.
"You don't have much time Sam,...you know, Dean does need you. More than you think."
"Wait." Lister interrupted, eyes narrowed at the screen.
Dean picked up Sam's limp hand and Sam barely felt the warmth this time. Dean stroked over Sam's thumb, tears still breaking down his face.
"Please..." Dean choked. "Please Sammy...we were just starting to be brothers again."
Dean's lips quivered as he squeezed his eyes shut and his body shook with a sadness so raw, Sam found himself feeling it in waves.
"What did he say?" Sam gasped.
"Sammy, I'm sorry...I'm sorry." Dean's brows furrowed and he squeezed Sam's hand. "You better be hearing this, you better get your ass back here and open your damn eyes, I'm not joking around Sam." Dean smiled sadly down at his brother. "You never really liked orders huh..."
"Don't worry okay. I'll get you out of this, I'm not giving up, so don't you give up on me."
Sam gasped, breath rushing to escape being held in his lungs.
The familiar words were like a punch and he God- felt his heart beat quicken and Dean's hand around his, the shaking heat as Dean clung on.
Kept him clinging on.
Sam closed his eyes, remembered how it was when Dean was out at the hospital, how he'd taken his anger out on Dad, and he understood. Dean didn't hate him, he was just convenient, the closest thing literally Dean could vent on without getting his gun off.
Sam remembered the feeling, let it swell through his heart as he took a deep breath and opened his eyes with a new goal.
He wasn't leaving Dean, because Dean wouldn't leave him.
And really, he needed him like hell right now.
"I'm going back." Sam's voice broke in a sad smile and he glanced to Lister. "I'll fight."
Lister had a second to beam a grin at Sam, lift his arm to squeeze Sam's and tell him how proud he was, that he'd made the right choice but the screen flickered with a loud snap of static and their gaze snapped to it.
The lights were flickering in the hospital room, the trees swaying and hitting the window in a mad wind and as Dean's eyes opened, jerking to the foot of Sam's bed, Sam was already screaming for Dean to get out.
"NO!" Sam lunged forward, onyx black eyes of the man suddenly standing in his room, not two feet away and he couldn't even tell Dean. "DEAN GET OUT!"
Sam's flat palm reached the screen, shaking with effort. "Dean please...run."
His brother stood slowly, making sure he protected Sam with his body.
"Hi Dean, miss me?" The face smiled cruelly. "He still alive?"
It mocked, black eyes gleaming in the fast zapping neon lights.
"Don't you even think to touch him."
Dean's voice dropped, its icy growl echoing in the suddenly quiet room. "You. Don't. Come near my brother."
Its head cocked, a smile tracing its way on cruel sneering lips.
"You don't get to call any shots Dean. This whole thing got out of control." Hateful eyes narrowed at Sam's form. "That brother of yours isn't supposed to die. You'd think he'd be jumping at the chance to get back in his body, get back to his big brother...maybe not...it was you I wanted Winchester..."
Dean stepped forward, fully covering Sam with his bulk.
"Do what the hell you want, you ain't touching that kid." Dean's lip curled up in anger and he set his jaw.
The demon gave a sly grin. "Might have to if he doesn't wake up. Strict rules to keep you two alive...but I'm not one to obey. Kinda' in the job description."
"What rules? It's never stopped you bastards before."
"Well..." The demon gave a toothy smile. "They've got what they want now. One Winchester, anyway." It gave a low chuckle and Dean's eyes sparked with fear.
"What does that-"
"Doesn't mean I can't leave a mark to remember me by, maybe it's worth being hunted to get my hooks into you. You're feisty."
Dean ground his teeth. "You mean what you did to Sam? I hope all of Hell hunts you down, he didn't deserve that. He was saving my sorry ass and you had to cut up his hope and knock him down again. One demonic son of a bitch has already done that to him, I won't let something like you do that to him...not again. You ain't getting any older than the night."
Dean's anger bubbled into primal sorrow confessing himself in front of Sam to a demon seemed right to him, whatever it dished out he deserved it for how he'd treated Sam, this was all his fault.
"Then I'll rip you apart...how's that Dean?"
The demons arm raised, palm facing Dean as its finger bent like claws.
"How about a fatal dose of what I did to sweet little Sammy."
Sam slammed his hand on the screen, balled up a fist and swung again.
"Don't you dare touch him! Get away from him! DEAN! RUN!"
Desperate tears churned down Sam's cheeks, flecked on his eyelashes as he jerked to Lister.
"Lister, help me get back to him!" Sam panted, his words strong and sure.
Sam didn't notice he wasn't fading anymore and his punches shook the screens, he felt the pain reside up into his arms.
Sam was shaking his head at the screen, more salty beads dripping from his chin staining his jacket.
"It's not your fault Dean...get out of there...please."
"You're already fighting Sam. You've made your choice. You know what you need to do now. You know he needs you. You're not lost anymore mate."
Sam caught Lister's soft smile to his left, saw the demon raise its hand and his brother broaden his chest to take the full blow.
"DEAN!" Sam screamed, surging forwards into blinding light like static.
"- fatal dose of what I did to sweet little Sammy."
A gun cocked, a loud snap in the quiet room and Dean shivered, frowning, turned his head as the demonn stared forward.
"...don't touch m'brother..."
Sam saw Dean's shock, Dean's relief and felt them in waves as his brother stepped right ever so subtley to give Sam a clear shot.
Sam locked centre on with the demon, consecrated rod iron rounds with rock salt. Their new usual ammo.
The breathing tube was discarded on the bed, Sam's aim sure, even if his breathing was a little ragged. He was already leaning heavily on the bed but up, strong, even if he shook.
Dean felt a surge of pride, of love, and a million other things that made his heart swell, then drop as he wondered just how Sam was actually up on his feet. Leaning mostly but, vertical and with a heavy .45.
Just how the fuck sammy...
Dean's attention was quickly snatched by the biggest threat in the room.
"Won't kill me Sammy." The demon grinned. "Ready to feel that burn again?" The demons hand twitched.
"No...but it'll hurt like hell." Sam rasped, firing off into its heart.
The gun jerked Sam's hand, shook his arm and made him grit his teeth at the recoil this close a range. He was watching in what seemed like slow motion as the bullet flew.
The demon's face twisted in a snarl, its hands clawing out for the Winchester as the bullet slammed into its chest.
Sam smirked with what little energy he had left. He knew it would hurt, he knew it would bide some time.
The salt burned into the bullet had the demon twitching with shuddering gasps and the bewitched iron had black smoke bubbling from the totalled host.
"S'Sam...can't run forever...not f'from me..." The demon smiled, its hand shot out a final forcing push that knocked both Winchester's on their ass with a grunt.
The gun clattered to the floor, spinning under the bed as Dean found himself rolling over his plastic chair and into the wall.
The host choked, smoke escaping up and out through the vents as the body paled and dropped with a sickening thud, the person had been dead sometime it looked.
Doctors were forcing their way into the room as Dean was still trying to find his bearings and find Sam before the nurses carried him off again. He needed to hold Sam, hear him breathing on his own...needed to see for himself if he was okay.
Sam was groaning across the room, some blood on his side from ripped stiches but he was moving, he was gasping- he was breathing, his arms were cradling his chest but they were moving and Sam was doing that all on his own steam. No wires or ventilator. Sam was up, and that's the best thing Dean had seen since this whole crappy thing started.
Dean held Sam close, whispering cares and comforts as Sam breathed through the pain still stinging his body. The last thing he remembered he was talking to a Cat and a guy with dreads and he was on a goddamn spaceship and ...and- no. He remembered the burning need to get to Dean, to fight for him. Dean had needed him, he needed to save Dean...
And then a gun was in his hand as his eyes were snapping open and he was unlatching the safety, standing and aiming and everything felt right.
This was what he needed to stay for, because Dean would do anything for him and he would do anything for Dean. It had always been that way with them. They just needed the reminder.
It didn't matter that him snapping up from 3 days sleep to aiming a gun at a demon in 2 seconds really wasn't a great move for his body.
Sam had pulled out his breathing tube somehow, sat up and got up, found Dean's stashed weapon and aimed to kill when Dean was sure the advice was for Sam to have no stress. Like literally lay down.
He'd just fucking saved his life from being on lifesupport. Dean ran his eyes over Sam, taking note of his injuries, his eyes, his tiny mumbled words, and gripped his brother fiercely.
The nurses worked to remove the body before anyone even tried to approach Sam and Dean. The elder Winchester was being defensive and everyone could see plainly Dean was the only one helping Sam right now. His breathing was erratic, shallow and he was having a hard time calming down.
Dean's wide palm rested over Sam's neck so gently and he coaxed Sam to take slower, deeper breaths, let him lean back against his big brothers chest and cradled Sam until he was no longer shaking.
"It's okay Sammy...these guys helped you the first round, they just need to check your stitches and get you comfy, I'm not leaving your side. Swear Sammy."
The nurse in front of Sam worked fast and gentle and Sam barely knew she was there until some fresh padding was being taped to his side and a warming smile left him feeling cosy.
The nurse let her hand linger on Sam's knee, "I know you're a little freaked, but it's all fine. That guy burst in here, hurt some guards, some staff- the security we have on patrol saw the whole thing, he just flipped...don't worry. No cops are gonna' interrogate you...or your brother." She smiled again at Sam, looking at the brothers as if she wanted to tell a secret.
"I know the doc thinks you guys can stop whatever happened to the campers...and if that was it...I'm glad it's over." Something like sadness flashed over her face. "I don't...I just need to thank you. Both." She gathered her supplies and left the brothers to sit a moment while the doctor finished talking to two men outside.
"Hey, shut up. You need to let them find out what's wrong with you and we need to work on making that better right now...no talking about things between us because you need to hear some things from me first. But it's gonna be okay. I'm not mad Sammy...and I need you, you're my brother, my partner...you're everything I have Sammy so please just rest up and keep being my brother. At least for right now, just chill."
Sam smiled and weakly nodded to Dean as the Doctor walked in and helped Sam get back to the bed, checked his blood pressure and vitals and adjusted the machines to up the pain meds as Sam's pinched face was starting to become more obvious.
"Now...guys...I'm gonna be honest and I don't actually know what the hell just happened...but something just brought back a John Doe from the morgue and walked it up here to you two...leaving some carnage on its way. I can't...I don't know what does that but I know that handprint..." He pointed to Sam's chest. "Isn't natural and how people have been dying here lately ain't normal..."
Dean licked his lips as he caught Sam's worried glance. "Doc, the thing is-"
"I don't want to know. It's hard enough being here and doing this with what we do know...I don't need to add to that...I just want to know if it's over. We all knew people who died these last few weeks."
Sam spoke up in the uncomfortable conversation. "It was after us...I don't know why...these things kill for fun, I never meant to-"
"It's not your fault Sam, I know good people when I see them. You know you'll be okay too. The damage will heal and you're already up, awake, alert...you'll be sore but...you can get better, I have absolute faith in that." The doc winked. "With him around I dare say you'll be made to get better and rest."
The doctor chuckled and handed Dean the sign out sheet and a list of things Sam should and shouldn't do. Along with some medication and a driving route printed on a map of the area with circles of places to avoid, one of them circled on woodland with a 'not here' note in magic marker. Dean chuckled for a moment. "Yeah, woods, caves, holes...we'll be avoiding for awhile."
"He's on some strong meds to ease the pain and he'll heal quicker. You should move him soon and follow that route out of town. We have to notify other authorities when...something like today happens. I'm sorry Dean, I truly am but Sam will be okay and I trust you with that." He smiled sadly. "I haven't technically reported this yet...as soon as I do the cops will be here on the double, maybe bring an investigator and I'd love to tell them this room was never occupied. "
Dean nodded his thanks and reached out to shake the mans hand. "This is weird and hard, I get it...but it means a lot that you don't ask questions and even more that you help me get him somewhere safe. Take care of yourself, okay?"
As the doctor left Dean to prep Sam and pack their things, Dean started to feel himself believe in people again. There was good people out there like Sammy and the smoke had been blocking that for a while now. It was nice to see clear again.
"Let's go little brother."
Dean was out of the hospital, with a wrapped sandwich from one of the hot nurses under his arm, Sam safe and comfortable in the car and 1 mile to leaving the town altogether by the time the doctor called it in.
Dean looked over at Sam in the chair, wrapped up in his leather, off his tits on happy pills probably by the mixed bag the doc had given to him. There was enough in there for a lot of future injuries and Dean smiled. He was so grateful people had pulled through so hard for him, for Sam.
Dean's stomach dropped like lead, he remembered this horror laden rock that made him rock the car to the side of the road and had him checking on Sam like lightning.
Dean whispered, careful to touch Sam, waiting for him to respond.
Sam wasn't shaking, he didn't look like he was in pain so the fistful of morphine Dean already had tight in his palm wasn't needed, but he didn't let go. Sam shifted slightly, he looked...
Just like he was dreaming.
"...n'd t'save Dean...Dean..." Sam sighed, stilling. "Can't stay..." Sam seemed to smile just a tiny bit, but Dean didn't miss the small quirk. " Thanks Cat...s'Lister...'Olly..."
Confusing was the only thing Dean could figure out that this was. Sam was just talking in his dream? It wasn't a nightmare, there wasn't a demon. (Checked) Sam wasn't hurting right now.
But the last words Sam said were as clear as day, strong because Dean damn well felt it punch his chest and strengthen his core. And Dean just felt like something had been lifted, a curtain pulled back and Dean filling it because...
Because Sam was here. And he was okay. He was brilliant, and anything else...didn't matter a whole lot.
"...I need Dean. S'my brother. Dean."
Sam sank deeper into the chair, a soft smile turning his features as he took a deep breath. He'd always fight for Dean. It was his Dean.
Dean sank back into his chair, heart calming as he let the relief sink in and an almost crazy smile across his face. His family was fucking weird man, but he welcomed that. Today had been a good day, a second chance to be there for Sam. He'd warmed Dean with his actions today so much that the gaping void he'd been filling with death and hunts after his fathers death, didn't feel like so much like a hole anymore.
Dean let the moment sit with him a breath, watching Sam before he sped off into the evening, and as fucked up as their lives were, really was quite happy with how this shite mess may have saved them both from a darker path apart.
:) This is the end my friends. I hope you enjoyed. x
Take care me loves x