What If?

Summary. . . . . . . . . . . . . Sam's hurt and alone, but something he spots in a run down motel carpark, forces him to push his own aches aside.

Disclaimer. . . . . . . . . . . . Still only loaning the boys from the genius that is Kripke.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Okay, so this was my go at a fic for the Sam Birthday Exchange, that turned into a Jared Birthday Exchange over at CWESS. It was written for Ephiny63, and her prompt was as follows; Sam, hurt and alone and still saves his father's life, late teens-early 20s. I hope you enjoyed it Shelley?

On a side note, for those waiting for updates on my other fics, I am slowly getting there. It's been a very hard couple of months, where the ideas have been there but when put to words, just haven't been as good and I'd rather make you wait for a decent chapter, than give you an unreadable drabble. Please bare with me, I will be back! Peanut x

A twisted knee, severe bruising to his back and a close call with a slipped disc, concussion. How could such pain be caused by such an innocent act as riding a bicycle? Okay, so they were mountain biking, but still he'd faced ghosts and spirits and other such dastardly elements, and come away with less. Sam groaned as he opened the door of the taxi cab and was immediately assaulted by the nausea inducing smell of stale sweat and two day old garlic, and a heat so intense it put the blistering California sun, that was already beating harshly down upon him, to shame. For the first time he found himself wishing he hadn't insisted his friends carry on their activities, found himself wishing he had asked one of them to stay and drive him home, but it was a long weekend with lots planned and Sam, always mindful of others, didn't want to spoil their fun too.

He eased himself backwards into the car, dragging his aching body down onto the red hot faux leather of the seat, his useless left leg trailing behind him, the knee supported by a cumbersome brace. He instantly felt sweat begin to break out on his palms from the scorching material, an act that was soon to be repeated across his torso as the thin t-shirt that covered his back offered little protection from the searing heat, the fabric drenched before they had even pulled out of the hospital's parking lot. He attempted to wind down the window, only to find that the driver had engaged the locks and seemed little bothered by the heat, or by the passenger who was in danger of passing out before they arrived at his destination. Unable to find the energy to ask for the locks to be disengaged, Sam twisted, as much as he could without igniting agony through his damaged body, and rested his throbbing head against the still cool glass of the window, relishing that little joy of comfort before the merciless heat took even that away from him.

Sam whimpered as the driver's side wheels struck a pothole, bouncing his body around, jostling his leg and sending his head, that had been relaxing slightly, cracking into the window. His closed eyes, startled wide open only to slam back shut as the glare of the sun shone harshly and directly into them, reminding the brass band that had been playing in his head, that the quarter was over and it was time to take the field once more and resume playing. He clamped an arm across his stomach as it sloshed uneasily, another heading for his mouth in an effort to stop what he knew was about to happen, his brain managing to send a signal to his voice urging it to get the words out, before the opening was filled with a vile substance. The words must have registered though, or his discomfort was finally realized, or maybe he had been spotted in the rear view mirror and the thought of cleaning up afterwards didn't appeal to the driver, because the car banked across two lanes of traffic traveling the other way, gaining shouts of protest from other motorists and numerous honks on their horns, and quickly pulled into the lot of an out of the way, crummy motel, Sam's door opening before the wheels had even stopped, vomit pouring from his mouth to splatter unceremoniously across the baking asphalt.

Through the blur of tears the action brought, and the pain it suddenly reignited within his head and body, Sam caught the driver twisting in his seat, and the words that fell from his mouth, confirming that his last guess had been right.

"Hey man, you gonna be alright to carry on? I don't need no hassle of cleanin' up after ya."

"I'll be fine." Sam managed to rasp out, between heaves. "Just gimme a minute, you aren't losing anything, the clocks still ticking." He took a few more minutes to gain back control of his rebellious stomach before closing the door once more and instructing the driver to carry on. Deciding against resting his head upon the window this time, unwilling to risk another smack, he eased his body into a slight turn and rested it against the baking leather instead. He rubbed a weary hand across his eyes as the cab began to turn, making it's way slowly out of the motels lot. Rubbed them again as his vision caught a glimpse of black and chrome, black and chrome that was as familiar to him as another black and chrome vehicle was. He turned his head so that it was peering out of the rear window, his heart beating as he strained to catch just one more look. It was. There was no doubt about it. It was his Father's truck, but why was he here? Was he checking up on him? Sam scoffed at that idea, no one had checked on him the previous six months, why would now be any different? No, there had to be a hunt in the area, there was no other reason for his Dad to be there. But if that were so, was Dean here too? Was his brother so close when he felt the need for some comfort?

Sam couldn't stop the tears that rose to his eyes, threatening to spill over, or the heavy ache that filled his heart and choked up his throat. He missed his brother dearly, regretted walking away so angry and defensive that he couldn't stop for just one moment to say a proper goodbye. Many times over the past months he had picked up the phone, his fingers shaking as he dialed the number, only to stop himself from pressing the little green button that would have connected the two once again, his Father's words "if you walk out of that door, you stay gone" remembered as he pressed the red button instead. Tired and injured and feeling so alone though, Sam desperately wanted that connection back, and as the distance between the motel and his dorm grew, he began to formulate a plan.

The rest of the taxi ride, thankfully remained uneventful, Sam arriving at his sprawling dorm without further fluids making an unwelcome visit. He gingerly made his way up three flights of stairs to his room, closing the door firmly behind him shutting out the music blasting out in the halls as spur of the moment parties erupted, grateful that his room mate had taken the opportunity to go home for the weekend. He pulled his laptop over to his bed, and arranged himself as comfortable as possible across the perfectly made covers, his back propped up against a mound of pillows, both his own and his friends. Popping two Tylenol into his mouth, he dry swallowed them as he waited for the laptop to power up, allowing his head to relax back and his eyes to close, the hot sun coming through the open window and into the cool room coaxing him into complete relaxation, only for his mind to push him back awake as a few bars of music echoed around the room. It was time to start researching.

Sam couldn't believe how much he had missed this, couldn't believe how easy it all came back to him. Within half an hour he had what he was looking for, and knew why his Father's truck was here. The information though gave him little peace, he couldn't believe that his Father would be so stupid to take this thing on with just Dean for back up. It was at least a three man job, even Sam could see that, but he had seen little evidence in the parking lot of any back up being there. No '69 Charger indicating that Caleb was there, no Jeep Cherokee to state that Joshua was either, and just where was the Impala? There would have been no way Dean would have taken it into the wooded areas, not when their Father's truck would have been better suited. A sinking feeling began to churn inside him, could his Father be hunting this thing alone? The more he thought about it, the more certain he became that he was. He needed to get into that motel room, needed to be sure, he would go there and watch and wait until his Father left. Powering down the laptop he pushed it to one side, and maneuvered himself further down the bed, he would wait for dark before he went snooping around, deciding for now to heed words of wisdom from his Father, "sleep while you can, when ever you can", needing the extra hours to refresh himself from his spill, and the night to cover his movements. Sleep though didn't easily come and Sam found himself tossing and turning as fears and doubts battled within his mind before pain and exhaustion won over them both.

He realized his mistake once his internal body clock awakened him at the time he had told it to, his body stiff, aching and uncooperative as he tried to maneuver himself up and off the bed, it wanting to stay and recuperate more, the couple of hours rest it had achieved not nearly enough. Taking a few deep breathes and downing yet more Tylenol, he waited for the pain to subside before forcing himself into a seated position, thankful he had decided to sleep in his clothes. He knew that the soccer shorts would offer little protection from the pitiless chill that California nights sometimes bore, but the thought of trying to manipulate jeans over his damaged knee sent shivers down his spine, and after all he was only checking things out, he could turn the heat up in the car and would feel only a different chill in his Dad's room. Pulling on his sneakers, he lumbered for the door plucking up his room mates car keys as he did so, grateful that he had offered him use of his ride whilst he was away.

It was hard going, driving as he had to with the wrong leg, but he was soon pulling into the motel's car park once more, working the car past where he had deposited a part of himself earlier and into the shadows created by firs in an attempt to block out the sounds of the busy highway. Turning off the engine, Sam looked to where he had seen the truck earlier, a knot forming in his stomach as he found it to be in exactly the same place, the same piece of litter still caught underneath one of the rear wheels, it hadn't been moved, hadn't been used, and that thought sent a chill coursing through him. Even caught up as he could get researching his Father would still need to eat, would still need to follow up leads, but his truck had been stationary and Sam knew for sure there were no eateries within walking distance of this establishment. Making a decision he slowly eased his frame from the car, something wasn't sitting right, something was wrong, Sam was as sure of it as he was that Dean Winchester was his awesome big brother.

He winced as he put pressure onto his wounded leg, the throb the pressure caused kick starting the pounding in his head once more, a pounding that was increased as his world tilted and swirled; winced again as the wind picked up and sent stinging bites of freezing air over his exposed legs, raising goose bumps over his flesh and sending a shiver wracking throughout his body. But his pain and discomfort did little to ease the growing knot that was gradually getting bigger within him, or to dull the apprehension that something was seriously wrong, an apprehension that grew in strength as he drew closer towards the room he had found out his Father was staying in, and he spotted the dried spots of blood, that to the untrained eye would have been passed over, but that to Sam spelled a sense of doom. Taking out his picks, he made quick work of the motels inferior defenses and was soon sliding his way passed a partially opened door, that sense of doom increasing as his sense was assaulted by the cloying tang of blood and sickness.

He paused by the doorway, even though every instinct was begging him to rush, allowing his eyes to accustom to the darkness, not willing to turn on a light until he knew there was nothing hiding in the shadows. Gradually he began to make out shapes, the door to another room he presumed was a bathroom, a small desk that held a coffee maker and assorted condiments, two beds separated by a small nightstand, one perfectly made yet covered with clothes and papers and bags, the other's sheets and comforter falling askew and bulging slightly confirming a presence underneath. Sam didn't know whether to laugh or cry, at least one member of his family was here, but where was the other? Were his suspicions true? Had his Father taken it upon himself to do this hunt alone?

Hearing no noises to suggest danger, Sam finally began to move forward, easing himself towards the bed, needing to confirm which of his family was lying upon it, just how badly they were hurt, and that it was really them lying there. Using the faint light created by the motels flashing neon, he moved around the first bed and slowly inched his way towards the head of the second, the smell getting worse with each step he took, some of his unease fading as he realized who was actually there, but the knowledge doing little to ease the shaking he found himself riddled with at being in the man's presence. It was his Dad, alone and sick and hurting, and looking a hell of a lot less intimidating than he had done six months previous. His voice barely a whisper Sam began to chant, needing to make sure the creature his Father had been hunting wasn't lurking within, ending with a "Christo" just incase, but nothing stirred. Feeling slightly better that he wasn't dealing with anything supernatural, Sam allowed his worries to turn to the fact that his Father hadn't stirred either. A notoriously light sleeper, the fact that he still lay there unmoving set off alarm bells within Sam. Not caring if his actions resulted in the waking up of an angry and pissed John Winchester, Sam reached over and turned on the lamp, wishing he hadn't when his eyes accustomed and he witnessed the damage.

"Oh crap" Sam gasped out, as he took in the pool of vomit that trailed from the pillow down the bed to the floor, his Father's ashen face resting mere inches from the regurgitated mess. Easing his exhausted body into a crouch, his damaged leg stretching awkwardly to one side, Sam began to assess his Father as best he could. Dried blood trailed down the man's face from a cut Sam could see stretching from his eyebrow into his grey speckled hair. Moving aside the sheets, Sam could see yet more blood staining the white of the man's t-shirt, the lifting of which revealed a hastily cleaned and bandaged wound to the man's side; a wound that once the scrap of bandage was removed, revealed vicious signs of infection, harsh red encircling the bloated and pus oozing opening. More inspection revealed bruises and small cuts covering most of his Father's body, but thankfully nothing more severe than what he had already seen.

What he had seen though was enough to cause panic within him, this was bad, hospital bad, he wasn't sure he could fix this on luck and a couple of Tylenols, but he knew his Father would want him too, knew that he would be disappointed and mad if Sam took him to a hospital, knew the questions said hospital visits would provoke. He rubbed a weary hand over his growth covered cheek, before resting his own pounding head within his palm, hissing slightly as he forgot for a moment his own knock to the head and the goose egg it had created. He desperately wanted to sleep, to ease his aching frame into his bed and not wake up until the agony had abated, but as his eyes found his Father's face and all anger between them faded, Sam knew that sleep for him would be a long time coming. Easing himself up, he moved to the bathroom, emptying the condiments from a small bowl along the way, filling it up with the hottest water he could get out of the cranky and unwilling taps and grabbing all the towels. It was time to get to work.

His hands were shaking, his body was saturated with sweat, his frame was wracked with shivers, his body alternating between being freezing cold and burning hot, his eyes drooping with exhaustion, and his head was beating savagely, as he pulled the last stitch through his Father's lacerated side, having had to have re-open the previous crude stitches the man had attempted to close the site with; the wound oozing with more pus, the stench of the infection doing little to ease Sam's already weakened stomach. He dropped the cloth he had been using to mop up the trails of fresh blood into a bowl of water that now looked more like wine. Moving it to one side, Sam allowed his aching frame to drop to the grimy floor of the motel, his arms automatically crossing, his hands shoved under his armpits in an attempt to cease their shaking. It had been too much on top of his own hurts, too close of a call. What if he hadn't have gotten injured? What if he had asked one of the guys to drive him back? What if the taxi driver had of taken another route? What if he hadn't have gotten sick? What if he hadn't have looked back through the window? One after another all these scenarios passed through Sam's mind over and over again, and each time they did, Sam found himself battling to keep what little water he had managed to drink inside his rebelling stomach. His Father was hurt and alone, he could have died and no one would have known until his check out day arrived and they came to check the room, maybe then they would have somehow, finally manage to get a hold of Dean.

His anger at his Father began to take over once again. How could he have been so stupid to take this hunt alone? He knew how dangerous facing one of those things could be, and Sam now knew that he had been alone, he'd checked his Father's phone, had seen the numerous missed calls, had read one of the text messages from Dean that told of his own hunt going well. He wanted to awaken the man, and hand him his hide. How could his Father put him through this agony, this pain? He guessed some things never changed, even after the fight, even after he had drove his son away, he still put the hunt first. Sam knew that he was being unreasonable, knew that his Father was a great hunter and had no doubt figured he would be okay; but his mind was muddled by pain, and weariness, and fear, and he just so desperately wanted to sleep, his Father shifting upon the bed and his moans and delirious ramblings pushed all thoughts of rest from Sam's mind once more though, he still needed tending too, still needed his help to battle the fever that now ravaged his body. Pushing himself slowly to his feet Sam picked up the bowl of bloody water and returned to the bathroom. It was going to be a long, long night, and an even longer day.

Dawn crested with hues of red and orange, it's light slowly penetrating the threadbare curtains of the room to illuminate the two figures inside; one resting peacefully, the fever that had held it in a firm grasp, the rest of the previous day, having finally broken; the other drained from complete exhaustion, his eyes blood shot and red rimmed. Unsure of what the reaction would be to his presence here, Sam stood, the room swaying alarmingly around him, it was time to go before his Father became more aware and realized just who was here tending to him. He was doing better now, would recover in time, and Sam didn't want him to suffer a set back when he saw his estranged son in the room. He made his way to the door, rechecking salt lines as he went, and with one last glance back left. He would keep an eye out from afar.

John awoke feeling hot, sweaty and uncomfortable. He rubbed wearily at eyes that refused to cooperate and open, confusion registering upon his features as his hand brushed against soft cotton. Why was his head bandaged? He stilled and concentrated upon searching his body for other aches, cataloging the stabbing pain that radiated from his side, the drum solo taking place within his head, and the numerous other small aches and pains that littered his frame. What the hell had happened? Where the hell was he? He wracked his brain for answers, pushing aside the agony, even thinking brought on. What was the last thing he remembered? He was on a hunt, that much he was sure of, a hunt that he had miscalculated and under researched to his own cost, he had been hurt, just managing to finish the job and make it out of there alive, but it had been costly on his body. Sam would have been so pissed if he had of been here.

Thoughts of his youngest son, brought an accustomed ache to his heart. He could have sworn he had heard his child's voice whilst he languished in the dark, but who was he kidding? Sam hadn't been here, he'd pushed his son away six months ago, but as he looked around the room, John found himself unsure. Everything looked neat and tidy, a sure indication that Dean was nowhere close by, and as his head became more clear, John was certain he hadn't been able to see to the wound that resided there before he had passed out whilst tackling the wound to his side, only managing to crawl his way to the bed and slump upon it once he had reawakened. He was certain too that he had at some point been sick, yet there was no evidence to indicate that now, the room smelling positively piney. Had Sam somehow found him here and tended to him? John wanted that to be true, wanted a way back into his son's life, but as he sat up gingerly John knew he was grasping at straws. He must have lost some time, must have tended to himself and tidied up, must have been more out of it than he originally thought. He needed a shower to clear his head, but feeling and hearing his stomach rumble, John figured that could wait and began to maneuver himself upright. He glanced at his rumpled clothing draped neatly across the back of the room's only chair, rumpled clothing that he was sure he had thrown haphazardly upon the floor, his mind adding yet more fuel to the fire that someone else had been here, maybe Dean had been back? But one look at his phone told him that wasn't true, so what was? Deciding that the jeans would do, but the t-shirt was a lost cause, he changed it quickly, and timidly made his way to the door, he needed food and sugary coffee.

He paused and lent heavily against his truck, savoring the warmth of the now fully risen sun upon his back, his eyes involuntarily drooping, his body wanting to drag him back under where he stood, an indication of just how much he had put his body through. Only the clattering of a maids trolley, and the chattering of two voices preventing him from fully descending into sleep. He jostled open his sagging eyes and stuck his key into the lock of his truck, stopping as the maids words hit his ears.

"I saw him, not five minutes before he collapsed, with my own eyes Milly, that poor boy looked as though he had been through the wringer, he could hardly keep his eyes open he was so exhausted, and the way he kept dry heavin' even after there was nothing left to expel, my heart just went out to the lad."

"Did anyone find out who he was, Beth? Was he a guest here? Where did all those blood stains come from? And how did he get all those injuries?"

"He weren't no guest of this place, too nicely mannered to be a guest here if you ask me. I think Lou found a wallet on him, it looks as though he's a student up at that posh Stanford place, what the hell he was doing here is anyone's guess, and where he got those injuries, and those stains, nobody knows he wouldn't answer. I just hope that he's got someone with him now at the hospital who'll give him the lovin' he needs. You should have seen his eyes Milly, they were the most expressive things I've ever seen, just about melted away my cold heart they did, and the way he begged and pleaded, once he'd woken back up, not to be sent to the hospital, but never once did he cuss or cry out in pain, and he called everyone Sir or Ma'am."

John stood stock still as the conversation drifted around the corner, they had to be talking about Sam, they just had to be. Who else would be well mannered, attend Stanford, be here at this place, refuse the hospital, had expressive eyes that could captivate any woman, that wouldn't cry out in pain, and would always, always call someone Sir or Ma'am. His son had found him in his hour of need and tended to him to make sure he was okay, but how had he found him? And at what cost had he tended to him? And just how bad was he injured? And how had he been injured? John needed to find out. Pulling open his door, he clambered inside his truck and pulled out his phone, rummaging through the assorted mess upon the floor he picked up a tourist guide for the area and flicked to the lists of hospitals, trying the nearest one first, taking a guess that Sam would have been registered under his real name, a guess that turned out to be true, Sam was there. Starting the truck he roared into the highway, his son had been there for him, now he would be there for his son.

He stood beneath the shade of an oak tree and watched as two people slowly moved away from the nurse and the wheel chair she held, the taller, heavier man leaning weightily upon the slighter figure beside him, but he noticed the smaller woman took the weight without complaint, her face registering the worry she had for her friend, a friend John could tell from even this far away she wished were more. He moved to go forward as he saw them both falter, the weariness written in his son's face and the cumbersome brace that encased his leg causing him to stumble, yet stopped and agonized over his decision. Sam had left before he awoke, was it because he didn't want to see him? Was he still so angry? Did John have any right to re-enter his life if Sam didn't want him too? He moved back into the shade, and away from his son, and watched as another tended with care to his youngest boy, graced him with the loving John had long ago lost. As the car moved off and drew closer to where he stood, John found his heart beating faster, and his eyes searching out his son's only to find them closed. He watched as the vehicle grew smaller and smaller until it was lost within a mass of others. With a weary sigh he moved off to find his truck, he had missed his chance to make amends, to thank his son for all that he had done, for all that he had sacrificed, but maybe he could help in other ways, maybe he could keep him safe until he was strong again, maybe from afar he could keep a watch. It wasn't much, but it was all the thanks he could give.

Thank you so much for taking time out to read, I hope that you enjoyed it? Catch you soon,

Peanut x