**This is a story for the Sam/Jared birthday exchange over at CWESS. This story is in no way made for profit and is simply for fun.**
A/N: When I got my challenge I was really worried because I wasn't at all sure how I was going to take the wonderful Vonnie's idea and make a story out of it. I hope this is even marginally close to what you had in mind!
Vonnie: What I would like.
1. My 2nd prompt from the Secret Santa exchange:Dean is missing, or at least that's what Sam thinks. In reality he is there and everyone can hear and see him but Sam, who is under a spell by the monster of the week. While Sam is talking to everyone, trying to figure out where he is, everyone around him, including Dean thinks Sam has gone nuts.Bonus points for lots of hurt/limp Sam, awesome Dean, Bobby and/or John.
SUMMARY: After Sam wakes up in a hospital, with injuries he can't remember, he worries both doctors and hunters alike as he seems to be slipping from reality. Can Dean and Bobby get him back on track before he's deemed a ward of the state and institutionalized for good?
Title: Sanity's Serenade
At first it felt like any other morning; scratchy, placid sheets, lumpy, practically non-existent mattress, a Q-tip sized pillow made of rocks, and the ever-present bout of unintended light blasting offensively through ratty, butt-ugly curtains. Just another fantastic day in the land of Winchester. The moment he heard "Code blue in room 335", however, his perception of normalcy shattered, leaving him with a bitter taste of reality only a pressure washer could dissolve. Knowing this wasn't the typical morning routine at a fleabag motel like those he'd grown up with, his big brother lazily snoring mindlessly in the bed next to his, he felt his tepid blood run cold. .
"What the hell?" Sam thought trying to gain his bearings. The more conscious he became, the more he wished he hadn't. It seemed every portion of his body found some unique and unusual way to be in pain and the more he moved, breathed, thought…the more it worsened. This realization, accompanied with the knowledge he was in a hospital bed made a flash of panic well up in his throat and staunch his empty, aching stomach. Again Sam's brain flashed to his previous thought…"What the hell?"
Finally, deciding he'd have to face the cause for yet another hospital stay, Sam Winchester peeled open a pair of goopy, sand laden eyes and greeted the world around him. As the blob sitting to the left of him slowly came into focus, Sam was able to make out the very distinct form of one rough, disgruntled looking Bobby Singer awkwardly encased in a restless slumber.
It must have been a long night, Sam thought, taking in the haggard sight before him. The man's usually gritty clothes, were even more so, wrinkled and dislodged from their normal formats resembling those of a 99 cent grab pile at any run down thrift store. His signature, tarnished ball cap resting precariously on disheveled hair. From what Sam could tell, the guy'd somehow managed to fall asleep, rather uncomfortably, in the wheelchair that was now his only form of mobility. Yet another thing pulling pain into Sam's world, the fact that he was the cause of the man's debilitating disability.
A twinge of sadness assaulted Sam's psyche as he thought of the Bobby from earlier years, heck, earlier months for that matter. The one who could walk, hunt, and kick ass all in one breath. Sam knew he'd done that to him, to the man he considered one step below a father and in some ways so much more. Even though it had been Bobby's hand that actually plunged the serrated knife deep into his gut, dislodging the spinal cord, it was Sam who had delivered the initiating blow setting the chain of events in motion.
"Bobby?" Sam asked, surprised at just how dry and tender his throat actually was. His voice the consistency of sticky, granulated sand.
The older man's eyes trembled under wrinkled lids, but other than that, the younger hunters words went unabated. With a little more force Sam tried again, first clearing his throat to get the full advantage of his deep voice.
"Bobby! Hey old man, wake up." He called, clearer this time.
The elevation in noise seemed to do the trick as Bobby Singer was welcomed back to the land of the living with a hasty jerk and a irritated grunt.
Blinking the youngest Winchester into view, Bobby refocused himself and smiled at the bright, wide hazel eyes meeting his own.
"Bought Damn time you woke up, ya damn idgit." Bobby cleared his throat. "I thought you were gonna sleep all day."
Sam smiled and readjusted his position in the mechanical bed, wincing at the new aches it created.
"What the heck am I doing here Bobby?" Sam's forehead wrinkled as concern etched across his almond features. "And where the hell's my brother? Is Dean ok?" The last phrase spoken on the heels of panic.
Bobby gave his young friend a heavy look and glanced over the side of Sam's broad shoulder. Before lightening his features.
"You and you brother were investigating claims of a ghost out by Becker's Lake when you got caught off guard." Bobby chuckled. "I would have paid to see it, I'll tell you that. You went ass over tea kettle and did an awkward swan dive down the side of an embankment. You're damn lucky you're in such good shape kid or you might not be here right now. You could have broken your neck or your back, it was pretty shallow where you landed."
Bobby patted the tattered armrest's of his constant companion.
"Then we'd both be sporting wheels." He took a deep breath. "Any of this ringing your bells, Sam?"
Sam did his best to search his scattered memories, but couldn't, for the life of him, remember any of what Bobby was talking about. As a matter of fact, the last thing he remembered was eating at some trucker dive outside of Michigan.
Shaking his head, Sam slumped back down into the shotty mattress and sighed.
"I got nothing, Bobby."
"Head injury." Bobby ground out, once more looking past Sam's shoulder.
Was it just Sam or did Bobby seem to be focusing on his attention on something other than Sam? Ignoring his paranoia the injured hunter continued on his path of uncomfortable discovery.
"So, I did a swan dive into a lake?" Sam considered the premise. "But that still doesn't explain where my brother is. Did Dean get hurt to?" Panic was beginning to overtake Sam's weary physique. Usually when somebody avoided a question it was because they didn't want to upset the one that asked it. Especially in their line of work. Sam had done it himself enough times to recognize the process.
Bobby straightened himself in his chair and gave Sam a look resting between bewilderment and shock. It was then that Sam figured he was missing something but for the life of him he couldn't fathom what that could be.
Was Bobby trying to gain the courage to tell him Dean was hurt badly? Was this his way of telling him Dean had finally had enough of his spazzmatic brother and went off to find Michael and end this whole angels versus Demons thing once and for all?
No! Sam thought, Dean wouldn't leave him, not when he was unconscious in a hospital bed. Not with out knowing he was ok. Sam's blood flushed with icy rapids. That, of course, left only one terrifying option, Dean was hurt, and hurt bad.
"I'm serious Bobby," Sam demanded, his voice now stern and unmoving, his own injuries and constant pain forgotten.
"Where's my brother?"
Concern replaced anger as the youngest hunter continued.
"It's bad, isn't it?"
Before Bobby could answer there was a knock at the doorway and a tall, slender man in royal blue scrubs wearing a wrinkled doctors coat entered the room. He looked to be about forty years old, shaded by timeless exhaustion and to much caffeine.
The man's skin was a waxy beige color and his unruly ebony hair was littered with random clumps of sporadic silver. It didn't take an introduction for Sam to realize this, over worked and underpaid individual, was his doctor.
"I hope I'm not interrupting." The mans voice was clear, but uninterested, bland even. He held a small black laptop in the crook of his arm and moved without invitation towards his newest patient. If Sam's instincts were still intact he'd say the guy was beyond board with his current engagement and simply counting the seconds to quitting time.
"I'm Doctor Marston, Mr. Singer, I'm glad to see you've decided to join the land of the living."
The man sported a pseudo smile as he made his introduction. With the extension of his hand he shifted the laptop enough to properly shake the young man's appendage and quickly pushed past the always uncomfortable greetings.
Once the formalities were put in there place, Dr. Marston pulled a chair up from the corner of the room and opened his laptop. Secretly, Sam wondered why the man had chose to drag a chair from across the room when there was a perfectly acceptable one sitting right next to his bed, but for the moment he let it slid.
"You took quite a nasty fall, Mr. Singer, your going to have to take it easy for a while and give yourself sufficient time to heal. Although you managed not to break anything, it's going to be some time before those rib's of yours are back to normal. Mix that with the nasty concussion and bruised kidney you managed to pick up, and I'd say your going to have to move slowly for the next few weeks." The doctor's tone was not only lacking interest, but emotion as well.
At least, Sam thought, he wouldn't be heart broken and riddled with guilt if he had to leave this physician holding the bag as he slipped out of the hospital in the middle of the night. This man is completely with out personality! Sam continued, his brain still back peddling to catch up with the situation. Trying to reign in his growing discontent for the medic addressing him, Sam knew it was time to get the answers Bobby had denied him.
"So, I'm good then, I can leave if I want to?" Sam questioned, even further annoyed as the practitioner now refused to look him in the eyes.
The doctor shook his head glancing in the direction of the empty chair he'd passed up when choosing his current sitting apparatus.
Did this guy have a lazy eye or something, Sam contemplated, the dudes talking to an empty chair for God's sake!
"Not at all." He said still looking at the chair, paying no mind to Sam or his question.
"He's got some healing to do and he'll have to take it easy for a few weeks, but baring any unforeseen complications I'd say your brother should be back to normal fairly quickly."
Sam felt a surge of relief wash over him. The guy must be referring to Dean. Thank God, he thought. He must have heard him asking Bobby how his brother was when he was at the door. Why the dumb ass was staring at an empty chair as he did it or why there was an agonizingly long delay of answer, Sam couldn't fathom, but at least he'd gotten a response regarding his brother.
"So Dean's ok then?" Sam asked completely oblivious to the strange looks he received from both Bobby and the physician.
Looking back at Sam, Dr. Marston's brows furrowed in obvious confusion. Something unfathomable concerning Sam played like an orchestra in the man's deep grey eyes.
"Excuse me?" He asked generally confused by the young man's question.
"My brother, Dean, He's going to be ok, right?"
The doctors glance once more reached the empty chair, then to Bobby, and back again, before meeting Sam's stern gaze.
"Was your brother hurt as well?" He asked slowly, trying to be as clear as possible with his questioning.
Sam was really starting to get irritated now and it was evident in his commanding voice.
"Well he's not here and my brother's always here when I end up in a place like this, sooooo, yeah, I'm guessing he had to be. Didn't you treat him? Isn't he here in a hospital bed too?." Sam chuckled. "What'd you have to do, tie him to the bed?"
Turning to Bobby, who had a look that could only be explained as complete shock plastered over his gruff face, Sam felt even more uncomfortable and generally lost.
"What!" Sam demanded, starting to feel like the only sane person in a room of crazies.
"I am speaking English right? Where the hell's my brother, what aren't you two telling me?"
Bobby released the breaks on his wheelchair and pushed himself closer to the youngest Winchester, worry now over taking the shock that once laid residence to his features.
"Sam, Dean's right there. He's sitting on the other side of your bed, kid. He hasn't left your side since you were brought in."
Bobby took a deep, calming breath before his shock and bewilderment got the better of him.
"Boy if this is some kind of joke it's not funny, you have a head injury you can't kid around about this kinda stuff. Besides all that, stupid pranks are your brother's forte."
Sam liked dried lips and thrust a bruised hand through messy, tangled hair.
"D…Dean's not here Bobby." He stated staring at the empty seat to his right.
Dr. Marston glanced at both Bobby and the empty chair before clearing his throat.
"Sam what do you see when you look at that chair?" He asked pointing to the item in question.
Sam felt his body go numb, what the hell? I see an empty chair! he thought trying to figure out what was going on. Had everybody lost their freaken minds?
Straight faced and completely controlled Sam answered.
"I see an empty seat, what else would I see?"
Suddenly Bobby was talking over the top of him and his words shook Sam to his very core.
"I don't know you damn idgit! Do I look like the doc? I don't know what the hell's going on either, but he obviously doesn't know your there. Now calm the hell down or your going to have a heart attack for Christ's sake."
Bobby's gaze moved around the room as something only he and the doctor could see moved towards them.
"Sam." Bobby began, cautious and gentle, as if speaking to a young child.
"Can you see your brother, he's standing right here." The older wheelchair bound man waved his arm in the air signifying a shape Sam couldn't see.
Sam felt his body go ridged. The aspect of pain was now all but forgotten and replaced by a heavy coat of panic and discontent.
"No." He managed, the last of his saliva leaving his tongue and settling somewhere deep in the depths of his increasingly agitated gullet.
Bobby shook his head and glared in the direction he had indicated Dean to be.
"Damn it boy I don't know! Now calm the hell down! It's probably the head injury or something." He stopped, seemingly listening to words Sam was unable to hear.
"No I don't understand it either but I'm sure the doc here has seen this sort of thing before, right doc?"
Dr. Marston's once sluggish shoulders went straight and stern as he processed the scene before him. In the most timid voice he could muster he addressed his patient and the worried family standing beside him.
"Sam, do you have a headache? Any pain or discomfort behind your eyes? Ringing in your ears? Anything like that?"
Sam shook his head. "I'm sore as hell doc, but no, no real headache. What's going on here?"
The doctor suddenly stood and focused his attention back on the others in the room. "If you men wouldn't mind I think it would be wise for me to exam my patient."
Without room for further argument both Dean and Bobby were ushered out of the small enclosure.
A/N: Ok I know I'm really REALLY late with this fic and I apologize to both any readers and of course to Vonnie. Life has been one giant mess for me lately and I just couldn't get my writing and my life to co-exist. I hope that everybody enjoys and that Vonnie is at least entertained. I will be posting a chapter every few days. Thanks to the readers and thanks to CWESS for everything, Nicole. J