Okay, I know its been ages since I posted a story. Its been a difficult summer. My grandma became seriously ill and passed away and I just haven't been motivated to write anymore. This story was started before her illness. It is being written for the Sam's bday fic exchange over at CWESS for MysteryMadchen. I decided the only way it was going to be finished was to start posting it. That way I'll have to begin writing again. I will post a chapter every few days or so.
The prompt: Dean is seriously injured and Sam makes a deal with a creature to exchange one of his senses in order to save his brother's life.
Disclaimer: I don't own them and I'm not making any money from this story. It's all for fun.
Very hurt/limp Dean (age 18) Guilty/hurt Sam (age 13) Distraught/Guilty John.
Sam sat in the uncomfortable chair, his knees drawn up to his chest, arms wrapped tightly around his legs as his red, swollen eyes stared at the still form of his brother lying silently in the hospital bed. His father sat hunched on the other side of the bed. He could barely make out the soft cries coming from John over the sound of the machines that were keeping Dean alive. The doctor had left over an hour ago, but the devastation his words had caused lingered on. That kind of devastation would never go away. Sam could remember snippets of the conversation, but the grief had left him shell shocked and at the moment he had a hard time remembering his own name. Phrases like 'brain-dead' and 'I'm sorry, but there's nothing more we can do' had thoroughly ended life as Sam had known it. Neither he nor his father would ever be the same.
Dean, at the ripe old age of eighteen, was for all intents and purposes, dead. The machines kept his heart beating and forced air into his lungs, but the things that made him Dean…his personality, his snarky sense of humor, his incredible protectiveness were gone along with his non-existent brain functions. To look at him, one would think he was merely sleeping, if you could overlook the tube that protruded from his mouth and the extreme paleness of his face. But, he wasn't sleeping. At least not from a sleep he would ever wake up from. The harpy had made sure of that. The memory of Dean being flung through the air, his body smashing head long into a large tree caused Sam to shudder involuntarily. Sam could still hear his father's rage filled scream as he went after the harpy and destroyed her. It had all been a blur after that…John trying to get his son to wake up and Sam crying out his guilt over and over and over again.
John hadn't had time to comfort Sam or to tell him it wasn't his fault. No, he'd had a son to save. The unhurt one would just have to deal on his own. Sam had followed numbly behind his father and unresponsive brother as they'd trudged out of the woods, the harpy's body forgotten, left for scavengers to take care of. He'd climbed into the back seat of the Impala while John had gently placed Dean in the front. The frantic trip to civilization then to the hospital seemed to have taken a lifetime, but in reality had taken less than half an hour. Dean had been rushed away, behind swinging doors, leaving John and Sam to sit in numb silence while awaiting word of the beloved young man's condition. At some point, John had taken Sam and checked him over before pushing him back down into his hard chair. He hadn't said a word, just checked Sam for injuries then turned away, lost in his fear and anger.
That'd been a week ago and Dean had never woken up, never moved or made a sound. Neither Sam nor John had left the room other than to visit the bathroom down the hall or the coffee pot and vending machines in the vending room. The nurses on the ICU ward had made sure blankets and pillows were provided for sleeping and that food was brought in and eaten. They'd brought Sam books and even a small television, but he didn't have the heart to look at any of them. How could he think of anything other than his brother and how Dean was lying in that bed, hooked up to those machines because of him? No, it wasn't really Sam's fault, but then again, in Sam' eyes, it was. Dean hadn't wanted Sam to come along on the hunt. He had voiced his concerns, but John didn't feel safe leaving Sam alone in the motel with the looks of some of the other guests staying there. The harpy had of course focused on Sam, had been on her way to rip him apart and Dean had jumped in front of him, had taken the hit instead. John had killed her before she'd taken another step and then the maddening trip to the hospital had begun. So, although Sam had technically done nothing wrong, his apparent lack of being able to watch after himself had led his father to make him come on the hunt and the rest was history. Dean was dying and Sam wasn't and all Sam could think about was how wrong that was.
Sam shook his head, clearing the memories from his mind. He focused his attention on his family…on the soft cries of his father and the unmoving form of his beloved brother. Slowly, he stood and shuffled around the bed until he stood beside his father's chair. He reached out, his hand shaking, and gently grasped John's shoulder.
"D-Dad?" he whispered, his voice sounding raw to his ears.
John turned his head and glanced hollowly at his youngest son. His eyes were red and swollen, just like Sam's, but it was the haunted look in them that broke Sam's heart even more than it was already broken. He'd never seen his father like this. He could imagine this was how he'd been when his Mary had died, but Sam couldn't know for sure.
"I can't lose him," John croaked before turning back to Dean, his hand reaching up to tenderly stroke Dean's cool cheek.
Sam's eyes filled as he backed away from his father. He cast his gaze to his brother, to his Dean and he knew it should be him lying there. Glancing away from his brother to his grief stricken father, Sam knew what he had to do. He had to find a way to save Dean, to give his brother back to his father. He'd do whatever needed to be done to make sure that Dean came back, whole and untouched. He'd give whatever needed to be given because Dean deserved to live.
"I'm gonna fix this, Dad…I'm gonna get him back for you," Sam whispered, but John was too lost in his grief to hear the boy's soft vow.
Sam spared his brother, then his father one last glance before he silently slipped out of the room. He knew what he could do. He'd read a lot about it at Bobby's house. All he had to do was get a few things from the Impala and then he had to find a crossroads.
Nicole Huntley hummed softly as she silently made her way down the corridor. She'd been working in the ICU of St. Peters for going on five years now, and though a great deal of her patients never left the ward alive, she still loved her job. She loved that she could provide some form of comfort to the extremely ill and injured and that she could offer their families the same. She stopped humming as she came to room three. This case, this family was different somehow from most of the others she'd seen over the years. The love and devotion shown to the injured young man was overwhelming at times, as was the grief. This family had really gotten under her skin like no other family had in the past and she had found herself in the hospital chapel on numerous occasions, praying for a miracle. A miracle was what this family needed because nothing less was going to save young Dean Winchester. Nothing more could be done, but the father refused to allow them to turn off his life support. He refused to believe that his son was never waking up. It broke Nicole's heart, but not nearly as much as the younger brother did.
Sam Winchester was small for his age. Sweet, polite and soft spoken, he was not like any other thirteen year old Nicole had ever met. He offered her a smile every time she came into the room despite the circumstances. She watched him with his brother, how he held his hand and whispered into his ear. The soft kisses he gave to a hand or a cheek. But, in Sam's eyes Nicole couldn't find a young boy. The innocence and wonder that should have been in those eyes was not there. Instead, his beautiful hazel eyes conveyed someone way beyond Sam's years, like he'd seen way too much, maybe suffered more than his fair share of pain and heartbreak. He was haunted and his eyes showed it. It was partly due to the dire situation the family found themselves in, Nicole was certain of that, but there was much more to the story than just that. Nicole would never ask, but she knew this family had been through a lot to put that haunted look into such a young boy's eyes and that broke her heart more than anything she'd ever encountered in all her forty two years.
Nicole took a deep breath and let it out on a soft sigh before pushing the door open and stepping into the room. John Winchester was in his usual spot on the right side of his son's bed, his dark eyes watching the unconscious young man wearily. Nicole frowned when she saw the vacant chair on the other side of the bed, the one that usually held Sam. The boy was seldom out of the chair and Nicole had an instant of worry before she shrugged her shoulders, assuming Sam had merely gone to the bathroom. She stepped up to the bed and put on a smile she really didn't feel and glanced over at John.
"Hello, Mr. Winchester. I'm just going to check Dean over and change his dressing. If you'd like to go get something to eat, I'll stay until you get back," Nicole said softly, her deft fingers working at pulling the hospital gown up so she could get to the wound on Dean's chest.
John flinched slightly at the nurse's words, as if he hadn't heard her come into the room. He slowly lifted his dark eyes and stared at her for a moment. "N-No…I'm fine," he said hoarsely before returning his gaze to his son.
Nicole nodded, expecting nothing less from the father, and went back to work on changing the dressing that covered the entire left side of Dean's torso. The animal that had attacked him had nearly gutted him, slicing him from his collarbone to his hipbone before slamming him into a tree. It was amazing that he'd survived the trip off of the mountain and to the hospital. Nicole taped the new dressing into place, pulled down Dean's gown then glanced behind her at the still empty chair. Concern was rising within her now, telling her that something was wrong. She couldn't explain it, but she could sense that the young boy could be in some sort of danger. She turned her head toward John and cleared her throat.
"Mr. Winchester…where's Sam?" she asked, her voice rising above the beeps and swooshes of the machines and monitors that surrounded the bed.
John raised his eyes and looked over at Sam's chair, his brow furrowing when he saw that it was indeed empty. He looked up into expectant blue eyes and shook his head. "Uh…I don't know. Said something about fixing something…I think," he replied, his voice showing no emotion, just total and utter exhaustion.
"Fixing something? Fixing what? How long ago did he leave?" Nicole continued, her worry rising at the seeming lack of concern for the boy from his father.
"I don't know. He's fine," John said dismissively, his eyes already back on his eldest son's face. "Probably just out getting some fresh air or something," he finished.
"Mr. Winchester, I don't think he should be by himself right now. He's not doing well at all…"
"Sam'll be fine. I can't leave Dean…gotta be here when he wakes up," John said absently as he reached up to take Dean's hand.
Nicole watched the father for a few moments then shook her head. He was in denial. All perfectly normal, except he had another son to think about and he seemed to have forgotten that. He didn't even seem to have noticed that Sam had left the room. The boy was mature beyond his years, but he was still just a boy when you got right down to it and in the emotional state he was in, he shouldn't be wandering around by himself. Finally, Nicole turned and walked to the door. She stopped before opening the door then turned to look over her shoulder.
"I'll look for Sam for you," she said softly.
If John heard her, he didn't acknowledge it. His hand continued to hold his son's, his attention completely on the dying young man. Nicole sighed as she pulled the door open and stepped out of the room. Her blue eyes scanned the corridor, but there was no sign of the missing boy. She hurried to the nurse's station just down the hall a ways and got the attention of the nurse there.
"Beverly, have you seen Sam Winchester go by this way?" she asked as calmly as she could.
Beverly Newson looked up from the monitors she was watching and furrowed her brow. "That sweet little boy who's brother is in room three?" she asked, biting at her lip when Nicole nodded. "Uh…no, I haven't seen him since I came on two hours ago," she continued.
"Crap," Nicole muttered as her eyes once more scanned the hallway and surrounding area. If Sam left the ward, he would have had to go by the nurse's station and Beverly was not one to miss anything that happened on her shift. That meant that if Sam did leave and wasn't just hiding out somewhere, he would have been gone for longer than two hours.
"Nicole, what's wrong?" Beverly asked worriedly.
"I was just in to change his brother's dressing and Sam isn't there. I thought he'd gone to the bathroom, but he still wasn't back by the time I was finished," Nicole answered.
"Does his father know where he went?" Beverly queried.
"No…he wasn't even aware that the kid wasn't there," Nicole answered sadly.
"That poor man. It's no wonder really. He's just been told that his son is brain dead…"
"I know that, Beverly, but he has another son who needs him. A son who seems to be missing at the moment," Nicole replied as she stepped back from the counter.
"Maybe he just needed to get out of the room for a bit. They both have been in there for a week. He could be in the waiting area or the bathroom or even in one of the vacant rooms," Beverly said, hoping to ease her co-worker's worry a bit.
Nicole nodded and gave the other nurse a small smile. She could be right of course. There were plenty of places for a boy to hide if he just needed to get away for awhile, but still be close to his loved ones. Nicole took a deep breath and slowly let it out. That had to be it. Sam wouldn't leave his brother. His devotion was an inspiration and the nurse couldn't imagine him leaving the ward. No, he was most likely hiding somewhere, just needing some time to himself. Nicole was certain that the next time she went in to check on her patient, his brother would be right where he'd been from the first day. She glanced once more down the hall to where room three was then turned in the opposite direction. She had other patients to check up on. She'd go back and talk to Sam once she was finished with them.
Sam stopped as he finally came to a crossroad, the boy dropping his backpack at his feet before scanning the darkening forest around him. He felt lucky that the current city they called home was built on the side of mountains, and even luckier that the hospital was a mere six blocks from the beginning tree line. He'd found a dirt road almost immediately upon entering the forest and had hoped to find a connecting road not too far from there. He'd traveled nearly two miles before said crossroad had appeared. Sam wasted no time in pulling a small shovel from his pack and getting to work on digging a hole in the hard dirt. Once the hole was dug, he pulled a small cardboard box from the pack and checked its contents to make sure he had everything he needed for the summoning. Once he was certain everything was in order, he dropped the box into the hole and covered it with dirt before standing, his hazel eyes searching the darkness for movement.
"Come on," he said as he turned in a circle, his heart racing when nobody appeared. This had to work, he had to save his brother. Sam couldn't help but jump when a voice suddenly sounded from behind him.
"Well, well, well…little Sammy Winchester. To what do I owe the pleasure?" the woman's voice said in a slow, sultry tone.
Sam spun around, his eyes widening at the beautiful woman before him. "I…I want to make a deal," he finally sputtered.
The woman smiled and stepped toward the shaking boy. "Do I look like Monty Hall to you?" she asked with a smirk.
"What? Who?" Sam asked, a puzzled look on his face.
The woman rolled her eyes and walked closer to Sam. She reached down and cupped his chin then lifted his face up to meet hers. "What does the son of a hunter want with a crossroads demon? Huh?" she asked, her eyes flickering from brown to red then back again.
Sam swallowed, his body shuddering involuntarily at the demon's touch. "Don't you know already?" he asked, his voice even despite the fear he felt.
The demon chuckled softly as she crouched down in front of Sam. "Could it be that brother of yours? You think his life is more important than yours, right? You want me to give him his life back in exchange for your soul? Am I anywhere close?" she asked, her lips curled in an evil smirk.
"Y-Yes…please, I have to save him," Sam whispered shakily.
"So, what if I don't want your soul, Sammy?" the demon asked as she let go of Sam's face, stood and took a step back and placed her hands on her hips.
"Wh-what? But…you're not going to help me? The soul of a hunter…that's gotta be worth a lot," Sam cried out as he took a step toward the demon.
"Now, I didn't say I wasn't going to help you. I just don't want your soul," the demon responded.
Sam stared at the demon in shock. If not his soul, what else could she possibly want? "What do you want then?" he asked nervously, though he was willing to do anything to have his brother back.
"You'd give anything, right…anything at all?" the demon queried.
Sam nodded. It didn't matter…Dean was worth anything she asked for and Sam would give it willingly. "Yes…anything," he finally answered.
The demon smiled as she once again approached the teen. "Very well. You have until morning with your brother before I collect," she said.
"You changing your mind already? Chickening out?" the demon hissed as she stopped before the boy.
"No…I just want to make sure I get what I want too," Sam said defiantly.
The demon sighed and shook her head. "You want your brother alive," she said.
"Not just alive. I want him healed…whole. I want him to wake up like nothing ever happened to him," Sam demanded.
"Don't you think the doctors might be a bit…oh, I don't know…suspicious if his wounds went away, just like that?" the demon asked. "He's brain dead, right…a vegetable? A drooling mess?" she continued cruelly.
"Shut up!" Sam screamed.
"Calm down, Sammy. Just trying to make you see how…awkward it would be if he just woke up and all his boo boos were gone," the demon said.
"I don't care! They'll think it's a miracle or something," Sam replied angrily. "Just…heal him or I'll find another demon who will!"
The demon held her hands up in front of her and stepped toward the boy. "Okay…okay. He'll be fully healed. No ill effects from the attack," she said.
"Immediately," Sam added quickly.
The demon sighed then nodded her head. "Immediately. Now, can we finalize this?" she said.
"What do I have to give?" Sam asked reluctantly.
"Does it matter?"
"Just tell me."
"No…I think I'll just keep it a secret until tomorrow when I collect. You're brother's worth it, right?" the demon said.
Sam stared at the demon, but finally nodded. "Okay…fine. Only me, understand?" he said.
"What?" the demon asked, her brow creasing with confusion.
"You don't collect from anybody but me. You can't hurt anybody else…can't take anybody else's soul. No curses on my family or anybody I know or don't know," Sam said coolly.
"Sammy, I'm hurt that you'd think I would trick you like that. I don't want anything from anybody but you. A special boy like you?" the demon said as she cocked her head. "So, we have a deal?"
Sam dropped his eyes to the ground and took a deep breath to ease his racing heartbeat. Finally, he looked up and nodded. "Yes," he whispered.
The demon stepped forward and leaned over in front of Sam. She grabbed the back of his head, her fingers entwining painfully into his hair, and pulled him to her before pressing her lips roughly to his. Sam squirmed and fought to break her hold, but she was too strong for the small teen. Finally, the demon pulled away, an evil sneer on her lips.
"Sealed with a kiss," she said with a chuckle. She laughed as Sam wiped the back of his hand over his mouth and stared up at her with disgust, his eyes wide with anger.
"You have such pretty eyes, Sammy," she cooed as she reached out to touch his face.
Sam jerked away, his hand coming up to bat hers away. "Don't touch me!" he spat.
"So touchy," the demon said. "You better run along now, little boy. Don't want to waste any time you have with your brother. Tomorrow will be here before you know it," she continued.
Sam glared at the demon for a moment then turned, picked up his things and ran off down the road toward the hospital. If the demon hadn't been lying, then Dean should be awake and Sam couldn't run fast enough to get to him.
John sat at his eldest son's bedside, the young man's hand held gently in his own. He couldn't believe this was happening. His boy was dying, was already dead except for the machines that kept him alive. John couldn't accept it…wouldn't accept it. There had to be something somebody could do. He couldn't lose his son. If he lost one, he'd lose the other as well. Sam would never survive his brother's death and that thought made John look up and over at where his son had been planted since day one. Only, Sam wasn't there. John frowned and glanced around the room, his stomach clenching as terrible thoughts ran through his head. He began to stand, but suddenly, the hand he held closed tightly around his own and his son's body began to writhe on the bed, horrible sounds coming from his throat. John jerked his attention back to Dean, his eyes widening with disbelief and shock. His supposed brain dead son's eyes were wide open and staring straight at him, full recognition showing in their panicked depths. It was then that Dean began to choke and John began to scream.
That's chapter one. I hope you'll let me know what you think. I'll have the next chapter posted in a few days. Not sure about the third chapter as I will be traveling to Chicago on Thursday to attend Chicago Con...YIPPEE! I get to touch the Jared! One week from tomorrow I'll be standing next to him, smiling from ear to ear...or...passing out! LOL