So here it is, the last chapter. Thank you to all of you. You have really made my day with your overwhelming response. I appreciate every one of you more than you will ever know. And like promised, the exact prompt for the story is in the end. Hugs, Vonnie
Sometimes You Just Have to Trust
By the time Jo returned for her next shift, Sam's fever had gone down to a manageable 101.5 F. Dean was still sitting in the chair, holding on to his brother's hand, but was now sleeping . Initially reluctant, the older man finally gave in to his own need for rest, after he not only felt the decreased warmth of Sam's skin, but although saw the reading the thermometer showed.
For a moment Ellen was tempted to wake him and make him return to his bed, but seeing how relaxed both Winchesters looked, she decided to leave him where he was. Giving her daughter report, she took leave, hoping that things wouldn't fall apart once again.
After she checked on business in the bar room and finding only two patron, both ready to leave there, she decided to close early, putting a sign up to ring the bell for any hunters, who might show up in search for help. She took time for a less then thorough clean-up, before going upstairs. She checked her watch, when she finally laid down, finding she had less than three hours before her next shift started. Closing her eyes she decided she would sleep now and let Jo have the rest of the night off that way at least one of them would get more than just a few hours of sleep at a time.
Yet sleep didn't come easy to her. Too many thoughts wrecked havoc on in her tired brain. Thoughts of her husband and John Winchester, of things she had said to John's boys and of how the last few days had completely changed her opinion of those two young men.
Almost two hours later she had yet to find any rest. Looking at her watch again, she decided it was probably useless to lie there any longer, yet somehow she was reluctant to leave the warm cocoon of her bed. Just five more minutes, then she was going to get up and make herself some strong coffee before relieving her daughter. Yeah, hot, strong coffee sounded really good right now. She could almost smell it.
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A knock at the door drew her out of a dream that was more a memory of a one year old Jo and two boys, one a preschooler with sandy hair, the other a toddler with dark curly locks, playing in the sand out in the yard behind the Roadhouse. Opening her eyes, confusion hit her at the light filtering in through the curtains.
"Hey sleepyhead, I've made some coffee!" Jo stuck her head in the room.
"What time is it?"
"What? You let me sleep all night?" Ellen slipped out from under the covers.
"No big deal." Her daughter grinned, "Not a lot happened. Why don't you take a shower and come down. We can have some breakfast together before the boys wake up?"
"Sure, I'll be right down!" She answered, already heading for the bathroom.
It was fifteen minutes later, when the older Harvelle woman appeared in the kitchen, finding her daughter sitting at the table, eating a piece of toast.
"There are scrambled eggs and bacon on the stove, I made extra. I figured Dean might like some breakfast and maybe even Sam might be up for some eggs later."
"Thanks." Ellen filled her plate, taking the bread, which just popped up out of the toaster.
Sitting down, she noticed a full cup being pushed in front of her. Taking a large swallow, she savored the taste of the dark concoction.
"So, how did the night go?"
"Really good!" Jo answered, "Sam's fever held steady. He had another dose of the antibiotic and an hour ago his temp was down to 99.5 F. That's when Dean finally went to his own bed."
Her mother gave her a worried look, "How is he?"
"He actually slept quite a bit in the chair and I think with the pillow in his back he was fairly comfortable. I checked the sutures and they look okay, no infection either. I think he really thrived on being with Sam." Jo mused.
"And the other way around, you should have seen how fast Sammy settled down, when he felt Dean's presence."
"Don't let him hear that!"
"Don't let who hear what?" Ellen looked confused.
"Don't let Sam hear you call him Sammy. Only Dean gets to call him that." Jo smirked.
"Oh, I won't!" She laughed.
"Sam had a pretty good night too. Only a couple of coughing spells, but none as bad as they had been and he didn't turn blue either. I did leave the Oxygen on, it's still going. I just didn't want to run the risk of him going hypoxic again. He slept through the couple of respiratory treatments I gave him and still hasn't woken up."
"That's probably good, poor kid needs the rest. Let's hope he is really starting to get over this thing." Ellen took another sip from her coffee, before starting on the plate in front of her. She still couldn't believe Jo had let her sleep through the night and yet, it gave her a glimpse of the woman her daughter had turned into. Bill would have been just as proud of her as she was.
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It was ten o'clock, before Doc White's visit woke both Winchesters from their healing slumber. After assessing Dean first and voicing his satisfaction with the state of his wound, he moved on to his other patient.
"I heard you had a rough night!" He smiled at the younger man, while sitting down on the bed beside him.
"I'm fine now!"
The old physician laughed at the response, "Well, we'll see about that in a moment. Think you can sit up for me, so I can listen to your lungs?"
"Sure…" Sam mumbled, but found that it wasn't as easy as he thought, as he had to accept a helping hand from the other man. Finally sitting up, a coughing spell shook him, making him expel a large amount of sputum into the bunch of tissues the doc handed him just in time. Panting several times, while pressing his arms against his aching ribs, he finally looked up, his face red from the strain and tears standing in his eyes.
"How're you doing there?" Doc White asked, holding his hand against Sam's back in support.
"Fine…" The younger man rasped out.
"I can see that! It's progress though that you can get that crud out of your lungs. Now let me listen to you!" He lifted his patient's shirt up and put his stethoscope to the right side of the upper spine, "Breath deep…" He ordered.
Moving the instrument systematically along both lungs, while listening intensely, the doc finally pulled the ear pieces out.
"Here, let me help you." He offered, assisting his patient back down into the pillows.
"So what's the verdict?" The anxious question came from the other bed.
"He still sounds horrible, but compared to yesterday it is a lot better. I really think the antibiotic is kicking the infection in the butt. I'm still going to add the second one, it's only once daily, just to make sure he isn't picking up any secondary infection."
"M' still here, you know." Sam protested.
"Yeah, I know and I'm glad you are, little brother. You really had me worried there for a while."
"I know, you said that." Dean smirked, "But you weren't last night."
"What…owe…" The younger brother hissed, as the physician removed the dressing from his leg.
Instantly Dean's protective senses kicked into full gear. Trying to get up, it was only thanks to Ellen moving in and holding him back that he didn't worsen his own injury.
"Sorry…" The doctor apologized, "I tried to be careful, but the dressing was stuck because of some dried drainage."
"Drainage…, is he okay?"
"Dean, I'm fine."
"Say it one more time and I kick you!" The older hunter growled, "I asked him, not you." He pointed at the physician.
"It's just some old drainage, no infection or anything!" Doc White assured him.
"You want to see for yourself?"
"Don't mind, if I do." Dean allowed Ellen to help him over to the other bed. After taking a look at his sibling's leg, assuring that it indeed looked okay, he said, "Alright, it does seem okay."
"Who made you my watch dog?" A visibly annoyed Sam grumbled from his spot in the pillows.
"Be glad I had all my shots!" Dean grinned.
An amused smile appeared on Ellen and the doctor's face, as they listened to the exchange between the brothers. It went on for a bit longer, until the hoarseness of Sam's voice made it almost impossible for him to talk any longer.
Feeling guilty for wearing his brother down like that, the older Winchester apologized, "Sorry Sammy, I should have remembered."
"I'm fine, Dean."
"Darn it Sammy, didn't I tell you, if you say it one more time, I kick your butt?"
The younger man grinned, wordlessly pointing at his throat.
"Oh alright, you've got me, but only because I feel bad for you already. Don't test me though!"
"I'm done here!" The doctor interrupted, "It would be good for Sam to get up several times a day and sit in the chair. It will help his breathing and clear his lungs faster. Also push fluids and continue the treatments. I'll be back tonight and if your lungs sound okay, I'll order you some Codeine. That will suppress the cough during the night and help you sleep."
He took the oxygen tubing off Sam and turned the concentrator off, before turning to Dean, "I'll allow you to get up as much as you want, as long as you don't overdo it. I also want you to stay away from lifting anything heavier than a plate of food or a cup of coffee. You understand me?"
"Yes, Sir!" Dean beamed.
"That means no lifting or helping your brother either!" The old man added, "Leave that to the women for now."
The firstborn Winchester's face fell a little, yet he was happy to regain this much freedom, at least he didn't have to ask for assistance to go to the john anymore.
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If someone would have told her a few weeks ago that she would be sad to see the Winchester brothers leave, Ellen Harvelle would have either stuffed her shot gun up that person's behind, or determined them too drunk to know what they were saying. Yet now she was standing in the doorway, watching the Impala pull out of the lot feeling exactly that way.
It had been a week since Doc White had declared both of his patients were improving and ever since then they had watched over one another like hawks over their chicks. Well, in the beginning only Dean had done thee watching, as Sam had slept most of the day. But as another couple days had passed, the younger sibling had become just as protective of the older.
Using the crutches Doc White had brought by to help him walk, Sam had been almost glued to Dean's side. Knowing the older man's tendency to conceal his pain, he hadn't been willing to take any chances. At the same time the doctor's warning about Sam's lungs needing time to heal, had kept Dean out of the bar room, as the smoke in there would have not helped his kid brother's healing.
Sometimes the overprotectiveness had seemed almost comical to the two women, especially when Dean had stayed so close to his brother that Sam had almost tripped over him and in turn Sam had scream for Ellen, whenever Dean had just put his hand on his shoulder to steady him.
The Harvelles and the Winchesters had gotten to know one another much better during this week and Ellen could finally understand what her friend Bobby saw in those boys. So when both of them told her this morning they were going to leave today, she tried to convince them to stay just a little longer. But even her argument that Dean still couldn't lift much and Sam continued to cough and use one crutch for walking did nothing to change their minds. In reality she had known for several days that Dean was getting antsy and only stayed this long because of Sam.
So now she was standing here with two promises to return to the Roadhouse very soon and a feeling she couldn't quite identify. But there was one thing she knew, this event, which could have easily turned into a tragedy, had not only given her, but Jo also, the opportunity to change their mind about Sam and Dean Winchester. And if nothing else, this was the least John's sons deserved. They weren't one's to trust easy, but when they did, they did it with all their hearts and she was going to make sure that she would not be the one to disappoint them, ever again.
Prompt - Gen. S2. Post-NO EXIT. A hunt that turns personal (maybe the guys couldn't save the victim, it involved kids, or had something connected with Dad... I don't care and am not fussy) goes seriously south, leaving the boys both injured and bleeding (Sam more than Dean, obviously, and it doesn't matter what their injuries are... just make them both a little bloodied-up) and grappling with "what the hell just happened?" But the thing is, Sam was already coming down with something - preferably of the pneumonia/bronchitis variety - when the hunt began so with his injury, he's really feeling crappy (maybe even passing out in the car). Dean's also at the end of his rope, so he hauls their butts to Harvelle Roadhouse because it's the nearest "safe" place he can think of, despite being chewed out by Ellen in NO EXIT.
Ellen's no longer seriously furious at them - her temper burned itself out and she knows that the Winchester Boys really did do everything they could to keep Jo safe and that the events of NO EXIT wasn't entirely their faults because, hello, it's Jo, and she doesn't blame them for their father's actions involving Bill because she knows they had nothing to do with the incident - and when she sees how beaten-to-west-hell-and-back they both are, she takes them in and tends to them in her hard-as-nails-yet-maternal way, taping up wounds, kissing their poor shattered souls, tucking them in bed and forcing them to sleep and heal, and also helping Sam through his bronchitis/pneumonia.
150 BONUS POINTS IF:
* Dean drags an unconscious Sam to the porch, props Sam up, bangs on the door, and when Ellen answers, manages a "hey" before passing out on her doorstep. (50 points)
* It takes place after BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN and Jo's there and there's much awkwardness between Sam and Jo as he apologizes and tries to make it up to her while he's sick and has to depend on her - maybe Jo's there to give him meds or food or changing his wound dressings - because he's so debilitated. (100 points)