AN: For OhSam! LJ Community Prompt found here Sam has cancer. Either pre-series or Stanford-era... can be brain tumor, leukemia, whatever...but it's bad and he's really ill and hid it from everyone until it was to the point he collapses. note: if Stanford-era, Jess calls Dean to tell him Sam is in the hospital. Warning! Character Death! This is my first really emo/full-on angst fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I've borrowed them for my own enjoyment.
She sat on the edge of the waiting room chair, looking pensively at the cell phone sitting on the magazine littered coffee table. She had one hand tucked up to her mouth, nervously chewing on a fingernail. Her other hand meanwhile, had a mind of its own. It reached for the phone and then pulled back, unsure. Rinse and repeat.
She glanced at the double doors that separated the waiting area from the intensive care unit, pausing to look long and hard at the cheery lemon yellow doors. How dare they? Who gave them permission to be so damned cheery when that was the last thing in the world that she could feel. The entire world should be painted gray, to match her mood, to match her heart.
She looked again at the phone and knew that there was no other choice. It wasn't fair. It shouldn't have to be her. She shouldn't be the one making this call. He should have made the call a long time ago, when he first found out. Not now. Not when it was too late.
And it was too late. Her eyes teared up instantly, thinking about the love of her young life, lying in a cold, dark room at the back of the ICU. Lying in a bed that isn't comfortable like their bed at home. A bed that is too small for her to curl up beside him and just hold him like he needs so desperately to be held. A bed too short to carry the lanky body that she's come to know every inch of. A room so empty of life that it's draining what little is left of his.
There was too little time, not enough words. How do you say goodbye to the person that for two years has been your entire world? How do you explain to his family that they will not get the opportunity to do the same? Because, there's just…not enough time.
Her hand closed around the phone, her thumb instinctively finding the contacts button. She scrolled through the contacts; her eyes and mind scanning a list of names and numbers of people and places that they, together had welcomed into their shared life. And then she finally landed on an unknown number. A number that was not labeled, Dad or Dean (because he had at least told her that much) or home. It was labeled 'emergency'.
She took a deep breath, held it for a beat and then released it slowly, pressing the connect button and bringing the phone to her ear. Instantly her stomach fluttered in butterflies. What would she say to them? She waited anxiously for the line to connect, to hear a voice on the other end, a voice belonging to someone who in a different lifetime could possibly have become family. But not in this lifetime.
She struggled for breath and for composure upon hearing the young voice on the other end. He sounded as unsure answering as she felt making the call. The voice sounded…remarkably like him.
"Hello?" he called again.
The lump in her throat threatened to choke her and she gasped for breath. Where had her strength disappeared to? It had been one of the traits that he had loved most about her; her strength. At such a young age, she was worldly and confident. She knew exactly what she wanted in life and how to go about achieving every goal she had ever placed on herself. And together, they had been amazing and unstoppable. And now her world was tumbling around her and with it every ounce of strength that she had. Her heart was thrumming so loudly, sending blood rushing through her entire body that it was all she could hear, until the cautious use of his name broke her from her panicked trance.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, dread filling her heart. She couldn't do this. She had to do this.
"Who is this?"
It wasn't a demand. The question was too careful to be a demand.
"I'm sorry," she repeated, finding her voice. "My name is Jessica. Jessica Moore. Sam is my…He is…"
"Sammy's got himself a girlfriend? Awww, that's…"
"Is this Dean?" she interrupted, not trusting herself to be strong enough to be patient.
"Yea," he answered, his tone changed again, no longer light and teasing and she knew that she truly had his attention now.
"Is he okay?"
Was it instinct? Was there something in her voice that had set alarm bells ringing? Because suddenly she could hear the nervousness from the other end of the line. She could hear it in his tone. Three little words and she could hear the anxiousness that she had involuntarily passed to him over the phone. Don't leave him hanging, she instructed herself.
"Sam is sick."
"Oh, well, if Sam's sick, let me drop…"
The incoming sarcasm grated on Jessica's nerves and her already shredded emotions and she interrupted him again.
She hadn't meant for that to come out so harsh, but there was no time. No time to break it to him softly. And she felt more than heard the pained rush of breath from the estranged brother.
"I'm sorry," she said for the third time. "You shouldn't have to find out like this, but I didn't really have much of a choice. He promised he would call you. Over and over he promised, but he never did," she began to ramble for no other reason than to fill the dead air. "He's so stubborn, you know? And now he…and I'm left to make this call. And you don't know me and I'm so sorry that it has to be me. It shouldn't be coming from me, but you had to know, before…you know. I just wish that he'd have let me do this before now so that you'd have a chance to…you know. God, I'm so sorry."
Jessica fell silent, listening intently for something, anything on the other end. After a few moments of quiet, she began to worry that he'd hung up.
"How long?" was the croaked response.
"Have we known?" she finished the question, tentatively.
"How long does he have?"
"Not long," she explained softly. "Weeks? Days? I don't know and the doctors…they won't really say; can't really say. He was taking outpatient treatments and doing real good. The doctors were hopeful and positive, but he had a setback last week after a treatment. He collapsed in the shower."
Her voice caught in her throat as she remembered the scene. Finding him passed out in the bottom of the stall, the water, still beating down on him, running ice cold. He had been so pale and unresponsive and at first she'd thought he was dead. But after collecting her senses, she found a pulse & dialed 911. The neighbor guy that had been so helpful over the last few months came over right away and helped her to pull him out of the shower and wrap him in blankets while they waited for the paramedics.
"They moved him into ICU and they don't expect him to leave. This is so much. I'm so sorry to lay all of this on you, but…"
"Can I talk to him?"
"I'm so sorry, Dean…"
"Jessica. It's Jessica, right? Can you just…stop telling me you're sorry and let me talk to my brother?"
His words were bitter and sharp, but it was easy to hear the deep set pain in his voice as he was fighting for control.
She bit back the sob that his words had brought forward and swallowed hard, forcing herself to be strong. She'd had all the time in the world to come to grips with this, where Dean had just found out. It was only natural that he would be upset. Only natural that he would take it out on her, the person to deliver the news, the only person to have been at his side while he faced all of these demons head on. Anger flared in her gut, but she stuffed it down as well as the hurt. This was his brother and she had a responsibility to both of them to extend the olive branch, patch the bridge, something. Something that would bring him closure.
"Dean, he's not able to talk. Physically. He's rarely conscious now. But he wanted me to call you. Tell you that he loves you. Your dad too. That he wishes things would have worked out better than they did. Wishes he'd have the chance to make it up to you, make things right. Tell you, he's sorry…for everything. Tell you that he never stopped thinking about you, not for one day. Tell you…"
"You tell him, I'm coming. Jessica, you tell him to wait and tell him that I'm coming."
The phone disconnected before she could argue with him. She sat there, staring down at the phone in her lap, astonished. He'd left her nothing. No messages of love or forgiveness or apology to return to his brother. Just, 'I'm coming and wait.' She was stunned and more bewildered now than before she had made the call.
Climbing out of the waiting room chair, she straightened her shirt and her hair, trying desperately to gain her composure. She faced those cheery lemon yellow doors and the long hallway that waited behind them. What she wouldn't give right now to take it all out on those doors, but that would have to wait, because right now, there just wasn't time for that kind of display.
Striding down the hallway, her head held high, shoulders back, a forced smile on her face, she approached his room and then his bed.
"Sam?" she called softly. He was lying on his side, back to the door and she walked around the bed to where she could see his face, where he could see her. He was awake and slowly his focus cleared and came to land on her beautiful face. She watched the recognition flash in his eyes and thought maybe she even caught a slight smile.
"Hi, Baby," she said, resting a warm hand on his cheek. "I called your brother."
She nodded when again she saw his eyes flash acknowledgment.
"Dean. I talked to him. Told him what's going on. Everything we talked about, just like you wanted."
He blinked a slow, exaggerated blink; their unspoken dialog breaching the short distance between them. She took him by the arms and laid him back into the bed and then climbed up next to him. Such a tight squeeze, but neither of them minded. She pulled his arm around her waist and she settled into the space between that arm and his slender chest, resting her own arm around his middle.
"He said to tell you that he's sorry for everything too. That he forgives you and hopes you'll forgive him. He wants you to be strong and wants you to know he loves you."
She feels a very slight pull at her waist as he tries to hug her. And even though he knows she's lying, he doesn't care. He does his best to smile and knows that at least he said what he needed to say and he knows deep down that if he'd really given his brother the chance, Dean would have said all of that. There just wasn't enough time.
They lay there together in the too small bed as the sun set behind the shades, casting a soft pink glow on the room. Somewhere out there, Dean was racing at breakneck speed to be at his brother's side, but he'd never make it in time.
Jessica would wake an hour later, to a dark room and the blinding realization that the love of her life was gone, slipped away in his sleep, content in his closure.