Taking Chances.

Summary. . . . . . . . . . . The risks are high, but they have to be taken, when an accident happens whilst an injured John and Sam are left home alone.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . Okay so I'm still dusting off the cobwebs on stories I started writing a while ago, whilst I wait for the bunnies to come back on my unfinished fics. This one I started writing in response to an exchange over on CWESS, last year, for Sam's birthday exchange, and was my original thoughts to a prompt from Epiphany. I ended up going with another story but thought while I'm spring cleaning I might as well finish this one off too. I hope that you enjoy. Peanut x

"Oh God! Oh God! Dean, Dean, it hurts so bad. It hurts so bad! Daaaaaddddddyyyy!" John thought he was bound to snap the door handle of the Impala completely; his hand was gripping it that tightly. It was bad enough that they'd had to leave the hunt unfinished, that they had left a vicious beast roaming around injured and looking for its next meal; that he was sitting here nursing a headache from hell itself, but to have to listen to his youngest son's cries of agony and anguish. He had never felt pain like it before, snapped bones, concussions, hell even the time he had wrenched one of his testicles, was nothing compared to the misery he was feeling now, having to listen to his youngest sons tortured suffering. He risked moving his own sore neck and body in the seat, hoping to try and catch a glimpse of Sam, but all he could see was the back of his eldest son's head, as he crouched in the small gap between seats trying desperately to keep an agonized Sam as still as possible.

"How's he doin'?" John asked, needing to at least hear how Sam was, even if he couldn't see him. What he got in response though threatened to shatter him completely.

"Daaaaaddddddyyyy! Daaaaaddddddyyyy! Please Daaaaaddddddyyyy! Please stop, it hurts so much, Daaaaaddddddyyyy!"

John didn't realize Bobby had risen his foot from the gas pedal until he felt the big car start to slow down, he turned his whole body slowly around and glared at the older man beside him.

"What are you doin'? We're nowhere near the house, why are you slowing down?"

"I'm turnin' the damn car around, that's what I'm doin'. I never should have agreed t' take the kid home. He needs a damn doctor John, not two hunter's that think they know enough, a heavy dose of whiskey, and a couple of band aids."

"What! Bobby, no! We can't risk it."

"We have to John. This is bigger than you and me. He's hurtin'. He's hurtin' bad, and I for one cannot stand by and listen to his cries of agony anymore."

"Then drop us off at the house, grab your shit together, get in your truck and leave. I'll handle this myself."

"You are a damn pigheaded son of a bitch, John Winchester. And how are you goin' to manage to do that? You're busted up bad too John, you can hardly move your neck, your ankles the size of a football, and I'd bet the deeds to the salvage yard, you're seeing double right about now, and have a twenty one gun salute goin' on in that stubborn as a mule head of yours."

"Damn it! You know I can't take him to the hospital Bobby. You've seen his back, you've seen those bruises, they look like freakin' hand prints. The quacks will take one look at them and whisk him away from me quicker than you can spell CPS. We can't risk it, you know this is the only way Bobby, we'll get Jackson to take a look at him."

"Jackson? Jackson is a crazy assed, drunken, dishonorably discharged, ex-army medic John! He aint no doctor."

"He'll have to do, I have to take a chance on him, otherwise this family will shatter. I can't take him to the hospital, if Sam got taken away, Dean . . . . . . . . . . . . hell, both of us wouldn't survive."

Bobby glanced quickly at his friend, noticing the fear and guilt that battled each other in his eyes, and the pain lines that etched their way across his face. Praying he wasn't making a gigantic mistake, his pressed his foot harder on the gas and lurched the big car back towards the Winchester homestead, his eyes traveling to the back seat and the boy he thought so much of, his heart willing him to allow the pain to drag him under.

Jackson banged upon the peeling paint of the Winchester's remote front door, three hours after Bobby's frantic call, his mood sour, his body tired, and his head in desperate need of a couple of shots of whiskey; he knew though that he could do nothing about the last two, but his mood started to change and blacken further, as he heard the faint cries of the youngest Winchester coming from inside, and the screech of wood on wood as Bobby finally opened the warped door and he stepped into the sparsely furnished yet extremely tidy house.

"Jackson, it's damn good to see ya. . . . . . . . . ." Bobby started, only to be cut off as Jackson's famous anger kicked in.

"Where the hell is he Singer? And if the pain is as bad as I can hear, why the hell isn't he admitted?"

"Now hang on a minute. . . . . . . . . ." Bobby tried again.

"Are ya gonna tell me where he is? Or do I have to figure that one out for myself? You're the god damn one who called me, now d'ya need my help or not?" Not waiting for an answer, Jackson pushed past the older man, past the door leading to the basement, and headed for the bedroom at the back of the single level house. "Awww to hell with it, I'll figure it out myself. Make yourself useful and go and get my god damn bag." He shouted over his shoulder.

His mood hadn't improved after he had pushed open the door to Sam and Dean's sparse bedroom and set eyes upon the youngster writhing about on the bed, his brother doing his best to calm him, to keep him still, whilst his father, the stupid stubborn bastard he thought under his breathe, was attempting to stitch up a gaping wound in his youngest son's head with hands that Jackson could see from here, were shaking like leaves in the wind.

"Move outta the way John!" Jackson ground out as he made his way over, his tone brokering no room to object. John wanted to though, wanted to tell him where to go, wanted to tell him he had this, but deep down he knew he didn't, and knew he wasn't at his best, so with a scowl the medic's way he acquiesced.

"I need you all to leave, I need space in here." Jackson spoke as he bent on unwilling knees so he could be at his patient's level. He knew he would receive grumbled complaints, would have been shocked if he didn't, but it still pissed him off no end that they came, and anger that showed in his features as he turned from Sam and demanded once again. "I need the space to treat him. If you won't leave for me then think about Sam, you know he'll be embarrassed, hell ashamed even, when he's better, if he found out you watched me undress him."

John and Bobby could see the truth in those words and turned to go, placing all their trust in Jackson to help Sam. Dean on the other hand refused point blank to leave his sibling's side, no threats, and no promises could get him to move, something Jackson had known all along. So with the young hunter by his side, to offer yet more comfort and help, Jackson began.

Sweat glistened upon his brow as he stepped out of the room; that need for whiskey having risen with each passing second of the exam, as each touch of Sam's back had elicited a scream of pain that had pierced through the armor that Jackson had coated his heart with. He'd lost everyone he ever cared about to the hunt a long time ago, and he'd promised he would never get close to anyone ever again, yet today he found himself in a losing battle to keep that promise alive. He walked into the sparse kitchen with its uneven table and mismatched chairs, skirting both and aiming instead for the new but well-used coffee pot he could smell a rich aroma emanating from.

"Well?" John asked as the hunter strode past him and Bobby.

Jackson ignored him, his need for a boost of any kind more important to him than speaking to the two stubborn idiots behind him, who he knew wouldn't like his response. He ignored them again, as he poured the extra strong sludge into the biggest mug he could find, not caring that its rim was chipped and cracked. It was only after he had swallowed half of the scalding hot brew down, that he turned their way.

"Sam needs a hospital."

"What? No Jackson. You know why we can't go there, you know what will happen. You'll have to do. You'll have to fix him." John shouted out, his sentences rushing together, as his frayed nerves got the better of him. Even sat out in the kitchen they had heard every one of Sam's pitiful screams, and every one had torn at John's already fragile heart.

"That's just it John!" Jackson responded. "I can't just fix this, this it too big for me. He's out for now, but that's only down to the copious amounts of whiskey I've forced down his throat. You thought things were bad now; just you wait until that all wants to come back up again. He needs proper meds. He needs x-rays and scans and shit. Do you think I carry that type of crap in the back of my broken down Mini? You're not thinking straight John! Sam needs help, and I don't think I'm person to give it to him."

"Well, you'll have to be, cause I can't risk taking him in. I can't risk losing him Jackson; I can't lose another member of my family. There has to be some other way."

The ex-medic turned away as his hard fought for gruff exterior threatened to fall. He knew he was right, the healer in him knew he was right, but he also knew that John was; that as soon as any of the medical personal got a look at Sam, he would be taken away.

"What about that big vet's clinic down the road, the one that treats all the farm animals? Will they have the equipment you might need?" Bobby asked, speaking for the first time.

Jackson rubbed a hand over his weary eyes and down through his tangled and messed up hair. "It's not ideal, but it's the best we got. Come on, we best move Sam whilst it's still dark, and while he's still under."

He wondered, as he sat there listening to the soft moans emanating from the sleeping figure on the bed, if this was what Dean, since he had been old enough, felt like every time he was left out of a hunt. Like some sort of unwanted, useless object; a discarded toy that was no longer popular to play with; inadequate and inferior and inept and worthless. He rubbed a weary hand across his grey flecked stubble, he knew he was being too hard upon himself, knew that he wasn't in any shape to finish what was supposed to have been just a simple banshee hunt, knew that he was the right choice to stay behind and tend to their injured, but that didn't make him feel any better, he needed to be out there feeling useful, not stuck here in this house with its pealing wallpaper, and it's damp spots, and it's drafty windows, and it's temperamental electricity, and it's lumpy bed that held his youngest son.

His baby boy who he didn't know how to talk to, or care for; his baby boy who had been pushed so forcefully by the banshee, when they had first attempted to banish her, that he had injured his back so severely he had screamed out in pain at every movement; his baby boy who had then suffered immensely through the car journey home, who had suffered through being moved into the house and then Jackson's examination. Sam had luckily been unaware of the next move to the veterinarians, and all the positioning into poses for x-rays; x-rays that when they had come back held nothing but bad news. Jackson had tried to sugar coat it, the damage was severe, but it could heal, so long as Sam was kept as still as possible for as long as it took to do so, but they all knew in this line of business staying still for long periods of time brought its own danger. Still John had to try.

So he had agreed to stay, his own injuries enough to keep him here, whilst Bobby, Jackson and Dean attempted to finish off the hunt they had started; the hunt that had caused all these problems in the first place. Whilst John sat at home listening to the storm that accumulated rage outside, and Sam's pitiful cries sing out from down the hallway, and getting angrier and angrier by the minute, he wanted to be out there, he wanted to be the one that banished the bitch that had hurt his son so. His ankle, and his neck, and his head, all throbbed in time to his rising heartbeat. He needed a drink, his hand reaching down for the bottle of whiskey Jackson had left by his side after he had refused to take the pain medication the medic had offered. Lifting the bottle to his lips, he gulped down a large shot, feeling its effects as its warmth spread through his body. As a particularly loud cry erupted from his son though, John knew that one shot was not enough. He lifted again, the golden liquid running freely for a few seconds before it abruptly stopped the bottle drained and dry.

"Shit!" John shouted, his hand rising, ready to throw the now useless glass at the wall, only to fall as he remembered his injured son in the next room. He needed more though, just a little something to take the edge off. Remembering the hidden bottle downstairs in the basement, he pushed himself unsteadily to his feet, wincing as he put pressure on his damaged ankle, and steadying himself of the sofa's arm as his neck and head protested the movement. He moved towards the basement door, flinching as a particularly load crash of thunder boomed overhead, eliciting a cry from his son. He knew he should go in there and offer comfort, knew of Sam's aversion to storm from an early age, he just needed that edge to do so, just needed something that would allow him to comfort Sam as well as Dean could.

Opening the door, he placed his hands on the rails, supporting himself whilst he moved his swollen ankle. He'd lumbered his way down three of the steps, his good leg raised ready to take the fourth, when a brilliant flash of lightening erupted outside, the lights inside flickering madly before they went out altogether, causing his balance to falter, and his bad ankle giving out. He tried to hold on, to steady himself with his arms, but the pressure sent spikes of pain shooting out from his neck, one hand reaching out instinctively to massage the area. Too late, he realized, too late to try and grab back a hold of the rail, and he could do nothing to stop his fall; his own cries of pain ripped from him as he bounced down the wooden stairs, his neck and ankle alternately slamming into each tread, his body passing into unconsciousness before he'd even reached the bottom.

A.N. . . . . . . . . . . That's all for now Folks, chapter 2 is halfway done so I'll be back soon with more. Peanut x