Author's note: Hey guys, this is my first fan fic. Basically, it's an AU of what might have happened if Sam had not woken up from the coma after Death restored his soul, set Season 6 after Appointment in Samarra. I'm planning on it being a mult-chapter fic, and there's going to be some romance for Sam with an OFC. I think Sammy deserves a little lovin'. I mean, even Dean had Lisa (at least for a while). I think Sam has mourned Jessica long enough! (Not that I didn't like her.) I'm also looking for a beta, so if anyone is interested, please read my profile. I do proofread my chapters multiple times, but I'm sure I've probably missed some things. Please excuse any mistakes. I'm also not a medical professional, although I did look up some stuff on Google, so if you're the medical police, please, don't shoot!
A/N 2: Probably some spoilers for Season 6 and maybe Season 5.
A/N 3: Just want to warn you there are lots of "f" bombs in this story, among other bad language, and there's gonna be some adult situations later on down the road.
Disclaimer: Like all of us, love 'em; don't own 'em. Thanks Eric Kripke for creating them! Also, I borrowed the dialogue between Dean and Castiel at the begining of the episode Like a Virgin. It's in italics. Don't want anyone to think I'm claiming that as my own, either.
Sharon and Dr. Davis were discussing the new patient in Room 210, Samuel Blackmore. Azlin pushed the pause button on her iPod to better hear the conversation, pretending to be concentrating on her job, which involved sweeping the floor at the moment. With the earbuds in her ears, no one would guess that she was eavesdropping.
At the Southern Oklahoma Subacute Care and Rehabilitation Center, Dr. George Davis was the head physician, and Sharon Massey was the director and founder of the facility. The door to Sharon's office had been slightly ajar, and Azlin had started listening in when she heard the patient's name.
Samuel Blackmore was sort of a mystery, and Azlin's curiosity was piqued. He was a young coma patient that had been brought to the center a week ago. His brother and uncle had been by his side practically twenty-four/seven and were the talk of the small, hospital-like facility. Apparently, his brother was quite a charmer.
Dr. Davis was saying, "Sam is a 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale—no verbal response, no motor response, no eye opening—not even REM. The odd and rather tragic thing about his case is that there are no indications of any physical trauma, stroke, or disease that would cause a coma of this severity."
Sharon cleared her throat. "Is he on any medication to treat it?"
"No. He is basically just receiving nutritional support through a gastric feeding tube and, of course, hygienic care. I'm also going to recommend passive muscle-stimulation therapy as well as verbal, olfactory, and aural stimulation whenever possible."
"No need for respiratory support?"
"No. There has never been a need, even in the beginning, according to his history. It's like he just went to sleep and has never woken up."
"I see. Very odd, like a real-life Rip Van Winkle," Sharon said pensively.
"His brother, Dean," Dr. Davis continued, "has informed me that he and his uncle have to leave tomorrow but will try to come and visit Sam at least once a month, if possible. It is a shame that there is no family that can at least visit Sam on a weekly basis. I always feel that a familiar voice is essential to a coma patient."
"I'm sure if there were any way possible, Dean would stay. From what I learned from their Uncle Bobby, he and his brother are very close."
"There just has to be something we're missing. Sam was in excellent physical condition, and he's only 28 years old. Why would he all of a sudden slip into a coma?" Dr. Davis sounded completely baffled. "Dean says his brother had been under a lot of stress, but that shouldn't cause a coma unless he had a stroke, and there is no evidence that he did."
Azlin could hear Sharon shuffle papers on her desk. "I don't know, George. All I know is that it's not really our job to diagnose. Our job is to keep him alive and, hopefully sometime in the near future, rehabilitation."
"I know. I know," Dr. Davis said, sighing.
Sharon's voice sounded firm. "But we will give him the best care possible and do our damnedest to get him to come out of it."
"Of course. It's just a shame. The longer he's bedridden, the more his muscles will waste, and it's already been two months. As I said, we will stimulate his muscles passively as much as possible and use electronic stimulation, but that will only help so much. The longer he is comatose, the longer his rehab will be—assuming he even comes out of it."
"Let's not dwell on the negatives, George. Let's just take care of him the best we can."
Azlin heard the scraping of a chair on the floor and movement. She quickly turned her music back on and began sweeping diligently a little farther down the hallway from the office. As Dr. Davis stepped out of Sharon's office, Azlin smiled politely at him.
Dr. Davis nodded back, a faint look of pity on his face at seeing her, and walked down the hall.
The look he gave her stung. George had been a good friend of her parents. In fact, he had been at their house that night. He knew how her parents felt about her and how disappointed they had been. Every time she saw him, he had that look, and Azlin hated it. It brought all the guilt, the anguish, the horror of what had happened rushing back. She tried to avoid him, and, most of the time, she succeeded. She'd become a master at avoiding people. Besides, he was usually gone by the time she came to work in the evenings at six.
Azlin swallowed, her throat suddenly feeling constricted. Tears threatened to spill from her eyes, and she took a deep, jagged breath. She was not going to fucking cry. Most of the time, she was able to bury the pain deep inside, but occasionally, something would trigger a tide of emotion and it would hit her hard. She took another deep breath, slowly regaining control. She forced the pain to return to that dark place inside her, and firmly locked it away.
For the five-millionth time, Dean was sitting in a chair by Sam's bedside just staring. It was almost hypnotic, sort of like watching exotic fish swimming around in an aquarium, only, instead of fish, he was watching his brother's chest rise and fall in an even rhythm. The steady beep of the heart-rate monitor was the only noise in the room. Sam's naturally swarthy skin looked a little pale, and he was so still, so serene—it was killing Dean. God, please don't let him be suffering in there. Please just let it be like sleep, no nightmares, no horror.
It was 6:30 in the evening, and the hustle and bustle of the day was dying down. The evening crew of nurses had set up shop at 6:00, and while there were a few family members who came to visit loved ones after they got off work, there wasn't much foot traffic walking by. Sam's room was at the end of the hall on the second floor, and except for the janitor on duty occasionally accessing the supply closet across the hall, it was usually pretty quiet.
Dean was leaving tomorrow. He had to. Sam had been in a coma for almost two months, and Dean had done nothing but be by his side, but during that time, life had gone on all around them. Castiel, Bobby, and this weird Mother of All crap wouldn't wait any longer. Bobby had been contacted by a fellow hunter, and they were needed on a new hunt. Dean had been an observer of Sam's silent, still world for long enough.
Feeling heavy with guilt, he hunched forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his thighs, head in his hands. "God, Sammy, I'm so sorry," he whispered around the lump that had formed in his throat, his stomach knotting. The pain of what he'd done to his brother was crushing, but there was nothing he could do but wait and hope—wait and hope that Death hadn't royally screwed them both when he'd put Sam's soul back in his body.
Death had made it seem like all he had to do was put a "wall" in Sam's head to keep memories of hell at bay, keep Sam from becoming a drooling vegetable, and Sam could be Sam again, instead of the unfeeling, dangerous Robo-Sam that had tried to kill Bobby. At the time, Dean had thought it was worth the risk, but nearly two months of seeing Sam wasting away in a hospital bed had made him severely question the deal he had made.
The conversation he'd had with Castiel the day after Death had restored Sam's soul still haunted him.
"Well?" Dean had said.
Castiel's voice was flat. "His soul is in place."
Dean, prompting. "Is he ever gonna wake up?"
"I'm not a human doctor, Dean."
"Could you take a guess?"
"Okay." Castiel gave a small sigh. "Probably not."
"Well, don't sugarcoat it," Dean said sarcastically.
"I'm sorry, Dean, but I warned you not to put that thing back inside him."
"Well, what was I supposed to do, let T-1000 walk around, hope he doesn't fire?"
Castiel got in Dean's face, his voice intense. "Let me tell you what his soul felt like when I touched it—like it had been skinned alive, Dean. If you wanted to kill your brother, you should have done it outright."
At the time, Dean had hoped, had faith even, that Death wouldn't screw him over. Dean had rejected what Castiel had said. Sam would wake up. Sam would wake up.
But Sam hadn't woken up, and on the third day after his soul had been restored, Dean and Bobby, fearing dehydration and malnutrition, had taken him to the Sioux Falls hospital. They had stuck to the truth as much as they could, saying Sam had been under a tremendous amount of stress and had just lain down and never woken up.
The doctors had all been confounded as to what could have caused Sam to fall into a coma, but were at first optimistic that he would come out of it fairly quickly. After all, they had run every test on him under the sun, and there was nothing physically or neurologically wrong with him that they could find.
The mystery of Sam's condition had caused a furor among the medical community, and for over a week there had been a steady stream of interns, residents, neurologists, and every other kind of specialist or just-plain-curious doctor within a hundred-mile radius trailing through Sam's room. None of them had a clue how to help him. Angry that his brother had been turned into an exhibit, Dean had finally put an end to it.
After four weeks with no improvement, the initial optimism of Sam's doctors that he would wake up had begun to falter, and Sam had been assigned a caseworker to help Dean consider options for long-term care. Dean refused to even consider nursing homes, much to the caseworker's chagrin, but, obviously, he and Sam weren't rich. Subacute care facilities and 24-hour home care were the only things he would consider, but they were incredibly expensive, and he was already worried about the fake insurance he had set up under the name Samuel Blackmore running out or, worse, being discovered as fraudulent.
Dean and Bobby reluctantly discussed caring for Sam at Bobby's house, but that certainly wasn't the best option either. They really didn't have the know-how or time to care for Sam 24/7, but what other option did Dean have? He could learn what was needed to care for Sam if he had to. He might even have to swallow his pride and ask his ex-girlfriend Lisa for help, but there was no way he was going to abandon Sam in some old-folks home.
Finally, after another week, the caseworker had come to Dean with a glimmer of hope. Dean and Bobby had been in Sam's room, and Martha Bradley had practically burst into the room, a force of nature, dark gray pantsuit and long, dowdy gray hair to match, sort of a birdlike thundercloud. But her usual severe grimace was transformed into a bright, exuberant smile.
Dean couldn't help but smile back, although he was somewhat surprised by her entrance, to say the least. He looked at Bobby, who quirked his brows in a don't-ask-me look.
Martha was normally staid and very serious. Dean had seen firsthand, however, that she was a good person dedicated to her job. She clearly cared about Sam and what happened to him, and when Dean had refused any kind of care but the best for Sam, she had quirked a brow and said stoically, "All right, then. I'll see what else I can find. I'm not leaving Sam in your care," and had patted Dean's hand in dismissal and looked at Bobby with distaste. For some reason that neither Dean nor Bobby could figure out, she didn't like Bobby.
This day, though, she was practically bursting with energy. She paused briefly, sobering for just a second to raise a disapproving brow at Bobby, and then stood directly in front of Dean, beaming again. "Dean, I did it. I got Sam into a marvelous subacute facility...for a so-ong!" She said the last part in a sing-song voice.
Bobby gave a derisive snort, but coughed to cover it up at the baleful stare Martha directed toward him.
Dean suppressed a laugh. "Awesome. Tell us about it."
Martha had then proceeded to explain how one of her dearest college friends was the director of a small, yet excellent, subacute care facility in a small town in southern Oklahoma. It was a place mostly geared toward patients recovering from severe injuries or disease, such as stroke, but was still fully equipped to care for Sam, even though he would be the only coma patient. "It's a small facility where the patients and caregivers are like family. Because it is so small, I believe Sam will receive the best care possible there instead of falling through the cracks, so to speak, as might happen in a larger facility."
From there, they had discussed the cost, and to Dean's surprise, it was something he could manage without insurance coverage. He would just have to hustle a little more at pool and maybe spend a few more nights sleeping in the Impala or at Bobby's. He suspected there was some charity involved in the deal, which made him uncomfortable, but Martha had been surprisingly vague about it. She probably thought he might refuse if she told him the truth, and for once, he didn't push it. He could swallow his pride if it meant Sam would be well taken care of.
It had taken another two weeks to arrange for and come up with the money to pay for an ambulance to transport Sam to the facility in the small town of Dumas, Oklahoma, which had been a 14-hour trip. Dean had ridden with Sam in the ambulance while Bobby had followed in the Impala.
Now, here they were. Dean and/or Bobby had been by Sam's side almost constantly for a week, and Dean was satisfied by the level of care Sam had received. The nurses had a down-to-earth attitude and treated Sam with respect, speaking to him in their soft country-twang accents as if they assumed that he could hear them, and the physical therapists and doctors did the same.
Dean had also been impressed by the quality of therapy Sam was receiving. In addition to working his muscles extensively several times a day, they made sure to reposition him in his bed faithfully every two hours to prevent pressure sores and stimulate circulation. The therapists and nurses also took every chance they got to stimulate Sam's sense of smell and hearing, bringing various objects and food to hold under his nose and playing music for him regularly, among other things. It was as if there was a collective agreement among the staff to do everything in their power to help Sam wake up.
Dean still felt an enormous amount of guilt at leaving Sam, but at least it didn't feel like he was leaving him with strangers. There was a simplicity of life in this small town that was echoed at the facility. These were honest, god-fearing, hard-working folks who actually took pride in their job and cared about their patients—and their patients' dignity. Dean silently thanked Martha yet again for finding this place. He would owe her for the rest of his life.
No, it wasn't the care here that worried Dean. It was the lack of protection against the things that went bump in the night. Sam was completely helpless against any fugly that might find him. In addition, if Sam woke up—when Sam woke up—most likely, Dean wouldn't be there, even though he planned to visit Sam as often as he could. Dean hated the thought of Sam waking up scared and confused and Dean not being there for him.
But life was moving on around Dean whether he liked it or not. He had to get Bobby back to his home in South Dakota, and they needed to try to figure out this Mother of All thing. Things were getting really weird, and for the hundredth time, Dean wished he had Sam's freakishly large brain to bounce ideas off of. Even Robo-Sam had been good for that.
Dean sighed and looked back up at Sam lying on the bed.
The nurses had positioned Sam on his back again, arms resting at his sides, fingers slightly curled but relaxed. His head on the pillow was slightly tilted to the left side, his usually shaggy hair flattened from constantly lying down. His breath was quiet and even, but there was no other movement from him whatsoever, not even an occasional twitch under his closed eyelids. His once seemingly massive 6-foot-4 frame looked vulnerable, like the bed might swallow him.
Dean couldn't stand seeing Sam so helpless, so inert. It was too close to seeing him dead, which made Dean grow cold inside.
It had always been Dean's job to look out for Sam because he was the older brother—it had been ingrained in him by their dad. Although Dean and Sam had both been, literally, to hell and back, and Sam was a grown man, Dean had an overwhelming need to protect him, to save him, and that need would never die.
He needed Sam to move or open his eyes. Hell, he'd take a small, miniscule blip at this point if it was all he could get, but he really needed Sam to wake up, crack a joke, give him the soulful, wounded-puppy, Sam look. He needed Sam to be Sam again so that he wouldn't feel like such a fucking failure.
He clenched Sam's right hand in his own, trying to make Sam feel the desperation eating away at him. His throat tightening, he closed his eyes, willing the tears that were threatening not to fall. "You just need to wake up, Sammy. Please."