Author's note: So here it is the final chapter- Sarah's brief for the story was Dean gets hurt saving Sam- I think I managed that! Thanks for the support of those who have left reviews and I hope you enjoy! Let me know and it may inspire me to write more- J
"Sam we have to leave," Dean said struggling to lift himself to a sitting position, swinging his legs round so that they would carry his upper body which he held as stiff as he could manage. It didn't really help, the slight shift of his chest muscles was enough to shoot pain across and up and down and he winced, holding his breath as he waited for the spasms to pass. When he opened his eyes, Sam was there, practically holding him up, that sincere, kicked puppy expression sitting on his face as it had been ever since Dean had come round two days ago, Hell it had probably been there for much longer and Dean was glad he hadn't been coherent enough to witness that, two days was enough.
"But you're not ready to move yet," Sam stated, "just give it a couple more days and then. . ."
Dean made eye contact; it was enough to stop Sam mid sentence. "We both know that's not an option." And Sam did, they were already pushing their luck on the fake medical card that Sam had handed over that first day, two weeks ago now. Two weeks was far too long to hope that no one checked, to hope that bills hadn't been sent and queried and. . .too damned long to be sitting waiting to see if you're brother was going to die by your hand.
Well OK he had been fairly sure for the last 48 hours that Dean would survive, but he was still so weak, still looked so damn sick, hell just sitting up almost made him pass out, made his damn strong brother, who could take anything, register the agony that even simple movements caused, and all of that was down to Sam. The touch and go from the blood loss, from the damage his bullet had caused, from the secondary infection, from the coma that they hadn't been sure he would ever wake from, hadn't been sure his brother would ever. . .
"Sam," Dean pulled his brother back once again from the mire of guilt that he seemed insistent on trying to drown in. He didn't try to talk him round, didn't try to tell him that none of this was his fault, that it was beyond his control and that the only one who'd had any choice in all of this had been him, because he'd already tried all that, had already done enough chick flick moments in the last two days to be worthy of a girls night in sleepover weekend, but it was having no success. Sam just stared at the bandage covering the bullet wound and Dean could almost hear the thoughts. 'You shot him. You shot your brother. You nearly killed him. You.. ." thoughts that just repeated over and over and allowed no room for anything else, because Sam had already had almost two weeks to let those thoughts bed in. To let the guilt and the self recrimination weave tendrils deep into his psyche and Dean wasn't going to remove them with a few words, even by breaking his own rules and allowing Sam to see the real emotion.
Dean letting down his barriers was rare, because he needed to keep them in place. Most of the time it was the only way he could keep himself sane, with all that he'd seen, with all that he'd done. One of these days it would probably break him, but until that happened he only had one defence; real emotion was pushed deep, hidden, rarely allowed to surface, because with it came pain and uncertainty and want and need, emotions that he couldn't afford, but he'd let the barriers down these last two days, had let Sam see just how much he had needed to save him, just how much it had been his choice, his sacrifice to pull that trigger. How Sam's actions had been a direct result of his own and how he'd gone ahead despite knowing what Sam would have to do, but somehow telling Sam that he would gladly give his own life to save him hadn't helped.
With the lifting of the spell Sam had regained his memories, in fact all of the memories of his time with Jess. He knew now that it wasn't her but still it was her smell, her touch, her laugh, and the feelings she had stirred. . . that had been nearly enough to break him without the other memories that returned; memories of pushing his brother down the steps, of trying to strangle him, of shooting him, all of the memories of what he had done and the selfish bit of his psyche that she had played on to get him to do it. Sam knew that he had nearly killed his brother so that he could be with Jess and no amount of argument from Dean about 'nearly' not counting was helping him to feel any less guilty.
So this time Dean didn't bother with anything other than a simple plea. "Sam I need your help so we can get out of here." Simple, direct, sincere, Dean asking his brother for help from a position of vulnerability, Sam could only comply.
"Look pull over and let me drive," Dean said, testily. They were about a hundred miles from the hospital and had crossed the state line about half an hour earlier so he was fairly sure that they were safe from any law enforcement picking up on them, but that wasn't why he was asking to drive.
"Why?" Sam asked turning his head from the road to look at his brother.
"Because your moody driving is upsetting her." Dean stated, patting the dash with his good hand.
"My 'moody' driving is upsetting the car?" Sam asked incredulously, somehow managing to put the word moody in air quotes without taking either of his hands from the steering wheel.
"Yes," Dean said firmly, "she's very sensitive and if there's one thing she can't stand it's self-pity."
Dean watched as his brother's expression shifted to instant anger at the accusation. "Self-pity!" the words almost exploded from his lips "I don't. . ."
"Yeah," Dean interrupted "You don't feel self pity you feel guilty for all the horrible things that the nasty witch made you do, because you really wanted to kill me, so you should. . ."
"I. Did. Not. Want. To. Kill. You." Sam stated, punctuating each word, horror at the accusation now replacing the anger, What did Dean think? What had he. . .?
There was a pause the atmosphere in the car could have been cut with a knife. "I know," Dean said softly, waiting until Sam met his gaze. "Now why don't you?"
Sam closed his eyes for an instant and then turned his gaze back to the road. He slowed the Impala down to a stop on the shoulder and just sat, his eyes forward. "It's not enough. Just knowing that I didn't really want to do it, it's not enough."
"She used a powerful weapon against you Sam."
"Oh yeah, what was that?" Sam asked keeping his eyes forward. He really didn't want to have this conversation again, they had been having it since Dean woke up but he guessed his brother just wasn't going to give up.
"Love," Dean stated and that was enough to get Sam to turn to meet his gaze.
"Love?" Sam repeated, his tone questioning.
Dean nodded "Probably the most powerful emotion and even more powerful when used as a weapon, and she used it to manipulate you."
Sam couldn't deny that. It had been love that had made him act, love for Jess. Still he wasn't ready to give in yet, "But I . . ."
"If the positions had been reversed," Dean interrupted. "I can't say that I wouldn't have done exactly the same things to you?"
"Oh really, have you ever even loved anyone enough to kill for them?" Sam regretted the question almost as soon as it left his lips.
Dean turned away. "Yes," he said softly, "I have," and in that moment Sam saw the truth of the statement; he wasn't sure if there was anyone else out there that Dean would kill for but Dean had killed for him. He hadn't just been willing to die to save him, he had been willing to kill, he had killed to save him and for that Sam should be grateful not wallowing in guilt and, yes Dean was right, something that was damn close to self pity. He should be.. .
"I'm sorry," Sam stated, sorry for the question, for the guilt, for the self pity for not seeing just how much Dean was willing to sacrifice for him.
Dean met his gaze again. "Never be surprised at the things love will make you do." There was a pause, "and if you ever repeat that I will deny ever having said it."
Sam felt the first genuine smile begin to spread across his face in far too long at the comment. Dean was alive, he was alive and they were going to be okay, maybe not straight away and Dean would probably bitch at him some more and he would mope some more but they would be OK.
"So," Dean asked, "Are you going to let me drive?"
Sam stared at him for a moment. "Can you even move your left arm yet?"
Dean glanced down at the sling that was immobilising his arm whilst his chest healed. "I can drive one handed."
Thanks for reading!