He's My Family
K Hanna Korossy
"Oh, God, Dean! Baby, are you all right?"
He blinked slow, trying to focus on her face. Her hair always made him think of Sam, long and dark and constantly sliding into the eyes, but her face was all her. "Lisa?" he slurred.
"'S he'kay?" Her words seemed to be running together, too. "They dn'tell much."
"'M okay," he insisted, trying to push up from the gurney with one arm that didn't feel quite like his. "Makin' a big deal outta nothing."
Her hands were warm and comforting on his face, even if they were way too small. "Baby, it is a big deal when you dislocate your shoulder." Lisa spoke carefully to him, slowly, like he was five. Sam had always said drugs and pain decreased his already short attention span by half.
Dean made a face. "Sammy woulda just popped it back in." They'd never gone to the hospital for dislocations, besides that one time Sam's hip got messed up. They wouldn't have called an ambulance for anything less than a life-and-death emergency, not just for Dean leaping to catch a guy from tumbling off the roof and getting his arm stretched in the process. And Sam wouldn't have given him anything stronger than a couple of extra-strength Tylenols for the pain, let alone drug him to the gills as the nurse had done before she'd put back his arm.
But Sam wasn't there anymore.
"'S he'kay t'leave?" Her words were blurring again, but she wasn't talking to him so he didn't bother trying to sort them out or listen for the response.
She pushed him in a wheelchair. Manipulated him into her little compact, which he hated. He dozed on the way home. At the house, Ben magically appeared to help walk him inside. His coordination was shot thanks to the meds, but this time his support didn't loom three inches over him and outweigh him by thirty pounds, so he tried to keep his feet. It was a relief to ease down on the sofa.
"Dean." Her face floated back into his vision. Lisa was beautiful, angelic in a totally non-Castiel way. "…drink…soup. Just…"
He was pretty sure he nodded at the right times.
She was back fast enough that he knew he'd dozed off in between, carrying a glass and a mug. He drained the glass of water, then let her wrap his good hand around the warm mug. Dean stared dazedly into the grey liquid. "Wha'zzit?"
"It's cream of mushroom. You like mushrooms."
Oh. He lifted and took a sip. It tasted like cream and mushrooms instead of the tomatoes and rice he'd somehow still been expecting. Not bad, but… He lowered it back to his lap and stared some more.
"You don't like it?" Lisa asked softly.
"No, it's fine." The hot soup cleared his head a little. "It's just…"
When he didn't finish, she took a stab. "…not what Sam would make?"
The rising steam made his eyes burn.
She sighed. "You want me to go fix you something else?"
"No." He shook his head, mustering a smile. It felt a little off, and not just from the drugs. "S'good." He drank another sip to prove it.
"Okay." Her smile was off, too. "Want to watch some TV together?"
"No. Just wanna sleep." Stupid drugs.
"All right, here." She took his mug and helped him slide flat. "I'll just be here, okay?"
"'M fine. Go…do s'mething." He closed his eyes.
"Yeah." His shoulder still ached despite the medication, and he hugged it close. "'S fine."
"Okay." She sounded doubtful, but the couch shifted as she stood and he heard her walk out.
Sam would've known he was lying. That having his arm in a sling and his head full of meds left him feeling vulnerable and off-balance. That he slept best with noise in the background. That he hated being alone. Sam wouldn't have left.
But Sam had left.
Dean squeezed his eyes shut tighter and escaped his misery into sleep.
There was a lot he couldn't seem to feel these days: love, loyalty, concern. But one thing he still felt just fine was pain.
"All right, son, brace yourself."
Sam did, hands planted firmly on the ground. Injuries supposedly hurt less if you weren't looking at them, but trust was another thing he didn't feel, and so he watched carefully as Samuel took hold of his trapped leg. His grandfather gave him a hard look, then yanked the leg up and off the slender piece of rebar that had impaled the calf.
Sam sucked back a cry, letting it out only as a muffled groan.
Gwen had been waiting by Samuel's side with a towel, and she quickly moved in to wrap it around the bloody limb, giving him a sympathetic look before she pulled it tight.
Sam felt sweat break out across his face, followed by a wave of cool air over his skin.
"Keep his legs raised—we don't want him going into shock," Samuel ordered. Hands moved in to grip Sam under his arms, his legs. Gwen was tucking in the end of the towel to keep the pressure on, and cradled the limb as they walked. Sam breathed raggedly while the Campbells moved him to one of the trucks and slid him into the back.
It was strange how his brain kept expecting the rumbling roar of a muscle-car engine.
He might've passed out a little on the way. The next thing he knew, he was being jostled and lifted, and his knife was in his hand before he even processed what was going on.
"Easy, Sam." That was Samuel, awkwardly patting his shoulder. Christian's grumblings about getting stabbed while he was lifting Sam's heavy ass were even less affectionate. Gwen, hovering nearby, at least looked like she hoped he wouldn't die, although she stayed beyond his arm's reach.
They laid him out on the cot he'd claimed as his in the corner of the Campbell compound. Sam breathed hard through his nose, willing the nausea to settle, almost losing the fight when one of his cousins shoved a bucket that stank of oil under his nose. He knocked it aside and tried to focus on his bloody leg.
They all knew the basic first aid and trauma care that was pretty much a must for a hunter, but Mark had taken a few online nursing classes and was their informal medic. He was the one who sat on the edge of the cot and unwrapped the towel from Sam's lower leg, then used a knife to slice his jeans up to the knee.
"Pretty clean entry, considering. Exit's messier, gonna scar. But looks like just muscle damage. It's gonna hurt like Hell when I clean it out." He eyed Sam.
Sam rather doubted the analogy, from what he remembered of his short time in Hell. Still, he accepted the bottle someone shoved into his hands and took a few gulps of the strong liquor, then clamped his hands on the bed frame and nodded at Mark.
His cousin wasn't trying to be rough, but he wasn't especially gentle, either, as he washed the through-and-through wound with soapy water, poking at the ragged flesh to make sure he got every bit of dirt. Sam shook his head dizzily at the strap Mark paused to offer him to bite on and just ground his teeth together to keep the pain in. By the time the needle and thread appeared, his head was swimming and his stomach bubbling. Nobody caught him when he slumped back on the cot.
There was a haze of burning pain in his leg and the bee-buzzing of voices and the sting of a needle, probably antibiotics. His head was lifted so he wouldn't choke on the water pouring down his throat. Then a blanket was pulled over him and the lights went out.
He would be fine. He knew that. His leg would take some time to get back to full strength, but neither his life nor his health was in danger. He felt sick and dizzy and exhausted, but that would pass, even if he couldn't sleep it off. Maybe he'd pass out and that would speed the healing. Yeah, that was a plan.
He'd done this a lot before: got hurt on the job, was hauled back to home base, then patched up with amateur medical care. Somehow he just remembered it as having been less unpleasant with Dean. Maybe it was his brother's quiet ramblings that grounded Sam, or the gentle way he handled injured flesh and bone, or the way he made sure Sam was comfortable and not alone.
It was sentimental and stupid. But he did feel the loss of his brother.
But Dean wasn't there and Sam would be fine and there was no use wishing for more. He licked his dry lips, shoved sweaty hair out of his eyes, and tucked his face into the pillow, blanking his thoughts as he let consciousness slip away.
Dean had called in the reservation from the parking lot. Sam went in to pick up the key and drove the car around to the right door. He carried their bags in, too, while Dean sank down on the bed and ordered half the menu from the local pizza place.
By the time he hung up, Sam had salted the doors and windows and was gingerly lifting Dean's left leg up to slide a pillow under the knee.
"It's not that—" Dean hissed. "—not that bad, Sam. Quit hovering."
Sam gave him a pointed look: shut up, and went to draw sigils on the entrances with the UV paint they'd bought. Motels kinda frowned on visible graffiti on their walls.
"It's fine, dude—no one cares about us right now. Come sit down."
Sam ignored him and finished painting the last sign. Both angel-proofing sigils and a devil's trap, covering all the bases; they weren't popular with the folks upstairs or downstairs these days. When he finished, however, he just stood there, body drooping. He was still making up for a year-plus of not sleeping, but this wasn't just fatigue.
"Sammy," Dean said more gently. "C'mere."
Sam turned back to blink at him, then set the paint can down and flipped the top of their cooler up. He snagged a bottle of Gatorade from inside and straightened wearily to hold it out to Dean.
Which finally put him close enough to reach. Dean snagged his wrist and used it to reel Sam stumblingly in. Sam flinched back from the touch of Dean's hand on his forehead, but not fast enough to keep Dean from feeling the heat of his skin. "Your temp's up. Go take a shower and cool off."
Sam blinked toward the bathroom like it was a block away.
Dean sighed. "Never mind, just… Lie down, huh? But drink this first."
Sam stared at the bottle in his hand before twisting the top off and taking a long swallow. He cringed, the Gatorade doubtless stinging his inflamed throat, but drained half the bottle before lowering it. Then he offered it to Dean.
"Yeah, 'cause I need strep on top of a sprained knee," Dean groused, capping the drink.
Sam's face flooded with guilt, the big girl.
"Dude, it's fine. You just happen to be the one of us who's down with something massively contagious. Where'd you pick up strep, anyway?"
Sam shrugged, eyeing Dean's wrapped knee. Right, because Dean was doing so awesome. Seriously, couldn't they catch a single break? Sam had a shaky dam in his head, Raphael was looking to start Round Two of the Apocalypse, and Dean couldn't get the woman he'd lived with for a year to even return his calls. Did they really need illness and a bum leg on top of that?
Dean eased back on the bed, trying not to jar his elevated knee, and looked around for the remote. On top of the TV, naturally.
Before he could do more than wish for it, however, Sam was already up and handing it over. Then he dug into their medical kit until he found painkillers and an ice pack. The Advil went on the nightstand with a fresh bottle of Gatorade, and the ice pack he snapped and kneaded to activate it before tucking it around Dean's knee. Then he just stood there, looking lost again.
"Sammy." Dean waited until feverish eyes turned his way, then patted the bed beside him. "Sit down."
There was a knock at the door.
Sam automatically answered it, turning around to fumble the wallet Dean threw at him and paying the bill in silence. He shut the door with one foot, arms full of food, and stumbled back to Dean's bed.
This time Dean did get him to sit, before shoving a chicken salad sub into his hands.
He kept passing Sam food as each item disappeared: a container of potato salad, another of fruit salad, a massive éclair, a bottle of cold water, each something he knew would tempt his picky brother. Sam finally flagged after he drained the water, gazing fuzzily at nothing as he sagged against the headboard.
Dean measured out some liquid acetaminophen and nudged Sam in the side. "Drink this." Sam did, staring at the little dosage cup until Dean took it away. Then slid down obediently when Dean pressed on his shoulder. "Time for beddie-bye, bro."
Sam snuffled at that, curling into Dean's hip as his eyes fluttered shut. He didn't even stir when Dean towed the edge of the blanket up over him.
"That's my boy," Dean said fondly. He finally leaned back, ready to take it easy, relaxed and comfortable with his family beside him.