"Is it bleeding through?" Sam asked through gritted teeth to his brother. He was lying on his right side, head slightly angled to be able to see over his shoulder to his brother, who was closely inspecting the bandages around his back. Dean gave a reassuring squeeze to Sam's left shoulder, the one he was holding steady so he could turn Sam more.
"No you're good," Dean replied, and let go. Sam repositioned himself to be more comfortable in the bed. Dean knew Sam was in tremendous pain; he wouldn't have thought his back was bleeding through the bandages if he wasn't.
"Okay," Sam breathed as he settled down again on his right side: ever so slightly he was angling himself more and more to lie on his back, though. It stung, but he didn't appreciate his scope of sight being so limited.
"Don't do that, just lie on your stomach," Dean said plainly, moving around and sitting in the chair Jesse had turned around for Sam. Sam acknowledged Dean with a doubtful gaze.
"This is comfortable-" Sam replied, trying to lie to his brother.
"Sam, I'm right here," Dean established patiently. There were a lot of meanings behind that statement that passed between the brothers. Don't worry. I'll make sure you're safe. Nothing bad will happen to you as long as I'm here.…
None of this needed to be said out loud. Sam just softened.
"C'mon lie on your stomach," Dean moved, acting like he was going to help Sam turn, but Sam had already given in.
"Nah, I got it- Leave me alone!" Sam laughed feebly as he batted away his brother's hands as he turned onto his stomach.
Smiling, Dean sat back down in his seat. Sam's neck was twisted to the left against the small hospital pillow to look at Dean. He sighed.
"Better?" Dean asked honestly.
"Yeah," Sam breathed softly, tired.
"You should get some sleep."
"I'm sorry I jumped the gun with Josh," Sam stated, ignoring Dean's comment about sleep. Dean sighed and leaned forward to look at his brother.
"What happened there? I thought you'd wait until I was around-"
"You were injured to begin with – you needed me to back you up. You knew that."
"Yeahh," Sam replied with a level of resignation. "Josh was beating up some kid and I couldn't just stand by and watch."
"It was stupid."
"I know it was." There was a pause. Dean chewed the inside of his cheek.
"Sam, you- you could've been really hurt, man…"
Sam looked into his brother's eyes. The concern in them was obvious. Dean had really been frightened.
"He had a knife – he was going to swing," Dean clarified.
"He would've stopped at one swing," Sam said firmly, trying to diffuse the fear and worry in Dean's expression. In all truth, though, Sam wasn't sure if this was accurate – he had seen the look in Josh's eyes.
"You can't know that. And sometimes it only takes one swing, especially with the blood loss you already had," Dean replied. His logic was sound. Dean was right, and Sam couldn't say anything to rebuff it. Sam's heart clenched a little bit in stress as Dean's words sunk in. He really had come close… Too close…
"I'm really sorry, Dean," Sam said. Sam's eyes were a little watery… He was still exhausted, on light sedatives, and Dean had just successfully convinced Sam to be scared of how close he had come to real danger... To death.
"It's okay. Calm down," Dean answered gently, noticing Sam's change in demeanor. Normally, he would've continued to light into Sam, yelling at him like there was no tomorrow… Because that's what happened when Dean hit a certain threshold of fear: he got pissed.
But he couldn't do that now, not while Sam was still recovering. John had already made Sam cry last night in the hospital room as he had yelled in frantic whispers a foot away from Sam's face… How he had disgraced his family, threatened their identities, brought CPS complications into the mix, cost them hospital bills and the possibility of getting caught for committing fraud, risking Dean's life by forcing him to go find John in the town that held the creature he was hunting… Everything.
Everything except what Dean was most freaked out about: Sam's health and the poor decisions he had made regarding himself. But John hadn't been there to see it; John only knew what was going on now, and the mess that existed right then and there. To be fair, the first thing John had done was to make sure Sam was all right – speaking with all the doctors, the nurses, getting their names and establishing that Sam was in full recovery mode. He had asked Sam to explain himself, and Sam was good enough to portray the events properly. Once all of that had been finished… That was when John had solemnly moved the chair up closely to Sam, and started in on him…
"Sam. Calm down," Dean repeated, worried Sam was replaying the John's words from last night and using Dean's words to keep the ball rolling on the guilt John had already instilled into him. Dean didn't want that: those feelings were useless.
Moments passed in silence as Sam did as he was told.
"How- How did you know where I was?" Sam started the conversation again.
"Jesse?" Sam replied in surprise.
"She texted me," Dean replied heavily. There was a notch of irritation in this statement; Dean was bothered that Jesse, an outsider, had to contact him in order for him to get to Sam in time. And it was barely in time.
"Where is she?"
"Took off – went home."
"She was really stressed out. Thought she was at fault for Clauson barring you from seeing me."
Dean looked at Sam as if he was nuts.
"I don't know. D'you say anything to her?"
"No," Dean reacted, "she's the only reason I got there in time before you got stabbed."
Dean's last word hung in the air.
"Told her not to worry about it," Sam offered, "But I'm not sure if that helped."
"Huh," Dean grunted in thought, his hand to his lips, thinking. "We should get her a basket of fruit or something," Dean said. He met Sam's eyes and they both smiled.
Just then, Dean saw Sam's eyes flicker to something behind him and Dean turned around to see John walking into the room.
"Hey," John said lightly to his boys as he entered and sidled up to the end of Sam's bed. The boys both responded said 'hey,' back to him. John grasped the railing of Sam's bed and Dean noticed with annoyance that Sam had moved back to lean more heavily against his back so he could see his father.
"Sam how you doing?" John asked: first things first. Sam nodded.
"Yeah, good," Sam lied. John nodded and looked at Dean's expectant gaze.
"Everything's set. We're good to go as soon as Sam's recovered."
"Go? You mean… Go go?" Dean, clarifying.
"Yeah. Found another hunt over in Jersey. We'll head there - soon as I settle everything here with you, Sam…"
"What do you mean?"
"Ah, you know," John replied seriously, but casually, "Gotta let the school know I'm taking you out – you gotta recover. We have to make a meeting with a family therapist so the state's certain we're good…"
There was no hint of negativity coming from their father at the mention of the family therapist. The one good thing about John was that once he had ripped into you about something, any aftermath was simply meant to be dealt with on a rational level. No one in their family held grudges: John had said everything he'd felt last night, and that was it. Sam didn't have to worry about any follow-up battles… He had said he was sorry to his father (multiple times over) last night; he had said it would never happen again. In the end, that was all his father wanted to hear.
Dean nodded to his father in response to his words and looked at Sam to see if Sam was okay. Sam looked slightly embarrassed about the therapist thing, but he was okay.
"Okay," Dean said, a glint of hope in his voice. Things would start to look up, very very soon... John heard it in Dean's voice and bobbed his head seriously, looking at Sam.
"Yeah, good. Okay," Sam responded honestly.
"Okay m'going to grab some coffee and breakfast for you guys… This hospital food is terrible," John added, unwittingly quoting Sam verbatim when Dean had asked Sam why he hadn't eaten earlier. Sam gave a small smile.
"Bear claws?" Dean grunted in juvenile delight to John, leaning back and stretching in his chair, relaxing now. John gave a slight twitched smile.
"Coffee, bear claws," he pointed to Dean, then pointed to Sam in inquiry as he moved slowly towards the door. Sam smiled a little more widely now.
"Waffles… Of course…" John repeated as he got Sam's order and left the room.
Smiling, Dean turned back to Sam. Sam had a slight smile on his face as well.
"So, family therapist…" Dean's eyes glinted, and he rubbed his hands together.
"What?" Sam's expression turned to confusion; he didn't understand Dean's excitement.
"Think she'll be hot?" He asked with a grin.
Writer's Note: Thank you guys SO much for all your incredible reviews. Honestly, this was so much fun to write and your reviews really have boosted my confidence to start writing longer stories like this in the future. Only without first person, because I think, while it was an interesting angle, it's not my forte… The thing I really picked up on – which is so flattering – is that most of you normally dislike OCs, especially women, as well as 1st person angles. Normally, I'm actually right there with you, but I gave this story a shot and managed to get the most reviews I've ever gotten from a story here on . For the win!
To Snseriesfan: You gave me 6 paragraphs (6 paragraphs!) in your most recent review and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. The time and effort you put into reading this story and then writing your reviews thrills me to no end and I look forward to writing more stories with your fantastic constructive criticism in mind.
To Quoththeraven5, BranchSuper, scootersmom, The Cocky Undead, emebalia, Becci, AIElizabeth, friendly, Tricia43, Jeanny, Teh Abby, mybether, Lindsay, LucyRP, Chostani-san128, Bob, and Deansblueeyedangel: Seriously thank you so much for your comments and words of encouragement. For this story, specifically, your reviews pushed me to continue writing past chapter 7 (hence the writing hiatus between chapters 7 and 8), and I know, at least on my end, that it was definitely worth it.
So thank you so much, again! Also, have a great weekend! ~ Alex Kerr