The first thing Dean Winchester heard as he cracked one tired eye open against the glare of early morning sunlight was the frantic thundering of heavy footsteps, and his first instinct was to find whatever large, panicked, rampaging animal that had somehow gotten into his house and release it back into the wild. Or shoot it. Shooting was always good, especially at this God forsaken hour. Then, of course, the fog of sleep dissipated in the moments that he lay there, leaving Dean with the clear realization that he, in fact, lived in a city with no nearby forests for any black bears or moose to come trotting in from.
The rare breed of Sam Winchester, however, was known to roam these parts, and Dean recalled allowing a specimen into his house the very night before. It was a large animal, clunky, with awkwardly long limbs and a thick mop of chocolate brown hair that must've went out of style forty years ago. It fed mostly on greens, and liked to huddle up in dark crevices, away from the dangers of the dreaded social life, and kept itself occupied with books and a laptop.
As he cast one regretful glare toward the blinking clock on his nightstand, which read six-fifteen in the Goddamn morning, Dean knew he should have kept that damn creature in a cage overnight.
"Sammy!" Dean hollered groggily. "Would you keep it down? Some of us actually enjoy sleep!"
There was a faint shuffling of socked feet on the rug outside, and then the bedroom door squeaked open, the towering form of Sam blocking out the light pouring in from the sunlit hallway. He was busy brushing away at his teeth, the minty foam on his lips making him look almost rabid. The guy was already fully dressed in a pair of faded blue jeans and a red plaid shirt, shoulder-length hair freshly washed and combed neatly.
"How long have you been up for?" Dean gaped.
Sam shrugged, swishing the foam around in his mouth until he was able to speak around it. "I dunno… An hour, or something."
Dean groaned just at the thought of being awake any earlier than this when he didn't have to be. "Is there a reason why? Besides the fact that you're fucking insane, that is."
The youngest Winchester opened his mouth to respond, but paused, raised one finger to tell Dean to hold his thought, and disappeared out of the doorway and into the bathroom just across the hall. As Dean lay there in his tangled bed sheets, he heard Sam spit his mouthful of toothpaste into the sink, rinse his brush, and wipe his cleanly shaven face into one of the towels on the little towel rack that wasn't screwed in tight enough to the wall and rattled whenever you went near it.
Sam returned, still wiping his mouth with the back of his large hand. "It's my first day at the hospital. I'm gonna need to be punctual, or they'll never take me seriously."
"You don't even have to be there until eight." Dean grumbled, burying his face back into his too-inviting pillow.
"I'm aware. But, you're my ride, and I know how long you take in the bathroom every morning, so I'm allowing you as much time as possible to primp and make yourself pretty for your patients."
Dean glared over. "I don't primp."
"Whatever you call it, then. You're still the prettiest girl at the ball." Sam smirked and dodged an incoming pillow flung across the room by his older brother. He laughed, backing out of the room and flicking the blinding bedroom light on as he did. "Missed me. Now, get up, princess."
Dean groaned, finally summing up enough strength to kick the blankets off of his body, and lift his tired ass out of bed. He rubbed the sleep out of his green eyes with the heels of his hands, vision blotched and blurred. When the bedroom finally came into clarity, he looked around, not quite recalling even stumbling in after his shift the night before.
He'd been called in late, much later than usual, to come to the aide of one of his youngest patients who was having a rough night. A girl by the name of Claire, about nine years of age, who had managed to impale herself on an iron fence when she fell from a tree she'd been climbing in her front yard. How she'd even survived, Dean had no Goddamn idea, but it had been a miracle that the paramedics had even managed to get her into the ambulance with the sawed-off rod of iron still speared right through her little body, and kept her alive and conscious on the ride to the hospital.
Dr. Anna Milton, the head of Paediatrics and Claire's main doctor, had been the one to call Dean in at some ungodly hour in the night, and asked him to perform emergency surgery when the child's organs began to shut down just hours after Dean had removed the actual piece of fence from her gut. It hadn't been a pretty surgery, risky as all fuck, and Claire still wasn't in the clear just yet. There would be weeks of recovery in store for her, weeks of medications to clear her system, of any infections the rusted metal most certainly would have caused. Her organs, especially the ones Dean repaired after they had received the most damage, would need all kinds of special care in order to function properly again.
Being head of Trauma was not an easy task, and it called for all sorts of stupid-as-fuck hours to work, and some of the strangest and most severe injuries to ever come into that hospital, but Dean had managed to save that little girl's life.
It was worth being exhausted in the morning. Nothing a few cups of coffee couldn't fix.
Dean shut his eyes, sighing softly as the spears of sunlight that pierced in from between the blinds crawled across the contours of his bare back, warming the skin there. He rose off the squeaky mattress, rolled his broad shoulders until they popped, and padded across the hall to the bathroom where a nice hot shower was just beckoning him over.
He pulled open the glass shower door, and fired up the hot water, letting the steam slowly fill the bathroom. Over the roar of pouring water, Dean could faintly hear the sound of the early morning news blaring on the television down in the den, where Sam was no doubt eagerly waiting to head in to work like a five year old on his first day of kindergarten. Dean rolled his eyes and kicked off his pyjama pants and boxer shorts, and then climbed into the shower, sighing contentedly as the water poured over him, lighting up his senses and waking him fully.
Sam had just completed his four years at a medical school a few states away, and was finally starting his internship at Wayward Saints Hospital, where Dean was already head of the Trauma Department. He'd graduated with honours, and was looking to major in the field of cardiology once he reaches the end of his residency in eight years and becomes a full-fledged certified surgeon. Dean would be lying if he said he wasn't proud of the kid. Sam was a hard worker. Nerdy as all fuck, but a hard worker nonetheless. Dean had allowed his young brother to move in with him during his internship until Sam made enough to pay off his student loans from school and was able to afford a place of his own. He'd arrived just last night, before Dean had been called away back to the hospital to help Claire.
The townhouse Dean owned was certainly big enough to suit them both, allowing Sam to be the little neat-freak he was without it clashing with the fact that Dean really couldn't care less where he dumped his clothes at night or if he made his bed in the morning. The only downside was the shared bathroom, and the fact that Sam was an earlier riser and loud as all fuck in the morning.
Dean showered quickly, scrubbing frothy fingers through his short hair and lathering up his body with minty fresh soap. Once rinsed down, he turned off the water, stepped out, and dried himself off quickly. Wiping off the fog that had settled on the long bathroom mirror, he gazed at his reflection as he gave himself a quick shave and brushed his teeth. The early June sunlight had caused the freckles on his face to become darker, more prominent against his skin, and his spiked hair had become blonder, too. Even his long lashes looked lighter. Sam always made jokes that Dean looked like he belonged in the centerfold of a magazine or some cheesy daytime medical drama than in the halls of an actual hospital.
Dean didn't mind, though. He was the one that got all the hot chicks' numbers at the end of the day. Sucker.
Returning to his bedroom, Dean dressed quickly into a pair of slim-fitting dark trousers, white button-down, and black tie. The whole monkey-suit thing was unfortunately all a part of being head of a department, and he was thankful that he didn't have to parade about in these clothes every day. His white coat, scrubs, and sneakers were a thousand times more comfortable, especially during surgeries.
He marched downstairs, following the sound of television channels being flipped through, and paused outside the doorway to the den. His brows furrowed as he fiddled with the cufflinks on his shirt.
"Are you watching Dr. Sexy M.D.?"
Sam looked over his shoulder at him from his spot on the plush leather couch, remote control still pointed toward the flatscreen plasma TV on the wall in front of him. He cocked a brow. "No."
"You sure about that?" Dean teased with a smirk.
Sam flicked the television off. "I was browsing stations. You just walked in at the wrong time."
"Uh huh." Dean snatched up his long, dark brown coat from where he'd flung it last night on the back of his favourite armchair, and slipped it on. "I bet it's a guilty pleasure of yours."
"Says the one who has every TV Guide with Dr. Sexy on the cover stored in the remote control compartment of his couch."
Dean huffed, jaw tense with embarrassment, and whipped one of the couch pillows over at Sam, where it whacked him right at the back of the head. "Didn't miss that time."
"Lucky shot." Sam rose to his full, staggering height, and went to fetch his own coat from the rack by the front door. "I already had breakfast. You gonna have something to eat before we head out?"
"I'll grab something on the way there." Dean said as he gathered up his briefcase and patted his coat pocket to make sure the keys to his precious car were still there.
Sam stood waiting for him by the door, bag slung around his shoulder and leather-bound folder nearly spilling over with papers clutched to his broad chest. His hazel eyes were big and bright and eager. Hell, the guy actually did look like an oversized kindergartener ready for class.
They headed out of the house, the scent of freshly cut grass and golden sunlight greeting them in the warm June air. Dean's baby, his beautiful 1967 black Chevrolet Impala, sat waiting in her spot just at the end of the pathway, looking beautiful as she gleamed in the morning light. Dean smiled, affectionately running his fingertips over her sun-baked hood before he threw his briefcase into the back and climbed into the driver's seat. The tan leather seats creaked under the weight of his body, and he shut his eyes, breathing in the musky scent of their father that still managed to linger within the car's interior.
Dr. John Winchester had been the head of Diagnostics at Wayward Saints and the very top in his field. He was the reason Dean had even become a doctor in the first place. He had been a stern man, proud, incredibly intelligent, with steady hands and the deepest devotion to his family. A real hero in Dean's eyes, who could cure any disease thrown his way. He'd saved countless lives, and was one of the most honoured doctors in the country.
The only sickness he couldn't cure, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how many nights he'd stayed awake at the hospital and how desperate he had become, was the one that had taken the life of their mother, Mary. It had all happened so quickly, so suddenly, Dean hardly even recalled her being sick. He'd been so young then, and Sam was barely over a year old. She'd been fine one day, and then the next, rushed to the hospital with symptoms that just didn't add up properly. John had worked himself nearly to death trying to save her, but without the proper treatment for her illness, she'd only lasted two weeks.
Their life had spiralled out of control after that. In the years that followed, John had become practically lifeless in his work, and Dean was the one that had to watch over Sam when their father just didn't bother coming home from the hospital on most nights. He'd drink, and drink, until the world would just numb itself away and nothing else mattered anymore. John had sent himself to an early grave just ten years ago, leaving behind a will that stated that all of his money go to the building of The Mary Winchester Medical Clinic at Wayward Saints Hospital, in honour of his beloved fallen wife.
Dean had been given the Impala, and the remaining clinic money had helped Sam in his first two years of medical school. Though broken, their father had still watched over them in some way and, with the building of the clinic, he had given doctors the opportunity to save more lives and catch illnesses quicker, before they have a chance to claim another innocent victim.
Once Sam was all settled on the passenger's side, the Impala's engine roared to life and they peeled down the street in the direction of the hospital. As he drove, Dean popped in one of his many mix tapes, and softly sang along to Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper". Sam had that leather binder of his spread open on his lap, and was reading through the stack of papers he kept in there.
Dean glanced over curiously. "What are those?"
"Medical Journals." Sam stated. "I like going through them to help inspire me. Give me ideas and get me ready."
"Geek," Dean snorted, and picked up one of the papers. He squinted at the name of the author, and a slow smirk curled the corners of his mouth upward. "Dr. Gabriel Wesson, huh?"
Sam snatched the paper back like a pre-teen girl who had just had her diary discovered. "He's the best cardiologist in the whole damn country, Dean. It's because of him that I want to specialize in the field."
"I'm aware. You used to never shut up about him when you called me from school." Dean snickered, turning the corner.
"We studied a lot of his work." Sam grumbled, smoothing out the wrinkles Dean's fingers had left in the papers. "The guy is a genius."
Dean had to suppress the grin as he stared ahead at the road, knowing that Sam was completely unaware that Dr. Gabriel Wesson, the finest cardiologist in the country and the guy Sam practically worshipped, worked at Wayward Saints Hospital. He and Dean were actually close friends, as well as colleagues. They'd go out for drinks together, and Gabriel would always come by to watch the game at Dean's place if neither of them had a shift. And now he was going to be one of Sam's mentors during his journey through internship.
He couldn't wait to catch the look on Sam's face when he found out. He imagined plenty of screaming that could rival a Justin Bieber concert.
They arrived just down the street from Wayward Saints, and Dean made a quick stop in front of a quaint little café that made the single greatest slice of hot apple pie on the damn planet. The place was called Le Goût du Ciel, which pretty much translated to "Taste of Heaven". He parked the Impala, and made a quick run inside, thankful that the place opened up so early. The café was tiny, with only about six little round tables lining the elegantly wallpapered walls. Whoever named the place definitely had it right, because it smelled exactly the way Dean imagined heaven would smell like; roasted coffee beans, and freshly baking pastries. His shoes tapped against the hardwood floor as he approached the front counter, his mouth already watering at the sight of all the delicacies on display.
The same woman always worked the counter; tall, rather beautiful, with long blonde hair half pulled back, and the kind of elegant features that usually only carried cold or disapproving expressions. Her name was Rachel, and that's all that Dean really cared to know. Frankly, she kinda scared him.
"Good morning, Rachel." He threw on his most charming smile.
The woman behind the counter lifted her pale green eyes, and arched one elegant blonde brow, her expression bored. She didn't even acknowledge his attempt at a cheerful greeting. "You want the usual?"
Dean cleared his throat, and reached for his wallet. He tossed twenty bucks on the counter. "Actually, make it three coffees today. One black with three sugars, one with two sugars and double cream, and the third with three creams and four sugars."
She nodded once and, without a word, prepared the order, squeezing each steaming cup of coffee in a Styrofoam tray once they were finished. Dean also ordered a slice of apple pie for breakfast, and he didn't wait until he was back in the car before popping the container open and taking a great big forkful of warm apples and crust.
"Mmm…" Dean licked his lips, savouring the taste like it was the best sex he's ever had. "I gotta say, Rachel, you make the best damn pie in the city."
Rachel rang up the order and slid Dean's change across the counter to him. "I don't make any of the pastries. I just work here."
"Really?" Dean asked with surprise as he tried to balance the coffee tray and pie in his arms. He'd never seen any other employees in the café before other than Rachel. Whoever else worked here must've liked staying in the back.
"Yes. Now, are we done here?" She asked flatly, one slender hand resting on her hip.
Dean took his change and backed away from the counter as though retreating from a viper, afraid that she just might bite his head off if he kept up with the small talk any longer. He exited the shop with haste, and climbed back into the Impala, handing Sam his black coffee with three sugars.
"Thanks," Sam took a long sip from his paper cup. He sniffed the air. "What smells so good?"
"Pie. What else?" Dean grinned and popped open the container, practically inhaling the hot slice in three more massive bites.
"…Did you even breathe?" Sam stared at him.
"Don't need to when it tastes that good." Dean tossed the empty pie container in the back, and washed it all down with his coffee. He handed Sam the tray, where the coffee with four sugars still sat.
"What's with the extra coffee?" Sam asked as they backed out of the parking spot and headed down to the hospital.
Dean shrugged one shoulder. "It's for a co-worker."
"Let me guess: some really hot nurse you're hoping to butter up so you two can get freaky in the supply closet?"
Pulling into the hospital parking lot, Dean gave his little brother's upper arm a swift, hard punch. "Bitch."
"Ow! Jerk!" Sam grumbled, rubbing the sore spot.
With the Impala snugly nestled in her reserved parking spot, Dean turned off the growling engine, grabbed the tray of coffee, and climbed out of the car. He looked around, instantly spotting the sleek, silver Porsche that belonged to the Chief of Surgery, Dr. Michael Caito, and Anna's adorable little lime green Volkswagen Beetle a few parking spots over. As Sam began to climb out of the Impala while fumbling with his folder of papers, Dean caught the familiar snarl of an approaching engine.
"Watch it, Sammy!"
Sam turned at Dean's voice, and leaped out of the way with a yelp just in time as a deep red Harley Davidson Electra motorcycle came flying in out of nowhere and screeched to a sharp halt right in the parking space next to Dean's. Sam was sprawled across the Impala's trunk, looking frightened out of his wits, his prized Medical Journals scattered everywhere around the car.
Dean barely held back his snigger. "Y'okay there, Sammy?"
Sam was panting hard, his dark glare on the helmeted driver of the Harley as he turned off the engine and began peeling off his leather gloves. The young intern straightened, then, gathered up what papers he could get a hold of before they blew away, and stomped over to the motorcyclist.
"You oughta watch where the hell you're going!" Sam spat.
Dean's eyes widened, and he had to cover his mouth with his free hand to keep from bursting out into hysterical laughter. He was practically shaking with the effort. "U-um… Sam?"
His little brother ignored him, and continued picking up the papers that had settled around the bike. The driver of the Harley, still helmeted, leaned down off the bike and scooped up a page. He held it out to the intern without a word, and Sam snatched it away, shooting him a look that could kill.
"Asshat." He growled and stormed away into the hospital without bothering to wait for his older brother.
Briefcase and tray of coffee in his hands, Dean approached the motorcyclist, who finally removed his helmet, revealing rich caramel hair pushed away from a striking, angular face to fall in soft waves on the back of his neck. Amber eyes turned in Dean's direction, and they mirrored each other's crooked smirks.
"I'm guessing that huge grumpy thing was your brother." Dr. Gabriel Wesson asked as he climbed off his bike.
"Your number one fan." Dean said in a sing-song tone.
"I could see that."
Dean laughed, handing Gabriel the third coffee. "Got you your coffee this morning, since you got mine yesterday."
"Thanks," Gabriel took the offered cup, tucked his helmet under one arm, and strolled alongside Dean towards the hospital doors. He took a deep inhale of the breeze and sighed deeply. "Ahh… You smell that, Deano? That is the scent of a dozen young, bright minds filling the halls of our hospital, eager to soak up our knowledge and nearly tinkle all over the hospital floors with terror at any given moment."
"Don't'cha just love Fresh Meat Day?" Dean grinned.
"Best day of the year."