Disclaimer: I do not own.
Hello all - This story was written for the Oh_Sam hurt/comfort comment fic meme on LJ for a prompt by nblaque_impala who wanted a story where John and Dean wouldn't realize that Sam was sick or injured. I won't say that this is the best story I have ever written, but I will tell you that Sam gets his fair share of Hurt and comfort in this. This story is also finished and I will post a chapter each day, but if you want to read the whole thing at once, I've got the entire thing posted at my LJ account.
This story is unbeta'd, so all mistakes are mine and mine alone (of which I am sure there are plenty)
The drive from the forest and back to their motel was pretty much a blur.
His head pounded furiously behind his eyes, his back felt as though it was on fire, and sweat dripped into his eyes so steadily that keeping his eyes on the road as he drove was a nearly impossible task. Sam wasn't exactly sure how he managed to get both his barely conscious brother and father into the car after that friggin' bajang caught them by surprise, but one thing he did know was that his brother and father were injured and it was all his fault.
A simple cleansing ritual and a liberal amount of holy water dashed onto the hollowed out tree the lesser demon used as its home and whose life-force to which it was tied would have been all they needed to kill it, but one mistake, one single misstep on Sam's part, and the whole hunt had gone south in the blink of an eye.
Dad had already whispered the words of the cleansing ritual so as not to wake the creature as it slept in its branches, but he had yet to douse the tree with the holy water when Sam thought he heard something coming from the darkened woods and he took a step backwards. Stumbling over a downed tree branch he didn't see behind his feet, he fell to the ground with a loud crash into the dried leaves.
Dad turned around sharply at the clamor Sam had caused and flashed his annoyance and disappointment at him with a scowl when seconds later, the bajang awoke with a screech and launched itself from above, landing on top of Dean who was standing near his father and caught off-guard.
"Dean!" Sam shouted just as Dean fell to the ground with a grunt, as the bajang, using eagle-like talons on its feet to pin him to the forest floor sought to rip him to pieces. As Dean fought to release himself from its grip, Dad propelled himself onto the creature in an attempt to bodily remove the beast from his son, but with one sweep of its claws, the bajang sent him flying backward until he crashed into a nearby tree and fell boneless to the ground.
Sam felt time come to a screeching halt as he froze, stiff with fear and indecision. What could he do? Dad was out cold and that left only him to save Dean. In all of his seventeen years of life and training to be a hunter he had never felt such intense fear and now when Dean needed him the most, he was just gonna sit there?
Dean let out a pain filled scream as the bajang raked its claws into his skin, cutting through the fabric of his shirt and painting what was left of his tattered clothes in the dark crimson of his blood. Sam instantly knew what he needed to do at the sound of his brother's pain.
Sam jumped to his feet, his body charged with adrenaline as he dove for the flask of holy water Dad had dropped. He fumbled with the cap until he finally had it unscrewed then aimed for the tree. As soon as the holy water began its journey towards the bark of the tree, Sam felt a searing heat erupt across his back and he was pushed forward. He felt claws dig into his flesh and rake their way down from the back of his neck down while his hands flung up to catch himself, his fingers firmly clasped on the flask. Water flew from the opening and landed on the tree just as Sam's head hit the bark with a resounding thump.
Stars and fireworks exploded within his sight as the bajang screeched one final time and releases its hold on him. Sam landed on his back beside his brother just in time to see the creature erupt into flames and disappear completely in a cloud of smoke.
Winded, Sam panted heavily while the world spun in nauseating circles made worse by flaming, agonizing spikes of pain radiating from his back to his heaving chest. Next to him, he could feel Dean struggling to move and he had no time to allow himself to pass-out from his own injury and rolling to his side, Sam reached for his brother, feeling panic overwhelm him at the sight of all of the blood that clung to him.
"Dean?" Sam called to him just as Dean's eyes slipped closed. Frantically, Sam reached shaky fingers to his brother's neck and felt for a pulse, finding it strong, but overly fast, his skin clammy and cold. He had to get Dean out of there and fast.
Sam turned his head at the sound of a groan issuing from several feet away. Sam turned and watched as hi father struggled to his feet then quickly dropped to his knees while blood dripped from his forehead into his eyes.
"Dad!" Sam shouted, "Dean …"
The pleading tone in Sam's voice appeared to strengthen his father's resolve and he shook his head as if to clear the cobwebs, making his way to his feet again and stumbling towards his sons.
Dad spoke some soothing words to Dean as he finally neared them and dropped beside him, running his hands along his body and examining him. Once he seemed satisfied with his own eyes that Dean wasn't in immediate danger, he looked up at Sam expectantly, "The bajang … you get it?"
"Yeah …" Sam panted, trying and failing to catch his breath after all that had happened, "It's dead, but we need to get Dean outta here."
His father readily agreed and it took both Sam and his father the maximum of their combined strength and fortitude to carry Dean through the mile and a half of forest back to the car. By the time they had Dean secure in the back seat, Dad too had passed out after handing Sam the keys and taking the passenger seat.
And now, after a half hour of driving on pure adrenaline alone, Sam was back at the motel and he couldn't get his hands to stop shaking. He killed the engine of the car and glanced back at Dean worryingly, unsure of how he was going to get both his dad and his brother into the room on his own.
Sam reached over and grabbed his father's shoulder, giving him a little shake, "Dad … Dad, c'mon … I need your help."
Dad stirred and his eyes slid open as he groaned, but he managed to rouse himself from his stupor long enough to help Sam get Dean from the car, into the room, and onto his bed.
"Sam … get the med kit." Dad ordered wearily as he began stripping Dean's shirts. Sam didn't question the order and ran back out to the car, opening the trunk and grabbing the kit before running back into the room.
As soon as he stepped inside, he found that his father had passed out yet again, lying on the floor between the beds. Knowing now that he was on his own to get his family patched up, Sam managed to rouse his father enough to get him onto the other bed before he opened up the med kit and got to work.
Dean was first as his wounds were still bleeding and needed attention straight away. Sam was more than relieved to see that the gashes the bajang had given him were not terribly deep and he wouldn't need too many stitches, but he worried that his brother probably had a concussion given the hard, swollen lump Sam found on the back of his head that kept him from completely regaining consciousness. But what worried Sam more the bleeding and the torn flesh was that from his research, he had learned that the bajang contained poison in its claws. It was not a deadly poison in and of itself, but it could cause anyone scratched by the creature to become very ill and leave them susceptible to infection which could kill if left untreated. A thorough cleaning with holy water was said to counter-act the poison's effects, but from experience, Sam knew the procedure wasn't going to be pleasant for his brother.
Sam swallowed and did not look forward to what he had to do to Dean and his hands shook as he opened the bottles of peroxide and holy water, "I'm sorry, Dean," He apologized in advance, knowing how much this was going to hurt, "Hold on."
Sam cleaned out the gashes with liberal amounts of peroxide, following that with the holy water. The instant the holy water hit Dean's broken skin, he began to wince and groan, arching his back off of the bed in agony. When the wounds began to bubble and steam, Sam took as a good sign that the holy water was working, but while he felt relief in seeing the holy water do its job, he could also feel his heart gallop in his chest as Dean made distressing noises, and tears seeped from his tightly shut eyes. Sam grabbed his brother's hand, hoping that it would comfort him a little until the wounds finally stopped sizzling. At the same time, Sam could feel Dean squeezing his hand back with a crushing force that spoke clearly to just how much pain he was in - a pain that Sam had caused.
Dean had passed out again by the time the wounds were completely cleaned and even as Sam started sewing his big brother's skin back together, he remained almost completely insensate, only occasionally making any sign of distress which Sam took to be a blessing as his shaking fingers fought to make the delicate stitches. Sam's unsteady hands made the process difficult and his work was far from expertly done. He just prayed that Dean would forgive him for making him look like Frankenstein's monster once he was conscious again, but his efforts had stopped the bleeding and for that, he was extremely grateful.
Sam had Dean all bandaged up and under the covers once he finished and he managed to wake Dean long enough for him to get some painkillers, please to see Dean open his eyes long enough to accept the pills before falling back into a state of unawareness and recuperative sleep.
Sam turned to his Dad next and he stirred as Sam started to clean his wound with the peroxide solution. Looking up at Sam with bleary eyes, he asked, "How's Dean?"
"He hit his head and he lost some blood, but I think he should be okay." Sam replied as he reached for some Tylenol to help with the pain his father had to be in. He handed Dad the pills which he took and dry swallowed without saying a word.
Nodding in relief that Dean would be okay, his father's eyes slipped closed once more and Sam didn't miss how his dad never asked if he was okay. But Sam didn't blame him … hell … Dean was hurt and it was all his fault, so really, his own pain was only just punishment for his screw-up.
Sam placed a butterfly bandage to close the gash in his father's forehead, glad that stitches didn't appear to be necessary since his hands were still shaking and putting in stitches to the thinner and more delicate skin of the face took much more precision and control over his fingers than he thought he had.
After finishing with his father's wound and making sure that he too was under the blankets and asleep, he checked Dean over one more time and was relieved to see that he appeared to be sleeping comfortably as well without any signs of further bleeding or distress.
Soon, Sam found himself sitting in between the beds with his head hanging between his knees, utterly spent and exhausted as he tried to control his pounding heart and strained breathing. He was sticky with sweat and dried blood had glued his shirt to his skin, but now that the adrenaline that had fueled him had fled, pain came to the forefront in to replace it and remind just who was boss.
His back stung and his head ached mercilessly. He could feel the pull of the blood sticking to his clothes, so he carefully pulled his arms out of his jacket then made an attempt to get his shirt off as well. It stuck to his skin and peeling if free was a lesson in pain, but eventually it came free after a few oainful tugs. He took it and his bloody jacket which were both ruined now and balled them up before tossing them a few feet away into the trash buin. He made to stand up and go to the bathroom where he could get a look at his own injury, but once on his feet, he swayed and had to grab onto the nightstand for a few seconds as dark splotches invaded his vision and threatened to bring him back to the floor, but eventually, his equilibrium returned enough for him to make it to hid feet and head into the bathroom.
Once past the bathroom threshold, Sam tried to get a look at his back in the mirror, but his position was awkward and trying to strain to get a look at the gashes in his back only made him more dizzy and nauseous, so he gave up and figured that the best he could do for himself was clean and bandage them for now. Most of the gashes Sam couldn't reach, but he did his best with the peroxide and holy water by blindly pouring the liquids down his back and hoping that the wounds would get cleaned enough that way and prevent the bajang poison from seeping into his bloodstream..
Hissing through his teeth, the antiseptic hit his raw and ripped skin while heat and searing pain hit his nerves and took away his breath. Dizziness took over from there and his legs gave up trying to hold him vertical. His knees hit the hard tile of the bathroom floor and he had to struggle to keep the dark spots floating in front of his eyes from completely taking over and sending him into the dark abyss. A few minutes passed with Sam hanging his head before he felt the stinging fire in his skin recede and his vision return to normal. However, his stomach suddenly decided to twist and turn and the next thing he knew, he was leaning over the toilet, evacuating the remnants of his last meal into the water-filled bowl.
Sam let his head rest against the cool porcelain when the heaves had finally finished and he shivered slightly as the cold air of the room seeped into his bare skin. He felt as though he could fall asleep right there, but knowing that he had to keep an eye on Dean and his father while both of them had head injuries meant that sleeping was not on the agenda for that evening while he needed to keep an eye on them. To add to that, he had school in the morning and if he fell asleep now, he might never wake up to leave on time - that is if Dean and his father were well even enough for him to go to classes that day.
Eventually, he pushed himself from the floor, did his best to slap some bandages over the gashes he could reach, then flushed the toilet and stumbled over heavy feet back into the bedroom. He checked his father and brother over once again, finding that they were both sleeping soundly and then sat down heavily on the bed next to Dean with his head hanging between his knees for an indeterminate amount of time. He felt like lying down, but he knew his back would hate him for it, so he didn't even bother. Instead, he checked his watch, noting that he had about another hour before he should wake his family for a concussion check.
Feeling cold and shivery, he got up from the bed and grabbed a shirt, gritting his teeth as he pulled it on over his sore back before grabbing a spare blanket from the shelf and wrapping it around his shoulders. Fighting sleep and needing something to keep him alert, he walked across the room and decided to sit at the table in the uncomfortable, wooden chair beside the window. His bookbag wasn't far away and with a grunt, he was able to reach it without leaving the chair and for the remainder of the early morning hours, he studied until it was time to check on his injured family once again..
John pried his eyes open, feeling a hand shaking his shoulder and immediately regretted that action. Dull light filtered through the curtain directly into his vision and he winced at the lancing, stab of pain it delivered to his head. He groaned involuntarily then rubbed his sore eyes before making another attempt to respond to the voice calling for him.
"Hmmmm?" He managed to gutturally pronounce.
"I got some more Tylenol for you. You think you can sit up?"
John nodded wearily and forced himself to sit before he tried once more to open his eyes. Squinting, John made out the concerned, pale face of his youngest son.
"What time is it?" John asked as he gratefully took the pills and the water Sam offered.
"It's about 6 o'clock."
"I just woke him up a couple of minutes ago, but he seems to be okay. He'll probably sleep a little while longer."
John nodded again, wincing when the movement drilled another nail into his skull. He rubbed his temples, feeling like shit, but needing to take a leak, so he swung his legs over the bed and headed for the bathroom. Sam hovered, but John waved him off, "I'm okay."
Sam backed away, looking like he had something he needed to say, but John stepped into the bathroom before he could speak; he didn't feel up to accepting any apologies from him just yet and he certainly wasn't up to offering any forgiveness for the mess Sam had made of the hunt.
He took a look at himself in the mirror and took in the bright white bandage on his forehead. The events of the previous evening tumbled around in his head and he felt a lingering and simmering disappointment over how the whole thing went down and how easily a simple hunt could go wrong. Part of him wanted to blame Sam for tripping over that branch and waking the bajang up, but mostly he was mad at himself for not taking a firmer hand in training his youngest and showing him just how important paying attention to his surroundings was to the work they did.
Sam was so hung up and school and chafing against John's orders that he had a hard time drilling into him how important it was to be sharp and attentive when hunting. As John finished up his business in the bathroom, he made a vow to himself to work harder at driving those points home into Sam. From now on, training would become a priority.
Coming out of the bathroom, he found his son sitting at the table, his head cradled in his hand and reading from a textbook which reminded John that Sam probably had school to attend that morning. Part of him wanted to keep him from going and start right in on Sam's remedial training, but his head ached so much that he couldn't deal with it right then. It would be better to send him off to school so John could keep an eye on Dean and he too could recover from the monstrous headache that was threatening to knock him on his ass again.
Sam stood up from his seat at the table. He looked a little pale and he winced as he got up, but John's attention to those details was lost to him the moment Sam began to speak, "Dad … I … just … I'm sorry about …"
John cut him off, "Not now, Sam. We'll talk about it after you get back from school."
"I can stay here today and help take care of Dean -"
"You've done enough." John pointed out with a little more harshness than he meant, but he couldn't pull any punches when it came to Sam and his son needed to realize the price of his mistake. "I'll take care of him from here."
Sam visibly paled at John's pointed words, then looked down at his feet, unable to meet his eyes any longer. Sam was usually a fighter and made no bones about bucking against John's orders, but for once the kid seemed contrite - maybe Sam was finally starting to realize how important it was to listen to his father and obey his instructions.
Walking over to Dean's bedside, John checked on the wounds Sam must have stitched up and was pleased to see that none of them appeared to be showing any signs of infection and while Dean would be sore for at least a week, he should recover without too much scarring . He reached out a hand and touched his oldest son's forehead and found that his temperature felt normal as well and John was glad to see him rouse at the touch, "Dad?" Dean croaked, cracking one eye open.
"Hey, Son. How're feeling?"
"Like crap. You?"
"The same, but I'll live."
"I'm okay, Dean." Sam called from across the room as he packed his bag for school.
Dean nodded then slipped back into a restful doze.
"I guess I should get going then." Sam stated meekly, standing by the door and holding his bag.
John didn't bother to turn around, "Be back right after school. No detours, got it?" John didn't have to tell his son that his training that afternoon was going to be longer and harder than usual; he said it all with the tone of his voice.
The door opened and closed quietly behind John's back.
Sam closed the door behind him and sighed heavily.
He had actually made up his mind to stay back from school that morning to not only help take care of his family but because his head ached miserably, his stomach wouldn't stop churning, and his back felt like it was on fire. All he wanted to do was curl up into a little ball and sleep, but as soon as his father woke up, that all went flying out the window; Dad clearly didn't want him around. He fucked up big this time and his family could have died – going to school and dealing with this pain like a man was the least of the punishment he should have to bear.
The walk to school took ten minutes longer than it normally did. Sam didn't bother putting his pack since his back was throbbing and each step tugged at the bandages he had applied the other night. He just hoped that none of them would leak through the three layers of clothes he had on.
To add to it all, his good jacket was ruined and all he had to protect himself from the cold breeze was the thin, denim jacket Dean had handed down to him months ago that he had already grown out of. He shivered involuntarily and tried to wrap the jacket tighter around his chest while aching joints and muscles loudly made their soreness known to him.
By the time Sam finally made it to the school, class had already started and it was with weary relief that he got his bag into his locker and he no longer had to drag it around. He tried slipping in to his first class, but his teacher took notice and handed him a tardy slip – if he another one that day, he'd end up with detention after school and wouldn't that just be perfect? Already he was dreading what he dad was going to do to him when he got back, but if he was late thanks to detention, he'd be in an even bigger world of hurt from his father than he already was.
But it was all what he deserved and his thoughts drifted often to the night before as he was haunted by the memory of Dean's screams – he wasn't sure if he could ever forgive himself for letting his brother get hurt like that.
The rest of the morning steadily got worse and worse. Sitting hurt, standing hurt more, and walking the halls from class to class was a study in agony. With no sleep the previous night, his body was aching for rest and in two of his classes he had nodded off, much to the ire of his teachers.
By lunch, his headache had grown to thunderous proportions and he knew that a fever had come to take over as he shivered even with his jacket on in the usually over-heated rooms. He didn't bother to eat – his stomach was far to unsettled for that - so he settled at an empty table in the cafeteria and let his head rest on his arms with a weary sigh. His intention was to only close his eyes for a moment, but when a hand touched his sore back some vague time later, he nearly jumped up from the surprise and the instant pain that slight contact had caused.
"Whoa, kid … sorry, but lunch is over and I gotta clean up," A man Sam vaguely recognized as being one of the school's janitors looked down on him, "Don't you have a class you can sleep in?"
Sam felt dizzy from the sudden awakening and looked around in confusion. How long had he slept? The cafeteria was completely empty save for him and the janitor trying to clean the floor with his wide dust broom.
"Uh …" Sam looked up at the clock, he was ten minutes late for his next class and he was going to get detention for sure, "Crap!"
He quickly pushed away from the table, but the movement from sitting to standing so quickly caused his stomach to do a 360 degree flip and his vision darkened into a long, thin tunnel. His legs suddenly felt like gelatin and he would have fallen to his knees if the janitor hadn't caught his elbow.
"Hey, you okay?" the man asked and as soon as the dark splotches in front of Sam's eyes had cleared some, he could make out concern on the older man's face, "You don't look so good. Why don't I help you get to the nurse's office."
Sam shook his head then wished that he hadn't as a spike felt like it was being driven through his temples, "M'okay …"
"Ya sure? If you're sick, you should go home. No need to be spreading those germs around, ya know."
Sam sighed, "I'm sure. Thanks anyway." Actually, he'd have liked nothing more than to crawl into bed right at that moment except that if his dad found out he'd been hurt on the hunt as well, he'd never hear the end of it. That was, if he cared.
Besides, Dean had been hurt far worse than he had, he just needed to suck it up and drive on like Dean and his dad would have.
Sam took two steps away from the janitor when the room began to spin like a tilt-a-whirl, his body went cold, and his feet refused to stay planted on the floor. He felt himself falling, but as he hit the hard tiles and pain momentarily assailed all of his senses, nothing but darkness quickly followed to take it all away.
More to come ...