Summary: Tag to 8.06 – Hurt Sam / Guilty Dean / Garth...being Garth – Nobody moved as the faint ping of the cursed coin falling to the floor was lost in the sudden deafening sound of a gun being fired at close range. A gun that had accidently gone off during the brief struggle. A gun that had been aimed directly at Sam.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Warnings: Spoilers for 8.06 and usual language.
A/N: Man-oh-man...this season, y'all. That's all I'm gonna say. But I think you know what I mean.
You got me waitin' on a bullet. Just like a bird on a wire. We both know the outcome, now that the shot has been fired. And I know there's nothin' I can change to change the way you feel. So, I'm just waitin' on a bullet, and my time's standin' still. ~ Drew Womack
It all happened so fast.
As most tragic things do.
One minute they were arguing.
Which always seemed to be the case these days...
And the next minute, punches were being thrown along with more words that sliced to the bone; with more words that couldn't be taken back; with more words that would never be completely covered by an apology.
It was too much.
Buried hurts were resurrected.
Old wounds of forgiven betrayals were reopened.
Speculative accusations were poured in like salt.
And the brothers' fragile bond collapsed in a bloody heap, tired of fighting to restore itself with no help from either side; instead broken beyond repair as it gasped for breath in the chokehold of kept secrets and festered grudges.
No one seemed to notice.
The fight continued.
More punches were thrown.
And then the remnants of the brothers' relationship soon crumbled as well; falling to its knees to beg for mercy even as it bled out in the middle of the motel room; mortally wounded under the brutal attack of truths sharpened by sarcasm and twisted to stab.
No one seemed to notice that, either.
A bond strong enough to save the world twitching in its final breaths as it lay beside a floundering, equally damaged relationship that had always gone deeper than blood, had always represented two halves of a whole.
Both ruined now.
Both abandoned and ignored...for what?
It was hard to say.
A coffee table smashed as Sam fell backward; stunned for only a moment before instantly sitting up and leaning against the nearby sofa for support; his chest aching from the vicious kick Dean had planted there seconds prior.
There was a beat of silence.
Dean advanced toward him.
Sam stared up from where he was sprawled on the floor; breathless from the fight and not caring that blood flowed freely from his nose – courtesy of his own brother's fist – as he watched Garth step between him and an approaching Dean...a pissed, ghost-possessed Dean.
More seconds passed as Garth tried to reason with the big brother he believed still lurked beneath the ghost's power.
But his efforts were useless; his reasoning and bargaining hopeless.
Because while Garth adamantly insisted that Dean – the real Dean underneath the ghost's influence – didn't want to kill his brother, it seemed that assumption was wrong.
The unrelenting intent to kill Sam almost glowed in Dean's eyes as he listened to Garth's words.
You gotta fight this thing.
Do not do this.
Just let it go.
It was good advice.
There was a beat of silence as Garth seemed to realize this situation was not going to be defused so easily.
"Come on, Dean..." the scrawny hunter tried once more, actually gritting his teeth as he spoke; his tone and expression indicating how desperate he was to reach the Dean he knew would never harm Sam.
But that Dean seemed to be either too indisposed or too indifferent to attempt resisting the curse.
That Dean was not listening and not caring.
That Dean wanted hurt for hurt.
And he intended to get it.
Dean's gaze flickered from Garth to Sam still sprawled on the floor behind the younger hunter.
Sam blinked back at him, resting his head against the sofa's cushions; breathing out of his mouth because blood clogged his busted nose; his chest aching more from Dean's words than from his brother's earlier kick.
No one spoke...until Dean did.
Those two words, coldly growled, were the only warning Garth received before Dean tightened his grip on the gun and attempted to sidestep him in order to reach Sam – in order to shoot Sam...in order to kill his own brother.
And that wasn't happening on Garth's watch.
No fucking way.
Garth reacted on instinct, grabbing Dean's arm and punching the ever-living-shit out of the bigger hunter...even though he almost broke his own hand in doing so.
The gun fell from Dean's grasp along with the penny.
There was silence.
Nobody moved as the faint ping of the cursed coin falling to the floor was lost in the sudden deafening sound of a gun being fired at close range.
A gun that had accidently gone off during the brief struggle.
A gun that had been aimed directly at Sam.
A gun that no longer had a bullet in its chamber...because the bullet was now lodged in Sam's chest.
No one seemed to notice.
Not at first.
The shot heard but dismissed.
"Oh, god..." Garth groaned, shaking his throbbing hand and then holding it to his chest; having never before punched anyone as hard as he had just punched Dean.
And even though it hurt, it felt damn good.
Garth twitched a smile.
Across from him, Dean stumbled as he regained his footing – and his presence of mind – and then lifted the back of his hand to his mouth in reaction to Garth's punch; staring at the scrawny hunter in disbelief before glancing at Sam still sitting on the floor.
Sam blinked back at him; his expression equal parts confused and concerned.
Not quite sure what had happened...yet having a pretty good idea.
After all, Sam had been shot before.
He knew how it felt.
And this was it.
The bullet wound that was initially numbed by shock was beginning to burn; the heated pain spreading through his chest.
Sam glanced down and then blinked again at Dean, his eyes wide and panicked at the realization.
Dean shook his head in response, refusing to believe what he was seeing.
But it was real.
Sam's blood was steadily flowing from the small hole; the stain on his white shirt blossoming around the gunshot wound on the left side of his chest; the crimson flow saturating the fabric at an alarming rate.
"No..." Dean finally said – all traces of anger instantly gone – and shook his head again as he approached his brother; practically shoving Garth out of his way as he crossed to crouch in front of Sam. "No, no, no..." he repeated.
Because this was not happening.
Sam was not shot in the fucking chest because of Dean.
Garth turned at the unmasked fear and panic in Dean's voice, frowning as he stared at the brothers; unable to see Sam from the way Dean was blocking his view. "What?"
Dean didn't answer; instead solely focusing on his brother within inches of him. "Sammy..." he called, reaching to remove the kid's coat; anxious to examine the wound. "I didn't mean it," he told his brother.
Sam had to know that; had to know that Dean would never intentionally hurt him, would never intentionally shoot him.
But Sam didn't respond.
"Sam..." Dean called again more urgently. "Say something."
But Sam couldn't speak; the kid opening his mouth only to make a horrible, strangled sound – half gasp, half choke.
Sam swallowed, his eyes fluttering as he began to list sideways.
"Hey. Whoa..." Dean warned, his heart hammering in his chest at the implications of his brother on the brink of losing consciousness. "Stay with me, Sam..." he ordered, holding the kid upright.
Sam blinked rapidly, obviously trying to stay awake...but knowing it was a losing battle.
Dean knew it, too.
"Dammit, Sam..." Dean softly swore, fear squeezing his heart. "Sam..." he tried again, struggling to keep his voice even. "C'mon...talk to me."
But Sam said nothing, wincing as Dean finally eased his arms out of the sleeves of his coat and briefly checked his back for an exit wound – finding none.
Dean sighed – not expecting to be that lucky – and then immediately began unbuttoning Sam's shirt; his fingers shaky with adrenaline and anxiety as they carefully pushed back the blood-stained fabric to better examine the wound underneath.
"Oh my god..." Garth whispered, now crouched beside Dean; having remained quiet over the past few minutes but unable to stop the comment from escaping at the sight of the damage revealed when Dean pulled back Sam's shirt.
Both hunters exchanged glances before staring again at the gaping wound in Sam's chest; the ragged hole bubbling with pink froth every time Sam breathed.
Each breath a noisy, strained whistle.
A sucking chest wound.
...which meant Sam was in serious trouble.
Dean clenched his jaw as he continued to brace his brother; the kid only sitting up because Dean held him there.
Sam scrunched his face, trying to swallow a moan...but failing.
"It's okay..." Dean automatically soothed, his thumb rubbing over Sam's shoulder in silent comfort even as he knew he was lying.
Because this was far from okay.
This was seriously fucked.
But this was the situation they currently had to deal with, so...
"Okay..." Dean sighed, determined to keep his shit together; knowing he couldn't help his brother if he allowed his guilt to consume him; knowing he could treat this injury well enough for transport if he just got a fucking grip.
After all, Sam was counting on him.
And it was the least he could do after he had created this fucking mess.
Dean exhaled slowly.
Garth glanced at him as he did so; seeming to sense Dean's internal battle. "I've got a first aid kit in the truck..." he informed and abruptly stood; jogging out the door to retrieve the supplies and giving Dean the space he needed to regroup.
Dean nodded as Garth left the motel room, thankful the scrawny hunter had left him alone if only for a few minutes.
Dean sighed again, focusing on his brother. "Sam..." he called, still grasping the kid's shoulders and carefully maneuvering Sam to lie flat on the floor in preparation for treatment. "Sammy..."
Sam blinked but said nothing; his left lung collapsed and his oxygen too precious to waste on speaking.
Dean nodded his understanding, even as he desperately wanted to hear Sam's voice. "It's okay," he soothed, grabbing Sam's clammy hand and easing it up to cover the kid's wound. "I'm gonna fix this," he assured and then paused, his hand still resting on top of Sam's; both becoming stained with the kid's flowing blood. "All of this," he added, because he knew there was more to mend than just Sam's chest wound.
Sam looked hopeful...but doubtful.
Dean didn't blame him.
Not after what he had said.
Not after what he had done.
Dean sighed – because they would cross that bridge later – and instead squeezed Sam's hand; his fingers briefly lacing with his brother's and conveying more than anything else could.
Sam's fingers twitched in his grasp.
A beat of silence passed between them.
"Here we go..." Garth announced as he reentered the motel room in a flurry of movement; dropping to his knees beside Dean and handing over the kit like a sacred offering.
Dean scanned its contents, carefully releasing Sam's hand and snatching what he needed from the kit; opening a bandage's packaging in order to use the plastic wrapper for an occlusive patch over Sam's sucking wound until they could get the kid to the hospital.
And wouldn't that be a fun explanation to give to the ER staff...
Dean sighed, having no time to worry about that now, and refocused on his brother.
Sam stared back at him; his blinks becoming slower and longer.
"Stay with me, Sam..." Dean told his fading little brother and gently nudged Sam's hand away; covering the kid's wound with the patch before motioning to Garth for tape.
Garth nodded, tearing strips of adhesive and watching as Dean sealed three sides of the plastic wrapper patch to Sam's skin, leaving the fourth side open to serve as a valve to help re-inflate Sam's lung when the kid inhaled.
It would work until they got Sam the help he needed.
"Good..." Garth praised, knowing John Winchester had taught Dean how to perform the procedure he had just witnessed, and then exhaled shakily. "Now what?"
Dean ignored the question, instead focusing on his brother. "Sam..."
Sam blinked at him.
"Better?" Dean checked, his hand hovering over the kid's covered wound.
Sam nodded jerkily and then swallowed, shifting minutely on the floor and then grimacing in pain.
"I know," Dean soothed, his own expression twisting in sympathy. "Just hang in there, man. We're going right now..."
"Going where?" Garth asked, sounding vaguely anxious.
"Hospital," Dean answered, urgency in his tone as he reached to begin the careful process of lifting Sam to his feet.
Because there was no way around a trip to the ER; not with this type of wound...and not with the bullet still lodged somewhere in Sam's chest.
Garth nodded at the response. "Our story?"
Because they would certainly be asked for details when they showed up at the hospital with Sam in this condition...and their kind of details didn't usually set well with civilians.
An explanation of an accidental shooting following a ghost possession would land them all in the psych ward.
Dean sighed and shook his head. "I don't know," he admitted. "I'll think of something. But right now..."
Dean's voice faded as Sam's eyes suddenly closed; the kid blinking at him one minute...and the next – nothing.
"Sam..." Dean called, automatically reaching for his brother's neck and sighing harshly with relief when he felt the kid's pulse beneath his fingers.
"Okay?" Garth checked, glancing meaningfully at Sam.
Dean nodded. "For now..." he answered about the kid's condition, visually scanning Sam before motioning toward his brother. "Let's go..."
Garth returned the nod, receiving Dean's order and reaching to assist the older brother in lifting an unconscious Sam from the motel room floor in order to carry him out to the Impala and then to the hospital.
"Be careful with him..." Dean warned, glaring at Garth before the young hunter even touched Sam. "Or so fucking help me..."
"Got it," Garth assured, not needing Dean's threat to be elaborated...and vaguely wondering where this protective side of Dean had been several minutes ago when he was aiming a gun at Sam.
Not that it mattered now.
Dean held his glare on Garth to further make his point about carefully moving Sam and then nodded.
Garth did the same.
Both hunters moved together.
"We still need to think about our story..." Garth commented, helping to support a limp Sam as Dean pulled his brother to his feet.
"Yeah..." Dean agreed distractedly, awkwardly checking Sam's wound as he held his brother against him; the kid's head trustfully lolling on his shoulder.
Dean swallowed, reminded of all the things he had said to Sam earlier; reminded that the kid had been fucking shot because of him.
Dean sighed. "Alright..." he told Garth as they began to slowly shuffle toward the motel room's door and out to the parking lot where the Impala patiently waited.
Several minutes passed before the brothers were safely inside their classic Chevy; Dean behind the steering wheel with Sam propped beside him.
"You got this?" Garth checked, his gaze worriedly flickering between Dean and an unconscious Sam resting against him.
Dean nodded, shifting slightly beneath his brother's weight before cranking the Impala's engine.
Garth backed away from the driver's side door. "I'll stay close..." he commented about their impending trip to the hospital, gesturing toward his own truck.
Dean nodded again but said nothing as he eased the Impala out of the parking space in the motel's lot and onto the highway; glancing in his rearview to see Garth staying true to his word and following close behind.
Dean sighed, glancing at Sam beside him on the bench seat; briefly checking the kid's condition and then shaking his head as he refocused on the road.
Because this was not happening.
Only it was.
And it was his fault.