Disclaimer: Don't own anything, just letting the boys have some "fun" in the snow.
A/N: Here it is as promised, the Sam and Dean blizzard fic. It's a one shot so no waiting around for updates or leaving anyone hanging. This story takes place in season 8, right after the episode "Everybody Hates Hitler" so there are spoilers up until and including that episode. I have to add that I am quite pleased with how the season is progressing now. The show is back to its heart and soul which will always be the brotherly bond between Sam and Dean. The last episode was amazing and so heartfelt. I loved the speeches the boys gave to each other about how much they care for one another. I'm eager to see what's in store for both boys as they have to complete the trials. I use "they" because no matter what one does, the other is always there. They never go through anything alone and that's just the way it should be. Hope you enjoy the fic :)
"See Dean? What did I tell you? I told you Nemo was coming," Sam said, as he and Dean surveyed the snowy parking lot. Light snow continued to fall, the last remnants of the blizzard.
Dean gingerly stepped forward into knee deep snow. He grimaced.
"If we had left when I said, we'd be back in Kansas by now," Sam continued.
"Yeah, yeah," Dean said, brushing him off.
They had just finished a case in Connecticut and Sam had warned Dean that they should leave immediately before the storm hit.
"Tell me now Dean. Was Free Wing Friday worth it?" Sam asked smugly, referring to the special at the restaurant Dean fell in love with in town.
Dean paused for only a moment to think.
"Yes, definitely," he answered, with a dreamy look on his face. "Those wings were worth staying for, especially when they were giving them away."
"Well then don't complain that we have to face Nemo."
"Would you stop calling it that? Who the hell names a storm after a wimpy fish with a defective fin?" Dean replied, as they continued to trudge through the snow to make it over to the car.
Sam stopped in his tracks.
"Defective fin? And how would you know that? So much for all the jokes you said to me for even having seen the movie at all. Looks like someone else watched it too," Sam said, with a scowl.
"It was a lucky guess."
"Sure," Sam said rolling his eyes. "I knew when you mentioned Dory, it was suspicious."
Dean looked away, noncommittally.
"And to answer your question, the storm isn't named after the fish. Meteorologists are naming winter storms now since they are easier to track by name. Last one was named Magnus, which means Father of Europe. The next one is Orco, the thunder God. Nemo means nothing in Latin so I guess it's—" Sam stopped talking when he noticed Dean's eyes had glazed over.
"You done geeking out over there?" Dean asked.
"A misnomer," Sam finished.
"A miss what?" Dean asked, confused.
"Never mind," Sam replied, walking away and taking long strides towards the car despite the deep snow.
"Freakishly long legs," Dean muttered as he moved at a slower pace.
When they finally made it to the car, Sam had to brush snow off just to prove that indeed it was their car. It was completely blanketed in snow, no trace of the familiar black color in sight.
"Baby what has that stupid fish done to you?" Dean asked, seriously.
"It's just snow, Dean. Come on."
"Just snow? Are you insane? It weighs a ton. There could be dents under there," Dean replied. "Don't worry, we'll get through this," he said, patting the snow encased car affectionately.
Sam quickly picked up some snow, patted it into a snowball and whipped it at Dean, snapping him out of his moment.
"You two done making out over there?" Sam asked, laughing.
"You did not just do that!" Dean exclaimed.
"Come on! It's fun!" Sam said, getting ready to throw another one.
"Sam, you know how I feel about snow. It belongs on mountain tops, not on my car, and certainly not on me."
Sam dropped the snowball and shook his head.
"I guess my plan of us building a snowman later on is out then?" Sam asked, with a smirk.
Dean gave him a withering look.
"Okay whatever, Dean. How are we cleaning this?" Sam asked.
"Well for the snowball and the insult against Baby, you can do it."
"No way!" Sam protested.
"I thought you loved snow and 'it's fun,'" Dean said in a goofy voice, mocking Sam.
"I do like it, but I never said I liked shoveling out a car."
"Well we'll have to take turns. It looks like a two person job anyway. Who goes first?"
Sam instantly put out his hands ready for rock, paper, scissors.
They shot out their hands and Sam shot rock while Dean shot scissors.
"Always with the scissors," Sam said with a grin.
Sam helped Dean shovel out and clean the door of the car so he could get the engine going to warm it up and they could keep warm in between cleaning.
"I'll just hang out in here for a bit," Sam said, still enjoying his victory as he got into the driver side of the car and cranked the heat.
Dean cursed under his breath. He didn't even have gloves and his hands were already cold.
Well I'll have my turn, Dean thought to himself.
Dean was working for several minutes when his hands began to tense up painfully from the cold. He half expected to see Sam taunting him from the window now that he could actually see through it but Sam was still. He wiped some of the moisture off so he could see more clearly and Sam actually looked like he had dozed off.
Well I have news for him, Dean thought with a self satisfying smirk.
He tapped on the glass, but Sam didn't stir. He was slumped against the seat, his head tilted to the side, facing him. He tapped harder, figuring Sam was playing games.
"Come on. Your turn," Dean said.
Sam didn't move.
"Come on Sammy! Stop joking around!" Dean exclaimed.
Why does he look like he's doing more than just sleeping? Why is his face so pale? Dean thought, with alarm.
A sense of foreboding made his stomach clench in fear. For a second his insides felt like he had just dropped over the side of a cliff.
He yanked open the door quickly and Sam fell forward on to him limply. Dean fell backwards on to the ground in shock. He took Sam's head in his lap and tapped him on the cheek but Sam didn't move.
"What the…" Dean said, aloud. He didn't know what was wrong. Was this some kind of aftereffect of the necromancer? He didn't know. He checked for a pulse and he could feel a weak one but he couldn't figure out why Sam wasn't waking up.
He tried to sit him up but Sam was dead weight. This was all too familiar for him and felt just like when he had tried to sit Sam up on the stairs of the library so he could breathe easier after he was shot by the dart.
He looked at Sam's face and noted with alarm that Sam's lips were starting to turn blue. He knew that whatever was happening that Sam needed help quickly.
Think Dean, he chastised himself.
He knew that Sam had seemed fine before. They had cleaned out the door of the car. Then Sam had got in, turned on the heat. He had shoveled out the front, cleaned the windshield.
Always clean the back of the car first.
Suddenly the words echoed in his head as if from beyond the grave. Realization slammed into him so hard he nearly dropped Sam. How could he forget?
Remember Dean, if you boys are ever snowed in, shovel out the muffler. If you don't fumes will fill the car and overcome you.
John had always warned his boys about that.
Could that have happened to Sam? He didn't know. He carefully placed Sam on the ground, shrugging out of his jacket to place it under Sam's head. He was all too aware of the fact that Sam was laying on a cold, snow covered ground. Their next concern would be hypothermia.
He rushed around to the back of the car and that's when he saw it. He gasped when he could clearly see that the back of the car was completely snowed in by a 3 foot drift against the rear of the car.
He ran over and turned the engine off, nearly gagging when he put his own head into the car.
He grasped Sam under the shoulders and dragged him away to make sure he was clear of any lingering fumes. He frantically propped Sam up against a snowbank and grabbed him by the front of his jacket.
"Sam? Sammy? Come on," he said, desperately. He tapped Sam on the face harder this time, seeing if he could snap Sam out of it.
He was out of the car now, in the fresh air. He was hoping Sam would come around.
"Come on Sam! Wake up!" He exclaimed. However, Sam's head fell lifelessly against his chest.
Dean pulled out his phone and dialed 911. He crouched back on the ground while he waited, pulling Sam against him, in an attempt to keep him warm.
"What's your emergency?" The operator asked.
"My brother's unconscious and his lips are turning blue. I need an ambulance," Dean said nervously, struggling to grip the phone.
"How long has he been like this?"
"I don't know! Just send the ambulance!" Dean yelled growing impatient.
"Sir," the operator answered calmly.
"I don't know. I was shoveling out the car and he was sitting in it to keep warm for maybe 15 minutes and then I think the fumes got him."
"Have you removed him from the car?"
"Yes, and I turned it off. We're at the Hartford Inn. Do you have the address?"
"Yes, the ambulance is on its way."
Dean hung up the phone.
He noticed Sam's lips had grown bluer and he placed his face close to Sam's to see if he was breathing.
"Shit!" He exclaimed aloud when he realized Sam was not.
"Come on Sam! Don't do this!" He yelled as he tilted Sam's head back and began CPR.
It couldn't have been that long could it? Was he too late? He couldn't think. He was on autopilot, breathing and checking to see if Sam had started breathing. However, Sam's face remained blue, nearly purple all too reminiscent of when the necromancer had poisoned him.
"Please Sam," he begged as he heard sirens vaguely in the background.
Finally after what felt like an eternity, Dean saw Sam haltingly gulp in a breath.
"That a boy Sammy. Just keep breathing," He said, clutching his brother.
The paramedics pulled into the parking lot slowly, much too slowly for Dean's liking.
"Sorry Sam, this might not be too comfortable," he apologized to Sam.
Dean wasn't going to wait until the medics made it over to them. He picked Sam up in a fireman's carry, draping him over his shoulders and he walked painstakingly through the deep snow. He sank deeper into the drifts with Sam's added weight over his shoulders. Sam's slow breaths kept him motivated to keep going.
The ambulance had to navigate around snow piles and cars buried in the snow. They couldn't even reach all the way to their location because the parking lot had not been completely plowed.
The paramedic rushed out of the passenger side of the ambulance and waved his hands for Dean to stop.
"What took you so long?" Dean asked, angrily as the paramedic made his way over to them.
"We're sorry. The roads are still pretty bad. We came as fast as we could. What happened?" The paramedic asked, gesturing that he needed to let go of Sam.
"Carbon monoxide poisoning," Dean said, reluctantly relinquishing his grip on Sam. He delicately placed him on the ground, and the paramedic knelt down beside him. "He was sitting in the car and I didn't…I didn't realize," Dean said, unable to finish what he needed to say. However, the paramedic understood.
"It was an accident," he said. He listened to Sam's lungs and his partner came over with a sled like stretcher. They strapped Sam to it as a means to drag him over the snow and into the ambulance. Dean stood guard like a sentry the whole time making sure Sam wasn't in distress.
They carefully pulled Sam over to the ambulance and gently lifted him inside and on to the gurney.
"Did he stop breathing at all?" The paramedic asked, once they were in the ambulance.
"Yes, for a couple minutes before you got here," Dean admitted, sadly.
Dean sat on the bench of the ambulance and watched as the medic cut Sam's shirt off and connected him to a heart monitor. Dean heard an erratic beating but it was the only sign he had that Sam was even alive. He still hadn't woken up despite being lifted and then dragged through the snow.
They struggled to drive through snow clogged roadways as the paramedic fitted Sam with an oxygen mask. The ambulance finally pulled to the emergency doors of the hospital. They hustled to get Sam out of the ambulance and raced past Dean, as he struggled to catch up to his brother.
He knew he couldn't go through the doors, the routine all too familiar. How many times did they have to say goodbye anyway?
He barely registered the nurse's presence when she came over to give him the paperwork as he made his way to a seat. He scrubbed his hand across his face and realized his hands were shaking so bad that he couldn't even write a legible word down if he tried. He put the forms aside and sat on his hands to stop them from moving.
Only ten minutes had passed when he saw a doctor emerge from the emergency room doors. For a moment, he thought it was for him. However, the female doctor walked over to a family and escorted them to an office and closed the door. There was a woman with two teenage children and she clutched a tissue in her hands. They were only in there briefly when Dean distinctively heard wailing. He didn't need to press his ear against the door to know what was going on. The family came out a few moments later supporting the woman, probably their mother, between them.
"He was healthy. He was only shoveling snow. How could he just collapse like that?" She asked between sniffles.
Everyone was silent as they walked her away.
Dean knew that the family was going home without a family member. It was something that he and Sam had almost grown used to. He had left his childhood home without his mother. Sam had left college without Jess. They had left the hospital without their dad, without Bobby. Now they had even lost their grandfather. The list was painfully long. It was like opening the door, only to then have it slammed loudly in your face, the lock clicking in place resounding with an echo that stayed with you forever.
"Family of Sam Murphy?" The doctor called thirty minutes later.
Dean jumped up quickly to face the doctor, the same one who had been with the family earlier.
"I'm Dr. Albano," the woman said. "I'm treating Sam."
Dean just nodded his head at the woman.
"Is my brother okay?" He asked immediately.
"When your brother came in he was suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning," Dr. Albano began, sensing Dean's impatience. "He was having trouble breathing. As I understand he needed to be resuscitated. His breathing has stabilized, however."
At the sound of those words, Dean breathed his own sigh of relief. If Sam was still breathing, then he was alive. He'd be okay.
"While it's good that Sam is breathing, we still have some concerns. He was exposed to the fumes for quite awhile as I understand it."
"It was only fifteen minutes," Dean said.
"Just a few minutes exposed to the deadly gas is too long. Sam had high levels of carbon monoxide in his blood when he arrived. There can be many complications such as brain death."
Dean tried to bite back the nausea that threatened to overcome him. This was his fault. There was no denying it.
"Are you saying he can die?"
"We are doing what we can for Sam," The doctor said, not directly addressing the question. "We are treating him with 100 percent oxygen. Right now he is deeply unconscious. We'll know more when he wakes up."
"Can't you put him in one of those capsule things?" Dean asked.
The doctor gave him a perplexed look but then seemed to understand what he was referring to.
"Do you mean a hyperbaric chamber?"
Dean nodded. He remembered seeing a special on TV with a guy who had been exposed to carbon monoxide in his home and they had placed him in the chamber to help him.
"I am confident that the oxygen is bringing his levels down. What I am concerned with is Sam's lack of response to outside stimuli. Right now I believe he is in a light coma."
"A coma?" Dean asked incredulously, hanging his head.
He couldn't believe this.
"I'll take you to him now," the doctor said, apparently uncomfortable with emotional family members.
Dean was escorted upstairs to the Intensive Care Unit and into Sam's room. Sam was propped up on the bed pillows, his face covered by a tight fitting oxygen mask. He had a small monitor on his finger which the doctor said was keeping an eye on the levels of CO2 in his blood. Sam's skin color was better but seemed slighter pinker than normal. The doctor told him that it wasn't uncommon in people poisoned by carbon monoxide.
Dean sat down in the chair, unable to even look at his brother. How could he be so stupid? How could he not remember to shovel out the back of the car? It all seemed so simple, so preventable, yet here they were. He couldn't stop the questions from racing through his mind. If he had even known how to win at rock, paper, scissors, then maybe he'd be in the hospital bed not Sam. He'd much rather it be that way.
"Sam?" Dean said, approaching the bed. "You in there?"
Dean didn't get a response. He just watched Sam's chest rise and fall, and the oxygen mask fog up, small reassurances that Sam was alive.
Dean stood, leaning against the hospital bed railing for a long time, watching the unnatural stillness of his brother. Hadn't Sam hit him with a snowball not just a short time ago?
Dr. Albano came in during the night to check Sam. Her hair was pulled into a bun but stray strands framed her face. Dean could tell she wasn't probably much older than he was but she looked haggard as if the job had aged her.
"Any better?" He asked.
"No change," She said, curtly.
Dean continued his vigil.
"You know he's a smart kid," Dean said suddenly, taking the doctor by surprise. He wasn't sure why he was opening up to her but he wanted her to know Sam, to see him more than just another storm victim.
"I'm sure he is," She said, trying to maintain her composure.
"He probably would have never forgotten to shovel out the back of the car first, so if I was the one sitting in the car, this never would have happened."
"Mr. Murphy," She began, finally letting her walls down. "Unfortunately we see this a lot."
"How often does the person survive?"
"Unfortunately by the time the person gets here, it's usually too late," She admitted.
Dean's face fell as he continued to stare at his little brother.
"You know they tell us in medical school not to get invested, to be professional. They tell us not to feel guilty, that eventually it gets easier."
"But it never does," Dean finished for her. "You tell yourself it's not your responsibility all the time, but if something happens on your watch—"
"You can't help but blame yourself," She finished for the both of them.
She looked as if her emotions were threatening to spill over but then she reined it in, unclear how he could know exactly how she felt, yet he did. She could sense he had a big job to do even though she wasn't sure what he did for a living. She could also see how much his little brother meant to him. She looked down at Sam's chart.
"His carbon monoxide levels are going down," She said, finally wanting to offer Dean hope. She also wanted it for herself as well. It hadn't been easy letting the man's family know earlier that he had succumbed to the heart attack. She approached Sam's bed and fixed his pillows, tucking the covers around him.
"I'll be in again later," She said. "Why don't you get some rest yourself?"
"No, keeping watch is the least I can do now," Dean replied as she closed the door.
He really felt it was the least he could do as the guilt loomed over him like a dark shadow. He pulled up a chair, his eyes never leaving Sam. He couldn't deny that he'd been angry with Sam when he got back, mad that Sam hadn't taken the time to find him. Yet how could he question Sam's loyalty, how far he was willing to go for his brother and for others. He had given up the love of his life to stay and help him. Even when he was feeling depressed, he'd put it all aside so he could make Dean happy by saving the kingdom in the role playing game. He'd even stayed in town with him just so he could get those stupid wings. He'd been so happy to see Sam with new purpose and dedication. It was nice to think of him as a Man of Letters, able to mix his geek boy side with his hunter side to help save the world. Sam always showed Dean was there for him in the big ways, the small ways, and all the ways it counted.
"I saw the movie okay!" Dan suddenly admitted, aloud to Sam as if making an embarrassing admission would immediately rouse Sam from his slumber.
"I saw Finding Nemo," He repeated.
He didn't know why he gave Sam such a hard time about the movie before anyway. He found it to be something he could relate to and he'd seen it when Sam was away at school. He related to Marlin's character in the movie so well. His son didn't have a mother, just as he and Sam didn't have one. He only wanted to protect his son and he was scared to see him off into the big ocean just as Dean has been scared to see Sam go off to college. Nemo only wanted some independence just as Sam had. The movie might have been about fish, but in his mind it was about him and Sam.
"I even cried at the end," Dean finished, reaching his hand over the railing and placing it on top of Sam's. He understood Marlin's fear when he couldn't find his son, when he thought he was gone for good, and the relief he felt when they were reunited. Now he only wished for the same movie ending for him and Sam.
Dean awoke the next morning to find that he'd fallen asleep, his head resting on Sam's arm. Sam was awake and was looking at him.
Sam nodded back at him, his expression obscured by the oxygen mask. He reached up to remove it to try to talk but Dean stopped him.
"You need that," he said as he hit the call button.
Dr. Albano came in and asked Dean to leave so she could check Sam over. She returned a short time later to let Dean know that she had asked Sam questions and gave him some basic neurological tests. She was reassured that he hadn't suffered any ill effects. She had also taken Sam off the oxygen mask. Dean could see the smallest smile playing at her lips as if she had new purpose in her life too before she walked away down the hall.
"How do you feel?" Dean asked Sam once he was allowed to return to the room.
"My head hurts a little," Sam admitted. "The doctor said it was normal with carbon monoxide poisoning."
"You remember what happened?"
"I was in the car and I started feeling kind of sick and dizzy. I thought I was coming down with something and then I woke up here. It's all kind of blurry. I guess I passed out."
"You stopped breathing Sam," Dean said, gravely. "It was my fault."
"How was it your fault?" Sam asked, genuinely confused.
"I didn't shovel out the back of the car. That's why it filled with fumes and you almost died."
"It was an accident, Dean. It's okay."
"It never should have happened," Dean continued. "If we would have left earlier—"
"Dean, stop," Sam said, holding up his hand. "You got me out. You brought me back. You always do."
"You do realize that because of this, this means I went from hating snow to wanting to salt and burn it forever right?"
"Well salting snow isn't a bad thing and I'm sure burning it would help it melt faster," Sam replied jokingly.
Dean looked at him sternly, stopping him in his tracks.
"Yeah, I do," Sam said, but only half serious.
"You do realize also that this doesn't get you out of helping me shovel out the rest of the car."
"Dean, I'm recuperating. I don't think heavy lifting should be on the list of stuff to do. Besides, are you too weak to handle it? After all you did cry at the end of Finding Nemo."
"You heard that?" Dean asked.
"Yeah I did," Sam said, a smile playing at his lips. Sam was only good naturedly teasing his brother. He wasn't surprised that Dean had seen the movie. It was all part of Dean's softer side, the one he rarely showed to the world under his tough guy exterior. Sam himself had loved the movie and could relate to Nemo, feeling over protected but grateful to have someone to look out for him. Nemo had his dad, Marlin, and he had his big brother, Dean.
"And if you don't want me to tell anyone, you won't be needing my services to shovel out the car," Sam said, beginning to laugh.
Dean scowled, but he was not to be deterred.
"I'm surprised you didn't cry yourself Sam. After all, wasn't he a clown fish?" Dean asked, laughing.
Sam picked up one of his pillows and threw it at Dean.
They continued throwing insults at each other back and forth, both comforted in the fact that no matter what, they'd always find their way back to each other in the end.