The day before Sam was scheduled to start dialysis, Rayann Muir came to visit.
Dean looked up and smiled as the physical therapist stepped into the room.
"Looks like you've got a visitor, Sammy," he told his brother and Sam looked up, his expression confused.
"Hi, Sam," she said and Sam relaxed.
"Hey," he replied quietly.
"How are you feeling?" Rayann asked as she approached the bed.
Sam shrugged, "Okay I guess. I can't wait to get out of here."
"Are we going to do any work today?" Sam asked.
Rayann shook her head before speaking, "I just came by to see how you were doing."
"Once I'm back home I'll keep reading," Sam told her, "I promise."
He startled a little when she touched his hand.
"You just focus on getting better, Sam, okay?"
Sam nodded and lowered his head.
The physical therapist glanced at Dean, "I was going to get a coffee from the cafeteria before leaving; do you want anything?"
Dean shook his head, "No thanks."
Rayann nodded, "You two take care. I'll see you later."
"Thanks for stopping by," Dean called as she walked out the door.
Dean sighed once Rayann was out of the room.
"One more day, Sammy," he said, "and hopefully you'll get to go home."
"I don't think this is a good idea, Dean," Sam told his brother, gripping the arms of the wheelchair as his sibling pushed him down the hallway slowly.
"Dr. Greene," Sam said.
"Pfft, what's he going to do? Ground you?" Dean scoffed, "You've been laying in bed for almost three days, you need a change of scenery."
Dean kept one hand on the wheelchair while the other was wrapped around the IV stand giving his brother much-needed fluids.
He had been tired of sitting on his butt beside Sam's bed and decided that they should take a little tour of the hospital.
"Want to visit the maternity ward? I bet those chicks are hot," Dean joked and Sam even chuckled a little bit, "Or we could go down to the cafeteria and get you some real food."
"We should probably go back soon," Sam said instead.
"Killjoy," Dean teased and turned the chair around.
He pushed Sam down the hall a ways before pausing at an open door. A girl sat in the bed; she had to be about eleven or twelve years old and looked up at the brothers as they passed.
"Hi," Dean called softly.
"Hey," She replied and lifted a thin hand.
"Who is it?" Sam asked and turned in his seat.
"A kid," Dean muttered and pushed his brother's chair into the room.
"Hey there, Sweetheart," Dean said, "What's your name?"
Dean set the brakes on the chair and crouched down beside his brother.
"Kayla," she replied and Dean noticed how big and blue her eyes were. She had short-cropped hair and was stick-thin. There was an IV stand on the other side of her bed and a nasal cannula beneath her nose.
"I'm Dean," he told her before setting a hand on his sibling's arm, "And this is my brother, Sam."
"Why are you here alone?" Dean asked, a child this young should have her folks with her.
"My Dad's at the cafeteria," Kayla told them.
"So he's not coming back for a while?" Dean asked, raising his eyebrows comically.
The girl laughed.
"What are you doing here?" She asked curiously.
"Hiding from Sammy's doctor," Dean told her with a smile.
"I wish I could hide from mine," Kayla said, "But I'm not allowed to get out of bed."
"What are you in here for?" the girl asked, "Are you blind?"
Sam startled slightly; he had been so focused on just listening to his brother and Kayla talk that it surprised him when the girl spoke to him.
"Yeah," he replied, "But that's not why I'm here."
"Can't be worse than me," Kayla told them.
She turned so that Dean could see a healing scar along the left side of her head, "Brain tumor. Doctor's got all of it. I'll be able to go home in a few days."
Sam smiled, "Congratulations. That's great."
"It was pretty scary for a while," Kayla confessed, "But its okay now."
Sam was just about to speak when Dean muttered, "Oh shit."
"What are you two doing in here? You shouldn't be here!"
Dean smiled at the middle-aged nurse who was standing in the doorway, hands on her hips and an irritated expression on her lined face.
"We were just talking, Clara," Kayla told the woman, "That's all."
"They need to leave," Clara said, "And you need to get some rest, young lady."
"Sorry Ma'am," Sam said as Dean began pushing his chair out of the room, "We didn't mean to cause any trouble."
Dean grimaced as the nurse shut the door behind them.
"Let's go back to the room now," Sam suggested and Dean nodded in agreement.
"Sam will have to come back four times a week," Dr. Greene reminded the small family later that day, "I'd suggest Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. The dialysis will take around five hours every time, so be prepared for a long stay."
"And this is going to go on until you find Sam a kidney?" Bobby asked and the doctor nodded, "Unfortunately. Some people remain on dialysis for months or even years if they have to."
Sam's eyes widened at the thought of having to come to the hospital almost every day of the week for years to get his blood cleaned by some machine.
"We are doing our best to find Sam a donor," Dr. Greene assured them, "But with his uncommon blood type, it's a little more difficult."
"But after dialysis tomorrow," the doctor continued happily, "Sam will be able to return home."
"Sammy, eat something man," Dean said the next morning, only minutes away from his brother's dialysis appointment.
Sam sighed, "I can't, Dean… I'm scared."
He felt his brother's hand on his shoulder, "Don't be. Dr. Greene said it doesn't hurt if that's what you're worried about."
Sam nodded and reached out to touch his forearm. A nurse had come in earlier and taken the bandages off to reveal the still-healing fistula. He could feel the stitched incision where Dr. Patel had to cut his arm and there was a noticeable bulge beneath the skin from the where the newly connected artery and vein met.
"Talk to me, Sam," Dean said, "What're you thinking?"
"Nothing, I'm fine," Sam told Dean. He reached out and picked up a piece of toast from his breakfast tray.
John glanced at his watch as he sat across from Bobby in the cafeteria.
"Sam should be heading to start dialysis any minute now," he muttered and took a sip of his coffee.
"Than why don't you go down there?" Bobby asked the younger man but John shook his head stubbornly.
"Sam doesn't want me there," the father told him, "He'd rather just be with Dean."
Bobby gave his friend an exasperated, "You don't know that, Johnny."
The eldest Winchester remained adamant; "I know he doesn't want me there. Why would he?"
Bobby stood, "Well, I'm gonna head down there. The boy can use all the support he can get."
John sighed as the older hunter remained standing, waiting for him.
"I know you think Sam hates you," Bobby said, "But being there for him will show that you still care about him."
"You think?" John asked, tossing his unfinished coffee cup into the trash.
"All that boy wants right now is his Daddy and his brother," Bobby assured him.
"Is this your first time?" the nurse asked Sam as she prepared the dialysis machine.
Sam was sitting in a rather large, padded chair with what kind of looked like the lovechild of a washing machine and computer beside him. Dean sat on Sam's other side, in one of the chairs set out for relatives.
"Yeah," Sam answered quietly.
"Don't worry, Dear, it might feel a little uncomfortable at first but there's nothing to be afraid of," the nurse told him in a kindly tone as she prepared the needles and IV-like lines.
Dean watched as the nurse wiped Sam's forearm with an alcohol swab and inserted the first needle. Sam grimaced a little but he didn't complain.
Once the second needle was inserted, the nurse turned on the machine, typed on the small keypad and stepped back. The lines from the needles entered the machine; both the bright red of the blood beginning to flow through them and dialysis machine began to hum quietly.
"Do need a magazine or anything?" the nurse asked Dean but he shook his head, "No thanks. We'll be fine."
"Alright then," she said, "You can turn on the TV if you like."
Dean nodded and turned to his brother as the nurse left the room. He squeezed Sam's free hand and frowned when his brother wrapped his fingers tightly around his own. Sam's eyes were wide and his breathing began to pick up speed.
"Sam? What's wrong? Are you okay?" he asked concernedly, glancing at the dialysis machine.
Sam's jaw clenched tight and he swallowed for a moment before speaking.
"I can feel it, Dean," Sam said cryptically.
"Feel what? Is it painful?" Dean asked worriedly; the doctor had said it wouldn't hurt.
Sam shook his head before nodding slightly.
"I… a little…" Sam replied, struggling to describe the sensation.
Dean frowned and glanced down at the blood-red lines running from his brother's arm.
"Just take some deep breaths, Sammy," he suggested, releasing his sibling's hand to squeeze his neck instead, "It's okay. Deep breaths… in… out…in…out. That's it."
Sam did as he suggested and calmed down. He closed his eyes for a moment.
Dean turned in his seat when the door to the room opened and John and Bobby stepped inside.
"Hey, Dad and Bobby are here," he told Sam and his brother opened his eyes.
"How you doin' son?" Bobby asked as he approached them.
Sam shrugged, "I still have four hours and forty-five minutes to go so if I have to pee I'm holding it."
The grizzled hunter chuckled at Sam's attempt at humour and grabbed one of the chairs set out for guests.
John remained standing, arms crossed over his chest but his expression was sad. Dean met his father's eyes and was surprised to see guilt in them.
Thanks to Ghostwriter, 3DBABE1999, mandancie, CommChatter, mara-isamoose, mechachic, MysteryMadchen, SPN Mum, tracyeubanks1, SamDeanLover28, reannablue, BranchSuper, L.A.H.H, Souless666, kasey, and angel1718 for reviewing.
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