John sat in the plastic chair uncomfortably, Sam sitting beside him with his head leaning against the wall and his mouth hanging open, sound asleep. John was glad; he knew how worried Sam tended to get, and the more time he spent resting rather than wringing his hands, the better.
The doctor came out and approached him, clearing his throat.
"How is he?" John asked.
"He'll be just fine. With the broken ribs, he wasn't taking deep enough breaths and he got bacteria build up in his lungs, causing bacterial pneumonia. I'm going to put him on some pretty heavy pain medication so that he's able to breathe deeply enough to clear his lungs. That and some antibiotics, and he'll be fine in a few weeks. We'll send him home today, if that's okay with you."
John breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks, doc. That'll be fine."
"I don't get why I need to be in a wheelchair," Dean griped as John wheeled him to the parking lot. "If anyone should be in a wheelchair, it should be Sam."
Sam glared at him, giving him a jab in the leg with one of his crutches. "I'm moving on these things well enough that I can beat you with them, Dean," he threatened.
John elbowed Sam lightly. "None of that. Dean, quit your whining. We probably wouldn't be here if you'd taken your pain meds like you were supposed to."
Dean wasn't really sure how to respond to that, as John was exactly right. "Yeah. Sorry about that," he finally mumbled.
"It's okay, son," John answered, much to Dean's surprise. "I'm just glad you're alright now. I trust you'll be taking your meds from now on?"
"Yes, sir." He looked away.
"What?" John asked.
"Can we get some pie?" Dean asked.
John smiled. "That sound okay, Sam?"
Sam shrugged. "Don't see why not."
Sam learned a lot of things from his brother. One of them was keeping his emotions hidden. Keeping his mouth shut. So he kept the guilt tamped down and smiled through it all.
But he knew it was his fault. All of it. Every time he saw Dean wince at his ribs, he was greeted with a pang of guilt.
The next time he had one of the nightmares, he kept himself under control and got through the fear all on his own and the next time and the next time, and soon he was able to stop the shaking as soon as he woke up.