Author's Note: I'm going to start posting more frequently now that summer is here.
Tonight's prompt comes from hotshow who requested, "The story would be set in Season 1, after Hellhouse, which we can assume happened during the summer months. While Sam is in the washroom having a shower, Dean is fooling around with a handgun, which Dean thinks in empty, but Dean didn't know that Sam had put bullets into after cleaning it. Sam had loaded the gun while Dean was having a shower. When Sam comes out of the washroom Dean fires the gun at Sam, thinking that nothing will happen, because the gun is empty, but Dean is shocked when a bullet hits Sam and badly hurts him. Dean doesn't take Sam to a hospital (why?) but rushes him to Bobby's place, which is not to far away. Of course Dean has to explain what he was doing to Bobby while they wait to see if Sam will recover. I would also like to read how Dean is looking after Sam while he recovers and how after awhile (days?) Sam tries to get Dean from feeling guilty as it was a mistake that Dean shot him." Who doesn't love some guilty!Dean? Thank you so much for your wonderful prompt! Please enjoy!
"I get up and pace the room, as if I can leave my guilt behind me. But it tracks me as I walk, an ugly shadow made by myself."
― Rosamund Lupton
It's stupid, he thinks.
To play with a gun—even unloaded—is just plain dumb.
Yet, Dean still picks it up. It's an old handgun, one they've had for what seems like forever. It was their father's and after awhile, he passed it down to Dean. Winchesters didn't have family heirlooms—all their memories were locked in various weapons that they carried with them at all times.
He made his first kill with this gun. He'd been a scrawny kid of eight, a mixture of terror and excitement to be hunting with his father flowing in his veins. The creature had been a wendigo and Dean shot it while it was shifting. If he closes his eyes, he can still conjure up the shocked expression that it had—half woman, half monster yet all fear.
This gun has been with him through all the hunts since and though its lifespan was coming to an end—guns could only last for so many years—he can't help but cherish it. When Sam left for Stanford, this gun had been the only thing watching his back.
It's funny how attached he is to this gun.
He smirks as he hears the shower stop.
Sam's been getting better slowly, day by day, and the older brother is proud of how much of a survivor his brother is. Losing his girlfriend—maybe she would've been more than his girlfriend someday—had done a number on his little brother. Dean could never fully comprehend his brother's loss, but he tries.
Damn it all, he tries.
He tries to be there for his brother, to catch him whenever the grief forces him to fall, to give him a reason to keep getting up in the morning. There's nothing Dean does better than take care of his baby brother—it's the one job that he knows he's meant to do for the rest of his life—and he would do anything to help take Sam's pain away.
"Bang." He mutters, and then grins.
As kids, they used to run through Bobby's junkyard, playing Cops and Robbers. Sam always insisted on being the cop—someone has to keep the citizens safe, Dean!—and they had had so many adventures in that junkyard, back when things like "normal" and "Stanford" didn't exist.
They had been two brothers, that's all.
The door opens and Sam pops out, running a towel through his damp hair. His t-shirt is dirty—they would need to do laundry soon—and his jeans were ripped almost beyond recognition. When was the last time they had gone shopping?
But holding the gun in his hand, he couldn't help but grin and lift it in his brother's direction.
"Hey, Sam," Sam doesn't meet his gaze, still intent on drying his hair. "Bang."
That's how they would always end the game. Sam would find him and point his fingers at Dean's chest and say, "bang."
They'd laugh and then make their way back to Bobby's.
Dean pulls the trigger.
But unlike their games, Sam crumples to the floor, blood gushing from his chest.
And a realization dawns on him:
He just shot his brother.
Bobby drags a hand over his eyes and sighs.
Taking a sip of his now lukewarm coffee, he tries to chase away the lingering panic that refused to subside. Six hours ago, he was asleep in his warm bed, dreaming about blissful nothingness. Six hours ago, he'd been resting for the first time in a week after a hunt that took forever.
Six hours ago, he'd been awoken by a frantic phone call from a delusional with fear Dean Winchester.
"Mind if I sit with you?" Dean stands in the doorway—really leans, since his body is clearly showing obvious signs of stress. He's been running on fumes, Bobby can tell in his eyes.
"You know you don't have to ask." Bobby pushes a chair out and Dean practically falls into it. "The doc still with Sam?"
The doctor being an old friend of Bobby's—a man who knew more than most, but kept his mouth shut as a sign of his gratitude for a hunt Bobby did for him years ago.
A silence ensues.
"You wanna tell me what happened?" Bobby ventures, voice quiet yet firm. He didn't press for details when Dean arrived with an unconscious, pale and bloody Sam in his arms. He just took charge because the eldest Winchester had been hovering over the edge of oblivion and desperately needed someone to fix Sam, to keep his reason for breathing alive.
"I . . ." The eldest Winchester lets out a choked breath, his gaze becoming downcast. "God, Bobby, I fucked up." He places his head in his hands and the gruff hunter swears that a lone tear is streaking down his cheek.
"Enough that you couldn't go to a hospital." Bobby concludes because his boys knew better than to fuck around with a chest wound. Hospitals had to report all gun related wounds to the local police, which meant that either Dean or Sam would've been carted off to jail if they had gone to the local E.R.
"Yeah." Dean breathes.
Bobby waits; takes another sip of his awful coffee and waits.
"I shot him, Bobby."
That gives the old family friend pause.
"You . . . did what?"
"I shot him." The eldest Winchester replies. "I thought the gun was unloaded, but Sam must've loaded it when I wasn't there, and fuck, it was so stupid and I know, you shouldn't play with guns, but I thought—"
"Dean." Bobby begins, seeing where this train of thought is going.
"—I screwed up, okay? I hurt Sam and fuck, Bobby, he could die and what the hell kind of brother am I that I did this! It should be me fighting for my life, not Sam, never Sam—!"
Bobby punches him for that, blind rage overpowering his common sense. Dean jumps to his feet, a spark of fight in his gaze.
"Don't you say that you should be hurting like that." Bobby growls. "Don't ever think that your life is worth less than your brother's, you hear me?" He takes a step closer to Dean. "I won't tolerate that kind of self-loathing crap and if Sam hears that when he wakes up, he'll kick you ass."
It has the desired effect; Dean straightens up and gets a control of his emotions. He nods his head slowly.
"Sorry, Bobby." He mutters sheepishly.
Together, as a united front, they wait.
Dean is a devoted caretaker.
He dismisses Bobby's offer to take a turn and insists that he remains at Sam's bedside at all times. He cleans the wound, checks it for infection, changes Sam's IV and dabs Sam's fever stricken body with a series of damp cloths.
Bobby watches—hating being so useless—and he understands that this is Dean's way of atonement. He caused this injury and as such, he must nurse his brother back to health. Not that Dean would do that regardless, but there's a delicateness in the way he moves that Bobby recognizes—the fear of touching someone because you're terrified that they might break.
People are wrong about Dean Winchester. They think that he's a big shot hunter oozing confidence and charm with a big mouth, but what they don't realize is how much of his life depends on Sam. Those boys—they've lost so much and even though their father is still alive, he's never been able to truly support them—only have each other in this world.
If Dean loses Sam, Bobby has no doubts that he'd be burning two bodies the next morning.
"We'll get you fixed, you'll see." Dean tells his unconscious brother with a twinge of a smile tugging on his lips. "Then, you get tell me how much of an idiot I am and hey, maybe I'll even let you watch some of those cheesy Lifetime movies you like so much, okay?"
Dean reaches out and grabs Sam's hand within his own.
"Just . . . wake up soon, okay Sammy?"
Sam just sleeps on.
"You need to eat something." Bobby orders on day three.
Dean ignores him, choosing to fiddle with Sam's IV.
"I mean it, Dean." Bobby glowers.
"I'm not hungry." Dean replies softly, not even sparing a glance in the older hunter's direction.
"Spare me the bullshit, would you?" The gruff family friend tells him. Then softly, adds, "Sam would want you to eat."
That gets through to the older brother who rewards Bobby with a terse nod of his head.
"I'll bring you something then." Bobby replies, relieved as he heads down the stairs and to the kitchen. He opens a cabinet and pulls out a small plate. He hasn't been able to go out for grocery supplies since Sam arrived, but he did have plenty of frozen pizzas lying around. Pulling a piece of cheese from the pizza he cooked for lunch, he places it on the plate and microwaves it for a minute. It comes out, bubbling and quickly, Bobby returns to Sam's room.
"Here." He offers Dean the plate and wordlessly, the eldest Winchester accepts it.
"Thanks, Bobby." He mutters.
Bobby just smiles.
"Don't eat too fast, okay?"
"M'fine, D'n." Sam slurs softly.
It's day five and the youngest Winchester is conscious which is a relief, but he is by no means safe from infection or healed. Yet, Bobby is sure the worst is over and with Dean being the mother hen that he is, the older hunter is sure Sam will pull through.
Dean reluctantly releases his grip on the small bowl of oatmeal and Sam shakily pulls it towards him. Bobby watches as a determined Sam manages to feed himself without exhausting himself too much.
Sam manages to give his brother a weak glare, something that brings a small grin to Bobby's lips. The fighting spirit is still there, something that relieves Bobby to no end.
"I mean it, Sam. You tell me if you—"
Sam reaches a shaky hand and squeezes his older brother's wrist.
"It's not your fault, Dean." He forces himself to say with a startling clarity.
Dean doesn't say anything back.
"Your brother catches you downstairs, he's gonna have my hide." Bobby mumbles as Sam glances up from the book he'd been reading at the dining room table. It's been two weeks and though his movements are still a bit jerky, Sam's out of danger. The wound to his chest is healing well and the gruff hunter is pleased that things worked out so well for once.
"I made him go to the store." Sam dismisses. "Told him to get me some organic vegetables for salad." He grins conspiratorially. "Problem is, the nearest organic market is 45 minutes away; I checked."
"Well, look at you," Bobby mutters, coming to sit down. "You're one sneaky guy."
"I just needed some space." The youngest Winchester admits. "Dean tends to hover."
"I didn't notice." Bobby dryly comments.
A small pause passes between them.
"It's just . . ." Sam hesitates, biting his lower lip nervously. "Dean blames himself." He meets Bobby gaze. "But I loaded the gun, Bobby. He didn't know that I did."
"I know, son." Bobby replies softly.
"He didn't know." Sam echoes.
But that fact wouldn't matter to Dean—nothing ever did whenever that boy felt guilty—and no amount of reasoning could get through that thick head.
Bobby just hopes that Sam would find a way to get through to his brother.
"You didn't know."
Bobby pauses in the hallway, wondering if he should head into the living room with the boys arguing.
"I loaded the gun when you were in the shower, Dean, you couldn't have known!"
"I should've checked the damn gun, Sam!" Dean roared. "That's rule number one! Dad drilled that one into us—"
"You can't keep blaming yourself for this—"
"—and I fucked up and it almost got you killed, Sam! Do you understand that? I could've hit your heart—"
"But you didn't! I'm still here and Dean, I can't keep dealing with you treating me like glass, like I'm going to shatter at any second—"
Bobby wants to intervene, but this is a conversation a long time in the making and one that his interference would just get in the way of. So, he stands in the hallway and listens and waits.
"Sam, I almost killed you."
"I could've though!"
"But you didn't, Dean!" Sam shouts, voice tinged with unspoken emotion. "I'm still here. I'm not going anywhere."
"Sam." The eldest Winchester sighs.
"I'm okay, Dean."
"I'm okay, Dean." Sam insists.
There's silence for a long time afterwards.
Then, peeking his head around the corner, he sees Dean embrace his brother, all his fear and panic and guilt being conveyed through this one hug.
"It's okay, Dean." Sam repeats.
And in that moment, Bobby knows it will be.
Author's Note: I really loved this chapter and I hope you did too! Please review if you have a moment. Thanks!