First of all, thank you all so much for the kind reviews, favorites and a record-breaking alerts count (for me, anyway). Your support means so much to me, and I appreciate it very much. I'm sorry the second chapter has taken me so long to get to, but I've undergone shoulder surgery and it greatly interfered with my typing abilities….along with the ability to do pretty much anything else with my arm and hand, so thanks for sticking with me.
So here it is, the second half of the story. I hope it lives up to any expectations, along with making sense and tying things together. I've had this story stuck in my head for a while now, and it's gone thru several different versions, and I'm glad to finally have it on a piece of paper. As always, I'd love to hear what you think of it, good or bad, just a few words. Thank you.
Chapter 2, Pull Me From the Edge
When I didn't get a response from Sam I snapped my fingers in front of his face. "Hey," I said, "Are you okay?"
My finger snaps seemed to awaken something in him as he nodded his head all too quickly. "I'm fine." He answered, and then he looked me in the eyes. "I'm fine."
His answer automatically made my eyes roll. Typical, sure-fire Winchester answer to just about everything ….'I'm fine.' Those boys could be getting their hearts ripped out through their pie holes and the last words that would ever be heard coming from them would be, 'I'm fine'. It was beyond obvious that just the opposite was true, but given the mental state the kid was in, I figured I would pick my battles on this one and just let his crap answer slide this time and didn't push him.
He looked again around the room and through the windowed door. "This is a hospital."
I frowned at him. "Yes, Sam, of course it's a hospital."
"So Dean is here?"
I sighed and rubbed at my temples. I thought once I came out here and spoke to Sam I would get some answers and things would make sense, but all I was getting was more and more confused. "Yes, Dean is here, the ambulance brought him in about an hour ago."
Sam's jaw clenched tight as he nodded slowly. "What happened to him?"
Okay, enough of this nonsense. I leaned forward in my chair I had set across from Sam to bring myself closer to him. I shook my head to clear it. "Sam, why don't we start over? Where have you been?"
Sam sat back a bit in his seat, most likely to distance himself from me as much as possible as he could sense the frustration in my voice. He rubbed the sweat off his hands on his denimed thighs and blew out a breath. "We were getting ready to leave and I decided to take a walk in the woods to clear my head. When I got back, I couldn't find Dean. I knew he should be close by, because the car was still there, but I couldn't find him. After I looked for a while, I pinged the GPS on his phone and followed the signal here." He paused for a moment and then asked his question again. "So, why is Dean here?"
"He's here because he got hurt from the fall, Sam. Why the Hell do you think he's here?"
Sam's eyes grew wide and he shook his head in disbelief. "No," he managed to spit out at me as his body once again started to visibly shake. "That's not possible."
I stared dumbfounded at Sam with my mouth hung open like a codfish. I swear the more answers I got from this kid, the more this whole thing was getting messed up. "It's a 100 foot drop, how is getting hurt falling down something like that not possible?" I was getting more and more exasperated as I spoke and began to ramble. " And what in the Hell do you mean you decided to take a walk? Dean said you were standing right there when he fell down the ridge and that there was no way you didn't see what had happened. How could you…."
I let my last sentence trail off as I realized what was happening at the same time I was speaking. Sam was still sitting across from me, but his gaze had gone past me and was fixed over my shoulder. His eyes widened in horror as the blood quickly drained from his face. In the next instant, he instinctively clasped his hands and dug his right thumb into the palm of his left hand. That could only mean one thing….one horrifying thing.
Ever since Cas decided to go rogue last year and bring Sam's Hell wall crumbling down, life with Sam has been a perpetual game of Three Card Monty. He could go days, even weeks acting perfectly fine, but then just as you start to believe that things might just be okay and get back to normal the crazy comes knocking and we're back to square one with him. Day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute you just never knew for sure which Sam you were going to get, before the Cage or after.
The first week of Sam's hallucinations had been the worst so far, and during that time Dean had tried to teach Sam the difference between reality and flashbacks. Dean had explained that pain in hallucinations is different from real, physical pain, so Dean used Sam's stitched up hand as a focal point. When Sam began seeing images of Lucifer or any of his mirages, he would squeeze his bad hand, letting the ache and throb of it keep him grounded and help him determine what was real.
By the way Sam was squeezing the life out of that hand, it looked like this bout with Lucifer was a doozy.
I cleared my throat and took a deep breath, not quite sure who I was trying to calm down, Sam or me. "Okay, kid" I coaxed, "Just take it easy and tell me what's going on with you."
Without taking his panic stricken eyes off whatever or whoever he was seeing over my shoulder, Sam answered me. "He's right there," he whispered as his eyes darkened in rage, "And he's laughing at me."
I knew from some experience that what Sam needed right now was some reassurance and to be kept focused, so I turned to where he was looking and waved my arm out. "There's no one there, Sam." I said. I then turned back to him and prodded him to keep talking. "So what happened today after Dean fell? What really happened?"
Sam took his eyes off the delusion that was going on behind me and focused on me. Very slowly and with as much composure as he could muster, he opened up to me.
"I was putting the bags in the car as we were getting ready to go. I was just about to ask Dean if he'd locked the door of the cabin when I heard him cry out, then I heard a crashing sound. As I looked up to see what had happened, I saw it."
"Saw what, Sam?" I continued to coax.
Sam looked down at the floor for a few minutes, and continued to cautiously sneak glances over my shoulder. When he looked back at me he had tears welling in his eyes.
"The…..fire." he whispered. "I saw flames shooting out of the ravine headed straight toward the sky." His voice was shaky, but he continued. "I tried to tell myself that it wasn't really happening, but I could feel the heat of the flames singeing my skin, and I could hear the screams coming from the pit, and that was nothing compared to the smell…." He closed his eyelids as the welling tears proved to be heavy enough to leave a wet trail down his cheeks. His face held a desperate look as he shook his head and made his confession. "I wanted to help Dean, I really did, but…..I couldn't go near the edge. I knew if I did," Sam's eyes became angry slits as he finished his sentence through gritted teeth as he again looked over my shoulder "that HE would shove me back in." He looked back down at the floor. "I just kept telling myself that the whole thing wasn't real, and that Dean was okay. The whole time Lucifer kept mocking me, telling me what a coward I was for not being strong enough to go in after Dean to help him." Sam's voice began to shake as rage built inside him. "He even made me go to the edge at one point, just to be able to hear Dean screaming."
I nodded as I recalled Dean telling me that Sam had come to the edge and look down at him. "And did you see him lying there?"
Sam adamantly shook his head. "No." he answered. "All I saw was fire, and blood…and…..broken, mangled meat that used to be people. After just a few seconds, I couldn't take it anymore and turned away to throw up. After that I just ran into the woods….trying to escape it. I ran for about a mile and then sat with my head in my hands until the screaming in my ears finally stopped. The whole time I kept telling myself that it was all a hallucination, that none of it was real. Dean was fine, and when I got back it would be all over and Dean would be standing at the car bitching at me for taking so long." He tried to manage a faint smile, but it quickly faded as he wiped his face with the back of his hand.
I could feel the sting of tears building in my eyes at the thought of Sam going through that kind of torture, but I blinked them back and concentrated on being strong for him. Of course now it made perfect sense that witnessing a fall like the one Dean took could very well provoke a nasty flashback to his own falling into the pit. I could have kicked myself for not thinking of it before.
I placed a soothing hand on his shoulder. "It's alright, Sam. Dean'll be okay. He's got a few broken bones and will be laid up for a while, but he'll heal and be good as new in no time."
A puzzled look crossed Sam's face as he asked a question. "How did Dean get back up from the fall with broken bones? He couldn't have climbed back up….."
I quickly explained about the campers in the canoe, conveniently leaving out the part about how long Dean had laid there before they came to help. Sam looked completely defeated. I felt for the kid, I really did, and if there was one damned thing I could do to take his pain for him, I would do it in a heartbeat, but there are some things that cannot be cured, and this seemed to be one of them.
Sam's head seemed to be clearer now, and it was looking as though he had a better grasp at reality. He stood from his chair. "I want to see Dean now." He decided. "I need to try to set things right with him."
I also stood and placed my hands on his shoulders. "Okay, you can see him, but let me go in and talk to him first, okay? I just gotta explain a few things to him, then you can come in."
Sam snorted as he lowered his head. "You mean you've got to try to make him not hate me for what I did."
I sighed and patted his arm. "Just give me a minute, alright? He doesn't hate you, he's just really confused right now." As I took a few steps toward the door, I turned to give him one last instruction, "Just don't talk to anyone until I get back. Your head is still a little foggy and I don't need you getting dragged off to the padded section of the hospital." My comment made him smile as he promised he would sit tight.
A few minutes later, I opened the door to Dean's room and peeked out into the corridor. "It's okay, Sam. You can come in now."
Sam sheepishly entered Dean's room and leaned against the door after I'd closed it. He mostly stared at the floor and snuck glances up at his brother, who had calmed down some after I'd explained most of what Sam had told me. Sam wrung his hands together as he waited for Dean to say something, but this time it had nothing to do with Lucifer. The expression on the kid's face was nothing short of pitiful, like a little kid waiting for his father to get home for punishment.
Dean leaned against his pillows with his arms folded across his chest. His face still looked angry, but then again, it could have just been the sunburn. "Sam, get your ass over here."
Sam immediately went to the side of Dean's bed and sat in the chair next to him. Eyes still down, hands still together on his lap.
Dean's tone softened a hair, but he continued in a scolding tone. "Got something to say to me?" he asked.
That was about all Sam could take as his body crumbled across Dean's bed and he buried his head in his brother's chest. I could hear Sam sob from clear across the room as he offered his apology.
"I'm so sorry, Dean." Was all he could manage to say.
Dean sighed heavily as any and all anger or resentment left his body. He gave a quick glance up to me as I was wiping away a quick tear. He then looked back down to where Sam had disintegrated into his chest. He placed a hand on the back of Sam's head and soothingly said the only words that Dean could ever say at a time like this.
"It's okay, Sammy….it's all gonna be okay."
Thanks Again, ~Grettigirl