Characters: Sam and Dean (Gen), a bit of Bobby
Summary: Takes place after 4.22 Lucifer Rising. Sam wants to feel clean for once in his life.
Warnings: Spoilers for 4. 22 Lucifer Rising and to be safe everything that has aired up to now.
A/N: I'm very sorry this is so late... but here's the fourth chapter. Actually this is only the first half of the fourth chapter I'd planned but these last weeks I haven't really had time to get around to finishing it. I had been busy with summer practice since July 12th and then I had to figure out what exactly GRE is in just a few days' time. Then I took the GRE. Then I took the TOEFL (Yeah, English's not my native language). So now, since I'm going on vacation tomorrow, I figured a short chapter is better than nothing. Unfortunately, I won't have internet connection for the following few weeks and possibly won't be responding any comments. But please let me know what you think. Comments really encourage me to write more (but you don't always get to see it, I guess) so I'd really appreciate it if you comment after reading and I'm always open for con-crit so don't hesitate =)
Disclaimer: Me? Own Sam and Dean? I wish...
4. But What Is This That I Can’t See?
There was the quiet, periodical whiffling and the incessant sound of some sort of piston going back and forth in its rest. And then there was the beeping and the bleeping.
The beeping and the bleeping drove Dean mad. He couldn’t think straight with the constant beepbeepbeep hammering around the inside of his head.
When seeing was too much to bear, he’d finally close his eyes but that damned bleepbleepbleepbleep wouldn’t let itself be forgotten, still. It was so persistent, so monotonous, so stubborn that Dean wanted to get up and crash those machines, take them apart with his bare hands, tear this whole fucking room down.
But he didn’t. And he wouldn’t.
All that whiffling and beeping and bleeping was what kept Sam alive and safe – no screw that, Dean was what kept Sam safe, he had always been what kept his Sammy safe. But no, not this time. This time, apparently, it was the ventilator and the heart monitor and a few other complicated machines Dean couldn’t be bothered to learn the names and functions of.
He scoffed when he thought about it: He, Dean Winchester, was so easily and effectively replaced by half a dozen pieces of machinery. No feeling, no warmth, no humanity in those machines. Well, he couldn’t possibly ignore the irony in that.
He thought of the crumpled white paper in his jacket pocket, then, resting right above his heart. He thought about reading it. What could Sam have written for him to read after he was… gone? Was it a goodbye? An apology? A reasoning? Or a wish, maybe? It would be so easy to smooth the paper out and skim over his brother’s messy handwriting. It would be so easy to just give in to the curiosity and despair, take that final step and read it again and again and again.
But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. He felt like it would be finalizing the blow, somehow. Like letting Sam go. Like putting him in the ground too soon. Like… like so much… Like so much he did wrong this year.
And that was what put Sam here in the first place, hooked up to every freaking medical assistance machine in existence.
Dean bit his lower lip with determination and squeezed Sam’s hand in his.
He didn’t take the note out of his chest pocket. He didn’t read it.
Dean Winchester was never known to take the easy way out, anyway.
He just squeezed Sam’s hand and held on. Sam didn’t squeeze back in reassurance. He didn’t even stir. Dr. Ford had been right in his suspicion: Sam was in a coma. He hadn’t woken up since he’d passed out in Dean’s arms and that was yesterday.
Yesterday… It felt like it was so far away. Dean felt like he had been sitting here, by his brother’s side, holding his hand silently for eternity. His existence for the last fifteen hours or so had been solely focused on this room, this bed, this hand in his own. He didn’t know if Sam knew he was there. He didn’t know if Sam even cared. But he had nowhere else to go.
This endless waiting, all these painfully stretched hours that wouldn’t pass, they were even worse than hell. At least, he knew Sam was safe when he was in hell. But now, Sam was… well, he had scored a 5 on the Glasgow Coma Scale, apparently. Sammy, the straight-A student, had scored so low in a flimsy test some doctors had made up. Dean had asked Bobby to look into it when he couldn’t quite understand what the whole deal with the low score was.
Eye opening response: None. 1
Verbal response: None. 1
Motor response: Flexion. Abnormal. 3
He didn’t know if knowing or not knowing was better.
The neurologist, Dr. Walton, said it wasn’t that bad. Of course the outcome of a patient was associated with his best response in the first twenty-four hours after injury but it wasn’t an exact science. He said that Sam most probably had a fifty-fifty chance of a good recovery or moderate disability. The last part had made Dean cringe.
Most of the odds were on Sam’s side: He was young, he was healthy and his pupillary and oculocephalic reflexes had returned pretty quickly. His CT scan showed no focal lesions. Yet, the doctor had also directly informed him that he had no intentions of tantalizing Dean. Neurologists were still struggling with understanding the prognosis of coma patients. Apparently, when it came to coma, nothing could be said for sure. So the doctor was very clear that they should be prepared for everything.
Dean didn’t know what that meant. ‘Be prepared for everything.’ It was easy to say that. But not so easy to look at his brother on the hospital bed, hold onto his hand and think of the possibilities.
Sam might not wake up. Not ever. Dean might never see him smile, again, his cheeks dimpling just like when he was three and a chubby little toddler with stars in his eyes.
Sam might wake up. In a week. In two weeks. In a month, a year. Years. Dean would go crazy. Slowly at first, but surely he would lose his mind bit by bit as he sat down on the hard, uncomfortable chair and watched his brother waste away into nothing. The little boy he’d brought up himself, fading out to the sickly color of hospital sheets.
And then, Dean will be crazy when Sam wakes up and the worst of all, Sam might not remember him at all. Sam might not be able to talk to him or walk with him. Sam might not be able to tie his own shoe-laces. Dean would be strong for him; he would. But he’s scared that if Sam keeps him waiting too long, he won’t be himself, anymore; but just a spent, hollow shell of the man he used to be. And then, who would take care of his Sammy? Who would be there for him while he relearns everything he needs to know to be able to be the strong young man he is. No, scratch that, the strong young man he used to be.
Sam looked like anything but a young, strong man, right now. He was lying on the bed like the dead, his body in a weird posture – abnormal flexion, Dean remembered faintly. Tubes sticking out of his mouth and nose, an IV slipped under the surprisingly soft skin of the back of his hand, electrodes strapped to various points on his alarmingly pale chest…
His brother honestly looked like he was one breath away from that final barrier to cross: Death. Only one breath away and Sam wasn’t even the one himself, taking those breaths.
It wasn’t like that at first, though. Sam could breathe and was doing so on his own. But sometime around the night, the machines went crazy and loud, nurses sprinted towards the ICU where Sam had started to move – finally – on the bed and shooed a shocked and terrified Dean away and outside of the room.
Sam wasn’t moving consciously. He wasn’t waking up. Instead, violent shakes had taken over him by the time Dean had put together enough thought to look over his shoulder before getting out.
He’d figured it out, then. Sam’s body was fighting for oxygen. That was a hypoxic seizure, back there. And then, Dean had started to gasp for air, his chest rising and falling sharply with each panicked, shallow attempt at breathing.
Someone had taken him by the arm, started talking to him while steering him away from Sam. Dean had felt himself grow even more desperate as his vision started to dim while the improper breaths drove his body to hyperventilation.
The nurse had moved to stand in front of him when he had failed to calm down. She had taken his hands in hers to get his attention and began to show him how to take deep, full breaths. Finally, when he could cooperate, the light had seemed to come back into his vision: He’d managed not to pass out from hyperventilation.
The nurse had given him a tired but still warm smile and gone to go get him a glass of water. Dean had stood on that same exact spot she had left him until she came back with the promised drink and handed it to him with a sympathetic pat on the shoulder. She had hovered for a little while – she was a nice person – but in the end, she had been called away for something or someone more important than his traumatized, sorry ass. So she had had to walk away after offering him an apologetic shrug.
He had slowly made his way back to Sam’s room, then. He had stood by the glass window of the room and watched a doctor and a few nurses force a tube down Sam’s throat, mess with the machines and inject something into his IV.
When they had let him back in, Sam was now hooked up to a ventilator.
Dean hadn’t known what to think or feel at that moment.
It looked like Sam was trying really hard not to come out of this alive.
“Sammy…” he sighed as he remembered that first painful shock in the middle of the night. “Sammy, God…”
His throat closed up and he couldn’t say what he wanted to. He couldn’t talk to his brother and tell him how it felt. How he felt.
Instead, he stood up and took out his dad’s journal, skimming over the pages with sudden intent.
It didn’t take him long to find what he was looking for.
He’d need to call Bobby.