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Wired 2/4

 Title:  Wired 2/4

A/N: I always get nervous after a good response to a first chapter. My second chapters never seem as good as the first :) That said, thank you to everyone who took the time to drop a note. I'm always thrilled when limpness is loved. Continued thanks to those who made this possible, mostly Rachelly and

sendintheklowns, who put up with a LOT from me.  All other disclaimers in part one.

 

PART TWO

It seemed like hours later when the doctor finally came back out. Dean had left, and John had taken up residence in the waiting room, unmoving and keeping himself purposefully impassive. He had nothing to do, and he refused to show any excessive signs of outward emotion. The last thing he needed was to draw attention to himself.

Dr. Howard looked much the same, a genial smile on his face as he approached John and took the seat next to him. "Well, the procedure went just fine. The alignment looks good and I don't think there'll be any problems with his healing."

John felt himself relax marginally--Sammy's well being was on worry off his list.

"We've got him back in his room for now, and he's resting," the doctor explained. He hesitated a little, shaking his head. "The boy is surprisingly sensitive to the pain meds. We gave him a good dose of morphine to help him control the pain, and he is having an unusually strong reaction to it. He may seem a bit...out of it until it wears off, but I think he'll probably sleep through most of it--it's made him rather drowsy. I'll make him out a prescription for some more, but at a much lesser dose. The first few days the injury will still be quite painful."

John nodded curtly.

Dr. Howard scribbled something on his notepad and ripped it off for John. "I'll go ahead and give this to you now. You can get it filled at the hospital pharmacy. You'll have to crush up his pills for him to take in water, but we'll talk more about that with his aftercare instructions. We're going to keep him overnight just to monitor him and we'll be releasing him in the morning."

"Can I see him?"

The doctor nodded. "I think you remember the room?"

John nodded his thanks to the doctor and took off down the hall. Finding Sam's room was easy enough, and when he opened the door, he found the lights were dimmed and the room was quiet. Sam appeared to be sleeping on the bed, his head tilted away from the doorway.

Quietly, John made his way to his son's side. In all the chaos of the day, his fears about the insurance, about CPS, this much felt good. Part of him had always known Sam's injury wasn't life threatening. But another part of him, a part he liked to try to deny, to contain, had hated seeing his child in pain, had hated seeing his little boy laid out on his back from something as trivial as training.

He knew all his reasons why--he'd stayed up nights and told them to himself time and time again. How the boys had to be prepared, they had to be trained and able, because if they weren't, then they might never be safe. And John couldn't risk anyone else in his family. He wouldn't. Their safety came first. Above their happiness, above everything.

But sometimes the things he did to keep them safe, to make them ready--they were risks in and of themselves. It was Sam's sloppiness that started this disaster to begin with, but John knew his son. He knew his boy's sloppiness wasn't just inattentiveness or lack of effort. It was just...sloppiness. Teenage angst compounded by hormones or some equally elusive crap John had hoped to avoid entirely. He'd gotten off easy with Dean--with Sam, it seemed like he was going to make up for his brother's stalwart obedience.

Sighing, he sunk down into the chair by Sam's side. He watched his youngest for a long moment, studying the soft features of his face, the lightness of his hair on his head. It seemed like it had been years since he'd done this, since he'd taken the time to watch his boy. Wasn't it only yesterday that he was born? That Mary had held the infant in his arms and looked up at John telling him how perfect he was?

He should let his son sleep--the kid definitely looked like he needed it--but it wasn't possible. He needed to get Sam awake and ready if they were going to make it out of here together.

"Sam?" he asked into the darkness.

Nothing happened.

"Sam?" he asked again, louder this time, his voice a bit more stern.

At that, Sam stirred slightly, shifting under the sheet.

"Sam, wake up," he said, almost making it an order.

Sam's head turned at that, rolling toward his father. Finally Sam's eyes opened, just barely, slits of green that looked even more unfocused than before.

He forced a smile. "Hey, Sammy," he said, leaning over the bed so his son could see him. "You with me, kiddo?"

Sam blinked.

John waited, forcing himself to be patient. With a gentle hand, he smoothed down Sam's hair. "Sammy?"

Sam blinked again, and his lips tried to move, but the words got fumbled, coming out in an unintelligible mumble.

With considerable effort, John smiled. "You've got your jaw wired shut there, kiddo."

Hazy, confused eyes looked up at him, imploring, and it was like Sam was five years old again. His son didn't have to speak to be able to ask why.

"Sparring accident," John informed him. "You'll remember once the drugs work their way out of your system. You really are a lightweight sometimes."

The affection in John's voice was lost on Sam, as was just about everything he was saying. Resigned, John pulled his hand away. "Just get some sleep, okay? When Dean gets back we're going to have to make a break for it, so I need you to be rested. Understood?"

John didn't figure Sam really got any of that, but his youngest son let his eyes droop and John's shoulders sagged. The boy opened his eyes once more, looking beseeching, and John just smiled, more than a little warily. "Sleep," he ordered, soft and gentle and he watched with a fatherly knowledge when Sam did.

For once, without question, without complaint, Sam just did. John wondered when he'd lost that power over his son, when he stopped speaking a language that Sam understood. Dean had been difficult--cocky and loose at times--but nothing like Sam. Dean was hormones and a desire for blood and guns.

Sam was...Sam was something else entirely. Something John just didn't know how to deal with. Maybe, in another life, he could have done it. He could have lauded Sam's grades and gone to all his silly little soccer games and debate matches.

Too bad he didn't have another life, and neither did Sam. As soon as they all accepted that, the better things would be.

It wasn't just hunts that kept John on the move. It was the fear of letting any of them grow roots, of getting attached. Because John knew what it was like to lose something like that. And he wasn't going to do it again, and he would do everything he could to keep his sons from it as well.

Someday, Sam would understand, he thought, sitting back in his chair.

Someday.

-o-

In the long years of his life, Dean had acquired many skills. He could hunt, he could lie with the best of them, he could shoot pool like a pro, and he could tell the difference between a ghost and a poltergeist. He was smooth with women, he was a quick talker, and he could get into just about any place he wanted--crime scene or club. He was also skilled in the art of packing quickly.

Not that there was ever much to pack. Their lifestyle didn't afford many luxuries, and stuff was among the things that he and Sam had simply learned to go without. Dean's main source of entertainment was TV when he wasn't training, and the occasional magazine was easy enough to swipe and expendable enough to leave behind. Packing his stuff only required a quick sweep of the room, stuffing rumpled clothing into his well-worn duffels.

Packing for his father was even quicker, mostly because his father never really unpacked. His father's clothes were kept rolled up in the military-style duffle, and his bag of toiletries was always ready to go. The rest of his father's stuff was elementary--mostly because he never seemed to have anything. While his father always seemed to have a book with him, Dean could never find them, and could only assume his father had them stashed somewhere, secured and ready to go.

For Sam, it was both harder and simpler. While Sam was far neater than Dean, with his clothes folded into the drawers and his books stacked neatly on the desk, he also had never learned the value of letting things go. Sam wanted to keep everything--he always had, even as a little kid. Be it rocks or leaves or stray kittens, Sam wanted to haul it all around with him, as though it all had some deep significance that Sam couldn't bear to live without. While his kid brother had outgrown rocks (mostly, though Dean still suspected his brother had small stashes hidden throughout his things), now it was books. Sam wanted to keep all the books he could, wanted to buy them, read them, mark them. It was obsessive really, and completely ridiculous and impractical. Most books were easily expendable and better off kept in libraries for the rare occasion that they were needed. And books on non-supernatural things? Made no sense at all. Books on science and math and English literature--those were nothing more than coasters and door stops and Dean could never understand Sam's fondness for them.

It would have been simple, he supposed, to leave Sam's current stash behind. His father was prone to weeding it out when he got the chance, much to Sam's protestations, and it wasn't like Dean had time to pack everything. But as he looked at Sam's neat stacks, he couldn't bring himself to do it. Not when Sam was in the hospital from an injury Dean had given him.

It wasn’t really his fault, not in the truest sense, and Dean knew that. He knew Sam should have been paying attention. He knew his father shouldn’t have been so demanding. But none of that changed what it felt like when his hand made contact with Sam’s face, the way Sam had fallen hard to the ground, the look of pain while he was laying there.

That wasn’t okay, and it shouldn’t have happened, and Dean just didn’t know how to fix it.

With a sigh, he packed Sam’s things, all of them, stowing them in the trunk as best he could. When the home was cleared out of all items worth taking, he didn’t even look back as he closed the door behind him, got in the car, and drove back toward the hospital.

-o-

Hating hospitals was one of the more ordinary aspects of John Winchester. Even before his life as a hunter, he had loathed the places--places of sickness and suffering and death. Logically, of course, he understood their function. That didn't mean he liked stepping in one. In fact, Mary had nearly divorced him over his refusal to attend birthing classes while she was pregnant with Dean. It wasn't so much the nature of the topic (though John had to admit, learning about how a baby was going to come out of his wife made him queasy), but rather the place. A hospital. He'd never come to a hospital for anything good.

There were only two exceptions to that rule: the birth of both his boys, which, in the end, had been rewarding enough to make him forget the rule entirely.

He couldn't forget now. Sam wasn't that bad off, but all the real world dangers were encroaching in on his makeshift family, and he'd lost enough. He wouldn't lose his boys--not to spirits, not to demons, not to well-intentioned government workers.

He'd taken to pacing, but it was getting him nowhere. Feeling frustrated, he sank back to the chair by Sam's bed, again shaking his boy's shoulder. The kid looked exhausted--he always had been a lightweight with painkillers--but John needed to keep him awake for their great escape.

Calling Sam awake was a bit of an exaggeration. Sure, Sam's eyes were open and he could respond blearily to questions, but the kid was hardly coherent as he mumbled out answers through his wired jaw.

He'd been hoping for a bit more awareness, but he'd seen the nurses looking at him. They didn't have time to linger. He had to take Sam and run or he may never get the chance. The doctor had given Sam another look over and said he was progressing nicely, that all Sam needed was to sleep off the pain meds before they talked seriously about how to care for Sam in his current condition. As long as Sam was cleared medically, John would much rather take his chances on the road than with CPS.

Besides, he thought to himself, maybe a sleeping Sam would make the escape a little easier. Less protesting from his son could only make their escape quieter.

Nervously, he glanced at his watch. Dean should be back by now--Dean needed to be back by now. He couldn't pull off the escape by himself--he'd need his son as the distraction, not to mention that Dean had the getaway car.

Then he heard it--a sound at the door. Tensed, he turned, keeping his face neutral. The nurses seemed spooked enough as it was; he certainly didn't need to rouse their suspicions anymore.

But his fear was unwarranted--nothing more than paranoia--and John almost wondered if that was the case more often than not.

"Car's in the ramp, just by the door," Dean said simply. "How do you want to pull this off?"

John checked his watch, thinking back to the nurses' periodic checks. "We'll wait five minutes," he said. "Let the nurses give Sam one more once over. We've still got an hour or so before the doc is coming back with more instructions on how to take care of Sam. We need to be out of here by then--not give them the chance to bring in social services or some shrink."

Dean's face looked strained, and John could tell these past few hours had been tough on his oldest. From the sparring accident to the sudden escape--it was a lot to deal with, even for a young man as trained and solid as Dean was. In some ways, Sam was the lucky one. With the kid so high on medication, it was unlikely that he'd even be aware what they were doing. Which, really, would save John from the headache of hearing Sam complain about being forced to move again.

"How are we going to get him out?"

This was the question John had been circling back to while Dean was packing. Knowing they had to leave was one thing; determining the best escape plan was another entirely.

"Simple diversion," he said. "I’ll need you to cause some chaos, get half the floor looking the other way, and I’ll get Sam out. Once we’re clear, you come join us and we’ll high tail it out of here."

Dean looked uncertain. "Maybe I should stay with Sam," he suggested.

John just shook his head. "The hospital already is suspicious of me. It needs to be you or I may end up in more trouble than we can get out of right now. You have some ideas?"

Warily, Dean nodded, and John felt his pride swell. "That’s my boy," he said, more relieved than he was willing to let on.

They fell silent, both lingering by Sam’s side.

"He’s going to be okay," John said suddenly. "You know that, right?"

Dean looked up at him and almost smiled. "Yeah," he said. "I know."

If it was a lie, it was one they were both buying into.

-o-

When the nurse came, Dean was ready. He watched carefully as she checked Sam over, even smiling broadly at her as she jotted her notes on Sam’s chart. "He’s looking good," she said. "The doctor will be around sometime soon to discuss post-hospital care with you both. They’re very important with injuries like Sam’s."

"I’m sure they are," Dean replied easily, hardly hearing what she was saying.

He watched her go, his father a silent presence in the corner. When she was gone, he glanced at his father, who nodded, and Dean made his way to the door.

Stepping out, he eased himself nonchalantly toward the nurse’s station.

He eyed the nurses there, all intent on their duties, and then let his eyes wander to the various visitors milling about. He needed the right mark, the one who would respond the way he wanted--compassionate and concerned and--

There she was.

Middle aged, face lined with fine wrinkles around her eyes. Her brown hair was graying on the edges, pulled back into a ponytail that fell lightly on her back. She wore a pink floral shirt and khaki shorts that were long on her pudgy legs.

Clearing his face, he plastered on a look of wonder, making his eyes as Sam-like as he could. Then he walked up to her, put a hand on her arm and said, "Mom?"

The woman blinked, once, twice, taking him in. "Excuse me--?"

Dean's face brightened with a smile. "Mom!" he exclaimed, making his voice loud enough to be heard over the din.

She looked confused, uncertain, and she tried to pull away. "Sweetie, I think you've got--"

"Is Dad okay?" he prompted. "We've been waiting for you."

The woman was stammering now, trying to step away and looking somewhat desperately at the people around her. "I really think--"

"Mom, you have to talk to me about this!" he said, nearly yelling now. "Dad nearly died! I know he cheated on you, but the man loves you!"

People were staring now, just like he wanted. She was shaking her head. "I don't know--"

Dean stepped it up a notch, pulling tears to his eyes and letting his voice go hysterical. "I can't belive it!" he exclaimed. "I need you two! I need you together! Don't do this to me!"

The woman was nearly terrified now, and staff was approaching them. A hand was on his shoulder, gentle, and Dean whirled in full on hysteria.

"No! Please! Mom!"

And that was all it took for the floor to break out into chaos.

-o-

Dean was good. Even stressed, even worried, even halfway drowned in guilt, his son was good. A con artist in the truest sense of the word, his skill easily surpassed John’s own with a flair and ease that any tried and true professional could appreciate.

By the time John reached the stairwell, Sam neatly in tow and hunched over in his wheelchair, the hall was nearly cleared, intent on the chaos erupting on the opposite side of the ward. Things were going well--very well--but John couldn't afford to waste time. Swiftly, he pulled Sam up, and the boy grunted, wobbling on his feet.

"We need to walk from here," he said, his voice rushed and hushed.

Maybe it was the urgency in his voice or maybe Sam could follow orders better than John sometimes gave him credit for, because the teenager steadied himself, his brow furrowing.

"We're only down two levels," John assured him.

Halfway down the first flight of stairs, Sam’s knees gave way, and he felt his son’s warm body press hard against him, sliding down. He cursed, catching the boy. Eschewing fears of being seen, he looped his arm under Sam’s legs and swiftly brought him up, cradled against his chest. His son was large, gangly, and it was an awkward process, but John didn’t even hesitate.

At the bottom floor, he deposited Sam on the ground, looking intently at the boy’s face. "You need to walk out of here," he said. "Do you understand?"

Sam blinked once, his pupils still dilated with sedative, but the boy nodded.

"Good boy," John coached, keeping an arm firmly around Sam’s shoulders. Somehow they moved quickly, fast and quietly out the hospital, past the admittance desk and all the waiting patients.

John didn’t realize he was holding his breath until Sam was in the backseat of the Impala, slumped half asleep against the seat.

Settling himself in the driver’s seat, he drew a deep breath and willed his heart to calm. Its pounding didn’t ease, not until Dean slid into the back beside Sam, not until the hospital was firmly in his rearview mirror and the open road lay flat before him.

-o-

Home had never really been a permanent thing for Dean, at least not for most of his life. It was a fantasy, he felt, one that most normal people had, and one that he found ridiculous and naive. Because he knew better. He knew anything good could be taken away, could be lost. He knew not to trust in places, in things, in much of anything, because when it went away, it hurt like hell.

Still, if there was anything in his life that resembled a home, it wasn't the rundown string of motels and apartments their father took them, too. Those were all just backdrop, equally meaningless and nonessential to his life. They had no sentiment for him, no lingering affect. The only place that did--the only thing that did--was the Impala.

The smell of leather seats on a summer's day was the aroma that made him feel secure, safe. The vast bench in the back had been as much his playground as anything had been, and riding up front had been his coveted right since he was old enough to buckle himself in.

It was the place they always ended up, the place they fled to. The only constant, the way they got from A to B to C and beyond.

Cooped up in the backseat, Sam leaned against him, it wasn't offering him much comfort now. Not when this was his fault. Every moan Sammy made, every look his dad gave him in the rearview mirror just confirmed it.

His snark was gone, and he could think of nothing to say. John, for his part, made no attempts at conversation. His father was a man of few words, and when he spoke, it was often orders or research, and Dean had grown accustomed to the man’s silence.

Not this time.

Every passing minute was torture; every passing mile was another testament to his failure. He desperately wished that Sam would wake up—not just to see if his brother was okay, but to help fill the growing void that Dean felt between himself and his father.

No such luck.

They drove on all night, not stopping and Dean, his arm still wrapped protectively around his younger sibling, soon found he couldn’t keep his eyes open. He felt himself drifting, quietly into the night, and he didn’t have the will to stop himself.

-o-

He opened his eyes to blinding light and the uneasy sensation that they were no longer moving.

Squinting, he saw his father climbing out of the front seat, riffling through his wallet.

Looking up, his father made eye contact, and Dean could see that they had stopped in a town Dean didn’t recognize. They were parked on a deserted street, the row of warehouses clearly long abandoned.

"I’m going into town to buy supplies," his father informed him. "You stay here with Sam. If anyone comes along, drive two miles toward town. Make sure Sam wakes up and feed him. Give him his painkillers first, though. Understood?"

Dean just nodded.

"I don’t think I’ll be long," his father said, shoving the wallet back in his pocket.

"Yes, sir," Dean said, and he watched his father disappear down the road.

Sighing, Dean looked toward his brother. Sam was still out like a light, sprawled against the seat.

Turning his gaze to the barren surroundings, Dean let his head rest against the seat. At least the day couldn't get much worse.

-o-

Sam woke up to pain.

A lot of it. Like all the nerves in his mouth were on fire at once. A deep throb stretched back through his skull, pounding with the rhythm of his all-too-fast heartbeat.

Disoriented, he tried to open his eyes, to figure out where he was, what had happened.

 

His vision, though, was bleary, and images swirled in his line of sight. Black leather. Bug splattered windows. The Impala.

So why did it hurt so much?

Suddenly, a hand was on his arm, warm, reassuring. Dean.

Sam blinked, turning his head to his brother's face.

His brother smiled a little, but it was a shadow of its usual self. There was something in it, something sad, resigned. Guilty.

Then Sam remembered. Sparring--the punch--his jaw.

Memory flashed and pain seared again as he tried to open his mouth. His jaw. They'd wired it shut.

"Don't try to talk," Dean advised, clearly reading Sam's efforts. "They've wired you shut, remember?"

Stilling, Sam looked up at him and nodded morosely.

"They said it would probably hurt for awhile."

Sam nodded again, trying not to make it seem too obvious.

"You've been out for nearly six hours now. The pain meds did a number on you," Dean explained. He was foraging with one hand in a bag on the seat. "But the doc says you'd probably need them for awhile yet, until your jaw starts to heal."

Sam squinted at him, uncertain of how to respond.

Dean pulled out a bottle of pills, grinning a little. "You ready for some more?"

Pride was a funny thing, and Sam often liked to have it. He liked to seem strong, able, impenetrable, just like his father and Dean. He'd spent too many years being babied, and as much as he resisted the lifestyle, Sam didn't like admitting weakness to them.

The throbbing in his skull, however, was enough to make him concede the point. Besides, he'd probably been drooling all over Dean for the last six hours, so pride was pretty much a moot point right then. He nodded.

"I figured," Dean said, but his tone was friendly, not mocking. He popped the top, extracting two pills.

Sam eyed them anxiously. But his brother then proceeded to pull out a small glass and took out a spoon, easily grinding the two pills to powder before pouring water on top of them. Pulling out a straw, his brother offered him the drink.

"It's a little awkward," Dean said. "But it's better than nothing."

Getting the straw between his lips was a difficult process, and he nearly fumbled the glass, but the water felt good going down and with the throbbing in his head, he'd take anything he could get.

-o-

Taking care of Sam wasn't new for Dean, though having Sam so silent while he did it was a bit of a change. It made Dean uncomfortable, a constant reminder that he was to blame, so he talked twice as much to try to make up the difference.

Sam seemed to listen, half hearted, and Dean could only hope the painkillers were kicking in. He couldn't totally blame Sam for wanting to ignore him, but still, Dean couldn't seem to stop talking.

"We'll try grinding up cheeseburgers sometime," Dean said. "Though the bun might get more than a little mushy with the ketchup."

Sam had been tracking his comments, and at that his brother's face paled.

"Sorry," Dean said sheepishly. "Too graphic?"

But Sam didn't respond to the humor, nor did his color improve. If anything, Sam paled more, his body going slightly rigid.

"Sam?"

Something was wrong. Something was very, very wrong.

Sam had been in pain, a little whiny and impossible to understand, but Dean had followed orders perfectly. He'd broken up the pills in Sam's water and helped Sam drink it. He'd even talked his reluctant kid brother into downing half a protein shake. All of these were within the confines of his father's orders.

Sam's reaction, however, was not.

His brother paled further, taking his already waxy skin to a near translucent shade. Then, before Dean could even ask the question, Sam's eyes went wide and his body convulsed. At first, Dean thought he was coughing, maybe, but then his brother convulsed again, pitching forward, his hands flailing all over the place.

Frightened, Dean went to catch his brother, trying to bring his brother back up to look him in the eye. "Sam? Sammy? What is it?"

If he'd been thinking, he would have realized the ridiculousness of his question. Sam wasn't able to verbalize much anyway right now, not with his jaw wired as tightly shut as it was. But Dean wasn't thinking, not clearly anyway, because all he knew was that something was wrong with Sam and he didn't have a clue what.

Sam's body refused to cooperate, keeling forward with a ferocity that Dean wouldn't have thought his brother capable of in his weakened condition.

Panicked, Dean kneeled low, desperately seeking his brother's face to better assess what was wrong. The broken jaw was supposed to be fine--inconvenient, painful, but fine. But this wasn't fine at all.

On his knees, he finally got a look into Sam's face and his heart skipped a beat at what he saw.

Sam's eyes were bulging, his face unnaturally red and his hands were fumbling desperately at his throat. His hair was falling in his face, but couldn't obscure the obvious terror written all over.

Dean's brain worked sluggishly as he came to all the conclusions he didn't want to realize.

Sam was choking. But on what? He'd swallowed the protein shake and the water--he hadn't been eating for a good five minutes. What could Sam possibly--

Then something trickled from Sam's mouth--something brownish, something a little chunky--

Then Dean understood.

Sam was throwing up. Sam was throwing up and couldn't open his mouth to let the vomit out.

Sam was choking on his own vomit.

Frantic, Dean did the first thing he could think of, thumping hard on Sam's back. Sam's body jerked with the motion, but nothing changed. Nothing except Sam's eyes, which were fading from panic to something else--something like resignation--and even that was fading fast--and Dean didn't want to know to what.

Fumbling now, Dean moved his hands to Sam's mouth, trying to pry open Sam's lips, but Sam's jaw refused to budge. The wiring had done its job--all too well--and the procedure used to fix Sam's jaw was about ready to kill his little brother. Feeling along Sam's teeth, he ignored the trickle of vomit that continued to make its way out, and he focused on finding the wire. He needed to open Sam's mouth somehow, and if he could pry it open, he'd have to sever the wire. It would hurt like hell, Dean didn't doubt that, but he was pretty sure Sam would forgive him.

If Sam was even awake by then.

As his fingers found the wire, Sam was sagging forward, his eyelids falling heavily over his eyes and Dean knew he was running out of time.

Worse yet, the wire wouldn't give. Clearly it was made to withstand the daily grind, which normally would be great if his brother wasn't choking to death.

Sam was nearly limp now, his eyelids fluttering uselessly and his hands dangling onto the car seat.

Dean needed to cut the wire--now.

His eyes scanned the inside of the Impala, looking for something, anything--all he could see was Sam's bag of things on the floor by his feet, and his own rumpled bag of clothes next to it. Sam's prescription was on the seat, and the half finished protein shake was next to it. Nothing that would help him.

The trunk. They had knives in the trunk. Knives and tools and sharp things designed to cut through things--things like metal.

Desperate, he laid his brother down to the seat so he was resting on his side, trying not to notice the way Sam had stopped moving entirely, the way his half-open eyes seemed to be staring distantly at something Dean knew wasn't there.

Throwing the door open, Dean stumbled into the daylight. Digging in his pocket, he came up with the spare key, suddenly thankful his father had entrusted him with it. With shaking hands, he thrust the key into the hole, flinging open the trunk with such force that the entire car shook.

His fingers fumbled, searching, before closing on a knife he thought would do the job. He pulled it from its sheath, moving rapidly back to his brother. Climbing back on the seat, he sat over his brother, straddling the younger boy in a desperate attempt to gain access to Sam's mouth.

Sam's eyes were closed now, his eyelids blue and his cheeks pallid. "Come on, come on," Dean muttered, working his trembling fingers around Sam's mouth. Lifting Sam's lips out of the way, Dean carefully drew the knife close to Sam's face, all too aware of how dangerous this was. But Sam's lips were nearly purple now and he couldn't ignore how still his brother's chest was beneath him.

With movements more sure than he felt, he slipped the knife under the wire and pulled it up, relieved when the metal gave way. Frantic, he went to the other side, repeating the procedure.

Sam's mouth fell open and Dean nearly cheered with relief. Awkwardly, he tumbled off his brother, hoping to see some improvement.

But Sam remained still, his limbs dangled limply on the seat.

"No," Dean breathed. "Come on."

Cutting the wire was supposed to work. It was supposed to let Sam breathe. He hadn't thought any further ahead.

Shaking, he rolled his brother on his side, prying open Sam's slack mouth. The vomit. Sam had choked on the vomit. He had to clear it.

Normally it would have grossed him out. Touching Sam's mouth wasn't something he tended to do, and this type of physical closeness wasn't normal for anyone.


It had to be done.

Carefully and quickly, he swept his finger deep in Sam's mouth, pulling out the remnants of vomit as he went. When it seemed clear, he waited again, for something, anything, and felt himself go numb when Sam still didn't move.

He needed to do more. Now.

Pushing Sam onto his back, he leaned over his brother, tilting the kid's neck and pinching his nose. Situated, he blew in two hard breaths, relieved to see Sam's chest rise and fall.

Up and down, breathe in, breathe out.

He pulled away, waiting, watching, pressing two fingers into Sam's neck.

There was a beat, sluggish, distant, but there.

Still, Sam's chest did not move.

Dean swore.

Leaning over his brother again, he repeated the procedure. One breath, two breaths.

He pulled away, waiting.

Nothing.

Again, he moved in, pinching hard and breathing, feeling his own heart racing.

Pulling away this time, he felt it--a brush of air on his cheek--small, but there.

"Sam?" he asked, his voice near hysterics. "Sammy?"

A wheeze was his only answer, and Sam's chest rose and fell in a hitching motion. Then again.

His brother was breathing.

The relief was so strong, it brought tears to his eyes, and he struggled to make himself think.

Sam was breathing, he was alive, but he was still unconscious. In fact, his brother's pallor was still ghastly, unhealthy and frightening.

Gently, he rolled his brother back onto his side, hoping to ease Sam's breathing somewhat.

He was so intent on his brother that he didn't notice his father's presence until he spoke.

"Dean?"

Dean jumped, flinching, and looking over his shoulder at his father standing framed in the doorway.

 

"What the hell--?" his father's voice was somewhere between irate and terrified, a tone that normally would have Dean reeling with obedience, but this time he couldn't muster it.

"He was throwing up," Dean tried to explain, looking back at his brother, surprised at how his own voice sounded strained and breathless. "He couldn't get it out. I had to--I had to cut it."

He was aware now that his father was staring at him, blank faced and mouth open.

Dean blinked, looking up at his father, unable to move the vulnerability he knew was written on his face. "He stopped breathing," he said. "I think he needs a hospital."

At that, his father's mouth closed. Putting the supplies in the front, he moved to the backseat on the opposite side of Sam, crouching into the cab to get a better look at the younger brother. His father's steady hands touched Sam's face, under his jaw, gently lifted the eyelids. Sitting back on his heels, he appeared to think for a moment, before pulling himself out of the car.

"Get him up," he ordered. "Watch him."

His father was moving to the front seat and Dean trailed him. "Are we going to go to the hospital?"

"We're still too close," he said, sitting down hard behind the wheel.

"He wasn't breathing," Dean explained again.

His father's eyes flashed hard and cold up at him, so deep that he couldn't even see the concern he knew had to be laden underneath. And Dean wondered how he did it. How his father managed to turn himself off, to make his choices and stop worrying about it. No matter what.

"We go in now and they'll arrest me for sure. They'll take Sam away," his father's voice was measured. "Is that what you want?"

The question was underhanded, low, and so not fair. "No, I mean--"

"That's what they'll do," John persisted.

Dean's frustration was surging, mixing with his anger and his utter sense of fear. His dad was missing the point, was trying to subvert the point--the very real reality that Sam hadn't been breathing and that it wasn't okay and they needed to do something. Why couldn't his father just get it for once? Just concede the point? Just show his love and his own fear?

"We'll watch him, Dean," his father said, his voice a bit softer now, his eyes almost sympathetic. "We just need to put some distance between us and the hospital."

There was nothing he could say to that, no argument he could make. Frozen, his emotions swelling, he couldn't move for a long moment. His father closed the door, and Dean felt himself stiffen, willing himself not to cry. There would be no arguments here. Nothing he could say would change it.

Flicking his eyes to his brother, he sighed, letting his gaze linger. Sam's face was pale and still. His father had never put Sam at risk before--his father had always been the one to save them both, to take care of things. He could do that now. He could.

Swallowing hard, he slipped back into the back seat, avoiding his father's eyes in the mirror.

The car came to life, rumbling into the evening, and Dean pulled his brother closer, too terrified to let go.

 NEXT

Comments

Posted by: supernaturalmommy (supernatrlmommy)
Posted at: May 24th, 2008 01:37 pm (UTC)

Cool! I'm first!

Great chapter and man - you definitely pimped the limp! Great emotions and a great cadence to this chappie that just made me strain closer to the screen as I read. Awesome stuff!

Kat

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
earnest

Pimping the limp is just sort of what I do. Kind of like my identity :)

I'm glad you liked it!

Posted by: magser (magser)
Posted at: May 24th, 2008 01:56 pm (UTC)

Oh my god!!!!Jesus my skin crawled when Dean had to cut the wire.... more soon please?????

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
I

Next part is up...and I do LOVE your icon.

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: May 24th, 2008 02:31 pm (UTC)

brilliant!!! you totally bring on the angst!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:28 am (UTC)
limpified

If these boys do anything well, it's angsting. Thanks!

Posted by: jade02 (jade02)
Posted at: May 24th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC)

What a wonderful surprise on a less than perfect day.

Poor Dean - having to decide what to do about Sam. As soon as he gave Sammy painkillers on an empty stomach I was worried - you did a great job of building the suspense.

I find myself arguing with John and yelling suggestions at the computer - that's perfectly normal, right?

Your description of teenage Sam & how he feels about his family is the way I always pictured it. Trying to be as strong and capable as his father & brother despite the fact he was so much younger and hated their life. Even when he was trying to fit in he was still being strong willed and independent.

Now... could we have the next chapter please? How are they going to rewire his jaw? How will they keep him fed and on drugs and not vomiting? *is impatient & greedy*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:30 am (UTC)
huh

I'm so glad it was suspenseful, even if it may be a bit predictable :) And I do think John would make most people want to pound their head against the wall. But that's just my opinion.

I am usually not totally sold on most interpretations of teenaged Sam. I think Sam's biggest problem was that he wanted to be loved and accepted and he just couldn't figure out how to achieve that in his family. The things that mattered to him didn't really matter to his family. On their terms, he could never live up. It had to be a very difficult time.

Next chapter is up :)

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: May 28th, 2008 01:51 am (UTC)
tugofwar

Go ahead, blame it on me. As long as you write fic like this I don't care :)

There were so many excellent aspects to this. John trying to come to grips with keeping Sam safe and in doing so, putting him at greater physical risk. Dean's terror at trying to revive Sam (gross!). And poor Sam -- drugged to the gills and trying to cooperate.

Thanks for giving in to my whining :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: May 30th, 2008 11:32 am (UTC)
more brothers

That icon is just LOVE. That hipbone...

I love it when Sam's out of it. Like you didn't know that. And I love to see John and Dean fret over him. Like you didn't know that either :) Sometimes I wonder if that's a sign of some kind of mental instability. I'm sure I don't want to know :)

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