Sam's world has shrunk down to six feet. He's aware, in an uncomfortable way he never was before - not even when he was used to stitching Dean back together, splinting bone, or pressing into firm muscle with insistent fingers - how incredible it is that everything his brother is, all of it, can be housed in a breakable body six feet long.
Dean can't die, not now, not when he's finally figured out how to pull his own weight and make what he has with Dean an equal partnership. Winchester and Winchester, brothers in arms and brothers at heart. Dean's been leaving the light on for him all year, and at long last he's taken him up on the invitation and stepped inside, only to find the shitstorm to end all shitstorms. Dean deserves more than just one minute of happiness. Dean deserves better, and it's his turn now to keep the light on.
He keeps vigil with his fist still closed tightly around the amulet, his torso tight and sore but bent close to Dean despite it. "This isn't doing your ribs any favors, sir," one of the doctors finally says to him, impatient and uninclined to let Sam break the rules. "And you're not doing him any good. He's not responding to you or to any course of treatment." Sam stays silent, just challenges him to continue with that line of thought with a steely glare, and the man turns away, shaking his head; he finishes his notes and slams the file back in its slot. That still went better than his latest round with Dad. The moment he thinks it, his rage soars again, flying high and bright. He might have been slow to appreciate Dean, but Dad's been worse. Dad's never acknowledged Dean as anything except a grunt, a babysitter, or a hired hand.
Dad really should be here to make it up to Dean, but he's aware that he has some work of his own to do. He lays the amulet down on the blanket somewhere in the vicinity of Dean's left knee and clasps his brother's cool hand in his own. "Dean, please," he asks. It's been so long since he had to ask for anything and he wonders if he's lost the knack because Dean always anticipated him. "Please, you have to wake up." He rubs his thumb gently over the veins on the back of Dean's hand. He is asking every way he knows how - with words, with touch, with his very presence. Dean will come back to him if he gives him enough time. He puts his palm flat on Dean's belly and prepares to wait.
The muscles under his hand heave suddenly and Dean starts to choke around the tube shoved between his lips, trying to eject it from his throat. His eyelids are fluttering wildly with instinctive panic, and Sam stands and yells for a doctor. He turns back to his brother's spasming form and catches Dean's hips in his hands, weighing them down gradually like he's rocking Dean to sleep. "It's okay, I'm here," he says, and then he's set firmly aside as a group of doctors and nurses works to get Dean off the respirator and check his vital signs. Dean's eyes close in slow motion as the noise level in the room reaches nearly unbearable heights. The medical team finally finishes discovering and documenting every possible statistic about Dean and they all walk off together, their voices light and contented, offering congratulations and swapping theories about this recovery that came out of the blue.
Sam moves back to his brother's side as soon as there is a sliver of space for him to squeeze into. Touching is a different proposition now that Dean is awake, so all he does is tap at Dean's wrist with one careful finger, like a hesitant knock on an unfamiliar door. Dean's eyes open and meet Sam's briefly before closing again tiredly. Dean reciprocates the touch, doing a soft poke of his own against Sam's belly, the closest spot he could find, evidently, and Sam goes dizzy somewhere between his tears and his laughter. He sits abruptly, the plastic chair skidding a little on the cold bare floor with the unexpected weight of his body, and he leans in close to whisper his brother's name. Dean manages to lift his eyebrows questioningly but his eyes stay shut and his hand rests limply on the mattress.
He knows what Dean wants. He fights against his fear of letting Dean out of his sight and says, "I'm gonna go tell Dad you're awake. His leg is broken, but maybe they can put him in a wheelchair or something and get him up here to see you. Stay awake, okay?" He stands and squeezes Dean's foot and gets on the elevator.
The twenty-eighth floor is a mess. There is blood in patches all over the floor and there is no personnel anywhere in sight. He makes his way to his room to find Dad's bed empty, a torn neck brace lying on the bed, and a crowd of people inside. They start shouting questions and accusations at him as soon as they spot him, but all of his attention is fixed on the sooty handprint on the ceiling above his father's bed and the smell of smoke staining the air.
Still gen, still R-ish.
Word count (today): 898
Word count (total): 7166 (23.89%)