The earth shouldn’t be able to shift under your feet without warning. But it does. A perfectly beautiful, sunny, blue-skied day shouldn’t be able to suddenly become cast in breath-stealing darkness. But it can.
I know. It’s happened to me- maybe more than my fair share of times.
I mean, my life could almost be a textbook case for traumatic happenings.
Just imagine it-happy, safe, unsuspecting bundle of joy one day-witness to mother’s brutal death by raging fire demon the next. The person who gave me birth burned to death over my crib.
Not exactly a fairy tale come true-unless you count some of the original Grimm’s works.
Then- let’s not forget Jessica. So much for happy endings there.
I was feeling pretty good back then, too. I had spent some time with my big brother, successfully managed to avoid being sucked back into my father’s twisted world-then…bam!
Happy, successful, law school candidate shoe- in one day-freaky psychic boy the next. The sky fell in-literally. It rained fire. The person who gave me a purpose burned to death over the bed we shared. Fun times-as my brother would say.
Things between me and Dean are good. We’re on the same page-no force of nature better know as John Winchester between us. Okay, so I could do without the whole headache/vision experience and I‘d really like to know Dad is okay, but I finally feel like I have some stability in my life. A place where I belong-even if it is on the road in my brother‘s Chevy. A family-even if it’s not perfectly normal.
Then the rug gets pulled out from beneath me-again.
And this time, no one’s there to pick my ass up and drag me away from the jaws of death.
Dean’s been there to pick me up every time Fate has knocked me down. I depend on him in a way I never imagined-have taken for granted-maybe.
Not anymore. I just want him to be here I need him to save me. And I know he will.
Funny how taking a bullet to the head tends to put your whole life into perspective.
Life is one fucking prickly bitch. You can’t turn your back on her-not even for a minute. Not even to take a god damn piss.
Let your guard down and you’ll catch at best- a swift kick in the balls, at worst-a knife through the chest.
This latest attack is the fatal kind.
It shouldn’t surprise me. My whole life has been like a script for a freakin’ horror movie-one long Stephen King marathon. I’ve been running from one nightmare to the next for as long as I can remember.
This time is no different. Except-it may be my last. The grand finale.
I’ve faced demons, witches, vengeful spirits, poltergeists, and more- but it only takes one drugged out piece of shit to bring me to my knees. The fall of Dean Winchester-bad ass hunter extraordinaire.
He used the damn Kryptonite. Bastard.
He used Sam.
Why won’t she stop that stupid crying and just give me the money. That’s all I want. Give me the money, bitch, and I’ll get the hell out of here.
God-I’m hurting. These bugs are driving me fucking insane. I gotta get fixed up.
What the hell is that clanging?
I hear fucking bells.
Who the hell is this? Can’t he see I’m busy here?.
I’m the next in line.
Oh, God! Oh shit! He’s going to shoot him. Please don’t! Don’t do it!
Oh my God! Ohmygod!
The pain is so intense that at first I think my head might have just exploded.
A blinding, burning sensation tears across my skull.
I’m lifted off the ground and tossed back against the wall, near the door I just walked through. It stops me with a bone shattering abruptness-that honestly I should be use to by now.
Who knew pissed off poltergeists hung out in 7-11’s during the middle of the day.
I hear the shot before I make it to the corner of the building. I’m not shitting you-every fucking hair on my body- honest to God- stands on end. My heart climbs up my esophagus and threatens to land on the floor if I dare to open my mouth.
It doesn’t seem possible- but the scent of copper and gun powder reaches my nostrils as I make an about face and start back for the store.
One thought possesses my conscious-this is the episode when I won’t be in time.
Holy fuck! I just capped his ass. Did you see that, bitch?
Did you see the way his head snapped back and he hit that wall-like some cartoon character.
Wonder if he’ll leave one of those dents in the shape of his body.
Man, that had to hurt.
Damn-I wish this bitch would just stop screaming and give me my fucking money.
Maybe I should waste her, too.
OH GOD. OH GOD.
He shot him.
He just shot him! He’s dead.
Oh God, I’m going to be sick. This can’t be happening.
I’m going to die, too.
Please don’t kill me.
Please make it stop.
I’m not sure if I say the words out loud-but I’m screaming them inside my mind. What’s left of it.
I can’t even grasp the words…the meaning of them…to even name the agony that I’m in.
I’ve never hurt like this-not physically.
I forget where I am.
Forget who I am.
Only one thought pulses through the red haze.
Dean. Where’s Dean?
Sammy! Oh God.
He’s not at the car. And as I carefully edge around the corner where brick meets the glass door I can see the crazy psycho at the counter.
Sam’s age-if that. Blond, stringy hair. Black hoody. And very big gun.
He’s shaking the 9mm at the girl. Screaming at her.
She’s losing it.
But where’s Sam?
That’s really the only thing I need to know.
Something draws my attention to the door.
Blood. It’s splattered across the glass-smeared down the advertisements for lottery tickets.
It’s Sam’s blood. I feel it as well if I would have had it been my own that had been shed.
I know it’s bad even before I see his body lying on the floor. I let him out of my sight-and now he’s gone. And I no longer give a fuck.
What the fuck is up with the bells?
Look at this stupid ass coming through the door.
Who the fuck does he think he is-Dirty Harry?
I'll pop him just like the other one.
I’m next in line.
Oh thank God! Please help me.
Don’t just stand there!
I know he’s here.
I can feel his presence even though I can’t feel much of anything else.
My body is shutting down-hiding from the pain.
Going into shock-I guess.
I can’t hear anything either-except my brother’s heartbeat.
The silence hurts my ears.
Opening my eyes doesn’t help-something wet runs into them, blurring my vision.
The big, white light fades away though-and I see my brother. Like a mirage in the desert.
My body wants to move-to reach out to him, but nothing works.
Not even when I beg it to.
The girl is begging me to help her. I can see it in her terrified eyes.
Wonder if Sammy looked like that in the moment before it happened?
The dick head looks angry-like I’ve interrupted some important business meeting.
I just stepped over my baby brother’s dead body and the bastard’s looking at me like I owe him an apology.
I owe him all right.
The hand holding the gun he's pointing at me is shaking. Only thing more dangerous than a gun-wielding psychotic-is a nervous, tripping, gun-wielding psychotic.
His eyes are everywhere. Can’t miss the scabs and sores on his arms and face. He’s tweakin’. Poor messed up fucker-taking up good oxygen. Taking my brother’s life!
Might as well put him out of his fucking misery.
He shot me.
The grinning pretty boy just shot me.
Oh God-help me. I don’t want to die.
Ohmygod. Ohmygod. He killed him. He just killed him.
There’s blood on me. Blood on me.
It’s over. It’s over. Please let it be over.
I’m cold all over. I must be shaking, although I can’t tell if anything is moving.
Then he touches me.
I reach down to turn him over and my heart stops. I can’t believe his eyes are open-looking at me.
I tear my gaze away from him-almost afraid he’ll disappear again-and look at the girl behind the counter. “Call an ambulance. Now!”
Please let her pull herself together enough to do what I say.
One of my hands cups his cold, blood-covered cheek, and I use the other to search for the entrance wound.
Somehow I knew it was a head shot.
That’s just how Sam’s luck runs-you know.
If Sammy is going to get fucked up-he’s going to do it all the way.
First time he broke his arm-did it in three places.
First concussion-he goes into a coma.
First heartbreak- the girl dies in fiery blaze right in front of him.
Nope-my Sammy doesn’t do anything the easy way.
“I’m here, Sam.” He’s breathing. His heart is beating-fast and shallow-but the alternative isn’t something I want to consider.
He’s alive-that’s all I care about.
I can’t stop the tears that sting my eyes no more than I can stop the images from flashing through my mind.
Sam as a little baby. Sam playing ball. Sam graduating high school.
Sam giving me that stupid, lop-sided grin right before he walked into this fucking death trap.
“God damn it!” I swear, as I find what I’m looking for.
The bullet tore a chunk out of the side of his head-it’s score about two inches long and deep.
But no bone.
No gray matter.
Things can’t be good.
Dean looks as if he’s about to cry. Dean never cries. Never.
Okay-there was that once when he wrecked the Impala. But even then only one tear was brave enough to escape.
It died a brutal death, by the way.
Death-now that would make my brother cry.
Huh, Dad’s not here-so…
God-if Dad could see me now.
If he could see Sam.
He’d be a fucking monster.
“Sam-can you hear me?”
He’s still looking at me. I don’t think he’s blinked.
“Come on, Sammy. Talk to me.”
I’m so sorry, kiddo. Please forgive me.
A hand touches my shoulder and I jump.
I half expect to turn around and see John-fucking-Winchester glaring at me. All too ready to tell me just how sorry I am. But it’s the girl.
She hands me a towel, and she drapes a smock across Sam’s body.
I quickly press the make-shift bandage to the bleeding wound, holding it as tight as my shaking hands will allow.
I’m sure she said something about the ambulance but all that’s lost when Sam screams.
God! It hurts!
Why is this happening.?
How can I still be hurting?
Dean’s here now. I know he is. I heard his voice.
Dean-please. This shouldn’t be happening.
Dean-make it stop.
God-the kid looks bad.
He sounds bad.
How can somebody loose that much blood and still be alive?
I don’t know what else to do for him. For them.
Shouldn’t the ambulance be here by now? Shouldn’t someone be here to help us?
Why is this happening?
This shouldn’t be happening.
Sam’s breathing hard. I can feel him trembling against me. I hate hurting him, but I’ve got to stop the bleeding.
Blood is everywhere. God.
That fucking bastard shot my little brother.
He didn’t deserve to be in the same fucking room-let alone cause someone like Sam a minute of suffering.
I try to push away my murderous thoughts as Sam cries out again. I pull him closer, leaning over so I can talk to him. “Easy, Sammy. It’s okay. I’m here.”
What the fuck is wrong with this world. God-what is your fucking problem with us?
We just stopped for gas and something to drink. Haven't we earned a freakin' break?
Sam doesn’t deserve this!
“I’m sorry, little brother. But I’ve got to stop the bleeding.” I force a laugh to keep from crying. “You’re messing up this pretty lady’s floor.”
Oh know. It’s his brother! His kid brother.
He’s looking at me now-the older one. The one who saved us.
“I’m sorry,” I whisper, and his terrified green eyes go back to his brother’s face.
He saved my life-and now his brother is going to die.
I’m going to die.
I want to. I welcome it.
I can’t stand this anymore. It hurts so fucking bad.
God-somebody…just let me die.
You are not going to die, Sam!
“Open your eyes, Sammy!”
You are not going to leave me like this. Not like this. Not on some damn dirty floor of a fucking filling station taken out by some piece of white trash. Not you. Not my brother.
“Look at me, Sam.”
Don’t do this.
He’s shaking him. And shouting.
Should he be shaking him?
I’m not sure he should even be moving him.
Maybe…I should say something.
The room is moving-the ground is shifting.
I’m so cold.
“Dean,” I finally feel the vibrations of my vocal cords. The familiarity of that one word registering as it passes through my lips on a breath.
Then something lifts me up.
A faint smell teases my senses.
Then I’m wrapped in his arms.
I feel it.
“It’s me, Sammy. I’m here.”
Don’t you dare go.
I’ve let go of the towel now. Instead, I’m clinging to him-terrified that he’s slipping away.
Fuck the macho bullshit.
Who gives a shit if I’m a babbling idiot. My baby brother is dying.
I can’t do it alone, Sam.
“Yes you can,” his voice floats to me in a memory.
“Yeah-but I don’t want to,” mine echoes back.
I won’t do it either.
I’ll fucking take my self out. And not in some pussy way either. I’ll go out in a blaze of glory.
A shooting black ball of flame off the highest canyon I can find.
“Just hold on, Sammy. Please-for both our sakes.”
Hold on. I hear something.
I hear sirens.
“The ambulance is here.”
The green eyes glance up at me again. “Help’s here. Just hold on.”
The bells ring, and I swear to God that I’m going to make Jack remove them from the door-just before I turn in my two weeks notice. What was I thinking working here?
A cop enters first. His gun drawn.
Thank God! It’s Harry. My Harry.
“Harry-it’s okay. We need a paramedic in here. Now!”
He glances around the room again, his eyes resting on the dead robber for a second before going to the two brothers. Apparently he puts the scene together, because he barks something into the radio on his shoulder, and the damn bells are ringing again.
Finally-the paramedics are here.
One rushes to the asshole. The other makes his way towards us.
Harry helps me up and we hover in the wings.
What the hell is it with this day? First a five car pile up on I90-and now a shooting?
I’m getting too old for this shit.
I toss a glance at Frank. He’s bent over the other victim. When he looks up at me I can tell that it’s not good.
I nod and move on to the other ones.
Shit! Another kid.
I’ve seen too many messed up kids today.
“Son-let me get in here.”
Dad should be here.
I hear the deep voice and for a moment-I pray that my father is the one touching me.
But it’s not. Of course not. John doesn’t even know where we are.
It’s a big, dark-skinned man.
He’s wearing a uniform.
And trying to take Sam away from me. I tighten my grip.
This kid is messed up, too. There’s blood every where. All over him, all over the boy in his arms. I don’t know where it’s coming from.
"C’mon, kid-I need to look at your friend."
“It’s his brother,” the woman speaks up, and besides the glassy look of shock in her eyes and the splattered blood on her face-she seems okay. She goes back to talking to the cop.
Okay. Brothers. Great.
“Let me help your brother.”
Sam’s still trembling in my arms.
Every instinct in me is screaming at me to hold on. Not to let him go.
But my head wins the battle, and I ease him back to the floor, moving just a few inches away.
“What’s his name?” I glance up at the kid in the leather jacket.
“Sam,” he replies, not taking his eyes off the boy.
This brings his eyes to mine, and the anger and intensity in that glare shocks me just a little. “He was shot. 9mm round to the head. I don’t think it penetrated his skull.”
“You a cop?” He looks like a damn cop. Talks like one too. Maybe he’s vice.
Can’t be a cop-they’ll be too involved.
One’s already here now.
But I have a gun-and I just killed someone, so I better think of something.
“Private detective.” I have a liscense and everything. Gun’s even registered to the same name-Bruce Wayne.
“How old is your brother?”
“Is he allergic to anything?” I can ask these questions in my sleep.
The private eye is watching my every move so intensely, I’m not sure he heard me.
“I heard you,” he snaps, and runs a bloodied hand through his hair. “I’m trying to remember.”
Finally he shakes his head. “Steroids. And he had a bad reaction to codeine once.”
“What about you?”
My question seems to catch him off guard. “You hurt anywhere?”
“No-just my brother.”
I finish checking the kid’s vitals. They’re not the best in the world-but they could be worse.
He’s shocky though. And still losing blood.
When I lift one of his eye lids and shine my penlight-the kid flinches.
And despite his brother’s glare-I’m relieved.
“Sam-can you hear me?” I tap lightly at his cheek. “Open your eyes.”
I slap him a little harder. “Sam!”
If he slaps him one more time-I’m going to rip his fucking arm off and beat him to death with it.
“Take it easy, man.”
Sam stirs at the sound of my voice and I grab his hand.
“Come on, Sammy. Open those eyes and flash the Doc here your patented puppy dog stare.”
Before I have to kill him.
Please-Sam. Listen to me for once.
That did the trick. The kid opens his eyes and immediately groans.
I feel bad for him.
That’s one hell of a nasty score on his head.
He’s got to be in some major pain.
After glancing at his brother, I turn the light back on, and take a look.
“D..ean,” the kid, Sam, tries to pull away from me.
“It’s okay, Sammy-I’m still here.”
Dean is glaring at me again-his eyes promising certain death if I’m not careful.
“Pupils are slow to react and unequal,” I tell him. “We need to get him ready for transport.”
“But he’s going to be okay-right?”
I don’t answer him. Instead I start an I.V. and call it in.
Bright lights are burning a hole into my brain, and Dean is yelling about something.
What the hell is going on? Where am I?
Fiery pain shoots through my skull and I hear my self scream.
I think Dean is yelling again.
Then I don’t hear anything at all.
Damn-the kid is strong.
Lucky thing I got back in here when I did. He’d taken Max’s head off.
“Easy, tiger. He’s got to clean that wound to get a better look at it.”
“Get off me, man.”
He shakes free of my grip and I watch him cautiously as he makes his way back to the victim- who Max is still leaned over.
My partner has been doing this job for more years than I’ve been alive so it doesn’t surprise me that he seems unfazed by the tough guy’s attitude.
Although, after witnessing his apparent handiwork on the recently deceased John Doe over by the register-I don’t think Max should push his luck.
“What do we need?” I squat next to Max, running an eye over the kid, who’s lying in a pool of his own blood. Shit.
“We need a board,” my partner replies with a look that I recognize as worry. “Let’s get him in A.S.A.P.”
We move to load him on the stretcher I brought and the older kid kind of panics.
“Wait-I’m going with him.”
“You can’t do that-son. I need your statement.”
I’m not letting him out of my sight.
“I’m going with my brother.”
Nothing’s ever easy.
I really don’t want to wrestle this guy. He looks pretty fucking mean. And I just went four rounds with a boozed up wife-beater.
“I can’t let you walk out of here after putting a bullet in somebody-I don’t care if they were robbing the place or not.”
“Come on, Harry.”
Gina’s looking at me, with those eyes.
“I’ll tell you everything. Let the guy go with his brother. He’s not going to leave town.”
She smiles at me, and I can only think of what could have happened. “He saved my life.”
“We need to go here!”
God-the Chief is going to kick my ass. “Go on-I’ll catch up with you at the hospital.”
Damn-how long does it take for a doctor to check things out.
I’ve been here two hours already, and nobody’s told me anything.
I think my pacing has started to get on the nurses nerves, but I don’t really give a shit.
People are staring at me-probably because of the blood covering my clothes.
Where the hell is that doctor?
Well, considering the way his desperate gaze just locked on me and he’s looking like the bad side of a traffic accident-I’m guessing this is the kid’s brother.
“Mr….,” I search my clipboard for a name-but only see Sam’s.
“I’m Dean,” he speaks up, quickly, not bothering to offer a last name. “How’s my brother, Doc?”
“Well, Dean, you’re brother is one lucky young man.”
Sam-lucky? Huh. I never really looked at it that way.
But hopefully that means what I think it means.
“He’s going to be okay?” The look in the older woman’s eyes is hard to read.
Dad always said that most doctors would make excellent poker players, and I always said they’d spend too much damn time thinking about their next move before they made it.
Like now-Red’s hedging her bet-not sure if she should show too much optimism.
For crying out loud.
“He’s alright-isn’t he? I mean-it was a glancing blow- right? No permanent damage?”
Please. Just tell me he’s alright.
Okay-apparently kid gloves won’t be necessary here. This one looks and sounds like he’s been around the block a few times.
“Your brother hasn’t regained consciousness. Until he does-I won’t know the severity of his condition.”
He actually wilts in front of me and I rush to offer up the positive aspect. “The wound isn’t too severe, but your brother is concussed.”
He’s got a hard head.
Sam’s had concussions before. God-I wonder how many he has had?
He’s not playing coma boy again-I hope.
“No coma though-right?”
We’ve been through that fucking shit before.
I have a feeling that some of Sam’s medical records are missing.
“No coma.” Thank God.
It’s a miracle though. One millimeter more and we would have been dealing with a fracture.
The kid has one hell of a hard head.
“You can sit with him if you like. We’ve got him in ICU- just as a precaution. His vital signs are good-but we want to be guarded.”
Caution is your friend when dealing with head wounds.
At least it’s not the morgue.
“Yeah-that’d be good.”
Oh, man. This is not good. What the hell happened?
I’m awake-at least I think I am. But it’s still dark.
Why is it dark?
Where am I?
I can’t open my eyes. Why aren’t they working?
My head…something’s wrong with my head.
Although-I can’t quite grasp what it is.
It’s aching. I must have hit it-or something.
Everything’s fuzzy-almost like a dream.
Trying to lift my arm isn’t working either. It’s caught under something.
Is someone else here?
Oh God. What if Dean’s hurt?
Shit. My neck hurts.
That’ll teach me to fall asleep on the job.
The nurse just walked in-caught me slacking on the watch- and she’s giving me the look.
Not the damn you're handsome look I usually get from the ladies-but the it’s time to get your ass out of my way look that the nurses in this joint have down to a perfection.
She starts to set down a tray of medication-just as I stand up-too quickly by the way- and we kind of collide.
Okay, I almost fall over, and she catches me-but we will not be sharing that with anyone any time soon.
The problem is, she isn’t fast enough to steady me and catch the metal tray.
Who knew one flat piece of steel could make such a loud, freakin’ noise.
It almost sounds like a gun shot…
I’ve been shot.
He just shot me!
The flashback jolts me into complete consciousness and the pain finds me immediately-latching on, consuming every nerve ending imaginable.
I walked into the store-there was a man-he turned around and then…
I’m at his side before the nurse can even react.
“Hey, it’s okay,” I tell him-not knowing if I’m lying or not.
His eyes are still closed, but his face is twisted in pain-fists clinched in the sheets. And he’s breathing hard and fast.
One of the monitors starts beeping and the nurse makes her way to it.
I focus on my brother.
Putting one hand on the side of his face that isn’t bruised-I lean in closer, trying to sound calmer than I feel. “Sammy? Can you hear me?”
Dean’s here. He’ll help me.
“D..ean,” I swallow hard, trying to bring even the smallest amount of moisture to my throat. “Help.”
“Do something!” Dean’s yelling at someone.
God. Can’t he talk like a normal person for once?
“Sir-I’ll have to get the doctor.”
I don’t know that voice. It’s a woman. There was a woman before-at the store. Right?
“Well-go find her!”
Dean’s barking orders-are we on a hunt?
Something warm is touching my face. “Hey, little brother. I’m here.”
His is voice is softer now-the words are familiar and soothing. We must be alone. This is a side of him only I get to see.
I wish I could see him.
I can’t stand to see him in pain.
Where is that damn doctor? What kind of place are they running here?
He whimpers again and I just about lose it. I let go of him long enough to pound on the nurse’s call button. "Somebody-get your ass in here!"
For crying out loud-why don’t they just take their sweet time.
“Sam-just take it easy.” I run my hand up and down his arm, trying to offer any kind of comfort I can. "Just breathe, okay. Nice and slow."
Man, I suck at this shit. First-I let him get shot, and now I can’t even stop him from hurting.
He’s clutching my hand. That’s good-I think. He knows I’m here.
Why can’t I just kill something and make it all better.
Just like I killed the piece of shit that put him here. Maybe I should salt and burn the bastard for good measure.
The light burns my eyes when I finally get them open. I blink back the tears-and try to focus on anything but the pain.
I concentrate on breathing-and it helps some.
Finally, I recognize a blurry shape. Make that two fuzzy blobs that resemble my older brother.
I don’t think the world can handle two Dean Winchesters.
Although he’d probably be glad for the reinforcements considering the amount of trouble I seem to attract.
“Dean…what…,” I want to ask him what happened, and what’s going on, but someone else is suddenly beside him, and unfamiliar hands are on my face.
“Sam-can you hear me?”
The red headed doctor almost knocked me out of the way-good to see someone is in a hurry.
But she can just forget the idea of me leaving.
I’m not going anywhere until I talk to Sammy. Or better yet-Sam talks to me.
“How long has he been conscious?” She’s speaking to me, but still examining Sam.
“About 2 or 3 minutes, tops.”
“Did he say anything?”
“Just my name.”
She shoots me a look, and smiles slightly. “That’s good.”
Just to show off, Sam says it again. And this time it’s louder.
And I feel like a proud owner of a puppy who just performed a perfect command.
“Dean? What’s…going on?”
“Do you know where you are, Sam?”
Again it’s the woman’s voice. I can make out her face now. Both of them.
“No,” I answer, and she’s smiling.
“You’re at the hospital.”
I move my eyes with some effort and wince as the mere action sends another stab of pain through my skull. I don't want to even imagine what moving my head would do.
"Do you feel sick, Sam?"
I start to nod but think better of it just in time. "A...little."
“How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Four,” I croak, and recognize the test for a concussion.
Maybe it's not as bad as I think. I mean if half my head was missing-we wouldn't be having this conversation.
The frown that comes over her face tells me that my relief may be a little premature.
"Can you tell me your full name?"
The doctor's looking at me for confirmation. I guess Sam totally blowing the finger count has her a little nervous. It's got me freaked out a little, too.
I nod that he's got this one right, and she goes back to torturing him with that damn pen light.
"What year is it?"
Sam sighsand I can't help the smile that spreads across my face. "2006," he answers weakly.
When he gasps and cries out, the smile disapears. "Take it easy," I find myself saying for not the first time tonight.
"There's a lot of swelling around the wound, but that's to be expected," she tells me, without even glancing my way.
"Can you give him something for the pain?"
Finally the pen light is put away, and she straightens up and crosses her arms over her chest. "I'll have the nurse give him a light sedative-I don't want to put him out again until we can run some more tests."
"Is he going to be okay?"
She looks from me to Sam, who's blinking at us as if he can't quite focus. "I think you're brother is going to pull through."
My knees feel weak.
I slowly sit down on the edge of Sam's bed.
"I'm going to order those diagnostics." She looks at me. "I think you should take that time to get yourself cleaned up."
When I start to open my mouth to protest-she shakes her head. "There's a hotel not five minutes away," she smiles, and I notice for the first time that she's pretty hot. "Besides, you're starting to draw flies."
It sounds like my brother actually laughed at the dig but when I glance his way, he's still looking dazed and more than a little shaky.
"Thanks, Doc," I tell her as she walks out of the room, and then take back residency in the chair by Sam's bed. "How you feeling, kiddo?"
"Like... someone... used my head for a speed bump."
Dean smiles. "Pretty close-you were target practice."
"Lucky-the guy was a bad shot-huh?"
My brother's face pales and I wonder what it is that I'm not remembering. "You okay?"
"Yeah, I'm good."
I fucked up-that's what happened.
"A robbery," the words sound so wrong. How can something so 'normal' in today's world seem so foreign to ours. "Addict-looking for drug money."
He closes his eyes a minute, struggling with the pain, and I can't help myself, as I take his hand again. "He won't be hurting anyone again."
Especially not you, little brother.
God-I'm so fucking glad you're okay.
"Hey, stay awake. You don't want to sleep through your tests- do you, College Boy?"
He opens his eyes again and squeezes my hand. "Thanks."
"For what?" My heart speeds up, and I have to bite the inside of my jaw to keep my emotions in line.
For what? Is he serious?
"For saving me-again."
Just like always.
"I didn't save you, Sam." He looks so disappointed.
Why is he looking at me like that?
Like he failed.
"I got there after the fact," he says, letting go of my hand and running both his through his hair.
What's he talking about?
"Yes you did save me." I know I sound about five, but damn it- he did.
"You have the bullet wound that says differently."
I shake my head and instantly regret it as a wave of nausea rushes over me. "Oh God."
"No sudden moves, Bullseye." I bring my hand to rest on his head-keeping him still and he looks up at me.
"No more nicknames."
I smile. "But you give me such good material to work with, Skeet."
"Superheroes are suppose to use their powers for good-not to torture their kid brothers," he tells me, and all I see is his five year old self clinging to that stupid Captain America doll.
Guilt steals my breath and I let my hand slide through his hair and pull away.
"I'm no superhero, Sam."
I need to get out of here. Just for little while.
Where's that nurse?
I stand up to go, and he catches my hand.
He doesn't get it. Idiot.
"To me you are."
Always have been. Always will be, big brother.
Shutting me out.
"You're always there for me, Dean."
No matter what's going through that freaky head of yours.
I use to think so.
But now-I'm just not so sure about anything.
"I better go, before the doc comes back in and decides to spank me," I tell him and he grins-that stupid, lop-sided way that he does, and when he lets go of me-I feel cold.
Nothing like having your baby brother get himself shot in the head to put your whole miserable life into perspective.