MissBayliss

Picking up the Pieces (SPN, Dean)

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Ugh crap... poor little guy. 

And uh.. I'm thinking they need to call more than his brother.. :omg:

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I just discover your fic (if I have to be honest, I didn't read it before because it was a bit too long for me... yes, I'm stupid) and my God, this is one of the best sickfics I've ever read, and believe me, I've read quite a lot, in different fandoms :rolleyes:. I love angst but I don't like whump, and for me you have found the perfect balance. The psychological analysis is really interesting (well, I still don't know the fandom but I've read enough to understand what happened) and the interactions between the characters very well described and nuanced. And of course the description of the symptoms is awsome. The back and forth between moments of (relative) peace and crisis is very well done. I love it. Thank you so much for writing it!

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On 1 March 2017 at 3:31 AM, Aliena H. said:

I just discover your fic (if I have to be honest, I didn't read it before because it was a bit too long for me... yes, I'm stupid) and my God, this is one of the best sickfics I've ever read, and believe me, I've read quite a lot, in different fandoms :rolleyes:. I love angst but I don't like whump, and for me you have found the perfect balance. The psychological analysis is really interesting (well, I still don't know the fandom but I've read enough to understand what happened) and the interactions between the characters very well described and nuanced. And of course the description of the symptoms is awsome. The back and forth between moments of (relative) peace and crisis is very well done. I love it. Thank you so much for writing it!

:blush: I am guilty of writing long fics. haha Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm really glad you like it. I try to find a nice flow between drama and comedy. I can feel it as I'm writing if it needs to take a lighter turn or if something dramatic needs to happen. I think that's the beauty of not writing to a story plan. I'm glad you gave it a chance and I hope you continue to read :) if you haven't already read it, there is a prequel called Taking Some Time. :heart: 

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Chapter Twenty

 

“Sam, pick up your damn phone. I’m taking Dean to the hospital.”

“You’re gonna… freak him out,” Dean panted.

“Why shouldn’t he freak out?” Riley sighed, “How you doing, stud?”

Dean coughed, leaning forward and clutching at the dashboard of Riley’s car, “God,” he pressed his head against it, “My chest… friggen hurts.”

“Okay, honey. Don’t talk anymore. Just take shallow breaths, okay?”

Dean nodded, against the hard plastic of the dashboard, a hand fisted in his shirt.

“We’ll be there soon,” Riley said, steering the car in the direction of the hospital.

 

 

“It looks like you’ve got some fluid build up in your pleural space around your lung, caused by the ongoing pneumonia. It’s not too bad at this stage, so we’ll give you some fluids for a few hours, antibiotics, and pain management.”

Dr Reid looked at Dean over his glasses.

Dean cleared his throat, “Okay…”

He sighed and placed the folder on the table by Dean’s bed, “You know I wasn’t working here today… They called me when you came in.”

Dean furrowed his brow.

“You perplex me.”

Dean scoffed, wincing and rubbing his chest.

“You’re severely immune-compromised, Dean. And I want to know why. There’s no reason why a strong, young man like you can’t fight this off, but you’re not.”

Dean swallowed and looked down, “I’m not strong.”

Dr Reid picked up his folder, frowning, “Maybe that’s your problem right there.”

Dean looked up at the doctor.

“We’ll try and get you out of here in a few hours, but I want to run some tests while we’ve got you, so the nurses’ll be in and out.”

“Sure, doc.”

Reid looked solemnly at Dean and left.

Dean tried to calm his racing heart. He knew the doc knew something. That he’d been out drinking. That he’d disobeyed. Even if he didn’t now, something in his blood or his urine would indicate it… surely. Although, there was no reason for him to say anything to Sam or Bobby. He had doctor patient confidentiality. He wouldn’t talk. At least that’s what he hoped.

“You okay?” Riley was standing at the door.

Dean nodded, closing his eyes and rubbing them hard with his fingers.

“I called the bar but Sam had gone out. He must be on his lunch break.”

Dean dropped his hand, “And he’s not answering his phone?”

“No,” she shook her head.

“That’s not like him,” Dean muttered.

“I can get Jim to call me when he gets back in.”

“Yeah, could you?” Dean asked, trying not to worry. He was the one in hospital again, but it didn’t stop him worrying about his little brother. Nothing would.

Riley nodded, texting, “Do you want me to call your uncle? Is he home?”

“Yeah, he’s home… maybe, I dunno. Doc said I’ll be outta here in a few hours.”

Riley raised her eyebrow.

“What?”

“You’re not gonna tell him?”

Dean sighed, “Don’t start.”

Riley held her hands up in surrender, “What about your girlfriend? Gonna tell her?”

Dean just looked down, “She’s not my girlfriend.”

Riley shrugged.

Dean sighed.

“This isn’t a big deal, Riles. Doc’s just running tests.”

“You couldn’t breathe.”

“I’m sorry, alright? Can we just drop it.”

“Sure, Dean. Whatever you want,” Riley stood up, “I’m just gonna… take a walk.”

While Riley was gone Dean actually worked up the courage to ask the nurse for some pain relief. After that he fell into a fitful doze, worrying about Sam and why in hell he wouldn’t answer his friggen phone.

 

 

"I can only be gone for half an hour, tops," Sam said, throwing his jacket on the bed.

"Well, hello to you too, Sam," Ruby snarked, sitting up against the headboard, arms folded across her chest.

Sam sat down on the edge of the bed and put his head in his hands. He felt Ruby worm up behind him, her hands gliding over his shoulders.

"What's wrong?"

"We shouldn't be doing this," he breathed.

Ruby swung herself around onto Sam's lap, straddling him, her lips close to his face.

"Think about Dean, Sam. About what Lilith did to him. He's the way he is, because of her. You want someone to blame, you want someone to kill, you know where you need to point the trigger."

Sam grabbed her shoulders roughly, pulling her away.

Ruby smiled.

"I can help you get her, Sam. I can help you get revenge."

Sam tugged her towards him, kissing her violently, biting her bottom lip. His hand found its way up the back of her shirt and he felt her cold against him.

He threw her down on the bed and climbed on top of her, eyes pleading.

Ruby grabbed the knife from her boot and handed it to him, "Slice me anywhere you want."

Sam shuddered, his body trembling with excitement. He pulled up her shirt and sliced the blade along her stomach, crouching down to suck the crimson liquid from her before it ran down onto the sheets.

Ruby stroked Sam's hair, smiling, "That's it, Sam. It's gonna be okay."

 

...

 

"Your liver enzyme count has gone up since the last test."

Dean blinked at Dr Reid, not giving anything away.

"Dean, have you stopped drinking?"

Dean cleared his throat, "I had a, uh, setback."

Reid nodded, "I've had the conversation once. I'm not going to repeat myself every time you stumble back through these doors. The ball is in your court, Dean. There is help if you need it, and you know what you need to do."

Dean coughed, wincing and shifting in the bed, "Can I go?"

The doc sighed, "Yeah, you can go. As long as you've got someone to drive you home."

"Lucky I hung around," Riley said, appearing at the door.

Reid turned, stepping towards her and lowering his voice, "Take him straight home."

Riley didn't move her eyes from the doctors until he stepped through the door and wandered back down the hall, away from Dean Winchester, shoulders sagging slightly.

"You ready to get outta here?"

Dean smothered a cough into his arm and clumsily tried to straighten himself in the bed, "Yeah."

 

...

 

Sam pulled his eyes open, heavy from sleep, not enough sleep. He lifted his arm up off Ruby's waist, their skin sticking together with perspiration. He furrowed his brow, taking in his surroundings, the battered, skeavy motel room walls. His eyes found the clock on the bedside table.

"Son of a bitch!"

"Sam?" Ruby asked, sleepily pushing herself up.

"Why did you let me fall asleep?" He yelled at her, tugging his pants on.

"Let you? Grow up, Winchester," she bit back, inspecting the wound on her abdomen, "Went a little deep this time."

Sam threw her a look over his shoulder, pulling on a shirt, "What? Where's my phone?"

"I dunno, your jacket?" She suggested, lying back down and stretching casually.

"Dammit," he cursed, "I'm gonna lose my freaking job."

"Who cares," she laughed.

Sam directed a filthy look her way, reaching a hand into his jacket pocket to retrieve his phone.

"What the - 8 missed calls?"

"Thought I heard something."

"Shut up," he said, calling his voicemail and putting the phone to his ear.

"Sam, pick up your damn phone. I'm taking Dean to the hospital."

"Oh my god."

 

 

Dean was still hungover. His back was clenching. The painkillers they’d pumped him full of were dulling the pain slightly, but each movement sent a stab through the fog and reminded him he was alive. His stomach was churning from the antibiotics and he really wanted to hurl again. His chest was uncomfortably tight and when he coughed every inch of him hurt, but all he seemed to want to do was cough… and wasn’t that just delightful.

“You alright?” Riley asked, her previous bitterness having dissipated.

Dean coughed involuntarily, trying not to cry, “Sam called yet?”

Riley glanced at him but Dean avoided her eyes, “No, and Jim hasn’t seen him yet.”

“Dammit,” he cursed, “I should’a called Bobby sooner. Sent him out after him… anything could’a happened.”

“I’m sure he’s fine, Dean.”

Dean shook his head. Riley didn’t get it. Riley didn’t understand. She didn’t know about monsters, and demons, and vampires, and ghouls, all of which knew very well about the Winchesters. All of which would be delighted to kill them any chance they got. It wasn’t like Sam to skip out on work and not answer his phone, especially while Dean was the way he was. It didn’t make sense.

“Do you want your jacket on?” Riley asked, holding it out to him.

“Dean Winchester?” the orderly arrived at the door, pushing a wheelchair in front of him.

Dean looked from Riley to the orderly, “Oh, I’m not gettin’ in that.”

 

 

Due to hospital policy, Dean did go out in a wheelchair. As soon as he saw the door though, he was clambering to his feet, leaning on Riley unapologetically. He heard the car before he even saw it approach. Thrumming through the parking lot up to the emergency set down. Sam was steering the impala towards him, making the tires squeal as he pulled up in front of the entrance. Dean scowled at the reckless way he was driving his baby.

“You’re gonna bald the tires!” he chastised as Sam scrambled out of the car and raced around to his brother, wrapping his arms around him.

“What the hell happened?” he asked, out of breath.

“Dude, get off me,” Dean wriggled away, “Where were you? Riley called you like ten times.”

Dean swayed and closed his eyes, steadying himself on his brother’s shoulder.

“Come on, you need to sit down. You boys can argue later,” Riley said, her hand on the small of Dean’s back.

“Dean, I’m sorry.”

“Whatever,” Dean grumbled, climbing into the passenger seat, “Just take me home.”

 

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Beautiful chapter once again. 

Sorry I can never add anything worth much as far as comments go..  but just know, this story makes me smile. And that's saying a lot. 

Thank you 

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On 12/03/2017 at 5:32 AM, MissBayliss said:

I am guilty of writing long fics.

Sincerely, this is just perfect. I was just too lazy to read it, but now I won't stop!!!

On 12/03/2017 at 5:38 AM, MissBayliss said:

Dean swallowed and looked down, “I’m not strong.”

Dr Reid picked up his folder, frowning, “Maybe that’s your problem right there.”

I loved these lines.

Another great part! And I'm going to read your prequel as soon as I can, thank you!

 

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I love this very much.

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Chapter Twenty One

 

Riley helped get Dean into the passenger seat then turned sharply to Sam, “I’ll be talking to you later.”

“Riley, I –“

“Hey,” she stopped him, eyes wide, “You can justify why you skipped out on work and your brother later. Just take him home.”

Sam swallowed, clenching his jaw. He looked down, about to say something, when Riley cut him off.

“He was really worried about you.”

Sam didn’t say anything. He had nothing to say. He had no reasonable explanation as to why he’d left work for hours and not been contactable.

“I’ll call you later.”

Sam hadn’t even got himself together enough to say thank you. He just responded to Dean’s sharp tap on the window, telling him to hurry the heck up, and rounded the car to slide into the driver’s seat.

“Dean –“

“Sam,” Dean said, his gruff voice sounding weak, “Just drive.”

Sam didn’t speak again until he’d pulled out onto the road.

“Do you want to tell me what the hell happened?”

Dean stiffened, then huffed, “Funny, I was about to ask the same question.”

“Look, man. I’m sorry. I went on my lunch break and I… I fell asleep in the car.”

Dean looked at him, eyebrows raised, “You fell asleep?”

Sam sighed, “I didn’t mean to, alright? I just was resting my eyes and… I didn’t even hear the phone ringing.”

“You not getting enough sleep or something?” Dean asked, voice strained, breathing laboured.

Sam could tell Dean was pissed at him, stemming from the worry he’d held for his little brother his entire life. He knew it was a weak excuse, and it was a lie, all he could come up with on the drive over. But there was more in Dean’s question. He could sense the guilt pouring off his brother. Sam hadn’t been getting enough sleep, because he was working almost constantly, staying up with Dean, helping him get through the day, driving him to appointments, sneaking out with Ruby to exorcise demons and drink her blood, training for when he inevitably left his brother to pursue Lilith. He could feel his own guilt creeping up his neck, flushing his skin. He’d never intended to do this but Ruby was right. Lilith had done this to Dean, all of it. And he needed to make it right. He needed to get revenge. He needed Lilith’s head on a plate.

“Light’s red!” Dean practically shouted.

Sam slammed on the breaks, the heavy car fishtailing slightly. Dean was thrown forward a little, one hand on the dashboard, bracing him back in the seat.
“Ah! Son of a…”

“You alright, Dean? God, I’m sorry.”

Dean tipped his head back, eyes closed. He was breathing carefully, controlled, lips tight.

“Dean?”

Dean held up a hand, telling him stop, give me a minute, I can’t answer right now.

The light turned green and Sam eased the car back in motion, glancing sidelong at his brother, whose breaths were quickening exponentially.

“Dean?”

Dean’s hands were in tight fists now, one still pressing into the dashboard.

“You gotta calm down, man.”

Dean’s body was rigid. He was in a lot of pain, a lot, and he was having a panic attack because of it.

“Why don’t you… learn to… drive?”

Sam laughed despite himself and reached one hand out to his brother’s shoulder. Dean still hadn’t opened his eyes.

“Relax.”

Dean’s breathing wasn’t slowing, it set him off coughing and he curled forward, head on the dash this time.

“Relax those muscles, dude,” Sam’s hand ghosted up and down his hunched back, feeling the dampness and tension, “Slow it down.”

“Hurts…”

“I know, but you’re freaking out. Just relax a little, it’s okay.”

Dean sighed, but slowly Sam felt at least some of the tension drain out of him.

“They give you painkillers in there?”

Dean nodded almost unperceivably, “Wearing off.”

“Okay, we’ll have some more when we get home.”

Another nod.

“You gonna lean back?”

Dean tensed a little again, “No.”

“Okay…”

“Just… watch the road.”

Sam swallowed, tensing his jaw, his lips tightening. He was trying to do the right thing, but he just kept making everything worse.

When they got home Dean uncurled from his position against the dash and hoisted himself out of the car on his own. Sam made it round to his side but he brushed him off, staggering ahead without his crutches until he found the handrail to climb the stairs to the porch.

Dean waited until Sam unlocked the front door and then pushed through first, heading into the kitchen.

Bobby was sitting at the table and looked quizzically between the two boys, the tension so tangible it could be cut with a knife.

“Boys,” he said in a way of greeting, “Somethin’ I missed?”

“I just picked Dean up from the hospital,” Sam explained simply.

Bobby kept his expression fairly blank, although it was clear it was a surprise to him.

“I’m fine,” Dean grunted, rummaging in the kitchen draw for his pills, “Sleeping beauty here on the other hand…”

Sam sighed.

“What’s going on with you two?” Bobby asked, standing.

Sam was still standing by the front door, like a deer caught in the headlights, “It’s nothing, I, uh –“

“He fell asleep, missed work, and wouldn’t answer his phone. That’s not nothing!”

“Dean, calm down,” Sam said softly, avoiding Bobby’s shocked glare.

“Don’t tell me to calm down,” Dean tried shaking some pills out on his hand, ended up upending the bottle, pills scattering everywhere. He tried to bend, dropped the bottle and leaned back against the wall, legs shaking beneath him.

Bobby was across the room faster than Sam was, getting Dean’s arm over his shoulders, “Take it easy, boy.”

“I need two,” Dean slammed his eyes shut, looking queasy.

Sam stood on, feeling helpless.

“Sam, grab me some pills, would ya?” Bobby ordered.

 Sam stooped to the kitchen floor, grabbing a couple of pills and handing them to his trembling brother. Dean tipped them into his mouth and swallowed them dry, grimacing.

“Why don’t we get you horizontal?” Bobby suggested.

Dean was tight, unmoving. Sam could tell whatever he’d done to his back had seized him up where he was standing, barely under his own power. Sam was hit with another pang of guilt at knowing his careless driving had caused at least some of it.

“Hang on,” Dean grinded out through clenched teeth.

“Can’t stand here all day,” Bobby muttered, adjusting his hold on Dean.

The movement, however subtle, made Dean’s hand grip into Bobby’s shoulder tightly and he sucked in a short sharp breath.

“Easy, boy.”

Sam watched Dean weaken and it looked like he was about to hurl.

“And we’re walking,” Bobby ordered, pulling Dean with him gently. He knew what would inevitably happen if they continued to stand.

Sam saw them struggling and went to Dean’s left side, getting under his arm. It must have been the height difference, the fact that Sam was a few inches taller, and that Dean had had shoulder surgery only a few months ago, but again, in trying to do the right thing, Sam had made it worse.

Shoulder! Shoulder!” Dean hissed, pressing more weight into Bobby, trying to escape his brother.

“God, sorry…”

For a moment Sam felt like a little kid. The way Dean and Bobby had snapped at him reminded him of their dad, and life on the road before he’d left for Stanford. Before his desire to leave his family had overtaken him, he’d just wanted to do everything he could to make his dad proud. Dean was constantly proud of him, he knew that… dad was a different story. Everything with dad he felt like he had to earn, whereas Dean gave it to him freely. Right now though, Dean had never reminded him more of their father.

It only took a moment for Sam to check himself and get into brother mode. He got ahead of Dean and Bobby, which wasn’t hard, and pulled back the covers on Dean’s bed, plugging in and turning on the heat pad.

Bobby sat Dean down on the edge of the bed.

“Here, lie back, man,” Sam offered.

“I need, uh,” Dean panted, “I can’t be less than 45 degrees,” he indicated with his hand, gesturing to the pillows.

Sam and Bobby shared a glance, “Why not?” Sam asked first.

“I got, uh,” he made a swirling motion around his chest.

Bobby straightened, “Dean, why don’t you tell us why you were at the hospital?”

Dean cleared his throat, “Pleural effusion.”

“What the heck is that?” Sam asked.

“I dunno, Sam. Google it,” Dean moaned, “Basically my lungs hate me.”

“Well is it bad?”

“It can be but it’s not,” Dean snapped.

“Well,” Sam tried to wrap his head around it, and why his brother was being so blasé about the whole thing, “What do we have to do? Could it get worse?”

Dean pulled a pill bottle out of his pocket, “Well, it could but, look, I got more pills. So, we can add that to the two thousand other ones I’m taking.”

Dean paled, other hand gripping the mattress as the task of sitting on the edge of his bed began to wear on him, the brief conversation leaving him out of breath.

“Alright, well, we’ll add it to the list,” Bobby said, stooping to grab Dean’s legs and help him get them up on the bed, “Meanwhile, you need to lie down before you pass out.”

Dean swallowed, and Sam noted that his lips were losing colour too. Bobby wasn’t far wrong.

Sam had stacked the pillows up so Dean wasn’t less than 45 degrees as he’d said. He was going to take Dean up on his offer and Google it though.

It took both Sam and Bobby to help Dean shuffle back onto the bed. Dean gripped their arms and arced his back up in pain.

God,” he winced through clenched teeth.  

“It’s alright. We got ya,” Sam muttered, as they finally got Dean semi-comfortable against the pillows.

Bobby looked at Sam pointedly, “I’m gonna give you boys a minute,” he said, before leaving the room and pulling the door half shut behind himself.

“Sam, I’m tired.”

Dean had already shut him out before he’d even begun.

“I get it, dude… Are you really doing okay?”

Dean smiled, rubbed a hand across his chest, “I’m… doing the best I can, man.”

“I’m sorry for –“

“Forget it, dude,” Dean breathed, eyes closed and looking thoroughly out of steam. Too exhausted to fight.

Sam wanted to say something like, we’re in this together, Dean, or, we’ll get through it, I’m here for you. Some chick-flick bullshit that Dean probably wouldn’t appreciate. So in the end he said nothing. Sam sighed, about to stand up when Dean’s eyes opened.

“Hey, um…” Dean glanced away, like he was embarrassed, “Can you get me something, you know, to help me sleep?”

Sam kept his expression carefully blank, not giving away how surprised he was by the request.

“Sure, man.”

 

 

Dean woke to his phone ringing on the bedside table. It was his familiar rock riff, along with the intrusive rumbling of the vibration against a wooden surface. His body came awake sluggishly, and it was a long ten or so seconds before he could reach out a hand to grab his phone.

“Hello?” His voice was deep, grumbling low in his chest, causing him a stab of pain.

“Dean! It’s Katie. Is this a bad time?”

Dean rubbed a hand over his forehead, closing his eyes again and swallowing.

“No... Sorry, I was sleeping.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to wake you up. You can go back to sleep. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Katie, wait,” Dean panted, “You don’t have to go.”

She sighed, breathy and sweet, “How are you?”

Dean swallowed again, mouth dry, “I’m doing okay. How’re you?”

“I’m fine,” she paused, “Dean… I know you weren’t in the best way after our date… I feel like I pushed too hard. I just wanted to apologise.”

Dean’s breath quickened and he had to stifle a painful cough. She hadn’t pushed all that hard. He wouldn’t put that on her. A light breeze was all it took these days to set him off. It may have been her questions yesterday that caused him to get a taxi to the nearest open bar, or it may have just been the fact that he was on his own for once, his brother not breathing down his neck. He’d wanted a drink ever since he’d been told he couldn’t have one. Even before that. He couldn’t remember a time in his life when he hadn’t wanted a drink. And since he pulled his body through the dirt, out of his grave, the desire had been crippling.

“Dean, you okay?”

“Yeah –“ Dean struggled to control his disobedient lungs, “It’s not your fault. You don’t have to apologise.”

“No, I… I realize there’re things you can’t talk about, things you don’t want to talk about, and I don’t hold it against you. I just wanted to understand.”

“I know,” Dean grumbled, anxiety creeping up his chest.

“I hoped you’d maybe want to, hang out again?” She asked, uncertainly, “I don’t have anything on tomorrow and my parents are in Florida for the weekend. You could come over in the morning and I could cook you pancakes for breakfast.”

There was so much joy and hope in her voice that Dean couldn't possibly say no, especially when pancakes were involved.

“With bacon?” he asked.

She laughed, “With bacon.”

“Then I’m in.”

 

 

Sam was sitting at the breakfast bar, clicking away through WebMD on his computer, listening to Bobby do laundry. When he looked up from his computer the gruff, older hunter was standing in front of him with a stern expression. He stared at him before placing a motel room key down on the counter in front of him.

“Found that in your jeans pocket.”

Sam’s eyes widened, “Bobby, I –“

“You and I need to have a talk, son.”

 

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Uh to the oh.. Sam's busted! 

And poor Dean. :-(

He's breaking my heart 

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I love the way you explore the brother's feelings, especially their guilt (an emotion I'm familiar with...). You are doing a fabulous job describing Dean's condition. It's very angsty (which I love), with some small touches of humour (which I love too). I feel bad for Dean of course, but in this part I pity Sam more... Anyway, thank you for the update!

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Chapter Twenty Two

 

Sam gulped, trying to think of a way out of this. He had nothing. He had no excuse at all.

“Sam,” Bobby said, lowering his voice, “if you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, I want you to get out quick. You hear me?”

Sam nodded, lips in a tight line.

“You know you can come to me for help, right?”

“Of course,” Sam said.

“You hunting?”

Sam stopped at that question. Was he hunting? Yes. Conventionally? No. Was he doing it alone? Also no. But he figured Bobby wouldn’t be happy knowing the truth either.

He paused for too long, Bobby could see right through him.

“Sam… Dean told me about Ruby. About you using your psychic thing. Now, I know you’ve been hole up here for months now, so I thought we didn’t have to worry about that anymore.”

“You don’t have to worry about me,” Sam sighed.

“Yes, I do. I always will, Sam.”

Sam felt warm at hearing the words.

“You didn’t “fall asleep in the car” today, did you?”

Sam looked down, answering the question without saying anything at all.

Sam could see Bobby shake his head in his periphery.

“Don’t you get it?” Bobby whispered intensely, “I’m trying to get you boys out. Don’t do something stupid and get yourself pulled back in.”

“Bobby…”

“I’ve said my bit, Sam. What you do next is your call.”

 

 

Dean woke up needing desperately to take a piss. He was still groggy from the meds but he managed to get himself up without falling flat on his face, and he considered that a win. He made it to his bathroom using the walls for support, cringing as his back tightened with each movement. He hung onto the rail next to the toilet as he took care of business. It had been Sam (and the doctor’s) idea to install handrails in the bathroom after his spinal surgery, and as much as Dean had hated the idea, it’d been a saving grace multiple times since then. He still didn’t like it. Because it was a disability bathroom now. And that implied he was disabled.

He washed his hands and splashed some water on his face, spilling it all down his front as he couldn't bend over the sink. His shoulder ached. He still had a splitting headache, courtesy of too much whiskey the night before. He wished he’d stashed a bottle somewhere. One nip now would make his headache back off at least. He couldn’t even think about his back right now. When Sam had hit the brakes suddenly, Dean’d been jolted. Just a little. But it was enough. Too much. It seemed like even just walking was too much of a jolt, each step rattling his bones. He felt it like a shockwave, every time his feet hit the ground. He was still breathing carefully too, shoulders curling in to make it easier. The deeper he breathed, the more it hurt.

“You have to take deep breaths, Dean. I know it’s going to be painful, but your pneumonia is only going to get worse if you don’t use your lungs properly.”

He coughed, and had to press the heel of his hand against his forehead. It felt like his brain was rattling around inside his head.

He managed to get back to bed on his own without alerting the whole household. It was still daylight. Late afternoon. But he went to sleep anyway.

 

 

Sam and Bobby had pretended like nothing happened and were back to civil, normal conversation. Bobby was in the kitchen, frying up some sausages, and Sam was sitting on the couch, computer on his lap and the news on in the background.

“Bobby, you looked up this pleural effusion thing?”

Bobby turned from the stove, “I was leaving the research up to you.”

Sam pursed his lips and rolled his eyes. Bobby smirked.

“What is it, son?”

“It doesn’t sound very good.”

“Well, I couldn’t imagine it is.”

“I’m serious. This says they usually have to drain the fluid by inserting a tube in between the ribs.”

Bobby grimaced, “Ouch.”

“It can cause all sorts of complications, collapsed lungs, medial shift…”

“Sam,” Bobby stopped him.

“Yeah?”

“Dean went to the hospital. He’s been checked, all right? We just gotta keep an eye on him, that’s all. Make sure he takes that medication.”

Sam sighed, “Yeah…”

“Maybe you should stop googling everything that’s wrong with your brother and just go and talk to him.”

“He won’t talk to me, Bobby. He won’t talk to anyone, that’s what I’m worried about.”

Bobby turned the sausages in the pan.

“Maybe I should take him somewhere.”

Bobby raised an eyebrow, “What are you on about?”

“Dean hates being in the one place for too long… maybe we should, I dunno, take a trip.”

Bobby pushed his hat back and scratched his head, “Sam, I dunno if he’s up for going anywhere just yet. Can he sit in the car for longer than 20 minutes?”

“He can lie down in the back.”

“It’s a nice thought, son, but I think he needs a bit more time.”

Sam sighed again and closed his laptop, moving it to the coffee table.

“When’s this going to start getting better, Bobby?”

 

 

Dean woke again at after eight in the evening. He could smell something amazing. His stomach roared and he realized he was so incredibly hungry. He pushed himself up to sit on the edge of his bed and ran a hand through his hair. He coughed, loud and thick. He took a moment to take several painfully deep breaths, pressing a hand against his chest. When he was quite satisfied that he could stand up without passing out, he pushed off his mattress and caught himself on the wall, slowly straightening.

He stopped by the bathroom to take another piss. The new pills he was on were going to make that a common and annoying need.

By the time he had lumbered down the hall he could feel the sweat on his forehead and his body shaking from exhaustion. His self-loathing kicked it up a notch and he wasn’t quite sure how he could hate himself any more at this point.

When he passed through into the open kitchen/living room area and saw Sam and Bobby sitting there, Bobby in the armchair, book in hand, Sam stretched across the lounge watching TV, and two clean plates with knives and forks haphazardly thrown on top of them sitting on the coffee table, he was filled with more despair than he’d care to mention.

“You saved some for me, right?”

Sam and Bobby were already looking at him, not surprised by his presence. He didn’t exactly have ninja stealth these days.

“Course I did, boy,” Bobby snorted, and Dean felt overwhelming relief.

Bobby was already up and heading for the kitchen before Dean could move again.

“Come sit down, man,” Sam said, immediately followed by, “How you feeling?”

Dean coughed into his elbow as he shuffled over, “I’ll live… I think,” he smirked. “What’s for dinner? It smells good.”

Sam moved his legs so Dean could sit down.

“Sausages, mashed potato and gravy,” Sam raised his eyebrows at Dean.

Dean’s eyes widened in approval.

“I know, dude.”

“Don’t skimp out on the gravy,” Dean called to Bobby.

Bobby snorted in the kitchen, “Since when have I ever skimped out on gravy?”

“Once,” Dean said, straight faced, “And I’ll never forget it.”

Bobby crossed the room with the steaming plate, handing it to Dean, “Idjit.”

 

 

“You gonna be here in the morning?”

Dean had been pretty quiet that evening so it took Sam a little by surprise when he opened his mouth. Bobby had gone to bed and it had just been the two of them for the past half hour, watching an old black and white movie on TV.

Sam looked at his brother, who was still looking at him, waiting for an answer.

“Uh, I leave for work at 9:30.”

Dean’s expression didn’t change, “Can you give me a ride?”

Sam furrowed his brow, “Give you a ride where?”

“Katie’s.”

Sam’s eyebrows went right up, “Katie’s?”

Dean shrugged, “Yeah. What?”

“You just spent the night at Riley’s.”

Dean rolled his eyes and looked back at the TV, “Well, if you’re going to be a dick about it, forget it.”

“No, Dean, come on.”

“Her parents are out of town. She’s making me breakfast.”

Sam paused, “… awww.”

“Shut up.”

Sam laughed.

“Whatever. It’s my car anyway, I want it back.”

“Dean, I’ll drive you, all right?”

Dean smiled, although it looked like he was trying not to.

“You know, you tried the whole dating two girls at the same time thing in high school. If I remember correctly, it didn’t work out for you,” Sam smirked.

Dean glared at him, “That’s not gonna happen, because I’m not dating either of them.”

“Really?” Sam raised an eyebrow, “’Cause I think you’re dating both of them.”

Dean looked back at the TV and folded his arms across his chest, “Whatever.”

Sam sighed a little but tried not to be annoyed. He was the one that had pried in the first place.

Dean coughed and leaned forward, bracing his hands on his knees. He looked pale and groaned when he’d finished.

“Jesus,” he gasped, pressing a hand to his chest.

Sam clicked his tongue a few times, thinking, “I googled it.”

Dean did a double take, rubbing his hand down his face, “Googled what?”

“Pleural effusion.”

Dean gritted his teeth, took a slow breath and finally leaned back in his seat.

“And?”

“How bad is it?”

Dean shook his head. He looked tired.

“It’s not too bad, Sammy. I didn’t bust out or anything… the doc let me go.”

“So -”

“So, it’s gonna be fine.”

Sam nodded.

“How’re your ribs feeling? You doing okay at work?”

Sam smiled a little, “I’m okay, Dean.”

“You don’t have to work there if you don’t want to.”

Sam looked over at his brother but he wasn’t looking at him.

“What?”

Dean cleared his throat, “I don’t want you working too hard, Sammy. I know… I know I’m a lot to deal with right now but… you don’t have to do it for me. We can find another way.”

Sam almost laughed, “Dean… it’s a bar job, it’s not rocket science.”

“But it’s not just that,” Dean sounded exasperated, “It’s a lot, and it’s me and my shit you have to deal with too. And you’re not 100% yet, I can see that.”

“Dean… is this about today?”

“I’m worried about you, Sam.”

Sam looked down, feeling a lump in his throat.

“You don’t have to worry about me.”

Dean rolled his head on the back of the couch to look at Sam, brow drawn in. It was obvious. Dean was always going to worry.

“Do you miss it?” Sam asked, feeling Dean’s eyes on him.

“Miss what?”

“Hunting.”

Sam looked up, just to see Dean swallow. He paled.

Dean looked back at the TV, his jaw working. Eventually he put his hands either side of him and pressed up off the couch to his feet.

“G’night, Sammy.”

Sam nodded, tongue tracing the line of his teeth. He should have known that would make Dean shut down.

“Are you alright to get to bed? Do you need something?”

Dean smiled, “No, Sammy, I’m good.”

Sam nodded, and watched the back of his brother disappear down the hallway.

 

 

Dean woke up at 3am, literally covered from head to toe in sweat. It was rolling off him. His pillow soaked under his head, sheets damp around him, feeling heavy, pushing him down. He was panting hard, images from the dream still flashing through his head. He had to pull the sheets off him, just to make sure his chest wasn’t in ribbons, blood spilling out of him. He put a hand on his chest and closed his eyes, feeling the hellhounds claw into him, ripping the flesh from his bones. He clamped a hand over his mouth, trying not to yell or sob, let out any sound that might wake Sam or Bobby. They’d seen him pretty bad the last few months but he didn’t want them to see him like this. After a few calming breaths he began to relax, heart beat slowing beneath his hand. He wasn’t in danger right now.

You’re okay. You’re okay. You’re okay.

“Dammit,” he whispered, noticing how wet everything was around him.

He shivered. The sheets were cold and damp.

“Shit.”

He gasped as he pushed himself up, back clenching. He winced as searing pain rippled through him.

Slowly, quietly, carefully, he pulled the sheets off his bed. He pressed a hand to his mattress. It was a little damp but the majority of the moisture was in the sheets. He tucked his wet sheets and pillowcases under his arm and shuffled down the hallway in the dark, other hand feeling his way along the wall.

He got to the laundry and flicked the light on, depositing his soaked linen in the washing machine. He realized, looking down at the machine, that he had no idea how it worked. He found some detergent in the overhead cupboard and tipped some of that in, pressed a few buttons and hoped for the best.

“Dean?”

Dean jumped, hand going to his chest, “Jesus.”

Bobby was standing in the doorway, eyes squinting against the light.

“You alright?”

Dean braced himself against the laundry bench, “Yeah, I, uh…”

Bobby furrowed his brow, “Weird time to be doing laundry.”

Dean cleared his throat, “My sheets were wet.”

Bobby opened his eyes a little more and took in Dean’s appearance. He softened.

“Come on, son. You have a quick shower and rinse off. I’ll get some clean sheets.”

Dean sighed. He felt like a little kid, but, man, it felt good to be taken care of.

“Okay.”

Bobby patted him gently on the back as he walked past and followed him back to his room.

 

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So glad this story is still a thing. :)

I guess I don't realize how much I miss your updates until I see your name pop up on this forum. 

You helped make a crappy day less crappy.  ❤️

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Love you.  Love the end of this chapter.  LOVE people taking care of Dean; it makes me so happy no matter how sad the subject matter is.

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First of all, sorry this isn't an update! >.< 
Secondly, sorry it takes me so long to post updates! This story is... quite involved. And I have so many things swirling around in my brain, places I want this to go, storylines I want to explore, and it's really hard to sort through it all. I really respect people that write these great big long fics and can really keep track of where they're going because it is a challenge for me (but fun, of course). Do not fear though, I have so much more story to tell with this one and it won't be complete for quite a while. I'll endeavour to post updates as often as I can but please bear with me if I take a while... it just means I'm trying to make it the best I can for you guys. 

I love you guys.

 

(Also I'm a bit distracted at the moment with Tarotgal's comment meme over on LiveJournal. If you don't have a LiveJournal account, you should get one. I only got into it about a year ago because I really wanted to catalogue all my fan fictions in the one place and make them easily accessible. Check me out: http://missbayliss.livejournal.com) :heart: 

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No worries at all! I'm so happy to hear that so much more is coming!

Eeeee!! :jump:

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Sorry for taking so long :blush: 

Chapter Twenty Three

 

The shower was nice. The warm water seemed to relax everything and he was able to wash away the salty sweat from his skin. He even ran some shampoo through his hair.

He turned the water off and used the rails to get out of the shower chair, the shower chair he would one day take a baseball bat to.

Scratch, scratch.

Dean looked at the bathroom door, brow furrowed.

Nothing happened for a minute so he looked back to the mirror, rubbing the towel over his head.

Scratch, scratch, scratch.

His heart rate ratcheted up and he spun around to look at the door again.

"Bobby?" He called softly.

He stared at the door.

Bang!

Dean saw the door bending in under force. There was more scratching again, but louder, more fiercely, like it was gouging lines down the wood. Howling filled the night, followed by rabid barks against the door. They were coming for him again.

Dean backed up against the wall, hands gripped over his ears, but he could hear it just as loud anyway. Like the sound was coming from inside.

Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch, howl.

Dean felt tears fall down his cheeks, chest on fire with his rapid breathing.

Not again. Oh, please, God, not again.

Dean sunk back further against the wall, heart pounding, so terrified.

Knock, knock.

"Dean?"

Dean opened his eyes and drew his hands away from his ears, looking back at the door.

"You okay in there?"

Dean looked around, listening. There was nothing. No scratching. No howling. No hellhounds.

"Yeah," he managed to say, trying to keep his voice steady.

Just a nightmare.

Dean wrapped the towel around his waist, fingers still trembling.

Just a nightmare, while you're awake.

"I got some clean clothes for ya," Bobby said through the door.

Dean sighed, trying to stop tears that were still pouring from his eyes. A steady leak. Wasting fluids. But he couldn't really stop.

He was shivering now because it was cold tonight, and while the shower had been warm, now he was freezing.

Eventually Dean straightened, cautiously opening the door, glancing at the other side of it, expecting to see claw marks. It was fine.

“Dean,” Bobby said.

Dean looked up. Water was still dripping from him. He was sure his eyes were red, dewy with tears. His chest was heaving in and out, and his heart was pounding so hard it probably could be seen beating against his ribs.

“What’s wrong, boy?” Bobby’s face was crinkled with concern, and a little panic, a testament to how terrible he must have looked.

Dean cleared his throat, dragging his wrist across his brow, “I, uh… it’s nothing.”

“It doesn’t look like nothing,” Bobby said, holding out his clothes to him.

Dean managed a tiny smile, trying to offer comfort in any form.

“Do you want to tell me what happened?”

“I just got scared, that’s all,” Dean took the clothes.

Bobby nodded, but looked stern.

“I’ll give you some privacy,” he grunted, leaving the room and pulling the door closed.

“Leave it, Bobby,” Dean breathed, “Leave the door open.”

Bobby furrowed his brow, but nodded in understanding, and wandered down the hall.

Dean sat heavily on the edge of the bed, clothes at his side and face in his hands. He should have told Bobby what had happened, what he’d heard. It was getting worse. The nightmares only stopped if he’d drunk enough to pass out or taken enough pills to kill a horse. But it was hard. Dean had never spoken about these things. About the hard things. He’d learned, taught himself, to bottle everything up. Never show weakness. Never show fear.

“I just got scared, that's all.”

That had been too much to reveal. Too out of character. Too vulnerable. But there was only so much he could shoulder alone, before he broke under the weight. Who was he kidding? He was already broken. Held together with duck tape and rubber bands. Even if the pain was gone. Even if his back was healed, lungs healed, shoulder healed, his mind, his soul was damaged. Beyond repair. He’d seen too much. And no matter what, that would always have happened to him. He would have always gone to hell. He would have always been tortured. He would have always tortured others. He couldn’t change it. He couldn’t forget it.  He couldn’t forgive it.

“Dean, you should get dressed,” Bobby was standing in the doorway.

Dean looked up, startled. Maybe more time had passed than he’d realized.

“’Kay,” he mumbled.

He’d struggled into his boxers and was having difficulty pulling his t-shirt over his head when Bobby came back in, silently helping his weak left arm find the hole.

“Come on.”

Bobby helped him into bed and then sat down in the chair in Dean’s room.

“Bobby?” Dean asked.

“I’m not going anywhere, kid.”

Dean let out a breath and nodded.

Dean lay there with his eyes closed and listened to Bobby breathe. He probably lay awake for close to an hour before he heard the soft snores to signify Bobby had fallen asleep. He opened his eyes and looked across the room in the dark. He still hadn’t exactly calmed down. He was still scared to death. And Bobby was always great to have around… but sometimes he just needed his brother.

 

 

Sam took a deep breath in and sleepily pulled his eyes open. He hadn’t been sure what had woken him until he turned his head to the right and saw Dean on the bed next to him. He was lying back on some pillows, on top of the covers, arms folded across his chest, staring down at him.

“Hey, man,” Sam mumbled, crinkling his brow.

“Hey, Sammy,” Dean croaked.

“You okay?” He brought a hand up to rub his eye.

Dean smiled, “Yeah, I’m okay.”

Sam nodded against his pillow, eyes already drooping again.

“I’m okay,” Dean said again, although this time it looked like he was trying to convince himself, not Sam.

Sam smiled, and went back to sleep.

 

 

When Sam woke the next morning he had a vague memory of waking up to find Dean next to him. Looking over, if his brother had been there earlier, he was not there now.

He went out into the kitchen and found his brother sitting at the breakfast bar, coffee mug in hand.

“Mornin’,” he muttered, heading to the pot to grab a cup himself.

“Morning,” Dean’s voice was low and rough.

Sam looked over at him, “You alright?”

Dean closed his eyes and nodded. He looked far from alright.

Sam decided not to mention the previous night. Dean had obviously needed him. Dean didn’t like to be vulnerable. He wouldn’t call him out on it.

“What time do you need me to take you?” Sam asked, casually.

Dean cleared his throat, “Just whenever you’re on your way out.”

“Do you need to take anything? You know what pills you have to take?”

“I got it,” Dean said, pulling the list out of his pocket.

It was crumpled now, and had different medications added on in different colour pens. The list of all his medications and the times he needed to take them, and then underneath that the list of pills he could take as needed and the amount he could have in a day. There were quite a few on there now.

Sam sipped his coffee.

“I gotta take a shower. Whereabouts does Katie live?”

Dean rubbed his fingers across his forehead, “It’s not far.”

“Okay… you eat?”

Dean cleared his throat, “I had some toast.”

Sam thought for a moment that his brother might be lying. But he knew how sick the pills made him if he took them on an empty stomach. And he knew Dean wouldn’t be sitting there, fairly upright and stable, if he hadn’t taken them already.

“Alright. I’m gonna take a shower.”

Dean nodded and Sam left him to it, taking his coffee mug with him. Dean was always hard to talk to in the mornings. Shut down from his nightmares. Sore from lying in the one position too long. It always took Dean a while to wake up, even before all this started. So, he didn’t hold anything against him. He just felt sorry for this poor girl. She was going to have her work cut out for her.

 

 

Sam stopped the car out the front of Katie’s house and looked towards the front door.

“You gonna be okay?”

Dean raised an eyebrow at his brother and slapped on a smirk, “I’ll be just fine, Sammy.”

Sam smiled back, “Alright, well call me or Bobby when you wanna get picked up and we’ll come get ya.”

“Thanks, mum.”

“Shut up.”

Dean got out of the car and walked towards the front door. He turned to find Sam still watching him through the window of the impala.

Dean pointed down the road and mouthed ‘go’. He turned back around and heard the impala purr down the street.

Katie had a screen door and a wooden door at the front of the house. The screen was closed but the wooden door was open, and Dean could see inside, hear the sounds of sizzling bacon, smell the pancakes, hear Katie humming sweetly.

He knocked, before opening the door himself.

Katie was coming through as he entered.

“Hey, you,” she smiled.

“Hey, yourself,” Dean put an arm around her waist as she kissed him on the cheek, “Something smells great.”

Maybe it was the fact that Dean hadn’t had something like that in a while. Maybe it was the fact he usually felt too sick to want to eat, or had just lost enjoyment in everything these days. But warm pancakes with ice cream, whipped cream, maple syrup, and bacon was the most incredible thing Dean had experienced in a long while. It was better than any diner short stack he’d ever ordered.

There was something, though, that made Dean feel a little awkward. Katie was a lovely girl. She was kind and sweet. Kind of ‘girl next door’ type. He liked her. He did. She was a very pretty girl too. It wasn’t hard to like her. But somehow, unsurprisingly, he didn’t belong. And it wasn’t just her. It was her nice house, and her nice parents, and her parent’s nice car. It was the family photos on the mantel, and the recipe books on display in the kitchen, the coats hanging by the door. It was the pancakes. The smell, the taste, the texture. It was all too good. Too good for Dean Winchester.

They’d finished eating and were sitting on the lounge. The too comfortable lounge with too many pillows. And they were talking, and she kept looking at him with her too blue eyes, and her glowing face with a few scattered freckles, and her soft bouncy hair with the gingerish hue. It would be different if it was just sex. Dean could do just sex. In fact Dean loved just sex. Because it was fun, and it didn’t mean he had to feel anything.

“What’s going on in your head?” Katie hummed, nudging him gently.

Dean took a breath and tried to use that to ground himself. The conversation had tapered off. It had mostly been one sided, as it always was with her. But he liked to listen because it made him forget about how screwed up he was.

“Nothing,” he lied, feeling bad for not giving her more than that.

He shifted in his seat. The painkillers were wearing off and the pain was starting to creep back up. And that negative voice was back in his head again.

You don’t deserve this. You don’t deserve her.

And it was all he could do not to get up and run.

Katie’s phone buzzed against the coffee table. She leaned forward and picked it up.

“Sorry,” she breathed, embarrassed, “It’s my dad.”

Dean straightened a little bit, “Oh, that’s okay.”

“I’ll be right back,” she said softly and answered the phone, pressing it to her ear and walking into the hall, “Hey dad.”

Dean shifted, listening to Katie talk.

“Yeah, I’m okay. We’re… both okay… Yes, I know. Of course, dad. Don’t worry, I’m fine. How’s Florida?”

Dean turned his attention to the bookcase.

“Okay. Love you both. See you soon.”

Katie walked back in, and her face flushed a little, “Sorry about that.”

“It’s fine,” Dean smiled, then nodded his head towards the bookcase, “Whose text books are those?”

“Oh,” Katie turned to look, and then faced Dean, “They’re mine. I, uh, I took a year off when umm…” she trailed off.

“You were studying psychology?”

Katie nodded, no sense of panic, guilt, or deception in her gaze and yet Dean felt all three.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t think it was all that important,” she said casually.

Dean looked down, penny dropping, and muttered, “That’s why you’re so interested in me.”

“What?” she leaned closer.

“Is that why you’re so interested in me?” Dean asked louder, unable to school his expression.

“No, Dean, of course not.”

“You just pick the most screwed up guy you can find to practice, right?”

“Dean, that’s not what this is.”

“Isn’t it?” Dean gazed straight at her, “You trying to fix me, Kate? Huh?”

She stuttered, “Y-You’re my friend. I want to help you.”

Dean stood up, “You know, I should have figured this out. I kept thinking to myself ‘why would someone like her be interesting in someone like me’. I guess I have my answer.”

Dean walked to the door, grabbing his coat off the hook, thankful he’d decided to keep his boots on.

“Dean, don't go. You’ve got it all wrong. It’s not like that.”

“Thanks for breakfast,” Dean uttered, and left.

 

 

Dean had walked to the end of Katie’s street and was pulling his phone from his pocket. Luckily, it wasn’t far to turn the corner and be far enough away from the house. Still, he was panting, and that only pulled on his chest. He dialed Bobby’s number and sat down on someone’s brick letterbox.

“Hello.”

“I need you to pick me up. Now.”

Bobby paused, “… Okay. Where you at? What’s the address?”

Dean looked up, trying to see a street sign. Maybe he should have called a taxi instead, and got it to take him to the nearest bar. He felt like he needed a drink now more than ever.

“Son? You there?”

“Yeah, I’m here,” Dean rubbed his head, “I can’t…”

“You can’t what? Do you know where you are?”

“Hang on,” Dean breathed, feeling suddenly nauseous, “I’m dizzy…”

“Stay with me, boy. Breathe.”

“Crap,” Dean was looking down at the ground and the world started dancing in front of his eyes. He closed them but that made it worse. If he wasn’t careful he’d fall off this damn thing.

“What’s going on, Dean? You alright?” Dean could hear Bobby’s car start up, even though he didn’t know where he was going yet.

“I’m really freakin’ dizzy.”

“I need to know where you are.”

“I was at Katie’s… round the corner. I walked.”

“Why in god’s name are you – never mind. What’s Katie’s address? I’ll find you.”

“16… Birchwood Drive.”

“Alright, I’m on my way. How you doing?”

“Feel like I’m gonna puke.”

“Well, as long as you don’t pass out, I’m happy.”

 

 

Dean stayed on the phone to Bobby until he heard the car coming and walked down to the street corner.

“I see ya.”

Dean hung up and shoved the phone back in his pocket.

He climbed into the passenger seat, without looking at Bobby.

“Thanks,” he muttered.

“No problem,” Bobby huffed, “Seatbelt.”

Dean rolled his eyes and put on his seatbelt.

“Wanna tell me what the hell happened?”

Dean’s phone started ringing and he pulled it out and silenced Katie’s incoming call.

“Not really.”

 

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I don't have time, I shouldn't read, shouldn't comment, but this part was THE BEST part of the whole fic for me. The dialogue between Katie and Dean was perfect, and the panic crisis and... Oh my God I love what you're writing!

14 hours ago, MissBayliss said:

That had been too much to reveal. Too out of character. Too vulnerable. But there was only so much he could shoulder alone, before he broke under the weight. Who was he kidding? He was already broken. Held together with duck tape and rubber bands. Even if the pain was gone. Even if his back was healed, lungs healed, shoulder healed, his mind, his soul was damaged. Beyond repair. He’d seen too much. And no matter what, that would always have happened to him. He would have always gone to hell. He would have always been tortured. He would have always tortured others. He couldn’t change it. He couldn’t forget it.  He couldn’t forgive it.

That was a perfect paragraph. Thank you for it!!!

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So excited to see where this is going. 

You got me on the edge of my seat, girl!

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I especially loved the part Aliena H. mentioned too.  Very perceptive and well-done.

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Chapter Twenty Four

 

Dean needed a bottle. He needed a bottle right now. His hands were shaking, mouth watering. He wanted to throw up. God, how could he be so stupid?

"Son?" Bobby tapped on the door, "Why don't you come out and talk about things?"

Dean wiped the sweat off his brow.

"Why don't you tell me what happened?"

He couldn't answer Bobby, couldn't move to let him in, because all his energy had to work to get him to the bathroom.

He leaned over the toilet and threw up the breakfast that had once tasted so good. Now it was bitter, sour, sitting like a lump in his stomach and it had to come out.

He coughed hard, his knees giving out as he slumped against the wall.

Bobby took that as his cue to enter.

"What in hell happened, kid?" Bobby asked, staring down at him.

 

...

 

Dean still refused to talk about it. Mostly because he was afraid of saying it out loud and hearing how ridiculous the whole thing had been. So she was studying psychology. So what? It didn't mean anything. It didn't mean she'd chosen to hang out with him because of it. And maybe he was just looking for something. Waiting for something to go wrong. Looking for a reason to run.

Dean, I don't want to talk to you through text but if you won't pick up the phone then I'll have to. I just want to talk to you.

But Dean didn’t want to talk to her. Not right now anyway. And probably not anytime soon. He remembered telling her the reason he’d like her so much.

“You make me forget about all that…”

Now he couldn’t. Now he wouldn’t ever forget about “all that”. All the things that made him screwed up, all the things he’d been through. Because he’d always be thinking that maybe she wanted to know all that, maybe she’d try to analyze all that, maybe she’d try to fix all that. Dean couldn’t be fixed. More importantly he didn’t need to be fixed. He didn’t need anyone’s pity, least of all hers.

“Hey, you ready to eat some lunch?” Bobby asked, sticking his head into Dean’s room.

Dean had been hiding out since he got back. Right now he was laid up in bed, trying in vain to get some sleep he desperately needed. But he couldn’t when his brain wouldn’t quit. Wouldn’t shut up for 5 seconds.

“I’m not that hungry,” he croaked.

“Well, I don’t really care if you’re hungry or not,” Bobby said casually, “Because I’m making you lunch and you’re gonna eat it.”

Dean smiled, “’Kay. Understood.”

“Besides I think you’ve got some pills you gotta take right about now,” Bobby looked at his watch.

Dean nodded, coughing into his fist. He squeezed his eyes shut as he felt a jab of pain under his ribs. Just then his phone started ringing again, as it had been incessantly since he’d left Katie’s.

“Here,” Bobby extended his hand, reaching for the phone as Dean continued to choke.

Dean eyed Bobby but handed it to him anyway.

Bobby answered the phone and pressed it to his ear, “Listen, Dean’s resting right now. He’ll call you when he wants to talk to you and no sooner, you got that?”

Dean finally took an uninterrupted breath and swallowed painfully, watching Bobby listen.

“Good,” was all he said before hanging up.

He handed the phone back to Dean and left, calling behind him, “Lunch’ll be ready in 20.”

 

 

Dean felt the darkness wash over him. He could hear the distant screams of the tortured. Feel the sticky warmth. Smell the decaying bodies, the blood and the entrails. He could taste blood in his mouth, steely, thick and warm. No matter how he shouted, Sam never came. Soon he began to forget what his brother even looked like, that he even had a brother…. and finally he’d forgotten what it was to be human…

“Dean?”

Dean gasped awake, chest heaving, flicking his eyes quickly to where Bobby was standing leaning on the doorframe. He gulped, actively tried to slow down his heart.

“You alright?”

Dean closed his eyes again and wiped the sweat from his forehead, “Why wouldn’t I be alright?”

If Bobby rolled his eyes Dean didn’t see it, but there was a pause before he spoke again.

“Lunch is ready. You wanna come out and eat something?”

“Sure,” Dean said, pushing himself up, powering through the trembling in his arms.

He swung his legs around to get out of bed on the side facing Bobby, but he must have moved too quickly, the change in altitude being too much for his fuzzy head.

“Whoa,” Bobby’s hands are on his shoulders, “Easy, boy. Take it slow.”

Dean sniffed and steeled himself, “I’m good.”

“You sure about that?”

“I said I’m good,” Dean snapped.

 

 

Sam was getting off work at 5. He’d done a full shift, chest aching from the constant movement, bending and reaching, and wiping tables. Riley had got in an hour ago, taking over for the evening shift.

“Hey, Sam,” she said, putting her hand on his shoulder as she walked past.

“Hey, Riley. How are you?”

“I’m good. How’s the day been?”

“Pretty steady actually.”

Riley cocked her hair looking at him, “Are you alright? You look a little beat.”

“Yeah, I’m… I’m alright.”

“Something up with Dean?”

Sam huffed, “Something’s always up with Dean.”

“Hey, speaking off…” she nodded behind Sam and he turned around to see Bobby and Dean ambling through the door. Dean didn’t have his crutches (he’d decided he didn’t need them anymore), but he was walking pretty straight, pretty steady. He had a pale, drawn look about him though. He looked like he’d been sick, and Sam saw him ghost a casual hand across his midsection, confirming suspicions.

“Look what the cat dragged in,” Riley smirked as they approached the bar.

Dean met Sam’s eyes and gave him a nod.

“Hey, Riles.”

Sam placed a glass of water in front of Dean, giving him a once over. He looked to Bobby, who sunk heavily into a bar stool and eyed him, a telepathic conversation taking place.

How is he?

Awful. But a pain in the ass as usual.

Tell me about it.

Mmhmm.

Dean took a sip of his water and Sam noticed the slight tremble in his hands.

Riley leaned on the bar, clasping her hands in front of her, “What are you boys up to tonight?”

Bobby sighed, “Had to get the idjit out of the house. He’s been driving me crazy all afternoon,” he grunted.

Dean narrowed his eyes in Bobby’s direction and smirked.

“Causing trouble, is he?” Riley chuckled.

“I’d like to cause some trouble with you, sweetheart,” Dean winked.

“Okay, that I didn’t need to hear,” Sam cringed.

 

 

Sam, Dean and Bobby all hung out at the bar and had dinner. Dean didn’t eat much, but his mood had perked up and he even mapped out a hit for hustling pool. Even though his hands had shaken every time he’d raised a glass to his mouth, watching him play pool he’d never been steadier. He’d come back to the table an hour later, $500 burning a hole in his pocket. Bobby called it a night and went home, leaving just the brothers. Sam could tell Dean was a little worn around the edges though, so he didn’t stop him when he said he’d needed to get some air.

 

 

 

“Hey, asshole!”

Dean turned.

Crap.

“Look, man, I don’t want any trouble.”

“Really? I didn’t want any trouble either… until you took all my money.”

Dean sighed, rolling his eyes, “You want the money? You can have it.”

“Nah, you see you made me look stupid in front of my girl… I can’t have that.”

The man took a few steps towards Dean and Dean winced as he stepped back, pain rocketing up his spine.

“And you can drop the “wounded vet” act. I know you only did it to hustle me.”

Dean took a heavy breath in, “Dude, seriously, it’s not an act.”

Dean would have turned around and lifted his shirt to show the guy his scar but the guy had already swung a right hook, landing right on Dean’s jaw. It was sloppy. The guy’s form was terrible. Dean could bring him down in an instant. Dean knew how to handle guys like this. He wasn’t even as big as him. But he couldn’t take him down. Not today.

Dean reeled back, stumbling sideways and pressing his hands into the brick wall to keep standing. The punch rattled his entire body.

“Please, man. I’m not kidding… my back –“

The guy advanced and punched Dean in the left side, under his ribs.

Dean groaned, fisting his hand in his hair.

“Hey!”

Dean sighed. He didn’t have to turn to know who that was, and to know he was okay now.

“What the hell’s going on out here!?”

“Nothing, man, just –“

Dean heard scuffling, turned slightly to see Sam standing over the guy who was flat on his back in the road, bleeding from his lip.

“You beating on a guy with a broken back!?”

“I didn’t know he –“

“Don’t you ever come here again or so help me God I will kill you myself!” Sam stamped down on the guy’s chest, “Do you understand!?”

“Yes, yes, okay!”

Dean looked back at the wall as the guy scrambled away from his giant machine of a brother.

“Sam,” his voiced came out stuttering, as steady as he tried to keep it, layered with pain, weak and desperate.

“Dean, oh my god…” Sam put a hand on Dean’s shoulder and he flinched, “Okay, okay…”

Dean stumbled backwards but managed to keep his footing. Sam grabbed his arm and ducked under his shoulder. Dean leaned on him more than he should have and Sam struggled under his weight, not prepared for it.

“Easy, man.”

Sam walked Dean inside through the back door to the kitchen.

“Riley!” he called, coming through, trying to find a place to put Dean.

Jim was out the back and Sam lifted his chin at him, “Get Riley.”

Jim’s eyes widened at them both and left the kitchen in a hurry.

Dean moaned and clenched his eyes shut.

“Okay, you’re okay. Let’s sit down. How bad is it?”

Dean kept his eyes closed and tried to catalogue the damage. His face and head throbbed, but the punch to the side had done more damage.

“Oh my God, what the hell happened?” Riley was beside Dean before he could even open his eyes to look at her. She pulled his other arm over her shoulders, taking more of his weight off his feet, which he was incredibly grateful for.

“That jackass Dean hustled,” was all Sam offered as an explanation.

Dean groaned, and Sam adjusted his hold on him.

“Come on, let’s sit him down.”

“No,” Dean choked out, “I think… I gotta lie down.”

“Dean, there’s no where –“

“He can lie down in a booth. The seats are wide enough.”

“Yeah but not long enough. His legs can’t hang, it’s bad for his back.”

“Guys,” Dean interrupted.

“Alright, booth it is,” Sam said, and they started walking again.

The bar was closed now, only a few people hanging about. Dean crumpled halfway to the table. Sam shifted to take more of his brother’s weight.

“Come on, man. Little further.”

“Gonne be sick,” he mumbled.

Riley barked orders and Jim came over with a champagne bucket. Dean took his arm off Riley and clutched the bucket to his chest, expelling his dinner.  

“Alright. You’re okay,” Sam muttered next to him.

Riley and Jim pulled the table away from the booth bench so they could fit Dean in, and slid a chair against the end of it so Dean could put his legs up.

Ah, crap,” Dean winced, back spasming as Sam lowered him down.

“Sorry,” Sam grunted, “Deep breaths.”

Dean couldn’t take deep breaths though, because if he did that he’d start coughing and that would be the worst thing to happen right now.

Sam’s chilly fingers pulled Dean’s shirt up to assess the damage to his side.

“Okay, it’s not that bad, Dean. It’s not that bad.”

Riley appeared next to him with ice wrapped in a tea towel, pressing it to his jaw.

“It just… It jolted me,” Dean said, breathlessly.

Sam scrunched his face in concern, “Do you think it’s…”

Dean could tell what Sam wanted to know. Did he think it had damaged his spine. Did he think it had moved the herniated disc. Did he think the bones had shifted. The panic and worry was written all over Sam’s face.

“No,” Dean croaked, “No… it’s probably nothing,” he added a tight smile just to reassure him.

Riley’s hand was in his hair.

“Sam,” she sighed, “he’s got a fever.”

“Dean, do you think we should go to the hospital?”

“You’re gonna have to knock me out for real if you want to take me there,” Dean groaned.

Sam huffed, “Okay, man. We’ll deal with it.”

Dean closed his eyes, relief washing over him. He didn’t want to go back to hospital. Because if he went back they wouldn’t just let him out straight away.

“Dean?” Riley ruffled her hand in his hair, giving his scalp a little scratch with her fingers.

He opened his eyes, “I’m okay.”

Sam had a hand on Dean’s chest, “What do you need?”

Dean smiled, closing his eyes again, “I guess a painkiller… and a valium… and a new spine.”

Sam actually laughed, "I'll do my best, brother."

 

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😢

I can't think of anything to say except "poor Dean", but he's so tragic and broken in this story. 

He needs to learn to accept love.. and hugs. 

I just wanna hug all the hurt out of him. 

Awesome chappy though as always, honey  ❤️

 

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3 hours ago, Wow Really? said:

😢

I can't think of anything to say except "poor Dean", but he's so tragic and broken in this story. 

He needs to learn to accept love.. and hugs. 

I just wanna hug all the hurt out of him. 

Awesome chappy though as always, honey  ❤️

 

Thank you, lovely. :kiss: 

(I actually really struggled with this chapter and kind of felt it was sub-par but I posted it anyway so I could move on with my life :laugh:)  

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Sub-par?? Not even close!

To stir up that level of emotion in the person reading just shows how talented you truly are. ❤️

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