Title: When It's Over
Characters: Sam, Dean, Sarah
Spoilers: All of season one is fair game, but it's a future fic.
Notes: A future fic so it's definitely AU.
Warnings: Sadness and angst. Bring tissues.
Summary: After a horrible accident, Sam and Dean have to relearn what it is to be a family.
It had been quiet after dinner. Patrick and Cameron had come down off of their respective sugar highs only to crash in front of the couch watching cartoons until Sam finally carried them to bed. Even after her brothers were sound asleep, Hannah was chagrined to find that her mom and dad stayed up later than normal, sitting in ht e living room, enjoying their peace and quiet. She had waited patiently, knowing that if she left before her parents went to bed, she would be caught when they came to kiss her goodnight.
So when they finally did decide to call it a night, Hannah had leapt beneath the covers, quickly pretending to be asleep. As usual, Sam came in first, kissing her forehead, brushing her hair back. Then came Sarah, pulling up her covers and doing the same. Hannah pretended to shift in her sleep and then, after they left quietly, she waited for a good minute, making sure they were truly in their bedroom, before she threw back her covers and tiptoed out of her room and towards the kitchen.
Hannah wasn’t really sure why she always did this in secrecy. She knew that her parents wouldn’t mind her going to visit her uncle during the night, but she was sure that her dad would have something to say about them sneaking candy so late at night. So for the past couple nights, Hannah had snuck gummy bears into Dean’s room in secrecy. Maybe one day she’d invite Pat and Cam, but for now, this was her special secret with her uncle and no one else was allowed to know.
Grabbing the gummy bears from the counter, she snuck back quietly to Dean’s room and opened his door, making sure to only open it so far, because any further and the hinges would squeak. Dean had showed her that the first night she’d tried it. He was always so good at that sort of stuff. She was sure he would make a great spy like she saw on television.
Quietly closing the door behind her, she grinned and jumped up onto Dean’s bed, already giggling at the excitement of their late night snack. She crawled up the bed and sat beside her uncle, biting her lip in triumph as she saw that she hadn’t woken him. He usually woke up as soon as the door opened. But she’d been practicing moving quietly. Still though, he could be fooling. She had to be ready for him to scare her. She didn’t want to scream and wake her parents like last time.
“Oh Uncle Dean,” she sang quietly, shaking the package of gummy bears in front of his face. “Wake up,” she whispered and waited for him to peak an eye or do something. She waited for a moment more and when he still didn’t do anything, her smile faded a bit and she shook the bag again, saying a little louder, “Uncle Dean…gummies.”
When there was still no response, she put a hand on her uncle’s shoulder, intending to give him a small shake, but she frowned when she felt that his shirt was damp. Why would Uncle Dean be wet? Did he take a shower? She hadn’t heard the shower run. Setting the gummy bears down next to her, she reached across Dean and turned on the lamp beside his bed. Pulling back, she looked down at her uncle and frowned deeper when she saw that he was all wet. He was sweating. The way her Dad did after he came back in the morning from his jog. But he was sweating a lot more than her Dad normally did. And he hadn’t done anything but just lay there all night.
“Uncle Dean?” she asked tentatively, no longer caring about how loud she spoke. Something was wrong. He looked too pale. Reaching forward, she put a hand on his head and immediately sucked in a breath when she felt how warm he was. Just remembered when just a few weeks ago Cameron had warm like this. And Dad and had been really upset over it. Cameron had been sick, so was Uncle Dean sick? He had to be. Why else wouldn’t he wake up? “Uncle Dean, wake up,” she tried again, shaking his shoulder.
A soft, pain-filled moan came from her uncle and Hannah froze. Was she hurting him? She was hardly touching him. Something was wrong. Something was really wrong. “Uncle Dean, please?” Hannah said, her voice quavering. She bit her lower lip and when he didn’t answer, she made up her mind.
She needed to get her Dad.
Sam jolted up as the door to their bedroom was flung open, banging harshly against the wall. He felt Sarah move next to him, holding him a bit closer for a moment, both of them fearful of what had just entered their room. But when Sam saw the small figure sprinting across their room, he relaxed somewhat, but not fully, considering the look on his daughter’s face.
“Hannah?” he asked, blinking away the sleep still in his eyes and forcing himself to wake up fully.
“Daddy!” Hannah cried, reverting to the nickname she only used in dire situations. She’d been the one to proclaim she was too old to be calling him it anymore. So when she used it, Sam always knew she meant business. “Daddy, something’s wrong with Uncle Dean!”
That caught his attention. Sarah flicked on the light while Sam swung his legs off the bed, letting Hannah tug on his arm, pulling him towards the door. “What’s wrong?” he demanded, his heart skipping a beat, thinking about how tired Dean had looked earlier in the day. Oh god, he should have pressed it more. Dammit, Dean.
“He won’t wake up!” Hannah said and Dean felt his heart stop. He raced past Hannah, out the door, down the stairs, and into Dean’s room. He didn’t even hear Hannah following him, or Patrick’s small inquiry as to what was going on as Sarah picked him up and followed them.
All Sam could focus on was his brother. Dean was lying on the bed, the covers pushed down to his waist, one arm across his stomach while the other hung off the bed. He was sweating so much that his shirt was clinging to him. His cheeks were flushed, but his skin was otherwise far too pale, including his lips, which were verging on taking a blue tint. Oh god, what now?
Sam rushed forward, climbing onto Dean’s bed and kneeling over him, feeling his pulse first. He found it strong, but a bit thready. He put his hands on the sides of Dean’s face, turning his brother’s head so if he opened his eyes, he’d be looking right at Sam.
“Dean,” Sam commanded, without a question there. There wasn’t a response. “Dean, come on,” Sam said again, giving Dean a slight tap on the cheek. That elicited a small groan and Dean’s face scrunched in pain, his breath catching and his shoulders flexing, the way he would do if he were trying to escape some sort of pain. Sam felt his heart start to race. Something was wrong. Some was horribly wrong. “Dean, open your eyes,” Sam commanded stronger, though his voice nearly broke at the end. He fought back the tears that threatened him. Now was not the time to cry. He didn’t know what was wrong; it could just be the flu or something. No need to get worked up just yet.
When Dean still didn’t respond, Sam turned towards the doorway where Sarah stood, looking worried. She held Patrick on one hip and had her hand on Hannah’s shoulder. Hannah was crying softly, upset. Sam hadn’t failed to notice the candy sitting beside Dean and he guessed that’s what she’d been doing in his room in the first place. But he would have to deal with that later. He wasn’t angry, but this was the second time she’d come into her uncle’s room only to be scared by something. He didn’t know what sort of thoughts were going through his daughter’s mind right now. Hannah had a near unhealthy hero worship for her uncle and Sam knew what it felt like to have someone you love that much have something like this happen to them.
“Sarah,” Sam said as he watched his wife set Patrick down, who rubbed at his eyes, but was looking more alert, realizing something was wrong with his uncle. “Call an ambulance, something’s wrong,” Sam said, wishing his children weren’t standing right there. He watched their eyes widen and soon Patrick joined his sister in crying. “Guys, he’s going to be okay, he’s just sick,” he tried to assure them.
“Why won’t he wake up?” Hannah asked, voice hitching.
“He’s just sick, honey,” Sam said, turning back to Dean and running a hand over his brother’s head. Dean didn’t even flinch, only continued to moan softly. “He’ll be okay once we get him to the hospital.”
Sam hoped he wasn’t lying.
Dean still hadn’t woken fifteen minutes later when the ambulance arrived. Sarah had gotten the kids dressed. They had stopped crying except for Cameron, who was crying more because he was cranky for being woken up than because he knew what was going on. Sam went with Dean in the ambulance while Sarah followed with the kids.
The change of pace in the hospital nearly drove Sam mad. Things had been happening so quickly up until Dean had been whisked away on a stretcher through a pair of swinging doors Sam wasn’t allowed to go through. But afterwards, time slowed down to a dead crawl. Sam didn’t like it at all.
Cameron fell asleep on Sarah’s lap. Patrick sat in a chair, swinging his legs, trying to fend off the sleep that so desperately wanted to claim him. Hannah sat cross legged in a chair next to Sarah, staring at the doors, lost in thought. Sam thought she looked rather traumatized, but he didn’t know how many more times he could tell her that Dean would be all right. The girl obviously wouldn’t believe it until Dean came out and told her himself. Hell, Sam didn’t know if he believed it. He didn’t know what was wrong with his brother.
“Is Uncle Dean dead?” Patrick asked after a few minutes of waiting.
Sam was about to answer, but Hannah beat him to it. “He’s not dead!” she screamed. Sarah reached over and put a hand on her shoulder, giving the few other people in the waiting room an apologetic look. “Don’t you say that he’s dead! He’s not going to die, not ever!”
Patrick’s face crumbled and he turned away from his sister, upset for being yelled at. Hannah looked just upset. “I was just asking,” Patrick cried. “Everyone looks sad.”
“Hey,” Sam said to him. “He’s going to be okay, bud. We’re just sad because we don’t like it when people are sick.”
Patrick seemed to accept the answer and leaned back, staying quiet after that. Sam tried to catch Hannah’s eye, but she wouldn’t look at anything but the swinging doors. The room fell into silence after that.
It stayed that way for three hours. Sam pacing in front of the door, nurses coming to offer books for the kids and coffee for the parents. Cookies were brought out at one point. Patrick laid claim to them, but Hannah refused anything. When another half an hour ticked by, Sam was getting restless. He went to the nurse’s desk and caught the eye of the nurse sitting there.
“Is there any word on my brother?” Sam asked impatiently.
The nurse gave him a careful smile. “You’ll know something as soon as we do,” she told him.
That wasn’t good enough for Sam and he was about to give her a piece of his mind when the doors opened and a doctor came out, looking around the room. When he spotted Sam, he headed his way. Sam abandoned his unspoken tirade on the nurse and met the doctor halfway. He saw Hannah jump up and come over, followed by Patrick, who was looking sleepy. Sarah stood, cradling Cameron, who stirred but didn’t wake, and came over.
“Doc?” Sam asked before the doctor could say anything. “How is he? What’s wrong with him?”
The doctor gave Sam a small smile. Sam didn’t know whether it was out of sympathy or just because of how concerned Sam was. But he didn’t care right now. He just wanted to know what was wrong and how they could fix it.
“Mr. Winchester,” the doctor began, looking down at the kids, frowning a bit before continuing. “With your brother’s recent accidents, there were some operations that needed to be done to remove some bone fragments near his spine. There’s always a risk during surgery when exposing muscles and organs to the open air that infection can occur.”
“He has an infection?” Sam cut in.
The doctor took a breath, gave a small nod and continued. “Yes I’m afraid that he has developed an infection near the base of his spine. And…” the doctor took another breath, looking Sam in the eye. It spiked Sam’s heart. “It’s been there for a while. It’s probably been festering since a few days after his surgery.” Sam didn’t like that notion. How long had it been since his surgery? Two and a half weeks?
“So what can we do?” Sam asked. “Is there some antibiotics you can give him?”
The doctor glanced at the kids again. “Maybe we should talk in private.”
“No,” Sam said sternly, forcibly, making the doctor and Sarah jump. He gave a side glance of apology before saying, “Just tell me, please.”
The doctor nodded. “Mr. Winchester, the infection has spread to his bloodstream. He’s in the later stages of bacteremia. Blood poisoning.” Sam gave a small shake of his head, feeling tears swell up in his eyes, not understanding what the doctor was saying, but at the same time, already predicting what he was going to say. “We’re normally able to treat it, but it’s already spread to nearly a third of his vital organs. They’ve already started shutting down.”
Sam felt Sarah’s hand touch his arm. He bit his lip and looked at the floor, keeping back a sob that wanted to escape him. No, not this. Not after everything. Not after Dean was getting better, being Dean again. Please. The world wasn’t this cruel.
“I’m afraid there’s nothing we can do. He’s not going to make it.”
Go to Chapter Fourteen