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authoressnebula ([personal profile] authoressnebula) wrote2012-01-26 02:38 pm

Breathe Me, 1/2, PG-13, Gen, S2

Once upon a time, I claimed a few fics at [livejournal.com profile] ohsam and started writing them. One, I've already posted. The other two I've been steadily working on, and have this much to say.

To [livejournal.com profile] phx69: your fic is being troublesome because I want it just so and the characters are not listening to me, but I WILL have it in by the due date, I promise. *pokes at Sam* Behave, you.

To [livejournal.com profile] shangrilada: yours fucking exploded on me. I hope you're cool with this.

Title: Breathe Me
Rating: PG-13 with bad language (Dean drops some bombs)
Chapter: 1 of 2
Spoilers: Beginning of Season 2.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Title taken from Sia's "Breathe Me".
Summary: Written for [livejournal.com profile] shangrilada's prompt at [livejournal.com profile] ohsam's fic challenge. Dean really doesn't want to do this, but Sam's cough isn't getting better, and so yeah, maybe the kid's been having some nightmares about hospitals, but they don't really have a choice, and it'll be fine. Sure.
Wordcount: 9,007 total. This section roughly 4,000.

A/N: There are two POVs in this fic, one past tense, one present. It'll make sense when you start reading it, but truly, I knew what I was doing when I wrote it. Really.



Be my friend
Hold me, wrap me up
Unfold me
I am small
I'm needy
Warm me up
And breathe me
-"Breathe Me" by Sia


“Sir? Are you all right?”

His head throbbed, it was too cold, and his mouth tasted like cotton balls, and someone was asking if he was all right? No, he wasn't all right. He was the farthest from feeling all right as he could get. He'd always wondered why hospitals asked inane questions. Dean said it was because they just wanted to make themselves feel better about-

Dean. Dad. The car. The demon. Dean.

“Sir? How are you feeling?”

Not any better, by a long stretch of the imagination. “My brother,” he said, or tried to, at any rate. He heard a voice that was barely above a croak and not at all his, but when the nurse asked again in a louder pitch, he realized it HAD been him, after all.

“Sir?”

God, could she quit calling him sir? “My brother,” he tried again, this time managing to whisper the words. “Dad-”

“The two men brought in with you are here, though I don't know their details,” the nurse said sympathetically. “Can you open your eyes for me?”

Oh. He'd thought they'd been open. He focused on his eyelids, slowly peeling them open to see the nurse who sounded like she was hovering right above him, and immediately regretted it. Light, way too bright, and he felt colder. His stomach flipped and for half a second he was terrified he was going to throw up. “Head,” he managed to choke out. “Please...”

“We'll fix that,” the nurse said, already moving away. Her movements were too fast, too jerky for him to follow, and he fought to keep his eyes from crossing. The room was starting to spin a little too fast, and the urge to hurl was getting worse. It felt like his head was leaning forward without his permission, dislocated and floating above his head. Maybe it was trying to find Dean.

Dean. Dad. Dean.

“Deannnnnnnnn,” and oh, that was glorious. Whatever she'd pumped into his IV felt good. It was cold but it was good, and he shivered as it loaded chemical goodness into his veins. His head decided to keep on floating and he let it, let it take the big bundle of pain with it. His head could have it.

The nurse was saying something, but it sounded like it was under water, and he didn't really care. She wasn't going to tell him anything. He'd find Dean himself.

As soon as he could find the appropriate body parts to move, and as soon as she left him alone for just one minute.




Dean really doesn't want to do this. It's honestly the last thing he wants to do on a long list of Never Want to Do This to Sammy. Okay, his dad's last words are last on the list, but that request is an outlier, and he's not considering it. Nope. Doesn't even make the list, it's so out there.

But unfortunately, Sam's cough isn't going away. If anything, it's getting worse. It's not that it's loud. No, loud coughs mean there's air behind it, means he's getting oxygen and Dean's okay with that.

Sam's coughs are getting rough and quiet, weak and tinny. Like he's not pulling in any air because he's fucking not. It sounds like someone's taking a grater to his throat and oh yeah, great image there, Dean-o. About as great as the idea of someone choking Sammy, because that little whistle and gasping that Sam's doing? That's about what it sounds like when Sam gets choked, when any sort of supernatural being decides to pin his brother and shut off his airways. (Or not so supernatural, like the last bar they went to, where Dean walked away with a fractured fist on account of beating the living shit out of the patrons after they held Sam against the wall and choked the shit out of his brother, and if Dean ever thinks about Sam's desperate fight for air, Sam's wide eyes spinning wildly around the bar looking for Dean, it'll be forever too soon.)

Sam's eyes are getting glassy, his fever out of control. He's refusing any sort of drug, though, and while Dean knows why and understands the logic behind it, he really really really needs his brother to breathe. Sam's coughing out and not pulling any other air in, even though his lungs are heaving and goddamn that witch, that bitch that shot an arrow through Sam's leg and chased them through the snowy forests of the Upper Peninsula for two whole days. Dean really wishes he could shoot her again, if just on principle: you don't fuck with Sammy.

The leg's healing just fine, thank god, but it compromised Sam's system, left him weak and vulnerable to the outdoors, and wouldn't you know it, the kid wound up sick. The infection in his lungs wasn't anything to worry about, for awhile. He was coughing up junk and sounded like a bear but it was fine, he was going to be just fine. Dean bitched about Sam's snotty and phlegmy tissues everywhere and Sam made certain to hack up a lung while Dean watched a movie, his favorite movie too, and they were fine.

And then Dean wound up being shaken awake violently one night by Sam, whose face was getting paler by the second and who wasn't breathing. He was pulling in short, gasping breaths, but not enough, and he almost went down beside Dean's bed, if Dean hadn't caught him. It was Sam's eyes, widening with panic, that brought Dean from groggy to awake in point five seconds more than anything, and less than five minutes later the shower was on to full heat, steaming up the bathroom. Dean raced through the kitchenette and made the fastest thing of coffee the world had ever seen, and all but shoved it down Sam's throat. Between the steam and the caffeine, Sam's airways opened, and both brothers managed to breathe.

The next day, Dean had hit the local pharmacy and gotten everything from liquid cough suppressant to an inhaler. Sammy, the little brat, promptly refused them all. “Fine,” Dean had said at the time, glaring at Sam like that would do any good. “But if you get worse, I have full rights to pull out my Big Brother Card, capital letters and all, and you're gonna take something.”

It got worse. Dean pulled out his Big Brother Card. Sam pulled out his Little Brother Puppy Eyes of Doom. Sam's trump beat Dean's hand without any hesitation, and Sam went on hacking and coughing without any medicine.

The worst part is, Dean knows why. He knows exactly why Sam isn't going to take anything, but that doesn't make it any better. Dean didn't enjoy his experience at the hospital, either. He'd almost died, and then Dad-

The hospital had sucked, okay? No one had enjoyed their stay at the Hospital California, all right? (The Eagles had it wrong, hotels have never been a problem in Dean's life. Hospitals, on the other hand, are the things you enter and never leave again.) Dean still can't bear walking into a hospital without a shudder.

Sam's having nightmares about them. He'd had one that morning, actually, and wound up coughing and hacking so much that he'd had tears in his eyes, mouth open and trying desperately to pull in air without any success. He'd almost damn near passed out.

Dean had pulled out his Big Brother Card and hadn't been refused this time. The inhaler (because that was where they'd been, medical emergency wise) had been set up in record time, and when the first pump hadn't done shit, they'd done another.

Which is where they're at now, with Dean anxiously watching Sam and hating what he's about to do, but the damn kid's running a fever and the cough is weak and tinny and now, now Sam's heart is going over 120 beats per minute, and has been since he took the second hit from the inhaler. Dean knows: he's got his fingers over the kid's pulse, which is going fast but steady. He sort of hates that that's the best they're going to get right now.

Sam's hunched over the chair with his hand at his heart, trying to stay calm, and fuck, Dean's words aren't going to help that. But Sam's two seconds away from a possible heart attack and he's not breathing and they're done. Dean's done. He can't handle this on his own.

“Sammy,” Dean starts, as gentle as he can, and Sam's eyes lift to look at him. Two seconds later his kid brother's eyes widen and he starts shaking his head and his pulse gets even faster. Great. “We have to,” Dean says.

“M'fine,” Sam wheezes, then clutches at his chest. “D-Dean-”

“Fine went out the window about a week ago,” and fuck the witch bitch to Hell and back for apparently deciding Sam made a great target for crossbow practice. “We need the hospital, Sam. We needed it, like, three days ago.”

Sam opens his mouth to say something, but nothing comes out because he's too busy coughing. The loud coughs give way to the smaller, weaker ones, and in no time flat he's clutching at his throat and shuddering and gasping for air. His wet, red eyes meet Dean's, and Dean's already got Sam up and pressed against his side.

“ER in less than ten minutes, okay? Just hang on to me, fuck, I've got you.”

Sam doesn't argue, because he can't. Dean tries to tell himself that Sam would argue with him, if he had the air, wouldn't taciturnly agree with Dean because he's that sick.

He keeps the lie running through his head while he blows through two red lights and hopes that the difference of taking Sam to the ER three days ago and taking Sam now isn't going to wind up putting them into the negatives, and leave Dean without his kid brother.



The wonder drug wore off fast. In fact, it wore off just a little after Sam saw his brother, and god, Dean. Dean on life support and barely hanging on and just...Dean. His invincible big brother. Not invincible now.

“Sir? Your father's just down this hall.”

Dad. Dad was awake, at least. No word on whether Dean would wake up. Or live.

The headache was getting worse, and Sam shoved the palms of his hands into his eyes to try and stem the pain. His hand ached from the IV, a slow sting that wouldn't go away. It should've gone away, the headache should've stayed gone for much longer than it had. Surely whatever they'd given him hadn't run out that fast?

“Sir?”

Something hit him hard from the side, and instinct made him shove something flat and unforgiving away, hands coming up immediately in a fight stance, except his legs weren't cooperating, and the hallway was tilting to the side. The pressure from his side was gone at least, but there was something cold against his cheek, and everything was spinning, everything was hurting, and Sam had to get up. He had to find Dad, had to help Dean. Dean had to make it.

He had to. Sam didn't know what he'd do if Dean didn't make it.

“Sir!”

He blinked and realized he was on the floor. The cool tile against the side of his face was numbing it, but the headache persevered and the cold was only making the nausea return with a vengeance. Legs and feet were rushing towards him and he shut his eyes, waiting for impact as they undoubtedly ran into him.

Hands reached him instead, pulling him up too fast, way too fast for his stomach, and Sam swallowed back bile. Too many hands, too many voices telling him he'd hit the wall somehow and he'd be fine, they just had to get him off the floor, and Sam risked opening his eyes.

All around him were nurses and doctors, their voices a cacophony that made his head throb. His vision literally pulsed with each throb, and Sam tried to push them off. He didn't need the help, Dean did, and his hand was burning now, something was wrong, it was all wrong.

“Sir, can you answer me?”

He really hated that “sir”. “M'hand,” he mumbled, looking down at it. It looked red and angry, felt hot and wrong, and when someone touched it he about hurled. Oh god it hurt, stop touching it, please...

“We have to fix it, Sammy.”

Sam swiveled at the voice, at the name, and found himself staring into earnest yellow eyes. “We'll fix it,” the demon said, the young nurse he was wearing probably screaming inside even while a hand reached for him.

Sam fell onto the floor and threw up. The cold tile, the smell of sickness and too clean hospital, and the demon's eyes were the last thing he remembered for awhile.




The kid's way too silent in the car all the way to the hospital. He's measuring his breaths and Dean hates it, hates the way Sam's gotten pretty good at it over the past couple of weeks. Words flash through his head, words like lung damage, fluid build up, bronchitis, pneumonia, and each one turns his stomach. This simple little cold isn't simple or little anymore, and the idea of Sam being that sick makes Dean feel like he should turn in his Big Brother Card right then and there, because obviously he screwed it up somewhere.

Finally they pull up to the ER, the drive still too long despite leaving cars screeching and honking behind them, and Dean races around to the passenger side. “Easy, easy, I got you,” he says, debating on whether to get someone with a wheelchair to come back out to get Sam, to get a whole team with a gurney.

Sam's already standing though, hand seemingly attached to his chest, and heads for the ER doors. His other hand clutches at Dean's sleeve, though, and Dean leaves the car running and alone to get Sam inside. He tells the woman that Sam isn't breathing, that he keeps coughing until he's sick, and the woman says it won't be long, and would Sam please take a seat and fill out Some Paperwork. Of course.

Except when Dean turns back to Sam, Sam's standing in the middle of the room looking down the corridor towards the multitude of ER rooms, standing and looking so lost and like he's gazing into the mouth of Hell itself. It takes three calls of his name to catch his attention, and Sam quickly finds a seat that doesn't face the hallway and promptly buries his head in his arms. It's not going to help his breathing at all, and he starts coughing almost at once.

Dean throws the Some Paperwork onto the seat next to Sam and races out to park the car. As much as he didn't care where she was at that point, it'd be easier to get Sam out of the hospital if she wasn't towed. Parking space found, Dean puts every muscle to work as he runs flat out back to the doors, because of course all the close spaces were either handicapped, reserved for expectant mothers, or taken. He gets back inside in record time, though, and thank fuck Sam hasn't moved and still appears to be coughing. That means alive, and Dean'll take it.

When Dean takes a seat beside him and gently places a hand on Sam's shoulder, Sam flinches away, and Dean freezes, thinks for half a second it's him, and then Sam's eyes dart out from behind his arms and the kid's shoulders come down. “Sorry,” Sam croaks, and Dean feels like an ass for even thinking it, because who was the kid clinging to when they came in?

“Who else did you think would sit beside your hacking self?” Dean asks, because it's easier than saying, It's okay when it very obviously isn't. “I'm immune at this point, completely invincible to whatever you've got.” And whatever Sammy's got has thus far been immune and invincible to Dean's treatments at the motel, which pisses him off to no end.

Sam looks at him funny for a minute before mumbling, “Stay that way,” and goes back to keeping his head in his hands.

Dean looks for the Some Paperwork and finds only four pages to fill out. Of course, all the print is small enough that a mouse would need a fucking microscope to read it, and the pen attached to the clipboard is about dead. Dean glances back at Sam and blinks a little, the run having made him a little dizzy and the world a little shaky. The kid's still alive, so Dean turns back to the paperwork, then realizes his vision isn't shaking at all, which means-

Aw, hell, Sammy.

He sets the damn papers aside and slides in his seat (why are they always so damn big for one person, but never big enough for two?) next to Sam, who is indeed trembling minutely. “You want a blanket?” Dean asks.

Sam gives a larger shudder at that and shakes his head. “Just tell me when it's my turn,” he whispers, his voice hoarse and wrecked. He coughs again, takes a quick breath through his nose, then turns green. That one, Dean understands. The clean, supposedly fresh scent of the hospital always turns his stomach, too. It never means anything good.

And Dean hates this, hates that Sam's here, hates that he's got Some Paperwork standing between him and getting the kid seen, knows it's going to be ages before he can take the kid home, and god, what if this isn't something he can just spring Sam for? What if Sam has to stay-

“One thing at a time,” Dean murmurs to himself. For now, he needs to find a working pen and get Sam to maybe calm down a little. His kid brother's wound up enough to make any coughing or breathing hurt, period.

Dean rises and heads for the desk again.



“Sir? Did you want a blanket?”

Sam sat and shivered and didn't say anything. He was back in a bed – some other bed, not the one he'd woken up in – and the needle had been back in his hand again. Except this time, it wasn't the wonder drug coursing through his system. It looked like plain old saline, which meant no drugs, and he could do with some drugs. He felt cold and his head was pounding hard enough that he thought it would crack open, and his stomach weakly rebelled at the thought of all that blood. There'd been so much blood at the scene of the crash, on Dean, on Dad...

Dad. He'd been going to see his Dad. “M'dad,” he murmured.

The nurse was fussing with some heavy blanket and not listening. “My dad,” he enunciated, louder this time.

The nurse finally finished putting the blanket on and frowned at him. “Is your dad coming to visit? Is he on the visitor's list?” she asked.

No, not on the visitor's list, his dad wouldn't visit him, Sam was going to see him. “No, he's in...” and the room number was gone, up in smoke. Someone could've pointed a gun at him and Sam wouldn't have been able to remember. Tears sprang to his eyes and he shook his head. “He's here,” Sam told her, and the taste of stale sickness in his mouth only made him want to be ill again. “Please, I-I need to see him-”

“You had an adverse reaction to the pain medication,” the nurse said, no longer interested in what he had to say. “We're trying to see if we can flush it out. Do you remember what happened before you passed out?”

Dean. He remembered Dean. The wall against his side, the tile against his cheek, yellow eyes staring at him, trying to take him. “Be sick,” he mumbled, swallowing hard.

The nurse looked sympathetic. “I'll talk to the doctor, see if you can have some anti-nausea medication,” she said and promptly walked out. Out in the hallway, Sam could hear people walking by, talking amongst themselves. Doctors being paged through the loud speaker, noise everywhere. It was going straight through Sam's head, as were the lights up above him and the sunlight pouring in brightly through the curtains.

He had to get out of the room. He couldn't sit there for a moment longer, because the damn nurse obviously knew nothing about his dad, about Dean, and the longer Sam sat there, the longer things were going to go wrong without his knowing it. He just had to get up. Easy. Really.

He sat up and immediately continued going forward, bending him in half, forehead almost to his knees. His stomach tried to rebel and Sam gagged once before it settled, still tight and clenched like it wanted to empty itself. Sam was pretty certain there wasn't anything left to bring up. The blanket was scratchy but warm on his chilled frame, the only thing good about the room so far. He felt dizzy, his limbs weak and not responding the way they should. Whatever that drug had been, it hadn't been wonderful. Sam couldn't remember feeling sicker in his entire life.

Dean. He had to get to Dean. Dean who'd looked at him from the back of the car, Dean who'd depended on him to do the right thing and Sam had, he really had, up until he'd let the possessed driver hit them. T-Bone, the Winchester steak was overcooked and done, and oh god, he couldn't think about food now, his stomach couldn't take it. It clenched up in a warning sign, then let go slightly. The thought of all that blood at the scene was enough to make him have to shut his eyes, his headache pulsing behind his left eye.

But it was hard not to think about it, because it was his fault. All of it. And it killed him to think of his brother in that bed because of him. The demon coming after Sam, the car Sam had been driving, and Dean was paying the price.

He had to get up and out of the uncomfortable bed. He had to leave the warm blanket behind and go find Dean, find Dad.

He pushed himself up and set his feet on the floor, the cold floor that he could feel through his socks. His boots were off in the corner, and putting them on was a stretch. He managed it, somehow, leaning against the wall that smelled like too much cleaner. The entire hospital smelled like too much cleaner, and he'd always been able to tell when he was in a hospital or a doctor's office. The smell of that much clean always went straight up his nose and right to his gut. Or to his headache.

God he was cold. But his hands felt too hot and it felt like his skin was too tight. Somewhere, somehow, he knew that meant something, but he couldn't remember what now.

Dad. Dad would know. He just had to find Dad.

The hallway was long and full of people, full of doors. People kept pushing against him, nearly sending him to the floor. His body shook and the lights were too bright and everything was wrong. He wanted to leave. Oh god he wanted to run out of there into the sunshine and grass and warm air and anywhere that wasn't the sterilized environment filled with blood and pain and death. He shook harder, his head throbbing incessantly and his brain nearly having enough. His vision was narrowing down, and it felt like one of his eyes didn't work. It was like the nightmares he was running from something and he couldn't see well, his eyes falling shut and he couldn't get them to open. Except now, now it was real: the pain was shutting his vision down and his stomach wouldn't settle and he was so alone, so cold and hot and in pain and alone because he'd probably killed the only family he had left.

He forced himself up against a wall and followed it down the hallway. He'd find his dad. Then everything would be okay.



Part 2



~Nebula

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