I wanna fade out gracefully
but you keep keeping me alive
to face another day
—”I’m Not Driving Anymore,” Rob Dougan
Dean’s leg was pumping blood like Niagara Falls, so Sam ignored every argument Dean gave that he was perfectly capable of patching himself up, and instead drove to the city hospital. In the parking lot he wrapped Dean’s arm around his shoulders and half-carried him into the emergency room, shouting, “I need help here!” as soon as they were inside.
Nurses and a doctor came running, and in a loud, panicked voice Sam told the story of how they’d been mugged and his brother stabbed as they got Dean onto a gurney. “Sammy,” Dean said, reaching for his hand, and Sam gripped it tight and then let it go.
“It’ll be okay. They’ll take care of you. I’ll see you soon, Dean.”
“Sammy!” Dean said again, when the doctor laid her hand on his shoulder and he felt himself calm a little.
“Relax, sir, we’ll take care of you,” she said gently. “What’s your name?”
“Dean,” he said, “Dean –” He couldn’t remember the name on their current insurance card.
“Okay, Dean, do you remember what happened to you?”
By now they were behind the curtain, shutting them off from the rest of the emergency room, and one of the nurses began cutting off his jeans. Shit, he only had two pairs now. He said, “Mugged. My brother and I were mugged. Asshole stabbed me.”
“I’m sorry,” she said, patting his shoulder again. “We’ll call the police for you.”
“No point,” Dean said. “I didn’t see his face.” He hissed through his teeth as the nurse prepared his arm for the IV needle.
“We should still report it, sweetheart,” the doctor assured him gently, and Dean looked up at her, feeling comforted. One of the nurses put a blood pressure monitor on his finger and smiled at him reassuringly, and he tried to smile back though he knew the slow beat on the machine was not a good sign.
“M’ blood pressure’s low.”
“We know, sweetheart. Do you know your blood type?” the doctor asked him.
“O positive.” He started shivering and the nurse left, returning with a warmed blanket that she lay over him.
“Good,” the doctor said, smiling, “nice and common.” The nurse nodded and left again, and the doctor sat down at his side and took his hand. Dean looked at her, puzzled, and noticed her name tag.
“Doctor Fisher,” he said. “I think I met your mom.”
“Did you? Sophie Fisher? I hope she was on her best behavior — she can be a little touchy.”
“I liked her,” Dean said sleepily, when the curtain opened again and Dr. Fisher dropped his hand as the nurse came back. She set up the IV and gently pushed the needle into his arm, and then patted his shoulder. He nodded and tried to smile, woozy from exhaustion and blood loss.
“You’re going to be fine, Mr. Winchester,” the doctor said softly. “We’ll get you stitched right up.”
“Chilton,” Dean said sleepily. “Name’s Chilton.” Whatever painkillers they had in the IV were kicking in, though, and it came out more like a buzz.
He closed his eyes and let himself sleep.
When Dean opened his eyes again, he was in a private room, his legs were elevated, he was still under a few layers of blankets, his monitor was beeping at a much more familiar pace and Sam was asleep in the chair by his bed. The briefcase was under the chair, between his feet, but what really made Dean smile was the package of purple Peeps on the tray attached to his bed. Dean thought about waking him but decided to let him sleep, and tried for the plastic mug on the little tray beside is bed. Water first, then candy.
A hand reached out and brought the mug closer, and Dean looked up to see Castiel. “Cas,” he breathed. The beeping on the monitor sped up a little and he glanced at it in embarrassment.
Castiel held the bendy straw to his lips. “Drink.”
Dean sipped the water and swallowed. “I’m so glad to see you.”
Castiel nodded, his usual solemn expression even graver than usual. His fingers gently brushed Dean’s cheek. “I am sorry,” he whispered. “I am so sorry. I thought it would be simpler.”
“It’s okay. I’m gonna be fine. Stay a while?”
“Yes,” Castiel said and perched carefully on the side of Dean’s bed. He took hold of Dean’s hand and gently stroked the back with his fingertips, leaving warmth and a sweet scent that made Dean think of fresh cookies with each trail of his fingers. “Are you in much pain?”
“No,” Dean said. “They’ve got me on the good drugs. Have you seen my stitches?”
“I have not looked.”
“Do you want to?” Dean said, and Castiel smiled fondly.