Sorry I missed posting this yesterday!!!
My bad ...
It was on the third day that Dean seemed to come back to himself; it was the day that he stood on his own two feet.
He had done little more than sleep for the first three days. His periods of wakefulness had increased as time went on but he was too immobile and in too much pain to do much more than lie and talk to Sam, and tease Bobby.
The antibiotics worked their magic and the creeping early signs of an infection which had worried Sam and Bobby so much in the early hours began to ease, calming Dean's elevated temperature; much to both the brothers' relief.
"Dude, it's normal – so will you stop feelin' up my forehead now?"
Dean's breathing remained an issue due to the extensive rib strains he had suffered and Sam's constant clucking and fussing drove him to the brink; "rib injuries can lead to serious lung problems if they're not taken care of, Dean."
"Yeah, Sam; I heard you the first thirty times you told me!"
Sam was a constant presence at Dean's side – even when he wasn't wanted. He made sure Dean kept warm, took his medication, drunk warm drinks, ate good food, sat up as much as possible, did exercises to strengthen his hands, remembered to breathe deeply even when it hurt (because rib injuries can lead to serious lung problems if they're not taken care of) and generally lavished stiflingly devoted care on his beleaguered brother to the point that Bobby had to step in and threaten to lock him in the barn if he didn't give the poor guy a break.
Proof of Dean's continuing improvement, if it were needed, came on the third day when after a morning's begging, pleading and sulking, Sam relented, and helped Dean to swing his legs over the side of the bed, and stand on his two feet.
If the legs were willing, the blood pressure was a sulky little jerk and Dean swayed, drifting slightly cross-eyed before sinking back onto his backside on the bed.
An hour later, another attempt saw a woozy Dean take several faltering steps along the length of the bed, clinging to his brother's arm, and third and final attempt saw wobbly legs carry him in a relatively straight line all the way along the landing to the bathroom, grinning like a Cheshire cat at his new found freedom.
Sam's latest battle had begun.
The following morning, Sam wandered into the bedroom carrying an armful of clean laundry and stopped dead in his tracks at the sight in front of him.
Resplendent in T shirt and boxers, Dean was standing, leaning heavily on the end of the bed, his legs trembling like a pair of pipe-cleaners in a breeze.
Sam dropped the laundry in a heap on the bed.
"What the hell are you doing, man?"
"Got bored wanted to look out the window," Dean replied shakily.
Sam rushed over, taking Dean round the waist, and guided him over to the window, so he was close enough to look out.
"Why didn't you wait for me?"
"You were busy doin' laundry or embroidery or whatever it is that women do."
Sam grinned; "jerk," he replied.
Dean's face lit up; "there's my baby!"
"Yeah, she's down there waiting for you; Bobby's taking real good care of her."
"What's that silver pile of crap behind her?"
"Oh yeah, that's the rental car I got – the Impala was too noticeable, I wanted to keep out of sight while we were looking for you."
Dean grinned, "Yeah – everyone looks at my baby!"
His nose wrinkled in disgust and the poor, uninspiring silver rental seemed to wither under his disapproving glare.
He turned back to Sam; "speaking of Bobby, where is the ol' goat?"
"He's downstairs," Sam replied; "same place he's been for the last two days. In his study buried under fifty thousand books trying to figure out what to do with the spirit."
Dean tried unsuccessfully to stifle a shiver.
"C'mon Dean, you're getting cold, you need to go back to bed." Sam tightened his grip around Dean's waist, and tried to pull him away from the window.
Dean shook his head; "wanna go down and see Bobby."
Sam hesitated; "Dean you only got up on your feet for the first time in a week yesterday; you're not up to managing the stairs yet, dude."
"Please Sammy," Dean pleaded, "I'm going freakin' stir crazy in this room, I gotta get out and about."
"Dean, maybe tomorrow," Sam replied firmly.
Sam shook his head, "Dean, stow the big eyes, you know they don't work on me."
"Please Sammy …"
It was the pout that finished Sam off.
"Oh, I hate you …" he gave in.
Guiding Dean back to the bed, Sam encouraged him to sit down; "well, put some pants on first, and put your fleece shirt on so you don't get cold."
He helped Dean dress; "Jeez Dean, your feet are freezing, put your thick socks on; put my hoodie on over your shirt so you stay warm …"
Sam stood back and looked at Dean; sweatpants, thick socks, t-shirt, fleece overshirt, hoodie … he tried hard not to laugh.
His brother looked like he had suddenly gained thirty pounds.
Dean sighed. "Well, at least if I fall down the stairs I'll have plenty of padding."
Sam helped Dean cautiously down the stairs one by one; there was no doubt Dean was getting more sure of foot; occasional dizzy spells had him taking the odd sideways step, but otherwise the general direction was forward.
Together, the brothers walked into Bobby's study.
"Look who's up and about." Sam announced cheerfully.
Bobby looked up from behind a pile of books and choked into his coffee. "Jeez, it's Mister Stay Puft!"
Dean smirked; "bite me!"
He sat, trying his hardest to ignore Sam fiddling and fussing and making sure he was comfortable; straightening his hoodie and tucking cushions down his sides. Dean peered over Sam's shoulders, rolling his eyes at Bobby who was struggling not to laugh.
"Hey Florence," Dean sighed; "if you tuck me in any further, I'm gonna fall through the back of the chair!"
Sam huffed, scraping a hand through his hair, "I just wanna make sure you can sit up comfortably, rib injuries can lead to serious lung problems if they're not taken care of."
Bobby spluttered with laughter, closing the topmost book on the dusty pile on his desk and Dean's head dropped to his chest. "Shoot me now;" he pleaded.
Sam threw Dean a bitchface; "I suppose you'll want coffee now?"
"Am I allowed?" Dean replied in mock excitement; "all I've been allowed so far is fortified milkshakes and orange juice."
"Yep, you're allowed," Sam replied, the abuse completely washing over him.
"Would I be pushing my luck if I asked for a beer?"
"Oh, yes!" stated Sam economically as he walked out of the room towards the kitchen, watched with amusement by two pairs of eyes.
Bobby got up and quietly closed the door behind Sam.
"Drivin' you mad yet?" He smiled, gesturing with his head towards the direction of the kitchen.
"Oh God yes," Dean grinned, "but it's okay; he really suffered when I went missing, least I can do is let him get it out of his system. This is the way he deals with it; I swear my brother should have been my sister.
Bobby smiled fondly; "real good to see you up and about son."
"Good to be up and about." Dean returned Bobby's warm smile.
Bobby's eyes dropped to the floor and for a few moments, an awkward silence settled between the two men.
"Dean, I'm …"
Dean cut him off. "Don't go there, Bobby."
"No, kid, hear me out," Bobby insisted. "I'm sorry you had to go through what you went though on my account kid; I feel terrible about it."
"Well don't," Dean replied quietly; "it wasn't your fault that I got hurt. Shit happens in this job and it wouldn't occur to me to blame you for any of it. I can't even begin to think where me and Sam would have ended up if it wasn't for you Bobby."
"Yeah but …"
"But nothing Bobby; you're family." Dean looked quietly at his hands resting in his lap. "Sam told me everything; I know I'm not the only one who took one for the team in this whole sorry business."
Bobby took up the story; "Sam was distraught, totally beside himself when you went missing; he moved heaven and earth trying to find you."
"Yeah, I know," Dean sighed, "well, you'd have to be unstable to drive around in that crappy car," he smiled sadly;" but you know what I'm talking about."
"He told me how you squared up to them." Dean looked straight into the older man's eyes; "you had a gun at your head Bobby; how did you know they wouldn't shoot you?"
Bobby looked shifty.
"To be honest, son; I didn't; I was just banking on their cruel streak coming to the fore." Bobby replied without a hint of drama, "I figured they'd want to finish me off in a much more 'entertaining' way."
Bobby nodded, "that's why I prepared the false ring stunt."
Dean shook his head with a smile; "no wonder you're such a good poker player, you crazy old sonofabitch."
Bobby smiled, "back at ya, Cinderella!"
Sam walked back into the room, laden down with a tray of coffee cups and cookies, forcing the door open with his elbow, to find Bobby and Dean grinning stupidly at each other.
He stared, shaking his head with a smile; "Did I miss something?"