Anyone want to see a pouty, grouchy Dean struggling to cope with two broken wrists, a suffocatingly concerned brother and the worlds worst bath?
Then walk this way ...
Genre: Humour & H/C
Words: 5130 approx
Disclaimer: I own nothing except an addled and deeply disturbed mind. :)
The doctor had delivered his verdict to Sam who he had found pacing up and down in the corridor outside the examination cubicle. Not exactly a newsflash; The glazed look in Dean's eyes, the vacant staggering and the fact that he had tried to cling on to a Sam standing two feet to the right of the original one were dead giveaways to that. Yep, concussion, our old friend …
Bruising to the face, shoulders and chest, nothing serious thankfully. Yep, again, not exactly a shock; it was a sad fact of their lives that both of them felt naked if they didn't have a couple of colourful medals to show for their exploits these days.
Then he dropped the bombshell. "X-rays have indicated fractures to both wrists. He's being plastered up at the moment". Sam's jaw dropped.
"Yes", said the Doctor cheerily, "Fairly straightforward Colles fractures"; he produced two X-ray plates which both showed feathery lines snaking across the bones of Dean's wrists. The Doctor continued, explaining that these sorts of fractures often happen when individuals fall forward, putting their hands out to stop themselves; Sam smiled pleasantly and nodded as if in agreement. He didn't like to point out that these particular fractures were caused by his brother falling forward into an open grave.
"Anyway", the Doctor continued, "like I said, seem quite straightforward, just looking at a standard six weeks in plaster, nothing to worry about, lots of rest and relaxation and don't let him get the casts wet."
Sam's smile grew wider and less convincing as he tried to share the doctor's reassurance, "Nothing to worry about? You try living with him plastered up and unable to use his hands like this for six weeks!"
As if on cue, Dean appeared around the corner, plastered from fingertips to mid-forearm both sides, and wheeled in a chair by a stout, middle aged nurse.
Sam thanked the nurse and gulped when he took the handles of the chair, looking down at his heavy eyed brother rendered docile by a potent combination of concusson, antibiotics and industrial strength painkillers. Six weeks? God help me … six weeks?
Sam reached for his phone and did the only thing he could think of doing under the circumstances … "Bobby?"
The first three days were gloriously calm. Dean, decanted into his usual bed at Bobby's house, had slept almost continuously and taken every drug Sam had offered him without question. Bobby, completely bamboozled by this compliant, angelic figure, had even been driven to question whether a changeling had been planted on them.
Sam felt slightly guilty that he was thoroughly enjoying the placid brother that the hospital's painkillers were delivering, a brother who accepted food from Sam's hand quietly and graciously, who gazed woozily into Sam's eyes without comment as Sam wiped a trickle of soup from his chin; who calmly acquiesced with nothing more than a soppy smile to being undressed, washed and even given a little moral support when he tried to pee without help for the first time.
Sam also felt a distinct sense of foreboding as he had just administered the last of the hospital's painkillers to Dean who had just fallen asleep under Sam's reassuring hand; the phrase 'calm before the storm' kept coming to his mind …
The thunderbolt struck the following morning; and it struck hard.
"You are not feedin' me with that!" growled Dean staring at the bowl of oatmeal Sam had delivered like it was a bowl of toenail clippings.
Sam took a deep breath. "You've eaten it for the last three mornings" he pointed out, "I've put honey in it, so it's nice and sweet!" He loaded the spoon and waved it in Dean's face.
"Poke it". Dean looked straight through Sam and his spoon.
"Well, what do you want then?" asked Sam, defeated.
"Something I can feed myself with" he snorted, wiggling the exposed tips of his fingers. "You ain't giving in to your pervy, touchy-feely, nursey urges with me".
Sam glowered at him; but that was that. Dean's menu from there-on-in would consist of toast, sandwiches, toasted sandwiches and all and any variations that could be gripped between fingertips.
Sam wasn't even going to raise the issue of more personal help.; even after he strolled up the stairs to see Dean walking slowly from the bathroom, muttering angrily to himself and shaking his left foot irritably with every other stride.
Bobby was bent over the kitchen table, reading his newspaper, a cup of steaming coffee in his hand. He could hear the loud and increasingly aggressive altercation from the bathroom upstairs.
"I can wash myself!"
"No you can't - you can't get your damn casts wet …"
"Then, I'll freakin' figure something out!"
"Dean, you need a wash now - you stink!"
Bobby looked up, "way to go, Sam - win hearts and minds …"
"A man who don't sweat ain't healthy … 'course, being a steamin' great WOMAN you wouldn't understand that … "
Bobby sighed; he was missing Dean, the perfect patient of a couple of days ago. Dean really was the thick-headed, stubborn, moose-stupid patient from hell and he wouldn't blame Sam in the slightest if he lost it and bopped his brother a haymaker sometime soon.
Bobby tried unsuccessfully to concentrate on his newspaper, ignoring the melee of shouting and crashing going on upstairs, until he heard Sam's footsteps stomping down the stairs; "you're a moron" he yelled back up the stairs; "bite me" came the gruff response from the landing.
Sam trudged into the kitchen and slammed the door behind him. He leaned heavily against the door; "hey Bobby, do you think it's possible to love your brother and want to rip his spleen out at the same time?" he sighed.
Bobby looked Sam up and down, from his exasperated expression to the dripping sponge in his hand
"Possible?" Bobby replied, "for your brother, that's normal ain't it?"
Bobby got up with a grunt and walked over to Sam, taking the sponge from Sam's hand, he took a bowl from under the sink, filling it with water he tossed in a cake of soap. Sam watched him quizzically,. "What ya doin''?" he asked the older man.
"Learned a thing or two in my time …" grumbled Bobby mysteriously and headed on up the stairs armed with the bowl and sponge.
Sam followed him to the foot of the stairs and saw him disappear into their room.
"Hey, you're supposed to knock!" came the sulky voice from inside the room, "what ya doing with tha … AAAAGGHH!"
"Suck it up, Cinderella"
something metallic crashed to the ground and rolled across the floor …
"Lemme go … ooooooaaahhh …" *SPLAT*
"PUT. ME. DOWN.";
"hold still, what are ya, a friggin' infant?"
"splu-splu - ack … ya could've used warm water ya sadistic old ba …GAAAAAHH!
"Get off me you old perv!"
"Can it, Princess" *SPLAT*
"Hey, get your hands off my shorts - you're not going anywhere near that part of the worl … EEEEEEP!
"Get down off the bookcase, boy. It won't take your weight …"
"What the f ….?" *CRASH*
"splutt-spluuuh … SAAAAAAAAM!"
Sam listened nervously from he foot of the stairs as the commotion continued; bedsprings creaked and groaned; another loud clatter sounded and the ceiling shook menacingly under the onslaught dislodging a small festival of plaster dust and woodlice onto Sam's head.
Suddenly everything went quiet.
Sam ventured halfway up the stairs and saw Bobby emerging from the bedroom. soaked from head to foot, a thin trickle of blood stained his lip, and a dark bruise was beginning to blossom across his face; a sure sign of a plaster cast across the bridge of the nose.
The sleeve had been ripped off of his shirt and it's remains flopped down around his wrist.
He closed the door behind him and leaned against the wall.
"All done", he panted.
Sam bounded up the rest of the stairs. "What happened in there?" he gasped. "How did you …"
Bobby looked up at him. "I've kept dogs all my life" he explained breathlessly, "I'm used to bathing big, dumb aggressive things that don't want to be washed".
Sam grinned, he didn't think he could admire Bobby any more than he did right now.
He leaned round Bobby to open the door, but Bobby clamped a hand on his arm; "Don't", he said urgently, "There's a sulk in there, and it ain't pretty".
Sam looked at him, "pout?" he asked, trying not to laugh.
"You have no idea". Bobby gathered up his bowl and sponge and trudged down the stairs.
Sam's life had suddenly become much easier.
Dean, whilst not exactly gracious, had become a paragon of co-operation; a week had gone by and Sam was in his element fussing over his brother.
He had happened across the ultimate Dean taming weapon; something far more potent than anything the hospital could have given him. He only had to utter the words, "well then I'll just have to get Bobby to help me", and Dean was putty in his hands.
Sam figured that he was in for a rough ride when all this was over judging by the dirty looks Dean fired in his direction whenever he thought Sam wasn't looking, but for now Sam was loving being 'big brother' and giving Dean a bit of payback for the entire life of care Dean had given him.
Dean sat on the edge of the bath, his brother kneeling at his feet helping him to slip on his socks.
"This is what I'm reduced to" moaned Dean, "the last time I had someone's head anywhere near my knees she was a lot better looking than you "
Sam looked up, a broad grin on his face, "I bet she didn't want to touch your socks though!"
"Hey Dean, I've been thinking", Sam looked up at his brother.
"Steady on" was the response, "I wondered where the smoke was coming from".
Sam smiled wickedly at his brother, "You know Dean, seeing as I have your foot in my hands and you do have the most ticklish feet in the world, you might want to think about being a bit more civil to me!" He waggled his eyebrows threateningly.
Dean snorted. "You're talking crap" he snapped, but was careful to slide his foot well away from Sam's grip as he said it.
"Stand up" coaxed Sam, "I'm just going to get your deodorant, then we'll get your T shirt on". Dean nodded and obediently stood up as Sam disappeared down the landing.
Sam returned a moment later with a can of 'Ram' deodorant spray to find the spectacle of his brother staggering bare-chested in the middle of the bathroom, squirming under a black T shirt which appeared to be eating his head and left arm, only his right arm, resplendent in cast, was visible, pointing straight up in the air through the neck hole.
Sam leaned in the doorway with crossed arms and sighed. Then he marched unseen over to Dean and detonated a blast of 'Ram' under his one exposed armpit.
There was a muffled squawk, followed by a tirade of mumbled obscenities.
Sam rearranged his brother's T shirt, pulling and pushing unco-ordinated arms through various holes, ducking to avoid a plaster cast across the forehead, and delivering another blast of 'Ram' in the process, laughing when Dean's head, spikey haired and flushed face appeared through the hole.
Sam gazed at him levelly. "You can't wait, can you?"
Dean at least had the good grace to look admonished, he chewed his lip and looked down at the floor.
Then he looked up, "what were you thinkin'?" he asked.
Sam looked at him, "thinkin'?" he repeated vacantly; "Ah yeah, I was thinkin' you've been cooped up in this house over a week, why don't we go out for a walk, go and have a coffee?"
Dean liked the sound of that; fresh air, a bit of activity and some decent caffeine, a nice change from the dishwater that Bobby served up. Plus there was the added bonus of that cute little waitress with the short blonde hair and the tattoo on the left one - he'd never seen enough of it to work out exactly what it was. Perhaps today would be the day!
"Great idea Sammy, lets go!"
"Uh yeah, shall we put your jeans on first?"
The walk down to the cafe was a welcome diversion to both Winchesters; Sam happily ignored Dean's snarking which was due to the fact that Sam had insisted he wear both his slings for the walk.
"I look like as friggin' badly made bed!"
But Sam didn't care, the sun was shining, the cool breeze was in his hair, the crickets were singing and big brother was letting him help. Life was as good as it got for a Winchester.
When they arrived at the cafe, Dean headed over to a table in the corner and wriggled out of his slings before Sam could nag or bitch about it. Sam just rolled his eyes and approached the counter behind which stood the cute blonde waitress whose name badge introduced her as Kay.
"Hey", Sam smiled that smile that made every woman on earth want to mother him, "one skinny hazelnut latte and a double shot americano extra hot". Kay smiled back, "sure, hun". Dean was watching her intently from the corner; what was it … dolphin? rose? …
"Oh, I'll have two of those chocolate frosted donuts too".
Kay headed over to the table with the drinks, Sam pointed to Dean for the black coffee.
"Aw, poor hun, what ya done to yourself" she leaned over to look at Dean's double casts.
Butterfly … YAHTZEE .. Butterfly!
Dean looked up at her and Sam immediately noticed his brother go to work.
"Oh God - not the big eyes!" Sam shook his head and had to look away, it was like watching one of those wildlife programmes where some tiny, dimwitted, doe-eyed antelope gets stalked by a scheming pack of predators.
"Broke both my arms" Dean replied, working a deliberate wheeze into his voice.
Sam grinned and shook his head.
"Aah, you poor, poor bunny" Kay cooed, "that must hurt so bad!"
"Ah, yeah" whispered Dean weakly, "but, you know, I just get on with it …"
Sam spun round behind Kay to face Dean and made a silent imitation of someone being violently sick.
"You poor old brave thing - would you like me to cut up your donut?"
Sam nearly choked on his coffee.
"Would you?" Dean smiled, "that would be really kind of you."
He even worked a pathetic little cough into the words. She gently patted his arm, "no trouble at all sweetie" she smiled.
Sam watched incredulously. "Jeez Dean, if your eyes get any bigger your eyeballs are gonna fall out!"
Kay cut the donut into quarters and walked back to the counter , looking over her shoulder with a broad smile which was reciprocated from the face opposite Sam.
"That was revolting" laughed Sam, "have you no shame?"
"Jealousy is very a unattractive trait and doesn't suit you" announced Dean smugly.
Sam got up, still laughing, and headed over to the mens' room.
It was while Sam was drying his hands he heard the crash, closely followed by the agonised howl. He ripped the door open and tore over to where his brother was curled up in his chair, his coffee cup on it's side in a puddle of steaming liquid. The rest was in his lap.
Dean was rocking back in his chair, fist in his mouth, his legs crossing and uncrossing spasmodically. Kay stood over him awkwardly dabbing at his thighs with a dishcloth, clearly uncomfortable with how far she should go to help.
"Jeez, Sam … SAM!" Dean squealed, "the whole lot went in my lap, my freakin' privates are on fire!"
Sam crouched down beside Dean clutching his shaking shoulders, "er, OK Dean, lets get you back to Bobby's and cleaned up" Dean turned to look at him through bulging, teary eyes, still gasping pitifully and gnawing his knuckles.
Sam pulled Dean to his feet, he turned to Kay, "sorry about the mess". "No problem, hun" her smile masked by her concern, "hope he's OK". Sam smiled, "thanks Kay"
Dean managed something that sounded like "Nnnggkk".
The walk back to Bobby's wasn't half as pleasant as the walk out, in addition to his scalded legs, Dean's wet jeans had begun to chafe something wicked, and so by the time they got home, Dean's bow legs were pretty much operating in different zip codes.
"What the hell …?" asked Bobby as the pair staggered through his kitchen.
"Don't ask", groaned Sam, "he wouldn't wait - dropped a cup of scalding hot coffee in his lap".
"Ouch!" said Bobby; "take him upstairs and get his pants off him."
Sam practically carried his brother up the staircase.
"Pants" said Sam, matter-of-factly, he unbuttoned Dean's jeans and worked them down his trembling legs.
Dean flopped onto the bed and they both surveyed the damage. Dean's thighs were crimson, but the damage was superficial - it looked like a severe sunburn. Dean looked vaguely disappointed that there wasn't more gruesome damage to justify the pain that he'd suffered.
He pulled out the front of his boxers, he took a good long look, then had a little rummage around. "thank goodness" he sighed with relief, "no harm done".
Bobby handed over two soaked towels to Sam, and came in to check up on the patient; "ya eejit!" was his appraisal of he situation.
Sam laid the two cold towels across Dean's thighs. Dean shuddered against the cold but didn't complain; he laid back on the bed looking up at the two faces which were looking down on him.
"Why couldn't you wait for me to help you?" asked Sam, kneeling down beside his brother as Bobby took the towels away to dampen them again.
"Well, I'd have looked a freakin' pussy if I'd have had to let you feed me my own coffee!"
Sam stared in disbelief. "Oh, I see", he stated, "so you just tipped it in your lap and screamed the place down as you par-boiled yourself.". He nodded, "yeah, I can see how that would be so much more dignified!"
"That wasn't in the plan" snapped Dean, he looked down at his thighs, "look, it's taken all the hairs off …" he wailed.
Bobby replaced the cold towels back across Dean's legs, and turned to leave the room. "Will you guys be wanting a coffee?" he nodded towards Dean, "should I put his in a bowl on the floor?"
Dean looked up with an offended frown as Sam burst out laughing.
Dean sprawled flat on the bed as Sam gently smoothed some lotion onto his scalded thighs. "You are going to owe me seriously for this!" Sam chuckled as he worked small circles of the cool cream into Dean's warm skin.
"That's far enough up" snapped Dean, "if this isn't humiliating enough, I don't need you manhandling my privates as well!"
"You should have got that Kay to come over" Dean mumbled wistfully, "she would have sold her grandmother to be sitting where you are!"
Sam smiled and shook his head, "You know Dean, you can moan all you want, but I saw something today I never thought I'd see"
Dean looked up; "wha …?"
"You were sitting there today and a gorgeous girl had her hands all over your nether regions, and you were hollering out for me!"
Dean visibly wilted.
"I am never showing my face in that place again!"
Dean sat on the side of the bath with closed eyes as Sam gently lifted his chin, running the razor along his jawline.
"Big day today" Sam smiled broadly; he tapped the razor on Dean's left cast, " they're coming off today!"
"Hmmm …" Dean answered vacantly.
Sam rinsed the foamy razor in the sink, and brought it back up to Dean's throat. "I don't know who'll be more relieved – you or me!"
Dean smiled; feeling Sam's hand against his neck, he almost allowed himself to lean into the touch. He righted himself just in time to make it look like a slight loss of balance.
The fact was, Dean was not particularly relieved at all. He realised that he had come to enjoy Sam's fussing and care, the love that only his own flesh and blood could deliver; a closeness that Dean hadn't enjoyed since that terrible day many years ago when that bastard yellow eyed demon had made him a motherless four-year-old.
Not that he'd ever admit that to Sam, the little snotball, ok, big – great big, lanky – snotball; wild horses wouldn't drag it out of him. He was the big brother, and big brothers didn't do mushy stuff; did they?
So he kept up the pretence; moaning, bitching, delivering the expected level of pain-in-the-ass-ness; Sam was gay, Sam was a woman, Sam was loving this far more than was healthy … but, in truth, he had relished the comfort of Sam's care; a strong, warm hand washing his back, unearthing a long-buried memory of his mother bathing him all those years ago; Sam's long nimble fingers working their way through his short hair, rinsing shampoo, or gently manipulating his face as he carefully shaved him. Dean desperately didn't want the bond to break.
At first he had hated his casts; despised the physical limitations they had imposed upon him. Now they were his friends, tools that provided the comforting touch he had come to crave, and today they would be taken away from him.
Sam would back off to give Dean the space and independence that he outwardly insisted on, they would go back to their normal rough and tumble lives and Sam would never know how much Dean appreciated his tender loving care. The thought made Dean feel physically sick.
He sighed. Dean Winchester – you are a complete dick!
"Hey, you still with me there?" Dean opened his eyes to find Sam squatting down looking directly into his face.
"Um … yeah" Dean whispered, "sorry dude, miles away!"
"Hey, what's wrong, are you … crying?" Sam looked closely into the deep green pools. Dean suddenly realised with a jolt that his eyes were teary, "oh, uh … no" he stuttered, blinking wildly and bringing a hand up to brush the stray tears off his face, belting the back of a cast across his nose as he did so, "new aftershave; freakin' stuff is strong, won't use that again" he whispered, trying to avoid Sam's gaze.
Sam turned away to put the aftershave bottle back on the shelf, keeping concerned eyes on Dean as long as possible.
Dean took a deep breath; "thanks Sammy."
The voice sounded so small, Sam couldn't believe it came from his brother.
"What for?" he asked.
"For helpin' me, I appreciate it". Dean hesitated, "an' I'm sorry I've been such a dick about everything."
Sam looked completely perplexed. "Dean … have you been drinkin'?"
Dean looked genuinely offended.
"NO!" he snapped, "I'm gifting you a genuine chick-flick moment here; one you'll probably use against me for the rest of my life, and all you can do is ask if I'm drunk. Well thanks dude!"
Sam laughed nervously, "sorry, bro', but it is kinda out of character."
He knelt down in front of Dean, placing his hands on his brother's shoulders. "Dean, you're my brother. I would die for you; I would walk through fire for you." He smiled mischeviously, "I'll even handle your socks".
"An' I know you'd do the same - you have done the same - for me, without a thought" added Sam.
"I draw the line at handling your socks!" Dean grunted.
Sam grinned, touched by the sadness in his brother's liquid eyes; "well, dude, seeing as we're having a chick-flick moment here, you won't mind if I do this …"
Sam pulled Dean forward into a crushing hug.
"Oh, jeez" Dean mumbled against Sam's chest, "If I must …" he lied. His arms slowly wrapped themselves across Sam's back, and he melted into a hug he didn't want to end.
"I am so gonna hear about this later" he thought.
Dean sat in front of the young nurse; she bent over him with a small circular saw. "This won't hurt", she smiled kindly. Dean smiled back, "I believe you; I'd never argue with a woman with a chainsaw!" The nurse giggled and bought the saw to bear against the first of his casts.
Then, they were gone, two empty casts laying on the table. Dean looked at his pale, wasted wrists; he wiggled his fingers, thumbs, flapped his hands around. Everything worked, exactly as it should.
He was an island once again.
He made his way out into the corridor, weak and wobbly arms clutching a sheet of paper showing physiotherapy exercises that he had no intention of doing, and caught up with Sam who was sitting in the most uncomfortable looking chair Dean had ever seen, reading a leaflet about healthy eating.
"Hey", said Sam, "everything OK?".
"Peachy" grunted Dean, stuffing the paper in his pocket, "c'mon lets get out of this abbatoir - it gives me the creeps."
"Wanna hug?" grinned Sam, holding out his arms to Dean.
"Wanna punch?" snorted Dean, and stomped off ahead of Sam.
Sam shook his head with a laugh, chick-flick moment well and truly over … obviously.
Dean trotted down the stairs, his footsteps echoing through the corridor.
He thought about their next hunt; they needed to get back to work, get back on he road as soon as it was practical. Six weeks he'd been loafing around under Bobby's feet like a dying swan.
Getting back on the job would shake him out of this clingy, drama-queen frame of mind he'd gotten himself into while he was laid up feeling sorry for himself and he was no damned good to anyone or anything like that.
It should only take a few days to get the strength back in his wrists - fiddling about with some of the wrecks at Bobby's yard would do that - don't need no pussy 'press your palms together' physio!
His thoughts were suddenly distracted by a yell and a commotion, and Sam came tumbling down the stairs behind him, landing with an untidy crash in a groaning heap at the bottom.
He was at Sam's side in an instant, hand on his prone brother's shoulder
"Sammy, SAMMY! Shit, man, what happened?" he gasped.
Sam looked up at him and winced violently, "owwwww … untied shoelace happened," he croaked.
"Don't move, dude, don't move!" Dean leapt to his feet, head wheeling in all directions until he saw a nurse approach. "Hey, miss" he yelled frantically, "my brother fell down the stairs - I think he hurt himself"
The nurse knelt beside Sam, asking him questions and checking him over with experienced hands.
Dean fidgeted and paced behind her.
A sense of disbelief crossed Dean's mind as a slinged, strapped up Sam was delivered out of the treatment room to him, dazed on industrial strength painkillers, and with a diagnosis of broken right collarbone and broken left thumb. Freakin' Winchester luck was unkind to them at the best of times, but this? This was like a damned Greek tragedy!
Dean could see a few weeks of caring for his injured and immobile brother looming.
Hang on, hold that thought on Winchester luck …
He couldn't hide his smile.