As Dean's eyes flickered open, he felt a warm hand resting across his forehead; shifting weakly, he blinked back tears as the bare light of the hospital room stung his eyes. He let out a long sigh; in no rush to wake up, he was relishing the comfort of the warm touch.
"Hey dude, I thought you were planning to sleep all day!"
The voice was Sam's, and so was the hand. Dean formulated a rapier-sharp rejoinder in his mind, but what actually came out of his mouth was, "mmmm … wha'?"
Sam's best soppy grin shone down on the watery-eyed, squinting figure in the bed.
"How you feeling there bro'?"
Dean squirmed into a timid one-sided stretch, and yawned lavishly, knuckling his eyes as he tried to swat his brother's hand away in the process.
"Uhh … don' know yet," he whispered and frowned as Sam busily plumped the pillows beneath him.
"Quit fussin," he croaked irritably.
Sam smiled, "oh, hi there Grumpy; you must be feeling better!"
Dean groaned, shifting again as he tried to scratch his back; "… time is it?"
"Time you woke up," smiled Sam, "it's almost lunchtime."
Dean yawned again, still squirming as his one good arm tried to chase the elusive itch across his twitching shoulder blades.
"Lunchtime?" Dean hesitated, "don' even remember havin' breakfast."
"No, you wouldn't," Sam responded with a laugh, "you've been asleep since early evening yesterday."
"Uh - wh-why?"
"The anaesthesia dude;" Sam replied, clumsily gathering up his crutches as he hobbled to his feet. "You woke up for a couple of hours after the surgery, entertained us all, then just went back to sleep." He stood up, clattering his chair across the room with one of the crutches; "oh crap!"
Dean's brows furrowed and an expression of concern crossed his face. "Oh!" He looked down at his bandaged chest and back up to Sam.
"Wha' you do to your leg?"
"Oh nothing much;" although Sam gave a reassuring smile, he could see that Dean wasn't convinced. He shook his head; "look, I just bruised the hip a bit badly," he said in his most comforting tone; "gotta keep my weight off it for a while."
He withered underneath Dean's scrutinising gaze. Dean was mulling over his words, and Sam knew his brother would be deciding whether or not he thought he was getting the truth.
He didn't have long to decide when he found himself distracted by Sam pressing the call bell.
"Hey, what y'doin'? I don' need nothing."
"The doc wanted to take a look at you as soon as you woke up," replied Sam.
Dean scowled. "Don' I get no friggin' privacy?"
"Nope," Sam turned as he heard the door open; "not until you're better."
"Hey there," Doctor Morgan nodded amiably to Sam and walked over to his patient; "how are you feeling today, Dean?"
"Fine," Dean responded economically.
Sam stepped across to the other side of the room to give his brother some privacy while the Doctor looked him over. He faced the wall and shook with silent laughter as he heard Doctor Morgan asking Dean all the questions he needed to ask …
"Can you feel this?"
"Give me a deep breath"
"Any pain from the wound?"
… and, for his trouble, received grunted one word answers.
Sam shook his head with a wry smile; Dean being an obnoxious patient equalled Dean feeling okay; unfortunately it didn't make life any easier for the poor, well-meaning man leaning over his over his unco-operative patient, trying to ignore the grouchy sighs and eye-rolls as he did his level best to assess Dean's condition. Sam held his breath, waiting for Dean to tell Doctor Morgan exactly where he could stick his thermometer, and was mightily relieved when it seemed that Dean had managed to hold his tongue.
Folding his stethoscope away, the doctor turned to Sam.
"Looking good," he smiled; "his lung function is as good as I could expect given the problems he's had and he doesn't appear to be in too much discomfort from the wound."
"That's great," Sam responded over a broad smile; "sounds like you're doing really well bro'!"
"Good" snorted Dean; "does that mean I can come out now?"
Sam turned to Morgan and gave a quiet chuckle, "that's always a good sign, doc, when he starts griping about getting out."
"Hey, quit talkin' about me like I ain't here," the breathy voice drifted up irritably from the bed.
"I'm afraid you won't be able to go home for a couple of days yet, not until I'm completely happy with how your lungs are healing up." Morgan smiled apologetically, "but you're making such good progress, Dean, I'm sure it won't be long."
He opened the door, "I'll send a nurse in to change your dressing and check the incision over;" he smiled warmly at the two brothers as he left, closing the door behind him.
"Make sure she's hot …" Dean called after him.
Sam hobbled over to the bed and sat down on the chair vacated by Doctor Morgan.
"You're impossible," he grinned, trying not to laugh as he handed Dean another carton of juice.
"No," Dean mumbled around the straw, "what's impossible is how 'm still stuck in this abbatoir," he grunted sourly; "I mean, changing my dressing - you could do that."
"Dean, you've just had major reconstructive surgery on your shoulder you've got a suction tube stitched into your chest," Sam sighed; "I can't deal with that sort of stuff, you're gonna have to suck it up at least until that's gone."
The brothers sat in silence, watching as a pretty young nurse worked confidently and with genuine concern, gently removing the bloodstained dressing across Dean's chest and shoulder. Sam felt himself sway, feeling slightly lightheaded as the horribly swollen black bruising around the site of the surgery, and the tightly sutured wound running the length of Dean's collarbone were revealed.
As she gently and carefully cleaned around the inflamed site of the drainage tube, Sam noted with amusement that Dean had turned slightly green at the sight of it. But he had to admit, his brother was doing an admirable job of keeping up his game 'I'm not gonna hurl while there's a hot chick in a nurse's uniform climbing all over me' face.
"How does that feel? I'm not hurting you am I?" The nurse asked kindly as she carefully taped another dressing over the gruesome disaster zone. Dean effected a broad and slightly demented smile; "nah, you're doin' fine;" he reassured cheerfully, aiming for carefree levity; the effect somewhat ruined by the clenched teeth and watering eyes.
Sam turned away; watching Dean's admirable attempts to preserve his fragile ego was far more painful than watching the nurse work.
After the nurse's visit, Sam attempted to make Dean comfortable again, and the brothers relaxed in a contented silence except for the sounds of Dean sucking up the remainder of his juice through the narrow straw.
Eventually Sam broke the peace; "how's your ass?"
He cringed as Dean choked on his orange juice.
"What the hell?" Dean spluttered, wiping droplets of orange off his chin; "what about my ass?"
"Well, how is it?" sam asked again, unsure of how else to rephrase the question.
Dean glared. "Sam, I don' ever want to hear you talkin' about my ass again," he snorted; "that just sounds so wrong …" He shuddered theatrically; "I just threw up a bit in my mouth."
Sam laughed, "well, you had no problem talking about your ass and all it's issues last night," he grinned; "I got chapter and verse of how much it hurt, where it hurt, why it hurt. You even offered me a look at one stage…"
Dean's eyes widened in horror. "You didn't…"
"No, you're okay dude," Sam replied, wrinking his nose in disgust, "I declined the offer, thanks."
Both men fell into a brief silence, before Sam spoke up again. "So does it still hurt or not?"
"No it does not," Dean snapped; "it's fine, tip-top, in perfect heath. My ass does not need any attention of any sort - 'specially not from you," he snorted; "now can we please drop the subject?"
Sam shrugged, "consider it dropped."
Dean drained his juice and turned to drop the empty carton in the trashcan beside his bed. He stopped, looking across the nightstand and froze.
"Sam, d'y wanna tell me why there's a coconut on my table?"
"You wanted one," Sam replied with a shrug.
"What?" Dean looked utterly perplexed.
"Last night," Sam continued; "You really, really wanted a coconut."
"Why?" Dean asked helplessly; "why on earth would I wan' a friggin' coconut?"
Sam was fighting not to laugh again, "Don't ask me;" he sniggered, "but man, you wanted a coconut real bad, so Bobby went out and got one for you; wasn't that kind of him?"
Dean stared at the round, hairy object. "What the hell am I supposed to do with a coconut?" he snorted.
"You could always make a Pina Colada," Sam offered with a mischievous grin.
"How 'bout I just throw it at you instead?"
Dean slumped back into the mountain of pillows and huffed sulkily. "Crap," he looked across at his quietly chuckling brother with the patented 'Dean Winchester' narrowed stern eyes which were supposed to intimidate Sam but really just made him laugh; "Sam, I forbid you to ever allow me to go under a general anaesthetic again," he sighed; "I clearly can't be held responsible for my actions. Are there any more gut-wrenching humiliations you wanna tell me about?"
Sam shook his head, mute with suppressed laughter.
Dean stared and the coconut and sighed deeply, "you do realise Bobby's gonna use this against me for the rest of my life;" he moaned.
"No he won't, he was just worried about you dude," Sam responded with a wet-eyed grin; "we both were, he thought it might cheer you up."
A click heralded the opening of the door and Bobby walked through with coffees and donuts from the diner across the road.
He smiled broadly; "hey Sam, hi there Crusoe."
Dean glared at Sam; "won't use it against me huh?"
Unable to hold it together any longer, Sam dissolved into helpless sniggers, leaning sideways off the chair and knocking his crutches over. He made a grab for them, before they clattered all over the floor again.
Bobby leapt out of the way, splashing coffee down his shirt and rolled his eyes; "anyone ever told you you're lethal with those things?" he snapped, placing the coffees on the table and rummaging in his pocket for a handkerchief to wipe himself down.
Sam took a long sip of the coffee, relishing the rich, mellow taste after the bitter gutrot from the vending machine down the corridor; "where've you been Bobby?" he smiled warmly, "you missed Sleeping Beauty here waking up."
Bobby grinned, "say, that would have been a sight for sore eyes!" He glanced across to the glaring figure in the bed; "what's he askin' for today - pineapples?"
"kiss my ass…" snorted Dean
"… why? It still sore, Tinkerbell?"
Bobby drained his coffee. "In actual fact, I've been out and about doin' a bit of digging around."
"I guessed," Sam smiled, gesturing towards the older man, "you've still got your parks authority badge on."
Bobby smiled in return, "yeah well, I've been to see the farmer who owned your two horses;" he looked up at Sam and across to Dean, still glowering from the comfort of his bed.
"Wanna hear a story?"