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[personal profile] mayachain
Title: Four times Dean's ass was saved by Sam unwittingly trespassing his dreams (and one time it wasn't)
Author: mayachain ([livejournal.com profile] ms_jvh_shuh)
Genre: Gen
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~2700
Spoilers: 3x10 specifically, but none for Season 4
Summary: Sam has always played a much larger role in Dean's dreams than either of them know.
Notes: Companion piece to Five times Sam has saved Dean in his dreams without knowing it (and one time he doesn't), which tells Sam's side of the story.



Four times Dean's ass was saved by Sam unwittingly trespassing his dreams...


1988

Dean can't move. The monster that came into their house and set everything on fire has already killed Mom, her screams cut to a terrible stop only to be replaced by Daddy's strangled shout. Take your brother outside, fast as you can, don't look back, and the hallway is already thick with smoke, Sammy a heavy weight in his arms. Now, Dean, go! but his feet won't listen, Daddy is still and silent behind him and he cannot see through the smoke. He tries to yell, scream for help, but no sound will come out, and even Sammy blinking up at him is silent.

There are not footsteps to hear, but through the flames a looming shadow emerges, coming closer and closer still. Dean can't move, it's as if the whole soccer team are holding on to him tightly, rooting him to the spot. His heart beats faster, faster, as yellow eyes gleam manically at him and inhuman fingers snatch little Sammy out of his grip. The creature's hand makes one quick, cruel move, and there's a horrible
snick, and little Sammy is dumped onto the floor at Dean's useless, useless feet, his charge and his only family left, small and defenseless, dead.

Dean's cry stays stuck in his throat. The monster turns and walks away to where the door must be, leaving Dean to stare after it in frozen shock, a four-year-old not worth enough to kill by hand.

The flames consuming their house roar, but Dean is too numb to care. Soon it will get impossible to breathe.
Now Dean, go echoes through his mind, but that was to rescue Sammy and Sammy is gone now; even his tiny body has vanished. He's the only one left, it's not as if he wants to live, and his thoughts are blank as he lets himself sink to the floor.

The flames draw closer and closer, and he squeezes his eyes shut, waits to be swallowed. Behind him, five-year-old Sammy starts to scream.





1997

It's been a long time since Dean Winchester last slept deeply enough to be bothered by nightmares. Oh, whenever something bad happens, like last week's poltergeist grabbing hold of Sammy and breaking his arm before either Dad or Dean could get off a shot, he has bad dreams for a while, his mind replaying every which way he failed, how the trip could've ended so much worse over and over. However, it seems, that ever since his brother went with them on his first real hunt, all the really bad nightmares have happened to Sam.

At least he won't dream about this, Dean thinks and winces as he steers the Impala through a bend in the road against the pain in his head and his arms. Dean wouldn't mind a dream showing him how this past hunt might have gone without Sammy injured, with all three of them there, but another part is grateful that a cast-wrapped arm spared his brother further nightmare material. Sure, he'll get to see their injuries, will get to play nursemaid along with Dean to Dad. Judging by the way Dean is getting more tired by the minute, Dean will need some help as well. Holed up in their motel room as Sam is, though, high on painkillers Dean could really use some of himself right about now, he got around this particular mess. Didn't see how the thing sliced into Dad. Didn't see the victims.

Dean steps on the gas pedal and tries not to think about the amount of blood his father is getting into the upholstery. Dad is dozing with his head lolled against the window, only responding to Dean's questions with grunts anymore. They really need to get back to Sam and the extra first aid kit and the running water and the fucking beds fast, preferably before Dean's own headache gets so bad he steers them both off the road.

*

Sammy is sitting quietly up front in the car, bouncing happily on his father's knees as Dean gets to drive the Impala for the first time. Dean is smiling like he just got the best birthday present ever, and Dad is laughing, warm puffs of breath in Sammy's ear, a happy sound. His father's fingers are stroking around the bright cast around Sammy's arm, taking off the weight, applying magic Daddy touches, making it not hurt any more. “Will you be home soon?” Sammy asks and Dean glances at him, a small frown on his face.

“What's the matter with you, squid? We just took off,” he teases, but that can't be true, they've driven for hours, Dad has dozed off and it's dark outside.

“ I want you to come back,” Sammy says, a note of urgency in his voice, “I can't sleep when you're not here,” only it's a lie, he's asleep right now, and next to him in the driver's seat Dean is also sleeping, giving off a soft snore and the car is going too fast, too fast, and Sam is cramped in the passenger seat as his fourteen-year-old body fights his father's unresponsive one for space, and
”Dean! Dean, wake the fuck up!”





2003

Today is one of those days when Dean Winchester really and truly resents his new freedom. This whole deal about splitting up with Dad, going on separate hunts to cover more ground is... it's fine. But. Still. Far too often, he finds himself in situations where he could really use some back-up from the older man.

He can't wrap his mind around just how Dad managed to do this with two little kids in tow, back before Dean got old enough to really help him out. It takes up so much time, and it's not just the actual hunt, it's all this gathering and organizing of information. Dad thinks Dean can handle this one, and he will, but that doesn't mean he doesn't hope Dad will find the time in the middle of his own hunt three states over to return his call.

As it stands, he's alone, and being just one man he's been up all night. Driving into town, looking at the site, talking to as many witnesses as possible this morning. Finding out all he could about the victims and their relations, about the shapes of the injuries, about the length of claws tearing into their flesh, the color of what one hurt and confused woman had described as scales. Gathering all the details he could possibly get, anything that could help him narrow down his list for possible weapons. All things considered, it's no wonder he falls asleep on top of all his spread-out information.

He never sleeps deeply these days, and his sleep is more fitful and all the lighter for being on a hunt by himself, for it being late in the afternoon. At first, memories of previous hunts intermingle with images provoked by the victims' reports, almost making him scatter his pens on the floor as he turns. After a while, though, he finds himself back in a dream version of the place he is sleeping in.

This often happens when he's asleep. And girls look at him funny when he says dreams are boring.

A figure is sitting up in the stool Dean dozed off in, looking over the papers Dean had spread out on the small table in the way he remembered Sammy doing, trying to make sense of them. His dream-self gives a painful start, because, Sam. It's such a relief, seeing Sam going over the papers, even if Dean is fully aware his brother is miles away at Stanford and this cannot be anything but a dream. He needs help, and if this, this dream-version of his brother is all he can get, he'll take it. Soak up all the familiarity of the sight of Sammy bent over his papers, reading intently.

He's still trying to drink in every inch if his brother's frame when Sammy turns to look at him. “It's not a Chupacabra,” he tells Dean, voice all stern and serious, and something Dean can't help but wish is a little guilt for not having been there to talk with the victims. Although expecting guilt from his dream brother? Pretty pathetic. “You'll need different weapons for this one,” Sammy says, biting his lip and squinting at the scribbled papers he holds.

“Like what,” Dean wants to ask, but from one second to the next, Sammy is gone and Dean is
back in an uncomfortable chair in an interchangeable motel room.

*

Later, when the hunt is over and Dean is patching up his wounds, he looks at the gash in his right arm and emphatically does not think about how the night might have turned out if not for that dream.

If he were a little more drugged up, he might even confuse the hell out of his real brother by calling to thank him.





2005

It's the end of her shift, her last day before she starts at the photo shooting place, and she needs to go home to pack and sleep. It's the chance of a lifetime, she knows, getting to pay for school by letting herself be photographed for commercials, yet she hesitates to leave. The patient in bed six has occupied her mind all night, and while he hasn't responded to Carmen any more than he has to Annie or Margaret or Grace, it still feels like she's abandoning him.

Alan Partridge, it says on his ID. Three nights ago, he came here in circumstances the local police have been remarkably closed-mouthed about. Neither Dr. Fallers nor any of the more experienced nurses have been able to make sense of the bleeding wounds and broken bones, the way he is concussed to all hell. He has never gained consciousness for longer than a few seconds, and has yet to show a reaction to any of the doctors' questions.

Three nights, two days, and no-one has asked after him apart from the police. There have been no phone calls inquiring about Alan Partridge, or any other twenty-five year old matching his description. No concerned mother or girlfriend has burst into the emergency room, no family or even friend has shown hide nor hair. The one phone number Annie managed to find going through the patient's ruined clothes goes to someone called John Winchester, but whoever that is can't be that attached to Alan Partridge, for he never returned Carmen's call.

It seems wrong that this man should be here all alone. In the time Carmen has volunteered at the hospital, there have been drunkards and drug-addicts and criminals, people with whom there'd been a reason why no friends or family were interested in them. For all the marks he got from what- - whoever he fought, she doesn't get that vibe from the patient in bed six. And overhearing Grace and Margaret talk, she knows that even the real nurses think this.

She has learned enough about broken bodies to know he'll be beautiful when he's healed.

Dr. Fallers said that his body is strong enough, fit enough to shake off even a series of injuries as bad as this, but for all that everyone can see how hard he must have fought for his life, he doesn't seem to want to go on. All the nurses have taken rounds to sit with him whenever they can, whenever there's time in between tending to the other patients.

Comatose and morphine-high as he may be, he flinches whenever he is touched. He doesn't seem to hear when they try to talk to him.

Carmen's not sure she'd want to go on if she'd been in a strange hospital for days, all alone.

She needs to get home and finish packing her things and sleep, but still she stands looking down at him from the end of his bed, willing his vitals to light up the monitors with better, stronger numbers.

She's still trying to harden her heart to leave, when her gaze is drawn to his left hand, the one wrapped up in bandages but not imprisoned by the I.V. His fingers are flexing as if clutching at someone, there's a hitch in his breath, and afterward it seems calmer, going more even. The monitor shows a slight but significant improvement in his pulse. She wants to reach out and check for herself, before she goes, not satisfied by the blink of the machine, but she's afraid to disturb whatever just happened, chase away the good spirit that must have appeared in Alan Partridge's exhausted, concussed fever-dream.

There's nothing more she can do. Goodbye, she whispers soundlessly, turns and forces herself to walk away.





...and one time it wasn't


2008

The first sensation Dean recovers is sound. The sound of the old sink in the small bathroom behind the door dripping dit-dit, dit-dit-dit, dit-dit, dit-dit-dit - the sequence almost as familiar to his ears as the squeak in the Impala's door.

The next sensation that comes back to Dean is touch. It's a sense he's vaguely aware he might not be ready for yet, but all he feels is warmth. No heat, not scalding, not burning his skin, but warmth – a safe and snug and soft mattress. Blankets and cushions.

The third sensation Dean regains is smell. His nose twitches as it takes in the scent of old books, gathering dust and age on the shelves. It widens as it filters out the hint of gun oil, flares at the rare suggestion of sweat that's been sucked away out of a window shut again only minutes ago.

The fourth sense coming back to Dean is taste. Cautiously, he sticks out his tongue to run over his lips. They taste dry, and there's a trace of someone washing him with scentless but slightly too expensive soap.

The fifth sense Dean acknowledges is actually the sixth. Acknowledges, not regains, because it's been right with him from the moment he woke up. It's the reason he hasn't yet tried to move, has drifted into wakefulness bit by bit, not sat up in a burst of panic and exploded in pain. It's the sense that tells him he's not alone, even though there's no discernible sound, no smell, no movement sending shifting air against his skin. It's also the sense that tells him he doesn't need to move, doesn't have to be fully responsible yet, doesn't have to know everything about his surroundings immediately.

He lets himself latch onto that presence, focuses on it with all his might so that he can stay in this moment, far far away from memories.

He is Dean Winchester, lying in one of the beds in the room up Bobby's stairs they always stay in when they're crashing at Singer's yard, cocooned in the blankets they tucked him into last night after pulling him out of hell. After hugging the shit out of him, after bathing him in holy water. There is warmth and silence to chase away the chill that never went away no matter how hot the pyre, to ease his ears and his mind after the endless sound of their laughter and his own sobs and screams. He lies there, not faking sleep but just resting, waiting until he's ready to get confirmation from the final (sixth) (fifth) sense.

When he opens his eyes, Sammy is leaning against the window frame, tired and healthy and tall as ever, looking down at him. When their eyes meet, his brother's relieved, awed, fiercely content face breaks into a huge smile. Dean can't even do anything but smile back, no strength in his body to call either of them sappy with.

This is not a dream.


End.


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