It's Real



Sam reads to Dean, Dean wakes up.

"...The Torrance family stood together on the long front porch of the Overlook Hotel as if posing for a family portrait..." Sam read to Dean as he sat at his bedside. Every few words, he glanced up at Dean, as if expecting to see the green eyes open, to see his big brother suddenly wake up and look at him.

Four days Dean had been unconscious now. Four days Sam had refused to be moved from the chair he had claimed as his own. Two days since Dean had suffered a seizure due to his high fever.

The doctors and nurses were working hard to make sure his fever didn't spike, and get worse. So far, whatever they were doing seemed to be working, since Dean's fever was gradually lowering.

Sam sighed, and continued reading to his unconscious brother. The only sounds in the room came from Sam reading to Dean, and the heart monitor attached to Dean's chest. Each beep confirmed Dean was still with them, and had not given up the fight.

Bobby came back from the cafeteria to see the scene in the hospital room was still the same as before.

Sam cleared his throat and wiped his eyes when his vision blurred with the sudden tears. "...Ja-Jack nodded, feeling some real sympathy for U-Ullman. Everything was done for the season, the ball of string was neatly wrapped up until next May 12..." He stopped reading, and put his hand over his face.

Castiel was sitting silently in the corner chair in just his suit and tie. He hadn't taken his coat back since he had wrapped Dean in it, and refused to take it back from him until he woke up. "Sam? Are you alright?" he asked, standing up.

Sam jumped in surprise, he had forgot the angel was there. "Er..." he said, wiping his tears. "Y-Yeah, I'm fine."

Bobby chose that moment to walk into the room. "That's a load of crap. Yer not fine, Sam. We can all see that."

"I need my brother to wake up," Sam admitted, staring at the bed-ridden hunter. "It's been four days now, Bobby."

"I know, son. But the doctor said his fever has gone down from 105 to 103, so that means he's getting better. He needs a bit more time, then he'll wake up and be annoying the hell out of us in about ten minutes."

"I'd give anything to hear one of Dean's sarcastic comments right about now."

"Me too," said Bobby, looking down at Dean. He cleared his throat, and prepared to tell Sam what a friend had just called him about. "Er... Sam? We're needed on a hunt."

Sam's eyes narrowed as he looked up at the older man. "What do you mean 'we'? I'm not going anywhere."

"But Sam... A friend of mine heard about people going missing, but turning up dead a few miles away. We think it might be our kind of thing."

"And?" said Sam, his face expressionless.

"And, it's our job. People are dying."

Sam shrugged. "I don't care."

Bobby shared a look with Castiel. "Ya don't mean that, Sam. In-case ya haven't noticed the world is pretty much ending around us... not to mention Lucifer's free."

"Don't tell me what I mean and what I don't mean. In-case you haven't noticed my brother is seriously injured in intensive care... he's sick, and can't walk." Sam reached over to take Dean's limp hand in his. "If I had to choose between saving the world and my brother, I'd choose Dean every single time. Even if I save Dean, and the world ended, at least we'd die together, because if I lost Dean... Life wouldn't be worth living anyway."

Sam paused to take a deep breath, trying to control his emotions. "You might think I'm selfish... or maybe even evil that I'd choose one person over everyone else, but that one person means more to me than anything in the world... And if the world has to end for me to prove that... then so be it," he said, looking back at his unconscious sibling.

Bobby was looking down at Dean too, the love he felt for the young man laying in the bed was written all over his face. He wouldn't admit it, but he felt the same way as Sam about his two boys.

"As soon as he wakes up, I'm going to show him how much he means to me, by acting like the brother I should have been last year."

"Come here, ya idjit," said Bobby, holding his arms out. When Sam stood, he wrapped his arms tightly around the younger Winchester. "It's alright. I'll send some other hunters out to do the job. We need to take care of our own family."

Sam hugged him back just as tightly.

When the two pulled away, they saw Castiel watching them. "With you two by his side, I believe Dean will wake up and recover from this... and the injury."

"I know he will too," said Sam, sitting back in his chair, his copy of the Shining back on his lap. "I wish it never happened. If Dean had pretended to agree to operate on the guys wife... he might not have shot him."

Castiel sat on the edge of Dean's bed, looking down at the injured hunter. "He may have thought Dean was being sarcastic," he suggested. "When he said none of it was real."

"If Dean was shot every time he was a smartass, he'd be shot every five minutes," said Bobby with a fond smile at the young man who was the closest thing he had to a son.

Sam surprised himself by laughing. "Yeah, I guess he would. Dean wouldn't be Dean without his smart-ass comments."

"And our lives certainly would be a lot more boring without his... Dean-ness."

"Is that a real term?" asked Castiel.

"No. There are many things that make Dean unique, and his sarcasm, and sense of humour are two of them." Sam sighed. "But I guess if anyone's to blame, it's the Trickster... or Gabriel, it's his fault Dean's like this."

Bobby nodded in agreement. "Nice to see yer not blaming yerself anymore."

"I swear, he better wake up soon, I'm bored without him around."

"I miss him too... even though sometimes I do not understand what he is talking about," Castiel admitted.

For several minutes, the two men and the angel watched Dean silently, almost willing him to wake up, and make a joke about them watching him sleeping.

The older Winchester still hadn't regained any colour, other than the two red spots on his cheeks from the fever which ravaged his weakened body. The sprinkling of freckles looking so dark, they looked as if they had been drawn on. His breathing was still ragged, but at least it hadn't got worse, the oxygen mask was helping with that.

Bobby sighed, and got his phone out of his pocket. "I better go outside, and make those calls. Castiel, come get me if there's any change."

"I will, Bobby. The very second it happens."

Bobby put his hand on Sam's shoulder. "Keep reading to him, Sam. If anyone can get through to him..." he trailed off, squeezing his shoulder gently.

"Thanks Bobby," said Sam, watching the older man leave. He picked up the book, and started from where he left off.

Castiel shifted slightly, and listened to the story too. He didn't know why, but he found the book about a haunted hotel interesting. "Sam? Did this thing really happen?" he asked curiously after several pages.

Sam lowered the book. "What? The Shining? No, it's written by a guy named Stephen King, It's Dean's favourite movie. I thought since he can't watch it right now, it would be the next best thing... even though it's very different to the movie, and Jack Nicholson isn't in it. Dean loves Jack Nicholson movies... almost as much as he loves the Batman movies."

Castiel nodded. "Dean promised when he was better that he would watch it with me. I have never watched TV before."

"I hope you're prepared for a running commentary about everything that happens, and a huge lecture about how cool the Batmobile is."

"I look forward to it."

"Better you than me," said Sam, continuing with the book. "...Jack had seen red, and remembered very little of the encounter that followed..."

Several hours later, Sam had reached the part where Danny went into room 217. "A week and a half later two feet of snow lay white..." he stopped, and looked over at his brother. What he saw almost made his heart explode with happiness. "Dean?"

Dean was looking at Sam through half-lidded, glazed green eyes, smiling weakly. "S'my."

"Oh my god," said Sam, dropping the book, and carefully leaning over Dean to pull him into a gentle hug. "Oh god, it's so good to see you." He sat back down, grinning like a lunatic. He turned to a sleeping Bobby in the chair beside him, and shook him awake.

"Wha-?" asked a confused Bobby, jerking in his seat. His face lit up when he saw Dean awake. "About time, boy. Ya had me and yer brother worried sick."

"I was worried too," said Castiel from the other side of Dean's bed.

Dean jumped slightly, not realising the angel was behind him, and screamed in pain behind the oxygen mask. "Sonofa-" he moaned, eyes scrunching closed in agony, his back feeling as if he had been stabbed with a red hot poker.

"It's okay," soothed Sam, pressing the call button. His other hand was holding onto Dean's tightly. He started pressing the button frantically when a tear slipped free from Dean's tightly closed eyes. "Shh, I've got you."

A nurse walked into the room, and smiled when she saw Dean was finally awake. "Nice to have you back," she said, before turning to call someone in the hallway.

The doctor must have been doing his rounds, because he came into the room seconds later, and looked surprised to see Dean awake. "Hello Dean, how are you feeling?"

Dean shook his head weakly, his breathing hitched as a stab of pain shot through his back. He weakly pulled at the oxygen mask with a trembling hand, but Sam stilled the movement.

"He's in a lot of pain," Sam answered for him, looking worried.

Dr Richards came over to check on his patient. "To be honest, I'm surprised he's awake right now. His fever is still high at 103, the infection is still running its course," he told them as he checked the older Winchester over. "Any other person would probably be still unconscious for at least a couple more days while their body fights the infection." He smiled down at Dean. "It seems your family was right... you are a fighter."

Sam was running his fingers through Dean's sweat-soaked hair, looking proudly at his brother. "I told you, he's the strongest and most stubborn person I know. Aren't you, jerk?"

Dean was looking up at Sam, eyes glazed in his pale face as he concentrated on his brother while the doctor examined him. "B-B-Bish," he whispered weakly.

"This will make you feel a little better, Dean," said Dr Richards, administering the right medication to help Dean fight both the infection and the pain. He turned to the men. "Make sure Dean doesn't move too much, his body is still very weak, and fighting the infection. He still has a long road of recovery ahead of him."

"Don't worry, he moves... we'll set Bobby on him," said Sam with a grin.

The two men laughed, while Castiel looked confused, not understanding why Bobby hurting Dean was funny.

"You know what to do if Dean needs anything. I'll be back in a few hours to check on him." Dr Richards patted Dean gently on the shoulder, and turned to leave.

"Thanks doc," said Bobby gratefully, not looking away from Dean. It was as if he was afraid Dean would get worse again if he looked away from him. "Damn, it's good to see ya, son."

Sam and Castiel nodded in agreement.

Dean was looking up at the two men and angel. His trembling hand weakly pulled the oxygen mask away. "Stop st-staring... you w-weirdos," he whispered.

"No. You have no idea how worried we were, it's... it's so good to see you awake," said Sam, voice filled with emotion. He wiped his tears with the hand not holding Dean's.

Dean winced, and looked up at Castiel, noticing for the first time that the angel's trench coat was missing. "W-Where's you-your..." he trailed off, a hand gesturing to Castiel's body.

"Sam said you were cold, so I laid it over you to keep you warm," Castiel told him, seeming slightly embarrassed. "I did not want you to be cold."

Instead of making fun of him like the others thought he would, Dean gave a weak smile. "T-Thanks, Cas."

Castiel nodded. "You are very welcome, Dean."

The green eyes turned back to Sam. "Ja-Jack?"

Sam looked confused for a second, before understanding what Dean meant. "Do you want me to read to you some more?"

Dean nodded, whimpering in pain when he shifted slightly.

"Hey hey, don't move," said Sam, putting his hand on Dean's arm. He picked up the book again, turning to the page he had been reading.

Castiel and Bobby sat on each side of Dean's bed to listen to the story too.

As Bobby sat down, he felt something underneath him which didn't feel like the bed. "Dammit son, I'm sorry," he exclaimed, jumping from the bed when he realised he had accidentally sat on one of Dean's legs.

It was Dean's turn to look confused. "Fo-For what?"

Bobby's heart sank. "Er..." He looked at Sam, who shook his head slightly. "Nothing. I'll sit in the chair," he said, moving to sit in the chair beside Sam.

"Are you all ready now?" asked Sam, feeling as if he was reading a bedtime story to a bunch of kids. "A week and a half later..."

Dean closed his eyes, and listened to the soothing sound of his little brother's voice.

He was asleep five minutes later.


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