My suitcase bounced against the back of my shin as I sped walked into the hospital. I didn't know how long I'd be staying in Lawrence so I'd packed for about a week. I pushed my way through the front doors, not able to help the flinch when the smell of anti-biotics filled my nose. I'd only been to Lawrence General for one reason so far in my life. And those memories were less then pleasant.
I walked up to the front desk and smiled at the nurse, "I'm looking for a John Winchester?"
The nurse typed his name into the keyboard, "Okay, uhm are you direct family?"
I hesitated, "Not exactly, you see-"
"I'm sorry ma'am, only family members are allowed into ICU," the nurse informed me apologetically.
I bit my lip from crying out in frustration. This lady simply didn't get it. I had driven fiver hours to get here and see John Winchester, and if she thought I was just going to...I let out a long sigh and put on the most innocent face I could muster.
"Please, I just, I have to say goodbye," I tried to explain.
"I'm sorry," the nurse told me again, "But-"
My head snapped to the side at the sound of my name. It took me a moment to recognize Sam as he made his way over. He had grown, now practically towering over me. His hair was still shaggy, and there were bags under his eyes. His shoulders were slightly hunched from days of sitting in a chair, but his whole face lit up when he smiled and pulled me into a hug.
He pulled away, still grinning like a fool, "Come on, they think my dad might actually wake up today."
I hesitated to follow him and jerked my head towards the desk, "I don't know if I can see your dad Sam."
His face fell instantly, "Why not?"
"Lily is family," he stated it with such finality and without a trace of doubt, I almost believed it. The nurse bit her lip and didn't comment. "Come on," Sam took my suitcase from me as he led the way up the stairs, "They have this really big elevator, but they like to keep that just for patients I think. I don't know, Dean and I got some funny looks when we used it, so we've used the stairs ever since."
I laughed, "Who puts an ICU on the second floor anyway?"
He shrugged, and the dimpled grin spread across his face once again as he chuckled.
"Nothing, nevermind. So, how's college going?"
"Fine," I replied as Sam led the way into the ICU.
All the joy at being reunited with Sam dripped away as I followed him to a curtained off area in the corner of the room. John lay on the bed looking frail. Nothing like the strong, confident person I had known before. It seemed practically every inch of his skin was covered in some kind of wire, and it didn't take a genius to know that the machines were the main things keeping him alive at this point.
"Oh God," I mumbled as I sat down.
"Yeah," Sam said quietly, "Like I said, they thought he might wake up sometime today. I guess the brain activity levels or something is going up..."
I looked over at Sam, "Isn't that a good thing?"
He gave a brief grin, "Yeah, really good. They still don't know the extent of the damage from the...from the..."
he cleared his throat and looked down at his hands.
"From the heart attack," I finish gently.
He nodded, "I'm going to go grab a cup of coffee, you need anything?"
I shook my head, "No, I'm good, thanks."
I walked into the room, expecting some alone time with my father since Sam was out doing something with my mother. I don't know who was more surprised. Me, walking in to find Lily holding my father's hand, or Lily, who stood so quickly she practically fell over. I glanced at her. She hadn't changed that much, although we had both grown up. Her brown hair was wavy and fell gently to her shoulders, held back by a white headband. There was still a small splash of freckles across her face. She wore nice-ish clothes. A green tank top that brought out her amber eyes, white short-sleeved sweater and khakis.
"So, uh, long time no see?" she started, absently tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
"Yeah, uh a whole what five years?"
"Six," she said nodding. She bit her lip and looked down at my father then up at me, "If you wanted some time alone, I totally understand," her words toppled over one another as if she were unsure, "Like, I have to leave anyway, find a hotel, and stuff-"
"Hotel? Nuh-uh you're staying with us, right?"
I swear I saw her shoulders drop in relief.
"If you want me to, I guess."
"Of course, why wouldn't we?" I questioned.
Something flashed in her eyes, but she quickly hid it with a polite smile, "No reason. Uhm, I should probably drop my stuff off then..."
"Let me help you," I offered, already taking her suitcase.
She smiled briefly before leading the way out of ICU. Once out in the hallway she stretched her arms up in the air, "I admit, it feels good to stand."
"How long have you been here?"
She pursed her lips and looked at her watch, "About two hours, so not long really."
I nodded, "I'm guessing you need a ride?"
She shrugged, "If it's not too much to ask."
We walked down the stairs, an awkward silence between us.
"So, what have you been up to?" I ask trying to hide my growing curiosity while also trying to remember the last time I had a decent conversation with her.
She shrugged, "I have been driving all day, and I'm sure that everyone wants to play catch up, so can you wait?"
She tried to come off nonchalantly, and even though there was a huge six year chasm between us, I could tell something was really bugging her.
"What is it?" I asked, dumping her suitcase in the trunk and slamming it closed.
"What?" she asked.
"Well something's bugging you."
"Well yeah, duh, your dad is in a hospital, I think that warrants something bugging me."
I raised an eyebrow at her and her amber eyes met mine and glared at me defiantly.
I sighed, "Whatever, come on."
"You better not still listen to that rock crap," she muttered, sliding into the car.
We both grinned. So, maybe we weren't as close as we used to be, but this was a start.