Title: Still Water
Pairing, if any: None. Gen.
Author's notes: For spn_50states. Great thanks to many people who helped with this. If you have a favorite line it was probably thought up by either jewels667 or mikhale. Takes place before the events in 0118 - Something Wicked.
Utah sucks. It's not the snow, or the mountains, or even the fucking Mormons. It's Sam lying on the ground not breathing.
What wakes up Dean is the distinct lack of drooling five-year-old stretched over his back.
At first, he thinks maybe Sammy's rolled off the bed again. Lately, he's been doing it enough that Dad puts a ring of dirty clothes and towels on the ground around their bed.
As he untangles himself from the sheets, he notices that the supposedly locked door is now cracked open. Unnatural neon light spills into the floor of the room. Dean knows that in a Situation like this he's supposed to wake up Dad immediately.
The salt line for the door is exactly as it was when he fell asleep. Dad isn't awake and the room doesn't smell like matches or burnt tires or anything else that generally signifies a demon. Sammy's bear, Oatmeal, isn't anywhere in sight which means that Sammy snuck out again. Even if he knows he isn't supposed to.
They've been here for two weeks. Two weeks with a television that doesn't get any clear channels. Two weeks of a radio with no cassette player. Two weeks of no other children near them. Dean's been reading his schoolbooks out of boredom. He's been watching Sammy talk to himself and play tag with his invisible friend in the drained pool near the office.
Sammy knows better than to go anywhere by himself much less that cement death trap.
Dean sneaks out of the room quietly, not bothering with shoes or a coat despite the cold fall air. His arms wrap around his body within a few feet of the door. Outside, he trudges through the parking lot with sleep-blurred eyes, avoiding the broken shards of beer.
He's halfway through his plan of punishment, which starts with a punch right between Sammy's shoulder blades while he can't complain to dad, when he sees the reflection of lights off of the water in the pool. Water that wasn't there this afternoon.
Dean knows he should go back to the room and get Dad but before he can move, he sees a ripple in the water and, in his gut, he knows it's Sammy.
In an instant, he's off running, numbed feet eating up pavement as his brain screams at him to hurry, hurry, hurry! Three minutes starts brain damage, six minutes is --Hurry!
The fence is almost twice his height. This is not training, this is not a drill! Sammy's life depends on Dean again and he knows he has to get this right, knows he can't afford to make any mistakes. He know he needs to make it, to make it he needs to jump, to jump he needs speed. He pushes himself faster, ignoring the burning cramp in his side and sharp pains in his feet.
There are no do-overs here, no good try, son, no next time, Deano, there's only one chance to get to Sammy in time.
He jumps, grips the bar on top of the fence and pulls himself up.
Each rib scrapes over the bar, the pain distant. Precious seconds are wasted as he gets stuck teetering on the edge, halfway between failure and success. He pulls in air and steals himself for the icy water.
Then he's falling, diving towards Sammy.
He slams into the jagged pavement with a crack, face, chest and bloodied palms. For a moment he can't understand why he isn't wet.
Tears that have nothing to do with his new wounds spring to his eyes as he loses another fifteen seconds of Sammy's life. He scrambles to his feet, taking in giant gulps of air before diving into the water.
Water rushes up his nose and he chokes and gags, trying not to panic. Tries not to think about how long Sammy may have been gone. How long he might have been in the water.
His eyes are open and searching, the water stinging and everything's blurry, too blurry. His lungs are burning and he's getting hysterical. He's reaching blind now and he can feel the burn in the back of his throat and his body is starting to work against him when suddenly his hand hits something solid. He's grabs a hold and kicks toward the surface, a half-silent prayer of please, please, please, please, please running though his head and bleeding out of his mouth.
Dean doesn't let himself think of the word dead weight as he drags Sammy out of the pool.
Sammy's skin is tinged blue and he isn't breathing.
Dean knows he can't cry or panic because he needs his breath for Sammy. He checks for a pulse and lets his body work on autopilot, remembering what Dad taught him. He tilts Sammy's head back and starts CPR. It's two rounds of, one breath, five pumps, five seconds, one breath, come on Sammy, five pumps, please, five seconds, don't leave me, before some of the water trapped in Sammy's lungs comes out.
A sharp stab of hope runs through Dean but is quickly snuffed when there is no gasp of air. No movement or voluntary response or any of the other things you see in movies.
Sammy still doesn't have a pulse and Dean is crying now, pleading and begging Sammy to wake up, calling to God and his mom and begging them to let Sammy go. He hears his sobs echoed and another little boy, about Sammy's age crying next to him, grabs his attention briefly. The new boy is swollen and blue, bloodshot eyes shining as he weeps.
"I'm sorry," he whimpers pathetically. "I didn't mean to hurt him, I just wanted to play." The words hardly register as Dean tries desperately to jump-start his brother's body.
"I didn't know, I thought they were playing..."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you can fix him..."
"I just didn't want to be alone anymore."
Sammy coughs and the other boy is gone. His baby brother's eyes aren't open but he's breathing again. It's shallow and Dean can hear the water chasing them. He turns Sammy on his side and stays next to him; one hand rubbing his back while the other brushes his hair out of his face. Sammy's still not moving, not a twitch or a spasm.
Just the rise and fall of his chest.
He took too long. He didn't wake up soon enough. He wasn't fast enough.
He failed and he didn't save his Sammy in time, he ruined his Sammy, broke him. Let him down.
Let him die.
The pain rips through his chest and suddenly he's four again but it's worse this time because it's his fault and he let it happen. His stomach churns and his head spins and he coughs and gags and clings to Sammy, begs and prays for Sammy to be okay, for Sammy to be Sammy and not some vegetable shell.
He's getting hysterical and not getting enough air. He clings harder and begs louder and everything fades to black.
When he claws his way back to awareness, everything's changed. He's not crying anymore, he doesn't have the energy. Daddy's holding him and rocking him, squeezing him like he's afraid he's going to drop him.
"...So proud of you, so proud..." The sounds start coming back as soon as Dean realizes he can't hear anything. "...Did good. Sammy's gonna be okay, he's gonna be okay and it's all because of you."
Sammy's okay, Dean doesn't ask. Instead, he turns his head, eyes the ambulance he couldn't see with his face buried in his Daddy's chest. He sees Sammy strapped to a board, his small arm rubbing up near his face.
Relief washes over Dean and he turns back to his Daddy, letting the darkness overtake him once more.
He wakes up some time in the afternoon.
He's still in Dad's lap. They're sitting in a big, soft chair next to the bed in Sammy's hospital room. His little brother is sitting up in his bed watching Pee-Wee's Playhouse and ignoring the rest of the world around him. Dad's right hand is rubbing over Sammy's shin absently.
Sammy is slightly paler than normal and he has an IV attached to the back of his right hand. Dean winces at the occasional wet coughs from Sammy. But he reassures himself with the fact that there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with him.
Dad's hand ruffles Dean's hair, "Afternoon lazy. Had enough sleep?"
Dean remembers the other little boy and asks.
When Sammy gets out of the hospital, Dad gets a cement mixer and fills the pool.
Dean holds Sammy's hand and waits for the cement to harden.
~ ~ ~ ~
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