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And the Ground Shook (9/22) - My Little Corner of the World
sams1ra
sams1ra
And the Ground Shook (9/22)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, they own me.
Rating: Gen, with very mild language.
Category: Gen.
Pairings: None.
Characters: Hurt!Dean, John, Sam.
Summery: John Winchester snapped his head up from the paper he was reading at the sound of a strangled cry and the string of curses that followed it. Quickly putting the paper aside, the hunter rushed to his sons' room to find his oldest on his knees in front of his bed. It could almost be funny, it could almost look as if he were praying, if not for the blasphemy shooting out through his clenched teeth.
Comments: Are loved and coveted.
Notes: Pre-series, AU. Not a deathfic. Lots of Dean-whumping, though. Will be updated regularly.

And the Ground Shook

Where it all started -

Chapter Nine – Secondary Tremor

John Winchester snapped his head up from the paper he was reading at the sound of a strangled cry and the string of curses that followed it. Quickly putting the paper aside, the hunter rushed to his sons' room to find his oldest on his knees in front of his bed. It could almost be funny, it could almost look as if he were praying, if not for the blasphemy shooting out through his clenched teeth.

Dean rested his head against the mattress, not showing any sign that he was aware of his father's presence in the room. A very bad sign. John quickly kneeled by his son's side.

"Dean? What is it? What happened?" he asked worriedly, looking carefully at his son, searching for any sign of fresh injury. "Dean?" John pressed. Dean took a deep breath, and gave his father a small, frustrated look.

"Ten freakin' pushups!" he hissed. John frowned. "I could do seventy four pushups in one minute, no problem. Now I do ten freakin' pushups and I can't even breathe!" Dean snapped angrily, wincing, his hand wrapped around his stomach.

"Let's get you to bed." John said, "Come on, now." He grunted as he rose to his feet, and then pulled Dean up carefully by his elbow, sitting him down on the bed. Dean was sweating and a little unsteady, but he already seemed to be doing better. "You can't breathe?" John asked. Dean wiped his brow with the back of his hand, his other hand wrapped carefully around his midsection.

"I'm fine." He gritted. His father scowled.

"Dean!"

"I'm fine, my arm hurts, but it's fine." Dean said, carefully laying back.

"You had your cast removed two days ago, it's too early to put so much pressure on it." John said placatingly.

"Since when?" Dean bit out, glaring at his father. "Last time I broke it, you had me lifting weights the day the cast was off!"

"This is different." John said softly, reaching for his son, but Dean shrugged him away.

"It's taking too long." Dean said, forcing himself to sit back up.

"Dean, give yourself a break, sport." John said, touching his son's shoulder again. "You were hurt. Seriously, life-hanging-in-the-balance kind of hurt. Your body needs time…"

"I've been hurt this bad before. Didn’t take so long to heal. I never take this long to heal!" Dean snapped, getting to his feet.

"Sit down, Dean!" John said as Dean started pacing in what he probably thought was a straight line but really wasn’t. "Dean, sit, now! That's an order!" John demanded. Dean stopped, glared at him for a moment, but then did as he was told.

"I was fine! I mean, it still hurts like a bitch when I cross the salt lines, but I was fine! I took a shower, I made lunch, I was… I was just trying to get back in shape!" Dean said, his voice cracking, and John wondered, and not for the first time, how he could track and find patterns and trails other people never even thought of looking for or finding, but always seemed to miss what was going on around his own house. Now that he was aware of it, he suddenly smelled the mouth-watering aroma coming from the kitchen. He shook his head.

"You made lunch?" he asked.

"Yes." Dean shrugged, "Wasn’t easy, either. Almost nothing to work with. I don’t know who you sent shopping for groceries, but the fridge has almost only fruit and vegetables in it. There's practically nothing to eat." He grunted. John had to force the grin off his lips.

"You should have stayed in bed." He said firmly.

"I got bored." Dean protested. "Besides, I'm of no use to you lying around doing nothing."

"You're not doing nothing, Dean, you're healing, getting your strength back." John cut him off quickly. "You're no use to me bleeding to death, you hear me? I need you to get better."

"I'm trying!" Dean cried in frustration. "It's taking too damn long!" John did smile at that. He pulled his son to him. "What's wrong with me, Dad?" Dean asked in a trembling voice.

"I don’t know yet." John admitted. "But I'm working on it, son."

"I want to help." Dean said simply.

"You can help by getting in bed." John said, and Dean rolled his eyes. "And eating your vegetables." John added and Dean snorted.

"I think I've suffered enough, thank you very much." He said, only to be cuffed on the back of the head.

"I'm serious here, Dean. I don’t want you walking around the house, I don’t want you making lunch and I sure as hell don’t want you crossing the salt lines, do you understand? The doctor said you could leave the hospital if you promised to stay in bed, remember?"

"No," Dean said petulantly, "I promised to take it easy," he said, "and I am!"

"Fine. Then I want you to stay in bed. You can lay in bed, lay on the couch if you want to watch some TV, or go to the bathroom. Other than that, I don’t want to see you on your feet, is that understood?" John demanded.

"But Dad…"

"I gave you an order!"

"Yes, sir." Dean said reluctantly, and then slumped down, so that he was laying on the bed with his feet touching the floor. "But I still want to help." He added a moment later. John stared at him for a long moment.

"Alright." He said eventually. "I want you to write down everything you can remember. And I mean everything – from the moment you picked up on this hunt onwards. Every little detail." John said, getting up and walking over to get a pen and a pad of paper. Dean raised a brow.

"Everything?" he asked with a smirk. John gave him a serious look.

"Even which pickup lines you used and how many freckles she had." He said. Dean grimaced.

"Now that's just sick."

"For all you know she might not have been a woman." John noted. Dean raised his brow again, smirking. It took John a moment to catch on. "Or, for heaven's sake, grow up!" Dean's smirk widened. He took the pen and paper from his father.

"Well, that shouldn’t be a problem, seeing as I don’t fool around before the job's done, and I didn’t get the job done, so this thing's gonna be strictly…" he started, and then his gaze drifted away as he put the pen in his mouth and smirked. "Okay, viewers' discretion advised…"


Sam returned from school to find Dean asleep. He slipped on a pen and nearly broke his neck. Cursing softly, Sam tossed his book bag to the floor near his bed and went to check up on Dean. His brother looked better, Sam noticed. He had some more color in his cheeks and he wasn’t sleeping in a fetus position, which was good. Sam smiled when he noticed a crumpled pad of paper sticking out from under Dean's side. Sam hesitated a moment before trying to get the pad from under his brother. Dean didn’t seem to notice all too much, and merely turned on his side and slept on. Sam bit his thumbnail. A stunt like that would get a knife to his throat if Dean was feeling well. Dean was usually a light sleeper.

Sam picked up the pen from the floor and looked at the crumpled paper, his brow creasing. He left the bedroom, going over to the kitchen, where his father sat with all his notes.

"Smells good in here." Sam noted, sniffing the air.

"Lunch." John said, not lifting his eyes from his work, "I can reheat it for you." he said without looking up.

"I can do it." Sam said, going over to the oven. He raised his brow, turning his head to his father. "You made this?" he asked skeptically. At the tone of his voice, John raised his eyes, glaring at Sam, and then returned his look to his work.

"I can cook, you know." He muttered.

"Yeah," Sam shrugged. "You make really good toast. And cereal. And sometimes even bacon and eggs…" Sam trailed off with a smirk at John's angry glare.

"How was school?" John asked. Sam shrugged, heating up the food.

"School was school." he said, tasting the food. It tasted good, even cold. A Dean trademark. John just nodded lightly, not looking up, and continued his work. Sam took out a plate and a fork, and piled some food onto his plate. "You want some of this?" he asked, but got no answer. Shrugging, Sam found himself a small piece of the table that wasn’t covered in papers and books and sat down to eat. "How's Dean?" he asked around a mouthful of food.

"Bored." John said, "I'm sure he's glad you're home." Sam stared at his father for a moment.

"He's asleep." He noted. John did look up then.

"Oh," he said, "good." Sam pushed the pad of paper he found in Dean's bed over to his father.

"I'm guessing he made this for you," Sam noted. John looked at his youngest for a moment, before reaching for the paper and studying it carefully.

"Could he possibly write any smaller?" John muttered, "Ants need glasses for this!" he complained as he strained his eyes, trying to read the small, scrambled letters.

Sam finished his lunch quickly, leaving his father to his work and going back to the room he shared with his older brother. He made sure the salt lines were undisturbed before sitting down on his bed, back against the headboard, and taking out his English notebook and textbook, starting on his homework. He sure did have plenty of that. Sam opened the textbook, leafing through it until he reached the right page and started reading, glancing at his sleeping brother every now and then.

A little over an hour later, Sam tossed his English notebook aside after having analyzed the story he'd read to the best of his abilities – which meant a five pages assay. He worked out the kinks in his neck and reached for his school bag again, hesitating between Math and Science. Dean usually helped him with Science, and looked over his Math work to make sure it was mostly correct. A little surprising considering the amount of attention Dean used to give his own homework.

Sam glanced at his brother, studying his profile for a long moment before his mind registered what his eyes were seeing. Dean's breaths were quick and shallow, his face twisted in discomfort. Sam hesitated. It could be just a nightmare. He decided not to take the risk. Sliding off his own bed, he cursed at the sudden cramp in his leg but went over to Dean's bed anyway. Sitting next to his older brother, Sam reached a hand to touch Dean's shoulder. A few seconds later, Dean seemed to respond to the touch, his face relaxing in sleep, his breathing deepening. Sam smiled and got up, back to his own bed, back to his homework.

He took out his algebra book and started working on his assignment, biting the top of his pencil whenever he got stuck. He glanced over at Dean and frowned when he noticed Dean's brow was contorted in pain. Dean was shaking his head slightly, soft moans escaping his lips.

Putting his notebook aside, Sam went over to Dean's bed again, touching his brother's shoulder again, but this time it didn’t work. Dean winced, gasping, his eyes snapping open.

"Hey, Dean, it's okay, it's me." Sam said softly. Dean squeezed his eyes shut and Sam frowned. "Dean?" Dean's hand twisted in his sheets, his other hand pressing on his chest. "Dean, what is it? What's wrong?" Sam asked, urgency in his voice. Dean didn’t answer him, trying his best to stifle the whimpers that escaped his lips. "Dean? What is it? Talk to me!" Sam implored, his heart racing. "Does it hurt? You want me to get you your meds?" he asked. The color was quickly disappearing from Dean's face. "Dean, come on, you're scaring me." Sam said softly.

"Sammy," Dean whispered in a strangled voice, curling in on himself, burrowing deeper into his pillow. Sam nearly choked over the lump of tears in his throat. Not again, was all he could think of. Not again.

"Dean, you hang in there, okay? Hang in there, we're going to get hel…" and then he froze, his eyes going wide. Crimson was blossoming on Dean's shirt. A red stain on his chest, starting as a little dot and growing steadily. "DAD!" Sam screamed in horror.


John got in the room a couple of seconds after Sam cried for him the second time, a shotgun at hand. He gave the room a quick once over, making sure it was safe, before looking at his youngest and, seeing the panic in his eyes, at his oldest.

"Sam?" John asked, putting the gun down and hurrying over to his son's bed.

"I don’t know what happened." Sam said, looking from his father to his brother. "He was having a bad dream, and I sat with him and he was fine, and then… I don’t know, he started gasping and… Dad, he's bleeding!" Sam said frantically.

John was quick to give Dean a once-over, easily spotting the blood on his son's shirt. Dean was still breathing hard, still wincing in pain, one hand pressing against his chest while the other fisting his shirt. John tried to gently pull his son's hands away so he could get a better look, but Dean refused him.

"Come on, Dean, I need to see." John said, but if Dean even heard him, he ignored it. Glancing up at his youngest, John pried Dean's hands loose, holding them firmly as Dean struggled in pain. "Sam, take his shirt off." He ordered. Sam tried, but Dean didn’t cooperate, making it impossible to pull his shirt up high enough. "Just get a goddamn pair of scissors and cut the damn thing!" John snapped. Sam rushed over to the kitchen to get the scissors and quickly cut the fabric of his brother's shirt.

The bandage over the symbol on Dean's chest was soaked in his blood. Both John and Sam grimaced at the sight. Dean whimpered, trying to curl in on himself, but John held him firmly.

"Easy, Dean. It's okay, I've got you." John said softly, making Sam raise a brow at his tone. It's been a very long time since Sam's heard his father speak in such a soft tone, and it freaked him out. John spared him a quick glance. "Sammy, I need you to hold him so I can check that." He said authoritatively. Sam hesitated for merely a second before taking his father's place, holding his struggling brother's hands, trying to calm him down enough to allow his father to fix this. To make it all better. He whispered reassuring words to his brother, his eyes on Dean's chest. And then he sucked in his breath, his eyes widening.

"Dad,"

"I see it." John said somberly, getting to his feet.

"Where are you going?" Sam demanded fearfully.

"To get the Holy water." John said.

The bandage was soaked in blood. But that wasn’t the scary part. The scary part was that it barely covered the symbol, which was still oozing blood. The bandage was still in the same place. It used to cover the symbol on Dean's chest completely. And that meant…

"Dad!" Sam's heart was racing a mile a minute. He did his best not to succumb to his panic. He needed to stay cool right now. Dad needed him to stay cool. Dean needed him.

"Alright, Sammy, I need you to hold him, okay?" John said once he got back in the room with the largest bottle of Holy water he could find. Sam's eyes watered, but he nodded, sitting on the bed next to his brother, holding onto Dean's wrists.

"It's going to be okay, Dean." he whispered. Dean's eyes were closed, he was still breathing hard, but he seemed to have relaxed a little. And then the symbol on his chest started moving again. Sam froze, watching in horror as it inched its way closer to Dean's heart, carving his flesh as it did, leaving a trail of blood. Dean bucked, letting out a strangled cry.

"Sam, hold him!" John ordered, bringing some gauze over. "You ready?" he asked. Sam clenched his jaw, nodding lightly. "Dean?" John asked, but Dean didn’t answer. Swallowing hard, John crouched down by his son's side and tipped the bottle a little, letting a small, steady trickle of water pour down onto the symbol on Dean's chest as he started reciting the words to the ritual.

The effect was instantaneous. Dean screamed, flinching, trying to get away as tiny wisps of smoke rose from his chest. Sam strengthened his hold on his brother, looking fearfully at his father.

"Just hold on." John said through gritted teeth, not really sure who he was talking to. He tipped the bottle a little more, allowing for a larger trickle. Dean writhed and squirmed, yelling, crying, asking his Dad to stop. He screamed in pain, tears escaping through his winced-shut eyes, begging for John to stop.

The symbol on Dean's chest started smoldering, contorting, changing, but it neither faded nor disappeared. John gritted his teeth, running a hand on his face and swallowing hard. He needed to get rid of this thing. He had to get rid of it. It was hurting his son. It was something unnatural, and it was hurting his son. John spilled some more water on it, and Dean screamed like he was being gutted alive. For all John knew, maybe he was.

Sam seemed scared out of his mind, but John couldn’t do anything about it. Not now. Hell, he was scared out of his mind, too. He didn’t know what this thing was, he didn’t know why it was there, who put it there, he just knew that it was hurting his son and that he had to get rid of it. The fact that getting rid of it seemed to hurt Dean even more was like a knife cutting at his gut.

John reached out, stroking his son's sweat soaked hair, caressing his tear soaked, pale cheek, whispering words of reassurance to his oldest. Dean was shaking in pain, his eyes glazed, his breathing ragged. He kept asking his Dad to stop, to just stop. John took his hand, whispering promises he didn’t know if he could keep, and Dean just kept begging him to stop, tears running freely down his cheeks now.

"Dad?" tears were running unchecked down Sam's face as well. John swallowed hard. He reached for some gauze and started cleaning the blood away gently, softly. Blood was still oozing where the symbol had once been, where the symbol was now. It moved closer to Dean's heart. Dean shivered violently, teeth clattering at the cold. He closed his eyes, his energy tapped out. John kissed his brow and swallowed hard.

"Hold him, Sam." He said. Sam shook his head lightly, lip quivering. At that, Dean started shaking his head, begging for John not to do it, begging for him to let it go, to stop. John looked at Sam, making sure the teen was ready, before he poured some Holy water onto a piece of gauze and ran it over Dean's chest. Dean shuddered, a silent cry freezing on his lips, and passed out, going completely limp.

John stopped, checking for Dean's pulse, just to be sure. The heartbeat was erratic, but it was there. John swallowed his fear and bile and poured Holy water more liberally over the symbol.

"Dad, stop!" Sam said. "Dad, stop it!" he repeated, eyes darting from his father to his unconscious brother. "Stop it, Dad, stop doing that!" he cried.

"Just a little more, Sammy. It's almost over, we just need to get that symbol off…"

"No!" Sam cried, "Stop it! Right now!" he demanded. "You're killing him! Dad, you're killing him, stop it!" Sam screamed. John's hands were shaking. He was fighting his own tears, refusing to give up, refusing to surrender. Just a little more, he was hurting this thing, he knew he was, just a little more and it would go away. "Dad, I mean it! Stop!" Sam screamed, reaching over and forcing his father's hand away from his brother, forcing him to let go of the bottle. Sam's heart was pounding in his chest. Dean was barely breathing. He looked almost as bad as he did a month ago, when they first saw him at that hospital. Sam glowered at his father.

John scrubbed his face with a shaky hand again. An entire bottle. He'd used an entire bottle, reciting all the right things – this thing should have gone away. This thing should have let go of his son. But it didn’t. With trembling fingers, John searched for Dean's pulse. It was fast. Too fast. "Sammy, go get the first aid kit." He ordered. Sam glared at him, shifting on the bed so that Dean's head was resting on his chest.

"You go!" he said angrily, accusingly, pulling his brother closer to him, holding his hand, trying to comfort him. John stared at his sons, unable to move for a long moment, before reason kicked in. He walked over to the bathroom and retrieved the first aid kit himself.

He stopped just beside Dean's bed, watching as Sam tried to get Dean to wake up. Dean was out cold and non-responsive, and Sam was panicking, crying out to his brother, asking him, telling him to wake up.

The bed creaked as John sat down beside his boys. He used the scissors to get rid of Dean's shirt completely. Blood and water soaked the fabric, and John just tossed it on the floor by the bed. Sam cradled Dean's head against him, whispering soothing words in his ear, patting his arm reassuringly, begging his older brother to just wake up. But Dean remained still.

John worked quickly. He cleaned Dean's wound, gently, carefully redressing it. He tried to ignore the anger he was feeling. This wasn’t defeat, he had told himself, it was simply the end of round one.

Dean was still out by the time his brother and father put a new shirt on him, and now John was starting to get nervous. He slapped Dean's cheeks gently, trying to wake him up. Sam squeezed his hand, talking to him, but it still took another couple of gut wrenching moments before Dean's eyes began to flutter and he began to whimper in pain. Dean's face was contorted in pain and misery and he started to shiver again.

John pulled the covers up, covering both his sons, before getting to his feet and walking back to the bathroom. He put the first aid kit back in place, filling up a glass of water. He took Dean's meds bottle, popped the cap off and took out a few pills. He hesitated a moment. On a normal day, he'd give Dean three, maybe four pills. But the doctor had warned him about Dean's kidneys, saying he had to keep close eye on his dosage because his liver and kidneys might not work as well and there was a chance he'd overdose if not watched carefully. John couldn’t take the risk. He returned all but two pills back to the bottle, recapping it. He crushed the pills into a fine powder and mixed it with the water, so it would be easier to swallow. He allowed himself just one moment to take a deep breath – he'd freak out later, now was not the time. Swallowing back bile, John took the glass and got out of the bathroom.

Sam helped prop Dean up a little so he could drink the water. Dean choked on it, but was finally able to drink it all up. He was out cold again in two seconds.

John cleaned up the mess and then brought a chair over, sitting with his sons, watching over them, thinking. This should have worked. He'd done this before, it should have worked. He had no idea why it didn’t, and it ate away at him. His son was hurting, and there was nothing he could do. Yet. There was nothing he could do yet, he corrected himself. The symbol on Dean's chest has changed. The beast has turned into a strange array of symbols, and the words in the outer circle changed, too. He'd have to start researching all over again. Maybe this time, Bobby would know what this thing is.

A few moments later, John got up from his chair and went back to the kitchen. He couldn’t help but feeling a little uncomfortable with his sons, he couldn’t help but feeling like he was somehow intruding on something private. Something he wasn’t a part of. The glances Sam shot his way every now and then as he stroked his brother's short hair proved as much. With a heavy heart, John left his sons and went back to his work.

He sat at the kitchen table where he could still get a view of Dean if he leaned all the way to the left. He wished it didn’t have to be like that. He wished he didn’t feel like he was intruding on his sons, he wished he didn’t feel like his family was slipping through his fingers, like no matter how hard he'd tried, he just screwed things up more. He wished he could talk to his sons, really talk to them, like dads do. He wished he could protect them from all this, that he could hold them and tell them there was nothing out there in the dark. He wished they could go back and be his little boys again, so he could see, really see them grow up, and this time, pay attention.

Sam's changed so much lately. He used to want to spend all his time with his Daddy, crying whenever John had left on a hunt. These days, he seemed relieved if John announced he was leaving the boys and going on a long hunt. It hurt, it really did. John had no idea how to fix it. He didn’t know if he could fix it anymore, if it wasn’t too late already.

John got up and made some coffee. He couldn’t think about these things. He couldn’t allow himself to go soft. Going soft meant not being prepared. It meant putting his sons in danger, and he would never have that. This thing, this rift that started between he and Sam, there was nothing he could do about it right now. He had to concentrate on what he could do something about, think of the son he can help right now.

He drew the symbol from Dean's chest on a piece of paper. He didn’t remember it all that well, he needed a better look if he were to get all the symbols right, but now wasn’t the time. He didn’t want to interfere with his sons more than he already has. Instead, he wrote down what he thought those symbols were, and where exactly they were in comparison to the older symbols. John gave his sons a long look from the kitchen before he put on his coat, stuffed his journal in his pocket, and went out to fax it over to Bobby.

TBC

Where it all started >> 2 >> 3 >> 4 >> 5 >> 6 >> 7 >> 8 
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5 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
(Deleted comment)
sams1ra From: sams1ra Date: April 3rd, 2007 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks!
I do my best to keep the characters in character. Glad you like it!
From: u_n_r_e_a_l Date: April 3rd, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
oo! i'm reading this on ff.net!
*loves*
-claire
sams1ra From: sams1ra Date: April 3rd, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Which means you only have 1 more chapter to wait for ;)
The epilogue should be up by the weekend.
jewel21 From: jewel21 Date: April 7th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know if I've told you yet how addicted I am to this story. I bounce with glee when I see it's been updated and then I wait anxiously for the next part. I can't wait to see what's going to happen next :)
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