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SPN Fanfic: Just a Well-Informed Anxiety - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
SPN Fanfic: Just a Well-Informed Anxiety
Title: Just A Well-Informed Anxiety
Characters: Sam, Dean (Season 1, shortly after "Bloody Mary")
Rating/Warnings: GEN, PG. Wildly inaccurate hospital procedures and pain management dynamics.
Beta: The scintillating ciaranbochna!
Word Count: 2400-ish
Disclaimer: Not mine, no ownership claimed.
Summary: In situations where a phone call is impossible, text messaging can connect people. This can sometimes be more of a curse than a blessing.
A/N: The third, last and longest of three otherwise unconnected "Texting with the Winchesters" fics written for heidi8 and help_haiti. After five years in this fandom, I do believe I have finally managed to whump Sam. There's a few months between Bloody Mary and Skin in which Sam's injury and healing time could fit before he's back on screen, but it's definitely off-canon.

Just A Well-Informed Anxiety
by CaffieneKitty

Sam woke to the familiar combination of smells and sounds that said 'hospital'. He also woke to numb fog that said 'well-medicated', the blinding nausea that said 'concussion' and an odd creaking ache in the bones of his leg that said 'man, did you ever screw up this time'.

He opened his eyes then squeezed them shut again at the room's brightness.

"Mr. Jabousi? Delwin?" Unfamiliar, polite, female. "Don't move too much, the cast's still setting."

It took a moment to figure out speaking, (think words, breathe, move mouth, make noise) which is when he realized how many painkillers they must have him on. "Where's D- my brother? Is he okay?"

"Cuthbert? He's fine, he brought you in. He'll be back soon, probably."

Cuthbert and Delwin Jabousi. One of Dad's fake medical cards. Speaking before he could think through the fog, Sam asked "Is my dad here?" He got the unsurprising negative answer. "What happened?"

He kept his eyes closed and mouth shut, slowly drifting up to lucidity as the nurses' aide helpfully told him the cover story Dean had provided the hospital. Something about digging a ditch on a neighbor's land, a sinkhole, a compound fracture and a concussion.

Sam remembered the hunt, facts popping through the haze. Deaths at a local strip mall. Owner of a new musical instrument store, someone in a car in the parking lot and an incident in the hardware store that the local police had written off queasily as a tragic freak power surge.

The mall had once been a local jail and workhouse, and had originally been the house of one of the town's founding merchant families. Once they'd untangled the prison deaths from the family deaths and subsequently found the article on the regions' first ever recorded multiple-murder-suicide, it became obvious who the ghost was. The wording of the article from the mid-1800's made it very clear even without stating outright that the murders had not been a quick death for any of the family members involved.

After that they'd tracked down mentions of an abandoned church and graveyard somewhere in the nearby hills where the entire family was buried, murderer and all. The ghost's activities were focused on the old family homestead rather than where its remains were; Dean had figured the dead guy didn't like his home turf being used for a mini-mall. They'd found the graveyard abandoned and overgrown by bush, next to a shallow ravine.

Sam's memory faltered at that point and fogged up. Flashlights, finding the grave. Shovel slipping, loud clang as it hit a headstone. Flying through the air, Dean shouting, salt-gun firing, tree branches whipping past, rocks. A horrible wet crunch, pain and black.

He opened his eyes, vision wobbling into focus, and looked down at his leg. It was encased in plaster from toe to hip and suspended from a series of ropes and pulleys. Glints of metal stuck out from the sides, showing where screws and plates were holding the bones in place. Sam groaned.

The aide, an apple-cheeked woman with a tidy brown braid, swung into view. He read 'Kathy' off her blurry name-tag. "Did you need more painkillers?" she asked. "I can get you some more."

"No, I need my brother." The words slipped out.

Kathy made an 'awww' face that made Sam feel five. "Your brother will be back as soon as he can. He just wants to be sure no one else falls in that sinkhole."

In other words, we didn't finish the salt-and-burn and he's gone back out on his own. Dammit, Dean! Sam gritted his teeth, which sent a wave of pain through his head. Adrenaline was doing a fine job of clearing out the painkiller fog. "Sign me out. AMA."

The nurses' aide smiled dubiously. "I think that's the concussion talking, honey, or the painkillers. The plaster's not even set on your cast yet and you're gonna need to have it in traction for at least a week or the bone won't heal right."

The room swam a bit and Sam's stomach flipped. "Fine. I'll stay if you get me my phone. It's in my coat pocket."

"No cell phones allowed in-"

"My phone or the AMA papers."

The woman's jaw set. She opened her mouth to give all the very valid reasons neither option was a wise idea, but Sam spoke before she could.

"I have to make sure my brother... doesn't fall down the hole too." Sam swallowed. "Please."

Kathy fretted a moment, then brought Sam his coat, glancing over her shoulder. "Try to keep it quiet and turned off as much as you can. If anyone asks, you tricked me into giving you your jacket. Okay?"

"Absolutely." Sam nodded and regretted the motion, pain ricocheting back and forth in his head. He winced.

"I'll go find you some more painkillers." She whisked out the door, leaving Sam alone with his coat. He dug out the phone and it immediately booped with a voicemail. Sam retrieved the message.

"Hey, Sam. I hope I'm back before you wake up. You just got out of surgery and you, uh. You look like total crap."

Thanks, Dean. Sam glared at his cast and was rewarded with another spike of pain behind his eyes.

"I have to go back out and finish the job. It's noise, Sam, he doesn't like noise. Maybe he offed his family for being too loud. He showed up the second that shovel hit the headstone and threw you- The guy with the drum shop, the boom car, power tools. It's all noise."

Sam ran through the victims. The drum store owner was found dead inside a bass drum. The dead girl's car had twin tailpipes and speakers as big as her engine. The power tool section of the hardware store gone berserk; electric drills, circular saws, and belt-sanders making it impossible to identify the victim without dental records. All noisy things. The two individual stores had been shut down, but the mall was still open and running, which meant it was only a matter of time until-

"Listen, there's a freaking amateur tractor pull in that mall parking lot this afternoon, and it's gonna be a bloodbath if this guy doesn't get toasted before then. If you're hearing this, Sammy, I'll be back as soon as I can. If you wake up early, that's great. That's a great sign. You really do look like crap. Doctor says- Anyway. I'll be back, promise."

The message ended. Sam cursed and called Dean. It went straight to voicemail. "Dean, what the hell are you doing going back there alone? Call me back!" Sam hung up.

Almost immediately Sam's cell phone chimed with the bright *KWEE-bop* of a text message.

[u ok?]

Sam re-dialed. Dean's phone went to voicemail again. "Come on, Dean, I know you're there, answer! And I feel like I've been attacked by the same ghost you're heading out there to deal with on your own, thanks for asking. Pick up your damn phone!" Sam disconnected, head and leg throbbing.

The phone chimed again. [phn mute cant talk no noise. u ok??]

Sam frowned and switched through his phone's menu to the text function. [m ok. come back now]

[gtta finish job. sltnbrn]

[not alone. u need help.]

[m not 5 sam. m ok. u not.]

There had to be someone else. Someone had to watch Dean's back. [call caleb, pstrjim?]

[no time. gtta be NOW.]

Sam wanted to say it would wait, but Dean was right. It was nearly morning, and if Dean was right about noise being the trigger, it wouldn't be long before someone else died. Maybe many someone elses.

The phone chimed again. [gtta go Sam]

Sam felt a wave of nausea entirely unrelated to his concussion. Dammit, Dean. [Never do this again.] he spelled out and hit send.

The phone sat silently in his hand, top signal bar flicking on and off. Time stretched. Hospital staff bustled past in the hall.

It always took a long time to dig a grave. It didn't seem like it when you were digging, but it did.

Sam tapped at his phone, watching the signal bar bounce.

It took less time with two people digging, longer if you were trying to be quiet. Took a lot more time with a psychopathic audiophobic ghost throwing you around.

Sam glared at his leg in the cast, which was now feeling more like fire than ache, then back down at the phone.

Dean could do it though, if he could find the right grave buried under the brush and overgrown grass, ring it with salt, set some wards, and do it all in complete silence, that'd keep the ghost away long enough. Yeah. Dean'd be fine.

The thing with Dean was he was never completely quiet.

The top bar of the charge indicator on the phone flicked off.

C'mon Dean.

The door opened and Sam tucked the phone under his unbroken leg. An orderly took a few millennia to check to make sure Sam's cast wasn't being compromised, that the traction equipment was pulling everything in the right directions and that he still had the concussion. Sam gritted his teeth, hand twitching towards his phone at every peep and boing of the busy hospital.

How hard was the ground in the abandoned cemetery? Old graves were more settled then new, and all that overgrowth had to have sent roots weaving through the dirt like organic Kevlar. It might take half an hour just to hack through if there was a tree nearby. That would not be quiet. Sam tried to remember the ground conditions, but his mind skidded queasily around the memories closest to his injury.

After an eternity, the orderly left and Sam retrieved his phone. No new messages, text or otherwise. It had been a little over an hour since Dean's last message.

He thumbed over the keypad, [u ok?] and hit send.

The phone stayed silent in his hand. He tucked it away again when Kathy the nurse's aide came back in with painkillers and a pointed glance at Sam's jacket.

"How's your brother?"

Sam swallowed. "He's not done yet."

Kathy smiled as she handed the little cup of pills over. "Try not to worry, Delwin. Your brother Cuthbert knows the sinkhole's there, so he's less likely to fall in, right?"

"It's not that simple."

Kathy patted Sam's unbroken leg. "Relax, okay? Even if you signed out AMA, there's nothing you could do to help him."

Through gritted teeth, Sam thanked her for the painkillers and was glad when a call on the PA system sent her rushing away.

Try to relax. Dean's been hunting solo before. Lots of times while I was at Stanford. He'll be okay. There's nothing I can do.

And that was it, wasn't it? Dean out on his own, no backup, and Sam with a broken leg and a concussion, tied to a bed. The traction rig creaked.

It'd be different if he wasn't immobilized. He could hold the salt gun, or the flashlight, fend off the ghost while Dean dug. Sam snorted. Like he'd been so much help before.

He felt stupid for letting the ghost catch him off-guard. Knowing Dean, he probably felt responsible for Sam's injuries, as if Sam couldn't screw up massively on his own, and was thinking of this as some kind of vengeance thing. Charging off to avenge Sammy, Dean Winchester's emergency backup ghost-victim.

Screw that.

The doors opened again. Another patient was brought in to the space across the room, someone young and small, an orderly and an intern, a mother and a sister scurrying in behind like lost ducklings. The curtain was quickly drawn around the family and the staff; quiet conversations drifted out from behind it.

The painkillers started to hit his system, filling his head with cotton-fog again. The fire faded from his leg and felt more like a roll of sandpaper was rubbing around the bones.

[Dean plz ans] he punched into his phone, not caring if the people behind the curtain heard the soft 'boop' noises the keys made.

Medical staff bustled in and out of the room for what felt like hours, before leaving the little family alone behind the curtain. The little girl was crying and the mother was making soft soothing noises, saying everything would be okay.

Dean shouldn't have to hunt alone, Sam thought. Not anymore.

Sam was sure Dean would think to set a salt line... But would a salt line work? Maybe the ground was wet. Had it been raining? Sam couldn't remember. Salt might soak through, wash away. Dean might be digging in the rain and never see the ghost coming at him.

Don't be ridiculous. But the worry remained.

A salt line wouldn't matter if the ghost started throwing things. Rocks, shards of headstones, tree branches. Dean could be inside a salt circle and still get beaten to death. Would a salt line work if it was around the guy's remains? Maybe it would send the spirit hurtling back into the circle with Dean. The ghost could pick Dean up and toss him into the ravine. Sam's head flooded with images of Dean, head caved in, bleeding, laying broken and alone in a ravine where no one would ever think to look for him until it was far too late.

Like I was. If Dean hadn't been there to drag me out and get me to a hospital, I'd still be there. Dead.

Sam checked the time. Over three hours since Dean's last text.

Sam shifted in the bed, making the traction rig jangle. His head swam as his borderline suppressed panic fought the medication fog. I've got to get out there. Somehow. I'll cut myself down and walk if I have to, cast be damned. He reached for his jacket for something sharp enough to cut the ropes.


Sam froze, then scrabbled through the sheets for his phone and read the message.

[m ok. done.]

Sam's breath went out like he was deflating. He told himself his hands weren't shaking as he thumbed over the keypad.

[never. do. this. again.]

Sam's phone twittered with an incoming call. He jumped slightly before answering. "Dean?"

"All done Sammy, no need to get your panties in a twist." Sam could hear a smile in Dean's voice. "I'll be there in half an hour. You want pizza? I bet I can sneak some in."

Pizza. Sam's head throbbed. His mouth opened and closed as he wished for text messaging's capacity to edit the several things he felt like saying.

Dean would never, ever change.

"No pineapple," Sam said and disconnected.

- - -
(That's it)

Post A/N: And that's the last of the "Texting with the Winchesters" fics! Hope you enjoyed them heidi8!

Tags: , , ,
Current Mood: accomplished accomplished
Current Music: "Blue Collar Man" ~ Styx

16 comments or Leave a comment
ficwriter1966 From: ficwriter1966 Date: March 15th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cool! I like that whole "you need to be quiet" concept. (As someone who was brought up in a quiet household, and stills enjoys tranquility, I sympathize with the noise-hating ghost!)

The whole cellphone thing, too - I remember when I was in the hospital, EVERY piece of paper had on it "No cellphones." Yet every TV show or movie I see has people talking on cellphones in the hospital.

It's nice to see classic Season 1 stuff, so thanks for this!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 15th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I remember when I was in the hospital, EVERY piece of paper had on it "No cellphones." Yet every TV show or movie I see has people talking on cellphones in the hospital.

I know! I keep mine off anytime I'm within ten feet of a hospital out of habit, but I don't think the newer ones interfere with equipment the way the old massive brick phones used to.

It's nice to see classic Season 1 stuff, so thanks for this!

I've got quite a few long-suffering season 1 bunnies bouncing around the corral. I hope to get to them all eventually. :-)
embroiderama From: embroiderama Date: March 15th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Sam's foggy panic here and the different tones of their text messages. The noise-hating murderous tyrant of a ghost is a great concept, too.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2010 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I'm glad it worked out okay.
samalander_dawn From: samalander_dawn Date: March 15th, 2010 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Delwin and Cuthbert? John had one mran sense of humour :D

Would it be wrong to say that I completely sympathize with that ghost? :D

really like this :) Sam's tension made me jumpy though :)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2010 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Would it be wrong to say that I completely sympathize with that ghost? :D

Hee! I can see that. :-)

Sam's tension made me jumpy though :)

Cool! That means it worked. :-) *hands you a cup of... um... chamomile?*
irismay42 From: irismay42 Date: March 15th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I thought it was just a British thing that cellphones weren't allowed in hospitals - because the STAFF seem to carry them in all the American hospital shows! Heh heh. Glad you've set me straight!

That was fabulous! You could really feel Sam's sense of panic growing, and Dean, probably completely oblivious to all of it!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2010 05:40 am (UTC) (Link)
North American TV shows are rarely an accurate reflection of reality, which is probably a good thing! XD

You could really feel Sam's sense of panic growing, and Dean, probably completely oblivious to all of it!

Yay! I'm glad it worked!
tigriswolf From: tigriswolf Date: March 15th, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love Sam's stream-of-conciousness here. Poor guy.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2010 05:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I was kinda mean to Sam, I guess. :-)
erinrua From: erinrua Date: March 15th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Love this. So much said, so much behind the simple lines. Poor Sam! Also - OWWWW, DAMMIT! *wince*

Beautifully gone, lady. :)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 16th, 2010 05:43 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! I'm glad it came through!
hezio2 From: hezio2 Date: March 17th, 2010 12:41 am (UTC) (Link)
What a fun fic. I love the scared Sam and how you used the text/cell phone idea in the hospital. I can't wait to read more of your stuff.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: March 17th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Hope you enjoy the other stuff I have posted! :-)
sams1ra From: sams1ra Date: April 23rd, 2010 02:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was a fun read. Thanks for sharing.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: May 4th, 2010 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
16 comments or Leave a comment