Title: Time and Chance Happens to Them All
Category: Hurt/comfort, angst, case fic
Word count: ~15,000 in 4 parts
Rating: R (language)
Summary: It's a race against the clock when Sam gets hit with visions at the worst time possible and must stop a murderer before he kills again -- his biggest problem however, is an emotionally wrecked brother who's too angry and hungover to help him.
Set season 2 just after ELAC, vision/hurt!Sam, drunk/angry/protective!Dean. Based on this prompt from the OhSam! comment fic meme by ladykorana : Sam has a vision at a really, really bad time (like driving at high speed or on dangerous road conditions, climbing on something high or treacherous, hunting something that could take advantage of his distraction, etc.) and gets himself seriously hurt as a result.
A/N: I want to give a big, huge thanks to Borgmama1of5 who worked her butt off to turn this into a readable story and for all of her input and suggestions. She's too awesome for words! <<<<hugs>>>>
Time and Chance Happens to Them All
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all. (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
Sam turned the hot water spigot all the way to full blast and gave it a few moments to heat up to near-scalding before he stepped into the shower.
Steam rose in heady plumes all about him. The hot water pounding into his back and shoulders was just what he needed to soothe tired muscles after the six-mile run he had just completed, and he sighed in contentment as they loosened up under the spray.
Despite the aching muscles, the exercise had been worth it. He had spent far too much of the last few weeks cooped up inside Bobby’s house with too little to do and too much to think about, and getting out into the fresh morning air with the sun just beginning to peek over the horizon had been a welcome escape. All he had to do was concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and his mind lulled itself into a blissful, thoughtless trance that went on for mile after mile.
But now that the run was over there wasn’t much he could do to get away from the reality that was his poor excuse of a life. He replayed the early morning scene in his head that had driven him from the house in the first place while he let his forehead rest on the shower wall.
Dean stumbled in, reeking of whiskey and sex, waking Sam up as he slammed the door behind him. Sam had glanced at the clock and been glad that Bobby was on a hunt for a werewolf in Spokane, because if he’d heard Dean enter his home like that at 4 o’clock in the morning, there would have been words -- lots of loud, unpleasant ones.
As it was, Sam was annoyed enough because it was the third time this week that Dean had come in way past midnight, piss-ass drunk, but when Dean passed out with just his shoulders on his bed, the rest of his trashed body limply trailing on the carpet, Sam’s irritation morphed into all-out anger. Dean was pissing his life away one bottle of Wild Turkey at a time, and as much as Sam knew his brother was wrecked over Dad’s death, Sam was sick and tired of watching Dean’s deliberate self-destruction. Dean was imploding, but as much as Sam wanted to help him, Dean pushed him away whenever he tried. Like Dean was the only one who’d ever lost someone close to them.
It was enough to make Sam want to rip out his hair in frustration.
“Dammit, Dean …” Sam had groaned as he got out of bed and hauled his brother’s body the rest of the way onto his bed. “Is it too much for you to stay sober for one night?”
“Lee’me ‘lone, Sam.” Dean slurred back, half asleep, but alert enough to bat Sam’s helping hands away. “Don’ need ya … don’ need your fuckin’ help.”
Sam didn’t really care if Dean didn’t want his help, he wasn’t going to let him just lay there on the floor. So he dropped his brother unceremoniously on the bed without responding to the words that cut to the marrow. Instead he grabbed one of Dean’s boots and started pulling it off.
Dean kicked back weakly. “Stop it…Goddammit … Said I don’ need ya.”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time. Just stop fucking squirming, will you?” Sam snapped back, roughly yanking off both boots and tossing them in the corner. Sam sighed heavily after that, assessing his brother and wondering how his liver could keep up with the crap he was doing to his body. ”You can’t keep doing this shit, Dean. Just tell me you didn’t drive – you’re gonna get yourself killed.”
“Wha’ever …” Dean rolled over onto his stomach, his eyes closed and face mashing into the pillow. “I got a ride from … from … whatever her name so quit naggin’ me for once – you’re nuthin’ but a pain in my ass and I don’ need ya to tell me that I’m fucked up. So jus’ go’way, will ya?”
Unable to sleep after that and too angry to stay in the same room as Dean, Sam slipped on his running shoes and left his snoring, inebriated brother in bed, taking off at a moderately fast clip once his feet left the last porch step. He hoped that the exertion of a long run would alleviate some of the frustration, grief, and desolation that had been burning inside of him since the night Dean and Sam had said their final goodbyes to their father and watched his body burn into a pile of ash.
Sam’s skin was a bright red from the heat of the water as he snapped back to the present, unaware of how long he had been standing under the shower thinking of his father and then re-thinking his problems with Dean. Sam was trying his best to give his brother some space to deal with his grief alone, but it was all so exhausting and Sam was starting to believe that there wasn’t anything he could do or say that might repair his and Dean’s crumbling relationship.
Realizing that the hot water wouldn’t last forever, Sam finally began to wash and was rinsing the shampoo out of his hair when a sharp barb of pain suddenly lanced through his head.
Shit, shit, shit … Sam groaned as the pain in his head increased, and his vision blurred. Not now …
The walls of the shower shifted as dazzling white lights blinded him. The rocketing pain felt as though someone had reached inside his skull and was squeezing his brain. He gasped and tried to reach for the shower wall to stop his descent to his knees, but his hand merely slipped along the wet tiles. His knees made painful contact with the shower drain and all he could do was grab his forehead where the pain concentrated and squeeze his eyes shut as images began to bombard him.
She stood on the train platform and zipped her jacket over her blue hospital scrubs, checking her watch. It was 3:36 a.m. She sighed wearily, clearly exhausted after a long swing shift. She looked down the long tunnel, hoping that her train would come soon. She didn’t like being alone at this time in the morning. Too many crazy, drunk people and a young woman alone at the train stop was an easy target.
She held her purse a little tighter when she heard the voices. There were at least four of them, young men, probably teens who got their kicks harassing or attacking people that had no skills at fighting back.
She looked down the train tunnel again. Where was that damn thing?
The boys were coming closer and she felt her heart accelerate as her nervousness ratcheted to a higher level. She could leave, but then she would miss her train and all she wanted to do was go home.
The voices of the boys were closer now. As they approached they started hooting and whistling at her. One called, ”Hey, shorty, nice ass,” and they all laughed. To her immense relief, however, the kids walked on without doing anything more than cat-calling as they headed towards the stairs, passing under the orange, CTA sign for Pulaski Street.
Alone again except for a homeless man passed out on a bench, she sighed, glad to see the backs of the boys. She looked down the tunnel as the sounds of the next train met her ears. The light from the engine greeted her, its wheels squealing loudly, as it barreled towards the stop.
She took a step away from the edge of the platform and backed into something solid. She turned around to offer apologies, but her voice died on her lips. Angry blue eyes stared at her from under a dark hood.
Where had he come from?
She had little time to contemplate that as his hands were on her, grabbing her shoulders and shoving her backwards towards the rails. She had no chance to cry out before he pushed her over the edge of the platform, where she landed painfully onto the vibrating rails
There was only time for her to look up and see the oncoming headlight of the train bearing down on her.
A scream caught in her throat, unable to escape as her world ended in a flash of blinding, white light and blood … lots and lots of blood …
Sam gasped and violently shivered. The haze of the vision faded and he realized that he was freezing, the water had run cold and he had goosebumps blanketing his body. Shakily, he got up, fighting the pounding inside his brain and managed to turn the water off despite how much he was quaking.
His teeth chattered uncontrollably while his body was wracked with chills as he grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his shoulders. It did little to warm him or give him any comfort for now he had a new problem – a girl was going to die and he had to stop it.
Dean groaned and rolled onto his back. Bright light streamed in through the curtains and he cursed it vehemently while he threw an arm over his eyes to block it out. He was certain that his head was on track for a nuclear explosion and his stomach reminded him cruelly why he should never take shots of whiskey and tequila after downing 8 beers.
He had a vague memory of last night, but he couldn’t recall exactly how he ended up in bed. He remembered Carla … or was it Carly … well, it was something that started with a ‘C’… Not that it really mattered, he wouldn’t be seeing her again anyway, but she had been sober enough to drive him home from the motel room they had rented for an hour. He just wished he could remember if it was good or not – or if he had even taken the time to put on a condom. He really didn’t want to go through that series of shots again.
Sam was going to have a field day with this and Dean was not looking forward to the bitchface and condescending huffs of disapproval his brother was sure to hurl his way when they crossed paths today.
He lay there waiting for the riot in his head and stomach to quell a bit before he dared to raise himself up into a sitting position. Moaning, he forced his legs and feet over the edge of the bed and immediately regretted the movement as a spike of hot iron streaked through his head and the nausea increased ten-fold. He tried to breathe through it, to put his elbows on his knees while cradling his aching head, but it was of no use and he barely made it to the bathroom before expelling the entire contents of his stomach into the toilet.
Letting his head rest against the cool porcelain afterwards did little to make him feel any better, and he was half-expecting Sam to come by at any time with a big ‘I told you so’ to gloat over his misery. But thankfully, his brother seemed to be elsewhere.
It was some time before Dean summoned up the energy to get himself up off the floor and into the shower to wash off the stench from last night’s fun. He couldn’t help but feel pretty stupid for losing control like he had. Dad would have been furious with him for drinking so much and screwing irresponsibly … but Dad wasn’t there anymore and he never would be.
That thought made the nausea creep back up his throat.
It wasn’t until Dean was dried off and dressed that he realized just how quiet it was in the house. Sure, Bobby was away on a hunt, but Sam always made some noise as he moved about the creaky old house with his gigantic feet. Yet there was nothing. Sam was probably out on a walk, or had taken a car to the library, or was off in a corner brooding or crying or whatever it was that Sam did all day while Dean worked on fixing the Impala.
Dean wasn’t worried about his Sam’s absence however; he was actually quite relieved to have some time alone. Dean had come to dread hearing his brother’s footsteps approach whenever he was under the car trying to get her back into working order. He knew Sam was the kind of guy that needed to talk about his feelings and that sort of sensitive crap, but Dean wasn’t ready to think about even talking about dad yet, let alone to tell Sam how much it felt like his world had fallen apart or how wrong it felt to even still be alive And his father’s last words were still too fresh in his mind … and Dean would have the burden of keeping them to himself for the rest of his life. There was no way he would let Sam know what Dad had said.
Coffee and Tylenol became Dean’s next priorities and he prayed that Sam had made a pot before heading out. He stumbled his way down the steps and to the kitchen, disappointed to find the coffee carafe empty. He started a fresh pot before finding the bottle of painkillers and dry-swallowing two pills.
Once he had some caffeine in his system, Dean headed outside to get a good look at his car. He was angry at himself all over again for taking a crow-bar to the trunk and windows – even if at the time it had felt cathartic to release some of the pent up rage locked inside him, he lamented the fact that it pushed back the car’s restoration by at least two weeks. Again … Dad would have torn him about eight different new ones if he had seen what Dean had done.
Dean quickly pushed that thought from his head; he didn’t want to think about Dad. He had a job to do.
Steadily he pounded out the dents in the trunk and then started patching the holes with mesh and Bondo. It was dusk by the time he realized that Sam hadn’t come out to nag him about anything all day and he started to wonder where Sam had gone and why he wasn’t back yet. Sure, Sam was an adult and had every right to go out to wherever he pleased, but usually Sam would leave a note telling Dean where he was, or call to let Dean know when he’d be back. But his brother hadn’t done either of those things and alarm bells began to shriek in Dean’s head.
He pulled his phone from his back pocket and speed-dialed Sam’s number. It went straight to voicemail, but Dean wasn’t too surprised, Sam often turned off his phone if he was in the library because the prudish head librarian was a stickler against cell phone use.
Maybe Dean had missed the note?
He abandoned the car and headed back to the house, going straight to the bedroom where Sam most likely would have left any note. Dean’s eyes caught a flash of white on the nightstand. Funny, he hadn’t seen it that morning, but then again, he had been pretty hung-over and had been concentrating more on not spewing than looking for any note Sam might have left.
Quickly he grabbed the paper, and read the words scrawled in Sam’s handwriting.
I had to go – Don’t have time to explain.
“Little Bitch.” He groused. Not that he could blame Sam for taking off for a while, Dean wasn’t exactly good company, but he could have at least told him where he was going.
Fuming, Dean tried Sam’s number again. It went straight to voicemail once more, but this time he left a message:
“I’m so gonna kick your ass, Sam. Call me back.”
Sam felt guilty for leaving without Dean, but his brother was still passed out in the exact same position as last night, with drool threading a thin line from his mouth. He tried to wake Dean, practically shouted at him, but his brother hadn’t responded, and Sam was already running out of time if he was going to rescue the girl from his vision and he didn’t have the luxury of sobering Dean up enough to take him along.
He’d Googled the train platform signs and determined that he had ten hours to get to Chicago and meet the woman at the station, and it was a nine hour drive. It was an uncomfortably slim margin.
He realized a few hours into his drive that the battery was dead in his cell phone. Dean would now not only be pissed about Sam taking off without him, but for not calling as well.
However, Sam had plenty of ammunition to combat any arguments his brother might have about him taking off alone. With Dean’s blood alcohol level being somewhere in the range of 90 proof, he would be more of a liability than an asset. On top of that, Dean had said it himself, “Go ‘way, Sam.”
Sam unconsciously pressed harder on the gas pedal just thinking about Dean’s words to him that morning. He kinda hoped that Dean was enjoying one hell of a hangover right now.
Somewhere between Minnesota and Wisconsin it started to rain. Sam normally wouldn’t have minded except the truck he had taken from Bobby’s salvage yard was missing its driver’s side window, and rain was pelting him in the face. Certainly that was not the worst of the old pick-up truck’s problems: the passenger door didn’t open no matter how hard it was pulled, it guzzled gas faster than a hog at a trough, and big, black plumes of smoke billowed out of the noisy exhaust pipe. Worst of all, though, was that it had a top speed of 55, going any faster resulted in the engine overheating – a frustrating predicament when there was so little time for him to prevent the events of his vision from coming true.
But Sam was a beggar and didn’t have the luxury of choosing his ride, he was just grateful that there was a working vehicle at Bobby’s at the time he needed to leave. Still, he missed the Impala. Its reliable, steady rumble under his legs with his brother behind the wheel would have made this journey a little less difficult and lonely.
Thinking of the car made Sam begin to regret leaving Dean behind even more. It was getting dark already and he still had another 200 miles to go. He needed gas and he could pick up a car charger for his phone when he stopped at the next station. He could call Dean and fill him in on the details.
Then again, maybe Dean was glad to have him gone.
After all, Dean had told him to go away. Even though he was drunk, he had made it quite clear that he was sick of Sam constantly trying to get him to talk about Dad – he was probably seeing Sam’s absence as a blessing.
However, Sam knew that he should call Dean anyway and let him know where he was, even if Dean wouldn’t care if Sam had fallen off the face of the planet.
The rain increased as Sam watched for an upcoming gas station. It was getting difficult to see through the rain sheeting the windshield and the wipers weren’t doing crap to push the torrents of falling water out of his field of view.
He could feel a headache creeping up, triggered by the blinding headlights of oncoming traffic glaring off the droplets of water cascading down the windshield. He shrugged the pain off as he concentrated on the road, needing to squint in order to see through the pounding rainstorm.
Another set of headlights filled his view, but this time, they didn’t pass. The pain in his head suddenly became unbearable as the light intensified, filling every portion of his vision and exploding upward into his brain in a magnificent and brilliant flash brighter than lightning.
Sam’s foot reacted before his brain and stomped on the brake, but much like everything else he had tried to do as of late, it was too little too late, and the truck careened off the slick pavement, tires squealing as they fishtailed wildly, momentum unstoppable.
He never saw the tree nor heard the crunch of metal when it impacted with wood as the sights and sounds of the vision gripped him tight.
Everything after that was swallowed up in darkness.
( Part III )
( Part IV )