Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam falls out of a tree and ponders his family's straightforward philosophy in regards to the healing process.
Sam stared up through the many branches of the bare tree above him and patiently waited for the ability to breathe to return.
It didn’t matter how unlikely the possibility seemed, or how hard your body had struck frozen packed dirt from no matter what kind of height. The respiratory system had an amazing knack at seizing up for exciting amounts of time before deciding when it would kick right back into gear. Some amounts of time were longer than others, but Sam knew when and where to panic. Flat on his back in a narrow alleyway between some suburban split levels wasn’t one of them.
A cat he hadn’t noticed wandered past him, an elaborate orange plume of a tail curling under his eyes as it gave him a random dose of sympathy via a rough head butt to the ribs. The trees had been the only way up through the two houses that they could find. It had seemed uncomplicated enough. Three pretty old nicely gnarled pines that had somehow grown into one twisted clump that went past the power lines and the roof tops. Less with fewer hand holds had been used before.
Sam felt a glimmer of hope when his chest finally hitched in a weak shallow wheeze.
Somewhere far above, where he had actually been mere moments before his rapid and unfortunate descent, Dean appeared. Or his dim outline did. From way up there on the roof and the sun overhead, all Sam could really make out was someone leaning over the edge to get a look at him. Watching the distant silhouette, it split sickeningly into two and wavered before solidifying into one form again. Sam gasped on another sweet gulp of air and considered the potential of maybe some minor concussion.
Dean looked down at him and seemed to come to his own medical conclusions from about three stories up.
Sam knew what was coming next.
“Walk it off!”
Sam blinked, still waiting for his lungs to start back into any kind of regularity so the bursting white spots would stop exploding in front of his eyes. For some reason, his brother’s very reasoned, practical and impatient suggestion reminded him of another time and place all together. More to the point, an entire block of his life when most any ailment that befell him was remedied by the curt and assured three words that seemed to fix just about anything that might be wrong with you.
Slam your hand in a car door? No problem. Gashed your head on the way down off that wall? Just relax. Ate some expired lunch meat and now you’re seeing a few colors that you don’t usually? Don’t sweat it. 104 temperature and a little non stop vomiting? Just buck up little camper, feeling like shit never killed anybody.
Most of the time.
Sam felt himself attempt to laugh despite his air situation and ended up coughing and choking instead. He had to admit, his dad had been the worst at first aid than anyone on the planet. Unable to see any shades of gray between impending death and a paper cut had left quite a lot in Sam’s tumultuous youth to figure out on his own. It didn’t take long after watching his older brother stitch up his own slashes, and splint his own aches before Sam learned to do it all himself.
The alley cat made another foray past his face, purring its head off for no good reason Sam could discern, and rubbing its grubby face against his chin. Pulling in the first full breath he’d been able to enjoy for more than a few minutes, he felt his hand find and absently pat the thing’s back. It probably didn’t get too much camaraderie down here in the drainage run off between the dented rusty garbage cans. Hell, just about everybody liked some company every now and then even if it was completely unexpected.
“Hey!” Dean was doing his best to yell and be quiet at the same time. “Let’s move it along!”
Sam listened to the feeble rasp that came out instead of the string of words he wanted his brother to hear. They were pretty good ones too, the kind that made mom’s cover their kids ears and polite people fight a good laugh. He let his hand stray over his chest, assuring himself that it was indeed, rising and falling at all. After a few more seconds and a few nice full inhales, he halfheartedly attempted to end his stay on the filthy damp asphalt.
With a hiss he was quickly back down where life was flat and relatively agony free. Gingerly, he touched his right elbow which must have made some fairly awesome contact with the concrete on his way down. He tested bending his legs up at the knees. Slowly bracing his hand on his good side to push himself to a seat, he groaned as his vision swam in and out of focus. Encouraged by the positive progress, the cat made a celebratory figure eight in and out of his sprawled legs.
Staring at his pistol that had dislodged itself from where he had it concealed in his jacket, he scraped it across the ground towards him and briefly checked it for damage. It looked okay. They didn’t keep much that couldn’t be put through the wringer and not come out almost close to still perfect on the other side. Thinking to pat himself down for anything else missing, he found everything where it should be.
Except one thing.
It was one thing to ruin a semi-automatic. The things didn’t grow on trees but they also weren’t exactly like trying to score an Easter egg either. His jacket was history. That was no big deal either even if this one had somehow lasted longer than fate usually dictated. He’d been through more jackets and jeans than a cowboy, a biker and a guy working construction combined. Belongings were as fleeting as the minutes of the day. Sentimentality was as about as useful as his father’s advice on personal health care.
But Sam really liked his phone.
Looking around, he dismally took in the trash littered clutter that could hide about one hundred small slight things like the one he was missing. Staggering to a stand, he bit back the sound he wanted to make upon the sensations that were now on full volume with the introduction of again being upright. Allowing himself a few moments to appreciate inhalation and standing, he watched his new feline friend shamelessly groom itself.
Oddly enough, a small shrill familiar sound made him quickly turn towards a heap of teetering garbage.
Stumbling over some cardboard boxes, he caught himself from doing another four point landing by getting a hold of the chain link. Kicking aside a few bursting black plastic bags he suddenly spotted the wonderfully intact silver shape of his cell. Picking it up carefully, he didn’t think to check the ID before he answered it. Like most things in his day to day, it was all to some degree a comparatively predictable ride.
Sam looked back up to the rooftops and saw he was alone.
It figured Dean would just go ahead without him if he wasn’t up to speed. Glancing up and down at the tall structure that housed several different apartments, he wondered which one his brother was in and how quickly he’d be right back out on the street with everything they needed or nothing at all. Sam rubbed at his chest under his newly ripped coat, and winced when he could feel fresh cold air on the elbow that hurt the most. Touching it, his hand came back nice and red.
Meet me out front in five.
The line dropped.
Experimentally stretching his arms over his head, he found his elbow to be the worst of it, the rest just what had grazed against his surface. By the time he was out on the quiet side street he felt almost as good as new. Or as good as used. Or something like that. Limping down the street, Sam didn’t want to notice that every step he took was notably easier. His body’s startled offense at its treatment fading back into all its mediocre normality and range.
His hours were a lot like that, the moments it took for the flash to fade so you could really see what the hell was really going on. The sharp spans of panic before you reigned it all in so you could do what you had to do. Maybe there really was some wisdom behind his family’s litany and cure all.
Something quick and orange suddenly darted between his ankles. Flailing and desperately trying not to bring his boot down on something that was alive and not so long ago his best and only pal in the world, Sam groaned when he felt his hands and knees hit the uneven concrete of the curb.
When you just kept on going it seemed like just about everything got to be better.