Name: Comment Ficlet - Weird Scary Exernal Fixators Drivized
Another comment ficlet based on the prompt: I want Dean in traction. Multiple broken bones. Surgery. Weird scary external fixators. And Dean freaking out internally but trying to play it cool for Sam or Dad or both.
Note from Kasman: This is the Drive 'verse version of roqueclasique's fic Weird Scary External Fixators which can be found here: roque-clasique.livejournal.com/23655.
With approval from roque (well, more like a dare), I tweaked her original story to fit the Drive 'verse and she has graciously allowed me to post it on my journal for your reading pleasure. All credit for the original idea to the original writer – I'm just thankful she let me out to play a little.
It’s not a sudden thing, waking up. It happens in fits and starts, flashes of noise and color, and Dean’s not even aware that he’s doing it until someone passes something warm and damp over his face, and he recognizes the sensation enough to realize that he’s awake, which means he must have been asleep, which means — and then he’s out again.
The next time he wakes, he’s lucid for longer, enough to hear the beep of machinery and to smell the familiar tang of medicine and antiseptic that tells him he’s in the hospital, and he struggles to get his eyes above half-mast, fights the world into focus.
Everything’s still blurred, though, and he can’t do anything but lie there as someone grips his chin, shines a sharp flashlight in his eye.
He tries to get some words out, tries to ask where his father is, what the fuck he’s doing here and when the fuck he can leave, but he realizes that there’s a whole lot of plastic tubing in his mouth, and he’s pretty sure all he does is moan. It’s a relief when he sinks under again.
And then the next time, it’s for real, and Dean’s eyes focus when he opens them, focus on the sweet-faced woman who’s standing over his bed, scribbling something on a clipboard.
“Hey, honey,” she says when she sees his eyes on her. “You’re awake!”
Dean tries to agree, but the words get stuck painfully in his throat, and he winces.
“Your throat’s gonna be a little sore,” she says. “I wouldn’t try to talk just yet. You’ve only been breathing on your own since this morning – we just took out the tubing, and that stuff can hurt when it comes out.”
She raises her hand to his mouth, presses something cold and wet to his lips. “Here you go, hon, nice and easy. That’s right.”
The sensation of the ice chip is startling, and Dean lets it melt, trying to slog through the haziness of his mind so he can form coherent thoughts other than “Dad” and “what the fuck?”
He opens his mouth, planning to give voice to these thoughts, but he just gets another ice chip for his trouble. It feels good, soothes his throat, and things are getting clearer by the moment.
He tries to move a little, to pick his head up or something, and that’s when it hits – pain, immediate and blinding, shooting down his back and through his legs, wrapping around his torso, rattling his jaw.
A harsh, keening sound fills the air, and it takes Dean a second to realize it’s coming from him. He slams his mouth shut, feels the ice chip slide down his throat, and for a second he thinks he’s gonna choke, lets out a hoarse cough that hurts like a bitch, but not as much as fucking every other part of his body, holy jesus goddamn hula-hooping Christ, what the fuck happened to him?
He’s only vaguely aware of the nurse bustling around over him, and he pants through the pain until it dulls suddenly, and he recognizes the warm rush of morphine through his bloody. Oh, thank fuck.
“Fuck,” is the first real sentence he manages, and the nurse titters a surprised laugh.
“Don’t try to move just yet, sweetie. If you want me to prop your head up a little, I can do that. Is that what you were trying to do?”
“Yeah,” he croaks, pleased that he’s making word-shaped noises, finally. “What—?”
“Smashed pelvis, two compound fracture of the hip socket, multiple fractures of the femur and kneecap, fractured tibia and ankle, cracked ribs, one collapsed lung, a broken collarbone and humerus, and a broken pinky finger,” the nurse rattles off, which wasn’t what Dean was asking, but, okay, useful information. She lifts his head to slip a pillow under it, and that’s when he sees himself for the first time.
His leg is suspended out in front of him, hanging from the fucking ceiling, and it’s clamped in some sort of metal cage, huge shining spikes sticking out of these holes running up and down his leg.
He feels bile rise up in the back of his throat, and tries not to freak the fuck out, but it’s hard, because he sees now why he can’t move, and all of a sudden moving is all he wants to do, even though he knows it’s stupid, and is gonna hurt, but it’s kind of scaring the shit out of him to know he’s locked to the ceiling, locked to this bed, and there is absolutely nothing he can do about it short of tearing his leg off and dragging himself away.
Which ain’t gonna happen any time soon, because he realizes just seconds later that his arm is in a cast from his neck to halfway down his forearm, bent in an L-shape that means he can’t straighten his elbow or move his shoulder, and he feels cold sweat break out on his face, feels the beginning of panic sing up through his belly as he realizes that he is one hundred percent immobile, trapped.
Okay, so maybe Dean is a little claustrophobic. He doesn’t like it when he can’t move, doesn’t like being so completely at someone else’s mercy. And right now he’s basically helpless at the hands of this she-monster who’s busy stuffing his mouth with ice-chips so he can’t speak to ask the really important questions, like where the fuck is his father and is he okay?
It’s coming back to him in bits and pieces, a flash of moonlight through the rotting perforations in the cabin roof and walls, the gaping holes that used to contain window glass, the crack as the floor starts to give way, the sound of his father screaming at him to move. The floor gives way and lands him in goddamn traction? Christ.
He clears his throat, wants to ask about his dad, wants to ask how long he’s been there, but she takes that as an invitation to press another piece of ice to his lips, and he can’t move to bat her hand away, so he just spits it right back out, fuck politeness, because he’s really trying not to completely lose control and freak the hell out, and he thinks maybe he might be losing.
“Where—” he manages.
He attempts to process this. “Dad?”
The nurse shakes her head. There had been someone, a man, he came briefly, sadly, left the book that even now sat on the nightstand, but he didn’t stay. The nurse gestures at the night table, at the well-worn journal neatly aligned with the nearest corner and Dean attempts to reach out with his free hand, grunts as the movement triggers waves of pain up and down his body. “Ungh.”
“You’ve been out for three days.” She places the journal on the side of the bed, gently places his hand over the top, and the worry hits him like a Mack truck – Dad would never leave his journal unless…
Dean fingers the familiar cover and closes his eyes, tries to…to what? Remember? Dean thinks he remembers his father being in the ambulance, but he isn’t sure. Vaguely remembers the brush of blunt fingers through his hair, the scrape of beard against his cheek. His heart starts trip-hammering in his chest, setting the machines beeping alarmingly.
“Hey, Steve, it’ll be OK.”
Steve? Oh, that must be… “How long?” He looks up at his leg dangling high above the bed.
“You’ll have to ask the surgeon about that. Maybe a few weeks.”
A few weeks? A few weeks of this, locked to the bed by steel and his own body, staring at his leg dangling out in front of him, staring at where the steel bites through his flesh and drills into the bone?
“What’s with the hardware?” he gets out finally, trying to get himself under control. “When’s it coming off?”
“Maybe another week after that,” she says, glances at it.
“Will I be OK?”
She looks at him sadly, and that’s enough answer.
Dean closes his eyes, wishes that the nurse would give him some more of the good stuff, knock him out so he didn’t have to be awake for this.
“It’s not so bad,” she says. “There’s a T.V.”
Dean doesn’t answer, just shifts position a little. And, hello, mistake – fire ripples through his ribs and down his fucked-up arm, and his leg chimes in with its own chant of pain, despite the morphine he knows was just administered.
His eyes squeeze shut even tighter, and he wills his body still, even though every instinct is telling him to ignore the pain and fight, pull free of the shit tying him down and get the hell out of this bed, away from the sight of his body trussed up like a Christmas ham.
He’s fighting for breath before he even realizes it, teetering on the edge of hyperventilation, and he hears the nurse’s worried voice, “Hey, Steve, take it easy. Take it easy!”
He tries, he really does, but every inch of his skin hurts, and he’s drugged to the gills, and he’s gonna be dead-bolted to this bed for who knows how long, and he doesn’t really know if he can take it. And where the hell is his father? He should be here! And…
He feels a hand settle on his forehead, competent, unmoving, just a warm, heavy weight. And Dean can’t help but relax into that touch.
“Shhh,” she says, like she’s talking to someone much younger than twenty-six. “Shhh, just breathe. Let it in, and then let it out. C’mon, Steve. In, and out.”
Dean fights to get his breathing back to normal, and he feels the hand start to move, set a rhythmic pattern to the sound of a low voice, chanting, “In, and out. That’s right, that’s it, nice and easy. In, and out.” And for a moment, it sounds like his father’s low, rumbling, growl, feels like his father’s callused palm.
Dean can feel himself relax, can feel the blind terror settle down, recoil itself, and he focuses on the voice and the feeling of fingers sifting lightly through his hair.
“That’s right,” the voice says, far away now. “Get some sleep.”
Dean’s having trouble keeping conscious, but he struggles to focus, thinks he sees his father getting further and further away, dimmer and dimmer. He thinks he feels something scratch along his temple, like someone’s three-day-old stubble, thinks he feels his father’s fingers slip down from his head to rest feather-light on his cheek – but he’s on some pretty strong drugs, and he could have been imagining it.
He can’t fight, though, can’t resist the medicated swamp that tugs him under, and finally, the distant feeling of the hand recedes and he sinks into blackness – and it’s okay. It’s safe, to give in. Thinks his father will be there when he wakes up.