Genre: Gen, H/C
Word Count: ~5,000
Summary: After a devastating hunting accident, Dean's trapped in the hospital with the world's worst roommate.
Spoilers: Takes place in the weeks after 7.17, The Born Again Identity
Warnings: Profoundly annoying and offensive and utterly utterly ridiculous OMC, hurt!Dean, language
Note: Yet another belated fic from a long-lost meme. The prompt involved Dean being in the hospital and having a horrible roommate.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended.
The Beastly Mr. Bellingham
by wave obscura
“Go home, Sammy.”
“Dean. I don’t want you to—“
“Go home, Sam.” Dean turns his face away from his brother, looks out the window. It’s a beautiful day, tauntingly bright, sky turquoise, birds swooping in and out of trees. If the hospital window was more than a slab of sheet glass, and actually opened, Dean bets he’d hear a cheerful song floating on the breeze, like fucking Whoville on Christmas morning.
It disgusts him.
He shifts in bed. The pain must show all over his face because Sam stops babbling mid-sentence, and closes his mouth. His brow lifts and his eyes grow big and watery.
It doesn’t matter how much morphine Dean pumps into himself, the pain's keeping him sharp as a goddamn blade. He taps futilely on the button. Sam reaches over like he’s going to take it from him, but it’s just an excuse to squeeze Dean’s hand. And hold it.
“We’re gonna figure this out, Dean. We’ll figure it out.”
Sam’s been repeating it manically for a half an hour or more. Dean wonders if it’s possible to be reassured to death.
“Sammy,” Dean says, “Sam. Leave. Please. Go.”
Sam gives him a sad little smile. “Do you want me to talk to the nurse about getting you more—“
“No, damn it. It’s not… I just need you out of my face.”
“Please. Go take a shower. Eat something. Watch a little TV. Sleep. You need a nap. Please. Come back with dinner.”
Sam’s mouth forms a surprised little O. “Nap? I was gonna… the nurse was going to find me a chair and I was just going to curl up—“
“No. For fuck’s sake, Sam. No. Please. Get outta here. Out.”
Dean waits, and hopes, and maybe even prays a little. It’s not exactly a secret of the universe that he loves his brother and likes to have him around. He does. But it’s been just an hour or two (morphine makes the time fly) since the doctor came in and downgraded his status from “might walk again someday” to “sorry, guy, not ever gonna happen.”
But honestly, Dean’s not even sure if he cares yet. The pain in his muscles, bones, flesh is too intense for him to deal in the abstract. Right now he doesn’t give two shits about walking. He’d gladly never take another step if it would make the pain stop.
Meanwhile, Sam sits at his bedside with big dripping eyes.
“In the morning we’ll talk business,” Dean says, a last ditch effort. “I’ll talk about my feelings, even. I promise you, Sammy, I will cry like a bitch about how upset I am about this. I might even let you hold me. But right now I need a minute alone.”
He finds he has tears in his eyes, tears that have less to do with emotion and everything to do with desperate, desperate physical pain. His back burns, and his pelvis, and his hips, and his legs and feet and toes and knees and his toenails and the webs between his feet, too.
If he could just have some quiet, if he could just have some fucking quiet.
Sam wipes his eyes and sets his jaw.
“Okay,” he says.
Sam nods. “Yeah. Shower. Gimmie a call when you're ready for me to come back, okay? Dean—“
“I love you.”
Fuck, there it is. More tears ooze out of Dean’s face against his will. He looks out the window, but the happy scene out there is too goddamn much, so he stares at the ceiling, which is an ugly drop ceiling full of little black pinholes, which is so much more fitting.
“Yeah, me too, Sam,” he says to the ceiling. “Now get the fuck out. Please.”
Sam sniffles, gathers his things, has a conversation with the nurse that Dean doesn’t bother to listen to but that goes on way too long, and finally leaves. Then Mindy, the nurse’s aid, comes in to fuss at him, and Dean thinks she might never, ever leave either.
But she does, and in time he’s blissfully, blessedly alone.
He celebrates with a dose of morphine, pressing the button more times than is necessary, and floats for a long while, unaware of anything but a vague sense of doom and an even vaguer sensation of pain. The rush makes him nauseous. Rather than call someone, he vomits stealthily into his water cup.
Truth be told, Dean’s not even sure how he managed to crush the bottom half of his body. He hasn’t asked, not Sam or the doctors or anybody, he might never ask because maybe he doesn’t want to know. Maybe if he doesn’t know how it happened, it won’t happen. Maybe he’ll walk again.
He’s lost track of whether or not that makes sense.
He turns his face toward the window, because he’s high, and he can handle it now. The neon blue sky swallows him up. He tips himself out the window and flies, one tree to another. He walks.
And then he’s awake and sharp again. The hospital, its rubbery smell, and the ugly drop ceiling with the holes, and the tinny chatter of the TV in the corner. Someone is being wheeled in.
“Do I have to be near the window?” The gruff voice of a man says, “It’s so goddamn bright. Can we close the blinds?”
Dean closes his eyes, waits for the man to settle so he can have quiet. The hospital room grows suddenly dimmer, the blinds lowered, the curtain pulled between the two beds.
The man in the hospital bed keeps talking. “I thought I got my own room. Who’s the pretty boy? Is he on a morphine drip? He hasn’t been throwing up, has he? I don’t want to share a room with a puker. I can’t stand pukers.”
“He’s been a little sick, sir, but we just don’t have—“
“Can you move the curtain? Thank you, sweetheart. Thank you.”
Dean hears the curtain opening, and the man’s voice calls, much, much too loudly, “Hey kid. Kid.”
“Sir,” Mindy says, “I wouldn’t—“
“It’s okay, sweetheart, I’m just trying to have a conversation, do you mind? Why don’t you run along and bring me a little something to drink? Hey kid. What’s his name?”
“Kid. Hey kid. What’s your goddamn name?”
Dean realizes the guy is talking to him. He opens his eyes. “I’m…Dean?”
“Dean. Who’d you vote for, Dean?”
Dean looks at Mindy, who gives him an apologetic shrug.
The man repeats, loudly, as if Dean is retarded: “WHO DID YOU VOTE FOR?”
Dean tries to speak but has a lot of crud in his throat, so he croaks instead.
The man snorts unkindly. “Take your time, kid. Whenever you’re ready. Jesus.”
Dean clears his throat. “I don’t vote.”
“Good. Kids shouldn’t vote. Too stupid. Running around fucking anything that moves, snorting all kinds of shit up their noses. Hey sweetheart, can you bring me a glass of Diet Ginger Ale? No ice, though. The ice here tastes like toxic fucking waste. You from around here, kid? You’re probably one of those kids down at the state college, huh?”
Again the man snorts to himself. “The state college. You gotta scholarship, kid? What, is it hazing week? Did you injure yourself trying to rape a sheep on the lawn of the frat house or something? Or was it a goat?”
The man laughs a roaring laugh, jabs his elbow at Mindy. “That was a good one, wasn’t it, honey? Haha! They fuck a lot of goats down there at the frat house, do they Dean?”
Dean takes a long, tired breath. “I’m thirty-three. I don’t live in a frat house.”
“Well excuse my ass,” the man says. “You look like a baby. You get that Botox or something? My wife is always nagging at me for Botox. I work hard for my money. I’m gonna spend six thousand fucking dollars, I’ll spend it on a real 20-year-old piece-a ass and not some dried up old bag who can’t hardly move her face, you know what I mean?”
“Sir,” Dean says, “I’m not really in the mood to chat.”
The man shrugs. “At least you got manners. You called me sir, at least. I suppose I should fall down on my knees and kiss your ass for calling me sir, right? Nobody has any goddamn manners. What’s wrong with you then, if you haven’t fucked any sheeps or goats? You sick? You aren’t dying, are you? Are you catching?”
Dean looks warily at his bottom half, his two purple and green legs, swollen like ripe, mossy eggplants, hanging from the ceiling and skewered with metal. It makes him nauseous to look, so he turns away.
“No,” he says, swallowing, “Not contagious.” You fucking moron, he silently adds.
“I got an infection,” the man says, “and I might have to have my toe amputated, can you believe that? The middle toe. My wife made me come down here and have it looked at cause she said the smell was making her sick. She said she wouldn’t share a bed with me anymore if I didn’t come down and have it looked at. Six thousands fucking dollars for Botox and she won’t even share my bed. And now this, sitting here facing amputation. Losing one of my goddamn toes. What did you say you were in for?”
Maybe it’s psychosomatic, maybe bad timing, but very suddenly Dean’s back and pelvis begin to scream, the pain flaring so intensely he flinches, and tries to breath it out in a careful moan. Sweat stings his eyes, blood rushes in his ears. He reaches feebly for his call button, knowing he’s going to be sick but his water glass is full, hoping he can last until Mindy can get a basin under his mouth.
Then the nausea’s gone as quickly as it came, and the pain holds steady but backs off enough to leave Dean weak and panting.
“Hey kid. I asked you a goddamn question. You got goat cum in your ears?”
“I got in a fucking accident,” Dean tells him. He beats on the morphine, which shaves off barely a sliver of how much it goddamn hurts. He can’t help but squirm but squirming makes it five million times worse. “An accident, I think. I don’t even fucking know, I don’t—fuck.”
The man sniffs indifferently. “No use laying around feeling sorry for yourself, that’s what I say. Life goes on, right? Shit or get off the pot. Positive thinking, that’s what my dad always used to say. Positive thinking. I might lose a toe. Am I laying here crying?”
“If you could just please shut— I’m in a lot of—”
“—I have a son who reminds me of you. He mopes around all day cause he wasted six goddamn years in college and now nobody wants to give him a job. I told him he was gonna get himself into trouble studying goddamn poetry or cake-decorating or whatever the hell it was I shelled out forty goddamn thousand dollars a year for, but he didn’t listen. Kids don’t listen. Why should they listen, when mommy and daddy pay for everything?”
This has got to be someone’s cruel, cruel joke. Sammy’s twisted revenge for being sent away. All the bad karma Dean’s built up over the years, all spewing forth on him now.
“I probably deserve this,” Dean says to the ugly drop ceiling.
“Say what?” the man says.
“I wasn’t talking to you.”
“You don’t have to be rude. Jesus, not an ounce of common courtesy or manners. Think they can just march around and run people over, do whatever the hell they want. Nobody stops to smell the roses—“
Hot sweat is dripping from Dean’s face now. He has no sensation in his bottom half but burning, gnawing, and deep, deep aching. He entertains a daydream of getting out of bed and tossing the man out the plate glass window, watching his body sail across the mouthwash-blue sky, the singing birds scattering, settling in the branches of the trees to chirp happily while the man plummets to his death.
Dean’s never wanted Sam so bad in his life. Sam would shut this guy up, somehow. How? Maybe Dean can do it himself. He has to try something.
He needs rest and quiet and time to think and a break from pain, so he can wrap his brain around the permanence of what has happened to him, so he can think of words that will make Sam feel better, words that keep them both from falling apart.
And then there’s hunting, and the Impala, and maybe they can find a healer but what if they can’t, and Bobby’s still dead, and the Leviathans—maybe they were defeated, Dean can’t remember, all he can remember is laying in a puddle, in so much pain he had actually felt insulted and indignant, like the universe had tripped him while he wasn’t looking and then laughed and pointed behind his back.
He has to try something.
Sam would talk to the man in a soft voice. He’d be reasonable, but big and imposing, under his softness the vaguest hint of danger. He’d narrow his eyes just so. And the man would shut his stupid fucking face.
Dean’s never had any talent for tugging at the heartstrings of men. If it weren’t for Sam, he would assume men didn’t have heartstrings to tug. He turns and really looks at the man for the first time, a silver-haired guy with bushy white eyebrows, skinny arms and a sizeable gut.
“Sir,” he begins, mimicking Sam’s soft voice, and already knowing it’s futile, “I’d appreciate a little quiet? I-- I have a lot to think about. If you could just let me think.”
The man blinks. His bushy eyebrows become one caterpillar across his forehead. He studies Dean with a tight, straight mouth.
“Cry me a river,” he says. “You younger generation. So damn soft. You look like you’ve already been crying.”
Dean turns his head away from the man and beats on his morphine drip, hoping it will give him just a few minutes of oblivion, just a few.
And the man does not stop talking. “Those are the breaks, kid. We don’t get to pick our lot in life, you see? It doesn’t work that way.”
“No. It sure doesn’t.”
“You’re gonna become addicted to pain killers, you know, if you keep abusing them like that.”
“You've gotta be fucking kid—“ Dean stops. Maybe the guy has a point. Maybe if he weren’t on so many meds, the pain would drive him into a coma. A silent, blissful coma.
Though they say coma patients can still hear.
“Listen,” Dean growls, “I’m probably not gonna walk again, but I’m not paralyzed, so I can feel my fucking bones crutching around, and I can’t even fucking describe to you how much pain I’m in, so if you could just—“
“Jesus, kid. I’m not hear to listen to you whine all night, you understand? I don’t know what they were thinking, sticking me in a room with you. Six thousands fucking dollars just to iron the wrinkles out of my old lady’s face and they can’t even give me a goddamn fucking private room? Can’t a sick man get a little peace and quiet?”
The man picks a magazine up from his bedside, Golfing Quarterly or something, and violently turns its pages, angling his body away from Dean.
Dean gives himself another dose of morphine and basks in the silence. He’s too high now to give a rat’s ass about the pain, though somewhere outside himself he’s aware of it raging. Deeper than that, a niggling worry about the future.
Dean closes his eyes against all of it, and drifts.
“It’s smarting, goddamn it, it stings I’m telling you!”
Dean starts awake. He swears it’s been not five minutes, but the hospital room is dark, and he squints at the clock across the wall. It’s almost ten.
His horrible roommate continues to shout, “where’s the goddamn doctor? I wanna see the goddamn doctor!”
“He’s gone home for the day, sir. If you’ll just—“
“Don’t feed me that line of bullshit! I see the way you been checking Mr. Goatfucker all night, shakin’ you ass all over the place! You been ignoring me all day! My goddamn toe hurts!”
Dean can’t find his morphine button. He fumbles, jostles himself and can’t hold back a strangled cry. Nausea rolls up his esophagus, into his throat.
“Mindy,” he croaks.
“Oh, he’s gonna throw up. I told that other goddamn nurse I wasn’t gonna stay in a room with some puking little shit—“
Poor Mindy, Dean thinks vaguely. In the back of his mind, through the pain and nausea and the future, he knows what he has to do.
Mindy brings him a kidney-shaped basin, and Dean is violently, lavishly, indulgently sick.
Then he asks Mindy to dial Sam’s number.
Sam answers on the first ring, and sounds overjoyed that perhaps his ban from the hospital has been lifted.
“I’m leaving right now, Dean. I’ll be there just as soon as—“
Dean hangs up.
“There’s no compassion left in the world,” the man is wailing. He’s heavily drugged now, sitting up in bed, long-faced and morose. “A man’s about to lose his toe and there isn’t a person in the world who gives a shit. You know I been in this hospital all day and my wife hasn’t even called? Six thousand goddamn dollars. She wants her chin fixed, too. I can’t say I blame her, she’s got jowls down to her goddamn tits, she’s like a fucking Thansgiving turkey. I knew from looking at her mother that I shouldna married her. Six thousand goddamn dollars and she still looks like Jabba the goddamn fucking Hut.”
Dean says nothing. He waits for Sam.
“Why don’t you have any visitors, kid?” The man says after a while. “Why doesn’t your sheep girlfriend come visit?”
Dean smiles lazily. “My brother is on his way. You’re not gonna like him.”
“I have a brother. That no good lazy sonofabitch. Gets a little cancer in his pancreas and all the sudden he doesn't want to work, starts sniffing around my place for hand-outs. I told him, I says…”
The man’s story goes on for quite awhile after that. Thankfully, Dean feels his eyes rolling in his head, a sign that he’s about to lose consciousness. He lets it come.
Thirty-seconds go by (forty-five minutes, according to the clock). There’s a gentle hand on his shoulder. Sam knows not to shake him. Good Sam.
Dean comes alive feeling warm and comfortable, like the rest of this day has been a nightmare. His roommate is talking, talking, talking, Dean can’t even tell to whom. Probably no one.
“Hey,” Sam says, “How… how are you feeling?”
“Better. Lissen. Hey sir?”
The old man quits his monologue, puts down his magazine. “Yeah? Who’s the lady?”
“This is my brother, Sammy.”
“Nice to meet you, Sammy. Jesus, Dean, you really let your brother keep his hair like that? He looks like Patty Duke on steroids. Hey I know a guy though. You could make some money off a cheap Fabio knock off like him. How you feel about doing porno films, Sammy? You eighteen yet?”
Sam’s mouth opens and closes in shock.
“He’s has been keeping me company all day,” Dean says meaningfully. “He might have to have his toe amputated.”
“I see,” Sam says, but he doesn’t see. “Are you okay?”
“No.” Dean shakes his head. “No, I’m not.”
“Hey Saaaaaammmmmy,” the man calls, “I asked you a question. You must be as fucking deaf as your brother.”
The old man waves his hands in front him in some horrible mock sign language. “Nevermind. Jesus Christ. You kids are so fucking brain dead. Do you mind if I read my magazine, Sammy? I’ve had to put up with your goddamn brother moaning all goddamn day, I think I deserve a little peace and quiet. Seriously though, think about my offer. I know a guy. He’d cast you just on those ridiculous fucking sideburns alone. Does he look pretty with your cock in his mouth, Dean?”
Again Sam’s jaw falls open. He blinks once or twice, then it all seems to click together in his head. He looks at Dean and briefly squeezes his shoulder.
His eyes narrow. He drifts to the foot the man’s bed and glares, silent and dangerous.
The man laughs awkwardly. “Come on, Sammy. Just having a little fun.”
Sam takes a breath that seems to expand his chest three sizes. “My brother isn’t having any fun.”
“Jesus Christ,” the man chuckles. He looks over at Dean. “Is Sammy always so fuckin’ serious?”
Sam takes a step closer. “It's time to be quiet.”
The old man lifts his bushy eyebrows. “Eh?”
Now Sam is looming over him. “I said it's time for you to shut up. Or we're going to see how pretty you look with my cock in your mouth, how's that sound?”
Dean can't help himself; he bursts out laughing. "Holy shit, Sammy."
“Excuse me? Listen kid, I don’t know what the fuck your problem is, but—“
“What’s your name?”
The man blinks. “My name is Mr. Bellingham.”
“You first name.”
“You can call me Mr. Bellingham, you little--
"Tell me your fucking first name."
"Listen here, you goddamned—“
He doesn’t have a chance to finish, because Sam shoves his bedside table into the wall. His water pitcher and dinner tray fall to the floor with a clatter, green beans and mash potatoes and green jello splattering on the wall behind them. Dean chuckles, sends pain shooting up his spine.
Sam smiles predatorily. “Your first name, please.”
“Frank. I need you to shut up, Frank.”
“Just who in the hell—“
“Frank. Shut up. My brother is hurt, Frank. He doesn't want to listen to your mouth flap, do you understand that?”
“Do you understand, Frank?” Sam pulls up a chair and sits next to Frank’s bed. “Tell me you understand.”
He lifted his eyebrows to Frank, hands folded patiently in his lap. As a reflex, Frank looks to Dean for help. Dean smiles serenely at him.
“I understand,” Frank says haughtily, straightening his back. “But—“
“Let me tell you something, Frank. A few weeks ago I was very, very sick. I think I almost died, Frank. All my fucking fingernails fell off and I was pissing blood, Frank, and it was all because of a guy not so different than you. His name was Lucifer. Have you heard of Lucifer?”
Dean’s eyes shoot open. “Sam, don’t.”
Sam ignores him. “Answer my question, Frank. Have you heard of Lucifer?”
“I—“ Frank begins. His eyebrows become a single bush again. He opens his mouth and closes it again.
“Lucifer, Frank. Satan. Have you heard of him?”
“Lucifer?” There’s a slight quaver in Frank’s voice. He leans away from Sam just slightly. “Listen, kid. My toe—“
“—shut the fuck up about your toe, Frank. If you mention your toe again, I’m going to amputate it for you. With my fucking teeth, do you understand?”
“Uh. Yeah. Sure, kid.”
“Good. Lucifer. The fallen angel. I was trapped with him in hell, Frank, and let me tell you something.” Sam pauses, takes a breath with a slight shudder at the tail end, which is how Dean realizes how upset his brother is, the slight tremble of his hands, the shine in his moist eyes.
“Kid?” Frank says, when a long time goes by and Sam says nothing. He’s gazing sightlessly just over Frank's shoulder, deep in a memory.
After a minute Sam shakes it off. “Let me tell you something, Frank,” he repeats. “Lucifer never shut the fuck up either.”
“No?” Mr. Bellingham says quietly.
“No.” Sam runs his hand through his hair. “I won’t have my brother go through what I did, do you understand me?”
“Please don’t hit me.”
“Say you understand.”
“I won’t have it.”
Sam jerks his head, satisfied. “That’s the last time you’re going to speak tonight. If I hear a sound, Frank, I’m taking your festering toe. In the morning, you’re going to demand a new room. And you’ll get what you want. You’re used to getting what you want, aren’t you?”
He stares Frank down, his nostrils flared. After a long moment Frank nods a timid nod. His body is shaking, from his ridiculous eyebrows to the bandaged toe of his lame foot, and he looks so pathetic that Dean almost feels sorry for him.
“If they won’t give you a new room, you’re going to check yourself out and go to a different hospital shut the fuck up” --Sam roars as Frank is opening his mouth-- “I don’t wanna hear it. I don’t care if they have to amputate your whole fucking leg. I don’t care if you die slowly and painfully of septic shock. But you’ll get the hell out of my brother’s room.”
“Sammy, that’s enough,” Dean says, but truth is, he could kiss his brother. The silence that falls over the room is magical. Dean’s pain is reaching new heights, so he taps on his morphine button and sags into his pillows, taking a long fatigued breath.
He dreams of sweet fantastic nothingness.
He opens his eyes later, probably much later because the sun is shining again.
Sam is sitting at his bedside staring straight ahead, his face white and gaunt.
“Goddamn it,” Dean croaks, “have you been sitting here all night?”
Sam looks at him vacantly. He’s rubbing the scar with one thumb, and his hands are shaking.
“Hey,” Dean says, “You’re okay. Are you okay?”
“You don’t see…”
“No.” Sam smiles, looks down at the scar. “Definitely not. The hand thing—nervous habit I guess. How are you feeling?”
“Better. Well. At least it’s quiet. Is he--?”
Sam nods. “Gone. Before the sun rose.”
Dean huffs in relief. “Thank you. Thank God."
Sam swallows tightly. “I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
“It was mostly just annoying, Sam. C’mon. It wasn’t like…it wasn’t like what you went through.”
“It was close enough.”
“No it wasn’t. Just… stop, okay? You’re being dramatic. It wasn’t the same. Sam, look at me.”
Sam studies him, eyes flickering to Dean's horrible mangled legs. Sam's eyes are red, and there are dark sacks of puffy skin beneath them. Then he looks away, swallowing. He stares hard at the corner of the room like he expects to see something.
“It’s over now,” Dean says, “It’s over. You’re okay, Sam. We’re… we’re gonna be okay.”
Sam nods. He takes a heaving breath, then his shoulders relax.
Together, they enjoy the silence.