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Breathing

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Breathing.
When had it become so hard?
Sam wasn’t entirely sure, but he knew his lungs were screaming for air but he couldn’t seem to get any in. He felt like he was dying, and he was very intimate with that feeling already.
He doesn’t know what to do because Dean is gone, not dead just gone and how had it come to this? How after so many years had it come to Dean saying yes?
He’s sucking in air but most of it just feels like it’s getting stuck in his throat and what is he meant to do, Dean helped him through these before and now Dean is gone and he has no one left, who can help him?
Another half breath passes his lips and makes it back out without truly reaching his lungs before he feels a weight against him.
Jack.
Sam was so caught up in his own issues he forgot Jack was bleeding out beside him and was Jack human? Could he die from this?
It seemed more likely the more they stood in the church.
Sam puts pressure on Jack’s stomach, and guides him out.
He can hear Jack’s shallow breaths and who would have thought they’d both be struggling to breathe tonight?
They make it through the cemetery connected to the church and to the road connected to that. Sam flags down a car, luckily this road is busy this late at night.
Also lucky is the fact that the car even stops for them. Sam is tall and that somewhat scares people at the best of times but in the middle of the night, beaten up and holding a bleeding teenager to his side?
Not his best look.
But the person lets them in anyways, even helps Sam manoeuvre Jack into a laying down position in the back seat, his head resting on Sam’s lap.
He’s staring up at Sam through big, wide eyes and how had Sam never noticed that look? That look of awe and adoration? How had he expected Jack to ever even think about turning the knife on Sam when that look is in his eyes? In hindsight Sam should have just stabbed himself and been done with it, not put the kid in that position.
Not put his kid in that position.
Because Jack is his kid. Maybe not biologically but Sam doesn’t think he has ever cared about anyone as much as he does Jack, except Dean of course but that’s a different kind of care.
Sam doesn’t feel like he needs to protect Dean from all the horrors of the world. But he does need to protect Jack.
He failed.
Sam is pushing down on Jack’s stomach with one hand, despite Jack’s discomfort, and clutching Jack’s trembling hand in the other. Sam tries to ignore the blood flowing past his fingers, warm and so, so, so red.
He instead focuses on the blood on Jack’s chin. And suddenly he’s seeing Jack in his position so many years ago, addicted to Demon blood and railing against the world. He has to close his eyes against the image before he’s sick.
Finally they get to the hospital and Sam and the stranger, he really should have asked his name, pull Jack out of the car and to the waiting room. He’s whisked away to the Emergency room pretty quick after that.
Sam fills out some forms with a fake insurance number that he hasn’t had to use in years and then he finally has the time to look for where they are, apparently two days drive from the bunker. Sam wishes Lucifer had been considerate enough to pick a closer church to murder them in.
Sam waits for a while after that for Jack to be out of surgery, he loses track of time and honestly he never wants to know how long it took, how long it took to save his son from the edge of death.
He enters the room they are keeping Jack in and tries not to throw up at the sight of him, so pale in the centre of the bed, looking exactly how old he is.
Jack is awake and Sam explains how they’ll have to leave pretty soon or risk being caught in the insurance lie. He hates to take Jack out before he’s ready but he really has no other choice, they are already so far away from their family.
So he and Jack leave, it’s tough, they don’t want to be caught and Sam can’t exactly just walk Jack out. So they climb out the window. They are both extremely happy they were placed on the first floor and the windows actually open.
After they climb out, Sam sits Jack by a tree and hot wires a car from the hospital parking lot. He feels pretty shitty stealing from the sick so he ditches the car a block later when he finds a cheap car dealership. He buys the cheapest car he can find with one of the fake credit cards and they quickly find a hotel to sleep in.
And that night, where Sam doesn’t want to leave Jack alone at all and the two end up sharing the same bed with Jack asleep and Sam staring up at the ceiling trying to match his breathing to Jack’s, never has Sam felt so desperate.
Sam isn’t feeling up to talking and he turns on the radio. At one point a band that Jack decides he likes comes on and Sam hands him his phone to search for on Spotify. The kid finds the band and the two sit in the car with the music now coming out of the phone’s speakers, Sam not even caring about the waste of his wifi if it keeps Jack smiling.
They park at another hotel and this time Sam falls asleep before Jack does, the TV playing a cartoon in the background.
They make it to the bunker the next night and Sam hugs his mother and Cas, who both seem to have figured out what happened for themselves.
The family sits quietly that night and as Sam has just finished changing Jack’s bandages again he hears the young boy speak up.
“I’m sorry about Dean. I know he was important to you... Dad.” Jack says, his voice becoming quieter at the end, anxious as if he expects Sam to reject the new name.
Instead Sam just hugs the boy and cries for a million and one different reasons.

And finally he can just breathe.