( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest:http://brothersapart.tumblr.com/post/136391836334/brothers-apart-contest-2016 . Enjoy! )
“When is she gonna wake up?” Ziana asked. The white bandage on Shay’s arm was remarkably cleaner than the improvised scrap of cloth she had worn the past couple days. Ziana’s stomach still churned at the thought of the wound itself, but the fresh wrapping gave her hope that it was on its way to healing.
“Hard to say,” Dean said, standing by the bed and inadvertently towering over the three smaller people.
Ziana tried to not to look directly at him. It had been hard enough to face him while she was on the desk and she could only see his torso. To occupy herself, she set the handmade ice packs on Shay’s stomach for the time being and started to scoop Shay into her arms.
Dean’s voice rumbled through the air again, prompting Ziana to freeze. “Hey, what’re you doing?”
Gathering her nerves, Ziana looked up. He hadn’t grabbed her again since the first time. He had even been rather patient with her hesitation when he had to transport her back to the bed.
Since she had already gotten away with yelling at him, she figured there was no harm in speaking freely. “I’m taking her home,” she answered. “You helped her, and… Thanks for that. But I saw you packing up earlier. Well, I don’t want to be around when the maids show up, so me and her need to be outta here.”
The bedspread had some give under Ziana’s feet, so standing with Shay in her arms nearly made her topple right back over. She would have toppled over, if a certain giant hand didn’t appear at her back to steady her. Ziana almost jumped out of her skin, skittering back and making damn sure that she kept her balance so Dean wouldn’t do that again. Still, she wobbled. It didn’t help that she was exhausted from lack of sleep and all the stress between Shay’s illness. And meeting a human.
Even before Sam opened his mouth, she could tell by the look on his face that he was against her departure plan.
“What if you get back in there and she needs something else?” Sam pointed out. “We can wait for a while, see if she wakes up. Right, Dean?” He looked to his massive older brother, and Ziana couldn’t help but be impressed that a smaller person could possibly call the shots in any way.
“Kinda defeats the purpose of helping out if we don’t know if we really helped,” Dean said.
“Besides,” Sam added before Ziana could protest, “you look like you’re ready to pass out. We won’t make you stay, but you’re welcome to. We can hold off on leaving for a while longer.”
Ziana pursed her lips, ready to turn them down, but when she looked down at Shay’s face, the words died in her throat. After mustering up the courage and going through all the trouble of revealing herself to a human, she needed to go all the way. Needed to make sure that her actions were worth it in the end. That meant taking whatever these strange brothers had to offer in regards to helping Shay.
“Fine,” she muttered, lowering Shay back down to the bed and adjusting her limbs to a comfortable position.
Ziana was vulnerable without her needle, and she had half a mind to ask to go back home just to grab it, but the thought of leaving Shay alone with a giant–even one that wanted to help–was out of the question.
“You should get some rest,” Sam said, walking over and putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You’re safe in here.”
“No thanks,” she snorted, shrugging him off to sit beside Shay stiffly, determined not to sleep.
Neither brother argued with her beyond that. She worried they were going to stay staring at her and Shay until she woke up, but soon enough, they went back to their own business. Whatever that was.
Sam climbed right onto Dean’s hand without hesitation. It didn’t sit right with Ziana at all, a shiver running down her spine. Sure, she had needed to do the same thing to get back to the bed from the table, but at least she had been openly conflicted about it.
Removing her attention from the brothers, she looked back down at Shay and set one wrapped ice pack on her forehead and the other two on either side of her neck. Ziana was certain the ice would melt soon enough, but she supposed she could always ask Dean for more ice and paper towels, even if the thought of getting the giant man’s attention went against every instinct in her body.
Anything to keep Shay comfortable.
Ziana wasn’t sure when she fell asleep. The next thing she knew, she snapped up into a sitting position, praying she had only dozed off for a few moments. She blinked her drowsiness away and immediately became aware that something was wrong.
Shay was gone.
Springing to her feet on the bed, Ziana found the largest and most likely culprit sitting on a chair by the bed and eating from a pile of food in a styrofoam container. He didn’t even notice her stand, but she certainly got his attention when she yelled.
“Where is she?” She stormed closer to the edge of the bed, fists balled up at her sides. “What did you do to her?”
“Ziana, I’m fine!” A familiar voice from somewhere farther down the bed pulled Ziana’s away from what was beginning to look like an exasperated scowl from Dean.
Shay sat a few feet away with Sam, the two of them eating from what appeared to be a helping of whatever was in Dean’s box.
“Shay…” All the air exited Ziana’s lung in one relieved sigh. She rushed over, all but ignoring Sam as she checked on Shay’s condition. Her cheeks were still flushed with fever, but she was sitting up on her own and looking alert. A little wobbly, but awake. “How do you feel?” Ziana asked. “How long have you been awake? Why didn’t you wake me up?”
“I said I’m fine.” Shay sounded almost annoyed, a smile tugging at her lips nonetheless. “I’ve been up for about an hour, and uh… Let’s just say that it was hard to go back to sleep once I saw where I was.” She threw a fairly nervous look at Dean.
Ziana grimaced and nodded. “You’re taking this pretty well,” she said.
Dean chuckled, making both Ziana and Shay tense up. He raised his eyebrows at Ziana. “Well, she practically threw herself on top of you to ‘protect’ you, until Sammy convinced her that you’re the one who brought her here in the first place.”
“Y-Yeah.” Shay caught Ziana’s wrist in a gentle grip and gave it a squeeze. “They told me what you did.”
Ziana laughed in disbelief of herself. “Pretty stupid, huh?”
“Very. Especially after giving Sam a black eye.”
Sam gave a small snort at that, and Ziana turned to give him a once-over. The bruise seemed to be getting a little better, but it would be a while before it was nothing but memory. With Shay awake, Ziana wasn’t sure what got hold of her, but she bowed her head slightly.
“I’m sorry, Sam,” she said with utmost sincerity. “You saved Shay, and the only thing you have from me is a black eye.”
Sam waved off her apology. “Honestly, Dean was more upset about it than I was.”
“Hey, good luck making your own ice packs the next time you get punched out, shorty,” Dean grumbled, eliciting another flinch from Ziana and Shay–something that he didn’t let slip this time. “Oh, come on. You’re not still scared of me, are you?”
“No!” Ziana snapped at the same time that Shay murmured, “Yeah…”
“Guess you’ll be wanting to get back home now that Shay’s awake,” Sam said. “Have some food before you go, at least. It’s leftovers from yesterday, but it’s still good, really. And you can take as much as you want back with you.”
Ziana almost didn’t believe Sam’s generous offer, but he hadn’t given her any reason not to. With some coaxing from Shay, Ziana sat down by the napkin and dug in, trying and failing to ignore the sounds of Dean eating next to the bed. She couldn’t bring herself to mind all that much. Food supplies had been tight without Shay’s help in scavenging, and the offer of fresh hot food was something that even Ziana couldn’t turn down.
She sure was glad she hadn’t skewered Sam with her needle.
(Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it! The entry can be read in full here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/5978541/chapters/13739469 )