Sam could feel the jitteriness in his chest, the vibrations zipping down his arms and causing his hands to shake. Four-hour drives had never seemed so slow, so long, so frustrating. It felt so incredibly lax that he was tempted to go through their extra phones or shuffle papers for a third time just to be doing something. They couldn't have arrived at the gas station soon enough.
"I'll grab snacks," he said before Dean had let his foot off the brake. A cool wind howled past the door as he kicked it open, drowning out his older brother's question and odd look. If he was quick, he could buy everything and still have a few minutes behind the building without catching Dean's notice. He just needed two minutes, not even. 120 seconds to relax again.
Water bottles, energy drinks, whatever kind of dessert caught his eye. Sam threw it all into his arms and dumped it on the empty counter, a feeling of uncleanliness settling on his shoulders. He hated that small cardboard box. Hated how it fantasized in his death and his hands shook in almost gleeful anticipation while it was rung up. He didn't want to do it, but do it he did. He snuck all the way past Dean, where his brother watched the gas pump slowly refuel the Impala, and into the back parking lot area. This was the type of place where employees parked and trash like him went to hide—as if they could pretend they weren't doing anything if no one was there to see.
He wasn't sure why it made him feel so awful, or why he reacted so strongly every single time he flicked on the lighter. It was almost like a connection to demonkind, no matter how absurd that may seem. The bad habit had started with Meg, and now after being a few weeks in, he just couldn't stop. He breathed in through his mouth, tasting the awful smoke past the relief flooding through him. Having waited for so long, it felt really, really nice. There was no other way it could be described. For a moment, the thought entered his mind that breaking this habit couldn't possibly be worth it. After all, other people weren't being hurt… and his nerves absolutely lit up in hyperactive joy whenever he inhaled.
He drew in a sudden, deep breath as Dean rounded the corner. His eyes instantly swelled up while he choked out the smoke in coughing bursts.
"Sam, are you—are you smoking?" The cigarette was ripped from his grasp and stomped out before he'd even had time to find a proper breathing pattern again. "I can't take a swig of whiskey once in a while but you can light 'em up like a chimney, huh? Is that how it's gonna be?"
Dean's was a face of pure brotherly rage, from the way his eyes lit up to how he squared his shoulders. Obviously the only defence to this was by letting his eyes glaze over in innocence. "Woah, Dean, calm down!"
"Calm down? You've blown through three packs in two days! How can you even find the time to smoke all that?"
He burrowed his hands deep into his pockets. "I haven't used that many."
Dean ground his teeth together and stepped closer. At this distance, the smell of smoke had to be wafting off him like junk food at a carnival. "Admit it, Sam." A couple of receipts were shoved into his face. "You're addicted! I can't believe I'm saying this. How long have you been smoking?"
Dean spoke of smoking as if it was very different from his older brother's drinking proclivity. "A few weeks now."
"A few…" Dean cursed him and turned around, rubbing at his chin. "What the actual fuck, man? Smoking?"
"Look, I tried to forget about it, but I'd smoked an entire pack to kick it off. I couldn't stop thinking about it, it was just nagging at me like an itch I couldn't scratch." Dean's infuriated glare called for a bit more reassurance. "I'll quit it, okay? I was just stressing out, and they were on the counter."
"Meg," Dean whispered at first. Then he grew louder. "That goddamn bitch!"
Sam had to drag Dean back into the Impala as he progressively grew more pissed.
"I'm gonna murder her."
"I know, Dean."
"I'm gonna use one of those fucking bullets on her."
They both slammed the Impala's doors at the same moment.
"I'm going to—"
"Jesus, Dean!" He threw up his hands and tried not to notice all of the stares they were receiving. "I'm still kicking, aren't I? I understand you're pissed, but we're supposed to be getting to a case."
Dean put out his hand.
There passed a moment of silence in which Sam had no idea what his older brother was waiting for.
"The cigarette packet, dammit!"
As soon as he'd handed it over, it went flying out the driver's side window. The lighter too. Then, Dean cranked up the radio volume and let the Impala roar off down the road.
Sam would never end up smoking again.