Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester
Word count: 1024
Summary: "It's been two days since they left San Francisco, both keen to leave that mess behind as soon as possible. Dean knew they needed a break after that, some time off to regroup, but Sam was full of restless energy and kept insisting on finding another hunt." In which Sam's coping skills could use some work and Dean tries to help. Tag to 2x17 Heart.
Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine.
A/N: I'm back with what it seems you all want - another SPN story. Although I'm probably (definitely) not done with writing angsty Once Upon A Time fics yet lol This story has been sitting in my "unfinished" folder for quite a while but it only needed a little bit written on the end and a quick edit to be considered done. Hope you enjoy!
I've Got You, Brother
"Want a coffee or something?"
Dean looks expectantly over at his brother, in time to see Sam's face crinkle in mild disgust at the thought of cheap gas station coffee, because Sam likes his coffee with so much sugary crap in it that it barely tastes like coffee anymore. If you don't like the taste of coffee, why drink it at all? Dean thinks.
"Sure," Sam says despite his face saying an obvious no.
Several minutes later, Dean's waiting beside the Impala holding two Styrofoam cups of slightly burnt coffee as Sam returns from the bathroom. Sam takes the offered cup and takes a sip, grimacing at the taste.
"Good coffee?" Dean asks with a smirk.
He has both hands wrapped around his coffee now, trying to warm up a little. The mid-afternoon air has a bite to it, despite the sun shining brightly.
"Yeah, it's fine," Sam replies, and he sounds distracted, his gaze distant.
Dean allows his own thoughts to wander. It's been two days since they left San Francisco, both keen to leave that mess behind as soon as possible. Dean knew they needed a break after that, some time off to regroup, but Sam was full of restless energy and kept insisting on finding another hunt. But until he found one, the road was all that kept them going. It's then that Dean notices Sam's breathing has changed, like he's taking deep breaths on purpose. He's got one hand on the roof of the Impala like he's trying to balance himself.
"Sam? You okay?"
Sam slowly turns his head towards Dean.
"I'm a little dizzy," he admits, and that's all Dean needs to start worrying.
He's running through a mental list of possible causes as he reaches out to steady his brother, putting his coffee down on the roof on the Impala. Sam's gone pale and when Dean grabs his shoulder, he can feel him trembling.
"Alright, take it easy, Sammy. You wanna sit down?"
It's more of a collapse than any sort of controlled movement that gets Sam sitting down in the gravel, his back against the Impala. His cup of coffee spills unheeded onto the ground.
"I'll take that as a yes," Dean says.
He puts his hand against Sam's forehead to check for a fever, but there's no heat there.
"Are you hurting anywhere? No? Just dizzy?"
Sam nods, but his repetitive swallowing gives away the nausea he's experiencing without him having to mention it.
"What'd you eat today, Sammy?"
"Uh... I don't know. N-nothing, I guess?"
Crap, how had Dean not noticed that? Dean had been subsisting on jerky and potato chips but now that he thinks about it, it's been a while since they actually had a decent meal. And with Sam's obsession with healthy food, he hadn't been interested in sharing Dean's road trip snacks. Dean mentally kicks himself.
"Okay, your blood sugar is probably low. Hang on a second."
He grabs a chocolate bar from the glovebox and a water bottle from the back seat, and crouches next to Sam again. Sam eyes the offered snack dubiously.
"How long has that been in there?"
"Just eat it, Sam," Dean says firmly, putting on his "I'm older so I know best" voice.
It works. Sam accepts the chocolate. Dean lets him finish and follow it up with some water before he speaks again.
"Why are you doing this to yourself?"
Immediately Sam's in avoidance mode, his eyes darting away.
"What are you talking about?" he asks.
"Don't pretend you don't know," Dean hears his voice getting hard and he makes an effort to tone it down, "You keep saying you're fine, you're good, but now you're passing out from not eating?"
"I didn't pass out," Sam says, a little sullenly.
"Close enough," Dean mutters as Sam scrambles to his feet.
Sam sways a little, but he pushes Dean's hands away when he tries to brace him.
"Stop lying to me, man," Dean continues, "Look, I know what happened back there was rough. And I know you don't want to talk about it but you can't carry on like this. You're gonna run yourself into the ground."
Sam turns away.
"And don't give me that crap about being fine because it's obvious you're not."
"Okay!" Sam explodes, swinging around again, "So I'm not fine. I'm a mess, is that what you want me to say?"
"No, Sammy, that's not-"
"I just thought that I'd... that I'd found something good again, okay? Something that... You know, after Je-"
Sam's voice cracks on her name and he takes a sharp breath. His anger has abated as quickly as it came. Dean can see the tears building in his eyes.
"But you know what, I was wrong. I was stupid, and I couldn't see what was right in front of me. And now I've lost... I've lost..."
Sam takes another shuddering breath and swallows hard.
"Sammy, I'm sorry," Dean says softly.
"I can't do anything, Dean," Sam's voice is barely a whisper, "Every time I close my eyes, I can see them. Sometimes it's J-jess, and sometimes... Madison. I can't..."
He trails off, breathing shakily, not meeting Dean's eyes as he tries to pull himself together and Dean's teeth clench in anger. Because when Sam breaks down in tears, Dean seethes with mostly silent rage. Why can't things just go right for once? Don't we deserve a break? If not for Dean, then at least for his little brother. But he pushes those feelings down for now and pulls Sam in for a hug.
"I know, man. But you don't have to deal with this on your own. I'm right here."
"I thought you didn't like chick-flick moments."
Dean lets his brother go and sees a tiny smile lifting the corners of Sam's mouth, although it doesn't reach his eyes. But it's a start and Dean will take whatever he can get at this point. He gives his brother's shoulder a gentle shove, letting the moment go.
"Whatever. Let's find a place to get some of that rabbit food you like so much, okay?"