Dean woke with a jolt. He was still sitting in his chair. He looked at Sam and understood what had woken him. Sam was thrashing on the bed once more. The dreams that plagued him were back.
Dean reached over and gave Sam a gentle shake. "Sammy, wake up."
"Dean!" Sam gasped.
"Hey, it's okay. It's a dream." Sam nodded and tried to stretch out the kinks but gasped once more when his body reminded him of the abuse it had taken the night before.
"What's wrong? Where does it hurt?" Dean asked.
"Everywhere," Sam replied. He tried to sit up but couldn't.
"What can I do?" Dean asked.
"Help me to the bathroom."
Dean offered Sam a hand to sit up and then wrapped an arm around his back and helped him walk to the bathroom.
"You gonna be okay?"
"Yeah, I can take it from here," Sam answered.
'Thank god for that,' Dean thought as he walked out of the bathroom and closed the door behind him.
In the bathroom Sam relieved himself and then had a seat on the toilet lid to brush his teeth. His whole body hurt worse than he could ever remember. He had settled even sorer over the night and now he felt stiff and achy all over. His back was the worst. Any movement at all and it felt like someone was stabbing him.
He rinsed his mouth out and began the arduous process of walking back to his bed. Dean watched him closely as he made his way out of the bathroom and across their room.
Dean couldn't believe the way Sam looked. All he was wearing was his boxers and his body was black and blue. There was more though. Months of hardly eating was having an effect too. He realized he could see Sam's ribs quite clearly. Sam was six-two. It took a lot of calories to keep someone that tall healthy. The bags under Sam's eyes had bags of their own. This had to stop. If something didn't change and change soon, Sam was going to die. When the time came for him to fight something he wasn't going to have the strength to fight and win.
Hell, isn't that what happened last night? If Dean had arrived even one minute later than he had, his brother would be lying in a morgue right now. The thought sent a shiver down Dean's spine. He would fix this and he would fix it starting today.
Sam laid back on the bed and tried to find a comfortable position. He was miserable and Dean's scrutiny wasn't helping. He closed his eyes and tried to ignore him. He felt blankets being placed on him and he looked up to see Dean covering him.
"Listen, I'm going to go get us some food. You just stay here and rest."
"Just give me a couple of more hours and I'll be ready to go," Sam said.
"Yeah, sure," Dean grinned. Sam wouldn't be going anywhere today. "I'll be back soon."
Dean grabbed his wallet and the room key and stepped out into the blazing sunlight. Luckily they were in a motel just off the freeway so there was a pretty good cluster of businesses right here. Big Boy, Tim Horton's, Applebee's, and Bob Evan's were all in walking distance. That was good, but right now he needed a pharmacy.
He got in the car and drove just down the road and found what he was looking for. He pulled into CVS's parking lot and went inside. He grabbed some Sportsman's cream for Sam's sore muscles, and a bottle on Tylenol PM's. It was time for Sam to get some real sleep, even if that meant drugging his ass. He grabbed some tabloids from the rack so he could do some research while Sam got better, and he also grabbed two books for Sam to read. He had never heard of the books or the authors who wrote them, but they were on a rack that numbered one to twenty and they had one and two over them so they must be good, he figured.
He paid for his purchases after flirting with the checkout girl for a few minutes and then headed across the street to the bank.
Sam laid in his bed. Right now he found himself missing Jess more than ever. He remembered fondly last winter. He had come down with the flu something awful. Jess had ordered him to bed and spent the next two days spoiling him rotten. She had made him chicken soup and breakfast. She spent the day watching movies with him to keep him company. Then in the evenings she would read to him from his textbooks so he wouldn't fall behind in his studies. Tears fell down his face as he thought of her.
No one had ever cared for him like that. He'd never had a mother, his father was too busy, and Dean…well, Dean had taken care of him, it was true, but Dean had been just a kid himself until he got to be a teenager. Dean was six years older than Sam and he knew that with Dad so busy and focused on finding their mom's murderer, the job of raising him had fallen to Dean.
Still, things were different between him and Dean right now. They weren't kids anymore. If what that thing had said was true, then Dean resented him more than anything right now. Sam never realized that when he decided to go to college he was hurting his family so much. Dean was strong, Dean was fearless, Dean didn't need anything or anyone, or so he had always believed. God life was such a mess right now.
Dean pulled out one of his credit cards and walked up to the ATM machine. He knew this would be a one time use card and instead of using it at a restaurant he decided to get as much money out of it as he could.
The limit on the ATM was $400.00 so he pulled the entire $400. That should give them enough money to eat and pay for the room for the next few days.
Now it was time to get Sam a healthy breakfast. No greasy burgers today. He drove back and pulled in to Bob Evans. He ordered two coffees, two orange juices, two breakfasts with eggs, hashbrowns, and bacon, a fruit platter, two blueberry muffins, and two cinnamon rolls all to go. The waitress raised her eyes at the amount of food he was ordering, but he figured this would take care of breakfast and lunch. This way he would only have to go out and buy dinner tonight.
Sam heard the key in the door and quickly wiped at the tears on his face. He closed his eyes against the bright light that entered the room.
Dean set all of the food down on the little table that was in their room. He looked at Sam and saw the red nose and blood shot eyes. He knew Sam had been crying but he didn't comment on it. Sam had always been the sensitive one.
"I hope you're hungry," Dean said. "I managed to get us some honest to god good food. No greasy burgers or stale coffee today." Sam didn't reply but Dean just carried on. He opened up the containers and laid out everything nice and neat on the table.
Sam had to admit the food smelled good, really good. It had been twenty four hours since he had eaten anything and his stomach rumbled loudly. He struggled to stand up and Dean hurried over and pulled him up, keeping the sheet wrapped around him so he wouldn't get cold. Sam hobbled over to the table and sat down.
"Wow, where did this come from?"
"Bob Evans," Dean replied proudly. "For once we landed in a motel surrounded by good food instead of being in some shit town with only one dirty dinner in the whole place."
Dean sat down opposite Sam and the two ate in silence for a few minutes. Dean practically wolfed his food down but Sam ate more slowly. Dean guessed it was because it hurt to swallow.
"Hmm, the coffee feels good," Sam said. The heat was so good on his raw throat.
"I'll be sure to get you more later. I also have muffins and rolls for us later, and some orange juice. Speaking of which, I need to go to the ice machine and get a bucket of ice to put the juice in."
"Why did you get so much food?" Sam asked. He thought they would be on the road in a little while.
"Because we need to eat, especially you. If you get any skinnier I'm going to change your nickname from Sammy to Twiggy."
"Ha, ha," Sam retorted. "There's nothing wrong with me. I'm fine."
"Sure you are," Dean mumbled, earning him a look from Sam.
"So when are we leaving?" Sam asked, trying to change the subject.
"I figure in about two or three days," Dean replied.
"What? Why?" Sam knew once a job was done Dean couldn't wait to get back on the road.
"We're not leaving this room until you've had a chance to recover and get some of your strength back," Dean said bluntly. "You look like you've been hit by a truck."
"I'll be fine," Sam said. "I can rest in the car."
"No, and that's my final decision."
"Your final decision? Who made you boss?" Sam asked, getting defensive.
"The fact that I'm the one using some common sense makes me boss," Dean said. "You can barely walk, you have several head injuries, you haven't had a real night's sleep in months, and you're slowly starving yourself to death!" Dean's voice was raising with every fact he dished out.
"Now wait a minute…"
"No! You wait a minute," Dean interrupted. "I had no control over saving mom's life. I had no control over Dad disappearing, but I'll be damned if I'm going to stand quietly by and watch the last member of my family slowly fade away to nothing! I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU DIE!" Dean jumped up from the table and started pacing the room in an attempt to calm himself before he really lost control.
Sam sat there dumbfounded and watched Dean's emotions and fears play out across his face. He no longer had to wonder if the things the shape shifter had told him were true or not. He knew now for a fact that Dean was afraid of ending up alone, and he had been adding to those worries.
"I don't want to die," Sam said softly.
"What?" Dean snapped.
"I said I don't want to die. I kind of realized that last night while that thing was getting ready to slice and dice me."
"Good!" Dean replied. "Now finish your breakfast. I'm going to run you a bath so you can soak your back for a while."
Sam just nodded and picked up his fork. Dean headed for the bathroom and shut the door. He turned on the tap for the tub and had a seat on the toilet.
"Calm down, Dean," he told himself. He drew several shaky breaths and ran a hand through his hair. "Well, that was definitely a chick flick moment. Shit!" He hated losing control but if it got Sammy to listen to him maybe one chick flick moment wasn't that bad.
Sam finished his food and drank the last of his coffee. Dean's angry outburst had shocked him at first, but then it made him realize something. Dean wouldn't have reacted that way if he didn't love him. Yes, Dean resented Sam when he left, but he was back now. They were together again and Dean was letting go of his resentment towards him.
Dean stepped out of the bathroom looking much calmer than he had when he went it. He looked at Sam's food carton and was visibly pleased to see it empty.
"The tub's full."
"Thanks." Sam stood up carefully and held on to the table until his legs were steady enough to hold him up. He walked gingerly towards the bathroom.
Dean made a point of letting Sam walk by himself but he was watching closely and was ready to help if needed. Sam would fight him if he thought he was being coddled.
In the bathroom Sam dropped his sheet and slipped out of his boxers. He stepped into the hot water and held on to the sides of the tub to lower him self down without causing too much pain. The water felt so good. He laid in the tub for almost half an hour and was about to fall asleep when Dean knocked on the door to check on him.
Sam got out of the tub and dried off. He was feeling more limber and his muscles hurt a lot less. He slipped back into his boxers and grabbed the sheet once more. He was feeling really relaxed.
"Well it's about time you came out of there," Dean teased.
"Sorry," Sam said with a yawn.
'Perfect,' Dean thought. "Lay down on your stomach. I have some medicine to rub into your back.
Sam flopped onto the bed and let Dean rub the Sportsman cream into his back and shoulders. Dean spent a little extra time working out any left over stiffness and Sam was almost asleep by the time Dean finished.
Without a moment to lose, Dean grabbed the bottle of Tylenol PM's and popped four of them into his hand. He already had a glass of water on the table.
"Say aaa," Dean ordered.
Sam didn't even open his eyes. He just opened his mouth and accepted the cup of water to wash the pills down.
"Sleep well," Dean said.
"I doubt it, but thanks," Sam mumbled into his pillow. He curled up under the covers and was out in a matter of seconds.
That night Dean ended up having dinner alone as Sam slept the entire afternoon and evening away. Dean watched television and read through the tabloids looking for any strange stories that might be up their alley.
Sam continued to sleep all through the night without so much as a whimper which let Dean sleep through the entire night as well.
The next morning Dean woke up first. He was shocked at how long Sam had been asleep, but he understood that this was his body's way of catching up on what it had lost.
He cleaned up and crossed the street to buy breakfast once again. Today he didn't buy so much since not all of the food from yesterday got eaten. When he got back to the room he opened the door and a stream of light landed right across Sam's face. His eyes began to flutter.
Dean closed the door and set the bags of food back on the table. Sam sat up in the bed and looked slightly confused.
"Didn't we just have breakfast?" he asked.
"That was yesterday," Dean told him.
"What? How long have I been asleep?"
"Umm, about twenty hours."
"What!" Sam exclaimed.
"Yeah, you must have been more tired than you thought. After your bath and rub down yesterday you were out like a rock and never even stirred."
Dean prayed that Sam wouldn't ask him about the pills. Even though he had nothing but good intentions he doubted Sam would appreciate being drugged.
"Wow. I can't believe I slept that long," Sam muttered.
"How do you feel?" Dean asked.
Sam stretched out his back and tested his limbs. "I'm sore, but I'll live. We should be able to leave today. I just want to say good-bye to Becky before we leave."
"We're not leaving today," Dean told him.
"Why? We can't stay here forever. We have to find Dad."
"I know," Sam said and started to think of an excuse of why they should stay put. "But, uh, well, my face is all over the TV. If we leave I might get recognized. We should probably just hang out here another day or two and let things settle down."
"Has anyone recognized you yet? I mean, when you went for food?"
"No, but I'd rather not take any chances. Out on the road with all those state cops, and let's face it, my car is pretty hard not to notice. I'm supposed to be dead after all."
"I guess you're right," Sam said.
"Of course I'm right," Dean said. "I'm always right. Now come and eat. You have to be starving."
"Actually, I am," Sam agreed. He sat up in bed easily enough and pulled on his jeans which were lying in the floor.
Once more Dean laid out all the food. Today was pancakes with sausages, ham, and bacon, along with the much coveted hot coffee.
"Hmm, this looks awesome," Sam said and dug in ravenously. He wasn't buying Dean's excuse for not leaving. He knew the reason they were staying another day was because Dean wanted to make sure he was fully recovered before they left. A couple of days ago that knowledge would have made him furious, he would have felt like a burden, but today he found it oddly comforting. He would beat this depression that had laid claim to him.
Maybe he was powerless to stop the nightmares, but he could stop taking his anger out on Dean. Not to mention the sleeping pills Dean slipped him did a fantastic job of keeping the dreams at bay. Yeah, he knew what Dean did, but he wouldn't call him on it. Not until tonight, when he would actually ask for a couple. He couldn't wait to see the look on Dean's face when he asked Dean to pass him two sleeping pills! It would be priceless.
As Dean watched Sam stuff his face and saw that for the first time in months there weren't any bags under Sam's eyes, he started to have real hope that everything would be okay. Sam, his baby brother, was going to be okay. He was still covered in bruises but those would fade in time.
Tomorrow they would leave this place and continue to hunt, and to search for their father. But it could wait for tomorrow.