A week after Sam talked to Dean in the junkyard...
Dean steps into Bobby's kitchen from the outside to get something to drink, relieved that Sam is nowhere in sight. They've both been avoiding each other and Dean is grateful for the reprieve.
It's late morning and Bobby is in the kitchen. He pours Dean a cup of coffee from the stained carafe perched on the avocado colored counter. The coffee has a lot of bite to it but it's just what Dean needs to clear his head. As he glances around the kitchen Dean thinks it's past time that Bobby updated the 70's decorating scheme (avocado green?!) but beggars can't be choosers and Bobby is providing them with a place to stay, free of charge. And a place to put the Impala back together.
"I need to run into town for some stuff," Bobby rasped. He doesn't talk overly much and at times his voice sounds as though it's forgotten how to work. "Are you going to stick around the house for a while?"
"I was going to go back out and work on the Impala but if you need some help I'm sure Sam would be happy to oblige," Dean stated. Sam wasn't useful with the car and Dean couldn't stand to have him and his guilty conscience around while he was working on the car so Sam had taken to helping Bobby with the household chores. But Dean had the feeling that he was missing something in the conversation because Bobby had a strange look on his face.
"It's none of my business, but you two seem a little out of synch. Is everything okay between you two blockheads?" Bobby drawled softly.
"You're right, it's none of your business. But so you don't get your panties in a twist I'll tell you -- we're doing just fine," Dean said with a note of finality. He couldn't understand where Bobby was coming from. Up until now Bobby had left him in peace and that was something Dean really appreciated. Why was everyone trying to stick their nose in his business?
"I think there's something wrong with Sam," Bobby spit out. "I've been watching him and I think he was hurt a lot worse in that crash then he's letting on. Your brother's upstairs trying to shake a headache or something right now. I'm not sure he should be left alone"
"You've got to be kidding me. They didn't even admit him at the hospital. He practically walked away from that crash without a scratch. And besides, as Sam is so fond of telling me, he's a big boy and can take care of himself," Dean barked out. He dragged his hand slowly through his hair and over his face. This whole situation just keeps getting better and better he thought to himself.
"How would you know? You were on life support and Sam didn't know if you were going to make it. Your dad was unconscious. Sam signed himself out. What's that fancy term? Against Medical Advice. He said he was the only one in any shape to protect you even though he could barely hold himself upright. But you're right, it's none of my business. I'm going into town and I'll be back later this afternoon." For the taciturn Bobby that was pretty much a speech. And with that Bobby banged out of the house.
Dean gulps a mouthful of coffee, thinking about how he knows he hurt Sam by telling him his efforts were too little, too late but he just can't deal with Sammy and his Drama. He doesn't have the energy for it. He just wants to get through the day. Is that too much to ask? But Sammy's got to drag every emotion, every nuance, practically every thought he's ever had out into the open and bludgeon it to death. He's just not going to be happy until everyone within a 60 mile radius is dragged down, too. But Sam's physically fine. Isn't he? Isn't he?
Dean rinses his cup in the sink and drags himself back outside to the car. Things had really been coming together before Sam's little confession the other day. That little temper tantrum had set the repairs back on the car by a day or two. "What a bitch! I don't even know if I'm talking about the state of the car of Sam. And now I'm talking to myself. That's just great." Dean began to hammer out the damage to the trunk. He tried not to dwell on what Bobby had said to him but his mind kept drifting back to Sam.
Sam seemed unable to focus since their dad died. Considering he was grieving for his father that didn't seem like unreasonable behavior. No more unreasonable than Dean's anger and desire to place blame on anyone's shoulders. Anything to ease the guilt. Even if that meant taking it out on Sam. Sam just needs to give him some space. He didn't even want to think about what his dad had told him, whispered to him, before he abandoned Dean and Sam. Abandoned. Wow, where had that come from? Just focus on the car. I can't deal with this now.
As Dean continued pounding out the dents in the car, he found himself cataloguing Sam's visible injuries. It had been more than two weeks since Dean was released from the hospital and Sam still sported a shiner under his right eye. It was fading but it really shouldn't be taking so long, should it? And sometimes he caught Sam rubbing his chest and stomach. It was usually out of the corner of Dean's eye that he saw this because as soon as Dean would turn his head Sam would stop. What's up with that? And sometimes when Sam stood up it seemed as though he might be dizzy, seeking his equilibrium. But he wasn't complaining about it and Sammy could always be counted on to complain. Unless it was something serious. Maybe something was going on with Sammy and it had slipped under his radar.
"Screw this." Dean slams down the Impala's trunk and stalks into Bobby's house. Once inside he stomps up the stairs to the den that Sam has been using as a bedroom. "Sammy, get your ass out of bed. Now." Dean stands outside of the room listening. He can't hear anything. He raps on the door with the knuckles on his right hand. "Sammy, I'm not kidding. I'm coming in so you'd better be decent." Dean pounds on the door with his fist. "That's it, I'm coming in."
Dean turns the door handle and is relieved that the door isn't locked. The blinds are drawn so it takes a moment for Dean's eyes to adjust to the low lighting. Sam is sprawled on his back, draped across the ratty, brown leather couch pushed up against the window. His left leg is bent at the knee with the foot sitting on the floor and the right leg is hanging over the end of the couch. He really is too big for the couch. But Dean remembers that Sam insisted that he, Dean, take the bed in the spare bedroom since he was recovering from such serious injuries. Sam's left arm is lying next to his body and his right arm is lying protectively over his stomach. His face is obscured with his head turned so that he's facing the back of the couch.
"Okay Sammy, quit screwing around. It's time to wake up." Sam doesn't even twitch. Before, when they were kids, and before Jessica's death, Sam was a sound sleeper. But he always woke up when someone was in his personal space. Lately Sam startles awake easily. Too easily.
Dean kneels down next to the couch and grasps Sam's left forearm with both hands. Still no response from Sam. Dean, starting to feel anxious, grabs Sam around each biceps and lifts him up so that's he's partially sitting. But Dean notices that instead of opening his eyes Sam's head tips back. Dean gives Sam a sharp shake. And again. "Sam! Sammy!" No change. Sam's head wobbles up and down, back and forth, but he doesn't wake up. Dean lays Sam back down slowly and brushes the hair from his face. His head is now tilted to the left at an awkward angle.
Dean tilts Sam's head back and notes his airway is unobstructed. Dean reaches his middle and index fingers on his right hand out and gently touches Sam's pulse on his left wrist. "Okay, good. You've got a pulse. But it's fast. What's going on, kiddo? Why won't you wake up for me?" Dean's hand gently holds Sam's wrist while contemplating his next move.
It's then that Dean notices how slim Sam's wrist is in his gentle grasp. He can practically fit his thumb and middle finger around the wrist. Sam has really dropped the weight in the last year. For some reason Dean turns his head to the right and sees two prescription bottles sitting on the rickety table next to the couch.
"What do we have here? Vicodin and Ambien. Pain killer and sleeping pill. What in the hell is going on here?!"
Dean hears an intake of breath and turns back to Sam whose eyelids are beginning to flutter. Dean holds Sam's left hand between his two hands, slowly chafing it. "Come on sleeping beauty. I'm waiting for a sign here." Sam's eyes slowly open but they're fixed straight ahead. Seeing yet not really seeing. "They're coming," Sam whispers.
"Sammy, what's going on, dude. You need to snap out of it and tell me what's going on with you." Dean is trying to be patient but the situation is wearing on him.
Sam slowly turns his head to the left and looks at Dean. But it's almost as if Sam is looking through Dean. Dean can see that Sam's pupils are blown. Sam suddenly jerks upright, thrusting his feet on the floor. Dean quickly puts his right arm behind Sam's back, before Sam can fall over again. Sam is dazed and continues blinking slowing. "We need to hide. They're coming." Sam is shaking his head from side to side and Dean can see that he's becoming agitated.
"Sammy, I'm right here. You're scaring me. How many of these feel good pills did you take?" At that moment it occurs to Dean that Sam may be having a vision. In the past Sam hasn't talked while having a vision but maybe that's changed.
Dean sits down next to Sam, his arm still around Sam's shoulder. He can feel Sam shaking. Sam shifts away from Dean and turns to face him. Sam's big brown eyes continue to slowly blink and he roughly swallows. "It's too late. They're here," Sam sighs softly. His eyes roll back into his head and he slumps forward into Dean's arms. Dean cradles him softly in his arms.
"Shhh, Sammy, it's going to be okay." Dean slowly rocks Sam back and forth. "I told you nothing bad was going to happen to you and I meant it. I'll make it better. Just as soon as I figure out what's happening here." Dean tucks Sam's head under his chin and continues to rock him.
Dean has pulled a stool up next to the couch and is sitting there waiting for Sam to wake up. As Sam's eyelids begin to flutter again Dean sighs, "It's about freakin time, dude."
"Dean, what's going on? What are you doing in here?" Sam is confused but at least coherent. He sits up under his own steam with his right arm still lying over his stomach.
"You decided to trip out on some nice drugs and I've been waiting for you to snap out of it. Did you take these drugs together? Have you lost your mind?! Why didn't you tell me you were taking meds?!! I though we weren't keeping secrets from each other?!!! Dean's voice raised up a notch with each sentence until he was screaming at Sam.
"What are you talking about? I didn't take any pills. I haven't taken anything since you got out of the hospital. I was so tired I must have just crashed. But that doesn't explain what you're doing in here." Sam quietly murmured, "I wasn't even awake. How could I have pissed you off this time?"
Sam's bangs are hanging in his eyes and Dean reaches forward to sweep them out of the way. He needs to see that Sam is okay and Sam's eyes truly are the windows to his soul. Unfortunately Sam flinches away from Dean's hand. "I just want to make sure you're okay, freak. Let me look at your pupils." Dean is hurt that Sam thinks he would harm him and his tone of voice comes out all wrong. He sounds much too aggressive.
"I'm fine Dean. I've been respecting your privacy. It would be nice if you did the same for me." Sam delivered these words without heat. In fact they came out flat. And Sam still wouldn't meet Dean's eyes.
"You know what? Fine. You've got your privacy. But the Impala is almost ready to roll and I expect you to get your act together so you can watch my back. Do you think you're up to that task Sammy?" Dean shrugged at the hostility in his own voice.
"We're leaving here already?" Sam said with the first hint of vulnerability he'd shown since waking to find Dean up in his face. "I thought we could use Bobby's as a home base for a while. I thought things were working out well here."
"Well you thought wrong. We should be ready to leave in a few days so you'd best pull your head out of your ass," Dean snarled before stomping out of the room. Dean yanked the door shut behind him with a bang.
Dean thought about what had just transpired. He had been so overcome with anger at Sam that he never even asked about Sam's vision. Sam seemed fine so Dean would just concentrate on meeting his deadline so they could get the hell away from Bobby and his prying eyes.
Sam was in the upstairs bathroom splashing water on his face. Dean had finished working on the Impala and already had a gig lined up. A vampire nest needed their personal attention. "They're here." Sam whirled around. Who said that? Sometimes Sam felt like he was losing his mind. He kept hearing that phrase over and over. Sam couldn't talk to Dean about this because lately Dean seemed upset with him. Sam had always depended on Dean to keep him safe and grounded. Apparently Dean didn't want that job anymore and it was time Sam learned to, as Dean had so colorfully put it, pull his head out of his ass.
Dean leaned on the horn. "Come on Sam. Get the lead out. We've got places to go, people to see, yada, yada, yada." Dean was eager to resume the hunt. His black beauty was road ready. Sam had been leaving him alone. No attempted heart to heart talks. No staring. No sighing. Lady luck seemed to once again be shining down on him.
Sam walked down the stairs and out the front door. He stopped in front of Bobby but seemed loath to stay goodbye. "You know Sam, you've always got a place to stay here whenever you need a break." Bobby tried to catch Sam's eye but Sam was staring into the distance. "I don't understand what the rush is but if you're going with Dean you'd better make tracks."
"Thanks for everything, Bobby," Sam said quietly.
Everything about Sam seemed toned down lately. He still talked but he didn't initiate conversations. Before he always wanted to know why something had to be done a certain way. He had a scholarly inquisitiveness that was by turns endearing and irritating. But for the last couple of days he seemed to be accepting of things. Unwilling to argue or lacking the energy to do so.
In contrast Dean seemed restless and angry. Bobby didn't hold with the way Dean had been treating Sam. Almost as if he was a second class citizen or the village idiot. But Sam wasn't doing or saying anything to change things. And everyone knew how close Dean had been to his father so if anyone deserved a little slack now it was Dean. As nice as it had been to have the young men around for company it would be nice to get things back to normal. He just wondered if Dean and Sam would ever find their normal again.