Notes: Just a bit of hurt/comfort/angst – I wasn't aiming for a whole lot of substance; I just needed a bit of hurt!Sam. No specific time frame – set sometime during season 2. No spoilers. Writing this was like pulling teeth, so thanks to JustRuth, Catdancer and JenBurch for the push and shove.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural or the characters …
Summary: An injured Sam leads to some down time at Bobby's for the brothers. As frustration and bickering ensues, Dean forgets to look out for the one person he should, Sam.
Title: No Dispute
"Bobby! Can you tell Sam to come down here?" Dean yelled into the next room.
"For crying out loud, what do I look like, your messenger?" Bobby mumbled under his breath.
"Sam?" Bobby called, regretting getting caught up in the current war between the brothers. He needed to put a stop to this – it'd been going on long enough.
Hearing Sam's heavy footsteps come down the stairs, he waited a moment to see what would happen if he didn't intervene. The boys currently weren't talking to each other and without his services he wasn't sure how they were going to communicate.
He watched through the open doorway as the two younger hunters faced off across the kitchen table, both unwilling to make the first move. That would be a sign of acquiescence, and at this stage neither brother seemed prepared to admit defeat.
"Bobby!" Dean hollered.
Bobby rubbed a weary hand across his brow, undecided whether he should answer Dean's call. These two were going to send him to an early grave if they kept this up.
"Bobby!" Dean yelled again.
"Yeah, hold yer horses, I'm coming." Two days, Bobby thought as he trudged into the adjoining room. Only the Winchester boys could prolong a stupid feud for two friggin' days.
One step into the room and his ears were assaulted by demands from both sides.
"Bobby, tell Sam to pull his head outta his ass!"
"Bobby, tell Dean that I'm not gonna take any more of his crap!"
Bobby looked between the two. Could they even hear themselves? He wondered, not being able to get a word in edgeways himself. "For the love of God…" he muttered; turning and walking quickly out of the room, marvelling that John had managed to hold onto his sanity as he raised those two boys.
"Bobby!" Dean yelled after him.
Palming his car keys off the wall hook, he pushed out of the front door, making his way steadily towards his truck. Seeing that Dean was in hot pursuit, he picked up his pace, needing to escape on his own for just a little while. Jumping into the truck, he slammed the door closed and revved the engine.
"Back in a few hours," he yelled out the window on his way past a stunned Dean.
Bobby let out a sigh as he felt the engine purr. The crunch of gravel under the tires was a welcome sound and he felt some of the tension drain away from his body. John's boys had been staying with him for near on two weeks and having them both in the house was starting to rub a few nerves a little raw. He'd issued the invitation for the boys to drop by after Sam had come off second best following a run in with an angry spirit - that had put him in the hospital for a couple of days. The first week had been pretty much smooth sailing, with Sam recuperating and spending much of his time sleeping while Dean hovered around in the background. This second week was proving to be a little harder as Sam was back on his feet and Dean was getting antsy to move on. The boy just couldn't sit still and if the hospital hadn't ordered Sam to rest up for a couple of weeks he was sure that Dean would already have them back on the road.
Things had really come to a head a couple of days back when frayed nerves had manifested into brotherly bickering and petty arguments. How those two had survived this long he wasn't really sure, but he started to maybe grasp why John had been so keen to escape his fatherly duties and head out for a hunt when things got rough.
Dean turned and headed towards the house, seeing his brother standing rigidly on the porch. He lightly brushed shoulders with Sam on his way past to the front door.
"I'm not talking to you," he muttered like a petulant child, just loud enough so that Sam could hear.
"Dean, don't you think…" Sam started.
"Sam, for just once in you life, can you shut the fuck up and not 'think' everything to death. I've had it up to here with your bullshit psychoanalysis of every god damn little thing I do. God, would you just leave me alone for once!" Not waiting to see what Sam would do, he retreated inside; slamming the door closed behind him, effectively shutting his brother out.
Sam stood alone on the front porch of Bobby's house, looking out at the bank of rusting cars and discarded tires through the settling dust from Bobby's hasty departure. Sunlight reflected off discarded car parts and a slight breeze moved through the trees. Everything else was still and silent.
He wasn't just alone – he felt alone. Lonely.
He swallowed the lump in his throat and took a deep breath as Dean's words echoed through his head - 'just leave me alone'.
Shoving his hands deep into his jacket pockets, he walked down the few steps off the porch and into the front yard. With no set destination in mind, he lowered his head and started walking.
Bobby returned mid-afternoon, unsurprised to find the house silent. He had hoped the brothers would have worked out their differences in his absence, but it seemed he wasn't going to be so lucky.
Nursing a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, Dean glanced up when the elder hunter walked in.
"Where's Sam?" Bobby asked.
Dean shrugged his shoulders. "Think he went for a walk after you left."
"Sam?" Bobby yelled through the silent house, concern niggling at him when he didn't get a reply.
Throwing his coat over a chair, Bobby did a quick check of the house, looking for the youngest Winchester. With Sam nowhere to be found, he returned to the kitchen and stood before Dean.
"When did he go?" Bobby asked.
Dean looked up in surprise. "Don't know …what do I look like, his god damn keeper?"
"Which direction he'd head out in then?" Bobby persisted.
Dean thought for a moment. "I – ah. I don't know…"
Bobby clenched his fists in frustration. "God dammit Dean! I told the doc I'd look out for the boy. Please tell me he took his medication before he headed out."
A feeling of dread washed across Dean's skin. Medication?
Sam chose the course of least resistance, walking away from the blinding sun. He might have to walk into the bright rays on his way back, but he'd worry about that later.
His pace was slow, but with nowhere he needed to be and nobody to get back to it didn't matter. That was the crux of the matter he thought, nothing really mattered.
Sam sat down on the rough ground, his back resting against a tree, both arms wrapped around his abdomen. He rocked forward and rested his head against his knees. He knew he'd walked too far, overdone things. Reaching into his pocket, he searched for the pills he'd picked up from the drugstore this morning, hoping they were still there, but then remembered stashing them safely in his duffle after he got back to the house.
He closed his eyes, trying to concentrate on anything except the pain shooting sharp daggers through his upper abdomen.
His stomach lurched and it was all he could do to lean weakly to the side and give in to the heaves. When it was over his body was trembling from exhaustion and he shuffled away from the splatter of vomit on the dry earth. Vomit and blood he noticed with distaste, the coppery taste lingering in his mouth. Wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he rested his head back down on his knees, giving in to his body's demands. He just needed a few minutes rest and then he'd start moving again – back to the house.
"What medication Bobby?" Dean demanded.
"Didn't Sam tell you?" Bobby looked at Dean in confusion. He knew the brother's relationship was a bit tense at the moment, but couldn't imagine Sam keeping something like this from his brother.
"Bobby?" Dean prompted, rising from his seat and pacing restlessly as he waited for Bobby to provide him with the information he needed.
"He said he was gonna tell you after we finished up at the clinic." Bobby spoke his thoughts out loud.
Dean thought back to earlier in the day, remembering that Sam had accompanied Bobby when he went to run a couple or errands in town. They'd disappeared for a couple of hours before returning to the house, after which Sam had joined him in the kitchen, sitting across from him at the table. Sam had barely had the chance to open his mouth before he'd turned his back on him and got up from the table, leaving Sam alone in the room. They hadn't spoken more than a few words since.
"Found Sam passed out round back the day before yesterday. Scared the crap outta me at first. I thought he was… He came to right away and he seemed alright, so I let it go." Bobby pulled his coat back on before continuing. "Then this morning he was heaving his guts up so I dropped him off at the clinic on my way into town. Doc wanted to run a few tests, that's why we were held up so long - had to wait around for Sam to finish up, assure the doc that Sam had someone to drive him home and look after him 'nd all that." Bobby smiled. "Apparently, I've been promoted to the title of 'uncle' to you boys, so the doc was happy enough to let him leave with me."
"He didn't tell me." Dean muttered.
"Why'd you pull Sam outta the hospital so soon if you weren't gonna keep an eye on him?" Bobby questioned, his anger rising.
"That was weeks ago Bobby! God, I thought he was better. I was just giving him a few more days to get his strength back, you know, before we headed out again."
Bobby gave Dean a pointed look. "All I know is that you've been giving the boy hell for daring to breathe the same air as you these last couple of days. I don't know what the problem is…" Bobby held up his hand to stop Dean from interrupting; "…and I don't wanna know! I do know that if you don't sort things out soon Sam's gonna be the one that's gonna pay."
"We need to find him Bobby." Dean walked towards the front door, waiting impatiently for the older man to follow.
Dean let the door swing closed behind them. "Tell me everything that the doc said," he demanded as they headed out into the yard.
Sam woke up with a start, his body stiff and aching from falling asleep in such an awkward position. He arched his back and rotated his neck and shoulders, trying to stretch out the kinks that had rendered his body near inflexible.
Rising slowly to his feet he was forced to lean on the tree trunk for support as the world tilted around him. He knew he was still a little anaemic, but this constant dizziness was getting ridiculous. He was just so sick of feeling weak and not in full control of his body. He understood that it took time to heal from surgery, but the road back to full health couldn't come soon enough as far as he was concerned.
It seemed to be pissing Dean off too, one of the reasons he hadn't told his brother when he'd started feeling worse instead of better. Dean had been forced to put hunting aside for a little while until Sam was completely back on his feet, and he knew Dean was feeling restless and irritated that it was taking so long. With nothing else to focus on, they'd started nitpicking and arguing, which was what had lead to their current situation of not speaking. Yeah, things had escalated completely out of control.
Resting his back against the tree, he gave a small ironic smile, remembering that it was just this morning that he'd promised the doctor to limit his physical activity and take things easy.
He knew he was long overdue for taking his meds, and failing to take them was what had landed him in this predicament in the first place. Taking a deep breath he let go of the supporting tree trunk and hardened himself for the trek back to the house.
It only took five minutes for him to realise that he shouldn't have wandered so far when his anger and frustration got the better of him. It wasn't like today was the first time he and Dean hadn't seen eye to eye. Close quarters and too much time on the road had just exacerbated all the little daily things that they'd usually let go without a thought. It had been too long since they'd taken a real break – one not forced upon them by illness or injury. Too long since they'd taken time out just to have a little fun. Too long since they'd done anything 'normal'.
Maybe it was too long since they'd spent any time apart. Was that what Dean meant, Sam wondered, when he told him to leave him alone? Was he dragging his brother down, robbing him of the shred of normality he had left? He was a freak. Tainted. Dragging his brother along with him to whatever destiny had in store. Dean deserved better.
When he could finally see Bobby's house in the distance he took a moment to lean against a tree to catch his breath, thankful that his destination was now at least in sight. He was almost at the end of his endurance and knew the final stretch was going to be a struggle.
Taking deep breaths he fought to bring his labored breathing under control. Sheer will power kept him from collapsing right where he stood. His stomach churned and his vision wavered, but he remained steadfastly upright, counting each deep breath, in and out.
Bile burned at the back of his throat, but he continued to focus on each breath, in and out.
In and out. In and out.
Saliva pool in his mouth and he spat it out on the ground with distaste.
In and out.
In and out.
He heard his name being called from a distance but didn't respond. Couldn't.
He swallowed convulsively and sunk to his knees on the dry earth. It didn't seem to matter how hard he tried, will power alone could only take him so far and he was losing the battle against his growing nausea. Fighting his body's desire to vomit was instinctive even though he knew he couldn't fight the inevitable. He leant forward and braced a hand on the ground as his abdomen clenched. The acid contents of his stomach surged up his throat, nearly choking him as he struggled to expel the vile liquid. Tears pooled in his eyes as he heaved over and over again until nothing remained. His body turned on itself and he was reduced to dry heaves, having nothing left to give.
What little energy he had now evaporated and he felt boneless, too weary to push himself back to his feet. Instead he crawled away from the mess he'd made and stretched his long legs out in front of him, leaning his back against the tree trunk; head slumped forward on his neck.
He wanted nothing more than to follow doctor's orders – rest sounded like heaven right about now.
He heard the continued sound of Dean and Bobby calling his name from opposite sides of the property. Any other day he'd think that was the sound of concern in his brother's voice, but he knew better. Dean was most likely pissed off that he hadn't returned to the house when he should have. He vaguely wondered if it was his turn to cook tonight or something, unable to think of any other reason Dean would be calling his name. It seemed his brother's anger knew no bounds.
He needed to head back to the house before he made Dean even angrier.
Taking a deep breath he forced his legs to push upwards, needing to keep a hand on the tree to steady himself. The world spun as he stood upright but he ignored the black dots dancing across the edge of his vision.
He just needed to concentrate on taking deep breaths.
In and out.
In and out.
He swayed for a moment as he let go of the support of the tree, but he clenched his teeth in determination as he continued forward, slowly making his way back towards the house.
His foot was on the first step to the porch when Dean came around the side of the house, still calling his name, his voice slightly hoarse.
He stopped, one hand gripping the banister, as Dean advanced on him, inwardly cringing as he watched his brother's approach, anger evident on Dean's face.
"You deaf or something? Think you're too good to answer when I call your name?" Dean tried to reign in his anger at finding Sam creeping back into the house.
"Dean, I --"
"Think me and Bobby got nothing better to do than spend the afternoon looking for your sorry ass?"
"I'm sorry, I --"
"Yeah, well, sorry doesn't cut it Sam."
Sam felt the familiar burning feeling build in the pit of his stomach and knew he had to make a quick exit or he'd end up humiliating himself in front of his brother. It wouldn't be the first time, not by a long shot, but right now it wasn't something he wanted to endure.
"Whatever, Dean." Sam answered offhandedly, determined to hide his current predicament behind his nonchalant tone. Turning his back on his brother he continued up the steps, entering the house as quickly as he could, reaching the downstairs bathroom with relief and locking the door behind him.
With no time to spare he dropped to the floor in front of the toilet and heaved his guts up.
Author's Note: I promise not to prolong this. Chapter 2 + Epilogue will be finalised and posted in a couple of days.
Reviews are love.