A/N This is a story inspired by my Mum's birthday today. She never saw SN but I think she would have liked it, and I hope she would have enjoyed this.
Chapter six of Giving Thanks will be up soon by the way, for anyone who is waiting...
The voice slowly filtered through his consciousness, sounding slightly fuzzy and far away. He wished it would shut up, since he was perfectly comfortable where he was just drifting along aimlessly.
"Dean, come on, man – open your eyes."
Unfortunately it seemed like the voice had other ideas.
There was a pleading edge to the voice now, a certain tone of impending hysteria. Dean tried to focus on it, to concentrate, sure it was important. Who did the voice belong to?
Right, Sam. Of course. He'd know his brother's voice anywhere, especially that I'm-about-to-have-a-full-on-meltdown tone that he now recognised. He tried to remember why Sam would be in such a state and then it came back to him.
The old house.
The ominous creaking noise just before the floor disappeared from underneath them.
Sam moved closer having heard the mumbled curse, his gaze fixed on his brother's face for any sign of movement. Dean's eyelids fluttered for a moment before finally opening, blinking rapidly. Sam felt the most ridiculous grin light up his face and didn't care. Right now he could have done a happy dance.
If he had enough room.
Having conquored the mammoth task of opening his eyes, which come to think of it he hadn't remembered being that difficult, Dean tried to sit up.
Which was a big mistake.
"Son of a bitch!"
The pain radiated out from his middle, feeling like a million knives being jabbed into him at once.
And jiggled around for good measure.
He felt Sam's hand on his shoulder, gripping tightly.
"Don't try to move, Dean." he said and Dean managed to turn his head enough to attempt a glare.
"Ya think? You might have mentioned that first, Sam." he got out, through gritted teeth, and Sam looked guilty.
"I'm sorry.." he began but Dean cut him off.
"Forget it, I didn't mean it." he said, and Sam looked grateful. Although no less guilty.
Now his vision was starting to come back Dean looked around – with as little movement as possible – realising they were back on the ground floor, having taken the somewhat quicker route down. He assessed Sam with a glance, noting the dried blood on the side of his face and the way he was holding his right arm slightly awkwardly against his body. Other than that he seemed to be in one piece and Dean turned his attention to himself, looking down and realising why it had hurt so much to move before.
"Well that's just perfect."
Lying right across his middle, effectively cutting him in half almost, was a heavy wooden beam. It was pinning him to the floor like a bug and now Dean was aware of it he suddenly felt the pressure it was putting on him. He fought the urge to panic, forcing himself to take regular breaths and not freak out since that would definitely not help the situation.
"I've tried to move it but it's too heavy." said Sam quietly, and Dean looked at him.
"Plus you've only got one arm." he said and Sam's eyes widened in surprise.
"How did you..?"
Dean just smirked.
"Because I'm that good. Is it broken?"
Sam shook his head.
"I don't think so. I can't grip anything with my hand properly though or move my shoulder much."
He figured he might as well tell Dean everything now, since he'd only keep on at him until he did.
"What about you? Can you feel anything?" he said anxiously and Dean grimaced.
Sam was relieved, not that his brother was in pain but that he could at least feel something. He was hoping it was a sign the beam hadn't done too much damage.
"What about your legs?" he said and Dean concentrated before letting out a hissing breath and paling slightly.
"I can move them, but I don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon." he managed and Sam winced in sympathy.
"Well, at least you can move them. That's something, right?"
"Oh yeah, I'm thrilled. In fact why don't we call this one of our better days?"
Sam ignored the comment, taking it as a good sign.
"I managed to get through to Bobby and he reckons he can make it here in two hours, maybe less."
Sam looked at him.
"Who else would you have suggested? We can't exactly dial 911 unless you feel like explaining what the hell we were doing here in the first place and why we happen to be carrying shotguns?"
"Ok, good point."
"Thank you. Like I said, he's gonna be here as soon as he can and then we can get this beam off you and get you to the hospital."
"Don't even think about it."
Dean sighed, recognising from the tone of Sam's voice that his best option might be to give in gracefully. Besides, even he couldn't really argue that right now he wasn't exactly in the best position and who knew what damage was being done underneath the heavy wood.
It wasn't exactly a comforting thought.
"Alright, so we just sit here and wait for Bobby – is that about it?"
"Fraid so. Don't worry though, it'll be ok."
Dean rolled his eyes.
"Dude, I'm not five. You'll be telling me next to think of my happy place."
"I don't even wanna know where that would be." he said and was rewarded with a grin.
They sat in silence for a few moments, Sam shifting so he was sitting on the pile of rubble that surrounded them more comfortably and Dean concentrating on not moving at all.
"So I guess that floor was unstable after all." said Sam after a moment and Dean glanced at him.
"Really? Ya think?"
Sam ignored the sarcasm.
"Yeah, I seem to recall mentioning that before we started."
"Oh, I get it. You want to have the 'I told you so' moment." said Dean and Sam shrugged with his good shoulder.
"I wasn't gonna say that."
"Ok, what you were you gonna say?"
"That I was right."
Dean struggled to come up with a counter argument and gave up. Annoyingly, Sam had a point.
"Yeah, well, enjoy it while it lasts cos I'm sure it won't happen again anytime soon."
Sam shook his head.
"Oh yeah, cos I'm so pleased that this turned out how I said it would."
There was another long pause.
"So you think two hours?" said Dean eventually and Sam nodded.
"That's what he said. Although he's probably working on breaking the land/speed record right now so maybe less."
Dean smirked. He could just picture Bobby flying along in the old car, cursing and pushing it to go faster.
"You know he's gonna be pissed, don't you?" he said and Sam sighed.
"Yeah, I know."
"Alright then, well you won't mind when I tell him it was all your fault."
Sam's eyebrows shot up.
"What do you mean, all my fault? I told you that room didn't look safe!"
"Yeah, and I told you to stay outside. It was probably your extra weight that made the floor give out in the first place."
"Oh, sure, I should have stayed outside and let you do the exorcism all on your – wait a second. What do you mean my extra weight?"
Dean chuckled at Sam's suddenly indignant expression, although he quickly regretted it when he felt the beam shift from the movement. As he closed his eyes briefly against the pain Sam moved closer and rested his hand on his shoulder.
"Serves you right." he said mildly, not meaning it of course, and Dean opened one eye long enough to give him an evil look.
Sam gave him a second to ride it out.
"Ok?" he said after a while and Dean nodded.
It wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement but it would have to do for now.
"I don't suppose we got any water with us?"
Sam looked apologetic.
"No, I think it's in the car. You probably shouldn't drink anything anyway, we don't know how bad you might be hurt."
Dean attempted to look confident.
"Come on, Sam, it's just a scratch. They probably won't even want to keep me in."
Sam looked at him in disbelief.
"A scratch? Right, I don't know what I was thinking. Oh, wait a second, yes I do – you're pinned to the floor by a ten ton beam, Dean!"
Dean raised an eyebrow and looked at him.
Sam shook his head, exasperated.
"No, I'm not done but I might as well be since I'm just wasting my breath."
"Would you please calm down? And for the record, I don't think this weighs ten ton or I really would be in trouble, Sammy."
"Of course. That was the important bit about what I said." replied Sam, dryly, and Dean smirked at him.
"Hey, you were the one who supposedly went to college – they miss out maths when you were there?"
"Remind me again why I'm not just leaving you down here?"
Dean gave a careful shrug.
"Cos I got the car keys?"
Sam actually laughed out loud at that and Dean grinned.
Having deflected Sam's worrying, for now at least, Dean looked round again trying to see if there was any possibility of getting free before Bobby arrived. Unfortunately no one had been helpful enough to leave behind anything remotely useful.
"So. What do you want to do while we wait?"
Sam looked at him.
"I don't know. How about eye spy?"
Dean's gaze narrowed.
"Well don't ask dumb questions then." Sam replied, still feeling too tense to humour his brother at that moment.
Dean settled into a sulky silence until Sam finally gave in.
"Alright, fine – what do you want to do?" he said, figuring anything was better than being stuck with grumpy-Dean for the next few hours.
"Forget it, I don't want to put you out."
Sam briefly wondered about knocking himself out until Bobby arrived.
"We should have known it wasn't gonna well, hunting today."
Sam looked up, surprised at the statement. Dean had clearly moved on from being bored while Sam was contemplating the relief of unconsciousness.
"Why, what's different about today?"
Dean glanced at him and then looked away, as if sorry he'd brought it up.
"Just the date, that's all."
When nothing else was forthcoming Sam prompted him.
"Mom's birthday." he said softly.
He felt a little guilty for not remembering, but then Dean had always been the one who noted things like that especially when it came to their Mom. Sam had never experienced that day really, had never made her a card or picked out his own present, so it was just another of those things that he'd been told about but couldn't really understand fully. When they were kids it had just been the day when John would be in a worse mood than usual and Dean would work twice as hard to try and make up for it.
Sam sighed to himself, realising not for the first time lately just how much Dean had sacrificed over the years.
"Don't worry about it, Sam, it's no big deal." Dean said, seeing that his brother was feeling bad for not remembering.
"Of course it's a big deal. You should have said something." said Sam quietly, not wanting to be let off the hook this time.
"Like what? It's not exactly something to just drop into conversation. Besides, it's just another day right? Especially after all this time."
"Not to you it's not."
Dean swallowed and regretted bringing this up, particularly since there really was nowhere he could go right now to avoid the conversation.
Sam hesitated over his next question but then decided to just go with it. For once he had a captive audience and maybe this was a good opportunity to have a real conversation for a change, as opposed to one where Dean either changed the subject or walked away.
"So what did you used to do?"
Dean looked at him.
"For Mom. Before."
He didn't need to finish the sentence.
Dean was quiet for a moment, so quiet that Sam wasn't sure he was going to answer him. He was just about to tell him to forget it when Dean spoke.
"I only really remember her last birthday. Before that I was too young, you know? Dad probably got something for me and had me scribble on it."
Sam couldn't help but smile at the mental image and he was pleased when Dean smiled too.
"Anyways, the last one I can remember wanting to get her something myself. Felt like I was old enough. Dad took me shopping and we ended up in this little store, one of those been-there-forever places. I remember Dad was kinda nervous cos they had all sorts of china and glass and I used to run into stuff without thinking back then."
"Back then?" teased Sam and Dean whacked him lightly on the leg.
"You want this story or not?"
Sam mimicked zipping his mouth shut and throwing away the key and Dean shook his head, but continued.
"So he has this grip on my jacket like you wouldn't believe, I mean literally my feet are barely touching the ground, and suddenly I spot this thing up on one of the shelves."
"What was it?" said Sam, so engrossed in the memory that he'd forgotten his vow not to speak.
"It was a glass ballerina. Not very big, maybe five, six inches? But the way it had been carved it just seemed to catch the light from all angles. Like a rainbow. I couldn't stop looking at it. Dad got the woman to take it off the shelf and he held it so I could look at it closer and I just knew Mom would love it, you know? She was always dancing around when the radio was on, or when Dad was playing a tape in the car. It just seemed right. Dad musta been able to tell I was totally sure cos he bought it and had the lady wrap it, then he helped me write the card when we got home. Course I use the term write loosely."
Sam smiled again.
"And did she like it?"
Dean's face softened, a faraway look coming into his eyes as he was transported back 24 years.
"Oh yeah. I couldn't sleep I was so excited so I ended up going into their room when it was barely light. Not that Mom minded, I think she was excited that I was so excited. Dad went and got the present and gave it to me so I could give it to her. She took ages unwrapping it, she didn't want to tear the paper. I remember Dad sighing really loudly and telling her if she took any longer she'd be another year older."
Sam chuckled at the typical John response and Dean smiled slightly.
"I didn't even remember that bit till just now. Anyway, she finally opened it and she got this look on her face. Kinda open mouthed. She was turning it round so it caught the sun coming through the window and she just looked so." he stopped and swallowed, and Sam shifted so he was casually resting his knee against Dean's shoulder. As if it wasn't deliberate.
The look Dean flashed him told him that he knew full well that it was. And appreciated the thought.
"She just looked beautiful. And she loved it, she gave me this big hug and told me it was perfect. She put it on her bedside cabinet, where she could see it, and told me it was the nicest thing anyone had ever given her. Which Dad then got all offended about, although even then I could see he didn't mean it. He ended up chasing her round the room and they were laughing so hard. It was great."
They sat there silently for a moment, both of them picturing in their minds a time when John & Mary Winchester had been nothing more than a carefree young couple with all their lives ahead of them.
It was a memory that was horribly bittersweet.
Pulling himself back to the present Dean looked at Sam and saw the wistful expression on his face. He wished that his brother could have known what it was like to be a Winchester back then. Could have more than just a few photographs and stories told second hand.
"I'm sorry." he said and Sam looked at him, frowning.
"That you never got to see all that."
Sam gave him a slightly wobbly smile.
"It's not your fault, Dean. Besides, I got a few good memories of my own." he said and Dean nodded.
"You'll have to tell me about them sometime."
Sam looked at him, puzzled.
"You probably remember most of them better than I do."
Now it was Dean's turn to look confused.
"How can I? I wasn't there when you were with Jess, was I."
Sam suddenly realised what Dean thought he'd meant and he shook his head.
"I wasn't talking about when I was with Jess."
Dean stared at him until it dawned on him what Sam meant. He ducked his head.
"I did have some nice memories as a kid, Dean. And most of them were thanks to you."
Dean looked awkward and wondered if there was any way he could simply tunnel his way under the beam.
"Uh-huh. Anyway. I thought you wanted to hear about Mom?"
Recognising things were getting a little uncomfortable Sam went with it.
"I do. Go on."
"Like I said, she and Dad messed around for a bit and then he helped me make her breakfast. I'm not sure whose cooking was worst mind you, his or mine. At least I had an excuse with my age."
Sam grimaced, having been on the end of one of John's attempts at cooking a few times. It was not something you wanted to do twice in a lifetime.
"So we presented her with this slightly unusual breakfast but she acted like it was the best meal she'd ever had. And then we went out for the day, in the car. I can't even remember where we went but I know we drove for hours and ended up by this lake to have a picnic. I musta fallen asleep on the way back cos I don't remember much after that. It was a lovely day though, I do remember that much."
"I'm glad you had that." he said softly and Dean avoided his gaze.
"Yeah." he answered, roughly.
He couldn't help but wonder how many other great birthdays there would have been if he'd stayed in the alternate universe. He knew it wasn't real, deep down, but it didn't change how it had felt to actually be with his Mom. To hear her laugh, see her smile. Sometimes it was hard to fix in his mind his real memories, faded as they were, and not to think about the fake world the Djinn had created.
Sam's voice anchored him again and he looked up at his brother's concerned face.
"Yeah, I'm still here." he said and Sam gave a relieved half smile.
"Glad to hear it."
They were silent again briefly, both of them needing a few minutes to get a hold of the emotions talking about this stuff always stirred up.
Just then they heard a noise. Dean tensed, then instantly relaxed when he remembered moving was a really bad idea. He felt Sam shift beside him.
"You don't think it's the spirit, do you?" he whispered and Dean shook his head.
"How can it be? We smoked that thing."
There was another noise, louder this time, and they both saw a glow appear off to their left where the front door was.
"Ok, not a spirit. Unless it went away to find a flashlight."
Sam glared at his brother and motioned for him to be quiet. He was horribly aware that they had no weapons within reach and that Dean in particular was a sitting target. He really hoped it wasn't the cops.
The hissed call was like music to their ears. Exchanging a relieved grin with Dean, Sam answered.
"We're in here."
Moments later the glow got brighter and they both shielded their eyes as they were blinded by Bobby's flashlight as he came through the door.
"Damn, Bobby, could you point that thing somewhere else?" said Dean and the elder hunter quickly lowered the beam.
"I see his sunny disposition ain't been affected." said Bobby dryly as he made his way carefully across the rubble to them, gruffness covering his sheer relief at finding them alive and conscious.
"Why would it, it's just a scratch apparently." said Sam in a tone of voice that clearly telegraphed how much he believed that one.
Bobby aimed the flashflight at the beam pinning Dean to the floor and shook his head.
"Oh yeah, I can see that." he said and Dean looked indignant.
"You come here to gang up on me with him or to get me out from under this damn thing?"
"Keep that up and I just might turn right around." said Bobby, even though it was an empty threat.
He studied the beam, trying to get a good look at just how much of Dean was pinned underneath it. From what he could see with the flashlight there was actually a dip in the floorboards below Dean, probably from where the rubble had impacted with the rotten wood, so although the beam was indeed resting on him it wasn't crushing him as much as it might have done.
He hoped that was a good sign.
"Can you feel everything, Dean?" he asked and Dean grimaced.
"Oh yeah. Trust me, nothing is numb right now."
"Alright, here's what we're gonna do. Sam, you and I will grab this end here and lift it up as far as we can. Dean, you're gonna need to slide out from under there once we do."
"Wait a minute, what about internal injuries? It's not a good idea for him to be moving like that."
"We haven't got a choice, Sam. It's gonna take both of us to hold that damn thing and that's with you having only one arm working. We got nothing to prop it up with."
"Hello? I'm right here you know."
Both of them looked down at the disgruntled comment.
Dean met Sam's worried gaze and tried to look reassuring.
"Hey, it'll be alright, Sammy. Like Bobby says, you guys will lift and I'll slide. I got the easy part."
Sam wasn't convinced but he didn't have a better plan.
"Alright, but take it slow and if anything feels wrong you stop, ok?"
"Yes! Now would you please get the hell on with it?"
After a brief hesitation Sam nodded his agreement to Bobby. He stepped forward so he was level with the end of the beam and hooked his good arm round it with a firm grip. Bobby put the flashlight on a pile of rubble next to them and went round the other side, holding on to it with both hands.
"Alright – on three."
Both Winchesters nodded.
"One. Two. Three!"
Bobby and Sam lifted, struggling with the weight, and Sam felt his bruised muscles protesting the movement. Not that he cared.
Dean had braced himself but he still had to bite hard on his lip to stop himself crying out when the pressure finally lifted. Ignoring the shooting pains he pushed himself up on his arms and scrambled backwards. Trouble was his legs weren't keen on joining the party right now and he couldn't get far enough away. If Sam and Bobby let go at this point he would still be crushed from the knee down.
Bobby felt his arms begin to tremble with the strain and sweat broke out on his forehead.
"Dammit, boy, move would you!" he grunted, terrified he and Sam were gonna lose their grip and drop the thing back on Dean before he was fully clear.
Sam made a split second decision. Praying that Bobby could hold the beam on his own for the second they needed, he let go and in one single movement reached down and dragged Dean backwards. They both collapsed in a heap just as Bobby cried out and dropped the beam with a resounding crash. All three of them coughed in the dust cloud that flew up.
"Are you alright?" said Sam, each word punctuated by a cough and Dean nodded even though Sam couldn't see him through the haze.
"Yeah, I was clear." he wheezed and both Bobby and Sam let out the breaths they'd been holding.
"I'm getting too old for this." said Bobby, to the world in general, as he sagged down onto the rubble for a moment and rubbed his aching arms.
Sam pushed himself up, waving away the dust so he could get a good look at Dean. His brother was lying with his legs straight out but as Sam watched he brought his knees up and struggled to sit up. Sam reached down and helped him, receiving a grateful look in return.
"Nice move there." Dean said and Sam gave him a quick smile.
"Figured you might need a hand. How do you feel?" he asked, anxiously, looking for any signs of Dean going into shock.
"Like I just got squashed by a huge chunk of wood."
"What? I'm being serious."
"Boys, do not make me get up and come over there."
They both glanced in Bobby's direction and wisely stopped.
"Seriously, I feel like one big bruise but I don't think anything's broken." said Dean, then winced as he tried to stand up.
"Cracked maybe, but not broken."
"Are you sure?"
"Honest, I'm sure."
Sam looked relieved.
"Well, you still need to get checked out."
"Come on, Sam."
Sam held up his hand before the protests could begin.
"I mean it. You don't know what might be going on inside, and you were out for like twenty minutes before. At the very least you got a concussion. Besides, I need to get my arm looked at."
Dean narrowed his gaze.
"Don't think I don't know what you're doing." he said and Sam looked innocent.
Dean wasn't buying it. He knew full well that Sam was playing on his big brother instincts, knowing Dean wouldn't refuse to go to the hospital if it was Sam that was hurt. By saying he needed to get his arm looked at Sam knew that Dean would go with him and once there, he'd be able to get his brother to relent to getting checked out himself.
Winchester psychology, 101.
"Are you two done? Or do you wanna wait till daylight and then we can look really conspicuous."
Dean sighed and looked back at Bobby.
"Fine, we're going to the hospital. But no way I'm staying overnight."
Sam tried not to look too triumphant and got to his feet, helping Dean stand. They weaved their way over the rubble and out of the building, not entirely clear on who was helping who. Bobby gave an indulgent smile, just pleased that they were both walking after Sam's heart-stopping call, and he quickly retrieved the shotguns he'd seen lying in the corner before following them out.
Dean had insisted on driving the Impala to the hospital and Sam had let him know exactly how stupid that was before placing himself in the passenger seat and glaring at his brother the whole way. Bobby had followed them, just in case, but the drive had been thankfully uneventful. By the time they'd reached the hospital Dean was moving much easier and he was convinced the whole thing was a waste of time but he humoured Sam through various tests, finally sitting there with a smug look on his face when the doctor informed all three of them that he was suffering from nothing more serious than cuts and bruises, one cracked rib, and a mild concussion. Sam didn't care how smug Dean looked as long as he was ok and he'd simply thanked the doctor profusely and bundled his brother out of there before he could start with the whole 'I told you so' routine.
Outside they'd walked - gingerly in some cases - over to Bobby's car, blinking as the sun's rays began to peep over the houses opposite.
"So can I trust you two to find somewhere safe to hole up until you're ready for the next job?" said Bobby, turning to face them.
Sam nodded, fiddling with his sling to get it comfortable. The doctor had diagnosed bruised muscles but fortunately no breaks so he only had to keep it on till his shoulder was feeling better.
"Yeah, we will. I doubt we could hunt down that fabric softener teddy bear of Dean's right now." he said and Dean smirked.
"Speak for yourself."
Bobby shook his head.
"I don't want to know. Seriously, you know you're welcome to come back to mine." he began and Dean held up his hand.
"We know, and we appreciate it, but we're fine honestly. We're just gonna head over to the next town and probably stop there for a few days, work out where to go next."
Bobby didn't look that happy but grudgingly nodded.
"Alright, if you're sure. You call me though, if you change your mind."
"We will." said Sam, with a smile. "And thanks again for bailing us out – I don't know what we'd have done if you hadn't been able to get to us."
"No need to thank me, you know you can call any time."
"Yeah, well, we appreciate it." said Dean. "Although I still wanna know how you managed it so fast, you musta had that old thing doing warp speed."
Bobby lightly cuffed him on the back of the head.
"That old thing is a classic and you know it. Besides I thought you were in a hurry, but I'll take my time in future if you want."
"No, no – fast is good." said Sam fervently and Dean just grinned.
After giving them a final appraising glance, and being reasonably satisfied with what he saw, Bobby got into his car and pulled away with a quick wave out of the rolled down window.
Waving back until he was out of sight they turned and headed for the Impala. An hour later Dean had to admit, if only to himself, that he was starting to flag a little and he pulled off at the next exit they came to. Judging from Sam's relieved sigh, he wasn't the only one dreaming of a hot shower and a comfortable bed.
And maybe some painkillers in between.
Sam insisted he go first and Dean wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth so went with it. The hot water felt good as it eased the ache in his abused muscles and he felt the tension slowly ebb out of his shoulders as well. He dried himself carefully, mindful of the bruises that were starting to show across his middle in vivid hues of purple and black, and after pulling on some old sweatpants and a tee shirt he opened the door.
The room was empty and he frowned, tensing until he saw a note stuck on his pillow. He'd just picked it up when the door opened and Sam walked in, carrying a paper bag. He looked up.
"Hey. You look better." he said and Dean shrugged, carefully.
"I feel better. You got food?" he said, screwing up the note and aiming it at the waste paper bin.
"Yeah, I figured you'd be hungry by now. The shop across the street had some decent stuff actually."
Dean grunted, knowing his idea of decent and Sam's differed wildly, and sat down gingerly on the bed. Shoving the pillows behind him he managed to find a comfortable position and picked up the remote. As he flicked the TV on he glanced at Sam.
"Should be some hot water left."
"My day is complete." said Sam as he grabbed some clean clothes and headed for the bathroom.
By the time he came out Dean was engrossed in some zombie film, the bag sitting untouched on the table. Sam wondered if that was a first and changed direction to go and stand by Dean's bed. Reaching out he put his hand against Dean's forehead.
"Sam! What the hell?" said Dean, batting it away, and Sam grinned.
"Just checking. It's not like you to leave food untouched when it's in the room."
Dean rolled his eyes.
"I was waiting for you." he said and Sam raised his eyebrows.
"Sure you were. Muscles stiffening up?" he said innocently and Dean looked sheepish.
"A little." he said nonchalantly, not wanting to admit that right now he wasn't sure he could get off the bed even if the room was on fire.
Sam shook his head and went over to the table, picking up the bag and bringing it across one handed. Balancing it between his knees he managed to open it and pulled out a container which he handed to Dean, along with a knife and fork. Dean managed to reach out and take it, biting his lip only slightly which Sam was kind enough to pretend not to notice. Taking out a second container Sam put it on the cabinet nearest his bed and pulled out two bottles of water. Getting up he grabbed a bottle of painkillers from one of the bags and tipped two out into Dean's palm, putting another two next to his own water.
Dean for once didn't object to taking them.
They ate in silence, Dean continuing to watch the film and Sam managing to skim through some stuff on the laptop with his free hand, in between forkfuls of food. He noted a couple of possible jobs for them, once they were a little more mobile, and closed it down. As he finished his last bit of food he looked over at Dean and saw he was starting to flag, his blinks getting a little longer each time. Glancing at the clock Sam saw it was only 10am but he figured since they'd been up all night they'd earned a day in bed for a change. Picking up his container and Dean's he threw them in the bin.
As he sat back down he looked at the bag, a little nervously. It had seemed like a good idea in the store but now he wasn't so sure.
"Please tell me you didn't buy a puppy."
Sam jumped, not having realised Dean had switched his attention from the TV to his brother and was regarding him with an amused expression.
"Haha – I grew out of that one when I was seven if you remember."
"Ok, so then what have you got in there that has you looking at it like it might explode?"
Sam took a deep breath and reached inside, pulling something out. He kept it hidden for a moment before moving the bag so Dean could see it.
He watched Dean's face, holding his breath.
"I just thought it might be nice. Kind of an memorial thing. I know we're a day late now but, well.."
He tailed off, getting more anxious with each passing second.
Dean meanwhile had frozen, his gaze transfixed on the small birthday cake Sam held in his hand, complete with two candles. For a moment he was speechless, which didn't happen often, but then his brain caught up with the fact that Sam looked like he was about to hyperventilate. Realising his brother was worried about his reaction Dean looked up and met his gaze.
"It's a lovely idea, Sammy." he said softly.
Sam felt a wave of relief so strong he nearly dropped the cake and he nodded, managing a smile since he wasn't sure he was capable of speech at this moment.
Getting up he put the cake down gently on the cabinet and went over to dig one of the many lighters they carried around out of his jacket pocket. He bent over and lit both the candles, looking up at Dean to see his reaction. His brother was looking at the flames, lost in thought, and although there was a sadness in his eyes he also had a slightly wistful smile on his face.
As if remembering better times.
He said it quietly, not wanting to break the moment, and Dean raised his eyes to look at him. He smiled wider, and inclined his head towards the candles.
"Ready to make a wish?" he said, a certain teasing affection to his tone, and Sam shook his head slightly but smiled anyway.
Dean nodded and they both leaned forward. By silent agreement they blew at the same time and the flames flickered before going out. Dean closed his eyes for a second and when he opened them again he saw Sam had done the same. He knew he'd never reveal what he'd wished for, just as he didn't expect Sam to. But he had a funny idea it would run along the same lines if they ever did.
Sam opened his eyes too and reached out to remove both candles. Picking up the cake he held it out towards Dean and between the two of them they broke it roughly in half. As Dean leant slowly back against the pillows he looked over at Sam, making sure he was settled too. Then Dean looked back at the cake and swallowed slightly.
"Happy birthday, Mom." he said, so quiet Sam almost didn't hear it.
Glancing up at his brother a little self conciously, he was relieved to see Sam clearly didn't think any the less of him for what was - at best - a sentimental gesture. Then again, the cake had been Sam's idea in the first place.
"Yeah, happy birthday." said Sam, equally as quietly, and Dean felt something twist inside with the knowledge that Sam had never actually been able to say that to Mary's face.
Neither of them felt much like talking so they both quietly ate the cake, each lost in their own thoughts.
When he was done Dean lay down, not quite surpressing the groan as he tried to get comfortable. He thought about getting up to clean his teeth and then decided it wasn't going to kill him to leave it till morning.
Getting up at this point, on the other hand, just might.
Seeing Dean settling in for the night – or rather, day - Sam got up and switched off the TV, closing the curtains to block out as much daylight as possible. Not that he had a feeling anything would be keeping them awake now. An entire demon army could march through their room and he was pretty sure they'd sleep through it.
Sliding his arm out of his sling Sam dropped it on the cabinet and got under the covers. For a moment the only sound was groaning from both beds as they tried to find a position that didn't press on about a million bruises.
Not an easy task.
Having given up in the end and settled on something that wasn't total agony, Dean turned his head so he could see Sam.
"That was a nice idea." he said and Sam rolled over to face him.
Sam looked pleased.
"Thanks. You really think she would have liked it?"
Dean thought about it, picturing Mary watching the two of them.
Enjoying each other's company.
Taking care of one another.
Honouring their parents memories.
"Yeah, Sam. I really think she would."