Food For Thought Chapter 1
Set early Season One.
Sam's cursed and Dean's worried. This could end real badly.
And this was supposed to be a one-shot; do me a favour!
Disclaimer: I don't own John, Dean or Sam Winchester.
And neither do I own Anthony Stewart Head, whom my rather weird and wonderful imagination brought in to play Dr Paul Lewis; he will show up in the next chapter if you're really nice with your reviews.
And yes, he's playing it sort of Rupert Giles style. Sad I know.
This fic is loosely based on Thinner, an old story written by Stephen King,
writing as Richard Bachman
MAJOR LIMP SAM/PROTECTIVE DEAN AND JOHN.
But he just carried on staring ahead; it looked to Dean as though his little brother was mesmerized by the blue-green glow that emanated from the gypsy witch. A very angry gypsy witch as it happened.
Dean tackled his brother to the ground, rolled and fired. The blue-green glow flickered then went out, plunging the cave into darkness, followed by a loud thud as the decrepit old bat hit the deck.
Dean let his head drop back against Sam's shoulder and heaved a sigh of relief. Consecrated iron rounds were a bastard to forge but they sure worked well.
"Thank fuck it's over. Thought we'd never get rid of that bitch!" He elbowed Sam in the side earning him a groan. "Speakin' of…what the hell was that all about huh?" Dean leapt up and brushed himself off just as Sam rolled and sat up, clutching his head. "You tryin' to get yourself killed?"
"Ahh! Dean…keep it down wouldja?" Sam squinted up at his brother, obviously in pain. Dean frowned and crouched beside him, lifting a hand to gently push away Sam's hair and revealing a nasty looking cut just above his ear. He'd clearly hit his head during Dean's tackle. Sam hissed and pulled his bottom lip between his teeth when his brother probed it with gentle fingers.
"Come on, dude. Let's get back to the motel." Dean grasped Sam's shoulders and heaved him to his feet, holding him steady when he swayed. "That's gonna need stitches, and you're gonna need some rest."
"Yeah, thanks for that." Sam mumbled sarcastically and Dean shot him an annoyed glance.
"If you'd been paying attention in the first damn place Sammy, I wouldn't have had to dump your ass." Dean growled angrily. "What the hell were ya playin' at? You know better than
to stare down a gypsy. They just see it as a challenge." He thought for a moment. "Is that like cats?"
"Put a sock in it Dean." Sam suddenly gasped as the world seemed to tip sideways.
"Whoa! Easy there Sasquatch…" Dean tightened his grip on Sam and slid an arm round his waist. "Just hold still, let it settle down a bit." He continued in a soft whisper, trying not to aggravate Sam's headache any further.
Sam gasped and wheezed as he waited for his vision to stabilise, but it was taking too long. "Dean….sick…."
And he was.
In fact he only fell short of Exorcist Sick because the vomit wasn't green, but otherwise Dean felt fully justified in his comparison. He wrinkled his nose in disgust at the smell, but said nothing. At least he didn't have a nasty taste in his mouth.
Unfortunately Sam did, not to mention an apparently furry tongue, and, he had to admit, a stomach that still felt programmed to the fast-spin cycle. He closed his eyes for a second, trying to get his balance back, but it only made matters worse.
When he opened his eyes a second later he turned a worried gaze on his brother and blinked.
"Sam what's wrong?" Dean asked urgently.
"I don't…" No warning. Sam dropped bonelessly on the spot, his brother catching him on the way down.
"Shit." Dean struggled to keep hold of him, to drag him from the cave into the fading evening sunlight. It was no easy task and once outside, Dean checked him over for any other injuries, but finding none decided it must have been the knock to Sam's head. He tried patting his cheek to rouse him, but Sam was well and truly out.
"Sorry Sammy." And the apology was genuine. He hadn't meant to be so rough on his brother but Dean had felt truly scared when Sam faced the gypsy.
Sam at least looked peaceful now; hair flopped over his face, long eyelashes brushing against his cheekbones. If Dean didn't know better he'd have thought his little brother was asleep. "Why does this all seem a little too familiar Sam?" No answer, and Dean didn't expect one. Sam seemed to have spent most of his life unconscious for one reason or other; it had nothing to do with being weak, and more to do with his bravery. Sam didn't let his fears stand in the way of what was right.
Even if he was frighteningly damn stupid about it.
Not really wanting to leave his brother alone, unconscious and vulnerable, but also not knowing just how long Sam would be out for the count, Dean dragged his brother into the shadows at the side of the track, covered him in his leather jacket to stave off the cold, then reluctantly started jogging back to the car. It was only about a half mile away and wouldn't take long.
During the run he reflected on the hunt. It had gone well all things considered. They'd left the car at the edge of the woodland, not wanting to allow the witch bitch a heads up, and crept silently through the trees until they found her cave. The view was pretty gruesome, with the skulls of many of her victims lining the entrance, some of which hadn't even finished decomposing.
Yeah, even Dean felt a little nauseous just thinking about it, and the smell hadn't been much better either. The gypsy had a habit of cursing everyone that ever came into these woods, and seeing as most visitors were just young couples with picnic baskets, out to celebrate an anniversary or just wanting some alone time, the curse usually involved food. The last couple, for example, had been cursed with the taste for human flesh, and started eating each other alive. The couple before that had been cursed with a love for poison ivy. Dean grimaced in remembrance; it hadn't turned out well.
Once her victims had expired from whatever chosen curse she'd zapped them with, the witch collected the heads. As trophies as far as Dean could make out, and their bodies dumped on the outer edges of the woods.
No one knew why she'd done it, only that her gypsy family had abandoned her to the woods years ago, never to return. All that Sam and Dean could figure out was that she'd been at it for at least fifty years but actual reason, blame, had been lost to history. She just needed to be stopped.
With Sam hurt and out for the count Dean hadn't hung around to get rid of her body; he just wanted make sure Sam was ok, then he'd try out a recipe of his own. One involving a pinch of salt and a dash of lighter fluid.
Dean sighed with relief on reaching the Impala and ran a soothing hand over her hood, smiling, before sliding behind the wheel.
"Sorry to leave you behind baby, but I'm here now." He chuckled at what his brother would say if he could hear him, then frowned at the image of Sam lying unconscious near the gypsy's cave, and stepped on the gas. Trying to take it slow down the beaten track but also not wanting to leave Sam alone any longer than necessary, Dean chewed anxiously on his
bottom lip until he'd almost bloodied it. Finally cruising to a gentle halt, Dean leapt out the car and ran his gaze over the spot where he'd left Sam.
His brother wasn't there.
Shit! Should've known it couldn't be that simple, now that bitch has Sam, and he's hurt…and…and…what the hell's that noise?
Dean whirled round and found his brother sitting on the ground, grinning stupidly, brutalising 'Get Over It' by The Eagles, and chewing on…..
"Sam?" Dean asked softly, not wanting to startle his obviously sick little brother. "Why are you eating acorns?"
Sam stared up at him through his mass of brown hair, puppy dog eyes gleaming with childlike innocence. "I was hungry." He answered in a small voice. Then Dean found himself eclipsed by his brother's sudden bright, happy smile, and Sam generously held out a large handful of acorns. "You want some? They're delicious."
Dean crouched down and brushed Sam's hair back, tucking it behind his ear to get a closer look. He noted with some concern the early signs of a fever in his brother's bright eyes, and felt certain that whatever lunacy had brought this on it had nothing to do with a concussion. Though he was pretty sure it was brewing.
Sam had been become another victim of the gypsy's curse.
Swallowing thickly and covering his worry with a soft smile, Dean reached out and squeezed Sam's shoulder. "No thanks kiddo," he spoke gently. "And you really shouldn't be eating
these either, they aint fit for human consumption." Especially if some squirrel peed on them, his traitorous sense of humour informed him.
Sam appeared to consider that, then dropped the acorns to the ground, a forlorn expression on his face. "Am I gonna die?" he asked, sounding more and more like a scared four year old than an adult in his early twenties. Ok that's definitely concussion talking!
"No Sammy." Dean helped his brother to his feet. "It just means that you're gonna be a little sick for a while, but you'll be fine."
Silence reigned whilst Dean struggled to get Sam to the car. Then...
"Can we get some ice cream? I really want ice cream. Vanilla Chocolate Fudge."
Dean resisted the urge to scrub a frustrated hand over his face. "That's not such a good idea, buddy." Once he got Sam settled and his seatbelt fastened, Dean pressed a hand to Sam's forehead and winced. "I think we need to get you to a hospital Sam." He kept his voice gentle and persuading so as not to frighten him but Sam still looked scared all the same.
"I don't wanna go to hospital Dean," Sam replied in an equally scared voice and Dean felt his heart break a little at the tears in his little brother's eyes.
Sam suddenly clutched at his stomach and let out a small cry.
"Sammy what is it?" Dean tried hard not to panic, but when Sam curled in on himself, eyes clenched shut in pain, he knew he was about to lose his grip.
"Hurts Dean….please... make it stop." Sam seemed to curl up even further, a feat that surprised Dean given how tall his brother was, and started whimpering.
"It's ok Sam," Dean raced round to the driver's side and once again slid behind the wheel. He'd left the engine running so it was nicely warmed up by now, and to hell with the damn paint work, Dean put his foot down and the car bumped along the track until they reached tarmac. Sam whimpered again, the sound cutting through Dean like a saw.
"I'm gonna take care of you, Sammy." He smiled weakly at his brother when Sam leaned his head back against the seat and fixed his exhausted, pain-filled gaze on him. "Don't I always?"
It didn't cross his mind until much later that he'd forgotten a highly important hunting rule. He was way too worried about his brother.
It went without saying that Dean didn't dare make any mention of gypsy curses to Sam's doctor. Sam was to be admitted over night for the stomach cramps, dehydration, and concussion, and was even now dozing under the influence of some pretty strong pain relievers.
He had no idea what to expect or what form the curse was taking but hoped it only extended to acorns.
Dean could keep his brother away from acorns. Not a problem. No big deal, in fact.
For as long as this curse lasted, Dean would just steer clear of parks, forests, woodlands and garden centres.
Oh, and graveyards.
Dean scratched his head. So basically no hunting for a while then.
On expressing his worry over the acorns, Sam's doctor had assured Dean that it wasn't life threatening and even went on, in nauseating detail, to explain how the Channel Islanders of Jersey, just off the North coast of France, had been forced to use acorns to make coffee during the German Occupation of the second world war when all rations ran out. Dean just grimaced and decided that should he ever find himself in such a situation, he'd stick with water. When the doctor asked why Sam had taken a liking to the damn things, Dean was thankfully saved from an awkward moment. The doc was called away for an RTC, muttering and swearing about drunk drivers.
Sam slept on.
Dean pushed open the door to Sam's room, fully expecting to see his brother lying in bed, breakfast untouched. So Dean was rather shocked to find Sam tucking into the grey and sloppy looking scrambled eggs with the eagerness of a starving man.
Sam glanced up through his long fringe and grinned. "M'so damned hungry I could eat a horse!" He muttered around a mouthful of eggs. "What?" He asked his older brother once
he'd finally finished chewing and swallowing. Dean was staring at him oddly, eyes narrowed.
After a moment of silence Dean shifted from foot to foot. "Ok. Who are ya and what ya done with my brother?" Is this the something to do with the food curse? He wondered, but it was just plain food, disgusting standard hospital food admittedly. Nothing weird about that though.
Sam frowned. "I haven't been that bad lately. Have I?" Sam once again sounded like a four year old, small and ashamed.
Dean sighed and pulled up a chair. "Sammy it's ok. You've hardly eaten these last few months, and I've been worried. Ever since..." His voice trailed off when Sam tensed up.
"It's alright to say her name ya know." Sam offered softly. "I aint gonna break."
Dean nodded slowly. "Ever since Jess died all you do is drink coffee and that aint enough kiddo. 'Specially for a giant like you!" He leaned against the seat back, regarding his brother carefully, thankful that the fever had abated. "What changed?"
Sam thought for a moment, staring down at his breakfast. "I dunno. Maybe I'm finally coming to terms with it. I just woke up feeling hungry." He fell silent again, but when he eventually spoke his voice was barely a whisper. "I miss her, man. Not a day goes by that I don't think about her. What we had...what we could've been."
Both boys were silent now, and as Sam carried on finishing his breakfast, shovelling the rest of the food into his mouth, Dean noticed a flash of moisture in Sam's eyes. He abruptly got to his feet. "I'll go get your clothes. You 'bout ready to break outta here Sammy?"
Sam didn't look at him but nodded his head as he chewed on the last of the toast. Dean felt tears gather in his own eyes and blinked them away. He had to force himself to remember that no matter how hard it was to see his brother struggling with his grief, the effect on Sam had to be far more devastating.
Reaching out, he briefly laid a hand on Sam's shoulder, sending a silent message of comfort. A light squeeze and the hand was gone.
They'd only left the hospital an hour ago and Sam was fidgeting in his seat already.
"Dude, what's up with you?" Dean threw a frustrated glance at Sam. "It's like ya wired or somethin'. Seriously, you sure you're ok?"
"I'm fine." Sam muttered.
"Right." The sarcastic sneer on Dean's face matched his tone perfectly, but Sam refused to rise to it.
Another hour passed and Sam couldn't hold back any longer. His gut felt like it was twisting and he was surprised Dean couldn't hear it growling. Trying not to flinch at the pain, he finally asked.
"Can we stop at the next diner? I need the bathroom."
Dean nodded. So that's what was bothering him. "Yeah, I'm hungry anyway. Only had a doughnut for breakfast." With having to check out of the motel and pick Sam up from hospital there had been little time for much more, and Dean had even missed out on his morning dose of coffee. If he had to wait any longer he was going to need an IV of caffeine in his arm just to keep the peace.
Sam inwardly sighed with relief. He'd hoped for this. If his brother ordered food then so would Sam, just to keep him company of course; that way there was a decent chance Dean wouldn't even notice Sam's second meal in as many hours.
To make it look good, on entering the diner Sam headed straight for the restroom, whilst Dean sat down in a booth and started examining the menu. Locking himself in a cubicle, Sam gripped his aching stomach barely suppressing a small moan of pain tearing through him.
God this is so embarrassing!
Breathing through it as best he could, Sam counted off two minutes on his wristwatch, then left. As soon as he sat down at their table Dean got up.
"My turn. I've already ordered so go ahead." With a quick grin Dean disappeared into the men's room. Sam turned to face a kindly looking waitress looking at him expectantly. According to the name tag she called herself Donna, though Sam thought she looked more like a Sally.
"What can I get you sweetie?"
Instead of just ordering his usual chicken salad, Sam made the mistake of looking at the menu, and this time the pains wouldn't be silenced. Sam clenched his eyes shut and hung his head, groaning.
"Hey you alright sweetheart? Should I call a doctor?" Donna gently grasped his arm.
"No! No I'm fine. My stomach hurts 'cos I'm hungry, that's all," Sam opened his eyes and glanced over at the restroom just has his brother appeared. "Just don't say anything to my brother, please." He turned beseeching eyes on the waitress.
Donna raised an eyebrow but said nothing, just held her pad and pen, waiting for Sam's order.
He tried to control himself but it was just too hard with all the good things on the menu. Reeling off an entire list of dishes, Sam soon lapsed into silence when Dean slumped back down in his seat. Donna glanced from one boy to the other, shrugged and went to place the order.
"So, how ya feelin'?" Dean asked, watching Sam's face closely. "And don't give me that 'I'm fine' crap 'cos I just don't buy it. You're tired, pale, and I know you're still in pain so stop trying to hide it."
Sam shrugged a little morosely, suddenly wondering if this clandestine attempt to pig out again was such a great idea. He hadn't intended to order so much food, but everything on the menu had looked so appetizing. He only had one option; pretend he'd planned to share it with Dean, even though his brother had already ordered.
"It's just the left over stomach upset from the acorns." In a bid to divert the conversation away slightly Sam added. "Speakin' of which, that was one weird food curse. Acorns? I never would've thought of that."
Dean smirked and took the bait. They launched into a discussion on some of the weirdest curses they'd ever encountered, and Sam started to relax a little as he warmed to the subject. Right up to the point that the food arrived, then he started squirming under Dean's direct gaze.
"Ok, what gives?" Dean eyed the ton of food on their table. Pancakes, syrup – three different types - bacon, eggs, cheeseburger, fries, gammon steak with pineapple, southern fried chicken wings, coleslaw, beef fillet in garlic butter...and Dean was pretty sure he'd only ordered the cheeseburger and fries. What the hell? "Sammy what aren't you telling me?" He leaned forward, and asked deadpan "You aint pregnant are ya? Who ya been sleepin' with? And why haven't I met him?"
It gave Sam the perfect reason to laugh.
Sam had to think quickly and before he knew it the excuses were tumbling out of his mouth. The words were stupid, but even to his own ears he sounded convincing.
"I thought since I was feeling better and you hadn't eaten yet, that we should celebrate. I mean," Sam gave a genuine smile and waved a hand at all the delicious smelling food, "why not? We don't know when we're gonna get to eat next. And it's not often we get to explore such a great menu."
But was he convincing enough for his big brother?
Dean stared at him for a moment longer before breaking out into a huge grin. Fortunately for Sam food was his sibling's second greatest weakness, with sex being his first.
"Like ya style Sammy. Let's eat!" He grabbed a fork, dug in and moaned in ecstasy round a mouthful of pancake and strawberry syrup. "These pancakes are out of this world!"
But Sam was barely listening. By the time Dean had finished the pancakes and moved on to the eggs, Sam had already finished off the chicken, the bacon, gammon steak and was taking a breath before starting on the garlic beef. The trouble was his hunger hadn't abated.
In fact it was getting worse with eat mouthful, and no end in sight. Sam carried on scooping up huge forkfuls of food and ramming it into his mouth. The hunger reached such agonising levels that Sam was completely oblivious to the world outside his own head, until a strong hand grabbed his, stilling his movements. Whimpering in pain he slowly raised desperate eyes to his brother.
"Sam, tell me the truth." Dean didn't sound or even look angry though Sam was fairly certain he should, given how ashamed he felt. He couldn't bear the pain any longer and groaned loudly until he was gasping for breath, appearing to shrink in on himself.
"I'm sorry...I just can't stop...hurts so bad...Dean..." Sam blinked rapidly when his vision darkened. "Please..."
When all faded to black he vaguely heard his brother's voice frantically calling out to him.
Dean had first watched with amazement, then admiration at the way his little brother was packing it away. Even on his best day Dean couldn't hope to match such skill, and when he thought about it later he realised that should have been his first clue. Admiration soon gave way to horror and disbelief, and he stopped eating. The pain etched on Sam's face was just too much to bear.
"Sam, tell me the truth."
Closely followed by "Sam!" when his brother, softly pleading for help, listed in his seat and headed for a direct impact with the diner floor.
Dean just about caught him, and took in Sam's pale features, the fine sheen of sweat covering his face. "Sammy!" He shook him, desperately awaiting a response. "Shit!"
Sam's breathing was erratic to say the least, his pulse racing. Dean managed to persuade the waitress not to call an ambulance, instead accepting help to get Sam to the car. When he offered to pay for the food, Donna shook her head.
"Keep your money sweetie; just get your brother home to bed." Which was sound advice except the boys hadn't even checked into a motel yet, had in fact been planning on travelling for the rest of the day. Clearly Donna's suggestion was the only option right now, and Dean smiled gratefully. But what the waitress said next had his fear spiralling out of control.
"He asked me not to say anything, but he was in so much pain. Said it was because he was hungry, but I've never seen anyone eat like that before." Donna shook her head worriedly. "I used to help out in the local homeless shelter, and if I didn't know better I'd say your brother was starving. Like he hadn't eaten in weeks."
Dean stared at her slowly nodding.
This was serious. The curse hadn't ended with the acorns. It wasn't about the damn acorns! Sam was unable to stop eating anything, and Dean was at a total loss what to do. Pulling away from the diner, a worried and shaken waitress watching on, Dean headed straight for the nearest motel.
As soon as he checked in and dragged his brother into their room, Dean tucked Sam into bed then stood outside, closing the door quietly. Flipping open his cell phone he hit speed dial and waited impatiently for an answer.
"Dad it's me. Sam's in big trouble and he needs our help. I just don't know what to do." He left a message on his father's voicemail, hung his head in despair and disconnected the call.
Stepping back in the room proved to be a huge shock.
Sam was sitting cross-legged on the floor, rocking to and fro, and wrestling with the cap of a bottle. He was surrounded by empty candy bar wrappers, cookie packets, and the forlorn remains of Dean's secret stash of M&Ms. Peanut. And it was also empty.
Dean froze. How long was I out there for Christ sake?
But when he saw the label on the bottle Sam was desperately pawing at, Dean damn near sprouted wings and flew across the room.
"NO SAM! You can't drink that, it'll kill you!" Dean wrestled his sibling to the floor, pinning his wrists. "Sammy, don't do this. You have to fight it."
Sam whimpered. "You have to stop me...so hungry...hurts when I eat...hurts more if I stop..." He squirmed weakly in Dean's grip.
Dean felt his eyes stinging with tears at his brother's cries, the desperate look on his face.
One look at the discarded plastic bottle, however, hardened his resolve. Thankfully the seal was still intact though that fact didn't slow Dean's heart beat any.
Bathroom bleach! If I'd been a minute later...
Dean took a deep breath and calmed his voice. "It's ok Sam. I'm gonna help you, but you have to do what I say. Understand?"
But Sam was too far gone to understand, tortured by his hunger and cravings. Dean eased back and when Sam made a lunge for the bottle grabbed his shoulders in a tight grip. His brother was weak as a kitten, as though...as though...
Like he hadn't eaten in weeks. Dean recalled Donna's words.
Was it his imagination or did Sam's arms feel thinner than they had a few hours ago? His body skinnier, shoulder's bonier? How was that even possible, given how he'd been stuffing himself?
A horrifying realisation grew in the pit of Dean's stomach.
He dragged Sam to the bed on the far side of the room, and laid him down. Keeping a close eye on his brother, Dean began gathering sheets, towels, as many gentle restraints as he could find, then set about securing Sam to the bed.
"No...Dean...need to eat...please..."
"I'm sorry Sam, but this is the only way." Dean finished tying his wrists to the headboard then leaned over and gently brushed soft hair out of Sam's frightened eyes. "But I'm working on it little bro. I promise you, I'll figure something out."
Yeah I know it's cruel to say it but the next chapter is almost ready.
But as always...you gotta let me know...
Love you all and to those who have spread my name to other websites, a special thanks. I now know who to blame for any death threats I receive. Just kidding.
Have to say that I'm awed and overwhelmed at the support you sweethearts have given me, especially since the Supernatural/Top Gear story was wiped.