This is an unplanned, unbeta'ed ficlet which I wrote late last night when I really should have been working on another story...Gaaaa, damn plot bunnies.
Disclaimers: I don't own the Winchesters or Supernatural, all I own is a multitude of spelling mistakes and my embarrassingly bad grammar. Yay - go me!
Food, Glorious Food
Sam stopped eating sometime around his fourteenth birthday.
When Dean looks back he remembers that there had been no grand declaration of abhorrence for food, no obvious warning signs that he can think of. At the time it had just been Sam being Sam. An awkward, stubborn-ass, emo teenager who would sit at the table pushing his meatloaf around his plate as though it was the most revolting thing he'd ever seen in his life and then he'd slide out of his chair to go scrape the contents of his plate into the bin.
Over the weeks that followed, the bin had swallowed up more of Dad's cooking than Sam had.
Dad had been angry. Wasting food, especially when the Winchesters lived on a tightly controlled budget, was not acceptable. Sam would bare the brunt of Dad's heated ranting before finally giving in. Then he would pick up his fork, stab the hell out of his potatoes and shovel in a mouthful only to end up turning a lurid shade of green. Sometimes Sam made it to the bathroom in time to puke his guts up. Sometimes he didn't and those were the nights Sam spent his spare time on his knees scrubbing at the apartment floorboards with an old wire brush.
Dad didn't try to understand. Dad didn't have the time or patience for Sam's 'melodrama'. Food was food, essential for survival. Be it a two dollar hotdog bought straight from a street vendor or a twelve ounce prime rib steak served with creamed potatoes and a side of vegetables. Dad didn't care; it was all fuel to him. Fuel for hunting, fuel for researching, fuel for his ongoing quest for revenge. Nothing more.
Dean did try to understand. Sam was clearly getting too scrawny. His growth-spurt had quickly consumed any fat reserves stored up from the time when Sammy had been a chubby twelve-year-old. And at fourteen he wasn't just too skinny; the kid was starting to look sickly with pronounced cheekbones sticking out in his gaunt face. Dean was pretty sure one day soon they'd be on a case and he'd mistakenly shoot Sam full of rocksalt instead of the ghoulish creature they were meant to be hunting.
Having to watch Sam struggle to force down food while under Dad's stern gaze was one thing but catching his kid brother holed up in the bathroom, leaning over the toilet bowl with two fingers shoved down his throat was another. Dean had grabbed Sam's shoulder roughly, trying not to whince at the feel of Sam's collarbone digging into his hand and definitely trying not to notice that he could more or less count every single one of Sam's ribs through his thin t-shirt.
"Why, Sam?" He had begged when Sam folded himself into Dean's lap and pressed his head into his big brother's neck, warm tears quickly starting to soak through the fabric of Dean's shirt and onto his skin. "Why are you doing this to yourself, kiddo?"
"It all tastes rotten."
"Look, Dad's no Martha Stewart in the kitchen but he tries..."
"No, you don't understand."
"Then tell me."
"It—it tastes of death."
Dean hadn't needed to hear any more.
He simply wrapped Sam in his arms and held him tight. It suddenly all made sense to Dean. It made sense to him when it probably wouldn't have made sense to anyone else, not even Dad. Dean got it now.
Sam had made his first kill only a few months ago. Nothing about Sam's first kill had been intended, nothing about it was the way Dean or Dad had wanted things to come to pass. It had been a shape-shifter. The worse kinds of hunts were those when evil wore a human face. And that night, the shape-shifter had taken on the form of a girl, a small child no less.
As was the routine, Sam had been waiting in the car while his father and brother carried out the hunt. He hadn't been alone for long when the child had appeared out of nowhere, tapping on the window, crying that she was lost. Sam had rushed to unlock the car door and climb out so that he could crouch down in front of the girl and take her hand. That was Sam all over though, his heart worn openly on his sleeve. But Sam's gentle nature had been the Achilles' heel the shape-shifter had been hoping for. That's when she had attacked.
Lethal moves, well beyond the abilities of a mere child. She was moving too quickly to be human and Sam had seen the moonlight spill across her face as she shoved him down to the ground and straddled his hips, striking him again and again with vicious blow after blow.
In that brief moment her eyes had flared as they caught in the milky white glow from the moon and as realization dawned Sam hadn't hesitated to slam the heel of his palm upwards into her face, knocking her away. Then he'd grabbed the small .22 he carried in the waistband of his jeans and fired a silver bullet directly into her heart.
The thing about shape-shifters is that they don't change back into their true form. Even after death, they retain the appearance of the last body they had transformed into. Sam had sat for over an hour by the shape-shifter's corpse which, for all intents and purposes, was the corpse of a seven-year-old girl. Her hair in bunches, tied with ribbons which perfectly matched her pretty pink dress.
Sam had been too upset to eat his supper that night and neither Dean nor his dad had been willing to push the issue.
"Oh, Sammy..." Dean whispered as they huddled together, side by side on the cool tile of the bathroom floor. With his face pressed against Sam's head, the words were lost to his brother's thick dark hair.
Later that very same day, Dean went out into town alone. When he returned to the apartment he made Sam take a seat at the kitchen table where Sam watched quietly as Dean got to work.
By the time he was finished Dean had made a green bean casserole, fried chicken and a rich chocolate pudding.
Sam had looked nervous as the steaming dishes were placed in front of him and Dean let his hand rest on Sam's back as he leaned over to survey the spread. "Mom's favourite was casserole but Dad always likes fried chicken the best, especially when there's extra spices in the coating. Me, I'm more of a dessert man myself."
Sam smiled, slowly picked up his fork and took a bite.
Although Dean often reminds himself that he didn't suffer the sight of watching his mom die, he knows that he did smell her burning. In Sam's apartment the flames had roared as they consumed Jessica but they hadn't been loud enough to disguise the terrible sizzle pop of her flesh cooking, that delightful little sound had brought all the memories of Mom's death flooding right back.
It's been two days now but the stench of smoke is still trapped in Dean's nostrils making it difficult to breathe and no matter how many showers he takes, it's still right there. It's hard on Dean but God only knows what it must be like for Sam. And God really is the only one who knows because Sam sure as hell isn't talking about it.
More importantly though for Dean, is that it's been two days and Sam still won't eat.
Dean doesn't want to leave Sam alone so he makes himself wait. He waits until he can no longer hear Sam sobbing into his pillow and the choked out heaving breathes have evened out into the steady rhythm which accompanies deep sleep.
Dean leaves the motel room and hurries to make it to the 7-Eleven and back before Sam wakes up.
Because when Sam wakes up, there will be a box of doughnuts waiting for him. Maple iced glazed doughnuts, the ones Sam had said Jess liked better than just about anything else in the world.
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