By Karen B.
Summary: Sam can't sleep. Nightmares of Jess are keeping him awake. He takes off while Dean is sleeping, and heads to the bar across from their motel...trouble abounds. Lots of angst. Time set: About two months after the pilot.
Note to reader: Guess I have a thing for a drunk / vulnerable Sam...or Dean. Shrug...LOL...Thank you for taking time to read. Follow your dreams!
Disclaim: Written purely for fun/hobby/expression. Non-profit dreaming...it's all I own.
"No!" The word drug out long and loud.
I bolted straight up, sweaty, cold and panting. A quick profile of the room told me four things. I was in another skeeve motel, it was midnight, Dean was dead asleep in the bed next to mine, and a sadness gripped my heart so tight I thought it would burst.
I knew it was killing me, watching my life fall apart over and over inside my mind -- but I couldn't control the nightmares.
I untangled myself from the sheets and swung my legs over, my feet landing on the cold tile floor. I glanced over my shoulder at Dean and scoffed. He was beat, and I wasn't surprised at all that this time my nightmare had not woke him. The salt and burn we'd just been on wasn't an easy time. Negotiating with demons. Frustrating all night track and kills. Having to drive from town to town, with little more than stale donuts, bitter cold coffee and AC/DC as our only form of entertainment -- sucked. For over a month we'd fought just about every notorious urban legend in Dad's journal. We needed a break. My guess was the Impala needed a break too. Dean and I had just pulled into the motel parking lot when smoke poured from the front grill. Bringing Dean's poor baby to a stand still in the middle of what my brother called 'Barney Fife' USA.
I shook my head recalling Dean's tyrant. Didn't take a mechanic to know we'd be laid up here for a few days. At least the Impala had the desancy to pick a town that had no signs of anything that might try to predetermine mine or Dean's fate. A little 'Mayberry' -- rural free delivery, population 643 was just what we needed. A town, that according to my research never had one ghost, goblin, or century old vampire looming in its distant past.
We had hit the hay early, needing these few days off to just chill. Dean even thought he'd get up early and go fishing at a little pond we saw just down the road. Although. the motel owner had said the only thing he'd ever caught there was the flu.
I laughed at that, remembering when I was eight and bagged my first fish. I had a blast fishing. Even after a yellow-feathered fishing lure snagged my finger. Even after watching squeamishly while Dean plucked the hook from my flesh. That hadn't hurt half as bad as Dad never being around to bear witness to my boyhood. Dean made up for that the best he could. Big brother turned catching my first fish into a big ceremony. Like it was my birthday or something. Slapping me on the back, picking me up and spinning me around. Telling me how proud he was of me, and even teaching me how to clean the Blue Gill who we later fried up for dinner-- all two inches of it. When Dad finally did come home, Dean was all over the man, jumping with excitement and telling him about how 'the kid' caught his first fish today. he was so damn proud of me.
I smiled, recalling the time I tried to teach Jess how to fish....she was more the pool and beach type. She freaked when I told her a real fisherman always baits his/or her own hook.
'Sam Winchester,' she said. "No way I'm touching... much less looking at a slithering, slimy, crawly creature.'
It was that day I knew I could never tell her about my life as a hunter.
I listened to the silence of the room. Listened to the ache in my heart, and one thing came to mind.
Drink until it doesn't hurt anymore.
Drink until you hurl.
Drink until you forget all about the hole torn in your universe-- not to mention your heart. A hole I could never fill.
As quietly as I could, I pulled on a tee shirt, shucked into my jeans and put my shoes on.
It wasn't really my style to go off to the bar and booze it up, but I decided to undertake the pilgrimage -- alone. Just me, and my rebel with a cause quest to forget the things that haunted me in the night. The hiss of fire. The pain of seeing Jess pinned to the ceiling right above me. Her blood dotting my forehead. Me, unable to do a damn thing to save her. I pulled my jacket off the back of a chair, slipped my arms inside and zipped up. I bit my lip, trying hard to stop myself from whimpering, stop my hands from shaking, or the floor from creaking as I moved about the room not wanting to wake Dean.
I swallowed my tears, hating that my happy memories of Jess were now marred with hatred, and not with love. Hatred for that thing that killed her. Hatred for myself for letting it. My dreams were no longer dreams of beauty. Of her gentle laughter as her bare feet played with mine under the cool sheets. How I'd hold her so close I could fee her love rushing through my veins, causing my own heart to defy gravity. Her voice alone whispering my name softly in my ear could break through the cloudiest of skies. Jess, she was my song. A song written just for me. A song that spoke to my heart, a song I could carry to my grave -- if only she hadn't gone to her's first.
I nabbed my motel key off the nightstand, cringing when I nearly knocked the lamp over.
Dean moaned once and rolled over onto his side. I blew out a silent puff of air. I didn't want him coming along, babysitting.
With one last look at my brother, I quietly stole out the motel door. As I walked past the Impala, I ran a hand over the cool metal. My guess was he loved that car just about as much as I loved Jess. She was ultra sleek and totally smooth, -- the car, well Jess too. Right now however, the Impala had stranded us here. Something Jess would never do, and Dean had said we had to wait until Monday for the local parts store to open. Truthfully, I think he just wanted the break. Dean was MacGyver when it came to his car. He could fix the thing with a tube of toothpaste and a band-aide.
The moon ducked behind a large white cloud turning the parking lot completely black. It's a misconception that the human eye can't see well at night. After some adjustment you can see almost as well as an owl. I blinked several times fighting my emotions, fighting my pain. Telling myself it was stupid to go tie one on. That wouldn't bring Jess back. I stopped and looked up at the black sky. Jess loved the moon. I swallowed hard, there would be no more mid-night walks in the woods, the light of the moon glittering in her eyes so bright I could see straight through to her open heart.
I stood still a few more minutes, trying to decipherer the difference between a cricket chirp, and a tree frog's vocalization until the faint sound of music coming from the bar across the street continued to pull me in that direction. I moved a few yards then would stop to listen, change my mind, then move a long again. Moving and waiting. Hearing and moving.
"Drink," I muttered. "I need a drink," I said, trying to convience myself, walking along the sloppy mud filled path.
I wandered past a whispering willow tree, crept silently around a couple kissing, and sidestepped the nocturnal creature known as the skunk, until I found myself standing just a few steps away from the bar's entrance.
The Tavern looked more like a log cabin with a very long porch wrapped around the front, but a huge blinking neon sign above the entrance reading: Beer and Bellie Deli let me know the nature of the establishment -- local yahoo's watering hole number 409.
Glancing around, I noted the Harley's leaning weightily on their kickstands, ready to make a quick escape as if they were horses tied to a post. This place reminded me of an old Western saloon. I'd say it was straight out of a John Wayne flick, if it weren't for the flashy neon sign, and that blue lighted lantern hanging from a beam in the corner of the porch with a half-pound of pesky bugs lying under it from being zapped, and sizzled. I wished Dean and I could zap and sizzle ghosts and goblins as easy.
I strolled in trying to pretend I was relaxed, and at ease, really just glad to get out of the musty motel room and away from my nightmares.
The moment I walked in, however, the hairs on the nape of my neck stood on end. The place was a drunken bawdy celebration not for the weak of heart. Beer bottles were sailing, illegal card games were going on at several corner tables in the back, and loud obnoxious music, the kind Dean would love screamed in my ear. I watched several shady couples head to what I figured wasn't the broom closet, and the smoke swirling through the air reminded me of that stupid Cheech and Chong movie Dean was always making me watch. The place was swinging and if there were chandeliers in this joint, I'd bet my bottom dollar people would have been swinging from those as well. If I was looking for trouble, which I was not, I'd come to the right door. The closed behind me, and all eyes were on me. It was duck season, and I was the duck who just waddled into a convention hall full of everyday hunters. Decoy's and duck calls wouldn't be needed. I was an open target with nowhere to fly.
Glancing around, I noted the bodiless animals hung from every wall. A moose head hung high on the wall wore a blue ball cap snug between its antler's, a blue Hawaiian lei around its neck, and a cigar in its mouth.
"Cute." I smirked, jerking my head alittle to get the hair out of my eyes.
There were also mounted deer heads, antelope, ram, black bear, and wolverine. The only full-bodied animal was a tiny chipmunk situated on the bar near a bottle of Jim Beam. Alvin and the Chipmunks came to mind. I was glad we coudn't mount the things Dean and I hunted -- that'd be just creepy. Lifeless, glassy eyes seemed to follow my every move, but didn't really bother me. I was more concerned with the fact that my head may end up on a plaque above the fireplace; as all human eyes in the room continued to watch me curiously.
I quietly moved through the noisy room looking for the first order of my business.
I made my way through the crowd of eyes that burned a hole in my back, gliding along and crunching peanut shells on the wooden floorboards beneath my shoes.
I pulled out a barstool and sat down. Planning on staying a long while, I dug deep in my Jean's pocket, pulled out a few bucks and plunked them to the mahogany wood. I looked to the barkeep who was completely ignoring me. Clearing my throat for the tenth time, he finally came over.
"Name your poison." His cheap unfriendly smile said one thing to me, his gruff annoyed tone another.
The guy was as huge as a house. I hoped I wouldn't have a problem with him. If I wanted to take on someone my own size I was going to have a difficult time of doing so. Looking around the tavern even the women looked like Attila the Hun.
"Well, hemlock usually, but tonight whiskey," I dryly joked.
"Snot nose, brat," the man sitting in the barstool next to me said, doggedly holding tight to his beer bottle.
I glanced sideways. He had long 60's type hair, and was puffing hard and heavy on his marijuana-laced cigarette.
"Yeah, snot nosed," said his equally longhaired buddy wearing a red bandana sitting on the barstool next to him.
I waved the smoke away, maybe I could hustle a little pool while I was here. Dean and I sure could use the cash and a little action would take my mind off my nightmares.
The bartender poured me a drink, and I raised my glass to the men next to me. "Cheers." I swallowed, slamming the glass to the surface of the scratched wood. "Pour me another," I happily said.
The bartender did as I asked. "Bottoms up." I turned to 60's guy, glass raised. "How about a game of pool?" I asked downing the shot.
"You get it out of your system kid?" 60's guy asked. "Not in the mood for any wise cracks.
His friend, bandana guy just glared at me. Guess he wasn't talking -- hustling pool was obviously a no go.
This place was about as friendly as a crypt full of flesh-eathing zombies. I kept trying to look innocent, and naive. Didn't need anyone trying to take a crack at me. I was a mouse amongst a grove of unfriendly gaint cats.
"Fun and stuff," I whispered, wondering if I'd be better off tracking back through the mud to the motel to reengage my nightmares, before I got squashed under one of the large feet in this dive.
I hunched over my shot glass listening to the babbling sounds of people, clacking pool balls and the ring of a pinball machine in some dark corner of the tavern's flickering shadows
I was fairly certain there was a fine art to drinking yourself into oblivion -- one thing my brother never did get around to teaching me. Two hours and a half dozen or more shots later -- I still hadn't figured it out.
AC / DC's Back in Black suddenly rang out loud and clear.
I swallowed down another shot of whiskey.
"You're pocket's ringing, kid," the bartender said pouring me another round.
I fumbled for my cell, barely able to read the name that popped up on the screen, but knew from the ring tone it was Dean.
I flipped the phone open.
"Don't want none," I slurred, smiling at 60's guy and his red bandana buddy next to him -- they didn't smile back.
"I know you're not selling a subscription to Busty Asian Beauties, Dude." I cringed as Dean continued to yell his urgency in my ear. "Yes, dad, I know it's one-thirty in the morning. I'm here," I laughed. "Where the hell are you? Who is this?" I giggled, and jabbed 60's guy in the ribs giving a wink. "Me who?" I jabbed the guy again.
Dean's aggravation grew ten-fold and I held the phone away from my ear. "Sam, come on, man. Are you drunk?" He asked, and I was certain that time the whole bar had heard.
"Yeah. So." I held my hand over the receiver. "It's Dean," I informed 60's guy, picking up my drink and waving the shot glass in the air and sloshing a few drops on his shirt.. "Oops, sorry," I muttered. "My brother." I pointed to my cell. "Can't live with him -- can't salt and burn his bones."
Dean was still yelling something in my ear, but I was too busy to hear him as the large unhappy fist of 60's guy met my lip. I went down hard, like a scrawny spindly-legged deer. My cell phone went flying and my face landed on bandana guy's cowboy boots. For a moment I didn't move, studying the holes worn in the sides of the leather showing dirty unbleached socks.
"Owe." I glanced up feeling blood dripping from my nose. "Nice boots," I chuckled.
"You makin' fun of my boots, kid?" bandana guy grumbled like an avalanche rolling down a mountainside.
"Yeah. So." I stood, noting the man was a good two inches taller than me.
60's guy looked angry, and looked like he was about to help right the wrong I had done to bandana guy's ego. "Hey, boy, them's might fine boots. Where you get off poking fun?"
I looked for help from the bartender, or anyone else in the bar. There was no help in site. In fact everyone had gathered around and bets were being taken on which one of these guy's was going to tear my head off first. I was nabbed by the collar of my shirt, and my feet hoisted up off the peanut-shelled floor.
"You don't want to do this," I claimed, pulling out my fake ID. "I'm F.B.I." I flashed the badge.
"Yeah." My I.D. was taken by rustling hands and shown to the whole bar. "So!" Everyone laughed.
A hardened right fist plowed across my right cheekbone and I flopped to the shelled floor in a daze. I fumbled to get my legs under me, grabbing at bar stools as they fell. Finally, I got a hold of the edge of the mahogany counter, and pulled myself up to stand.
I was given a small reprieve; as the bartender poured me another shot. I snatched the glass, leaning heavily on my elbows. One gulp, and I set the glass back down just as I was nabbed once more and shoved across the floor into a pinball machine.
"Tilt." 60's guy laughed spitefully.
It was hardly an ideal strategy, but I bowed my head and ran it straight into the gut of one of my assailants. Looking up to his eyes I noted bandana guy didn't budge an inch. I was in deep now. With alarming frequency his fist connected with my gut doubling me to the floor, whiskey rushing out my mouth mixing with the peanut shells.
"Dean," I muttered to the mess upon the floor trying hard not to fall face first into it.
Normally I'd have been able to take both men and the entire bar full, but I was a twisted, shaky, sleep deprived mess.
For the next few days I was brutally bashed about as the patron's of the bar cheered. Did I say days? Okay, it was only minutes, but man it felt like days. Punch after jaw breaking punch, venomous strike after venomous strike.
I could feel rough scrapes all over my legs and arms. My face felt swollen as a balloon, and my gut a basket of sailors' knots that I doubted I could ever untie. I wanted to throw in the towel.I was in bad company, and it was getting worse by the minute. I was on my knees again, 60's guy and his bandana buddy about to go another round with me; when the doors blew open and all the power of a small army in the form of my brother burst on to the scene. I was aware enough to peer out from under my mussed up hair and half swollen shut blackened eye, to see Dean take two majestic steps into the drunken soirée. His fake I.D. in one hand held out high, and his gun held just as high in the other. Man, he looked like an angel entering sin city, or maybe that was just the neon sign above the door flashing behind him. Either way, the room was spinning too much to tell.
"F.B.I!" Dean's bad-tempered tone filled the room. "That there is my bro...my partner." He waggled his gun at what was left of me. "I think," he added, cocking his head in sympathy. "You two..." Dean's attention went back to the muscle that had me pinned as he stepped further into the room. "Cheech and Chong..." he waggled his gun again." You got a beef with him, you got a beef with me!" Dean growled.
"Sounds like a good theory," I groaned, looking up at my captors.
Still, I had my doubts glancing around the bar full of equally 60's looking bikers. There were a lot of them to theory with -- and one of me and only three of Dean.
"Let him go!" Dean demanded.
"Whatever, man," bandana guy said.
Both men let go of me, and I flopped to the floor with a thud.
"Ahhh!" I moaned --'cause it hurt.
There were a few more choice phrases coming from my big brother, but I didn't hear them. I felt beaten -- 'cause I was. In every sense of the word.
With the herky-jerky rhythm of an impaired dancer, I tried to raise my head off the floor and get to my feet.
"Sam, just hold tight a second," Dean said.
"I'll be around," I laughed, arms sprawled out on the floor, staring up at a spinning ceiling fan -- thinking the blades must be going 67 in a 35 mile an hour zone.
I was a mess. Inside and out. I missed Jess so much. She was the style, and sophistication I never had in my life. I never wanted to be a part of the hunt. I wanted to be a lawyer, get married, have a normal life. I wanted to wake up next to Jess, tangled between her and the sheets, not tangling with perturbed, pissed off spirits.
"Gaaa," I moaned, Jess wouldn't be six feet under now if it wasn't for me.
"Some party you had without me, Sam." Someone was at my side tugging me upward.
I opened my eyes.
"Yeah. So." I cringed, it was amazing how your I.Q. dropped ten points when drunk. "Leave me alone." I tried to fight the guy, taking a couple half-hearted swings..
"Sam, knock it off." A blurry figure bent over me, eyes squinting scornfully. "It's Dean."
"Who?" I waved a drunken hand in his face.
"Sam!" Dean's eyes were hard, like polished granite stone.
"Sam, you can't stay here all night, come on!"
Soaking in the look, I knew if I wanted to live longer I wouldn't continue on this path.
"Fine, Dean. So help me up."
"Trying." Dean grabbed me by the arm.
I struggled to my feet wavering mid-way, but with his help was able to bring myself upright.
"Now what?" I cracked.
"Now, we blow this town."
"What about our stuff?"
"Got it covered. Let's go." Dean headed us toward the door, side glancing at me. "Little brother, you look rough."
"Should," I agreed. "Going on my eighth life." I tried to laugh, but my lower lip was so puffed-up and numb from being hit so many times I couldn't.
I made it to the exit. "You good?" Dean pushed the door open.
"Pretty good." I gave Dean a huge smile.
"After you then, Margarettaville."
I couldn't move. Just stood gawking at Dean. Trying to sort and file what it was that just happened.
"Sam, did you really think getting drunk would help you with your nightmares?"
"Nothing will help," I said. "But I tried it anyway."
Everything started to get dark and shrink to the size of a pinpoint.
"Can you walk?"
"Of course." Suddenly my stomach sputtered violently. A fiery molten mass of lava. I swallowed hard, my feet going out from under me and the floor racing upward at a dizzying speed. "I can walk." My knees dipped.
"Great." Dean braced a shoulder against mine and hauled me roughly up and over his shoulder. "You're too heavy for this crap, Sam," he said struggling out the door.
The fireman's carry -- most effective way to handle a drunk, and damn if I wasn't one hell of a toasted drunk. I dangled limply over Dean's shoulder, one hand gripping the back of his jacket, while my knees bounced against his belt.
"Said, I could walk, Dean."
"Obviously," Dean grunted, but handled me like a turkey on a silver platter.
There was a tightness in my chest, and I tried to clear the images of Jess burning on the ceiling pleading for me to tell her the truth.
The incredible evil in this world just seemed to be everywhere. How could Dean and I keep fighting it? I gazed down the length of Dean's back to the moving ground.
"What now?" I scrubbed my eyes of the images.
"What do you think?"
"Kick ass and run."
"What about the car?"
"Bro, you can't be all that drunk, if you remember the car. Think you're just looking for a free ride," Dean snarled, adjusting my weight. "Don't worry, Sam. I got her up and running for now. We'll stop at the next town for the part I need. Long as I keep the radiator full of water we should make it."
"But, nothing." Dean lowered me to my feet. "Three things, Sam." He propped me against the car. "One, you take off again like that without telling me, and you'll never see your ninth life." He opened the car door. "Two, you are going to tell me about these nightmares if I have to beat them out of you." Dean stuffed all my limbs inside settling me in the passenger seat. "And three, don't you dare puke in my car." He slammed the door, trotted around to the other side and got in. "You got that, bitch?"
"Got what?" My head lolled to the side.
"Shut up and sleep it off," Dean ordered, revving the engine.
I watched the bar in the side view mirror until I could see it no more, wishing I could get rid of the pain inside as easily.
I dreamed of blood, fire, smoke, the smell of burning flesh, screaming for Jess.
My eyes snapped open, and there staring at me was Dean.
"Another bad dream?" he asked softly.
"No." I turned my head, my nose pressing up against the cold of the passenger window.
The details of what I'd been doing earlier were muddled. What happened? I couldn't wrap my head around much of anything. The last thing I recalled was seeing Dean burst into the bar like an avenging angel, then the vague sense of being carried out slung over Dean's shoulder like a wet towel. He'd never let me live that down.
"Crap." Black blobs rushed by the window making my stomach clench. I groaned determine not to be sick.
"No," I moaned, 'cause I wanted to see if I was still alive.
"Here." I answered the roll call.
"Just take it easy. I'll find us a motel soon."
I struggled to sit up away from the door I'd been leaning on. A normal skill that should have taken no time at all took on superhuman strength. I felt horrible, shaky and really rattled. How could a few friendly drinks make me feel this bad?
"Man, you reek, what were you drinking anyway?"
"Whiskey." I shielded my eyes with my hand. "Just a few."
"Just how big were those few drinks?" Dean asked firing several foul words my way "You look like shit."
"I'd say that's a fairly accurate description." I closed my eyes, reopening them to peer at Dean.
Oh man, my brother looked hotheaded. I began to remember more, recalling a lot of cigarette smoke, a lot of whiskey, and two sets of knuckles. Now here I was in the Impala, and feeling like--like--suddenly the feeling I couldn't describe made me gag.
"You going to be sick?"
"Dean, I said, no."
There was this long, uncomfortable silence then Dean said, "Sam, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry about Jess." Dean's tone was rarely full of so much understanding, it made my stomach clamp down even more. "I can only imagine how hard this is for you. But life happens, Sam. And we just sort of happen with it. You got to pull it together."
Dean was right, but knowing that didn't make the last two months go down any easier.
I started to feel really hot and sweaty, and I moaned again.
"You're going to be sick... aren't you?"
"No," I denied again, swallowing and feeling something unpleasant pumping in my stomach. I coughed raggedly. "I'll be okay."
"You don't sound like you'll be okay, and you're not looking so good there, Sam."
Again, I could see my reflection in the driver's side window and I got real serious. This incredibly deep and really profound thought came to me, and I had to share it with my brother.
"Gotta tell you something, Dean." I laid a hand to his shoulder. " Listen, man." I squeezed. "It's really important." I waited a minute to be sure I had his full attention.
"What is it, Sam?" Dean asked in a really low and caring voice.
"I look better than you did on prom night with Rosemary McCarthy," I laughed loudly, recalling Dean in his white tuxedo, red bow tie and cummerbund.
I stared out the side window, seeing my stupid grin reflecting back at me. Where'd that come from I wondered. My head flopped back and I looked at Dean. I really wanted to say something profound about love and loss. Instead, I was just babbling drunk.
"Sam, we really need to break you out of nerd prison," Dean said, taking a good long look at me.
Something in my gut suddenly shifted, and my skull felt like it'd been plowed head on into a rock. I took a few panting breaths.
"Dude!" Dean said with a rush of urgency. "You look green."
"Feel sick," I admitted, one hand gripping my thigh and the other holding on to the door handle.
"Not a good combination," Dean grumbled under his breath.
The car seemed to be going faster, sailing smoothly around the curves in the road. The scenery sped by. What did Dean think this was? Some sort of National racing competition? I tightened my hand around my thigh and gulped. Was this his victory lap?
"Slow down," I barely could whisper. It quickly became clear to me we were not slowing down, as he swerved right to pass another driver. "Slow down, Dean." Did I say that out loud? Big brother didn't even seem to be paying attention to me. Maybe he was too busy listening to the spectators in the stands jumping up and down and cheering him on.
A tsunami was kicking me in the gut. I lurched forward, both hands gripping the dash "Haa!" I grunted.
"Khaa," I grunted again. "Stop the car!" I said frantically. Everything I saw waved about like a checkered flag. "Dal." Another spasm wracked my throat as I tried to hold back my innards.
"Crap! Hold on to it, Sam!"
I felt every bump as the car's tires rode along the edge of the road until we came to a stop.
I heard the driver side car door open and slam shut. I slumped back into the seat, taking deep breaths, holding up better now that everything wasn't hitting 82 miles per hour. Dean opened my door. The cool night wind had a bite to it and I quivered.
Dean put one hand to my shoulder, to help me out.
"Just let me sit here a second. I'm okay."
"Okay." Dean kept a hand on my shoulder. "How'd you let Cheech and Chong get the drop on you, anyway?" he asked. "Drunk or not Sam you should have been able to wax the car with them."
I pressed my lips tight together, unable to answer. It was one of those things you don't try to explain to a sober person. Dean seemed to understand and went on to his next line of questioning.
"Why didn't you call me, before you decided to head off on a drinking bender, huh?" he asked, brushing my hair off my forehead with his other hand, his touch cloud-soft.
I couldn't answer. Couldn't move.
"Sam?" Dean frowned, waving a hand in front of my eyes, trying to gain my attention, I supposed. "You with me, little brother?"
"You...You couldn't fix it." I shrugged.
"No. But I could have been there for you." Dean massaged my shoulder. "Don't you think I'd want to be there for you, Sam?"
I hadn't thought about it enough to give an answer. "Sorry," I breathed out. "Thal!" My body convulsed, and I sat forward, throwing up a little in my mouth and quickly swallowing the burning liquid back down.
"That's it. Out of my car." Dean pulled me quickly to my feet.
"You're my brother," I managed.
"Right now, Sam, you're lucky I'm your brother. No one else would put up with you," Dean said softly, maneuvering me to the side of the road by a ditch. With one hand flat against my back, he gently bent me forward. "Let it out, you idiot. You'll feel better after you finish reciting the Arabic Alphabet."
"Huh?" What was he talking about? With my hands griping my knees for support, I shook my head. "No. Just no, okay."
I hated getting sick. I felt weak. Was stupid getting so trashed. I fought the sickness back. But it would do me no good. I wished for a decent place to puke up my liver. Wished to God I had a porcelain shell, but in the end, the dirty roadside was going to have to do. Dean was right I had to let it out, I just didn't know how.
"Jess--she--she, Jess!" My voice echoed through the darkness. "Oh, man, Dean. I lied to her." My stomach clenched, and a small cry slipped out.
"It's okay. It's okay. Sam, you didn't hurt anyone." Dean stroked a piece of hair out of my eyes. I lifted one hand and tugged at my shirt collar to loosen it, still trying to produce enough saliva to wash down the flavor of vomit in my mouth. My shirt was damp with sweat and the cool night air made me shiver. "Here." Dean eased me down to my knees. "C'mon, Sam," he said, standing behind me still keeping a hand to my back. "You're only hurting yourself. You have to sleep sometime, now let go of it. All of it."
Dean's hand ran up and down my back in a gentle way. I coughed raggedly, teeter-tottering until my right shoulder leaned against his leg. "Don't," I uttered. "Was all my fault. All of it."
"Look, Sam. I'm no physiatrist, but you have to just accept things. It's your life. You need to be able to live with yourself." Dean locked a hand to my shoulder. "Sam, a few tears falling that first night isn't letting it out. That crap about big boys don't cry -- well it's crap, Sam! You can let go. I'm here."
"I can't," I whispered.
"Sam, don't make me do this."
"Dean, I can't."
"Sam!" Out of the blue, Dean violently tugged me to my feet and spun me around to face him. "You killed her, man! He clutched at my shirt. "You friggin' killed Jess!"
"What?" I was stunned.
Dean shook me hard. "Is that what you want to hear? Is that what will make the nightmares stop!" Dean spat angrily. "Because they have to stop, Sam! That road will destroy you faster than any demon ever could. You can't go on hurting yourself like this." Dean's eyes watered up. "Christ, Sammy, it's going to kill you!" Dean shook me harder.
My heart rate marched into overdrive and I could feel my blood rushing through my veins.
"You killed her!" Dean continued to yell at the top of his lungs. "You never should have hooked up with her in the first friggin' place. Jess was too good for you. Too far out of your league. You should have known that. If it wasn't for you she'd be alive today."
I started to shake, feeling as though Dean's words had set me on fire. I knew what he was doing. In my brother's own demented way, he was trying to help me. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe deep, I wasn't going to let anything out. It was my pain and I wanted to keep it.
"Is that what you need to hear, little brother?" Dean shook me again, so hard this time I felt my brain slosh from one side of my skull to the other. "You killed her!"
"You're wrong." My eyes snapped open of their own accord and I glared heatedly at Dean.
"You, Sam! You set her on fire and you lay there looking up at her and didn't move one muscle to save her. It was all your..."
"No." I shook my head back and forth. "No." Hot tears washed down my cheeks. "I didn't know. I would never have hurt her. I'd have died for her!" I screamed, trying to pull away from Dean as giant tears streaked down my cheeks. "I lied to her." I tried to pull away again, but Dean held me in place. "I didn't tell her about...about what we do...to protect her. I loved her."
"Yes, you did," Dean sighed "And she loved you, and...and it isn't fair, and it wasn't your fault." Dean took a deep breath. "Sam. It wasn't your fault! Say it."
I gripped Dean's arms to keep from falling. "I can't." I stiffened, trying to stand my ground. "Not yet," I whimpered, my entire body hurting.
"Then I'll say it for you," Dean leaned forward and whispered in my ear. "Sam. You didn't kill Jessica. You didn't. You didn't kill her. You loved her. You didn't kill her, man." Dean kept repeating over and over and over in a soft, warm, reassuring way.
Maybe I was exhausted from not enough sleep. Maybe 60's guy, and his bandana buddy had knocked a few brain cells loose. Maybe I was totally trashed, or maybe my brother really knew what he was talking about. In any case my body went limp, and my knees gave out, and I said the words.
"I didn't kill her. Dean, I didn't." I fell against Dean, crying like a little girl.
"I know. Sam, damnit I know!" Before I knew what was happening Dean had an armful of me, crushing me close, holding my head against his shoulder. "It's okay. I'm here, Sam."
Tears leaked out my eyes and pattered to stain the back of Dean's leather. Eventually what was left of my strength gave out.
"Easy." Dean followed my downward spiral to the pavement. "I gottcha."
Like some stray dog sniffing the dirt, I picked up the scent of greasy motor oil, burnt rubber, and possibly someone's tossed tuna wrapper. I grunted, my body convulsing again. This time vomit of varying degrees shot from my mouth.
"That's it, Sam. There you go."
Large bits mixed with small bits of peanuts and liquor, spewed over the dirt, splashing onto my jeans and my brother's pants.
When I was done, my stomach felt completely gutted, and I grew colder, shivering harder. Dean pulled me back away from my mess to a dry spot, and held me close, wrapping his arms around me. I was grateful for the warmth and started to drift.
"You feeling' better, Sam?"
The sound of his voce startled me. "What?" I jerked, barely able to keep my head upright.
"Bro. " A hand patting my cheek slowly brought me back around." You with me?"
"I'm drunk," I stated the obvious, trying to get back in the game.
"Record breaking drunk, Sam."
Something slithered inside me. I was bathed in sweat, my heart beating fast, while gut-busting dry heaves twisted and bent my body. My stomach continued on with its objective; to overthrow first my liver, than my heart and lungs.
"Remind me again how much I enjoyed those drinks," I groaned, raising a hand to wipe the spittle from my mouth.
"Don't." Dean caught my hand. He dug inside his jacket pocket, "Right now, I don't think you need reminding."
"Wha-what are you doing?"
"Looking for something I can use to wipe your mouth with."
"Check my pocket."
Dean dipped his hand in my left pocket, searching. "Other pocket," I uttered.
Switching pockets, he produced a napkin. Right when he began to wipe my mouth, I gagged, turning my head away. "Ahh! Don't, Dean. You want me to puke on your head?"
"Hand..." He turned my head back toward him and wiped my mouth. "You gonna throw up any more?"
Dean's eyes were full of concern and as dark as the night. "I'm fine." I looked away.
"Let's get you up." Dean finally broke the moment, supporting my weight he unbent my body and brought me to my feet. "How you doing?"
"Wond--" My voice was harsh, and I was out of breath. "Won-wonderful." My legs felt like they had turned to water.
"Just breathe," Dean said, holding me at arm's length. I clung to him to keep upright, steeling myself against the chill. "Breathe. Breathe." He hooked a hand to the back of my neck. "Just Breathe--"
"Dean, I am breathe--ahhh!"
Right on cue, my shoulders drew up to my ears and I bent forward, projectile vomiting all over my brother's boots. "Ohhh," I moaned my apologies. "Dean," I muttered, wanting to tell him to just leave me on the side of the road to die a slow, painful, and agonizing death.
I swayed back and forth, and was surprised when he pulled me closer. Dean's hand stroked down my back and he pressed it there for support.
"Didn't think you had anything left to yak, bro," he laughed quietly.
"Just my stomach lining."
In response, my belly contracted and I winced, praying I wouldn't throw up down his back now. "Dean--" I wheezed. " I wouldn't do that if I were--"
"Sh--I got you."
I stiffened, swallowing over and over, desperate not to be sick anymore. "But--"
"But, I'm here." Dean cut me off. "That's all you need to know."
He rubbed my back a few minutes and I couldn't help but relax and fall more heavily against him. Dean shifted my weight carefully as I could tell he was kicking off his shoes.
"Hold on, Sam."
I could not open my eyes, all I could do was grit my teeth, and shake to my very core. I was useless. Dean dropped a strong arm around my waist and slowly moved me until I felt him sit me back inside his car. I heard rustling and finally managed to open my eyes. He was reaching over to the back seat, and had brought out a thick blanket.
"Here we go." He unfolded the square and spread the fuzzy warmth, quietly covering me.
Dean shut the door. I heard the trunk pop, guessed he was tossing his boots in there. A second later, my brother slid in behind the wheel, starting the engine we headed down the road.
I had been pushed and pulled and dragged, and I do not think even my brother understood how far I fell this time.
"Want to know something really bizarre?" Dean turned to me.
"What?" I peeked open one eye.
"I think I saw this on Oprah once."
"Really?" I closed my eye.
"No. Not really," Dean laughed. "I think this shit is too wrecked even for her." Dean reached over and gripped my shoulder. "Sleep it off, Sam."
"Thanks," I mumbled under my breath.
"Anytime, brother. Anytime."