Disclaimer: If I owned them, Sam and Dean would hug it out more often.
Warning: This story is set sometime after Lucifer Rising, so spoilers for the end of season four. Anything beyond is just me. :P
A/N: Um… I'm not really sure where this came from. It's possibly a result of too much sugar and a very annoying essay. Enjoy!
Sam Winchester leant against the back wall of the gas station shop, bags of shopping at his feet and his eyes roving randomly over the half-empty shelves that surrounded him. He and Dean had already purchased all that they needed, and he was just waiting for his brother to return from the restroom. Dean had been gone a long time so far, and Sam was starting to think that he'd been ambushed once again by Castiel, who, according to Dean, seemed to be trying to perfect the art of fluttering into existence in the most awkward situations he could think of.
Huffing out an impatient sigh, Sam shifted his weight from one leg to the other. As he did so, his foot accidentally brushed against one of the bags and a candy bar wrapped in brightly coloured foil toppled out, rolling onto the shop floor. Frowning, Sam bent down and picked it up. About to put it back into the bag, he looked at it consideringly. When his stomach rolled, reminding him that it was well past lunchtime, he made up his mind. Casting a quick glance at the restroom door, Sam swiftly pulled the top half of the wrapper off, scrunching it up into a ball and shoving it into his jacket pocket. With another glance at the door, he opened his mouth as wide as it could go and took an enormous bite of candy, feeling his teeth sink satisfyingly into the mixture of nuts and nougat. Chewing slowly, he closed his eyes, relishing the taste of the candy bar as it melted in his mouth. It had been a long time since he had allowed himself to enjoy something so simple.
Opening his eyes again, Sam glanced round, searching for Dean. Instead, he saw a little girl with curly blonde ringlets sitting in a stroller that was laden down with multiple bags of shopping, just a few feet from him.
"Hey there, kiddo," he said, swallowing the rest of his bite. "Where's your mom?"
"She's here," came a stressed-sounding voice. Startled, Sam turned around. He frowned as he saw a small blonde woman standing just behind him, struggling to reach the bag of flour that was sitting on the topmost level of the layers of shelving.
Hurrying over, Sam reached up and easily snagged the bag she was reaching for. "Here you go," he said with a smile, giving it to her.
"Oh, thank you," the woman exclaimed. She looked down at herself disparagingly, then back up at him. "Sometimes I think these shelves were designed to makes things difficult for people like me."
"Hey, don't worry about it." Sam offered her a smile. "If you're my size, you hit your head whenever you go through a doorway."
The woman laughed. "I guess that both of us have our problems, huh?"
Sam nodded. It felt good to talk to someone normal for a minute, someone who had no idea what was going on, what he'd done.
With a jolt, he realised that the woman was still speaking. "Hey," she was saying to him, "you wouldn't mind staying with my daughter for a second, would you? I just need to get some bread and the stroller has all these bags on it…"
She trailed off hopefully. Sam looked where she pointing, about halfway down the aisle from where they were standing.
"No problem," he replied. "I'll be right here."
Casting him a grateful smile, the woman hurried off, promising her daughter that she'd be right back.
Once the woman had gone, Sam bent down and grinned at the small child. "Hey there," he said gently. "What's your name?"
The girl looked at him, her eyes wide, then started to cry.
"Hey, no, don't do that," Sam said, startled. "Your mom'll be right back. See, she's just down there!"
He pointed, and the kid's mom, hearing the cries, waved, trying to get her daughter's attention.
But the girl was on a roll, and her wails loudened. Not knowing what to do, Sam stood up, his candy bar clenched tightly in his hand. He gazed desperately in the direction of the girl's mother, willing her to return. Yet the woman was again struggling to reach an item on the top shelf. It looked like a shop assistant had just gone to get a stepladder.
Sam jumped at the sharp sound of his brother's voice. He turned. Dean was standing behind him, his gaze disbelieving as he stared at Sam.
"Tell me you didn't," Dean said flatly.
"Didn't what?" Sam asked, confused. Then he realised that he was standing over a stroller. The little girl in it was crying loudly, her wails building as she reached for her mother. Or, he realised suddenly, for the candy bar that Sam was holding just out of her grasp.
Sam looked at his brother, panicked. "Dean, wait. This isn't what it looks like-"
Dean shook his head grimly. "I don't even want to hear it, Sam. Just give it back to the kid, okay?"
"But- it's mine..."
Sam trailed off. Dean had already left, striding out of the shop door and towards the car.
Sam glared down at the little girl. "This is your fault, you know," he accused her.
Just then, the mother returned, bread clutched in her hand. "I'm so sorry about that," she panted, reaching down to take her daughter in her arms. "Those shelves got the better of me again."
"Don't worry about it," Sam said with a shrug. He shoved the rest of the candy bar into his pocket. "Happens to the best of us."
Dispiritedly, he brushed off the woman's thanks and headed out of the shop after his brother, hitting his head on the doorframe on the way out.
Sam sighed as he closed the motel door behind him and went to lean against the sleek black fender of the Impala. He was bored.
Since fulfilling his evil destiny, he had been allowed to live life pretty much the way he wanted to, and for the most part, it had all been to the good. There was the occasional demon attack, of course, by the several factions who believed that kidnapping the prophesised saviour-of-the-world's kid brother would give them a bit of leverage in the new world order, and then there were the couple of times he'd been ambushed by hunters wanting to lay claim to the boasting rights that went along with killing the man who had started the apocalypse. But mostly, he spent his time just following Dean around, helping out on run-of-the-mill hunts and the sporadic guerrilla attack against the armies of Lucifer. And he'd also become the official research boy for the End of Days.
At that specific moment, however, Sam was feeling kind of useless. Dean was in the motel room, having one of his many secret meetings with Castiel. The first couple of times the rogue angel had appeared, claiming that he had important information to discuss with Dean, Sam had joined them, not exactly part of the meeting, but not not part of it either. However, the angel had kept staring at him, looking remarkably like a deer who had been confronted by a whole lot of headlights, and then leaning over to murmur things into Dean's ear.
Sam snorted to himself. Personally, he couldn't see that the angel had come off smelling like roses the night that Lucifer had risen either. But apparently it was only The Boy With The Demon Blood who had broken the last seal who copped the blame for the apocalypse, all mitigating circumstances forgotten.
Now, whenever Castiel appeared, occasionally with Anna at his side, Sam just packed up whatever he was doing and left the room, or the bar, or wherever they happened to be at the time. He had caught Dean looking at him once or twice with something like regret in his eyes, but for the most part, Dean was too busy with the responsibilities of his new saviour-of-the-world gig to bother much with his antichrist little brother.
A sudden soft whine from somewhere by his feet made Sam glance down. His eyebrows rose in surprise and the hint of a smile lifted the corner of his mouth. A small brown puppy was sitting on the steps right outside the motel room door.
Sam crouched down, shoving his laptop bag around onto his back so it wouldn't accidentally swing round and knock the little thing over. "Hey there, boy," he said, holding out a hand. The puppy sniffed it curiously. "What are you doing out here alone? You got an owner somewhere?"
Standing back up, Sam looked about the parking lot, but it was empty except for himself, the Impala and a couple of station wagons. He leant down again and scratched the puppy's silky ears.
"Why don't you come with me, huh?" he murmured. "I'll take you to check-in, maybe the manager knows who you belong to."
As Sam stepped forward to pick it up, the puppy's enthusiasm got the better of it and it bounded forward excitedly. Right into Sam's large, booted foot.
Letting out a pained yelp, the puppy recoiled and backed away, keeping its body close to the ground.
Sam turned round. Dean was standing in the open doorway of the motel room, his face thunderous.
Sam suddenly realised what the situation must look like. "Hey," he said hurriedly. "Dean. This isn't what it-"
Dean interrupted him. "Did you just kick that puppy?" he demanded.
"What?" Sam repeated, backing away. "No! It was an accident!"
But Dean's eyes had gone cold. "You know, I don't get you sometimes," he declared, then turned and strode back into the room, slamming the door behind him.
Open-mouthed, Sam stared after him. Then, shoulders slumped, he turned around and picked up the puppy, which seemed no worse the wear for what had happened. Rather, wriggling round in his arms, it planted its oversized paws on Sam's shoulder before trying to lick his nose.
Sam sighed. "Come on, puppy. Let's see if we can get you home."
At the loud yell that came from somewhere behind him, Sam swivelled round, going automatically for the gun that was tucked down the back of his jeans.
A second later, a man wearing thick, horn-rimmed glasses had appeared out of nowhere and was shoving Sam out of the way, pushing him to the side of the grassy verge and closer to the Impala, inside of which Dean was sitting in close conversation with Castiel, who had just materialised in the backseat. Startled, Dean had almost swerved off the road before he had managed to jerk the car to a sudden halt on the side of the nature reserve in which Sam was now standing.
The man threw himself to the ground, his hands digging desperately at the damp earth. "You killed it!" he exclaimed. He looked up at Sam, his face twisted in anger and misery. "It was the last one and you killed it!"
Sam slowly released his grip on his gun, deciding that the man might be a little crazy, but not dangerous. Not compared to what he usually dealt with. "What do you mean I killed it? Killed what?"
The man rose to his feet, something clasped loosely between his hands. Stepping forward, he shoved them up into Sam's face. "Look at this!" he demanded. "Just look at what you did!"
Peering closely, Sam could just make out a small green lump and a smear of red blood on the very corner of the man's palm.
The man was glaring at him. "This was the last hopping tree caterpillar in existence!" he declared. "And you stepped on it and now it's dead!"
"But if it was the last one," Sam said hesitantly, taking a step away from the man, who was advancing on him, "then that means that the species would have died out anyway, so it's not really my fault."
"That would be true," the man ground out, "if you hadn't just stepped on the last female of the species as well!"
Sam lifted his foot and saw a slightly smaller, greener smear of blood on the sole of his boot. He winced and looked up at the man, whose eyes were wide and bloodshot. He seemed to be fighting back tears.
"I'm sorry," Sam said helplessly. "It was an accident."
"An accident!" The man took a menacing step forwards. "I'll give you an accident!"
"Hey!" Dean's sharp voice rang out and Sam whipped round, more glad than he could say to see his brother approaching.
"What's going on here?" Dean demanded angrily once he had slowed to a stop. He turned on Sam, who, about to step back, stopped himself quickly, scared that he would wipe out another species.
Dean looked annoyed. "Cas says that we've gotta go, Sam, something's just happened up in North Dakota. I don't have time for you to go all nature-lover on me."
"Nature-lover!" the man exploded, pushing up his glasses with the hand that wasn't covered in hopping tree caterpillar. "Your friend just wiped out an entire species!"
Dean blinked. "He did what now?"
"Dean-" Sam started desperately. "This isn't-"
Dean held up his hand, cutting Sam off mid-sentence. "Look," Dean said, turning to the man, who was now staring down at his hand, tears trickling down his face. "We don't want any trouble."
"Trouble! He's just ruined my life's work!" The man's face twisted with rage as he looked up at Sam. "He'll pay for this," he snarled.
Next thing Sam knew, Dean had drawn his own gun and had levelled it at the man. "Sam, get in the car," he growled.
"I'm sorry," Sam flung at the man desperately, then he turned and bolted for the relative safety of the Impala, which was now empty of angels.
A minute or so later, Dean joined him, sliding silently into the driver's seat and tucking his gun into the back of his jeans.
Sam swallowed. "Dean," he started nervously, "I didn't mean to…you know, wipe out a species."
"Just leave it, Sam. It's done now."
Sam nodded and stared miserably out of the window as the Impala pulled back onto the road.
Sam grinned to himself. For the first time in a long time, he felt happy. Like, really happy. Grasping the bottle he had clutched in his hand, he lifted it to his mouth and took another couple of gulps. The alcohol burned his throat as it went down and he spluttered a bit, then sank back into the limp motel room pillows he'd piled like a throne on his bed.
The next moment, there was the jingle of keys in the lock. The motel room door opened and Dean entered through it, slamming it shut behind him.
Sam's mood deflated immediately at the sight of his brother. Dean thought he was evil. But he wasn't, not really. Except for all the puppy-kicking and apocalypse-starting he'd been doing lately. But those had both been an accident.
Casting him a quick nod, Dean headed for the bathroom wihtout a word. Then, suddenly, he stopped. He sniffed. His eyes landed on the bottle in Sam's lap.
"Dude," he said accusingly, "are you drunk?"
Sam shrugged. "I'm not as think as you drunk I am."
Dean shook his head wearily. Crossing the room, he sank down on the other, unoccupied bed so that he was sitting opposite Sam. "Why've you been drinking, Sammy?"
"Because I'm evil, Dean. And drinking is a vice." Tilting his head back, Sam took another long swig. "So I'm just living up to my nature. Or my nurture," He paused, his forehead furrowing as he thought. "Maybe both."
Dean sighed heavily. "Why are you doing this to yourself, man? You being wasted is the last thing we need."
Sam leant in towards his brother. "You know what I need?" he demanded, stumbling over his words slightly. "A t-shirt. An 'I ended the world and all I got was this lousy t-shirt' t-shirt. Then everyone would know what I did and they would know-" he hiccoughed loudly, "-and they would know to stay away from me. Because I'm evil. And you know what I did?" He leant even further towards Dean, almost falling off the side of the bed. "I ended the world," he whispered loudly. "I killed it!"
His brother sighed. "It's not dead yet, Sam."
"No thanks to me," Sam declared. He tipped forwards again and poked Dean in the shoulder to make sure he had his attention. "D'you know what I did today, Dean? I wiped out an entire species."
"It was a caterpillar, Sam. No one cares."
Sam shook his head sadly. "It would have turned into a butterfly," he said mournfully. "And I care. And I'm evil."
"No one's saying that you're evil, Sam."
"But you're thinking it!" Sam blurted out. "I know you are! I mean, I helped that woman and you thought I was taking candy from her baby! But it was my candy, Dean! Mine. I paid for it!" He bumped his fist on the bed for emphasis.
Dean's brow creased. "What woman?"
Sam rolled his eyes heavily. "The one in the shop, stupid." Another memory struck him. "And then, when I was trying to help that puppy, you thought I was trying to hurt it. But I didn't mean to, it just bounced forward, like this!" He made a strange lurching motion. "Right into my foot!"
"Sam, calm down. What puppy?"
"Last week, at the motel. You'd just come out of your stupid secret angel club meeting." He frowned miserably. "I hate that stupid club."
"There is no club, Sammy."
"Yeah there is. And I hate it." Suddenly, Sam brightened. He'd just had an idea. "Hey, Dean?" he asked earnestly. "Can I join?"
"You can't join something that doesn't exist, Sam."
"Well, whatever you call it then, when you and the fairies-"
"-angels meet up and I have to leave. I want in."
"You don't have to leave."
Sam huffed and took another swallow of Jack before dumping the empty bottle on the bed. "Right. Next time I'll just sit there and Cas can keep staring at me all day." A thought struck him and he widened his eyes. "You know, I don't think I've ever seen that guy blink. Like, ever."
Dean rolled his eyes. "Dude, you are such a lousy drunk. Now stand up."
Sam snorted wetly as Dean levered him to his feet with a shoulder underneath his armpit. "I bet I'm a better drunk than that stupid tinkerbell," he muttered, "with his stupid trench coat, and his stupid spiky hair, and his-"
"Cas doesn't get drunk, Sammy. He's an angel."
Sam smirked. He'd just had another idea. "Hey, Dean?" he said eagerly. "Wanna try and get Cas drunk with me? I bet he doesn't even know what alcomo- what alcohol is."
"We're not getting Cas drunk, Sam. Anna'd kill me. But hey, I've got an even better idea."
Stumbling as his feet tripped over something on the floor, Sam managed to get his legs back under him. He looked down at Dean blearily. "What's that?" he asked. He frowned. His voice had gone all echoey. And he was pretty sure he could hear a tap running.
"How 'bout we try and get you sober?"
Sam shook his head firmly. "Nope. Don't like that ide-"
But Dean had already wrapped a hand in the hair at the back of his head and pushed him forwards. A second later, Sam found himself face down in a basin of ice-cold water. As soon as the pressure on his head relented, he jerked upright and glared at Dean through dripping strands of hair.
"You know," he declared, "if this is revenge for that whole strangling you thing-"
The next second, he was underwater again, sputtering and swallowing, until Dean finally hauled him out of the basin and pushed him down to sit on the side of the bath.
Dean handed him a towel. "Dry your hair, man."
Sam shook his head violently and smirked when dozens of water droplets spattered all over Dean.
"Nice, Sam. Real mature."
A moment later, a second towel had descended on his head. Reluctantly, Sam reached up and rubbed it back and forth before letting it drop to the floor.
Sam heard a stifled snort of laughter from somewhere above him. "Dude," came Dean's amused voice, "you look like a cross between a yak and Edward Scissorhands."
"Shut up," Sam muttered. His head was starting to ache.
But Dean was already tugging at him again. "Come on, dude, time for bed," he was saying as he pulled Sam to his feet and steered him across the room.
"'M'not tired," Sam mumbled, but he found himself being pushed down onto a nice, soft mattress anyway.
"Sure you're not."
Sam's head hit the pillow and he winced. "My hair's all wet," he complained.
There was silence for a while, broken only by the soft noises of Dean pottering about the room and dismantling the pillow throne on the other bed. A blanket settled over Sam, and he pulled it tight around him, savouring its warmth.
Sam was just about asleep. "Mmm?"
Dean cleared his throat, the sound loud in the muffled darkness. "Do you really believe what you said? That the angels and I are keeping you out of stuff?"
Sam shrugged. "I just wanna help save the world, too," he mumbled, seconds before sleep finally claimed him.
"Rise and shine, Sammy boy!"
At the sound of his brother's voice, Sam sat up abruptly, then let out a violent curse as his head exploded with pain. "Oh god," he muttered, collapsing back into the mattress and immediately regretting it as the grand piano that had taken up residence in his brain ricocheted from the front of his head to the back.
"Ow," he groaned loudly, rolling over and turning his face into the slightly damp pillow, desperate to muffle the bright morning light, the deafening sounds and the brother who was making them.
Something thumped down onto the bed beside him, making it rock back and forth. Sam thought he was going to be sick.
"How're you feeling?" Dean asked cheerily.
Sam could feel Dean grinning at him. "How do you think?" he retorted.
"Open your eyes, man."
A second later, a warm finger pulled open one of his eyelids and Sam could just make out a large hand with a couple of white pills in it. When the finger lifted, Sam opened both his eyes and groped blindly for the pills. "Gimme."
He heard Dean chuckle. "Don't you want some water with those?"
"Don't need it," Sam muttered, sitting up just enough to throw the pills back in one gulp before collapsing back into bed. He'd gotten a lot of practice at dealing with hangovers the previous summer.
Sam grunted, doing his best to bury his head in his pillow again.
"I'm, um-" Dean cleared his throat roughly. "I just want to say that I'm sorry."
Sam frowned. That was the last thing he'd expected to come out of his brother's mouth. He turned his head to the side so he could see Dean through one cracked-open eye. "For what?"
He could just make out a slight blush on Dean's face. "For how I've been treating you. I mean, you're not evil, man, and I know that. It's just-"
Sitting up with a jolt, Sam cut his brother off by shaking his head, although he stopped pretty quickly when the room started to sway violently. "Dean, I barely trust myself right now. How can I expect you to?"
Dean didn't look up from where he was bent over the laundry bag, which was sitting on the end of his bed. "Because we're brothers. And because I know you. You wouldn't kick a puppy." There was a pause, then Dean looked up to glance over his shoulder at Sam. "Take it home, maybe, but not kick it."
Sam stifled a laugh, then winced as his stomach gurgled noisily, reminding him that it wasn't at all happy about the previous night. Sam took a slow, deep breath, trying to calm it and, thankfully, it worked.
At least until Dean walked over with a pair of his socks in hand.
"Do me a favour, Sammy," he said, shoving them in his face, "and give these a sniff. Think they need a wash?"
Automatically, Sam inhaled. Immediately, his stomach heaved as the stench of sweaty, dirty socks that definitely needed a wash hit him. He looked up at Dean, who was smirking at him.
"I hate you," Sam managed to gasp out before rolling out of bed in one quick, clumsy movement and bolting for the bathroom. He had just reached the relative safety of the toilet bowel when he heard Dean's voice echoing through the bathroom door, which Sam had slammed shut behind him.
"And dude, you're a Winchester. That's way better than being part of some pansy-ass angel club any day."
And Sam couldn't help the smile that touched his lips at his brother's words, even as he began to heave.
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