Sleep of the just.

Pfft. Sam would probably call it that. He was over there on his bed, asleep, as far over on the mattress away from my bed as he could get without falling on the floor.

No, he'd call it 'sleep of the damned.'

Me – I call it 'sleep of the just damned stupid.'

To call what we've had going on here 'tense' was like calling the Apocalypse 'a problem'. It was such an understatement it was brain-stabbing. We didn't talk. We didn't get into each other's space. We didn't ask anything. We didn't tell anything. We hardly even looked at each other. I pulled over to a diner when I thought we might be hungry, or ought to be hungry, and we walked in single file, sat alone in the same booth, ordered our meals, ate our food, drank our coffee, left the tip, paid the bill and got back into the car all without saying one damn thing to each other.

We got to the motel when I couldn't drive any farther and I sure wasn't going to ask Sam to drive. He got out of the car almost before we came to a full stop and practically flung himself into the office. A few minutes later he was back outside but instead of getting in the car he pitched a key through my open window and kept walking down the motel sidewalk.

I thought maybe he got two rooms but the number on my key was the number on the door that Sam punched open. I thought for sure he would slam it in my face, but he didn't give me that satisfaction. He even left it open a little and I saw the inside light flick on. I went to the trunk of the car and grabbed my duffel. I thought about hauling in Sam's backpack, but then I thought if he wanted it, he could damn well come and get it.

Tonight was just going to be extra special, wasn't it?

When I got in the room, Sam was already asleep. It looked like he walked in and just put himself onto the bed. He hadn't even gotten under the covers, he just had his jacket over his shoulders like a blanket. He was still dressed, still had his boots on, eyes closed, turned away from me.

Fine. Whatever. Not like we were gonna talk or anything. Better we stay as far apart as we can, and in a motel room, sleep means distance.

I did the whole 'salt and safety' routine then dropped myself onto my own bed. We were screwed. We were so screwed I couldn't even think about it. Bobby was hurt bad, Cas was back from the dead practically before I could process that he was dead, and pulling his 'enigmatic' crap again, and Zachariah almost made me miss Uriel.


We were so screwed.

As tired as I was, sleeping was nowhere in sight, unlike the girnormo thorn in my backside who apparently was so worry-free he could fall asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. Yeah, don't let the end of the world hit you in the ass on your way to dreamland.


I pulled a book out of my duffel and settled for reading myself to sleep. The shadow fell funny over my book from the ceiling light so I reached up and switched on the light over the between-the-beds cabinet. When I did that, Sam put his arm across his eyes. I looked at him a little harder. Looked at the angle of his shoulders around his ears, the tight position of his neck, the white knuckles of his other hand on his pillow.

I hadn't been looking at him all day or night, so I missed the very familiar signs: Sam wasn't sleeping – he had a monster headache.

Great. How do I help him without actually talking to him? Because I am so not talking to him. He didn't take any pills at the diner, nothing in the car, I don't think he had time to take anything in the motel room before I walked in here. So as far as I can tell, he had a monster headache and hadn't done one damn thing about it.

Great. I was gonna have to talk to him.

OK, I could do this. Dad did it all the time. When you have to talk to somebody you don't want to talk to, you talk like it's their fault you're talking to them.

"You take anything?" I asked. I put as much irritation in my voice as I could. As much as I was feeling outside this particular moment.


That was it. No explanation. No 'thanks for asking'. Not even a 'shut up jerk.'

"Why not?"

"Because I don't have anything."That was either a lie or the headache had blown some of his brain cells. Of course he had something. He always had something because he always carried the industrial strength painkillers in his –


Only his backpack was in the trunk, and the trunk was locked, and the key was in my pocket.

And Sam sure the hell wasn't going to ask me for anything, let alone that key.

Well, if it's not stubborn, bossy, or hard-headed, it's not a Winchester, is it?

Just great.

Yeah, I was angry at him. Yeah I felt abandoned by him, and betrayed, and a few other things it wouldn't do my blood pressure any good to think about right then. But I wouldn't turn my back on him when he had a knife, literal or otherwise, sticking out of his brain.

I huffed like I was doing something he was forcing me to do and went to get his backpack out of the trunk of the car. I dropped it on the foot of his bed but he didn't make a move toward it. Just as I was about to cave to my parental instincts and get the pills for him, he curled himself semi-upright and fumbled the backpack into his lap.

Every few breaths his breath caught funny in his throat and his hands weren't doing such a good job of finding the bottle. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that his eyes were still closed. Finally he just dumped the whole pack onto the bed. He grabbed the bottle out of the middle of the mess and dragged himself off the bed, shoving most of his possessions onto the floor in the process.

He went into the bathroom, probably for a glass of water, and I caved to my instincts and started collecting those possessions off the floor and into his pack for him.

"Leave it." He told me from the bathroom. I could hear the pressure of his headache in his voice. If he had to bend over to pick this stuff up himself, we'd be chasing his eyeballs across the floor.

"I'm not talking to you which means I'm not listening to you either." I told him.

He grumbled but didn't push it. I left his pack on the floor next to his bed and went back to my own as he came out of the bathroom and dropped himself on his mattress again. He pulled a pillow closer in his arms and buried his face in it, blocking the light from his eyes. He kept the bottle of painkillers in his hand.

"Need the trashcan near you?"

"Doesn't matter. I'm close enough to the bathroom if I get sick."

I shut the light off next to my bed and read my book with the shadows across the page.

Yeah, I was angry. Yeah, I was pissed. Yeah, I was everything I had the right to be and a few more things I probably didn't have the right to be but I was going to be them anyway. But that didn't mean I wasn't going to listen now to Sam's breathing, listening for the timbre that meant the pills were working and he was sleeping and this minor crisis at least was over.

And it wasn't until he slept that I slept too. Both of us, the sleep of the just plain exhausted.

The End.