The pain started during dinner.
Well, the headache started during dinner; the pain started a long time before that.
I tried eating but everything turned my stomach and I managed just a couple forkfuls of salad then pushed the rest around the plate until Dean laid down the tip and that was my only clue that we were leaving, since it wasn't like we were talking or anything. Talking doesn't do much good when one person doesn't want to hear what the other person doesn't know how to say. Together, we went to the same places at the same time for the same reasons, and then left again the same way. But no talking. There was no talking between us. I hadn't heard so much silence since we drove Jo and Ellen back to the Roadhouse after Philadelphia and H.H. Holmes Sewer of Terror.
But the headache started as I listened to the tines of my fork scrape softly against my plate and the a-little-too-oily texture of the salad dressing clung to the back of my tongue and I faced the prospect of another five or six or more hours in the car with Dean who was in emotional lockdown mode. Driving in the car with him in that mood is hell.
Oh wait – I forgot. I wasn't in hell so I don't get to use that as a reference point.
No. No, he's not. He's just – Dean. And that used to be everything to me. And if you'd asked me anytime this past year I would've said Dean still was everything to me. But I guess he wasn't. He couldn't have been. Not when you get right down to it. Because forget that I started the damn Apocalypse - I cut open Dean's heart and laid it in the hand that he'd been holding out to me ever since he got back from hell.
So who's the real jerk?
The car ride did nothing to ease my headache and the farther we drove the farther my spine tried to push up into my skull. My painkillers were in my backpack but that was in the trunk and I just couldn't find the words to let Dean know I needed it. Because I damn sure wasn't going to ask him for it. I just had to hope I could hang on until we got to a motel and I could get my pack and my painkillers when he got his duffel.
Or maybe I could just pass out before then. That would be okay too.
The pain grew until it was like someone had lit a fire behind my eyes and it was burning its way around my brain and all I wanted was to get out of the car and into a bed and away from the lights of oncoming traffic drilling into my eyes. Dean didn't know I was in a bad way, or he wasn't mentioning it or maybe he was wishing it on me. I didn't know. I didn't care. It didn't matter.
As soon as we pulled into a motel I got out to get the room. I didn't want to risk Dean getting chatty and taking too long or I might just hurl all over the car and that would sure endear me to him, wouldn't it? I couldn't even say what name I gave or what credit card I used or even if I asked for two beds. Talk about endearing myself to Dean if I only got one bed. But I must've at least indicated there was two of us because the clerk gave me two keys and then I was out the door again.
I needed to be in bed. I wanted to be in bed. My head was splitting all the way up the back, I could feel it, and I didn't want to waste the time it would take to get back in the car and anyway, even without the headache I wasn't in the mood to talk to Dean, even to tell him the room number. He had his window down so I threw the key at him and was kind of disappointed when I didn't hit him with it and I got into the room as fast as I could.
Two beds. Thank God.
It wasn't until I'd collapsed onto the bed that I remembered I hadn't gotten my backpack, so I hadn't gotten my painkillers, so unless I asked Dean for them I was in for a terrible night.
So I was in for a terrible night.
Any little movement drove my spine further into my brain so I stayed as still as I could, even pretending to be asleep because sleep is the only real privacy in a motel room. Maybe if I stayed still enough, maybe I'd actually fall asleep and the headache would be gone when I woke up again and I could spend tomorrow in only non-physical misery.
Dean came in and shut the door that I hadn't and I heard him take care of protecting the room, protecting us. Protecting us, which still included me, and I might've asked him for the painkillers then if I thought I could talk without losing that salad dressing all over the pillow. But I couldn't be sure of that, so I stayed quiet and hoped Dean would go to sleep soon so that the room would be dark and silent and keep the fire in my brain from flaring up.
He didn't go to sleep, but at least he didn't turn the TV on either. It sounded like he was sitting on his bed, reading a book, which was good. I could handle that. Not too much sound, not too much movement. I wanted to press both hands against my skull to keep it shoved together at the back but I didn't want to show any sign of discomfort to Dean.
Then he turned the overbed light on and I had to put my arm across my eyes to keep them from boiling out of their sockets.
Please turn off the light. Please turn off the light. Please turn off the light. Please turn off the light…
Then I heard it. The slight shift from the bed next to me that I knew was Dean shifting to get a better look in my direction.
"You take anything?" So he recognized I had a headache, but God, he sounded so pissed.
"Why not?" Still pissed.
"Because I don't have anything." Genius. What'd you think? Yeah, Dean, I got a headache on purpose just to ruin your night. Just shut up and leave me alone.
He grunted what can generally be interpreted as 'why do I have to do everything?' and left the room and came back and I felt something drop on the end of my mattress and the flames flared up in my brain.
Don't move the bed. Don't move the bed. Don't move the bed…
It took me a second to realize he'd brought my backpack for me and my painkillers were only a few feet away and if only I could sit up I could get to them.
Only I couldn't seem to sit up.
I was just about to give up and suffer either the pain or asking Dean for help when I sensed him shift again, that kind of shift that meant that he was about to step in and take over again and just -no. I was gonna do this. So I managed to get half upright and grab my pack and the crack in my skull started splintering all around my eyes and cheekbones and I couldn't seem to remember how to actually breathe.
Oh God, make it stop make it stop make it stop make it stop…
I rummaged through my pack with something on the sharp side of desperation but my hand couldn't find the bottle and my eyes couldn't open and if something didn't go my way soon the results were not going to be pleasant or hygienic. Finally I just emptied the pack on the bed and grabbed the bottle to get to the bathroom before Something Really Bad happened.
And of course I pushed everything off the bed and onto the floor as I slid off.
Yeah, I meant to do that.
My stomach stayed in the general neighborhood of where it belonged when I got to the bathroom. I took three of the giant pills with only as much water as I dared to need and rested over on my arms on the sink just in case my body pulled any nasty surprises.
Out the bathroom door I could hear Dean putting my stuff back in my backpack. I told him to leave it. Don't think for a minute that I'm gonna think I owe you anything. Jerk.
He answered me back and I could barely make out what he said but given the moods we were both in, it probably involved the words bitch or shut up, and when I dragged myself back to my bed, everything I'd spilled had been picked up and my pack was waiting next to the bed.
I penciled in saying 'thank you' for when I was talking to Dean again and collapsed onto my bed and into my pillows and hoped to block the light again.
Dean was back on his bed with his book, but I couldn't help noticing, because I was paying attention, that he shut the overbed light off and from the time I laid back down until I fell asleep, he didn't turn the page of his book even once.