Disclaimer: For the sick pleasure of myself and others. No copyright infringement intended.
by wave obscura
Sam doesn't always hate his life. Not always.
Because they say it's the little things, right? He should appreciate how sometimes motel beds are soft and warm when he's cold and wet and sore, and how sometimes microwave burritos actually heat all the way through, no freezing center to make his fillings sting, when lava cheese and molten bean sauce melt on his tongue just right.
It's not all bad.
This is Sam's mantra as he stares at himself in the bathroom mirror—through one eye because the other is swollen shut, while he's trying to brush his teeth with his left hand because the right shoulder won't move an inch without going kablooey! with pain. While he does his very best not to breathe through his nose because the Honey Bucket-sized motel bathroom reeks of meth and dead hookers.
Pain and blood loss make Sam grumpy, that's all it is. He's just looking for a reason to be pissed off, because he aches like a bitch and these achy mornings are when he starts to wonder how, despite the painful unpredictability of his life, he wakes up every day to the same old shit.
The same old torn-bruised-broken-bleeding-and-probably-needs-stitches shit.
"Sammy," Dean croaks from the other room.
Like so many mornings, his brother sounds absolutely fucking pathetic.
"Yeah," Sam answers, and toothpaste water spills out his mouth and down his chest. "Fuck."
"I do them stitches okay?"
Sam looks at tight line of stitches above his eyebrow and rolls his good eye. It's a ploy; Dean knows he did the stitches perfect, he just wants Sam to hear the pain in his voice so that he'll say—
"They're fine. You need a pill?"
"Nah, I'm good," is Dean's mopey reply. "How's your eye?"
Jesus suffering Christ.
"Dean. You should take a pill."
Sam briefly considers getting dressed, but what's the point? They won't be going anywhere today. He wipes halfheartedly at the scummy toothpaste mess on his chest, leaves the bathroom and throws himself down on the bed with miserable flourish.
The painkillers sit untouched on the nightstand. Sam pops one of the pills, reseals the bottle and tosses it at his brother. It bounces off Dean's chest and rattles to the floor between their beds. Dean pretends nothing happened.
"What you wanna watch?" he says, shifting with a wince.
"Doesn't hurt that bad, Sammy. Really." Dean smiles serenely, turns on the television.
A fugly clawed the meat from his ribs last night. His dressings are seeping. Sam knows he's going to have to wrestle his brother into new bandages at some point today and isn't looking forward to it.
Dean's too sore to concentrate on anything, so in silence they stare at a reality show about first time house-buyers; a polished blond couple crinkles their noses disapprovingly at steam showers with stainless-steel trim and separate jetted tubs, vast kitchens with islands the size of flatbed trucks, closets big enough to park the Impala.
"It's a bit small," the wife says, "but we could make it work."
"I prefer travertine to slate," the husband says, "but we can always change that."
"Sam." Dean attempts to move and stops, growling quick and low in the back of his throat.
"You give up, Captain Stoic?"
"Fuck you. Just gimme something."
"Make me fucking move again," Sam grumbles. He throws his leg over the edge of the bed and fishes for the bottle. Gripping it with his toes, he brings his foot to his good hand. He gives his brother two pills. "Here."
Flat on his back, Dean holds the medication helplessly at a right angle to his body.
"Hold on, lemme help you sit up." Sam starts to pull himself upright, but "—OW! FUCK."
Dean manages to aim his hand over his face, drops the pills in his mouth and dry swallows them. "Jesus Christ."
"I know." Sam lays back, indulging in an extra-pathetic moan.
"I'd prefer to have the laundry on the same floor as the master suite," the TV wife says, "but the powder room is a nice touch."
"Though I wish it had a double vanity," the husband pipes in.
"What's the difference? Between a den and a bonus room?"
"I don't know. I think they're the same thing."
"Then what the fuck they need both for?"
"I dunno, Dean."
"Is all that…" Dean's eyes open a crack. He studies the television. "Is that what you wanted? You know. Before?"
There's no judgment in his voice, no resentment. Just genuine curiosity.
Sam's shoulder throbs in time to his heartbeat.
The television couple sniffs around in a finished basement. The hardwood floors gleam opposite stately and tasteful crown molding. The chair rail separates a tope and beige paint job that really unifies the space, which is important because it rambles at over 2,000 square feet. At least that's what the realtor says as she beams expectantly at the couple, twinkling teeth saying please buy, please buy.
Sam tries to imagine he and Jessica costumed in business casual, opening and closing closet and pantry doors, looking down their noses at granite counter tops, longing for brushed nickel instead of chrome, stainless steel instead of white, dens and bonus rooms and attics and game space—
Sam smiles. "It is what I wanted." He looks down at his pulpy knuckles. At the bedbug bites on his forearm, twisting like trail of breadcrumbs from the inside of his bicep to the outside of his wrist. "I did want it. Stupid, huh?"
"Nah, Sammy. S'not." Dean blinks, eyes rolling in his head. Fighting sleep. "What. What about now?"
"That still what you want?"
Sam picks at a bloodstain on his pillow. His swollen eye grows bigger and smaller, bigger and smaller, more pain, less pain, more pain, less pain. He tries not to think about that, or Dean's ribs, about changing the bandages later, about the week of changing bandages they have to look forward to, about how he'll have to ignore his brother's measured gasps, ignore desperate delirious trembling hands groping at the collar of his shirt.
Because it's the little things, goddamn it.
Like how sometimes before a hunt he and Dean speed over the peak of a hill just as the sun dips low in the sky, and the clouds lounge like whip cream on the burnt and purple horizon, and the warm wind is perfect for classic rock even though it's a song he's heard a million, trillion times.
Like how sometimes everything is drenched and boiling but his brother's calloused hands are cool and dry on his forehead and he knows he doesn't have to worry. About anything.
Like how sometimes Sam wakes up to find his brother standing at the window, orange-glowing in the morning sun, smiling out at the world like it has something to offer him. Like maybe today it will do more than beat him bloody.
"This room's a little dark for me," the TV wife says, frowning.
"Christ-- it's a fucking basement," Dean says without opening his eyes. "Dumb bitch."
Sam laughs. "This," he says, "this is okay with me."
Dean smiles, turns his head away, and sleeps.