The room smelt of grease, the guilty-pleasure kind that came hand in hand with a large order of fast food and invariably led to heart conditions. To Sam however it meant one thing; after medicine, clean layers, warmth and nearly thirty-six straight hours of sleep, Dean's appetite was back and it was back with a vengeance.
Shiny grease-covered wrappers lay scattered across the sheets, the debris all that remained of the two double cheeseburgers with extra fries, pie and the small mountain of fudge sauce-covered ice cream Dean had merrily ploughed through. He had even reached over absently during a soda-break in the course of his gorging and taken a handful of Sam's fries, adding them to the hefty food-pile ensconced in the gap between his crossed legs, eyes barely leaving the TV.
Sam had no idea what they were watching, or why Dean seemed so interested in a crappy nineties daytime movie which seemed to consist of little more than big hair and self-made emotional dramas. Still he'd practically jumped from the bed in delight as his flicking had uncovered the apparent gem and offered Sam a so shoot me glance as he'd hidden the remote and settled back to watch. Sixty-seven minutes in and Sam was seriously starting to contemplate the challenge, or at least he would have been had Dean's rapt attention not been so bizarrely entertaining.
As a woman launched herself at one of the male leads, screaming hysterically and begging for another chance at…well, whatever the hell it was they'd been attempting – possibly some sort of dysfunctional relationship – Sam heaved a bemused sigh and watched as Dean's head swung his way accusingly,
"What's your problem?"
Sam waved a hand at the screen in response, a bewildered grin settling across his face,
"What's going on Dean?" he asked, turning towards his brother and noting the gaze still focused on the drama. Dean gestured towards it absently,
"Well Mindy and Derek used to be married until Mindy's brother-in-law Craig, who was Derek's best friend in college – ,"
"No," Sam interrupted quickly, keen to avoid the synopsis, "I mean what's going on with you? This is the sort of thing bored housewives watch before they pick the kids up,"
A flicker of amusement rippled across Dean's face and he turned towards his brother with a smirk,
"How would you know?"
Sam simply sighed listening to Dean drag the bottom of his coke, sucking the last few drops noisily up the straw until he was just pulling up air. He was going to make himself blue. In the silence that followed he could see Dean casting around from the corner of his eyes, watching his brother take in the room at a glance looking for something. He didn't even need to ask,
"Hey Sammy – ,"
Abruptly Sam's hand rose into view, offering across his own drink, barely touched. He tried to look peeved but in reality he was just grateful to see Dean so animated over food and liquid since for the past four days he'd had very little of either. If he'd wanted seconds Sam would gladly have agreed to go and get some. Luckily however the soda-fest seemed to be enough and shifting the assorted boxes, wrappers and cartons onto the floor with a kick of his feet, Dean settled back against the pillows and sighed deeply, full and contented.
As the couple on TV – the aforementioned Mindy and Derek Sam now realised – fell into a passionate embrace to the sound of a swelling orchestral piece, titles began to roll across the freeze frame and almost as abruptly Dean reached up and flicked the TV in standby. Apparently when it came to trashy daytime television even he had his limits. Derek and Mindy being pretty much it. The room fell into silence around them, only perforated by the blip of a police siren as a squad car raced past the motel on the road outside.
Sam had heard the latest from the woman at the desk when he'd gone to pay for an extra day that morning, her conspiratorial lean-and-whisper reaching new heights as he'd casually asked after the police commotion, fishing for any information. She'd beckoned him closer with a wave, glancing around suspiciously as if a cop might pop up from the pot plant and have her arrested for spreading official news. Sam had bit back a smile.
"Well I probably shouldn't tell you…" she'd begun hesitantly, watching him pay in advance for another twenty-four hours and pulling the cash from the desk so he couldn't change his mind, "…they found a body in the ally across the road."
Sam had tried to look surprised,
"And that's not all…" He'd raised his brows, go on, "…it had been burnt. Murder."
Murder? Was it even possible to murder someone who was technically already dead? He'd flashed the woman a quick look,
"Any ideas who it was? Who might have done something so…" Brave? Helpful? Heroic? "…terrible?"
She'd indicated no, sighing and stepping back to punch the cash into the machine, offering a shrug,
"But then again who knows. World's a weird, weird place," he hadn't disagreed with that one, "I mean, take that fella who was hanging round here for example, you know, white hair, stick…the blind guy?"
Sam had cleared his throat, a brow rising in dry amusement,
"I might have run into him once or twice."
"Gone," she continued, as clearly as if he hadn't answered at all and shaking her head for emphasis, "Just appeared one day, wandering round like some poor little lost soul and then the next thing I know he's vanished, just upped and left. Still," she sighed, "Not that I mind so much. He was pretty creepy. Swear he was scaring away customers."
Or attacking them, Sam had thought wryly before smiling and changing the subject.
"Know any fast food places around here? My brother's got a craving for burgers."
That had been two hours before and Sam had arrived back from his burger-run to find Dean clearing out a box of cookies, the end of the packet to his mouth and one hand tapping out the remaining crumbs. Sam had blinked in confusion, pulling the keys out of the door and stepping into the room bewildered.
"Hey Sam!" Dean had chirped, sitting forward hopefully, "You get cheeseburgers? Tell me you got cheeseburgers."
"Uh, Dean? Where'd you get those?"
"Those," he'd gestured to the box and earned himself a sheepish grin,
"Oh, girl scout came round. Found a couple of coins rolled under the bed. You get pie?"
Sam had chuckled, putting down the bag and beginning to rummage through it,
"Yeah, I got pie," he'd replied, fishing it out before frowning thoughtfully, "You're telling me a girl scout was selling cookies at a motel?"
"Knocked on all the doors," Dean had shrugged, reaching out for the greasy box Sam had handed him, "They must be offering a trip somewhere cool this year," he'd grinned, "Playboy mansion maybe."
"They're kids Dean."
"It's got a zoo."
After that Sam had settled down on the bed beside Dean's and they'd both tucked into their burgers, upon which Dean had promptly stumbled upon Mindy and Derek and the impromptu torture had begun. In the silence of the present however, Sam was beginning to notice Dean's eyes drooping again, the head tilting sleepily to one side before righting itself as his older brother attempted to stay awake.
"You need anything?" Sam asked quietly, watching the head jerk upwards in surprise,
"Do you need anything?"
Settling back with another sigh and pulling the blanket up close around his neck, Dean shook his head and shifted down across the mattress,
"Nah Sammy, I'm good."
By which he meant to say his little brother had done good. He was full, sleepy and relaxed. The perfect combination. Sam caught his meaning with a smile, gently sliding off the bed to press a hand to Dean's forehead. The temperature was nearly back to normal.
"When I've shaken this thing," Dean muttered from below him, eyes closing wearily, "You're really going to have to stop touching me."
Sam snorted as he bent to collect up the trash littering the carpet around Dean's bed.
"Perv," his new favourite word, followed by a laugh as Dean sleepily managed to amuse himself. Sam simply rolled his eyes, letting the smile spread to a grin as he cleared up the debris. It was good to have him back. "Hey Sam?"
The serious twinge to Dean's voice made Sam look up, one hand resting on top of the bed sheets as he watched his brother slowly start to give in to sleep. He kept his voice quiet,
It didn't need any further explanation. Thanks for getting the food, thanks for looking after me, thanks for killing the big undead ugly. Thanks .Sam smiled,
And that didn't need any explanation either. Anytime you need it, anytime you need me. Anytime. That one was a two-way street and Dean matched Sam's smile with a mild one of his own, eyes still closed contentedly as he took a deep long breath and turned comfortably into the sheets.
Except maybe, just maybe, next time they could manage it without all the mortal peril.
He snorted again, keeping it soft as Dean started to breathe in and out in slow heavy breaths, sleep having over-taken him again.
Yeah right. Them, do anything without encountering the possibility of death?
Who was he kidding?
Well there you have it, another story done and dusted! (And Dean even got to finish watching his bad TV show so everyone's happy!)
As ever I'm already busy with the next, but first I've got a couple of one-shots that should be up in the next few days should anyone stumble across one!
Thank you to everyone who left reviews - I'm glad I managed to keep some of you on the edge of your seats! Also, to everyone who has read but not reviewed I hope you enjoyed things too, and it is never too late to let me know what you think!