"The Weight of Small Things."
Prompt by KlutzyGirl33: After "Dark Side of the Moon", Sam comes down with a really bad cold because of all the stress piling up from the past year or so. Dean takes care of him. Would be nice if the amulet was given back too!
Rating: PG13 for language
A/N: Found this prompt, and I had to take the challenge. This episode was so very good, and sad, especially at the end. My exact words to the TV when Dean trashed the amulet was: "No, don't throw it away!" Hope I can do justice to a good idea. But, be warned, this screams at me to drabble it in gut wrenching, make you cry angst, because that scene almost had me in tears.
Disclaimer: Erik Kripke owns Supernatural and Sam and Dean, lucky, greedy, bastard. The concept for this story is credited to KlutztGirl33. I was reading an entry submitted for it, and decided to take a stab at it.
A/N#2: Okay, I know a lot of people tend to lean towards "Wincest" in this fandom. I'm stating here, this is not Wincest. I feel that Sam and Dean have this intense, deep connection, they love each other so much deeper than any other brothers, it's that bond that I focus on; I don't try to fill in the "what if?" areas, because their relationship as brothers is intense enough. Having said that, you will think what you want to think. The only thing I care about is that my writing made you feel something.
"Growing apart doesn't change the fact that for a long time we grew side by side; our roots will always be tangled."
-"Cassia Reyes" Matched
"The great things that we long for and search for are foundamong the small things we may ignore or even discard."
Why does the weight of small things press on us when we sleep? The tiny, little moments of randomness that come into our lives, that will break our hearts, making us so lonely that, we open our eyes just to see if it was all just a dream, and that the breathing we here isn't just our own.
These were thoughts, ones belonging to Sam Winchester, as he was laying rooms away from his brother, on a battered sofa belonging to Bobby Singer, offered up to him for the night. He had been offered the second bed in the spare room. But, after everything that heaven had mockingly shown him, Sam didn't trust himself to be in the same room as his brother, because, one of those random moments that loneliness would be creeping in like a demonic harpy from the underworld, screaming at him with rancid breath, everything he had done wrong, everything he did to deserve where he was tonight.
That's your heaven? Bailing on your family?
Sam didn't even try to deny it, not completely. His earliest childhood memories were of wanting to get away, to live another life besides his own. Eventually, those feelings grew to puberty, and finally through young adulthood. It was a seed planted, growing into a tree that wasn't his family's anymore.
He wanted it, but, here, with only his thoughts to scream at him for a lullaby, he admitted the real reason why. Not because he hated his family, or his life with them. Because he was scared. Scared to spend his entire life in the shadow of something greater. Religious philosophers argued for years that this was the entirety of Holy Faith, but Sam saw it as a loss of identity. He would always be the second son of John Winchester, the great monster hunter. Dean Winchester's snot nosed baby brother, too young to defend himself, too much of a pain to be anything but annoying. He would never just be Sam, a boy, who missed his father more then he would ever tell him, who loved his big brother, saw him as a hero. So, he ran, as soon as he could grasp the concept that running meant you could go far away from your fears, he was gone.
He had bailed, but not for the reason that Dean believed. And, he couldn't tell him this, because, it was only in the last few months, that Sam was beginning to realize it himself. He wasn't the same seven- year-old, who had snuck off to Flagstaff, or the same college student holed up in a library, glad to be safe from the things his family had shown him were real. The years had molded and worked Sam over into something he still wasn't even sure of the identity of. But, what Sam did know now was that the "shadow of something greater" was not just a metaphysical concept, nor the loss of his self, it was real as flesh and blood and bone, it defined him. It was what kept him alive, kept him sane, because he knew that there had to be something better than the pain.
Something worth living for.
Bobby's living room would be completely quiet if you didn't count the numerous ticking from various clocks strewn around on top of huge stacks of books and charts and maps.
There was a sliver of light down the hallway, coming from underneath the door that Sam felt himself being repelled from like angels from Holy Fire.
The tiny clatter of the weight of the silver amulet dropping into the trash kept him company along with the clocks. The first sound was just a memory, but it was as sharp as the real noises. Did someone live after their soul had been ripped from their chest? Were they numb, or filled with so much pain that they screamed to be numb? How long could they really live, when what gave them life was gone?
Did Dean understand why Sam had seen his heaven the way he did? No. Because Sam had never told him; and his brother's anger, his hurt, was Sam's reward now. Sam believed in something greater than himself, he had for years. But, it wasn't God, or Angels, it was his connection with Dean. Watching him toss away such a meaningful thing to him, reduce it from being the clarification of a bond forged by such love it blinded Sam by its intensity, to a small weighty, useless thing- it was what made Sam's ribs ache lying here.
He could feel the pressing of what once was there like a wound that would never scab over, never heal, because he would always pick at it, wanting to reach for what used to be, forgetting that there was nothing there anymore until it had bled raw again.
Sam didn't know if it really hurt to die, because he had died so quickly days ago, and before, because Dean had been with him at that motel, he had run to him in that field and his last thoughts were of his brother finding him, of somehow saving him. But, here on a wood backed sofa, with ticking clocks and silence, Sam felt himself dying, and it was slow, and it was agonizing, and so very lonely, because there wasn't anyone to save him, because he deserved this.
He could feel hot liquid falling down his face, his own tears scalding him, but he didn't wipe them away. In the dark no one could see them; it kept the hurt where it belonged. He had hurt his brother, hurt him deeper than any gunshot, and stab wound, anything could ever do to him. It had affected Dean so deeply that he had done the one thing Sam thought he would never do – give up on him.
They would still hunt together, yes; there would still be routine bickering, regular cases, monsters, angels, the end of the world. But Sam knew, Dean would never look at him the same way again, what they were had been severed.
He coughed, surprising himself. Not because it was unexpected, he had been feeling ill for days, but he didn't say anything, didn't complain, because, who would he tell? But, he had thought that all he would be able to do now, now that the walls finally decided to fall around him, was cry.
26-years-old, and a fucking crying mess. Sam laughed, the desolate sounding noise never going beyond his own ears. I'm a damn broken toy. He coughed again, deeper; it rattled his chest like nails.
Crap. He sat up and bent forward, the soft cushions of the couch creaking under the sudden shift in weight. He crossed his arms over his chest and bent forward more, coughing louder, swearing, feeling like his lungs were coming up this time. He spat something nasty onto the floor. Shit, Bobby's going to be pissed. Phlegm doesn't go with his wood grain. The first cough was like an auto trigger to a loaded gun, he was doubled over, spitting out gobs of something nasty that made him nauseous to smell it.
He thought his coughing would silence his crying, because, his body could only afford one breakdown at a time. But, his tears were burning him now, falling down to the floor along with pools of the rancidness coming out of his lungs. Sam told himself, the tears were from the blinding pain in his chest, from being sick, because, he didn't want to feel the pain of where they were really coming from.
A light flicked on, sucking out the darkness, revealing all the shadowy masses lying like lumpy monsters into their actual shapes.
Dean? Being sick made Sam insane. He knew it wouldn't be Dean, the burning pressure in his ribs was still there, screaming at him, he knew. But, his hope wouldn't leave him alone, it craved Dean.
"Sam?" A squeak of wheels, the small clicking sound of a break being set. A hand was on his shoulder. "My god boy."
Sam spat again, the puddle barely missing Bobby's shoes. "Hey Bobby." He was too sore to even raise his head up.
When Pandora opened her ill fated box in Ancient Greece, all the evils and monsters trapped inside escaped into the world, but, at the very bottom, Hope remained inside, watching, waiting. Hope stayed; she would never leave unless she was asked to.
Hearing Bobby standing there, talking to him, and not Dean, Sam asked Hope to leave.
Bobby's hand on his shoulder was pushing him up. The older man placed a hand on Sam's forehead, feeling a puddle of sweat under his palm, and a raging heat, like you would feel inside a brick oven, not a man. "Son, you're burning up."
"I'm okay Bobby," Sam said. Every other time he had been fussed over when he was sick, by Jessica, by his dad, by Dean, only one question would form in his mind: Do I look like a baby? But, now, here, another one took its place: Do I look strong?
"My ass Sam," Bobby snapped back, his hand was still on Sam's forehead. "How long have you been feeling like this?"
"It doesn't matter," Sam wanted to look back to the closed off room with the light glowing that he would never see because the one on the other side would never open the door to let him. But he didn't, because he wanted the answer to his silent question to be: Yes.
Sam's voice was so defeated it alarmed Bobby. He raised the younger man's head up higher, looking into his eyes. They were bloodshot from fever, and from something else. Bobby looked lower down his face, and saw wet tracks from tears on his skin. What the hell is going on?
"What happened in Heaven?" Bobby asked with more of a demand than a question. "You and Dean haven't told me a damn thing since you've been back."
Sam laughed; there was a hysterical note to it that would have scared him if he could feel anything anymore. Numb. When someone had their soul ripped from their chest, they felt numb. "I'm dying Bobby." He watched Bobby's eyes grow wide in shock at what he said. "What, you can't see it?"
"What the hell are you talking about?" Bobby wasn't a doctor, but he could tell that Sam only had a cold, a bad one that would probably keep him down for a week or so, but he would live. Sam was talking about something else, and Bobby didn't know what it was.
Sam laughed hysterically again. "It's true."
Bobby wanted to slap Sam, because his manic laughter, the tears, it was all scaring the shit out of him. It was like Sam was drunk, but drunk because someone had killed his entire family in cold blood and had made him watch. He grabbed Sam's head in his hands, shaking it. "Stop it boy! What the hell's gotten into you?"
"I never knew it would feel like this," the hysteria left Sam's voice like someone shot it. "Dying hurts like a bitch." His words were slurred from his high fever. He pulled away from Bobby and placed his head in his own hands, an emotion that would have been a cry came from his mouth, but he choked it down before it could be born. He sucked in a breath. "No, no, no!" He dug into his skull like he was trying to bore a hole to reach his brain. "Don't do this, damnit!-"
"You're delirious Sam," Bobby told him, his hand on the back of Sam's neck, feeling a massive puddle of sweat there too. He removed his hand, and settled it back down on the armrest of his chair. "Lie down; I'll to get you some aspirin."
Sam didn't move; he stared at Bobby with glassy, bloodshot eyes. Bobby was no substitute for Dean, no one would ever be a substitute for Dean, but the ache in his chest was starting to become cathartic to him; he had to get used to its emptiness, because nothing would ever truly fill it again. "How long can you live when you're half gone Bobby?"
Bobby wheeled himself right up to the edge of the sofa and placed both hands on Sam's chest, shoving him back down on the cushions. "I said lie down boy!" Sam hadn't even tried to fight Bobby when he pushed him, and he didn't shift positions once he was down. This scared Bobby more than anything else had that night; it was like Sam was done, like he had no more fight left in him to give Bobby or anyone else. "Nobody's dying on my watch, understand!" He released the breaks on his wheelchair.
"Just hang tight alright?" Bobby wheeled himself away; over to his spare bedroom, the room with the light shining under it. He pushed the door open; it hadn't been locked, though on most days it was. It had been his wife's study before it was a spare room. Bobby kept it locked because everything inside, the old books, the dusty smell, the set of pens and stationary she kept were inside. He had to keep himself away from it, because he would never want to come out, because her spirit was locked away in those things too, and it was too comforting to be in there, to stop life and hold on to what she left, because it hurt too damn much to not be with her at all.
The room now held two beds, old camp beds with green army surplus blankets. One of her bookshelves was still there, with her collection of old classics, and his collection of books on Djins, Anthropology, and Werewolf and Vampire Lore.
One bed held a black overnight bag, opened like an animal with its contents gutted out. The other, Dean Winchester, still dressed in his jeans and denim button up, sitting up in the bed reading one of the Werewolf books.
Dean put the book down, watching Bobby wheel into the room. "Bobby, what's going on?"
"Go into the bathroom there and get me that bottle of aspirin in the medicine cabinet."
"You got a post bender headache?" Dean returned in his deadpan.
"It's Sam. Damn boy's been sick for days and hasn't told a freakin' soul about it."
The first instinct of Dean came to the surface when he heard the words "Sam" and "sick" the same sentence. It was to run out of the room and check on him, to make sure he was breathing to his liking. But, something was pressing it down, the weight of a pain that had started off small, but had grown like a huge weed inside him, the loss of his faith, in Sam. The pull of being a big brother would always be there, but Dean was too tired to follow it.
He had followed Sam in Heaven, to all of his "happy memories" All of which involved him and him alone, of him being happy without his family, without Dean. It hurt like a festering wound, seeing Sam at somebody else's table, finding home in a rundown motel and Stanford instead of with him and their father. He wanted the first feeling back, of burning fuses, whizzing fireworks in an empty field, the look of pure happiness on Sam's face because he was where he wanted to be. But, it was a lie, Sam was never happy. Even then he had always wanted out. Sitting here on this bed, Dean hadn't slept while he asked himself why, why that hadn't been enough, why he hadn't been enough?
"Dean!" Bobby barked, "the aspirin?"
"You know where it is Bobby," Dean countered. "It's your house." Sam was sick before today Bobby. Son-of-a-bitch made me die for him, love him, and he never really wanted it. Get your own damn aspirin.
"In case you haven't noticed genius, I've acquired some extra girth lately, and can't fit into that bathroom, so get your ass in there and do your part for the ADA!" Bobby barked back.
Dean went and got the aspirin because Bobby wouldn't leave him alone until he did it. "He got a cold or something?" He was going through the motions of caring, of being a big brother, but he wasn't feeling it. He still wanted to care; he wanted that field, those fireworks, even if it would all still lead to this lie. He wanted to remember love for his brother, instead of not wanting to remember him at all.
"He's got a fever Dean," Bobby said. "Raging from the looks of him. He was scaring me with all this insane babble."
Dean's senses perked up like a begging dog, despite him not wanting to care, when he heard this. "What are you talking about?"
Bobby snatched the aspirin bottle from Dean's hand hovering above him with it. "He kept saying he was dying, and he damned near looked it too. It's like someone beat the fight out of him with a baseball bat." Bobby set the breaks again on his wheelchair. "What the Sam Hill happened up there?" He looked up at Dean, his limited height not clouding at all, his demand for the answer.
What didn't happen up there? Dean wanted to turn off his brain from the memories of their travels through God's Country, he wanted to stop feeling all together, he wanted to be numb. He had been through four years of Hell, literal fire and torture Hell. But, the one day in Heaven made that experience feel like a paper cut compared to a stab wound. He had never wanted there to be a moment where he could pinpoint exactly when he had stopped believing in his brother. But, it had come last night. And, it had hurt; it was more painful than anything he had ever felt before.
Sam was his brother because of blood, but Dean had always believed, needed it to be because of something much more; and he thought it had been. But, all of that was gone now, perhaps he had deluded himself into thinking it even existed in the first place.
"It's not worth talking about." Dean wondered if he sounded as strong as he thought he was, or as tired as he truly felt.
"Like hell it is!" Bobby retorted in anger. "Sam's in the other room, almost in hysterics that's scaring the shit out of me, saying he's dying, and you're here, not wanting to talk about a trek through Heaven, Heaven, acting like it was just another day trip! That's not nothing boy!"
"Just drop it Bobby!" Dean ordered, strong or tired he didn't know; he was still rooting for numbness so the pain would finally leave him alone. "If Sam can scream, then he obviously isn't dying alright? Just give him two aspirin and he'll be fine in the morning."
Dean's words weren't concerned, or angry, they barely had any feeling at all, like he was reading the sports page instead of talking about his own brother's health.
"What is wrong with you Dean? You act like you don't even care about Sam!"
"Who said I was acting?" Cold, these words were cold. Part of being numb was first being cold, even if everything inside Dean's head screamed to take it back, he didn't listen, he was almost there, to not feel anymore.
Bobby jerked like Dean had slapped him. Dean would, had died for Sam, he lived for Sam, it was like Dean was possessed by something other than himself. "What are you saying? Where the hell does something like that come from?"
"Why don't you go ask Sam Bobby?" Dean returned, reopening the wound one last time, to cleanse it before he tried to let it finally start to close. "Go ask him why he doesn't give a crap about his family, and then ask me your question again! Maybe that will clarify things for you!"
Bobby released the breaks on his chair. He wished that he had his legs in functional use, so he could do this properly, but that didn't mean he had lost his ability to do it at all. In lieu of running, he pushed his chair forward with the same speed, pushing at Dean, making him back up.
"Eejet!" Bobby kept pushing, banging into Dean's knees with his chair, forcing him to fall against the bookshelf, dislodging several leather bound copies of the works of Washington Irving. "You. Goddamn. Fecking. Eejet!" Each word was punctuated with Bobby throwing one of the books at Dean's head.
Dean ducked from each original edition flung at him. "Bobby, what the hell's the matter with you?"
Bobby dropped the copy of Rip Van Winkle he was about to throw, and grabbed a fistful of Dean's shirt, pulling the younger man down to his level. "What the hell's the matter with me? Did God take away your brain while you were up in heaven boy? Sam is your brother! I've never even had to question your relationship with him, not once, even with all the shit you've both been put through! But, to hear you talking about him tonight, ice could freeze on your face from the coldness of your words!"
"You weren't there Bobby!" Dean snapped. Just leave this alone, goddammnit! It's painful enough; I don't need anyone poking at it. Haven't I lost enough? Do I have to lose myself to pain too? "Every one of Sam's versions of Heaven had everything he ever wanted, which didn't include me. He never wanted to stay a part of this family! He bailed as soon as he was able to ask for a ride! And it obviously made him happy; because it was his "Heaven" He didn't care Bobby! He didn't care about dad, he didn't care about me, so why am I? Why am I giving a rat's ass about Sam if it's nothing but a worthless cause? " Dean was screaming, he lacked strength to scream loudly, but his voice was still raised, because that's how he dealt with pain, he screamed.
Bobby released Dean's shirt, letting him stand back up to his full height, but Dean didn't stand up very far, because he of what he was weighed down with.
"I'm sorry," Bobby looked up from his chair at him. "That your poor Princess feelings got hurt!" He rolled his chair backwards so he could see Dean's full height in front of him. "You listen to me Dean Winchester! If you ever say such trash to me again I'm going to blow a hole through both your kneecaps! I don't give a flying shit what you saw and didn't see up in God's little playground! That boy is in there, saying he's dying! Literal, my-heart-is-flat-lining dying; because you let some dick angels convince you to give up on him! Sam is your family; you don't give up on family, EVER!"
There was a banging, sound in the other room, the sound of falling. Not the sound of falling books, or clocks, or paper, or any of the other numerous inanimate objects Bobby had in his living room. It was the heavy sound of something human.
Bobby released Dean from his cornered spot against the bookshelf; he wheeled back out of the study, and out into his living room, not paying attention if Dean was following him.
"Sam?" Bobby's voice replaced the voice of Dean that would have filled the void after such a noise. Bobby didn't miss the sound of that silence; but, he was Sam's family too; and he wasn't going to forget what Dean didn't want to remember.
The living room was a mess, but it was always a mess, Bobby wasn't a housekeeper, or even a neat man. But, he knew his mess, why each pile of what he called his "ordered chaos" was where it was. But, on the floor in front of his sofa, he didn't know this. He thought he had been scared before, but he was wrong. Because, there were books and papers, lying like they had been dropped by someone in the dark. And, in the middle, was Sam, lying like he had been dropped along there with them.
"Sam!" Bobby's rolled over Wendeigo classifications and Arch Angel Prophecies with his chair, the papers were so old they were most likely dust under the tires now; but they didn't matter, because there was something living and breathing on top of them that did.
Dean had stopped walking at the end of the hallway that led into the living room. His legs twitched underneath his stillness, they wanted to continue moving. But, they were overridden by the part that controlled them. The part of Dean that was too tired to do this anymore, to run to something that would forever run away. It hurt, it burned like a bitch, but he stood there, and he only watched.
Bobby took a hold of Sam's arm, turning him up in order to see his face. "Sam?" Sam's shirt was soaking wet from sweat, his arm was hot to the touch.
Sam jerked from the touch like he had been burned. His eyes, when they turned up to Bobby were so red rimmed and glazed over it looked like someone had beaten him. "It's gone-"
"Son, you fell," Bobby told Sam this, because, he wasn't even sure Sam was coherent enough to realize that himself. He took a hold of Sam's other shoulder. "Come on, you need to lie back down before you hurt yourself." Bobby pulled at Sam, coaxing him to stand back up.
"No, I can't-" Sam's refusal was stronger than Bobby's insistence. He could hear nothing but a high pitched whine in his head, a beaten animal cry that terrified him because it sounded so desperate. "It's gone…"
Bobby gripped Sam's shoulder tighter. "Sam, I can't stand up as far as I used to, and I don't want you on this floor!" Bobby's words were still the strong, authoritative tenor he always used, but something in his face had changed.
He was crying. Sam was crying, the whine in his head had broken through into such loneliness, he hadn't even been aware of it. Perhaps, that was the loneliest part of all. "Dean-" Each letter of his brother's name was a separate ache. Sam didn't look around, didn't see Dean standing in the shadows of the doorway watching him, because he had no energy to look anymore.
"Dean," Sam gripped Bobby's shirt, fingers tightening under the soft flannel fabric. "Bobby, you have to tell him-"
"You can tell him yourself Sam," Bobby cut him off, like he was placating a drunken man, but it was much more painful than that, because Bobby wished for Sam to be drunk now, if it would take away the pain that was pouring out of him, because it had already filled him, and had nowhere else to go. "But, you've got to sleep first boy, you're a mess."
"No!" Sam's grip on Bobby's arm was strong for someone in the throes of a fever. "Please, you have to tell him! Please!"
Bobby looked over and behind Sam, to Dean who hadn't moved from his spot. A look passed between them, and at the end of it Dean shook his head.
Bobby's gaze bore into Dean, because he could see it, the way that he was standing, what he couldn't completely hide behind the stoic mask he was trying to wear. Dean wanted to move, but he resisted, because whatever his idiotic brain was trying to prove to the rest of him wouldn't let him go.
"Please," Sam's voice was almost a whisper, a heartbreaking one. Because being numb was starting to hurt, because he remembered what it was like to feel something, because, he couldn't live on just memories. "I'm sorry." the whisper became a whimper coming from where he used to be whole. He wasn't lucid, his fever had become too high, he was babbling, some part of him knew that. But, prayer was the last hope of a desperate man. And this was Sam praying.
Sam gripped Bobby's shoulder, pulling himself up, but when he was standing his feet only took his weight for a few seconds. And he fell again. "I'm sorry," The words were wounded, the sound of something that had been left alone to die. And, everything inside Sam screamed, rebelled against it, because he didn't want to die.
"Its okay son," Bobby consoled, trying to pull Sam back up on his feet, doing two things without knowing the hell why. Not because he didn't care, he did. He cared so much he wanted to cry, but Sam was so weak that he didn't dare, there had to be something strong supporting him or he would shatter.
Sam seemed so unaware of anything, that Bobby almost did cry; but he beat it away with everything he had. "It's all going to be alright." Godamnit; this isn't supposed to be me. I'm not the one who's supposed to do this!
Sam coughed, hard, harder, then, so violently that it turned to dry heaving, then to choking. It assaulted him like a demon, making him gasp for his air; lowering him almost facedown to the floor.
Something seized him around the shoulders with a strength that could have thrown him into the wall if the force had been redirected; his back was pounded on with the same force.
"Go get some water."
The voice isn't Bobby's; it's different, why is it different? I don't understand. Delirium had settled on Sam's brain like an opiate. What he heard, and what his brain told him to believe were conflicting views, what he wanted to believe, and what he was scared to.
"Dean?" Do I look strong? No. No…No.
"I can't breathe for you Sam; you have to remember how to do it yourself." Dean's voice was right behind Sam's head. He was holding Sam up, taking most of his weight, pounding his back, trying to clear it of the mucus that was gagging him.
Sam spat something rancid at Dean's feet. He threw up more of it when Dean beat on his back harder. "Dean, I'm sorry-" He coughed like a death rattle.
"Breathe first man; apologize later," Dean kept a bracing arm across Sam's chest, using the other in percussion. He didn't know if anything he was doing was really working; all he could do was pray that more crap landed on his shoes. He took the glass of tap water Bobby offered to him, tipping it to Sam's mouth.
Sam drank the smallest of sips, then he gave another round of coughing, he breathed, but it shook him like a rattling wind, like a willow that was bending, yielding to the wind, begging it not to break it in half. "I'm sorry. Dean, I'm sorry-"
"Stop it!" Dean ordered. His voice going from nothing, to authority. The voice he used when he took care of Sam.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" Sam was babbling, he wasn't coherent. Had he been, his would have blocked this; but he was in too much in pain to do anything but feel it.
"Stop it! STOP IT!" Dean's hand was raised; he wanted to slap Sam; hell he wanted to hit him. He didn't want to hear an apology; because it was making him remember; it was making him feel again; and it was starting to hurt.
Why does the weight of small things press upon us at all? Because, they are forgotten until they are gone; until we remember; too late; just what they were worth.
Sam had cried all night; and it was heart breaking, and lonely. But, it was nothing compared to sound he was making now. His fever echoed the noise like the aching chord of a sad, forgotten song. He was digging into Dean; his face pressed into his brother's abdomen. Such a desperate, childlike gesture. But, Sam wasn't a child, he didn't want to be sated, he wanted so much more.
"I'm sorry, 'M sorry'sorry." Sam was gritting his teeth; he couldn't say one word without pain.
Dean's arms finally told his brain to shut up, and they wrapped around his brother for real, keeping his head right where it was, feeling Sam's tears soaking where the aching pain still was. But, the ache had changed in quality. It was the needlelike pain that shot through you when numbness ended and feeling started to return.
Sitting on the dusty floor, on piles of Hunter lore, with Bobby watching them as the observer this time; Dean held on to Sam. Stupid, son-of-a-bitch Sam; who was crying a mess onto his shirt.
And he didn't let go.
And he cried too.
The sun was beginning to come up; rising over the hills of scrap cars on Singer Salvage; meandering slowly like the Lord it was to daytime, assessing its domain; calling forth its subjects into the light. But, it was no match for Bobby, who shut it away behind closed brown curtains. He wheeled around in his chair, moving away from the window.
His living room had come back to the sound of silence and ticking clocks. His Arch Angel and Wendiego Lore were still in a puddle where they fell. He wheeled over to them; picking up a few of the yellowed pages that were salvageable. The rest were lost to the damage of his own chair; so he ran over them again to move somewhere else. Even Lore had only so much value to a Hunter like Bobby Singer; because he was human first, hunter second.
He had a dark burgandy overstuffed couch with a wooden framed backing. His wife had picked it out from a Flea Market; he had never cared for it, until after she died, because she had loved it so much. There were shapes there. Of Sam's 6'4" frame stretched out on his back across its length; a blanket hanging off him to the floor, his head half on a pillow, half on his brother's leg, who was next to him. Dean's feet were propped on the coffee table his head thrown back against the sofa, one hand resting on Sam's chest, fingers curled down, holding his brother in his sleep.
Neither moved, they would have looked dead, except for the breathing, exhaustion was etched everywhere in their features. On the small table next to Dean's left arm was a plastic bowl half full with water with a drying towel hanging out of it like a drooping flower; and beside that the aspirin bottle with white pills spilled out of it like that dropping flower had dropped its petals.
Sam's fever had been high; by the time Bobby had unearthed a thermometer from a cabinet in his kitchen, it had reached 103 degrees; and Sam was still so delirious, Bobby knew it was still climbing. He was half ready to take Sam to the hospital, but Dean had screamed at him not to; his exact words being: "He's my brother damnit! I can take care of him myself!"
There was such guilt in Dean's voice; such pain, that Bobby didn't argue with him. He watched Dean carry his brother, four inches taller and considerable pounds heavier than him, into Bobby's spare bathroom, laying him down into the tub, running the water until it soaked through all of Sam's clothes. Sam's delirium was so high he almost choked on the aspirin Bobby had tried to give him. In the end, Dean had crushed the pills into the water and had forced the liquid down his brother's throat.
There was 30 minutes of sitting there, on the hard tile floor, watching Dean grit his teeth while Sam shivered almost convulsively under the lukewarm water soaking him, constantly reaching out with both hands for something, until Dean finally gripped one of his hands, and Sam gripped back, and stopped reaching.
Bobby had taken Sam's temperature again, he could see that, like hours before, Dean wasn't going to move, but he couldn't yell at him for it this time. It was still high, but it had gone down two degrees.
Seeing the look on Dean's face when Bobby told him that made him lose the last aftertastes of the anger he had been holding onto for the younger man all night. There had been enough punishment and enough pain that night. A wound would only heal if it was allowed to; Bobby had to allow it.
He felt useless in his chair; but even if his legs were functional, he doubted Dean would let him help. He watched him carry Sam again, 10 more pounds soaking wet and half conscious back into the living room. There was a song Bobby had heard years ago; with the lyrics: "He ain't heavy, he's my brother." Bobby had seen numerous brothers before, numerous sibling relationships. But, it wasn't until he watched Dean move Sam back down to the sofa, that he truly could see the meanings of such words.
Bobby stopped his chair in front of this sofa; picking up blanket where it had half fallen to the floor; laying it back over Sam's body. He unfolded the chocolate brown and orange knitted blanket he had in his lap, the one his wife had wanted to surprise him with on his birthday, the one right before she was gone. He never used it after; he didn't want to touch something she had touched, he had only wanted to touch her.
He laid it over Dean's legs; to give it some use besides collecting dust; and taunting him with memories.
There was something thin and black hanging from the pocket of Sam's jeans; it wasn't a lose thread, it was the wrong color for that. Bobby had been a Hunter for too many years; he couldn't help being curious and pulling the object out of that pocket; careful not to wake its owner. What he grasped in his hand weighed no more than a handful of pennies. A leather bound cord, a silver medallion. One that he now only realized had been absent from around Dean's neck.
Bobby stared at necklace in his palm. The sight of Dean not wearing it was like staring at a man with a huge gaping hole in his chest; something unnatural.
The ache of a realization crept up him like slowly melting ice. Dean wouldn't lose this; he had let it go purposely. And it had ripped Sam apart. It wasn't a necklace to them; it was a forging. And the end result of severing that forge that was meant to last forever, no matter how Dean denied it all night, was that it had ripped him apart too. Sam and Dean were connected; the roots of the same tree, feeling the shockwave of the other.
Fecking ejets. Bobby's curse in his head wasn't angry, it was sad. His boys were masochists. It took them hurting each other to make them remember that they didn't need to do this to feel pain. They felt it every day. Because, they loved each other so much it was painful.
Nothing living moved except Bobby as wheeled out of the living room as quietly as he was able to.
He turned down the hallway to his bedroom to try and remember what sleep was.
It had been one hour; Bobby had slept one hour, when he heard something besides himself moving.
He sat up; sleep still clinging to his brain like thick syrup, making his mind as rumpled as the clothes he had fallen asleep in.
"Boys?" He shook his mind back to the waking world and yanked his chair to the edge of his bed, and pulled himself in into it. He wheeled back out the bedroom.
The spare bedroom door was closed, the light under it evident because of the efforts Bobby had made to block out any light that was natural. He looked over from this vantage point to the sofa in his living room. The blankets across it were rumpled. Dean was there, but not Sam. There was a sudden moment of alarm, but Bobby bit back every instinct that told him to open the door because he didn't hear any sounds of falling this time. Even after the village brought a man back from the brink after the tempest; there were still those moments where he needed to be alone.
Bobby let the door be and wheeled over to the sofa and Dean. The only Winchester he could see now was still asleep. It was a testament to just how exhausted Dean was, otherwise, he would have never slept through the movements of Sam getting up.
"Dean," Bobby shook his shoulder.
Dean shook off sleep as slowly as Bobby had, blinking to bring the world back into focus. He raised his head up, and turned, seeing the empty place on the couch. "Sam?-" The absence of his brother hotwired his brain to wake up completely.
"He's fine," Bobby reassured him. "He's in the other room, changing from the baptism we gave him last night." Bobby lied the rest of his words because Dean would have demanded that he go check on his brother if Bobby had told him he never even went inside the bedroom. "So, you can drop your over compensating mother hen act for a while."
Dean pulled himself forward off the back of the sofa with a groan dropping his legs to the floor. He stared at the blinking "7:30" looking up at him from his watch face. "Bobby, it's too damn early in the morning for your sage advice." He dropped his head to his hands and rubbed at his eyes.
"How are you doing?" Bobby asked.
"Fantastic." Dean deadpanned, his voice rough, now rubbing his hands through his short dark brown hair. "Except I feel like I slept on a lumpy couch all night."
"You sound like you need coffee," Bobby said.
"I need whisky," Dean countered, finally raising his head up. There were dark circles under his eyes. He looked like a man who had slept on a lumpy couch all night.
"Come on," Bobby said, releasing his breaks. "I'll pour some in your Folgers." He watched Dean stand up slowly from the sofa, allowing him a moment to stretch the knots that had tied themselves into his muscles, before leading the way into the kitchen.
The tile that made up the kitchen walls was eggshell, not because it was the original paint color, but from years of age, and lack of cleaning. Part of that off white dirtiness was hidden by a coffee pot that was almost as old as Dean. But, Bobby still poured black grounds and water into it, and when the ancient thing was turned on, it still made coffee without catching on fire.
Dean fell into an empty chair at Bobby's white ceramic topped table, his head dropping into his hands, as a yawn overtook him that threatened to suck all the air out of his lungs. Neither man said anything; Dean was too tired, Bobby was watching coffee percolate as a distraction to allow the younger man to have a moment to collect himself.
Dean was so tired, that it felt like he was sleepwalking. He had no idea when he had actually fallen asleep last night. He hadn't planned to fall asleep at all. He had always kept a vigil over Sam when he was sick when they were young. And, even now, he still sat watching his brother sleep. The feel of Sam's heartbeat was a comfort to him. Because, when everything else had broken into dust; this beating under his hand, it hadn't changed. And, this had become his lullaby, pulling him into blackness, despite his fighting.
Bobby set a white coffee mug down on the table by Dean's elbow, and Dean felt a small wave of heat on his skin from the mug's contents.
"I already added creamer," Bobby said. The coffee in the mug was pitch black, and after he saw Dean look at him with a confused 'what'? he held up a bottle of amber colored 45 proof Canadian Whiskey. He set the bottle on the table. "But, you can add more if it's not to your liking."
Dean swallowed a mouthful of coffee, then reached for the whiskey bottle, diluting most of the coffee with it. His next mouthful burned his throat, and he welcomed it like a fire first lit on a gray winter morning.
Bobby had an empty mug in front of him, but he forwent any coffee and instead poured himself a cup of whiskey.
Dean gave an approving look at his actions, raising his mug to Bobby's. "Good morning."
Both men clinked mugs before taking healthy swigs form them.
Bobby swallowed the liquor down; listening to the quiet clatter of his mug hit the ceramic tabletop when he set it down. The clock in his kitchen ticked away, adding to the hush of the everyday noises that pushed its way in between the two men, to allow them to stall, to not talk.
"You finally ready to forgive Sam?" Bobby couldn't sit and keep quiet forever. He had never been that kind of man.
Dean stared at Bobby. "There's nothing to forgive." He wasn't purposely trying to lie; he was saying these words because he was trying to convince himself that they were true.
"I'm not the one you should tell," Bobby said with quiet insistence. He had watched Dean lie for years, but he was off his mark with this one, like he was wearing a paper coat to protect himself against a rainstorm.
"And when would have been a good time for that?" Dean returned, he didn't slam his mug down, but it banged from the force anyway. "When Sam was almost on an acid trip from with his fever; when he was so weak I had to carry him back from the bathroom? Tell me Bobby, when did you notice a good time in between all of that crap to pencil in a therapy session?"
"Don't use that tone with me boy!" Bobby snapped at Dean like he was reprimanding his son; because Dean was as near to that to Bobby as anyone would be. "I know you Dean. No matter how pissed you are at Sam; you'll always take care of him, that big brother mentality has been etched into your brain so deeply you can't do anything but-
"And this is a bad thing to you Bobby?"
""But, that don't mean you forgive him!" Bobby answered Dean's rapid fire question with a rapid fire answer. "Fight or Flight is a reflex Dean, it's not absolution."
"Can we not talk about this?" Dean insisted.
"Not talk about what?"
Both men turned to the sound of the third voice as it entered the kitchen. Sam stood in the doorway of the kitchen, dressed in a clean pair of jeans and blue and white plaid button down. But, the clean clothes and the quick rake of his fingers through his hair couldn't hide the fact that he was still sick, it leached off him like a smell.
Dean stood up from his chair. "Sam?" There were other words that he wanted to say, sentences, phrases. But, Dean could only get out his brother's name, but it was a phrase unto itself.
"How you feeling son?" Bobby asked, even though he already had his answer by looking at Sam standing there. If a man looks like hell, then ergo-
"Like I woke up with a raging hangover, and have the worse headache of time," Sam answered truthfully. "But other than that-" he laughed, despite the pain pounding through his skull, but he did it anyway, because he wanted to feel something other than pain. He tried to rub away the headache with his fingers.
"Dude, you need to sit down," Dean wasn't trying to be their mother; he would be a piss poor excuse for her. But, Bobby was right; being a big brother was too much ingrained in him. "You look like shit."
Dean didn't wait for Sam to take the initiative; He took his left shoulder guiding him towards the table.
"Dean, I know how to sit down by myself," Sam argued.
"Humor me cowboy," Dean returned.
"You know, touching me like this the morning after we slept together is just going to make Bobby think we're gay."
"Would you two cuddle when I'm nottrying to swallow?" Bobby insisted.
"Shut up," Dean said, kicking out an empty wooden chair with his foot. "Sam, sit." He pushed Sam down into the chair and placed his coffee cup in front of him. "Here."
Sam peered inside the cup; staring at the contents to gauge what they were, then back up at Dean, because he suspected it was more than just coffee. "What is it?"
"Medicine?" Sam gave his bother a raised eyebrow look. He took a drink from the cup, and coughed a second later at the fiery taste. "Whiskey."
"That's what I said," Dean told him.
Sam's cough at the whiskey turned into a real cough that doubled him over his knees.
Sam was gasping; the phlegm had filled up his lungs again, leaving little room for them to do other things, like take in air. His face, which was already pale from his illness, went sheet white, his lips beginning to tinge blue around the edges from the lack of oxygen. He pitched forward like a fish drowning on air.
"Sam!" Sam heard Dean's voice like the echo in a tunnel; one that he was running too; but one that he found sealed off. He didn't even have the breath to scream; but he still focused on that voice, because he wouldn't allow himself to stop listening.
"Sam, come on goddamit! BREATHE!"
Something lodged inside of Sam's lungs finally broke free; he vomited a disgusting amount of phlegm, drawing in burning lungfulls of air. He opened his eyes to find himself on the floor of the kitchen.
"Sammy?" Dean's voice was no longer in a tunnel; it was right next to him. His brother had an arm around his back, keeping him upright.
"Dean-" He called me Sammy. Sam hadn't heard this pronunciation of his name from Dean in so long he had almost forgotten what it sounded like when he said it. No one knew how badly they missed the small, every day things, until they were absent, and all you felt was their echo.
Dean stared down at Sam; his face registered the terror of what had just happened. "You with me?"
Sam nodded. He felt like he had taken a bath in his own sweat, his lungs were on fire, but the blue tinge had faded from his lips, and he was breathing again.
"You've got to stop scaring the shit out of us like that son!" Bobby said his face almost as pale as Sam's. His chair was parked inches from Sam's sprawled form on the floor. "My heart's going to give out if this keeps up!" He could hear the heartbeats hammer against his chest like the organ was trying to break through his ribcage. Godamnit, will you all just LEAVE this boy alone!
"Sorry," the apology slipped out of Sam before he could stop it. Only he would apologize for nearly dying of hypoxia. "Guess I was wrong," he winced in pain. "This is the worse headache of time."
Dean pulled Sam up on his feet so fast it gave Sam a head rush. "Dean-" Sam swayed when all that blood hit his skull, like he was experiencing drunkenness for the first time.
Dean froze in concern, his arm tightened around his brother. "What's wrong?"
"Too much enthusiasm," Sam told him, trying not to throw up on his brother for a third time.
Dean didn't like that the paleness of Sam's face wasn't fading away. "Come on," He draped Sam's arm across his shoulders. "You've been vertical for too long; you're hitting the couch."
"No," Sam slumped back down into the chair he had fallen from before Dean could move. "No, I don't need to lie down, it's not that bad."
"Yeah, and you always cry when "it's not that bad." Dean said.
Cry? Sam hadn't been aware of this until he felt a wet track down his face. Damnit; why me? Why do I have to fall apart when I'm already in pieces? He knew why though, even if Dean no longer believed in him; only did these things for him out of an obligation of being his "big brother" he needed Dean, needed him like air, the pain he felt burning his chest all through last night was that of him gasping for him.
"Sam, you're a wreck-"
"I said I'm fine," Sam quickly silenced Dean's words; there was something thick in his throat. He only hoped he wasn't still crying, because he was afraid he would never stop; that he wouldn't remember what it was like when he had been strong. "Please. It's fine."
There was a thin line between what we believe and what is real; and Dean knew Sam wanted to believe he was okay, believe in it so badly that he couldn't see that he looked like a heroin addict going through withdrawal; like he had looked when he was strung out on demon blood, locked in the Panic Room screaming.
Dean hadn't wanted that moment when he stopped believing in Sam; but that line between belief and reality had a way of blurring. In order for something to be real, you had to believe that it was. And, there was something in the way that Sam said "please" that dragged something out of Dean; something that he hadn't realized he had repressed until it came to the surface, hovered around the older Winchester.
Hope. Sam had asked Hope to leave him, and she had, but she had come back to someone else, to remind him of the difference between what we do out of obligation, and what we do out of love.
"Okay, have it your way; just don't blame me if you end up on your ass." Dean couldn't help his smart ass side, it was a defense mechanism. Hope came from Pandora's Box, but when she entered, she opened the lid to her own, she let back in what we thought we lost, she reminded us to feel, because no one can live numb.
Sam nodded his head, the small action making him weary. "Thanks," His eyes were bleary, but he welcomed it because he was afraid of what he would find if he could see when he looked into Dean's. Disappointment. Anger. Obligation. The last would be the most painful; it would mean that Dean was doing this because he had too; because someone told him it was his burden, not a want, not a need.
"No problem," Dean wiped the wet track away from Sam's face with the back of his hand, an awkward movement, but a real one, because Dean didn't do chick moments.
It made Sam finally look up. He didn't see obligation there. What he saw, he couldn't describe, like Dean had opened a door to let what emotion would be come inside, and he would wait for it until it did.
"I'll give you two some time to talk," Bobby cut into emotions that were weighing the room down with heaviness like the humidity on a summer night in the Deep South.
"We're good Bobby," Dean told him. "There's been enough bromance moments for today."
"Spooning Dean makes my head hurt," Sam returned his brother's sarcasm, laying his head into his hands to rub at his tired eyes.
Bobby pulled something out of his shirt pocket and slammed it down on the table. The black leather cord with its silver amulet sat on the tabletop like a violation, a bleeding severed limb shown to those who had lost it.
Neither Sam nor Dean made a move towards the tiny necklace, but they unconsciously felt the phantom pain of where what was lying on the table used to be.
"Like I said, I'll give you some time," Bobby saw the shift in the boys eyes as they stared at something that had never just been a small thing to them. He wheeled himself out of the kitchens.
Dean palmed the necklace, he'd forgotten how little it weighed, but he couldn't forget the feeling of it sitting on his chest every single day for 18 years, or the feeling of its absence now. He held it up in front of Sam. "Where'd this come from?"
Sam stared at the thing hovering in front of his face; no amount of blurriness in his ill vision would make him not see it. "It doesn't matter."
"You picked this up?" Dean was in disbelief, staring at his brother's guilty expression, like he had caught him looting through his dirty magazine collection when they were kids. "You dug through hotel garbage to get this out?"
"I said it doesn't matter Dean-"
"Obviously it does otherwise you wouldn't loot through used condom wrappers and bottles of lube to fish this out-"
"It doesn't matter, to YOU." Sam saw something walk into Dean's emotions through the open door, waiting for permission to form, for Dean to feel it. "I know you don't believe in it anymore-" The word that was supposed to be there instead of 'it' hovered on Sam's lips, and he was too weary, too tired, to try and keep it down. "I know you don't believe in me anymore."
Dean felt it what entered him, but he didn't want too, it hurt too much. "So why'd you pick it up?"
"Because it's mine," Why do I sound so young when I feel so old? "Because, I'm not ready to give it up."
Sadness. That's what Dean was feeling. How did it come to this? When did we flip the switch and forget who we are? "Sam-"
"Dean, I'm sorry," Sam was lucid now; these words weren't from fever induced drunkenness, which made them so much more painful, because there was nothing to numb them with. "My Heaven, I bailed, every time, on dad, on you-"
"We'll talk about this when you're feeling up to it Sam," Dean returned, it was an order because he could see the toll talking was taking on Sam's already weakened body.
"I bailed," Sam didn't listen to Dean's order, he had never told Dean any of this, never in 26 years, but he was going to tell him now. "But, it wasn't because I didn't want our family, I was scared-" Sam hacked a cough that silenced him and made him gasp.
"Sam seriously, we're doing this later!" Dean barked. He walked over to the sink and filled a cup up with tap water, hovering it over his brother's lips a moment later.
Sam drank half the glass before his coughing was finally wetted enough to stop. He had to keep going though, he had to. There was no later time for this anymore. "I didn't want to be someone else's label Dean, I wanted to be me. But, I realize now, I can't, it doesn't work like that. Because I can't be me without you."
"Dude, you've been watching too much Lifetime TV."
"I'm serious Dean-"
"I know you are," Dean cut him off.
"Then stop making bad jokes about it, please."
"What makes you think I find anything about this funny?" Dean pulled back from his table, and stared down at Sam. The only time Dean could stare down at his younger brother was when the latter was seated. "Because, whatever your reason was, you bailed on your family, you bailed on me! Because you were scared? That's not a reason Sam, that's crap! That's worse than crap! That's something so rancid and dirty it doesn't even have a name yet!" There was no later for this conversation, and there was no emotion for Dean other than anger. He had this conversation, with himself, with Bobby, with everyone except its source.
"I know Dean," Sam could feel Dean's anger, but he took it in like flowers take in sunlight, because it wasn't nothing. "I'm sorry-"
"Dude, if you freakin' say 'I'm sorry' one more time I swear-!"
"What do you want me to say Dean?" Sam lacked any strength to yell, he was too sick for that, but he still tried.
"I don't want you to say anything Sammy-"
"You can't call me 'Sammy' after a week of barely acknowledging me at all and act like you don't want something from me!"
"'I want-'" Dean tested out the phrase like bad alcohol. " You know what I want? I want you to shut up Sam!"
The words were like a physical blow, but Sam had already braced himself for it, because he didn't want to just look strong anymore, he wanted to be strong, even if he had to be strong alone. If he hadn't felt so weak, so beaten, he would've stood up and left, walked outside like a dazed sleepwalker, who wanted to dream again, because dreaming wouldn't hurt like this.
Dean could see Sam debating on his next move; he could see the change overtake his eyes. Someone else would call it 'sad.' But, he knew his brother better than anyone else ever would, he knew what it really was: 'wounded'.
"Sammy," Dean watched his brother trying not to lose control, the sadness was all over his eyes, but he wouldn't let it fall. When he was a kid, he always begged Dean to watch him do things, Watch me Dean! Watch me shoot! Watch me Dean! Watch me ride down the hill; I can do soo many wheelies now!
Sam wasn't a kid anymore, but he still wanted Dean to watch what he did: Watch me Dean, watch me be strong.
"I know you're sorry. I know it man. But 'I'm sorry' is a magic hoodoo that fixes things." He watched Sam take it in so quietly, a nod of his head dislodging the tear he had been working so hard at repressing.
Dean had seen Sam cry more in the last 48 hours than he had witnessed in a long time. But, that one lone drop trailing down his brother's face under the dim lighting in Bobby's kitchen, none of what came before it, equaled the sadness of that single falling trail.
"But it's a start Sam," Something wet traveled down Dean's face, and he didn't wipe at it, he let it fall. "It's a start okay? And things have to start somewhere. "But, for what it's worth, I'm sorry too. All the time in Heaven I hated you for bailing on your family, and I turned around and did the same thing to you. We can't keep swinging at each other like this Sammy, because we're all we've got."
Sam closed his eyes, it wasn't a clean fix, it didn't make it all better, but Dean was right, it was a start. "Thank you."
The last time Dean had heard Sam say "thank you" so sincerely was by that dirty waterside bridge, when he had called him back so they could hunt together again. "Thank you" wasn't casual, it held no hidden meaning, it hid nothing, it was the purest form of compliment.
"I think you're right. I've been vertical for too long," Sam paled when he said this, even talking was wearing him out. "Because the thought of Bobby's lumpy couch is starting to appeal to me."
Dean grabbed his shoulder. "You need help?" He expected Sam to say 'no' to give some sort of rant about being 26, and able to walk on his own because he wasn't in diapers anymore.
But Sam didn't say any of that. "Yeah, I'm getting damn sick of waking up on the floor."
Dean didn't need to hear anything else, he draped Sam's arms over his shoulders and helped him out of the chair. "Sorry man, you're a lot heavier to carry then I thought, and I'm kind of attached to my arms."
"'I'm gonna throw up on your shoes if you tell another crappy joke."
"Sam you've been throwing up on my shoes for two days, that doesn't faze me anymore." He led his brother back through the kitchen and back out into the Library/Living room. Bobby was sitting by the fireplace, poking at the birch logs in fire he had lit on the hearth with a solid iron poker, which was actually being used for the first time for its intended purpose in 5 years.
"Hey, maybe Bobby's spare room upstairs would be more comfortable then that lumpy piece of crap." Dean told Sam.
"I heard that," Bobby snapped.
"You were meant too." Dean returned.
"'Can't make it that far Dean, " Sam said, trying to remember that walking entailed moving one foot in front of the other. "Sofa's horizontal, it's golden."
The walk from the kitchen to the library couch might as well have been a walk across the continental United States, because Sam was panting from it just the same. He fell into the couch cushions, laying on his back, he felt Dean lift his legs up on the sofa, then, a second later, a blanket fell across his body.
Sam closed his weary eyes, trying to let the ache flow out of him like water from a sieve. He felt something bump his shoulder. He opened one eye revealing the bumping to be Dean.
Sam stared at Dean bleary eyed. "What? "Dean, c'mon I feel like crap."
"Stop being a bitch Sam." Dean kept bumping Sam's shoulder until his younger brother finally got up in a weak huff and moved himself down on the sofa, leaning back into the cushions in a half sitting, half lying position.
Dean reclaimed his earlier spot on the couch, and shoved one of the couch's cushions against his leg. "Lay down."
"Not now man, I'm not in the mood-"
"Shut up and lie down Sammy." Dean ordered
The weight of Sam's head pressed against the pillow barrier on Dean's leg a second later. "I thought you said this was a lumpy piece of crap."
"Yeah, well I'm a masochist," Dean answered. "Just don't drool on me."
Sam closed his eyes again, breathing out a long deep breath that seemed to originate from the center of his being. He coughed again, but this time he managed to rein it in from a full on attack. He heard his breathing slow down, as he allowed the tendrils of sleep to pull him down. And behind his own breathing, another rhythm, Dean's breathing, and he burrowed into it, holding the pulse of it into unconsciousness.
Seeing Sam fall back asleep, leaning on his brother, Bobby left with a mutter about getting something in his system besides whiskey. Damn ejets.
The weight of Sam's head against him drew Dean to the weight of what he held in his hand. The silver of the medallion caught the light of the fire burning in the brick hearth, the weight of it so light, so small.
The weight of small things was what made up the complexities of the larger ones, bonds, love, souls. And no one remembered this until they were holding the severed pieces of it in their hand.
"It's mine too Sammy," Sam was asleep; Dean's words were a whisper. He slid the necklace up and back over his head, feeling the pendant settle, feeling something beginning to heal where it did. "I'm tired of letting things go man; I want something to be left." Sam shifted in his sleep, some part of him hearing what Dean was saying.
Sam had changed; people evolved, they grew, but the roots of his origins would always remain intertwined with Dean's. They were like the initials carved into a dash of the Impala by the hands of the children they once were, something they pressed their palms into now, as adults, to remember what it felt like when it was new, remember why they carved them there in the first place.
Dean hand was back on Sam's chest, pressing into the beat of his heart, holding on to what he could never let go of in the first place.
This really took on a life of its own. It was supposed to be this short drabble, but like I said, life of it's own. Stories have a habit of growing like trees, and I can't do anything but add water and stand back.
I couldn't picture an easy fix for Sam and Dean after "DSOFM" The wounds ran too deep for an "okay, things are fine now" moment. So, I did the natural thing, I made myself cry while writing a story that profiled their journey after that episode through my eyes. I'm the true masochist here, but the way I see it, you can't have hope, without pain first…
Let me know what you think.