So, nothing else happened during the night. At least nothing that woke me up. So, when I did wake up, it was seven a.m. give or take. Everything was quiet. Mom's bedroom door was shut. Mom was probably still asleep on the couch. I made myself a bowl of breakfast and switched on the under-cupboard TV to watch Ben Ten Alien Force.
At the second commercial break, something made me look up – and there was Sam, standing in the doorway between kitchen and bedroom hallway. He wasn't wearing the hooded sweatshirt anymore and he wasn't shivering anymore. He only looked half as dead as he looked yesterday, but that was still a lot of dead.
"Hi." I tried saying to him. The look he was giving me, kind of 'I didn't expect to see you' and kind of 'who are you again?' made me wonder if he was sleep walking or delirious or something. So I asked, "Are you okay?" figuring his answer would tell me how fast I should get Dean.
"Hey. Uh. Hey. Is – uh – is – your Mom – here?" He was talking like he had to lug each word up a really long staircase or something. "I wanted to ask – I wondered – if I – could have – some more lemonade."
Did he really think he had to ask Mom for that? What am I?
"Sure. I'll get some for you."
He didn't move out of the doorway while I poured him the lemonade, or when I handed it to him and he thanked me, or when he drank it all down before I even got back to my chair at the table.
"You want some more?" I asked. But he didn't answer me. He looked like he didn't know what the answer was. "Sam? Are you okay?"
Me asking that, or maybe just me saying anything at all, switched off that not-knowing look on his face.
"Where's your sink?" He looked around and sounded like we kept our sink in a secret hiding spot that he hadn't committed to memory yet. I noticed he hadn't answered – yet – if he was okay or not. "I'll put this in the sink – " he gestured the glass around a little bit – "I just don't see it -."
"Here, I'll put in the dishwasher." I took the glass out of his hand and he looked at me like he wasn't still quite following what was going on. "Sam? Are you okay?"
He gave me another non-answer.
"I didn't mean to bother you. I'll go – back – " He stopped talking and looked like he couldn't remember what 'back' was or where it was. I set the glass in the top rack and figured I'd get Dean. But I tried one last time.
"Are you okay?"
He knew what I was asking, he was looking at me like he knew what I was asking and like he knew he was answering anything but what I was asking.
"I appreciate you asking." He said, still not answering me but sure sounding like he definitely knew what I was asking him and that I was asking him.
"Yeah, well – I'd appreciate you answering." I told him. I didn't mean to say it that hard, but come on - how hard of a question could it be? If he's OK, I offer him a bowl of breakfast. If he wasn't OK, I get Dean. I just needed to know which it was.
I kinda thought I might get yelled at for being snotty, because I still didn't know Sam so good. But Sam laughed. And then Dean was there, all of a sudden standing next to him.
"What's so funny?" he asked Sam, looking at me like if he didn't get an answer out of Sam, he was hoping to get one out of me. But Sam did answer him.
"Ben was just showing me his 'Dean Winchester' imitation." He said, and he might've actually given a tiny smile when he said it.
The answer didn't exactly change the look on Dean's face, but he didn't ask what Sam was talking about. Instead, he asked Sam,
"Are you okay?"
And Sam answered,
Which for as short as it was, was really more of a direct response than I'd gotten out of him on the same question three times. And it was pretty much all the answer Dean needed.
"So, that's a 'no'." Dean said. "All right, back to your pumpkin, Sleeping Beauty. I'll scramble you some Humpty Dumpty."
"Dean –" Sam grumped out and pulled away from Dean's hand on his shoulder that was pushing him back toward the bedrooms. I figured he was going to argue with Dean that he was all right, but his only answer was, "You really need to brush up on your fairytales."
"Yeah, well, you need to eat."
"You can't just take over Lisa's kitchen. And I'm not eating eggs that you've given a name to."
"I'm not taking over Lisa's kitchen, I'm frying an egg. Or would you rather I made you some 'ovum of the gallus gallus domesticus'?"
Okay, whatever that was, I knew that I never wanted to eat it. Ever.
"I asked Sam if he wanted some more lemonade." I told Dean, because I wanted in on this conversation, and that was pretty much all I had to offer.
Dean answered, "He does, thanks," and pushed Sam towards the kitchen table, "Sit before you fall," and Sam went where Dean was pushing him without arguing and sat down.
And then Mom came into the kitchen. She either slept in her clothes or got dressed fast because she was wearing what she'd been wearing the night before. Sam popped up from the chair like he was on springs.
"I'm gonna go back – I'm just gonna – I should –"
He was muttering that to Dean, but I know Mom had to hear him, but she talked like she hadn't heard him at all.
"Sam – you look better than you did last night."
She meant it, she was glad he looked better, she even smiled when she said it.
Sam looked like he just accidentally killed puppies. A lot of puppies. Cute ones.
"Yeah – uh – yeah. I – uh – sleeping last night really helped. Thanks for letting us – uh – stay." He didn't look at Mom while he was talking to her. He didn't look at Dean either really. "I'm gonna – I'm just gonna –"
"You're just gonna sit down and drink some more lemonade." Dean said back to him. He pushed Sam down into the chair again. "Then I'm going to arm wrestle Lisa for the frying pan and make everybody some breakfast. So sit."
That last part, those last two words, sounded actually grumpy. And Dean's face, when I looked at him, he actually kinda looked a little grumpy. But – he also looked really really tired, now that I looked close at him. Sam looked worse than Dean, sure, but not by much. I looked at Mom and she was looking at Dean – and she saw it too.
"I only arm wrestle when there's a chance I might not win." She said. It sounded like a dig, but she was smiling, so it was only a way to get Dean to sit and rest because she added, "So why don't you sit down and let me make breakfast?"
Dean I guess figured it for what it was. He smiled too, and said, "Thanks, Leese," like he needed to whisper it, and sat down in the chair closest to Sam. I poured Sam some more lemonade and set it down near him. I set it next to Sam, but Dean was the one who said 'thanks' first and then Sam looked up and said, 'thanks' too, and kind of smiled, only it looked and sounded like the kind of smile and thanks I feel like giving when Grandma gets me underwear for Christmas. Then he looked down again.
Mom told me to get plates and silverware and she got started making scrambled eggs for breakfast. Sam kept staring down at his hands like it was sunny and he had a bad headache. Dean put his hand on the back of Sam's chair, on the far side of Sam's chair so that he pretty much had his whole arm across Sam's whole back, and even though Sam wasn't saying anything out loud, he must've been saying something, because Dean was answering him.
"You need to eat something." He was still talking like he needed to whisper. "Even if it's just a little bit. We'll just see how much you can handle, all right? Just try a little and then you can get some more sleep."
And Sam nodded and didn't look up, and Dean and Mom smiled at each other and both of them did a kind of 'kids, hunh?' eye roll.
Nobody said anything to me but I felt like I was one too many people in the kitchen, like maybe Sam didn't want any bigger audience than he needed. So I got enough plates and knives and forks for the three of them and headed out of the kitchen.
"Hey," Dean said and reached out as I passed him and put his hand around my arm. He smiled at me. "Thanks."
I knew he meant for more than just the plates and maybe even more than just the lemonade. And it felt totally non-weird to tell him, "I'll be in the front room if you need me for anything," and Dean nodded like I was really and totally a real part of all of this.
That felt good. That felt right. I was glad again that Sam and Dean were staying at our house.
To be continued.