The First Week
A/N: Sequel to The Missing. I recommend you read that first.
Well, Crazybeagle basically demanded that I post this (in a very nice way) and I've finally had the time to type it up. Honestly, I've had this written basically since just after I posted The Missing because a lot of people wanted more but I haven't been too happy with it – it's been fighting me every step of the way. I wanted to find a positive note to end on but I haven't. So... this may turn into a 'verse (although I try very hard not to make promises my muse refuses to keep). This is set during the first week after Dean finds Sam.
Warning: Allusions to previous rape.
Sam doesn't talk.
Dean kneels on the bed, focusing intently on the scissors he's wielding, while Sam sits silently in front of him, chewing on his fingernails. Dean makes a mental note to keep an eye on that. Sam has a habit of biting his nails until he bleeds. Dean's always been able to judge how stressed or upset Sammy was by how much nail he had left.
"It wasn't that bad, like I told you." Dean snips a few more locks of Sam's hair before leaning back to inspect his work. It looks even enough. "Good thing you've got so much, huh?"
Dean hates silence. It's gotten so bad these last few days, since he got Sammy away from the monster that didn't turn out to be a monster but close enough for Dean to kill – not soon enough, too little, too late – that the quiet is almost like a physical being, standing in the corner, all solemn and making Dean uncomfortable. Attempting conversation is like chewing on tinfoil.
Dean stands up to check Sam's hair out from the front. Sam doesn't acknowledge his movement, fringe falling like a curtain over his face. Dean's beginning to wonder if he'll ever see Sam's eyes again, and if he's brutally honest with himself, there's a part of him that wouldn't mind Sam keeping them hidden until they don't look quite so dead.
"You can't even tell now," Dean offers. "I promise, I didn't fuck it up even more."
"Thanks." Sam keeps chewing on his nail.
Dean bites his lip. "Sammy-"
Dean sighs, "Okay." He gets up to return the scissors to his duffel, then hesitates as he looks at the blade and ends up slipping them into his pocket. All the weapons are locked in the Impala's trunk – not that that would stop Sam if he were really determined. Dean's just hoping that he's not.
"Uh, are you sure you don't want to head to Bobby's? He said we could stay as long as we want-"
Dean falls silent. Tries to think of a question that doesn't have a two syllable answer. "What d'you want for dinner?"
So it turns out three syllables isn't much of an improvement.
"Sammy..." he tries again, reaching a hand towards Sam's shoulder. He lets it drop back to his side when Sam cringes away, curling in on himself. Dean has nothing but useless words to offer. "It's gonna be okay, Sammy."
He retrieves his jacket from the floor and heads for the door. The diner's only across the road, it's the reason he picked this motel, even though it still seems too far away from Sam at the moment, and as he turns the handle to leave he thinks he hears Sam mutter, "No, it isn't."
That's a new record.
Sam doesn't eat either.
It doesn't look like he was fed much during the eternity that he was missing but even so, Sam just pushes food around on his plate. Dean can't say he's surprised really. Sam has always leaned towards anorexic tendencies. Dean remembers tense stand offs at the dinner table when Sam was just a teenager and couldn't get John to see things his way. Once, after John had them move towns after a grand total of two weeks – the shortest time Sam and Dean had ever spent at one school – Sam hadn't eaten for five days. Long enough for Dean to work himself into a frenzy but not enough time for John to say anything other than, 'He's just being stubborn, Dean. Ignore him.'
Dean remembers reading books on eating disorders in the secrecy of motel bathrooms and making an effort to get take outs that Sam actually enjoyed, not just what was cheapest and closest. He remembers being tempted to resort to force-feeding in the weeks after Jessica. He hadn't really expected this to be any different.
He didn't see the stillness coming though. Sometimes he thinks it might be the worst part. It's like Sam forgets that he can move by himself. He'll be sitting on his bed or in the Impala, head bent so his hair flops over his eyes and it's like he just shuts down. It scares the shit out of Dean because it seems like it's only a few steps away from catatonia. He doesn't even want to begin wondering where it is Sammy goes in his head when he gets like that.
Honestly, Dean's at a loss. He can patch up gashes and stitch cuts, he knows what to do with a concussion or a broken bone, he's been looking after Sam since he was four years old but, God help him, he doesn't know what to do with this.
"Sam?" Dean says from the door, juggling room keys, two cups of coffee and a brown takeaway bag.
Sam's still on the bed, hasn't moved from the position he was in while Dean cut his hair. The TV's not on, the laptop's in its case and Sam's doing a pretty good impression of a statue.
"Sammy?" Dean puts the coffee and keys on the table, takes a sandwich out of the bag and pads over to Sam.
"Sammy?" he says again, placing one hand on Sam's shoulder and pressing the sandwich into Sam's grasp with the other.
"Huh?" Sam's head bobs up and Dean catches a glimpse of blank hazel eyes before it lowers again.
"Eat," Dean orders gently, feeling guilty. He knows that this is the easiest time to manipulate Sam and, sure enough, Sam takes a mechanical bite of the sandwich. Dean tells himself that it's for Sam's own good but it doesn't stop him from feeling like a terrible person.
Sam gets in three bites before he jerks slightly and looks around the room like he's surprised to find himself there. His gaze drops to the sandwich he's holding and his mouth twists in a grimace.
Dean swallows his sigh. "It's not that bad, is it? I mean, I know it's diner food but..."
Sam doesn't answer.
Dean sits down on the bed, just behind Sam, close but not touching. He wants to ask Sam what to do. He wants to say, "Sammy, how do I help you?" but he needs to be in control, he needs Sammy to know that somehow he's going to fix this.. Even if he has no idea how.
Sam doesn't sleep.
So of course Dean doesn't sleep either. They both spend hours lying in bed and not sleeping.
Dean tosses and turns and wonders whether he should say something. Sam lies still as if he's worried about attracting unwanted attention and stares at the ceiling all night long. What little sleep he does get is shattered by nightmares and Dean's rest is broken by Sam's screams.
"It's over now, Sammy," Dean reminds the darkness on the fourth night after getting Sam back, after Sam's horrible vocal terror has shaken them both awake once more. "He can't hurt you anymore."
The only response he gets is Sam rolling over to face the wall, but he can hear what Sam isn't saying. It's not over. Dean's afraid it never will be.
They don't hunt or hustle pool or play poker in seedy bars or really do anything other than drive and pay for motel rooms with phoney credit cards. They only stop when they have to and Dean drives like something is chasing them. Scratch that, Dean feels like something is chasing them. Something dark and violent that is almost visible in the rear view mirror, hanging like a fog that forces Dean to press his foot down far beyond the point where Sam before would have rolled his eyes or made some bitchy comment about his driving.
These days Sam says nothing and when they stop for the night and Dean's hand on his younger brothers shoulder makes Sam recoil like a burn, Dean remembers that he hasn't managed to outrun anything.