A/N: Here is yet another fic written for the OhSam comment fic meme on LJ. Based on this prompt from road_rhythm : As many cellars, abandoned houses, rotting warehouses, and other manky spaces as these guys have run through, I figure their chances of getting tagged have to be pretty high. Sam has a run-in with Lactodectrus mactrans, which in turn leads to all the fun and joy of latrodectism.
I didn't have a beta for this so all mistakes and crimes against the English language are mine
Along Came a Spider
It happened because Bobby saw that Sam had spent the last four hours sitting in his study with the same book open in front of him without having read a word of it. He knew the kid wasn't interested in research, his mind was on other things; namely a brother who spent almost every waking second of the day outside working on his car, avoiding him and the crushing weight of grief that John's death heaped on both of them.
And Bobby's not deaf. He heard the breaking of glass and the banging of metal on metal – heck, half the county probably heard Dean's temper tantrum – but Bobby hadn't gone out to chew Dean out for it - he knew first-hand how grief could easily morph into anger and he himself had broken more than his fair share of things after Karen died. It was better to let Dean cool-off and get his head back on straight before he even attempted to talk to the kid.
Sam however, was a different story. That boy was hurting just as much as his brother and his visceral, brooding silences were just as worrying as Dean's explosive and violent outbursts.
The kid needed something to distract him, to get him outside of his head and Bobby had just the project for him.
"Hey, Sam –" Bobby spoke up as he walked into the room and up to the desk Sam sat behind.
Sam startled at Bobby's voice, driven suddenly out of his thoughts. "Hey, Bobby."
"Ya busy?" Bobby asked.
Sam looked down at the book open on the desk and shook his head. "Nah … not really. Why?"
"Got some things I could use a hand with. You're a lot taller than me and I got a bunch of boxes in the basement that need moving off the shelves down there and into the garage. Think you could help an old man out?"
"Sure." Sam nodded, seemingly grateful for something physical to do other than stare into space.
Bobby led Sam down the stairs into the basement and towards the darkly lit storage room. The small space was filled to the brim with boxes stacked up on shelves. Most of it was just junk that needed to be tossed that Bobby hadn't found the time to dispose of, but recently Bobby had started thinking about turning this space into a place where he could escape from all of the supernatural crap that seemed to be coming at them at an ever-quickening and alarming pace.
But first it needed to be cleared out.
"Alright …" Bobby began. "If you get the boxes on the top shelves, I'll get the stuff down below."
"'Kay." Sam nodded and soon they were both busy clearing the room.
Sam had just returned from running a couple of boxes out to the garage when he reached for one of the top shelves for another one and suddenly jerked his hand back, starting to shake it out with a sucked in hiss.
"Owww … dammit." Sam held his hand close to his middle, gripping it tight in his other hand.
Bobby turned. "What'd ya do? Cut yourself?"
Sam shook his head, still cradling his hand, his face strangely marked with pain and Bobby was growing worried. Sam and Dean rarely complained about pain, not even for broken bones or concussions -both were skilled at hiding it well from others. That's why Bobby was perplexed at Sam's such severe reaction to an injury that was barely visible.
Sam kept shaking his head. "I dunno … I think …" He hissed in another breath and gripped his hand even tighter, "I think something stung me."
"Well, here … lemme see." Bobby insisted.
Sam had gone pale and was obviously trying to school his face to mask the pain, but he reluctantly let go of his hand and held it out for Bobby's inspection.
Bobby took hold of it and turned it over. It was rather dark down in the basement and he couldn't see any obvious signs of trauma, so he ordered Sam up the stairs and to the kitchen where he could get a better look.
Once in the better lighting, Bobby took his hand again and started his inspection again. There on Sam's pinky finger were two spots of blood as if he had been bitten by a micro-sized vampire. Already the digit was beginning to swell and a bright-red circle of inflamed skin surrounded the site.
"Huh … " Bobby grumbled, unsure of what he was looking at. "Did you see what got ya?" He asked.
Sam shook his head. "No. I was just getting the box down and I felt something like a bug on my hand, I tried to flick it off, but it bit me. What do you think it was?"
"I dunno," Bobby pointed to the sink. "Why don't you wash that out and disinfect it. I'll go try to find out what it was."
Sam complied obediently and started washing up his hands. Bobby meanwhile, grabbed a Maglite out of one of the kitchen drawers and headed back down to the basement. He flicked on the flashlight once he was back in the store-room and trained it on the corner where Sam had reached for the box.
He didn't see anything at first, but suddenly he saw movement as a tiny critter skittered out of the light. Bobby's light caught the lines of a white web and moving in the middle of it, he saw a shiny, black, rounded abdomen with a red hour-glass shape. He stepped back immediately, recognizing it right away.
"Balls." He muttered. This wasn't good.
Disgusted, Bobby instinctively used the butt-end of his flashlight and slammed it directly into the creature, grinding it into the wall until there was only a gooey and bloody smear left of the thing.
Damn, he hated spiders.
After that, Bobby hurried back upstairs and found Sam sitting at the kitchen table holding a dishtowel to his hand, keeping it close to his body. He was hunched over and in visible pain, unaware that Bobby was back in the room.
"You doin' okay there, Sam?" Sam nodded tersely, with his eyes closed.
"You see what it was?" Sam asked tightly.
"Yep … it was a black widow and I think we need to get you to the hospital."
Sam's eyes flew open at that and Bobby saw for an instant a flash of fear. "No, Bobby … it's not that bad. Really." He tried unsuccessfully to sound convincing. "I'll be fine … I read somewhere that they're not deadly … just painful."
"Dammit, kid. " Bobby groaned. "I know how to re-set broken bones, reduced dislocated limbs and sew up gunshot wounds, but I don't know the first thing about spider bites."
But, Sam is giving him those mournful eyes that never fail to smooth over the rough patches in Bobby's heart and he was clearly against the idea of going to the emergency room. Damn these boys - they would be the death of him, he swears.
Then Bobby mentally kicked himself for not realizing right away that Sam's hesitance to go might stem from the fact that he had just lost his father and nearly his brother in the hospital and he was in no hurry to go back there and relive those dreadful memories.
Bobby heaved a heavy sigh. "At least let me call a doctor ask what we should do, okay?"
Sam closed his eyes again and nodded his assent.
Bobby left Sam at the table and headed for his bank of phones; picking up the one labeled 'home' and dialed a number he had memorized years ago.
On the other end, the phone rang about four times before a voice coughed into the line and Bobby heard a noisily cleared throat.
"What do you want, Singer?" Came the usual greeting.
"Hey Forest, nice to hear from you too." Bobby replied testily.
Dr. Forest White was one crotchety, old son of a bitch, but he was one of the few medical professionals that knew the kind of work he was involved in and for many years he had been Bobby's go-to man whenever he had a patching-up job that he couldn't handle himself. However, the man was in his seventies now and had moved to Florida to enjoy his sunset years. Yet still, if anyone knew how to treat Sam, it would be him.
"You know I'm retired, right? I don't have the time or the energy to come and fix you or any of your damn buddies anymore."
"I know that, you crabby ass. I'm just calling 'cause I need some medical advice."
Bobby heard a loud harrumph. "What is it now?" He asked grudgingly.
"What do you know about treating black widow spider bites?"
"Why? You get bit?"
"No. Not me, ya idjit. A friend of mine was, but he's trying to avoid a trip to the hospital here."
"Well … too bad for him. Those things aren't likely to kill a healthy adult, but he sure as hell is going to have a rough next few days to look forward to. Black widows release a neurotoxin that pretty much sends the whole nervous system haywire – we're talking severe muscle cramps, abdominal pain, fever, vomiting – the whole nine yards."
"Isn't there some kind of anti-venom I can get for him?"
"Not really. Anti-venom is mostly a last resort and most hospitals don't stock it anyway – Is your friend healthy?"
"As a horse."
"Good. Then he should survive … in fact, he's more likely to die from the flu than from a spider bite. However, I won't sugar-coat this - he's going to feel like he's dying, but the symptoms should clear up in about 3 to 4 days. Just make sure you keep him hydrated, get him plenty of painkillers – morphine preferably - and if you can get your hands on some muscle-relaxants, those might help with the muscle cramping. Just make sure you keep a good eye on him. If he ever has trouble breathing or loses consciousness, you're going to have to take him to the hospital whether he wants to or not."
"What more do you want? A hug?"
"Oh shut it, you old windbag."
Sam is half-listening to Bobby talking on the phone, but the pain in his hand is too distracting for him to catch even half of what he might be talking about. He's quite certain that his hand is going to catch on fire if it burns any hotter and he can feel that his finger has already swollen to twice its size.
It's spreading too. First it was just the bite that stung, but now his whole hand is in agony and he can feel the muscles in his arm growing increasingly tight. He rubs his arm, hoping to loosen up some of the muscles, but it really is an exercise in futility.
And dammit if he can't believe how shitty this day has gotten.
Things between him and Dean only seem to be getting worse. All he wanted when he went to talk to Dean this afternoon was to get a few things off his chest. Dean may act like he's okay, but Sam knows he's far from it and considering the racket he made and what he did to the car he loves only proves it.
Sam never had the close relationship with their father that Dean had, but still the pain of his loss is overwhelming … so how much worse was if for Dean? – the good son – the one that worshipped at the feet of John Winchester – the one that didn't run away at the first chance he could get.
And now there's this - and Jesus, he's cold - but there's sweat breaking out on his brow and his heart is thumping manically in his chest as if he had just finished sprinting a marathon.
Sam closes his eyes, hoping that when he opens then again that pain will have vanished or that Dean was next to him, offering him comfort - forgiving him for being a lousy excuse for a son and brother.
However, When Sam opens his eyes again, there's no one there – only pain and an ever-widening hole in his heart.
Bobby hung up the phone, formulating a plan of action as he walked back over to the table. Sam was still hunched over, but even from several feet away, it was plainly evident that he was looking more than a little worse for wear. His skin had taken on a clammy sheen and translucent pallor while he held his hand tight, his face masking his growing pain.
"How ya holding up, Sam?" Bobby asked, putting a hand on his shoulder.
"Been better … but, I'm okay." It was clearly a lie, but Bobby didn't call him out on it.
"I'm going to have to run into town for some supplies and get you some stronger medicine than what I have on hand. The doc seems to think that you should be okay without going to the hospital, but uh …"
"It's not going to pleasant … " Sam finished for him, "yeah … I'm getting that.".
Bobby headed for a cabinet and reached inside for a bottle of Tylenol 3, the strongest painkiller he had. He knew it wouldn't be enough, but maybe it would take some of the edge off of Sam's discomfort. He dropped a couple pills into his hand and filled a glass of water, taking them back over to Sam at the table.
"Here, take this for now and go get in bed. I'm going to talk to Dean."
Sam let out a half-choked snort despite the pain he was in. "Yeah … good luck with that."
"He's gonna be worried about you, ya know."
Sam shook his head almost imperceptibly and mumbled something that sounded like. "Doubt it." As he got up from the table and made his way up the stairs towards the room he and Sam were sharing.
Bobby sighed heavily. Damn kids.
Dean took a long pull on his warm beer, draining it until it was empty as he stared out across the expanse of the salvage yard, not daring to look back on his mangled car. God … but there wasn't anything he could do. No amount of alcohol or beatings to his car could stop the voice of his brother from echoing in his head: I'm not okay … and neither are you.
No shit. He knew that, but why did Sam have to go and keep prying? Why did he have to act like he was now the voice-piece of their father?If he only knew what Dad had whispered in his ear before he died, he wouldn't be asking Dean if he was alright every two minutes -he'd know that he was anything but alright.
However, now that he had cooled off some, his anger wasn't so much directed at Sam anymore. It was towards his father.
How could he say those things to him? How could he put that on his shoulders and how could he have ever expected Dean to follow through with his orders? There wasn't any way in Hell he could do that – never - not even if Sam was the anti-Christ or the devil himself.
Just the thought of it made him sick to his stomach.
"Dean?" Driven from his dark thoughts, he turned his head towards Bobby's voice as the older man walked his way across the gravel. Dean saw him eye the car and the damage he had heaped on it, but though his face flashed with a mixture of concern and anger, he only gave the younger man a disapproving look, but said nothing about it.
"What Bobby?" He asked curtly.
"You need to go see your brother."
Dean heaved a gigantic sigh. Et tu Bobby? He grumbled to himself.
Was he getting in on the whole sharing and caring bandwagon that Sam was on now too?
"Why? He's fine … I'm fine … we're both just peachy and I'm not in the mood for anymore touchy-feely crap, okay?"
"Boy, you better reign in that attitude right quick, ya hear?" Bobby glared, taking a step into Dean's personal space, "Sam's sick."
"What are you talking about? Sam's fine." Dean scoffed, "I just saw him a little while ago."
"Yeah, well that was before he went and got himself bit by a black widow."
"He what? Are you shitting me?"
"Boy do I look like I'm messin' with you?" Bobby shot back promptly with a glare.
"You are serious." Dean suddenly realized, feeling a pang of worry creep up into him. "Dammit, Bobby. How the hell did that happen? And why aren't we taking him to the hospital?"
"Sam doesn't want to go and I ain't forcing him to. He should be alright in a few days, but I need to get some supplies from town that should help him get through the worst of it. So, why don't you go on inside and check on that brother of yours until I get back?"
Bobby was already walking away and heading for his truck before Dean could say anything else.
Letting a string of colorful curses fly from his mouth, Dean hurried back inside the house to see for himself just how bad the situation really was. Bobby had been less than informative and Dean didn't have a heck of a whole lot of knowledge about Black Widows other than they were poisonous. But, how sick could they really make a mammoth-sized guy like Sam anyway? He just didn't know.
"Sam?" Dean called out when he stepped into the house, but didn't see his brother. There was no answer, so he headed further inside, calling again once he started to ascend the stairs towards the bedroom.
Dean found his brother sitting on the edge of the bed, hunched into himself with his back turned to the door where Dean stood.
Suddenly, Dean felt awkward and conflicted. He was still a little pissed at Sam, but those feelings were quickly ebbing away and then completely vanished then morphed into concern the moment he saw Sam lean forward with a little groan, folding in on himself until his forehead touched his knees.
"Sam?" He called quietly from the door.
Sam didn't respond, but Dean saw an almost imperceptible shake in his shoulders. Tentatively, Dean crossed the room and stood next to his brother.
"So a spider, huh? … "
"I'm okay …" Sam mumbled into his jeans.
"No, you're not."
"Why don't you just go work on the car?"
"Really, Dean." Sam continued to murmur, "You don't have to stay. I'll be fine."
"Shut- up." Dean huffed audibly, starting to get annoyed as he bent down and took one of Sam's boots and started to unlace it. God, Sam could be a little dramatic shit when he wasn't feeling well.
Dean got both boots unlaced and off Sam's feet while Sam continued to hold himself tight around his middle, saying nothing.
He patted his brother on the knee when he was finished. "C'mon … let's get you in bed."
Sam nodded weakly then rolled onto the bed, curling in on his side and drawing his knees up. Dean finally got a good look at Sam's face and he didn't like what he saw. His brother was pale, his features tight and he continued to hold his hand against his chest in a death grip.
"You got bit on the hand?" Dean asked.
"Pinky actually … but my whole hand and arm … s'cramping up."
"Lemme see it."
Sam shook his head stubbornly " s'fine."
"I said let me see it, dumbass."
Sam reluctantly let go of his hand and held it out for Dean's inspection. It shook like a leaf while goose bumps stood up all along his arm. He turned it over and saw the affected spot on his finger. The knuckle was an angry shade of red and swollen. Sam hissed as soon as Dean's fingers lightly brushed against it.
"Alright …" Dean started, letting go of Sam's hand, " I'll be right back –I'm gonna get some ice for that."
As soon as Dean left the room, Sam grips his hand against his chest and feels free once again to let go and allow some of the pain coursing through him to show on his features.
Involuntary tears spring up in his eyes as they burn, feeling like they would as if he had just gotten smoke in them. But worst of all, the cramping that had started in his hand and moved up his arm is now reaching his other limbs and each muscle aches as they bunch up in waves that crash over him in a sea of misery and pain.
His head as well is beginning to pound in time to his racing heart and he can feel his eyes throb even as he clenches them tightly closed.
He tries desperately to control his breathing, to focus on getting air in and out of his lungs evenly, but there's a strange panicky sensation racing across his chest, making it increasing impossible for him to catch his breath. He feels the blood draining from his face as a shudder cuts through him, leaving him with an intense cold and clammy feeling all along the bare skin of his arms and face.
He's losing it and suddenly he doesn't want to be alone and wants Dean to hurry back, to ground him and anchor him to the fact that this growing dread he feels is all in his head. He knows that it's the venom creeping through his veins that's causing this, but all the same, Sam buries his face into his pillow as though he might be able to hide from the fear that's chasing him down and threatening to swallow him up.
Mentally he begs Dean to come back and as if on cue, Sam feels his hand being gently taken away from his chest while something cold is being placed over it. He turns his head away from the pillow and sees Dean wrapping his hand with a towel and draping a bag of ice over it. Although Sam's heart is still playing havoc in his chest, there is a rush of relief that spreads over him.
Dean finishes with his hand then places his own over Sam's forehead. "You got a fever." He states and Sam swears he sees concern flash in Dean's eyes, something he hasn't seen from his brother since their father died. For a moment, he forgets the tension that has built up between, but he also wonders if this is really what Dean wants to do, or if he's taking care of him more out of reflex and habit than out of love. After all, Sam isn't exactly his favorite person right now and he doesn't know if they can ever get back what they had before the car accident.
"You hot?" Dean asks.
Sam shakes his head. "No … f- freezing."
Without a word, Dean grabs the blanket from the end of the bed and spreads it out over Sam, tucking it in slightly around his shoulders. Sam nods gratefully and curls in tighter on himself. He can feel another wave of spasms building up in his leg and arm muscles, eliciting a groan to escape from his lips when the full-force of the cramping hits him.
His breath comes in and out raggedly, catching in his throat while white-hot pain, sharp as knives stab into his extremities. He's never actually been injected with molten-hot lava directly into his bloodstream before, but he's fairly certain that this is what it would feel like.
"Deep breaths, Sam." Dean says soothingly, "Bobby should be back soon and he'll make sure you get some of the good drugs, 'kay?" Again, Sam isn't certain if this is true affection he hears coming from his brother or just a knee-jerk reaction that has been drilled into him since he was a kid to take care of him.
But he takes what he can get from Dean, real love or not, and holds onto it like a life-preserver while the waves of agony sweep him out to sea.
Bobby returned about an hour and a half after he left for town and Dean doesn't ask where he got the morphine, valium and IV's, he was just grateful that Sam might finally get a little relief.
Waiting for the older hunter to return with the medication had been agonizing for Sam. But it had also been an ordeal for Dean as he watched his little brother huddle further into himself, at times shivering uncontrollably, and biting back pain-filled moans.
Dean had felt helplessly inadequate during most of that time since there was very little he could do to ease any of Sam's symptoms besides force him to drink water, get him some more ice for his swollen hand, and encourage him to hold out just a little bit longer until Bobby returned. Sam hardly spoke during that time, choosing to ride out the muscle cramps by either burying his face in his pillow or curling up into a tight ball. But, what worried Dean more than his little brother's silence, was the look in his eyes when they landed on Dean - he saw uncertainty in them - as if Dean might suddenly leave him.
For all of Sam's book smarts though, the kid could be pretty dunder-headed at times. As if Dean would just leave his brother when he needed him like this. Sure, Dean had been angry with him, annoyed and yes … maybe he had needed a break from Sam's mother-henning, his questioning glances and over-concern for his emotional well-being. But, he was still his brother - still his responsibility.
However, it wasn't just responsibility that made Dean watch out for his brother – no, it was more than that – he was all Dean had left.
Sam's still riding the latest wave of spasms coursing through his body when he feels a needle prick his skin.
"It's just some medicine, Sam. It should help with the pain and maybe let you get some sleep."
Bobby's talking to him and he pries open his eyes to see the older man pull the needle out of his arm. He doesn't have the energy to ask where he got the stuff, but he's immensely grateful and praying that it might knock him out enough to the point where he won't feel like his limbs are tearing themselves apart.
It takes a few minutes before Sam begins to notice any kind of change. The pain doesn't go away completely, but he can feel it ebbing. His heart's frantic pounding fades into a distant background noise while his sight grows blurry and he gives up trying to focus. He hears Bobby and Dean talking to each other, but their words don't make any sense to him and they too fade away.
Finally, he's not treading water any more. There are no more waves to fight, no rip tide pulling him out and trying to drown him. He's floating now and he's free to let himself relax and bob up and down on the gentle currents as they carry him away.
Dean doesn't know exactly how it happened and he cursed himself as soon as he realized what he had done.
One minute was using Sam's laptop to read-up on black widow spider bites while Sam was passed out from the drugs, and the next his eyes refused to stay open any longer and he too fell into a deep sleep.
All he knew was that there was a noise coming from Sam's bed that woke him and sent his head shooting back up, fully awake.
Sam was looking at him from across the room with eyes red-rimmed, bloodshot, and tear-filled, standing out in stark contrast to his chalky, pale skin. Sweat matted his hair to his forehead and he was visibly quaking and shivering.
Dean felt like punching himself for being such an idiot. He had slept through Sam's next dose of medication while his little brother lay there helplessly, in too much pain to get up and medicate himself.
"Sam … shit …" Dean quickly got up and grabbed the vial of morphine and a syringe. "Dammit … why didn't you wake me up?"
Sam looked up at him with glassy eyes, clouded with pain. "d-didn't wa –wanna wake ya."
Dean hurried to measure out the right dosage and get it into Sam. When he was done he brushed some of the wet strands of hair off of Sam forehead, giving his skin temperature a feel.
"Jeez … you're burning up."
Sam suddenly shut his eyes and gritted his teeth, letting a tear slip down his face as he moaned in abject misery. Dean wasn't one for being all touchy-feely, but he knew it always made Sam feel better, so he took his good hand in his own. Sam squeezed back with bone-crushing force and Dean had to bite back a whimper himself. "Dean …" Sam spoke without unclenching his jaw. "I'm g-gonna be s-s-sick."
"Okay… okay… Hold on." Dean had to pry his hand away from Sam before he could reach for the bucket that sat waiting for just this kind of occurrence.
Dean barely made it back over to the bed in time before Sam rolled and violently heaved, releasing a torrent of vomit into the bucket.
"Dang … " Dean winced, but put a hand on Sam's shaking back while he continued to expel the contents of his stomach until there was nothing left to bring up. If felt like an eternity before his little brother was finished dry-heaving, but when he did, he rolled back onto the bed and curled back up into himself, bringing knees as close to his chest as possible, his whole body quivering uncontrollably.
"Better?" Dean asked.
Sam shook his head, holding his stomach with his good hand. "this s-s-sucks."
"I know, but the medicine should kick in soon." Sam groaned again and Dean silently begged the morphine to hurry through his brother's system, so he could catch a break from the pain, "Just hold on a little bit longer, Buddy."
Sam feels disgusting. He has no idea how long he's been in bed since time had lost all meaning while he slipped between feeling like his insides were being ripped out and the fuzzy, blissful relief of being drugged up to the gills.
However, this time when he wakes up, his head is a little clearer. While his muscles are sore and his head continues to pound, he finds that he isn't being woken up by the pain and begging for his next round of drugs as soon as he opens his eyes and the cramping spasms have muted into a background noise.
There's sunlight streaming through the curtains and the bed across from his is empty, but it looks as though it hasn't been used. There's a coat rack standing next to his bed and hanging from that is an IV bag which he traces with his eyes towards the inside of his elbow.
He licks his lips seeing the clear liquid in the bag and realizes that he's incredibly thirsty even if he's nauseous and the pain in his stomach is still dully present.
He realizes he's alone in the room, but as he looks longingly through the open bedroom door and across the hall to the bathroom, he thinks that he just might be able to sit up and actually make the 15 foot trek for some water, take piss, or at least puke in the toilet rather than into the bucket beside the bed. He may even have the energy to take a shower and wash off some of the funkiness he feels.
Tentatively, he sits up, pausing once he's upright to close his eyes and fight off a wave of dizziness and when it pass and he can see again without spots forming in front of his eyes, he grabs on the needle embedded in his arm and pulls it out.
"Hey … what the Hell do you think you are doing?" Sam's head jerks up at the sound of Dean's irritated voice coming from the open door to the bedroom.
"Thirsty." Sam mumbles while trying to remove the blanket.
"Stay put, stupid. I'll get you some water."
Sam shakes his head. "Gotta pee."
"Fine." Dean sighs and in the next second, he is beside Sam, grabbing hold of his arm and helping him up and out of bed, holding him steady until Sam's jello-like legs stop shaking enough for him to walk.
Snails could have beat Sam and Dean to the bathroom given how slow they go, but by the time they make it, Sam is actually starting to feel a little stronger and his limbs a steadier.
"You good?" Dean asks.
"I think I can handle it from here." Sam says as he shoos his brother out.
Sam takes his time in the bathroom, takes a shower and feels almost human again when he emerges. After he's changed into some fresh clothes, Sam heads down the stairs carefully, still a little dizzy and wobbly, but he manages to make it to the kitchen without needing to run back to the bathroom to puke.
Dean is sitting at the table staring into a steaming cup of coffee. He looks almost as ragged and run-down as Sam feels and he wonders if his brother has gotten any sleep. His memories of being sick are blurry and so disjointed that he has no idea if his brother even attempted to get any rest.
Sam hobbles over to a chair and sits down wearily. Suddenly, he's got another knot of muscles cramping up in his leg. The pain is not nearly as intense as he dreaded, but it still brings a grimace to his face.
Dean looks up at him. "You okay?"
Sam nods tightly and rubs the tight muscles in his thigh.
Uggg. Sam doesn't even want to think about food yet. He shakes his head vigorously.
There's a beat of silence after that and Sam tries to break it. "So … uh … what day is it?"
"Thursday?" Sam runs a quick mental calculation. "You mean I've been in bed for four days?"
"Yeah. Your fever finally broke last night." Dean takes a quick sip of his coffee, "You should get back in bed."
"I've been in bed for days, Dean." Sam points out. "I'm in no hurry to go back."
"Then at least go lay on the couch, huh? Don't be a stubborn ass, I swear you act just like …" Dean's voice trails off, but Sam knows that he's been thinking about their father again.
"C'mon." Dean stands, abandoning his coffee and walks over to Sam, grabbing him by the arm and pulling Sam up to stand, "Humor me."
There's little Sam can do to resist him and he's feeling exhausted again anyway, so let lets his brother lead him over to the couch in the living room. "Sit." He orders.
"Now, lay down."
"I'm not a dog, Dean." Sam complains, but he lies back as instructed anyway.
"Yeah, well you're shaggy like one, so forgive me for being confused." Dean takes the throw blanket from the back of the couch and drapes it over Sam. He walks over to the television set after that, flicks it on, then takes a seat in the recliner beside the couch.
The reception on the TV is terrible at best, but they both settle in and watch it anyway. There's an old romantic comedy movie on that's neither particularly funny nor romantic, but it the only thing the old TV picks up, so it stays on.
Sam realizes halfway through the movie that Dean doesn't leave nor does he talk about going out to go work on the car even though Sam is better now and doesn't need hovering over.
He stays as though he might actually be enjoying Sam's presence and before long, Sam falls into an easy sleep.
Bobby pulled up to the house and killed the engine. Grabbing the bag full of groceries off the seat next to him then headed towards the door. As soon as he stepped inside, he heard the sounds of the TV on in the living room.
With Sam sick and Dean watching over his brother like a hawk the last few days, the TV hadn't seen any use. Curious as to why it was on, he set the bag of groceries down on the kitchen table and walked over to investigate.
There on the couch, Sam laid stretched out with his feet dangling over the edge, out like a light, while Dean had extended the foot rest of the recliner and leaned it back as far as it would go. He too was fast asleep.
Bobby couldn't help the little grin that spread across his face.
Those two might be pig-headed, stubborn idiots, but for all of the pain and heartbreak that life had thrown at them, they somehow managed to stick together. They might not be completely healed yet, but they were getting better.
It was a start at least.