A/N: So, I was working on a sequel to Fade, but... it ain't working. Sorry people (If anyone still remembers that story). So instead of a sequel, I'm gonna take a few of the bits that I actually like and post some tags. The ending might be a bit abrupt on some of them, because they were originally meant to follow on with other scenes, but... I dunno, just think of them as little snapshots of Sam and Dean's life after the big C.
The only thing you really need to know, if you haven't read Fade, is that Sam had cancer.
Sam jerked his head up in surprise, meeting the eye of the middle-aged waitress who had appeared by his table. "What?"
She put a hand on her yellow-uniformed hip. "You're a survivor, aren't you?"
Sam looked across the crowded diner, searching for Dean, but his brother had so far failed to emerge from the bathroom. He reluctantly turned back to the woman.
"Uh... yeah. How did you-" What, was it painted on his forehead?
"Me, too. Breast cancer. Two years ago now." She tucked a lock of graying hair behind her ear using her pencil. "Look, I'm trying to get a group together, if you're interested."
Sam stared at her dumbly. "What?"
"A group. You know, to talk. For support." She eyed him knowingly, as if being alone at the table meant he'd obviously want to go talk to a bunch of strangers.
"Oh, uh, no. Thanks, but... I'm fine," Sam stammered, entirely caught off guard.
The waitress seemed oblivious to his discomfort. "Well, I'll tell you what -" She scribbled something down on her notepad, tearing the page off and thrusting it at Sam. "Here's my phone number. Call me if you change your mind. Let me know when you're ready to order."
Sam watched, dazed, as she sashayed off, wondering what the hell had just happened.
"Picking up waitresses, Sammy?"
Dean slid into the booth across from him, leaning forward to read the number scribbled on the bit of paper. "Carla, huh? Would've thought she was too old for you."
Sam scrunched the paper in his hand. "Lets go."
Dean looked baffled. "What about breakfast?"
Sam stood. "I'm not hungry." And he definitely wanted to get out of the diner.
Sam was already walking, leaving Dean no choice but to follow. Dean was more lenient with him these days, displayed in the way he waited until they were in the Impala before questioning Sam again. Sometimes, in situations like this, Sam welcomed Dean's new-found patience, but mostly, he just wanted things to go back to how they had been before, when Dean had no trouble in pulling him aside and embarrassing him in public. It was like Dean still thought Sam might break if he pushed too hard.
"So what was that about?" Dean asked, twisting to lean against the door, one arm casually perched over the steering wheel.
"Nothing." Sam shook his head, slumping down in the passenger seat as if he could make himself so small that Dean might forget he was there.
"What, Carla come on too strong?" Dean half-joked, and Sam got a ridiculous image in his head of Dean beating up a middle-aged waitress for making him uncomfortable. He rolled his eyes.
"Sam, come on. What happened?"
Sam looked down at his hands, biting his lip. "She wanted me to go to some cancer support group."
Sam shrugged and turned to look out the window, then, changing his mind, he turned back to Dean. "Is it that obvious? That strangers can tell just by looking at me?"
Dean stared for a second, caught off guard, and Sam saw a lie form on his lips before he thought better of it and ran his eyes over Sam critically.
"You're too thin," he said finally, "And your hair isn't as thick anymore... I don't know, Sammy, you still look kind of sick, but Carla should have kept her mouth shut anyway. You look way better than you used to."
Sam wasn't sure if he was grateful for Dean's honesty or not. He sighed. "I just want everything to go back to normal."
Dean snorted, "Yeah, and what's normal?"
"You know what I mean."
It was Dean's turn to sigh. "Okay, I know. Just... it's only been a few months. You're getting there, you just can't push yourself. The doctors said it would take time, remember?"
"Yeah, I know," Sam grumbled, sinking down further in his seat. He was sick of giving it time.
A/N (Again): By the way, I've had to disable anonymous reviews because of some drama. Parakeet, if you're reading this, this is for you, seeing as you obviously love my stuff so much, you jealous little jerkface. =D