Disclaimer: I do not own Supernatural, nor Goblin Market, the poem which (very loosely) inspired some aspects of this story.
Bobby has been dead for five days, and Sam decides it's time they finally at least eat and shower. They'd spent the first day crying, the second screaming bloody hell at each other over nothing at all, and the third and fourth unmoving in the living room. Now Dean is still a statue but Sam, despite feeling that the whole world should just stop, is beginning to realize that he's kind of hungry and he kind of smells. By which he means his stomach is eating his other organs in frustration and he's pretty sure his pits and feet could register on a Geiger counter.
Sam stands, kind of abruptly, head going blurry and knees knocking. Dean looks up with no interest at all on his face. "I'm gonna get some food. You want anything?" Dean just meets his eyes blankly and gives a slow blink.
"Got any apples?" Lucifer asks innocently from the corner.
Sam ignores them both.
In the kitchen there's beer and a can of mushroom soup. Sam's stomach snaps like an angry dog. Shower, then supply run. His stomach disagrees. Supply run then shower? Okay, fuck it. There's still a cloud of grief hanging heavily enough around Sam that he really doesn't care too much if people see/smell him in his current state.
He returns to the living room, announces his intentions to the lump that is his brother. Dean says nothing, though his eyes trail Sam's movements out the door.
Sam limps, ghost-like in his own right, through the nearest one-stop store, adding items to his hand basket without much thought. Lucifer is in every aisle offering his own suggestions, but Sam manages to ignore them pretty well, finishes up with eggs, cereal, bread, peanut butter, milk. The only item he gives much thought to comes from the bakery. His heart aches when he sees the perfectly symmetrical, neatly browned crust of the pie smiling up at him. Blueberry. If there's anything that can get Dean to eat, it's going to be this.
Or not. Proud like a kindergartener, Sam waves the pie beneath Dean's nose as soon as he sets the other bags down. Dean's eyes roll up to look at him and shakes his head one time.
Maybe Sam should be happy that he's gotten Dean to move his neck muscles. But even with things this low, he can't bring himself to accept that small and hollow of a victory.
Eyes growing hot, he stalks back into the kitchen and pulls open the garbage can to throw the pie away. But, Sam was raised- not right, maybe- but raised to know that you don't waste food. Not even dumb ass blueberry fucking pie.
Flopping down at the table, he cuts himself a piece and digs in. The filling that spills onto his fork is just a little too close to black ooze but boo-fucking-hoo. Blueberries break open between his teeth, the syrup so sweet it stings around his gums, and he chokes down bite after bite until the first piece is gone. Then he cuts himself another. It's a little hard to coordinate, mouth-wise: chewing and sobbing at the same time, and way too much air is getting into his stomach along with the food, but Sam doesn't care very much. Can't remember the last time he didn't have a stomachache anyway. You learn to live with things like that.
Half the pie's gone before Sam slows, and even then it's only to gulp down his glass of water and blow his nose on the napkin. His mouth is sticky and his jaw is sore, and when he tries to yell at Dean to come get some before it's gone, something uncomfortable bulges up in his throat and he has to shut up and swallow it back. He wipes blueberry syrup away from his chin with one hand, then tears away from his cheeks with the other.
He gives up on these polite little eights, cuts himself a slice that's more than a quarter and shovels it away. How can Dean stand this shit? It tastes nothing like blueberries; just kind of tastes like purple goo on buttery cardboard, but right now Sam's half-eating, half-crying, and mathematically speaking if he stops eating all he's going to do is cry. And that's not okay, not anymore. It's been five goddamn days and he's not sure when he's supposed to start feeling better, but Bobby's going to be dead forever and sooner or later Sam's going to have to live anyway.
"It's good you have an appetite," Lucifer purrs. "Your dear uncle is filthy ash scumming up the dirt and there you are chowing down. I'm not criticizing. You need your strength. I love blueberries."
And he holds out his hands, full of moldy, dripping mush that maybe- maybe- used to be fruit.
Sam whimpers, swallowing hard against the gag reflex that's suddenly activated- maybe from Lucifer's presence, maybe from his horrible words, or maybe from the six or seven servings of dessert washing around in an already acidic stomach.
"Don't stop now, Sammy," Lucifer whispers. "Only half a piece left."
Sam looks at the pie plate, nothing left but a crescent of crust and a bit of goo, and suddenly he can't stand the thought of all that sitting inside of him. He claps his hand desperately over his mouth as he trips to the bathroom. Blueberry bile is creeping up his throat and drains out between his fingers as he falls to his knees in front of the toilet. Then he vomits explosively, purple splattering on the seat, on the floor, on his shirt. He curls both arms around his stomach, sobbing and burping up more puke, and everything just hurts- his head and his throat and everything that doesn't have a body part but still hurts anyway. Bobby is dead and Sam's very core feels like it's been run through a meat grinder, and nothing's ever going to be okay again because he's pretty sure that Dean's going to be next.
And oh, god, there it is. The truth he hasn't wanted to even flirt with.
Dean's going to be next, and maybe even by his own hand.
Sam lowers himself to the floor, curling up on one side and weeping, lacking even the strength to care that he's still bringing up more and more of his stomach contents. Now they pool on the linoleum next to him, and he really doesn't give a shit.
Sam lies there, sobs fading as the tears roll down so fast they take his breath away. It's not even that this is sad- it's honestly impossible. How is life even going to work without Bobby? How is there a world in which Bobby Singer doesn't answer his phone on the first ring with a grumble and a bit of good advice?
And... Dean. Dean who hasn't moved in two days. That Dean might want to die is something that Sam hasn't really allowed himself to consider before, but now it's sing-songing in his brain like only a truth can do.
Lucifer sings along, and that isn't helping anything.
Sam gives in, gives up, spends a few minutes honestly and literally beside himself. Evacuated from his own damn mind.
But he can feel the moment that pragmatism overtakes grief and pulls him back to the present. One second he is remembering the blood on his hands as he stabbed Trickster Bobby... the next, he is thinking, hey, this is really fucking gross. He stops crying, as surely and swiftly as if his father had ordered it, and gets unsteadily to his feet. His t-shirt is beyond a lost cause; he strips it off while keeping himself turned from the mirror, refusing to see the wreck that's currently Sam Winchester, covered in pie puke and tears. He does spare a glance at the floor, though, then winces. That's just wrong.
There's sponges and cleaning solution under the sink.
It's been five days since Bobby died and three minutes since Sam finished up what he's pretty sure was a legitimate, no-holds-barred nervous breakdown, and he's on his hands and knees sopping up the puke from the floor. It's hard to stop there, though, because the time since Jody Mills' scrub-down has been more than enough for a thick layer of mud and various other gunk to accumulate, and it feels wrong leaving one clean patch in the middle of the dirty floor. So Sam scrubs the whole bathroom down, working his way skywards to the tub and then the sink, dizzy with fumes that accumulate heavily in the little space.
When he's finally done, he barely has the strength left to strip, crawl into the shower, and turn the water on full blast. The tub is clean and there's no reason but dignity that Sam can't just take a bath, but he forces himself to his feet if only for the purpose of maintaining sanity. The water beats down hard on his back as he rubs his still-turbulent stomach and tries to remember what it's like to feel human.
The shower helps. Being clean is always a bonus, and he's not exactly calm but he's cooled off enough that Lucifer makes an exit, for now at least. Maybe he's not human just yet, but y'know- baby steps.
Sam brushes his teeth, wraps himself in a towel, and heads to his room for a new set of clothes. The sweatpants and t-shirt are soft and welcoming, and for the first time since Bobby died, Sam allows himself a tiny smile. One minute at a time- he can do this. He's got this under control.
Then he heads back to the living room, and those precious grains of optimism are lost to the surf. Dean hasn't moved, not even a finger.
Everything that Sam has managed to pull together snaps apart again.
He finds his feet stomping across the room before he can stop them. His hands grab Dean by the collar and shake him violently. "Damn it, Dean, wake up!" He's shouting, pleading, shouting again. "Wake up, please."
Dean's eyes are open but no one's behind them. Not his brother, not even a ghost of him, and suddenly Sam is doused in the terrible knowledge that Dean is already dead.
Sam is kneeling between Dean's feet on the floor, wedged in the space between his knees, practically falling against his chest in anguish. "Wake up, Dean, please wake up. Don't die, please don't die." Dean's skin is cold and his muscles are rigid as Sam cups a hand around his chin.
Dean doesn't respond. It happened so fast. Poison, then? Alcohol?
Sam pulls himself up to sit beside his brother on the couch, drops his head into his hands and cries. He's so wrapped up in his own grieving that he barely notices the light brush of cold skin as Dean's fingertips come to rest on his knee.
Sam uncovers his face to stare at them, disbelieving. Dean's... alive? Dean's... moving? Suddenly greedy for physical contact, he twists around, presses his forehead against Dean's neck, and sobs. "Don't die," he pleads. "Please don't kill yourself, Dean."
Dean doesn't answer, and Sam's not sure if he imagines those same fingers coming to rest at the small of his back. It's little comfort, if any, and Sam just closes his eyes and cries himself out.
When he wakes up, he's flat on the sofa, and Dean's gone. Dean's gone. Terror grips Sam's chest until he can hardly even move enough to blink. But somewhere deep inside him, there's enough presence of mind to search the house before assuming the worst.
Dean is in the kitchen, scrambling eggs. It's just about the most beautiful sight Sam's ever seen.
Eyes flick up, moving smoothly. Expression is unreadable but it isn't blank. He hasn't showered, but Sam will take what he can get.
"How's your stomach?" Dean asks quietly. His voice has more gravel to it than Sam's ever heard, but that hardly matters. Sam's hand comes up automatically to touch his waistband. He still feels a little queasy, but Dean seems to know that already. Scrambled eggs- not fried. His earliest memory of stomachache food.
"It's okay," he whispers, reverently, because this has got to be some kind of miracle-for-a-universe-without-miracles.
"Good." Dean divides and plates the eggs, setting them gently on the table next to already-present forks. "Think we should start lookin' at those numbers today."
Sam nods. He'd have agreed to anything, just then.
"Good," Dean repeats, sitting and slowly lifting a forkful of eggs. It occurs to Sam that Dean is eating mostly for Sam's own benefit, and he almost wants to cry a little about that, but he doesn't. If Dean is putting on a brave face, then his little brother is too.
It's not honestly as hard as he thought it would be. Dean hands him the salt without prompting and he shakes it over his eggs lightly and thinks, we've got this, Bobby.