Sam shut his eyes and was gone, gone, gone.
That was long past about damn time.
I left him to his undisturbed sleep and took my own fast shower. Then I gathered up his dirty laundry and mine off the bathroom floor and carried it all out into the main room to shove into my duffle.
I'd barely taken two steps into the room though and I had to stop. The cabin was quiet. Everything was quiet. For the first time in how long – and I was too tired to try and remember – everything was quiet, everything was still.
Even Sam, bundled under the scratchy blankets on the thin mattress and the lumpy pillow, with a twist of wet bangs laying across his eyes, even Sam was still. There was just the sound and movement of his slightly snoring breathing and that was all. No twitches, no whimpers, no agony. He was asleep. Sound asleep.
Time for me to be asleep too.
I pushed our dirty clothes into my duffel, set my watch alarm for four hours and pretty nearly collapsed into my own thin, lumpy, scratchy bed.
And promptly fell asleep. Deep, deep asleep.
Even I was surprised how fast four hours could go by.
Before I knew it, and sure before I wanted it, my watch alarm was nagging me to get up.
The sun was high and getting higher; even after four hours, it was still only morning. I rolled myself out of bed and scrubbed my face and fought the urge to just lie back down again. I went over to check on Sam; if nothing else I could get us all packed up and ready to head out while he got another twenty or thirty minutes of sleep.
But Sam was so sound asleep, he hadn't moved a twitch. He hadn't even turned his head he was so asleep, that same twist of hair that was laying across his right eye when he laid down was still across his right eye. Waking him up now, even just to walk to the car and go straight back to sleep again, didn't seem like a very nice thing to do to him. Maybe Winkin' could take one more lap around Blinkin' & Nod.
But – true to Sammy form – as I turned away to reset my watch alarm, Winkin' blinkin' woke up.
"Dean?" He bleared around until his eyes found me. He tried to sit up. "Z'it time? T'go?"
"No, no Sammy. It's not time. Not yet."
He believed me, nodding, easing carefully back onto his pillows.
"Z'it too soon for 'nother painkiller?"
"No. I'll get you one. Some more milk too."
"Mmmm hmmm…no yogurt…"
"No yogurt." I promised him. I turned to get him another dose of the good painkillers and a huge glassful of milk and when I turned back, he'd managed to ease himself sitting up on the edge of the bed, with his feet on the floor and his shoulders rolled down and his eyes barely open.
"What do you think you're doing?" I asked.
"Just – wanna – sit f'r minute."
"You can sit laying down too, you know."
I thought I'd get a 'and I can spot bullshit even half unconscious' look, but he only shook his head and reached for the meds and milk and swallowed them both down.
When he was done, he only just sat there, thinking about something. I thought maybe he was going to pester me again to let him shave.
But he had something entirely different in mind.
"I thought I was going to die." He said. Whispered. "In the hospital, I thought I was going to die and you wouldn't be there."
Yeah, I'd been afraid of the exact same thing. I didn't say that to him, of course. I crouched down in front of him so I could meet his eyes, so he'd meet mine.
"When have we ever died when we weren't together?" I asked him. I gave him a few seconds to say 'never'.
"Lightning." He said though, after those few seconds. "I got hit, by lightning, when we – with the – that magic coin, the magic teddy bear. I got hit by lightning and you weren't there."
I'd forgotten about that. The lightning had blown him right out of his sneakers, and I'd been on the other side of town. He'd died, even briefly, alone.
My immediate thought was to come back with, 'but there's no lightning inside buildings', but my second immediate thought was that getting walloped with high voltage electroshock therapy was probably a hell of a lot like lightning.
Maybe I should tell him he needed to go shave.
"I was not going to let you die in that hospital, alone or otherwise. It just wasn't going to happen. All right?"
He probably knew I was talking out of my hat, but he nodded and gave me his 'thanks for that' smile.
"Y'sure it's not time t'get up?" He asked as he gave me back the empty glass. He looked around the room and probably at the change in sunlight and shadows across the floor.
"Yeah, see?" I flashed him my watch which I knew he'd never be able to make out. "Four hours isn't up yet."
"Oh. 'Kay." He accepted it easily and laid down and reached up awkwardly to push that hair out of his eyes. "Then you should go back t'sleep, Dean. It's…."
Just like that, he was out again.
"I will get right on that, Sammy."
First though, I grabbed the first aid kit and pulled back the blanket to have a look at his fingers and road rash. He slept on while his scraped arm got a dose of antibiotic cream, even if it really didn't need it, and each Little Indian got a look close up and personal to make sure the nail wasn't going to get ripped off snagging on the blankets if Sam did get restless in his sleep.
Everything looked okay, no danger of losing a nail, but I left his hands outside of his blanket anyway, just in case, and packed away the first aid kit. After that, I should've just dumped myself back into bed and no-dream-land, but the silence caught me again. The stillness.
I'd been here before, lots of times. Not here in this cabin, of course. But lots of times, hundreds or probably thousands of times in my life, I'd been here, in a quiet room, with a sleeping Sammy, with nothing to do but go to sleep myself.
But this 'here', this day, this moment – there was so much going on inside this moment that I stood frozen in the middle of the room, staring at Sam.
Suddenly, going back to sleep didn't seem such a likely option. I turned to the table and dropped myself into a chair. I rested my head in my hands and for just right now, I let myself be nearly overwhelmed with what I was feeling.
I'd been dreading losing Sammy for how many years now? Seven? In one way or another I'd been dreading losing Sam since he came back on the road with me, fresh from losing Jess. And I had lost him, on so many levels, in so many ways, so many times, and yet each and every time, I got him back. No matter how or why or how long I'd lost him, each time, against epically, mythically impossible odds, each time I always got my little brother back.
I'd lost every single other thing and person in my life that had ever meant anything to me. But I had Sam back, finally, wholly, completely, right now.
A breath choked inside my throat and then another one and I put my hand over my mouth because external pressure always works so well to suppress emotions.
Really not it turned out because I managed to wake up my nearly-comatose-little-zombie-brother.
"Dean?" I heard behind me but I didn't turn around. I couldn't turn around. I squeezed my eyes shut and pretended I was somewhere else, doing anything else but sitting at a rickety table, in a musty cabin, breaking down in front of Sam.
I kept them shut even when I heard Sam get up out of bed and walk across the cabin. I heard him open the icebox and set a pot on the stove and I still didn't look to see what he was doing.
In another minute or two though, he came to the table and set something down and then set himself into the other chair.
I opened my eyes and found myself looking at a glass of milk. A glass of warm milk judging from the little trails of steam rising from it.
I looked from it to Sam.
"You've gotta get some sleep, man." He told me. "Not getting enough sleep does crazy things to you…and you're crazy enough."
He said it with a cautious smile. He was giving me a pass for losing it, giving me an excuse, an explanation, an anything other than what it was.
I took it.
"Having to listen to you snore drives me crazy." I told him, and we both ignored how rough my voice sounded.
"Well, I guess if you're asleep, you won't hear me snore."
"Well, I guess if you wouldn't snore, I could get to sleep."
"Well, I guess if you'd let me shave, I wouldn't snore."
I gave him a look.
"Really? That's all you got? Shaving?"
"You want a poem?" He deadpanned back.
"Sure, what rhymes with 'zombie'?" I asked and took a sip of my warm milk. It wasn't half bad. "I'm okay, Sam. You need to get more sleep."
"So do you."
"I am. See?" I took a big swallow of the milk. "I'll finish this and then lay down. You can go back to bed."
He didn't move. Of course. He gave me a funny look.
"What? I got a milk mustache or something?"
"No, it's just - this is just the first chance we've had to just sit together - I mean me being me and only me - since I can't remember when. It's just - nice. That's all." He got up fast after he said that and put himself back into bed. "And Dean? Wake me up when the next four hours are over."
I finished my milk and put the glass in the sink and put myself back to bed. A thin, lumpy, scratchy bed had never felt so good. I was just this close to falling dead sound asleep again when Sam suddenly called out,
I turned over to glare at him.
"What? You asked what rhymes with zombie."
I sighed dramatically ~ "Go to sleep, Sam." ~ and smiled when he couldn't see me.
I had Sam back.