Summary: Sometimes fathers screw up. Set a month after John's death.
Warnings/Spoilers: Through Season 2 would be good.
Author's Note: yami_faerie needed Sam having an allergic reaction because someone screwed up. I responded by putting him in a cast, feeding him peanuts, and making him cry over his father. Happy Monday?
It's always the girl ghosts, the twenty-something pretty girls who die all tragically and then get mad as all hell, who are the fucking worst. They come at them with their creepy dead hair and fingernails and throw them against shit like gravestones and they break things like wrists so now Sammy's all cranky and busted up in the passenger seat. He's got his scarf on and wrapped all the fuck around his chin and his hands even though his asthma's fine, because his wrist hurts and they've been driving for nine fucking hours and he's uncomfortable, okay?
"You want to draw on your cast?" Dean asks.
Sam shakes his head and burrows deeper in his scarf. "I'm not ten."
"You look like you're ten. Feet on the dashboard and shit."
Sam smiles a little.
"Hurt that much?"
Sam shakes his head. "I'm just tired. It's keeping me awake."
"Few days at Bobby's, fix you up."
"Then back in the saddle."
"You got it, kid."
Sam nods. "Good."
It's just easier to keep moving right now.
Easier than getting through to Sammy.
(John never let them draw on their casts.)
Bobby puts up with Sam's hug and gives him a minute or two of aren't-you-a-war-hero sympathy before he rolls his eyes at Dean, who grins and rolls his back, because, yeah, he just did 800 miles with the kid (because smiling is easier).
"You boys hungry?" Bobby says, once they've hauled in all their stuff and Sam's flopped down on the couch.
"Yep." Dean shakes Sam's knee. "Hey you. Hungry?"
Sam yawns and nods. "I can help cook."
"I got leftovers," Bobby says.
Sam pushes his face into a pillow. "Even better."
Bobby warms up whatever the hell's lying around, Sam naps, and Dean cleans his guns on one of Sam's shirts just to piss him off, except when Sam wakes up (with that little jump, now, always) he gives Dean this small little smile so yeah, Dean lets Sam put his feet in his lap before he drifts off again, what the fuck ever, kid's been hurt, and this is a way they can touch, when Sam's hurt or sick or scared, this is the way Dean sometimes would even in front of John, this is the way that isn't spitting on his grave.
Fuck, he misses just touching his kid.
These short, pathetic excuses for sleep always make Sam amped, so he's setting the tale with fucking enthusiasm, messing with Dean's collar and fucking with Bobby's hat when he goes to the fridge to grab all the beer he can fucking carry, keep it coming, one-handed Sammy. Bobby serves them cornbread and massive bowls of chili and Jesus, it's fucking heaven. Dean could eat forever.
He's filling Bobby in on the hunt when Sam quietly puts down his fork, takes a quick sip of his beer, and pats down his pockets. He looks funny, and Dean stops mid-sentence and holds his hand up to Bobby.
Sam sounds like shit, and fuck, that came on fast.
He's still feeling his pockets, looking all fucking confused, maybe the painkillers are making him sluggish, because sometimes you put your inhaler on the coffee table, Sam, it's okay, look, it's right there.
"Okay, hold on," Dean mumbles, and he paws at Sam's hair a little on his way to the coffee table. He hears Bobby asking Sam if he wants some water. Sam doesn't answer.
Dean's back with the inhaler in all of five fucking seconds but Sam looks bad, really bad, gray shaky sweaty bad, and he pushes a hand into his chest and grabs Dean's sleeve and fuck, fuck, they know what this is and it's not a goddamn asthma attack.
Dean says, "Are there fucking peanuts in this?"
"Motherfucking goddamn it, how long have you known him? What the fuck?"
Sam pushes his forehead into Dean's neck and clings like all hell and yeah, okay, this isn't really the time for fucking feelings.
He grabs his keys from his pocket and throws them at Bobby. "EpiPen in the glove box, now."
Bobby's out the door, and Dean gets Sam out of the chair away from the fucking food and on the floor, and he tucks Sam under his arm like he's cold except he's not cold he's reacting like all fucking fuck, and Jesus why does it always have to happen so fucking fast, two minutes ago he was fine and now he's hacking and wheezing into his lap and pawing at his eyes and he has hives along his jaw and Jesus fucking Christ Bobby hurry.
"Hey, baby, I got you, okay?" He squeezes Sam's shoulder hard with one hand and uses the other to tilt Sam's cheek onto Dean's shoulder. "You're going to be fine. We've got this. We're on top of this. You're good. You're good. C'mere, wrist, I need your pulse."
Sam immediately brings his wrist up and presses it to Dean's cheek, good boy, good boy, and it's strong but too slow, way too slow, shit.
Because look, big hard fucking eighteen-wheels of reality, all right?
If he loses Sam, that's it.
That's fucking it.
And god fucking damn anyone who judges him for that, because you fucking try loving someone who's always a bite away from dying, you try doing this shit with a dead dad, have a good fucking time with that, loving Sammy sucks more than anything ever fucking will.
Dean presses kiss after kiss into Sam's temple and holy mother of fucking God Bobby hurry up.
Half an hour and two EpiPens later Sam's breathing well enough to groan out "Fuck. Fuuuuuuck," in between bouts of vomiting.
Dean's got his legs on either side of Sam and Sam's back against his chest and one hand on Sam's stomach and the other holding his bangs out of his eyes and yeah, right now his whole world is this shaking, miserable kid and if you want to tell him not to touch right now you can fuck the fuck off and go sit in the corner and try to do what Sam's doing right now.
Dean keeps his voice low because he knows sound's got to be hurting him, he knows everything's got to be hurting him. "Okay. Can you grab your hair for me so I can rub your back?"
"Mmm." Sam looks at his hands. "Cast."
"The other one."
Sam nods a little and rakes his hand through his hair, elbow propped up on the toilet seat. Dean keeps his one hand on Sam's stomach because Sam says it's warm and it helps and he rests his chin against Sam's shoulder and rubs his back with his other hand.
"Fuuuuuck," Sam wheezes out.
"I know. This sucks."
"You're doing great."
"I'm not doing--fuck--" and then he's got his head hung in the toilet again, and Dean moves his hand up to help with his stupid hair, and of course Bobby picks that minute to knock.
"Go away!" Dean says.
"Can I...is there something I can..."
"Go away. We're fine."
This kid here? This is why Winchesters don't share.
Sam goes a record five minutes without heaving and says, "I'm really dizzy."
"Yeah, I bet. Hang on, okay?"
"Yeah. Can you, uh." He pants for a minute. "Like a cool cloth?"
"Uh-huh. I'm going to drag you back some and lean you against the bath. That okay?"
"That's fine. Yeah. That's fine. Thank you."
He gets Sam situated and watches him while he runs cold water over a washcloth. Usually Sam tries to fake some semblance of okay, which is kind of annoying, but he's completely given the fuck up on that tonight. He's wedged into the corner made by the bath and the wall, arms and legs splayed out like they're too big for his body, gray fucking face pressed against the wall.
"You hanging in there, Sam?"
He gives him a thumbs-up without moving his head.
"Changed your mind on the hospital thing?"
"Was just there, man."
"That's not really relevant," Dean says, even though yeah, he gets it, but this is bad. John would have made them go, he knows that. (But then John went and died in a hospital so John can go fuck himself.)
"C'mere." He sits in front of Sammy and presses the cloth into his eyes. "Okay. How's that?"
Sam breathes out. "Nice, thank you."
Stop thanking him, for the love of fucking God.
He takes the cloth away and holds it to the insides of Sam's wrists because he's really hot and the hives and yeah maybe Dean just needs to see him, so fucking what. "I'm going to kill Bobby for this. You have no idea."
"I remember what you did to my second grade teacher. I think I have some idea."
"Asshole had it coming."
Sam laughs a little and coughs into his elbow. "God. I'm so itchy."
"Think you can keep Benadryl down?"
He wheezes and shrugs. "Worth a shot."
Dean gives him a quadruple dose of the liquid stuff and lets him lie down on the floor because he's getting shaky again. Sam hugs the tile and whispers how much his muscles hurt.
"As soon as you can stand up a little, we'll get you to bed, okay? I can't carry you all the way up the stairs. Too big."
"Fuuuuck." Sam pushes his forehead into the floor.
Dean pets his hair and soothes him quietly. His kid got so big.
So then Bobby knocks again, and Dean's about to put his fist through a wall, but the Bobby calls in, all soft, "You need help getting him up the stairs?"
Dean gives Sam's neck a quick squeeze. "You want to go to bed?"
"Yeah. God. Yeah."
"All right." Dean closes his eyes for a second. "Yeah, Bobby, that'd be great."
Bobby says he has an IV pole and some stuff and Sam agrees that sounds like a good idea, so Dean gets a line of saline going (and if you think he doesn't taste it first to make sure it's just saline, you're out of you're fucking mind) and Bobby helps Sam into a t-shirt, and maybe Dean gave him that job so he'd have to see the hives he gave the kid up close and personal, so fucking what? Bobby gets the hell out as soon as Sam's settled without being asked, so there's that.
Sam sips from a bottle of water and says, "Can you do the IV? I'm really shaky still."
"Obviously. Hand." He slips the needle in and says, "You going to get hives if I just put masking tape over that?"
"I'm going to get hives from fucking everything for the next week."
"That's my favorite part of reactions, I think. Reacting to everything the fuck else. Life is so very exciting.”
Dean finds some of the nice medical tape in the first aid kit and tapes a bandage over Sam's hand, then he says, "You get like four more hours of me babying the shit out of you. What hurts?"
"Everything." Sam hugs his pillow. "Wrist."
Dean lays his hand on the cast, but there's not really anything he can do about that, you know?
"Shoulders cramped up?" he says.
"I can rub 'em. Want to sit up a little?"
Sam nods but doesn't fucking move, so Dean laughs a little and hauls him up and props him against him.
"Last time I did this you were in the hospital," Dean says, softly, thumbs working around Sam's shoulder blades. He's breathing so hard. "Remember?"
Sam shakes his head.
"You were still pretty sick." he says, softly. "Right after Dad died. Remember now? To help you breathe."
Sam doesn't say anything, and Dean breathes out and rests his forehead against the back of Sam's neck.
"Feels kinda nice, actually."
"We've got to talk. You made me talk for fucking hours about him, you've got to talk now."
"I can't." Sam's voice shakes. "Not now. Not with..."
"Fuck. You know it was an accident, right? He turns Sam around--too fucking fast, Sam winces--and makes him look at him. "You know Bobby would never fucking hurt you?"
Dean grabs him and pushes Sam's face into his collarbone.
"No," he says, firmly, in Sam's ear. "No."
"I don't know anymore," Sam says, and then he's crying that he feels so sick and he doesn't know who to trust and his fucking father was preparing to have to kill him ('he clearly wasn't fucking saving me!') and what's Dean supposed to say, no one's going to hurt you?
Bobby's not doing anything when Dean comes downstairs, just sitting at his desk with a glass of bourbon and his head in his hand.
Dean pulls up a chair and sits in front of him, and Bobby immediately fills a glass and nudges it over.
Dean takes a long swallow.
"How is he?" Bobby says.
"Sleeping. He'll be up a lot tonight." Dean rubs his mouth. "He's going to need simple food for a few days, all right? Safe stuff. Think you can handle it?"
Bobby keeps eye contact. "Yeah, I can handle it."
Dean looks down and traces the rim of his glass. "He likes pancakes after reactions."
"All right." Bobby refills Dean's glass. "How are you doing, kiddo?"
Bobby gives him a look.
"I'm...however I am when Sam's sick."
"How long since your daddy died, a month, now?"
Dean drains his glass. "Yeah, maybe." He sets it back on the desk. "One more."
Bobby just looks at him. "And how are you doing?"
"I'm fine, okay? Sam made me cry on his shoulder for like three hours two weeks ago, and he said all the right things and...so then I told him something Dad said and now I've fucking lost my brother. Okay?"
Bobby frowns. "What did your dad say?"
Dean shakes his head and gestures to his glass again.
This time Bobby listens. "I get you drunk enough, you'll tell me?"
Dean snorts and sits back in his chair, nurses the glass between his hands. "No."
"Something about your Sam?"
"Who's a better hunter, you think? Me or Sam?"
"Fuck, I don't know, Dean."
"Yeah, you do. Tell me."
Bobby raps his fingers on the table. "You know, I talked about this with your dad once. When you two were young. You were, I don't know, nineteen. You and Sam were shootin' out back and..." Bobby stops and shrugs. "And, well, I think you're the better hunter."
"I know Dad didn't. It's fine."
"Your dad and Sam had a rough thing going, you know that. They both saw what they wanted to see in the other one, and John wanted Sam to...you know, overcome adversity and all that crap."
"And you don't think Sam can."
"Didn't say that."
"You don't think Sam did."
Bobby sighs. "Dean, look at him."
"I'd like to see you doing better if someone fucking poisoned you."
"All right, Dean."
"Just...Jesus, maybe Dad had reasons for thinking Sam was strong, you know? Did you ever think that...maybe there's something in Sam that we didn't see?"
Bobby's frown deepens. "But you always thought Sam was strong, Dean."
"So you must have had your reasons, too."
Sam starts awake (like always) and Dean rubs his hand up and down his arm.
"You're fine," Dean says. "You can go back to sleep. Just letting you know I'm back. You doing okay?"
It's dark, but he can make out Sam nodding a little. "Sluggish."
Dean listens to him breathe. "Chest sounds tight."
"You got it."
He hears Sam shift around, and when he turns the light on Sam's sitting up, rubbing his eyes, watching him. He's quiet while Dean sets it up.
"You're kind of a mess," Dean says. "Cast on one hand, IV on the other."
"And six and a half feet of sick in-between, yeah."
"Want me to stay up with you?"
Sam nods heavily.
Normally Dean would tease him about how much fucking trouble he is, but it doesn't feel like the night. Not that he thinks Sam would be offended or hurt or whatever the fuck. It just doesn't feel right yet. He doesn't know.
Dean teases Sam to get out of saying other stuff, and right now Sam's the one trying to get out of something.
He hands Sam the mouthpiece and sits next to him. Sam slouches down and rolls away a little so Dean can get at his back.
Dean rubs circles. "Spoiled."
Dean sticks his hand in Sam's hair and says, softly, “You've got to talk to me, Sammy. We've go to do it now, while you're all stoned and shit.”
Sam laughs a little, but he's not happy.
"I don't know how to get you to...” Dean swallows. “I haven't fucking...known how to deal with you since...I mean, You've just been so fucking here, Sam. You're sick as a fucking dog--"
Sam sneezes quietly.
"--and still fucking dancing around going I'm here I'm here I'm here and do you have any idea how fucking crazy that makes me? And then you won't talk to me.”
“I talk to you.”
“You talk about me. Sam. Please.”
“You were closer with him. You're hurting more.”
Dean hates himself for believing that for as long as he did. He hates himself for the fact that it wasn't until he walked into that motel room two weeks ago and Sam blotted his face as fast as he fucking could and Dean remembered that sometimes Sam doesn't wheeze because he's not moving enough air not because he's not fucking suffering Jesus Dean that he realized Sam just lost his fucking father.
Dean says, "Even when you were at Stanford, you were the most present thing in my fucking life. In...in Dad's too. We used to talk about how he loved you best, you know that?" He pushes his forehead harder into Sam. "Nothing the fuck else makes sense except for you right now."
Sam hides in his pillow.
"You could turn into a fucking red-eyed blood-sucking whateverthefuck and I would never hurt you. You've got to know that, come on. That's got to be what keeps you going."
Sam is crying.
"Hey. Hey. C'mon. You're not breathing well enough for any of this shit, so you might as well talk."
Sam rolls over and drives the heel of his hand into his cheek like he's trying to push the tears back through his skin. "I wasn't his favorite."
"Yeah, you were. So you left for Stanford and pissed him off, but that doesn't--"
"No. And I fucking thought I was too, okay? But no. I was his fucking freak, I was this thing he was watching in case I turned evil. He was fucking afraid of me." He's shaking so fucking hard. "He didn't want me with you because he thought I was a good hunter or he was worried about my breathing or he missed me, he wanted..." Sam stops and pants, hard, and God, he's breathless. "He wanted to be there to put the bullet in me o-or or or poison me when I turn into a monster. And he would have done it."
"Sammy. Please. Just...okay?"
"Just what?" Sam stares at him, chest heaving, eyes red and still leaking.
"Just shut up," Dean whispers. "Just shut the fuck up, you beautiful goddamn thing."
Sam closes his eyes. “Do you think he even loved me?”
"He...can I use caribou?"
"He cariboued the hell out of you. You were, like, his favorite caribou ever." He twists the hem of Sam's shirt. "You were his favorite, you know?"
"He was just scared of me."
"Yeah, 'cause you're soooo fucking scary in your IV and cast and nebulizer right now."
"All right. Here we go." He rolls Sam onto his back and pats his stomach. "Here's the thing. You've got to just miss your dad, tough guy. Not the hunting-obsessed revenge-driven bullshit of a guy who got the fuck out of him in those last few minutes when he was...fuck, making a deal with some demon, y'know? You remember Dad? Reading you The Hobbit and cutting your hair and kissing skinned knees?"
Sam takes a shaky breath and pushes into Dean's side.
"See?" Dean says. "That's kind of the point of all this."
He clings. "I hate you."
"Yeah, you made me do it." He twists Sam's hair and says the only true two sentences in the fucking world. “No one wants to hurt you, Sammy. No one who could ever get through me.”
When he wakes up, Sam's bed is empty, IV pulled out and nearly wrapped, bed made.
Dean pulls on socks and head downstairs, and there he is, stirring something by the sink while the coffee maker bubbles.
He looks up with a grin. "Hey! Good morning."
Dean's pouring coffee and Sam's pouring pancake batter when Bobby comes in with arms full of groceries. New, safe stuff for Sam.
Sam slips the spatula underneath the first perfectly round pancake, smiling to himself. Behind his back, Dean catches Bobby's eye, points to Sam, and mouths, this is my reason.
Two more true sentences.
Sam has always scared him.
Dean wouldn't have it any other way.
The pancakes are fucking incredible. They eat them all.
Sam isn't scared, but Dean keeps his hand on his shoulder. (And god fucking damn anyone who judges him for that.)