Title: Sam Is...
Disclaimer: Transformative work of fiction, not for profit.
Warnings: Spoilers for 6x08
A/N: This is not how it's going to happen, but I felt like writing it anyway...AU for the end of S6? It's basically H/C porn (without actual porn).
Summary: Dean gets Sam back
Sam was catatonic. He just lay there staring at nothing. When Dean waved a hand in front of his face, his eyes tracked, but they didn’t seem to focus.
“Are you sure you really want his soul back?” Crowley had asked. “He’s bloody useful without it. I can’t make any promises he’ll be able to function with it. After all, it’s been in the pit for nearly two centuries.”
“And whose fault is that?” Dean had said.
“You should be grateful I’m giving you the option to bring him back at all. I could have just left him to rot in the cage.”
Sam was obedient. Dean pulled him to sitting, and he sat. With a hand on his elbow, Dean could get him to stand. With a pull on his arms, Dean could walk him out of the motel room and into the car. Sam never really looked at him, even though Dean tried to catch his eyes – even though Dean kept saying his name, trying to call him out of wherever he was trapped inside his own head.
Dean started driving to Bobby’s, because that’s where Dean always went when he didn’t know what else to do. He talked to Sam the whole way, about how much he missed him, about how Bobby was going to be happy to see him, about the weather, about the news, about how they were just going to relax until Sam felt better.
He tried to find radio stations that played the kind of music Sam liked, but they kept going in and out of towns, and it got annoying – so Dean put on his more mellow Led Zeppelin tape. Sam just sat there, sort of looking out the window, but Dean wasn’t sure he was seeing anything.
Two hours into the trip, Dean discovered another fact.
Sam was incontinent. Dean told him not to worry about it. Two hundred years as a soul in the pit, you forget that bodies have needs. Dean found a Wal-Mart. He parked in the shade. He didn’t really want to leave Sam in the car, but he didn’t know what else to do. Sam had never moved on his own, but Dean still handcuffed him to the inside door handle. Sam didn’t seem to mind, even though Dean apologized profusely.
He went to the old man’s section of the store and stocked up on everything he might need to look after Sam properly. He realized that Sam might not know how to eat anymore either – really, eating and shitting were things people just didn’t do in hell. Dean stocked up on a good liquid diet for Sam too. The cashier looked at him funny, but Dean pretended he didn’t notice. Just as he had told Sam, it was nothing to be embarrassed about.
Dean uncuffed Sam as soon as he was back, and apologized again. He drove out of town and found a country road. He helped Sam into new clothes. At one point, Sam put his hand on Dean’s shoulder for balance, and Dean nearly cried.
Dean called Bobby once they were back on the road. He tried to be vague, because Sam was sitting next to him, and he thought if he made a big deal about Sam’s condition, Sam might feel bad. Feel bad. Feel. Because he could feel, and Dean only wanted Sam to feel good right now. So, he told Bobby that Sam had his soul back, and Dean made sure to smile the whole time he was on the phone. He explained that they were on their way to his, because Sam needed a little recovering time – just a little. Bobby told him that he didn’t even need to ask, and that he was looking forward to seeing Sam.
“He’s uh...looking forward to seeing you too, Bobby,” Dean said, glancing over at Sam. “Aren’t you, Sam.” Sam blinked slowly. “Yeah, yeah he is.”
Dean hung up and wondered why he hadn’t thought of that sooner.
“Sam?” Dean said. “Can you...can you blink twice if you understand what I’m saying to you right now?”
Dean watched as Sam’s eyes closed – and didn’t open again.
“Yeah, uh, sleep is probably better than talking anyway,” Dean said, trying to keep the catch out of his voice. He reached over and tilted Sam so that his head rested on the seat the way he always used to fall asleep. Sam’s eyelashes fluttered open briefly, and then he was asleep again. Dean reminded himself that Sam’s body hadn’t slept in close to a year.
Sam was tired. He slept the rest of the way to Bobby’s. Dean kept the music off, and instead hummed softly to himself.
When they arrived, Bobby came out to the porch before Dean had cut the engine. He was smiling. Dean had a sudden pang of regret for not being honest with Bobby on the phone. Dean put his hand on Sam’s shoulder, and gentle nudged him, telling him to wake up. Sam’s eyes flew open and he gasped, and for a brief instant, Sam looked at him – really looked at him, but then his eyes went right back to a vacant stare into the middle distance. Dean exited the car and walked around to the passenger side. He didn’t look at Bobby. He opened Sam’s door and guided him out.
He turned then and saw how Bobby’s smile had fallen, so Dean smiled brighter.
“Hey Bobby,” he said. “Look who I have!”
He watched as Bobby smiled again, forced this time.
“Hi Sam,” Bobby said, and Dean focused on getting Sam up the stairs, rather than the wetness in Bobby’s eyes. “I missed you, son.”
Dean halted Sam’s slow shuffle at the top of the stairs, and brushed Sam’s hair out of his face for him.
“Yeah, Sam missed you too Bobby, isn’t that right, Sam?” Dean said, still smiling. Sam stared downward into the space between him and Bobby. “Yeah, you did.”
“Well, come on in,” Bobby said, “I’ll uh, put some food on.”
“Bobby, I have some supplies in the backseat,” Dean said. “You think you could bring them in for me?”
“Sure thing, Dean,” Bobby said. Dean guided Sam over to Bobby’s comfy chair. It was better Bobby just see the supplies and realize what they meant, rather than Dean trying to explain. Bobby wasn’t an idiot. One look in those bags and he’d realize that Dean had been bullshitting him on the phone – he’d realize that Sam wasn’t okay.
“Do you want me to mix up one of these protein shakes, while you and Sam get settled?” Bobby asked, as he walked back in the door, like they did this all the time – like the bags weren’t filled with everything needed to look after a patient in a severely mentally handicapped state.
“Yeah Bobby,” Dean said, “that’d be great. Thanks.”
“You might not like what you get back this time either Dean” Crowley had said. “He might be a bit...damaged.”
“He’d still be Sam,” Dean had said. “Better with me than down there, no matter how damaged he is.”
Sam was sick of protein shakes. At least, Dean thought he must be. Dean started looking up soup recipes. Dean would usually sing or hum while he cooked. He thought that if Sam could hear his voice from the other room, he’d know that Dean was still nearby, because he didn’t like the idea of Sam not knowing he was there. Bobby kept giving him odd looks, but Dean just ignored them and kept going. Bobby hadn’t kicked them out yet. He had said they could stay as long as they needed. Dean wondered if that included the scenario where Sam never got any better.
Bobby coached him in answering the phones, so that Dean felt useful when Bobby went hunting. Between phone calls, Dean would talk to Sam. It was hard to have a running monologue of interesting things to say – he tried to avoid talking about the things Sam’s body had done without him. Instead, he talked a little about Lisa and Ben, and the guys he had met on the construction crew in Cicero. Sometimes, he just narrated his actions. “I’m going to puree these carrots for you. This blender of Bobby’s is pretty neat. I like it. We should get one for ourselves.”
Dean had discovered that if he timed it right, he could get Sam to use the washroom. He'd feed him, wait a set amount of time, and then lead him in there and sit him down – standing was a disaster. Dean counted it as progress. Dean wasn’t sure if showering together was more awkward than sponge-bathing Sam, so sometimes he switched it up. Sam had a tendency to pee on Dean's feet in the shower, which really wasn’t something Dean particularly enjoyed. Dean discovered that if he pulled a chair up to the bathroom sink, he could wash Sam’s hair like in one of those fancy salons, so most of the time he washed Sam’s hair that way. It had the advantage of keeping them both fully clothed, and also Dean kind of liked how Sam would fall asleep half-way through every single time.
Sam slept a lot. Dean would have liked it better if Sam didn’t dream. Sleeping usually meant healing, but with Sam it also meant nightmares. Dean could tell as soon as Sam started having a nightmare, and he’d try to jostle him awake gently, tell him that it wasn’t real. Sometimes Dean would fall asleep in the chair beside Sam’s bed, and he’d feel bad in the morning when he woke up to find Sam already staring into space. He’d wonder how many nightmares he had failed to save Sam from.
Dean prayed. Some nights, when Bobby wasn’t around, and Sam was asleep, Dean would drink a little too much and pray to Castiel. Sometimes he’d be angry, and call him names – other times he’d be sorry for calling him names and he’d spend the prayer apologizing and asking Castiel not to punish Sam because Dean was a dick. Castiel didn’t answer, but then, Dean wasn’t really surprised. Heaven was in chaos and Castiel had every right to ignore him. Dean had gotten what he wanted after all, he should be happy - that’s what Castiel had told him after Sam had fallen into the pit, and that’s what Crowley had told him after he had snapped his fingers and Dean had watched Sam’s strong body collapse onto the bed.
Castiel arrived when Dean wasn’t even praying for him. Sam was asleep, and Dean was sitting in Sam’s bed next to him reading a book on mental illness. It was a very unhelpful book, and Dean had to wonder if maybe Crowley had double-crossed him or something, damaged Sam on purpose. Idly, Dean patted Sam’s head when Sam’s breath hitched like it usually did before a nightmare hit. Then Sam’s breath evened out, and there was a familiar fluttering sound.
Dean looked up to find Castiel standing next to the bed.
“Better late than never, I suppose,” Dean said, and despite the way that Castiel flinched slightly at the words, Dean actually felt pretty calm – not angry. He thought, on some level, that it was ironic. Castiel had been late rescuing him from hell too, though he assumed that was probably on purpose.
“They sent me because they thought I would fail,” Castiel said. “I apologize for not getting there – or here – sooner.”
Dean wondered if Castiel could read every thought he had. He thought really hard about how it was shitty of them to underestimate Castiel like that. Castiel smiled at him.
“Thank you, Dean,” Castiel said. “I only wanted to gauge your mood. I’ll withdraw from your mind now and wake you.”
“Wake me-?” Dean started, and then found himself blinking into low light of Bobby’s library – the sun having changed positions, a book on mental illness was slowly sliding off his lap, and one of his hands rested on Sam’s head. Sam was asleep and peaceful. “Oh.”
Castiel stood where he had in the dream. Wow, Dean had boring dreams. He glanced down at the book to see he was on page 50. He could have sworn he had read to page 85. Who falls asleep and dreams about reading 35 pages of a boring book?
“Do you want me to check that his soul is intact?” Castiel asked, unbuttoning the sleeve of his coat.
“No,” Dean said without thinking. “Don’t. It’ll hurt him. I don’t want to hurt him.”
“I will use another method,” Castiel replied, as he rebuttoned his sleeve. Instead of plunging an arm into Sam’s chest, Castiel placed his hands gently on Sam’s head. Sam’s breath hitched, and Castiel closed his eyes. Dean waited.
“He has his soul,” Castiel said. “He is...confused.”
“Confused?” Dean said in a whisper. His eyes stung a little. He hadn’t realized until then, but he had begun to wonder if maybe Crowley had given him Sam’s soul and then taken Sam’s brain. But if Sam was confused, that meant that Sam had something in his head that was capable of being confused.
“He does not know what is reality and what are dreams,” Castiel replied. “He has two different sets of memories that are contradictory to him and competing for superiority in his head. He remembers both hell, and the past year of Hunting, and it is confusing to him.”
“Can you help...unconfuse him?” Dean asked, “or do you think he’ll eventually work it out on his own?”
Castiel was silent for a while, still with his eyes closed, still with his hands on Sam’s huge confused head.
“Crowley did Sam a disservice,” Castiel replied. “He restored Sam’s soul, but he did not...heal it at all.”
“What do you mean?” Dean asked. Sam’s eyes were moving behind his lids, and if Castiel wasn’t messing around in there, Dean would normally be waking Sam out of whatever nightmare he was in.
“When I raised you from perdition,” Castiel replied. “I was under orders to heal your soul so that you could function. I could not take away the consequences of your sojourn in hell completely, but I could...start you on the road to healing. Crowley has not done so with Sam, though...I have to say, Sam has held up remarkably well on his own.”
“He’s a vegetable,” Dean said. “Most of the time, I don’t even think he knows I’m here.”
“He knows you are here, Dean,” Castiel replied. “He just does not believe you to be real.”
“Can you help him?” Dean asked ignoring the hurt Castiel’s words caused him to feel.
“I will do my best,” Castiel replied.
Castiel moved one of his hands down to Sam’s chest, and then didn’t move. Dean watched the lines furrow in Castiel’s forehead as the angel concentrated. It felt like a long time later, but maybe it wasn’t really, that Castiel took a breath and then stood up.
“I have attempted to reconcile the conflicting memories,” Castiel said. “As well, I have encouraged the idea that he is no longer in hell.”
“He thought he was still-" Dean couldn’t finish, wondering how Sam could possibly think that Dean caring for him hand and foot for the past few weeks had been hell.
“Kindness can also be used to torment,” Castiel said. Dean nodded. He never did anything right.
“Get some rest,” Castiel said, and touched Dean lightly on the forehead.
Sam was crying. Dean woke up stretched out on his side beside him. Sam lay there staring vacantly into the middle distance as usual, only he was crying. Dean could see the tear tracks running from his eyes across his temples, and could feel the slight hitching of Sam’s ordinarily steady breathing.
“Sam?” Dean asked, leaning over his brother. There was a flicker of movement in Sam’s eyes, as though they wanted to acknowledge Dean, but Sam wasn’t letting them. Dean used his thumbs to wipe the tears off Sam’s temples. “It’s okay, Sam. I’m here. I’ve got you. You aren’t in hell any more. I got you.”
Sam cried through breakfast. It made the whole routine even messier than usual. Usually, Dean would just have a washcloth to catch the soup or protein shake that slipped out the corner of Sam’s mouth sometimes. Now, he had a washcloth for that, another for trying to blot Sam’s endless tears, and a box of tissues to use on Sam’s nose. Dean tried to tease him, saying that he owed him big for making Dean wipe his snotty nose like a two-year-old, but Dean figured if Sam was paying attention to what he was saying, Sam would pick up on the fact that Dean didn’t really mind – that really, if Dean let Sam piss on his feet in the shower, a little snot was nothing.
Bobby came back from his hunting trip on the second day of Sam’s crying jag. Dean had increased the frequency with which he gave Sam water. He wasn’t really sure if it was helping the crying or enabling it, but he didn’t want Sam to get dehydrated.
Bobby stood stock still in doorway to the library, where Dean had Sam sitting on the edge of the bed, trying to get him to drink. Sam was taking small swallows and surprisingly seemed to have figured out how to swallow without choking when the crying screwed up his breathing. They had set the room back up as it had been when Bobby was paralyzed, because Dean needed a way to keep an eye on Sam while he was cooking or answering the phones. Only this time, Bobby’s comfy armchair was pulled up next to the bed – Dean usually slept in it, although the past two nights, he’s slept fully clothed in the bed next to Sam with a box of tissues in his lap.
“What happened?” Bobby asked.
“Cas stopped by,” Dean said. “Took a look at Sam for me. Laid hands on him. He said it would make him get better. He’s been crying since then. I’m not sure how this is better.”
“Well, it’s different,” Bobby said.
Dean nodded. He didn’t look over at Bobby. He just kept his eyes on Sam’s lips and throat, and his hands steady on the glass of water. He had discovered pretty early on that, when Sam didn’t want any more, all he had to do was close his lips tight and stop swallowing – if Dean didn’t catch the sign right away, he’d end up pouring water all down Sam’s front.
“I’ll go out and buy more tissues,” Bobby said, just as Sam’s lips clamped shut and didn’t reopen.
“Thanks, Bobby” Dean said, taking the glass away from Sam’s lips before any water spilt. “But um, do you mind maybe if I went out and got them? You could visit with Sam for a bit, and I could...um, pick up some more soup ingredients.”
“Yeah, Dean, sure thing,” Bobby said. “I’m sure some fresh air would do you good. Is there anything about Sam’s routine I should know?”
“Um, no,” Dean said. “He should be good until I get back. Just, uh...sometimes he gets a little...snotty.”
“Well, I guess some things never change,” Bobby smiled, picking up the half-empty box of tissues. Dean’s laugh may have been a bit hollow.
Dean bought the soft kind of tissue and some squash for soup. Then he parked the car a few miles away from Bobby’s and tried not to cry too much. He thanked Castiel for helping, but told him that he was a little bit disturbed by the healing process, and maybe Castiel should come down again and make sure he did it right. There was no reply of course, so Dean resisted calling Castiel a dick and instead turned up the music and drove back to Sam.
On the evening of the third day, Dean fell asleep next to Sam again. He had climbed in there to read a little, while Sam had cried himself to sleep. Dean wiped Sam’s face up with the tissues, and then decided that he didn’t really feel like climbing over Sam and sleeping in the chair – so he had just scooted down a bit, used Sam’s extra pillow, and pulled Sam’s extra blanket over himself, and fallen asleep on his side facing Sam.
He woke at some point in the night. At first, he wasn’t sure why, until he heard the toilet flush. Bobby must have had to go in the middle of the night and come downstairs for some reason instead of using the upstairs toilet. Dean kept his eyes closed and tried to relax back into sleep. Then he heard familiar footsteps pad into the room, and the bed dip beside him. He kept his breathing steady and his eyes closed, mostly because he was terrified that it was just a dream – that Sam hadn’t just gotten out of bed, used the can, and gotten into bed all on his own. Not only that, but Dean didn’t even hear the hitching breath that had been Sam’s signature the past few days.
Then, someone poked Dean softly on the very tip of his nose, and breathed a long breath. Dean counted to ten before he opened his eyes, just in case it really was all in his head. When he opened them, Sam was lying asleep beside him as though nothing had happened, except that Sam was sleeping on his side, facing Dean. Sam hadn’t slept on his side since he got his soul back. Dean always put him to sleep on his back.
“Sam?” Dean whispered into the quiet room.
Sam let out a snore. Dean smiled. The kid was still a little snotty.
Sam was staring at him. Dean opened his eyes the next morning to find Sam sitting up and staring at him. It was the first time Sam had made direct eye contact in weeks. Dean wasn’t entirely sure what to do, so he pretended that it was normal to wake up to someone staring at you. Actually, if Dean really considered things, it happened to him so often it pretty much was normal.
“Good morning Sam,” Dean said. “Did you sleep alright?”
Sam didn’t say anything. He just kept staring. So Dean climbed out of bed.
“I’ll just, um, use the can and then make us some breakfast, alright?” Dean tried. Sam didn’t reply, but his eyes followed Dean as Dean moved out of the room. He pissed as fast as humanly possible, and made his way back to the kitchen. He was still trying to be casual, he didn’t want to make a big deal about the fact that Sam was looking at him – or the fact that Sam wasn’t crying – or the fact that Sam had gotten up and used the bathroom in the middle of the night on his own, and then touched Dean’s nose.
Sam was still sitting on the bed. Usually, Dean would bring Sam into the kitchen with him in the mornings and sit him down at the table while he cooked breakfast. This morning he decided to walk right into the kitchen and leave Sam where he was, just to see what would happen. He only had to wait a minute before Sam walked into the room on his own and pulled out his usual chair at the table and sat down. He kept his eyes on Dean, so Dean smiled at him.
Bobby chose that moment to come downstairs. He gave Dean an odd look, and Dean realized that it was because Dean was grinning pretty goddamn wide. Then Bobby glanced at Sam.
“Morning Sam,” Bobby said. Sam’s eyes stayed on Dean, as though Bobby weren’t in the room. Bobby seemed to realize then that Sam was actually looking at something, because Bobby gave Dean an astonished look.
“I think Sam’s feeling a little better today,” Dean said. “Do you want to start the eggs while I mix up his breakfast shake?”
“Sure thing,” Bobby said. Dean mixed the protein shake and grabbed a spoon and sat down next to Sam at the table with a washcloth as usual. He’d been spoon feeding Sam protein shakes and soup for weeks, but Sam had never actually looked at him while he was doing it before. Dean placed the shake in front of Sam on the table to see if Sam would pick it up and drink it himself. He didn’t. So, Dean figured that this new Sam was not weepy, liked to make eye contact, and could move around on his own, and that was it – and really, that was a good enough improvement as far as Dean was concerned. If he still had to make soup and spoon feed Sam, then so be it.
Dean lifted the spoon up to Sam’s mouth, and reached forward to pull Sam’s chin down, like he usually had to do until they got a rhythm going. Before his fingers made contact with Sam’s skin though, Sam opened his mouth. Dean took this as another good sign. Sam was able to recognize what was going to happen. He knew what the spoon meant. He also swallowed right away and no longer dribbled - All improvements. Dean smiled at him.
There were five more perfect spoonfuls, and then on the fifth one, Sam looked away from Dean and tracked the spoon going back to the shake. Dean paused and watched as Sam lifted his hand, and picked up the glass, and then looked at Dean as he brought it to his lips.
“That’s good, Sammy,” Dean said, as Sam drank slowly straight from the glass.
Bobby sat down across from them, and gave Dean a plate of scrambled eggs, sausages, and toast. Dean had a moment where he wasn’t quite sure what to do. He usually spoon fed Sam his breakfast while his own got cold, but Sam seemed to have the whole breakfast thing covered on his own now. So, Dean put down Sam’s spoon and turned to his own meal.
“Dean,” Bobby said, and Dean looked up to see Bobby nodding his head in Sam’s direction. Dean looked over to see Sam looking at him. Ok, that was nothing new. Then Sam’s eyes went from Dean to Dean’s plate, then back to Dean, then back to the plate, then back to Dean.
“You want some of my breakfast, Sam?” Dean asked slowly.
Sam looked at Dean.
“You haven’t had solid food in weeks, though...it might upset your stomach.”
Sam looked at Dean.
“Toast? Do you want my toast and we can work up to the other stuff?”
Sam looked at Dean.
Dean handed Sam his toast.
Dean spent the afternoon researching new recipes on the internet. Sam continued to stare at him. He realized it was a ‘wash Sam’s hair’ day, and when he mentioned as much to Sam. Sam stood, grabbed a chair from the kitchen and pulled it up against the bathroom sink and sat down.
“I take it you found the communal showers just as awkward as I did,” Dean said, as he ran the tap and used a cup to wet Sam’s hair. Sam looked at him, and then closed his eyes. Dean smiled, wondering what it was about this that put Sam to sleep every single time. It wasn’t until he was rinsing Sam’s favourite fancy conditioner out of Sam’s hair that he realized that if Sam could walk around, use the can, and eat on his own, he could probably shower on his own now too.
“You’re totally taking advantage right now, aren’t you?” Dean said.
Sam opened his eyes and looked at Dean.
“Bitch,” Dean muttered.
Sam closed his eyes again.
That night, after Dean had watched Sam eat diner, and Bobby had gone to bed. Dean contemplated whether he should sleep in Bobby’s comfy armchair, like he had when Sam had been a vegetable, or if he should sleep in the bed with Sam, like he had when Sam had been crying, or if he should go and sleep upstairs in the spare room, like he had when Sam had been...completely healthy.
Sam had changed – all by himself – into a t-shirt and his favourite sleep-pants. He stood next to his bed staring at Dean. Dean wasn’t sure what the hell it all meant. Until Sam looked over at the spot Dean had been sleeping in the night before, when Sam had poked him in the nose.
“You uh, mind if I keep sleeping here?” Dean asked. “I mean, the spare room is a little dusty, and the armchair is a little uncomfortable...and I’m not sure you noticed or not, but I sort of fell asleep here the last few nights and I don’t think I kicked you or anything...so...”
Sam looked at him.
Dean crawled into bed, and lay on his back staring up at the ceiling. As soon as Dean was in bed, Sam got into bed too, blocking Dean’s exit unless Dean wanted to jump over him to get out. Well, Dean figured, that answered the question as to why Sam had gotten ready for bed and then stood beside it staring at Dean for ten minutes.
Dean was just dozing off, when he felt a hand gently touch his face. He kept still and didn’t open his eyes. Sam hadn’t initiated contact all day, and Dean didn’t want to mess up his healing process by making him think he was doing something wrong.
He was wondering if he was going to get another nose poke, when instead he felt his upper lip being pulled up and a blunt finger running along his gums. Oh.
Then Sam’s finger withdrew and Dean felt it pressed to his neck instead. It stayed there for a few breaths, and then Sam splayed his hand lightly across Dean’s chest.
Dean wanted to say, yes, Sam, you let me get turned into a vampire – yes, Sam, I’m not one anymore – I have a pulse - I breathe. Instead he let Sam feel his chest rise and fall in a steady rhythm.
Sam’s breath hitched, and without thinking Dean covered Sam’s hand with his own. He felt Sam startle and try to pull away, but Dean kept him where he was.
“Shh, Sam, it wasn’t you,” Dean said.
Dean opened his eyes and turned his head enough to meet Sam’s eyes.
“Well, yeah, it was your brain, but logic isn’t compassionate, Sam,” Dean clarified. “It was like an amoral Spock had taken over your body, only, you’d still occasionally laugh at my jokes for some reason. Which, you know, should have been my first clue that it wasn’t really you, you moody bastard.”
Sam stared at Dean.
“I missed you,” Dean said.
Sam closed his eyes.
Dean didn’t bother getting the tissues, Sam was asleep before he could work himself into another crying frenzy.
Sam made coffee. He still didn’t talk, but he made coffee in the morning and sat down like everything was normal. He even looked at Bobby at least once. He ate a normal breakfast and he seemed to listen when Dean and Bobby discussed Bobby’s next hunt.
Sam was thinking about something. Dean could tell. It wasn’t the vacant stare he had before, or the tentative skeptical gaze of the previous day – it was contemplative. So, Dean left him to his thoughts, because he figured they were probably ones Sam needed to have. Instead Dean talked to Bobby, and when Bobby went on a supply run, Dean prayed to Cas and told him that Sam was doing much better, thanks for asking.
It continued like that for a while. Dean made idle small talk with mostly just himself, while Sam sorted through whatever was in his head. Sam looked after himself now, which left Dean plenty of time to help Bobby make more silver bullets, and sharpen his hunting blades. He also looked up more recipes, because his attempt at scalloped potatoes had been a small disaster.
Sam still slept a lot. Dean told him not to worry about it and that his body hadn’t slept in a year, and it was probably catching up to him. Sam didn’t like sleeping though, and Dean figured he knew why – so when Sam went for his naps, Dean would find an excuse to sit near the bed and wake him up if he caught him having any nightmares.
Then, one night, Bobby came in from working out in the yard, and mentioned that there was a nice clear sky. Dean looked over at Sam, and realized that Sam hadn’t actually been out of the house for over a month. So, he asked him if he wanted to go for a drive. Sam followed him out to the car. Dean watched as Sam stopped by the hood and ran a hand along the windshield.
“I fixed it,” Dean said. “Wasn’t even that bad.”
Sam looked at Dean, then back to the house where Bobby’s shadow moved around the kitchen. At first, Dean wondered if maybe Sam didn’t actually want to go for a drive, but then Sam looked back at him and he realized what the real unspoken question was.
“Cas fixed me,” Dean said. “Bobby too.”
Sam kept looking at him.
“God might not care about you or me, but he doesn't seem to like it when Cas dies,” Dean shrugged. “But, you already knew all that, didn’t you? I mean...if you remembered about the vampire thing...”
Sam nodded, and got in the car. Dean took a second to appreciate the fact that Sam had just nodded at him, then he got into the driver’s seat and started the engine. Sam ran his hands across the door, the seat, the dash, and then he settled back in the bench seat and watched Dean drive for a bit. Dean still had Led Zeppelin in the tape deck, so he let it play.
They didn’t go far, just a song or two out further into the country. Dean found a good field and pulled off the road. Sam followed him out of the car, and Dean climbed up on the hood and patted the spot next to him until Sam climbed up too. Then they both lay against the windshield and looked up. Dean pulled out the two beers he had snagged from Bobby’s kitchen and used his key-ring to pop the caps off before handing one to Sam.
Dean isn’t sure how long it's been. His beer is half finished, and he has counted five or six satellites. He just found the Andromeda Galaxy, which is sometimes tricky to see, because the best way to see it with the naked eye is to not look directly at it - Dean has to look just off to the side of it, let his peripheral vision pick it up, and accept that that is as good as it gets.
“Dean,” Sam says.
“Yeah, Sammy?” Dean says out reflex, before his brain even kicks in with the fact that Sam has just spoken.
“Satan hates your car,” Sam says.
“She’s not too fond of him either, Sam,” Dean replies, turning to stare at his brother, who still has his head tilted up looking at the sky.
Sam is smiling.
“After all this time – after staring at me for over a week – you finally open your mouth to tell me that Satan hates my car? Those re what you choose for your first words as a newly resurrected soul? No, ‘thank you for saving my ass, yet again, dear brother’, or, you know, general appreciation for all the crap I’ve had to put up? God, Sam, we could have had a moment here, and you completely ruined it!”
“Jerk,” Sam replies, his smile only wider.
“Damn straight, bitch.”