Characters: Sam Winchester, Hannah
Word count: 1,546
Summary: "I'm going to go get my brother some cholesterol. And then I'm going to go get drunk."
After the events of "Soul Survivor," Sam finds himself trying to process Dean's words and actions alone in his room with a bottle of whiskey.
Spoilers: Through the end of 10.03
Warnings: Suicidal thoughts, pre-existing injuries, alcohol use, spoilers through 10.03.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and make no money from this work of fan fiction. Also note that these are Sam's thoughts, not necessarily what Dean is thinking or feeling at this point.
Sam knew, on some level, that he should have been happy. It had worked – Dean was cured, human again until he died but the Blade was gone so maybe things wouldn’t be as bad this time around. Maybe. He should be celebrating. He was celebrating. He had a bottle of whiskey right here in the little room that they called his. People drank in celebration right?
Not Winchesters, his brain helpfully reminded him. Not you. Of course, it would help if you had a basis for comparison. What’s the last thing you really had to celebrate? Had it been Dean’s last resurrection – when he’d come back from Purgatory? He’d been glad to see him, thrilled, but the celebratory part hadn’t lasted long in the face of Dean’s fury over how Sam had conducted himself in Dean’s absence. Maybe Dean’s previous resurrection, when he’d come back from Hell? That at least had been unalloyed joy, even if they hadn’t had the time to go out and really show Dean a good time. They never had the time for celebration; Winchesters never made the time for that sort of thing.
Of course, this wasn’t a celebration. This was something else – this was numbing. He hadn’t had time for injuries before but right now his shoulder throbbed in ways there weren’t even words to describe, not in English. Enochian had a few to offer though – funny how God’s favored had so many different words for pain. His hands hurt, his face hurt and his ribs – he was pretty sure that at least a few of them had cracked under Army Guy’s onslaught. There hadn’t been time to rest, to heal, to take care of those wounds before he’d had to make his escape and go fetch Dean.
He poured the whiskey into the tumbler. Why was he bothering with a glass? It wasn’t like he was sharing, it wasn’t like he was drinking in company. It wasn’t like he had anyone to drink with. Dean was firmly ensconced in his room with his pictures and his vinyl and his bright shiny weapons – Dean’s little nest, safe and cozy for him once again. Home, like he’d never left it. He had enough cholesterol-laden crap stockpiled in there – thanks to Sam – to last him for a month. He hadn’t even said much when Sam had delivered it, just kind of grunted at gestured toward the desk.
And Sam had left it there, like the good little servant he’d become.
He swirled the whiskey around in the glass. Maybe the bunker wasn’t the greatest place for this. Maybe he should have gone out, gotten a motel room near a dive bar somewhere and gotten plastered. Away from Dean, away from Castiel and his demands that Sam jump right into another mission without even taking the time to change his shoes, away from these walls that still pressed in on him.
Away from all of these implements of destruction, of self-destruction.
It wasn’t like he really had a job anymore. He’d gotten Dean’s humanity back. Heaven was under control or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Hell – who cared? Hell wasn’t a Winchester problem as long as no one was trying to sucker him into running it again. Crowley had learned his lesson. There wasn’t anything to fight except himself.
And Sam – Sam needed to be fought. Maybe Dean wouldn’t have said those things if he hadn’t been a demon, if his inhibitions hadn’t been removed, but they didn’t exist in a vacuum. It wasn’t like they were news to Sam, exactly.
“You know me. You know why. I won’t leave my brother alone out there.”
He’d said those words to – well, to himself, really, the version of himself that had remembered the Cage after Castiel tore down the fragile wall that Death put up. Ah, but he’d been younger then, younger and innocent and naïve. Turns out everyone would have been better off if he’d just stayed locked in his head and let his body wither away and die, because he’d been sucking the life out of Dean’s life since the day he’d been born and the best thing he could have done was to make an early exit.
He put the glass down without putting it to his lips. He couldn’t take responsibility for killing their mother – he’d done everything he could do to prevent his own birth, Michael had erased his warnings from Mary’s mind. But he’d done what he could, and his conscience could be clear on that. Mary had made her choice with Azazel. He couldn’t escape the fact that it had been Sam’s existence – voluntary or not – that had caused all of the suffering of Dean’s childhood, all of the misery.
“You never had a brother,” Dean had snarled at him. “You just had an excuse for never manning up.”
Sam couldn’t bring himself to agree with the demon there. He’d never shied away from doing what had to be done, whether it was turning himself into a living weapon against Lilith or throwing himself into a Cage with two angry archangels. Was he referring to Sam’s reluctance to throw himself into a life of misery to “avenge” someone who was beyond knowing or caring about their sacrifice? That wasn’t something that needed to be done, not for Mary. That was something that John needed.
Or was he referring to something else? Did “manning up” refer to removing himself from Dean’s life, so that Dean didn’t need to “pull you from the fire” anymore? He’d tried – God knew he’d tried. He’d thrown himself bodily into Hell for crying out loud, eliciting promises from everyone involved not to try to get him out. He couldn’t be held responsible for someone breaking that promise, it wasn’t like Cas liked him in the first place and he could not have planned for the angel to go back on his promise. And then with the Trials, he couldn’t have anticipated that Dean would suddenly decide that closing Hell wasn’t worth a sacrifice, that Dean somehow didn’t know.
But here he was. Still here, and now that he didn’t have a job or something to fight he was pretty much useless. Still a millstone around Dean’s neck.
He pulled his gun from its holster at the small of his back and put it onto the desk. They were never going to talk this out, and Sam was pretty sure he didn’t want them to. What was to really say? Dean would give that tight little smile and say, “Oh that wasn’t me, that was the demon.” Like he hadn’t held everything Sam had done while soulless over his head for years. And it wasn’t like Sam could exactly refute anything Dean had said while a demon. It wasn’t anything he hadn’t known or suspected Dean felt before, or hadn’t known or suspected to be true even if Dean didn’t know it. So what were they going to do, sit at the tables in the library and grunt in a manly fashion and pretend everything was okay?
He glanced at his still-full tumbler. He glanced at the gun.
Dean didn’t want him here. Sam didn’t want to be here. He could just leave. He could steal a bike and go somewhere far away. Dean might hunt him down, driven by the same programming that led him to keep Sam breathing even though Dean clearly preferred to be an only child. Then again, now that Dean’s real thoughts and feelings were out in the open maybe he wouldn’t. And Sam could always prevent himself from ever finding out by getting on a plane and going someplace Dean’s phobia would never let him follow.
Or he could find a more permanent solution.
Someone knocked on the door. Sam turned stiffly in his seat. “Come in,” he called, hand on the gun.
Hannah entered. “I… Castiel asked me to tell you that your brother wants more pie.” She glanced around the cell-like space. “Is this your private room?”
“Yeah. It is. I brought three pies over.”
“He ate them. He wants more.”
Sam sighed. “Look. I…” He dug into his pocket and tossed her the keys to the Impala. “It’s his car. He can drive himself to the bakery, he knows where it is.”
“I think Castiel would prefer that Dean not exert himself right now.” Angels didn’t usually give a lot of emotion away in their facial expressions but Sam had grown up around poker games. He saw the way her eyes tightened and her lips folded.
“Huh. I’d point out to Cas that I spent the day before I caught Dean getting tortured. Still haven’t slept. Haven’t eaten. Still have a broken shoulder, too. Or at least I’d point that out if he were, you know, here.” He forced half a grin and found himself getting one in return. “I guess you could tell him that I’m not safe to drive.”
She considered. “You haven’t touched your glass.”
He shrugged with his one good shoulder. It still hurt. “Doesn’t mean I’m safe to drive.”
She relaxed slightly. “I will give him the message.” She paused, eyes lingering on the items on the desk. “And then I will come back.”
He stared after her as she left.