Sam’s been sleeping more heavily than he has in years at Pastor Jim’s, and it’s not the sound of Dean’s voice or his father’s footsteps that wakes him. Jim bullied him into taking a nap on the huge, L-shaped couch earlier, scolding him without mercy, words filled with not so gentle reminders about the fact that sleep is healing and restorative and that with the work they’ve been doing, Sam needs both. What wakes him is a feeling of an extra presence in the room, and the aroma of tobacco, gun oil, and bay rum that follows his father around. He takes a deep breath in, knows that John’s close, can’t tell where Dean is, because now that he’s becoming aware, because John’s presence is overwhelming him, and it’s having the odd effect of being relaxing, as well. Enjoying the feeling of ease and lack of headache for once, he doesn’t open his eyes, he’s afraid everything will change if he does. He breathes in and out, the clean scent of his father embracing him, and he realizes that the scent is free of blood and antiseptic – the hunt must have gone well.
Jim’s footsteps pace in, patient and tired, and the sharp odor of coffee permeates the room. He hears two mugs hit the coffee table, and then John’s voice rumbles next to him.
“You playing possum for a reason, Sammy-boy?” There’s no censure in his father’s tone, just quiet amusement. Sam remembers how he used to play at being asleep when he was little, obediently waiting for Dad to wake up and give him and Dean permission to get out of bed and play. He snorts.
“No headache,” he says simply, and wonders why he said it, because it’s a reply that Dean, not Dad, would understand.
“Sun’s down, Samuel, and the lights are low,” comes Jim’s voice, and Sam nods, though he still shades his eyes before he opens them. Dad’s scruffy and unshaven, and there’s a smile hiding behind the four days growth. Sam’s feeling open and vulnerable, though he’s trying to hide it. “Samuel.” Jim’s voice is chastising, and Sam knows exactly why. They’ve talked about how Sam hides how he feels, what he thinks, how it leaves him open to danger – not just the danger of the high emotions that give the demon an opening to look inside, but the danger of how those emotions distract him from tasks at hand. He blushes, and sits up. John put the extra mug of coffee in his hand.
“John, he’s to take it easy this evening.”
His father nods, and Sam can tell that John’s assessing him, probably noting that he’s pale, the dark circles under his eyes.
“Dean?” Sam asks, deciding to get rid of the most worrisome thing first.
“Upstairs and in bed, if he knows what’s good for them.”
Sam looks startled. “How long have you been here?”
“A couple of hours, Sam.” Sam blushes, and John reaches over, lays a hand on the broad shoulder that just shrank in a little bit. “No need to be embarrassed, Jim’s told me how hard you’ve been working.”
“Is he hurt?”
“Just banged up a little, damned bogle left a deadfall, your brother didn’t manage to catch it in his sweep.” Sam winces. “He’ll be out on the course tomorrow afternoon.”
“Me too?” The question is soft, a little ashamed, and John knows worry when he smells it.
“Nah. Maybe you should be trying to work out a little, go for a walk with me in the morning.”
Sam nods, sipping at the coffee, letting the scent relax him, wake his mind up a little. It’s quickly followed by a grimace – it’s practically water, and Jim grins.
“Decaf, Sam. After the day we had, I think I’m just going to feed you some supper and send you to bed with your brother.”
The boy stretches, contemplating. He is pretty tuckered out, and he’s been missing Dean something fierce. He’s spent all of his life sharing a room or even a bed with his brother, and sleeping alone in “their” bedroom has taken a toll on him. Finally he just nods, it’s safer that way. Nodding over supper, he’s suffused with gladness, that he didn’t object, and John surprises him, following him upstairs. They both smile at the sight of Dean sprawled on his stomach, snoring softly, and John shoos his youngest under the covers as well. They’ve always shared a bed here, though there were a few times before Sam gained control of arms and legs that grew too fast for his sense of self to keep up with that Dean refused, and he wound up stuck – his mind amends it, these days, to something politer – with his Dad.
As John takes a seat on the bed beside him, Sam’s glad for it. He’s going to fall asleep pretty quick, but with the stillness of the warm air in the room, scented with Dean’s shampoo and toothpaste the addition of his father’s presence is only going to relax him faster, and he drifts off in a dream, mouth curving into a smile as he lets his father’s distinctive woodsy aroma overwhelm him again.