Sam wakes up when he hears Dean talking quietly over in the kitchen of Becky’s cabin. He groans internally, when he remembers he’s back in the bed that he’d been tied up in. There’s so much wrong with that he can’t even start thinking about his confused memories of that long day.
“No, there really isn’t anything you can do to help Bobby. Yeah, I know. I will. You too. Talk to you later.”
Sam sits up, rubbing at his face, trying to come all the way awake, “That Bobby?”
Dean turns around and sees Sam is up, picks up a glass of water and comes to sit next to Sam on the way too squishy bed, “Shit, sorry I woke you, thought I was bein’ quiet enough. How you feelin’now?”
Rolling his head from shoulder to shoulder, Sam groans out, “Like chipped beef on toast that got left out under the heat lamp all night. You?”
“Oh I’m peachy. Bobby says to say “hi” so “hi”.” Dean hands him the glass of water and several ibuprofen pills.
Sam drains the whole glass, along with the pills, “Thanks. God that love potion stuff really dried me out, can’t believe how thirsty I still am. So what are we doing today? Time to leave or is Becky okay with us staying here a little longer?”
“Dude, she owes us. Well she owes you. She’s not gonna say boo about us staying here for a while.”
“You think it’s safe? She’s not going to go wacko on me again?”
“Naw, I think after getting a taste of a real hunt, she’ll stay away. I never thought someone’s eyes could go quite that wide. Guess it wasn’t quite like she’d read about it in Chuck’s books about us.”
Sam’s stomach grumbles loudly.
Dean laughs, patting Sam’s stomach, “Guess you’ll be wanting some breakfast. How’s waffles sound?”
Sam lays back down and turns on his side to face his brother, “Why? Did you see a waffle place in this town?”
“Naw man, I’m using that waffle maker I bought you guys. Becky put it in the car before we left, said she didn’t feel right keeping it, something about ‘given under false pretenses’.
“What? You’re kidding me? You even know how to use that thing?”
“While you were sleeping Princess Doubter, I looked up the recipe and directions online. “
“And once again I’m so very thankful for the invention of Google.”
Dean pats Sam’s stomach again, this time harder, almost a slap, gets up and starts to walk towards the kitchen.
Sam whispers just barely loud enough for Dean to hear, “That’s what she hit me with, knocked me right out. No he doesn’t know. I’m not tellin’ him no way, he doesn’t need to know that.”
Dean picks up the waffle iron and walks back to Sam, sitting on the bed, the soft bed bending under his weight so his thigh is pressed against Sam’s, heavy waffle iron in his lap, “She really used this thing to knock you out?”
Sam touches the waffle iron experimentally, as if he’s worried it’s still dangerous, “Yeah, pretty ironic huh? The gift you gave us for our wedding. God, that makes my skin crawl even to say “us”. Swear I’m gonna have nightmares about this forever.”
“Know what you mean. Just the idea of that bitch doing anything to you Sammy, I just can’t even make myself think about it.”
“Nothing happened, she tied me up, took my pants off, but that’s about it that I remember. I don’t know for sure if she even kissed me or not. I’m sorry Dean.”
“What in the hell could you possibly be sorry about?”
“For insisting on hiking during Vegas Week. Shoulda stuck with you like we usually do. Wouldn’t have happened if I’d done that.”
Dean shakes his head, rejecting Sam’s apology, “Man, don’t do that.”
“It’s not your fault Sam. C’mon, you know that.”
“I’m just sorry you had to, you know see all that.”
“Me, getting married, leaving you, hunting with her. It’s all like a big nightmare in my head, which still hurts from where she hit me by the way.”
I’ll give you that it was a nightmare, the whole thing was! I knew it wasn’t you doin’ all that stuff, ’m just glad I got you back Sam and that you’re okay. Except for your head hurting.”
“But god Dean, all those things I said to you. How do I say I’m sorry for all that”
“Just stop it already, it’s really okay Sammy, it wasn’t you, it was just the potion talking.”
“No, not just that Dean, I mean what I said when we were saying goodbye to Garth. I know it didn’t come out like what I was trying to say. I wasn’t saying I don’t need you. Or don’t want you around taking care of me anymore. Because of course I do, I’ll always need you. I was trying to say I want you to take care of yourself too, not just me.”
“Uh, you’re right, I definitely did not hear that the way you meant it. So, uh thanks for clearing that up, I was starting to wonder what to do next. And hey, I do take care of myself.”
“What to do next? And no you don’t take care of yourself enough and you know it.”
“I was pretty sure I heard you say you didn’t need me around anymore, so I was trying to think of where you’d want me to drop you off, if you’d want me to take you to Rufus’ cabin or somewhere else. And screw you, I do what I need to take care of myself, been doin’ it my whole life.”
Sam slumps back onto the bed without a word, turning his back to Dean, drawing himself up into a tight balled-up painful looking shape, staring at the unfortunate floral striped wallpaper. He’s trying so hard not to see Lucifer flickering into view in the corner, perching on the edge of the bedside table.
Sam hears Lucifer say, “ You knew he heard you right the first time Sam. Of course he wants to take the easy out you gave him. Why would you think he’d want to stay with you when you’re this crazy. You’ve left him so many times, you finally were giving him a chance to leave you. It was a good gift, he was going to finally be free of getting sucked into your drama. And now you’re taking it back, what’d he used to call you? Indian-giver right?
Sam whispers to himself: “No, stop it, stop saying that. Not what I meant. He knows. He knows me. He knows why.”
Dean’s skin crawls, knowing that Sam’s conversing with his hallucination of Lucifer, he puts one hand on Sam’s shoulder, squeezing gently, asking the question even though he might not want to hear the answer,
“What do I know Sam?”
Sam pulls himself further into a ball, trying to disappear into himself so he’ll stop hurting Dean like this, letting him see how bad off he really is, how much worse and messed up he is after what Becky did to him. He knows Dean won’t leave him, not like this. But he’s not sure anymore if it’s right to make him feel like he has to stay. It just doesn’t seem fair. He concentrates on the feeling of connection from having Dean’s hand on his shoulder, grounding him in the here and now, struggling to hold onto that so he can try and make it clearer to Dean.
“You know why I’m here right?”
“You’re here because I hauled your ass back here after you passed out in the car. Right after you signed the papers at Becky’s and we said goodbye to Garth.”
“No, I know that. No I mean, why I’m here, with you, even though I’m so messed up.”
Dean thinks about it for a second, since it’s something he’s wondered about himself, but answers with the only thing that makes sense to him, “Because you’re my brother, that’s why.”
Sam smiles, relieved and grateful that Dean gets it, of course he gets it. “Yeah, that’s what I told myself, in my head, when the Wall came down, that I wasn’t going to leave you alone out here. And so here I am and I tried. But now I’m not sure it was the right choice anymore Dean. I’m getting worse not better, and this thing with Becky really screwed me up and I know it’s hard for you to see me like this. I’m sorry, I’m sorry for all of it.”
"Stop with the sorries already. I know Sam, I know it’s bad for you right now. Kinda hard to miss. But I’m sticking with you, you know that right? Not going anywhere, you’re not getting rid of me that easy you know?”
“But Dean, promise me if I get too bad, you’ll put me in a home or something, so you can have a chance to have a life somewhere. It’s not fair that you’ll be stuck with me.”
“Naw, not making that promise, can’t do it. You can’t ask that of me Sammy. C’mon what kinda life would that be? Not worth the effort without you around buggin’ my ass all the time.”
“What? You going to spoon-feed me, change my diapers and everything? Cause that’s where I’m headed, like it or not.”
Dean fixes him with his hard-eyed, big-brother-knows-all look and says firmly, “Sam, you know I did all that before, I’ll do it again.”
And Sam takes in a breath and holds it, stunned by the relief that floods his whole body, warming him with a palpable unexpected tingle. This man, who has been there for him his whole damn life, this man who has sold his soul for him, given up the rewards of Heaven, made a deal with Death himself to retrieve his soul. This man, his brother, is once again going to sacrifice his chance at happiness, however small that might be, to stick with him, give him what he needs until the end.
Sam turns to the corner and looks at Lucifer, who looks as stunned as Sam feels.
Sam whispers to Lucifer, “Did ya hear that? You’re not getting me that easy. Dean won’t give up on me, not ever.”
But Lucifer of course has a reply, “Sam, I’ve got all the time in the world, I’m not going anywhere. If Dean wants to hang around until he gets the chance to spoon feed you again, well I’ll just have to chill and keep you company while the sick bastard indulges his fetish. I swear the two of you are worse than any of the souls I knew downstairs.”
Dean knows he isn’t supposed to engage the delusion, that it will just confuse Sam even more but he can’t help himself, imagining what Lucifer is telling his brother, “You bastard! You can’t have him back. He chose me, not you, so screw off! Leave him alone, he’s mine!”
Sam laughs in surprise when Lucifer winks out with an incensed wail of distress, turning back over to look up at Dean with a happy smile, “Thanks Dean, he’s gone now.”
“Sure thing Sam, whatever you need.”
Sam curls himself around Dean, putting his head in Dean’s lap, arms around his waist, and looking up into his brother’s face. Struck once again that right here is all he wants, all there is for him, he’s the reason he came back and he’s the reason he’ll stay. Sam’s giving up on getting rid of his Lucifer hallucinations, knowing now that he’ll never be right again. Never at full capacity because of constantly having to battle against getting pulled back into his mind. But he’s absolutely worth it, Dean’s worth it.
They’re looking at each other so closely now, as if nothing else in the room exists, Sam decides he needs to say it, even though it will probably piss Dean off, he takes a deep breath and says, “You’re worth it you know.”
Dean tilts his head slightly, questioning, “I’m worth what?”
Sam tightens his arms around Dean’s waist, holding him there since he knows his brother will resist hearing this, “All of this, struggling against Lucifer all the time. It’s worth it to me just to be with you when I can manage it. But I’m giving up.”
Dean interrupts suddenly, hands flying to capture the sides of Sam’s face, he doesn’t want him turning to talk to Lucifer again, holding his eyes locked with his brother’s, “No you can’t Sam, don’t, please.”
Sam rubs his hands up and down Dean’s lower back soothingly, realizing that Dean didn’t hear his whole statement, “Yeah, I can, I have to. I’m giving up on getting rid of him. It’s not worth the energy to fight him anymore. I’m accepting that I’ll never be right again. No matter how much I wanted it, it’s time we faced it Dean, this might be as good as I ever get.”
“S’ok with me. We’ll deal.” Dean leans down and kisses Sam gently, just a whisper-brush of contact that sets Sam’s lips on fire. Good fire though, not the Lucifer kind. He moans in happiness so Dean leans back for a deeper, more thorough kiss.
If this kiss could talk it would say everything Dean can’t ever say out loud, “I’m so glad you’re still here with me. I was so scared when you left with her even though I knew it couldn’t really be you doing that, I really thought for a minute you were leaving me again. And this time for good. And she had her hands on you, maybe even kissed you or worse, and you’re mine, no one else’s. Not that bitch, not Lucifer, you’re mine. You chose me Sammy.”
Sam’s surprised and glad that he can finally hear all that Dean’s not saying, he’s actually thankful to his hallucinations of Lucifer. In a strange way they’ve prepared him to be open enough to other forms of communication.
Sam whispers into Dean’s mouth, “Yeah Dean I chose you.”
Dean pulls back in surprise, searching his brother’s face, “Wait a second I didn’t say that out loud did I?”
“No, but I heard you anyways.”
“Huh, that’s new.”
“Guess since I’m hearing Lucifer all the time, I get to hear you too sometimes.”
“Only when I really need it.”
Dean leans back in to kiss Sam some more, because Sam looks like he needs a good, thorough kissing more than he needs to hear Dean’s innermost thoughts and feelings. But just in case Sam is still listening in he says in his mind, “Love you bitch.”
Sam laughs into his brother’s mouth, and oh god is there a better feeling than having Sammy laughing into his body like that? No, there really isn’t. Dean laughs too when he hears Sam whisper, “Love you too jerk.”