Sick of the winter cold, the brothers Winchester made their way to sunny California. Granted, the area they ended up in wasn't palm trees and Sandy beaches, but it sure beat the Maine winter storm they left last week!
In a moment of downtime Dean was going over weapons maintenance, while his younger brother finished his job in five minutes, (Due to the constant upkeep he spent on his one weapon) Dean was going to spend the next few hours meticulously cleaning and replacing his arsenal. Holy water needed to be blessed, silver items needed to be polished, and those wooden stakes won't going to carve themselves!
Sam had taken off on his own about three hours ago, but Dean wasn't worried.
It takes the four hour mark for the older Winchester to get worried these days.
It used to be two.
He's getting better at giving his four inch brother the trust and freedom he deserves.
Sam exits the floor vent at the three and a quarter hour mark. Pulling himself up his grappling line and talking loudly, meaning Dean can hear him from about several feet away. Not that he could tell what his brother was actually saying at that distance.
That is clue number one that some something is wrong.
Sam is usually quiet while traveling unless he needs someone's attention.
But Dean doesn't hear his brother call for him, so he continues on with polishing the sterling silverware in his hands and keeps an ear on his brother. The silver polishing is usually done when Sam isn't nearby, he claimed the scent of the polishing agent was too strong.
Sam keeps on chattering as he makes his way across the room, not keeping as close to the walls as he usually does.
That's clue number two.
Dean shifts his head and slows his hands in favor of watching his brother out of the corner of his eye. Sam walks to the bed that Dean is sitting on and walks under. Dean keeps his socked feet firmly planted and didn't plan on moving them until he sees his brother. He finishes the fork and places it with the other utensils that needed to be rinsed off.
It takes a minute or so for Sam to make an appearance by Dean's covered feet. Sam stops by the feet and stares at the socks. Dean stops what he's doing to watch his brother, concerned.
Sam finally tilts his head all the way back to meet Dean's concerned gaze far above.
“Since when do you have blue socks? I thought all your socks were white!”
The older Winchester had not been expecting that.
“Uh, I picked them up a few weeks ago. I was running low on socks without holes.”
Then Sam climbs up into his brother's foot and lies down on it! Dean just stared, unsure of what to do.
“I like ‘em.” the smaller brother proclaims. Moving around to get comfortable, as if the foot he was reclining on was a couch
Dean bends over at the waist to see his brother better.
“What's up with you?” he asks.
“What's up with you!?” Sam shoots back, leaning back on the foot so he can look straight up at Dean's face without straining his neck.
“Since when are my feet considered a place to relax? I know there are kinks out there but you've never shown any interest before.” Dean jokes as he muses out loud.
Sam ignores him and roots around in his bag, pulling out something and started to eat whatever was in his hands!
Dean has had enough of this at this point. He breathes out a sigh through his nose and reaches down for his brother.
“Noo! MY couch!” He dodges the fingers as best as he can but shifts too far and ends up rolling off the foot and eating carpet. Fingers gently circle the smaller man and lift him off the questionably clean carpet. Dean opens his hand his danger meter spikes when Sam rolls bonelessly into his palm and doesn't move from the face down position he landed in.
“Sammy!?” Dean quickly prods his brother gently to find out what's wrong. He didn't pick up Sam any harder or tighter than usual….right? For a moment Dean is nearly crushed at what he did to his brother, but that's wiped away quickly when he hears a small giggle.
“Stop tickling me, I'm okay.”
Dean doubts that.
“Oh hey! My peanut!” The peanut quarter Sam had been munching on before had left his grasp and landed in the hand when he did. He pulled himself over the palm using his arms and went back to eating it, swinging his legs in the air without a care in the world. He looks like a kid enjoying a snack on his bed.
It takes give five seconds of Dean closely watching his brother for Sam to look up, craning his neck back as far as it'll go.
“What's with all the staring today?” Dean's eyes narrowed in suspicion.
“Are you high Sammy?”
“ I guess. You’re holding me pretty high up.” Dean blinks twice, confusion quickly followed by understanding.
“I mean high, like drugs.” Sam rolls onto his back and asks Dean with eyes big and curious. (He was close enough for his big brother to actually see his eyes.)
“What's that mean?”
It was in that moment that Dean Winchester realized that his brother had no idea:
1: He was high as balls.
2: What being high even means.
3: What weed is.
Sam was only a kid when they were separated, even then it wasn't until two years later being talked to by a classmate about weed and shrooms that Dean learned about recreational drugs. Stoners tend to be friendly people so Dean hung out with them a few times, and on this coast stoners were not hard to find.
“Sam, did you smell any weird smoke?” the small man rolled into his back and sat up.
“ Yeah, it didn't smell like wood burning, or a cigarette, smelled kinda funky so I followed the smell through the vents, there were like 4 twenty-somethings in the room and they talked about making a hot box?” At this Sam scrunches his face in confusion and gives a large shrug.
“They covered the vents with saran wrap but missed the one I was at, under the dresser. Then they took out this big glass thing from a bag, an put something in it an lit it, an did stuff with the smoke. Breathed it and made it do tricks. I felt funny and a little dizzy so I came back here. Didn't look like witchcraft.”
“What did the thing look like?” Sam squints as he remembers.
“S’a big glass pipe that was round and then flat at the bottom with a little pipe sticking out at the bottom.” A bong. Just as he suspected, Sam was kite-high. It took longer to get that high off of secondhand smoke, but with Sam being so small and getting the full effect of an improv hotbox in the face, it's not surprising.
“Sammy, you're high. That was weed. Marijuana. You remember anything about that?” Sam sits up and bends forward over his crossed legs.
“Stoners?” The small word drifts up as a question.
“You remember them?”
“Kinda? Those kids that had red eyes and smelled bad.”
“Well they smoked weed, most of them anyway. Some of them did worse drugs like cocaine or -Anyway, they smoked weed, marijuana. A plant that um, makes you relaxed. It takes the edge of of a bad time and more open to talking. Most times it makes people feel better about life .”
Well that didn't work. Bobby had given him the don't-do-drugs talk at 14 that was pretty lax and more of a don't-try-coke-or-meth talk, and explained the harmful effects of several recreational drugs.
John gave him a shorter version and told his son that if he ever found any sort of addictive drug around that he would drag his only remaining child and drop him off at the nearest police station with the drugs. But even John didn't have a problem with weed or the occasional cigarette when Dean wasn't on a hunt.
Dean was surprised when he realized that he hadn't smoked anything since he found his brother over a year ago.
“When the plant is inhaled it will make people feel loose and relaxed. Do you feel loose?” He remembered Carl, a decent stoner in a nowhersville high school who didn't mind sharing from his stash in exchange for munchies or talk about guns and the politics behind them. His home life wasn't so great and he always mentioned that the weed made him feel loose. “Like all my worries roll off’a me.”
“I do feel loose!” Sam tests his elbows and flaps his arms.
“Gonna fly?” his eyes squinting with good humor.
“Maybe.” Sam’s eyes drift away into a new train of thought as his arms drop.
“Never felt like this before. M’always so, so alert. I gotta be. M’small. But this stuff!” Sam leans back and falls, knowing that he couldn't get hurt on the plush skin beneath.
“ M’ so relaxed.” he takes in a deep breath and let it all out, relaxing his entire body and closing his eyes. For a full minute Sam keeps his eyes closed.
Dean thinks his brother has fallen asleep and is thinking of putting him under the nightstand on his own bed when his eyes open up again.
“Have you felt like this?”
“I've been stoned a few times. But I don't think as much as you are now.”
Sam takes a few moments and seems to think about that.
“Why do I really really want French fries? Like I really need some. I don't think I've ever needed them before, but I do now.”
“Really.” Dean asks in a mostly flat voice, more amused than concerned at this point.
“YES! Warm, crunchy French fries are what I need. Go order some.” Holding in laughter from this odd experience of his little brother bossing him around, Dean decides to roll with it. Even with the close to two years they've spent together, Sam still has a hard time letting Dean know what he wants food-wise. But stoned Sam was bossy and Dean took no issue with it.
“Warm, crunchy French fries, what else? Pizza? Burgers?”
Sam squinted, thinking hard about the choices given to him.
“Okay.” It takes a moment for quieter question to be heard.
“Chili dog?” Sam was losing his confidence in his food choices and sounded like he was questioning his own opinion.
“A chili dog sounds great, but I'll only get it if you don't mind sharing with me.”
“You always eat the rest of my food!” He accused with a tiny finger pointed at the nearby face.
“Only because you never finish.” He teased. He gets a bitchface for that. He gently shifts the hand holding his brother to his lap, and with the other he calls the front desk for a recommendation for any nearby restaurants that deliver with chili dogs. The man at the desk calls for him and transfers the call. Soon 2 chili dogs and fries are ordered and on their way.
Sam is… well, he’s relaxed. Dean’s never seen his brother so nonchalant about being held. Sam is always some kind of tense and alert when he’s being held unless he's asleep. But now he’s practically a lax puddle doing little more than wiggling his fingers in front of face and letting out a giggle every now and then.
“Less than an hour until food time.” Sam doesn't acknowledge his words, choosing instead to cover his face with both hands.
He turns his covered face to Dean.
“Make it dark.” He demands from behind his hands.
“You want me to turn off the lights?” He replies, confused. Dean lifts his hand from his lap to bring his brother closer.
“No!” Sam takes one hand off his face and waves it around.
“Gimmie your hand! Make it dark!”
Understanding only a little, Dean cups his hand and drapes it over his brothers head, covering half his body in shadow.
“No!” Sam yells. “The other hand! Make it dark all the way!”
Dean gets it now. He gingerly cups one hand over the other, encasing his brother in darkness. He's not entirely comfortable by the request, as this was the way he's trapped too many little people in the past, but his curiosity at what Sam is doing exceeds the discomfort.
For a while Sam doesn't seem to do much, Dean can't feel any movement going on between his hands, nor does he hear anything.
Until a little, muffled voice finally announced: “I'm ready for light again.” One hand is lifted and Sam squints in the light and looks around.
“Where's the food?” he wonders. Dean can't help but laugh at that.
Sam, still squinting sits up. “I wanna go to my room. Put me down.”
Dean sobers quickly, and makes an executive decision.
“Okay Sammy, here's what's happenin, not that I don't trust you, but your judgement isn't at one hundred percent. You're staying close to me until you sleep it off.”
“What?!” Sam blurts out. “That isn't fair Dean!”
“It isn't.” He agrees and gets up and walks over to the table, holding his brother very carefully. “But it's what's safest at the moment. You'll be back to normal in the morning and do what you want to do then.”
He sits down and extends his hand to the table. The dirty glare Sam gives him is bigger than one would expect. But Sam steps off and turns his back on his brother, and plops down on the table to sit with a posture that suggested that the world was against him.
Dean took the quiet tantrum in stride and tries to make amends. He tries not to think about the fact that he was kind of trapping Sam on the table.
“How about a movie while we wait for food? Indiana Jones? Star wars?” Sams small back stayed in the same ‘woe is me’ position. “Or Harry Potter?”
That one got a reaction. Sam sat up for a 2 short moments, but sunk back down, reminding himself that he was still angry at his brother.
Dean found a pirated copy of the Prisoner of Azkaban and tried to extend the olive branch once again. “We finished the chamber of secrets and never got to the next one. I have it ready to play here.”
If anything, Sam looked like he had hunched down further, resolute to stay miserable.
Dean starts the movie anyway. Sam’s addled state of mind isn't stubborn enough to ignore the movie longer than half of the now mostly familiar introduction song.
He is however mad enough that he doesn't go for his usual movie watching perch on Dean’s folded arm, but takes a seat on the computer instead.
It takes until an invisible Harry sneaked into the nearby town of Hogsmeade for the food to arrive. Sam jumps to his feet at the knocks at the door and bends into a fighting stance. Dean gently but quickly picks up his brother and places him on the bed farthest from the door, between the two pillows at the head of the bed.
Dean held a finger to his lips. Sam mimics the motion from his supine position.
Dealing with the delivery guy is easy, and he smiles at the 5 buck tip. They might order from this place again so there's no harm in being nice.
The bag is place on the table, letting the smell of chili and fried potatoes mask the usual questionable motel room smell of other people and dirty carpet.
His stomach grumbles as he makes his way over to the bed to get Sam for dinner.
It's not like he expected his brother to suddenly break into a song and dance on the table when the food and money were exchanged, but his danger meter was on yellow-orange when he heard the door knock so rather risk a possibly wiggly Sam in a pocket, it seemed like the best and fastest option.
The good news was that Sam hadn't moved from where Dean placed him. The bad news was that he was still grumpy from Dean's executive decision, and was still high. So when Dean placed his hand in front of Sam to get them to the table, all the smaller Winchester did was pull himself into a sitting position and turn his back on Dean.
“You don't want dinner?” One little shoulder went up and down in an angry shrug. It's been a long time since Dean had seen his brother in such a miffed state.
He has to hold back a smile, it wouldn't be nice to smile at his angry brother no matter how cute he looked in a grumpy state.
“What about those crispy, hot french fries you demanded? They won't stay crispy and hot forever.”
“I'm not going.” Dean leans back, surprised. “Why not?”
“Because I DO have control over what happens to me and I’m going to stay right here!” he yelled.
Sam was obviously still upset at Dean's previous decision.
“Oh-okay. Alright.” Dean pulls his hand back and takes a seat.
“If you want, I can bring the food and the laptop here.” Again, one shoulder goes up-down, but this time Dean catches the sight of his brother lifting his head to smell the wafting scent of dinner from the table.
The older Winchester feels a pang of guilt, it is technically his fault that Sam is grumpy, so he does his best to fix that.
Dean cuts an eighth off one of the chili dogs and cuts that in half, placing it in one of the extra fast food paper boats, he also adds a few French fries, and the contents of one ketchup packet. It's not gourmet, but it'll do for now.
“Food and magic kids, coming in hot!” he announces, Sams food in one hand and laptop in the other.
Sam moved from between the pillows further down the bed to see what Dean was doing, but scrambled back to the more enclosed space when the bigger brother turned back around.
Dean gently places the paper boat near the pillows and the laptop two feet away from the pillows, further down the bed.
After giving the older hunter one more bitchface, Sam beelines to the food and snags a French fry half as long as he is.
“I'll leave you alone, if you want.” Dean tentatively offers. Sam takes a bite and thinks it over before giving a real “I don't care” shrug and goes back to his food.
Dean tries to give him some space, so he takes a seat on the floor between the beds, leaning on the opposite bed. The laptop he props at an angle that both Sam and him can see the movie comfortably.
Sam is really having a good time with the French fry, Dean hears happy mumbling in between bites.
“I know it seems like you can eat twice your bodyweight right now, but go easy on the food, it's no fun to throw up when you're stoned.” Sam seems to consider that and slows down.
They eat leisurely, enjoying the movie.and the food. Once Sam is done with his food he places the rest of it back in the paper boat and takes a seat closer to the edge of the bed.
Being in his line of sight between Dean and the laptop, Dean can easily tell when Sam looks back at him. Dean waits for the third check over his shoulder in a few short minutes to make a comment.
“Somethin on my face?” He asks, wiping a hand around his mouth.
“No, umh.” Sam ducks his head.
“Y’know, how I can feel people?” He asks, gesturing to his neck.
“Yeah.” Dean nods. “So?”
“With you I barely feel anything. Usually. But now it's, up and down. On and off.” He frowns. “S’weird.”
“Oh kay.” Dean slowly answers.
“Is there anything I can do to help fix that?”
The smaller Winchester scrunches his face in displeasure and looks down. And then he does something Dean thought he'd never see. Sam lifted his arms in the motion that small children do when they want to be picked up.
A small “Please?” was barely heard but fully understood.
“Uh, sure! Hang on.” Dean surreptitiously wipes his hands against his pants. He's not a sloppy eater but he was just eating greasy food.
He gently cupped his left (and cleaner) hand around his smaller brother and tilted said hand so that Sam was lying in the center.
He arranges himself on the bed with Sam in his hand as lies down. Once he is laying down he places the hand with his brother on his chest. Giving Sam the option to get off if he wants.
Sam lets out a large sigh and follows Dean's example in laying down to watch the movie.
His breathing slows down to the point where Dean thinks he might be sleeping. But he wakes up when Sirius makes his escape with buckbeak.
“I'm still mad at you.” Dean hears from his hand. There's a good chance that Sam is coming down from his stoned mentality.
“It still isn't fair.”
“It's not, but it's the safest.”
“Can I get some water?”
“Good idea. Mind if I put you down?”
“Naaaaaaahhh.” Or maybe Sam was still just a bit high.
Sam was fighting sleep when Dean came back with a half full bottle cap. The younger hunter needed to be propped up to drink, resulting in grumbles but he did gulp down the water a little too fast.
“Need anything else?” Dean asked cautiously, but Sam was so out of it that he just snuggled back into the warm hand behind him.
Dean removed his hand from behind his brother, resulting in grumbles from the smaller man. He shucked off his pants and put the laptop back on the table and went to the bathroom. When he came out he made one final check that salt lines were undisturbed and that everything was in its place before turning off the light.
In a move that was practiced by now, Dean picked up his practically sleeping brother, got himself comfy under the blanket, and gently slipped Sam into his pocket.
Sam readily accepted his warm bed for the night with a happy sigh. Even his stoned brain knew he was safe here, loved and surrounded by his mountain of a brother.
Dean is slowing his breathing and getting ready to follow Sam into sleep when he hears nearby: “G’night jerk.”
He can't help but smile.
Knowing each other was safe and as close as possible, they drifted off to sleep