caranfindel (caranfindel) wrote,

Fic: 'Til the sandman he comes

'Til the sandman he comes

Length: About 1200 words

Rating: R for language

Characters: Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester

Spoilers: Season 7, takes place immediately after The Born Again Identity

Synopsis: Sam just needs to sleep, but it's not as easy as it should be.

Is this called a comment fic if it was inspired by a comment? Or is that only a fic that's posted as a comment? Anyway, this was inspired by comments from septembers_coda and anactoria in a WoL Wednesday post (except it's kind of not really what they wanted, but they're the ones who spawned this plot bunny so they get the blame). It takes place immediately after The Born-Again Identity. The title is from the Metallica song "Enter Sandman."

Sam starts to fall asleep fifteen minutes outside of crazytown. He doesn't get very far. Every time his body relaxes and starts to slump over, he wakes with a jerk and a whimper as his injured ribs remind him he left the hospital without any pain meds.

Finally Dean pulls into a parking lot. "You should lay down in the back," he says. Sam's just asleep enough to not answer, but he's not going to stay that way as long as he's sitting upright. Dean touches his shoulder. "Sam? You wanna move to the back?" Sam's eyes snap open and he flinches away from Dean's touch.


"Sam? You okay?" Sam's looking at Dean, kind of wary and appraising, and crap, Dean knows that look. He knows exactly what Sam is trying to figure out.

"Are you still seeing him?"

"No, no," Sam says quickly. A little too quickly. "It's just you."

"It is just me, Sam. No one else. Not a hallucination. Just me."

"I know," says Sam. "It's just... it's hard, you know?" He runs a tired hand down a scruffy face. "Hard to trust what I'm seeing. I mean, in the past couple of days I saw my doctor turn into Lucifer. I saw a demon nurse. I ate maggots and I killed a ghost and I saw Lucifer turn into Cas and I just have a hard time knowing what's real right now, you know?"

"Wait a minute," says Dean. "You ate maggots? You killed a ghost?"

Sam sighs his you're getting distracted by something shiny, Dean sigh. "I assume the maggots were a hallucination." (Dean accepts that assumption. Otherwise, he'd have to turn back and go burn the fucking place down just on principle.) "But the ghost; that feels different. There was a girl there who had a bracelet with her brother's blood on it, and he was haunting her, and I killed it. I mean, I had glass in my hair, from the lights breaking, so it's gotta be real, right? But how could that have really happened?"

Something clicks into place for Dean. "You know, that one could be real. The doc said he'd like to keep you under observation for another day or two, except there were inappropriate behaviors and safety issues and other patients involved and he felt like a different environment would be better for you," he says, making air quotes when needed, because, come on. Doctor speak. "I thought he meant you were getting laid, but I guess you were hunting."

"You thought I was getting laid? In a mental hospital?"

No, not really. All he really thought at the time was thank God you're not putting up a fight, because I'm getting my brother the fuck out of your hospital, even if I have to shoot you and everyone else between me and the door.

"Doesn't matter. The point is, I'm me, I'm real, you haven't slept in a week, and you should move to the back seat."

Sam bites his lip, still looking at Dean like he's not quite sure what he is. Christ. He looks like hell, he's lost weight, he's injured, he hasn't slept, and he won't let Dean take care of him, and this is just a little too much. "Dammit, Sam!" he almost shouts, and Sam jumps and flicks those bruised eyes at him before quickly looking away and fuck, this is just not going very well.

"Look," Dean says patiently, "If you were going to hallucinate a version of me, wouldn't you make him a nice one? Not someone who's gonna yell at you? And even if I am a hallucination - which I'm not - but even if I am, what's the difference whether you're in the front or the back seat?"

Sam laughs a little bit. "I've hallucinated you before, and you were kind of a dick. That's why I thought it was the real you."

"Okay, first, screw you. And second, if I'm not really me, how do I know what the doctor said about your inappropriate behavior?

"Dean," Sam sighs wearily. "If I made you up, you know everything I know." But he opens the door, rolls his jacket into a pillow, and carefully lowers himself into the back seat.

Dean adjusts his rearview mirror so he can see Sam's face. He can't see much out his rear window like this, but the very short list of Things Dean Can Give A Shit About Right Now doesn't include anything that's not inside the Impala anyway. He pulls back onto the road, glancing at Sam's furrowed brow, and realizes he doesn't know where he's going. Instinct pulls him northwest, to South Dakota, but there's nothing there anymore. He feels as lost as he's ever been, and he wants Bobby back. He wants Cas back. He wants his goddamn brother back.

Fuck, Cas. I thought you fixed him. I thought he was going to be okay.

"I know, in my head, it's really you," Sam mumbles from the back. Dean glances at him in the mirror. His face has started to relax a little bit, but that's probably due more to exhaustion than any kind of relief. "But the rest of me hasn't caught up. I'm on edge and I'm still kind of freaked out and I'm having this fight-or-flight response, and I'm sorry." He sighs, and winces as he tries to get comfortable. "None of it's your fault."

"None of it's your fault either," Dean points out. "You doing okay back there?"

"I'm good," Sam says, his knees securely wedged against the front seat. "You know, I used to like this, when I was little."

"What, sleeping in the car?"

"Yeah," he says softly. "Driving around, listening to you and Dad talk. I couldn't make out the words, but your voices just made me feel comfortable. Or Dad would sing along with the music. I always liked that."

"Dad's bad singing made you comfortable? That's messed up, man."

"Not the singing. The fact that he was singing. It meant we were all okay. He wouldn't sing if we weren't all okay."

Fake it until you make it, the man said.

"Well, if a little bad karaoke makes you feel better, I can provide." Dean slides a Metallica tape into the stereo and begins to sing. "Say your prayers little one, don't forget my son, to include everyone..." Looking back again, he sees Sam smile. "Oh, come on, Sammy," he laughs. "It's not that bad."

"No, it's not bad at all," says Sam. "It's just. I don't know the words to that song. I've never understood what he was singing." And, well, if Dean knows something Sam doesn't know, he must really be Dean, right? Apparently Sam comes to the same conclusion. He closes his eyes and his face relaxes completely.

"Listen and learn, little brother," Dean grins. And now he doesn't need to know where he's going. He just drives, and sings more songs only Dean knows, and Sam finally sleeps.

Tags: 7.17 the born again identity, fic: dean winchester, fic: h/c, fic: hell trauma, fic: hurt!sam, fic: sam winchester, my fic, season 7, supernatural

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