therapeutic thump

i like your moxie, sassafras!


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Mini-NaNo (SPN Fic): Ch. 24
the arch of the eyebrows gives it away
innie_darling
Sam and Eve in the kitchen.




He gets Dean into old clothes he finds in Caleb's closet - a faded shirt and sweatpants - and manhandles him into bed. The sheets are stiff, freshly washed, and he piles as many blankets as he can find on top of his brother. He goes back to the bathroom only to gather up the dirty discarded clothes, but then he smells himself and sees the blood caked on his jacket and jeans. He hops into the shower, ruthlessly efficient, his skin red with heat and scrubbing when he gets out. He dresses himself in more of Caleb's clothes that leave his wrists and ankles exposed and Dean's face betrays his amusement. "Shut up," he says, grinning at his brother. "You want to sleep or you want to eat?"

"Grub, Sammy," Dean says, and his voice is stretched thin again.

He knows he can't show his concern outright, so he pretends to smack his brother while trying to gauge his temperature with the back of one hand. Dean doesn't look like he's been duped, though, so he adds, "I'm not your room service boy," with a grumble and Dean just settles further into the mattress to wait.

*

He gets downstairs to find Eve in the kitchen, scrubbing the sink so that the white ceramic surface gleams. With every motion, the light sparkles off her little pink earrings, and she turns to look at him over her bare shoulder. “Sam! Hi!” she says, smiling at him and he smiles back politely, looking at the flipped-up tag peeking out of her tank top. She stops scrubbing and rinses out the sink quickly with the black spray nozzle. She grabs the towel to dry her hands and turns to face him. “Can I make you something to eat?” she asks, sounding almost hopeful, despite the fact that she has no reason to treat them kindly.

“No,” he says, startled. “I was just going to make something –”

“Oh! I can do it,” she starts, but then smiles up at him. “But I guess you want something to do.” She’s not exactly right – he wants to be looking out for Dean – but it’s a reasonable explanation, one he doesn’t bother correcting. “Well, help yourself to anything. I was going to go to the store later today, so I can get more of anything you like.”

“Thank you. Right now, I just need to make something for my brother,” he says, sidestepping her to get to the fridge.

“Dean,” she says carefully, watching him closely.

“Um, yeah,” he agrees, not sure what she’s getting at, and pokes through the fridge in the vain hope that Dean will like anything that’s in there. There’s nothing that Caleb or Dean or any hunter would eat in the fridge; it’s filled with the kind of stuff that reminds him distressingly of Jess, the kind of food girls start eating in their twenties and guys figure out a couple of decades later when nagged by their wives. He pulls a container of plain yogurt out and asks, “Do you have a blender?”

*

He wants someone to appreciate the humor in the fact that he’s making his badass brother a smoothie – wheat germ, banana, honey, and plain yogurt – but the only one who would find that properly hilarious (after delivering a swift punch to the shoulder) is Dean himself, lying crumpled like a corsage in an unfamiliar bed. He stops smiling and looks around for a glass, still with one finger on the blender’s button. He spends a few moments searching for a straw before considering that the tube Dean had down his throat probably hurt the muscles he’d need to suck through a straw. And he’s got no problem holding the cup to Dean’s mouth for as long as it takes him to drain the glass. At least this won’t exacerbate the injuries, will be easy to digest.

The noise in the kitchen stops when he finally turns the blender off and Eve is right there again, holding a few glasses out for him. “Thanks,” he says, pouring the smoothie out, filling two cups to the brim, and notices there’s still a little left. “Do you want to finish this?” he asks, gesturing, and she shrugs, crowding in close to peer inside, see how much is left. He can still smell peach on her skin, stronger than ever, actually, and he closes his eyes and thinks about the scented candles that Jess liked so much.

“Sam,” she says, putting one hand on his arm just as he grabs the two full glasses.

“Yeah?” he asks, turning to leave the kitchen and trying not to spill. He pauses for a moment, but she doesn’t say anything, so he heads back up the stairs.

*

He’s got his eyes on the line of liquid in the cups, so he almost misses the guilty look that flashes across Dean’s face when he walks back into the master bedroom. As pale and weak as Dean is right now, he looks incredibly young, and Sam wonders if maybe that’s why it’s so very easy for him to read Dean now, as if time really has reversed and his big brother has not yet learned to love the mask. “What, Dean?” he asks, and he can’t help the dread that creeps through his voice, though what he’d been going for was amusement.

Dean says nothing, but flips back the bunched-up blankets to reveal the box of Dad’s stuff next to him. Sam stares at him and decides he does not even want to know how Dean made it out of bed, lifted the box, and got back in; he remembers guiltily that the racket the blender made would have covered up any sounds of movement or hisses of pain. And Dean is not used to his body betraying him, and would have pushed himself. Sam makes up his mind in that moment that he will go along with whatever Dean wants, so that he can keep an eye on him at least and not be an obstacle around which Dean has to plot.

Even without the lecture, Dean looks a little chastened, and Sam tucks the blankets back in around his brother as gently as he can. Dean’s hand falls on top of his, and Sam holds the smoothie up for Dean to drink.

*

“Well, it went down without a protest, so –” He stops, an empty glass in each hand, and looks at Eve, sitting at the table in the silent, sparkling kitchen. “I was going to clean up,” he says awkwardly, moving to put the glasses in the sink.

“Don’t worry about it,” she says listlessly; “it’s my job, isn’t it?”

She sounds so different; he’s sitting across from her and reaching out to touch her shoulder before he remembers that she barely knows him. “Hey, are you okay?”

She drags her eyes up from the tabletop to meet his, and he sees that they’re light blue behind eyelashes and below eyebrows so pale as to be nearly invisible. “No,” she says, twisting off a smile. “First you tell me Caleb’s dead but you don’t say how or how you know. Then you say this house is yours. Then you move in. I’m scared, okay?”

Explanations will only make things worse, but he can’t exactly tell her that either. It’s clear that Caleb never let her in on his true profession. “I . . . I’m sorry, Eve,” he says.

Her eyes are fastened to the table again, her face tilted down, but he can still see the unhappy grimace she makes. “And to top it all off you don’t say anything about why you’re treating that brother of yours like he’s made of glass.” She mutters it but even before he can react she seems to know she’s gone too far. She jumps up out of her seat, saying, “Sorry, sorry. I’m . . . I’m going to the store. I’ll be back in a couple hours.” He stays seated while she scurries off to her room, and when she comes back out, dressed in a few more layers than just the tank and shorts she was wearing before, she won’t meet his eye.

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Aw to Sam looking after Dean. And if time really has reversed and his big brother has not yet learned to love the mask. Nice line, loved the way you put that.

Eve's point was a fair one - of course she's likely to feel threatened.

Although questioning why Sammy's treating Dean like he's made of glass, tsk tsk Eve, Dean's hurt and needs treating like so! ;)

(Deleted comment)
As pale and weak as Dean is right now, he looks incredibly young, and Sam wonders if maybe that’s why it’s so very easy for him to read Dean now, as if time really has reversed and his big brother has not yet learned to love the mask.

Ahhhhhh. Yis. Injury sometimes can regress you...if only emotionally. Heh.
*pets Sam*
He makes a good quasi-big-brother.

And Eve! Get over it and buck up and give 'em a little time! Sheesh. Only been a day!
*bounce*

He wants someone to appreciate the humor in the fact that he’s making his badass brother a smoothie – wheat germ, banana, honey, and plain yogurt – but the only one who would find that properly hilarious (after delivering a swift punch to the shoulder) is Dean himself, lying crumpled like a corsage in an unfamiliar bed.

Love the description in that, and the humor. It's so Sam and so Dean.

Hm. Wonder what's up with Eve. She's so nice and yet so...tetchy. My guess right now is it's something to do with Caleb -- she maybe feels jealous/threatened that he left the house to the Winchesters and not her, but I guess we'll find out as you write more of this.

Loved this:
as if time really has reversed and his big brother has not yet learned to love the mask.
and this:
Sam makes up his mind in that moment that he will go along with whatever Dean wants, so that he can keep an eye on him at least and not be an obstacle around which Dean has to plot.

Am I supposed to like or trust Eve? 'Cause I, um, don't. Of course, that's probably just my Dean-bias showing, but she does have... issues with him, and that makes me nervous. Hee.


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