Title: Food for Thought
Word Count: 2,446
Warnings: SPOILERS for Season 8. Up to Taxi Driver at the very least. Please be aware before you read the story.
A/N: Written for Sam's Birthday as part of ohsam's H/C Fic&Art Celebration. Our resident boy is turning 30 today (ignoring the frequent time jumps), well not boy more like man. This story is a prompt from khakigrrl so this is for her and Sammy.
Happy Birthday our wonderful hero, who has gone through so much and is still having to face things no human being should. You're very strong, and with Dean by your side you can accomplish anything.
Summary: It is Sam's birthday and the trials have been kicking his ass, and Dean wants to give him the best one yet. What better way than to bake a cake for Sam? Except, Sam is having so many problems with the trials that keeping food down is incredibly hard.
Sometimes we fall down, can't get back up
- Live Like We're Dying by Kris Allen
Sam coughed, almost gagging again at the smell emitting from the toilet before he flushed it down. His go at trying to eat a sandwich didn’t quite work out. Ever since the trials he had been repelled by pretty much all food except soup and crackers. Sam had made it by on less but he just wanted to eat one thing that had a taste to it. Just one. But as soon as he did he rushed to the bathroom to upchuck it.
Getting up from his position on the floor, Sam swayed before righting himself. He felt his limbs shaking; the toll the trials were taking on his body was starting to scare him. Not that he would ever admit this to Dean. Dean was one thread away from losing it completely and locking Sam in a bubble. Sam needed to be in this hunt, be in the game. He refused to be sidelined, even if Dean had the best of intentions. He would just have to suck it up like they always did and manage.
Filling a flimsy paper cup with some water, Sam swished it around in his mouth before spitting it out. Despite the cleansing Sam couldn’t quite get the taste of vomit from his mouth and it made him queasy. Deciding that the best thing to do was get as far away from the bathroom as possible, Sam went in search of his brother.
Despite them living here for at least a month, it was still very easy for Sam to get lost amongst all the corridors.
The place was massive. At first glance of course, that is obvious. But Sam was talking massive, lose yourself for days and not even know it, massive. He was getting better though.
His vision was blurry and beginning to waver, his body at its limit but he wanted to see Dean before he passed out completely.
Looking in Dean’s room proved to be a dead end. Dean’s bed was, surprisingly made and kept, and his boots he kept by his bed we’re gone.
Searching the great room, or living room as Dean liked to call it, was also a dead end. Dean was nowhere in sight. A quick check of the kitchen and the library showed that Dean wasn’t home at all.
“Dean?” Sam’s voice wavered as he called out for his brother, almost as if he was a toddler looking for his mom. It was pathetic and weird but Sam couldn’t keep that vulnerable tone out of his voice if he tried.
With the trials and everything that had happened Sam was feeling vulnerable. Like anything could penetrate him. Whenever Dean was around though, the feeling lessened. As corny as it sounded Sam felt safe in the knowledge that Dean was around him.
So Dean disappearing without him telling Sam? Not cool.
“Damn it,” Sam murmured, reaching to dig out his cell phone only to realize he was still wearing his sweat pants.
It wasn’t until Sam calmed down that he noticed the note hastily stuck to the fridge.
Walking over and ripping it off Sam scanned it and crumpled it in his fist.
Went to the grocery store to pick up a few things; be back in a little bit. Don’t leave the house. I mean it. Try getting some more sleep until I can get home and cook us some proper lunch. Oh and don’t eat the tuna I think it’s gone bad.
His stomach began to rumble again. That uneasy feeling returned at realizing the tuna he hastily slapped on his sandwich was bad.
“Son of a-” Sam was already darting to the bathroom before he could even finish his brother’s well-loved catch phrase.
Dean was busy pondering over the difference between velvet cake and traditional cake in the grocery stores bakery. He wasn’t sure if it was because one is red and the other one is white? Or do they have different tastes?
Dean was no expert on cakes that was certain. The only time Dean can clearly remember he and Sam having any sort of birthday cake was when Bobby baked one for Sam’s twelfth birthday. It was big, icing covered and damn good. The old man sure knew how to cook.
The pang at remembering Bobby was still too fresh in his mind. His hand gripped the grocery cart making his knuckles turn white.
Getting a hold of himself, Dean focused on the task at hand.
Picking out a cake for Sam’s birthday.
Except the bakery’s cakes just looked too…bland. He wanted this birthday to be special and memorable. These cakes didn’t scream that to him. If anything they screamed ‘put me out of my misery and eat me already’.
Maybe Dean needed some sleep too.
Looking around the bakery he noticed he was close to the baking aisle. Maybe he could bake one for Sam?
His eyes lit up and he pushed the cart down the aisle. It should be easy right? All you have to do is copy the directions on the box. Dean could do that. Sam loved his sandwiches so this should be something else Sam would love.
Grinning wildly, Dean picked a box of marble cake. Figuring that Sam would love both the chocolate and vanilla, or at least if he hated one flavor there was another one he’d eat. Dean remembered Sam’s favorite had always been vanilla but with the trials and so much time between them actually sitting down and eating cake together, he’s not sure if Sam’s taste buds have changed.
Dean would be lying to say his hasn’t changed over the years.
Setting the box in the cart, Dean spied a delicious looking blue frosting with added sprinkles. Corny? Yes, but bright and cheerful? Very much so. Dean wanted to add some pep in Sam’s step, make him smile again. Erase those dark circles from under his eyes and see him throw his head back and laugh.
He wanted Sam to live, that was all. He could handle the rest.
Setting the frosting inside his cart as well, Dean continued onto the liquor aisle and stocked up on some more beer and hard liquor in case of injury. Dean never knew when they would be in supply of the good stuff like vicodin. So it was always a safe bet to keep some Jack Daniels around to provide a stand in.
Realizing he had all he needed, Dean made his way to the checkout line and smiled to himself, humming a soft tune.
He would make sure Sam smiled on his birthday. If it was the last thing he did.
Sam awoke some time later to a dry mouth and a headache.
He groaned and rolled over in bed, hoping to go back to sleep, but to no avail.
His bladder was yelling at him to relieve it, his mouth was demanding him to get a drink and his head was screaming that an aspirin wouldn’t hurt either.
“Ugh,” Sam felt so crappy. Sleeping was supposed to help you and refresh you. In Sam’s case it only made things worse.
Getting up on unsteady legs, Sam stumbled to the bathroom to relieve himself before heading to the kitchen.
Noticing Dean was still gone Sam chewed on his lip worriedly. It had already been a good two hours. What if Crowley found Dean? Or Castiel came to tell Dean of something important and Dean left, thinking keeping Sam sound asleep in the batcave would be best?
Shaking his head of the thoughts Sam winced. “Damn.” He forgot about the headache. Rubbing his temple, trying to ease the throbbing Sam swallowed two aspirins before padding softly to Dean’s room.
It was cooler in here due to the box fan Dean had purchased for himself.
Right now a cool dark room was sounding like heaven. He felt guilty for sleeping in Dean’s bed but he needed to get rid of this headache before his brother got him.
Turning on the fan Sam walked over and pulled back Dean’s covers. He sunk into the cool sheets with a sigh and burrowed into Dean’s pillow.
The light was still shining in through the crack in the door, illuminating Dean’s side table.
Standing next to his lamp was a picture of Mary. Sam stared at her picture until his eyes began to cross. Her beautiful blond hair and kind smile shining through made Sam’s stomach flutter.
How does a woman he only saw in the future, as a spirit, and a hallucination affect him so much? Sam couldn’t describe the connection he had to Mary. He felt her presence every day though, giving him strength when he felt like giving up.
Smiling softly Sam felt something wet slide across his face.
He was crying.
Sam was exhausted, pushed to the limits, and in pain. Some days it was so hard to hold on, even for Dean.
Yet, every time he felt like giving up he heard Mary’s voice in his head. Felt her soft hand against his cheek, her lips kissing his forehead and reminding Sam to remain strong.
His headache began to pound harder so it was with relief when Sam finally shut his eyes and turned off the world.
He would wash Dean’s pillow case and erase the remnants of his salty tears before Dean came back.
Yeah, that sounded like a plan.
When Dean finally made it home the sun was midway in the sky on the way to setting. All the lights were off in the house and when he called for Sam there was no answer.
Setting his bags down in the kitchen, Dean made his way to Sam’s room expecting him to be napping but when he opened his door it revealed no Sam.
Furrowing his brow, Dean checked the bathroom with the same result. His heart sped up as he made his way to his room and froze.
There atop his bed, curled under his covers is his gigantic brother, snoring like a baby.
Dean shook his head in amusement, because God he loved this kid, and fixed the blankets. Shutting off the fan when he noticed how chilly it was in the room. He left the door slightly ajar as he made his way to the kitchen.
When Sam woke up he didn’t know what time it was. His headache was still there, although not as bad as before and he felt disoriented.
For a moment it scared him when he couldn’t see anything, but his eyes began to adjust to the light and he noticed the door was open.
Smacking his lips to try and get some moisture in them; Sam called out for his brother.
Sam cringed at how hoarse his voice was. Getting no answer, Sam managed to get himself untangled from the sheets and padded quietly to the kitchen.
His feet scuffed across the floor, alerting the lone occupant in the kitchen of his arrival.
Sam stared at his brother as if he had two heads. Dean was busy icing a huge cake, the blue frosting standing out in the dim lighting and twinkling due to the added sprinkles.
It made his stomach do somersaults but not in the good way.
Dean stuck his tongue out, putting the finishing touches on before he dared answer.
“Happy birthday!” Dean replied, swinging his arms in a grand gesture.
Sam stared puzzled at his brother, wondering if maybe Dean fell and hit his head in the store. “Wh-what? I don’t understand.”
“It’s your birthday today, don’t tell me you forgot.” Dean’s eyes began to lose their happy shimmer making Sam’s insides shrivel.
His birthday? Was it really May 2nd already?
“It’s not May 2nd.” Sam said, uncertain. His voice wavering, wanting Dean to be lying. Have the trials really messed with him so much that he forgot his own birthday.
“Dude, are you alright?” Without warning Dean strode over to where Sam was swaying in the doorway. He palmed his forehead, checking for fever and quite frankly, Sam was too lethargic to push his hand off and whine about it.
“Hmm you feel a little warm. Maybe you should go ba-”
“No!” Dean couldn’t even finish the sentence before Sam interrupted him. Which prompted his brother to give him a funny look.
“I mean enough with the sleeping. It’s all I’ve been doing. I’m just in shock that it’s my birthday. I don’t even know what day it is let alone what month.” Sam chuckled without any real feeling. He brought his shaking hands up to his face staring at them. Fascinated at how frail they looked. “It’s starting to scare me actually.” Sam admitted quietly, revealing what he’s been feeling ever since the first trial.
Sam felt Dean’s hand squeeze his shoulder with comfort before his brother pulled him into a big hug. Dean was warm, his familiar scent wrapping around in Sam’s brain and beginning to calm him down. He breathed deeply and sighed. “I’m sorry.” Sam said, muffled by his face squashed against Dean’s neck.
“Don’t be sorry.” Dean murmured. “I’m scared to. Every night I wake up and wonder if I’m going to find you dead, or something equally as horrid. Just promise me one thing?”
Dean pulled back and seriously looked Sam in the eyes. His green eyes were big and wet, revealing his inner emotions like a crystal ball. It made Sam swallow shakily.
“Don’t give up on me Sammy. Whatever you do, if you won’t live for yourself, please try living for me okay? I know it’s your birthday and I’m starting with the chick flick moments but it’s something I need to say and you need to hear. I believe in you and I’m not giving up. Not by a long shot. Just try and believe in yourself okay?”
Sam felt his throat clog with his emotion so he simply nodded his head. Dean smiled before squeezing his shoulder one last time.
“Alright, time for some cake!” Dean stomach seemed to growl at the mention of cake.
Sam’s stomach did flips and he swallowed. If he couldn’t handle a sandwich then he definitely couldn’t handle sticky, sweet cake.
Just thinking about it was making bile creep up his throat.
“I made it myself, I hope you like it.” Dean said absentmindedly while he fit one candle in the middle.
“Ready birthday boy?” Dean asked, lighter in hand, ready to ignite the candle.
One year gone again, would Sam be around to celebrate another?
“As I’ll ever be. Oh, and Dean?”
“Save me the biggest piece.”