starryfif2: (Jasam)
[personal profile] starryfif2
Title: Face the Man I am
Pairing: None
Rating: PG-13 for some swearing
Word Count: 1, 609
Warnings: Ooc!Dean and mentions of eating disorder. Also mild spoilers for Supernatural's 100th episode "Point of No Return".  Title taken from Cage The Elephant's song "Back Against the Wall".

This was written for [ profile] hoodie_time's Hurt/Comfort Comment-Fic Meme (#2) and [ profile] sin_of_pride 's prompt:
Dean needs some control in his life and not eating is how he's chosen to get it; to him, food doesn't taste like anything. Sam is massively concerned, guilty it took him so long to notice and determined to help Dean somehow. Cuddling is encouraged, as is supportive!Sam.

It isn't until Dean collapses in the middle of a hunt that Sam admits maybe, just maybe, there's something wrong with his brother. Dean has been looking pale and shaky for about three days now, but Sam, lost in thoughts about stopping Lucifer, hadn't had time to do more than feel his brother's forehead. That had been a bad idea, as Dean's immediate response was a jab to the ribs and Dean disappearing to the bar to get drunk.

It took only a couple of minutes to burn their current hunt's bones before Sam dropped down beside Dean and gently shook his shoulder. Dean moaned and his eyes fluttered and opened to mere slits. “Dean, man, are you ok?”

Dean's responding grunt did little to reassure Sam. Sam's hand shook as he gripped his brother's leather jacket and helped Dean to his feet. Dean swayed drunkenly, even though Sam knew his brother hadn't had any alcohol since lunchtime. Sam's worry ratcheted up a notch as he saw, in the moon's pale light, how white Dean was, and how prominent Dean's cheekbones were.

“Come on, Bro, let's get you to your baby.” Dean grinned weakly at Sam's words and allowed Sam to half carry, half drag him to the Impala. What should have been a two minute walk took close to ten minutes. Dean was a heavy weight, his legs refusing to support Dean's weight. Sam was both taller and stronger than his brother, but even he found it difficult to drag his brother along the dirt path, and each hill was like a mountain with Dean leaning heavily against Sam's shoulder.

The trip back to their latest crappy motel room was spent in silence. Dean refused to either speak or look Sam in the eye. Sam freaked out beside his brother, his thoughts running a mile a minute. Guilt was paramount in his mind, along with anger at himself for not noticing how weak and fragile Dean had become.

Dean's latest mental breakdown coupled with their half-brother's return, Castiel's sacrifice and possible demise, along with Dean's willingness to say 'Yes' to Michael had done a number on Dean. Sam had noticed Dean had been drinking even more----he would have had to be blind not to see Dean drinking bottle after bottle of beer----and he definitely wasn't sleeping more than an hour, maybe two each night.

But excessive drinking and little sleep had become almost normal for Dean Winchester, and Sam had become used to his brother's vices. Even though they were unhealthy ones, alcohol and insomnia were what helped Dean function with the Apocalypse and the crushing weight of stopping Lucifer.

It was now obvious to Sam, as they pulled up into the motel's parking lot, that he'd missed something big. Sam's obliviousness had hurt Dean a lot. His brother was even more worn down than Sam had first thought.

Goddamn did Sam have a lot of damage control ahead of him. It was going to be a long night.


It was both shockingly clear and heartrendingly apparent that Dean had lost more weight than he could afford to. Sam had to turn away from his brother's thin body, at the ribs showing clearly through skin, and his prominent shoulder-blades. It was too late, though; Dean's emaciated body was going to haunt Sam for a long, long time.

When Sam had finally brought himself under control, Dean was looking at him defiantly from where he was perched on the motel bed. It hurt to meet his brother's eyes, sunken into his skull, but Sam forced himself to. While Dean looked like he was ready and rearing for a fight, Sam wasn't. He felt like he'd gone ten rounds with ghost, or a wendigo, or something supernatural, and he was too exhausted to deal with Dean's issues right now. He had to, though; Dean needed him. Sam couldn't abandon him now.

It was too much, though, and Sam sank to his knees beside his brother. Dean was as stiff as a board when Sam pressed his face into Dean's thighs and let his grief have free reign. Hot tears splashed Dean's jeans and soaked the heavy materiel. Sam's arms wrapped around his brother's waist and he clung to his older brother and cried.

It took less than a minute for Sam to pull himself together, and when Sam felt like he had a firmer grip on his emotions he pulled back and met his brother's weary, hurt gaze. Dean looked even worse than Sam felt; but now he looked scared on top of everything else. Like seeing Sam cry like a small child had shook Dean to his very core.

“You stopped eating,” Sam said. Dean flushed at Sam's bluntness but didn't deny Sam's words. “Apparently I was too absorbed in this whole angel/demon mess to notice your lack of eating.”

“You have been preoccupied.” Dean said, giving Sam an out. Sam knew he could take it and all would be forgiven, all already was forgiven, but Sam couldn't do it. This wasn't his fault, it was Dean's decision to stop eating----god, what had made Dean decide this was an option?---but Sam, as Dean's younger brother and hunting partner should have noticed almost immediately when Dean stopped eating regularly. He hadn't, though, and the guilt was strong and bitter in the back of Sam's throat.

Sam ran a shaking hand through his hair and sat down next to Dean, their shoulders touching. Dean flinched but didn't move away, which, for some absurd reason, made Sam grateful. “It doesn't matter, Dean. I should have noticed sooner, Apocalypse or no. We watch each others backs.”

Dean seemed to crumble under Sam's kindness and he practically collapsed against his younger brother. Sam wrapped an arm around Dean, a mirror of their previous embrace, only now Sam's mind was relatively clear (only freaking out in the back of his mind where he could address his panic in the luxury of his own mind). Dean was what was important at this time, and Sam refused to be sidetracked by anything else.

When Dean remained silent and seemed content to not volunteer any further information, Sam spoke. “Tell me why, Dean.”

Dean inhaled sharply before releasing the air in one long 'whoosh'. “I can't control anything, Sammy. The angels want me to gank Lucifer and the pressure is so fucking great I feel like I'm suffocating under it. You say that you're never going to give in to Lucifer, and I can see how earnest you are, and how much you want it to be true, but I'm still scared. I can't control what you're going to do, and I'm so afraid I'm going to wake up to the day you say yes to that bastard.”

It stung to hear, once again, Dean's certainty that he'd give in to Lucifer. Dean's words did shed light on his brother's lack of eating. “It's a matter of control. You can't control what anyone or anything in your life does, but you can eat, or not eat, when you want to.”

Dean pressed his face into Sam's shoulder. Sam rested his chin on his brother's head, the short strands of his hair tickling his skin. Dean's next words, muffled as they were by Sam's shirt and hoodie sent a shiver through Sam's body.

“'Sides, food has little or no taste. It's been that way since Hell. Why should I eat if I can't enjoy what I put in my mouth?”

Sam pulled his brother against his chest, his arms tight bands around Dean. He wished he could protect Dean from all of the world's evil, an impossibility, he knew. His brother was still dealing with the aftermath of Hell, and he probably would be for the rest of his life. That didn't mean that Sam wasn't going to do everything in his power to make Dean's life easier.

“I'm going to help you through this, Dean. You're going to start eating food beginning tomorrow morning, though it's going to have to be something light. You're going to put on weight, and become strong again.”

“What if I don't want to? Fuck, Sammy, food is not the least bit appetizing.” Dean said, petulantly. He fell quiet when Sam started to rock him, being treated like a small child apparently taking Dean by surprise. Which was exactly what Sam had been aiming for.

“You're going to get better because I need you to, Dean. I can't do this by myself, and fuck, I don't want to. I nearly lost you to Michael. Ruby drove us apart. Hell took you from me. All that's supernatural, though it doesn't make it any better. I am not going to loose you to an eating disorder. I refuse to.”

Dean tried to pull himself from Sam's arms, but Sam refused to let his brother move out of the safe shelter of his arms. Dean struggled weakly for a few more seconds, as stubborn as ever, before he collapsed back into Sam's arms like a limp noodle. His muttered “Bossy bitch.” had Sam grinning.

“ can't leave me. You have to get better, please.”

The silence lingered before Dean finally spoke. “Okay. But only if you help me.”

Relief had Sam sagging against his brother. “Always, Dean. I won't leave you to deal with this by yourself.” Sam felt Dean press a kiss over his heart.

“Bitch.” Dean whispered, though Sam easily heard the affection in his brother's voice.

“Jerk.” Sam responded.
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September 2012

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