“I'm not a baby, Dean.” Sam huffed, though it came out far weaker than he intended.
“That's debatable, dude! You're turning your nose up at my awesome cooking in the same way you did as a kid. Act like an infant and I'll treat you like one.”
“I'm not hungry, Dean,” the younger Winchester sighed. “It's not as if I want to insult your tomato soup and rice, for god's sake!”
“I'll have you know I rustled this up with real organic tomatoes and home-cooked rice. None of that canned stuff I fed you as a kid. So now you're gonna slurp the entire plateful or I'm gonna slip a tube down your throat and force-feed you.”
Dean was joking but not too much, Sam had been hanging on by a thread when his big brother had stalked into the flea-infested hovel and ganked the fugly that was snacking on Sam's life-force.
His little brother seemed to attract more than his fair share of soul-sucking monsters, though in this case it wasn't entirely casual. It turned out to be a personal vendetta against Sammy.
Dean hadn't realised monsters had such a sense of family, but between his run-ins with djinns, were-wolves and now crocottas, he couldn't deny the sentiment did exist to a certain extent.
In this case it had been pure bad luck.
The Winchesters hadn't run into a crocotta since way back. And Dean held a deep rancour for the way he'd been duped by it then.
It had imitated John Winchester's voice perfectly and Dean's need to believe it was truly his father on the other end of the phone had made him careless, almost coming to punches with Sam who on the contrary was absolutely sceptical.
'If dad was dead, he couldn't be on the phone,' had been Sam's take.
It had ended up with his little brother being captured by the crocotta, only managing to defeat it by sheer luck and a handy hook through the back of its neck!
Of course, being Winchesters, good luck had to be balanced by bad, even at the distance of years, so when Sam went into town for groceries, he had the misfortune to encounter that very crocotta's brother.
How it had found out Sam Winchester had been the one to kill it, Dean would never know. Maybe monsters had their own grape-vine too.
After spotting Sam, it had been easy for the crocetta take him unawares. His little brother hadn't been expecting to run into a fugly with an itch to scratch in the little town's grocery store.
Croccotas weren't the most intelligent of the crop and though it had trussed Sam up good, it had forgotten to trash his cell phone and Sam had managed to press the speed dial with Dean's number.
Lucky for Sam that monsters seemed to love gloating over their victims while snacking. It gave Dean just enough time to grab the back-up car he'd kept up to specs in the bunker's garage and break all speed limits in his mad course into town.
Sam had been hanging on by a thread when Dean finally tracked his brother down, but a thread was better than dead!
He'd practically carried his unconscious sibling back to the car then into the bunker, never leaving his side until Sam's waxen colouring had started to take on a less cadaveric tint.
Now all his sibling needed was rest and plenty of nourishment to build him back up, and Dean was gonna make sure he got it.
Dean had always used the good old-fashioned carrot and stick approach when dealing with his stubborn little brother, and it still worked even now that Sam was a six-foot five bad-ass hunter.
“Okay. This is the deal, “ Dean dictated squinting threateningly at his insubordinate sibling. “You eat, you sleep, you eat and you sleep, then maybe tomorrow I'll authorise an hour on your lap-top.”
“Deeean“ Sam pouted, looking and sounding every inch the child he'd once been. “You can't be serious! I'm not so weak I can't use a computer.”
“Sorry Sammy, but you totally are. Lift your arm.”
A furrowed frown formed itself on Sam's brow as he strained to lift his arm from where it was lying on the bed. But try as he might, he only managed to move it an inch before it fell heavily back onto the sheets.
“What did I tell you, Dude,” Dean declared. “That crocotta wasted you. You couldn't put up a fight against a kitten. Just accept it, Sammy. It's gonna be a few days before your energy levels get back to normal. I'm already being magnanimous by promising you a trip on your lap top tomorrow!”
Sam rolled his eyes but he couldn't deny the truth of his big brother's words. He was as weak as a new-born kitten and as embarrassing as it was to be fed and fussed over by his brother, he didn't have much choice.
Furthermore, while his elder sibling was being decent about the whole thing right now, he knew without a doubt that when he was back to normal, Dean would bait him mercilessly about having had to treat him like a kid.
“You win, Dean.”
Sam opened his mouth ,and Dean with a tilt of the head that said 'I told you so' popped the spoonful of soup into Sam's mouth, stopping only when his little brother had polished it all off.
“Now sleep. It's the best way for your energy levels to rise., bro.”
“I can't sleep to order,“ Sam replied but his eyes were already blinking. The overwhelming lethargy caused by the energy-loss coupled with the warmth of the soup in his stomach conciliated sleep and before Dean could speak, his little brother's eyes fluttered closed.
Dean hovered, attentive to his brother's reactions, but he seemed to be breathing normally.
Gathering up the dishes, he made a quick trip to the kitchen, but before long returned to take up his place on the bed next to his sleeping brother. He slipped his Wi-Fi headphones over his ears, picked up the remote and switched on the TV.
The head phones had been a great investment. They allowed him to keep an eye on his baby brother while at the same time keeping himself entertained.
He glanced down affectionately when Sam's head turned to snuggle into his side, then gave his complete attention to the cheesy Godzilla roaring happily on the screen.