radiumgirl: (sam + panic room = mangst)
[personal profile] radiumgirl
Title: Serenity
Author: [livejournal.com profile] radiumgirl
Rating: PG-13 for language and adult!situations (not porn, sorry)
Genre/pairing: Gen, H/C, angst
Characters: Sam, Dean
Summary:  Sam and Dean both have a drinking problem. Each one drinks for different reasons. Each one stops (or doesn't) for different reasons. 
Spoilers: season 6
Warnings: Angst. Possibly triggery subject matter (alcoholism). 
Disclaimer: Not my sandbox.
Author's Note: Even though my Sam here is showing some post-hell!damage, this is a stand-alone that has nothing to do with "Something Borrowed" or the "For Keeps" 'verse.  This is what happens when I try to write about Dean's drinking problem. 
Author's Note Deux: Someday, I will write a story where Dean gets whumped and Sam has to love him and pet him and feed him pie.

Today, unfortunately, is not that day.

The thing is, everyone knew that Dean Winchester had a drinking problem. What they didn’t realize was that Sam did too.

Sam never flaunted it like Dean. Some part of Dean recognized that he had a problem, wanted to advertise it so that someone might help him make it better. Sam…Sam had his problem under control. No, really. It wasn't like the demon blood fiasco. Apples and oranges, kid. Apples and oranges. Sam wasn't trying to save the world. He didn’t get drunk and try to pick fights with archangels. His drinking wasn’t some fucked-up cry for help. For Dean, getting drunk was just another way of communicating. For Sam…not so much. And Sam didn’t really like bars to begin with, and after Hell, he didn’t have much love for crowds of people either, so while it was Dean who came crawling back to their motel every other night, Sam just never left.

So, you see, it’s not that Dean didn’t care. No, you mustn’t think that. It’s that he didn’t see. It’s not like Sam went stumbling around the room. It’s not like he locked himself in the bathroom with a bottle of bottom-shelf gin.

Bobby nagged Dean about the state of his liver, but no one gave Sam’s a second thought. He was the Winchester that kept his shit together, you know, unless Dean dropped dead and a certain archangel professed involvement, but that hadn’t been an issue in years. And besides, Sam was on about a million different pills for the mood swings and the sleeplessness and those pesky post-cage hallucinations, and Dean and Bobby were fairly certain that you weren’t supposed to drink when you were on drugs like that anyway, so they just assumed that Sam didn’t because Sam was the Winchester who wasn’t a total moron.


The thing you have to understand about Sam is that Sam was just…smart. Despite being obnoxiously smart, or maybe because he was obnoxiously smart, Sam also had a bit of self-loathing going on. Going to Hell and getting gang-banged by two uber-pissed archangels for half a millennium didn’t help that.

So, you see, Dean Winchester drank to make his problems go away.

Sam Winchester just drank to go away.

In Massachusetts, Dean came home from the bar up the street and found Sam collapsed between their two beds, an empty bottle of Vladimir vodka nestled in the blankets tangled around his legs. At first, Dean thought he was just passed out. Dean smacked his cheek and called him a lightweight and busted his balls for drinking that disgusting paint thinner.

"Seriously, bro." Dean grinned and gripped Sam's chin, shook his head back and forth, "I raised you better than this."

Dean called an ambulance when Sam wouldn’t wake up. His pulse fluttered beneath the pads of Dean’s fingers. His breath stuttered. His lips went grey.  Dean smacked him and shook him and screamed right in his ear, but Sam didn’t acknowledge him. Dean rode in the back of the ambulance and watched the EMTs pump Sam’s stomach with charcoal. He watched Sam throw up sour stomach acid and watery vodka. He watched the EMTs intubate Sam when he stopped breathing.

He didn’t call Bobby.

Sam’s doctor said that it wasn’t a suicide attempt, or at least, it didn’t look like one. The only substance that Sam had in excess was the vodka. He didn’t take a handful of sleeping pills. He hadn’t doubled up on his anti-depressants or his anti-anxieties or his anti-psychotics. The doctor reminded Dean that his brother shouldn’t combine alcohol with any of those medications, let alone binge drink like it was rush week at Sigma Tau Whatever. They wanted to give him a psych eval, the doctor said, when he woke up, just to sort some things out. Dean said that he’d rather they didn’t do that. He promised to take Sam to their own doctor back in Sioux Falls, a guy Bobby knew, who knew about hunting and monsters, who understood that Sam talking about monsters wasn’t the problem. Sam seeing monsters, talking to monsters that weren’t there…that was the problem.

But the doctor in Massachusetts was adamant, said it was policy, said they wouldn’t release Sam until he was evaluated.

Sam slept for three days, came off the ventilator on day two, right after Bobby called to make sure they were still alive because Dean forgot to check-in. When Bobby asked to speak to Sam, Dean said Sam was in the shower, getting the poltergeist goo off of him. He said he’d call back later.

He didn’t.

When Sam woke up, Dean stuck around long enough to make sure Sam was definitely okay, then bundled him up and snuck him out to the Impala before the doctors could pick his brain apart and come to all the wrong conclusions.

Sam slept curled up in the backseat all the way to New Jersey, where Dean rented a house with a view of the beach in Seaside Heights using Steven Tyler’s MasterCard. He made chocolate chip pancakes and brought them up to Sam on a metal tray that had a boat painted on it until Sam was strong enough to come down the stairs to the kitchen without falling on his face. He told Sam not to drink with his meds anymore and tried really hard to keep his own drinking under control because it wasn't fair to go crawl into a bottle and hide if Sam couldn't come too.

But Sam had been sneaking pulls from  Dean's flask since he was thirteen, since he realized he had to drown a little before he could float away. So, Sam decided that if he couldn't drink on his meds, he would just stop taking them.  And Sam had watched Girl, Interrupted once for a an Intro to Psych class he took when he was a Freshman at Stanford, so he knew all about tonguing his pills when Dean checked and the importance of flushing them down the toilet at the first opportunity, unless one could use them for currency, which Sam couldn’t. And when Dean asked if he wanted to go to the Sand Bar later, be his wingman, like old times, “Except you’ll be sippin’ Pepsi all night, bro,” Sam said he’d pass.

“I can drink Pepsi right here, dude.” He said, curled on a lounge chair on the deck, laptop balanced on his lap. He lifted a glass of cola in acknowledgement and maybe if Dean had hovered a little closer he would have smelled the rum, seen the jug of Admiral Nelson hidden beneath the wicker table to Sam’s right. Rum now because vodka made Sam want to gag.

After a few weeks in Seaside Heights, Dean congratulated himself on being awesome and knowing exactly what Sam needed: a vacation, a break, a stack of fresh pancakes every morning. And he himself hadn't had a drink in about a week, and he hadn't gotten black out drunk in nearly two. And sure, maybe that wasn't all that impressive, but for Dean Fucking Winchester, who got drunk with his dad for the first time when he was ten, it was fucking epic. Besides, baby steps, right?


Clearly, the doctor in Massachusetts had been wrong about Sam because he was doing buttloads better. He even started going out again, clinging to Dean’s side like some giant puppy, but still, he even found them a hunt in North Carolina, looked like a vengeful spirit in Asheville. They were heading out first thing in the morning, were spending their last evening in New Jersey on the boardwalk. Sam’s idea, not Dean’s.

And Dean grinned like an idiot and elbowed Sam in the ribs and bought a bucket of greasy boardwalk fries that they carried down to the beach because all of the picnic tables were crowded and Sam was smiling and Dean didn’t want to push it.

Sam kicked his shoes off and buried his feet in the cool sand. He shoved a handful of the grainy shit down the back of Dean’s shirt. Dean called him an asshole and took him down by the waist and Sam laughed, squirmed like a minnow on a fishing hook, and kicked. His foot caught Dean’s Styrofoam cup and it tipped over, lid flying off, orange Slice soaking into the sand.

Dean swore and punched Sam in the arm, “Guess you’ll just have to share now, fucker.” He grabbed at Sam’s half-empty Pepsi bottle, “You’ve been nursing that since we left. Shit’s gotta be piss-warm by now.” He looked mournfully at the remnants of his orange soda, ice cubes melting into the damp ground,  "Hand it over bitch.”

Sam’s grip tightened on his bottle. He glared at Dean’s outstretched hand, “No way. It’s mine.”

“Yeah, well you spilled my drink with your fucking sasquatch feet.”

“You tackled me!”

“You dumped sand down my shirt! What are you, five?”

Sam dug in his back pocket and flung two wrinkled bills at his brother. Dean eyed them suspiciously and Sam huffed, “Jesus, Dean, just go buy a new one. I’m sorry I spilled your soda. I’m sorry I stuffed sand down your shirt. Happy?”

Dean snatched the bills off of the ground, grunted as he pushed himself to his feet. Sam retrieved his shoes and grabbed the fries, made like he was about to follow Dean who rolled his eyes and said, “Dude. I’m literally going right there.” He pointed to a small stand that boasted “Fresh Lemonade from Real Lemons!” and featured a giant neon lemon smiling and waving above the window. “You can see me the whole time.”

“I’m not a baby, Dean.”

“I didn’t say that.”

The alarm on Dean’s wristwatch beeped and he turned on his way up the steps. “Take your meds, Sammy.”

Sam watched Dean cross the boardwalk and lean over the counter to order. He pulled the small, plastic pillbox out of his jacket pocket and dumped the dose into his palm. Next to Dean’s spilled soda, Sam dug a small grave with his fingers, dropped the six little pills inside, and smoothed the sand back over, patting firmly so the sand wasn’t loose, so the pills couldn’t crawl back up on their little spider legs. If he listened hard enough, he could hear them, skittering around in the sand, digging and digging and digging their way back to him.  He shuddered and looked for Dean, who waved as he crossed the boardwalk again, sucking fresh lemonade from a red straw.

Sam took a swig from his own drink, piss-warm Pepsi and just enough of something else to burn as it licked his throat going down. He showered all of his focus on Dean as he flopped back down on the sand, pulled a fry from the bucket and flung it at Sam’s face with a laugh. Sam shifted closer so that their elbows touched and Dean instinctively wrapped a hand around Sam’s arm with a “You okay, Sammy?”

Sam nodded absently and said, “Yeah, Dean, I’m okay,” and tried not to hear the spiders scratching away in their grave.

Date: February 1st, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] klutzy-girl.livejournal.com
Interesting fic! I love the "Sam becomes an alcoholic trope". Very rare in fandom!

And I loved this fic! I'm choosing to believe Dean and Bobby find out eventually and help him.

Date: February 1st, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Oh, Bobby and Dean totally figure it out. Eventually. Probably. I'm crossing my fingers.

Date: February 1st, 2011 12:42 am (UTC)

Date: February 1st, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)

Date: February 1st, 2011 01:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] minviendha.livejournal.com

...no really.

XD I really liked this. The tone is different than a lot I've read, which is nice, and I like the set up you have here, and the ending makes me go D: which is...a good thing, begging aside. XD

Date: February 1st, 2011 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com

Maybe! I kinda like leaving it up in the air like it is, but at the same time, sometimes the bunnies latch on and won't go away. So...you never know!

I'm glad you liked!

Date: February 1st, 2011 01:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] emmram.livejournal.com
Oh, dear. D:

I love the flow of your writing, and how you've handled this with both sensitivity and a type of starkness that really brings out Sam's problems and makes them hard-hitting without cranking up the Drama-Metre.

And, I have to agree, it's rare to see Alcoholic!Sam in SPN fanfic. :)

Well done!

Date: February 1st, 2011 03:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

I originally set out to write about Alcoholic!Dean, but Sam just wouldn't go away and you know he gets when he doesn't get to be a control freak.

Date: February 1st, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] 4422shini.livejournal.com
I love it! Sam's self destructive nature is so tasty!! Yum nom nom!

If you're going to write more, that would be sweeeeeet.

Date: February 1st, 2011 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! Self destructive Sam is amaaaaaaazing.

Date: February 1st, 2011 01:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] greeneyes-fan.livejournal.com
Oooh, creepy.

Date: February 1st, 2011 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! XD

Date: February 1st, 2011 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vail-kagami.livejournal.com
That was beyond awesome. I really wish there had been more of it. It's a difficult topic, and you handled it perfectly.

Somehow, Dean and his inability to see break my heart. (While at the same time I can't help but wonder how much of that is willful blindness.)

Date: February 1st, 2011 10:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Somehow, Dean and his inability to see break my heart. (While at the same time I can't help but wonder how much of that is willful blindness.)

Me too. It's one of my favorite flavors of Dean. I think alot of his blindness is willful where Sam is concerned. I think he's legitimately shocked and hurt every single time something happens to show him that the Sam in the real world doesn't always match that ideal image he has in his head.

Date: February 1st, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hidden-easel.livejournal.com
really enjoyed this~! Will there be more?

Date: February 1st, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Possibly! I don't have any plans right this minute, but I hesitate to say "never" because I have no idea where my brain will be next week.

Date: February 1st, 2011 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roque-clasique.livejournal.com
Yikes. Bleak and fascinating. Excellent!

Date: February 1st, 2011 11:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: February 1st, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ceedeeandco.livejournal.com
Uurrrggghhh. Sam? Get a stronger antipsychotic. It will put you into at *least* as much of a stupor as alcohol, the spiders will shut up, and you can save money. (My sister was on Depakote for a while and can't remember most of that year.)

Date: February 1st, 2011 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Yeah. Sammy? Sweetie? Listen to reason. Please?


My sister was on Depakote for a while and can't remember most of that year.

Yeeeah. My one BFFs mom is on it. He and I have been friends for like, five years now, and sometimes I still have to introduce myself to her when I visit. :/

Date: February 1st, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
embroiderama: (Sam - small smile)
From: [personal profile] embroiderama
This is sad and a little creepy--and VERY believable. Also, hey, Seaside Heights!

Date: February 1st, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Seaside Heights! I lived in NJ until I was fifteen. I loved Seaside Heights. I miss the boardwalk. :(

Date: February 1st, 2011 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borgmama1of5.livejournal.com
Very different. And I could see this Sam.

But now I want you to fix it so I can stop worrying about Sam--and by extentension, Dean, because whenever something bad happens to one, the other blames himself.

Date: February 1st, 2011 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
...because whenever something bad happens to one, the other blames himself.

So true. So true.

Date: February 2nd, 2011 01:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] little-tristan.livejournal.com
This just broke my heart! Poor Sam, all haunted and scared, and Dean so happy, thinking everything's all right. I hope their happiness is real, and shared, someday.

Date: February 3rd, 2011 03:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Aw me too. Delusional!Dean breaks my heart.

Date: February 3rd, 2011 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cece-away.livejournal.com
Did you say pie?

After everything he's been through, it would be surprising for Sam to not turn to drinking, and he'd be so good and sneaky about it too.

Adore that last line with the spiders. Gives me the chills.

Date: February 3rd, 2011 03:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
...and he'd be so good and sneaky about it too.

I feel kinda bad about the fact that that line right there made me grin like a loon and think "That's our Sammy!"

I'm glad you liked the spiders! It was originally going to be a sky full of corpses, but I thought I should keep it simple.

Date: February 6th, 2011 03:41 am (UTC)
ext_21612: (metallicar :: headlights in the night)
From: [identity profile] britomart-is.livejournal.com
Beautifully done. This is fantastic writing and a heartbreakingly accurate treatment of alcoholism. The emotional punch of this story caught me totally off guard.

Date: February 6th, 2011 02:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! *hands you tissues and cookies*

Date: February 11th, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] carocali.livejournal.com
I agree that Sam has his own vices and that drinking can be one of them. This is a really interesting take on this whole process. Thanks for sharing.


Date: February 17th, 2011 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ephemerall.livejournal.com
This is mesmerizing. I love this so much I don't have words. I really want to see more of this is you're ever inclined... :)

Date: February 18th, 2011 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Thank you! I've been toying with the idea of a sequel. I feel bad leaving the boys hanging like that. But at the same time, I never feel like my sequels live up to the originals. :/

But it's a definite possibility!

Date: June 14th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spnshannanigans.livejournal.com
Ooooooh, more!? Peas?

Date: June 14th, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spnshannanigans.livejournal.com
Ugh, even I can't believe I said that. Ahem. Excuse me, PLEASE?

Date: June 15th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] radiumgirl.livejournal.com
Hehe, it's okay!

I sometimes toy with the idea of a sequel for this one. You never know!
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