|Sam Winchester (sam_interrupted) wrote in welcomethreads,|
@ 2015-06-21 17:44:00
|Entry tags:||gretel, sam winchester|
Who: Sam and Gretel
What: Research....and that's all....yup.
When: late afternoon 20th June
Where: Sam and Adam's apartment
Warnings: hardcore research, magic use and snoggings.
Sam had been pretty distracted lately. Obviously after what had happened with Gretel it was a good kind of distracted, but then Hansel had shown up here and she'd been pretty occupied with trying to help him adjust. Sam completely understood but the forced separation so soon after giving in to the attraction he felt for her wasn't really helping alleviate how distracted he felt.
Jo arriving again and the fall out of that, coupled with Liv's revelation, had kept him busy for a couple of days but once those situations settled down he was in need of something to focus on. After finding out about Charlie he'd been extra vigilant about not watching his show so he had no idea of the outcome of Dean's whole mark of Cain situation. What he did know was that the mark was still present here in Storybrooke and neither he nor his brother had been making much headway in finding a way to get rid of it. Sam figured maybe it was about time he actually did something constructive. Of course that plan of action had the added bonus of needing to get in touch with Gretel, since she was the first positive line of enquiry that he had as far as removing curses were concerned.
He'd called her earlier and they'd arranged that she'd bring her mother's book by his place to see if they could find anything that might help Dean. Sam was kind of looking forward to it, obviously for being able to spend some time with Gretel but not just that, he actually missed research. He missed having the Men of Letters library at his disposal and he'd yet to come across any sort of lore book since arriving here.
When she got there he was already on his third cup of coffee, not that caffeine bore any sort of effect on him that you'd be able to tell. With her permission he had wasted no time in scanning over various pages about spell work, magical protection and healing, displaying a kind of enthusiasm that bordered on downright enjoying himself. Truth be told he was sort of in his element. "This is....amazing." He said finally glancing up from the book to look at her.
Gretel hovered behind Sam’s chair, having fixed herself a cup of coffee while he made himself acquainted with the Grimoire. Hansel had been fine with being left to his own devices for the day, now that he was more aware of the mostly uneventful nature of Storybrooke. And the fact that he never wanted to talk about their mother- or Gretel’s affiliation with magic. He enjoyed the benefits that revelation did for their reputation through the remaining witches in the world, back in their time, but that’s as far as he was comfortable with. At least, for now.
Gretel wouldn’t push her brother, either. Not until he made some sign that he was ready to accept things on a deeper level- or the situation pressed for it. Like if another dark witch came for her heart.
In the meantime, it gave her a legitimate excuse to spend some time with Sam. She sipped her coffee and notched a brow at him, amused, but questioning. “Why’s that?” she asked. “Not sure ‘amazing’ is the reaction I expected- not that I’m complaining…”
Sam looked back at the book with something akin to reverence. "Are you kidding? It's so much information and new information at that." He paused a moment and corrected himself. "Okay not actually new information, I mean it's obviously centuries old....but it's new to me. A lot of it anyway. I've never even heard of half of these...." He turned a page and looked up at her and became aware that he was practically gushing about a spell book.
He cleared his throat. "I....uh....it's just been a while since I've seen something I've never come across before.....especially where Dean's mark is concerned. Y'know?"
The genuine intrigue bordering-on-excitement was more than evident in his eyes, not just his voice. It was hard not to smile at, even in the face of the somber reason she’d volunteered this avenue in the first place. Gretel’s small grin leaned more toward one cheek for a moment, cutting a dimple there as she set her mug down on the table, then placed that hand lazily on her hip.
“Well...different worlds, I guess.” Until recently, she’d been under the impression that she and him were only separated by time. Then Sam introduced her to her ‘wiki page’, and all the information that came with it. She still hadn’t told Hansel about it. There wasn’t exactly a ‘right time’ to spring that kind of surprise on him.
But at least some good could come of it. “Way I figure it, the possibility that Dean’s curse is more vulnerable to magic it wasn’t created to withstand is a good one.” It was a theory, at least. She reached to the book with careful fingers, turning a few of the aging, yet still very durable pages- also protected by the magic in her blood. “Even if I can’t break it, maybe I can suppress it.”
Sam nodded and moved slightly aside as she reached out for the book. "I guess it's worth a shot." He said. Admittedly it wasn't something he had previously considered but the nature of the mark and it's apparent ancient history left little in the way of conventional options, at this point anything and everything was worth a try as far as Sam was concerned. Except killing Dean. That was apparently not an option, even if Sam could be persuaded that it might be worth a try. Which he wouldn't be anyway so the point was moot. Sam's train of thought rattled off on it's own tangent and he glanced at his coffee mug. Maybe he shouldn't have anymore coffee....maybe he hadn't had enough.
He zoned back in enough to respond. "Suppressing it would definitely be better than nothing."
Gretel hadn’t been watching him the whole time; a faded page with markings that denoted a calming spell had her attention until Sam’s distracted look caught her eye. She waited as the silence stretched between his points, not sure whether she should be more curious, or concerned.
“You alright?” she asked, adding a brush of her fingers over the back of his shoulder. “Looks like you went somewhere for a while…”
Sam lifted his gaze from the mug he'd been staring at until his eyes met hers. He looked a little confused at the question for a minute before he shook his head once. "Uh yeah....just worried I guess. I mean, if we can't fix it..." He dropped his gaze again and drummed his fingers absently on the side of the mug. An unpleasant thought had occurred to him while his focus had drifted, that it might actually be of benefit to watch the season finale of their show.
More than anything he wanted not to do that but if it shed light on the mark then wouldn't it be worth whatever fresh hell it opened up? He didn't voice the thought though, at least not yet. "So I guess we'd better fix it." He said with a half hearted smile.
She’d be the first to admit that she didn’t know everything there was to know about Sam, but he wasn’t exactly great at hiding his feelings. In fact, he was probably the most transparent person Gretel thought she’d ever met- that may have been part of his appeal, even if there was so much she could see behind his eyes that never came up in conversation.
Which his why she could see he was troubled by something- something more specific than their task alone. Her hand swept gently from the book to press a few fingertips under his chin, bringing it up as she dipped down, and met him in a soft, hopefully reassuring kiss.
Sam didn't exactly try to hide his feelings, or at least he never really set out to do that, but by the same token he didn't really think of himself as an open book either. He just had a tendency to over think things which tended to leave his emotion plastered across his face.
When Gretel kissed him it was a perfect example of that. His expression was a mix of affection, desire and a hint of confusion as to what he'd done to earn that, which made for an interesting combination. "What was that for?" He asked her, smiling genuinely this time. "Not that I'm complaining, obviously."
Still lingering close enough so he could feel her sideways smile brush his lips before she eased into the chair beside him, she chuckled- about as soft as she’d kissed him.
“I have my reasons,” she told him lightly. There were a few, even if the main motivation had been to throw a branch in whatever gears were grinding in his head. It had also been several days- maybe even a fortnight at this point.
Whatever her reasons were for kissing him at that point it had served her purpose as she intended and Sam's thoughts were imbued with renewed focus. Of course his focus was now on her instead of the task at hand but it was a step in the right direction.
As she sat down next to him he leaned a little closer. "Such as?" He smirked at her. Okay so this wasn't really what he was supposed to be putting his mind to but it had been a while since he'd last kissed her and he would have been lying if he said he hadn't thought about it a fair amount since then.
Maybe her plan worked a little too well- he was off one distraction for the next, but Gretel found it difficult to mind very much. Her eyebrows raised over the same kind of smirk Sam had on his face, and she leaned in as he had done as well. Leaned in far enough so that her knees interlocked with his, and she could barely feel his breath on her cheek.
“I’ll tell you later,” she whispered, as if it were really a secret. More like a promise, with the tone she used. Before he had a chance to respond, she pecked the tip of his nose and sat straight, using one hand to scoot the massive book closer to them both. She pointed to the sigils and ancient language written in faded ink at the top. “This is the one I wanted to show you.”
Sam laughed softly and turned his attention to the page she indicated. She was right that this should take precedence, saving Dean or at least helping him with the burden of the mark was important to Sam and while he could allow himself a little down time here and there the longer Dean had it the more it would affect him.
He scanned the symbols she was showing him. "Do you know what language this is?" He said, frowning slightly.
“It doesn’t have a name- not one I’m aware of,” she told him, scooting to the edge of the chair so she could display the page more openly. “Hansel and I have known it since before we remember.” At some point in their childhood, she figured her mother taught it to her- and since Hansel was her other half in almost all things, she’d taught it to him. “A language of witches, more or less. Their own secret code.”
She set her finger beneath the crude drawing of a human head and shoulders, beside it was an obvious list of some sort. “This is the legend, basically. It shows what the spell effects- if you see this kind of drawing, it’s a healing spell. This is for ‘lost innocence’, ‘soldiers’, and ‘the mad’.” Gretel moved her finger to the corresponding foreign word as she said it, then met his eyes. “It’s to calm nightmares and violent urges driven by ‘demons’-- which could mean horrible experiences, or literal demons. I’m not really sure.”
Sam followed her finger with his eyes as he listened to her explain. He was familiar with several ancient languages, not enough to be fluent but enough to recognise a few distinguishing words to at least be able to identify them. He was also fairly proficient at code breaking though he was nowhere near the same league as Charlie, or even Kevin had been. Still, this was different. It was somehow vague enough that he probably couldn't have worked it out on his own but with her explaining it the translation seemed to just fit, clear as day, as if you could never consider that it could have meant anything else.
"Sounds promising." He said, looking from her face to the sigils and drawings on the page. Any of those words could apply to Dean, and the part about demons resonated with Sam more than he would have liked to admit. He hadn't witnessed his brother become a demon, but he knew it had happened and it was a constant threat that it would happen again. "How does it work?"
Gretel glanced at his face after a moment, slowly letting her eyes swing away from the ancient book. “You mean how is the spell cast, or how does the magic itself work?” Immediately after she asked it, she shook her head- at herself. If she knew anything about Sam, he had both sides of that question in mind.
“I have to find a few things,” she said, looking back at the book. “Sea salt, a ‘precious’ stone- which actually means something small and inanimate that Dean holds dear. Maybe from your childhood,” she added, glancing back at him briefly before looking back to the page. “Water from a sacred spring…”
Gretel paused, squinting at the ancient language for a moment. “Sorry- the sacred spring…”
"Both." He said, just to clarify his point, though he was sure by the look of her face that she'd already got that. He had an expression of pure concentration as she listed off things she needed for the spell. Without saying a word he got up and went to the kitchen, returning a moment later with a container of salt. He placed it on the table next to her. "Sea salt I have." He said simply.
Again wordlessly he unbuttoned the top pocket of the shirt he was wearing and pulled out a small metal object. An amulet discarded long ago, and seemingly forgotten, but retrieved by Sam and carried ever since. "I'm not sure it holds the same meaning for him now as it used to....but it was important to him once. I'm not sure what else there would be in this place."
Sam leaned over the book, resting his hands on the table top as he tried to work out what she meant by the last statement. "The sacred spring?" He repeated. "Like holy water? Because I have that." He removed a silver hip flask from the back pocket of his jeans and placed that on the table next to the other ingredients. "Anything else?"
Gretel shook her head. “Not ‘water’,” she explained, looking back up at him. “This book predates the concept of holy ‘water’ by god knows how long. It means blood. Specifically, my blood.”
Already interpreting the look on his face, Gretel went on quickly. “Not a catastrophic amount- don’t worry.” She gave him a small sideways smile, though it wasn’t exactly jovial. “Wouldn’t be a very sacred spring if it dried up.” At least, without a daughter to carry on the line. She didn’t say that part, though.
"Oh." Was all he could say to that. The colour drained from Sam's face. He knew what she'd said, and what her movie had said, about parts of her being ingredients in spells but blood magic was pretty serious business, even if this was supposedly white magic.
But he did worry. How much exactly was not a catastrophic amount? "Well....I mean, are we talking a finger prick or a cut to the hand or do I need to get a transfusion lined up just in case?"
She’d gone back to carefully scanning the spell, making sure she had the translation correct so she could figure out how to best convey exactly what she was going to do to his brother. “‘Dependent on the amount of darkness that needs to be cleansed,’”she read aloud without taking her eyes off the page, then sighed, looking back up at him. “Meaning from what you’ve told me, enough to knock me off my feet for a while. What’s a transfusion?”
Sam rolled his eyes, of course things couldn't be that simple. "Then no, this thing is all kinds of ancient evil. I'm not letting you do that." From what Sam knew of the mark, which at this point was not entirely accurate, he was pretty sure it'd do more than 'knock her off her feet.' "It'll kill you. We'll find another way." He said sternly. He was not about to let anyone else die for his brother.
"It's uh.....y'know what never mind. We won't need it cos you're not doing it." Sam was suddenly not in the mood to explain medical procedures.
Gretel wasn’t exactly planning on sacrificing herself for this, either- and the way she looked back at him hopefully conveyed that fact. But she wasn’t just going to dismiss the best chance he had so far.
“I already figured I wouldn’t be able to lift the curse,” she explained, catching one of his hands the way she caught his eyes, and gently guided him back to where they’d been sitting. “I’m not going to let anything kill me, Sam… but at least I can try to give him some relief.”
He calmed a little almost the instant she took his hand, a little more when he met her gaze, and he allowed her to guide him back to his chair. "So what? You just take a pint or so? Will it even work like that or is it an all or nothing kind of thing?" Calmer or not he was still having a little trouble with the blood magic thing.
Folding her lips together a little, Gretel breathed out slow as she looked back to the book. She was quiet for a few moments, if only to make sure she had the information right.
“The spell makes a talismen- out of this…” She picked the little metal trinket he’d produced from his pocket up from the table in careful fingers, then let it sit in her palm. “Think of the blood like...energy in your body. The more you have, the more you can fight. I’m… I think I can just…rechargeit every once in a while.” She’d heard Sam use the term when he was teaching her how to use her tablet-thing, that it needed to be connected by a cable to the wall every day or so to keep it going strong.
Sam watched her carefully, never taking his eyes from hers as she read over the spell again. "You think?" He said a little incredulously. "Is there some way we can test this theory or do we have to go in guns blazing?" Sam hadn't been at ease with this idea as soon as blood was mentioned, if there was any kind of doubt then he was liable to pull the plug on the whole thing.
And even if they could get it to work he hadn't actually talked to Dean about it yet. The elder Winchester hadn't exactly been great at accepting help lately and Sam wasn't about to let Gretel bleed for nothing. "Maybe we should wait." He said quietly, though he wasn't entirely sure what good waiting would do. This was pretty much the best hope he'd had in a long time.
“If you mean make another talismen when you say ‘test this theory’, I don’t see why not-” Gretel said, though she couldn’t think of another way he could’ve meant. Then she looked at him pointedly.
“I could make one for you.”
Even he wasn't exactly sure what he'd meant by that but a test run seemed to be a sensible option. "Well yeah, that would probably be a good idea. I mean, then at least we'd have an idea how the spell worked." So then they might have an idea if it would work for Dean.
He raised his eyebrows quizzically at her when she suggested making one for him. "I'm not cursed." He said, though he honestly felt like he was sometimes. And there had been several occasions in the past when he'd felt like there was a definite darkness inside him that he was constantly battling to overcome. But that was the past and he didn't feel that way now. Besides it had nothing on what he'd seen the mark do to Dean.
"It's a healing spell," Gretel reminded him, her eyebrows raised gently. Pointedly. The meaning behind them was a connection: someone who knew a similar life, who lived in the shadow of common nightmares. "There's more than one definition of a curse..."
Sam exhaled slowly and considered her words. His reluctance wasn't out of any kind of fear or concern for himself, and if doing this meant something in the way of a cure for Dean then Sam would do it in a heartbeat. But knowing the kind of baggage he and his brother carried around he worried about the toll this kind of spell work could have on Gretel. Still, she seemed confident, and soothing his nightmares would be a relative cakewalk compared to the kind of power it would require to even take the edge off the mark of Cain.
Eventually he nodded and pushed the silver flask over to her. "Guess you will need that after all then."
It wasn't difficult to see the hesitancy in his eyes. She sympathized, maybe more than Sam could know. Hansel also had the same look, though her twin often hid it under a thick blanket of surliness. Gently, Gretel caught the flask off the table before it tipped over from the way he nudged it in her direction. Standing up from her chair, she grabbed the salt in the same hand as the flask, then rounded behind his chair.
Snaking one hand down from his shoulder and across his chest, she settled her cheek near his. Her loose braid following shortly after, pulled by the way she leaned into him.
"Trust me," she whispered, nuzzling faintly.
Sam brought his hand to meet hers where it rested on his chest and he laced their fingers together, giving a slight squeeze in an attempt to reassure her that trusting her was not the problem, and had never been in doubt. He closed his eyes as she nuzzled against him and he nodded again. "I do." He said softly, and he turned his head slightly to brush his lips against her cheek.
He sighed and shrugged his shoulders slightly. "Okay, so how do we do this?" He asked her, doing his best to sound on board. If they were going to do this then he might as well get it over with sooner rather than later.
Gretel found herself lingering there a moment longer, her eyes closed, breathing soft and low. Taking in the way he smelled, the way he moved as he breathed. His shoulders were tense, but she couldn't blame him. Hansel had had a very similar reaction when she attempted to cure his blood disease with their mother’s book. It worked, but only temporarily, and he'd refused to keep going that route since his medicine was relatively easy to make.
But this was a different situation.
"I need an iron bowl,"she said finally, giving him a soft squeeze before extracting herself from him and heading into his kitchen with the other ingredients. "Conveniently, I found a small pan that would work in my kitchen... I wouldn't doubt it you had-- one right here." As she spoke, the sound of metal on metal accompanied her voice as she put the cast iron skillet on one of the stove burners. "Bring the book, would you?"
By the time Sam joined her, she had poured a thin layer of salt over the bottom of the pan, then set it aside. Next, she opened his flask with reverent fingers, paused... then as if driven by instinct, poured the holy water over the salt.
When she broke contact with him and moved out of the room he sort of slumped a little against the table, raking a hand through his hair and rubbing the back of his neck. She wasn't wrong when she noticed he was tense, but he was kind of always that way. He didn't zone out as such while she was pottering about in the kitchen but he didn't respond to anything she was saying.
He didn't even respond when she asked him to bring the book, he just sort of glanced in the direction of the kitchen and did as she'd asked. He set the book down on the kitchen unit next to the stove, so that she could see it from where she stood, and he moved slightly behind her, resting a large hand flatly at the small of her back. He watched what she was doing intently, though he'd half expected her to pour the holy water down the sink or something, given that it wasn't part of the spell. It gave a satisfying hiss as it splashed against the hot metal of the pot, the kind of sound it made when it splashed over a demon, the sound it was meant to make.
Satisfying as it was, and a good effect for spell work he suspected that hadn't been part of the ritual. "I thought you didn't need the holy water?" He said over her shoulder.
"It's part of your talismen," she explained softly, her chin ticking toward him in a small way as she spoke. It was nice, the weight of his hand on her back, and the protective shadow he cast over her. It felt right ... on every level, from her skin to her soul, especially as she was doing this.
Gretel curled one hand to her back and pulled a curved blade with an antler hilt wrapped in leather from somewhere under her shirt. Sam would've recognized it as one of a pair, which she often used in the movie. She used the tip to stir the salt into the simmering water until it dissolved. Then, slipping it between the flask and the palm that held it, she made the jerk quick and deep, with little more than rod straight shoulders and a sound on her breath.
The silver glinted red where blood seeped through her fingers and painted onto the flask. Several drops at a time trickled into the pan as she glanced at the book, and mouthed a silent language. Using her bloody fingers, she turned it over and over in her palm until it was fully coated, then placed it bare handed in the potion.
The instant it settled, the bright red caught in a brilliant blue flame that gave off no heat. It lapped at the blood she squeezed over it from her hand, growing more brilliant with each drop.
Sam flinched slightly as she cut into her hand, but he was careful not to react beyond that in case he broke her concentration. He knew from experience that concentration could be key with something like this and if that was distracted it could change the outcome of the entire spell, or it could render the whole thing completely pointless and stop it working altogether.
For the most part he just watched her silently, never moving his hand from her back. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't fascinated in spite of himself, especially when she gained some sort of a reaction once the blood was added. As the flame grew brighter with each added drop he was transfixed for a moment, magic always had that sort of effect on him he just never usually had a lot of time to actually take notice.
After watching it for a moment or so, and once he was sure she'd completed her incantation, he reached out his other hand and gently took hold of her bleeding one. He urged her to relax it and pull it back from the flames. "I think that's probably enough, if we're just testing to see if it works." He said softly next to her ear.
It took her a moment to come back to the here and now, the key trigger obviously being his voice. Only when he spoke did Gretel blink, and the muscles in her hand and arm relax. Only then did she seem to realize he was holding it.
"Should be pretty instantaneous," she said back, a little raspy, like she'd been holding her breath. Her eyes switched back to the makeshift cauldron, where the blue fire surrounded the flask, lapping up every drop of blood and saltwater it touched, until nothing was left but the flask itself. Setting her knife down, she flicked the burner off.
Sam recognised the characteristics of a trance like state with the way she seemed to 'come to' when he spoke. He made a mental note to make sure he was present as often as possible when she was using her magic in future, particularly if she was going to use this spell for Dean. Inherent ability or not he knew how corrupting power could be even with the best of intentions, and though it was white magic they were working with here it was difficult for him not to be a little skeptical. All magic he'd ever known came at a price. The last thing he wanted was for her to have to pay it for something he'd asked of her.
Still holding her hand he drew it back towards them both, turning his attention to the cut on her hand rather than the pot for now. It didn't look too deep at first glance, but he'd need a closer look to determine whether she'd need stitches or not. At that point she reached to turn off the burner and he looked to the flames as she did until the last one died. He relinquished her other hand and tentatively moved to reach for the flask.
The gash was still seeping, but as long as she kept it wrapped tight, it would calm within the hour and not need to be sewn. Gretel grabbed the dish towel hanging on the oven handle, then coiled it around her hand as she kept an eye on Sam.
"Careful," she said. "I'm not sure if it's ---"
Her words stopped as Sam picked the flask from the still hot iron. Not only was it dry and free of blood, but also room temperature, but that's not what stopped her in her tracks. As soon as he touched the metal, a wave of visible blue and gold magic surged painlessly from his fingertips, traveling like a fast flowering vine up his arm, his neck, and finally to his eyes.
He glanced at her as she spoke but it didn't stop him from taking the flask from the pot. He knew it should have been hot, his fingers expected it to be but it was almost cool to the touch as his hand closed around it. At least for a split second after he picked it up, after that his fingers started to tingle, the kind of pins and needles feeling you get when your hand has gone to sleep. It wasn't an unpleasant feeling, just a little prickly and uncomfortably warm and for a moment he thought the flask must actually have been hot after all.
The feeling spread up his arm, accompanied by the warmth and now a brilliant blue light as well. He was sure he could feel it dancing on his skin and then it completely engulfed him, his vision swimming in a blue and gold haze before it dissipated as quickly as it had appeared. Sam stood, as if stunned, for a few seconds after the light had faded. "Is.....that supposed to happen?"
Gretel wasn't quite as surprised as Sam looked, but her eyes were still a little wide. She was more attentive to him, rather than what the spell had done, but admittedly, she was optimistic. After all, it all felt very right.
"Probably," she said with a little huff. "How do you feel?"
Sam had been too focused on the visible results of the spell to actually think about whether it had actually affected him or not. At her question he tried to tune in to his own emotional well being, trying to ascertain if anything was different.
"I....uh...I sorta feel....good, I guess." He sounded a little uncertain about that, it wasn't exactly clear to him because he wasn't sure what he was looking for. It never occurred to him that the spell might actually manifest in the absence of something, in this case it had alleviated his immediate worries and the guilt he had still been carrying about Jo and Charlie. "Kind of like...there's a weight off my mind."
Gretel’s tentative yet optimistic caution slowly melted into a ready smile.
“Good-!” She nearly chirped. “That’s… kind of exactly what it’s supposed to do. Essentially.” As far as she and her still limited context of white magic went, anyway- but she’d seen what the ravages of trauma did to people, from the children she and Hansel rescued from horrific fates, to those who wasted away in insane asylums and veterans of war. Wounds in the mind needed healing much more complicated than that of the body- that’s what this spell had been intended for.
As far as lifting the most ancient of ancient evil curses, she didn’t think it had a chance. But if she could continue to close the wounds it caused, maybe Dean did.
Sam still looked mildly confused by the whole thing but he visibly relaxed at her reassurance that this was the expected reaction. "Right...okay....well that's good." He said eventually still trying to process what this might mean with regards to his brother and the mark of Cain. Sam didn't like to get his hopes up, even if he could practically feel positivity growing with each passing minute. Was this what it felt like to not be burdened by everything? It was so....light.
Gretel tried not to, but it was difficult not to feel a little proud of herself, and the more the spell’s effect lightened his face, even brought his wide shoulders back as if an actual weight had been removed from them, she just went along with it.
“You’ll sleep like baby tonight,” she assumed with a sideways smile, tightening the towel around her hand.
Sam would believe that when it happened. He couldn't remember the last time he had slept longer than three hours, or hadn't experienced some kind of nightmare. But he didn't say anything, not wanting to take it away from her. She could still be right after all.
Instead he moved to one of the kitchen cupboards and brought out a first aid kit. He led Gretel back into the other room and urged her to sit down with him on the couch. He rummaged in the small box and came out with an antiseptic wipe, some gauze and a bandage. He opened the wipe and took her hand. "This is gonna sting a bit." He said before applying the wipe to her skin.
Stinging, she could handle, though admittedly whatever saturated the thing he placed on the wound burned a lot more than the actual cut itself. Like very strong booze- it smelled like it, too. Her nose wrinkled and her jaw tensed, sucking in a purposely slow breath to combat the sting, but she kept her hand still while he worked. It would fade quickly enough.
In the meantime, she was trying to think of a way she could explain this to her brother without incurring some kind of surly episode.
Sam was focused almost entirely on her hand as he cleaned and dressed the wound. Once he was finished he sat back a little and glanced up at her face. He was about to ask how it felt when he caught the thoughtful expression. "You okay?" He asked her, frowning a little.
“I- yes,” she nodded once, opening and closing her hand after he was done. She was obviously distracted, and knew he’d picked up on it. No use trying to brush over it. “I was just running over the conversation I’ll be having with Hansel about this.” This being her wrapped up hand and everything else that went with it. “He’s not particularly keen on talking about me and magic.”
"Oh." Sam said. She had mentioned Hansel not being a hundred percent on board with the whole magic thing, but he hadn't really considered that she might have to explain herself, or at least that she might feel like she had to. He had thought it was more a kind of 'don't ask don't tell' sort of thing. But then he supposed that she probably didn't make a habit of keeping things from her brother, unlike him and Dean.
He couldn't really offer anything in the form of a suggestion, instead he reached over and ran his fingertips gently down her cheek. "I'm sorry." He said sincerely. "Do you want to borrow my magic feel good flask? It really takes the edge off." He smiled at her, joking but not in an unkind way.
If the affectionate touch hadn’t already lightened her eyes, his little joke certainly would have. Where there had been a gentle smile, now was a genuinely amused grin, flashing teeth and everything. She snorted a laugh in the back of her throat, turning her head enough to place a thank-you kiss to his palm before leaning more comfortably against the back of the couch, her elbow perched there, propping her brow with her knuckles as she looked him over.
“It’s fine,” she assured him, and let that subject drop. Hansel would be unhappy, but he knew she’d never place herself in danger- besides, it was for a good cause, and he had never been able to deter her from her good causes. “Since we’re waiting to see just how much of an edge it took away for you,” she added, looking pleased and expectant. “What do you want to do?” He could flip through her mother’s book more, if he wanted. Plan more about what they were going to do with it regarding Dean. Any number of things, really- but she wanted to see where his head was.
Sam couldn't stop the grin that spread across his face at the sound of her laughing. He wasn't entirely sure it was fine, but she clearly wanted to leave the subject and he wasn't about to push her to talk about it.
He gave a sort of uncertain laugh at her question. "I...uh...I don't know actually." He was torn. He was intrigued by the book and he definitely needed to have a more in depth look at it at some point, if she'd let him, but somehow research didn't seem so appealing right now. It hadn't even occurred to him to make any plans with regards to Dean because they couldn't go ahead with anything until Dean actually agreed to it.
Sam was not used to doing things he wanted to do, he was used to doing things he had to do, so to be asked what he actually wanted and to magically not feel obligated to choose something necessary was kind of new to him. He sort of felt spoilt for choice. "What do people do for fun again? It's been so long I barely remember."
“I think you’re asking the wrong person,” Gretel chortled back in the same tone. Also, getting more comfortable on the couch had one of her legs gently draped over his lap- she didn’t even think of it. “My context of ‘fun’ is probably as underdeveloped as yours.”
But her sense of observation was probably just as developed, and the more Gretel looked- the closer she paid attention- she could really see the difference the spell worked behind his eyes. The skin at their corners crinkled when he smiled. Their deep hazel-brown seemed, somehow lighter. Maybe it was the afternoon sun, but she doubted it.
Sam laughed at her response. A deep, rich laugh that resonated in a way that his previous laughter, although genuine, had lacked. As if it had been somehow stifled or shackled by the weight of years of his own personal grief and guilt. He heard the difference, just as she must have, but he tried to move passed it without dwelling too much on what was different about him.
He rested a hand on the leg she had draped over him and his face settled into a contented smile as his eyes met hers. "Well that makes for a pretty boring afternoon then, if neither of us can think of anything 'fun'." He teased.
Definitely a difference- there was no question about it, now. Not with that laugh, which put a surprised, amused, and obviously delighted edge to her already present grin. It mellowed out to something warmer as he moved past his own surprise, and even before he was finished teasing her, Gretel’s uninjured hand had hooked two fingers in the collar of his shirt, and pulled him in for a kiss.
It was thoughtless- pure impulse, followed almost immediately by her realization that she needed it more than she’d let herself admit earlier. The happy flip her stomach made also felt like relief. Like taking a breath for the first time in too long.
Sam had barely finished talking before she pulled him into that kiss. He didn't generally like to be caught off guard but he was more than happy to make an exception where Gretel was concerned. He recovered almost immediately and he was all too eager to return that kiss wholeheartedly.
He moved the hand that rested on her leg and brought it up to frame her face, brushing his thumb against her cheek as he deepened the kiss.
What was it about Sam’s touch that both filled her with boldness and made her knees weak? The days- or weeks- of separation had to have been part of it, but the sound on Gretel’s breath was definitely not a complaint. Still kissing him, she smoothly leaned forward and across his lap, her body language a little more hungry.
Sam didn't need telling twice, even if no words had been uttered, there was no chance of mixed messages in this particular situation. Sam leaned with her until they were in a relatively comfortable position and as close to each other as physically possible. He moaned softly in response to the sound she made.
Draped over and entangled with each other, even fully clothed, was definitely the best thing she could think of to do with their time. The kiss lingered, slow and savoring, before she pulled back just enough so she could focus on his face. There was a difference in his eyes she couldn’t specifically place, but not a bad one, and she wasn’t in the mood to dissect it. She wanted to stroke back his hair- which she did- and enjoy the way he moved as he breathed, this close to her.
Sam was a living testament to that old saying about the eyes being the window to the soul, although he rarely spoke about things he was thinking or feeling his eyes betrayed him every time. It was partly why he could be easy to read when something was troubling him. Currently, however, his eyes practically sparkled, there was nothing troubling playing behind them. When she pulled back he smiled at her lazily and relished in the feel of her hand sweeping back the hair from his brow. He gave her a slightly quizzical look as her gaze lingered a little on his eyes. "What?" He asked her with a playful expression.
The simplicity in the question, as well as his expression made Gretel smile wide, and put a laugh in her voice. “What do you mean what.” She stroked more of his hair back as she spoke. And hitched her leg just a little more, instinctively finding any way to touch him as much as possible. “I can’t just stare at you for no apparent reason,” she teased.
Sam grinned. "I dunno, guess I'm not used to unbridled adoration." He laughed softly. "But hey, if that's what you wanna do then don't let me stop you."
He closed his eyes as she stroked his hair again, even such a simple touch as that felt almost electric to him especially coupled with how at ease he felt right now.