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14 May 2006 @ 11:46 am
Okay, so I had this dream the other night. I know what you're thinking, and let me just say get your mind out of the gutter! Although Sammy and Dean did have starring roles, it was not that kind of dream. Hehe, more's the pity. ;p
Anyways, it starts out I'm at this beach house with my dad, complete with ocean view, white sand and whicker furniture. He's laying down on this whicker couch, with a beard even though he shaved his off last year. That isn't the weird part. The weirdness comes when he starts turning into John Winchester. I guess it sort of makes sense; my dad's name is John too, and though he was never in the Marines, and obviously doesn't hunt the supernatural, (my brothers are nothing like Sam and Dean) there are some similarities. But that's neither here nor there. The point is one minute he's my dad, the next he's John Winchester. Sam and Dean come in about then. It's get weirder. Weird in the general sense of the word, because in comparison with other dreams I've had, this one doesn't even scratch the surface. They're investigating something, I have no idea what, but they're talking with their dad, bouncing ideas back and forth. I watch this conversation like I'm in the room with them.
But then the three of us are the end of this long boardwalk overtop the beach. Behind us is stairs down to the sand, and at the other end is the beach house. We're trying to get back to the house, but then these two freaking look twin ghost girls, one red head, the other blond, appear in the way. Sam and Dean start screaming for their dad to help us, but he's asleep and can't hear.
The dream goes on from there, but I really don't remember most of it, and I'm about the worst story teller in the history of the world anyway. The point is that this show has eaten my brain; I can no longer use sleep to escape from the obsession that takes over in the waking world, leaving me unable to do the simplest of tasks without wondering, I wonder what Dean would do here? or I wonder how Sam would react to that?

Yes, you can call me pathetic. I'll be the first to admit it.
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: snoring dog
10 May 2006 @ 06:51 pm
I went to Bestbuy today to pick up Kansas Greatist Hits cd. My dad had always played that kind of music, and Kripke only rekindled my love for it when he applied it to my favourite boys. So I take it up to the register, and the woman is like, "I hadn't heard that song (Carry On My Wayward Son) in years, and then they played it during Supernatural last week." And my jaw just dropped. Because, lets face it, it's one thing for me to obsess over these guys, watch the episodes over and over again. It's a whole nother ball game to leave the house and still be confronted with it. When I wasn't even looking for it.
Anyways, I had to extract myself from the situation carefully, otherwise I would've been there until closing comparing the hotness of JP vs. JA, Sam vs. Dean.

And while I'm on the subject of the hottie otherwise known as Jensen Ackles, I rewatched Devour today. The movie itself is laughable, if I'm going to be honest about it. But his acting is incredible, including one particularly hot though highly improbable sex scene with a desk chair. And tears! Real tears! The noteworthy part is that I rented this movie from work while Supernatural was running in November, I think, and I didn't even connect Jensen Ackles with himself. I guess just because Dean and this Jake guy are totally different characters. The acting is so different, I guess I thought they were different people. Right, could I use different anymore times in one shot? I think not.

Off I go to eat my Smarties ice cream before it melts.
Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: Dust In the Wind
08 May 2006 @ 07:07 pm
Okay, so after watching the episode over and over again for the past three days, there's a few things I gotta get off my chest. If anybody cares to read this, that is. Definitely going into detail, so here's my first attempt at an lj-cut.

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Current Mood: geeky
Current Music: CCR
08 May 2006 @ 03:13 pm
Title: Thorn Inside Ch 4
Author: Spikers91
Ratings: None
Summary: Dean learns just how much little Sammy has changed over the years.

A/N: As always, mondo thanks to mmarinov for an amazing beta. I realize a lot of you have a problem with the fact that Sam would simply cut Dean out of his life. I'm going to ask that you suspend your disbelief, and keep in mind that I started writing this back between Hookman and Bugs. In light of the way the show's going, I'm inclined to belief with everyone. So let's just pretend it's a little AU, as well as futurefic. Haha. Enjoy, and please let me know what you think!

The side panel of the dark truck is hot against Dean’s back, but he doesn’t move. Couldn’t move even if he possessed the motivation. Maybe he’s a little worse off than he admitted to Sam, and to himself, no less. The knee of his good leg has begun to tremble, tiring quickly from having to support the weight of his entire body.

He thinks he might have trouble maneuvering himself up the steps of Sam’s porch, but judging by the way the conversation between him and his wife seems to be going that might be a moot point. His hands tighten reflexively around the handles of his crutches, and he wonders how far he could get before Sam noticed he was gone.

But then that turns out to be the moot point, because he hears footsteps move down the wooden stairs, and onto the gravel of the driveway. Before he can straighten up, before he can wipe the look of pure misery off his face, she appears in front of him. She’s beautiful in a way that after seeing Jessica, Dean wouldn’t have expected from his kid brother. Long, dark brown hair hanging around her face in loose curls, she has full lips, a pointed nose, and large chocolate brown eyes. She’s wearing a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt with the Harvard logo stamped on the right breast, but he could just as easily imagine her in lingerie, spilled out across a loveseat for the eagerly awaiting cameras. And before he can hate himself for even beginning to think that about his brother’s wife, she’s smiling at him and holding her hand out for him to shake.

“Hi Dean. I’m Kellie. Your sister in law.”

Her voice is soft and sultry, and he can almost hear the i-e at the end of her name. She shakes his hand carefully, mindful of the bandages and painful stitches beneath, and when she continues to look at him without saying anything, he realizes she’s waiting for him to speak.

“Uh, hi. Yeah, it’s good to meet you. I’m, uh, Dean.”

For once, he’s thankful for the painful damage to his face, because even the risk of scarring is made better by the simple fact that the bruising hides his blush. He’s never felt awkward in front of women or girls, even back when he was a kid and after living non-stop with brother and dad, no female influence to speak of. But this woman, despite being one of the most beautiful he’d seen outside a magazine, represents something much more than that. She’s the personification of everything Dean used to fear, everything Sam used to want in place of the life he was born into.

He flounders for something to say, but doesn’t have to follow through because Sam appears just behind his wife and to the right. He looks mildly ashamed, an expression Dean doesn’t think he’s ever seen on his brother. Before he has a chance to think further on it, Sam is slipping past Kellie and laying a gentle hand on Dean’s arm.

“Do you need a hand inside?”

And just like that they’re back on familiar ground. As if he’d done it intentionally, Sam’s hand drops away and he steps back with a smirk, just in time to avoid Dean’s left elbow jab. “Dude, when I have ever needed ‘a hand’?”

Sam looks pensive, tapping a finger against his chin as though deep in thought. “Well, do you want the abbreviated list, or should I go into detail?”

Sam falls back a step when Dean shoves him awkwardly, and watches with a strange tightness in his chest as his brother adjusts his crutches and begins the marathon journey to the front door. Kellie leads the way, walking slowly and speaking over her shoulder.

“We can set you up in the guest room. It’s got it’s own bathroom; I’ll just have to change the bedding. It’s been a little while since we’ve had anyone stay over.”

“Don’t go to any trouble on my account.” Dean hesitates at the bottom of the stairs, wondering if it would be easier to hop up with the rail as his guide rather than use the crutches. “I’ve slept on worse than dusty sheets.” He sets to work on getting his broken body up those steps; so intent on the task he doesn’t notice Sam playing safety net behind him.

Kellie waits patiently by the front door, watching with warmth in her eyes at Sam’s hand ghosting at the small of Dean’s back. She’s far from forgiving her husband for lying so extensively and so purposefully, but in the past two minutes, she’s been introduced to a side of Sam she’s never seen before. From orphan and single child to younger brother in a matter of minutes, she wonders if he’s hidden anything else from her.

Sam has always been protective over their family, sometimes bordering on obsessive and approaching annoying, but seeing his attention focused on a stranger is to put it simply, strange.

“Don’t be silly. It’s no trouble.” Dean’s made it up the steps without trouble, and Kellie opens the front door, stepping inside ahead of him. She hears only the briefest of sounds, nails scratching against the wood floor, before Dean suddenly shouts something about getting down, then his casted arm sideswipes her and sends her tumbling into the wall next to him. Sam is sent similarly out of harms way, and before Kellie can blink, Dean’s yielding a cast in his left hand like a club and reaching for something that seems to be missing in the waistband of his pants.

“Dean!” Sam’s bellow surprises her, in spite of the scene in front of her, and it seems to break through whatever mental haze his brother has fallen into.

Dean blinks owlishly, staring in something akin to wonder at the crutch clenched awkwardly in his hand as if he doesn’t know how it ended up there. His heart is beating fast and furious in his ears, thundering in a panicked reaction to something he is not yet aware of. And then the strange scratching sound appears again, and just like that he’s back in hunter mode, crouching down to lower his center of balance, rather gracelessly with the addition of the full length cast.

“It’s just the dog!” Sam yells again, wrenching the cast from Dean’s hand at the same time that a well-muscled German Shepard comes barreling around the corner towards the trio. Kellie rises to her feet, grimacing and rubbing at the sore spot where her shoulder connected with the wall. She moves forward to intercept the dog before he can knock anyone to the ground. There’s been enough of that going around already.

“Jesus,” Dean mutters, looking in surprise at Sam, then turning around to Kellie. His hazel eyes are wide in astonishment. “I’m sorry, I didn’t…I thought it was something else.”

Sam bends to pick up the other crutch, abandoned on the floor in all the excitement. “A crutch? Fucking hell, Dean! What good is a wooden crutch going to be?”

Although not quite understanding the meaning of the words, Kellie recognizes the emotion behind them. She signals for the dog to sit and he obeys rather reluctantly, tongue lolling out as if in distaste of the command, brown eyes locked on the stranger standing in the foyer. “It’s all right, Sam.” Her shoulder still hurts, but Dean looks so embarrassed, like he’s hoping the floor will open up and swallow him whole. Despite the fact that he caused it all, she can’t help but feel for him. While she doesn’t understand the forceful action, as a mother she more than knows the need to protect. And it’s impossible for her to mistake her brother in law’s actions for anything else. “Just a misunderstanding.”

Sam still looks angry, a little tense around the shoulders, but he sighs anyway. “Yeah, those have a way of happening around him.” He steps around his brother, jerking a thumb over his shoulder towards the sibling in mention.

“I said I was sorry!” Dean adjusts the crutches, and follows Sam onto the wooden floor. “Whadya want me to do? Get down on my knees and beg forgiveness?”

“It would be a good start, yeah!” He speaks the words in his most serious tone, but a smile is tugging at the corners of his lips, and if not for that, the twinkle in his eyes would’ve given him away.

Dean reaches to shove his younger brother, loses his balance and almost falls until Sam reaches out and steadies him with one hand. Dean doesn’t acknowledge the save, Sam doesn’t wait for a thank you, and Kellie watches the exchange with wide eyes and the sense of someone being left out of an inside joke.

“Kitchen’s this way,” Sam says, motioning with one hand over his shoulder. Dean adjusts his crutches and follows, chin dropped to his chest to hide the wide grin on his face.

Inside the stainless steel and black granite kitchen with gleaming appliances and spotless fruits in clear glass bowls, Sam catches the closest chair tucked under the mahogany table and kicks it over to Dean, who is unable to hide his grateful moan when he finally sinks into it.

“This is, uh, a really nice house,” the eldest Winchester says, looking around at the hardwood floors, expensive looking furniture and shiny fixtures as though he actually had some idea as to how much any of it was worth.

Sam pulls a small wooden box out of the cupboard above the refrigerator, holds the kettle up to his ear and shakes it gently. “Yeah, well, the roof doesn’t leak, we don’t get booted out at checkout time, and the neighbours are more than three feet away.”

Dean grins, wide and unassuming and without baggage, so like himself, like before, that Sam feels something inside his chest clench tight and cut off his breath. The expression is at complete odds with the damage to Dean’s face, but it looks at home on his features nonetheless.

“Even so, it’s still a nice house.” The grin remains, and though Sam should’ve expected a comment like that from his brother, it surprises him anyways. The tightness in his chest disappears, and he wears a matching grin when he chucks the wet sponge at Dean’s head. It misses its target, hits the floor with a splat, and Dean laughs.

“I can see your aim hasn’t improved at all.”

Sam shakes his head, sets the kettle in the sink and begins filling it. “Wrong, big brother. After all, the un-aimed arrow can never miss.”

Dean pulls a face, contorting his features in such a way that has to put uncomfortable pressure on the bruises. “Dude, you know I hate it when you get philosophical.”

Kellie appears in the archway leading to the kitchen, complete with massive tan and black coloured dog at her side before the conversation can turn a one-eighty. She lets the dog go and he rushes forward, shoving his snout into Dean’s crotch and sniffing as though it’s his last hour on Earth.

“Spike!” Sam barks from the other side of the kitchen, and Dean can remember a time when it was his name said in that menacing tone. “Back off!” The dog listens obediently in a way Dean never did, backs up a step and sits, tongue lolling out as if there’s no room for it in his mouth.

“Sam, he’s just trying to get to know your brother. He didn’t do anything wrong.” Kellie stands over the dog, her arms crossed in defiance, and Dean can sense a fight coming like the humidity in the air before a thunderstorm.

Sam doesn’t look up as he pours boiling water into a trio of mugs and adds tea bags with a noisy plop. “Dean’s hurt. He doesn’t need a dog’s nose shoving at him, pushing on all his bruises and stitches.” He finally lifts his chin, and his green eyes are pleading. “He needs to take it easy.”
Dean wants to protest, to let it be known that he is not some porcelain doll that’s going to break in half with the chuffing breath of a dog. But he recognizes the emotions on Sam’s face, sees the urge to mother-hen in his eyes, and he’s brought back to a crazed road trip to Nebraska, mud up to their ankles and the debilitating inability to catch his breath.

Apparently Kellie reads the emotion correctly as well, for she grabs the dog by the collar, and speaking softly under her breath, leads him to the back door and the fenced yard beyond.

“Thanks.” Their eyes meet over the potted plant sitting in the middle of the table, and just like that, all is forgiven. Well, maybe not all, but enough so that Kellie feels no conflicting emotions when her lips turn up into an answering smile. Everything else can wait until they are behind closed doors.

Sam carries the three mugs to the table, places one in front of his brother, hands one to his wife, and keeps the last for himself. Dean peers into the mug, sniffing suspiciously and wrinkling his nose in distaste. “Dude? Tea?”

Sam rolls his eyes as he sits down across the table. “It’ll help your muscles relax, and it won’t keep you up until dawn. Just drink it.”

Dean picks the mug up as though it might reach out and bite him. “I don’t have to stick my pinkie in the air, do I?”

Kellie laughs softly, but Sam’s beginning to lose patience with his brother, frustration existing hand in hand with the elation that still lingers after finding him alive and reasonably well.

“Just shut up and drink the tea, okay? For once make this easy on me.”

“Gotta keep you guessing, Sammy.” Dean takes a sip of tea, and it’s only by sheer force of determination that he keeps his lip from curling in disgust. “Wouldn’t want you to get soft, now would I?”

Sam rolls his eyes again, the second time in as many minutes, but it’s a smile he’s hiding behind his mug.

“So, Dean. Sam never mentioned, what is it that you do?” Kellie assumes the eager listener pose, leaning forward on the table, elbows resting on the smooth, shiny surface with her chin in her hand. The pointer finger of her other hand absently traces the swirling patterns on her mug.

Dean shrugs listlessly, doesn’t see the look of poorly disguised worry on his brother’s face. “I’m sort of between things right now. Burning through some savings. Something will come up.” He lifts his chin, catching Sam’s meaningful gaze from across the table. “Something always does.”

“Tell me about it,” she says flippantly, and Dean wants to. He wants to tell stories of werewolves and vampires and demons just so that look of commiseration could be wiped off her face. Intellectually he knows she’s not trying to annoy him, that it’s his frayed nerves and quick temper that are to blame, but the slow burn inside his chest has its own ideas. She has no idea what his life has been like, not even the barest of hints if the clues Dean has been reading all night are anything close to being right.

Sam clears his throat loudly as if aware of Dean’s burgeoning yet disproportionate anger. He glances at the watch on his wrist and says, “It’s ten to three, Kel. Shouldn’t you be heading out?”

Kellie frowns, checks her own watch and quickly rises to her feet. “Yeah, you’re right. I’ll be back in twenty minutes, or so.”

And then she’s gone, moving quickly towards the front hallway and swiping a set of keys off a side table on her way out. Sam waits until the door closes behind her before he rises to his feet.

“I bet you want to get out of those clothes,” he says, grabbing his brother’s half-empty mug and instinctually knowing he’s done with it, dropping it in the sink. “I can show you the guest bedroom while we’re up there.”

He waits patiently with his arms crossed while Dean lurches to his feet, unable to hide the accompanying grimace.

“Dude, I don’t suppose you’re hiding an elevator around here anywhere.”

Sam’s eyebrows rise in barely disguised astonishment. His brother’s attempt at humour is quite possibly the closest he will ever get to admit sickness or injury, and like before, it’s very telling about just how poorly Dean is feeling.

“No, no elevator,” Sam says, slowing his speed and shortening his stride to match Dean’s as they move back towards the front of the house and the stairway leading upstairs. “But if you ask real nice, pretty please with a cherry on top kind of nice, then I’ll consider giving you a piggy back ride.”

Instead of indignation, Dean snorts laughter. “Says you, string bean. Like your scrawny ass could carry me up those stairs.”

Sam makes a show of giving Dean an appraising stare, finishing with a nod and a disapproving frown. “You know, you’re right. You have gained weight. Well, if you can’t make it on your own, I guess I can call one of the neighbours.”

The middle finger tossed over his shoulder at Sam slows Dean’s rhythm down, but he considers the sacrifice worth it. It’s been so long, too long if he’s honest with himself, that they participated in actual, no-holds-barred verbal sparring without some hidden mental landmines to carefully step around. Of course, having been apart for seven years, neither would know if these traps existed but the instinct to return to their natural bantering state is much too strong for such trivialities.

Sam again acts as safety net while Dean lumbers his way up the flight of stairs, internally grateful they’re hardwood and not slippery carpet. Never in his thirty-five years has he been afraid of falling down the stairs and breaking a hip, but his brief and nearly unbearable hospital stay has helped put things into perspective. He wants to avoid that place like it harbours the Ebola virus.

He’s breathing hard when he reaches the second floor, but Sam thankfully doesn’t acknowledge it. He simply leads the way down the carpeted hall, past several closed doors on either side, to the one open at the very end. He pushes the door open for Dean and enters behind him.

The room is decorated with a lean more towards functionality than beauty. The bed is a double, mahogany head and footboards with a plain light green comforter and accompanying flannel sheets. The walls are painted a similar green, though several shades lighter, with matching curtains covering the windows. A door in the far right hand corner presumably leads to the ensuite bathroom, with double doors next to it predictably the closet.

Sam leaves his brother in the doorway, and begins stripping the bed, leaving the comforter folded back but pulling the sheets off all together.

“There’s a stack of clean towels in the bathroom,” Sam explains, motioning over his shoulder to the closed door behind him. “But you know not to get the stitches wet, so you should probably wait to have a shower. Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste are in the medicine cabinet; Kellie likes to keep a supply on hand for anyone dropping by.”

He dumps the pile of dusty sheets near the door, and pulls a fresh set of the same colour out of the room’s matching mahogany dresser. “I picked up everything else, shaving stuff, that deodorant you like, while I was getting your prescriptions so that’s all taken care of. I don’t think you…”

He looks up suddenly from his task, hands frozen in the process of smoothing out the wrinkles. Dean remains in the same spot he settled in when they first entered, an unreadable mask of emotion on his face.

“Dean? You okay?”

The eldest Winchester visibly pulls himself together, and says in a thick voice, “Fine. I was…uh…just thinking.”

Sam’s eyes are questioning, but he doesn’t push the issue any further and for that Dean is grateful. He doesn’t want to explain to Sam how his incredible ability to cover any possible contingency when Dean was injured reminded him too clearly of the last years they spent together.

He clears his throat, swallowing the thickness that bubbled up from his chest, and moves forward to sit on the room’s only armchair -one in an astonishing shade of light green.

Sam finishes with the bed, folds the comforter back into place. “Let me go grab something for you to change into.” He doesn’t wait for a response, simply breezes out of the room with a single mindedness that he often sunk into when Dean was injured.

He returns in a matter of seconds with a pair of worn sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt draped over one arm.

“These will probably be too long for you,” he says with a snicker, tossing the offending items on the bed. “But you could always roll them up so you don’t trip.”

Dean rolls his eyes. Petty shots about their difference in height is not worth him getting riled up over. Especially when his leg his beginning to ache something fierce, and he feels like he hasn’t slept in two weeks. He grabs the hem of his borrowed pullover, and starts to take it off before pausing mid motion.

“Dude? Some privacy?”

Sam smiles, shakes his head in an embarrassed manner, and slowly backs out of the room. “I’m going to get your prescriptions ready. I’ll be downstairs.”

He leaves the door open behind him; whether on purpose or simply an accident, Dean can’t be sure. Confident in the fact that they are the only ones in the house, and those footsteps clumping down the stairs are indeed his younger brother’s, Dean begins to change.

His injuries make it astonishingly difficult to undress and pull new clothes on. By the time he’s finished, he hears the front door downstairs open and slam closed, and what sounds like a herd of gazelles go barreling into the kitchen.

Dean sighs, smoothes the wrinkles down the front of the borrowed sweatshirt. He doesn’t want to go down those stairs, and not just because he feels like he suddenly aged eighty years in two days. If the childish giggles floating up the stairwell are any indications, then the first floor of this Martha Stewart-esque house harbours exactly what Dean has been running from all these years. The evidence, all clearly labeled and laid out before him, of how whatever Dean had been able to offer his brother was never enough. The life Dean tried to give Sam had never met whatever internal requirements and standards the youngest Winchester had established for himself, so he’d left to do it himself. Intellectually, Dean knows it’s not that simple, that it never is, but intellect never had anything to do with his heart.


His head whips around, bones and cartilage popping as the discarded medical scrubs fall from his hands to the bed. A young boy stands in the doorway, with wild blond hair and hazel eyes that are vaguely familiar. He casts a suspicious glance in Dean’s direction, eyes narrowing in an expression that brings melancholic pangs to Dean’s heart.

“Who’re you?” The kid says, crossing his arms against his chest, and though he can’t be a day older than five, the posturing looks completely natural on him. If Dean ever had any doubt that this kid was Sam’s, the arms crossed in front of his chest and the argumentative hitch to his hip erased it all. The Spiderman shirt with chocolate stains and the worn jeans with grass stains suggest a familial relationship to Dean himself.

“I’m Dean.” He’s never been good at dealing with kids, Sammy the obvious exception to the rule, and now is no different. The kid’s nose wrinkles, he shakes his head and pencil straight blond locks fly about his face.

“No, you’re not. I am.”

And isn’t this an interesting development. With a barely disguised grunt of pain, Dean bends and retrieves the scrubs from the floor. Out of the back pocket, he pulls a worn black leather wallet, the only thing he managed to keep out of sight from the many doctors and nurses he became rather reluctantly acquainted with. Inside is his driver’s licence, the real one, issued in the state of Kansas with his real birthday, real name, everything real except the birth certificate that allowed him to get it. The original had burned in the fire. He holds it out to the kid. “Read that.”

The kid frowns, wrinkles his nose again. “I don’t know how yet.”

Dean is surprised for a minute; his brother had been reading like… a person who reads too much since he was old enough to realize the strange symbols lined up next to each other on pieces of paper bound together actually held some kind of meaning. He’d taken to it like Dean never had, and it surprises him to see that wasn’t passed on to his son. Presuming this is Sam’s son, and not some neighbourhood schmuk with remarkably similar features trying to get in on some Winchester love.

“It says Dean Winchester. See that?” He taps his own face trapped beneath a plastic card pocket. “That’s a picture of my handsome face. Means I’m Dean Winchester. Do you have one of these?”

The kid shakes his head. “No.”

“Well, then. How do I know you’re not lying to me?”

Barely more than a minute with this kid and Dean already has him in tears. Must be some kind of a record, surely to be broken the next time the eldest Winchester is left alone with a child under ten. But this kids mouth and chin are familiar enough, and Dean has never been able to stand seeing Sam upset.

“Relax, kid. I’m just teasing. We can both be Dean Winchester. I’m pretty sure there are more of us out there. You got a middle name?”

The kid’s chest puffs out in pride. “John. Daddy says it’s the name of an American hero. But he was like a secret agent so nobody knows ‘bout him ‘cept us.”

Dean’s heart clenches in his chest, even after all these years, and he turns away for a moment to hide the emotion he knows is written all over his face. Damn Sam. Nasty little trick, taking off like he did and then saddling this kid with years of therapy if he ever learns whom exactly his names refer to. As if he’d gone out of his way to pull on his older brother’s heart strings, years after the fact.

“Why do we have the same name?”

Dean takes a deep breath, tramps the emotion somewhere down where it won’t catch him off guard again. “I don’t know, kid. I bet your father named you after me in some misplaced sense of guilt. But don’t worry about it. I’m a pretty cool guy to be named after.”

“How do you know my daddy?”

“He’s my brother, munchkin.”

Both Deans whirl around at the sudden voice in the doorway, the elder cursing himself at his own inattention. Believing to be safe in his own house, Sam has forgotten the need for stealth and walks like a giraffe wearing army boots. It’s laughably easy to hear him coming, and yet Dean allowed himself to be distracted by this small child. It’s an understandable mistake, but one that could cost someone their life.

Sam stands at the threshold, leaning against the jamb with his arms crossed against his chest, unintentionally mimicking his son’s posture from earlier. The smile on his face is nostalgic, melancholic as his gaze moves between his son and his older brother.

“Your brother?” Little Dean’s tone is incredulous, his eyes wide in surprise. If Big Dean ever doubted his place in Sam’s new family, the kid just cemented his concerns as spot-on. He’d always known his link to Sam’s separate life was tenuous at best; after all, it had been absurdly easy for Sam to cut his brother out of his life at Stanford with only the barest of mentions. But he would never imagine that he’d be wiped out of existence like an ex-girlfriend or a high school buddy gone bad.

By a miracle of repression, he manages to keep the hurt off his face and even goes so far as to smile. “Yup. And you bet your dad perfected the annoying little brother act.”

He doesn’t look at Sam, but he can feel his brother’s concerned gaze on him. No doubt Sam is aware of what just happened, of what Dean has learned simply by observing. He decides to cut the heart-to-heart off at the pass.

“So. Kids, huh? Didn’t exactly see that coming. You got any more?”

Sam smiles softly, shakes his head. His brother makes it sound like they’re nothing more than expensive ornaments, something to be taken out an admired at the opportune time. Of course, Sam knows his sibling better than that. Dean has always had an affinity for kids, whether he liked to believe it or not. As if they somehow sensed the trauma of Dean’s own childhood and what he had to give up, kids generally accepted him without questions or concerns. It made quite a few jobs that much easier.

“Two more. I’ll go get them; I forgot your pills on the counter.”

Dean sighs. “Sam, you don’t have to wait on me. I can get down the stairs, you know.”

“Oh yeah?” Sam snorts sarcastic laughter. “Cause it looks like you might collapse any minute. Look, just sit down on the bed and wait for two minutes, all right? Is that so hard to ask?”

Dean rolls his eyes but doesn’t otherwise respond. There’s really no point in arguing with Sam, not when his brother has made up his mind, and Dean is incapable of convincing him physically. He sits gingerly on the bed, lifting his cast to stretch along the length and leaning against the headboard.

Little Dean watches with big, interested eyes. He rounds the bed at a good clip and jumps on the other side, bouncing once or twice before settling on his knees.

Dean watches him carefully, as though the kid might suddenly sprout a second head and try to devour him whole.

“What happened to you?” Little Dean asks, reaching out with a tentative hand to brush his fingers against the fiberglass cast. “Does it hurt?”

“A telephone pole jumped out in front of me when I was driving.” The kid looks up in surprise, hazel eyes narrowed in suspicion before he recognizes the teasing glint in Dean’s eyes, similar to that of his Dad’s. He laughs lightly, his tiny fingers moving up to ghost over the bandages on Dean’s hands.

“Daddy had to wear one of these once.” He touches the cast on Dean’s left wrist. “He fell off the ladder when he was hanging the Christmas lights. Mommy left me and Lizzie and Em over at Mrs. Parkinson’s while she took Daddy to the hospital. He couldn’t play football with me for a long time cause Mommy said it hurt too much, and it hadda get better.”

Dean opens his mouth to tell the kid his dad always was a little too sensitive, but changes his mind at the last second. “Well, she’s right, buddy. It does hurt.”

Sam reappears in the doorway then. There’s a baby tucked against his left hip, waving around a plush Spongebob in one hand and holding tightly to Sam’s t-shirt in the other. She’s giggling madly at some inside joke the others are not privy to. From behind his brother, Dean can barely make out the form of a little girl, probably no older than three, holding tightly to Sam’s jeans with both hands and hiding behind him with her face pressed against the back of his thigh.

“These are the other two.” Sam shuffles forward, his movement limited by the child attached to him like a limpet. He sits down at the end of the bed, near Dean’s feet, and Kellie follows with a small plastic tray she sits down on the night table.

“This is Emma,” Sam says, motioning to the baby sitting in his lap. “And this shy little munchkin is Lizzie.” He lays a big hand on the middle child’s head, tucking the blond curls out of her face. “Sweetie, this is your Uncle Dean. You don’t have to be afraid of him.”

“She’s always been a little shy,” Kellie says by way of explanation.

But Dean doesn’t hear her. He’s still trying to wrap his head around Uncle Dean. So much has happened in these past seven years that he feels whiplash just trying to keep up with it. The kids are all adorable, if he’s going to be honest, with glimpses of both Kellie and Sam written in all of them. And he swears little Lizzie’s mouth and nose is identical to features he now only remembers from photographs yellowing with age.

Uncle Dean.

He tastes the words in his mind, rolling them over and over again until no angle is overlooked. He decides he likes the sound of it.
Current Mood: calmcalm
Current Music: Safety Dance
17 April 2006 @ 07:47 am
Title: Enter Sandman
Author: Spikers91
Warnings: none
Summary: Jake Dawson has nightmares about people on fire. The people are different; sometimes it’s a beautiful blond woman about his age being consumed by flames, other times it’s a tall, lean kid with dark hair.

A little different than I usually write, and a little ambitious for me, if I may say so myself. Beta'd by mmarinov, my hero. Any mistakes are mine. Anyways, here goes.

Jake Dawson has nightmares about people on fire.

The people are different; sometimes it’s a beautiful blond woman about his age being consumed by flames, other times it’s a tall, lean kid with dark hair. The venues change too; most often it’s obviously a house, but the odd time or two the place has the feeling of something transitory, like a motel. The only constant in these dreams is the fire, the unbearable heat against his face. The horrible screaming that pierces through his awareness and wakes him up.

Oh, and the fact that they’re pinned to the ceiling.

He’s gotten a lot of practice at waking quietly. The majority of nights, he’s out of bed with a change of clothes before his wife Sarah has any idea there might be something wrong. She wakes up to an empty bed, and eventually finds him asleep on the couch in the front room, the light from the muted television lighting his face in flickering bursts.

Tonight is not one of those nights.

The nightmare is one of the worst he has experienced. The heat is beyond unbearable, even in the dream he fears he might be burned. The flames flickering across the ceiling and the nightdress of the woman stuck there are brighter, and much more vibrant than anything he has seen in real life. The woman, her long blond hair having burned away, isn’t screaming, but her lips are moving and Jake feels as though she is trying to say something to him. But he can’t make out the words, and the image of her lifeless body pinned to the ceiling, trying desperately to communicate this one last message, is something that’s going to be seared across his eyelids for months to come. Through all this, the scorching fire, the roar that accompanies it, he can hear the softest of sounds; a baby crying, and it’s that sound that affects him stronger than anything else in the dream, it’s that sound that echoes in his ears as he feels his wife touch his arm, and realizes he’s awake and sitting up in bed with the images of the dream playing across his vision like an old fashioned movie projector.

He must’ve woken with a yell, because although she’s a very light sleeper, it’s not too often that he rouses her with his dreams. She’s looking at him with such concern written across her features, and yet he can tell she’s not all there, that there’s somewhere she’d rather be. And than he notices the crying baby wasn’t entirely in his head, because he can hear the tinny cries of his nine-month old son over the baby monitor sitting on the nightstand.

He waves a hand at her, absolving her of her wifely duties to see what woke him, if he’s all right, and she takes it without question. He bends at the waist, burying his face in his hands as she leaves the bedroom and heads down the hallway towards the nursery.

The nightmares are commonplace now. They happen often enough, and with such alarming frequency, that he has come to expect them. A night when he does not dream of death and destruction and burning is an anomaly. And yet, every night he retires next to his wife, turns out the bedside lamp and closes his eyes, he thinks maybe this will be the night. Maybe tonight will be the night when he manages to get a full night’s sleep, and does not have any disturbing images to mull over while he drinks his morning coffee.

So far, it isn’t working.

“Was it a bad one?”

He lifts his head from his hands. Sarah is standing in the doorway of their room, little baby Ben cooing happily in the secure crook of her arm as the tears are still drying on his cheeks. Jake shakes his head.

“Not really, no.” He doesn’t like lying to her, especially when his stomach is churning from the horrible solidity of the nightmare, but he knows there’s nothing she can do to stop them. They’ve already tried nearly everything they can think of; why give her cause to worry when neither one will gain from it?

But Sarah is far from stupid, and she frowns as she walks forward and sets Ben down on his stomach on top of the covers. She notices her husband’s hands still trembling as he reaches out to the baby crawling towards him with manic delight.

“Jake, keeping it bottled up inside isn’t going to help.” She sits on her side of the bed, drawing her long legs up beneath her. She knows Jake has more nightmares than he tells her; he might think he’s getting away with it, but she’s not so heavy a sleeper that she can doze through the man next to her thrashing and moaning. Pride is very important to her pig-headed husband, and most nights she lets him think his attempts not to wake her are successful. The truth of the matter is that his nightmares are depriving them both of sleep.

Jake scoops up the warm bundle of baby, lays him against his chest and wraps his arms around him as tight as he dares. He loves the heavy, comforting feeling of his children in his embrace; he loves feeling Ben’s tiny fingers take hold of his t-shirt, Ben’s warm breath against his neck. He especially loves the smell of his son’s fuzzy blond hair, like a mixture of baby shampoo and laundry detergent. Most of all, he loves the way the baby looks at him like he’s the only person that matters in that moment.

“She was trying to tell me something,” he says, words muffled by his lips pressed against the top of Ben’s head.

Next to him, Sarah clicks on the bedside lamp and sends him a puzzled glance. “Who was?”

“The woman. It was the woman again. She was burning, her hair was all gone, her skin was peeling off, but she was trying to tell me something. Whatever she needed to say, it’s important. I can feel it.”

His voice has taken on a haunted quality, as though he’s not aware of his wife’s presence any longer, and is merely speaking to himself. His hazel eyes stare off into the farthest corner of their room. Alerted to his father’s distress, either by his increased heartbeat, tension in his arms, or some other, subtler way, Ben wiggles, his pudgy baby features twisted in displeasure. More for his son’s benefit than his own-the selfless touchstone of Jake’s existence-he takes a breath and forces himself to relax.

Sarah lays a gentle hand on her husband’s arm. “Jake, honey, it was only a dream. Dreams can’t speak to you.”

He hears her words, and recognizes the logic in them, and yet some part of him knows she’s wrong. The dream had a different quality tonight, more urgent than the others, as if he’s rapidly approaching a deadline that he never knew existed. He feels that whatever the woman had been trying to tell him is somehow related to that feeling.

He kisses the top of Ben’s head, and turns to his wife. “Go back to sleep, sweetheart. I’ll stay up with this guy for a while.”

Sarah glances at her pillow longingly, but when she looks back to Jake, her gaze is reluctant. “Are you sure? You’ve got work in the morning.”

He smiles, reaches across the space between them to press a kiss to her lips. “I’m sure. I won’t be able to sleep anyway. Sarah, it’s fine. Go to sleep.”

She sighs, and Jake knows he has won. “Fine. But if he keeps you up for too long, for god’s sake, wake me up. The absolute last thing you need is to lose another night of sleep.” Even in the muted light of their bedroom, she sees Jake roll his eyes. If not for the baby in his arms, she would whap him with her pillow. “I mean it. You need your sleep.”

He smiles again, mock-salutes her with his free hand, and she lays back down cursing softly about sarcastic, stubborn-as-mules husbands. It’s a matter of moments before her breathing evens out and she’s out like a light.

It doesn’t take long for little Ben to follow his mother into the land of slumber, and Jake waits another few minutes to make sure he’s out before replacing him in his crib in the nursery down the hall.

The hallway is dark when Jake makes his way towards the stairs; outside, the moon and its illuminating glow is hidden behind a thick veil of clouds. But Jake has never needed light to navigate his home, and tonight is no exception. He steps over the darkened shape of Moose, the family’s German Shepard, sleeping sprawled out on the wooden floor outside Jake’s oldest son’s room.

Downstairs, more out of habit than anything, he makes a circuit through the house, checking the doors and windows to ensure they are locked. Crime is nearly non-existent in their little suburban pocket of the town, but Jake has seen enough during his life to know that a lack of precedent doesn’t really mean anything.

He stops at the bay window at the front of the house, feels pressure on his left side, and looks down to see Moose standing next to him. The dog moves incredibly quietly, considering the house is floored in hardwood, and even as often as they trim his nails, he can’t take a step without being followed by a click-click. Jake wonders if maybe he’s a little more out of it than he would like to admit.

He drops one hand to fondle the dog’s ears gently, while the other pulls the curtain back a few inches. The street is quiet at 3am; the fog that descended upon the town just after dinner is lit eerily from above by the orange bulbs of the street lamps. It’s the perfect setting for a zombie-horror movie, Jake decides, and begins to replace the curtain when he notices something strange.

Parked across the street, just outside the sphere of sickly orange light cast by a single lamp, a dark, classic car sits unattended, gleaming despite the lack of natural light. Jake, who has a passive interest in American muscle cars, admires the smooth lines and classic design, despite the slight damage to the front end, and the scratches that are visible along the driver’s side. The depreciation is negligible, and Jake is reasonably sure the dents and mars could be buffed out with minimal expense.

But, he thinks with a sigh as he lets the curtain fall back, he drives a sluggish SUV, his wife a mid-sized sedan, and despite how much he may want one, there is no room in their bank account for a car of that nature. A gas-guzzler, one that he couldn’t explain away with towing capability and four-by-four drive. With three kids, a wife, and a dog, it just isn’t practical.

“You gotta admit, though,” he says to Moose, as he turns to head back upstairs. “It’s a damn nice car.”

He begins to move up the stairs, expecting to hear the telltale noise of dog nails on wooden floor, but silence greets him. He backtracks, heads back to the window where Moose has planted his front feet on the sill, peering outside with an intent rarely seen in the absence of snausages.

Jake looks outside again. For all intents and purposes, the dog is staring at the car. At least, Jake thinks he is. The colour and shape of Moose’s eyes make it difficult to tell where exactly his attention lies, but if it’s true that dogs begin to act like their owners after long enough, and vice versa, Jake can be reasonably sure that Moose has developed a love for finely built American motor vehicles in the past years.

“Come on, buddy. If I plan to wake up at all, I should probably get a few hours of sleep in.” He waits patiently for the Shepard to react, but nothing happens. Nothing happens when Jake begins to walk away, slapping his thigh. Nothing happens when he brings out the big guns, stern voice, ‘come’ command and all. Nothing continues to happen until Jake begins to worry. Clearly something about the car is bothering Moose, and though he has never based his life on relying on the instincts of his pet, he has been shown more than once that the dog has good insight. It’s this trust based on experience that makes Jake want to grab his Sig Sauer out of the hallway safe, and go check it out.

He gets so far as to back slowly towards the closet when a tiny voice from the stairs stops him in his tracks.


As if summoned by her father’s thoughts, Maggie stands on the fourth step up, rubbing her eyes with a fisted hand and dragging a plush Batman behind her. Her normally pencil straight blond hair is sticking up in random directions; her porcelain skin marred by pillow lines.

“Hey monkey, what are you doing up? You should be fast asleep.”

Jake moves forward and scoops the girl up, Batman and all. She lays her head sleepily on his shoulder, and curls an arm around the back of his neck.

“I hadda dream ‘bout you, daddy. ‘Cept you weren’t you.”

Her words were muffled by the worn fabric of his t-shirt; if she had spoken them in the middle of the day, he might’ve taken them more seriously. But if he fretted every time this child had a strange dream, he would’ve dropped dead from a heart attack years ago.

“Really? Well, I hope I was still this devilishly handsome. And a few extra dollars would be sweet. Was I rich in this dream, munchkin?” Maggie giggles quietly against his neck, but is already half asleep and has little interest in her father’s poor attempt at humour.

Complete with clinging four-year-old child, Jake moves back to the window, but Moose has lost interest. When he checks, he’s unsurprised and yet strangely concerned to see the car gone. What kind of person moves their car at three in the morning? And why hadn’t he heard it start? Surely a car like that started with an intimidating roar. His senses are tuned well enough that there is no way he could’ve missed a sound like that. Had he imagined the whole thing? Maybe he’d been a lot groggier than he previously thought, and simply conjured the image out of some misplaced desire to own a similar car himself. But surely that couldn’t be it. He may be tired, but he isn’t delusional.

Sighing, he calls Moose to his side, who finally comes happily, and the trio heads back up the stairs. There is no need to worry about it now, he decides. There is little that can be done about phantom cars at three in the morning. A good few hours sleep should clear his head of any cobwebs, and he can give it an in-depth ponder over breakfast.

Morning came much quicker than he would’ve liked, and when he shuffled into the kitchen, scruff-faced and bleary-eyed, nothing was any clearer than it had been the night before. If anything, the only noticeable change had been to further question his sanity. Sane people didn’t imagine classic cars parked out in the road in the middle of the god-forsaken night. But if he imagined it, what was with the dog? Unless they suddenly operated on the same brain wavelengths, that just didn’t make sense.

Sighing, Jake puts it all out of his head and accepts the mug of coffee his wife hands him. The kids are already up; Ben is sitting in his highchair, giggling madly at some unseen joke and flinging cheerios in every conceivable direction. Maggie is looking through a picture book as she eats her cereal, despite their ‘no books at the table’ rule, and looking no worse for wear considering her late night, or rather, early morning excursion. The only one missing is Jake’s six-year old son.

“Where’s Scooter?” he asks his wife, pulling out a chair and plunking down across from Maggie. Since the ripe old age of eight months, when all attempts at some semblance of control were shot down, their oldest son has been known simply as Scooter. That child was able to crawl with the kind of speed that Jake frequently pulled people over for. The kind of speed that when he tried to describe it, he was given a soft smile and a pat on the back, because everyone knows that a father’s son is always the best at everything. At least in his eyes. But as proud as Jake was and still it, as intensely as he loves his son, he hadn’t made any of it up. But since they hadn’t owned a video camera back then, the only proof he has is the nickname that has stuck with the kid since those days.

Sarah, still dressed in her pajamas with her robe cinched tightly around her waist, glances out the window over the sink. “Out back with the dog. He’s already been up for an hour.” She moves to the stove and flips over the pancakes cooking there.

Jake smirks, looks over his coffee mug and across the table to his daughter. “Better than Miss Maggie-Pie over here. Had another one of her dreams last night.”

Sarah forgets what she’s doing and looks up in surprise. Unlike Jake, she sees her daughter’s sleep troubles and intense dreams bordering on nightmares as something to take seriously, perhaps something indicative of some kind of emotional damage. Countless arguments about said subject had led to only one conclusion: they both saw the situation differently, and would likely stay that way until the dreams ended, or Maggie moved out.

Sarah comes closer, setting a plate down in front of Jake with one hand and caressing her daughter’s blond locks with the other. She worries her lip with her front teeth for a moment, before her green-eyed gaze fixes on her husband.

“What about you? Maggie’s not the only one with strange dreams.”

Jake wants to roll his eyes, but has far more respect for his wife. So he hides the distasteful expression behind his mug as he takes a long pull of his coffee. They’ve been over this so many times it feels like reading from a script. “Sarah, it’s no big deal. People have dreams all the time.”

“Sure, people have dreams. But they generally don’t wake up shaking like a leaf and drenched in sweat night after night.” She dumps the dirtied pan in the sink and begins scrubbing it with vigor.

Jake stands, drains his coffee and picks up Maggie’s empty fruit loops bowl on the way by. “I know you worry. I understand that, I probably would too. But I’m standing here, telling you I’m fine. They’re just a mild nuisance. Nothing more.”

She drops the pan in the sink, wipes her hands on a dishtowel, and turns to face him. Seeing the earnest worry in her eyes, Jake feels bad at having dismissed her concerns so casually.

“You have no idea what it’s like, Jake,” she says, wringing her hands fretfully between them. “Waking up to you crying out in your sleep, sweating buckets, tossing and turning. Watching you go through all that and knowing you won’t accept any help is hell for me. If you won’t talk to me, maybe you should talk to someone else.”

“What, like a psychiatrist?” He shakes his head vehemently. “No way, I’m fine.”

She reaches out and touches his face, runs her thumb gently across the bags underneath her eyes. “Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re exhausted. How much more of this can you take before you crash?”

He opens his mouth to respond, knowing that she deserves at least that much effort on his part, but is saved from having to form any actual words when Scooter and Moose come banging in through the back door. In the resultant confusion of wriggling dog, excited boy with grass stains on both knees of his school clothes, and cheerios flying every which way, Jake plants a kiss on his wife’s cheek and bids them all farewell for ten hours.

“You didn’t eat anything!” Sarah calls to his back.

He pauses at the front door to shove his feet into his boots, and grab his keys off one of many small hooks by the window. “I’ll grab something on the way. See you later!”

And then he’s out the door, free from questions about nightmares and worries and thoughts about strange cars parked in the road. At least until his shift ends.
Current Mood: sicksick
Current Music: ahhh...silence
03 April 2006 @ 08:09 pm
I feel like I'm about to jump out of my skin.
I'm so tense right now I don't see how it could possibly get worse, but then someone tells me something, and it's like, bam! Another 110 degrees tighter.
I saw a couple of horsey friends on the weekend, and that was awesome. But then I found out that my friend's mom is having lameness issues with her horse, and they have to take him to the vet. It's not looking good, and they'll probably have to put him down. He had major problems before they ever got him, and they put all this work in to him, and it might be for nothing. I don't really know the horse, but my friend is so much more torn up about it than I thought she would be, and I'm really afraid the horse won't be saved, and she'll be heartbroken. They lost another horse two years ago, and three horses before that. It's like, where does it end for these poor people? You invest so much, emotionally and financially, with these animals to have it end so poorly...This is probably going to sound horrible and selfish, but I find that in twenty years, I've never really felt like this for someone. I'm making myself sick worrying about Murphy (the horse) and Marlee(my friend) and Linda(her mom and my old riding coach). I've never really worried like this, beyond it's effect on me, and that makes me sound like the worst person ever, doesn't it?
Then about an hour ago, this girl I work with out where my horse is called me, and said that this young girl is riding him now, and doing a really good job. And this sounds ridiculous, but I find myself worrying that this twelve year old girl is going to do better with Zippy than I ever did, and they won't let me ride him anymore. It's been like this for the six years I've been riding him; everytime someone else comes along and starts working with him, I get terrified they're going to take him away from me...*breath deep*
And on top of everything else, school is giving me an ulcer, worrying about getting everything done, and this goddam fitness test and everything. Not to mention money and work.
I need some kind of outlet, maybe one that exists outside of all these problems I've created for myself. Hmmm...Must resolve to get more writing done.
On a completely different sidenote, I watched Brokeback Mountain the other day, and it's just as heart wrenching and gorgeous as I remember it. Mmmm..Heath Ledger, even as a gay cowboy, is so frigging hot...
Anyways, I need to go cool down. All this hashing is getting me ansty again.
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
Current Music: Switchfoot
23 March 2006 @ 04:23 pm
Does anyone else get intensely frustrated with Oprah Winfrey? She's a fucking contradiction on legs.
I watched one of her shows last week, because Jada Pinkett-Smith was on, and I'm in love with her husband. The show was about the problems teenage girls are having with self-esteem and self-image. Some doctor got a panel of young girls together, and they were asked all kinds of questions about how they feel about themselves, and others. Most of the girls admitted to having some kind of self-image problem, one even went so far as to say she thought she was a 'beast.'
So Oprah and Jada start pointing out all these characteristics about this girl that they thought were beautiful, and admirable, and pretty much everything the poor thing had convinced herself she wasn't.
I've never really liked Oprah, but this episode made me respect her because of the potential it had to help young people. But instead of going away with new found respect for someone I previously disliked and a generally more optomistic outlook on humankind in general, I decided to watch through the commercial brake. And get this. That very same day, not two minutes after telling a girl that only what she thinks of herself matters, they advertise an episode showing the week after devoted entirely to European tricks to staying thin and youthful looking.
Does that make any kind of sense to anyone?
Maybe I'm reading too much into this. Maybe I'm a little touchy and defensive after having living through teenage years riddled with my own self-hatred and self-doubt. But to tell scores of teen girls that they're beautiful the way they are, and nobody's opinion but their own matters, and then to advertise a show telling them the exact opposite...?
I need to go for a run. Pent-up anger and aggression in nobody's friend.
Current Mood: angryangry
Current Music: What else? AC/DC
17 March 2006 @ 11:13 am
Title: Thorn Inside Chapter Three
Author: Spikers91
Warnings: just language. If you're really sensitive.
Summary: Sam drags a reluctant, injured Dean home to meet his family. The only problem is everyone in his new family thinks he's an only child.
Author's Note: Huge thanks to Monica for the timely beta, and neverending support. Everyone go read her stuff, it's awesome!!

Sam knows he should be paying attention to what Dean’s doctor is saying. He knows first-hand how important it is to take proper care of serious injuries. He should be taking frigging notes.

But he can’t ignore the bubbling of nervousness in the pit of his stomach. Bringing Dean home with him was never an issue; Sam knew the minute he saw his older brother with a cast on his leg that he would be changing the linens on the bed in the guest bedroom. And he’s happy about it. He really is. Needing to take care of Dean, to keep an eye on his injuries is a great excuse to get to know him all over again, to mend the bridges that had broken between them. Living without his brother in his life hasn’t exactly been hell, but this is certainly preferable to the alternative. So he’s happy. Really, he is.

The only problem he has, if a gun was held to his head and he was forced to identify one, would be the fact that Dean has never integrated well into normal life. While Sam has grown up craving the mundane and ordinary, Dean becomes restless far too quickly without something to kill or something trying to kill him. And Dean’s not exactly the easiest person to get to know. There are so many touchy points and mental traps hidden in his sub-conscious that holding a simple, sincere conversation with someone outside the business is near impossible for him. Sam knows he is going to have to be careful about time spent between Dean and his family.

So, maybe he feels a little trepidation towards Dean coming home with him. It doesn’t change the fact that he would do, and is doing, anything for his brother. He will happily cultivate an ulcer borne of worry if it means Dean is safe, and they are together under Sam’s roof.

“Do you have any questions, Mr. Winchester?”

Sam comes back to himself, and blinks owlishly at the doctor, a petit, middle-eastern man with round tortoise shell glasses. He glances down at the instruction sheets the doctor handed to him when they were introduced, and shakes his head. He feels confident enough in his experience to know he can handle it. If not, the hospital is a short drive away.

“No, thank you, Dr. Deep. I think we’ll be all right.”

The doctor smiles, and offers his hand, which Sam takes in a warm handshake. “If anything arises, please feel free to give me a call. Your brother is a very lucky man, but things could quickly go the wrong way if he’s not properly cared for.”

‘If only he could hear you say that,’ Sam thinks, as his smile widens, and he thanks the doctor once more.

For the past twenty-five minutes, he has been filling out forms, signing his name, and listening patiently to a variety of instructions from a variety of different people. It’s no doubt that when he returns to his brother’s room, Dean looks surprised to see him.

“I thought you bailed on me,” he says shifting uncomfortably on the bed. His clothes had been ruined in the accident, and though he had probably whined like a little girl throughout the whole process, the nurses had helped him put on a pair of mint green medical scrubs and a dark blue pullover they found in the lost and found. It smells a little funky, Sam notices as he moves to Dean’s side, but the ride home isn’t a long one, and he has a closet full of clean, freshly laundered clothes Dean can change into.

“I’m not leaving you,” Sam says, and wants to add, ‘not again.’ But that would be dangerously approaching ‘chick flick territory,’ and if he wants to get Dean back to his house, he’s going to have to try and not scare him away. He pretends not to notice the emotion written across Dean’s face.

“Are you going to be able to handle those?” Sam grabs a pair of crutches leaning against the wall, if only to steer the conversation in a different direction, and though they’re a little short for him, he manages to maneuver in the small space fairly well.

“Dude, are you kidding? I was the champ of crutch walking when we were kids. I’ll be fine.”

Sam rolls his eyes. He places the crutches on the wall and sits next to Dean on the edge of the bed. “I meant with your hands, dufus. That’s probably going to be pretty painful.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Dean shrugs ruefully. “I’m not supposed to be walking much for a while anyway. What are we waiting for? Can we please get the hell out of here?”

More than anything, Sam would like to be on their way, but he isn’t sure how to tell Dean that legally speaking, the only way he’s getting out of the hospital is by orderly-pushed wheelchair. Luckily, he’s saved from that particular obstacle when said wheelchair is moved through the doorway. Dean spots it right away, and doesn’t need to be told why it’s in his room.

“Oh, hell no. I can use the crutches just fine. Get that thing away from me.” The look of disgust twisting his features might’ve been funny if Sam hadn’t feared his brother might try and claw through the wall to avoid it.

“Dean, it’s the only way. They can’t let you leave the grounds if your ass isn’t in that seat. It’s a legal liability thing.”

Dean fixes his brother with an intense look, hazel eyes as close to begging as he will probably ever come. There’s a hint of desperation in the depths of Dean’s eyes, as if there’s something much more than merely his pride on the line. Sam wonders what that might be, but as soon as he thinks it, the shutters come down over Dean’s face and he just look angry. And petulant. “Sam, I can walk just fine. I don’t need a fucking wheelchair.”

Sam can only shrug. “I’m sorry, Dean. It’s the only way you can get out of here. There’s nothing I can do.”

The orderly remains silent behind the wheelchair, as if knowing anything he could say would in fact decrease the chances of getting this difficult patient out of here. His gaze moves back and forth between the brothers, waiting patiently for one to give in so he could get on with his day. He doesn’t have to wait long.

Dean lets out a long, melodramatic moan worthy of a melancholic water buffalo, and gingerly gets to his feet. He predictably shakes off Sam’s offering hand of assistance, and hops over to the wheelchair with a grimace, leaving behind him a string of obscenities covering everyone from Sam himself to the hospital’s administration to the producers of wheelchairs. He settles into the seat with a groan, and sends Sam a heated glare.

“You’re lucky I’m in such an accommodating mood.”

Sam rolls his eyes. “Oh, is that what this is? Let’s just get the hell out of here before you manage to offend someone else.”

Above Dean and slightly to the side, the orderly smirks, but carefully schools his features when Dean whips around to stare at him.

They move through the corridors without incident, but Sam doesn’t miss Dean’s eyes searching the crowds of working people on either side. He’s looking for someone, Sam realizes, but he knows that to ask will only get him a cocky, snide remark while Dean shuts down a part of himself. So he keeps his lips pressed together, silent, as they reached the elevator and Dean looks at his hands, brow turned down in disappointment.

The orderly lays a hand on Dean’s shoulder. “I’ll be right back, Mr. Ulrich.”

He moves away, heading back towards the nurses station. Dean’s head remains down, his chin tucked against his chest and tilted slightly to the right. He mumbles something, but Sam doesn’t catch it, and has to lean down to hear it again.

“I said, hit the elevator button.”

Sam complies without questioning why, and it isn’t until Dean’s reaching for the crutches still in his hand that Sam realizes what’s going on. If he was a little worried earlier when Dean acquiesced to the wheelchair a little too easily, that worry is replaced with relief when his brother lurches to his feet and with the aid of the crutches, limps onto the waiting elevator.

“Dude, I told you I can walk fine,” he says, in response to the sharp bark of laughter that bursts from Sam’s lips. He struggles a little with the cast, but manages anyhow, and the doors close on Sam and Dean’s sinfully wicked smiling faces as the orderly returns and sees what just happened.

“Do you realize-” Sam begins as he reaches out and hits the button to take them to the lobby. “-That it’s only been two hours since we hooked up again, and I’ve already lied to a friend, not to mention a detective, and helped you violate hospital procedure, procedure that’s in place for a reason?”

Dean rolls his eyes. “Sorry, grandma. I didn’t know what else to do; the game of euchre was all filled up.” He glances up at the illuminated numbers lining the area above the elevator doors, and drums the fingers of his good hand against his thigh. “Since when did you become Mr. Law Abiding Citizen anyway? I seem to recall you committing a surprising amount of felonies back in the day.”

Sam’s glare could cut steel, but Dean’s not willing to acknowledge it. His hazel eyes flit about the small enclosure, landing on everything that isn’t vaguely Sam-shaped.

“Since I found myself a life to protect. I’ve changed, Dean.”

And just like that Dean’s gaze lands solidly on his brother’s face, studying features with a strange intensity. “I can see that,” he says softly, his gaze lingering on the laugh lines that have appeared at the corners of Sam’s eyes.

An acknowledging beep sounds through the elevator, announcing their arrival on the main floor as the doors open to the bustling activity of the lobby.

“So that’s it?” Dean asks, as he adjusts his grip on the crutches and doesn’t wince as the action pulls on still healing wounds. “We’re done? I don’t have to come back here?”

Sam holds the elevator door open as Dean struggles out. “Barring any complications, you’re good. Whether or not you can keep your ass in a bed long enough to heal remains to be seen, however.”

“Just you wait. I will heal faster than anyone has healed in the history of injuries.” He makes a face when Sam’s hand falls on the small of his back to help guide him through the opening doors. At this point, though, he knows better than to bite at the hand that will hopefully feed him in the near future.

“Everything has to be a competition with you, doesn’t it?” The sidelong glance Sam sends his brother is tinged with amusement as he digs in his back pocket for his car keys.

“Does not.” Dean looks expectantly around the parking lot, checking out the available rides for no other purpose than to give him somewhere to look. “Whatever you drive, I bet it’s not half as cool as the Impala was.” He sees nothing that catches his interest, and though he has long since dealt with the demise of his car, he feels his heart tighten just noticeably at the thought of driving with Sam in some other car. It smacks faintly of betrayal, and Dean is nothing if not loyal. Even to a car.

Again, Sam rolls his eyes. “You don’t need me for these discussions, do you? You prove my point all on your own.”

“Whatever, dude. Just point me in the direction of your little hatchback and let me get rid of these damn things.”

His words, however unintentionally telling they are, clue Sam in to just how hurt his brother really is. He points to the Explorer that naturally is at the end of a long line of cars. “It’s down there.” He wants to offer to bring the car around while Dean waits, but he knows the only way he would get that done is with a set of handcuffs and a length of rope.

Dean doesn’t say anything, but the sweat sprouting on his brow speaks louder than any words. For not the first time in life, he fears he might’ve over-extended himself. It wasn’t that long ago he was unconscious on the operating table, getting pins inserted to stabilize the compound fracture of his left leg. Maybe he moved a little too quickly in pushing to leave, if the trembling in his elbows and knees is anything to go by.

“You want me to-”

“No, Sam. I’m fine.”

Sam rolls his eyes, but a small part of him is relieved. If Dean has the strength to act like a tough guy, than he can’t be as bad off as Sam’s instincts are screaming. But the conversation and potential argument is rendered moot as they reach the Explorer.

“Get in the back,” Sam says, as he takes the crutches and tosses them into the trunk. “There’s more room for your cast.”

“Geez, you sure are getting bossy in your old age, aren’t you?” Dean opens the door with a grimace, then carefully levers himself up onto the leather seats, biting the inside of his cheek until it bleeds to keep from moaning. He slides all the way to the other side, with his back against the opposite door and his cast stretched out on the seat before him. Sam closes the back door, and climbs in the drivers seat before replying.

“Whatever you say, bro, just remember that no matter how old I get, you’re always four years older.”
Dean makes a face, but has no response so he keeps his mouth shut and leans his head back against the window. Up in the front seat, Sam starts the car, and before he can reach the radio, the sounds of Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam blast through the speakers. A surprised, self-righteous grin threatens to break Dean’s face in half.

“What’s this, Sammy? You listen to actual music now?” Sam’s face burns red as he turns off the CD player, and is saved further embarrassment by the fact that in the back seat, Dean can’t see the blush. “No more Green Day, or Fall Out Boy, or God forbid” –Dean shutters theatrically, speaking as though he’s got a mouthful of shit and doesn’t want to say the word- “Maroon 5? Good for you.”

Sam shifts into reverse, and twists in his seat to back the SUV up. He glances at Dean’s amused features before focusing on the task at hand. “Don’t get all high on yourself. It just reminds me of the old days.”
He puts the Explorer into drive, and carefully maneuvers around the busy parking lot, making certain he doesn’t accidentally glance in the mirror and catch sight of Dean’s mocking expression.

When two minutes later, Dean still hasn’t said anything, Sam risks peeking into the mirror, and is surprised by the softly stunned expression his brother is sporting as he stares at Sam’s
reflection. “What? What do you keep looking at?”

“Dude,” Dean says, his voice heavy with uncharacteristically expressed emotion. “The past seven years without my stabilizing influence turned you into a sentimental, emotional woman, didn’t it? A woman with good taste in music, but a woman nonetheless.” He smirks, lays his head back against the window, and closes his eyes.

Sam can only shake his head. He briefly entertains the idea of slamming on the brakes and sending the seatbelt-less Dean into the back of the front seats, but forgoes the notion when he remembers that an injured Dean, much like a wild animal, is a very dangerous thing to be in an enclosed space with.

Dean’s quiet for a blessed ten minutes during which Sam begins to wonder about the logistics of explaining this seeming sudden addition to his family to his wife when his brother suddenly sits up straight in the backseat, hazel eyes wide in shock.

“Dude, your vibrator’s going off against my ass.”

Sam, who despite being apart for seven years, is well versed in the segue-less style of Dean-speak, still has no idea what the hell the man is talking about? “My what is doing what with your what?”

Dean rolls his eyes. “Your cell phone, Sam. And you call me perverted?” He tosses the offending object into the front seat; it bounces off Sam’s shoulder and lands in his lap. Keeping one eye on the road, Sam flips open the phone and reads the screen. He promptly sucks in a breath.

13 missed calls. And as he sits staring at the screen, wondering what he could possibly say that might take away the sting of forgetting to call for three hours, the phone buzzes in his hand. Not just a reminder of the calls he missed, but an actual incoming call. He flips it open and answers.

“Sam, Jesus! Where have you been? I’ve been out of my mind! You said you were just going to get diapers, and that was two hours ago! What were you thinking?” His wife is obviously frantic and terrified with worry, so how can he blame her when he has to hold the phone away from his ear to avoid his eardrums getting blasted out?

“I was at the hospital, Kellie.” He doesn’t think before he says it, and winces as stunned silence settles over the line. “I’m okay, though,” he amends quickly. “I’m not hurt.”

“Then what’s going on?” She sounds wary, without the edge of desperation from seconds earlier, but still concerned nonetheless.

“I’m on my way back now. I’ll be there in a half hour, traffic willing.” He glances back at Dean, looking pale and drawn with his eyes closed and leaning back against the window. He doesn’t want to have to explain to Kellie that he is in fact not an only child, like he told her, but that he hid the existence of an older brother from her to keep her from probing too deeply into his past. At least, not when said hidden older brother is painfully within earshot in the backseat. She thinks he is an only child, that his parents were killed in a car accident when he was thirteen, and he was bounced around in foster homes until he was eighteen. His wife is a fair woman, but he has no idea how she will react to being told she’s been lied to the entire six years they’ve been together.

“Sam, what’s going on?”

Sam blows a sigh out through his lips, and looks back in the rearview mirror. A pair of slitted hazel eyes meets his gaze; his grip tightens unconsciously on the wheel.

“Everything’s fine, sweetheart. I’ll be home soon. I love you.” He snaps the phone shut, cutting off her string of demanding questions and tosses it on the seat next to him. His attention is refocused on the road before him, and he stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the stare he can feel on the back of his head. Of course, Dean could never stand to be ignored for longer than a few seconds at most.

“Dear wifey doesn’t like the idea of her brother-in-law dropping in for a visit?” His voice has an edge to it, almost as if he’s wise to the whole situation and resents it. Sam comforts himself with the fact that though he might pretend otherwise, Dean doesn’t know everything, and there’s no way he could possibly know how deep in denial Sam has been living.

“I never told you I was married.”

A snort rises up from the backseat, and Sam clenches his jaw at the sound.

“You don’t have to, bro. I’m not an idiot. I recognize the ball and chain that comes free with purchase of that little gold ring on your hand.”

Sam sighs. He thinks back, tries to remember all the times Dean’s saved his life, stood up for him, gone without something so Sam wouldn’t have to. He pictures these events as clearly in his mind as he can so he won’t reach in the back seat and throttle his incapacitated older brother.

Instead he tightens his already impossible grip on the steering wheel, and maneuvers his truck onto the off-ramp. If this ride is indicative of what’s to come, he should plan ahead and pick up a few dozen bottles of aspirin before he gets home.

Luckily for Sam, Dean shows a surprising display of sensitivity and remains quiet the rest of the ride. At least, Sam thinks that’s what it is, until he stops at the pharmacy to fill his brother’s prescriptions, and notices Dean’s mouth hanging open, his jaw slack in the sleep he had managed to fall into.

He stays like that while Sam drives through the maze of suburbs, at the center of which is his house. Just when Sam begins to wonder if maybe this unprecedented sleep is a little unnatural, he pulls onto the paved driveway and Dean wakes with a jerk. Sam watches as Dean’s bandaged hand automatically reaches for the bowie knife he keeps in a sheath at his hip. When it comes away empty, he meets Sam’s eyes in the mirror and seems to accept his vulnerability. Of course, things with Dean are never as they seem; Sam should’ve known better.

Kellie’s waiting impatiently on the wraparound porch, her arms crossed tightly in front of her chest. She looks like it’s taking every last vestige of her self-control not to run down those stairs, rip the door off it’s hinges, and ensure her husband’s safety with her own two hands.

“Uh, stay here for a minute.” Sam reaches for the door, even goes so far as to push the handle, but Dean’s sudden touch on his shoulder stops him in his tracks.

“Sam, wait.”

The youngest Winchester twists around in his seat, but Dean’s no longer paying him any attention. His wide, disbelieving eyes flit around the scene before him, taking in everything and landing on nothing for long than a few seconds. He sees Kellie waiting on the porch, the flowerpots hanging from the railing. There’s a kid’s tricycle sitting on the front lawn, long since abandoned. A tire swing hangs from an old oak tree at the side of the house, moving slightly in the day’s breeze, and a stroller has been parked in the corner where the garage and house meet, a half-full bottle of milk left in one of two cup holders. It’s the perfect American apple pie life.

Dean swallows hard. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” And that would be the understatement of the year. This isn’t such a good idea like the war in Iraq was maybe not the best decision. His brother obviously has a life here, one with a wife who waits for him to get home safe and sound, and with kids who Dean knows without knowing idolize their father. The last thing Dean wants to do is taint everything with their shady past.

“What the hell are you talking about?” Of course, Sam doesn’t see it the same way Dean does. Like he ever has.

“Look, just drop me off a motel somewhere. You got my prescriptions, I’ll be fine.”

Sam rolls his eyes. “Dean, stop it. I want you here.” He sees the doubt on Dean’s face, and tries to show his brother that he means what he says, but Dean won’t meet his gaze.

“You don’t want me here. You think you do, but as soon as you get me inside, and introduce me to your beautiful wife, she’s going to start asking questions. Questions you are not going to want to answer. Just take me to a fucking motel, and save yourself the trouble.”

“Screw you, Dean.” Sam gets out of the SUV, moves to the back, and opens Dean’s door so fast his brother nearly spills out onto the pavement. “If it was trouble, I wouldn’t have driven all the way to the hospital. And I sure as hell wouldn’t have dragged you here. I want you here, and you’re not going to make me admit otherwise. Now quit being a frigging woman, and get your goddamn ass out of the car.”

Dean can only blink. While he tries to remember the last time he was ordered around by his baby brother, said baby brother grabs his crutches from the trunk and thrusts them forcibly into Dean’s bandaged hands. Dean awkwardly extricates himself from the backseat, and only manages to stay upright with assistance from Sam’s hand on his side.

“Wait here,” Sam says again, and leaves his brother leaning heavily against the side panel, breathing hard. Kellie has begun tapping her toe against the wood of the porch when Sam lands on the step in front of her.

“I’m sorry,” he says, before she has a chance to get anything out. He understands how she feels; he’s known first hand the kind of blinding terror that can rip through and apart a person when they think someone they love is in danger. Not going to the hospital, and to Dean, isn’t something Sam considers an option, even in the past, but he wishes he went about it a different way.

Kellie frowns and her cherry coloured lips twists, she looks as though she might take issue with Sam’s simple apology, but then she launches herself off the porch and throws her arms around Sam’s shoulders.

“God, don’t you ever do that again.” She whispers desperately into the crook of his neck and shoulder. “I was so worried; I had no idea what happened to you.”

He rubs her back, holds her tightly and kisses the side of her neck. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. Something came up.”

She pulls back, the question not on her lips obvious in her eyes. What could be more important than your family? She doesn’t realize the irony of the implied query, and Sam doesn’t think it’s appropriate to explain it to her just yet.

Her eyes narrow, and her gaze focuses just over his shoulder, as she seems to notice for the first time the man leaning awkwardly against the opposite side of the truck. “Sam, who is that? What’s going on?”

Sam twists around, catches a glimpse of the tousled blond head over the roof of the SUV. He smiles tightly, and takes Kellie’s hands in his own, gently squeezing as though it would help lesson the blow. “That’s Dean. My, uh…he’s my older brother.”

“Your brother?” The confusion written across her face is a welcome understudy for the alternative. “But you told me you were an only child.”

Sam sighs. This is where it gets tricky. No woman, even one as understanding as Kellie, would take well to being told she’s been lied to for over six years. And Sam’s not so big a fool he thinks he could come out of this unscathed. But Dean’s worth it. He’s worth it, and so much more.

“I know I did.” He holds her eyes with his own, hoping she can read the sincerity there. “I…I lied to you, Kel. Dean and I, things didn’t end too well the last time we saw each other, and I guess I was just trying to get past it. Dean represented a part of my life I didn’t want to remember, so I cut him out. Sort of. But then the hospital called while I was on the way to the store, and they said he’d been hurt pretty bad in a car accident.” He pauses, rubs one hand lovingly along her forearm, and takes it as a good sign when she doesn’t pull away. “And when I got there, and he was lying in that tiny bed with his leg in this huge cast, I realized I can’t just cut him out of my life. He’s my brother, for God’s sake. He’s kind of a nomad, he doesn’t really have a place, so I brought him here.”

Kellie’s gaze flickers back to the truck, and the sliver of Dean’s head visible over the line of the roof. “Have you seen him since you’ve known me?”

Sam looks surprised at the question, but recovers, and shakes his head. “No. It’s been the longer part of seven years since we’ve been together. I wasn’t even sure he was alive until today.” He bends slightly at the knee, so he can look her directly in the eye. “Kellie, I am so sorry I lied to you. I know it was so completely the wrong thing to do, and I would give almost anything to change that. But that’s in the past. Dean’s hurt bad now, and I’d like to get him inside so he can rest. Can we talk about this once he’s settled?”

He can see his wife working the inside of her cheek with her teeth, a nervous tick she no doubt picked up from Sam himself, the King of Vices. He almost says something else, is literally seconds away from dropping to his knees and begging for her cooperation, but he can almost physically see her set her feelings on the backburner. As a mother, it’s a skill she’s had much practice with.

The tenseness in her shoulders loosens three quarters of a turn, and while she doesn’t yet look Sam in the eye, she runs her hands through her hair and smoothes down the fly-aways. Then she steps around Sam, hops down the remaining stairs, and it’s like none of this never happened. The cheerful bounce is back in her step, and when she sticks a hand out to Dean, it’s steady and sure.

“Hi, Dean. I’m Kellie. Your sister-in-law.”
Current Mood: chipperchipper
Current Music: Nickelback: If Everyone Cared
08 March 2006 @ 02:48 pm
Title: Unforgiven Chapter 5
Author: Spikers91
Warning: as always, language

Sam doesn’t make it sixty minutes before he slips Dean’s coat on.

He knows he looks like a loser, like any one who happens to glance at him would know that he’s just an idiot dressing up in his brother’s clothes. The leather jacket fits pretty well across the shoulders; Sam is at least as broad as Dean in the upper chest, but narrower through the waist and hips. One might think it is his. Of course, if Dean were to catch him wearing his clothes Sam would never hear the end of it.

Sam hopes Dean catches him, even if it means guaranteed teasing for the rest of his natural life. Especially if it means guaranteed teasing for the rest of his natural life.

It’s only been forty-five minutes since they arrived at the hospital, but it feels longer. Sam periodically gazes at the door leading out of the waiting room, as though by keeping his eyes on it, he can wish someone to come through and tell him everything is going to be fine. He wants news on his brother, but at the same time he’s afraid to hear it.

He reaches up with shaking hands, and flips the collar of the jacket up. Catching a glimpse of himself in the reflection of a vending machine, he quickly turns it back down. He has no idea how Dean can make it look cool when it still just makes Sam look like a psycho dressing up in clothes that don’t belong to him.

The collar smells like Dean, that unmistakable mix of leather, gunpowder, sweat, and the little bit of cologne he puts on when he has to charm information out of some poor, unsuspecting women. The smell bites at Sam, makes his chest hurt, but he doesn’t take the jacket off.

Something in the pocket rustles when Sam shifts on the hard plastic chair. He slips his fingers inside, and pulls out a handful of receipts, some from diners they stopped at during their journey, others from gas stations where they filled the Impala. He flips through them, reading the dates and the amount of payment. They’re like a jumbled sort of scrapbook, bits and pieces of the last six months of their lives on random slips of paper. There are no real memories involved with the receipts, the numbers typed on their surface are fading fast and hold no real weight for Sam. But like the jacket itself, the papers offer a connection to his brother. At a time when Sam feels so lost and adrift, he grasps desperately at any link to the family that seems so fragile.

He stuffs the receipts back into the pocket, and reaches into the other one. His fingers dance past the car keys, a handful of change, a couple of bills and eventually settle on Dean’s cell. He pulls out the familiar flip phone, scratched and dented from heavy use. Sam has his own phone, but like everything else besides Dean’s jacket and Sam’s jeans, he left it at the motel room.

Sam opens the phone now, wipes the small colour display screen on the knee of his jeans. The background makes Sam frown; it’s obviously a candid snapshot taken with the phone’s tiny camera. Naturally, it’s of Sam, sleeping and dead to the world, head leaning against the car door and mouth hanging open. If he looks closely enough, he can see a line of drool working it’s way down his chin and onto the collar of his own jacket. He rolls his eyes, and resolves to bring up this picture, among other things, if –no, when- he talks to Dean again.

Sam selects the phonebook option, and quickly skims through the entries. Most he doesn’t know, a few he recognizes as contacts of Dean’s and their father’s, but he doesn’t care about any of those. The cursor pauses next to the sixth entry in the list.


His thumb hovers over the little green button, hesitating to depress it and make the connection. Dean would want his father there, Sam knows. His brother hates showing weakness, but at the same time, he derives most of his strength from his family. Even knowing what John Winchester has done to them, both on purpose and inadvertently, Dean would want him there.

Sam sighs heavily, closes the phone and slips it back into the pocket. He can’t call him. Not yet, at least. It’s too soon. Sam will wait until he learns something about Dean’s condition, and then he will call their father. There would be no point in talking to him without having anything to say.

He supposes there’s a part of him that’s afraid that their father won’t come, even with Sam doing the pleading, and Dean lying on what could very well be his deathbed. He wonders what would be worse: watching his brother die with no one beside him, or knowing that Dean left this world with the knowledge that his father didn’t care enough to come. Sam ducks his head to his chest, blinking rapidly to dispel the tears that rise with that thought.


He turns his head away at the sudden voice, sniffing noisily and wiping the remainder of the tears on the shoulder of Dean’s jacket. Which he realizes with a start he is still wearing. Face burning crimson, he shrugs out of it and lays it on the seat next to him.

Ben the paramedic is standing over him, holding a cup of steaming coffee in each hand, and perfecting the concerned older brother look. Sam hates seeing that look directed at him from anyone who isn’t Dean, but he manages to hold onto the urge to wipe it off the other man’s face with a well-placed right jab.

“You okay?”

Sam nods emphatically, for once glad that he let his hair grow long enough to fall over his eyes. He leans forward, rests his elbows on his knees as Ben sits down next to him.

“Thought you could use a little pick-me up.” He passes over one Styrofoam cup, and though the coffee is black, just the way Dean likes it but a little too bitter for Sam himself, he takes a deep, grateful gulp. It burns his tongue and the inside of his throat on the way down, but he thinks it’s only fitting given the situation.

“You know anything?” He asks Ben, and he’d like to blame the hoarse quality of his voice on the too-hot coffee.

Ben sighs, leans back in his chair and takes a sip from his own cup. “They’re still working on him, Sam. It doesn’t look good, but the fact that no one’s come to talk to you is a good thing. Trust me.”

Sam sends him a sidelong glance. He can’t quite believe that sitting here going through a thousand possible scenarios could in any way be better than being informed on what’s going on. But then he remembers the saying ‘no news is good news’ and knows that things could be worse. The fact that they’re not talking to him must mean they’re busy working, and if they weren’t busy working, that would mean…He pushes that thought out of his mind before it can materialize. Nothing good lies that way, and he refuses to go down that path.

“Is there someone you can call, Sam? Going through something like this on your own isn’t recommended.”

Though they’re not meant to, the words sting. Sam realizes that he must look like an ordinary college-age kid, one whose mom and dad would come running at a mere phone call, when his reality couldn’t be more different. He shakes his head sadly.

“No. No, it’s just me and Dean.”

Ben nods slowly, taking another drink from his coffee. He seems willing to let that go without further explanation, and for that, Sam is grateful. He doesn’t want company, but the fact that Ben is here at all, when he obviously has more important things to do, isn’t something Sam is going to cheapen by refusing to answer questions.

“You said earlier that you didn’t know how those wounds happened.”

Sam turns his head sharply, and sees that Ben is feigning casualness, one arm slung over the back of the chair next to him, and his legs crossed at the ankles. His words and their implications are anything but casual, though.

“I did. And it’s as true now as it was then.”

Again, Ben nods. He leans forward, rests his elbows on his knees in a mimic of Sam’s own posture. “And I believe that. But you have to understand how it looks. Your brother’s not in any position to tell us what happened, and you were there with him, in that motel room.”

Sam doesn’t need anything spelled out for him. He did go to college, after all.

“You called the police. That’s what you’re trying to say, right? You think it looks like I shot my own brother, and so you called the cops.”

Ben’s shaking his head before Sam’s even finished talking. “No. Not me, Sam. The hospital. The pattern of bruising on Dean’s chest is identical to the marks a shotgun leaves. The fact that you were in the room means nothing as far as that goes; the hospital is required by law to call the police when any gun shot victims come in.”

He favours Sam with a careful look, one that nearly begs for honesty. “I shouldn’t even be telling you this. But something tells me that you’re not going to run off and leave your brother here. Am I right, Sam?”

Sam can’t find the words, so he nods. Ben continues.

“They’re going to want to know everything, Sam. Everything that happened before you woke up to your brother suffocating, and anything you can tell them about what he was doing before you two hooked up. Okay?”

“I didn’t know it was that bad.” Sam looks down at his hands hanging between his knees, and is perplexed by their shaking. He sets his coffee down on the floor before he drops it. “Dean, he’s always been really good at hiding it when he’s hurt. When he’s really hurt, that is. If he gets a little splinter, or a paper cut, he’ll whine about it for as long as he can get away with it, to anyone who will listen. But the real injuries, the ones that can really cause some damage…When he was twelve, he walked around with a broken foot for three days before our dad finally found him out.” Sam pauses for a minute. He remembers with perfect clarity how angry their father had been when he caught a glimpse of the damage, before Dean could get his sock on quick enough to conceal it. He remembers how white-faced Dean had been when the doctor was poking and prodding the foot swollen to nearly twice it’s size, and he still remembers how Dean winked at him from the gurney as they wheeled him down to x-ray. “I could never understand why he did it. I think he thought he was saving my dad money, and trouble, but it always got worse and cost more once he finally got it taken care of.”

He covers his face with shaking hands, and breathes noisily through his fingers. He’s forgotten Ben is there at all, so deeply ensconced in memories and emotions he has become. He’s no longer answering a question, but merely speaking out loud to hear his own voice. “I knew he was hurt. I knew it, and I tried to get him to go to the hospital, but he was just so damn stubborn. He always is, and I usually fight harder than I did. But it was just easier to let him tell me he was fine. Easier to believe that a couple of ibuprofen chased with orange juice would make him all better. God, I’m a horrible brother.”

“You’re not a horrible brother.” Ben lays a hand on Sam’s shoulder, and though the touch isn’t entirely unwelcome, Sam flinches beneath it. “You probably have a lifetime of trusting your brother, of listening to him when he tells you to do something. It’s not your fault that you believed him. If you want to blame someone, blame whoever shot him.”

His words mimic something Dean said to Sam months ago, during the time they spent researching the Bloody Mary legend. ‘If you want to blame something, then blame the thing that killed her.’ Logically, he has always known that even if he had warned Jessica, he probably couldn’t have prevented her death. The same could not be said about Dean’s injuries. Ben has no idea how spot on he is with telling Sam to blame the shooter. He already does.

He takes a shaky breath, and straightens up slowly on the chair. “So when are the cops going to get here?”

Ben takes his hand of Sam’s shoulder, and his gaze flickers down the hall. “Uh, looks like they’re here already.”

Sam follows his eye line to where two men in the telltale dark blue uniforms of the police are speaking quietly to a middle-aged woman in bright pink scrubs. She listens to them talk for a few moments, then nods her head and points down the hall in Sam’s direction.

Sam picks up the coffee from the floor, and drains it in one smooth gulp. His hands have begun shaking again; he wipes the suddenly sweaty palms on his jeans. He doesn’t want to do this; he’s never been a convincing liar, even in the best of situations. Dean and their father did it effortlessly, apparently willing to sacrifice their morals for their cause, if those morals even existed in the first place. But to Sam, things had never been that black and white. Every credit card scam, every little white lie told to victims’ families, they all added on to Sam’s already guilty conscious.

Beside him, apparently mistaking the cause of his nervousness for something else, Ben lays a strong hand on Sam’s shoulder again. “Don’t worry about it, Sam,” he says, speaking under his breath. “You didn’t do anything wrong. They just want to know what happened to your brother. You’re not in trouble.”

Logically, he knows this. The police have no reason to believe Sam is the one who injured his brother. No weapons were left in the motel room; the shotgun Ellicott/Sam had used to shoot Dean is hidden safely in the trunk of the car. Sam knows with conviction that even if he were able, Dean would never point the finger at him.

And while Sam may not be as adept at weaving a complex web of lies and then remembering all those fake details as Dean is, he has to admit to himself that he is certainly no slouch. After all, he does have the experience of lying to someone he loved, consistently and without doubt, something that Dean never had to do. Surely he can handle a couple of strange cops. He has no conceivable reason to be nervous.

And yet, he can feel his heart rate beginning to climb. His sweaty hands give way to trembling, and he hides the offending appendages deep in his pockets. The coffee in his empty stomach that until now had been quiet begins to bubble, and Sam worries he might throw up right here.

The room suddenly throws him for a loop, the floor tilting up beneath him until he loses all sense of up and down. Someone’s talking to him, but it’s like they’re speaking in the wrong end of a megaphone; the sound is so distorted Sam wouldn’t have any chance of deciphering it even if his head isn’t currently trying to separate from his body. He tries to take a step towards the chair he just vacated, to sit down and regain his equilibrium, but the newly adjusted angle of the floor makes that impossible, and before he can reach out an arm to catch himself, the floor is rushing up to meet his face.
Current Mood: complacentcomplacent
Current Music: Bleeding Me
08 March 2006 @ 02:45 pm
Yeah, I'm a loser. Here ya go.

What is yours?
Explain yourself
Culinary: pizza pockets Mmmm...melted processed cheese in bread pocket...
Literary: Star Wars novels Twenty one years old, and I still can't let go of that crush I had on Luke Skywalker when I was seven.
Audiovisual: Gilmore Girls The very improbability of that show makes me so angry, but seeing Sammy-Sam (yes, he still is Sam) in such an adorable role...sigh
Musical: Bonnie Tyler I Need a Hero? Totally my theme song
Celebrity: Paris Hilton Like my friend Erika once put it: 'It's like watching a horrible train wreck; it's visually painful, but you can't help but not look away.'

Now I tag:-

luvjlb jainadurron geminigrl11 jellicle and sylph_ironlight

to complete this same Quiz, Its HERE.