May 1st, 2011
Supernatural: Sam/Dean, preseries, R, 1,813 words.
Dean isn't meant to be here.
lavinialavender made this much better than it was.
Dean isn't meant to be here. That's part of what it means to have dropped out, to have decided three years ago that he doesn't believe he can ever be anything more than good aim and a quick finger on the trigger. If he wants to fuck up his future, throw it away on what Dad wants for them -- or what Dad wants for himself, really, because there's no way Dad can think a life spent hungry and broke, bloody and exhausted and always ashamed, always, is what's best for his kids -- that's his own choice, much as Sam might hate Dean for making it (or at least hate Dad for forcing him into it, and it's always been easier for Sam to take his anger out on Dean, no matter the real target. Dean makes it easy. Dean asks for it), but it means that school's off-limits, now. He can't show up like this, saunter into the library like he actually belongs here and grin at the librarian when she looks like she might ask him for his hall pass; this is Sam's, and Sam's alone. Just like Dad's smiles are for Dean alone, and so when they drag into the kitchen after yet another hunt that lasted all night, Sam pretends not to have worried, and pretends not to notice the way Dad claps his hand on Dean's shoulder and slides him a cup of coffee before asking whether Sam finished his training.
"What'cha reading?" Dean says, sliding into the chair across the table from Sam. His boot nudges up against Sam's sneaker and Sam glares at him. It's May and already summer; sunlight filters in through the huge windows overlooking the track, scuffed and drought-dry, and illuminates the particles of dust floating through the air. It cuts through Dean's hair, too, turns the spikes into a mess of shadows and light-shards, pinfeathers of gold. Sam refuses to notice; he has a history paper due tomorrow.
"It's not like you'd know it," Sam says. A little meanly, but Dean's the one intruding, here. "Aren't you meant to be somewhere else?"
Dean leans forward, rests his elbows on the table and his head in his hands. A bruise is blossoming on his jawline. The girl at the next table is staring. No one else knows that the bruises continue down Dean's chest, though, no one but Sam, just as Sam is the only one who shouted at him for risking his life on something as stupid as a barfight in the first place, and who brought him pills and water afterward and sat up with him until eventually Dean fell asleep on the couch with the ghost-light of the television flickering across his face.
Twenty bucks, Dean, yeah, that was totally worth it. That woulda bought, what, not even your fucking coffin?
Told you before, Sammy, I don't want a damn coffin, I'm'a go out in flames. He'd turned his head, then, spat blood. 'Sides, you're welcome for the goddamn lunch money.
"Why, am I interrupting something? 'Cause, Sammy, I gotta tell you, I'm pretty sure everybody in that book's been dead for like a couple hundred years. Sorry, dude. Looks like you got stood up." Dean lowers one hand to the table, drums a quick beat, one-two-three and pause. The punctuation to a joke Sam refuses to acknowledge, but it's wrong; he's moving too slowly, moving like maybe it hurts to breathe. He should be at the motel they're calling home for now, not dragging himself across town to shadow Sam.
"Did Dad send you?" Sam asks. "He said we're not leaving for another week. He promised." And maybe it's stupid to be seventeen years old and still believe it when his dad makes a promise, especially considering how many his dad's broken in the past, but. Dad swore, this time. And Cameron Roitfield smiled at him in class yesterday, and Mr. Greer said he'd have a letter of recommendation ready by Monday, and.
Sam is so fucking sick of leaving people behind. Of leaving chances behind. One of these days, there won't be any left.
"Uh, yeah, I was there," Dean says, raising his eyebrows, the words textured with amusement as though he thinks Sam might have forgotten, might have forgotten him standing in the corner of the room, shoulders slumped and this look on his face like he wished he were anywhere else. Like Sam might have forgotten the chipped-glass hurt in his eyes when Dad had stormed out and Dean had looked up at last. "Don't get your panties in a twist, okay. Dad's still in Reno, last I heard, I just came by to check on you, see how you were doin'. And I gotta say, Sam, the girls here? Ten times hotter than the last place."
"Jesus Christ, Dean, I'm going to be going here for another week, can you maybe try not to humiliate me?" It was the wrong thing to say; he knows it as soon as he says it. Asking Dean not to embarrass him is tantamount to daring Dean to do as much.
"Sure, okay," Dean says. "I meant, they're ten times hotter than the last place, but not a patch on you, Miss America." Sam rolls his eyes. "And by the way, is this jealousy thing gonna last as long as your drama club obsession?"
"I don't know, how long's your tendency to stalk me gonna last?"
Dean's grin is crooked, sharp-edged, and for a half-second it looks like a wince. "All your life, buddy boy," he says. "Consider yourself lucky."
"Dean," Sam says. "Look. It's really very nice of you to come stalk me -- and by nice I mean creepy, and next time, you can just say that you're bored and ran out of sharp things to play with, I won't mind -- but I do have work to do. It's called getting an education."
Dean reaches across the table at last, nudges Sam's stack of books with one finger. "Hey, all work and no play makes Sam a dull boy." The stack threatens to topple and Sam steadies it. "Also makes people go psycho and kill their families. See, this is called watching my own back."
"No, it's called mistaking fiction for reality," Sam says. "But if you wanna test that theory, sure, stay there for another five minutes and see whether or not you end up with a pencil in your eye. Maybe I'll write a paper on that, instead."
"Dude, whoa, vicious," Dean says, eyebrows raised in mock surprise even as he's smirking in victory. "Somebody needs to take a break from the studying. Is it past your naptime or what?"
"Dean." Whole worlds in that word, sometimes, but right now, he only means leave me alone, this isn't yours, I love you but you're only making this harder.
"C'mon, take a walk with me," Dean says. His boot nudges up against Sam's sneaker again. Insistent. Unquestioning. Sam does not jump; he grits his teeth, instead. Feels a muscle twitch in his jaw. "Five minutes," Dean says. "Then I'll get outta your hair."
Not like there's any chance of that happening, ever, but Sam shrugs. It's a good day for believing in forever, and for believing in endings which do not hurt. "Fine," he says, and gathers his books, his papers, his pencils, the ephemera of hastily-scrawled notes. Dean doesn't help. Sam doesn't look at him, not wanting to see what might be on his face. Whether he'd merely be looking out the windows, or have his eyes closed, content for a moment to be still, or whether he would be watching Sam with that strange unsettling expression that is not quite resentment, nor loss, nor sadness alone, and which would vanish as soon as he sensed Sam looking, the way it always does.
Dean spends his whole life remaking himself into who other people think he should be. Into who Dad thinks he should be, and who Sam thinks he should be, mostly, because everything else is just a cover story, discarded as soon as they leave town. It's heartbreaking and kind of pathetic, and sometimes Sam hates him for it.
He finishes shoving things into his backpack and gets to his feet. Dean shoves his own chair back, slings an arm around Sam's shoulders as soon as they're close enough to touch. Warm press of his body all down Sam's side even as he's glancing back at the girl who was watching them. A freshman, somebody whose name Sam doesn't know, and who probably doesn't know his.
No one knows them, here, and for once, just for a second, maybe that's okay. For the best, as the heavy wooden doors close behind them and his hand settles on the back of Dean's neck, fingers brushing the ends of short hair. In a week he will remember this and he might hate it, might hate himself for getting distracted, for letting Dean do this to him.
(For letting himself do this to Dean--)
But right now they are walking together down the hallways, empty now as classes are in session; right now they are bursting through the front doors of the school, nothing can hold them, there are no rules, not for them; right now Sam is dropping his backpack onto dirt and gravel and Dean is pushing him up against the sun-scorched brick, out of view of the parking lot, and Sam is closing his eyes against the pinwheels of light, against his brother's hands beneath his shirt, Dean's breath exhaled as a hiss, as a curse, when Sam skims the pads of his fingers across Dean's chest, across the marks like maps which only hint at that which his brother will do for him. When Sam moves his hands lower, undoing, unraveling, blood rising.
Five minutes will become ten, fifteen. Dean will step back. Sam will straighten his collar and run his hands through his hair and Dean will turn away, his expression unreadable. Sam will go back into the school, and will try to remember how to be normal, to be someone whose edges have not yet been defined, whose boundaries are unfamiliar, as of yet uncrossed. Who will not dream of this years later and will be unable, for a moment, to meet the eyes of the girl he loves. Someone he does not know will call his name and it will take him a second to turn around in recognition; it will not sound right, will not sound like his, when it is not Dean who speaks it, when it's not rough, choked, tarnished and pressed like a secret against the soft spot just below his ear, told to bone and skin, the sound of love and grief and the inevitability of growing up, of letting go.
I really want just capslock love at you but I figure I should try slightly harder than that to leave decent feedback on this— this that breaks my hearts and mends it back together over and over until those last two paragraphs hit and the pacing is just right, the rhythm of the words, the tight sentences filled with layers of emotion that aren't even layers any longer, but tangles of what was, what is, and what will be. This is very real to me, as in I can sink my fingers and teeth into it; I know this Sam, this Dean from canon and yet they are also yours from top to bottom. Incredible, incredible fic and I could not have thought to ask for more.
In which I need to quote at least one thing because this is truly so beautiful in style and story: It's a good day for believing in forever, and for believing in endings which do not hurt.
Just gorgeous. Thank you, dearheart, what a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. ♥
Edited at 2011-05-01 06:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, I am so happy that you liked this! And my goodness, what an absolutely beautiful comment -- thank you, so much, for these words which make the story, hm, real, and also new; which turn it from a collection of words-I-wrote into something lovely and coherent and textured. Much ♥!
Oh, oh, man. The worst and the best of what they are together, loving each other but tearing each other apart, too, and Dean too-willing martyr to the cause and Sam just trying to pretend it's not what it seems.
Breaks your heart. Made me cry. Beautiful.
I want to apologize for the making-you-cry aspect of it, but I am delighted that it worked for you; [t]he worst and the best of what they are together is an amazing compliment, and oh my, there are so many stories in your description of this one! ♥
Introspective and achy and perfect. ♥
I love pre-series pieces that focus on the fact that growing up means ultimately growing apart for Sam and Dean; how they deal with how different they're becoming and how those differences will lead them down different roads before the Pilot. Just lovely.
Thank you so much! ♥
Oh, me, too. There's something so endearing about that -- not tragedy, exactly, but "fact" is not quite right, either; later there will be deals made with devils and literal world-ending drama, but that time's a world ending in itself, it's just . . . quieter about it. Sadder, maybe. More fragile, more real.
(Things I've already told you, mostly, but I miss leaving comments.)
I love your preseries Wincest and I love this piece. How you show Sam's bitterness over what's happening to Dean, how much more he wants for Dean, and how he hates what Dean has to do for the basic necessities. So heartbreaking.
And yeah, the last two paragraphs. Even with the angst, I love it so much, because it has all the truths about the immortality of Sam/Dean. Guh, that last line.
And it's lovely of you to say them; they make me so happy, still. Thank you. <3
(And thank you again for making this better!)
This is so heartbreaking. I pretty much got all hurty (yes, that is my new word of the day) in the chest from reading this. Poor Sam trying to let go and Dean trying to hold on. *sniff*
I'm so glad it worked for you, despite the heartbreak -- thank you, very much! :)
i always wish you would write epics, you do write epically, but i wish they would be lengthy so that i could immerse myself in them and inside them for a long while, yeah, even when it feels like your words are scrubbing me raw from the inside out.
amazing as always, bb. <3
I'd love to write epics; maybe someday? Or so I hope, anyway. Thank you for the absolutely lovely note; I am delighted that this one worked for you! <33
this is Sam's, and Sam's alone. Just like Dad's smiles are for Dean alone, and so when they drag into the kitchen after yet another hunt that lasted all night, Sam pretends not to have worried, and pretends not to notice the way Dad claps his hand on Dean's shoulder and slides him a cup of coffee before asking whether Sam finished his training.
This is such a heartbreaking vision of the way they divided up roles, each playing a part, each getting to have something and having to give up something when they should never have had to choose. A process of division that eventually separates them, but they do have something that will bring them back together, let them start choosing each other, that whole s1 process of becoming a Sam and Dean who have their own relationship that is no longer so caught up in the roles they are playing in John's drama. It's not exactly free choice, since Winchesters never get that, but it's better than a world of implicit ultimatums.
And I love how natural the banter sounds over all the tragic stuff.
Edited at 2011-05-02 01:29 am (UTC)
Have I mentioned that I love your meta? Thank you very much for such a thoughtful note -- I'm so glad that both the tragic aspects and the lighter banter worked for you. :)
That is utterly beautiful. The flow of the words was so smooth, the balance between brotherly teasing, the bitterness underneath and the longing and love for each other so perfect, and Sam's POV rang so true.
Thank you, very much, for the lovely note! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this. :)
|Date:||May 2nd, 2011 07:47 am (UTC)|| |
Oh, this was beautiful. Excellent writing. It's just so vivid and striking. Thanks so much.
Thank you, for reading and for the kind note! I'm so happy that this worked for you. :)
Oh, wow. What a phenomenal compliment -- thank you, so much!
Oh, so gorgeous *sniffles*
I especially love the thought of Sam's name not applying to him unless it's Dean who says it. The idea that they can completely define each other in that way is so beautiful and true. Lovely job :)
I'm delighted that you enjoyed this! Thank you, very much, for the awesome note. :)
Gorgeous, and this: it will not sound right, will not sound like his, when it is not Dean who speaks it, is an amazing detail that captures their relationship so perfectly...
Thank you, very much! I'm so happy that that detail, especially, worked for you. :)
Thank you very much for the kind words! :)
This was a lovely, somber, realistically Winchesterian piece, nothing overly remarkably, until that last paragraph. That just slayed me. The change in tense, the inexorability of the future, everything that Show makes me feel, you captured that.
to be someone whose edges have not yet been defined, whose boundaries are unfamiliar, as of yet uncrossed.
Not to mention that is some seriously sublime writing. Seriously.
In short: ♥
Oh, wow, that is fantastic of you to say! Thank you, very much. ♥
This is so utterly gorgeous that I'm left speechless. The banter and the tension between them, Sam's hopes and dreams and fears and aspirations, Dean's prevarications and pretences - you capture all of that so immensely well.
Frankly, it's heartbreaking.