|Still No Rain
Author: hionlife PM
Sam smiles. Dean smiles. Four moments throughout the years.Rated: Fiction K - English - Dean W. & Sam W. - Words: 3,195 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 2 - Published: 06-10-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3586710
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Notes: My original intention in writing this was to write five moments of happiness (I mean, couldn't they use that?). As it turned out, there are only four and while not exactly moments of actual happiness, they do involve smiles. :)
Still No Rain
"For every dark moment we shared between us,
there was a moment of such brightness
that I almost could not bear to look at it head on."
--Carolyn Parkhurst, The Dogs of Bable
It hits him at strange times. Like now, sitting in a diner booth with Sam and Dad for a ten o'clock dinner, just tired enough to want to put his head down on the sticky Formica table top.
There's no real reason for it. Nothing that consciously reminds him. Just one random thought that drifts through his mind.
Melancholy settles in deep and a heavy rock sets down in his chest where his heart should be.
He's been too quiet for a while. Knows it. Still can't shake it. The words don't come forth like usual. He searches for a topic, a subject, something interesting to mention, but can't focus long enough to formulate a good thought.
Sam and Dad talk, an easy back and forth, about today and tomorrow and the next day. It's not often they manage that sort of comfortable repertoire and Dean kicks himself for not being able to follow.
There's nothing in his mind but longing though. It's not even sadness, just want.
Dean's not much for reading and books, but he did read that Catcher in the Rye book for an English class a few months back. That guy, whatever his name was, he was pretty messed up, but he was right on one thing.
You never miss anybody until you start thinking about them.
Sam reaches across the table to shove at his shoulder. "Dean'll do it, won't you?"
Dean glances from his father to his brother. "Do what?"
"Dad said that the tires need rotated again."
"Oh." Dean shrugs. "Sure."
"Might just get new ones," John says slowly.
Dean nods, struggling to hold onto that train of thought. They could use new tires. The current ones were old enough. Worn enough. They could. They could.
John leans over, the vinyl booth seat creaking beneath him, to bump Dean's shoulder. "What's up with you?"
Dean blinks and shrugs again, attempts a smile that comes out crooked and half-watt. "Just tired, I guess."
"Not catchin' anything, are you?"
"Good." John nods.
Dean looks away to the empty restaurant. There's one busboy at the other side, wiping a table with a threadbare rag. The next thing Dean knows, he's hitting the cold tile floor, knee and hip first, belatedly trying to catch himself on spread palms. He shakes his head before turning to see his Dad, sitting innocently in the booth. "What was that for?"
John just frowns and shakes his head naively.
Sam is laughing into his hands and the waitress chooses that moment to deliver their drinks. She steps over Dean to set three, sweating glasses of coke on the table.
John nods his thanks and Sam smiles politely. "Thank you."
"No problem." She pops her gum and glares down at Dean.
He blinks and opens his mouth to say something, but she just shakes her head and walks away, chewing loudly.
Dean waits another moment before pulling himself up and back onto the bench seat, safely next to Sam now. He pointedly ignores John's inquiring gaze and stares at an engrossing orangish spot on the table, a long faded ketchup stain. Or maybe blood.
He jerks back as a paper straw wrapper hits him square in the forehead.
Sam blinks innocently.
Dean grabs the wrapper out of his lap and crumples it in an angry fist. They couldn't just leave him alone. They couldn't just let him be. "What the hell's wrong with you?" he snaps.
Sam's hesitant smile instantly turns into a frown.
John's mouth pulls downward and he leans forward. "Dean…"
Dean glances between them and then slumps down in the booth and crosses his arms. "Sorry." He glances at his brother. "Sorry, Sam."
After a moment, Sam shrugs.
John's eyes are narrow and worried, dark under the single, shaded light bulb that hangs over the table. Dean shifts under the scrutiny and looks away, out across the restaurant again. There's no one at all now. The place looks like an empty movie set, all fluorescent lights and shiny floor and worn tables.
He wishes he could ask Dad about Mom. He can't remember hardly anything and he'd like to know more, what she liked, what she did, what she wanted to do. Even if only to validate his own vague memories. But, Dad isn't exactly forthcoming with that stuff and Dean can understand why.
You never miss anybody until you start thinking about them.
Sam and Dad are talking again and Dean slouches further down with a sigh. He'd probably feel better tomorrow. After some dinner and a long sleep.
He freezes as something rubs against his neck and a weight presses against his side. "What are you doing?" he asks, holding perfectly still.
Sam says nothing. He gets an arm between Dean's back and the seat and loops his right arm around to clasp the other wrist.
"Sam?" Dean asks, glancing nervously at John.
Dean leans forward, trying to see Sam's face, but he turns his head away and his skinny arms only hold tighter. Hesitantly, Dean pats his back. "Okay… Okay?"
Sam nods against him. "Yep." He's smiling. Dean can tell it just by the sound of his voice. Stupid…stupid jerk. Couldn't just leave him alone.
Dean pats Sam's back and bows his head so John can't see the grin that's pulling at his mouth, too.
Sam is standing in the kitchen when the alarm starts to sound. It's a high-pitched screeching, over and over, rattling the bones of his ears. He jumps, limbs instinctively jerking toward the nearest door. Voices drift through the dark halls of the house. There are footsteps overhead.
Everything had gone so smoothly. For such a high scale home, there were no cameras. No animals. No trip lights. The locks were as easily picked with a good plastic card and a thin wire, as with a proper awl. Dean had taken the west half of the house, while Sam took the east, Dad in the car, a quarter mile down the street. Easy.
Sam had found the carved wooden figurine in the living room on a shelf full of similar trinkets. These people definitely did not know the supernatural power it held and probably wouldn't even miss it. They probably wouldn't have even noticed anyone had been in the house at all.
The alarm blares on, like the screeching of a knife in 'Psycho'.
Moonlight slants through two French doors that lead out to the back patio. Sam fumbles with the lock in the dark, before he gets it open and ducks out, taking the extra second to relock and close the door behind him. He takes off toward the fence that encloses the sloping lawn. There's a thicket of young pine trees there along the fence and he aims for that, hurdling over the patio railing and a row of rhododendrons.
Squares of yellow light appear on the gray lawn as lights are flicked on in the house. Behind Sam, there's the click of locks being turned and the whoosh of opening doors.
He hits the fence just as a floodlight comes on over the patio, turning the entire yard bright as day. He jumps and grabs the top edge of the fence, hurdles over and lands on two feet in another thicket of pine trees.
The night air feels cold and harsh in his lungs as he leans toward the fence, trying to peer through the slats, listening for voices. Nothing. Sam takes a deep breath and releases it.
He turns, takes one step, and is tackled around the waist by a solid weight. The air rushes out of his lungs with an oompf when he hits the dew covered grass. He manages one, rattling breath before a gloved hand covers his mouth and nose.
"Shh." Dean leans close over him, eyes wide and white in the dark.
Sam squirms, trying to free an arm to pry Dean's hand off with. Dean's heavy though, all his weight on Sam's shoulders and all his attention on the light and voices on the other side of the fence.
Sam bends his wrist up just enough to pinch Dean's side.
Dean lets out an involuntary, choked laugh and rolls off into the grass. His eyes widen and he glares hard at Sam, still listening. After a few moments, when nobody comes bounding over the fence after them, he reaches over, grabs the cord of muscle at the base of Sam's neck, pinches and twists.
Sam jerks away from him, features twisted in silent misery. He mouths the words. Ow. Ow. Ow. Flailing hands grab the first thing they find: Dean's nose.
Sam squeezes with the knuckles of two fingers. The nose makes an unhealthy, squishing noise.
"S-s-sa," Dean hisses.
Sam puts a finger to his lips with his free hand, tightening his hold with the other.
They remain still for a few moments more, Dean's breath warm and moist against Sam's hand. Then, one by one, the lights in the yard flicker off.
Dean moves immediately, shoving Sam's hand away. He rolls up and pins Sam down with a hand at his throat. "Did you get it?" he whispers, nasally and loud in the still night.
Grinning, Sam reaches into one pocket and pulls out the carved statue.
"Excellent." Dean smiles.
Sam can't be sure what's worse: The fact that Dean knows the words to nearly every song on the radio or the fact that he has resorted to singing in order to avoid talking.
He's gone, on and off for a while now, trailing off to chug some water, stuttering when he's not sure of the next line and then making up his own words anyway. Straining his lungs further every time Sam opens his mouth to interrupt and…talk.
Two hours in and with a dramatic flourish, Dean starts singing 'Sammy's got a gun,' which leads to one rousing chorus of 'Sammy get your gun.' Sam would take the blame for that. Musicals.
Dean seems to enjoy the idea though, putting Sam in the songs. Unsurprising, really, given the high annoyance factor.
The middle of the country makes for easy driving. Flat roads and few cars. It lets Dean devote most of his attention to scanning through radio stations, finding songs that he recognizes and even some that he doesn't.
Everything becomes Sam. 'S-S-S-Sammy and the Jets,' 'Fortunate Sam,' 'Another Sam Bites the Dust,' 'Have a Drink on Sam.'
Sam rests his arm on the door, presses a fist to his lips and silently stews. If he was in a better mood, if it was any other time, it might be just slightly amusing. But not now, not when Dean was doing it to so clearly avoid talking. In typical, immature fashion, like the last week of their lives didn't even happen. Sam wonders if it really is possible to just shut up and move on, if ignoring all of the crappy parts of life really is a skill and if it is, why had Dean never taught him? Probably because he was too busy denying that there was anything to ignore. And wouldn't that just put you in a circle.
"Dean…" Sam sits up straighter.
Dean doesn't even look over, but turns the radio up a notch and sings, "Oh, Sammy, Sammy, it's a wild world."
"We need to--"
"And I'll always remember you like a child, girl."
Sam rolls his eyes and crosses his arms. He needs to talk, probably about as much as Dean needs not to talk. It isn't really fair then, to have it one way or the other. No room for compromise in a do or do not do situation.
The radio crackles and fuzzes out into static.
Impulsively, Sam reaches over to switch it off.
Dean closes his mouth.
Impossible. Sam could see why Dad had kept a journal. The entries were less and less personal the farther he'd gotten into hunting, but the idea was still the same. It was a good way to vent. Sam couldn't imagine going through everything after the fire without anyone there to help. He couldn't imagine making it through that.
"Dean," Sam says calmly. "You want to stop at the next exit? I'm starving."
Dean doesn't move, just staring out the windshield, hands on the wheel.
Dean turns slowly, and sings, "I don't know why you've got to be hungry all the time…"
Sam throws back his head and laughs.
Dean grins right back.
Dean turns down an aisle and finds himself surrounded by two hundred variations on the canned bean.
Green, lima, baked, with sauce, with bacon, black, red, white. All good for the heart. He picks up two random cans and places them in the bend of his elbow to hold.
He hasn't seen Sam in awhile, but the store isn't that big. He makes his way through the waxed linoleum maze to the checkout. There's a stand of candy bars right next to the conveyor belt. He tries to look away, but they sing to him and he reaches over, grabs one, and slides it into the worn pocket of his jeans. Smiles big at the cashier as he swipes a credit card to pay for the beans, a loaf of Italian bread, a bag of peanuts and a couple bottles of soda.
Outside, the sun shines bright, white in a cloudless sky. Sam is already standing next to the car, the driver's door open. He holds out a hand for the keys as Dean approaches.
"Only 'cause I'm eating," Dean says as he hands them over.
Dean settles into the passenger seat as Sam steers them out of the parking lot and onto the road. He chews on a slice of bread, takes a swig of cola, and swishes the soggy mixture around in his mouth. The road they're on quickly leads them out of the city and into undeveloped grassy land. Blinking out the windshield, Dean starts on his third slice of bread and watches the horizon approach. There are a lot of somewheres in America, a lot of places, but there's an awful lot more nowheres.
"Peanuts?" Sam asks with a quirk of an eyebrow. "Why'd you get a five pound bag of peanuts?"
"I like to throw the shells out the window," Dean replies plainly.
"Right." Sam gives a tight nod and readjusts his grip on the wheel.
Dean glances into the backseat. "Where's your haul anyway? Get any asparagus? Pickled pimiento loaf?"
"In the trunk."
"You put pickled pimiento loaf in the trunk?"
"Dude." Sam frowns at him. "Ew."
Dean shrugs and slouches down in the seat in order to pull the candy bar out of his pocket.
"You know," Sam begins thoughtfully. "You'd think that at twenty-six, petty thievery would start to get a little old."
"You mean juvenile?"
"No." Dean grins around a mouthful of chocolate and caramel. "Not really."
"Of course not." Sam sighs. Sometimes, Dean was so old it scared Sam, but in many ways, he would never grow up. He would never grow old.
Sam bites down on his cheek hard. That hurts. Slowly, he hits the brakes and eases the car onto the shoulder. He cuts the engine and climbs out onto the hot, graveled asphalt.
"What're you doing?"
"I want to show you something."
Dean dusts his hands off and wipes his mouth. "Is it the pickle loaf?"
Sam doesn't answer as he opens the trunk and removes the object he had spent a precious fifteen minutes constructing in the grocery store parking lot.
Dean comes around the car and stops short. His eyes flicker up to Sam's. "I don't think we can eat that."
Sam rolls his eyes. "It's a kite, Dean."
Dean reaches out with one hand, fingers not quite touching the stretched nylon surface. "Is it, is it a car?"
"Yes." Sam nods. A non-descript, round sort of car, but a car nonetheless.
Dean looks up at Sam, eyes wide. "And it flies?"
"Well, I didn't try it or anything, but it's supposed to. I mean, I don't think it's that hard. You just sort of…" Sam fidgets and shrugs. He doesn't have any clear memory of ever flying a kite or even seeing one flown, except for maybe on TV once.
"Let's see, then," Dean says, picking up the length of string anxiously and taking long strides into the tangled weeds that line the road.
Sam follows after, suddenly feeling hesitant and silly about the whole idea. Impulses.
"Stop," Dean says once they're a good distance from the road. He continues on though, unraveling the thick, nylon string as he goes. It's pure white and new, hanging in the air between them, bouncing and jerking as Dean walks. At a distance, he stops and waves at Sam. "Now I'm going to go this way." He points over his shoulder. "You go that way and when the wind catches you--" He makes a motion with his arms. "—throw it up."
Sam has a feeling Dean was making this a lot more complicated than it has to be.
Still, when Dean starts to move, Sam follows and, he isn't quite sure it's right, but he heaves the nylon and plastic automobile into the air.
The warm breeze catches it and it drifts upward in swoops and dives, tugging at the string that holds it. Sam watches it go, floating higher and higher, until it's just a tiny, black car in the sky. When he looks over, Dean is watching it too, head tilted back, string held taut, teeth bared like when he thinks no one's looking.
Sam stumbles over; eyes still on the kite and not on the rough ground in front of him. He stands next to Dean and watches the shining black car approach the sun.
A lone cloud drifts across the sky. Standing there on the plains, they can see the shadows coming, crawling across the land toward them from miles and miles away.
(Have a wonderful summer!)