|A Room Is Worth a Million Words
Author: K Hanna Korossy PM
Pilot missing scene and thereafter: Dean catches a glimpse of the kind of man his brother's become.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship/Family - Words: 2,157 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 54 - Follows: 4 - Published: 02-11-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4066282
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Room is Worth a
K Hanna Korossy
Sam was in the bedroom packing and talking to his girlfriend in low tones. Not that Dean had anything against eavesdropping, but he left Sammy to say his good-byes in private. It was the least he could do after his little brother had surprised him by agreeing to go with him to look for their dad, even if just for the weekend. He would have done pretty much anything for that.
It did, however, leave Dean with some time to kill while he waited in the living room. And more than three years' worth of curiosity to satisfy.
Humming AC/DC softly to himself, Dean went around the room studying the life—thehome—his brother had made on his own.
They spent a day at the Grand Canyon, Sam willingly following Dean's lead as he explored hiking trails, read the tourist brochures, and just stood and stared.
It was actually pretty awesome, like God had taken the earth and pulled, tearing a deep hole. The striations of color, the ribbon of river at the bottom: amazing. It almost reconciled Dean with God.
"So, anything you want to check out?" he asked finally as the sun started its descent, shadows creeping down the far side of the canyon.
Sam shrugged and shook his head. "You were the one who always wanted to come here, dude, not me." But it was said with an easy grin, no ridicule or impatience behind it.
Dean sort of expected it then, as he had a half-dozen times earlier that day, the story of how Sam had been there before with Jessica, what they'd done and what they hadn't and what he'd liked. Dean had seen the picture on the bookshelf in Sam's Stanford apartment, he and Jessica with their arms around each other, grinning for the camera with the canyon a sprawling backdrop behind them.
But Sam didn't say it, and Dean didn't ask, oddly disappointed.
It wasn't until they were driving away, Dean taking deep breaths of the cool night air, that he glanced at Sam and asked, "Cool, huh?"
That earnest smile slid across Sam's face again. "Seeing it with you? Yeah."
Dean got it then.
He never asked about the picture. And the Grand Canyon officially became one of his favorite places on Earth.
"What are you doing?"
"Just making some notes on the Loki we killed." Sam remained bent over the journal.
Dean eyed him from the bed. "Loki?"
That earned him a glance. "The trickster. In Norwegian lore, it's Loki. It fits the janitor, too, keys and all. Some say he was the original shapeshifter; others say he was derived from Satan."
"Ookay, and you know all this stuff...how again?"
He was surprised by the light flush of his brother's cheeks. "Uh, Jess's family is Norwegian."
"Right. Of the Norwegian Moores," Dean said, grinning.
"Of the tall, blonde, tan Norwegian Moores," Sam amended, mouth also bending a little.
"Point." Actually, it made all those gnomes and other Scandinavian tchotchkes he'd examined in Sam's place finally make sense. And…
Dean sat up suddenly. "You kept researching."
Sam's head came up, his expression puzzled. "What?"
"You sly geek! You kept researching after you left for school."
The flush deepened even as Sam shook his head. "Uh, school? Kinda comes with the territory."
"That's not what I mean and you know it. Heh. You can take the kid out of hunting—"
"Shut up, Dean."
He did. But he didn't stop grinning.
He got the first one a week after they left Blackwater Creek.
Sam had stared in bafflement at the book sitting on his duffel, giving Dean a questioning glance. Dean had shrugged. "It was on sale."
Sam was on auto-pilot those days. He'd stuffed the book into his bag without another word. But a few weeks later, when they were holed up for several days waiting for Dean to get over the cold he'd caught in Wisconsin, he saw Sam reading it.
The next one followed their getting the car back and Dean starting to breathe again after being stuck in a plane and then in a Saturn. It had been a toss-up which had been more stressful, but Sam had gotten his brother through both.
The thank-you hadn't needed an interpretation this time, and Sam had smiled as he tucked the book away. Dean never saw him read that one, but the piece of paper marking Sam's place kept moving down the spine until he finally left it in one of their rooms for the next reader.
The nightmares really set in about then, and Dean would buy a new book one afternoon, only to find it discarded, finished, by the next morning. He finally forged a scrip for anti-depressants and left the bottle with the next book. Neither was touched, Sam just giving him a mournful look the next morning. Then Bloody Mary forced things to a head, and the nightmares eased.
Dean kept shopping whenever they were around a bookstore. Kept a list in his wallet so he wouldn't buy repeats. Swiped a few from a library once, only to have Sam borrow the car to return them. After that, Dean stuck to swiping from stores or paying for the volumes with their hard-earned money and fake credit cards. Most of the paperbacks were read without comment and left behind when they moved on. A few disappeared into Sam's bag and went with them. None of them were ever tossed aside for lack of interest.
Sam never asked. Dean never offered.
He'd seen all the bookshelves that crammed the small college apartment, though. Most of what filled the living room had obviously been Jess, but the two bookshelves overflowing with mythology books and law texts and rows of Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers had been all Sam. It figured that now that he could have stuff, the geek would choose books.
There wasn't much he could give back of Sam's "normal" life, but this much Dean could do.
Really, how was he supposed to know?
Sam was still sputtering, his face turning an interesting shade of red. "Dude, what?" Dean asked again, torn between utter bewilderment and spiraling amusement.
"Dean, uh…oh, man. What made you buy that?"
He looked again at the shirt with its colorful rainforest frog on it and still didn't get it. "It was in the dollar bin at the thrift shop. What? You wear a purple shirt with a dog on it, Sam—I figured a frog wouldn't be too girly. Geez, Sam, it's even black."
"It's not purple, it's blue" Sam murmured, but he still looked like he was swallowing a frog instead of staring at one, fingers curling helplessly at his side. Dean couldn't decipher this look at all, and that was vaguely disturbing.
"Fine," he said in exasperation. "You can go pick your own clothes next time. Try to do a guy a favor," he muttered under his breath.
"No, Dean, it's just… Sorry, it's cool, man, really. Jess just had this…thingfor frogs. They turned her on or something. So, uh…" He waved a hand helplessly at the shirt.
Dean winced; the last thing he'd wanted to do was evoke a painful memory. But Sam didn't look upset, he looked…red.
Huh. All those little frogs in Sam and Jessica's place at Stanford were starting to make sense.
Dean's mouth crept up into a smile. "Turned her on, huh?"
"Aw, come on, just tell me—"
He noticed Sam kept the shirt, though. Even if he did wear it under several other layers.
The pizza delivery guy was giving him the evil eye.
Dean threw him a totally fake smile. "Hang on." He crossed to the bathroom, banged on the door. "You got any cash on you, Sam?"
"In my wallet!" Sam hollered back over the sound of the shower.
Dean glanced around the room, caught sight of the billfold on his brother's bed. He opened it, fished out a twenty, and waved the change away. "Thanks, man." Never paid to make the pizza guy unhappy if they were staying in one place for a while. Dean really didn't want spit on his next pie.
He slid the box onto the dresser, then started to close Sam's wallet. Pausing as the pictures caught his eye.
Jess and Sam, the only one of her he had even though Dean had nudged him to ask the Moores for more.
Mom and Dad. The edges curled and darkened from the fire but still intact.
And…Sam and him, two pictures, one of Dean proudly holding baby Sammy, and a recent one from a visit to Pastor Jim's. Dean remembered the former from the box of pictures Jenny had given them a few months before from their old house.
Sam walked out of the bathroom, eyes flicking to Dean going through his wallet, then unconcernedly away while he sought clean clothing. Dean stuffed the pictures back, tossed them on the bed. "You don't have any pictures from when we were kids with Dad?" he asked, trying to sound casual.
Sam shook his head. "Fire got them all."
Dean frowned. He'd studied every picture in his brother's living room, seen a score of Sam and Jessica with friends, the one of the four Winchesters when Sammy had been a baby, and the one of Mom and Dad. None from when they were kids, none otherwise of Dean. He'd gotten the message then, Sam's new priorities. But the contents of the living room had been at least mostly salvageable. The only room from which nothing had survived the fire intact had been…
The bedroom. The place you kept your most personal, important stuff.
Dean cleared his throat. "Pizza's here. I'm gonna get the beer from the car."
Sam grunted, pulling his jeans on.
Dean grabbed the beer from the backseat, then circled around to the trunk and dug around there for a minute before pulling a tattered cardboard box from its careful hiding spot by the spare. He rummaged through it a moment before finding what he wanted. Everything else was carefully replaced and the box tucked away again before Dean went back into the room.
If Sam had some fond memories of their childhood, after all, Dean had some pictures he could share.
"Aw, geez, Sam, whatis this?"
"Tchaikovsky. The 1812 Overture. Trust me, Dean, you're gonna like it. It has cannons."
"Cannons?" he asked dubiously.
He did, but he wouldn't do it gracefully. Dean crossed his arms and reluctantly listened. Sam was driving, after all, and as he'd gleefully reminded Dean, driver picked the music. Dean had just expected some stupid pop song, not…
He'd looked over the CD collection in Sam's college apartment with interest at the time, rolling his eyes and snorting at the selection. Never dreaming a few days later it would become his mental list of groups to avoid. He hadn't known which was Jessica's taste and which was Sam's, and hadn't wanted to blunder into any landmines. So, classical, Johnny Cash, Green Day, and everything in between had become off-limits.
Months had passed, though. Laurie Sorenson and some girl named Meg Dean hadn't even met and then Sarah. She was another artist: he'd seen the easel at Sam's place back in California, and wondered now if his brother had a thing for art-girls. But slowly, Sam was starting to become Sam again, different from the kid Dean remembered but familiar, comfortable, beloved nonetheless.
And Sam had started choosing his own soundtrack once more.
The pace of the music was growing more furious, and then…cannon-fire. A lot of it.
Dean started, grinned. "Huh." Okay, that was kinda cool.
Sam grinned back at him, looking genuinely happy.
Dean didn't tell him, but for that he would have even put up with Yanni.
Five minutes after Sam went into the bedroom to pack, he returned, duffel in hand.
"You ready?" Dean asked, and got a nod in return.
Sam led the way out, Dean reaching back to shut the apartment door behind them. He glanced one last time around a room as he did, knowing he would probably never see it again. And he wished with little hope that that weekend would give him more than just this glimpse of the man his brother had become.