Author: Ice Cube
Rating: PG – (K+)
Spoilers: For Supernatural's first season so far…only vague references to the boys' past, so if you've heard of the show, then probably not…
Disclaimer: Right, if I owned them anywhere outside of my dreams, the characters that are forthwith mentioned in this story would be making me a lot of money and very happy…so no, they aren't mine, and I'm a broke college student who has no money, so if you're going to sue, feel free, you won't get anything.
Characters: Sam, John, some Dean
Archives: Feel free; just let me know where so I can find it again.
Summary: Hopefully a one-shot…Sam tells his father that he's going to Stanford…Site won't let me have the lyrics in the story, so I'll leave what line numbers, and hope that that suffices...to see the story in it's intended form, see my website on my author page...
Warnings: To those who think that I am capable of writing a fic that is torture free…I can't, and thus, if you don't want to see h/c, various possible tortures, and other forms of angst, find another story. Also, to those of you looking for slash, when I mean friendship and brotherhood, I take that in the trust you with my life and have no problem telling you about my current crush who is of the opposite sex way. In other words, if you're looking for slash, you won't find it here.
I don't have my stories beta'd, I'm too impatient to wait for someone to proof it after I've written it, so I apologize for any mistakes, and if you email me to tell me that they're there, I'll fix them later. Reviews are always a plus, it's great to know that people are reading my stories and like them, but as I'm a horrible reviewer, I won't hold my breath for them. Flames, however, will be treated with the utmost respect they deserve…they will be ignored completely or poked fun at with friends.
That said, on with the tale…
He had just worked up the courage to get off of his bed and head downstairs to wait for his father when Dean banged on his door. Sam barely had time to stuff the letter under his pillow, slicing his finger on his knife, before his older brother walked in. He didn't think Dean had seen, but his ever-observant brother was always aware of what Sam was doing.
"Whatcha got there, Sammy?" Dean reached for the pillow, wincing as his hand was smacked away.
"It's Sam, Dean. And nothing, don't worry about it." Sam sucked on his finger for a moment before glaring at his brother. "And don't you ever wait for someone to tell you that you can come in before you do?"
The look that the twenty two-year old gave his baby brother was priceless, like the thought had never crossed his mind. "The only reason I would do that is if I thought I was gonna walk in on something I didn't want to see. And you, my geek brother, don't have anything going for you that falls into that category. Now…" he tackled Sam and pinned him before reaching under the pillow and grabbing the letter. "What's this?"
Sam grabbed for the piece of paper, but couldn't reach it. "Come on, Dean. It's nothing, give it back."
"Quit whining, I'll give it back when I'm…what are you doing with a letter from Stanford?"
Here goes, Sam thought. "I…applied to go there."
"Dork. What did you bother doing that for? It's not like you're going or anything…right?" Dean looked at his brother, and the avoidance he saw there told him everything. "Right, Sammy?"
"I don't know Dean. Don't tell Dad, all right? I don't know what to do yet."
"Well, that's easy," he threw the letter back in his brother's face. "College is for normal, ignorant people who don't want to understand what it is that goes on around them. People who watch The X-Files and laugh, not because the facts are so misconstrued, but because they don't think any of it could ever happen."
"Yeah, I guess."
Dean nodded and headed quickly out the door, unwilling to let Sam see the upset in his eyes. "Yeah, you know."
Sam looked down at the letter in his hands one more time. He had thought long and hard about this, and had decided that, for better or worse, this was the best decision he could make. He knew that his father would be disappointed, and he didn't want to think about what Dean would say, but he had to get out now, or he was never going to.
It was now or never. He had spent a week after Dean found out about the letter convincing himself that this was best for everyone. Now it was time to convince his father. With a deep breath, Sam opened the door and headed down the hall.
"Hey Dad? Can we talk for a minute?" Sam sat down at the table where his father sat, cleaning one of his shotguns. Most people would have found this an intimidating situation to put themselves into, but it was commonplace for the nineteen-year old. He took John's grunt for what it was, and tried again. "Seriously, Dad. We need to talk about something. Can you stop?"
A shake of the head was all Sam got before he reached over and grabbed the barrel of his father's gun. "Now?"
"What, Sammy? Don't you have homework or some other nonsense to waste your time with?"
"What is it with you, Dad?" Sam caught himself; this was no time to piss his father off again. "Never mind. I…I've done everything you've asked of me, haven't I? Over the years, I mean? I've done what you wanted, and hunted with you and everything?" He missed the footsteps that signaled Dean stopping just around the corner.
"Yeah, Sammy. You're a damn good hunter. Almost as good as Dean is. But you've got no heart for it. No matter what I've done, you don't want to do this, and we have to force you to. Do you really want to have this conversation again?"
Sam sighed. "Not exactly."
"Then what, Sam? I'm busy."
"It's just that…well, I want to…"
"Spit it out, boy. Do you want another stupid textbook to learn about algebra or physics or something? You've always got your head stuck in those damned books. Waste of time if you ask me, but if that's what you want, there's a credit card on the bureau, you know that."
Sam sighed again. He looked at the letter hidden in his hands again and wondered once more if it was worth it. He knew that his father wanted him to be more like Dean, the ideal son, but Sam couldn't do it.
"If I don't do this now, I never will," Sam whispered before looking up again. Apparently his father had heard him, but missed his intentions.
"Look, Sammy. I don't even let Dean go out on his own deals. So if you're looking into something that you want to go after, let me know and you and he can go out on your own if you want to."
Sam shook his head. "I don't think this is something Dean would ever do, Dad." He placed the letter, open, on top of the gun casings.
"What is this?"
"It's an acceptance letter…to Stanford."
"I can read, Sammy. I mean, what are you doing with it?
"I applied, Dad. And I got in. With a pretty good scholarship. I got into pre-law there, and I'd like to start in the fall." He paused, remembering how his speech had gone in his head the million times he'd practiced it. "I've already waited a year longer than most kids do and…"
"You aren't most kids. Where did this all come from?"
"I've been thinking about this for a long time, Dad. You and Dean, you're cut out for hunting, but it's just…it's not for me. It never has been. I can't take it anymore; the killing, the running around from motel to motel only to come back here and start over again. I want to go to college, to try and have a girlfriend, to do what other kids my age are doing."
"Samuel. You will never be able to have that. I thought you were more grown up than this. I thought you had more respect for your mother than this. We are trying to put her to rest by finding the thing that killed her and all you can do is sit here and think about yourself? Don't you think that we all have thought about this at one time or another? You were starting to really blossom as a Winchester, Sam. Are you part of this family or not?"
"Dad, your guilt trips may work on the poor people you sap for information on your latest crusade, but they won't work on me." Sam was starting to get annoyed. "All I want to do is be able to say that some part of my life was honest. I want to earn what I get, work for a living, just be an honest member of society."
"You'll never have that. You've seen too much. How long do you think you'll last at some college, wasting your time, before you come running back here because some spook came after you? This is your life, Samuel, no matter what you think. Do you honestly think that you can turn your back on it? Pretend that it was all some dream, some fantasy? I've got news for you, son. College is the dream, the fake reality that people try to convince themselves is real. You aren't going."
"Yes I am."
Sam looked at his father with contempt. "You don't have a say in the matter; I'm going. I'm sorry that I'm not the son you wanted. I'm sorry that I'm not a carbon copy of Dean. But there's nothing that's going to make that different now. I'm going to Stanford. It's not like I'm trying to cut you out of my life, Dad. That's not what I want at all. I just want to see what college is. I just want to…"
"It doesn't matter, Sam. You're a hunter, that's all."
"No, Dad, I'm not. And that's all there is to it. Somewhere along the line I realized that what we do isn't normal, and I don't want that anymore. We're freaks, Dad. No one else does what we do, no kid goes into career day wanting to be a hunter, just like Dad, and mean that they want to chase supernatural being after evil son of a bitch supernatural being back into the deepest recesses of Hell."
"Sam, what we do is noble work…"
"No, Dad, what we do is deceitful and…" he balked as his father leaned across the table and smacked him across the face.
"Don't you ever demean what we do. You've seen all the people that we help."
"Yeah, and I've seen all the things we do that hurt others. You and Dean don't see it, but I do. The word killing should not be an everyday word when it comes to what we do."
"Who are you? What have you done with my son? Because you aren't him."
"Look, Dad. I need to do this, and you need to let me," Sam held his hand to the burning cheek. "I'm going to Stanford, and I'll work my way through. You'll see."
"Fine, if that's what you want, then fine. Turn your back on this family and all we've done for you. But don't expect us to be here waiting for you when you realize that you've made a mistake. This is your last shot, Sam. No son of mine is wasting his time on some college education that is just going to try and convince you that sitting at a desk is more worthwhile than what Dean and I do. If you want to go off to college, then fine. If you're going to go, then you can just stay gone. Choose now, Sam. Your brother and me, or some college nonsense."
Sam was shocked speechless. He didn't want to shut his family out of his life at all. That had never been his intention, and he couldn't wrap his mind around the choice he was being forced to make. He knew that his father had always placed priority on finding the thing that killed his wife, and making sure that the pain he went through never happened to another family, but Sam had never expected to see the day when his father put that priority over him.
Sam could remember learning how to shoot a gun when his peers were learning how to ride a bike without training wheels. He could remember his father patching up his split lip when he'd forgotten to take the recoil of a shot gun into consideration when other father's were patching up scraped knees from football practice. He could remember the few times that he had woken without Dean at his side, screaming from nightmares, to have his father scoop him up and tell him that they'd kill whatever it was that was scaring him. His first real memory of his father was the man standing over him, muttering in Latin and making the sign of the cross over the boy, protecting him from the poltergeist that wanted to take him. He remembered thinking that his father was so calm and collected, and that he wasn't afraid of anything. At three years old, Sam had wanted nothing more than to be his father. But now, the man was making him choose between a normal life and this bastardized version. Seeing that he was cared for less than some demon's demise was the last straw for the conflicted teenager.
Sam looked down at the table, at the gun his father was cleaning, at the letter to Stanford. He glanced half-heartedly over his shoulder to where he knew Dean would be hiding, just around the corner, out of sight. "I'm going to college, Dad. I hope one day you can forgive me."
Sam was standing in his room a week later, his bags packed with his few possessions. Tears were just barely held at bay when he thought over the choice he had made again. He had spent the last week alone in the apartment; his father had dragged Dean to Texas moments after he had stormed from the kitchen that day, and Sam didn't know if he'd see them before he left. A neighbor was going to bring him to the airport, and from there, he didn't know.
With a sigh, Sam said goodbye to all he knew, and turned to the door, ready to go. He took a quick step back when he saw his brother standing in the doorway, tears checked in the corners of his eyes as well.
"You're really doing this, aren't you? You're really turning your back on everything?"
"It's not me, Dean. I just want to go to college. It's Dad that's making this so difficult. I don't want to shut you out of my life. Believe me; I appreciate everything you've done for me. Everything. And I really do mean that Dean. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't think it was the only thing to do. You know as well as I do that I'm not cut out to do what you and Dad do. I never have been."
"Sam, you were a great hunter. I can't believe that you're doing this to us."
"Dean, I'm leaving in less than an hour, I don't want to fight about this anymore. I've accepted that Dad's turning his back on me, but I couldn't deal with it if you did too."
Dean didn't say anything for a moment, just stared at his baby brother as if he was a complete stranger. The child that had looked up to him was gone, this being in his place. He wondered for a moment if an exorcism was in order. Then he bowed his head. Dean reached forward, stowing a knife in his baby brother's bag. "It's you that is turning your back on us." And with that, he turned on his heel and walked out.
Sam sank to his knees and cried.
When the tears had dried, Sam stood up again, with new resolve. He shoved the last of his clothes all the way into the bag, not bothering to get rid of the curved blade that lay innocently in its sheath. He shouldered the leather bag and headed for the door. All he wanted was to make it to Stanford without another incident. After that, he had four years to figure out what he had done and if he could fix it.
He had made his way down the hall and dropped his bags at the front door. It would be so easy to just walk out the door and leave it at that. It would be easy to stay away from the man in the kitchen that Sam had seen drinking straight from a bottle of whiskey. The man's words still cut at him, but that man was still Sam's father, and something inside him wouldn't let him leave until he at least said goodbye.
"Dad?" Sam didn't expect a response, and took a deep breath. "Look Dad, we're both angry right now, and I understand why. I just, I want to say…"
Sam just hung his head and watched as his father grabbed the bottle he was polishing off and pushed his chair back from the table, storming off into the living room.
"No you don't, Sam. You never will. Just get out." It was the last thing Sam remembered his father saying. He watched his father's retreating back with tears in his eyes again. Nothing should ever be this hard.
"Please, Dad?" but the man was gone. Sam turned back to the door and walked down the hall to meet his ride.
One very long trip later, Sam dropped his bags again. This time he was standing in his new dorm room. He was torn over the fact that it was a single room, glad to have his own space, but unsure how he was going to get any social interaction this way. He had never really had much practice at making friends, and most of his relationships had been short lived anyway. Sam had always been afraid that getting close to someone would mean that they would find out about his dark, transient past. On a bright note, however, his own room meant that he could spread out however he wanted to.
Resigned to his fate for better or worse, Sam began to unpack his bags. He pulled open the drawers of his very own college-issued bureau and started to store his boxers, socks, and other personal effects. He was dismayed to see that everything could fit into a single drawer; just one more reminder of how skewed his life had been. Determined to start the year out right, Sam turned to put the bags he had just unpacked in the closet when he saw metal glinting from the bottom. Smiling almost in disgust, Sam grabbed the knife to hide it between the mattress and the wall. He wanted to get away from the life he had been raised in, but he wasn't stupid. He knew what was out there.
As he pulled the blade from the sheath to ensure that if he needed it, there would be no pointless hold-ups, he saw a piece of notebook paper flutter to the floor. Confused, Sam picked up the object and unfolded it. When he recognized the handwriting, he dropped unceremoniously to the bed to read the letter.
"Sammy, I get it, okay? I understand that you had to get out. You've never been one for this, and I see that now. You're my baby brother, and I only want what's best for you. I don't know how college is going to help you, but if you think that that's what is going to help you, than I'll accept that. You just can't expect me to be happy about it yet. Not after everything that has happened these past nineteen years. But I suppose it's not really fair of us to expect you to be as vehement (see I did learn something from you…a big word) about finding Mom's killer, but one day, Sammy, you'll have to understand that you are one of us, and like it or not, hunting is normal to a Winchester. So take care of yourself, since I can't look out for you anymore, and please, please keep yourself safe. If you want to try and be 'normal', go ahead…it's probably the only thing you'll ever fail at. But just remember, there are things out there that no one should ignore, and they won't hesitate to kill you. If you do nothing else, Sammy, put salt in your windows…even just to make me feel better. You're my baby brother, and I can't protect you anymore I guess. You've made sure of that. Just know that as pissed as I was when you left, you can always call me if you need anything. I won't try and stop you leaving, and I won't pretend to be happy about it, but I'm still here for you. Of that, I promise.
Sam smiled, unsure of what his brother's true intentions were in the letter, and unsure if Dean had even known. At least it was a start.