Author's Note: I first wrote this...I don't know, a while ago. And I realize it's not for everyone since so many of you hate even the idea of a Mary Sue, which I certainly hope Tessa does not come off as. That said, it seems as though there is a fairly large audience for what are increasingly being known as "sister stories" within this fandom, so I thought - since I didn't do so the first time around - I'd repost it advertising it as such, just to see if there may be a new audience for it. So hopefully, to those of you do enjoy these types of stories, and characters, you'll find this to be good read. Let me know!
Oh, and, while it's clearly AU regardless, I should mention that it was written, I believe, just after Scarecrow. So just disregard the episodes following that.
Summary: AU wherein Sam has a twin sister. Mary Sue haters calm down, she'll barely even appear after the first chapter, it's all just part of my maniacal plan to bring you an exciting and mysterious tale of supernatural events.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything, least of all The WB's Supernatural.
Stanford University, 2004
"So I guess you're busy doing, I don't know…something," he stammers into the phone, "something so important you can't even answer when your brother calls. On your birthday. Which just happens to be his birthday too. Which really means that he shouldn't even have to call you at all. You should be calling him to wish him a happy birthday." He pauses briefly, stops his pacing and exhales heavily into the receiver before letting out a slight laugh. "Anyway, happy birthday. Love ya. Miss ya. Call me." He pushes the button to hang up the phone and stares at it in his hand, waiting as though he expects it to do something, come alive, ring, maybe even talk to him all on its own. Not that it's a rare occurrence around here, but clearly he's fallen into a static state once again, the kind that hits him several times a day out of the blue and leaves him standing, or sitting, trance-like while he internally debates which of the thousands of thoughts in his head he should listen to.
I can't believe I have class tomorrow. Maybe I shouldn't go out. I should just stay in with Jess. No, she's already getting ready. But I have a paper due in Ethics Monday. And a test on tort reform. I should study. Yeah right. She'll totally look hot though, always does when we go bar hopping. All night I'll just want to be alone with her anyway. And Dave'll get drunk and be an ass. Kyle'll probably embarrass us all somehow too. Or he might only embarrass himself, which could be funny. But so could whatever is on TV tonight. I really should work on that paper.
"We're going," she says as she quickly sweeps through the room, only half dressed. He turns, broken from his reverie and follows her into the bedroom, watches through the open bathroom door as she carefully lines her eyes.
He stands in the doorway with his hands shoved in his pockets and smiles before saying, "we don't have to."
"It's your birthday and we're going to celebrate," she says, never taking her eyes off her reflection. "Sam, you're 22. This'll be the first birthday where you can legally celebrate with alcohol and potentially still remember it the next day. She grabs a lipstick and turns to smile at him the memory of last year's birthday fiasco playing out in her head.
It wasn't the best second date she'd ever had, but despite the fact that she spent most of the night trapped under the boy who passed out in her lap after valiantly downing the obligatory 21 shots, it wasn't the worst either. Sam didn't remember anything about the night. All he knew was that when he woke the next morning with a pounding head, a mouth full of cotton and a churning stomach ready to explode, she was still there. And for some inexplicable reason, she's been there ever since. Well maybe that's not fair. Maybe the reason's not so unexplainable after all; maybe it's really very simple.
"I love you birthday boy," she says with a wink before returning to the mirror. "Now leave me alone so I can finish getting ready. You make me nervous, just staring at me like that."
"Yes ma'am," he says, turning to leave. He makes his way out of the bedroom and collapses on the couch, remote in hand poised and ready to go, when there's a knock at the door. Probably Kyle. Overeager to tie one on, he's always early. Sam grumbles as he rolls off the couch and makes his way to the door. "I thought we…" he starts, opening the door, but trails off when finding a young brunette who looks suspiciously like him instead of his goofball friend.
"Boo," the girl says before breaking into a hearty laugh. Sam can't help but join in, his face splitting with joy as he reaches out and wraps his arms around her.
"What are you doing here?" he asks excitedly, still swaddling her. Her hair smells like juniper and it brings back long lost memories of having to share the same bathroom with his two siblings. Her shampoo and conditioner always left their scent lingering long after she exited the shower, finally giving into the annoyed banging of her brothers on the bathroom door.
"Well I got this horribly pathetic, guilt inducing voicemail and I thought…oh wait that was just like two minutes ago." She pulls away but keeps her hands on his shoulders, holding him at a distance as a grandparent might do when investigating how their little boy has grown. "God, have you gotten taller?" she asks, pushing her way past him into his apartment.
He turns and closes the door, leans against it. "Yeah, I'm doing it just to spite you."
"I thought so," she says, wagging her finger at him. They had been the same height up until they turned 12. She hit a growth spurt and ruled as the taller twin for all of about four months before he hit one of his own. Oh she tried to keep up, but never made it past 5' 9. Now Sam towered above the whole family, and she was left always looking up. So much for that twin thing.
"This is nice," she says, ignoring him and choosing instead to peruse her new surroundings. Everything was so organized. Thank God he didn't loose that. Sometimes she feared that the more time they spent apart, the more different they would become. But he was still a bit of neat freak, just like her. And his hair, she notices glancing back at him, was still long and unruly, another common characteristic. The difference there though was that, she was fairly well convinced, he only kept it that was because their ex-marine father was always after him to cut it. But still.
"Tessa," he says. "What are you doing here?"
She knows what he's asking and why. They haven't seen each other in about six months, since they met up outside San Diego to trade some extremely belated Christmas gifts. The fact of the matter is that Sam wasn't really part of their family anymore. That may not be nice, it may not be fair, but it was the truth. When he left their father told him not to come back, and he didn't intend to. As far as she knew he and their father hadn't even spoken since then. And it was almost as bad with Dean. Of course he tried to keep in touch, but when you're all over the country working nonstop, calling your little brother isn't always at the top of your to do list. Especially when that little brother for all intents and purposes bailed on his family, even if it was for his own good. Even she, his own twin, could barely manage to make time to call or email, so yeah –what are you doing here? – was a legitimate question. But that doesn't mean she has to treat it like one.
"I can go if you want," she says, feigning disappointment. "I mean, if you really don't want me here."
"Shut up." He laughs and hugs her from behind, pinning her arms to her chest so she can't escape. "You're such a loser." The hug quickly turns into a sad attempt at a wrestling match, but Tessa hasn't been able to break free from her brother's holds in a long time. She has a hell of a right cross and could kick him square in the jaw despite his stature, but not if he wouldn't let her go. And he knows that.
"Hey Sam, did I…" Jessica, still without pants, sputters to a stop just before running into the struggling siblings. "Hi," she says awkwardly as Tessa strains to look up at her, her head locked under Sam's arm.
He doesn't release her, just smiles while casually making introductions. "Jess, this is Tess. Tess, Jess." Tessa bites his arm and he quickly lets go, jumping back as she works her way out of his hold.
"Hi," she says again, extending her hand to the wide-eyed blond.
"That hurt," Sam whines, rubbing his arm. "Jerk."
Jessica accepts her hand and shakes, but waits a moment before talking, tries to figure out just what exactly is going on. Of course she knew who this girl was before Sam introduced her. Even tucked underneath him she could see enough of her to recognize from the picture in the other room. Two smiling high school graduates with linked arms and the exact same hair. Granted Tessa's was much longer, trailing down her back, but when Jess walked in and saw the two mops mingled together, she knew that it must be Sam's twin even before catching a glimpse of her face.
"I was beginning to think I was never going to meet you," she says after releasing Tessa's hand, letting her straighten herself up a bit. "Actually, I kind of thought I might never meet any of Sam's family."
"Oh, he likes to keep us hidden away. He says we embarrass him," she offers in a whisper.
"You do, but I don't say that."
"Oh my God," Jessica spits out as she turns quickly and heads for the bedroom. "I'm not dressed." She continues talking from behind the slightly ajar door while rummaging through the closet looking for a decent pair of jeans. Meanwhile Tess shoots her brother a thumbs up, her mouth forming the silent words she's hot. "Sam didn't tell me you were coming. Why didn't you tell me she was coming?"
"I didn't know."
"Well it's great you're here though. I mean, for his birthday and all. Oh wait," she pokes her head out while zipping up her pants on the other side of the door. "It's yours too, duh. Well we're totally gonna have a blast tonight," she says, emerging fully dressed and ready to go.
The first bar they hit is crowded with university students. Even though it's a Thursday night and already dangerously close to finals time, the place is packed with seemingly carefree twentysomethings, all of whom seem content with the knowledge that they are somebody who's going somewhere. Tessa can't help but look at all of them and wonder if that's really true. Just because you're in college doesn't make you anyone special, even if it is Stanford. You still have just as much chance as anyone else of becoming a sad, lonely loser stuck in a dead end job. They were all just deluding themselves, thinking this was all somehow important, that it all meant something.
When Sam first mentioned how badly he wanted to go to college, more importantly go away to college, she jumped right on board. He was always so smart, and more than that he was always wanting to learn. It was perfect for him. She even thought about going herself, until seeing their father's reaction. Sam may be smart, and he may be brave – anyone who can stand up to their father like he does must be – but there was no doubt that he had a selfish streak as well. It didn't really bother her, not as much as Dad and Dean anyway. The way she figured, after all they'd been through growing up the way they did, he deserved to be a little selfish. But she couldn't find it in herself to be the same. So instead she stayed at home, whatever home was, and took part in the family business full time.
"I can't believe you want to be a lawyer," she says, adding on to the conversation that inevitably returned to the topic of school. Already she had to explain to everyone that no, in fact she was not in college and, no, she did not drop out nor did she ever intend to go in the first place. Clearly they simply didn't understand that you could have a fulfilling life without pursuing higher education, you could make a difference without earning an advanced degree. Of course they would never know what kind of difference she might make in the lives of people, or if they did know, certainly they would never believe it.
"Sam loves to argue," someone says in response, though she can't remember who he is. She can keep a thousand facts in her head at once, knows the Ritual Romanum front and back, even the Maleus Malefacarum, but names are not her forte.
"Yeah," she says shifting in her seat, readying herself to go get another beer.
"You need another," she hears and turns to the guy next to her.
"I'll get it for you," he says and smiles sweetly. Sweetly but also cunningly, scathingly, sexily. Man, she thinks, what is his name? When he returns with her drink she offers him her best seductive smile and he graciously accepts. But then she looks away, refusing any further flirtation. It's a lesson she learned long ago from Dean. Take it only as far as you're willing to go, don't let yourself get distracted. He didn't really teach her that actually, she learned from watching him do the opposite and pay for it later.
"So Tessa, you came all the way out here from Kansas just to wish Sam a happy birthday?" His voice was even more intoxicating than his smile, certainly more so than the beer she'd been drinking for the last hour. Resist. Respond politely but don't look at him. Don't make eye contact.
"I was in Texas, so it wasn't too far."
"What were you doing in Texas?"
"Tessa travels a lot." Leave it to Sam to cover quickly.
"What do you do?"
"She does research," he says and pauses, hoping that no more explanation will be needed. The looks on everyone's faces though tell him to go on. "She goes to different places, towns and stuff, and researches the area. Historical. She's kind of like a historian."
He wasn't lying, not really. She did do research, it was sort of her specialty, had been for years. She actually enjoyed combing through news articles and obits looking for anything out of the ordinary. And she was good at it. In fact it was the only thing she was really good at, picking up on strange events. Over the years she managed to commit a ton of what she learned to memory, even managed to learn several languages all on her own. Of course they tended to be ones long since abandoned as a means of communicating, and she never managed to become more than conversational, if one could even say that of a language no one even speaks anymore. But still, it proved to her, even if no one else, that she was smart in her own way, just not the way that teachers see and reward you for. But really, what does that matter? She'd decided long ago that school was rather pointless anyway.
"People pay you for that?"
"No," she says, eager to leave the subject behind. "Are there any clubs or anything around?"
Two clubs, several hours, and far too many drinks later Tessa collapses on the couch in her brother's apartment and quickly passes out. When she wakes it's early, six maybe? Seven? And Sam's sitting on the coffee table in front of her, a smile plastered on his face and a coffee cup in his hand. How he can seem so chipper she has no idea. Clearly he did not drink nearly as much as she thought he had, certainly not as much as she did.
"You're alive," he says, handing her the mug filled with steaming black coffee. She takes a sip carefully before sitting upright. Sugary, it was very, very sugary. He knew her so well.
"What time is it?" she asks, startling herself with the sound of her scratchy voice.
"Almost seven. I have class in a couple of hours. Thought maybe you'd want to get some breakfast and tag along."
"Go to your class?"
"Yeah, why not? There are like 500 people in it, no one'll notice, or care."
"What class is it?"
He smiles and ducks his head, trying to hide it. "Advanced physics."
"Oh yeah, right."
"Just thought I'd offer."
"What are you even doing taking that?"
"I don't know. I needed a science elective." He gets up from the table and moves to the couch, sitting down next to her. "We can still have breakfast if you want though." She doesn't respond, just balances the coffee on her knee with her fingers still laced through the mug's handle, and lays her head on his shoulder. He moves a bit, maneuvers himself so that he can get his arm behind her neck. He plays with her hair and can't help but think about how familiar it feels, not just because it so like his own, but because even if it weren't he'd know it anywhere, has known it his entire life. "You want some aspirin?" he offers. But she shakes her head no.
Sitting together like this he can't help but think about times long since gone. Times when they sat in the back seat of their father's car driving, driving, and driving for what seemed like forever until one or the other of them would fall asleep, head bobbing from side to side and finally coming to rest on the other's shoulder. They spent way too much time stuffed into the back of that car. They'd spent too many nights asleep on each other's shoulders in that car. And they'd had way too many shouting matches and minor fist fights in the back of that car too, the kind that always resulted in Dad pulling over and yelling, forcing one or the other of them to switch places with Dean; poor Dean forced to ride in the back like a child. And he was surprised, Sam was, that he actually kind of missed it. He missed the way the vinyl stuck to his skin in the summer when his dad refused to turn on the air opting for rolling the windows down instead. And he missed Dean getting carsick any time they ate Mexican, which they did whenever it was Tessa's turn to choose. He even missed the sound of his dad's nose whistling like it did whenever he got angry, becoming the only sound in the car once he turned off all the music and made them sit in silence. He must be crazy to miss all that.
"So how is everybody?" The fact that it took him nearly 24 hours to even acknowledge the other members of his family does not escape him, and it's not something he's proud of.
"I don't know. Fine I guess," she says stifling a yawn and settling into his shoulder a bit more.
"Yeah, I guess."
"And Dad, he's good too?" She doesn't answer, just shrugs. "What," he says, pulling back so he can see her face, "you two still going at it?"
It used to be that the only ones who ever really fought in the family, other the odd little sibling rivalry spats between the three kids, were Sam and their father. But when Sam left, Tessa took over as the official pain in his ass. At least that's what he said. She had told Sam all about it, about how they could barely be in the same room anymore, how whenever either one of them saw the other they would just dissolve into bitterness. She never told him why though. She never even told Dean why, not the real reason anyway. They didn't need to know.
"It's fine," she says, not at all convincingly.
"Yeah, right." Sam moves, forcing her to sit up, and the two look in each other's eyes. The same eyes. The same stare. Each of them is used to winning this fight, this I'll-stare-you-down-until-you-break contest. But that's because they play with other people. If they try it with each other they could end up in the same stance all day, each one waiting for the other to crack, resisting the urge to give in themselves. "What's going on, Tess?" he says finally.
She sighs heavily and sets down her mug on the coffee table. "Nothing."
"Please. You come all the way here, don't even say why-"
"It was our birthday."
"Yeah well we had one last year too, but you didn't show up then."
"Dean made me go out with him so he could keep a eye on me while I drank. Which is pretty ridiculous if you think about it. I mean, considering that he gave me my first fake ID when I was 16 and then took me with him to a bar."
"I'm serious Tess – wait, what?"
"When was that? Where was I?"
"I don't know, probably studying or something. He didn't want you to get in trouble."
"Oh but you could?"
"I wouldn't. Didn't either."
He sat motionless for a moment, suddenly no longer in the reminiscing mood. What a fucked up family. Now the only memories that were coming were ones he'd much rather forget, certainly not ones of things he missed. He shakes his head and tries to get rid of all those thoughts so he can get back to the point, but he's forgotten what that was to begin with. Now the only point worth making is simple. "Why do you stay there?"
"With them? With Dad and Dean?"
"Oh, I don't know, maybe because they're my family."
"You don't need to do what you do though. You could do so much more with your life."
"Ah, you mean like go to college?"
"Yes, like go to college. Or don't go if you don't want to, but do something."
"I am doing something Sam."
"You know what I mean."
Her face begins to get red and her lips grow tight together forming a firm line. She takes a minute to formulate her words before speaking, being careful not to say too much. "You have no idea what I do Sam. You have no idea."
"Tessa, I did it too, all the research and fighting, the recon and hunting trips. I know."
"No. You don't."
"Look, Sam," she pauses, unsure of what to say. The anger starts to dissipate, but it only leaves confusion in its wake and suddenly she can't help but think that she never should have come here at all. She shouldn't be having this conversation because ultimately it's just not one she can have. Not with him. Not with anyone. So what's the point really? "I'm glad you're here," she says softly. "I'm glad you left, went away like you did. Not because I like you being gone, but because it was the right thing for you. I mean that."
"It could be the right thing for you too."
"I know what my life is, I know what it's for."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Now he was the one getting angry. "Don't worry about it."
"Sam, you're better than that, that's all. That's all I'm saying. I don't even know what that means really, it's just…I don't know. You're like my better half, you know. So I'm glad you're out there, here, being…better. It frees me up to do what I need to do."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"I know." She turns to him and looks him straight in the eye, prepares to tell him what she came here to say, what she should have just come out and said from the beginning. But she can't. "I have to go," is all that comes out.