Title: Storybook Ending
Challenge: Firsts Chart Challenge - first love
Characters: Sam, Dean (gen)
Word Count: 583
Feedback: - constructive criticism welcome
Disclaimer: None of the Winchesters belong to me, alas.
Summary: Sam's first love
Sam has never asked Dean who or what his first love was. He has a feeling that it was either his fourth-grade teacher in Indiana or the gun Dad gave him for his eighth birthday. He didn't go so far as to name the thing Vera, but he spent some quality time with it, for sure.
Sam's first love was books. At first it was storybooks, with stories about families with mommies and houses and dogs. He knew that those were the normal families, but he could only imagine what that normality was like. So he did imagine it, as much as he could. In the back seat of the Impala, in motel rooms, in other people's houses. He could read anywhere, and no matter where he was, he could always imagine that he was somewhere else.
Dean would glare at him, but Sam figured he was just jealous because Dean got sick if he read in the car. Dad didn't say anything, but he helped Sam join the library anytime they stayed in one place for a little while, and he bought Sam new books for Christmas.
Later on, he started reading other kinds of books. Pastor Jim helped him learn Latin and let him borrow books on demonology and spirits. When he did weapons training with Dad, he helped himself concentrate by whispering ancient charms and curses. Dean and Dad bugged him to spend more time working out and practicing and less time with his head stuck in a mess of gibberish, but he saw a little bit of respect in their eyes when he knew the right incantation to get rid of the demon they came across in North Dakota.
When Dean found him reading college catalogs, staring at the pictures--pictures of kids sitting in groups on the quad, studying in the library, conversing with professors, pictures of normality--the look on his brother's face was angry and sad, and Sam thought I love you, but I hate you, too.
The next year, when he went to Stanford, and all those normal kids seemed somehow more alien and frightening than ghosts and werewolves, Sam turned again to his steadfast love of reading. He read ahead in all of his textbooks, determined not to fail, not to lose his scholarships, not to have to crawl back home to Dad, ashamed. He read in the library, so that his roommate wouldn't think he had no life. He read at night in his room when he missed Dean with a sharp ache he never expected to feel.
Eventually, he made friends, but he was careful never to allow them to draw him away from his reading. No matter how many keg parties he went to, how many times he hung out on the quad like those kids in the catalog pictures, no matter how pretty and perfect his girlfriend was, he knew that normality for him was a tentative and delicate thing. So he read and he studied, and he memorized the LSAT prep books, looking forward to three more years of reading new things.
But when the fire came again and burned away that flimsy curtain of normality, when Jess burned and his books burned and all of those days of pretending to be normal burned to ashes in his mouth, he knew it was time for a new love. The gun he picked up felt cold at first, but it slowly grew warm as he held it in his hands.