Summary: Who thought brotherly fights and blood could hold fond memories.
Rebuilding a smashed car is almost as difficult as rebuilding destroyed lives. Sam and Dean retrieve a potent memory from beneath the Impala's seats.
The love: The truth is I threw pages of words at my betas, Quellefromage (enough with the poking already!) and the biggest of Pinks (Bigpink). I left it up to them to decipher my ramblings. Not only after every read did they raise the selling price of certain items, but they improved the story I was trying to tell tenfold. The love I have could fill a full sized Impala (blood free of course)
Yeah, Yeah: Kripke I know the song and dance. Not mine yours. Doesn't mean I can't play with them a little when you're not looking
Hot Wheels and Head Wounds
By: The Lemmiest of Pies (LemmyPie)
Sam walked out to the junkyard, feeling a little like that Jack Russell Terrier in the Looney Tunes cartoon: "Whatcha dooin, Dean? Huh? Huh? Just about done? Gonna need some help? You wanna talk about anything, huh? Huh?"
Dean, of course, the bulldog, giving him a hearty slap down. "Awwww, shut up, will ya?"
Didn't matter, though. Sam always went back. He couldn't help himself. Dean, after all was his idol, whether realized or not.
The Impala was almost back to her glory, the engine not in place yet but ready and waiting. The money for the replacement, acquired from the sale of their father's truck. Something in Sam had died all over again the day their father's truck had been located.
A friend of Bobby's had found it in an impound yard in Nebraska. Called him up and offered to bring it back. Bobby, in his misplaced wisdom, told him to do so. Told Sam they could use it until Dean could get the Impala running again. The day it showed up in the yard, Dean stood stunned, then, without a word had gone into the house. He spent the next two days avoiding the front yard where the truck stood. When it came down to it, Sam really couldn't stand the sight of it either. Bobby took it upon himself to clean out the truck, carefully removing all the tools of their trade. The next day, the truck was gone, and Bobby came in that evening with $12, in hundred dollar bills. Put it on the table and told Dean he had a line on a rebuilt engine, and a set of doors.
Four more days tops is what Dean had said this morning. Then what? Only the fates really knew.
"Hey, Dean?" Round 35… "You need help?" Wait for it…
Sam stood there for a moment with his mouth open. That was not what he was expecting.
"Sam? You gonna catch flies or something? Cause that's not gonna help me."
"Uh, yeah. Whatcha need?" He really had not been prepared for his offer to be accepted but now that it had, he jumped in gleefully. Jack Russell in top form. "Whatcha need? What can I do? You need me to wrench on something?"
Slap down… "Chill out."
"Yeah, right. Chill."
Dean wiped the grease from his hands as he walked to the worktable, picked up a deerskin chamois and some Armor All. Smiled at Sam.
"The seats can go in today. Why don't you wipe them down? Get all the dust and dirt off them." (The blood long since wiped clean. Bobby again, bless him. Some memories didn't need to be relived.)
Okay, maybe Sam was a little disappointed in the task. He thought maybe he'd get to wrench on something, maybe just a little. Dean patted him on the shoulder, it might have been Sam's imagination, but he got the feeling Dean was just placating him. Giving him busy work. Keeping him out of his way, while he did the heavy lifting…. Jerk.
Sam was wistfully looking at the tools on the bench, knowing he'd get yelled at for even thinking about touching anything, when something odd caught his eye. Checking that Dean had once again taken up residence under the car, Sam reached out and picked up a Hot Wheels car. White, small and VERY familiar.
"What's this?" He asked, couldn't help it—knew it was important, but couldn't remember why.
A sigh from under the car. Dean barely tolerating the interruption. "So close, yet so far." Sliding out to see what his brother was talking about. "It's a tiny car, Sam. Found it when I pulled the back seat out."
Sam grinned widely. "Is this THE car?"
"I don't know, Sam."
"I'm sure it is."
"Yeah, well, it might be the only shot you got on me…EVER."
"Dad made us get rid of all the cars after that." Sam smiled ruefully.
"Yeah, and once again, evidence of how you listen so well."
Sam had been twelve going on thirty0five and Dean had just hit sixteen and the high point of his life was coming up with new ways to torture his brother. The trick Dean's particular talent was to torment and still keep it on the down low from their father, as he was driving. Dean had truly made it an art form.
"God, that day was just…. Well, that was a good day." All Sam got was a derisive snort.
"Come on, Dean, you deserved it."
"No, I didn't and you started it."
Staring at the interior of the car, he could visualize that day. Dean sitting with his back to the dashboard, knees folded on the seat. Their father, (and a pain shot through Sam's heart at the memory) behind the wheel. It was late afternoon, heading to another someplace. Time and hundreds of hunts later it wasn't the where or the why that mattered. The radio was playing Gordon Lightfoot, odd thing to remember, but Sam always smiled when he heard "Sundown." Always. Even that new hip hop version. Dean would clamped his jaw shut and stalked away, making Sam smile more.
Dean really had been in rare form that day. All Sam wanted to do was read, but somehow Dean was constantly in his peripheral vision. No matter how hard Sam had tried to ignore Dean, it just wasn't possible. He'd shift his head to the left and Dean would move just a little, making a noise, or something so that Sam noticed. Never failed. Sam would look up and there Dean would be, a serene Mona Lisa smile on his face.
That wasn't the problem. The problem was that Dean had spent the last fifty miles just staring at Sam. No blinking, no expression, just that twisted little non-smile. Sam would shift again, read the same line for the fifteenth time, already, trying not to look up.
Dean would make a sound, move just a bit, and Sam would forget, and look. Godamn, how did he do that? And Dean would be there, staring. At about a hundred miles in, Sam was pretty sure he might go insane. He wanted to bring Dean's behavior to his dad's attention, but experience had taught him that tattling was a waste of time. And really, "Dad, make Dean stop looking at me!", wasn't going to fly. Then, of course, there would be hours of mocking by Dean. He wasn't going to give his brother any more ammunition. Nope. It got to the point that Sam could FEEL his brother staring at him. Relentless. He'd glance up, and nothing had changed. His brother was a statue.
What was it? Why the battle of wills? Mile 155 and Sam could feel his heart rate jump. Moved to the far side of the bench seat. Still, somehow without actually moving his eyes, Dean was staring at him, like one of those paintings that, no matter where you go, the eyes follow you.
Mile 260…. and Sam snapped. Grabbed the first thing he found from the floor of the car and hurled it at Dean. It happened so fast that he didn't realize what he had grabbed, not until he saw the stunned look on his brother's face and the line of red ooze down into Dean's left eye. Suddenly, it was a horror show.
At the moment of impact, the tape had stopped playing and for one second, time stood still. Then Dean erupted. Sam scrambled as far away as he could in the backseat as Dean started to lunge for him, fratricide on his mind, bloody murder in his eyes. Sam cringed, shrank back, waiting for death, but it never came. In the same instant that he was scrambling for safety, John, without missing a beat or hitting the brakes, had, in a flash, put his right arm out and pinned his oldest against the dash. His eyes never left the road save for one quick glance to the back seat. Sam watched his father in the rear view mirror, awed by his speed, grateful for his intervention.
"Get the napkins out of the glove box, Dean, and don't bleed on the upholstery," was all their father had said. It was then that "Sundown" came on and he let his hand drop from Dean's chest. Another quick glance in the rearview mirror. "When we stop next, you're both sitting in the back. No arguments, no touching, no nothing, or there will be consequences."
Dean turned around in the seat, bunched up the napkins against his bleeding forehead and spared one murderous glare back at his brother. Sam chanced a wicked grin, and Dad cleared his throat.
At the rest stop, Dean got sewn up. Five stitches caused by a 1965 white Impala Hot Wheels car. The irony was not lost on Sam or Dean. Their punishment for the foolishness? Tossing the last of the remaining cars they had. Neither minded, both had outgrown the toys. They rarely touched them. Every once in awhile, one was put on the rear window ledge and they made bets on how long it would take for the car to fly out one of the windows when Dad took a sharp turn. The white Impala though, Sam kept. Shoved it between the back and seat, safe from his Dad's eyes, and Dean's retribution. His trophy was eventually forgotten. Until now.
Sam pocketed the car and started wiping down the seats, the memory lifting a little of the recent trauma. It was kinda sad that while his father was alive, Sam couldn't remember the good times they'd had. Only the bad. With his father gone, everything was coming back to him. He wanted to say something about that to Dean, but knew right now he couldn't. If he said anything, he would lose their tenuous truce.
It wasn't too long after that Dean slid out from under the Impala. Threw a socket wrench on the table and stood next to Sam, checking to see if his work was up to par.
After a moment of watching Sam spray, wipe, spray, wipe, Dean grunted, "Gonna slip right outta those suckers."
Sam nodded, happy that his work had been recognized. He wanted to show his brother that he cared about the Impala. He made those seats cleaner than the damn things had ever been.
That earned Sam the right to help Dean actually install the seats. Two hours and much swearing later, the bench seat and the two front bucket seats were in. The brothers stood shoulder to shoulder, admiring the work done, and cataloguing the work left to do.
"We need doors, you know that, right?" Sam tried for some much needed humor.
"Ya think? They're in the shed just gotta attach them." Dean smirked, rising to the occasion. Suddenly, Dean held out his hand. "Let me see it."
Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out the little metal car, handed it over. He watched Dean as he studied it, holding it between his thumb and forefinger. Maybe he was marveling at the details it held, or the memories. Maybe he was just looking for traces of blood. Finally Dean looked up, that nonsmile there, but sadly, not the glint in his eye. Palming the car, Dean leaned in to the backseat and tucked it between the back and the bench. Standing up, he glanced at Sam, who nodded and briefly squeezed Dean's shoulder. A good memory was something to hold on to.
"Let's get a beer," Dean said, turning towards the house.
Suddenly Sam started humming "Sundown," couldn't help it. Right behind him, Dean groaned.
"Awwww, Sammy, would ya shut up with that song?"
But Sam could hear the laughter in his voice, and thought, maybe…maybe we'll be okay.