Notes: This is gonna be wierd and might not make much sense, but I had to post it just so it could be out there and quit taking up precious space in my brain. There really is so little.
Also, need to say that for all those that might be reading Men of Faith, there may be a bit of a delay. My precious little jump drive, which had the last three chapters of that, assorted other fiction, and so much research for two papers that are due this and next week, has disappeared. One day in its proper space on my keychain, next day gone. I'm just a tiny bit upset (that was sarcasm). Regretfully, I'll have to say that one is temporarily on hold until I either find my jump drive, or find the heart to rewrite it. My apologies.
As Butterflies is Cargo
Dean dreams of driving. The road is long and narrow, wheat grass growing up on both sides, tickling the Impala's sides as she flies by.
"This is the highway," Sam says from the passenger seat. With his head leaned way back and arm hanging out the window; his face is pale and clammy. "And there's only two ways to drive it."
"How's that?" Dean asks.
"Here." Sam closes his eyes. "Or now."
Dean takes a long minute to think about this, the road still stretching out forever in front of them. The sun shines bright and the breeze from open windows is warm and sleepy. "Now," he finally says, glancing over at Sam. "Now."
But Sam is dead asleep; face cradled in the strap of the seatbelt, and doesn't hear him at all.
"It's not gonna come out," Dean says, sitting Indian-style atop an olive-green washing machine.
"Yes, it will." Sam barely looks up from his work. He sets the brush aside and pours more detergent on the shirt, rubbing it in with his fingers.
"Just trying to save you the work." Dean shrugs.
"How 'bout a little optimism?" Sam grumbles. "I want…I like this shirt."
"Optimism?" Dean scoffs and looks away. "You're gonna ruin you're image there, if you're not careful."
"Shut up," Sam mutters, more to himself than anything. He's hunched over an uneven wooden table in the 24-hour Laundromat, scraping at the stain with his fingernails now.
Dean rests his elbows on his knees and his chin on his fists. "It's just a shirt, Sammy."
Sam's glare under the fluorescent lights is enough to shut him up.
Dean knows it's a dream because everything is washed out in grays and yellows, like a badly adjusted TV set.
Driving is something he probably could do in his sleep, it's rhythms and motions are so ingrained in his mind. He feels wheels humming beneath him even when walking on solid ground.
"Sam?" he asks, leaning over to see his brother's slackened features. "Sammy? You sleeping?"
Pretty dumb question, but this is a dream. Logic doesn't apply.
Dean eases his hands off the wheel and lets the car drive itself down the never bending sunny road.
He takes Sam's cue and leans back, crosses his arms, closes his eyes, and waits to wake up.
There's a radio setting on top of the long row of dryers. It's playing a local station, AM and crackly, broadcasting the play by plays of the local high school's soccer game that was played late last evening. They've just reached the broadcast end of the first ninety minutes…again. It's a tie and the announcer declares a shoot-out will decide the winner.
Dean shakes his head. "What the hell is the point?"
"Of what?" Sam asks lounging in a chair now, feet propped up on a laundry basket.
"A shoot out in overtime. Its like that whole game they just played didn't even happen. Back to square one."
"They're tired," Sam argues. "And maybe their best forward was injured and can't play, or maybe--"
"Alright, alright." Dean holds up a hand. "I get it."
"Plus," Sam adds. "Two to two is basically the same as zero to zero. Cancels the whole thing out."
"No, it doesn't. You can't cancel out goals. Physical things."
"Sure you can."
"No way. That's like saying…that's like saying if you and I were equally angry, it's the same as neither of us being angry at all."
"Exactly." Sam nods. "We'd cancel each other out."
"Philosophical bullshit," Dean says, shaking his head.
"You reasoned it out." Sam smiles and stretches. "It'd be a stalemate. If you and I were exactly, equally hungry, tired, angry…sad--"
"It'd be like we were nothing at all."
Sam just stares as the washing machine buzzes. It's done.
It seems to Dean as though he's had this dream before. He's been here before, driven down this road a million and one times.
The sun and breeze are just warm enough to make him lazy and drowsy, which begs the question, can you sleep in a dream?
Can you dream of sleeping?
Maybe only if you're tired enough.
Dean's pretty damn tired.
"You could help, you know," Sam says, bent over a sorting table, separating socks from t-shirts.
"Think I'll just keep the bench warm," Dean replies, lazily drumming his fingers on the washer's lid.
Sam grumbles something low, under his breath and continues digging through the pile. Finally coming upon the shirt he'd been trying to clean, he holds it up, scrutinizing it under the fluorescent lights. He sighs. "Didn't come out."
"Told you." Dean smirks. "Should have used hydrogen peroxide."
"Or club soda."
"Or hydrogen peroxide AND club soda," they say together and smile.
"If one don't work," Sam says, putting on a gruff tone, his best John Winchester impression. "And the other don't work, you just gotta mix 'em up together. Full strength."
Dean laughs tiredly. "How to get blood stains out of your Sunday best."
"Yeah." Sam smiles and opens his mouth to laugh, but he's breathless to find the humor and it all falls sort of flat.
He tosses the shirt toward the trashcan, suddenly eager to be rid of it, but it doesn't quite make it. The shirt catches on the edge of the can, that awful, dingy, dirty gray hanging limply, half in and half out.
Dean slouches a little further onto the washer's lid. "Listen, Sammy," he says quietly, tracing his finger along the edge of the machine. "It's just a shirt. You can't expect a flimsy piece of material to survive something we..."
He lets the sentence hang, unspoken between them.
Dean has had dreams where the only thing to wake him is the stark rasping of his own lungs trying to take in air. He knows that Sam has these dreams too.
It's a feeling of paralysis. Can't move, can't speak, can't breathe. Can't even wake up.
This isn't one of those dreams. There aren't any faceless monsters, or burning fires, or the sound of footsteps, walking away. There is only the car, the road, and Sam.
He still can't wake up.
Sam is staring out the window now, squinting into the sun as it filters through the grass and weeds. His bangs flutter with the breeze.
Dean lifts his heavy hands up and rests them back on the wheel, feeling the vibrations of the engine. "Hey," he says.
Sam turns slowly to look at him. His eyes are warm and friendly, grinning even when his mouth isn't. "What's wrong?"
It's a minute or two and Dean doesn't say anything. Can't find the energy to answer.
Sam slouches down in his seat, closes his eyes and sticks his hand out the window, fingers splayed wide to catch the wind. "What's wrong with this?" he mumbles tiredly.
"Nothing," Dean says, finding his voice and tightening his grip on the wheel. "Nothing at all."