That's My Story
It was one of those impromptu parties that tended to break out in dorms during the pre-exam crunch, when everyone was keyed up from stress and the impending winter break. The more a college student had to do, the more likely he'd wind up sitting in the hall lounge with half the neighbors, way too much pizza, beverages that were illegal for half the people drinking them, and possibly a few other illicit substances. Bad movies, loud music, and pointless chatter were bonuses.
Sam hadn't intended to come down here. He had a paper due in twelve hours—a paper that would make up roughly 75 percent of his grade in a class required for history majors.
But he—like every other remotely successful humanities major—had developed a talent for spouting finely-crafted bullshit. And it wasn't like he hadn't done all the research already. Most of the paper was in his head, just waiting to be typed out, and that would only take a couple of hours. Surely he could spare the time to socialize a little. He could even spare a couple of dollars for the pizza fund, if he didn't take his planned post-exam treat trip to McDonald's. This was real pizza, not from the cafeteria. When was the last time he'd had real pizza?
He wasn't sure when, but he knew it had been with Dean and it had been before the fight. Which made it at least two years.
It was the need for human companionship more than the craving for pizza that finally drove him down the hall. He barely knew anybody on the hall but his roommate, even after three months. Too much time in the library.
Terry wasn't here (then again, Terry was roommate in name only; Sam could count on one hand the number of nights this past semester that Terry had slept in his own bed) but he didn't let that stop him. He'd learned some useful skills in a lifetime of wandering. Within a few minutes, he had pizza and beer and he'd insinuated himself into a discussion with Kara Jeffries and the Kennedy twins.
"Hey, Brianna!" The elder of the twins stopped mid-word. "Tell us about your daddy again!"
"Oh, God." Kara rolled her eyes. "Sam, have you—" He shook his head.
"Well, that tears it," Brian Kennedy said. "Nobody escapes Stanford without hearing Tales from the Kennedys' Crypt. It's like a rule."
The crowd hushed, like kids waiting for a beloved bedtime story, and Brianna stood up so everybody could see her. "So first off, he interviews my date. I mean, he's got a questionnaire that he printed from somewhere on the Internet, and he's making Darren fill it out. And he tells me I can't come downstairs until he grades it. I've spent five hours getting ready and here he's telling me that it's all dependent on some stupid Internet quiz. And of course, Brian is sitting there in his tux laughing his ass off—until Dad pulls out an envelope and shows him the test he made Jennifer take. And that she flunked, and therefore, if Brian was lucky, he'd be chaperoning me and Darren all night.
"So of course Darren doesn't pass. And I'm upstairs in my prom dress screaming at Dad that if he doesn't get his overprotective ass outta my way, I'm going to run over him with the Trailblazer, and in the meantime poor Brian and poor Darren are down there trying to console each other, and suddenly Dad starts yelling about condoms and how we can't go anywhere because we don't have any! My father is yelling about condoms to my prom date!"
The laughter nearly drowned out her outrage—not that there was much of that; by this point, it looked like she'd resigned herself to the hilarity of the situation. Probably because they'd eventually managed to get to that prom.
"That's nothing," Sam heard himself say. All eyes turned to him, and he realized what he'd done. Shit.
"Nobody tops the Kennedys in the Family Horror Sweepstakes," said Brianna. "Come on, he had date quizzes."
Sam let himself smile. "My brother does."
"Brother?" Brianna frowned down at him. "Your brother?"
"Our father—he traveled a lot, in his work. We moved around a lot, never made it more than a year in one place, so it was mostly me and Dean. And he—" Christ, Dean was right about him not being able to hold his liquor. Why else would he be telling this to a roomful of near-strangers? "Dean never made a lot of friends, he was happy that way, but I wasn't. So in seventh grade, when we moved into a new town, I brought a new friend over after school.
"We were sitting in the living room, watching TV, and I was catching up on all the school gossip—good thing to do when you first move into a school, you know, find out which teachers to avoid, who the bullies are, that kind of thing—and Dean comes in, all in black, looking like a refugee from a bad Marilyn Manson video—he'd even stolen some eyeliner from somewhere." Giggles. As if they could appreciate the sheer horror that was an overly-macho, seventeen-year-old Dean Winchester in eyeliner. "Anyhow, he had—" Dad's favorite machete "—he was carrying this gigantic butcher knife, and he'd—" dipped it in blood "—been using it to carve up some meat for dinner, so it was all bloody, and he had this expression—he looked terrifying. Like he was going to rip Nick's guts out for snacks. And he's a strong guy, so it's entirely possible he could. And then—" Sam smiled at the memory. "He started reciting Latin in his best deep voice, and waved the knife so it flicked blood at Nick. At this thirteen-year-old whose only crime was being nice to the new kid."
"Your brother knows Latin?" He didn't recognize the voice, but it sounded impressed.
Sam made himself shrug casually while his mind raced for a decent excuse. "Dad taught us. It was one of his things." Latin and self-defense and 101 uses for holy water, but no point in bringing all that up. "So. Dean's standing there, looking like a serious Satan worshipper, and I'm trying to remember—" where the nearest knife is stashed "—trying to think of something that'll get him to behave, which of course is pointless because when Dad was gone, Dean was in charge, no questions asked. Poor Nick is sitting there looking like he just accidentally wandered into The Addams Family and he doesn't know if he should be polite or if he should run screaming out the door and call the cops, and all I can think is that I'm never going to make any friends.
"So I started yelling at Dean. In Latin. Only my Latin is way better than his." That's why I did all the chanting at exorcisms. "And he has to stop scowling to pay attention, and in the middle of me yelling at him that I just want a few friends I'm not related to and he's killing my chances of having friends—" or getting laid, because that's the kind of reason Dean would understand "—he stops short, looks at me, and says 'What the fuck verb was that?' Only he can't glare and ask about verbs at the same time. So he drops the whole persona and starts arguing with me about Latin. Nick's still sitting there, paralyzed with terror, while Dean and I are arguing over the finer points of Latin conjugations. At the top of our lungs. With a knife in the middle of the conversation and Dean looking like he might use it at any minute."
Everyone in the room was staring at him in silence. He hoped it meant they were captivated and not that they were about to run. "And then?" a girl across the room prompted.
He thought she was Brian's girlfriend; her name was—um—something that started with a J. Janet? Jennifer? No, Jessica, that was it. "Nick tried to sneak out. At which point Dean grabs him, and warns him that if anybody at school so much as looks at me crooked, Dean'll come after them and the bodies will never be found. And in the middle of all this, he's still arguing about the Latin.
"Nick ran like hell, never talked to me again, and I spent the rest of the year walking through the halls with everybody trying to scramble out of my way. People wouldn't even hand me pens, they'd set them down and run."
"Didn't your dad have—"
"Dad said the same thing Dean did." He sighed. "To quote, 'if they scare off that easy, you don't need them for friends in the first place.'"
The room erupted into laughter. "We surrender," Brianna said, and handed Sam another beer. "The Winchesters definitely trump the Kennedys."
"I may have to go home and hug Dad," Brian added, to guffaws. "Unbelievable, man. Just—wow. Somebody more fucked up than we are."
Sam smiled. If he only knew.
Another pizza made the rounds, along with a lot of commentary on Winchester family values and some speculation about whether the Winchesters would kick the Kennedys' collective ass if there was a competition. Sam grabbed more pizza in order to deflect participation in what sounded like a semi-psychotic plan to lure his father and brother to Stanford and turn the tables on them by having half the dorm pretend to be—well, it was either a Satanic cult or a bunch of fundamentalists, there seemed to be some argument.
Not that either one would scare a Winchester.
"So, how much of that was true?" Jessica asked, sitting down beside him.
"All of it." Just not the whole truth, of course. Like why two modern-day boys were fluent in Latin.
She shook her head—amazement, he hoped, and not disbelief. "Your brother sounds like a piece of work." Sam couldn't help laughing at that. "What?" she asked.
"It's just—he's not even here, and the girls are interested in him. "
Jessica gave him a look. "Oh, I didn't say that," she said with a grin.
He nearly choked. "I thought—I mean—you and Brian—"
"Oh, not anymore." She gave him a smile that, quite frankly, dazzled his slightly-inebriated self. "I flunked Daddy Kennedy's questionnaire." Sam laughed. "So, when's your brother coming to campus?"
He covered his hesitation by finishing his pizza, grabbing desperately for a reason that wouldn't sound too weird and yet wouldn't be so far from the truth that he couldn't remember it later. "I don't let him visit," he finally said. "Got tired of him trying to scare everybody off."
Another dazzling smile. "I don't scare that easy."