Title: He Said, She Said
Pairings: Sam/OMC, Dean, John
Warnings: Pre-series so no spoilers.
Disclaimer: I don't own Supernatural. It's actually very sad.
Summary: At the beginning of the year Sam thought he might be bisexual. By the end of the year he was sure.
Author's Notes: A very large thank you to Lj users katjad and samcandoit who took the time to beta this for me. They deserve cookies for it. Lots of cookies.
Philip Battaglia was a 16-year-old junior at Gwendolyn Brooks High School. His friends, and he had a tight circle of them, called him Phil. He was a starter on the varsity basketball team, and his jersey sported the number 12. Phil held 3.6 GPA. Phil's favorite class was AP English, but he could also swing A's in German and geometry without paying too much attention. Phil was the founder and president of the school's auto club, and any time he spent off the basketball court usually led to him being covered in engine grease. He was in love with the 1965 Ford Mustang and had been rebuilding since his freshman year. Phil planned on painting the car canary yellow when he was done. Phil wanted to major in English once he got to college, and secretly loved that his high school was named after a poet. Phil was allergic to bees. Phil liked to drown his French fries in salt and ketchup. Phil had a temper. Phil had blond hair and brown eyes. Phil was six-foot-three and growing. Phil was a member of the school's Gay, Straight, Bisexual Alliance. Phil was out. Phil was gay, and unfortunately, after Dean Winchester broke his nose, most of his ribs and his left arm, the last bit seemed to be the only piece of information anyone remembered about Philip Battaglia.
It's not an unusual thing, Sam making a friend. Sam makes friends in record times no matter what part of the county they end up in. Dean's used to untangling Sam from packs of teenagers when it comes time for them to head out, and already he's seen Sam's large hand wave in response to strangers who shout his name like they've known him all their lives. Sam likes to surround himself with people, a tight cocoon of bright eyes that have never seen kelpies, vocal chords that have never vibrated while intoning Latin prayers and ears that have never heard their family members scream. Sam is social, and adapts easily to this world full of normal, but Sam has never gone and anchored himself to just one new friend. At least, not until Phil Battaglia.
Dean Winchester was 19-years-old and had (by the skin of his teeth) already earned his high school diploma. He worked full time at The Cookie Cutter, a diner on the corner of Glass Street and Violet Drive, where he flipped burgers, cooked omelets, carried heavy boxes, slapped together BLTs and flirted with every female in a forty mile radius. Dean made a bundle in tips and he kept the wad of cash in his back pocket held together with a tan rubber band. The bills were sorted by president. Dean was a crack shot with a rifle and carried one silver, one copper, and one steel knife on his person at all times. Dean drove a black 1967 Chevy Impala that he kept spotless and was very much in love with. Dean had a 15-year-old brother named Sam who came in every day after school to do his homework and eat dinner. Dean had sampled every item on The Cookie Cutter's menu, and he learned to steer clear of the egg salad sandwiches. Dean liked curly fries. Dean had freckles. Dean had blond hair and green eyes. Dean was six-foot-one. Dean was straight. Dean had moved to the small Washington city with his family five months earlier from a tiny town in Alabama, and that point of origin seemed to explain his actions to everyone.
Sam does his homework in the same booth, the one with the name Dawn inked into the table top, every day. The first time he brings Phil with him, it's a week into basketball season and the diner is practically empty. The kid flops down like he owns the booth, the table and the entire world. He shakes Dean's hand with a solid grip and talks about his car and his family and how Sam should try out for the basketball team because with his height he'd be great. Sam preens under the words like he's never before been complimented on anything in his entire life. He has this jubilant look setting up shop in his brown eyes that Phil is mirroring right back. Somewhere in the back of Dean's mind, what's happening at the torn up Cookie Cutter booth comes together with a loud click.
Dean freaks out in between delivering a basket of free onion rings to Sam, and frying up a plate of grill cheese sandwiches. He spreads the butter across the bread, places the cheese between the slices and tries to figure out exactly when this happened. The sandwiches sizzle and Dean sees Sam lean in, pointing excitedly at something in his text book. Phil's fingers fan out across the area, and rest over his brother's hand, his fingers lightly brushing over his Sam's knuckles. Dean can feel the warmth of Sam's smile from behind the counter.
Dean isn't a book smart guy, and he's fine with that. He's got street smarts coming out of his ass, and he's all too happy to let Sam frolic in the land of academia. He paid Sam to write most of his high school English papers, and his reading materials don't usually extend past the occasional Playboy. Still, he's been reading Sammy since the kid was six-months-old, and interpreting his brother is easy even under the worst of circumstances. Sam having a crush is not the worst of circumstances.
By the time he's flipping the sandwiches onto plates Dean's OK with it.
Sam Winchester was 15-years-old junior at Gwendolyn Brooks High School. He was enrolled in every advanced placement class the school had to offer, but his favorite was AP English with Mrs. Capricorn. He could recite William Stafford's "The Star in the Hills" and "Traveling Through The Dark" by heart. Sam had found this poet on his own, and had memorized the poems because he'd loved them at first read. He could also recite Etheridge Knight's "Belly Song" for the same reasons. Sam could shoot a row of brown glass bottles off a fence post and not miss one. Sam never went anywhere without a cross and a pentagram. Sam always had a knife hidden in his bag, and was glad the high school didn't have metal detectors yet. Sam loved his brother so much it sometimes hurt. Sam liked the routine of school, then diner then home. Sam the one item on the menu at The Cookie Cutter Sam hadn't tried was the mushroom omelet because he didn't like the idea of eating fungus. Sam was fluent in Latin, Spanish and French. Sam was learning German. Sam thought Gwendolyn Brooks High School was progressive in a way that made his head spin. Sam liked to eat his cheese fries with a fork. Sam had brown hair, and his bangs stopped just above his brown eyes. Sam was six-foot and growing. Sam told people that he'd moved here from Alabama, but was quick to add, "But we're really from all over." Sam had checked out every book in the library that even hinted at homosexuality. At the beginning of the year Sam thought he might be bisexual. By the end of the year he was sure.
It's the last game of the season, and the high school's basketball team is playing in the championship something or other. Dean could give a rat's ass about the result of the game and volunteers to take the Friday night shift. The offer makes him a hero in the eyes of the waitresses. It's ten o'clock and the diner is dead. The sad procession of silent cars, most of them decked out in the school's purple and yellow colors, tell Dean it's going to stay that way so he figures it would be fine to head out. No one would want to celebrate a loss.
Dean gives the tables a quick rub down, and sweeps, then mops, the floor. Bits of food bob in the bucket that Dean drags into the back alley. The dirty water splashes against his shoes when he pours the liquid onto the concrete. The sickly sweet smell of garbage and rot is in the air, and the late fall humidity is already making his skin feel sticky and uncomfortable. When he turns to leave, he's surprised to find Sam, sitting with his back pressed against the brick of the building.
"Shouldn't you be at the game?"
Sam scrubs his face with the back of his hand, and stands.
"Game's over. We lost."
The sun set hours ago, but there's a light by diner's back door, and a lamp post at the edge of the alley so Dean has no trouble spotting Sam's split lip and blackened eye. There are no tears, but Sam's eyes are bloodshot and there's a thin line of snot drying under his nose.
"We lost," Sam repeats. "I thought I could make him feel better and he just-." He motions to his face unsure.
Dean tips Sam's head to the left and right, his hands running through shaggy hair, searching for further injuries. Dean is thinking about technique and training and body memory. He's mentally listing every block and punch they'd ever learned, and trying to figure out what move he'd failed to teach Sam that had resulted in an untrained civilian getting more than one clean hit.
"He was just angry. He couldn't have really hurt me. He's not..he doesn't…he's a basketball player, Dean." Sam looks away miserable and lost. "I could have hurt him. I didn't want to hurt him."
Dean pulls his brother to him and hugs him hard. Sam squeezes back, and Dean hears his brother's breath hitch once before he pulls away.
Dean sets Sam up at the counter with a vanilla Coke and a BLT then finishes the rest of the closing duties. Sam chews slowly, his blackened eye fixed on the plate. Dean thinks he might have forgotten a few of the less important closing chores, but he doesn't care. All he wants is to get Sam home, behind the safety of salted windowsills and rune-protected doors before he goes out again. Sam doesn't want to hurt anyone. Dean does.
Sam and Phil dated for three months. Sam met Phil in AP English class, but Phil fell for Sam a week earlier in German. Phil thought he could get lost in Sam's brown eyes, but never got the chance to since Sam always got twitchy and embarrassed when Phil did noting but stare at him. Sam kissed Phil first. Phil was the one to first use the word boyfriend. Sam thought Phil's obsession with a 1965 Mustang was just as weird as Dean's adoration for a 1967 Chevy Impala, but where Dean's hobby got sort of irritating, he chalked Phil's up to endearing. Sam liked basketball, and probably would have gone to the games anyway, but having Phil look up from the court and grin made Sam feel warm and loved. Phil invited Sam over for dinner after three weeks of dating. Sam was so nervous he threw up before hand. Sam and Phil had sex after a month. Sam liked to eat off Phil's plate after he'd polished off his own food. Sam liked to spread his fingers wide over Phil's flat stomach. Phil loved Sam's hair. Phil talked about college like it was an inevitable stage of life. Sam never once mentioned ghosts, boggles or monsters to Phil, but made it known that he hated horror movies. Phil liked Sam's older brother, but there were times when the guy made him nervous. Phil met John once; once was enough. Sam walked away from Phil with a broken nose, a split lip, a black eye and a shattered heart. Phil watched Sam walk away with a stuttering heart, and a deep sick pit forming in the bottom of his stomach that never quite went away.
Dean's not sure who spills the beans. Sam is too heartsick to be talking to anyone, Dean doesn't exactly go around bragging about beating up 16-year-olds, and he's pretty sure Phil isn't walking up and down the streets announcing to the world that his ex's older brother kicked the crap out of him, but somehow the story gets out. Well, a version of it anyway.
The first look Dean gets is from 84-year-old Jill Spencer, the town's librarian, who glares at him from over the top of her tortoise shell glasses like he's a cockroach she's just found swimming in her split pea soup. Dean gets variations of this look from a few more of the customers as the week goes on. The Cookie Cutters three waitresses will have nothing to do with him. Halima Khan flicks the remains of her cigarette at his feet and cuts her break short when he comes out to join her. Jackie Kostal scowls at him from under a pound of blue eye shadow while she takes orders. Payal Kothari even corners him in the back as he's hulling in a new box of sodas, ready to speak her peace, but then the bell above the door chimes and she leaves with a flip of her dark brown pony tale.
The worst of it comes one the day when Dean slips away to the Quick Stop during his break, desperate to escape the sea of sharp eyes and simmering silences.
The air conditioning fills the store with arctic temperatures that causes goose bumps to rise on Dean's arms. Hot dogs and burritos of questionable origin rotate slowly behind a pane of plastic warmed under a burning red light. Dean orders one of each and gets an approving smile from the bottle-blond cashier who looks like she's a stone's throw away from being able to vote. The girl's green eyes are nestled in a B+ face that's attached to an A+ body, and they shine at Dean with warmth and sympathy.
"I bet you're getting some flak for what you did." She hands Dean his wax paper wrapped purchases, and adds a Hersey bar to the mix. Her manicured nails never touch the cash register's keypad. "But I think it was really cool. You did the right thing. I don't care how well he plays, that kid and that club, that whole thing is just-" She wrinkles her nose, her bubble gum pink lips twisting. "Gross."
Dean opens his mouth to fire back, the injustice of the day pouring hot through his veins, but he can still see Sam, arms wrapped around his middle at the kitchen table back home, hunched over piles of English notes and German verb charts that he does nothing but stare at. He sees Sam's swollen eye, and the lip and nose that are still healing, and the shame that seems to fly across his brother's face every time one of the hurts demands attention. Dean gives her a tight angry smile, and his teeth bite down on his tongue. What happened is no one's business but their own.
John Winchester was a man who felt far older the date of birth on his driver's license. His high school diploma was buried in a box in a basement in Kansas, and he hadn't spared the yellowed piece of paper a thought in over twenty years. John came home from hunting Red Caps to find his youngest son injured and his oldest son scowling. John came home to a series of never ending phone calls that greet him with nothing but static when he answers them. John came home with adrenaline from the successful hunt still singing in his blood. John came home with a deep pit of loneliness clawing through his stomach. John came home ready to move on. He was surprised when his youngest, usually so unwilling to tear up the roots he spent months putting down, was the first to obey and slide into the Impala's backseat. John was at a loss for what any of this could mean. He was relieved when his oldest slid next to Sam, forgoing his usual spot in the front, understanding that his father was too tired to go hunting for answers to his youngest son's secrets.