Summary – Set after 'Full Moon, Fast Cars' and before 'Cracks In The Glass', Sam and Dean have a fight.
Disclaimer – Not my characters, I just use them improperly.
You like? You don't like? Review and tell me why! (Constructive criticism only please, if you don't like the subject, don't read the story.) If you haven't read Full Moon, Fast Cars, you'll probably want to read that first or this won't make much sense :)
Because it's nearly Christmas and I'm avoiding writing my essays, I figured I'd give you all another one-shot from the FMFC series :) Set after 'Full Moon, Fast Cars', chronologically comes somewhere between 'Learning Curve' and the start of 'Cracks In The Glass'. Wow, I'm gonna need to write some kind of timetable for these at some point… Hope you guys like…
Lost And Found
Sometimes it's just all too much. Sometimes they needed to escape one another's presence, to get away for five minutes, half an hour. It didn't mean anything. It didn't mean they don't want to be together anymore.
Or so Sam kept telling himself.
But Dean had been gone for the entire morning bleeding into afternoon, and now the sun had set and still Sam was on his own. Sitting in the corner of a run-down coffee shop in god-knows-where, his cell phone on the table next to a cold cup of untouched coffee.
He took a sip more for something to do than any actual desire to drink it, grimacing at the taste and the gritty flavour of badly-mixed coffee grounds. It had been a bad night, a bad week. The black dog they were hunting had already attacked three college students and both of them were on edge. It didn't help that the damn thing had come inches from totalling Dean's beloved car the night before. The damage was fixable, but in the harsh morning light Sam hadn't missed the tight-lipped expression on Dean's face. The way the older man had been looking over Sam's shoulder as he gave the excuse of looking up a decent mechanic in this shithole of a town before driving away, leaving Sam in his dust.
It had been his fault, too. They both knew it. If Sam hadn't been more concerned with watching Dean's back than watching his own, maybe the whole mess could have been avoided. And the worst thing was, Dean hadn't even mentioned it back at the motel room. If they'd just had it out, said the things on the tips of their tongues; it would kill me if something happened to you Dean, I might not have done this for a while but I know how to handle myself Sam…
But no. They'd been men, they'd kept their silence and kept their anger and now Sam was left waiting while Dean drove off his bad mood.
"Hey. Can I get you a refill?" Sam was pulled out of his funk by a male voice, and he felt a momentary spark of hope. But the dark-eyed man that stood by his table wasn't Dean and he sank back into his seat.
"No. I'm good, thanks."
The barista frowned a little; Sam watched his face from the corner of his eye. "You sure? You've been here a while…"
"Oh, uh, I can buy something else if…"
"No, no. It's fine. Not like we're busy right now anyway." The guy gestured to the empty coffee shop with a lopsided grin, his teeth bright in the dark-tanned face. Sam looked around, noticed the old guy that had been sitting on his left had finally upped and gone, leaving just him and the barista. "Just, you look like you're thinking deep thoughts. My momma always said those went better with caffeine. Keeps you from getting too maudlin." He grinned again, bright and carefree like he'd never had a maudlin thought in his life.
Sam managed a feeble smile, poking at his half-empty cup with one finger. "Yeah, I suppose I could probably do with a shot of caffeine right now."
Barista-guy winked, leaning over the counter and grabbing the coffee pot. He topped up Sam's cup, waving him away when he went for his wallet. "On the house."
"Thanks." Sam's grin came a little easier. He leaned back in the hard wooden chair, wincing a little as his back popped. Barista-guy winced in sympathy.
"Yeah, those chairs aren't the most comfortable. You wanna move to the sofa?" He waved a hand at the brown padded leather sofa in the corner, well-used if the sunken cushions were any indication. Sam nodded gratefully, picking up his still-silent cell phone. The guy carried his coffee over, sitting down next to him when he settled at one end. "D'you mind company? Tell me to go if you want, I'm just a little starved for human contact. Comes with agreeing to work the late shift by myself."
"I don't mind. But I don't think I'm gonna be particularly interesting right now."
The guy looked over at him curiously, his dark hair curling around his face. "You wanna talk about it?"
Sam looked down at his lap.
"Hey, it's cool if you don't. I didn't mean to be nosey."
"No, it's just…had a bad few days, y'know? My…friend, he's a little pissed off with me at the moment and I don't really know what to do to fix it."
Barista-guy nodded like he knew what Sam was talking about. Sam almost scoffed. Like anyonecould guess what he'd been through these last few months. Sometimes even Sam couldn't believe it, and he'd lived it.
"Have you tried talking to him?"
Sam snorted without amusement. "Yeah, Dean, he's not really the talking type."
Barista-guy smiled softly. "Yeah, I know the type. So I assume by the way you've been staring at that cell phone you're waiting for him to call?"
"Yep." Sam said, his fingers tightening on the plastic phone. "We're kinda…on a road trip together. I'm stuck here 'til he comes back with the car. If he comes back at all."
The guy was silent for a second, standing and walking back to the counter, and Sam thought maybe he'd put the poor guy off, pouring his heart out to him like they were friends. At least Sam assumed friends poured their hearts out to each other. He'd never had any, apart from Dean, and he could just imagine Dean's reaction if he started trying to share and care.
"Here. On the house. Again." Sam looked up to find barista-guy standing beside him, holding out two biscotti's like any problem in the world could be cured with a few dry cookies.
Sam took one, meeting the guy's eyes with a slight smile. "You gonna give away all your coffee and food?"
He grinned, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "Figured you could use a pick-me-up. Don't worry, I'll just say a bear ran in the shop and stole 'em or something." The guy settled back down beside Sam, crunching his own biscotti dry. "So, road trip, huh? You're just passing through town?"
Sam dipped his biscotti in his coffee, sucking the end. "Yep. Or at least that was the plan, but the car kinda got pranged. Dean's supposed to be out finding someone to fix it."
"Cool." The guy put his feet up on the dirty coffee table in front of them, long legs bent at the knees. "Must be fun, driving around the country, no place you need to be."
"Yeah." Sam didn't look at him. "Fun."
"I'd love to get out of this town. I've never been anywhere, not even for a vacation. My momma, she couldn't afford to take me and my brother away when we were growing up."
"You lived here all your life?" Sam asked, glancing over at him.
"Yep. My dad died when I was a kid."
"I'm sorry." Sam frowned, staring into his cooling coffee.
"It's okay. It was a long time ago." The guy sighed before putting on a smile, turning to face him. "So, this Dean you're travelling with. You guys been together long?"
Sam's head snapped up. "How…how'd you…"
"Just a guess." The guy's grin turned impish. "A good one, apparently. You don't spend that long waiting for someone to call unless they're pretty special."
Sam scrunched up his nose. "Yeah, Dean can be really special sometimes." He said without thinking. He blushed as soon as the words left his mouth, thinking of the iron control he'd held living with Jim Miller. No insults, no questioning, no back-talk of any kind, no swearing, no sharp looks. Failure to follow the rules was punishable with a fist.
He'd slipped up. Dean would tell him it was a good thing.
Barista-guy cocked his head, the grin turning inquisitive. Sam let a wry smile creep onto his face to cover the blush. "We're, uh, still working things out. I only met him a few months ago, and we haven't really…figured out how we fit yet. He has his way of doing things and I have mine. They still kind of clash sometimes. But he's a good guy."
They were silent for a moment, crunching on the biscotti's and staring at the abstract painting on the opposite wall. It was a square canvas, splattered with black and red and yellow. It reminded Sam of his dad in a distant and vague way.
"You gonna call him?" Barista-guy asked suddenly.
"Your guy. You gonna call him, as he's obviously not calling you, and you're obviously stressing out over the fact that he's not calling you."
It startled a brief laugh out of Sam. He twisted the phone around in his fingers. "I should, shouldn't I?"
"Except you want him to call you."
"Yeah, kinda." He glanced over at the guy shyly, his cheeks hot. "It's stupid."
The guy tipped his head back and laughed. "Not if you're a teenage girl. Which I assume you're not." He reached over, poking Sam playfully in the shoulder. "Call him. You know you want to. I'll give you a free cookie."
Sam grinned. "I don't think I could accept any more free stuff in good conscience."
Barista-guy leaned over, whispering so Sam had to lean in to hear. "I'll let you in on a secret; we keep the best cookies in back and eat them ourselves."
Sam snickered, a genuine smile spreading across his face for the first time all day. He looked down at the phone in his hand, the screen still carelessly blank.
It was only after a second that he realised Barista-guy hadn't moved away, was pressed up close to his shoulder, his breath brushing the side of Sam's neck. He turned his head, catching the guy's eyes. He was nothing like Dean; dark hair, dark eyes, the shine of innocence still untarnished in his face. The only similarity was in the set of the jaw, the curve of his lower lip. For a second Sam considered it, leaning that extra inch, tasting that indefinable flavour of youth that he couldn't remember ever holding. Instead he turned away, feeling the guy's soft exhale as he leaned back.
"Sorry." The guy looked away, smiling self-consciously. A soft blush touched his cheeks. "Wow, that was amazingly insensitive of me." He tangled a hand in his hair, the other drumming on his jean-clad thigh.
"No, it's okay. And if I wasn't…y'know…"
"Yeah. It's just…small town, everyone knows everyone. Not much chance of meeting anyone when you're…unconventional." He glanced up shyly, blushing harder. Sam smiled, trying to look reassuring. "And, as you might have noticed, I don't exactly have a lot of prospects." He gestured to the shop around them, his hand dropping in midair like it was suddenly too heavy to hold up. "I've gotta stick around, help my momma with my little brother and the rent. I know it won't be forever, or at least I hope it won't be, but sometimes it scares me. That this is it. My life. Just working the late shift by myself, going home to an empty house every night."
Sam listened with a frown creasing his forehead. This stranger had everything Sam had always dreamed of; a family, a house, a job.
And it occurred to Sam suddenly that he could have it too now, maybe with this guy or another, a pretty girl and maybe his own kids eventually, anything and anywhere he wanted. He could stop, settle down somewhere and live quietly and happily. He didn't have to sit around waiting for the next job to turn up, for the next time he might mess up and get himself or someone else killed.
He could see the angry painting from the corner of his eye, colours a mix of mocking and aggression.
He pressed speed-dial one on his cell phone, lifting it to his ear. The guy looked up at him, meeting his eyes with a melancholy smile.
"Dean. Hey. Where are you?"
"I'm on my way back now. You know the only place in town that'd take a look at the Impala charged me five hundred bucks? All she needed was some dents banging out! Are you still at that coffee place?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm still here."
"Okay, I'll be there in ten minutes. I'm sorry I left you all day." There was a long pause, and then Dean sighed like he couldn't hold it in any longer. "And, well, about the other stuff too. I…I didn't mean to take it out on you Sammy. 'S not your fault."
"I'm sorry too. I was just…I didn't want you to get hurt."
He could practically hear Dean's soft grin over the phone line. "I know. But I don't want you to get hurt either, kiddo. You gotta let me help sometimes. Yeah?"
Sam smiled, his chest deflating as the tension he hadn't even realised he was carrying was expelled in one long breath. "Yeah, Dean. And…I'm glad you're here. With me."
"Kid, have you been drinking? You're not 'sposed to say that shit out loud!" A pause. "Yeah. Me too." Dean made a grunting sound, like the admission had physically hurt him, and hung up before Sam could reply.
"So, everything good now?" Barista-guy was watching him, the same wistful expression on his face.
"Yeah." He looked up. "Thanks. For listening. And…I hope you do meet someone someday. There are…there're good guys out there."
The guy nodded, chewing on his lower lip. "Well I hope you and this Dean guy end up happy. Nice to know that it works out sometimes, y'know."
Sam nodded, a soft warm feeling cradling his chest. Sometimes it did work out.