Broken Fragments of a Reason
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters but I like to pretend I do (well with Sam anyways)
A/N:Thanks to Erytha for beta-ing and I dedicate this to her! You always read all my fics, even that first one I wrote which was just…crazy lol. I remember the good 'ol days of 29p boost bars, drooling at the boys in lessons, sad mania, watching some of season 2/3 on YouTube via MSN and making you read my 10 page letters. You're so awesome!! I love you!
Thanks to 'J' who pointed out that I had the wrong date *blushes* and my math just sucks...
May 2nd 2001
The Winchesters didn't really do birthdays. They saw no point in making a big deal out of it, not when they had more important things to do. John and Dean had made an effort for Sam's birthday when he was younger but they'd stopped when he reached a certain age. As Sam sat up slowly he realised that today was his 18th birthday. His last couple of birthdays had passed him by but this was the big one, this was important. He had to make a choice. He'd decided when he left Truman High that he wanted to go to college. He didn't want to hunt for the rest of his life; he didn't want to stay in the family 'business'. He hadn't told Dean or Dad though; he didn't know what they'd say. Sam knew for sure that John wouldn't take things lightly. Things had been a little strained with them easily. Sam had become tired of hunting…following his orders. The obsession to find the thing that had killed their Mom. He just didn't see why his Mom's death had to hang over him like a shadow, ready to engulf him in pain every time someone brought her up. He didn't think that she would have wanted this, any of it.
"Hey, Sammy…come on, we're heading off early'" Dean called from across the room. Sam got up slowly. He felt weird somehow and he looked at Dean with a strange expression on his face, "Seeing as it's…your birthday…I'll let you drive" Sam smiled forcefully.
"Thanks Dean" he said. Dean nodded slightly as he glanced at his brother. Dean wasn't blind or stupid. Sam had been distant for weeks now and Dean hadn't asked him what was up, he didn't think he'd get a clear answer. But Sam looked different today; he looked older. He wasn't a kid anymore, Dean realised with disappointment. While Sam was in the bathroom and Dean was packing up he spotted something escaping from Sam's bag. Normally he wouldn't have given it a second glance, Sammy had always been one of those nerdy types. But Dean's instinct told him to check it out. With a nervous glance towards the closed bathroom door he reached down and pulled it out. His eyes widened as he saw that it was a college application form for Stanford University. It took a few moments for this to register in Dean's mind. College. Sam had never said a word about going away to college. Dean had always thought that Sam would stick around with him and Dad. Like he'd done. He guessed that he shouldn't have been surprised, Sam was smart. Really smart. Going to college would give him a shot at a better life. A life a thousands times better than it was now; a thousand miles away from Dean. Dean knew that he should feel proud of Sam, what older brother wouldn't? But he didn't feel proud…or happy…he felt betrayed. It felt like a knife had been stabbed through his heart; it hurt to think that Sam was really leaving. And Dean would be here with their Dad. Abandoned; Alone. Lost. Isolated. Dean knew that there were a million ways for him to describe his predicament but there was no point in trying to think of them all. Not when Sammy was leaving.
Dean was so absorbed in his thoughts that he didn't notice that Sam had finished into the bathroom until Sam wrenched the application form from his hand. Dean looked down at his hand and saw that his knuckles were white from where he'd been holding on too tight. Slowly he looked up at Sam and he saw that Sam had a shocked look on his face. They just stared at each other silently until Dean cleared his throat and said,
"You're leaving" and Sam looked away. A stoic look replaced the hurt look on Dean's faced as he shrugged inwardly as if to say that he wasn't bothered. They stood there for a few moments, the air between them thick with tension and anger in Dean's case. Sam looked away first and Dean turned to where he'd left his bag with a sad look in his eyes.
"Come on let's go, I told Dad we'd meet him at 10" and he snatched up his bag and marched out the room, slamming the door behind him.. Sam sighed as Dean's heavy footsteps got quieter was he walked out of the motel and towards the parking lot.. Sam felt a hollow emptiness inside of him, Dean was hurting and it was all his fault.. Part of him was glad that Dean had found it…telling him would have been a lot worse…and telling Dad was definitely going to be a lot worse. With another sigh and his shoulders slumped, Sam grabbed his duffel and head out of the room.
Sam waited for Dean to break the ice as they drove down route 2-something or other; Sam hadn't really been paying attention. He couldn't even remember what state John was in. He'd been to busy worrying about the fact that Dean was pissed at him and wondering how on earth he was going to tell his Dad. He'd wanted to tell Dean himself, and get Dean onside. But Dean hadn't said a word, he'd thrown Sam and angry glance that said 'don't-even-bother-talking-to-me' so Sam had just sat there looking out of the window. He was so deep in his thoughts that he almost didn't hear Dean talking to him.
"So Stanford huh?" Dean murmured quietly as he stared straight ahead. Sam swallowed quickly and nodded his head slowly,
"Yeah..." he mumbled as he looked down at his hands.
"How come you haven't filled in the form…" Dean asked suddenly and Sam could hear the glimmer of hope in Dean's voice. Even if he tried to lie he knew that Dean would see right through it so he just sighed and said,
"I already sent it off, that was just an old copy" Dean frowned slightly,
"Have you heard back from them?" he asked.
"And what?" Sam said and he winced when he realised that it'd come out harsher than he'd intended it to.
"What did they say?" Dean asked, "Did they accept you or whatever it is that they do.."
"Erm yeah…they're offering me a full ride next year" Sam replied and he wondered where all of this was going.
"Wow…that's…awesome, "Dean said slowly and finally he turned to Sam, "Are you sure that this is what you want to do?" Sam nodded and Dean sighed, "What's wrong with being here with me and Dad?" Dean said suddenly, "why do you want to go to college so badly". Sam turned away; he's been hoping that Dean wouldn't ask him this. He knew that his answer would fall flat and that his reason for leaving wasn't really a reason; there were just a number of small reasons. Broken fragments of a reason that Sam couldn't piece together no matter how hard he tried. All he could come up with was not wanting his life to just consist of hunting…but that sounded selfish…it was selfish of him…
"I just want to…I always thought that I would…I mean do you see yourself hunting for the rest of your life?" Sam said, frowning when he saw that Dean recoiled slightly as he'd asked the question. As if Sam's words had stung him..
"What about Mom? Don't you wanna find the thing that killed her..??" Dean asked suddenly. Sam sighed; it always came down to this. Dean and Dad had seen Mary…he just couldn't comprehend spending his life trying to avenge the death of his mom when he could barely remember her. He didn't want to let it rule his life…or make him like his Dad. Bitter, angry and twisted.
"I don't want to end up like Dad" Sam said simply. He waited for Dean to get angry to yell at him, call him a selfish bastard but nothing happened. Dean just sat there, a peculiar look on his face. Sam was right, they would end up like him; they had barely any contact with the outside world, hell they spent more time with supernatural beings that they did with humans. They followed John's orders and went through hunt after hunt. They just existed. But Dean really didn't want Sam to leave.
"You're selfish, Sam…what about…" Dean stopped as the words got caught in his throat and he didn't continued until Sam said,
"You're a selfish bastard" Dean said with more conviction this time and Sam could tell that the anger was building up inside of Dean and he just took it. He nodded but this only served to make Dean even angrier, "You think I didn't have dreams of my own…that I didn't want to go to college" Sam shot Dean a surprised look, Dean and college? Maybe for the parties and the good times, Sam could understand Dean wanting to go for that. But to study? The thought had never crossed his mind. Dean continued on not really paying attention to the way that Sam was looking at him,
"I never mentioned it to Dad, and I was so busy looking after you and helping Dad out that I didn't even bother with the exams in the end. I skipped 'em…s' not like I would have passed them anyway…but you…you don't give a shit about any of that do you? You just do what you want to do…don't mind about leaving me with the guy you don't want to turn into!"
"I…I…uh, Dean, I'm sorry…I never knew all that…I do appreciate the way you've always looked out for me…"
"Don't," Dean said, "I don't want or need your pity" Sam glared at Dean, anger flaring up inside of him,
"So what do you want?!" he said angrily and Dean looked Sam in the eye and he said,
"I want you to stay, here…with me and Dad,"
"I haven't even decided yet…" Sam murmured not wanting to make Dean even angrier than he already was, "Besides I have to tell Dad first"
"Well, good luck with that" Dean said and he regretted it instantly. Sam's face fell and Dean could tell that he was probably freaking out about that without Dean adding to it. Dean sighed and his resistance was gone. He was done with the arguments, the yelling. Sam wasn't like him…he didn't push aside what he wanted just to please their Dad. Sam spoke up then,
"If you wanted to go to college, you should have just said…I mean you didn't say anything to me…"
"Just…forget I said it Sam…" Dean said wearily.
"I would have let you go," Sam said, "If I saw that you really wanted to go, I wouldn't have tried to stop you…you deserve a life of your own" Dean wondered if Sam was trying to make him feel guilty or he was being sincere but one look at Sam told him that it was the latter and he realised that he felt the same way. He didn't want to be the one to hold Sam back. He wasn't going to be the one that held him back. He pulled over suddenly and glanced at Sam, a strange glint in his eyes. Five minutes later Sam was behind the wheel and Dean was riding shotgun.
"Happy Birthday" Sam smiled his thanks as they sped down the almost empty, highway.
Two hours later they pulled up by John's truck. John had moved onto the truck after giving Dean the Impala. In a way he was grateful that he didn't have to drive it anymore…it held too many painful memories anyways.
As they got out Dean noticed that John didn't look to happy to see them. In fact he didn't look happy at all. Dean turned to share a puzzled glance with Sam but he saw that Sam was looking down at the ground. A guilty look plastered across his face. Dean's head swivelled round slowly and he saw that John was directing his gaze at Sam. Slowly Dean came to the conclusion that John knew. He knew everything. The only question Dean had was how? Sam was a pro at hiding things and it's not like he'd ever had to lie about it because Dean would have figured it all out a long time ago if he had. It wasn't like Sam to not cover his tracks. John held up his battered cell phone and said,
"Someone called for you Sam. I took a message", in a tight voice. Sam nodded slowly. Dean frowned; did they have to do this now? On Sammy's birthday??
"Hey, it's Sammy's birthday…come on…we should be celebrating" He said but his words fell on deaf ears and John didn't cast a glance in his direction. Dean sighed, well this was awesome; it was fucking fantastic. Another argument that he would be caught in the middle of. Dean was so caught up in his thoughts that when John directed a question at him his reply was a distant, 'Huh?' One look at his father's angry face brought him back to life,
"What?" he asked slowly.
"Did you know about…this absurd notion your brother has gotten into his head?" John asked, his angry eyes now placed firmly on Dean while Sam watched the two of them closely.
"W-What?" Dean stammered, "No..." and he saw that John didn't believe him and Dean guessed that he hadn't really sounded convincing. John just nodded slightly and Dean knew what was coming.
"I expected this from him but not you Dean…I don't expect you to keep secrets from me" Un-fucking-believable. Dean thought as he fumed silently. Sam was the one with the 'absurd notion' in his head but somehow it was Dean's fault, it was Dean's responsibility.
"He wasn't keeping secrets from you, he only found out a couple of hours ago" Sam said as he finally found his voice, "And talking of secrets….how many do you keep from us? You're nothing but a hypocritical bas-"
"Sam" Dean said sharply just as John said,
"You mind your tone with me Sam, I am your father. I tell you what I feel is necessary and nothing more" Sam snorted and shook his head but remained silent just for his brother's sake.
The three of them went back to John's motel but only after John had all but told Sam that it wasn't over yet. Dean was driving this time due to Sam figuring that somehow his birthday was pretty much over even though it was only midday.
"How did he find out?" Dean asked curiously.
"Pastor Jim….I needed an address to receive stuff and so I used his and I told him to call whenever any thing arrived…we normally have the cell with us so it was just easier to take the calls on that…how comes Dad had it with him anyway?"" Sam replied with a curious look in his eyes. Dean turned away guiltily,
"I gave it to him…."
"You know he always says that crap about not finding a payphone when he's off on one of his long hunts…I just figured that I could call him so that's we could be together on your…" Dean trailed off, an embarrassed look on his face. Sam turned to look out of the window with a sad smile on his face.
"It's not safe!!"
"Yeah...you mean it's not safe because you won't be there to control every single aspect of my life anymore!" Sam spat back as he and his father got into a very heated argument over Sam going to college.
"We are a family, Sam. a family and do you know what families do? Do you? They stick together"
"Well we're hardly what you'd call normal…I don't want to live this life anymore, Dad…I'm sick of it…I just want to be normal…experience the real world, "Sam explained and he gestured towards the motel room they were standing in, "This? This isn't normal…" Dean just sat on his bed watching the two if them silently. Sooner or later they'd calm down and he'd be there to pick up the pieces. Just like always. He'd tell that Sam that Dad was just tired and he was just taking it out on him. He'd reassure John about Sam and tell him that he wasn't going anywhere…he was just young and going through a rough patch, having doubts, questioning their motives, their lifestyle.
But Dean had a feeling that it would be different this time around but he couldn't quite place the feeling that something would happen. Something he'd have no control over. But he told himself that he didn't care. He was sick and tired of stopping arguments and being stuck in the middle; this time he was going to sit there and listen to them rip into each other. Dean didn't enjoy hearing his brother and father arguing over something as trivial as going to college. He didn't see what the big deal is, they'd seen things…made mistakes that meant they'd failed to save lives but they'd never fallen out over it. Why was this so different? We stick together when we're hunting, we're a family then…if Sam goes then that is all screwed to hell. Dean was shocked to find himself answering his own question and he realised that he'd tuned out of Sam and John's argument.
"You are not leaving Sam…do you hear me? You're not going anywhere" John said for what Sam could have sworn was the millionth time. And it just sounded like every other stupid, god forsaken orderthat he had given to him and something inside Sam snapped and he stepped closer to John, his eyes dark and his voice full on anger. He clenched his fists and he swore that he would use them if John said that again.
"Try and stop me, "he said angrily, "I am going to Stanford whether you like it or not". John said nothing at first, as he glared at his youngest son. Then he nodded slightly,
"Fine," he said, and for a moment, a tiny, tiny, moment he thought that John had come around…and that he'd let him go without any further argument, Sam unclenched his fists and they hung limply at his sides. John turned away from him, his facial expression changing.
"What?" he said, a surprised look on his face. Dean was surprised too but there was an alarmed look on his face. He knew that facial expression. It was the one that John used when he wanted to let you now that he was disappointed in you and that he wasn't going to shout anymore. Dean preferred the shouting.
"I said fine, "John replied quietly, "But if you're going, you don't come back"
Sam eyes widened in shock and then confusion,
"You're not serious" he whispered. John didn't reply and Sam became angry.
"You know what? Fine! It's not like I haven't spent the last 18 years trying to get away from you anyway" and he hastily grabbed all his stuff and he walked out of the room.
Dean sat there for a moment…it felt as though the world had stopped. His world had stopped. Don't come back…those three words echoed inside his head. No. his Dad couldn't possibly mean that. He doted on Sam, Sam was his responsibility…and yeah okay he wanted to go to college. But if he let Sam walk out now…like this…Dean threw a frustrated glance at his father and he sped out of the room.
"Sam…Sam wait…" Dean said as he caught up with Sam. Sam stopped but he didn't turn around, "Look Sam…he didn't mean it…besides where are you going to go? Term doesn't start until fall right? If you stay then maybe we can figure it out" but Sam still didn't say anything. After a while he sighed and finally he turned around and Dean saw that there were tears in his eyes,
"You could come with me?" he said in a hopeful tone and Dean just stared at his brother and he contemplated saying yes but then he shook his head sadly. He knew that Sam wouldn't forget this in a hurry but he couldn't leave John on his own. He opened his mouth to say something but Sam got there first,
"Well. I guess I'll see you later, Dean, I'll…I'll call or something" and he turned and continued to walk away. Away from Dean, away from life as he'd known it. Dean stepped forward but he stopped when a voice said,
"Let him go…he'll come back" Dean looked at his father and saw that John didn't believe that anymore than he did. Sam didn't come back and he never called. He just faded away into a meagre existence which didn't include Dean.
Sam fought back the urge to turn around as he shifted his bag on his shoulders so that the weight was evenly spread out. He was going out in the unknown, no Dean to protect him anymore. Sam blinked away the tears in his eyes. John's words were still echoing in his head if you're going, you don't come back. He didn't care if John had meant it; after all he was supposed to follow his orders no matter what right? He intended to follow that one. But the look on Dean's face almost had Sam running back and it took all his restraint for him to carry on walking at a calm pace, not daring to turn around. I'm sorry, Dean. Sam just wished that he could tell him that himself. But he never went back and he never called. He told himself that it'd be easier that way and sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't. He guessed that it was all part of growing up.
Now almost 8 years later as his old teacher asked him if he was happy. Sam eyes glazed over as he remembered the past seven years and all the pain it'd brought him. And he wished that he'd never left. If he'd stayed there wouldn't have been that much of a difference except Jess would be happy and alive and not in any danger. He couldn't really remember why he'd left? Was it really because he didn't want to do the family business? He didn't know…he couldn't remember having one prominent reason for leaving. No…they'd just been parts of reasons. Broken fragments of a reason. Sam couldn't help feeling as though his life had been like that. The way, he was…the things that happened to him. Not being able to piece it all together…just being left to deal with the broken fragments of his life. All his life people had sacrificed themselves for him and now it was his turn. It was time to make those broken fragments whole again so that his life could mean something and so that he could save stop the apocalypse. This was his destiny…it had always been destiny.
Reviews are love :)