I wrote this about a month ago, it's sort of related to the Racebending challenge on Lj, but mostly this was me wanting to write a bit of my culture into the Supernatural world. These kids are still very obviously Sam and Dean, just the boys done a little differently. My Spanish isn't nearly as good as my grandmother wants it to be, so I apologize for any mistakes there and I just converted this entire thing from html so excuse any mistakes there as well. My eyes are burning.
Rating: Teen, there's some language, violence, and racism.
In a small village in the Juxtlahuaca district of Oaxaca, Mexico Samuel Contrera takes his young wife Donaciana by the hand and they head to the north, the land of success and promise. The sun is scorching hot on the backs of their necks as they walk to the city to catch the bus, but it is the approaching night that frightens them. Samuel has a silver knife tucked into his belt, a pouch of salt in his back pocket, and Donaciana keeps a flask of holy water against her hip. Her pendent bears the image of La Virgen De Guadalupe painted in full color behind glass, framed in dull gray metal. Donaciana's mother gave it to her the day before they set out for their trip. It's an heirloom, an amulet; protection that will guide them from the unpaved roads of Oaxaca to the United States.
The day his daughter is born, Samuel stares at her through the hospital nursery window. She's easy to spot, wrapped up in pink, dark hair and dark skin that reminds him every bit of the abuelita he left back in Mexico. She's beautiful, tiny hands and dark little lashes, her full, brown cheeks. He's going to send his family dozens and dozens of pictures of her, neat, colorful Polaroids held together with a thick rubber band. His mother will pin them to the wall of her house beside the rest of her grandchildren, one more small face to fill the space between the table and the door.
He wonders what to name her. Donaciana asked him to pick, palm on his shoulder as her eyelids fluttered in sleep. Nuestra hija she smiled at him, the hair at her temples messy with sweat.
His daughter forever; a drop of his blood and a piece of his flesh until the day one of them dies.
He thinks of La Virgen de Guadalupe and the goddess Tonantzin, divine and powerful women, women who compelled the earth to move, who shaped its very being. Beautiful names, strong names, family names, but also foreign names. The cards on the other bassinets read Thomas and Jonathan and Linda and Claire, Michael and Susan and Emily. His child is an American, the first of the Contrera line to be born anywhere outside of their little pueblo in Oaxaca. She's a new generation, a new start, a fresh body in the fight against the things that come alive after light fades from the evening sky.
"Have you and your wife decided on a name for your daughter?" The nurse is a tall woman, taller than his own five feet and eight inches; the tallest son his parents produced. He thinks once more of La Virgen's loving influence and her English name he and Donaciana learned the first and last time they had a chance to attend mass in this country. Mary, él padre said to the sky, to the murals painted in the glass of the windows. Hail Mary full of grace.
"Mary," he whispers, embarrassed because his accent is thick. "We want to name her Mary."
Mary is twenty-six when the demon with the yellow eyes stands over her son Samuel's crib and drips blood into his open mouth.
"Now Mary," he almost sounds saddened, but the bright gleam in those sun-yellow eyes gives him away. "I said no interruptions."
The power immobilizes her, pins her to the wall with crushing force. She can barely blink her eyes on her own; barely breathe with the muscles in her chest. "Que lastima," he chuckles, thankfully not in her father's voice.
She slips up the wall slowly. Her back hits the ceiling, bending unnaturally to move across the awkward angle where the two pieces of plaster meet. Her dark hair hangs down into her face, the hair her Papá swore belonged to her grandmother. "Please." Not my children. She wants to scream at him, make her voice rip through the invisible barrier in her throat.
"Don't worry." The demon smiles up at her with even, white teeth. He's wearing the face of their neighbor Stephen, curls the old man's lips into an ugly, malicious sneer. "I won't let anything happen to little Sammy here."
She finds her voice and screams, hot gust of terror rushing free. It hurts her to make such a noise, something deep inside her wrenching free. She's broken something, torn it, and she feels blood start to collect in her stomach somewhere, waiting its turn to leak out. Sana sana her mother sang to her in her childhood, sweetly rubbing her fingers over Mary's cuts colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana. She thought she'd get to hum the rhyme to Sammy someday when he fell taking his first steps.
Sammy gurgles in his crib below her, sucks a fist into his mouth.
"I love you," she says to him, high pitched and whisper thin. "Te quiero." And she does, God does she love him, her tiny, precious, innocent son.
She whispers I love you again and again and again until all that licks its way out of her mouth is fire.
Donaciano sits with Sammy on the bed, baby propped up in his lap.
"Escúchame." Papá smells like smoke and burning things. "Dean." His Mamá was the one who first called him Dean. His name is hard for people to say. The people at the doctor's office never say it right and his pre-school teacher asked him if there was anything else he'd like to be called. His mom picked Dean for him, como James Dean she'd laughed, tickling his pudgy belly. James Dean, the handsome man from the movies. He was her little gift, because that's what his name meant, a gift for her and Papá and the world to enjoy.
"Donde está Mamá?" He pets the soft hair on the top of Sammy's head. He feels small without her and in his head he sees blood and fire and his mother's blackened bones.
Papá scrubs his brown face wearily, weaves his fingers through his ink-black beard.
"Ella ha perdido y nunca va a volver."
They never stop moving after that. They spend the summer in Florida and Papá leaves them with a woman named Mayte. All the adults call her a bruja and it scares him to hear things like that. She doesn't seem like a witch, though. Her hands are warm and gentle when they wash him in the tub, scrubbing a washcloth over his skin. She helps him bathe Sammy, their hands in the sink together, her fingers pouring the cup of water over Sam's head to wash shampoo away while Dean uses his to keep the soap from getting in Sammy's eyes.
"Que tú quieres?" she asks him every morning as she stands at the stove holding a spatula. He doesn't understand her when she talks sometimes. She makes sounds differently, talks too fast. She uses different words too, but he gets used to it, and soon enough it's no different than hearing his Papá talk to him over the phone.
She makes food differently. Her beans are black and her rice isn't orange. He misses the way his Mamá used to cook for him, the way she'd roll beans into a flour tortilla for an afternoon snack. Most of the food is different here but even if it wasn't, he isn't sure he could eat the food he had at home without thinking about his mother and getting sad.
He wants to ask Mayte if the saints she prays to can find his Mamá for him, if they can really do what she swears they can as she tucks him into bed. Asking would mean he has to say something, anything, and he isn't ready for that. He likes being quiet.
Juan Winchester remembers the stories his older brothers and sisters would tell him at night to scare him. They spoke of La Llorona and el Cucuy and an animal with a human hand attached to its tail that would pull him under water and eat his eyes and teeth and fingernails before it let his body go to float. He never imagined such things could be real then, hiding beneath his covers as the wind howled outside angry as a wildcat. He told himself they were only stories and now, twenty-three years later, it turns out that they aren't. They honest-to-God exist and one of them has stolen his Mary from him, his mujer y amor y corazon.
Donaciano lapsed into silence for a few months after his mother's death. Juan tried his best to cheer him up, bought him paletas and the little chile powder candies Mary and Dean loved. He doesn't know what else he can do, aside from pressing kisses to his son's foreheads and searching for the truth, for whatever could pin a woman to the ceiling and burst her body into flames. He thinks it has to be el Diablo, the devil in the flesh. He still sees Mary when he closes his eyes, her café colored skin crawling with flames. Dean has his mother's coloring, that vibrant, healthy brown. Juan's amá said Dean was the same shade as the tierra, the brown, beautiful earth. Sam's like him, just a few shades lighter because of the gringo blood from a generation or two back. It's the only thing other than the name that's stuck with them through the years.
"Papá!" Sammy squeals, lifting his fat hands up, opening and closing his fists over and over.
"Hola mijo." Sam fits easy on his hip, in his arms. Dean used to be the same way, but he's changed. Amá said the Winds de Santa Ana blow in and change time, change people, alter circumstances beyond repair. The winds have caught up to him and Dean both.
Dean stares up at him with Mary's dark, almost black eyes. There is so much he wants to say to his son, his firstborn, his hijo. A year and a half of apologies and pleas for forgiveness he doesn't deserve. What slips out is:
"Sí, señor." Dean nods, slides his tiny, warm hand into Juan's without another word.
In California Papá rents them an apartment in East Los Angeles. It's the City of the Angels and he wonders if they are the same angels his Mamá said watched him every night. He thinks they aren't, after all this time they probably stopped caring. El que no mira, no suspira.
Dean is nine now and darker than ever from a summer out in the sun. Sammy is due to start school in a few days, but for the time being, it's just the two of them waiting for Papá to return to their tiny apartment. He likes this place, likes the California air and the people. Spanish filters in through the cracks in the walls, through the cold, hash metal of the vents. It feels like being four years old again. He watches Sam play outside with the neighborhood kids at the park down the street. They play soccer on the grass and they run grinning to the Paletero man as he comes strolling down the street, the bells on his cart jingling.
He learns from one of the women down the hall to cook beans and rice. He spends an afternoon in the apartment with Guadalupe Rivera, who looks and smells and sounds like his Mamá did, and learns how to brown rice in oil before pouring tomato sauce in. He decides how much caldo de pollo to put in by taste, how much water to add from experience. She shows him how to mash the boiled beans to the right consistency, how much cheese to add to get the flavor just right. She teaches him to make tons of things, pots of pozole, menudo, and sopa de fideo. He burns his hand frying corn tortillas in oil to make taco shells, but it's worth it in the end, because he can make Sammy things that Mamá would have.
"Dean?" Sam's eyes are wide as he peers over his bowl of sopita, spoon halfway to his mouth.
"Are we Mexican?" Dean stops, stares, and Sammy shrinks down as though he's done something wrong.
"Of course we are." Papá says they're only supposed to speak Spanish in the house. He says it's who they are inside. The Spanish is what his abuelitos brought with them from Oaxaca and Michoacán. They bleed as a people, forever united, siempre. The Spanish is Mexico and his mother and his father, his entire culture sitting inside his bones. He's a part of them each time he uses it, he can feel them there, the great, ferocious warriors they used to be, the fucked and the forgotten ones, the people who were made from a woman's body parts molded by the hands of the ancient gods.
"Then how come we don't live in Mexico?"
"Cause we're from here, Los Estados Unidos. You know that."
"Oh." Sam shrugs Dean's answer off like a spider glides over the surface of water. Sammy accepts it, swallows it down. He is young and complacent, but it makes Dean worry about the future, every question to come.
Comiendo entra la gana.
The taste of Dean's pozole is stuck to the roof of his mouth. It sits there like mocos under the Impala's backseat. Dean makes pozole a lot because it doesn't cost much money and it makes enough to feed them for days. Papá loves to eat it when he comes home from work, those times he's gone for days and days and missing him gets under Sam's skin like the buzzing of moscas in the heat and makes him cry it hurts him inside so much.
Dean walks him to school his first day. Papá promised he'd be there, swore and swore as he played lotería with them at the table, using dried pinto beans to cover the pictures on the cards. Sam holds his brother's hand and isn't sure if he wants to go to school anymore, not without Dean. He's had Dean with him his entire life, his whole vida, all of his años. The words spin around in his head, English and Spanish, mixing together and he can't tell which is which half the time. Dean or Papá will look at him funny because he gets confused. It's not his fault there's only Dean and the English he learns from other people and the TV.
"I put your almuerzo en tú mochila, me entiendes?"
"Yep." He tries very hard to sound brave. Papá says that they aren't scared of anything. Papá tells him that their ancestors, the Aztecs and the Mayans and the Zapotecas, spilled enough blood to drown the world. They fought with obsidian arrows and blades and when their weapons were gone they fought with their hands until all that was left to fight was their spirits. There was a battalion that swore an oath to never take a step backwards in battle lest they be killed at the hands of their compadres. Those are the people they descend from; that is their legacy. He is Samuel Esteban Contrera Winchester, born from the proud and the bloodthirsty and the elegant, but he's only five years old and those words go over his head like the clouds pass through the sky. "Am I speaking English or Spanish?"
Dean rolls his eyes.
"Eso es español." Dean pauses, waits for it to sink in. "And this is English. Got it?"
"I was just checking."
"Tonto." Dean laughs, nudging him towards his classroom door. "I'll be right here when you're done."
Dean leaves him then and Sam doesn't feel like a warrior. He feels small and alone, because familia comes first. Family is life, family is love. Familia brings you sopa when you're sick and kisses your cocos when you fall. Papá's been saying since he was old enough to understand that tu familia es tú mundo y tú alma. Dean and Papá are his world and his soul and he's theirs too.
His teacher says his name funny. She calls him Sam-yule, not Sam-well like everyone else. Mrs. Parker smells of chalk and cinnamon, play dough and perfume. She has flecks of crayon shavings on her sleeves and her pale, wrinkled face is warm and open as she takes his hand to lead him to his desk.
When they open their plastic and tin lunchboxes, all crowded around a big, wooden table outside near the playground, Sam watches his new friends pull out squishy jelly sandwiches and Lunchables in their plastic packages. He looks to his own food, leftover chorizo from breakfast wrapped in the last of the flour tortillas Papá bought from a tienda down the street.
"Where's your sandwich?" Gabby has peanut butter smeared around her mouth and her blue eyes are bright and curious.
"I don't have one." Everything else in his lunch looks the same. Dean packed him Cheetos, a banana, and a Twinkie. Dean packed him the chorizo because it's his favorite, salty and spicy, the right kind of squishy between his teeth. "I like this better."
"Oh." Gabby goes back to eating, but Sammy stares at his burrito until it has gone warm in his hands.
Pastor Jim takes him and Dean to church when they stay with him. Sam's in awe of it, the polished pews and altar, golden cross shining on the wall. He loves it, truth be told, the silence where prayers flourish thick as the flan neither he or Dean will eat. He listens to Pastor Jim preach about Jesus, not Jesus, the name with its h sound, hey to the soos. Pastor Jim says Jesus is kind, that he bore the burden of the entire world. They strung him up, crown of thorns stretched around the top of his skull, blood leaking down in trails like the tears statues cry. He hung and the weight of the sins of the world crushed him slowly, suffocated him from the outside, pressing heavy on his heaving chest.
There is no room for La Virgen in Pastor Jim's stories. She's Mary in his book, in his gospel truth. She carried Christ within her womb, shielded within her purity, and she never met a man named Juan Diego on a hillside in Mexico and roses never painted her image onto a poor man's cloak. The stories are different in Pastor Jim's church just like they're sometimes different in school. In second grade his teacher Miss Martinez gathers them around to hear a tale about two lovers whose love became high and mighty as the mountains but fiery and unpredictable as a volcano. She asks Sam if he knows the story of an Aztec princess and her warrior, the two separated in life to be reunited as volcanoes, together at last, por siempre. He's never heard it before, shrugs and scoots closer on the red, scratchy rug to see the pictures.
He dreams of La Virgen though, curled beside Dean at night. La Virgen comes to him in her flowing robe, the stars bright behind her, shrouded in that divine, breathtaking light. She has his mother's face, the one from the picture, dark eyes and dark skin and a wide, Zapotec nose. She's beautiful, but he's only seven years old, too small to understand the symbolism in dreams or to receive prophetic intervention. He only sees his mother, an angel watching him from heaven like Pastor Jim says.
At school teachers try to call him Donaciano. They struggle over the syllables, tongues twisting and tying into hangman's nooses. He knows what they think when they see it written out on paper, when they get a look at his brown, sullen face. Mexican, probably straight out of Mexico, probably doesn't even know English, probably why he never volunteers to answer questions, just sits in the back and smiles at the girls with long braids and messy chongos, little hairs spilling out the band. He is what he is, even if what he is isn't what he feels like he's supposed to be. As much as Papá says they're Mexican, the music he plays in the Impala never has a word of Spanish, and Dean's favorite food will always be pizza and Sammy's will always be chicken nuggets golden and fried.
"We learned how to say the colors in Spanish today." Sammy reaches out for Dean's hand, eight years old and still so pequeño.
"Yeah?" He and Sammy lapse into English, the language of everywhere but home. Dean likes it because of the way the sounds roll off his tongue, how the letters almost tickle.
"I got a gold star."
"Por supuesto." No matter how much the English words tickle; he thinks he's always going to like Spanish best. Spanish is what Papá wants, what he asked for, and it is Dean's default, his go-to-language just like he's Papá's go-to-son.
"I was the only one who remembered them all."
"Cause you speak it. That's cheating."
"Nuh uh." Sammy stamps a foot, tips his chin up and away. "I just learned them before, that isn't cheating."
"Okay Sammy." The sun's bright overhead and the heat makes the skin of his shoulders under the straps of his backpack sweat. "No lo es."
The boys are growing into men and most days Juan can't believe it, that his and Mary's hijos have grown so big. He remembers the small, clenching fists and toothless smiles, chirping voices and wobbly baby steps. He has memories of besitos and abrazos, the smell of baby powder on skin.
"Señor." Dean nods, his tough ass Donanciano, fourteen and fearless. It scares him, the things his son will do. That fear gets into his huesos like the worm gets into tequila, paralyzing slow. He can hear his amá sigh inside his skull, que lastima, each time Dean calls him señor, no longer papá.
Sammy's completely different, a whole new kind of person. Juan can never guess what's going on behind those brown eyes, what expression will flash across his barely moreno face. Ten and Sam's got it, whatever that thing is, the drive that has men and women pay coyotes to lead them through the desert or wade through the Río Grande with their shoes held above their heads.
Their motel smells like tomato and spices, like Juan's grandmother's kitchen. Dean is stirring a pot of sopita with the seashell noodles Sam loves while store bought chicken nuggets bake in the oven.
"How do you spell juxtapose?" Sammy's taken to using English now, rarely speaks in his native tongue, the flowing language of their people. Spanish ties them together, a constant reminder of their conquerors, the conquistadores with guns and armor that shone with the sun, mystical and alluring.
Sam smacks his pencil down onto the kitchen table.
"Why can't you answer me in English for once? You speak English to everyone else." Spanish feels private, like a little piece of himself and Mary that he gives to his sons. It's por la familia, the one made of blood and bone.
"Cállate." Dean places a bowl of sopa in front of Sammy, violently thrusts him a spoon. "Eat your food."
"I didn't ask for this." Sam scoops a spoonful of the vibrant red-orange broth, a single, pale noodle sitting in the center.
"You love sopita." Since Sam was old enough to eat real food it's been his favorite, the dish of his childhood.
"Yeah, well," Sam reaches for the pepper, shakes the black flecks in. "I didn't ask for it."
The ahuizotl's cries carry on the wind, through the trees and the brush. They scratch at the windows of the Impala, rapping and knocking, begging to be let in. It sounds like a small child crying somewhere, soft and sad. That's how it lures people in, how it gets them close enough to eat. The sobs are coming from the water, the eerily still shore of the lake, the blue water motionless as something dead.
"Estás listo?" Papá cocks the shotgun and hands him one of the obsidian blades. He holds it, a touch of wonder under his skin as he wraps his hands around the weapon of his ancestors, the ones lost to time. Obsidian shines darkly in the moonlight and the legends say it's sharp enough to cut off a horse's head in a single swing.
"Sí." His breath mists in the night air like smoke from a cigarette, rising in white, wispy puffs.
It's his turn to be bait. Papá says he runs like Speedy Gonzales, but they both know that Sam is faster, and if he weren't only ten years old he'd be the one with his boots sinking into the wet mud, late fall wind numbing his face. He feels like he's made out of nieve or cold stone.
The water ripples and he steps forward, curls his palm even tighter around the wooden handle of his blade. The ahuizotl crawls out slowly, tail appearing first; the slippery hand that beckons to him while it whispers venga venga. The rest of it inches out slowly, its skin dark black, glossy and slick and horrible. It has the head of a dog crossed with something else, the small paws that look stolen from a chango or a raccoon. It hisses at him, low and sharp, just as Papá shoots it between the eyes with rock salt. The first shot just pisses it off and gets it snarling, but the second sends it sprawling backwards, blood bubbling up from the tiny holes where the salt has lodged between and in its eyes. The third gets it onto its back and it whips its tail around, the human hand flexing, straining for him. He chops its tail off with barely a swing and blood erupts from the stump, thick and hot as fire. People say the ahuizotls come straight from hell, that they drag themselves out of the burning heat with their tail and that sulfur and hellfire bubbles in their blood. El doméstico del Diablo; his most treasured, favorite pet.
Its head slides off easy, with only a single whack. The ahuizotl stills, eyes frozen open, mouth a nasty snarl, fangs dripping blood and lake water. They burn the body right there on the shore, blood on their clothes drying stiff. As impractical as it may be in most hunts, Dean thinks the obsidian blade is his favorite weapon. He can see himself in another time when he holds it, another era. He's on the battlefield in the dripping, Mexican heat, the blazing tropical sun overhead. There is blood on his shield and his blade, squelching in the dirt beneath his bare feet. Tenochtitlan floats off behind him, the beautiful city of blood drenched stone.
"Buen trabajo, mijo." Papá smiles, his teeth white against the black hair of his beard. The hand on Dean's shoulder feels like approval for everything, all the sweat and skin and heart he's glad to give. He'll do anything for la familia; the one true thing of value in the world.
Papá's smile sticks with him through the entire ride home, imprinted in the skin on his back.
The first time it happens, Sam doesn't know what to think or do or say.
Rick invites him over after school to hang out, watch TV and play some video games. Papá's off on a hunt so Dean lets him go with the promise that he'll pick him up at six o'clock sharp. Sam tastes freedom at Rick's, the sweet, bland flavor of normalcy. Rick's mother fixes them turkey sandwiches on sourdough and heaps handfuls of barbeque chips onto their plates. Her kitchen has spices in the pantry, fruit in a clear, glass bowl, and her fridge is immaculate, no stain from chile sauce anywhere to be seen.
"Where are you from Sam?" Mrs. Jessup has rows of blonde, bouncy curls.
"Kansas." Papá taught him to say the bare minimum, enough to satisfy curiosity, not enough to pique it.
"Do you like it here in Texas?" Texas is hotter than he likes, than any of them like. Dean claims he's melting every morning, fanning his face in front of the open fridge. Pinche calor he mumbles, sliding a handful of ice cubes down the back of Sam's shirt to help cool him down, get out the hot, slick cling of his t-shirt that always comes from sleep.
"It's okay." Mrs. Jessup smoothes down a patch of his hair. His hair is longer than Dean or Papá like it to be. Dean calls him Samita because he thinks it's hilarious. "It's pretty hot."
Mrs. Jessup laughs like an angel.
"Yeah, it gets hot this time of year. Be thankful you weren't here for the summer."
The front door slams hard enough the blinds rattle. Mr. Jessup's face is set in an angry, exasperated expression, and his dark mustache is bright with beads of sweat.
"Did you get work today, dad?" Rick licks orange crumbs from his fingertips, smacks his lips messy.
Mr. Jessup sighs old and weary, the same noise Sam's Papá makes when he gets nostalgic staring at the photo of their Mamá.
"No, son, no I didn't." Sam doesn't know what to say as Mr. Jessup wipes his face with a dish towel, so he takes another bite of his sandwich, chews through the turkey that's started to go warm. "Damn wetbacks are coming over here and taking all the construction jobs for dirt cheap."
Rick's eyes go wide as saucers, as wide as the old metal pesos Papá has stashed in the bottom of his bag, the ones his parents brought with them from home.
"It's true, Ricky. You're too young to see it. They come up from Mexico to take American jobs and breed American babies to mooch off the welfare system."
Sam feels like he's bitten into the most chiloso chile verde Dean's ever made. He's prickly hot inside.
"Dad, I have a friend—"
"I'm Sam." He puts a hand forward and feels a surge of something, pride that comes to overwhelm the shame. "Samuel Contrera." Rick knows it's not his name, but the look on Mr. Jessup's face gets into Sam's blood, mixes with that rush only Dean and Papá ever seem to move with, get high off the pulse of their heritage in the marrow of their bones. He's connected in that instant to those distant villages in Oaxaca and Michoacán, to the people Papá says he and Dean are supposed to know. The Mexican is in him; the American too.
"Sam, I, I didn't know…" Mr. Jessup's cheeks go beet red embarrassed and Sam will forgive him because Dean says that people are stupid and Pastor Jim says everyone deserves a second chance.
Dean dresses like a stereotype, like a pinche cholo. Sam hates to see it, the way his brother will pull on a long black t-shirt and baggy jeans, tie a blue bandana around his forehead. Dean only does it the first few days they start at a new school. Testing out the waters, he laughs, just trying to see how everyone is going to react. He gives the cholo look up soon enough, it's not his style. Dean loves his leather jacket and worn-in jeans, makes jokes with Sam when they drive past hardcore cholos in the street, the ones with socks that start where their shorts end. They don't make fun of the older guys though; the ones with cowboy boots and hats, the viejitos who dress like they think their abuelito might have if he'd lived.
"Francés? Estás bromeando?" Dean scowls at his French papers, confused by all the different letter formations and sounds.
"I didn't want to take Spanish. I wanted to learn something new." Dean doesn't get it, he never will. Spanish is about the only class he gets decent grades in, and that's if he feels bothered to do the work.
"Excuse me for caring about my education."
Dean flips him off, good-natured as ever.
"I'm going out; I'll be back in like an hour to make you dinner." Dean shrugs on his leather jacket that's almost too big for his five foot eleven inch frame. Dean's so proud of his height, loves to rub it in. Nearly six feet tall, a giant in Dean's eyes, and for most people it is, especially considering their Mamá never stood an inch over five foot three. She was tiny and broad hipped, built sturdy like the native people.
"Do you even know her name?"
Dean grins at him.
"Georgina, dude, have a little faith in me."
He has faith in Dean for many things, but not his dealings with women. Dean will go for anything pretty that moves, blondes and brunettes and redheads and girls with thick, long black hair he curls his fingers into when they blow him. He's told Sam all of this, as much as Sam wishes he'd shut the fuck up about it. Dean brings the cholas home too and Sam has to wait while they draw on their eyebrows in the bathroom, spray enough Aquanet on to kill the entire ozone. He doesn't get what Dean sees in them, the cholas who come sauntering in fifteen pounds overweight, snapping loudly on wads of bubblegum, rude and everything a Mexican girl is portrayed negatively by the media to be.
Dean knew this day would come. It's been sitting on his shoulders since Sam was five years old. Little Sammy who is a goddamn giant, the tallest Mexican Dean's ever met, so tall it makes him jealous. Sammy with his thirst for knowledge and normal, for todas las cosas Dean and Papá can't give; Sammy who wears his hair longer than he should and prefers the sounds of English, who trades sopa de fideo when he's sick for chicken and stars. The little boy who loved watermelon paletas and soccer is grown up, un hombre, and time seems so short, like a thread cut prematurely.
The motel is quiet and the beer bottle in his hand has been empty for over an hour. He thinks that maybe if he stays that way, in the exact same position, then Sam will come back and they can pretend this never happened.
"Vámonos." Papá throws his duffel at him, grabs him by the collar to haul him to his feet. "Tu hermanito nos salió." The words hang empty and shriveled between them like pinto beans left too long to dry.
A full scholarship to Stanford University; his brother has the American dream. Sam's always been above what they do, above hunting and motels and traveling. Sam's the kind of person that makes their people proud. He's what millions of people come to the country for; so that someday their children can have Sam's shot at glory. He seized what Dean never bothered to take, something beyond the expected. Dean is bonded because of the blood inside him, the blood that makes him a son and a brother and a soldier, everything Sam has cast away.
Sam would let all the immigrants who come here with sweat and dust and dreams on their backs down if he didn't take the opportunity. Dean can't blame him as much as he wants to.
Stanford is a new world. It's like someone blew air into his suffocating life.
He joins the Latino-American student group because he feels bound to because he checked that little box on the application, the one that had Chicano/a next to it in bold. He never goes to a meeting but he's on the roster and he gets all the emails. They want him to be part of La Raza Unida, part of the network of his people. He is, or he will be, or maybe everyone is even if they don't show it, because maybe who you identify as isn't something that needs pointing out.
Spanish becomes rarer, more cherished, something that comes in handy when he and his friends go out to eat or watch an indie film at the local theater. The presence or lack of doesn't define him like it used to. Here he's Samuel Winchester, complex, normal, and carefree. He has a girlfriend named Jess and her blonde hair is yellow as corn and she gets pale as a ghost if she goes too long without sun and he teases her for it. Jess knows French and not a single word of Spanish, her pronunciation is terrible when she tries, and he loves her for trying so much his heart could swell and burst.
Life is amazing until the night Dean breaks into his apartment, murmuring things in Spanish that Sam doesn't understand, can't remember. Then Dean clears his throat, disappointment in his eyes, and says
"Papá's on a hunting trip and he hasn't been home in a few days."
Then it's all over and Sam thinks back to the Aztec mythology class he took his first semester, back to the ancient legend of the hungry woman. That's what their lives are, what hunting is, it's a woman with a hundred mouths, all of them biting and snapping, waiting to be filled and going hungry.
Nuestra hija: our daughter
Él padre: the father (priest)
Que lastima: how tragic/what a pity
Sana sana colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana: (literally) heal heal little ass of a frog, if you don't' heal today, you'll heal tomorrow
Te quiero: I love you
Escúchame: listen to me
Donde está Mamá?: where's mom?
Ella ha perdido y nunca va a volver: she's lost and she's never coming back
Que tú quieres?: what do you want?
Mujer y amor y corazon: wife and love and heart
Hola mijo: hello son
Tienes hambre?: are you hungry?
Sí, señor: yes sir
El que no mira, no suspira: out of sight, out of mind
Comiendo entra la gana: with eating comes appetite
I put your almuerzo en tú mochila, me entiendes?: I put your lunch in your backpack, understand me?
Eso es español: this is Spanish
Cocos: injury (the slang equivalent of 'owie')
Tu familia es tú mundo y tú alma: your family is your world and your soul
Por siempre: for always
Chongos: (slang) hair band/ponytail
Por supuesto: of course
No lo es: no it isn't
Besitos and abrazos: kisses and hugs
Coyotes: (literally) coyotes, (slang) border smugglers
Jota: the letter J (said out loud)
Cállate: shut up
Estás listo?: are you ready?
El doméstico del Diablo: the devil's pet
Buen trabajo, mijo: good job, son
Pinche calor: fucking heat
Chiloso: (slang) hot/spicy
Viejitos: old men
Francés? Estás bromeando?: French? Are you kidding me?
Todas las cosas: all the things
Vámonos: let's go
Tu hermanito nos salió: your brother left us