Running Away (School Year of 2000-2001)

By Sam Winchester

I'm thinking about college, about how it's never been in the cards, about how my dad and my older brother didn't finish high school even though Dad had the chance and Dean had the brains, but they're both so into duty and family that college never even crossed their minds.

It's never crossed their minds that it's something I might want either. We sit around the dinner table and they talk about work and they don't mean to leave me out of it, it just happens. They ask my opinion on something and I give it, halfhearted, and they know I'm upset, but they don't know, or didn't know, that maybe I want more than the family business. I don't fit in with their life, and I don't fit in with anyone else's either because of it. I just don't want to be the freak for once, and if I go to college, I can do something good, something normal, even if I can't be normal.

They didn't know that's what I wanted until the third job in a row I turned down because of school, and Dad gets that frown across his face like he's putting two and two together, and when his forehead un-creases but his mouth is still scowling a little, I know he's figured it out.

It's a month until he asks, hesitantly and unsure, and if it was anyone but Dad, I would have thought he looked a little like a dog with his tail between his legs.

"So, Sam…?" Dad asked. "What are your plans…after…high school…?" he wondered at dinner. Dean looked up from his plate to watch what was sure to escalate into the screaming match of the century. The question was halting and awkward, like he knew exactly like my plans were and he was just pretending not to for a month.

I took a deep breath and looked down at my plate. The tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. It suddenly felt like everyone in the whole town had their eyes glued to me, waiting with baited breath until I answered. "I was thinking…" I murmured. I took another deep breath and looked Dad in the eye. "Well, I was thinking of going to college," I said. I said it so fast I'm surprised anyone heard me. Dad went back to his dinner without another word and Dean stared at me with his mouth hanging open a little.

"What for?" Dad asked after a little while. He asked calmly. Dean's mouth unhinged a little more, like he couldn't believe Dad and I weren't screaming at each other already. "What do you want to do?" he asked. He wasn't being sarcastic, or bitter, or vindictive. He was just asking.

"I want to…" I started, letting out a huge breath and trying to find the courage to keep going. "I want to be a lawyer."

Dean snorted and hid his blushing face before he was allowed to comment, but I felt like Dean wasn't even in the room right then, just me and Dad trying to hash this out like mature, responsible adults.

"Okay," said Dad numbly after a few agonizing minutes of trying to find the appropriate words in the least number syllables possible.

"Okay," I echoed. There had been a surprising lack of shouting, but I wasn't sure how much longer that would last if we kept up with this conversation.

"I don't want to…" Dad said like he really didn't want to say whatever he was going to say. "How?" he decided instead.

I swallowed nervously. That was a huge question with so many different layers, and I didn't know if it meant I was on my own because Dad can't or won't help, or that that he wanted to support me in this endeavor and he didn't know where to start, so I said, "I'm looking into it."

Dad sighed tiredly. We were completely silent, even Dean, for a few minutes before Dad smiled the most sincere smile he could manage and said, "Good luck."

I smiled back. "Thanks," I said. I took it as my blessing and I ran with it, because maybe Dad does understand that the things I want are a little bit more than running away.

A/N: Thank you to everyone who has read this far, favorited, followed, or reviewed. Thanks for sticking with me and supporting this project. It means a lot.