A/N: I was surfing through some SPN fanvids earlier and found one by an incredibly talented user who goes by Ibelieveinsam. She posted several beautiful compilations, but one in particular was based on the Rascall Flatts song "I'm Moving On". It's basically telling about how Sam is moving on from his messed up childhood, loosing Jess and his life out of hunting, etc. It was so beautifully done that I was inspired to write this one shot. So all credit to the idea goes out to Ibelieveinsam. If you somehow are reading this, thank you so much for posting your beautiful video! And also, I sadly do not own Supernatural.
The road passes before me, mile after mile of cornfields and pasture along lonely stretches of highway. The sun is beginning to sink beneath the horizon, casting brilliant shadows and splashes of colour in the evening sky. I can smell the sweet smell of wildflowers and freshly plowed hay, and would probably hear the song of the crickets if the radio in the Impala wasn't blasting out the same tapes over and over again, like a broken record, Dean occasionally singing along in his usual off key baritone, or drumming his hands on the steering wheel energetically. Not even a year ago, I would have never imagined myself riding shotgun in this old car. Four wheels, leather seats, the army man jammed in the backseat ashtray. They were synonymous of my childhood, and had been comforting in my early years; but as a rebellious teenager, hell bent on escaping the life of the hunter, my brother's '67 Impala, in all honesty, felt more like a prison.
I love Dean with all my heart (not that either of us would admit it any time soon) but my four years at Stanford, as much as I missed my brother, had been a breath of fresh air for me. Normalcy had never been in the cards for Sam Winchester, or any other member of my fucked up family, to be honest; it had died that November night with my mother. College life had felt like this massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders, the shackles unlocked. Freedom had tasted sweet, like a woman's gentle kiss, and I had savoured every moment.
But it had not always been that simple for me to adjust to my new life. Dean and I had not parted on the best of terms. I had expected my father's hurtful words, but not the hurt and anger from my brother, my hero. It was understandable, admittedly. Though I had planted a few subtle hints about possibly going to university the year before I was accepted at Stanford, I had never really brought up the possibility of leaving the "family business". Deep down, I think Dean knew all along. He is a lot smarter than he gives himself credit for, and I know that he must have suspected something, but had tried so hard to deny it. It broke my heart to see the look of sadness and fear that obviously could be seen from beneath his anger. It had almost made me drop everything and stay, no matter how hard. That look was what made it so hard to move on.
The first few months on campus had been lonely ones for me. I devoted to my studies, even more so than usual, to somehow try to ease the pain and homesickness. The first night in my dorm, I lay awake, willing my phone to ring. I needed to hear his voice, to take comfort that no matter what, no matter how far apart, we would always be brothers. I needed my brother.
That phone never rang. For two months, I didn't even know if my brother was alive. A few times, I would dial his number, hover my thumb over the call button, and then snap it shut. I could be just as stubborn as Dean; I needed his reassurance, but damn if I was to be the one crawling to him.
I tended to forget during the day. I had a hectic schedule, assignments and papers piling up, midterms looming. And yet, every night, I would lay awake, lucky to catch a few hours' sleep. I tried to brush it off as stress, despite the fact that I always finished assignments sometimes weeks in advance, and was, in fact, hardly daunted by the workload. I think I knew the truth, looking back, from the beginning, but had always been in denial. Like Dean, I guess. I'm more like him than I realize.
I needed to move on. And without hearing my brother's voice, I knew that I wouldn't. I couldn't put if off any longer. So, one Monday night, when I knew he'd likely be available, I dialed his number.
It sounded like he had been waiting for that call for months. Like me. We spent hours catching up, even though I had an assignment due the next morning. But for once, I didn't care. School could wait. He told me about the hunts he'd been on, the girls he'd been with, how Bobby was doing. It was like manna from Heaven, as ridiculous as it sounded. When finally we parted ways, at nearly two in the morning, I was exhausted. It had been the first good night's sleep I'd had since I'd arrived.
I had moved on.
And there was Jess. The phone calls were growing more and more infrequent, and our mutual stubbornness had caused another rift in our relationship. But the night I met Jessica Moore, at a mutual friend's party, I once again felt hope that I could actually be happy, live the life I had always dreamed of. Charming, beautiful, fun; we'd hit it off almost immediately, and soon became lovers. She was my anchor those days when loneliness would once again rear its ugly head, my saving grace. We were going to have a future together; I had even picked out the ring, and had been saving my meagre paycheques working in the campus bookstore in hopes of getting it for her. But those hopes for a future shattered the day my brother arrived with the news of my father's disappearance. Staring at the flames, watching my life, my future, vanish before my very eyes, I once again had felt that overwhelming sense of loss, not felt since that night four years earlier when I had walked out on Dean. I still see her, in my dreams. Some are nightmares, of course, of her watching me, sadness, fear, and anger in her ocean blue eyes, mouth opened in a wordless scream, as she is engulfed in flames. Other dreams are happy ones; we are together, in house in the suburbs with our newborn son. Dean. She'd cradle him in her arms, the sun setting on the porch swing, humming the lullabye I remember Dean saying Mom sang to him:
Hey Jude. Don't let me down…
Sometimes, I just see her, standing on a street corner, the wind tugging at her blonde curls, eyes sad and despondent. She looks at me, pleading, and then, she's gone, like the flame of a match as it is snuffed out in the wind. Those visions of her have haunted me, almost as much as the horrific truth; how I'd dreamed of Jessica's death days before it had even happened.
And as always, Dean was there. With a joke, a smile, sometimes just a pat on the shoulder. And the nightmares became less frequent, the pain less intense. I was starting to see home not as a dorm room with textbooks in one corner and a fish tank in the other; home was no longer four walls, a bed, a kitchen table. Home was an old Chevy Impala with Legos rattling in the heater and the initials of two young boys carved beneath the trunk.
Home is the man behind the wheel, the one who drinks a little too much, watches a little too much porn, eats more bacon cheeseburgers than could possibly be good for him. Home is the one who knows what to say, and at the same time, knows when to say nothing at all. The one who risked his life to rescue me from the inferno in my dorm room, who pulled that lamp cord from my throat when I was minutes from death; who rescued me from not just any physical danger, but from a life of heartache and sorrow.
As darkness embraces the landscape, the road before me illuminated by the Impala's headlights, I remember the one connection; the one constant in all those times when I have had to move on with my life. I sneak a glance at my brother, who is humming along as "Ramblin' Man" plays on the radio and I am reminded of that fill up station in California, the one where we had first stopped for gas and food that day that changed my life. And I smile, feeling, for the first time, at peace.
I'm moving on.