Chapter 1: Luckier Than Most
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Boo hoo, cry me a river you Nancy. Tell me, are all hunters as soft as you in the future? Everybody loses everybody and then one day, boom! Your number's up, but at least you're making a difference. So enjoy it while it lasts kid, hunting's the only clarity you're going to find in this life. That makes you luckier than most."
The silence between the two men lengthened to the point of Elliot wanting to take a drink again. He didn't understand this dark hunter – a snort at the dramatic wording, yet still perfectly apt – because hunting was fun. Well, maybe not precisely fun in the accepted sense of the word, but enough so he could get up each morning and attend his nine to five job hoping with each new case, a supernatural reason would be the cause for investigation.
It was the little things.
Dean Winchester was the strangest and most complicated person he'd ever encountered. If even a tenth of his stories were true, the future seemed grim indeed, though Elliot did feel a wistful pang at being stuck here in the boring 40s – current god nonwithstanding – while the real hunting happened years after his death. It was enough to gnash his teeth at the unfairness of Fate.
"You don't know what the fuck you're talking about, dude."
Dude? Elliot mouthed, but didn't bother breathing life into the word. It was more of the odd terminology this time traveler used; the words he spoke were easily translatable, but not always understood within the context of his usage.
"It might seem girly for me to whine about losing everyone I love, but when you've seen the most important people in your life die, become a ghost, or resurrect time and again, it gets tiresome. Plus, narrowly averting Armageddon or watching as your best fucking friend unleashes something worse than Hell on Earth…"
Dean 's rough voice smoothed out and trailed off as he shifted to look out the window. Elliot was sure he saw the glimmer of moisture in his eyes, but felt compelled to stay silent. Everyone came into the life for one reason or another – though it did seem a high proportion were victims of supernatural attacks – but he himself didn't have a sob story, and since he tended to act alone, he rarely interacted with any of his kind. Hell, until Dean, he didn't even realize there were more of his kind; he'd gone so long between hunter sightings, he was beginning to think he was the last one.
"I still say you're acting like a goddamn Nancy. Don't you know, life's a bitch and then you die?"
Dean started, whipping his head around in shock as his idol repeated the same phrase and motto he'd lived by for most of his life.
"What did you say?"
Elliot heaved a sigh and then repeated his last words
"Dude, that's awesome!"
The older hunter shook his head at the enthusiasm suddenly pulsing through his companion. He was exhausted just trying to keep up with the mercurial moods of one Dean Winchester, unaware he was just one more in a long line of people heaving the same weary sigh and rolling their eyes in exasperation. Either way, somehow his words got through the younger man and when their quarry made his move, Dean reacted with renewed verve, momentarily stuffing his bullshit into the usual trap door in his mind, and reverting back to the trained hunter with keen senses.
Elliot watched the transition with a jaundiced eye and a shrug, followed by the (patent pending) hunter swig of alcohol from a beat up flask, then did his job.
While I liked Ness' advice, something Dean needed to hear, especially from his idol, it also made me wonder what would've happened if they'd stayed in the car a little longer. Here's my version of what happened.
Chapter 2: Heroes Are Made of Clay
Sam was five the first time he realized his dad wasn't like other dads.
Sam was five the first time he realized his dad wasn't like other dads. Sure, he knew they were different because they didn't live in a house and they spent most of their time in motels, but kids are amazingly adaptive in the right circumstances, and Sam had Dean.
And Dean had Sam.
At nine, Dean knew their dad wasn't like other dads, but unlike his little brother, he knew because he remembered the fire-engulfed house, the terrified screams of their mother, and the precious weight of a baby boy being thrust into his arms with his father's imperative: take care of Sam.
Take care of Sam was the mantra of Dean's life and something he took extremely serious as each year passed. Even as he was learning the different ways to drill an enraged werewolf's body with silver bullets, he made sure his kid brother had clothes to wear and food to eat, regardless of whether he himself had the same. It didn't make a bit of difference to him that John was Sam's father and he was only the older brother. Sam was his responsibility.
John returned from a hunt, tired, hurt, and pissed off – his usual emotional state nowadays – only to find both of his boys gone from the motel room he specifically told Dean to not move from under the threat of death. He knew his oldest boy wouldn't disregard an order lightly, being the good little soldier he was raised to be, so John grabbed his gear again with the intent on hunting down whatever had snatched the last pieces of Mary he still had.
Just as he was frantically searching through his list of contacts, the motel door swung open and an excited chocolate faced Sam tumbled through followed by a slightly more sedate and indulgently smiling Dean. This was so far from the horrifying situations racing through his mind, that John couldn't help gaping at the pair in stultified wonder, which was quickly replaced by rage.
The younger boy's chatter abruptly stopped as he realized the tall menacing figure was Daddy, the second pillar holding up his otherwise unstable world, and he ran forward intent on hugging him. Dean, well-attuned to his father's every mood, instantly tried to stop Sam from doing it because he could see John was on a trigger's edge, but moved too late, watching in disbelief and slow motion as John's hand swept down to slap the kid's face.
Time stopped as all three stood stock still in the abrupt silence after hard calloused skin met tender baby-soft skin. Dean was the first to move, to step forward and wrap his arms around the small chubby little boy who'd just been saying how much he couldn't wait until Daddy got home to celebrate his birthday. Sam, bewildered by the pain, turned his face into the comforting and familiar embrace of the one person who never left him or hurt him as he was hurting now. John stared at the two huddled boys for a moment and then walked past them, out the door, and was gone.
For the first time ever, Sam was glad his dad had left.
So was Dean.
Chapter 3: Silly Rabbit, Trix Are For Kids
Dean and Sam go grocery shopping.
"Can we get that?"
Dean followed Sam's pointed finger to the loudly colored box of sugary cereal. He inwardly cringed, but outwardly shrugged and let his brother take it down from the shelf and put it into their basket. It wasn't often Sam was allowed to pick their food – that was Dean's job when Dad wasn't around – so he felt very proud he was helping out, unaware his contribution cost more than the healthier breakfast Dean planned on.
It was the large doe-eyes and the bashful head tilt that convinced his stoic older brother. That, and the fact their dad hadn't returned in the three days he promised, and Dean was getting desperate as days ticked into a week and their money was slowly but surely eroding. He was very sure this would be their last grocery run, but it was worth it seeing Sam's cheerful smile as the lady at the cash register rang their purchases through. If anything, his brother's ability to charm anyone who came into his orbit worked in their favor: it befuddled her long enough to keep her from asking why a ten year-old boy and his six year-old brother were shopping at a grocery store without any adult supervision.
Dean was always hyper aware of outward appearances, especially when it came to him and his brother because he was terrified of someone calling the cops or child protective services. While there were many things about this life that sucked, Sam was the best thing, and he would fight heaven or hell to keep him safe and at his side. No one, and that meant no one, would keep them apart.
Sam looked up at him at that exact moment he vowed and grabbed at Dean's hand with his pudgy smaller one. There was such a look of love and trust in his eyes, Dean felt an unmanly rush of tears, so instead he ruffled Sam's hair and took off running, bags banging at his thighs, laughing as he heard Sam yelling his name in frustration because he couldn't keep up.
Chapter 4: His Brother's Job
Jessica thinks Sam needs a haircut.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
"Sam, we've talked about this. You need a haircut for your interview. "
Jess' fingers were gentle as they carded through the long brown strands tumbling over his brow, even if her tone was annoyed. This was the third time she'd nagged at him about cutting his hair in the past two weeks because every time he promised he would, he found some excuse to avoid getting it done. She didn't really know why he was so dead set against it.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he mumbled, his attention clearly on his book and not on her. Jess was used to being the sole focus of his attention when she spoke, so she was a little surprised by his dismissiveness.
"Seriously, what the hell is your problem?"
Sam shrugged in reply.
Jess scooted away from him, pressing herself into the arm of the couch opposite from her uncommunicative boyfriend. They'd been dating for two years and lived together for about six months of that, and she would say she knew him best of their circle of friends, but there were times when even she was stumped by him.
He was a quiet man, true, but generally he didn't shut her out completely. The only time he did was when she questioned certain blank spots in his past; it didn't escape her notice he rarely spoke of his family other than his dad was an alcoholic and his older brother raised him.
Could this be another of those times? Sam's hair was long, nearly brushing his collar, and she was pretty sure he hadn't cut it once since he started at Stanford.
Sam's hazel blue eyes flicked up to her, one brow raised at the soft tone. He'd clearly expected her to keep bitching about his hair and was taken aback by her new tact. Jess hid a smile as she mentally congratulated herself.
"Would you let me cut it?"
"You want to cut it?"
"Well, you are looking pretty shaggy and you want to make a good impression. I promise I won't butcher it."
Sam shook his head, the hair sliding out of his face. Jess sighed a little at the familiar gesture, her heart catching a little.
"Please, baby? I get you not wanting to spend money, but you really do need one. You have split ends!"
His mouth curved slightly, the lower lip dipping inward as he sucked on the inner skin in thought. Jess wished she could read his mind and figure out his thought processes. His eyes traced over her face and his blank expression slid into the loving one she was accustomed to.
"Ok fine, but not too short."
Jess bounced up from the couch and raced to the bathroom to grab the pair of scissors she used on her own hair and sped back to the living room. She didn't want to give him too long to think because she was pretty sure he would change his mind.
Within an hour she realized why he didn't want to have his hair cut – he was a freakishly tall baby. He whined with the first cut, moaned about the next three, and shrieked like a girl when she cut more than an inch off. Jess finally had to stop when she was thinking about using the scissors on his ear to really give him something to whinge about.
And three days later, when his (admittedly hot) older brother Dean stopped by (okay broke in), she saw his hazel green eyes light upon Sam's head with a hint of disdain.
"Nice hair there, Sammy boy."
I'm fascinated by Jessica and Sam's relationship because we only get to see such a small glimpse of the life and character who had such a powerful impact on Sam and Dean.