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Free Fallin'

Chapter Text

 

 

He was born with the safety off.

At least that was what people whispered, when they were sure Dean wasn’t close enough to hear them.

Wild, reckless, incorrigible, not-safe-for-public-consumption. Hide your girls. Hide your boys too for that matter, because Dean could – as he had proven time and again - charm the pants off of anyone.

Over the years, Sam had heard all these things and more, hell heard them even from his father’s lips and his father thought of Dean as a second son. 

And Sam knew these things to be true. Knew that behind those beautiful green eyes, that gorgeous, perfect face, that smirk that sent butterflies aflame deep in Sam’s belly – was a man that could lead Sam to a place he had never been – Trouble.

Sam had a bad case of hero worship since he was four, hungry for a moment of Dean’s time, a kind word, a ruffle of his hair.  He still had a bad case of hero worship, but now what he hungered for was very different. 

He knew that Dean could break his heart – hell, definitely would break his heart. But he was still willing to pull his heart out his chest and hand it to Dean anyway because Dean was everything Sam could never be – beautiful, strong, fearless. Dean soared while Sam had never lifted his feet off the ground.

Sam had known Dean all his life. Dean’s father was a hunter. Dean too, from the moment he was old enough to hold a shotgun. They’d come by Sam’s father’s junkyard on a regular basis, for information about this monster or that, sometimes to hide out, sometimes to heal up. When Sam was four, he followed Dean around like a puppy. When he was eight, Dean took him to the lake across town and taught Sam how to swim (something Sam’s dad was always planning to do but could never get away from the phone long enough to manage). When Sam was ten, he watched Dean sew up a gash on his own arm that was three inches long while Sam tried hard to hide how queasy he was. When Sam was fourteen, Dean came to visit after several years of not coming. There had been a fight between Sam’s dad and Dean’s dad that Sam never did learn all the details of, just that it was bad, and John Winchester was no longer welcome in Bobby Singer’s house. But Dean was – and he dropped by, driving his dad’s old car which was now his. He took Sam for a ride out in the country and to the ice cream parlor in town where Sam watched girl after girl flirt with Dean for all they were worth and realized that burning feeling deep inside of him was nothing but pure, undiluted jealousy.

Dean was now twenty-two and had been hunting for a decade. Sam had never even held a gun – shooting was something else on the long list of things Dad was planning to teach him but was always too busy to get around to. Sam knew about monsters of course; his dad was the go-to guy for all the hunters in the region. Sometimes his dadwould let him help with research, but not often. Mainly he wanted Sam to concentrate on his schoolwork, his debate club, soccer, track. Sam was a straight A student, he and his partner placed first in a national debate competition, and he graduated valedictorian of his class. In other words, Sam was safe, boring and as vanilla inside as he was outside. There was no way that someone like Dean Winchester would ever be interested in a nobody like him.

It was mid-August, hot as seven hells and of freaking course, the air conditioner was broken. Sam was sitting between two fans going full blast in his room, a textbook on European literature on his lap. He had gotten his syllabus for his first semester of college and he was determined to hit the ground running. He had already read the first three chapters and taken practice quizzes he had found in the back of the book.

“God Bobby, did you finally decide to burn this trash heap to the ground? It’s fucking burning up in here.” 

Dean.

Sam struggled to his feet, managing to kick one of his fans over with his stupidly coltish legs and stood wobbling on them as the fan hit the ground with a loud racket, the blades still churning.

“Bobby?” Dean asked, at the bottom of the stairs. “You okay old man?”

“Everything’s fine.“ Sam managed to spit out, bending over to pick up the fan just as Dean entered the room.

“Hi ya Sam,” Dean greeted him, easy grin on his face, his hair a bit tousled like he had forgotten to comb it after he woke up. He was wearing an old black The Who shirt which clung to him as tightly as Sam did in his wet dreams, rips in it here and there revealing tantalizing glimpses of skin. He was also wearing an old pair of ripped jeans, barely hanging on to his hips.

It took a few seconds for Sam to realize he was staring. A few more seconds to realize he was clutching the fan, still running, to his chest. 

Dean’s eyebrows were arched, that familiar wry smile on his lips. “You okay Sam?”

“I – uh -” Sam stuttered, thinking if Stanford could see him now they would automatically revoke his scholarship.

“You and that fan have a thing?” Dean asked, making his way into the room and sitting on the edge of the bed.

“No.” Sam unceremoniously dropped the fan, where it hit the ground on its side, still resolutely blowing hot air. “I – the air conditioner broke.”

“I kinda figured,” Dean replied. “I’m surprised Bobby hasn’t fixed it yet. He’s good with motors.”

“He tried. It’s like 30 years old or something, gotta be replaced. He’s cranky as shit about it.” 

“I can imagine,” Dean snorted. “Is the old man anywhere around? I need to ask him about a case.”

“No, he and –” For a second Sam blanked on the name, he had seen the man a thousand times but with Dean looking at him so intently with those gorgeous eyes – looking at him like what he was saying might matter – Sam’s brain was barely functional. “Him and –” Sam looked around the room as if something there would help him. His room looked back at him, placid and unhelpful. “They went on a hunt, Rufus came by –” And there was the name. “And he had a case and with it being so hot and all –”

Dean whistled. “Bobby left you all alone? All here by your lonesome? I never thought I’d see the day.”

Sam could feel himself flush. “I’m 18 you know.” He didn’t mean for it to come out so defensive and tried to rein in his nerves. “I’m going to be leaving for college in a week.”

“So, I see.” Dean picked up one of the textbooks off the bed and read the title. “You were always such a geek. Which college took pity on you?”

“Stanford. Full ride,” Sam said, as his mouth refused to listen to his brain’s command to shut the fuck up. “It’s no big deal or anything.”

“Yeah, I am sure they give out full rides to Stanford like candy.” Dean put the book down and his eyes took a leisurely stroll over Sam’s chest which Sam just then remembered was bare. Shit.

Sam scrambled to find his discarded shirt on the floor. 

“You don’t have to cover up on my account,“ Dean drawled. “I am enjoying the view.”

Sam was pretty sure that there was not one part of him that was not red by now, but somehow managed to pull the t-shirt over his head, realizing too late that it was the one with the owl and the Tootsie pop on it.

Dean’s smirk of amusement grew, and he stood up and patted Sam’s arm. “You’re a good kid Sam.”

Well, okay.

“Shit, you’ve gotten taller.” Dean observed and it took Sam a moment to realize he was looking down at Dean. It felt wrong somehow, this man that he had idolized since he could walk having to look up at him. Sam fought off an almost uncontrollable urge to bend his knees. “I bet you have all the girls clamoring to climb you like a tree.”

Sam shook his head but didn’t say what he was thinking which was one – he was too awkward for anyone but other awkward nerds to pay attention to and two – there wasn’t a girl in the world that he would ever feel about like he felt about Dean. He was saved from having to answer Dean by the ringing of one of his dad’s phones. 

Dean raised an eyebrow. “Gonna get that?”

“No,” Sam responded. “Dad would have my head if I answered. He doesn’t want me anywhere near the – well he still thinks of me as a kid.” Sam looked down at the floor. “Still thinks I am some stupid kid you know.”

“Hey, Sammy look.” Dean reached over and placed his finger under Sam’s chin to gently coax Sam’s eyes back up. “I know Bobby and I know he never once thought of you as stupid. And as far as the kid thing – my dad quit thinking of me as a kid when I was about seven. Trust me, the other side isn’t always greener.”

The phone stopped ringing, if it was an emergency whoever the hunter was would contact Bobby on one of his cell phones. Bobby brought three with him on the hunt, all different numbers. How he would answer the phone dependingon which number was called.

“Too bad he isn’t here though.” Dean went on after a bit of an awkward silence. “I could really use his help on this case.”

“What case?” Sam asked, interest piqued. “Dad does let me do some research sometimes so – I know some stuff; I can look up some stuff for you, I mean. If you want me too. I mean if you would rather just ask Dad I understand.”

Dean’s laughter interrupted Sam’s babbling. “I am sure you’ll do just fine Sam. I really don’t have a lot to go on. The authorities think it’s some kind of sicko targeting young kids, two have gone missing in the last few weeks. The last abduction was witnessed by the kid’s sister – she was hiding underneath the bed. The authorities all think she’s just traumatized, and it’s certainly not something I recognize at all, but I think it might be up our alley.”

Dean handed Sam the phone, which Sam miraculously did not drop, indicating what he had been referring to.

The online article stated that little Thomas Barkley was the second child in so many weeks to go missing, the first one being another boy about the same age named Billy Thurman. It went on to state that Thomas’ sister, Sarah, had been hiding under Thomas’ bed, intending to scare him when he returned from his bath. Sarah, all of five years old, had a very limited view from where she lay on the floor, but swore that the thing that took Thomas was a very large snake, that wrapped itself around Thomas and carried him away.

It was clear the writer of the article didn’t believe her, just believed it was a good click bait story. The police were looking for a woman, as a woman had been spotted in the neighborhood carrying a child about the same time, maybe somebody fixated on children because she couldn’t have one of her own.

The child had been hysterical. It was possible that she created this fantastical creature because her mind couldn’t accept the truth.

Or-

Sam kicked the downed fan again on his way to the stack of books, but this time managed to unplug the damned thing. He picked up his Ancient Greek Mythology textbook, which had been ordered as they all were from Amazon and began quickly thumbing through it.

“So, check this out.” Sam turned the book toward Dean, finger pointed to the woman pictured. “Her name is Lamia. Half woman, half snake. The legend is that after Hera destroyed her children, she began killing the children in her village by eating them.”

“Nice,” Dean observed wryly, handing the book back to Sam. “Any clues in there on how to kill her?”

Sam shook his head. “In Mythology books it is usually presumed that everyone is a myth.”

“Well, I’ll just go with the old standbys. If iron doesn’t work, beheading her should do the trick.” Dean stood up and stretched, a tantalizing piece of skin revealed. “So, Sammy, up for a road trip?”

Sam blinked several times and tried to restart his brain. “Me?”

“You’re the only Sammy in the room,” Dean grinned down at him, which was very distracting. “Come on, it will be fun. I’ll be the beauty, you be the brains, and together we’ll gank us a monster.”

Sam held tighter to the book to stop his hands from trembling. “But it might not be her. It could be anything Dean. There are a lot of monsters that go after children, I don’t know them all, but Dad does and –”

“And that’s why I need you with me,” Dean interjected. “In case it isn’t her and I need alternatives fast. If we hurry, we can be there by tomorrow morning, hopefully before she gets a chance to nab another kid.”

His dad would not want him to go. His dad would hate the very idea of Sam hunting.

His dad wasn’t here.

“Don’t you want to have a little fun before you become all stuffy in Stanford?” Dean wheedled, with that impossible to resist grin on his face. “C’mon Sam, live a little.”

“You consider killing monsters fun?” Sam asked, standing up and looking for his backpack. The internal struggle – such as it was – was over. He wanted to be where Dean was, simple as that.

“Absolutely,” Dean replied and flung an arm around Sam’s shoulder. “This is going to be great. You, me, and Baby and the open road.”

Thirty minutes later, they were flying down the highway.