stillane: (Default)
[personal profile] stillane

Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: None (gen)
Rating: PG
Spoilers: AHBL II
Feedback: Is snuggled like a firstborn child. Even if it's ugly.

Summary: Because Disneyland is too far away, and Mickey creeps him out.

Note: This is not quite a story. More like a love letter.


Wake With a Song, Wake With the Sun



When you’ve brought your brother back from the dead, freed your father from hell, killed your worst enemy, and either postponed or kicked off the apocalypse, you need to do something special.

Bobby and Ellen take care of the bodies. Dean doesn’t particularly care how, and doesn’t bother to ask. Ellen looks like she needs to burn something, and Bobby looks like he needs to let her.

Dean wonders, for a moment, how long they’ve known each other. He wonders how they’ve known each other, too, when Bobby slips a hand onto the small of her back, and she doesn’t move away.

This is just before Sam knows that he died, and that Dean will.

This is just before Dean remembers what a smile feels like.


*******


They climb in, and Dean slides the key home, and then there’s a long minute before he lets his hands slip away from the wheel. He stares straight ahead, and he can see Sam doing the same out of the corner of his eye.

“So.”

“So.”

Sam turns his head, slow and deliberate. “Now what?”

“Hell if I know.

And that’s how they wind up driving aimlessly through Wyoming.


*******


Their first stop is a gas station in Godknowswhere.

Sam murmurs, “Pull over,” and Dean smirks.

“Should have gone before we left.”

Sam’s face twists into a glare. “You’re still bleeding.”

The asshole is implied.

Dean’s bitch is in the slight widening of his grin. The door slam tells him Sam heard. He strokes the dashboard comfortingly.

Ten minutes later Sam is back with a candy bar and a receipt. Dean knows him too well, and bites his tongue on the sarcasm. Sam flips the Snickers to Dean and then reaches into his jacket for gauze and tape and Advil and alcohol.

Dean’s a little impressed by the Mary Poppins act, even if it’s the wrong kind of alcohol.


*******


They drive forty miles to the next gas station before Sam makes him pull over again. Dean lets himself be willed into the bathroom and hops onto the counter, swinging his heals while he watches Sam arrange his supplies. It’s modified voodoo under bad fluorescent lights, and he’ll let Sam poke and stitch him back into any shape he likes. He may be patchwork, but tonight he’s whole.

Sam rubs the last piece of tape into place and turns to wash his hands. He forgets, maybe, that there’s a mirror above the sink. Dean mumbles a quick lie about craving jerky and ducks out to give him a minute.

He wanders down the three isles in the store until the clerk is flicking him nervous looks and holding one hand under the counter. Dean grins at him and pries his boots off the linoleum, waving once on his way out the door.

He ducks past the bathroom just to make sure Sam’s got it together, but it’s empty. It’s a quick walk to the car, and he’s already in the seat with the door halfway shut when he realizes the passenger seat is empty, too.

He never used to be good at being afraid.

He’s across the parking lot and halfway back to the store when he manages to get more than a hoarse whisper past his lips. Sam’s name has the cashier spinning to face him with terrified eyes, and that would be funny if Dean weren’t sure he looks just as shit-scared himself. And then there’s a quiet sound from nearby, past the edges of the white bulbs doing their best to make it daytime. Dean makes it around the side of the building, and slowly the night shifts and melds, giving around a shape he’d know blind.

“Sam.”

He doesn’t turn around, just stays there looking out into miles of nothing. Then, quietly, “I don’t want to go anywhere, Dean. Not for a while.”

“Okay.”

Sam still doesn’t move.

“It’ll get damn cold just standing here, though.”

Sam sighs. Tilts his head back, staring up at where the stars are hiding. “No. I mean… can we just… “

Dean nods, watching the nothing with him. “Yeah. Okay.”


*******


They’ve been on the road another hour when dawn slides over them. Sam’s asleep, slumped against the door and too still, except for the way he snorts and shuffles himself into weirder positions every time they hit a bump.

Dean’s pretty sure he’s found every pothole on this highway by now.

He isn’t tired. Maybe it’s just the coast before the crash, or maybe it’s that he’s got a limited amount of awake left in him, it really doesn’t matter. He’ll drive as long as he needs to, and then he’ll stop. He’s just waiting for Sam to tell him how long that is.

He’s noticed a pattern to the land as it goes by. There are mountains, and then there aren’t. There’s desert, and then there isn’t. Somewhere in between there are a few clusters of houses and the reverse crop circles of irrigation. It’s too early for much to be growing, but there’s not enough green out here to hide what’s new and young.

Somewhere in that in-between space they roll through a set of buildings slapped onto either side of the road, and a sign tells them they’ve hit Ten Sleep. There’s another that claims the best milkshakes in the state are waiting for him at Dirty Sally’s, and he can’t pass that up.

Sam goes from sleeping to raised eyebrow at a speed that takes training, and Dean snickers all the way up the ancient wooden stairs. Inside, there’s a long counter on one side and a room full of knickknacks and tourist junk on the other. It looks like the lovechild of a gift shop and a bar, and Dean’s a little bit in love. There’s a woman behind the counter old enough to be his grandmother who gives him the once-over and grins lecherously. He’s pretty sure she’s Sally.

Dean buys a notebook - and yes, he buys it; there’s a twisted little old lady behind the counter and John Wayne on the cover, and he can’t really face either one otherwise - to write down everything he remembers from before Sam likely remembers. Someday, Sam might want to know what his favorite cereal was when he was three. Someday, Dean might not be around to tell him.

Sam’s waiting in the car. He hands Dean a Styrofoam cup full of marginally milky chocolate ice cream without looking up from the vanilla he’s trying desperately to fit through a straw. Dean doesn’t quite laugh at him.

Halfway out of town, Sam gives up and whips out a spoon. He’s careful to hide it before he dozes off again.


*******


The land goes drier around them, and Dean stops one more time for supplies. It’s not his first time out like this. He knows enough to get peanuts for the salt, to toss a case of water in with the beer. He grabs a handful of pistachios, too, because Dad always did.

The marshmallows are an impulse buy.

They turn randomly onto ever-smaller roads, first pavement and then gravel and then simple dirt. Somewhere along the way they pass a sign identifying them as trespassers on federal land. That’s enough to make Dean chuckle quietly.

Somewhere – hopefully somewhere far away – Henricksen is probably twitching.

Next to him, Sam snorts a laugh.

For a while, the road runs next to a simple barbwire fence. Along the way there are a few posts that are newer, and the rejects lie on the shoulder waiting for them. They manage to fit three in the back seat.

They make a sharp turn around a wall of red clay and come out into nothing but sky, and Sam says quietly, “Here.”

It’s not until then that Dean realizes it’s the first word he’s heard from Sam all day.


******


The land sifts out in front of them, the air clean and dry and strangely green-smelling. Not mint green, not grass green; green like it's been washed and hung, or rolled in the dustsand under their feet. This far out, they could be the only people left anywhere. Dean’s not so sure he’d mind.

It’s so quiet. By the time they’re settled, the ticks and dings of a cooling engine have faded, and the only sounds are his own breathing and Sam’s. He closes his eyes and leans his head back, and hears just that for a while. That damned smile is back.


*******


It’s not quite sundown, but Dean appreciates the light.

He lays the first fencepost on his newspaper kindling and watches the fire spread from his lighter. He grabs the bag of marshmallows and slides down the Impala until his back is to her front wheel and his ass to the ground, and from his spot against the other tire Sam hands him a beer.

He also gives him a look. “Moose Drool?”

Dean grins. The salivating mascot on the bottle had been enough to win him over. He waggles his eyebrows. “Dude. Drool.”

Sam snorts and reaches for the marshmallows. “Seriously, how did you pass kindergarten again?”

The marshmallows taste wrong uncooked. It doesn’t mean he’s giving them up easy.

Five minutes later, the sand around them is a battlefield of fallen sugar soldiers and Sam is huddling triumphantly over the half a bag left. Dean snags a new bottle and pretends not to care.

They drink, and watch the stars sneak out. There are so many of them, here where there’s nothing to get in their way. Dean starts picking out random constellations. A beer later, Sam joins in.

He gestures just above the horizon. “Teakettle.”

Dean blinks one long, slow, derisive blink. “What are you, ninety? ‘Teakettle’?”

Sam sounds vaguely, mellowly pissed. “What? It’s the right shape. See, there’s the lid, and the spout, and the steam.”

He’s gesturing just a little too broadly to be sober, but not enough to be gone.

Dean stares at the sky, tilts his head left and then right, and grins. “Camel with gas.”

A marshmallow volley squishes softly against his cheek and then plops into the sand. He wipes off the powdery residue and takes another sip.

When the moon rises, it looks big enough to sit in his palm.

Sam’s voice is quiet. “What he said… what he showed me… there was more.”

Dean rolls a bottle between his hands and stays silent. He’s been waiting for this.

“Mom knew him.”

Dean drops the bottle. It takes him a while to manage more than that. He swallows hard to remind his throat how to move. “What?”

Sam’s peeling the label off his drink and very carefully not making eye contact. “She recognized him. I don’t know how, but she did. I saw it.” The glue gives up and he starts tearing the paper into strips. “I can’t be sure, but… it felt real. All of it.”

Which lets Dean know there’s more for him to hate knowing. “Okay.”

“He, ah… He said I’m evil. I saw… Jake might have been right.” He’s gone absolutely still, head bowed over his hands.

After a handful of heartbeats, Dean thinks, That’s it?

This… this he can deal with. There are worse things. His nightmares don’t include Sam being different, or being wrong. They don’t include Sam at all.

It's what makes them nightmares.

“He might have been right,” Sam says again, voice soft and verging on conviction.

“He wasn’t.”

“Dean…”

“No. No, don’t. He got fucked in the head and he didn’t like that you didn’t. Don’t let him change that.”

Sam sighs. “I killed him.”

Dean nods. “Yeah. Good thing, too.” He feels Sam’s jolt across the space between them. “I’d have done it worse. That make me evil?”

Sam shakes his head impatiently. “No, but –“

“Good. Glad we agree.” Dean watches him try to gather an argument. “Evil is as evil does, man.”

“Thank you, Forest.” Which, yeah, he deserves, but it takes some of the fear out of Sam’s voice, and that’s fine.

“Look, Sam, do you feel evil?”

“I don’t know.” He’s pure frustration. “How the hell would I know?”

“No urge to eat babies or sacrifice virgins, maybe listen to Streisand?”

Now Sam’s outright glaring. Good.

He holds Sam’s eye, doesn’t blink or flinch. “Being evil is like being crazy.” He says it like it’s the wisdom of the ages, because right now it is. He doesn’t need proof from anyone else; there are certain things he’s always known, and one of them is Sam.  “So long as you can wonder if you are, you aren’t.”

Sam doesn’t say anything for a long while. Dean waits, flicking marshmallows into the flames to pass the time.

Finally, Sam turns his head. “You are so full of shit.”

Then he starts laughing.


*******


The second of their posts is halfway to ash and Sam is all the way to quietly smashed when Dean feels his eyes on him again.

He turns just enough to get a glimpse, and then goes back to watching the fire. He doesn’t need to look any more. The image is in him, now. It’s written on the backs of his eyelids, on the palms of his hands, across the curve of his own lips.

Sam is smiling.


*******


Somewhere someone is in trouble. Two hundred very bad things, by Sam’s guess, and they have no way to know where they’ve gone, or what they’ve got in mind.

He should care.

And he will. Just not tonight.












Post-it Notes:

1.    I have played slightly fast and loose with Wyoming, or at least her geography. I am not sure you could quite cover as much ground as they do here in as little time. Dean drives fast, though, and if ever there were highways built for it, they exist under those skies.

2.    These things are true: Ten Sleep, Dirty Sally’s, and Moose Drool. All three are worth finding.

3.    The title comes from Hills of Old Wyoming by Sons of the Pioneers.

Date: 2007-10-05 08:17 am (UTC)
ext_16464: (Default)
From: [identity profile] dairwendan.livejournal.com
Oh I liked this! Thanks!

I really want to see Sam tell Dean what he saw, what he knows.

Date: 2007-10-05 04:10 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I really want to see Sam tell Dean what he saw, what he knows.

You know, I'm surprisingly more patient about that than I thought I'd be. Normally I'm climbing the walls over things like this, and yet... I think it's Winchester withdrawl. They go away for the summer, and suddenly I'm extremely easy to please.

"No, no, I'll be good. They don't have to talk. They can just stand there next to each other!" *g*

Date: 2007-10-05 10:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estei.livejournal.com
I love how quiet this is. I was so excited to see you had posted something, I still read Fidelity once a month. Thanks for sharing!

Date: 2007-10-05 04:12 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
I'm, um, just going to hang out over here and look bashfull and thrilled. I... wow. Thank you. You kind of made my week. *g*

Date: 2007-10-05 12:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tabaqui.livejournal.com
Oh, very cool. Very nice. I like.
They make a sharp turn around a wall of red clay and come out into nothing but sky, and Sam says quietly, “Here.”

It’s not until then that Dean realizes it’s the first word he’s heard from Sam all day.


Oh, boys.

Date: 2007-10-05 04:14 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Oh, boys.

Pretty sure I need that one on a keychain. It's becoming a popular phrase around here since the new seasons have started. *g*

Date: 2007-10-05 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quellefromage.livejournal.com
What a gorgeous story, so full of heart and love and peaceful silences. I love this momentary respite.

And I love Dean buying a John Wayne journal to keep notes in for Sam, just in case. *sniffle*

Thanks for sharing.

Date: 2007-10-10 02:58 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad it hit the right notes for you!

Dean buying a John Wayne journal to keep notes in for Sam, just in case.

Dean's monologue in AHBL II just wacks me upside the head every time for this reason. The fact that they don't talk very much about their early lives, because they were both there and don't need to, except... If Sam were the last one of them, there's so much that would be lost. They don't have photo albums and height trees on the wall, but they have each other's memories. I like that.

And it had to be John Wayne. Even Dean couldn't lie to the Duke. *g*

Date: 2007-10-05 07:29 pm (UTC)
ext_13391: (Default)
From: [identity profile] smilla02.livejournal.com
oh! I'm here trying to absob the sheer beauty of your story, of your prose. It's so spare and yet it says a world of things.

The image is in him, now. It’s written on the backs of his eyelids, on the palms of his hands, across the curve of his own lips.

This is just brilliant!

Date: 2007-10-10 03:01 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so thrilled to hear it worked for you!

Date: 2007-10-05 08:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ulkis.livejournal.com
I really enjoyed this.

Date: 2007-10-10 03:02 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2007-10-05 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] iamstealthyone.livejournal.com

Nicely done. I really like the quietness of this piece, and I especially like how you handled the “I might be evil” conversation. Just the right amount of dialogue and conviction there.

Favorite lines:

When you’ve brought your brother back from the dead, freed your father from hell, killed your worst enemy, and either postponed or kicked off the apocalypse, you need to do something special.

*g* Great opening line.

Sam’s face twists into a glare. “You’re still bleeding.”

The asshole is implied.


*snickers*

He may be patchwork, but tonight he’s whole.

I adore this line. Just awesome. So much said in so few words.

to write down everything he remembers from before Sam likely remembers. Someday, Sam might want to know what his favorite cereal was when he was three. Someday, Dean might not be around to tell him.

Oh, Dean.

Not mint green, not grass green; green like it's been washed and hung, or rolled in the dustsand under their feet.

Good description.

His nightmares don’t include Sam being different, or being wrong. They don’t include Sam at all.

Oh, Dean.

He should care.

And he will. Just not tonight.


Great ending. The boys need and deserve this break in the action.

Date: 2007-10-10 03:17 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you!

The 'I might be evil' thing... you know, my head said there should be ways Dean would convince himself that Sam was fine, or that the demon was just messing with them, but when I went looking for them, I kept hitting the same brick wall: I couldn't make Dean care. Not in practice, anyway, even if he could manage it in principle. By the end of all that, I'm pretty sure Sam could have eaten raw puppies with a smile and Dean would have passed the ketchup. I doubt the show's going to take that route, though. *g*

He may be patchwork, but tonight he’s whole.

That's, um, actually my favorite line of the whole thing. Thanks for liking it especially.

The right flavor of desert green kicked my rear up one side and down the other. I must have tried twenty times to get it into words. It's one of the most visceral sensations I have from Wyoming - I can close my eyes and it's right there - and yet I couldn't explain it for the life of me. *g*

Date: 2007-10-05 11:15 pm (UTC)
cofax7: climbing on an abbey wall  (SPN Dunnett Take 2)
From: [personal profile] cofax7
Wow, that was just lovely.

Date: 2007-10-10 03:17 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2007-10-06 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erinrua.livejournal.com
This is just the most gorgeous little interlude. Your prose just right, as stark and perfect as the landscape the land in. I'd like to think that, in the week before the S3 premiere opens on them, they might have gotten a moment like this. Just themselves and the big wide open and a campfire (stolen fenceposts, LOL!) and marshmallow missles. Loved the image of them driving until the roads just kept shrinking to wilderness and big sky country. I'm a Western girl and I could so visualise it all.

Thanks for this. It helps salve the achy lump in my tummy that 3.1 left in me last night. :-)
Cheers ~

Erin

Date: 2007-10-06 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] erinrua.livejournal.com
P.S.
Saving to mems so I can savor it again sometime. :-)

Date: 2007-10-10 03:28 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

in the week before the S3 premiere opens on them

You know, this poor thing almost didn't see the light of day. I thought it would be jossed to hell and back before I ever finished it, but the show kindly built in a missing few days just for me. Good show! Have a biscuit. *g*

stolen fenceposts, LOL!

Hee. What? They were just laying there. Who was gonna miss 'em? *g*

I'm a Western girl and I could so visualise it all.

I am all kinds of relieved that this passed the native test. I'm not from out there myself - although I did spend a little time in Wyoming, and have spent more time since trying to get back - and I always worry that I'm staring at everything upside down.

It helps salve the achy lump in my tummy that 3.1 left in me last night.

I have a feeling this is going to be an achy tummy season. Um. In a good way. *g*

Date: 2007-10-09 01:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gottalovev.livejournal.com
wow, this is simply beautiful. I love the feel of it. I'm putting it in memories for sure :)

Date: 2007-10-10 03:29 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it so much!

Date: 2007-10-09 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] brigid-tanner.livejournal.com
Beautiful. Loved the quiet feel of it, and that the boys just need a little time to themselves. The idea of Dean starting a notebook for Sam of all the things Sam was too young to remember made me tear up.

Date: 2007-10-10 03:36 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you!

and that the boys just need a little time to themselves.

If ever there were two guys who needed a vacation... *g*

The idea of Dean starting a notebook for Sam of all the things Sam was too young to remember

Yeah. I've watched that scene in AHBL II where Dean gives his monologue an embarrassing number of times, and somewhere along the way I figured out that what hit me like a ton of bricks was that Dean was talking about their past, in detail, and Sam wasn't hearing a word. Like there was a whole other piece of their lives that he's left with.

wake with a song

Date: 2007-10-11 12:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quirkies.livejournal.com
this is absolutely gorgeous. i love how much is communicated between the two with such few words. you underline how well they know each other, how close they are. i can feel the love. :)
truly lovely!

Re: wake with a song

Date: 2007-10-13 03:26 am (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you so much!

Date: 2007-10-16 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] qzxy.livejournal.com
This was really, really great. Thank you.

Date: 2007-10-26 07:00 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm thrilled you liked it!

Date: 2007-10-26 04:53 pm (UTC)
ext_1310: (in god's country)
From: [identity profile] musesfool.livejournal.com
This is gorgeous.

Date: 2007-10-26 07:01 pm (UTC)
ext_1740: (Default)
From: [identity profile] stillane.livejournal.com
Thank you. :>

Date: 2007-10-28 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] laurificus.livejournal.com
*sniff* This is absolutely lovely. I love the dialogue, and your Dean is just perfect.

Date: 2007-10-28 09:21 pm (UTC)
ext_11786: (spn:impala)
From: [identity profile] dotfic.livejournal.com
On the spot. I really like how there are things they say and things they don't say to each other, and both feel right and like them. Wonderful setting and mood, too.

Date: 2008-08-05 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kalquessa.livejournal.com
I really liked this. Lyrical and lovely and quiet. I love the way the boys mostly don't need to talk, and when they do, it's mostly in short-hand and quips. *hugs this fic*

Date: 2011-12-14 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] roque-clasique.livejournal.com
I love this!!! What a beautiful, quiet, sad, hopeful story. And Moose Drool LOL. Now I drink that shit like every day because it's made in my town, but when I lived elsewhere I remember looking at that same label and giggling like a loon.

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