Supernatural fan fiction
Genre: angst, pre!series (Wee!chesters and Stanford!era)
Character: Sam [age 3, age 18]
Word Count: ~1600
Summary: If Sam learned one thing growing up, it's that Dean and Dad, they don't ever give up. Not on anything or anybody. No way they'd give up on him, really cut him loose like that. No way.
Notes: Written 3 May 2010, for ohsam's birthday meme. The prompt was "The book that changed Sam's life," from roque_clasique. Opening text is modified from The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown.
For you are my little bunny.
"I am running away," Sam announces. Words go out of his mouth and fingers go in. He sucks on one hand and twirls soft wisps of his hair (not the back, which is tangled and carseat-matted) with the other.
Dean is unimpressed. "You hafta say the first part. He said to his father. Say it."
"But I saying it to you," says Sam.
"Pretend you're not. If it's on the page, you hafta say it. That's what reading is. You can't skip any of the words, or they notice. Now say it."
"He said to his father, 'I am running away.'"
"Good. Okay, say this one now. 'If you run away,' said his father 'I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.'"
"If you..." Sam stops. That was a long one. He chews his fingers instead.
Dean whips the book against the ground with a snap, and Sam jumps. Teeth rake against the wrinkled skin of his knuckles, which hurts. He'd say as much, because Sam is three, and has discovered that he likes talking quite a bit, but Dean still has him on speed, if not quantity. "Cripes, Sammy. Why are you so bad at reading?"
"If I get to see the book, I--"
"You don't know the alphabet, anyway. Whaddayou need the book for?"
"Reading is looking at books" says Sam, very seriously.
"Nah," says Dean. "That's what you have me for. You're gonna learn how to read this book, and you can skip the alphabet completely. It's faster that way. Look, I'll go slow this time. 'If you run away,' said his father. 'I will run after you.'"
Sam takes his fingers out of his mouth and takes a deep breath.
Sam has the whole thing read. He can read the book and he doesn't even need it in his hands. Which is a good thing, because according to Dean the school library stole it back, so they don't have that book anymore.
"What book?" asks Dad.
"The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown." Dean seems awful pleased with himself, even though he's not the one who's going to read it now.
"What's it about?"
Sam freezes. He's not sure.
Dean saves him. "Rabbits."
Sam doesn't remember any rabbits; just bunnies.
Dad shakes his head. He is too tired for this. He is too busy. "'S about family. Not rabbits." He goes back to his own book, flipping the pages. But he's not saying anything, so he's not really reading. "You gotta look at what's really there, Dean."
Dean looks stung, cheeks flushed, and Sam's afraid he's not gonna get to read, 'cause Dean didn't know what the book was really about, so Sam just starts in.
He said to his father, "I am running away."
"If you run away," said his father, "I will run after you. For you are my little bunny."
Dad says he's done good. Then he tells Sam not to forget about the bathroom, and points him out towards the toilet. That's the end of it, at least for Sam.
To Dean, Dad says, "There's no bunny and his father, in that book." As he slinks down the hallway, Sam chafes, because that means his brother is a liar.
"Yeah, well now there is," says Dean, defiant. Then he adds, "Sir."
Margaret Wise Brown, Dad says. You know what 'wise' is? And Dean does not. "Means you're smart. You know how to fix things."
Dean beams. Sam doesn't really understand, but he doesn't have time to think about it, because he really does need the bathroom after all. Dad knows what he's talking about.
Sam Winchester is wise beyond his years.
All of his teachers agree. Have been agreeing, since he was pre-K. So it's a little funny Sam gets it written into his college letters of recommendation.
"Might as well applied when you were four, if that's the case." The words have a venomous bite to them. Dean's not buying into Sam's latest project. He's got one of Sam's notebooks, the one with his personal statements, and he runs his fingers through it like he's trying to inflict violence on the ratty thing.
He's being an ass, as usual. Sam resists the urge to punch him out, because Dean's angry enough he might actually play to win, and Sam's too reticent to match him, because he just doesn't fucking care at this point.
He lets Dean read aloud. Nasally, in some prissy tone Sam imagines must be Dean's idea of a Sam Imitation. "I've toured the Deep South and the northmost reaches of New England, but California--Sam, this is shit."
"I'd like to see you do better."
"No, seriously. This is shit. Why are you--what'd you think you're even going to--"
"Dean, this track we're on? With Dad? I know where it's headed. Nowhere, same as always."
"Oh, and where's yours headed?" Dean folds his arms. It's a challenge, and one Dean doesn't think he can lose--he's got family, and blood, and banshee in Missouri. Pack up; you can take your AP test there, instead on his side, which he clearly believes is an infallible trilogy.
Sam holds his arms out wide. Shrugs, with an exaggerated roll of his shoulders. "California, apparently."
And Sam walks out.
They're out on the turnoff, right before the highway. Sam's a little turned around, confused; otherwise, he'd have been long gone. Sound of the door slamming shut behind him rings in his head.
"You're just gonna run away. End it like that." Dean's tone is accusatory, but void of the malignant fury that had propelled it earlier. Now it's just low and hurt, keening.
Sam feels a little guilty, he really does, but he's been hearing the same thing out of Dean's mouth since January, when he mailed his application, and it's old. "Yeah, I'm running away. This you coming after me, or Dad?"
"This is me about to kick your ass to California, you don't come--"
"So where is he, then? You heard him. Well, I walked out that door, so guess what I'm not ever going to do," Sam snaps, lilts the words the same way Dad had.
He can see the pain catch in Dean's throat. Sounds like, "Sammy."
Sam turns and starts walking, the mist roiling around his sneakers, ghostly in the lamplight. His socks are wet already.
"Sammy. Look, c'mon--Dad didn't mean it like that."
"Seriously dude, what planet have you been on? Of course he did. When doesn't he?"
Dean gives him that. Pause. Puff of breath, in the early morning chill. "Just angry, is all."
And Sam is just going to college. It's not like he's going off to join a demon commune or anything. "Right, Dean. Just angry. Kind of like every day, ever, because when hasn't he been angry at me?" He can sense the petulance creeping in at the tips of his words, syllables slick with eighteen-and-angry.
"He's not angry at you." Dean stands perfectly still. He is twenty-two years of hard lines and tight-lipped anxieties. Old enough to have been there, done that and why didn't you?
"He did send you out here," Sam accuses. "What, he gonna be mad at you, too, if you don't haul me back?" Which is going too far, Sam knows he's going too far, but it's one of those nights and he just doesn't care.
"Well, there's only the two options, Dean."
And Dean stays quiet, like he's saying, no, that ain't quite right. "Sammy," he says, finally.
Sam starts running. Wet flap of his sneakers against asphalt. I am running away.
Dean doesn't follow.
But he will. There's no way they're actually going to let him go. Not them. Because the fact that they're still driving around in the same damn car across the same damn country is testament enough--they don't give up. Not on anything or anybody. It'll be like Flagstaff, probably; two weeks of paradise, living out of his shoes. Sam's sitting at the transit center, thinking about the dozens of centers between him and Palo Alto.
If you run away, said his father, I will run after you.
They'll probably tag him somewhere in Colorado and Utah, before the gas stats getting too expensive for Sam to be worth the trip. A few days, then. Maybe they can work something out.
On the other hand, Sam really wants his seat in POLI 134. He's pretty sure Dad wants to keep his pride just as bad. So maybe they won't.
Sam is asked to say grace at Jessica's parents'. Latin always precipitates strange things, so Sam's left with one option.
"He said to his father, 'I am running away.'
"'If you run away,' said his father. 'I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.'"
Jess's little cousin laughs because he called them bunnies. Her parents smile lightly. Her brother asks if two mice had also fallen into a bucket of cream, churned it into butter.
Sam says, Not quite.
Later, Jess apologizes, because she knows he's not Catholic, and he shouldn't have had to do that--and they've been dating a grand total of three months, so she apologizes for a lot of things she doesn't need to. Then she says, "I liked the bunnies, though." She says it was sweet.
To be perfectly honest, Sam says, he believes in God a lot more than he does those rabbits.
+ If you were wondering what John's "there's no bunny and his father in that book" thing was about, the original text centers around a bunny and his mother, who is always there for him. Dean modifies this on behalf of Sammy, for reasons I should hope are obvious. ;P
+ Jess's brother's comment about the two mice and the cream is an allusion to the movie, Catch Me If You Can.