Title: A Three-Step
Genre: gen, het (as seen from a distance)
Characters: Tracy Bell (the young hunter from 9x02), Sam, Jess
Word Count: ~750
Summary: What Tracy doesn't know about Sam Winchester
Notes: Comment!fic for caranfindel, because of this thread. Trying out some temporal gymnastics and third-person omniscient. :)
Tracy Bell's best friend's neighbor--that's still how Tracy thinks of her, even though the best friend is no longer the best friend and the neighbor moved out of Sac a long time ago. Went to Mills and majored in the privilege of affluence. (Much later, Tracy would spend her slow shifts texting the neighbor, the one with the fancy degree who was answering phones at a desk the same way Tracy was. When they each got off work, the neighbor would hit the club scene in Oakland and Tracy would hop the bus to Los Rios. Night classes, three years. Eventually Tracy would get into a couple CSUs but wouldn't go; she didn't have the GPA for scholarships and forgot to file her FAFSA. Family drama. A few funerals, a lot of soul-searching, and a little bit of unsuccessful demon hunting.)
The reason they've kept up, aside from the advent of lingering, loose acquaintances, strung along by the social media's interminable memory, is because of that one time, that one Saturday, long long ago when the best friend was still the best friend and the neighbor was still a young rich girl at Mills. Tailgate, Big Game. Mills doesn't do Div 1, but they fancy themselves Cal's spoiled little sister. They all go. The neighbor invites the best friend. For complicated interpersonal reasons, Tracy becomes mostly a bargaining chip, and in the end she is invited, too.
Tracy can't be more than twelve. Long before the stadium, she gets lost in a sea of blue and gold and sometimes red, ends up sitting her bum on the pavement outside of Cream, knowing the best friend and the best friend's neighbor are never going to find her now. But she's still got her ticket so she follows a tall boy and a tall girl down the street and into the stadium.
It's like they're the only things that aren't in color. The girl is dressed in something white--lace vintage; the boy, in a lumpy brown hoodie. They stand out because they didn't mean to, they aren't gold, or blue, or red. (It's cardinal, everyone always says.)
She sits with them the whole game. She steals a pickle out of the boy's sandwich when he abandons it to kiss the girl. She thinks they never notice her, but when the game ends the girl taps her shoulder, asks if she knows how to get home.
"I'm not lost," says Tracy, because that's really what the girl means, after all.
The boy doesn't speak to her at first, doesn't want to get involved. He'd like to file surreptitiously away, back south, back home; he is not in the business of rescuing children. But this, this moment with Tracy, whose name he never asks, is why he falls in love with this girl. It's a chill evening at Memorial Stadium on November 20, 2004 when he falls in love with this girl.
(He hadn't spoken to his family in a year. He was beginning to think he never would again. This girl, she won tickets in a raffle. A thousand people would've paid good money for that seat, and she asked him. She knows he does not like football.)
On this day in November, 2004, this boy hoists Tracy up onto his shoulders and he and the girl wait by outside of Cream with Tracy until the sun goes down and the girl and the boy end a somewhat heated tiff about CalTrain. Now it's the boy who doesn't want to leave. He shrugs his shoulders, and Tracy too.
"I'm so glad I met you," says the girl, quite peaceably, with a finality that does not recommend counterargument.
Eventually, like out of a lost dimension, come the best friend, the neighbor. The neighbor is in tears. It is on this day in November, 2004, she indebts herself to a twelve-year old.
The boy and the girl miss their train, but they surely go on to lead glorious and happy lives. Even though Cal swept 41-6.
This is, Tracy's learned, what other people do. Live happily. Even the best friend who is not a best friend, and to a lesser extent her neighbor. (They keep each other around because of MySpace, then Facebook; they keep each other around because of guilt, and because their miseries do love company.)
Other people don't have their lives overturned by demons--by Sam Winchester's demons.
This boy and this girl, Tracy decides. They live happy.
They never have to meet Sam Winchester.