Genre: gen, headspace, 12x06 "Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox" tag
Characters: Dean (POV), Sam; Mary, Jody
Word Count: ~1500
Summary: After breakfast.
Breakfast is potatoes, eggs, bacon on bacon. Nothing special, a little cold. You and Sam are the youngest people in the joint by a couple decades, which almost never happens anymore. Either you're eating classier or you're getting older. (Also, the youngest person in the room isn't you. It's not your little brother. It's your mom.)
Hey, says Sam. You okay?
She said she'd be back soon, he adds, as the door closes behind Mary and the age of the diner trends upward.
Yeah, you're okay. You nod, because that's all Sam needs from you, at least for the next ten minutes. His intonation is short-term, acute--a reaction to your sudden drop on the Glasgow Coma Scale (eyes, closed; posture, in pain; verbal, not so much).
You're okay. It's just you haven't slept in however many days and you got thrown through a window last night and onto a thresher the night before, and your last reason to pretend otherwise just walked out the door.
I'm fucking tired, you elaborate, because you're feeling generous.
Amen to that, Sam replies. He wilts beside you. You weren't keeping track, but he probably got thrown into some things, too.
He says, I think I talked to more people last night than we've even seen in the last month.
You're not sure if this is supposed to be a silver lining or an explanation. You don't think Sam knows, either.
Sam continues, It was nice, I mean--but it was just... It was a lot of people.
Two fewer now, you say. Give or take.
(Sorry, Randy, Elvis. Them's the breaks.)
You know her. Not from the stories, or from your own half-baked (and half-eaten) memories. You know her like a reflex. You know the pattern when you see it. You know the look--even better than Billie does, you know.
See, like John, Mary has lost her home, her spouse, her worldview, and you know her now like you lived John then. But unlike John, Mary's lost her babies, too.
You and Sam are right fucking here, and part of you won't stop screaming that. But you know that you're not them. You're not who you were a year ago, never mind thirty, and you're not hers. Except you are, you insist, because that part of you won't fucking stop.
Maybe you need to lose your sons so it won't feel like you're leaving them.
There's no good way to tell Sam any of this. And it's not because he was six months old, or because he missed out on the apple pie and meatloaf, or whatever. Sam's spent his entire adulthood working through what it had meant to be John's kid. You're pretty sure he'd get it.
But there's a chance that he wouldn't. You need him to. And if all this barely makes sense in your own head, it definitely doesn't outside. Of all the risks you'll take, this isn't one of them.
Got the third degree from Jody for not telling her about Mom, you say, out of respect for all the things you can't.
For the first time, you feel guilty about how little Jody knows about you. She has seven years, a dead family, two teens, and a Canadian hookup to show for your friendship. And a demonic possession.
You never told me what happened with Amara, Sam butts in. And it's creepy how good he is at sensing his moment like that; it's like he preys on introspection. It's almost telepathic.
Sam says, I thought I was never going to see you again.
(It kills you when he says things like that. You don't want him to hurt. But right now that's hurting you. It's like it's breaking bones and sucking out the marrow. He preys on guilt and introspection, your brother.)
Well, it was less interesting than exploding, you tell your brother.
Sam, your brother, says, This might sound crazy, but I'm actually way more interested in stories where you don't explode.
You snort. You look Sam askance and you tell him, straight-up: You wouldn't believe me even if I told you.
Sam takes your comment in stride, as is often his way. And he keeps pushing, as is always his way.
Words are helpful. Sometimes talking things out does work, you know, he says.
Oh, I know, you say.
And you do.
You flag the waitress down, point at a cup, and flash a peace sign. She brings two coffees.
Jody's back in Sioux Falls already. Must've driven fast, Sam says, as he swipes idly through his phone.
Sirens blaring, you agree, and toast her with your mug.
I think she just made an appointment for an anti-possession tattoo, says Sam.
Do you blame her? you mean to ask, but don't.
You say, We shoulda just crashed at her place.
She'll be all right, Sam replies. He means: You will. You both will. You all will.
She says Alex and Claire-- Sam starts, because this is a thing Sam does--he reads text messages out loud. Which is like reading crosswords out loud--as in, it's not supposed to happen. But then your phone dings, and it's a little like the universe is calling the plays: Get in the game or get off the court. Speak up or get lost.
But you catch a glimpse of the first line and gather the messages aren't for you, anyway. You pop your phone towards Sam's side of the booth. He catches it--and to your mild surprise, he stops narrating and trades his phone over, too.
It's Mom, you say. They're for you.
Your phone is four days old--you haven't saved her number yet. You figure it doesn't matter; you have it memorized. This will spare you the pain of later having to delete it, maybe.
When he finishes, Sam says you should read what your mother wrote. But you tell him maybe later. Instead, you ask, Jody gave you a winky face? She flirting with you?
I'm telling her you said that, says Sam, and takes his phone back.
Tell her you're a damn liar, you volley.
Sam types. Then you do.
It's not a deflection, really; it's not a distraction. You're just having two conversations at once. One is easy and one isn't, but they're both happening.
You can't ever really leave the hard one, after all. That'd be too kind.
You're glad you hit the border before you stopped for breakfast. Where credit cards are concerned, Canada might raise some flags, and you don't have any of their stupid, see-through money. Plus, nobody likes Canadian bacon. You're in Montana, and Andrew Jackson foots the bill.
Did you ever get a touch-up? you ask Sam. You're thinking about the states left to drive and again about Jody and Sam's phone is still on the table in front of you.
You're thinking about Sam's tattoo: Half the things you've experienced in the last few years feel like they never happened. The rest feel like eighty million years ago. There are a few things, though, that you hold vital, close, painful, and sharp. Prying your brother from Gadreel is one of them.
Sam's fingers brush his chest reflexively.
Oh, he says. Sort of.
Magic markers? you deadpan.
Sam's gaze shoots around the diner, but for the first time in over twelve hours, you and him aren't part of the dog-and-pony show. Then he pulls at the neckline of his shirt, bares the left side of his chest.
Your first thought is whoa, impressive, and close on its heels is where the fuck have I been? Because you just did the math, and did this seriously mean you haven't seen Sam shirtless in two years? Three? But hadn't you been next to him in that garage just last week, changing into hero clothes so you could go kill Hitler? Haven't you been by his side this entire damn time?
Apparently not, because scoring what used to be Sam's tattoo is hard, white, invertebrate scar tissue, the scar from the original break worked seamlessly into the design. It's honestly elegant knifework--and you would know. Every spiraling flame, every point on the pentagram--the lines are ruthlessly precise. It's like the tattoo in negative--white and raised and not going anywhere.
Sam lets go of his shirt and quickly looks around the diner again.
Hey, man. Be proud of your hobbies, you tell him.
I was trying to find you, Sam says.
I was dealing with a lot of demons, he says. I thought this was the most permanent fix.
That's where you were, of course. That's where you've been. You don't quite know what your excuse is now, if it's not the Mark, or demonism, or the Darkness, but you suspect it's the same one as it's always been, irrespective of the Mark, or demonism, or the Darkness. It's harder to save you from that one, though--that one that can't be named.
Sam, of course, will do whatever it takes--long before you're ready to.
Consider this Part 1 of things I've never told you, Sam says.
One day, you will answer.