Summary: It was good to know that some things never changed.
Characters: Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester
Spoilers: General through Season 3.
Disclaimer : Supernatural is the property of Warner Brothers, Wonderland Sound and Vision, etc. Characters belong to Kripke and the others who bring them to us every week. No copyright infringement is intended, no money is being made.
Original story: Vanilla by sabaceanbabe
Notes: Enjoy the story! Thanks to fallinangelz21 for the read through!
Leaving to Stay [The Wayward Son Remix]
Somewhere northwest of Corpus Christi, along a ruler straight stretch of I37, Sam stopped driving. If he didn’t get some sleep it wouldn’t matter that he’d been able to finally quell the bleeding and patch Dean up best he could before they left Brownsville. When he fell asleep at the wheel and ran the Impala off the road headlong into something hard and unforgiving, he’d kill them both. At the first sign of civilization, and that was using the term loosely, Sam pulled off the highway into the parking lot of a nondescript dusty roadside motel that was half trailer park, half motel. A glance in the rearview mirror told him all he needed to know: it was past time to get Dean into a bed where he would be more comfortable than he was kinked up in the backseat of the car.
“Where are we?” Dean asked hoarsely, as Sam shouldered him into a room and eased him down on the sagging bed.
Something halfway between a groan and a laugh sputtered from Dean. “Big state, Sammy. Where?”
“I don’t know, Dean, some shithole of a town. Argenta…Argent… something like that.”
“Been here before.” A smile ghosted across Dean’s face before he slipped back into sleep.
As Sam pulled the heavy boots off his brother’s feet, stripped off his bloodied jeans and t-shirt and pulled the clean, crisp white sheet up over him, he did damage assessment. Dean's breathing was steady and strong, his color good, and there were no signs of infection. Satisfied that Dean wasn’t going to kick the bucket during the night, Sam collapsed on the other bed, too exhausted to remove his own clothes, too tired even to stop his mind from turning round and round until it caught on a hazy memory. His brother’s knack for remembering every middle-of-nowhere town they’d ever spent time in served him well again. Dean was right; they had been here a few years ago.
In a flash, Sam was back in another time, when all he could think about was how fast and far he could run to get away from everything he thought he didn’t want.
“We should take him to the hospital,” Sam growled as he held pressure firmly on John’s deep shoulder wound while Dean assessed the 3-fingered slash that ran red across his ribs.
“Unless you’ve got a good story ready then that’s not going to happen,” Dean answered in the snarky voice that never failed to push Sam’s buttons.
“So, we just take our chances? He’s lost a lot of blood, Dean. He could die.”
“Dad’s a lot tougher than that. ‘Course if you’d pay attention to what’s goin’ on instead of being so damn insistent on going off to have a normal life, whatever the fuck that is, then you’d know that.”
Sam’s sardonic, borderline hysterical laugh filled the silence in the small room. “Normal sure as hell isn’t this.”
“And just when did you become the expert in all things normal? Huh, Sammy?”
“When I figured out that what we’re doing is just sick and wrong and I’m tired of living a lie. But I guess that would be too much for you to comprehend wouldn’t it, Dean? You follow along like a good little soldier, kowtowing to Dad’s every command. Do you ever have an original thought in your head?”
Dean’s eyes narrowed and he shook his head. “Screw you, Sammy.”
With that he walked out the door and when he came back awhile later he had antibiotics and gauze and all the things they needed to clean Dad’s wounds, to sew him back together and hopefully keep him from getting an infection that could kill him. Sam knew better than to ask where the medical supplies came from. There were some things he just didn’t want to know.
Each time Sam even broached the subject of leaving, he and Dean ended up in an argument. More often than not Dean slammed out of the room, hard and bitter, leaving Sam to shoulder the responsibility of looking after Dad. He stayed away for hours, and when he came back he usually reeked of sweet, soft perfume and sex but he was easier to get along with, and they both pretended like nothing happened.
One night when Dad was better, sleeping comfortably for long stretches without tossing and turning, Sam followed Dean and saw him stop in front of a little hole-in-the-wall shop as if waiting for someone. It wasn’t long before a girl in white shorts and a snug red t-shirt came out, flashed Dean a sparkling bright smile through the open window and slid into the Impala next to him. Leave it to Dean to find a girl in this little podunk town. It seemed like the guy never wanted for luck when it came to finding willing women.
“You better be careful with her.” Even before the words were out of his mouth Sam knew they sounded priggish and ridiculous. He was sure Dean would get a great kick out of giving him a hard time about it.
Dean looked up from the gun he was cleaning and narrowed his eyes at Sam. “With who?”
“Little Miss Hard Body from the sandwich shop.”
“You been spyin’ on me, little brother?”
“Right, like I’ve got nothing better to do.” It seemed lately Sam was unable to keep the bitterness from his voice.
Dean chuckled and nodded. “So then, you’re just afraid to admit you need some pointers from the master.”
“When’s the last time you got laid, Sammy?”
“None of your business, asshole.”
“Well, it must have been a long time ago, because if it’d been recently you’d be in a lot better mood than you are now. Let me tell you, it does help a guy sleep better at night.”
“Yeah, well, maybe you should consider how you’ll sleep if something happens.”
“What’s gonna happen, Sammy?” Dean’s most irritating grin slid across his face. With a nod and a wink he said, “Learned all about protection a long time ago.”
Sam rolled his eyes. He knew he shouldn’t have brought the subject up. It was just like Dean to turn a potentially serious situation into the world’s biggest joke.
No matter how much he hounded Dean, Sam never found out the girl’s name. As unusual as it was, Dean was tightlipped on the subject, deflecting every question with a question of his own until he succeeded in pissing Sam off and turning his mind to some other topic.
“Welcome back,” Sam said as he watched his brother struggle back to consciousness.
A grimace flashed across Dean’s face as he tried to push himself into a sitting position. Finally, he thought better of it and stayed flat. “How long?”
“About a day and a half.”
“Where are we?”
“Big state, Sammy. Where?”
A look of irritation flashed across Dean’s face. “What’s so funny, geek boy?”
“That’s what you said when I dragged your ass in here.”
“We’re in Argent, Texas.”
Sam nodded and watched a smile wash the pain from Dean’s face momentarily. It wasn’t often that his brother let go enough to look peaceful and happy and a little bit goofy. Sam couldn’t help but laugh again. “What’s so special about this place that you get all gooney every time you hear the name?”
Dean’s eyes fluttered closed, “Vanilla ice cream.”
“Yeah, dude, vanilla. You know it’s my favorite. Little hole-in-the-wall down on Main had the best. Smokin’ hot girls…tight white shorts…red t-shirts.”
Some things were beginning to make sense. “What was her name?”
“Tired now, Sammy,” Dean said as his breathing lengthened. “Goin’ back to sleep.”
It was good to know that some things never changed.
Dean insisted on walking from the diner back to the motel and Sam could tell he was hurting now. His slow progress across the short distance from the bathroom to his bed and the suppressed grunt he ground out as he eased himself down onto the bed made it pretty obvious. The fact that he hadn’t given Sam a hard time for insisting he check the wound on his back all but sent up a goddamn red flare.
Ever since Sam could remember, Dean had looked out for him, made sure he had enough to eat and the things he needed for school. More importantly, maybe, he kept the dark at bay and made the things that went bump in the night seem harmless, or a lot less scary anyway. It wasn’t until recently that Sam realized just how much it cost Dean. Cost them both, really. And now as time slipped away, all Sam wanted to do was make his brother happy. Give him the things he’d always given away.
“Andy McCain.” The words were out before Sam could stop them.
“What?” Dean grunted as he eased himself back against the headrest of the bed.
“Andy McCain. She was the girl you were—“ Sam felt his face begin to flush and wondered when he turned back into a 12-year-old. Clearing his throat he went on, “The girl you were seeing the last time we were here.”
“Is that what you kids are calling it these days?” Dean cocked an eyebrow and asked, “How’d you find out?”
“Dude, you talk in your sleep.”
“Dean, you do,” he insisted, trying to keep a straight face.
“That’s a lie, little brother. I have never talked in my sleep.”
“How do you know? You’re asleep.”
“I know. “
They could do this for hours, but the game was getting old and Sam really didn’t want to waste any of the time he had left with Dean arguing about something so completely ridiculous. With a laugh he conceded, “Okay, so maybe you don’t. I have my ways of finding things out. The sandwich shop’s still there.”
Dean looked up from his wrist that he was flexing and turning in circles. “She still…?”
Sam shook his head. “Doesn’t work there anymore.”
“Huh.” Dean’s attention dropped back to his wrist but Sam could sense the information had taken him by surprise. And even if he didn’t ask, he wanted to know what Sam had found out.
So Sam gave him what he wanted. “She’s doing the bookkeeping at the feed store now.” Taking a deep breath, he went on, “And…she’d like to see you.”
Dean shot him a decidedly ‘what the hell’ look. “Jesus Christ, Sam, now you’re pimpin’ dates for me?”
“C’mon, Dean, you liked this girl…a lot.”
“It was three weeks a long time ago.”
He watched his brother’s head tilt and his eyes close briefly, felt the weight of what was always in the back of their minds before Dean could verbalize it. “In case you forgot, things have changed a little since then, Sammy.”
He shrugged. “I just thought—“
“Yeah, well, just don’t, okay?” Dean growled, no real heat to his words as he turned onto his side facing the wall. Just when Sam thought Dean had fallen asleep, he heard a quiet chuckle then Dean’s voice soft in the dark, “Sometimes I really hate you, Sammy.”
With a sigh, Sam closed his eyes and listened to the sound of Dean’s breathing grow deep and measured and he couldn’t help but wonder if things would have turned out differently had he stayed instead of running away to Stanford. Would they be in another place? He thought the hardest thing he’d have to face in his life was losing Jess and then Dad. But this…the realization that time was running down to nothing and because they still hadn’t found a way to break Dean’s bargain, he was probably going to lose the only person he had left who mattered to him…well, Sam wasn’t sure how he was going to keep it from killing him too.
“Yeah, Dean,” he whispered to his sleeping brother, “Hate you, too.”