SPN Fic: Leaving the River Road
Author: Stone Princess
Category: Adult content, Angst, Drama, Seriously Angsty Teen Angst, also Angst, Wincest
Date: Oct 2005
Summary: Sam decides what is best for him, even if it's not best for everyone else.
Disclaimer: I owe the creators of Supernatural a huge debt for giving me something wonderful to work with. I do not own or have any rights to the characters herewithin.
Note: Written for worstcasefic. Thanks to my sweetieface supergrover24 for the beta and to joyfulgirl41 for hand-holding extraordinaire and betaing and mopping up my tears. So much love for both of them. Any remaining mistakes are my own damn fault for being so lazy.
We aren't like other people. The phrase was permanently burned into Sam's mind, he'd heard it so often from his father and his brother. And they were different; they had a mission, they saw things other people chose to ignore. Different meant the kids at school, worried about their own differences, ganged up to beat the crap out of you. Different meant if you didn't fight back, your brother was there to do it for you, even though you were a trained fighter too. Different meant your relationship with your brother wasn't what it was supposed to be, even when you tried to convince yourself otherwise.
"You little faggot freak!"
The words rang in his ears as a punch connected with the side of his head. Sam thought now wasn't the time to point out that, among other things, 'little' was incorrect, he was taller than all five of them. He didn't have too much time to think about it though, before a second punch to the head dropped him to the ground.
Sam ignored the pain and concentrated on the exact moves he'd need to take all of these guys down. It wouldn’t be hard; they were sloppy and too fired up, not carefully trained fighters like him. His head spun, filled with the precise series of hits that would reduce them all to whimpering lumps, but he did none of it, just took the punches as they came, until he was the lump on the ground. Sam never whimpered, though, never showed how much it hurt.
"Get up, fairy, so I can kick your ass."
"This is fucking lame, he's not even fighting back."
Sam took a last kick in the jaw that sent a tooth through his lip before they wandered off, going back to football practice or whatever it was guys like that did after school.
Spring hadn't fully arrived and the ground was cold, but it felt good against Sam's cheek so he didn't get up right away. Instead he closed his eyes, concentrating on the cool ground on one side and the timid warmth of the late afternoon sun on the other. He knew he should get up, get home, do something besides be this lump. Being a lump was very unlike Sam and for just a bit, it felt good to try to be something other than himself. He didn't bother to brush himself off as he stood up—he needed all his attention to just stay upright. He was so dizzy. Maybe taking all those blows to the head hadn’t been such a good idea.
Sam stumbled toward the break in the fence, wondering if he could remember how to get all the way back to the apartment by taking back alleys, when Dean pulled up beside him and leapt out of the car.
"Sammy!" Dean reached out and lifted Sam's arm over his shoulders, trying to prop his brother up. "What happened? What did this to you?" Dean asked as he led Sam to the car, holding him awkwardly as he opened the passenger side door.
It was just like Dean, Sam thought, to assume something had done this and not someone.
"Some guys from school," Sam answered, realizing too late that he probably shouldn't have said anything at all.
Dean stood in the open door of the car, looking stunned as Sam slumped into the front seat, wishing he'd been smart enough to be silent, wishing they could just go home.
"Some guys from school? How many? You know these guys? Where they live?"
Sam could see Dean calculating what he'd need to do to get revenge on the dozen guys it should have taken to do that kind of damage to Sam.
"I just want to go home, Dean. Can we talk about this later?"
Dean nodded and closed the door before walking around the car, but once inside he didn't drop it like Sam had hoped. He sat for a second and looked at Sam.
"That's gonna be one hell of a shiner. How many guys was it?"
"Five." Damn it, Sam wondered if that last kick hadn't jarred something loose in his brain. Why couldn't he shut up about this?
"Five? Were they like super fighters or something? Shit. What am I gonna have to do to take these guys out?" Dean reached out to brush a finger along the swelling around Sam's eye and Sam flinched back.
"Nothing." Sam said, bewildered at the burn he suddenly felt at Dean's touch.
Dean pulled back, confused.
"What do you mean nothing?"
"Can we please go home?"
Dean started the car, but didn't stop the interrogation.
"What do you mean nothing, Sam?"
"I mean, I don't want you to do anything. It's my fight."
"Your fight? Something, I mean, if some guys could do this to you, Sammy, you need help, back-up, against that."
Sam felt a tiny bit of relief that Dean's focus had to shift to the road and away from him.
"No, they were just guys, Dean, football players or something. I could have taken them. I just…didn't. Really, it's my business, so just leave it alone."
"Your business!" Dean slammed on the brakes and Sam was glad they'd been taking alley ways. "You're bleeding everywhere, Sam, what kind of fucking business is that?"
"I said leave it alone." Sam's face ached and his head was starting to seriously throb.
Dean set his jaw stubbornly, but didn't press it the rest of the way back home.
The apartment building was on the edge of town, which was true of nearly everywhere as the town was too small to have much of a middle. Its easy access to the highway and clapboard construction felt more like the cheap motels they frequented in the summers when they traveled and hunted, but Sam was happy to see it today, happy to have some place to go. Happy to have his own room for once, instead of feeling guilty about letting Dad sleep on the sofa in the living room.
Dean stormed off to his room without a word while Sam went to kitchen to crush up some ice for his face.
Sam put the ice bag over his eye and sat at the kitchen table. He knew he should lean his head back, but he couldn't do his homework in that position.
It took almost two hours to finish his school work, his head throbbing the way it was. It was fully dark when he got up to make dinner. The kitchen light was bright but the room felt so lonely and empty as Sam banged around in the quiet apartment. Dean hadn't come out of his room since they'd gotten back. Sam hated fighting with Dean, it made his stomach twist and contract as if all his unsaid words were trying force their way out.
There wasn't much in the fridge but Sam found some pork chops in the freezer and some potato flakes in the cupboard. It was enough and it wouldn't take too long to cook. He could apologize to Dean over dinner. Then things could back to how they always were, because that was safer, even if Sam thought maybe he wanted everything to change.
Sam pulled the chops out of the oven and put them on plates with the potatoes, making a plate for Dad to heat up later, whenever he got home. After he put the plates on the table Sam headed down the hall to get Dean.
Dean's door wasn’t latched all the way and Sam froze as he started to push it open.
"Yes, god, right there!" A woman's voice whimpered from the TV at the foot of Dean's bed.
From the hallway Sam could see Dean on the bed: jeans pushed down around his knees, t-shirt bunched up on his chest, Dean's hand working a steady rhythm over his cock.
Sam knew he should turn around and leave, give Dean his privacy, but he couldn't tear his eyes away. Sweat glistened across Dean's forehead and his eyes were glassy as he stared at the image on the screen. A male voice came from the TV.
"Oh, yeah, suck it, baby. You like it don't you?"
Dean bucked his hips up at the girl's grunted response and let his free hand trail over his chest. Sam's erection was almost instantaneous. It's okay, he told himself, you're seventeen, everything makes you hard. There was porn there for Christ's sake. But Sam couldn't see the porn, could only see Dean. Dean flushed and hard. Sam pushed his palm down hard over the crotch of his jeans, willing his hard-on away.
"Jesus, fuck!" Dean swore from the bed and Sam started, afraid he'd been caught, but Dean's eyes were closed and Sam watched as Dean slowed his strokes and squeezed a little, come spilling over his hand and stomach. Dean's grip slacked, but he continued to stroke himself slowly as he reached for a t-shirt and started to clean himself up.
Sam backed away from the door. He was too warm and his pulse thudded through his head, pressing sharp pain through every place he'd been hit earlier. And he was still hard. Sam walked back to the kitchen and stood clutching the counter in front of the sink trying to clear his head. It wasn't normal to get hard watching your brother. We aren't like other people. But we should be, Sam thought grimly. We should have had normal childhoods, some time apart, then I wouldn't have ended up like this. He let his head fall forward and jolted at the pain when it hit the cabinet above the sink. For a second stars swam on the sides of his vision. Sam tried to shake it off and saw the plates on the counter. Fuck. Dinner. He pulled himself together best he could and stuck his head out the kitchen doorway.
"Dinner! Dean! Dinner!"
Sam felt like he was counting breaths as he waited for Dean. Dean didn't say anything when he finally came in, his face still a little flushed. He just sat down and picked up his fork. Unsure what else to do, Sam took the seat across the table, though he wasn't at all hungry now.
"You didn't put Dad's plate in the fridge," Dean said just as the front door clicked open.
"No need, I'm here!"
Dad left his jacket in the living room and came in to wash his hands at the kitchen sink, his cheeks still pink with cold.
"You guys are eating late. What’s up?" Neither boy spoke as he took his place at the table. Dad dug right into his food. "This is cold," he said around his first mouthful.
"So is mine," Dean answered, looking up at Sam, his face unreadable. Their father turned to look at Sam as Dean did and caught sight of his face for the first time.
"What happened to you, Sammy?"
"It's nothing," Sam mumbled, suddenly very interested in his food.
"He got his ass beat by a couple of guys at school," Dean said disdainfully.
"Watch your language at the table," Dad said to Dean before turning his attention to Sam. "Is that true?"
"It was just a fight, it was nothing." Sam wanted to be anywhere but here, not at this table, not living this life.
"You should be able to take care of a couple of guys, Sam. What happened?"
Sam took a deep breath. He had nothing but the people in this room. These were the people who knew him and loved him no matter what. He didn't know why he suddenly felt so removed from them. So apart.
"I didn't fight them. I didn't want to."
"You didn't fight back? That's not how I trained you boys. I taught you to protect yourselves. Jesus, Sam, what were you thinking?"
"I just didn't want to fight them. You told us to choose our battles and I didn't choose that one." Sam tried to shrug, but it hurt and he stopped mid shrug.
"I didn't tell you to lay down and take it while someone kicks your ass." He turned his attention back to Dean. "You know who these boys were?"
"He told me to stay out of it. Said it was his business."
"You're supposed to protect him."
"I don't think he wants my protection anymore." Even though he was staring miserably at his plate, Sam could feel Dean talking directly to him. It was too much. He pushed his chair back, unsure where he was going to go, but positive he needed to be anywhere but here.
"Where are you going?" Dad called out as Sam reached the door.
"Well, take a weapon, you don't know what's out there."
On auto-pilot, Sam grabbed a sheathed knife that was hanging in the coat closet and went out, all too aware that in an instant he let things fall back to exactly the way they'd always been.
It was cold out for March and Sam was sorry he hadn't worn a heavier jacket. The knife banged around in his inside pocket, jabbing him in the ribs and reminding him with every step that he needed to be aware of his surroundings, that he shouldn't be out alone so close to the full moon.
There was no place to go and Sam found himself back at the school, staring at the scene of his crime. They were warriors, Winchesters didn't lay down and take punches, they fought back, even against things they couldn't see, didn't understand. But Sam didn't want to fight anymore. Sam wanted to read and have friends and do something with his life. Something outside of this strange secret world so full of monsters and terror. He wanted to go somewhere far away, live a life that didn't center around Dean, around things that went bump in the night and then disemboweled and burned people. Mostly he wanted something that was just his. Something that didn't break his heart with longing for someone he wasn't allowed to have. He really wasn't like other people, but he shouldn't have ended up like this.
When Sam got back to the apartment, Dad was asleep on the couch and Sam headed straight for Dean's room. Sam knocked and pushed open the door in one motion, a little anxious at what he'd find, but he had to confront this, whatever was behind the door.
Dean was shrugging on his jacket.
"I was just going to look for you."
Sam sat down on the edge of the bed. "Look, I'm sorry," he began.
"Hey," Dean's gentle tone made Sam look up. "What's wrong with you today? This is about more than a fight, isn't it?"
Sam nodded miserably. Dean took off his jacket and tossed it to side. He sat down heavily next to Sam.
"Do you wanna talk about it?"
"I don't know what to say. I don't know if I want this anymore."
"Come on, Sammy, we'll get through this, we always do. Remember when you were eight and you tried to run away? You spent a night in the woods by yourself and you were fine, we were fine when you came back. You know I hate fighting with you and I'm sorry about today, but I just couldn't understand why you'd do that. You know?"
Sam couldn't even understand himself.
"I know," he whispered, "But I want it to be different this time."
"Different how?" Dean asked softly, leaning toward Sam. Sam turned to look at him and opened his mouth to speak, but Dean cut him off. "I know you were watching me today."
Frozen in surprise, Sam's mouth tried to stutter out an excuse before his mind could think of the words.
"I didn't mean to, I, uh, was just…"
"It's okay. Dude, we've always shared everything. This is just one more thing." Dean was so close. His hand slid onto Sam's leg and Sam wanted to twist and push against Dean, to press until nothing separated them. But he couldn't.
"We can't share this, Dean. It's not normal."
"We aren't like other people."
Sam wanted to scream, to rage, those words were almost too much to bear.
"Maybe I want to be like other people. Maybe I want to be normal," Sam said, aware he was clenching his jaw, aware he was near his breaking point, aware he'd never have everything he wanted. Never have Dean. Never really be normal, no matter what he did.
Dean leaned down, his forehead resting on Sam's. Sam didn't move, afraid of what he'd do if he let himself touch. Time slowed as they sat there, only touching at the forehead and hip until Dean pulled back.
"Okay, whatever's going on with you, we'll work it out."
Sam just nodded, not really sure what he was agreeing with.
"You should get some sleep."
Sam didn't answer, just got up, but he stopped himself at the door. Turning back he grabbed Dean and pulled him to him, hugging him as tightly as he could. He could feel Dean's confusion, feel Dean relax in his arms and Sam wished briefly that everything could go back to the way it had been, but the things he wanted would hurt everyone too much. He released his brother and felt Dean tug for a second as if unwilling to give up the contact.
"Good night," Sam whispered.
"Yeah," Dean said, faking a smile that didn't hide the unease in his eyes.
A new kind of hollow loneliness settled over Sam as he walked down the hallway to his room. He'd never before hoped for anything, wished for anything. Their lives were what they were and it was only recently that Sam had started to dream of something more, that the doors of opportunity began to appear. He sat down hard on the edge of the bed, kicked off his shoes and shucked his jeans.
If he was honest with himself there were only two things he wanted: to get away and have a normal life, a safe life and to have Dean, to touch him, to fall into him until they became indistinguishable as two individual beings. Two wishes, mutually exclusive, and Sam knew he could have either, but could only pick one.
Sam lay down and stared toward the ceiling in his dark room. Everything about this day was wrong. Every door that had opened was one he knew he shouldn't go through and yet he kept stumbling forward. But he had somewhere to go, something he'd worked for and he knew what he had to do now. Somehow that soothed him enough to finally let him fall asleep.
It was the first time Sam could remember a night without dark dreams. He'd slept only a few hours, but at dawn when light whispered through his window he felt wide awake, almost happy, no grim dreams tugging at the edges of his memory. He dressed quickly and went into the kitchen to find his dad whistling as he made pancakes and Dean at the table reading the paper.
"Hey, you okay?" Dean asked, but Sam heard the undercurrent, are we okay?
"Yeah," Sam answered, "but I wanna talk to you guys." He was resolved but he knew this would be the hardest conversation he ever had.
"What's up, son?" Dad asked as he flipped a pancake using just the pan and a flick of his wrist.
"I got early admission to Stanford and I want to go. This summer, as soon as school is out. Right away." Sam felt the knot of tension in his stomach ripple and tighten as if now that it had finally pushed the words out it wanted them back.
The kitchen was still and silent, except the crackle of the hot pan. Dad turned back to the stove as if every thing was normal.
"We can't afford it," was all he said.
"I got a scholarship. I can do this on my own." I need to do this on my own, he thought.
"What do you mean, no?"
Dad flipped the last pancake out on to the plate, put down the spatula and turned to face Sam.
"I mean, no, you can't go, we have work to do and you're needed here."
"You can't make me stay here." Anxiety tore at Sam, making his stomach burn. He hadn't wanted it to be like this. He'd wanted understanding, maybe resigned anger. Not this.
"If you go, don't come back." Dad turned back to the pancakes and began lifting them off on to his plate. Sam knew the matter was closed. He headed for the door, for his room, for his things, but Dean caught him by the shoulder in the hallway.
"What's this about, Sammy? Is this about last night? Because…"
"No," Sam interrupted, "this isn't about you, Dean. It's just me, what I have to do."
"If you're serious about leaving, then it's about us, it's about me, because you're leaving me."
Sam pulled back, letting Dean's hand drop. Dean was the only thing that could make Sam stay, but Sam had worked so hard, planned so long to have a future. He knew he had to leave now or he'd never be able to go. Never be able to break free of the hold Dean had on him.
"No, this only about me. I have to do this, for me."
Dean's jaw was stubbornly set.
"You're really going to do this, leave me here?"
"It isn't about you, Dean." It's about how it shouldn't be you, Sam thought desperately, but he was too scared to say the words. If he admitted it, he'd never be able to leave.
Dean watched him carefully for a second, but didn't answer. Finally he just turned and walked away.
Sam walked to his room without another word. He closed the door and stared into the mirror hanging on the back of his door. The face looking back was a dark shadow of his own. Purple and blue bruises bloomed around his eye and across his jaw. There was still dried blood in his eyebrow and around his right nostril. A face only a mother could love. Only Sam didn't have a mother. Right now Sam didn't have anything at all.
Worst case scenario: How to treat a black eye.