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25 April 2009 @ 01:23 pm
Supernatural Gen Fiction: Broken Souls And Tired Regrets  
Title: Broken Souls And Tired Regrets
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Sam, Dean, Bobby (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary (post-2x01, "In My Time Of Dying"): Dad's gone, but for Sam that shadow still remains…
Author's Notes: Happy belated birthday to happywriter06! I know you've wanted this forever, and I started this back in the Fall after you suggested it, but didn't make it very far. Your birthday was the inspiration I needed to finish it. Hope you like it. :)
Also for my switch25 table, this is "Bruise."

x-x-x-x-x

The world has stopped outside, leaving silence to rule the graveyard of dust and steel that lies next to Bobby's place. It's been five days.

Sometimes, Sam isn't sure whether any of them actually survived. Dean's not talking and Bobby can hardly look at either of them, and the ash of his father's funeral pyre still clings to Sam's skin. No amount of scrubbing can render Sam clean or peaceful or whole.

He didn't even say goodbye.

Sam has turned those last few minutes over in his head, again and again. He keeps coming back to them, to the fight he almost started because he didn't know—how could he know—that the only thing Dad could do for Dean would wind up costing him everything? Sam remembers the softness in his father's voice when he said he didn't want to fight anymore, the tenderness in his eyes betraying the kind of love Sam had stopped hoping for a lifetime ago. He almost screwed up the possibility of that moment with an argument they'd had too many times already, and he's so glad Dad stopped him. But how he wishes he'd known that was going to be his last chance for words and apologies, for trying to set right all the things that had gone wrong between them.

He would have tried with everything he had in him to make that happen. Now that he's been cheated out of it, he can't let it go.

Dean is no help. He acts like he blames Sam for what happened, like Sam could ever have stopped Dad from doing anything he'd set his mind to. Dean's distant and abrasive now, like Sam's a stranger instead of the brother who lost his father too. What's even more frustrating is that they're apparently not supposed to talk about it. Dean won't admit to his own pain, and he sure as hell doesn't want to hear about Sam's. He makes it sound as if Sam forfeited the right to grieve by going away to college, and it's not that simple—none of it, any more than the rest of their lives have been. It's all confusion and contradictions and pushed-down feelings that were never really laid to rest. It's messy and damn-near impossible to explain, like knowing the world is dangerous and wishing you could unlearn that, or like needing someone so much that you have to push them away to be sure you can survive on your own.

Dean just doesn't understand. He only rebelled against the safe things, never his own family. He was either born to be Dad's little soldier or decided it for himself too long ago to remember. Either way, he didn't have to leave in order to become himself.

So he can't see that sometimes Sam regrets leaving, or that he also regrets the opposite—the fact that it was necessary. Those things will always be intertwined, bound up in each other like the family Sam tried so hard to escape.

Sam has Dean back now, and they were finally starting to learn how to work together in spite of their differences. Dad had his own missions to keep him busy, and without the constant question of loyalty standing between them, the boys had finally forged a new kind of peace.

Sometimes, Sam thinks he might one day have gotten to that place with Dad. They were still butting heads at the end (hopelessly fated by their personalities), but they'd laughed together too. There was that talk in the motel room about college funds, and all Dad's anger was gone. It seemed like a new beginning.

Now Sam will never know what might have happened if he'd only had a little more time.

Bobby's house is filled with ghosts—memories of the times Sam and Dean came here as kids, the book with the worn spine and Egyptian hieroglyphics that Dad borrowed for a couple of years, the picture of Dad and Bobby outside a broken-down house in Tennessee. It's claustrophobic, sitting around being reminded again and again of what's missing.

Dean doesn't want to hunt, even when Sam practically drops a new case in his lap. He doesn't seem to want to do anything, except mope around Bobby's place and tinker with that hopeless wreck of a car. Sam gets it, he understands how hard this is for Dean. But it's hard for him too, and he didn't expect it to be so goddamn lonely, not when he still has his big brother. Had is more like it. He doesn't know what the hell to make of Dean right now.

The two of them are crammed into the guest room, same as they always were. But Sam's sleeping by himself at night, without even the comfort of Dean's unforgiving shoulders there to reject him. It's not just that Dean's avoiding him, more that he spends his evenings drinking in Bobby's living room until he passes out on the couch. Drinking means escaping, whereas time with Sam means talking or remembering or whatever the hell else Dean's so afraid of right now.

Sam finally calls him on it, so sick of being pushed away that he finally pushes back. Dean thinks guilt's going to shut him up, but Sam faces it head on, refusing to let it distract him. He admits it, lays out his failures, and then turns it back around:

"I'm not all right. Not at all. But neither are you. That much I know."

He's lost Dad, and God knows he's still battered and bereft. But he's not losing Dean, not if he can help it.

Sam leaves Dean to think about that, and he's nearly inside Bobby's house when he hears the crash of shattering glass. He turns, but the savage sound of metal-on-metal destruction stops him right where he stands.

Sam knew Dean was hiding his anger, totally knew it, but there's no victory now in hearing it finally come out.

He can't tell if Dean's mad at him or at himself, or whether their father is the real target. It might even be all three.

It doesn't matter.

Dean's as broken as he is, and everything between them is broken. Sam listens helplessly to the sounds of Dean coming apart, and knows that anything more than the barest semblance of survival is still a long way off for them both.



-------- fin --------

 
 
 
ficwriter1966ficwriter1966 on April 25th, 2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
This seems like such a long time ago - in another world. But there's the baseline of everything, that crack in the relationship that still hasn't healed. I wonder if it ever will.

This is beautifully described, painful and melancholy. How sad to think of "what might have been." Poor Sam.

Thank you for sharing this. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on April 25th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)
This seems like such a long time ago - in another world.
When everything was so simple compared to now, and all they had to fear was losing each other to harsh words or different ideals. *sigh*

I was nearly finished with this when last week's episode aired, and I hadn't expected it to revisit some of this territory. All of those old arguments Sam had with John, all that unfinished business between them.

I think what he least expected, after losing John, was that he'd be grieving alone. The way Dean reacted to John's death and to Sam just made it all so much worse, for both of them.

Thanks so much for reading this-- I'm glad it spoke to you!
brigid_tanner: Sam-sadbrigid_tanner on April 25th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
Ouch. You write so beautifully and inflict pain with such skill. Had several parts that I really liked:

It's all confusion and contradictions and pushed-down feelings that were never really laid to rest. It's messy and damn-near impossible to explain, like knowing the world is dangerous and wishing you could unlearn that, or like needing someone so much that you have to push them away to be sure you can survive on your own.
and
Dean's as broken as he is, and everything between them is broken. Sam listens helplessly to the sounds of Dean coming apart, and knows that anything more than the barest semblance of survival is still a long way off for them both.



The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
The original requestor really wanted this story because we've heard on and on about how John's death affected Dean-- understandably. But how it affected Sam has been skipped over, except as it related to Dean.

And there's something about the unique bind he was in, having fought so much with John, that makes this situation especially thorny for him.

I'm glad you liked this one. :)
dreamboat_kickswaxing_gibbous on April 25th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)
Perfect!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 09:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Dark and Angsty with a splash of Hopevarkelton on April 25th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I needed that.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I'm so glad it hit the spot. :)
cozmikfaerie08cozmikfaerie08 on April 25th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
those poor boys...excellent story, sad and moving, you just want to reach out and hug them!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
Losing their father was hard enough, but that it pushed them farther apart instead of bringing them closer to help each other through it was one of the most frustrating things about how that developed in canon. So unexpected, too.

I see you on fanfiction.net, don't I? I can't image there are two cosmic fairies running around, though there might be!
Serena64serena64 on April 25th, 2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
ouch!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 09:35 pm (UTC)
Sam's ouch seemed to have gotten overlooked during this period, so if he's finally gotten his say then all the better. It's long overdue.
ErinRua: Samerinrua on April 26th, 2009 02:41 am (UTC)
Wow. Such a powerful, poignant mirror to the aweful distance between them, now. It's interesting to revisit how very far apart they were, then. Oh, my heart just breaks all over again. *wibble* Beautifully done, you.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
It's interesting to revisit how very far apart they were, then.
I so wanted that to heal sooner and easier than it did, and I never imagined they'd be back in that position again! *sniffle*

Season One looks like a cakewalk compared to what came after, dead fiancee and all. :(
layne: spn i've got youlayne67 on April 26th, 2009 05:13 am (UTC)
I watched IMTOD right after 4.19, needing to see John's interaction with the boys just before he died, and now I'm reading this! Lovely :))
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
What timing! This was about halfway done when 4x19 aired, and it was a jolt to see this old ground revisited in canon.

I'm so glad you liked this-- thanks for reading!
(no subject) - dairwendan on April 26th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on April 26th, 2009 11:43 pm (UTC)
You're very welcome! And it all seems to much easier than what's happening now, as crushing and heartbreaking as it was.

Lovely icon! A manip, isn't it? The Jared half looks familiar. The icon itself sure doesn't look like a manip, though-- it's like a yearbook photo or something.
(no subject) - dairwendan on April 27th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: JSquaredLovehalfshellvenus on April 27th, 2009 05:02 pm (UTC)
Awww! Back when Jensen still had hair and Jared's was a little more under control. How I miss those days!
tyrical: Text_Owtyrical on April 27th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
This one hurt.
The pain is all out in the open with nothing to shield the pain.
I hope they can recover from this because this is effed all around.
If there ever was a time when they need each other it is right now.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Hughalfshellvenus on April 27th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
If there ever was a time when they need each other it is right now.
This was the hardest part about early S2. It was bad enough that John was dead, but so much worse that it splintered the boys instead of drawing them closer together.

Part of the painful legacy we see here is that Dean pushed Sam away and made this much harder for both of them. One of the most damaged parts of Dean is that tendency to reject love when he needs it most, and it's SO frustrating. Here, it hurt Sam as much as it hurt him. :(
post-apocalypse shenanigans: SPN - Salt & Burnbrynwulf on May 1st, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you for telling me about this! I'm so glad you wrote it because it needed to be and you're the best one to do it.

*loffs*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on May 1st, 2009 09:27 pm (UTC)
What a sweet thing to say! The birthday girl mentioned above has wanted it for a long time, and when she brought it up around November I realized that nobody really had written that. We've heard Dean's side ad infinitum (I know I've written it), but Sam was really the "forgotten son" in that setting.

Another fanon hole laid to rest. Hope it was worthy!
happy is as happy does: Sam (Hollywood Babylon) - SPNhappywriter06 on May 3rd, 2009 11:49 pm (UTC)
The world has stopped outside, leaving silence to rule the graveyard of dust and steel that lies next to Bobby's place. It's been five days.
I love this image. Great opening.

This is canon for me since it stands to reason how guilty Sam would feel and how he would think Dean blames him. I’m sure he did, no matter how irrational .

I love this: Bobby can hardly look at either of them. It just reminds me of Devil’s Trap where Dean and Bobby discuss the last time Bobby and John saw each other.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! LOVE IT!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on May 4th, 2009 02:39 am (UTC)
That must have been such a hard time for Sam, because of his own feelings AND because of what he thinks Dean blames him. Everything about Dean's behavior just reinforces that, making it all so much worse.

I'm glad you liked the line about Bobby, too. He must have so many of the same complications-- leaving things on an angry note with John years ago, and providing John the means to make the deal he did (though Bobby knows it saved Dean in John's place). That ought to make him angry at John all over again.

Well, I'm so glad you liked this! It was a great idea for a story, because this POV really has been neglected, and I hope you think I did the prompt justice. :)

Many happy returns!