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20 June 2006 @ 10:50 pm
Supernatural Gen Fanfiction: Evocation  
Title: Evocation
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Sam, John (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: Knowing isn’t everything…
Author’s Notes: This is a spectacularly failed challenge, where I mistook the song “Sunny” from Lenore’s fabulous 1965 Birthday Song Challenge for the song included here (which immediately brought forth this story for me). So be it. I will blame it on the hair-trigger muse…


x-x-x-x-x

John Winchester is a mystery that never ends.

Sam knows his father, and yet he doesn’t. He can predict his father’s actions, his reactions, his anger… his obsessions.

But knowing the outcome is not the same as knowing the process. Underneath that well-traveled surface, there is a wealth of information John has hidden for as long as Sam can remember.

John told them stories when they were growing up, stories that rarely offered anything of himself. The ones about his childhood were usually aimed at making a point. A wistful memory might surface occasionally, but that was rare. The past was gone and it was not coming back; learn from it and put it aside.

Their mother was doled out in facts. So much of it was about her life before John met her, or how she loved her boys and would be so proud of them now. John could never talk about her for very long, his voice drying up even as his eyes got moist. There was too much, more than he could ever finish saying. The parts about how he had loved her-- how badly he missed her—fell into the silence time and again.

John’s war stories were as piecemeal as everything else. They got more detailed over time, more graphic as his sons got older. They were filled with warnings, soldier lore, the names of people Sam would never meet. But though there was pain— always pain— the stories never lasted much beyond that point.

All of John’s past was half-told, driven underground before anyone could see it.

John is as evasive now as ever. His directions are cryptic, his contact is scarce. They leave phone messages that languish for lack of attention, and he is always several states and twice as many leads away from joining them again. It’s aggravating—and so very John. Sam never knows whether to be pissed-off or relieved about it, given how the two of them get along.

It is months after leaving Stanford that Sam and Dean find themselves near Columbus in the rain. Tunes from an oldies station filter tinnily through the air while Dean plows through a downpour and Sam stares out the window.

A few melancholy notes catch Sam’s attention, and he leans forward to listen. He recognizes this song, even though he’s only ever heard the beginning of it. All those years growing up, it was aborted again and again when John would change the station or shut off the radio. Sam turns the sound up before he even knows he’s doing it.

“Don’t, Sam,” Dean says. “You know how Dad feels about that song.”

“Yeah, I know.” Sam keeps his hand on the volume, in case Dean tries to fight him for it. “But Dad’s not here now. I want to know why he won’t listen to it.”

Dean shrugs and looks away, and the words wind slowly through the air:

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone…
only darkness every day.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone,
and she’s always gone too long
any time she goes away.


Sudden memories of sunlit blonde hair flood Sam’s head, as bright as Jess’ laughter. He sees her eyes, so beautiful and warm, and the smile that would catch hold at just the sight of him. Her gentle scent, the softness of her hands-- it’s as vivid as if he held her just yesterday. But he didn’t, couldn’t… can’t. That yesterday is far behind him. Now he’s full of longing for something he’ll never have again.

This is not what that song was supposed to be. Not this aching simplicity of wanting and loss. It should have been stupid or hokey, even empty or poorly-written. He wasn’t expecting this haunting rendition of sadness, or the feeling settling into him now that he’s heard it.

“Happy now?” Dean mutters.

“No,” Sam chokes out, his voice straining against the presence of ghosts and sympathy.

Another question is laid to rest, but he found no solace in its answer.

There is no victory in this pain that is suddenly so clear.


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




Tags:
 
 
 
bluesister on June 22nd, 2006 05:28 am (UTC)
ouch...but good muse, all the same
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 22nd, 2006 05:41 am (UTC)
It was a hurty muse, but it spoke right up.

Do you know the song at all? It isn't just the style (which is awesome), but those lyrics. They just speak of a pain that both Sam and John now share.

And when I went to look up the lyrics to the song that was actually "Sunny" (the one I mistook this for)... meh. No real vibe for that one at all.
(no subject) - bluesister on June 22nd, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 22nd, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
BEWARE OF JENMAR.: SPN - Papa Winchesterclex_monkie89 on June 22nd, 2006 05:45 am (UTC)
Oh ow. Just... so many levels of pain and so perfectly right.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 22nd, 2006 06:09 am (UTC)
I wanted this one to be so much better (yesterday's version was dreadful), but now I can't tell if I got there.

That song that I mistook "Sunny" for, though-- so quickly kicked off this entire idea. Its style and the words-- I can see them hitting so close to home that John would dive for the radio dial as soon as it started to play each time. :(
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 on June 22nd, 2006 06:35 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 22nd, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lenore: Brothers by modernsecretscribblinlenore on June 22nd, 2006 08:24 pm (UTC)
I actually ADORE this song. So...good for your muse! I love how Sam's experience parallels his father's, and suddenly he understands too much about what his father never wants to tell him. It hurts, but it hurts just right.

Thank you so much for the wonderful story!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 22nd, 2006 08:49 pm (UTC)
I actually ADORE this song.
Oh, me too-- which is exactly why it flooded my head so hopefully when I saw "Sunny" listed. Wishful thinking!

I love how Sam's experience parallels his father's, and suddenly he understands too much about what his father never wants to tell him. It hurts, but it hurts just right.
This huge and terrible thing they now have in common simply cannot be understood through words. And would be even more painful for John than Sam, if Sam could imagine that.

Thank you so much for the wonderful story!
You're welcome! I'll still try to do one of the "real" ones on your list.

Meanwhile... many happy returns! I hope it was a wonderful birthday (I survived mine, obviously). :)
Entendre? Make mine a double.: SN jensen neckdeirdre_c on June 22nd, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
Beautiful story. I love it.

This is not what that song was supposed to be. Not this aching simplicity of wanting and loss. It should have been stupid or hokey, even empty or poorly-written.

None of us ever seem to give our parents any credit for either musical taste or depth of emotion. This little moment captures that brilliantly.

How sad that Sam starts to know his father best through their shared pain and need for vengance.

And Dean's little "happy now?" comment is perfect Dean emotional-avoidance.

Very nice. Thanks for sharing!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)
How sad that Sam starts to know his father best through their shared pain and need for vengance.
If Sam ever hoped to really know John, bonding through pain and anger definitely can't be where he expected to find that understanding. :(

And Dean's little "happy now?" comment is perfect Dean emotional-avoidance.
And a little bit of snark at Sam for not trusting that John had his reasons after all (even if Dean didn't necessarily know what they were).

Glad you liked this one, deidre. The idea was so strong that I have no feel for whether the execution matches up...
Kronette: Dean and Dad-father and sonkronette on June 22nd, 2006 11:21 pm (UTC)
*wails*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 01:08 am (UTC)
Isn't that the truth. Sometimes understanding comes with a price.

Thank you, kronette. :)
a rearranger of the proverbial bookshelf: Sam-Dean hugembroiderama on June 22nd, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC)
Aw, poor Sam. And Dean was trying to protect him from it, too.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 06:10 am (UTC)
And Dean was trying to protect him from it, too.
You have to figure that Dean has listened to the song himself, sometime when John wasn't around. It's just like Dean to think that's okay-- because he obeys John's orders, it's okay to bend the ones that don't matter (as opposed to Sam, who questions everything and so never earns that right in Dean's mind).

And in this case... there is definitely another reason to keep Sam from listening, whether Dean is protecting Sam... or John... or (more likely) both.
Pixpixel_0 on June 23rd, 2006 02:24 am (UTC)
Interesting John piece. He's really such a hard character to pin down, and I like how you brought out his "weakness," per se, over the death of Mary without making it overly emotional and flowerly. Does that make sense? I guess what I'm trying to say is that we feel John's pain without it being over the top and too forced. We feel it through Sam because we see Sam constantly grieving and everything, so because we know how Sam feels, we can imagine how John must feel.

And that's a long ramble just to say that I liked the way you handled this one with the boys looking in on John's life. Very well done. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 06:14 am (UTC)
how you brought out his "weakness," per se, over the death of Mary without making it overly emotional and flowerly. Does that make sense?
Yes it does, completely. I wanted to show his pain through his avoidance-- he cannot talk about her too long, cannot talk about how much he misses her, and cannot listen to that song that reminds him so horribly of what he lost. Everything is shown in the negative, in a sense-- we know him by what he does not do rather than what he does.

I do love your rambles (they aren't rambles to me), and I'm glad you liked this one. I seem to be in a John mood, what with last week's drabbles and this one, and... it turns out this week's drabbles are all John as well. (!) Maybe it's time to get a John icon...
(no subject) - pixel_0 on June 24th, 2006 02:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
i want to cause a ruckusgeminigrl11 on June 23rd, 2006 04:17 am (UTC)
This song has always killed me. Love it - even while it rips my heart out.

I can't imagine what it would do to John. To Sam. To Dean. But you have, and captured it so well.

“Happy now?” Dean mutters.

“No,” Sam chokes out, his voice straining against the presence of ghosts and sympathy.

Another question is laid to rest, but he found no solace in its answer.


So achingly perfect.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
This song has always killed me. Love it - even while it rips my heart out.
God, I am enormously grateful so many readers know this song as well. I first heard it probably 4-5 years ago, and it just got me. The subject, the mood, the strained emotion in the singer's voice (Bill Withers. I... learned a lot about him this week).

So achingly perfect.
Oh, thank you so much! The whole thing just leaped out at me from hearing the song in my head, only to find that it was not the one on Lenore's list. I clearly wanted it to be. And I had to write this one after all.
(no subject) - geminigrl11 on June 23rd, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - geminigrl11 on June 23rd, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Queen of Sassgard: daddy!winchesterstarhawk2005 on June 23rd, 2006 11:17 am (UTC)
Really nice. Sam definitely understands his father more than he thinks he does. At least when it comes to missing Jess like John misses Mary.

*pets both John and Sam*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 23rd, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
Sam definitely understands his father more than he thinks he does. At least when it comes to missing Jess like John misses Mary.
He does now, at least. I think the problem is that Sam understands the "what" of John, but he wants to understand the "Why" as well-- and that's much harder, especially when John doesn't really want to be known.

Here, Sam got a sudden and rather painful view of something he now understands too well. :( But somehow, it may help them both...
(no subject) - starhawk2005 on June 24th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on June 25th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - starhawk2005 on June 25th, 2006 03:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lady_octavia on June 25th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
Beautiful.

Another question is laid to rest, but he found no solace in its answer. There is no victory in this pain that is suddenly so clear.
So perfect for Sam and John.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on June 25th, 2006 05:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I had so hoped the idea I was aiming for-- especially with that compelling song, which kicked off the whole story-- would come through here.

The refusal to listen to that song has an entire history behind it, and one chance to finally hear what it's about-- at the wrong time in Sam's life-- says everything his father could never tell them. (and who can blame him?)
"She Who Procrastinates": SPN - Sam knowslogovo on April 16th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Ah, this works so well. The way it turns there, from John to Sam. Just the right note. Thanks.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Samhalfshellvenus on May 24th, 2007 08:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) It's nice to have someone read this and like this so long after the fact.

And your "She Who Procrastinates" tag should apparently belong to me, considering how long it too me to get to this comment!

Glad you liked the story. :D