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11 September 2006 @ 01:55 pm
Supernatural Gen Fanfiction: Happy Whatever. Maybe  
Title: Happy Whatever. Maybe.
Author: HalfshellVenus
Disclaimer: Not mine, not ever.
Pairing: Sam and Dean (Gen)
Rating PG
Summary: Dean’s birthday is coming, and that’s a challenge beyond witches or warlocks.
Author’s Notes: Originally written for 60_minute_fics (“Birthday” prompt). This updated version has Dean’s birthday moved to the month canon tells us it's probably in (thanks to silvarafire/delfeather for that info). Though he still seems like a Leo to me...


x-x-x-x-x

The snow-filled fields of Illinois roll out to the horizon as the Impala roars through the still morning air.

Sunlight flashes in through the windshield and a billboard looms up in the distance. “NHL All-Stars’ Game, United Center January 20” it reads, a testament to another big event they’ll never see.

January.

Sam looks over at Dean, who sits silently beside him. Dean is watching the road pensively, one hand on the wheel and the other pulling at his lower lip. He avoids looking at Sam, confirming what Sam has already guessed.

Dean’s birthday is in January. And for years, it has made him moody.

Their birthdays were hit-and-miss as children. Some years John would surprise them with a cake from the store, with balloons and ice cream and presents. Once they’d even gone roller-skating with Sam’s best friend. But other times, the day might come and go without fanfare. An offhand acknowledgement, a promise to make it up to them. And there was no way to fix the birthday Dean spent in the hospital. He was twelve years old, with a blood infection from a werewolf’s claws. John and Sam had huddled together against Dean’s bed, watching his pale, feverish face and wondering if he’d live to see thirteen.

Only the Winchesters could turn birthdays into mine fields. The rules were indecipherable, like some forgotten military code. Overemphasizing its importance brought down disapproval. Forgetting was acceptable-- or unforgivable-- depending on the prevailing winds. After leaving home, Sam was relieved to find that other people generally enjoyed their birthdays, and that he no longer had to watch for clues in the weeks leading up to the date to decide whether to acknowledge the event or not, whether to find a gift or just grunt out some kind of greeting.

It’s not looking promising for Dean’s birthday just now. But it doesn’t take long before Sam thinks, Oh what the hell. Dad’s not here, and Dean flip-flops on a daily basis between feeling unappreciated to rejecting Sam’s every show of kindness. Sam thinks the secret message probably lies in the first part, and the worst that can happen is that Dean makes fun of him or evades Sam’s efforts at giving him what he wants. In Sam’s opinion, Dean needs to get over all that really soon before Sam personally kicks his butt. So they might as well start somewhere.

Living on the road means daily hassles and unpredictable offerings. It means deathly dull hours spent in Laundromats and using a toiletry bag instead of a toothbrush holder.

In Sam’s case, it also means going day in and day out with the same person always in your orbit, to the point where getting ahold of extra money and then secretly shopping for a present becomes a stealth operation worthy of the C.I.A.

Dean doesn’t know that Sam has ways of earning money too, that research is not the only thing he does in libraries or student unions. Sam does on-the-spot tutoring and editing— helping college kids with their papers and essays, organizing outlines and reshaping aimless, bloated prose. For twenty dollars a pop (more in the upper-end neighborhoods), Sam makes students feel like geniuses by drawing out their knowledge and showing them how to use it.

They’re headed to Madison right now, and Sam’s already planning how to stretch his “alone time” to make all this work. He’ll be hanging out in a lot of coffee shops soon, and will probably revisit The Age Of Enlightenment or Postmodern Deconstructionism more times than his stomach can tolerate.

******

In Louisville, there’s a pawnshop on the East side of the main drag. Sam stops off on his way to do laundry while Dean tinkers with the car. There are only a few days left before Dean’s birthday, and Sam’s been racking his brains for ideas since the Martin Luther King Day parade they saw in Kansas City.

His eyes pass over guitars hanging from the ceiling, they mull over the knives in locked cases against one wall and the secured guns against the other.

It’s not until he stumbles across a low shelf to the left of the cash register that Sam notices the red airplane and the control set lying beside it.

“Is this a remote-control plane?” he asks.

“Yep,” says the stringy-haired proprietor. “And it works.”

Thirty dollars later, Sam clutches his prize in a brown grocery bag. He only hopes Dean takes it in the spirit in which it is given.

This airplane is the childhood Dean never got to finish.

It’s a gift that tells everything Sam isn’t allowed to say.

-------- FIN --------

 
 
 
The Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.acostilow on September 11th, 2006 09:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, I remember this, and it touches me even more now.

Oh, boys.

♥s
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 11th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
They make it so hard for each other, don't they? But as long as they keep trying, it'll get better... someday.

Thank you, Athena. :)
(no subject) - bluesister on September 12th, 2006 02:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - acostilow on September 12th, 2006 03:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
woman_of_: Chocolate heartwoman_of_ on September 11th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
Perfect, present and fic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 11th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. :)

When I wrote it for 60_minute_fics I stalled out for the last twenty minutes trying to come up with a suitable present. That was the hardest part of the story! Which makes me pity Sam all the more. ;)
poisontaster on September 11th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC)
Oh that's just...lovely. It makes my heart ache in that really warm way. I can just picture the two of them wasting some time, leaning on the Impala and watching the plane go and the smiles on their faces. Oh, boys.

This airplane is the childhood Dean never got to finish.

It’s a gift that tells everything Sam isn’t allowed to say.

YES.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 11th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
can just picture the two of them wasting some time, leaning on the Impala and watching the plane go and the smiles on their faces. Oh, boys.
I would very much like to see something like this on the show-- something carefree and pointless with the two of them just enjoying themselves and doing nothing particularly "important." They so richly deserve it.

It’s a gift that tells everything Sam isn’t allowed to say.
YES

And if only it wasn't always subtext and subterfuge. But for Sam to learn Dean's language is a huge and important step.

Thanks so much for reading. I've got some catching up on your stuff to do. (Thirteen.Chapters. OMG. And the shorter stuff). ;)

manicmarauder88: Jon Stewartmanicmarauder88 on September 11th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
Um. OMG. AMAZING. This is fantastic. It’s a gift that tells everything Sam isn’t allowed to say. This is so heartwrenchingly sweet. I can't describe just how great this is.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 11th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you. Your words are just making my day!

The mix of heartbreaking and sweet (without being cloying) is such a challenge to pull off. But it so very much fits the Winchesters and their battle to speak without words.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 11th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you so much, Lia. :)
Pheebs1: Lean Wall Bothpheebs1 on September 11th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
I really like this fic, and part of what I love about it is the detail that's in it of the practicality of their lives. This line puts it so well

it also means going day in and day out with the same person always in your orbit, to the point where getting ahold of extra money and then secretly shopping for a present becomes a stealth operation worthy of the C.I.A.
(And Hee!)

And Sam earning money doing on the spot tutoring - so Sam, and what a great idea!!

& he chooses a lovely gift for Dean, in the end. Aw.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 06:03 am (UTC)
(And Hee!)
It's harder than you would think-- they don't even have the excuse of going to work to be apart. It's the same work. The same car. The same motel room. It's on the level of whittling things in secret on a ship far out to sea!

And Sam earning money doing on the spot tutoring - so Sam, and what a great idea!!
I was really racking my brains on that one, and it made sense somehow. It's honest work (which is important to Sam), and he doesn't exactly write the kids' papers for them. It may not score bucks the way hustling pool does, but there are no picky moral ramifications to haunt him later. ;)

Glad you liked this one, pheebs. Thank you!
(no subject) - pheebs1 on September 12th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mr profit's girl friday (and all week long)tiferet on September 11th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
♥ I love it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 06:04 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! :)
Wednesday Addams in Grad School: Jared//curiouslittlewings04 on September 11th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
That's really lovely. Really. He's learned Dean's language and hung on to it, and figured out how to make it say what he wants to say. You can see those moments in the show, when Sam and Dean just connect and communicate, and you've hit one here, only we're seeing it from Sam's eyes, the way he makes sense of it. Sam's a creature of words, Dean of objects, and he bridges the gap by understanding that the objects are made of words. (I think. My brain might be dead from squee.)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC)
He's learned Dean's language and hung on to it, and figured out how to make it say what he wants to say.
Dean makes it so hard, because everything important Dean usually shows-- but will say if he has to. But what Dean needs... he won't listen to. It has to be shown, always indirectly. It's like ambushing a castle to fling your weapon across the wall before the enemy notices, but here the weapon is love and the enemy needs to let down his guard.

Sam's a creature of words, Dean of objects, and he bridges the gap by understanding that the objects are made of words. (I think. My brain might be dead from squee.)
I totally understand (and love!) what you mean by that. My subconscious gobbled it right up and marked it as a Yes!

Thanks so much for leaving comments. They were wonderful. :)
Tiger Lilytigerlily0 on September 11th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC)
sweet
Aw, that was sweet. And funny. I love this line

getting ahold of extra money and then secretly shopping for a present becomes a stealth operation worthy of the C.I.A.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 06:10 am (UTC)
Re: sweet
Oh, can you imagine? One car. One motel room. One job. Very little money. The logistics alone are tough without having to be sneaky on top of it all.

Thanks for reading, TigerLily. :)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
but I'm sitting flapping my arms in the hope that Dean likes his present.
I think that totally said everything right there!

Being Dean... I can guarantee he'll know what that present means so long as Sam doesn't actually say anything. Because that would force the denial.

Giving Dean love is like trying to get past the windmill at a miniature golf course. Which sounds like CrackFic, I realize, but you get the point, I hope. :0
(Deleted comment)
Ouch. - halfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 04:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Ellebbrownsugar on September 12th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
Aww. That was sweet, and perfect. I can only imagine Dean's smile. Lovely story.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 12th, 2006 06:15 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. :) I'm glad so many people are enjoying this, and are able to visualize that final part (that I think would not have come off well if I'd actually written it. It's better left to the reader).
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 13th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
You can see where they got their communications skills, can't you? *Sigh*

But sometimes, when they really try, they finally get it right. :)
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable womenmissyjack on September 12th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC)
Wonderful story - they say so much in what they do, not what they speak. I agree it would be lovely to see a few more happy downtime moments.

Also - I like your reference to the fact that they spend ALL their time together. Now as we all know even going on holidays with your beloved/s can test the best relationship. how do the boys cope with the lack of personal space, the intensity of spending all that time together (besides having sex of course)?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 13th, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
they say so much in what they do, not what they speak.
Dean especially _shows_ his feelings better than he says them. And if you try to tell him your feelings, or ask about his, he shifts right into avoidance mode. He just can't stand it. Tell him that he matters, and he's sure it's not true or that he doesn't deserve it. Show him, and there is nothing tangible that he can deny.

how do the boys cope with the lack of personal space, the intensity of spending all that time together (besides having sex of course)?
Whoo! That's my solution. ;)

Oddly enough, I can easily see Dean being the kind of person who does not understand the need for "alone" time (for just input-free time, you might say). And Sam being someone who might very much need that. :D
(no subject) - missyjack on September 13th, 2006 12:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Killa: dean smile awesomekillabeez on September 12th, 2006 01:58 am (UTC)
Too tired to be eloquent, but I loved every minute of this. :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 13th, 2006 12:11 am (UTC)
:) I think that covers it nicely. Thank you! :)

BTW, Killa, have you seen this Kirk/Spock vid? Just came across it the other day-- it's so desperate and moody and heated. Now if in fact it's _your_ vid I'm going to feel like a complete idiot. :0 But it wouldn't be the first time...
(no subject) - killabeez on September 13th, 2006 12:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on September 13th, 2006 04:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
bluesister on September 12th, 2006 02:02 am (UTC)
I love when the quiet stories turn out to be so satisfying. The history of birthdays in the family, the anti-glamour of being transient, the airplane.
*claps*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Sam & Dean Genhalfshellvenus on September 13th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
Thank you, bluesister. :)

Oh, sometimes when I think of their life on the road it numbs me with the Laundromat/Diner/Lumpy-Mattress dull sameness of it all. How does that not make them crazy? :0

But it is how they live, and they must get through it somehow. I'd be shooting soda cans off a fence in a week, definitely.

Glad you liked the story, and I loved all the things you noticed about it. Thank you. :)