Category: Gen (wee! to preseries Winchesters)
Summary: Were they always on this road?
They all think it’s horribly cute that Sammy’s first word is his brother’s name and clear as a bell. What is a little less cute is how for four months it is Sammy’s only word.
“Dean!” he says, pointing at his brother.
“Dean!” he says, pointing at his blankie.
“Dean!” he says, pointing at mashed potatoes.
“Dean!” he says, pointing at John.
“You’ll get a kick out of this,” John says to Jim Murphy when they arrive at the church one blustery Tuesday. “Hey Sammich, who’s this?” John asks, tugging on Jim’s collar.
“Pastor Jim!” Sammy says with authority.
John is packing them up and Sammy is making life difficult by unpacking everything. Dean is in the motel’s bathroom, trying to make an errant cowlick sit down and is refusing to come out until it cooperates.
“I have a job to go to.”
“Billy’s Dad has a job and he doesn’t have to leave town in the middle of the night,” Sammy says, jutting his chin.
“My job is different. I save people.”
“Randy’s Dad saves people because he’s a fireman and he doesn’t-”
John cannot believe he is reduced to turning into his father, something he never wanted to do. “Because I said so, Sam,” he snaps and Sam hunches into himself, repacking the toys he was pulling out of his backpack.
John hates himself just a little that night.
Sam never asks for a pet because he knows what the answer will be. Doesn’t mean John doesn’t find all manner of critters residing in Sam’s room, Sam’s bags, Sam’s pockets.
“Goldfish don’t belong in jeans,” John tries to explain, holding the tiny limp form in his palm and kneeling down in front of his son whose bottom lip is wobbling, eyes big and bright. Every now and again Sam will press the heels of his palms into his face as if he can physically hold off the crying and John wonders when Sam decided he didn’t want to cry in front of his Dad anymore.
“You’re such a dumbass,” Dean contributes from the front seat of the Impala, not even looking up from his comic.
“Shutup!” Sam growls, climbing into the back and not watching his father drop the ex-goldfish into the trash.
John had always figured Dean and his tomcat tendencies would be the problem. He never really fathomed just how wrong he was.
He watches Sam lead the first girl he has ever brought home, Katherine Hilson, never Kate if you please, into the living room. She looks about the place with disdain in every line of her features, treading carefully over their worn rug with her shiny black shoes. She has a floaty blue dress on and ribbons in her hair and John sees the expression on her face change when she looks at Sam.
He’s going to marry a girl just like this, John thinks, and she’s never going to let Sam see us ever again.
It’s an old argument.
“You go to school to keep the state off our backs but it isn’t your future, Sam,” John snaps, watching his youngest pace the room, rage fairly streaking off him in every jerky movement.
“It is,” Sam insists, voice fervent. John has seen people in Jim’s church like this. Sam is a believer. “It wasn’t your future and it may not be Dean’s but it is mine, it is!”
“Hey, leave me out of it,” Dean protests from the other side of the room and John cuts him a glance, seeing how Dean is backed up into a corner and looks more helpless than John has ever known.
“I don’t need you to help, I just need you to not be a wall,” Sam spits, slamming out of the room and John is left, hands clenched and shoulders up. Ready to fight but against what, he’s not sure.
John follows them to the bus station and almost gets out of the truck.
Dean hands Sam’s duffle over and they are both staring at their feet. Then Dean kind of jerks forward and claps arms around Sam, stepping back so quick Sam hasn’t had time to get his own arms up. Dean jams hands deep into his pockets and is back to staring at his feet before Sam has really had time to blink.
Sam is on the bottom-step of the bus when he finally looks back.
Dean doesn’t see it.
John does and for the first time in a long time he feels hopeful.