|"that thing that's golden"
||[Jul. 24th, 2009|11:10 pm]
Title: that thing that's golden|
Notes: Happy birthday deirdre_c.
Dean's not sure how, but he can tell even though Sam speaks with only his hands, when his brother is being sarcastic.
Like right now he's saying, yeah like that will help, in regards to their waitress who saw Sam signing from across the room and came over to shout at them if they were ready to order.
Sam's not deaf, but Dean's surprised they both aren't with the amount of people thinking it would help to shout if he was. "He's not deaf, just mute," Dean explains to the woman, Pamela by her name tag. He watches Pamela blush and grimace like the polite ones usually do.
"I'm sorry," she says. "I just assumed with the..." she raises her hands and flaps them like a dying bird.
"He gets that a lot," Dean says and out of the corner of his eye he catches Sam say, don't talk about me like I'm not here, ass.
"It always fascinated me. Can you really talk, y'know, normally?"
"We have our own vocabulary," Dean says and truth be told, he knows apart from the basics, if he ever met another signer he probably wouldn't be able to understand half of what they said and they'd think he was talking gibberish.
He and Sam have their own shorthand, mostly necessitated by Dean's colorful language and general laziness.
It doesn't really matter, he never really needs to talk to anyone else this way. Not like he's going to be an interpreter for the UN or anything.
Also, it works for them.
It doesn't hurt that Pamela slides them two free pieces of pie when they're done with their lunch and Dean notices Sam doesn't have anything to say about that.
Can I get another coke?
It's a Saturday afternoon and it's quiet in the bar. The evening crowd hasn't started pouring in yet and Dean was pretty much zoning out wiping the bartop down. Sam is over by the pool tables, lining up and sinking trick shots, amusing himself. Dean raises his eyebrows and juts his chin, his very own special sign for get over here and get it yourself you lazy bastard.
You're a bad brother, Sam flips him off as an exclamation point, leaning back over the table. The shirt he's wearing is one of Dean's so it's too short and his jeans sit below the top of his ass.
"That's a lovely view," Dean calls across the room and Sam looks over his shoulder and smirks, before reaching back and liberally chalking his crack with the piece he had in hand. "Hey, don't put that back, geez!" Dean groans as he sees Sam drop the chalk next to three other identical pieces and then shuffle them around.
Now he's going to have to throw the lot out.
"You think he'd want to go out sometime?" The new girl, Janelle, is standing behind him with a dish cloth twisting in her hands. She's got a half-smile on and she's looking at Sam over Dean's shoulder.
Dean bites his lip because this is always awkward. "He doesn't... he's not..."
Janelle's eyes swing his way and then widen. "Oh, no, sorry! I didn't realise you two were-"
"No! I mean, we're not y'know. He just... doesn't go out," Dean finishes lamely. Janelle kind of blinks and then her eyes narrow. Dean can't tell whether she's pissed or hurt, probably both. She smoothes down her hair, then her shirt and moves out from behind the bar. Dean suddenly realises that she's going to disregard him as she makes a beeline for his brother.
Sam turns as Janelle approaches and Dean watches as Sam tilts down a little to hear what Janelle is saying. She toys with a lock of her hair and Dean's grip on his rag goes hard as he watches Sam lean down further and put his mouth next to Janelle's ear. Her expression goes from nervous to dreamy and she drifts away from Sam, picking up some discarded glasses as she goes, moving back towards the kitchen.
Dean vaults the bar and stalks over to Sam, who's turned and has a hip leaning against the pool table, arms crossed and body language defensive.
"Don't do that," Dean snaps.
"Sam, I swear to God," Dean snarls, hands balled into fists.
Okay, okay, sorry. Sam puts his hands up in the universal surrender gesture and Dean deflates. He knows it's hard but they should never do things the easy way just because they can. Paved with good intentions, and all that rubbish.
You going to get me a coke, now? Sam asks and Dean rolls his eyes.
Dean's not sure where the automatic compulsion comes from to deny it because, well... they are.
He supposes maybe it's because to him this thing between he and his brother is like a bubble, all fragile surface tension. If people know, too many people touch it with their grubby calloused fingers, then it'll break.
Meredith is a town with pretensions of being a city. It's at the end of a highway, not on many maps and has a surprising number of people packed into a small amount of space.
It has a McDonald's, a Starbucks and three boneyards that are a little too big for the town's relative size. Meredith reminds Dean of Santa Carla from The Lost Boys, including the vampires.
Luckily they're the Lenore type, living on a property on the outskirts of Meredith, keeping their own livestock so they don't poach other people's and most importantly, not killing humans. Dean keeps tabs on them, if by tabs you mean that he goes to visit and they feed him cookies.
They're pretty decent folk for vampires and they don't even begrudge Dean having a machete on him when he drops around, long as he keeps it out of sight.
In short, Meredith is the type of place Dean always pictured them settling in but he always thought it would be him that was the injured party, forcing them into retirement if he survived at all.
In the end, as he always should have known, it was Sam.
Sam vacuums early in the morning whenever he gets the inkling to do it. Dean's been woken at ungodly hours on more Sundays than he can count by the rythmic ruh ruh ruh of the vacuum being worked back and forth, usually in their room.
"Must you," Dean grumbles with his face mashed into the bed and his pillow over his head.
He can't see Sam's answer but he's sure it's something rude, whatever it is.
"How's your brother doin'?" Bobby asks.
They don't see Bobby anymore. It's just safer for everyone. Doesn't stop him calling once a week like clockwork though. Dean thinks about not answering but last time he didn't, Bobby had called once a day and then once an hour and then every few minutes until he did pick up.
He could get a new phone, different number but he doesn't.
Sam has some small scars because of Bobby, well, because of someone Bobby knows and thought he could trust. Other hunters don't really understand Sam and try to take it on themselves to rid this world of him. In a certain light or with your face mashed up against his, tiny red pin pricks that have never really faded ring Sam's mouth where his lips were stitched together to stop him talking.
He looked like some kind of macabre doll when Dean finally got to him.
Sam had just watched Dean with solemn eyes as he'd cut through the black thread carefully, so carefully with his smallest, sharpest knife.
Dean hadn't even known that he'd cried the entire time until he got back to the motel room and saw in the mirror clean furrows carved through the grime on his face.
"Doing okay," Dean non-answers. "You?"
Dean hears Sam say his name for the first time in four years while he has Sam underneath him, Sam's hips bracketed by his knees.
He freezes and feels Sam tense under him at the same time. Dean realises it's his fault because he's holding Sam's hands down and his name sounded like it was wrenched out, like air from a balloon.
Dean feels Sam tug and relinquishes his clench on Sam's fingers. Sam's hands light on his shoulders for a second before pulling back to say Sorry, I wasn't thinking-
"Hey, I know. Whole point was to get you to quit thinkin', right?" Dean says and smirks but it's false and they both know it.
They both, stupidly he now realises, assumed when they put the demon that started this whole thing in the ground all Sam's freaky shit would just go away.
Not get worse.
Dean isn't exactly sure when they discovered that Sam's speaking voice had gone from mere words to Command and he doesn't like to. He's pretty sure they are the way they are because of a choice he made and not something Sam asked of him but there's that small, deep-down dark part of him that isn't all the way certain.
Sam tried at first being careful about what he said but it just wasn't working. An errant go fuck yourself would end spectacularly badly. Sam's silences became longer and longer the more time passed until he quit speaking altogether, just to be safe.
Sam found some books on sign language at the library and there were plenty of sites devoted to it on the internet and they made up the rest.
Almost, Dean forgot what Sam looked like in sunlight.
He gets him out in the light as much as possible these days because it suits him.
Sam puts down roots faster than Dean.
A couple of months into their stay in Meredith, Sam has a lease on a small shop space that he fills with hard-to-find books. He sets up a website and most people mail order from him so the shop pretty much stands empty during the days. He starts making enough within the first six months that Dean could quit the bar if he was so inclined but he doesn't.
Sam though hires the first bored-looking pink-haired girl he can find to mind the store and spends his time instead in the little office out back building his online empire, trading with people and hunting down tomes that are first edition and crap.
He gets addicted to ebay and their house becomes filled with useless castoffs of other people's.
Sam likes stuff with a history and never buys anything new if he can help it.
Out of boredom, every now and again, Dean will start scanning the obits. He circles possible cases with a green pen and leaves the paper out so Sam doesn't think he's sneaking cases.
Sam can't go with him which is probably the hardest thing for him to stomach but there it is. The temptation to use Sam to their advantage would be too great and that's just a slippery slope.
Sam will see the paper, give Dean the eyes but never argue with him.
Dean always ends up passing the information on to Bobby when they talk because this is their life now.
No going back.
Artwork by nargynargy