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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Stillness

February 6th, 2008 (07:49 pm)

Title: Stillness

Summary: Nothing mattered. Not in this stillness, not in this night, not when it was just him and Dean in two nondescript beds, alone and together, united and separated.

A/N: I wrote this early S3. There are no specific spoilers, but vague references to Dean's deal. This is a quiet piece--just Sam introspection and it's probably all wrong by now but whatever. I still like to try to get into Sam's head since the show seems determined to not show us. Beta'ed by 

geminigrl11 but a long time ago--I doubt she even remembers! sendintheklowns gave it a good once over as well as well as pushing me to post :) Since she had to shovel snow twice today, I figured I'd take pity on her and post already.

 Disclaimer: Not mine.


Stillness

It was quiet.

The stillness was pervasive, and the room reverberated with it. It stretched and expanded, filling the corners of the room with a placidity too encompassing to be ignored. It left no nook unattended, no cranny unsaturated. It covered and soaked until Sam didn't know where he began and the stillness ended.

The lights were off, and the room was shrouded in a gauzy darkness. A faint flow filtered softly through the curtains from the artificial lights of the world outside, kept at bay by the deadbolt and chain. It was far too early or much too late, Sam wasn't sure which anymore. He could have turned his head, look at the display on the clock situated between the twin beds, but he didn't do it. He couldn't bring himself to disturb the stillness that seemed to trap him where he was.

The night was deep and solitary, a foreign, yet familiar, friend. The stillness buzzed with the distant sounds of traffic, of insects, of a wide, vast world just beyond the walls of the motel that was so close to him, yet so far away.

He couldn't remember the name of the motel. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered--nothing like that, anyway. Not in this stillness, not in this night, not when it was just him and Dean in two nondescript beds, alone and together, united and separated.

Here, it was just them. Here was all Sam had ever really possessed, all he'd ever really been able to depend on. There had been times, of course, where there had been more. The times growing up when his father's strong presence had filled the room, and sureness and safety had soothed Sam to sleep. The times at college when Jess lay next to him, and her life and love had lulled him away. Both were gone now, mere memories, as insubstantial as a dream.

Here, though, there was no time. There was no place. He was no further from his loss, no closer. He wasn't transient; he wasn't stationary. He simply was.

His eyes tracked the ceiling, watching the ebb and flow of lights as headlights shone from the nearby highway. He watched their pattern, felt it, and let himself drift with the simple movement.

Back and forth. Always moving.

They'd spent too many days like that. Too many weeks, too many months. Lost time, wasted time, gone and drifting behind them like those dying glares of passing headlights on lonely highways.

He breathed in; he breathed out.

It was that simple, that pure. Just breathing. Just existing in the stillness.

There was no hunt. There was no dream for something more. Just Sam and Dean, Dean and Sam. Brothers.

Sam had never existed without Dean, didn't think he ever could. He might have believed he could once, or made himself believe, but that strength had left him now, just like most of the people he'd ever loved, just like all his dreams and desires. The time at Stanford was a blur to him, a strange, surreal time in his life where he'd tried to stand alone.

He'd tried, and failed.

Closing his eyes, he felt the stillness, felt it settle over him, overtake him. Louder than his heartbeat, louder than the workings of his brain, he could just effuse into it.

It wasn't emptiness, not like some people understood emptiness. Sam knew emptiness. He knew the expanse that was death, the consuming bleakness that swallowed you whole and left nothing behind. He'd been there, he'd been part of it. He'd died, and that fact haunted him. He couldn't remember it, not really, but somehow he understood.

That emptiness stood in his mind in opposition to the stillness here. Emptiness was agony; stillness was peace. The days with Dad were an emptiness of who he couldn't be. The days with Jess were an emptiness of what he could never have.

The days with Dean--

The days with Dean were something else. They were fleeting and terrifying, frustrating and terrible.

He opened his eyes, letting them linger on his brother, asleep in the other bed. Dean slept well now, slept like the entire world was his, and Sam supposed it was.

Dean could be happy. Dean was free. Not just from life, from hunting, from thinking ahead, but from him. From the burden of being the big brother, from the burden of always watching out for Sam.

And Sam hated himself sometimes for all of it, for not changing it, for not stopping it, for being the cause of it to begin with. Just like sometimes he hated Dean. Hated him for leaving him like this, for saying he didn't care. Because the world was ending and Sam wanted to rage and Dean just wanted to go.

It hurt. It hurt more than anything. It was guilt and failure and pain and wrong. He couldn't shake it, he couldn't breathe with it.

And yet, he could. He could let it go. Not in the day; not when he saw Dean's manic qualities mask his slow descent. But here, in the stillness, it was okay. Because stillness wasn't nothingness; stillness wasn't absence of reality. It was suspended time, time away from time, where the world was moving, but Sam was standing still. Where Sam was standing back and looking at it, more than the emotions, more than the frenetic day-to-day hunt. Where Sam was and wasn't and all the things in his life made sense, were made simple and ready to be grasped.

His eyes wandered to the ceiling and he listened. He waited. He tuned in, settled his mind, quieted his heart, until he heard the gentle sound of his brother's breathing.

His brother's life.

The life that had been traded for his. The life that had been bought by their father. The life that Sam would save if it was the last thing he ever did.

He understood, though, why Dean had to do it. He knew. He knew that it was the emptiness that drove Dean to make the deal, and that it was the stillness that kept Dean happy. In a world of chaos, of doubts, of evil, it was all they had left sometimes. It didn't erase the truth--Dean was still going to hell, Sam was still tempted to save him in all the wrong ways--but it displaced the feelings, displaced everything until all there was only stillness, and that was enough.

The thoughts weren't easy, rough and jagged in the recesses of his mind, but they flowed, almost effortlessly, tumbled smooth in his stream of thought before settling in his mind like rocks in the bottom of a brook. As Sam followed a set of headlights tracing across the ceiling, he let his eyes drift shut in the night. The stillness overtook him until his breathing evened out, matched his brother's, and Sam fell asleep.

Comments

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
the pain inside

I remember when you wrote this and I was blow away by how quickly you did it -- you make writing seem so effortless. I'm jealous.

And I always enjoy getting your take on Sam's perspective. Especially the bit here about Dean's manic tendencies.

The writing is filled with wonderful imagery, too. Not easy to pull off when the action is taking place in a dark motel room.

You take the sting out of shoveling :)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)

I make writing seem effortless? Are you sure you're talking to ME?!

And Sam's head is so closed off to us this season that if we're going to know anything, it's all in fic.

Looks like you'll have more shoveling to do soon with all this weather!

Posted by: iyalode (iyalode)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
SPN: Sam - What is Now

Oh, Sammy.

This is hurts in all the right places. Wonderful.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)

I always feel for Sammy. I wish we got more of it on the show. Thanks!

Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)

great!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 02:56 am (UTC)
earnest

Thanks!

Posted by: percysowner (percysowner)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 12:11 pm (UTC)

Oh so lovely, I adore your Sam POV's they are compelling and true to his character.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
heres the thing

I find I need Sam's POV and if the show doesn't give it to us, that leaves us to wonder in fic.

Thanks so much!

Posted by: percysowner (percysowner)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 04:49 am (UTC)

Yes, I find the show's reluctance to explore Sam's POV to be disappointing. In season one I thought there was a good balance between the development of both Dean and Sam. In season two, I think the emphasis shifted to Dean. This was partly due to the fact that John had died for Dean and that Dean was burdened by John's last command. That said, Sam's reaction to his fathers death and his reaction to finding out that his father believed that Sam would have to be put down like a rabid dog were completely ignored. This left me extremely disappointed. I had hopes that season 3 would bring back more of the balance to the character development of Sam, but I still feel there is something missing here. I can partly explain it due to the fact that Sam is in many ways an extremely private person, who has canonically hidden facets of himself for most of his life. He never tells any of his friends at Stanford (including Jess) the truth behind his childhood. He never told Jess he was having extreme nightmares that involved her death. He hid the fact that he was having visions from Dean for months. Actually pre-series he hid the fact that he was applying to college from John and Dean while living with them 24/7 in cramped quarters. I can fanwank why Sam's development is being neglected in the show, but I truly appreciate having fanfic to fill in the holes. That is why I appreciate your stories so much. You provide a great a balance between the Sam and Dean POV's and you show great affection for both characters. Thank you so much for your contribution to fanfic. Your stories always make my day. You are truly one of the author I read whenever I see your name on a fic.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 5th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
bruised sam

All the fanwank I see for why they're neglecting it worries me--I like a tortured Sam, a Sam who is struggling, but I'm not so sure I like this sense that we're supposed to doubt Sam's morality like the absence of insight seems to suggest. And even if they're going for ambiguity, it seems like there might be a better way to do it. I could probably rant, but it's so FRUSTRATING.

Anyway, thanks :)

Posted by: wysawyg (wysawyg)
Posted at: February 11th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)

I admit I can be a little nervy about reading your fics because I tend towards being a DeanGirl and you are very much a SamGirl but I am so glad I read this because it's absolutely beautiful.

I love the repetitive use of the stillness and how it turns it from just a state of being into an entity in its own right. The sense that Sam wants to fight against the stillness because it's too much like passivity and giving in but it overtakes him.

The language use is amazing, each word perfectly fits the sentence, making an altogether lovely Sam vignette.

Thank you for writing and posting.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
brothers 5

It's funny how Sam girls and Dean girls can be so scared of each other. This fandom is such an odd place to me!

But I'm glad you liked it, despite the fact that it's focused on Sam. It somehow always means more to gain compliments from a Dean girl.

Thank you!

Posted by: ErinRua (erinrua)
Posted at: February 12th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
Sam

I'm neither a Sam girl or a Dean girl: I'm a Sam-n-Dean girl. Which is probably why I love this little piece. It's almost poetry, oddly hypnotic in its quiet repitition, in the edge-of-sleep flow of Sam's thought.

I've also wished we had more of Sam's POV this season, but then again ... he's back from the dead. We're supposed to question who and what he is, now. The emo, woe-my-destiny stuff is gone and we need to wait to find out what's left. So ... it's just an extra nice treat in the meantime, to find lovely fic pieces like this to tide us over, until such time as we learn what's in Sam's head again.

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful gift of words. :-)
Cheers ~

Erin

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: March 5th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
broken together

There is so much in Sam that I just WANT to know and so much I know that could be developed and I can't quite figure out where the show is going with him (well, I'm worried about evil!Sam, which would make me very unhappy, but that's another story).

Anyway, thanks :)

Posted by: Mandy (a_phoenixdragon)
Posted at: July 7th, 2008 08:46 am (UTC)

Beautiful... Peaceful, haunted, sad and eerie...

*hugs*

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