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do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

SPN fic: Sprawling on a Pin 1/1

January 20th, 2011 (08:25 am)

Title:  Sprawling on a Pin

A/N:   I don't normally do resolutions, but after talking to sendintheklowns , I decided that 2011 is probably a good year to get all the fic on my computer posted.  Which is kind of a lot of fic.  My unposted pieces reflect a wide variety of fandoms.  Some are old, some are recent; some are long, some are short.  So my goal is to post something new every Thursday until I'm done.  We'll see how it goes :)

A/N 2: I wrote this a long time ago, but figured it still seemed okay to post.  It's set preseries, probably not long before Sam decides to go to college.  Title borrowed from Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."  Beta'ed by geminigrl11 .

Disclaimer:  Not mine.

Summary:  It wasn't fair that the definition of family was so limited, so confined to one thing and one thing only.  That Sam had to choose between himself and his family.  That anything Sam wanted, that he needed, would never fit in the context of who they were.


And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,   
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,   
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
  And how should I presume?

-The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot


The bar was smoky and rowdy, filled with people too drunk to realize they were unhappy.  There were pool tables and darts, which made it one step up from sheer desolation, but Sam still couldn't understand the appeal.  The desire to drink, to wash away memories--Sam simply couldn't understand.  He wanted to live his life, to remember it and enjoy it.

But this was Dean's night, and it wasn't Sam's place to begrudge him his choice of fun.  Dean's first lead on a hunt.  He'd done the research, done the scout work, and set up the plan.  Dad and Sam had only been backup.

It had been a total success.  Another brilliant first for Dean.  The last few years had been a story of Dean's successful firsts.

Sam was happy for his brother, he really was, but he couldn't help but feel a little like a failure in comparison.

It wasn't Dean's fault, though, and Dean certainly was in rare form tonight.  He'd flirted up the waitress so much that she hadn't even asked to see Sam's fake ID.

Dean was on his fifth round, and Sam was still on his first, listening while his brother recounted in praise the events of the night in glorious and gratuitous detail.

The joy in Dean's voice was almost enough.  His brother was vibrant, alive, and Sam ached for that.  He needed it.

Dean would never know, never have a clue, how much Sam envied him.  Dean knew what he wanted.  Dean knew how to get it.  Dean knew how to compromise, knew how to fall in line.  Dean was happy.

His brother laughed heartily, slapping Sam heavily on the shoulder.  "Just a few more years, little brother, and it'll be me and you out there flying solo."

Sam had always suspected, on some level, that was Dean's fantasy.  More than hot girls and cold beer and good food; a family hunting together, staying together.

When he looked into his brother's eyes, how they glinted in the low light of the bar, radiating the life and vitality that so defined Dean, Sam wished he could want it, too.  If not for himself, then Dean.

Forcing a grin, Sam nodded congenially to his brother.  "Maybe someday."

Dean snorted at that, taking another swig of his beer.  "Just a little more practice, Sammy," he said, throwing a heavy arm on Sam's shoulder.  "A little more practice and learn how to deal with Dad--seriously, man, once you figure it out, he'll ease up on you.  You just got to get your crap together."

Dean was drunk, past his point, and Sam knew it.  The words weren't fair, but Sam couldn't help but feel how deeply they struck.  Dean was always playing mediator, trying to run interference between him and their dad.  What Dean didn't get, what Dean would never get, was that Sam wasn't looking for a compromise.  He wasn't looking to be protected, no matter how much he probably needed it when he got angry.

He just wanted to be loved.

He just wanted his father to trust him like he trusted Dean.  He wanted his father to care about school and sports and plays like he cared about guns and engines and knives with Dean.

Bitterness swelled within him, but Sam didn't let it take hold.  Not now.  Not with Dean.  Not when Dean was so happy, not when Dean was so drunk, not when Dean just didn't get it.

Dean nodded toward the waitress, pointing toward his empty bottle, and she shook her head with an amused grin before disappearing toward the bar.

"Do you think maybe you've had enough?" Sam asked to him, raising his eyebrows in question.

With another snort, Dean just shook his head.  "My first lead kill," Dean said.  "A freakin' werewolf.  It doesn't get much better than that, Sammy."

"But Dad--"

"Dad'll understand," Dean said smoothly.  "When you're not bitching at him all the time, he's actually not a bad guy."

Sam closed his eyes at that one, another truth Sam didn't see often enough.  Couldn't see, not when he was standing face to face with the man, screaming.  His father knew how to push all his buttons, how to make him feel worthless, unimportant, wrong.  Sam was so tired of being wrong.  He was tired of being told what to do and what not to do.  He was tired of existing inside a box that didn't fit him, maybe had never fit him.

Sam was just tired.

The waitress dropped the beer off at their table and Dean grinned up at her salaciously.  She rolled her eyes.  Dean was smooth, but not that smooth, and he was far too lost in his victory to make a real go at it anyway.

Dean started in on the bottle before meeting Sam's eyes.  "Family is about sticking together," he said, with a sudden seriousness.  "That's what hunting teaches you, Sammy.  Staying together, loyalty.  We need each other, and that's what matters.  Nothing else.  Just that."

Eyes burning, Sam swallowed hard against the feeling in his throat, something like repulsion.  Not that he thought hunting was wrong, not that he thought less of Dean or his dad for doing it, but because it wasn't him.  Every hunt, every hour of training, was one step farther from who he wanted to be.

And it wasn't fair.  It wasn't fair to see so much in the world and to be denied it all.  It wasn't fair to have so much pain and never be allowed to touch it.  It wasn't fair to dream so big and be expected to live so small.

It wasn't fair that the definition of family was so limited, so confined to one thing and one thing only.  That Sam had to choose between himself and his family.  That anything Sam wanted, that he needed, would never fit in the context of who they were.

Sometimes, it made Sam angry.  Sometimes, it just hurt.

He looked down, and sloshed his own half drunk bottle.  "You're a good brother, Dean," he said finally, and he meant it, every word.  Dean was always there for him, always watching for him the best he knew how.

Sam wondered if it could be different.  If Dean knew, if Dean saw just how much Sam felt like he was dying, then would he want Sam to stay?  If Dean knew that Sam staying would mean the loss of everything Sam, would Dean let him go?

He had to believe it. 

It was just a thought that Dean would never have.

Looking back up, Dean was attempting to drown himself in a single swallow.  To his brother's credit, not a drip slobbered down his chin, and the bottle was drained in thirty seconds flat.  Dean pounded the bottle to the table, grinning in victory.

With a deep sigh, Dean shook his head, as if to clear the cobwebs.  "You and me and Dad," Dean mused, his gaze far off and peaceful.  "Nothing better."

And Sam smiled, a sad and true smile.  It was such a beautiful picture, so real, so vibrant that sometimes Sam could almost see it, almost believe it.  But when he looked closer, when he really understood it, he knew it was a picture of someone else. Maybe someone better, someone stronger, purer.  But someone who simply wasn't him.


Posted by: CeCe Away (cece_away)
Posted at: January 20th, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)

It wasn't fair to dream so big and be expected to live so small.

So powerful. So sad.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 24th, 2011 03:07 pm (UTC)

Teen!Sam is a very sad character to work with by default. Thanks :)

Posted by: sendintheclowns (sendintheklowns)
Posted at: January 21st, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)

I've missed you crawling around in Sam's head. This is so poignant. I know Sam always felt he was an outsider in his family but this sheds a spotlight on it so perfectly.


Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 24th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC)
sam don't belong

Despite everything, I still do enjoy the occasional jaunt with Sam :) Thanks. You humor me so well.

Posted by: medusafox (medusafox)
Posted at: January 22nd, 2011 06:49 am (UTC)

Ahhh, Sam. If only he knew then.... It never fails to sadden me whenever there is a reminder of all that Sam lost. Events and returning to hunting really did rob him of being himself. Not that he ever really had a chance.

A beuatiful, insightful piece. Loved it.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 24th, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
weary sam

I know--Sam never had a chance. It's so ridiculously tragic, especially when you think of how hard he tried to get away.


Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: February 9th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)

Faye, you know how much I love your Sam and this is no exception. I just wish that they would have shown this on the screen!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 13th, 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
never desert you

It's been a little weird not thinking about Sam nearly as much this season--but a little healthy, I think. Now when I do think on him, I can do so with a bit less bitterness.


Posted by: Dani (pinkphoenix1985)
Posted at: February 14th, 2011 03:36 pm (UTC)

I totally understand :) And I agree.

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