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January 24th (fanfic)

Title: January 24th
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: Sam Winchester, mentions of: Bobby Singer, Ruby, Dean Winchester, John Winchester, Jessica Moore
Pairings: allusions to Sam/Jessica (past; nothing explicit)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1,049
Warnings: angst, lots and lots of angst, allusions to suicide attempt, a few (mild) swear words
Spoilers: nothing explicit, but speculates off of a possible ending for Season 3 (ok, and there's one wee bitty spoiler for 3.11 ("Mystery Spot")... but I think that's it).
A/N:
 Future fic.  If you've read my fic "Forget Everything You Know About Dean Winchester," well, it's like that only from the possible future of Season 3 and from Sam's POV (and not an outside narrator).  Unbeta'ed.  This evil plot bunny bit me and held me hostage until I posted it...


January 24th dawns clear and bright, the winter wind howling across the open plains. He’s in Washington this year, somewhere west of Spokane just off I-90, the farm fields barren and frozen with the winter chill. 
 
It’s his day to stop and think. They don’t bother him now, now that they know he won’t do anything stupid. He hasn’t tried anything in years, after all. Somewhere along the way, he realized there was no point. Nothing good to be gained by anything he tried. Plus, he figured out pretty early on that Ruby, well, she could tell when he was about to try. And after five-and-a-half-or-so feet of pissed-off demon has literally hauled your ass back from the edge of the Grand Canyon, you don’t really try it again. Anyway, Bobby would be sad. Disappointed. He’d make that face, shake his head, his eyes would go tight with the look of defeat, and it would all be like the damn Trickster all over again. And Sam, well, Sam never wanted to repeat that. He was the one still alive after all, so maybe it was duty—or opportunity—to do something good with his life. Live for all of them. Still, January 24th was a day of reverence.
 
This year he’s sitting on the hood of the Impala, curled up in a ball against the wind, his collar flipped up against his neck—maybe as a windbreak or maybe because it reminds him… Sam doesn’t really want to analyze the situation. He doesn’t really want to figure it out. He doesn’t know if he’s more scared that it will just be a meaningless coincidence that after all this time he finds himself emulating one of Dean’s trademarks or that he’s doing it subconsciously in an attempt to be close to Dean, still unable to let go. But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it. Why he does this year after year on this day. He can’t let go. Never wanted to. Doesn’t want to now. Some part of him needs to hold on. After all, he never let go of Jessica either, not really. There’s a little bit of Sam that’s always going to be waiting for her to come out of the shower in her Smurf pajamas and welcome him home. And this day is for her, too.
 
His mind wanders. Happy moments, shared sorrows, hopes and dreams that never got to come true that still find a place in his heart… But sometimes regret. Sam hates the regret, but there’s no way he can avoid it creeping in around the edges, tainting the golden rays of dawn with shapeless grey shadows. It always comes, and Sam lets it wash through him, simultaneously numbing and burning; his soul is on fire with the icy agony.
 
What if… What if he hadn’t gone to Stanford? Or if he’d kept in touch with Dean? Picked up the phone and called? He could have had four more years. Four more years with his brother. Sam could have known Dean when he fell in love for the first time; when he got his heart broken. He could have shared growing up with his brother, not met him again as an adult, a stranger. But then, would he have related to Dean the same way? Maybe they both needed that time apart to grow? And Dad, well, Sam can’t kid himself, the rift between him and John wouldn’t have just disappeared even if he’d had perfect prescience to know what was coming in the future. Who’s to say something else wouldn’t have happened? Who’s to say he wouldn’t have lost Dean earlier or that Dean wouldn’t have been there to save his life… Sam never allows himself to think, “but then maybe Dean wouldn’t be in hell.” Time has taught him enough to know that brand of self-torture only breeds more pain. Besides, if he’d stayed, he never would have met Jessica, and Sam wouldn’t trade those years for the world (but he doesn’t know if he would have traded them if he could have Dean alive now)…
 
Jessica’s hair was the same color as the sunlight in the winter sky, and it would have been blowing around her face like a halo in this wind. Jessica would have loved it here. She was an explorer, always trying to learn and figure out, understand what made people tick… Understand Sam. What would she think of him now? Would she understand the man curled up like a boy half his age and a third his size staring out across the rolling plains, out here all alone? Would she be scared by his darkness? Or marvel in the light he still retained? Sam realizes he’ll never know, but sometimes he still sees her smile in his mind’s eye, still feels her lips, whispering encouragement against his ear.
 
Today is their day. The day they would have both been another year older, had they lived. But they didn’t. And Sam’s still here to carry on, live his life, and fight the good fight, and maybe, maybe he can live for them, too. He thinks maybe that’s the point. Now that he’s older than either of them ever got to be, Sam isn’t sure if life makes more sense, or if he just wants to believe more of his own bullshit. But he’s still going. Still fighting. Still living. And that will have to be enough.
 
As his mind has wandered, the sun has climbed higher in the sky. The wind is dropping down, more of a gentle lapping breeze. Sam can drive on now, keep heading East without the glare getting in his eyes. He fingers the amulet hanging around his neck, dangling close to his heart, safely tucked away beneath his shirt. A smile breaks over Sam’s face creeping all the way to the gentle creases around his eyes. It’ll be a good day.
 
With a long sigh that’s more peaceful than sad, Sam stands and stretches, soaking up the rays of the winter sun. He caresses “his baby” gently, lovingly, before climbing inside. The door creaks as it closes. Some things will never change, and some will never be the same. But every year, Sam remembers as he drives off to face another day.

 

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
aja_evenstar
Mar. 31st, 2008 10:05 am (UTC)
This was amazing.

I know its depressing but i alwas like future!fics about Sam reflecting on Dean. It always shows how he changed, or his will to hold on. We did see that in "Mystery Spot" as you referenced, but in stories like this we see it in so much more detail - we see inside his head.

Really, really good job. I loved it.
paleogymnast
Mar. 31st, 2008 10:10 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading, I'm glad you liked it. This fic, while angsty, is actually alot brighter if you will, more hopeful than my average future fic, but it suited my mood, and I've been desperately wanting to write a fic about Sam reflecting on Dean and Jessica's birthday, so well, this is what came out. I'm glad you enjoyed! :)
engel82
Mar. 31st, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
Crap I don't have time to read it now because I need to get to word *cries*
BUT YAY!! Paley!Angst!Fic!
paleogymnast
Mar. 31st, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Well let me know what you think when you do get to read it!! :D Hope work is good! :D Thanks as always for stopping by my lj!! :)
engel82
Mar. 31st, 2008 04:10 pm (UTC)
Will I ever learn not to read your stuff at home.

The image of sam with the amulet is what broke me. It is so brokenly beautiful. Sam being Dean.

Ruby 'saving' Sam made me laugh, I wouldnt try that again.
Because part of me doesnt want to believe that Dean will die for good, I had never realised that if he does, he will actually have both Jess and Dean to mourn on January 24th.

But Sam on the Impala, with the amulet and teh way he wears his jacket... *cries*

(I need an Emo icon)
paleogymnast
Mar. 31st, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
Mwahahahah! *does happy dance* Ok, I'm evil, I know, but that's exactly the mood/reaction I was going for when I thought about this fic. Of course, I don't personally think that Sam would be lucky enough to fare this well (if you can call it faring well--it is by Winchester standards, I think) if Dean does die for good, but I wanted something both broken and hopeful, so his is the direction I took. Plus, yeah, Ruby hauling my ass back from a cliff would definitely make me think twice before trying anything again!! :D So glad you liked it!! :D I was sniffling the entire time I wrote it, so I'm very happy to hear about the effect it has had on others!!
calijirl5150
Mar. 31st, 2008 01:47 pm (UTC)
No fair making me cry at work :(

Beautifully written, you captured Sam perfectly.
paleogymnast
Mar. 31st, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you. I often have trouble "clicking" if you will, with Sam, but in the context of him dealing with losing Dean, I feel like I connect much better. Thank you for reading! I'm very glad you think I captured Sam so well. :)
lovetheguys
Mar. 31st, 2008 02:07 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous, heartbreaking, beautifully written! You are a superb writer and this story broke my heart yet lifted it on wings of hope. Love, Robin
paleogymnast
Mar. 31st, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading it! I was somewhat surprised at how hopeful it came out, but it definitely is hopeful. It seems so likely that with Dean gone, Sam would just descend into darkness much like he did in "Mystery Spot," so the greater challenge is imagining a Sam without Dean who is at least functioning and not completely falling apart!
lifefailsme
Mar. 31st, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Tragic and beautiful, completely, kudos on excellent, excellent writing.
paleogymnast
Mar. 31st, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I am so very glad that you enjoyed and were impressed by my writing! :)
julsus
Apr. 19th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Paley. Sorry it's taken me so long to come over to comment! Everything you write seems to touch me in just the right places. You make my heart swell with angsty goodness. Oh Sammy!

Like Engel the most heartbreaking, yet wonderful parts where finding out Sam was wearing the amulet close to his heart & the way he caressed the Impala in the last paragraph...now referring to it as his "his baby"...just like Dean did.

Well done.

**just right hugs**

xxx
paleogymnast
Apr. 19th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
Oh yay!! Thank you for reading!! I was hoping you'd read this and comment!! :D Aww, glad you liked it! Angsty goodness is my specialty! :)
zeella66
May. 21st, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
It sucks now!
paleogymnast
May. 21st, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
The fic? Or the storyline of Supernatural at the moment?

I'm sorry if you didn't like the story. I'll try to write better next time. :) Thanks for commenting!
anangelsdeath15
Jul. 7th, 2008 05:33 pm (UTC)
Poor Sam
These little bits are always so interesting. How old did you picture Sam when you wrote this?
paleogymnast
Jul. 7th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Poor Sam
My idea is that this is approximately 10-11 years after Dean's death. So, Sam is 34 soon to be 35 or 35 soon to be 36. Hope you're enjoying the fic and thank you for reading!! :D
anangelsdeath15
Jul. 7th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Poor Sam
Whoa, you're on! I thought you were having computer problems or something! :D
paleogymnast
Jul. 7th, 2008 09:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Poor Sam
I DO have computer programs... I am at WORK hence the computer being nicely functional. Also, my computer isn't nonfunctional... well my laptop is, but I DO have my super-slow backup computer at home that I can do things like SLOWLY post to LJ or check email/reply to comments (through my email... it's much faster), but it's woefully unreliable for trying to say, post to TV.com... far to prone to crashing and takes sometimes 10 minutes to load a post. Not, not cool!
a_phoenixdragon
Aug. 23rd, 2008 07:50 am (UTC)
*Cries*

Beautiful, sad and waonderful...

*hugs*
paleogymnast
Aug. 24th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

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