paleogymnast (paleogymnast) wrote,

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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).
 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.


Tags: angst, characterstudy, fic, futurefic, pg-13, sam'spov, supernatural, tragedy
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