Characters/Pairings: Mary, Sam, Dean, mention of John, (Mary/John, obvs.)
Word Count: 2575
Timeline/Universe: This takes place in the Mary 'verse I started so long ago, after 5.13. It's all vague and ambiguous and probably comes off as nonsensical and stuff, but it includes these other two stories: Take a Sad Song and Stitches. Whatever, man, I think they're cute.
Spoilers/Warnings: I guess if you've ever seen your parents have sex, the one sentence with the subtle description of the act might be considered triggering.
A/N: I wrote this a really long time ago, and trashed it. I couldn't handle it, the pacing was off, I was a failure, blah blah blah. I'd sent it to a friend, though, so it was still in my sent mail from way back when and today, when I went through and deleted every email I've ever collected in the past two years or so, I remembered it. And I saved it. And I reread it. And fuck it, I liked it. Pacing be damned, I can't even write like this anymore. And it's fanfiction, an inconsequential exit from reality for just a little while, and I shouldn't criticize myself for it if that's going to ruin it for me. This is sweet, I think, and it made me smile, so I thought I'd share.
/miserable life rant over <insert apologies for making it here>
The silence is like an excruciating itch in an unfortunate place.
She keeps thinking that maybe he’ll start talking again, or if he doesn’t, maybe she’ll disappear. She disappeared before. She doesn’t remember it, but she did, and she can see it in their eyes every time they look at her. Right now she could disappear again and be okay with that because there’s still heat in her face from last night, and Sam’s not talking. He’s so quiet that she could almost pretend that he’s not even there, but a few minutes will go by and he’ll shift in distinct discomfort, his large frame making the seat squeal like a piglet in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Her mind’s clinging to fading memories of when he was eight with arms full of wriggling pound puppy, a ball of brown and black fuzz that licked his face into sweet and well-timed forgetfulness. Plato. He called him Plato. Her knowledge-hungry baby with a love of books and public broadcast television.
But this never happened. Lots of things never happened. She can see it in their eyes every time they look at her. Birthdays and holidays and rights of passage, all of these things she missed, that they missed because she wasn’t there. The talk.
He’s well into his twenties, but every time she sucks it up and glances at the passenger seat, her mind tells her mouth to say the words.
Sammy, sweetheart, I know what you saw last night might have been…disturbing, but when mommies and daddies love each other very much--
“Mom, stop sign,” he says, and it’s the first thing he’s said in an hour, the first thing since he left her in the supermarket with the words, “I’m gonna run across the street, okay? We’re out of bullets.” And he left without looking at her. “Mom.”
She stops an inch past the octagonal son of a bitch. Sam flies forward, catches himself with an arm before he slams into the front chest-first.
Mary has come to the conclusion that she is a terrible mother. First her son walks in on her riding her husband like he’s a goddamn stallion, and now there are no seatbelts in the car?
“You okay?” she asks.
To which he replies, “You want me to drive?”
She doesn’t. And it irks her that this is one of the few times since they’ve been together that one of her sons hasn’t been happy to let her drive the damn bus in all aspects of their lives. So she frowns and looks away from her baby with his eyes screaming trauma and his mouth set firm in irritation. She focuses on the road, says, “We’re almost home.”
We don’t have a home, she half-wants him to reply, but he doesn’t. He just sits there with that look on his face. He’s past that age and that high level of hope that comes with it, that hope for something normal and something stable. He’s an adult now, moving on the momentum of his life with its roads and stop signs and cheap motels and parents that die only to come back.
Mary’s not sure if she’s a disruption or if he’s taking her in the stride that he takes everything else. What she knows is that he’s still in there, that little boy that apparently never existed, that baby she left in the crib, because her Sammy follows her around with that look in his eye that says he doesn’t know anything else -- or that, for now at least, he doesn’t want to know anything else. That look that lost toddlers get when they finally find their mom again after a minute of hopeless wandering and teary eyes, like gravity had ceased to exist and they got pulled up and away and floated around in space for what seemed like centuries trying to get back to what they think of as their whole world.
She sees it in their eyes every time they look at her. Their whole world.
And now he can’t look at her anymore because he saw something no child should ever see. He saw the means of his own creation.
“It’s okay,” he says, though what he means is “Please, don’t.” She can tell. There’s desperation in his voice that’s pleading with her to stop, so she stops. She drives them back to the motel, her hands firmly grasping the steering wheel, her mouth shut tight as she tries to concentrate on not scratching that itch.
But Sam doesn’t move. Sam’s lying face down on the bed and he’s not budging for anything and Dean’s feeling a little disoriented. There’s all this weird shit going on with time. Time that’s existed and time that’s never existed and time that’s existing presently although it’s knocking him back about ten years when Sam was a sullen kid with his face shoved in a pillow.
…Sam is still a sullen kid with his face shoved in a pillow.
Dean would probably find this amusing if it weren’t for their present circumstances of no longer being orphans, if it wasn’t for his mother and how she’s always so…there. So beautiful and warm and suddenly there, and Dean can’t stand that look she’s had on her face all day. That look of feeling painfully unwanted. Dean’s mother should never feel such lies.
So he growls, “Sammy,” and grabs his little brother’s not-so-little ankle when the bastard refuses to give any indication that Dean even spoke, tugs on it only to be kicked in the thigh. “Fuck.”
“Well, don’t fucking grab me, Dean,” Sam grumbles into the pillow. “What did you expect?”
“I don’t know,” Dean says, backing away from the booted feet. He rubs his thigh and tries not to hiss. “For you to act like a goddamn grown-up, I guess.”
“Oh. So grabbing my leg and trying to pull me off the bed is acting like a grown-up? I see.”
Dean can’t really argue with that. And, when he thinks about it too hard, he can’t really fault Sam for never wanting to bring his face out of that pillow again, either. He remembers last night all too well, how he woke up when the door opened and Sam came flying into the room, how Dean tried to ask him what the hell was going on but he didn’t stop until he was in the bathroom. Dean remembers the sound of the lock clicking after him, and the gentle knock on their door a few minutes later, Mom standing there in the cool midnight hour still in the process of tying her robe, looking flushed and mussed and guilty.
It took him a second. But only a second.
“I’ll talk to him,” he’d said abruptly. In retrospect, the immediate shutting of the door without a good night or any sort of comfort probably wasn’t a good idea, but Dean didn’t want to think about what Sam had just seen, either. Mom and Dad sex is a terrible and traumatic thing that should only occur in order to make little Deans and little Sams. And that happened a long, long time ago.
“Dude, look, I know-“
“You don’t know,” Sam moans.
“You don’t know, Dean. You weren’t there. You didn’t see our father defiling our mother.”
Huh. Mom’s always seemed like the on-top sor—and Dean is not thinking this. Dean is not thinking this at all.
He cringes, scrubs at an eye. “How did you even get through this morning?”
“I didn’t look at her. I barely talked to her. I’m scarred for the rest of my goddamn life.”
“Dude, it is so not funny.”
“’Course it’s not.”
But it kind of is. Sam is being fantastically overdramatic. And how often is it that either of them are allowed to be fantastically overdramatic about something so trivial, and quite frankly, hilarious? Not often at all.
But Dean has enough big brother compassion in him to know that the seared image of copulating parents in his younger sibling’s mind is probably about as painful as a bullet wound at this point, so he sits down on the side of the bed, punches Sam lightly in the shoulder, and asks, “What were you doing going in there without knocking, anyway?”
Sam mumbles something incoherent into his pillow.
“Hmm? Didn’t quite catch that.”
This time it’s audible, but barely, and dripping with self-recrimination: “I had a nightmare.”
Dean blinks. “You…”
“Had a nightmare.”
“Right. So you’re officially three years old.”
Sam’s quick. Dean knows Sam’s quick, so he should expect the swift, but violent movement that leaves him aching on the floor, looking up at his giant of a baby brother on the bed with his hair in his eyes and that expression on his face that’s floating from anger to anguish to fear and back again.
“Christ,” Dean mutters, rubbing his arm. He stretches his back and tilts his neck until it pops.
“It made my head hurt.”
Dean stills. There’s something cold rushing through him, dropping to his feet, but he’s trying not to show this. He’s got a sharp, steady look aimed at Sam. “And you’re just telling me this now? What was it? What did you see?”
Sam shakes his head.
“Sam. What. Did. You. See.”
The stakes are higher now. Mom’s back and Dad’s back and they’re finally whole again in some sense of the word. They’re all fucked-up and scarred to all Hell, but Dean’s felt his mother’s hands in his hair, and her lips on his cheek, and they eat pie together at least three times a week, and this is more. This is more than he’s had in twenty-six goddamn years, and that only means one thing to anyone who’s ever led this life: more to lose.
“It doesn’t matter. It wasn’t the right level of pain for it to be…one of those. I don’t think I have those anymore. I haven’t had one of those in a long, long time. Just last night, I worked myself up and wasn’t thinking.”
“But you obviously thought it was important. Why didn’t you wake me up? I was right here. I was five goddamn feet away, Sam. Just like I always am.”
“I know, but I…” Sam trails off.
Wanted Mom, was what he was going to say. Dean gets that. Dean always wants Mom, too. It’s a good thing she has a habit of being there. Just last week, she came in around three in the morning, didn’t bother knocking, just came right on in and pried the bottle of Jack from his drunk fingers, brushed a cool hand over his head while he shook with those things he was trying so hard to drink away.
More to lose.
“I’m just waiting for them to be taken away from us again,” Sam admits quietly. “I had to make sure she was there. I had to make sure she was okay.”
Dean swallows. He nods slowly. “Coulda knocked, though.”
“She told me not to bother if I needed her.”
Christ. Sometimes Dean’s certain she looks at them and sees children in the single digits. But whatever. Whatever keeps her happy.
“Didn’t work out too well for you, did it?” he asks.
Sam shakes his head, groans, and falls back into his pillow. “M’scarred for the rest of my goddamn life.”
Dean snorts. Then he sobers. Because this talk had more of a reason behind it than for Sam to come back to the same conclusion he started out with. “Well, you gotta get over it. You’re making her sad. Fuck God to Hell, you’re makin’ me sad. So…you know, go over there and say some crap like, ‘Mom, I realize now the circumstances of my birth may not have been as beautiful a thing as I formerly thought, but-“
“Shut up, Dean.”
Dean arches an eyebrow. “Dude, I’m not kidding. Get your ass over there or I’m going to beat the shit out of you.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Sam mutters. But it only takes him a few more moments to get up and walk slowly towards the door. Dean follows him, pokes his head out to watch his brother make the march at a snail’s pace down the hallway until he’s five rooms down with his fist tentatively tapping the wood.
She comes to the door with red-rimmed eyes and a red nose. Her face is full of unspoken apologies that she has no reason to feel and no reason to give him, and Sam is gripped by the horrific realization that his mother may be hard as fucking nails, but she loves the hell out of him. That he can do this to her just by not talking and not looking, and he didn’t talk and he didn’t look and he made his mother cry.
Sam has come to the conclusion that he is a terrible son.
She opens her mouth to say something. Sam doesn’t want to hear it. Sam has a long history of never wanting to hear anything his blood has to say, and he cuts her off with his long arms as he bends down and wraps them around her, tucks his face into her small neck, and breathes in the scent of her long, blonde hair, that cheap shampoo from the supermarket in Kentucky that smells like flowers and that’s fine, it’s beautiful when she uses it, but he’s going to buy her something real nice next time he makes a supply run.
He feels her hand on his back. It’s gentle and tickles his spine. His eyes prickle and he sniffles because Sam has discovered that’s what happens when your mother rubs your back in this way.
“Tell me I was a hallucinating,” he mumbles against her shoulder, and her shoulder shakes, and he hears something that sounds like a laugh escape her mouth.
“You were hallucinating,” she says.
“Tell me a stork brought me to you.”
“A stork brought you to me.”
“And Dean was an accident.”
He thinks he can hear her eyes as they roll up to the ceiling. That hand on his back taps in gentle reprimand as she says, “Your brother was a surprise.”
“Tell me where you learned it was okay to give your mother orders on what kind of lies she tells you.”
Sam would look to the ground and scuff his toe if he felt like letting go, yet. But he doesn’t feel like letting go, yet. “M’sorry.”
And that hand resumes it’s rubbing. And a little part of Sam starts to think it’s okay, that eye-scarring travesty he witnessed last night, because that’s how she made him. If she hadn’t made him, he wouldn’t be here. Even worse, he wouldn’t be hers.
And he needs to be hers. He needs to be standing here in her arms, the one completely stable place he’s found in twenty-six years because he can’t remember those nine months inside of her, or those six months that followed. He’s been lost ever since, unsure of his footing in this world that none of them ever seemed to belong to. It didn’t belong to them, either. It wasn’t Sam’s, or Dean’s, or John’s. It was just a place where they existed until their world came back to them again.