Scrapbook (a family album)
Page 2 - Overhead Like Ravens
Supernatural, all audiences, future-fic. Characters: Dean, Sam, Sarah
(word count 1,594) Set in eighth horizon's Salvation universe, by permission (possibly by coercion).
"You have to come get me," Sarah said and Dean tucked the phone more snugly under his chin. "He has to study."
"Okay. We knew that." Dean said, confused. "I'm already on my way over."
"I know," Sarah said, sounding a bit more frazzled or -- something -- than she usually did. "Look, I know today is a bad day for both of you. But Sam needs to study and he can't if he's..."
Dean could only imagine. And sympathize. "Look, Sarah, I'll be there if twenty minutes. We'll grab food, you and I will watch a movie and--"
"No. He's checking on me every five minutes. He needs to study and I'm gonna kill him if he doesn't...stop."
"Oh. Oh, oh...freaking out completely, huh?"
"Pretty much. So. You and I are going out."
Dean was nothing if not adaptable. "Okay. Grab your wallet and your dancing shoes, girl, and we'll do the town."
For someone who was freaked out, Sam was actually holding it together pretty well, or so it would seem to anyone who didn't know him.
A qualification that escaped both Dean and Sarah.
"You don't have to go out," Sam said for the fifth time as Sarah moved around their small apartment, gathering her wallet, changing her jacket twice, then her shoes. Dean sat on the end arm of the couch half amused and half exasperated.
"You have to study," she said, staring down at her feet. She had on one loafer and one espadrille.
"I study with you here all the time," Sam said, trying to stay calm and doing a fair imitation of it. His eyes darted to Dean, looking for agreement or backup.
Dean dropped his gaze. He could almost feel Sam's glare on him.
Sarah kicked off the espadrille and slipped on the other loafer. "Let me go to the bathroom and we can go," she said, like Sam hadn't even spoken.
"You don't have to do this," Sam said.
"I don't mind," Dean said and he didn't. It was also the most neutral thing he could think of to say. Sam humphed and ran a hand through his hair, longer than it had been in awhile although his bangs had been trimmed. Sarah liked Sam's hair longer. She won.
She won a lot actually. With both of them. Not for the first time Dean admitted Sam and he had both kind of met their match in Sarah Blake (Sarah Blake Winchester -- Dean still found that to be the coolest and funniest thing ever.) It was probably a good thing she hadn't studied law as well. Dean wouldn't stand a chance with the two of them.
"Nothing happened last year," Sam said and Dean knew that voice -- Sam trying to convince himself of something.
"And nothing is likely to happen this year but...you know. Better safe than sorry," Dean said. "I'll take care of her."
"I know you will. I know -- look , I'm sorry. I 'm just..."
Dean got up and patted Sam's chest, met his brother's eyes.
It wasn't ever going to leave him, Dean knew; the fear in Sam's eyes. His jaw was set so hard Dean was pretty sure that sound was Sam grinding his molars together and not the fan in the window.
Last year hadn't been this bad. Sam had still been in school, but not up against a test he had to pass to be able to take the California Bar in February. Dean had come over then too, and the three of them had ordered pizza, played cards, watched TV, played games and talked long into the night. They'd salted the doors and windows, put a devil's trap up on the ceiling in chalk. Sarah had fallen asleep on the sofa with her head in Sam's lap and Dean and Sam had watched bad movies into the wee hours of the morning, guns loaded and ready, holy water and chrisms, fire extinguishers and first aid kits, all in arms' reach.
At midnight Dean had stalked the entire perimeter of the apartment, the halls, the closet doors flung wide open. Sam had been scared but steady, one hand tangled in Sarah's dark hair and the other tapping out a silent countdown on his knee. It had been quiet and uneventful except for the sound of two shrieking cats outside that had nearly given both of them heart attacks. They hadn't relaxed until dawn broke.
The Demon was dead and gone. They both believed it, knew it, but it wasn't enough to erase a quarter century of fear and dread. Sam still had visions, he still had nightmares. There might not be as much activity as there had been but the darkness was still out there. It still clung to them in odd and unexpected ways.
They both still pushed forward. They didn't know how else to be.
School and apartments and lives and credit cards and checking accounts. It was a different future than Dean had expected. Not good or bad, just different and Sam...Sam still had his dreams, his goals.
Sam had fallen in love again. Dean would never say it, not to Sam's face, but there was more to that than Sam's happiness or Sarah's. There was hope in that. For Dean as well.
His brother was going to be lawyer. Sam was going to be a kickass lawyer. He had a wife who knew more than most and who didn't blink and didn't doubt and faced it all with her chin high and flash in her eyes. And Sam was going to get that house and those kids and that life. There was a lot riding on this; Sam's future, Sarah's, maybe even Dean's, a little.
He wanted Sam to win this one. To not miss this grab for what he'd always wanted. It had taken Dean a long time to come around to that, not just for Sam's sake, but maybe even for his own. There was something else out there for him, for them. Not in place of hunting, of knowing what they knew, but alongside it. Things had been quiet the last couple of years. A few jobs here or there, a haunting, a predator out of legend.
They'd handled it. The last three times Sarah had gone with them, one of those times their father had gone too. John had been impressed. He had an odd way of showing it and he and Sarah had been in a standoff nearly as fast as he and Sam could get into it. John took it off Sarah better than he ever had Sam. Sam had watched them with his mouth hanging open. Dean had nearly choked to death trying not to laugh.
Sarah and Sam had spent their honeymoon in a haunted inn in Maine. Dean had gone with them because Sarah insisted. One ghost down and Dean had made himself scarce -- scarcer. There was a joke in there about the innkeeper's daughter Dean was pretty sure. He'd dropped them off at the airport in Portland and had driven back across country by himself.
Normally he didn't like traveling alone but the drive had given him plenty of time to think. Sam had called him every day. Sometimes twice.
He patted Sam's chest again. "Look, we'll go out, have dinner, go to a club, listen to a bad house band. You study, do what you need to do. I'll look out for her."
Sarah came in. "You ready?" she asked like Dean hadn't been waiting for her.
Dean grinned. "How are you at pool again?" he asked and Sam rolled his eyes.
"You want me to call?" Sarah asked Sam. "Every hour?" she was serious.
Sam looked like ten kinds of foolish but still worried. He shook his head, gripped her shoulders and pulled her in.
Dean didn't look away when Sam kissed her forehead or bent to kiss her mouth. He didn't even blink when Sarah kissed Sam back like she was going away for a week, rather than a few hours.
"We'll call. We're going to the Blue Chalk...we end up anywhere else, we'll call," Dean promised. "You want us to drop you off at the library?"
Sam hadn't given in entirely. Not yet, but Dean saw it when it happened.
It took Sam only a few minutes to stick books and notebooks and prep tests into his bag and sling it over his shoulder.
Dean followed them out, eyes barely glancing over the calendar pinned to the wall next to the door, next to the phone.
He let his eyes rake over the small apartment, noting the differences, the similarities, between this one and the one Sam had lived in five years ago.
There was more of Sam here, this time. More of Sam and Sarah. There were pictures, pictures and stupid kitschy knick-knacks on the shelves. It was a little goofy and a lot stylish which pretty much said everything anyone needed to know about the newly minted Mr. and Mrs. Sam Winchester.
The threat was gone. They hoped. They prayed.
The fear wasn't.
Dean hit the lights and locked the door, watched Sam resettle his awkward backpack on one shoulder. His other arm rested lightly across Sarah's shoulders, waiting for Dean.
Dean grinned and thumped the pack. "You know, if you fall on your ass over this test, you could always get a job as a sherpa."
They wrestled each other down the hallway and out into the night.
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