Scrapbook (a family album)
Page 3 - Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Conversations Drunk
Supernatural, Rated Adult, Het, future-fic. Characters: Dean, Sam/Sarah Immediately follows Scrapbook - Page 2
(word count - 5,017) Set in eighth-horizon's Salvation universe, by permission (possibly by coercion).
She'd been drunk with Dean before. Twice. Both times Sam had been there with them. Halfway through her fourth beer, she thought maybe this wasn't such a good idea.
They went to the Blue Chalk because it had pool tables. And lots of different beers. And a not too unimpressive wine list. The food was good and relatively inexpensive as Palo Alto went, but mostly because of the pool tables. The first two times she'd played against Dean, she was pretty sure he went easy on her. The next two times he pretty much cleaned the floor with her. One of those times, some guy who was either suffering from excess chivalry or excess beer, thought Dean was being too hard on her.
They'd played for the bar tab. That was the second time she'd gotten drunk with Dean and then only because when Dean won the bet, he wanted to make sure he got his money's worth.
She'd been pretty sure there would be a fight. The guy's friends stepped up, and Dean had set the pool cue down. Sam had stepped up and evened out the odds a little but still...
The guy swung at Dean first. And connected. Dean was pretty drunk at that point too.
Sarah threw the second punch.
She'd been really drunk.
She was never quite sure exactly how they'd managed to get out of it, without either the cops being called, or being told by the proprietor to never come back. She did remember Sam hauling Dean up and she kind of remembered Sam hauling her back...and looming. And talking really fast.
Later that night, (or earlier that morning), she'd been nursing a newborn hangover with coffee and an icepack to her head while Sam held one to her fist. Sam had a black eye and Dean had a swollen nose.
Sarah had given Sam the black eye -- well, what did he expect when he grabbed a girl from behind? He and Dean had spent months teaching her all kinds of self-defense moves. How to fire a gun. How to load and clean a gun. She knew how to repair the wards and sigils Sam had set on every open door and window.
"I could have taken him," she said and Dean's head came up where he'd been contemplating the menu.
"That guy... The tab bet," she said and waved her beer bottle. It was almost empty.
It took Dean a moment to catch up to the past, then he gave her a sour look. "We could have talked our way out of it."
"He was going to mop the floor with you!"
"It would have taken more than him and his buddies to do that."
"You were on your ass on the floor," she pointed out and waved the server over for another round.
"I'll have coffee and a plate of wings, volcanic," Dean said.
"Am I drinking alone here?" she asked.
Dean grinned at her. "Pacing myself. One of us is driving and it's not going to be you."
"Sam will come get us."
"We took my car," Dean pointed out.
She really shouldn't drink so much. She was okay, she just kind of lost the details. Her beer came and she drank it. Probably too quickly, mostly because she kept stealing Dean's hot wings.
"You could have gotten your own," he pointed out, and grabbed the last one. Sarah settled for the celery.
"I bet this is organic," she said staring at the green strip.
"Probably," Dean said. "Californians are weird about their food." He ordered another beer and another for Sarah and french-fries.
"You're a Californian now, too," she pointed out, swiping the last of the celery and the bleu cheese dressing before the server could take the plate away.
"Oh no, I'm not," Dean said shaking his head.
Organic or not, celery was wonderfully crunchy and cool. They weren't lying about the wings. Her mouth still tingled, so much so that she wondered if Sam would be able to feel if he kissed her. Or her him.
"What then?" she asked. "Kanasassian...Kanasian, one from Kansas," she said. "Is there a word for people who leave Kansas?"
"Yeah. Lucky," Dean said and sat back when their beers appeared. Sarah grinned at him and tipped her beer neck at him.
"Here's to the lucky ones," she said and Dean tapped his bottle to hers. He smiled at her, something warm and delighted and Sarah had to look down to see if there was any dressing left.
She hadn't really expected, in marrying Sam, that she'd get so much extra. Extra with Sam, yes. She couldn't even describe it, how he steadied out everything. Were he any more annoying about it -- and he could be that -- she'd call him driven, but there was more to it. Her father had something like it, although it translated more into a single-minded drive simply for more; more money, more contacts, more connections. It had taken her a few years to even start thinking that he was really trying to fill up all the places the death of her mother had caused. That he was being generous in his own way, trying not to make Sarah fill in her place, or no more than she could.
Sam didn't so much want more as just something steady. Something to ground him, a way to put down roots. She thought at first that it was a place, a space -- this town, this school.
But it didn't really start to take shape until Dean settled somewhat. School, a new job, close by. She kind of thought if John would move closer Sam would be the happiest person in the world.
He'd deny it. That was Dean's thing, he said, had told her. But really, no. Not.
Dean's thing yes, but Sam's too, and she wasn't even sure he knew that, not really. "So, do me a favor," she said and Dean listened attentively except he was laughing at her she was sure. "Don't move anyplace ridiculous when you get your degree, when you get certified, okay? Like, don't move to Anchorage or anything. Or Phoenix...too cold and too hot."
"Why? You won't come visit me?" he asked, looking all hurt and wounded and so full of shit Sarah had to roll her eyes and kick him. Just a little. "Ow! What was that for?"
"I don't want to live there...those places."
"Okay," Dean said. "Do I need to remind you that you married my brother?"
"No. But if you end up in fucking Alaska, I'll have to learn to build igloos."
"That makes no sense. And I think they have houses in Anchorage. Like real ones. Brick and wood and stuff. I'm pretty sure Sam's never mentioned anything about wanting to practice law in Alaska."
"Ha. He would. If you were there..." Dean gave her a look that was equal parts amused and appalled. At least she thought that's what it was.
"Is there something you're trying to say, Sarah?" he asked. He was calm. Even when he was nervous, he was calm. For this. He had his spastic moments.
She really hadn't meant to go here, say this. Any of it. It was unspoken, a given. You weren't supposed to talk about givens. "Nope," she said and finished her beer, waved for another. "Not trying. Going to...maybe. I'm really drunk."
Dean grinned at her and nodded. "That you are, sweetheart."
"Okay. So, I'm going to take advantage of you now..."
Dean raised an eyebrow. "Isn't that supposed to be the other way around?"
She laughed. "Nope. I have questions. Questions I wouldn't ask if I was sober, and questions you wouldn't answer if I was. Besides, you won't take advantage of me. You wouldn't do that to Sam. Or me," she said confidently.
Dean took a sip of his beer and cleared his throat. "What makes you think I'll answer them now?"
"Because I'm drunk and I won't remember them."
"Sarah, that logic would only make sense to a drunk person."
She slammed her palm down on the table. "EXACTLY!"
Every person at every table close to them turned to look. "Right," Dean said, waved a hand. "Check?"
"Are we leaving?"
"We are leaving," he said.
"Where are we going?" she asked, fumbling for her purse.
"I promised you dancing."
She liked to dance. "Cool. You're not off the hook, you know," she said as Dean laid money down and they both got up. She didn't remember the floor being so uneven.
Dean's arm around her shoulder helped. "What time is it?" she asked as they exited the restaurant.
"Hmm. Demons come at midnight, right?"
Dean's arm tightened a little as he guided her toward the car. "I wish they were so predictable."
She wasn't so drunk she missed that. "You want to call him?"
"Call Sam?" Dean unlocked the car door and opened it for her. "When we get there," he said.
She slid onto the seat and put her head back, waited for Dean to settle, close the door. "Was it like this before me?"
"Was what like this?" Dean asked. She also wasn't drunk enough to miss his carefully controlled tone of voice. She punched him in the arm, not hard, grinning when he yelled "Ow!" anyway and rubbed his arm.
"Faker. Tell me...before me, every year...you guys did this, this whole high alert, thing?"
"It's not a big deal, Sarah," he said, leaning forward to start the car. She grabbed for the keys and actually made it. "Girl, what the hell--"
"Tell me. Before me. Every year?"
Dean stared at her for a long moment then relaxed. "No. Not really. Not 'high alert'. Not before either...same thing every family does to remember losing someone but..."
"Why? Why not?"
"Why aren't you asking Sam this?" he said and there was a rare trace of irritation in his tone. Enough to make her laugh. He glared and grabbed for the keys. She jerked them away, and opened her door again, threatening to toss them. "You are a mean drunk."
"Just tell me," she said, and suddenly she was a lot more sober than she wanted to be. "If there was no reason you'd have told me that already. What makes me being here different?"
"You need to ask Sam. And damn it, you shouldn't have to ask him at all," he said flatly.
She held his gaze for a long moment before pulling her arm back in. She reached over and pressed the keys to his hand.
Then she got out of the car.
She was halfway down the sidewalk, thinking she could call a cab, or a friend. She could call Sam except no...no. That was the whole thing.
She shouldn't have been surprised when Dean was suddenly right in front of her, blocking her path. He wouldn't move. She could see it in his face. He'd wrestle her back to the car if he had to, and unless she was willing to scream bloody murder and make a huge big deal out of this...which she wasn't. Not even drunk.
She shifted her weight and then crossed her arms over her chest. She could just take this, let Dean take her dancing, or they could drive to the ocean and stare at the sea. "How do I ask him this, Dean? I know what it is. I know what the fear is...but not why, not why still. Why I make it worse. And how can I ask him that?"
"You shouldn't have to," Dean said. "You know enough. You know..." he used both hands to rub his face then reached out to her, gripped her shoulder. "Come on."
She didn't resist letting him lead her back to the car, didn't protest getting in it. She'd pushed -- forced the issue -- and maybe she didn't have that right, not with Dean anyway. Dean drove them to a corner market and dragged her inside, picked up beer and chips and water, and then drove again. She sat up a little when she realized where to.
The law library loomed huge and brightly lit, even this late, there were people still out, on the street, on the grassy patches, in and out.
"I can't," she said, staring at the constructed edifice. Sam was in there, somewhere quiet, away from the windows, back to a wall, eyes on the door and the people as much as on his books. She didn't need to be in there with him to know it. He'd be playing a drum solo with his pencil, find somewhere to prop up his long legs. There would be books on top of books and paper that he'd spend as much time doodling on as taking notes to help himself remember. He could remember anything if he wrote it down first. "I can't ask him this."
"Doesn't say much for your marriage," Dean said.
"Oh, fuck you," she said without heat. "You taught me how to shoot and fight. I know a half dozen incantations by heart. You've told me a lot of things. You and Sam. Why can't you tell me this? It's gone, right? The demon that killed your mom, that killed...her." She kept her eyes on the library, on the light spilling out the windows and onto the grass and sidewalks.
Dean sighed, and reached over to pull out a couple of beers and rip open the bag of chips. He passed Sarah a bottle of beer. "Yeah. It's gone. But it had...maybe still has...children, minions...whatever. Maybe. And demons tend to ...there's a hierarchy. Lesser, greater; you take one out and some other one moves to fill the vacancy, make their bones, to hold their spot."
"You make them sound like the mafia."
Dean snorted. "Not exactly but close enough. The thing is...we don't know. We may not be on anybody's radar. There could be some kind of weird cycle, another 22 years...we didn't exactly get a copy of the master plan."
"Okay," she said and munched thoughtfully on a chip. He hadn't really told her anything new -- a few more details, but she knew they were always looking over their shoulders a little bit, aware of their surroundings. "But...still, why do I make a difference?"
"You might not. We don't know," he said, but his eyes were on the library as well.
"The one you killed...destroyed. It wanted Sam."
"More or less, yeah. Mostly wanted Sam's...power. Gifts. Potential."
"But it didn't take him."
Dean took another swallow of beer, picked at the label. It was dark in the car, too dark to be sure his face was really as pale as it seemed in the shadows. "No. It never went after Sam...not directly. It never...not until the end. It went...it always went after the ones he loves, loved. Loves," Dean said.
"It never went after you."
Dean drained his bottle and opened another without speaking.
So, it had. She wanted to know...morbid as it was, she wanted to know what happened, had happened. Obviously Dean was still breathing, still alive, still cocky -- not so different from when they'd first met, except she couldn't be sure of that. She hadn't spent that much time with him the first time they all met. And Sam had been afraid then, not just of her getting hurt but of having to deal with loss again. His girlfriend. And now apparently Dean too...her..."Wait," she said and rubbed her forehead. "If Sam's afraid it will go after the ones he loves, me or you...then...why..."
Dean wouldn't look at her. He sipped at his beer and stared at the building. "It won't be the same. It won't...probably won't go after us. Different agenda. Make its bones."
It wasn't the beer that made it difficult for that to sink in. It was Dean sitting next to her in the car while Sam was inside. It was Sam who looked both guilty and relieved when she'd told him she was making Dean take her out. It was Sam alternately pushing her away and pulling her in close, like he wasn't sure which was safer.
Obviously he'd made up his mind. "Son of a bitch," she muttered and reached for the door handle. Dean slammed his hand down over hers, gripped her fingers. "I can't believe you agreed to this."
"I didn't agree to anything," he said flatly. "I didn't get asked -- and you called me."
"He's in there by himself."
"Sam can handle himself. He's got the shining, remember?"
"Oh, that's helpful -- like it doesn't leave him barely able to stand up on his own. So, he's just in there waiting?"
"No. He's in there studying. We don't know anything..."
She shoved his hand away. "If I wasn't here, you'd be with him. This is not going to be my fault. I'm going to kick his ass. Try and stop me again and I'll kick yours too," she said, seething. It took three tries for her to get the door handle to release and shove the door open.
She was halfway across the quad when she heard another door slam. She didn't stop and Dean didn't catch up to her. The heels of her shoes clicked on the sidewalk, just below the stairs. A couple of people came out and she stopped, watching them.
Dean was quiet when he approached and she didn't turn around. She didn't need to. Anymore than she'd needed to look to know that he was carrying his favorite Glock in the back of his jeans under his jacket. Or that Sam was probably armed with more than just his shining.
"He should have said."
"Yeah, he should have. But he didn't," he added and she whirled on him, question halfway to her lips only Dean met her gaze and then glanced at the doors.
Sam hadn't said for the same reason Sarah hadn't asked. Neither of them wanted to bring back the dead. There were some ghosts that couldn't be banished by rock salt and fire. She took two steps forward and sat on the bottom step. "What was she like?"
"No. I mean, I know he loves me and God knows I love him but..." She shook her head and leaned forward, gripping the toes of her shoes. She felt lightheaded with anger, maybe something else. Dean sat down beside her. "I told him he didn't get to make these choices for me. There's no guarantees. That I could get hit by a bus."
"It's not the same," Dean said quietly, rubbing his palms together. "Buses don't usually hunt people down"
"Unless they're possessed," she said sourly but it got a snort of laughter from Dean and a little of the angry tension left her. She folded her arms on her knees, still leaning forward, canting a look at her brother-in-law. Brother. Yeah, that. Something she'd never had. She envied Sam that.
Dean caught her look and sighed again. Twisted the heavy silver ring on his finger. It wasn't fair of her to make him talk about this, to supply answers that -- he was right -- Sam should have given her. Except, except...
It wasn't news, wasn't a surprise the way they were twisted around each other, the way the lives they'd lived had forced them to bend and flex and navigate the sharper edges of family and obligation, of duty and just surviving.
They could tear each other part -- she'd seen them come close to it once, when fear made their voices into low growls and sharpened the words they used on each other like knives. No one else though -- not even her. She'd had to come to terms with that even before she said "I do." Sam's promises to her didn't make null and void promises he'd made before, even unspoken ones. This wasn't in the realm of contract law where new contracts replaced older ones. The first and most important promise was one Sam had made to himself.
"I told him...once I told him that nothing bad was going to happen to him as long as I was around. And then I ...almost wasn't around." Dean said it quietly.
She couldn't ask him about it. She could listen, if he wanted to tell her, but she couldn't ask. She slid a hand over his forearm, rubbed the leather there. "What was she like?"
Dean rolled his eyes but relaxed a little. "I only met her once. She was...pretty. Beautiful. She loved him, I think. He loved her. That was all it took," he said meeting her gaze. "He's never going to believe anything else, Sarah. It doesn't matter how often I -- or Dad, or you -- tell him it's not about him, it isn't him. He won't let it go. It makes him an ass sometimes. And stupid. Stubborn."
She patted his arm. "Gee, I wonder who he gets that from?" she asked and got up climbing the stairs
"Hey!" he scrambled up after her. "Sarah...I swear. I don't think anything will happen."
"I need a bathroom," she said and kept walking. She did actually.
Dean waited for her, maybe went himself, but he was waiting for her outside the ladies room. She looked but she didn't see Sam.
"Back corner," Dean said quietly, and caught her hand.
Not so different than she'd pictured, except he was hunched over a book, a half full bottle of soda beside him. His pencil drummed out some rhythm only Sam could hear. She pulled back, grinning. Headed back toward the car. She wanted another beer.
Sam wouldn't stay all night. The test was at nine and he'd need some sleep. "We're not doing this again," she said when Dean had opened another couple of beers. Sam was going to have to drive. "Two to one. We can take him."
"He'll be pissed off."
"He'll get over it. He'll apologize and we'll still win."
"Sam never apologizes," Dean said more bitterly than Sarah thought he actually meant to. She gave him a look. "I mean he does but not so--what?"
"I told you he got it from you," she said. "His whole life is an apology, Dean. When has it ever not been?"
"That's not--" he stopped, frowned. Stared back at the library.
"I had to ask him, you know?" she said quietly. "He wanted to ask. It was right there. Ring in his pocket. I had to ask."
Dean made a sound. She didn't look. It came from deep inside him, lodged in the back of his throat. She could feel it in her own. "I can't -- won't -- be the difference. Not for him. Not for you."
It took him a long time to answer and she closed her eyes and put her head back.
"Okay," he said softly.
She might have dozed. She heard music come on, low but with a steady beat. Dean got out, restless, but he didn't go far.
A tapping rhythm on the roof woke her more fully, Dean standing one her side, next to the door. He gave a low, loud whistle and Sarah sat up, rubbed at her eyes.
Even with no one near him to accentuate his height, she couldn't miss him. Sarah got out of the car.
"What are you guys doing here? I was going to call--"
One of the things she liked best about Sam was the fact that he was always braced for impact. She suspected Dean was too and one day she might try it, but Sam barely staggered under her, legs locked, arms coming up to wrap around her. Steady her. His arms tightened when she kissed him, kissing her back even though she could still feel the surprise on his lips, a little tension in his spine.
She slipped down a little and Sam let her, looking over her head at Dean, confusion on his face and at the corner of his mouth she could see it starting, a little bit of anger, a little bit of indignation.
Her hand connected with the side of his face hard enough to make a noise but not really hard enough to hurt and he startled, looked down at her in surprise. "You done studying?" she asked.
"You're gonna ace that exam?" she said, less question than pep talk.
"Pretty close, maybe...Sar--" She covered his mouth with her hand.
"Good. You don't get to do this again, Sam. You don't get to play decoy or target or distraction or hero or anything."
Dean snorted behind her and she looked over her shoulder. "That goes for you too, smart ass," she said and stared back up at Sam. "Richer, poorer, better, worse, sickness, health, ghost, goblins, demons, bad music, horrible cooking skills, and all."
Sam was staring at her wide-eyed.
"I didn't marry you," Dean reminded her on a choked back laugh.
"As long as you're around nothing bad's gonna happen to him," she said evenly, without looking. Sam's eyes narrowed and he pulled her hand away from his mouth. "You don't get to decide for me -- or Dean. It's not fair," she said.
"Nothing about this is fair," Sam said in a hissed out breath and yes, he was pissed off. So was she. "I'm not going to--"
"You don't get to decide. You don't," she said tightly. "Say it, Sam. Or I swear, I'm running off to Mexico with your brother."
His anger broke just like that. Fear externalized. She almost preferred it to seeing what was underneath it -- almost. "You don't get to choose. Not for me," she said and caught his hand. She could only barely cover one of his with both of her own.
His thumb rubbed over the back of her hand and again he looked over her head at Dean. She didn't mind. If anything, it was better. His gaze didn't linger long before coming back to her, but she wasn't sure she liked the look on his face. She squeezed his hand.
"My cooking's not that bad."
Sam drove them home. She went immediately to bed, ignoring the low, tight voices in the living room. Heard Sam in the hall getting linens. Dean was staying. That was good. She was half asleep when Sam came to bed, settled on the edge, set the alarm. He didn't need it. He'd wake up before it rang but he set it every night. He sat on the edge of the bed for a long time and she didn't roll over. Not until she heard the soft thump-click of his gun on the bedside table, and something lighter -- a bottle of holy water probably.
But the minute he finally settled, stretched out, she did move. Rolled and scooted and fit herself around him and over him, until his hand settled in her hair. A light massage at the nape of her neck. She fell asleep like that.
She woke up to the same thing. She wasn't sure Sam had actually slept but he didn't look any more tired than any other night of hard studying. "I want to be impressed by your test scores," she said sleepily and grinned at the laughter she could hear and feel under her cheek. Sam shifted and curled up, defying physics. He shouldn't be able to shrink himself down to fit inside her arms like this. Not that she wanted him to stop. His fingers drew patterns on her skin under her nightshirt, his mouth laid little kisses on her forehead, her eyelids, nose, cheeks, and finally lips.
She pulled in tighter, found the muscles in his back, the long stretch of tendon across his shoulders. Feathered knuckles over the thin skin sheathing hip bones and hips, where his shorts were loose. She didn't look at the clock over his shoulder, touched and prodded and helped when he pushed the cotton up along her sides and arms while he slid down. The fabric tangled her arms and he didn't try to help her, only mouthed her left breast, soft as a baby's kiss, before flicking at her nipple with his tongue. Teeth scraped her so lightly she shivered and pulled the shirt off, gripping his hair, pressing her breast to his mouth for more.
He'd never said anyone else's name when he was with her. Not that he talked a lot here, now -- he usually found better things to do with his mouth. And she didn't wonder, not really. Not the way he'd found those places on her body that made her shiver and crave more. And it wasn't like she hadn't had other hands and mouths on her before Sam, hadn't let other men into her body, hadn't laughed and explored their bodies like she did Sam's, finding the ticklish places, practiced the bites and touches that made him hiss and shake and harden. She wasn't a substitute or a replacement.
Sam moved inside her like he'd been waiting his whole life for her, to have this. He never said I love you without saying her name. Never drove her crazy with his mouth and his hands and his fingers without whispering Sarah when he watched her.
She clung to his shoulders and wrapped her legs around his hips when he drove gently into her, slow, sure, steady. Sam...Sam...samsamasam...
"Right here, Sarah, right here..."
She wasn't his first choice.
But when his body pushed into hers, when he struggled and panted and gasped her name, came slick and hot and shuddering inside her, kissed her and nuzzle her neck and stroked over her skin with his wide palms and gentle heart, she understood that she was his last choice, last chance.
He wouldn't tempt fate a third time.
He'd been apologizing his whole life. Time for the universe to accept that apology.
Even if she had to kick it's ass to make it happen.
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