Rating: PG - Gen
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam likes getting the early morning coffee.
"Where you been?"
Sam was waiting for it as soon as he got through the door.
Tossing the keys with a hard clatter onto the cluttered table he shifted the paper bags around so he could set them down on the bed without ripping them in half. The brown paper was damp and musty with the light fall of the steady rain. The consignment places always had bags like that. The plastic that ripped its seam as soon as you walked out the door or the paper that fell apart at about just the same time.
The light mist that had been falling from the sky since yesterday didn’t seem like much but the long walk had soaked through his jacket down to his shirt. His hair clung cold to the sides of his face and into his eyes. The fronts of his jeans were dark from not avoiding the puddles that had collected along the way.
Sam half smiled as he remembered their habit as kids of just taking backpacks with them wherever they went just to avoid the cheap bags spilling out everything they had to carry all over the sidewalk. Of all the lies and stories he came up with to explain where the hell he had come from out in California he always found the word nomadic wanting to join the list of forbidden words. They had never been great consumers, more like borrowers, scavengers and some of the world’s best recyclers. Before it had all gotten chic they had done it as children out of convenience.
Sam made a face as he emptied out the first bag out over the bed. Convenience. More like necessity. The mystifying contents drew Dean up out of his chair to get a look at what had been bought.
“What’d ya get?”
It was part of the routine as far back as he could remember. Which was quite a lot. His business had always been for very much of the large part not just his own. It belonged mostly if not all to his brother. What he was doing, where he was doing it, what exactly it happened to be... The whys, whats and hows were just some of the usual, but the more evasive enquires came just as easily.
The bag of pre-popped pop corn was grabbed first out of the pile of otherwise items unworthy of note. To Dean anyway. But to be on the safe side, his brother took a look into the other unpacked bag. Finding nothing else that was edible, he returned back to his seat where he’d left a gun in about as many pieces as it could come apart in laid out on an oil stained cloth.
Sam had really gone out in a search for old cast off electronics that they could pull apart for spares but he hadn’t found much. These days hardware lasted longer and was made up of things that weren’t much use to them anymore. Another sign that they were maybe behind in the times. Or the times they existed in were just stuck some place that didn’t change much.
He was sure there was some comfort in that if he looked hard enough.
But he always shared in the laugh when they both spotted any one of the new rash of reality ghost hunting shows on the cable channels. All that technology wasn’t doing much but putting on a nice show. It was like watching someone perform heart surgery with a hydraulic back-hoe.
He smiled again. It felt good to be snide sometimes.
Sam had ended up spending what he had in his pocket anyway. Not on much. He found a jacket that actually fit him to replace the one he’d just ripped at both the elbows. There was some discounted junk food left over in a bin because some supermarket had deemed it expired or damaged.
For a long time, as the years ticked by, Sam had been certain that this sense of entitlement his older brother seemed to naturally supposed he owned over him, was in fact a one way street. When he had finally arrived alone and unfettered on the west coast he thought it was one of things he might never have to endure ever again.
Sam quickly learned as soon as a real life had discovered him that the condition wasn’t isolated solely to his relations. It was as big a part of him as it had been a part of his family. The woman who had laid claim to him had started out by calling it cute, but had soon let him know in not so gentle terms that his constant requirement to know everything and anything was more than a little annoying.
It was then that he understood how little he had known about true privacy. It was about then he realized he had never had any or would even know exactly what to do with it if he did. He had done his best to handle hers with care. But he was never quite sure where the lines stopped and started. Sam suspected half the time she had just let him blunder through them for her own sake.
She had even met him half way. Leaving little notes. Buying herself the cell phone she never wanted. Forwarding redundant e-mails… His smile fading, he decided he wouldn’t think anymore about her for the day. He’d perfected it. Imagining a large blank wall of gray, like an empty movie screen. It worked almost every time.
Sam looked down at what had caused Dean’s demand poorly framed in the form of a question. His brother was tossing back popcorn and eyeing the blank rectangular box that lay on the bed amongst everything else.
“It’s a game.” Sam told him.
Dean paused in his chewing to give the box another look. The dented cardboard was plain white, more like some unwrapped gift. There were no jaunty words across its top or flashy colors that made you wonder what may be inside.
“You bought a game?”
Sam shrugged. “We’re gonna be here for a few days, and I’ve had enough of the tube.”
Shoving another hand full of corn into his mouth, Dean made some kind of soft sound of amused disbelief at the proclamation. They had always found some solace with a turned on television that tuned in to at least one channel, English or not. It was the background music to their upbringing. Cartoons had switched to news over the years, but it was just as present as the white noise of the highway that rumbled just across the parking lot.
Sam tugged off the box’s cover that was secured with yellowed scotch tape at the corners and grinned at what he found inside. He hadn’t actually been sure what was in the box besides what the elderly women behind the counter assured him was some kind of recreational activity.
His brother was looking over his shoulder as he poured its contents out onto the bed. Hundreds of colorful oddly shaped cardboard pieces went bouncing in every direction.
“You bought a puzzle?” Dean asked skeptically. “How are you supposed to do a puzzle without the damn picture?”
Sam held up a piece and examined it. It could have been the blue of an ocean, the edge of a night sky or the hem of a ball gown. Rotating it slowly, it became another impossible amount of other possibilities. Despite the cynicism, Dean shouldered him aside and reached down with one hand to carefully spread the pile of pieces out over the bed spread.
“It’s the New York City skyline.” He declared.
Sam wasn’t unconvinced that Dean could be absolutely correct. His brother had always had a talent for seeing the larger picture as it were. It made Sam wonder if all the questions he asked were just automatic these days. If somehow Dean’s bizarre perception extended everywhere and into everything. Looking at another piece he started searching for the ones that had flat edges like someone at some point had taught him.
“The Big Apple huh?” Sam spotted a piece that looked suspiciously like a cat’s eye.
Dean nodded thoughtfully but then stopped with a tilt of his head.
“Or maybe it’s a Ferrari... ya know, with a girl next to it.”
Sam laughed a little. “What’s she wearing?”
Turning back to the table, Dean mindfully folded up the cloth with the delicate disassembled pieces in it and put it aside on the floor. The one and only flat surface in the room was now free and clear besides a paper cup of lukewarm coffee.
“Let’s find out.”