Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Dean gets philosophical about genetics whilst basking in the sunshine of a disgusting alleyway.
“You know what this is?”
“I’ll tell you what it is.” Dean settled back in the creak of the rusty lawn chair. “This is what they call a beautiful day.”
“It freaking sucks.”
Dean really couldn’t have disagreed more with his brother’s assessment of what the weather was currently offering. Well, what little he could see of it between the tightly packed buildings anyway. With a few dozen stories of stained brick wall on either side, the dismal alleyway was set in its own dim shadow of premature twilight even though sunset was an hour away. But it was nice and warm. After the official death of summer and the bitter promise of winter creeping up with day after day of frigid rain, this random 80 degree piece of heaven was like getting handed a frosted birthday cake for no good reason.
The perfect thin sliver of blue that ran between the roof tops was cloudless and serene. The gentle breeze would have been refreshing if it hadn’t been blowing right through a week old pile of rotting garbage. But not all the assorted trash was all that completely disagreeable. To his pleasant surprise, Dean had found a half ripped plastic garden lounge right next to a busted TV that was just right to rest his boots on. The warm bottle of Bud he found rolling around in the trunk of the car was just the cherry on top of the sundae of pure fate.
Tipping the beer back Dean really had to give the cosmos some begrudging respect. Every time he found himself ready to get back in line to subscribe to the ‘Life is Bullshit’ newsletter, karma always came up out of nowhere and shocked him adequately with an open wet kiss right on the mouth.
“You about done with your break there?” Sam asked.
Dean entertained the notion of actually asking what the hell his brother’s current issue was but decided drinking more of his beverage was a much finer idea. Besides, unless all the laws of the universe had suddenly defaulted it was a pretty safe bet that Sam would get around to expressing himself eventually.
“Cuz whenever you’re ready...” Sam punctuated his displeasure by heaving a gutted fly specked watermelon into the festively graffiti tagged alley wall. “There’s plenty left to do.”
Dean crossed his ankles and watched his brother move to the next heap of plastic bags. The gigantic stack of them had all been carefully sealed up and hurled out of sight for a bunch of good reasons. The ensuing groan of misery after Sam broke the first one open made Dean wonder just how many years those loaded diapers were going to last out in their final destination of a landfill. Flinging the gruesome bag aside, Sam leaned over and swayed uncertainly with his hands on his knees. Spitting a few times onto the concrete he finally righted himself after it seemed like the threat of projectile vomiting had passed. He was a few shades of too pale and a little green.
“Hey, if yer gonna hurl.” Dean observed. “This is the place to do it.”
“If you don’t get up and help me...” Sam wiped a forearm across his mouth. “I’ll... I’m gonna... You won’t like it!”
Tipping back in his chair, Dean thoughtfully considered the pale streak of sky and smiled. He supposed he shouldn’t feel a contented warm sensation of childhood nostalgia at the sight of his brother’s impressive but mostly impotent rage. But vague threatening nonsensical phrases grumbled in that exact tone of voice really brought him back to the good old days. He never quite agreed with the people who liked to say things like ‘spitting image’ and ‘picture of’ when it came to himself and his father. Sure, by law they were bound to end up wearing their boots the same way and maybe favor the right hand for a trigger but after that Dean was hard pressed to see much more. If anything, it was his brother that won the jack pot that was the old man’s endearing idiosyncrasies.
“Hey!” Sam’s voice echoed up between the walls like the world’s lamest amphitheater. “Are you listening to me?!”
All his life Dean heard the same set of things come out of well meaning stranger’s mouths. He always thought it was interesting which parent any new individual would claim he was looking more and more like with each age he achieved. As he got older he realized that the earnest comparisons to his father grew less and less as his pubescence faded with his maturing features. As a kid it had become a comfortable ritual to dismiss all his shortcomings on the faulty genetics of a parent he had never quite known. It was also a luxury to imagine all his decent parts might have been the same kind of mysterious endowment, a few more benign gifts like the gracious shape of her eyes and the welcoming curve to the mouth that her grin created. Dean had no hard evidence but he knew without a doubt that at least one of his parents had liked to laugh.
Another decrepit watermelon smashed into pieces against the wall.
But what was really weird was observing his brother grow from basically nothing and being able to see what attributes Sam had been handed from either side of the twist of code. However, it wasn’t a very even distribution as far as Dean could tell. In fact, it seemed like a genetic landslide. Considering the slow drip of fruit sludge, he realized he wasn’t exactly sure what side of the parentage the unlimited supply of spastic outrage might have come from. The man his brother reminded him of everyday had been a lot of things, but a total head case wasn’t one of them. Maybe that charming trait was Sam’s very own personal gene. Kids kind of had to have their own new stuff to pass on down to their own offspring right? Otherwise everyone would be the next best thing in a long line of carbon copies from way back whenever. Or kick ass enhanced human replicas like in the movies. The thought of it suddenly brought a question to mind that he had always meant to bring up but never gotten around to verbalizing.
“Say I had a clone?” Dean hypothesized. “Do you think I could kick my own ass?”
“I’ve fuckin’ had it.”
The dour announcement wasn’t anything very distressing to hear. Sam usually claimed to have reached and surpassed a few intolerable limits a couple times a day depending on the season. He wondered what would happen when his brother finally actually really had it. Dean briefly envisioned a flash of white light followed by the dull boom of a mushroom cloud.
Sam staggered backwards from the sagging cardboard pallet of what looked like extremely used cat litter. To further his absolute point of fucking having had it, he hauled back and kicked the offending box about as hard as he was able. Of course, instead of demolishing it satisfyingly against the wall it imploded in on itself and sent a spray of clumped filthy sand right up into Sam’s face. Dean watched his brother choke and gag in a blinded disgusted flail for a few moments before tragically backing up too close to some knee high recycling bins.
“Uh, you might wanna look out for— oh boy.“
The ensuing catastrophic wipeout directly into a molding stack of tin cans, sticky soda containers and crusty glass jars startled a flock of previously unconcerned pigeons. Dean watched them take flight almost majestically from their disturbed perusal of the nearby dumpster filled with putrid flagrant remains from a pizza joint. He followed their ascent until they disappeared over the roof tops and into the blue beyond. With a sigh, Dean heaved himself out of the comfortable sag of worn plastic and stretched. He cautiously stepped over a few unidentifiable spills of refuse and nudged aside a dented shopping cart filled with malt liquor bottles.
Thinking about where they could both score a few tetanus shots later, he plunged his hand down into the trash and felt around until he found an arm. After he hauled Sam up on unsteady feet, Dean tugged a clean bandana out of a back pocket and dragged it over his brother’s despoiled face. Sam was way outside of the land of ‘fuckin’ had it’ at this point. He was so far past having it that he had become completely silent, his shoulders trembling with a flow of adrenaline fueled fury that Dean knew was no longer impotent.
He pushed the tepid bottle of brew into Sam’s shaking hands.
“Why don’t you finish this and think about whales singin’ for a while?”
There was no use arguing about the waste of alcohol when his brother chose to pour what was left in the bottle over his face instead of drinking it. The new aroma Sam instantly created with the mixture of cat ass and cheap booze was interesting to say the least. Dean shoved him away, half in a silent suggestion of taking a seat, and half for his own self preservation. Rolling up his sleeves he soberly approached the closest overflowing garbage can.
Beginning the nauseating excavation, Dean idly wondered what his own personal creation may have brought to the world’s genetic table. All those winding strands of nucleic acid coming together in random combinations of colors, temperaments and desires had to be hiding a few things. There had to be a few tricks in his repertoire that weren’t all because of someone else right? All that evolution crap must have given him something groovy to work with.
Upsetting a cloud of flies, Dean fought back a few dry heaves as he uncovered what he was fairly certain was the remains of the feline whose bathroom Sam had enjoyed. Whatever bland magic his DNA happened to contain, he just wished he had gotten a few more hand-outs on the side of useful.
Like a dulled sense of smell.