sequel to: With a Bang and The Aftershocks and Not a Whimper
Rating: SPN/DA Crossover - PG - Gen – AU in the year 2020
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: SPN & DA characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam POV. Sometimes the only person you want to talk to is the only one you can't.
Sam tapped the touch pad on his laptop to keep the machine awake.
An entire morning had gone by while he sat around waiting for files to move and copy. It had been nice to sit back and watch the clouds out the window, but he sat up straighter when he heard Dean‘s footsteps come up the stairs. When his brother paused uncertainly outside the office door, Sam closed his eyes and decided to say something before he was left alone again.
But Dean beat him to the punch.
“You a got a minute, Sam?”
“Sure,” a real yawn came before he could fake one. “What’s up?”
“Have you been downstairs recently?”
“Yeah,” With a flash of guilt, Sam‘s hands slid off the keyboard. “Alec’s been pretty upset all morning.”
“Upset?” Dean raised his eyebrows. “The dude is crying. Like with tears and everything.”
"Oh." Sam honestly hadn't expected to hear that. “Still?”
“Like the dog we don’t own just got nailed by a truck.”
“H-He’s fine.“ When Sam tried he could feel the surges of his son’s grief ebb and flow like an electric current from one floor below. “He’ll be okay.”
“He slammed the door in my face! My own door by the way.”
“Alec was just… studying some stuff on the internet.”
“What the hell is on the internet?”
“Information.“ Sam scrubbed his hands over his face a few times before he decided to explain. “He downloaded the 1940s.”
“Music. Movies. News. Everything.”
“So what, he did all this … before breakfast?”
“He started last night,” Sam said. “He blew up the hard drives with the vintage porn alone. But I restored most of the research archives we had backed up on the server out in Des Moines.”
“Fantastic.“ Dean picked up a few books and tossed them aside to take a seat. “I didn’t even know you could download an entire decade.”
“I might have mentioned to him that Manticore censored his education on foreign conflicts,” Sam tried to keep his eyes on the busy laptop. “S-So he went a little overboard trying to fill in the gaps on the world wars.”
Dean breathed a laugh.
“What?” Sam wanted to laugh too. “What’s so funny?”
“Nothing I guess,” Dean said. “Just never figured those guys would leave out something as fun as the Holocaust from the lesson plan.”
Sam opened another file of never ending back up. He’d plugged in three portable drives so far and he wasn’t even half way done. It was impossible to go through so many years worth of notes and scans quickly. Even when most of the data was outdated and irrelevant, he couldn’t bring himself to delete it into oblivion. It was as uselessly fascinating as olds letters or a childhood diary.
“Lots of hard work you‘ve got going on here,” Dean leaned down to squint at the screen. “Never know when you’ll need last year's daily newspapers. From uh… Columbus, Ohio.”
“I’ll be done with the state capitals tomorrow,” Sam said. “Maybe the day after.”
Dean cleared his throat. “You know it’s Wednesday, right?”
Glancing over at his brother, Sam did a quick mental check to make sure the date wasn’t something he was supposed to remember. He got an uneasy feeling as he studied the expectant look in Dean’s eyes and realized he didn’t have a clue. “Wednesday,” he shrugged. “All day long.”
“Yeah, it’s the anniversary of your ass being in the exact same chair for an entire week.”
It was a relief when Sam understood where this was going. It was nothing he hadn’t heard before and it was nothing he didn’t know how to explain away.
“Before you say ‘the church made me do it‘, don’t bother,” Dean told him. “And you can stow all the excuses you’ve been saving up.”
“Good,” Sam felt a flash of anger. “I didn’t really feel like reading the list anyway.”
“Don’t you get it yet, Sam?”
“I guess not,” He wasn’t sure if it was the all-nighter throwing him off or if his brother had gotten into the beer early. “What am I not getting?”
“Alec is downstairs using up all the tissues because you sent him to the freakin’ 1940s.”
“I-I didn’t send him anywhere. I told him that what he was taught might not be true. I told him to educate himself and make his own decisions based on facts and figures, not the opinions of a brainwashing government agency that--”
“You’re giving him errands. You’re sending him away. You’re ignoring him, Sam.”
Sam stared in startled offense.
“This bullshit was cute when you were on your own, but not anymore,” Dean said. “You don’t come first anymore and you never will again. Not even when it gets so bad you can’t even stand it. So shut your goddamn computer off and talk to your son.”
“Dean…” Sam vision blurred and he wished it was anger this time. “I-I’m… I’m not… I can‘t…”
“Ben fucked me up too,” Dean was the one that couldn’t look him in the eye this time. “I get it, okay? I get what he looked and sounded like. I was there.”
The cicadas buzzed outside in the lazy wave of the corn, the morning birds gone with the warm approach of the noon sun. And every meticulous and distracting thought Sam had been kept in place over the pain began to crumble. It rushed in like cold water, suffocating him and crushing him under its weight. He had forgotten how good at this he was. Letting it all build up until it all came crashing down at once…
“He was ours too, Dean,” Sam said. “No matter how he came into the world, he was ours.”
“I know,” Dean stood up. “But you got to let it go.”
“How?” As the word left his mouth, Sam realized how badly he hoped his brother could answer. “How do I do that?”
“Pack your crap, Sammy,” Dean said. “We leave in an hour.”
“W-What?” Sam watched his brother snap the laptop closed. “Where are we going?”
“Something out there is eating all our nation’s hikers and that‘s just not right.”
Sam blinked in confusion until he understood what was going on. “Dean, that wasn’t a real job. That was just--”
“Yeah, I know what it was and it’s the only good idea you’ve had in a long time.”
Sam shut his eyes when his brother’s hand settled on his shoulder. And suddenly everything left he had been holding onto broke free, sinking through him as he allowed his forehead to rest against Dean’s hip. It felt right to finally permit it to come, burning in his eyes and catching raw in the back of his throat. Growing white hot, he let it tumble, working loose and shaking through his body wave after wave. He could feel Alec nearby. His son’s sorrow stilling like a flame sheltered in his hands when Sam reached him, Dean’s grip tightening as if maybe he could feel it too.
It had been a while since Sam had watched the world go by from the passenger seat, but he decided his brother was absolutely right.
Hitting the road sounded like an excellent idea.