Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General for S1 EP1
Disclaimers: SPN & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Sam remembers the date his father handed him his first gun.
Sam always wondered when his mind and body would ever get in sync.
When he was ass deep in slushy snow all he wanted was that first burning day in June when all you wanted to do was lay in the sun and sleep. When he was mired in the spring flooded country roads getting sprayed with mud by the Impala's back tires all he wanted was that frozen ground and dry sky that hung around after New Years. And now? Man, all he wanted for this last month of summer to end and feel that crisp cool autumn air.
"Oh man." Dean moaned from the drivers side.
The sun baked blacktop under them was likely to liquefy the tires if they slowed down. The flat hard glare of midday sun beat down in every direction without a cloud to be seen in the harsh bright blue sky. All the windows were down to let the warm tumble of the highway wind in for some relief. But it wasn't much. When they had gotten into the car that morning, it hadn't been sun up for even a few hours and Dean had been barely able to touch the steering wheel without sustaining 3rd degree burns.
Sam knew what was coming as he watched Dean shift around uncomfortably from the corner of his eye. He tried to ignore it as he stowed a map that was flapping annoyingly on the sizzling hot dash with the chaotic breeze.
Here it came.
"My balls are sticking to my--"
"I'm begging you." Sam shut his eyes. "Please, do not finish that sentence."
"It's just freakin' hot in here is alls I'm sayin'."
Sam had been trying not to observe Dean readjust his crotch repeatedly and without subtlety throughout the day. But he couldn't. It was becoming like a fixation in his peripheral vision. Like waiting for a balloon to pop. Or something as equally inevitably jarring and unpleasant. When it happened three more times in as many minutes he lost it.
"You're like some little kid, would you cut it out!?"
"If your balls are anything like my balls right now, I can't believe yer keeping away from them." Dean said with something like admiration. "I mean you must have a level of self control like those chanty dudes up in the mountains--"
"Dean, just get us to the motel."
"What do you think I'm doin'?" He asked. "Takin' you to the vet?"
"The sooner we get there you can sit in an ice bucket filled with-with-with fucking ice water." Sam heard the weird edge on his voice.
Picking up on the sudden edge too, Dean glanced over at him in slightly confused defense. "Maybe I will." He countered lamely.
Sam knew his animosity was coming from beyond the fun of broiling alive in the car. He scrubbed two hands through his hair and tried to refocus on the passing flat landscape of the cornfields on either side of them. It was undeserved hostility that he knew he should reign in.
But he couldn't stop himself.
"You know what else you can do? You can fill the bathtub with the stuff Dean. Then you can lay in it all damn day like a- like a... fish."
"You know? They ship them to market like that to keep them fresh?"
"Oh." Dean looked at him sideways with one upward quirk of an eyebrow, his confusion shifting into vague concern. "Um, everything okay over there?"
"Everything's fine." Sam slumped down as far as he could in his sweltering seat.
"Then why is the crank machine turned all the way up to 11?"
Sam let his sweaty forehead rest against the door frame on the edge of the rolled down window. The hot breeze cooling the moisture beaded on his upper lip, his arm sticky on the hot vinyl rest on the door.
"You have no idea what today is do you?" He asked a little bit more soberly than he intended. In fact, he had no idea why he had even said it out loud at all.
His older brother looked over at him warily.
Sam knew Dean was doing a slow methodical break down of the only dates that made any difference to their family. Some were celebrations, some were strange anniversaries of various kinds. Some were the days Dad would drink and not speak to anyone. A few were the type that lent anticipation for its arrival. Many were the sort they had made up for themselves so they could remember the landmarks that had dotted their years in ways that sitting around a table loaded with food couldn't.
But Sam knew his brother would search through the archive of all their instances and would come out on the other side again blank. And he did just that, although much faster than Sam had expected.
"Okay, I give up..." Dean said. "Is it Thursday?"
"First of all, it's Friday, and look-- Just forget it..."
"No way! Now you gotta tell me."
Sam remembered the day every year for the past 14 but he had never brought it up before. To anyone. There were only two people on the planet he could have told and make any sense anyway. But neither one of them would have necessarily understood it. What it meant. At least to Sam.
Many cultures had a much more formal version of the day he kept private. The brief and swift transition from childhood to man. That was the strange thing about becoming an adult overnight. Everyone expected you to really be one. Even yourself. The magic was supposed to work and make you feel different. But when you woke up the next day, the only thing that really had changed was that you were on your own.
There hadn't been any ceremony or gravity to it.
Not that he had expected any but he had wished there had been some special place other than under a moth covered light bulb at a rest stop picnic table. He wished his brother had been sitting beside him with something else to say besides that it might rain that next day.
He remembered Dad's face vividly as he explained about maintenance and the curt few words of warning of what would happen to his son if he caught him letting his new possession fall into disrepair. Not even a pat on the head as the .45 automatic pistol had been so casually placed in his hands.
And just like that.
Sam wasn't a little kid anymore.
"So?" Dean prompted from the seat beside him. "You gonna spill or what?"
Sam worked his damp hands over the knee of his jeans. The denim scalding with the sunlight that shone brutally down through the windshield. His right arm was turning an angry red from resting just outside the window. He never did just go to that gold brown his brother got. He always had to burn first.
Sam cleared his throat as he reached for the water bottle that sat between them.
"Today is the day of the Montserrat Annual Pilgrimage."
There was a few moments of silence as Sam waited for another explanation or a demand. Another shove in order to get him to divulge what he had brought up so stupidly in the first place.
"Yup." Sam tipped the bottle back and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. The water was too warm in his mouth but good.
He knew what he did so often to his older brother wasn't fair. Using him to ease his frustrations. Knowing that any anger directed right at him would be accepted and absorbed even if it was misunderstood.
"Well yeah," Glancing away from the road, Dean looked over at him skeptically but with a conceding tilt of the head. "I could see how that could piss off just about anybody."
But not only did Dean always let him do it, he did it with an easy smile on his face. It was there in his eyes, the unspoken assurance that Sam didn't have to explain a God damn thing if he didn't want to. He didn't have to say another word until he got tired of the simmer of whatever he kept muted and set aside. And when it happened, Dean would still be there when he finally stumbled whether Sam wanted him to be or not.
"I thought today might be The Eve of Sweaty Bal--"
"Or The Festival of Balls that Cling to Your--"
"St. Ballentines Day?"