Title: Learning About Home
Pairings/Characters: Sam/Dean, mention of Jessica, John
Spoilers: 1.01 - yeah I know, I know...
Word Count: 1,295
Disclaimer: Do not own, just playing in somebody else's sandbox
Summary: Sam told Dean he wanted safe not normal. He didn't explain what he meant by safe.
A/N: Written for brilligspoons
. I used her prompt a place: a home, or a lack thereof, or having many places that pass as home and that has to be enough. This is my take on it.
“So what are you gonna do? You’re just gonna live some normal, apple pie life? Is that it?”
“No. Not normal. Safe.”
Sam had meant what he had said to Dean all those years before. It wasn’t normal he was searching for but safe. Safe from the things they hunted. Safe from the constant and everlasting open road. Safe from the endless moving, the lies, the hustles and the leery looks from everyone, everywhere.
But mostly he wanted to be safe from the countless motel rooms and rundown derelict, abandoned houses their father made them squat in.
It hadn’t always been like that.
When he had first gotten old enough to understand that they never stayed in one place for too long, it was fun. Every new town, new motel room, new deserted house was a place to be explored. It was an adventure to hunt out left behind toys in empty houses or wander down to the closest play park and see how high he could fly on the swings.
But then Kindergarten started and he began to understand that not everyone moved around like they did. The other kids in his class thought it was stupid that he didn’t have a bedroom of his own or a big chest of toys to pick something out of and bring to school to play with at recess. It was then that the shine began to wear off the big adventure that had been his life. The big adventure that Dean had made of their lives.
It only got worse as he got older.
Dean thought it was because he didn’t like changing schools because he was a geek.
Dad thought it was because he was rarely around long enough to make any real friends.
Neither were right, not really.
It was being the freak that lived in the only no tell motel just on the outskirts of town. It was being the boy who would walk past block after block of classmates homes where there were yards of green grass to play in, kitchens stocked full of anything you could want to eat, a living room with furniture that wasn’t picked up from the side of a road when they squatted in an empty house or didn’t have a living room when it was a motel room. It was having your own bedroom with a closet and a dresser full of clothes, walls to tack up posters that wouldn’t be forgotten or lost from one place to another. A space for books and awards and a mess that could be gotten away with for more then the time it took either Dean or dad to yell to clean it up or things would be tossed. A desk to do home work on that was an actual desk not a rickety table pushed into the corner of the motel room that he didn’t need to worry about it collapsing under the combined weight of his textbooks and dad’s newspapers. A space of his own that he could take the few friends he managed to make in the short time they were in town. A real home to pretty much guarantee that they wouldn’t be leaving in a couple days, weeks or, when he was lucky, months.
It took working his ass off in between hunts or in the backseat of the Impala during, a screaming match with his father where he was informed that “if you’re leaving don’t ever come back”, a full ride to Stanford and a freshman year stuck in a dorm room too reminiscent of the motels from before to get it.
It wasn’t a three-bedroom house with a yard of green grass, three bedrooms and a rumpus room in the basement but it wasn’t a motel room either or a derelict that he had to worry the local cops would throw them out of. As apartments went, at least from those he looked at, it was good enough. There was a living room, a separate bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. There were four rooms he could spread out his stuff in and not have to worry about leaving something behind when he left in a week or two. But the best part was that it was his, his real name on a year lease, and it was his home. Well, his and Jessica’s, but that was the best part of all, he had a home and a girl he loved who loved him and he was safe.
It only took a week for the shine to wear off this time but he wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t renter’s regret, he could admit that he had been picky when they had decided to rent an apartment and he had insisted they look at seven different places before deciding on the one they had. It wasn’t that most of the furniture was stuff that Jessica’s parents gave them or odds and ends they bought from the Salvation Army. It wasn’t even that most of the personal items that ended up strewn around the apartment weren’t his; eventually there would be more of his stuff too. It was only a matter of accumulating more than what he had brought to Stanford with him and the textbooks he had bought. But growing up the way he did, he didn’t need a lot, more than a couple weeks worth of clothes seemed extravagant, he didn’t actually have any interest in nick knacks or accumulating a bunch of CDs, he was too old for posters and nice prints were too expensive to be considered until “later”.
And yet something was off.
It didn’t make any sense; he had finally gotten what he wanted. He had his own space. He had a home.
But he was a Winchester through and through and he could deny and bury just as well as his father and his brother. He was absolutely certain that Jessica never knew anything was amiss. As far as she was concerned he was happy living in their little apartment and building their life together. Friends always saw the smile when she would make mention that they might only live in a crappy, student housing apartment but it was their home.
She never knew that Sam didn’t see it as his home no matter how hard he tried.
It damn near killed him when Jessica died the same way his mother had, the guilt running deep and jagged. But there was a little, tiny, part of him that breathed a sigh of relief that he didn’t have to pretend anymore. He still didn’t understand why he had had to pretend when it was what he had wanted.
The knowledge came later.
Later, after months of sleepless nights, too much coffee, one night of drunken fumbling and weeks worth of mutual freak-outs between him and Dean because of it, to finally figure it out.
Home was never a building with rooms and a yard and maybe a fence. But to be fair, it took getting it to figure that out. So, in the end it was almost worth the harsh words between his father and him and four years of silence between him and Dean because he needed to learn.
As it turned out and as cliché as it was, home really was where his heart was and his heart was with his brother.
Sam curled up against Dean’s back and pressed his nose to the soft skin of his neck.
As a young child it didn’t matter because every place was an adventure. Later on, he made due until he could get out. Once he finally did, he made due convincing himself that he’d eventually figure out what was missing.
Sam didn’t have to make due anymore.