July 2007

This was originally meant for the family secret challenge, but I stalled out early and just recently picked it up again *hangs head*. But it was inspired by the first prompt listed here.

Sam/Dean. Sam's growing up.


by Kest

The house was filled with books, old ones like the bookstore back in Providence, paperbacks torn at the corners and smelling like sand and old paper. Sam skipped over the novels -- the kind Dean liked to read passages from to get a rise out of him, leering as he read though Sam could tell he was turned on, too, by the way his lips parted open and eyes softened. He'd have a time with these, but Sam's attention was on a stack of coverless hardbacks in the corner: Irving Stone, Carl Sandburg, Gore Vidal.

He half-heard Dad talking with the woman back in the doorway. "...generator is on the fritz," spoken in a New England lilt, "...fix it you can stay for quarter rent, summer renters won't be here till June."

It was April. He'd seen the ocean, Atlantic and Pacific, but they'd never lived there before, two hundred yards from the beach with the water just visible between the rows of houses. Sam left the books and wandered into the room next to the front door, nearly taken up by a set of bunk beds. It had what was probably the one good view of the ocean from the house, broken only by a low-hanging branch of the neighbor's tree.

Dean came up behind him. "Think the chicks around here go in for skinny dipping?"

"Shut up, Dean," Sam said. It was automatic. Shut up, Dean, since Dean had turned nineteen and came home with a six pack, already drunk and full of shit. He doled them out fairly though Sam only drank one of his, closing his eyes and half-listening to Dean go on about fifty bucks won at pool and a thick-cleavaged waitress and oh Sammy, she had 'em trained like circus monkeys while Sam pretended to drink his beer and practiced in his head: Shut up, Dean.

The woman laughed at something Dad said, but when she left Dad was all business again. "Get your gear from the car, boys," he said, already scoping out the place.

Dean flicked his arm when he passed and Sam would've hip-checked him but his body had gone weird on him the last few months, all gangling growth and lack of coordination, so he settled for a muttered "Jerk" and a swipe with his bag when they got them from the car. Dean dodged it easily then pulled him into a headlock until Dad told them to cut the shit out.

The bed was too small and the air was thick with salt. His hair felt gritty with it. He wondered if they'd still be there when the real renters came in June.

Something pushed against the small of his back just as he was about to fall asleep. "Cut it out," he said, already regretting taking the top bunk. He threw his pillow down when Dean did it again. Dean confiscated it with a sound of satisfaction.


He got through a hundred pages of Lincoln before Dad came in, wiping grease from his hands on one of the kitchen towels. "You're going to freeze in place you sit there much longer," he said, so with a shrug Sam grabbed a sweatshirt and the book and took them the short walk down to the beach.

It was cold even with the sweatshirt. Wind blew sand in his eyes. There wasn't much to see out here, anyway, just a lot of grey ocean. He looked around for a place to read, didn't see anything so kept walking down the beach, a couple of brave souls out there playing with a dog and frisbee and probably freezing their asses off as much as he was.

He heard voices up by a mound of rocks -- a girl's voice, low with just a trace of accent, and Dean's. He shielded his eyes and squinted up at them. She was tall and thin and vaguely hippie-ish, not Dean's type at all, but she had Dean up against one of the rocks and Dean's hand was moving up her thigh, pulling her skirt up with it. Dean laughed like something she said surprised him, which was unusual enough that Sam hesitated before turning back the way he came. Even Dean wouldn't let his dick fool him when it came to a selkie or a succubus.

He finally found a park with some picnic tables decently sheltered from the wind and got through another hundred pages before it started to get dark.

Dean was fixing dinner when he got back. Sam realized he was ravenous. He grabbed one of the apple pieces from the cutting board and ignored the threatening tilt of Dean's knife.

"I'll be out tonight," Dad said, when dinner was almost done. Dean looked up, question in his eyes, but Dad just stood up and took his plate over to the sink as headlights flared briefly over the front window. Sam went over to the window and saw the woman who'd rented them the place in the driver's seat of the car. She waved when she saw him.

When he turned back, Dean was still staring down Dad. "Are we going to have a problem?" Dad asked softly, and after a taut second, Dean said, "No, sir."

Dean's mouth was still set in a grim line even after Dad left, but he talked Sam into a two-man game of Spades and kicked his ass twice.

Halfway through the third game there was a sound outside on the porch. Dean reached for the .45. When he opened the door Sam caught a flash of dark blonde hair from the rocks-girl before Dean dropped the gun behind the couch cushions and followed her out to the porch.

The soft murmur of their voices carried through the door. Sam brushed his teeth and took his book into the bedroom; he could hear them from here, too. Dean's laugh, then nothing for a while. Sam thought about Dean's hand on her skin, skirt hiked up to her panty line; the long line of her legs. He rolled to face the wall and heard a small, pleased sound from Dean, a softer one from her. Sam thought about kissing her; what her lips would feel like. His hand closed over his cock beneath his sweatpants, face burning because they were right outside and he felt stupid, maybe even a little perverted, but his dick seemed fine with all that.

He was cleaned up and back in bed when Dean came in, shit-eating grin on his face.

"Dad back yet?" As soon as he said it, Sam felt like an asshole.

Dean went still, grin fading, before swinging into the bunk below. "Go to sleep," Dean said, and Sam rolled over and hugged his pillow to his chest.


Dad was still working on the generator the next day, so Sam grabbed his book and went back to the park. There were a couple of kids there this time but the picnic tables were empty, so he read until more kids came and some of the parents started to lay out lunch around him with kind, unsubtle glances. When he got back to the house Dad was gone and Dean was in the kitchen.

"Where's Dad?" Sam asked.

"Out," Dean said shortly. A couple of bags from the small grocery store they'd passed when they first arrived were on the table. Dean put the stuff away with a bang of cabinet doors.

"God, Dean, it's just a date," Sam said, feeling very adult as he flopped down on the narrow couch in front of the window. "So Dad wants to get out once in a while."

"Yeah? And what do you know about it?"

"I'm not a kid."

"You're never here, either, are you."

Sam stared at him, amazed. "I was gone for, like, two hours."

"That's not what I'm talking about." Dean stashed the folded paper bags under the sink. "Just read your fucking book." He disappeared into the bedroom and reemerged a few minutes later. "I'm going out," he said, and Sam wondered why that was everyone's phrase of choice all of a sudden.

It wasn't like Dad had found some new thing to hunt he needed Sam's help researching. It wasn't like Dean needed any help fucking his new girlfriend.

Neither of them were back after Sam had made do with half a box of pasta and a can of tomato sauce for dinner, so he left a note for Dad and grabbed his sweatshirt.

He found Dean down at the rocks again, his hippie girlfriend sitting next to him with her knees curled up to her chest. Dean saw him but didn't say anything when Sam climbed up to where they were sitting.

The girl was smoking a joint, or at least Sam figured that's what the smell was. She seemed nice, though, said, "Hey," and scooted over to make room for him. She passed the joint to Dean and Sam stared at him because Dad would fucking kill Dean for that, but Dean took it from her, inhaled, and passed it back.

"So you're Dean's little brother," the girl said, looking him over. "I'm Christine. Not Chris," she added, before Sam had a chance to say anything.

"Yeah, hi," he said, feeling every inch of fourteen sitting next to her. She had a nice smile, but still completely not Dean's type. "Sam."

She passed the joint to him and Sam took it without thinking. He glanced at Dean, who stared back with a neutral expression, decided fuck it and took a drag. It burned like white fire in his throat. "Jesus," he said, coughing and handing it back to her. He had tears in his eyes. Dean raised an eyebrow and handed him a bottle of beer to wash it down. Sam took it and grimaced at the taste.

Christine-not-Chris looked sympathetic. "So your dad's out, huh."

Sam shot Dean a look, wondering what he'd been talking about with her, but Dean just shrugged like it wasn't any of Sam's business. "You just take off?" Dean asked.

"I left him a note," Sam said, wondering why he was the one feeling defensive. He took the joint from Christine and it was better this time. He knew what to expect, anyway.

Dean took the joint from Sam and finished it off, crushing the what was left against the rocks.

Sam wondered if he should be scramming out of there for Dean and Christine to do whatever they were going to do, but Christine seemed content just to sit there with her arms wrapped around her knees and Dean wasn't sending any non-verbal messages his way. So he drank more of his beer and was surprised when it seemed to be gone.

Dean handed him another one.

"My dad's kind of a dick, too," Christine said, out of nowhere.

"Dad's not a dick," Sam said. "He's just...intense." Dean snorted and Sam turned on him. "Come on, Dean, he's your fucking hero," he said, marveling at how smoothly fucking had rolled off his tongue.

"No more beer for you," Dean said, plucking away what was left of Sam's bottle, which wasn't a lot. Christine was still folded in on herself, her nice smile turned a little sad, and Dean leaned forward to tuck a stray piece of hair behind her ear.

Sam stood up, a little unsteadily. "I'm, uh, I'm just gonna go down to the beach for a bit."

Dean caught his eye. "Don't go far," he said, like Sam was five.

Sam climbed back down the rocks. Once out from their shelter the wind blew the hood of his sweatshirt back, waking him up from the beer and pot though he still felt out of it, out of it and a little lonely. Goddamn sand was getting everywhere. His sneakers sank in until he got close to the edge of waves, where the sand was wet and packed and cold as water seeped into his shoes.

"Sam," he heard, and turned around. Dean's hands were in his pockets, shoulders hunched against the wind. "Come on, man."

Sam didn't even mind Dean's hand on his back steadying him on the way back to the house. The door opened before they even hit the porch, Dad looking predictably pissed with all the glowering power of the Marine Corps behind him. Dean pushed Sam in the direction of the bedroom.

He closed the door but could hear them clearly. Dad didn't care that Sam had left a note, he wanted them home. Dean figured maybe that should apply to the whole family. Dad pointed out that what he did with his time was none of Dean's business, nineteen or not.

Dean never said her name but it was about Mom, it was always about Mom for him, which was why no one ever won the few arguments Dean and Dad had.

Sam rolled onto the bottom bunk and toed off his shoes, then his wet and sand-caked jeans. He stared up at the top bunk until the yelling stopped and Dean came in a few minutes later. Dean seemed oddly calm as he unbuttoned his jeans and stripped down to his t-shirt.

"What, you bunking down there tonight?" Dean asked.

Sam scooted over on the bed. Dean gave him a weird look, but he sat down on the edge to pull off his socks.

"Hey," Sam said.

Dean glanced over at him. "Man, I can't believe you're drunk off of two beers."

"I'm fourteen, shithead."

"You're a Winchester," Dean corrected. He lay back on the bed with his head propped on his arm.

The bed was way too small for the two of them, but he didn't want to move. He was still coasting, couldn't pin down any of the thoughts floating through his head. Dean's shoulder was warm against his and he thought about Dean's hand on Christine's hair and the way she'd smiled at him, protected.

Dean shifted onto his side the same time Sam did, which was the excuse Sam took to keep moving forward until his mouth was on Dean's, breath rolling over his tongue and just the slight pressure of lips.

Only there was no excuse in the world to cover that. Dean broke the pressure and rolled onto his back.

"Dean," Sam ventured, in a low voice.

Dean's jaw tensed, released. "Go to sleep, Sam."


There were only fifteen kids in his world history class, and they all swiveled around to stare at him when he slid into an empty desk in the back. He kept his eyes on the cover of the textbook he'd just been given and tuned out the teacher introducing him, knowing the drill and just waiting to shed all those curious eyes from him.

When the bell rang he tucked the book in his bag and almost missed the "Hi" from the girl sitting in the desk in front of him.

He blinked up at her, eyes shifting to either side to make sure she hadn't been talking to someone else. She smiled like she'd guessed what he was thinking. She had the longest brown hair he'd ever seen; it fell over her shoulder like a chestnut scarf.

"Did you just move here?"

"Well, yeah," he said, and she pinked a little, Sam realizing too late that the obviousness of her question was just a way to make conversation. "From Providence," he said, trying to match her friendliness, though Dad would have a handy lecture for that.

"My cousin lives in Providence," she said, and when she stood up to go to her next class, Sam stood up with her and walked with her down the hall.

"We were only there a few weeks," he said.

"Military?" she asked, and Sam tried to remember if there were any military bases remotely close to here.

"My dad just moves around a lot for his job," he said.

She nodded then stopped outside a classroom door. "This is my next class," she said, hesitating a moment, which Sam used to pull out the schedule he'd been given.

"Do you know where 117 is?"

She pointed back down the hallway they'd just come from. "Around the corner, on the left." A couple of other kids brushed by them on their way into the classroom; she made a move as if to follow them.

"What's your name?" Sam asked.

Her smile was almost blinding. "Amanda. But everyone calls me Mandy."


Mandy was taking French, English, algebra, and art along with world history, as well as belonging to the yearbook committee, the school newspaper, and was one of the few freshmen allowed to take the coveted photography class because of her yearbook duties.

Sam heard about all of it on the walk back to the house. She lived on the other side of town from them so they only shared a few blocks before she turned right down a narrow, shaded street, waving to him with a flick of her hair over her shoulder.

When he got home Dad was at the kitchen table with his journal spread in front of him, making notations on the spirit he and Dean had laid to rest in Providence. Sam got a glass from the cabinet and poured orange juice into it.

"Where's Dean?"

Dad didn't look up. "Checking out a black dog sighting in Canton."

Orange juice sloshed over the side of Sam's glass. "You let him go up there alone?"

Dad's eyes were more curious than angry when he looked up. "I said he was checking it out. Everything good with you, Sam?"

Sam sat down at the table across from him. "Sure."

"How was school?"

In reality, it had been a pretty good day. He was ahead of most everything in his classes, thanks to Dean downloading school curricula for him to study as they skipped from place to place, and the teachers had all been friendly. And he'd met Mandy, who seemed pretty nice.

"It was good," he said. He finished off his orange juice and stood up to take the glass over to the sink. "When's he coming back?"

"Leave it, Sam," Dad said, turning back to his journal.

Sam didn't say anything, just stared at the glass in his hand resentfully.

Maybe Dad sensed it, because he yielded a little. "Your brother's nineteen, Sam. He needs a little space."

"Space from what?" Sam asked, but he didn't want to know the answer to that. "Yeah, okay," he said, and took his homework into the bedroom.


Mandy's room was pink and she had a serious horse fetish judging by the number of cut-out pictures of horses and unicorns plastered along one wall. She even had a unicorn-shaped pillow on the bed. Dean would've laughed his ass off, but Sam just stepped inside gingerly, afraid to disrupt the room's rampant girlness with any boy clumsiness.

Mandy sat on the bed and dropped her schoolbooks between them. "So do you want to ask the questions from the back of the book first? And then we can switch off?"

Sam had no idea if that's how joint studying was supposed to be done, but he said, "Sure," and opened up Mandy's book to the back.

Mandy liked giving answers. Sam could see her picturing the words before she said them, straight-backed and eyes slightly glazed, each one measured and concluded like a tightly wrapped box. She would pause at the end of each answer as if waiting for Sam to say something, and he found out quickly that anything other than, "Yeah, that was good," earned him a tight little frown.

But at least he knew what was expected when it was his turn. He didn't have quite her succinctness, but he knew what kinds of answers teachers wanted and Mandy was practically in training already.

He was just as glad when the study session was over and Mandy put away the book. She didn't seem to know quite what to do then. She glanced around the room, down at her hands; finally up at Sam. She bit her bottom lip in a worried frown, and Sam finally clued in, leaned forward, and kissed her.

He must have guessed right, because she didn't pull away. Her lips were soft and full, parting just a little under his. She jumped when the tip of his tongue brushed against hers.

"My parents will be home soon," she said, flushing a little, but Sam thought she looked pleased. He wet his lips and tasted raspberry lipgloss. "Um. You can come over tomorrow?"

"Sure," he said.


"My sister's at Amherst," Mandy said. She paused as if waiting for him to say something, but Sam didn't know shit about colleges and Dean had never expressed any interest in anything outside of cars, girls, and hunting. "Where do you want to go?" she asked to fill the void.

"Aren't we a little young?" he said, but she'd already left the bed to retrieve a thick floppy book from the top of her dresser. She opened it up on the bed, suddenly shy like it was her diary or something. Sam could see where several pages had been folded over.

She explained all the statistics to him, why rankings were important but not too much, because college was supposed to be fun, too. She knew about that from her sister. She thought she wanted to go to Amherst, too, but there was always B.U. or B.C. if she couldn't get in.

Sam flipped through the book. He did well at school, liked it, even, but this seemed an entirely different beast. He could sort of see where Mandy got her avidness from. Summed up the way they were, each page was like an unlocked door waiting to be chosen and promising a future of clearly marked paths.

Mandy smiled up at him, glowing now that she'd let out her secret. Sam was wondering if she'd let him kiss her again when she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him down.



Sam whirled, Dad's voice in his head, Look alive, Sam, then saw it was Christine. A faded blue bookbag was slung over her shoulder, and he glanced back at the school. "Do you go here?"

"I'm graduating this year," she said, and Sam slowed his pace as she fell into step with him.

"Yeah?" Sam said, feeling stupid, but he couldn't think of anything else to say in response. They walked on for a bit, loose sand kicking up from the sidewalk. "How's everything with your dad?"

Christine stilled for a second, and Sam recognized the look on her face as one Dean got every now and then when he didn't think Sam could see. It cleared as quickly on her face as it did Dean's. "Good," she said. "Pretty good," she added, as if to sell the lie.

"Are you taking off after you graduate?"

She smiled and pushed hair out of her face that the wind had blown over. "Yeah, probably not. Hey, I haven't seen your brother around."

Part of Sam had wondered if Dean had taken off to spend more time with her, never mind the black dog; he swallowed his surprise and weird surge of relief. "He's up north, helping out with my dad's work."

Christine nodded like she understood pretty well about guys like Dean. She stopped in front of a small pale green clapboard house that was almost hidden behind a tree still caught in winter and some scraggly bushes. "This is me." She looked like she couldn't work herself up to going in.

"You'll be okay, right?" Sam asked, feeling more than a little awkward. "I mean, you could come back to our house."

Christine's smile was a much milder version of Mandy's. "You're sweet." She called over her shoulder, "Tell Dean I said hi."


The skies had opened up and Sam stared out at the sheets of rain from the school entrance overhang, wishing he had more than his sweatshirt hood to walk home under. Mandy had a dentist appointment and most of the other kids were streaking out to waiting cars or putting up umbrellas their parents made sure they had before they'd set off that morning. He was just about to brave the downpour when he saw the Impala parked by the side of the school a little off from the other cars.

He put his hood up and ran down the steps and across the schoolyard toward it, rain drenching him immediately in what felt like buckets of cold ice. His hand slipped on the door handle before he got it open and ducked in, looking over expecting Dad, but it was Dean.

The engine was running and Dean had the heater going. Sam stripped off his soaked sweatshirt and put his hands on the vents. "So when'd you get back?" he asked, not bothering to hide the accusation.

"Couple hours ago," Dean said, and pulled away from the curb. Sam hunched over the heater as cold rain trickled down the back of his neck. The streets they were passing didn't look familiar, and Sam realized they weren't heading for the house.

Instead Dean turned down one of the beach access roads where wet sand puddled in broad streaks over the pavement. Dean went a little further but not so far the pavement ran out, and turned off the ignition.

Sam couldn't see anything through the rain at first. Then he made out the wide stretch of grey ocean barely discernible from sand and sky.

"So was it a black dog?" Sam asked, voice shaking a little though he was mostly thawed out.

"Nah, just some rottweiler gone native," Dean said. "Nearly took my arm off though," he added, as if expecting Sam's sympathy.

"So why'd you go?"

"Sam," Dean said. His hand tightened on the steering wheel. "Damn it, Sam."

Sam stared out the passenger window. Ten feet away the dunes were being bludgeoned by rain. His wet jeans were beginning to itch. He didn't know how to say what he wanted, didn't even know what he wanted. He knew what he'd wanted with Mandy, and this wasn't the same.

When he turned back Dean shifted abruptly and then Dean's mouth was on his. Dean didn't dick around with tongue or no tongue, his mouth was open and his tongue was on Sam's, running over teeth and the inside of his cheeks as if marking every bit of Sam's mouth.

Dean's hands were on his shoulders, down his bare arms; one hand brushed the front of Sam's jeans and Sam bit down without meaning to, tasting Dean's blood in his mouth and a strained sound from Dean's lips. Dean pressed down on him through his jeans while Sam tried to get them unbuttoned with fingers that didn't seem to work and forced the wet zipper down.

Rain pounded on the roof of the Impala as Dean's hand closed over his cock, masking the sounds Sam knew he was making, Dean buried in Sam's neck as he jerked him off, strokes slow and sure with one purpose in mind. Sam's head buzzed with it, he couldn't breathe through Dean's hand on his dick and Dean's voice in his ear saying, "Sam. Sammy. Come on, man."

Dean's mouth swallowed all the words Sam wanted to say even though he couldn't think in words, couldn't think anything beyond coming in Dean's hand and the relentless pounding of rain.

He didn't remember the drive back. His jeans were buttoned again and his shirt clung stickily to his stomach when he got out of the car, Dean following more slowly. He ran hot water in the shower and stripped, stepped under the shower's spray until the back of his head turned numb from the onslaught.

Dad was back and dinner was on the table when Sam came out from the bathroom. He sat across from Dean and couldn't take his eyes from the cut on Dean's lip; when Dean glanced over he looked away and stared at his plate. He wondered if there was supposed to be some lesson here, some message he was meant to pick up, but Dean just excused himself after dinner and took off in the direction of the beach.

Sam wasn't sleeping when Dean returned. He'd been staring at the ceiling the last two hours. Dean let himself in quietly and closed the bedroom door, and Sam could feel his eyes on him in the dark room, heard his slow exhalation. He wished he could see Dean's eyes.

Dean pushed the hair back from Sam's forehead and just rested his hand there. Sam could feel the calluses on Dean's thumb as it stroked his temple. "Night, Sam," Dean murmured, and then his hand was gone, bed sagging as he swung into the bottom bunk.


Dad was packing the car when Sam got back from school. "Get your stuff together," he said, and closed the trunk.

There were about a hundred things Sam wanted to say to that, but he just turned and went into the house.

Dean's bag was already packed on the bottom bunk. Sam had never really unpacked, too used to this drifting from place to place, so it didn't take long to get his stuff from the bathroom and the few clothes he had out and pile them into his bag. Then he sat on the bed and looked out the window, the one with the good view.

Dad passed by the open door of the bedroom. "Go find your brother. I want to hit the road before dark." He disappeared from the doorway before Sam could say anything.

The beach was deserted. He found Dean down at the rocks, sitting with his back up against the large one. "Hey kiddo," he said, when Sam climbed up and sat down next to him.

"This is really fucking unfair," Sam said. He leaned forward over his knees as if all his anger at Dad could be contained in that space.

Dean tugged at him until Sam let go and rested back against Dean's chest. "You'll get over it."

Dean wrapped his arms around him and Sam leaned back, looking out where the ocean crashed into the sand. He felt Dean's lips brush the top of his head, a moment of warmth, and then Dean was pulling him up.

"Time to go," Dean said, and Sam followed him back to the car.