Because the series? Is called Abacab.
So. This is a Sam and Dean pre-slash story that follows “Take A Look At Me Now.” In this story, Dean considers the advantages of being underestimated by the one person who should sure as hell know better.
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I swear, Sammy is the master of the buzzkill.
Really, I think it’s his natural talent.
I mean, it’s not like he doesn’t have a reason to be a little down or whatever, with Ava missing and all, but still. Boy could out Eeyore Eeyore some days.
He’s been mopey like all fucking day now, and in that way where he thinks that I don’t notice. Just goes all zen master and silent and deep thoughts and ignores me, which sucks, ’cause he’s not doing it in a way I can give him shit about, not really. It’s too quiet, he’s too quiet, when he’s like this.
It’s annoying as fuck.
And the worst part is that he thinks he’s bein’ too subtle for me to notice, which is just crap. Just shows you how much he underestimates me.
He didn’t always. He used to think I was like, god or something, except with better hair and no pesky nails in my palms to slow me down.
Now? He’d fuckin’ slam those nails into his own hands, if I let him. Every damn day.
I mean, I love the boy, but holy crap has he got a martyr complex. And he’d be like, oh, no, Dean, that’s you! You’re just projecting all of this stuff on me. I don’t mentally flog myself every night when I should be whacking off, or something. I don’t beat myself up every waking moment for shit I should have done, will never do, couldn’t have stopped. Hell no. That’s on you, Dean. Not me.
Pfft. Whatever. Which is exactly why I don’t have to have that conversation with him, because I know exactly what he’d say. I know exactly how he feels, about everything, although I’ll bet you he thinks I have no fucking clue.
Because, again. Underestimating.
I mean, I can kinda understand it. Him not properly ascribing god-like powers to me anymore. He’s not a kid, now, and he was away long enough for my sheen to lose its luster, or whatever. For him to escape the magnetic glow of my personality long enough to see it for the house of mirrors that it really is, most of the time.
Still. Pissed me off at first.
But now I see it as an opportunity, you know? An advantage. An ace in the hole.
He thinks I’m an idiot? Fine. He thinks he’s a fucking master thespian who can hide his pain or whatever? Ok.
Just shows me that I’ve still got it. That I’m still one step ahead of him. Which is where I’m supposed to be. It’s my birthright.
So we were at Primanti’s tonight, in Pittsburgh. I fucking love Primanti’s; best thing in the whole of Western Pennsylvania, if you ask me. Dad loved it, too, made sure we stopped here anytime we were out here, even if we had to drive two or three hours out of the way because, hey, it’s Primanti’s. It’s fundamental. An institution.
Sam, of course, hates it. And, by extension, has always hated Pittsburgh. So I figured I’d get an extra dose of bitchy anyway, almost as soon as we got off the Turnpike. Which, yup. Right on schedule, he went from silent sullen Sam to bitch-tastic, super-sarcastic Sam, which was expected but still annoying as shit.
But it’s worth it, it’s always worth it, to come here, even if he goes to Defcon 1. It’s like, a religious experience for me, this place.
Dude, they put fries on their sandwiches. Like, every sandwich. It’s a thing of beauty on a bun: salt and grease and cheese and god, why isn’t there one of these in every town?
“Because America’s arteries would explode,” Sam said, Sam says every time we come here, every time I ask that question. Always pretends not to get that I’m being rhetorical. Whatever.
“Yeah,” I said, I say every time Sam is a bitch like that. “But, damn, what a way to go.”
And usually, Sam laughs at that. Part of the routine of Primanti’s. Kind of a call and response.
Nothing. Just sat there, poking at the french fries on his salad–an abomination, you ask me, but at least he’s trying. Well, that and all the salads come with fries on top so. At least he didn’t scrape them all off right away.
But yeah. No response.
And frankly? I was too interested in my dinner to pry into his emo bullshit, so I let it go. Just chattered on enough to keep myself interested, enough so that we didn’t look like we were out on a bad blind date or something. And Sam helpfully went into mime mode, nodding, making the occasional “mmm hmm” noise, but otherwise staying in his self-constructed Sambox and that sucked. Not because I need to be entertained, exactly–though that’d be nice once and a while–but because it just confirmed what I’d been thinking all day, that he was sad or pissed about something and dealing with it really awesomely well by not talking about it or even having a fucking facial expression at all, really.
I give him shit about his weird “let’s talk about something important” moments, when he gets all Joy Luck Club-y and wants to share his feelings or whatever, wants to figure out exactly where we stand, how I am, how he is, how we are. I do that because, ok, it makes me nervous. I don’t need to talk about my feelings; I just, you know, express them like a normal person, in the moment when they happen, rather than closing them up inside of my head and making myself crazier than I already am. I just get it out there, right away, let the stupid out and bam. It’s over. Done.
But psychotic repression boy over here, he’d rather hoard his emotions like goddamn acorns and study them, toss them like runes or something, then throw them right in my face and make me deal with them like days after whatever it is that pissed him off or confused him happened, and by then, I’ve moved so far on that I have no interest in going backwards, in talking about what I may have felt or whatever, in hearing about how he thinks he feels—which is such a fucked-up phrase that that alone should tell you how screwed up he is about this stuff—that I go for the easy answer—ridicule. And punching, if necessary.
But, like I said. I have the advantage. I know how he’s feeling, even if he refuses to acknowledge it or name it or even deal with it in a vaguely healthy way. Even before he pulls the pin and chucks his heart at me and we both get covered in blood, or whatever.
Ok, slightly melodramatic. But not by much.
So I drove up to the top of the city, after dinner, the top of the Incline, they call it. Parked up high over the rivers and the bridges and damn, it’s pretty up here. Can’t remember the last time I saw something that nice.
I figured it would do him some good, get some fresh air, see the sights, relax, maybe.
What can I say? I’m an optimist, when it counts.
But so far, nothing.
He’s just hovering around the hood, not really sitting or even leaning but kind of pacing around. I don’t even know if he’s really looked down, really seen how pretty it all looks from here.
He’s ignoring me and I’m trying to ignore him so I, at least, can relax, but his energy is just creeping me out.
Hell, being this close to him, watching him buzz around like a bee with ADD is making me tense.
“Hey,” I say, finally, not trying to be nice about it. “Would you just chill the fuck out?”
He looks over at me, and even in the dark, with only the crappy streetlight overhead, I can see this tension or whatever dug deep into his face.
“I’m fine,” he says in a way that says exactly the opposite.
Awesome. Add self-delusional to the list.
“Sure, Sam,” I say, sliding off the hood. Crossing my arms. “Sure. That’s why you’re pacing like a tiger in a damn cage.”
He sighs, one of those really loud huffs that used to piss the hell out of Dad.
“I’m fine,” he says again and makes a big show of turning his back to me, of looking out over the city, which, fine. Ok.
I don’t say anything. Just stare down at the lights and ignore his stupid ass.
It’s quiet. A few cars passing behind us, but other than that? Silent, for a city. It’s not even that late, just feels that way, I guess.
I am so not gonna say something first.
Just gonna stand here and be quiet.
Gonna pretend that nothing weird has happened, lately. That Sammy didn’t come two seconds and maybe an inch from laying one on me the other night, when he was so fucking drunk he couldn’t see straight.
Because nothing did happen. That’s the important part.
Nothing was said that has to be qualified or taken back. By him or by me.
I saw it, I think. What he wanted to say, which. No way in hell was that happening. Was I gonna let it happen, especially when he was so crazy out of it.
Dude, you drink and shit happens. I understand that. Doubly true with Sam. Boy cannot handle his booze and I don’t know where he got that from.
It didn’t freak me out. That much. As much as it should have, maybe.
Like I said, I can read him like a goddamn book. I know what he’s feeling, even if he doesn’t.
The trick is, I know what I’m feeling, too. Because I, you know, feel it. Whether I want to or not. But one thing I don’t do? Is worry about it.
It is what it is.
Nope. Not saying a word.
The quiet kinda hangs between us like a curtain or a cloud. Ready to rise. Ready to burst.
But hell. I can wait.