Souvenirs of a Madman

I don’t know where this came from, exactly, as I swore off writing Star Trek reboot slash long, long ago. Damn it. This is hurt/comfort pre-slash, though, so I haven’t broken my vow. Honest.

There are certain advantages to being dead.

One is, you don’t have to deal with tribunals. Hard to interrogate a corpse. As far as you know, anyway; there’s probably some weird Vulcan shit that could yank stuff out of a dead guy, and hell, you wonder if you’d even remember if anybody’d tried it, if Spock had, while you were, um, temporarily deceased.

Huh. Or if you’d want to.

What being dead also gets you is plausible deniability: you can pretend that gods, you doesn’t remember a damn thing that happened, what with the radiation torching your brain. There were no tears, no last-minute attempts at admission, no moment when you thought anything other than friend.

Nope. Radiation brain, you tell yourself. That’s why it all looked green there, at the end.

Best of all, being dead makes it impossible for anyone to ask, to pepper you with questions about your dying breath or what it felt like to stare your own fucking mortality in the face.

Because that would just be rude.

“You do realize a zombie tribble saved your life,” McCoy wheezes, pushing back from the console. “I mean, if you wanna get technical about it.”

Of course, not everyone defines rude quite the same.

Continue reading “Souvenirs of a Madman”

The Storybook Comes to a Close

Pre-series. Pre-slash. Dean’s always taken care of Sam. Or is it the other way around?  
Inspired in part by the awesome askbabynatural’s tumblr. Go check it out.

The Storybook Comes to a Close

When Sam was four, he got lost in a used bookstore in Maine.

It was one of those places that was more barn than store, an old warehouse with row after row of tumbled-down shelves with books piled on them three deep. There were stacks of magazines and paperbacks and postcards and it was exactly the kind of place that their dad liked to hide in when his flask got a little too familiar. When he’d spent too many nights in a row on the couch, a blanket over his hips and a bottle curled in his hand. With Dean perched in the doorway, one eye on his father and the other on Sammy.

So it was good for him to be up and around and bullshitting with the owner, chatting up the locals who wandered through. Digging through the knowledge there in more ways than one. It was good. Dean knew that.

But it didn’t stop him from being bored of his mind.

He sat on the floor under the counter while Sammy leaned into Dad’s hip, his fingers dug into Dad’s knee. Every now and then, Dad would reach down and rustle Sam’s hair or squeeze his shoulder, Sam grinning like the happiest of clams.

Dean couldn’t follow what his dad was saying, couldn’t understand why anyone would want to talk to the old guy behind the counter about fishing or tackle or the nearest lake or whatever. And he couldn’t even play with Sam, or at least annoy him, because Sam was staring up at Dad like he was the greatest thing in the world and Dean wasn’t a big fan of that.

That was his look, Sammy’s eyes wide and happy like that. Those were his. Dad hadn’t done a damn thing to earn it and Dean didn’t know how Sam couldn’t see that. How he couldn’t know who it was who loved him. Took care of him.

It sure as hell wasn’t Dad.

So he pulled into himself, shoved his head into his knees and bit his lip, hard. So that if he did cry, if Dad saw his tears, he’d have an excuse.

Continue reading “The Storybook Comes to a Close”

No Reply At All

Aaannd, wouldn’t you know, I’ve written myself into another [short?] series, apparently. Nice work, me. Schoolwork? Pshaw! I blame Phil Collins. 

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.

No Reply At All

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. Continue reading “No Reply At All”

Take A Look At Me Now

A pre-slash Sam/Dean story set right after season 2, episode 11: “Playthings.” Inspired by too much Phil Collins and by the hook that fanspired, a fellow writer [whose Supernatural slash you should go read, people], planted in my head: I should, she suggested, try writing POV Sammy. And so I have. Cheers, fanspired.

Take A Look At Me Now

When Dean gets depressed, he puts on “Against All Odds” and sulks for a couple hundred miles and then everything’s ok again. He’s ok.

Me? I don’t know. Maybe I’ve had more practice at it, or something, but it’s more complicated than that, for me.

It’s always been all right for him to scream and yell when he’s angry, to punch me or the wall or whatever random creep gets in his way. He’s allowed to be sad or whatever in the same way: right there out in the open, so there’s no question as to how he’s feeling. If he’s pissed, you’ll know it, along with everyone in a quarter mile radius. If he’s happy, then he’s freakin’ ecstatic, and you will be too, because it’s kind of great when he’s like that. He’s great, then.

Doesn’t happen as much as I remember, him being happy, but I guess I’ve been away for a long time.

It doesn’t feel like that, though. Mostly, it feels like I’ve gone back in time somehow, to who I was before. It feels like time has kind of stopped around Dean and now that I’m with him, again, it’s stopped for me, too.

Doesn’t change what’s happened, since I left, of course. Since Jess died. Since he came back for me. And, yeah, in my darker moments, or when he’s being a complete asshole, I tell myself that I didn’t want to come, that he dragged me away from where I was happy. That I can be happy again if I just go back. Go home, or something.

Times like that, I think he couldn’t stand the thought of being alone, when you get right down to it. That I’m kind of like his security blanket, some kind of material reassurance that things haven’t really changed that much. That if we’re together, everything’s gonna be ok–well, as ok as it ever was, for us.

Sometimes I think that he sees me the same way that I do him. That, for him, time stops when we’re together. When I’m around.

But I doubt that he thinks about things–about us, or whatever–in quite the same way that I do. He needs me with him, I think, needs to know I’m close by, because otherwise he’d be alone and worse, I wouldn’t be safe, in his mind. He thinks of me as a totem, a sacred object, or something. I’m He Who Must Be Protected. Period.

But there’s more to it than that, I think. Continue reading “Take A Look At Me Now”

The Worst Has Happened

This little piece is the first bit of S/D that I wrote. I’ve fought it for awhile, fought its desire to stand alone rather than be part of something more. And now it’s won. I haven’t posted it on any archive site, as it’s slashy only in shades, in inference, in nuance, maybe. That said: it deserves some room to breathe out here on the internets. So here you are. Comments, tomatoes, suggestions are always welcome.

The Worst Has Happened

Dean dreams about plane crashes.

He’s never on the plane himself. He’s always out behind their house in Lawrence under the swing set, or in Bobby’s front yard, or tucked behind the wheel of the Impala, someplace familiar and safe, when he sees the plane come low: way too low, he always thinks with a start, the whine of the engines like a sudden fist in his side. He squints up into the sun and watches that big heavy bird wobble and scream her way to earth, and in that moment before she hits, he knows: this is it. She’s going to crash.

This is always the longest moment in the dream—it stretches out in front of him and he chokes on a sense of doom, on the awful knowledge that disaster will happen—is happening— and there’s nothing he can do to stop it.  And he’s terrified.

He’s been waiting for this moment his whole life.

But once she hits the ground, his fear disappears in a sweet rush of relief. The worst has happened, his dream-self breathes, feeling the smoke rattle in his lungs. Now all he has to do is live through it.

In his dream, the plane smashes into the grass and breaks apart in front of him. It shatters just out of his reach, spilling fuel and flame and noise, this terrible maelstrom of steel and seats and spent energy. But no people. There are never any people on the plane; no screams, no smell of burning flesh. There’s no body—no survivors to rescue, or corpses to bury: nothing.

In his dream, he marches towards the plane’s shattered frame, debris drifting around him, the paint curling from the heat, the sun hot and heavy in his eyes. He moves with some purpose he can’t name and doesn’t think to question, and it feels good: the grass burning beneath his boots, the roar of the dead engines cooling as he moves past them. By this point, he’s always alone: sometimes there are other people around when the plane first appears, but now they’re all gone and it’s just him and the fuselage, his hands and the melting metal, his mouth and the bitter taste of jet fuel on his tongue.

In his dream, his walk towards the crash never ends; he keeps moving forward, making what feels like steady progress, but the plane always slides out of reach, somehow. But he keeps walking, undeterred, keeps reaching for the burning shell: his sense of certainty, of mission, of purpose, of need is as fixed and firm as the ground beneath him, even as sleep retreats and he drifts up and out of the dream, watching the flames fade, feeling the bed catch him as he wakes.

He sits up, blinking heavily in the darkness, still swimming in the reassurance the dream leaves in its wake. He used to think it was his brain reminding him of the random shit that most people—normal people—are afraid of, having written off ghosts and demons and werewolves as fiction, bad movie stuff, cheap thrills or whatever. Some part of his brain, somewhere, is still normal like that: scared of crap he can’t control or see coming or ward off with a shotgun. He clings to this ordinary fear, catches it in his teeth whenever they pass an airport or when he hears a jet whine overhead.

But now? These last few times, he’s welcomed the dream, grown impatient for the plane to just fucking crash already so he can do what he needs to do, so he can feel that sense of certainty push through his veins.

Dean settles back on the pillow and listens to Sam snore, watches the light from the parking lot mess with the TV screen, feels the Impala waiting patiently just outside the door.

After a while, he turns his head towards the window, towards the other bed, towards Sam. In the gloom, he can see Sam’s back rising and falling, hear his lungs filling and sinking. In Dean’s mind, a dozen little Sammies are crowded on that bed together, limbs tangled, cheeks flushed, hair always a goddamn mess: a dozen little Sammies who jostle for space in his memories and tumble out into the night, lured by Sam’s deep, easy breaths and the low, comfortable hum of the highway. His Sammy, who is five and 16 and 12 and a baby all at once, a collage of bodies and voices and wearied expressions that collide in the Sam whose fingers graze the floor, whose hair sticks out from under the pillow, who Dean loves too much do either of them any good.

Sam shifts, snuffling to himself as he rolls over. He tucks on his side, his rumpled face turned towards Dean. Dean holds his breath for a moment until he hears Sam’s soft snore, until he sees his legs twitch, just once, until he knows that Sam is still asleep.

Dean closes his eyes, scattering the phantom Sammies, pushing them back into their own beds in a hundred crummy motel rooms, tugging the blankets up, and telling them all to follow Sam’s lead, to go the fuck to sleep, and maybe—yes, maybe—he’ll let them hold the key to the Impala tomorrow, or have a sip of his beer when Dad’s not looking, or get the first go in Uno or Battleship or whatever. But only if you sleep now, man: close your eyes and relax and yeah, I’ll wake you up when Dad gets home. Now go to sleep already.

Dean grins into the darkness, stretches his fingers out until they brush Sam’s arm.

“‘Swah?” Sam manages, his mouth moving out of sync, his eyes fused shut.

“Shut up and go to sleep, Sammy,” Dean whispers across the room, hearing his voice slide between the years.

“‘Kay,” Sam mumbles, burrowing into his pillow. “Night, Dean.”

“Night, Sammy,” Dean says, pulling his hand back and slipping deeper under the covers.

Friends, Romans, Slashers, lend me your (pointed) ears

As you know, fair visitors, I spend a great deal of time on this blog thinking and writing about slash. As a well-trained humanities student, I have learned that one of the best ways to understand a discourse community is to write within it, to test out its genres, kick the tires of its cliches firsthand in one’s own text. (Notice how skillfully I’m able to hold this topic at arms’ length…)

[insert raised eyebrow here]

So, I’ll be posting my pre-slash and slash stories here on the blog. You can also visit me over at the K/S Archive, where you can also read the work of 449 other writers.

*Work in progress v.1

First in a series of me trying to echo-locate myself within the rhetoric/writing studies world, via an ongoing assignment for a class I’m taking. I’ve cleaned up some of the spelling, but note that I wrote most of this with my eyes closed. Really.

The version that I’m turning in is only a bit more constructed than this; but, for the sake of the process, I’m leaving this raw version up here.

notion of consensus: of knowledge being a temporarily agreement between a group of peers (temporarily and culturally dependent; able to shift over time)

Miller quotes a technical writing textbook who describes technical writing as having “one certain clear purpose: to convey information and ideas accurately and efficiently” (qtd. 611). For another, “language is utilitarian, emphasizing exactness rather than elegance…technical writing is direct and to the point” (qtd 611). In my experience, this is how many of my colleagues teach writing–all writing–as concrete, objective, and direct: a distillation of what is irrefutable into a set of words and phrases that is immutable, fixed, and certain. They ache for their students to produce texts that are “clear” (a term I don’t understand), “concise,” and specific: texts that follow form, rhetorical strategies, and word choices that are defined by the instructors’ sense of identity as professionals, of what is “real and true” about being a teacher of composition (Therborn, qtd. Berlin 479). Continue reading “*Work in progress v.1”