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Fic: Anger As Beauty

Title: Anger As Beauty
Author: ME!
Rating: PG
Category: Gen, pre-series, (could be seen as Sam/Dean, but I didn't intend it that way).
Characters: Sam
A/N: This isn't as good as I would like it, I might do a do-over on it someday, but in the meantime I figured I would post what I have. Please note that I use the word "awesome" in here in it's more traditional definition. Also, I appear to still be cheesy.
A/N2: Title is taken from a Hawksley Workman song of the same name.

Summary: When Sam went to Stanford, he brought three pictures of his family.

When Sam went to Stanford, he brought three pictures of his family. One framed - a white house, a mother, a smiling father, an innocent older brother, and a happy newborn baby. He sat it on his bedside table in his dorm and he sat it on top of his dresser, when he moved in with Jess. Normal people had framed pictures of their family. It was all part of the lie.

The second picture he kept in his school bag. He only brought it out a few times, when he thought that maybe if he gave just a little bit more information about his family, whoever he was talking to would stop asking him questions. Usually, it was only shown when someone made the comment "How come the picture of your family is so out of date..."

Sam couldn't really explain that it's because after that they rarely had cameras. Instead he would say, "That's the last picture with my mom, she died a few weeks later" and that, most of the time, would shut them up, but then Sam would feel bad for causing them to give him that look, Sam hated that look. So he would say "hold on..." and pull out the second picture, with it's slightly bent corners, and worn edges.

He'd hand it over to them and say "That's a more up-to-date photo of my family. That's my older brother Dean and my Dad, just a few years back."

The picture had been taken when Sam was sixteen and Dean was twenty. They had been staying with Caleb while Dad and Dean hunted something in the area and Sam went to school. When the Hunt was over, Caleb had taken them all to a local dive to celebrate. Caleb was the one with the camera. Sam always privately thought that no Winchester would ever want to document their life. They had always been taught to leave behind as little evidence as possible that they had even been there.

Sam wasn't in the picture. He was thankful for that when he showed it to his friends. At the time the picture was taken he had been over at the pool table, hustling some poor bastard - no one ever suspects the skinny under-aged kid. So the picture just had Dad and Dean, posed leaning up against the bar - Dad with his arm around Dean's shoulders, giving a small proud grin; Dean with a broad smile, that probably had to do with the fact that Dad had an arm around his shoulders.

They looked happy.

And that picture pacified people. Inevitably, they would make a remark about Dean's looks, the girls especially. "Wow, your brother is hot." Even one of his guy friends had said, "Huh, your brother can't have much trouble with the ladies looking like that." And Sam would roll his eyes, and give them a dull "yeah" in response, and then slip the picture back away. When he had shown the picture to Jess, she had said "Your brother's beautiful," and then added, "almost as handsome as you", when she realized she had spoken out loud.

Sam didn't mind, of course. The girls had always gone for Dean's looks. He knew Dean was attractive. It didn't matter that Sam always thought that Dean's smile looked more goofy than charming, more sleazy then seductive.

But Sam knew that Dean was beautiful. He had the third picture to prove that. The picture that he never showed anyone. Sam would take the picture out only sometimes - Christmas, Jess's birthday (just Jess's birthday, no one else's), his own birthday - Sam would take the picture out and run his fingers gently over the edges.

It was taken a half minute after the other one, at an odd angle, as though Caleb had accidentally pressed the shutter again as he was putting the camera down. Dean and John had fallen out of their pose, and were both glancing off to the right, reacting to something that was happening out of frame. Sam knew what it was. Sam knew that he had just been punched in the face by a very large, very pissed off, biker, who had just been hustled out of a fair bit of money.

Dad had that expression on his face that Sam could never quite interpret. Grim, he supposed. The expression he wore when Hunting, when Sam spoke back to him, and when Sam had just done something very stupid. Sam had just angered someone twice his size, inadvertently starting a bar-fight that would inevitably get them all kicked out of the bar with even more bruises than the hunt had left them with - So yeah, maybe Sam had done something stupid; but that didn't make the expression any easier to take. This was the father Sam remembered.

It was Dean though, that held Sam's focus in the picture. Dean who had gone from goofy playfulness to hard-edged and dangerous in the few seconds between the two pictures. Dean with his jaw tight, his goofy smile replaced with a hard line, his eyes intent, focused, dangerous, and angry. This was Sam's family.

As much as Sam remembers Dean's goofy smiles, he also remembers this Dean. The Dean that is all power and precision, expertly trained and deadly. He can remember looking up from the barroom floor, trying to stifle a nose bleed, and seeing this Dean growl as he punched the guy who had punched Sam. He remembers how Dean glared, as though the guy was the worst kind of evil. Whereas Dad seemed to always be angry, Dean rarely ever got truly angry, but when he did, it was an awesome thing. Sam remembers the sounds of the punches, the broken pool cues, the scrambling and scraping of chairs as the place erupted. He remembers how Dean took on the biker and his three friends himself. He remembers the sound of bodies hitting the floor. He remembers the even tone of his Dad's voice saying "Dean, that's enough."

And then he remembers walking to the car afterward, Dean getting blood on the money while he counted. He remembers Dean giving him a goofy smile with bloody lips and saying "$500, Sammy? Nice!" He remembers Dad's angry voice saying "Next time, know when to quit," and he remembers Dean winking at him when Dad's back was turned, and knowing that Dean wasn't angry at all, just proud, and that Dean would defend him against anyone even if Sam had just done something very stupid.

And Sam thinks, "yes, Dean is beautiful." 



( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 22nd, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Speaking of beautiful, this is! Just what I needed to read after "On the Head of a Pin" -- after most of Season 4, for that matter. Thank you so much.
Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:33 am (UTC)
Thanks! Yeah, I think that's the reason that I tend to write more pre-series (comparatively) heartwarming stuff - we get enough angst and darkness from the show! ;)

Love the icon, btw. lol
Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:42 am (UTC)
It's so difficult to write SPN right now, when it's on such a powerful roll. Your solution is the perfect answer.

Thanks about the logo. I shared it with Sheila (callisto65) a few days ago, so you'll be seeing more of it.

Mar. 22nd, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
Aw, that was lovely! I love that the difference between John's anger and Dean's anger is that John's anger is often directed at Sam, while Dean's anger is always directed at everyone else, in Sam's defense. So sweet! Well done!
Mar. 22nd, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm glad that difference between John and Dean came across in the fic. :)
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 22nd, 2009 05:40 am (UTC)
Re: so nice to remember that dean
Very true...our poor Dean. :(
Mar. 22nd, 2009 09:27 am (UTC)
A beautiful examination of his conflicted feelings for his family. The bedrock of love is unmistakable, but his ambivalence for the path of their lives as well as his grim determination to escape it resonates here.

Mar. 22nd, 2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
Mar. 23rd, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
And this story is beautiful, as well. I love how you used the pictures here, that the last one is reserved for those special moments Sam was probably missing his family. I love that Sam knows what makes Dean beutiful. Great job!
Mar. 23rd, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
This was just what I needed after missing all the brotherly moments between the boys. Thanks for sharing. :)
Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you for reading! :-)
Apr. 9th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
that was lovely. it was nicely written, great Sam POV. Interesting word choice, beautiful. I'm still contemplating that. It's kind of cool for Sam to think of Dean like that, in like this...spiritual way. yeah, and im pretty sure I've reached the point were i've read too much into it, but it is lovely.

Apr. 9th, 2009 03:01 am (UTC)
Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it...and feel free to read into it as much as you like! Haha, I'm always interested in other people's opinions.

In the series, Sam often seems a little...umm...self-obsessed (not to be disparaging of his character, of course), but I think everyone has a moment - especially when looking at old pictures - when they really contemplate another person: who that person is, and what that person means to them. Anyway, that's the moment that I wanted to explore.
Apr. 25th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
Just exploring your LJ for the first time, as well as your stories. I love this sort of pre-series story that's rich with real detail. Liked this passage:

Sam wasn't in the picture. He was thankful for that when he showed it to his friends. At the time the picture was taken he had been over at the pool table, hustling some poor bastard - no one ever suspects the skinny under-aged kid. So the picture just had Dad and Dean, posed leaning up against the bar - Dad with his arm around Dean's shoulders, giving a small proud grin; Dean with a broad smile, that probably had to do with the fact that Dad had an arm around his shoulders.

Love this because it just gives us a peek into their lives and lets us re-imagine the rest. Thanks!
Apr. 25th, 2009 09:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
Apr. 29th, 2012 02:32 pm (UTC)
Lovely, I love fics exploring Sam and Dean's pre-series relationship...
Apr. 29th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (Me too)
Aug. 31st, 2013 03:21 pm (UTC)
This is so beautiful, thank you for sharing.
Aug. 31st, 2013 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And thank you for reading and commenting :) I'm glad you liked it.
Oct. 10th, 2015 03:03 pm (UTC)
Glad that what made Dean beautiful was that he protected Sam and was proud of him.
Oct. 10th, 2015 05:09 pm (UTC)
:) Thanks! That's exactly what I wanted to capture.
Nov. 29th, 2015 03:25 pm (UTC)
Great hook and very in-character story.
Nov. 29th, 2015 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )


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