Jess loves Sam more than puppies and crayons and playing in puddles in the rain all put together because he shows up as the doctor is about to set her arm, just in time for her to have someone to hold on to. Zach is a complete pussy who wouldn't even let Jess hold his hand while she's in pain, the rat bastard.
At least, she thinks it's Sam. She's not entirely sure; all she sees is a dirty blue cast waving eleven feet in the air. Then the doctor touches her arm, ready to set it, and everything goes hazy and painful. Very, very painful. Someone, hopefully Sam, is by her side, and her nails are digging into flesh, jaw clenching as she tries to prevent herself from screaming. Her eyes are squeezed shut, like not looking will possibly make it hurt less, and there are tears rolling down her face.
Sam—it's definitely Sam now, she'd recognize that nuzzle anywhere—has his face pressed against the side of her neck. He's wrapped around her from behind, pulling her close against his chest with his arms loose across her waist. Her nails are digging into Sam's thigh hard enough that her fingers ache, and she focuses on that pain and hopes the doctor is done soon.
"Stop being such a baby," Sam murmurs to her. "He isn't even touching your arm yet."
She opens her eyes, hesitant because she has a brother, and she wouldn't put it past Sam to say that just to get her to watch the doctor bend her arm sideways or whatever it is he's doing.
"Oh, god," she moans, dropping her head back onto Sam's shoulder. She almost wishes he had been lying. "It hurts, okay? I thought he was setting it." The doctor isn't anywhere near her arm, and Jess laughs a little. She's woman enough to admit when she's being ridiculous.
"He wasn't. He's going to now, though—deep breath."
She doesn't have time to react before there's this sharp, deep pain that seems to sweep over her whole body. Jess is squeaking and has just enough time to be mortified by her mouse-like sound before she hears a snap and passes out. Not for long, because the doctor's still there holding her arm when she comes to, but long enough for it to be over.
At least, she hopes it is. If they stopped setting it because they wanted her to be conscious, she… well, she's probably just going to sit there and take it again, but she sure as hell won't be coming back to this ER any time soon.
She's lying on the bed now. Sam's still sitting where he was, more or less, with her legs pulled up into his lap. He looks horrible. She didn't notice it before—her back was to him, and she was busy trying not to wet herself—but he looks like death warmed over. His right eye is puffy, reddish purple, and starting to swell, and he's got cuts on his lip and nose, with this trail of half-dried blood leaking from the one on his nose.
He's also wearing some ridiculous light pink polo shirt—with an alligator on it, even—and a black tee-shirt underneath it, peaking out at the sleeves and the collar. They aren't his. They in no way approach his style, not even if he's trying to impress someone, and they just barely fit him. The polo hugs his shoulders much tighter than can possibly be comfortable for him.
Sam shakes his head. "Nothing, I'm fine," he insists, even though she can tell he's not. It's not just his face because, honestly, he's a bouncer. She's used to him coming home with his face cut and bruised from random fists and bottles thrown at him, and she knows he can handle them. But he's got his right hand just sitting there on her leg while his left rubs awkwardly along her shin. The day Sam got his cast on, he wrote two and a half pages of a paper in longhand, so the fact that he either can't or is unwilling to move scares her.
"I'm okay, Jess. I promise. I've had much worse; this is just annoying, that's it. I'm worried about you. Zach said someone threw yogurt at you, and you started a riot?"
"Some stupid girl picked a fight and won—don't change the subject. I have a hairline fracture; you look like somebody just tried to kill you, Sam." He's shaking his head and saying something, but she's ignoring him, too busy trying to crawl closer without moving her right hand too much. The splint or brace or whatever it is on her wrist might be helping it stay steady, but she's pretty sure that putting weight on it still isn't a good idea right now. There's also that small matter where it still throbs and hurts enough that she feels nauseous just breathing too deeply. "Please," she begs him, snuggling up close and snaking her good arm around his lower back. "Just tell me. You know you can trust me. Please?"
He huffs and she feels him knock her head lightly with his own. "Later, okay? I'll tell you; I just don't feel like talking about it right now. What we should be talking about right now is what color cast you're gonna get."
It's better than nothing. "Fine. And I already know what I'm getting; it's pink and green with sparkles."
There's another huff, but it's laughter this time. It's a subtle difference, but it's one she can tell, which makes her proud in some part of her stomach. "Pink and green?"
"Light green. Like a kiwi." She pulls her arm back from his waist, wiggles it in between them, and dances her fingers across the rough surface of his cast. "I think yours should be red this time."
"I'm not an idiot. I know you did something to your cast; you've barely moved that arm, and you were scratching at me with your left hand."
"That's some good deductive reasoning right there."
"Mmhm," she agrees. "Also, you had it laying flat earlier, and I could drive a truck through that huge crack in it."
"I'll wait for you to tell me what happened, but I'm not letting them put my cast on until you agree to let the doctor fix you or x-ray you or do whatever it is he needs to do."
"We could be here all night long. We don't have the time."
"We are not. And even if we are, you cover enough people's shifts that you should be able to find at least one person to go in for you if you need it."
"Fine, fine. You don't have to stay, though. I'll be good, and I promise I won't run away when you leave."
"You're so stupid." Jess laughs at him, but it's not an amused laugh. She wants to find his family, his old friends, anyone who knew him before her, and ask them what the hell they did to him—how they could possibly do whatever it is they did. "I'm not gonna leave you here by yourself. I'm gonna sit right here and stay with you even if it takes a week, and I'm going to do it for the exact same reason you came running down here for me—because I love you, and that means that you're worth more to me than a few hours of TV time."
"You only say that because your drugs are starting to kick in. You love everyone now," he teases her.
They sit there for another few minutes, Jess half-dozing against Sam and enjoying the fuzzy, numb feeling replacing the pain in her hand. The doctor comes in again, apologizes for the wait, and lets them know it'll be a little longer, then rushes off to get paperwork for Sam to fill out for his arm.
"Dean hates hospitals."
It takes a second for that to process, for Jess to remember who Dean is and why Sam's whispering. She feels like she should say something, but she doesn't want to risk breaking the spell and knocking Sam over to a different topic.
"He was fine when he was in them himself—well, not fine, they annoyed him, he didn't like being taken care of—but whenever me or dad landed in one, he freaked out. Once, when I was fifteen, dad punctured a lung. He hit some black ice in his truck, spun out, hit a tree, and pushed a rib through it. Almost hit his heart. He was in ICU for about a month. Dean was... a mess." Sam stops, abrupt like the green light in his brain just turned red. "Bobby, Pastor Jim, Caleb, Joshua—everyone said Dean was like that every time I spent the night there."
Jess stays silent. Not because she wants to, but because she can't begin to think of what she could possibly say right now. She tilts her head and risks a glance at Sam; he's got his head bowed and this bashful little smile on his lips. "Whenever—" He pauses and laughs, chewing on his bottom lip before he starts again, whispering like he doesn't want to be overheard. "Whenever I'm in here, I keep expecting him to come bursting in, pissed and worried with security chasing after him. I know it's stupid because it's not—I keep thinking it's gonna happen this time."
Jess lays her head on his shoulder. She says nothing and thinks this might be the longest she's gone without talking since they've met—because there's nothing she can say to make it better.
He gets into the habit of sending her something every time he stops. If it's just to get gas, it's usually a postcard, maybe a candy bar or light-up necklace or something else small like that. If he actually stays the night somewhere, it's bigger, usually something from wherever he is.
He mails a cooler full of foil-wrapped snowballs from Toronto—"Canadian snowball. More polite."
He grabs a box full of volcanic rock from Mt. St. Helens when he swings through Washington, but he doesn't remember to mail it until he gets to Maine. He almost doesn't even send them because there's something about them that creeps him out. He washes them in holy water, salts them, and even lights them on fire just to be extra safe before he mails them out. It's probably just the whole "this killed people and no one could stop it" thing, but better safe than dead.
The next time he and Dad roll through Blue Earth, they're only there a week, as opposed to the months they used to spend there whenever one of them got hurt bad enough to need to rest up. Pastor Jim hugs him extra tight when they leave and packs Dean's entire backseat with real, honest, homemade food. He sends Jess some of everything, baked macaroni and cheese, lutefisk, and about a dozen hotdishes—spam, tater tot, tuna, beef, all the good ones.
She calls him when they arrive fifty bucks and two days later, laughing her ass off. "Did you rob a restaurant?"
In Florida, he sends her a thing of pink dental floss. Look, the package says, a bikini!
He breaks his tailbone on a hunt in Oregon, and the result of that is a big pickle jar full of some protective stuff Dean decided it was better not to ask about. "Just keep it by the door, okay? I promise it's not a jar of puke." At least, he's pretty sure it isn't. Like, ninety, ninety-five percent.
Oklahoma is still just as boring as it was the last time he was there, so he decides to make his own fun this time. Few things are more fun than sitting in the middle of a library and getting a phone call from an irate chick screaming bloody murder because you sent a Strip-O-Gram to her while she was in class.
He seriously didn't think she'd get in trouble for that, though. It's not like she would order herself a stripper to class.
He's pretty sure he crosses the line with the lizard, but fuck, man. She sounded so fucking depressed when he told her Sam was allergic to puppies—dogs. It's not like it was that hard, though. All he had to do was call up a pet store near them and find one that delivered. The hardest part was trying to figure out how to spend a hundred and fifty dollars on shit for a fucking lizard, but it was either that or mail Godzilla—he didn't even have to tell her to name it that—and hope it didn't die before it got there.
Then their birthday rolls around. He doesn't know how he's managed to get this far gone in a month, but holy shit, she's just so much like Sam, and she actually talks to him. It's not his fault. He can't be blamed for it—it's just that he misses Sam, and she's the next best thing to him.
He feels guilty, even though he knows he shouldn't. It's not like he sent her panties or porn or anything like that. That almost makes it worse, though, and he's gotta do something to make it up to them, even if Jess doesn't understand that yet.
A gift card to a steakhouse might not seem very personal or caring, but Sammy always loved when Dad took them out to eat at the fancy places with cloth napkins and no tuna melts. And Jess just likes spending time with Sam, which he knows she doesn't get to do much anymore now that they're paying for a place by themselves.
Maybe that was where he started losing it.
"What do you look like?"
He doesn't answer at first, and she thinks she's scared him off, but then she hears this wet, squishing sound that she hopes is him chewing food. "Why, Jess, I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell you. I know I've got the kind of voice that haunts your dreams, but phone sex while you're dating Sam?"
"Okay, okay, just stop begging. You're embarrassing yourself. But just the once, then it can never happen again."
"You aren't nearly as funny as you think you are."
"I know. I'm even funnier."
"Whatever, you aren't gonna distract me. I can't stop picturing Jack Nicholson when I'm talking to you. It's kind of creepy."
"So you caught that, huh?"
"I go to Stanford. They don't let you in just because you're pretty."
"Well, what can I say abut myself? I'm six-two with the face of an angel and the body of a Greek god."
"So what you're saying is that you're about five-six, maybe five-seven, with a boxer's nose, a hockey player's teeth, and a bowler's body."
"Hey, now, I was being serious. There's no need to be mean."
"Oh, oh, I'm sorry," she says, sarcasm dripping from her voice. "Did I hurt your feelings?"
"I don't know if I can ever forgive you."
"As long as you're hating on me, you should tell me what you really look like."
"I already told you; I'm a fucking hotass. I can't walk down the street without people falling all over themselves just for the chance to get in my eye line."
"You're so modest."
"Humble, too." He pauses, and now she knows he's eating because she can hear some kind of rustle followed by a slurping sound that's probably him draining his drink. "Why don't you tell me what you want me to say, seeing as how your puny mortal mind can't comprehend my massive awesomeness."
"I'll settle for something small. Like if you have any piercings or tattoos. Any scars? Things like that."
"I've got a couple of scars; it comes with the job. No piercings. A couple of tattoos, though, nothing big."
"Really?" Jess perks up. "How many? What are they of?"
"Someone's got an ink kink, huh?"
"I do not! I have tattoos of my own. I'm just interested in what kind of tattoos people have; you can tell a lot about someone by their tattoo choice."
"Yeah, if they've got some Chinese shit on their arm, they're dumb and trusting."
"And if they've got tribal, they were sheep in the nineties."
"Trendy, trying to fit in, a clone."
"Like a lemming."
"Sorry to burst your kinky little bubble there, but all I've got is a Maltese cross on one foot and a Seal of Solomon on the other. No sleeves or huge back pieces or anything."
"The feet? You totally cried like a little girl, didn't you?"
He scoffs, and she can practically see him puffing his chest out. "It's a couple of tiny needle pricks. Those don't hurt."
"That's complete bullshit. My first tattoo was on my ankle, and since it was just skin over bone, it hurt so bad I had to make them stop after the first little heart. So instead of this cool vine-y heart thing I wanted, it's just a random heart."
"You have a tattoo?"
"Three! And not a single butterfly or tramp stamp anywhere."
"You don't look like the kind of chick—girl—who would have tattoos."
"For future reference, if you could try not to remind me that you've been watching me and Sam from the bushes for who knows how long, that would just be really super."
"Got it. But before I start, I think I should tell you that I like that one pink shirt better than the one you have on now. This one makes you look too scrawny."
Jess whirls around, and her eyes go straight to the windows, trying to spot the camera or him lurking outside her window. And then the bastard starts laughing, cackling like some psychotic evil overlord. "You're an ass."
"See? I told you I'm funny."
"No, you're not funny, you're an ass. That was not cool."
"Sure it was. Watching you fall for the same thing over and over is something that doesn't get old."
"Fuck you. And technically, you're just listening."
"Yeah, okay, Sammy. Why don't you go do your homework and put your girlfriend back on the phone?"
"It's natural to pick up speech patterns of people you spend a lot of time with."
"You know what's not natural?"
"I am not like Sam, oh my God. You have the lamest running jokes in the history of the world."
"I don't know. I think calling that crap you listen to 'music' is a pretty lame running joke."
"You weren't even trying that time."
"It's late; I'm too tired to insult you good."
"Or speak proper English."
He grunts, this caveman-like sound, and she has a mental flash to the scowl and gorilla noises Sam makes every time someone mentions any kind of frat, even in passing. She pulls a pebble off the brother side of the scale in her head and tosses it onto the ex-boyfriend side. "English am be stupid."
"That noise you just heard was every English major you've ever even walked past screaming in pain."
"They deserve to be screaming in pain if they majored in English. Who pays a hundred thousand dollars to learn something they already speak?"
They way he says it, so normal and flat, stops her in her tracks. She wants to say that it's a joke—because otherwise, she may very well start crying—but she's just not sure. Sam says things like that, though. Voice deadpan and normal, face completely open as he spouts off random facts about exactly how many square pounds of pressure it takes to decapitate someone.
Sam has a very special sense of humor.
She's given him a tattoo kink.
Not a huge one; it's not like he sits in class and daydreams about sucking on the brightly sleeved arms of the skater in front of him or anything.
Well, not usually.
He's fascinated with her tattoos, though. Not exactly obsessed, but he's pretty close to it. It's the way they contrast with each other, showing how Jess is everything people think she should be—rich, intelligent, gorgeous, completely and utterly used to getting her way—and all this stuff that would never cross anyone's mind—sarcastic, insane, random, fearless, and disgustingly perky at times.
The back of her neck, right below her hairline, is littered with thin and thick-lined stars that vary in size with no particular pattern to them. They rainbow from right to left, starting with a bright, fire engine red and shifting to a deep violet at the far right. He loves kissing them when he's behind her, dragging his teeth right below the ink and biting at the far ends.
Her other one, because Sam doesn't count that little blob of ink on her ankle, is nothing like the stars. The stars are dainty and classy, and they look delicate and nearly fitting when she has her hair up and a nice dress on.
The other one is this big, blue-frosted cupcake with multicolored sprinkles and a burst of green stars behind it. It's not as completely random as it sounds; when they went into the tattoo place, Jess only had a vague idea what she wanted for herself, although of course she knew exactly what she wanted for Sam, right down to where she wanted it.
She took it as a sign when she saw the cupcake right there in the front of the book. "My dad still calls me 'Cupcake.' Don't you see? I'm supposed to get this tattoo. Why else would I have opened this book first?"
He stares at that one constantly. It's perched high on her right shoulder blade, just inside of where her bra strap lays. Sam never loves the California heat more than he does when Jess breaks out her tank tops.
The Feeldoe is the first one they get. It's all fun and good for about two minutes, and then it slips out and decides it just doesn't want to stay in Jess for very long.
They keep it, though. Because Jess loves the way it feels and Sam looks when he deep throats it.
Sam's on his knees in front of her, one hand on her hip and the other holding it in her, making sure it doesn't decide to slide out. Jess has one of her hands on his head, and she's pushing him, urging it deeper down his throat. He's just taking it, so hard and eager for it. It's hitting her just right, and before she knows it, she's coming, toes curling and whole body tingling.
But Sam doesn't stop. Never just satisfied with one, he keeps going until she comes two more times, until she's panting and whimpering, before he slides it out of her.
He's still not done, though, because Jess has the very best boyfriend in the world. She's still pretty sure he actually did porn at some point because nothing else makes sense. He lets her slide down the wall, then carries her to the bed and spreads her out, where he holds her legs down and opens her with his fingers, licking in and around until she can't speak, can't moan, can barely even move.
Sam's very thorough.
Clubs—the kind idiots go in to dance—are, in Dean's opinion, one of the worst ideas ever and probably demonic in origin.
The only reason he's in one right now is because it's a hell of a lot easier to pick up a guy in a gay club than it is at the bars he prefers, and there's much better variety here, too. Besides, it's not like he's looking for someone to have a conversation with.
The whole damned place is giving him a headache already—loud techno "music" thudding out from the walls, bright multicolored lights swirling around and reflecting off of sweat, water, and glitter-covered bodies. Something this horrible could not have been created on Earth.
He tries to keep his annoyance off his face. Guys don't usually want to leave with other guys they think are going to try and bash them out in the parking lot. Dean ignores three invites to dance; dancing is one of those things he only does under threat of immediate death, and even then it's iffy.
Dean knows exactly what he's looking for—a tall, white kid with dark hair in that doofy mushroom cut all the nerds love. Yes, he is aware of exactly how fucking pathetic he is. It's dumb and cliché and probably makes him the star of some really fucked up chick movie, but he doesn't even fucking care.
So he has a type, so what? It's cliché, but it's not a bad cliché if he acknowledges it.
Just as Dean's about to give up and go find a really dykey chick, he spots his target. Even from halfway across the room, he's head and shoulders above everyone else with dark hair just brushing the tops of his ears. Probably a college kid who plays some kind of sport if the muscles and nervous way he keeps looking around are anything to go by.
There's not much talking, just enough to get the point across and get him in the car. It's probably the older brother in him worming its way to the front, but he has this split second where he wants to tell the kid that he really shouldn't get in cars with strangers. For all this kid knows, he could be getting into a car with a serial killer or something.
He doesn't, though, because he would actually like to get laid tonight.
They end up back at Jay's place—Jake? Jace? That's gotta be about a thousand more cliché points right there. It's this small little studio with a bed, a desk, and a basketball sitting right in the middle of this fake Ikea couch halfway into what must be the kitchen.
He's not a great fuck. He talks too much and keeps trying to bite—a big no-no even aside from werewolves and AIDS—but he's better than jerking off alone to fuzzy soft-core back at the motel.
That buildup of idle energy is gone afterwards, and Dean feels better. Well, until his phone rings and Jess's ringer belts out across the room. He really regrets letting her have the number sometimes.
It rings a few more times and almost goes to voicemail before Dean realizes that it's three in the morning for him, which means it's midnight or one for her, long past when she usually calls.
He drops his pants, still mostly inside out, and lunges for his jacket, barking out a sharp, "What's wrong?" into it before it's even open all the way.
"Nothing. Your phone can get pictures, right?"
"Does your phone receive pictures," she says, words drawn and stressed like she's talking to a very small, slow child.
"It's three in the fucking morning, and you're calling me to ask about my fucking phone?"
"Oh, please, you've woke me up plenty of times in the middle of the night for completely random reasons. Phone? Pictures?"
"Yeah, it does."
"Good. I'll call you right back."
"Wait—" But before he can get any further, she hangs up.
The picture arrives a few minutes later. Sam's passed out on his stomach, face slack and smashed sideways into a pillow, hood of his sweatshirt halfway on his head, and thumb planted firmly in his mouth. His fingers are lax, pointer finger caught on the bridge of his nose, curling and obscuring part of his eye.
It's both pathetic and adorable. Pathetic because Sam only sucks his thumb when he's exhausted beyond movement, and adorable because he looks about five years old—which is also pathetic in its own way.
Dean's stomach churns a little, and he chooses not to think about the kid who isn't Sam—guy, the guy—in the bed three feet away from him. He pulls on his pants and shirts, grabs his jacket, and sneaks out as quietly as he can, trying not to wake Jason—Jayden? Jacob?—up as he closes the door.
When he gets to the car, Dean swaps out his black coat for his leather before climbing in, even though it's kind of warm out. He's tired and was planning on pulling over at a truck stop till morning or grabbing a room, but that twitchy feeling is back under his skin again, and his stomach feels like it's trying to eat itself.
Dean puts in Zeppelin and cranks it up, blasts the A/C, and drives in no particular direction, relying on his girl and her familiar rumble all around him to calm him down again.
| Five |