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"Baby Steps" (SPN, PG13)

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Feb. 10th, 2007 | 03:26 pm
location: Flagstaff, AZ
mood: hungryhungry
music: Def Deppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me

Title: Baby Steps
Author: Britani Gael (rocknload)
Fandom: Supernatural
Rating: PG13
Characters: Dean, Sam, John
Words: 4075
Summary: Pre-series; fourteen years old, Sam gets to tag along on his first mission -- whether he wants to go or not.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my mother, and the music, I have fallen absolutely in love with this show. This is my first attempt at playing with the boys, so forgive me trying to nail down their characters.

“I don’t want to go.”

Dean looked at his brother – already well over six feet tall, but still way too young to pull off that sulky glare – and then he glanced in the other direction, towards the rusty cemetery gate not ten yards awy. He looked back at Sam. “You picked a hell of a time to start voicing your complaints.”

“I mean it, Dean.”

He slammed the truck of the Impala shut and tossed Sam the shotgun, which the kid caught and nearly dropped. Dean chuckled and shook his head. “Yeah,” he said. “I’ll bet you do.”

Sam followed him as he walked around the car. “I’ve got stuff to do, Dean. I’ve got homework. It’s not like the two of you need me here and—”

“You got a problem, you can take it up with Dad. Not with me.”

Sam resumed his stony, sulky glare, and upped the ante with a stony, sulky silence. Dean checked his pockets to make sure he’d brought enough ammo clips and tried to remember a time when he brother hadn’t been a teenager. He was pretty sure he’d liked him better back then.

“Dean! Sam!” That was Dad, he’d already stormed the graveyard. It was time to go.

“You know how to handle a shotgun, Sammy,” Dead said, sliding the box of rock salt shells across the hood of the car. “You just stand back and let Dad do his thing, and you’ll be back him in time to finish off that whole textbook, if that’s what you want.”

Sam sighed, and shoved the box into his jacket pocket. “What kind of monster are we dealing with, anyway?”

“Not a monster, it’s a ghost.”

“Same difference.”

“Don’t let Dad catch you saying that.”

Dean!” That was the tone in their dad’s voice that said there would be no more bullshit.

“Be right there, Dad!” He swung his backpack onto his shoulder and started towards the gate, moving with purpose. “Let’s go.”

Sam followed. “C’mon, man, what is it? Don’t I even get to know what we’re up against?”

You didn’t ask, is what Dean wanted to say, but instead he gave the straight answer: “It scares you. To death.” He spoke with a sardonic grin, watching his brother for his reaction. “You know, like that one guy said? You only gotta be scared of fear itself? Who said that?”

Sam rolled his eyes.

They picked their pace up to a jog, and by the time they hit the gate they were full out running. Dean scaled it easily, flipping over the top and hitting the ground in a crouch. He landed just in time to see Sam scramble over with significantly less ease, and almost face planting in the process.

“Shit,” Sam muttered.

Dean chuckled. “Guess it’s gonna take some time to grow into those long legs of yours.”

“Shut up.” Sam brushed off the front of his shirt even though it wasn’t dirty, like he was trying to take off the clumsiness, and then he dropped his perpetual scowl to give Dean a questioning look. “Hey, how come you never went for track or anything? You would’ve been good at it.”

“Don’t know,” Dean said, and shrugged. “I had better stuff to do than school.”

DEAN!” And that tone was definitely a final warning.

“We’re here, Dad, we’re here,” Dean called, and he was jogging again, across the graveyard.

John Winchester was standing by an old, crooked headstone that had the name Sarah Jean Masters carved into it, looking more than pissed off – which was what Dean expected, after keeping him waiting that long. “Sorry, Dad,” he said, as Sam pulled up beside him. “Me and Sam were just—”

“Boys,” John said, cutting him off. Dean recognized that this was the start of a lecture, and was more for Sam’s benefit than anything else. “What we’re dealing with here is nothing special, just your garden variety angry spirit.”

Both brothers nodded.

“It’s killed a couple people, but it’s not going to get anyone else, especially not tonight. What we’re doing might draw it here, but if we work quickly – Sam, are you listening?”

Probably not, since it was all things he’d heard already, over and over again, but he still straightened up. “Yes, sir.”

“Good,” John said. “The salt will hurt it, but burning the bones is the only thing that will kill it.” He glanced at Dean. “You have the lighter and the fluid?”

“Of course,” Dean answered, patting the backpack dangling off his shoulder. “And the salt and stuff, too.”

John nodded. “Let’s get to work, then. We don’t have much time.” He didn’t think the ghost would show up – he’d told Dean that already, or else he would’ve left Sam at home – but this cemetery was still in use, still properly maintained. The lamps along the paths were going to help with the work, but they greatly increased the odds of being seen.

“Now what?” Sam asked, and he looked surprised to suddenly have a shovel in his hands.

Dean accepted his shovel. He knew if he groaned he’d be a bad example to Sam, so he managed to bite it back. “Now’s the fun part,” Dean said.

“Now,” their father said, “you guys are going to dig.”

This sucks.

It was harder than it sounded, digging six feet straight down into packed dirt. After three hours of this work, they were standing in a hole as deep as their shoulders, Sam’s back hurt like a bitch, his arms burned, and even his blisters were getting blisters.

Dean was still digging like a robot, at exactly the same speed he’d started. It was kind of creepy, thinking about how many times his brother had dug up a grave.

Sam wiped the beads of sweat off his forehead. “Can we take a break?” he asked.

“You should know better than that,” Dean answered, stilling keeping up with that robotic motion: shovel into the ground, dirt over the shoulder. “No rest for the wicked.”

They both kept digging.

It was about fifteen minutes later when Sam’s shovel hit something new, something that made a hollow thunk, and he’d seen enough late night horror flicks to know that that meant. “Hey, I think I’ve got something.”

Dean stabbed his shovel into the same spot; again, the thunk. “Looks like Sammy hit pay dirt.” Dean looked up. “Dad?”

John nodded. “You boys take a second to catch your breath.”

As if he’d been waiting for the cue, Dean dropped his shovel and hauled himself up out of the grave. Now that he was standing in the light he looked pretty ridiculous, covered in a heavy coat of dirt from head to toe.

He turned around and offered Sam a hand up.

Sam waved it off. “I can get out on my own, thanks.”

Dean shrugged, and then he sat down, watching. “It’s harder than it looks.”

Sam’s first attempt proved Dean right; the edge of the hole crumbled as he grabbed it, and he tumbled right back into the pit. He swore, and he swore about louder when Dean started laughing.

“What’d I tell you,” his brother said, offering his hand again.

This time, Sam took it.

Dean pulled him out, and they both took a seat, dangling their feet in the grave. Sam swung his legs, staring down. He felt a little proud of himself, stupid at that sounded. How many kids could say they got to dig up a body on a school night?

God, he was screwed up.

He glanced over at his brother. Dean was obviously used to this, and he didn’t even look tired. Dirty, yeah, but he wasn’t even breathing hard. He just looked bored. The break Dean had asked for hadn’t been for himself, he was fine. It’d been for Sam.

The tiny bit of pride he’d felt evaporated.

John crouched next to the grave, and jumped down into it. He’d let Sam and Dean do all the digging so far, but now he picked up one of the shovels and starting scraping the dirt off the coffin lid.

His motions were even more mechanical that Dean’s. They were both practiced at this. At digging up corpses to set them on fire.

“What’s the matter?” Dean said, clapping Sam on the shoulder. “Thought you’d be happy to get to this part.”

“What part?” Sam asked.

“The let’s-torch-this-mother-and-get-ourselves-home part.”

Same made a noncommittal noise.

Dean sighed through his teeth. “Damnit, Sammy, what the hell is your problem?”

“What?” Sam asked. The confusion in his tone wasn’t faked.

“You’re acting like a brat.”

“I am not.”

“I don’t even get why you’re so angry. You’re pissed off you’ve gotta come, you’re pissed off we’re here, you’re pissed off we’re about to finish – which is it?”

“You don’t even know—”

“Stop bickering, both of you,” John snapped. “We’re not done here, yet.”

That probably meant he wanted them to drop back into the grave and finish uncovering the coffin, but for a moment both brothers kept sitting there fuming.

John’s head snapped up, and he looked like he was about to snap, probably keep the both of them under house arrest until he’d forgotten what he’d grounded them for – and that’s when Sam saw it.

It was over his father’s head, maybe a couple hundred yards back, maybe further. It was hard to judge, because he wasn’t sure what he saw.

He leaned towards Dean. “Did you see that?” he asked.

Dean frowned. “See what?”

“See what?” John repeated, about twice as harsh as Dean had said it, and Sam wished he hadn’t seen anything at all.

He pointed. “I saw something moving, or flashing, or something. Right back there.” He pointed.

“I didn’t see anything,” Dean said, quickly and loudly.

“Gee, thanks,” Sam muttered.

John looked over his shoulder, but he wasn’t going to see anything because there wasn’t anything there anymore. Maybe he’d ducked behind a headstone or just disappeared, or maybe he was seeing things.

“I’ll check it out,” Sam said.

Dean immediately stood. “No, I’ll—”

Sam bristled, but before he could snap back a retort his father was speaking for him. “Sam can check it out,” John said.

The shotgun was sitting right next to Sam, he picked it up and stood. “I’ll be right—”

But John interrupted him, too. “You see anything that looks wrong, you call for help, you hear me?”

Sam deflated slightly but didn’t show it, or he tried not to, anyway. “I’ll be fine!”

Dean gave Dad a look, and Dad gave it right back. Sam wanted to yell at both of them that he wasn’t some stupid kid, but whining about them thinking he was just a brat wouldn’t help his cause. Besides, Dean had been right, at least a little.

Maybe he had been acting kind of like a brat.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, shouldering the shotgun, and then he started walking.

“Why’d you let him go off by himself?” Dean asked, not even bothering to keep his voice down or wait until Sam couldn’t hear him.

Dad’s answer came back faintly. “He’ll have to learn these things eventually, better when we’re both right…”

And then they were finally out of earshot.

He picked his way between the headstones, sweeping his eyes back and forth. It took only a minute to reach the spot where he’d thought he’d seen the whatever, and he peered behind the headstones. Nothing.

Figured. If Dad really thought there’d be something here, he would’ve sent Dean.

“Do you know?”

Sam spun hard, swinging the shotgun to point it straight at a young blonde in a red sundress.

“Do you know?” she asked.

She was pretty. She was really pretty, almost the same age as him, and she looked completely solid – he knew she’d be like that, he’d seen ghosts before, but he’d never seen a ghost that looked this real to him.

“Do you know?” she asked. Dad said ghosts liked to repeat themselves a lot. “Do you know what they did to me?”

“Um, no, not really,” he said, taking a step back, but the shotgun was already coming down, he was lowering it without even thinking.

She kept coming towards him, walking slowly, her hair blowing back even though there wasn’t any wind. “They took me,” she said. “I was walking down the street to school and they grabbed me, they dragged me into their car.”

Sam swallowed.

“I think people were watching. I think someone saw.” She kept walking towards him, almost close enough to touch. “But it doesn’t matter. They didn’t do anything. They didn’t do anything at all.”

The shotgun slipped out of his hands.

He didn't know what was happening, because Dad had never told him about anything like this. She took a few steps closer and she leaned right up against him, and he wasn’t even trying to get away.

And it wasn’t because she was pretty, either.

“You know what?” she whispered, right in his ear. “I was scared. I was so so scared.”

He tried to push her off, his hands on her chest, but no matter how hard he shoved it didn’t make a difference. He might as well have been going right through her. “I’m—I’m sorry!”

She reached up, carefully brushed his bangs off his face. “You’re not sorry,” she said. “You’re not sorry yet.”

He knew that he was supposed to call out for help, for Dad or Dean – he should’ve done it a long time ago, actually. But he knew he couldn’t talk, his breath was stuck in his chest. He was suffocating, he couldn’t breathe, and she put her hand on his forehead.

“You’ll know how I felt,” she said.

And after that, feeling was just about all he could do.

Dean had decided a long time ago that this was the suckiest part of the job – it was the easiest way of getting rid of a ghost, sure, but it was hard work. They also risked getting caught by the human element, and there was no cover story that didn’t end in people thinking the Winchesters were sick freaks.

Not that Dean cared much about what other people thought, but it was irritating as hell.

Now they were hunched over the coffin, clearing the last of the dirt off, and Dean thought it’d been a neat trick, how Sam had gotten out of this.

“What’s taking your brother so long?” John asked.

“Sam?” Dean stood up and peered into the night, barely able to make out the figure. What the hell was he doing all the way over there? “It looks like he’s… talking to someone, but I don’t see—shit.”

He dropped the shovel.

“Dean, hold on!”

He pulled himself out of the grave, stopping only to snatch the backpack he’d filled with ghost fighting crap. He could kind of hear his father’s voice, either the real thing of the voice in his head. Times like this, they were both saying pretty much the same thing: hold up, Dean, keep your head.

He after his brother. “Sam!”

It only took a minute, and when he got there Sam was just standing there, perfectly normal, perfectly fine. Great. Dean had overreacted and made an idiot of himself. “Sam?” he asked. “What’d you see?”

His brother didn’t turn around, or acknowledge that he’d heard a word. Dean felt goose bumps coming up on his arm, and he reached up to grab Sam by the shoulder. “Sammy, you’re freaking me out. What—”

Sam turned, and the look on his face stopped Dean short.

“Dude, are you crying?”

Sam jerked away, taking a few stumbling steps. He didn’t even seem to know Dean was there.

“Dad! Could use a little help, here!”

Sam was clutching at his head, raking his fingers through his hair; the only sound he was making was a low whine from the back of his throat. His movements were becoming more jarring, more violent, he was ripping out hair, his fingers were coming away with blood on them.

“Sam!” Dean shouted, right in his brother’s face. But Sam’s eyes were blank, streaming tears, and Dean knew he wasn’t getting through. “Dad, I need your help!”

Sam made a sound like he was choking, and sank down to his knees.

Sam!” He grabbed Sam’s shoulders, following him down to the ground. He shook him hard, but that didn’t do anything except make Sam’s head rock back and forth on his neck. “DAD!”

Sam’s eyes rolled back into his skull and he flopped onto his back.

“Sam, Sammy, you’ve gotta listen to me! I can’t help you, I can’t—”

Something dragged Dean away. It grabbed him by the arm and hauled him back, too strong to resist. He was sure it was the ghost, and now this was it, he was going to get mind-fucked too. “Let me go, you song of a—”


The voice – the tone – snapped him back to his senses, and he realized he was looking at his father.

He scrambled to stand, painfully away of Sam at his feet. “Dad, what do we do? What do we—”

“Where is it?”

“It’s in him or something, it’s killing him!”

John grabbed him by the shoulders, same as Dean had done to Sam just a second ago. “We can’t help him this way!”

It seemed to take forever, but it probably didn’t, even if you were measuring time in choking gasps from the ground. Then the realization hit him, and he started patting down his pockets. “The lighter,” he said, numbly. “You need to burn the bones.”

He was looking in places twice, three times. He checked his front pockets, back pockets, shirt pocket, and he started over again, moving faster every time.

“Dean, pull yourself together and—”

“I can’t find it!” He dropped to the ground, crawling over Sam, reaching for the backpack he knew he’d dropped somewhere around here. He found it a few feet away, pulled it into his lap and started going through the pockets.

His hands were shaking so bad he could barely work the zippers.


“I’ve got it!” He pulled out the lighter and the bottle of lighter fluid too, and held them out to his father, who snatched both out of his hands and took off, back towards the grave.

“Stay with your brother!”

“Ye—yes, sir.” Not like he needed to be told that twice.

He crawled back to his brother, who was shaking way worse than Dean was, more like convulsing. He was hyperventilating, too. His hands kept creeping up towards his face, and Dean got the horrible idea that maybe he’d try to pull out more hair or put out his eyes or something, so he grabbed Sam’s wrists and held them down.

“Sam, please, just snap out of it.”

But he wouldn’t, even if his motions were getting a whole lot weaker.


And then he went still.


Dean’s fingers found Sam’s neck, and at the same time he jerked his head around. He could see his dad in the distance, staring down into the grave, his face lit up by the orange flickering flames. And he could feel Sam’s pulse, going like a jackhammer but still going strong.

Dean sighed, and sat back on his heels.

Dean!” John shouted, and that was the tone that meant he was so furious he could hardly speak.

Dean knew what was coming.

He kept his head down as his dad strode over, because he could see the anger in the way the man was walking. Dean had fucked up, he’d fucked up maybe worse than he ever had before, and he knew he deserved what he was going to get.

But if he was going to get a word in, himself, now was the time.

“Dad?” he asked, just as his father reached him, just as he heard John suck in a big breath. “Is Sammy going to be okay?”

Whatever John had planned on saying, that just about killed it. He let all that air out in a heavy sign, and then he crouched next to Dean. He checked Sammy’s pulse, heard him breathing, shook him a little, and then just let his hand rest on the side of Sammy’s face. “Your brother’s going to be fine.”

Dean looked at the ground. “No thanks to me.”

“We’ll talk about that later.”

They carried Sam back to the car together, which was hard because he was taller than both of them. At least he was skinny. Dean waited there with him while John cleaned up from the job, leaving the grave like it was but grabbing their stuff.

Dean watched him go and come back, listened to Sam in the back breathing like he was sleeping.

When John got in the car, he slammed the door hard.

Dean groaned. “Is it later already?”

Sam’s first thought was that he felt like he’d been run over by a truck.

His next thought was he had no idea where he was, but that was a feeling he was used to. A quick glance around reminded him that this was the latest crap motel room, the one they’d been at for weeks. He sat up slowly, expecting it to hurt, and it did.

Most of the pain was in his head, though, weirdly enough.

Dean was sitting in an armchair across from the bed with his arms crossed, watching him.

“What are you doing here?” Sam asked.

Dean scowled. “Not like I’ve got a choice. We’re grounded. No leaving the room, and if we try and watch the television Dad says he’ll bust it.”

“Grounded?” Sam couldn’t think of a single thing he’d done to deserve grounded, so he thought maybe Dean had done something bad enough to get them both in trouble. “For what?”

“For what,” Dean mimicked, rolling his eyes. “For screwing the job up so bad, that’s why.”

The job.

“Oh, man.” Bits and pieces were coming back – the arguing, the digging, the girl and her dress, and suddenly he felt kind of cold. He lay back down on the bed. “Crap,” he said.


Sam pulled the blanket up around his neck.

Dean gave him a funny look. “What’s the matter?”


“You know,” Dean started, after a really long silence, and that probably meant that he was trying to ease onto a topic that made him uncomfortable. “You had me and Dad kind of worried.”

“I don’t remember very much.”

“Really worried, I mean.”

“Yeah, Dean, I get it. I’m sorry.” Sam knew his brother was trying to say something in convoluted Dean-speak, but he was too tired to try and figure it out. “I’m hungry.”

“Want a soda?” Dean asked. “We’ve got Mountain Dew and Diet Pepsi.”

“No food?”

“Dad’s coming back with some KFC.”

“Pepsi’s fine.”

Dean crossed the room to the mini-fridge, grabbed a Pepsi for Sam and a Dew for himself.



“Is it always going to be like that?”

“Is what always going to be like how?” He tossed Sam his soda, because he was an asshole like that, and now Sam couldn’t take a drink without getting Pepsi all over his face.

So he tapped on the top of the can with his fingernail. “Hunting. Is it always going to be like that?”

“Oh, hell no.” He was standing by the window now, peering out through the blinds like some kind of criminal.

“Why not?”

“Because if you give me another heart attack like that, I’ll kill you.” He snapped the blinds shut. “C’mon, I think we can get away with some TV. Just listen out for Dad.”

“I don’t think—”

Dean sat down next to him. “Scoot over.”

“Who invited you?” Sam snapped back, full of pretend indignation. “I was here first!”

Dean made a big show of sighing, and then he leaned over and shoved Sam right off the edge of the bed, onto the floor.

Sam did the only thing he could do, to save his pride. He shook up his Pepsi and opened the can – right in Dean’s face.

And it was a good thing that they’d forgotten to turn the television on, because in the noisy chaos that followed, they never heard their dad coming.

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Comments {4}


(no subject)

from: culturegeek76
date: Feb. 11th, 2007 05:53 am (UTC)

He shook up the can and sprayed it in his brother's face?! That's genius - why didn't I think of such clever things as a poor defenceless younger sibling when my big bad bro was chasing me?

Sheer brilliance.

I love it, Dean's got to be at least 18 and he's still getting grounded. I like your John - he's a hard ass. And when you described his angry voice and walk, I knew exactly what you meant.

Are you going to follow this up with what happens next?

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(no subject)

from: rocknload
date: Feb. 11th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)

Eheh, I was the oldest sibling, and once my younger brother did pour some soda on me. It wasn't a pleasant experience, I can sympathize with Dean, here. ^^;;

John's character was the one I was most worried about, I have to admit, out of all the family I get him the least. He's scary obsessive like Sam but scary capable like Dean, but still a good guy! -- it hard to strike that balance.

Aw, it's late and I'm rambling. What I meant to say was, thanks for the comment~

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(no subject)

from: rocknload
date: Feb. 12th, 2007 06:34 pm (UTC)

Thank you~!

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