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I Know This Much Is True (PG) Dean, Sam, OFC (gen) - Not a rock, I'm just Ruth
All Me, no apologies
just_ruth
just_ruth
I Know This Much Is True (PG) Dean, Sam, OFC (gen)
Title: I Know This Much Is True
Author: Just Ruth
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: Dean, Sam, OFC
Rating: PG
Disclaimers: Supernatural is the property of Eric Kripe and the CW. Characters/Situations are being borrowed for entertainment purposes only. You think anyone would pay me for this?
Spoilers/Warnings: Pilot, What Is and What Should Never Be, Supernatural Christmas, future fic, AU, 1st Person POV, angst, suicide attempt
Soundtrack: True – Spandau Ballet
Summary: "I went to breakfast with a young man and received a blessing for it"
Symbols: _italics_
Word count: 3598
Notes: The part of the OFC Narrator is played by Linda Blair. (5' 2"), Sam quotes from the Gospel of John (specifically the crucifixion), Paul pulls phrases from the last chapter of Proverbs (OT)
*****

I
A Ticket to the World


"We've asked him to wait until you get here. Please hurry."

I hadn't been so frightened since . . . since they told me two years ago that there had been an accident and my son's heart was so badly damaged that he would die soon unless he received a transplant. He survived. He had been feeling guilty about the young man whose death gave him a new life. They said they thought the stress of his father's cancer had affected him. All I knew was that my son was sitting on the edge of the hospital roof and threatening to jump.

My blessing. My Jimmy Dean. When I was nineteen years old and new to the freedom of college, I went to breakfast with the man who would become my husband and heard a cry coming from the dumpster next to the student union. There in the dumpster was a newborn – less than an hour old – wrapped in a tee shirt with a picture of James Dean on it.

I saved him, washed him, warmed him, fed him, baptized him and told everyone he was mine. My family said I was insane. I stood them down and Jeff stood by me. I told anyone who asked me that I went to breakfast with a young man and received a blessing for it.

Jeff and I married when he was six. A month ago Jeff was diagnosed with cancer. He was still in the hospital: sick and weak from his operation. They wouldn't dare tell him.

I came to the rooftop. It was cold and windy and he was only in a tee shirt. He was sitting on the surrounding edge, with his legs dangling five stories above the parking lot. He looked tired and so sad. Oh, my poor Jimmy Dean.

"Jimmy," I knew I was shaking. The doctors, the EMTs and the bystanders were standing back too far to help me if he decided to slip over. "Jimmy, aren't you cold?"

"It's Dean." He wouldn't look at me. "It's just Dean."

"I know, you've been telling me that since high school. Dean, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Dean."

"Don't be sorry. It's not your fault." His eyes were on the ground below. "This is a dream. I've been in a dream before. If you kill yourself in a dream, you wake up from it."

"Dean, please look at me."

He did. His eyes are hazel as mine, but his are more green than brown and mine are more brown than green. His jaw clenched. "You're not my mother."

"No." I agreed. "I didn't give birth to you."

"You didn't find me in a dumpster either. You didn't exist until just recently."

"Dean."

"I don't expect you to understand."

"Listen to me!" I snapped. "Just listen to me."

I sat down next to him, but I kept my legs inside the ledge. He was looking out from the roof. I was looking in, towards the watching crowd. I hate heights. He knew that once.

"I had a dream about a month ago. In that dream, I never found a child when I was nineteen. I lived, I worked, I married Jeff and I never had a son."

"Jeff was diagnosed with cancer. I was able to get a ride from a friend to stay with him in the hospital. I did this alone. It was very early, so I went down to the cafeteria for breakfast. On the way there, there was a young man in one of the waiting rooms. He looked so alone, so very sad. I went over to him and asked him if he was all right.

"I'm fine," he said. "It's my brother. . ."

"I'm sorry," I said. "My husband is in here too. He's got cancer."

"Oh, I'm sorry," he said. I sat with him for awhile and we talked. I don't remember what we talked about, but I remember he had a wonderful laugh."

"Yes." Dean whispered. "He does."

"He said to me, "You are so strong."

"I retorted, "I'm putting one foot in front of the other. That's not strength. That's having no other alternative."

"How little you know of yourself." He said that in a way that seemed strange, but he smiled and I thought I imagined it.

"I told him I was going to breakfast. I asked him if he'd join me. He said he had no money, but I said it would be my treat and he called me kind."

"While we were eating, he started to cough. I ran to his side and tried to help him sit up. It must have looked absurd because he was so tall. He smiled and his smile was strange and his eyes. . . his eyes were golden as a lion's or a dragon's. "Yes. You'll do." He said."

"And then I was. . .somewhere else. Somewhere dark and frightening. There was a table in front of me, but it looked like it was made of stone. There was a man on it. He was shacked to it by his wrists and his ankles. He looked up when we came to him and he said a name."

"Sam," Dean whispered.

"I asked what was happening. He. . .Sam said I would understand soon. He turned to the man on the table and he said "I told you I would prepare a place for you." Then he touched the other man's mouth with a finger and said in a strange, echoing voice. "You will not open your mouth until I tell you to."

"Then he laid his hand on his chest and the skin – it was as if his touch was breaking it open and healing it into scar tissue just. . . just like the scar from your operation. Oh, the noise -- the horrible, horrible noise the man on the table made. He couldn't open his mouth to scream."

Dean nodded his head and gave a tiny sob.

"I cried for him to stop. I asked him what he was doing, why he was doing this? I finally couldn't stand it and pulled his hand away. I put myself between him and the man on the table and told him to stop. To stop."

"He smiled again. It was an ugly smile. "You see?" he said. "She doesn't even know you and she's fighting for you."

And the man on the table just shook his head and made another tortured sound. He was begging for something. He looked at me and shook his head _no_. I tried to soothe him, but he kept shaking his head no."

"You passed." That. . . Sam said to me. "You passed the test."

"Test?" I didn't understand.

"Yes." He nodded. "And you win the grand prize."

"Look at me, both of you." His voice had that echo again. I looked at him, into those awful golden eyes. I couldn't look away. "Woman," he said with that ugly smile, "behold your son." He reached out and tapped the lips of the man on the table. "Son, behold your mother. Speak to her when you are together."

"No," Dean whispered next to me. "No."

"And everything changed," I continued. "And I was helping my son to sit up because he was coughing and couldn't catch his breath. People were chuckling because he's taller than me by almost a foot." Dean turned away from me. His eyes were closed as he sat with his feet dangling.

"Whose dream is this Dean? Is it yours? Is it mine? Is it _his_? He quoted one of the Gospels but what is he?"

"He was my brother," he finally said. "He wanted me safe, he said. Out of his way, is what he meant."

"I don't know anything anymore," I shook my head. "I can't stop you. I'm not strong enough to stop you if you really want to jump. I just. . . I love you. I'm going to let you make your choice. I hope you want to come back. Come home."

I stood up. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I made myself walk away. Three steps. Five steps. I couldn't bring myself to look back. If he chose to wake himself from his dream – would it all go back to before I met that young man I bought breakfast for? Or would I be burying the body of my son? People kept saying how strong I was; I'm a willow, I bend. If my Jimmy Dean died I would break.

Then I saw him. Dean called him Sam. I have no name for him. Devil. Demon. Monster. He was standing just behind the crowd.

Testing me again? Fine. If you love something you let it go. You have to trust them. It's cliché, but it's true. Do you want to see me crumble? My heart hurts so much I can barely breathe. My eyes are blurring because I'm crying. Are you happy now? Enjoy it. Damn you.

He smiled the smile of that young man in the waiting room, and vanished.

"Momma?" Dean called. I turned. He had swung his legs back to the roof. He was standing up.

I couldn't move. I could only stand until he was within reach and then I grabbed him and hugged him tight and tighter. He was crying.

"Take me home," he said.

At home; washed and fed and on the couch. He was wrapped in a sweater and a crocheted afghan to get warm again. I sat next to him. I had to have him within arm's length after coming so close to losing him.

"Do you think I passed?" I asked.

"Passed?" He frowned at me. "What do you mean?"

"He was there. Your . . . Sam -- he was there, watching. He was testing me again, wasn't he? Seeing if I loved you enough to let you go."

"You?" He shook his head. "Oh, God, Momma, I don't think he gives a rat's ass about you anymore. No. He was testing _me_. I told him. I told him no matter what scenario he put me in I'd find a way to get out of it. To wake up from whatever dream world he put me in."

"And I couldn't do it. I couldn't hurt you. You're real. This isn't a dream. He's created a whole new reality. You _are_ my mother and I can't hurt you."

"I was the one being tested and . . . and I failed."

I put my arms around him and hugged him close again. I was afraid to let him go.


II
Slipping Through My Hands

The streets of New Orleans were horribly crowded. I had never been among so many people in my life. I clung to Jeff's hand as we struggled to the hotel. A year ago my husband had been in the hospital and my son had nearly killed himself.

Dean was a different person now. He seemed to be happier. People on the balcony were calling for people in the crowd to flash them for beads.

"You want boobs, here they are!" And Dean yanked his tee shirt up to his armpits. Girls on the balcony whooped and pelted us with cheap necklaces.

"Dean!" I swatted his hands and yanked his shirt down. I was enthusiastically booed.

"Your blessing's more like a booby prize tonight." Jeff said dryly. He was turning pale. I turned, but Dean had seen his face and he moved to catch Jeff's arm. He pulled us along through the crowd until we were safe in the hotel.

"Dear God." I collapsed on the couch. We were in a small suite off the main street. If we wanted to see another parade tonight, we'd have to go back into that crush.

"Are you sure you can afford this?" I had demanded when Dean announced he was taking us to New Orleans. We were celebrating his birthday -- January 24 -- the day I found him crying in the college dumpster.

"I'm sure," he said. He had been working for a classic car restoration service. "It'll be fine."

I wondered if it was completely the truth. He and I are the only ones that seemed to know that this world; this life wasn't entirely real. You see – Dean has a brother. _Had_ a brother, he says bitterly, but I wonder if he really means that.

Sam is. . . I'm not sure what. His eyes are as golden as a lion's or a dragon's but he came to me as a very personable young man that I bought breakfast for. I bought him breakfast and he dovetailed Dean into my life as a "prize."

Dean says it was another reality. He's done computer searches. He's looked for people he knew and discovered they never existed. He's been looking for other things too. I suspect he's still seeking a way back to his world.

Jeff lay down to rest. I checked to see that he was all right.

I came back out to Dean. He was putting on his jacket.

"I love you, Momma," he said quietly and I knew.

"You've found a way."

"I'm pretty sure. I think it'll be a way that won't hurt you. I 'm pretty sure." He put his bead necklaces around my neck.

I reached up and put my hands on either side of his face. "You are a blessing to what ever world you are in. Remember that, Dean. You are a blessing."

He let me pull his head down for me to kiss his forehead. I let him go. I looked out over the dark roofs as the door closed. . . .

I started awake in the cafeteria at the hospital. I shook my head and took a gulp of my now cold and bitter coffee. I had to have been more tired than I thought I was. I had dozed off in the hospital.

What a strange dream.

There was something around my neck. It was an odd pendant on a long black cord. Some sort of horned mask; it felt heavy for its size.

I had never seen it before.

I let it fall and got myself more coffee.


III.
This Is The Sound of My Soul


Jeff was sleeping. The surgery had gone well, they said. They would have the tests back by morning. The surgeon was hopeful that he had gotten everything.

I went down to the chapel to say a prayer of thanks. The air went chill as soon as I knelt down and the lights flickered. Next thing I knew a massive hand was yanking me to my feet. It was him. Sam. His eyes were yellow as flame and anger radiated from him.

We were . . . somewhere else. I knew this smoky darkness. This was where he had tortured Dean in front of me to "test" me. There was the stone table. There was a black-handled knife resting on it.

Dean was standing next to the table, bare to the waist. He was pale and shaking.

"All you had to do was stay put." Sam growled. His hand was a steel clamp on my arm. "Just once you could do what _I_ told you – but you couldn't. You just couldn't."

"Sam, leave her out of this." He looked at me quickly, painfully. "This has nothing to do with her."

"You're right. It didn't. But it does now and it's all _your_ fault."

"No, it isn't." My voice was hoarse. "It's yours."

"What?" The blaze of his eyes dimmed and he looked confused.

I faced him. I was scared but I was also angry. "It's your fault! You involved me! Dean made his choice and it wasn't what you wanted. So you used _me_ to try to force him to do what you wanted. Whatever happens to me is _your_ fault."

His other hand shot up as if he was going to slap me.

"No!" Dean cried and jumped in front of me. "Leave her alone."

His eyes blazed yellow again. The blow threw Dean across the table. Sam made another gesture and the black knife flew to his hand.

"No!" Dean shouted, scrambling to his feet, his mouth bloody. "Sam, no!"

"It's your choice," he hissed. The point of the knife just touched my throat. Other metal would have felt cold. This was hot, almost painfully so. I saw the look in Dean's eyes. He was about to give in, for me.

"No, it's mine!" I cried, grabbing Sam's hand. I threw myself forward on the blade.

It. . .hurt. I fell down with the pain radiating down my arms; my legs. I couldn't stop them from thrashing. I couldn't breathe. Everything was fading into black and on the edge of it I heard their voices.

"Do something!" Dean screamed. "Fix it!"

"I don't know how. . ."

A quiet third voice said, "let me help."

Silence.

Nothing.

I started awake in the hospital cafeteria.

"Mrs. Browning, are you all right?" quietly asked the young man I'd been having breakfast with. He was blond, with a short reddish beard and brilliant sapphire eyes. He wore a hooded sweatshirt for the Divinity school, jeans and sneakers. I'd met him in the chapel when they took Jeff in for surgery.

"Oh, Paul, I'm so sorry," I shook my head and took a gulp of my now cold and bitter coffee. "I must have been more tired than I thought."

"I'm not surprised." He reached across the table and put his hand gently on my wrist. "You've come to the end of your strength, but it will be renewed."

"Thank you, Paul." I sighed.

"I have to be going." He stood up and collected his tray and mine. "Bless you, Mrs. Browning, may those who know you put your worth far above rubies and may your sons and your daughters rise up and call you blessed." He made the sign of the cross above my head.

I smiled as he left. I headed for the ladies room to rinse my face. I finished and stepped out.

The boys were outside the cafeteria.

"I don't know, Dean," Sam said. "This _is_ Aunt Roxy you're talking about."

"Oh, I can handle _her_, no problem." Dean gave a cocky shrug. I was right behind him and I saw Sam's eyes widen slightly.

_When Mary Winchester died, I was in the middle of getting a divorce from her brother Frank. She hadn't changed her will and that meant I was one of her preferences for taking care of her boys if something happened to her and John. Everyone said John was talking crazy and they were worried about the kids so I went with a copy of Mary's will to the judge and obtained legal custody. Before I could serve the papers, John disappeared with the boys. Frank married his upwardly mobile bimbo and didn't seem to give a damn about his former family.

It took me eight years to track John down. Anyone else might have given up. I found the boys on Christmas Day, 1991; all alone in a crummy motel room in Nebraska. John had been gone for days and Dean had stolen presents from a house down the street. I dragged them into my car and was back in Lawrence before John even bothered to come looking for them. We had a knock-down drag out shouting match in front of the boys. I refused to back down. He left and never came back._

_ When Sam got his full ride to Stamford, we packed up and moved to California where I met Jeff. He was a rare man that was willing to go from single to "party of four." Jeff worked part time as a classic car mechanic and the other time as a hunter of things best left in the dark. It was something John had done and little as I liked it, Dean was quick to volunteer to help him. We'd been together for four years. Sam had done very well and on Monday had an interview for a full scholarship to Graduate School._

Whatever Jeff had been hunting in Jericho had put him in the hospital._

"Oh, really?" I said. "And just _what_ are you going to be "handling" me about?"

Dean jumped into the air and spun around his eyes wide. He looked like a guilty little kid for an instant. Sam smirked. I found myself looking into his eyes. They were the warm greenish blue they'd always been. I wasn't sure why I was expecting them to look different.

"Well?" I folded my arms and waited.

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Comments
arliss From: arliss Date: February 9th, 2008 05:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, if you've figured out a way to keep Sam from being evil, that's a positive in my book. I like the shape of your story, but the progression's a little obscure. I'd be interested to see where this goes, if you continue with it.

just_ruth From: just_ruth Date: February 9th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
The progression is surreal - I don't know why it wrote itself like that. As to continuing - its one of those things I don't know if I should. The time line has snapped from future to back to pre-pilot and if I go from here, I'd only be re-writing episodes of the series (not all - some stand on there own without Roxy stepping in) and I'd be afraid of being accused of "Mary Sue."
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