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therapeutic thump

i like your moxie, sassafras!

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SPN Fic: "Big" (PG, gen) - birthday fic for femmenerd!
the arch of the eyebrows gives it away
Happy birthday to femmenerd, who is adorable. Honey, for you, a little Sam ficlet. Pre-series (Sam's 15), gen, PG. (Thanks to the lovely janissa11 who actually worried about the thickness of my skin when she was giving me constructive criticism.)

Dalton, Wyoming hadn't been the site of any particularly nasty hunts, and all three of them had managed to go six months in that town without needing to be hospitalized. Sam couldn't even remember having to get the first aid kit out more than a few times - things always got messy when rituals or spellwork was involved, but when it just came down to strength and speed and stamina, he and Dad and Dean were pretty tough to beat.

Still, though, he was glad to leave, even sang along to Dean's music as they packed up the apartment that always smelled faintly of mildew. They had to drive by the school on their way out of town, and for the first time he didn't wave goodbye, even though Dean had carefully turned to Dad and struck up a conversation just then. No way was he waving to the place that knew him as "Pudge" and "Doughboy," even though the weight was dropping off as he started to grow.


The new place is, like always, a sty. Cold, too, and he can either wear sweatshirts all the time or shiver uncontrollably. Dean fixes the heater, but the windows aren't sealed or something, and there are still drafts all the time. He keeps a blanket pulled over his legs when he reads, enjoying the silence.

The first time he sees himself in the mirror without all those layers, it's when he's stepping out of the shower. He doesn't recognize his reflection - no more little rolls of fat, just smooth skin dotted with moles. He cleans the steam off the mirror and looks again. The same shock hits him every morning, though it does grow fainter with time.


Kaspaw, New Hampshire is the place where he discovers a way to astonish both Dad and Dean. He just gets hungry, feels like he is starving even after he's eaten half a meatloaf. Doesn't seem to matter what he eats or how it tastes; it's all about quantity, and he can't get enough.

Dad just looks at him and then sideways at Dean, like he's trying to remember if his older son had ever been that voracious. It gets to the point where Dean stops trying; meat and pasta are no longer on the grocery list, just canned beans, cheap and filling, and they're eating the same meal for weeks on end. Sam starts looking forward to school lunches, and his favorite cafeteria lady asks him one day where he put all that food. "You got a hollow leg, Stringbean?" she asks, and he smiles and lets her give him a second helping of just about everything.


Kaspaw High is the kind of school where the kids are bored with everything their money bought them and drive cars at least twice as expensive as the principal's. Looking like you aren't trying at all - on the athletic field, in the classroom, in the parking lot before school - is the key to success, and Sam has had a lot of practice acting. He doesn't raise his hand in class but he is meticulous with his homework and essays, studies hard for every exam with only Dean for a witness.

It's so easy to fit in that he wonders why he never bothered before. All it takes is staying quiet about what makes him different. He doesn't think anyone would want to hear anyway.


There seem to be more hours in a day to fill up, somehow. He thinks sometimes about how everyone else does it, if school and homework and friends are enough for them. It doesn't matter really; all that counts is that he blends in during the day, where everyone can see him.

He's good enough at the game that no one thinks twice about the way he disappears after school to work with his dad. Lucy McCall starts bringing him cupcakes he can eat on the way to his job, little works of art with his initials spelled out in shining silver beads on top of sculpted swirls of frosting. He takes his time with the first one, admiring her handiwork, but after that he simply scarfs them down, taking the edge off his rampant hunger.


Every morning when he wakes up he has to take a minute to remember that those huge shapes are his feet, that they are all the way down there because his legs really are that long. He stretches and then crumples in on himself, guiltily, like those movements are triggering his weed-like growth.

He goes to the kitchen and pours himself a big bowl of cereal, not worrying about saving milk since Dad and Dean have taken to having only cup after cup of black coffee in the mornings. He studies over breakfast, leaving the newspaper for Dad and the dishes for Dean, and then he walks to school, wishing he had a cupcake to eat along the way, that he'd saved some of yesterday's treat.


When the time comes to move on, Dad actually comes and pulls him out of class. Just seeing Dad inside the school makes him consider dazzling new possibilities. Now he knows he can be the person he is expected to be, by his classmates and his teachers. He should be able to do the same for Dad in the next town they settle in; he can pretend to love the hunt, the life of constant motion. On his way out of the front doors of Kaspaw High, he bangs his head on the jamb when he forgets to duck.

As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

Oh I liked this.The linkage between physical & emotional growth. That stretch signifying so much more.

Thanks so much! That stretch signifies so much more than Sam's getting in the present moment. He'll have to look back and figure it all out.

Loved this, these little snapshots of Sam changing, and the way he's almost astonished at his own changes.

Sam is having a hard time processing what's going on, how he's becoming a stranger to himself. Thanks so much for reading!

It's all about the growth, innit? Learning to 'wear' yourself mentally and physically.

Nicely done.

It's hard to remember what this must have been like; I've been this size and shape since I was 13. But it's so disconcerting for Sam.


Aw, Sam, growing and learning to fit inside his new skin.

His new *pretty* skin. Awww, Sammy.

I love Sam's growth(of all kinds) here.

Sam's growth It's not a tumor!

Oh, I am SO LAME.

Thanks so much for reading!

I love these snapshots of Sam as he's growing into himself.

Aw, Sammy! Stretching into the infinite.


Ah, Sam. He did become *so* big, and then...in a way, 'big' emotionally, too, by leaving at 18 to go out on his own...

I like that he wants to try and be something else for his Dad but...yeah. We saw how that worked.

Don't curl up all guilty, Sam!
*pets him*

Nice stuff.

Yes, he became big in every way (it's very hard to say that without sounding like SUCH a dirty old lady). Big enough to take on the real world as well as the Winchester world.

Thanks so much!

I like the way you move from physical to emotional growth, but what strikes me most is the sense of physicality (is that a word?) you give.
You can actually feel how his body is feeling too strange, too big even for him, how it demands fuel the whole time, his constant feeling of hunger. That again, becomes metaphorical, a different sort of hunger for a different life.

Eh...If that makes any sense to you.

It completely makes sense to me, because that's what I was trying to get across, the way that the changes in his body trigger changes in his personality, and he becomes pretty much a stranger to himself. Thank you for such wonderful feedback!

(And I'm using the icon that screams physicality to me to respond to you.)

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Aaaawww, Puppy's growing up! *pets Puppy*

I love that final line about him hitting his head because he forgets to duck. Hee, Sammy's so dorky! *pets again*

Puppy is growing by leaps and bounds.

Glad you enjoyed!

awwww my little sammy. god, u just described my best friend's growth spurt. He is now 6'6 and he doesn't want to grow anymore. But i think he still will. He worries about his lifespan (because they say taller people die younger...by like two years, or something)...but this was just hilarious!

Sammy not so little anymore...but still i love how he catalogued his own growth, and his acceptance of his body as well as his identity.

great stuff. Now let's talk about how sam gets to be like what's on my icon...

These boys! It's really amazing how rapidly they shoot up and change in those high school years, isn't it? Whereas the girls mostly enter and leave high school looking the same.

Sam is just so bewildered by everything that's happening to him.

Now let's talk about how sam gets to be like what's on my icon... HAHAHAHA! Um, the YED only claims children with rippling muscles?

This made me chuckle at Sam's growth spurts and huge appetite, but it felt poignant as well. I like the way you write teenage Sam's perspective, the small glimpses we get of the Winchesters' unusual life while mostly, this could be any teenage boy growing.

Lovely work.

I like the idea of the balance you found in this fic, because Sam himself is so off-kilter here, though he thinks he's in total control. Hmmm. Interesting.

Thanks, as always, for a comment that makes me think!

i love the last line. he's so awkwardly tall and cute. ^_^ and i really like that he's kind of awkward with the getting taller and really has to adjust to it, at the same time he seems to easily figure out how to adjust to high school and pretend to be someone else.

Sam's got so many disguises that he's losing track of himself, I think.

Glad you enjoyed!

I really liked this, Sam getting used to his new shape and growing in all kinds of ways.

He should be able to do the same for Dad in the next town they settle in; he can pretend to love the hunt, the life of constant motion. AW Sam. Lovely.

Sam's growing past everything he expected, you know? He doesn't know quite how to deal. Poor baby.

Thanks, sugar!

Ooooooh I just love this. And I love Sam. (You made them go to New England!)

His hunger--it's so banal and teenage boy and yet also such a wonderful metaphor for Sam and the way he's experiencing the world--his unrealized wants.

This is only vaguely related but my brother was a pudgey 12-year-old boy who grew seemingly overnight into a handsome, tall young man and so this just kind of tickles my heart. (In a way that is not in any way related to my Sam-lust, of course.)

You are so sweet, and this is wonderful. Thank you. :)

You're most welcome!

I'm very glad this rang true for you. I wanted something that would be a big deal to Sam but only symbolic to us, you know? And his hunger for so many things must have been overwhelming.

After the age of two, my little brother wasn't chubby, but it was still astonishing to see him go from shrimpy little kid to this broad-shouldered 6'3" man. Very disconcerting.