therapeutic thump

i like your moxie, sassafras!

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SPN Fics: "Undone" (Gen, R) - birthday fic for pheebs1!
the arch of the eyebrows gives it away
So it's pheebs1's birthday today, and in honor of the occasion, I wrote a fic and a half for her. On my last birthday, she very kindly wrote me an absolutely hilarious bit of what she called not-a-genderswap - Sam is horrified to discover he's a BOY! Anyway, I loved the piece, loved the idea, and she gave me permission to run with it. Because it was a birthday fic, I wanted something fun and happy, but for whatever reason, it kept coming out angsty and hurt. Once I finished that, though, the fun version poured right out of me in about ten minutes. So, birthday girl, you get both! Picking up right where you left off . . .

[fun version]
Dean gets rid of the spider and shoves the laptop toward Sam. He grabs the journal and flips it open, trying to figure out what the hell to look for - not like Dad had step-by-step instructions for what to do when Princess Sam started living his gender studies dream - and notices, belatedly, the complete silence from Sam's side of the table. No fingers tapping impatiently on the keyboard or the table, no absent-minded humming. Sam hasn't even turned the damn thing on.

"Sam?" he asks, keeping his voice as gruff as possible; he's not in the mood for any more caring and sharing.

Sam wraps his arms around himself and rocks a little in his seat. "Cramps," he whispers, sounding exhausted. Dean slouches in his chair, hoping that whatever did this to Sam can feel pain.


Twenty minutes later, he's got some mocha-whipped cream concoction in one hand and a bottle of Motrin in the other, and Sam's curled up in a ball on one of the beds. Sam doesn't even open his eyes before accusing, "You forgot the heating pad."

Dean heroically refrains from delivering the Motrin to an address where the sun never shines.


Sam, it turns out, is as bad a singer as a soprano as he is as a tenor. It makes Dean's throat hurt to hear Sam forcing his voice to that high register, and, incidentally, his ears bleed as well.

Sam's lousy enough that it takes Dean ten whole minutes to realize that Sam's singing one of his insane medleys, lyrics from a million different songs all jumbled together, regardless of the songs' keys. When Britney Spears fades into Belinda Carlisle, he leaves the motel room and pees into the gutter outside in protest. At least one part of him is happy now.


Sam refuses to leave the room, protesting that he doesn't want anyone to see him "like this." Fine. Dean can be the errand boy if Sam will be research girl. But every time he comes back to the room with food or clothes or newspapers, Sam's still on the same page of his book but there are several more tiny braids in his hair.

Dean sharpens his favorite knife and tests the blade with a hair plucked from his own head. He thinks that's pretty clear.


They haven't made any progress by nightfall, but when Dean comes out of the shower, desperately ready for sleep, Sam kisses his cheek good-night and Dean knows he can put up with this for as long as it lasts.

[angsty version]
Dean gets rid of the spider and Sam sinks shakily into the chair. He drops his face in his hands and looks up suddenly, his fingertips plucking at his hair. "My hair!" Sam wails, looking distraught. "It's . . it's . . ." It looks like he's trying to see the ends of it, but it's too short to get into his line of sight. "I was growing it out, and now it's all . . . butch!"

Dean sighs. He still wants to get back to bed. Wake up in a couple of hours, and maybe Sam will be back to normal. "Dude, trust me; 'butch' is pretty much the last word to describe that mop on your head." Sam looks up at him, nodding frantically and obviously trying to calm himself down. He runs his hands through his hair a few times, and Dean watches as Sam's long fingers - the knuckles as raw and red as if Sam cracks them against glass jaws across the country on a daily basis instead of surfing the internet pretty much 24/7 - trace his face. Sam's jaw drops in horror. "Dean! I've got sideburns!"

Sam's eyes are sparkling with tears, and Dean pinches himself in an effort to keep his mouth firmly shut.


He still needs to take a piss, but Sam is clinging to him like a fungus. Evidently, he cuddles his little sister a whole hell of a lot, if the way Sam's snuggled familiarly up to him is any indication. This is beyond bizarre, his brain says. I agree, his bladder chimes in.

He's just unwinding one of Sam's long gorilla arms from around his neck, trying to get free of the six-and-a-half-foot barnacle, when Sam raises his head from Dean's chest and meets his eyes squarely. Sam's hair is tumbling all over his flushed face, and Dean kind of wants to smooth it back, but he just raises his eyebrows, waiting to hear what Sam will come out with next.

He waits, and the silence spins out between them, getting heavier by the second. Sam's eyes harden and he scrambles back until he's no longer touching Dean, just poised on his hands and knees on the bed. "Christo," Sam says, his voice thoroughly miserable. "Christo!" he shouts, starting to cry, his fists pummeling Dean.

Sam's landing some quality hits, so Dean grabs him close, trapping his arms between them. "Sammy," he says, waiting until Sam is breathing normally again, warm little gusts of air against his collarbone. "Sammy, it's me. And you. And I'm not going to let anything hurt you, okay? We'll figure this out."

He sits up, pulling Sam with him, and looks around for a tissue, so that Sam will stop making a mess of his Black Album tee shirt. "Hang on," he says, unsurprised that this cheap-ass motel can't even spring for a goddamn box of Kleenex, and grabs a wad of toilet paper, eyeing the toilet longingly before he returns to Sam. "Blow your nose, wipe your eyes," he says, big-brother mode kicking in. Sam reaches out for the paper and Dean stuffs it in his hand. "Be right back."

He finally escapes to the bathroom and takes the longest piss of his life, an Austin Powers kind of leak, and feels himself start to wake up. He brushes his teeth in an effort to clear his head some more. When he gets back Sam is leaning against the headboard, legs drawn up so that only his eyes - still suspiciously shiny - are visible above his bony knees. "Dean," he says, and Dean's never in his life been able to hold out against that voice.

"Yeah, Sammy," he says, and resigns himself to being his brother's security blanket again.


He's just drifting back off to sleep when Sam elbows him urgently, and without even considering the implications, he groans and bites out, "What is it, Princess?"

Sam doesn't even blink - so apparently he not only lets his sister cuddle him, but also calls her all sorts of pet names without any fucking irony - and just asks, "Where's Dad? He'll know what to do."

Dean can feel himself go cold all over, one steady sweep from his feet to his head. "What do you mean, where's Dad?" Shit. This is even worse than he thought. "Sam," he says, trying to keep his voice level, "what year do you think this is?"

Sam starts to make a bitchface, then pauses consideringly. "2006. Right?"

"Yeah." He scrubs his hand over his hair and face. Time to get down to the hard stuff. "And when were you born?"

"Samantha Jane Winchester, daughter of John and Mary, sister of Dean, born May 2, 1983, in Lawrence, Kansas."

"Uh-huh. And?"

"And . . . Mom. The fire. Hunting, the three of us."

Dean narrows his eyes. "College?"

Sam looks startled. "What for?"

So Stanford didn't happen here, Sam can talk about Dad without bitterness, and nothing is the same. He wants to punch holes in the wall.

Sam sees the look on his face and backs away, mumbling something about a shower.


Sam's combed his hair, for once in his life, and maybe it's in honor of that momentous occasion that Dean allows himself to be talked into a proper breakfast at a diner instead of just takeout coffee and Slim Jims.

Sam pours half the pot of creamer into his coffee and Dean looks away in disgust, trying to concentrate on his hash browns and waffles. "So," Sam says, sounding perky, and Dean makes the mistake of looking up to see half-chewed strawberry pancakes in Sam's gaping maw, "not the poltergeist. Who else could have done this?"

He's tempted to say he doesn't really care - Sam's not in danger, nothing has actually changed. Except for Sam's memories, and it's not fair to leave Sam trapped between two lives like that. He swigs his coffee and tries to think. Sam shakes back his hair again, and the scars from the wendigo catch the light. Dean feels his stomach lurch at the way Sam has rewritten history - their history - and clamps down on his rising anger. He starts talking just to keep himself from screaming.

"We, uh, got into town two nights ago." Sam looks up from his pancakes and bacon, nodding. Dean blows out a frustrated breath. "Dude, aside from the poltergeist, the only person we've even talked to in town was Beatrice."

Sam pushes a strawberry around his plate to catch the last of the syrup. "Then let's go talk to Beatrice," he says, flipping the bill over and sliding it toward Dean.


Sam gives the doorman a flirty smile, dropping it only when they get to the elevator. "Boys!" Beatrice says with delight as she opens the door for them, and Dean heaves what is meant to be a silent sigh of relief. Beatrice's round, kind, silver-dollar eyes meet his, worried, and her gaze lingers on him when he steps aside to let Sam go in first. "Dean? What's wrong? When you called me last night, I thought you said the job had been no problem."

He shrugs unhappily. "That was last night. This morning Sammy woke up with kind of a different problem." Sam's snuggled into a corner of the overstuffed couch, and Dean realizes with a dull ache in his chest that Sam hadn't even protested his unthinking use of the childhood nickname.

"My dear boy, whatever is the matter?" Beatrice asks, one frail hand reaching out tentatively toward Sam's drooping head.

Sam looks nervously at Dean and clears his throat. "I, um, think something changed me. I wasn't a boy before."

Beatrice doesn't miss a beat, and Dean wants to plant one on her just for that. Or maybe what he really wants is for her to stroke his hair and sing him a lullaby, and he'd wake up with his own Sam back. "Do you mean in a past life?"

"No, I mean, like, yesterday." Sam's face falls at Beatrice's silence. "You . . . you don't remember meeting me yesterday?"

"Of course I do," Beatrice says, her hand fluttering to her heart. "My stars, I'll never forget that moment when you walked in behind your brother." She smiles, a faint, misty smile, and looks at Sam so affectionately that Dean decides he really wouldn't mind if she did the hair-stroking lullaby thing. "I thought you looked just like my Randolph."

That snaps Dean out of his passivity. "What?"

"Spitting image," Beatrice says, her eyes starry with memory. "For a moment I wondered if you'd brought along his ghost, but I'd burned his bones, so . . ." She clears her throat, delicately. "I knew I couldn't have him back, not in this lifetime." Her eyes close, and Dean can see the vitality just bleed out of her, leaving her old and wrinkled and desperately lonely. "No matter how much I wished it."

Sam pulls her into a gentle hug, and over his shoulder her eyes meet Dean's. He thinks about how weird it must be for her to be wrapped in the arms of her dead husband's doppelganger; he doesn't want to think about the kindness of Sam's gesture, the proof that he and Dad raised a girl just as good as their boy.


Beatrice winks at him as she sets the tea-tray down, so he scoops up most of the chocolate-covered biscuits and leaves Sammy to have a tea party with her. He wanders around the apartment, his boots thunking loudly against the polished wood floors, scanning the pictures and mementos she's chosen to surround herself with. He stops at her study, admiring the antique rifles mounted on the wall near a series of Punu masks. There are a few black-and-white photographs of Beatrice with her parents, all three of them standing stiffly at attention.

In the bedroom, on the dresser by the mirror, are pictures of her and Randolph, and he whistles at the resemblance between her dead husband and his baby brother. Same cat-eyes, same face made of angles and lines, softened and brightened by the same wide smile. It's a little freaky, even knowing that Randolph had to be at least half a foot shorter than Sam; they just didn't make them that big back then. There's one more photograph, this one on the bedside table, Beatrice on Randolph's lap, both of them laughing in sheer delight, looking totally caught up in each other, and he shuts his eyes, trying not to look at something so private, and goes back out to the living room.

Sam's hands look absolutely enormous cradling one of Beatrice's fragile, gilded teacups. He walks back over to the wing chair and Sam looks up and gives him a smile, bringing him into the flow of the conversation.

"Randolph did all the hunting," Beatrice says, "though he knew I knew how to handle myself. But what I liked best was this part." Her hand drops lightly to Sam's knee. "Talking to people. Even when they can't believe their eyes, when they're nearly crazy with grief and fear, people will talk to a woman quicker than they will to a man."

Sam nods emphatically, and Dean wonders how many memories Sam has of being the cute pigtailed girl, sent in when her battle-hardened father and shifty-looking brother wouldn't get the time of day from the victims and the witnesses. He wonders - given the spider - if he and Dad have kept Sam away from the dirtier parts of the job, the way Randolph had shielded Beatrice.

"He used to say we worked like one person," Beatrice says, "always of one mind."

Sam excuses himself to go to the bathroom, and Beatrice smiles at Dean while she takes the last chocolate biscuit. "You had that, and you lost it, and now you've got it again. I envy you, Dean."

He puts his hand out and their fingertips barely brush. "I think I am to blame," she murmurs, and they turn together to look at the circular charm hanging on the wall, shining bright against the dull cream paint. He crosses the room and lifts it from its hook, bringing it back to her.

"Sam's got Randolph's body and your spirit tucked away inside him, right? Two as one, Sam playing host." Her eyes are glassy as she nods, sorrow in every line of her face. Beatrice takes the charm from him, breathes a few words over it, and sets it on the ground. Fragile as a sand dollar, it is crushed to dust underneath her heel.


In the bright light outside the apartment building, Dean can see the lines of guilt and worry etch themselves back onto Sam's face; it's not Randolph or Beatrice he's caught up with now, but Jess, always Jess. Dean shields his eyes from the sun and pulls the keys from his pocket. Sam stays by his side, falling in step until they reach the car. There's no point sticking around here anymore. He hands Sam one of the newspapers resting on the Impala's backseat and starts to drive.

My best thanks to janissa11 for the lovely beta work.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

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I loved this! Angsty version and fun one!

Thanks so much! I had a lot of fun writing these!

Both versions are terrific, m'dear. I love cuddly girl!Sam and Dean's talking bladder and, well, everything! Thanks for sharing Pheebs' gift with us! :)

Dean's talking bladder I laughed so hard when I saw this. It just . . . looks so weird, typed out like that.

Glad you liked, honey! Thanks!

deans talking bladder is awesome, thank you very much. just want to say that i love both stories.

Ahhhhhhh, man. Yeah. Both are lovely, the 'fun' one is funny and the 'angst' one is bitter-sweet.
I love that Dean got to cuddle and love on his 'sister'. That makes me happy. He needs cuddles!

Dean does need cuddles, doesn't he? Poor baby. Glad you enjoyed these! Thanks so much for saying so!

Both versions are awesome. I wish to see more of Samantha Jane *hint, hint*.

Samantha Jane was really fun to write! Hmmmm.

Thanks so much!

Wonderful, both reasons! Loved them!

Oh damn this is amazing...I love Beatrice, and the idea of wanting to be part of a team again...

And the image of pigtailed Sam trying to get people to talk to him is just adorable.

I just feel so bad for all of them in the angsty version, you know? All lost and hurt.

But the cuteness of Sam in pigtails makes me happy. So I guess it all works out.


omg! this was wonderful. i loved the funny version *and* the angsty version. poor sammy.

both fics were brilliant. thank you so much! <3

Thank you so much! I'm very pleased you enjoyed both sides of this coin.

Well gosh you are just too kind and good to me. I absolutely love both versions, thank you.

"Cramps," he whispers, sounding exhausted. *SNORT*

Sam refuses to leave the room, protesting that he doesn't want anyone to see him "like this." Ha Ha!! Oh the torture, being a boy! :) (To be fair, I wouldn't like it)

there are several more tiny braids in his hair. *GIGGLE* What a funny picture - and a sweet ending to the story.

I do LOVE the fun version and it's the kinda thing I had in mind when I thought of the original prompt. However, I feel with the angsty version you've really taken this idea and executed it amazingly. I felt like it was a good idea, but as usual i couldn't quite execute it how I wanted. I love this take of it, with the more angsty reactions to the situation. I love the reason behind it that you give (not an easy thing to come up with) and Dean and Sam dealing with this weirdness like they do everything.

Dean as Sam's security blanket is just...such a good image.

Sam trapped between two lives, but otherwise nothing has changed - so true.

"The proof that he and Dad raised a girl just as good as their boy" - *tear* and I love the subtle way you state how Dean and Dad are the parental team with 'their boy'

"lines of guilt and worry etch themselves back onto Sam's face" - aw that's so sad. How girl sam was more shielded/had less sorrow, in that world.

Thank you so much for playing with this idea, and coming up with this for my birthday. I know you have been v. busy so I really appreciate it. Lots of love and hugs to you!

Oh, I'm so pleased that you liked these! They really were fun to write. Hope you had a great birthday.

That bit about college? ::wibble:: Both versions are fantastic.

That icon made me laugh *so hard*, I can't even tell you.

Whee! I'm glad you enjoyed these! (Poor Dean!)

Poor Sammy. I liked both versions and especially enjoyed pigtailed Sam :)

Pigtailed Sam seems to have been quite a hit! Hee!

Thanks so much for the kind words!

I really love this, the angsty one especially. It's got me thinking about girl!Sam now and how I kept thinking she must be from an alternate dimension or something. And does that mean that real Sam woke up in a girl's body with the other Dean and John still alive and no Stanford? 'Cause wow, what a mindfuck for him. Yeah. And that's not even about the fic, really, but I love thinking about stuff like that and things that get me thinking about stuff like that. Also, I really like Beatrice.

heh. Wow, that was babbly. ♥

I was actually thinking more along the lines of Sam kind of being pushed out of the way so that Beatrice's personality could take over his (Randolph's) body, but with enough of Sam's memories so that he didn't have to figure out who Dean was, etc., but OOOH! way to bunny me, Pri!

So glad you liked enough to babble!

Awww, nice. They're both fun, but i'm glad the 'angsty' one ended with Dean getting 'his' Sam back.

All, all good.

Darlin', do you realize this is the second time you've left me feedback on this fic? You know what that means - THAT YOU ARE AWESOME!

I'm so pleased you still like this story. And thank you for taking the time to let me know.

Did i?
Heeee! My brain, she does not work so good.
But yes! Good story = fb in my world.

I loved this. Very interesting!

Thank you so much! I'm pleased you enjoyed this!

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