His jeans are ringing. Somehow, that doesn't seem all that odd. Sam lifts his head, grimacing as a strand of drool strings out, stretching between his mouth and Sarah's breast, blinks blearily in the bright yellow light of her bedside lamp, and heaves himself into a
That's Dean's ring, he registers suddenly, and he wonders that Sarah can sleep right through it. He staggers over and winces as he bends down, pawing through the pile of clothes on the floor, fingers fumbling through each pocket.
He finally finds the phone and flips it open. "Yeah?"
"Morning, lazybones," Dean says, bright and cheery, and Sam blinks slowly, as if he can buy himself some time that way.
"Dean? What're you doing awake already?" The antique brass clock on the bedside table near the window reads nine a.m. That makes it seven out in South Dakota, right? Or is that one of those weird states that splits itself? He used to know this stuff.
"Well, Sammy, out here at Little House on the Prairie, chores begin at sunup," Dean says in his best this is how they do a "gather round the campfire" voice in the movies tone. Dean pauses, waiting for a retort, and then slips back into his normal voice when he doesn't get one. "Nah, Bobby wakes up early, says old men don't need much sleep, and I decided to just get up when I heard him puttering around."
Dean does sound better, maybe resting easier about something. Knowing him, it could just be the knowledge that his little brother's got a sure thing lined up. Still, an early morning call has never boded well for either of them, and he has to make sure, no matter how much mockery he's letting himself in for. "Are you good?"
"Yeah, are you?"
"Yeah. Sarah's been great, and there's some winter carnival she wants to go to next week - wait, I'm going to miss your birthday, aren't I?"
"Don't worry about it," Dean says easily. "I'm okay out here."
The reassurance comes too quickly, and Sam swallows down the hurt. "Are you saying you'd rather be with Bobby than with me?"
"Let's see, on the one hand we've got a guy who makes the best coffee I've ever had in my life, even if he refuses to bake a goddamn pie every once in a while" - Dean's voice is raised like he's just making sure Bobby can hear every word coming out of his smart mouth - "and on the other, we've got a drama queen who's been given a second shot at a great girl and would probably whine like an overgrown, pesky baby at the thought of leaving her again." Just when Sam's sure Dean's about to say you do the math, Dean veers in a different direction. "Course, one of those two is my baby brother, who owes me birthday cake out the wazoo, so no, Sammy, I'm not saying I'd rather be with Bobby than with you, and only an idiot would think that's what I meant."
Sam grins into the phone. "Yes, your life is so tough, Dean, having to deal with a brother of limited intelligence."
"Dude, you have no idea," Dean says, deadpan. "And have fun out there."
"My mom used to take me ice skating every day while the rink was open," Sarah says, steam from her hot apple cider rising and veiling her face, painted bright pink from the cold.
"I don't know how to skate, Sarah," Sam says for approximately the hundredth time. He shies away from further explanations, and really, Sarah's much too smart not to have figured out that any activity that required expensive equipment was not one he would ever have been able to participate in. His conscience is only slightly stricken when he wishes that the skate rental counter will have no skates large enough for his feet; unfortunately, they can fit him out, no problem.
Sarah's got her monogrammed white skates on and she's acting like it's perfectly natural to walk on two thin blades rather than nice safe human feet; she kneels on the weird turfy stuff that lines the rink and does up his battered black skates with swift, sharp movements, locking his ankles firmly into place. Sam looks down at the top of her head, the fuzzy white of her earwarmer headband standing out distinctly against the soft dark fall of her hair. She stands up, straight and sure, not even wobbling a little, and holds her hand out to him.
There are a few good memories of ice - forts and homemade sno-cones and icicle spears - locked inside his memory, but there are other ones as well - treacherous black ice sending the Impala spinning beneath his hands; Dad tracking something nasty out onto a patch of thin ice, falling through and cracking his head as he went down; Dean putting him into a bathtub full of sharp little cubes, making him go still and helpless against the green and purple monsters he was battling in his mind. But Sarah's gloved hand is warm in his, and there are little kids out there, twirling giddily, so how bad can this really be?
"Sam," Sarah says, her hand still in his, guiding him like it's no effort at all, even though her legs are pumping confidently while he's got his knees locked, terrified that the slightest movement on his part will spill him to the ground and maybe drag her down with him. He tries to concentrate on what she's saying, trusting that she will keep him upright. "Can we talk about what you said last night?"
He doesn't want to nod, to do anything other than go where she leads him, but before he can answer, she lets go of his hand to keep them from ramming into a little girl who's practicing a really complicated-looking spin, oblivious to everything but the music pounding into her skull from her earphones. In that instant, he goes down hard. Nice move, Sammy; very double-oh seven the voice in his head that sounds like Dean pipes up. Sarah's giggling when she glides over to help him to his feet, but the fall has shaken him, made it impossible for him to be the sidecar to her motorcycle, and it turns out that fall was just the beginning.
His ass is one massive purple bruise not twenty minutes later, and his ankles have twisted underneath him in every direction possible, so he lets Sarah pull him over to the opening in the wall. He limps over to the nearest bench, wishing his fingers would regain some feeling so that he can take these damn instruments of torture off his feet.
Sarah hisses sympathetically when she unlaces his skates, noting the swell of his ankles and the red marks on his skin from where the skates bit too sharply into his flesh. "Sorry about this," she says ruefully, looking up apologetically at him. "I just thought, if I can do it, anyone can do it ..." she trails off. "I'm not making this any better, am I?" She grins then, a pleased sparkle coming back into her eye. "How does steak for lunch sound?"