Category/Rated: Slash, PG–13
Year/Length: 2007/ ~1711 words
Pairing: Impala Dean, Sam, hints of Dean/Sam if you squint
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, only having fun.
Warning: Language, hints of Wincest
Summary: If Dean washes the Impala more, and if Sam is down right terrified of driving her now, they don't mention it. Let it shift out of focus, just one more thread in the tapestry of oddness they weave around themselves.
Author's Notes: Right, so, I was thinking about how Dean gets injured and just gets up and goes (BuaBS, whenever Dean gets beat up). And how the Impala should have been totaled. And how much Dean loves his car. And this came out of that. Sam's view as Dean and the Impala get closer through season two.
Beta: Beta'd by the awesome marysue007 and any remaining mistakes are my fault. Thanks again for your help!
There's a list twenty–four years long of things that the Winchester brothers don't talk about. This particular thing happens to be item number five hundred and twelve on that list, but whose counting?
This thing they never mention is how Dean should have died before the ambulance ever got there on that night that Sam shot their father (511) after said father was possessed and nearly killed Dean (510). Dean in the backseat of the Impala, without a seat belt, laid out and already suffering from internal injuries that had left him whimpering whenever Sam touched him. Dean should have died on impact, neck snapped, skull smashed against the unforgiving steel of the Impala's door.
Later, Sam would overhear the paramedics talking about the wreck, about how they'd never seen a car twist like that after being jack–knifed. He would feel something cold wind up his spine at the hushed awe in their voices when they described how the metal had been curled around his brother's body, molded so closely that they'd thought he'd been crushed at first.
Sam never tells Dean about that overheard conversation, and so it goes on a different list, an even longer one. He also never tells Dean that Bobby said the Impala was totaled the first time he crawled out from under the engine, while Dean had laid in the gray lands between life and death. And certainly not about the day Dad died, when Dean had found his way back, and Bobby had declared the Impala miraculously fixable.
But this isn't about what Sam doesn't tell Dean, or even what Dean doesn't tell Sam.
It's about what they don't talk about, like the fact that Dean walks with a limp the entire time the Impala is being repaired, and then for a week after they start driving her again. That he finally snaps one day and tears back into Bobby's place, angry and hurting and growling about rear–wheel alignment. After that the limp disappears and Sam has to admit that the Impala runs better.
The bruises almost force them to talk, purple–black welts that Dean walks in with one day all over his chest, back, arms, and legs. Sam panics, Bobby frets, Dean says nothing, just showers for almost an hour before curling into his bed. Pretends to sleep and refuses to speak to anyone.
It's not till the next morning when he sees the Impala beaten and broken and remembers Dean beating on her with a crowbar, that a sort of sick understanding first starts to grow in Sam's mind. He doesn't mention it, though, keeps it buried deep and hidden in his chest.
Dean keeps covered up after that, long sleeves with his collars turned up until they finally get all the dents worked out of the Impala's steel. Sam has no reason to believe that the bruises remain, tells himself that they must have faded away after the first week or two. Dean, of course, messes that up for him by stepping out of the shower while Sam's half–awake and relieving his bladder. And Dean's still painted black in places, as though the intervening weeks had no effect.
His explanation when Sam puts him against the wall, scared and translating the fear into anger, is, " Not getting enough vitamin C in my diet, man." And Sam, ashamed with himself for not pushing, lets it go. Prays that this all just goes away, and puts it out of his mind as best he can.
And for a while, it fades into the background. They fall back into old patterns as best they can, making up new ones where the old fall short of their needed marks. If Dean washes the Impala more, and if Sam is down right terrified of driving her now, they don't mention it. Let it shift out of focus, just one more thread in the tapestry of oddness they weave around themselves.
And then there's Andy, and Sam is actually glad they don't talk about him violating the sanctity of the Impala and the ruin he leaves in his wake. Sam can barely handle it when the first thing Dean does after getting back to their motel room is rush into the bathroom, tearing off his clothes as he goes.
He doesn't bother closing the door, and Sam has to watch as his brother stands shaking under the steaming water. Watches Dean scrub his skin till it turns pink then red. Curses when he has to step under the water himself, wrestling the soap and washcloth away from Dean when the water swirling down the drain starts running crimson.
Dean hits him so hard that for a second he thinks his jaw might be broken. Watching through bleary eyes as his brother scrambles away from him, tearing the shower curtain off it's rungs and wrapping himself up in it. Dean says, voice rough and raw, " Don't touch me, just–don't touch me."
So he doesn't, is careful not to. Stares at the back of Dean's head later, while he pretends to sleep on the other side of the bed. Pretends to be asleep himself when Dean throws his blankets off in the middle of the night and storms out of the room.
The next morning Dean is sleeping in the Impala, loose limbed and relaxed and the car is the cleanest Sam has ever seen it. Vacuumed and washed and the leather is still gleaming with whatever Dean had used to treat it. Sam stares hard at Dean, awake now and staring back at him uncomfortably from the driver's seat. Not used to Dean being unable to keep eye contact, not liking it. Hears himself say, "She's beautiful, Dean. She'll always be beautiful. Perfect. Mine and yours."
Maybe that counts as talking about it.
Maybe they needed to talk about it more, if Dean's subsequent behavior is anything to go by. He's jumpy and quiet when they roll into a bar a week later. Ends up with his head in a toilet after some sweet young college girl puts her hand on his thigh. Sam stands helplessly by, frustrated by his brother's weakness, frustrated by his own inability to help.
He grabs Dean's shoulders, giving his permission to be used as a punching bag if Dean wants to hit something. Is surprised when instead Dean sags against his hand, cocks his head and stares at him with wide, feverish eyes. Can't take how beaten Dean sounds when he says, " He shouldn't have. He shouldn't have–it–I–why would he do it? I–Sammy–it–"
And Sam backs out of the stall, because he can't take it. Grabs handfuls of paper towels and wets them in the sink before sinking to his knees beside Dean. Pulling him close, shushing him and trying to disconnect from the situation.
It's not as hard as he thinks it might be. He'd had a friend who'd been date–raped in his sophomore year and he thinks about her, rocking his brother back and forth. He hates Andy more than he's ever hated another human being in his life.
He spends the next day scouring the Internet for information on helping rape victims, prints off pages and pages of it at the local library and leaves them where he knows Dean will find them. They don't talk about it, but the papers disappear and after awhile Dean settles into something resembling his old attitude. Starts flirting with pretty young things again and barely flinches when a man touches him.
Sam watches it all, tied in knots, hating himself every time he sees a man walking towards Dean and feels his first impulse be towards violence.
But things get better, the way things do. Life moves on, and they run to catch up. Sam starts judging when the Impala needs her oil changed by Dean's moods. They don't discuss the fact that Dean only completely relaxes around the car, or that he spends two days hacking up a lung before ordering Sam to change the Impala's air filter.
And then in some nowhere town where Sam is convinced he is going to die, crazed in a hospital, hardly a hero's death at all, some asshole shoots the Impala with a shotgun. A day later and a dozen towns away Sam pulls a piece of buckshot out of the ragged wound in Dean's shoulder. Dean tells him that his window was open and the bastard must have got a lucky shot off and Sam lets the lie slide.
It is, officially, months too late to start talking about this, so they don't.
The time when he's possessed is all a horrible blur, but he remembers shooting Dean. Knows damn well his brother should have drowned out behind that nameless shit hole of a bar. Dean doesn't die, he barely even slows down, and tells Sam that the perfect little hole in the left fender is from some punk kids.
He doesn't have an explanation for the soggy foot mats, but that's okay. Sam doesn't ask, or comment on how expensive it is to keep repairing Dean and the Impala each time one of them manages to get injured.
He can't decide whether or not he hates this thing for how it's changed his brother without either of them being able to stop it. Some days he does, when some ass in a parking lot keys the Impala and Dean walks around with a jagged cut down his side for a week. But there's nothing quite like revving the engine and feeling Dean's pulse race against his skin.
Eventually he just shakes his head, because there's nothing they can do about it anyway. And, anyway, it's funny to put a pop cassette in the stereo and listen to Dean humming about how beautiful the world is, or how he just wants to dance. He looks across at Dean, spread over the hood of the car, absently tracing patterns on the windshield and looking genuinely happy for once, and says, " Hey, it's okay, you know?"
Dean squints at him, "What's okay, Captain McRandompants?"
And Sam just smiles, trails his fingertips across the Impala's hood just to watch Dean shiver and squirm. Some things they don't need to talk about.
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