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[spn_adambang fic]: Every Boy Should Have Two Things - PG-13 - 2/2

Title: Every Boy Should Have Two Things (AO3)
Rating: PG-13
Author: ladyknightanka
Artist: rattyjol
Beta: nights_fang
Genre: AU, gen, kidfic, family
Warnings: Mild language, some violence, vague spoilers for 5.16: Dark Side of the Moon and 4.19: Jump the Shark.
Word Count: ~15k
Notes: This fic is an AU of Sam's anecdote in Dark Side of the Moon, about running away to Six Flags as a kid. Instead of making it there, Sam ends up at the Milligans'.
Art: Click the pretty here!
Summary: In retrospect, it's not really Six Flags, with its tacky rides, bad food and creepy mascots, that thirteen year old Sam wants so badly, enough to run away. It's normalcy, an apple-pie life. When he's deterred in Windom, Minnesota, and put into the custody of emergency room nurse Kate Milligan, he gets not only that, but a chance to experience having a mother and being a big brother to Kate's seven year old son, Adam.


-

Every Boy Should Have Two Things

-

Sam wakes to a warm, slowly petting weight against his cheek. At first, the motions elicit a contented sigh. They don't feel bad. The instant it sinks in that someone unknown is touching him, however, Sam's eyes bulge open and he clamors to rise.

He finds himself staring into pale blue orbs, and stammers, “A-Adam?” because who else could a small blond child in Kate's home be?

Adam doesn't seem surprised that Sam knows his name. Maybe he's used to Kate bringing home strays, or maybe he's already talked to his mother downstairs. Either way, he simply blinks at Sam. “I'm sorry I scared you.”

“It's, uh, it's okay,” Sam says, a bit flustered by the earnest apology in Adam's tone. Dean would probably be bent double in a giggle fit by now if he'd startled Sam, but there's likely little in common between this seven year old and Sam's seventeen year old older brother. “I just didn't want you to, um, fall, 'cause you're kinda high up.”

“Okay,” Adam says, and scrabbles down the bed's ladder like a monkey.

Sam can feel Adam's eyes on him from below. “Um,” he mumbles again, before deciding it's time to pay the piper. He follows Adam down and kneels in front of him. “My name's Sam. Your mom is letting me crash here for a while. Is that...okay with you?”

“Okay,” Adam says for the second time, with an eager nod. He turns toward the exit of his room, then back to Sam, small fingers clustered into the top of his blue pajama set, which has Superman's sigil on its chest. It makes Sam hide a smile. Dean likes Batman, but the man of steel is Sam's absolute favorite. “Is the dog downstairs yours? Is he gonna be stayin' with us, too?”

Adam's evident excitement coerces a more genuine grin. “Yeah. I'm glad this is all cool with you, Adam.”

“It's awesome,” Adam replies, loosening his grip on his clothes to throw his arms in the air. He whips around and runs out of the room while they're still held aloft.

Alone again, Sam chuckles at how much like a bird Adam looks – an excitable little canary with its fair feathers ruffled, wings too small to help it during flight. He follows after Adam at a more reserved pace and finds the little boy half-atop his mother's lap in the kitchen, Bones's head occupying the other half.

Kate smiles upon catching sight of Sam. Her usually sleek blonde hair is also frazzled, but she's already up for the day, dressed in an old pair of jeans and a white button up shirt that's just a bit loose, billowing around her frame. A pair of fuzzy blue slippers completes her outfit. “Good morning, Sam.”

“Er, morning,” is all Sam has time to say, before Bones breaks away from Kate, bowls him over, and slobbers all over his face. He hears Kate and Adam giggling from flat out on his back, just prior the kitchen entrance.

“Are you okay?” Kate asks, when he doesn't immediately rise. Sam sits up and shoves Bones's head away to nod his own. An overly affectionate dog can't quite compare to the poltergeists and other vengeful spirits he'd helped his dad and Dean lay to rest. Unaware of his morbid thought-process, Kate grins and shoos him out of the room. “Good, because you might wanna get cleaned up. Adam and I already have, right, honey?”

“I brushed my teeth,” Adam agrees proudly.

His toothy, dimpled smile and flushed, freckled cheeks give Sam pause for a moment, overly familiar, until he resolves that he must just resemble Kate's to a 't'. Who else could it be? Sam certainly can't remember ever visiting Windom on a hunt before, or even so much as passing through.

“Sure. Gotta get this dog drool off me, anyway,” Sam says, and Bones barks affront. Sam chuckles at the dog, then comes forward to give Adam's shaggy hair a light ruffle.

“We'll save you breakfast,” Adam calls after him, with another bright laugh.

Sam showers quickly. When he returns downstairs, he finds Adam on his second bowl of Lucky Charms, while Bones laps at some unidentifiable, impromptu dog food from the floor beside him. Adam grins, milk mustache and all. “Lucky Charms are my favorite!”

“Mine too,” Sam says, grabbing a free chair.

He can see Kate's eyes crinkle over the brim of her coffee cup. “That's a lucky coincidence,” she says, at which Adam bursts out into a peal of giggles. Sam joins in and Bones barks. Kate rolls her eyes, but it's fond, not mocking. She leans forward on her elbows and begins to whisper, loud and conspiratorial, “Okay, Scout, why don't you debrief Sam on our plans for this wonderful Saturday morning?”

“Yes, Mom!” Adam salutes. Sam thinks he might have meant 'ma'am', but his beam is so enthusiastic, Sam doesn't have the heart to correct him. “We're gonna watch cartoons. All the best ones come on Saturdays. Then, Mommy said we need to take Bones to the park, 'cause dogs need to exorcise–”

Exercise,” Kate corrects, without any real heat.

“Yeah, that,” Adam amends, as Sam blinks between the both of them.

Bones, meanwhile, thumps his tail at the mention of his name. Sam glances down at his gleaming gold fur and figures an outing wouldn't be so bad. There might even be a playground. They never had time to just stop and play, when he was younger.

“That sounds great...Scout?” Sam can't help ending on a questioning note. He cuts his gaze to Kate, who nods.

“Yay,” Adam exclaims, with a little bounce that makes what's left of his milk quake in his bowl. Kate's expression becomes stern. Adam promptly lifts his bowl up, slurps down its remaining contents, and says, “I'm done,” before scurrying out of the room.

Kate watches him recede with a wistful smile, then explains, “He just joined the Cub Scouts. I don't have a lot of time to spend with him, thanks to work, so I try to make sure he's having fun without me.”

“But he, uh, thinks being a scout is like a soldier, huh?” Sam asks, before she can get too down. “That is really fun. Boy scouts learn to survive in the wilderness.” Much like hunters, he doesn't add aloud, because if he's heard Dean make fun of Boy Scout uniforms once, he's heard it a million times, and Dean would be blasphemed by the comparison.

Adam's return interrupts Kate's response. A little breathless, he levels big, hopeful eyes at Sam. “Are you done? Spider-Man's on; I checked!”

“Awesome,” Sam says, chuckling. He gulps down his milk like Adam did earlier.

Adam then takes Sam and Kate by their hands and shouts, “C'mon, doggie,” to Bones, before leading them all into the foyer to watch cartoons.

Sam has seen his fair share. Only recently, John had deemed it safe for him to tag along during hunts, as Dean did sometimes, but prior to that, when he and Dean had to stay cooped up, alone, in their latest motel rooms, there hadn't been anything better to do. Now, he delights in telling Adam about his favorites.

“So the swords made 'em turn from kids to superheroes?” Adam asks, about He-Man and the Thundercats.

“Yup.” Sam nods, his legs curled into a pretzel like Adam's, while Kate and Bones commandeer the loveseat above them.

“That's just like Spider-Man–” Adam throws his arms up excitedly, as he had in his bedroom upon first meeting Sam, “–'cept for him it was a spider, not a sword.”

“He likes comics,” Kate says, eyes crinkled at the corners.

Sam finds himself grinning from ear to ear. A warm, metaphysical weight forms on his chest. He reaches out an arm to hug Adam's scrawny shoulders to his side. “I like comics, too. Has your mom gotten you anything from DC? Superman, like your shirt, is DC, ya know?”

The doorbell rings before Adam can answer. He and Sam look up at Kate, who rises immediately and heads toward a short hallway, practically a partition, which separates the foyer from the door. “You boys keep watching. I'll get it,” she calls back to them.

“Okay, Mommy,” Adam replies, returning to the TV, but Sam cocks an ear to listen.

There are two voices beside Kate's – a familiar male's and an unfamiliar female's. Kate walks in first and gestures behind her. “Sam, you remember Officer Barton?” He gives a curt nod to match her wry smile. “Good. And this is Mrs. Waverly. She's a social worker.”

“I'm not a runaway,” Sam tells the dark-skinned woman behind Kate at once. She quirks an eyebrow at him.

Adam looks between the adults and Sam with wide blue eyes, before inquiring, “A-are you gonna take Sam and Bones away, like you did with Kevin from my class last year?” which softens the woman's austere expression.

She hobbles forward on a cane, a thin manilla folder beneath one arm. “No, honey,” she says, accent light and lilting. “We just want to find Sam's mother.”

“I don't have a mother,” Sam cuts in coldly, which inspires an awkward beat of silence.

“You...live with your father, right, Sam?” Kate eventually asks.

“And brother,” Barton adds. At Sam's narrow-eyed glare, he clarifies, “Peggy told me,” face a mask of gravity.

Everyone's is, save Adam, and Sam is secretly grateful to the little guy's open curiosity. It's a nice change. He's deprived even that once Kate takes her son's hand and says, “C'mon, honey. Let's let Mrs. Waverly and the nice policeman talk to Sam, and then we can all go to the park, hm?”

“Okay,” Adam agrees, with one last glance at Sam, who forces a smile just for him.

“Everything's okay, kiddo. Go ahead,” he says, then reverts back to his bitchface as soon as the Milligans are out of earshot, Bones trotting off beside them. “I. Am. Not. A. Runaway.”

“Never said you were. Defensive, though.” Mrs. Waverly smirks at him. Before Sam can snap out a viable response, she winces and paws at her back, maneuvering around the folder. “If it's all right with you, young man, I'd really like to sit down.”

“Let me help you,” Barton says, but Mrs. Waverly holds up a hand.

“That's okay. Sam will assist me, won't you?” She extends her still upraised arm toward Sam, who wants to balk away from her, but instead lurches forward to accept it, releasing the old woman only after they've reached the couch. “Thank you, Sam,” she says, beaming.

“Um, no prob,” he replies, and after a few seconds of hovering, sits down beside her, which leaves scarcely any space for Barton. He leans against the partitioning wall and glowers.

“How are you liking it here?” Mrs. Waverly asks, ignoring Barton's sour expression.

Sam crosses his arms. He knows the start of an interrogation when he hears one. “Kate's great. Adam, too.”

“Good, good. I trust Kate,” Mrs. Waverly says, gnarled fingers linked together. “You can, as well. This isn't the first time she's helped someone in need. She's provided interim homes for foster children before, and never once has she expected anything in return.”

Sam catches his bottom lip between his teeth. “I know,” he says, because it's true. He's seen enough bad stuff in the world, bad people who can't even blame monster physiology for their crimes, to recognize that the Milligans are good.

Mrs. Waverly searches his face with her eerie pale, cataract-webbed eyes for the longest time. Sam almost expects them to blink black, due to their sheer intensity, but all she does is reaffirm, “Good,” and open the file on her lap. She cranes her neck to gauge his reaction. “Joe said you told Kate your name is Sam Lennon. Is that right?”

“Yes,” Sam answers, without breaking eye-contact.

Mrs. Waverly plows on with yet more questions, undaunted by his pseudo-calm. “Like from The Beatles, then? Are you a fan, Sam? Do you have a favorite song?”

Dean's voice suddenly filters into his thoughts, singing Hey, Jude when they were much younger. Dean doesn't sing much anymore – at least, not like he used to – but Sam still hears him humming it sometimes, low and sweet. He can't remember Mary doing the same, though Dean swears she did.

“No,” Sam says firmly. “It's a coincidence. I'm not a fan.”

“Shame. They were legends for a reason.” This, the old woman says more to herself than Sam, he thinks. She changes the subject. “We didn't find a missing person's report for a Sam Lennon.”

“Or anyone matching your profile anywhere in the U.S.,” Barton punctuates.

Sam resists the urge to stick out his tongue – or stick any other appendages up – at the man, who always seems to raise his hackles. “That's because I'm not missing. Why would my dad file a report for me if I'm okay?”

“But you aren't, Sam,” Mrs. Waverly says, and dammit, now she sounds sad, as if she has any right to pity him.

He scowls at her. “Everything would have been okay, if that jerk of a bus driver hadn't ditched me. I had Dad's permission, I paid for it–”

“And that's another thing,” Barton interrupts yet again. The boom of his voice elicits a bark from the adjoining room, the kitchen, where Kate, Adam and Bones are waiting. Barton drops his voice to an accusing whisper. “We checked the history of that credit card you used to pay for your trip – John Lennon's card – and it's brand new. Also, we couldn't find records of a John Lennon in Milwaukee, where the bus driver I caught up with said he picked you up. Not to mention, you told him you'd be meeting your mother at the park...”

Sam feels the color drain out of his face. “D-don't you need a warrant or something to check all that out?” he asks, after a protracted moment, which must make him seem that much more suspicious. His eardrums thrum in time with his rapid heartbeat, with the migraine building up in his temples.

“Don't you joke about this, kid,” Barton grits out, but Mrs. Waverly's arched brows quells them both.

To Sam, she says, “You don't want to lie to Kate, do you? You want to see your father again?”

An embarrassing burn of tears assaults Sam's eyes. He reaches into his shirt and clasps his fingers around the anti-possession charm John gave him and Dean. It's warm from perpetual contact with his skin, even as he draws it out into the open. “I-I didn't mean to lie. Dad and Dean just aren't there anymore because we travel a lot. They must have left before they found out about the bus.”

In reality, John had used another credit card to pay for their motel, then left them to visit a second location some miles away. Dean has probably gotten into touch with him by now. They're probably both looking for Sam – probably angry, worried, scared. Sam doesn't want anyone to prod him on those 'probably's because he doesn't want to think about them himself.

He's so lost in his own head that he misses how the adults have fallen silent. Barton wears a pensive expression and mouths things to himself. “John Lennon's son, Sam, with a brother, Dean...”

Sam surreptitiously drags his knuckles over his eyes and murmurs, “Um, yeah. That's what I said.”

“What is it?” Mrs. Waverly inquires, frowning at Barton when he comes to help her up.

“Nothing,” he says, then, “A new lead I need to investigate, actually. Let's thank Kate and get you back to your office.”

“Joe,” she protests, but he's not listening.

Sam hears him mutter something before they're gone: “Nice necklace.”

-

“Well,” Kate says, upon walking Mrs. Waverly and Officer Barton to the door, “that was exciting.”

“I guess,” Sam answers quietly.

Both Kate and Adam, who had previously been rolling around the carpet with a happy Bones, frown at him. “Is everything all right, Sam? And please don't say 'I guess'.”

If she was anyone else, Sam would have taken that as a challenge, but such genuine concern wells within her hazel eyes that he says, “Yeah. Yeah. We're gonna go to the park now, right?”

He directs the question to Adam, who bounces up at once and pumps a small fist. “Yeah!”

Kate's frown etches deeper. It's obvious she knows he's deflecting, but rather than argue, she allows the matter to drop, and proffers a standard, black dog leash. “I had Joe pick it up for me,” she informs Sam, before asking Adam, “You wanna help Mama put it on?” which earns her another gleeful crow.

Sam fondly observes how Bones stands stock-still, to allow Adam the chance to hook up his new collar and leash. It takes only a couple of minutes, and then they're out the door, on their way to the park. Adam takes Sam's hand as soon as they hit the sidewalk.

-

-

“We've gotta car, but we walk to the park,” he explicates, smiling. “That's how all the boy scouts do it, right, Mommy?”

“Yup,” Kate laughs. She and Sam share an amused glance.

One of her hands is held in Adam's, too, while Sam, nearest to the parked cars along the curb, brandishes Bones's leash in his free one. He notices people watching them from houses along either side of the street. Kate does, as well.

“Nosy neighbors.” She laughs yet again. “They're probably thinking I've gone and got another kid.”

Sam cuts her a sideways glance and jokes, “Either that, or you like 'em younger.”

“Sam!” Kate exclaims, mouth a little 'o' of shock. She doesn't sound upset, though.

Sam feels warmth overtake his face. “Um, sorry. That's the kinda thing my brother'd say, if he was here.”

“What's that mean?” Adam pipes up.

Kate offers her son and Sam a halfhearted rebuke. “Nothing either of you should know.”

“Oh.” A tiny, thoughtful crinkle forms between Adam's eyebrows. Sam feels like he's seen something similar, maybe in the reflective surface of car windows, but before he can ponder it, the clouds clear up, and Adam asks, “What's it like, having a brother? I want one, 'cause my best friend, Kyle, does, but I can't.”

He pouts up at his mother, who merely says, “I thought Mikey was your best friend?” She seems torn between admonishment and amusement, when Adam makes an offhand comment about Mikey having 'cooties'.

Sam takes the opportunity to answer Adam's initial query. “Brothers are great, most of the time. Dean is, anyway.” He smiles up at the clear blue sky above, lucid as Adam's irises. He was right last night; Windom is beautiful during the day, with potted and planted trees dotting the sidewalk, lush green lawns, and pristine white house.

Adam blows a blond lock out of his eyes and tugs on Sam's hand. “So they're someone you can always play with? Any time?”

“And fight with,” Sam replies. The big blowout they'd had over his Six Flags trip percolates in his mind. Less than three days later, he's starting to forget why it mattered so much to him in the first place.

“It's not safe for you, Sammy,” Dean had said, fist clenched, bone-white. They hadn't stayed so for long, as neither Winchester had ever been afraid to hit the other. Sam gave as good as he got.

“I wish I had one.” Adam's sulky tone brings Sam back to himself. “Kyle's brother showed him how to light fireworks.”

Kate shakes her head, blonde hair fluttering to and fro. “And I wish I could give you one, but a brother's not a bike. Not to mention, I happen to think fireworks are too dangerous for you.”

Mom!” Adam pouts for a good five seconds, before extracting one of his hands to point at the boat-shaped sign that swerves into view. It reads Mayflower Park, some of its stylized green letters hidden beneath vines the same color. “We're here!”

Adam's shout riles Bones up. The dog begins dragging Sam across the street, toward a thicker brush of trees, grass and assorted other plants. Flowers, dance in the light wind, their petals bragging all imaginable colors. Kate and Adam tag along behind Sam.

“Whoa, boy,” he says, but it hardly matters. An instant later, they appear in a clearing of picnic tables, just past the park entrance.

“G-good thing the streets aren't too busy,” a harried Kate laughs, as she smooths her hair down. Adam releases her hand again and she kneels in front of him. “Never run across the street again, okay?”

Adam rolls his eyes. “I already know to look both ways,” he huffs.

His indignant condescension earns a breathless laugh from Sam, who urges Bones down onto his haunches, and raises an eyebrow at Kate. “Wonder where he learned to roll his eyes?”

“You know, young man,” she retorts, “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit,” but Adam's chatter distracts them both before Sam can point out that she's being pretty sarcastic herself.

“I wanna go 'sploring in the woods. Maybe I can get my next badge before Kyle and Mikey and everyone else,” Adam says, grin huge and gap-toothed.

“Why don't you show Sam the playground, instead?” Kate suggests, before he can get too worked up. She sends Sam a look, pleading him to play along, and Sam gets why. The woods can be dangerous, filled with wendigos, were-creatures, and other undesirables. It's no place for a sweet kid like Adam.

“Uh, yeah, I love the swings,” Sam says, attempting to look ingenuous.

Adam considers this for a minute, then nods and latches onto Sam's hand. “If you swing really high, it's just like flying.” He starts pulling Sam deeper into the park.

“Bones and I will be at the tables. Be good,” Kate calls after them.

“'Kay, Mom,” Adam replies, and then they're out of earshot. The park is not very busy, but not not busy, either. They pass two packed tennis courts, a basketball hoop manned by only two players, and a baseball diamond with two makeshift teams, comprised of half as many members as per an official game. “I like baseball. It's the funnest,” Adam stops and says, gaze steadfast on the fence around the diamond.

“Most fun,” Sam responds, because he saw all the star stickers on the papers magnet-locked on Kate's fridge, and knows she'd probably appreciate an impromptu grammar lesson to keep Adam as precocious as he is. He smiles when Adam repeats 'most fun' to himself, ever earnest. “I like baseball, too,” Sam continues. “Dean – that's my brother – sometimes sneaks me into games when Dad's not home.”

Adam falls silent, small face pinched ponderously. When next he speaks, his words come out of left field, no pun intended. “Do you...like having a dad?”

“Uh...” Sam boggles over what answer he could possibly give.

His silence appears to discomfit Adam, who presses his lips together into a tight line and wrings his small hands. “It's just, um, I've never had a dad before. Ever. Everyone in my classes and clubs does.”

The newest player up for bat hits a foul ball. Sam tracks it with his eyes, before he says, “I get how you feel. I do. I've never had a mom, but...I love my dad, and you love Kate, so it's okay, right? You wouldn't want anything to change?”

“I-I don't want my mommy to leave,” Adam replies, blue eyes round.

“And she won't,” Sam assures him swiftly, “but that's why it's better to be grateful for what you do have, rather than wanting what you'll never get. Maybe, in another world, you'd have a dad, a brother, and I'd have a mom. It happens in comics and cartoons all the time – alternate universes, mirror worlds – and I know I think about them sometimes, the little events that change things in a big way, but I... I wouldn't be able to actually live it.”

The conviction in his voice, his words, surprises even himself. It's true, though. Sam may wish to wake up to a beautiful blond woman who sings Hey, Jude to him, and makes him sandwiches with the crusts cut off, but not if it means he loses John's gruff pride or Dean's rare, open, sincere laughter.

“Me neither,” Adam says, with a rapid-fire shake of his head.

Sam smiles and bumps against Adam's side with his own, light enough not to jar the smaller boy. “Good. Now, let's play on the swings and talk about you joining pee-wee baseball. That can still be arranged, no prob.”

“Okay,” Adam concedes, and that's the end of that.

They relocate to the playground. It's fun. Sam pushes Adam on the swings, then awes him and the other small children at the park by breaking what they swear is Windom's swing-set record. Although Sam's a bit abashed by their fascination with him at first, he entertains all the start-struck kids on a manually wheeling merry-go-round and other playground implements.

The sun lowers in the sky above. Cacophonous barking eventually alerts Sam to the passing of time. He looks away from the jungle gym Adam hangs upside down off of, and finds Bones loping toward them, the dog's already golden fur painted effulgent as a halo.

“Hey, boy,” Sam greets the barking dog from his knees, searching him for any signs of harm on instinct.

There are none, of course. It's most probable that he broke away from Kate on his own, because what dog wants to come to the park, only to crouch beside the benches the whole time? Sam's heard animals rousing up this way, however, upon witnessing monsters tearing their masters apart.

Bones's barks and low growls even scare a few of the younger children back to their parents. Adam seems unnerved, as well. He hops off the jungle gym with a tiny frown and lands parallel to Sam. Bones finally quiets after licking the petite fingers Adam holds out to him.

“Maybe he's hungry?” Adam asks, as he wiggles said digits.

“Maybe.” Sam grabs Bones's leash and coaxes him toward the picnic area, where Kate was when they left. “Either way, we need to get back to your mom.”

Adam doesn't dispute him. He, Sam and Bones begin their return trek to Kate, who smiles at them from beside a hotdog cart, two buns in each hand, near the table she'd previously occupied. “Hungry?”

“Yeah,” Adam says, but before he can accept one, Kate inclines her chin at her purse, still on a bench.

“Get out some wipes and clean your hands,” she tells him. To Sam, she adds, “Nurse. What can you do? You should take some, too.”

“Okay,” Sam laughs, but there's a mix of embarrassment and relief brimming beneath outward passivity. Nothing was wrong with Bones or Kate. Nothing usually is, with the happy people of Windom, but he doesn't know how to get accustomed to that, when he might leave it any second.

Once he and Adam have tidied up enough to meet her approval, Kate hands them their hotdogs by their wax-paper wrappers. She then tosses a third on the ground, for Bones to munch on, before she sits and hones in on her own.

It doesn't take long for the boys or Bones to finish their lunches and re-clean. Kate's, on the other hand, is only half-nibbled, half-finished. She sighs and tosses it into a proximate trash can, into which the rest of their collective trash also goes.

“No appetite, I guess,” she says. Her tone is off, quiet enough that she's practically whispering. “There's been a stomach bug going around at the hospital.”

“Is...everything okay?” Sam inquires. Perhaps something went wrong, after all.

“Yes,” she replies, but when her son also frowns at her, amends, “...No.” She picks Adam up, into her lap. “They called from the hospital, baby. Someone didn't come in–”

“–And they need you to go,” Adam finishes for her, with a sad purse to his mouth, eyes shiny like they might well up with tears in an instant. Bones whimpers in tandem.

Kate hugs Adam to her chest and breathes into his hair, “I'm sorry, baby. I'll make sure they know I can't tomorrow, I promise.”

Adam sniffles, but his speech doesn't waver. “What about Nana Dutta? She's on a trip.”

“If you have to go to work,” Sam interrupts, before Kate can respond, “I can watch Adam tonight.”

Kate and Adam both stare at him. Their matching postures and wide eyes, the curled fall of light hair around their faces, look so alike. Sam shuffles from foot to foot, till Adam perks up and exclaims, “Oh, can he, Mommy? Please?”

“I-I don't know,” Kate says. “I'm supposed to be watching you, not the other way around.”

“It's okay. My dad has a weird work schedule, too. Dean's been watching me since before he was my age,” Sam replies, and Kate works her jaw ineffectually.

Adam crawls out of her lap to face her – to better flash her his puppy eyes, Sam realizes. He recognizes the crumbling resolve on her face, redolent of Dean's, before Adam even says, “Please, Mom? I'll be good.”

“...All right, I suppose,” Kate relents, rising. “I'll walk you boys home, then. You can call me or the hospital anytime, Sam. All emergency contact numbers are taped to my fridge.”

“Sure,” Sam says, the easy crinkle of his eyes more for her benefit, to keep her calm, than anything.

They hurry back to the Milligans'. Kate stops on the curb prior her car and drops a kiss on Adam's pale forehead. “Behave for Sam, baby.”

“I will,” Adam mumbles, fingers clinched into the bottom of his black t-shirt.

Kate unwinds out of her stoop, thinks for a moment, then plants a kiss on Sam's cheek, which he can feel growing hot beneath her lips. “Thank you, Sam. Here are the house keys and some money for takeout, when you get peckish.”

He nods in spite of his avid blush. Kate bows to give ruffle the fur on Bones's head and give him a hug. One blown kiss in their general direction later, she's gone. The boys watch the rear end of her van disappear.

“C'mon.” Sam takes Adam by the elbow, gentle. “We're gonna have fun, kiddo, I promise.”

Adam rubs a fist across his eyes as subtly as possible. Once his arm falls prone to his side, he says, “I guess so.”

Sam hugs Adam close with one of his own arms, leading Bones into the foyer by his leash with the other. It's dark inside. They'd turns all the lights off when they left. Sam flicks a switch on now and allows the synthetic glow to bathe Kate's furniture in chromatic shades.

Everything still looks depressingly empty. Sam reaches the revelation that it's too big, as he cases the sofas, TV, and fireplace. He, his father, and Dean have hardly ever bunked in houses like the Milligans'. You'd think a single motel room shared by two or more people would be claustrophobic, but Sam's grown comfortable with the noises, the presences, the constant yammer of Dean's motormouth and inappropriate shows.

“Wanna make up a big bowl of popcorn and watch a movie?” Sam asks Adam, who nods. Sam looks toward the stairwell, smile curt. “Okay, good. You take Bones and go start, hm? I gotta go get something from my bag.”

“'Kay,” Adam says, and scampers off, Bones at his heels.

Sam stirs at once. He doesn't want to come back to a fire in the microwave, but with Kate gone, he gets a little leeway to do things he otherwise couldn't, but has wanted to since the moment he arrived – what he always does whenever he hits a new location.

He re-salts Adam's doorway, the entrance to the Milligan house, and starts on as many windows as he can, before Adam resurfaces, at which point he chucks his mostly empty bag of salt behind the nearest couch. That will be fun to explain to Kate later, but aside from his fair, furrowed brows, Adam doesn't seem too suspicious.

“Uh, hey, wanna pick a movie now?” a breathless Sam asks, to detract attention from his earlier activities. He flops down onto the loveseat and pats the spot beside him.

Adam frowns, but joins him. “Let's watch something scary; I like scary movies.”

“Does your mom let you watch those?” Sam inquires, eyebrow arched in incredulity.

“Yes?” Adam says, and Sam chuckles, because not only does it sound like a question, Adam's eyes are wide and pleading yet again.

“Fine, but just for tonight, and we won't tell Kate.” Sam clicks the TV on and flips through the channels till he comes upon something with a grotesque musical score. He stops on it. Bones hops onto both of their laps, head on Adam's, torso, rump and wagging tail on Sam's.

The movie runs for perhaps an hour and a half. They've missed a good chunk of its opening. At first, Adam's fully riveted to the screen, but by the time only the killer and the main couple remain, he starts to droop against Sam.

Sam doesn't like scary movies for the same reason he hates Halloween: he gets enough horror in his everyday existence to scare Marilyn Manson shitless. Adam feels warm along his body, however, his thumb stuck in his mouth, and Bones is conked out on both their legs.

Sam extricates himself just enough to shut the TV off via remote, then melts into the arch of the couch, his eyelids shutting. He doesn't mean to doze off. A persistent clink jars him awake. He straightens out immediately, hand moving to the gun lodged in the small of his back.

“What's going on?” Adam asks, rubbing at his face with sleepy precision. Bones lifts his head and whimpers.

“The doorknob,” Sam mutters by way of answer, intended only for himself. He shoves at Adam and Bones till they shift away, then rises on numb, wobbly legs, with which he makes for the door. “Stay here,” he calls back to Adam, fully extracting his gun.

A gasp and a second whimper resound. Sam flinches, but tells himself it's Bones again. It has to be. There's an angry little voice in his head, though, which sounds a bit too much like John, that insists him scaring away the Milligans was inevitable. They're apple pie, sweet and wholesome; he's...something else. Rhubarb. Mince meat. Different.

The front door's lock shimmies from vertical to horizontal, closed to open, as it would if a key was employed, except a key would neither take so long, nor require so much effort. Besides, Kate left him her keys...

“Kate, is that you?” Sam inquires, regardless. He can still hide his gun, if it is, and work things out. Somehow.

The knob stops moving. Sam clicks off the safety on his Taurus with one hand and reaches for it with the other. Whoever stands behind the door doesn't speak. In one slick motion, he throws it open and exposes Kate's foyer to the hot night air.

No one's outside. In fact, the whole street's empty, save a pickup truck on the far end. It looks familiar, but it's so dark, Sam can't so much as tell what color it is, much less whether it's owned by someone he knows.

Bones starts to bark. “Sam,” Adam abruptly exclaims from behind him, but the warning comes too late.

Sam drops his gun on instinct to clutch at the arm that choke-holds him. “You're lucky it didn't go off,” someone growls, before he's released.

He lashes around and discovers Dean, smirk taut. Sam finds that he can't stare at it, nor into Dean's bright eyes, for long, because he knows that even Dean's most minute gestures will scream disappointment. Instead of looking, Sam lurches forward and hugs his brother.

“I'm sorry, Dean, I'm sorry.” His voice muffles into Dean's replacement jacket, into his smell of leather and grease, the other still upstairs in Adam's room.

Dean is stiff at first, but his arms rise to wrap around Sam's waist eventually. “Hey, it's okay,” he says. When Sam glances up at him, eyes wet, Dean grins. “I knew ya stole my gun, by the way, you little bitch.”

“Jerk,” Sam replies, and shoves at Dean's chest. Dean snorts and retrieves his fallen weapon, juggling it between his hands adeptly.

They're both caught off guard by the latest whimper Adam emits. His lips tremble and his eyes have welled up with tears, as he stutters, “Are you gonna k-kill us?” arms around Bones's neck.

Sam has a feeling, that's the only reason Bones hasn't made a leap for Dean's throat, though he'd already attacked Sam and had made Adam cry. Sam doesn't blame Bones for baring his fangs the way he does, but it stings that it's indiscriminately in the Winchesters' direction, not just Dean's.

“H-hey,” Sam says, arms aloft in a we-come-in-peace gesture. Adam flinches back into the sofa cushions when he draws near, but Sam soldiers on and rubs the fur on Bones's snout. “I'm not gonna hurt you. Any of you. I promise, Adam,” he continues, pressing himself into Adam's side again, identical to their posture during the movie.

Adam snuffles his face into the crook of Sam's neck. “R-really? And he won't, either? 'C-cause he looks like a meanie.”

“Hey!” Dean objects, but when Sam directs a helpless frown at him, he shrugs and sticks the Taurus into his jeans.

“No, he's Dean. I told you about him, remember?” Sam says. Adam doesn't seem convinced, so he adds, “He won't hurt you, I swear. Please trust me, Adam.”

Dean thumbs over his shoulder, at the wall blocking off the door. “I'm, uh, gonna let Dad know he can come in.”

He's gone before Sam can process his words. Of course, it's obvious when he thinks about it, though. Dean couldn't have made it through the Milligans' back door, if someone hadn't distracted Sam from the front.

“So, your dad and brother are here?” Adam asks, no longer choked up, at least.

“Yeah.” Sam forces a smile. “When they get back, we can order that pizza your mom left us money for.”

“'Kay,” Adam replies, just as John enters, Dean behind him.

John's mouth curls into a grim line, his eyes more bloodshot than usual, but to his credit, he doesn't death-march Sam out of the Milligan house immediately. John Winchester isn't typically the sort of man to ask questions first.

Sam tilts his chin up with a determined scowl, his anger from earlier simmering anew. “We can't leave. Not till Kate gets home.”

“Kate?” John asks.

“My mom,” Adam chimes in, which attracts John's attention to him for the first time.

“This is Adam Milligan,” Sam says, giving Adam a slight squeeze. “I'm watching him for his mother, Kate, who let me squat here after the police caught me.”

“Oh...” John's frown doesn't let up. Sam knows they'll be having a talk about all the trouble he's in later.

“Dad–” Dean starts to say, when John lopes toward Sam and Adam, but all John does is take a seat on the small couch perpendicular to Sam's.

He scrutinizes Adam a moment, before breaking out into a wide smile and introducing himself. “I'm Sam's father. It's nice to meet you, Adam.”

Sam gapes. Dean does, as well. Adam, on the other hand, beams between the Winchesters. “Pizza now? I like green pepper.”

“Y-yeah,” Sam agrees, and distantly thinks, green pepper's his favorite, too, whereas his father and brother love their meat too much. Perhaps now he'll win that vote.

-

By the time Kate arrives, Adam has been fed and put to bed. Sam expects her surprise at finding John and Dean with Sam, but not the way John's jaw drops, breath picks up, and eyes round.

“K-Kate,” he stammers, uncharacteristic of him.

Kate's eyes first flick away, then return to hold his. She grimaces. “I, uh, suppose we need to talk?”

“What's going on? You two know each other?” Dean voices Sam's question, but John shuts him up with a single look.

“Go upstairs, boys. Sam, get your things ready,” he says, and though shock still sits heady on his face, his tone brooks no room for argument.

Sam swallows down a rebuttal. Dean takes him by his bicep and murmurs, “C'mon, Sammy,” guiding him toward the stairwell.

Sam stays silent till they reach the very top step, then inquires, “How'd you find me, anyway?”

Dean reaches out and flicks the amulet of his anti-possession charm. It emits a soft ping. “Apparently, Dad had a hunt here in Windom years ago, and some policeman helped him out,” he explicates.

“Barton?” Sam asks, an octave too loud. He and Dean aim a guilty look at Adam's half-cracked door. “I...guess that makes sense. He did sorta pale when he saw this, and it explains Dad knowing Kate, too.” Sam compresses the charm in his palm. “Weird to imagine Barton on a hunt, though. Guy's pretty uptight about the law.”

“Policemen,” Dean replies, shrugging, and that's really all that needs to be said on the matter. Dean glances at Adam's room again. “Are you gonna...you'll probably have to say goodbye, Sam. Can't avoid it forever; your bag's in there.”

“I know.” Sam frowns. His reunion with Dean and his father went nicer than he'd ever imagined, but he's been determinedly not thinking about its implications – namely, that he has to leave.

Sam sucks in a deep breath and steels his nerves. He can't help flinching, however, at the creak Adam's door makes when he gives it a light push. “I'll be here,” Dean calls after him, and he almost wishes Dean would follow. He won't beg, though.

He sidesteps his bag and several toy cars, as he picks his way to Adam's bedside. Adam's turned to his right, face toward Sam, curled into a little ball beneath his blankets. Sam strives an arm out and strokes his soft blond hair, earning a quiet sigh, before Adam's blue eyes blink open. They look even darker in the shadows.

“Are you leaving?” Adam mumbles sleepily.

“I – yeah. Yeah, buddy, I am.” Sam manages a smile.

His efforts are rewarded by Adam doing the same. Adam sits up and takes Sam's hand. “Don't be sad. We have to be happy with how things are, right? And you can come visit us?”

“Yeah,” Sam says, a vague response to both inquiries. It's all he can get out of his throat, which feels snug and tight with oncoming tears, accompanying the twinge beneath his lids. He probably won't ever see Adam or Kate again, and when Bones, who'd thus been sleeping on the floor right of Adam's bed, barks, Sam realizes they aren't the only ones. The road is no life for a playful dog. He wipes his face on the sleeve of his plaid shirt and grins, teeth grit so tight that it's practically painful. “We probably can't take Bones with us. ...Do you think you can take care of him for me, till I get back?”

Adam's eyes grow earnestly large, as he bobs his head, flyaway blond locks aflutter. Bones hops onto the bottom bunk with him. Adam's arms wrap around the dog's furry neck, where the collar Barton bought remains. “I will, Sam. I promise.”

“Thanks,” Sam says, then, before he can stop himself, pitches forward to hug them both. “M-maybe I'll never have a mom or a little brother, but you felt like one to me, Adam,” he whispers. “You and Kate felt like family.”

Adam's smile smooths out. Sam suspects he shouldn't have spoken, that he sounds too sad, but Adam clings to him in return and replies, “You feel like family, too.”

“Bye, kiddo,” Sam says, putting his all into their final embrace. He gets an answering lick from Bones, before he extricates their limbs, grabs his bag, and retreats to an awkwardly shifting Dean's side.

Both Winchesters turn toward the staircase at the sound of footsteps. “Go wait in the car, boys,” John directs them.

“'Kay,” Dean says, and leads Sam out.

Kate has her palm pressed to her trembling mouth, her eyes shiny. Sam wonders what she and John were discussing. Upon noticing him, she envelops him in a hug, nonetheless. Dean also gets one, which inspires him to gape. Sam would laugh at the expression, if he hadn't done the same that first time Kate hugged him.

“Come back one day, boys,” she tells them. “My door is open to you anytime.”

“'Sure,” Dean says. Sam simply nods.

They head outside together and wait for a good ten minutes, then spy John hurrying out. “Had to say goodbye to Adam,” he mutters, once they're inside the truck, though Sam doesn't know why he'd need to bother. He meets Sam's gaze in the rear-view and punctuates, “We'll talk about this later, but we will talk.”

Sam huffs and snuggles back into the truck's seats. Dean throws an arm around his shoulders. They drive in silence for hours. Sam doesn't mean to, but nods off against the solid warmth of his brother's body.

The next time he wakes, it's to bright, flashing lights, loud music and the sweet peal of children's giggles. “W-where are we?”

“It's not Six Flags,” John says, something sheepish about the furrow of his dark eyebrows, “but I thought we could stop and take a break at the Valleyfair.”

“Oh,” Sam replies, before a happy beam breaks his face.

-

Twelve years later, after John's death, they get a call from a worried nineteen year old, seeking his father's help to find his missing mother, and for a moment, Sam can't even breathe.

-

PREVIOUS!

-

Comments

( 13 Offerings — Sacrifice a Virgin )
nights_fang
Aug. 19th, 2012 06:48 pm (UTC)
I've already flailed at you telling you how cute I find this story. Teen!Sam's need for independence. His stubbornness. His missing Dean. Him hanging around with kid!Adam and Kate. Bones. The way they just fit and how it doesn't seem awkward.

And that end. That end broke my heart to itty bitty pieces in ways I couldn't even imagine. John, and Dean, and when you ended with that phone call. It's like something decided to rip my heart out of my chest.

Seriously, this is wonderful
ladyknightanka
Aug. 20th, 2012 06:42 pm (UTC)
You are really, really wonderful, bb, for reassuring me about this. I genuinely hated it for a while, and now I'm zen, which is all thanks to you. ♥

I have to admit, it was interesting writing Sam during the beginning of his rebellious years. During the show, I was usually more sympathetic with Dean in flashbacks (especially in DSotM, where Sam actually talks about running away like this), because we could see how Sam wanting to leave hurts him, but getting into his head was interesting. It was a mix of love for Dean and John, and his quest for normality. Also, I loved writing him, Adam and Kate growing close, then the Winchesters arriving.

I ended on that note because, well, it is Supernatural, but I'm really glad you enjoyed it and that it made sense outside my head. I'm still foggy right now, so there's probably not even a lot of sense-making going on in this comment, lol. Thank you again, bb!
bellacatbee
Aug. 19th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC)
A story this cute should not leave me in tears but it did. I wanted them to be a family so much. Kate was just wonderful and bb!Adam, the cutest little kid ever and Bones stayed with them and was Adam's dog, but he did have brothers and a father and Sam could have had a mum. *cries some more*

Also, I see Adam's best friend is called Mikey. No foreshadowing there.
ladyknightanka
Aug. 20th, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry about the tears part, love. I didn't want to end on that note, but even when I started, I thought it would go mostly canon. Supernatural just isn't happy fluffy sunshine land, though I wish it was, and I wish they could all be a family. ;___;

Wee!Adam, Bones and rebellious teenager Sam were sometimes difficult to write, but fun. I also loved really writing Kate, who just doesn't get enough spotlight in either canon or fanon. John, though... I can't imagine him going any other way but the one he did, which is why I wrote it, but man, I wish he had given up hunting Azazel and let all his boys (let himself and Kate) be happy. She and Adam already loved Sam and vice-versa; Dean would have, too. It could have been magic!

And, of course, no foreshadowing with Mikey... *shifty eyes* He has cooties, after all... Thank you so much for reading this, bb! I'm glad you enjoyed it! ♥♥♥
lady_astrild
Aug. 20th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
♥_♥

In my head, Sam and Dean actually manage to save Adam this time.
ladyknightanka
Aug. 20th, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
I like your head. That will be my headcanon, too, because I'd be to mean to imagine otherwise, after letting Sam and Adam get so close.

Thanks for reading, bb! ♥
cynassa
Aug. 20th, 2012 04:36 am (UTC)
I really liked this. Sam's voice comes off very well, very authentically Sam as well as being a teenager's voice. I loved the brief moments where he thinks about John and Dean and how he does care about them but just wants some stability.

And bb!Adam omg, so cuuuute. I just want to snuggle him, and the way you showed Sam recognizing his own or Dean's features in him but not understanding it was very well done.

And the last line, man, that was idk brilliant? Inspired? something like that.
ladyknightanka
Aug. 20th, 2012 07:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you so, so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Sam's 'teenager voice' was a bit inspired by my 13 year old sister. I think being thirteen, and a teenager in general, is trying to find your individuality and balance it with your family. I tried to capture that and I'm glad it shows, because I definitely didn't want to demonize Dean and John, despite writing Sam's (at first) anger-clouded point of view.

Little!Adam and Bones were the most fun to write. They were so small and excitable and I loved being able to hint at Adam's connection to Sam, which everybody but Sam knew. XD

Thank you for your kind comments! I'm delighted you enjoyed this and liked the last line! :D
mandraco
Aug. 20th, 2012 05:04 am (UTC)
Wee!Adam is so adorable. And Sam telling comforting him about not having a dad is perfect!

I would so have hated to be Dean when Sam was going through this phase.

I'm bummed that John didn't tell them that Adam was their brother, but that was never going to happen. =)
ladyknightanka
Aug. 20th, 2012 07:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I agree, being Dean would be difficult at this time. I actually have a 13 year old sister, too, so I kind of know how trying that can be.

Writing Sam and Adam's relationship was fun, though. I would also have liked them all to be a family, but as you said, John wouldn't be able to reconcile with that. He was still avidly searching for Azazel at the time. He would have thought he'd be putting Kate and Adam in danger, and even if that wasn't the case, he couldn't give up getting his revenge, unfortunately.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this! Thanks again!
eosrose
Aug. 21st, 2012 12:32 am (UTC)
This was every bit as adorable as I hoped it would be. I especially loved how Sam was so prickly when people accused him of being a run-away. Kate was delightfully sweet and I just wanted to cuddle Adam forever.

I really was hoping that in the end John would come clean about Adam and Sam (and Dean, too, of course) would have a chance to maintain some sort of relationship with them. Alas, this is Supernatural, so I never expect happy endings, lol.

You are an evil person for ending something so cute in a way so tragic. ;_;
ladyknightanka
Aug. 23rd, 2012 12:10 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your kind comments. I'm delighted you enjoyed it. <333

It was a different dynamic than I usually write. It was fun applying some of my Milligans' headcanon to it, and hearing that it went over well makes me glad.

I also wanted a happy ending, tbh, but like you said, this is Supernatural. We embrace our evil in this fandom. ;)
(Deleted comment)
ladyknightanka
Aug. 25th, 2012 01:26 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for reading, bb! *hugs*

I had a lot of complex ideas for this mini-bang, since it was about Adam and I was helping to run it, but in the end, I decided to default to gooey family stuff - cute dogs, small children, etc. - and it was a nice change of pace, tbh.

I'm really happy you enjoyed this and liked the end. I wish they'd all had a chance to be a family, too. Thanks again, hon. ♥♥♥
( 13 Offerings — Sacrifice a Virgin )

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