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SPN Fanfic: The Film - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
SPN Fanfic: The Film
Title: "The Film"
Characters: Sam, Dean, Bobby briefly (and others, kind of)
Rating: Light PG for language. Gen.
Category: Gen. Bits of Past-fic (kind of).
Word Count: 2124
Summary: An unexpected find triggers some holiday reminiscences for Dean and Sam. Unabashed Seasonal schmoop ahoy!
Disclaimer: All I want for Christmas is the Winchesters, but Kripke is a naughty elf who won't share. *pout*
A/N: Keep your insulin injectors handy, it's a little sugary in spots. Set sometime before Crossroad Blues in season two, so spoilers of a general thematic and character nature for season two there. Unbeta'd, beware Canadian spellings, and I hope I tracked down all the verb tense shifts, but some may have escaped. I'm not happy with the title either, but I was stuck and wanted to get this up today.
ETA: Kripke'd by 3.08, but oh well. *shrug*

The Film
by CaffieneKitty
- - -

"By the way, here," said Bobby, in the middle of a completely unrelated conversation about the effect of live Holy Water steam on demonic entities. He held out a small black film canister.

Sam held out his hand, "What is it?"

Bobby shrugged. "Found it in the Impala, when we were clearing it up to haul to the yard. Forgot about it with, uh," he glanced towards the ratcheting sounds coming in through the open shop window, "... all the ruckus after."

Sam popped the lid and shook out a roll of film. "It's been used."

"Yep," Bobby said, then picked up his previous topic with a variant water-blessing for radiators, since rosary beads and vehicular cooling systems were not intended to cohabitate. Sam stuck the film in his pocket, then in the side pocket of his duffel later.

- - -

"What's this?" asked Dean nearly two months later, holding the film canister up.

"It's film. What are you doing going through my stuff?" Sam said, snatching his bag away from his brother.

Dean shrugged. "I was out of clean socks. We don't use a film camera, Sam, haven't for years, where'd it come from?"

"Bobby," Sam said, zipping up his bag, "He found it in the wreck of the Impala. I forgot it was there."

Dean popped the lid and looked at the roll. "There could be something important on here, Sam, maybe something from an old hunt, maybe something about the Demon. We should get it developed."

"It's old, Dean, so old it doesn't even have an expiry date on it. It's probably wrecked."

Dean half-smirked. "No harm in trying. They only make you pay for the pictures that turn out, right?"

- - -

An hour and a half later the envelope of photos sat between them on the front seat of the Impala.

"Did they all turn out?"

Dean drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "Only eleven shots. Cost enough that they probably all should've."

"Hunh," Sam reached for the envelope, but Dean put a hand down.

"Let's... not look at them here, okay?"

"Why, Dean?" Sam looked over at his brother. "What's wrong with them?"

"Nothing." Dean's mouth set in a thin line. Sam frowned, but opened the envelope anyway.

The first photo was of the Impala, covered in snow a foot deep. The quality was grainy, and black flecks studded the print where the film had started to decay.

"Where did we park long enough-" Sam lifted the print to hand it to Dean and suddenly he couldn't catch his breath. The next print was of Dad shoveling out the Impala, the house in the background is the one in Lawrence. The house. Dad before the Demon.

"Dean, these are from-"

"-Yeah. I know. I saw the first two come off the printer." Voice tense. "Wanted to, y'know, make sure I had an explanation ready if there was anything supernatural on there."

Sam flipped the pictures over in his hand one by one, passing each one to Dean as he went.

The next one was a very small but unmistakable Dean in rubber boots and mittens swinging on a swing-set in a snowy park, snow kicked up in a cloud of sparkles, boot-tips pointed to the sky.

Then Dean and Dad hiding in a snow fort, looking through a gap in the wall together, ramparts guarded by green plastic army men.

Mom and Dean, on their backs in the snow, making angels, shadow of the person taking the picture crossing them.

Mary laughing at some lumpy blackened things that may have started out as cookies, cinnamon rolls, or fruit tarts; the grey haze in that photo was not entirely due to the age of the film.

A spindly tree, presents spilling out underneath, and a pair of small pajama-clad legs amongst the parcels was all that could be seen of Dean.

Dad, laughing, with a red santa hat and cotton-ball beard straggling from his stubbly chin as he held Dean by his feet, sweeping the floor with his hair.

A crooked picture of Dad, mouth open, one arm pointing towards the camera, the other wrapped around a laughing Mary, hand resting gently on her rounding belly.

Their mother in a new white nightgown, standing in front of the tree, grinning, star behind her shoulder, Dean wrapped around her right knee, blond head coated in sticky bows, wearing a wrapping paper cape, looking up at his mother with his mouth open wide, saying something.

The last one was of Dean, curled up in a box full of used wrapping paper, fast asleep.

Sam handed the last of the photos to Dean. "Do you remember these, Dean? You must've been-"

"-four. Nearly." Dean shrugged. "No, I don't remember. Not really." He put the last photo on the stack of photos laying face-down on top of the envelope.

"That old film must have been jammed somewhere in the Impala and been forgotten ages ago. The wreck must've shook it out." Sam picked up the stack and started going through them again, smiling softly.

"Must have," Dean said. Sam stopped flipping through photos and glanced over at his brother. Dean was clenching the steering wheel again, staring straight ahead.

Sam glanced back down at the pictures, and the way Dean had re-stacked them face-down. "You didn't look at them, did you?"

Dean hunched. "Yeah, I did. Glanced through 'em. Too bad there's nothing we can use on 'em." His jaw clenched.

Sam tilted his head to one side. "But... they're from before, Dean." He didn't have to say before what. "They're happy. Pictures of Mom and Dad and you. You don't even want to look at them?"

Dean shrugged and started the car, eyes like flint. "Maybe later."

- - -

Sam was asleep across the room. It was two in the morning, and Dean was in the process of losing a long staring match with the package of photos. He sat at the kitchenette table, a cup of coffee, Dad's journal and a stack of newspapers beside him, one small lamp on, looking at the envelope. "Dammit," he whispered and pulled the envelope over, taking out the pictures.

The Impala buried in snow. Dad shoveling.
...snow higher than my head along the sidewalk...

The park swing.
...that spinning thing, merry-go-round, totally buried, went on the swings instead... the snow got in the tops of my boots, cold wet toes, Dad carried me home on his shoulders...

The snow fort.
...cold on the side of my face, pressed against the snow wall, warm on the other side, pressed against dad's scratchy cheek...

Snow angels.
... cold wet back, breath turning into clouds in the air and floating away to the sky, Dad blotting out the sun to take the picture...

The baking disaster.
... sticky dough on my hands when Mom said that the most special present this year wouldn't arrive until spring, and I wondered what being a big brother meant...

Underneath the tree.
"... jus' looking, 'm not peeking, an' 'm not s'eepy..."

Santa hat and sweeping.
...Christmas morning, shrieking so loud I hurt my own ears. The world spinning like on the merry-go-round, but a billion times better. "Do it again, Daddy..."

Crooked picture of Mom and Dad.
"...hold it straight, push that button on top." "What button, Daddy?" "That one right-" *click* Mom's laugh like... like....

In front of the tree.
...don't remember. I don't remember. Just laughter, so much joy....

Curled into a box.
...looking through the colored paper at the lights, moving the paper to make the colors shift...

Pictures from before. Before fear, fire, running, horror, loss and pain. Before evil things entered their world and all that safety and innocence got lost. Before the Demon took Mom and Dad started the hunt and Sammy...

Dean flipped back through the photos slowly. Sam never got a chance to have any memories like that. Safe and happy, from a time when the world was just there, waiting to be explored, not a place to fear, and surprises were things in boxes with colorful ribbons and paper, not things that snuck up behind you if you weren't paying constant attention. And now Dad was gone and everything was so much worse than Dean had ever thought possible. And Sam... And Sam...

Dean put the pile of pictures face down on the envelope, pushed them away, rubbed a hand across his eyes, his jaw clenching.

"Dean?" Sam called from his bed across the room.

Dean scowled. "Sorry, Sam, I'll turn the light out."

"Naw," said Sam, swinging his legs over the side of his bed and padding to the kitchenette table on sock feet. "Not really that tired anyway." He poured himself a coffee and pulled the other chair up to the table. Dean shifted away slightly, leaving the face-down pile of pictures on the table between them like an unexploded bomb.

Sam looked from the stack of photos to Dean who was frowning tensely at the speckles in the formica table top.

"Hey," said Sam after a while, "Remember that hotel in the woods, when it snowed? Dad got stuck in town for half a day until they plowed, and we snuck out and went sledding."

"Wasn't a sled," muttered Dean, "it was a busted rifle case."

"Still worked. We slid down that hill behind the hotel all day. It was awesome."

Dean snorted into his coffee. "You were five, and already a total dork. You went head first into a snowbank." Sam cold and wet to the skin and a ten minute trudge to warmth that took forever with a shivering little brother...

"Yep, and you pulled me out, and then we went to the hotel cafe and had hot chocolate."

"Hell of a Christmas that was," Dean grimaced. He'd been scared out of his mind.

Sam leaned his elbows on the table, turning his coffee cup idly. "What years did we spend the holidays at Pastor Jim's?"

A hint of a wistful smile. "That was when you were... seven, ten, and uh, thirteen." Pale light through the stained glass making pools of color on the rows of people. Pastor Jim's voice rolling out over his congregation like a warm sea in the snowy Minnesota winter. Candles and singing....

"And which year was it you got in trouble for flirting with the choir girls?"

"Heh," Dean grinned. "Pretty much all of 'em. Mostly that last time though."

"We were at Pastor Jim's in 1990? I thought that was the year were we at Caleb's?"

"Oh, wow, Caleb's. Yeah, that was an unforgettable one. Uh, that would've been '89. You'd have been six."

"All I remember was a menorah and a lot of explosions."

"Not at the same time though. We were there during Hanukkah, and then again at New Year's Eve that year, on the way through Nebraska and back. Munitions experts know how to do some serious fireworks." Dean smirked.

"The year I remember most though, is in the apartment outside of Boston."

Dean snorted. "That rat-hole." Cold water, loud pipes, almost out of food money and no sign of Dad, and Sammy with a head full of holiday anticipation rubbed off from the other kids at his school.

"Hey, I liked it!" Sam leaned back in his chair, "Dad wasn't home that year either. You got a branch from the park down the street and decorated it."

"Sort of. With pictures of marshmallow shapes cut from an empty cereal box and some tinfoil."

"Yeah! And a dreamcatcher. You wrapped up a huge bag of candy in the comics section of the newspaper."

"-the neighbors' newspaper."

Sam grinned, "Really?"

"Heh, yeah," Dean ran a hand through his hair, "I figured they were old and didn't have any kids so they wouldn't miss the comics section."

Sam laughed. "I never knew that."

"Yeah, well," Dean shrugged and frowned down at the formica again, "It was all there was. And you're right, it was a pretty suck-ass Christmas that year."

"Are you kidding?" Sam frowned, "That was probably one of my favorites, growing up."

Dean glanced sidelong at Sam. "You're joking, right?"

"No way! It was great! We watched holiday cartoons all morning, ate candy-"

"Stale-dated halloween candy." Bought with pennies found in the street and schoolyard from the corner store's discount bin.

"Candy's candy, dude. We ate candy for lunch and played tackle basketball with balls of newspaper in the apartment all afternoon."

"You really remember that?"

"Yep." Sam sat back in the kitchenette chair across from Dean, smirking. "I was eight and I kicked your ass."

"Did not." Dean half-smirked.

"Oh I totally did. And Dad was home the next morning, with pizza. It was awesome."

Dean looked across at his grinning brother. "Our holidays were never exactly normal, even on years we weren't wrapped up in hunting something."

"I know," said Sam. "But just because they weren't normal, that doesn't make them bad."

Dean ducked his head and touched the back of the stack of photos. "I really don't remember much...." Dean said, flipping the photos face up. "...but I remember the snow being piled up in front of the house higher than my head. If you look right there, I think that's the top of my hat...."

- - -
(Have a safe and happy holiday season, everyone!)

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "Handel's Messiah"

21 comments or Leave a comment
astrothsknot From: astrothsknot Date: December 25th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) (Link)
Damn, kitty, this is so touching. I love how despite the impression that Sam hated his childhood, he's the one with happy memories, not Dean.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! :-)

jonijess From: jonijess Date: December 25th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Awww. Really loved this. I loved that Sam's memories of Christmas are happy because he never knew any different. Little kids are awesome that way. A busted rifle case was a sled to him, and stale candy was still candy.

And Dean...such bittersweet memories. Stil can't decide what breaks my heart more. Dean remembering the happiness from before and seeing it torn away or Sam never knowing it. I think it's a draw.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 04:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's a draw.

Isn't it just. They're both killing me this season, so I'm glad that came through in the story.
fredsmith518 From: fredsmith518 Date: December 26th, 2006 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
very nicely done, and pointing up how different family members have different perspectives on memorable Christmases.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 05:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Hehe, yep. Families are weird like that, whether they hunt demons or not.
weesta From: weesta Date: December 26th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC) (Link)

This was very sweet! I loved Sam's excitement going through the pictures at first. I loved how you echoed it with Dean's rememberances as he went though the pictures himself - so sad and sweet. But the end was the best, with Sam going through Chrismtases he remembered, but that he had so much more fondness for than Dean. A wonderful glimpse into the boy's Christmases past!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 05:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks Weesta! *grin*
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC) (Link)
(no subject) - dairwendan - Expand
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep. Christmas '82, Sam's just a bump, and Dean is two years and eleven months old. The amount of difference Dean having that little bit of "normal" might make fascinates me.
iamstealthyone From: iamstealthyone Date: December 26th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Nicely done. Bittersweet and sweet. I love the memories of Christmases past, especially the one in which Dean made the most of almost nothing while John was away. And Sam getting Dean to open up about the photos was so very Sam, and so very perfect.

Favorite lines:

Mom and Dean, on their backs in the snow, making angels, shadow of the person taking the picture crossing them.

Love the detail about the shadow falling across them.

The last one was of Dean, curled up in a box full of used wrapping paper, fast asleep.

Aww! *squishes him*

"And which year was it you got in trouble for flirting with the choir girls?"

"Heh," Dean grinned. "Pretty much all of 'em. Mostly that last time though."

LOL! Of course Dean would have done that.

"Our holidays were never exactly normal, even on years we weren't wrapped up in hunting something."

"I know," said Sam. "But just because they weren't normal, that doesn't make them bad."

Aww. I love that Sam can see good times in their past, considering he definitely resented their upbringing more than Dean. Nice moment, here.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I figure Sam's resentment was a slow build that came to a head in his teens. Young Sammy in my mind is a blythe and resiliant little tyke, mostly. But my mind is odd sometimes.
iamstealthyone From: iamstealthyone Date: December 27th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree with what you're saying, that wee!Sam was quite happy. I think John was fairly gentle when they were wee, but once they were both teens, things started changing fairly quickly, and while Dean was pretty OK with that, Sam wasn't.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 27th, 2006 07:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh absolutely! I think the closet monster and the .45 referred to in the Pilot when Sam is 9 is probably close to John's "father to drill-sergeant" turning point. Dean would have been entering his teens then.

The whole family, as individuals and in their family dynamic, is endlessly fascinating. It will be interesting to see what develops in the comic book backstory series they're doing! :-)
iamstealthyone From: iamstealthyone Date: December 28th, 2006 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
It will be interesting to see what develops in the comic book backstory series they're doing! :-)

Oh, yes. I'm not a comic-book girl, but I might have to make an exception for these little goodies. *g*
impertinence From: impertinence Date: December 28th, 2006 09:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh oh oh. The contrast between the boys is so painfully obvious here. ♥ This is a lovely, if painful, fic. Thanks for sharing!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 29th, 2006 08:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Anytime! :-)
(Deleted comment)
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 24th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hee! Thanks! I'm glad you liked it! :-)
borgmama1of5 From: borgmama1of5 Date: December 26th, 2011 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
So bittersweet, how Sam's good memories are bad ones for Dean.

Really liked the premise of this, finding old undeveloped film. Pre-Sam pictures really let us have a glimpse at Dean's memories.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: December 26th, 2011 06:49 am (UTC) (Link)
This is actually based on something that happened in my family years ago, shortly after my dad died. It was a real shock seeing those pictures.
21 comments or Leave a comment