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Supernatural Gen Fanworks Exchange
Summer 2017
Fic: Music 
17th-Aug-2009 05:24 am
Supernatural
Title: Music
Author: kinsinger
Recipient: scribblesinink
Rating: PG
Warnings: none
Author's Notes: none
Summary: Sam was making his way through the endless fields of Iowa when the cassette player in the Impala finally gave out with a loud crackle of static.



Sam was making his way through the endless fields of Iowa when the cassette player in the Impala finally gave out with a loud crackle of static.

“Son of a - ”

He ejected the tape (marked ‘Black Sabbath’ in Dean’s messy scrawl, even though the only songs on it were Queen) and swore as the tape unraveled in his hands, part of it still stuck back in the depths of the player.

In the passenger seat, Ruby rolled her eyes but said nothing.

“Don’t,” Sam said, teeth gritted as he tried to untangle the tape without crashing the car.

She raised her hands defensively. “Did I say anything?”

“You didn’t have to,” he muttered, pulling gently on the cassette in a futile attempt to avoid severing the delicate strands of tape.

“But, you know, if I was going to say something,” she said casually, “I might point out that there’s no way you’re going to save that tape.”

“Good thing you’re not going to say anything, then,” Sam said, gritting his teeth.

It took two miles of Sam fiddling with the cassette player before Ruby finally snapped.

“Hey!” Sam cried as she wrenched the tape from his hands. “What the hell do you-”

“Pull over,” Ruby snarled right back. Gathering the strands of tape in her hands, she gave a great tug that pulled a twisted mess from the cassette player.

Obediently, Sam pulled the car over onto the shoulder. Only when he was certain he was far enough over that no other cars would hit him did he turn to Ruby and let loose.

“You mind telling me what the hell you think you’re doing?” he asked, voice dangerously low.

“You mean aside from following you on a wild goose chase all the way across the continent?” she asked evenly, eyebrows rising. “Well, aside from that, I’m telling you the music in here sucks and,” she waved the mangled cassette tape, “you need a new system.”

“I don’t need a new anything,” Sam retorted, snatching the tape out of her hand and throwing it into the back seat. “And the music’s fine.”

He pulled another cassette from the box near her feet and jammed it into the player. One high-pitched grinding noise and a puff of smoke later, another twisted mess joined the first on the back seat of the car.

“Huh,” Ruby said mockingly. “You know what, I think you’re right. This old cassette player’s got some life left in it.” She plucked another tape from the box. “Want to try another one?”

Sam took the tape from her and slammed it back into the box. “Is everything a joke to you?” he demanded.

“You’re throwing a hissy fit because music you hate won’t play,” Ruby said calmly. “I find that kind of funny. Sue me.”

Sam blinked at her, face twisted in confusion. “I don’t hate it.”

“Dude, don’t even give me that,” Ruby retorted, crossing her arms. “This is Dean’s music, not yours.”

Sam’s mouth, open as if to reply, snapped shut at his brother’s name. He looked away.

“Oh, what, am I not even allowed to say his name anymore?” Ruby demanded.

“Let’s just go,” he said in a low voice, not meeting her gaze. Reaching up, he flipped the radio on. “We should get to that possession in Missouri before anyone else gets hurt.”

Before he could reach for the ignition, Ruby reached up and flipped the radio back off. “You just don’t have it in you, do you?” she demanded.

“Yeah?” Sam growled, instantly on guard. “And what’s that?”

“Your brother went to hell for you,” she retorted. “Hell. And trust me, it’s no country club.”

Sam pressed his lips together in a thin line but didn’t reply. Hands shaking, he started the car.

“He’s screaming down there, and all the while you’re just puttering around the country offing random demons in some crapshoot of a revenge scheme -”

“Shut up,” Sam said coldly. “I know what you’re trying to do, and it’s not going to work.”

“What I’m trying to do?” Ruby smirked. “Alright, I admit it. I’m trying to get you pissed off enough that you actually act like this situation bothers you.”

“Of course it bothers me!” Sam clenched the steering wheel. “But there’s only so much I can do - ”

“Don’t even,” Ruby said contemptuously.

“- and I’m doing all that I can.”

“You’re not doing anything close to what you can do, and you know it!”

“This conversation is over,” Sam snapped, throwing the car into gear.

“Guess I was wrong about you, then.” She turned to the window, arms folded. “Go ahead. Run away. From what I understand, that’s what you’re best at.”

In one smooth motion, Sam threw the car back into park and, grabbing a fistful of her jacket, dragged her over the driver’s seat and out of the car to throw her out onto the empty road.

“What the hell is your problem?” Ruby was on her feet before Sam could open his mouth, quick as a cat as the two circled each other. “A week ago you were begging me to teach you how to kill Lillith. Now all of the sudden you get cold feet?”

Sam took a deep, shuddering breath, hands clenched into fists. “It’s not what Dean would have wanted,” he said slowly and deliberately, still vibrating with anger.

“What Dean -” Ruby laughed disbelievingly. “What your brother wanted was not to go to hell. Let’s be honest here.”

“What do you want from me?” Sam roared, pushing her back against the hood of the Impala. “You want me to be angry? You want me to use these powers you’ve shown me?” He stepped back and raised his hand, fury drawing his brows together and flaring his nostrils. “Maybe I should use them on you.”

Ruby didn’t even blink. “I want you to grow up,” she shot back, refusing to acknowledge his threat. “I want you to stop listening to your brother’s music and continuing your family’s quest.”

She stepped forward past his outstretched hand and touched his cheek. He flinched away, lowering his arm.

“I want you to be you,” she said softly. “Not your brother.”

Sam looked away, but Ruby caught his arm. “You have to let him go, Sam,” she said quietly. “It’s the only way to finish this.”

He was quiet for a long moment, face turned out into the darkness. “He’s really dead, isn’t he,” Sam said at last. “My brother – my family – they’re all gone.”

“Yes,” Ruby said mercilessly. “They are.”

She reached out and turned his head, forcing his eyes to meet hers. “But I’m not, Sammy. Alright? I’m not.”

Sam stared at her for a long moment, face unreadable. Finally, he nodded. “We’ve got a ways to go til the next town,” he said at last, swiping at his eyes with his sleeve. “We should probably get going.”

He swung himself around the still-open door and dropped into the driver’s seat, then looked up at her expectantly. “You coming?” he asked.

She shook her head, smiling wryly. “You Winchesters never cease to surprise me.”

He didn’t flinch this time – just nodded his head soberly and nodded at the passenger door. “Get in,” he said. “Maybe the town will have someone who can work on car stereos.”

He gave her a tiny smile, a small concession. “And maybe there’ll be a music store, too.”



-------



The town did end up having a man who could work on car stereos, but the Impala’s just made him shake his head.

“Melted,” the grizzled man grunted. “Need a new one.”

Sam could feel Ruby’s eyes boring into the back of his head, but she wisely kept quiet. He braced himself and asked, “What’ve you got?”

“All types,” the man said. “Eight track, cassette, CD, iPod -”

“You’ve got iPod hookups?” Sam interrupted. “I’ll take that.”

“Pay inside,” the man responded, then wandered off into the garage to find his tools.

It only took about half an hour for the man to remove the twisted remains of the Impala’s cassette player and install an iPod dock. At the end, the man simply demonstrated the workings of the new system, shook Sam’s hand, and wandered off again.

“Talkative fellow, wasn’t he?” Ruby muttered.

“Yeah,” Sam replied. “He was.”

He nodded at the car. “So, sensei,” he said lightly. “Where do we begin my training?”

“Michigan,” she said, giving him a warm smile as she settled into the passenger seat.

He put the keys in the ignition and paused for a moment, staring down at the unfamiliar iPod. Taking a deep breath, Sam found a song and hit play. The mellow sounds filling the car felt wrong somehow, but he started the car anyway.

Dean always said it would be a cold day in Hell before anyone messed with his music. Sam drew his jacket tighter against a sudden chill and pulled out onto the highway.


Comments 
17th-Aug-2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Loved how you used the stereo to work out Sam's path during that summer. Great job!

But Oh Sammy...
17th-Aug-2009 04:49 am (UTC)
Beautifully written, evocative of the tremendous promise Ruby had before 4.22 ended THAT.

If this was the Sam who had actually come to be instead of the Sam we saw closer to that of MYSTERY SPOT, it would have been a far different (and in several ways, more amazing) season.

Your Sam and Ruby are painted with different colors on the brush, but both voices ring true, and it was a pleasure to read your fic.

Thank you!

*roses and chocolates to the writer*

Red
would love to read more in this 'verse
17th-Aug-2009 04:57 am (UTC)
Oh, Sam!

I love how you've got Ruby's manipulation going even here... and it's brilliant--she says just enough that's true and just the right thing to get him under her thumb.

Chilling and sad and wonderfully done.
17th-Aug-2009 06:47 am (UTC)
Oh, poor Sam. What do you wanna bet Ruby's the one who melted the tape player?
17th-Aug-2009 11:54 am (UTC)
A cold day in hell, indeed. Poor Sam--he's so lost. And the music was a great way to show it. Well done!
17th-Aug-2009 12:26 pm (UTC)
I really like the Ruby and Sam interaction in this, and how it all pivoted around the casette player. Oh, Sam.
17th-Aug-2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
Aw, Sam.

And I imagine every tape would have eventually had Queen on it regardless, if Sam hadn't installed the iPod instead.
17th-Aug-2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow, that is amazing! So much more than what I thought might come out of that prompt.

Everything Ruby says makes such perfect sense for that particular situation, and Sam's state of mind: harsh, but true. But when you know what Ruby's ultimate purpose for Sam was, it turns sinister and manipulative in a creepy way.

Very well done! Thank you, Mystery Writer! (And yay! Now we know how that iPod dock got there *g*)
17th-Aug-2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
This was great. The characters were spot on. Nice job! Great last line!
17th-Aug-2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
Aw, Sam.
18th-Aug-2009 11:05 am (UTC)
I loved how you used this prompt to explore Sam's grief and Ruby's manipulation of him. As others have said, you did a great job of making everything she says sound reasonable and like she's genuinely trying to help Sam, and both Sam and Ruby are very in character. Thanks for sharing this great story.
18th-Aug-2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
Well written, nice character voices, and a good explanation for the changes Sam made in the Impala. Thank you for this!
19th-Aug-2009 03:48 am (UTC)
Very poignant and painful. I loved this take on why Sam added the iPod dock, and man, Ruby is magnificent here. How brilliantly she manipulates him, mostly because a lot of what she's saying is true. ::clutches chest::
7th-Sep-2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh Sam! Great Ruby characterisation and I giggled at the stealth Good Omens reference.
9th-Sep-2009 03:14 am (UTC)
Wow. This is powerful and poignant, and so very Sam. Unhappily, it's also so very Ruby. Marvelously done, a pitch-perfect exploration of how that iPod jack came to be. And that final paragraph is a killer.

Thank you so much for sharing.
23rd-Nov-2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
This is fantastic and awesome! Thank you so much!
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