Part One: And that's a magic number...
Disclaimer: The Winchester boys aren't mine, but I'd make Dean wear his boots all the time if they were.
Word Count: 6110
Overall Pairings: Sam/OFC, Dean/OFCs (HET)
Rating: PG-13 (Language)
Spoilers: None. It's pre-series, based on a series of drabbles I wrote about Sam meeting someone he knew in high school while the boys were working on a case.
Miscellaneous: This was written for the Puppy Love challenge at spn_het_love and is dedicated to the lovely arwensouth — my favorite Sam!Girl.
Summary: Dean hated Poughkeepsie but at least he wasn't the one starting high school there.
Beta(s): embroiderama patiently fielded my spastic questions of "Are you sure?" and "Not too hokey?" and "Is this really working?" more times than any one person should endure in one lifetime. Seriously. Whole paragraphs in IM. misskatieleigh also let me spam her via e-mail and helped me fine tune the OC affectionately known as Math!Girl. Everything in this story that rocks is because of them. The mistakes? Those are all me.
“Poughkeepsie blows. I mean, even the damn name is stupid. What the hell does it mean, anyway? Big boil on someone's ass?”
Sam had lost track of where they were in Dean’s running commentary about being stuck in the arm pit of New York State. He’d already gone on about the quality of chicks – they were all bucktoothed girls with pimples, wearing skirts down to their ankles and tacky pink socks with their sneakers – and how every single radio station that thought it played Classic Rock actually sucked ass and should be marketing themselves to idiots who listened to Kenny G. After spending fifteen minutes coming up with a plan to take over a radio station until it played something that wouldn’t get a man’s butt kicked, Dean had digressed to waving his arms and insulting every possible thing that popped into his head.
At least Dean didn’t have to start high school in Poughkeepsie.
Dad had enrolled Sam the day they drove into town, just like he always did. It was part of the routine – Sam went to school, no matter how long they were staying in one place. Schools meant discipline, adherence to a schedule, but Dad left before he could give the whole speech over breakfast on the first day of school – chasing something down from a mysterious phone call that was only supposed to take a couple of days. Dean ended up giving Sam the pep talk instead, some ‘special edition’ crap because it was his first day of high school.
Maybe Dean meant well but Sam wasn’t ever going to be able to look at condoms and bananas the same way again.
“It comes from the word U-puku-ipi-sing,” Sam said, sighing as he pushed his mac and cheese across his plate with his fork. He hated it, but it was cheaper than ramen. “It’s Native American for ‘campsite by small water.’ You know, a city by the mouth of the Hudson River.”
“My definition’s more true to life, though.” Dean snorted, picking up his plate and shoveling the last of his crappy dinner into his mouth. “Don’t know how you keep your head upright, Geek Boy,” he commented, chewing while he talked. “All those useless facts weighing it down.” Sam didn’t answer, just screwed up his face in a way that made Dean laugh at him – some mac and cheese bits spitting out of Dean’s mouth and onto the table.
“Gross.” Sam looked pointedly at the closest orange blob the table. “Dad would be pissed if he was here.”
“Lucky for me,” Dean retorted. “Dad’s not here.”
Dad was working another job somewhere in the tri-state area, calling them every couple of days with guarded messages left on the answering machine in the crappy apartment they were renting; he never told them where he was shacking up but he always gave a number where he could be reached if it was an emergency. God help them if they called and it wasn’t. They didn’t know what he was tracking or when Dad would be coming back home and Dean was in charge like he always was. It usually went to Dean’s head but Dad told him to get a job for stuff like groceries the week before and Dean had spent three days doing nothing but being bitch pissy while he looked for one.
The gas station was definitely cutting into the time Dean could cruise the main drag in town looking for bucktoothed girls.
Sam grinned, Dean’s eyes narrowing as he glanced sideways at him, but said nothing. His older brother leaned back in his rickety chair and turned on the TV, remote held loosely in his hand. “Your turn to do dishes, Sammy.”
“Not when I have homework to do.” Sam’s grin got even wider. “Dad’s rule, remember?”
“You little bitch!” Dean snapped. “I was supposed to meet Jeannie at McDonald’s in an hour.” His brow furrowed. “Jenny? Janet? Whatever, man.” Dean was smiling suddenly, a glint in his eyes. “Little brothers put a crimp in your sex life, Sammy. You’re just lucky there are two of us and you’re not the freaking oldest.” He said it like it was one of the secrets of the universe, like Dean knew everything because some girl whose name he couldn’t even remember was going to screw him in some secret hole of Ronald McDonald’s playground.
“You’re a Neanderthal.” Sam rolled his eyes.
“Me like big tits,” Dean agreed mildly. “At least there are a lot of those in Poughkeepsie. Must be all the corn or something.” He scratched underneath his ear, grinning at Sam all over again. “So what are you studying anyway? Human anatomy?”
Sam hated himself for blushing. “I’m reading Romeo and Juliet for English class.”
“That has sex in it, right?”
“You’re sick, Dean. Juliet’s thirteen! That’s two years younger than me.”
“You think kids younger than you aren’t having sex already? Not much else to do in a town like this. Jesus, my little brother’s an old maid.”
Sam’s foot shot out and snapped directly into Dean’s shin but that didn’t keep his older brother from cackling like a moron. It only made him cackle harder and actually fall out of his chair. Sam hoped it left a big bruise on Dean’s ass. Maybe looking like a clumsy jerk might help Dean remember the name of the next chick he slept with because she’d be laughing at the purple-yellowing splotches on his butt.
He knew it was a long shot but, after Mr. Duran’s lecture on the first act, Sam decided to check out the library after school and see if they actually had a copy of Guenther’s Defence of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Against Modern Criticism. It was published in the 1800s but Mr. Duran said it was still one of the best essays about the play ever written by a Shakespearean scholar, getting to the heart of the play without sacrificing its Elizabethan sensibility.
It was in the card catalog, which was a good sign. Sam wrote down the Dewey decimal number and made his way to the Literature section of the library. The stretch of shelves was deserted, just him and hundreds of books in every direction. It wasn’t even a big library but the smell of old paper and the flicker of overhead lights as he walked through the stacks felt like home, as comfortable as the ragged jeans he refused to get rid of even though Dad frowned every time Sam stumbled out of a bathroom wearing them.
It looked like the oldest book in the entire library, a slim volume jammed between some larger books, but Sam didn’t expect the freckled hand that suddenly popped into view. Sam’s hand wrapped around a wrist reaching for his book and a shrill screech echoed through the entire building when he yanked the hand back, slender fingers topped with chipped green nail polish wrapping around the book’s spine.
“Hey,” a voice hissed. “I got here first.”
Sam ignored the loud ‘shh’ coming from the front desk, cheeks burning as he stared down at the girl who was trying to steal his book. The top of her frizzy blonde head came up to his nose and she was glaring at him behind a battered pair of glasses. She had more freckles all over her face, standing out across her nose – little spots of cinnamon and chocolate – as it flared angrily in time to her breathing.
The girl looked familiar.
“S-sorry,” he managed. “D-didn’t think anyone else w-would want it.” Sam let go of her hand, watching her twist her wrist back and forth like she was testing it for a sprain. He coughed. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“You didn’t. My mom’s always yelling at me about making sure I don’t sprain my hands. It’s even worse when I have to do my hand exercises. Got to keep my fingers limber or else.” Her blue eyes rolled as she pursed her mouth, letting loose with a laugh that made Sam’s stomach flop – even if the girl was weird, going on about her hands and sprains and her limber fingers like that was normal. Not that he had room to judge; Dad talked about ghosts the same way most people talked about family. “You’re the new kid in Mr. Duran’s class,” she added. “Sam Winchester?”
“Yeah.” Sam sighed. He was always the new kid, sitting in the back corner of classrooms watching everyone else pass notes when teachers weren’t looking. Sam narrowed his eyes, focusing on her hand. “You’re that girl who sits in the front and answers all of the questions. Sally something…” He remembered seeing that hand wave back and forth every five minutes; all those freckles were hard to miss. Not to mention the goddamn nail polish. Dean would get pissed if he realized Sam wasn’t picking up on the easy stuff because he should have recognized her the second he grabbed her wrist.
“Yeah.” She grinned. “Mr. Duran keeps saying that I need to let the other kids get a word in but I read the books. And you should know that he’s tricky. Mr. Duran likes to give out extra credit assignments and bonus questions on tests based on stuff that he mentions during class, like the Defence thing he told us about today.” The girl took a breath and kept right on going. “And you’re looking for Guenther’s book, too. Hey, maybe you’re gonna be the one who shuts me up in class.” The girl looked right up into his eyes like she was actually seeing him. “And it’s Friedman. Sally Friedman.”
Sam wasn’t sure Dean could shut her up once she got started. He tried to smile back at her. “You want to check out the book first?”
“Got a better idea,” Sally said. She shoved the book underneath his nose, waving it back and forth. “The cover’s thicker than the book. We could photocopy it!”
It’d probably cost a couple of bucks to do it but that was eight boxes of macaroni and cheese. Sam frowned, half-shaking his head. “Nah, why don’t you just check it out.” He swallowed. “I’ll wait for you to turn it back in.”
“Screw that.” Sally grabbed his hand and started dragging him towards the photo copier. “We can borrow my mom’s copier key,” she added, grinning at him over her freckled shoulder. That’s when he noticed she was wearing a white tank top tucked into some gray camouflage pants, a pair of clunky sandals on her feet. No ankle-length skirts or a bucked tooth in sight. “My mom’s always making copies of music for band.”
Sam’s palm was covered in sweat, tucked tight inside hers as she jogged ahead of him. He hoped like hell that she didn’t notice.
He liked eating lunch by himself, preferring half-hidden corners behind trees where he could curl around his book and forget the rest of the world until the bell rang. Sam always ate lunch outside when he could, ever since grade school. Sometimes, he used to watch Dean – always surrounded by girls or running around in front of a pack of boys – and maybe he was a little jealous but the truth back then was that chubby boys never got picked for games so it was good that Sam loved to read. He even liked researching stuff with Pastor Jim.
Dad said he was good at it, once or twice, with a smile that made Sam wonder what it’d be like if Dad grinned like that all the time.
There was a rustle against the grass next to him and an orange camouflage-covered knee bumped into his. Sunlight reflected off of Sally Friedman’s glasses as she twisted underneath his book, eyes flicking as she read the title to herself. “Sturm,” she said gently, actually bringing a hand up to her chest in a clenched fist before she sighed, and there were tears in her eyes.
“Yeah,” Sam returned, taking a gulp of air as she sat back up – opening her brown paper bag and pulling out her lunch. Sally Friedman acted like she ate lunch with the new kid all the time and she made dorky books based on D&D sound like something that moved people as much as Shakespeare.
He didn’t say anything while she piled plastic containers on top of each other but took the apple she handed him with an imperious cough. Sally tucked her second bottle of Yoohoo in the crook of Sam’s knee, his cheeks flushing a little when her hand touched his thigh. She just shrugged when he raised an eyebrow at her. “Can’t drink both of them,” she said. “Got to watch my girlish figure or else the boys with cool cars won’t even pay any attention to me,” Sally added with a lopsided grin. “At least that’s what Janice says.”
“Janice?” He choked out the question; given how the universe was always gunning for Winchesters, it was probably too much to ask that Sally Friedman’s older sister wasn’t getting called ‘Jeannie’ or ‘Jenny’ or ‘Janet’ by some asshole named Dean who couldn’t remember her real name.
“My older sister. She acts like she knows everything.” Sally snorted, twisting to pull a book of her own out of her backpack. “Quoting dumb things at me from Cosmo and Glamour. Do I look like the kind of person who reads girly magazines? Sometimes I wonder if she got switched at birth ‘cause she’s some kind of mutant that wears too much hairspray and never reads anything that requires a brain if it’s not for school. And if I hear about that guy’s ‘big black car’ one more time, I think I’m gonna puke…” Her voice trailed off and Sally focused her eyes directly on his face.
Sam managed to curl his mouth into a half-smile. Sally’s eyes widened. “You don’t talk much, do you?” Sally observed.
“I was reading.” Sam winced; he sounded like goddamn Mickey Mouse when his voice cracked. Sally didn’t even seem fazed by the fact that he’d just uttered the lamest thing anyone had ever said in the history of the world while sounding like he’d been swallowing helium all day. At least he didn’t spill the beans about being related to the guy that was going to make her puke.
“I know. That’s why I came over here.” Sally gestured at him with her book. “If there’s two of us reading together, we look a lot less geeky than the two of us reading alone on opposite sides of the quad.” She brought her knees up as she leaned backwards against the tree, balancing a hard-cover book on them. It was something called The Joy of Pi, title splashed across the front in bright yellow letters.
Sally nibbled on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich between turning the pages, handing Sam half of it between sips of Yoohoo. It was nice, not having to talk to someone. Dean was a lot better at it than he ever would be. Most girls started flirting with Dean before Sam even got a chance to open his mouth, anyway; not that they’d stick around after Mickey Mouse made an appearance.
“Hey, Sam?” she asked when the five minute warning bell went off, looking up at him from underneath the wiry fringe of her bangs. Sally was breathing almost as hard as he was. He put one finger in his book to mark his place and waited. Sally coughed. “Do you, uh, wanna eat lunch together again. Tomorrow, maybe?”
“Yeah.” He returned her grin. “But only if you shut up long enough for me to finish a whole chapter.”
“Jerk.” Sally punched him in the arm before she started picking up what was left of her lunch. “You like meatball sandwiches? My mom’s making spaghetti with extra meatballs and she mixes up sausage with the ground beef and corn flakes. They taste a lot better than they sound and I don’t mind asking for two sandwiches if you spring for the sodas tomorrow.”
“Deal.” He stood up easily, the one good thing to come out of Dad’s balance lessons. Sam smiled. Dean couldn’t complain about springing for sodas; every little bit helped save some money for the utility bill.
“Cool.” Sally set her hand on the grass and slipped as she tried to get to her feet. “Crap,” she muttered, shaking her head with a chuckle. “That hurt. Now I’m probably gonna need aspirin before I practice tonight but Mom’ll make me do it anyway. Practice makes perfect, right?” She was still laughing softly when Sally looked up at him, sunlight sparking off the lenses in her glasses. “We’re gonna be late for class if you don’t help me up, you know.”
What Sam didn’t know is why his stomach hurt; all he was doing was leaning down to help Sally Friedman stand before she slipped a second time.
Sam always waited for Dean in front of the school, leaning against the low wall near the main office – right next to the big metallic letters that read Poughkeepsie High School. The town’s lack of originality when it came to school district naming conventions was another black mark against it in Dean’s long-running tirade – except when Dean yelled about it, it sounded more like ‘It would be like Dad calling me John Jr., Sammy!’ and less like a coherent argument.
It surprised him when Sally started waiting with him. They’d met up in the library to read the book they photocopied the week before and she just walked out still talking to him about Act Two. Her eyes widened the first time the Impala pulled up to the curb, flashing a glance at Sam. When he started smiling at her like a lunatic, scratching under his ear, Sally just shook her head and smiled back with her lopsided grin before punching him lightly on the shoulder.
Dean needed a week to figure out that there was a girl waiting with Sam every afternoon. He made a joke about figuring it out sooner if the chick didn’t insist on wearing three different colors of camo to school, raising one eyebrow at Sam with a cocky grin that made Sam laugh. Dean sounded impressed, like his little brother had hooked up with the one girl in town who didn’t have buck teeth or wear sneakers. Sam tried telling Dean that it wasn’t like that – Sally Friedman was his friend – but Dean just elbowed Sam in the ribs before getting milk out of the fridge and told him to ask if he ever needed any pointers.
The very next day, Dean rolled down the window as Sam waved a hand at Sally and started trudging towards the Impala. There was some brown-haired girl sitting in the front seat with him but that didn’t keep Dean from roaring, “Hey, Sammy! Your friend want to come with us to the mall?”
Sam looked back at Sally. Her face was white, every single freckle standing out across her nose and even down her arms – and something like shock was staring back at Sam. But then Sally gave a quick nod, slinging her backpack up off the wall and onto her right shoulder. She followed Sam to the car. Dean snorted when Sam opened the door for her, making some low crack Sam didn’t hear because he was already walking around behind the car to slip into the backseat on the passenger side.
“I don’t believe this.” The girl in the front seat snapped her gum and looked tiredly at Dean as Sam was slamming the door shut. “You’re actually expecting me to hang out with geeks?” She gestured at Sally with one hand. “You know she’s part of the math club, right?”
“It’s not my fault I’m good at calculus,” Sally muttered, hands holding onto each upper arm like she was trying to protect herself from the scorn in the other girl’s voice. Sally’s voice was brittle, a little bubble just waiting to shatter if you poked at it too hard, and Sam’s throat ached just to look at her.
The brown-haired girl snorted, looking at Sally over her shoulder. “You’re a freak. Walking around school like you mean something just ‘cause the school district let you participate in competitions while you were still in junior high. Like the rest of us even care about that half-assed trophy.” She rolled her eyes. “Even your sister thinks you’re a freak.” And then the brown-haired bitch just smirked like she owned the whole car. Sam wanted to smack that smile off her face, even if it meant getting some kind of police record for assault.
Sally’s ragged breathing battled with the constant tapping of Dean’s thumbs against the steering wheel as his older brother’s jaw worked. Dean coughed, eyes flickering up into the rearview mirror and widening when he saw the top of Sally’s frizzy head.
Dean’s voice was low, almost a growl, and Sally jumped when she heard it. “Oh,” Sally said softly while the brown-haired girl sneered and smoothed one loose curl back over her ear. “Okay,” she added, looking at Sam sideways. Her hand was on the door, pulling back on the handle while the metallic gear worked inside, and Sam wanted to smack Dean, too, because the girl in the front seat had started rubbing his thigh and cooing about how she was going to make him feel later.
“You’re not going anywhere, Math Girl.” Dean was matter-of-fact. “I’m talking to the bitch sitting next to me.” His smile greeted both of them as he twisted to look over his shoulder, leaning his arm casually against the front seat. “Bye, Ellie,” Dean added, making a motion with a flick of his hand.
“It’s Shelly,” the brown-haired girl retorted.
“Ellie, Shelly.” Dean shook his head. “What’s the difference? I’m serious. Get the hell out of my car.”
“You’re gonna regret this,” Shelly stammered. “Once I’m done, no girl in town will want anything to do with you.” She sneered, gesturing into the back seat. “All ‘cause of some freak.”
Dean took a breath, eyes going wild, but something in Sam’s chest cracked. “You heard my brother,” Sam declared hotly. “Get the hell out of the car, you skanky cheerleading ho.” A rush of heat prickled across Sam’s arms, centering at the top of his head. “You’re not even good enough to share the same air with someone like her. One day – ” Sam gulped when Sally gave a tiny sob, deep in her chest. “One day you’re gonna be stuck married to some idiot, barefoot and pregnant, but Sally’s going somewhere. She’s gonna do something important with her life and you’re just gonna die a bitch.”
“What he said,” Dean added placidly when Shelly hopped out of the car like she was running for air. “Don’t let the door hit in you in the ass, Shelly.”
Sally Friedman’s eyes were shining, her face full of relief, when the front door slammed shut – just like every single person Dad had saved since Mom died, just like every girl Dean pulled out of the arms of some monster. Sam’s stomach burned. It was too good to last. Once that hero lurking underneath Dean’s smile said something, people always stopped looking at Sam – even if he was the one who chanted the words that stopped the demon long enough for Dean to jump in and rescue the girl.
“You were awesome,” Sally crowed, throwing her arms around Sam’s neck and giggling against his shoulder. “The look on your face when you called Shelly Addams a ho. You scared her, Sam! I was almost scared of you myself except it’s kinda dumb to be scared of a boy who sneaks all the orange gummi bears when he thinks I’m not looking.” Sam awkwardly patted her shoulder, a week of cracks about chicks and gummi bears trapped in Dean’s low laugh, until Sally pulled away. Her lips were full as blue eyes flickered up at Dean’s shaking head. “You were cool too, Dan.”
“Dan?” Dean snorted. “My name’s Dean. Damn girls in Poughkeepsie can’t even get that right.” He turned the key in the ignition, grinning again. “Who the hell told you my name was Dan?”
“Janice,” Sally replied. Her right hand slipped down next to Sam’s behind her backpack, linking her pinky around his and holding on tight. “She’s always talking about Dan and his big black car. And she was right – you’re kinda cool – but I don’t think that has anything to do with the way your engine purrs.”
“The fuck?” Dean looked confused.
“Janice Friedman. She’s on the cheerleading squad,” Sam supplied helpfully. “But I guess you know her better as Jeannie or Jenny or Janet.”
Dean exhaled, grinning down at the steering wheel, and Sally giggled – leaning forward to poke him in the shoulder with her left hand. “You kids want ice cream or something,” Dean managed after Sally stopped poking him, keeping his eyes on the road while he drove. Sam grinned himself; Dean could drive the car in his sleep, eyes closed and one hand tied behind his back. Dean was embarrassed in front of a girl and trying to cover it up. “My treat,” Dean added. “Had a good game of poker last night.”
“There’s a really good ice cream place a couple blocks from here,” Sally replied.
Sam listened to her give directions, working his pinky loose just long enough to stick all of his fingers between hers. The top of her hand was sweating just as much as his palm was but she scooted over so that their shoulders were touching.
Dad didn’t start moving them around every couple of months until the year Sam turned twelve.
He said that Winchesters couldn’t afford to set down roots – even when Sam brought up Bobby Singer. Bobby had stopped traveling a long time ago, getting a puppy he named Cheney and opening up a salvage yard on the side to pay the bills. Dad lectured them both about that, said Bobby Singer was going to go soft from staying in one place – and it looked like he wanted to say more but Dad clamped his lips tight and made them buckle down even harder to keep up with the routine.
Chores. Homework. Exercise. Recon. Research.
Dean had started out keeping the same schedule when Dad left him in charge, dragging Sam out of a sound sleep and dumping him in the woods outside of town with nothing but a knife; Sam had to make his way back to their crappy apartment without Dean catching him. But after a month without Dad, the routine had changed. There was still school, still dishes to be done, but Dean would come home from a day at the gas station talking about the next girl he was going to score with while Sam did his homework. Dean would complain about how Poughkeepsie sucked and he couldn’t wait to leave but then he’d grin like a moron and lick the envelope on the utility bill.
Sometimes, Sam wondered if Dean didn’t get off on it – the normal routine, a boring life – but deep down Dean was a Winchester. About once a week, he’d rally and come up with some dumb drill for Sam to perform before backsliding into beer and macaroni and girls. There’d be a research project to work on if Dad called and one of them actually answered the phone – nothing that had anything to do with whatever Dad was really chasing and nothing that took up too much of their time. Every day there was a chance to do something that he’d never done before because there wasn’t time or they had to leave or there was an innocent to protect. Sam knew all of that was important, all the people that their father saved, but Sam liked pretending to be normal for a change.
Sam loved it.
Chores. Homework. The library. TV. Phone calls.
Sam even loved the boring stuff that made Dean groan – like doing the crossword puzzles in the newspaper every morning over breakfast. When Sally Friedman invited him to her fall piano recital, Sam knew he was really going to have to suck it up when he explained to Dean where he was going dressed in his best clothes. Dean took one look at Sam’s slicked back hair and just leaned against the wall, laughing so hard Sam wished he’d hack up a lung. Dean was still chuckling to himself when Sam answered the brisk knock on the door, glaring at Dean over his shoulder before Sam turned the knob.
Dean gave a low whistle when Sally and her older sister traipsed into the living room. “Well now,” he said with a grin. “You been giving Sam pointers on how to slick down hair, Math Girl?” He snorted. “And I’m shocked ‘cause you actually look like a girl. With tits and everything.”
“You’re a prick,” Sally retorted.
It was the truth, though. She’d never worn anything but pants and her clunky sandals around either of them. Sally’s hair wasn’t frizzy at all, pulled back into one of those bun things, and she was wearing a white dress with straps and a skirt that swished around her knees. There was no mistaking the fact that Sally Friedman was a girl in that dress even if she was still wearing her clunky sandals, just a cleaner pair that wasn’t covered in dust and bits of mud, and chattering more than a magpie. “Mom always makes me dress up for these things and I had to put on makeup,” she continued. “And wear my contacts. If we were meant to stick things in our eyes, we wouldn’t have eyelids to keep crap out.” Sally made a face and that’s when Sam realized she wasn’t wearing her glasses. “You know my sister, right?”
“We’ve seen each other around, once or twice,” Dean returned lazily. “Nice to see you, Janice.” Sam snorted and Sally hid a grin underneath her hand. She’d cleaned up last week’s glittery blue polish and replaced it with something pink.
Janice Friedman’s eyes were a darker blue than her little sister’s and they finally focused on Dean. “I missed you that time we were supposed to meet at McDonald’s, Dan.” She sounded more angry than wistful, Dean’s grin faltering when she said it, but then her eyes were looking at Sam. “Aren’t you gonna introduce us, little sister?”
“Oh, yeah.” Sally was bright red, the first time Sam ever saw her blush. “This is my, uh, my Sam.” She smiled bravely in his direction, eyes going round when she realized exactly what she’d said. “I mean, my boyfriend Sam.” Dean chuckled, catching Janice’s glance long enough for both of them to smile, and Sam moved up to grab Sally’s elbow because she looked like she was going to fall over. His heart was beating so loud Sam was surprised Sally didn’t hear it, or slow down long enough with what she was saying to see the way Sam was smiling at her. “You know, my friend Sam. Who’s a boy,” Sally finished up lamely, gesturing between Sam and Janice as quickly as she could. “And this is Janice, my sister.”
“Who’s a girl,” Dean managed, leaning up against the wall again. Sam would have kicked that shit-eating grin off his face except he saw the way Sally’s mouth stiffened, bracing her back before she took another breath, and Dean flicked him a glance that made Sam grin back. Dean was making an ass of himself on purpose.
“You both have the misfortune of knowing Dean,” Sally continued. “Who’s a prick.” Janice was blinking, turning to look at his older brother with something like forgiveness on her face, but Sam was too busy watching Sally slip her hand into his in front of everyone. “Want to walk with me, Sam?” she asked.
“Better go with her,” Dean suggested. “Friends who are girls get kinda pissed if you turn them down, Sammy.” He sounded like he was trying not to laugh. “I think Janice and I can take care of ourselves for awhile.”
Sam scowled at Dean before Sally started dragging him out the door, her hips swaying underneath her dress a lot more than they usually did when she walked downstairs in her baggy camo pants. She turned on him the moment her feet hit the ground, just as bright red as she had been in the apartment. “I’m sorry if I embarrassed you. I got stupid.”
“Kinda liked it,” Sam said. He took a deep breath.
“Me being stupid?” Sally grinned up at him. “Thanks.”
“When you said I was your friend.” Sam tried to pitch his voice low like Dad did when Sam was little because Sally’s eyes were big – shiny and blinking like she didn’t know how to stop – and her weight was shifting on the balls of her feet. She was getting ready to bolt.
Sam wanted to bolt, too.
“Well, you are,” she managed. “My friend.” Sally bit her lip. “Haven’t had one for awhile,” she added softly. “This might come as a surprise but most people at school think I’m weird ‘cause of the math and maybe it’s kinda dumb to be happy about math being the thing I’m really good at. Well, I’m good at math and music but that’s ‘cause they’re the same. Just different kinds of patterns and intervals but they make sense when you know how the rules work…” Her voice trailed off.
“I’m not…” Sam swallowed. Dad could call tonight and say they were leaving and Sally Friedman would never know. Dean wouldn’t let something like nerves keep him from talking to a chick; Dean never let nerves stop him from doing anything. Sam had to tell her. “I’m not talking about the whole friend who’s a boy part,” he continued. “I’m talking about the part where you said I was your boyfriend. That’s the part I liked.” It came out in one gulp of air, words tumbling past the wheeze of his breath, and he almost ran himself when Sally started staring at her bare toes – as pink as the polish on her fingers. Sam tugged on her hand to get her attention. “The parts where you called Dean a prick weren’t half bad, either.”
“I was kinda proud of that.” Sally’s voice trembled. “You really like me, Sam?”
“I really like you,” she whispered. Sally tipped her head backwards and hitched herself up to brush her lips against his, pulling away quick like she’d burned herself from the taste. Her hand was tangled up in his shirt, soft against the rhythm in his rib cage. “Next time, it’s your turn to kiss me, Sam Winchester.” Sam grinned back down at her, missing the shine off her glasses when she looked up at him like that. “But now we’ve got to go or else I’ll be late for the recital and my mom’ll be angry. Besides, if you kiss me I’m gonna forget everything I memorized and then Mom’ll be really pissed ‘cause I screwed up.”
“You’re one pushy girlfriend.” His face twisted and she giggled.
“I put up with your brother, though. That counts for something, right?”
Sam just squeezed her hand as they walked out of the parking lot, picking up the pace to drag her behind him when Dean started screaming his name from the top of the stairs. “Come on,” Sam said, pulling on her arm when Sally stopped moving. She snorted when goddamn Dean lifted his fist up in that stupid victory thing he did every time Dean snuck back into the motel after getting laid. “Oh, God…” Sam’s voice trailed off and Sally squeezed his hand back.
Dean didn’t know that Sally Friedman was the first girl to ever kiss Sam when it wasn’t a dare – most girls avoided geeks with pimples who liked to spend their time in libraries.
The title to this story is, shockingly, not derived from a song or a poem. It’s actually something of a play on words. Pi is an irrational number and, as such, you cannot precisely determine its square root; the best we can achieve is an approximation of what the number should be. My own inner math geek thought it was a pretty cool metaphor.
The section titles, though, are from songs. Part one is unabashedly stolen from “Math is a Wonderful Thing.” Jack Black rocks, yo. And so does School of Rock.
For those who have read the drabbles "I Could Write a Book" and "So Many Songs We Forgot to Play," Sally Friedman is the girl formerly known only as Sally.
I’ve never read Defence of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Against Modern Criticism but it is a real book by Maximilian Guenther. It was published in the 1870’s.
Sturm is a reference to Sturm Brightblade, a character in the Dragonlance Chronicles.
I tipped a nod to Rumsfield and had Bobby name one of his earlier dogs after Dick Cheney, who was Secretary of Defense from 1989 through 1993.