my sweatshirts from when i was 11

Off the Page

Originally posted by themegalosaurus

Summary: After a few months on the road with Sam and Dean Winchester you just want a quiet night in.

Pairing: Sam Winchester x Reader

Word Count: 2,250 ish

Warnings: Language, smut (but not exactly)

A/N: It’s my first reader insert. Be gentle. The italics are internal thoughts, or, where indicated, text being read aloud. Thank you for the writing challenge and beta work @mrs-squirrel-chester


Reader POV

Peace and quiet.

For the first time in nearly two months I woke up in my own bed, and I was blissfully alone. I wasn’t being pushed out of a lumpy motel bed by Dean or stuck listening to either boy fart, grunt, groan, or whimper in his sleep. There was no threat of Dean, my best friend and surrogate older brother, pulling me close in the morning and pressing his erection to my back. That incident two weeks ago had been awkward for everyone, particularly when I elbowed Dean in the solar plexus when he palmed my breast and started thrusting his hips into my ass while he slept.

Sam had been particularly upset by it, completely out of character for the normally laid back hunter; he even volunteered to share his bed with me. I briefly considered it too, but ultimately decided against taking him up on the offer. Sleeping with Sam was too intimate, certainly more intimate than sharing a bed with Dean.

The younger Winchester had occupied a special place in my affections since the day we had met several years before. Everything about the broad, muscular man inspired less than sisterly feelings in me; and Sam had been a frequent star in many of my fantasies.

I glanced at the clock on the nightstand, and saw that it was well after eight in the evening. If I didn’t get up now, it would be impossible for me to sleep later. I sat up, stretched, and turned on my bedside lamp. There was a sheet of paper next to the lamp with Dean’s familiar scrawl on it.

Y/N
Sammy and I went into town. You were out cold, kiddo. Come join us. Wear something fun. Grab Sam’s attention. Maybe that little white sundress…

Seriously, get your ass out of bed, get dressed, and come out!

D

I bounded out of bed, a high pitched squeal crossing my lips. The boys were gone and I had the entire bunker to myself for at least five hours. There was no way Sam and Dean would be back before one in the morning. Pulling on the most comfy yoga pants I could find, as well as an oversized sweatshirt over my threadbare sleep tank top, I got to work gathering everything I would need for the evening. My favorite patchwork quilt and pillows? Check. Trashy novels and iPod? Check.

Once everything was assembled, I made a beeline for the oversized plush chair I had made Sam and Dean carry in a few months ago. It was tucked under the winding staircase in the war room. I had put up twinkle lights and a few other decorations in an attempt to carve out a space of my own. As soon as everything was deposited in the chair, I set off toward the kitchen.

Reaching back to the darkest depths of the pantry, I retrieved a box of popcorn, a bag of Reese’s Pieces, a box of Cracker Jacks, and the largest mixing bowl I could find. I threw the bag of popcorn into the microwave, and while it popped loudly, I emptied the Reese’s Pieces and Cracker Jacks into the large bowl. After the popcorn had cooled, I added it to the bowl, and mixed everything thoroughly. On my way out I grabbed a bottle of wine from the fridge, and headed back to my spot.

Keep reading

Serial. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

I don’t listen to NPR or talk radio much.  I mostly listen to sports radio but almost never watch or listen to the news or anything really substantive.  A few months back, my friend and fellow Public Defender, a Sikh Indian named Avi, texted me and told me I had to listen to Serial.  I told him that I didn’t have the time to commit an hour or so a week to listen to some podcast.  Nevertheless, he continued to urge me to listen, telling me it was about a Muslim teenager who was convicted of murder.  I listened to the first episode as I walked to and from court one morning and I was immediately hooked; in fact, I couldn’t stop thinking about the podcast, and more specifically, I couldn’t stop thinking about Adnan Syed.   

“There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

 Serial resonated with me as a South Asian and as an American Muslim.  Adnan and I, both Desis, grew up at the same time, albeit on opposite sides of the country.  I graduated high school in 1999, the same year he would’ve graduated but for his arrest. I, like Adnan, played football, was involved in my campus community, was academically driven, had aspirations for higher education and achieved, or tried to achieve, relative levels of high school popularity. 

I, like Adnan, came from a religious, conservative, active Muslim family.  I, like Adnan, lived a double life; indulging in many of the temptations and realities of high school life while trying to save face at home, at the mosque and in the Muslim community.  I was trying to please my parents, and trying to maintain my religion and faith while also being tempted by everything around me, especially the girls.  Although weed was everywhere (people literally used to smoke in the middle of the school day in the middle of campus and many of my football and baseball teammates smoked all the time), it really didn’t tempt me. I never succumbed to smoking (or drinking for that matter).  But I didn’t have the same strength when it came to girls and trying to be popular.  I had my high school crushes and girlfriends which I of course had to hide from my parents which would spawn webs of lies and more lies.  I, like Adnan, went to homecoming dances (because I got elected to the royalty court twice), only to get caught by my parents both times after lots of lies.  The first time, when I was a sophomore, I told my parents I was going to a sleepover at the gym for my football team.  My parents wouldn’t even let me spend the night, so I told them to pick me up at 11.  I put on a suit that I covered up with a baggy sweatshirt and sweatpants and then got dropped off at school and then went off to the dance with my date.  I got delayed at the dance and my dad ended up waiting for me, and eventually, after sifting through my web of lies, he coaxed it out of me that I was at a dance.  He was upset and became even more upset a couple weeks later when he found a school newspaper that had a picture of me while at the dance with the rest of the homecoming court.   My senior year, I told my parents I was going to watch a basketball game where one of my Muslim friends was playing.  I snuck off to the dance with my date, only to run late again.  My parents started to call my friends and their parents and quickly found out that I wasn’t at anyone’s basketball game that night.  Caught again. 

 Adnan, in many ways, is me.  We’re both Muslim, the same age, went to high school at the same time and shared many common experiences.   Adnan’s story, combined with my own experiences, remind me of the saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

 Not guilty but not innocent

In my closing arguments at trial, I illustrate to the jury a spectrum: on one side, innocent, and on the other, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I describe to the jury that my clients, are, by law, to be presumed innocent.  So they start off on the one side of that spectrum: innocent.  I tell the jury that it’s the prosecution’s burden to prove my client guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I tell them that they can only convict my client if they’ve ended up on the complete other side of that spectrum: guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  I go on to tell them that if they fall anywhere in the middle of that spectrum, they’re to vote not guilty.  I tell them that if they think my client is likely innocent, they’re to vote not guilty.  I tell them that even if they think my client most likely did it, but harbor any reasonable doubt, they are to vote not guilty.

In the last episode of the podcast, Sarah Koenig described Adnan’s case as a mess. A mess equals reasonable doubt.  Reasonable doubt equals not guilty.  

“Not guilty” and “innocent” are not the same. I once represented a client who was charged with kidnapping and brutally assaulting his ex-girlfriend.  My client was accused of surprising the woman in her car, forcing her to drive and then punching her in the eye, breaking her orbital bone.  At trial, the woman was incredibly inconsistent and acknowledged lying about many things but was insistent that my client was the culprit.  The physical and medical evidence both corroborated and contradicted her claims.  At the close of trial, the jury hung 8-4 for not guilty for my client.  After the trial, I spoke to the jurors. Many of the 8 who voted not guilty told me they believed my client did it and was an 18 or a 19 on a scale of 20 for guilt but that they couldn’t shake their doubt. They correctly applied the law and voted not guilty even though they had no belief whatsoever that he was “innocent.”

I think Adnan is not guilty, but I harbor doubts about his innocence.  Adnan’s answers, or lack thereof, and the fact that Jay had both Adnan’s car and cell phone on the incident date nag me and create hesitation about his absolute innocence.   I don’t think he’s anywhere close to an 18 or 19 for guilt on that 20 scale; my thoughts on his culpability fall much closer to the “innocent” side of the spectrum I described, especially given Adnan’s good character, lack of violent history, Jay’s motives to lie and fabricate, and the lack of physical evidence.   

Legalities aside, as a Muslim I was always taught to give people the benefit of the doubt; to think of every excuse why a person didn’t commit the crime or sin they’re accused of.   And I give Adnan that.  I give credit to his word.  I believe him. 

Can’t help but shake my head

Despite all the flaws in our criminal justice system, I tend to trust juries to do the right thing.  As I look back at trials I’ve been honored to participate in as a public defender, I generally believe that juries have gotten things right, even when the result was against me and my clients.  I do not believe that I’ve had an innocent client convicted by a jury, with the exception of perhaps one or two, but even with those, I’m not entirely certain.  That being said, juries, in my limited experience, will do the right thing and will apply the law, especially holding the prosecution to their burden of proving their cases beyond a reasonable doubt, as long as we as defense attorneys do our jobs.  When defense lawyers, public defenders and private attorneys alike are detail oriented, thorough, smart, deliberate, respectful and passionate, juries listen and they apply the law.  They will, more often than not, acquit, even in serious, difficult, challenging, emotional cases, provided the defense adequately and appropriately exposes the reasonable doubts in the prosecution’s case and evidence.    

As such, the only explanation for a jury convicting Adnan, in just two hours no less, based on the limited, inconsistent and shaky evidence in his case is that Christina Gutierrez failed miserably to do her job.  I can’t help but shake my head when I think of her performance that arguably has landed Adnan Syed in prison for the past 15 years. 

 Among her many failures:

1) She apparently didn’t walk the scene at Best Buy because it wasn’t presented or discussed at trial that the pay phone there potentially didn’t exist.

2) She failed to even interview Asia or her boyfriend to develop Adnan’s potential alibi. 

3) She seemingly failed to master and respond to the cell phone evidence. 

4) She failed to hammer home to the jury that Jay got a sweet deal that ended with no jail time; one of the jurors interviewed assumed Jay also went to jail and was surprised to learn he didn’t.  

5) She berated and harshly handled Jay, a young black man, in front of a majority black jury in Baltimore, making him a sympathetic character rather than adequately painting him as an inconsistent, lying witness with tremendous motives to fabricate and implicate Adnan. 

 Serial resonates deeply with me as a Public Defender.  Sarah Koening has done a remarkable job of being detail oriented with Adnan’s case, uncovering the various flaws of the prosecution’s case and the problems with his defense and trial.  The podcast reminds me to be just as detail oriented for my clients to ensure that they receive justice; justice I believe Adnan was deprived of.

A competent, healthy, diligent defense attorney, without any question, would have convinced at least one, or perhaps all, of that jury panel to acquit Adnan Syed in a case with such unreliable and incomplete evidence.  I don’t blame Jay, the police or the jury (as much) for Adnan’s conviction.  I blame Christina Gutierrez. 

Final words… for now

All in all, the podcast makes me sad.  Hae Min Lee died a horrible, tragic death. Adnan Syed continues to serve a life sentence for a crime that he perhaps didn’t commit and after a trial where he was robbed of effective assistance of counsel. 

Even though the podcast has ended, the story goes on. There was no real way to “end” it.  In fact, in many ways, the story is just beginning.  Adnan still sits in a Maryland correctional facility.  His appeal process isn’t over.  The Innocence Project is working up his case.  I pray for justice for Adnan, and Hae, even if that justice doesn’t come in this lifetime.    

Goodbye, my Hero

I was a weird kid - pale and pudgy, wearing sweatsuits of various colors (thanks mom), always making strange noises and talking to myself in the mirror, both by myself and in the company of my action figures.  

During these - lets call them “formative years” - I was sitting in Keyboarding class (that was a thing), typing something about the sly brown fox and in leaned a fellow seventh grader who took a deep sniff of my purple sweatshirt and goes, way too audibly, “You smell like pepper!” Every kid within earshot laughed, of course. Looking back, I laugh at what a weird combination of things I was: a peppery, pimpled pudge in purple. At the time, I shrugged off this virtually innocent comment, pretending not to be embarrassed as my round face went from white to red. At the time, I marched to the beat of my own drum and I was made fun of for it; bullied by guys like Rory Cash and Dan Ford and some kid named Ernie who didn’t seem to appreciate my weird jokes, funny voices, odd sounds and impromptu character work. At the time, I just let it go. I didn’t know how to respond to such a moment, defensively or otherwise.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I discovered my role model, Robin Williams, but I have a hunch it was the one-two punch of Hook, then Mrs. Doubtfire a couple years after that. I had never seen an adult act like a kid - not since Tom Hanks in Big, anyway (and I adored Tom Hanks for a whole bunch of other reasons, but THIS was different). Robin was joy embodied; a mischievous, but sensitive superhuman with a dab of anti-authority. Between those two films I stopped, re-watched and sort of went well, THAT is what I want to do! Once adolescence hit, shit really shifted gears. 

In junior high, not long after the “pepper” comment, I bonded with my mom over a last minute trip to see The Birdcage at the Hudson Valley Mall. I really liked the Mike Nichols flick (though I distinctly remember asking my mom to explain “palimony” and, really all of the park bench scene). Most of all, I remember being impressed that the man who played Peter in Hook, who was also the man who jumped around, jumped up jumped up and got down, Daniel Hillard, could also turn on the stillness (this word didn’t exist in my vocabulary but I knew what it meant) and tune the piano to play an entirely different acting note. The combination of the aforementioned with consistent, obsessive viewings of Live at the Roxy and listenings of Live at the Met are what solidified it: Robin Williams is my role model!

This was 1996, and I began to appreciate Robin for being more than a funny actor. He could do drama, comedy, cartoons, even LIVE one-man shows. My interest in this multi-talented man transitioned from intrigue to super fandom. I ordered a copy of Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come after losing my MIND seeing that trailer (on a side note, I’ll never forget shouting the title upstairs to my mom only for her to respond, “Wet Dreams and Cum?!” and I go “NO! WHAT. DREAMS. MAY. COME! Jesus!” She responds, “Ohhh..”). Opening day, I was first in line at the Orpheum Theatre in Saugerties, NY to see my comedic role model try his hand at a dramatic, romantic fantasy and regardless of what the critics thought, I loved every second of it. 

In 9th grade, I read Andy Dougan’s biography of Robin front to back in less than 2 days. I saw myself in this man and this man in myself. I identified with Robin as a self conscious teenager, armed not with looks but with funny voices and a sense of humor. I saw this stout, hairy guy as confident, as handsome, as charming, scary, deeply emotional. This funny guy has many sides to him - sounds kind of like me! - and I took immense pride in what I thought (read) we had in common. I even dressed like Patch Adams for the better part of freshman year, down to the cargo pants and Hawaiian shirts. I wore rings like he did. I made the ::elephant sound:: and went Down Simba! all. the. time. Like him, I was a mediocre student but kind and deeply sensitive. Our moms even shared a religion. I didn’t know much about Christian Science beyond the fact that mom liked to read the lessons every month, she did take mediation and there existed in my town a Christian Science reading room, whatever that is. But I did know that he jokingly referred to his mother as a “Christian Dior Scientist.” I sent him fan mail and received a signed photograph from Dead Poets Society. I even gave my girlfriend the Pablo Neruda poem he recites in Patch AdamsI do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul…” 

Of course, every time Comedy Central would air his live specials, I would watch, only to go to school the next day and recite lines in my best Robin impression, which became my favorite to do (later, my other hero Phil Hoffman would join the repertoire until his own tragic demise.. what the fuck?). Anyway, at school, since I didn’t make friends by tossing the football around or get girls by leaning against the locker and doing Jason Priestly eyebrows, I’d say things like “The moon, like a testicle, hangs low in the sky!” and (also in reference to my dick!) “It’s kind of like an anaconda pressed up against a plate glass window, going ::help::” I made kids laugh and made friends and heard a rumor so-and-so liked me. I was self conscious about the early appearance of body hair on my arms, back and pits til kids started to compare me to Robin Williams which, I of course, took as a compliment. As a kid who struggled with weight, to hear this successful, multi-talented superhuman make jokes like, in reference to him being born: God was like, ‘what the heck, give him tits.’  I dropped my shoulders and thought to myself, Okay, it’s fine! He’s killing it, I can kill it it too! With tits!

For my 15th birthday, I got VHS copies of Good Will Hunting and The World According To Garp, which I watched probably 50 times because I was angsty and in love and I so identified with the romantic, manic mama’s boy, Garp. This was around when I started to get a jawline and grow a pair. I remember not long after, a bully approached my lunch table while sitting with the “not popular kids” and started ripping into me about my shitty haircut. Several fantasies of witty retaliation came to mind. I thought of John Leguizamo impersonating the less savory people in his life, about how cathartic that must me. I thought of the scene in Roxanne when Steve Martin gave it to the asshole in the bar for making fun of his nose. But what stuck was the image of Robin. I thought of Live at the Roxy. I thought Live at the Met. I thought Carpe Diem and I gave it right back to the kid, confidently making fun, not maliciously (Robin doesn’t go for the throat, he goes for the balls!). I jabbed the bully with a joke about his hair and a reference to Dennis Rodman (luckily Double Team just came out and everyone got the reference). Preparing myself to get punched in my oily face, the kid turned and walked the other way, speechless, as my friends laughed. Robin was the first to arm me with humor, and for that I am forever and ever grateful.

In 2002, less than a year into an acting program I was attending in NYC, I spent $120 I didn’t have on a front row seat to Robin’s one man show at BAM. I don’t remember laughing as much as I do just watching my hero on stage, in the flesh, moving and joking at the speed of light. I was just fucking enthralled. He had the whole room in the palm of his hand, from the Orthodox Jews to the young girls to the elderly New Yawkers. Everyone was dying. In the last moments of the show - this was just under a year after 9/11, Robin bows, exits the stage, and returns wearing an FDNY sweatshirt. He shook everyone’s hand in the front row, including mine. I went on to describe to everyone and their mother that shaking his hand felt like this (*cue me, grabbing your hand and tugging at my arm hair* His hand had this much hair on it!). When the lights came up, Bob Marley’s “One Love” came on as if we fans couldn’t leave the theatre happy enough. I put that song on my iPod that night and listened to it again and again. 

I’m sitting here, sad out of my mind not just because the world lost a great actor, but because from thousands of miles and movies away, Robin taught me confidence and that it’s okay to be myself. He taught me to be generous and not to take shit too seriously. I looked up to Robin, as did my parents, as did my Italian Nana, as did my baby cousin, Dan - as did all of us - and now he’s gone. I’m heartbroken not just because he was my role model - he was my Hero.

Robin, thank you for helping me find confidence, for reassuring all of us to do no less than put it all out on the table - to be unafraid. 

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride. 

::Elephant sound::