this is not my puppy

Jon & Sansa parallels 9/∞ : Traitors

Not only a bastard, but a traitor’s bastard.” - Jon, A Game Of Thrones

You are innocent of any wrong, we all know that. And yet you are the daughter of a traitor.” - Sansa, A Game Of Thrones

Jon & Sansa parallels 8/∞ : Inadequacy Issues

The Hound was right, she thought. I’m only a little bird, repeating the songs they taught me.Sansa, A Game Of Thrones

If Jon was remembered at all, it would be as a turncloak, an oathbreaker and a murderer.” - Jon, A Storm Of Swords

The first laptop started out being more about practicality than anything else. They had just returned to the bunker for the first time after- Well, just after. Cas was gone, and Jack was here, and Jack deserved some way to entertain himself, for those times outside of training, because expecting him to just sit in silence all the time would have just been cruel. It wasn’t until he told the kid that the laptop had originally been Castiel’s that he truly understood the precise nature of the task he had undertaken.

Because, where Sam had just seen a painful reminder of a lost friend, Jack had seen a single, tenuous link to the father his mother had chosen for him. A memento of a father he would never have an opportunity to know. And the look on that young face- so young yet already so familiar with the dark taint of a Hunter’s world- had been more than enough for Sam to just know.

Jack was his to protect now. Not just for Castiel. Or for Mom. Or for the safety of the world. But because Jack deserved better. Because Jack deserved a family.

That was then. And this was now. And now Castiel was back. Jack had his father. They had each other. And Sam, while happy, couldn’t quite banish the bitter feeling in the depths of his chest. The slow, sinking sensation of dread. The tiny voice whispering in his mind, reminding him over and over that Jack didn’t need him anymore.

And that? That hurt.

Despite his better judgement. Despite his own joy over Cas’ return. Despite his happiness on both Jack’s and Cas’ behalves. It still hurt. To think that this one connection he had somehow come to cherish so much was suddenly going to be gone.

So call it stupid, or call it sentimentality, but for some reason or other… he wanted to give Jack something to remember him by.

…Which was why he found himself, shortly after checking in, excusing himself from the hotel (under the pretext of checking out the neighbourhood), trekking over to the city’s Sears and immersing himself in the computer section. Less than thirty minutes later (because he knew computers, and he also knew he hated browsing for long periods of time) he left the store again, brand new laptop firmly in his possession.

He didn’t reveal it to anyone when he got back, though, choosing instead to tuck it safely into his duffel for now. When they finished the case, he could present it to Jack as a sign of congratulations, and then they could all move on with their lives. Cas and Jack would likely head off to do their own stuff, and Dean would feel better now that the “Anti-Christ” (a term he still insisted on using even though he knew it was inaccurate) was out of their hands, and Sam… well, Sam would just have to forget how it had felt to have a (kind of) son of his own.

They would move on. And he would make do. That was the plan. And, in the meantime, if he got the chance to arrange the partnerships so he got to spend just a little time around Jack alone, to reassure himself that the kid would be okay? Well, then, he would take that chance gladly.

And, for a short time, things went well. Relatively speaking.

…And then Jack tried to help, and the guard stepped out at just the wrong moment, and suddenly Sam’s own feelings didn’t seem all that important anymore.

And he tried. Both he and Cas. They tried in the car. They tried again when they reached the Bunker. But it was too soon, and Jack wasn’t ready to hear it, so they sat instead where they knew Jack would be able to see them- to reach out to them- at any time, and waited for the moment when Jack (when his son, that traitorous voice still whispered) was ready to hear that he wasn’t a monster. That a mistake didn’t mean he was evil.

…They forgot to take into account that Jack could fly.

The first night was the hardest. That’s what he’d always heard.

What a load of crap.

Because the pain and the worry? They didn’t fade or go away. They just got worse. Cas left, deciding that doing something was better than just sitting around feeling useless. And Sam? Sam did what he did best. He researched. He searched online. He used every virtual tracking method he could think of.

And still nothing.

And it felt, especially after Mom, kind of like it did whenever Dean died- like some part of him had been ripped away, and like he could never breathe quite right, and like the entire world was just that tiniest bit dimmer in the weight of what he had lost. The only positive thing was that Dean (while his reasons were different) also thought Jack needed to be found and, as such, never questioned Sam about either his motives or his urgency outside of merely saying that he should “at least take a break while we’re on a damn Hunt, Sammy. Geez, you’d think you were actually worried about the kid or something. You forgetting that he can’t even be hurt?”

Sam didn’t bother to remind him that lasting injuries weren’t the only indicator of pain.

He also didn’t bother to tell him that ‘worried’ didn’t even come close.

It wasn’t until they returned from their third Hunt (a simple salt-n-burn in Western Colorado Dean had kind of enjoyed because the widower had practically plied them with home-made pies in gratitude) that Sam even thought about the laptop again. But he needed a change of clothes (because he’d been kind of remiss on the laundry front lately) and, while digging around, his fingers pressed against the cool, hard plastic.

He couldn’t think of the last time he’d been so close to breaking over someone who was still (because Jack was- he had to be) still alive.

In somewhat of a daze, Sam moved the couple of steps over to his desk, setting the laptop down almost on autopilot and opening it up, logging in to the as yet un-password-protected main account. Before he even really knew what he was doing, an empty document was open on the screen, and his fingers were dancing their way back and forth across the keyboard.

Jack,’ they typed, ‘I don’t know if you’ll ever read this- or even why I’m doing it, really. But video messages are your mother’s legacy, and I don’t want to intrude on that. Well, that and Dean would probably take the piss out of me for weeks if he ever found me making one. I just… I miss you, Jack. And I understand why you left- I really do- but I still wish you were here. I’m looking for you, and so is Cas, and even Dean’s doing his bit here and there, but in the meantime… just be safe, Jack. Please.’

After saving it, he closed the laptop again, and that was that.

Or, at least, it should have been that.

Instead, the messages became a regular thing. Every day (sometimes twice a day) he would make a new one- some short, some longer and more detailed, but always just… honest. Yes. Maybe that was the best word for them.

Honest.

We got a call from Cas today. He said he saw someone who was wearing that same jacket you were when you… left. He knew it wasn’t you, of course, but he said that still didn’t stop him from going over anyway. Just in case.

…I just realised you didn’t take any clothes with you. I hope you’ve found somewhere to wash yours, or maybe a few new sets. Be safe, Jack.’

-

‘Jack, I’m sorry. That night you left, I stepped back, and I know what that looked like. But I’m not scared of you, Jack. I promise. I’ve had a lot of bad experiences over the past few years, and I don’t always react well to confrontational tones or snapped words because of it. But it wasn’t because of you or your powers, Jack. I hope you know that. You are not a monster, Jack. A couple of mistakes don’t change that, and I’m sorry if I made you think they did. I’m sorry I didn’t do more to help you understand that.’

-

‘I nearly stepped on your pencil earlier. It had fallen on the floor next to your usual chair. I’ve put it in your room for you- just in case you want it when you get back.’

-

‘Did I ever tell you that I tried some tracking spells on you, in those first few days? None of them worked. I have this theory that it was because you didn’t want to be found, so your powers protected you. Some of the ingredients are a bit hard to come by, but I’ve decided I’ll keep trying. At least once a week. That way, when you’re ready to be around us again, we’ll be able to get to you fairly quickly, even if something bad has happened to you.’

-

‘Jack, I told you that mistakes don’t make you a monster. Perhaps I should have told you why I know that. You see, I’ve probably made more mistakes- and bigger mistakes- then you’ll ever be able to make. If you come back, maybe I’ll be able to tell you about a few of them.’

-

‘You know what, maybe I don’t need to wait until we’re face to face to tell you. So here are just a few of my mistakes:’ (That one was particularly long, spanning five whole pages. And still he didn’t manage to get past some of the biggest, most obvious ones. He could only hope that Jack wouldn’t think less of him when he read it.)

-

‘Wherever you are out there, Jack, I hope you’re doing alright. Come back whenever you feel ready.’

-

‘Please be safe.’

And so it continued. Day in, day out. He took to keeping the laptop in Jack’s room, just on the off-chance Dean wandered into his own uninvited and happened to get curious (or mischievous) enough to poke around a bit.

Until, three months, fifteen days and eighteen hours after Jack disappeared…

Sam was taken.