Categories > TV > Supernatural

Whoever Eats of It

by ninhursag 0 reviews

Sam and Jess meet on the 10:30 Greyhound to Palo Alto. Preseries. Mildly au.

Category: Supernatural - Rating: R - Genres: Drama, Romance - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2007-02-09 - Updated: 2007-02-10 - 1568 words - Complete

Whoever Eats of It

"No one bakes such bread as my wife, such as she baked me on St. George's Day. Many flowers and dew were kneaded into the cake with love. Whoever eats of it will be her slave." - Gypsy Sorcery and Fortune Telling - Charles Leland

They meet on the 10:30 Greyhound to Palo Alto. Jess has a duffel bag slung over one shoulder and lap top in its case over the other one and she's staggering just a little under the weight of it. He catches her by the elbow before she can fall and she turns around and looks up. And up.

At nearly six feet, that doesn't happen enough and Jess can't help but dimple up at the boy. He smiles back, and it's like sun on the water, shining. His hair is too short, his elbows and cheekbones look like a matched set of knives, and he may be the prettiest damn thing Jess has ever seen.

"I'm Jess," she says, gesturing for him to sit beside her. "Jess Moore." He hesitates, poised on the balls of his feet, like he could sprint if there was only room on the narrow bus.

She follows his gaze, right over her shoulder and out the window. Another boy is standing there, staring back, his stance so similar he could be twin to the one next to her. A boy, in leather, pursed mouthed. Fists stuffed into his jacket pocket, ready to run.

"Come on." Jess pats the seat next to her. "Sit. I have cookies and I might be convinced to share if my seat mate has the right stuff."

The boy's eyes are still so far away, even when he sits down next to her and smiles and tells her his name is Sam. He doesn't look out the window again, not until they pull out of the station in a cloud of road dust and exhaust.

Jess left home three days ago, with the Stanford packet clutched tightly in one hand and the rest of her life in the other. Her mother stared at her back, with eyes so sharp that Jess could feel them pricking at her like needles in a sore, even though she didn't turn around.

"You remember there are consequences to everything you do, daughter!" She heard hissed at her departing back.

Her father wasn't there. But then that was just typical.

They don't talk much for the first half hour. Sam stares out the window at corn fields, and Jess pretends not to watch him.

Sam ends up talking first, head swiveling around so suddenly to look at her, Jess almost jumps. "You pack kind of light, huh?" he says softly. He's not really looking at her, but he's not looking at anyone else here on the bus either.

"I sold all my stuff before I bought the bus ticket," Jess tells him, her tone bright enough to go with her pasted on smile. "It was making me itchy, anyway."

"Itchy? Your stuff?" Sam gives her a blank shrug, like the idea had never occurred to him before. As if he hasn't come packed just as light unless he's hiding more stuff under the bus somewhere.

"I'm gypsy blood," she says, and grins outright. "We pack light."

"Gypsy blood?" He grins back, like it's a reflex and presses a finger to his lip. "Cool. And you're going to Stanford."

She hasn't actually told him that, but seeing as though she still had the admission packet clutched under her shoulder, it might be obvious. Sam has figured it out, at least.

"Yeah, Sherlock Holmes. I'm trying new things," she says.

"Yeah. Yeah, me too." And there's something nameless and ragged in Sam's expression that makes Jess think he maybe understands. "New things. And I'm also going to Stanford."

Jess just stares for a moment and then brightens into laughter. "Wow, no kidding? It's like fate."

Five days ago she stood in the cracked, peeling kitchen of the tiny apartment they're renting now. Eggs and sugar in a chipped bowl that's seen better days. Rose water and dew she scraped from the flowers that grow in the window box.

She beat in the flour, her hands so steady it hurt. Flour on her hands, flower petals on the cutting board and it was time to knead. She did it slow and deliberate, whispering to the dough under her hands, shaping it, telling it what she needed.

"Take me away. Make me happy. Make me free."

After, Jess washed her hands with running water from the cold tap, because the hot water had been shut off at least a week ago after too many unpaid bills. Three times, she washed, until her fingers were numb with cold.

Just purifying herself from the consequences.

"Here, have a cookie," Jess says and presses one into Sam's hand. They aren't fresh any more, at five days old, but they still glitter with sugar and smell good. "Baked them myself." It's dark now and her teeth glint in the sallow streetlight.

The bus is stopped and most everyone has dashed off into the truckstop for food or to piss somewhere that doesn't stink of bus toilet, but they're both still here. Jess hasn't got much money left for anything like food anyway, and won't until her financial aid comes in. Sam hasn't said anything, but Jess guesses it might be the same for him. He's been staring out the window again, glare focused right on the gleaming yellow payphones by the truckstop door.

"I'm not hungry," Sam mutters, right before his stomach makes a loud, bubbly sound that makes Jess laugh.

"Sure, whatever. Don't insult me. Eat." She curls her fingers around his hand, closing them over the cookie.

He shrugs, like he's going to refuse, but then just goes ahead and eats it. Jess watches his face while he chews, watches the expression. It doesn't change, not really, just a tired boy on a bus, trying to smile and not have it come out fake. Make me happy, she thinks, but she isn't even sure what it is she wants.

Jess' mother used to tie blue strings around her wrist, to keep off the evil eye. She was convinced that the old woman down the road was the one who'd made Jess come down with the flu. That and not the cracked windows that let the wind howl through the narrow bedroom in their latest apartment.

"You can't sit near that person, baby," her mother whispered, small dark head pressed against Jess' pale hair. "She's an ill wish, I can smell it off her."

"I don't believe in that," Jess muttered, pushing her mother off of her, the mother she's been taller than since the junior high. "Jesus, mom, why do you even need to talk about that superstition shit? It makes you sound stupid."

"Don't you speak to your mother that way!" Her mother winced and slapped her, not too hard, but hard enough to leave the red imprint of a bony palm. Jess didn't flinch, just glared.

"It is stupid," she muttered.

Her mother glared back, but it was sadder than it was angry. "I will tell you stupid. Stupid is sticking your nose in school-books, and filling your head so that no man would take you unless you bespelled them. You think that's fitting for a woman of your people?"

"It's fitting for me." An old argument, even then, and Jess looked away, at some point over her mother's shoulder.

"It's a tragedy, is what it is. A pretty girl like you. How will you ever be happy?" And now she sounded sad, tired, like when she was talking to Jess' father about maybe getting evicted again.

"I am happy! Books make me happy!" Jess hissed. Not even really trying to make her understand, she already knew there was no point.

"You think you're happy. But I know. Well, it seems there is no choice." Her mother compressed her lips. "If you need to bespell a man to get one, than so be it, the consequences on your head. I'll teach you to bake."

And somehow, it had seemed easier not to argue.

When they pull into Palo Alto, Sam is telling a story about this one school he went to out in Nebraska somewhere and what a pain it was to get them to let him sit the AP English exam. Jess just nods and rolls her eyes at the right moments and shares a story of her own about sneaking an SAT prep course when no one had paid the tuition for her.

While they talk he licks cookie crumbs off his fingers, unselfconscious as a child. Somewhere along the way, he'd stopped looking out the window, like he expects the boy they'd left in the Colorado dust to still be there looking back. Jess tries not to worry too much about where and when.

"I think I'm going to like it here," Jess says softly as the bus screeches to a halt and Sam jumps up to grab her stuff for her.

"Yeah," he whispers and looks at her like she's not some stranger he met on a bus. Looks at her like maybe she's something... someone else.

And Jess remembers her mother hissing about consequences, but the memory is fleeting when Sam reaches down to take her hand.
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