I have to confess, I missed Sammy's bangs hanging in his eyes when season 2 first started. But then, the impact of a suddenly grown-up Sam sitting in the newly restored Impala with his hair out of his eyes had me sitting up going, "Whoa, hello, hot stuff, and where did little brother go?"
It really was like he'd been in hiding until after John's death, then you blink, and he's right there, larger than life.
Your story title is so apt for the change that had come over Sam between ELAC and Fresh Blood. It also reminded me of a Wolfpup vid called - I think - In The Shadows, which dealt with a similar thing; Sam dwelling in the shadows for most of his life.
His internal struggle was very well done and vividly painted. Sam was walking a very fine line between too little and too much in dealing with the human powder keg that was Dean after their father's death. Loved his realisation that he'd been hiding behind that pretty mop of hair and that it was time to come out, to step into the big brother shoes for a while until Dean can cope with that role again. Shelving his own grief so that he can be that rock for Dean to lean on.
And I really loved Bobby's encouraging words to him. For a little while there, I wondered whether Bobby was actually on Sam's side at all, especially since it seemed he had a much more comfortable relationship with Dean. But his comments in Levee and Lucifer Rising reassured me that he thinks of both Winchesters as his surrogate sons, not just Dean.
That was a great thing for Sam to hear, especially at that time.
Well deserving of its pretty blue ribbon. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, and congrats on it making the Featured Story list.
Wow, thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed the story! I felt pretty much the same as you did in early season 2. I missed those long bangs in his eyes, but like you said, that first image of him in the newly restored Impala nearly knocked me for a loop - WHOA. Sammy's not such a little brother anymore. When did THAT happen?! *grin*
I've read meta discussion (and contributed to it... *blush*) about how his hair often reflects his emotional state. I think this is very well demonstrated in ELAC. He was so broken and struggling with his guilt over John's death, and then wanting to help Dean confront his own emotions. I think I went a little heavy on the symbolism in this fic... heh... but I enjoyed it.
It's bothered me that we haven't had much insight into Bobby's relationship with Sam (and even though he'd been possessed by that demon in Sympathy for the Devil, his words to Sam in that one scene hurt SO much). I was glad to hear those comments he made in WTLB, Lucifer Rising, and even at the end of Two Minutes To Midnight.
Thank you again for the kind words! I really enjoyed writing this story, and I'm so glad people enjoyed reading it. :)