A Breakdown of Years
Part II

Author's Note: I never planned on doing a follow-up to this piece… but I woke up one morning with Sam's year one in my head and figured I'd go for it. Everyone who asked about seeing Sam's perspective – this is for you.

Please do drop a note; good, bad or ugly.

Disclaimer: Everything's still mine. Burn.

Summary: A breakdown of the years of Sam's life. Told second person.

One is the fire and fear and death and doubt. It's your whole life becoming something unfathomable before there's even a chance to dream of another path. It's a thousand photos on a thousand cameras, all lost and unrecoverable; and a thousand years added to Dad's face in one night.

Two is moving around a lot and unfamiliar people and places. It's Dean making all those strange places feel like home, because he's always there, making funny faces and playing peek-a-boo.

Three is neighbours talking behind paper thin apartment walls and you don't really understand the "poor boys" and "fucking crazy father" and "bet that guy knows his way around a bottle of Jack." It's snuggling under the blankets while Dean tells you bedtime stories about dragons and princes and ghosts and ghouls.

Four is trying to play 'the floor is lava' in Dean's room and him freaking out when you leap onto his bed, because he's scared you'll cut your feet on the knife you didn't know was under his pillow. It's slowly starting to realize that some of the things in Dean's bedtime stories aren't make-believe after all.

Five is staying with Pastor Jim for a week while Dad and Dean are out 'taking care of something.' It's Jim's stories about angels… and you're fascinated, because Dean never mentioned them.

Six is Lafayette, Louisiana and Dean taking you – bouncing, giddy and nervous – to your very first day of school at Broadmoor Elementary. It's Dad putting a huge, pearl-handled revolver in your hands and having you shoot at paint cans on a fence; and Dean teaching you 'super secret' moves to impress the other kids in your karate class.

Seven is being asked to draw your family in school and wondering what that look was on Dad's face when you drew Mommy too. It's Dad being gone a lot, but you don't really mind – not really – because Dean takes super good care of you and because he makes the best Spaghetti-O's in the world.

Eight is running to Dad in the middle of the night because there's something in your closet. It's Dad giving you a .45 and telling you to go back to bed; and it's Dean sleeping on the floor in your room for weeks – and that thing never comes back, because it wouldn't dare… not so long as Dean's there.

Nine is your first hunt and you're shaking like a leaf and the only thing stopping you from bolting is Dean letting you hold his hand as tight as you want. And when that thing comes out of nowhere and heads right at you – right at you – Dean's pulling you to safety and making sure you're protected before you're both just shooting and shooting and shooting… and when it's dead, you want to be sick… until you see how proud Dad is; how pleased and how proud.

Ten is moving to Illinois and you're real excited because Dean says it snows there in winter (and you let him believe you didn't know that already.) It's a week spent with some foster family, where you're crying your eyes out and Dean's trying so damn hard not to let you know he's worried sick too, until Dad manages to sort out some lie to explain away the bruises a mothman decorated you with.

Eleven is weekend drop-in soccer games at the park… until Dad put an end to that 'nonsense' and dragged you out bow hunting instead. It's Dean using M&M's to help you with your fractions and Dean sticking pictures of Magneto and Sinister on the paint cans to encourage you during target practice.

Twelve is Ray Bryle badmouthing your 'crazy family' and 'dead mother,' then taking a swing at your jaw when he didn't get a rise out of you. It's Dean teaching the guy and his lackeys a lesson – and you don't know whether you feel relieved and protected or embarrassed and pissed. It's being forced to practice with the shotgun, even though you're too small for it and the kickback leaves your shoulder aching.

Thirteen is Dean getting ripped apart by that fucker in Michigan even as he took it out. It's a stark hospital and being told not to get your hopes up. It's an overly sympathetic doctor calling you 'Kid' and your patronizing father calling you 'Sammy' and – dammit – it's Sam because you will not sit there and be treated like some little child while Dean could be dying because of some monster that, sure as shit, no little child could have helped to bring down. It's standing beside a hospital bed wondering why in the hell you're doing this…

Fourteen is bitching long and hard enough about not being able to go on the school's year end camping trip that Dean went to Dad himself and talked him into letting you attend. And, yeah, you're stoked as hell that you get to go, but you also feel like an ass – because it means Dean's going to have to miss his prom to go on that hunt that you're skipping… and because that goblin took a nice chunk out of your brother's side; and who knows if thing would've been different had you been there.

Fifteen is performing in "Our Town" with a cast on your arm since some particularly unpleasant poltergeist decided to throw you into a bookshelf the day before opening night – and Dean applauding over exuberantly from the back row, even though you know his bruised ribs must be complaining like a bitch from sitting in that hard plastic chair for so long.

Sixteen is accidentally walking in on Dean and him giving you THE Talk the next day, ending it – in true Dean fashion – with pointers and pick up lines to try. It's staying up ridiculously late while Dad's out, to try and finish your history essay and Dean stumbling into your room, piss drunk – and you feel a little guilty, but he almost never gets like this… but when he does, he'll talk about things he would never discuss otherwise. But once he's passed out, you wish you hadn't pried – because you know your brother's dreaming of darkness and demons, not the cupcakes with blue sky icing that he deserves to.

Seventeen is ending the year with a 4.0 and, though Dad didn't seem to give a shit, Dean snuck you into a bar with a fake ID to celebrate. It's learning how to hustle and play cards, but trying for a part-time job anyway, because honest money just feels so much better in your hands.

Eighteen is two nights pacing beside Dean in the world's shittiest motel room, terrified out of your head that Dad's going to be paralyzed – that slice carved out of his back is so low, so deep… It's two nights shaking in a different shitty motel; two nights too scared to open the letter that arrived Tuesday morning. It's "Dad… full ride…" and "You go, don't you bother coming back!" and finding Dean's best knife in your bag, though whether he's trying to say 'Good luck. I'm proud o' you. Be careful.' or 'You'll be crawling home in a week.' you have no idea, but you don't care… because eighteen is freedom.

Nineteen is chaos - a wonderful, beautiful chaos. It's classes and projects and labs and toga parties and not spending nights terrified in shitty motels. It's ignoring the calls and voicemails from your brother and finally blocking his number, because there's no way you'll risk being talked into going back.

Twenty is the blank postcard from some town in Delaware that you've never heard of and another some months later from Florida – and it pisses you off, since it makes you think about your family, but you're also relieved, because it means they're still alive. It's happening across the most beautiful girl you've ever seen and using one of Dean's lines, without even realizing it, to ask her out. It's you starting to fall in love.

Twenty one is your first apartment and Jess and Christmas with a little tree and twinkle lights. It's Jess accidentally finding what few photos you've kept and her refusing to just let you bury them away in the back of your closet. It's the research project from hell and the kids in your study group gaping at your investigative skills – and you'll be damned if you tell them how they developed.

Twenty two is your whole world coming together. It's the interview and Stanford Law and being scared to death again because – holy shit – you're shopping for rings. It's normal and boring and safe… even if that damn nightmare repeats itself every night. Twenty two is your whole world falling apart. It's Dean breaking in, and Dad going missing, and one last hunt, just one last hunt. It's the fire and fear and death and doubt and everything you'd worked so hard for being ripped away and utterly destroyed. And maybe it's also a chance to start putting things back together.

Maybe not.