Captain of Your Fate
By: Ridley C. James
Rating: T, just to be safe
Disclaimer: We all know who owns them, and I work for chocolate and reviews, so no money was made here.
Author's notes: Believe it or not, this is hopefully a requested one shot scene from my story Forgive Me-someone really wanted to know about that time little Sammy fell in the well-and okay, so did I. bg. Consider this an extra cookie for all those who took the time for reviews. And thanks to Will, who took time out of her busy schedule to Beta for me.
Summary: Things shouldn't be able to change so quickly, like the ground shifting under your feet at a crucial point in time, but it does. Dean finds out first hand how cruel fate can be when Sam takes a fall, and he finds himself a reluctant traveller down memory lane.
"One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand- breathe!" The words echoed in his mind like thunder as he blew a breath into the unresponsive body lying prone in front of him.
He could feel the coldness of skin against his mouth, taste the salt of the water, hear the waves still crashing against the sand and jutting stones, but not once did Sam move. Damn it, Sammy.
"One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand-BREATHE!" His own heart was pounding against his rib cage as he administered compressions to Sam's chest, praying to feel the paralleled response in the other body. "Come on, buddy."
Blood was coming from somewhere now, it's warmth stinging his lips, it's metallic twang was mixing with the salt, it's coppery scent overpowering the smell of brine and rotting fish.
Dean almost gagged, would have loved to have been given sanctuary to rid himself of the bile creeping up the back of his throat, but that was a weakness Sam couldn't allow him.
"One one-thousand-don't do this- two one-thousand- I won't let you, damn it-three one-thousand-please- four one-thousand-please, Sammy, don't you go-BREATHE!"
His lungs burned with the excertion, his chest heaved and he felt his eyes sting with betrayal. In a moment of weakness he let his hand rest on his kid brother's forehead and then slide through Sam's wet hair, seeking some kind of comfort for both of them. It's okay, Sammy. I'm here. Then adrenaline resumed command once more, his father's voice echoing in his head. This is no time to lose it, Dean.
"One one-thousand," Dean nearly choked on the words, "two one-thousand," a sob escaped from the hollow recesses of the dark pit he'd tried for years to fill, "three one-thousand," he squeezed his eyes shut, hot tears sliding down his handsome features to mingle with the sanguineous mess covering his kid brother's face, "four one-thousand," he screamed in rage at the taunting full moon above them, "BREATHE!"
He'd just pulled away from Sam when he heard it, felt the brush of sweet breath on his cheek.
He quickly wiped the back of his hand over his mouth, removing Sam's blood and sand as he did. "Thank you," Dean whispered, casting his eyes heavenward for just a moment, before roughly turning his brother on his side as Sam coughed and choked on the sea water making it's way out of his lungs.
Dean held Sam's head as he managed to take that first painful breath on his own, which had him coughing and choking even more. "That's it, little brother. Come on back."
Finally the worst of it seemed over, and Dean eased Sam onto his back once more. The older Winchester shrugged out of his jacket, even though it was just as wet as Sam's clothes and covered the now shivering form lying prone in front of him. Thank God they were in southern California. "Sam? You with me?"
Dark lashes fluttered against milk pale skin and finally lifted. "Dean." The sound was hoarse and as rough as sandpaper, but to Dean it sounded as sweet as a Zeppelin encore.
"You scared the shit out of me, Captain Nemo." Dean rested back on his heels and raked both his hands through his hair. "First you act like you can fly, taking about ten years off my life by the way, and then you make me get wet. I really hate the water, Sam. You know that."
"Sorry," Sam coughed again, bringing Dean instantly back to his side. He hated these emotional moments that the two of them seemed hell bent on playing out in greater and greater frequency these days, but dragging your lifeless brother's body out of the ocean seemed to be enough to break down the stone walls around his fortressed sensitive nature.
The older Winchester slid his arms beneath Sam's shoulders and helped him sit up, leaning him against his own chest for support.
"Thanks for jumping in after me."
"It's okay," Dean sighed. "All in a days work for Captain Onehelluva Big Brother."
Sam closed his eyes and laughed, wincing as the motion caused a burning sensation in his chest. "Now that's a name I haven't heard in a while."
Dean nodded, running a hand over Sam's hair again before resting his chin on top of the wet locks. He pulled his brother a little closer, trying to ease the shivering racking the lanky frame. "Yeah, I know."
The older Winchester closed his eyes, reveling in the feel of his brother's very much alive body against his own, allowing himself another moment of vulnerability. Once again, he'd brought Sam back from the edge. His brother was safe, but fear echoed in his heart from a memory long ago, and Dean couldn't stop himself as he crossed the canyon between the now and then.
"Stay here, Sammy." Dean pointed to the truck and then looked sternly at his five year-old brother, well as sternly as any ten year-old kid could manage. "Dad said for you to wait on us."
"I want to come with you." Sam took a step forward but stopped when his brother crossed his arms over his chest.
"No. It's not safe."
"Then you shouldn't go, neither." Sam was holding tightly to the doll of Captain America that he'drecieved for his recent birthday. For some reason he'd gotten it in his adorable little head that the doll could protect him from anything bad that might be lurking in his closet or beneath his bed.
Of course he'd gotten that notion from someone who's word was golden.
"Just keep the Captain with you and you'll be fine, Sammy."
Sam thought for a moment and then offered his favorite toy to his brother. "Maybe you should take him."
Dean squatted in front of the little boy, and pushed the doll back into Sammy's arms. "Sam, I'll be okay. I'll have Dad with me. He's a hero too, remember. You keep the Captain and then I won't have to worry about you."
The brown eyes began to water, and the lip began to quiver ever so slightly, so Dean pulled Sam into a quick hug before the waterworks could really get started. John was not in a good mood tonight, and finding Sam throwing one of his patented temper tantrums would not bode well for either boy.
"Sammy, we won't be working long, and then you and I can play when we get back to the motel, okay?"
He felt the head nod against his shoulder then Sam pulled back. "Candy Land?" he asked hopefully.
Dean groaned. He hated that game. It was a baby's game. "Okay. Candy Land." He couldn't wait until Sam got old enough to play something mature, like Checkers or Uno.
Sam let go of his older brother and pulled Captain America close to his heart again. "Okay."
Dean opened the truck door and let Sam climb in before locking it and shutting it again. He waved to his brother and then made his way towards the small house in the distance.
John was already inside preparing for the spell that would keep the ghosts in one place. He called it a binding spell, or blinding spell, Dean couldn't really remember which one. In fact, Dean wasn't always sure of what his father did or how he did it, but he was learning more everyday.
Someday, he'd be grown up and able to kick some ghost butt, just like his Dad.
But tonight, all he was getting to do was read. Even Sammy could have done it.
Dean would read the words over and over again, while his dad put the holy water around every door and then the sea salt would go under each window. Dean had practiced the words because they were in Latin and Latin was pretty hard, even for a ten year-old.
"Sammy okay?" John asked from his perch near the stairwell of the old house.
Dean nodded. "He'll be asleep before Casper even shows."
John raised an eyebrow at his son's bravado. "Sounds like you're pretty sure of yourself, Ace."
Where Sam was concerned Dean was sure of himself. He stuck out his hand and began to count off on each finger. "One, he's had his bath, two, I gave him warm milk before we left the motel, three, I read him a story, and four, his favorite blanket and Captain America are keeping him company in the truck."
John stood and rubbed his oldest son's hair affectionately. "Breathe, Dean." He smiled and shook his head at the boys ability to ramble on and on sometimes. "Definitely sounds like you've got it covered, as usual. You're definitely one hell of a big brother, kiddo."
Dean's smile widened at the rare praise. "No sweat, Dad."
John stood, "Okay, then let's get to work."
Everything had seemed to go well. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Sure a strong wind had blown up out of nowhere showering the two hunters with dust and even some stray pieces of broken furniture, windows had rattled, the doors had slammed, but then all had grown quiet again. Another successful night for the Winchester family.
Then the scream pierced the night.
A little boy's fear-filled, blood curdling scream.
John looked at Dean, who had just finished closing the book he'd been reading from. His green eyes met and held his father's only a moment before he dropped the book and ran for the door.
"Dean. Wait!" John took off after his son, cursing himself for not being more prepared.
An old marine buddy of his, Danny, had asked a simple favor. A favor that would pay well.
Just clear an old house of anything lingering around.
There had been reports of weird lights and noises coming from the home since it had been abandoned nearly fifteen years before.
But Danny Jones had inherited it from a long lost uncle, and decided that selling it would be easier if the ghosts haunting the place were exorcised, not that he really believed in that nonsense, but he'd heard what John did for a living and thought it was worth a try. It wasn't a typical hunt, but John needed the money, so he'd agreed to play ghost hunter for hire, much to his own chagrin.
Never once did he imagine it would be dangerous. He'd never have brought the boys if he'd believed that. So much for assuming any damn thing. Apparently it was going to be another fuck-up in his long list of many. John could only pray that Sammy wouldn't be the one to suffer for his lack of good sense and innate parenting instincts.
Sam had been nearly asleep, curled up in the bench seat, when he'd heard it. Something was pecking on the truck window.
At first, he'd thought it was Dean and his dad coming back, but after sitting up and rubbing sleepily at his eyes , he looked up at the house in the distance. Sam could see the glow of the lanterns through the window. They were still working.
Then he heard it again, and this time he was awake enough to be afraid.
"Come out," a voice whispered and Sam pulled Captain America tighter to his chest. "Come out and play."
The truck doors suddenly unlocked and the driver's door squeaked loudly as it opened. Sam jumped and huddled closer to the passenger's side.
"Play with me," the voice was closer now, and Sam watched in morbid fascination as a little girl dressed in a white gown appeared in the darkness and began to crawl into the truck with him. Her motions were slow and jerky, almost like a robot. Watching her caused a chill to race over the little boy and he whimpered. He squeezed his eyes shut, hoping that she'd be gone when he opened them, but it wasn't to be.
She looked a little older than Sam's five years, but not as old as his brother, and her face and pale blond hair were streaked with dirt and small clumps of mud. The little girl reached her hand out to Sam. He could see dirt and mud beneath her long nails.
"Go away," he managed, pulling farther away from the other child, clutching Captain America in front of him like a shield, and squeezing his eyes shut again, hoping andprayingthat it was all one of his bad dreams and Deanwouldwake him up at any moment.
Unfortunately Sam was wide awake and the little girl wasn't deterred by Captain America's protective powers and Dean was nowhere around."Come play."
The girl reached for him, but Sam was quicker. He pushed his door open, nearly tumbling out to the ground, but luckily hitting feet first instead. The five year-old didn't look back as he took off for the house, for the one place he knew he'd be safe. He was running for Dean.
There were some things Sam Winchester knew for sure. The sky was blue, the grass was green, his daddy loved him, and Dean would always save him.
Cookie Monster loved chocolate chip the best, Dean had told him so. Pooh and Piglet were best friends, Big Bird was yellow and really tall, and the ground was solid. Right?
He was running when it happened. One moment he could feel his feet hit the hard ground, sending little jolts of shock through his body, and then he felt a hard push from behind him and then nothing but air. It was like that ride at the amusement park that made your stomach do somersaults, the one that Dean sneaked him on last summer, even though Sam wasn't tall enough to go.
Sammy remembered screaming and trying to throw his arms out to catch himself, to stop his fall somehow. Then he felt the hard, unforgiving surface of the cold water as he crashed into it. It took his breath away, and he tried to fight his way back to the surface, but something grabbed his leg and he was pulled under into the freezing blackness once more.
"SAM!" Dean tore down the steps of the porch and stumbled out into the yard. His eyes searched frantically for any sign of his little brother, but all he could see was darkness.
Then she appeared.
Her nightgown was almost glowing in the moonlight and her dirty blond hair hung in knots and tangles past her slight shoulders. She seemed to smile at Dean, and then disappeared.
Dean didn't even hesitate. He ran to where the apparition had faded into nothing, and his heart stopped as he almost stepped on Captain America. "Sam?" He dropped onto his knees next to the doll and that's when he saw it.
It was easy to miss in the dark of night, and had probably been covered for years. Under the disturbed earth, rotten planks of broken wood could barely be seen through the rough patches of grass.
"Oh, God, it's a well." Dean turned to look at his father who had just skidded to a halt beside him. "Sam must have fell through."
"No." Dean whispered the word, his eyes going back to the hole in the ground. He knew his father must be right, but his mind and heart wouldn't accept the fact that he'd left his little brother alone, and now he was at the bottom of a well hurt, or worse-dead.
He made a move to step closer to the hole, determined to reach Sam, but his father grabbed him and held him back. "No, Dean!"
"Let me go!" Panic blossomed within the ten year-old's heart and he tried to squirm out of his father's strong hands. "I've got to get Sammy."
"Dean!" The weak plea wafted up from below them and the sound of splashing followed in it's wake. "Help."
Sam coughed and tried to dog paddle in the water like he did when he and Dean swam in the motel pools in the summer, but something was in the water, it kept grabbing at him, trying to pull him back. He screamed as it tugged him under once more.
"Sam!" John and Dean yelled in unison, both of them leaning closer to the hole to see if they could catch a glimpse of the little boy.
Dean nearly escaped his father's grasp when he heard Sammy scream again. "Let me go!"
"Dean," John tried to reason, counting in his mind the seconds his baby had already been under water.
"SAMMY!" Dean howled again, ignoring his father, fighting him with a strength born of fear, desperation and love. "SAM!"
John grasped Dean by both shoulders and shook him hard. "Dean, look at me."
"Let me go, Daddy! Please!" Dean begged but didn't look at his father, instead his eyes were glued to the hole, where his brother had disappeared.
The sheer terror in the pleading voice tore at the older man's heart, but the adrenaline rushing through him kept him focused. "Dean!" John shook the ten year-old again. "Go to the truck and get the rope. Now! Do you hear me!"
Coughing could again be heard below them and more splashing. "Dean, help me!" Sam kicked hard like his older brother had shown him when he was teaching Sam how to swim. "Something's…down…here."
The other two Winchesters shared a look, and his little brother's words finally pulled Dean from the edge. His dad let him go and he stood quickly and took off for the truck.
His heart was pounding harder and faster than his footfalls hitting the ground. Reaching the vehicle he lifted the tool box that held his father's weapons, and quickly found the rope and a flashlight.
"Sammy, it's Daddy, son. Hold on! We're going to get you out."
John couldn't see into the well, but he was sure Sam had gone under again. How many times was that? What was that old saying about going under for the third time? Please don't take my boy. Please. Haven't I lost enough?
"Let me go down, Dad." Dean was back, bent over, his hands resting on his knees. He was panting from his mad dash from the truck. "I want to go get Sam."
"Dean, I don't think that's a good idea." John looked at the small, unstable opening. He didn't even know how far down Sam was.
"Dad, we're losing time." Even a ten year-old kid knew all too well how easy it was to drown. After all, John had insisted that both his sons learn to swim at a very young age. It was just another skill that might be needed. "Dad, we're losing Sammy."
John hated it, risking one son to save another. But there was no choice. Dean could not hold his weight and there was nothing close enough to tie the rope off to. It had been almost two minutes since Sam had gone into the cold water.
Another loud splash erupted from below and John let out the breath he didn't know he had been holding. "Daddy!"
"Okay." He quickly tied the rope around Dean's waist, looping it like a climber would while repelling.
"Hurry," Dean prompted as Sam called out for him again.
John stepped close enough on the unstable ground to kick at the boards, opening the hole wider so that Dean could fit through. He bent down and held his son by both shoulders. "Yell at me as soon as you have your brother." John stared into the deep hazel eyes. "Hold on tight to Sam and I'll pull you both up."
Dean nodded, fear and worry tying his stomach in knots, and preventing him from actual words. John moved his hands to his face and pulled him in close enough for a rough kiss on his forehead. "Be safe, Ace."
Dean could smell the rotting stench of stagnate water and death as he was lowered into the dark well. It was colder below the surface and dirt danced down on his head as he slid closer to the bottom.
"Dean," Sam's voice was weaker now, "help."
Dean was just glad his brother was on the surface once more, he could hear soft splashing as Sam treaded water. "I'm coming, Sammy. Hold on." Please, hold on.
Dean pointed the flashlight below him and was close enough to the water now that he could see his brother. "Sammy, keep paddling."
He'd almost reached him, when Sam disappeared beneath the blackness once more with a soft cry.
"Dad!" Dean shouted. "Hurry! Lower me faster."
John gave the rope more slack and had to bite his lip from crying out in helpless frustration when the taught rope relaxed in his calloused hands and he heard the splash that meant Dean had hit bottom.
"Dean! Are you alright?"
Dean heard his father but he didn't have time to answer. He took a deep breath and dove under the nasty murkiness surrounding him, still holding the flashlight tightly in his hand. He hadn't been under but a few seconds when he saw Sam.
His little brother was thrashing in the water, a silent scream plastered on his face as skeleton hands pulled at him, tugging him further down the hole.
Dean kicked out with his feet, pushing him closer to Sam. His lungs were burning with the excertion when he finally reached him, his hand closing around Sam's wrist.
It took every bit of strength he had to pull his brother from the deathly grip and propel them both to the surface, but nothing less than saving them both was an option. He either got Sam out of this, or they'd both go to the bottom. Dean pulled the little boy against his chest.
He knew, when he was even younger than Sam, that protecting his kid brother was as much a necessity of life as oxygen. So he either did it, or he died. Sam died. And that wasn't something his big brother was about to let happen.
Dean broke the surface just as his air ran out. He took a loud gulp of polluted air and pulled Sam's head above the water also, so that it rested against his shoulder. "DAD!" he yelled as soon as his lungs would cooperate. "I got him!"
John quickly took up slack on the rope.
Sam had yet to move in his brother's embrace. Dean had let go of the flashlight to wrap both his arms around the little boy, and he could feel Sam's freezing cold skin against his own.
"Sammy," he whispered into the other boy's ear, as they both were suddenly jerked out of the water. "Wake-up, Sammy. You're okay now. Please wake-up." Dean hugged his baby brother tighter and pushed off against the mud walls with his feet, aiding his father in the process of rescuing them. "I'm so sorry I left you alone, Sammy. Please, wake up."
Sam still didn't respond and what seemed like hours was only a few moments, then Dean and Sam were being pulled to safety by their father. John continued to pull the boys, sliding them on the solid ground until he was sure they were safely away from the eroded well cover.
Dean had his little brother wrapped tightly in his arms, and it took John a moment to pry the five year-old from his grasp.
When he did, his heart stopped. Sam wasn't breathing. "Oh, God, no."
"Daddy?" Dean picked up on the fear in his father's voice and scampered to the man's side.
John had laid Sam on the ground, and had his ear to Sam's mouth. He then moved to Sam's chest, laying his hand against the small motionless body. "Damn it!" John yelled. "This is not happening! Do you hear, me?"
Dean didn't think that his dad was yelling at him, but he flinched just the same. He couldn't take his eyes off his baby brother. Sam's lips were turning blue. He's not breathing. He should be breathing. "Daddy! Sammy's dead."
"Don't say that, Dean." John tilted his youngest son's head back and blew a short quick breath into the five year-old, trying to remember everything he could about young children and CPR. "Don't even think it."
"One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, breathe."
Dean watched as his father breathed for his little brother, and then pumped his chest.
He repeated it over and over again.
Somewhere in the moments that followed, Dean found himself saying the words with his father. "One one-thousand-don't let him die-two one -thousand-please don't go, Sammy- three one-thousand-please-four one-thousand-I love you- BREATHE!"
Captain America had found his way into Dean's arms now, and he was holding onto him as if the doll could protect him and his brother from what was happening around them.
John had just blown another breath into his son's unresponsive body, when a miracle happened. Sam's arms and legs jerked and he coughed weakly.
His father quickly turned him onto his side and patted the little boy on his back as he coughed more water and then took a deep breath on his own. "That's it, Sammy. Come back to us."
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Sam began to cry, heart wrenching, sobs that had Dean reaching for him before his father could react.
"It's okay, Sammy." Dean pulled the little boy into his arms, and felt as his dad encircled both of them in his grasp. "Don't cry, Sam. I'm here."
"Dean," Sam choked out the name, through his tears. "That… bad… girl pushed me."
Dean held his brother closer, smiling up at his father. His little brother sounded just like he did when someone on the playground had picked on him and he expected Dean to deal with it. If he could tattle, he wasokay. "That's okay, Sammy, we'll take care of her." Dean looked at his dad. "There's a body in the well."
John sighed and hugged his boys close again, before letting them go. A hunter's work was never done. "I'm going to get some blankets out of the truck." He waited for Dean to look at him. "Then I'm going to take care of all of this before we take Sammy to the hospital to have him checked out."
Dean nodded. "I'll watch him. I promise."
John nodded grimly. "I know you will." He could see the guilt brewing in his oldest son's eyes, but couldn't bring himself to say anything comforting. The sad fact was that guilt was second only to grief as a motivator. Next time, Dean would keep a closer eye on Sam.
Once both boys were back in the truck, with the heater running, John felt safe enough to finish the job that he'd botched.
He had never imagined the spirit to be connected to something outside the house. That had been his first mistake, but he'd be sure to put it to rest now that Sam had accidentally found what he'd missed. So much for going in a situation with no research. As much as Sammy loved to read, maybe he could handle that side of the hunting when he got a little older. That was, if John could manage to keep him alive that long.
"Are you warm, Sammy?" Dean still had his arms wrapped around his little brother who seemed to be asleep, or completely exhausted.
Sam had yet to let him go though. His hands were still fisted in Dean's jacket, and he merely nodded his head in reply to Dean's question.
Dean hated the silence. "Come on, little brother. Talk to me, Sammy." Dean watched as Sam finally uncurled himself from the blankets and pushed his Captain America doll towards him.
"It don't work no more," he declared, looking solemnly up at Dean. "I think I broke him."
Dean took the doll and looked guiltily at his little brother. "Sorry, Sammy. It wasn't anything you did. I just guess Captain America isn't a very good protector after all." Neither was Dean for that matter.
Sam shrugged. "That's okay, Dean." He waited for the other boy to look at him. "I don't need him. I've got you and you're better than stupid old Captain America any day. You saved me." He smiled. "You always save me."
Dean felt a smile tug at the corner of his mouth, the guilt easing it's grip on his heart just a little. "Always will, too."
Sam grinned back. "You could be Captain Big Brother."
Dean laughed and pulled the little boy into a crushing hug, tickling him until Sam was giggling uncontrollably. "That's me, Captain Onehelluva Big Brother."
"Dean?" Sam was freezing and his head was hurting.
"Yeah," Dean wasn't sure how long he'd been sitting holding his brother on the cold, wet sand, but if the numbness in his legs and posterior were any indication, his unbidden trip down memory lane had lasted way too long.
"You still with me?"
"I'm here." Dean eased from behind his brother but a kept a grip on his arm until he was sure Sam could sit up on his own. "How you feeling after your little swim, Mr. Cousteau?"
"Like next time I try to tell you that a Siren isn't physically dangerous to humans that you should maybe knock some sense into me."
"Well if it makes you feel any better, I kicked her ass just before you took your little dive off the ship."
"That doesn't really make me feel any better. Leaving you alone to face her wasn't in the plan." Sam got shakily to his feet with his brother's help. "Did you jump in after me?"
Dean nodded. "Yep."
"And you swam us both all the way to shore?."
Dean shrugged and smiled.Hell, Sammy, I'd probably rope the fucking wind if I had to. "Drug your heavy ass the whole way."
"Thank you. Again."
"Hey, they don't call me Captain Onehelluva Big Brother for nothing, you know."
Sam shook his head and winced as the motion sent shards of pain through his sluggish brain. "Ow."
"Yeah," Dean reached up and pushed back some of Sam's hair to reveal a large gash and bluish knot just above his eyebrow. "I think you hit the bow, or stern, or whichever the hell one it was before you took that swim. We need to get that stitched up."
"Yeah," Sam hissed and slapped his brother's probing hand away. "Do you think you can find our way back to the motel from here, Captain?"
Dean grinned and threw an arm around his brother's shoulder. "Yeah, as long as we don't have to play Candy Land when we get there."
Sam looked at his brother, confusion making him look almost like the innocent kid Dean remembered. "Are you sure you didn't hit your head on something?"
"Nah," Dean started walking. "I'm pretty sure that superhero shit makes me invincible."