Title: On The Turning Away
Author: Oldach's Dream
Summary: Daddy. A label that had no sentimental meaning. A threat. 'Daddy's coming, go and hide.' Sammy hated the word daddy.
Disclaimer: I own nothing of Supernatural.
A/N: Okay, this is my go at the 'What if they had had Max's childhood?' challenge. I actually wanted to see this done since the episode first aired (Something that I said out loud and my friend gave me a funny look for.) And I've been thinking about it, and this just wouldn't leave me alone. So here it is.
For those of you reading 'Blackbird': don't worry, I haven't given up writing that, not by a long shot, I just felt the need to post this one as well. This probably won't even interfere with the rate at which I post chapters.
Warnings: There's obviously going to be violence and somewhat disturbing themes in this.
Chapter One: And mesmerized as they light the flame
Sammy was five the first time his father hurt him.
He'd never forget the day, because he'd been expecting it.
Sammy was a smart little kid. He had to be, with the way he'd grown up. And because, sadly enough, he was more grown up at age five than most people were at twenty.
He knew to always listen to his brother when he told him to stay upstairs with the bedroom door shut. He knew what corner of the closet to crouch down in if he heard footsteps, that didn't belong to Dean, coming up the stairs.
He knew that their daddy was a mean, mean man. That he yelled at Dean for lots of things. Sammy knew that the mean man really hated him.
Because Sammy was a smart little kid. And he knew that when their daddy shouted things like, 'It's his fault she's dead! It's all his fault!' that he was talking about him and his mommy. His daddy thought it was his fault his mommy was dead.
And Sammy knew, that when there was a pause in the yelling, the yelling that drifted upstairs and found him hiding in the closet, crying silently; it was because the big, scary man that hated him, was taking a swig from the glass bottle that he always kept at his side.
A bottle whose contents had been labeled alcohol, one night when Sammy had gathered the courage to ask Dean about it. He had told Sammy then, that alcohol was something people drank, that made their mind's fuzzy. He'd said that sometimes it could make your mind so fuzzy, that you forgot how to do anything but act mean.
That was the night, as he sat huddled on a tiny mattress with his bruised and broken older brother, that Sammy had promised himself he would never drink alcohol. He'd decided that he never wanted his mind to become that fuzzy. He never wanted to be mean like his daddy.
Sammy was a smart little kid.
He knew when to listen. He knew when to nod agreeably. He knew how to avoid the scary man that sat in the reclining chair in the living room. He knew how treat his brother's bruises and cuts. He knew how to lie. He knew a lot of things that a five year old had no real right knowing.
And that's how he knew that one day, he would be in the same room with his daddy when the mean man remembered how much he hated him. He knew that one day, Dean wouldn't be there to distract him.
To say angry things that no nine year old should be able to say, so their daddy would turn to him and forget about Sammy. Leaving him to run up to his room and hide, because that's what Dean had told him to always do.
He knew that one day he'd have to face the scary, fuzzy-minded, angry man that he thought of only vaguely as his daddy. Daddy. A label that had no sentimental meaning. A threat.
'Daddy's coming, go and hide.'
Sammy hated the word daddy.
One day, he knew, daddy would come for him, because he hated his youngest son. Hated him for something Sammy couldn't even remember.
The day would come.
Sammy was a smart kid, and he knew that much.
But that didn't mean, he'd be ready for it when it finally did.
The angry voice, and the slamming of the front door, made the five year old jump. His heart rate quickening to an almost dangerous level. His hands started shaking and his breathing was labored.
Daddy wasn't supposed to be home yet. He was supposed to work until at least five every day, if not later. That way, Dean had plenty of time to get home from school.
It was a routine the child liked. As Sammy was too young yet to start school, he'd stay home alone all day. He'd make himself lunch, something that Dean had taught him how to do. He'd play by himself, making up games, coloring on pieces of paper that Dean had brought home from school, with crayons that he'd stolen for his little brother.
He'd never venture outside his room, except to get food and go to the bathroom, and he always made those trips as short as he could. He was scared of the empty house, scared of being alone. But there was nothing else he could do, except wait for his big brother to get home.
Only now his daddy was home. His daddy was home when he wasn't supposed to be, and Sammy didn't know what to do. Dean never told him what to do if he was alone with their daddy. All his instructions were geared toward what to do when all three of them were in the house together.
Neither thought that Sammy and their daddy would ever be alone together. Without Dean there.
Sammy was a smart little kid, but he didn't know what to do now. So he did the only thing he could think of. He shoved his crayons under the bed, hiding them, because he knew his daddy didn't know he had them, and he didn't want to get Dean in trouble. Then he pulled his legs up to his chest and waited, hoping that the voice wasn't really there, that it would go away.
"BOY!" It yelled again, and Sammy continued to tremble. "Answer me when I call you! Get down here! NOW!"
Sammy scrambled to his feet immediately. He was terrified, and didn't know what else to do. He made his way down the stairs as quickly and as quietly as he could. When he reached the bottom, he knew immediately that his father's mind was fuzzy.
The big man was swaying slightly back and forth, his eyes were hazy, trying to focus on the landing where his small son now stood.
"Y-y-yes, d-d-d-daddy?" He questioned shakily. Sammy had always had a slight speech problem, and it only intensified when he was scared or nervous. He was both of those things right now.
He stared for a few seconds. Sammy was trembling and his fists were clenched at his sides, his palms sweating, but he did not look away from his daddy.
The man, seemingly finished with his scrutiny, fell heavily onto the sofa behind him, resting his head in the back, closing his eyes.
Sammy let out a shaky breath, still not moving from where he stood.
"Go make me something to eat." He ordered, lifting his head up and glancing around, he found what he was looking for when he spotted the mostly empty, clear, glass bottle on the little table to his left. He reached out for it and downed the rest of it's contents in one go.
Sammy swallowed, grinding his teeth nervously. "W-w-what do y-you w-w-want me to make?" He managed.
His daddy's eyes met his for a second, and Sammy shifted backwards on one foot, sucking in a deep breath. The eyes were clouded and confused, bordering on impatience, and Sammy knew that was bad.
Yet after only a moment, they cleared and Sammy relaxed somewhat.
"Pancakes." He decided. "Need me a handover food."
Sammy didn't know what 'hangover food' meant, but he knew what pancakes were. He swallowed his fear, before speaking again.
"I-I d-don't know h-h-how to make p-panc-cakes."
He was staring at the ground, and actually jumped up and stumbled down the last stair, when the bottle his father had been holding was whipped above his head. Shattering into a zillion little pieces on the wall behind him, glass rained down around him.
"Then you better learn, real quick." His daddy hissed, before settling back down on the couch to watch the television he had just turned on.
Sammy scrambled away from the broken shards of glass, careful not to step on any, and hurried into the kitchen.
He had to blink away the tears in his eyes to clear his vision. He stood in the center of the room, taking deep breaths, trying his best to concentrate.
He thought about what his daddy had asked for. Pancakes.
Dean had made them pancakes before. One Saturday morning when their daddy had been out of town. Sammy ignored the happy memories that morning brought him, and focused instead on the memories of the cooking.
He stepped over to the cupboard on the other side of the room and looked for the box he remembered Dean using. The one with the stack of perfect looking pancakes on the front. He saw it almost immediately, as the cupboard was almost completely empty. It was on a self he couldn't reach.
He looked around for a solution to his problem, before deciding to pull a chair over from the kitchen table. He winced when the legs scratched against the tiled floor loudly.
"SHUT UP!" Came the scream from the other room, and Sammy dropped the chair in fright, making an even bigger noise. "I SAID SHUT UP!"
Sammy knew his daddy didn't like loud noises when his mind was fuzzy, or when he'd just woken up from having a fuzzy mind. Especially then.
So Sammy picked up the chair, lifting it as much as his tiny, five year old body could manage, and moved it to the cupboard as quietly as he could. He tried to set it down quietly too, but it slipped from his grasp and fell on it's legs to the floor, with a loud thunk.
He held his breath and counted slowly to ten. When no more shouts erupted from the living room, he knew his daddy must not have heard him that time.
So he climbed onto the chair, and managed to grab the box of pancake mix. He had it down, and sitting at the table, as he stared at the back. Their were various words and pictures, but Sammy could barely read, and he had no real comprehension as to what the box told him to do.
Still, he started making the breakfast food, following the instructions as best he could.
Fifteen minutes later, after being as silent and precise as he could in following the instructions he could only halfway comprehend, he had a skillet on the stove, and was turning the knob.
Blue flames erupted on the burner, but Sammy ignored them, focusing instead on pancake mixture he had concocted. He poured it into the skillet and watched as the lumpy mess of eggs, water, oil and dry mix sizzled away.
He knew, after a few minutes, that he had done something wrong. The slushy mixture was not turning golden brown like the picture on the box. It was crackling and moving on its own. Sammy watched, not knowing what to do.
He glanced at the clock on the microwave when a particularly dry lump started to turn red. The neon numbers read 2:17, and Sammy knew that Dean would not be getting home from school in time to help him. Which brought tears to his eyes, because he was desperate, and he needed his big brother to help him.
The dry lump was getting more red and more threatening looking with each passing second, and Sammy couldn't tear his watery eyes away from it. Until it finally bust into flames and a high-pitched scream tore itself, unbidden, from the five year old's throat.
He scampered away from the heat of the fire, only to find himself backed into something even scarier.
"What in the hell is going on!" The man shouted, roughly pushing his son away from him, his blurry eyes taking in the kitchen.
It was only when Sammy followed his gaze, did he realize what a mess he had made while attempting to cook the pancakes. When he added all of that mess to the sight of the fire still dancing in the skillet, the little boy started to tremble again.
"I-I-I-I..." he started, but the mean man cut him off.
"You what!" His speech was slurred, but Sammy could hear the anger loud and clear. "Were trying to kill me! The same way you killed your mother!"
"N-n-n-no." He stammered, trying to back away.
His daddy's arm came out and grabbed his shoulder roughly, turning him until he was forced to stare at the flames, which were growing bigger with each passing second.
The fingers digging harshly into his shoulder, squeezing until he could feel his bones rubbing together, was not enough to distract him from his fear. And the tears in his eyes, making their way down his cheeks in steady trails, they were not enough to block out the vision of the all consuming flames.
"Do you see what you did!" He said gruffly. "You started another fire!"
"I-I-I'm s-s-sorry." He sobbed. "I-I...d-didn't mean t-to!"
His daddy just tightened his grip, and pulled him closer to the jumping flames. Sammy fought and pulled against him as hard as he could, but he was no match for the grown man. He was sobbing openly by the time his daddy had him held next to the fire.
"Do you like the fire?" He asked in a low growl. "DO YOU LIKE THE FIRE!" He screamed when he got no response.
"N-n-no." He sobbed. He could think nothing, except, I want Dean. I want Dean. He would have screamed out his name, if he thought for a second that it would make his big brother appear.
"I think you do." His voice was low and frightening again. "Touch it!" He demanded. "Touch the fire you little brat!"
He grabbed a hold of his son's little wrist with his free hand and shoved it into the very tip of the flames. Sammy screamed out in pain, even though it didn't hurt exactly. It actually felt really cold, like sticking his hand in freezing water. But still he knew it was supposed to hurt.
And as soon as his daddy let go of his hand and Sammy ripped it out of the flames, it did. His hand throbbed where the fire had touched him, and he was now sobbing uncontrollably.
"Oh, shut up!" His daddy barked harshly. "It barely touched you." Which might have been true, but it sure didn't feel that way to the little child.
After a moment longer, John dropped his son to the floor, and reached out, turning off the burner as Sammy had been too scared to do when the fire had started. The young boy sat on the floor, muffling his crying as much as he could, and cradling his injured arm to his chest.
His daddy then threw a towel, which had been draped over the back of one of the chairs, over the flames, making them cease immediately.
The older man then stumbled slightly, moving in his son's direction, only to shove him out of the way harshly with his foot. Sam skidded into the leg of the table, and stayed there, watching his as his dad proceed to the fridge, and grabbed a beer.
He popped it open and took a long drink. When he lowered it, he looked from his son, to the mess of the kitchen and back to Sammy, who was still trembling and trying not to muffle his sobs.
"Suck it up." His words were harsh, but low and mumbled, and Sammy could almost breath again.
He nodded vigorously and watched as his daddy kept staring. Until he shook his head slightly and stumbled back into the living room. Sammy heard a thud as he collapsed again on the couch.
He waited, curled up in a shivering ball in the kitchen floor, no longer crying, he was focused intently on the sounds of the other room. Until he heard his daddy's loud snores start up. As soon as he heard them, he began counting. Once he got to two-hundred, he decided it was safe to move.
He stood on shaky little legs and tip-toed through the kitchen and back to the living room and up the stairs, paying special attention to the glass still littered all over the small platform. His inured arm was still cradled to his chest, and he had to stop and hold his breath when his dad's giant form rolled over suddenly.
Only when it settled down again and continued the steady stream of loud snores, did he dare to continue moving. He made his way up the stairs and into the room that he and Dean shared. There were two beds, but on most nights the brothers shared one.
Now, Sammy crawled into the one they had shared the night before. The rumpled sheets and flattened pillows still smelled like Dean, and Sammy took comfort in the safety that smell brought him.
He curled up beneath the blankets, and hissed when his hand brushed against the sheet slightly. He finally mustered the courage to look down at his injury. The places the fire had gotten to were bright pink, and hurt when anything came into contact with them.
So he adjusted himself so that that part of his hand was facing up. Finally, when he could hold them back no longer, he let his great wailing sobs continue. Burying his head in the pillow, just incase his daddy heard him. He cried and cried, until he was too exhausted to cry any longer.
He fell into a fitful sleep, wishing all the time, that Dean would hurry up and get home.
He needed his big brother like he never had before.
Well, if you guys are interested anyway.
Review and let me know if I should keep going!