Summary: The Winchester brothers share a childhood memory that occurred when Sam was seven and Dean was eleven.
Timeline: Before season 3
Warning: Character Death
AN: This story has been altered a tiny bit from its original post. Hope you like!
Take My Place
"It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea."
- Dylan Thomas
"Remember… Remember when we were kids?" Sam's voice was barely a whisper but it began to pick up strength as he continued to speak. "We were on that island, that tiny one out on the lake…" He shifted into a more comfortable position next to his older brother, both of them sitting on the wooden floor, their backs leaning against the wall. "We were waiting for dad."
Dean chuckled slightly, relief clearly in his voice. "Yah… He'd gone off to kill that son of a bitch mud slime thing. I remember…"
Sam laughed as well, the memory playing through his mind and making the words come easier. "We were outside of the tent and you were complaining about how we weren't allowed to light a fire."
"Hey," Dean interrupted, his voice containing mock seriousness. "I clearly remember your complaints as well. You wanted to roast marshmallows or some pansy ass thing like that."
Sam allowed a small smile to flicker across his lips. "Yah well… I was only seven." He paused for a moment, the memory suddenly slipping away, but he quickly grasped hold of it once more and forced himself to concentrate on it. He needed to focus only on this, nothing else. Not the small cabin they were in now, the most unlikely place he thought this would happen. Not the fact that this wasn't a nightmare; a vision of the future; a vision he could still change. This memory was important and he'd keep a firm grasp on it if only for the sake of Dean. His brother wanted – needed – this. He had asked for this memory, and Sam was not about to refuse him.
"You told me a scary story," Sam continued. "It was about the woman who lived in the lake and called to the island at night. You said she would come and pull me into the water when I was sleeping."
"Yah, sorry about that…" Dean's voice was faint and Sam gave him a slight nudge to pull him back to reality; to the small room they were situated in. Back to the gentle lapping of water outside and the dim ray of light that filtered through the grimy window above them. Back to Sam.
"We heard a twig snap," the younger Winchester continued. Dean stared straight ahead but Sam could tell he was picturing the recollection in his mind. "It was probably just some squirrel or something, but I got really scared. You grabbed me and told me something as you looked around. I still remember exactly what you said."
Gazing up at his brother now, Dean's eyes were faintly shining. "What did I say?" he asked, his words beginning to slur.
"You said… You said that you'd never let the woman in the lake take me. You said that you'd go in my place instead." Sam's voice choked as the lump in his throat grew bigger. His nose stung as a warm feeling collected behind his eyes and he tore his look away from Dean. He could not meet his gaze. Not now.
There was a short silence and the sound of birds could be heard nearby, outside of the room and the cabin and the pain.
"I promised you I would Sammy. Before that, when you were just a baby, I promised you I would…" Dean's voice came quietly. It drifted between the two brothers like a leaf in the wind, thin and fragile yet powerful and strong.
The younger Winchester could do nothing but look at his brother now, and he did so with a sharp turn of his head, meeting the glassy hazel eyes and finding a sense of calmness within them.
But no life, for Dean's last breath had come with those words, the fulfillment of a promise made so many years ago. The promise to protect, and as Sam wrapped his arms around his older brother's lifeless body he suddenly felt like he was seven again