A/N: Last chapter! Enjoy it! Thank you for all your reviews and wonderful thoughts, you're all brilliant.
What If Dean Had Asthma?
Chapter Six: The End
Sammy fell back onto his bed. He breathed deeply as he felt the tension fall out of his muscles and smiled when he felt the gaze of his soon to be (once he bought the ring and got up the courage) fiancé fall on him.
"You need a new jacket," said Jess as she peered at him over the top of her book, "Those sleeves are about a foot too short," Sammy examined his arms, the sleeves were a little too short, it was true, but throwing the jacket out was out of the question.
"They are not a foot too short,"
"They might as well be, you look ridiculous," Sam sat and grinned at Jess.
"I do not, and no matter what you say, I'm keeping the jacket," he slipped it off all the same, it wasn't exactly needed inside. Jess put her book down and walked over to Sam, a playful smile on her face. She picked up the jacket and Sam had to bite back his automatic response to someone else touching it. Most people had, by now, learnt that no matter how nice they were about his jacket, Sammy wouldn't let them try it on, which is exactly what Jess was doing now. She slipped it on and did a catwalk spin.
"How do I look?" To say that it was weird seeing someone else wearing it was an understatement, but despite that, it seemed to suit Jess. Sam was relieved, it was like she was meant to be part of the family.
"Honestly?" he asked,
"You kinda remind me of my dad,"
"What, Ed?" Jess was surprised, Ed didn't look like the type to go near leather clothing of any kind.
"No, my dad. It was his jacket. Just, one thing," Sam stood up and turned the collar up, which just completed the look.
"Does it have to be like that?"
"It's tradition!" Jess grinned and pulled Sam down for a kiss. Now that was more than a little weird. He could smell the faint scent of the jacket, the smell that had meant Dad and Dean to him for all of his twenty-two years of life and it was mingling with Jess. All of his most loved ones together, everyone he ever wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Jess pulled away and looked into his eyes.
"You never talk about your dad,"
"I was only nine, I can't remember that much," that, and talking about his dad usually required some knowledge of the things he hunted. No, he hadn't told Jess about that particular part of his life. It was awful, he knew, he was planning to marry this woman, he should be truthful with her about everything. He knew this, he'd told it to himself a thousand times and had almost so very nearly told her a hundred times. He'd resolved to tell her before they got engaged, which was another reason it was taking so long to get up the courage.
It was ridiculous. Poltergeist? Fine, he could take it, easy, but this one particular conversation had defeated him on numerous occasions. He always got as far as sitting down, looking like he had something big to say, then he'd open his mouth and out would come something about an assignment that he really didn't care about.
It scared him, the thought of that conversation. Well, it was more Jess' reaction to the conversation that had him worried. She may not believe him and could write him off as some kind of lunatic (which he was sure she wouldn't but, still) and then she'd leave him and he'd be alone. He didn't want to be alone, he wanted to be with Jess. This was the line of thought that ran through his head every time he tried to open up. It was a nuisance, sometimes he just thought too much.
"I know nothing about the man you spent the first nine years of your life with, can't you remember anything?" Sam sat back down on the bed and Jess sat next to him, her body close, warm and comforting.
"Well, obviously I... I do remember some things. Dean once pretended to be Dad for a whole day, it was really funny, had me in stitches," he smiled at the memory, "I uh... I guess you had to be there, though,"
"No, come on, tell me," Jess said gently. Sam looked at her, he wasn't in the habit of sharing his memories. It made people look at him with a sad little smile and entirely too much pity and that was annoying because the memory was usually happy and didn't require any pity.
"Well, we were really bored and we weren't allowed to leave the motel room so we had to make our own entertainment, especially as there was nothing on TV. So, Dean put on that jacket and started acting like Dad, doing the voice and everything, which was really funny because he couldn't get low enough. I spent the day being either a monster or a damsel in distress and Dean would either kill or save me. Dean always made sure it was done properly,"
"Yeah," he always made sure he used silver weapons and that he tested the person for possession before he exorcised them (Sammy, you've got to flinch when I say Christo!) and that he salted and burned the remains afterwards (don't want them coming back, do we?). He knew everything about how ghosts should be dealt with (you can't do that, your bones are already burnt!) and how monsters would act (you should chase me away from your grave, otherwise I can get you easy). Then Sammy would thank him (Sammy, strangers wouldn't call him Dad, his name's John) and perhaps invite him home for dinner (no, sorry, I've got an amazingly awesome son and his little brother waiting for me to get back to them). "You know, according to whatever rules we made up at the time,"
"Dean sounds like a great brother,"
"He was the best," he glanced up at Jess and the jacket. He really should not need to comfort himself with an old jacket anymore, but he couldn't help it, he felt inexplicably nervous knowing that it wasn't in his hands or somewhere just as safe. He did trust Jess, really he did but... oh God, he was hopeless, "Can I have it back now?"
"What? The jacket?" Sammy nodded, "I don't know, I think it fits me quite well,"
"I haven't dragged it around for thirteen years only to give it away when it gets a bit small!" Jess obliged and handed it back to him.
"It means that much to you, huh?"
"Well, your whole family dies in one night, you kinda need something to hang on to," Jess tried her best to engulf him in a hug and did pretty well, considering what she was up against.
"I wish I could have met them," she whispered into his shoulder.
"Don't do that,"
"Wish for things that can't ever happen, I'm an expert in it, it never works," it was a pity he couldn't take his own advice. Sometimes there was just that little voice in his head, one he couldn't shut up, that said what if? What if Dad hadn't gone after those hellhounds? What if Dean didn't have asthma? It was a stupid thing to think, it probably wouldn't have even made a difference. How long was a thirteen-year-old really going to last in that business? It was probably a good thing they died when they did, get it over with early on so he could move on sooner.
Yeah, it didn't really convince him, either. But somehow, it was better than thinking how good everything would be if they were still with him.
Thankfully, Jess pulled him into a kiss and his brain, for once, just shut up.
Sammy flexed his fingers, working the blood back into them after carrying the groceries back from the store. He smiled at the cookies laid out on a plate for him, Jess had promised him some before he left that morning. He picked one up and took a bite out of it, he loved his life right now.
He went into their bedroom and laid back on the bed, hands behind his head and just enjoyed the feeling. That he was loved, that he wasn't forced to be here, that he was here of his own free will, it was his choice and he loved it.
Drip. Oh, what now? If there was something leaking, he'd be so annoyed, he'd just got all the plumbing sorted out and everything.
Drip. He opened his eyes. Shit, no, not this, anything but this.
Jess was on the ceiling, oh God, it was just like his dreams. He had to wake up, had to, he couldn't watch more people die, he couldn't, he didn't have it in him. She was bleeding on him, slow drips from her stomach, filtered through the material of her dress. He couldn't wake up, it felt real, too real. What if it wasn't a dream? He could barely contemplate it.
"No!" barked Sammy, voicing his feelings over what he knew came next, "No!" he tried again but the flames still exploded out, engulfing Jess and the pain of it filled her face. Her mouth open, her brow creased with pain and confusion, the unwanted vision of Dean wearing the same expression flashed before his eyes.
He was not going to let it happen again, he was not. He jumped up onto the bed and reached for her. He just needed to reach her, to drag her from the ceiling. He was not going to let someone else die right in front of him. She was not going to die. He couldn't imagine life if she did, he couldn't imagine going through the loss all over again. He wouldn't be able to cope, he knew that.
The skin on his hands and arms began to blister as he grabbed her shoulder, but it wouldn't budge. His eyes burned and he turned his face away from the flames. He felt for Jess' hand and he may have found it, but he couldn't tell because now there was only pain. If Jess was still alive, she was giving no sign of it.
The whole of Sammy was burning now, right down to his feet. His hands went numb, but he didn't have time to appreciate it because the bed he was standing on had caught fire. His arms fell into an instinctive position over his face and tried to smother his flaming hair. It may have succeeded, Sammy couldn't tell, his brain was too full of thoughts to get out. His instincts were now in charge, anywhere that didn't burn was good. Unfortunately, his legs were in no condition to help him out. He thought that he may have fallen off the bed, he may have landed with a thud and rolled away, but it all seemed a bit distant.
The roaring and crackling in his ears faded to the sound of his own breathing, slow and calm. He opened his eyes to a featureless room, bathed in a soft white light. Sammy looked at his hands, they were just fine. Hope flared in him that perhaps it had all really had been a dream, despite the very real and burning pain that was just fading from his skin. What he really needed was to work out where he was.
"Hey, Sammy," he looked up to the owner of the voice. Jess was here, it couldn't be a bad place, then. He took the hand Jess had offered and stood up. He took in her appearance, from her bare toes curling in the thick carpet, to her slightly messy hair and he hugged her for all he was worth.
"I thought I'd lost you," he said into the top of her head, eyes shut tight so he could concentrate on the smell and feel of Jess in his arms, Jess squeezed him back in reply.
"Christ, Sammy, you've grown!" Sammy's eyes snapped open and the sight the greeted him made his knees buckle and he almost dragged Jess back to the floor. Jess was frowning at his reaction, she looked over her shoulder and then back at Sammy, the faintest look of realisation crossing her features. Sammy couldn't move his mouth to articulate anything, just stared up into Jess' eyes, willing them to tell him that it was all true. "Hey, Sammy? What's the matter?" as if he didn't know.
Jess moved aside and Sammy could see them. Dad and Dean, exactly the same as they had been for the past thirteen years. Dean with his hands in his pockets and a knowing smile on his face, John with his hand on Dean's shoulder, smiling at him, an open, welcoming smile that Sammy wasn't sure he'd ever seen before.
He scrambled towards them, any grace he had was lost in his utter desperation to reach them. He just managed to not barrel into them and stopped, still on his knees, just in front of Dean. His thirteen-year-old brother skipped any words of greeting or teasing and just pulled him in and held him. He cried into Dean's chest, so full of emotion, it was hard to tell which one was causing him to cry. He balled his fists up tight in the back of Dean's shirt and held on, just in case anything was planning to rip Dean away from him again.
"Watch it there, you'll stretch my shirt!" but the hand on the back of his head absently stroking his hair told Sammy he was welcome to stretch as many of Dean's shirts as he wanted. He felt a heavy hand on his shoulder and he looked up at his dad. John was still smiling at him.
"Hey, Sammy-boy, it's all right," Sammy untangled one of his hands from Dean's shirt and clutched John's arm. The low, warm rumble of his dad's voice had soothed Sammy, it was like something that had been ripped out of Sammy had been given back to him at that moment. He'd been longing for this for so long.
"I've missed you so much," he managed to get control of himself long enough to say. His family – his family! It had been far too long since he'd last had one of those – tightened their grip on him. It was their way of comforting him. Where other people would gather you up and start whispering comforting nothings into your ear, his family tightened their hold, it was more comforting to him than any amount of whispered assurances.
With a pang, he remembered all the other people he'd left behind. Pastor Jim, Natalie, Ed and Barbara, all of his college friends who, he could only assume, had just lost two people in one go. He didn't like to think how they'd be feeling or what they were about to go through, he knew it all too well.
"Dad?" he looked up at his dad, "What about... everyone else?"
"Don't worry, whatever happens to them now, it's nothing to do with you," Sammy grinned, he couldn't help it. He felt sorry for everyone left behind, he really did, they were not going to be having a good time for the next few weeks at least, but he couldn't bring himself to feel sad for them. He'd spent too long being sad, too long wanting what he couldn't have. Now he had it and he couldn't stop grinning if he tried.
"John and Dean Winchester, I presume?" Sammy could hear the smile in Jess' voice. Dean and John let Sammy go so he could stand up.
"Dean, Dad, this is Jess," Dean let out a low whistle.
"Wow, who knew little Sammy would grow up to pull chicks like you?" Jess laughed.
"Straight out of the mouths of babes!" she said.
"Hey, watch it, I'm older than you are!" his finger was pointed accusingly at Jess, "I'll have you know I would have been a very dashing and handsome twenty-six-year-old by now!"
Sam thought about the ghosts he'd dealt with in his time, the ones who didn't want to leave or were too attached to something. They must be completely mad. Sammy didn't understand the need to stay with the living at all.
Dying was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
Thank you for reading!