Dad's on another hunting trip on Saturday, which also happens to be his fourteenth birthday. They're camped out in a cabin in the middle of back-ass nowhere, a mile from the nearest town, which is nothing more than a meeting of dusty roads and two blocks of family-owned businesses. And Dad's off hunting a draugr, leaving the two brothers alone in the cabin with nothing but Sam's walkman and a few old books.
By midafternoon Sam is going stir crazy, and he thinks that if Dean tries to give him a noogie one more time he will seriously hurt something, though the way the day is going he suspects it might be himself. So he leaves, slamming the door behind him and tramping the long way towards town. Sam feels like the world is ignoring him--but then what's new? The only thing he's useful for is slowing Dean and Dad down on a hunt, no wonder they don't want to celebrate his birthday.
He's eating an ice-cream sundae in the only ice cream parlour in town--happy birthday to me--when he sees something black out of the corner of his eye. When he looks he sees a small notebook on the sidewalk just outside the window he's sitting next to, and wonders how he missed it when he was coming in.
Hmm, Sam thinks, and finishes his ice cream in a hurry, intrigued. His head aches when he walks back into the bright August sun, but he ignores it and reaches to pick up the notebook. It looks ordinary enough, he notices. Maybe he actually just didn't notice it; maybe he needs a bit more training.
But his brother's voice is ringing in his ears, expect the unexpected, Sammy, and he turns it over to get a look at the cover. He expects the front to be as unassuming as the back; some school kid probably just dropped it on their way home.
For some reason, his heart skips a beat when he reads the words emblazoned in silver on the black cover: Death Note. When he flips it open he sees that there's no writing on the lined pages, but that there's type on the inside of the cover.
He takes the notebook to the small library in town, finds a seat in the reference section that smells of old books and puffs up dust when he sits on it, but he's already thumbing open the cover again and doesn't notice, except to sneeze once.
The human whose name is written in this note shall die, are the first words Sam reads, and he closes the book with a snap. There's a tension in his belly as he replays the line in his head, staring at the cover. He realizes that either this is a joke, some sort of sick prank, or that the book has the potential to be really dangerous.
He opens the book again.
Five minutes later, he's still staring at the words. A plan is forming in his mind, though, and he goes to ask the librarian for old newspapers.
He finds what he's looking for easily enough, because he'd overheard his father talking about the article on their way to the town. The face of Andrew Johnson stares at him from the projector, below the headline Local Veteran Dies Of Unknown Causes. The article wouldn't be interesting by itself, but Sam's seen the more recent articles that talk of strange smoke over the grave, of animals attacking people or just dying suddenly near the cemetery, of an unbearable stench that hangs over the whole area. All classic signs of a draugr.
But the picture is all he needs. This note will not take effect unless the writer has the person's face in their mind when writing his/her name. Therefore, people sharing the same name will not be affected.
If he's going to do this, he's going to do it right. According to the note, just the name and the face will result in a heart attack after forty seconds, but a draugr doesn't exactly have a beating heart, so he has to think of something else. Something that his father normally wouldn't try on this type of creature, so he knows for sure.
Andrew Johnson, Sam writes after a bit of thought. Exorcised by a female hunter just passing through.
When he reaches the cabin, the Death Note tucked in his pocket, he opens the door to Dean grinning at him.
"Happy Birthday, buddy." His brother says, throwing an arm around his shoulders. "Here, have a beer."
So Sam gets drunk for the first time, and when their father comes home later that night he's bloody and bruised, but whole. When Sam asks him how it went, John says "fine, business as usual," and Sam's heart sinks.
He burns the note the next morning.
Fuck, he thinks, a million possibilities running through his mind. This is. . . This is. Fuck. There are many things he could write, now that he knows that things he writes leading up to a death happen as well.
He thinks of Dad, of him killing the think that got their mom, and of not dying in the process.
(John Winchester. Dies of old age, years after killing a fire demon.)
He thinks of Sammy, of the life he wants to live, the people he wants to know, of him being normal. He'd do anything for that. Anything.
(Sam Winchester. Dies of old age, married, safe, normal, kids and grandkids. Happy. Peacefully, in his sleep.)
He thinks of himself for a moment, then closes the note and spins the chair around. Sheevi is looking at him in what Dean can only guess as bewilderment, although it's hard to tell on the Reaper's ugly face.
"No thanks." Dean says.
"You don't want it?" Sheevi asks dubiously, and Dean smirks at him.
That's not it, exactly. He doesn't need it. He plans to do all of that anyway--give Dad his revenge, give Sammy his life. He doesn't need any guarantees, because he makes his own. Always has, always will. It's just who he is.
"Not at all," He says. "Now get your fugly ass away from my family before I do something about it."
He can still hear the Reaper's laugh as both it, and the Death Note, vanish into thin air. "Suit yourself. You'll regret it."
Dean knows he won't.